Monthly Archives: May 2013

…….Have a Go{}at Masala….

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SAM_3023I have got to say it my experience with goat is limited. I have probably eaten it two or three times in my life and cooked with it even less. Traditionally it isn’t something that seems to crop up on the average Indian restaurant menu, with Lamb or mutton being the meat of choice. If you look around on the internet again there is not much to be seen on the recipe front, and the ones that are there are for the Caribbean version…., surprised I am!

My thoughts and I admit they could be very wrong but goat is something that I thought of as perhaps more common in India than lamb, so why no recipes …………uh hu not so clever clogs, India is one of the largest producers of lamb and mutton on the planet not far behind Australia so I am told.

I kid you not if you will excuse the goat based joke.Boerbok Categorie:Afbeelding geit

Goat is of course a top meat and one that you find in a lot of  Asian, and eastern cultures that’s not of course forgetting the home of the goat curry the Afro Caribbean islands where goat curry is part of the everyday food, and often shares a table with that great chilli dish Jerk chicken, featuring that chilli of choice the hottest of the lot “Scotch Bonnet” handle with care.

That said goat can also be found on the table of the African and Arab nations although it is rarely if ever found on the average English or western table as a meat of favour, preference or choice. Lamb seems to hold that position in the nations affections but knowing what I do we are missing something that is delicious and healthy, well as healthy as meat gets!

My conclusion is that it’s main problem is that it is not freely available with the large chain supermarkets of the UK not appearing to stock it, and is only available from the local butcher on special order, I find this really strange as 75 percent of the world’s population eats goat meat.It is low in fat, cholesterol, calories, and saturated fat. In fact, goat meat is over 50% lower in fat than beef in some cuts, and is about 40% lower in saturated fat than chicken, even chicken cooked with the skin off, so why no “commercial sources of supply, well you tell me as I have no idea, although I suspect its cooking time is a bit of the answer but more of that later.

So where do you need to go to get this fantastic meat?

Well the Hal Al butcher is the place it is on offer all day everyday, and therein I suspect lies the problem; you will generally only find these gentlemen in their own communities serving their own communities, that’s not to say you can’t go and buy………..Of course you can, it’s just that bit more strange, unless you live in that community. If you don’t know where to find one just check out the local Indian supermarket and ask them, they will be happy to point you in the right direction.

What I can tell you is that the meat you get if you ask for diced goat, is lean and rich in colour , it doesn’t come in a shrink-wrap plastic container  and at Mr Khans cost me about £9.00 per kilo, so great value too…

500 gm was enough for this dish to feed two.

This recipe is one of my creations, that is if any recipe can be claimed as ones own and is included here as an Indian dish in that  it offers much respect to the masala spice mixes, hence the name, I have also thrown in a few mushrooms at the end to make it that bit more interesting but the reality of the recipe is that it is about the goat not the veg, so if you don’t like the fungi don’t put them in…..

There is a long list of ingredients but don’t let that put you off the great majority are spices for the marinade. This is essentially a one pot cookery dish and very simple in its execution once its on the stove its a stir it every twenty minutes job, just to check its not sticking and that’s it….just sit and await the deliciousness, and yes be prepared to wait as goat is not a quick cook, long and slow is a must so don’t be in a rush, patience is a virtue, your efforts will be amply rewarded…..

The Marinade

Combine all the following

Plain Yoghurt

1  onion finely chopped and fried to translucent in a single tablespoon of Coconut oil

In a flat based pan dry roast the following until they offer up the aromas of india …. you know what they smell like?

1 tsp fennel seeds,

1 black cardamom

2 green cardamom

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seedsSAM_3011

1  Kashmiri Dried red

When roasted to their aromatic conclusion no more than a couple of minutes I suggest consign to a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder…..

then

add the following ground spices

1tsp garam masala,

1 tsp each of turmeric,

.5 tsp Red Chilli powder

large pinch asafoetida

.5 tsp Black salt

finally add the ground spices to the yoghurt… and then add to the spicey marinade

5 cloves garlic, crushed

and

1.5 inch Ginger, finely sliced, and chopped….

that’s the marinade done so…..

Cover the meat in the marinade, then get your hands in there and massage the marinade into the flesh, then set aside in a fridge to work for a minimum of 4 hours and overnight if you can!

Some hours later…tick tock tick tockSAM_3017

You will need to seal the meat before you go to the main cooking event so when you are ready remove the meat from the marinade and scrape as much of the marinade as you can of it back into the bowl, once done, set the marinade aside for later use….

