Puli Inji/Tamarind Ginger Chutney

A classic, traditional chutney of Kerala, Puli Inji which means tamarind ginger chutney is unheard of in other parts of India and of course, rest of the world.

While the sweet tamarind chutney of the Northern regions of India achieved a cult status because of its use in the chaats (Indian street food), Puli Inji remains virtually unknown.

1

Puli Inji/tamarind ginger chutney is a common feature in most Kerala households, but especially prepared during the festival of Onam; it has a very important place on the banana leaf feast sitting right next to the pickles.

This tamarind ginger chutney is my absolute favourite and I would request my mom to prepare a bottle for me every time I came home for vacation. She would make two, fully knowing that I would like to carry a bottle back to the hostel (it made the hostel grub much more edible).

I always thought that making this chutney involved a lot of expertise which is why till now, I refused to learn how to prepare it. But this Onam (which went by in September and yes, this post was due long ago), I decided to give it a go and called up my mom for the recipe. She was surprised to hear that I thought it’s a complicated chutney to prepare. After reassuring me that it was indeed very simple, she gave me a detailed recipe with instructions; you know how moms are – even if they know u can cook, they will start from switching on the gas stove.

2

I was delightfully surprised that this tamarind ginger chutney was indeed an easy affair. I got it right in the very first attempt – a taste of my childhood perfectly captured.

Traditionally, puli inji is served as an accompaniment with rice and other curries but you can use in any way your taste buds desire.

If I had to describe puli inji to anyone, it would go like this…..a tangy chutney with the freshness of aromatic ginger, fiery green chillies balanced by the sweetness of jaggery. Lipsmacking!

4

Ingredients:

1. 300 gm seedless brown tamarind (or remove seeds before use)
2. ½ tsp turmeric powder
3. 1 tsp red chilli powder
4. 200 gm ginger, finely chopped
5. 6 green chillies, finely chopped
6. 3 sprigs curry leaves
7. 80 gm jaggery
8. ½ tsp roasted fenugreek powder
9. 2 tbsp rice flour
10. ½ tsp mustard seeds
11. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
12. 3 dry red chilli
13. 2 sprigs curry leaves
14. Salt, to season
15. 2 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

1. Soak the tamarind in one litre of lukewarm water for 15 minutes. Then grind it into a paste. Strain into another bowl.
2. Place on low heat and add turmeric and red chilli powder.
3. Add the chopped ginger, chillies and curry leaves; continue to cook on low heat till bubbles appear at the edges.
4. Add the jaggery and season with salt.
5. At this stage, it is important to taste and adjust the flavours; it should be a perfect balance of tanginess, heat, aromatic ginger and sweet. If you feel any of the flavours are out of proportion, adjust accordingly.
6. Add the roasted fenugreek powder and mix well.
7. Lightly roast the rice flour and add to above, to thicken the chutney.
8. Once the chutney has thickened, remove from heat.
9. Add a tempering with oil, mustard seeds, fenugreek, dry red chilli and curry leaves.
10. Cool and store in air tight bottles or containers. This chutney can be stored for upto a month when refrigerated; i.e. if it lasts so long!

collage

3

6

Louisiana Chicken Pasta

I got introduced to pastas very late in life, somewhere in my late-20s but when I did, I was hooked for life.

At that time, the pasta dishes used to be quite rudimentary in the Indian culinary scene. Apart from a handful of five star speciality restaurants, most places sold either pasta in white sauce or red tomato sauce. While it was comforting, there wasn’t much variety to choose from.

I learnt my first basic white sauce recipe from a colleague and I still remember vividly the thrill it gave me when I had mastered it at home. After that, pastas became a pretty common feature in our household especially after my little one was born. Children love pasta, don’t they!

But once I started making pasta dishes at home, I wanted to venture out beyond these two sauces. I started reading and researching more on Italian cuisine and it was a surprise to discover the sheer variety of pasta dishes available.

The real experimentation with pasta recipes happened after arriving in Australia especially with the abundance of ingredients and produce here. I have learnt many classic ones and also experimented and created some wacky ones; you can find it all here.

Today’s pasta dish, Louisiana chicken pasta, is not my creation but one I found on a fellow blogger’s site. Apparently, this is an Americanized version made famous by The Cheesecake Factory. What instantly captured my attention was the versatility of this recipe. You can use the Cajun sauce and come up with other pasta recipes of your own or you can use the fried chicken in many other ways; as a starter, in subs etc….

