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Fried Tomatoes with Duck Eggs

Ingredients

  • 4 Duck eggs

  • 6 Medium sized chopped tomatoes

  • 2 tbsp mustard oil or any other oil

  • 2 medium sized chopped onions

  • 2 slit green chillies (optional)

  • 2tbsp chopped coriander leaves

  • Salt to taste

  • a pinch of Pepper

Beat the eggs well. Heat the oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions, sate till the onions are soft. Add the tomatoes, stir upon medium heat for a minute. Add the salt and pepper.

Add the beaten eggs and the slit green chillies. Stir well.

Well done, add the chopped coriander . Stir and remove from the fire. Enjoy this Assamese take on duck eggs scrambled. It is enjoyed with savoury rice pancakes.

Fall in love with : Spiced Eggplant

Ingredients

  • 1 medium sized Eggplant

  • 5 cloves garlic

  • 3 medium tomatoes

  • 1 medium onion

  • 2-3 green chillies

  • 1/4 cup mint leaves

  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves

  • 1 tsp Lemon juice

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 tsp Oil

Wash the eggplant, prick with a fork. Roast the eggplant over a direct flame or in a pre heated oven until soft. Cool roasted eggplant, then remove the outer burnt skin completely. Wash it well, and drain excess water and chop it fine.mix chopped eggplants with chopped onion, chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic, chopped green chillies, chopped fresh coriander laveas, lemon juice and salt.

Cook the mixture in a non-stick pan with a little oil on medium heat until it dries well.

 

 

Protein Pulao

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup Basmati rice
  • 1 medium sized Onion
  • 1 inch knob Ginger
  • 2 medium Tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves
  • 1 1/2 cup soya chunks
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 1/2 tsp oil
  •  2tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilli powder
  • 1tsp Garam masala
  • Salt to taste

Wash the Basmati rice well and soak for about half and hour. Peel and chop the onion and  ginger. Wash and chop the tomatoes. Clean, wash and finely chop fresh coriander leaves. Soak the soya chunks in lukewarm water for fifteen minutes. Squeeze and remove the excess water and cut each piece into two. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan, add cumin seeds and let them crackle. Add the chopped onions and sauté for about two minutes. Cook on medium heat, stirring continuously till onions turn brown. 

Add Coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and chopped tomatoes. Continue cooking on medium heat for three to four minutes or until tomatoes are cooked. Add soya chunks, basmati rice and chopped fresh coriander leaves and stir gently for a minute. Stir in three cups of water, garam masala, salt to taste and bring it to a boil. 

Reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer till all the water has been absorbed and rice is coked. Serve hot.

Aloo Bhaji - Spiced Potato

Ingredients

  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 8-10 curry leaves ( optional)
  • 1 onion finely sliced
  • 1-2 green chillies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp- cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 small ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 450 gms potatoes, boiled, peeled and cut into cubes
  • 300 ml warm water
  • 2 tbsp chopped coriander/ cilantro leaves

Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over a low heat. When hot add the mustard seeds. AS soon as they splutter and start to pop add the cumin and curry leaves. Increase the heat to medium and add the onion and chillies, and fry for 6-7 minutes or until the onion begins to colour.

Add the cumin powder, turmeric and chilli powder. Stir-fry for 30 seconds, add the tomatoes and stir for another minute.

Add the salt, potatoes and water and cook for 4-5 minutes. Stir in the coriander leaves and remove from heat and serve.

Tarka Daal ( Lentils with Hot oil Seasoning)

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 3/4 cup masoor daal ( red split lentils)
  • 750 ml water
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp salt or to taste
  • 40 gms ghee or unsalted butter or 2 tbsp vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 4 cloves garlic peeled and roughly chopped then crushed
  • 1-2 green chillies , seeded and cut (optional)
  • 2 small tomatoes skinned and chopped ( optional)
  • 1 tbs chopped coriander leaves

Wash the daal well and then put it along with water and turmeric in a pan and bring to a boil over a high heat, cook for 3 minutes. reduce the heat to low and partially cover the pan with a lid . Cook for another 8-10 minutes or until it stops being frothy. You may need to top it off with a little water so keep an eye. Cover the pan fully and simmer for 25 minutes or until lentils are tender and the mixture is thick. Stir in the salt and remove from heat.

