Category Archives: What’s Cooking!

Crisp Fried Bombay Duck – Bombil Fry

Now, Bombay Duck is not a duck from Bombay, okay. Rather, it’s a fish. Lizard Fish, to be scientifically precise. Weird, no. So is its unusual, slimy appearance. But the history, I tell you, is a lot more amusing… dates back to the British times. You have to Google it 🙂
Commonly known as Bombil, this peculiar fish has made Maharastrian kitchens its home.
And, this is one fish in particular that has intimidated me all these years. I somehow, couldn’t muster courage even to touch it. Bombil is wobbly, slippery and doesn’t have a taste of its own. It needs to be flavored with a really nice marinade and believe me, it’ll love you right back 🙂
Posting a link that shows how to clean and cut the fish. I followed it too.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D53lpR_GJ2g

Ingredients:
8-10 medium size Bombay Ducks
8 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
2 green chilies
4 tsp Kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Juice of 1 lemon / 2 tbsp tamarind extract
1 cup rice flour (if you don’t have the flour, blitz the rice in the mixer to a really fine powder)
4 tbsp semolina
Sal as per taste
Oil for frying

Method:
1. Slit and pat dry the fish as per the link above and place them in a bowl.
2. Grind together ginger, garlic, green chilies, turmeric powder, red chili powder, salt and lemon juice to a smooth paste.
3. Apply the marinade and 1 tsp of rice flour to the fish. Leave it aside for 30 minutes.
I believe in marinating a little longer. I have it in my head that more the marinating time, the more flavored the fish will be.
4. Heat oil in a non-stick pan.
5. Mix the balance rice flour and semolina together.
6. Now dip the marinated fish in the flour+semolina mixture so it’s coated well on both sides. Dust off the extra bits and shallow fry till crisp and golden brown on both the sides.
7. Drain the excess oil on absorbent paper.
8. Serve with steaming hot rice and curry or just like that with green chutney or ketchup.

P.S.:
1. Oil has to be really hot for the fish to fry properly and turn crisp. Reduce the flame if you feel the crumbs are burning.
2. There’s one central bone or thorn in the fish that is soft and tender. And it cooks well while frying the fish. So don’t bother to chuck it out while slitting the fish. I too didn’t.
3. It’s best to fry the fish when you are ready to serve. That’s when you really enjoy the crispness. Keep it for long and it wears off and turns flat.
May be you can try warming it up in the OTG. I’m yet to try it.

I believe in my heart, whatever dish you cook with all your love and care, it will be the most celebrated dish ever…

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Goan Sausage Pulao

A visit to Goa doesn’t need an itinerary or a plan. Because, here things just happen. You don’t plan stuff when you visit your home, do you? Goa is home. Home to its locals and tourists alike. Hire a bike or a car and jet off to make the most of its beaches, nightlife, shopping and food.
I have a proclivity to markets – the bustling Mapusa, Margaon and Panjim markets and their cheeky vendors are the places where I feel, is the actual essence of Goa.

Goan cuisine is a magical amalgamation of the Hindu, Muslim and the Portuguese influence. The indigenous Pork Sausages are a typical reflection of the Indo-Portuguese cuisine. These long, entwined, fiery red and aromatic beaded necklaces dangling from the stalls have always caught my fancy.
The ubiquitous Pork Sausage Pulao is practically every restaurant’s sweetheart and so is my husband’s.

So, I decided to try it back home. It was as inviting, gorgeous and bursting with flavors, as it did in the restaurants in Goa.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:
1 cup (250 gms) Basmati rice
2 cups of water
14 beads of homemade Goan Sausages
2 medium size onions, finely chopped
2 medium size tomatoes, finely chopped
2 green chilies, slit
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt as per taste
Oil for frying
Chopped coriander for garnish
Whole Spices:
2 bay leaves
4 green cardamoms
1 black cardamom
4 cloves
1 cinnamon stick
4 black pepper corns
1 tsp cumin seeds

Method:
1. Wash, drain and soak the basmati rice for about 15 minutes
2. Remove the sausages off their casings.
3. Heat oil in a non-stick pan and add the whole spices. Fry till aromatic.
4. Toss in the onions and fry till translucent and golden brown.
5. Add minced garlic and slit green chilies and saute.
6. Tumble in the chopped tomatoes and cook till they are soft.
7. Add turmeric powder and stir.
8. Now add the sausages and saute till aromatic and the oil starts leaving from the sides.
9. Add the soaked rice and mix well.
10. Pour in the water, sprinkle salt, sugar and stir gently.
11. When it comes to boil, cover it up and cook on low for about 15 minutes or till done.
12. When cooked, leave it covered for about 10 minutes. This helps the flavors and aroma to permeate through.
13. Gently toss the pulao with a fork, so you don’t harm the long, beautiful grains of rice.
14. Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with a wedge of lime.

