Thursday, 22 June 2017

Mutton Zaffrani Pilaf

Pilaf or Pulao is a dish in which rice is cooked in a seasoned broth. Sautéed onion, spices, vegetables, fish, meat and dry fruits are added depending upon the local cuisine. It is a common dish made in India, Bangladesh, Middle East and many other countries. 
This is an easy recipe. The dish has a mild flavor and taste of the spices and saffron. This dish can be made in various ways. This dish can be served with raita.
1 kg Mutton pieces
500 grams Basmati Rice
2 big size Onions sliced
1 tbsp Ginger - Garlic crushed
1 tsp Ginger - Garlic paste
2 Green Chillies cut into half
1 tsp Coriander leaves chopped
2 Bay leaves
6 Apricots
2 tsp Almond Flakes
1 tsp Raisins
1/4 tsp Saffron
1/4 cup hot Milk
Juice of 1 Lime
1/2 tsp Nutmeg powder
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
1 Star Anise
1 medium Cinnamon stick
4 Cloves
2 Green Cardomom
1 Mace
2 tbsp Ghee

Wash and soak the rice and keep it aside. Soak the Saffron and turmeric powder in hot milk, keep it aside. Take a big pot, add a tbsp of ghee and let it melt. Add the green cardomom, cinnamon stick, cloves and fennel seeds. Let it splatter. Add 1/2 the quality of the sliced onions, saute till pink in colour. Add the mutton pieces, salt, sugar and bay leaves, stir and cook for 10 minutes. Add 2 liters of water, stir, cover and cook till the mutton has become tender. Remove the excess mutton broth if any and keep it aside and can be enjoyed as soup, as when we add the rice, it will cook in the broth, so the broth should be just enough to cook the rice. To be precise, there should be 4 1/2 cups of the broth. 
Take a wok, add the remaining ghee, let it melt. Add the remaining onion slices, fry the onions till golden brown in colour. Remove a tbsp of onion and keep it aside for garnishing. Add the 1 tsp almond flakes and raisins into the remaining fried onion slices. Stir for another minute. Add the ginger - garlic paste. Sauté for a minute. Add the fried onions, apricot, lime juice and nutmeg powder into the mutton broth. Adjust the salt. Drain the excess water from soaked rice. Add the rice, stir and let it cooked till 80 percent of the rice is cooked. Add the saffron milk. Stir the rice gently. Cover and cook till done. Before serving garnish with fried onions, pinch of saffron, 1 tsp almond flakes and coriander leaves. Serve it hot with raita.

Monday, 19 June 2017

Braised Cottage Cheese / Tofu, Spinach and Dried Mushrooms.....

This time during my trip to Singapore, I happened to pick up different varieties of Dried Mushrooms which are very popular like shiitake, oyster, flower shiitake, portobello and needle mushrooms. Before cooking the mushrooms, you need to soak the mushrooms in hot water for several minutes, squeeze the excess water out and then used them. Mushrooms have a meaty flesh and a woody flavor. If you don't have dried mushrooms, use fresh mushrooms which are available at your place. I have added cottage cheese, but tofu can also be used. Other ingredients that I have used are spinach, onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies, bird eye chillies and seasonings. This dish can be served as a starter for vegetarians... 

1 bowl of mix variety of dried Mushrooms soaked in hot water for 10 minutes and then squeezed them out from the water
6 to 8 pieces of cottage cheese / tofu cut into triangle shape 
1 big Onion cut into cubes
 6 Garlic cloves sliced
 1 small piece of Ginger sliced
2 Green Chillies cut lengthwise 
4 to 6 Bird eye Chillies 
A handful of spinach leaves along with it's stem broken into half 
Salt to taste 
1/2 tsp Black Pepper Powder
¼ cup of Oil
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tbsp Honey 
1 tsp Vinegar

Take a wok, add oil. Then fry the cottage cheese / tofu until brown on both sides. Keep it aside. In the same Oil sauté the garlic, ginger and chillies for a few seconds. Add the onions and saute till translucent. Add the spinach and sauté on high heat for a minute. Add the mushrooms, add the soya sauce,vinegar,honey, salt and pepper powder. Add the cottage cheese / tofu. Stir it. Cover let it simmer in it's juices for 2 minutes. Serve it hot.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Mango Pickle in Water

This Pickle has no oil at all. It only consist of raw mango, spices and water. With just few techniques to follow, this pickle is ready and it stays for 2 to 3 months. To preserve it further, you can refrigerate it. 

Stage 1 - Spice Powder 
2 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 1/2 tbsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Fennel seeds 
2 tbsp Mustard seeds 
1/4 tsp Fenugreek seeds 
10 Guntur Chillies for pungency 
10 Byadgi Chillies for colour 
1 tsp Turmeric powder 
1/4 tsp Asafoetida powder 

Roast all the above ingredients except turmeric powder and asafoetida powder for 2 minutes. Cool it, add the roasted spices, turmeric powder and asafetida powder into a grinder and grind the spices into a fine powder. Keep it aside. 

