Tag Archives: Indian

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign)

Curry for change!

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Great Australian Curry – an annual fundraising campaign by Opportunity International Australia is back and this is my second year of pledging support for the cause.

(You can view details of the previous campaigns here and here.)

Opportunity International Australia works through a unique system of microfinance, community development, training, local presence, technology and rural outreach programmes in developing countries including India. And the ‘Great Australian Curry’ campaign is a great way by which food lovers like us can contribute in a meaningful manner towards poverty and diminishing its impact.

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This year’s campaign was officially launched last month with a spicy cook-off between Stephanie Rice (Triple Olympic gold medallist) and Courtney Ferdinands (Finalist, My Kitchen Rules) on one team and Michael Kasprowicz (former Australian Test Cricketer) and Valerie Ferdinands (Finalist, My Kitchen Rules) on the other team.

It’s a great cause and with curry being a favourite at most Australian homes, it’s so easy to organize a small fundraiser in your home or office. Invite a couple of your friends home for a dinner (plenty of delicious curry recipes on the blog to help you with the cooking) and organize a small fundraiser of your own. Or perhaps arrange a curry potluck in your office where you can pitch in with your colleagues to raise a target amount. Remember that even the smallest amount can go a long way in being a helping hand to those in need.

Robert Dunn, the Opportunity Chief Executive Officer, said that last year the campaign was able to raise $108,000 which was used to help out 1500 families start small businesses and provide a livelihood. ‘We hope to help even more families this year through the generosity of Australians.’

And if cooking is not your thing, you can still make a donation and show support.

For more information about the campaign; visit the fundraising website, Great Australian Curry.

There are also many exciting prizes up for grabs this year to encourage you to start a campaign.

“The first 20 people to set up a fundraiser on Opportunity’s website will receive Rick Stein’s mouth-watering cookbook, ‘India’. The book features a wealth of simple curry recipes that’ll come in handy for your Great Australian Curry events. The colourful cookbook features the best recipes from Rick Stein’s Indian odyssey in search of the perfect curry.

There is also a writing competition and the prize is a signed copy of renowned Sydney Quay chef Peter Gilmore’s cookbook ‘Organum’. Peter’s book delves into the four essential ingredients for the perfect dish “nature, texture, intensity and purity. Just tell us in 25 words or less why taking part in the Great Australian Curry is important to you. Details of this competition are on the Great Australian Curry website.

And while you can find lots of delicious curry inspiration on my blog, here’s another one to get you started…Chettinad style Duck Kurma.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Today’s recipe comes from the Chettinad region in South India, which is famous for its cuisine especially curries.

Kurma is a type of curry preparation that was bought to India by the Mughals. While it has evolved much over the years, the kurma is essentially a rich creamy curry and can be both vegetarian and non vegetarian.

However in the Chettinad region, the kurma is prepared slightly different as the cream gets replaced by coconut which is blended with poppy seeds, cashewnuts and other spices to form a rich and flavourful curry. Personally, it’s this kurma preparation that’s my favourite as I am not too fond of cream based curries.

I have veered away from the usual proteins, opting for duck instead of chicken or lamb as it’s a delicious meat that pairs beautifully with the spices and coconut. And also because we get such high quality duck meat in Australia.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Note – Use any meat of choice or replace with eggs or mixed vegetables/paneer/tofu for a vegetarian option.

Ingredients:

Wet spice paste:

  1. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 2 tsp fennel seeds
  3. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 3 fresh green chillies; broken in half
  5. 2 tsp white poppy seeds
  6. 10 raw cashewnuts
  7. 7 garlic cloves; crushed
  8. 2 tbsp roasted Bengal gram (split)
  9. 1 ½ inch ginger; crushed
  10. 60gms fresh grated coconut

For the curry:

  1. Whole duck (approximately 1.1kg); cut into curry sized pieces
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 2 inch cinnamon bark
  4. 4 green cardamom
  5. 1 large onion; finely chopped
  6. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  7. 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
  8. 2 large ripe tomatoes; pureed
  9. 2 tsp red chilli powder
  10. Salt, to season

Method:

To prepare the wet spice paste:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan and add the cumin, fennel seeds and green chillies. Then add the poppy seeds, cashews and garlic; sauté for a few seconds.
  2. Next add the Bengal gram, coconut and ginger. Mix well and sauté for a minute or two till the coconut turns a little toasty but not too brown.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly. Blend with just enough water to get a wet paste.