2

7

Louisiana chicken pasta incorporates all the flavours we enjoy as a family – creamy, luscious, rich sauce with the aroma and flavours of the Cajun seasoning wafting through tossed through perfectly cooked penne and topped with succulent, fried Cajun spiced chicken pieces. And yes, a generous grating of Parmesan to transport you to culinary heaven.

3

And before we head over to the recipe, I want to share with all of you that I have been nominated for the Indian Food Blogger Awards under the General Food Blog Category. To proceed to the next step, I need to garner as much as votes as possible. So if you think I deserve this chance, then please visit this page, to vote for me (check my blog name under General food blog category). Thank you.

4

Recipe Courtesy – Savory and Sweet Food


Ingredients:

1. Cajun Sauce

• 1 Tbsp butter
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 small bell pepper, chopped ( you can mix red green and yellow)
• ½ small onion, chopped
• 3 whole garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 ½ cups heavy cream
• 1 ½ tsp Cajun spice or Creole seasoning
• ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
2. 2 Tbsp fresh basil or parsley
3. ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
4. Salt, to season
5. freshly ground black pepper, to season
6. 250g Fusili
7. Chilli flakes (optional), for garnish
8. Chicken

• 300 gm or 2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into big cubes
• 1 ½ tsp Cajun spice
• ¾ cup breadcrumbs
• 1 Tbsp flour
• ½ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
• ½ cup milk
• 4 Tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

For Cajun Sauce:

• Melt butter and olive oil in large pan over medium heat.
• Add the peppers, and onion to same pan, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
• Add garlic and crushed red pepper to pan and sauté 3 minutes.
• Add cream and chicken stock and mix in the Cajun spice blend.
• Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
• Add basil and Parmesan cheese to sauce, stirring to incorporate.
• Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and simmer till the sauce thickens.


For the chicken:

• Marinate chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning and leave for 30 minutes.
• Mix breadcrumbs, flour, and Parmesan cheese together.
• Place milk in dish for dipping.
• Dip chicken in breadcrumb mixture and then in milk and then back in breadcrumbs.
• Heat oil in a pan, fry the chicken pieces till golden brown and keep aside.


For the final dish:

• Cook the fusili in large pot of boiling salted water and drain.
• Add sauce and toss to coat.
• Place pasta with sauce on plate, sprinkle chilli flakes and top with chicken breast.
• Serve hot and tuck in!

collage

5

6

8

Bengali Chicken Chaap/Chanp

It is a well-known fact that India has a highly varied culinary scene which means that a lifetime might not be enough to experience and understand all the different cuisines that make up this vast country.

My knowledge of Bengali cuisine is very rudimentary; it would be right to say that this is my first serious Bengali dish where I have tried to understand the building blocks of this cuisine. Typical to every other Indian cuisine, the Bengali style of cooking is very distinct with a lot of variations from region to region.

I started looking up the various blogs that showcased Bengali cuisine and one of the interesting finds was Scratching Canvas. The simple, yet colourful photography, honest writing and easy to follow recipes got me started and this Bengali chicken chaap is the first one I tried from Rimli’s blog. She always gives a bit of insight into the tradition or culture behind a dish which helps me gets an inside view to the fundamentals of Bengali cooking.

Bengali chicken chaap or chanp is a very common and revered dish, especially as an accompaniment to biryani. It is a very classic chicken preparation found in many regions of Kolkata (or Calcutta for many of you) and is prepared during all festivals or special occasions. The dish is believed to be a result of the Mughal influence on Bengali cooking due to the gloriously creamy texture and the use of saffron and mace.

1

Though I will not prefer this with a biryani (guess, that’s for the puritans), I would totally recommend this chicken dish with flat breads or steamed white rice or even the South Indian appams (fermented rice pancakes).

You will find plenty of variations to the chaap recipe from region to region and household to household. I followed the recipe given on the blog religiously except for the fact that I used boneless chicken pieces though traditionally, this dish is made using chicken drumsticks or the whole leg pieces. In fact, the name chaap comes from this cut of meat; but I leave it to you to decide which cut of meat you want to use.

