Tag Archives: indian

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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Improvisational Demonology

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Sometimes as you sleep and the ingredients of life float through your psyche, you know, that time in your dream world where all the colours odours and people’s collide, where nothing is quite real although it is vivid and believable at that moment, where reality matters not in that you do business with the French onion seller on his bicycle who sells you onions and garlic whilst you are naked as the day you were born, and taking your gorilla for a walk. Through to the giant chickens that speak Latin and discuss philosophy and applied physics, whilst laying your giant eggs for that special breakfast of Khageena(click), and that latterly you know them to be the chickens you must despatch with a huge razor sharp axe to the great curry pot that bubbles away in the corner.

you do kill your own meat don’t you.?… Breath_Gaia_Wallpaper_va4m7

oh sorry that’s another blog!

Any dream interpretations are of course welcome but moving swiftly on……

Sometimes you may also dream of the traditions of the Wazwaan and the intricacies of how to cook the haute cuisine of Indian fine dining, and sometimes you traverse the slums of Dharavi where the dish of the day is the scraps from the throw away fast food chicken shops, re-cooked with spices and a few extra simple ingredients to produce a dish for the many with little or nothing; through to the Chole (click) and of course the homage that must be paid  to the mashed potato explosion of flavours that is Pao Bhaji (click) for those that have the wealth of the few extra rupees that this level of street food demands.

Wherever you travel  along the great curry road there is always a new recipe or a new dish to taste and experience and I suppose if a recipe gets its own impetus it becomes a standard that we all want to eat!

Where does that start?

How is that recipe created?

How many people have to share in the deliciousness for it to become a dish that can stand in its own right?

Recipe creation must therefore start somewhere, and for all cooks is a thought process that is about flavours, textures and experimentation, and in western culture has reached a point that is called fine dining with dishes costing more than they should and are rarely about feeding the person and more about craft and technique.

On the converse side there are the cooks like you and I who try to create dishes and plates of food that will be enjoyed by the many because they taste good, fill the stomach and satisfy the soul; and for me the beginning of that journey is the dopey dream world of the deep recesses of my much fractured mind.

Assuming that you can put a recipe together that tastes good and adheres to those basic principles of Indian cuisine should you give it an Indian name , a decision made that bit more difficult if you have no understanding of even the basics of Hindi, or come to that any of the many other mother tongues of the indian continent…

So what do you call a dish you create that you feel is faithful to the ethos of the cuisine .??..

A tricky one to answer is that.

Just calling it Curry doesn’t really cut it as there are already hundreds of those and you believe yours to be that bit better than just Curry

Therein lies the problem here the following recipes I believe exists nowhere else other than here, as they are mine, and are genuinely a product of what little imagination I possess…

They are improvisational in so much as the ingredients are pretty much those that fall out of the cupboard of my mind, and the technique’s used are common to many dishes that have come before and are faithful to al that is Indian Cuisine…..

In support of that idea I am starting a new “Category ” on my blog of Demonology for those recipes of which there are now a few that fit into that category.

Of course I am always open to correction and if anyone out there feels that any particular dish languishing in the Demonology category is known to them by a “traditional” name then please contact me I would be delighted to know that I am thinking the thoughts of those that  make Indian cuisine so great.

…….Have a Go{}at Masala….

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SAM_3023I have got to say it my experience with goat is limited. I have probably eaten it two or three times in my life and cooked with it even less. Traditionally it isn’t something that seems to crop up on the average Indian restaurant menu, with Lamb or mutton being the meat of choice. If you look around on the internet again there is not much to be seen on the recipe front, and the ones that are there are for the Caribbean version…., surprised I am!

My thoughts and I admit they could be very wrong but goat is something that I thought of as perhaps more common in India than lamb, so why no recipes …………uh hu not so clever clogs, India is one of the largest producers of lamb and mutton on the planet not far behind Australia so I am told.

I kid you not if you will excuse the goat based joke.Boerbok Categorie:Afbeelding geit

Goat is of course a top meat and one that you find in a lot of  Asian, and eastern cultures that’s not of course forgetting the home of the goat curry the Afro Caribbean islands where goat curry is part of the everyday food, and often shares a table with that great chilli dish Jerk chicken, featuring that chilli of choice the hottest of the lot “Scotch Bonnet” handle with care.

That said goat can also be found on the table of the African and Arab nations although it is rarely if ever found on the average English or western table as a meat of favour, preference or choice. Lamb seems to hold that position in the nations affections but knowing what I do we are missing something that is delicious and healthy, well as healthy as meat gets!

