Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Journey Begins

Serita's Chicken Rice

When we first arrived in Malaysia, the bewildering array of food left us all a bit awed. Never had we seen such a vast variety of glorious food, a veritable feast for the senses. At first we were content to watch. However, Serita had no such qualms and as the years passed we became as adept as any Malaysian in making our choices. In Malaysia “Food” is a culture of its own representing the many races bound together by their international cuisine. Having visitors is loads of fun since we can take them on a gastronomical adventure and also indulge in our passion for food.
Chicken Rice is one of the simplest yet delicious meals one can have. Over the years, it has become a family favourite. A meal by itself it is served with a soup, greens and chicken.

The Recipe

1 cup basmathi rice, 3 screwpine (pandanus) leaves washed and knotted), 1 star anise, 2 Maggi chicken stock cubes to make 2 cups stock, 1 tbsp oil, 1 inch piece ginger grated.
Clean and wash rice. Drain completely. Heat oil and stir fry ginger and rice grains till completely coated (a minute or two). Transfer to rice cooker. Add stock, star anise and screwpine leaves. Close cooker and cook till done. Serve hot with accompaniments. Do not need salt as the soup cubes have enough in them. Serves 4

Greens in Oyster Sauce

½ kg bok choy greens, 3 tbsp. oyster sauce, 2 tbsp. oil, 1 tbsp minced garlic
Soak greens in salted water for 15 minutes. Blanch in boiling water (add 2 tsp salt to the water) for 1 minute only and plunge into cold water immediately to retain crispness and colour. Drain and keep aside. Heat a pan and stir fry the minced garlic on medium heat until brown and edible. Add the oyster sauce with 2 tbsp water and bring to boil for 30 seconds on high heat . Arrange greens on serving dish. Dribble the oyster sauce all over and serve hot. Eat immediately, before it wilts.

Honey Pepper Chicken Wings

8 chicken wings, (wash and pat dry), 2 tbsps. good quality honey, 1 tbsp pepper coarsely powdered, 1 tsp thick soy sauce mixed with 2 tbsp. water. Spring onions for garnish. Salt if required.
Marinade chicken wings overnight in the honey, pepper and soy sauce. Taste the marinade to see if salt is needed. Next day grill in oven on high heat for 5 minutes each side or till done. Can baste wings with the marinade. Discard remaining marinade. Transfer wings to serving dish. Garnish with spring onions. Serve hot or cold.

Chicken Soup

2 cups chicken stock, 1 small piece of tofu (bean curd), 2 spring onions, chopped fine), salt to taste.
Cut tofu into pieces and steep in boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain and place a few pieces in each serving bowl. Heat stock and pour over the tofu. Add salt to taste. Garnish with spring onions. Serve hot. SLURP!!!

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My Very Own

Lamb Chops

We hardly ever ate meat while growing up since we lived by the sea. So after we moved to Bangalore we had the option of trying out various meat recipes and this is one of my very own. I experimented many times before I was satisfied with it and make it only for special occasions. Trust you like it as much as we do.

The Recipe

1 1/2 cups Tomato Puree (home made or bought)
1 kg lamb chops, trim the fat and discard
1 cup low fat milk
2 tbsp. peanut oil
1 tsp. chilli powder
½ tsp. garam masala powder ( available at Indian grocery shops)
2 large onions, grated
2 cloves, garlic and 1 inch piece ginger, blend to a smooth paste
½ cup chopped corriander leaves
salt to taste

1. Wash and drain lamb chops. Place in pan with the low fat milk and peanut oil. Pressure cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and keep aside for 10 minutes.
2. Return to heat and add the tomato puree, chilli powder, grated onion and the ginger garlic paste. Carefully stir to mix well. When the mixture begins to boil, lower flame and gently simmer for 10 minutes till mixture is thick.
3. Add salt to taste.
4. After a minute, stir in the garam masala powder.
5. Remove from fire and transfer to serving dish. Garnish with the corriander leaves and serve immediately with white rice and Yoghurt Cucumber Pachdi.

Yoghurt Cucumber Pachdi

Mix together ½ peeled cucumber, sliced; 1 cup yoghurt; salt to taste; 1 tbsp. chopped corriander leaves and 1 minced green chilli. Serve with the Lamb Chops.

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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Legacy From The Past

Great Grandmother's Pepper Chicken
Another family favourite, this recipe can be made with any kind of meat. However chicken was frequently used as my aunt kept chickens and had no compulsions in slaughtering them. It was also very easy to make and ready in a jiffy. The women in my immediate family were great cooks. Any occasion was a time to socialize and also to exchange recipes and ideas. And we children were the beneficiaries as we were ready to ‘devour’ anything at any time. In fact this recipe made our mouths water as the most delicious aromas wafted on the evening breeze from the kitchen, right into the garden… enticing us to the dining room well ahead of time. My mother cooked this pretty often; and my children love it too. They swear that ‘Nana’s cooking is the best in the world!’ In fact, though an expert in international cuisine, my favourite food will always be the recipes my mother inherited from her mother, grandmother and other family members. These recipes not only hold the family together, but give us a peek into the past. What an awesome legacy and what an awesome feeling to be bound to the past through something as ordinary as a recipe. Viva la Great Grandmother!

The Recipe:

(Essentially a dry dish)
1 kg chicken, jointed; 3 onions, sliced; 2 onions chopped; ½ tsp. turmeric powder; 1 tbsp vinegar; salt to taste; 1 tsp. freshly ground pepper powder or more to taste; 1 stick cinnamon; 5 cloves, 2 sprigs curry leaves; few fried potatoes and curry leaves for garnishing; salt to taste.
Roast the cinnamon and cloves. Powder and keep at hand.

Cook chicken with 2 chopped onions, turmeric, ½ cup water, salt, vinegar and pepper. When done keep aside. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a frying pan and add the curry leaves, followed by the onions. Fry onions to golden brown. Add the chicken (reserve stock) and gently stir fry till brown. Add the reserved stock and simmer till it evaporates. Add the roasted and powdered spices. Gently mix and remove. If gravy is desired, can add more water; simmer 2 minutes and remove. Garnish with fried potatoes and curry leaves. Serve with curd (white rice mixed with yoghurt) rice or white rice or bread.

NB This is the original recipe.

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