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Friday, June 29, 2012

Aloo Methi (Potatoes & Fenugreek Leaves)

In many families the presence of small kids at home is most often the reason behind change of diets. The switch from not so healthy to very healthy food happens when a child steps into his terrible twos and trying threes and throws a tantrum each time 'food' is mentioned. Not just any food mind you, its only during mealtimes that such tantrums are selectively thrown. I think every mom who has a child going through the same phase of life as mine has gone through this. I wonder if this is happening only with our generation cuz my mother hardly remembers me having thrown a tantrum. Well, for one, I always loved food and am remembered by many as being an eternally chubby child and secondly my mother like most women from our previous generation had an amazing amount of patience during meal times. 

My mum claims that mealtimes with me didn't last beyond 7-8 minutes and she never once had to resort to leaving the dining table to beckon the neighbourhood cat, dog or crow to divert my attention and make me gobble up what was on my plate. I just ate, and ate and ate (sigh!). I wonder why she never stopped me! I think I am still continuing that tradition and yeah, the food blog is probably just a natural outcome of all that love for food (double sigh!)


Unfortunately I deal with two picky eaters at home especially when it comes to vegetables. Anything on the extreme ends of the flavour meter cannot even feature on their plates. So morphing these flavours becomes critical. Thus was born the Aloo Methi. So far my love for greens was limited to just the spinach (Malabar Spinach or Palak) but now I am glad that I am discovering so many more ways to present the lovely fenugreek/methi leaves that is healthy as well as delicious. 

The only mistake I made with this dish was to overcook the potatoes - never do that! Also, try and cook it in a non stick pan or a heavy bottomed kadhai so that the potatoes are beautifully cooked and also retain their shape. This dish tastes wonderful with hot chapathis or as a side dish with rice and dal and the bitterness of the methi leaves almost disappears.

A special thanks to Swapna Samar who is part of a food group on Facebook, for sharing with us such an easy, simple and tasty dish.


Aloo Methi
Prep time: 15mins | Cooking time: 15mins | Serves 2

You Need:
  • 1 bunch (or 2 packed cups) methi/fenugreek leaves washed and finely chopped *see notes
  • 2 medium sized potatoes peeled and cut into tiny cubes
  • 2 medium sized green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin/jeera
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida/hing
Method: 
1. In a heavy bottomed pan or non stick kadhai heat oil and toss in the cumin, when it slightly browns add the chopped onions, green chillies, turmeric and asafoetida and saute for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the potato cubes, mix well, cover the pan and cook on a very slow flame. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching. About 3-4 minutes later, when the potato is half done, add the chopped methi leaves, salt to taste cover and continue to cook. There is no need to add water here as the potatoes cook in the steam.
3. The resultant dish is dry without any water. Serve hot with chapathis or rice.

Notes:
Pluck only the methi leaves and not the stem as it tends to emit a bitter flavour.
You may add more than 2 cups of methi leaves but note that methi will be the dominant flavour in that case. However, methi is good for health so don't worry.
Do not add any water while making this dish - you will end up with a soggy mess.



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Simple Chicken & Mayo Sandwich - Anytime Sandwich

I think a snack recipe was long overdue. I am sure many of you are tired of seeing a string of non-vegetarian recipes on my blog. Well, that's because recently I held a poll on my Facebook page asking readers what kind of recipe they wished to see next and the recipes have been appearing in the order of the maximum number of votes received. Well, don't blame them - the choices I gave were all non-vegetarian :P


Whattodo? We are hard core non-vegetarians you see, but fret not my veggie friends, a few vegetarian recipes have been duly tested in the lab of yours truly and soon I will be rolling out veggie recipes one by one. For now, its the recipe of a simple sandwich I keep making so often that I am wondering why I never thought of posting it before! Not having any pictures can be one reason - the sandwiches simply disappear before I can click any!

This is a very simple no nonsense kind of a chicken spread that you can modify and get creative with. If you wish you can replace mayonnaise with cheese spread (with less salt) or you can blend the two with some salad dressing. It is something that tiny tots will love to see in their lunch boxes and bachelors will love to make when they are hard pressed for time (or simply bored). You can make this spread and refrigerate it for  up to 2 days.