My conclusion is that it’s main problem is that it is not freely available with the large chain supermarkets of the UK not appearing to stock it, and is only available from the local butcher on special order, I find this really strange as 75 percent of the world’s population eats goat meat.It is low in fat, cholesterol, calories, and saturated fat. In fact, goat meat is over 50% lower in fat than beef in some cuts, and is about 40% lower in saturated fat than chicken, even chicken cooked with the skin off, so why no “commercial sources of supply, well you tell me as I have no idea, although I suspect its cooking time is a bit of the answer but more of that later.

So where do you need to go to get this fantastic meat?

Well the Hal Al butcher is the place it is on offer all day everyday, and therein I suspect lies the problem; you will generally only find these gentlemen in their own communities serving their own communities, that’s not to say you can’t go and buy………..Of course you can, it’s just that bit more strange, unless you live in that community. If you don’t know where to find one just check out the local Indian supermarket and ask them, they will be happy to point you in the right direction.

What I can tell you is that the meat you get if you ask for diced goat, is lean and rich in colour , it doesn’t come in a shrink-wrap plastic container  and at Mr Khans cost me about £9.00 per kilo, so great value too…

500 gm was enough for this dish to feed two.

This recipe is one of my creations, that is if any recipe can be claimed as ones own and is included here as an Indian dish in that  it offers much respect to the masala spice mixes, hence the name, I have also thrown in a few mushrooms at the end to make it that bit more interesting but the reality of the recipe is that it is about the goat not the veg, so if you don’t like the fungi don’t put them in…..

There is a long list of ingredients but don’t let that put you off the great majority are spices for the marinade. This is essentially a one pot cookery dish and very simple in its execution once its on the stove its a stir it every twenty minutes job, just to check its not sticking and that’s it….just sit and await the deliciousness, and yes be prepared to wait as goat is not a quick cook, long and slow is a must so don’t be in a rush, patience is a virtue, your efforts will be amply rewarded…..

The Marinade

Combine all the following

Plain Yoghurt

1  onion finely chopped and fried to translucent in a single tablespoon of Coconut oil

In a flat based pan dry roast the following until they offer up the aromas of india …. you know what they smell like?

1 tsp fennel seeds,

1 black cardamom

2 green cardamom

2 tsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seedsSAM_3011

1  Kashmiri Dried red

When roasted to their aromatic conclusion no more than a couple of minutes I suggest consign to a pestle and mortar and grind to a fine powder…..

then

add the following ground spices

1tsp garam masala,

1 tsp each of turmeric,

.5 tsp Red Chilli powder

large pinch asafoetida

.5 tsp Black salt

finally add the ground spices to the yoghurt… and then add to the spicey marinade

5 cloves garlic, crushed

and

1.5 inch Ginger, finely sliced, and chopped….

that’s the marinade done so…..

Cover the meat in the marinade, then get your hands in there and massage the marinade into the flesh, then set aside in a fridge to work for a minimum of 4 hours and overnight if you can!

Some hours later…tick tock tick tockSAM_3017

You will need to seal the meat before you go to the main cooking event so when you are ready remove the meat from the marinade and scrape as much of the marinade as you can of it back into the bowl, once done, set the marinade aside for later use….

Roll the meat in a tablespoon  of flour ensuring it is lightly coated, and then fry for a few minutes until you have some colour on the meat, once this is achieved set the meat aside and commence on making the sauce…..

The cooking sauce

1 onion, peeled & sliced

1 small tin chopped tomato

½ tsp salt to taste

1tsp Nigella seeds

1 tsp cumin seedsSAM_3019

10 curry leaves

1 tsp chilli powder

3 tbsp coconut oil

300 ml water/Lamb stock cube

1 tsp tomato paste/Puree

2 Green chillies, seeded and roughly chopped.

1 tbsp Jaggery or Brown sugar

1 cup coriander leaves

Heat 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil in a saucepan over medium heat and add the curry leaves, cumin and Nigella seeds. Stir with a wooden spoon until the seeds begin to pop and froth

Add the onion and fry until golden brown.

 Add the jaggery after about 5 minutes to help the onion caramelise, until golden brown.

 Add the green chillies and cook for a further minute or two

Then add in the goat meat with all of the marinade.

Cook, stirring continuously, for 5 minutes.Add the tomato puree and continue stirring,

finally add the vegetable stock and bring to the boil, cover, reduce to a low simmer and cook for about two and a half  hours or until the meat is soft and tender. SAM_3022Add more stock or water as you go if you think the sauce is getting too thick or sticking.

10 minutes from the end I threw in a handful of mushrooms as I like mushrooms but they are optional, other than that serve with rice or Naans but above all enjoy…..

Fusion Carbon Footprint veg curry

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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……