McCormick Schwartz Flavour Challenge – Tawa Chicken Frankie Roll

In 2014, global flavour leader McCormick, parent company of leading herbs and spices brand Schwartz, is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The yearlong celebration kicks off with the launch of the 125th Anniversary Edition of the Flavour Forecast (a new, annual prediction of what ‘flavours’ will be most popular in the cooking world) and the Flavour of Together programme, with the goal of connecting people around the world as they share 1.25 million stories about the special role food and flavour plays in our lives through.

To inspire people to share their flavour stories and tell the blogger community about Flavour Forecast, McCormick challenged me and a few other lucky bloggers  to come up with a new recipe that is based on the Flavour Forecast trends :

1. Chillies Obsession: Food lovers everywhere are seeking out their next big chilli thrill.

2. Modern Masala: Indian food is finally having its moment, breaking free of its traditional confines with modern interpretations.

3. Clever Compact Cooking: Proving that big flavours can come from small spaces, cooks in urban kitchens are making the most of what’s available.

4. Mexican World Tour: Mexican flavours are making their way around the globe, with people everywhere discovering new aspects of this bright, casual cuisine.

5. Charmed by Brazil: The world’s attraction to Brazilian cuisine is heating up, thanks to its seductive mix of global and native influences.

I decide to take up Modern Masala as a flavour trend. Coming from India , using a complex mix of spices as part of our daily diet has always been a part of my life. The  beautiful large open fruit n vegetable  markets even in major cities are a visual treat and there is a lot of passion involved in say getting the right type of chilli powder. So I think my recipe is an amalgamation of these  two big flavour trends together – Chillies Obsession and Modern Masala and of course because I manage all my culinary experiments in my tiny urban kitchen which is the size of a postage stamp I am sure my recipe also covers the theme Clever Compact Cooking!

My most vivid memory of spices being sold loose is of this huge wholesale and retail market in an area called Parel , Mumbai in India.There are many tiny shops and vendors which hand carts with huge piles of spices , bright red chillies in jute sacks and mini yellow mountains of turmeric and ever imaginable spice being sold in the open.Of course with our modern industries being so well developed we always used masalas out of a packet but the sheer variety available locally in any small town in India is mind boggling.

1-IMG_2287 (Copy) pic monkey

In London I trudge to my local Indian shop and bulk buy the packets and secretly wish I could get an unlimited supply of aai’s home made garam masala and red chilli powder where she carefully selects 2 types of chillies with varying degrees of heat and roasts them in a kadhai after they have been dried in the blistering hot afternoon sun! Then she takes it to a local mill where it is ground and packed into a large ceramic jar and then stored at home.

I have made a simplified version of Tibbs Frankie using boneless mutton and a variety of Schwartz spices which were sent to me.You could safely say that this fella ”Frankie” is a distant cousin of the Fajita and the Kathi Roll.How this Frankie came into being is also a very interesting story which I shall share in a few lines here.

”The year 1967 Mr. Amarjit Tibb on returning back from England had a stopover in Beirut. During his brief stop there he stumbled upon a very ingenious Lebanese preparation, which was a pita bread wrap, with a variety of stuffing’s, this fascinated him. Upon his return the idea still lingered on and he kept innovating it to suit the Indian palate, after a year of research along with his wife they hit upon the perfect concoction. This Indianised wrap was soon tried among friends and family and after testing brilliantly it hit the markets. That was a new era to the term fast food in Mumbai, it caught on like fire in the Jungle, people accepted it and kept asking for more.Now came the problem of naming the product, again a number of brainstorming became the order of the day till a unanimous decision on the name was taken i.e. Frankie”

This explosion of flavours in a handy easy to eat roll which was given a  modern food truck makeover is a gastronomic delight and is available in a large variety of stuffings both veg and non-veg.I have rather fond memories of my college days and spending my pocket money which was always in short supply on these spicy, tasty rolls with a bunch of friends giggling away and then gathering any loose change we had left amongst us to buy a bottle or two of some fizzy cola to quench our thirst. Alert : have been suddenly been hit by a huge wave of nostalgia 🙂

I have created what is my version of a tawa chicken roll (tawa meaning pan in Hindi), the original Tibbs frankie filling is a tangy spicy  taste which they attribute to a secret ”Frankie Masala” – humm , well I think I got pretty close 😉 – evil laugh follows 🙂  You can go crazy and creative with the fillings and use this recipe idea to use up meat from your sunday roast, try various different veg and non veg patties with meat and masalas rolled into boiled potato casing and shallow fried. Great way to use a lot of colorful veggies and create a stir fry filling too – the possibilities are endless.

tibbs-frankie

Image Courtesy :Hindustan Times

Serves: 2 (with 2 rolls each and leftover filling)

Preparation Time for roll:5 mins

Preparation & Cooking Time for the ”TAWA Chicken filling”:30 mins

Preparation & Cooking Time for the chutney:10 mins

Ingredients – ”Tawa Chicken” Filling:

  • 500 gms chicken breast
  • Schwartz Asafoetida – a tiny pinch
  • 2 heaped tsp Schwartz garam masala
  • Schwartz Onion salt as per taste
  • 1/2 tsp Schwartz Garlic Minced
  • 2 heaped tsp Schwartz Coriander Ground
  • 1 heaped tsp Schwartz Cumin Ground
  • Schwartz Red Chilli powder as per taste
  • Ginger fresh – about the size of your thumb
  • 2 medium sized red onions finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 large juicy tomatoes chopped very fine
  • 1 large green chilli split lengthwise
  • 1 red pepper slit lengthwise
  • 3 large tablespoons of cooking oil

