Japanese Shrimp Fry (Ebi Fry) with Katsu Sauce

Suddenly there is this eerie silence at home! A new academic year has started and my son went ‘back’ to school today.

Though this is a going back, I experienced the same anxiety, excitement, silent nervousness that I felt last year when he started school for the very first time. It’s going to be a new class, new teacher, many new friends….hope he won’t miss his old teacher much, hope he will make new friends fast, hope he likes his new teacher……the list goes on.

Feelings that every mother goes through, especially paranoid ones like me. No, that’s not true. All mothers are paranoid. Period.

Personally, the best way for me to handle this inner turmoil is to engage myself in activities that I enjoy. And what more than cooking…..

Today, I am stepping out totally from my comfort zone and trying my hand at a Japanese dish. I am a newborn to this cuisine, yet to understand or experience its foundations. Japanese cuisine is a highly refined one and still remains an enigma to most except for sushi and sashimi and the occasional don.

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I am doing an easy one today, a classic that is totally befitting a beginner. Japanese shrimp fry with katsu sauce.

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Japanese always use Panko breadcrumbs as opposed to ordinary bread crumbs which provide a crispier texture. Panko is made from crustless bread and hence has large, airy granules which absorb less grease and thereby give more crunch to the finished product. Panko crumbs are commonly available these days at all mainstream supermarkets and also in Asian stores.

Use it next time you want to deep fry something and you will be amazed at the texture.

These fried shrimp can be paired with any dip but to make it more Japanese, I am going with the katsu sauce. This is an easier version of the traditional one but the flavours are strikingly similar.

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An extremely easy dish that appeals to all palates, this Japanese style fried shrimp with katsu sauce is an excellent starter to any meal. And perfectly paired with the ‘Boy meets Girl Pinot Grigio 2013 by Adrian and Rebecca Santolin from Naked wines.

To quote the winemaker, ‘Slightly blushed with a hint of colour, this wine stays true to varietal form. Modelled on the European styles, it is savoury and textural yet smooth and full on the palate.’

And in my words….a delicious, crisp but not too dry white wine.

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Ingredients:

1. 15 large shrimps, peeled and deveined leaving the tails intact
2. 1 – 1 ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
3. ½ cup plain flour
4. 1 egg, beaten
5. Salt, to season
6. Freshly milled black pepper, to season
7. Shredded cabbage, to serve with the shrimp
8. Vegetable oil, to deep fry the shrimp

For the Katsu sauce:

1. ½ cup tomato ketchup
2. 2 tsp mustard (use powder or paste)
3. 1 tsp garlic powder
4. 1 tsp black pepper
5. 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce


Method:

1. To prepare the katsu sauce, mix all the ingredients, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour for the flavours to develop.
2. Heat oil in a pan to fry the shrimps.
3. Season the shrimps with salt and pepper.
4. Flour the shrimps lightly, dip in beaten egg and cover well with the Panko crumbs.
5. Deep fry till golden brown.
6. Serve hot on a bed of shredded cabbage with katsu.
7. Enjoy!

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This recipe for Japanese shrimp fry comes from here.

Indo-Chinese style Lamb Fry

Been down with a bad bout of flu the whole of last week. Though I wanted this post to go up a few days ago, I simply couldn’t bring myself to sit down and write anything at all.

It was a long weekend and I had quite a few plans chartered out with the family; but this nasty flu spoiled all the fun. The only thing we did was attend the International Street Food Festival and even this, only because we had pre-booked the tickets.

The flu had wrecked havoc on my taste buds and I hardly enjoyed any of the food but I did enjoy one dish which I have never had before. Midye Dolma or stuffed mussels is a Turkish delicacy; it was delicious and I totally loved it. I have posted snap shots from this event on my Facebook page, so you will have to head over there if you would like to have a peek.

Today’s recipe is from the much-loved Indo Chinese cuisine.

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This Indo Chinese style lamb fry has just a handful of ingredients, simple to prepare and is an extremely versatile one. I have made this with beef and chicken too and the result has always been pleasing. You could try a veggie version too with mushrooms, potatoes etc… or maybe tofu.

So getting straight on to the recipe today;

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Ingredients:

1. 500gms lamb, boneless
2. Salt, to season
3. 2 tsp, freshly milled black pepper
4. 4 tbsp soy sauce
5. 1 red onion, diced
6. 3 slit green chillies
7. 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
8. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
9. 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
10. Spring onions, chopped for garnish
11. ½ cup, fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

Method:

• Marinate the lamb pieces in salt, pepper and soya sauce for at least an hour and then cook the meat with very little water till ¾ ths done. You could use a regular pan or a pressure cooker.