P.S.: Here, simplicity is the key. The tangy vinegar, smoked paprika, a dash of garam masala, spicy pepper and few other ingredients together add an intense flavor to the minced pork.
The Pulao is nothing but heaven sizzling on your plate 🙂

Quinoa with Garlic, Mushrooms and Thai Basil

‘Quinoa’ – ‘Kinwa’ as it is rightly pronounced, is one such super-food that has achieved a rapid global stardom… television, websites, food magazines, blogs, it’s everywhere. Dietitians are raving about the benefits and it has found a stellar place on almost every celebrity’s menu. Intriguing!
And rightly so. This health food is gluten-free, high in proteins, fiber, iron, vitamin B, calcium, vitamin E and is packed with antioxidants.
With summer glaring from a distance, it’s time to come up with dishes that are easy on stomach, loaded with nutrition and most importantly, adored by the taste-buds.

Thus Quinoa entered my kitchen… for the very first time. And, pairing it with Mushrooms, tonnes of Garlic and Thai Basil has totally blown me away.
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Soaking time: 20 minutes
Total time: 40 minutes
Serves: 3

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Quinoa
1 cup water for cooking Quinoa
7-8 Thai basil leaves, finely chopped
7 cloves of garlic, minced
100 gms mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Olive oil
Salt as per taste

Method:
1. Rinse, soak and cook the Quinoa as per the packet instructions and leave it aside.
2. Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan, add minced garlic and saute for a minute.
3. Add chopped Thai Basil leaves and stir for a bit.
4. Toss in the mushrooms and saute. Then cover and cook till the mushrooms are done.
5. Season with salt, stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
6. Now add the cooked quinoa and mix it all up. Cook on low for a minute. Add more salt if needed.
7. Drizzle in the lemon juice, stir and turn off the flame.
8. Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander and Thai basil leaves.

P.S.: Quinoa can also be cooked in Chicken/Fish/Vegetable stock instead of plain water.
Garnish with grated Parmesan, if desired.

 

Exotic Dal Makhani

Makhani, literally translates to Buttery in Punjabi. Dal Makhani, the North Indian sweetheart, is a delightful melange of whole Urad Dal (Black Lentils) and Rajma (Red Kidney Beans), laden with butter, butter, more butter and… cream 🙂
This dish is a buffet-regular in almost every restaurant you visit. Its thick, smooth consistency and buttery goodness has always intrigued me.
Last week, a friend sent me a bowl of it to taste. It started with a spoon and ended with me licking the bowl clean… at 1.15 am.
It was about time I made it myself.

So I did…today. After serving my dear husband, I stared at him in anticipation. And he blurted, “just one word…EXOTIC!”
So, here it is… my Exotic Dal Makhni, slow cooked to perfection.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Soaking time: overnight / 8-9 hours
Serves: 5

Ingredients:
3/4 cup whole urad dal (black lentils)
1/4 cup rajma (red kidney beans)
4 cups water for pressure cooking dal and rajma
2 medium size onions, finely chopped
2 large tomatoes, pureed
2 green chilies, finely chopped
2 tsps ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp kasuri methi, crushed (dried fenugreek leaves)
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves
3 green cardamoms
1 black cardamom
1 bay leaf
1 medium cinnamon stick
2 tsps, red chili powder. I use Kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
3 heaped tbsps butter
1 tsp oil. So the butter doesn’t burn
2 tbsp cream. I don’t mind a tbsp more 🙂
Chopped coriander to garnish
Wedges of a lime while serving
Salt as per taste

Method:
Soaking and Cooking:
1. Wash thoroughly and soak the lentils and rajma in enough water overnight or for 8-9 hours at least. Soaking reduces the cooking time, thereby saving the fuel.
2. Drain them well. Rinse again a couple of times before pressure cooking in 4 cups of water.
3. Pressure cook on high flame for about 10 minutes or until the lentils and rajma are soft. They should be melt-in-mouth soft and not resistant or tough when eaten.

