Friday, October 10, 2008

Recipe : Nepali Aloo/Potato Kebabs

Today was Dusshera and since we are in Egypt, we did not have a holiday. I still wanted to make the day special for my husband so he wouldn't feel too homesick for the delicious food his mom would have cooked for us.

So I fired up the deep frying pan and rustled up a bunch of ajwain puris, made some chole (which I had soaked last night) and in a bid to try something different, yet familiar and keep the menu vegetarian - I pulled out a recipe given to me by a Nepali friend for potato kebabs.
Potato dishes go very well with puris and it is comfort food for my husband. This dish was no exception.

6 medium potatoes
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp corriander powder
1/2 inch ginger paste (fresh is better)
5 cloves garlic ground to paste
1 cup yoghurt
1/2 tsp pepper powder
chilli powder to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
4 small bay leaves
1/2 cup oil
1/2 inch ginger, chopped

Peel potatoes and cut into 4 to 6 equal sized pieces.
Mix all ingredients except potatoes, oil, chopped ginger and bay leaves into a smooth paste.
Marinate the potatoes in this mixture for at least 4 hours. Don't leave the potato pieces too large.

In a large pan, heat the oil, add chopped ginger and fry on high heat till it browns.
Add bay leaves and stir for awhile.
Drop the potatoes into the hot oil mixture and fry till the potatoes turn light brown while stirring occasionally.
Pour the marinade into the pan for some liquid quotient, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook potatoes for 10-15 minutes until soft.
Dry up the potatoes before serving. They should be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside.
Serve hot with rice, roti or puri.

Recipe : Kebabs - Simple to Shikampuri

I first had the good fortune of tasting shikampuri kebabs at Hyderabad House in (you guessed it) Hyderabad, India. This has been one of my favorite kebabs ever since and a must eat when I visit Hyderabad.

I recently came across a recipe for making them, sadly it wasn't exactly the taste I was craving, but they were pretty good never the less.

This is an easily adaptable recipe. You can try to make the shikampuri kebab which requires a little skill for the stuffing or just prepare it as regular cutlets/kebabs or turn them into deep fried meat balls or use it to make koftas for a mince kofta curry.

I use beef or mutton mince in my recipe but you can substitute with chicken mince if you prefer.

You can also lower the spice quotient by reducing the chilli powder.

This recipe is perfect for those who have trouble getting their cutlets/meat balls to the right consistency or end up breaking and splintering when frying.

250gms of mince
1/2 cup of bengal gram dhal (channa dhal/ split chickpeas)
1/2 inch ginger
3 cloves of garlic
1 inch piece of cinnamon
2 tsp chilli powder (use less if you want it less spicy)
salt to taste
4 cloves

Clean the mince, don't squeeze out too much water when drying as we will not be adding any water in the cooking stage.
Soak the dhal as long as you can (I did not have time to do this today and it became difficult at the grinding stage, so you will see a lot of whole dhal in the pictures, which is tasty but spoils the texture) at least a couple of hours.
Mix all these ingredients in a pan and cook without adding any water until it is dry.

Once it is dry, turn the gas off and let it come down to room temperature.

Then grind the mixture to a fine paste adding
1 egg and
Juice of 1 lime
The finer you grind it, the better the kebabs will turn out.

1 onion finely chopped
1 green chilli finely chopped (I used red and many of them as you can see below)
a few drops of lemon juice
a little salt to taste
Mix thoroughly.
Take a lime size ball of the ground mince paste, hollow it out and stuff the filling into the hole. cover well and make a tight flattened cutlet.
Deep fry in hot oil.
Tip:Because of the egg in the mince, the oil will froth, don't worry too much, but remember to leave space in the pan for the frothing oil.
Serve hot with green chutney or sauce.
In this picture, you can see the effect of the filling in the stuffed cutlet. (kebab split in half) The crisp onion contrasts sharply against the smooth mince paste.
If you are not sure of your cutlets holding shape or you want mini appetisers, ignore the filling. roll the mince paste into little balls and deep fry.
You can even skip the deep frying step completely and drop the mince paste balls into a bubbling gravy of your choice for a kofta curry.

Shikampuri kebabs/meat balls can be served as appetisers or as sides with Indian bread/roti or even rice.

Kofta curries go well with rice.

(the picture above has shikampuri kebabs, meat balls and ajwain puris)


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