Category Archives: Spices

Veronica’s South Indian Chicken Curry

So this is a basic version of a go-to recipe – robust, tasty, easy to make, and quite the staple with rice, chappattis, naans, parathas …

  • 2 chicken breasts, in pieces
  • 1 big onion, chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, skinned, pureed
  • 2 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp turmeric (haldi)
  • chili powder – to taste, depending on how spicy you want the curry
  • 3 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • salt
  • Coconut milk, as required
Coriander seeds and powder
Coriander seeds and powder
  1. In hot oil, saute the fennel, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. When aromatic, add the chopped onion and fry till lightly browned.
  2. Add the ginger-garlic paste, fry.
  3. Add the turmeric, chili, coriander and cumin powders, fry to a paste.
  4. Add the tomato puree, keep stirring for a few minutes, till cooked.
  5. Add salt and the chicken pieces, cook till done, usually about 10 minutes.
  6. Add the coconut milk, give it a good stir and a simmer.
  7. Done.

Pix borrowed from the web, as usual, with thanks.

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Pam’s Masala for Curries

Mona brought with her a small bottle of masala powder and produced magic in the kitchen.

This was her mother, Pam’s, basic masala powder, made fresh every year, which she   sent to her daughters in Dubai and Shanghai.

The curries are to die for.

Masala for Chicken and Meat Curries

  • 1/2 kg dry chilies
  • 1/2 kg (dhaniya) coriander seeds
  • 50g mustard seeds
  • 50g cumin seeds
  • 50g fennel seeds
  • 50g black pepper seeds
  • 50g methi seeds
  • 50g chukka (dry ginger)
  • 1” piece asafoetida powder
  • 1 tbsp channa dhal
  • 1 tbsp thoovar dhal
  • 2” piece haldi
  1. Roast briefly, about 10 minutes, separately, on a low flame.
  2. Cool.
  3. Blend to a powder. Sieve and store in an airtight jar
  • Add garam masala powder for chicken and meat curries.
  • For fish curry, add chili and turmeric powders to the above.

Recipe for Chicken Curry with the above Masala

  • 1 chicken breast in pieces
  • Big onion, sliced
  • a little fennel
  • a little cumin
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 piece cinnamon
  • few cardamon
  • Ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tomato, skinned, chopped
  • Turmeric powder
  • Coriander powder
  • Cumin powder
  • 1 tbsp of Pam’s masala powder
  • 100 ml coconut milk diluted with 50 ml water
  1. Fry onion,  fennel, jeera, cloves, cinnamon and cardamom.
  2. Add ginger garlic paste, fry.
  3. Add  tomato, fry.
  4. Add haldi, coriander and cumin powders and Pam’s masala powder.
  5. Cook to a paste.
  6. Add chicken pieces and a little bit of hot water.
  7. When chicken is half cooked, add mixture of coconut milk and water.
  8. Cook till done.

Pix off the web, with thanks.

Sylvia’s Poached Chicken

With Syl’s recipes, the making is as easy as the reading.

Thanks much.

  • 2 or 3 chicken breasts
  • Garlic paste or ginger-garlic paste
  • whatever herbs you have lying around
  • tiny amount of salt and pepper (just for the flavour)
  • few peppercorns
  • a bay leaf
  • few cloves
  • 1 tsp chicken stock powder
  • boiling water, to cover and a bit
  1. Marinate the chicken with garlic, herbs and salt and pepper for as long as you can but one hour is just fine.
  2. Place the chicken, peppercorns, bay leaf and cloves in a frying pan, pour boiling water over and place on a stove. Add the stock powder, let the water come to a boil for a minute.
  3. Turn off the heat, leave the chicken in the pan till the water cools.
  4. Now you have poached chicken that’s not dry. And you can use the cooking liquid as stock or a base for chicken soup.

Pix borrowed off the net, as usual, with thanks.

Veronica’s Sambal Tomat (tomato hot sauce or relish)

A sambal (or sambel as in Javanese) comes in many varieties and tastes; they are piquant, spicy, chili hot … and are made from a mixture of variety of chili peppers and secondary ingredients like shrimp paste, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, shallot, scallion, palm sugar, lime juice, and rice or other vinegars … in myriad combinations.

