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Friday, August 31, 2012

Slow cooker recipes

Meat and veggies at low for 8 hrs. Before and after.
I am a great fan of slow-cooking. The flavors are retained, and you need less grease to facilitate cooking. A friend I had in Boston often baked me dinner (baked for about 2 hrs). At the end of the day, it felt delicious and made a very satisfying meal. Last night, I decided to put my slow-cooker to use and picked some random veggies from my pantry- most preferably non-starchy veggies like zucchini, tomatoes, onions, celery, bell pepper and mushrooms etc. (Some recipes might call for potatoes though). I threw in a few mutton pieces that were marinating for a curry, drizzled a little olive oil, sprinkled some garlic salt with dry parsley, and oregano. (Yeah, totally random). Then I switched on the cooker and went to sleep. In the morning, I was greeted with a delicious aroma of slow cooked goodness.

More recipes at:
Slow cooker Utopia

Tips for beginners:
1. Resist the temptation to take a peek into the cooker, though you might give a stir into one hour of cooking. The glass lid will give you a fair view if you feel curious.
2. Don't use frozen meat. Thaw well before you cook it.
3. Beans/lentils are a great way to introduce fibers. Use less portions of meat and try to balance the yin yang of your platter.

It is a good option for traditional recipes that ask for long cooking times (like pot-roast, biryani), perfect for a working man/woman with long day out with very little energy to spend in the kitchen after a tiring day at work, and even an hassle-free extra dish or two when you have guests coming over.

I will post recipes while I perform the experiments. If they go well, you will know it is safe. If some of them go awry, you will know what to avoid. Here's to cuisson lente.

Also, an interesting article on NPR : Slow cook your way to The Colonel's Secret Recipe

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Doi begun posto (Eggplant in poppy yogurt paste)

This dish looks best with baby eggplant, slit on four sides and stem intact (pictures below). I had an overstock of Chinese eggplant and decided to work with those.

  1. Clean the eggplant and cut into strips (slit the eggplant with stem intact if you are using baby/Indian eggplant). Fill salt, coriander powder, and Kashmiri chili powder inside the eggplant. Deep fry in a wok. Take out and drain on a paper towel if you feel the need. 
  2.  In a non-stick, use 2 tsp oil from the frying and fry nigella seeds and slit green chilies. Keep the chilies aside.
  3. Add dry ground poppy and cashews. Toast a bit. Add about a cup of warm water. Cook through.
  4. Whisk 1 tbsp yogurt with a little water so that no lumps remain, cook it in the wok, add the fried eggplant. Add a bit of ghee, taste for salt.
You can bake the recipe in an oven too (after you have sauteed the eggplant first).

Version 2: I made them with baby eggplants, and they look pretty. Also, I used Methi (fenugreek) seeds for tempering and ground cumin with the yogurt sauce, as suggested by my aunt.

Don't forget to fry the baby bottoms if you are shallow frying them

A tastier version with more gravy and deep-fried eggplants (Updated on: Jan 3, 2017)

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Chicken Bharta

This is my Dad's recipe(with a bit of tweaking) and is a favorite with rotis. (Indian flatbreads)

  1.  Boil chicken thigh pieces with a little salt,  crushed pepper,  a cinnamon stick and de-bone them (don't get minced chicken- not the same). Add turmeric and red chili powder to the deboned chicken shredded with a fork into strands.
  2. In a wok, heat vegetable oil, add thinly sliced onions, then minced garlic, minced green chilies, diced tomatoes and grated ginger in that order. You can use some ground spices of your choice, I prefer it light with minimal spices. Add about 2 tbsp of yogurt- cook the sauce for a while and then add the chicken. Cover and cook over medium-low flame. Serve with hard-boiled eggs and a dollop of butter.

Variation (update:Jan 31, 2018)

2. In a wok, ad 2 tbsp of butter, and add onion-garlic-ginger-green chili past. Add, salt, turmeric, red chili powder, cumin-coriander powder according to taste(for me it is about 1/2 tsp each)  Fry it on medium-low heat till the butter separate.
3. Add the shredded chicken and saute some more. Add some more butter if needed. Then add table cream. When the chicken is about done, add hard-boiled egg by breaking them with your hand. Mix well and serve warm. You may add chopped cilantro if the smell is not too overwhelming for you or Kasuri methi.

