Goa…Spice Farms, Food Markets And A Recipe

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This past summer has been a busy one with our dear  son visiting us and keeping me busy in the kitchen too. Bless him.While it’s sometimes a daunting task coming up with new recipes that whet his appetite,it keeps me on the look out for new interesting one’s like this Goa Sausage curry I made up for him and the hubs.It was absolutely wonderful having a houseful again. Now we did  managed to get away on a family vacation to Goa, primarily also to beat the sweltering heat in Mumbai.It’s been a dry monsoon here with hardly any rains,besides Goa in the rains is magical indeed.

The quick escape to the land of beaches, sunshine and lush greenery did wonders for the soul and for the food obsessed traveller that I am.As any new journey kindles an excitement brought about by new cultures,cuisines and experiences. The Goan Hubs was thrilled to visit his own country as he often calls it.His family is originally from Goa,however moved away decades ago and now live in Mumbai.

Not that this was a first visit to Goa.There have been several quick trips to attend  Family weddings, Baby showers,Weekend trip,and well yes even honeymooned in Goa two decades ago.Most often our trips turn out to be beach centric of course or perhaps lazy weekends at the resort we stay in. While I quite enjoy the “lying in the sun and watch the world go by”,I tend to get antsy by the second day.I’m an explorer at heart and love going down the road less travelled to discover something not so touristy and that revolves around food of course.The two places on my to do list were a trip to the Mapusa Market and  Sahakari Spice farm in Ponda. Well I even managed to get the rest of the family interested in these trips and they turned out very worth a visit.

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Mapusa Market: This place is abuzz with street vendors and established shops alike selling any and everything from fresh local produce, spices, meats and sausages,seafood to even readymade clothes,textiles and jewellery.This market captures the essence of  Goa and is a riot of colour and a hustle bustle of activity. The vendors are at their  colourful best ,travelling from neighbouring villages to sell their locally grown or manufactured wares, including spices of all kinds. Fresh fruits and vegetables are displayed in abundance. The market is well known for its jewellery, pottery, spice, and carpet shops. Many of the stalls in the bazaar are grouped by type of goods, with special areas for straw hats, Goan home-made chouriço and the like. Strings of Goan chouriço, spiced and marinated pork sausages, are sold here. Seedless tamrind , or amot as it is known locally, is also traded in great demand.Wandering around these winding lanes was a discovery indeed. I was even amazed at some places that sold wonderful fresh Goan bread known as Pao or Poee,which have a crusty exterior and a deliciously soft centre.Just perfect warm with butter slathered.I decided to take a dozen of these back home as they freeze well for later use.

Our bags were packed with these freshly baked Bread Buns,Dried Shrimp, Goan beans know as Fejao, Sol or also know as Kokum which is used in Goan fish curries spices like Teffla used in Mackerel curries and a bottle of Cashew Feni,to complete my Goan shopping experience.  This visit was a treat indeed and perhaps as often said “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach”,I knew my hubs would be ecstatic with Goan treats from my kitchen.

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These Gorgeous fresh flowers that caught my fancy were a sight to behold.A trip to these fresh markets is a must.This market is open on all days except Sunday’s ,all though Friday’s are when they seem the busiest. Do put this down on your itinerary on the next visit to Goa.

Sahakari Spice Farm:

This lush acreage is spread over of 130 acres, 60 acres of this area is exclusively devoted to the cultivation of Spices, Fruits, Medicinal trees and Herbs.We toured these farms which was organised by means of guide who seemed well versed in her repertoire of various spices that grew here and even gave us some amazing tips on the health benefits on some of them. This farm has an abundance of Fresh pepper,Cinnamon,Vanilla beans,Cloves,Curry leaves among many more varieties.

Goa spice farm

Interesting Fact: It was quite surprising to learn that The Indian Teja Patta, is indeed the leaf of the Cassia tree (Common Cinnamon).

Health Benefits of Cinnamon:

  • Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants and has potent anti inflammatory properties.
  • Helps in reduction of bad Cholesterol.
  • Improves Insulin Resistance.
  • Lowers Blood sugar levels

It is important to source the real Cinnamon as most often what is available is the Cassia bark that imitates Cinnamon.Some great information as explained by our lovely guide on tour of this spice farm.

We ended our tour at the spice farm with a delicious Goan fare at the restaurant which is located here.A fish Thali with finger licking Prawn Curry,Chicken Curry, Fried Surmai (King Fish) and an assortment of vegetables too.Hope I’ve tempted you to travel to Goa and discover this hidden gem.

