Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Keema Tarkari – Minced Meat Curry the Spicy and Juicy way...

This recipe had been waiting for a long time to get a place in this spot.

I make sure whenever we get minced meat from the butcher, tell him what I want to cook – keema curry, tasty kebabs or simple meat meat balls. For keema curry, the minced meat is coarser than that for meat-balls and kebabs. It is the goat meat keema that brings taste to the keema choice.

How can I forget our regular butcher making keema in his own way. In small towns where I grew up the butcher’s chopping board was the trunk of a tree cut to the size of a low stool. He sat on his small low bench placing the piece of meat on the wooden board and with his huge knife he hit the meat constantly with the knife cutting it again and again from small to smaller pieces. Nowadays a butcher’s shop has a neat and tidy look and a machine to mince.

For the Keema curry:

Keema (minced meat): 500 gms

3 potatoes peeled, washed and cubed. 1 tomato washed and chopped into small pieces.

Make a paste of 3onions, 5-6 garlic flakes and 1 inch ginger.

3-4 tej pata (bay leaves), 5 cardamom, 2-3 cinnamon sticks, 4-5 cloves.

Haldi powder, red chilli powder (the heat that suits your taste buds), salt to taste, sugar ½ tsp and cooking oil (about 6 tbsp). I’ve used mustard oil. You can use the oil you feel comfortable with.

Heat oil in a pressure pan. Add the cubed potatoes once the oil is hot. Lightly fry the potatoes and take them out. Tip in the tej pata and half crushed cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. These spices will release their aroma. Now add the onion, ginger garlic paste and sauté. Lower the flame and cook the masala for 4 minutes. Once it is half cooked add the tomato. Within a short time the tomato will start giving out its juice. Time to add the haldi and chilli powder. Stir the masala regularly. After 2-3 minutes add salt and sugar and then add the keema to it. Cook till the masala mixes well with the keema and oil leaves the side. Add the potatoes and cook for a little time. Add water enough for the gravy. Pressure cook for 4-5 minutes. Open the lid once the cooker cools down and serve.

Eat and relish your keema curry with khasta parathas or Luchis (puris). Rotis will do and with rice the taste buds will tell the tale –yum yum yummy...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Subho Noboborsho-r Preeti aar Subhechcha and the Prawn Curry

If your are living in the state of Bengal, Poila Boisak is indeed a day for merriment with lots of good food, new clothes, meeting and greeting friends and getting ashirbad from elders. This year the first day of Baisak is no doubt very hot. In Delhi we are facing very hot days and going by newspaper reports the mercury has crossed the 42 degree mark.

Even the heat cannot kill the spirit of celebrating the first day of the Bengali calendar year. I am starting off with the prawn curry.

I had 1kg medium size prawn. De-shell and de-vein the prawns. Rub some haldi powder and salt to the prawns. Now heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a wok and put in the prawns. Just stir fry the prawns for 2-3 minutes, and take them out in a dish.

Next peel 4 medium size potatoes, cut them into small cubes and wash them. You can par boil the potatoes or fry them in oil later on.

In the meantime make a paste of 2 onions, 4-5 garlic flakes and ¾ inch ginger.

Time to light the oven. Place the wok on fire and add 2-3 tbsp of oil (mustard oil my preference). After the smoke starts rising put in the cubed potatoes and fry them lightly. Take them out. Now pour in the onion, ginger, garlic paste and fry. Keep the heat low. After 4-5 minutes add some haldi powder, 1 tsp red chilli powder, salt and sugar and cook the masala till it is done. Cook on high flame. Add the fried potatoes or the par boiled potatoes, stir for a minute or two. By now the oil will separate from the masala. Add water and cover the cooking vessel. Once the water starts boiling add the fried prawns and let the curry cook for some time till the potatoes are soft. The gravy should not be too thin but the right consistency to eat with rice.

Once done, transfer the curry into a serving bowl and garnish with finely chopped coriander (garnishing optional).

Serve with hot rice, that’s how a Bengali will prefer.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Mixed Vegetable (Summer - not exclusive) Curry – the Mesha-mishi Tarkari of my home

With summer I’ll be cooking more vegetarian recipes at home. On days it can be only dal, bhat, amer tak, aloo bhate and the crispy aloo bhaja...a very simple thali but satisfying. Pui saag combo with simple vegetables is another interesting dish I cook during summer; the secret, pui saag is available in plenty during the hot days. Add khucho chingri (tiny prawns) to the pui saag chorchori, tastes heavenly. Other leafy vegetables (saag) cooked with bodi is somewhat a must as many different kinds of fresh vegetables start disappearing in summer. With lots of green mangoes in the market, time to make some mango jelly, gur aam, aam diye masoor dal and of course regular amer ambol (with a running gravy).

It doesn’t mean non-vegetarian dishes get totally lost in our home. It will be more of fish, the smaller ones preferred for their typical taste and flavour.

Back to my mesha-mishi tarkari.

The vegetables in my list:

Potatoes: 2 medium size

Brinjal (egg plant): 1 (big)

Radish: 2 along with the shoot and leaves

Carrot: 2

Green papaya: ½ of a medium sized one

Green banana: 2

Cauliflower: 4-5 florets

Drumsticks: 4 sticks (cut into 1 ½ inch in length)

Tomatoes: 2

Green chilli: 3 (slit in the middle)

Cut the vegetables into the required size so that each vegetable is cooked, as it should be, with each other in the cooking pot. Wash and let the water drain out. Don’t throw away the radish shoot, cut them into 1 ½ inch in length. You may also add some of the radish greens to the curry.

For cooking:

Mustard oil 2 tbsp

Dry red chilli: 2

Haldi powder: I tsp

Jeera powder: 1tsp

Dhania powder: ½ tsp

Red chilli powder: 1 or even ½ tsp (as you like). I use deghi mirch as this adds more colour than the heat.



Green coriander to garnish

Mix the jeera, dhania, lal mirch and haldi powder in a bowl with some water and keep it aside.

Once all the ingredients are ready at hand place a kadhai (wok) on the burning stove. Add oil and then break the dry red chillies into half and drop them into it once the steam starts rising. Then add all the vegetables except the drumsticks. Cover and cook for some time, stirring the vegetables from time to time.

After cooking for 6-7 minutes add the masala that had been mixed in a bowl. Stir so that the masala mixes well with the vegetables. Now add salt and sugar to your taste, reduce the flame and cover it. Remember to give the vegetables a stir now and then so that the vegetables don’t burnt. Once the oil starts appearing at the sides, it’s time to add the drum sticks and then enough water to cook the vegetables. Cover and cook on low flame for some time and then increase the flame and cook till all the vegetables are cooked leaving no watery gravy.

Garnish with chopped coriander and serve with rice and dal. Those who don’t like rice eat this curry with roti or paratha or even puri (loochi).

Great fun in cooking something so simple...enjoy the taste of all the vegetables.