Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Wine Tasting at Roberson

When i was working in Chennai for a magazine, i had been to cover a Wine tasting event at the Alliance Francaise. A wine expert from France was taking a class on the types of wine, what each taste signifies, how to distinguish tastes, the glasses used, what kind of food goes with what etc. They were even giving out samples of wine to taste, which was a big thing, as you don't get to buy wine in grocery/dept stores and the availability was restricted to the star hotels, where the wines were way too expensive. This i suppose was the reason why the entire studio at AF was packed mostly with college goers, who had absolutely no idea why they were there, except to have free wine. I however, religiously took down notes and pictures and Ro thoroughly enjoyed the whole wine experience. I even remember the expert telling us that the only food he could think of that would go well with wine was Biriyani:)
The session at Roberson was nothing like the one in Chennai. It was a very sophisticated event with well-dressed people walking around, taking notes, talking to the experts and placing orders. From Champagne to Port, there were 50 different wines on display along with the platters of cheese and crackers. This was our first experience at a formal tasting event and had no clue how to go about it. So what you actually do is take some wine in your mouth, swirl it to get the exact taste and then spit it out because of the alcohol content in it and so that your judgement is not affected. This was seriously gross for me and so i kept drinking it all and by the time we got to the Ports (mostly served as dessert wine because of its sweetness), we were pretty much drunk.
I'm no expert in selecting wines and had absolutely no clue if one tasted different from the other, but now after being abroad for a while, and being able to buy and taste various varieties of wine (bottles of wine are as cheap as 3 quid), i now have a faint idea and can distinguish varieties, dryness, aroma and the like. So here is how i have figured it all out. Feel free to correct me if i am wrong, but this is just how i prefer it.
My favourites are the sweet wines and the White Zinfandel is a top priority, although they are considered the most unfashionable of wines by experts (who cares!). Then the whites and last the reds, one because they are usually very dry and two, because they are not served chilled. They however are a great accompaniment to the red meats. So when i made a beef fry the other day, I picked up a bottle of Chilean red wine called Maipo and it was actually good. I should broaden my taste a bit more i guess. The whites go well with fish, chicken, bakes (again white wine for white meat) and the Rose, i think, goes well with more or less anything. Chill it and its a great summery drink. If you ever get a chance to taste some Ice wine, you definitely should give it a try. They are apparently made from grapes which are left to freeze in the winters and the result of which is really sweet wine (again served as dessert wine). The colour is a deep golden brown and the more brown it is the more sweeter the wine is. Canada is popular for its Ice wine and last year when my mom visited Canada, we had asked her to pick up a bottle for us. It's very expensive and you get them in these swanky bottles. We were stingy about using and took it out only on certain occasions.
It was the first time i tried out Vintage Port at the wine tasting session, and i loved it. Its very very sweet and suits the Indian palette beautifully. They were unbelievably expensive and so we didn't place an order for that. We however did pick up a bottle of Prosecco which is an Italian (dry sparkling) white wine and another one (i don't remember the name..I'm yet to get it delivered) which we liked at the tasting. This was nothing compared to the others ordering wine cases with their favourites.
There are various wine merchants in London who custom make wine cases as per your requirement and also conducts wine tasting sessions. The cost varies from about 20 to 35 quid, depending on the arrangement. I would suggest you try out a session, at least to know what its like...you need not be a hard core wine enthusiast for that.

Thats me @ Roberson

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Fish Bake/ Pie

This is not the easiest of bakes as i did take quite some tine to get it done. Also i was lazy and did substitute some of the stuff with store bought ones. My aunt passed on this recipe to me and it was somehow much more tastier at her place. I guess I'll have to improve..maybe the next time (if there is one).

Any white fish/tuna- 300 gms (I used cod loins)
Shallots- 1/2 cup chopped
Green chillies- 3 chopped
Pepper- 1 tsp
Ginger paste- 1/2 tsp
Garlic paste- 1/2 tsp
Peas/carrot/corn- 1/2 cup (I used just carrots)
Egg- 2 (optional)
Oil- 2 tbs
Salt- to taste

Clean and cook the fish in a non stick pan with salt and pepper and one tbs of water if its sticking. Once the fish is cooked, take it off the pan and flake it with a fork. Keep aside.