1

4

The Bengali chicken chaap is a luxuriously creamy dish where the succulent pieces of chicken are coated with the richness of hung curd and the quirky pungency of poppy seeds indulged with saffron, mace, black pepper and red chillies. A truly divine dish to start your culinary journey into the heart of Bengali cuisine.

3

Ingredients:

1. 500gm boneless chicken (use leg pieces for a traditional preparation)
2. ½ cup hung curd (you can find hung curd preparation here)
3. 1 tsp grated ginger
4. 1 ½ tsp crushed garlic
5. 1 tsp mace powder
6. 1 tsp black pepper powder
7. 1 tbsp red chilli powder
8. 8-10 strand saffron soaked in 3 tbsp warm milk
9. 2 tsp lime juice
10. ¼ cup poppy seeds, soaked in warm water
11. Salt, to taste
12. 1 tsp sugar
13. 4 tbsp mustard oil

Method:

1. Soak the poppy seeds in warm water for at least 30 minutes; grind to a fine paste and keep aside.
2. In a bowl, beat the hung curd to soften and add ginger, garlic, mace, black pepper and red chilli powder; mix to make a marinade.
3. Marinate the chicken pieces in this and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or longer if time permits.
4. Bring the chicken to room temperature.
5. Heat oil in a wok or deep pan and add the chicken pieces without the excess marinade. Lightly fry the chicken pieces on both sides for about 2 minutes.
6. Add the rest of the marinade along with sugar and mix well to combine. Cook uncovered on low to medium heat till you can see the oil bubbling at the sides. Do not add any water.
7. Add the poppy seed paste along with saffron milk; stir well and continue cooking till the chicken is done.
8. Once the chicken is almost cooked, adjust the consistency of the gravy to suit your preferences. If dry, add a bit of water to loosen up and if too watery, yank up the flame to thicken up the gravy.
9. Serve hot.

collage

2

Do you prepare Bengali dishes at home? Which is your favourite recipe?

Arbi/ Baby Taro in Spicy Yoghurt Curry (Chembu Moru Curry)

Food spells memories, for all of us. But there are some dishes, the very thought of which opens an overwhelming floodgate of memories. This dish does that to me!

I have eaten this baby taro in spicy yogurt curry, (otherwise known as chembu moru curry in my native language) as long as I can remember. Though I am a great veggie lover, there are a few which are my strong favourites of which taro or arbi features at the top.

2

All through my childhood, my mum used to prepare this traditional Kerala curry which goes perfectly with steamed white rice; add a side of fried fish and it is bliss on a plate. (I am sure the ‘Mallus’ are drooling at this stage).

But once I left home for higher studies, this dish became a rarity in my life. I used to crave like crazy for this chembu moru curry but to no avail. I still remember distinctly the first vacation when I went home and my mum had made this for lunch. I sat there with an overwhelming feeling looking at my plate, not wanting to finish the meal wondering when I will get to eat it next. Even though I was so grateful to my mum for understanding my hidden desires, I never even thought of thanking her on that day. A simple thanks would have made her so happy, but it took me years to learn the art of saying ‘thanks’ to my parents.

And every vacation, this dish would be a feature on the day I arrived home or at least the next one. Even after marriage and learning to cook this dish, my dad would source these for my mum when he knew I was visiting saying ‘she likes it so much, make it for lunch’ much to the chagrin of my siblings (they do not share my enthusiasm for this taro in spicy yoghurt curry).

3

It’s a little hard to find the same variety of baby taro as used in Kerala, and I have to rely on the frozen ones. I have tried this dish with the locally available taro which tastes delicious too but whenever the memory strikes, I have to make the same using the frozen ones.

And every single time, I make it today and feed my son, I say a silent thanks inside to my parents for showing their love in such simple ways.

5

Ingredients:

1. 200 gm Baby Taro/Arbi /Chembu; peeled and diced
2. 2 cups yoghurt/curd(thick curd which is not too tart is best)
3. 4 tbsp grated coconut
4. ¾ tsp Red chilli powder
5. ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
6. 3 sprigs Curry leaves
7. 2 cloves Garlic
8. ½ tsp Jeera/cumin seeds
9. ½ tsp Mustard seeds
10. 3 Dry red chilli
11. 2 tbsp Coconut/vegetable oil
12. Salt, to season

Method:

• Cook the chembu/arbi pieces along with red chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt and half of the curry leaves in a deep pan or pressure cooker.
• Blend curd, coconut, jeera and garlic with a little water (the consistency has to be creamy and slightly thick, not runny)
• Once the arbi/chembu has cooked, add the curd mixture and bring to boil; remove from heat.
• Meanwhile, make a tadka using mustard seeds, curry leaves and dry red chilli and add this to the above.
• Serve hot with steamed rice.

