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Friday, November 29, 2013

Keema Shalgam- Turkey Mince cooked with Turnip

It’s weekend finally, and days as it looks are getting colder here, but what else can you expect in winter season. And when it’s winter season we do get fresh supply of all sorts of winter vegetables in markets. One of them is shalgam or shaljam, whatever suits you. I have heard about shalgam-gosht a lot and was planning to make that at least once. But it looks we are now getting more inclined towards turkey as this week it’s all about thanks giving. So, here is shalgam keema recipe for this weekend break.


This is how we like to make shalgam- keema, although I would say a plain stir/fry recipe is also worth it with fresh and succulent shalgams...Here is that old recipe  from archive where shalgam sabzi was made.And these days we often do that stir/fry as shalgams are easily available now.You can even make a lovely stew with crushed black peppercorn, whole spices like cloves+cinnamon+star anise and with lamb steaks. But this semi dry curry with turkey mince brings a great change to a pre-dominant red –meat genre type of cooking recipes.
In case anybody out there wants to try it, then here is the recipe. Please pick shalgams which are fresh and tender. I have used turkey mince but chicken or lamb mince or any other mince; can also be used in place of turkey mince.
Now to the recipe
Shalgam Keema curry- Turkey Mince cooked with Turnip 
Recipe requirements

  • 400 Gms of turkey mince
  • 2 shalgam/turnip 
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder or 2-3 green chilies 
  • ¾ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of coriander powder
  • 2 medium size onions
  • 4 fat clove garlic
  • 1/2 inch fresh ginger root
  • 1 medium size tomato
  • 4-5 tbs of mustard oil
  • 1 tsp of garam masala
  • 1 tsp of ghee
  • 2 tsp of lemon juice
  • 2-3 tej patta or bay leaves
  • 2 cloves
  • 2 green cardamoms
  • 1 medium size potato
  • 1 cup of green peas
  • 1 tsp of salt or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp of sugar
  • Freshly chopped coriander for garnishing

Method

  1. Marinate turkey mince with salt and red pepper powder and lemon juice. Keep aside for about half an hour.
  2. Meanwhile we will chop Shalgam/turnip and potato. If you wish you may peel turnip skin off.Chop onions very finely and grate ginger and garlic finely.
  3. Now heat up a saucepan, add in cooking oil. Now add in cloves and cardamom and few tej patta.
  4. Add in onions, grated ginger and garlic and keep on stir/fry till they are browned evenly. Now add in all the seasonings- turmeric powder, red pepper powder, coriander powder and cumin powder, adjust salt and sugar and splash some water. Or better make a paste of the above spices with some water and then add in to the stir/fried onions+ginger+garlic.
  5. Now add in marinated turkey mince and keep stir/fry for about 7-10 mints.
  6. Add in cubed shalgam/turnip and potato.And keep on doing the stir/fry process for about 5-6 mints to coat well with spices and mince.
  7. Now add in finely chopped tomato and green peas. Cover the saucepan, no need to add extra water if you want to make a semi-dry preparation and even if you need some gravy then go ahead add about a large cup of water.
  8. Let it slowly simmer at low flame for about 15-20 mints or till the shalgam cubes and minces are cooked well. Last but not the least add in garam masala and a tsp of ghee and then switch off the flame.
  9. Garnish with coriander leaves and ginger julienne. Serve and enjoy.



Note-
The same recipe can be done with mutton or lamb mince or steaks. You may use chicken mince as well. The time to cook although will vary accordingly.Please adjust spice levels to your own personal taste.

Edited on 10/12/13 
Made this curry with Kohlrabi/ ganth Kopi/nol kopi/German Turnip/Knolkhol etc and this came out very nice ...

So, relax and enjoy your weekend break. See you next week.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Tava Fried/Pan Fried Turkey Mince Seekh Kababs for Thanks Giving

With Thanks giving near us soon; these tava fried turkey mince seekh kababs are great as party appetizers or as sides with some boiled green peas, carrots and spiced new potatoes.Actually meal plans will vary with ones own personal choices of pairing up veggies and non-veg items.But I am sure these mince seekh kababs are great as sides or party appetizers and without turkey, thanks giving celebration is incomplete.