Roll the meat in a tablespoon  of flour ensuring it is lightly coated, and then fry for a few minutes until you have some colour on the meat, once this is achieved set the meat aside and commence on making the sauce…..

The cooking sauce

1 onion, peeled & sliced

1 small tin chopped tomato

½ tsp salt to taste

1tsp Nigella seeds

1 tsp cumin seedsSAM_3019

10 curry leaves

1 tsp chilli powder

3 tbsp coconut oil

300 ml water/Lamb stock cube

1 tsp tomato paste/Puree

2 Green chillies, seeded and roughly chopped.

1 tbsp Jaggery or Brown sugar

1 cup coriander leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the curry leaves, cumin and Nigella seeds. Stir with a wooden spoon until the seeds begin to pop and froth

Add the onion and fry until golden brown.

 Add the jaggery after about 5 minutes to help the onion caramelise, until golden brown.

 Add the green chillies and cook for a further minute or two

Then add in the goat meat with all of the marinade.

Cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes.Add the tomato puree and continue stirring,

finally add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, cover, reduce to a low simmer and cook for about two and a half  hours or until the meat is soft and tender. SAM_3022Add more stock or water as you go if you think the sauce is getting too thick or sticking.

10 minutes from the end I threw in a handful of mushrooms as I like mushrooms but they are optional, other than that serve with rice or Naans but above all enjoy…..

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Sema Baghaar…. Pulse & Pea Curry

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 SAM_3001 When I started this blog I made a very sweeping statement that I would not use any “tinned” foods, followers  will by now know that I have failed in this aspiration in that I will always use Tinned tomatoes when I need a sauce enhancer,ganesh and always where a deep tomato flavour is required…….

This little recipe is another such example where a tin is to be considered mightier than the fresh variety. Here comes that word convenience, tinned pulses are convenient and come in a multitude of varieties all well cooked and in tip top condition and lets face it, undercooked pulses are no fun. However if you prefer to pre-boil and cook off all your beans and pulses don’t let me stand in your way and you can re-join the recipe after the hour or two you have invested in getting them just right…..moving swiftly on a tinned pulse is good to go here if a little more expensive so select whatever pulses work for you and open the tins rinse em off and put em aside… job done convenience sometimes rocks.

The curry base however is from the ground up, and as a base curry is brilliant with a multitude of other options for its use, fish, chicken, lamb, goat whatever it is just a fantastic base curry and one that will make your taste buds do the loop the loop in appreciation. The base being the point where you have the sauce finished, and are about to decide what you are putting into it, in this case the pulses, but lets face it pulses and beans are not always the most tastey of things and therefore for this dish to work you do need  some very robust favours. This curry base features lots of garlic onion, ginger, and some sweetness too; all these flavours are bought to the dish using a Bahaar which at its most simple is a cooking technique used in Pakistani, Bangladeshi, and Indian cuisine, in which cooking oil, or ideally Ghee is heated and whole spices and sometimes other ingredients such as minced ginger root, garlic, and sugar are fried briefly to liberate essential oils from cells and thus enhance their flavors, before being poured, together with the oil, into the dish. In this case there is a powder spice element too just for that extra edge, so dive into this as it is something very special on the taste front and really not too fiddly if as always you are prepared before you start

The What’s in IT

1 lb of beans (2 cups)

the secret here is to use what beans you can get, and pretty much anything goes what follows is some ideas on what you COULD use ………these days supermarkets supply some top quality cooked pulses and these will do just as well as the dried varieties. However if you can be bothered then wash and soak the beans overnight and cook as you should…..

That said any combination of the following cooked is what you will need in the end to add to the sauce

Large lima beans, small white beans, red kidney beans, baby lima beans, great northern beans, speckled lima beans, black beans, green baby lima beans, whole green peas, yellow split peas, lentils, green split peas, small red beans, navy beans, blackeye peas, butter beans

1tbsp garden Peas

1 tbsp Sweetcorn

2 tsp Tamarind pulp

4 green Chillies de-seeded and rough chopped

6 plump Garlic cloves rough choppedSAM_2999

1.5 inch ginger finely chopped

1 tsp Cumin seeds

50ml (2 Fl oz ) veg oil

2 large Onions Finely Chopped

1tsp Mustard seeds

0.5 tsp Cumin Powder

0.5 tsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 Tsp Garam masala

.5 tsp asafoetida

0.5 tsp Turmeric powder

Small tin chopped Tomatoes( 200gm ish)

1 Heaped teaspoon Jaggery/ or brown Sugar

300ml Vegetable stock

10 curry leaves

A drizzle of yoghurt to finish

Salt to taste

The How to

Take a tablespoon of the vegetable stock and add it slowly  to the ground spices and mix to a firm paste, don’t make this too thin as you are adding this to the Bahaar!

