Monday, December 30, 2013
My love for Shrimp is unconditional, eternal and next to God! Almost every weekend when we replenish the stock to cook for the coming week, we make sure we have some fresh Shrimps, whatever size it may be, stocked! However, the fish monger has not been getting them for a couple of months now and I had to sustain on the King Prawns served by the Chinese Restaurants nearby. No, he is not the only fish monger in the market, but nobody gets better sea food than him. Last weekend miraculously he got these medium sized Shrimps after ages and we got some without any dish in mind.
I had a terrible cold coupled with an even worse sprained arm (thanks to the roller coaster rides at an Amusement Park the weekend before) and our weekend started early as I had to rest that arm for some time. The Shrimps were still sitting in the freezer and we had to eat lunch, ‘A’ insisted on home delivery as he did not want me to strain my arm any further; I was not very keen, I wanted to make something in a jiffy so that I do not end up damaging my arm further. Hence thought of throwing everything into a pan, sautéing and assembling into the Micro for it to do the work for me. The end result was finger-licking-good!
My other Shrimp Pulao recipe is here. It does not have Coconut Milk in it and is not made in the Micro.
Here is what you will need to make Shrimp Pulav with Coconut Milk in the Micro
· Shrimps – medium sized – cleaned and deveined – I kept the tails on as they are too much flavorful to be thrown away – 300 gms
· Basmati Rice – 1 Cup (I used Gobindo Bhog Rice and it tasted heavenly)
· Ghee / Clarified Butter – 2 tbsp
· Cinnamon – 1” stick
· Green Cardamoms – 4
· Cloves – 4
· Bay Leaves – 2
· Shahi Jeera – 1tsp
· Black Peppercorns – 10
· Ginger-Garlic-Green Chilli Paste – 2 tsp
· Onions – 2 medium - thinly sliced
· Peas – a handful
· Carrots – a handful, chopped
· Spring Onions – 3-4 – chopped – I had these so added, it is totally optional
· Cauliflower – about 15 small florets (optional)
· Tomato – 1 medium – chopped
· Turmeric Powder – 1 tbsp
· Salt to taste
· Sugar to balance
· Coconut Milk – 1 Cup
· Water – 1 Cup ( 2 Cups of Coconut Milk and no water can also be used - it will just make the Pulav richer )
· 1 large Micro safe bowl
· Some Cling Wrap
Note: The Vegetables I added was what I had my stockpile, add or subtract whatever you want
How to make Shrimp Pulav with Coconut Milk in the Micro:
· Wash the Rice and set aside
· Heat Ghee in a Pan and temper with Cinnamon, Green Cardamoms, Cloves, Shahi Jeera and Black Peppercorns
· Add the Onions and fry sauté till they are translucent
· Add the Ginger-Garlic-Green Chilli Paste and sauté for a couple of minutes
· Add the Carrots, Spring Onions and Cauliflower florets and stir for a minute
· Add the tomatoes and wait for a couple of minutes till they are a little tender
· Add the Salt Sugar and Turmeric Powder and stir well
· Add the Shrimps and stir for a minute
· Add the Rice and fry for 2-3 minutes, mix everything very well
· Pour all the contents into a Micro safe bowl
· Add 1 Cup of Coconut Milk
· Add 1 Cup of Water
· Cover with Cling Film
· With a fork puncture the Cling Film at 2-3 places, so that the hot air can escape
· Put it in the Micro for 20 minutes on high
· Once done, take it out and give it 5 minutes of standing time
· Serve hot
I served these grilled Pomfrets for Dinner sometime last week with Hakka Noodles. The paste that the Pomfrets were marinated in included mint and coriander leaves, so it was green & extremely flavorful. I have never like much of mint in my food, but this time was completely blown away by the subtle aroma. I will start using more of this is our meals as there are so many health benefits of mint.
I have no story today so will make this quick!
