Monday, 31 October 2011

Mangalore Style- Coconut-ey Brinjal Salad.

The smokiness of the roasted brinjals and the creaminess of the coconut milk make this salad melt-in-the mouth or simply delish. A dish thats not to be missed.
I first tasted this exotic salad at Aunty Betty Sequeira's house in Mangalore, India. She is an awesome cook and makes such palate pleasing dishes, that everyone wants to learn to cook from her. At her diamond wedding anniversary a couple of years ago, she came out with a lovely collection of treasured Mangalorean and Kerala recipes in a compact cook book, of which she gifted me a copy. Thankyou Aunty Betty, will always treasure these recipes.
I have adapted this recipe from aunty's cook book.

Making this salad takes quite a bit of time and effort, but believe you me, your taste buds will dance with every morsel of its glorious and silken goodness.  
To save on time and oil, I used the oven to roast the brinjals and the onions mixture, ( aunty's recipe calls for shallow frying the brinjals in a pan)

To make this salad you will need:

Brinjals- 3 medium
Onions: 2 finely chopped
Green chillies: 2 finely chopped
Garlic: 2 flakes finely chopped
Ginger: 1 inch finely chopped
Coconut milk: 1/2 can
Oil: 3-4 tbsps
Cumin seeds: 1tsp
Mangalore stew powder: 1 tsp
Salt to taste

1. Wash and cut brinjals into 1½ inch slices. 

2. Place a few slices of brinjals in a single layer in a colander, sprinkle  a little salt over them, continue with the remaining slices using about 1 level tablespoon of salt in total. Now put a plate on top of the brinjal layers and weigh them down with a vessel filled with water or anything heavy, then put another plate underneath to catch the juices. Leave them like this for 30 mins- 1 hour.

3. Pre-heat the oven to 200C/ 375F.
4. Finely chop onions, chillies, ginger garlic, place in an oven proof bowl. Pour over 1-2 tbsp oil, sprinkle over salt to taste, mix well with spoon.

5.  Next prepare the brinjals, squeeze out any of the excess juice from the brinjals with your hands and dry them as thoroughly as you can using a clean cloth. Next, spread them out on a baking sheet, drizzle 2- 3 tablespoon of the oil over them and toss them around to get a good coating of oil. 
6.Now put the baking sheet with the brinjals and the bowl with onion, green chillies mixture in the oven and let them roast for 15-20 minutes or until the brinjals appear cooked and are tinged brown at the edges, and the onions have softened or appear browned on the sides of the bowl. (Half way through the cooking time, that is in 8-9 minutes turn over brinjal slices and give the onion mixture a good toss for even cooking)

*If you wish to make this on a stove top then simply shallow fry few slices of brinjals at a time in a non stick pan, till done. Seperately fry the onion, green chilli mixture till onions are softened.

7While the brinjals are cooking heat 2 tsps of oil in a vessel, when hot add cumin seeds, when they splutter add, mangalore stew powder/ or your choice of spice powder and immediately pour in coconut milk. Bring the coconut milk to gentle boil on a medium flame. Taste for salt turn off gas. 
8. Once the brinjals and onion mixture is done , take them out of the oven. Place the cooked brinjal slices and the onion mixture into a single serving bowl. Mix well using a spoon.

9. Pour the prepared spiced coconut milk over the brinjal mixture. Set aside for a few minutes  to allow the spiced coconut milk to work its way through the brinjals. 

Serve hot or cold. An excellent accompaniment to any vegetable pulao or chappatis/naans.


Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Wishing all my Readers a very Happy Diwali !!

May the warmth and splendor, that are a part of this auspicious occasion, fill your life with happiness and bright cheer, and bring to you joy and prosperity, for the whole year.  

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Wickedly Delicious- Minced Green Apple Pickle !

This summer our 3 year old hybrid apple tree gave us our first big crop. A lovely mix of golden delicious, red apples and green granny smith apples.

Determined not to let any apples go to waste hubby and me set out to pickle the green granny smith apples in my very own spice mix...the other 2 varieties went into an apple pie and an apple cake.