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Well a trip to Goa is not complete without the mandatory stock of Goa Pork Sausages.There are quite a variety available to choose from.Some branded ones like Costas, J0a0’s are readily available in the market stores or perhaps you may even like to buy some freshly strung one’s that the vendors sell  in Mapusa.I picked up an assortment as they stay well refrigerated. So if asked what’s for dinner? GPS aka Goan Pork Sausage was my answer the other night,which instantly lit my the hub’s face and the son quite enjoyed this too.

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 Recipe for Goa Pork Sausages:

Ingredients:

  • 1 Packet Goa Pork Sausages( Meat removed from the casing)
  • 2 Medium Onions (sliced finely)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Oil
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1-2 Green chilies (slit lengthwise)
  • 2 Small Potatoes (Cubed and Boiled)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped Coriander for garnish
  • 1 teaspoon Tomato Paste

Method:

  1. Remove the sausage meat from its casing.
  2. Now heat a pan and add some oil to it and fry the onions till medium brown.
  3. Next add in the green chilies and ginger-garlic paste and fry for a few minutes.
  4. Now add in the sausage meat and fry well.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste and add water enough to cover the mixture.
  6. Let this simmer for a good 30-40 minutes so as to cook the meat well.
  7. Once reduced add in the boiled potatoes and garnish with chopped coriander.
  8. Remove any excess oil that may come up during cooking the sausage.
  9. Serve with Pao or any bread.

Goan Prawn Curry: A recipe from My Mum-in-laws kitchen

The kitchen is the heart of your home. Now if you love cooking just the way I do I’m sure you would agree with this. It is your space to recreate a magical recipe or experiment with another or perhaps follow one that has been handed down from one generation to another. A very warm welcome into my kitchen dear readers and here is a recipe for a Goan Prawn Curry.A recipe handed down by my mother-in-law and one that I treasure.

It has over the years become my to go Curry and a family favorite too.

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I learned to cook fish with my Mother in-law patiently explaining me the process while she cooked, while  I hurriedly jotted  down the notes. Now this was a couple of decades ago when I was a newly wed. I still have all those yellowed notebooks with hand written recipes. Most of them seem na o brainer now as I seem to have mastered the art of Goan Cooking, being married to my through breed Goan husband and a finicky one that too. Well at least he is one when it comes to cooking fish the Goan way.
I still treasure those notebooks though .Some pages seem frayed and tattered and some still legible. While I seldom need to look at this recipe as I’ve been cooking it for years now ,I thought it would be the perfect one for my blog post.

 

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The curry uses simple ingredients of fresh prawns, onions, garlic paste and a paste made up of freshly grated coconut,red chilies and roasted coriander seeds. It is a wonderful,l tangy and flavorful curry and best served with rice.

With Love From my Kitchen to yours…

Ingredients:

  • 250-300 grams medium Prawns ( De-shelled and deveined)
  • 1 medium Onion (finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons Coconut Oil

To be ground to a fine paste:

  • 100 grams fresh grated Coconut
  • 4-6 Red chilies (preferably Bedgi)
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 2-4 pods garlic
  • 1 teaspoon roasted coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds
  • a small ball of tamarind

Directions:

  1. Wash the prawns under water and marinate with a pinch of turmeric and chili powder and keep aside.
  2. Grind all the ingredients under the paste mixture with a little water.
  3. Heat some coconut Oil in a pan and add the Onions and fry till medium brown.
  4. Add the prawns and mix well. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or till prawns are cooked.
  5. Add the ground mixture and fry for a minute.
  6. Now add sufficient water to make it a medium thickish curry consistency.
  7. Serve with rice.

Cooking My Secret Indian Recipe in the Kitchens of Renaissance Mumbai: Kolhapuri Mutton Masala

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I was absolutely thrilled when I was approached by Secretindianrecipe.com a couple of weeks ago, inviting me to a wonderful event at the Renaissance Mumbai convention center. The focus of the event being  a series of cook offs promoting home chefs at the hotel kitchens. It kicked off on Mothers Day in May this year and was proposed for a period for six weeks thereafter .This would mean each participant would have to submit their secret indian recipe that they would like to cook at the hotel kitchen.

I knew exactly what my secret recipe was and how I would go about it. It would have to be the Mutton Kolhapuri that I learned from my Grandmothers kitchen. A fiery and aromatic curry and certainly not for the faint hearted. This curry is a lovely coconut based curry with a mix of special spices that are dry roasted and ground together to give it the essence of an authentic Kolhapuri flavor.The thrill of cooking in a hotel kitchen was certainly going to be an experience to remember for years to come. And so I excitedly submitted my recipe for approval.

The last few weeks saw a couple of trials  in my own home kitchen getting the exact proportions of the masala right. This being the key ingredient in making the Kolhapuri mutton a hit recipe.