1-IMG_6645 (Copy)

Ingredients – for the Mint and Coriander Chutney:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • 2 green chillies
  • juice of half a lime
  • salt to taste

IMG_6542 (Copy) - PIC MONKEY

Ingredients – for filling :

  • 1 large red onion chopped lengthwise

Ingredients – for the paratha  coating:

  • 2 small sized eggs
  • salt for seasoning

Method for the Chicken Filling:

  • Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add the oil, when it is hot add the asafoetida, split green chilli and crushed bit if fresh ginger ,saute’ and add the garlic granules, when the garlic begins to give out a strong fried aroma its time to add the finely chopped red onion.
  • Cook the onion till it reduces and turns a delicious brown, then add the coriander and cumin powder and garam masala and mix well.
  • Then add the finely chopped tomato and add very little water and cook for 1 -2 minutes without lid , stirring frequently, so as to ensure the mixture does not stick to the saucepan. Now the spices have been thoroughly cooked along with the onion and tomato to make a thick gravy.
  • Now add the washed and cleaned chicken breasts after cutting them into long lengthwise strips , toss in the red pepper cut into lengthwise strips
  • Cook on a low flame with lid
  • Add onion salt to the mixture, red chilli powder and turmeric

1-IMG_6655 (Copy)

Method for the Mint and Coriander Chutney:

  • Wash the coriander and mint leaves and spritz them in a food processor with the green chilli chopped – to reduce the heat use 1 chilli de-seeded.Add the salt and lime juice and spritz once again.
  • A smooth thick green paste is the consistency we are after – add some water to adjust the consistency.
  • This chutney stores for upto 10 days in the freezer in a clean ,air tight jar – rarely lasts that much in my house though – love making Bombay sandwich for dinner ummm.

Method for coating the Paratha :

  • Crack the eggs in a bowl and beat with a fork ,add salt to taste
  • Using a plastic brush spread on the surface of a frozen ready to eat  paratha and place the eggy side down on a hot pan coated with some cooking oil.(Paratha – ready to eat Indian bread readily available in the World Food Frozen section)

1-IMG_6665 (Copy)

How to put the Frankie Roll together:

  • Once the paratha coated with egg has been cooked on both sides on a pan slather it with the mint and coriander chutney and add some red onion chopped lengthwise.
  • Add a generous helping of the chicken filling , roll and wrap one end with some kitchen foil or baking paper .Enjoy hot.
  • Dip into the chutney or tomato ketchup as you munch along.

After I received the samples and wrote up my flavour story, my left hand was operated on (unexpected rescheduling) – a minor but rather errrmmm painful surgery and I walk around most of the time with a sling (promptly remove it as soon as OH leaves home for work hehe) So I had a bit of a panic attack about getting this post up on time,I know I missed the deadline by a few days  😦

But am really grateful to the kind folks up at McCormick  for bearing with me.Also I would like to thank OH for patiently chopping and cutting all the fresh ingredients for me and helping me to click these lovely photographs – what would I do without you? Sighh…

1-IMG_6665 (Copy)

After I received the samples and wrote up my flavour story, my left hand was operated on (unexpected rescheduling) – a minor but rather errrmmm painful surgery and I walk around most of the time with a sling (promptly remove it as soon as OH leaves home for work hehe) So I had a bit of a panic attack about getting this post up on time and I missed the deadline 😦 But am really grateful to the kind folks up at McCormick  for bearing with me.Also I would like to thank OH for patiently chopping and cutting all the fresh ingredients for me and helping me to click these lovely photographs – what would I do without you? Sighh…

The company has pledged to donate $1 to United Way Worldwide and it’s UK partner Focus on Food, for every story shared on the Schwartz website, Facebook page or other social channels.

Disclaimer: I was sent samples of  Schwartz by McCormick to create a dish and write a review and was also sent a generous voucher to compensate me for the ingredients.I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

Vangyache Bharit- वांग्याचे भरीत (Baingan ka Bharta) (Smoked Aubergine)

I have noticed that I have become a bit more inclined towards celebrating festivals after coming to London , maybe its out of being homesick during festive times and also to ensure that I remember the traditions involved I guess. ‘Makar Sankrant’ is  a Hindu festival celebrated by my community ”Maharashtrains” with great pomp and enthusiasm as it heralds the season of Harvest. Similar to this festival is Lohri which is celebrated by the Punjabis in the North of India, Pongal in the state of Tamil Nadu , Uttaryan in the state of Gujrat. One festival so many names and so varied ways of celebrating! Its not only in India that this festival is celebrated it’s also welcomed in Nepal, Sri Lanka ,Cambodia and Laos amongst others!

My mother always used to make a smoked aubergine vegetable dish called Vangyache Bharit – written in Marathi as – वांग्याचे भरीत on Makar Sankrant so I decided to make it too for Sankrant this year which was on the 14th of Jan’14. We also exchange small ladoos made of sesame seeds and jaggery called ”Tilache Ladoo” and wish each other by saying ”tilgul ghya god god bola” (तिळगुळ घ्या गोड गोड बोला) It means that we shall forget and forgive any past bitter exchange of words and start afresh with this sweet offering and only speak sweet words of love.

