Thursday, 31 October 2013

Punj Rattani Dal

I have reproduced this recipe as was given in PRASHAD , COOKING WITH INDIAN MASTERS , a fantastic must have cookbook by Jiggs Kalra . This masterpiece is a celebration of the foods of India through the culinary geniuses of some of the finest Chefs in the country.
30 Grams Whole Moong Dal.
30 Grams Whole Masoor Dal.
30 Grams Whole Urad Dal.
30 Grams Channa Dal.
30 Grams Tur Dal
( 30 Grams Dal = 1 Teaspoon )
6 Tablespoons Ghee
1 Teaspoon Balck Cumin Seeds.
50 Grams/1/3 Cup Onions - chopped
2 Teaspoons Coriander Powder.
1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder.
1 Teaspoon Cumin Powder.
1 Teaspoon Fennel / Sauf Powder.
1/3 Cup Chopped Green Coriander.
Wash dals and soak in water 1 hour , then drain.
The Tempering:
4 Tablespoons White Butter.
60 Grams/ 1/4 Cup Tomatoes - chopped fine.
60 Grams / 1/4 Cup Yogurt - whisked.
1/2 Teaspoon Garam Masala Powder.

Heat ghee , add cumin seeds . When they begin to splutter add chopped onions , cook till light brown and then add all the dals / lentils and ' bhuno ' 5 minutes .Add 2 liters water , bring to a boil , clear any scum/dirt on the surface , then add coriander powder , haldi , red chili powder and salt . Cook covered over low heat until dals are cooked and water is down to 1/3d of the original quantity ( this is a thick dal ) .Lightly mash the dals against the sides , sprinkle cumin and fennel powder- mix well adjust flavors and cook another 2-3 minutes .
The tempering / Chownk : melt butter , add tomatoes yogurt and garam masala . Bhuno over medium heat till the fat leaves the sides.Add to the dal , cook another 1-2 minutes , garnish with coriander / dhania leaves and serve with rice / rotis.
Absolutely delicious !

Sikandalous Cuisine

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Thai Chicken Patties

Thai Chicken Patties

These patties are made using the same recipe that is used to make Larb Gai - the hot and spicy Thai Chicken Salad :
400 Grams Boneless Thigh Meat
4 Birdseye Red Chilies ( Adjust )
6-8 Cloves of Garlic - Chopped
1/2 " Galanga - Minced.
1" Fresh & Tender Lemon Grass - Minced
1 Red Onion - Chopped.
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce ( Will work well with a light Soy Sauce too ).
Juice of 2 Lemons ( adjust ).
Bunch of Mint and Basil Leaves .
Look out for the ' twist at the end !
Using a knife roughly chop the chicken to make a coarse mince . Shouldn't be fine .
Marinate and cling wrap the chicken in all the ingredients but for the greens & oil for a couple of hours to infuse flavors .
Shape patties fry them covered them in a non stick using very little oil for 3 minutes on each side . Fry covered to retain all juices .

Now the twist ! Once patties are done , remove from pan , retain the juices /oil left after cooking them . Add a bit more oil if needed then add some minced garlic to the oil , salt and black pepper or any chilli flavoring ... saute 30 seconds ,then add 1/2 cup orange juice / grape juice or some wine ... cook over high heat to reduce to a few tablespoons , taste and balance flavors - add salt , chili , sugar or lemon juice IF needed , then add the patties back , cook covered 2 minutes on low heat after coating with the sauce and serve with some delicious greens !

