Sunday, August 21, 2011

We've moved!

Hungry and Excited is now here:
Come one, come all!

Chicken Vindaloo (Balsamic vinegar style)

Confessions of a quickly turning Goan

It's really a sign of turning Goan when you choose to make your own Vindaloo, and you dare to improvise and adopt new flavours in your own kitchen, than just go out and get some Vindaloo!

This is another original recipe concocted by Anand, after much trial and error and permutations and combinations. But the winning factor, I think, is the use of Balsamic vinegar, as opposed to regular vinegar.

Believe him, like I did, and try this one out.

What you need:
900 gms diced chicken

For the spice mixture
1.5 teaspoon black peppercorns
1.5 teaspoon mustard seeds (black)
1.5 teaspoon cumin
2 medium sized stick of cinnamon
6 cardamom pods
10 cloves
6 red chillies (vary as per capacity for spice)
1 petal star anise
1 bay leaf

For the marinade
3/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons freshly crushed ginger + garlic
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons tomato puree

For the curry
2 teaspoons coriander powder
2 large onions diced
2-3 medium tomatoes diced

What you need to do:
Wash, chop and get your chicken ready to marinade in a non-metallic bowl.

To prepare the spice mixture, begin by roasting all the whole dry spices on a low flame for about 5-6 minutes, till the aroma wafts through your kitchen.

Set aside to cool, and then grind to a fine powder.

Add the turmeric and salt to the chicken. Quickly crush up some fresh ginger and garlic (about 3 teaspoonfuls) and add it in too.

Next, in goes the Balsamic vinegar, followed by the puree.

Then, add in the spices and mix well with your fingers, so the chicken is evenly coated and sinks into the marinade.

Cover up in foil, and let this sit for up to 8 hours. Marinading it overnight usually results in wonderful deeply flavourful Vindaloo. But if you're badly planned like me anything from 4-8 hours should do.

In a pressure cooker add some oil and sauté onions till translucent. Add the coriander powder and stir till lightly cooked.

Next, throw in the diced tomatoes and cook till slightly soft.

Then, pour in the chicken with the marinade. Add water at this stage if necessary. cook for a short while and then shut with the pressure weight on.

Pressure cook for about 10 minutes on high and 10-15 minutes on sim. Once open, add salt if necessary.


This Vindaloo turned out darker than is usually is, presumably because I used Balsamic vinegar. However, it didnt disappoint. So much so that I'm considering pre-preparing the spice mix in bigger quantities, to enable making it more often.

It is best enjoyed, as we had it, with pao on the side. And if you can get your hands on Goan Poi, there's really nothing like it :P

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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Another simple salad

Avocado almond joy

I loved avocados since the very first time I tried them at a family lunch when I was really little. Considering they're not a very local fruit (yes, most people believe its actually a fruit), I hadn't seen or tasted one until said family lunch at fancy aunt and uncles house, where one generally got to taste exotic and strange looking things. And that's what avocados have always been to me: exotic and strange. Because to look at they're pretty hardy and you expect a taut consistency, but what you get is a creamy, almost buttery soft pulp, which is altogether surprising and comforting when tasted.

I dont find them very often here in Goa. I dont have the slightest green thumb, so I can't even do what Anand does either. So when I chanced upon these beauties this morning at the supermarket, I grabbed not one, not two but THREE nice ripe ones, and rushed home to make my salad as an accompaniment to the husbands culinary expedition.

I love salads, especially fresh ones where I throw in whatever I have handy and fancy at that point. I don't follow any rules, so you shouldn't either. Try all kinds of vegetables and dressings and you're sure to find your perfect mix!

What I used:
For the salad
1 big tomato
1 medium cucumber
2 small beetroots
2 medium carrots
1 ripe avocado
A handful of fresh corn
A handful of almonds, chopped coarsely

For the dressing
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
A generous drizzle of olive oil
A splash of balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon mustard
Dry basil

Patrani Macchi

Or what happens when the husband takes over my kitchen

VC has never made me anything more than some eggs, toast and my morning tea. And today I discovered that its not because he can't or he doesn't want to. It's mostly because I have never let him have a go, unperturbed, uninterrupted, unsupervised. So today, after much coaxing, I agreed. I tried to calm down and have an open mind because I have never known VC to cook, or even experiment. But I stand corrected. The man can cook. And how!

Here's how. From calling his mother up for her recipe, to bringing me some fresh water fish, to cleaning it, following the recipe step by step and ensuring that we had a wholesome lunch, VC did it all.

So this post is dedicated tot he surprise visitor who took over my kitchen for the day, cooked up a storm and left me very, very satisfied.

Here's what he used:
450 gms basa fish, deboned (We chose this fresh water fish because given that its the monsoon river fish is way fresher than sea fish, but technically any light, white fish would work)
2 handfuls of fresh coriander
1/2 coconut grated
4-5 cloves of garlic
1 big thumb of ginger
2 green chillies
Juice of half a lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/4 teaspoon chaat masala (this was my little contribution/experiment, and it added quite a distinct tanginess to the dish)
2 large banana leaves

Here's what he did:
First VC ground together the coriander, coconut, ginger, garlic, chillies and salt till it was nice and pasty. Next, add in the lime juice, garam masala and chaat masala and grind again till well mixed.