The recipe is modified in various regions of the state of Maharashtra and also the variety of vanga/eggplant/aubergine or brinjal as we know it in urban India, is different in various parts of the state and in various states of India, of course differing due to climate and soil .Aai ( meaning Mother in Marathi language – my mother tongue) always looked for the light green vanga or eggplant with white stripes  on its skin which she rightly said tastes way better than its darker purple skinned cousin.

Aai’s recipe which I will share now is how we have always made this dish at home. There are several variations and styles depending on which part of Maharashtra you hail from and also various sub-cultures and availability of local ingredients and palates.I guess what makes this recipe so special is that it brings back happy memories of childhood, festivity ,celebration and the unmistakable smoky and rich vanga (eggplant/aubergine) taste with the crunchy red onion and a slap of hot spicy green chilli mixed in between ,all balanced so well with the various masalas that go into this bharit ummm!

 bi_makar_08_dec_26_162509

Image Credit click here 

Serves:2 -as a main with chapatya(Marathi for Indian Naan Bread also called chapatis in Hindi)

Preparation Time :15 minutes

Cooking Time:25minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 large vanga/baingan/eggplant/aubergine
  • 1 large red onion
  • 2-3 green chillies
  • 5-6 large cloves of garlic
  • a few mustard seeds
  • Cumin/Jeera
  • Garam Masala – 2 heaped tsps
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of hing/asafoetida
  • Turmeric – 1.5 tsp
  • Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
  • Oil – 3-4 large tbsps
  • Coriander/Cilantro to garnish

Method:

  • The beauty of this dish lies in the deep and rich smoky flavour of the eggplant , I would love to use charcoals and do this bit on a open rustic fire but well I make do with my hob.You could use the oven  but it will take much longer but directly on the hob – though a bit messy , it’s quicker! Roast the eggplant completely turning it on the side and moving it up an down so you don’t miss any bits.

IMG_6465 (Copy)

  • Allow this to cool and then charred skin will come off easily.

IMG_6467 (Copy)

  • Mash with your hands in a smooth mass of soft cooked ,smoked eggplant.

IMG_6477 (Copy)

  • While the eggplant is smoking on the hob , finely chop one large red onion.
  • Skin the garlic and use a mortar pestel to smash the green chillies with the garlic
  • In a  dry saucepan ,add the oil and after it is hot , add a pinch of hing/ asafoetida  and mustard seeds , as the mustard seeds begin to pop add the cumin seeds and the garam masala powder and  the finely chopped red onion and stir it often till it turns colour and is still crunchy to taste.

IMG_6472 (Copy)

  • Now add the turmeric and red chilli powder
  • Then stir in the ”thecha”(Marathi for the green chilli and garlic mixture) and saute’ till the raw garlic becomes one with the mixture.Vary the green chillies depending on your personal tolerance of heat
  • Reduce the flame to a low and add the eggplant mash into this mixture and stir well so as to ensure equal distribution of the onion and all other flavours.
  • Cook with lid for under 5 minutes.
  • Garnish with finely chopped coriander/cilantro.
  • Serve with hot chapatya or steamed rice and dal.
  • We also enjoy this cold , cool the dish completely and serve with a generous helping of set curd/yogurt.
  • My aai didn’t add tomatoes to this and at times used some goda masala as well as it has dry grated coconut which can really alter the taste.
  • For Baingan Bharta add one finely chopped tomato as well after the onion has been fried.

IMG_6482 (Copy)

I found some very interesting variations to my recipe here are a few :

  1. For a recipe using Tamarind try this 
  2. For beautiful photos and an open air fire used to smoke the eggplant see this
  3. For a recipe using freshly grated coconut try this

I am adding this recipe into the Made with Love Mondays blog link love started and hosted by the lovely Mark aka Javelin Warrior – very interesting to read how that name came about !

Made with Love Mondays Resized Badge

 

Just linked up to In my Veg box with Onions as the theme for April’2014 hosted by Tina who blogs at The Spicy Pear and created by Nayna who blogs at Simply.Food and CitrusSpice . I wasn’t able to download the logo for April but here’s a general logo that Nayna uses.

 

 

In my veg box event logo1b resized 2

Upma/Uppet (उप्पीट)- a classic Indian breakfast recipe

In Marathi,my mother tongue we call this dish ”Uppit” and in the south of India its called Upma.

It’s a fluffy cooked breakfast made of roasted semolina and spices and can be customized by adding green peas and small carrot bits.I love eating this steaming hot garnished with a generous sprinkling of freshly chopped coriander and some finely grated fresh coconut – umm perfection, can almost feel a strong whaft of the aroma swirl around my nose as I sit here and type the recipe 😉

After Kande Pohe this has to be my number one favourite Indian breakfast option.Agreed there’s a lot of ingredients but there’s a lot of flavour too!

