Saturday, December 01, 2012

Recipe : Pork Stir Fry with Chilli Coconut Shot (Blue Dragon)

Rushina sent me a food basket, a little while ago. Personally, I rarely pick up ready mixes other than masala powders and the occasional MTR breakfast mixes, so this was the first time that I actually looked at the Blue Dragon ready mix sauce range as they were a part of this basket.

I'd been busy the whole day and I'd left a small packet of pork out to defrost, but had no energy for a whole lot of chopping and stirring, so I dug out these sauces from my pantry cupboard and decided to try the Chilli Coconut shot mix.

From experience, I would recommend boiling the pork before stir frying it, so that it is tender.

150-200 gms boiled pork/chicken - cut in long thin strips
1 packet (140gm pouch) Blue Dragon's Chilli Coconut shot mix
200 gms chopped veggies of your choice - baby corn, capsicum, beans, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, asparagus
6-8 cloves garlic chopped fine
2-4 green chillies - slit (for extra spice - optional)
1/2 tsp oil
250 gms rice/noodles cooked (to serve on the side or mix in and fry)

Heat the oil in a wok and brown the garlic in it.
Add the meat and cook till done.
Add the vegetables one by one (in order of cooking times) and stir fry on high heat until almost cooked.
Add the green chillies if using and give a quick stir.

Add the Blue Dragon's Chilli Coconut shot mix and cook till done.
Serve hot with a side of rice or noodles.
If you prefer you can add the cooked rice/noodles to the pan and stir fry for a little longer for a one dish meal.

You can serve the Stir fry over cooked rice/noodles, or chop the meat and vegetables smaller and mix & fry the rice/noodles in the pan itself at the end, for an interesting fried rice/noodle dish.

The recipe will work just as well with chicken or even as a vegetarian dish, without any meat.

A word of warning however, the Chilli Coconut shot mix has fish sauce in it, so its not pure vegetarian.

Blue Dragon's Chilli Coconut shot mix was quite tasty but not spicy enough for our taste, so I had to add more chillies when cooking. Other than that it was a lovely balance of flavours and did not taste like it came out of a packet.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Recipe : Moroccan Almond and Harissa Couscous - Vegan

Couscous is often called the staple dish of North Africa. However, in Egypt, the only place I saw couscous on the menu was in Siwa which is close to the Libyan border. We did have couscous for almost every meal that we ate in Morocco and its also popular in Algeria, Tunisia and Libya.

Couscous was originally made from millet, but now its mostly made from wheat, although it is also made from barley, cornmeal and pearl millet in some parts of the world.

500 gms pre-steamed couscous
750ml of thin salted stock (meat or vegetable depending on your personal choice)
1 tsp olive oil
4 tbsp harissa (a Moroccan red chilli paste with a few other spices -adjust this to your taste)
100 gms almonds

Boil the stock.
Take it off the fire, add olive oil and let it cool a little.
Once the stock is slightly above room temperature, add the pre-steamed couscous and stir well.
Cover and let it sit for 5 minutes, fluff the mixture with a fork 2-3 times so the grains stay seperate and fluffy.
Slowly fork in the harissa paste.
Roast the almonds and cut into slivers.
Mix the slivered almonds into the couscous leaving some for garnishing.

Serve hot with a thin stew like Mqualli or a Peasant Stew.

Kim's Tips:
1. If you don't have ready stock, use 1 soup cube in 750ml water and adjust salt to taste
2. Don't add couscous to boiling stock, it will turn pasty and sticky.
3. The stew/curry you serve with a couscous needs to be on the thinner side as the couscous will keep absorbing liquid on your plate.
4. Be careful how much water you drink when eating couscous, the couscous will soak up the water in your tummy and leave you feeling very full and unable to finish all that is on your plate.
5. Be careful about how much salt is in your stock, some varieties of store bought stock tends to be salty, so water it down if its too salty.
6. Couscous is easily available at Godrej Nature Basket in Delhi/Gurgaon/Bombay/Pune and in some food specialty shops. In Ahmedabad, you can pick up couscous at Hypercity (the Waitrose section) or Icy Pik / Magsons

Recipe: Mqualli - Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Preserved Lemon & Olives

This dish is called a tajine, because it is traditionally cooked in a vessel called a tajine (similar concept as paella). The tajine is an earthenware (mitti) dish comprised of 2 parts. The bottom is circular and flattish with slightly raised edges and it has a conical cover that sits on this base.