1

4

Do you have a special dish like this in your life? Which one would it be?

Adzuki Beans Curry with Kadai Spice Blend

Adzuki beans are small reddish beans commonly used in Japanese and Chinese cooking. In fact, the name ‘adzuki’ is of Japanese origin. In the East Asian cuisine, these red beans are common in sweets and desserts, often used as a paste or boiled with milk to make a reduction.

In India, dishes using adzuki beans can be commonly found in Punjab, Gujarat and Maharashtra. Referred to as Lal Chavali in Marathi which literally means red cowpea, chori in Gujarathi or ravaa’n in Punjabi, these beans are often used in chaats (Indian street food). I am not quite sure if there are other traditional dishes using these beans. If you know anything more about it, please do write to me and let me know.

I first came across adzuki beans at the local market; though the beans looked familiar to many others, I knew I had not cooked or tasted it before. So a pack of these came home with me and I have been trying out many dishes, especially Indian ones with these red beans.

1 (2)

Recently, I made a batch of the kadai spice blend which is commonly used to flavour Indian curries. And it suddenly struck me to combine this spice blend with the adzuki beans and come up with an Indian curry of sorts.

This adzuki bean curry is as Indian as it gets; the curry paste is prepared by caramelizing onions and aromatics to which tomatoes and finally the spice blend gets added. Just like any other lentil, it is best to soak these beans overnight and then cook the following day to reduce cooking times. And yes, if you have the Indian pressure cooker, life is bliss!

4

2

Like I mentioned, the kadai spice blend is quite common in North Indian cuisine and a regular feature in all restaurant menus. Quite a versatile blend incorporating the flavours of coriander, cumin, fennel, cardamom and bay leaf, this blend can be used in other Indian curries too, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.

So, here is the method to prepare Indian style adzuki beans curry with kadai spice blend;

5

Ingredients:

1. 2 cups adzuki beans, soaked overnight
2. 2 red onions, finely chopped
3. 2 ripe red tomatoes, finely chopped
4. 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
5. 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
6. 1 tea bag
7. 5 sprigs coriander leaves, finely chopped
8. Salt, to taste
9. 2 tsp kadai spice blend
10. ½ tsp turmeric powder
11. 1 tsp red chilli powder
12. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil

Kadai Spice Blend:

This makes around half a bottle of spice blend; store the excess in an airtight container.

1. 6 tbsp coriander seeds
2. 1 tbsp fennel seeds
3. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
4. 1 ½ tsp black peppercorns
5. 8 green cardamom
6. 2 black cardamom
7. 1 inch cinnamon stick
8. 2 dried bay leaf
9. 10 dry kashmiri red chillies

Method:

To prepare the spice blend:

1. Dry roast all the ingredients (and as always, take care not to burn). Cool and grind to a fine powder. When dry roasting spices, remove from the pan onto a parchment or baking paper after switching off flame. Never leave it in the same pan itself as the spices continue to roast in the residual heat.


To prepare the curry:

2. In a deep pan or pressure cooker, heat oil and add the onions, garlic and ginger. Saute till the onions have caramelized well.
3. Add the tomatoes and continue to cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
4. Turn down the heat and add all the spices. Continue to cook for another 2 minutes.
5. Add the washed and soaked beans along with a tea bag (use an ordinary tea bag and not the flavoured ones). Adding the tea bag is optional; this is only to lend the deep dark colour to the dish and does not really add much flavour to the dish.
6. Season with salt and add 2 cups of water. Cook till the beans are done to the consistency you like.
7. Remove from heat and garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
8. Serve hot with rice or flat breads.

1

6

3

Murgh Dahi Kebab with Spicy Mint Pesto

Ever since I became a food blogger, I have been on a cookbook winning spree. I am not particularly sure how this happens, but I seem to win most giveaways I enter especially if the prize features a cookbook. And I must say, it’s quite a pleasurable thing; building up my cookbook library!

