Monday, 30 September 2013

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta...shutting out the world!!

Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pastawhen all you want to do is cuddle up with a book and forget about the real world






Creamy Roasted Red Pepper Pasta


Ingredients:

  • Pasta, of your choice, 100 gms
  • Garlic, finely chopped, 1 or 2 cloves
  • Onion, chopped, ¼ small
  • Red Bell Pepper, 1 large
  • Tomato, chopped, ½ large 
  • Cream, 2-3 tbsp (less or more according to taste)
  • Dried Parsley, ½ tsp
  • Chili flakes, to taste (optional)
  • Black pepper, to taste
  • Salt, to taste
  • Olive oil, 1 tbsp
  • Butter, 1 tsp
  • Fresh parsley to serve


Instructions:



Roast the red pepper in a 220C oven until the skin is black and blistered. Remove and place pepper in a paper bag or cover with kitchen towel. Once the pepper is cool enough to handle and the steam created by the paper bag/kitchen towel has loosened the skin, peel it, remove seeds and chop.

Cook pasta according to package instruction / al dente. Take out about ¼ cup of pasta water and keep aside. Drain the pasta.

While the pasta is cooking, start with the sauce.

In a pan over low heat, sauté garlic and onions in olive oil till soft. Add in the red pepper, tomato and cook for 3-4 minutes. 

Switch off the heat and blend the red pepper mix into a slightly coarse puree in a blender/food processor.

Heat butter in the same pan and tip in the red pepper puree. Add in the reserved pasta water, dried parsley, salt and pepper. 

Let the sauce heat up and then add in the cream. 

Stir well and then add in the drained pasta,

Toss so that the sauce coats the pasta, check for seasoning and done!!

Serve sprinkled with a little fresh parsley on top.


Options: 

  • If you want, you can use stock (chicken/veg) instead of pasta water  

  • You can add some grilled/roasted cubed chicken to the sauce or serve the sauce on top of some grilled chicken with salad 

  • Add some Parmesan cheese 

  • Add about a tsp of balsamic vinegar while sautéing the veggies 

  • Switch parsley with basil







Thursday, 26 September 2013

Pasta with Roasted Yellow Pepper, Tomatoes and Feta...quick lunch/dinner

Pasta with Roasted Yellow Pepper, Tomatoes and Fetaour quick quick lunch yesterday







Pasta with Roasted Yellow Pepper, Tomatoes and Feta


Ingredients:


  • Pasta, of your choice, 100 gms
  • Garlic, finely chopped, 1 or 2 cloves
  • Yellow pepper, 1 large
  • Tomatoes, chopped, ½ large 
  • Feta cheese, crumbled, 2 tbsp + 1 tsp
  • Chili flakes, ¼ tsp or to taste
  • Black pepper, 1/8 tsp or to taste
  • Dried Oregano, 1/8 tsp or to taste
  • Salt, only if needed to taste
  • Lemon juice, about 1 tsp
  • Olive oil, 1 tbsp



Instructions:



Roast the yellow pepper in a 220C oven until the skin is black and blistered. Remove and place pepper in a paper bag or cover with kitchen towel. Once the pepper is cool enough to handle and the steam created by the paper bag/kitchen towel has loosened the skin, peel it, remove seeds and chop.


Cook pasta according to package instruction/al dente. Take out about ¼ cup of pasta water and keep aside. Drain the pasta. 

While the pasta is cooking, start with the sauce.

In a pan over low heat, sauté garlic and chili flakes in olive oil till soft. Once the garlic starts to go soft, add tomatoes. 

Let the tomatoes go soft and crush them lightly to break the skin. 

Add the chopped up pepper, cooked pasta, pasta water, and chunks of feta cheese to the pan. Add a squeeze of lemon juice over top, season with oregano, salt and pepper, and toss everything well together. 

Check for seasoning, sprinkle with about a teaspoon of feta on top and serve.


Notes:


  • Since Feta is quite salty, do be a little careful while adding salt.

  • And also remember, to match the size of the veggies with the size of your pasta…chop/slice accordingly

Friday, 20 September 2013

Mutton Pepper Fry...real food!!

Mutton Pepper Frythis post is for someone who thinks that I eat way too much chicken and not enough real food!!


