Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Meat pattichu varuthathu

Adapted from Mrs K. M Mathew's book Flavours of the Spice Coast
 Beef- 1 kg*, cut into medium size pieces

To roast and grind
Fennel seeds- 1 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon stick- 2 inch piece
Cloves- 6
Peppercorn- 2 tsp
Kashmiri chilly powder- 2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Coriander powder- 3 1/2 tsp

Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Vinegar- 2 tsp
Salt- to taste

Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
Mustard seeds- 1 tsp
Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
Shallots- 10 to 12, roughly chopped
Ginger- 2 tbsp, sliced
Garlic- 5 cloves, sliced

Dry roast all the ingredients in the roast section for about 3 to 4 minutes on medium heat. Keep stirring continuously or else you will end up burning the spices.
Once slightly cool, grind them finely.
Remove 1 tsp of this powder and to the rest add the ginger garlic paste, vinegar and salt.
Marinate the meat with this mix, and keep aside for an hour or so. 
Transfer the meat to a pressure cooker and cook with about half cup water till done. 
(I close the lid and cook on high till steam comes after which i put on the weight and wait for the first whistle. Once the first whistle is out, i reduce heat to medium and cook for about 15 minutes. For the beef we get here, this method works well).

Open the pressure cooker, and if there is a lot of liquid, evaporate most of it on high heat, leaving about a quarter cup of liquid with the meat.
Heat coconut oil in a large wok and add mustard seeds.
Once they splutter, add curry leaves, shallots, sliced ginger and garlic and cook till slightly brown and the raw smell from the ginger and garlic disappears.
Add the reserved tea spoon of masala powder to the onions and saute for a few minutes.
Finally, tip in the beef along with the gravy and fry on medium heat till dark and semi dry. I dont like my beef too dry, but with some wet masala smothering it.
The masalas will start leaving the sides of the pan, and there will be some oil visible around the pan. At this point, you can add some more fresh curry leaves, give a final mix and take it off the flame.
Serve hot with Kerala porotta or rice and moru kachiyahu.
Notes: The preparation is just moderately spicy, you can increase the pepper and red chilly powder to suit your taste
*The beef i used here is a roasting joint which has a nice layer of fat. Please do yourself a favour and use beef with a bit of fat, for this recipe. Trust me, it makes a difference.
I also added a few beef short ribs just to see what its like. I personally think it didnt make too much of a difference, however if it was a curry i was making, it would have amped up the taste. 
You can do the entire prep in a normal pot, but cooking time is longer and also make sure you add at least 2 to 3 cups of water to the beef while cooking, so it doesnt dry out.
You can try the same with mutton as well, and it tastes great.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

Naadan chicken chilli roast

Recipe adapted from here
Chicken (with bone)- 650gms
Coconut oil- 2 tbsp
Curry leaves- 3 to 4 sprigs
Small onions (shallots)- 3/4th to 1 cup, crushed (refer notes)
Red chilli flakes- 3 tbsp (refer notes)
Soy sauce- 1/2 tbsp (optional)
Salt- to taste
Heat coconut oil in a frying pan and throw in the curry leaves.
Fry till slightly crisp and then add the crushed small onions.
Saute for about 4 to 5 minutes and then add the red chilli flakes.
Cook on low to medium heat until the mix turns a dark brown in colour. 
Make sure you don't burn the flakes, and keep mixing in between. This step is important as it determines the final colour of the dish.
The mix should be a dry one, as opposed to a wet masala.
Tip in the chicken, add enough salt, mix well with the masala, close and cook for about 10 minutes.
By now water would have released from the chicken, stir well, cover and cook till the chicken is almost done.
Then open lid and on high heat, saute the chicken till all the water has evaporated and the masala sort of clings on to the meat.
Reduce heat a bit and add the soy sauce. Roast the chicken till all the masala coats the chicken and the colour turns a dark brown. This can take a while, about 10 to 15 minutes. Don't skip this step though.
Add a few torn curry leaves, give a final mix and transfer to serving plate.
Notes: I've used chicken wings here, but you can use any part really. If using a whole chicken, make sure you cut them into small pieces. I've also tried this with boneless chicken thighs and it works great when you want to serve as an appetiser with drinks.
Using small onions (cheria ulli/shallots) make all the difference. Using a pestle and mortar gently crush them. If you don't have one, then roughly slice each small onion into two or so.
That said, I've made this using normal onions and it tastes fine as well. I've sliced them to the size of a small onion and used that. Haven't bothered crushing them.
Use dried Kashmiri chilli flakes for this, as you need about 3 tbsp and you don't want it to be unbearably spicy. I get ready made chilli flakes here and I've used that, but you can just dry roast whole Kashmiri chilli till crisp and roughly grind it to get flakes.
Soy sauce is my personal addition and i love the flavour, but it tastes perfectly fine without the soy as well.
I sometimes add a handful of coriander leaves at the end instead of the curry leaves.