In Matunga area there are many good Udipi restaurants who do upma on their breakfast menu and it’s so good gobbling fresh hot upma and dowing a cuppa or tow of hot filter coffee before getting to work on a busy weekday morning in Mumbai city.It’s very filling and  budget friendly too:) All you need is some time before rushing for the daily commute to ensure you can squeeze yourself into the restaurant and sit on one of the long wooden benches with complete strangers and hope to god you don’t have coriander  stuck in between your front teeth if they smile at you  😉

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup rava approx 100 grams
  2. 1/2 tsp urid dal
  3. 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  4. A pinch of asafoetida
  5. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  6. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1tsp red chilli powder, actually 1/2 a tsp for the ones who do not like their Indian food too spicy
  9. 1 tsp coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp cumin powder
  11. 2 green chillies chopped fine
  12. 5-6 fresh curry leaves
  13. 2 pods of garlic chopped fine or simply smash them and drop in the saucepan with skin on!
  14. 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  15. 1/4th of a juicy red tomato
  16. Salt as per taste
  17. Fresh coriander to garnish
  18. Fine grated fresh coconut

Method:

  • I usually roast the whole packet of 1 kilo of semolina I buy on a flat pan on a very low flame stirring constantly and then allow it to cool down completely and then store it in tins ready to use when I need to make this dish or the sweet version called Gooda Sheera/ Sooji Halwa which is a popular Maharastrian sweet dish and especially important during festivals as we serve it as Prasad to Lord Ganesh or during Satyanarayan Pooja.
  • In a saucepan add the oil and as it starts to heat, add the asafoetida,mustard cumin seeds and urid dal.The urid dal brown very quickly so stir this around a bit.
  • When the mustard seeds begin to pop add the curry leaves,green chillies and garlic and chopped red onion.
  • When the garlic begins to turn a toasty brown and the onion reduces add the tomato and give this mixture a proper stir.
  • Now add the turmeric,red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder  and salt and mix well
  • Then add double the amount of water as compared to the quantity of rava/semolina,cover the saucepan with a lid and let the water come to a boil.
  • If you wish to add green peas and carrots finely chopped for an extra burst of taste do it just when the water begins to boil and let it cook in the hot water.
  • Now slowly stir in the semolina ensuring that it does not form lumps.
  • Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on a low flame for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent lumps forming or the mixture becoming too dry, if it is very lumpy sprinkle water and mix well.

IMG_4793

  • Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander and fresh grated coconut.

IMG_4796

I am just beginning to experiment with photos taken using my new 50mm f1.8 Cannon lens – A’s gift to me for my birthday this, I quite like the steady pattern of gifts starting with my first DSLR on last years birthday.Just need to figure ways to wiggle out other gifts *evil laugh follows* 😉

Tasty Fish Dish in £1 – ready in 10 minutes !

If someone told me I could make a fish main in £1 I would laugh aloud and make them a cup of tea to help them feel normal again.But trust me on this one you really can make a very delicious side dish and serve it with a spicy rice main for 2 adults for 2 main meals.Yes it’s possible to be thrifty and yet feed your family for less without compromising on taste.

When my friend S told me the easy-peasy recipe I just had to buy myself a pack from my new fav supermarket.This is probably the easiest recipe for a side dish ever.

Total prep time :Under 10 minutes Serves:2 adults as a side for 2 main meals

Ingredients:

  • Sprat Fish pack – contains about 20-25 fishes and costs around 90p to 95p
  • Turmeric powder 1 tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder -1.5tsp
  • 2 small hot green chillies sliced in a slant
  • Salt to taste
  • a pinch of Asafoetida
  • Oil – 2 tsp
  • 4 tsp Colmans Mustard
  • 1 tsp hot BBQ Mustard – don’t worry if you don’t have this just add half a teaspoon of paprika to 1 tsp of any mustard that you have lying around and mix half tsp of  BBQ sauce into this for a smoky flavour.

IMG_4734 with text

Recipe:

  • Wash the fish well under tap water and handle gently as it’s a small delicate creature and needs some fawning over but hey not much fuss I tell ya! But its all worth it because even my hubby apprehension that this fish has loads of tiny bones were all gone as he clicked his fingers after the meal 🙂
  • Heat a saucepan and  add 1sp oil ,add asafoetida and the turmeric powder and salt and then the washed Sprat fish
  • Gently sautee them for about 1 minute or until you see the skin start to come off , don’t over do it as they need to cook with the mustard in the next step.

Sprat has been sauteed

  • Remove the fish into a clean bowl and in the same sauce on a very low flame add another tsp oil, both the mustards pastes, choped green chillies ,red chilli powder and then the fish.
  • As it is a delicate fish it will cook quickly and as it does the big bone that runs lengthwise inside this tiny fish will be easy to remove and so you can get the head off to, I am not squeamish but the hubster is and refuses to eat the eyes but they are supposed to be packed with iron and fish itself is high on Omega 3 fatty acids, the good stuff your body needs.Mothers who breast feed and consume fish are said to help give the baby better eyesight which is due to the high content Omega 3 fatty acids.Not only that as this recipe contains turmeric it has a heap of health benefits especially the fact that it helps people struggling to cope with psoriasis. If anyone has seen that episode of The Food Hospital on Channel 4 where a young mother and her son struggled with psoriasis, one of the big changes that they did to their diet was add turmeric to even stuff like scrambled eggs. Please click here to read more about that particular episode.
  • A word here about the Le Range Mesurier BBQ Mustard, it’s one of the few things I purchased at the Cake & Bake Show 2013 apart from the sweet stuff.I also got a jar of zesty lime mayo from the same brand , they had a super offer of 4 jars at a great price!
  • I slant the green chillies slanted just because it looks posh 🙂
  • Ok so I manage to remove most of the big middle bone with the heads and the fish cooks very easily in under 3 minutes.
  • Add a small helping of very finely chopped coriander for garnish.
  • Serve hot with steaming hot rice or khichadi ,click here for a posh khichadi recipe from one of my older posts.
  • Do leave comments below and let me know what you thought of this recipe!