South Indian Pepper Mutton mmskitchenbites





Mutton Pepper Fry


Ingredients:

  • Mutton/Goat Meat or Lamb, boneless and cut into small pieces, 500 gm
  • Coriander powder, 3 tsp
  • Chili powder, 1 tsp
  • Turmeric powder, ½   tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Water, about 2 ½ cups
  • Onions, sliced finely, 3
  • Garlic, sliced finely, 4-5 cloves
  • Curry leaves, a handful
  • Black peppercorns, coarsely crushed, 1- 1 ½ tbsp
  • Oil, 2 tbsp


For the spice mix:

  • Green cardamoms, 4
  • Cloves, 4
  • Cinnamon, 1” stick



Instructions:


Wash and clean the mutton.  Boil till tender with coriander powder, chili powder, turmeric powder and salt – about 20-25 minutes. You should be left with about ¼ cup liquid to be used later.

While the mutton is cooking, light dry roast and then finely grind the green cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon. Keep aside.

Heat oil in a wok/kadhai or a pan.
Add in the onions and let them fry till they start turning golden brown.

Add in the garlic, curry leaves and fry for a couple of minutes till garlic gets soft.

Now add in the crushed peppercorns and the mutton with the liquid. Sauté for 2-3 minutes over low heat.

Add in the spice powder, mix and let meat cook for a further 4-5 minutes until all the water dries up and meat is browned.

Check and adjust for seasoning. Done!


Option: you can add in some tomatoes if you want...increase the oil by 1 tbsp.  Use 2 finely diced onions and when they soft, add in 3 finely chopped tomatoes. Let the tomatoes go mushy and release oil before adding mutton. This will give you nice smooth thick gravy.






Monday, 16 September 2013

Meen Molee/Fish Molee/Kerala style fish curry cooked with coconut milk ...Annie's Song!!!

Meen Molee/Fish Molee (Kerala style fish curry cooked with coconut milk)am not very confident making fish curries but this is one of those that I love to make since I have never messed it up J (till now)Annie, thank you for the recipe J






Meen Molee/Fish Molee (Kerala style Fish curry cooked with Coconut Milk)


Ingredients:

  • Fish fillets,  (preferably white fleshed) cut into small pieces, 250 gms  ( I have made and eaten this with Seer (King Fish), Rohu (Carp), Rawas (Indian Salmon) , Pomfret and Sole...my friend Mo has made it with Red Snapper and swears by it )
  • Fresh Ginger, grated/paste, 1 tsp
  • garlic, grated/paste, 1 clove
  • Pearl onions, thinly sliced, ½ cup ( you can use normal onions as well)
  • Black peppercorns, coarsely crushed, ½ tsp  
  • Curry leaves, 10-12
  • Green chilies, slit, 2-3  ( remove seeds from half or all of them if you want)
  • Tomato, cut into 5 wedges, 1 medium size
  • Coconut milk, thin, ¾ cup *refer to notes
  • Coconut milk, thick, ¼ cup *refer to notes
  • Turmeric powder, ¼ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Coconut Oil, 1 tsp + 1 tsp (if you don’t have coconut oil, use any white flavorless oil) 


For marinating:

  • Salt, ¼ tsp
  • Turmeric powder, ¼ tsp
  • Lemon juice, 1 tsp



Instructions:


Wash, clean the fish and pat dry. Marinate the fish with marinade ingredients listed above for 10-15 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan and lightly fry marinated fish pieces on a medium heat. Remove and keep aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the same pan. Add ginger, garlic and fry for 10-15 seconds.

Add in the onions, green chilies, curry leaves and sauté till onions become soft and translucent.

Add in the turmeric and pepper and fry for 15-20 seconds till the raw smell of the turmeric goes away.

Now add in the thin coconut milk, mix well and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.

Slide in the fried fish and tomato wedges. Cover and cook the fish – since the fish is already half done while frying, it only needs to be cooked for 2-3 minutes.

Pour in the thick coconut milk and salt – carefully stir or just swirl the pan to mix in the coconut milk. You don’t want to break the fish or mush up the tomatoes by stirring too much.

Let is cook for another couple of minutes and done!


Notes:


  • I use coconut milk powder as it is easy to adjust consistency per your requirement. 

  • If you are using canned milk, keep the can in the refrigerator for a few hours – remove and open it without shaking too much. The layer formed on top will be thick milk/cream and the layer on bottom will be thin milk. 

  • If you want to make it from fresh coconut – use grated or chopped coconut and blend it with double the amount of warm water to a smooth runny mixture. Sieve and squeeze through a muslin cloth – this is your first extract a.k.a. thick coconut milk. Blend the remaining coconut mixture with equal amount of warm water. Sieve and squeeze through a muslin cloth again – this is your second extract a.k.a. thin coconut milk. 