This one is to die for, literally, a simple hot relish made with chilies, tomatoes, shallots and garlic.

  • 4 big red chilies, cut into 4
  • 3 to 4 big tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 to 12 large-ish shallots, halved
  • 6 pods garlic
  • salt

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Fry the garlic and onion in a little oil till softened. Add the chilies and stir till cooked and soft. Cool, and mash well with a mortar and pestle. (You can also blend it coarsely, but Veron assures me the taste is not the same).

To the remaining oil in the pan, add the tomato and stir till cooked and soft. Give it the mortar-pestle treatment separately.

Mix the two pastes, add salt as required.

Bottle, refrigerate.

Pix of ingredients – as always – from the web and some info on the sambel from wiki.

Veronica’s well-loved ‘Ayam Kuning’ aka ‘Yellow Chicken’

Veron is an ace in all dishes Indonesian and this was a particular hit with my niece, visiting from university and interested in trying out different dishes.

This one is for you, Pooj !

  • 5 chicken drumsticks
  • a 2″piece of fresh ginger
  • a 3″ piece of fresh turmeric
  • a 2″ piece of galangal
  • 1 stem of lemon grass
  • 5 kaffir lime leaves
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 7 shallots
  • 4 candlenuts (or macadamia nuts)
  • 1 tbsp coriander powder
  • salt and pepper
  1. Blend all ingredients except chicken to a fine paste, ideally with no water.
  2. Rub the paste into the chicken, add a bit of water if too dry. Marinate a while.
  3. Boil, cool, refrigerate till required, ideally overnight.
  4. Fry the chicken pieces the next day.

The chicken pieces, once boiled, can be stored up to a month in the fridge, after boiling and cooling.

Candlenut or aleurites moluccanus is a flowering tree in the spurge family, also known as candleberry, Indian walnut, kemiri, varnish tree, nuez de la India, buah keras, or kukui nut tree. The nut is often used cooked in Indonesian and Malaysian cuisine, where it is called kemiri in Indonesian or buah keras in Malay. On the island of Java in Indonesia, it is used to make a thick sauce that is eaten with vegetables and rice. In the Philippines, the fruit and tree are traditionally known as lumbang

Wikipedia

Galangal, also known as Siamese ginger, is a member of the ginger family – Zingiberaceae. Its skin is smoother and paler than ginger root’s, the interior ranges from white to yellow to pink, and its flavor is stronger and more astringent.

http://www.foodrepublic.com/2014/01/22/what-is-galangal-and-how-do-i-use-it/

Pictures from the web, with thanks.

Christmas is Coming ! (3)

I wanted an easy recipe for mulled wine.
This is by Ina Garten and sourced from Food Network.
For 8 servings :
  • 4 cups apple cider
  • 1 (750-ml) bottle red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 1 orange, zested and juiced
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 oranges, peeled, for garnish

screen-shot-2016-11-22-at-5-45-02-pm

  1. Combine cider, wine, honey, cinnamon sticks, zest, juice, cloves and star anise in a large saucepan, bring to a boil.
  2. Simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  3. Pour into mugs, add an orange peel to each and serve.

 

Mulled Apple Juice

During Lent, and for those who abstain, this one was googled off the net and went down a treat.

Dinner for 10 and many refraining from alcohol, so it was chaas (spiced buttermilk) or fresh tender coconut water with chia seeds and mint or mulled apple juice.

recipe-image-legacy-id--444725_11

  • 1 liter apple juice
  • strips of orange peel
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 3 cloves
  • sugar or honey to sweeten – if required
  • more orange peel to garnish
  1. Simmer the apple juice with orange peel, cinnamon and cloves for 5 to 10 minutes.
  2. Sweeten if required.
  3. Serve warm, garnishing individual glasses with a twist or orange peel and a stick of cinnamon.

Recipe and picture from BBC GoodFood.

Dahi vadas aka dumplings in spiced yoghurt a la South India

Delish beyond belief. Now craving South Indian cuisine.