Simple Chicken & Mayo Sandwich
Prep time: 10-12mins

You Need:
  • 5-6 slices of multi grain sandwich bread
  • 4-5 (or as required) lettuce leaves (stem removed)
For the Chicken & Mayo Spread
  • 250gm boneless chicken breasts
  • 5-6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp salad dressing of your choice (optional) - I used coleslaw
  • 1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 medium sized spring onion (whites only) finely chopped * see notes
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
Method:
1. Wash and drain the chicken - cut into thin strips and boil with some salt and pepper till the pieces are tender. Remove from fire, allow to cool and shred the pieces. Transfer to a wide bowl
2. Add the rest of the ingredients for the spread and mix well.
3. Lightly toast the bread slices if you like and cut each slice diagonally into two. Spread about 2 tbsp of the prepared mixture on each triangle. Place lettuce leaves on top and place one triangle over the other.
4. Using a bread knife carefully slice off the hard edges of the bread and serve plain or with tomato ketchup

Notes:
Instead of multi grain bread you may use any kind of sandwich bread
While assembling the sandwich you may use tomato, cucumber or olive slices if you like. Get creative!
If you don't have spring onions, skip it. The sandwich tastes just as great without the onions. You can use finely chopped jalapeno peppers if you like instead but avoid using regular onions if you intend to eat the sandwich after a while as it may emit a strong odour.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lamb Pepper Chops

So I am back after another nice break. This time it was Mangalore - and before those of you living there reach out to strangle me for not having made the time to meet you - I offer my apologies. It is just not easy travelling with a young kid and especially if one has to juggle between places. This trip was an unplanned one and we are glad we were able to beat the Mumbai heat because the weather was definitely more pleasant in Mangalore. A few showers during the start of our trip and towards the end made it more bearable to spend our time there sans the AC. The heat & humidity can kill you otherwise!

It was great meeting the whole family and celebrating a small get together with some lovely food that was catered by Mangalore's most renowned and oldest caterers - M.D Souza & Sons (I'll call them M.D). We were delighted to know that unlike other caterers they now cater to very small parties with as few as 5-10 people. What was remarkable was that not only the food arrived on time as promised but was delicious as always - all the items (all Mangalorean dishes) especially their signature dishes had the same taste and quality that they have managed to maintain over the decades. Also, in typical M.D style, they always send more food than you have ordered - 'unay zaunozo' (must not fall short) being their motto. The Sweet Pulao and Plum chutney that has always been on my list of favourites was simply delicious and the leftovers were eaten for breakfast the next day. The Plum chutney (or the dates & beetroot chutney as some call it) tasted exactly the way it should taste. Trust me, I have eaten some pretty crappy versions made by other caterers that is not even close to the original - neither in taste nor colour nor aroma. It does take a master chef to replicate all elements of a dish perfectly each & everytime. So yes, thank you M.D for maintaining the quality in a time and age when there are a million little catering companies that have mushroomed in Mangalore giving you tough (price) competition. 


So let's talk food! The Schezwan Pork, Pepper Chicken, Mutton Curry and Sheviyo(stringhoppers/rice noodles) were to die for. I specially wished to eat (and hence ordered) the plantain (raw banana) sukka that is served during Mangalorean Roce (pre-wedding ceremony) functions  - the one with large chunks of plantain slowly cooked in a medley of aromatic spices, fried onions and roasted coconut gratings. The traditional Moong Dal (Split Green Gram) and Sago (Sabudana/Tapioca Pearls) Vorn was the grand finale in the real sense. Honestly it's not everyday that we get to eat such stuff - not in Bombay at least. I know that those of you (especially Catholics) who live in Mangalore are fed up of eating from the same menu offered by caterers for every party - be it a Christening ceremony, an Engagement, Wedding or a Communion party. Now I really miss such stuff - I crave to see some typically Mangalorean dishes on the buffet table at parties here and all we get is a choice of North Indian or Continental fare (a mind boggling spread at times) but nothing that can satisfy you at the end of the meal. There was a time when I wanted to get out of our small town and experience the 'real' world for very many reasons, but today I really miss the myriad of things that make Mangalore what it is. Food especially. 