  • You can make coconut milk with unsweetened, dried coconut as well – same process as with fresh grated coconut. 


  • I prefer using coconut milk powder for curries because with it I have never faced the typical issue of coconut milk splitting while making the curry.The other option is not let the milk boil but only gently simmer to avoid it from splitting.




Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Bhaja Muger Dal/ Bengali Roasted Mung (Moong) Lentils...lunch is served!!

Bhaja Muger Dal/ Bengali Roasted Mung DalI have never been able to say no to the call of ‘more dal?’...everthis roasted nutty dal is no exceptionTwo bowls and my lunch was done J (you of course can have it with dal/rice, veggies, salad and fried fish or chicken fry)







Bhaja Muger Dal (Bengali Roasted Mung Dal)


Ingredients:

  • Mung Dhuli Dal/ Split Yellow Skinless Mung, 1 cup
  • Water, 2 ½ cups (more or less according to the consistency you want)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Turmeric, ½ tsp
  • Bayleaf, 1
  • Sugar, abt ¼ to ½ tsp (optional, I normally skip)


For tadka/tempering:

  • Desi ghee (clarified butter) or Oil, 1 tbsp
  • Bayleaf, 1
  • Cumin seeds, ½ tsp
  • Garlic, finely chopped, 2 cloves
  • Onion, finely chopped, 1 medium
  • Fresh (or Frozen) Green peas, ¾ cup or to taste or you can skip this completely
  • Bengali Garam Masala, about ¼ tsp (equal amount of green cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon)
  • Green chilies, stems removed and slit, 2
  • Fresh green Coriander, for garnishing


Instructions:


Dry roast the dal in a pan over medium heat, stirring continuously till it changes colour to golden to medium of the brown – some of the mung will be darker than the others and that is ok as long as they don’t burn!! The roasted dal will smell nutty and you know what burnt food smells like J One suggestion – don’t try and multitask while roasting the dal...it can go from that perfect golden to burnt in the blink of an eye (yes, talking from experience!!)

Switch off the heat and spread the dal out on a plate or a bowl. Let it cool down completely and then wash the dal till water runs clear.

Drain the water completely. Use fresh water for cooking and cook the dal with bayleaf, salt and turmeric till tender but still whole (should not turn mushy). If using sugar, add sugar to the dal once it is tender and you have switched off the heat.

In a pan, heat ghee. Add bayleaf, cumin, garlic and onions.
Fry till onions go soft and then toss in the green peas. Mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Add in the cooked dal and let it cook till peas are done.

Add in the green chilies and sprinkle garam masala. Stir and serve topped with some more ghee if you want.


Options:

  • Replace garlic with ginger
  • Add both garlic and ginger
  • Add in some tomatoes
  • Replace chopped onions with whole pearl onions – cooked till they start breaking up
  • Add in some grated coconut while boiling the dal and just before serving top with some grated and fried coconut
  • Use mustard oil for tempering and then use ghee just for topping
  • Make a paste with bayleaf and water and use that in tempering
  • Instead of garam masala powder, sprinkle with roasted and powdered cumin seeds.


From my notes section of  Mung Dhuli Dal:


Not a class on dals/pulses/lentils but just wanted to ensure you know which dal I was talking about – it is the first one (yellow in colour). 


Sunday, 8 September 2013

Rogan Josh/ Lamb in red gravy (Kahmiri Pandit style)…Colour me Red!!!

Rogan Josh (Lamb in red gravy)-Kashmiri Pandit stylespecifying which style as there are innumerable versions of this dish: Kashmiri Pandit, Wazwaan, Pakistani, Persian, North Indian and even BritishJ...every style of cooking has varying ingredients and ways of cookingthis is my version, adapted over the last of couple of years and finally settled on with a combination of the recipes from Sarla Razdan’s book Kashmiri Cuisine and Anshie Dhar’s blog Spiceroots


Kashmiri Roghan Josh Lamb mmskitchenbites





Rogan Josh (Lamb in red gravy)-Kashmiri Pandit style



Ingredients:

