A Chef’s Recipe:Beetroot Halwa

 

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Bangalore, a city in southern India most popularly know as the Pub City is also host to a plethora of South India restaurants and eateries. The cuisine offered  can range from authentic Karnataka cuisine to even delicacies from Andhra Pradesh and Hyderabad.A recent trip turned out to be a quite a delightful one indeed with the hubs and me partaking in the ever famous Hyderabadi Biryani at Nagarjunas,the finger-licking good Dosa’s and Wada Sambar at MTR, going down the foodie trail at the ever so vibrant Fraizer Town and of course bar hopping in the evenings.We stayed at The Gateway Hotel which is located in the older part of Bangalore and is still as charming as ever. Since most afternoons and evenings were spent exploring the streets of the city,our breakfast most often would be a choice from what was offered at the hotel buffet. Now you are probably wondering why one would give such importance to a hotel buffet?

Well lets say his one was a quite an exceptional fare of a mix of Indian breakfast items and a reasonable selection to appeal to the International palette as well.On one such morning after having a small portion of the regular South India fare,I decided to indulge some Beetroot halwa that stood simmering on a burner at a central display of an assortment of desserts.Rather unusual to serve that for breakfast I thought! Just as well,it was the most delectable halwa I’ve ever sampled.Every morsel just a delicate hint of softened beetroot with hints of fresh Mawa and crunchy pistachios. I absolutely had to ask the hotel kitchen for this recipe.I went right ahead and let the wait staff know of my intentions and asked to speak with the Chef for the restaurant. Continue reading

Worth Switching to Fortune Rice Bran Oil: Subz Kheema with Paneer & Soya

 

 

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An eternal debate for me has been making a conscious and healthy choice with regards to the Cooking Oil I use in my kitchen.For many of us seem baffled with the various alternatives available on the supermarket shelves and in stores.

I for one have  been using Sunflower Oil for some time now and have been on the look out for a lighter and a healthier alternative. Having moved to Mumbai just about a year ago, I’d been following many debates on the best medium of Cooking Oil.All though  one may argue and have multiple views on this topic.I’m very conscious of the Oil used for regular cooking in my kitchen as using good Cooking Oil is of prime importance for my family’s well being.That said and coupled with some extensive research made me realise that it was perhaps time to explore using Rice Bran. And just as well,this 5 kg pack of Rice Bran Oil arrived from Fortune Foods last week.

 

 

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Rice Bran Oil is extracted from the rice husk and has some great health benefits.It is  enriched with multiple nutrients like Oryzanol that makes it extremely healthy and heart friendly. Rice Bran Oil is a new entrant in the market and soon becoming fairly popular with those looking for a healthier option.

Some key benefits Include:

  1. Cholesterol lowering oil: Heart friendly.
  2. Oryzanol: Improves HDL/LDL ratio. Healthier heart.
  3. Balanced PUFA/MUFA ratio: Cleaner blood vessels.
  4. Balanced Fatty Acids#: Balanced nutrition, balanced health.
  5. Tocotrienols & Phytostrerols*: Anti-cancer properties.
  6. Squalene: Improves skin tone and delays wrinkle formation.
  7. Vitamin E: Helps maintaining balance of nervous system.
  8. Natural antioxidants: Protection against diseases.
  9. Ferulic acid^: Stimulates hormonal secretion, rejuvenates health.
  10. Low oil absorption: Healthier food.

Information source: http://www.fortunefoods.com

Here is a super easy vegetarian recipe that I made up over the weekend using Fortune Rice Bran Oil.

Verdict:Well it’s been about a week of cooking in this Oil and I’m very happy to have made the switch to Rice Bran Oil.I personally find it much lighter than most other cooking oils’ I’ve used.It’s fairly odourless and a mild and pleasant flavour.Best of all it has a high smoking point and that works really well for the Indian Cuisine especially deep frying and stir frying.

