Saturday, May 31, 2008

Soya Wheat Bread Recipe from Dr. Tusna Park

This recipe is from a well known nutritionist and dietitian from Chennai called Tusna Park. She has authored a book called A New Way to Eat. I know people who followed the diet closely and lost their bulk of weight and felt great. Like all diets though, it has to be a lifestyle change and not a short term measure. I find this book a great inspiration to include soya in our daily diet in some way or another. There is so written about the benefits of soya these days; read all about it on a great site called The Worlds Healthiest Foods.
For those of you interested in consulting Dr. Tusna Park, her number is 093810 47630


150 gm of whole wheat,
150 gm of soya flour
A pinch of salt
One teaspoon of good quality dry yeast.
2 tps of sugar


Put the dry ingredients together in a pan and
mix well. Add a raw egg (optional). Take 300 ml of water with a wooden
spatula and add it to the dry mixture till you get a thick consistency.
(thicker than cake but not as firm as chappati dough). Grease a baking
tin with oil and place the dough in the tin and let it stand for three
hours. It will rise. Bake it in a hot oven for 15 minutes. Do not eat
more than 3 slices at a time.

Note: Serves 3 will give 50 gm of soya per person/per day.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Spaghetti with Meatball Sauce, Nigella Lawson Inspired

Of course I didn't have all the ingredients Nigella Lawson used, so its an adapted recipe. But on last Sunday's show she made this meatball sauce and I couldn't resist trying it. The domestic goddess believes that the trick to good meatballs is to keep the size of them s m a l l. She says - " Don't actually use a teaspoon, but use about a teaspoon's amount of mince to roll each ball."

500 gm mince meat
1 egg
2 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan ( I didn't have parmesan, I used AMUL Gouda)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp dried oregano
3 tablespoons semolina or breadcrumbs
a good grind of black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Tomato sauce
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil (not extra virgin)
bottle tomato passata ( No clue about this, I used 1 Godrej Tomato
Puree, and 4 fresh tomatoes blanched, skinned and chopped small)
pinch sugar
salt and pepper
100ml full fat milk

How to make the meatballs and tomato sauce

Just put everything in a large bowl, and then, using your hands, mix to combine, before shaping into small balls. Place the meatballs on baking sheets or plates that you have lined with cling film, and put in the fridge as you finish them.

For the sauce, put the onion, garlic and oregano into the process and blitz to a pulp. Heat the butter and oil in a deep wide pan, then scrape the onion-garlic mix into it and cook over a low-medium for about 10 minutes. Don't let the mixture catch, just let it become soft.

Add the bottle of passata/ tomato puree and fresh tomatoes and then fill the empty bottle half full with cold water. Add this to the pan with the pinch of sugar, some salt and pepper, and cook for about 15 minutes.
The tomato sauce will appear thin at this stage, but don't worry as it will thicken a little later.

Stir in the milk, and then drop the meatballs in one by one. Don't stir the pan until the meatballs have turned frompink to brown as you don't want to break them up. Cook everything forabout 20 minutes, with the lid only partially covering it. At the end of cooking time, check the seasoning as you may want more salt and a grind or two more of pepper.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Red Pumpkin and Spinach/ Kaddu-Saag

Red Pumpkin and Spinach, Paanch-Phoran, Bengali Five SpiceThe marriage between red pumpkin and green spinach is a rather delightful one as I figured yesterday. And here's how to arrange this marriage -

200 grams red pumpkin, washed and chopped
1 bunch spinach leaves, washed and chopped
1/2 tablespoon mustard oil
1 teaspoon paanch phoran (bengali five spice)
1 sliced onion
1 teaspoon fresh chopped ginger
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Heat the mustard oil. Add the paanch-phoran when it smokes.
Add the sliced onion and fry, add ginger, turmeric, red chilli powder, salt.
Add pumpkin, stir, cover and cook till half done. Keep stirring every now and then. Add a few drops of water if its sticking to the bottom of pan, though the pumpkin should have enough of moisture.
Add the spinach leaves. Cover and cook for 10 minutes.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Masoor Dal with a green chilly tadka

Masoor Dal with Green ChilliesI once ate masoor dal made like this at a friends house and have never forgotten the taste. My friends were from Ajmer, Rajasthan and almost all their dals have a unique and interesting tadka added to them. I now often make this dal at home and eat it with plain boiled rice or a chapati and its fantastic. Its the tadka or garnish that makes it so simple and yet so delicious.