  • Lamb/ Mutton (Goat meat), on the bone, preferably from the leg, 500 gms (or boneless 750 gms)
  • Hing/Asafoetida, ¼ tsp
  • Cloves, 3-4
  • Black cardamom, 1, crushed
  • Cinnamon, 1” piece
  • Plain Yogurt/Dahi, ¼ cup
  • Kashmiri Red Chili Powder, 2 tsp (this is what gives the curry its red colour)
  • Sonth/Dry Ginger powder, ¾ tsp
  • Saunf/Fennel powder, 1 ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Green Cardamom, 2, crushed
  • Cumin powder, 1 tsp
  • Mustard Oil, ¼ cup (or use ghee…if any of these two are not an option for you, use any flavor less oil of your choice)
  • Water, 2-3 tablespoons + 1 cup + more boiling water if needed



Instructions:


Kashmiri Rogan Josh is typically made with Lamb meat but that is tough  to source here so I substitute with Mutton i.e. goat meat. Ideally should be made with pieces on the bone as meat on the bone adds flavor to the curry but if boneless is what you prefer, please go ahead and use that.

Wash and clean the meat. Squeeze out the water completely and then pat dry the mutton pieces with paper towels. (there are people who say one should never wash the meat but just wipe it with a soft wet cloth but I have always seen everyone at home washing and cleaning the meat and hence so do Igo with what you think best, just make sure  that the meat is dry before you start cooking)

Whisk the yogurt well and ensure it is at room temperature.

Heat oil in a wide heavy bottom pan. (if using mustard oil, please do smoke and then cool the oil first; if using ghee or any other oil , please don’t let it smoke). 

Add asafoetida, cloves, black cardamom and cinnamon. Let the spices sizzle and flavour the oil for about 10-15 seconds. Increase the heat to high and add in the meat. We need to let the meat brown on all sides – don’t stir around too much, let it brown on one side for 2-3 minutes before flipping it over to brown on the other side.

Once the meat is nice and brown on all sides, lower the heat and add the yogurt. Mix and stir well till the yogurt almost evaporates.

Add the Kashmiri chili powder and stir so that the chili powder coats the meat. Add 2-3 tablespoons of water to prevent the chilies from burning (all this, still at low flame)

Once the oil starts to separate, add dry ginger powder and fennel seed powder. Stir well and add a cup of water.

Increase the heat and let the water come to a boil. Once it boils, add salt and lower the heat again.

Cover and cook on low flame till the meat is tender and you can see a layer of oil separated from the gravy.Cooking time will depend on the quality of the meat – for the meat that we get here, takes about an hour for meat on the bone and about half an hour for boneless meat. 

Do remember to stir occasionally to ensure the spices don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. And when you open the cover to give a stir, add some hot boiling water if you think it is getting too dry.

Add the crushed green cardamoms and cumin powder, mix well. Let it simmer for a couple of minutes.

If you can, let it rest for a couple of hours before serving

Serve with steamed rice.


Kashmiri Rogan Josh Lamb mmskitchenbites


Friday, 6 September 2013

Sojne Data-r Chorchori/Drumsticks cooked with mustard and poppy seed paste...still in season??

Sojne Data-r Chorchori or Drumsticks cooked with mustard and poppy seed pasteI thought the season was over for these  and then my dear Sabziwallah Bhaiya sent some overand here is the first drumstick dish that I ever ate and learnt to cook






Sojne Data-r Chorchori (Drumsticks cooked with mustard and poppy seed paste)



Ingredients:

  • Sojne Data/Senjan ki Phalli/Drumsticks, lightly scraped and cut into 3” long pieces, 6
  • Potatoes, peeled and cut into thick wedges, 2 large
  • Shorshe/Sarson/Mustard seed paste, 2 tbsp (refer to notes)
  • Posto/Khus Khus/ White Poppy seed paste, 3 tbsp
  • Kalo Jeera/ Kalonji/Nigella seeds, ¼ tsp
  • Turmeric powder, ½ tsp
  • Red chili powder, ½ tsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Green chilies, slit, 1-2 (remove seeds if you want)
  • Mustard Oil, 3-4 tbsp (I made this with 2 tbsp oil but ideally dishes with mustard paste are supposed to have a little more oil)


Instructions:

Heat oil in a kadhai/wok. Add the drumstick pieces and lightly fry for a couple of minutes. Remove and keep aside.

Now add in the potato wedges in the same kadhai and fry till they change colour. Remove and keep aside.

Add in nigella seeds and slit green chilies. Sauté for a 10-15 seconds and add in the fried vegetables, mustard paste, posto seed paste, turmeric, chili powder and salt.
Mix well and let it cook uncovered for 3-4 minutes.

Add in half to one cup water, cover and let it all cook together on medium low heat till the vegetables are done. 

