Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Appetizer ideas

Raspberry-lemon spritzer recipe here

Cool Lassie kinda inspired me to try and post a recipe every day for a week. I know its already mid-week but then you have to start somewhere right? :)

Another reason being...my computer is low on disc space and I need to move all my pics on to an external drive in fear of losing it if something happened to my comp. So probably for the next couple of days I shall post stuff from my archives..stuff that I have either been too lazy to post or have refrained from posting because the pics haven't come out great. The recipes however are too good to lose, so here are a few appetizer ideas that I have borrowed from other blogs. The weather is back to being awful and I have been sneezing like mad for some strange reason. Hope it is not the hay fever that Ro is now going through and being a baby about.
Oh and one more thing..this is for the anonymous lurker out there. Please leave me a name and address I can reply to the next time you decide to grace my blog with your comment because I can then directly address you personally and not have to write shit like this in public (a major waste of time). If you find it incredibly painful to read my blog..please stop doing so instead of sending me anonymous messages. First of all you are spamming me and second no one out here is forcing you to read on..I really couldn't care less if you are not interested in the fact that I use words and messages that might make you uneasy. Its my blog and sadly I can post whatever I want. 

See I don't take blogging seriously and I didn't want to impose restrictions and things like that. I don't mind being criticised or whatever as long as you say who you are. Judge me all you want but I don't owe anyone explanations. Posting nasty stuff unnecessarily is like back stabbing and I am too bored and lazy to create an issue about this. But these anonymous messages are getting to me and I have allowed only registered users to post comments. Sorry about this. I have some lovely readers who post anonymously but still give their name at the end (thanks you guys), sorry that you will have to now use your email id to post comments. I had to write this out because I didn't want you to suddenly realize that you are not able to post comments. Hope you understand.

Anyways, coming back to the kick-ASS recipes.

Chicken 65
Numerous bloggers have posted recipes and reasons as to why it is called Chicken 65, so I am not gonna ramble. I found this recipe on vahrehvah, but Nashira of Plateful has described it gracefully and I followed her recipe to the dot, except I used boneless chicken thighs and didn't have the chilli-garlic paste so I substituted that with chilli ketchup. It was a nice substitute and I don't think it made that much of a difference to the final outcome. I also omitted the ajinomoto and red food colour. The next time however, I am gonna try and bake/ grill the chicken instead of deep frying because I kinda detest the whole idea and I somehow end up making a mess. Do hop on to her blog or to the vahchefs website for the recipe. Pics are horrid because we were still having longer nights then.

Tortilla cups with meat filling
A blogger that I recently got introduced to is Kankana of Sunshine & Smile. Her pics are gorgeous and her recipes versatile. The moment I saw her Tortilla cups recipe, I knew I would try it and it was such a big hit. You can basically fill it with whatever you want and serve as an appetiser or as a snack at a picnic. I followed her procedure for the tortilla cups, but filled it with mince meat (this recipe) and topped it with some cheddar cheese and grilled it for about 8 to 10 minutes, just to get the cheese melted. Topped it with an jalapeño and it was a great starter to our Mexican inspired dinner.

Pigs in a blanket
The quintessential British favourite especially during Christmas time, is this easy peasy starter. I had a friend over for lunch a few weeks back and I made this with some leftover puff pastry sheets. It is so easy to make and I'm sure it will be a big hit among all, kids especially.

Rolled puff pastry sheet- half of one (I used jusrol)
Chicken or any sausage- 8 (I used small frankfurters)
Egg- 1, (for wash)
Ketchup- to serve
If you are not using the rolled out pastry, then roll it out and cut into two. Store away the other half.
Place the pastry sheet on to a lightly floured surface and cut them into four equal halves and then each half into two. So basically you get 8 medium rectangles.
Place the sausage on each pastry and roll/ fold over and seal the edges lightly with your hand. If it doesn't stick, brush the beaten egg and stick it. Repeat with all the sausages.
if you want you can serve the sausage as a single one, but I sliced each of it into 4 small ones which looked incredibly cute.
Place them on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and so an egg wash for that light golden colour.
Bake in an oven preheated at 220C for about 12 to 15 minutes.
Serve with some ketchup.