Sikandalous Cuisine

Sunday, 27 October 2013

Gujrati Spicy Dal

This recipe is from Christine Manfield's Tasting India . The list of ingredients looks like it's a lot of work , but once you have everything measured out the cooking process is a quick and easy one .
200 Grams Toor Dal.
1 Onion Grated.
15 Grams Grated Fresh Coconut .
Handful Coriander Leaves.
1 Teaspoon Cumin Seeds.
1 Teaspoon Mustard Seeds.
2 Teaspoons poppy Seeds.
Curry Leaves.
1 Teaspoon Ginger Paste.
1 Teaspoon Garlic Paste.
4 Green Chilies.
1 Tomato Chopped.
1 Teaspoon Coriander Powder.
chili Powder.
1/2 Teaspoon Sugar.
Wash dal thoroughly , boil in 500 Ml water till soft and water is almost absorbed . Takes 10-12 minutes , don't pressure cook into a mash .Set aside.
Heat oil , fry onions and coconut till they start to brown , Cool and grind to a paste with 2 green chilies and half the coriander leaves.
In a wok , fry all the seeds till they begin to pop , add curry leaves , ginger garlic paste , green chilies and tomatoes . Also add the onion / coconut paste , cook covered till oil begins to separate , then add all the spice and sugar . Cook 2-3 minutes .Add boiled dal , mix gently . Cook 3-5 minutes to marry flavors , adjust flavors and garnish with remaining coriander when ready to serve.
This is a slightly thick and delicious dal - nice and spicy . You don't really taste the sugar and the coconut flavors are underplayed here. I like this dal with roti .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Stir Fried Bok Choy

Stir Fried Bok Choy

10 Baby Bok Choy - Separate some leave and leave some intact .
1 Small Onion - Thinly slice and fry till medium to dark brown , set aside to cool , it will become nice sweetish and crisp.
8-10 Cloves Garlic - Cut length wise and fry as above.
1 Teaspoon Minced Garlic
1/2 Tablespoon sesame oil.
Wash Bok Choy , retain a bit of water on them. Heat sesame oil ,add minced garlic and seasoning , when garlic begins to soften (30 seconds ? ) gently mix in bok choy , cover wok with a lid and 30 seconds later shut the flame . Keep lid on and let the greens cook under the heat within - 5 minutes max.When ready to serve - mix in fried onions and garlic and serve at once.You gets wonderful crunch and semi sweet garlicky flavors with each bite !
I keep a jar of fried onions and fried garlic handy at all times , which makes these dishes easy to prepare in under 6 minutes .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Basil Crusted Fish

2 Boneless Fillets of Sole ( or any firm fish of your choice )
2 White Bread Slices .
Bunch Of Basil ( About 4 Tablespoons when minced )
Zest Of 1/2 Lemon . 
Juice of The Full Lemon.
1 Teaspoon Grainy Mustard .
1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Paste
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil.

Marinate the fish in mustard , olive oil ,garlic , lemon juice , salt and about 1/2 teaspoon chopped basil for about 30 minutes .

Meanwhile prepare the bread crumb by breaking bread into pieces and in a food processor with the chopped basil and lemon zest blitz to make rough crumbs , not fine but rough .Essentially you give 2 short twirls to the processor !

Preheat oven to 190 . In a baking dish arrange the fillets . Press the crumbs firmly onto the fillets . Bake 10-12 minutes till done . Absolutely delicious !

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Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Butter Garlic Mushroom Salad

There is no fixed recipe here , go with what's available at hand . I have chives growing and some sad looking tasteless black olives languishing in the fridge which were put to good use in this salad.The trick is cook over high heat , in a large and open wok / pan - and cook just enough to heat up the mushroom , retaining a bite.Cooking time 2 minutes .
20 Button Mushrooms.
1 to 1.5 Tablespoons Minced Garlic.
2 Tablespoons Chopped Chives - Optional , use basil leaves , coriander greens , mint ...
1 Teaspoon Butter.
1 Tablespoon EVOO.
1/4 Teaspoon Freshly Ground Pepper.
In a wok heat up olive oil and butter , add crushed black pepper and garlic , 30 seconds later when the pepper begins to sizzle and garlic softens  ( garlic shouldn't color ) add mushrooms and salt , turn heat to maximum and cook 1 minute uncovered.Add chopped greens , olives  toss once and take off fire.Immediately transfer the mushroom onto a plate to prevent further cooking . Serve warm as a side dish or chilled as a salad on some greens . Crunchy Tasty & Delicious .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Monday, 21 October 2013

Review of Ajit Khalsa Dhaba , Chattarpur , New delhi

When Mohit balachandaran invited me to join him and fellow foodies at Ajit Khalsa Dhaba I didnt need to give it a second thought - I knew I was being reintroduced to the delicious world of dhabas by the master himself .Forty years in business and Ajit Khalsa Dhaba continues to remain one of Delhi's most famous dhabas . The reason isn't hard to figure out . The owners have remained true to their product and the food continues to retain it's ' dhaba ' character and hasn't been bastardized to suit modern times - no dieting here !