One of the first ones I received is a copy of the cookbook,‘Around the World with the Tadka Girls’ by Ranjini Rao and Ruchira Ramanujam. These beautiful and spirited girls are the faces behind Tadka Pasta, where you can find a large repertoire of fusion recipes.

I won this cookbook as part of a giveaway hosted by ‘My Diverse Kitchen.’ Thanks a lot Aparna for the opportunity and sorry for blogging about it so late. Since the contest was open only for those with an Indian address, the book was shipped to my home back in India and it took a considerable time to get it to Melbourne.

013

A bit about the book; it is a simple cookbook with a bunch of well tested recipes and a lot of fusion twists. What strikes one immediately is the humbleness of the book and the passion of the authors. It is not one of those fancy coffee table cookbooks with glossy photographs but one that prompts you to cook from it every single day.

One of the recipes I tried out from the book and especially loved are these Murgh Dahi Kebabs which I served a la burger style with Spicy Mint Pesto.

5

There is a bit of history about the origins of this dish in the book. The use of yoghurt or thick curds to flavour and tenderize the meat is an ancient Middle Eastern practice which arrived in India too. Whether it is Turkey, Athens or Rajasthan, you will find dahi kebabs a prominent feature with variations according to the region.

In India, hung curd is used which is a thick, creamier version to the regular yoghurt/curd. A very easy procedure which can be done right at home, hung curd adds the rich, creamy and delicious texture and flavour to the chicken kebabs.

In this recipe, there is of course the tadka twist which is the addition of a medley of Indian spices to the chicken mince and hung curd. The kebabs are succulent and you can serve it as a starter or in a burger format like I did with a spicy mint pesto.

Coriander mint chutney is the traditional Indian accompaniment to these Murgh dahi kebabs but of course, inspired by the tadka girls, I also ended up with a twist of my own. Delicious, fresh pesto flavoured with mint and a hint of chilli is perfect with these juicy kebabs.

2

3

Recipe for spicy mint pesto adapted from here.

Ingredients:

For the hung curd:

1. 2 cups regular yoghurt/curd
2. Cheesecloth

For the kebabs:

3. 400gms chicken mince
4. 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
5. 1 cup fresh mint leaves
6. 2 spring onions
7. 5 green chillies
8. ½ cup hung curd
9. 1 tsp cumin powder
10. ½ tsp garam masala
11. ½ tsp black pepper powder
12. ½ tsp kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves
13. Salt, to season
14. 1 tsp vegetable oil
15. Vegetable oil, for shallow frying


For the mint pesto:

16. 2 tbsp. toasted pinon nuts (pine nuts)
17. 1 cup packed mint leaves
18. ¼ cup olive oil
19. Juice from one lime
20. 1 raw garlic clove
21. 1 tbsp. minced onion
22. 1 tsp honey
23. ½ tsp. red chilli flakes
24. Salt, to season

Method:


To prepare hung curd:

• Line a cheesecloth in a bowl and add 2 cups of yoghurt/curd into it. Gather the sides of the cloth into a bundle, knot at the top and hang to let the excess whey drain out, for at least 6-8 hours or overnight. Since it was cold here, I let the cloth hang over my sink; you could place it in your refrigerator too, especially if keeping overnight.


To prepare kebabs:

• Finely chop ingredients 4-7 in a processor or by hand.
• In a pan, heat 1 tsp oil and sauté the chopped ingredients for just a minute.
• Add this to the chicken mince along with hung curd and the spices. Season with salt.
• Mix well and shape into small patties. Keep aside or refrigerated till it’s time to cook.
• In a flat pan, heat oil and shallow fry the kebabs till done.


To prepare pesto:

• Lightly toast the pine nuts.
• Put all mint pesto ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust seasoning.
• Transfer to a serving container and refrigerator until ready to use.

1

These Murgh dahi kebabs can be served as a starter with this spicy mint pesto dip. Or serve it in a burger style with the kebabs inside a bun and spoon over the mint pesto.

6

7

Scandinavian Pumpkin and Potato Soup

Today, I am going to talk about a topic that is increasingly becoming important to me – buying locally.

When I started off my life in Australia as a new migrant, my shopping habits were similar to scores of others – buy decently good products at the lowest price possible without a care where or how the product is sourced. But as my life evolved here, especially as my blogging journey took off, I started to become more aware of where my products came from, especially the produce and food I eat.