Sending the Raspberry-lemon spritzer to Food Palette series- Pink over at Torviewtoronto

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Pressure cooker chicken biryani

How was your Easter weekend? How many bunnies did you see and how many eggs did you find?? None is my answer. Easter was more or less celebrated on a low key since nowhere in London did we manage to get appam and stew together, and so we had to make do with Ro's now famous chicken stew and garlic bread. It didn't go down without any drama obviously. I made a big fuss and said I hated this damn place (of course I was kidding) and who wanted to eat garlic bread with stew. I blamed Ro for it (which I then apologised for) and he was kinda lost wondering how he was to be blamed. I don't know what got into me but I was so pissed off that I couldn't get appam and stew on Easter Sunday..my mom calling up and saying they were all getting together at the club for an Easter lunch didn't make matters any better.

So I stormed out of the kitchen (right! yet again) and snuggled under the duvet with a book while Ro was battling out with the stew in the kitchen. He bugged me in between to know where the coconut milk was and I said up my a** to which he replied something nastier and although I'm sure I don't have under age children reading this, I shall refrain from using such language. Yes we will be horrid parents I think :)

So anyhoo, after his stew was all ready he tried to coochie coo and cajole me into eating it but I obviously threw my weight around and acted like a spoilt brat. He said he'd made my fav cocktail and I actually smiled...and I never heard the end of it. Of course he also gloated about his stew..which I must admit was indeed yummy. He claims he didn't even look for a recipe and it was all 'his invention,' but I would like to think he's not that awesome and he did check some recipe somewhere. 

A BBQ, a trek, movies and a picnic kept us busy and exhausted for the remaining 3 days. We have another 4 day weekend coming up and that again is gonna be a super busy one with a bit of travel thrown in.

Sorry to get side tracked, but coming to this biryani...I remember my mom making this so called 5-minute biryani on some Sundays when we were small. It used to taste absolutely yummy and since I was not in the mood for a full fledged biryani on one of the weekends, I decided to give this a go. I must warn you, its not the typical biryani and it DOESN'T get done in five minutes . But what my mom meant is the whole cooking process in the pressure cooker atop a burner is exactly 5 minutes and hence the name. Absolutely deceiving if you ask me. When I complained to my mom later that it couldnt be called a biryani she asked me if I thought I'd get a Hyderabadi biryani with so little effort. I must tell you we are a bunch of sarcastic people:)

The taste was good (not out of this world). It was more of a pulao than a chicken biryani, but I'm amazed at how the rice was perfectly cooked in spite of doing it in a pressure cooker. It is indeed a one pot meal.
Rice- 2 cups
Boiling water- 3 cups
Chicken- 1/2 kg, washed and cleaned (I used thighs and legs)
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Curd- 1/4 cup
Salt- to taste
Ginger- 1 inch piece, roughly chopped
Garlic- 4 medium size cloves, roughly chopped
Green chillies- 4, roughly chopped
Cinnamon- 1 inch piece
Cloves- 2
Cardamom- 2 pods
Onions- 2 cups, roughly chopped
Tomato- 2 cups, roughly chopped
Ghee- 1 tbsp
Lime juice- 2 tsp
Coriander leaves- a handful (optional)