• Heat some oil in a pan; add diced onion, garlic, green chillies and sauté on high heat for a few seconds. Lower heat and then add the red chilli powder followed by the cooked lamb pieces with the stock.

• Fry off on high heat till the lamb pieces are coated well. Season with salt if necessary.

• Garnish with spring onions and coriander leaves.

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And before signing off, I have a new Instagram account and it is the_spice_adventuress. So come over and say hi if you are a ‘grammer’ too.

Chilli India, Dandenong – a Review

I usually do not dine out at Indian cuisine restaurants unless with friends or comes highly recommended. The only reason being I cook a lot of this cuisine at home and in many instances, do a better job than many of these restaurants (no, I am not boasting).

But when Chilli India opened its doors late 2014 inside the Dandenong Plaza, I had to check out the food there as this shopping centre is our go-to weekly shopping destination. Plus the menu also listed many South Indian favourites.

So, one a hot sunny afternoon, we found ourselves inside Chilli India to sample the South Indian fare specifically. The restaurant has an open plan with both al fresco seating and an inside dining space. There is an entrance to an Indian grocery store at the back of the restaurant (a marketing gimmick for sure).

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The large windows offer a good view of the outside but it definitely needs to be tinted. The harsh sunlight of the Oz summer streaming in does little to the ambience and soon we found ourselves uncomfortably seated in the sunlight but the air conditioning helped cool things off a bit.

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As soon as we glanced through the menu, both of us jumped on the thayir vadai (savoury doughnuts in flavoured yoghurt). And we even secretly decided that if they got this right, we are definitely coming back here.

And they did get it right too! The vadai was soft and the yoghurt had really gotten into it which is very important to get the dish right. It was cool, and just what we needed on a hot afternoon. Hope the quality stays….we will be back for more.

Thayir vadai (savoury doughnuts in flavoured yoghurt)

Thayir vadai (savoury doughnuts in flavoured yoghurt)

For starters, we also ordered Gobi 65 (cauliflower florets marinated in a batter with spices and deep fried). No Indian themed menu would be complete without this much loved snack.

The florets were crispy but under-seasoned; after the crunch, the flavour fell flat. Buy my son enjoyed it; he is not big on spices yet so he was happy with the crunchy nibbles.

Gobi 65 (cauliflower florets marinated in a batter with spices and deep fried)

Gobi 65 (cauliflower florets marinated in a batter with spices and deep fried)

Then it was time for the dosas!

We started with a masala dosa; a classic with spiced mashed potatoes. One of the common complaints that I have with many Indian restaurants here is that the dosa batter gets too dry. But this one was good, moist and a flavourful potato filling. The verdict – a good and filling dosa, but not the best.

Masala dosa (Indian style savoury rice crepes with spiced mashed potato stuffing)

Masala dosa (Indian style savoury rice crepes with spiced mashed potato stuffing)

The second was the Mysore masala dosa which was just average. It is the spice mixture that makes the difference between a Mysore masala and an ordinary masala dosa. The flavour was different but not high in taste and neither was it traditional.

Mysore masala dosa (Savoury rice crepes with spiced mashed potato and vegetable stuffing)

Mysore masala dosa (Savoury rice crepes with spiced mashed potato and vegetable stuffing)

The next was the chickpea dosa (with a filling of spiced mashed potatoes and chickpeas) and personally the best of the three types we tried. The filling was delicious, spiced just right and packed with flavour. Totally recommend this one.

All the dosas were served with a side of sambhar (spiced lentil curry), coconut chutney and an onion tomato chutney. The sambhar and tomato chutney was good but the coconut one was just average.

Chickpea dosa (Savoury rice crepes with spiced chickpea filling)

Chickpea dosa (Savoury rice crepes with spiced chickpea filling)

A big letdown was the unavailability of filter coffee (South Indian style drip coffee); there is a coffee counter inside from where you can order the regulars and we both got a cappuccino and a latte each. Nothing to write about….

The menu also includes other staples like rice dishes, flat breads, curries etc…but since we didn’t try out any, cannot comment on the quality or taste of these.

The service was good; we were given the right amount of attention and feedback also requested at the end of the meal. The food came quickly which is exactly what you need if you are famished after all the shopping.

