Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Recipe : Mango Fool

There's an abundance of ripe mangoes in my freezer. In the summer, we get boxes of mangoes home and then once they have ripened, I clean and chop them and freeze them in smaller boxes and then defrost them one at a time to last the rest of the year

The husband loves to have them mixed into his morning muesli or cereal and the watery bits I normally blend into milkshakes for him.

However, this time there is so much mango in my freezer, that I'm running out of space for freezing my meat, so I dug up an old but easy recipe for a dinner party that we had the other day. Everyone loved it and its so fast to prepare.

 Ingredients :
1 kg ripe mangoes (any variety that you like)
1 tin milkmaid condensed milk
3 cardamom pods
Sliced nuts for garnish (optional)

Method:

Remove the cover of the cardamom pods and coarsely pound the seeds in a mortar and pestle.
Skin the mangoes and separate the flesh.
Puree the mango flesh in a blender until smooth
Add the condensed milk and the powdered cardamom seeds and blend till well mixed.
The condensed milk and the mango are normally sweet enough to not require any additional sugar, but taste and check.
Chill until ready to be served.
Garnish with sliced nuts. I used almonds.


It keeps well in the fridge for over a week.

Kim's Leftover Tip :
The cardamom seed covers can be added to your tea leaves / powder for flavour.

Leftover Mango Fool can be blended with milk for a milkshake.

You can even wash out the blender with milk for a great milkshake.


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Recipe : Khichdi / Kedgeree / Kichudi / Khichadi (Vegan)


Khichdi is a light and simple dish, often cooked at my husbands house when lunch has been too heavy or someone at home is sick. Its great food for someone down with a fever or a blocked nose or sinus or even an upset stomach.

If made with moong dhal (split yellow or green gram) or masoor dhal (Egyptian / red lentils) it is extremely light on the stomach and very easy to digest. My husbands mum normally makes it with arhar / toor / tuvar dhal. I personally prefer a mixture of masoor and tuvar dhal.

The dhals provide protein and nutrition and recently I have started making the khichdi with brown rice which increases the fibre content. While white rice will completely dissolve and turn into a gruel - if you cook it too long, brown rice holds its shape and consistency much longer.

My version of khichdi has a lot of spices, because we love the flavours, but you can tone them all down if you prefer. For a lot of people this is comfort food.

Ingredients :
250 gms rice
250 gms lentils / dhal (I used an equal mix of masoor and tuvar dhal)
1 tbsp oil (I use mustard, but you can use any standard cooking oil or ghee)
pinch of heeng (asafoetida)
pinch of methi seeds
1 tsp jeera seeds
1 tbsp black pepper (roughly crushed) - optional
6 cloves garlic chopped
2 large onion chopped
2 - 3 large tomatoes chopped
1.5 inch ginger grated
2 green chillies chopped
1 tbsp jeera powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
1 tbsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder (optional)
salt to taste
fresh chopped coriander to garnish

Method:
Wash and soak the rice and lentils (together or separately - as you choose) for at least 15 minutes

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pressure cooker
Add the heeng, methi and jeera seeds,
Add crushed pepper if using.

Once the spices start emitting their aroma, add the chopped garlic and fry till it starts to brown, now add chopped onions, tomatoes, grated ginger and cook until the tomatoes start to disintegrate.

Add the soaked rice and lentils and give a quick stir so everything is well mixed.
Now add green chillies, all the powders and salt and water to cover (1 inch above)
Stir well, so everything is well blended.
Cover pressure cooker and cook till done (I prefer 3 whistles on high and 2 whistles on sim)

When you open the cooker, you might find that the rice has absorbed all the moisture and there is hardly any liquid left, in that case add more water to your taste and bring to a boil (uncovered and stirring constantly.

There is no perfect consistency, its about what works best for you.
I prefer a slightly firmer, drier version
For someone whose sick, I would water it down, almost to a soup before serving.
The consistency is very personal


Optional : Add your favourite tadka to the bubbling khichdi (I'm partial to chopped garlic - crisped up)

Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot.

There is a saying "khichdi ke hain chaar yaar - dahi, papad, ghee, achar!" - Khichdi has 4 friends - curd, papad, ghee and pickle.