Dal Makhani:
1. Heat oil, then add butter in a kadhai or a non-stick heavy bottomed pan.
2. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
3. Add all the whole spices – cloves, cinnamon, green and black cardamom and bay leaf. Fry for few seconds till aromatic.
4. Toss in the onions and fry till translucent and golden brown.
5. Add chopped green chilies and fry a bit.
6. Then add the ginger-garlic paste and saute for a minute. The raw smell should go away.
7. Add the pureed tomatoes and stir for another minute.
8. Now add the spice powders – chili and turmeric and saute on medium till the oil starts leaving from sides.
9. Add the cooked lentils and rajma and stir.
10. Add salt and water as required.
11. Cook on low and let it simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, so the lentils don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Do not put the lid.
12. Add garam masala and fenugreek. Stir and cook on medium for another 2-3 minutes.
13. Lastly, drizzle over the cream and mix well. Switch off the flame.
14. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander, wedge of lime and serve with Naan, Tandoori Roti, Jeera Rice or plain rice.

Dollop more butter while serving… yourself. Pure foodgasm!
You can always run an extra mile and burn those newly piled calories. But, who cares about them when the food is so yummm, isn’t it 🙂

Crispy Lamb Chops

Hello Everyone!
Greetings!!!

Sorry, haven’t posted since long. Had been busy with few other assignments. Made a short, fun-filled trip to Goa, para-sailed, ambled the golden, serene beaches and stuffed my face with tonnes of fish.
Then a long long drive to Pune. It’s definitely an adventure to try out new recipes at home. But it’s an entirely different experience to relish and cherish them in the place they were born. Steaming hot, spicy and gorgeously red Misal with Paav is one such. A specialty of Pune, every Punekar takes utmost pride in.
Cooking ran parallel as well…perhaps, not as frequently. But yes, it did 🙂

Did I mention, I participated in a beauty pageant and made it to the top six… 🙂 🙂

Coming back to business…Tried Nigella’s Crisp Lamb Chops yesterday. Fun to cook, fun to eat. The sound when you dig your teeth into them, is totally rewarding. I tweaked it a little, as I didn’t have all of her ingredients. But, they were super super yummm!
Ingredients:
5 lamb chops (with bone in)
2 tsp red chili powder (you can also use smoked paprika or chili flakes)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried rosemary (optional)
zest of a lemon
1 tsp lemon juice
A pinch of black pepper
Salt as per taste

For frying:
100 grams fresh white breadcrumbs (or as required)
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg (beaten with salt and pepper)
Oil for frying

Method:
1. Remove the thick layer of fat from around the edge of each little chop, either by tearing it off by hand, or with a pair of scissors. Be careful not to lose the shape of the chop, though, or it will fall to pieces on frying.
2. Layer the chops between two sheets of clingfilm, and whack them vigorously with a mallet or rolling pin so that they are flattened a little. Be careful not to massacre them 😛
3. Rub the chops well with all of the marinating ingredients. Cover the bowl with a cling film and leave it in the fridge for at least two hours. This tenderizes and flavors the meat really well.
4. Then, in a wide, shallow bowl, combine the breadcrumbs and parmesan.
5. In another bowl, beat the egg and season it with salt and pepper.
6. Pour some oil, about 1cm / ½ inch deep, in a fry ban and heat it.
7. Dip the lamb chops first in the egg mixture and then press them well in the cheese and breadcrumbs before frying them in the hot oil.
8. Cook the chops for about 3 minutes each side. Adjust the flame, so that they are cooked through. They should be a deep golden brown and crunchy on the outside, tender and pinkish on the inside.
9. Serve hot with mint chutney or tomato ketchup. They taste equally good at room temperature or even cold.
10. Pack them up in an airtight container and they’ll last a good 3-4 days.

