Monday, April 28, 2008

Chitra Ghose's Prawn Malai Curry

Chef Chitra GhoseChitra Ghose is a close friend in Delhi. She and my father Mickey Patel, worked together in advertising for many years. My father was an artist, and Chitra was often the inspiration for many of his cartoons and caricatures because of her flamboyant style and impressive bouffant. She has claimed to have had this hairdo before Sharmila Tagore! Chitra retired from advertising and started a catering business in Delhi for her exquisite Bengali cuisine. Someone from ITC happend to have tasted the food and as a result she is now a consultant chef for the ITC group.

750 grams small prawns, cleaned and de-veined
2 tablespoons mustard oil
1 bay leaf
3 green cardamom
2" cinnamon stick
3 cloves
2 onions ground into paste
1 tablespoon ginger and garlic paste
milk extracted from one small coconut
Salt to taste

Dissolve in a little warm water
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
pinch of turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder

1. Rub salt and turmeric on the prawns. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil and fry the prawns for a minute. Remove prwns with a slotted spoon.
2. Add Bay leaf to heated oil, cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves.
3. Add the onion paste and fry for 6-8 minutes. Add ginger-garlic and fry for another 10 minutes.
4. Add the powdered masalas soaked in a little warm water. Keep stirring and cook till oil leaves the masala.
5. Add the coconut milk and cook on low heat.
6. Add prawns and cook for only 2 minutes.
7. Sprinkle with a little cinnamon powder

Mutton/Chicken and Vegetable Stew

Kerala Chicken, Mutton or Vegetable Stew for AppamsA recipe from Kerala
If you live in Bangalore, you must have definitely eaten the mutton stew with appams at Coconut Grove. I like their Kerala stews over the other restaurants because its got such a delicate flavour. If you don't live in Bangalore, here's how you can easily make this delicious stew at home.

700 grams mutton cut into small pieces/ 1 chicken cut into small pieces
3 tablespoons oil
3 potatoes quartered
200 grams green beans
200 grams carrots chopped
1 cup sliced onions
1 tablespoon garlic sliced thin
1 tablespoon ginger sliced thin
6 green chillies, slit
2 " piece of cinnamon
6 cloves
4 green cardamom
1 tablespoon pepper corns
6-8 curry leaves
2 tablespoons vinegar
salt to taste
2 cups think coconut milk
1 cup thick coconut milk

1. Heat the oil, add onion, ginger, garlic, green chillies, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, pepper, and curry leaves. Add the meat/ chicken and fry well. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. For the mutton- cook in pressure cooker and cook for 2 whistles on a high flame. You can add 1/2 cup of hot water to the masala if pressuring the meat.
2. Add vinegar, salt and the thin coconut milk.
3. Add the potatoes, carrots and beans.
4. Cook till vegetables are done and meat tender.
5. Add thick coconut milk.

Serve hot with appams or plain boiled rice!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tomato Chutney

Tomato ChutneyThis is my aunt keli's recipe. Everyone in my family has this recipe and enjoys this chutney immensely. Once made it keeps well for 2-3 weeks in the fridge.

1/2 kg whole peeled tomatoes
1 tablespoon fresh ginger-garlic
1 cup sugar
1 cup vinegar
salt to taste
2 tablespoons oil
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon panch phoran
1-2 whole red chillies
1-2 tablespoons raisins (optional)

1. Blanch and peel the tomatoes
2. grind the ginger-garlic, red chillies with half the quantity of vinegar.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan, heat oil. Add the bay leaf and panch-phoran.
4. Add roughly chopped tomatoes and their juice, the blended paste, rest of the vinegar, sugar and salt.
5. Stir well and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and let the mixture bubble, stirring every now and then. This can take an hour.
6. Once the consistency looks thick enough, turn the heat off and add the raisins (optional)
7. Cool and refrigerate.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

A Vegetable Pulao for Shabari

This is for my friend Shabari. Read all about her travels on

2 cups basmati rice
½ kg mixed vegetables ( cauliflower, carrots, beans, peas)
3 onions

Grind to a paste
4 cloves
1 ½ “ cinnamon stick
4 cardamoms
4 green chillies
½ teaspoon chilli powder
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 ½ “ piece ginger
10 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 teaspoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon turmeric

2 tablespoons oil/ghee
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons mint leaves
3 tablespoons chopped coriander leaves
Salt to taste

Garnish (optional)
2 boiled eggs chopped
2 tablespoons halved and fried cashews
Chopped coriander leaves

1. Clean and wash the rice. Soak for 1 hour
2. Dice the vegetables, slice the onions fine
3. Grind the ingredients mentioned.
4. Heat oil in a large cooking dish. Add the bay leaf.
5. Add onions and fry till brown.
6. Add the ground masala paste, and fry on a low heat for 10 minutes.
7. Add the mint and coriander leaves.
8. Pour 4 cups of warm water, mix well.
9. Add the drained rice and chopped vegetables.
10. Bring to a boil and then simmer and cover. In 10-12 minutes the pulao is ready !