IMG_1497

  • curry leaves
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 inch knob ginger
  • 2 green chilies (or more, according to taste)
  •  2 handfuls urud dhal, washed, cleaned and soaked for 6 hours or overnight in water
  1. Grind all of the above with minimum water added, adding it judiciously and a little at a time to get a batter that is thick and not runny, yet smoothly ground.
  2. Mix in salt
  3. Heat oil in a wok over a medium flame. When the oil is hot, drop rounded spoonfuls into the oil and fry till a golden brown, turning them over to even the browning. This will take a few minutes as the inside of the vadas or dumplings need to be cooked as well. Perhaps about 8 minutes ?
  4. Remove from the water, gently squeeze them till a bit dry and arrange in a dish.
  5. Drain on absorbent paper, then soak them in warm water for about 5 minutes. This will draw out the excess oil.
  • Yogurt
  • Water
  • Grated ginger
  • Cumin powder
  • Salt
  1. Whisk yogurt and water to a thick yet runny consistency, add the remaining ingredients.
  2. Pour over the dumplings.
  3. Tarka with urud dal, curry leaves, asephoetida (hing) powder – a pinch, mustard seeds and dried red chili.
  4. Remove from the heat and ad 1/2 tsp red chili powder into the hot oil.
  5. Pour over the yoghurt-vada mixture in dish.
  6. Garnish with plenty of chopped coriander.

IMG_1499

To die for.

Rice Dishes

Tried out a number of easy rice dishes, all good, all quickly done. You could either use a rice cooker or make it in a pan.

CoconutMilk

SONY DSC
SONY DSC

Coconut Rice

  • 1 cup rice
  • big onions, chopped
  • green chili
  • cinnamon stick, broken
  • 1 cup coconut milk
  • 1 cup water
  • Salt
  1. Sputter the cinnamon stick in hot oil, add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Mix the coconut milk and water, add and cook till just done.
  4. Tarka with mustard seeds, urud dal, dry red chilies, curry leaves.

 

Mushroom Rice

  • Big onions, chopped
  • garlic, chopped
  • 1 star anise
  • lots of sliced button mushrooms
  • chicken stock
  • green peas
  • lots of coriander leaves
  • salt
  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • 2 cups warm water

 

  1. Sputter the star anise in hot oil, add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. As it turns golden, add the mushrooms and peas and stir till just turned colour. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Add the coriander leaves and the chicken stock (either as liquid stock with the water, in which case adjust the amount of water accordingly, or crumble the stock cube into the rice).
  4. Add the water and cook till just done.

 

Mint Rice

  • Oil
  • Cumin seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Green chilies
  • Cloves
  • Big onions, chopped fine
  • lots of fresh, chopped mint leaves
  • Salt
  • 1 1/2 cups Basmati rice, washed, drained
  • 2 3/4 cups warm water
  1. Sputter the cloves in hot oil, add cumin and fennel. Then add the chopped onion and green chili and brown.
  2. As it turns golden, add lots of chopped mint and keep stirring till brown. Add basmati rice, then the salt, mix well.
  3. Add the water and cook till just done.

Pictures off the net, and thanks for the loan.

Murgh Methi Malai aka Chicken with Cream and Methi

This chicken dish was done in a very short time. The fresh fenugreek leaves made all the difference, I think, compared to the dried ones. Whatever the reason, this one is a winner.

  • 500g chicken breasts or thighs, cubed
  • 3 big onions, on the smaller side
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1 inch knob of ginger
  • 2 or 3 green chilies
  • 1 tbsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) or a cup of chopped fresh leaves
  • 1 cup yoghurt, hung in muslin to get the thick curd
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • 1 tsp white pepper powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 bay leaf

IMG_1500

  1. Grind the onions, ginger, garlic and green chilies to a paste.
  2. Sputter the bay leaf in hot oil in a wok, add the ground mixture and keep stirring as you fry it over a medium flame till just brown.
  3. Add the chicken and saute for about 8 minutes, then add the yoghurt and a little warm water and cook for about 15 minutes or till done.
  4. Add the kasuri methi, pepper, garam masala and salt. Stir well, cook a bit more.
  5. Add the cream, swirl, and cook just a bit more.

Gosh, this was delish ! Went superbly with both naans and/or fragrant mint rice. Kudos to Mona, again.

Mona’s Fish Curry with Raw Mango

My sister in law is visiting, she is one of those gifted people, intuitive and instinctive around food (like Syl, Jen and Kalpana) and everything she makes is simple and superlative.

