Monthly Archives: January 2013

Mutton Kolhapuri….Fiery Lamb Curry

Standard

This is a fantastic curry, and not for the faint hearted, lovers of mild curries need not apply this is the real McCoy and needs to be cooked long and low without taking your eye off of it for too long, its strong on Chillie hot hot hot. This curry not only tastes the part, it looks it too with a rich thick sauce that will have you stretching for the naan to mop the plate…yum yum

It’s a fairly easy to assemble dish even though there is quite a long list of ingredients, but it should be noted most of these amount in reality to the spices you will need to use, and it should be noted that these are traditionally a local blend to Maharashtra, and this is truly a dish that stays true to its roots, and for this reason only you won’t find it on your local curry house menu, mores the pity.

This recipe will easily feed six and will take about 45 minutes to prepare and about 2 hours to cook it out

Ingredients

3 teaspoons coriander seeds

3 teaspoons cumin seeds

1 tablespoon poppy seedsKolhapuri

1 teaspoon cloves

1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon ground star anise

1 cinnamon stick

4 teaspoons desiccated coconut

200ml / 7fl oz vegetable oil

225g / 8oz chopped onions

1 tablespoon Ginger Paste

1 tablespoon Garlic Paste

1kg / 2.25 lb lamb, cut into 2.5 cm / 1 inch cubes

3 teaspoons chilli powder

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

tomatoes, chopped

salt

chopped coriander, to garnish

Method….

The first thing to do here is to dry roast all of the whole spices, the ground star anise and the coconut roasting them lightly or  a few minutes in a dry frying pan should do that or just long enough for the aromas to burst forth, transfer to a grinder or pestle and mortar and grind down to a fine powder…..

heat the oil in a large pan over a medium heat , add the onions and stir fry for about five minutes or until they turn a light golden brown; now you can add the garlic and ginger pastes and fry well for at least another two minutes.

Add the lamb to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes at which point you can add the chilli powder, turmeric and tomatoes finish off by seasoning with a little salt

Fry for a further five minutes or so then add all of the ground spices and about 250ml of water . Reduce the heat and cook for between 60 t0 90 minutes as a minimum, or until the meat is melt in the mouth tender, dont be afraid to cook this longer the meat will benefit from the extra time and  you wont harm the curry as a whole; just add a little more water if needed.

Garnish with some chopped Coriander and  serve

Pao Bhaji… Much better than street food

Standard

This is a fantastic little dish regarded by most as street food and as such on the streets of Mumbai one of the foods that feeds a nation everyday.

The recipe fearured here is the most simple version and is open very much to your own interpretations in terms of you can add peas, carrots, sweetcorn, or come to that any vegetable that floats your boat, traditionally on the street it is served with Bread rolls,  called Pav, very good for soaking up the sauce, and as important as the roll in a hambuger or hotdog.

This recipe will serve six and take approx 25 minutes to prepare and about the same for cooking…..

Ingredients

1kg/2.2 lbs potatoes peeled

2 tsp Garlic paste

2 tsp Ginger Paste

180g/6oz Ghee or vegetable oil

360gm/12.5 oz Tomatoes chopped

160gm/5.5 oz Onions chopped

6 Green Chillies de-seeded and choppedpavbhaji

4cm/1.5 inch Ginger finely chopped & peeled

1.5tsp Ground Turmeric

1tsp Chilli Powder

180g/6oz unsalted butter

2tsp Garam Masala

2 Tbsp Chopped Coriander

3Tbsp Lemon Juice

salt to taste.

Method

First things first cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for about twenty minutes, or until soft, drain and allow to cool then mash….

Place the Garlic and the Ginger in seperate bowls and stir in 125 mls of water to each and set aside

Heat the Ghee or oil in a heavy based pan add the tomatoes, onions, chillies, ginger and Turmeric, and stir fry over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, then reduce the heat, add the mashed potatoes and chilli powder, salt , then mix thoroughly and continue to cook mash and stirring for another 5 minutes or so.

Add the Garlic and Ginger paste mixtures then increase the heat. Add  4 tablesppons of Butter and mix well, sprinkle with Garam Masala, chopped Coriander and Lemon Juice and stir well……

This dish is best served with the pav being fried to a light golden brown in the remaining butter, but is just as delicious  with a nice crusty loaf or roll……

Shrikand….Yoghurt of the chilled out kind

Standard

This is yet another great secret in the world that is sweet things, Indian food does sweet is usually something that is quite rare , especially if it is if it is done well, and this is one of those recipehung yoghurts that if you are prepared to take your time and to follow the recipe, the end result is better than good, oh yes I like it that much.

There is a tricky element in following the recipe, so lets start right there, one of the ingredients takes a little fiddling around to achieve. The basis of this dish is yoghurt and the Indians, when they use yoghurt in a lot of dishes, like to hang it first, this helps to remove the water and thicken the yoghurt up, this then being called hung yoghurt…..

