Tomato – Mustard Shrimp Curry – A Guest Post for Ananda of A Pinch of Love

Today I m guest posting at Ananda’s blog A Pinch of Love. I have known Ananda & her blog since my initial days of blogging.Her blog is as beautiful & inspiring as its name. You land at her page..a blushing pink theme welcomes you and soon you will swoon over her recipes & photography.Hers is one of the best indian baking blog that I have known. She puts her heart and soul when she bakes lovely cakes like this or makes desserts like this and inspires a non-baker like me when she makes her own cake decoration like this. She knows how to create moods of seasons & festivals in her posts (see here & here) and how to win you over with her words.Her blog is a treat for the eyes ! Thanks for having me over dear girl, I m honored.

When she asked me about a guest post, she did not give me any preference. She said, anything I like. How sweet is that? Having known the wonderful baker & dessert maker Ananda herself is, I did not really want to do anything sweet,which left me with perfect room to stick to my love for savory indian dishes :) I remembered from few initial interactions with her that she loves seafood. This shrimp recipe is one which I have been wanting to share whole of this summer, but somehow every time I made it, I missed on taking pictures. This guest post presented me with the best opportunity to cater to Ananda’s seafood love and share the recipe before summer bids us goodbye.

Lets quickly head over to Ananda’s page for the recipe.Let me know how you like it.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Achari Paneer Tikka – Skewered Indian Cheese With Pickling Spices

 

 

Achari comes from the word “Achaar” which means pickle in Hindi. Tikka is any kind of boneless meat or vegetables baked or roasted on skewers. Pickles in India are a serious business involving lots of spices, lots of oil & lots of solar energy. Achari is a method of using the pickling spices to make curries. The spice mix is pungent and resonant with bold flavors from fenugreek (methi dana), mustard (raai) & nigella(kalonji) seeds.These spices are not hot, rather they are pungent, quite bitter and have a very strong aroma.In pickles, they ferment over a period of time & give a tangy taste. In curries, they lend a really unique & piquant taste. Achaari preparations don’t taste like normal curries, the taste is acquired & unusual, but at the same time can be very very addictive. Having said that, this should not stop you from trying these skewers coz they are different and really delish. Give these tikkas a chance – trust me it will take you straight to India.You just need to stock up on few spices which last forever from indian stores.

Paneer complements the strong flavors of the spice mix perfectly but you can use lamb, chicken or shrimp.The tikkas are really smoky, totally healthy and perfect to be served as appetizers at cocktails, as an easy side to the main course or for snacking.You can wrap these up in a flatbread to make a hearty brunch.You can add the grilled chunks to cumin rice recipe to make a pilaf. I love them with green chutney and triangle paratha. If you want to make a achari curry use this earlier recipe.

Printable Recipe 

Ingredients (Serves 2-3) 

  • 400 gms /14 oz paneer ( Indian cheese, pierced with a fork,cut into 1” cubes)
  • 1 medium orange bell pepper, seeded and diced
  • 10-12 grape tomatoes, whole
  • 1 medium red onion,diced
  • Oil for brushing
  • Lemon Wedges, Cilantro for garnish
  • 10-12 bamboo skewers
Notes:-
  1. Paneer is easily available in Indian stores under different brands.
  2. Paneer can be replaced by extra firm Tofu or Halloumi /Any cheese which can withstand grilling or roasting without melting.
  3. You can use any vegetables of choice here – zucchini,mushrooms work great. Just ensure that the cooking times of vegetable dont vary much.
  4. Dice the vegetables smaller/thinner than paneer, coz it takes less time to cook than veggies.
  5. For the Non vegetarian Version- Use boneless & cubed lamb, mutton, beef, chicken(dark portions) or shrimp.

