Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Mountain of Adventure

Jughead Jones Sandwich

A few years ago my mum's church organised a salad and sandwich competition for kids and she was very keen for her grandchildren to participate. Out came the books and the fond aunts scoured the internet for recipes and pictures. All of us poured over the various options and finally decided on "The Recipe." The next few days were spent scouting for the choicest ingredients and we even tried it out at home to see how it would taste. Finally on the day, the masterpiece was assembled and I need not say more. The picture speaks for itself.
The Recipe

1 large round loaf of brown bread; 250 gms Amul Butter;3 boiled eggs mashed with salt and pepper to taste; 12 slices salami;6 slices cheese; 3 large tomatoes sliced thin; 1 large bunch of mixed lettuce washed and wiped dry; mayonnaise and thousand island dressing; 1 tomato rose for garnish; cucumber slices, cherries(pitted) and olives for decoration.

Slice the loaf evenly into four horizontally. Spread with butter. Place some of the lettuce leaves and spread mashed boiled eggs on the bottom layer. Drizzle with 2 tbsp of mayonnaise. Arrange some lettuce, the cheese and tomatoes on the second layer and drizzle with 2 tbsp of thousand island dressing. Arrange lettuce and salami on third layer and drizzle with 2 tbsp mayonnaise. Stack layers together. Place sandwich on pretty plate. Shred remaining lettuce and arrange on plate around the loaf. Surround the sandwich with cucumber slices. Spread 1 tbsp thousand island dressing on top of the sandwich. Decorate with remaining salami cones, olives, cherries and salad leaves. Cut into wedges and serve.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sheer Decadence

Chicken Rendang

Rendang is a dish which originated from the Minangkabau ethnic group of Indonesia and is now a popular Malaysian dish, served at ceremonial occasions and to honour guests. Rendang is traditionally prepared by the Malay community during festive occasions.

There are many variations and each recipe is as good as any other. What I like best about this delicious dish is that enticing aroma that wafts out of the kitchen, fills the entire house, luring one and all. The aftermath is a fragrance that lingers for days evoking satisfaction and bliss.

The Recipe

11/2 kg chicken, washed, and cut into medium pieces; 4 onions, sliced fine; ½ bulb garlic; 1inch piece ginger; 1 tsp chilli powder, food colouring; 100 gms coconut powder mix with 3 cups warm water and keep aside or milk from two coconuts; 1 inch piece galangal (aromatic ginger); 4 screw pine leaves(pandanus); 4 kaffir lime leaves; 4 turmeric leaves, 3 stalks lemon grass (use the white part only); Salt to taste; orange food colouring.
Grind onions, garlic, both the gingers and the chilli powder till fine. Add to pan with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a low boil. Add chicken, lower heat and simmer until the gravy is dry and chicken is tender. Keep stirring to prevent sticking. Remove leaves before serving hot with rice.
NB: This dish does not need any oil. We like our rendang with gravy, so I simmer till half the gravy evaporates. Absolutely delicious.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Rice To The Occasion

Chicken Biriyani A La Mummy

I never really like Biriyani until we moved to Bangalore in 1983 and were deluged by it at every wedding. Biriyani turned out to be more than we had bargained for and it soon became a family favourite. Nehru and the girls demanded it every month and I soon became adept at it serving it for many a party and occasion. It is a favourite amongst our Malaysian friends where it is called Briyani and I have cooked this always with different kinds of pachdi and of course the inevitable Stuffed Brinjal.

The Recipe

500gms Basmathi Rice, wash, drain, parboil with salt to taste and keep aside; 1 kg chicken, washed and cut into large pieces.
Grind masala :1 large onion, quartered; 1 1/2 pods garlic, peeled; 3/4 tsp corriander seeds; 5 cloves; 3 inch piec ginger; 5 cardamoms, seeded, 1 inch stick cinnamon.

Pressure cook chicken 2 minutes in 1/2 cup water with a large tomato, cubed, a pinch of haldi(turmeric) and salt to taste.

Fry 6 large onions sliced in 2 tbsp ghee mixed with 2 tbsp oil till brown and keep aside.
In the same oil fry the ground masala until water evaporates and masala leaves the side of the pan and the oil oozes out. Add chicken, stock and cook on low flame till dry.

Take a large dish (either casserole or rice cooker or dekshi) and alternate layers of rice, meat and fried onions, beginning and ending with a layer of rice. Sprinkle an additional tbsp of ghee (optional) over the top layer. Next squeeze the juice of 1/2 a lime over the rice, followed by a few drops orange food colouring dissoved in 1/4 cup milk. Cover and cook till done. Usually takes 5 to 10 minutes. Serve hot garnished with or without hard boiled eggs, curd pachdi and whole brinjal.