Its easy enough to do, just place a piece of muslin or cheesecloth in a strainer that is large enough to take the yoghurt that you intend to use for the recipe, and then simply pour the yoghurt into the sieve whilst holding it over the sink. Once the initial flush of water has drained from the yogurt, pull up the sides of the cloth to form a bag and tie it all up nice and tightly to form a pouch, hang that over a container for at least 30 minutes, or until you think that the yoghurt is well drained. The end product you can keep in the fridge for up to a day, noting that the more you cool it, the more solid it gets….Once this step is achieved everything else is simple in this delicious and very tasty recipe.

             Shrikand

Shrikand

Ingredients

This is more than enough to serve six, or three people with a sweet tooth!

1 tsp Saffron

1tbsp Milk

1 Litre?1.75 Pints hung Natural Yoghurt

100Gm/ 3.5 oz Caster Sugar

1 tsp cardamoms

 8-10 Unsalted Pistachio nuts

Method

This is really simple , first off place the Saffron in a small bowl with the milk and allow to soak for a few minutes. Place the hung yoghurt in another bowl and whisk in the sugar a little at a time, then stir in the saffron and milk , sprinkle over the pistachios and cardamoms , place it in the fridge for a couple of hours and serve when nice and chilled that’s the Shrikand not you……

Caril de Galhina…. Chicken,Coconut, Coconut and more Coconut

Standard

The following dish as the title suggests is heavily based around coconut  it is a rich and creamy dish that will knock your taste buds for six. It is a traditional Goan curry although on my many trips there I have never seen it on any restaraunt  menu, perhaps I’m not looking in the right places. It is of course as the title suggests heavily influenced by the Portuguese but don’t let that fool you this is a top drawer curry that fully deserves its place in the hall of fame, and it is without doubt one of my very favourite curries!

Caril de Galhina is quite heavy on the chillies but for those of you out there who prefer things a little milder just cut the chilli quantity in half it won’t ruin the dish if that’s the way you like it!

The secret to the dish is the Paste, I used a pestle and mortar for the rough paste and a processor for the smooth paste and as the photo shows mixed it back into the pestle;so take some time to get this right and everything else will follow,

Once you are ready to stand in front of the stove everything else is pretty simple, with no more than hal a dozen ingredients to throw into the pan how tricky is that?

Well you tell me, I love it I hope you do too….

Caril de Galhina

Caril de Galhina7 Caril de Galhina8

Serves 6 to 8

Prep time 45 mins

Cooking time 30 mins

Ingredients

1kg/2.2 lbs Chicken skinned and cut into pieces

2 Tbsp Vegetable oil

1 medium Onion slices

250ml coconut milk

1 Tbsp Tamarind extract

125ml/4.5 fl oz coconut cream

salt

For the spice paste

1 coconut grated or

8 tbsp desiccated coconut soaked in a little water for an hour

1 tbsp uncooked rice rinsed and drained

8 cloves Garlic crushedThe finished Paste

2.5cm/ 1 inch fresh peeled Ginger

 
The finished Paste

10 dried red Kashmiri chillies

4 Green Chillies de-seeded and slit lengthways

.5 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp coriander seeds

1 tablespoon Poppy seeds

1 tbsp ground turmeric.

Put the chicken pieces into a bowl and sprinkle with salt

To make the spice paste , put half the grated or desiccated coconut , and the rice into a food processor or blender and process adding a little water to make a coarse paste .(Yes you can use a Pestle & Morter here i did without problems)

Pour the remaining coconut in the food processor with the garlic , ginger , dried red chillies , green chillies and the ground spices and blitz until ground, then mix into the coarse paste….

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan over a medium heat and add the onion, cook for four or five minutes or until light golden brown; add the spice paste and stir fry stirring constantly  for a couple of minutes or until the oil separates out. Caril de Galhina3

Add the chicken and stir to coat , then add the coconut milk  and season with a little salt to taste.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is almost done .

For the last few minutes of cooking add the tamarind paste and stir in the coconut cream, cook for a further five to ten minutes or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked. You may notice that with the addition of the coconut cream that the dish will produce some Coconut oil which will seperate from the main dish, if you don’t like this then just spoon it away before serving, for me its got loads of flavour so I leave it right where it is……

Serve and enjoy

Caril de Galhina6

Khumb Hara Pyaz….Spring Onion & Mushroom Curry

Standard

How many ways are there to curry a mushroom??