Marinate the chicken with turmeric powder, curd and salt. Keep aside
Coarsely grind together the ginger, garlic and green chillies using a pestle and mortar or pulse once or twice in a grinder. No need to have a paste-like consistency
Heat ghee in the pressure cooker and throw in the whole spices. Sauté till nice and fragrant.
Add onion and stir till light brown.
Add the ground mix and sauté till the dry smell goes.
Throw in the tomatoes and mix well till they get slightly wilted. No need to wait till the oil separates.
Add the marinated chicken and coriander leaves and cook till about 3/4th done. Stirring to see it doesn't burn the bottom.
Add the rice to the chicken and stir for a couple of minutes. Check salt and add as required at this stage.
Add 3 cups of boiling water, add the lime juice and close the lid.
Keep the heat on high and wait for the steam. Put on the weight and simmer (medium) for exactly five minutes. Whether you hear the whistle or not switch off the burner and remove the cooker from the heat.
Keep it closed for as long as possible. Basically don't open it immediately or until the steam has died.
Once you open the cooker, immediately transfer the contents into a shallow bowl and spread it out as much as possible. This will prevent it from clumping together.
Serve with all the accompaniments or just with pickle.
Notes: The beauty of this recipe is that there is no need for marination or soaking or anything.
If you want you can even omit the marination process and add the turmeric and curd along with the onion-tomato or go a step further and add all the stuff you'd add to a normal biryani like mint and coriander leaves and all that
I kept the cooker closed for close to half an hour and was holding my breath while I opened the lid; hundred percent sure it was gonna be like a sadam. But I was lucky it was perfectly cooked.
Store in an air tight container and you can use it for the next two days, if you have any remaining that is :)

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Cous-cous stuffed tomatoes

One of those days where I do not feel like saying anything because I'm in a totally mushy mood and just updated my other blog with all sorts of nonsense. So I don't feel like bragging that much, except I am just gonna say that the weather has been absolutely glorious and we have lined up a couple of BBQ's this coming weekend. 
I now have to sit and search for a restaurant which will serve appam and stew on Easter Sunday. We are not regular church goers and I don't even know if there is a Marthoma church in central London, but I've had appam and stew at my grand moms place every Easter Sunday for as long as I can remember and I'm not gonna break that tradition. So if I don't catch up with you guys before Easter, here's wishing you all a fab day.
Tomatoes- 4 medium sized ones
Cous cous- 50 gms or so (I used store bought- Moroccan flavoured one)
Garlic- 2 pods, finely chopped
Salt & pepper- to taste
Grated Parmessan cheese- 2 tbsp
Bread crumbs- 2 tbsp
Olive oil- to drizzle
Wash and clean the tomatoes and cut off a small portion from below, just so it stands properly.
Chop off the top part horizontally and reserve the cap.
Carefully scoop out the insides and dab with a kitchen towel to free it from moisture.
Cook the cous cous as per instructions on the cover and when it is just about done, add the garlic. Sauté for a few more seconds and take it off the flame.
If you want to season it with salt and pepper, do so now. I added a wee bit pepper, that's it.
In a separate bowl season the bread crumbs with some salt and pepper. Add the parmesan cheese. Mix well.
Take a baking dish large enough to snugly fit the 4 tomatoes and drizzle some olive oil on it..lightly.
Spoon the cous cous and stuff the tomatoes. Place them on the baking dish.
Spoon about half a tbsp of parmesan- bread crumb mix on to each tomato.
Drizzle some olive oil generously on top of the tomatoes.
Bake in an oven preheated at 190C for about 20 to 25 minutes.
For the last 6 to 7 minutes, put it on grill just to brown the tops a bit.
If you have kept aside the tomato caps, you can put it back on...you know..just to add that fancy touch :)

Notes: You can of course substitute the cous cous with some ricotta cheese as well, or any veggie of your choice. Just make sure you pre cook it a bit.
I served it as a side with some baked chicken and it was perfect..2 tomatoes per person.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Salsa de mango

