Sunday, April 25, 2010

Recipe : Paneer Hariyali Tikka - Cottage Cheese Kebabs

This is a great way to finish leftover green chutney before whipping up a fresh batch.

Its also very quick to fix for a snack.


Since this is a recipe for leftovers, there are no quantities mentioned, you need to trust your instincts and eyeball it.

Ingredients:

Paneer - Cut into desired shape
Green chutney
a little curd/ yoghurt to make up the balance volume for marinating the paneer (optional)
vegetables like peppers/capsicum/ tomatoes/ onions - cut into triangular shapes
Chaat powder to garnish & taste
Black salt - to taste

Method:
Mix the green chutney with the yoghurt.
(If you are using yoghurt, don't marinate the paneer for too long, it will turn too soft to handle.)
Add black salt to taste
Marinate the paneer in this mixture for 15 minutes to 1 hour (while you are chopping the vegetables)
You can now either grill it, BBQ it or pan fry it.
Skewer the paneer alternating with colorful peppers for a fancy look.

This time, I made it as a quick snack, so I just pan fried it without oil.

If you are using fresh paneer, a lot of water will get released.

Don't worry, it will all dry up and give the paneer the crisp finish.

After pan frying the paneer, I dipped the vegetables in the remaining marinade before frying them too (again without oil)

Sprinkle chaat powder and serve hot.

It can also be served with rotis for a meal.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Recipe : Chicken Cafreal - Goan Dish

I've tried a lot of Chicken Cafreal recipes from different cookbooks and websites, but none of them has come close to matching the awesome preparation at Florentines in Goa.

I recently discovered this website for Goan cooking and its quickly becoming my first option for Goan recipes surpassing my Maria Teresa Menezes and Usgaokar + Sardesai - Traditional Taste of Goa. It just doesn't have as many recipes - quantity (yet), but the quality is finger licking good. The recipe for Chicken Cafreal on Goan Food Recipes came the closest to what I was hoping for.

I cooked half a kilo chicken with very minor alterations. If you want to cook a kilo, then check the quantities out from the original location

Ingredients:
1/2 kilo chicken
4 - 5 green chillies
8 -12 stalks of coriander leaves.
1 inch piece of ginger
8-9 cloves of garlic
1 tbsp khuskhus (poppy seeds)
5 peppercorns (kali mirch)
1" cinnamon (dalchini)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/2 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
2 tsps tamarind paste
4 - 6 cloves (laung)
1 tsp ginger garlic paste

1 tsp oil
1 tsp butter

Method:
Clean chicken, pat dry and apply ginger garlic paste and keep for awhile, when you are prepapring the rest of the ingredients.

Tip:
Poppy seeds don't grind very well in modern mixis, they need the heavy grinding stones. So before putting them into the mixi, I like to soak the poppy seeds in a tsp or 2 of hot water and then pound it in my mortar/pestle.

Grind all the ingredients except the chicken, oil and butter to a fine paste. Marinate the chicken in this mixture for at least 4 hours. I prefer 24 hours (marinate one night, cook the next)

Heat the oil and add the marinated chicken to the pan.
As the chicken begins to cook, add the butter (you can skip this, but it is what gives the dish its flavour)
Cook till done.
Serve with salad and pau bread (I used multigrain bread in the picture below)

Recommendation : Organic India Teas

Recently discovered this brand in Delhi. Their teas are all organic. They have regular flavours too.

Since we drink black and green tea and I have a large stock of them, I picked up the Tulsi Ginger.

This is excellent for bad throats and when you feel a cold coming on. Ginger and tulsi are an old Indian home remedy for colds.

Steep 1 tsp of the loose tea for 3-5 minutes in 1 cup of boiling water. Strain & drink with honey. It immediately starts to soothe the throat.


You can even make ice tea from this combination.

They are supposed ot have tea bags too, but I haven't seen them in the stores yet.

Its a quality brand. Their website is http://www.organicindia.com/ in case you want more information on product range and benefits.

