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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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Aug 182013
 

Dahi Chicken, Chicken in yogurt sauce

 

So you have been wanting to cook an Indian style chicken dish but the usually long list of spices, chopping of unlimited onions and frying things in copious amount of oil makes you think, “ May be next time!”  Fear not. You are normal. Phew! But you knew that didn’t you?

Okay! let’s try this again. Fear Not! Help is at hand. There – that makes more sense on a recipe blog.  So today, we will take a detour from the usual long list of ingredients and tedious methods of cooking. Today we will keep it simple and delicious – just the way Indian home cooking is. Wholesome, nutritious and not very fussy.

With just a few spices and not much fuss, the chicken in yogurt sauce is a fix it and forget it kind of a recipe.  Serve it with soft bread or rotis and a side of dal, stir fried greens and enjoy the bliss.

 

Chicken in yogurt sauce

 

Chicken in Yogurt Sauce – Dahi Murgi

Chicken in Yogurt Sauce – Dahi Murgi

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken cut into curry style pieces
  • 1 C plain low fat yogurt
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp hot red chili powder
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 2 cloves ( slightly crushed)
  • 1 green cardamom
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds or cumin seeds

Instructions

  1. Marinate the chicken with turmeric, salt and yogurt for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Heat up a big dutch oven, add in the chicken along with the marinade, the bay leaf, cinnamon, cloves , cover and cook for about 30 minutes on low heat.
  3. Add in the tomato and chili powder and cook until the tomatoes look all mushy and done. Add in the green cardamom after crushing it slightly.
  4. Heat the ghee in a separate pan. Add in the mustard seeds / cumin seeds and wait for them to splutter. Add in the garlic and let it change to a nice shade of light brown. Add this tempering to the chicken. Mix it all into the chicken.
  5. Garnish with freshly cut slices of tomatoes and a little cilantro.

Notes

You can also cook this to a drier consistency and put it under the oven broiler for a couple of minutes to make it smoky.

http://www.spiceroots.com/2013/08/chicken-in-yogurt-sauce-dahi-murgi/

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Jul 202013
 
2013-07-10_19-26-45

Har kas ki dad tan ba bala iman az ballast
Viran kuja zi mauj shavad khana-i-hubab ― Ghani Kashmiri

 (He who plunged into difficulties is free from difficulties,  How can the house of a bubble be smashed by a wave)

His full name was Ghani Kashmiri Mirza Muhammad Tahir, a Kashmiri Poet who was acknowledged in Iran as a great master of Persian Poetry.  Persian was the language of the court in Kashmir in the 14th century. The Persian language is till date learned, mastered and spoken in Kashmir.

I grew up listening to Farsi (Persian) poetry with my grandfather. He would recite a couplet in Persian and challenge us ( me and my siblings) to explain its meaning. At that time, we all thought it was a fun game and Grandpa was trying to make us learn a language. It’s only now that I understand the true meaning of the deep poetry he made us a part of and I wish I had paid more attention.

The Kashmir connection to Persia doesn’t stop at the language. There is something else that connects us – the food. Herbs and spices – especially Saffron. So when I found this incredible dish of stewed mushrooms and chicken in liquid saffron, I could see the saffron fields of Pampore and Avanitpora in my mind. I was transported back home in a thought.

I just had to make the Chicken with Saffron and Mushrooms  or  Khoresht-e gharch.  Just had to!  This recipe is heavily adapted from New Persian Cooking  by Jila Dana-Haeri  &  Shahrzad Ghorashian.  It is a book you must have on your cookbook shelf.

Chicken with Saffron and Mushrooms

 

Chicken with Saffron and Mushrooms – Khoresht-e gharch

Chicken with Saffron and Mushrooms – Khoresht-e gharch

Ingredients

  • Juice of 1 Large lemon ( about 4 Tbs)
  • 6 -8 chicken drumsticks, skin removed and washed and patted dry ( you can use breast/ thigh also)
  • salt to taste
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound white mushrooms
  • 1tbs butter
  • 3 tbs oil
  • 1 1/4 tsp turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp saffron
  • 2 cups chicken stock or water
  • 2 tsp tomato puree
  • 3 C Finely chopped onions

Instructions

    Make Liquid saffron
  1. Heat about 4 - 5 tbs water. Put saffron in a small jar, add in the water, cover and let it sit for 10 minutes.
  2. Make the dish
  3. Put the chicken in a bowl, and add 2 tbs lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix it in and let it stand.
  4. Wash and pat dry the mushrooms, slice them and keep aside.
  5. Heat half of the butter and oil and fry the onions in. Once the onions begin to brown, add in the chicken reserving any lemon juice in the bowl in which it was marinated.
  6. Add in the turmeric and mix and let it cook until chicken is golden on all sides. Now add in 2- 3 tbs of the liquid saffron, the reserved lemon juice and the stock/ water.
  7. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 30 minutes on low heat.
  8. Take the remaining butter and oil in a wide pan and saute mushrooms in it.
  9. Cook the mushroom in batches.. there should be absolutely no water coming out of the mushrooms. Take care to not over cook them however. The idea is to have super crunchy sauteed mushrooms.
  10. Once the chicken is done and the gravy looks thick, add in the sauteed mushrooms, the remaining liquid saffron, the remaining lemon juice. Stir to coat the chicken and now add the puree. Mix everything and let it all cook for another 10 minutes. Serve with a saffron rice.

Notes

This recipe works best with wild mushrooms, but white mushrooms tasted great as well.

http://www.spiceroots.com/2013/07/chicken-with-saffron-and-mushrooms-khoresht-e-gharch/

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