Thursday, 15 July 2010

Indo-oriental Chilli Cauliflower

About the food:

This is a fusion food involving Indian, Chinese and Thai cuisines. The 'Chinese' or 'Thai' food that we get in India is basically a fusion of the cuisines. The original 'Chinese'/'Thai' foods are entirely different and distinctive in their own style. This recipe belongs to this group of fusion foods, and I am confident that it would be extremely appealing to anyone who likes Indian style Chinese/Thai foods.

I learned this recipe from a friend, and I have slightly modified it. For non-veg lovers, you can substitute the cauliflower with chicken, and it tastes absolutely fantastic. Try this, it is extremely easy to cook, and makes a great meal!

Preparation time: 20 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins

1 big cauliflower
1 bunch of spring onions
1 inch root ginger, finely chopped
1 big onion, cut in rings
3-4 dried red chillies, cut through the centre de-seeded, chopped
vegetable oil
1/2 cup cornflour
1 tsp ajinamoto
1 tbsp black pepper powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup Thai sweet-chilli sauce
1 tbsp ginger paste
1/2 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp sugar

2 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
1/2 cup cashew nuts, halved


1. Cut the cauliflower with big chunky pieces, with the florets intact. Wash and put them in a large bowl. whisk the eggs in a glass, add 2 tbsp of cornflour, 1/2 tbsp salt and the ajinamoto. Pour this on the cauliflower and coat them well with the mixture.

2.Heat oil in a deep pan. Dip fry the cauliflower in batches until golden brown. Take them out in a kitchen towel.

3.Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the onions, capsicum, chopped ginger, cashew nuts, red chillies and fry them for 2 mins. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 1 min. Keep on cooking until the onions are tender but do not brown them. Add the cauliflowers and mix them well in the pan.Add the soya sauce, vinegar, the sweet-chilli sauce, a pinch of salt and 2 cups of water. Bring the water to boil. Mix 2 tbsp of cornflour with water in a cup and add it to the pan. Let it simmer for 2 mins.

4. Put it in a serving tray and serve with plain rice or any kind of Chinese/Thai fried rice.

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

Clear chicken ball soup

About the food:

This is an original recipe of mine. My 4 yr old son is crazy about chicken soups, and if given his way, can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner.I had to think hard to add variety to his 'chicken soups'. I leafed through by cookery books, searched the net, and then this recipe came to my mind.

In this recipe, the chicken balls are succulent, the apricots give a sweet and twangy taste and the ginger gives a spicy flavour.It is an extremely healthy and versatile food, your kids would love the soft and succulent chicken balls, you can have it as a light meal or you could serve this in a party. The best part of this dish is that it is extremely easy to cook! You cannot expect anything more for a dish.So, let's go ahead!

Preparation time: 30 mins
Cooking time: 30 mins


500 gms boneless chicken breast pieces
1 bunch of spring onions, chopped
1 tbsp of ginger paste
1/2 inch root ginger, finely chopped
6-7 dried apricots, chopped finely
1 tbsp black peppercorns
1 tbsp black pepper powder
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp cornflour
vegetable oil
1 ltr water or chicken stock


1. Chop the chicken pieces and using a food processor/mixer mince them finely to a thick paste.
Take them out in bowl, add the ginger paste, onion powder, black pepper powder, cornflour and salt. Mix them together and leave it for 20 mins.

2.Wet your both palms with some oil, and make small balls from the mixture. Line them it a plate, taking care that they do not touch.

3. Heat a deep pan and add they butter. Put the black peppercorns, chopped ginger, spring onions and apricots. Fry for 5mins over a low flame. Add 1 ltr of water or the chicken stock, add salt and let it boil. One by one, lower the chicken balls into the boiling water. Cover and let them simmer over a low flame for 20-25mins.

4. Scoup off any fat from the surface, and serve hot with garlic bread.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

Chicken Rezala

About the food:

Rezala is a typical Bangladeshi dish, which has the just mix of sweet, sour and hot flavours. It is a rich dish, absolutely delicious.Try this dish, it will never fail you. for the original flavour, this dish should be prepared using ghee only, but I do a healthier option. I cook it in vegetable oil, and mix the ghee, less amount than when cooked only with it, to the pan.