Eat with fried papad and spinach raita !

Serves 4 people.

Vegetable Barley Soup

Healthy Vegetarian Barley SoupThe soup postings have clearly been a hit! Thank you to everyone who left their comments. So try some more delicious, and wonderful soups from my kitchen.

I have started eating a lot more barley - its great in almost any soup. Read all about barley on a fabulous food site called The World's Healthiest Foods

Vegetable Barley Soup

2 carrots
2 onions
2 potatoes
50 gm of red pumpkin
50 gm white pumpkin
2 tomatoes
some cabbage leaves
6 garlic cloves
salt and pepper
1/2 cup barley pearls
6 cups vegetable stock/water. You can make the stock with soup cubes.

Chop, clean and cut all the vegetables into bite sized chunks.
Add 6 cups of stock/water and add the barley. Add salt and pepper. Boil for 30-35 minutes.
If you like the soup a bit chunky, take a few tablespoons out and blend it. Add it back to the soup.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008


Healthy, Indian, Lightly Cooked Red, Yellow, Green Peppers, Zuchini and Spring Onions

Its sometimes fun to eat steamed/grilled/broiled veggies with Indian curries too! I've stopped waiting to buy zucchini and red and yellow peppers only when there's a western meal being cooked. Today I made these very lightly cooked veggies to eat with curry for lunch. These are the veggies I had at home. If you like, add mushrooms and baby corn to the list too.

2 red peppers
2 green peppers
2 yellow peppers
2 zucchini
1 teaspoon garlic paste/chopped garlic
1 cup of chopped spring onions
salt and pepper to taste

1. Wash - Clean - Chop all veggies
2. Heat 1/2 a tablespoon of olive oil
3. Add garlic paste or chopped garlic
4. Add veggies, stir on high heat for 1-2 minutes.
5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
5. Simmer and cover and cook for 5-6 minutes.

* Because I like a bit of a kick to my food I added a bit of the habanero chilli oil I made from the habanero's growing in my garden. You can also use red chilli flakes. I have a posting on my habanero pepper tree, if you look under the label for Vegetarian.

Summer Soups

A request came in from Ritu for Summer foods that are light non-greasy and not so spicy. I thought I'd start with a posting of light summer soups. They're great before a meal, because they fill you up, or even as a snack by themselves. Last year George gifted me this great book called
The New Book of Soups

Here are a few soup recipes adapted from this book.

Tomato and Red Pepper Soup

1/2 kg tomatoes
3 red bell peppers
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves crushed
500 ml stock ( you can make this from 2 soup cubes stirred into hot water)
salt to taste
fresh black pepper

1. Cut the red peppers and de-seed. Chop into small pieces
2. Heat oil, add onions, garlic, cook till soft. I add some dry red chilli flakes.
3. Add red peppers and roughly blended tomatoes.
4. Add salt, pepper, and salt
5. Add the stock and bring to a boil.
6. Simmer and cook for at least 20 minutes. You can blend this soup once ready but to eat it with the chunks of red peppers gives it a nice texture.
7. Add ready made croƻtons or home made ones!

Mushroom and Potato soup

2 packets of button mushroom
1 packet oyster mushrooms ( Available at Namdhari's)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 potatoes chopped small
2 onions chopped into small bits
salt and pepper to taste
4 garlic cloves chopped
4 cups stock ( made with cubes will do)

1. Clean the mushrooms and chop into medium sized bits.
2. Heat oil and saute onions, add a few red chilli flakes if you like things hot! Cook till soft.
3. Add garlic and potatoes. Add salt and pepper. Stir.
4. Add stock and bring to boil.
5. Simmer for 20-30 minutes.
6. If you like, thicken the soup when done by blending 2 cups of the soup and let the rest be chunky.

This soup is filling and tastes great with toast. Its a complete meal.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

An April Sunday Lunch

Yesterday's Sunday lunch menu was Chicken Ghazala, Gobhi Paanch phoran and green beans served with yellow rice.
Chicken Ghazala
Recipe from Hyderabad
1 medium sized chicken jointed
1/4 kg green chillies
1/2 cup curd
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 teaspoons coriander powder roasted and ground
2 tablespoons oil
1 kg onions sliced
I teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground garlic
3 cups water
1 bunch coriander leaves
lemon juice

Grind half the green chillies with curd, turmeric, salt and coriander powders.
Slit remaining green chillies, fry them in the hot oil, remove with slotted spoon and keep aside.
Fry onions in the same oil till golden brown.
Add the chicken and fry till browned and juices are released.
Cook till water lessons a but and add the ginger, garlic and curd. Mix well.
Add the 3 cups of water.
Cook covered till chicken is tender.
Add coriander leaves, fried green chillies.
Add the juice of one lemon. Mix well.

Indian Gobhi or Gobi Paanch PhoranGobhi Paanch Phoran

1 cauliflower cleaned and chopped small
1 tablespoon paanch phoran ( bengali 5 spice mix)
2 inch piece of ginger sliced fine
1 tablespoon oil
6 green chillies chopped fine

Heat oil
Add paanch phoran. Let it crackle
Add green chillies and ginger
Add cauliflower, pinch of turmeric, fry well.
Lower heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes or till done. Stir occasionally.
Garnish with freshly chopped coriander leaves.

Indian Green Beans Curry, dryGreen Beans

1/2 kg green beans
3 medium onions sliced fine
4 green chillies
2 dry red chillies
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 teaspoons cumin seeds

String beans and chop them into small pieces.
Heat oil, splutter the cumin and mustard seeds. Break the 2 dry chillies onto pieces and add to oil. Add green chillies.
Add onions and stir, add salt.
Immediately add beans and stir.
Lower heat and cover. Cook till beans are almost done but still crunchy and green.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Arvi's Chicken Masala

A long time ago in New Jersey, our friend Arvi made this chicken masala which we ate with rasam and rice. Arvi never used a recipe book but we ate some memorable meals cooked by him. This simple chicken masala is super on its own too, eaten as a snack.
1 chicken, cut into small pieces
3 onions , chopped fine
2 tablespoon ginger/garlic (fresh)
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
Freshly ground pepper
a few curry leaves
juice of half a lemon

Fry the 3 onions till brown, add chicken and fry till the chicken pieces brown nicely.
Add ginger and garlic and all the other masalas and cook on an open fire. Stir occasionally. Do not cover. Add nimbu last.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sunila's Roasted Leg of Lamb

I have always loved every kind of Roast- Roast beef, Roasted leg of lamb, Roast Chicken. But there's something special about my Mother Sunila's roasted leg of lamb. Its the right amount of spices and the ingredients which makes it just perfect. Its neither a western recipe nor an Indian- its both!

You need one leg of lamb. Tell the butcher to remove the shin bone and the bone at the top. Make gashes on both sides.

4 tablespoons of olive oil,
Garlic pods from a whole pod of garlic in the gashes every where,
Fresh ground pepper
juice of one lemon or 1 tablespoon vinegar .
Marinate overnight or at least 4-6 hours.

2 onions sliced
2 bay leaves
1 stick cinnamon
2 cloves
4 medium potatoes
1 cup small onions
1 cup peas (optional)

Heat a tablespoon of oil in a large pan. Brown the marinated leg of lamb on all sides till its golden brown.
Add the sliced onions, bay leaves, whole black pepper, cinnamon, cloves.
Add a cup of warm water, cover and cook on low heat for 45 minutes. Open every 15 minutes and change sides. Add a little hot water if its sticking.

Add halved potatoes and baby onions, peas (optional) and cook for another half hour.
Once done, remove the leg from pan.
The gravy : Heat the remaining liquid
with vegetables in the dish . Add a cup more hot water/stock

Mix some fine flour or corn flour in half a cup of milk and add to the stock to thicken. You can also grate some horseradish (mooli) into it for flavour. Serve separately or together with roast.

Leftovers are great for sandwiches! This recipe is just as good with chicken.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Burmese Khowsuey

Burmese khowsuey, gravy dish served with noodlesThis recipe is the simplest I've come across so far to make Burmese Khowsuey. It was given to me by our close family friend Jaya/Cheri, Aditi's mother. The condiments are the key to this dish, so don't compromise on them! Serve with boiled egg or vegetarian noodles.

Boil 2 lb/1 Kg chicken with bone in a large pot covered with water. Add black pepper corn, bay leaves, black cardamom, cinnamon sticks.
Boil till chicken is tender and ready to shred. Save the stock. De-bone chicken, discard bones and retain stock

Grind 5-6 onions, 10 pods garlic, and 6-8 dry red chilies. Fry all till brown
Add shredded chicken and stir. Add stock. Add 1 tbsp. fish sauce (optional)

In a bowl add 2 tablespoons of gram flour and make it into a fine paste with some of the stock.
Add this to the chicken mix slowly till you get desired thickness.
As it starts to thicken turn heat low. Add one cup of coconut milk.

Khowsuey is eaten with plain egg noodles and topped with the condiments listed below. Even just a few of them will do- fried onions, fried garlic, spring onions, green chillies in vinegar is a must.

Fried Garlic
Fried Onion
Chopped Spring onions
Chopped boiled eggs
Chopped green chillies in vinegar
Lime wedges
Ground dry shrimp powder