This is slightly going off track with the traditional cooking for thanks giving ,which is baking stuffed turkey.But turkey mince can also be used in this way or as keema – matar combo.Personally we have liked turkey mince,but if you can’t find them, then chicken mince is a great alternative, although taste wise it will vary slightly.
Now to the recipe

Pan fried/ Tava fried Turkey mince seekh kabab
Recipe requirements
450 gms of turkey minces
1 and ½ cup of chana dal
2 tsp of red pepper powder/cayenne pepper powder
For the basic spice powder for seekh kababs
2 tsp of coriander powder
3 heaped tsp of cumin powder
1 tsp of cardamom powder
½ tsp of cinnamon powder
2 tsp of any kabab masala or any other meat masala
2 tsp of freshly crushed black pepper
1 egg
1 tsp of vinegar
1 tsp of kewda essence
1 tsp of salt or as per taste




Method
  • Soak chana dal in warm water for about 2-3 hrs.Now wash them thoroughly in running water.
  • Wash the mince gently in water, try to do it when the mince is still cold and has been just taken out from the cold sealed pack, as this way the entire portion will stay together.Otherwise it’s not easy to wash and clean the mince.You may use a soft muslin cloth to collect the washed mince and squeeze out the excess water, just like you would normally do for paneer.Keep them aside so that they become little dry.
  • It would be nice to pressure cook chana dal with a tsp of salt for one whistle and with just enough water to cover the level of dals in pressure cooker.Let the pressure subside after one whistle.Open and it should be like a dry cooked mash of chana dal but still each lentil grains can be seen separate from each other.Keep it aside to cool off.
  • Now marinate the turkey mince with red pepper powder.We will use freshly churned cumin+coriander powder.I have a dry spice powder mix always in my pantry – made with coriander seeds+cumin seeds+green cardamom seeds+cinnamon quills+few cloves.This forms the base spice powder for these types of kababs that we make time to time.
  • Add this spice powder about 4-5 tsp or you may use the quantity of other spice powders as mentioned above for this recipe.Imp-Tip- Knead the marinated mince for 3-4 mints to blend all the spices well with the turkey mince.This kneading helps to even out the mince and spices well.
  • Add in 1 tsp of vinegar and kewda essence as well.Add freshly crushed whole black pepper.
  • Keep the mince marinating for 3-4 hrs in fridge covered.
  • Now we will pressure cook the mince with cooked dal.This way the dal and mince turns out a lovely mash sort of consistency ,which is easy to mash and then shape up.Once the turkey mince+ chana dal mixture is cooled , taste to adjust salt and spices, if required to add more, then do so.Now crack an egg and add this to the mince+dal mixture , mixing very well with hands.
  • Knead the crumble for 5-6 mints and  check if it’s not too soft or way too sticky tip if you can roll a small portion easily then the crumble is ready to be shaped.If it turns out soft then add plain flour or chick pea flour to bind off well as required, start with working out with a tsp of flour and then keep on adding if required again.
  • Divide the dough into equal portions.I ended up making 15-16 seekh kababs of about 4 -5 inches in lengths.
  • Soak up wooden skewers in water and then break them into two equal portions. Divide the cooked mince crumble/dough into equal portions of 15-16 small balls.
  • Clean your hand well with soap and water.Now put some oil generously over your palm and start slightly sliding into the skewers and shape them up.Meanwhile if your hand gets sticky, keep a bowl of water handy so that you can quickly clean up your hand and finish off the remaining job of shaping up other seekh kababs.Trick is to take a lump and then gently start sliding from bottom to top on the wooden skewers.Now rub some oil with your palms over these seekh kababs very gently without tearing the outer layer.
  • I had two batches , and when made the other batch next day they turn out more flavourful and were easy to work with.
  • Heat up a tava or iron skillet or cast iron skillet as this is what gives the real flavor not the non-stick ones , although if you are using non-stick pan you will need very less oil to shallow fry them up.
  • Add in about two tsp of oil on heated tava/skillet.Fry each sides of these kababs till they turn out nice brown at medium flame or gas mark 4 or 5 .Carefully lift and flip them up with the help of a tong otherwise they tend to fall part.If you shape them up previous night and do the frying part next day they tend to soak up more flavor and plus point is they are firm so don’t fall apart while they are being fried.
  • Serve immediately hot with other sides or with your choice of sauce.Tava fried turkey mince seekh kababs are ready to be enjoyed.Alternately you can bake them in oven, but oven baking makes the seekh kababs sometimes dry , that’s my experience so far.Otherwise there is barbecue or tandoor oven which is still available.
  • Vegetarians can do this with paneer crumble or cooked soya crumb in place of turkey mince.