Subz Kheema with Paneer & Soya Granules

Ingredients:

  • 1 Large Onion (finely chopped)
  • 2 Tomatoes (diced)
  • 350 grams Paneer (Cottage Cheese)
  • 150 grams Soya Granules (Soaked in warm milk)
  • 50 grams green Peas (par boiled)
  • 1 teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
  • 1-2 green chilies (finely chopped)
  • 1 teaspoon Zeera (Cumin seeds)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Garam Masala
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Fortune Rice Bran Oil

Directions

  1. Soak the Soya granules in some warm milk for about 30 minutes and then squeeze out the milk and keep aside.
  2. Next crumble the Paneer.
  3. In a pan heat some Oil and let it heat.
  4. Add the jeera and let it splutter and then add in the onions and fry well.
  5. Next fry the ginger-garlic paste for a few minutes.
  6. Now add in all the spices and mix well.
  7. Put in the diced tomatoes,fry well and add some water so they cook well.
  8. Once the spices and tomatoes are cooked add in the soaked soya granules and fry for about 8-10 minutes.
  9. Lastly add in the crumbled Paneer and mix well.
  10. Sprinkle with garam masala and garnish with some chopped coriander.

Disclaimer: The above thoughts and views expressed on Rice Bran Oil are part researched from reliable  Internet sources and some information derived from the Company website.The Recipe is my  initiative to promote Fortune Rice Bran Oil which was sent as a complementary sample for me to use.

Tangy Onion Chutney & A Lazy Sunday Morning

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Yes and that’s how most Sunday afternoon’s land up being at our home.Lazy and with no  great plans for at least the earlier half of the day.Most often I declare that the Kitchen’s Closed .I  say this with every reason as,between getting a lot of meals together,cooking for my classes and all the recipe development and experiments that go on  through the week,I’m ready to have someone else do the cooking for me.

Well this past Sunday was an exception. We were out most of the previous days at various lunches & dinners and wanted the comfort of a simple home cooked meal. We all crave that especially as it a mix of nostalgia of one’s mum’s cooking,perhaps a childhood favourite or just something easy and hearty that evokes a sentiment of feeling totally comfortable at home.

Both the dear husband and son are quite fond of a South Indian fare.Now I did have some Ragi (finger Millet) dosa batter that was made up a day earlier.Well all I really needed was a filling and a dip to go along with it.I choose to go with an absolutely  easy and tangy Onion Chutney and a quick and easy Potato as the accompaniments with the Dosa.

Oh well ,I did land up in my kitchen on a Sunday and it didn’t turn out as Lazy as I expected it to be.All the same very worth  it as our lunch turned out be a delicious and a very satisfying one.The Not so Lazy Sunday ended on a perfect note with a discovery of a new recipe for my repertoire.

Do you cook on Sunday? If yes do share your Sunday special recipes with me. I’d love to hear from you.

Till then…Happy Cooking Always.

 

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Tangy Onion Chutney:

Ingredients:

  • 3 Medium Onions (chopped or sliced)
  • 2-3 dried Red Chillies
  • 1 small piece tamarind
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon roasted Cumin powder
  • 7-8 curry leaves (lightly roasted)

For the Tempering:

  • 1 tablespoon Oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Urad Dal
  • Dash of Amchur powder
  • 5-6 Curry leaves

Directions:

  1. Finely grind the Onions,red chilies tamarind,cumin powder and curry leaves into a fine paste.
  2. Heat some Oil and temper with mustard seeds, urad dal and curry leaves.
  3. Now add the ground paste and fry well for about 8-10 minutes or till the chutney does not seem raw.
  4. Add in a dash of amchur powder

Mirchi and Mime: Good Food served Quietly

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Now once in  awhile comes along a great and heart warming concept that stirs the soul and you think “Hey it’s a wonderful World”.Most readers of my blog are fairly used to my regular recipe posts and the odd product review along with a some  travel and culinary write ups. I must admit I’m not much of a restaurant reviewer,until my dining experience at Mirchi & Mime located in Powai Mumbai,last evening.This place certainly deserves a mention.