Start off by heating the oil in a flat based saucepan or karia add  the onions and fry for about five minutes then add half the Jaggery/brown sugar and continue cooking until the onion is a dark golden brown, this is critical to the sauce and will ensure that the colour is right, the Jaggery or sugar will help to caramelise the onion, and add a sweetness to the sauce, that will balance the heat of the chillies, you can add a tablespoon of stock if it looks like the onions are sticking.

Continue to cook and stir for another couple of minutes now is the time to add the spice paste that you made earlier and cook for a few minutes before adding  the tinned tomatoes stir well and bring back to the boil and allow to simmer while you prepare the Baghaar….

How to prepare a Baghaar

Heat the Ghee in a small saucepan on a high heat and add the cumin coriander and mustard seeds once they start to splutter remove from the heat for a moment and add the curry leaves garlic and ginger and green chillies and immediately return to the heat cook for a minute or two, on a medium heat add the rest of the Jaggery /brown sugar and stir well…… Not that tricky really now… add the Baghaar to the Tomato and onion mix and stir well together

Once the Baghaar  and onion mixes are united together this is the time to introduce the pulses, and as much of the Vegetable stock as you feel like to cook out the pulses , and thicken up the sauce to how you like it….

Add the tamarind pulp, garden peas, and the sweet corn….. SAM_3000stir well and turn the heat down and allow to simmer for at least 10 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.

Taste and season with salt, then……. serve with Naans chapati or tandoori chicken if you want some meat but whatever way you go its a delicious dish vegetarian or otherwise!

Masala Chai…A hug in a mug

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 SAM_2997There have been very few drinks that have affected a nations wealth and prosperity as much as tea, a drink that my own beloved countries government went into the wholesale dealing and distribution of opium to get their hands on. Tea a very powerful substance indeed and as such one that is so deeply ingrained into the British Psyche as to be considered an institution, it is very difficult to go anywhere without someone suggesting “a nice cup of tea”. I for one love it, my wife the venerable Mrs Demonology hates it although is always happy to make me a cup of the steaming brew whenever I may ask!

That said she prefers coffee, a drink that I deal with everyday at work short and strong, no cappuccino for me Espresso all day everyday, keeping me wired and on the edge. I find  strong short black coffee assists me to deal with the drudgery of the everyday existence that is my working world.

At home however my preference is always tea, and is the first and last drink of the day for me. Again my preference here is none of the fancy pants lap sang su shong, or the myriad of teas that you can see through that taste of little or nothing, without the addition of a little lemon to get the tea to taste of something; as a lover of curry and lover of strong tastes I guess you might have already worked that one out about me, with my preference being the lovingly entitled Builders Tea!

That’s not to say that I am not fairly picky in that I go for one brand Yorkshire Tea not grown on the high altitude tea plantations of the Yorshire moors just north of Wakefield but  a tea that originates from the Asam tea plantations of India and one that is high in tannin, caffeine and the strong dark leaves that make up that particular blend.  This is real tea  and the perfect example of everything that is the basis of the term Builders Tea named as such  during the first world war by the Ministry of munitions to indicate an all round tea that could be served during the tea breaks that speckled the working day of that time…..Builders Tea is and was never meant to be a refined drink  always served in a mug and if sticking to the pure meaning of the term Builders Tea containing at least two teaspoons of sugar and of course an ample quantity of milk but always strong and robust. I fully support that idea entirely, however I do prefer my cup or mug to be made of China but apart from that I follow the idea of builders tea lock stock and two teaspoons of sugar thank you very much………

My point here is that tea is a preparation not merely an infusion of leafs which brings me on to where I would suggest the origins of Masala chai lay!

Masala Chai is in the Premier League of Tea and is world renowned as something that is above and beyond the normal, so much so there are instant variations on sale and many many pre-prepared mixes of spices to please the palate. I on the other hand prefer the longer version and make my own from scratch and usually reserve it for those days when you have let the “bastards grind you down” Masala Chai fixes much on that level, this you can and should believe. Alternatively on a cold winters day is a warming and satisfying beverage that never fails to warm and satisfy……

This recipe is the milk version and as such is very rich and for that reason keep it real if you choose to follow this recipe and don’t use the skimmed variety of milk this is supposed to be creamy and satisfying so forget the fat and enjoy it for what it is …

The Whats in it…per  Large cup or Mug

I teabag strong Asam Tea

I inch ginger peeled and sliced

3 black Peppercorns

5 Cardamom Pods brokenSAM_2991

2 Teaspoons Sugar

1 inch Cnamon stick

Cupfull of milk……

The How to

Crush the herbs roughly and place them and the milk together in a saucepan, and bring to the boil.

Reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes or so until you can smell the aromatics of the spices and the milk has changed colour from the brilliant white of pasteurised milk, to a creamy off white colour.

You can then add the tea bag and the sugar to the simmering milky spice mix.

Continue to simmer for a few minutes more allowing the full flavour of the tea bag to infuse into the milk turning it to at least the colour of Peanut butter or darker if you prefer, sieve and serve…….

You may want to add a little boiling water after you have served this as the milk will reduce down and become even more creamy, not to mention less in volume, this is not a must merely a matter of taste, whatever you decide you can now drink it and allow the hug from the mug to wash away the strains of all that is your life ….. enjoy!

Phooling with the FunghI …….Kaju Khumb Makhane

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  SAM_2985Some months back I posted a recipe for Phool Makhani a fantastic little recipe that featured blown Lotus seeds that are first fried and then introduced to the curry sauce to produce a fantastic and different vegetarian ingredient that you don’t find everywhere. Since that time I have been researching this very unusual little addition to a curry that adds a very interesting crunchy yet at the same time creamy texture. It is also one of the recipes that is being constantly viewed, and if you believe the stats is very popular indeed. I have to say that there aren’t that many recipes out there that feature this unusual little ingredient that brings so much to the table, but I have just stumbled across this one that also adds cashew nuts and mushrooms into this taste sensation. Yes mushrooms and nuts a fantastic combination and both in the same dish how delicious is that going to get!…….So another recipe to feed my Funghi obsession wonderful the more the merrierThis image shows a few dried mushrooms.

The What’s In It

1.5 tsp Red Chilli Powder

1 tsp Ground Turmeric

1 tsp ground Coriander

125 g Ghee

1 Large Onion GratedSAM_2978

1tsp Kalonji(Nigella) Seeds

1 tsp Cumin Seeds

2.5 tbsp Ginger Paste

2.5 tbsp. Garlic Paste

1 Large Tomato Chopped

175 ml Natural Yoghurt

500 gm Mushrooms chopped

75 gm Cashew Nut Paste

75 gm Lotus Puffs

250 ml Vegetable stock!

Salt to taste

1 Sprig Fresh Coriander……

The How to

First things first put all the ground spices into a bowl and add a little water and mix to a smooth paste…..

Prepare the Cashew nut paste by placing the nuts in a bowl and adding a little Vegetable stock and grinding with a pestle and Mortar or food processor to a smooth paste….set both aside until later

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Add a little ghee to a frying pan and fry off the Phool Makhani until they are golden Brown and set aside on some kitchen roll to cool and drain for later…..Add the remaining ghee in the same pan and add the onions and fry until golden brown. Add the Kalonjii and cumin seeds and fry for a further couple of minutes or until they start to splutter, add the garlic, ginger, and finally the Cashew pastes and stir fry for another couple of minutes, then add the ground spice paste and again cook this out for another minute or two.

Throw in the tomato and continue to cook until the oil seperates out this shouldn’t take more that a minute or two…….doesn’t everything… take a minute or two that is:)SAM_2981Then remove the pan from the heat and begin to add the yoghurt slowly stirring all the time. season with a little salt and add the vegetable stock, and bring up the heat until it is almost boiling then reduce the heat again and simmer for about five to ten minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken, then you can add the mushrooms remembering that mushrooms only take a few minutes to cook through so aboutSAM_2983  five minutes or so should do it, or until the mushrooms are done to your liking and lose than uncooked look….. Finally add the Lotus seeds and cook until the sauce and everything looks and tastes  about right this is an intuitive judgement judgement as you are the one who knows how you like things to taste, so go on taste away and trust your judgement.

Serve with a garnish of Coriander……