The concept of cooking in a tajine is that the earthenware adds some amount of flavour to the dish (like mud pots used in Indian cooking) and the conical top, captures the condensation and returns the moisture to the dish cooking below.

The dish is typically cooked on low heat and ends up being really moist and tender. The advantage of cooking in a tagine is that you can always lift the lid to adjust spices or add vegetables in installments. However, you can still cook this dish, even if you don't have a tajine.

1kg chicken - curry cut (preferably with bones, they add flavour to the stew)
2 cups (500 ml) water / stock
2 tsps olive oil
1 large onion sliced
6 cloves garlic chopped
2 tsp ginger paste
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
pinch of saffron
2 preserved lemons
1/2 cup green olives (canned)
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped corriander
salt to taste

In the tajine/heavy bottomed dish, heat the olive oil
Add the onions and garlic and saute lightly until they start to soften.
Add ginger paste, cumin powder, salt and pepper powder and sir till well mixed.
Add chicken pieces and brown on both sides.
If using dried lemon - wash well, pierce a couple of times with a fork/knife and add at this stage.
Add 1 cup stock/water, bring to a boil, then cover, lower the heat and cook for 15-20 minutes.
If you are using preserved lemons - rinse, discard the flesh, slice the skin and add it at this stage.
If you used dehdrated lemons, then add the juice of 1 fresh lemon at this stage.
If you don't have preserved or dehydrated lemons, add the juice of 2-3 lemons at this stage with some lemon rind.
Mix well
Add the olives, saffron and the remaining water / stock and give it a swirl.
Sprinkle the chopped parsley and corriander on top.
Cover and cook on low heat for another 20 minutes until done.

If you are serving this tajine with bread or rice, then you will want a slightly thicker curry.
If you are serving it with couscous, you will want a slightly thinner curry.

Serve hot with rice, couscous or bread.

Kim's Tips:
1. All you need is a heavy bottomed pan with a tight fitting lid that won't let the steam escape, if you don't have access to a tajine.

2. This particular recipe calls for preserved lemons (typical in Moroccan cuisine), but I didn't have them in stock, I only had dried lemons (used in Middle Eastern cooking), so I substituted the preserved lemons with dehydrated lemons and the juice of 1 fresh lemon. If you can't find preserved/dehydrated lemons, you can make the dish with juice from 2-3 lemons and some lemon rind. It won't taste as good as the original, but it will still be tasty.

3. Preserved lemons and bottled olives have some salt in them, remember to adjust for this when salting the dish.

Recipe: Preserved Lemons (Morocco)

Preserved Lemons are an essential ingredient in Moroccan cooking and widely available in most Middle Eastern and North African Bazaars.

Like garam masala powder, jeera powder, chilli powder etc are widely used in Indian cooking, but rarely made at home in India, similarly most families in MENA (Middle East North Africa) buy their preserved lemons from the market.

This recipe is from a friends mother. I haven't tried making it at home yet, but a friend who saw my recipe for Mqualli - Moroccan Chicken Tajine with Preserved Lemon & Olives asked for a recipe that she could make at home, so I'm sharing it here.

I've approximated weights and measures a bit to compensate for aunty's eyeballing it version.

This is one of my bookmarked projects for the coming summer when the days are drier and hotter (the best time to make pickles). I'll add pictures at that time.

