Category Archives: Saturday Suppers

For the curry cooks who want to cook something challenging or in my opinion special, and if cooked correctly outstanding. Very Much the sort of dish for that Saturday evening curry that I know some of you just love to stay at home and cook for the one ya love!

Shevandi Kada…King Prawn and Baby Onion

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SAM_3457Two of my most favourite things in the world prawn and onion and this “nearly” traditional recipe which features both in a symphony of taste. Although you really will have to love onion to fully appreciate this recipe the sauce is unctuous  and full of the sweet and sour flavours of the Jaggery and the tamarind with chopped onion making the basis of the sauce and if that’s not enough onion for you, whole baby onions or shallots bringing a final hint of sweetness, truly delicious, and all held together with some juicy large king Prawns to bring that extra texture and taste that make for a fantastic seafood curry!

I have “demonised” the recipe as the original I was gifted essentially had no seasoning or spice and a very large glass of Goan fire water “Feni”, made from coconut or cashew nuts and in Goa & kerala where this recipe originates and available everywhere in those two provinces, however in downtown Nottingham I have to admit I couldn’t find it anywhere. The recipe also demands baby pearl onions, these may be a bit tricky to lay your hands on too but shallots will do just as good a job using the smallest you can get.

So there is no alcohol, is that a loss…. Nah don’t think so!

The What’s in it (2 persons)

5 or 6 baby onions or shallots per person

Salt to season

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3 Tablespoons Mustard oil

8 Curry leaves

1 large Onion finely chopped

1inch Ginger

1heaped teaspoon garlic paste

2 green chillies de-seeded and finely chopped

1tsp fenugreek

1tsp turmeric

1tsp Garam Masala

25oml Fish stock

2tsp Tamarind paste

1 flat tbsp Jaggery/brown sugar

1 fine chopped Tomato

1tbsp Plain yoghurt

36 pearl onions(Shallots as many as you think for 3 persons) peeled and kept whole

350 gm  RAW prawns as large as you can find, peeled and deveined

Salt to taste…..

The How To……

Peel the baby onions or shallots and boil in salted water for about fifteen minutes until soft set aside until required

Bring your mustard oil up to heat add the curry leaves, and fry for no longer than a minute or two or until the curry leaves change colour, add  the onions and fry until golden brown, take your time with this as this is the base of the sauce. Then add the green chillies, the ginger and the garlic pastes and fry for a minute or two longer until the garlic smell has dropped away. Add the Fenugreek , Turmeric and Garam masala cook for a further couple of minutes, then add 250ml fish stock, and the jaggery and Tamarind paste, the chopped tomato and reduce to a thick sauce. Finally adding the baby onions and yoghurt for the last five minutes.SAM_3455

Now you can add the prawns and cook them  through this shouldn’t take more than five minutes, serve with whatever you like to eat your Indian food with!

Bhare Baghare Tamate (Stuffed Tomatoes)

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SAM_3450 I have been very quiet lately principally I believe if you have nothing to say then do that….. quiet is something that it is very difficult to find in the world that surrounds us all and as such one of the few things that can always one hope be done quietly is eating good food. Todays dish is a traditional one  that is not something you can bring together in ten minutes it will take you at least 90 minutes in the initial preparation and perhaps 30 to 4o minutes in the cooking so don’t undertake this recipe if you are looking for something quick. Its vegetarian all the way and one of those dishes that needs little else to help it along , but if you must have some more protein a fillet of white fish would compliment it for sure

The Whats in it

4 Beefsteak Tomatoes

Salt

For the Filling

Unsalted butter, for frying

150g/5oz (2 cups) chopped mushrooms

250g/9 oz Paneer, grated or crumbled

1 tablespoon chopped coriander (cilantro) leaves

4 green chillies, slit in half lengthways and de-seeded

24 cashew nut halves

1 teaspoon black cumin seeds

For the Paste

4 tablespoons peanuts, roasted

2 tablespoons desiccated (dried flaked) coconut

4.5 tablespoons sesame seeds

250g/9 oz (2 small) onions

4 teaspoons ground coriander

1 teaspoon ground cumin

For the Sauce

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1.5 teaspoons chilli powder

125ml/4.5 fl oz (0.5 cup) vegetable oil

0.5 teaspoon mustard seeds

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

16 curry leaves

150g/5oz (1 medium) onion, sliced

3 tablespoons Ginger Paste

1 teaspoon Garlic Paste

100g/3.5 oz Fried Onion Paste

0.25 teaspoon Tamarind Extract

The How To do It

Blanch the tomatoes by putting then in a large heatproof bowl of boiling water for 30 seconds, then plunging them in cold water.  Remove the skin and slice off the top neatly with a sharp knife, then remove the core, taking care not to pierce the flesh.