Preparation time: 2 hrs
Cooking time: 1 hr


1 kg skinless chicken pieces

For marination:
5 onions made into paste
4 green chillies, made into paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
1 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp ground Garam Masala( cinnamom, cardamom and cloves)
4 tbsp kewra water

For the curry:

2-3 medium potatoes, peeled and cut in quarters
1/2 cup posto (khas-khas) paste
200 ml (1 cup) plain yogurt
vegetable oil
1 big onion, chopped into rings
1/2 tbsp ground nutmeg (Jai phal)
1/2 tbsp ground mace (jayitri)
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar


1. Mix all the ingredients for the marination. You can mix the green chillies, ginger, garlic and onions together and make a paste in a grinder. Add these to the chicken, cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hrs.

2.Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan. Fry the ring onions until lightly golden. Keep it aside.

3. You can use the same pan used to fry the onions, and no need to rinse the pan either.Heat 4 tbsp oil in pan. Add the marinated chicken in batches to the pan, and stir fry. Add the potatoes. Cook on a medium flame, so the chicken pieces do not burn.Add 4 tbsp ghee, nutmeg and mace powder, salt, lemon juice, kewra water and sugar and continue cooking until the oil separates out. Now, add the yogurt, 1 spoon at a time , mixing it well before adding the next spoon. Otherwise the yogurt would cuddle.Cover and cook over a low flame, turning between the time,for about 20 mins or until the chicken is cooked.Add the posto paste, mix, and bring the food to boil.

4. Remove from the flame, garnish with the fried onion rings and serve hot with Indian Paratha or Basmati rice.

Friday, 9 July 2010

19th century English chicken curry

About the food:

Of all the recipes I have accumulated so far, this recipe is extremely special. Indian curries had always been popular in foreign lands, particularly in Britain. This dish gives the taste of what a 19th century curry in Britain was.

I got this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey’s ‘Ultimate curry Bible’ .She always wanted to know how a 19th Century British curry would have tasted, and had gone in depths to do a research. She found that the most authentic curry was prepared at that time in London’s Oriental Club by Chef Richard Terry, which he claims to have learned from the ‘Native cooks’. The club catered for the officers from the East India Company, who highly approved the curry.

The recipe of the curry powder was found in the book ‘Indian Curries’ by Chef Richard Terry written in 1861.Terry used butter to cook, and the recipe was for mutton, which was cooked in an oven for 3 hrs. I have used chicken here, and have used vegetable oil in place of butter.

The curry powder could be prepared in advance and if stored in an airtight container, will keep for months. The Curry paste would keep for weeks, you have to store it in a refrigerator.

This recipe gives a reflection of us in the past, so dive in to have a taste of the past!

Preparation time: 11/2 hr

Cooking time: 1 hr


1 kg chicken pieces, skinless

Vegetable oil or butter

4 medium onions, finely chopped

2 tbsp ginger paste

1 tbsp garlic paste

19th Century British Curry Powder: (makes 7 tbsp)

2 tbsp ground turmeric

5 tsp ground coriander

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp cayenne powder

1 ½ tsp ground black pepper

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp ground cardamom seeds

½ tsp ground cloves

19th Century British Curry Paste: (makes 350ml)

4 tbsp coriander seeds

2 tbsp chana dal or yellow split peas

1 tbsp black peppercorns

1 ½ tsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp brown mustard seeds

1 tbsp ground turmeric

1 tbsp cayenne pepper

2 tsp salt

2 tsp sugar

120ml (half cup) cider vinegar

6 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil


1. Curry powder:

Mix all the spices together and store in a an airtight container.

2. Curry paste:

Dry roast coriander, cumin, chana dal and peppercorns in a pan. Add the mustard seeds and grind them to a powder. Put it in a bowl and add turmeric, cayenne powder, salt, sugar and vinegar. Stir to mix. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Stir fry the spices for about 5 mins, cool, store in a container and refridgerate.

3. Heat oil in a pan. Fry the onions until they are lightly golden. Add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 min. add 2 tbsp curry powder and 2 tbsp curry paste and continue cooking for 3-4 mins. Add the chicken pieces, and mix well. Cook by turning the pieces over a medium to low flame until oil separates out. Add a pinch of salt and 3 cups of water, cover and simmer until the chicken pieces are cooked.

