Saturday, June 20, 2015

Bak Kut Teh

I had this friend who used to rave about Bak Kut Teh whenever we met her.  People we met would ask us whether we had tasted this and we were quite perplexed at the excitement and eagerness involved.  Their eyes would light up, their noses twitch and we were longing to try this long awaited dish.  At long last, a friend invited us to try it out at a place well known for it.   So we tried it and tested it and enjoyed it and here is the recipe too.

Bak-kut-teh (also spelt bah-kut-teh;  is a Chinese soup popularly served in Malaysia and Singapore, where there is a predominant Hoklo and Teochew community, and also in neighbouring areas like the Riau Islands and Southern Thailand.
The name literally translates as "meat bone tea", and at its simplest, consists of meaty pork ribs simmered in a complex broth of herbs and spices (including star anisecinnamonclovesdang guifennel seeds and garlic) for hours. Despite its name, there is in fact no tea in the dish itself; the name refers to a strong oolong Chinese tea which is usually served alongside the soup in the belief that it dilutes or dissolves the copious amount of fat consumed in this pork-laden dish. Source:  Wikipedia
NB:  I made it with chicken and it's a very aromatic, lip smacking dish.
The Recipe:
500 gms chicken on the bone, chopped into small pieces; 1/2 teaspoon pepper powder; salt to taste;3 tbsp olive oil I used oil; 2 cloves  garlic, crushed;1 star anise (star spice);1 piece cinnamon;1 teaspoon black peppercorns;1 teaspoon szechuan peppercorns (or ½ tsp. white pepper and ½ tsp. crushed red chillies);1 chicken stock cube; 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce; 1.5 litres boiling water; light soy to taste; any vegetable of your choice- optional.  I used broccoli.

Marinate meat in pepper and salt for half an hour. Heat pan until very hot.  Add two tablespoons of oil and fry meat until well-browned. Remove and keep covered in a dish.  In a new pan heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil.  Add the garlic and  stir-fry for half a minute, then add the fried meat and everything else except the light soy.  (Can use the cooker).   Boil rapidly for ten minutes, then reduce the heat and simmer for two hours until the meat is falling apart and very tender. Remove excess oil from surface before serving, and add light soy to taste.  
For a quicker version, use the cooker and pressure cook for 10 minutes so that the meat falls apart. Serve piping hot with white rice or have it as it is.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Brinjal in Spiced Yoghurt

Fried Brinjal Rings in Spiced Curds
As children, none of us liked brinjal or aubergine as it is called in the Western world.  No matter that my Mum did her best to entice us with various recipes.  None suited us and in fact it was our pet hate.  The sight of it was enough to send us into the doldrums.  My children are the same.  It is only now as an adult that I appreciate the humble brinjal.  This is a recipe from my Mum and goes well with rice as a side dish or even with any kind of spiced rice.

The Recipe:

1 large brinjal, sliced into 5 rounds ( I used the round purple variety; 250 ml curds; salt; 1 tsp chilli powder; 1/4 tsp turmeric powder; 1 tbsp vinegar; salt to taste; oil for shallow frying.

1 clove garlic, smashed; coriander leaves for garnish- optional.

Soak the brinjal in salted water for 15 minutes. ( Add enough of water to cover the brinjal with 1 tsp salt).    Drain and marinade with the chilli powder, turmeric, salt to taste and vinegar for 15 minutes.  Heat oil in a nonstick pan to medium heat and gently fry the brinjal slices till brown on both sides.  Drain on kitchen paper.

After all the slices are fried, add the garlic to the residue in the pan and gently stir fry for a minute.  Scrape this mixture into the curds (yoghurt), add salt to taste and beat with a fork until smooth.  Arrange the brinjal in a shallow dish and pour the beaten, spiced curds over.  Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with the rest of the meal.  This is a very simple dish that goes extremely well with biriyani, pulav, spiced rices and white rice.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Low Calorie Mango Pudding

Mango Pudding

Mango Pudding is a Malaysian favourite and this is a delicious low calorie version of it.  It is so good, you could even have it for breakfast or any time you fancy or when your sweet tooth gets the better of you.

The Recipe:

250 ml low fat milk); 100 gms mango cubes;  1 tbsp gelatine powder.

50 ml evaporated milk and extra Mango cubes.

Heat 50 ml of milk and sprinkle the gelatine over and leave aside until it blooms.  Add to  and blend with the milk and  Mango cubes. 
Pour into glass dish and set in the refrigerator.  

To Serve:  Pour a little of the evaporated milk in a glass bowl and place a portion of the Mango Pudding in it.  Top with cherries or additional mango cubes.  Serves 2 people and if you like you could polish off the whole lot yourself.

NB:  This could also be made with a F1 Mango Shake - my favourite way of cutting down on calories.  In this case make 1 shake with 3 scoops of F1 Mango and 250 ml low fat milk with 100 gms Mango Cubes.  Blend together with 1 tbsp of gelatin that has bloomed, set in the refrigerator and you have an easy peasy version of it.  Serve as above.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ma's Masala Chops

Masala Chops
Every now and then I get this craving for my Mum's food and flip through my recipe book for a taste of home.  This is one such recipe and we all love it.  It can be made with practically any kind of meat and tastes good whatever it may be.  Serve it with rice or bread or chappathi or idlis or even with doasi to mop up the delicious gravy. 

The Recipe:

1 kg ribs, cut into 2 inch pieces, wash and drain; 1 tsp chilli powder or to taste; 1/2 tsp jeera powder; 1/4 tsp turmeric powder; 1/2 tsp pepper corns; 10 flakes garlic, medium sized; 1/2 tsp mustard; 1 tbsp vinegar and 1 tsp salt to taste.

Seasoning:  3 - 4 sprigs curry leaves and 4 medium sized onions, sliced fine; 2 tbsp olive oil

NB:  I always use non stick pans.

Grind the above to a smooth paste and marinade the ribs overnight.  The longer the better.  Pressure cook in 2cups ( 500 ml) water for 40 minutes or till tender.  Remove from fire and keep aside.

Heat a large non stick pan, add the oil and when hot throw in the curry leaves.  Stir fry a minute and add the onions.  Lower flame and fry till golden brown.  Make sure the onions are not burnt.  Add the ribs and fry till brown all over.  Add the gravy and give it a boil.  Serve hot with fried or baked potatoes.