Saturday, January 10, 2009

LaZeeZ ..

A very Happy New Year to all the avid readers of my blog .. :)

Here's a vegetarian recipe that I came up with by adding a twist to a standard recipe. Inspiration comes from a few dishes that I have either had at a restaurant or at home. Lets call it sarson-da-saag-vich-Twist :)

So here we go again. We want a rich and umami gravy for this dish, so lets start with deep frying the onions that were cut thin and long. Depending on how health conscious you are, you may choose to use more or less oil and even the type of oil. I use sunflower oil at home which has low saturated fat (the one that's difficult to digest). Well if you are reading blogs, you can read the rest of its benefits in Wikipedia :)

Once you get a nice golden brown color, strain the onions of any excess oil using a paper towel, parchment paper, a dried muslin cloth .. and let it cool for about a half hour or so. You can then move on to a vegetable of your choice. I prefer a nice whole cauliflower for this dish. Start by shaving off the leaves and the stem of the flower. Leave a little bit of the stem so you can handle it better. No need to chop it yet. To speed the cooking process, take a plastic grocery bag and dump the flower into the bag, knot the bag handles airtight and throw it into a 1000W microwave for about 3 minutes. This will pre-cook your flower and reduce the amount of time you have to cook it in the oven :) this is a nice little trick I learnt from a friend that you can use at home to boil your potatoes as well. Just cut the potatoes in half and cook it in the same way except you have to do it twice or a little over 6 minutes. There you go, the potato skin just peels off under cold water and you have boiled potatoes !!

Getting back to the recipe here :) While all that's happening, here's what you need to mix up in a small bowl. A tablespoon of sour cream, turmeric powder, ginger-garlic (freshly minced is better else the off-the-shelf paste will work as well), some nice coriander paste (Pathaks has a variety of pastes that you can find in the desi grocery aisle), some salt and red chilly powder to taste and dhaniya-jeera powder. Sab kuchh mil jata hai bhai-behan-log !!

Once you have carefully pulled out the flower from its bag, place it on an oven tray and apply the above marinade to it. Don't be nice and gentle, make sure it is completely soaked in the marinade. Then this plate with the flower of course goes into a pre-heated oven for about a half hour to 45 min (until it starts to get a nice Tandoori color to it). Don't let it burn ..

Where is the sarson and saag, one might wonder .. well they have a role to play and here is where they come in. "Delenda Carthago as the great Cato said .. " .. [Asterix and the Laurel Wreath] .. random musings .. Anyways .. Trim off the excess off of fresh Sarson (mustard) and Palak (spinach) leaves. Wash them well and give them a rather coarse chop. You should have had a pot of nice boiling water by now :) Put all of the leaves in the pot and let them cook. For lack of better words, kachhapan nikalna hai .. If you feel they have cooked enough drain the leaves and set them aside next to the onions and allow them to cool down as well. Chop a few green chillies and one or two dried red chillies. If you are in a hurry and cant wait for things to cool down, add a couple of ice cubes to the mixer/blender first and then add the leaves, onions, chillies and give it a nice spin. As it blends into a puree you will see the nice rich color of the green gravy with bits of the red chilly and the brown onions .. You can add appropriate amount of water to get the consistency you desire for the thickness of your gravy.

By now your flower would have cooked to a golden brown. Place it on your cutting board and try poking it with a sword. i.e. a fork :) It should feel just the right density .. not too swishy and not too crisp. Chop it up into cube sized pieces, you don't have to be fancy here. Vertical and horizontal strokes of your knife should do the trick.

In another wok/pot/vessel .. heat up a table/tea spoon of ghee/butter. And once it heats up throw in some whole jeera (cumin) seeds. Pour in the gravy from the blender and let it simmer for a bit. Add salt to taste. You can also add a tea spoon of garam masala powder if you'd like. Then add the chopped flower pieces to the gravy and mix all of it well. Turn the heat to low, cover the pot and let it all cook together for maybe 10 minutes. A stir once or twice will ensure its not burning. If the gravy is still too thick for your taste, you can add some water when its simmering.

To make it look more appetizing, you may add a spoon of cream on top.

Its almost lunch time here and after all this I sure am starving. So do write back if you liked my recipe and the sort of Twists you added to make your own improvisations ..

enJoy !!

Sunday, December 21, 2008


Howdy !?! I did not know what to start writing about. So, after a lot of thought (which probably was not more than a couple of minutes) I decided to share a cooking recipe.

It was a Saturday morning and I was entrusted the task of making some non-vegetarian dish. I did not want to make one of em standard-by-the-book-recipe things. So I pondered on what I wanted it to taste like. Well the very thought of it made my mouth drool and I began savoring the meat in my vivid imagination. That was it .. I knew (somehow) what it had to be ..

A quick errand to a few shops and I had the necessary ingredients .. 1 Kg of goat meat, some dried red chillies,green chilles, onion, sour cream, yogurt, lemons, the usual masalas and a special ingredient that you will see as you read along :)

The meat was already cut to shape by the butcher, so all I had to do was clean and dry the meat. Then some lemons squeezed onto the meat and some salt too. I wanted it to be tangy so I let it sit for an hour with just that while I prepared the rest of the marinade.

The marinade started with some curd and sour cream, to it a good tablespoon (or two) of fresh minced ginger garlic, some turmeric (and by the way check out Penzeys Spices .. I purchased a few Indian spices from this place .. you can really smell the aroma .. ), red chilli powder, teaspoon of garam masala, and some meat masala. Mix all of that together and start chopping the onions thin and long.

In a big pot start with some ghee/butter/oil and shallow fry/sautee the onions. I mean I want them brown .. not black .. not golden .. just brown. So you know what that means. You can't go off to watch TV while it changes color. Enjoy cooking people. If you want it to brown faster .. add salt .. :)

Oh, and by the way while all this was going on you had to get the meat out and spread your marinade with your hands all around the meat. Make sure its covered completely and then let it sit for some more time.

Once you have the onions in the right shape and color, pour all of the meat into the pot and continue cooking in high flame for about 10-15 mins. This is where most of the meat gets cooked and starts to change color. After that, lower the heat, cover the pot and let it cook for about 45 minutes. You do need to keep tossing and turning the meat about 3-4 times in this duration. This slow cooking is what makes the meat tender and easy to eat, while it absorbs all of the yummy flavorings.

Now it still aint ready and you would be like, whats so special about this recipe. :) Its just like any other meat korma. But it aint. Its actually a dry appetizer. Well if you look into your pot there is still quite a bit of gravy and it does not look dry. You must think I've lost it. :)

All right. In a separate tava/pan/whatever's lying around .. get a couple of spoons of coconut oil. Add to it the secret - ingredient. Dried coconut powder !! And heat it on low flame so that it turns a very light brown. During this process you will smell an aroma that will .. hhhhhhmmmmmmmmm .. well I will let you relish it yourself.

Add to it the dried red chillies and green chilles and give it a quick saute. Dont let the coconut burn. Add all of this to your pot and mix all of it well. Let it cook in the mix for a couple of minutes for the coconut to absorb all of the gravy and kinda stick to the meat.

Voila !! I tasted the first piece from the pot and it was precisely what I had imagined.

Garnish with some more dry white coconut or corriander and serve. When asked what it was called I just said it was MADRASSY-GHOSHT-Tikka ..

Enjoy !!