Khumb Hara Pyaz

Come on it’s a serious question, as those who follow me will realise at the moment I am looking very closely at my fungi, or is that Fungal friend, this being the third recipe to use the mushroom, my wife telling me that there is a punnet or two in the fridge, (but isn’t there always) that require eating before they go off, whatever that means in mushroom terms. Mushrooms themselves are rich in B vitamins such as riboflavin, not to mention a good portion of copper and potassium, which I am reliably informed are essential minerals. That said they are also low in calories, fats and carbohydrates so the science is pretty much all good, and as vegetables go they are one of those that is pretty much ubiquitous!

Putting all that science aside is the simple fact they taste good in all their myriad forms, and yes there are loads of varieties although I restrict myself to buying them from the market, rather than walking through the woods with my wicker basket.

Like a lot of  Indian recipes the title of this recipe tells you the basic ingredients but it cannot explain the complexities in flavour and textures that this recipe brings forth, again this is a vegetarian recipe that can stand on its own two feet so go on feed the veggie in you, yeah go on, you know you want to.

Apart from the spring onions of which there are many as the title suggests, onions being yet another love of mine veg wise to the forefront and featuring heavily as this recipe requires a few ounces of boiled onion paste, which you will need to prepare before starting the recipe for real, don’t panic its dead simple… as follows..

Ingredients

3 Medium sliced onions, this should make the 5 oz required for the recipe

3 Bay leaves

3 Black Cardamom pods

Put all the ingredients into a heavy based pan with about half a cup of water, bring it all to the boil, then reduce the heat to a minimum and simmer for about twenty minutes, until the onions are transparent and the liquid has evaporated ; remove the  whole spices and then blend to a smooth paste or puree…the paste will not keep for more than 24 hours  in the fridge, so make only what you need.

Easy really!

That achieved now is the time to dive headfirst into the recipe nothing too complicated here provided that you prepare all the ingredients before you start……

INGREDIENTS…….Khumb Hara Pyaz

600g / 1lb 5oz button (white) mushrooms, stalks removed

150g / 5oz ghee

5 green cardamom pods

1 black cardamom pod

5 cloves

1 cinnamon stick, about 2.5cm/ 1 inch long

All you need

1 bay leaf

150g / 5oz Boiled Onion Paste

25g / 1oz Ginger Paste(Just mash the ginger with a little water)

25g / 1 oz Garlic Paste(Just mash the Garlic with a little water)

1 x 2.5cm / 1 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped

4 green chillies, de-seeded and chopped

1 teaspoon chilli powder

pinch of ground mace

0.5 teaspoon ground coriander

200ml / 7fl oz natural (plain) yoghurt, whisked

300g / 11oz spring onions (scallions), trimmed

salt

Method

Cut the mushrooms in half and set aside.

Heat the Ghee in a large heavy based pan over a medium heat and add the whole spices, that being the cardamoms, cloves Cinnamon stick, and bay leaf and stir fry for a couple of minutes or until they start to change colour .

Now you can safely add the boiled onion paste and stir fry for a couple more minutes,  at which point  add the Garlic and the ginger pastes, and not forgetting after about another

Now is a good time to add the chilli powder, ground mace and coriander stir frying for about 30 seconds or so,……. add  the green chillies and chopped ginger cooking this out for about another 30 seconds or so… phew take a breath,by removing the pan from the heat and stirring in the yoghurt and return to the heat, pour in 125ml water/ or veg stock,SAM_2584 I prefer stock as this gives an extra flavour facet, but truth be told, stocks are not something that feature much in Indian cookery, but thats not so say they shouldn’t. So if stocka ppeals to you usae it!

Bring it all back to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for a couple of minutes more until the oil separates out. Add the mushrooms and simmer for another couple of minutes before adding the spring onions and simmering for another minute. Remove from the heat adjust the seasoning and serve

Khumb Hara Pyaz for two

Khumb Hara Pyaz for two

Batani Kadala Kari….More than Mushroom & Peas

Standard

My inner vegetarian grows in strength almost daily and that inner struggle with the carnivore goes on safe in the knowledge that Vegetarianism will never win fully but my love of the non meat will grow equally beside it.Vegetarian or not my love of the mushroom that humble fungi has always been with me and until this sojourn into the world of Indian cookery was something that I only encountered in the odd stew and alongside a fillet steak at the local steakhouse. Today I am wiser and can allow this fantastic and much varied ingredient to flourish in its own right the following recipe does not state any variety of mushroom but take my word for it any will do and a combination is always a good option. In this option I am using:

Buna Shimeji

Batani Kadala Kari3

The mushrooms of choice

And

Shiro Shimeji,

In retrospect having eaten this dish these mushrooms were for me not the best I could have chosen, and button mushrooms would probably been a better choice and yes I have left the stalks on, as this variety concentrates as much goodness in the stalks as in the crowns…… the point being Mushroom is good whatever the variety and use it as you feel it is best served this is a recipe and not a rule book and deviations are of course to be encouraged as a good recipe develops over time, and to some extent reflects the personal tastes of the cooks that prepare it.