10-12 lemons (not the tiny Indian limes, you want the larger ones closer in size to lemons)
3/4 cup (150-175 gms)of coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
1/4 cup (50-60ml) lemon juice
boiling water to cover the lemons in the jar

Scrub the lemons and rinse well in running water.
Cut the lemons in quarters lengthways but leave a bit of the base at the bottom, so they continue to be held together like petals of a flower.
Seperate the quarters slightly (without breaking off) and salt the inside of the lemons.
Stack the lemons, base first (to prevent salt falling out) in a sterilised jar.
Sprinkle the peppercorns and insert the bay leaves between the salted lemons and pour in the lemon juice.
Add enough boiling water to submerge the lemons and almost fill the jar
Place a weight on the lemons to keep them submerged.
Seal the jar and store in a dark place for 1-4 months.

When ready to use, remove the weight and discard any white film that may have formed on the surface of the liquid.

If you are very careful with your handling, you can store the preserved lemons outside, but it may be safer to store in the refrigerator.

When cooking with preserved lemons, normally the flesh, seeds and membranes are scooped out and discarded. The skin is rinsed and cut to use in dishes. (Personally, I like using the flesh too, it reminds me of the taste & texture of Indian achaars.)

Kim's Tips:
Remember, if you are preserving skins of any fruit/vegetable (in jams or pickles) and live in Europe/North America, you need to be careful and consciously choose unwaxed fruit.

Since you are preserving lemons with salt (acid & salt) be sure to use a glass or ceramic jar ONLY for storing, preferably with a non metallic lid.

Since you have to add boiling water to the lemons, it needs to be a thicker glass jar/bottle to handle the heat without cracking.

The weight would be a stone of some kind, it needs to be non-organic and non-metallic.

The preserving liquid can be boiled and reused for the next batch to make it more intense, but it depends on how well the liquid has kept

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Recipe : Roast Chicken with Duxelles

If you cook this right, the meat will be incredibly soft, tender and juicy. Don't pull out the chicken skin before roasting. It helps keep the meat moist, the stuffing in and adds a lovely texture and flavour to the dish.

Since I roast chicken in the microwave on convection setting, I've found that roasting it covered for 2/3 of the time helps keep most of the moisture in.

1 roasting chicken with skin - around 1kg
1 quantity duxelles (from 400gm mushrooms) at room temperature
1 tsp salt
juice of 1 lime
a little butter or olive oil for basting.

Clean the chicken well, especially the inside and dry
Rub the chicken with a mixture of lemon juice and salt, both inside and outside and keep for 10-15 minutes.
Stuff the chicken with the duxelles and if you can get the skin loose, pack some duxelles between the skin and the flesh.
(My butcher here in Ahmedabad, ends up tearing the skin when he de-feathers the chicken and unless I clean my chicken myself, I have to make do with what I'm given)
Baste the chicken with a little melted butter or olive oil.
Roast in a preheated oven at 200C for about an hour and a half.
Keep an eye on the chicken as it roasts and increase or decrease the time as needed.

You can serve your chicken completely coked but moist, or slightly crispy.

I've made this a home style roast chicken, but you can obviously make this a much neater dish, by trussing the chicken once stuffed.

If you are roasting it uncovered in a regular oven, you can cover the wings and the final leg joint with foil until half cooked, to get an even colouring all over.

Recipe : Duxelles - Vegetarian / Vegan - Stuffing / Pate

I first heard about Duxelles on the first season of Junior Masterchef Australia, and the concept of  minced mushrooms cooked in butter seemed so tasty that I had to look it up and try it for myself.

There are a multitude of recipes for Duxelles online, but I took a look at ingredients that were easily available to me and what would suit our tastebuds and this is the final recipe that I came up with.

1 medium onion
6 - 8 cloves garlic
400gms fresh button mushrooms (the kind most easily available in India)
2 pinches of herbs of your choice - thyme, parsley, tarragon
3 tbsp butter (vegans can use olive oil)
1/2 tsp olive oil
salt to taste

Finely mince the onions, garlic and mushrooms (separately)
In a pan, heat the butter with the oil (the oil will prevent the butter from burning)
Fry garlic till slightly soft, then add onions and fry till completely soft.
Fry on a low heat, so everything cooks without turning brown.
Add mushrooms, when mushrooms are half cooked, add the herbs.
Keep cooking on a low flame until the mixture turns into a spreadable paste.
Now adjust salt.

