Friday, November 28, 2014

Nasi Goreng

Nasi Goreng is the Indonesian version of fried rice. The main flavor boosters in the dish are kecap manis (the sweet and syrupy soy sauce), and sambal (the chili garlic sauce). You can find both of these in any Asian grocery stores.
Nasi Goreng does not have a specific recipe. You can add anything you like to customize the dish. It is a means of using any leftover white rice, veggies, and meats. This here is my version, a wholesome dish all in one as a complete meal. In the following recipe, I have scrambled the egg and mixed it with the rice. Another very popular way to serve this dish is to top it with a fried egg. Both versions are yummm, just customize to your taste.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
20 raw shrimps, peeled and deveined
2 eggs
Vegetable oil
3 cups cooked rice
4 tbsp kecap manis (sweet soy sauce)
2 tbsp soy sauce
3-4 tbsp sambal
1 cup finely shredded savoy cabbage
2 spring onion or 1 stalk leeks, chopped fine
1 carrot grated
2 stalks celery chopped
1/2 yellow or red pepper julienne
Handful beans chopped fine
  1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a wok and stir-fry cabbage, carrot, beans, celery, and peppers till tender crisp stage. Keep aside. 
  2. In the same wok heat a tbsp oil in the center. Add the shrimp and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side till all the pink turns to white. Do not overcook as they get tougher. Keep aside. 
  3. Heat 3 tbsp oil in the same wok and stir-fry sambal paste for 2 minutes, till brownish and fragrant, at medium heat. 
  4. Push spices to the side of the wok and pour egg in the center of the work. 
  5. Quickly scramble the egg for a minute. Mix egg with spices, break them into smaller pieces. 
  6. Add rice, shredded chicken, kecap manis and soy sauce. Stir-fry everything quickly over high heat, for 6-7 minutes. 
  7. Add spring onion and stir fried veggies and cooked shrimp. Mix well till all the flavors blend. Taste and adjust the sweetness and/or spiciness by adding more of kecap manis or sambal. 
  8. Serve warm with condiments such as sliced tomatoes/cucumber, fried egg, crackers, etc.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fish fry

Haddock fish pieces marinated in a delectable masala, pan fried till crisp. Use any firm fish which can withstand frying without breaking down. I prefer to shallow fry but you can deep fry as well. Serve it as an appetizer with lime wedges and onion rings. Serve along side potato cakes and coleslaw for a shore lunch.

Ingredients: serves 4-5
2 lbs Haddock cut in 3 inch long pieces
Marinade 1
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
salt to taste
red chili powder to taste
1 tbsp sriracha chili sauce (any hot sauce)
3-4 garlic cloves crushed fine
1 inch ginger crushed fine
2-3 tbsp tamarind pulp (or you can use lime juice)
Marinade 2
1/4 cup each fine semolina and rice flour mixed and seasoned with salt and red chili powder
  1. Mix all ingredients of marinade 1 to make a smooth paste. 
  2. Marinate the fish pieces for a minimum of 15 minutes. 
  3. Roll the marinated fish pieces in the marinade 2 generously. 
  4. Shallow fry these pieces till golden and crisp. 
  5. Serve immediately with onion rings and lime wedges.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Keema Biryani

Keema biryani, the fabulous street food of Mumbai, made with fragrant minced lamb or goat flavored in aromatic spices and then cooked with scented basmati rice in a dum preparation. Dum style of cooking requires assembling several layers of ingredients in a dish and then sealing it tightly to allow the flavors to develop as everything cooks in steam slowly at low heat. 
This is a great recipe for entertaining. Serve with a side of raita to cool the palate. If you have a have a high spice quotient then serve with Mirchi ka Salan for a full Hydrabadi experience. 

