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Aug 142014
 
Dim Posto

Dim Posto

 

Busy weeknights can make our best laid plans go haywire. It is often very tempting to get takeout and not worry about fixing dinner. For those days I rely on Eggs. The Egg Curry or an Egg Burji is usually received with no complaints on the dinner table. Both of those can be scooped with freshly made rotis or slices of whole wheat bread. If a dish gets done in under 30 minutes, I am usually game to make dinner at home instead of ordering takeout.

Dim Posto – Egg Curry in Poppy Seeds Paste is one such dish. If you have eggs that are already boiled, this dish is a breeze. Even if you do have to start with boiling the eggs first, this gets done in less than 30 minutes.

Dim Posto

When I tried it for the first time after getting the recipe from my friend Purna, who is my resource for all things Bengali cuisine, I was not sure if the dinner would go down cheerfully or would there be suspicious looks about what mom had made. Not only did Shloka enjoy the dish, she requested the leftovers be saved for her.

Dim Posto – Egg Curry in Poppy Seeds Paste

Dim Posto – Egg Curry in Poppy Seeds Paste

Ingredients

  • 6 eggs boiled and peeled
  • 5 tbs posto (poppy seeds ) soaked in 5 tbs milk for 15 minutes
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1/2 inch of Indian cinnamon
  • 2 green chillies
  • 2 tbs grated garlic
  • 2 tbs grated ginger
  • Mustard oil
  • salt
  • Fried onions 2- 3 Tbs (to garnish - optional )
  • Ghee ( to top off the dish )

Instructions

    Make the paste
  1. grind the green chilles and posto with the milk until really smooth
  2. grind the spices in a dry grinder, sieve and discard the coarse portion, add in the fine powder to the posto paste.
  3. Make the dish
  4. Heat the oil (you know the drill)
  5. sautee the eggs in it for a bit
  6. once they get a golden hue, remove from the oil and keep aside.
  7. Now add in the ginger garlic paste, saute then add posto paste and cook until oil floats to top. Now add in the eggs, cook covered, for another 5 minutes on medium .
  8. Serve and add fried onions on top

Notes

The fried onions add great flavor tot he dish, but if you are in a hurry you can simply skip using them

http://www.spiceroots.com/2014/08/dim-posto-egg-curry-poppy-seeds-paste

 

 

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Aug 032014
 
chicken xacuti

chicken xacuti

 

Goa – the land of the Vindaloo and cashew Fenny and fish curries, abundant sea food and just the place for a perfect beach vacation. It was on one such idyllic vacation, more than a decade and a half ago that I discovered Goan Cuisine. As a young and inexperienced tourist (not traveller) my plan was to see all the places everyone thought I should see and check them off the list.

I did see the places and take in the sights in a rather touristy manner, I however stumbled upon Goan cuisine on the Baga Beach and was instantly hooked. Though the beach boasts of multi cuisine restaurants and fine dining options, it was the food from the shacks that hit home.

chicken xacuti-3

Goan food draws on different cultural influences – Portugese being the main one . There are notable influences from Brazil, France, African, Arabic, konkan to name a few. I think that makes it a truly unique cuisine.

chicken xacuti

 

The chicken Xacuti, pronounced as Shakuti, is one of the dishes I was introduced to a long time ago on my first vacation to Goa. On my subsequent trips for work or vacation I ensured that I try as many dishes as I could.

The spicy, coconut flavored chicken xacuti takes some muscle and time. You need to freshly grind the spices and slowly roast them too. But it is worth every second you spend sweating it out in the kitchen.

 

Chicken Xacuti

Chicken Xacuti

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds – 2.5 pounds chicken, skin removed, cut into medium size pcs
  • 2 tbs ginger garlic paste ( ginger and garlic in equal proportions)
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 4 tbs oil
  • For Xacuti Spice Paste ( Xacuti Masala)
  • 10 – 12 dry red chillies whole, stems removed ( Kashmiri preferred)
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 C onions, sliced thin
  • 2- 3 green cardamoms
  • !For Dry roasting :-
  • 1 tbs coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
  • ½ tsp peppercorn
  • 4 tsp poppy seeds
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • 2 brown cardamoms (only the seeds.. discard the shell)
  • 1 inch piece of cinnamon
  • ½ star anise
  • ¾ C grated fresh coconut
  • 1bay leaf

