Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Homemade Ginger Garlic Paste

Ginger garlic paste is the base ingredient for almost any Indian food. Whether you are making a curry or a vegetable, it always comes in handy. And there's nothing better than the homemade stuff right? 

The more involved I seem to get with food and cooking, the more I value the whole concept of trying to make as much as possible at home without having to buy store bought products. In today's world, where we are never really sure what goes into anything we eat, its best to try and make as much as you can at home. 

I know most of us are really short on time, so make larger quantities that can stay for a while, instead of small bottles where you find yourself having to make a new fresh batch every week. 
ginger garlic paste
Ginger Garlic Paste

The basic principal of this recipe is to use equal quantities of ginger and garlic. Some recipes call for water, but I don't see the need for it, as water will naturally come out from the ginger and garlic. 

I recommend grinding the ginger first, and pre cutting it in smaller pieces before you throw it into the mixer. If you are dealing with larger quantities like I did in this recipe, I grind the ginger first and remove, and then grind the garlic, just to make sure there are no chunks of either in the paste. 

Turmeric is a natural preserving agent. So add a little to help keep it for longer. For my quantity I found that 1/4 tsp was more than enough. You want a very slight yellow tinge to your ginger garlic paste. Don't over do the turmeric. The way I looked at it, is, you don't want it to change the colour of a dish that you might be preparing later, so keeping that in mind too, just add a little.
ginger garlic paste
Ginger garlic paste 

Oil is also a natural preserving agent. You can't go wrong here in how much you add.. For this quantity I've added 5 tbsps but if you are making lesser, then 2 to 3 tbsps should suffice.

Salt is another preserving agent. Again, don't add too much as you do not want it affecting the dish you use it for later.

I DON'T add vinegar to my paste when making it. It will slowly turn the whole paste an alien bright green and unless to want to show your kids a bit of cooking magic or some science fun, I wouldn't recommend adding any vinegar at all.

Always store your ginger garlic paste once made in the fridge. You can store it in a glass bottle, and it will sit nicely in the door of your fridge for as long as you want. Make sure you use a clean spoon when taking it out, and that the spoon doesn't come into contact with any other food item to avoid contamination. 

This recipe makes for 2 mayonnaise sized - 750ml bottles of paste. If you would prefer to make less, just use half the quantity of all the ingredients. 

700 gms fresh whole ginger
700 gms fresh garlic
5 tbsps of oil
1/4 tsp of turmeric
1 1/2 tsp of salt 
ginger garlic paste
Ginger garlic paste

Peel the ginger and garlic. The best way to peel ginger is to use a teaspoon. It helps to get into all those nooks and crannies of the ginger root. But if you want somthing faster, then use a sharp knife to slice away the skin. I find the later way, always creates a bit of wastage that I like to avoid.

Garlic is best peeled by twisting the skin in an anti clock wise motion to remove the skin. Another alternative is to give is a small bash with the palm of your hand to release the skin.

Cut the ginger into smaller pieces and set aside. Grind the ginger in the mixer to a fine paste. Remove in a bowl and set aside. Add the garlic next, into the mixer. Grind to a fine paste. Now add the ground ginger back in, and add the rest of the ingredients. ie. the salt, turmeric and oil. Blend till smooth. 

Store in a glass air tight bottle in the refrigerator. 
ginger garlic paste
Ginger Garlic Paste

Monday, 7 December 2015

Classic Goan Ox Tongue Roast

Tongue is now quite easily available in supermarkets and is one of our favourite sandwich fillers for the next day's lunchbox. I usually make a spicy version that my hubby loves, but the kids don't like it as the spice is a bit more than they are generally used to.

So I decided to try making it the classic way with just onions and a few whole spices.  The traditional method is made by using saltpeter. But since it's not available where I live, I just used regular salt instead. The kids loved it and it was gone before I could say boo!

There are many ways to remove the skin off the tongue which you must, as its very tough and can't be eaten. Some involve boiling it for a little while in hot water and then pulling it out. I just prefer to slice it off with a really sharp knife.  Nowadays if you tip your butcher a little, he will do it for you.