The benefits of buying local produce are immense. To start with, it is an immense boost to the local economy. It is giving back to the community, to the farmers, who toil so hard and relentlessly to bring us the best food possible.

It is about eating healthy; local and seasonal produce are much fresher and likely to have lesser chemicals than the ones bought in from other countries.

It is about supporting local and small business owners who are being forced to shut up shop due to the pressure of competing with foreign businesses and not finding enough customers for their produce.

I know that locally sourced produce can sometimes be slightly more expensive and there is no dearth for cheap imports too. And I also know money is important to all of us. But if you are willing to look around, attend local farmer’s market than big chain supermarkets or food stores, you will find plenty of produce for reasonable prices that fit right into your budget.

And sometimes, it is ok to spend a few extra cents or dollars; look at the long term and not the short term benefits. So which ever part of the world you live in, take a little effort to find out where your food comes from and do your bit to support local farmers and businesses.

So, that’s what I did for this recipe; visited the nearby farmer’s market and bought a couple of locally grown small pumpkins and potatoes.

Today’s recipe is a rich, creamy, luscious, Scandinavian pumpkin and potato soup flavoured with coconut milk, toasted sesame seeds and red chillies.

12

A simple and easy to make soup with robust flavours; you could call it a winter soup as it is a hearty and warming dish. But for me, it works in all seasons; I could enjoy a bowl of soup at any time of the day in any season.

For me, the highlight of this soup is the toasted sesame seeds, chillies and coriander leaf garnish. Silky smooth, creamy, sweet pumpkin and potato soup, flavoured with nutty sesame seeds, fiery chillies and the freshness of coriander leaves.

Recipe Courtesy – Le Creuset, The Scandinavian Way to Cook

Here’s how you prepare Scandinavian pumpkin and potato soup;

13

Ingredients:

1. 500gm small pumpkin, diced
2. 3 large potatoes, diced
3. 4 garlic cloves, peeled
4. 2 medium red onions, diced
5. 2 tbsp olive oil
6. 2 tsp thyme
7. 1 green chilli, finely chopped
8. 2 cups fresh coconut milk
9. 1 red chilli, thinly sliced
10. 2 tbsp lemon juice
11. 2 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
12. 2 sprigs fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
13. Salt, to taste
14. Freshly milled black pepper, to taste

Method:

1. Heat olive oil in a pan and lightly fry the diced pumpkin, potato and onions. Add thyme and chopped green chilli. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Add coconut milk and enough water to just cover the vegetables and slow cook for 40-50 minutes till the vegetables are tender and soft.
3. Toast the sesame seeds and keep aside.
4. Cool and blend the soup. Season with lemon juice, salt and pepper. (Make sure to taste the soup before seasoning and add accordingly.)
5. Garnish with toasted sesame seeds, red chilli and coriander leaves.
6. Serve hot with bread of choice.

11

15

14

Spicy Dragon – a Review

My first restaurant review!

And before we get into it, let me say that I am not a professional reviewer or critic. I have a fair understanding and knowledge of food and cuisines, based on which this review is written. It is an honest opinion of what I felt about the food, ambience, service etc…

Spicy Dragon, located at Carnegie, is an easy place to get to as it is situated near the metro station. The cuisine is predominantly Indo-Chinese and hence you are likely to rub shoulders with many Indians here. The Chinese would never understand what we have done to their cuisine!

There is not much in terms of ambience at Spicy Dragon. Mostly frequented by families and large groups, the place is noisy and boisterous. So if you are looking for a cozy, intimate dinner for two, then this is definitely not the place. But if you are part of a large group of friends with kids in tow, then you will fit in right with the crowd.

Weekends can get really busy at this place so it is strongly recommended to book a table ahead especially if you are a large group. We had booked one which ensured that we had a table waiting our arrival. Again, not much in terms of customer service; even on weekends, the place seems to be understaffed so expect a bit of a wait.

The bar is quite a basic one, so we settled down with glasses of lemon lime bitter and the house reds.

The menu is quite extensive and you have a good choice of dishes to choose from. We started the dinner with two soups; a Chicken corn and Tom yum soup (again, with chicken). Both were quite average fare and nothing much to write about.