Use it as a spread on toast or for stuffing chicken, beef wellington, puff pastry or savoury tarts.

Kim's tips:
The trick to cooking duxelles is to keep the fire low and stir constantly, so that everything cooks into a paste, rather than crisping up.

Its critical to wait until the end to adjust the salt, because the mixture really shrinks in quantity and the flavours get very intense. If you salt it at the beginning, you will very likely end up with an over-salty duxelles.

If you plan to use the duxelles as a stuffing, don't scrimp on the butter, it will be needed to keep the meat moist.

Duxelles keeps well in the fridge for at least a week. Reheat  and stir well before using.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Recipe : Manglorean Style Pepper Pork

My friend May, over at The Chef is a great cook and a wonderful friend. We studied together for 5 years of college and we have now been friends for 20, yes TWENTY years! Wow, how the time flies!

Last month when I wanted to make Pork Indad, May's blog was one of the first ones that I visited to check on her version. Unfortunately, she has not yet uploaded her version of Pork Indad, but she did have a recipe for Pepper Pork, that I instantly bookmarked. Pepper Pork is not a dish that was cooked in our house while we were growing up, but it is cooked in a lot of Manglorean households.

May's recipe is more authentic, but I had my sister visiting and she hates seeing large pieces of onions in her pork (and to be honest, neither do I - large pieces of anything other than meat, in a meat curry tend to be pushed to the side on our plates), so I modified the recipe a bit and made it spicier for our taste. You can check May's Pepper Pork recipe on her blog My version takes a little longer to cook as I cook the cuttings (chopped ingredients) almost to a paste, so this also gives a thicker curry.

And if you don't eat pork, this recipe would be suitable to make a lovely pepper chicken too, you just need to cut down on the cooking time.

1 kg pork with fat and skin
4 large onions chopped
1 pod garlic chopped
2" ginger chopped
6 green chillies chopped
5 tbsp pepper powder
pinch of turmeric powder
salt to taste
vinegar to taste 2-4 tbsp (I like my pork dishes on the sourer side and it also depends which vinegar you are using)
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp tomato sauce
1-2 tbsp oil

Wash the pork, mix with salt (little less as we add soya and tomato sauce in the end which have their own salt), pepper powder, vinegar and turmeric powder and keep aside.
In 1-2 tbsp oil, fry the finely chopped onion, ginger, garlic and 4 of the green chillies. (You can even just grind all these ingredients into a paste to avoid the chopping if you prefer)
Fry till the ingredients are completely cooked and mash together into a thickish paste.
Add the marinated pork and cook till done, stirring frequently (if not cooking in a pressure cooker) and adding a little water whenever necessary.
Once fully cooked, add the soya sauce and tomato sauce and adjust liquid content, salt and vinegar to taste.
Give it a final boil and serve hot with rice or poli.

I was so busy chatting away with my sister, that I forgot to take pictures, I just have this one that was clicked on the phone. But I'll definitely be cooking this again, so I'll upload more pictures when I do.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Recipe : MTR Ragi Rawa Idli

I prepare Rawa Idlis at home quite frequently as they are quite easy and fast to make, but the other day I spied the MTR Ragi Rawa Idli mix at the supermarket. My only experience with Ragi until now, has been Ragi Muddhes at a friends house in Sakleshpur when I was in college. And with due apologies to everyone in Karnataka for whom it is a staple breakfast, it is one of my least liked food items, ever. I found it tasteless and heavy and no amount of extolling on the healthy properties of Ragi, has ever induced me to try them again.

However this new range of multigrain breakfast mixes by MTR sounded promising and I was hoping the ragi rawa idlis would be lighter on my tummy than the muddhes.

The recipe on the back was simple enough. Mix with 1 cup sour curd (yoghurt) rest for 3 minutes and steam for 12 minutes.

I tried this and the mixture did not seem very exciting. so I added a little salt, cashew nuts, 2 green chillies chopped fine and some finely chopped corriander to the mix.

