Saturday, February 25, 2006

Rohu and cauliflower curry

This isn't an original recipe. Its a staple Bengali dish. But it is one of my favorites. I checked up the net to get some background on Rohu (Rui in bengali) and to my amazement found a link from Wikipedia which stated that its popular in Punjab. Good for them. Just as well. What with the Avian Bird Flu, perhaps its safer than Butter Chicken?!

Here it is then: Rui machcher phulcopi diye jhole: Rohu and cauliflower curry

You will need:
6 pieces of Rui fish
1 small cauliflower
4 small or 2 medium Potatoes
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1 tsp cumin Powder
2 tsp coriander powder
3/4 tsp turmeric for the curry "jhole" &
about 2 tsp to coat the fish before frying them
6 tbsp oil for frying the fish
2 tbsp for the Curry
Water for the curry

How to:
1. Wash the pieces, drain / pat dry. Sprinkle liberally with salt and turmeric and mix well (with hands). Careful....turmeric so does stain the fingers and nails.
2. Heat oil in a kadai / wok till it smokes. (It must smoke otherwise the fish pieces will stick to the pan and you will end up with scrambled fish).
3. Add the pieces into the oil a few at a time in batches. Now, some people prefer it lightly fried, I prefer it deep fried (till the fish turn brown...unhealthy but like all things unhealthy, very tasty)!
4. Slice the cauliflower into biggish florets, wash, drain and then parboil them with a little salt. Drain and set aside.
5. Cut the potatoes into largish cubes. Wash well and drain.
6. Heat oil in a kadai. Add cumin seeds. When they crackle, add the cubed potatoes. Fry for a while.
7. Add the cumin, coriander & turmeric powders. Season with salt.
(R taught me this - Add 2-3 tbsp water and fry the masalas on high heat. Repeat this proces couple of time. This helps to fry the masals well. Only then proceed to step 8).
8. Add Water. Here you aer adding water to make the curry About 1 large cup (specifically, 1/4 l). Cover and lower flame.
9. When the potatoes are nearly boiled, the water reduced, add the cauliflowers, the fish and 3-4 slit green chillies (can do without if you don't like them...but it does add a lovely flavour). Adjust the water for the might have to add some more. This is after all a curry.
10. Add a pinch of sugar (to even out the flavour).
11. Cook over high flame for 5 minutes.
12. Serve with steamed rice!

1. The correct procedure would be to fry the cauliflower florets separately (instead of parboiling them in step 4) and then add them in step 9. This is a latter day, attempting-to-be-healthy-variation. Both taste equally good.
2. Parwal / Potol can be used instead of cauliflowers. They will have to be fried and not parboiled!

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Weekend Herb Blogging : Methi Chicken

First time, I managed to catch Kalyn's Weekend Herb Blogging.

Fenugreek. We call it methi and use the leaves fresh or dried or even the yellow grains. Widely used all over the world (or so it seems See Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages ), it is supposed to have a host of medicinal properties including a must for diabetics. Read more here.

That apart, it has a very distinct flavour. To the simple chicken curry, add methi and viola! A new dish entirely (whereas really, it was just a teeny tiny variation). Makes a great dish to serve at dinners (and yet is so easy to make, that it almost feels like cheating)!

This recipe was given to me by R. It was slightly more intricate. But I changed some of the steps (easier for me to remember) and to my delight, I found it tasted the same!

You will need
1 kg chicken cut into pieces
3 bunch methi leaves
3 bunch coriander leaves
3 green chillies (optional)
2 medium or 1 large onion
6 garlic pods
2 tomatoes coarsely chopped
1 tsp sugar
salt to taste

How to:
1. Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry.
2. Chop the coriander and methi leaves and grind into a paste with the chillies (if using).
3. Marinade the chicken pieces with the methi-coriander marinade for a couple of hours. ( I cheat….and don’t really marinade for couple of hours)!
4. Slice the onions finely. Grate the garlic.
5. Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in a kadai / wok.
6. Add the sliced onions and grated garlic till the onions are pink and translucent. (Sprinkle half a tsp of salt. This helps to fry the onions faster).
7. Add the chicken pieces (and not the marinade) and stir so that all the pieces are fried properly.
8. Add the chopped tomatoes.
9. Fry till the tomatoes softens and the juices come out of it.
10. Add the marinade and and stir to mix well.
11. Cover, lower gas and cook till done. If you are using a pressure cooker, the till one whistle.

Serve with rotis or rice!

Bon appetit!

Note: Methi is slightly bitter to taste and therefore, do add the coriander with it. If you are using dried methi leaves, then halve the quantity.