This pickle recipe is a quick one, it involves frying and grinding a few spices, then adding it to the minced apples. This pickle can be eaten the same day, a few hours after the pickle is made, and should be refrigerated and consumed within a week.

Green apples: 3 nos

To roast and pound:
Hing: 1/4 tsp
Mustard seeds: 1 tbsp
Curry leaves: 3-4
Kala jeera/ Black cumin seeds: 1 tbsp
Methi powder: 1/4 tsp
Tumeric powder: 1/4 tsp
Sesame oil: 4- 5 tsps

To add:
Cayenne pepper/ Chilli powder: 1tbsp
Paprika powder: 1tbsp
Salt: 2 tbsps
Vinegar: 2 tbsps

1. Take a pan, place on  medium heat, pour in sesame oil, Once oil is heated, add hing and mustard seeds, let it splutter, then add the curry leaves and kala jeera , fry till fragnant. Then add the methi powder and tumeric powder and immediately take pan off the fire. Pound all the spices in a mortar till it forms a smooth paste. (Do not add any water)
2. Add cayenne pepper/ chilli powder, paprika, salt and vinegar to the ground/ pounded mixture. Mix well . Keep aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile finely dice the apples on a dry and clean chopping board.  

4. Mix the diced apples well with spice paste using a clean wooden spoon. Fill the prepared pickle into clean sterilised jars and keep in the refrigerator. Can be eaten same day. Best used within a week.

Tiny bites of sweet, tart and crunchy apples in a simple spice mix, that is wonderfully hot and and mouth wateringly tasty, here is to the apples in a refreshing and wicked new avatar.


Useful tips:
1.Make sure apples are washed and dried well before dicing. Dice the apples only once the spice mixture is ready or else they will discolour.
2. Place the pickle in a sterilised glass jar. To sterilise a clean jar, place in an heated oven on middle shelf at 180C for 20 minutes. Be careful while handling hot glass jars. Once the jar has cooled completely, fill with the prepared pickle and close the lid tight. 
3. Always use a clean dry spoon to take pickle from the jar. Ensure the remaining pickle in jar is levelled off and is always covered with a layer of oil. 

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Simple Hot and Spicy Egg Dum Biriyani

This Hot and Spicy Egg Dum Biriyani is another one of my creations in times of need. I must say it is tasty, flavoursome and surely satisfying. Definitely worth savouring.

This year our fennel plant produced a lot of fennel seeds/ sweet cumin/ saunf. Dried fennel seed is an aromatic and fruity, anise/ licorice-flavoured spice, which is brown or green in colour. When fresh these seeds are leafy green in colour and are tender to the bite and so sweet, makes a delightful after-meal digestive and mouth freshener.

It is an essential ingredient of the well known Indian spice mixture panch phoron and the chinese five spice powder. I just cannot resist adding these tiny aromatic seeds to my pulao's or meat curries as it adds a lovely taste to the dish. If you are interested in learning more about the benefits of fennel seeds click here.

Our bayleaf plant has done well too, producing large sweet smelling leaves, useful for uplifting the flavour of any biriyani. Couldnt resist using them for this recipe.

To make this tasty Spicy Egg Dum Biriyani:
4 eggs

For Masala: Grind to a paste
Tomatoes: 2 medium
Garlic cloves: 3 large
Ginger: 1 inch
Fennel seeds/ Saunf: 1 tsp
Poppy seeds: 1 tbsp
Paprika powder: 1 tsp 
Green chillies:4-5 ( 2-3 for mild heat)
Biryani masala powder: 1.5 tbsp

Oil: 2 tbsps

While frying masala : handful of brown onions

For the rice
Basmati rice: 2 cups
Cardamoms: 2
Cloves: 4
Star anise: 1
Bay leaf:1
Black cardamom: 1
Browned onions: handful 
Lime juice: 1 tsp

Salt to taste
oil or ghee: 2 tbsps

For garnishing
Cashew nuts: few
Coriander and mint leaves: a few sprigs finely chopped
Browned crispy onions: handful
Rose water: 2 tsps
Garam masala powder: 1/2 tsp

1. Boil the eggs in a wide, deep pan filled with enough water to cover them and bring the water to a  boil. Boil  for 10-12 minutes. Turn off the flame, transfer to cold water & peel off the shells. Slit the surface of the eggs vertically. Keep aside. 
2. Grind all the masala ingredients to a fine paste, without adding any water. 