Here is what you need to make Grilled Pomfrets in Mint & Coriander Sauce:
Serves - 2
· Pomfrets – 2 medium, washed and deep slit to the spine bone for the marination to get it
· Juice of 1 medium Lime
· Pudina / Mint leaves – 5 sprigs
· Dhaniya / Coriander leaves – 5 sprigs
· Ginger – 1” thick
· Garlic – 5-6 medium cloves
· Green Chillies – 4 (increase or decrease to taste)
· Cooking Oil – 2 tsp
How to make Grilled Pomfrets in Mint & coriander Sauce:
· Rub salt and lime juice on the Pomfrets and keep for 5 minutes
· Grind Mint, Coriander, Ginger, Garlic, Green Chillies together in a Blender with a little splash of water, this sauce will neither be runny nor very thick
· Smear spoonful’s of the Sauce on both the sides of the Fish and keep for 10 minutes
· Pour a ½ a tsp of Cooking Oil on each side of the Fish so that it does not stick to the grill. I am a Bengali and used Mustard Oil, hence the gold hue :P, use the Cooking Oil of your choice.
· Grill each side of the Fish for about 8 minutes – I did this in the convection mode of my Micro at 180C – once one side is done, turn using a tong and grill the other side for another 7-8 minutes.
· Take it out, let it stand for 3-4 minutes and serve immediately.
· We had this with some Hakka Noodles for dinner; this is a dish in itself and can be eaten just like that, without any accompaniments.
Wednesday, December 18, 2013
Easy dinner ideas are the best thing that has happened to a working couple. We crave for simple meals when we get back home after a long day at work and most Indian dishes which we love, takes a while to cook. Once I get back I have around 150 minutes in which I need to take a shower, prepare dinner, get stuff ready for next morning, do the laundry, eat and yes chit chat with my partner before we hit the bed and before we realize we have slept. In the morning, I get another rough 150 minutes in which we have tea, prepare breakfast, pack lunch, iron clothes, take a shower & jump into the cab. Week days are crazily packed for almost everyone and we are no exceptions.
I simply adore this recipe as this takes about 10 minutes to put together and an hour in the Oven to get ready. While it is in the Oven, one can run errands. I was craving for this since the start of this week, finally A could manage some juicy Chicken legs for dinner last night, normally by the time we get back, the Butchers are closed, however he discovered one yesterday, walking distance from our place and the shop is open till 10 PM! Wow!
What you need to make Roasted Chicken Legs
· Chicken Legs – 6
· Potatoes – 3 large, washed well, cut into big chunks
· Carrots – 2 Medium, washed well, cut into big chunks
· Onions – 3 Medium, peeled and halved
· Garlic – 7-8 cloves, unpeeled
· Lemon – 1
· Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO) – 3 tbsps
· Italian Seasonings – 2 tbsps / to taste
· Salt to taste
· Pepper to taste
· Chili Flakes – 1 tsp
(The baking dish that I used could accommodate these, it was filled up to the brink, if you wish to add or subtract any vegetables and or increase or decrease the quantity of any, please do so, there can be a thousand deviations of this dish, it is totally up to taste )
How to prepare Roasted Chicken Legs
· Pre heat the Oven to 220 C / 428 F (or the nearest)
· Wash the Chicken legs thoroughly and pat dry using paper towels
· Add the Italian Seasonings, Salt, Pepper, 1.5 tbsps of EVOO & chili Flakes
· Add the juice of one Lemon to this, cut the Lemon into quarters and keep (cut down the quantity to half a Lemon if you are not fond of it)
· Mix the Chicken legs in the marinade and keep
· Start preparing the Baking dish by first oiling it with 1 tbsp of EVOO
· Put the Potatoes, Carrots, Onions, Garlic and Lemon pieces in
· Add Salt and Pepper, a little Italian Seasoning and Chili Flakes and ½ a tsp of EVOO and mix well
· Add the Chicken Legs to the baking dish
· Bake this in the Oven for an hour
· Enjoy the dish by itself fresh out of the Oven after it cools down a teeny weeny bit!
Thursday, December 12, 2013
It has been a few months since I have posted a recipe here. Life has been crazy busy. Cooking / Baking has become more of a lifesaver than anything else. Between the daily chores I seldom find time for clicking a photograph of something which came out well, forget step by step pictures. The recipe I am posting today does not have step by step pictures either, all I have is my Phone camera and no time to watermark the pictures so please let me know if anyone at all wants to use my photos.