Pachdi: Mix one cup curds with 1/2 cup boondi, a few corriander leaves and salt to taste.

A Rose By Any Other Name is just as sweet! Found this Kenyan Recipe for Biriani and am including it in this post. Happy Eating.

A dish that originated from the Kenya Coast.

1 kg. Meat ( mutton leg, a lean cut of beef, goat or chicken)
1 kg. Rice
1 kg. Onions
1 kg. Potatoes
1 medium size unripe pawpaw (papaya)
300 ml. (1.5 cups) sour milk or yogurt
2 limes
1/4 kg. Tomatoes
1 small bulb of garlic
Small piece of fresh green ginger
4 cardamom pods
4 cloves
2 small sticks cinnamon
1 teaspoon each of cumin seeds, coriander seeds, and whole black peppercorns
Oil for frying
1 smallest size tin tomato paste (I used 100gms)

Peel pawpaw, remove seeds, and grate coarsely. Pound the garlic and ginger to a paste. Cut the meat into biggish pieces and put into a heavy saucepan with the pawpaw and garlic and ginger. Add the sour milk or yogurt, and the juice of the two limes. Set over a low heat and stir at intervals. Whilst this is cooking, grind all the spices together and set aside. Slice the onions and fry in oil until brown and crisp. Remove from the fat. Peel and slice the potatoes and fry in the same oil until golden brown. Remove and keep on one side - apart from the onions. Check the meat to see if it is nearly ready, then add the spices and the skinned tomatoes together with 4-5 tablespoons of the fat used to fry the onions and potatoes. Mix together well, then add the tin of tomato paste. Continue cooking over low heat until the meat is really tender and the sauce thick and creamy. It is almost certain you will have to add a little warm water before the meat is cooked. Cook for a final 15 - 20 minutes to make sure all the flavours have blended together.

Prepare and cook the rice. Put a good layer of the rice at the bottom of a fireproof dish or casserole. Pour over the meat mixture, and cover completely with another layer of rice. Now put in the fried onions, reserving a few for decoration, and cover them with the rest of the rice. Boil up the remaining oil and pour over. Take the sliced potatoes and tuck them at the edge of the dish, and across the top, pushing them into the rice. Sprinkle with the reserved onions about 30 minutes. Do not let it become dry. Biriani can be served at table in the casserole if it is decorative one, or else you will have to remove the meat and the vegetables keeping the layers as cooked and serve on a big platter.

1/2 kg small brinjals (I used green and purple), wash, make two slits crossways across bottom retaining stalk; 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste; 3 green chillies; 1 large onion; 1 1/2 tsp corriander powder; 1/2 tsp somph; 1/2 tsp jeera powder; 1 tsp garam masala powder; 3/4 tsp chilli powder; fffffew drops orange food colouring; 3 tbsp grated coconut; salt to taste.
Grind all the ingredients except the brinjals to a smooth paste. Fry the masala in 2 tbsp oil until thick. Stuff 1/2 a tsp of masala paste into each brinjal and arrange in a dish. Put the remaining masala on top and pressure cook with 1/2 cup water 5 minutes only. Serve with biriyani. A winning combination indeed.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Our Favourite Tradition

Ma's Prawn Pulav

Prawn Pulav is another family favourite. Coming from a coastal town, we always had plenty of sea food and prawns were always part of a celebration menu. More often than not, as kids we would pick out the prawns and leave the rice. Tradition continues and my girls do the same. Mummy's Prawn Pulav is no exception and we make it for many a family occasion.
The Recipe
500gms prawns, shelled, deveined and washed; 350 gms Basmathi rice, wash, drain and keep aside; 2 potatoes, cubed; 2 onions, sliced; 1 tbsp ginger, minced; 3 tbsp grated coconut; 1 tbsp garlic paste; 2 tsp corriander seeds; 2 tsp chilli powder or to taste; 1/2 tsp haldi; salt to taste; 3 tbsp oil.

NB: I always add a few vegetables as that was the only way to get my children to eat them.

Grind the ginger, garlic, coconut, corriander seeds and chilli powder to a paste. Heat oil in a non stick pan and saute the prawns and onions till golden brown. Add the rice and stir fry till all the grains are coated with oil. Stir in the salt, haldi, ground masala and 4 cups water (1 cup = 250ml). Throw in the potatoes as well. Transfer to pressure cooker or rice cooker and cook till rice is done. Takes about 5 minutes in the pressure cooker. Serve hot with curd pachdi (mix together 1/4 litre curds, salt, 1/4 cucumber sliced; 1 cubed tomato, 1 sliced onion, 1 cgreen chilli minced and corriander leaves). Great for a Sunday lunch.