Saturday, 25 September 2021

Chilly pork

Pork- 500 gms, cut into cubes (equal quantity of belly pieces and shoulder or just belly is also fine)
Chinese 5 spice seasoning- 1/2 tbsp
Dark soy sauce- 1/2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste- 1/2 tbsp
Pepper- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste

Oil- 1 tbsp
Ginger- 1 tbsp, grated
Garlic- 1 tbsp roughly chopped
Green chillies- 2, slit (adjust according to taste)
Spring onions- 3, chopped (just the white bits, keep the green aside for garnishing)
Tomato- 1 small, finely chopped
Bell pepper- a little more than 1/4 cup, cut into 1 inch squares
Onions- 1 small, petals separated and cut into 1 inch squares
Dark soy sauce- around 1/2 tbsp
Chilli sauce- 1 tsp (optional)

Mix all the ingredients from pork to salt in a pressure cooker and cook until done. I dont add any water, but if you want you can add a dash.
I cook on high till one whistle and then reduce heat to low and cook for a further 12 to 13 minutes. Wait for the pressure to release and then open the lid.
Once you open, if you find a lot of water, cook it off on high heat with just a wee bit of gravy remaining, around 1/4 cup liquid.

In a large wok, heat the oil and throw in ginger, garlic green chillies and spring onion whites till fragrant around 4 to 5 minutes on medium high heat.
Add the chopped tomato and cook for a further 3 minutes.
Add the bell pepper and onions and mix it all well. Cook for 5 minutes.
Add the cooked pork along with all the juices and give a mix with all the vegetables.
Reduce heat to medium, add the dark soy sauce and chilli sauce (and salt if needed) and fry the pork.
Keep stirring in between and cook till the oil surfaces and the pork is roasted well.
Garnish with spring onion greens and serve with your favourite noodle or fried rice.

Notes: This dish is best with belly pork as the fat renders the taste.
Roasting the pork on medium heat till the oil surfaces is key.
Leave a bit of the pork in the wok and add a cup of cooked rice to it and stir fry on high for a few minutes to get an incredibly flavourful fried rice.

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Brinjal fry

Adapted from here (Serves 2 as part of side dish)
Gingelly oil- 1 1/2 tbsp
Garlic- 3 large, crushed
Baby brinjal- 6, quartered or 1 small aubergine
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder- 3/4th tsp
Salt- to taste
Curry leaves- a sprig

To grind
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds- 1 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/4 tsp

Heat the oil in  kadai and saute the garlic till slightly crisp.
Add the sliced brinjal and saute to coat the pieces in oil.
Add the turmeric powder and salt and cook for a couple of minutes.
Now add the chilli powder, mix well and cover and cook till the brinjal is 3/4th cooked. Stir in between and make sure they dont burn.
Meanwhile, dry roast everything under the 'to grind' section till fragrant.
Cool a bit and grind to a powder.
Once the brinjal is more or less cooked, open lid and add the masala powder along with a dash of water, if needed (to make sure the masalas dont burn)
Saute on medium heat for a few minutes- roast the aubergines in the masala.
Add the curry leaves, close with a lid and take off heat.
Keep aside for 10 minutes after which give a good mix and serve warm with curd rice.

Tuesday, 21 September 2021

Bahama Mama banana rum cake

Recipe adapted from here
For the cake
Pecans- 3/4th cup
Butter, unsalted- 1 1/2 cups, at room temperature
Caster sugar- 1 3/4 cups
Brown sugar- 3/4th cup
Eggs- 5 medium
Banana- 1 cup, mashed (very ripe)
Vanilla extract- 2 tsp
Dark rum- 3 tbsp
Plain flour- 3 cups
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Yoghurt- 3/4th cup

Rum glaze
Butter- 1/2 cup
Water- 1/4 cup
Brown sugar- 1/4 cup
Caster sugar- 1/4 cup
Dark rum- 1/2 cup

Preheat oven to 175C and generously grease a large bundt pan with cooking spray or butter. Make sure you get it into the creases if its not the basic tube bundt.
Lightly toast the pecans in a pan over medium heat.  Roughly chop and sprinkle at the bottom of the bundt pan. Keep aside
In a large bowl, using a hand held mixer, cream together the butter and both sugars till light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition followed by mashed bananas, vanilla and rum. Mix well.
Sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and using the lowest setting on the mixer mix well till no traces of flour is seen.
Finally beat in the yoghurt and pour the batter into the cake pan, and bake in the centre rack of the oven for about 60 to 80 minutes, or till a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make the rum glaze.
Mix all the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan on medium high heat and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 5 minutes.
Remove from heat and keep warm.

