Sunday, October 30, 2011

Mutton Stew

This mutton stew is sure to keep you warm in the upcoming winter. Its got a rustic character to it because of the way the ingredients are cut. I love this stew with some freshly baked bread or Kaiser roll.

038The earthy flavours of this Mutton Stew make it a household favourite of ours. I add big pieces of goat meat, whole baby potatoes and shallots and chunks of carrots for it to cook slowly and some of it to disintegrate into the liquid creating a great balance of the natural sweetness from the ingredients.

024You can make this stew with chicken, but goat meat beats the chicken variation any day!

Ingredients for Mutton Stew are:

500 grams baby goat meat, cut into 4 inch pieces, fat and bone in (you can add a couple of pieces of liver too)
7-8 baby potatoes
1 large carrot, cut into big chunks
6-7 shallots or baby onions, peeled
1 medium size tomato, roughly chopped
4-5 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons atta/whole wheat flour + extra if needed
15-20 whole black peppercorns + extra black pepper powder for seasoning
2 black cardamoms
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon butter
2 tablespoons canola/vegetable oil

028026Heat the oil and the butter in a pan or pressure cooker. Add the meat pieces and sear them on both sides on high heat. 029Make sure you do not crowd or cover the pan, that way the meat will not sear and will start releasing moisture. The idea behind searing the meat is that it will trap all the juices and flavour right inside the meat without releasing them.

Remove the meat from the pan and keep aside. In the same oil, add the black cardamoms, bay and peppercorns. Sauté for a minute and toss in the potatoes, onion (or shallots) carrot and garlic.
031Mix everything together without moving them around too much. Let them brown a bit on all sides.

Now add the atta or the whole wheat flour directly to the vegetables and lower the heat. Mix well. This will create a rue for the stew which will help to thicken it when it cooks.

Add the seared meat to the vegetables. Give it a good mix and add salt and enough water to cover all the vegetables and meat. Now add the chopped tomatoes.

035Pressure cook till the meat is done. I let 3-4 whistles go off for my stew. (If the liquid of the stew is still too runny, add some more atta mixed in a little water and add to the stew.) Season with black pepper powder and serve hot with your favourite bread.



Friday, October 28, 2011

Dimer Dalna, Bengali Egg Curry

The Dimer Dalna is every Bengali mother’s answer to those nights when her pantry and fridge are gaping emptiness. That’s when all she can think of is doling out a quick egg curry to maintain that non-bhej dinner tradition at home. The Dimer Dalna is also a preferred quick something by the cash-strapped bachelor who has called his Mother and painstakingly written down the recipe of Dimer Dalna for those days and nights towards the end of the month.

061Dimer Dalna has immense possibilities. It can pass off as a non-vegetarian dish and even fool a hard core fish-eating Bengali. And may I add that a simple meal of Dimer Dalna-bhaat after a day of rich and heaBy Bong eating is like manna from heaven.

Ingredients for Dimer Dalna/ Bengali Egg Curry are:

6 hard boiled eggs (two per person; chicken eggs are mostly used, but if you find duck's eggs {haasher deem} during winters, try them too)
3 boiled potatoes, peeled and halved
1 medium size red onion, very finely chopped
1 large ripe tomato (the riper the better), coarsely chopped
Half cup green peas
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
Handful of freshly chopped coriander, stems and leaves
1+1 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoon red chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon finely ground garam masala powder (cloves, cinnamon, cardamoms)
2 bay leaves
3-4 tablespoons Mustard or Canola oil

Heat mustard oil in a pressure pan, add the eggs and half teaspoon turmeric powder. Fry the eggs on high heat till they get coated with the turmeric powder and get a light brown color on the outside. Remove with a slotted spoon. In the same oil, add the halved potatoes, add half teaspoon turmeric powder, coat well on the potatoes, till they get light brown, remove and keep with the eggs.


To the oil, add the bay leaves, sauté for a few seconds and add the chopped red onion.

046To get a good color on your onions, you can add a pinch of sugar, let it caramelize and then add the onions. Fry the onions till they get lightly browned. Now add the ginger-garlic paste, the remaining turmeric, red chili, cumin and coriander, salt and a little pinch of sugar. Cook covered for about 4-5 minutes. Now add the coarsely chopped tomato. Mash the tomatoes with the back of your spatula to release all its juices. Cook covered for 3-4 minutes on medium heat. Now add the green peas and a cup of water to this mixture and cook on medium heat, covered for 4-5 minutes, till the raw taste of the ingredients is gone.


Check the seasoning, and adjust at this point. Now add the eggs and potatoes, mix well with the rest of the ingredients, taking care not to break the eggs. Cover the pan, and cook till you have a thick gravy. You can also cook this mixture in a pressure cooker and have one whistle go off after you have added the eggs and potatoes.

053Turn the heat off and add the garam masala powder and freshly chopped coriander.

Serve with plain rice or chapati.

P.S. A very useful tip of making egg curry is by adding the eggs and potatoes in a leftover gravy of chicken curry. Try it, it never fails you.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Garage Sale Purchase


So we were going downtown when I saw this garage sale in the neighbourhood.


I screamed: S-T-O-P-T-H-E-C-A-R!!! The husband screeched our black beauty to a halt.


And there I was greedily eyeing everything from the junk called Garrrrrage Sale in front of this oldish house.


And I spotted these!



Wooden masks from Mexico lying on the dusty porch. Blasphemous.


And guess how much I paid for them?! Five bucks each. Well, it was a great deal considering I did not even have to use my charm!


Friday, October 21, 2011

Koraishutir Kochuri

India spoils you! Even my Argentinian friend who lived there only for a couple of years agrees.

