Category Archives: The Western Coast

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!

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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…..

Salmon and King Prawn Pathia .. Go on spoil the one you love!

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 SAM_2969 First things first this isn’t a budget recipe and therefore not one for the kids, Prawns and Salmon are not cheap where I come from, but the food police tell me the Salmon is good for me lots of Omega 5 whatever that is brain stuff I’m reliably informed. Fish wherever you buy it these days is not a cheaper option than meat that’s for sure but for those of us of a pescatorial persuasion such as I and Mrs Demonology, fish is the protein of choice.

This is a fantastic recipe none the less, delicious and as such one that should be reserved for the one that you love most in the world, they whoever they may be will not fail to be impressed by how deep the sauce flavouring is; so full of flavours and textures that bring the mouth alive in an explosion of curryness……., and further you will win never ending praise for your cooking prowess……… men take note, score big points with this one:)

Although the spicing ingredients are fairly complex it isn’t a tricky dish to cook, but as with all good recipes all you really need to do is ensure that you have assembled the ingredients before you light the stove; and just in case you thought there was a mistake there is no ginger in this recipe all the heat comes from the chillies and to be honest it’s hot and spicy enough enough with a  sauce  on the thick side, sourness coming from the tamarind, and a sweetness from the Jaggery just for good measure. Get those flavours how you like it and “POW” a fantastic dish and taste sensation for sure. Honestly though it may sound complex but its not…….

This dish serves 2 persons….

Whats in it

12 good sized raw Prawns peeled and deveined

2 Salmon steaks

2 tsp Tamarind pulp

4 green Chillies de-seeded and rough chopped

4 plump Garlic cloves rough chopped

1 tsp Cumin seeds

50ml (2 Fl oz ) veg oil

2large Onions Finely Chopped

0.5 tsp Cumin Powder

0.5 tsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powderSAM_2962

1 Tsp Garam masala

0.5 tsp Turmeric powder

Small tin chopped Tomatoes( 200gm ish)

1 Heaped teaspoon Jaggery/ or brown Sugar

200ml fish stock

10 curry leaves

A drizzle of yoghurt to finish

Salt to taste

The How to

The first job here is to deseed the green chilles, and grind them together into a paste with the 4 garlic cloves and the cumin seeds…..SAM_2959

Heat the oil in your chosen pan and fry the onions until they are a nice golden brown colour at that point add the garlic, chilli paste, and fry off for a further couple of minutes…

At this point it is safe to add all those spices the cumin , coriander, red chilli, garam masala, and turmeric powders, and stir constantly for about a minute, you might need to add a drizzle of water here too just to stop the spices catching on the pan, then add the chopped tomatoes and cook on a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring from time to time…..

Add half the tamarind , all the jaggery/brown sugar and the curry leaves, and salt to taste…. Now you need to bring your palate into play and balance the dish to how you like it!

Add more tamarind if you think it needs more sour, or sugar/ Jaggery for the sweet, be carefull though and remember sometimes less is more. Don’t add anymore salt for the moment as the fish stock may well bring some saltiness to the recipe.

Add the fish stock in small amounts and simmer your finished sauce for about 5 minutes or until the sauce reduces to a consistency that in your opinion is little wetter than you would serve it at,  but wet enough to cook the fish through bearing in mind that you have about 10 to 15  minutes of cooking time left…

At this point add the Salmon SAM_2966cover and cook for about 8 minutes on a simmer level of cooking, if it is a little dry during the cooking of the fish you can add a little more stock, coating the salmon flesh with the sauce, then  turn the salmon over after the eight minutes and cook for a further five minutes or until the salmon is cooked and flaking nicely, adding the prawns about 4 minutes before you serve , remember that the prawnsSAM_2967

literally need no more than a couple of minutes so these should be added at the very end, the sauce should be nice and thick and unctuous when the ready to serve, finally add a little more salt if you thinks it needs it.

Add a drizzle of yoghurt when its on the plate and serve with rice Naans or traditionally Daal, whatever you like……SAM_2970Enjoy!