You can adapt this recipe and use it to make it a beef roast instead, if for some reason you are not comfortable eating ox tongue. 
Classic Ox Tongue Roast
Classic Ox Tongue Roast

1 ox tongue
2 - 3 onions cut in slices
5 peppercorns
5 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
Juice of 1 lemon
3-4 kashmiri dried red chillies
3 heaped tsps of gingergarlic paste
salt to taste
2 cups of waater

Once the skin of the tongue is removed, prick it all over with a fork so that it will absorb all the flavours later. Marinate with salt, lemon juice and the ginger garlic paste overnight, in the fridge, covered in clingfilm

Slice the onions and set aside. The more onions you use, the more gravy sauce you will get later for the tongue.

In a pressure cooker, heat some oil. Add in the peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and dried red chillies. Then add the onions and cook till transluscent. Add in the tongue. Fry it for a few minutes and then add your water. Cover the pressure cooker and cook on full heat. When it whistles, lower and time for 45 minutes.

Once 45 minutes are over, put the heat off, and remove the steam by lifting off the whistle with a fork. Open the lid once the steam has gone and put the pressure cooker back on the heat to dry up all the liquid.

Dry up all the remaining liquid (leaving the tongue inside the pressure cooker) till you get a very thick sauce from the onions. Once cooled, remove the whole spices (discard), and  slice the tongue as finely as you can. Take a really nice sharp knife to do this.

Store in a glass airtight food container and drizzle the sauce over it. You could alternatively store the sauce separately, so you can add it when you so wish.

To be honest, for the kids, I omitted the sauce and just gave them the tongue. My hubby loved the sauce on his sandwich. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Goan Tendli (Ivy gourd) Vegetable with Coconut

Most Goan vegetable dishes are usually made with coconut. You could use fresh coconut, but for those who don't have it readily available, dessicated coconut will do just fine. 

The classic way to cut this vegetable is in long juliennes. It's a simple, easy dish to make, that is also very mild and a great accompaniment to any curry and rice.

When buying the tendli vegetable at the supermarket, make sure you don't buy the very fat ones. A nice medium slender size is what you should be aiming for. 
tendli bhaji with coconut
Tendli bhaji with coconut
250gms tendli (topped and tailed)
1 large onion chopped fine
2 green chillies, cut in large 1" pieces
3 tbsps of dessicated coconut
pinch of turmeric  powder
Salt to taste

Top and tail the tendli vegetable. Simply put, it means removing the two end bits of the vegetable. Cut in slivers or juliennes and set aside.

In a casserole, heat oil. When hot, add the onions and green chillies. Saute till the onions turn a nice golden brown. Add the salt or stock cube if you prefer, turmeric powder, and the sliced tendli vegetable. Saute for a few minutes and then add the dessicated coconut. 

Cover and cook on low till the vegetable softens. Make sure you keep stirring and checking once in a while to make sure it doesn't burn at the bottom. If you find it getting too dry, add a splash of water to create a nice steam for the vegetable to cook. 

In about 10 - 15 mins, open and check for softness and taste. Adjust the seasoning if needed and serve. 

Tendli bhaji with coconut
Tendli bhaji with coconut

Monday, 2 November 2015

Orange Infused Date Syrup

This is a super simple recipe that gives you a healthier version of maple syrup. There is absolutely no sugar in this recipe. Just pure syrup with all its goodness.

This syrup will go nicely on top of a stash of pancakes, or drizzled over any cake, or crepes. You can even have it the Srilankan way,(they have something similar) where they drizzle molasses over a bowl of yoghurt and serve it as dessert!

This versatile syrup can also be used to marinate steaks or as a drizzling sauce over some meatballs. Mix in a bit or siracha and you have a lovely dipping sauce for kebabs as well. 
Orange infused date syrup
Orange infused date syrup

500gms of dates
1 litre of water
2 cups of orange juice
Juice of 1 lemon
muslin cloth for straining

In a deep pan, add the water to the dates and let it cook for about half an hour. Once softened, remove and strain the mixture through a muslin cloth. This is the only part of the recipe that requires a bit of muscle to squeeze out all that goodness.

The syrup at this point looks more like date water. Squeeze as much as you can from the muslin cloth and discard the rest.

Put the syrup back on the heat, adding 2 cups of orange juice.

Now you can do this next step the quick or slow way. If you happen to be around the kitchen with a bit of time on your hands, keep the heat low and slowly reduce the liquid.

If time isn't on your hands, you can turn the heat higher, but do stay around so you can watch the pan and it doesn't boil over.

Reduce the liquid to about half of the level you first started with, then add the juice of 1 lemon. Keep reducing it, till you notice the syrup starts to get a slightly thick.