Once the cake is done, transfer to a wire rack and cool for about five minutes.
Poke holes in the cake and pour half the glaze all over as evenly as possible.
Cool for a further five minutes and then invert on to a serving plate.
Spoon the remaining glaze on to the cake, bit by bit and let it stand till all the glaze has been absorbed. 
Wait till the cake cools completely to slice and serve.

Notes: The cake has a really strong flavour of rum. Omit the rum in the glaze if you are not a rum fan.
Use good, ripe bananas and this cake will be fabulous. I used the Indian bananas as opposed to the ones you get in the supermarkets here.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

Absolutely flavourful rice

Basmati rice- 2 cups
Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
Cardamom- 4 pods
Cinnamon- 2, 1 inch sticks
Cloves- 4
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Garlic- 1 heaped tbsp, finely chopped
Coconut milk- 2 1/4 cups
Chicken stock- 2 cups*
Salt- to taste
Fried onions- to garnish

Wash and soak the basmati rice for about 20 minutes.
Heat coconut oil in a heavy bottom pan and throw in the whole spices.
Once they sizzle and becomes fragrant add the garlic and saute on medium heat till they become a bit brown.
Drain the rice and add to the mix, sauteing well and making sure it doesnt stick to the bottom.
Increase heat to high and pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock.
Give a good mix, check salt and add if required.
Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and close the pan with a well fitting lid.
Cook for about 12 minutes or till the rice is well done.
Keep closed for about 10 minutes after which fluff the rice, garnish with friend onions and serve warm.

Notes:*I used 2 Knorr chicken stock cubes diluted in 2 cups of hot water.
You know how long your rice would take to cook, so cook accordingly.
Add a lemongrass along with the stock and it gives a different flavour.
The rice is incredibly flavourful and so simple to make.

Friday, 30 April 2021

Cardamom cake with crackly almonds and sugar

Recipe adapted from here
Butter- to grease the cake tin
Caster sugar- around 2 tbsp
Almond flakes-  1/2 cup

Caster sugar- 264 gms
Eggs- 4 large
Plain flour- 160 gms
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Cardamom seeds- 1/2 tbsp (powdered)
Butter- 150 gms, melted
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp

Preheat oven to 170c (fan assisted) and grease a 9 inch pan using the butter. Make sure you generously do this.
Also line the base of the pan with grease proof paper.
Put the 2 tbsp sugar into the cake pan and swirl around/shake/tap to coat the side and base of the pan, as evenly as possible. Leave the remaining sugar if any at the base of the pan.
Cover the bottom of the pan with almond flakes. keep aside.
In a bowl whisk together the caster sugar and eggs using a hand held blender or in a free standing mixer., till it becomes pale and double in volume. This step is important so dont skimp it. It took me around 6 minutes.
Slowly fold in the flour and salt without deflating the batter.
Pour in melted butter, vanilla extract and cardamom powder and give a good mix, again without deflating the batter too much. The melted butter may go right to the bottom, so do scrape well and fold.
Pour slowly into the prepared cake tin, give a good tap on the counter and put into the oven.
Bake for about 45 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (original recipe said to bake at 35 minutes, but it just wasnt done, so mine took about 45 minutes. Start checking at 35 minutes and keep increasing just 5 minutes at a time.)
Remove from oven and leave on the counter.
After five minutes run a knife around the sides of the pan and invert onto a cooling rack (i inverted it directly on to a serving plate)
Peel off the grease proof paper slowly, while the cake is still warm and leave to cool completely before cutting.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Beef mappas

Recipe adapted from here
To pressure cook
Beef- 500gms (cut into medium cubes)
Freshly ground coarse pepper- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Crushed garlic- 1 heaped tsp
Crushed ginger- 1 heaped tsp
Green chilli- 2, slit
Shallots- 12 small, roughly chopped
Vinegar- 1 tsp
Water- 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste

For the curry
Coconut oil- 2 tbsp
Cinnamon- 1 inch stick
Cardamom- 3 pods
Cloves- 3 pods
Onion- 2 big, finely chopped
Crushed ginger- 2 tsp
Crushed garlic- 1 1/2 tsp
Green chilli- 1, slit
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder- 2 tsp
Freshly ground black pepper- 2 scant tsps
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Meat masala- 1/2 tsp (optional)
Tomato- 2 small, finely chopped
Potato- 1 large peeled and cut into largish cubes
Thin coconut milk- 2 1/4 cups
Fennel seed powder- 1 tsp + enough to sprinkle
Thick coconut milk- 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste

To temper
Coconut oil- 1 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Shallots- 3 to 4 small ones, roughly chopped
Dried red chilli- 1 large, broken in half
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Mix together all the ingredients to pressure cook and cook till the beef is done. 
I cook on high heat till the steam comes and only then put the weight. Wait for one whistle, and then i reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes. 
Once the time is up, remove from heat and wait for the steam to die on its own and then open the lid.

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil
Throw in the whole spices and once they become fragrant add the onions, crushed ginger, garlic, curry leaves and green chilli. Cook till the raw smell disappears and the onions turn a light golden brown.
Add all the spice powders and give a good mix. Cook this for about a minute or two.
Mix in the chopped tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy. You can cover and cook to speed up this process.
In goes the potato, give a good mix so the masala coats the potatoes.
Pour in the cooked beef along with all the stock and stir it all together.
Pour in the thin coconut milk and cook covered for about 12 to 15 minutes till the potatoes are cooked and the curry comes to a light boil.
Check for salt and add more if required and also don't forget to stir in between.
Once it comes to a boil mix in the fennel seed powder.
Cook without the lid for another 5 or 6 minutes, for the gravy to thicken.
Finally, add the thick coconut milk and heat through. It shouldn't come to a boil after you've added the thick coconut milk.
Sprinkle a little fennel powder on top, close with a lid and remove from heat.

To temper (I do this just before serving, after I've heated up the curry), heat coconut oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds.
Once they splutter, add the dried red chilli, shallots and curry leaves and cook till the shallots turn golden brown.
Pour over the curry and leave covered for a few minutes after which you can stir well and serve with bread of choice.
Its ridiculously tasty with appam, idiapppam and bread.

Notes: When buying beef make sure you buy it was a bit of fat, trust me it makes a world of a difference.
I thought the pepper flavour was a bit over powering, so next time id reduce it to about 1 1/2 tsp in the curry.
Its a really thick, delicious curry which tastes much better the next day. 

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Chicken sandwich

Makes 4 loaded paninis or about 10 bread sandwiches
Boneless chicken- 500gms, cut into medium pieces (I've used breasts here, you can use thighs as well, but make sure you remove all the fat)
Pepper powder- 3/4th tsp
Salt- to taste

Mayonnaise- 4 to 5 tbsp
Bell pepper- 1 small, chopped into small cubes
Spring onions- 2, finely chopped
Seasoning of choice- 1/2 tsp (optional. I've used everything but the bagel seasoning here, but Italian herbs work great as well)

Bread slices- 20 (you can remove the crust if you prefer. I usually keep it on)

Season the boneless chicken with salt and pepper and cook covered in a frying pan over medium heat.
The chicken will ooze out enough water, but if not add a tbsp or so to aid the cooking.
Open the lid in between and give a good stir. 
Once the water has oozed out, cook without lid till the chicken is done and all the water has evaporated.

Once cool, transfer to a big bowl and shred the chicken using a fork, or if you have a food processor pulse a few times, just to shred the chicken. Make sure you dont make it paste like.
Add the mayo, bell pepper, spring onions and seasoning and mix till well combined.
Check for salt and add more if required.
The mix should be moist and not dry, so add mayo as  required.

Fill the bread slices generously with the filling and serve at room temp.
Notes: I've used the exact same filling as canape fillings on top of sliced cucumber and in vol-au-vent cases.
Ive also used it as a chicken salad along with lettuce, tomatoes and olives.
Add a green chilli or two while you chop up the chicken and it will add a hit of spice.
Replace spring onions with finely chopped red onions for a different taste.