Monthly Archives: October 2012

kashmir

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Myth tells it that the Valley of Kashmir emerged from a great lake when the wise man and sage Kashyap put to death the villanous demon who was getting his kicks with some wide-ranging anti social behaviour which included draining the lake by creating a dip to its western side, this dip or valley being known as Kashyap -Mar, and latterly came to be known as Kashmir!

Kasmir is an area of outstanding natural beauty, it also is a region famed throughout the world for some of its fabulous architecture , houseboats , mosques and fantastic gardens. It is an assault upon the senses with the valleys of Kashmir being resplendent with carpets of Saffron Crocuses, being at the foot if the Himalayas offering a multitude of potential agriculture and crops that include mushrooms,honey, floriculture,dairy-farming  poultry and sheep for meat production.

Kashmiri Cuisine is unique and quite different from the rest of India, owing essentially to the influences of Asia and Tibet. There are two main cooking styles Hindu and muslim, with a preferred meat of Lamb, whilst elsewhere in the country goat is seen more on the menu.

The Hindu Pandit style of cooking completely does away with onions and garlic, replacing them with Ginger and Aniseed powders , and is in greatly influenced by vegetarian foods and dishes, which are prevalent and seen during Religious festivals.

Kashmir is most famous for the Waaza where sitting in Groups of Four , an auspicious and lucky number in Kashmir, the traditional chefs of Kashmir The Waaza, who claim their ancestry from the 15th Century, when Timur invaded India who were all immigrants from Samarkand in central Asia offer banquets to those groups consisting of some of the most fantastic dishes to be found in India, a full banquet consisting of up to thirty-six courses;With seven courses making up the indispensable part of the feast

Tabakh Maaz Ribs to us in the west

Rista, delicious meatballs in a saffron Gravy

Rogan Josh, a fantastic curry bearing little resemblance to the dish you will mind on most curry house menu’s

Aab Gosh, a lamb dish cooked in a gravy of Dairy milk

Marchwagon Korma, meat again flavoured with aniseed and dry ginger powder, and hot hot hot with 50+ chillies

Ghustaba, another meat ball dish cooked in yoghurt, a really tricky and complex dish, usually served as the final dish and the crowning glory!

Firin, and Kahwah ,The drink of choice for this banquet being green tea

These dishes are the creations of the Waza family and can be regarded as the fine dining, or Michelin star dishes that grace the very best of tables.

I have all of these recipes and at this time have no intention of posting them as the list of ingredients are sometimes a little tricky for we that don’t live within the Kashmiri Valley. Try asking your local supplier of indian goodies for Dried Cockscomb flowers and see what he says to you, an ingredient used a lot within the Waszwaan Dishes, and as such tricky in the extreme!

For the average family the prospect of Bheja is a more likely dish, Brain curry, not something that we in the west would generally have on our daily table, but once cooked not something that is recognisable as the basic ingredient

I mention this as it should never be forgotten that much of the food eaten by everyday folk who are working very hard at the life that is before them does not allow them to waste any rich sources of protein and as such the slaughter of a goat will mean that all is eaten. With Chuste, being a curry of Goats intestines.

My personal favourite though is Gurde Kapure,commonly called  Taka tak these days, a curry of Kidney and testes, yum yum I hear you say.

Again I have this recipe and unless there is a demand I wont be publishing it.

In Finishing I am sure that you all can now see that Kashmir is rich in culture and dishes that will constantly surprise , so fear not get stuck in and enjoy Kashmir is as near to the gods as you can get in culinary terms, from the very basic of Dals and vegetarian dishes using the very best of local ingredients through to the fine dining of the WAZAAN; Whichever is your choice you will be certain that you have been well fed.

Curry Land

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Curry Land

The problem with the food of india is that India is vast absolutely humongous, some 1.2 billion souls occupying the seventh largest land mass on the face of the planet. That said the food of the regions of India is as different and diverse as the food and cuisine of the European nations. I use Europe as a comparator if only as a pointer that Europe could be fitted into the footprint of India several times, and the dishes relevent to those nations are as different as those of the states and territories of the  indian main land

Curry Land as a series of articles is about getting into that geography and some of the other stuff that floats my boat about what is a fantastic country, that I have visited on many occasions and a place that wherever I go whenever I am there and whoever I meet continues to surprise me.

The food of this great country as I have already suggested is extremely diverse and from now all of the dishes that I publish as recipes will be credited and linked to this set of articles, provided I of course have gotten round to writing the article that is and those will be  a constantly shifting and edited landscape of information as I like you, learn the nooks and crannies of this very complex dynasty of flavours and ideas.