This is NOT a sponsored post, its just a product that I appreciate.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Recipe : Suriani Curried Ribs

This recipe is an adaptation from Lathika George's - The Suriani Kitchen

In the book, the recipe is on page 117 as Aunty's Curried Ribs. I played around with the recipe a bit (as I always do) adjusting quantities and compressing steps.
The book is wonderful by the way, and if you want to cook authentic Kerala food at home, I would highly recommend it. Its one of the best Suriani cookbooks available. I'm still on a quest for Mrs B F Varghese's book though.(any pointers will be appreciated)

Ingredients:
1 tsp oil
1 cup chopped onions
2 tomatoes chopped
1.5 tbsp corriander powder (dhaniya)
1 tsp turmeric powder (haldi)
1 tsp peppercorns (kali mirch)
3 cardamom pods (elaichi)
1" cinnamon (dalchini)
4 whole cloves (laung)

1 kg mutton (with bones) - I used double the quantity of mutton recommended in the book as I didn't want the spices to be too heavy (because of husbands temporary diet restrictions), but for true flavour, you may like to use 1/2 kilo
salt to taste

For the Tempering:
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp mustard seeds (rai)
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots or onions
8 curry leaves

For the Coconut Paste:
1 cup fresh grated coconut
4 green chillies
1 tbsp fresh ginger
2 tbsps fresh garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)

Method:
Coarsely grind together the ingredients for the coconut paste.
Powder all the whole spices together.
Heat the regular cooking oil in a deep pot.
Add onions and fry for 1-2 mins.
Add tomatoes and cook till soft.
Add the spice powders and the powdered whole spices and fry till the oil rises to the top. (this indicates that the masala is cooked.
Add the coconut paste and mix well.
Add the salt and mutton.
Add enough water to cover the mutton and mix well so the masala and water are well blended.
Cover and cook till mutton is done.
Open and cook till the masala dries up and a thick gravy coats the meat (semi gravy consistency).

Heat the coconut oil in your tempering ladle (small skillet)
Add mustard seeds, when they splutter, add onions and curry leaves and fry till onions turn brown.
Pour the tempering over the meat and mix well.
Serve hot with rice or rotis.
For some reason, when the dish was cooking, the fragrance reminded me of Mum's kurlyachi kudhi (crab curry) The masala for that is completely different, but thats what I kept remembering. hmm?

This is a labor intensive recipe, with grating the coconut, pounding spices, grinding the coconut paste. But its worth the effort. Husband loved it.

I will not be cooking any more Kerala and Manglorean labor intensive dishes now until the end of summer. Its just too hot to do that anymore.

Book Review : The Suriani Kitchen


This Recipe Book by Lathika George is being sold by Westland in India as The Suriani Kitchen - Recipes & Recollections from the Syrian Christians of Kerala. I think it is the same book that is available on Amazon as The Kerala Kitchen: Recipes and Recollections from the Syrian Christians of South India (Hippocrene Cookbook Library)

The Syrian Christians are historically a Malyali Brahmin Community that intermarried with the Syrians who came to trade in Kerala or locals who converted to Christianity when St Thomas came to India in 52AD. The food of this community therefore has traces of all these varied influences.

Kerala cooking stands out among Indian cuisines for its spectacular use of local spices. Having bought spices all over India, I have to agree that the best quality of garam masala spices come from Kerala. No wonder then that the cuisine exploits the availability of the "exotic" spices.

A unique feature of this cookbook is that it blends stories, details of rituals/celebrations and memoirs along with recipes, giving the reader a flavour of the community along with its cooking.

This book has fairly extensive details on the different vessels and spices used in Kerala cooking.

I intitially picked up the book with the memory of some excellent food consumed at a Syrian Catholic friends wedding in interior Kerala, a decade ago. He doesn't cook and his wife cooks from her own repertoire. This particular branch of cuisine isn't on the menu in most "Kerala" Restaurants, so I had almost given up on being able to taste those dishes again. Fortunately, with this book, I can attempt to recreate some of them in my own kitchen.

I have tried some of the recipes and found them quite authentic. Will blog about some of them shortly. But now I'm postponing cooking from this particular book for awhile. This style of cooking is not really suited to Delhi's horridly hot summers.

So until then, I will enjoy the pictures, illustrations and stories in this book and visualise how the recipes will taste, but cooking from this collection is hereby temporarily postponed. :)

Recipe : Sauteed Italian Peas and Baby Corn

I needed some fresh veggies to go with the Thyme & Garlic Grilled Chicken. I had a packet of green peas ( I think this is the last of the fresh green peas for the season) and some baby corn.

You can use mushrooms too for this dish and bell peppers too.

As it needed to compliment the chicken and not have too different a taste, I decided to use garlic as a base for this recipe too. The "Italian" in the name of this recipe comes from the "Mixed Italian Seasoning" that I used.