Simultaneously, boil the eggs and once done, peel, slice and keep aside

In the same pan, add some oil and sautee the onions till soft and golden brown. To this, add the green chillies, ginger and garlic paste and sautee till the raw smell dies. Add the carrots and pepper and cook till done. Keep the fish for the end, as it is already cooked. Sautee well with enough salt.

For the mash potato:
Potatoes- 2 big
Butter- 1 tbs
Milk- 3 tbs
Pepper- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste

Boil the potatoes with enough water or in a microwave oven. Once cooked, mash with the back of a fork or masher and mix in the butter and slightly warm milk and season with salt and pepper. Keep aside. Make sure you add the milk, bit by bit..just enough to make it fluffy.

For the white sauce:
All purpose flour- 1 1/2 tbs
Butter- 1tbs
Milk 1 1/2 cup
Pepper- 1/2 tsp
Cheddar cheese- 2 tbs (optional)
Salt- to taste

Heat the butter in a sauce pan till it melts. On low flame, add the maida and keep stirring, avoiding lumps. Once it is nicely mixed in, add the milk little by little, again making sure lumps are not formed. Keep flame on high once the entire milk is used up and then add the cheese, salt and pepper. Keep stirring till the sauce becomes thick and creamy. If you think it is too thick, add some more milk.

Final preparation:
Pre-heat the oven to 175C. In an oven proof ceramic casserole layer the fish mix evenly. On top of that layer the eggs and pour the white sauce over this mixture. Finally layer the mashed potato on top and sprinkle some cheese if required. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Notes: Using canned tuna might be easier as you can then avoid the first stage.
Eggs are optional and so are the veggies. I added it so there is some in take of veggies
I was too lazy to make the mashed potatoes, so bought one container from the store which already had butter, cheese, milk and parsley mixed into it. I just had to layer as it is.
While layering, if you pour the white sauce over the potato, you wouldn't get a brown crust, instead it will be white which is what i did, but you can do as the original recipe calls for. You can also put how many ever layers you want. For e.g., if you are not using eggs, you can use one layer of fish, then mashed potatoes, fish and again potatoes and then the white sauce.
If you do not have an oven, heating on high in the microwave for about 5 minutes serves the purpose. Everything is already cooked and so its fine.

Friday, 26 June 2009

Go Green

This is a very simple green bean recipe from Gordon Ramsey and is a great accompaniment to any meal. We had it with a fish bake (will post recipe soon).

Fresh green beans- 200 gms trimmed
Shallot- 1 small finely chopped
Almonds- 2 tbs (optional)
Balsamic Vinegar- 1 1/2 tbs

Blanch the green beans: Drop the trimmed beans into boiling water for about 4 minutes. If not sure its done, take one out and bite into it. It should be crunchy but at the same time cooked to an extent. Keep a bowl of ice cold water (or water with some ice cubes in it) ready and as soon as you remove the beans out of the hot water, plunge it into the ice cold water. This way you are halting the cooking process and the colour and flavour is stored in the beans. Keep it in the cold water for a few minutes and then remove and place on a kitchen towel and dry.

Place the beans on a plate, scatter the shallots and the diced almonds on the beans and sprinkle the balsamic vinegar. If you want, you can also season with salt and pepper before you sprinkle the vinegar.

Serve as a side to any dish.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

A late night expedition

I'd mentioned earlier that i hadnt used all the Jalapenos I'd bought from the market. I also mentioned that i have these bursts of cooking energy and tonight was one of those days. I say tonight because its 11pm at night and i have made Jalapeno poppers, the five minute cake (recipe borrowed from Miri) cleaned up and have also managed to blog about it. Oh and also, I'm waiting for Ro to get back from Amsterdam. He's on his way from the airport now :)

So with the rest of the Jalapenos , i made the poppers

Jalapeno peppers- 6 halved
Feta cheese- 1 cup, crumbled
Cheddar cheese- 1/2 cup, shredded
Pepper pwd- 1/2 tsp
Tabasco sauce- 1/4 tsp
Salt- very little as the cheese can be a bit salty

Egg- 1
Bread crumbs- enough to cover the peppers
Oil- enough to fry

De vein and de seed the halved jalapeno poppers and keep aside
In a bowl mix the rest of the ingredients well and stuff the peppers with the paste-like mix.
Beat the egg in a bowl, dip the peppers in it, roll it in the bread crumbs and fry in hot oil till both sides are brown. The cheese will ooze out when you bite into it. Yes very rich indeed!

Five Minute Choc Cake
This is not the best of chocolate cakes, but since its only five minutes away, you really wouldn't care i suppose.