Sprat fish side is ready to serve!

 

I am entering this dish into a wonderful linky challenge called £1 or less recipe challenge started by Michelle Rice who blogs at Utterly Scrummy , with so much fresh and yummy fish made into a delicious dish and served with plain steamed rice its a thrifty budget dream dish full of flavour and ready without too much of labouring in the kitchen.Do link up and help spread the good cheer around in times of gloom when many families are struggling to makes ends meet and feeding families with healthy food on a shoestring budget is a very real challenge for many.

one pound or less logo

Pomfret Fish Curry – Flavours of Konkan and a Bengali Bhaja with spring onions and potatoes

When anyone asks me what I would like as my LAST meal,I always say I’d like some fried pomfret so naturally when I go Indian grocery shopping I always check for this fish. Though I must admit, nothing beats the flavours one gets from fresh fish.But well just have to make do with frozen fish as the one I love is a Pomfret local to waters of the Indian Ocean.

This is a relatively simple recipe and does not require much effort but the marination is key as it can really give depth of flavour which is what we need.

I had 3 of these beauties to cook and couldn’t resist getting them to pose for my camera all dressed with the dangerously delicious spices that I rubbed into the fillets.

Pomfret with all the spices that are used in the curry.

Serves: 4 (with rice and a vegetable dish included)

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium sized white pomfret
  • 2 large tbsp coriander and green chilli paste
  • 1 tsp  of ginger garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp Red Chilli powder
  •  1 tsp Turmeric
  • 3 -4 cloves of garlic cloves with skin on
  • 2 tbsp grated coconut
  • a pinch of Asafoetida/Hing to dust into the oil
  • 2 tbsp refined oil
  • Juice of 1/4th of a lime
  • Salt to taste

Method:

Ok it’s relatively easy making fillets after this fish has thawed thoroughly as it has very few bones, I like to remove the bit in the front with the eyes and the tail and also remove the fins then make fillets the size fit for a curry or fry.

  • Wash thoroughly and marinate with red chilli powder, turmeric,salt ,ginger- garlic paste,coriander- green chilli paste and set aside for at least 40 minutes.
  • After the marination is done,heat oil in a saucepan,add asafoetida just a tiny spritz and throw in the crushed garlic cloves with their skins on and as they start to brown add the marinated fish n toss it around for about half a minute.
  • Add enough water to cover the fish and cook on a low flame.
  • As the water begins to boil add in the finely grated fresh coconut and stir in well till the curry is nice and thick.
  • Simmer till the fish is cooked and squeeze the lime into it.
  • Serve with steaming hot rice and allow yourself to enjoy this simple yet classic fish curry, an everyday fare in the houses along the coast of Konkan and a great treat in ours.

These beautiful flowers are on stalks of fresh spring onion!! Unexpected, I know right?!! My ma (in-law) very patiently chopped these stalks, created this cute little spring onion floral display and the whole idea of this photograph with books we are currently reading is hers.

Spring Onion Bouquet

I was so excited to see them and had to buy myself two bunches and look for a Bengali Bhaja or bhaji (Marathi) sabji/sabzee (Hindi).Found a lovely food blog called Hamaree Rasoi and you can read the recipe here.

Peyajkoli Batata bhaja

Spring Onion and Potato Bhaji

Needless to say the meal was supremely satisfying and we all slept with gentle snoring now and then …tmi- oh yes totally 😉

Pomfret curry with steamed rice and pejaykoli bhaja

Prawn Khichadi (Pulav/Pilaf/Poolav)

This is NOT just a  recipe,it’s a Family Heirloom passed down from generations and cooked with great relish by my mother-in-law and her mum who is now 82 years old and still can stir up a some to-die-for finger licking dishes !

But before I start off rattling the ingredient list , a ”slice” of some history about the origin of this rice and prawn union.Coastal cuisine in the western Indian state of Maharashtra relished by the Maharahstrian community relies heavily on the use of all versions of the coconut , the most potent form being as part of the goda masala. This and of course the abundant availability fresh sea food has given birth to many delicacies many of which most are age-old like this dish.

It’s also my prized comfort food and guarantees a great Sunday afternoon nap 🙂 and will ensure your crowned kitchen queen and master chef of all things nice hehehehe

Ok here goes, the ingredient list – This dish serves 2 adults for 2 meals with 2 generous helpings each and leftovers for the next day.

  1. Prawns or Koolambi as they are called in Marathi – 500gm
  2. Plain rice – I use basmati , I use 2.5 cup measures of my rice cooker measure
  3. Bay leaves -3-4
  4. ”Goda” Masala
  5. Tumeric Powder
  6. Red Chilli powder
  7. Half a slice
  8. Cooking Oil
  9. Salt to taste
  10. Ginger and Garlic Paste
  11. Wet coconut grated and make a fine puree with it – the wet coconut is available as a frozen product at any Indian Grocery store – use about a handful.
  12. Two Large red onions finely sliced
  13. Cinnamon (Dalchini)- 3-4 large bits
  14. Few cloves
  15. Green Masala – Use a bunch or coriander and 2 green chillies and give them a spin in the mixer , store this fine paste in the freezer and use as and when needed, it’s one of the most basic marination masala’s in most Maharashtrian non veg dishes especially sea food.