I normally serve khichdi with a dollop of ghee on top and the others as sides.
Plain curd goes best with khichdi, rather than a raita

Options :
For vegans, you can top it with a meltable nut butter or just some spicy pickle.

Papad or any kind of crispies can also be served as a side and they add great texture.

If you don't want to serve pickles, then you can serve it with wedges of lime, or finely sliced onions soaked in a bit of natural vinegar.


The possibilities are endless

Monday, July 28, 2014

Recipe : Goan Feijoada - Pork and Beans Stew - (Vegan option possible)

The Last batch of Joao's sausages that I bought and turned into a Choriz Fry, weren't very good (Joao's buys their sausages from various suppliers and then brand it with their name, so you can't be sure what you are going to get). The flavour was really strong, but the masala wasn't spicy or sour enough. The sausages really needed something to tone down the flavours that it did have and I needed to be able to add more spice and tartness without the salt going completely out of whack.


That's when I remembered the Goan dish of Feijoada. This is a dish that you won't normally find served in restaurants, but on the dining tables at family homes. Feijoada is a pork and bean stew that finds its origins in Portuguese cuisine, but it has been adapted to Goan sensibilities by using the Goan sausages (choriz), some Goan recipes also use the Portuguese traditional salted pork. This dish is renowned in Brazil, where it is cooked with a milder variety of sausage, and a lot of pork offal.

There are Goans who turn this into a Vegan stew, by substituting the pork sausages with soya sausages. But given that the choriz have their own strong spices, you will need to adjust the seasonings quite a bit from my recipe.

I looked at a couple of different recipes on and offline. Maria Teresa Menezes, in her excellent Essential Goan Cookbook advocates cooking together soaked rajma (kidney beans) or lobia (black eyed peas) with onions, tomatoes and choriz. Just all added to one pan and cooked till done.

Antoine Lewis has a slightly fancier recipe involving bacon, which I would have loved to try, but for the fact that I had run out of bacon at home.

So, I followed my friend Gia's general instructions (I had been very successful with her Goan Choriz Pulao recipe, so I trust her implicitly when it comes to Goan food).

She said "cook the beans separately first and discard the water. Fry the onions and tomatoes, add whatever spices you are using, then the sausage meat. Finally, add the cooked beans and mix it all together. At this stage you can add as much water as you need and cook further until done"
I had already cooked up the sausages with the potatoes, so I followed the rest of the recipe with inspirations from other recipes that I had read.

Kim's Tips :
I think it would be best to boil the sausages in 50 ml water before adding to the stew, but you can also let it cook in the stew. Unless you are using the home made rosary sausages. Those need to have all the string cut off and are definitely better off being pre-boiled and unstrung before adding to the stew.

Once you have boiled the choriz/sausages, you can get a better idea of the spices and seasoning that you need to add to the stew to get a better flavour. We love tartness, garlic and spicy, so my recipe reflects this.

Ingredients:
500 gms rajma or lobia (red kidney beans or black eyed peas)
pinch of heeng (asafoetida)
250 gms Goan Choriz sausage (or Vegan sausage)
2 large onions
3 large tomatoes
1 pod garlic chopped (pod not clove)
4-15 green chillies chopped (depending on your spice tolerance, I used 15 since my choriz weren't spicy enough)
1 tsp coconut oil (you can use regular oil)
vinegar to taste (preferably Goan Toddy vinegar or apple cider)
salt to taste (remember the sausages are heavily salted so keep tasting)
Fresh coriander to garnish (optional)


Method:
Soak the rajma or lobia for at least 6-8 hours or overnight.
Pressure cook with enough water to cover and a pinch of heeng, until done.
When done, strain & discard the water.

Lightly boil the sausages in 50-100 ml water
Remove the skin (I like the sausage skin, so I just leave large pieces of sausage skin in the pot for myself) and break up the meat and masala.

Take a really large pan (1.5 to 2 times the size of a pan you would really need work best with stews)
Heat the oil.
Add the garlic, onions and tomatoes and cook till onions are light brown and the tomatoes begin to disintegrate.
Add the chillies and fry for a minute.
Add the drained rajma and a little fresh water and stir well.
If you like, you can semi mash some of the beans in the pan, for a thicker consistency.