For the Marinade:-

  • 1/2 tsp each of cumin, fennel, coriander & brown mustard (raai) seeds
  • 1/4 tsp each of nigella & fenugreek seeds
  • 4-5 dry red chillies or red pepper flakes (adjust to tolerance)
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp grated ginger
  • 3 tbsp plain, thick greek yogurt, slightly sour
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp mustard oil (preferable for better taste, can be substituted with canola/olive/corn oil) 
  • Salt to taste 


Method:-
  • If using bamboo/wooden skewers soak them in water for atleast 2-3 hours.
  • Soak the cubed paneer in enough warm water seasoned with salt for about 15 minutes.Once soaked, drain and pat dry with a paper towel. 
  • In a small sauce pan, on high heat, lightly dry roast all the seeds under the “For the Marinade”.Roast for about 20 seconds or till you smell the aroma.Remove into a small bowl and let cool.
  • Next, in the same pan, roast the whole red chillies for about 20 seconds.
  • Tip the cooled, roasted spices along with red chillies into mortar or coffee grinder. Grind to a smooth powder to get a achari spice mix.
  • In a bowl (big enough to hold the marinade & ingredients), combine the yogurt, achari spice mix, ginger, garlic,oil,lemon juice & salt.Whisk well to mix.

  • Combine the paneer with the achari marinade,toss gently, cover the bowl with a cling film and set to marinate for 30 minutes,refrigerated. 
  • Add the vegetables to the marinade 5 minutes before ready to cook the skewers. This is important to keep the moisture of vegetables intact.
  • Once marinated, thread the marinated paneer & vegetables on soaked bamboo skewers. Brush with oil on all sides.
  • Cooking the Tikka :- I grilled the skewers on high for 4 minutes each side. You can cook them in my broiler till the paneer edges started to turn brown.About 10-12 minutes.You will need to flip them sideways to cook on all sides. Alternatively you can cook them in a skillet/griddle (about 8-10 minutes)
  • Serve warm with green coriander-mint chutney and flatbreads or rice.
Notes:-
  1. If using red meat or chicken for making this recipe, marinate the meat overnight or atleast 6 hours to get good flavors.
Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.

Aam ki Launji – Green Mango Chutney with Jaggery & Nigella Seeds

 

 

 

 

Printable Recipe

Ingredients:- [Makes approx 3.5 cups of chutney]

  • 3 cups chopped green mango [from 2 large mangoes,raw & sour]
  • 1 tbsp mustard/sesame oil
  • 1/2 tsp Nigella seeds[kalaunji]
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds [methi dana]
  • 1/4 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin seeds powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp red chilli flakes [adjust to taste]
  • 1 tsp black salt/kala namak [substitute with normal salt/adjust to taste]
  • 6 tbsp of jaggery

Method:-
  • If using a jaggery slab, with the help of  a sharp knife cut it into small pieces.Set aside.
  • In a heavy bottomed pot, heat the oil on medium heat.If using mustard oil- heat it to smoking point to do away the raw smell.
  • Once heated, add the Nigella, fenugreek, cumin & fennel seeds to the pot.Wait till they crackle & you smell the aroma.About 30 seconds.
  • Next add the turmeric powder and red chilli flakes to the pot.Cook for another 30 seconds.TIP:Whenever adding turmeric powder to hot oil, keep a watch because it burns easily.
  • Add the chopped green mangoes to the pot and stir on medium heat to combine well with the other ingredients.Stir for about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
  • Next, cover the pot with a lid, reduce the heat to low and let the mangoes cook till they are 90% cooked but not mushy.About 15-20 minutes.Again note that this cooking time will depend on how thick you have cut the mangoes.
  • Add the  jaggery to the pot next and combine gently with mangoes.You will see that as the jaggery will cook, it will release water.Do not worry.Everything is as per plan.

  • Cover the pot again and cook on low heat for another 7-10 minutes until the jaggery has completely melted and mangoes are cooked thoroughly. At this point add the black salt and roasted cumin powder and stir well.
  • Remove from heat.If you want, you can crush the cooked mangoes slightly using a masher.
  • As the chuntey will cool, it will become more and more thick so don’t worry if you feel that its is watery when hot.
  • Once the chutney has cooled, transfer to dry, air tight jars and keep refrigerated for up to 5 days.
Notes:- I have learnt from wiki that sucanat is a variety of whole cane sugar.You can use it as  jaggery substitute.I havent tried it in this recipe ever, so I do not know the taste.
Enjoy & Thanks for Stopping by!