 

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D-day arrived on June 14th. My chauffeur driven car arrives at 8 am sharp and I soon arrive at the Renaissance. I’m greeted by  Executive chef Bijoy and settle down chatting with him over coffee at one of their coffee shops Fratelli.

I’m pretty confident that I would be able to handle the day of events as I’m assigned a lovely assistant Chef Pranali who is very helpful indeed. I quickly run through the list of ingredients just to ensure all is in order and get cooking with  my recipe for the lunch buffet to be served at The Lake View Café.

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It’s smooth sailing in the kitchen and in a period of about 3 hours I have a delicious Kolhapuri Mutton ready to be served and sufficient for about 60-70 guests.

The guest soon start arriving and my dish has now been set up at a special work station. The restaurant has even printed the recipe sheets for guests so that may want to follow it at home. Many of the guests come and applaud me on the effort and the dish. I’m thrilled to bits when a family that are from Kolhapur taste the dish and give it their seal of approval.

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It was a brilliant experience cooking in the kitchen at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Center. A big round of thanks to Chef Bijoy, Chef Udit and Chef Pranali for all their assistance. Of course  a big thank you to SecretIndianRecipe for making this event possible.

 

 The recipe has been uploading on secretindianrecipe.com

or you may follow it here as well.

Kolhapuri Mutton Masala (Tambda Rassa) Serves 7-8 people

Kolhapuri Masala (Makes 1 cup this recipe needs 4-5 teaspoons)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dry red chilies (preferably Bedgi)
  • 1/2 cup grated dry coconut
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Seeds
  • 2 Tablespoons Sesame seeds
  • 2 tablespoons Poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper corns
  • 1 teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cloves
  • 1 tablespoon Cumin seeds
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1 tablespoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Oil

For the Mutton

The Mutton should be cooked in advance as follows

  • 750 grams Mutton (Bone and boneless, cooked as follows)
  • 6-7 garlic pods
  • 1 inch piece ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 medium Onions (chopped finely)
  • 1/2 cup Oil
  1. Make a paste of the ginger and garlic.
  2. Marinate the mutton in ginger garlic paste and turmeric and keep for half an hour.
  3. Fry the finely chopped onions in half cup oil for about 15 minutes till brown. Next add the marinated mutton to the onions and fry further for 15 minutes. Add water to just about cover the mutton and let it cook for 1 hour or till the mutton is cooked and tender.(May take about a little longer too)

 A:

    • 2 teaspoons Poppy seeds
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin seeds
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons sesame seeds
  • 30 grams dry grated Coconut (grated and toasted till medium brown)
    • 30 grams fresh coconut (grated and toasted till medium brown
    • 1/3 Cup chopped Coriander

 B:

  • Brown Onion Paste of 3 medium Onions (sliced finely, browned in a bit of oil and made into a paste)
  • 5 medium Tomatoes ( Blanched and pureed)
  • 4-5 teaspoons Kolhapuri masala (depending on spice tolerance)
  • 4 tablespoons Tomato paste/puree (ready pack-optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • ½ cup oil
  • Chopped Coriander (To Garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (to add at last)

 

Directions:

  • To make the Kolhapuri Masala:

(This makes 1 cup .Recipe needs 4 tablespoons, rest can be stored)

1) Take a Pan. Add all the spices except red chili powder and nutmeg powder. 2) Heat 1 tsp oil and coat all the spices by mixing well. Roast the spices over medium high heat. Stir continuously to avoid burning. 3) After 5 to 8 minutes, edges of red chilies will blacken, mustard seeds will crackle, coriander-cumin seeds will change color Once you get an aroma of these spices these are done. Do not over roast too much, else the spices will burn. 4) Transfer roasted spices to a big plate. Let them cool completely. Grind it to a fine powder. Add nutmeg and red chili powder. Mix well. 5) Store the masala in an airtight container.

Directions to make the Mutton Masala:

  1. For the Mutton Masala: Wash the mutton well and keep aside. Ensure all the water has completely been drained.
  2. Firstly grind the ginger and garlic to a paste and mix it with the turmeric and marinate the mutton with this paste for half an hour. Next heat about half cup of oil in a pan and brown the finely chopped onions. Add the marinated mutton and sufficient water to cover the mutton and let this cook covered for about an hour or pressure cook for 23 minutes.
  3. PASTE A: Next dry roast the Poppy seeds, cumin and sesame seeds separately and then mix together. Remove and keep aside. In the same pan dry roast the dry grated coconut till medium brown. And then dry roast the fresh coconut till medium brown. Mix with the seeds and dry grind both the coconut (dry and fresh) and seeds mixture and add a handful of chopped coriander and grind well to a smooth paste. You may add a teaspoon of water to this while grinding.
  4. PASTE B: Next dry roast the sliced onions and fry till reddish brown in color. Add a tablespoon of oil in the end. Grind the fried onions to a paste.
  5. Next Blanch the tomatoes for about 20 minutes. Peel the skin off and puree them.
  6. Heat the remaining half cup of oil. Add the fired Onion paste and fry for a minute or two Next add the fresh tomato Puree and cook till it combines well with the onion mix and it releases the oil. Add a teaspoon of the Kolhapuri masala and fry further. Lastly add the Coconut and seeds paste and mix well. Add some water and cook for 5 minutes.
  7. Now add the above entire curry mixture to the cooked Mutton. Add 4 more teaspoons of Kolhapuri masala. (Add more if you want it spicy) Season with salt. Add a little water if the curry is too thick Sprinkle a teaspoon of garam masala and garnish with chopped coriander.
  8. Serve with Chappati’s , Bhakris or rice

Gatte Ki Kadhi

 

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It’s meatless Mondays and Thursdays too, during the week. While the dear husband prefers meat, he’s quite happy to settle for a vegetarian meal a couple of times. Here is a recipe for Gatte Ki Kadhi which is a Rajasthani delicacy. Quite easily a delicious gram flour dumpling in a yogurt based curry. Continue reading

Oh For The Love Of- Chicken Tikka Masala

Food Blogger, Home chef, Mother, Culinary workshop co coordinator and so on…Yes that’s probably the many hats I wear. And not that I’m complaining one bit. I love what I do.

There is no greater joy for me than to experiment in the kitchen and unleash some of my culinary creativity. Now whilst I try and use fresh ingredients as often as I can, there are always some form of left overs that can turn into a delightful and appetizing meals. And that’s what this one’s all about. I have this easy peasy one here that I put together with some left over grilled chicken.

My husband braved the heat last night and managed to fire up the grill and made us some lovely boneless Chicken Tikkas .He grilled an extra batch, that I knew would come handy for a curry of some sorts the next day.

Chicken Tikkas: Boneless marinated chicken usually grilled on a charcoal BBQ.However these cook in a hot oven just as well. Tikkas are usually marinated in yogurt and spices ( I like to use powdered chili, coriander ,cumin and Garam masala along with some ginger and garlic paste)You do get ready spices which are great as well. Shaan Masalas have  a great variety of spices that could be used for this recipe.

It’s interesting to know that the origin of Chicken Tikka masala didn’t originate from India at all. This curry has it’s  roots from the Indian restaurant owners in the UK. A lot of the original Chicken Tikka Masalas use fair amounts of cream. It does add texture and of course tones down the spice as well.

My recipe here is a cream free and healthier version. Go ahead and add it if you like .For the ease of following this recipe I’d like to put it down in two parts. Firstly the making of the Mighty Chicken Tikkas and then how whether fresh or as left over tikkas ,can be made into a glorious and easy Chicken Tikka Masala.

I hope you are having a finger licking day 🙂

FOR THE CHICKEN TIKKAS:

  • 400 grams boneless breast ( cubed)
  • 4 tablespoons yogurt
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • ½ teaspoon garam masala
  • 1 1/2  teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  1. Wash the chicken breast and pat dry.
  2. Cut the chicken into medium bite size cubes.
  3.    Mix all the dry ingredients and ginger – garlic paste into the yogurt.
  4. Add the cubed chicken to the above mixture.
  5. Heat the oven to 200 C.
  6.  Thread the marinated chicken cubes onto wooden skewers and lay them onto a well-greased baking tray.
  7.  Grill for about 15 minutes on one side.
  8. Baste with a little oil.  Now turn the skewers over and grill for another 10 minutes or until cooked.

FOR THE CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 small onions (chopped finely)
  • 2 medium tomatoes (chopped finely)
  • 1 medium green pepper (chopped lengthwise)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon Garam masala
  • 2 tablespoons yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Heat the oil in a cooking pan and temper with cumin seeds.
  2. Next add the onions and fry till they are dark brown in color.
  3. Add all the dry powders and fry for about a minute or till the spices are well combined.
  4. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir for about a minute.
  5. Now add in the chopped green pepper. Sauté for about 5 minutes or till the peppers are semi done and then add the tomatoes.
  6. Once the tomatoes are cooked whisk in the yogurt and stir for a couple of minutes.
  7. Lastly add the boneless Chicken Tikkas.
  8. Garnish with chopped coriander.
  9. Finally season with some salt.