Instructions

    Make the Xacuti paste
  1. Heat a cup of water and add in the red chillies to it. Let them soak.
  2. Take a small pan and slowly dry roast the spices on low heat. Be patient, increasing the heat will result in burnt spices. When the spices will start emitting a slightly smoky aroma and the coconut will start to look lightly browned, you will know your spices are ready.
  3. Allow to cool slightly and blend into a fine powder.
  4. Saute the onions in 2 tbs oil, until slightly browned. Blend the onions and the red chillies along with the water and the powdered roasted spices, turmeric, green cardamoms and salt in to a smooth paste.
  5. Cook the Chicken
  6. Heat the remaining oil in a large pot, add in the ginger garlic paste and cook until fragrant. Add in the Xacuti paste fry it up until oil starts to show up on top.
  7. Add in the chicken and mix it all. If you need to add water at this stage because the spices are sticking to the base, add in about ½ c water.
  8. Cover and let it cook for about 20 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the gravy is thick.
  9. Mix the tamarind paste with 2 tsp of water and add it in. Mix and cook for another five minutes. Sprinkle the nutmeg and cover and let it rest before serving with pao or rice.
http://www.spiceroots.com/2014/08/chicken-xacuti

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Feb 172014
 
bhindi gosht

Bhindi gosht

I made this dish of Bhindi Gosht or Mutton with Okra a while ago and shared the photo on my Facebook page. It received quite a number of squeals of delight as it is quite a traditional recipe. But some of the readers had doubts about the recipe. I don’t blame them.

There are people who are mutton lovers and  then there are people who love okra. Some love their mutton dishes and some love crispy okra. The one thing they don’t like is anyone trying to do something funny to their mutton or okra dishes. Like putting them in big pot and cooking them together. I had done the unpardonable. I had put some good chunk of goat meat and spoiled it by mixing it with okra. Even my biggest fan, my teenager, was a little skeptical when I first put this on the dining table.

“Am I going to like it?” she asked. “You won’t know until you try it, Bunbun”, said the mom. “Ohkaaaayyy!” ( insert teenager attitude + Grump)

bhindi gosht

I did understand the skepticism. There are not many people who like an okra when it is slimy and adding any kind of liquids to okra does make it rather slippery and slimy which is not a very nice thing to do to okra. And she usually likes her okra fried or sautéed. So this was a big step for her.

 

Then the teen ate it and then ate seconds. “Oh !it’s not funny to touch at all”, she squealed. I smiled (outwardly). (I told you so (very quiet inside the head))

So how do we cook okra and not make it slimy?

  • Ensure you either pat them dry after washing or let them dry on their own. But before you cut them, they should be dry.
  • Never overcrowd the pan when cooking
  • Buy small tender pods.
  • Let okra come to room temperature before cooking.
  • Don’t add salt until the very end.
  • If you need to add them in a soup, gumbo or a curry, precook on high heat before you finally add them in.
  • Cook on high heat. That‘s all there is to cooking okra. 

 

 

Bhindi Gosht – Meat with Okra

Bhindi Gosht – Meat with Okra

Ingredients

  • 750 gms goat meat (bone in - mixed pcs)
  • 500 gms okra – washed, patted dry and cut into 2 inch pcs.
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • I medium sized whole garlic bulb
  • 1 ½ cup sliced onions ( keep 1 cup and half cup separate)
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes
  • 8- 10 green chillies chopped roughly
  • oil for frying
  • 4 tbs oil
  • 1 ¼ C water

Instructions

  1. Heat oil and fry the okra in it.
  2. When you put in the okra, the oil has to be very hot, so be careful.
  3. Also do not over crowd the pot.
  4. Fry the okra to a point where the slime vanishes and all you get is a deep fried okra.
  5. The easiest method to test this is by dipping a slotted spoon in the pan and lifting a few okras and letting them drop back in.
  6. While you are dropping the okra back in, notice the oil falling back from the spoon as well. If it appears to have a slimy/ watery texture, your okra is not yet fried to the desired texture.
  7. The okra is done when you can no longer see the slime lines along with the oil on the spoon.
  8. Do not overcook the okra at this stage and ensure you don't brown them too much.
  9. On another heat source, put a pressure cooker and add in 4 tbs oil and heat it.
  10. Then add the meat and sauté for about 2 minutes.
  11. Now add in the water, 1 Cup of sliced onions, tomatoes, garlic and all the spices except green chillies and pressure cook it for about 10- 12 minutes.
  12. Start the timer after the pressure builds up and starts to release.
  13. And as always, pressure cook on medium heat.
  14. Allow the pressure cooker to release the pressure on its own – this allows for further cooking of the meat.
  15. Once the pressure releases, open the cooker and check for liquid quantities. If there is too much water, bring the contents of the cooker to a boil and let it boil till the liquid evaporates and the oil separates.
  16. When you see the oil separating, add in the onion and the green chillies and the fried okra. Stir to mix carefully. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 10 more minutes.
http://www.spiceroots.com/2014/02/bhindi-gosht-meat-okra

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 Posted by on February 17, 2014 at 2:04 AM
Nov 142013
 
2013-11-12_17-14-28

Creamy Polenta

 A few weeks ago, my friend Barb from Creative Culinary invited me to join her for a culinary adventure at Stir. “Would you like to join me for a Bacon and Booze class at Stir?” she asked.  As if she needed to ask anything after the words Bacon and Booze and Stir! I love all three.