To make the curry:

  1. Heat the remaining oil in a large wok/kadhai and add the cinnamon and cardamom followed by the onion. Sauté till the onions are softened and turn light brown.
  2. Next add the turmeric powder, chilli powder and curry leaves; mix to combine.
  3. Add the tomato puree and season with salt. Cook on medium heat till the mixture comes together and you can notice oil appearing at the sides of the masala.
  4. Next add the wet spice pasta and mix well to combine. Sauté for about 5-6 minutes on low to medium heat stirring continuously.
  5. Add the duck pieces; mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add 1-2 cups water (depending on how much gravy you prefer) and bring to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently till the duck pieces have cooked perfectly and the gravy has thickened. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
  6. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This duck curry is delicious with hoppers, flatbreads, rice, pita breads etc… I paired it with steamed rice, flat breads, a green salad and my favourite tomato chutney.

Enjoy…but don’t forget to take part in the fundraising too. A little help from us can go a long way to help out another family in need.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Disclaimer – This post was bought to you in association with Opportunity International but all the opinions and musings are mine.

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Tatrelo Kolmi Patio (Parsi style Prawns)

I know I have been MIA for quite some time here but I am back now with a lipsmacking prawn dish from the Parsi kitchen!

Tatrelo Kolmi Patio (Parsi style Prawns) - thespiceadventuress.com

The reason for being MIA is that my parents are visiting me from India for the next couple of months. And I am meeting them after five long years guys, so you can imagine my excitement. I can hardly think of work; every single moment is spent chatting with them and taking them around the city and neighbouring places.

And pampering them with loads of deliciousness.

I have never had the opportunity to cook for them before for such a long period of time. And now I don the blogger status too, so treating them to all sorts of new dishes and cuisines, both at home and at restaurants. After all, Melbourne is indeed the food capital of the world.

With seafood being a family favourite, I decided to treat them to Tatrelo Kolmi Patio, a delicious Parsi style prawn dish.

Tatrelo Kolmi Patio (Parsi style Prawns) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Parsi cuisine is rich, varied and full of delicious recipes especially more if you are a seafood lover. This prawns patio is simple, easy to prepare but so full of flavour that you will find yourself making it over and over again.

The combination of vinegar and jaggery along with the spices and aromatics add a punch to the flavours yet not overpowering. The spices are subtle and only highlight the taste of the meaty tiger prawns. Make sure that the dish has a semi-dry consistency which is when the masala coats around the prawns for a delicious mouthful.

And there’s only way to enjoy this best – with steaming hot rice and a simple dal. Tuck in!

Recipe adapted from http://www.bawibride.com

Ingredients:

  1. 600gms prawns; deshelled and deveined
  2. 1 medium red onion; finely chopped
  3. 3 garlic cloves; grated

Find the full recipe here.

Tatrelo Kolmi Patio (Parsi style Prawns) - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

Methi Dana ki Sabzi (Indian style Fenugreek Seeds Stir-Fry)

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to a friend’s home for a  girls’ lunch meet-up where I came across one of the most interesting dishes using fenugreek seeds.

My friend was so excited to serve this dish because none of us had ever heard of or seen this preparation before. Many of the girls thought it was a lentil dish but I did figure out that it was fenugreek seeds from that mild hint of bitterness. Though I use fenugreek seeds a lot in my cooking, it has always been as a spice and never as the main ingredient.

Fenugreek seeds - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

And even before the thought entered my head, my girlfriend had decided that I must share it on my blog. Love it when people get so excited about my work and want to share unique and amazing recipes with me for the blog. Deeply indebted for having friends who are always willing to share their knowledge.

This is a traditional dish from India, commonly prepared in some parts of North India. I haven’t seen anything like this from the southern part of India or from any other part of the world; please correct me if I am wrong.

Now the reason why fenugreek seeds are generally used sparingly is because of its mildly bitter taste. But when I tasted this dish, it was hardly bitter….just a mild aftertaste if you eat the stir fry on its own and almost none if paired with rotis.

Methi Dana ki Sabzi (Indian style Fenugreek Seeds Stir-Fry) - thespiceadventuress.com

And my friend told me that’s because the fenugreek seeds are first boiled in a particular manner, washed thoroughly and then used for the stir fry. The recipe is an extremely simple one and the only care to be taken is in the cooking and washing of the seeds which I have outlined below.