I hope you will take the time to ask questions and of course pass opinions on the things I write and if I get things wrong put me right I am always willing to learn!

Dal Makhani (Creamy Black Dal)

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This is a dish that could never be described as fast food, requiring firstly an overnight soak and then 6 plus hours on the stove, oh yeah on this patience is definately a virtue, but the pay off is a supreme Dal that is worth every second of the time required…

The word Makhani means with butter, and originates as does this dish from the Punjab; this dish  is rich and creamy and a joy to eat, but maybe not so good on the Cholesterol front, although we are all entitled to a little bit of this and that of the sinful kind, as it makes the world go round so much more smoothly. You of course can compensate that Dal on the other hand is rich in Roughage and cabohydrate, and has a kick like a mule from the Tablespoon of Red chilli powder that courses through its veins.

its very easy to make but does require your attention you need to stir this a lot, especially from the point you add the Garlic & ginger, and will pretty much need to be stoveside for the next two hours . This is a labour of love and well worth it as the end result will prove!

Ingredients & Method

14oz(400g)whole Urad Dal, you can tell they are whole as they are black in colour

Rinsed and drained then soaked for at least 10 hours……overnight is a good idea

Then place it on the cooker pour 5.25 pints(3litres) water,add in a couple of tablespoons of cooking oi,l bring to the boil, and simmer for something around four hours or until the dal is soft and cooked.

Then put together the following ingredients, and add them to the dal, season with some salt

5 tsp Garlic paste

3.5tsp Ginger paste

tbsp Red Chilli Powder

Continue to cook for another hour mashing the dal as you go using a wooden spatula, and scraping away any dal that is sticking to the edge of the pan!

Now add 3 medium  purreed tomatoes and continue to cook mashing and scraping for another hour or so.

Now add about 150g  of unsalted butter into the mix, continuing to scrape and mash as you go.

Finally stir in 4.5 fl oz(125ml) of single cream remove from the heat garnish and serve… at last!

Serves 6 to 8 persons

Dhingri Dulma (Mushroom, Bell Pepper and and Paneer Curry)

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Ready to serve!

This is a pure joy vegetarian main course, not an accompaniment to have with something else this is a dish best eaten on its own.

its low on the Chilli count and high high on complimentary flavours that blend together, loads of texture colour and an explosion of taste, even though Paneer for me is a bland tasteless form of cheese that my taste buds always expect more of. This dish supports that Paneer so well, and for the vegetarians amongst us brings great texture to the dish

Lots of ingredients, however as with a lot of Indian cookery  and all of the time needed in getting this dish to the table is in the prep, and not the cooking!

Ingredients

4 Tbsp Ghee or Vegetable oil

1 tsp Black Cumin Seeds

4 Spring Onions(Scallions)chopped and trimmed

4 tsp Ginger Paste

4 tsp Garlic Paste

1 tsp Red Chilli Powder

2 Cups (1lb 2oz)500gm Chopped Tomatoes

3 cups(7oz) 200gm Button (White) Mushrooms Sliced

1 Green Pepper deseeded and sliced thinly

1 Red Pepper deseeded and sliced thinly

1 Yellow Pepper deseeded and sliced thinly

1 lb (450gm) Paneer cubed ( 1cm) .5inch cubes

1tsp Ground black Pepper roasted

Generous pinch of ground Green  Cardamon

Generous pinch of ground Cloves

Generous pinch of ground Fenugreek

Generous pinch of ground Black Rock Salt

1inch(2.5cm) fresh Ginger peeled and cut into Juliennes

handful chopped Coriander (Cilantro)

Method

Over a medium heat warm up the Ghee or oil and add the cum in seeds and stir fry for about 30 seconds, or until they start to splutter.

Add the Spring onions and continue to fry for a further 1 or two minutes until light golden.

Add the Ginger and Garlic pastes and stir fry for a few seconds longer, then add the Chilli powder, continue to stir then add the tomatoes and cook for another 2 or 3 minutes…

Add the Mushrooms to the pan and continue to cook for another 3 or 4 minutes or until the mushroom moisture or liquor has evaporated, now add the Red Yellow and Green Peppers , salt, stir frying for a further minute or two, then add the roasted black pepper, the remaining ground spices and the ginger juliennes.

Stir well and remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning , and garnish with chopped Coriander…

Lamb Dopiaza

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      It is never my intention to do Indian Restaurant dishes and this is certainly one that you will find on the average menu that said that is where the similarity ends. It will taste nothing like or come to that look anything like the “Daag” based dish you get at the local take away or Restaurant.
       This dish is not a dish for the faint hearted with Dopiaza meaning “Double Onions” in that the onions, and there are five of them( that’s what I said five ) are added in two different ways , ground raw onion paste, and fried so if you’re an onion lover this is definitely the dish for you..

