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Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Shepherd’s Pie


A few weeks back we visited a very popular local irish pub and I was about to order the Shepherd's pie when I noticed that it has beef. That is definitely not an authentic Shepherd's pie. A Shepherd's pie is supposed to have lamb, just like fisherman's pie has fish and cowboy's pie has beef. This prompted me to make some of my own pie.

Ingredients For Meat Mixture

  • 2 lb. ground lamb
  • 1 onion diced
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic
  • 2 medium carrots diced
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1cup chicken stock
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • Salt to taste

Ingredients For Mashed Potato

  • 2 lb. golden potatoes cut into quarters
  • 1 tbsp. butter
  • 1 egg yolk beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp. finely chopped parsley
  • 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper powder
  • Salt to taste
Procedure Of making Meat Mixture
Preheat oven at 250F. In an oven proof baking dish take butter along with onion, garlic, minced meat. Season the mixture with salt and pepper. Mix well. Add half a cup of chicken tock to it and stir.
Put the dish in the middle rack of the oven and cook for an hour. Carefully take the baking dish out. Add vegetables. Mix flour with rest of the chicken stock and pour over the meat mixture. Give everything a nice mix. Now cook it again for another hour. At the end of the cooking it will look like a thick meaty gravy.
By this mean time make the mashed potato. Boil potatoes in adequate water till tender. Drain it. Mash the potato with a little butter. Season it with salt and pepper. Sprinkle chopped parsley and mash till potatoes are smooth.
In a bowl whisk together egg yolk and milk and stir it into the mashed potato mixture. Top the meat mixture with mashed potato and spread it evenly to cover. You can pipe the mixture too, to give it a fancy look.
Bake it in a pre heat oven at 350F for 25-30 minutes.
Serve warm.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Nalli Nihari



Foods like nalli nihari made our stay in Hyderabad oh so enjoyable. One of the delights was to drudge through the insane evening traffic on Fridays to head to old Hyderabad, to pick up some nalli. I have forgotten the name of the restaurant but the taste still lingers on in my memory.
You can make this with lamb or goat. Ask the butcher for shanks (leg meat on bone). Made with a lot of spices this needs some planning, but the results easily make up for your hard work.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. lamb leg on bone
  • 2 medium onions sliced
  • 1/2 “ ginger cut into thin sticks
  • 2 cups mutton stock
  • 2 tbsp. clarified butter ( Ghee)
  • 2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. whole wheat flour
  • 4 tbsp. ghee ( Clarified Butter )
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • salt to taste
  • 4 tbsp. Nihari masala powder
    • 1 and 1/2 tbsp. cumin seeds
    • 8 green cardamom
    • 3 black cardamom
    • 2” cinnamon stick
    • 10 cloves
    • 3 blades of mace
    • 1 tsp. grated nutmeg
    • 14 black pepper corn
    • 1 star anise
    • 2 tsp. fennel seeds
    • 2 tsp. poppy seeds
    • 1 tsp. dry ginger powder
    • 8 dry red chili
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 tbsp. roasted chana dal powder

Procedure

Take all the ingredients listed under Nihari Masala Powder and dry roast them on medium heat till you start getting a nice aroma.  Turn off the heat and bring them down to room temperature. Dry grind them in a blender to make a fine powder of them.
Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan till it melts. Now add onion slices to it and fry them on medium heat for about five minutes. Add meat pieces to it and sear them on high heat to lock the moisture inside.
Sprinkle 2 tbsp. of freshly ground nihari masala powder and mix well. Saute everything together for about ten minutes on low heat.
Season the meat with salt, sugar and pour six cups of water to it. Give a nice stir and cook it covered on low heat till the meat is tender. it takes about 45 minutes.
Now pour the mutton stock over it along with the rest of nihari masala powder.
Mix the flour with half cup of water the add this mixture to the cooked mutton. Mix well and allow the gravy to simmer till it thickens.
Turn off the heat. Finish it off with freshly squeezed lemon juice. Dish it out and garnish with cilantro and serve.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Khichuri Kancha Maslar