Chicken corn soup

Chicken corn soup

Tom yum soup

Tom yum soup

And for starters, it was a double round of Chicken lollipop. Anyone who has been exposed to Indian cuisine would know that this is the most ordered non vegetarian starter in any Indian restaurant. Perfectly fried chicken drumsticks coated with a mélange of spices, the dish didn’t disappoint and I would strongly recommend it at Spice Dragon.

Chicken lollipop

Chicken lollipop

For the main course, we ordered two types of rich dishes; Chicken fried rice and Schezwan mixed fried rice. What I liked about the rice dishes is the use of plenty of vegetables especially those used in Chinese cooking which is not very typical for Indo-Chinese rice dishes. Both the rice dishes were flavourful but not the best I have eaten.

Chicken fried rice

Chicken fried rice

Schezwan mixed fried rice

Schezwan mixed fried rice

And the other mains were Chicken manchurian, Chilli chicken and Schezwan fish. The first two were again average but I did enjoy the flavours of the Schezwan fish; a nice hit of chilli but not too fiery, the fish was succulent, just cooked and coated with delicious schezwan sauce.

Chicken manchurian

Chicken manchurian

Chilli chicken

Chilli chicken

Schezwan Fish

Schezwan Fish

My rating – 3/5

Details:

Spicy Dragon
3/23, Koornang Road
Carnegie, VIC 3163
Phone: (03) 95715668.

http://www.spicydragon.com.au/


Restaurant Timings:

Lunch hours:
Sunday – 12:30 pm – 3:00 pm
Monday – Closed
Tuesday – 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Wednesday – 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Thursday – 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Friday – 12:00 pm – 2:30 pm
Saturday – 12:00 am – 3:00 pm

Dinner Hours
Sunday – 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Monday – CLOSED
Tuesday-Thursday 5:00pm – 10:00pm
Friday – Saturday 5pm – 11:00pm

Fish Mappas

Today, I am not going to spend much time talking to all of you. School holidays are on here and my boys have demanded some exclusive family time, without work getting in the way.

So it is straight on to the recipe today….

12

From the backwaters of Kerala, fish mappas is a true culinary representation of the region. Get hold of the freshest fish that you can and let it indulge in a spicy marinade. Shallow fry and then let the succulent fish pieces soak in a spicy coconuty gravy….perfect with white steamed rice or soft phulkas (flat bread). I was in the mood for fusion and so teamed it with this beetroot and curry leaf rice.

14

13

Ingredients:

1. ½ kg fish (any type), I used basa fillets but this recipe works for all kinds of fish
2. Vegetable oil, to shallow fry the fish

For marination:

3. ½ tsp Red chilli powder
4. ¼ tsp Turmeric powder
5. ½ tsp Black pepper
6. ½ tsp Ginger paste
7. ½ tsp Garlic paste
8. Salt, to season
9. 1 tsp vinegar

For gravy:

10. ¼ tsp mustard seeds
11. 2 medium red onion, finely sliced
12. ½ inch ginger, grated
13. 3 green chilli, chopped finely
14. 3 Garlic cloves, grated
15. 3 sprigs curry leaves
16. ½ tsp turmeric powder
17. Salt, to season
18. 1 tsp coriander powder
19. ½ tsp red chilli powder
20. 1 cup thin coconut milk
21. 1 cup thick coconut milk
22. 3 tbsp coconut oil

Method:

• Prepare the marinade by mixing all the ingredients and marinate the fish pieces in this for at least one hour or as long as you can.
• Shallow fry the fish pieces and keep aside.

• Heat oil in pan and crackle mustard seeds. Add curry leaves along with ginger, garlic, onions, green chilli and sauté till the onions turn golden brown.

• Then add all the spices and sauté till oil starts clearing.

• Lower the heat and add second milk of coconut and mix well. To this add the fried fish pieces; season with salt. Cook for 5 minutes.

• Next lower flame and add first milk of coconut to thicken the gravy and remove from fire. Do not boil or place or high heat or the coconut milk will split.

• Garnish with curry leaves.

11

15

16

Indian style Pork Burger with Caramelized Pineapple + Winner of the Cookbook Giveaway

I cannot contain the excitement any longer, so let’s announce the winner before we get to today’s recipe.

I decided to go old-school for the draw, not trusting any software to pick my winner. So all the names got written down onto individual chits and then the most important job of picking the winner – gave it to my son to do the honours; oh my, wasn’t he excited!