1 cup pink masoor dal
3 cups water
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
a pinch of asoefatida
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
4 chopped green chillies
fresh coriander leaves

Boil the dal with salt and turmeric in a pressure cooker or in a vessel with 3 cups water
Once done and the lentils have split but not completely mashed, turn off and cover.
Heat the ghee, add asoefatida, cumin seeds. Once they splutter turn off the gas and add the green chillies and the coriander leaves.
Add to the dal and immediately cover to keep flavours in !

Done !

Friday, May 23, 2008

Grilled Rosemary Chicken and Steamed Vegetables

Grilled Chicken with ROsemary, Black pepperLast night we had Grilled Chicken and Steam Vegetables for dinner.

Marinate chicken legs (thighs and legs attached) with olive oil, salt, lots of pepper, rosemary sprigs, dash of Worcestershire sauce and a dash of soya sauce. Grill in over for half an hour, flip chicken legs over and grill another half an hour.

Steam Vegetables, Carrots, Beans For the Steamed Vegetables - chop carrots and beans. Steam in microwave-able steamer like I have or on the gas. Toss in salt, pepper and a little olive oil.

Serve hot with good bread!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Chicken Piralen: a recipe from Kerala

Chicken Piralen, a semi-gravy recipe from Kerala
Here 's a nice semi-gravy chicken dish that takes hardly any time to cook and tastes great with plain rice and daal.

Grind together and marinate Chicken in the following masala:
1/2 teaspoon pepper powder
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 tablespoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1" piece cinnamon
8 cloves
4 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon aniseed

1 kg chicken, skinned and jointed
3 medium onions sliced
1 tablespoon ground fresh garlic
1 tablespoon finely chopped ginger
10-15 curry leaves
2 tablespoon vinegar
Salt to taste

Marinate the chicken and leave it for half an hour
Heat oil and fry onions till brown.
Add ginger-garlic, curry leaves and a little hot water so that the masala doesn't stick and fry for 5 minutes or till the raw smell from the ginger-garlic leaves
Add the marinated chicken and stir well. Add salt to taste.
Add a cup of hot water, cover and cook till chicken is almost cooked.
Add the vinegar and continue to cook till chicken is completely cooked.

Serve hot.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Mussel Curry with Coconut Milk

Mussel Curry with Coconut MilkThis is the first time I'm making mussels at home. I found cleaned and shelled mussels at Lusitania Frozen Foods- the cold storage where I buy a lot of the meats I cook, and couldn't resist buying mussels. Lusitania has more branches all over Bangalore. They are known for their quality meat, pork and various cold cuts, and also for their very courteous and friendly staff.

I used a simple coconut curry recipe that goes like this.

200 grams of cleaned and shelled mussels
8 small madras onions
3 teaspoons heaped fresh ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tablespoon oil
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon red chilli powder
1 cup coconut milk from 1/2 freshly ground coconut
juice of half a lime
fresh coriander leaves

Soak the mussels in salt water for half an hour and drain
Grind the onions, ginger-garlic, turmeric, coriander,cumin, red chilli powder into a paste
Heat oil, add masala paste and fry till the masala cooks and the oil leaves the paste
Add coconut milk and stir. Add mussels.
Cover and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Garnish with lime juice and fresh lime juice.

Eat this with plain boiled white rice !

Monday, May 12, 2008

Lucknowi Mutton Biryani

Lucknowi Awadhi Mutton biryani, Kewra, Nutmeg, MaceI am a huge fan of Biryani and am delighted to have been asked by someone to post a recipe for a traditional Lucknowi Biryani . The name Biryani is derived from the Farsi word birian and this dish probably originated in Persia or Arabia. Some think it came from Persia via Afghanistan to north India, others think it was brought by the Arab traders via the Arabian Sea to Calicut, which had maritime trade with West Asia.
Here is one way to make the Lucknow Biryani. What makes the Lucknow/Awadhi biryani special is that it cooks in the stock of the meat. I will soon post a photograph because I plan to make it this weekend!