In a small pan melt the ghee/butter or put the pol on  allow heat. Add the fennel, cumin and garlic. Gently fry till the garlic is brown. Add the chillies and stir-fry for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes if used and the coriander leaves and stir fry for another 30 seconds. Pour this mixture over the cooked daal , making sure you scrape off every little pit and add all the ingredients of the flavoured ghee with the tempered spices. Stir well and mix thoroughly. Serve with Naan or rice.

This is a dish that can be frozen for dinners during the school season.

Pork Curry- Own recipe

Ingredients

  • 1 kg pork chops cut into strips
  • Moong daal without skin
  • spinach chopped roughly- 1 large bunch
  • Onion puree- 1 cup
  • Ginger -garlic puree- 2 tbsp
  • 1/4th tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4th tsp chilli powder
  • 1/4th cup jalapeño paste
  • 1/8th turmeric
  • 1 can tomato puree
  • Salt- per taste

Heat oil and fry off onion puree. Once fried add ginger garlic paste. Add spices and a pinch of salt along with the jalapeño paste and fry off.

In a separate pan on a low flame dry fry moong daal and brown off. Add this dry daal to the spice and puree mix. Cook on medium heat for 2 minutes and add the tomato puree with water enough to rise off the can and the spinach. Simmer for 1-2 minutes and add the pork. Let this entire mix simmer for 10 mins on a low flame with only enough water to cover the mix . Add a little salt to taste. Serve as a stew or with rice and/or naan.

Lentil Soup

Ingredients

  • 50 gms lentils ( moong/mung daal)
  • 200 gms tomatoes , cut in quarters
  • 50 gms carrots, cut in quarters
  • 25 gms onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • 1 small piece cinnamon
  • few coriander leaves
  • 4 cups water
  • salt to taste
  • pepper powder to taste

Wash the lentils. Melt butter in a pressure cooker & add bay leaf, clove & cinnamon to it. Add the onions & sauté till golden brown. Add the tomatoes & carrots & sauté for 2-3 minutes. Add the lentils to the vegetables with 3 cups of water. Pressure cook for 8-10 minutes. Remove the whole spices from the mixture. Cool & blend the mixture, the strain through a mesh strainer. Add water of the soup is too thick & boil for 2 minutes. Season with salt & pepper powder. Serve hot with dinner rolls.

 

 

Change of Kitchen days

Small change of days starting 15th January 2018. The Tastes of India kitchen will now be operational Thursday's and Friday's for take-out to pre-order and to fulfil deli orders. The food cart for the present time shall continue to be available at the castle on Friday's .

BIG NEWS- It's finally here!

Yes the last day of November for the year is here but that just means starting tomorrow on Fridays and some Saturdays the Tastes of India cart can be found outside the Castle Liqour store.

It is a very exciting day and tomorrow's menu will be Potato and Chicken samosas, A Butter Chicken Meal and a Indian chickpea curry Meal, Onion Bhajji, Tandoori chicken Wraps regular and gluten free.

The cart will be open for business 3pm until 7pm or stocks last. So see you there :)

 

Do you cater ?

Why yes I do, Thank you for asking! I do cater for small events and parties at present . I can offer you prices on a catered dinner or just finger foods.

Email me at tastesofindiainsooke@gmail.com with the number of people, occasion and budget for the event and I will customise a package for you. Alternatively I can send you a price list for finger food items for a part or a corporate event.  

Spice up that party or event and think Indian next time you have one! 

A bread by any other name: Types of Indian Bread

I thought it would would be fun to share the variety of Indian bread's ...yes we have a lot. These are some basic categories some get stuffed and take on a whole new name too. So venture out and try something other than a naan next time you see it on the menu 

Baati: Bread looking like bun cooked over ambers in Rajasthan

Bhatura: Deep fried Maida ( refined flour)  flat bread

Chapati: Basic whole wheat un-leavened flat bread, aka Roti

Kulcha: Baked Maida ( refined flour) flat bread

Naan: Leavened flat bread baked in clay oven.

Paratha: Griddle Fried flat bread

Pulkha: Light weight version of Basic whole wheat bread (Roti)

Poori: Deep fried flat puffed bread

Roomali roti: Very Very thin bread

Roti: Basic whole wheat un-leavened flat bread, aka Chapati

Roti Makki: Corn (Maze) basic flat bread

Roti Missy: Multi grain basic flat bread

RECIPE: Curry Powder

It feels like a contemplative day with the rain outside and being housebound. Don't ask why but it feels like a day to share information from my home kitchen. Today I reflect on conversations about Curry powder and the products available labelled curry powder on store shelves. 