3. Take 2 tbsp of oil/ ghee in a non stick pan, add the ground masala, fry on medium heat for 5-6 mins, stirring well till the masala comes together or leaves side of pan. Add a handful of browned onions, the boiled eggs, 2-3 tbsps of water to make a thick gravy which coats the eggs. Let the gravy come to a boil for 2 minutes. Turn off the flame.

4. Wash the rice and drain, keep aside. In a deep pan, heat some oil/ghee add the whole spices and fry for a few seconds, 

add the ready browned onions, fry for 10 secs, 

then add the drained rice. Fry for a couple of minutes till the rice slightly changes colour, then carefully add 41/2  cups of  hot water to the rice. Add salt to taste, and the lime juice . Allow the rice to come to a boil on a high flame uncovered, then turn down heat to medium, cover the vessel with a glass lid and let rice cook till water is seen bubbling through holes in rice. Then turn the heat off and allow the rice to cook undisturbed in its own heat for 7-10 minutes.

5 . Once the rice has rested , carefully run a fork through the rice to seperate the grains.

6 . Preheat oven for dum to 180C or 375 farenheit. 

7. Grease the vessel to be used for dum, place half of the rice at the bottom, top it with all of the eggs and masala evenly, sprinkle half of the browned onions, coriander and mint leaves, place the remaining rice on the top. Sprinkle the remaining browned onions , mint and coriander leaves, garam masala powder, cashewnuts and rose water. Cover the top of the vessel with a layer of foil, place the lid.

8. Place the biriyani vessel in center of a  preheated oven at 180C for 20 minutes or on a old tawa, over a low flame for 15-20 minutes.

9 . Serve hot with raitha.


Useful tips:
1. I tend to keep a packet of shop bought ready fried onions in an airtight container. Comes in very handy for recipes like this, and for making biriyani's and pulao's. Available in Asian stores in the UK. If you cannot find them, then next time you brown onions for any dish make a larger quantity and store in a clean airtight container, will save you a lot of time especially for quick/ express cooking.

Sending this recipe to the event ABC Series: EGG recipes

Friday, 14 October 2011

Chicken ghee roast

This is my ground version of the Chicken ghee roast. It is hot and spicy, a sure delight to the senses! For a no grind version use the marinade and spice paste mix in  simple prawn ghee roast recipe, only double the quantities used. 

In todays recipe I have ground down the roasted whole spices to make a spice paste/masala instead of using a mixture of spice powders. I usually make it for a Saturday night in...and hubby loves it!! 

The recipe is very involves frying chicken which has been previously marinaded, then roasting and grinding down a few spices to make a spice paste, and just putting the two together really.... A brilliant way to jazz up chicken or prawns. It is best served with fresh Basmati rice and a dollop of greek yoghurt. 

For Marination
Chicken: 1/2 no cut into large pieces
Thick curd:½ cup
White pepper powder:1 tsp 
Turmeric powder:1/2 tsp 
Lime Juice : 2tsps
Salt to taste

For Roasting and Grinding-  Spice Paste/ Ghee Roast Masala
Kashmiri long red chillies : 4
Small dried red chillies : 3
Coriander seeds:3/4 tbsp
Fenugreek seeds :1/4 tsp 
Cumin seeds :1 tsp 
Fennel seeds or saunf: 1tsp
Garlic flakes: 3 large 
Oil to fry
Pure Ghee: 3 tsps 
Salt to taste

1. In a large bowl take marinade ingredients, mix well, then add the cleaned and slit chicken to it. Coat chicken well. Cover bowl with cling film. Keep in the fridge for 2-3  hours. 