If you are interested in knowing more about other culture’s food and cuisine, travel tips and local cuisine, then you can have a look at this lovely food website.All about cuisine.......



And thank you readers for reading this blog and staying with me in this journey.

Happy Thanks giving everybody.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Lamb meat cooked with Liver, New potatoes and Green peas

I have heard about some fruits being used as meat tenderizer like kiwi, pineapple or green papaya. Personally I have never used them so far, and the ones who read this blog regularly you know that well. So, I never knew if it is going to work in favor for this recipe or not. I was little apprehensive before I made this lamb and lamb liver semi dry /“sukha” fried curry, but to be honest it is one of the best recipes made so far, for lamb meat. I had some unripe kiwi lying in the fruit basket and I was wondering how should I fix it, other than kiwi pie or kiwi cheesecake, so came up with this recipe with lamb meat.




The tanginess of kiwi gelled very much with spices,lamb steak and lamb liver pieces and top it all the flavour new potatoes and "hara matar" –green peas have imparted, we knew it this was heading into a delicious preparation. Addition of curry patta and coconut powder added that southern Indian rustic touch, and then addition of black peppercorn did the hammering trick. You can say pepper mutton is dressed up even more to yield a new flavor, something kind of an add-on and it looks like it’s a match made in heaven- sorry a match made in my kitchen – an idea can change a life or in this case a recipe.

Here is recipe for lamb steak piece with lamb liver,potatoes and green peas my humble first attempt at including kiwi in everyday Indian cooking. And yes the lamb steak pieces were cooked little early. This is a ‘sukha”/dry preparation enough to have it with roti…..


Lamb meat cooked with lamb liver, new potatoes, Kiwi and green peas-Mutton aur Kaleji aloo matar (When north meets up with south-jab they met)
Recipe requirements( measurements are approx) 

  • 3 lamb steaks- roughly about 400 Gms
  • Lamb liver- about 200 Gms
  • 1 large cup of green peas fresh or frozen what ever is available
  • 2 large purple onions
  • 4-5 fat clove of garlic
  • 1 inch ginger root
  • About a handful of curry leaves/curry patta
  • ½ cup of coconut powder
  • 2-3 medium size new potatoes (as this is in season now) cut into big chunks or use baby new potatoes
  • ½ cup of yogurt
  • 1 kiwi or 2 kiwi fruits

For tempering and Seasonings

  • 2 -3 cloves
  • 2-3 small green cardamoms
  • 10-12 black peppercorn
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder
  • ½ tsp of turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp of freshly crushed black peppercorn
  • 2 tsp of coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of cardamom powder
  • ½ tsp of cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • 1 tsp of sugar
  • 7-8 tbs of mustard oil



Method
1.-.Make a marinade sauce with – yogurt+red pepper powder+salt+half of the quantity of mustard oil and finely chopped kiwi ( take the skin off) . Now rub this sauce over lamb steak pieces very well and keep it aside for 1-2 hrs.If you wish you can cut steak pieces further into small portions. If you are fine with the crunch of tiny kiwi seeds then add the whole kiwi or you may take out the pith and discard all the seeds and in that case I do think please use two kiwi fruits.