PattaGobhi Matar-Indian Style Cabbage & Peas

Hello Guys..I hope all of you are doing fine! I came back from our little getaway to New York yesterday morning.It was a hectic weekend running around in subways, catching trains and crazy crowds in NY but we enjoyed a lot.I am still to catch up with all of lovely posts. And did I tell you that I saw the most graceful lady in the whole world there-The mesmerizing Statue Of Liberty! Oooo..I couldnt take my eyes off her!

Meanwhile, after all the crazy binges on NY street foods,I was longing for a simple, home cooked meal to flush down our systems and bring back metabolisms to normal. And what better way to do it than with something green and fibrous.Especially when you travel, you realize the value of home cooked meals. Nothing can beat its freshness! I really longed to go back and devour home cooked meal.

A normal day-to-day North Indian style meal comprises of a dry vegetable preparation along with a bowl of lentils served with either rice or flat breads & salad/pickle/chutney. This is the most simple, not-so- fancy but hearty dry preparation with cabbage and peas which is really popular in my mother’s house in winters.In India, still the concept of frozen vegetables is not very popular and my mum sticks to splitting the peas at home.I dont have the will or patience or time to work out fresh peas,so I stick to the frozen ones. She serves it with masoor dal [red lentils] and rice.

This was the only preparation with which she could get cabbage inside me without making a grim face.Sometimes she liked to add some garam masala to it but I don’t quite like killing the mild taste of cabbage with strong-tasting spices,so I stick to simple spices.So below ges one of the side dishes from our simple home cooked meals!

What I need:

  • 1 head cabbage, shredded [preferably medium  shreds]
  • 1 cup peas [fresh or frozen]
  • 2-4 tbsp mustard oil [you can use canola or olive oil ][depending on how rich you want it]
  • 3 tbsp chopped onions
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds [methi dana]
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed coarse
  • pinch of asafoetida [hing]
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp dry mango powder [amchoor]
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala [optional]
  • Salt to taste

How I did it :

  • In a kadai/wok/pan with lid ,heat the oil to the smoking point on high heat.This is done to remove the raw smell from the oil.
  • Once heated, reduce heat to medium, wait for few minutes and add the fenugreek seeds to the oil.As they start to crackle and turning brown, add the asafoetida powder to the oil followed immediately by onions.Take care not to burn the seeds.

  • Saute the onions in hot oil till golden brown.Next add the crushed coriander seeds, turmeric powder and red chilli powder.Combine well and add the shredded cabbage.
  • Saute the cabbage in open for about 5 minutes till it starts to sweat.Once sweating, add the peas and garam masala [if using] and cover with lid. Let the vegetables cook till they are soft but not mushy.
  • Remove from heat and add the salt and dry mango powder. Combine well.
  • Serve with hot flatbreads or lentils and rice.

Notes:

  1. Adding the salt at last will retain the water in the cabbage.
  2. If you like your cabbage really soft you can cook it for a longer period of time with lid on.
  3. Instead of peas, you can add some potatoes too  to the same preparation.

Sending this to Hearth n Soul #25

Sending this to Tasty Tuesdays

Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday Blog Hop at WhoIsLaura.com

Sending this to Meatless Mondays


For Spice Lovers:Mirchi Ka Salan/Green Chillies in Peanut-Sesame Sauce

I had never tasted this dish….only heard about it as an integral part of Hyderabadi cuisine.The other day while watching ‘The Best Thing I Ever Ate-Spicy’ on food network ,I saw Ted Allen vouching for the Mirchi Ka Salan which he ate at an Indian Restaurant in New York as the best spicy dish ever. I knew I had to make it.The husband is a big time fan of spicy stuff…so I knew that this dish will be a hit!!! :) Before I forget ..A big thanks to Ted Allen for the inspiration! :)