I also added some eno for aeration to make the idlis fluffier and I was very happy with the result.

It costs 60Rs for a 500gms packet. I got 24 microwave size idlis. Ragi digests slowly and it is full of fiber, so it keeps you feeling full for quite a long time. We actually had them for a light lunch and the 24 idlis were more than enough for both of us.

Serve hot with sambhar and chutney or just ghee and chutney pudi.

We quite liked the taste, once we got used to the texture and so I think, I'll try incorporating ragi flour into some other dishes as well.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

First Runner Up - Delmonte Blogger Recipe Carnival

My recipe for Pasta with Chargrilled Pepper Sauce, won First Runner Up Place at the Delmonte Blogger Recipe Carnival.

The entries and the rest of the winners can be seen at the : indiblogger site

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Recipe: Haloween Fizzy Blood aka Watermelon Refresher

The heat has hit Ahmedabad again, now that the monsoons seem to have passed us by and I'm back to wanting light meals and refreshing drinks.

This is one of my favourites, its very easy to put together and if you want to serve it in a fancy manner for friends/guests, just muddle some lemon chunks and mint leaves at the bottom of the glass before mixing the drink.

While I've given approximate quantities here, its completely dependent on your taste buds, whether you prefer a stronger flavour of watermelon or lemon and how sweet you actually want it.

2 tbsp Monin Watermelon syrup
60ml 7up
soda (sparkling water) to top up.
lemon wedges & mint leaves (optional)

Muddle together the lemon wedges and mint leaves at the bottom of glass if using.
Add the watermelon syrup to the glass, then add the 7up.
Top up with soda.
Check the taste. If its too sweet for you add more soda. If its not sweet enough add more 7up or watermelon syrup if you want a stronger flavour.

Kim's Haloween / Party Tips:
1. If you are having a Haloween party, this is a great non alcoholic drink that you can serve as fizzy blood with its dark red colour.

2. And for an even gorier drink, you can put in a few black jelly / licorice worms into a punch bowl, the fizz will make the worms wiggle around in the bowl.

3. If you are making it for adults and want an alcoholic version then vodka or white rum will go well with these flavours.

Monin syrups may seem expensive, when you look at the bigger bottles, but they are quite concentrated and hence last quite long.

The only syrup of theirs that I haven't liked, is the mojito mix because the sugar completely overpowers the flavour of lime and mint. You might as well use a homemade sugar syrup.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Recipe: Mooli ke Patte ki Sabji - Radish Greens - Vegan

Radish (Mooli) is not a vegetable that used to be cooked in our house, I'm not even sure if it was indigenous to Mangalore or not. But its consumed in large quantities at my husbands place and he loves eating just raw mooli  - the long white variety - with chaat powder or black salt.

So whenever, I saw it in the market, I used to pick it up for him. If I shopped at a supermarket, I used to get them with the heads chopped off, the way carrots are sold, but if I bought it at a sabji mandi (farmers market) the green leafy top used to be attached.

I used to simply chop off the leaves and discard them before even putting the radish into the refrigerator. That was until his mom told me that the greens could be cooked!

This is a variation on how she cooks the radish greens. I cook the greens the day I bring them home (like most greens they don't take kindly to refrigeration)

1 bowl of radish leaves chopped, you can also use the stalks
1 radish diced finely
1 medium potato finely diced (optional)
4-6 cloves of garlic chopped
1 tsp jeera (cumin) seeds
1 tbsp mustard oil (you can use vegetable oil as a substitute if mustard oil isn't available)
Salt to taste

Heat the mustard oil and temper with the garlic and jeera.
If you are using the potatoes, add them first and fry till almost cooked. (The potatoes add an extra texture and flavour, but it can be avoided if you want to keep the carbs low, or want a healthier dish)
Add the radish leaves and saute till cooked.
Add the diced radish and give a quick stir.
Adjust salt to taste.

Serve hot with dhal and rotis or rice.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Recipe: Cabbage Salad (Vegan / Raw)

This is a very light and healthy salad. While it can be eaten raw, you can also slightly saute the sliced cabbage before using, if you do not like the raw taste. Saute it only a little so that it doesn't lose its crispness and add the salad dressing only after the cabbage has cooled down.