To Make the Filling

Melt the butter in a large, heavy based pan over medium heat.

Add the mushrooms and lightly fry for about 2-3 minutes, or until the moisture has evaporated.

Transfer to a bowl, then add all the other ingredients for the filling, season with salt and mix together.

Put a portion of the filling in each of the blanched tomatoes and set aside, until 20 minutes before you wish to serve

Place in an oven at 180 degrees for as you begin to make the sauce if you prefer your tomatoes cooked through, then add to the sauce and follow the “sauce” part of the recipe

To Make the Paste

Put all the ingredients in a blender or food processor, with a little water if necessary, and process to make a paste.  Set aside.

To Make the Sauce

Put the turmeric and chilli power in a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons water and stir together.

Heat the oil in another large, heavy-based pan over medium heat

Add the mustard and cumin seeds and stir-fry for about 1 minute or until they start to splutter

Add the curry leaves, stir

Add the onions and lightly fry for about 2 minutes or until they are translucent.

Add the ginger and garlic pastes and stir fry for about 5-10 minutes or until the onions are golden.

Add the ground spice mixture to the pan and stir fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the moisture has evaporated

Add the pastes and stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes or until the oil has separated out.

Pour in 750ml/1.25 pints (3.25 cups) water and season with salt.

Bring to the boil then stir in the tamarind extract.

Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it is a thin sauce consistency

Place the stuffed tomatoes in the sauce, cover and simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Uncover and simmer for about 5 minutes, or until the sauce is thick.

Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning if necessary.

Serve and enjoy, fantastic with a Naan!

Chicken & Drumstick curry…..Korioora Munakkai

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      One of the things I really like to do is get an ingredient that I have never tasted and never prepared before,bingo this recipe has one “drumstick“…. that’s right I said drumstick, or to give it its correct name…..Sahjan Ki Phalli this being a core ingredient and most poplar vegetable  in southern india cuisine and is often found in sambhar.Sahjan Ki Phalli Sahjan is in fact the immature long green pods of the Moringa tree another species that you will not find throughout Europe, you can also eat the flowers and leaves of this tree so a vital ingredient and crop to the food of the villages I suspect In this particular case we are using it in…..

Korioora Munakkai

 

A spicy delight of chicken and tamarind not too mention the aforementioned drumstick vegetable that with only one look you can SAM_3425understand how it gets its name.SAM_3423

I am so lucky to have a large Asian community in the city I live in and even more lucky to be able to access the raw ingredients that appear so unusual and are really at the end of the day just fruit and veg that is yet to reach the supermarkets that determine what we all eat … that being an argument for another day.

so a visit to the Indian supermarket was the order of the day and yes success they of course had it although it doesn’t come cheap but why should it it has come halfway round the world and everyone involved needs to get paid … ouch my food miles are totting up I can always plant yet another tree though that seems to do the trick and salve the conscience….

The following recipe is easy enough although there are a lot of ingredients and I didn’t use a whole chicken I just used the crown as it was only for two….

this recipe is for four persons

The Whats in it

 

180gm Ghee

2 bay leaves

3 cinnamon sticks

4 cloves

1/2 tsp Fenugreek Seeds

1 tsp Kalonj(Nigella)Seeds

3 onions Sliced

1/2 tsp Ground Turmeric

1/2 tsp Ginger pasteSAM_3419

1/2 tsp Garlic paste

1 tblsp Ground coriander roasted

1 tsp sesame seeds

1 large chicken cut into chunks on the bone

1 small tomato

1 tablespoon ideally fresh coconut but soaked desiccated will do!

2 tsp chopped red chilli

15 Curry leaves

4 tablespoons of Toddy, beer will do if you can’t get Toddy

6 drumsticks (Sahjan Ki Phalli) peeled and cut into 6 cm pieces

12-15 black peppercorns

250ml Tamarind extract

1 Tablespoon Gram Flour….

1 Pint of water or chicken stock

Salt

To garnish

6 green chillies

1 Bunch coriander

6 sprigs Mint….