Method:

  1. On a pan on low heat saute one finely chopped onion and the fresh wet grated coconut till the onions starts to caramelise, after this cools give it a spin in the mixer and make a fine paste.
  2. Marinate the washed rice in some the above wet grated coconut and onion paste,some goda masala, a squeeze of half of a lime,salt ,ginger & garlic paste and some Cinnamon. Keep Aside.
  3. De-vein Prawns , wash under tap water and marinate with red chilli powder,turmeric and green masala.
  4. Take oil in a vessel and saute the marinated prawns for 1-2 minutes.
  5. Heat Oil in a vessel big enough to cook the rice and prawns together that will hold the water as well , add the cloves , remaining cinnamon and one very finely chopped red onion, add the marinated rice and stir it , do this on a low flame .
  6. Then add the marinated prawns and water , for rice dishes water is always double the measure of the rice used so for 2.5 cup measures of rice use 5 cups of water.
  7. Cover and cook on a low flame.
  8. Serve piping hot with curd or pickle .
  9. I generally serve this with a spicy Curry.

Spicy Curry

In a pan heat some oil and add asafoetida one pinch , add puree of 2-3 large red onions and one tomato and puree of 1 handful of wet grated coconut , season with red chilli powder , turmeric,salt, green masala, goda masala and cook on a low flame with enough water to ensure a thick curry , Amp up the red chilli powder and green masala to your level of tolerance of spicy food !

Do let me know via comments if any of you made this dish and what you though of the recipe !

P.S: Forgive the poor image quality , I have a Simple Canon Camera which I am unable to use too well  and add to that the total lack of any photography skills but well the food   tasted awesome :), that’s what counts right , hehhe!

Update in 2013

A few days after I published this recipe ,A gifted me my first DSLR Camera – a shiny new Canon 600DS and I’ve been clicking away like a happy bunny ever since 🙂

To my absolute delight he helped me add a new lens to my kit and gifted me a 50mm f 1.8 lens this year on my birthday.It’s great for close up food shots and true to it’s reviews it works well in low light conditions.

Here’s an example:

The image below is from my kit lens where am struggling to fit everything in frame and focus on the prawns, I have sharpened the image,adjusted light and cropped it using Picasa 3.

Ingredients for Prawn Khichadi with old lends

 

Now see the difference in the image below, I love how the prawns are in sharp focus and how am able to easily adjust and fit everything in the viewfinder.I have adjusted light and sharpened the image very slightly, I am truly pleased with the results 🙂

prawn khichadi with new lens

bay leaves n cinnamon in pan

prawns sautee with khichadi spices

 

prawn khichadi plated n styled

 

To learn Food Photography and hone your skills ,why not join in the Bloggers Buzz Photography Club? I have been to two sessions and there’s a celebrity blogger to give expert advice after each session for the assignment. It’s a fun learning experience! Click here for details!

Shahi Khichadi

I have decided to finally upload some of the recipes which received a lot of comments on my Facebook food album and I ended up sending out the recipe by email to many of contacts . Here is one of the easier and more popular ones . When I was a kid when my mother said ”khaichadi” in response to what’s for dinner ? it usually meant that one of us feverish and needed something gentle on the tummy or one of us was trying to recover from an upset tummy .Of course the taste of the boiled rice and green gram halved and with skin on or the yellow version without skin , is ultimately satisfying a great comfort food when served piping hot with a dollop of ghee and some warm milk ,a good night’s sleep guaranteed !

But my version is spicy ,with a tasty twist and a lot of fun to cook and even more fun to eat .

I adopted this recipe from the way my mother makes khichadi and also from how my pal S of http://www.jainfoodie.com makes Jain Dal Khichadi . I choose to call it Shahi meaning Regal or Royal here because it is rather a posh version of the humble boiled version. Khichadi meaning an Indian for a slurpalicious RICE and lentil dish cooked like a pulav /pulao/pilau /pilaf.

Ingredients (enough to serve 2 with second and maybe a third helping !)

  • Rice 1 cup
  • A Mix of the following in equalish parts in the same cup used to measure the rice – Massor Dal also called Red Lentils-split and skinless, Moong Dal also called Green Gram yellow we will use the  spilt skinless variety and the split green moong dal with green skin on , Urid Dal also called Black Gram halved with skin ,some Toor Dal also called pigeon peas – yellow spilt and skinless .
  • 1 large red Onion
  • 1 medium tomato
  • 2-3 Bay leaves
  •  Bits of Cinnamon bark
  • 2 cloves of garlic smashed with skin on
  •  2 green chillies
  •  Jeera / Cumin
  •  Hing / Asafoetida
  • Salt to taste
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Turmeric Powder
  •  2 small potatoes
  •  Few Curry leaves
  •  Few Cloves
  •  Few black whole peppercorns
  • 18. Oil for sauteing
  • Some Ghee – maybe 2 spoons – Clarified Butter

Method :

  • Wash the rice and lentils and place them in a pressure cooker ,add 4 cups (use same cup as the one used to measure the rice and the dals) of water and another to make it a little softer than regular rice ,pressure cook till 4 whistles are done.
  • Once the steam slowly releases from the cooker , you can open the lid and it will look like the picture below but a bit different in colour because when I made this I was short on red lentils so didn’t add them . Actually even you make this dish with rice and only yellow moong dal it will taste just as good 🙂

  • While the cooker is cooling down ,chop the potatoes into longish strips and stir fry them in hot oil till they turn brown, add some salt, sprinkled over them just as they get done, these potato fries are our garnishing to add that REAL REGAL or SHAHI touch to the dish . Once done keep them aside and STOP yourself from munching on them before your dish is ready , my husband managed to gobble quite a few ,pretending he was helping me ”stir” the onions while I clicked pictures ..grrrrr