Ingredients:
1/2 kilo green peas (before shelling) - after shelling about 300 gms.
7-8 baby corns
4-6 cloves garlic smashed
splash of olive oil or butter
salt to taste
1/2 tsp of any Italian herbs or a combination

Method:
Heat oil/butter in a pan.
Add the garlic and roast till browned
Add the herbs and sautee for a minute.
Add the vegetables and sautee to required amount of doneness (Fresh green peas and baby corn can both be consumed raw, its up to you how long you would like to cook it)

Also in the picture: Thyme & Garlic Grilled Chicken and Rosemary Chilli Roasted Baby Potatoes

Recipe : Rosemary Chilli Roasted Baby Potatoes

I saw these baby potatoes when I was buying the thyme and knew they would go very well with the Grilled Chicken I was planning to cook.
We like the skin on, on baked and roasted potatoes, but you can peel them if you choose.

I wanted to roast them along with the chicken and wanted them to cook quickly, so I cut them into fan shape (slice the potato leaving it joined at the bottom - don't slice through completely)

You can use regular sized potatoes or whole baby potatoes, you will just need to vary the cooking time.

Ingredients:
250 gms (1/2 pound) baby potatoes
1 tsp chilli flakes
1/2 tsp crushed rosemary
1/2 tsp olive oil
salt to taste.

Method:
Mix all the ingredients into the potatoes.
 Bake at 220C for 40 mins.
I baked this in the dripping pan below the Thyme and Garlic chicken, so that added some more flavour to the potatoes and shortened my overall cooking time.


Also in the picture Thyme & Garlic Chicken, sauteed peas and baby corn.

Recipe : Thyme & Garlic Grilled Chicken

Found some fresh thyme in the store yesterday and wanted it to be the star flavor in the dish. Also its easier to grill a dish in the oven, than stand around a hot gas stove cooking in this heat. (Its about 44C out here already)



Ingredients:
4 pieces of boneless chicken (about a pound - half kilo) cleaned and patted dry
1/2 pod garlic (use less if you are not a garlic fan)
Juice of one lemon
Thyme leaves - about 3 level tbsp (if using dried thyme you will need less)
salt to taste
a little olive oil

Method:
You can pound the chicken breasts with a mallet to flatten or make slits in the chicken to let the marinade reach further.

Smash together the garlic and 2tbsps thyme leaves.
Add salt to taste and the lemon juice and mix well
This is the marinade.

Apply marinade to the chicken and keep for at least 4 hours. I left it for about a day. -Marinated one night and made for next nights dinner.
If you have made slits, make sure you stuff some marinade into the slits too.

Bring the marinated chicken close to room temperature (never cook meat when its very cold, it will turn tough) and lightly toss or baste with some olive oil.
Since I was grilling it on a rack in the oven it needed something to seal in the natural moisture. The olive oil will do the trick.
(If you are baking it covered, you will not need the olive oil)

Arrange on the wire rack, sprinkle (a total of) half a tbsp of thyme on the top of each  piece


Grilled it in the preheated oven at 220C for 40 mins.
Turn each piece over at half time and sprinkle the rest of the thyme on this side.

Serve hot with veggies, bread or Pasta.
If you are feeling indulgent, you can add some grated cheese on top.

This recipe will work well with fish, but don't marinate it for too long. It can be pan fried on a stove top.
This marinade will not work well with red meat, the flavors are too subtle for stronger meats.

Recipe: Vietnamese Rice Paper Rolls

Rushina blogged about her Spicy Prawns and Mango Rice Paper Rolls and Sprout Stuffed Rice Paper Rolls that she demonstrated at Godrej Nature Basket in Bombay and mentioned how the Rice Paper rolls were flying off the shelves after her demo.

Since she will be here in Delhi this week for Demos at the Def Col and GK branches on 23rd and 24th (17:30 onwards, all are welcome), I thought I would pick up my rice paper rolls while I was in the store yesterday, rather than fight for supplies with the hordes once she had demonstrated how to make them. (Always plan ahead)

But once I got them home, I wasn't ready to wait. I wanted Vietnamese rice paper rolls immediately. I have never made them before, but I had an idea of what I wanted them to taste like and I quickly scanned my refrigerator to see what was available. My meat was all frozen and I didn't have the time to thaw and cook it, so I used Chicken luncheon meat that wasn't frozen.

Its perfectly easy to make this dish in a vegetarian version. I added meat because this was going to be dinner, not a starter for us.