The word 'curry' is derived from the 'Tamil' word 'kari' meaning "sauce, relish for rice".  In some circles curry powder is thought to be a British invention. It is likely that someone took some Indian spice mixtures home with them hoping to recreate the dishes they had enjoyed in India. Cooks in India tend not to use a single spice mixture to flavour all of their dishes. Instead, they tend to mix various called a different 'masala' each time , which varies from dish to dish and region to region. It is however nice to have a blend of spices ready to add to anything including soups, sauces or rice to add that exotic flavour.

I share with you a simple blend that can be used to make your own home made curry powder

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger powder
  • 1/4 tsp mustard powder
  • 1/4 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 4 tsp cumin powder

Bend it well with a whisk or in a coffee grinder and store in a cool dry space. 

To make it a more complex and robust flavour you can add the following as well

  • 1 tsp cardamon powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon powder
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 tsp ground mace
  • 1 tsp ground nutmeg

A good way to add a little spice into your food and life .

RECIPE: "Aloo Pitika" Mashed potato

I come from a little known part of India known as Assam. Assamese cuisine even in India has been one cuisine that has never had the opportunity to get publicised. Since it was just the Assamese new year and I am sharing a recipe that is easy to make and easy to incorporate into your regular meal. It is called ‘Aloo Pitika’- mashed potaoes with chopped onions, chillies and coriander leaves. 

You can add an egg to it to give it a different dimension too - "Koni Aloo Pitika" egg and potato mash 

Ingredients

  • 1 medium potato- boiled and mashed
  • 2  boiled eggs mashed (optional)
  • Finely Chopped onion- 1 medium size
  • Salt as per your taste
  • Chopped green chilly (optional)
  • Fresh Coriander leaves chopped
  • Few drops of  mustard oil


Method:

Mix all the ingredients well and serve.

 

Spice Wisdom

So I have had many a conversation recently with people about spices and their use. Here's what I say to them and wanted to share it with everyone. Start with a few spices, taste them understand them and slowly build up your pantry over time. Don't hoard those spices- spring clean those spice collections. They don't last forever sadly, so if there are any you haven't used for more than a year, the likelihood is they've lost their flavour.

Finally go easy on how much you add into curries, a little goes a long way and you don't want to over power your dish. Happy Cooking and spice up your life 

Recipe: Zucchini Thogayal/ Chutney

  • 2 large green zucchini's , cut into small cubes

  • 2 teaspoons urad dal

  • 2 tbsp coconut

  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

  • 3 dry red chillies

  • 10 curry leaves

  • small lemon size ball of fresh tamarind

Ingredients for Seasoning

  • 1/4 teaspoon mustard seeds

  • 2 dry red chillies

  • 3-4 curry leaves

  • 1 teaspoon oil for tempering

  • Salt to taste

Directions for Zucchini Thogayal

  1. To begin making the Zucchini Thogayal recipe, heat a teaspoon oil in a heavy bottomed pan; add the cut zucchini along with a little salt and saute until soft and tender. Turn off heat and allow it to cool.

  2. In another small pan; roast the cumin seeds, dry red chillies, coconut and urad dal until it releases a roasted aroma and slightly browned.

  3. Now grind the roasted ingredients, the cooked zucchini,the tamarind and curry leaves together until it forms a smooth paste. Check the salt in the Zucchini Thogayal recipe and adjust to suit your taste.

  4. Heat a little oil in a pan; add mustard seeds, dry red chillies and curry leaves. Allow it to crackle and the red chillies to roast. Add it to the zucchini thogayal.

Garam Masala- Hot stuff?

The word Garam means warm in Hindi while Masala means spice mix. Garam masala is therefore a warming spice mix. the word 'warming' refers to the 'heating properties' ascribed to the ingredients, by Ayurveda.

Different regions of India have different versions of garam masala. Some are made without dry roasting the ingredients while others are made after dry roasting then cooling the ingredients and grinding them to a powder. Some contain 'extra' ingredients that others don't.

Once you get a feel for the taste it gives your cooking, experiment and alter your Garam Masala recipe to suit your needs.

Garam Masala is best made fresh just before you begin cooking, but if you haven’t got the patience , make a batch ahead and store for several months in an air-tight container in a cool, dark place. 