This is a fantastic Saturday supper dish easy to prepare and full flavoured I love it for the fusion of Mushrooms ,Cashews, Coconut and tomatoes, and not forgetting the peas that bring a sweetness to the curry that really floats my boat when I eat curry!

Batani Kadala Kari

Batani Kadala Kari7

Preparation time 20 minutes
Cooking time 20-25 minutes
Serves 4

750g / 1lb 10oz peas, shelled if fresh
150ml / 0.25 pint groundnut (peanut) oil
750g / 1lb 10oz mushrooms, stalks removed
2 teaspoons cumin seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
2 tablespoons urad dal, rinsed and drainedBatani Kadala Kari2
1 medium onion, sliced
4 teaspoons ginger paste
4 teaspoons garlic paste
1 teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
250g / 9oz (1 large) tomato, chopped
60g / 2oz grated fresh coconut (desiccated coconut is good too just soak in a little water for 5 minutes before adding to the recipe. )
30g / 1.24 oz cashew nuts
20 curry leaves
salt

Vegetable stock cube dissolved in up to 500ml of boiling water
1 sprig coriander leaves, chopped, to garnish

Method

Firstly cook the peas in a mall pan until soft drain and set aside.

Heat 3 Tablespoons of oil in a large heavy based pan , over a medium heat add the mushrooms and stir fry for about  4 to 5 minutes

Heat the remaining oil in a heavy based frying pan over a medium heat and add the Cumin , Mustard, and fenugreek seeds and finally the urad Dal, and stir fry for about a minute or until the seeds start to splutter

Add the onion and stir fry for another 5 minutes or so, or until light they turn golden brown, then add the ginger and garlic pastes….. (pastes are made by mixing the garlic and the ginger with a little water and blitzing with a hand held processor, or grinding down with a pestle and mortar)

Continue to stir fry for another minute or two, or until the moisture has evaporated

Now is the time to add the ground spices and season to taste with salt , give it all a good stir and then add the tomato and continue to stir fry for about 5 minutes, or until the oil separates out…….

Now reduce the heat to low and add the coconut , cashews and curry leaves and stir again for about a minute or so; Now add as much vegetable stock as you like up to 500ml,Batani Kadala Kari5 I personally prefer things in a thicker gravy but this is very much a matter of taste. Bring the whole thing back to the boil and add the peas and the mushrooms reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes.

remove from the heat adjust the seasoning and serve…

Does your Dosha Do it!

Standard

It is very difficult to write about indian cookery without bumping into Ayurvedic ideas and practices, some may argue it is pure hocus pocus others that it is the word, but all would agree that it is the spirit and the spiritual in all that tastes and does so much good behind the cooking.
I do not suggest that you should adhere to Ayurvedic principles merely that you should bear them in mind as Ayurveda is an ancient \indian medical system dating back to 3000 BC
At its core is the ideal is that we all have a body type or “dosha” of which there are three, they govern our Physical and mental wellbeing
the tree types are are Vata, Pitta or kapha, and are formed from the five elements that make up our universe, and they all tend to be present in all of us to a greater or lesser extent, with some being a little more dominant than others.

Vata governs the three primary doshas and consist of air and space, fire and water govern pitta, while water and earth make up Kapha. The elements of each Dosha along with the specific combination of each within us determines our physical, mental and emotional state.

if you wish to explore this further and find out what your dosha is click here!dosha2

I myself have an even balance between Vata & pitta with a slightly weaker Kapha.

It is suggested that ill-health is a direct result of these forces being out of balance, with taste being a core way to stimulate the nervous system and balance the doshas the six tastes that are recognised by Ayurveda are sweet, sour, salty, pungent, bitter and astringent ;with pungent salty and sour producing a heating effect on the body while sweet bitter and astringent tastes have the opposite effect and cool the system . It is also wise to remember that how we eat is also very important with lunch being the main meal of the day,  you should always eat slowly and calmly in order to aid ones digestion. Although meat is not a no-no in Ayurveda  it should always be remembered that veg is better for you…. That said at this point things start to get really complicated and if you do feel that you have a need to find out more than there is a plethora of stuff on the internet to assist so go fill ya boots, buts this cook is finished with the technicalities at this point as the food is the important part for myself whilst giving a respectful nod in the direction of the faith and the ideals!
Finally though Ayurvedic is on the high street big style offering treatments, lotions and potions, under the complimentary medicine banner and like most complimentary medicine they are not without merit, although always be as certain as you can be that the person that you are dealing with at least carries a modicum of qualification before allowing them loose on you or your body, as you should also be aware that there are some very potent practices and substances that are in use and they are not for the uneducated and as such anyone can set up a practice if they so choose there is no legislation to protect you the consumer so check your practitioner out first!