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Saturday, September 8, 2012

Lemongrass Infused Thai Soup (Tom-Kha)

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The nip of fall is in the air and the chill of winter is not too far away. The warmth of soup goes really well with the cold nights. The recipe I am going to share with you is based on the famous Thai soup Tom-Kha. Interestingly I had Tom-Kha for the first time not in a Thai restaurant but at the food court in our local REI sports store.

Since all the ingredients have become readily available it is hassle-free to make it at home.

Ingredients

  1. 200gms boneless chicken cut into cubes
  2. 8 button mushrooms sliced
  3. 1 medium carrot cut into cubes
  4. 1” Thai ginger
  5. 1 stalk lemongrass
  6. Rind of one lemon
  7. 2 tbsp. lemon juice 
  8. 2 tbsp. chopped coriander greens
  9. 1 tbsp. chopped green onions
  10. 1 can coconut milk
  11. Salt to taste

Procedure

Rub the chicken cubes with salt and set aside. Remove the external covering of the lemongrass and slice the stalk. Julienne the Thai ginger (cut into thin strips) and smash it in a mortar and pestle to get maximum flavor.

Boil chicken pieces in a small pan with 2 cups of water. Wait till the chicken cubes are tender. Remove any scum from the top.

In a separate pan heat 5 cups of water and bring it to a boil. Now add one by one all the herbs like smashed ginger, lemongrass and lemon rind. simmer till the water becomes fragrant. Now add mushroom slices and carrot cubes to it. Sprinkle salt and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add the boiled chicken pieces along with its stock. Reduce the heat and slowly pour coconut milk to it. Add all seasoning like lemon juice and salt. Finally sprinkle chopped green onions and coriander leaves.

Serve hot.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mutton Chaap

IMG_9450The other day some of us were discussing the best compliment we got as a cook. One of my biggest appreciator is my husband, however, each time I made his favorite chaap, he’d say he loved it, but would always trail that sentence with a “…but”. He would still head to his favorite chaap restaurant in Kolkata when we went there, as if it’s something he really doesn’t get at home.

This has always been a challenge to me, a challenge that was hard for me to break  because the “healthy eating” person in me would never allow me to pour all the oil and simmer in it for 3 hours.

However, that “healthy eating” person one day relented to the challenge and went full force into making the original chaap. Let’s me say I did win the challenge :)

Ingredients

  1. 2 lbs. mutton chops
  2. 1/2 cup raw papaya paste
  3. 1 cup plain yogurt (curd)
  4. 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  5. 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  6. 1 tsp. dry red chili paste
  7. 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  8. 1 tsp. shahi garam masala powder
  9. 2 tbsp. poppy seed paste (posto bata)
  10. 2 tbsp. cashew paste
  11. 200 gm. clarified butter (Ghee)
  12. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  13. 1 tsp. rose water
  14. 1 tbsp. sugar
  15. Salt

Procedure

You need to get mutton (goat meat) chop pieces to make chaap. In Kolkata you can just let the butcher know and he will make the chops ready for you. Outside your homeland, you need to specifically instruct the butcher to break the chops with the broad side of their flat knife. Otherwise use your metal meat tenderizer to flatten the chops.

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In a wide dish marinate the meat with raw papaya  paste and a spoonful of yogurt. Papaya paste acts as a natural meat tenderizer. Leave it for 3-4 hrs.

Now wash the chops and pat them dry.In a mixing bowl mix yogurt with all the wet(ginger+garlic+ red chili+cashew+poppy seed) and dry (turmeric+garam masala) spices. Season the mixture with salt and sugar.

Rub this spice mixture well on both sides of the chops. Allow it to rest for half an hour.

Heat oil and ghee in a wide frying pan till it melts. Now reduce the heat and arrange the mutton chops in a single layer. Cook it covered on very low heat for about 3hrs.  Frequently remove the cover and mix the spices. Fry the chops till both sides turn golden brown.

Sprinkle rose water over it and keep it covered till you serve. Enjoy with Biryani or laccha paratha.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Mutton Awadhi Biryani in Microwave

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This mildly-spicy Biriyani is one of our favorite. Making biriyani sometimes becomes a headache because of the complex procedure of giving dum (air-sealed, low heat cooking). This easier version is almost as good in taste, but way easier to make.

Ingredients

  1. 1 kg mutton( Goat Meat ) cut into medium sized pieces
  2. 500gms. long grain basmati rice washed and soaked for 30 minutes 
  3. 1 medium red onion cut into thick slices
  4. 1 inch ginger bruised
  5. 6,7 cloves of garlic crushed
  6. 1 inch cinnamon stick
  7. 4,5 cloves
  8. 3,4 green cardamom
  9. 2,3 black cardamom
  10. 10-15 black pepper corns
  11. 1 small piece of mace (Javitri )
  12. 5 dry whole red chili 
  13. 1 tsp. sahi jeera
  14. 3,4 bay leaves
  15. 1 tbsp. sugar
  16. Salt to taste
  17. 1tsp. shahi garam masala powder
  18. 1tsp. rose water 
  19. 1/2 cup hung curd or thick plain yogurt
  20. 2 + 2 tbsp. ghee or clarified butter

Procedure

Marinate mutton pieces with thick curd, salt and sugar. Let it rest for an hour.

Wrap all the spices (3-14) in a rectangular muslin cloth and tie up all four corners together to make a pouch.

IMG_2211In a heavy bottom pan add 2 tbsp. ghee and allow it to melt. Add the marinated meat morsels to it and sear them on high flame till they turn light brown.

Now pour about a litre of lukewarm water to it. Once the water starts boiling drop the muslin pouch to it. Cover and simmer till the mutton becomes tender. Check and adjust the water level if required.

Skim off any scum that rises to the surface and separate the meat pieces from the stock with a slotted spoon. Keep them aside.

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Squeeze the muslin bag firmly to extract all the spicy juice from it and then discard the bag. Now strain the mutton stock to get a clear juice.

Take a deep microwave safe bowl and grease the inner walls with 2tbsp. ghee. Put the drained rice along with 850ml. of strained mutton-stock and mutton-pieces. Adjust salt and mix them well.

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Cook uncovered on high power for 12 minutes. Sprinkle garam masala powder and  one spoon of rose water over it. Stir once again.

Cook it covered for another 24 minutes.

Remove the lid and fluff it with a fork. Give a 5 minutes standing time before you serve.

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