 

Banana Bread

This is the best Banana Bread recipe ever. Period. It’s kind of a Grandma’s recipe… vintage and long-standing. Its old-school simplicity is overwhelming and so is its super-soft texture and mind-blowing flavor.
When I baked it for the first time, I did it with white sugar. The second time, I used the light brown one. With both, results were amazing. Believe me, you’ll never go wrong with it. Try once and you will be baking it again and again, I promise.
banana-breadPreparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 50 minutes to 1 hour

Ingredients:
4 medium sized, very ripe bananas
1/2 cup butter
1 cup Sugar (white or brown). Adjust according to your desired sweetness.
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
11/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Method:
1. Grease and flour a loaf tin. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
2. Squidge the bananas with a masher. I prefer doing it with hand and leave little chunks, instead of making a paste. You feel them in your bites when you chomp on.
3. Cream together the butter and sugar.
4. Add the beaten eggs and crushed bananas.
5. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Add to the creamed mixture.
6. Add vanilla, sprinkle the cinnamon powder and fold gently.
7. Tip the mixture in the loaf tin and bake for 50 mins or till done.
8. Enjoy as a tea-time cake or whenever you are in the mood for a dessert.

P.S.:
You can toss in a cup of chopped nuts, raisins, or chocolate chips if you want, or put the batter into muffin tins and make muffins instead.

Rajma Masala

Rajma or Red Kidney Beans are a staple in almost every North Indian household. Rajma Chawal – Rajma served with Steamed Rice, is a legend in Punjab.
About their health benefits, I can go on and on…
High fiber aids weight loss. They are loaded with proteins, powerhouse of energy and stuffed with antioxidants that increase immunity. They maintain the blood sugar levels, thus preventing diabetes. They also maintain the blood pressure, leading to a healthy heart. Anti-aging, excellent for glowing skin and lustrous hair. Need I say more…

Move over the restaurants that lure you with a good-looking dish and then dig a big hole in your pockets. And all that with really small portions that make you think whether to eat it or just look at it. After Version 1, 2, 3… I’ve finally nailed it with Version Lipsmaking, that’ll beat these hole-diggers hands down.
rajma-masalaSoaking time: Overnight or minimum 10 hours
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
200 grams Rajma (you can also use the canned beans)
3 tbsp butter (I’m very generous with butter)
1 tbsp oil
3 medium or 2 large onions, finely chopped
2 medium size tomatoes, pureed
11/2 tbsp ginger+garlic+green chili paste
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp Kashmiri / red chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp corriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) – optional
2 tbsp fresh cream
1/2 to 1 cup water…as per your desired thickness of the gravy
Salt as per taste
2 tsp lemon juice
Chopped coriander for garnishing

Method:
Soaking and Cooking Rajma:
1. Wash the beans and soak them in enough water overnight or for at least 10 hours. This softens the beans and expedites the cooking process.
2. Discard the liquid and wash the soaked beans under cold water.
3. Pressure cook the beans till done. They should be really soft… melt-in-mouth kind of soft.
4. If boiling, remember Rajma is a really stubborn bean. It’ll consume whole lot of time and fuel. So pressure cooking is advisable.
5. Save the cooking liquor – the liquid that’s left after cooking the beans.
6. Mash 2 tbsps of the cooked beans. They thicken the gravy.

Rajma Masala:
1. Heat oil, then add butter in a kadhai or a non-stick heavy bottomed pan.
2. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
3. Add the cinnamon and bay leaf. Fry for few seconds till aromatic and the oil is flavored.
4. Toss in the onions and fry till translucent and golden brown. Be careful not to burn.
5. Add the ginger+garlic+chili paste and saute for a minute. The raw smell should go away.
6. Add the spice powders – turmeric, coriander, cumin, red chili, garam masala and saute for a minute.
7. Add the tomato puree and fry till the oil starts leaving from sides.
8. Tumble in the beans, add the cooking liquor, mashed beans, sprinkle salt and give it a good stir. Add more water if needed.
9. Let it simmer without lid, on low for around 10 minutes.
10. After the gravy has attained the desired consistency, sprinkle the kasuri methi, add the fresh cream and lime juice.
11. Let it cook on low for another one last minute.
12. Garnish with coriander and serve hot with Steamed Rice, Jeera (Cumin) Rice, Roti or Naan slathered with butter.

P.S. : *There are two varieties of Rajma available in the market – Red and pinkish one. Cooking time varies for both. I prefer the red ones.
*If undercooked, the beans aren’t as flavorful as they should be. Also, under-cooked Rajma isn’t good for your stomach. So ensure it’s cooked thoroughly.
*If using canned beans, discard the liquid and take just the beans after giving them a quick run under cold water.