If you notice any froth or scum, remove it with a spoon, as this is cloud up your syrup and you won't get a nice clear end result.

The final syrup consistency should be about the same as regular maple syrup. Unlike jam, this wont thicken much once cooled, so stop when you are satisfied with how thick you want your syrup to be.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Coriander Mint Chutney

This bad boy is my husband's invention. How does he come up with these awesome recipes, without any effort? It got me scrambling to jot down this recipe as fast as I could...

You just have to trust me on this.. This thick green goodness is nothing short of finger licking good. Serve this as a filling on a buttered bread sandwich or as a dip for kebabs, or just on the side as a chutney. 

A slight variation from most of the other recipes that call for coconut. This doesn't have any coconut in it! Even without the coconut, the consistency is still nice and thick, so for those of you who don't like coconut or can't get access to it, this is a wonderful alternative.

Also the fact that there's no coconut in it, gives it a longer shelf life. It will store easily in the fridge for a couple of weeks. I've added a wedge of lemon,  with it's skin and all. Just removing the seeds. Lemons are so good for you and full of lots of nutrients.

This is probably the first time, my method is just a couple of lines! 

 It's that easy! So go ahead and try it.. I promise you, its awesome!

Coriander mint chutney
Coriander Mint Chutney

1 bunch of washed mint leaves (discard the stalks, just pull out the leaves and use)
small handful of fresh coriander leaves, washed
1" piece of ginger, peeled
4 cloves of garlic, peeled
3 whole green chillies (I used the milder light green variety)
1 tsp of salt
4 tsps of sugar
2 tbsps of olive oil
2 tbsps of balsamic white vinegar
1/4 wedge of lemon (deseeded, but skin and all)
pinch of turmeric powder
1/4 tsp of cumin powder

Cut some of the bigger ingredients into small pieces (ginger, green chillies, lemon etc) and blend all the ingredients together in a mixer, till you get a nice thick paste. Bottle and refrigerate. 

coriander mint chutney
Coriander Mint Chutney

Monday, 21 September 2015

Coconut Prawn Curry

This is a favourite dish from my village in Goa, one of those finger licking dishes that taste best eaten by hand. This simple dish is best had with white rice. You can add ladyfingers (okra) or green mango as a variation to this basic recipe. Both lend their unique taste to the dish, taking it to another dimension. If you eat this curry the next day, the spices get more time to mature, giving the dish some more depth of flavour.

This coconut prawn curry is best made in the local earthen pots, and nothing tastes better, than having the remaining bits and bobs of the curry that's stuck to the pot, scooped up with a little rice! Heaven in every bite!

goan prawns in a coconut curry
Prawns in a coconut curry

500gms prawns, shelled and deveined
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder

Other ingredients:
2 onions
10 dry red kashmiri  chillies
1 tsp of ginger garlic paste
3-4 pieces of kokum (dried berry used as a souring agent)
2 tomatoes
3 green chillies roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp of cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of chilli powder
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1/2 tsp of tamarind paste ( I use the ready Priya's tamarind paste)
9 tbsps of coconut milk powder
2 cups of water

Marinate the prawns with salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Cling wrap and set aside for an hour. 

In a mixer, grind the kashmiri chillies. When reduced to a powder, add in the onions and grind to a fine paste. Then add in the tomatoes, ginger garlic paste and spices such as cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and chilli powder. (note: you can use cumin seeds and coriander seeds instead of the powder version). You should get a really nice thick red masala paste.

Heat oil in a casserole. Add in the roughly chopped green chillies and also the masala paste. Add the kokum and cook for about 5 mins. Add in the tamarind paste and give it another 5 mins.

Reconstitute the coconut milk powder by adding 2 cups of water. Add the water slowly to the powder, so you can remove any lumps that form. I prefer to use lukewarm water. 

Keep the heat on a medium and let the coconut milk cook a further 10 mins, taking care not to let the curry boil or it could cause the coconut to split. 

Once the curry is ready, add in the marinated prawns and cook for no more than 7 mins.

Note: for any fish/prawns that are added to a curry, do not cook for more than 7 mins for that perfect texture. 

Serve hot with white rice. 