In hindi, Mirchi means chillies of all kinds & Salan is an Urdu lingo for a curry or sauce.The only irritating part of the making this dish is that everything crackles & splutters a lot!!! So be ready for a major cleanup!!!First its the crackling of all kinds of seed while being dry roasted & and then its the spluttering of sauce while cooking to every nook & corner of the kitchen within its reach! And these are the times when I really really miss my kaamvaali bai and the empress kinda life I had in India where I used to just walk out of the kitchen after the cooking & she used to wash the dishes and wipe the floors!!….I miss her so badly at times :(  Anyhow,the dish is worth all the effort and aftereffects too……I spent almost 15-20 minutes cleaning the stove top and the kitchen walls :(

The salan is divine.Its nutty with peanuts, has a distinct taste of sesame seeds and tingles in the mouth.At the end of preparation ,your house will smell like the royal kitchens at the rajwaras of Hyderbad.I know I m gonna make it again and again :) I have used jalapenos to make this curry.And it was not a very hot curry, it was just spicy.You can actually add some teaspoons of sugar to mellow it down ! Your dish Your wish :)

Also while handling chillies, wear your gloves unless of course you wanna jump around the house with sore eyes !!! :) The dish has to be prepared with fresh jalapenos only, dried will not do because scraping the juicy flesh of the jalapenos and then combining it with nutty creamy sauce is the highlight of the curry and that’s the divine feeling I m talking about!It makes a great side dish with Mutton Biryani or a normal dal- rice combo.

You can make eggplants or corn on the cob in the same gravy.I used the left over gravy with some shrimps the next day and it tasted good.

What I needed:

[Adapted from Tarla Dalal's recipe here]

  • 1/2 b fresh jalapenos [or any fleshy green chilli of your choice]

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp white poppy seeds [khus-khus]
  • 1/4 cup white sesame seeds [safed til]
  • 1/2 cup raw peanuts
  • 1 tsp whole coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds

Sauce

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp brown mustard seeds [rai]
  • 1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds [methi dana]
  • 3 tbsp oil [ I used canola]
  • 2 large onions , thick sliced
  • 1 tsp garlic paste
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp red chili powder [ optional]
  • 2 tbsp thick tamarind pulp
  • 3-4 curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

How I did it:

  • Wash and pat dry the jalapenos. Make a slit in each lengthwise.Scoop out the seeds and veins from them.I did not remove all of the seeds because I wanted to keep my gravy  little spicy.Its upto you!!! You can keep the stems intact if using smaller chillies.I removed the stems because I used jalapenos.Cut the chillies into halfs or thirds.I did.You can keep them whole too.Keep aside.
  • In a small pan , dry roast all the dry ingredients one by one and set them aside.Rub off the skins of the peanuts after they are cool. Grind them all separately in a spice grinder/coffee grinder to a fine powder without adding any water. Set aside.
  • Grind the onions to a smooth paste in a blender.In a cooking pot,heat the oil on medium high.Once hot enough,add the green chillies.The oil will splutter as you add the chillies so cover with lid.Carefully stir fry them for 3-5 minutes. Once done remove the chillies to a plate and keep aside.
  • For the sauce :In the same hot oil, on medium heat add the cumin seeds,brown mustard seeds, curry leaves and fenugreek seeds.Allow the spices to splutter for a minute till you smell the aroma. Add the onion paste and immediately cover the pan with a lid because the paste will splutter. Allow it to saute for 3-6 minutes covered.

  • Next, lower the heat , remove the lid and add ginger garlic paste and fry for 3-4 minutes. Add the sesame seed powder,poppy seeds powder,corinader powder, cumin powder and peanut powder and stir fry the masala for 2-5 minutes or until you see that the mixture comes together and starts leaving oil on the sides of the pot.
  • At this point add red chilli powder [if using], and salt.Keep stir frying the masala for about 3 minutes on medium low heat. Stir fry until you are done away with the raw odor of the peanuts and the ginger-garlic paste.
  • Next, dilute the tamarind paste with 2 cups of water and mix well.Add the pulp to the pot along with the fried green chillies and stir well.Cover the lid and let the gravy simmer for 15-20 minutes the chillies are well cooked in the masala gravy.
  • Remove from heat and serve.

Enjoy!!

Sending this to Show me your curry event by Divya of dil se.

Sending this to Two for Tuesdays.

