31 January 2010

Lamb leg steak in red wine sauce

V whipped this up one weeknight - it was a much deserved treat in the middle of the week :)

Served 2 very hungry adults

1.5 lb lamb leg steak, 1-inch thick
salt and pepper to season
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 ancho chilli, crushed
2 tbsp of olive oil
2 tsp dried rosemary
1/2 cup of red wine, we used a Syrah
1/2 cup of chicken stock
1tbsp of heavy whipping cream
1 small onion, sliced thin
  1. Rub lamb steak with garlic, salt, pepper and crushed ancho chilli on both side. Marinate it, covered for a couple of hours in the refridgerator.
  2. Heat a tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan and brown the meat for 5 mins on both sides on medium heat. Set aside in a plate and cover it completely with aluminum foil so the meat continues to cook.
  3. Remove charred bits, if any, from the pan and add an additional tbsp of olive oil. Cook sliced onion with rosemary until it turns translucent to light brown.
  4. Add stock and wine and simmer for 5 mins. Season with salt if necessary. Add cream and stir. Cook for another 2 minutes.
  5. Uncover the meat, cut into 2 servings and ladle sauce over it. Serve garnished with fresh rosemary.

29 January 2010

Okra Masala

I absolutely love bhindi (okra), but find it a pain to get just-right. This recipe was fool-proof and VERY delicious!! Please try it!!

Source: 365 Days of Pure Vegetarian

1 lb bhindi, tops cut off and slit in 2, lengthwise
Masala: 2 tbsp dhania pwdr, 1 tbsp jeera pwdr,
2 tsp red chilli pwdr, 1 tsp turmeric pwdr
yogurt, 1/2 cup
jeera seeds, 1/2 tsp
oil, 2 tbsp

In a bowl, whisk the yogurt with the masala powders to make a smooth paste. Use 1/4 cup water to dilute the yogurt, if needed. Add this spiced yogurt to the cut bhindi and set it aside for 15 mins. Next, take a shallow pan (use a non-stick) and heat the oil. When hot, add the jeera seeds and let them splutter. Now, add the entire bhindi yogurt mixture and lower the flame to avoid the mix from burning. Cook without a lid for about 30 mins, stirring every 5 minutes. Dish is ready when the okra is cooked, and the yogurt mix has dried up.

The mix was initially very sticky, and I was skeptical that this dish would turn out well. Towards the end of cooking, the stickiness disappeared and the dish was perfect. You need to have some patience with stirring and allowing the okra to cook slowly. Well worth it, considering prep time is negligible!!

26 January 2010

Spicy bean and squash soup

Serves 6

1 medium onion, chopped
1 can diced fire roasted tomato
2 can cooked red beans
1/2 winter squash
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and lightly crushed, leave it whole
1/2 ancho chilli
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
salt to taste
3-4 whole peppercorns
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg. Halve a winter squash and scoop out the seeds. Season each half with salt and pepper. Cover each half completely with aluminum foil and place it cut side down in a baking dish. Roast for 20 mins or until it's easy to insert a knife through.
  2. Let cool and scoop out the flesh. Use half for this recipe and save the rest for another recipe later (this freezes well).
  3. In a pot, heat 2 tbsp of olive oil. Add cumin seeds and half a minute later add onions and peppercorns.
  4. Cook until onions are translucent. Add garlic, tomatoes, ancho chilli, salt, ground coriander and roasted winter squash. Cook for 10 mins until tomatoes are cooked.
  5. Add red beans, give it a stir to heat through.
  6. Process contents in a food processor until its lightly blended. I liked this soup a little chunky.
  7. Garnish with toasted sliced almonds and fresh coriander.

20 January 2010

Roasted potatoes and cauliflower

I have always found cooking cauliflower fussy and not very rewarding at the end except when V makes his version of gobi-aloo (cauliflower and potatoes). Since I have been roasting everything I can lay my hands on - why not roast cauliflower. Well it turned out fantastic :)
Serves 4

1 head of cauliflower, cored and cut into medium sized florets
2 medium russet potatoes, peeled and cut in 1/4 inch cubes
Kosher sea salt to taste
2 tsp Ground black pepper
2 tsp Crushed red pepper
3 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup grated cheese - I used aged gouda and manchego mix
  1. Preheat oven to 400 deg.
  2. In a 9x13" baking dish put in the cauliflower and potatoes. Add salt, black pepper, red pepper and lime juice. Drizzle with olive oil.
  3. Roast uncovered for about 30 mins. Check to see if its done. It was a bit crunchy and very lightly browned for me. If not, leave it in there for aother 15 mins.
  4. Garnish with the cheese mixture and serve immediately.

Bengali Egg Curry

Have been on a real cooking slump. Egg curry, though, is simple and so easy to prepare!

Picture is a little hazy, but decided to put it up nonetheless, so that you can get an idea of the consistency of the curry.