  • Now Lets prepare the tadka /tarka or the tempering. First slice the onion and the tomato vertically into thinish slices .
  • Add oil about 2 large tablespoons into a pan and one teaspoon of ghee just for flavour and aroma , when this mix is hot add some hing , then add the jeera and the crushed garlic and the 2 green chillies spilt along the middle lengthwise as it opens them up and allows the pungent seeds to spread through the tempering , one kick ass way to add that hotttt KICK to the dish ,trust me this one is explosive spicy HOTT as it has all the ingredients to help the taste explode in your mouth, saute till the garlic is brown and the garlic’s skin starts to crackle , then add the cloves, the whole black peppercorns , bits of the barks of Cinnamon ,curry leaves, bay leaves and keep stiring this mixture to prevent charring or over heating ,it will look like in the picture below :

  • Then add the chopped onion, It should look like the picture below:

  • Then after a while when the onion has begun to turn a lovely pinkish ,brownish colour and looks the picture below it’s time to add the tomato .

  • Now add the vertically sliced tomato slices , I can assure you that now the potent aroma of all those lovely spices and the onion are stirring up quite an appetite inside you and making you hungrier every passing minute .

  • I dislike chunky bits of tomato floating in my mouth while I gobble up the khichadi so I jus a flat wooden spatula and gently ensure that the tomatoes are totally mashed  in a way that allows the mixture to become one entity, it should look like in the picture below :

  • Add just a bit of red chilli powder and some turmeric powder to the mixture above and add salt to taste ,Now add the cooked rice and lentil mixture to the above tempered mix of spices ,onions and tomatoes ,mix well stirring well, add salt again enough to flavour the rice and lentil mix .

  • It’s almost done , just keep this on a low flame for about a minute or two to allow the flavours of the spices to penetrate deep inside the rice and lentils .

  • The SHAHI KHICHADI is now ready to be garnished! Yay 🙂

  • WOW now doesn’t that look awesome ? I am quite proud about this creative production from my kitchen , hope you relish it as much as I did errr we did , hubby had to agree 🙂
  • If you fear that all the spices may be a bit too much for your sensitive palate prepare a quick cooling cucumber and curd accompaniment . Beat 2 spoons of set yogurt or thick flowing yogurt and add tiny square bits of fresh cucumber , season with a bit of salt ,some sugar and some jeera powder to taste .

Enjoy !

Masoorachi Aamti or Red Lentil Curry

Masoorachi Aamti or Red Lentil Curry – Recipe adaptation from Mother, Mother in Law and a close CKP friend – Saai who loves to stir up some spicy CKP fare and generally succeeds at it 🙂

Ingredients:

  • 2 measures of Masoor Dal (Red Lentil) with their brown covers intact and whole
  • Mustard Seeds
  • 2-3 Garlic Cloves
  • Green chillies 2- 3
  • Curry leaves about 5-6
  • Jeera (Cumin Seeds) – tiny spoonful
  • Freshly grated soft white coconut
  • Goda Masala – mommy made is so much better than the one from the shops but well

(**This is a mix of various spices readily available in Asian Grocery stores it’s basically a mixture of dry coconut roasted with a mixture of atleast 10 different spices, best of all it’s avaialble to buy online at itadka.com ,it’s so EASY PEASY grin grin grin  heres the link ,refrigerate this pack to increase shelf life ,yayay so many tips from me , don’t YOU just LOVE me , if u better dont just READ this make n slurp it all ALONE, drop me A LINE and thank meeeeeeeeeeeeeeee)

  • Coriander Powder
  • Ginger Garlic Paste

(Coriander and Chilli paste – 2 small sized bunches of coriander pureed with 2-3 green chillies – freeze and use on demand, handy and 1 of my 5 “save your face” purees for unwanted guests popping in at odd hours – the other 4 are listed at the end of this recipe)

  • 3 medium sized onion red – chopped fine
  • Asafoetida(Hing or Heeng)
  • Turmeric
  • Red Chilli Powder
  • Dhania Powder
  • Jaggery

Aamsul 2-3 soaked in lukewarm water to release it’s juices trapped inside the gorgeous maroon folds – Amsul – also called kokum or Garcinia indica, a plant in the mangosteen family (Clusiaceae)

  • Fresh leaves of Coriander chopped fine for dressing

 Process ( Once a Chemistry student and a retail employee stay that way forever , instead of “PREPARTION” I choose the word ”Process” which is drilled into a Retail Managers brain like young parents making their kids rote learn alphabets)

The masoor dal can be done 2 ways for stage 1 of this process, 1st is the short cut which I love as I suddenly get an urge mid evening to cook this typical CKP recipe to appease my urges to run to Heathrow n take the next flight to my parents home in Pune ,hummmmm, so we soak the masoor dal 2 measures feeds 2 adults with a ravenous appetite and leaves some to spare.

Then soak it in water for about 20 minutes , the traditional route is to soak the masoor for about 10 minutes and pressure cook with 1 or 2 whistles so that it doesn’t go too soft as it will not absorb the marvellous flavours of all the spices we are to add in the kadhai.

Heat 2 large generous tablespoons of oil in a wok, no weight watchers tip this huh? Indeed!