The How to

Heat the ghee in a karahi or large frying pan over a medium heat, add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and fenugreek and kalonji seeds and stir fry for about 1 minute.

Then  add the onions and stir fry for about  until golden brown frying for ten to fifteen minutes usually does the trick.

Add the turmeric, ginger and garlic pastes, and stir fry for a couple of minutes more, before adding the ground coriander and sesame seeds and giving it all a good stir.

When the oil rises to the surface, add the chicken and continue to stir fry until it releases its juices, then continue to fry for about 8-10 minutes, or until the liquids have evaporated and the chicken is brown.SAM_3422

Add the tomatoes, coconut, red chilli and curry leaves and cook for a further 3 minutes.  Add the toddy or beer and cook for a few minutes until the liquid is absorbed.

now you can add the drumsticks, black peppercorns, 750 ml/1.25 pints (3.25 cups) water or chicken stock and the tamarind extract.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken and drumsticks are cooked.

Dry roast the gram flour on a tawa, or griddle or in a small frying pan (skillet) for about 1 minute to remove the raw smell, then transfer to a bowl.  Add 250 ml/8 fl oz (1 cup) water and mix well.  Add to the curry to thicken the sauce, then mix well and simmer for 5 minutes, or until the sauce thickens.  Add more water if it is too thick.  Garnish with green chillies, coriander and mint leaves.

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Fish curry of the sitting Patiently kind!

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SAM_3414  SAM_3416This recipe springs from all of those hung over individuals who tell me that take away curries taste better the morning after.

Hey if cold curry is your thing for breakfast who am I to argue! Personally I never have left overs and I guess that says more about me than anything else, I only mention this as this sauce is left to sit around for “as long as it takes” well four or five hours or longer if you like… overnight is good too. Apart from that little similarity the comparison with take away food ends there!

The dish I offer up here is a fish curry for which I used a firm white fish, Cod in this case but any fish or sea food will thrive in this sauce, which I do have to say is robust and spicy enough for most, you could cut back on the chilli if that is your want, as in this particular case this curry is not and I say again is not traditional other than the spices that are added that are common to the cuisine that is Indian. However this is one very tasty curry that if you take the time with and leave it to stand for hours avoiding the temptation to gobble it down, will result in a taste spectacular try it once and you will be hooked. I am suggesting that preparation and cooking time together with the patient bit in the middle is ok at five hours but brilliant at eight to twelve hours

The sauce should always be made first and allowed to cool to room temperature and left for at least five hours, but use it at two or three if you really must!

My advice is make the sauce then do the marinade then bring the two together in something around five hours, the time invested will I assure you reflect in the taste that is a sweet and sour curry experience for which I make no apologies, so go on head down and cook, I hope you enjoy it!

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The LONG LONG Sauce

1tsp brown mustard seeds

1tsp Fennell seeds

.5 tsp  peppercorns

3 green cardamom pods

.5 tsp cumin seeds

6 Curry Leaves

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1 large Onion chopped

2 Green Chillies deseeded and chopped

2 cloves Garlic Finely chopped

2.5 cm sq Ginger, finely chopped

1tsp Turmeric

.5tsp Asafoetida

6 Medium Tomatoes  rough chopped

300ml Vegetable Stock

2 tsp Tomato Puree

2 tsp Tamarind puree

2 tsp Jaggery

Salt to taste

3 tsp ground Cashew Nuts

Getting saucey

Skin the tomatoes by placing them in  boiling water for a few moments, then roughly chop.

To a tablespoon of Coconut oil bought up to temperature in your karahi or heavy based pan you can use ghee if you prefer, add the whole spices, the brown mustard, Fennell seeds, peppercorns, green cardamoms and cumin seeds and fry until the mustard seeds are all a splutter.

Then add the onion and fry until golden brown but not caramelised.

Add the garlic and the ginger and the chillies and cook for a couple of minutes more before adding the turmeric and asafoetida, with a splash of the stock if required to ensure that the spices don’t stick!.

Add the chopped tomatoes and continue to cook until they soften and have passed that raw uncooked stage.

Add as much of the stock as you need to cover all the ingredients bring to the boil and then reduce  the heat to a simmer, adding the tomato puree and the Tamarind paste, taste and adjust the seasoning of salt and pepper before finally adding the jaggery, and the cashew nut paste.