Remove the cover and dry up the leftover water if any on high heat. Done!


Notes:

  • Instead of the typical 4-5 vegetables as expected in a “Chorchori” , you are only seeing potatoes and drumsticks here since I don’t like yellow pumpkin and horseradish and I hate frying eggplants (I always end  up using too much oil)

  • Always look for young tender drumsticks for better flavor as the older ones are bitter, hard and dry. Younger pods will be smooth green whereas the older ones will be have extremely pronounced bumps.


  • If you haven’t eaten a drumstick before…they are best eaten at home sitting quietly in a corner! J The soft mushy centre with pulp and seeds is scraped away with teeth and the woody exterior is chewed to extract all flavor and then discarded on the side of the plate. (yes, not the most elegant vegetable to eat!!) or simply split open with a spoon and scrape out the pulp and discard the rest.


  • How to make mustard and poppy seed paste: Soak seeds in warm water for about an hour, drain and grind with some water, big fat pinch of salt and one or two green chillies into a coarse paste. 

  • I use Black Mustard seeds, just like my mother in law and the mustard is not too pungent here since poppy seed paste is also added in.  

  • You can use yellow mustard seeds or a mix of black and yellow (2:1) to reduce the pungency. 

  • If you want a smoother looking paste, make mustard seeds paste and then strain it through a fine sieve. 

  • You can make this with dish with only mustard paste or only poppy seed paste as well.









And this is what Drumsticks look like ( picture taken from the net)


Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Murgh Saunf Kasoori...mix 'n' match!!

Murgh Saunf Kasoori came about couple of years back when I really didn’t want to cook and decided to use the pressure cook to avoid standing in the kitchen for too long stirring and cribbing...threw in a mix of spices from the top kitchen drawer (I have 4 kitchen drawers full of spices) and Voila it was done!!...came out quite nice and different from the usual thick curries that we like and has been quite a regular ever sincedon’t let the colour fool you into thinking that it is super hot...the colour is because of the packaged tomato puree and the Kashmiri red chili powder...try this curry...I promise you will love it J



Fennel Chicken mmskitchenbites




Murgh Saunf Kasoori (Chicken Curry with Fennel seeds & Dried Fenugreek Leaves)



Ingredients:

  • Chicken, without skin and curry cut (10-12 pieces), about 1 kg


For the marinade:

  • Lemon juice or Vinegar, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Turmeric powder, ½ tsp
  • Red chili powder, ½ tsp


For the curry:
  • Bay leaf, 2
  • Cumin seeds, ½ tsp
  • Green cardamoms, 2
  • Cloves, 3-4
  • Cinnamon, 1” piece
  • Onions, finely sliced, 3 large
  • Garlic paste, 2 tsp
  • Ginger paste, 1 tsp
  • Saunf/Fennel seeds, 1 tsp
  • Tomato puree, packaged, 3 tbsp
  • Red chili powder, ½ tsp
  • Kashmiri Chili powder, 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder, 1 tsp
  • Kasoori Methi/Dried Fenugreek powder, 1 tbsp
  • Salt, to taste
  • Oil/Ghee, 2 tbsp



Instructions: 


Mix in lemon juice/vinegar, salt, turmeric, red chili powder and oil in a non reactive bowl. 

Add the chicken pieces and rub the marinade well over the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl and let the chicken marinate for an hour or so.

Start with the curry: heat oil/ghee in a pressure cooker (or a heavy bottomed pan). Add bay leaf, cumin seeds and lightly crushed green cardamoms, cloves and cinnamon.

When the spices start sizzling, add in the onions. Cook the onions till they start turning light golden brown.

Add in garlic paste, ginger paste, fennel seeds and mix well.

When onions get all fried and nicely browned, add tomato puree, both kind of chili powders, coriander powder and fry till the oil separates.

Add the marinated chicken and kasoori methi. 

Stir and mix so that the masala coats the chicken. Let it cook on all sides for about 7-8 minutes till the chicken starts to brown. 

Add about a cup of water and stir.

Close the pressure cooker. The chicken should take about 10-12 minutes (in my pressure cooker about 2 whistles, one on high and one on low)

If cooking in a pan, cover with a tight fitting lid and cook till chicken is tender and starts falling off the bone.

Open the lid and check on the consistency of the curry. If it’s too thin (as the chicken would have released some water  as well as oil/fat), increase the heat and dry it up a bit.

Keep the chicken covered till serving time. Serve with some steamed rice or bread of your choice.