Lover is the right word too as onions have long been considered an Aphrodisiac and the Arabic book  The Perfumed Garden of Sensual Delight   and the author one  Abu-el Heiloukh ate lots of onions and suggests he remained rampant for 30 days. 🙂

Throw away the Viagra then, onions is all a man needs!

That said this dish is powerful on both flavours and textures and is second to none in the best of indian it is exacty as it says on the label !

Ingredients

2 Onions Roughly chopped

3 Onions Finely sliced

4 Garlic cloves

2 inches(5cm) Ginger Roughly chopped

3 Green Chillies

6 tbsp Ghee or Vegetable oil.

6 Cloves

Green Cardomons Crushed

2 tsp cumin Seeds

1 tsp Crushed Peppercorns

2 Sprigs of Fresh Curry leaves, or 12 dried leaves

800g  Lamb in 5 Cm Cubes

.25 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp ground Cumin

1 tsp ground Coriander

200g Yoghurt lightly whisked

2 tsp Garam Masala

pinch Asafoetida

1or 2 Tsp red chilli powder

salt to taste

2 tbsp chopped Boriander

Method

The first thing to do here is create the onion paste by blending the rough chopped onion, garlic, ginger, and chillies together in a food processor, or pestle and mortar, whatever is your choice adding a little water to bring it together as a smooth paste.

creating the onion paste

In a heavy based pan heat the Ghee or oil over a medium heat , and then fry off the sliced Onions, until they are golden brown; at that point remove them from the pan using a slotted spoon and put them aside to drain on some kitchen paper. return the ghee to the heat, add the Cloves, Asafoetida, Cardamon, Curry leaves, Peppercorns and Cumin seeds, fry until they begin to splutter and then add the onion paste.

Reduce the heat slightly and fry stirring constantly for five to seven minutes making sure that the mixture does not brown

Fry the paste keeping the colour

Increase the heat and then add the meat, browning it all over, then add the Turmeric , ground Cumin, and Coriander. Continue to stir fry for a few minutes , taking care to ensure the mixture doesn’t stick , if it does just add a little water and continue to stir fry.

Now is the time to add those fried onions reserving a few for garnish .

Continue to stir fry for a few minutes more then fold in the yoghurt with 1 Tsp of Garam Masala.

Mix it all thoroughly and continue to cook stirring all the time, add in 250 ml of water bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes or until the meat is tender…..

Cook for 45 minutes

Check your chilli heat through this time, and feel free to add a spoonfull or two of red chilli powder as is your want, and dont take your eye off of it for too long as it has a thick sauce that can and will stick if you give it a chance that said if you wish to add a little more water to the gravy then do so.

And Finally

Add the renaining Garam Masala and adjust the seasoning, scatter with some chopped coriander and reserved fried onions ..job done enjoy!

Prawn Malabar

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 This is one of my most favourite dishes in that you make a sauce before a prawn goes anywhere near it , and although this recipe calls for prawn which go in peeled and raw you could use any fish, or maybe even some Chicken!

This is just a cracking sauce that tastes fantastic whatever you might choose to put with it, spicey hot with loads of chilli, or none at all it ticks all the boxes and if I wa only ever to have one sauce it would be this one.

This dish originates from Kerala where a lot of the dishes I “Like a lot” come from, and am due to visit in February of the new year!

Ingredients

14floz(400ml) Coconut milk

2 Tbsp Desicated or fresh coconut, soaked in a little warm water

1 Tbsp Tamarind Pulp

3Tbsp Oil

.25 tsp Mustard Seeds

15 -20 Curry LeavesSAM_2904

1 large Onion Sliced

1 inch squre Ginger Grated

3 Cloves Garlic

4 Green Chillies deseeded and slit lenthways

1 Kashniri Dried Red Chilli

1 tsp Chilli Powder

.5 Tsp Turmeric

.5 tsp Coriander powder

.5 tsp Cumin Powder

2 medium finely chopped tomatoes

.5 tsp Salt

300g(11oz) uncooked peeled prawns

2 Tbsp Ghee

2 Shallots

Method

First things first , fry off the Mustard seeds until they are popping all over your cooker top, add the Curry leaves, and after a few seconds of allowing their flavour into the oil, add the sliced Onions and saute, stirring continuosly for 5 to 7 minutes, add the Ginger,Garlic and Green Chillies, and stir fry for a further two or three minutes, add the dried Red Chilli and the Chilli Powder, Turmeric, Coriander and Cumin powders, add a couple of teaspoons of water stirring for a couple of minutes longer.