So please do give it a try, it’s a really unique and interesting way to consume fenugreek seeds.

(Thanks a lot to my friend, Alka who not only taught me how to make this dish but also came home the day I was making it to ensure it turns out perfect. Also my hand model for the day!)

Methi Dana ki Sabzi (Indian style Fenugreek Seeds Stir-Fry) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. ½ cup fenugreek seeds/methi
  2. 1 small red onion; finely chopped
  3. 1 tsp ginger; grated
  4. 1 tsp garlic; grated
  5. 1 green chilli; chopped
  6. ½ tsp cumin seeds
  7. A pinch of hing/asafoetida
  8. ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  9. ½ tsp red chilli powder
  10. ½ tsp coriander powder
  11. ¼ tsp garam masala
  12. Salt, to season
  13. 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
  14. Coriander leaves; chopped for garnish

Method:

  1. Pour 5 cups of water into a saucepan and place over low to medium heat.
  2. When the water has become slightly warm, measure out the fenugreek seeds using a spoon or measuring cup and add to the water (do not touch the seeds with your hand or wash it before adding)
  3. Bring to boil and then simmer till the seeds are cooked. If you want to check if the seeds are cooked, use a spoon to remove a few from the water and discard after checking. The fenugreek seeds will plump up lightly and the water also turns dark while cooking. The seeds are cooked when it has become soft but still has a bite to it (it might still taste slightly bitter at this stage).
  4. Once cooked, place the saucepan with the seeds in it under a trickle of running water. Do not disturb or touch by hand. You can see that the water begins to run clear after some time. When the water runs completely clear, strain into a colander and keep aside.
  5. To prepare the dish, heat oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds. As it begins to splutter, add the asafoetida followed by the chopped onions. Sauté for a minute and then add the chillies, garlic and ginger. Sauté till the onions are lightly browned.
  6. Add the turmeric, red chilli, coriander powder and garam masala. Mix well and tip in the fenugreek seeds. Season with salt and cook till the extra moisture from the seeds have dried out.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves.
  8. Keep the dish for at least 30 minutes before having it.

Note – As I mentioned, the only care that needs to be taken is not to touch the seeds by hand at any point till the dish is done. A lot of dishes on the internet using the fenugreek seeds are prepared by soaking the seeds overnight, wash and then use for cooking. I tried out this method too but found that though the seeds do not taste bitter after soaking, it does develop a bitter taste once cooked.

Methi Dana ki Sabzi (Indian style Fenugreek Seeds Stir-Fry) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Spicy Tuna Croquettes

Eat, drink and make merry! The season of festivals, summer barbeques, potlucks and parties are upon us. I even know a few of my friends who are already preparing lists and planning for Christmas and New Year.

I am not doing anything of that sort because the maximum I can plan ahead is for a week. So I tend to go with the flow figuring out things as and when it happens. And this weekend, I get to enjoy the liberty of ‘being fed’ rather than cooking and feeding others which I am doing all the time. The break is much anticipated….

So keeping in mind the mood of the upcoming season, I am planning on adding recipes that are perfect for entertaining. Most of these are dishes that feature highly every time I entertain at home; simple, delicious and can be prepped ahead. And I am starting the series with these delicious Spicy Tuna Croquettes.

Spicy Tuna Croquettes - perfect for the party season - thespiceadventuress.com

There is nothing novel about tuna croquettes; it is one of the most common seafood snacks that you are likely to find across the globe. The flavours are often different depending on the cuisine and almost always made using canned tuna.

But today, we have some deliciously spicy tuna croquettes that have been made from fresh tuna fillets. The texture is different to what you would get with canned tuna; I find these croquettes lighter and melt in the mouth.

I learnt to make these from my mom and all those who hail from Kerala (especially if you have lived in Middle East) would identify with this. Nothing’s changed except that I used fresh tuna which actually makes a bit of a difference. If Panko breadcrumbs are available, do use it instead of regular breadcrumbs; you get a much crunchier coating.

Fresh Tuna fillet - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Spicy Tuna Croquettes - perfect for the party season - thespiceadventuress.com

The croquettes can be prepped ahead and frozen if you are making a large batch. Make sure to roll in breadcrumbs and then freeze to avoid it from sticking to each other. You could also use the same mixture to make tuna burgers; just make patties instead of croquettes. In fact I do this all the time; reserve one half of the mixture for patties which makes delicious lunch boxes the next day.