Tuesday, 30 July 2019

Mango mousse cake

Serves 13 to 16
For the sponge cake follow this recipe 
Double it and make 2 cakes.

Sugar syrup
Caster sugar- 1/2 cup
Water- 1/2 cup 

Mango mousse
Mango puree- 2 cups
Powdered sugar- 1/4 cup (adjust as per the sourness of the puree)
Powdered gelatin- 3 tsp
Warm water- 7 tbsp
Double cream (whipping cream)- 600ml (around 2 cups)

Mango mirror glaze
Mango puree- 1/2 cup
Powdered sugar- 2 tbsp (adjust according to sourness)
Powdered gelatin- 3 tsp
Warm water- 5tbsp

Make the sugar syrup by mixing together the sugar and water and heating it in a microwave for about 30 to 45 seconds, just enough to melt the sugar completely. You can do this on the stove top as well.

For the mousse, mix the powdered sugar and mango puree together in a bowl and keep aside.
Mix the gelatin powder with 7 tbsp of hot water. Stir well to dissolve the gelatin completely.
Add this to the mango puree and mix well.
Whip double cream to a soft peak consistency using a hand beater or a free standing mixer with whisk attachment. 
Add the mango puree to the whipped cream and fold till well combined
When ready to assemble, place one sponge cake on a tray large enough to accommodate it and brush the sugar syrup over the entire cake. This is to moisten the cake. 
Pour over half of the mango mousse on to the cake and using an offset spatula spread it over the cake as evenly as possible. 
Top with the second cake and brush with the remaining sugar syrup.
Pour over the remaining mango mousse and smoothen it out as much possible.
Place in the refrigerator for a minimum of 4 hours or best overnight.

For the mango mirror glaze, add the mango puree and sugar together in a bowl.
Mix the gelatin powder with 5 tbsp of hot water. Stir well to dissolve the gelatin completely.
Add this to the mango puree and mix well.
Pour over the set mango mousse layer. Its ok if it spills over the sides, but make sure you cover the entire top of the mousse.
Keep in the refrigerator to set for at least 3 to 4 hours.

When ready to serve, slice off the edges to get neat servings.
Cut into squares, garnish with mango slices, berries and mint leaves and serve.

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

Eggs in peppers (Keto friendly)

Makes 2
Bell pepper- 1 large, cut top to bottom and seeds discarded
Sliced bacon- 1/4 to 1/3 cup
Onion- 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Garlic- 2 pods, finely chopped
Green chillies- 1 large, finely chopped (adjust according to taste)
Pepper- to taste
Salt- to taste
Coriander leaves- around 1-1/2tbsp, finely chopped
Double cream- around 3 tbsp
Eggs- 2 small
Oil- enough to grease the tray and peppers.

Preheat oven to 180C and lightly spray an oven proof casserole dish with cooking spray.
Place the peppers, cut side up, on the dish, brush the insides with some oil, sprinkle some salt and pepper, and bake for 15 minutes.
While that's baking, fry the bacon in a small frying pan without any oil. Fry them till somewhat crisp.
Drain on to paper towels and keep aside
In the same oil, fry the onions, garlic and green chillies together till wilted. Say for about 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat. It doesn't need to be really cooked down.
Throw the cooked bacon into the onions along with some salt and pepper and mix it well.
Finally mix in about 1 tbsp of chopped coriander leaves and keep aside till the peppers are ready.
Once the peppers are done, take them out of the oven and pour in the double cream, 1 tbsp into each half. Or if the peppers are really large, add enough to cover the base.
Leave about 2 tsp of onion-bacon mix behind and divide it among the two peppers. Don't stuff it to the top.
Break the egg into the pepper, very slowly so it remains inside the pepper as much possible. There may be spillage, but that's ok.
Carefully pour the remaining double cream on top of the egg and top with the leftover bacon-onion mix. (if you have any left over, just eat them :)
Place it back into the oven for 15 minutes or till the eggs are cooked. I like mine a bit runny so i kept it just for 15 minutes. Keep it for 5 to 8 minutes longer if you want them firm.
Garnish with the remaining coriander leaves and serve with a salad as your Keto lunch.

Notes: You can use leftover chicken or mince meat as stuffing. Even ham, spinach and cheese is a good option.
Don't skip the double cream, it makes all the difference
Its my take on oeuffs en cocotte

Friday, 22 March 2019

Hot milk-coffee cake

Recipe adapted from here
Eggs- 2 large
Demerara sugar- 1 cup
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Plain flour- 1 cup + 2 tbsp
Baking powder- 1 tsp (slightly heaped)
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Milk- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp
Unsalted butter- 5 tbsp
Instant coffee powder- 2 tsp

Beat the eggs on medium-high speed for about 3 to 5 minutes, either using your hand held mixer or using the whisk attachment of a free standing mixer.
Once the eggs turn light yellow and thick, add the sugar bit by bit till the mixture is light and fluffy, it should take another 4 to 5 minutes to get to this stage. Dont skip this bit, it really does make a difference to how to cake turns out.
I turned my free standing mixer on and by the time the eggs were done, i got the other ingredients ready.