4. Serve hot with Indian Paratha or basmati rice.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Sabur khichuri (Sago khichuri)

About the food:

Sabu or sago is a starch extracted from the Sago palm tree, and you get them in the market in form of small grains. This is an recipe from the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh.I have learnt this recipe from my sister, who had been living in UP for a while. It could be prepared as a quick snacks or meals, and could be a very good kid's meal. It does not take long and is very easy to cook, as well as nutritious and tasty. The word khichuri in the recipe means a mixture or in true literal sense a hotch-potch mix. Enjoy this hotch-potch and I promise it would taste delicious!

Preparation time: 30mins
Cooking time: 15mins

Ingredients: (serves 3-4)

1 cup sabu
1/2 tbsp cumin whole
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
2-3 green chillies, de-seeded and chopped
1 inch root ginger, finely chopped
vegetable oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup peanuts
1 big potato


1. Measure 1 cup of the sabu in a bowl. Add water just to cover it and a bit more, and let it soak for 10mins.

2.Dry roast the peanuts in a pan until they are slightly browned and keep them aside.

3. Peel and cut the potatoes in 1/2 inch cubes. Boil them, taking care not to over boil them. Drain them slightly before they are fully tender and cooked.

4.Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add the cumin and ginger and let them crackle. Add the potatoes and fry till they are golden. Break the sabu with your hand so the grains separate. Add the sabu to the pan and mix them well. Add the sugar, salt, turmeric powder, lemon juice, chillies, cumin and coriander powder and keep on cooking until they are fully mixed and the sabu takes a light brown colour.Add the lemon juice.

5.Add the peanuts, mix them well and serve hot.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Lentil cake curry (Dhokar dalna)

About the food:
This is a traditional Bengali dish, and one of my favourite. It is one of the most popular vegetarian food, often found in any Bengali party menu. Serve this with rice, and you can hardly find any delicious dish as this.Do not get scared away looking at the preparation time, it includes the overnight soaking time of the lentils.The cakes could be served just like that as a dry snacks, if you wish, with a mint chutney, and it is absolutely delicious!

Preparation time: 12 hrs
cooking time: 1 hr


Bengal gram (Chana/Cholar Dal): 160gms
Yellow split pea (Matar dal): 40gms
Cumin: 1 tbsp
Garam masala ( cinnamom,cardamom & cloves) powder: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 1tbsp
2-3 Green chilli, chopped (de-seeded if you want less hot)
Ghee (Clarified butter): 2 tbsp
2 big potatoes, peeled and cut in 1 inch cubes
1 tomato, chopped
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
1 bayleaf
Turmeric powder: 1/2 tbsp
Vegetable oil for deep frying


Making the cakes:

1.Wash and soak the lentils overnight in water. In a mixer, make a paste of the lentils.

2.Add the salt, sugar, 1/2 tbsp cumin powder and 2 de-seeded chopped green chillies to the paste and mix them well. Cover and keep it for 30 mins.

3.Heat a non stick pan and add 3 tbsp oil. Put the mixture and fry it on a low flame. The mixture should dry up, form a sticky dough, and should be a little browned. Take care not to burn it.

4. Take a deep dish and lightly oil it.While hot, spread the mixture in it evenly, about 1/2 inch thick. Beat the surface with the back of a spoon or a bowl to get an even shape and form. Let it set for about 20mins. With a knife, cut through it in straight lines, 1/2 inch apart. Now cut it again in straight lines, making a cross with the first line. You will get rhombus shaped cakes. Take them out carefully so they do not break.Heat oil in a pan for deep frying. Fry the cakes is batches and take them out in kitchen tissues.

The curry:

5.Heat 3 tbsp oil in a pan. Add 1/2 tbsp cumin and bayleaf and let them crackle. Add the ginger paste, fry for a minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, potatoes ,green chillies and fry on a medium flame. Add salt and turmeric. Fry for about 10 mins, and then add 2 cups of water. Simmer on a low flame until the potatoes are cooked. Add more water if it dries up and let it boil. Add the lentil cakes carefully and cover them with the gravy. Add more water if needed, the cakes need to be soaked in it. The gravy will dry out as the cakes will absorb much of it. Add the garam masala powder and mix it well. Add 3 tbsp of ghee. leave the curry for about 15-20 mins before serving. You may heat it up again just before serving.

6. Serve hot with plain basmati rice.

Cumin: 1 tbsp