Cabbage - you can use a mixture of purple and green, for colour
Total quantity - 1 bowl of finely chopped/grated vegetables
groundnuts - optional

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp - malt vinegar or lime juice
1-2 green chillies to taste - finely chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Finely chop or grate the cabbage
Finely grate the carrot.
If you are not comfortable eating raw cabbage then saute it slightly without oil or water till it loses its raw taste but retains its crispness.
Wait for cabbage to come to room temperature before mixing in the dressing.

Whisk together all the dressing ingredients with a fork - they will emulsify quite quickly.
Add dressing to the vegetables according to your taste.

Optionally garnish with roasted or boiled groundnuts

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Recipe: Egg Hoppers - Appams with Egg - Breakfast Dish

Egg Hoppers aren't a dish made in Mangalore. From what I gather, this is a Sri Lankan dish, but the first time I ate it was in a Kerala restaurant in Dubai.

Its a lovely dish in itself and if you leave the egg half cooked, the yolk provides a nice liquid and colour contrast against the crisp appam. You really don't need a curry or chutney to eat this dish. Its quite satisfying in itself.

When I have leftover appam batter, this is a great breakfast dish the next morning.

Appam Batter
Salt & Pepper to taste

Special Equipment: Appam Chatti

The method to be followed is exactly the same as that for making Appams, but once you have added the batter and swirled the pan around, then you drop a raw egg in the center, sprinkle with salt and pepper and cover and cook until done.

Kim's Variations:
There are 2 ways to make these egg hoppers, you can either keep the yolk whole, like I have in these pictures, or you can break the yolk and then swirl it around like you swirl the batter.

You can even make a spicy scrambled egg (bhurji) batter and pour a bit over the appam batter when in the pan.

Serve hot

Recipe: Instant Apas / Appams / Hoppers

Manglorean Apas are called Appams in Kerala and Hoppers in Sri Lanka.

Normally the process to prepare the batter takes a fair amount of time and patience. This is an easy way to make instant appams.

This doesn't taste as yum as appams that are made with love and care, soaking, grinding, fermented with toddy etc etc. But if you want appams in a hurry and don't have a Manglorean/Kerala restaurant nearby who can deliver, this is a quick fix.

1/2kg slightly grainy rice flour (not superfine)
4 tbsps sugar (adjust to taste)
1 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
1 200ml packet of Dabur coconut milk
eno (non flavoured) fruit salt

Special Equipment: appam chatti

Mix the rice flour, sugar, salt until well blended
Add coconut milk and mix together.
Add room temperature water until the batter reaches desired consistency - thinner than dosa batter, but thicker than neerdosa batter)
Mix well so that there are no lumps.
Let is stand for 10-15 minutes so sugar can dissolve and flavours even out.
Adjust salt and sugar to taste.

Heat the appam chatti and season the pan with a few drops of oil.
Add a little eno to the batter, so that it starts to froth up (aerate - this is a short cut to the fermenting process)
Mix well.
Pour half a ladle of batter into the center of the appam chatti.
Give the pan a quick swirl to leave behind a thin layer of batter around the thicker center.
Cover the pan and fry till done.

Do not turn over
The appam will start moving away from the sides of the pan when done.

The trick to making appams is the swirling of the pan so that you have a nice thin even circle around the thicker center and managing the heat, so that the sides crisp up and the center is cooked.

Serve hot with curry of your choice.

Kim's Note:
An appam chatti is similar in shape to a kadai, but much smaller.
It has handles on both ends that you need, to be able to swirl the pan.
The lid is also essential for proper cooking of an appam. (since it is only fried on one side and the center needs to steam cook)

Like any other dosa pan, do not use your appam chatti for frying anything other than appams.
Prestige has a good non stick appam chatti that does not even require greasing between appams

In the first picture, appams are served with Pork Indad and in the second, they have been served with mutton stew.