These are really easy to make and husband was polishing them off as soon as I was rolling them. Its a wonder I was able to get any pictures of the finished product. LOL (Those are the last 4 of the 20 rolls that I made)

Notes:
You can choose any combination of ingredients. I used what I had at hand. Just make sure everything is sliced really thin.
Saute whichever vegetables need to be cooked and use whichever ones you like in raw form.
I made a sauce to stir into the mix, you can use your favorite ready made sauce.

Ingredients:
For the Stuffing:
5-6 button mushrooms thinly sliced and sauteed

5-6 baby corns cut in half and then thinly sliced (sauteeing optional)

2 grated carots

4 slices of chicken luncheon meat cut into strips
I also added one thinly slice cornichon for extra bite

Lightly toss all these ingredients together.

For the Sauce:
3 thinly sliced green chillies
1 petal of star anise/biryani phool
an inch of ginger thinly grated
juice of 1 lime
a squeeze of honey  (to taste)
 salt to taste
4-5 cloves of garlic lightly roasted (to remove the raw taste)
a few flakes of red chilli (to add color)

Smoosh this all together in a mortar and pestle
Then mix it into the stuffing.

For the Assembly:
About 20 rice paper roll sheets

 How many you use depends on how much you stuff each one. You can use less stuffing for an appetiser (so its bite sized) or more for a substantial dish.

The paper sheet needs to be dipped into boiling water (just taken off the heat) for a few seconds till it cooks.

Then lay the cooked sheet on a plate. Place stuffing in the center and roll or fold

If you make 4 folds from each edge you have squarish parcels.
If you want rolls, fold the ends perpendicular to the length of the stuffing, then roll.

Serve with you favorite dipping sauces. (with the sauce I made, it really didn't need any extra dipping sauce)

Enjoy!

This is a dish that can be eaten cold and is very light on the stomach, especially good in sweltering summers.

And easily assembled from whatever bits and bobs you have around your kitchen.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Recipe: Moong ani Keerlyache nisthe - Green gram and bamboo shoots

I had blogged this recipe sometime back, when I was in Egypt and using tinned bamboo shoots. That  post was about 2 years ago.

I'm reposting the recipe here with more pictures, fresh bamboo shoot and freshly grated coconut

I found some extremely fresh and tender bamboo shoots in the market the other day and I HAD to make one of my favourite vegetarian dishes from childhood (Manglorean Catholic cuisine doesn't do a very good job with vegetables, so we had a few favourites)

The bamboo shoot that mum gets at the market back home is normally finely chopped. I found mine in chunks at the market and I made much bigger slices than what is traditionally used in this dish (I love the taste of bamboo shoot and like the bigger pieces used in South East Asian cooking)
The bamboo shoot needs to be soaked in water for 2 days, changing the water every 12 hours to take away the heaty properties of this vegetable.

I prefer to use sprouted green gram as it adds to the crunch of the dish, some households use soaked and cooked green gram without sprouting it which gives a slightly dryer rather than crunchy texture.You can use whichever you prefer. I soaked them the same time as I started soaking the bamboo shoot. But with the heat in Delhi right now - 40C+. It sprouted about an inch and a half within 24 hours of soaking it. (soak for about 8 hours then drain and leave to sprout, wetting frequently)


Ingredients:
100 gms bamboo shoots chopped
2 katoris green gram (sabut moong dhal with chilka) lentils
1/2 a coconut grated (you can substitute dessicated coconut, but it wont taste as good as fresh coconut)
1 large onion
3-4 cloves garlic
5-6 curry leaves
1/2 tsp mustard
1-2 tsps vegetable powder to taste
2-3 pieces of sol/ 2 tsps tamarind paste
oil
salt to taste

Soak the green gram overnight. You can sprout it if you choose to.
If the bamboo shoot is fresh, it needs to be soaked in water for 2 days (changing water every 12 hours) to take away the heatiness. (This is an Indian term that I cannot find the right English translation for)
If the bamboo shoot is tinned, you can just drain the water and rinse before using.

Cook the green gram and bamboo shoot with a little salt, a piece or 2 of sol (or substitute with tamarind - but this will darken the color of the dish) and a little vegetable powder to your preference. I like it crisp while my siblings prefer it mushy.
(If you like your sprouts raw, then only cook the bamboo shoot)

Heat a teaspoon of oil.
Drop crushed garlic into it and roast till it turns dark brown, add mustard seeds, more vegetable powder and curry leaves. This is the seasoning.
Add chopped onion and coconut and cook till raw smell disappears.

Add the green gram, bamboo shoot mix and mix well on heat.
Serve hot with rice or roti and dhal.

NB: sol is the dried fruit of a tree used in Manglorean cooking.

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