Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Rangooni Rice and Mutton Stew

I have a lot to say, but I am exhausted from last week’s drama. So I will just write a recipe today.

This stew is as rustic as it can get. But rustic in a classy way, something that you’d want to eat over and over again.

My Mother-in-law learnt this stew from her friend who was brought up in erstwhile Burma. When I married into the Basu family, I also got married to some of their recipes. This is one of the regulars in my parents-in-laws’ home. Sadly, we don’t know the name of this dish, if you do, do let us know. Till that time lets call it Rangooni Rice and Mutton Stew.

034For this recipe, you need very few things. Everything else is unnecessary.

Ingredients for Rangooni Rice and Mutton Stew are:

1 kg goat meat, bone and fat in cut into 2 inch pieces (I use the shoulder portion of a baby goat)
100 grams fresh ginger, cut into large chunks
1 cup rice, cleaned, washed and sieved (you can use short-grain rice, I used Basmati)
10 fat cloves of garlic, cut into slices
10 whole dry red chillies
Lime/lemon cut into wedges
3-4 tablespoons canola/vegetable/olive oil

002004005Start by getting your mutton ready, wash and clean. Drain the excess water.

In a large pan, add the mutton, the chunks of fresh ginger and enough water to cover the mutton and ginger. Cook covered till the meat is tender and falling off the bones. Don’t overcook, like I did! (It happened over changing of diapers and giving LMN a bath.)

011You may want to cook the meat the previous night if you are serving this stew for lunch the next day. Wait for the meat/ liquid to cool down completely. You will notice a layer of fat collected on the meat. Remove that with a ladle, discard or preserve as you may wish.

009012Start by heating up the cooked mutton and add the rice before the liquid starts to boil. Keep stirring and add more water if you want. Season with salt.

Once the rice is cooked and you have achieved the consistency you want for your stew, turn the heat off.

In the meantime, shallow fry your sliced garlic and whole dry red chillies till they are crisp.

016017022This should be done on low flame lest they burn, which they do pretty quickly. So its best to babysit them till they are ready to come out of the pan. You may keep the oil in too with the garlic and red chilly garnish.

023Ladle the rice and mutton stew into open-face bowls and add spoonfuls of the crispy garlic and red chillies onto it. Squirt some lemon juice and serve. (The pieces of ginger can be discarded before you serve the stew into individual bowls; they were added for flavour. Unless you are absolutely mental about ginger, and would want to bite into them.)


Its important that there remains complete silence in the room when you are eating this rice and mutton stew. That’s the only way you will hear the smacks of appreciation.

Yes, I love a little tareef when it comes to cooking with my heart. That’s how shallow I am. I also don’t take kindly to people who are thieves. “Shallow” and “unkind” are the two words that best describe me.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Khow Suey Khaogay?

I was a Khow Suey virgin until a couple of weeks ago, when my friend from Pakistan invited us over for a Burmese Khow Suey dinner in Canada. That’s how global we are!

This easy noodle soup had to find its way in our home too. Its that good.

I began by cooking the meat for the dish. I used minced beef, you can use chicken; the meat has to be boneless. I cooked my mince beef with chopped red onions, ginger-garlic paste, cumin powder, coriander powder, red chilli powder and salt.

I did add a little water towards the end of the cooking process to get the right consistency for the meat.

While the meat was cooking, I started on the coconut milk soup.

I used two cans of coconut milk, quarter cup fish sauce, 2-3 tablespoons of besan (mixed in water), some more water, sugar and salt to make my soup. It takes about 15-20 minutes of temperature-controlled cooking to finish making the soup.

The most time-consuming thing to do for Khow Suey though are the condiments. Especially if you are doing things from scratch, like I did. You obviously have a more viable option of using ready-to-use things.


For the topping/condiments of my Khow Suey I used crispy fried red onions, fried and crushed peanuts, slices of fried garlic, fried and crumbled Maggi noodles, bits of boiled eggs, chopped cilantro, chopped green onions, chopped green chillies, julienned ginger, and wedges of lemon.


060At the end of all the prep work, my condiment station looked like this.

I left the pasta/noodle to be cooked right towards the end to prevent any lumps from forming. I used whole wheat spaghetti for my Khow Suey. You can use regular egg noodles and cook according to package instructions. Don’t forget to salt the water while cooking the noodles.


With the meat, noodles, coconut milk soup and condiments ready, now it is all about assembly! That’s the easy part I guess. If you have kids around, let them go ahead and make their own bowl of Khow Suey. They will love the grown-up feeling of throwing in a bowl what they like from that large spread of colourful condiments. Make sure the soup and meat are hot/warm enough for you to enjoy the taste.


Begin with the noodles, and follow it up with the meat and the soup.

006007Then toss in the condiments in no particular order. Finish with a squirt of lemon juice. Mix and slurp. 


P.S. If you are making a vegetarian version of the Khow Suey, use minced soya nuggets.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Ilish Maacher Paturi Photoshoot and Some Learnings

So I took this Bobby Flay-like challenge upon me to make Ilish Maacher Paturi the way it should be, wrapped in banana leaves! No steel tiffin box or microwaveable bowl came in my way this time. I had suffered enough scorn from Bengali food-e-ratis for long. It was now time for redemption.


I used one heaped tablespoon of yellow mustard seeds, one teaspoon of black mustard seeds and one teaspoon of poppy seeds along with few green chillies, and a teaspoon of turmeric to make the marinade for the paturi. Once all the ingredients were wet ground to a smooth paste, I slathered it over the fish steaks. The Ilish we get here is from a Bangladeshi store, they have the best Padma river Ilish, known for its distinct taste and buttery texture.

020The thing about Ilish is that you don’t need to wash it thoroughly. Too much washing will drain the taste out of this king of fish! Ideally, a whole fish should be un-scaled, washed and then sliced.

022To the mustard marinated fish I threw in few more slit green chillies and some salt and drizzled mustard oil. Mustard oil is one of the most essential ingredients in an Ilish Maacher Paturi, please do not substitute it with any other oil. It will be Ilish Paturi blasphemy.

I kept the marinated fish covered for about 15-20 minutes, before I transferred each individual Ilish piece (with its marinade and the mustard oil; drizzle some more if you want to) on a rectangular piece of banana leaf.

I found the banana leaves in the frozen section of a Chinese grocery store. Make sure you wash the frozen leaves with warm water before you wrap them around the fish. This way they will soften a bit and will not tear.

I used kitchen twine to make banana leaf packets for my fish. You can use bamboo cocktail picks to keep the ends of the leaves together.

044Each packet was then kept in a large baking dish and microwaved for 10 minutes. I did think of my traditional bamboo steamer for cooking the fish, but then got lazy and settled to microwave. I don’t think the end result suffered because of that.

Time the cooking process of the paturi well, so that you can serve the dish just before you are sitting down to eat your lunch or dinner.

051Snip off the twines and unwrap each leaf to keep on the plate in which your guest/you will eat.

Ilish Maacher Paturi
needs nothing else but pearly white plain rice to eat with and your deft fingers to artfully make morsels of the fish and rice and its zingy mustard sauce to transfer you into Ilish heaven. Return from there would be very difficult, because everything then will look so ordinary.