I am no expert when it comes to selecting the perfect mango or even knowing the difference between varieties. I eat any mango I get -raw or ripe- and savour it no matter what. I know that we don't get the gorgeous Indian ones here, but it doesn't seem to bother us and since I don't particularly crave for it, anything works....
..except this one time I was at the Chinese store and they had raw mangoes which I couldn't resist. I wanted to have mango chammanthi (chutney) and rice....yummm! Came back home with one green mango and was busy googling for easy recipes. Found one and when I cut into it, it was actually not that raw....and I realized it wouldn't be nice as a chutney. So what do I do, cut it up, take some salt, start dipping and eating like one mad woman who's been mango deprived. I even called up Ro while eating to say I was sorry he couldn't devour the raw mango and salt. His exact words were...'I hope you get sick after eating all that..' I laughed it off then, but after I ate the entire mango, boy did I feel sick..drinking water didn't help and the entire evening was spent with a horrid stomach ache and blaming Ro for jinxing me :O
I thought the mango mania for this season was over after that episode, but no. A couple of days later we'd invited some friends over for brunch and I decided to try out a mango salsa recipe my cousin Miri had posted on her blog long back. It turned out extremely nice, that I had to try it out again. So I got around to making it a couple of days back and even managed a few pics. It pairs well with meat dishes, filling for tacos or even better on its own as a salad kinda thing. I have adapted her recipe more or less, with a few tweaks here and there. Enjoy!
Mango- 1 large or about 2 cups, peeled and cut into cubes
Tomato- half of one large, cut into small pieces
English shallot- 1, thinly sliced
Coriander leaves- 2 tbsp, finely chopped
Celery- 1 tbsp, finely chopped (optional)
Green chilli- 1 small, finely chopped (de seeded if you cant handle the heat)
Lime juice- a few drops (I was pretty generous with this)
Salt- to taste
It cant get easier than this...mix all the ingredients together in a salad bowl. 
Add lime juice and salt as per requirement, toss again and place it in the refrigerator covered until you use it.
Toss again just before serving. 
You can choose to serve in individual glasses (if you want to go all fancy) or in the salad bowl itself.

Notes: A Thai option would be to add some fish sauce, grated ginger and basil and top with some chopped peanuts.
Sending this to Reva of Kaarasaaram who is hosting this months Healing foods: Mango event, brain child of Siri.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Thomas Keller's Macaroni Gratin (a very dignified mac n cheese)

The 3 year old (read Ro) has been nagging me AGAIN! This time for macaroni and cheese of all the things. I have tried making mac & cheese so many times but it has always failed. I mean taste-wise its kinda fine, but I've never really got the consistency, the sauce or the look (????!!!!) right. Marks & Spencer has a good mac n cheese in their ready to eat section and I've resigned to buying it from there whenever I'm craving it.

So the other day Ro comes home from work and he's craving mac n cheese. I give him the brilliant idea of popping over to M&S and picking up a tub but no, he wants his super awesome food blogger wife (exact words) to make it instead. Sweet talking me into anything works, except cooking. I don't fall for it..never have and I'm pretty sure I never will. I tell him it takes at least 2 hours for me to make it and that I'm craving Chinese instead and he instantly changes his mind. We head to our favourite Chinese joint just down the road and are both happy. Ro more than me for some reason. How can someone juts let go of a craving like that???
Weeks passed and the mac n cheese idea was long forgotten. Everything was fine with the world, until I stumbled upon Ellie's stylish mac n cheese. Now when I crave something, its different..I have to have it no matter what. I've dragged Ro to a zillion stores and restaurants at ungodly hours just because I wanted the perfect churro or the perfect espresso coffee and baked at 10 in the night because I wanted something warm and sweet out of the oven.  He humours me most of the time, but otherwise tells me to piss off or make my own espresso at home.

So anyways, I'd bookmarked the recipe and decided to make it on a day I was lazy. mac n cheese, how long can it take anyway??? Apparently quite long. Its only after I started that I actually read what Ellie had written...30 minutes for the sauce alone...Ro was gonna get back home soon and I didn't have dinner ready (this after teasing him all day saying oh you are soo gonna thank me for tonights dinner). I almost changed my mind and postponed mac n cheese for a day I was proactive, and that's when Ro called to say he was grabbing a couple of drinks with his colleagues and would be home a bit late, but would definitely come for dinner (I didn't tease him any more..yeah sure, was my calm reply).