This is my recipe for a basic Garam Masala. Feel free to tweak it to suit your palate and the dish you are cooking. I dry roast the ingredients below and grind them to a fine powder

  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  •  1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  •  1 ½ tsp black cumin seeds
  • ¾ tsp cloves
  • ¾ tsp cinnamon (2 X 1” pieces)
  • ¾ tsp crushed bay leaves
  •  1 ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ¾ tsp cardamom powder
  • 1 ½ tsp mace

History of the humble samosa in India

The samosa ioriginated in the  Middle East known as the sambosa. They were introduced to the Indian subcontinent in the 13th or 14th century by traders from Central Asia. Amir Khusro (1253–1325), a scholar and the royal poet of the Delhi Sultanate, wrote in around 1300 that the princes and nobles enjoyed the "samosa prepared from meat, ghee, onion and so on". Ibn Battuta, a 14th-century traveler and explorer, describes a meal at the court of Muhammad bin Tughluq, where the samushak or sambusak, a small pie stuffed with minced meat, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and spices, was served before the third course, of pulao. The Ain-i-Akbari, a 16th-century Mughal document, mentions the recipe for qutab, which it says, “the people of Hindustan call sanbúsah”.

The Hindus made this their own with a change in the filling with a mixture of mashed boiled potato, onion, green peas, spices and green chilli. Different parts of India in turn have made a change in the kind of samosa they eat right down to the pastry and accompaniments.  

The one thing in common is what a great snack it makes and is enjoyed greatly with a nice hot cup of tea!

Mulligatawny Soup- The Indian version

Ingredients

For The Masala Powder

2 tsp coriander seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp aniseeds

1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds

2 small sticks cinnamon

For The Soup

3/4 cup split red lentil

2 tbsp oil/ butter

1/2 cup finely chopped onions

3/4 cup finely chopped carrots

1/2 inch ginger

1 tsp finely chopped garlic

3/4 cup chopped tomatoes

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 cup coconut milk

1/4 cup cooked rice

1/2 tsp lemon juice

salt to taste

Method

For the masala powder

Combine all the ingredients in a broad non-stick pan and dry roast on a medium flame for 2 to 3 minutes, while stirring occasionally. Allow it to cool slightly and blend in a mixer to a smooth powder. Keep aside.

If you can’t find the dry ingredients to make this powder use curry powder but omit the turmeric from the soup ingredients

For the soup

Heat the oil/butter in a pressure cooker/ thick bottomed pan, add the onions, carrots, ginger and garlic and sauté on a medium flame for 1 to 2 minutes.

Add the red lentil, tomatoes, masala powder, turmeric powder and 3¼ cups of water, mix well and pressure cook for 2 whistles/ cook for until lentils and carrots softens if in a pan.

Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid. Blend the soup in a mixer to a smooth purée and strain it using a strainer.

Transfer the purée to a deep non-stick pan, add the coconut milk, rice, lemon juice and salt, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 2 minutes, while stirring continuously.

Serve hot.

Where have I been? What's happened to your Indian food supply?

At the end of last summer we found out that we were expecting a new addition to our family. I managed to pull through till a week before delivery but had to give in to maternity leave!

On the 19th of April the Tastes of India in Sooke tasters increased by 1, joining our toddler is a little girl. She has already been exposed to Indian food in-vitro including some strong spices, so I hope she will have the same fondness for samosas and curries that her brother does.

I am excited to introduce her to you all via this post. It will be an exciting summer with new offerings at the Sooke Night market and stores. See you soon...

Origins of Butter Chicken

A brief heavily contested history of this now world renown dish.  It is said that Lala Kundan Lal Gujral first set up in Peshawar in 1920 but came to Delhi in 1947 to set up Moti Mahal. He worked with a local man to produce the first restaurant version of the tandoor and invented tandoori spice mix for tandoori chicken -ground coriander seeds, black pepper and mild red pepper.

Called Murg Makhani in Hindi, Butter Chicken originated in the 1950s at the Moti Mahal restaurant in Old Delhi. Famed for its Tandoori Chicken, the cooks there used to recycle the leftover chicken juices in the marinade trays by adding butter and tomato. This sauce was then tossed around with the tandoor-cooked chicken pieces and presto - Butter Chicken was ready! 

The leftover dish appealed to Delhites and was quickly lapped up by the rest of the world. It’s a very rich dish which involves cream, butter, almonds and cashews. If you google, you will find different variations of the recipe including lighter versions. There are many variations on the composition and spicing of the sauce. Spices may include asafoetida, cumin, cloves, cinnamon, coriander, pepper and fenugreek (Punjabi/Hindi: kasuri methi)

 I of-course do my own version as well that can be ordered via take-out and found in the heat and eat meal packs in Village Foods. Try it and let me know what you think! 

Reference

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butter_chicken
  2. http://motimahal.in