Monday, July 19, 2010

Traditional Lamb Kofta Curry






This is a traditional recipe I learnt from my mom and one of my favourite dishes that I enjoyed as a child and still do. Now it is my daughter's favourite dish.
The Koftas are made with meat from the leg portion of the lamb - half of which is cooked with herbs & spices and then mixed with the other half which is uncooked. Then it is made into meat balls and fried and cooked again in an onion based curry sauce. Lamb can be substituted with beef or veal. But I always prefer the lamb koftas to all others for their flavour, taste and texture. Though the beef and veal koftas are good enough, the lamb ones still reign supreme.


Ingredients for the Koftas:
Leg of lamb- 1/2 a kg cut into medium sized cubes
Channa dal (chick pea dal peeled)- 1/2 a cup (standard cup)
Green chillies- 4 med size
Med sized onion- 1/2
Garlic cloves with the peel- 3 or 4
Turmeric powder- 1/4tspn
Cloves- 4
Green Cardamoms- 4
Cilantro: a few sprigs

Method:

1. Wash the channa dal 3 or 4 times till the water is clear. Drain well, keep aside.

2. Clean and wash 1/4kg of chunky lamb pieces and add to it the channa dal, onion, garlic, green chillies and turmeric powder in a small pot and cook on medium heat turning over the meat pieces with the dal mixture till the meat is no longer pink.

3. At this stage the dal is a little al dente which is the texture we need. Remove from stove and let it cool to room temperature.

4. Remove the meat pieces, cloves and cardamoms from the dal mixture and keep aside. First grind the dal mixture in a wet grinder or all purpose blender. You may add just a little water if necessary but it should be of chutney consistency and not watery.

5. Once the mixture is like a smooth paste, add the cooked meat pieces a few at a time by pulsing the grinder/blender. We just want to shred the meat pieces and not grind them fine. The meat fibre should be visible and not become a paste. The fibrous texture of the meat makes the koftas taste better.

6. Add fresh chopped coriander, salt, ground cloves & cardamoms and mix well with the dal mixture at low speed till it is of dough consistency. Keep aside.

7. Now finely grind the raw meat, add salt and mix it well with the ground kofta dough. Knead well, then make round koftas by rolling them in between your palms.

6. Heat oil in a dutch oven and when the oil is moderately hot, deep fry them lightly till they are golden brown. Prick them here and there gently with a fork and set aside. Makes 15 - 16 medium sized koftas.

Ingredients for the Curry:

Onions - 2 large
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tbs
Red chilly powder - 1tsp * use resham patti red chilly powder for extra flavour or kashmiri mirch. 
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1tsp
Tomatoes - 1 medium to large
Cloves - 4
Green cardamoms - 4
Cinnamon stick - 2 inches long
Yoghurt - 1/4 cup
Green chillies - 4 small size
Cilantro - as desired
Vegetable/Canola oil - 1/4 cup
 Coconut milk - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Finely slice the onions. Set the pot on medium heat. Add the cloves, cinnamon stick and cardamoms to the medium hot oil in the pot. When they begin to leave an aroma add the chopped onions and fry them till golden brown.

2.  Add the ginger garlic paste, coriander powder, turmeric and red chilly powder followed by chopped tomatoes, green chillies and lastly yoghurt when the tomatoes are a little bit softened.

3. Add 1/2 a cup water, stir well and when it starts bubbling add the fried koftas. Close the lid and cook on medium heat for at least 10 mins till the koftas are soft and juicy.

4. Care should be taken not to stir the curry with a spatula while cooking. Lift the pot with the kitchen mitts and gently give it a swirl on and off. If you shake it too hard the koftas might break.

5. Add coconut milk and simmer for 5 more minutes. The curry should thicken a little bit and the koftas should be soft and juicy.  Garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with plain rice and enjoy.


Tips:

1. Do not soak the chana dal. It should be added to the meat immediately after washing it.

2. The whole spices - cloves and cardamom do not grind well when they are thrown in together with the dal mixture. So they have to be ground  separately. I smash and pound them first using a mortar and pestle before grinding them with the dal mixture.

3. Make a little bouquet garni of the whole spices (cloves and cardamoms) with a cheese cloth and throw them in the pot with the dal and meat instead of spending time looking for them in the dal mixture. This will save up your time as well as give that flavour to the kofta mixture.

4. Pricking the koftas with a tooth pick before dropping them in the curry makes them juicy and soft.

5. Shredding the meat pieces by pulsing gives the koftas a better texture and taste.

6. Freshly ground coconut (1 tbs) can also be added instead of coconut milk. Simmering the kofta curry on low heat till the oil comes to the top makes the koftas juicy and flavourful.