Add mustard seeds and wait for them to pop but please be carefull not to burn them, one classic error here is that there are 2 types of mustard seeds, one variety is slightly big and the other one is smaller n more packed with flavour according to my mother , I dare not disagree , the only reason I use the smaller variety is that it gives me an ego boost each time I do a phodni and don’t burn them.

Then add Asafoetida, crushed garlic cloves in their skin as the skin turns a tasty caramelised brown adding to the visual delight of the process of tempering a curry or dal! then when the garlic is starting to brown add the curry leaves , green chillies , jeera and then  a generous spoonful of the fresh grated coconut (fresh from froizen is fine by me too) then , stir in the goda masala – 2 generous teaspoons, coriander powder ,turmeric , a big blob of ginger garlic paste and coriander chilli paste and stir this wonderfully aromatic mixture till it starts to brown , then add the chopped onion  and stir it now n then , let the oil work its magic in the onion allowing it to brown so that it secrets it juices and adds the typical flavour that a powerfull pungent red onion has pack3ed inside each leaf ,umm , mouth salivating isn’t it by now reading this , it should that’s the whole point my friend .

Now when this mixture is nice and ready, drain the water from the soaked or boiled par-masoor dal and toss it into the kadhai, stir in enough water to cover the lentil n then some and cook it till it almost done, when your almost done pour in the water of the soaked amsool and the dunk the amsool in along with salt to taste and bring to boil.

Season with finely chopped fresh as ever coriander and serve piping hot with phulkas dripping with ghee (clarified butter) or the plain old boiled white rice.

As you lick your fingers n the plate don’t forget to thank your daddy for giving you an internet connection which allowed you to see my divine blog n stir up this delightfull dish !aww come on now did u really buy your laptop and your internet connection on your own ! Atta girl!

Key (reminds me of my Chemistry textbook in school years)

*C.K.P stands for Chandraseniya Kayastha Prabhu a sub section of the Maharashtrian community in India and they generally hail from the coastal regions and hence are rather partial to freshly grated coconut and amsool in their food, not to mention their love for fresh fish and mutton, oh yeah!

*Dal used loosely to refer to the uncooked Lentil and AMTI a Marathi word meaning cooked curry.

*Coriander = Cilantro

*Jeera – Cumin (what were you thinking?)

*Aamsul – this is typical to the Konkan region, a divine coastal region the state of Maharashtra State which gave the world the gorgeous Madhuri Dixit Nene, a Bollywoood actress par excellence better known for her elastic waist and dance moves that can drive hordes of men wild and in their make the women of these bubble green with jealousy and is now to be honoured and hence waxed err , have her wax statue placed at the one and only Madame Tussads at London, hence I shall visit the wax museum ONLY after her wax replica is unveiled, yes sir! On a serious note it is also called Kokum or Garcinia Indica (Fruit indigenous to the west coast of Maharashtra State in India- i.e. Konkan, Ratnagiri etc .Incidentally apart from the Wiki link for more info on Aamsul , I came across another food blog with a very good explanation about the fruit and have pasted the para from the blog below with the links the blogger has inserted intact and alink too in case anyone wants to visit the blog,it’s got some really good recipes , get clicking

!)

कोकम/अमसुल” (wild/red mangosteen-available in powdered forms too,but its better to use the fruit) are one of the very popular ingredients in Indian food.The outer rind of the fruit is a very popular culinary ingredient in all Maharashtra and in particular Konkan. The fruits are beaten with sticks to separate the rind from seeds. The rind is repeatedly sun dried after soaking in the pulp juice.

People in the Kokan region (Maharashtra) and Southern India often add it in various delicacies (from cold-drinks to soups to vegetables & dips).Dried/Wet Kokum or Amsul is available at most Indian stores in the bay area.Sour in taste,it has medicinal qualities and is used as an anti-allergic.

Raw Mangosteen is called Murgala (Karnataka), Punampuli (Kerala), Murgal (Tamil Nadu) ,Kokum(Gujarat),Kokum/amsul/ratamba/birund (Maharashtra) & Tintali (Orissa).It is called Atyamala, Raktapurak, Vrikshamla,chukra or tintidika in Sanskrit.

Blog credit : http://cookwithmoi.blogspot.com/2009/10/wild-red-mangosteen-soup.html

*Phodni – Marathi for tempering

*Kadhai – Hindi and Marathi for Wok, easy or what?!

*Phulkas – Also called chapattis or the delightful Indian Bread soft and fluffy and fresh off the pan has ghee smeared on it to pack some punch a many many calories 🙂

The other 4 SAVE ME NOW pastes are:

* a garlic ginger coarse paste,

* Finely grated fresh white coconut paste,

* Tomato red onion puree -1:3,

*And the best one for last aye? – few onion chopped lengthwise n lightly roasted in a kadhai (wok) with fresh white coconut finely grated till they turn slightly brown , then churned into a paste in the mixer )

Pic 1 :The saucepan contains oil heated and then the asafoetida, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, then the garlic , chopped green chillies and curry leaves and last but the best one GODA masala

Pic 2 :Chopped red onion added to the mix

Pic 3: That’s the dal cooking

Pic 4 & 5: All done , the AROMA is filling my senses and transporting me into my MIL’s kitchen , I want to HUG her nowwwwwwwwwww

P.S: Will post pictures to compare the 2 sizes of Mustard seeds at a later date , I am now going to be too busy slurping my amti (dal) off the plate 🙂