Monthly Archives: September 2013

Tripping the Sweet Fantastic…… Bengali Tuna kali

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 SAM_3380I know I’m not alone as someone who eats very little meat, loves fish and suffers with a lack of not enough recipes  that feature a different fish taste. However this dish hits the spot offering  a curry that is rich with the flavour of onions fried in a caramel oil giving the whole dish a sweetness that I have not experienced anywhere else. This sweetness balances a citrus note with the Tuna being marinated in lemon juice and turmeric, and then fried creating something  sumptuous and rich in Indian flavouring.

The sauce or gravy is unctuous and based around those wonderful onions and tomatoes. I have used Tuna in my dish but Monkfish or any firm fleshed fish will do a fine job…

This is also my first offering from  Bengal that area in the Northeast of the Indian subcontinent; today it is split as West Bengal and Bangladesh and its food offerings reflect its coastal regions and Mangrove swamps where the Bengal tigers roam free. This is a truly smashing curry and one that is high up there for me in the popularity stakes easy to cook and prepare and delivering in all the mighty oceans that float my curry boat!

The Whats in IT

Serves 3 hungry mouths…….

Prep and cooking time about an hour!

675 gm Tuna or Monkfish

2tbsp lemon juice

1tsp salt

40gm plain flour

.25 tsp ground black pepper

4 tbsp vegetable oil

2 tsp jaggery

1 Large Red onion finely Chopped

1tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 tbsp fresh garlic

1tsp Ground coriander

.5 tsp chilli powder

1 small tin chopped tomatoes

300 ml fish stock

2 tbsp fresh coriander

The How To

Cut the fish into 3 inch pieces and place in  large bowl

Add the lemon juice and sprinkle with half the salt and half the turmeric

Mix gently

Leave to marinade for between 15 and 30 minutes

Pour enough oil into a frying pan to cover it to a depth of half an inch and heat over a medium heat

Mix the flour and pepper and dust the fish with the seasoned flourSAM_3376

Add to the oil and fry until browned on both sides and a light crust has formed, being careful not to overcook the fish

Set aside to drain on kitchen roll

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Heat 4 tbsp of oil or ghee in a karahi to a high temperature but not smoking

Add the jaggery/sugar and allow it to caramelise, you can recognise this by the wonderful toffee smell

As soon as this happen add the onions , ginger and garlic and fry for about seven or eight minutes or until the onions begin to brown, remembering to stir constantly for an even cook

Add the ground coriander, chilli powder, and the remaining turmeric.

Fry off for about 30 seconds and then add the tomatoes….

Cook this until the tomatoes are well cooked through and the oil begins to separate out , remembering to stir constantly

Add some of the fish stock and bring to the boil and reduce to a thick gravy, continue doing this until all of the stock has been used add salt to taste

then carefully add the fried fish simmer for a minute and then turn off the heat and leave to stand for a further minute or two then serve, the fish should be heated through but not overcooked!SAM_3378

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Top ten curry

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I have been blogging away for the best part of a year now and have posted around 60 articles most of which have featured a recipe or two. The interesting thing about blogging is that some dishes and articles are more popular than others and as such I have taken those recipes that have been the most popular over that twelve months, this being measured by the “likes” and page views that the back room stats show me…..So I have had a look at these stats and “likes” as voted for by those that have been kind enough to follow my blog!

Interestingly enough there’s something for everyone and that I suppose tells me that people like the veggie dishes as much as the meat ones there’s even a sweet dish making it into the top ten. Being honest about it there are only a couple of recipes of the sweet kind throughout the blog so that must make this dish very special indeed

So please take a look and if you do go to any of the pages please place a “like” if you haven’t been there before and if you feel like being really generous rate  them through the stars rating on the page… otherwise enjoy the list for what it is….

(click here)

for

Your Top ten Curries as voted for by you! 

top-10-ways

Cookin wid the Green stuff…..Curry in a hurry!

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SAM_3387 A lot of what goes on in Indian food is quite complex and sometimes more than a little fiddly, meaning that preparing something tasty and fast is a non starter well that’s what you might think but that is simply not true one of the great gems to have in your fridge is a green Masala  a preparation that is exactly what it says on the label and one that that will allows you to create the highly edible very quickly.