2. In a pan heat a mixture of 2 tsps ghee and 3 tsps oil (or if you feel like indulging use 2 tbsps of ghee instead of oil). When the oil is hot add the chicken pieces and fry for 5 mins on each side, allowing it to brown well. Then add 1 cup of water cover and allow it to cook on a medium flame till 3/4 done.

3. While the chicken is cooking prepare the spice paste. In a pan roast the spice paste/ masala ingredients in 1 tsp ghee in following order-sliced garlic first, then dried red chillies and coriander seeds, then add the rest. Roast together till fragrant.

4. Grind the roasted ingredients to a smooth paste with a little water. Once the chicken is almost 3/4 cooked add the spice paste to same pan in which the chicken is cooking, to the bottom of the pan in the center.
5. Let the spice paste fry in the oil in the bottom and centre of the pan for a couple of minutes before coating the chicken pieces in the ground and fried spice paste. Add another 1/2 cup water. Close the pan and let the chicken cook on a slow flame till done.

6. Check for salt , Garnish with onion rings, Squeeze over 2 tsps lemon juice, serve hot with thick greek yoghurt and steamed basmati rice.

  • Enjoy !!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Mangalore Style Spicy Plantains with Dried Shrimp, Kele Sukke with Galmbi

This is my mom's recipe for a very popular Mangalorean plantain preparation, that makes the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of steaming hot rice and lentil soup/ daaliso saar. The star ingredient in this dish being the "tiny dried shrimp" also known as "Galmbi" in Konkani . When added to the plantains these dried shrimp adds a unique flavour to the dish truly worth savouring.

Here the plantains are pressure cooked in a spice paste and then perked up with a generous sprinkling of roasted dried shrimp.

These tiny dried shrimp are available in packets, sold in Mangalore stores in India, or any Asian/Chinese shops in the UK . For a vegeterian version, substitute the shrimp with a sprinkling of crispy fried onions.

Tamarind concentrate: 2 tsps
Meet mirsang paste: 1 tbsp
Coriander powder: 1 tsp
Tomato: 1 small chopped
Onions browned: Small handful
Salt to taste
Oil: 1 tbsp
Roasted galmbi/ dried shrimp: small handful
For Seasoning
Red chillies: 2
Curry leaves: 1 sprig
Oil: 2 tsps
For Garnish
Fried brown onions (optional)

1. Clean the dried shrimp, and roast in a pan over a low flame using 2 tsps of oil, till they turn crispy and golden brown.
2. Peel the skin of banana using a peeler. Cut banana into half lengthwise and then cut across into 1 inch thick pieces. Drop into a container filled up water, in which 2 teaspoons of tamarind concentrate is added, to help prevent discolouration of plantains.

3. In a pressure cooker place the drained peeled and diced plantains. Add mangalore meet mirsang paste/ chilli paste, coriander powder,  browned onion, chopped tomato, salt to taste, and oil. Add sufficient water to little below level of plantains.
4. Pressure cook for 2 whistles on medium flame, then turn off flame. Let the pressure drop. Open cooker, Sprinkle over roasted shrimp/galmbi. Mix well.
5. Season red chillies and curry leaves in oil, pour over cooked plantains. Mix well.
6. Garnish with crispy browned onions and a sprinkling of roasted dried shrimp.

Serve with rice and mangalorean lentil soup/ dalisosaar.

Useful tips:
1. I tend to keep a packet of ready fried onions in an airtight container. Comes in very handy for recipes like this, and for making biriyani's and pulao's. Available in Asian stores in the UK.
2. I also buy pre-roasted and already cleaned dried tiny shrimp/ galmbi.  Saves me a lot of time, and saves me having to air- freshen the house and the curtains ;)...... as the shrimps tend to give off a very strong and lingering aroma, which some might not find too pleasing.

I am sending this recipe to Ramya Rajesh's event B for Banana hosted at Ramya's recipes.