Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Fried Pomfret Served with Mamma's Red Chilly Sauce

Pomfret is a very popular fish in south asia. I get it frozen in my Indian store. I have also seen it in our farmers market fish stand. This fried fish recipe is from my mom and aunt and I absolutely love it. Its a little more work than usual for the marinade but well worth it. It is important that the red chillies used in this recipe are mild, flavorful and not very hot. I usually freeze the marinated fish and then thaw and fry whenever I want to make it. My mom makes this really delicious chilly paste from the left over marinade. If you like spicy food, just mix this paste with rice and eat the fish with that,mmmmmmmmm totally amazing. Hope you like this one. I do.


Pomfret fish, cleaned and cut into slices

Dried red chilled (bedgi variety) 15, stems removed
juice of one lime
3 pods garlic
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tbslp rice flour
More rice flour to coat fish

Grind chillies,turmeric garlic, salt,lemon juice, 1 tblsp rice flour to form a smooth paste. Add very very little water as needed to grind. Marinate fish with the paste for at least 30 minutes, better if overnight.
Coat fish pieces in rice flour and deep fry. Serve hot.

For the chilly sauce: Heat some of the oil used to fry the fish. Add the left over marinade from the fish, salt and lemon juice to the pot and cook it till the marinade no longer sticks to the pot. Serve with the fish.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mutton Rogan Josh (Goat meat Kashmiri style)

Goat meat also known as mutton is very popular in South Asia. This dish is indigenous to the beautiful region of Kashmir and has a blend of spicy and sweet flavors. The sweetness comes from saffron and nutmeg while the spiciness from the bright red chillies. The name essentially means red meat. This is how I make it.


For the Spice Mix

7 to 8 Dry Kashmiri Red chillies
2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tblsp corriander seeds
1 tsp pepper corns

Roast above ingredients till they release aroma.

Goat meat 2 pounds

Marinade for goat meat

Kashmiri chilly powder (Deggi mirch)2 tsp
Crushed garlic-1 tsp
crushed ginger-2 tsp
salt and pepper to taste

Marinate meat with the marinade for 30 minutes to overnight.

2 large onions sliced
1 bay leaf
2 large tomatoes
1 pinch nutmeg
a few strands of saffron
two cloves, one stick cinnamon, one black cardamom, 5 to 6 pepper corns
2 potatoes diced (OPTIONAL:this is not normally added to rogan josh but i like potatoes in everything)

Heat oil in a pressure cooker pot. Add cinnamon stick, cardamom, cloves and pepper corns.

When oil is hot add marinated meat. Fry on high heat till meat browns. Add water and pressure cook for 5 steam releases. Alternatively, cook in a covered pot till meat is tender. In all cases, save mutton broth.

Meanwhile grind roasted spices with one large tomato to make a thick paste. In a separate pot, heat oil and fry sliced onions till golden. Add spice paste and cook till the spice mix stops sticking to the sides of the pot, about 15 minutes.

Add cooked meat, broth and diced poatatoes. Add nutmeg and saffron.

Cook covered on medium heat for about 30 minutes. Serve hot with rice or bread.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Parmesan and Herb Crusted Tilapia

This fish recipe is very simple and healthy. The fish is not spicy like many of my recipes, but is full of flavor. I served the fish with store bought frozen Perogies that I pan fried. Odd combination I know but I love perogies and they were a good starch choice. Also add a salad to go with it. Nice dinner huh?


Two Tilapia fillets
One large onion, chopped
One large tomato, chopped
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
juice of half lemon
2 to 3 tblsp grated parmesan
Olive oil

Season fish with salt, pepper and lemon juice on both sides. Brush with olive oil. In a bowl mix onions, tomato, herbs, parmesan and parsley. Add 1 tbsp olive oil, 1 tblsp lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.

Load mixture onto the fish. Sprinkle some more parmesan cheese.

Bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Bhindi Raita (deep fried okra in yogurt)

If something doesn't taste good, just deep fry it! My husband's love and my dislike for okra (aka bhindi in Hindi) has brought about trials of a number of different okra recipes. This recipe came back to me when I thought about deep frying okra. My mom makes this dish, but instead of deep frying, she adds a tblsp of oil to the okra and nukes it in the microwave till the okra becomes crispy (about 15 to 20 minutes, maybe longer).I took the faster (and cholesterol rich) route and deep fried in a lot of oil. A raita in Indian cooking is a yogurt salad, served as an accompaniment with food. The bhindi remains crispy as the yogurt is added at the very last minute before serving.