Monday, 14 September 2015

Fish Cakes

 Fish cakes or cutlets as they are commonly known  are extremely versatile. They can be served as a snack, in a sandwich, as an appetizer or a side for a party, and they make a good healthy addition to any kid's lunchbox. All kids love to eat these homemade little patties and you will find yourself struggling to stop them from having more than one at a time!
Fish cakes, shark cutlets
Fish Cakes

I do have to tell you a funny little story about these patties.. My mom, I think makes the best kind. She can turn anything into a patty, vegetables, meat, chicken, lentils... I know I'm biased, but I've tasted a lot in my lifetime from all different sources, and I don't know anyone else's who matches up to hers in terms of flavour. But aside from that, the funny bit I remember when she used to make them, was, she would always count the number of patties she made. She usually made a lot and kept, as it was the easiest snack to go to in the fridge whenever we felt hungry. Fyi, these taste great even cold! For some reason, she didn't like the idea of making 13 patties. So if she did land up making that many, which happened quite often, she would go through the whole process of readjusting the sizes of all the others, to make sure there were either 12 or 14! Funnily, I found myself counting them when I made it yesterday and felt a bit of relief knowing there were 16! 

In my mom's version once the fish is cooked and mashed, she adds in the raw onions, chilles etc to the mix to bind it. In this recipe, I have cooked the onion mixture. My mom's recipe is great if you want a bit of texture to your cutlet, but I had my kids in mind when I made this and you know kids, they don't usually like crunchy bits and bobs in the middle of their food!

The whole process can take a bit of time, but the good thing about it, is you can stop at any stage, put them in the fridge and then take over again when you need to.

I've used shark fillets, as the meat is nice and chunky and barely has any bones so you never have to worry about that accidental bone.

Here goes!

fish cakes, shark cutlets
Shark Cutlets

1 kg shark fillet pieces
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 1/2 cup of water

Onion masala:
1 large onion chopped fine
3 green chillies chopped fine (I used the milder light green variety)
2 tsps ginger garlic paste
salt to taste
1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Handful of finely chopped coriander leaves
4 tbsps. of Maggi's hot and sweet ketchup (optional)
2 eggs


In a casserole dish, add the washed shark fillet pieces along with the water, salt and turmeric powder. The water level should be enough to surround each piece of fish. Bring it to a boil, and then check the fish. You may need to turn some of the pieces around so they get immersed in the water, and cook. Once the fish looks tender, which should take around 5 minutes, remove the fish pieces in a plate. Reserve the water, you may need it later.

In a small pan, fry your onions, green chillies, ginger garlic paste and spice powders till the spice powders and onions are cooked. Do this on a low to medium heat so as not to burn the mixture. Put the heat off and reserve.

Using a fork, mash up roughly the cooked fish pieces. Add in the cooked and cooled onion spice mixture and the chopped coriander leaves.

Add in the hot and sweet sauce. This step is optional, but I do find it gives it a lovely burst of flavour. If you can't find it, you can replace it with a sweet chilly sauce.

Don't forget to taste it now. Remember, all the ingredients are cooked so there's no worry there. Adjust your salt or anything else you may want to add.

Form them into patties. The traditional method of making these patties is a long oval shape, to indicate they are fish and not beef. Check and see how the patties come together. If you find the mixture too dry, add a tablespoon of the reserved fish water from before to help give it that moisture and bind it.  Once you have formed the patties, you can store them in the fridge for about 15 minutes so they firm up and are easier to coat. You will have less chances of breakage if you do this step.

Make sure you have the next two steps ready. Beat an egg in a shallow bowl, wide enough to dip the entire patty. Always always season your egg with a little salt and pepper. Every little bit of seasoning helps in the final taste. Keep another plate with breadcrumbs ready.

Remove the patties from the fridge, coat them first in the egg, then the breadcrumbs, adjusting the shape as you go along. My advice would be, to coat all of them and reserve. Don't try to coat and fry them at the same time. You can easily burn your cutlets this way. Coat them all, then you can use your full attention for the frying stage.

Once coated and crumbed, you can again reserve them in the fridge, if you would like to fry them fresh, say, for guests in the evening. Or you can fry them straight away.

Heat the oil in a pan. Add the coated fish cutlets. As you add them to the pan, you can again check for that final shape. My mom's weapon of choice (as I like to call it) is a spatula and a fork, to help flip the patties in the gentlest way possible.

Here, next is my most crucial tip when making patties. If your ingredients are cooked, you must fry your patties on a fairly high heat. Doing so on a low heat can cause them to break.  If you make patties where the meat is raw, then the fire needs to be lower, so that the meat can have time to cook!