Anyway, moving on to today's recipe (and I am not done with my stories yet- will keep some for next time!), I have for you a delectable lamb pepper chops recipe. I call it 'lamb' chops because ideally you need to use lamb for it, but you can use goat meat too. Cooking time may vary though - so please use your judgement. If you do not have chops, you can cook regular mutton (or goat) with this recipe. It tastes great with brown/boiled rice or white rice and although I have never tried it with chapathis (chops may be a bit of a struggle to eat), I am sure it tastes just as great.


Lamb Pepper Chops
Prep time: 10mins | Marinating time: 30mins-1hr | Cooking time: 20mins | Serves 3

You Need:
  • 800gm-1kg lamb chops *see notes
  • 3 medium onions finely chopped
  • 1 big tomato finely chopped or 1/2 cup thick curds
  • salt to taste
  • ghee or oil for frying
For the marinade
  • 2-3 tsp peppercorns (adjust to taste)
  • 2 small green chillies (skip or adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 inch cinnamon 
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 pinch saunf/badi shep (optional)
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 small pod or 10-12 flakes of garlic (Indian)
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
Method:
1. Grind all the ingredients mentioned in 'For the marinade' to a fine paste. Reserve the masala water.
2. Wash and drain the chops well. Marinate them with the ground masala, salt to taste & 1/2 cup curds for a minimum of 30mins - 1 hr.
3. In a pressure cooker, heat the ghee or oil and fry the onions till tender (golden brown). If you are using tomatoes, you can add them next and toss in a little salt so that they soften fast. Skip the tomatoes if you have marinated the meat with curds.
4. Add the marinated meat, mix well and 1/2 cup water (or masala water), check salt to taste and close the lid. Cook on a full flame until the first whistle goes off. Reduce flame and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes (cooking time may vary depending on the quality/tenderness of the meat).
5. Turn off the flame and allow the whistle/weight to loosen up on its own. Open the cooker, stir well and serve hot with rice.

Notes:
Lamb is tender/meat of a sheep less than 12-14months of age - mostly available abroad. In India goat meat is often sold as mutton. You can use tender chops of either mutton or goat meat.
Although marinating the meat ensures that the meat absorbs all the flavours, you may skip the marinating part and directly pre-cook the washed & drained meat with salt. Thereafter follow step#4 onwards using a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai instead of a pressure cooker.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mutton Brown Stew (Without Coconut)

I don't think I have eaten as much mutton in my whole life as I have eaten in these past 8 years in Bombay. I can vouch for the excellent quality of meat we get here in Andheri W - rarely has the butcher cheated us with  stale cuts. It's money's worth through & through and one has the satisfaction of having enjoyed the dish thoroughly owing to the quality of the meat. 

When I was little, my mum used to make it only during important occasions and feasts especially during Easter as good mutton was hard to come by in Mangalore. If you knew the butcher really well, you could request him in advance to reserve the best meat for you. But this 'best meat' would also come with unwanted meat portions and plenty of bones and my memories of having eaten mutton in Mangalore revolve around a lot of skimpy pieces of bones! This was the reason why probably beef was more popular in Mangalore as it was cheaper than mutton making it a more wholesome, cost effective source of protein for a large family.


This curry/stew is perfect if you don't want to use coconut and also want to throw in some veggies which makes it such a wholesome meal. And colourful too! My son loved the bits of green and orange peeping through a mutton curry that he doesn't have much liking for. He loves his chicken curries. I loved this and so did R. I hope you enjoy it too! Make sure that your masala has been ground really well to a very fine texture and consistency. 


