Category Archives: Tamil Nadu

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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My Kofta period… a Load of balls really

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SAM_3366 Like artists, all chefs and cooks I believe have phases and periods in that at certain times they like to cook certain things. It is a way to learn and develop ideas and disciplines that assist in the greater understanding of the food we eat. Currently I am very interested in balls of whatever flesh in sauce, I have over the last couple of months done some lamb Koftas in a Green sauce(click), and most recently some chicken koftas (Click) in what could best be described as a masala sauce . Today I’m going for the Fish Koftas, or to be titled correctly as Machhalli Ke kofte, and like all kofta they only really come into their own if accompanied by a beautiful spicey  and unctuous sauce.

This is a fantastic dish for that Saturday supper.(click) You can pretty much use whatever fish you like or can get hold of but here in England Colley or Cod are two good suggestions I’ve also added some white crab meat  in for good measure for that extra texture , mainly because I like crab and that the crab will bring an additional sweetness to the dish.  Again I promise you a delicious dish that will light the table up as something that is that little bit different.

There are a complex list of ingredients , don’t be too afraid they are all pretty standard ingredients that you should be able to pick up in any good indian supermarket, and they are all ingredients that you will use again so don’t be scared get in there its a lovely dish that will make your taste buds Zing!

There’s enough here to feed two hungry people

Machhalli Ke kofte

What’s in them

240ml whole milk

2 cardamom pods the green lightly crushed

1 black cardamom

.25 tsp turmeric ground

.25tsp cumin ground

500 gm white fish

3 tbsp. white crab meat

1 large potato cooked and diced whatever is good for mashing in your corner of the world

2 tsp desiccated coconut

6 shallots

1 tsp roughly chopped ginger

1 large green chilli deseeded and very finely chopped

2-3 tbsp. chopped coriander

1 tsp roasted cumin seeds crushed

1tbsp gram flour

fresh ground black pepper

1 egg beaten

veg oil to deep fry!

The how to make them bit…

The first thing you need to do is gently poach the fish by placing the cardamom pods, turmeric and ground cumin in a saucepan with the milk and bring to the boil. Place the fish in the milk and allow to poach on a low heat for three minutes. Then Drain and discard the liquid and spices , place the fish in a bowl to cool and set aside, add 1 large tablespoon of the crab when cooled.

Blend the Shallots, ginger, green chilli, and garlic to a smooth paste in a processor with a tbsp. of water, then add this to the fish bringing it all together with the potato and coconut and finally the beaten egg and enough of the flour to bring the koftas together into  balls that are holding together in their own right. Use your hands for this part not a blender as your hands will bring the right texture to the Koftas  so knead all of the ingredients together and form into balls of fishy delight that are no bigger than a ping pong ball. If the mixture is overly sticky, moisten your hands a little with some water. Place the kofta’s  in the fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes to cool before frying.

You can choose to fry them off before you make the sauce or after the choice is yours; I chose to fry first and warm through in the sauce later as I wanted the Koftas to pick up some of the essence of the sauce.SAM_3364

Now is the time to fry you can deep fry or shallow it matters not just use  a medium heat and cook until they are a nice golden brown .  That’s Job done for the koftas you now need a lovely unctious sauce to go with them and that is for sure what follows….

The saucieness

1 large tbsp. Ghee or  veg oil

10 curry leaves

1 tsp Cumin seeds

3 cardamom

1 tsp brown mustard seed

2 medium red onions sliced

3 green Chillies de-seeded and rough chopped

4 plump Garlic cloves rough chopped

0.5 tsp Cumin Powder

0.5 tsp Coriander Powder

1 Tsp Garam masala

0.5 tsp Turmeric powder

Small tin chopped Tomatos( 200gm ish)

2 tsp Tamarind pulp

1 tbsp. white crab meat

1 Heaped teaspoon Jaggery/ or brown Sugar

200ml fish stock

200ml Coconut milk

A drizzle of yoghurt to finish

Salt to taste

Heat the oil in your chosen pan and add the brown mustard seed, Cumin seeds, cardamom, curry leaves, and fry until the mustard seeds are popping and a spluttering then add the onions and fry until they are a lovely dark golden brown this takes time at least ten minutes and in some cases more so be patient stirring often and don’t allow the onions to burn that patience should extend until the onions reach the browning level you desire  you can then add the ginger and the garlic, and never before as once you add the ginger and garlic all browning of the onions will cease. While you are waiting for the onions to reach that wonderful golden brown take all the spice powders that’s the Cumin ,Coriander, Garam masala and turmeric powders and add a little water to mix them to a fine paste and add them to the onions and when you do, keep stirring vigorously to stop them catching on the bottom of the pan, add a little water or stock f that happens, and that should loosen them off.