Overall, a good experience and definitely recommended if you are in the area and especially if you are shopping in the plaza.

My rating – 7.5/10

Location:

Level 1, Dandenong Plaza,
Cnr McCrae and Walker Streets
Dandenong
Victoria 3175
Phone no: 03 9792 4775

Website:

http://www.dandenongplaza.com.au/stores-services/chilli-india

Timings:

Sunday – 9.00am to 10.00pm
Monday – 9.00am to 5.00pm
Tuesday – 9.00am to 5.00pm
Wednesday – 9.00am to 5.00pm
Thursday – 9.00am to 10.00pm
Friday – 9.00am to 10.00pm
Saturday – 9.00am to 10.00pm

Only dine-in and take away; no home delivery.

Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored review; all the food and beverages were paid for me and my friends.

Creamy Tomato Soup with Brown Butter Garlic Croutons

Some days my photography really suffers and today is one such. No matter how much I tried, the photographs refused to come to life. Frustration soon reared its ugly head and I quit trying.

Frustration – the enemy that silently creeps in when we are trying so hard at something. He comes in and soon takes over us, whispering words of despair and that we are anyway bound to fail, so why try?

And we all struggle with him, reasoning out that we ought to work harder, try harder and then success would come. And he would hush it all up, waging war with commonsense in our heads and he wins, most often……

Frustration blocks our ability to push ourselves, to step over that boundary that seems so near at hand. We know that there is light at the end of the tunnel, we have come so far and there’s only a bit more to go. But frustration tells us that it is not meant to be. Give up…..it’s so easy, he says.

And give up I did.

These photographs are going to remain here as a memory of the time I let frustration control me. Instead of trying harder a couple more times, I kept the camera down and quit.

The only saving grace is this tomato soup!

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No, it’s not a rustic, humble tomato soup; this one’s creamy and luscious with havarti and mascarpone and crunchily garnished with brown butter garlic croutons.

For those who haven’t experimented much with cheese, here are two varieties to try – havarti and mascarpone. Why haven’t I dared to try havarti before? It’s creamy yet firm, delicious – I can’t even begin to describe it. Now a participant on my cheese board, always.

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This tomato soup is happiness in a bowl…..and you can join in the happiness too. Here’s how…..

Ingredients:

For the soup:

1. 2 tbsp olive oil
2. 2 tbsp unsalted butter
3. 1 yellow onion, chopped finely
4. salt, to season
5. freshly milled black pepper, to season
6. 1/4th tsp dried basil
7. 1/4th tsp dried oregano
8. 1/4th tsp dried thyme
9. 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
10. 3 garlic cloves, minced
11. 3 tbsp tomato paste
12. 5 large ripe, red tomatoes (use canned ones if you would like to)
13. 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
14. 1/3 cup freshly grated havarti cheese

For the brown butter:

1. 3 tbsp unsalted butter


For the croutons:

1. 2 cups white bread, cubed
2. Brown butter
3. 2 garlic cloves, finely minced

Method:

To prepare brown butter:

• Place a saucepan on low heat, and add the butter. Allow it to melt slowly on low heat stirring continuously. As soon as you notice brown flecks beginning to appear at the bottom of the pan, remove from heat and continue to stir. The butter continues to brown due to residual heat. (Make sure to remove the pan from heat at the right time or you could end up burning it).


To prepare the croutons:

• Preheat the oven to 180°C.
• Add the minced garlic to the brown butter, mix and allow to sit for a minute.
• Place the cubed bread pieces in a large flat bowl, pour the butter/garlic mixture over top, lightly toss through and bake for 8 to 10 minutes or till the bread pieces get golden.
• Make sure to check in between and toss through to ensure even cooking.
• Keep aside to cool.

Note – These can be prepared ahead and stored in an airtight container. If you do not have an oven, dry toast the bread pieces in a pan on the stove top for 3 minutes and then pour the butter/garlic mixture on top. Continue to toast till the golden colour is achieved.

To prepare the soup:

• In a large pot, heat oil and butter. Saute the onions with the herbs, paprika and season with salt and pepper.
• When the onions are translucent, add the garlic and tomato paste. Cook for another 6-8 minutes.
• Add the chopped tomatoes and bring to boil.
• Then lower the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes, occasional stirring to break any lumps.
• Turn off the heat and cool lightly.
• Puree the soup in a blender (remember it’s still hot!) or use a stick blender.
• Return the soup to heat and add the mascarpone and havarti, stirring continuously till the cheese has completely melted.
• Check seasonings and adjust.
• Serve hot with a dollop of mascarpone and brown butter garlic croutons.