Mutton Brown Stew (Without Coconut)
Preparation time: 20mins | Cooking time 25mins | Serves 4
You Need:
  • 1/2 kg boneless mutton (or beef)
  • 2 medium sized potatoes skinned and cubed
  • 2 medium sized carrots skinned and cut into 1" strips 
  • 12 french beans stringed and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1/2 cup peas (optional)
  • 1 medium sized tomato chopped or sliced
  • 1 medium sized onion finely sliced
  • 2-3 tsp ghee or oil
  • salt to taste
For the masala:
  • 3 dry red chillies (I used Byadgi)
  • 3/4 tsp cummin/jeera
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon
  • a marble sized ball of tamarind
  • 3/4th tsp poppy seeds/khus khus
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 small green chillies (adjust to taste) *see note
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 2 big onions roughly chopped
  • 12 sprigs (1/2 cup approx) of coriander leaves 
Method:
1. Cut the mutton into medium sized pieces, wash and drain. In a pressure cooker add enough water to cover the mutton pieces and salt to taste. Pressure cook on a full flame till one whistle goes off. Reduce the flame completely and cook for another 10-12 minutes if the meat is tender. (Note: Cooking time depends on the quality of meat). Wait for the whistle (weight) to loosen up completely before opening the lid. Stir the contents and keep aside.
2. Boil the cut vegetables (minus the tomato) in sufficient water (add salt to taste) till it is almost tender. Keep aside.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai heat 1tsp ghee and toss in the 2 big chopped onions and coriander leaves and fry for a couple of minutes until the raw smell of the onions vanishes. Grind these along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' to a fine paste. Retain the masala water from the mixer grinder.
4. In the same pan/kadhai heat the remaining ghee and fry the sliced onion till golden brown. Add the tomatoes and fry till its mushy. Add the ground masala and fry on a slow flame till the ghee separates (this will take 5-6mins). Add the masala water and a little water or stock from the boiled mutton. Adjust consistency of the gravy, check salt and bring it to a boil.
5. Add the meat, boiled vegetables and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the flame, garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with rice, Neer Dosa or Appams

Notes:
  • The original recipe asks for 10 green chillies, I have reduced it to 3 small ones and found it a tad spicy. Do adjust all the spice elements (red chillies, peppercorns & green chillies) as per your tolerance to spice.
  • If you wish you can dry roast (without ghee) the onions. I tossed in the coriander leaves as well as it adds a wonderful fragrance to the dish.
  • You may boil the tomato along with the other vegetables or the mutton. You can add it to the gravy as it boils or fry it along with the onions - its your choice. 

Friday, June 29, 2012

Aloo Methi (Potatoes & Fenugreek Leaves)

In many families the presence of small kids at home is most often the reason behind change of diets. The switch from not so healthy to very healthy food happens when a child steps into his terrible twos and trying threes and throws a tantrum each time 'food' is mentioned. Not just any food mind you, its only during mealtimes that such tantrums are selectively thrown. I think every mom who has a child going through the same phase of life as mine has gone through this. I wonder if this is happening only with our generation cuz my mother hardly remembers me having thrown a tantrum. Well, for one, I always loved food and am remembered by many as being an eternally chubby child and secondly my mother like most women from our previous generation had an amazing amount of patience during meal times. 

My mum claims that mealtimes with me didn't last beyond 7-8 minutes and she never once had to resort to leaving the dining table to beckon the neighbourhood cat, dog or crow to divert my attention and make me gobble up what was on my plate. I just ate, and ate and ate (sigh!). I wonder why she never stopped me! I think I am still continuing that tradition and yeah, the food blog is probably just a natural outcome of all that love for food (double sigh!)


Unfortunately I deal with two picky eaters at home especially when it comes to vegetables. Anything on the extreme ends of the flavour meter cannot even feature on their plates. So morphing these flavours becomes critical. Thus was born the Aloo Methi. So far my love for greens was limited to just the spinach (Malabar Spinach or Palak) but now I am glad that I am discovering so many more ways to present the lovely fenugreek/methi leaves that is healthy as well as delicious. 

The only mistake I made with this dish was to overcook the potatoes - never do that! Also, try and cook it in a non stick pan or a heavy bottomed kadhai so that the potatoes are beautifully cooked and also retain their shape. This dish tastes wonderful with hot chapathis or as a side dish with rice and dal and the bitterness of the methi leaves almost disappears.

A special thanks to Swapna Samar who is part of a food group on Facebook, for sharing with us such an easy, simple and tasty dish.