All purpose flour- 4 tbs
Sugar- 4 tbs
Cocoa pwd- 2 tbs
Milk- 3 tbs
Oil- 3 tbs
Vanilla essence- a dash
Egg- 1
Baking pwd- a pinch

A coffee mug or 2 to 3 ramekins

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl without any lumps, pour into the ramekins and heat on high in a microwave for 3 minutes. The cake will rise over the top, but will settle down soon. Topple it onto a plate and dig in.

Notes: I put the ramekins on a plate so the microwave plate wont get dirty even if it spills over.

Monday, 22 June 2009

Pandhi Curry

This is Roshans version of the Coorg Pandhi curry which he claims is the most tastiest thing on earth. I'm not a big fan of pork, but this one tasted pretty good. Its not the healthiest of dishes and so I'd not want to have it on a regular basis. Its best with ghee rice, but we had it with Pita bread instead.

Pork- 1kg cut into bite size pieces
Onions- 2 big chopped fine
Jeera- 2 tsp
Coriander pwd- 1 tbs
Chilli pwd- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwd-1/2 tsp
Pepper pwd- 1/2 tsp
Ginger- 1 tbs crushed coarse
Garlic- 1 tbs cut fine
Green chillies- 3 slit lengthwise
Salt- to taste

In a heavy bottomed pan boil the onions, pork and 1 tsp jeera with a bit of water. When it becomes semi-gravy like, add the remaining 1 tsp jeera, the powders, ginger, garlic, the green chillies and enough salt and cook till done. The meat will be nice and soft and all the masala would have caught on to the pork very well.

Note: We bought about 500gms of stir fry chunks without any fat and bought the rest as loin with some fat on it.
Its a really spicy dish, so go easy on the chilli pwd if you dont want it so hot
Oil seeps out in plenty and after you refrigerate it overnight, you can actually scoop off the oil that forms a layer on top.
Coriander leaves and curry leaves add that extra flavour and the recipe asks for it, but my man here dislike all those 'leaves' as he calls it and didn't add any. I would have loved it though
Ginger garlic paste will do the trick if you do not have ginger and garlic separately.

Jalapenos- stuffed and wrapped in Bacon

The Courtyard by Marriott in Chennai has a restaurant called Rhapsody and one one of my food review visits, the Chef there insisted i try the Jalapeno Poppers. It was the best i have ever had and whenever we go there, we make sure its on our starter list. One of the perks of writing for a magazine and doing the PR was the contacts you make. The Director of F & B at Marriott was a very jovial chap and we clicked right from the first interview i ever did of him. Marriott Chennai is like a second home to me now. Just recently when we visited India, we stopped by at Rhapsody for a meal and i harassed them to pass on the recipe for the poppers, but they were like..of all the things on the menu, you want the recipe for the Jalapeno poppers? that's sad! (maybe they just didn't want to give out their trade secret).
Anyways, coming back to London, its so strange that none of the super markets in freaking London have Jalapenos. So on our Friday lunch date at Borough Market i was delighted to see Jalapenos at one of the stalls (this...after going in and out of the several other veggie stalls). Picked up a few and decided to make the poppers. After searching the net for a while, i came up with an easy recipe for stuffed Jalapenos and not the poppers. I have only used up half of the Jalapenos so i shall try the poppers with the remaining. Here's the recipe:

Jalapeno peppers- 6
Shredded cheese- 1/2 a cup or even less ( i used mature cheddar)
Bacon- 3 halved

Slice the jalapeno peppers into half and remove the seeds and veins (this is the really spicy part). Fill the halves with shredded cheese and wrap with the bacon, all around, and make sure the cheese doesn't fall out.

Pre-heat grill to about 170C, layer the peppers on a baking tray and grill for about 15 to 20 minutes. Make sure the bacon is cooked and browned. Serves as a great BBQ dish.

Notes: If you have cream cheese then its even better, you can mix it with the shredded cheese and use it as the stuffing. More rich and tastier. I didn't have any left, so just used the cheddar shreds.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Cocktail Chicken and Egg Fry

Eating healthy was the motto behind this meal, but the over sized mango afterwards kinda spoilt it and we were stuffed.