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The recipe for this bowl of goodness comes from here.

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Unakka Sravu Chammanthy with Podi Ari Kanji and Mulagitta Pappadom (Dry Shark Chammanthy with Broken Red Rice Gruel and Chilli Pappadom)

A taste of my childhood…..

While the title may sound like gibberish to most of you, it is actually Malayalam, my native tongue. And for my international readers, Malayalam is the language of Kerala – the state often referred to as ‘God’s own country’ residing at the southern tip of India.

I contemplated, pondered and procrastinated a lot about posting this recipe or rather this meal. The bulk of my readers will not connect with it in any manner or attempt to make it even. But this is a meal, so reminiscent of my childhood that I felt it must be a part of my space……a way of capturing or leaving behind snippets of my life for the future generations.

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Even though I grew up in the Middle East, my mom made sure that we were exposed to all types of Indian food during our childhood. So while many of my friends struggled to settle in India post teens or while attending college, our integration into the Indian way of life happened almost seamlessly. Food can really affect your life!

Rice gruel is the humblest of dishes from India especially South India; often labeled as peasant food. Today, very few savour this and often prepared only when one is convalescing and is forced to eat bland foods. But rice gruel can be incredibly delicious when paired with the right dishes, so full of carbohydrates that it is an instant energy boost.

Though rice gruel is prepared using all varieties of rice, my favourite is the one made using broken red rice. The whole red rice has large, plumper grains that may not be enjoyable to many but this broken variety (available at Indian stores) has a texture that is almost like eating quinoa or bulgur wheat.

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Dry shark chammanthy is another traditional dish which is consumed in the southern regions of Kerala. It’s really hard to come up with an English translation to chammanthy but it’s something like a dry chutney. Often had with rice, gruel or steamed tapioca, this chammanthy is prepared using dry shark and other types of dry fish.

The dry shark chammanthy is a good example of how food evolves in a particular geographical region from what’s available locally. Dried fish is plenty especially around the coastal regions as a means of preserving the surplus; coconut is another staple of Kerala and combine these two to get this wonderful chammanthy.

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Personally, I hardly eat shark anymore these days due to sustainability issues. Most of the time, the shark that reaches our table is sourced unethically. I have not had a shark based dish for the last 15 years and do not intend to make it a practice either. This lot of dried shark came from a nearby Indian store with origins in Srilanka, I believe. There was not much of information on the packet to know more about the catch. But there are stores and seafood dealers who engage in ethical fishing of shark varieties that are not harmful to the species or environment. But if you do not want to use shark, use any other dried fish if you wish to replicate this dish.

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Pappadoms or Poppadoms (as many call it), have quite a cult following in the West. Chilli pappadoms are my favourite way of eating this Indian accompaniment. Blame on it my ‘chilli obsession’, but a dash of red chilli powder, crushed garlic and curry leaves can take the humble pappadoms to a whole new level.

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So here’s my complete meal – Podi ari kanji (red rice gruel) with unakka sravu chammanthy (dry shark chammanthy) and mulagitta pappadom (chilli pappadom).

Ingredients:

For the rice gruel, you need:

1. 2 cups broken red rice; washed well, soaked for 30 minutes and drained
2. Salt, to season
3. 5 cups water

For the dry shark chammanthy, you need:

1. 150gm Dried shark pieces, soaked in water for 1 hour (this is done to remove excess salt)
2. 1 tsp red chilli powder
3. ½ tsp turmeric powder
4. 2-3 green chillies
5. 4-5 shallots, crushed coarsely
6. 1 cup freshly grated coconut
7. 1 tbsp coconut/vegetable oil

For the chilli pappadoms, you need:

1. ½ pack of Indian pappadoms
2. 1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
3. 3 garlic cloves, crushed
4. A handful of curry leaves
5. Vegetable oil, to fry the pappadoms


Method:

To prepare the rice gruel;

• Bring the water to boil, season with salt and add the broken rice; Cook till the rice is done.
• Gruel has a porridge like consistency but if you want to, add more water for a thin broth like consistency.

Note – After serving in a bowl, stir through a tsp of hot ghee to enhance flavour.