I have touched upon the Daag in previous articles being that staple of the restaurant, well this will do the same job for those busy people wanting curry in a hurry this is a similar preparation that is perhaps even quicker as this takes less time to prepare and will keep for several weeks in the fridge. there are a fairly large number of chillies in this and yep it has a kick like a mule if you use too much, you can experiment but remember the mantra less is more and add the paste to the level you like… let me present something to you that you won’t find in the resaraunt but you will find in most hard pressed Indian cooks fridge, and more importantly if kept in an air tight container with the addition of  vinegar the green will keep for several weeks…..

Green Masala paste……SAM_3383

Fresh Coriander leaves: 1 small bunchSAM_3384
Mint leaves: a few
Ginger:.1 inch piece
Garlic: 5 large cloves
Green chillies: 4
Pepper corns: 1tsp
Cumin seeds: 2 tsps
Coriander seeds: 2 tsps
Cinnamon: 2 inch piece
Cloves: 5 nos.
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tsp


Method:
1. Wash coriander leaves and take off leaves. Dry well on a clean cloth.
2. Clean and mince finely both the  ginger and garlic.
3. Remove stems of green chillies.
4. Grind all the ingredients to a fine paste using a little water. Green masala is ready for use .SAM_3385
5. For a larger quantity (if bottling) multiply all the recipe ingredients ( X5/X10 times) . Prepare as above Steps 1-3. Grind in a diluted solution of vinegar (2 tbsps concentrated vinegar in a cup of water). Use  diluted vinegar as required to make a thick paste)

Having got your green paste together sitting in the fridge and staring at you wondering what its future will be. That moment arrives when there is that knock at the door and friendly forces come into land, and as you must always do in situations such as this; feed the strangers with something hale and hearty.

You don’t have all night , you don’t even have an hour but you do have the Green Masala paste, a little white fish, an onion, and a few prawns, a small tin of coconut milk, and a fish stock cube in 250ml of warm water, and with those few simple ingredients bring on the

Green seafood curry

Chop the onion nice and fine and fry it until its just starting to go towards the brown, stir in two Tablespoons (which is just about what you will have made if you followed the above paste recipe) into the onions, keep stirring for about a minute and add a little fish stock if needed to keep things from sticking, once the paste is mixed through the onions and looks like it belongs add the rest of the stock, and the coconut milk; bring the sauce to the boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and reduce the sauce for about ten minutes. Then add the fish, turn up the heat bringing it to the boil, throw in the prawns cover and remove from the heat and allow it to stand for a few minutes. Then serve, result very happy guestsSAM_3388

Bengal

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East_Bengal_MapBengal as it used to be called is located at the top end of india and is now split into two provices Bangledash that very low lying country that unless you like to always have your feet in water is a place best avoided, and West Bengal again low lying but featuring the mangrove swamps and  coastal regions that could and should be a magnet for all those seeking wildlife safaris trying to get a glimpse of that now very rare big cat the Bengal Tiger, and for those of us seeking sand sea and sunshine the many miles of beach , but as yet few hotels of any great standard from which to enjoy the area.westbengal-seabeachdigha6

With all that water around  fish is a staple in the daily diet!

Thats not to say its all water as the geography of the area is varied with Hill stations, and tea plantations where the much loved blend of tea Darjeeling can be found. and of Course that centre of British Colonialism Kolkata and continues to this day as a business and commerce centre.

Bengal is also one of the most densely populated places on the planet with an estimated 250 million people at a population density of 900 per sqr Km .

As I have touched on the ample suppy of water in the region leads naturally to a plethora of wonderfull curries of which a personal favourite of mine is Kali a dish that has an identity of its’ own.

In many of the dishes that are favoured in this area is the local Masala Paanch Phorem, which means literally “The spice that crackles five times” how cool is that, and as the name suggests is a blend of those five spices click the link to take you to the page where you can find the what’s in it and the how to…..

Unfortunately at this time West Bengal is not the sort of place that it is easy to travel to as a holiday destination and the searches that I have done all turn up few results. I find that quite surprising as there does appear to be significant coastline and lots of islands, I suggest those of us interested in travelling to new and interesting places could do well to take West Bengal into consideration. the foods available appear to be varied and interesting and from what I have been told the street food and sweet sellers are as popular as anywhere else and I for one know that where that is the case the food is always fantastic!