Winter is coming up and so is the season for khichuri for those sleepy rainy Sunday lunches. This khichuri is from my dida and is not the typical bong niramish version (for that you have plain Khichuri). This has the flavor or raw spices and is made without any oil. However, you can indulge yourself with a large dollop of ghee on top of it.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rice
  • 3/4 cup musur dal ( Red Lentil)
  • 2 medium potatoes cut into halves
  • 1 cup cauliflower florets
  • 1/2 cup green peas
  • 1 tsp. turmeric powder
  • 1” ginger knob grated
  • 2 fat cloves of garlic grated
  • 1 medium sized onion cut into quarters
  • 4-5 green chilies
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

Wash rice and dal thoroughly.  Take a big pan and put rice and dal  along with salt, sugar and turmeric powder. Mix well and pour enough water, about six cups. Throw the potato halves into it. Cover it up and let it come to a boil on high heat. Once it starts boiling remove the lid and one by one add bay leaf, onion, grated ginger, garlic and green chilies, cauliflower florets and green peas. Keep boiling on medium heat till rice , dal and potatoes are cooked and look a bit mushy. You might need to add water to get the desired consistency.
Serve it with a big spoon full of ghee.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Mutton Pulao


Durga pujo is just around the corner. The fall weather in Pacific North West is very close to that of Kolkata just before Pujo. The sky is blue with fluffy clouds hanging around. The first nip of chill is in the air. Some variant or atleast look-a-like of kash flower abounds in our area.
I have already started planning for the Durga pujo feast at home. A must have is the simple rustic mutton pulao. Hope you enjoy the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs. mutton pieces on bone
  • 3 cups basmati rice washed and soaked
  • 1 medium sized onion sliced
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 12-14 green chilies slit lengthwise
  • 2 tbsp. plain yogurt
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp. Bengali garam maala
  • 2 tbsp. whole garam masala (2” cinnamon stick, 8 cloves, 8 green cardamom)
  • 4 tbsp. clarified butter (Ghee)
  • Sugar to taste
  • Salt to taste

Procedure

In a pan heat 1 tbsp. ghee till melts. Add onion slices and fry on medium heat. Add four slit green chilies along with ginger garlic paste and sauté till the raw smell goes away.
Add meat pieces to it and sear them on high heat along with the spices for about two minutes. Reduce the heat to the lowest mark. Sprinkle salt, sugar. Now add yogurt along with 1 tsp. garam masala powder and mix well.
Cook it on low heat till the mutton is three fourth done.
In a deep pan take enough water and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the soaked and drained rice to it and wait till it just starts to boil. It takes around three to four minutes time. Drain the rice on a colander.
Now in a wide pan heat two tbsp. ghee. Add bay leaves, green chilies, and whole garam masala. When it stops sputtering add the drained rice to it. Fry on medium heat gently so that the grains don’t break.
Add salt and sugar to your taste.
Now in a pressure cooker take the fried rice, put the meat pieces. Measure 3 cups of liquid (includes mutton stock + water) and pour over it. Put the pressure lid on and cook on high flame till one whistle comes. Let the pressure release on its own.
In a separate pan heat 1 tbsp. ghee till it melts and add green chilies and garam masala powder to it. Once they start sizzling pour over the pulao and serve….

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Comeback


My last post was on the 26th of January. A bunch of my readers have reached out to me to ask why I am not posting any more. Some had even tried to contact me for specific advice on some of the recipes, unfortunately I was not even able to respond to most of them.

End of last year my dad came to visit me. He was supposed to spend 6 months with us. My cooking objective was to make a whole bunch of traditional Bengali food for him, stuff that I had already posted. That was how the initial blog silence began. Unfortunately on the 1st of April he passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was one of the main inspiration behind this blog and even his last meal was one I prepared. It has taken me a long time to recover and finally I am back and hopefully will continue to do what he would've wanted me to do. Share the joy of cooking and great food with everyone.

In-spite of my radio silence the readers have not left me. My blog continues to get great traffic and I am deeply grateful for everyone's patience. Thank you my dear readers!!!

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