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

SAM_3413

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

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Getting in with the TINDA

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Punjabi Tinda Gravy Curry.

Back to dishes of the strictly vegetarian kind, a pond that I have not dipped my toe in for quite some time. I am tempted back by this beautiful recipe that features a vegetable that is not perhaps one you will find on any of the main stream supermarket shelves but will at your better than average Indian supermarket of which mine is one of the best, check this fruit and vegetable counter……..Jpeg

If you can get this particular delicious example of vegetable delight it’s a Satsuma sized apple looking veg which is citrusy in taste, and is very much part of the gourd family. You can get it in tins too but again you’re going to need the Indian supermarket to pick those up as well.

Give it time they will get to the standard supermarket sometime soon just not right now, probably because they’re not familiar in the West and without that familiarity and demand,  well you can work that out for yourself.

If you can’t get hold of the real deal you could of course use courgettes or young marrows and will offer pretty much the same result, that said I’m lucky I can get all that I recognise and a lot that I can’t but I’m working on that one. This was not a cheap vegetable though coming in at just under £2.00 per Kilo, some proteins come in cheaper than that, so veggie is not always the cheap alternative….SAM_3401

This recipe also features a TALIMPU or a  bagar, a vital step that gives the dish a perfect punch, in the most traditional of ways it features three vital ingredients onions, green chillies and curry leaves that can make almost any dish taste the part. Dealing with the ingredients of the Talimpu is also not without tradition, in that the  chillies are cut in rings or slit in 4 and thrown in a well of hot oil that’s been spluttering with a tablespoon of TALIMPU GINJALU (mixture of mustard seeds, split urad dal, and cumin). The chillies have to be fried well before you add the onions and curry leaves easy enough but important to the end result. The other element is a wet masala again a traditional element featuring onion and spices cooked and then ground, so all in all lots to keep you interested although this is not a complex dish the two elements of the Bagar and the  wet Masala combine to make a very tasty dish indeed

Now you have all the vital info lets cook!tinda_masala_rvsd (2)

The Whats in it

Punjabi Tinda three or four to feed 2 persons

Onion 1

Tomato 1

Yogurt 1 Tbsp

Red Chilli Powder 1/4 tsp

Turmeric Powder 1/4 tsp

Green Chillies 1

Salt to taste

Masala:

Mustard Seeds 1/2 tsp

Cumin Seeds 1/2 tsp

Urad Dal 1/2 tsp

Whole Dried Red Chillies 3 – 4

Coriander Seeds 1/2 Tbsp

Oil 1 tsp

Talimpu:

Mustard Seeds 1/4 tsp

Cumin Seeds 1/4 tsp

Urad Dal 1/4 tsp

Curry Leaves 5

Oil 1 tsp

300ml approx. of water or Vegetable stock

The How to

First thing there is a little preparation – wash, remove ends peel and chop the Punjabi Tinda.

Then peel and dice the onion. Remove stems, wash and slice and de seed the green chillies. Finally prep the yoghurt by whisking then set aside.

Now we can get down to the cooking thing…..

Masala first by heating  a tsp of oil in your Karahi or heavy based pan, add all masala ingredients in order.

When  the mustard seeds start spluttering and the mixture is aromatic, add the onion and salt. Fry till onion turns golden brown and remove from heat.

Cool the mixture to room temperature and grind it into smooth paste with little water, in your pestle and mortar or food processor if you like things done in a hurry:)

next we move on to the Talimpu…….

Heat a teaspoon of oil in your now nicely clean Karahi or heavy based pan, add all talimpu ingredients in order and again  when the mustard seeds start spluttering, add chopped punjabi tinda, green chilli, tomato, turmeric powder and salt.

Now cover the pan and cook for about 5 minutes until the Tinda has softened

Then stir in the  ground masala paste and about quarter cup of vegetable stock, cover gain!

Lower the heat to a simmer and allow to gently bubble away for at least  10 -15 minutes or until tinda is soft and kind of transparent, you may need to add a little more stock or water to keep things moist so don’t be scared to add as much as you think it needs.

This is important so if you need more than 15 minutes, do so as undercooked tinda is……….  well not the greatest!

Now uncover and  stir in the  red chilli powder, whisked yogurt and season with salt if necessary.

Garnish with some fresh Coriander and let the eating commence…..

You can serve this with either Rice or Chapatis, or Rotis  a little meat or fish would also not do it any harm either so enjoy….

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

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)

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Your Top ten Curries as voted for by you! 

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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!