I started off the cooking process and this is no simple mac n cheese to make but taste-wise it was probably the best mac n cheese I ever had. It cannot really be called mac n CHEESE because its more of the white sauce that adds the richness than the cheese per se. Maybe that's what I liked about it because too much cheese can make it oily and unappetising, It cannot be whipped up in no time and you need to have immense patience. But the recipe is a total keeper, and so I'm penning it down for a day I'm super proactive and want to make gourmet mac n cheese :)
Recipe halved from here, originally from Thomas Keller's cookbook Bouchon
Macaroni- 115 gms (approx. 4 oz) (I used spirali since I already had a pack with me)
Cooked Ham/ Bacon- 1/4 cup, diced (I used bacon)
Grated nutmeg- a pinch
Thyme- 1 tsp, minced
Parmessan cheese- 1/4 cup, grated
Bread crumbs- 2 tbsp
Salt and pepper- to taste
Mornay sauce- 1 1/2 cups (recipe below)

Mornay sauce
Butter- 2 tbsp
White onion- 1/3 cup, diced (half of one large onion)
All purpose flour- 2 tbsp
Milk- 1 1/3 cup
Heavy cream- 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp
Bay leaf- 1
Peppercorns- 2
Whole cloves- 2
Ground Nutmeg- a pinch
Cheddar cheese- 1/4 cup
To make the sauce, place a diffuser (a tawa or so) on medium heat and a large saucepan on it.
Melt the butter and add the onion and a pinch of salt and cook stirring occasionally for about 3 minutes or until the onion turns translucent.
Sprinkle the flour and cook for a further 3 minutes, whisking constantly and making sure the roux doesn't burn.
Whisking constantly pour the milk and cream till they are mixed well.
Bring to a simmer and then add the bay leaf, black peppercorns and cloves.
Reduce heat to low and continue to simmer, whisking in between to make sure the sauce doesn't get burnt and doesn't form clumps. If it does, like Ellie says, pour into a new pan and continue the process instead of scraping the bottom.
Let it stay on a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes until the sauce becomes nice and thick, but smooth.
Take it off the flame, remove the peppercorns, cloves and bay leaf and add the cheese. Whisk to melt
You can use this sauce immediately or can make it the previous day or a week in advance and store it in the refrigerator. To thin it out later, if needed, add a dash of heavy cream to it.
Assembling:
Cook the macaroni according to the instructions on the cover. Drain and keep aside.
If the Mornay sauce was just made, then take it off the flame and into it add the cooked macaroni and bacon. Mix well and season with nutmeg, salt and pepper.
It may look a bit loose, but not to worry the macaroni will absorb the sauce while baking.
Pour into a baking dish or individual gratin dishes. Sprinkle with cheese and thyme, followed by bread crumbs
Bake in an oven pre-heated at 190C for 15 to 20 minutes or till the sauce bubbles at the sides.
If you want to brown the top a bit, turn on the grill for about 6 to 8 minutes.
Serve with garlic bread or on its own.
Notes: The taste of thyme and nutmeg was distinct and I loved it. It is obvious so if you don't like it, you can omit the same.
The bacon can be substituted with ham, mushrooms, artichokes might be nice too.
For more tips do head over to Ellie's space.


Sending this to Presto Pasta Nights (#209) hosted by Sweet Artichoke.


PS: I have to tell you that after all the drama, Ro gets back home and gives me a sheepish grin and tells me he grabbed a sandwich on the way cos he was sooo hungry. I had already downed a glass of wine and was feeling a bit light headed or something, I let it pass saying he can take it for lunch the next day..Thanks to the wine, otherwise I would have definitely been a bitch about it!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Anglo-Indian egg curry

First of all...Are we digging the new look yet???
I get bored real fast and since yesterday was a dull day (yes that time of the month), I sat at home and gave my blog a make over. Also to prove a point to Ro that purple is definitely a girl colour.