  • Chicken breasts- 4 small, cut into bite size pieces
  • Paprika- 2 tsp
  • Onions- 1 small, sliced lengthwise
  • Garlic- 6 cloves, sliced lengthwise
  • Olive oil- 2 tbs
  • Red wine- 1/4 cup
  • Maggi seasoning sauce- 1 tbs
  • Tabasco- a dash
  • Salt- to taste
Season the chicken pieces with paprika and keep aside.
In a wok, heat the oil and fry the garlic pieces. Once it becomes slightly brown throw in the onions and sautee till soft and golden brown. To this add the chicken pieces and fry till brown on both sides. Add the wine and bring to a boil. Just when the mixture becomes thick, take it off the flame and add the Maggi sauce and a dash of Tabasco and mix well.

Egg Fry
  • Eggs- 2
  • Chilli pwd- 1/2 tsp
  • pepper pwd- 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric pwd- a pinch
  • Oil- 1/2 tsp
  • Salt- to taste
Make a paste with the powders, salt and a few drops of oil. Boil the eggs, peel them and cut into two equal halves. Spread the paste on both sides of the egg halves, making sure the egg yolk is still in tact. Heat the oil in a frying pan and put in the rest of the paste (if remaining..otherwise its fine) and fry for a minute. Into this place the egg and fry on both sides slowly for about 2 to 3 minutes. Take it off the flame and serve hot with rice or roti or as a side to any breakfast dish.

We had the above with lime and coriander cous cous (no i didn't make it).

Notes: The chicken is not very spicy, so if you want to add more spice to it, just put in some chilli pwd. Also, you can substitute the paprika with chilli pwd. The recipe is from sig with a few of my additions.
I just named the chicken, Cocktail chicken because i figured it would be nice to serve this as a starter at a party or something and if you make it semi-gravy like, you can have it as a side to almost anything.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Spicy Tuna Cutlet

Since Ro visited the doc the other day, he's been on my trip to make food that's rich in iron. Now other than Palak (which again i only know the usual palak paneer, palak aloo, dal) i really don't know what else is rich in iron. I am anaemic and it would do me good as well. So after doing some research we found out that oily fish like tuna is rich in iron. I detest eating sea food and among the list of other oily fish, tuna was the only acceptable one to me because i could make cutlets out of it and masala-fy it so much, it hardly tastes of fish. A friend of mine, here in UK, suggested cutlets and said they were easy to make if you buy the tuna in cans. Making beef cutlets were a task and so i quit making them long time back. This was my second attempt at making tuna cutlets and they came out really well. You can make them in plenty and freeze them and they come as a really big help on a rainy day when you are in no mood to cook and cant go out either.
I was also having this conversation about tuna to a blogger friend and she said it was way too expensive to waste on cutlets. Well, what i think is, making cutlets would thoroughly make it worth buying an expensive can of tuna....one because you get about 30 small cutlets out of a 400gm tuna can, and two...it will last you a long time if you freeze it. Whereas if you make a curry or masala fry out of it, I'm sure it will vanish in seconds. Just a thought! Do give it a shot the next time you pick up a can.

Here is the recipe:
Canned tuna- 400gms in brine (tuna in brine, water or oil..any of it is fine).
Potato- 1 large (ones we get here are humongous so i used only one) or 2 if medium sized
Onions- 1 large (white or red) diced into thin, small pieces
Green chillies- 4 sliced into small pieces
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Coriander pwd- 1 tsp
Pepper pwd- 1 tsp
Biriyani masala- 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice- 1 tsp
Oil- 2 tbs
Salt- to taste

To fry:
Egg- 1
Bread crumbs
Oil- enough to shallow fry

Open the tuna can and completely drain out the liquid.
In a wok heat the oil and throw in the onions and green chillies. When golden brown, add the Ggp, mix well till the raw smell dies. Now add the tuna chunks and mix well, breaking it into finer pieces. After the 'fishy' smell has completely gone, add the biriyani masala, coriander pwd and the salt required. Mix at intervals for about 8 to 10 minutes and then add the lime juice and pepper pwd. Make sure the mixture is not too dry and doesn't stick to the vessel. If so, add some more oil. Take it off the flame after about 5 to 6 minutes and keep aside.
Wash and boil the potato. I used the microwave method for this, as it is faster and more convenient. Alternatively, you can boil it or pressure cook with water. Once its done, peel and mash the potato with a masher, fork or your hands. Make sure there are no lumps. Add the mashed potato to the tuna and mix well with your hands. You can increase spiciness, salt, lime juice etc. at this stage if it isn't enough.
Make small balls out of the mixture and shape it in whichever way you like (round or oval).