Add the chopped Tomatoes, 100ml of water, and the Tamarind pulp, turn the heat down and allow to simmer for a further 5 minutes. Season with salt to taste…

Now add the solid cream from the Coconut Milk and continue to cook the sauce adding a little of the coconut water from the tin and reducing the sauce to a consistency that you feel is right for you

What you now have in front of you now is the finished sauce and its make your mind up time. Personally I like my sauce a little smoother than this so I allow to cool and either use a hand blender to smooth it down or pour it into the processor and blitz it for a few moments. At this point you can return to the heat bring up to a simmering heat and reduce the sauce  for a further 5 to 10 minutes adding the Prawns for the last couple of minutes,  as that is all they will take to cook!SAM_2905

To add the final touch to this fine curry and raise it to the heavens, heat the Ghee on a high heat in a ladle or small saucepan,add the sliced Shallots, wait for a few seconds and then add a few Curry leaves, cook for a minute or two more, and pour over the top of the curry just before serving .

Serve with Rice or a Nann and enjoy!

Beef Coconut Masala

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There are some things at the heart of indian cookery that are rare and one such item is beef. The Hindu religion reveres the cow, and as such would never consume it. Howver in ancient India, oxen and bulls were sacrificed to the gods and their meat was eaten. But even then the slaughter of milk-producing cows was prohibited. Verses of the Rigvedarefer to the cow as Devi (goddess), identified with Aditi (mother of the gods) herself.

Later, in  the spiritually fertile period that produced Jainism and Buddhism, Hindus stopped eating beef. This was mostly like for practical reasons as well as spiritual. It was expensive to slaughter an animal for religious rituals or for a guest, and the cow provided an abundance of important products, including milk, browned butter for lamps, and fuel from dried dung.

Some scholars believe the tradition came to Hinduism through the influence of strictly vegetarian Jainism. But the cow continued to be especially revered and protected among the animals of India.

By the early centuries AD, the cow was designated as the appropriate gift to the brahmans (high-caste priests) and it was soon said that to kill a cow is equal to killing a brahman. The importance of the pastoral element in the Krishna stories, particularly from the 10th century onward, further reinforced the sanctity of the cow.

All of that said there are enclaves in India those with a strong Christian population Goa and Kerala where this particular recipe originated, are happy to chow down on the old moo cow..

So are we ready to cook?

This is a time consuming recipe that will take several hours to cook, but no more than a few minute s to prepare.

Let me explain the first thing you need will be the Spice mix, and guess what you cant buy it…

Preperation is as follows Find your Pestle a mortar, because we dont use electric spice grinders do we and grind the following to a fine powder

3 Dried Red Chillies

2 tsp Coriander Seeds

1 tsp Ground Turmeric

1.24″(3cm) Cinamon Stick

.5 tsp Black Peppercorns

3 Cloves

The joy of grinding these together in a pestle an mortar must be undertaken to understand the aromas and the colours bounding forth, they will make your nostrils dance and your arm ache, as to bring these spices together will take you no less than 20 mins…. there again if that much art or time is not in your way of thinking use and electric grinder if you must, but try ending up with something looking as good if not better than this!

After the elbow grease

After the elbow grease.The finished spice powder

The other reason for doing the grinding bit by hand is that the recipe from here on in is pretty much chuck it in and keep an eye on it..

750 gm (10 oz ) Beef Stewing Steak

2 medium Onions sliced

1.25(3cm( fresh Ginger well Shredded

3 Chunky Garlic Cloves Chopped

3 Green Chillies Deseeded and chopped

2fl oz(50ml) Coconut oil

Add all that to a heavy based saucepan give it a good stir and add in the Spice mix, add enough water to cover the meat bring to the boil, and simmer for at least two hours, topping up with water from time to time.

When you believe its cooked add the following as a finishing touch that will lift the dish to the realms of superdish!

3 tbsp coconut oil

4 Shallots sliced

1 Red Pepper sliced

12 Curry Leaves

Fresh Chopped Coriander

Tbsp Toasted Coconut

Heat the cooconut oil in a frying pan and add the shallots , red pepper and curry leaves and cook until the onion is starting to brown , then aded the coconut, and some fresh coriander, add to the beef mix and cook until the moisture has evaporated…..

Serve it on a naan as I do…

or with rice or whatever yer fancy all is good!

If you havent worked it out by now this is a bad ass curry wwith attitude and more than enough chilli to make yer nose run….