2.-You can skip yogurt at this time and add on later when all the spices have blended well with lamb pieces...It would be nice if you can do the marination overnight if using lamb meat with bones or any other red-meat.
3.-Grate ginger after peeling off the skin and do the same with garlic. We have used grated garlic and ginger rather than paste for this recipe. Chop onion very finely. Grating garlic and ginger releases fresh juices which adds up to the flavor and more the stir/fry is less hard working.

4.-Now heat up mustard oil in a big enough pan/kadai etc and fry the potatoes so that they just start turning barely brown. Take out and drain. Now that oil itself, temper this with cloves, green cardamom, pepper corn, ginger and garlic. Add in curry patta.When garlic+ginger has turned towards little brownish, add in finely chopped onions. Add in sugar and keep on stir/fry it.

5.-Add in dry spice ingredients- turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and fresh crushed black peppercorn. Keep on stir/fry till onions shrinks and becomes evenly fried and reddish-brown. I have used home-made and grounded coriander powder and cumin powder, and cardamom +cinnamon powder not the ready-made spice packets.

6.-Now add the marinated lamb steak pieces. Add in green peas. Add in half a cup of water. Mix and stir well. Add in coconut powder, cinnamon powder, cardamom powder and let it bhuno/stir/fry for 15-20 mints.
7.-Add in lamb liver pieces. Now cover this and put the flame to medium- low. After about 20-25 mints check if it’s not stuck at the base and if required splash some more water or add quarter cup of warm water.
Lamb liver pieces are cooked by this time but the lamb steak pieces will generally require little more cooking, after about 10-15 mints switch off the flame and let it sit there. If you do not want to eat overly cooked liver pieces then add them in later stages of this preparation. Usually this gets cooked in 15-20 mints at med-low flame.

8.-Let it rest for a while before you dig into it, as resting period helps in soaking up the flavor more. I try to make this in the morning if we are having it as dinner or at least 3-4 hrs before our dinner is served. And next day it’s even more flavourful.Serve and enjoy.





If you have left-over if any, then mix in with cooked rice, it gels well with it and gives you instant lamb pilaf, or boil some pasta any shape, mix it and you have a quick Indian spice inspired pasta recipe.

Happy Cooking Friends

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Paneer and Coconut Fried balls and it's seven years of food blogging

We are into November, and November means chilly and cold winter season knocking at our doorsteps, in fact today it is very cold here.And as evenings are early now, we get excuses for having fried stuff with our evening cup of tea -"chai”. These days demand for fritters and fried stuff- “tele bhaja” have gone high on our meal plans. Every season has its own effect on our eating plans or cravings. And with winter season, there are array of glorious cakes and fried stuff waiting to be made and relished. Isn’t?



No doubt, that’s show I tend to put on weight during this season. I know after reading this post, there will be some counter- reactions to go for detoxifying the body. Then there will be people judging me on grounds of my eating plans. But one thing for sure- eat according to your own body requirements and in balanced portions and remember every body is different. God hasn’t made every mould- the one we call our body same, even scientifically it is true, our DNA says so. So, please what works for me, may or may not work for you.



There was beguni as snake I mean as snack couple of days ago and then some fish shami kabab the other day, then it was time for chicken kababs adapted from this recipe as well. But occasionally there are times; we need some food which makes the vegetarian- the ‘shudh shakahari” in me feel happy about it. These paneer-cococnut fritters are great way to include a “niramish” preparation in ones menu. I have always found it very fascinating that vegetarians have so many options to make their fritters- there is possibly every vegetable in this world, that one can create fritters out of - from spinach to, zucchini, brinjal to well I think you can even make fritters out of lentil paste as well. Although this recipe was formulated by sheer checking of the ingredients stocked in the fridge at that time. Open- See-Check-Take out –Arrange-Assemble-Create-Eat. This is the sequence that happened once I opened the fridge door yesterday. I am sure this happens with most of you out there.