Stay right near the fire, turning the patties as gently as you can, ever so often, so that they get a nice golden colour. Remove and set aside on a plate. Store in the fridge once cooled. These can easily stay for a week in the fridge, if you can stop everyone from digging in quietly.

Do remember, any time you open the container, to wipe off any moisture you see collected on the lid or sides, as these will soften the cutlets and make them wet.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

Yellow Plantains (long bananas) cooked with dessicated coconut and curry leaves

Plantain bananas cooked with dessicated coconut and curry leaves. A Goan speciality. Great way of having plantains the savoury way. These are the very long yellow bananas that you see in the supermarket.

The best time to use them for this vegetable is when they are ripe but still firm. They will soften as you cook them. This vegetable has a sweetish taste to it that takes you back to the beach!

yellow plantains cooked with dessicated coconut and curry leaves
Yellow plantains cooked with dessicated coconut and curry leaves


2 plantain bananas, peeled and diced in cubes
1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
3 to 4 broken red chillies
A small handful of curry leaves 
Salt to taste
Pinch of turmeric powder
Pinch of curry powder
Pinch of methi powder
2 tbsps of dessicated coconut 
1 tbsp of edible coconut oil 
yellow plantains
Yellow plantains

Put a little regular oil in a pan and add the coconut oil as well.. I wanted the coconut oil more as a flavouring so I added just a little. Add the mustard seeds and broken red chillies and curry leaves. Add the spice powders and salt into the oil so that the mixture coats the bananas nicely later but be careful not to burn the spices on too high a heat..  add the bananas and give it a quick toss on high heat..  add in the dessicated coconut and give it another couple of minutes till the bananas soften and remove..

Tip: Adding the coconut oil gives this dish a nice oomph and enriches it's flavour so it's a definite must add..

yellow plantains cooked the savoury way
Yellow plantains cooked the savoury way

Prawn Pickle

Prawn Balchao is the ultimate Goan Pickle! A must have in every Goan house, this delicacy is nothing short of finger licking good!

goan dried prawn balchao pickle
Goan Dried Prawn Balchao Pickle

Prawn balchao, being spicy, goes extremely well with a simple fish curry and rice or a dal and rice, but tastes just as good spread on top of a buttered toast!

For the best flavour, and believe me, this is hard to do, you need to let it sit for a couple of weeks to marinate and let the flavours bloom.

I've used a mix of dried and fresh prawns here, so there is a nice combination of textures and flavours.

This recipe makes for 2 large bottles and 2 jam bottles worth of balchao!

goan dried prawn balchao pickle
Dried prawn balchao pickle


1kg fresh prawns, deveined
100gms dried prawns
4  tsps of salt
1 tsp of turmeric powder
1 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder
1 bottle (750ml) of palm vinegar
1 2' piece of cinnamon
1 tsp of cloves
1 tsp of cumin seeds
25 whole dried kashmiri chillies
6 tsps of kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp of peppercorns
100gms of ginger
25 cloves of garlic
3 large onions
135gms of tomato paste
2 tsp of sugar
3/4 cup of oil


Dried prawns
Soaked Dried Prawns

Wash the dried prawns to remove any sand or dirt impurities then soak in a 1 1/2 cup of vinegar overnight.

Marinating fresh prawns
Marinated Fresh Prawns

The next morning, wash and devein the fresh prawns. Marinate with 4 tsps of salt and 1 tsp of turmeric powder and 1 tsp of chilli powder and reserve for an hour. After an hour, finely mince the prawns. I just used a really sharp knife to do this.

Fresh chopped prawns
Minced Fresh Prawns

Add the dried prawns that have been soaking in vinegar in the mixer. There should be almost no vinegar left, as it will be absorbed almost completely by the prawns. Remove the prawns carefully, and add to the mixer. Then add the remaining vinegar, leaving back the last teaspoon or so to discard. That way, any impurities or sand or dirt that was still around, should have settled to the bottom and can be discarded.

dried prawns for balchao
Dried Prawns in the Mixer

Once you've added the dried prawns to the mixer, blitz it for a few seconds, till the mixture is ground but still coarse. I like to leave a little texture in my balchao. Remove and reserve.

To make the spice paste:
Peel the ginger and garlic and blend in the mixer, adding a little vinegar from the bottle if you need to losen it up. Remove and reserve.