I also added a little extra chilli powder here too but the choice is yours when you taste judge it to the as you like it and then leave it alone, all that’s left then is to continue cooking at a simmer for about fifteen minutes whilst ensuring that everything is well mixed before setting aside to cool for as long as you like, but at least until the sauce is at room temperature.

                                                               Now  to make the marinade

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1tbsp level Ghee or coconut oil

75 g diced shallots

1 tsp clove garlic paste

1 teaspoon ground aniseed

1 Dried Red chilli crumbled

1 teaspoon ground cumin

½ teaspoon ground turmeric

.5 tsp garam masala

2 tablespoons lemon juice

Salt and pepper

3 tbsb yoghurt

500gm white fish cut into large bite sized chunks

Marinade Patiently

To a level tbsp. of ghee or coconut oil add the shallots and fry until translucent adding the garlic and frying for  a few minute more…..set aside to cool

Add the powdered  spices and crumble in the dried red chilli add the lemon juice to the yoghurt and stir well. Add a little salt and pepper to taste, stir in the fried shallots mix well and add to the fish ensuring all the surfaces of the fish are covered in the marinade, refrigerate for a minimum of three hours…..

After you have sat patiently doing the things that patent people do now is the time to bring the two things together

The Final Straight

Pour the sauce into a heavy based pan and heat gently until just below boiling, and then add a large tablespoon of the fish marinade to the sauce do not add the fish yet and continue to heat until the sauce reaches a thick gravy consistency then introduce the fish and ensure that the fillets are completely covered in the sauce increase the heat slightly and bring the sauce up to a gentle simmer cover and cook until the fish is cooked through … serve with whatever you like to eat with a fish curry….SAM_3415

CHEMEEN MANGA….. Man go make curry

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   SAM_3395Fruit in curry , you know it I can’t resist it, and on this occasion I have a fantastic fruit for curry, Mango sweet and juicy that will add that little extra texture and fruity sweetness that is barely a hint on the palate yet acts upon the senses encouraging you to believe that the mango is a vegetable rather than a sweet fruit, a true sweet deception!

Don’t you just love seafood the filter feeders that are so wrong for some, yet taste so damn good, I used cooked prawn as that was all I could get my hands on at the local supermarkets on a Sunday. The cooked version worked just fine, but the raw variety would I think have been that little bit better, as Prawn requires so little cooking time and is the final addition to a sauce that can be  finished off in the moment. This recipe  is also fantastic for any other fish type that you think might benefit from a fruity addition.

The What’s in it!

Coconut oil – 1 tbsp. to fry the paste

1/2 tsp Aniseed

2 tbsp. Coconut(grated)

3 Shallots  or enough to fill 2 large tablespoons medium chopped

1 Red Onion thinly sliced

1 inch piece Ginger finely chopped

4 Cloves Garlic 

2 Green chillies – deseeded and chopped

1/2 tsp Chilly powder

1 tbsp. Coriander powder

1/4 tsp Turmeric powder

1 Mango sliced

150 gms of Prawns

 1/2 tsp Fenugreek

1/4 tsp Mustard seeds

Curry leaves – 1 sprig

Ghee half Tbsp

Salt – As req’d

The how to

First things first if you have fresh prawn, lucky person is that you are ensure the prawns are deveined washed and dried.

Then take the coconut and roast it in a small amount of oil a half to one teaspoon should be enough

when the coconut is beginning to look less than raw add the shallots and the aniseed and continue to roast until golden brown in colourSAM_3393

Place in your pestle and mortar and grind to a smooth paste  and set aside yep it takes a few minutes and you could use a processor if you must, but the pleasure of the moment for me is in the effort involved and the purity of the result… if you get me!

Set aside until required

Heat your karahi to a nice even heat and fry the onions (using the rest of the oil)  until golden brown, add the green chillies garlic and ginger and fry for a minute or two longer

add the chilli coriander turmeric powders and the mango pieces…..

stir in 200 ml of fish stock or water, and salt to taste……

Add the coconut paste bring to the boil and set aside until ready to serve…….

Add the prawns five minutes or so before you’re serving and cook the prawns thoroughly

Finally just before serving make the Tempering by heating ghee then add the mustard seeds, adding the fenugreek and the curry leaves when the mustard seeds are all a splutter, then add the whole lot to your curry…… job done…… enjoy!

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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

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