Tip: Shredding the chicken with a fork might take a while, so start with a little amount of boiled chicken and shred it the night before if you want to prepare it for lunch.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Egg Do Piaza

  1. Boil 6 eggs in water. Remove shells. Make small incisions with a knife on 4 sides of each egg so the spices get through.
  2. Thinly slice onions and fry in a wok. Add crushed cardamom,cinnamon powder (I use more than usual for this dish)and cloves.
  3. Add diced tomatoes, slit green chilies,salt, turmeric, red chili powder. Minced garlic and ginger if you want to
  4. Cover and cook till oil separates. Add the boiled eggs. Add ghee and cilantro just before turning off the heat.
you might also like Bagara Anda Masala

Thursday, August 9, 2012


1. Cilantro Mojito
Cilantro + lime juice + sugar + white rum + club soda.
Ok, here you are:
  1. In a food processor, add fresh cilantro leaves and grate well. (You can add kiwi fruits or mint leaves as a variation). Sticklers for accuracy should just bruise the leaves to release the essential oils.
  2. Add half a lime juice(or to taste), sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), the cilantro paste, white rum (I used BACARDI Limón) . Give a stir. Add club soda proportionally. Serve with ice or chill the soda before you make the drink.
Traditional mojito with bruised mint leaves
2. Fire Breathing Dragon
Mango +passion fruit+vodka+jalapeno
Recipe link 1

3. (Creamy) Rum Liqueur
condensed milk + (cream)+ milk+ rum+ 2 tbsps chocolate syrup+ 2 tsps coffee

4. Kahlua
coffee+ sugar+ water +vodka+vanilla

5. Pomegranate Passion

Rum+Italian pomegranate soda+lime juice
Mango Mojito

On choy (water spinach) with dry fish

I had Lobster with dry shrimp recently, and it was out of the world. A lot of cuisines use dry fish, meat, mushrooms etc to enhance flavors. Dry anchovy sauce and myeolchi bokkeum (stir-fried spicy dried anchovy as a side dish) come to my mind immediately.

How many of you know what Bombay Duck is? If you do, this recipe is for you.

For more images of water spinach, click here
  1. Take a bunch of on choy or water spinach (kolmi-shak in Bengali) Wash thoroughly and clean the leaves. Chop them . Cut some Chinese eggplant in similar sizes.
  2. Add minced onions, garlic paste in a wok with heated oil. You can use green chili paste or red chili powder for hotness. Add Bombay duck (wash well, microwave for 3 mins in water, rinse well, drain, remove bones. Make sure you clean them really well.), then the water spinach, and finally the eggplant pieces.
  3. Cover and cook till done.

Another way of making the greens is available here. (Stir Fried Water Convolvulus with Dried Shrimp Paste)
A Bangal recipe here (Bombay duck with potatoes and pumpkin). And because I love you guys, here's another of my secret dry fish recipe.

Dry Anchovy with veggies

  1. Dice onions and fry in mustard oil. 
  2. Add minced garlic, dry anchovy washed well and soaked in hot water for a while.  Add turmeric and chili powder
  3. Then add diced potatoes, radish, green beans, pumpkin, and soaked surti papdi lilva (small flat green beans) seeds or hyacinth bean seeds. Stir well, cook covered. Add green chilis to make it extra hot. Add warm water to facilitate cooking if necessary. Garnish with cilantro. Yumm!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Aloo tikki

There are several versions available, I found the following a convenient way to make aloo tikki. Put them inside a bun and you will get a Aloo tikki burger. Serve them with ghugni for aloo tikki chaat. They are yummy on their own with ketchup.

  1.  Boil 3 potatoes, some green peas and bengal gram(soaked overnight) in a pressure cooker.
  2.  Remove the skin of the potatoes and mash them with hand or a spoon. Don't make it too gooey. Mash  the peas and gram in a food processor with ginger and green chilis. Mix well with black salt, dry roasted cumin seed powder, and your fav spice.
  3. Shape them into patties and fry in oil or grill. 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Mutton chop in red onion and wine sauce

For Maitrayee

  1. Marinate the mutton chops (goat or lamb) in yogurt, salt, oil, tandoori (for color) spice and/or ground spices of your choice overnight.
  2. Thinly slice red onions, green chilis, garlic and ginger and fry in oil in a pressure cooker. Add whole garam masala (I used cardamom, ground cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves)
  3. Add the meat, fry well till the oil separates. Add a little water and pressure cook since we want them tender, but just enough to cook the meat thoroughly.
  4. Check the sauce, reduce the gravy with the lid off if need be. Add a wine you like to drink. Never, never use a wine you wouldn't drink. Use sparingly, don't let the wine overpower the other flavors. Reduce the sauce until almost dry. Serve with salad, cucumber slices or celery.
You can use cilantro paste or green chilli paste to enhance flavors. I am planning to make lamb shanks in black beer, cilantro, and Peruvian chili sauce- something similar to what I enjoyed immensely at Andina in Downtown Portland on a recent trip.