Aloo Methi
Prep time: 15mins | Cooking time: 15mins | Serves 2

You Need:
  • 1 bunch (or 2 packed cups) methi/fenugreek leaves washed and finely chopped *see notes
  • 2 medium sized potatoes peeled and cut into tiny cubes
  • 2 medium sized green chillies finely chopped
  • 1 medium sized onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp cumin/jeera
  • a pinch of turmeric powder
  • a pinch of asafoetida/hing
Method: 
1. In a heavy bottomed pan or non stick kadhai heat oil and toss in the cumin, when it slightly browns add the chopped onions, green chillies, turmeric and asafoetida and saute for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the potato cubes, mix well, cover the pan and cook on a very slow flame. Stir occasionally to avoid scorching. About 3-4 minutes later, when the potato is half done, add the chopped methi leaves, salt to taste cover and continue to cook. There is no need to add water here as the potatoes cook in the steam.
3. The resultant dish is dry without any water. Serve hot with chapathis or rice.

Notes:
Pluck only the methi leaves and not the stem as it tends to emit a bitter flavour.
You may add more than 2 cups of methi leaves but note that methi will be the dominant flavour in that case. However, methi is good for health so don't worry.
Do not add any water while making this dish - you will end up with a soggy mess.



Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Simple Chicken & Mayo Sandwich - Anytime Sandwich

I think a snack recipe was long overdue. I am sure many of you are tired of seeing a string of non-vegetarian recipes on my blog. Well, that's because recently I held a poll on my Facebook page asking readers what kind of recipe they wished to see next and the recipes have been appearing in the order of the maximum number of votes received. Well, don't blame them - the choices I gave were all non-vegetarian :P


Whattodo? We are hard core non-vegetarians you see, but fret not my veggie friends, a few vegetarian recipes have been duly tested in the lab of yours truly and soon I will be rolling out veggie recipes one by one. For now, its the recipe of a simple sandwich I keep making so often that I am wondering why I never thought of posting it before! Not having any pictures can be one reason - the sandwiches simply disappear before I can click any!

This is a very simple no nonsense kind of a chicken spread that you can modify and get creative with. If you wish you can replace mayonnaise with cheese spread (with less salt) or you can blend the two with some salad dressing. It is something that tiny tots will love to see in their lunch boxes and bachelors will love to make when they are hard pressed for time (or simply bored). You can make this spread and refrigerate it for  up to 2 days.


Simple Chicken & Mayo Sandwich
Prep time: 10-12mins

You Need:
  • 5-6 slices of multi grain sandwich bread
  • 4-5 (or as required) lettuce leaves (stem removed)
For the Chicken & Mayo Spread
  • 250gm boneless chicken breasts
  • 5-6 tbsp mayonnaise
  • 1 tbsp salad dressing of your choice (optional) - I used coleslaw
  • 1-2 tsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 1 medium sized spring onion (whites only) finely chopped * see notes
  • freshly ground pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
Method:
1. Wash and drain the chicken - cut into thin strips and boil with some salt and pepper till the pieces are tender. Remove from fire, allow to cool and shred the pieces. Transfer to a wide bowl
2. Add the rest of the ingredients for the spread and mix well.
3. Lightly toast the bread slices if you like and cut each slice diagonally into two. Spread about 2 tbsp of the prepared mixture on each triangle. Place lettuce leaves on top and place one triangle over the other.
4. Using a bread knife carefully slice off the hard edges of the bread and serve plain or with tomato ketchup

Notes:
Instead of multi grain bread you may use any kind of sandwich bread
While assembling the sandwich you may use tomato, cucumber or olive slices if you like. Get creative!
If you don't have spring onions, skip it. The sandwich tastes just as great without the onions. You can use finely chopped jalapeno peppers if you like instead but avoid using regular onions if you intend to eat the sandwich after a while as it may emit a strong odour.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lamb Pepper Chops

So I am back after another nice break. This time it was Mangalore - and before those of you living there reach out to strangle me for not having made the time to meet you - I offer my apologies. It is just not easy travelling with a young kid and especially if one has to juggle between places. This trip was an unplanned one and we are glad we were able to beat the Mumbai heat because the weather was definitely more pleasant in Mangalore. A few showers during the start of our trip and towards the end made it more bearable to spend our time there sans the AC. The heat & humidity can kill you otherwise!