Now add the sausages and the water that they were cooked in.
Add a little water and let it stew for a couple of minutes, so the masala from the sausages disperses into the stew.
Taste and adjust vinegar and salt.
Let the stew simmer for awhile on a low flame, so that all the flavours can blend together.


Garnish with fresh coriander if using and serve hot with rice or pao bread buns.


Like most stews, this one too tastes better the next day.


I've been Interviewed on sulekha.com

Sulekha.com is a very popular Indian Website in the US. It was one of the first websites to start a Indian Recipe section way back in the late 1990's as far as I remember. While their focus has slowly changed, the food section is still quite prominent and I'm quite kicked about the fact that they wanted to interview me :)

The interview can be read on site  - here
Or
on my Karishma Pais (Kim) in Print Blog

Monday, July 21, 2014

Recipe : Malabar Inspired Chicken Pilaf / Pulao

Husband suddenly came home early the other day and wanted dinner immediately, before he had to leave again for an evening meeting (he prefers eating healthier at home, than later filling up on deep fried snacks & nuts that are served at such functions/meetings)


All I had was some boneless chicken marinating in curd, salt and ginger garlic paste that I had taken out of the fridge and I had originally planned to make dhal, chawal, roti, sabji, chicken for dinner. But obviously that plan was shot. I couldn't get all that ready in 20 minutes, so biryani to the rescue it was. I didn't have time for a heavy marinade, so I went for a fragrant rice pulao flavoured with Kerala spices. It tasted really good, so here's the recipe.

Ingredients :
1/2 kg boneless chicken (you can use 750gms if using chicken with bone in)
1 large katori curd (roughly 100gms)
1.5 tbsp ginger garlic paste
4-10 green chillies chopped (depending on spiciness and your heat tolerance)
salt to taste

Marinade :
Marinate the chicken in these ingredients and keep aside (or refrigerate, if you aren't cooking immediately)
The curd and ginger garlic paste, should be enough to completely coat all the pieces of chicken

Ingredients :
500 gms long grained rice (I used Brown Basmati for health reasons)
1.5 tbsp ghee
1 handful cashewnuts (optional)
2 inch cinnamon
2 bay leaves
4 cloves
1 all spice flower (broken into petals)
2 cardamom
1 tbsp black pepper
1.5 tbsp saunf (fennel seeds)
2 medium onions sliced fine
4 green chillies chopped (optional)
Water to proportion
salt to taste
Freshly chopped coriander leaves to garnish

Method:
Wash the rice and soak (at least as long as it takes you to prep the other ingredients or about 20 minutes) and then drain.

Roughly crush the black pepper and saunf in a mortar and pestle. (I don't like getting cardamom bits in my mouth when eating, so I crushed the cardamom too)

Heat the ghee in a pressure cooker.
If using the nuts, quickly fry them in ghee on high heat and remove drained nuts from pan when browned.
The ghee will change colour, but that's nothing to worry about.

Bring it back up to smoking point and add the cinnamon, followed by cardamom, cloves and all spice flower.
Then add your roughly crushed spices and bay leaves and give a quick stir.

When the spices start emitting the cooked aroma, add the sliced onions and fry until almost brown.
Add the marinated chicken with all its liquids - if using boneless chicken, just give it a minute or so to brown a bit, if using chicken with bone, wait till the chicken is semi cooked.

Add the soaked and drained rice and give a quick stir.
Now add the green chillies and fried cashewnuts (if using)
Add water to cover upto 1/2 inch above and adjust salt to taste.
Cover and pressure cook until done. (I normally use 3 whistles on high and then 1 whistle on sim and let the pressure all escape on its own, before opening the cooker)


Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with a cool raita

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Favourite Foods

There are some foods that are my absolute favourites. When I say absolute favourites, I mean, that I can eat them anytime, no matter how full I am or what time of the day or night.

Good food doesn't just satisfy the stomach, its a feast for all the senses.

Visual - it is well presented and beautifully colored without any excess oil or synthetic colors to mar the view.

Kinesthetic - every grain or every bite is just as it should be whether it is the soft smoothness of a rasmalai or a finger dipped in chocolate ganache or buttercream icing or a spicy meet mirsang or the feel of a well set paneer.

Auditory - The crunch of a papad or the crack of a creme brulee.

