Thursday, November 29, 2012
Hello to all the readers out there. Just letting you know that I will be taking a temporary hiatus until 2013. The end of the year fast approaches bringing with it all the hustle and bustle of Christmas and New Year. In the meantime I am going be extra busy with our new home which we shall be moving in to this weekend. I cannot wait to start cooking up a storm and taking pics for the blog in our new kitchen. Here you see a pic of the cook top in its most pristine condition. After tomorrow it will never be the same.
See you in the new year!
Monday, November 19, 2012
Some may regard Rogan Josh as the epitome of Indian Lamb curries. You would be hard bent not to find it as a regular offering at your local Indian takeaway or restaurant menu. It is the Butter Chicken of lamb dishes, for the Western world anyway! Obviously due to its popularity, the dish has gone through countless iterations and ingredients can vary slightly, depending on who you speak to. The origins of the dish are notably from Persia and it was introduced to the Mogul kings in the Kashmir region of India. Persian influenced dishes are favourably sweeter that the usual hot curries conjured up in the sub-continent's many kitchens. Unlike many other dishes that get their sweetness from dried fruits and ultimately - the addition of sugar, Rogan Josh lends its sweet notes from the aromatic spices in its list of ingredients. The name of the dish translates loosely to describe something "cooked in oil under intense heat". I feel this is actually more of a misnomer than an explanation, as I am pretty sure most Indian curries are cooked in oil and under heat. Nevertheless, the name has stuck and is firmly imprinted onto palates worldwide, none more so than an old colleague of mine who practically kept the local Indian takeaway in business by his frequent ordering of this dish repeatedly. I promised him about a year ago I would get him a good recipe for Rogan Josh, so I hope it's not to late and he still reads my blog. Here is my version of Rogan Josh or better named Sweet and Spicy Lamb - Nah! Doesn't have the same ring to it!
1.2kg x Lamb, with bone, cut into rough chunks
1 tsp x Green Cardamom
2 pods x Black Cardamom
1 tsp x Black Peppercorns
1 tsp x Fennel Seeds
1 tsp x Cinnamon powder
3 whole x Dried Kashmiri Chillies (substitute 2 tsp x paprika)
2 tbsp x Ghee
2 x Bay Leaves
2 pods x Black Cardamom
1 stick x Cinnamon
4 x Onions, finely chopped
4 cloves x Garlic, crushed
1 inch piece x Ginger, grated
2 tsp x Garam Masala
2 tsp x Sweet Paprika
1 tbsp x Salt
1 cup x Natural Yoghurt, extra half cup if required
1 cup x Water
1 bunch, Coriander leaves
Combine the seeds of the green and black cardamom with the peppercorns, fennel seed, cinnamon, and dry chillies in a spice grinder or mortar and pestle
Grind to a fine powder and rub over the lamb pieces, allow to stand for at least an hour
In a wide frypan or wok heat the ghee then add the bay leaf, cardamom and cinnamon, fry for 30 seconds
Add the onions and fry, stirring frequently, until they are dark and caramelised - do not burn!
Add the garlic and ginger and fry for another 2 minutes then add the paprika and salt
If the mixture starts to dry add a little water to retain a little moisture as you fry
Place the lamb into the wok, folding the curry mixture through it
Pour in the yoghurt a little at a time, incorporating it gradually
Add a little water if required to just cover the lamb, stir to combine then bring to the boil
This is now the time to transfer the lamb and spices to a heavy pot to slow cook it in
Turn heat down and simmer covered for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the bottom catching
In the final 5 minutes of cooking add the coriander leaves and stir through.
Serve with piping hot naan bread or a bed of basmati rice.
"As mentioned before there are a probably hundred ways to make Rogan Josh and who's to know the correct one - possibly a native! This recipe follows the traditional spice and yoghurt ingredients typical of Persian cuisine. Some variations include tomatoes and tomato paste which gives the dish a different taste again due to the acidity. I have also come across a recipe which does not use onions and this impacts the overall sweetness."
Monday, November 12, 2012
500g x Prawns, fresh cleaned and shelled
1 tsp x Turmeric powder, plus 1 tsp extra
Salt to taste
500g x Lal Saag or your choice of dark leafy greens
2 tbsp x Mustard Oil, substitute for a fruity olive oil
1 tsp x Mustard seed
1 x Onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves x Garlic, crushed
1 x Chilli, seeds removed and sliced finely
Sprinkle the turmeric evenly over the prawns and add a pinch of salt
Allow to stand for 5-10 minutes
Lightly cook for about 3 minutes then remove prawns from heat and reserve
In the same wok add the other tablespoon of oil and allow to heat on medium
Add the mustard seeds and stir until they begin to crackle and pop
Follow with the onion, cooking for about 5 minutes
Now add the extra turmeric, garlic and saag folding through to combine
Now return prawns to the wok stir well to combine for 1-2 minutes
Add the fresh chilli and serve hot on a bed of steamed basmati rice.
"This is a very simple version of this dish but it does not discount from its delicious taste. Check out one of my earlier posts called Silverbeet & Prawn for a more elaborate version that involves a lot more steps but the result is well worth it."
Tuesday, November 6, 2012
Here I go with yet another dip recipe, but I can't seem to go past this one as it was a definite highlight of the last cheese and dip platter I had going at supper not long ago. And by supper I mean the meal you have, well after dinner time, when you are supposed to be sleeping, but find yourself craving something moreish (we've all been there!). With summer approaching here and the days getting longer, it calls for less time in the kitchen and more time outdoors. Home-made dips are the best for when you want something flavoursome, and you want it quick. Whip a dip up in no time and tear up some flatbreads, slice some crusty sourdough or just open a cheeky pack of crackers to enjoy. Many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean restaurants start their meal banquets with dips as an entree - and I hate when they only give you a teency-weency bit of dip - especially if it's good. My home-made dips allow for abundance so you needn't miss out. Check out a previous post Four Dips worth Double Dipping.
1 large Eggplant, use a small knife to slice a few vertical lines to allow for heat to escape (otherwise it will explode in the oven)
2 tbsp x Olive Oil
2-3 tbsp x Tahini
2 cloves x Garlic, crushed
2 tbsp x Lemon juice
1 tsp x Cumin powder
Salt to taste
Olives for garnish (optional)
Turn on the grill section of your oven (or broiler depending on where ya from!)
Put the eggplant in a heatproof dish and place under the grill for about 30-40 minutes or until the inner flesh collapses,
Be sure to turn every 10 minutes to ensure it cooks evenly
You may want to blacken the skin over a gas flame but this is optional (I reccommend it for the exceptional smoky flavour it develops)
Wrap the eggplant in cling wrap and allow to cool for about 20 minutes
When cool enough to handle remove the skin and mash up the fleshPlace all ingredients into a food processor with the eggplant and pulse to combine
Adjust seasoning to taste - add extra salt, lemon or olive oil if desired
Serve with your choice of bread and enjoy with some olives on the side
Baba Ganoush will keep for up to a week in a sealed container at the back of the fridge
"I love the mellow depth of flavour that comes from smoking the eggplant - the dip takes on a sweetness unlike no other, and the lemon and cumin compliment it perfectly."