Preheat oven to 170C and grease and line an 8 inch cake tin.
Mix together the plain flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Keep aside.
Heat the milk and butter in a saucepan along with the coffee powder, just until all the butter melts. Keep aside.
Once the eggs reach its thick consistency, reduce speed to low and add the flour and mix until smooth without any visible traces of flour combined. 
With the mixer still on low speed, gradually add the hot milk to the batter and beat until well combined.
Pour into the cake tin and bake for 40 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. (mine was done in 42 minutes).
Place on a cooling rack and once completely cool. store at room temperature in an air tight container.
Notes: You can replace demerara with granulated sugar
You can also use a square cake tin for this cake (in fact i think it would be a better option). If so, i would say reduce the cooking time to about 30-35 minutes.
If you dont add the instant coffee, you get yourself a good ol fashioned hot milk cake.
Here's the recipe for my coffee walnut cake 

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Creamy fudge frosting

Recipe adapted from here (can frost a 4 layer, 8 inch cake*)
The consistency of this frosting is just too good. The use of sour cream not only gives it a really nice creamy texture, but also a slight cream cheese-ish taste.

Unsalted butter- 250 gms, softened at room temperature
Icing sugar- 100 gms
Dark cocoa powder- 45gms
Hot water- 1/4 cup
Sour cream- 1/4 cup
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Salt- a pinch
Dark chocolate chips/bar- 140 gms, melted (if its bar, chopped and then melted) 
Into the bowl of a free standing mixer with paddle attachment, add the soft butter and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, around 4 to 5 minutes.
Sift/ mix the cocoa powder and icing sugar into the butter and on low speed give a quick mix.
Keep speed on low and pour in the water, sour cream, vanilla and salt and beat until they come together. The mix may look a bit suspicious at this point with the hot water and such, but don't be alarmed.
Increase speed to medium and beat for 2 more minutes.
Finally add the melted chocolate and beat on medium for about 2 to 3 minutes until you get a smooth glossy mix.
Transfer to an air tight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days.
You can also transfer to freezer bags and freeze till ready to use.
Notes: * I didn't fill the cake with this frosting and had about a cup leftover after i frosted a 4 layer 8 inch cake. I could stretch it and do a thin filling with the 1 cup
Double the recipe to fill and frost a 4 inch cake generously
If the frosting looks too thick, you can thin it out a wee but with a tbsp or so of milk.
The frosting hardens a bit in the fridge, so take it out about half hour before frosting and it becomes easier to frost.
To defrost take it out of the freezer and let it thaw at room temperature. Then using a hand held whisk or electric whisk, whip up the frosting to glossy consistency and then use as desired.
The frosted cake tastes best at room temperature, so take it out and keep about 1/2 hour to 45 minutes before serving.
Use coffee or hazelnut or even cinnamon as other extract options

Thursday, 14 February 2019

Indian grilled lamb chops

Recipe adapted from here
Lamb chops/ cutlets- 1/2 kg (around 6 of them)

Greek yoghurt- 2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1 tsp
Chilli powder (spicy variety)- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
Tomato paste/puree- 1 tsp
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Salt- to taste

Butter- 1/2 tbsp, melted, to baste

Wash and pat dry the lamb chops.
Trim off as much of the fat possible (refer notes)
Flatten the chops with a mallet, or use your knife to hammer the meat (with the sharp side) so you create incisions on the meat but it doesn't cut through. Do rapid movements like you are using a mallet. This helps with making the meat tender. If you cant figure any of these, use your palm to flatten the meat.
Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and rub all over the lamb chops.
Cover and marinate in refrigerator for at least 2 hrs. Overnight is best.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 200C and line a baking tray with heavy duty silver foil.
Brush a bit of the butter on the foil and arrange the lamb chops without touching each other.
Bake for 15 minutes.
Take the tray out, and baste with melted butter.
Change the oven setting to broil/grill mode on the highest setting. Mine is at 250C. Wait for the oven to preheat to the setting.
Place the tray right under the grill for 3 to 4 minutes.
Take the tray out, flip the chops, baste with melted butter and place back under the grill for another 3 to 4 minutes.
Remove and keep aside for about 5 minutes before you serve. 

Notes: If you get the lamb cutlets from the supermarket then it will usually have a layer of fat, try and take that off. However, from the Indian butchers, you will most probably get them without the fat. 
The grilling time depends on the grill power. If its a low power one, then grill for another 3 to 4 minutes. The chops need to have a charred effect and must also be cooked through. That said, be careful to not burn them.
The chops go really well with Mint coriander chutney.