Roasted dried kashmiri chillies for balchao
Roasted Dry Red Chillies

Dry roast the 25 kashmiri chillies in a pan till they warm up and you can smell the aroma. Put the heat off and let it cool, then grind it in the mixer, along with the 1 tsp of cumin seeds, 1 (2" piece) of a cinnamon stick, 6 tsps of kashmiri chilli powder and 1 tsp of cloves, to a fine powder. Add in the rest of the vinegar from the bottle and the ginger garlic paste you made earlier, to get a nice smooth paste.

chopped onions
Chopped Onions in the Mixer

Peel 3 onions, roughly chop and add to the mixer. Give it a quick blitz, to get it chopped but not pasty in consistency. (you could also chop it finely by hand - this just saved me on some extra work by putting it in the mixer). Remove.

fried onions
Fried Onions

In a deep pan, which you plan to make the balchao in, heat 1/4 cup of oil. Fry the onion mixture till its nice and golden. Add the tomato paste and cook nicely on a low to medium heat, taking care not to let it burn. Add the spice paste mixture and the rest of the oil (1/2 cup of oil) and let it cook for a further 10 mins. 

Once done, add 2 tsp of sugar to balance out the flavours. 

spice paste for goan dried prawn balchao
Balchao Paste

Add the dried prawns and the fresh prawns and cook on low for half and hour or so till the mixture has dried nicely and you can see the oil starting to separate. 

Cool and bottle in a glass bottle. I got 2 large bottles and 2 jam bottles completely full!

goan dried prawn balchao pickle
Dried Prawn Pickle

You can leave the bottles out for a day before putting it in the fridge if the weather is not too hot. Reserve for at least 2 weeks before eating.. This last line is probably the hardest part of the recipe! 

Monday, 17 August 2015

Fish in a Coconut Curry

Goan fish caldine in a coconut curry
Fish in a coconut curry

This is my short cut easy version of the famous Goan Caldin Fish Curry. It's a very versatile curry that can be adapted to make it a vegetable, chicken or an egg curry. 

No grinding involved here. The process is simple and quick to make in a hurry. Goes extremely well with kids who love its mild flavour. You can always bump up the spice by adding more green chillies or more chilli powder. But I love this mild curry for its simplicity.

fish in a coconut curry
Fish in a coconut curry


3 large pieces ( 1kg) of boneless fish fillets cut into cubes

Marinade for the fish:
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1/4 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder
salt to taste

Ingredients for the curry:
2 small onions chopped fine
1 tomato chopped fine
1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste
2  whole green chillies slit
salt to taste
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
1 1/4 tsp of coriander powder
1 tsp of cumin powder
1/2 tsp of curry powder (not traditional but helps give this curry an extra boost of flavour)
1/4 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder (kashmiri chilli powder is known more for its colour and is not as spicy as regular chilli powder)
4-5 pieces of kokum (dried berry fruit - you can use tamarind as a substitute)
10 tbsps of coconut powder (reconstituted into milk by adding 1 cup of room temperature water)

 Cut the fish into medium sized cubes. Season with salt and an additional 1/4 tsp each of turmeric powder and chilly powder. Reserve while you work on your curry.

In a casserole, heat oil. Use coconut oil for maxium flavour. Add your chopped onions and kokum. Add the whole slit green chillies and all the spice powders.. ie. turmeric, coriander, cumin, curry and kashmiri chilli powder. Fry on a gentle heat so as not to burn the spices. Add a dash of water if you feel its getting too dry. 

Once nicely sauteed, add your reconstitued coconut milk. Season with salt. Remember to add a little less salt than usual as you have already added salt to the fish when marinating. Let the mixture simmer on a low heat. Boiling the coconut milk can cause it to split. In about 10 mins the curry shoul d be cooked. 

Drop the fish cubes inside. Fish in curries should never be kept for longer than 7 mins to keep its texture. Time your fish. Once the 7 mins are over, check again for seasoning and serve hot with steaming white rice. 

Tip: There are a lot of varieties you can experiment with for souring this dish. I've used kokum, but you can also use green mango or tamarind paste or extract. 

Tip: This dish is typically made with the Indian silver pomfret which brings out the best flavour of this dish.

Fish in a Coconut Curry
Fish in a coconut curry

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Simple Orange Marmalade With Just 3 Ingredients!