To prepare the shark chammanthy:

• After soaking for the required time, remove the shark pieces and pat dry.
• In a pan, heat oil and add the shark pieces along with red chilli and turmeric powder.
• Lightly fry for 10 minutes, remove and cool. Grind to a coarse consistency
• Heat the same pan and return the ground shark along with the rest of the ingredients. Toss through on medium heat for 5 minutes and remove.
• No salt is required as the shark will have enough salt but taste and season if necessary.

To prepare chilli pappadoms:

• Heat oil in a deep pan.
• Cut the pappadoms into strips using a scissors
• Fry the pappadoms in oil and keep aside to drain.
• In another pan, heat 1-2 tbsp oil and add the garlic and curry leaves.
• Saute for a few minutes, remove from heat and add the chilli powder.
• Add the fried pappadoms and toss through.

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Ethiopian Tomato Salad

There’s a new salsa in town!

Yes, I am talking of this humble Ethiopian tomato salad which has become our homestead’s current salsa fixation.

Similar ingredients…yet not similar flavours, the signature flavour that marks this tomato salad different from a traditional salsa is ginger.

Vegetarian meals are quite common in Ethiopia; simple and humble meals yet packed with flavour making the best use of ingredients available locally. Some of the common dishes that make up a traditional Ethiopian vegetarian platter is the yemisir wot – an oily red lentil stew generously spiced, yekik alicha – a yellow split pea stew flavoured with turmeric, tikil gomen – carrots, potatoes and cabbage simmered in a turmeric sauce.

Simple salads are also an integral part of the platter, this Ethiopian tomato salad being an example. And of course, no meal is complete without the breaking of the injera.

Much like the Indian style of eating, Ethiopians believe in a communal meal – friends and family coming together around the food. And fancy cutlery has no place here, pieces of injera are broken and the fingers are deftly used to scoop up the lentils, stews and salads. Eating with your hands might seem like the most natural thing for those who are used to it but for our Western counterparts, this can often be the most challenging part of a meal.

I found some gorgeous heirloom tomatoes at the market and used these for this salad. I used both the green and red varieties but you could use just regular tomatoes. Also, I love chunky pieces of tomatoes in my salsa/salad instead of the saucy types so I went for a rough chop.

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Like I mentioned, the signature or defining flavour of this Ethiopian tomato salad comes from ginger. Grated ginger is added to olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to make a flavourful dressing for the tomatoes. And for that touch of heat, chopped yellow onions and fresh jalapenos!

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This Ethiopian tomato salad recipe comes from here.


Ingredients:

1. 3 large heirloom tomatoes; roughly chopped
2. 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped (use white or red if you cannot find yellow)
3. 2 fresh jalapenos, finely chopped (deseed if you wish to)

For the dressing:

4. 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
5. 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
6. 1.5 tsp grated fresh ginger
7. Salt, to season
8. Black pepper, to season

Method:

1. Whisk together all the ingredients for the dressing and keep aside.
2. Mix the chopped tomatoes, onions and jalapenos in a large bowl.
3. Add the dressing and mix well just before serving.

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Enjoy it as a traditional salad or as a chunky salsa….I did both!

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Dahiwala Gosht (Lamb simmered with spices in a smoky yoghurt curry)

Freedom of speech and expression!

Emblazoned on every media platform, this phrase has taken the world by storm and endless heated debates post the Paris massacre.

What does freedom of speech mean to you?

To me, it means more than literary freedom; it means more than putting my pen to paper and writing whatever crap enters my head. And believe me; writers can have a lot of ‘creative’ crap in their heads.

To me, freedom of speech and expression means to be responsible and harmonious in what I write. It does not mean mocking another religion, another faith, another culture or lifestyle, another person. It means to use words and actions to add to the harmony and balance of nature, to evoke compassion, hope and love.

It does not mean to ridicule.

And as much as I condone the actions of the two twisted, lonely, dark souls who have robbed the world of its depleting innocence and let fear once again control our lives, I also condone freedom of speech which hurts another’s sentiments.

And I know I have opened a whole can of worms here….

So, let me get back silently to today’s dish at hand…..dahiwala gosht or lamb simmered with spices in a smoky yoghurt curry.

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Now there are plenty of yoghurt based lamb recipes but what makes this one different is that it uses the age-old Indian smoking technique for incorporating flavour into the curry.

In this gosht/lamb curry, the signature flavour introduced while smoking is that of kewra essence. The kewra essence is derived from the Pandanus flowers and is easily available at most Indian/Asian grocers. It lends an almost floral aroma and flavour to the dish and hence kewra essence is used extensively in North Indian especially Mughlai cuisine to flavour meats, rice dishes and desserts.

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Dahiwala gosht has a rich and aromatic flavour; a curry which has multiple layers of flavour and is best mopped up with breads. Being an Indian dish, it is always suggested to have this lamb curry with Indian flat breads but I would recommend any bread for this. I had this curry with freshly baked Lebanese pita bread which was perfect to mop up the gravy.

I would also recommend adding a salad of sorts to accompany this meal to cut through the richness of the curry.

Dahiwala gosht or lamb simmered with spices and cooked in a smoky yoghurt curry – a deep, dark, rich lamb curry packed with flavours from the spices, aromatics, yoghurt and kewra essence.

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This amazing lamb recipe was inspired from here.

Ingredients:

1. 1 kg lamb; on the bone, cut into medium-sized pieces
2. 3 tbsp vegetable oil
3. 6 Cloves
4. 8 Black peppercorns
5. 1 inch Cinnamon bark
6. 2 Black cardamom
7. 6 Dry red chillies
8. 4 Spanish onions, sliced finely
9. 1 inch Ginger, pounded well
10. 6 Garlic cloves, pounded well
11. 1.5 cup thick plain yoghurt/curd
12. 3 tsp Coriander powder
13. ½ tsp Turmeric powder
14. 1 red chilli
15. 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
16. ½ tsp Garam masala powder
17. Salt, to season
18. A piece of coal
19. 3-4 drops Kewra essence
20. 1 tsp Ghee/clarified butter
21. Fresh coriander leaves; chopped, for garnish

Method:

1. Mix the yoghurt with coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala powder; keep aside.
2. In a deep pan, heat oil and add the whole spices; cloves, peppercorns, cinnamon, cardamom and dry red chillies.
3. Fry for about 30 seconds on low heat and then add the onions; Saute on medium heat till soft and translucent.
4. Add the ginger and garlic and continue to sauté till browned.
5. Add the lamb pieces and cook on high heat for 3-4 minutes.
6. Next add the yoghurt mixture, season with salt and mix well to combine.
7. On low heat, simmer till the lamb is cooked well and succulent.
8. Once the lamb is done, remove from heat and open the lid and place an aluminium foil on top.
9. Heat the coal piece till red hot and place on the foil.
10. Pour the kewra essence and ghee on top of the burning coal and cover the dish with a lid.
11. Allow the smoke to penetrate the curry for at least 10 minutes.
12. Remove the foil carefully and mix the lamb curry through.
13. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with bread of choice.

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Pappa Rich (Malaysian), Chadstone – a Review

Chadstone shopping centre happens to be my family’s favourite shopping spot. Easily accessible for us especially while taking the public transport and also a huge choice of brands and labels all under one roof. And this also means that I get to try out the various cafes, restaurants, eateries that are peppered along the length and breadth of the mall.

Compulsive shoppers like me need to eat and one such visit to Chadstone landed me in Pappa Rich, which largely serves Malaysian cuisine amongst a few general Asian dishes.

Located inside a shopping centre and especially a busy one like Chadstone, the ambience is always a rushed, hurried atmosphere with shoppers wanting to rest their feet for a while yet have a quick lunch before more shopping. The décor is rich, dark wood with comfortable seating arrangements. Though a bustling atmosphere, I liked the ambience as it still managed to retain a restaurant setting than a food court setting. There is also a small al fresco space outside but finding an empty spot here can be a tad bit difficult.

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During the peak hours, there could be a bit of waiting time. We were lucky to find a spot within a few minutes of walking in and were directed to a good spot by the waitress. Being first-timers, we were quite baffled with the ordering system but luckily, we had a friend along who had been here before. If you are visiting the first time, make sure you ask the waitress as it is different from your regular ordering system. There will be a small note pad on the table with a pencil, where you are supposed to write down your order and then hand it over to the waitress to avoid confusions. Every dish on the menu card is marked with a unique number which is what you need to write down on the note. An efficient system; guess it works with a busy, bustling environment and language issues as many dishes are named using traditional Malaysian terms.

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The first thing we needed were drinks and Pappa Rich has a good selection of drinks; very refreshing combinations too. We ordered the fresh lemon honey, ice blended Bandung (rose syrup with soy milk), lychee soda and ribena melon. Loved the lychee soda and ribena melon.

Fresh lemon honey; $3.90

Fresh lemon honey; $3.90

Ice blended Bandung; $4.50

Ice blended Bandung; $4.50

Lychee soda $4.90

Lychee soda $4.90

Ribena Melon; $6.90

Ribena Melon; $6.90

There isn’t much choice in terms of starters but I still decided to try out the vegetarian shui kau (dumplings). It was a bad idea; no real flavour and a waste of money.

Vegetarian shui kau (dumpling) $4.90

Vegetarian shui kau (dumpling) $4.90

One of the main reasons for trying out Pappa Rich was because we had heard a lot about the roti canai here. There are plenty of combo offers which are easy on the pocket too. So we ordered a roti canai with tandoori chicken combo, roti telur bawang (with eggs and onion) with curry chicken combo, a single roti canai and roti telur bawang for the children.

Roti canai $4.50

Roti canai $4.50

Roti canai with tandoori chicken $13.90

Roti canai with tandoori chicken $13.90

The roti canai was really delicious and did not disappoint. Loved the hot, piping flaky rotis that are a delight to eat any day. The tandoori chicken was average and so was the curry chicken but the rotis more than made up for the taste of the accompaniments.

Roti telur bawang (eggs and onion) $7.50

Roti telur bawang (eggs and onion) $7.50

Roti telur bawang with curry chicken $11.90

Roti telur bawang with curry chicken $11.90

We also ordered the Pappa fried mee (what a name!) which is basically wok fried noodles with prawns, potatoes, tomatoes and egg. The flavours were good, my only complaint being in such a large dish, I could only find a single prawn!

Pappa fried mee (wok fried noodles with prawns, potatoes,tomatoes, egg, bean sprouts) $11.90

Pappa fried mee (wok fried noodles with prawns, potatoes,tomatoes, egg, bean sprouts) $11.90

There are many rice combos too which looked rather interesting, so we ordered a biryani with beef rendang and sambal prawns combo and a biryani with red chicken and sambal prawns. The rice combos are filling and a great value for money. If you are fond of Indian style biryanis, then remember that this is a Malaysian style biryani which is slightly different from the Indian versions. The rice was aromatic and flavourful and the sambal prawns were good too. Not a big fan of the rendang though the beef was succulent. The red chicken was tangy and sweet which is exactly how it should be though there was a bit of food colour in it which was not to my liking.

Biryani with beef rendang and sambal prawns $14.50

Biryani with beef rendang and sambal prawns $14.50

Biryani with red chicken and sambal prawns $12.90

Biryani with red chicken and sambal prawns $12.90

And since we were all stuffed, there was no room for desserts.

Overall, a nice experience. The food is above average and I would go back again for the roti canai. Loved the beverages too. As far as combos go, I loved the rice combos more but my husband preferred the roti combos; it’s just a matter of personal choice.

If you are a vegetarian, be prepared for very less options.

Rating – 7/10

Pappa Rich
Chadstone Shopping Centre
Shop F029 1341 Princes Hwy Oakleigh East, VIC 3166
TELEPHONE (03) 9568 3323

Timings:

Monday – 10.30am – 8.30pm
Tuesday – 10.30am – 9.00pm
Wednesday – 10.30am – 9.00pm
Thursday – 10.30am – 10.00pm
Friday – 10.30am – 10.00pm
Saturday – 10.30am – 10.00pm
Sunday – 10.30am – 8.30pm

Website – http://www.papparich.net.au/

Locations in Victoria – http://www.papparich.net.au/australia/

PappaRich Chadstone on Urbanspoon

Disclaimer – This is not a sponsored review; all the food and beverages were paid for by me and my friends.

Ice Cream Terrine with Raspberries, White Chocolate and Pistachios

I do not believe in New Year Resolutions!

One of the biggest lessons life has taught me is to stop making plans. I have always been a fairly methodical person, organized, neat and a great maker of carefully planned to-do-lists. I am still all of these; but I have also realized, over the years, that I am very spontaneous when it comes to making decisions.

With a fiery, Arian, hot-headed personality, my decisions and actions are always spontaneous with caution thrown to the winds. All my well-laid plans for life have gone awry, either by personal choice or with destiny playing its hand.

I don’t chart my life anymore into a neat to-do-list anymore. I have learnt to go with the flow, both personally and professionally.