It was great meeting the whole family and celebrating a small get together with some lovely food that was catered by Mangalore's most renowned and oldest caterers - M.D Souza & Sons (I'll call them M.D). We were delighted to know that unlike other caterers they now cater to very small parties with as few as 5-10 people. What was remarkable was that not only the food arrived on time as promised but was delicious as always - all the items (all Mangalorean dishes) especially their signature dishes had the same taste and quality that they have managed to maintain over the decades. Also, in typical M.D style, they always send more food than you have ordered - 'unay zaunozo' (must not fall short) being their motto. The Sweet Pulao and Plum chutney that has always been on my list of favourites was simply delicious and the leftovers were eaten for breakfast the next day. The Plum chutney (or the dates & beetroot chutney as some call it) tasted exactly the way it should taste. Trust me, I have eaten some pretty crappy versions made by other caterers that is not even close to the original - neither in taste nor colour nor aroma. It does take a master chef to replicate all elements of a dish perfectly each & everytime. So yes, thank you M.D for maintaining the quality in a time and age when there are a million little catering companies that have mushroomed in Mangalore giving you tough (price) competition. 


So let's talk food! The Schezwan Pork, Pepper Chicken, Mutton Curry and Sheviyo(stringhoppers/rice noodles) were to die for. I specially wished to eat (and hence ordered) the plantain (raw banana) sukka that is served during Mangalorean Roce (pre-wedding ceremony) functions  - the one with large chunks of plantain slowly cooked in a medley of aromatic spices, fried onions and roasted coconut gratings. The traditional Moong Dal (Split Green Gram) and Sago (Sabudana/Tapioca Pearls) Vorn was the grand finale in the real sense. Honestly it's not everyday that we get to eat such stuff - not in Bombay at least. I know that those of you (especially Catholics) who live in Mangalore are fed up of eating from the same menu offered by caterers for every party - be it a Christening ceremony, an Engagement, Wedding or a Communion party. Now I really miss such stuff - I crave to see some typically Mangalorean dishes on the buffet table at parties here and all we get is a choice of North Indian or Continental fare (a mind boggling spread at times) but nothing that can satisfy you at the end of the meal. There was a time when I wanted to get out of our small town and experience the 'real' world for very many reasons, but today I really miss the myriad of things that make Mangalore what it is. Food especially. 

Anyway, moving on to today's recipe (and I am not done with my stories yet- will keep some for next time!), I have for you a delectable lamb pepper chops recipe. I call it 'lamb' chops because ideally you need to use lamb for it, but you can use goat meat too. Cooking time may vary though - so please use your judgement. If you do not have chops, you can cook regular mutton (or goat) with this recipe. It tastes great with brown/boiled rice or white rice and although I have never tried it with chapathis (chops may be a bit of a struggle to eat), I am sure it tastes just as great.


Lamb Pepper Chops
Prep time: 10mins | Marinating time: 30mins-1hr | Cooking time: 20mins | Serves 3

You Need:
  • 800gm-1kg lamb chops *see notes
  • 3 medium onions finely chopped
  • 1 big tomato finely chopped or 1/2 cup thick curds
  • salt to taste
  • ghee or oil for frying
For the marinade
  • 2-3 tsp peppercorns (adjust to taste)
  • 2 small green chillies (skip or adjust to taste)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 inch cinnamon 
  • 2-3 cloves
  • 1 pinch saunf/badi shep (optional)
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 1 small pod or 10-12 flakes of garlic (Indian)
  • 1/4 cup coriander leaves
Method:
1. Grind all the ingredients mentioned in 'For the marinade' to a fine paste. Reserve the masala water.
2. Wash and drain the chops well. Marinate them with the ground masala, salt to taste & 1/2 cup curds for a minimum of 30mins - 1 hr.
3. In a pressure cooker, heat the ghee or oil and fry the onions till tender (golden brown). If you are using tomatoes, you can add them next and toss in a little salt so that they soften fast. Skip the tomatoes if you have marinated the meat with curds.
4. Add the marinated meat, mix well and 1/2 cup water (or masala water), check salt to taste and close the lid. Cook on a full flame until the first whistle goes off. Reduce flame and continue to cook for 10-12 minutes (cooking time may vary depending on the quality/tenderness of the meat).
5. Turn off the flame and allow the whistle/weight to loosen up on its own. Open the cooker, stir well and serve hot with rice.