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Recipe: Vorn - Manglorean Lentil Paysam/Kheer - (Vegan)

This is a kheer that nana used to prepare for us as kids. We were often served this at tea time. The lentils in this dish make it high in proteins and hence extremely nutricious for growing children.

Also, since this particular dish is made with moong dhal (split green gram), its very light on the stomach and easy to digest and can be given to people recovering from fevers and other illness.

This dish uses coconut milk and hence unlike other Indian paysams/kheers which use regular cows/buffalo milk, this can be served to vegans too.

1/2 kg moong dhal (split & husked green gram)
1/2 kg jaggery/gur (molasses are an acceptable substitute)
1 cup rice flour
400ml thick coconut milk (extract of 2 coconuts or packaged coconut milk)
powdered cardamom seeds to taste (optional)
salt to taste
roasted cashewnuts to garnish (optional)

Wash the dhal and soak for awhile till soft (moong dhal cooks quickly, so soaking isn't really required, but it helps speed up the process and saves fuel)
Extract the thick and thin milk from the coconuts if using fresh coconuts.
Boil the dhal in water and thin coconut milk (if you are using packaged coconut milk, you can mix 2 tsps thick milk with a glass of water) until soft.
The total liquid used when you start should cover the dhal + 1-2 inches.
If you find scum/thick froth rising to the top, skim and discard, but add more water to maintain the liquid level.
Always ensure that there is enough liquid, so that the mixture can bubble and not stick to the bottom.
When the dhal is cooked, add a pinch or 2 of salt and the jaggery/gur/molasses.
Remember the sweetness of jaggery/gur/molasses varies widely, so start with 1/4kg and then keep adjusting to your taste.
Keep stirring constantly till the jaggery is fully dissolved and the dhal has begun to absorb the sweetness.

Make a batter with the rice flour and water, until it is of pouring consistency.
Slowly stir in this batter into the dhal, stirring constantly to prevent the formation of any lumps,
Keep stirring the dhal and boil well
Cook until the vorn reaches your desired consistency and the flour is cooked (loses its raw taste).
Add more water if it is too thick and rice flour has not yet lost its raw taste.
Once the vorn has reached your desired consistency, lower the flame and add the coconut milk and bring to a slow boil while continuing to stir.
Cook on low flame until you are satsified with the consistency, then take it off the heat.

Traditional consistency is slightly thick, not as thick as a pudding, but slightly more liquidy than that.
When you scoop out a spoon of vorn, the rest of the vorn should fall in to occupy the negative space.

Vorn is served either hot or cold.
Before serving, sprinkle a little cardamom powder or garnish with roasted cashewnuts.

Kim's Tip:
If you don't have access to jaggery or gur, you can use molasses, but don't use sugar as the main sweetening agent.

When you look at the orginal quantities, you may be tempted to use a smaller pot. But the dhal expands when cooked and you need a large margin on the top for the constant stirring. So for these quantities (1/2kg dhal) use at least a 7 liter pot

Friday, October 05, 2012

Recipe: Pork Indad - Manglorean Sweet and Spicy Pork

Pork Indad is a traditional Manglorean dish and used to be served at any celebration - weddings, Christenings, Christmas. Among the Pork dishes cooked and served by the Manglorean Catholics, Indad is perhaps second only to Laithaun.

Preparation of this dish requires a lot of patience because the masala needs to be cooked slowly and steadily. Unlike a Pork Bafat where everything is popped into the dish and cooked together, the Indad has multiple steps to be followed, but the end result is well worth it.

For those who don't eat pork, this recipe, works well with chicken (please use chicken with skin for Chicken indad, you can discard the skin later if you like, although I personally believe its the tastiest part) and eggs. The only reason I don't make it with chicken or eggs, is ecause I feel that if I'm putting in this much effort, I might as well make it with pork.

Nana used to make the most fantastic Pork Indad and it was famous in her entire extended family. If anyone had the good fortune of eating Nana's pork indad even once, they would most certainly request it the next time they were due to come over.