Another or perhaps the most important aspect about the food is the quality . Meat , chicken and paneer for that matter were of superb quality - all served for aprox under Rs 120 per plate - with a big smile .The place is clean despite being on the busy Chattarpur main road.

We ordered chicken malai tikka and tandoori tikka , the marination was brilliant , bursting with flavors - however not cooked perfectly as near the bone there was some red. I do hope this was a one off thing as I would love to eat these again.Mutton Korma was nice , as was the dahi meat - nothing to rave about .Ma ki dal too was okay .

What was really excellent was the alu gobi , khoya panner and dal fry - the latter was the showstopper . Rara meat was excellent - something to head back for most definitely .

The menu is vast and everything is freshly prepared . Service is great and this is like total value for money - you can walk away quite satiated after eating a plate of meat curry with tandoori 2 rotis for under Rs 120 . Do try the place . I am told the butter chicken is a must do - that for next time .


Sunday, 20 October 2013

Larb Gai - Spicy Oriental Chicken Salad

One of my favorite Oriental salads , Larb Gai is a hot and spicy Thai Chicken Salad recipe and when served with crunchy vegetables you plate a harmonious balance of flavors colors and heat.Tweak the recipe to suit your palate - this works best when tangy and spicy .

400 Grams Boneless Thigh Meat
4 Birdseye Red Chilies ( Adjust )
6-8 Cloves of Garlic - Chopped
1/2 " Galanga - Minced.
1" Fresh & Tender Lemon Grass - Minced
1 Red Onion - Chopped.
1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce ( Will work well with a light Soy Sauce too ).
Juice of 2 Lemons ( adjust ).
Bunch of Mint and Basil Leaves .
Using a knife roughly chop the chicken to make a coarse mince . Shouldn't be fine .
Marinate and cling wrap the chicken in all the ingredients but for the greens & oil for a couple of hours to infuse flavors .
Heat a wok , add sesame oil and on very high heat cook the chicken mince for a minute . Reduce heat , cover wok and cook another 3-4 minutes till chicken is done.
Remove from heat , add half the mint and basil leaves , mix , and leave covered. The flavors will get infused deliciously , serve at room temperature or cool . Garnish with the balance herb leaves before serving . Absolutely delicious !
You can serve the salad on a bed of crispy leafy greens , or on bell pepper wedges. If using bell pepper wedges , oil them , and heat them up in a hot oven for 5- minutes , just enough for them to begin to weep but remain firm. Cool and spoon on the mince and serve .

Sikandalous Cuisine

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Review of Mamagoto , Gurgaon .

I am a unabashed fan of brand Mamagoto so readily agreed to meet up with a friend for dinner at their Gurgaon restaurant which I hadn't visited earlier . The restaurant  is nice and open , and unlike the other branches there is lots of space and light AND is not noisy at all ( my nightmare at Khan Market ) even though it was choc o block full.

We settled down to have a couple of drinks , and ordered a dish vegetable tempura to munch on. I was a bit skeptical as in a lot of places my vegetable tempura experience hasn't been too great , and often have had to suffer what looks and tastes like pakoras . However these were light , white and crunchy , and came with an assortment of delicious dips. A very good start to a meal.I now view vegetable tempura with new respect !
For dinner we ordered Tangtze River Grilled Fish topped with pickled red and green chillies . Spicy flavors typically Hunanese . The fish is served with a hot ,sweet and sour sauce , a brilliant ensemble of flavors.A must have if you enjoy a spicy dish.