Hari Mirch Ka Achaar/Green Chilli Pickle-North Indian Style

Sometimes I wonder why we Indians put so much effort in cooking food? I mean why can’t we have super quick food like veggies with dips or burgers with BLT or pickles with just vinegar & salt….I mean why for God’s sake we have to have a symphony in our food where all the ingredients have to play their part, in adjusted proportions! All for the love of tongue..I guess!

When I last visited Indian store, I got a lot of ready-made pickles.But very frankly I was very disappointed even with the best brands! The only one which probably I liked was Sanjeev Kapoor‘s Khana Khazana Red Chilli Pickle…even the others from same brand were just okay!After the disappointments ,I was forced to barge into the world of pickle making & with Las Vegas sunny days on my side…Viola…they came out ..delish! :) Ofcourse, after repeated consultations from my mom back in India!

From my childhood days,I remember my grandmother preparing a lot ….I mean a lot of  pickles.During summers, the sabzi vaala was instructed to bring rampuri raw mangoes because they were best suited for pickle making.She used to wash,peel, pit, clean & then cut the mangoes into small pieces followed by lots of steps spread over a period of 4-5 days untill the kaanch ki bot [a glass container]containing the achaar was left in the sun for setting!The same process was repeated with lemons, jackfruit, losada[a kind of indian gooseberry],garlic, green chillies, red chillies..etc etc.It was a sort of project for her…and she thoroughly enjoyed it too! Gosh…I miss her pickles dearly! :(

Okay coming back to my recipe, but before I do that I would really love to share this absolutely tasty product from Trader Joe’s on which I laid my hands just by chance! It is called “Chile Spiced Mango” & is really tangy on the tongue.Its a version of our good old aam papad with red chilli powder smothered on it! Sounds yummy..Go grab it… I have not been able to stop eating it since the time I got it! :) Do try it if you like sweet & spicy stuff and let me know!

S0 now the recipe! Also I make the pickles in really small batches because both me & my husband do not like our  pickles soft & mushy! So I prepare them again after a short period of time.The recipe below lasts for about 2-3 weeks with the crunch.Below is how I did it!

What I needed:

Note: You can reduce or increase the spice quantities as per your liking.

  • 6-7 whole green chillies
  • 1 tsp brown mustard seeds [rai]
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp  fenugreek seeds [methi]
  • 2 tsp fennel seeds [saunf]
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder [ amchoor]
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Mustard oil [or any flavored oil]

How I did it :

  • Wash the green chillies thoroughly & remove stems from them.Pat the chillies dry in paper towel and make sure all moisture is removed from them.This is absolutely necessary else the pickle will turn bad.
  • Using a sharp knife , make a lengthwise slit in all the chillies but not all through. Next remove/scoop all the seeds and veins from inside of the chillies.Reserve these to be used for making the stuffing.[You can use round tip of your peeler to do so]
  • Using a mortar& pestle coarsely grind the mustard seeds, fennel seeds and fenugreek seeds.

  • In a small bowl, add all the spices to the scooped veins & seeds and mix well to make a masala .Next, stuff  all the green chillies with the this masala .You will have some left over masala.Dont throw it.
  • Now, I like to cut the stuffed chillies into 2-3 pieces.You can keep them whole if you like it that way.
  • In a dry glass container with a tight lid, put the cut stuffed green chillies.Tip in the leftover masala into the container.Next, pour mustard oil into container till the chillies are just covered.
  • Now keep this glass container in a dry, sunny place for around 1-2 days till the chillies become pale green and soft!
  • Pickle is ready to eat.Serve with stuffed parathas, pooris [indian flatbreads] or relish it with dal -rice.

Tips:

  1. Do not put dirty hands or spoons ever into the achaar/pickle else it will turn bad.
  2. Absolutely make sure that the chillies & container are moisture free.
  3. There is no need of putting the pickle in refrigerator.It can lead to increased moisture in the pickle.Sun-cooked pickles normally last at room conditions for months together.
  4. If you do not want your pickle to be very hot, do not not add the scooped veins & seeds from the green chillies.

Enjoy!

Sending this to CWS – Fennel Seeds event by Priya

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