Now I had some fresh coconut, which I really didn’t want to make as Narkel Narus, after that cooking spree during Dassehrah and Diwali, we needed a big break from sweety-sweety thingies. And too much of sweets makes me sleepy and dozing off doesn’t help, as there are other chores which needs my attention. Then was paneer- well I don’t need to write much about this one. What was interesting to note is the addition of ajowain seeds/carom seeds and dried basil leaves which I have never used so far in making fritters. These two were like secret ingredients treasured somewhere in the cupboard and lifted up the flavor quotient of this fritter above two levels. Next onwards, I will try to add them in other fritter preparations as well. And "ajowain" as known in Hindi /"jowan" as in Bengali has great digestive properties something which the ‘Ayurveda’ tells us about.

We needed something savory, so here it is paneer coconut fried balls. And this has been our current favourite.And when a kid picks up second helpings, without even asking you, you know it very well, this will be a winner recipe. Make ahead them as a great party appetizer/starter recipe and pop them in preheated oven to re-heat them, serve and enjoy.
Recipe is up here now.
Paneer Coconut Fried balls
Recipe requirements(makes-10-14)

  • About 100gms of paneer roughly
  • 1 cup of grated fresh coconut
  • 1 tsp of ajwain/carom seeds
  • 1 tbs of coriander powder
  • 2 tsp of cumin powder
  • 1 tsp of red pepper powder
  • ¼ tsp of fresh and crushed whole black pepper
  • ½ tsp of dried basil leaves
  • 2 whole-meal bread
  • 1 large potato boiled and mashed well
  • 2 tsp of fresh grated ginger
  • 2 -3 tsp of self raising flour
  • 1 tsp of salt or as per taste
  • Oil for deep frying



Method

  1. Take a big mixing bowl, and grate paneer block finely. Since the one we get over here are solid, so we need to grate it otherwise you can easily make paneer crumbles if the paneer is semi-soft.
  2. To that, add in fresh grated coconut or scraped what ever suits you. I generally like to pulse through in mixer-grinder for three- four times which yields an un-even mixture of bits and pieces.And this gives that sweetish coco nutty  bites to the final product what we get after frying them.
  3. Now add in all the seasonings- coriander, cumin, black pepper and red pepper powders. Add in dried basil leaves and ajwain seeds/carom and fresh grated ginger.Add in boiled potato.
  4. Tear whole wheat bread (as that is what we eat) in to very small pieces, you may replace it with any available bread. Add this to the mixture.
  5. Now add in salt, self raising flour- enough to bind the mixture. Knead the mixture well.
  6. Divide the mixture in to equal portions and then roll them into small round balls. This much will yield 10-12 small balls.
  7. In a fry-pan or kadai , add in oil. Let it heat up properly, check if it’s done by – drop tiny portions from a paneer-coconut balls and watch if it comes to the top , sizzling and floating. You can even check by dropping some cumin seeds in to it.
  8. Now at medium flame- gas mark 5 or gas mark 6 , drop these paneer-coconut balls in to the hot oil, fry it slowly to get even brown colour.


Take out and drain over kitchen towel. Serve with ketchup or any other sauce. This goes very well as party starters and plus point is its all vegetarian. So, now you can easily make your vegetarian friends happy. Meat-lovers, please substitute paneer with any type of cooked or minced red-meat or chicken mince.

Please use fresh and home-made spice powders for best results.
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Well last month this blog by yours truly turned seven, and it’s been a lovely journey so far. What started as mere writing down few lines for a recipe-kind of pages of a recipe diary on one fine and  lazy fall afternoon,here that humble ->first post ,  has now become my special world out here. And this occasion comes again on a fall season here. The picture below says it all, isn’t?