Add the chopped tomatoes and cook on a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes, you can also add the tamarind and the jiggery; stirring from time to time before adding as much fish stock as to make a gravy slightly thinner than you would serve at…. This is down to you because it is at this  point you add the fish balls, and they will absorb the sauce they are in; then add  the last of the crab meat for the final couple of minutes of cooking just to heat the Kofta through and reduce the sauce down to how you like your sauces to be.SAM_3365

I’m serving this with some Red onion and Sweet potato Pakoras (recipe to follow) and of course Naan as is my want serve rice if you prefer…..

Meen Kozhambu(Saucy Fish Curry)

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One of the great pleasures of curry for me is Sauce a truly rich curry well cooked with lashings of sauce that can be soaked up in the rice or naan and still have more to spare is perhaps one of my greatest joys and this recipe is just that saucy!

It will take an hour or so to cook and prepare and will serve 4 to 6 so get your chums round and enjoy this easy to cook and prepare curry explosion!

Ingredients

4 tabsp Veg oil

1tsp Black Mustard Seeds

1 Tsp Fenugreek Seeds

2 or 3 Red Kashmiri Chillies

3 medium Onions sliced

2 tbsp crushed fresh Ginger

2 tbsp crushed Garlic

2 sprigs Curry Leaves, or 10 to 15 dried

1 tbsp ground Turmeric

2 tsp red Chilli powder

4 Tomatoes roughly chopped

1 tbspTamarind paste

1Kg 2.25 Lb firm fish fillets skinned and cut into strips

1 Cup Coconut Cream

juice .5 Lemon

Salt to taste

Method

As usual heat the oil in a heavy pan over a medium heat,adding the Black Mustard seeds and wait for the crackle, that should be about a minute or so, Add the Fenugreek Seeds and stir fry until they turn light golden brown:Now the Red chillies whole, when the chillies turn that deep dark golden brown that only they can do, add the onions, saute for about a minute, adding the crushed Ginger and Garlic and cooking for a further 2 minutes, that should be enough time for them to release their flavours.

Now add the Curry leaves Turmeric and chilli Powder, season with salt and cook for a further 30 seconds or so!

Now is the time to add the chopped Tomatoes which will need about 5 minutes cooking time , or until they soften, adding in the Tamarind paste at this time, and giving it all a good stir

Now is the ti9me to add the fish fillets, now cover and cook on a low heat for 10-15 minutes or until the fish is cooked through, add the coconut cream, bring the whole dish up to serving temperature

Add the Lemon juice and serve….

and as we say round here jobs a gooden!

Tamatar Bhatkalikura

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Sometimes I just get home from the office and I want a dish that’s only going to take me a few moments to prepare and one that will explode the old taste buds, fill the stomach, and remind me just why I love curry…Its just about as vegetarian as it gets, and will make you wonder if you ever need to eat meat again.

Try this fantastic little dish easy to prepare tasty and easy to eat soft to medium Chilli heat, and something that can be prepared and left to stand for up to 12 hours,  maturing like a fine wine when reheated, alternatively can be made in no time, and eaten when ready!

Tomato (Tamatar)

Tomato (Tamatar) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tamatar Bhatkalikura (that’s Tomato curry with Coconut and Spinach)

300ml Vegetable Stock

8 Medium Tomatoes  rough chopped

2 Green Chillies deseeded and chopped

6 Curry Leaves

1 Medium Onion rough chopped

Salt to taste

2 Tsp Tomato Puree

2 cloves Garlic Finely chopped

2.5 cm sq Ginger, finely chopped

1tsp Ground Cumin

1tsp Turmeric

3 tablespoons desiccated or fresh Coconut

45gm Baby Spinach, chopped

 

For the TEMPER

1tsp Mustard Seeds

1 Medium Onion chopped

0.5 tsp Chilli Powder

1tbsp (approx) Ghee or Veg oil

 

Method

Bring the Veg stock (and yes you can use an oxo cube) to the boil, add the tomatoes, chillies, curry leaves, and onion, season with salt.  Add the Tomato Puree after 10 minutes, then reduce the heat slightly.

Continue to boil and reduce the liquid for about another 15-20 minutes.

Add the garlic, chopped ginger, ground cumin, turmeric and coconut, and finally the spinach, then continue to simmer until the moisture has evaporated…

That’s it, how difficult is that all you need now is the tempering…….

Tempering

Heat the ghee or the oil in a large frying pan, I prefer Ghee as this brings a richer taste to the dish but for those on a health kick then Veg oil is fine, throw in the mustard seeds and when the seeds start to pop, add the chopped onion and the chilli powder.  Fry for about 5-7 minutes or until the onions are golden brown……Pour over the tomatoes and cover until served, to hold in that awesome aroma…..

On those days I am really tired I will serve this on a Peshwari Naan in the style of tomatoes on toast and the sweet element of that particular Naan compliments the curry –  wonderfully delicious.

Alternative with plain white rice is just as good….