When I lived in Bangalore, I used to take little frozen dabbas of nanas pork indad when I came to Mangalore for the weekend, and savour it slowly over the week. Before my husband first visited Mangalore, he would just about taste the gravy of pork if I cooked it. One weekend with Nana's Pork Indad changed his attitude towards Pork forever. If I remember right, he ate Pork Indad for all 6 of his meals on that trip.

On the Feast of Mother Mary - Monthisaibinechi festh - on September 8th, traditionally we are supposed to eat a completely vegetarian meal in honour of the harvest. But nana also used to make us a nice big pot of pork indad which she would serve us AFTER we had eaten up all our vegetables.

Sadly none of her daughters or grand-daughters have perfected the same halt (balance of flavours and textures) as nana. After Nana passed away 3.5yrs ago, I hadn't even attempted to make Pork Indad, because this dish is so intricately linked with her and my memories of her. And even thinking of her food, reminds me how much I still miss her.

However on this years Monthisaibinechi festh, the urge to cook Pork Indad got very strong and I finally succumbed to the temptation by the end of the month :)

My version is not as good as nana's, but with a few tweaks, I think I can get it there. First on the list of changes would be to buy a table top mixer grinder to grind this masala, rather than in a mixi.

Each Manglorean family has a different recipe for Pork Indad, some use mint leaves, some use dates, some use raisins, some use jaggery some use green chillies. To see what I'm talking about, you can check out Shireen at Ruchik Randhap's recipe and Michelle's recipe on The Tiffin Box.

2 kg pork (use pork that has fat and skin for the authentic flavour, curry cuts work well) cut into 1" cubes
15 long red chillies (kumti/beary chillies) - these give colour
10 short gaunchi chillies - these give heat
15 black peppercorns
1 tsp jeera
2 tsp haldi powder

10 cloves
6" cinnamon
6 medium onions
2 pods of garlic (not cloves, pods)
2" ginger
table tennis ball size of tamarind - extract pulp for use 
4 green chillies
1 handful of corriander leaves
1-2 large potatoes skinned and cut into 1cm slices (soak in mildly salted cold water)
1 small onion sliced

1-2 tbsps ghee
sugar, salt & vinegar to taste (I like to use Goan toddy vinegar)
dark rum - preferably Old Monk for punch (optional)

Dry roast all the dry ingredients individually.(red chillies, pepper, jeera, cloves, cinnamon)
Grind these together with the 6 medium onions, ginger, garlic,tamarind, green chillies and corriander leaves and a little vinegar when grinding for moisture
In a large pan, cook the pork with just a pinch of salt. The meat will release water.
When the water dries up, add 2 tbsps ghee and fry the pork untill the fat of the pork breaks down and starts melting . (If you are cooking with 2 kgs, its better to fry it in 2-3 batches, so the meat gets evenly fried)

Remove the pork from the pan and keep aside, there should be a lot of melted fat + ghee leftover.
Fry the potato slices in this fat (dry the potatoes on a kitchen towel before frying to prevent splattering)
Remove the fried potato slices and keep aside.
Fry the sliced onion in the fat until caramelised.
Then add the ground masala to the fried onions.
Fry on a low flame, adding a tsp or 2 of water as required until the masala is completely cooked and no raw taste remains.
Add the masala water (water got when washing the grinder) and a little more liquid to the masala and cook until it bubbles (this is a thick curry, so you need a semi-gravy consisitency)
Add the fried meat to the masala and cook until the fat breaks down some more and the meat turns soft.
Adjust salt, sugar and vinegar to taste. The dish should be slightly sweet, with a hint of sourness.
Garnish with fried potatoes

The potatoes taste good either crisp or when they have soaked up the masala, so you can mix some fried slices into the curry and reserve the rest for garnish.

Serve hot with appams, sannas, panpole (neer dosa), pau bread or white rice. I've served it with appams in the pictuire below.

As with most other Manglorean pork curries, indad tastes better with age. So you can make it 2-3 days before you plan to serve it and reheat it daily. Adjust salt, vinegar, sugar on the last day and add potatoes only before serving.


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