1/2 kg mutton with bone
3 cups basmati rice
1 tablespoon + 2 tablespoon oil
1 medium onion ground to a paste

1 cup whisked curd
2 teaspoon garlic paste
2 teaspoon ginger paste
1 1/2 tablespoons powdered almonds or almond paste
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder

Grind together and add to marinade
6 green cardamoms
6 cloves
2 blades mace (javitri)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

1/4 teaspoon saffron soaked in kewra water
1 cup chopped coriander and mint leaves
salt to taste

Wash meat, drain and dry
Combine ingredients for marinade and marinate meat for 30 minutes
Wash rice and soak for an hour
Soak the saffron in kewra water

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a pressure cooker, add onion and fry till golden
Stir in marinated meat and stir. Add 3 cups warm water. Add salt. Pressure for 15 minutes.
Allow pressure to cool before opening.
Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a deep pan. Drain rice, add to pan and stir for 8-10 minutes.
Remove half the rice and place all the meat pieces and a little gravy over the remaining rice.
Cover meat with the removed rice and pour the rest of the gravy/stock over the top
Sprinkle with the saffron and kewra water
Add the chopped coriander and mint leaves
Cover the dish and bake in a oven pre-heated to 150 degree C (300 F) for 30 minutes.

Serves 4

Gujarati Fada-Ni-Khichdi

Gujarati Fada Ni Khichdi, vegetarian snack with broken wheat and daalWhen Rishad lived in Bombay, he introduced us to the famous SWATI SNACKS in Tardeo, which we loved. We used to call it "The Yellow Place" since almost everything on the menu was haldi (turmeric) coloured. There isn't one thing I didn't order on the menu over the number of times we ate there, but my all time favourite was their Fada (broken wheat ) Khichdi. I often make it at home and vary the vegetables or the daal I add to it. Of course, like every dish, there are a number of variations. But here's the recipe we use!

1 cup split yellow gram (yellow moong daal)
3/4 cup broken wheat (wheat dalia)
1/2 cup potatoes diced
2 tablespoons ghee
1/2 teaspoon asoefatida/hing
1 small stick cinnamon
2 cloves
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 cup green peas
1/2 cup cauliflower, chopped
1/2 cup onions chopped
1 tablespoon green chilli-ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chilli powder
salt to taste
Fresh coriander

Wash and soak moong dal and broken wheat for 15 minutes. Drain and keep aside
Boil 4 cups hot water in kettle.
Heat ghee/oil in pressure cooker, add hing, cumin, cloves, cinnamon and stir for 30 seconds. Add salt and turmeric and stir.
Add the onions, black pepper and green chilli-ginger and stir for 1-2 minutes. Add the daal and broken wheat together with all the other vegetables.
Add the hot water and pressure cook for 3 whistles. Open when the pressure when the steam escapes.
Garnish with fresh coriander and stir before serving.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Mutton Korma, A recipe from Delhi

Mutton Korma Dilpasand, Delhi recipeI just cooked a variation of a recipe from Priti Narain's recipe book called The Essential Delhi Cookbook. Its called KORMA DILPASAND in her book. I like a little more spice than she mentions and also like to cook the masala longer before adding the meat and other ingredients. She mentions in her book that "The recipes in the book are of the muslims, Kayasths, Banias and Khatris. These were the four main groups of people who settled in Shahjehanabad, which became Delhi.

1 kg mutton pieces
3-4 pieces cinnamon sticks 1" each
2 bay leaves
8 green cardamoms
10-12 cloves
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
Large pinch of mace flakes
5 medium onions 1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon ginger
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
8 whole dried red chillies
1/2 cup ghee/ oil
salt to taste
2 cups curd
1 teaspoon garam masala powder

Put the mutton in a pan with cinnamon, bay leaves, cardamoms, cloves, peppercorns, and mace. Cover with water, bring to a boil and then simmer for half an hour.
Grind one third of the onions with garlic, ginger, red chilies and coriander seeds.
Slice the rest of the onions fine. Heat oil and fry the sliced onions till golden. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.
Fry the ground onion masala for 6-8 minutes. Keep stirring.
Drain the meat and discard the whole spices. Keep the stock aside.
Add meat to the frying masala. Fry for 5-6 minutes. Add the stock. Add the salt.
Take the fried onions and grind coarsely with the curd. Add this to the meat.
Add the garam masala powder.
Cover and cook till meat is tender.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Red Bell Pepper Delight