The Western Coast

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The West coast of India is a massive swathe of land that stretches from the state of Gujarat, through Maharashtra, and onwards towards the  wonders of Mumbai, and then down to one of my most favourite places on Earth Goa; it doesn’t end there going on through to the seaport of Mangalore in Karnataka and the historic Malabar region. There is even now a fantastic Railway that runs the entire length, so intrepid travellers can get a view of what some might call the Monsoon coast!India west coast_Map

Within such a vast piece of land the food is of course diverse to say the least, offering a variety of flavours and textures and being coastal the treasures of the sea feature heavily, with fish and coconut predominant in the diet of all the people’s that populate these lands.

That being a given ,one must not forget the wildcard that is the Portuguese whose rule and domination of this coast lasted many centuries, bringing to bear an influences on the dishes, culture and lives of all that it touched. Traditional Goan food which I must confess is the food that I know most about, having spent the majority of my time in India on the particularly beautiful stretch of coastal sand that  reaches a golden finger from Baga to Palolem and is in my opinion unmatched anywhere else in the world. Traditional Goan food is cooked in earthenware pots on wooden fires, this giving the food of the region a unique flavour that is very hard to copy, especially in a western kitchen. Goan food  is however the cuisine that is perhaps the most identifiable to the western palette and as such easiest to get your  head around. Goa is also a large enclave of the Christian faith, another Portuguese influence, and significant in that Christianity does not prevent the eating of Pork and beef as do many of the religions found throughout the great majority of Asia. Goa is also home to the Vindaloo curry that stalwart of the restaurant menu,and is often seen as a pork dish in Goa, but conversely mostly as chicken, or lamb within Europe and the rest of the world.

Another of the great dishes of the region that again features that stalwart of the meat eaters world Chicken is Caril de Galinha (click for recipe), however this is a dish that it is sadly very rare to find on a restaurant menu.

The state of Maharashtra lies in the west of the country and thanks to Bollywood boasts wealth and prosperity that is unknown in most parts of india , the cuisine of the area ranges from the most robust rural dishes through to those most elaborate and regal dishes favoured by the food lovers ofMaharashtra  Pune a city that is considered as the  little sister to Mumbai but the second largest city of the region; with Shrikand (click for recipe) that sweetest and most subtle of dishes being a firm favourite and is considered by many a a good rival to the western soufle, whilst if you want something with a little more clout then get your taste buds round a spicy lamb curry known locally as Mutton Kolhapuri,(click for recipe) fiery and fragrant and definitely not a curry for the faint hearted, and again not commonly found anywhere other than the domestic kitchen…..

Perhaps arguably the greatest city in India rests in this region Mumbai, not the biggest city in India but certainly one of the most cosmopolitan with many International interests all competing for a piece of the action from overseas banks and utility call centres, through to the most humble of street side subsistence farmer selling some excess veg for a few rupees.  The city has growmumbai-slumsn massively over the years with the British influence here since the Raj playing a huge part, with now other multi National interests all clamouring for a piece of the action of a cheap and plentiful supply of workers.  The population of the city runs into millions, from the slums of Dharavi, featured in Slum Dog Millionaire, a massive  conglomeration of dwellings that operates almost as a city in its own right; through to the palatial mansions that can be seen in the better areas of the city.

Street food is Mumbai is the order of the day with so many hungry mouths to feed. In the west we have MacDonald’s on every street corner, in Mumbai they have Pao Bhaji (click for recipe), a deliciously simple vegetable curry served with Bread known locally as Pav, and cheap enough to fill an empty stomach and something that can be found everywhere you would expect to find hungry people better still priced at a level that most can afford, filling and tasty, but if your going to try it leave it til the end of your trip as the health and safety of the kitchen that provides it cannot be guaranteed. There is of course a wide variety of street food available and yes I would encourage you to try, the samosa the bhajis and the chapatis, blindingly delicious if a little risky…..but lets face it a life without risk is no life at all….

Mutton Kolhapuri….Fiery Lamb Curry

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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

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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

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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……