Olfactory - the aroma of freshly baked bread, piping hot samosas out of the frying pan, the opening of a dum biryani, they all fill the house with such a wonderful aroma, that it is impossible to resist the temptation to dig right in.

Gustatory - And of course, the ultimate test of great food is the taste.

Any food that satisfies all the 5 senses makes for a delectable experience, which leaves me on a complete high. A high on life. So which would be my most zestful food experiences?

5. Chocolate - whether a Cadbury's Dairy Milk Silk or a a Jar of Nutella or a Box of Merci


4. A Great Steak - For me, a Perfect Steak is medium rare. Its cooked just enough, but still has a lovely meaty taste to it and is nice a soft when you bite into it. Just team up a well marinated steak with some Melted Herb Butter and some gorgeous mashed potatoes and it can transport me to heaven.


3. Creme Brulee - The best Creme Brulee's that  have ever eaten were at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse in Dubai and at the Surya Mahal (Udaivilas Palace) in Udaipur.


2. A Great British Fry Up - The Classic British Breakfast or Eggs, Bacon, Sausages, Toast, Grilled Mushrooms, Baked Beans with maybe some Waffles and Pancakes thrown in for Good Measure and a Lovely Hot Mug of Steaming Coffee!  What's not to love? Its a Perfect Start to the Day, but I can also have it for Lunch or Diner or as a Midnight Snack.


1. My Numero Uno Zest Inducing Food, no Prizes for Guessing is Biryani!
Lucknowi, Mughlai, Malabar, Pakistani, Awadhi, Andhra, Calcutta. The style just doesn't matter. It just needs to be beautifully fragrant rice paired with a delicious well marinated meat, all cooked together to the perfect point. a perfect Biryani is never oily or over colored. Ranging from plain white to bright orange, the colour doesn't matter as long as it tastes yum!


The Best Food is Exciting, Enervating, Energising and Zestful.

So what are YOUR Favourite Foods?

This post is a part of the #ZestUpYourLife activity in association with TATA Zest and BlogAdda.com

Friday, July 18, 2014

Black Food - #WhatTheBlack

Black as a colour in food is often associated with being burnt. As a child, my sister went through a phase where she would assiduously remove every bit of black from her food before she would even begin to eat. Given that mustard and jeera were standard ingredients in the tadkas at home, it often took her longer to pluck out the black grains, than to actually eat her food.

So can black be beautiful in food?

Of course it can!

Case in Point :

1. Chocolate - Milk chocolate, dark chocolate, bitter chocolate, chocolate cake, chocolate ganache, chocolate biscuits, Black Forest Cake  - they all come in various shades of black and each one is more delicious than the other.

2. Squid Ink - Squid Ink is rapidly gaining popularity or at least curiosity, ever since the Masterchef Australia series started airing on Indian TV. We normally used to discard all of the black bits when cleaning squids, but now it is being used to colour pasta to great acclaim in some parts of the world.

3. Spices - What would an Indian kitchen be without spices? Pepper, cinnamon, cloves, All Spice, Mustard, kala til, kalonji, are all an essential part of Indian cooking and yes, they are all black! Then you also have Vanilla Beans and Licorice (Mulethi) which have very strong flavours, but are much loved.

4. Black Rice - a beautiful nutty rice from Manipur which is excellent in kheers.

5. Some of the most expensive ingredients in the world (excepting saffron) are also black - think Caviar and Black Truffles.

Even common foods like cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes, brinjals come in shades that are almost black, so can you honestly say that black = burnt?

This post is a part of #WhatTheBlack activity at BlogAdda.com

Recipe : Sanjukta's Mum-In-Law's Drunken Dates - Cornflakes Cake (Eggless)

My friend Sanjukta, recently shared her MIL's (Mrs Ranju Dutta) Drunken Dates - Cornflakes Cake Recipe. This time, the recipe was a little more detailed than her Assamese Pork Fry recipe :)

Since the recipe needed no butter or eggs or maida (all purpose flour) or sugar, I thought it would be a great after dinner dessert (we have stopped having desserts after dinner for calorie control - they can only be consumed after lunch right now)

Sanjukta's original recipe can be viewed at the end of this post, I made a few modifications, I skipped the whipped cream topping and added more dates and rum and used a mixture of wheat and cornflakes to up the fibre quotient.


