Top food blogs

Friday, July 30, 2010

Flavors of Northern Indian

Friday, July 30th, 2010

I love Northern Indian cuisine. The aroma of spices and melt-in-the-mouth pilaf rice or briyani rice is just out-of-this-world. You simply must have the curry as well and not just any has to be the one that is rich with spices and yogurt and tomatoes. Especially if you add mutton to it, the flavor from the meat will enhance the quality of the curry.

Why do I love Indian cuisine? Well, I just have to put the blame on my childhood best friend who is a local Indian. Whenever her mom cooks mutton curry, I will definitely get invited to a meal of Idli and her absolutely yummy mutton curry. Idli is my favorite 'bread' of all breads in Indian cuisine. Idli is made from rice flour that is milled and added with sour milk, if I remember correctly. I used to follow my friend to get it milled. That was her chore and since we were best of friends, we practically go everywhere together. I wish I had gotten the mutton curry recipe and how to make the Idli from her mom but well, I was only 10 years old at that time.

So, last week I attempted at cooking Mutton Briyani and it turned out to be a success! With the help from my collection of culinary books, here is one recipe that is just fantastic. This recipe is taken from '200 Curries' by Sunil Vijayakar. To accompany this dish, I also cooked the Egg & Potato Curry - recipe is also taken from this book. In this book, the briyani is actually cooked with lamb but instead of lamb, I decided to go with mutton. Good thing is, you don't have to alter the rest of the recipe. It's 100% reliable.

By looking at the recipes, you might feel overwhelmed with all the preparations that you have to do but belief me, there's really nothing to it. It's very easy and simple to cook. Try it!

So, here are the recipes...

Royal Lamb (Mutton) Briyani

4 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger root
150ml natural yogurt
6 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
500 g boneless lamb (mutton cutlets with bones), cut into bite pieces
8 tbsp sunflower oil
2 onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp medium curry powder
200g canned chopped tomatoes
2 tsp cumin seeds
6 cloves
10 black peppercorns (optional)
4 green cardamon pods
1 cinnamon stick
200 g basmati rice
400 ml water (I used 200ml water, 200 ml evaporated milk)
1 tsp saffron (use tumeric powder as a cheaper substitute)
3 tbsp warm milk
butter for greasing
salt to taste

1. Mix together the garlic, ginger, yogurt and fresh coriander and rub into the lamb (mutton) and marinate, refrigerated for 4-6 hours. Heat half the oil in a heavy based pan, add half the onion and cook for 12-15 mins till golden. Add the meat and cook over high heat for 15 mins, stirring often.
2. Stir in the curry powder and tomatoes, season and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 mins or until lamb (mutton) is tender. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a separate pan. Add the cumin seeds, remaining onion, cloves, peppercorns, cardamons and cinnamon and stir fry for 5 mins. Add the rice and stir fry for 2 mins. Pour in the measured water (and milk), bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 6-7 mins. Remove from the heat. Mix the saffron with the milk and set aside.
4. Lightly butter a casserole dish and spread a thin layer of the lamb (mutton) over the base and cover evenly with half the rice. Drizzle over half the saffron mixture. Top with the remaining lamb (mutton) then the remaining rice. Drizzle over the remaining saffron, cover with the foil and then the lid. Cook in the preheated oven at 180C for 30 mins or till rice is done.

Egg & Potato Curry

2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp black mustard seeds
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 dried red chillies
curry leaves
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp ground tumeric
200 g canned chopped tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
400 ml coconut milk
6 eggs, hardboiled, shelled
2 potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
salt to taste

1. Heat oil in large nonstick wok or frying pan, then add the mustard seeds. When they start to pop, add the garlic, chillies and curry leaves and fry for 1 min. Add the onion and cook, stirring constantly for 5-6 mins.

2. Stir in the chilli powder, ground coriander, cumin seeds and tumeric and then stir in the tomatoes and sugar. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 8-10 mins, stirring often.

3. Stir in coconut milk, add the eggs and potatoes. Cook gently for 8-10 mins till the sauce has thickened. Season with salt and serve.

(I added eggplant and cabbage after coconut milk was added in)

Feeling hungry! Yeah, me too!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

King of Fruits

Sunday, July 18th, 2010 just looking at the picture one can almost smell and taste the sweet velvety flesh of the most wonderful fruit on earth!

It's been awhile since my last update. Sorry guys, for making you wait. After weeks of busy schedule and couple with laziness, finally I'm back. This time, this is dedicated to all the Durian lovers out there!

At each durian season, there's always an intention to try in baking durian cake but it never happen..finally I did it! The texture is very soft and moist. Similar to suji cake but with the extra oommph of durian flesh. My family love it and I don't mind baking it again.

My personal preference has always been the 'kampung durian' as it has its own distinctive flavour and aroma and not too 'rich' in taste. I love to have a variety of durians including the so called 'branded' ones as well like the D24, D2, XO, 'mao sang' etc but none of it beats the kampung version.

For the benefit of those who are not so 'into' durians or wonder what is durian, you may find the information below which I googled up and hopefully after reading this, you will get 'hooked' to the King of Fruits just like I do.

The durian (pronounced /du-ri-en) is the fruit of several tree species belonging to the genus Durio and the Malvaceae family (although some taxonomists place Durio in a distinct family, Durionaceae). Widely known and revered in southeast Asia as the "king of fruits", the durian is distinctive for its large size, unique odour, and formidable thorn-covered husk. The fruit can grow as large as 30 centimetres (12 in) long and 15 centimetres (6 in) in diameter, and it typically weighs one to three kilograms (2 to 7 lb). Its shape ranges from oblong to round, the colour of its husk green to brown, and its flesh pale yellow to red, depending on the species.

The edible flesh emits a distinctive odour, strong and penetrating even when the husk is intact. Some people regard the durian as fragrant; others find the aroma overpowering and offensive. The smell evokes reactions from deep appreciation to intense disgust. The odour has led to the fruit's banishment from certain hotels and public transportation in southeast Asia.

The durian, native to Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, has been known to the Western world for about 600 years. The 19th-century British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace famously described its flesh as "a rich custard highly flavoured with almonds". The flesh can be consumed at various stages of ripeness, and it is used to flavour a wide variety of savoury and sweet edibles in Southeast Asian cuisines. The seeds can also be eaten when cooked.

There are 30 recognised Durio species, at least nine of which produce edible fruit. Durio zibethinus is the only species available in the international market: other species are sold in their local regions. There are hundreds of durian cultivars; many consumers express preferences for specific cultivars, which fetch higher prices in the market.

Ever wonder how the flower looks like, well, here it is..

And now, here's the Durian Cake that I baked yesterday and the recipe as well..I hope you will try this recipe since it's after all, the Durian season and to make my effort in posting this worth its while! Kaakaakakaa...are you drooling already?? huh! huh?

Durian Butter Cake

200g margarine }
50g butter } (I used 250g butter instead of mix it with margarine)
220g castor sugar (I reduced the sugar as the durian flesh is already quite sweet)
4 eggs
250g durian flesh (can add more)
1/4tsp durian essence (never like artificial essence, so I omit this)
230g self-raising flour
20g coconut powder (not sure what this is so I omit this as well)
1/8tsp baking powder
1/4tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Grease mould and preheat oven to 170C
2. Beat margarine, butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.
3. Stir in durian flesh and essence. Fold in sifted flour, coconut powder, baking powder and soda. Mix until well blended.
4. Spoon batter into prepared mould and bake for 45 mins or until cake is done.

Thanks for visiting my blog..till the next time!