I have a colleague; no actually she is more of a friend than a colleague, one of the very few people from work who is actually a friend, S. One fanatic about her diet, people will find her in the Cafeteria 3-4 times a day, munching on iceberg lettuce, faking that they taste heavenly! She is very generous, whenever you walk in, she will be more than happy to offer you the bland lettuce or boiled drumsticks or steamed broccoli with rock salt, which by the way I am fond of.
So it happened, one afternoon, when she was trying to reach me frantically, to meet and eat lunch together, the reason being she had got Fish which her Mom had prepared and knew I would love it as I am a true blue Bong! I had no idea I was about to taste one of the most amazing Fish preparations, which by the way was not a Bengali preparation. Though very similar to the Paturi that we make minus the Mustard and plus a few other ingredients. She took out a gorgeous green Banana Leaf wrap, under whose folds lay, the Parsi Patrani Machhi! It was yummy Coconut-y considering it had about a cup of scraped blended Coconut in there & I totally love Coconut, we savored the dish in no time & this incident gave me the much awaited push I needed to knock out the plane-Jane Cook in me and make her prepare something worth dying for!
On Saturday night, I had asked a porter from the society where we live to get me a Banana leaf, he came next morning and delivered a washed and cleaned Banana Leaf (which he had actually stolen from the Society next to us as we did not have any Banana tree in ours: P).
We had taken this Monday off and planned going out for lunch, however after the hullabaloo of the weekend and the blazing Sun, we decided to stay indoors. I had a couple of small Pomfrets sitting in the Freezer and asked A to get a Coconut & some other ingredients, he instantly agreed. I served this with Steamed Rice which we LOVED! Next Monsoon, when I have Hilsa at hand – I will make the same dish!
Ingredients to make Patrani Machhi (Serves 2)
· 2 small – medium Pomfrets (I used whole Pomfrets as they have less bones, fillets of Telapia, Pomfrets, Bhetki, Basa should be great too, I had made slits in the Pomfrets)
· 1 Banana leaf, washed and cleaned
· Scrapped Coconut – 1 Cup
· Coriander leaves – small bunch (add as much or as little you like)
· Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp
· Garlic Cloves – 4 to 5
· Lemon Juice – I used juice of half a Lemon
· Green Chilies – 4 to 5 (add as much or as little you like)
· Coconut Milk – 1 cup (increase or decrease the quantity according to the consistency of the chutney /paste that you are making. Many people omit this step and use plain water instead.
· Salt to taste
· Sugar to balance
How to make Patrani Machhi
· Cut out the vein of the Banana leaf with a sharp knife after it is cleaned and washed. Fold it lightly and toss it around on the burner for a little while, till it starts to wilt a little, do not burn it. This will make sure that the Banana leaf is softer and easier to handle and not hard and brittle.
· Put all the ingredients together in a blender besides the Fish & the Coconut Milk and start blending. Pour in the Coconut Milk a little at a time, to make it easier for the ingredients to blend, once desired consistency of the paste is reached, pour into a bowl and set aside. Note – this paste is not going to be runny, it needs to stay together and the quantity should be good enough to be eaten with steamed Rice. Taste the Paste at this stage; add anything that you need after you have done the taste test.
· On the front side of the Fish pieces add generous amounts of the Paste and let it sit for 5 minutes.
· Take pieces of the Banana Leaf, add a few spoonful’s of the paste and place the Fish on top, this way both the sides of the Fish will have enough paste to get the flavors.
· Fold the sides of the Banana Leaves together and seal with toothpicks.
· I used my Rice Cooker to steam these. One can boil water in a large container till bubbling and on a steel colander place the packed Fish and steam each side for 8-10 minutes. Note: I was using whole Fish, hence I steamed for more than normal; fillets can be steamed for 5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness.
· If you managed to pack the Fish in the Banana Leaves well, then serve the whole thing on a plate with steamed Rice like I did, that’s the most authentic and traditional way of tasting this flavorful dish.
Monday, August 5, 2013
Baking cookies at home was a distant fantasy when I started implementing my culinary skills about 5-6 years back. It was all about cooking and not baking at that time, mostly various curries like Chicken, Mutton, Fish or Eggs (Yes, I swear by Meat, I apologize if it offends anyone). Vegetarian food slowly made its way to my Kitchen since the nuptials about 2.5 years back as we wanted something simpler for Dinner to be eaten with Chapati’s (Indian Roasted Flat Breads).
I could dish out full course meals but the Oven was still new to me. It has been my companion for the last 2 years I should think. However, it took me a while to differentiate between the Convection, Grill and the other functions of my Microwave Oven (You are right, I do not own a conventional Oven or an OTG for that matter, all I have is a Microwave Oven with the Convection function and I bake all my goodies there .. to be honest I do not have much space left in my Kitchen to accommodate another Oven)
Our Parents visit us once a year as we stay away from home and this is a time of the year we look forward to. My Parents are here with me now and the other day when I baked some Tutti Frutti Biscotti’s and the dough went a little out of control, Maa (My Mum) had to intervene to get it back in control and that’s when she realized that there were Eggs in the dough & did not like the idea at all; though she enjoyed the Biscotti’s, she was not thoroughly satisfied. She dedicated the entire afternoon thinking about a replacement of Eggs in that batter and by evening she started giving me ideas of unsalted Butter, Clarified Butter (Ghee), Whole Milk & Curd to be used in the batter.
My Tutti Frutti Biscotti
Once Weekend arrived, I wanted to give a shot at the Eggless Cookies and decided to bake the best Indian Eggless Tea Time Cookies - ‘Nan Khatai’ - My entire family loved them and I shamelessly admit I liked these better than cookies with Eggs in them. Some study about these told me they were handed down by Dutch Colonizers as early as the 16th Century to Parsi entrepreneurs who owned Bakeries in Surat, the Capital City of Gujarat India. Hence we can summarize that’s where they belong, the State of Gujarat. These short bread Cookies are generally smeared with Desi Ghee, however, you can replace the same with Unsalted Butter and use only a little bit of Clarified Butter (Ghee) for the whiff like I did.
My friend from work, ‘P’ helped me with the recipe who had shared her secret Punjabi Chhole Masala recipe earlier which can be found here. I did make my own changes and adjustments to her Nan Khatai recipe and here is what I did:
Here is what you will need to make about 32-34 Nan Khatai’s:
All Purpose Flour (Maida): 1 Cup
Semolina (Suji): ½ Cup
Gram Flour (Besan): ½ Cup
Granulated Sugar: 1 Cup
Unsalted Butter: 3/4th Cup
Clarified Butter / Ghee: 1/4th Cup (If you want to skip unsalted Butter, use 1 cup of Ghee)
Ground Green Cardamom – ½ tsp
Pistachios: flaked 1 tbsp
How to make Nan Khatai’s:
Cream the Butter and Granulated Sugar in a large bowl with a wire whisk till fluffy
Add the dry ingredients, All Purpose Flour, Semolina, Gram Flour and Ground Green Cardamom and knead this mixture into medium soft dough. (A tsp or two of whole Milk can be added to the dough in case it does not come together; mine did come together nicely, however, you can keep a little Milk handy)
Cover the dough and let it rest for 15 minutes
Pre-heat the Oven to 200C / 392F** in the meanwhile
Line the Baking tray with a parchment paper
Make small roundels from the dough and place them on the parchment paper an inch apart
Add a few strands of the Pistachio flakes on top for garnish
Change the Microwave Oven to the Convection mode once preheating has completed. Put it to 180C / 356F in the Convection mode and bake the cookies for 30 minutes or till golden and crisp**
**(Exactly what I did in my Microwave Oven, all Ovens are different so adjust as per your Oven)
P.S: I have not posted here in a few months; hence lost the habit of watermarking. I am posting this with the hope that the pictures will not be stolen, thanks in advance!