2 cups basmati rice
1 1/2 lbs minced lamb (Keema)
3 large onions, sliced
A few strands of Saffron
Milk (warm): ¼ cup
Red Chili Powder to taste
1 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 cup plain yogurt whipped
2 tomatoes crushed fine
Salt to taste
2 tsp dry mint
Dry spices whole
1 " cinnamon stick
2 black cardamom
4-5 cloves
3-4 green cardamom
1/2 tsp black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
Prepare the rice
  1. Wash the rice thoroughly with few changes of water and soak it for at least 30 minutes. Cook the rice with some salt and 2 black cardamoms until it is just half done. Drain out the water and set aside. 
  2. Fry 2 sliced onions till golden brown and set aside.
  3. Mix the saffron in warm milk and set aside.
Prepare the minced meat or keema:
  1. Heat oil in a deep pan, add the whole spices and allow them to roast for a few seconds. Add the sliced onions and fry until it is translucent. 
  2. Mix in the minced meat, ginger-garlic paste and fry for 10 minutes over medium heat breaking the lamb while cooking. Cook till brown. 
  3. Once the lamb is fried to golden brown in color and leaves its aroma, add the tomato paste and whipped yogurt along with the red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder; continue to cook over low heat for another 10 minutes or till you see oil leaving the side of the pan. Turn off the flame and set aside.
Assemble the biryani for dum
  1. Prepare a bed of rice in any heavy bottom pan with a third of the cooked rice. Spread half the cooked meat over the rice along with the saffron milk, a few sprinkle of mint and some caramelized onions. repeat layers and finish off with the rest of the rice and the caramelized onions. 
  2. Seal the lid of the pan with dough so that the steam can not escape from it. Cook it in dum on slow heat for another 15 minutes or till done. Alternately place the pan in the oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes 
  3. Serve the hot biryani with raita.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Rajma Chawal

Red kidney beans curry with steamed rice

Rajma chawal, the famous duo is a Punjabi (North Indian) comfort food. Curried red kidney beans served on a bed of steamed rice hits the spot on a cold wet evening. A perfect one dish meal for Sunday lunch. 
Taking a look at its nutritional aspect-
All star fibre
Kidney beans are a very good source of cholesterol-lowering fiber, as are most other beans. In addition to lowering cholesterol, kidney beans' high fiber content prevents blood sugar levels from rising too rapidly after a meal, making these beans an especially good choice for individuals with diabetes, insulin resistance or hypoglycemia. When combined with whole grains such as rice, kidney beans provide virtually fat-free high quality protein.(source).
Heart healthy, antioxidant rich
They are also a very good source of iron, potassium and magnesium which helps maintain blood pressure within normal range and protects the over-all heart health. Potassium and magnesium dilate the blood vessels and arteries thus assuring smooth blood flow.
It is full of antioxidants. These antioxidants boost our immune system and protect it from the harmful effects of free radicals by scavenging them and limiting the damage. (source)

Ingredients1 1/4 cup rajma/red kidney beans, soaked overnight in 6 cups water
2 medium sized onions, finely chopped
4-5 medium sized tomatoes, crushed
1 ½ tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds
4-5 cloves
½ inch cinnamon stick roughly pounded
½ tsp red chili powder or as required
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp coriander powder
salt as required
3 tbsp oil
1 tsp garam masala powder
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish
  1. Soak the rajma in 6 cups water for a good 8-9 hours or overnight. 
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan heat oil and add cumin seeds, cloves and cinnamon and roast for a few seconds . Add sliced onions and cook stirring occasionally till translucent. Add ginger garlic paste and continue frying till the concoction turns golden brown. 
  3. Add crushed tomatoes along with red chili powder, turmeric and coriander powder. Cook stirring often till oil separates from the sides of the pan. 
  4. In a pressure cooker, add the soaked rajma along with all the water and the above masala. Add salt to taste, stir well and cover the lid. 
  5. Pressure cook on high till the first whistle. Simmer and cook for 35-40 minutes further. 
  6. Let the pressure release on its own before opening the lid. Check for consistency. If its too watery boil it down, if too dry add some boiling water to it. Boil on high for a few minutes till the gravy becomes smooth (the curry should not be watery, it should have a smooth consistency). You can also mash a few rajma with the back of the spoon. this will help in thickening the gravy. 
  7. Finally, take it off the heat, stir in garam masala and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. 
  8. Serve hot with plain boiled rice or jeera rice.