And the perfect accompaniment for these crunchy delights is some pickled red onions and mint coriander chutney.

Do try it out and hope you enjoy it as much as we do. And if you make it, please do tag me on your social media posts #thespiceadventuress so that I could see it too.

Ingredients:

(Makes approximately 30 croquettes)

  1. 500gm fresh tuna fillet
  2. 1 large potato (approximately 300gm)
  3. 1 medium red onion; finely chopped

This post is bought to you in collaboration with Supreme Seafood, so please do check out the full recipe here.

Spicy Tuna Croquettes - perfect for the party season - thespiceadventuress.com

Spicy Tuna Croquettes - perfect for the party season - thespiceadventuress.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indian Burrp (Cheltenham, Melbourne) – a Review

Quite often I get asked the question, ‘Can you suggest a good Indian restaurant we can dine at?’ or ‘What do you think about this new Indian restaurant that has opened in XYZ location?’ And I find it quite challenging to answer both of these questions because firstly, I do not eat out much at Indian restaurants and secondly, there are very few Indian cuisine restaurants that I actually enjoy in Melbourne.

So when a friend who lives in Cheltenham asked about Indian Burrp, I was clueless. She was keen to know my opinion about the food there (which made me feel rather important!!!!).  But with the usual problem of having too many places to try out in Melbourne, it just never happened.

Until…..another friend (do check out this lady’s amazing YouTube channel) won a dining voucher to Indian Burrp.

Indian Burrp, Cheltenham, Melbourne - a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The restaurant is located on Nepean Highway; quite an accessible location to most. On entering, you will be immediately drawn to the beautiful ambience and décor. Soft dim lights, beautiful centre lighting, comfortable dark seating and a small bar at the end all add to the slow paced dining experience that the restaurant has tried to create for its customers.

Indian Burrp, Cheltenham, Melbourne - a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Indian Burrp defines itself as a fine dining restaurant. But I do not really agree with that term as the menu is quite classic heavily leaning towards the North Indian style of cooking. There aren’t any surprises with regard to the dishes, style of cooking or presentation. I really wonder why the Indian restaurants here are so afraid to veer away from the familiar path. Having said that, you can find all the much loved and popular Indian dishes on the menu. Not disappointing if you are looking at classic North Indian food. There are also combo deals which work great if you are looking to sample many dishes.

The wine list is a good one albeit a small one but I was quite happy to see a bunch of good Australian wines carefully chosen to go with the flavours of the food. We did sample the wines, both white and red which went really well with the food but I was so busy talking with my friends that I forgot to note the names. Sorrrry!!

Indian Burrp, Cheltenham, Melbourne - a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Another factor that stands out at Indian Burrp is the friendly customer service. The owner Rash Banker is always around being the perfect host, getting your orders sorted, making enquiries etc… It was welcoming to see him around making sure that everyone is having a good time.

The first starter to arrive was the Tandoori Prawns. It was good but the spice paste had a bit of rawness to it from not being cooked through but nevertheless flavourful.

Tandoori Prawns at Indian Burrp (Cheltenham, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

The next starter we got was the Chef’s special Burrpie Chicken. The menu stated half for $13.95 and full for $22.95. Reading it, one would assume that half meant half chicken but it is not so. What arrived at the table were 2 medium sized chicken thighs which was a bit of a bummer; a clear menu would help rather than having to call the staff to find out more about every dish. The chicken was cooked well, moist and juicy with a good spice rub. Quite similar to a tandoori but without the smoky chargilled flavour.

Burrpie Chicken at Indian Burrp (Cheltenham, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, we ordered the Lamb biryani, butter rotis and Chicken Hutke (Chef’s Special). The chicken dish felt a little heavy but the flavours were good. An onion based gravy, medium spicy and paired really well with the rotis.

Coming to the biryani, hands down, it was the dish of the day for all of us. It was a Mughlai style biryani with succulent lamb pieces, right amount of spices, full of flavour and the rice cooked to perfection. A must try if you are a biryani lover. The only bummer was that the biryani is served without any raita/yoghurt dip or salan; you need to order a raita for extra cost. Biryani always comes with a raita folks!

Chicken Hutke - Indian Burrp (Cheltenham, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

Mughlai style Lamb Biryani - Indian Burrp (Cheltenham, Melbourne) – a Review - thespiceadventuress.com

For dessert, we got the Mango Kulfi and Gulab Jamuns. Sorry guys, no pics again (this time, the effect of too much wine!). The kulfi had a good flavour of the mangoes, creamy and delicious. It is served in a bowl instead of the traditional stick format. The jamuns were soft, syrupy and just the right amount of sweetness. Totally recommend both.

Overall, a nice experience. There were some misses but plenty of hits too. Loved the service, ambience, a good wine list and decent food. And ofcourse, a great song selection playing throughout the night. Would return back to this place.

Indian Burrp
Shop 6
1291-1293 Nepean Highway
Cheltenham
Melbourne, Victoria
Phone: 03 8524 5096
Website: http://indianburrp.com/
Timings:
Monday – closed
Tuesday to Thursday – 5.30pm to 10.00pm
Friday & Saturday – 5.30pm to 11.00pm
Sunday – 5.30pm to 10.00pm

Indian Burrp Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Disclaimer – My friend had a gift voucher which was redeemed and the remaining amount was paid by her.

 

 

 

 

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala)

My Instagram journey has so far been a highly delightful and inspiring one. I have been able to interact with a wonderful bunch of creative friends there and some wonderful human beings too. And a friend that fits that bill is Natasha (or Nats, as I sometimes call her). Nats is known as @thegutlessfoodie to the Insta folks and if you are curious as to why that name, check out her profile.

Apart from being such a darling, Nats has a whacky sense of humor that always brings a smile to my face. And if you follow her, you would get truck loads of inspiration for everyday dishes. Like I did, for this Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with my special East Indian Bottle Masala).

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

This recipe is my adaptation of Natasha’s dish since I added mustard leaves and also used my special East Indian Bottle Masala to spice up the curry.

Mustard leaves are super healthy greens that are used extensively in North Indian cuisine especially states lying near the Himalayan belt. I wanted to try and grow these in my balcony garden but that meant trying to grow it in a pot. An experiment that yielded good results.

The only thing about growing mustard leaves in a pot is that you get only baby leaves and not the large one that is typical when grown on the ground. Also, since I was trying to grow it the first time, I planted the seeds in a small pot; next time I would try in a larger pot to see if the size of the leaves get bigger. If you live in an area where you can easily find mustard leaves in the market, then go ahead with that or substitute with any other greens if growing it in your garden is not an option for you.

Anyway, I found that the baby leaves tasted more refreshing than the larger mature ones which meant that I could use it for garnishing my salads and also in pasta dishes. In fact, I was planning on a salad when Natasha’s chickpea curry caught my attention.

For my East Indian Bottle Masala story, you need to read this post (which also tells you another delicious way to use this spice blend).

East Indian Bottle Masala - a traditional spice blend from Eastern India - thespiceadventuress.com

This chickpeas and mustard leaves curry is a simple, everyday dish that can be paired with flatbreads or rice and with a simple salad on the side. How I love these simple yet delicious and healthy almost one-pot meals that are just so comforting and nourishing at the same time.

The leaves wilt quickly even when added right at the end of the dish so you will hardly notice it in the photographs. But it’s there peeps…all the goodness and flavour is there.

Ok, so let’s get cooking….

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Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup chickpeas; soaked overnight
  2. ½ cup mustard leaves (roughly chop if you are using the bigger ones)
  3. Coconut spice mixture
  • ½ tsp crushed cinnamon
  • 10 black peppercorns
  • ¼ tsp fennel seeds
  • 2 green cardamom
  • 1 tbsp roasted gram flour/garbanzo bean flour/besan
  • ½ tsp almonds; crushed
  • ½ cup grated coconut
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 1 ½ tbsp East Indian bottle masala
  1. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 1 star anise
  3. 2 dry bay leaf
  4. 1 black cardamom; crushed
  5. 2 medium red onions; finely chopped
  6. ½ tsp red chilli powder
  7. A pinch of asafoetida
  8. 1 tbsp tomato paste
  9. Salt, to season
  10. 3 sprigs fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped

East Indian Bottle Masala:

  1. 12.5 gms dry Bedki chilli
  2. 12.5 gms dry Kashmiri chilli
  3. 45 gms turmeric powder
  4. 30 gms coriander seeds
  5. 14 gms cumin seeds
  6. 10 gms white sesame seeds
  7. 10 gms poppy seeds
  8. 7.5 gms fennel seeds
  9. 25 gms mustard seeds
  10. 2.5 gms black cumin/shahjeera
  11. 3 green cardamom
  12. 5 cloves
  13. 2.5 gms black pepper
  14. 3 gms cinnamon bark

Method:

  1. To prepare the bottle masala, dry roast all the spices till aromatic and fragrant. Cool and grind to a powder. Store in an airtight bottle or container and use as necessary.
  2. To prepare the coconut spice mixture, grind all the ingredients given under No.3 with a little bit of water to make a thick paste.
  3. Heat vegetable oil in a pressure cooker (or pan if you don’t have a cooker). Add the star anise, cardamom and bay leaf; after a few seconds when the spices have becomes fragrant, add the chopped onions.
  4. Sauté till light brown and then add the red chilli powder. asafoetida, tomato paste and coconut spice paste. Cook on low heat till the masala comes together and the rawness of the spices and coconut have gone.
  5. Then add the chickpeas and cook till done (around 2-3 whistles would be enough if using a pressure cooker).
  6. Finally, add the mustard leaves, stir through and remove from heat. Since these are baby leaves, it does not require any cooking time but if you are using the bigger ones, you may need to cook it for about a minute.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve warm.

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

Chickpeas and Mustard Leaves Curry (with East Indian Bottle Masala) - a comforting, nourishing chickpea curry with the goodness of homegrown mustard leaves - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry leaf and Kashmiri Chilli

I am a rather new entrant to the world of freshly shucked oysters.

Remember vividly my first experience…..it was at a restaurant two years ago. A friend had invited us and he ordered a plate of fresh and Kilpatrick oysters. Now me and my hubby were very hesitant to try the fresh ones; squeamish about trying raw seafood. But the friend said, ‘just don’t think it’s raw; shut your brains and open only your taste buds’. And I would call that the best advice ever, because both of us got hooked to it.

Freshly shucked oysters - food photography & styling - thespiceadventuress.com

Freshly shucked oysters are such a delight for the taste buds. I agree that there are many to whom it may not sound very appealing. But for those who love it, it is an amazing experience. Of course goes without saying that it has to be fresh, super fresh so make sure you always get it from a trusted seafood store. For me, I am spoilt for choice living next to the Dandenong Farmer’s Market.

As much as I would love to feast on these beauties by the dozen with some chilled white to accompany, I decided to create a delicious recipe with my Indian culinary roots for inspiration. For me, this recipe as all about taking everyday ingredients (especially in an Indian household) and pairing it with the freshest Australian oysters. Call it fusion or inspiration or any other adjectives you wish to…..

Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry Leaf and Kashmiri Chilli - Soft, plump and juicy oysters are oven baked with a garlic and curry leaf butter emulsion, coriander leaves and Kashmiri chilli powder - thespiceadventuress.com

Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry Leaf and Kashmiri Chilli - Soft, plump and juicy oysters are oven baked with a garlic and curry leaf butter emulsion, coriander leaves and Kashmiri chilli powder - thespiceadventuress.com

Soft, plump and juicy oysters are oven baked with a garlic and curry leaf butter emulsion, coriander leaves and Kashmiri chilli powder. Do me a favour; don’t overcook these beauties or feel the necessity to overload the oyster with the garlic emulsion or add a ton of chilli. Restraint is key; only then will the aromatics, herbs and spices do their job and enhance the flavour of the oysters.

I baked these in the oven but you use can use a charcoal grill or barbecue for the same (just make sure you keep it covered).

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Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry Leaf and Kashmiri Chilli - Soft, plump and juicy oysters are oven baked with a garlic and curry leaf butter emulsion, coriander leaves and Kashmiri chilli powder - thespiceadventuress.com

So no more waiting when these gorgeous oysters with garlic, curry leaf and kashmiri chilli are waiting for us! As with many of my seafood recipes, this is part of an ongoing project with Supreme Seafood, so head over to their FB page for the full recipe. And if you make it, please tag me (#thespiceadventuress) on the post so that I will be able to see it too.

Ingredients:

  1. 8 freshly shucked oysters (ask your fishmonger to leave the oyster meat in one half of the shell)
  2. 3-4 tbsp butter

For full recipe, click here….

Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry Leaf and Kashmiri Chilli - Soft, plump and juicy oysters are oven baked with a garlic and curry leaf butter emulsion, coriander leaves and Kashmiri chilli powder - thespiceadventuress.com

Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry Leaf and Kashmiri Chilli - Soft, plump and juicy oysters are oven baked with a garlic and curry leaf butter emulsion, coriander leaves and Kashmiri chilli powder - thespiceadventuress.com

Baked Oysters with Garlic, Curry Leaf and Kashmiri Chilli - Soft, plump and juicy oysters are oven baked with a garlic and curry leaf butter emulsion, coriander leaves and Kashmiri chilli powder - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe developed, styled and shot for Supreme Seafood.

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka)

Clams – my new seafood craze!

Clams - Food Photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Every week I visit my local farmer’s market and every single week, I need to buy seafood. Yes, my love for it is something all of you have become accustomed to. So this week, I decided to venture a little out of my comfort zone and buy clams.

Out of my comfort zone because I have not cooked these ever before. But there was this delicious recipe that I have been wanting to try out and so came home with some amazingly fresh clams. And a couple of Google search and YouTube videos, I realized that clams are the easiest to clean and cook with.

I got this recipe for Kube Sukkhe or Mangalorean style Spicy Clams from Shireen who runs the really delicious blog Ruchik Randhap. An amazing blog you need to follow if you want to learn more about the food of Mangalore, a beautiful little (well, not so little) town in Karnataka, South India. And especially more, if you freak out over seafood like I do.

The Kube Sukkhe is a traditional and very popular way of cooking clams among the Protestant Christians of Mangalore. Clams are cooked in its shell in a spicy coconut mixture and the dish is best paired with rice and a simple dal. Cooking the clams in its shell imparts a lot of flavour to the dish and also increases the nutrient value of the dish.

This recipe would work well with oysters, mussels and other types of clams too. There is a similar dish in Kerala which uses prawns, so that’s another option if you are not too keen on clams.

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka) - a traditional seafood preparation from the Protestant Christian community of Mangalore - thespiceadventuress.com

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka) - a traditional seafood preparation from the Protestant Christian community of Mangalore - thespiceadventuress.com

So let’s get cooking the deliciously, spicy Kube Sukkhe or Mangalorean style Clams!

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg clams (with shells)
  2. For the coconut mixture:
  • 4 tbsp grated coconut
  • ½ onion; roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • ¾ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ¼ tsp black pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • ½ – ¾ tsp tamarind paste
  • 1 large garlic clove
  • ½ inch ginger
  1. ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  2. 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. ½ onion, finely sliced
  4. 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
  5. Salt, to season

Method:

  • Clean the clams thoroughly under running water. If the shells are tightly shut, the best way to open it is to leave the clams in the freezer for about 30 minutes. Bring to room temperature and place in warm water for another 15-20 minutes. Most clams open up after this time; any tightly shut ones should be discarded.
  • Open each clam shell and scoop the entire contents into one shell and discard the other. (This is an easy task but if you do not have enough time, get your fishmonger to do the job for you).
  • In a non stick plan, dry roast the grated coconut and onions till the raw smell has gone off and the coconut has taken on a light brown colour. Make sure that you do not burn or else the dish will taste bitter.
  • Next, add the spice powders, mix well and sauté on low heat for another 30 seconds. Cool the mixture.
  • Grind this mixture along with the garlic, ginger and tamarind paste adding just a little water. The ground mixture must be coarse in consistency.
  • In another pan, heat oil and crackle mustard seeds. Then add the curry leaves and sliced onions; sauté till the onions turn light brown.
  • Then add the ground masala and fry lightly on low heat for about 2minutes.
  • Add the clams and season with salt. Remember that clams tend to be on the saltier side so be careful.
  • Cook on low heat covered for a couple of minutes; add a bit of water if too dry. Clams cook relatively fast so keep an eye on the dish.
  • Serve hot.

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka) - a traditional seafood preparation from the Protestant Christian community of Mangalore - thespiceadventuress.com

Kube Sukkhe (Mangalorean style Spicy Clams Sukka) - a traditional seafood preparation from the Protestant Christian community of Mangalore - thespiceadventuress.com

Roasted Spicy Golden Trout with Arabian Rice

Well, this was originally meant to be the first post of 2016 but I just couldn’t find the time to sit down and write it. But finally it’s here – my special Roasted Golden Trout with Arabian Rice.

It is special because of a wonderful experience we had late 2015. Many of you would have seen this picture of me with a huge golden trout on my fishing line. Early December, we went out on a fishing picnic to the Australian Rainbow Trout Farm, located in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges.

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Diverting off topic here…..one of my goals for 2016 is to have more enriching experiences. I am not a ‘New Year resolutions’ like of person but I do constantly make small but achievable goals and this happens through the year and not just at the start. I want to consciously incorporate small experiences like this fishing one with family and friends. I want to travel more but more locally than internationally. The beauty of this is the amount of meaningful time you spend with family and loved ones because that is the only constant in this ever changing world.

Getting back to the Australian Rainbow Trout Farm, it is a place you must visit if you live in Victoria. There are many similar farms across the state where a species or two are farmed in a sustainable manner. The farm has a small picnic area with barbeques where you can prepare your fish after you have caught it. Rainbow trout, golden trout and salmon were the ones farmed here and we caught all three. The good part is that, since it is a farm, you will definitely catch a fish which is great to avoid disappointment especially for novices like me.

While everyone else was busy fishing for rainbow trout and salmon, I wanted to bring home a golden trout because I have never tasted or cooked with it before. And I did catch a really huge one as you can see in the picture; I almost fell into the water trying to keep it on the line. A really huge and slippery fellow!

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I had been experimenting with a new marinade and so took it along for our picnic lunch. The whole rainbow trouts we caught were marinated using this and barbequed; turned out amazing so I decided to use the same for this golden trout.

What makes this marinade slightly different to most traditional Indian ones is the addition of tomatoes to the spices and aromatics. A richer and deeper flavour profile is the result which works brilliantly with any kind of seafood. I am sure it would work great with chicken, tofu, Indian cottage cheese, mushrooms and potatoes too.

It is also a freezer-friendly marinade, so make a large batch and freeze in small portions for quick weekday dinners.

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I served this roasted spicy golden trout on a bed of Arabian rice resplendent with saffron and nuts; add a minty yoghurt raita and you have a delicious meal.

Roasted Spicy Golden Trout with Arabian Rice - perfectly roasted golden trout with a delicious signature spice marinade - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Ingredients:

  1. 5 kg golden trout
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Juice of 1 lemon
  4. 1 lime, sliced
  5. 4 tbsp spicy marinade
  6. 2 sprigs fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped for garnish

Spicy marinade:

(Makes approximately 1 cup marinade)

  1. 6 large garlic cloves
  2. 2 inch ginger
  3. 1 large red chilli
  4. 1 tbsp red chilli powder
  5. 1 tbsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  6. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  7. ½ tsp cumin powder
  8. ½ tsp fennel powder
  9. ½ tsp black peppercorns
  10. ½ tsp coriander powder
  11. 2 sprigs coriander leaves
  12. 3 mint leaves
  13. 1 medium ripe tomato; chopped
  14. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

Method:

To prepare the spicy marinade:

  • Blend all the ingredients into a smooth paste. (Water is not necessary if the tomatoes are ripe enough, but add a few drops if you need to).

To prepare the fish:

  • Clean the insides of the fish and also de-scale. (I got this done at the Trout farm itself; not an easy feat cleaning this big fella in an apartment kitchen).
  • Score the fish on both sides; season with salt and rub with lemon juice.
  • Liberally apply the spicy marinade on both sides and also the insides of the fish. Allow to sit for at least 4-6 hours, overnight is preferable.
  • Bring to room temperature before roasting in the oven.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (fan forced); line an oven proof tray with baking paper. Line the fish with lime slices and place in the baking tray.
  • Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes or till done.
  • Serve on top of the rice and with a side of pickled onions, lemon wedges and garnished with fresh coriander leaves.

Note – The amount of marinade to be used and cooking times will vary according to the type and weight of the fish used.

Roasted Spicy Golden Trout with Arabian Rice - perfectly roasted golden trout with a delicious signature spice marinade - thespiceadventuress.com

Roasted Spicy Golden Trout with Arabian Rice - perfectly roasted golden trout with a delicious signature spice marinade - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

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