Beat the egg and keep a plate with the bread crumbs ready. Dip each ball into the egg, roll it in the bread crumbs and if you are not frying them immediately, at this stage you can freeze them. Use zip lock bags or a plastic container and place the cutlets apart, without touching one another, so its easier to take out the required number and thaw them later.
Whereas if you are frying it, beat the egg and keep a plate with the bread crumbs ready. Dip each ball into the egg, roll it in the bread crumbs and shallow fry in hot oil till both sides are brown.

Notes: I got about 30 small cutlets from a 400gm tuna can. Double it if you want to make more.
You can also use the tuna mix (before you shape them) for sandwiches. Will post a recipe for that later
Like i mentioned before, i have masala-fied it to take the fishiness off. You can reduce the masala to suit your taste
If you do not have bread crumbs, you can make them on your own. Place a few slices of bread in the microwave and heat on high for about 3 minutes, or till they become crispy. Break them into smaller pieces and grind them in a mixer till they are fine and powdery. Alternatively, you can put the pieces in a zip lock bag and crush with a mallet.

Sausage Fried Rice

It was one of our really lazy days at home and was surfing the various blogs for something easy to make. Stumbled upon this recipe from sig's blog and decided to give it a shot. This is an easy recipe if you have left over rice. Sausages and peas are almost always available at our place and although its not come out as fancy as Sig's it sure tasted fine to us. I have altered the recipe a bit so the lazy me didn't have to spend more time in the kitchen :)

Cooked and cooled rice- 2 cups
Sausages- 2 diced
Carrots- 1/2 cup diced
Green peas- 1/2 cup
Shallots- 1/4 cups thinly sliced
Light or dark soy sauce- 2 tbs
Fish sauce- 2 tsp
Pepper- 2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Spice paste: 1 large shallot, 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste and 1 tbs of Thai Masaman paste
Egg -1 per person

Grind or mix the spice paste ingredients together and keep aside.

In a large wok, sautee the shallots till golden brown. To this, add the sausages and fry till brown. Now, add the carrots and while it cooks, about half way through add the green peas (frozen ones cook really fast). Mix well and now add the spice mix. Sautee well, till the raw smell dies. Add salt at this stage and then put in the rice. Make sure it is well coated with the masala/spice mix. On full heat, add the soy sauce, fish sauce and the pepper pwd and mix well till the rice is well coated.
I don't like a runny egg, so i broke the yolk and seasoned it with some salt and pepper.

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Indian style

I have these sudden bursts of enthusiasm in cooking and this was the outcome of one of those moments. I wouldn't say its easy, but a damn tasty and fulfilling one.
I even baked a cake before my blissful moment ended :)

Well, it was a Betty Crocker Cake Mix that i used, but what the hell..it came out beautiful. My husband prefers this to the one i painstakingly make from scratch (yeah weird!) and i too prefer this. So why bother to whip up one.
I'm a big fan of the BC cake and brownie mixes..its easy and always comes out well for me. I'm sure its available in some of the Indian dept stores, but don't know how much its costs.

Anyways, coming back to the stuffed chicken, here goes:

Medium size boneless chicken breasts- 2
Toothpick- 4

For marinating:
Chilli pwd- 1 1/2 tsp
Turmeric pwd- 1/4 tsp
Coriander pwd- 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste- 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice- 1tsp
Oil- enough for frying
Salt- to taste

Butterfly and pound the clean chicken breasts, marinate it with the above ingredients and keep aside.

For stuffing:
Carrots- 1/2 cup (sliced in small cubes)
Peas- 1/4 cup
Onions- one small
Chilli- 2 cut into small pieces
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Coriander pwd- 1 tsp
Turmeric pwd- 1/4 tsp
Biriyani masala- 1/4
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Oil- 2 tsp

Heat oil in a wok and sautee the onions and green chillies. Once it becomes golden brown, add GGp. Mix well till the raw smell dies. In goes all the powders and when it gives out a nice fragrance, put in the peas, carrot, salt and sugar and cook till its done.

Stuffing and pan frying the chicken:
Divide the stuffing into two equal halves. Place the butterflied chicken (pounded side up) on a chopping board and fill one side with the stuffing. Cover it with the other side and secure with the tooth pick. I used two each. Make sure the stuffing stays inside.
Heat some oil in a frying pan (enough to fry the chicken breasts) and place the chicken breasts slowly into it. Lightly brown both sides. It shouldn't start cooking, because we are anyway going to oven roast it. This process is just to hold the chicken intact. Once done, remove and place it in a baking tray.

