Bangda Recheado Fry – Crisp Fried Stuffed Mackerel

Mackerel or Bangda in Marathi hits the perfect spot when it comes to nutrition. This gorgeous steely-blue fish is loaded with proteins, B vitamins and is a top notch source of Omega-3 fatty acids.

I usually fry this fish by applying the marinade only on the outside. This time I went all Goan by doing the recheado.
Now, recheado is frequently mistaken as the spice paste used for marinating the fish. But, it actually is the Portuguese word for Stuffing 🙂

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Marination time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
4 medium size Mackerels
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
6 tbsp red chili powder / kashmiri chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 cumin powder
4-5 black pepper corns
1 inch cinnamon stick
5 cloves
4-5 fenugreek (methi) seeds
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp Sugar
3 – 4 tbsp vinegar
Chickpea flour or Besan for coating
Salt as per taste
Oil for frying

Method:
1. Slit the fish lengthwise on the narrower side, but don’t cut it into two.
2. Marinate with salt and turmeric powder and leave it aside for 10 minutes.
3. Grind all the other ingredients together into a smooth paste – chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, ginger-garlic paste, pepper corns, cinnamon, fenugreek seeds, cloves, mustard seeds, vinegar, sugar and salt.
4. Rub this spice paste equally on to the surface and then stuff it within the slit.
5. Again, leave it aside for 15 minutes, so the fish absorbs all the flavors.
6. Heat some oil in a fry pan.
7. Sprinkle the chickpea flour equally on both the sides of the fish.
8. Fry the fish on medium flame, about 2 minutes each side, till brown and crisp.
9. Drain the excess oil on an absorbent paper.
10. Serve hot with rice and curry.

P.S.:
1. You can use lemon juice or tamarind paste as an alternative to vinegar.
2. Vinegar has a very strong tangy flavor. So don’t go overboard, else it will dominate all the wonderful flavors other spices impart.
3. Fish can also be coated in semolina or rice flour.
4. Sprinkling the flour prevents wastage of the flour and the spices while frying.
5. Being patient with marination goes a long way in making the fish more flavorful.
6. It’s best to fry the fish when you are ready to serve.
7. If you’ve fried it before hand, instead of warming it up in a microwave, heat a skillet/ fry pan/ grill pan and warm it up on medium flame for few seconds each side. You don’t have to add oil here. This will not just warm up the fish but also retain its crispness.

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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…

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 🙂

Matar Mushroom Masala – Spicy Green Peas and Mushrooms

Matar or Green Peas – high on antioxidants, loaded with fiber and proteins, generous amount of vitamins, yet low on calories. Excellent for your heart and bones.
Mushrooms – a storehouse of iron, packed with proteins and antioxidants and a wealth of vitamins and minerals. No fats, no cholesterol and very low on carbohydrates… a staple for diabetics.
When these two stars come together, backed with a thick luscious gravy, what you get is a guaranteed super-tasty, super-healthy, super super super dish.
matar-mushroom-masalaPreparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 cups of boiled peas
200 grams button mushrooms, cut into halves or quarters, depending on the size
3 medium or 2 large onions, finely chopped
2 medium size tomatoes, pureed
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
3 tbsp butter / oil
1 cinnamon stick
2 cardamoms
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp Kashmiri chili powder. This gives that gorgeous red color without burning your tongue.
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp corriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp honey or sugar
1/2 to 1 cup water…as per your desired thickness of the gravy
Salt as per taste
1 tsp lemon juice
Chopped coriander for garnishing

Method:
1. Heat butter / oil in a kadhai or a broad, nonstick pan.
2. Add cumin seeds and let them splutter.
3. Add the whole spices – cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and bay leaf. Fry on medium till aromatic.
4. Fry onions till translucent and golden brown. Be careful not to burn.
5. Add the ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute.
6. Add the spice powders – turmeric, coriander, Kashmiri chili… and fry for a minute.
7. Add the tomato puree and fry till the oil starts leaving from sides.
8. Tumble in the boiled peas and mushrooms and give a good stir.
9. Now add water, sprinkle salt and let it simmer for around 10 minutes or till the veggies are cooked.
10. Lastly, sprinkle the garam masala powder, squeeze lime juice and add a dash of honey / sugar
11. Let it cook on low for another 3-4 minutes.
10. Garnish with chopped coriander. Serve hot with chapatis, fulkas, naan, jeera rice or steamed rice.

P.S.: You can also use Paneer or Cottage Cheese in place of mushrooms.
Adding honey / sugar gives a lift to the flavors.
Step 3 can be kept optional.

Always remember…the more time you invest cooking each step, the more flavors you add to your dish. Patience is the key 🙂