Sunday, November 28, 2010

Success follows- Chicken curry and Masoor Dal

The Bhindi post was a hit. I instantly had two guests come home last night - my husband's friends, one being Bengali and the other Malayalee, and both Bongs and Mallus love fish, did you know? (Note: Should feed them fish in the near future)

So, Parth accepts an invitation on chat, and thats the thing I love about Bengalis - their spontaneity and the shameless love for food. Having drifted from thoughts of Briyani and egg curry, my husband helped me settle for Chicken curry & Masoor Dal. To this I added some Chicken Keema Tikki, Pumpkin Curry and Appalams (Ambika brand), just to be on the safe side.

Chicken Curry
Cooking time - Approx 45 minutes

For the marinate:

  • 500 g cut chicken
  • Turmeric powder
  • Chilly powder
  • Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp cooking oil.
  • Curd to coat all the chicken 

Cooking instructions:
In a thick bottomed pressure cooker, heat 1 tbsp oil and add Garam Masalas (Bay leaf, cardamom - 6, Cinnamon sticks - 1, Cloves - 6). To that add 2 sliced green chillis. Adding a pinch of sugar is optional.
After about 10 seconds or so, add 3 onions (sliced). Cook on high flame for about 5 minutes before adding 2 tsps of Ginger garlic paste (again) and continue to fry. After a while, make sure that the mix doesnt burn, and add 1-2 cut tomatoes. Fry this paste well and add a tsp of salt. Fry further.

After this mix is ready, take it out of the heat and into a mixer. Make a puree.. You might have to add some water.

Once the paste is ready.. reheat your pressure cooker and add a dollop of ghee/ oil. The spicier the dish, so to your discretion you can add 2 more green chillies if you wish to. Add the mixed puree into the cooker and fry it for a few minutes and pay attention so that it doesnt get stuck or burnt, if need be add a little water. To this mix add the chicken and fry in high flame for 2 minutes. Add more turmeric powder and chilly powder and be at it. Add a dash of water again, mix well, cover the lid in low flame and forget about it for some good 10 minutes, checking occasionally.

One could add a few curry leaves to add a southern flavour to the dish and the juice of one lemon. After this add about 2 cups of water and add salt to taste. Simmer the mix until the gravy cooks and the chicken is done. To this what I did was add about half a cup of coconut milk (hommade brand) and bring it to a boil. This is optional. Garnish with garam masala powder (wee bit) and coriander leaves.

-- Note: This was purely experimental, but a wee bit how my mom makes it. Only she doesn't puree the initial masalas with onion, tomato. She proceeds to add the chicken and cook it. You can do the same if you do not have a mixie at your disposal :) Only hers is better though :(

Friday, November 26, 2010

Love for Bhindi

Bhindi aka Okra aka Ladies Finger.

The earliest memory draws back to art classes wherein the art teacher would ask you to dip the end of a cut bhindi and make patterns on a sheet of paper. Using food for art is interesting but I prefer to use a different palette to appreciate the vegetable -- and that would be the tongue.

Bhindi appeals to me in all shapes, sizes and gravies. In a Bengali household, and as it happened with me, Bhindi Bhaja is a great accompaniment for lentils of any sort - Masoor, Toor. Bhendi Bhaja is however the poorer cousin of Aloo (potato) Bhaja, but it is best served crispy. Apart from that my memory also involves a territory where not many of you will wander..and that is of Bhindi Bhate (translates to in rice). 

The preparation for Bhindi Bhaate is simple and hardly requires any preparation.
You will need
Rice - 1 cup
Water - 2 cups
Okra - 6 to 7 nos (whole)
Kerchief - 1

Additional: Salt to taste, teaspoonful of Mustard oil.

Note:The recipe is for making rice. Just add the Okra wrapped in a kerchief and wait till the rice is done.
Recipe: Once the rice is cooked, remove the kerchief and remove the boiled Okra. Place it on a bowl or plate and cut the ends. Mash it with a teaspoonful of mustard oil and salt to taste. Mix it with the hot rice and enjoy!

Welcome Home

2nd November, Tuesday changed the course of my life, or just steered it a bit. After my wedding, it was a new beginning, a new home with a new person to share it with. And the best thing about it -- we love the same food!

Now, in India the wife is someone who makes sure the husband is well fed. Which is why you see very few 'fit' husbands. You see them with a round belly which could also be due to their beer-drinking or their unfit lifestyle habits, but coupled with the fact that the wifes always offer the extra helping and make sure that the meal is topped up with a 'sweet dish', it just adds to the rotund character of a husband and that of a loving wife.

Now, I have one problem. Though my husband is three years older than I am, he has an advantage over me. His metabolism kicks all the food out of his body, and unlike me he has no belly to tag along with him. So, herein lies my task list
1 - Be a loving, dutiful wife
2 - Learn to cook all the food that I love to eat
3 - Feed the ones I love, and hope they will eat it
4 - Learn to cook awesome stuff.
5 - Hope that my husband gains some weight and makes me look slimmer compared to him, some day

So, after entering the new house I had a task -- which was made easy by both set of parents (his and mine) who had already stocked up my husband's place with cooking utensils and most of the masalas, lentils and other ingredients that I might need to cook.

Day 1 was fairly memorable since I didn't cook. My husband cooked Khichdi is less than 1 hour while I was cleaning the house. (I would love to mention the number of hours I spent doing that, but it would seem like boasting).

Since then, I haven't repeated any recipe (save I fed him cornflakes and buttermilk twice, but that doesn't count as cooking.) So do keep checking this blog for more of my love for food and my experiments with the kitchen.