And yes, we have a winner and it is…………..Sarah Moss. Congratulations Sarah, hope you enjoy cooking from this book as much as I did picking it for you. And please do inbox me so that I can send it over to you at the earliest.

2014-09-26

Now, I am equally excited about today’s recipe too…..it is a hearty, indulgent pork burger with an Indian twist.

2

Pork and pineapple is a classic combination, a match made in heaven. And just to spice things up a bit, I added some familiar Indian flavours to the burger.

The secret to a delicious, succulent, juicy burger lies in mainly in the quality of meat. Instead of going for a store-bought mince, it is best to get good cuts of meat from your local butcher and ask him to mince it up for you. This way, you get to choose how much fat goes into the mince. For this, I chose the pork shoulder and the ratio of fat to meat in the mince was 1:4.

1

Minced onion, aromatics and a freshly roasted and ground spice mix was added to the pork mince to infuse the classic Indian flavours. The caramelized pineapple adds the hint of sweetness and brings the spices to life.

The best thing about homemade burgers is that these are healthy as you are in control of all the ingredients that goes in and is a great way to get your family to eat veggies too. My hubby would eat tomato in a burger sandwich but would throw it out if I put it in a curry. Got the point?

4

6

So, here’s how you make Indian style pork burgers with caramelized pineapple, tomatoes, onion and coriander.

Ingredients:

Makes about 8-10 patties (these freeze well so you can make batches and stock away for later use; another idea is to make meatballs and use it the next time you make spaghetti).

For the burger;

1. 1 kg pork mince (use any meat that you want)
2. 1 large red onion, finely chopped
3. 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
4. 1 inch ginger, finely chopped
5. 1 large green chilli, finely chopped
6. Indian spice blend
• 2 tsp Coriander seeds
• 2 tsp Dry chilli flakes
• 1 tsp Cumin seeds
7. Salt, to season
8. 1 egg

For the final sandwich;

9. Burger buns
10. 1 pineapple, cut into thick slices
11. Cos lettuce, shredded
12. 1 tomato, sliced
13. ½ red onion, sliced finely
14. A few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves
15. Barbeque sauce

Method:

1. To prepare the spice blend, dry roast the coriander and cumin seeds. Cool, add the chilli flakes and grind to a fine powder. I used the entire blend as I was wanted a good kick of the spices but you can add just enough to suit your taste preferences.
2. If you are using a food processor, throw in all the ingredients for the burger including the spice blend; or finely chop the onion and aromatics and then mix all ingredients together for the burger patties.
3. Form the mince into circular patties and keep aside. Again, the thickness of the patty is entirely upto your preferences; I make thick ones and for a kilo of mince, made 10 patties.
4. Heat a grill pan, brush with oil and grill the burgers till done; flip around after giving a couple of minutes on each side to get the char grilled marks. Rest the burgers for at least two minutes before preparing the sandwich.
5. Grill the pineapple slices (make sure the grill is smoking hot to instantly caramelize the sugars which keeps the crunch intact and seals the juices inside; on low heat, the pineapple slices go limp and soggy).
6. Cut the burger buns in half and grill for that extra crunch.
7. To assemble the sandwich, place shredded lettuce on the bottom half of the bun and layer up – patty, barbeque sauce, pineapple slice, tomato, onions and coriander leaves.

3

5

Cupcakes & Curries

Recipes & Food Inspirations from a Sunny Islander

amritaspeaks

When women take centre stage...

simplyvegetarian777

Cooking, Writings, Photography and Everyday Musings

Rashmi Uday Singh

The official website of Rashmi Uday Singh.

A Taste of Sri Lankan cuisine

Homecooking - the way we like it

The Tummy Tale

A journey exploring the best of food!

Peri's Spice Ladle

Indian-inspired Food for the Global Palate

Confused Bawarchis

sweet and savory creations from our kitchen and travel

a whisk and a spoon

connoisseur of fine cake

Homemade in Hong Kong

ridiculously robust and rustic

At the Corner of Happy and Harried

A slice of my commonly uncommon life

WhitBit's Indian Kitchen

Homemade Indian Cooking

Culinary Adventures of The Spice Scribe

An edible exploration of India's food traditions

afra cooking

taking pleasure in all things food

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 816 other followers

%d bloggers like this: