Tag Archives: indian recipes

Tabakh Maaz (Kashmiri style Lamb Ribs)

Kashmir – a mysterious, beautiful land that always evokes a deep sense of calmness and peace within me.

Ironic, isn’t it…especially given its turbulent geo-political issues. I have never visited Kashmir except through the thousands of breathtaking photographs of the place but everytime I think of the land, it’s ‘Garden of Eden’ that I remember. And everytime I visualize Adam and Eve eating that apple, its pictures of Kashmir that flash through my mind.

Travelling through Kashmir remains one of the top wishes on my bucket list, and particularly visiting the saffron fields and picking out the flowers; I want to experience that at least once in my life. Though today’s dish has nothing to do with saffron, it has all to do with the cuisine of the region. Tabakh Maaz or Kashmiri style Lamb Ribs!

Tabakh Maaz (Kashmiri style lamb ribs) - a traditional dish that forms an integral part of the wazwan - thespiceadventuress.com

A very traditional preparation of the region, Tabakh Maaz is one of the integral dishes of a wazwan. (You can check out more about wazwan on the Internet or read my mutton roganjosh post). And I learnt this recipe too from my dear friend, Supriya who remains my expert on Kashmiri cuisine. I am a lucky gal indeed!

Making Tabakh Maaz is rather simple but one which takes a bit of time and some good quality ingredients. It is a brilliant example of how spices flavour a fish without adding any heat. The lamb ribs are slow cooked in a broth flavoured with whole spices and then fried off in ghee. It is rich and indulgent, a dish that warms you from within and definitely not one if you are calorie-conscious.

I left the fat layer on the ribs for that extra flavour but you can choose to trim it off. Traditionally it is served as 2-3 ribs together on the bone but I have kept it 1-2. Tabakh Maaz is usually a starter type dish of the wazwan but I had it as the main protein for dinner, so served it with Afghan style bread, cucumber yoghurt dip with sumac and a fresh green salad. One of the ways of adapting a traditional recipe to your family’s needs.

Whole spices to make Tabakh Maaz or Kashmiri style lamb ribs - thespiceadventuress.com

Tabakh Maaz (Kashmiri style lamb ribs) - a traditional dish that forms an integral part of the wazwan - thespiceadventuress.com

So here we have a very traditional lamb dish from Kashmir – Tabakh Maaz or Kashmiri style Lamb Ribs.

Ingredients:

  1. 500 gms lamb ribs; cut into 2-3 pieces
  2. 2 inch cinnamon bark
  3. 3 black cardamom
  4. 5 green cardamom
  5. 2 dried bay leaf
  6. 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 tbsp crushed fennel seeds
  8. ½ tbsp dried ginger powder
  9. A pinch of asafoetida/hing
  10. 2 large garlic cloves; crushed
  11. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  12. Salt, to season
  13. 1 cup milk
  14. 2-3 tbsp ghee/clarified butter

Method:

  1. In a heavy bottomed vessel, add the lamb ribs and fill with water, enough to just cover the ribs.
  2. Bring to boil and remove the scum that floats on the surface.
  3. Then add all the spices, garlic and season generously with salt. Also add 1 cup milk and stir well to combine.
  4. Cover the vessel, reduce the flame and slow cook the ribs for 1 hour or till the meat has become tender and almost fall off the bone.
  5. Remove from heat and take out the ribs slowly and keep aside. You can either keep the ribs in large chunks or cut into smaller pieces.
  6. Heat another flat pan, add the ghee and add the ribs one by one. Fry on medium to high heat till one side has caramelized before turning over. Remove when the other side has also caramelized well.
  7. Serve warm.

Though the basic recipe for making Tabakh Maaz is the same across the state, there can be variations from region to region. For eg: Kashmiri Pandits soak the ribs in plain yoghurt before frying it off in the ghee.

Note – The broth in which the ribs were cooked has a beautiful flavour. It can be strained and use as a stock for making soups and risottos.

Tabakh Maaz (Kashmiri style lamb ribs) - a traditional dish that forms an integral part of the wazwan - thespiceadventuress.com

Tabakh Maaz (Kashmiri style lamb ribs) - a traditional dish that forms an integral part of the wazwan - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nalli Gosht (Lamb Shanks simmered in yoghurt and spices)

I sat down to write this post and poof….the mind’s blank!

Words aren’t flowing easily though there are tons of things I would like to share with all of you. On the more positive side, I received a mail from Leon who has created an infographic for rebateszone.com on ‘Top 50 Food Bloggers in Australia’. And ‘The Spice Adventuress’ is right there at No. 30….

Top 50 Food Bloggers In Australia
Getting back to today’s recipe, I am sure most of you would have read the Andhra style egg curry which I had posted a few weeks ago. I wanted to try out another dish from the ‘Indian Kitchen’ and it had to be this rather indulgent Nalli Gosht or lamb shanks simmered in yoghurt and spices.

Nalli Gosht is a traditional and famous Nihari dish.

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Most people confuse the term ‘Nihari’ with a particular recipe. But at a generic level, it actually refers to a particular type of South Asian curry that involves slow cooked lamb or beef cooked on the bones along with the marrow. The term ‘Nihari’ is used as a prefix to denote that the curry is usually served as a meal after the Muslim sunrise (Fajr) prayers which is followed by a long rest before going off to the afternoon (Zhuhr) prayers.

History is a little skewed as to the origins of the Nihari cooking. While some say the practice began during the Mughal times in Old Delhi, others state that these dishes come out of the royal kitchens of Awadh (present day Uttar Pradesh). The latter theory holds more promise and Nalli Gosht is often considered as a Nihari dish from Lucknow.

But over the course of time especially post-independence era, Nihari dishes evolved as an integral part of South Asian Muslim cuisine and today, there are several countries like Bangladesh and Pakistan where these dishes are extremely popular. In fact, the national dish of Pakistan is Nihari Beef.

Nalli Gosht remains an Indian subcontinent favourite. The lamb shanks are slow cooked in an extremely flavourful gravy made from a mélange of spices, aromatics and yoghurt till the meat falls off the bone.

In the olden days, slow cooking was a tedious process especially having to depend on wood or coal fire. To get the temperatures right and prolong the cooking time, special vessels called ‘shab deg’ would be used in which the meat with the spices and stock are left overnight to achieve the right flavour and consistency in time for the morning meal.

Traditionally, the meat is served along with a thin or soup like gravy but I have allowed the gravy to thicken slightly more which is purely a personal preference. Again, adding yoghurt seems to be a matter of much debate. My research has shown that some versions of Nalli Gosht, especially prepared in Lucknow adds yoghurt.

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While in the earlier days, this dish would have been served to the labourers who worked on the massive construction projects of the royals, today it has become an indulgent preparation for special days. The cooking process is never hurried; modern gadgets like the pressure cooker simply do not bring out the flavour enough. Slow cooking is the best way to draw out maximum flavour from the bones and for the yoghurt and spices to transform itself into a rich, deep, dark and flavourful gravy.

Nalli Gosht is well worth the effort and if you eat lamb, this has to be eaten at least once in your lifetime…..

(Recipe adapted from Indian Kitchen)

Ingredients:

1. 2 lamb shanks (around 300 gms)
2. 6 large garlic cloves
3. 1 inch ginger

Find the full recipe here.

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Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

Kerala style Grilled LeatherJacket in Banana Leaf

It’s a cold, wet day in Melbourne today and it makes me super lazy. And it’s Thursday already, which makes me even lazier with the comforting thought of the approaching weekend.

But there’s a mountain of work that I need to wade through before the end of the day and writing this post is one of them.

In my last seafood post, I did mention this wonderful and delicious project that I have currently undertaken for a seafood company. I also did mention that you are going to see a lot of seafood dishes for the same reason. Now, I am not complaining because I love seafood and thoroughly enjoy cooking and devouring it.

The recipes are mostly going to be based on Indian cuisine but I am aiming at a good, mixed variety showcasing the vastness of Indian food and the sheer variety we have in our country. So do pour in suggestions if there’s anything in particular that you would like to see or if you have any family favourites that I must try out.

Meen Pollichathu or Fish smoked in banana leaf, is a traditional delicacy of Kerala and one of the most popular dishes in and around the Backwaters of Kerala.

Today, this famous dish gets a makeover; one that is more refreshing, low on spices and calories.

Kerala style Grilled Leatherjacket in Banana Leaf - a delicious classic gets reinvented - thespiceadventuress.com

And very untraditionally, I have used the leatherjacket to prepare today’s dish. This fish gets its name from the slight thicker and leathery skin; but with delicious flesh beneath. Being a robust fish, it can take on layers of flavour which makes it apt for this dish. Leatherjacket is best grilled or pan fried with spices and aromatics. To use in curries, remove skin and use the fillets.

You could use any kind of fish for this preparation, especially ones with firm, white flesh.

Kerala style Grilled Leatherjacket in Banana Leaf - a delicious classic gets reinvented - thespiceadventuress.com

The leatherjacket is first marinated with spices and shallow fried. It is then grilled inside a banana leaf with onions, tomatoes, freshly grated coconut and shallots. If you do not have an oven, then you can use a pan grill or an ordinary non-stick pan; just remember to smear a few drops of oil to avoid the leaves from sticking. And remember to grill it on low heat, to let the flavours seep through the fish.

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So here’s Kerala style grilled leatherjacket in banana leaf; and for the recipe, you need to visit this site.

Kerala style Grilled Leatherjacket in Banana Leaf - a delicious classic gets reinvented - thespiceadventuress.com

Enjoy!

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

Tomato Egg Chutney

Indian cuisine is perhaps, the most diverse in the world. The cuisine, produce, ingredients, techniques do not just differ from state to state but can be unbelievably diverse within the different parts of a state.

Having spent an entire childhood abroad, my vision of Indian cuisine was largely restricted to my home state, Kerala. Apart from the occasional mithais/sweets that our Gujarati neighbour gifted us for Diwali, I thought everyone ate the same kind of food in India.

That perception largely changed when I settled back in India for my college studies and decided to make the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu as my home. The stark difference in the cuisine surprised me and this coupled with my blossoming interest in culture, food and travel soon opened my eyes to the vibrant, layered and deeply rich Indian cuisine.

Again, the cuisine of Tamil Nadu varies from widely from region to region from the rich and vibrant Chettinad cuisine to the vegetarian fare of the Madras Brahmins. As my life unfolded in this state and post marriage into a Tamilian household, I learnt of the influences, styles and techniques that have given rise to the present day cuisine.

One of the first recipes and probably the simplest that I learnt from my mother-in-law is this tomato egg chutney which was a breakfast regular especially with piping, hot dosas. I did get a bit of a shocker when she told me about adding the egg to the chutney. I simply couldn’t comprehend the flavours inside my head.

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The important thing with this chutney is the texture. The egg is added at the very end and immediately taken off the heat to ensure it stays creamy and does not go scrambled. Reminded me of the shakshuka but the end result was very different.

So, here is the tomato egg chutney – the perfect accompaniment to dosas (I have it as a spread too, slathered on my favourite toast).

This tomato egg chutney is rich with bold flavours, creamy, colourful and of course finger-lickin good!

To this day, my hubby wants to believe that I cannot make this one ‘like his mom’…though I know I make it quite well indeed!

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Ingredients:

1. 4-5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
2. 1 small red onion, finely chopped
3. 2 sprigs Curry leaves
4. 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped or crushed
5. ½ tsp Mustard seeds
6. 1/4th tsp turmeric powder
7. ½ tsp Red chilli powder
8. 2 green chilli, slit lengthwise
9. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
10. Salt – to taste
11. A pinch of sugar
12. 1 whole egg

Method:

• Heat oil in a pan and crackle mustard seeds.
• Then add chopped garlic and onion; sauté till light brown.
• Add the curry leaves, green chilli and then add the chopped tomatoes.
• Saute on high heat for about 3-4 minutes and then lower the heat.
• Add the spices along with salt.
• If necessary, add water. (Sometimes, the tomatoes are ripe and juicy in which case extra water may not be required).
• Cover the pan and simmer gently till the chutney consistency is reached.
• Crack in one egg, remove from flame and mix in thoroughly to get a creamy consistency. (If you continue to cook, you end up with scrambled eggs)
• Serve hot with idly, dosa…just about anything.

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PS – This recipe has appeared before on my blog, but I re-shot the pictures and hence the new post.

Malai Kebab (Minced Chicken Patties cooked in Spices, Aromatics and Cream)

When the head’s gone blank and you have no clue how to start a conversation, you talk about the weather. And that’s what I am going to do…..

Summer is almost over; it was a peek-a-boo show this year which was rather disappointing. The cold, winds and rain are almost setting in which deports me to a hibernous mental state. I have started craving for hot, spicy food; my fiery curries, rich stews and all things warming.

Having readers from around the globe is a heady feeling but a lot of work. Often, I have to keep in mind the climate of the rest of the world and try to put up recipes and dishes that would suit them too.

And since summer has not hit hard yet, these malai kebabs are perfect as these are rich and heavy, drenched in cream, spices and a whole lot of deliciousness.

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The recipe for this Malai Kebab comes from one of the best cookbooks I have read in my lifetime – The F-Word by Mita Kapur. The only cookbook from which I would cook every single day of my life. The book is a beautiful narrative of the culinary adventures of Mrs. Kapur and her family, the food they like to eat and cook daily in their home. A review of this book will soon follow, so I am not saying more here.

Tikka, Kebab…the name is much interchanged these days. History states that kebabs first came into being during the Ottoman times when travelling soldiers used to roast chunks of meat on their swords over the fire; this continued till someone invented skewers thus making this dish a household one. And with time, the kebabs travelled to the Mughal kitchens where minced meat began to be used instead of chunks of meat for the old, toothless emperors and this came to be called tikkis or tikkas. But today, it is much interchanged and you simply cannot go by the name.

Any type of meat can be used for the kebabs, though lamb is used traditionally. I decided to go with chicken for its mass appeal. Good quality mince would make a lot of difference to the texture of the kebabs, which should ideally be melt-in-the-mouth. So select the boneless chicken pieces and ask your butcher to mince it separately for you.
To prepare these malai kebabs, you need to make the flavourful patties first resplendent with aromatics and spices; followed by drenching it in sour cream and finished off with chillies and coriander.

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Delicious and indulgent; these malai kebabs are definitely conversation starters!

Ingredients:

1. 250 gm chicken mince
2. 1 slice white bread, soaked in milk
3. ½ onion, finely chopped
4. 2 green chillies, finely chopped
5. ½ tsp red chilli powder
6. ½ tsp garam masala
7. 1 tsp coriander powder
8. ½ egg
9. 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
10. ½ inch ginger, finely chopped
11. Salt, to season
12. Plain flour, optional
13. Ghee/clarified butter, for shallow frying the patties/kebabs
14. 150ml sour cream
15. ¼ tsp garam masala
16. ½ tsp red chilli powder
17. 1 green chilli, finely chopped
18. 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped

Note – With the above proportions, this dish is medium spicy; so adjust the quantity of spices and chillies to suit individual taste.

Method:

1. Mix the first 11 ingredients and knead the mince well till combined. Divide into equal parts and shape the mince into roundish, flat cakes and keep aside. The mixture will be slightly wet and if shaping is an issue, dust the cakes in plain flour. But this is optional; I did not use the flour.
2. Heat ghee in a flat non-stick pan and shallow fry the kebabs till browned on either side. Make sure to turn over only after one side is done well to prevent breaking. Drain on kitchen paper.
3. In the same pan, add the sour cream, garam masala and red chilli powder. Place the kebabs carefully back in the pan and cook covered on low heat for about 6-8 minutes, turning once in between. Season with salt if necessary.
4. Remove from heat and garnish with chopped green chillies and coriander just before serving.
5. Eat this hot!

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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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Paneer Tawa Masala (Indian Cottage Cheese Curry with Spices and Aromatics)

This is going to be my last post for 2014. Oh! What a year it has been….personally and professionally. A lot of ups and downs, good and bad……every bit a learning curve or an experience that has matured and wizened me plenty.

Super-busy days, I have not been cooking much. Christmas was at a friend’s place so put up my feet and let someone else feed me for a change. And since we really cannot think of or take a long vacation, we are having little outings most days with trips to the CBD, local eateries, movies etc…..

But the break from the kitchen is not for long; we are hosting the New Year’s Eve party for our friends at our place. So it’s back to menu planning, shopping and preparations for the big day.

I wanted to share one last post with all of my readers before bidding adieu to 2014. Today’s dish is rather special as it is one of the first paneer dishes that I learnt to cook at the beginning of my culinary journey. And I thought this is the perfect way to end this festive or must I say, the ‘feast’ive season.

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Paneer tawa masala is famous as a street dish, as this is usually prepared on a large tawa or flat cast iron pan which really lends a lot of flavour and oomph to this dish. But at home, I do not have a tawa and used a regular pan. The flavours are still delicious and this is undoubtedly my favourite paneer dish of all.

Paneer is often referred to as the Indian cottage cheese; it is available at most stores these days, especially the Indian specialty ones. It is also super easy to prepare paneer at home and if you would like to, then this is the page you must visit.

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The medley of spices and aromatics simmered in ghee or clarified butter is what makes this paneer tawa masala super delicious. It is perfectly spiced, not too hot and is a dish that anyone who loves Indian flavours would enjoy. Pair it with hot Indian flat breads and a yoghurt dip on the side and you have an amazing dish on your hands. I also included a side of saffron rice with nuts to go with this meal to complete the thali.

So, here’s how you make paneer tawa masala; succulent cubes of cottage cheese simmered in a gravy of spices, aromatics and tomatoes. Yumm!

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Ingredients:

1. Paneer – 500gm, cubed
2. 2 tbsp ghee/clarified butter
3. 2 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
4. 1 inch ginger root
5. 4 cloves garlic
6. Green chillies – 2, chopped
7. 4 cloves
8. 3 green cardamom
9. 1tbsp butter
10. ½ tsp dry fenugreek leaves
11. ¼ tsp garam masala
12. ¼ tsp carrom/ajwain seeds
13. 1 medium onion, finely chopped
14. ½ inch ginger, cut into fine slivers
15. ¼ th tsp turmeric powder
16. ½ tsp red chilli powder
17. 1 tsp coriander powder
18. Salt – to taste
19. Coriander leaves – a handful, chopped
20. 1 tsp cream/grated cheese, for garnish

Method:

• Blend the ginger and garlic to a paste.
• Heat ghee in a pan and add the ginger-garlic paste. Saute till the raw smell disappears and the garlic browns lightly.
• Then add the finely chopped chillies and tomatoes. Saute on medium heat till the tomatoes turn mushy (this takes about 5 minutes).
• Meanwhile, crush the green cardamom and cloves.
• Once the tomatoes turn mushy, add the cardamom-clove powder and mix well to combine.
• Next switch off the heat, cool lightly and blend the mixture; use this as the base gravy for the dish.
• Heat the same pan again, add butter followed by the blended gravy. Add water to adjust thickness of gravy.
• Add the dry fenugreek leaves and garam masala and cook on low flame till the gravy thickens. Remove from heat and keep aside.
• Next, heat a tawa (flat girdle) or pan (if you don’t have a tawa like me) and add a tbsp or two of ghee.
• Crackle ajwain or carom seeds and then add one chopped onion.
• Next add ginger slivers and sauté well.
• Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, salt and paneer cubes. Mix this thoroughly to coat the paneer cubes. Add a few tbsps of water if necessary. Cook on low heat for around 2 minutes and remove from flame.
• Add this to the prepared gravy and bring to boil.
• Switch off flame and garnish with coriander leaves.
• Add a dash of cream or grated cheese on top as garnish just before serving.

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And before signing off, wishing all of you a blessed and prosperous New Year….filled with love, peace, joy and more food!

Kashmiri Harisa….and a Blessed Christmas to all of you.

Transcending cultural barriers through food…..a topic so close to my heart! And that is exactly what I am sharing today. No traditional Christmassy recipe; instead a traditional lamb dish from Kashmir, a breathtakingly beautiful land conflicted by petty religious and geographical differences.

Harissa, the North African spice blend is quite famous but do not confuse it with this dish which is often referred to as Kashmiri Harisa.

A bit of history on the dish; Harisa is an age-old traditional lamb preparation that is prepared during winters. It is extremely fatty and high on calories and hence prepared exclusively during the freezing chilling winters of the region as a way of warming from within.

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There are special cooks in Kashmir known as ‘harisagarows’ who are the traditional cooks and keepers of this dish. But today, you can find plenty of households preparing this (like I did) but still the best harisa is always sold by these cooks.

Kashmiri harisa is a prized and expensive dish which requires high quality mutton, long hours of preparation along with constant stirring; it is an art in itself. And maybe for this reason, in the past few years, affluent Kashmiri families have started the practice of sending huge quantities of Harisa to the families of newly-married daughters. A food dowry, if I could say!

The recipe that I tried out is not completely traditional and I have used a few short-cuts to adapt it to my lifestyle. I made this during the peak winter here but decided to post it now when the rest of the world celebrates winter. I mention again that it is a high calorie dish and hence must be consumed only in small quantities.

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It is important to get good quality mutton for this dish, which is then cooked with spices and aromatics till tender. Once it is cooked well, the bones are removed and then comes the stirring part with the addition of rice, milk and onion, eventually getting it into a paste like consistency. It is important to use mutton on bones rather than boneless to impart flavour to the dish.

Kashmiri Harisa – a rich, indulgent traditional mutton dish of Kashmir flavoured with spices, aromatics, rice and crispy fried onions.

Recipe Courtesy – Sheikh Qayoom, Srinagar

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Ingredients:

1. 1 kg mutton, chopped into medium sized pieces
2. 4 garlic cloves
3. 500 gm red onion, roughly chopped
4. 8 peppercorns
5. 3 tbsp fennel seeds
6. 4 cloves
7. 2 inch cinnamon stick
8. 4 brown cardamom
9. 8 green cardamom
10. Salt, to season
11. 1 tbsp dried ginger
12. 1 cup vegetable oil
13. ½ cup rice flour
14. 250 ml milk
15. 1 cup crispy fried onions, for garnish


Method:

1. In a pressure cooker (traditional Indian one), add the chopped mutton along with other ingredients except oil, milk and rice flour. Cook for 2 whistles and then lower heat and simmer for 45 minutes. Those who do not have a pressure cooker, slow cook the mutton till tender and falling off the bone consistency is reached.
2. Once cooled down, open the lid of the cooker and place again on low heat. Stir well with a wooden spoon till the ingredients are all mixed well. The meat would have cooked well to leave the bone. Remove the bones and also the cinnamon sticks, cardamom covers or cloves if visible.
3. Mix the rice flour in 1 cup of cold water to make a paste. Add this to the meat mixture and continue stirring on low flame.
4. You will find that the mixture begins to thicken slightly; add milk and continue to stir for about 5 minutes.
5. Now add 1 cup oil and continue to mix on low heat till the pasty consistency is achieved. It takes around 40-45 minutes for the whole process for 1 kg mutton.
6. Serve hot with fried onions and oil on top.
7. I paired this with Afghan bread and a parsley yoghurt dip.

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Egg Biryani

How can I even begin to explain what a biryani means to India? The singular rice dish which gets the nation into a culinary and cultural frenzy. The debates are endless…and democracy gets chucked out of the window! Is our biryani better or yours?

Every state of India has a biryani recipe or rather, a style of making biryani. It is amazing that a dish introduced to India by the Arab traders has become the national dish today. I really wouldn’t go into the history or types of biryani; Google and Wiki can do a good job of it.

Though you can find plenty of recipes for egg biryani all across the web, I decided to post this one because I loved the dish and wanted it to be a part of my collection here.

Egg biryani - an aromatic, mildly spiced fragrant rice dish from India - thespiceadventuress.com

The best thing about egg biryani is that it is the perfect crossover between vegetarian and non-vegetarian. More people are egg-tarian these days and this is a delicious way to enjoy it. It is also perfect for days when you want to go meatless yet want some bold flavours on your plate.

No biryani recipe will look simple; there’s usually a ton of ingredients and steps but believe me, if you systematically follow it, this is one of the simplest dishes to cook. And the only accompaniment you need is a bowl of raita or yoghurt dip.

So let’s get cooking this delicious, aromatic and flavourful egg biryani!

I learnt this recipe from here.

Ingredients:

1. 1 cup of basmati/long grained white rice
2. ghee/clarified butter
3. 1 inch cinnamon
4. 2 cloves
5. 2 green cardamom
6. 1 star anise
7. 2 dried bay leaf
8. ½ cup fresh coriander leaves/cilantro
9. ½ cup fresh mint leaves
10. 2 green chillies
11. 5 cloves garlic
12. 2 inch ginger root
13. 1.5 cups of large onions, finely sliced
14. ½ cup ripe tomato, chopped
15. 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
16. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
17. 1 tsp cumin/jeera powder
18. 1 tsp fennel/perinjeera/saunf powder
19. 1 tsp roasted coriander powder
20. 1 cups thick coconut milk
21. 1 tsp garam masala (adjust to taste)
22. 3 eggs, hard boiled and halved
23. ¼ cup roasted cashewnuts
24. ¼ cup raisins
25. 1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped, for garnish
26. 1 tbsp mint leaves, finely chopped, for garnish

Method:

1. Wash and soak the rice for at least 2 hours prior to cooking. Drain thoroughly before cooking.
2. Grind the coriander leaves, mint leaves, green chillies, 1 inch ginger and 3 cloves garlic into a paste and keep aside.
3. Grind the remaining ginger and garlic to a fine paste and keep aside.
4. Hard boil the eggs, shell and cut into halves.
5. In a large pan, heat 2 tbsp ghee and lightly roast the cashewnuts and raisins; drain and keep aside.
6. In the same pan, add ½ cup of sliced onions and fry till golden brown; drain and keep aside.
7. Add the remaining ghee to the pan, and add the whole spices
8. After about 15 seconds or when the spices turn fragrant, add the ground green paste and lightly fry on medium heat for a minute.
9. Add the rice along with enough water to just cook the rice (refer to packet instructions for the rice or use 1:1 ration for long grained basmati rice). Season with salt and bring to boil. Once the rice is done, remove from flame and lightly fluff with a fork so that the rice does not turn mushy.
10. In a deep or heavy bottom pan, heat 2 tbsp ghee and add the remaining sliced onions. When the onions turn soft, add the ginger garlic paste and continue to sauté.
11. As this browns, add the powdered spices and sauté for another minute. Then add the chopped tomatoes and sauté till the tomatoes turn soft and mushy.
12. Reduce flame and add coconut milk along with ½ cup water. Simmer for about 5 minutes and add garam masala and season with salt.
13. Next, add the cooked rice to this pan and lightly mix so that you get a marbled effect to the rice.
14. Place the boiled eggs on top and garnish with the roasted cashewnuts, raisins, fried onions, coriander and mint leaves.
15. Remove from heat and keep covered for at least one hour for the flavours to blend and come together.

 

 

 

Egg biryani - an aromatic, mildly spiced fragrant rice dish from India - thespiceadventuress.com

Roasted Carrots with Citrus and Garam Masala

The crazy spring season of Melbourne is here. And the craziness of the weather here can only be understood by those who live in this city. The weather is unpredictable, especially in spring, and sometimes you get to experience all the different seasons in a day itself.

But I am not complaining at all; I love this city so much. I never thought I could feel so passionately about any other country than India. I am an extremely patriotic person and it is my opinion that in spite of all its idiosyncrasies, India is one of the most beautiful places to live in this world.

If not for destiny and the hand it plays in our lives, I would never have migrated to a foreign land to set up home. But one part of me is also happy that it is Australia that I chose to be my second home. This is the place where I discovered or rather stumbled upon my passion and what I really want to do for the rest of my life. This country inspires and brings out the best in me, in all senses.

It is surprising how a single event can change our lives forever just like today’s dish, a single ingredient that changes the whole character of the dish.

Roasted carrots with citrus and garam masala! When I read this recipe for the first time, I fell in love with it for its ingenuity. It was a flavour combination that I had never experienced before, lest thought about.

Gujarati Garam Masala - thespiceadventuress.com

Roasted carrots is no big deal, we have all had it a thousand times. But to oomph up the sweetness of the carrots, a touch of garam masala and then balance it all out with a dash of tangy fresh orange juice and lime zest. I promise you, once you taste roasted carrots this way, you will never want to have the plain roasted ones ever again.

This recipe for roasted carrots with citrus and garam masala is from ‘India – The Vegetarian Table’ by Yamuna Devi, a pioneer of Indian vegetarian cooking. I totally recommend this book to all those who love Indian flavours and want to incorporate it in an un-Indian setting.

Roasted carrots with citrus and garam masala - thespiceadventuress.com

Roasted carrots with citrus and garam masala - thespiceadventuress.com

 

So, let’s get on to making roasted carrots with citrus and garam masala;

Ingredients:

  1. 7-8 baby carrots; slit into halves lengthwise (the really small ones can be left whole)
  2. 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  3. zest of 1 lime
  4. 1 tbsp gujarati garam masala
  5. 1-2 tbsp butter
  6. 3 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, chopped for garnis
  7. salt; to season


Gujarati garam masala:

(If you cannot bother with making this spice blend, use regular garam masala)

1. ½ cup coriander seeds
2. 3 tbsp fennel seeds
3. 1 tbsp brown mustard seeds
4. 1 tsp cardamom seeds
5. 10 cloves
6. ½ tsp red pepper flakes
7. 2 inch cinnamon

Dry roast the whole spices, cool and grind to a powder. This yields more than you need; the rest can be stored for upto 3 months in an airtight container.


Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
  2. In an oven-proof tray, lined with baking paper, combine the carrots with the orange juice, butter, lime zest, garam masala and salt. Mix well so that the carrots are well coated.
  3. Roast for about 20-30 minutes at 180C (fan forced) or till the carrots are nicely roasted but with a bite to it. Remove half way through cook and check seasoning. Add more citrus if necessary.
  4. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
  5. Serve warm with rice, grilled meats, seafood….with just about anything your heart desires.

 

Roasted carrots with citrus and garam masala - thespiceadventuress.com

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