Start off without adding any water, because you don't want a runny mix. What you can do is have a go without water, and then add in very little if need be so you end up with is a finely ground mixture slightly thicker in consistency than chutney.

Next, he heated some oil in a pan and sauteed the chutney for about five minutes. This is done to cook the masala a bit and get rid of any unwanted moisture.

Then set he the masala aside to cool till it was okay to handle it with his fingers when he got down to wrapping the fish in banana leaves.

Next VC mopped the banana leaf dry so there was no moisture getting in the way.

Once he had chopped the leaf into squares big enough to wrap the pieces of fish, he placed a piece of fish towards the top.

Then, he covered both sides with masala, dabbing it with his fingers so it was tightly packed.

Next, I helped him wrap the fish in the banana leaf and secured the pieces with thread.

In a pressure cooker with more water than you would usually use, place a deep dish/vessel. Cover the vessel with another shallow one. Place the wrapped pieces of fish in it and steam in the cooker without a whistle.

15 minutes later, when we opened up the cooker, the entire kitchen was filled with the aroma of freshly steamed coriander and spices, and VC peeped over the dish with a look that can only be compared to a toddler with a new toy.

Carefully pulling them out, he heated some oil in a pan and lightly pan fried the fish, which was still intact, wrapped in the banana leaf.

When slightly browned on either side, it was time to open it up!


For all those of you who love fish and thought this was a complicated, intimidating dish to try at home, you have to try this out. If VC can make it, so can you!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Surprise salad

Doing my mother proud

Because all meals need some veggie content.
Because my mother told me so.
Because I believe her.
Because she is just so right.
And because I love colorful salad.

Here's what I used:
For the salad
1 big tomato
1 medium sized capsicum
1 medium cucumber
2 medium carrots
A handful of olives
A handful of fresh corn

For the dressing
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
Lots of olive oil
1 tsp mustard
A splash of Balsamic vinegar
A pinch of salt
Lots of freshly ground pepper
Assorted herbs, as your heart fancies
A dash of sugar
Juice of half a lime

Channa masala

Or what to do when you soak too much channa and dont know what to do with it

In my haste to make my hummus experiment a success, I ended up with a little too much channa that had soaked overnight and tripled in quantity. Making jummus of all of it would have given me enough to feed my neighbourhood. So I decided to make channa masala.

The way I usually make it is exactly like I make home-style rajma, where I grind and cook my masala, add in the rajma and pressure cook the whole thing.

But the channa was pre-soeaked and pre-cooked just the way you need it for the hummus. So what I did was this:
1) Used the exact same ingredients for my masala, as in the rajma recipe
2) Roasted it nicely, till it was almost completely cooked and blended in with the onions and tomatoes
3) Threw in the cooked channa and some water (lesser than I would have added if i were pressure cooking it)
4) Added a tablespoon full of kasuri methi, just to see how it turns out
5) Let it simmer away for 15-20 minutes
6) Topped it up with freshly chopped coriander and a squeeze of lime

Channa overload, one might say. But when I can make tomorrow's lunch, today, I can't complain!


Real hummus, makeshift non-pita bread

Its time for a comeback. And a comeback of this sort, battling laziness and the lack of time, doesn't just happen. It needs inspiration. And I found inspiration here. And here. And also in a recipe Anand shared with me yesterday, straight from his Israeli friend's home.

So if you're looking for inspiration to get back into the kitchen, this could very well be it. Easy to do, gorgeous to look at, simply yummilicious to taste, and you can do it all be done in no time at all!

Here's what you need:
1 cup kabuli channa (white) soaked overnight
1.5 tablespoons Tahini (easily available in stores, thought Praerna tells me you can do without it too!)
Olive oil
Jeera powder
Chilli powder
Chopped coriander, to garnish

Here's what you need to do:
Pressure cook the channa for about 20 minutes, in sufficient water and a dash of salt. When it cools, put the channa with just a little bit of the boiling water in a blender.

Add in one and a half tablespoons of Tahini.

Next, slice a nice ripe lime in half and add in the juice of one half. Save the other half for later.

Then, in goes the olive oil, salt, pepper and the jeera powder.

And we're done.
Pour yourself a nice tall mug of beer right about now. Here's where you start chilling, because lunch is going to be ready in no time at all.

Pulse till nicely pasty, and pour into a serving dish/bowl.

Drizzle with the juice of the other half of the lime and some more olive oil. Sprinkle with chilli powder and freshly chopped coriander. And we're done!

Erm, almost done, save the makeshift non-pita bread. Which in our case was actually store-bought pizza base, which i cut into wedges, slathered with butter and toasted on the tawa till golden brown.

Together, even the makeshift pita bread totally hit the spot.
But I'm determined to make my own pita bread the next time. And Anand has promised to show me how, illustrations and all.

To go with it, I whipped up a quick salad, because one must have some veggie quotient too!