And when every blogger group/forum asked, ‘what is your plan for your blog in 2015?’ – I had no answer. Because I am not making any plans; The Spice Adventuress will evolve as my life unfolds this year.

One thing I would like to do is add a ‘sweet’ touch to this space though being a ‘savoury girl’ is my niche. My family wants me to learn a bit of baking; just enough for our personal needs and I might just take the opportunity or rather, the challenge and extend it to my blog.

And today, I have just done that with this refreshing, summery ice cream terrine with raspberries, white chocolate and pistachios. Again; no resolutions, no plans – but something extra that you might get to see on this space. Might…..

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This ice cream terrine with raspberries, white chocolate and pistachios is just perfect to make for a novice like me. Few and familiar ingredients, simple steps and pretty much a fool-proof recipe; this dessert can be a great confidence-builder if you are starting out like me.

With the Aussie summer scorching its way into our lives, this berrylicious ice cream resplendent with white chocolate and pistachio nuts is a perfect and refreshing cooler. I love the fact that it is less sugary and I also love the flavour and texture combinations from the berries, chocolate and nuts.

The perfect summer treat for your family (and who said, you can’t eat ice cream in winter!) – luscious homemade ice cream terrine with raspberries, white chocolate and pistachios.

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Courtesy – a PURA recipe

Ingredients:

1. 300ml Pura thick cream (use any brand you wish to)
2. 300gm frozen raspberries (if sour, use only 200gm)
3. 100gm white chocolate
4. 2 eggs, separated
5. ½ cup icing sugar
6. ¼ cup pistachio nuts, shelled and coarsely chopped

Method:

• Thaw half the raspberries and crush slightly with a fork.
• Shave 1/4th of the white chocolate with a peeler and reserve for garnish. Finely chop the rest.
• Also reserve 1 tbsp of pistachios for garnish.
• Beat the egg whites till stiff peaks form and then gradually add the sugar, beat to mix. Gently mix in the egg yolks and the thick cream.
• Gently mix in the crushed raspberries, chopped white chocolate, pistachios and a handful of whole raspberries into the cream mixture. Do not beat, just mix.
• Spoon into a baking paper lined terrine or loaf tin and freeze overnight or until firm.
• Remove the tin 10 minutes before serving; unmould onto a platter and garnish with reserved raspberries, chocolate shavings and pistachios.

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Banana Coffee Smoothie

My first post for 2015 has to be about coffee – my poison!

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I had been a ‘milk drinking’ gal for the longest time. But while doing my Master’s, I realized that my humble glass of milk could not keep me awake during the long, intense (and sometimes, boring) lectures on genetics, virology, immunology etc….

My classmates recommended the strong, dark potion called coffee sold at our in-house café, and that’s how the addiction started. This particular brew was full on – high on sugar, high on caffeine and the habit stuck.

Today, I simply cannot function without my cuppa coffee. For a brief period, my caffeine levels were dangerously unhealthy but luckily, common sense and will power prevailed. I have cut down my coffee intake to 1-2 cups a day now. But I still need it high on sugar, high on caffeine. And whenever I order my cappuccino at a café and say 3 sugars please, I still get the ‘3 sugar-really-look’?

When I first saw this smoothie on Nigella Lawson’s (well, who doesn’t know the domestic goddess) channel, it was love at first sight. Coffee with banana…..what a delicious way to hide my caffeine beneath a lot of nutritional goodness!

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The banana coffee smoothie is the simplest one to make. I always store peeled bananas in my freezer; it comes so handy to whip up a smoothie and you don’t need to hunt for ice too. The smaller varieties of banana work best as these are sweeter and you don’t need to add any extra sugar; and if you must add honey to sweeten the smoothie.

While in India, I was a Nescafe girl but here in Melbourne, Moccona is my go-to instant coffee powder. It’s rich, dark and delicious…..and makes me the perfect cappuccino.

So if you are a coffee lover like me, then this smoothie is a must try…a great pick-me-up for those rushed mornings when you need more than a caffeine kick. And if you don’t like coffee, you can still make this smoothie; just replace the coffee with chocolate – as my son has it!

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Ingredients:

1. 2 small bananas; fresh or frozen
2. 1 cup milk
3. ½ tsp Moccona medium roast coffee (adjust measurements to taste)
4. ½ tsp honey
5. Ice cubes, optional

Method:

1. Blend all the ingredients together into a smoothie consistency.
2. Enjoy your caffeine kick!

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