Sauteed Red Pepper, Tomato and OnionsToday was a Red Pepper bonanza ! I have recently found a new love for red peppers. They're a bit sweeter than the green and yellow ones and have a versatile taste that I find interesting in both Indian and western recipes. Todays veggie with lunch was a sauteed red pepper, tomato and onions. Here's how I made it. I used my home made chilli oil but you could use normal olive or any other oil for this.
So, here's what we had for LUNCH

2 red Peppers, sliced
2 Onions sliced fine
2 tomatoes, sliced
1 tablespoon Chilli oil/ Olive oil
salt and pepper
Chopped parsley

1. Heat 1 tablespoon of chilli oil in a pan. If using normal oil, add 4 cloves of chopped garlic
2. Add onions and stir till they are pink
3. Add red peppers and tomatoes and stir over high heat till red peppers are somewhat cooked but still crunchy (5-8 minutes)
4. Add salt and pepper to taste
5. Garnish with chopped parsley

Red pepper and Tuna PastaAnd here's what we had for DINNER

Red pepper and Tuna Pasta
Take leftovers of Red pepper veggies as shown above.
Mix with a 1 small can (185 grams) of light weight tuna fish
Boil some pasta/drain and immediately add a little olive oil
Combine with tuna and vegetables while still warm
Leave out the tuna for a vegetarian pasta
Serve with your favourite wine

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Kerala Beef Curry

Kerala Beef CurryHere is the beef curry I cooked in my Le Crueset dish featured on yesterday's post. There are many variations to a Kerala beef Curry but here's one of them. I also often make a variation of this beef curry without coconut milk.

750 grams cubed beef or veal (small cubes)
3 onions, chopped
6 - 8 cloves of garlic
1 1/2 Tablespoon of grated ginger
4 dry red chillies
10-12 curry leaves
4 green cardamoms
1 teaspoon black mustard seeds
3 green chillies, slit
2 Tablespoons of Oil
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon red chili powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 Cups of coconut milk
Salt to taste

Grind the fresh garlic , ginger, 4 dry red chillies together and marinate the cubed meat in this for an hour.
Heat the oil, add the cardamom pods, mustard seeds and when they splutter, add the curry leaves, green chillies and finally the chopped onions.
Fry the onions until they are golden brown.
Add the marinated meat. Brown the meat, continuously stirring for about 10 minutes.
Add salt to taste.
Mix all the powdered spices in a bowl and add a cup of hot water. Pour this into the frying meat and stir it in.
Cover the dish and cook on a simmered flame until you see the oil separate from the meat. If the meat is not tender yet, add a little more hot water, and continue to cover and cook a while longer. Or pressure cook for 10-12 minutes.
Once the beef is tender, add the coconut milk and let it cook for 5 - 6 minutes. Do not let this boil.

Serves 4 - 6

Monday, May 05, 2008

Le Crueset

Le Crueset Cast Iron French Round OvenMy friend PB suggested I should also blog about my kitchenware that I quite unashamedly consider my most valuable possessions. I more than just LOVE my favourite cookware, spatula, silicon whisk..... I could go on. PB notices each item in my kitchen with great enthusiasm, and so we share our views and news not just about the food thats been cooked, but what its been cooked in too!

For starters I'll introduce my flaming orange Le Crueset french round oven. Le Crueset boasts that "Cast iron Round French Ovens have long been the cookware of choice for French chefs. The cast iron construction has superior heat retention, which makes it easy to cook at very low temperatures for extended periods of time. The tight fitting lids help to seal in moisture allowing for tender meat dishes and flavorful soups and stews."

I will more than agree! I have made excellent meat roasts, stews, soups in this dish. Its also great for Indian curries and vegetables. Today I'm making Kerala beef curry in it and shall post the results of it tomorrow! The dish is heavy I'll admit, so it can be a bit challenging when moving it off the fire, or when pouring the food out, but for me its worth all the trouble in the world.

