What exactly is Garam Masala?

Posted by admin | Just Food Articles - writers invited,Recipes,Vegetarian | Tuesday 25 April 2006 5:16 am

Though ‘garam masala’ is now available packaged in any store selling Indian food-stuff, no chef worth his or her salt would use the stuff.

Literally, garam masala it means hot spices, and isn’t one, but rather a mixture of some very strong spices. And though ‘garam masala’ is now available packaged in any store selling Indian food-stuff, no chef worth his or her salt would use the stuff. Typical of Indian food, this strong mixture of spices is considered perfect only when it has been ground fresh just before the preparation of each meal. This can get rather laborious and time consuming, so it’s acceptable to grind together small amounts for a week or at most two and bottle tightly so it doesnt loose it’s aroma.

Every Chef probably has their own special combination of spices, but here’s one…

INGREDIENTS
45 green cardamom pods
25 cloves (laung)
10 black cardamom pods
6 pieces mace
6 pieces cinnamon (2.5 squared cm)(dalchini)
10 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
3 tbsp coriander seeds (dhaniya)
1 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds (saunf)
2 tsp black peppercorns
1 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi)

PREPARATION
Put all the spices in a dry skillet and heat over a very low heat, stirring constantly.

When the aroma from the spices begins to rise, remove the pan from the heat.

Use an electric blender to gring the spices, but do only small quantities at a time. Grind it to a fine powder. Remove the cardamom pod skins. Allow to cool.

Store the Garam Masala in an air-tight container. As long as the container is tightly closed after each use, it should last for a long time.

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Salad

Posted by admin | Recipes,Salads,Vegetarian | Tuesday 25 April 2006 5:12 am

A truly cooling salad for a summer day. Or to complement a spicy Indian biryani.
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BEETROOT KACHUMBER Serves 6
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INGREDIENTS
4 beetroots
3 onions
3 green chillies
250 gms yoghurt
1 tsp cummin seed powder
Salt to taste

PREPARATION
Boil the beetroot ahead of time and let cool.

Chop the onions long and thin.

Grate the beetroot or slice it thin and narrow.

Beat up the yoghurt with salt.

Mix in the chillies chopped fine. Mix in the onions and beetroot.

Add the cummin powder. Chill for at least an hour before serving

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Biryani for Lunch

Posted by admin | Just Food Articles - writers invited,Meat,Recipes | Monday 24 April 2006 5:09 am

biryaniThere are probably as many different versions of biryani as there are states in India but the most popular and probably the origin is the Hyderabadi biryani, originally created for the Nawabs’ tables. However its made though, it is basically an aromatic combination of long grained basmati rice, spices, meat/chicken/vegetables and yoghurt, and it should be cooked over a slow coal fire, its lid sealed down in ‘dum’ style until done.

Chef Venky decided to treat us all to lunch this week. We often have these lunch parties, ordered in or group created, but he single handedly took over the kitchen and served out an incredible biryani meal with just minimal help from a few ‘hand-maidens’.
For those who don’t know what biryani is, it’s usually a highlight of any special Indian meal. There are probably as many different versions of biryani as there are states in India but the most popular and probably the origin is the Hyderabadi biryani, originally created for the Nawabs’ tables. However its made though, it is basically an aromatic combination of long grained basmati rice, spices, meat/chicken/vegetables and yoghurt, and it should be cooked over a slow coal fire, its lid sealed down in ‘dum’ style until done.

Chef Venky’s ( Picture 1)recipe was a simple, quick (?) version that may have scandalized the epicurean, but believe me, we had no complaints!

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SHORT CUT MUTTON BIRYANI Serves 8
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INGREDIENTS
1 kg Mutton
1 kg Basmati rice
6 onions
3 tsp Ginger paste
3 tsp Garlic paste
1/2 cup Curd – 1/2 cup
1/2 tsp Saffron powder – 1/2 tsp
1 1/2 cups coriander leaves, chopped
1 cup mint leaves, chopped
5 Green chillies
3 tsp Oil
3 tbsp Garam masala powder
2 Bay leaves
3 Cardamoms
6-10 full Cloves
2 tsp Cinnamon
Ghee – 1 tsp
1 tsp Red food Colour
Salt to taste

(more…)

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Girls’ Night Out

Posted by admin | Just Food Articles - writers invited | Sunday 23 April 2006 5:58 am

Went to ‘Kiwa’ last night. Had heard it was good but it was the first time I went.
Lovely place, cosy seating unlike a lot of lounge bars, where the chairs are too big and far apart and you can’t really have any conversation. Great music too, though I guess that’s relative. If you’re below 25 you might not have even heard the stuff before!

The drink menu of course was comprehensive, but the food was reall good too, which was another pleasant surprise. We were so hungry we first ordered a Laksa and starters, and then moved onto the drinks. They probably thought we were crazy, but what the hell.

Here are some of the things of the menu, though obviously not from their chef’s repertoire.
Seafood Laksa
Mushooms in a Honey & Soy Sauce
and a delicious Cocktail called the Caipiroska.
They need to get some desserts on their menu though. Their interesting reason for not having them is that if you ‘really’ drink you don’t need dessert. Excuse me?!

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Side Dish – Brinjals

Posted by admin | Recipes,Vegetarian | Monday 17 April 2006 5:26 am

This one is a favourite of my moms. It’s quick, it’s easy, it’s vegetarian and we’ve never had a guest taste it and not comment, “wow!” and ask for the recipe. In spite of the fact that it has eggplant in it, something that isn’t most peoples’ favourite. She says she learnt it at a short course taken by the Seventh Day Adventists.

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BRINJAL (EGGPLANT) POTATO CASSEROLE Serves 6
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INGREDIENTS
5 medium potatoes
6-8 small brinjals
2 onions
4 green chillies
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Salt & Pepper to taste
1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup grated cheese

For the white sauce
3 tsp butter
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp pepper
4-5 cloves chopped garlic (more…)

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