29 July, 2010

Pabda-macher kolo jeerer jhol (Bengali style fish curry)

This fish curry is an all time favorite. Come monsoons and the fish market floods with Pabda (from the family of catfish) maach across vendors. Very simple and nutritious hope I am able to do justice to the traditional form of cooking of this dish.

Pabda Maach
  • Pabda Maach: Either 4 (large size) OR 6(medium to small size) fish
  • Oil: 1 Tablespoon mustard(optional) oil OR regular cooking oil 
  • Tomato: 2 large red tomatoes
  • Kolo Jere: 1/2 teaspoon (also known as Onion seed OR kalonjee)
  • Turmeric: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: 2 teaspoons (as desired)
  • Water: 2 cups
  • Green Chillies: 2 to 3
  • Fresh Corriander leaves: 1/3rd cup, finely chopped 
  1. Clean the fish thoroughly under running water. Ensure that the gills and other parts of the stomatch is removed completely.
  2. Sometimes, especially during monsoons the fish may also have roe (eggs), in such a situation depending on your pallette let the roe be inside the stomatch for cooking. Set aside.
  3. Depending on the size of the fish you may choose to either cook it whole or cut it into half. Usually I like cooking it as a whole. 
  4. Heat oil in the wok. You can begin smelling the mustard oil when it is well heated. Alternately place your palm at a safe heigt to feel the heat rising from the wok.
  5. Drop the kalo jeere into the wok and let it splutter.
  6. Pour the tomato paste and reduce the flame to medium while stiring the mix continuously. Allow the water from the paste to evaporate completely.
  7. Add the turmeric and keep stiring.
  8. in a bit you will notice the mixture begins to seperate the oil at the edge of the wok. When this begins to happen add the salt, stir once more and then add 2 cups of water.
  9. Mix the water and then slowly add the fish into the curry.
  10. Place a lid on the wok and allow the fish to cook on a low flame for approximately 5-10 minutes.
  11. If you wish to make the curry thicker remove the lid after 4 minutes and allow for the fish to cook on high flame for the remaining 5 minutes.
  12. Drop a couple of green chillies slit mid way into the curry while it boils.
  13. Switch off the flame and garnish the fish with the corriander leaves.
  14. Serve with hot rice.

28 July, 2010

Tibetan Veg Thukpa

Good for cold nights and tastes best with yak butter, but good luck finding it anywhere else other than Tibet...

3 TB butter or margarine
1 TB garlic, chopped
1 TB ginger, grated
1/2 cup shallots, diced
1 tsp. kopan masala (refer to bottom of post for Kopan Masala recepie)
1 tsp. roasted chili powder
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 cup potato, small dice
1 cup tomatoes, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
4 oz. fresh wide egg noodles, chopped into 2-3" lengths
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1 TB soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter or margarine in pan and saute ginger, garlic, and onions for 1-2 minutes or until slightly translucent. Add spices and cook for one more minute. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and stock and bring to boil. Add egg noodles and cook for 5 more minutes or until tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about one minute. Make sure potatoes are tender, add soy sauce and salt/pepper to taste, and serve.

Kopan Masala:
4 TB coriander seed
4 TB cumin seed
20 cardamom pods, outer husk removed
20 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Add all spices (except nutmeg) to pan and toast over low heat until aromatic. Be careful not to brown the spices too much, just a slight toasting to release the flavors. Remove spices from pan, add nutmeg, and grind in a spice grinder or coffee mill.

Veg Fried Rice (Chinese Style)

Fried rice should be made with day-old leftover rice whenever possible. The grains are well separated and properly dried to prevent sticky, gummy fried rice. If using leftover rice is not an option, prepare rice as usual, spread out on a cookie sheet or pan, and fan until cooled, separating grains with a rice paddle as much as possible without crushing the rice. Place in refrigerator one hour before using in this recipe.

4 cups leftover cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten (optional)
2 green onions, chopped
1 carrot, small dice
1 onion, small dice
1/4 cup green peas, fresh
1.5 TB soy sauce
1/2 tsp. white pepper
4 TB oil, divided

Add half the oil to pan and scramble eggs over medium heat until firm. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat wok to medium high and add remaining oil. Add green onions, carrot, onion, and peas and stir fry until onion is lightly browned. Add rice and fry for a few minutes, making sure the rice does not stick. Add eggs, soy, pepper, and green onion to the rice and stir. Cook one more minute, remove from heat, and serve.

Vietnamese Chicken Pho


2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered

Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of fresh ginger, smashed

4 quarts cold water

3 pounds chicken bones or chicken wings

One 3 1/2-pound chicken, quartered

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup Asian fish sauce

1 pound dried rice noodles

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 pound mung bean sprouts

1/2 cup torn basil leaves

2 limes, cut into wedges

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced

Asian chili-garlic sauce and hoisin sauce, for serving


1.Preheat the oven to 400°. Put the onions and ginger on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned.

2.Fill a large stockpot with the water and bring to a boil. Add the roasted vegetables and the chicken bones, quartered chicken, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to moderate and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.

3.Using tongs, transfer the quartered chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and refrigerate. Return the skin and bones to the stockpot and simmer for 2 hours longer. Strain the chicken broth into a large soup pot and cook over high heat until reduced to 12 cups, about 15 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce.

4.In a large bowl of warm water, soak the noodles until pliable, about 20 minutes.

5.Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Drain the noodles, then add them to the saucepan and boil over high heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the noodles to 6 large bowls and sprinkle with the scallion. Add the reserved chicken to the broth and simmer until heated through. Ladle the broth and chicken over the noodles. Serve with the bean sprouts, basil, lime wedges, jalapeños, chili-garlic sauce and hoisin sauce.

19 July, 2010

Addai- Lentil Pancakes


•2 cups rice

•¾ cup toor dal

•¾ cup chana dal

•1tsp of urad dal

•2 red chilies

•¼ tsp asafetida

•10 pearl onions finely chopped

•½ turmeric

•½ tsp ginger

•2 green chilies finely chopped

•Handful of Drumstick leaves ( I replaced with cilantro leaves)

•Few curry leaves

•2 tsp of coconut

•½ tsp fennel seeds

•Salt to taste

•Soak rice, chana dal, toor dal and urad dal for about 2 hrs

•Grind the soaked items coarsely with red chilies, salt, and asafetida. Do not grind to a fine paste

•Transfer the grinded mixture to a vessel and add pearl onions, turmeric, ginger, green chilies, cilantro or drumstick leaves, curry leaves, grated coconut, and fennel seeds. If the consistency is too thick dilute with little water.

•Heat the griddle with oil and apply the oil evenly; take a ladle of mixture and pour in the centre of the griddle and spread evenly like a circle.

•Add ½ tsp oil around the corners for the adai. Once the adai is cooked one side, turn over to the other side and let it get cooked.

•Serve hot with butter or jaggery or coconut chutney
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