I should add a thank you to Priya and Jacob who gave me this dish as a wedding gift. I think I hinted so much at how much I'd love to have a Le Crueset dish that Priya indulged me.

I have a small Le Crueset saucepan and frying pan too!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Palak-Paneer made with homemade Paneer

I have always made home made paneer by splitting the milk with vinegar until I read Suvir Saran's method. It makes a pretty huge difference to the consistency and taste of the paneer. Here is Suvir Saran's recipe:

* 10 cups whole milk
* 1/2 cup buttermilk / yogurt (more maybe needed, so keep some extra)
In a large heavy bottomed pan, bring the milk to a boil over medium heat. Stir often to ensure that the milk is not sticking to the bottom of the pan.
When milk starts to boil, lower heat and add the buttermilk and stir until the milk starts to separate into curds.
Remove from heat as soon as this happens. You can even add a few ice cubes to the curd-whey mix. The heat will make the protein tougher. Hence the need to expose the cheese to as little heat as possible.
If the curds are not forming, add a little more buttermilk and cook for a couple of minutes more. And do the above as soon as the curds form.
Pour the curds-whey mix into a collander lined with several layers of cheese cloth or even a layer of muslin, draining onto a dish that will collect the whey.
Collect the sides of the cheesecloth or muslin and tie them up together and twist gently to help drain the whey from the curds.
Place the bundled curds on a tray and press this bundle with a heavy pan/container or obejct. Make sure this heavy weight covers the bundle fully.
To make cheese for dessert recipes or for koftas or even a bhujia, weight it down for no more than a half hour.
For recipes where cheese cubes are used, weight the bundle down for an hour or more. This will make the cheese form a firm mass that can be cut into neat cubes.

Note: I use buttermilk as it makes for cheese that has very little sour flavor. People use lemon or vinegar, these curdle the milk quickly but leave a strong aftertaste. This aftertaste is not nice when making desserts with cheese.

Try and use the cheese the same day as you make it. The more time it is kept the dryer it becomes and the harder it will be. When making soft cheese for desserts. Weight it down for a shorter time as I write above. You can leave more moisture in, if you know you will not use it till the next day. The cheese will get dryer in refrigeration.

For the firm cheese, you can make the firm cube and store it overnight in chilled water. But you cannot put the cheese in water until a firm cake, with all the whey drained is formed. So, first make your cheese cube, and if you are not using it the same day, immerse it in a container of water, seal with a cover and cut only when ready to use into smaller cubes.

2 bunches spinach leaves washed thoroughly, drained and chopped
Home made paneer made as shown above
1 onion sliced fine
3 green chillies finely chopped
2" piece of ginger chopped
4 garlic cloves chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon oil
salt to taste
Fresh Lime juice from half a lemon

Blanch the spinach leaves in a little water. Cool and roughly blend but not too smooth.
Heat oil and let cumin seeds splutter. Add onions and green chillies and fry for a 3-4 minutes.
Add ginger and garlic and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the spinach and stir, add salt to taste
Add the paneer and stir. Cover and cook for 6-8 minutes.
Add juice from half a lime (optional)

Rishad's Potato Boulangére

My brother Rishad is a great cook. He enjoys grilling and baking a lot and gave me this potato boulangére recipe to add to a Sunday lunch menu a few months ago. It was such a hit that we were eating way too much Boulangére for months after. I just read that Boulangére, is the French word for baker, and this potato recipe is so-called because it once used to be cooked in the baker’s oven after bread making had finished for the day.

6 medium potatoes
4 medium onions
Fresh rosemary
150 ml Milk
300 ml Stock

Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.
Slice potatoes round and the onions thin. Bruise the rosemary leaves slightly.
Line an oven proof dish with a little butter and put a layer potatoes. Then a layer of onions and fresh rosemary leaves.
Keep repeating till the final layer is of potatoes. Keep sprinkling salt and pepper with each layer of potatoes.
Mix the stock with the milk. I make the stock with Maggi cubes but freshly made stock is always best. Pour over the dish.
Put small flecks of butter over the last layer of potato.

Bake for one and a half hours in the oven.