Chicken in Shezwan sauce is a favorite of mine  .This dish stands out as the Shezwan Chilli Paste and the Black Vinegar used in it are genuine Chinese which sets it apart from the run of the mill ones you get .Order a sticky rice with this dish and you have yourself a delicious and complete meal .
The only downer for me was the Papaya Salad. I found it too sour . They don't use carrots in the salad so perhaps the sweetness wasn't balanced out well .
This was a delicious meal , enhanced with great service and a very reasonable tab . I will happily head back and probably order the same once more at lease.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Dashin / Dussera - Nepals most auspecious festival


Dashin is Nepals longest and most auspicious festival , celebrated for 15 days .People pay homage to the various forms of the Supreme Goddess, Durga during this period which als commemorates the victories of the god and goddesses over the demons and symbolizes the victory of the good over the evil.
The first day is known as "Ghatasthapana " , and jowar/ corn etc is planted in an earthen container and kept in a dar place . Nurtured by sprinkling water people watch with great anticipation to see how tall and light their ' khetri ' will grow - to most it symbolizes a direct link to their anticipated wealth in the coming year ! The ' crop ' is then cut and used as a part of the ' tilak / tikka ' by placing it behind the ear.
Needless to add the grand finale is a huge feast of meat and fat ... did I mention booze ? That's the main ' prasad ' for a large majority !

Sikandalous Cuisine

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Peanut coconut Rabadi / Rabri

2 Liters Full Cream Milk
1/2 Coconut .
Jaggery / Gur to taste.( Substitute with brown sugar )
1 Cup Lightly Roasted Peanuts ( Roughly pounded once )

Grate coconut from the thin side of the grater/shredder.
Boil milk till reduced to half.
Take a heavy bottom pan , add 1 tablespoon ghee , saute the coconut till it's milk conten begins to dry out - about 5 minutes. Now add 1/2 Cup grated gur / jaggery to the coconut and cook another minute . Once it all melts add the milk slowly , stir to ensure a creamy texture. Bring to a rolling boil to blend all flavors . Taste , add more gur if needed . When satisfied with the taste take off heat and add peanuts . Allow the rabri to cool , refrigerate and serve chilled.You get an amazing taste of crunchy peanuts and a heavenly rabri .

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Restaurant review - Guppy by ai , New Delhi

Guppy by AI being caught me by surprise . You cannot but help wear a big smile on your face when you enter the restaurant - playful vibrant colors , lots of light and feeling of space engulf you and the first thought that came to my mind was " what fun " ! This gem of a restaurant serves Japanese food with a subtle twist . I was a vegetarian today and wondered what I would find on the menu - I needn't have worried I was spoilt for choices.Vegetarian food apparently is their USP
We started with a Red Miso Soup served with a crunchy house salad . The soup was outstanding , the seaweed ( Wakame ? ) and spring onions gave a beautiful flavor. A small bowl of steamed and salted Soy Bean Pods kept us busy while we waited for the other courses . I was informed by Executive Chef Vikram Khatri that the soya pods were imported from Japan as only those were guaranteed to be insect free and could be eaten without peering into each pod !

Chili Lime Dressed Agedashi Tofu was nice and tangy  .What I did enjoy was their gluten free Mushroom Goyoza - a steamed dumpling with a crispy fried base - very unusual ! 
The star of the meal was the Vegetable Harumaki - crisp baked vegetable rolls , totally exotic and a must have .

Sushi - Lovely Asparagus Tempura along with Japanese Vegetable Rolls topped with a kimchi dressing , could make a meal on them.
For mains we went with a Terikyaki glazed artichoke dish which came with a tofu served on a bed of asparagus - again excellent , as was their sticky fried rice with garlic flakes .I didn't care for their Rayu Noodles as I couldnt understand the flavors or maybe I was simply stuffed .

If you want to eat the ultimate carrot cake head to Guppy - it's not dense like most , it's light , spongy and totally worth every calorie !
Guppy , just as the name sounds is a fun eating place where they serve some seriously delicious food !

Sikandalous Cuisine