Stage 2 - Drying the Mangoes
1 kg Raw Mangoes washed and cut into pieces with skin 
1 tbsp Salt 
1 tbsp Turmeric powder 

Apply the turmeric powder and salt to the mango pieces. Keep the mango pieces in a steel strainer, place another smaller vessel on the mango pieces, and put some heavy weight on the vessel.  Keep it aside for 6 to 8 hours. Some of the water from the mango will drain out. Take the mango pieces and spread it on the paper or cloth and let it dry for another 8 hours. 

Stage 3 - Making the Pickle 
Raw Mangoes 
2 1/2  tbsp Salt
3 cups Water 

Take a pot, add water and salt into the pot. Let it boil for 5 minutes. Switch of the flame and let the water cool down completely. Take the water in a bowl, add the spice powder and mix it. Add the mangoes and mix it. The water level has to cover up the mango pieces. Transfer the mangoes into a clean dry glass bottle. The pickle should fill up to 3/4 of the bottle, as the water can leak from the bottle while the mango pickle process is still on and it takes 7 days to be ready. Initially the spice water is liquidy, but eventually the mangoes and the spices will soak up some water and it will become  into a thick paste. You can enjoy the pickle after 7 days.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Filipino Adobo....

Adobo is a popular dish and it is unofficially considered as the national dish of Philippines.When the Spanish invaded and settled in the Philippines during the 16th century, they discovered this traditional Filipino cooking method and called it adobo, which is the Spanish word for marinade.
  There are many regional variations of adobo, but most recipes includes vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, bay leaves, and black pepper.  Coconut vinegar, rice vinegar, or cane vinegar is used. At times even white vinegar can be used. Adobo can be made with meat, fish or vegetables. It is most commonly made with chicken and pork or both combined. It is served with white rice. It was traditionally cooked in small clay pots.
This time while my stay in Singapore, I was invited by a Filipino friend for dinner. She has made few traditional dishes, one of them was Chicken Adobo. I fell in love with this dish and can have a plate full of rice with it. It's very simple to make. It is tangy and salty in taste. It's a must make dish. 
Chicken Adobo.... Here is my version of it.... 
For Marinating the Chicken
1 kg of Chicken with skin or without skin cut into pieces
4 tbsp Soya sauce
3 tbsp Cane Vinegar
6 Garlic cloves crushed
Salt to taste
1 tsp Pepper powder

Add all the above ingredients into a bowl and mix it well. Cover and marinate it for at least 3 hours to overnight.
For Chicken Adobo 
Marinated Chicken
4 Garlic cloves sliced
8 Black Pepper Corns
2 Bay leaves
3 tbsp Oil

Take a wok, add oil. Let the oil heat. Add the chicken pieces and fry it until brown on both the sides. Pour in the marinated juices, garlic, bay leaves and pepper corns. Add a cup of water. Cover and cook till the chicken has become tender. Serve it with hot steaming rice.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Khatta Mitha Kesari Aam Sharbat Sour and Sweet Mango Squash with Saffron

Since I am very fond of making various types of pickles, my husband got around 3 1/2 kgs of Raw Mangoes from a tree situated in the compound where he works. Apparently I had made 2 kgs mango Pickle the same day. So I kept the raw mangoes for 2 days, and by the time when I thought about making some more mango pickle, these mangoes were already in their half riped stage. So thought of making Mango squash. This is an experiment in my kitchen. This Mango Squash has no preservatives and will stay for 3 months in the fridge. I loved the flavor of the saffron infused with the flavor of the Mangoes. It is sweet and sour in taste.

Stage 1 
3 1/2 kgs Half riped Mangoes 
2 liters of Water 
1 tbsp Salt or Rock salt
5 to 6 pods of Green Cardomom crushed 
1/4 tsp Saffron 

Peel the skin of the mangoes. Cut them into pieces. Take a big pot. Add the mango pieces and the mango seeds along with the flesh into the pot. Add water, cardamom crushed,  saffron and salt. Let it simmer till the mangoes have become pulpy. Let it cool. Remove the mango seeds and squeeze out the pulp from it and discard the seeds. Add the rest of the mango pieces and the pulp into a blender and blend it. Take a wire mesh strainer and strain the juice out. 

Stage 2 
Mango Juice
2 1/2 kgs of Sugar
1/4 tsp Saffron 

Take a pot, add all the above ingredients. Let it simmer till it reaches a level before the one string consistency and small lumps begins to form. To check, take the juice on a ladle. Pour out the juice from the ladle. You will see small tiny lumps stuck on the ladle and the juice has thicken a bit. Switch of the gas. Let it cool. Strain the juice out through a wire mesh strainer. Let it cool completely. Store in dry glass bottles. 

To make the Sharbat, fill up 1/4 of the glass with the Squash. Add chilled water and ice. Stir it and enjoy it.