50 Great Curries of India: Cook Book Review and A Recipe

Madras Style Lamb Curry: Recipe adapted from 50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi

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Camellia Panjabi, cook book author of 50 Great Curries of India needs little introduction and is most certainly without a doubt one of my favourite Indian cookbooks.Fondly also know as the “Queen of Indian Cuisine”,her book is a delightful revelation of some traditional and authentic Indian recipes from various regions of India.

Now I had acquired her book probably a couple of decades ago,being a newly wed and on the look out for good Indian curry recipes,all to please the dear husband then. Winning his heart through his stomach was a huge priority then as much it is now,as we both are passionate about our food and specifically a good curry.Having lived internationally for many years,looking for specific  ingredients and getting the base for the curry right may have required a bit of scouting for ingredients.All though using substitutes have always worked well for most recipes.We have recently relocated to Mumbai and have no dearth of spices,fresh meats and vegetables and it’s something I look forward buying.

I refer to this book often and would perhaps christen it my “Curry Bible”, if I had to.The book starts of with the philosophy of

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Achari Aloo: Potatoes cooked in Pickling Spices

Food Like A Loving Touch Or A Glimpse Of Divine Power Has The Ability To Comfort…

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Let’s say we all have our Comfort foods.I for one crave a simple meal especially after a busy day at work,perhaps when I’m low and even especially after travelling and being away from home for awhile.It also has a lot to do with the kind of flavours one grew up on.I spent a large part of my childhood with my grandparents.My grandmother was a great cook and while meat and fish dishes were a regular  at the dinner table,she cooked a variety of vegetarian meals as well.And yes potatoes were always the family favourite.She would often make potatoes with onions and spices and this was very often made it to our lunch boxes..There are certain flavour’s that linger on and taste just like childhood.Well here is a recipe that reminds me of my grand mom’s cooking,and curiously enough, instantly transports me back  to her kitchen.Well of course food that is linked to childhood nostalgia often brings on a cooking marathon in my kitchen,partly from the incessant desire to revive traditional cooking.

I too tend to cook potatoes in different forms.While my  son loves them either as a baked potato or in a salad,the husband loves them curried with a riot of spices and onions.This is my favourite way of making potatoes which replicates my grand mother’s recipe with  a few variations. Continue reading

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.

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.