The weather has been absolutely amazing out here and tall glasses of iced tea and beers have started making its way through. BBQ season is just around the corner, but since we are in unpredictable England, planning for a weekend in the park with a BBQ idea in mind is still wary because most of the time we are jinxed and end up sitting at home and grilling. The bank holiday weekends are also approaching (yes we get 4 days off because the prince is getting married) and we are having our first BBQ party on the 1st of May...yes planning that ahead because, face it, Londoners are the most busiest people I have ever seen. I miss days where you can just make a few calls in the morning and meet up for lunch.
Who am I kidding, heck! it doesn't happen in my own home:
Me: Hey lets grab a couple of sandwiches and head to the park..the weather is awesome, I want to be out in the sun (also because I bought a new pair of shorts and I want to flaunt it..which I don't obviously say because Ro as it is thinks my priorities are royally screwed)
Ro: Oh, I decided to update some software on my laptop..once its over we will go..OK?
Me: OK! (but you're not touching my laptop)
5 hrs later
Ro: OK lets go
Me: Oh I decided to colour my hair...cant do it today baby. Maybe tomorrow?
Ro: Oh tomorrow I'm busy...
Me: (I don't even ask why....the moment has long passed)
So I shouldn't complain about others being tied down with this or that. In fact I have learned to respect it. That said, I am definitely looking forward to May though :)
I stumbled upon this recipe on the online version of Delicious Magazine and loved it. It was definitely different from the mallu preparation (which I still don't know to make) and the addition of celery kinda intrigued me. This recipe came into my mind when I thought of a salad idea for the BBQ and when served cold and a bit dry, it would be a great picnic snack. This time however I opted for a bit of a gravy because we were having it with chapathi for dinner.

Recipe adapted from here
Eggs- 3
Baby potatoes- 200 gms
Coriander seeds- 1 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Cardamom seeds- from 3 cardamom pods
Ginger- 1/2 tsp 
Turmeric powder- 1/4
Dried red chilli- 1 (more or less as per your heat tolerance)
Oil- 1 tbsp
Garlic- 3 cloves, roughly chopped
Onion- 1  medium, finely diced
Celery stalks- 2, finely chopped
Tomato- 1, pureed or 1 tbsp tomato paste
Double cream- 100 ml
Coriander leaves- to garnish
Boil the eggs. Drain, cool and shell. Slice into quarters and keep aside.
Similarly boil the potatoes in salt water till they are cooked, but not falling apart. Slice into four and set aside. (If using large potatoes, then you might want to slice them into smaller chunks)
Grind the coriander seeds, cumin seeds and cardamom seeds in a spice mill or using a pestle and mortar to get a fine powder.
Add the ginger, turmeric powder and dried red chillies to it and pulse once or twice.
Heat a frying pan and dry fry the ground ingredients until fragrant.
Add the oil to this mix and when it sizzles add the garlic, onion and celery. Cook till they have wilted and have turned a little brown..about 12 to 15 minutes on medium flame.
In goes the pureed tomato. Cook till you see oil resurfacing.
Reduce the heat a bit and add the potato and double cream. Season with salt and mix well making sure you don't break the potato.
Add the quartered eggs and slowly mix, making sure the gravy coats the eggs and the yolks are in tact (which rarely happens to me).
Garnish with coriander leaves just before you serve.
Alternatively, divide the curry between plates and place the quartered eggs on top, garnish with coriander leaves and serve.
Notes: This curry was not spicy at all...in fact i think the next time I'll add one more red chilli.
I have changed the cooking method a wee bit where you add the tomato...the original recipe calls for passata and is to be added along with the potato and cream. I preferred to cook it a bit.
I am also wondering, instead of cream, coconut milk would be a better substitute...also very mallu

PS: Rashida sends her heartfelt thanks to all those who commented on her Pav Bhajj. She's thrilled beyond words. And all those who have jinxed me..if Rashida stops sending me stuff..i'll personally harass you guys later ;)
Have a great weekend. Muah!

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Pav Bhaji

I have a friend here in London, Rashida, who thoroughly enjoys cooking. She has a toddler and in spite of that whips up the most amazing fare...that too on a regular basis. Me on the other hand, even without any distraction (well unless you take Ro into consideration) finds it difficult to cook just one meal every day. I fret and complain about having to chop and sauté...same old story people..nothing has changed there.

Rashida makes the yummiest biryani and aloo parathas and there have been times I have shamelessly declared how nice it would have been if she stayed somewhere nearby and then she could make all the lovely food and I could well, do my food styling and photography. She loved the idea...so now its only a matter of convincing her husband to move this side of town...right Rashida??? ;)
She keeps inviting me over to spend the day and spoils me with food all day long and like that's not enough, she packs some for me saying I wouldn't have to go back home and make dinner, instead we can sit here and talk more..works for me. So the last time she made some awesome Pav Bhaji and I don't even want to remember how much I ate, because I ate A LOT! She packed some for me as usual and I had to take a few pics and get Rashida to send me the recipe. If ever I wanted to make it, I would have a recipe to fall back on right?

