Tag Archives: Onion

Shevandi Kada…King Prawn and Baby Onion

Standard

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

++++++++++=

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!

Advertisements

When a Bhaji is a Pakora..or is that a Bhakora

Image

As your average western white boy, the language of Indian cuisine can only be described as confusing even at the best of times. What is true is that there appear to be very few firm rules, and any rules such as they are exist in a purely regional variation not to be confused with dialect, more about interpretation.

Let me explain, walk into any indian restaurant and you will find the ubiquitous Onion Bhajee on the menu often presented as something that is about the same size as a tennis ball and is usually made from finely grated onion dipped in a  batter, with a few spices, deep fried and simply delicious, usually  served as a starter which sort of begs the question.

So what is an Onion Pakora then?

Well from what I can see they are exactly the same but not formed into a ball shape but certainly onion in batter…..

To try and clarify this I spoke to an indian chef friend of mine and his teaching and wisdom is as follows.

Firstly that a Bhaji is any vegetable cut into small pieces and dipped into Gram (chickpea) flour and then deep-fried, and not forgetting that there is no spicing whatsoever in a bhaji…..Which sorta bears no comparison to the “Onion Bhaji of the restaurant, apart from the fact its onion….

Bhaji’s are also usually eaten with sambar or chutneys depending on what you prefer.

He went on to say that Pakora on the other hand is a much wider description and can include protein rather than just vegetable, meat, fish and shellfish, alongside vegetable, are all acceptable; as a general rule the Pakora also includes spices, chilli, turmeric, salt, pepper etc are all common, added to gram flour and a little water and sometimes an egg to create a thick  batter that is usually refrigeratated before use, and then mixed with the main ingredients, formed into a ball and then fried….. So there you have it an Onion Bhaji is therefore really a Pakora as they contain Turmeric, salt, pepper, chlli, etc

confused…. yeah so am I

Well to clarify a little as I understand it, in England  anything pretty much fried in Gram flour can be called what you want to call it Pakora or Bhaji, neither is incorrect or wrong!

Anyone out there with greater knowledge feel free to correct me…But at the risk of starting something new I am proud to present my attempt at being right I herewith present the  BHAKORA, in that it contains elements of the Pakora and bhaji bought together as one.

I am staying fairly traditional on the batter front using gram flour, but for the filling I have gone sorta fusion so onion and sweet potato as one of the main ingredients, and for the other, the truly delicious cheese Bhakora for which I used the same batter, but rolled them into a nice mouthful sized, just short of a golf ball diameter and fried them in my deep fat fryer at 180 degrees which seemed to do the cooking perfectly, not too fast and not too slow….

So Pakora Bhaji or Bhakora whatever you choose to call them I care not, just enjoy these little bundles of deliciousness

Onion & sweet potato “Bhakora”:)

Onion and sweet potato1 medium white onion

half of one sweet potato

Both grated and mixed roughly together or if you prefer some protein, 250 gms of Mature for that extra cheesy kick I used Canadian Cheddar grated  for

Cheese Bhakora

SAM_3369

The Batter

Whatever filling you choose to use for your Pakora, Bhaji, or Bhakora the batter is the key element get this right and pretty much everything else follows, feel free to adjust the seasoning and spicing on this recipe to suit your own taste just remember to stay loyal to the flour quantities and to mix it to a thick consistency. That is achieved by adding a little water at a time and mixing by hand though the lumpy stage and then the smooth stage that is perhaps just that little thicker that wallpaper paste:)…… now there’s an analogy. Also consider that vegetables like onion contain a lot of water which will further thin your batter so don’t worry if you think the batter is too thick when you add the veg it will thin further still…….so no worries there then

250 gms : Gram Flour

50 gms: Plain Flour

.5 tsp: baking Powder

1 Large green chilli Very Finely Chopped

1 tsp Cumin

1 tsp Chilli Powder

1 tsp Turmeric

1 tsp Garam Masala

1 tsp salt

Enough water to make a thick batter

1tsp Salt

If your going for the cheese  Ball variety wet your hands before you roll them , as it makes it a bit easier…… that said enjoy !

A life without …is a shorter one

Standard

There are three very vital ingredients to an awful lot of curries that if they were not to be included the dish could not be called curry, the first is the humble onion that vegetable that is for me at the very heart of all that is curry. That vital and humble vegetable beloved throughout the world and more importantly an inclusive part of a huge number of nations diet and foods; so many nations can’t have got it wrong, in that they all agree that the onion has been considered very simply a core taste in a lot of the worlds foods and dishes and to some a cure-all for much that ails us. Scientists today though are not quite so sweeping, as to call it a cure-all, and will generally agree that onions may have power to prevent and treat certain illnesses but how many and exactly what diseases is a matter for much debate as they have yet to discover the exact substances that have these amazing healing powers, and onions to this day continue to be the subject of much research.