Sunehri Chicken

Ingredients:
Chicken breasts: 1kg cut into chunky cubes
Coconut milk: 1/2 cup thick and 1cup thin extract
Onions: 1 med size
Ginger: 1/2 an inch thinly diced
Green chillies - 2
Jalepeno pepper: 2-4 med size
Dry red chillies: 2 long
Red chilly flakes:1/2 a tsp
Whole coriander: 1 tsp
Turmeric: 1/2 tsp
Lemon grass: 1 tbsp leaves chopped + 1inch stem
Fennel seeds: 1tsp
Green cardamoms: 4
Dry ginger powder:1tsp
Oil: 4-5 tblspns.
Juice of half a lemon
Salt to taste

Method:
1.Clean, wash and towel dry the chicken cubes. Rub them with salt and lemon juice and set them aside.
2. Grind together coriander seeds, fennel seeds, lemon grass, green cardamoms with ginger powder. Marinate the chicken pieces with this dry rub for 1/2 an hr.
3.Heat 2tbsps of oil in a pan and fry the chicken pieces till they turn slightly golden on both the sides and keep them aside. Remove the charred remains from the pan.
4. In the same pan heat 2 more tblspns oil on medium heat. Roast together the dry red chillies, coriander and  fennel seeds. 
5. When they slightly change color add diced ginger and jalepenos deseeded and cut lengthwise. Lightly fry them for a minute. 
6. Add the chopped onion and stir till it turns translucent. Now turn the heat to medium low and pour in the thin coconut milk followed by the fried chicken pieces and when it just begins to boil add the thick coconut milk.
7. Let the chicken simmer in the coconut milk and spices for sometime. Do not cook on high heat as this will curdle the coconut milk.
8. Add the appropriate amount of salt, throw in a few stalks of cut lemon grass, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with boiled or vegetable fried rice.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Chicken Jalapeno

Ingredients:
Chicken breasts- 2
Jalepenos - 2
Garlic paste - 2 tsp
Fresh Parsely - 1/2 a cup
Coriander powder - 1tsp
White chilly powder - 1tsp
Olive oil - 1 tbs

Marinade: Clean, wash and cut the chicken breasts into thin flat pieces, drain, wipe with a paper towel. Rub the chicken pieces with salt & lemon juice and keep aside. Deseed and finely chop the jalepenos, finely chop the fresh parsely and set aside. Mix together garlic paste, coriander powder, white chilly powder, chopped jalepenos, parsely and olive oil. Smear the chicken with this mixture. Leave for half an hour. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake in the lowest shelf of the oven for 40 minutes - 1 hour till it is just done and still juicy. Serve hot and enjoy.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Thai style chicken


Ingredients:
Chicken Whole -1
Lemon grass powder-2 tsps
Galangal powder - 2 tsps
White chilly powder-2tsps
Fresh garlic paste-1tsp
Oil -1tbspn
Lemon juice-2 tsp
Salt as per taste

Method:
De-skin, clean and wash the whole chicken. Make some slits on the breast, thighs and drumsticks, drain, rub some lemon juice and salt and keep aside. In a small bowl mix all the 3 powders (galangal, lemon grass and white chilly) with 1tbspn oil and rub the chicken with it. Let it marinate for 1/2 an hr and bake in the oven for 45minutes or till done.

An alternative method to this recipe would be to use a ground paste of fresh lemon grass and galangal instead of dried powders. This would enhance the flavours and taste.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Dal dill eggplant curry


A tasty dal curry with fried eggplant flavoured with dill. The soft eggplant soaked in the dal and the aroma of fresh dill enhances the taste of this curry. Care should be taken not to overcook the dal or mash the eggplant pieces while mixing.

Ingredients:
Arhar dal - 1/2 cup
Chinese eggplant - 2
Dill - 1 cup (stems removed)
Onion - 1 medium size
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tspn
Red chilly powder- 1/2tspn
Green chillies - 2 small
Tomato - 1 small
Cilantro - a few sprigs

Method: Wash arhar dal 3 or 4 times till the water looks clean. Add 3 cups of clean water to the dal, a pinch of turmeric powder and let it cook on the stove till it is tender. Fry the chopped onion in a little oil till golden brown. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilly powder and chopped tomato turning from all sides till the onion and the tomato blend well in the masala to form a thick paste. Add this fried paste to the dal followed by the chopped dill and let it simmer for 2 or 3 minutes. Meanwhile cut the eggplant lengthwise into 3 inch pieces. Rub them with a little salt and fry them in hot oil till golden. Remove on paper towels and immediately add them to the hot simmering dal with dill. Do not stir, just shake the dal pot gently to mix and pour in the serving dish carefully after adjusting the salt and adding the chopped cilantro. Add a dash of lime or lemon to give a light tangy flavour to the dish. This dish can be served with rice, paranatas, pita or naan.