The taste was quite yum with the rum soaked dates giving a blast of flavour in between bites, but when I made it the texture wasnt very cakelike, it was more like slightly soggy cornflakes. Husband did not mind it with the freshly chopped chilled mangoes, but I'm not sure if I would try this recipe again. It is however an interesting variation. Most of this "cake" got consumed as a slightly boozy weekend breakfast :)

It can also be made without the alcohol.

Ingredients :
1 handful dried dates
enough rum to cover the dates.
2 pinches cinnamon powder
1 pinch grated nutmeg
1 standard bowl (large katori) of cornflakes
1 standard bowl (large katori) of wheatflakes / branflakes
1 1/2 cups of milk
Fruit to serve

Method:
Soak the dates with little water and the Rum.
If you want to keep it non-alcoholic, use only water and omit the rum
Add the cinnamon and nutmeg powders.
(you can even add a hint of ginger powder, I think the flaour would work well)


After half an hour or so, the dates should get soft. So de-seed them and lightly mash by hand.
If the dates are really dry, then you can make a coarse paste in the mixi.

When your dates are completely prepped, in a bowl, add the cornflakes, wheatflakes and the milk (Just enough to soak the cornflakes).


Lightly mash it by hand (we don't want it pasty, crumb texture will work. is just fine.

Then add the mashed dates to the mixture and taste if its sweet enough (Normally the dates are sweet)
Adjust sugar if required and mix thoroughly.



Lightly grease a baking dish, add the Dates-Cornflakes mix and in a preheated oven, bake it at 180 deg for about 25 minutes.


Slice and serve hot or cold with fresh fruit.



Sanjukta / Ranju Dutta's Original Drunken (Rum) Dates - Cornflakes Cake

1)Dates- one fistful
2) Rum- about 30 ml
3) 2 standard bowls of cornflakes
3) 1 1/2 cups of milk
4) Whipped Cream
5)Butter for Greasing the baking dish

PROCEDURE:

1) Soak the dates with little water and the 30 ml Rum. De-seed it as it gets soft and mash it using hands. In case you are using the dried variety of dates, just run the mixer to make a coarse paste of the dates.

2) In a bowl, add the cornflakes and the milk (Just enough to soak the cornflakes). With your hands mash it up (We do no want a fine paste), so crumb texture is just fine.

3)Once done, add the dates to the cornflakes and taste if its sweet enough (Normally the dates are sweet and adjusts to the requirement of sugar). Mix it thoroughly.

4) In a baking dish, add the Dates-Cornflakes mix and in a preheat oven, bake it at 180 deg for a period of 25 minutes.

5)Once done, let it cool and turn the dish upside down. Once the cake comes off to the plate allow it to cool. Put it in the fridge to chill.

6) Beat Whipped Cream (I added a drop of orange colour to the cream). Pour it over the cake and again chill it for another hour plus.

Simple, tasty and healthy cake is ready to be savoured. I am enjoying my piece with my evening cup of tea

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Recipe : Goan Choriz Fry

This is the simplest of all the choriz recipes that I know. My mum often made this at home and served it as a side with rice and dhal.

My friend David, used to get really good quality choriz, which he used to cut like regular sausages and then serve a piece of sausage and a piece of potato on a toothpick as an appetiser with drinks.

This is really very quick to prepare when you are in a hurry to create a protein side dish as the choriz is always stored at room temperature. Its actually faster to prepare than the accompanying Goan/Manglorean red rice.



Ingredients:
250 gms Goan Choriz
2 large onions chopped
2 medium potatoes peeled and chopped
chopped coriander leaves to garnish (optional)

Method :
In a wide pan, place the sausages flat.
Add onions and potatoes to the pan
Pour in a thin layer of water so it comes up to half the height of the sausage.
Cover and cook till potatoes are done, stirring occasionally
Slit the skin and de-string the sausages if necessary and continue to cook it with the cover open, until the water all dries up and the potatoes start to crisp up.
Serve hot with pao bread or rice and dhal.

Note:
You can chop the potatoes smaller. I chop them slightly larger, so that those who are on a "no carb diet" at home can pick them out and keep them aside. :)

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