Notes:
Lamb is tender/meat of a sheep less than 12-14months of age - mostly available abroad. In India goat meat is often sold as mutton. You can use tender chops of either mutton or goat meat.
Although marinating the meat ensures that the meat absorbs all the flavours, you may skip the marinating part and directly pre-cook the washed & drained meat with salt. Thereafter follow step#4 onwards using a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai instead of a pressure cooker.


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Mutton Brown Stew (Without Coconut)

I don't think I have eaten as much mutton in my whole life as I have eaten in these past 8 years in Bombay. I can vouch for the excellent quality of meat we get here in Andheri W - rarely has the butcher cheated us with  stale cuts. It's money's worth through & through and one has the satisfaction of having enjoyed the dish thoroughly owing to the quality of the meat. 

When I was little, my mum used to make it only during important occasions and feasts especially during Easter as good mutton was hard to come by in Mangalore. If you knew the butcher really well, you could request him in advance to reserve the best meat for you. But this 'best meat' would also come with unwanted meat portions and plenty of bones and my memories of having eaten mutton in Mangalore revolve around a lot of skimpy pieces of bones! This was the reason why probably beef was more popular in Mangalore as it was cheaper than mutton making it a more wholesome, cost effective source of protein for a large family.


This curry/stew is perfect if you don't want to use coconut and also want to throw in some veggies which makes it such a wholesome meal. And colourful too! My son loved the bits of green and orange peeping through a mutton curry that he doesn't have much liking for. He loves his chicken curries. I loved this and so did R. I hope you enjoy it too! Make sure that your masala has been ground really well to a very fine texture and consistency. 


Mutton Brown Stew (Without Coconut)
Preparation time: 20mins | Cooking time 25mins | Serves 4
You Need:
  • 1/2 kg boneless mutton (or beef)
  • 2 medium sized potatoes skinned and cubed
  • 2 medium sized carrots skinned and cut into 1" strips 
  • 12 french beans stringed and cut into 1cm pieces
  • 1/2 cup peas (optional)
  • 1 medium sized tomato chopped or sliced
  • 1 medium sized onion finely sliced
  • 2-3 tsp ghee or oil
  • salt to taste
For the masala:
  • 3 dry red chillies (I used Byadgi)
  • 3/4 tsp cummin/jeera
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/2 inch cinnamon
  • a marble sized ball of tamarind
  • 3/4th tsp poppy seeds/khus khus
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2-3 small green chillies (adjust to taste) *see note
  • 1/2 inch ginger
  • 2 big onions roughly chopped
  • 12 sprigs (1/2 cup approx) of coriander leaves 
Method:
1. Cut the mutton into medium sized pieces, wash and drain. In a pressure cooker add enough water to cover the mutton pieces and salt to taste. Pressure cook on a full flame till one whistle goes off. Reduce the flame completely and cook for another 10-12 minutes if the meat is tender. (Note: Cooking time depends on the quality of meat). Wait for the whistle (weight) to loosen up completely before opening the lid. Stir the contents and keep aside.
2. Boil the cut vegetables (minus the tomato) in sufficient water (add salt to taste) till it is almost tender. Keep aside.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan/kadhai heat 1tsp ghee and toss in the 2 big chopped onions and coriander leaves and fry for a couple of minutes until the raw smell of the onions vanishes. Grind these along with the rest of the ingredients mentioned under 'For the masala' to a fine paste. Retain the masala water from the mixer grinder.
4. In the same pan/kadhai heat the remaining ghee and fry the sliced onion till golden brown. Add the tomatoes and fry till its mushy. Add the ground masala and fry on a slow flame till the ghee separates (this will take 5-6mins). Add the masala water and a little water or stock from the boiled mutton. Adjust consistency of the gravy, check salt and bring it to a boil.
5. Add the meat, boiled vegetables and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Turn off the flame, garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot with rice, Neer Dosa or Appams

Notes:
  • The original recipe asks for 10 green chillies, I have reduced it to 3 small ones and found it a tad spicy. Do adjust all the spice elements (red chillies, peppercorns & green chillies) as per your tolerance to spice.
  • If you wish you can dry roast (without ghee) the onions. I tossed in the coriander leaves as well as it adds a wonderful fragrance to the dish.
  • You may boil the tomato along with the other vegetables or the mutton. You can add it to the gravy as it boils or fry it along with the onions - its your choice.