Making your own jam is not as difficult as you think. Once you get the hang of it, gone will be the days you buy the store bought one. You will find yourself looking at what other fruit in the market you can use to make jams. It's addictive! 

This recipe is as simple as it gets! Just 3 ingredients and voila you have a jam.. No need to buy pectin or whatever other more complicated ingredients are out there in other recipes. This is just the fruit and sugar with a bit of spice. 

So here goes!

Simple 3 ingredient orange marmalade
Simple 3 Ingredient Orange Marmalade

3 oranges
1 1/2 cup of fine sugar (not caster)
1 star anise  (if you prefer you can use a cinnamon stick instead)

Cut the oranges in half and remove the juice. I used a simple squeeze and press juicer for this.

Put the juice in a small non stick cassserole along with 1 star anise and the 1 1/2 cups of sugar.

Now with the balance orange halves, cut them into quarters then with a sharp knife slice off the white pith on the inside of the orange (that makes the marmalade bitter if you keep it). Imagine you were filleting a fish. It's the same technique.

Now that you are left with just the quarters (without any pith on the inside), cut it into strips of your desired thickness. We like ours fairly thick. Die hard marmalade fans (like my husband) seem to like their jam more on the bitter side and somehow cutting the rind in thicker pieces also helps achieve that.

Do this for all 3 oranges. Add the zest to the casserole with the juice, sugar and star anise. Bring it to a low simmer. 

If you find any froth coming to the surface, remove with a spoon and discard. Keeping the froth will cloud your marmalade (i.e. it wont be very clear in appearance)

Do this till it reaches a one drop consistency.  To check, take your spoon and drizzle a drop on a cold saucer. If it sets and a thin film forms on the surface then stop the cooking process (this you can only master with experience).

As soon as its ready, switch off the heat and pour it into glass air tight jars (that have been washed and dried thoroughly before).  Close the lid while hot. This helps to create a vaccum in the jar, that will preserve it for a very long time, if  you don't plan to use it immediately. 

Only once cooled outside completely, then store in the fridge.

Tip: Do not cook the jam till it is the store bought consistency. The jam should be a fairly thin consistency, as it will thicken once its cold in the fridge. If you cook it to the "store bought" consistency in the pan itself, it will harden like a rock once in the fridge. 

simple 3 ingredient orange marmalade
Simple Orange Marmalade

Tip: Don't fret though, if you find that once its bottled, that it's set way too much and has gotten too hard, put it back on the heat, and add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it down. Once reheated, bottle it again.

Tip: another tip is to never mix the spoon/knife going into the jam jar with something else. Keep the butter one separate or any other such condiment. Cross contamination can cause your jam to spoil. 

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Stir fried Cabbage with whole spices

This is a recipe that I learnt and modified slightly from Anjum Anand, a famous Indian chef in the U.K. Its simple to make but has lots of flavour. 

The main seasoning here is panch phoran - a five spice mix of mustard, nigella, fennel, cumin and fenugreek seeds. If you go to any indian store, you should find a ready packet of the panch phoran mix. If not, I've given you some substitute ingredients and quantities you can use..

Stir fried cabbage with whole spices
Stir fried Cabbage with Whole Spices

 1/2 head of Cabbage
1 onion chopped fine
1 1/2 tsps of panch phoran ( the indian whole five spice mix, mentioned above)

1 green chilli roughly chopped
salt or cube to taste
pepper to taste

Note: If you do not have access to panchphoran, you can substitute with the following:
1 tsp whole mustard seeds
1/2 tsp nigella seeds
1/2 tsp whole fennel seeds (badishep)
1/2 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/4 tsp whole methi seeds (fenugreek)

1/2 tsp of coriander seeds (optional). This is not part of the panch phoran, but you can add it to give it another boost of flavour.

Shred or finely chop the cabbage. If you have a large cabbage, half of it will suffice. You can store the remaining half, cling wrapped in the fridge for later. Heat oil in a casserole, when hot, add in your whole spices.

 When you can smell their lovely aroma, taking care not to keep the heat too high or else the spices will burn, add in the onions, salt or cube if you are using, and the chilli.

When the onions are transluscent, add in the cabbage and give it a good stir. Cover and cook for about 10-15 mins till the cabbage is tender. Season with freshly ground pepper and serve.

Alternatively, store in an airtight container in the fridge. Can last easily for a couple of days.