Monday, 31 December 2007

Bhari mirchain aur qeema (stuffed chillies with mince)

This is more of a taste thing. Not everybody likes it because it combines a few different flavours. But if you make it right, you will love those different tastes.

This is what you need:

1 kilo mince - I used mutton, but the choice is yours
2 firm tomatoes, in wedges and 3 slightly softer ones, diced
1 cup of yoghurt
6 -8 big green chillies. The dark green sort.
Spices - see spice plate for details :)
4 onions, sliced
half a lemon
bunch of fresh coriander

... and this is what you do..

1 - fry the onions in hot oil to a nice golden brown
2- add the mince and let it cook a bit
3- when the mince looks done, add the spices - except pomegranate seeds

4- fry the meat a bit and then toss in the diced tomatoes, mix and pour in the yoghurt and squeeze the lemon over it
5- mix it well, cover, and let cook for around 10 minutes
6- meanwhile, clean out the chillies buy cutting off the head, and taking out the seeds with a spoon or blunt knife. Be careful not to cut the chillies open at the side

7- the mince should be done by now... it will look a little wet, dont worry, thats just the yoghurt sauce and its supposed to look wet! - take out around 3, 4 tblsp and mix the pomi seeds in it.
8- carefully fill the chillies with this mix, and stuff a tomato wedge in to the opening, as a 'stopper' :)

9 - shallow fry the chillies

10- put them in the pot over the mince
11 - spread chopped coriander over it

12 - put it on low heat for around 10 - 15 minutes
13- serve with roti or rice.. I prefer rice :)

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Picture credits

Okay I am being forced to admit this: all pictures where you see my hands, i.e., where I am making something and my hands are clearly to be seen, have been taken by Zara. She says she demands credit for taking such good pictures! So, pls be sure to appreciate the fact!

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Today's Menu

Okay, Baj was saying the other day that she needs to make lasagne.. really tasty lasagne, that is :)
So this is my way of doing it. I don't like the very dry one, where u can see each layer - I mean, u need to eat it, right? Layers wont stay there forever, right? Right :) So.. here goes..

This is what you need for 2 trays:

Meat Sauce:
1 kilo mince - I used mutton mince
220 grms, or one can of tomato paste
1/2 can of crushed tomatoes, or 4 medium sized fresh ones, cubed
1 tsp each of ginger garlic paste
2 tbls of oregano
1 tsp each of salt and red chillies (less or more, as u prefer)
3/4 tsp curry powder, ground cumin, ground coriander powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 generous tsp of ground black pepper
olive oil

White Sauce:
1 liter milk
1 big tbls butter and flour each
1 tsp salt
3/4 tsp white pepper

Grated cheese, as much as you want
pack of cream
.. and of course lasagne sheets

This is what you do:

1- heat some oil and fry the meat with the ginger garlic paste till the water dries and the meat looks nicely done
2- pour in the tomato puree, add the tomatoes, canned or fresh and spices and mix well
3- add the oregano and let it simmer on low heat till the sauce thickens and looks tasty :)

4- grease your baking dish and lay out the lasagne sheets. I used a rectangle and a round dish just so you can see that you don't have to have a square one :) Though it makes for better pieces in that, for sure...

5- put the butter and flour in a non stick pan and mix on low heat, till it turns slightly golden. Not too dark mind!
6- keep stirring and pour in milk, slowly, to make at first a thick paste and work it gradually up to a sauce. Zara said it looked like well mixed cerelac before I added more milk!
7- while its simmering, add white pepper powder and salt and let it thicken

8- pour the sauce in a jug, it'll make pouring easier. Its important to make the sauce after the meat sauce and after preparing the tins and after everything else actually. That way it stays hot and helps to soften the lasagne sheets
9- spread some meat sauce on the lasagne sheets and top with white sauce
10- cover with more sheets and top with meat and white sauce, this time, spread the cream on top as well
11- complete the pile as high as you want and top generously with cheese and stick it in the hot oven for around 20 - 25 minutes, depending on how hot your oven is

12 - check after 20 minutes, switch on the grill to brown from top and ...

.... serve with a little salad and my own homemade ice-tea :)

Okay - the ice tea is really easy.. Just squeeze out a lemon or two, depending on how much you like lemon :) make a cup of hot and sugary black tea. Add the lemon juice to cold water, pour in the tea, adjust the sweet and chill. You can of course make your life easier, and just make lemon flavoured Tang and add the tea :)

And since this is a menu, we also have cake on the agenda. Which is so very easy:

I call it the 1,1, 2, 2 cake :)

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of milk
2 cups flour
2 eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
extra sugar
.. and of course apples :)

So all you have to do is sift flour with salt with baking powder and set aside.
Beat the eggs, add sugar, beat some more
Pour in the milk, beat more
Add the flour mix and fold in.. remember, never beat after adding flour and baking powder. The cake will resemble a log otherwise...
Pour into greased tin..
... and here's the 'feeling' part..
cover the cake with diced apples
sprinkle 'some' cinnamon powder and sugar
and blot all over with butter.
I think I used around 100 grms of butter. But don't ask me about the cinnamon and sugar. Just sprinkle away...
Bake it, and let it turn golden. Serve with cream.. yummy.. :)

Oh by the way, this is what I've done to my kitchen balcony window. Didn't like the curtain and didn't like the prying eyes either.. I think this solution is a good one..

Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Cheese Strudel

Hullo and sorry for being absent so long.. just been wandering around.. spent some dream time with u Api and it still feels like I wasn't really ever there! Attempted the Strudel - and apart from the fact that it was too small for us, it turned out quite nice :) So, here goes:

This is what you need:

for the strudel:
125 grms flour
1 medium egg
pinch of salt
3-4 tbls warm water
3-4 tbls oil

for the filling:
40 grms/3 tbls butter
40 grms/ 4 tbls sugar
1 medium egg
2 tsps lemon juice
250 grm cheese (philadelphia or any other curd cheese)
4 tsps vanilla flavoured custard
4 tsps cream
1 can of apricots, drained weight 240 grms
around a handful of raisins
another handful of crushed almonds

to coat:
melted butter
icing sugar

a clean, big tea towel.

This is what you will do:

1- make the dough by mixing the salt with the flour and adding the other ingredients. The dough might be a bit sticky, in that case, dust with flour to get a smooth dough

2- boil some water in a saucepan, pour it out, dry the pot and line with wax paper. Put the dough ball in and let stand, covered, for half an hour

3 - heat the oven and set a tray with all the ingredients, carry it to a big table if you have one so that u can work in peace

4- beat the soft butter lightly and add in the sugar, egg, lemon juice, cheese, custard powder and cream

5- drain and cut the the apricots in small pieces. Add them, the almonds and raisins to the cream mixture. Stick the bowl in the fridge and work on the dough

6- melt the butter. Spread out the tea towel on the table top and dust with flour. Put the dough on it and roll.. this is the tricky part. You need a lot of attention and patience with it, because its supposed to be thin enough for you to be able to see the design of the towel beneath it

7- dont roll with the pin too much, rather use your hands sans nails! Brush generously with melted butter

8- if the dough has an uneven edge, which it probably will :) - then cut along the sides to get a nice rectangle. When its thin enough, spread the cheese mix over it smoothly, leaving a margin. Take care not to flatten it.

9- fold in the sides, and roll as you would a cream-roll with the help of the tea towel. Do it slowly, otherwise you might as well make a cake of the whole thing!

10- when you're folding, take care to brush the sides with melted butter in between. Shift the roll to a greased baking dish and brush with butter. Stick it in the oven and let it bake to a crispy golden. Brush with butter again after around 10 mins of baking time

11- take it out, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with vanilla sauce...

Vanilla Sauce:
- boil 400 ml milk
- mix 3 tbls cornflour with a little cold milk
- add sugar and vanilla sugar or essence to it
- pour it in to the milk and let it thicken
- chill before serving!

Saturday, 27 October 2007


Morning :) Okay I havent worked out how to answer the post directly yet, so an answer to ur comment: for the chicken not to get soaked in oil do the following:

- make sure u let the prepared fillets stand at least an hour before frying
- make sure the oil is HOT - check by holding a wooden spoon in the middle of the pan. If bubbles form around it, its the right temperature
- once the oil is hot, take care to keep the temp constant
- it should be blubbering constantly. If it stops doing that, its getting cold.

this should work.. :)

Friday, 26 October 2007


Sometimes I land up with nothing special to cook and a few mismatched ingredients. Then I try and 'create' a dish and whenever the children ask me whats for lunch I say, "experiment" :) They've learnt to trust that word because, thank the Lord, it has almost always turned out good. Here's what I made yesterday. I had:

3 potatoes
1 cup shredded cabbage
1 packet of Panir (not the conventional cheese, rather the Asian variety, found in special shops)
1 cup blended tomatoes
4 chicken drumsticks
some tamarind juice

... to that I added..

1/2 tsp red chilli
1/2 tsp salt (because panir is salty)
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 crushed garlic
1/2 tsp ginger powder
14/ tsp cinnamon powder

... and this is what I did..

- I took the meat off the drumsticks and tossed them into the pan with some oil and the ginger garlic and let it saute
- cubed the potatoes and fried them
- cubed the panir and fried the pieces too

- when you fry the panir, careful! it will swell to almost double!

- poured the tomatoes over the chicken, added all the spices plus tamarind juice and let cook
- tossed in the cabbage, half a glass water, and covered it.
- about 15 mins later the cabbage was fully cooked and almost like gravy
- turned in the potatoes and the panir, gave some more water so it doesn't burn and let all simmer covered for a further 20 mins
- the result was a tasty, slightly dry curry, spicy and yet simple..

Some important points:
You can leave out the tamarind if u dont want it but it really adds a slight different touch. Instead of panir, you can add boiled eggs right at the end, but it wont taste the same. Will try and note down how to make panir at home one of these days.
Eat this dish with parathas or thin pita...

Thursday, 25 October 2007

Crispy Chicken Fillet

Okay, by popular demand of my children :) Crispy Chicken Fillet. Everyone has their own fav way of making it I guess. This is mine.

This is what you need:

2 chicken breast fillet, cut through the middle, to make 4

4 tblsps of flour and cornflour each
3 tblsp breadcrumbs
1 tsp salt
1/2 tblsp red chilli powder
1 tblsp white pepper powder
1/2 tblsp mustard
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 aginomoto
2 eggs
3 tblsps soya sauce
3 tblsps chilli sauce
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground garlic

.. and this is what you should do...

- beat together the egg ingredients and set aside
- mix the dry stuff together with all the spices
- dip the fillet first in the egg mixture, and then the breadcrumbs.
- repeat the process thrice, ending with breadcrumbs mix

- repeat the process thrice, ending with breadcrumbs mix
- fry in HOT oil on medium
- drain ....

... and serve!

Some important points:

Its important to repeat the dipping, because thats how the crust will come. Best would be if you could prepare them and let them sit in the fridge for an hour or so. The flavour becomes enhanced and even without the crust, the chicken tastes great. Its going to be messy work, so keep a hand towel close, incase u don't like sticky fingers :) Of course you can use chicken pieces as well, but I'm not too sure about how well they will fry. Will try that someday and tell. Make sure the oil is really hot when u dip them in.. and then keep it on medium heat to ensure the temp. Make and tell :)