Monday, February 13, 2006

You are what you eat meme

I was tagged by Marc of Mental Masala

I actually had to think very hard about my top 10.
(Alas, no photos)

My favourite foods:
1. A pot of freshly brewed (and not boiled as most people tend to do in north india) Darjeeling tea, with just a dash of milk and 1 tsp sugar. Ah! I can have it any number of time and at any time, but must have first thing every morning. Although my cooking skills (whatever little i have learnt and so late in life) are sketchy, I remember learning to brew my first cup / pot when I was
four years old.

2. Two crispy toasts. Not soft, not hard. But toasted to a golden brown. Sans butter. Dip into tea and eat. Savor! My staple breakfast with 1 cup of freshly brewed cha. I make do with whatever bread is available around my place of residence, but still have fond memories of the Soft american bread with rye on crust that i had at my aunts in NY, when i visited her for a month in 1984!

3. Rui macher phulcopi diye jhol: Rohu / carp gravy with cauliflowers. Easy to make and always tasty. How I dreamt about it, while eating all the salmons, halibut, haddocks and soles while I was in Paris.

4. Soupe de Poisson : Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.The proper one is ofcourse where your soup bowl is sealed with a thick layer of cheese. And you break through it with your soup spoon to the delicious steaming hot soup below!

5. Prawn in coconut milk gravy: Derived from the Portuguese from the time when they landed in India / Bengal.

6. Fish Moilie (also called Meen Moilie): South India fish curry in coconut milk and quite distinct from the prawn in coconut milk gravy of bengal.

7. Mutton Curry: Made from the tender meat of a young goat. Young goat. And not Lamb. I prefer to have it a sunday, for lunch. And follow it up like a true blue bengali, by a good siesta!

8. Creme Brulee: Again, from my days in Paris. Cafe Le Royale Jussieu in the 5th Arrondissemnet. A step by step detailed recipe of it is given here. Don't forget to read the comments this post attracted (Just for laughs)!

9. Beignet: Puts every make and flavour of donuts to shame. Really.

10. Apple Upside Down cake: My sister's recipe. Which I thought was an apple strudel and it reminded me of the Sound of Music...odd combination that...but darn good cake, that.

Harder is to find food bloggers to tag. Since I am timid, in all matters related to cooking, I have only Sailu to Tag.

I would also like to tag non-food bloggers. Am I then, disqualified? I hope not.

So, hey there Rezwan, you are hereby memed / tagged.

That' still just two. (Sorry).

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Mixed Vegetable Casserole (K)

This is exactly how I have this recipe scribbled in my book of recipes.

After having mastered recipes using a single vegetable like bhindi (okra), Cauliflower and cabbage, ‘K’ our temperamental but gem of a cook taught me this recipe. The cleverness of this recipe is a) as always (with my recipes) it is very simple b) can be made at any time. No special planning required.

The ingredients can be varied increased or decreased. So can the seasoning. Its makes a pleasant change from the koftas, kormas and polaos. (Truth be told, I’d rather make this dish than tackle koftas, kormas and polaos)!!

You will need:
2 cups Peas (shelled)
1 small Cauliflower
2 cups Beans
2 carrots
2 small potatoes
1 onion finely sliced
2 garlic cloves grated
2 tbsp oil
1-2 green chillies (optional)
1 to 2 cubes of maggie chicken or vegetable or any other seasoning (also known as bouillion or stock)

How to:

1. Cut the carrots and potatoes into small cubes.
2. Julienne the beans (that means take the long bean and cut it into little pieces but make the cut at an angle breadthwise. De-string the beans before you julienne them. And sometimes, if the beans are very fresh and young, there is no need to pull the long stringy bit which runs vertically from top to bottom).
3. Cut the cauliflower into tiny florets.
4. Par-boil cauliflower with salt(that means for couple of minutes). Drain. Throw away the water.
5. Par-boil the other veggies together. Reserve the water.
6. Heat 2 tbsp (or less if you prefer) in a non-stick pan.
7. Add green chillies (if using), onion and garlic. Stir.
8. When the onions turn pinkish, add the veggies.
9. Add ½ tsp turmeric
10. Crumble one cube of Maggie seasoning (I use chicken flavour. Vegetarian cubes would do just as well I guess).
11. Add ¼ tsp sugar (evens out the flavours), taste and then add salt. Remember, the seasoning cubes are usually very salty, so careful about adding more salt.
12. Add the water used to boil the veggies.
13. Cover and cook over low flame for 3 to 4 mintues till the veggies soak up the seasoning.
14. Before removing, add a handful of chopped coriander leaves.

Bon appetit!

Note: This dish has been called a casserole. Perhaps because K serves it in one. Normally, all the casserole dishes I have read involves baking (I think). No such complications here.