A world of sharing, learning, growing, memorizing and noting down snippets from my day-today happenings to my ramblings etc, this blog has evolved also with each passing years.
Thank you all who like to come back here, again and again and also to those who have joined this blog recently in their blog reading subscriptions. To all of you lovely readers-old and new, this blog means nothing if it doesn't have lovely readers like you.
I know there are many silent readers, but please if you have ever tried and liked any recipes, snippets or ramblings from here, now I want to hear your voice.

Let’s hope we continue this journey in discovering ourselves and sharing, learning has no boundaries or inhibitions. We all are evolving and learning irrespective of our age, from one point to other point, let’s keep on joining the dots. Once again Thank you all...........

Happy Cooking Friends

Monday, November 4, 2013

Emarti/Jhangri and Happy Diwali

This time Diwali is on weekend and that means families have relaxed time to celebrate the festival of light and with full vigor. I do hope you all dear readers are having fabulous time with your dear and near ones. Wish you all a very happy, healthy and peaceful Diwali.
So with this festive spirit, I tried making emarti.Emarti/imarti as we know in north India or jhangris down in south India is made of lentil paste of urid dal.Although a close cousin of jalebis as both belong to same family, I mean the method of deep frying and then soaking up in sugar syrup is very similar but the batter or the paste which is required for both Indian donuts is not same. Here today it is jhangris or emarti recipe for you all and Diwali without sweets is incomplete.


There was a time, I never imagined myself making these sweets in home, I have always relied on store-bought sweets but living in abroad has taught me many things and gave me courage to try out many other sweets which we never would like to make in home as when sweet shops is in every corner of streets, who really like to sweat in kitchen, but trust me the thrill and excitement one endeavors can only be felt when one themselves try making these sweets in home and everything from scratch. They won’t turn out just like store-brought ones but still there is always a satisfaction that one has tried at least making in comfy of their home.





This Diwali from my kitchen to yours, here is emarti/jhangri recipe.
Emarti/Jhangri
Recipe requirements
(Measurements approx- makes 15-16 medium size)
1 large tea cup of urid dal
2-3 tbs of corn flour
2 and half cup of sugar
1 cup of water
2 tsp of cardamom powder
Two pinch of baking soda
2 cups of cooking oil for deep frying
Red/orange food color as required


Method
Soak urid dal/white lentil for 5-6 hrs in ample water. And if you don’t have that much of time, soak the dal/lentil in warm water for about 1-2 hrs or till they soak up the entire water. Wash the dal/lentil with several changes of water.
Now grind the lentil in heavy duty mixer/grinder adding water in between, just enough so that the blades rotate smoothly. We don’t want a runny paste, for this type of Indian donuts, we need light, fluffy and airy urid dal paste and if we will add more water it will spoil the game.
Now mix in corn flour, baking soda and most important red or orange food color to get the desired color of emarti/jhangri.Keep this batter rest for 1 hrs.
Now prepare the sugar syrup, add in water and then sugar, and let it simmer to get thick sugar syrup – two threads consistency sugar syrup. Once we get thick sugar syrup, add in cardamom powder. Now close saucepan once it’s all done.
Take an old sauce bottle or any other squeeze type bottle or even zip lock plastic. Now pour in the batter to the cleaned squeeze bottle and tap it well so that the batter drops in to the empty squeeze bottle...I have used an old honey squeeze in bottle which I have kept for this purpose.
Heat up a big fry pan, with ample space so that when emarti or jhangris are being deep fried, they can get space to be evenly fried.
Press the bottle and make shape of jhangris/emarti, let it fry at medium flame for about 4-5 mints or till they turn little dark. Take them out and dunk them in thick sugar syrup.

Coat all the emarti/jhangris well in sugar syrup and keep them in the syrup for about 8-10 mints. Take them out and store them in air-tight containers. Enjoy the jhangris/emarti this diwali and many more to come.



We also made some other Diwali goodies - Cashew peda, namkin, gulab jamun and of course jhangris.

And here some diya to eradicate the darkness that surrounds us.......




Wish you all a very Happy Diwali /Shubh Deepawali ........