Bacon and booze for obvious reasons and Stir because it is one of the most professionally run recreational cooking schools in Denver. The vibrant décor, hands on cooking experience, professional kitchen assistants, well designed kitchen menus and a whole lot of fun!

On the day of the class – it was everything it promised to be. Fun and Full of new information & techniques and very well organized. The session started with all of the participants learning to make an Aperol Sour and a Bacon Infused Manhattan. It was quite an experience! We had access to the complete bar accessories and learned the difference between a cobbler shaker and weighted tins, the correct technique to stir ice cubes in the drink, the actual mixing and I also learned that the little measuring thingies that the husband uses to measure out alcohol are NOT called measuring cups – they are in fact called jiggers!

Bacon Infused Manhattan

 

This was followed by a technique class on how to wrap a pork tenderloin in bacon and keep it in place with a kitchen twine. For someone like me who had never cooked pork before, it was a great learning experience. This pork wrapped in bacon was to be served with a Peach & Dried cherry Balsamic sauce, which we made from scratch.

The final two dishes on the Menu that day were the Creamy Polenta with bacon and the Roasted Green beans with Pancetta. Can you smell the Bacon yet! Oh the aromas from the kitchen were heavenly and a little heady – blame it on the booze!

Cooking the polenta was again a first for me. It is one of those things that you know is easy, but because it is so deceptively easy you think you may not end up with the desired result and hence you never get around to gather enough courage to just do it. Thanks to Stir, that is one more thing I overcame that day. I couldn’t believe just how creamy and delicious the polenta was and how very easy! We had two more people in our team cooking along with us and the four of us agreed that the polenta was just way too delicious. We really had to stop ourselves from eating it straight out of the pot.

We did stop – Eventually AND Reluctantly!  I am sharing the recipe for the creamy Polenta with bacon Lemon and Rosemary and for the most delicious Roasted Green Beans, visit Barb’s Blog Post :Roasted Green beans with Pancetta.  

Stir has some great Holiday themed classes lined up for November and December. Be sure to check the Calender  and sign up for one of the classes. It’s Delicious FUN!

 

 

Creamy Polenta & Stir

Creamy Polenta & Stir

Ingredients

  • 6 slices bacon
  • 4 C whole milk
  • 1 1/4 C Polenta (coarse cornmeal)
  • 1 Tbs rosemary minced
  • 1.5 C smoked Gouda (grated)
  • zest and juice of one lemon
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. .In a medium pot, render the bacon crispy. Once crisp, remove the bacon fromthe pot.
  2. Leave the bacon fat in and add in the milk.
  3. Bring the bacon fat and milk to a rolling boil over medium heat.
  4. Once the milk starts to boil, add in the polenta and whisk to mix it in.
  5. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook until smooth and thick. Keep stirring it occasionally until cooked - about 10 minutes.
  6. Now add in the cheese, the crisped up bacon and rosemary, the lemon zest and juice.
  7. Stir to combine and season with salt and pepper.

Notes

Recipe Courtesy - Stirtolearn.com

http://www.spiceroots.com/2013/11/creamy-polenta-stir

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 Posted by on November 14, 2013 at 4:00 AM
Sep 102013
 

2013-07-23_18-47-02

 

The early morning breeze from the open window was cool and nurturing, almost like a mother’s touch. The gentle wind was carrying with it a sweet and melodious voice of someone singing. I could not understand the lyrics of the song, yet I felt connected to the music and the voice.

It was my first brush with a city named Kolkatta and its people. And on that morning began my life-long love affair for the culture, people and food of West Bengal. My stay in and around Kolkatta was a short one, but I was enriched with music, art and culture.

The early morning “riyaz” (music practice) became something I looked forward to waking up to. I found out that the voice belonged to a young woman, about my age, who lived right next door. Her Ma, (Mom) used to teach “sangeet” (music) and she was one of her mom’s pupils and yes I became one of the pupils too.

So did I wake up others with my own melodious singing?  Thankfully, for everyone in my family –  NO!  I never could become an early morning person to actually wake up and prep myself for a Riyaz and I am sure it would have been anything but melodious.

But I do know someone whose melodious rendition of Rabindra Sangeet makes me feel reconnected to all that I loved and still love about Bengali culture – love for music, art, cinema , literature and a strong sense of community. Here is the song by Purna di. In addition to being such a brilliant artist, she also manages a huge social networking group dedicated to preserving traditional Bengali food.

She says about Shrimp with banana flowers – Mocha Chingri – “A torn page from the days when cooking was not done in a jiffy, time was abundant for mothers and they produced dishes meant for kings!”   It’s a leaf from traditional Bengali cooking – skillful, nurturing and full of love. Thanks Purna di, for all the nurturing you do!

 

Shrimp with Banana Flowers – Mocha Chingri & A Bengali Love Affair

Ingredients

  • 1 medium banana flower
  • 1 C cubed potatoes
  • 1 pound Shrimp. peeled and devined
  • 3 C Fresh coconut grated
  • 3 green chillies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tbs ginger paste
  • 1 tsp Cumin
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • Turmeric : 2 tbs
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Bengali garam masala powder ( grind some green cardamom, cloves and cinnamon- all together)

Instructions

    Stage I
  1. Smear your palms and fingers with oil and a bit of salt
  2. Watch the link to better understand how to prep the flower.
  3. Start removing the petals and keep removing them until you reach the actual stalk, where you do see the petals but can’t really remove them.
  4. Chop the stalk as finely as possible ; take off the small banana buds and slit them open, getting rid of the pin-like stems inside, and SOAK them in turmeric brine for at least 2-3 hours (the more you soak the better it is)
  5. Strain wash add some fresh turmeric and brine water and steam;
  6. bring the grated flower out after about 10 minutes and squeeze out the water as much as possible!
  7. Stage II:
  8. Heat oil in a pan; sauté the shrimps (smeared in turmeric and salt) remove just as they turn color; add the potatoes and fry till they look crisp and golden.
  9. In the same oil, add bay leaf and cumin seeds for tempering;
  10. add the coconut and fry till you get the aroma! Add the Mocha , all the spices except garam masala, and cook for 2-3 minutes;
  11. Add the shrimp and the fried potatoes and half a cup of warm water.
  12. Cook on high adding garam masala; add the green chillies.
  13. Remove from heat when the potatoes are fully cooked the curry is rich and creamy.
  14. Add Ghee, garnish with roasted cumin powder and serve with plain rice!

Notes

Link : - How to clean the Banana Flower

http://www.spiceroots.com/2013/09/shrimp-with-banana-flowers-mocha-chingri-a-bengali-love-affair

 

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 Posted by on September 10, 2013 at 12:08 AM  Tagged with:
Sep 012013
 
Turkey Burger with Hatch chilies

Turkey Burger with Hatch chilies

 

The onset of fall and the slight nip in the air at night makes you reach out for that soft cashmere stole, wrap it around and take a stroll. Summer isn’t officially over yet. It will be soon! And as much as I want to hold on to the last bit of Summer sun and long and lazy days, I can’t help but wait for Autumn to set in. It is the season of Hatch chilies as my friend Karen, over at Savoury Table, calls it.  Her recipe for Green Chile, Cheese and Onion Dip is a smoky goodness.  I made a batch of it and it was gone in NO time!

So to mark the season I got a big bag of the hatch chilies in their hottest avatar and set to work. The first one was this Turkey burger with hatch chilies mixed in. So I mixed some in some ground turkey for a burger lunch. These burgers do not require a lot of time or work. Some lean ground turkey meat, a few of the hatch chilies for the kick and flavor, a little bit of spice and then you bake them. Hey, I know summer isn’t over yet, but the ease of cooking these in the oven is simply too good to resist.

turkey burger

 

Topped with some mint and cilantro chutney, paired with a salad of your choice these burgers make a satisfying meal. I did not miss the bread, but if you do want to eat a proper burger– go for your favorite kind of bread or bun and relish the taste of hatch chiles with the turkey.

Turkey burger

Turkey Burger with Hatch chilies

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 hatch chilies chopped
  • 1/4 C chopped bell pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 C finely chopped onions
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 large egg

Instructions

  1. Mix all the ingredients.
  2. Shape into patties.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and bake at 400*F for 10 minutes.
  4. Then turn and bake for another 10 minutes or until an internal temperature of 165 - 170 is reached.
  5. Enjoy with some chutney or in a burger.
http://www.spiceroots.com/2013/09/turkey-burger-with-hatch-chilies

 

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