Mirchi & Mime also know as M&M is a new fine dining and modern concept restaurant ,recently opened its doors in the neighborhood of Powai. This place has every ounce of success written on it. Kudos to the owners Prashant Issar and Anuj Shah  for taking a giant step in employing an entire team of hearing and speech impaired individuals as their wait staff. A great initiative indeed in creating employment to the differently abled. The restaurant has a lively, warm and comfortable bistro like ambience, with a slight French appeal to the interiors. The open kitchen plan boasts of a variety of Tawa,Tandoori and Sigri styles of cooking.The staff is profusely cheerful, attentive and enthusiastic. They have been hand-picked from the Rochiram T Thadani Institute for the handicapped and trained for the hospitality industry.

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We were seated by our host and handed over the menu card, which very clearly and simply indicates the use of various sign language and gestures to enable the guest to communicate with the staff. Further more there are various sketches on the menu against each dish to ease the process of ordering. This place is abuzz at 9pm on a Thursday night with a constant turn around of tables. These guys certainly have a pulse on what ticks on the Menu. I would say the magic mantra for this place is the Co owner Prashant’s impressive 20 year hospitality background as General Manager at Chutney Mary’s and Amaya and various other top positions with hotels in India coupled with the expertise of Senior Sous Chef Sameer Bhalekar who has trained and worked under the likes of Ferran Adria’s Tickets and Chef Vineet Bhatia’s Rasoi in the UK.

The menu is simple and not very exhaustive, yet captures the essence of Fine Indian Cuisine. Perhaps not entirely progressive Indian, but veering  towards Modern Indian, with a twist.

Our Meal was recommended by the owner Prashant (who happened to be a batch mate of my friend Neil George from catering days) was as follows:

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For a drink I settled for a refreshing Cucumber and Green Apple Vodka Martini which was brilliant.
 Appetizers:
• White pepper Chicken: Succulent and juicy boneless chicken marinated in the best and finest of Tellicherry pepper. Mild and delicious flavors.
• Chicken Lollipop: A riot of flavors in here. Not for the faint hearted as a tad bit spicy. Smoky and bbq and hot and tangy flavors. Marinated with Bhot Jholokia.
• Duck Seekh Kebab: Combinations of minced duck meat with finely diced peppers, mildly spiced and a lovely refreshing burst of flavors lent by the orange rind garnish.
Tandoori Quail: Delicious and tender as ever. Delicate smoky flavors.

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2. Main Course:
Madras Mutton Curry and Naan: Really tender and melt in the mouth mutton cooked with madras curry.
• Thalappakatti Mutton Biryani: Brilliant south Indian medley of flavors. Interesting use of curry leaves and mustard seeds. More like a lightly hand tossed biryani. Delicate and mild flavors.

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3. Dessert
Crème Brulee: This hit the right sweet spot with creamy and light texture custard. Had a fabulous topping of coconut (filling used for traditional Modaks)
Sitaphal Pannacotta: A Sublime flavor of sitaphal infused with cream makes this a light dessert. Best part was that it was sugar free.
• Desi Cheesecake: With a Nankhatai biscuit base. Interesting however a bit dense for my liking.

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I had an excellent dining experience at Mirchi & Mime. Zomato rates this restaurant at 4.9 and I couldn’t agree more. A must visit.A double thumbs up for Mirchi and Mime…Their philosophy of Good Food served quietly certainly lives up to their  standards. Interestingly the T-shirts worn by the wait staff read “I know sign language, what’s your super power” Well done and Bravo for this great venture.

  • Located at:Address: G-6 , Ground Floor , Transocean House, Lake Boulevard Road, Hiranandani business Park , Powai, Mumbai, Maharashtra 400076
  • Phone:022 4141 5151  (Reservations recommended)

Disclaimer: I visited Mirchi and Mime on a friends recommendation and went their with my family and friends.The dinner was paid by me and all views about this review are my own personal experience. Thank-you.

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