Its people power is immense. Right now, apart from my immediate family, I miss almost everybody from my everyday life back home. From the domestic help and cook, to the go-to Auntyji next door whose door I would knock shamelessly for a bowl of sugar. Last evening I ran out of sugar while making the filling for Koraishutir Kochuri. What I had thought to be a bag of sugar in my pantry turned out to be all-purpose flour. Now if you are a Bengali, you’d know that sugar is very important for the Koraishutir pur.

012Obviously since I am toting a baby these days, I couldn’t just slip into my sneakers, plug my music on and go to the supermarket on a rainy evening to get it. Instead I had to patiently wait for the husband to bring me a bag of sugar on his way back from work. Which meant waiting for a couple of hours more and also the probability that he might forget in spite of two emails and a text message; and might I add, a follow up call to check if he had received those pieces of communication.

Had I been in India, I would have used the easiest (read reliable) route to getting a bowl of the coveted sugar.

I would have either called my grocery-wala saying – Raju Bhaiya, ek kilo chini bhijwa do. And add an urgent – Jaldi!. Or walked across to my neighbour’s and said – Aunty, I ran out of sugar. Thoda sa milega kya? And Auntyji would only be too glad to fill the bowl with the white stuff and hand it over to me. She would even offer to babysit while I cooked. Later as a thank you gesture, I would send her hot Koraishutir Kochuri!

Transactions and deals like this are common in friendly, urban India I grew up in. Here I don’t really know who my next door neighbour is. He is an elderly gentleman who nods a polite hello whenever we see him in the hallway. We have never exchanged a word beyond that. And I am pretty sure he wouldn’t appreciate if I knocked on his door begging for a bowl of sugar. Maybe I should make the first move and call him over for some Kochuri and Alur Dom. I wonder if he would ask for the recipe too!

Ingredients for Koraishutir Kochuri are:

018020023500 grams fresh (or frozen) green peas (shelled and coarsely ground)
2 inch ginger (paste)
2 teaspoon red chili powder
2 teaspoon turmeric powder
Pinch of asafoetida
2-3 tablespoons mustard oil
1 cup Maida – Atta combination
Vegetable/Canola oil for deep frying

Heat mustard oil in a wok, add a pinch of asafoetida. Add the green peas paste, ginger paste, dry spices and salt and sugar.

Keep stirring and frying the ingredients till the peas mixture soaks all the oil, moisture and is good enough to make small balls. From a bright peas-y green, it will turn into a moss green color.

029Let the mixture cool down till you are able to handle it with your hands. I sometimes make my peas filling a day before I am making the Kochuri, it saves up a lot of time on the day I am actually making it.

Knead maida-atta with some water, one tablespoon vegetable oil and a pinch of salt. Keep aside covered with a lid or a moist tea cloth for an hour. Give it a quick knead again. The dough should feel like a baby’s bottom under your fingers. Heat one cup of vegetable oil in a thick bottom wok.

011012Make small balls of the dough and roll them out into discs. Fill in the peas mixture (about one tablespoon in each) and round the dough between the palms of your hand. Roll them again as you would make puris.

IMG_2775[3]Let the oil heat up before you slide the Kochuris in. Give both sides a minute each before turning. Use a spider to take them out of the oil. Drain each Kochuri on paper towels to get that excess oil out.

Because the Kochuris are filled in, they wouldn’t always fluff up like a luchi/puri.

But mine did! Go figure.

From BongMom with Lau’er Malaikari

This malaikari is inspired by everyone’s favourite – the BongMom! Though I’d admit, I did not follow her, sorry her Mum’s recipe to the T. I did minor hera-pheri here and there. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I had my Mum’s Chingri Malaikari too. I am hoping I will be pardoned for the culinary license I took.

LauThe Lau’er Malaikari or Lauki (Bottle gourd) cooked in coconut milk is a very new recipe for me. Probably that’s what makes it all the more interesting.


Ingredients for BongMom-inspired Lau’er Malaikari are:

1 small lau/lauki, peeled and diced
1 medium size red onion made into paste
1 can of coconut milk (I use the Thai variety)
1 tablespoon ginger paste
3-4 whole green chillies
1 tablespoon mixed whole garam masala spices (cloves, green and black cardamoms, cinnamon)
2-3 bay
Half teaspoon red chilli powder
Half teaspoon turmeric
4-5 tablespoons desi ghee

IMG_2619IMG_2618IMG_2621Heat the ghee in a thick pan. Add a pinch of sugar and let it caramelize. Now add the onion paste and the whole garam masala spices and bay. Very soon the onion paste will start turning a darker shade of pink. Keep moving the onion in the ghee and the spices, till you have a line of ghee on the sides. This will also indicate that the onion paste is cooked and does not have its conspicuous raw smell. Add a couple of green chillies if you want to at this stage. Do this cooking on low-medium heat. We don’t want the onions burnt.

IMG_2623Now add the cubed/ diced lau pieces. Mix with the onion paste. After about 2-3 minutes, add the ginger paste and salt. Add the red chilli and turmeric powder. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.


Open the lid to see that a lot of juices and moisture from the lau has been released. Cook on high for a minute or two and pour the coconut milk.

IMG_2633IMG_2634Let the coconut milk come to a rumbling boil, then reduce the heat. Let the lau cook in the coconut milk for about 8-10 minutes. You will see a thin layer of the ghee surface on top. Add sugar and more salt if necessary.


Move around the thickened coconut milk and lau pieces. Pray that you have done a good job and turn the heat off.


Your Lau’er Malaikari is now ready to be eaten with plain, white rice.


Thank you, BongMom for being an inspiration and a friend I can run to with my cribs and complains.