Prep time: 30 minutes

2 onions, 1 chopped fine, and 1 (for puree)
1 large potato, peeled and cut into 6 pieces
3 eggs, boiled
1/2 tomato chopped
1" piece ginger
3 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 turmeric
1/2 tsp garam masala
1 bay leaf, 2 cloves, small piece cinnamon, 2 cardamoms
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 cup milk

Boil they eggs, and shell when cooled. Using a small pan, spray with PAM or 1/2 tsp oil and let heat. Add the whole boiled eggs and saute till the outer skin of hard boiled eggs browns a little. Cut into halves and set aside.
In a blender, puree 1 onion, ginger and garlic into a fine paste.
Now, in a pan, heat oil and add the whole spices. When they are spluttering, add the 1 chopped onion and sugar and saute for 1 minute. Add the pureed onion, turmeric, chilli and garam masala powders, and saute on high heat for 6 mins. When the color starts changing to brown, you know it is cooked. Add the tomatoes, salt and potatoes with 1/2 cup water, and cover to allow the potatoes to cook. This took a while (10 minutes) and I had to monitor the water to prevent the curry from sticking to the bottom. When potatoes are done, add 1/4 cup milk and water as needed to create curry of desired consistency. Add the eggs. Serve hot with naan/ roti.

17 January 2010

Pinto beans soup - so good!

My excuse for being absent - I have been away on vacation marked by pure gluttony, followed by frantic attempts to get back on track at work and now recovering (very slowly) from a cold.
Serves 4
1 1/2 cups pinto beans
1 tbsp. + 2 tsp olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tsp salt
6-8 whole black peppercorns
3-4 cloves
2 bayleaves
3 cups of water or stock
  1. Soak the beans in 8 cups of water overnight in the refridgerator. Rinse the beans.
  2. Pressure cook beans, 3 cups of water, garlic, salt and pepper for 20 mins. Open and check if the beans are mashable. If not, pressure cook for another 15 mins.
  3. Remove bay leaves and mash the beans with a spoon or a potato masher. I like chunks of beans in my soup. You can choose to process it to a more soupy consistency.
  4. Adjust for salt and pepper. Garnish with coriander.

06 January 2010

Baingan Bharta

This recipe uses minimal spices and really lets the smoky taste of the eggplant come through. We enjoyed it with naan.

Serves 4

1 large eggplant
1 medium onion, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
2 green chilli, chopped
10 strands of fresh cilantro, chopped fine

Over a high flame, roast the eggplant by turning it every 3-4 minutes. You will start noticing that the skin slowly starts burning and may split in some places. Roast it evenly and set aside. When cooled, remove the skin and chop the eggplant into pieces. It should already be a little mushy from the roasting.

In a shallow pan, heat oil and add the onions. Brown onions and then add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry for 3-4 minutes, and then add the cut green chillies. Fry for another 2 minutes. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cilantro and cook till tomatoes disintegrate. It took about 10 minutes to be completely soft. At this time add the chopped and roasted eggplant and mix well. Add salt to taste and 2 tbsp yogurt. Cook covered for 10 minutes or until eggplant is completely cooked and mushy. Serve hot!

04 January 2010

Butternut squash pasta

I am back from a much needed vacation. I made this before I left in an attempt to use up the last of the squash I had lying around.

Serves 4

1 lb of butternut squash, peeled and seeded
2 tbsp butter
1 lb pasta
1/2 tsp roasted, ground cumin
1 tsp sugar
1 small bunch chopped sage leaves
1/2 cup grated parmesan reggiano
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Process chunks of squash until shredded.
  2. In a broad based skillet, heat butter and add squash, salt, pepper, sugar and cumin. Cook until squash is cooked. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking and add a few tbsps of water as needed. Make sure its not soupy.
  3. Once the squash begins to cook, add the sage and cook overlow heat. Begin cooking the pasta.
  4. When the pasta is done, reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta water and toss the pasta with the squash in the skillet. Use the pasta water if the mixture seems too dry.
  5. Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed. Toss in the cheese and serve.

02 January 2010

Tomato Saar

Safiya has been politely requesting, for some time now, that I post this recipe and I'm finally getting around to it. Some background, then. Saar is a Konkani (and perhaps other languages as well) word for soup or broth. It is made in a variety of ways (and, as with a number of Sarasvat dishes, has a habit of tasting slightly in every household) and this particular Saar has been a favorite in my family for at least a few generations (my grandfather loved it). The most prominent tastes in this recipe are the sweet-sour taste of tomato and the distinct flavor of coconut milk. I should point out that it's been ages since I consulted the actual recipe for this dish - so my version may not actually be the right one.
4-5 tomatoes
14 oz can of light coconut milk - I think the original recipe asks for less but I like the coconut flavor
2 tsp cumin seeds
2-3 fresh green chilies (feel free to add more or less depending on your tolerance)
1 tsp salt (but again, add more or less depending on your tastes)

For Tadka
8 - 12 Curry Leaves
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tbsp oil/ghee

Start by washing and boiling the tomatoes whole in enough water. As they boil tomatoes tend to split their skin and I usually take them off the stove and run cold water when the skin starts to peel off. Once a little cooler the skin peels of quite easily.

Toss the tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients into a blender and blend all of it till it's all one color. It can take a little while for the cumin seeds to completely blend so you may need to have the blender going for a while.
Pour the resulting soup into a vessel and bring it to a boil. Add some water to thin the blend - I usually add water at about 1:1. As it heats up make the tadka (heat the oil or ghee for a minute or so then add mustard seeds, once they start to pop add the curry leaves and heat for a further few seconds) and carefully mix it in the soup. It's a good idea to let it all simmer for a little while once the tadka is added until the tomatoes taste cooked.
The saar goes well with rice (though it may need a little extra salt when mixed in) and is also a great warm drink just by itself.
Variations: It might be a good idea to experiment a little with the sweet and sour tastes in saar - I have often added sugar or tamarind to balance some flavors.