1 pound fresh okra, wash and dry individually, cut into rings

One large onion chopped
1 green chilly sliced
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup plain yogurt
salt to taste

Deep fry okra till golden brown and crispy. Drain on a paper towel to get rid of excess oil. Add cilantro and onions to the okra and mix.

Just before eating, beat yogurt with salt and little bit of water. Add to fried okra. Serve immediately.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Batata Vada (deep fried potato fritters)

January 16th would have been my dad's 60th birthday. He had big plans for his 60th. Sadly, we lost him last year to a terrible disease called COPD. My dad was a vegetarian who really didn't like vegetables. He LOVED potatoes. He had made up this fake grace to say at the table which went like this--" Oh Lord! I thank you for this meal and for making this wonderful vegetable/root called the potato". Batata vada was his all time favorite. Its a street food from the state of Maharashtra, eaten with a bun, much like a burger. So here it is, batata vada in memory of my darling father:much loved and remembered every day.


6 Large potatoes, cooked and mashed
2 green chillies
1 bunch cilantro leaves
3 pods garlic
2 tblsp lime juice
1/2 tsp turmeric
salt to taste

For the batter
Chick pea flour-1 cup
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp red chilly powder
salt to taste

Oil to fry

Method: Grind chillies, cilantro garlic, lime juice and turmeric using very little water. Add to potatoes. Add salt and mix well together.

Form the potato mixture into patties.

Add chickpea flour to a bowl. Add turmeric, salt and chilly powder. Add just enough water to form a smooth paste.

Dip each potato patty in the chick pea flour batter. Fry till golden brown. Serve hot with ketchup/chutneys or more traditionally between a bun with fried green chillies.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Chicken Fry (From Coorg: Maybe)

This chicken dish originates from Coorg, a region in Western India in the state of Karnataka (See end of post for some argument on this issue) . In most cities in the united states the Indian food we get in restaurants features mostly a north Indian style cuisine. I find it hard to explain to my friends how India has so many dfferent types of cuisines, each so distinct from the other. Not only do cuisines change from state to state but also within regions in a state. I originally read this recipe in my Thangam Phillip cookbook. Since then I have forgotten the exact proportions she had in her recipe, so here is my version of it. Eaten with rice its absolutely delicious. I love to scrape up the pan drippings on the bottom of the pan in this recipe. Enjoy.


1 package cut and skinless chicken pieces
2 pods garlic
2 green chillies
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp pepper corns
a handful of cilantro leaves
1 onion
2 tblsp white vinegar
4 to 8 tblsp water
salt to taste

Grind together all ingredients (except oil) in a blender to form a smooth thick paste. Add little water at a time to aid smooth grinding of all ingredients. Marinate chicken in this mixture for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan. Add marinated chicken (don't add extra paste yet) and fry on high heat for 10 15 minutes. Once chicken browns, add left over paste and cook on a medium high heat till most of the water dries up leaving a nice thick curry sauce and the chicken is nice and browned. Serve hot with steamed rice.

It was pointed out, not very kindly I must say, that this dish looks nothing like real Coorg chicken (See comments). At first I was mad at this blatant rudeness but then Cariz is proud of being from Coorg/Kodava and didn't think my recipe was authentic. He was hurtfully being truthful. I guess Thangam Phillip who published this recipe is wrong or my cooking skills are so messed up that it looks nothing like authentic chicken from Coorg (Ha Ha) or Cariz doesn't know of the existence of this recipe. Thats the great thing about recipes. They vary from home to home even if they are from the same region. Which one is really "authentic". I know that in Konkani cooking that happens all the time. Anyway I have duly renamed my recipe in case it offends another proud member of the Kodava community. Howevr if I ever see a "not so authentic" recipe from the Chitrapur Saraswat Community, I will stop by and leave a comment that says "Hey, what a nice recipe. Different from what i've eaten I will definitely try it".