So here's a kick-ass Pav Bhaji from Rashida's kitchen. Thanks a lot for all the yummy food you have made for me, showing me how to make aloo parathas (even though I doubt I'll ever try it) and most of all for being a good friend.
Potatoes- 2 medium
Egg plant- 5 small or 1 medium
Green pepper- 1/2 medium
Cauliflower florets- 1 cup
Cabbage- 1 cup
Carrot- 1 medium
Frozen green peas- 1/2 cup
Onion- 3- 4 medium, finely chopped
Tomatoes- 2 large, chopped
Curry leaves- 1 sprig (optional)
Ginger garlic paste- 1 1/2 tbsp
Green chillies- 2, chopped
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Pav Bhaji masala- 1 1/2 tbsp
Oil- 4 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Fresh coriander leaves- 2 tbsp, roughly chopped to garnish

Pav- to serve (used store bought)
Butter- 1 tbsp
Lemon- 1, cut into wedges
Roughly cut the potatoes, brinjal, cauliflower, cabbage, green pepper and carrot and cook in a pressure cooker with some salt and 1/2 a cup of water until it is fully cooked.
If there is a lot of water remaining, remove the vegetables and mash it with a masher. Retain the vegetable stock.
In another deep pan (non-stick if possible), heat the oil and splutter the cumin seeds.
Add about 3/4th of the chopped onions and saute till they turn a light brown colour.
Add the green chillies, curry leaves and ggp and stir fry for about half a minute...just to get rid of the raw smell.
Add 3/4th of the chopped tomatoes and cook on medium heat till the oil separates from the masala.
Add turmeric powder, chilli powder, coriander powder and 1tbsp of the pav bhaji masala and stir continuously until the masala is cooked and oil separates.
To this mix, add the mashed vegetables and green peas. Adjust salt and combine well.
Bring to a boil and then cook on low heat for about 5 to 6 minutes, stirring occasionally. If it is too thick, add some water (you can use up that vegetable stock here, if required) and loosen it up. 
Add the remaining pav bhaji masala and cook on medium heat heat for a minute or two, stirring continuously.

To assemble:
Slice the pav horizontally and apply some butter on each side.
Heat a tawa and pan fry the pav on either sides by pressing it lightly and  till the pav is slightly crisp and dark brown.
Place the pav on a plate, followed by the bhaji garnished with coriander leaves, remaining onion and tomato and lemon wedges (squeeze just before you eat)
Note: Heat 2 tsp of ghee until it is smoking hot and do a tadka when you add the remaining pav bhaji masala in the end and immediately cover it for a minute. It really makes a difference (although completely optional).

Friday, 1 April 2011

The Yum Factor with South Indian pork fry and cumin flavoured rice

We are all such big fans of MasterChef aren't we?? Well I was one and still do catch bits and pieces of it on telly, but time constrains and such have made me reduce TV time drastically. That's when the 888ladies came up with a brilliant online MasterChef New Recipe Competition where you could win one of two Ikea kitchens worth 2000.

The Yum Factor-888 Ladies' search for Kitchen Superstar started on the 29th of March and runs till the 20th of  May 2011. The contest allows you to upload your original recipes on the competition website and visitors can vote for their favourite dish. After the panel of judges go through the collection, they will then decide which three entries go on to the final round Taste-off. And then in the Taste-Off, a professional chef will cook all three recipes for a panel of cooking experts and the two best among those will each win Ikea vouchers worth 2000 for a swanky new kitchen (now we all know how awesome Ikea kitchens are, don't we?).

Anyone can enter the competition. Just make sure the recipe is your own or adapted and then just get all your friends to vote for your recipe online, As simple as that. So what are you waiting for? Put on your Chef caps and get cooking.

I on the other hand is donning the head chef hat and so wont be able to attend the competition myself. Instead I have submitted this kick-ass recipe for pork fry and cumin rice and so do head over to the Yum Factor page to read the recipe.