Masala for the roast:
Onions- 2 cups thinly sliced (less if you don't like too much masala)
Tomato- 2 cut into small pieces or puree 3/4 cup
Green chilli- 2 slit length-wise
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Coriander pwd- 1 1/2 Tbs
Turmeric pwd- 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds- 1 1/2 tsp
Biriyani masala- 1 tsp (optional)
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Lime juice- 1 tsp
Water- 1/2 cup (optional)
Oil- 2 tbs
Salt- to taste

To the same pan the chicken breasts were fried in, add some more oil if necessary and throw in the onions and green chillies and sautee till it becomes light brown. Add Ggp to this mixture and sautee for about a minute. Once the raw smell goes, add the tomato, sautee and then add all the powders except the biriyani masala and mix well with the onion paste (to a nice brown colour). Now add the fennel seeds, biriyani masala, sugar, lime juice and salt required and mix well. Cook till the oil appears on top. If the mixture is way too thick, loosen it up with some water (only if required...you can also have a thick gravy if you prefer it that way). Take it off the flame and pour over the chicken breasts. Try and cover the chicken pieces as much as possible.

Pre-heat the oven to 170C. When it is heated, place the baking tray on the top shelf and bake for about 30 minutes. Half way through the process, turn the chicken breasts to the other side and mix in the gravy as well. Once done, remove from the oven and allow it to cool for about 15 to 20 minutes. Serve with roti or rice or have it on its own with some boiled potatoes and garlic bread.
I had some left over herb and garlic potatoes and so treated ourselves to a fab dinner and a movie.

Notes: The amounts for each ingredient are approx. and you can change it according to your taste.
Instead of tooth picks, you can tie it up with kitchen twine. I found that a bit difficult and so opted for the tooth pick.
For the stuffing, you can throw in anything you want.
Roasting time varies depending on the oven. If you are doubtful, slice a small piece to see if it is cooked well.

This recipe was inspired by the one on mishmash and is a much much better version of what i have come up with. I must try out that one as well, sometime...on my next outburst maybe!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Easiest Beef Fry ever..Mallu style

The last few times i tried making beef fry, it just didn't turn out well. My mom in law makes the yummiest beef fry and when we were in Chennai she used to send down a packet if someone came to Chennai. Now that we are in UK, we dont have such advantages and have to make do with what i prepare. I used to make it in large quantities and freeze, and as and when required, sautee it in oil and onions and have it. But it never used to taste like hers. First of all, washing and cleaning it kinda puts me off the whole thing and even after its cooked thoroughly I keep thinking it tastes/smells raw. Yeah i know i know, I'm just making a fuss. But whatever it is, my dear husband wholeheartedly eats it and even compliments me...so no worries:)
But just the other day i had some friends over and made a small batch for starters and it actually was not that bad. Kerala style beef fry and a glass of red wine was perfect to kick start the evening.

Here is the recipe:
Beef- 500 gms cut into cubes
Onions- 1 large
Green Chillies- 2 split lengthwise
Ginger Garlic paste (gg paste)- 2tsp
Coconut slices- a handful

Coriander pwd- 1tsp
Pepper pwd- 2 tsp
Turmeric pwd-1/4 tsp
Chilli pwd- 1tsp
Garam masala- 1tsp

Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
Coconut oil- 2 tbs
Salt to taste

Heat oil in a pressure cooker and sautee the onions, green chillies and one sprig of curry leaves till done (till the raw smell dies). To this add the gg paste, mix well for a minute or so. Then goes in the powders. Sautee well till the raw smell goes. Add the washed beef cubes and the coconut slices to this mix. Make sure the beef cubes are coated well with the masala. Close the lid and cook on high fire. Once the steam comes out, place the nozzle and reduce fire to medium. After the first whistle (or approx 8 to 10mins.), turn off fire and take the cooker off the burner. Wait for the pressure to release on its own and then open the lid. It would be in a semi gravy state. If there is too much water, put it back on the fire and cook it open, till the water evaporates and the cubes absorb the masala completely. At this stage if you want, you can cool it down, zip lock and freeze it. And as and when required, you can do the next stage:
In a frying pan, heat the rest of the coconut oil, throw in the curry leaves and the cooked beef. Sautee it till the beef becomes nice and brown. If you need it dry, you can keep it on for a longer time. I like mine a bit moist.

