Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A Long Time Ago

Beef And Beans Surprise
My father loved cooking and Sunday’s were usually a special day in our family. After church the whole family would stop at Russel Market, Bangalore where my parents would buy the weekly supplies and then head home for a late lunch cooked by my father. It must have been his way of relaxing as he was in a very demanding job that carried a lot of responsibility. This recipe was his speciality and one of our favourites. Whenever we went on picnics my mother would pack the hamper with rice, beef n beans, fruit and other delicious snacks and drinks. Nearly forty years later this remains a family favourite and we make it pretty often. It serves to remember my dad who died a long time ago. His legacy however lives on and will be passed on to his descendants and others who love cooking.
The Recipe:
Beef & Beans Surprise
1 kg prime beef, washed and cubed; 1 large onion sliced fine; ½ pod garlic, minced; 1 inch ginger, minced; 3 large tomatoes, diced; 1 small bunch coriander leaves chopped; 2 spring onions, chopped fine; 1 stick celery cut very fine; salt to taste; 2 tbsp. curry powder; 3 tbsp oil,1 large marrow bone; 250 gms cooked kidney beans (can use tinned); salt to taste.
Heat a non stick pan with the oil. Add the onions, ginger, garlic, coriander leaves, spring onions and celery and stir fry till golden brown. Add the tomatoes and cook till mushy on a medium flame. Now add the curry powder, beans, beef cubes and marrow bone with 1 cup of water (250 ml). Cover and pressure cook 40 minutes till beans are soft, beef tender and marrow cooked.Add salt to taste. Remove marrow from bone, cut into pieces and use to garnish. Serve piping hot with ghee rice or kichdi ( rice with lentils) or bread.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wedding Fever

Almond Chicken Extravaganza

I was 13 years old when my uncle got married. Since it was the last wedding in the family there was a lot of excitement in the air. Kith and kin congregated from all over India and my grandparents house in Kundapur (S. India) was brimming with guests. We children were roped in to help with the various odd jobs and had a great time. Especially enjoyable were the tit bits and snacks that various relatives had made and brought with them and the special sweetmeats and savouries made or ordered in vast quantities for the wedding. Recipe books were brought out and eagerly consulted and discussed by the women of the household and menus for the celebration decided well in advance. The most prized recipes were sought after and savoured and the reputation of the clan depended on the satisfied burp of well fed guests. This particular recipe has been in my family since my great grandmother’s days. My grandmother, mother, aunts and various cousins reserved it for occasions that demanded culinary perfection, a treat for the taste buds and eyes. I have continued that tradition and trust my children will do the same. The hand that rocks the cradle certainly deserves the best. Here then is Mangalorean Cuisine at its very best!
The Recipe:
1 large chicken (1.5 kg), jointed, washed and drained.
Masala: 2 green chillies; 1 tsp. chilli powder; 2 dried red chillies; 2 pods garlic; 1 inch ginger;2 inch cinnamon;2 cardamoms; 1 level tbsp. khus khus (poppy seeds); 30 to 40 almonds (more if gravy is desired). Blanch almonds in hot water to remove skins. Grind masala ingredients with a little water to smooth paste and keep aside.
6 sliced onions for seasoning, 4 tbsp. ghee/oil for frying
1 cup curds, beat and keep ready;salt to taste; few chopped almonds for garnishing.
Heat ghee/oil in deep bottomed vessel. Add sliced onions and fry golden brown. Add ground masala and fry till thick and creamy and ghee/oil oozes out. Add chicken and gently cook till all the water evaporates. Add 1 cup water, cover and cook till chicken is tender. Add curds,salt to taste, stir and remove from fire. Garnish with almonds. Serve hot with ghee rice (rice cooked in ghee), white rice or idlis (steamed rice cakes).
NB 1. Can add quartered potatoes for quantity.
2. The calorie conscious can substitute oil for ghee.
3. Can use mutton instead of chicken in which case cooking time is longer.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mum's the Word

Stew Eggstra-ordinaire


My adventures in the kitchen began more than four decades ago when as a wide eyed six year old, my mum made me peel boiled potatoes, eggs and beetroots for a salad. I probably ate more than I helped but that simple task introduced me to the magical world of cooking and I have been a fan ever since.The first recipe on my blog is a tribute to my mum, a fabulous cook. Whatever she cooks makes my mouth water and I owe my passion for all things edible to her.
At a time when most girls left high school to get married, she went on to do her B.A. in Home Science with distinction. That was in 1955. She then devoted a year to learn International Cuisine at Nazareth Convent, Mangalore (South India). Most of my recipes are hers. And she in turn got them from her mother who got it from her mother (my great grandmother). Today, at seventy four she still wields her culinary prowess and woe betide the unfortunate soul who does not meet her exacting standards.
Egg Stew has always been a family favourite. Any occasion whether ordinary or special demanded a stew in some form or the other (meat, vegetables or fish). It is not only simple, but so delicious and satisfying that even a novice could attempt it. Everyone who tastes it asks for the recipe and it has graced many a table in many a household.
In honour of a great cook, my mother Gladys Elisha culinary expert extraordinaire!
The Recipe:
1) 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and kept aside.
2) 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder; 1 onion, sliced fine; 1 medium tomato chopped; 2 green chillies slit; 2 cloves garlic, minced fine; ½ inch ginger, minced fine; 2 cloves; 1 inch cinnamon; 2 cardamoms; ½ tsp. pepper powder; 1tbsp. vinegar; 250 ml water; 250ml coconut milk(ready made or make it yourself like they did back then);salt to taste.
3) Seasoning: 1 small onion sliced; 1 sprig curry leaves; 2 tbsp oil. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Add curry leaves and then the onions. Stir fry till onions are dark brown.
4) Garnish: few corriander leaves, cut.
Place all ingredients except coconut milk in a pan and bring to the boil. Lower fire and simmer 5 minutes. Add the coconut milk and bring to simmering point. Add eggs,salt to taste and remove. Add seasoning, stir gently and transfer to serving dish. Garnish with corriander leaves and serve hot with rice or bread.
NB: Can add potatoes or vegetables if desired.
Tomatoes are a modern addition. Back then vinegar was generously used as tomatoes and other English vegetables became easily available only after Indian Independence in 1947.

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