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Corn Tortilla Chicken Roll

This recipe was inspired by our trip to California. My husband and I did a road trip from Northern California to LA and it was one amazing ride along route 1. We stopped along the way trying out different cuisines. The one dish that stuck out and we always remembered was from this little convenience store in Santa Barbara. The shop lady called it Carnitas (they made it with pork). When I described the dish to my Mexican friend, he thought it was something else. Anyways, I attempted to recreate this dish in my kitchen and it came out just like the one we had. My husband was so amazed he asked me to post it on my blog right away. So here it is: my corn tortilla chicken roll.


Corn tortillas
three chicken thighs or breasts, cooked and cut into chunks
One large onion chopped
One medium onion sliced
Cilantro, fresh sprigs
Three large tomatoes
Two pods garlic
3 tblsp Knorr green chilly sauce
2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp paprika
2 tsp McCormick Fajita seasoning
Salt to taste

Grind together tomatoes, one pod garlic and chilly sauce to form a paste. Heat oil in a pot with one pod garlic added to the oil as it heats. Remove garlic, add one large onion chopped. Fry till onions turn transparent. Add tomato mixture, salt, spices and seasoning. Cook for 5 minutes. Add chicken and cook till most of the water dries up.

Heat a pan. Heat each corn tortilla till it is hot and flexible. Add chicken mixture. Add sliced onions and 5 to 6 sprigs of cilantro. Roll up and eat! This recipe cannot be made without the cilantro, the flavor of cilantro is essential for the final taste.

Monday, January 7, 2008

60th Birthday Cake

This past weekend was my uncle's 60th birthday and my sister was coming down to my place to drive down together for the party. My sister started decorating cakes with the Wilton cake decorating classes. But she has moved far and beyond the standard techniques that the class teaches and has made some amazingly creative cakes. She and I slaved over this cake and it looked and tasted beautiful. My sister did all the intricate decorating making flowers etc while I mixed the colors and smoothed on the icing. I am not posting the recipe since the cake was made from a packaged mix and the butter-cream frosting is a common recipe made with Crisco. We used a "Funfetti" cake mix and a vanilla buttercream frosting. Read on to see how the the cake was assembled and decorated. This method can be used for making any "age" cake.

For the bottom we used two cake mix packages and then for the numbers we used two small round cakes (made from one package of the cake mix).We then carved out a 6 and a 0 from each of the small round cakes.

Mixing different colors into the icing and decorating was a lot of fun. Smooth on off-white icing on the bottom and then ice on the variously colored flowers and leaves to depict a garden. For smoothing use a steel cake spatula warmed in hot water.

Placed the 60 in the center and then smooth on a contrasting color icing. Border the edged with a pattern to hide unevenness.

Baingan Bharta (Mashed Egg plant)

This recipe is a favorite in my home. The eggplants are roasted, mashed and then cooked further with spices. I use small baby eggplants because they roast quickly. The only drawback of this recipe is that if you are roasting the eggplants on an electric range it can smoke if left unattended and therefore has to be constantly monitored. It works best when the eggplants are roasted on a flame burner. Also, in winter time with the windows all closed the whole house can smell of roasted eggplant for a pretty long time (a peeve of mine with Indian cooking). Nonetheless, this is a delicious indian recipe that has to be eaten with phulkas (check Indian breads post for that).


6 small baby eggplants (Don't use the large eggplants)
1 large onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
One pod garlic, chopped
mustard seeds, 1/2 tsp
green chilly, one, slit
turmeric 1/2 tsp
red chilly powder, to taste
cumin powder 1/2 tsp
salt to taste
1 tblsp oil

Wipe eggplants dry. Place on flame or electric coil on medium heat. Keep turning eggplants with tongs to roast evenly on all sides.

The skin of the eggplant should look burnt while the insides should start to feel mushy. This is the critical step and should be done right. A pain yes, but well worth it.

Peel off the burnt skin and cut off stem and head. Chop the eggplant into pieces and then mash with a potato masher into a pulp.

Heat oil in a pot. Add mustard seeds, green chilly and garlic. Fry till mustard seeds sputter. Add onions and fry till transparent. Add tomatoes, spices and salt. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes till the mixture is well cooked, stirring often. Add eggplant pulp. Mix together. Cover and cook for 5 more minutes. Serve hot garnished with cilantro. Eat with chapatis.