Note: The beef we get here cooks really fast, so i keep it on for only about 8mins. I guess it depends.
This time i used coconut oil and it made a world of a difference, at least to me. We don't really like/use that much coconut oil in our cooking, so this was a delightful change and i liked it. You can use any other vegetable oil if you prefer.
The coconut slices are available here...obviously frozen..I'm sure the fresh ones taste much better.
I didn't have tomatoes so i skipped that bit. You can put it in just before you add the powders.
If you are not that big a fan of curry leaves, you just need to use one sprig and put it only in the last stage...the final frying stage or choose not to put them at all. I love the flavour it gives and so get a little carried away at times

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Spinach Dal

I love Dal in every form. Since we are on an 'eat healthy' regime, and since i cant really figure out what else to do with palak, I decided to throw in some into my Dal. After some research online, I finally came up with this recipe. And like my other recipes, this one is damn easy as well.

Toor Dal-1/2 cup
Baby spinach- 1 cup, chopped
Shallots- 1 thinly sliced (if you have the small red onions, then about a handful)
Tomato- 1 medium, chopped finely
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tsp
Green chillies- 3 slit lengthwise
Turmeric pwd.- 1/4 tsp
Coriander pwd.- 1/2 tsp
Oil- 2 tbs
Salt- to taste

For tempering:
Oil- 1 tbs
Jeera seeds- 3/4 tsp
Dry red chilli- 1, crushed
Garam masala- 1/4 tsp

Cook the Dal in a sauce pan or pressure cooker with the turmeric and a bit of salt and sufficient water. I like it a bit watery, so i add extra water.
Sautee the onions and green chillies in a heavy bottomed pan. When the onions give out a glazed look, add the ginger garlic paste and tomatoes and cook till done. In goes the coriander pwd. next. Once the raw smell goes, add the chopped spinach and mix well.
Add the Dal to the masala mix and, if its too think you can add some water at this stage. Bring it to a boil and take it off the flame.

In a small wok heat some oil and throw in the jeera seeds. When the aromatic smell is obvious, add the garam masala and red chilli, sautee for a while and add this to the Dal. This according to me gives that extra flavour and completes the process.

I add the garam masala at the tempering stage because i don't really like the over powering taste it has and chooses to add a wee bit only at the end, you can however add it along with the coriander pwd. also. You can also add curry leaves and mustard seeds for tempering and also choose to do the seasoning process right in the beginning before putting in the onions. But like i said, i somehow feel doing it at the end, gives it that special taste.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Pan fried Fish Masala

I am not a big fan of sea food, but my husband is and so we end up buying certain varieties now and then. We were at the Indian grocery store last week and picked up some frozen Kingfish (which is not really the best but had to make do with it because we don't get them at the local super market). Sunday brunch is quite elaborate for us and so i made this fish masala to go with rice and Dal.

Kingfish- 4 pieces washed and cleaned
Onion- 1 thinly sliced
Green chillies- 3 thinly sliced
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tbs
Turmeric pwd.- 1/2 tsp
Pepper pwd.- 1tsp
Chilli pwd.- 1tsp
Coriander pwd.- 1 tbs
Curry leaves- 2 sprigs
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Oil- enough to fry the fish
Salt- to taste

1. Marinate the fish with half the pepper pwd, turmeric and salt and keep aside for 15 minutes.
2. Make a paste out of the chilli pwd, coriander pwd, rest of the pepper pwd with water and keep aside.
3 Heat some oil in a frying pan and sautee onions, green chillies, curry leaves and ginger garlic paste till the onions become brown. Remove from fire and keep aside.
4. In the remaining oil (if not enough add some more) shallow fry the fish. Once done on both sides, remove from fire and keep aside.
5. In the same pan, splutter mustard seeds and add the spice paste (step 2) on low flame. Fry till the raw smell of the masala dies.
6. Increase the flame to medium and add the sauteed mixture (step 3) to the masala mix along with the required amount of salt. Once it is mixed well, add half a cup water and stir till the mixture becomes semi-gravy like.
7. Throw in the fried fish and mix well. Make sure it is coated well on both sides and once most of the liquid is absorbed, the fish masala is ready to go.

Note: I used coconut oil and that made a whole lotta difference to the flavour.

Special thanks to Roshan who washed and cleaned the fish for me:)