This is her South Indian fish curry, whipped up in no time.

IMG_1434

  • 1 kg mackerel   (aka tenggiri, batang … ), cleaned, sliced and each slice quartered
  • 4 or 5 Kashmiri dry red chilies                      )
  • 1/2 tsp methi (fenugreek)                              ) roast and
  • 1/2 tsp black mustard seeds                          ) grind to a fine
  • 1 heaped tsp jeera (cumin seeds)                ) powder
  • 2 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 1 big onion, sliced
  • a sprig of curry leaves
  • 2 fresh green chilies, sliced
  • 2 tsp ginger, in thin strips
  • 2 tsp garlic, in thin strips
  • 3 to 4 tomatoes, pureed
  • a pinch of haldi (turmeric powder)
  • 1 tsp tamarind paste in half cup water
  • 1 green mango, skinned, cubed
  • coconut milk
  • salt

IMG_1435

  1. In hot oil, fry the sliced onion, curry leaves and green chilies to a light brown.
  2. Add the ginger and garlic, continue frying.
  3. Add pureed tomatoes with the pinch of haldi, continue frying.
  4. Add the roasted powdered mixture and the coriander powder.
  5. Continue frying well on a low fire, ensuring the paste does not turn a dark brown.
  6. Add the diced mango, the fish, the tamarind paste/water and bring to a boil; immediately lower the flame and simmer for about 10 minutes or till the fish is just done.
  7. Add the coconut milk and salt and simmer another 5 minutes.

Thanks Mona, it was like old times and the curry brought back memories.

 

Authentic Indian ‘Curry’ Powder

So Mum has moved to Singapore and is being cared for. She has been very unwell and weak, and the mandate is to feed her but she is picky, picky, picky. Mealtimes, and she becomes mutinous, begins arguing, turns her face away, refuses to eat.

Vasu, her helper, has got into the cooking act and she gave me this recipe – a wonder taste enhancer – that goes well with anything, she says, it boosts flavour adding bite and piquancy to any Indian dish, vegetarian or otherwise.

So we tried Mum’s Kerala Fish Curry with cokum and she added a teaspoonful of this powder while it was cooking, and hallelujah, Mum is eating again !

Here is the recipe, with a bottle in reserve !

  • 1/4 kg dry red chilies
  • 1/4 kg coriander seeds (dhaniya)
  • 100g black pepper corns
  • 100 g cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 100g chana dhal (split Bengal gram)
  • 4 tsp hing (asaphoetida)
  • 50g methi seeds (fenugreek)
  • 100g haldi powder (turmeric)

Lightly dry roast (though Vasu says that’s not required) and blend to a fine powder. What she does insist, though, is that it be ground in an industrial grinder, like the ones available in the lanes of Chennai, but that is nigh impossible in Singapore, so the mixie it is !

Pix sourced from the web, and with thanks.

Spice Options

I can’t see myself making these, but found the idea appealing – freshly ground spice mixes for the occasion !

Found this in a magazine, as I do on the odd occasion I read magazines, usually in waiting rooms …

Caribbean Jerk (makes 2 tablespoons)

Use as a marinade mixed with a little honey and olive oil; brush on poultry before BBQ-ing.

jamaican-jerk-seasoning

 

  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp sea salt flakes

Mexican Seasoning (makes 1/4 cup)

Use to flavour burritos, tacos, fajitas, enchiladas, chili con carne, empanadas and soups … or sprinkle on corn chips.

picxelMMA

  • 1 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp crushed chili flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Brazilian Tempero Baiano (makes 1/4 cup)

Use as a dry rub for meats, in marinades or to flavour soups, braises and seafood.

3083

  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 tsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tsp crushed chili flakes

Cajun Mix (makes 1/2 cup)

Use as a dry rub or marinade for meats and seafood, or sprinkle on popcorn.

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  • 2 tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 tsp flaked sea salt
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp  ground black pepper

Moroccan ras el hanout (makes 2 tablespoons)

Use in marinades for meat, as a base for tagines and in rice pilafs, couscous or curries.

Ras-El-Hanout

  • 2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp corander seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp ground allspice

Grind to a fine powder.

Pix off the net, recipes from a magazine, thanks to all.