Charlie brooks Im a celeb eating a raw onion

Charlie Brooks I’m a celeb eating a raw onion

Chomping your way through a raw onion, is not for the faint hearted although the pickled variety does make that task a little easier, and in doing so onion in whatever form will certainly help reduce Cholesterol levels, however may reduce your popularity amongst those nearest and dearest to you; on the other hand the science suggests, and I am no scientist that it is a fact that onion  increases levels of Lipoproteins HDLs,which in essence are the special molecules that help carry away cholesterol from body tissue and artery walls, further still there are plenty of claims for the humble onion from prevention of blood clots through to the prevention of coronary heart disease, thrombosis and a wide range of other conditions that includes strokes and even cancer, but whatever the truths of the matter are onion is definitely something that should be included in your diet…..That said I also read that they can cause Migraines in some individuals but you’re not going to find that out unless you eat them are you!

According to Ayurveda, India’s classic medical science, foods are grouped into three categories – sattvic, rajasic and tamasic – foods in the modes of goodness, passion and ignorance. Onions and garlic, and the other alliaceous, being those plants with a strong odour of which shallots and leeks also feature plants are classified as rajasic and tamasic, which means that they increase passion and ignorance. Onion is also regarded as an aphrodisiac and like garlic is avoided in the diet for just this reason it heats the passion, and like garlic is a no-no in the devout and are considered as unfit to offer to a deity!
I have touched briefly on Garlic above and this too is in the same family as the humble onion and as such has a very mixed record on its good and bad points, although in the western world it is very much regarded as a miracle food and herbalists and neuropaths’ would recommend garlic as a cure or help for dozens of ailments from asthma through to arthritis, and as such there is now medical evidence to confirm garlics’ healing properties are confirmed as an antiviral and antibacterial agent.

A little of what does you good

A little of what does you good

Again eating garlic raw is not for the faint hearted, certainly don’t do it if your planning on kissing anyone or even getting close for a nice chat garlic is never and I say it again never nice on the breath and worse still you as the giver of your garlic halitosis have absolutely no idea how your breath smells, on the other hand bad breath aside;  it is proved to help reduce nasal congestion, as well as relieving other symptoms of the common cold. Garlic like onion can also inhibit blood clotting  and can increase the rate that blood clots are broken down. There are many people out there today walking around who are taking garlic in capsule form every day as an aid to their heart conditions
Finally that other vital ingredient Ginger, is renowned for its abilities to aid digestion, and is notable for relieving travel and morning sickness, and is used to protect against respiratory and digestive infections. Ginger is also great at reducing flatulence and griping pains, not to mention also some use in reducing toothache and relief for the common cold. A poor cousin to the onion family but something that does for sure add to your health and well being so to sum it all up Curry or more importantly some of its vital ingredients and ginger is certainly one of those, is good for you.
For me that is just brilliant news in a world that keeps telling me that most of what I eat is so so bad for me and possibly injurious to my health, something I love to eat isn’t, and if for only that reason Curry rocks!

Chicken In Cashew Nut Sauce

Standard

Chicken In Cashew Nut Sauce

This is a fantastic Clasical recipe beware it takes a lot of time to prepare but is worth every second, producing a true fantastic nutty smooth rich sauce, adored by the Maharajas and worth every second it takes to prepare…..

Ingredients

250g Cashew Nuts

100g Veg Oil

2 Onions Chopped + 0.5 of an Onion Finely sliced

12 Garlic Cloves Whole

2.5cm Root Ginger Chopped

2.5 tsp Coriander Seeds

1.5 tsp  Cumin Seeds

4 Dried red Chillies

6 cloves

8cm Cinnamon stick

100g Coconut

Salt

2 Green Chillies finely chopped

1kg Chicken highs

3 tbsp Yogurt

The first thing you need to do here is put  100g of the cashew nuts into a bowl and cover with just enough water for them to soak up. Leave em alone for two hours, Drain and chuck em in a blender or food processor, add a little warm water and blitz em til they are smooth paste….Set Aside

Place a further 25g of the Cashews in a small pan and dry roast them til they are golden brown…. Set aside

With a small amount of oil in a frying Pan take the .5 of the onion and fry until it is crispy and golden brown, set aside and use as a garnish just before you serve!

In a large Frying pan/ or cooking pot, dry roast the Garlic, ginger, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, dried chillies, cloves, and cinnamon over a low heat for five minutes stirring all the time, Add the coconut, 75g more of the nuts and the chopped onion and roast for a further 10 minutes stirring continuously taking care not to allow the mixture to burn, but allowing the coconut to gently brown….remove from the heat and allow to cool

Grind the mixture in a food processor  adding 125 to 250ml of water to a very smooth consistency this takes time , and is vital so be aware that if it is not done well the sauce will taste gritty so blend for at least ten minutes maybe longer!

Heat The remaining oil in a large pot add the blended spice mixture and fry for 10 minutes over a low heat.

Add the ground Cashew Paste and fry for a further two minutes, add some salt to taste, and the green Chillies

Increase the heat to medium high and add the chicken pieces Fry for a further Five minutes until the chicken is sealed and looking white rather than pink, then add the remaining untoasted cashews, and stir fry for a minute or two longer, then add about 600ml of water. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the chicken is tender and cooked through.

Top it off with a dollop of yogurt and the crispy onion you prepared earlier serve and enjoy …..

This recipe should serve 4 easily with a generous portion each……