Monday, September 22, 2014

everyday subzi : lobiya wala keema with shrimp paste

Some curries are experimental but become a favourite from the first time they are cooked. This lobiya wala keema is one of those recipes that I cooked on a whim one day and have repeated a few times already. I do cook keema curry with added vegetables quite a lot and many keema recipes on this blog would not disappoint you in this regard but this time I wanted to get some extra flavours and I did a trick.

I added some shrimp paste (home made) to this curry and it took this keema and lobiya curry to another level altogether. I am waiting when to repeat more curries with keema and some or the other vegetables. Of course with added shrimp paste :-)

I make my own shrimp paste and have cooked it earlier with long beans. A freshly made shrimp paste recipe (sambal belacan) is there on the healthfood blog. This time I just made a paste with ginger and garlic and used the whole paste in this curry. I know I will be repeating this way of using dry shrimps for sure.

(4 servings with rotis and raita)

chopped lobiya (in 1 cm bits) 250 gm
finely chopped onions 100 gm
mutton keema (mince) 200 gm
fresh tomato paste 100 gm (3/4 cup)
chopped ginger 2 tsp
chopped garlic 2 tsp
turmeric powder 1 tsp
red chilly powder 1 tsp or to taste
everyday curry powder 1 tbsp
special garam masala powder 1/2 tsp
(or a powder of cinnamon, green and black cardamoms and cloves)
dry shrimps 1 tbsp
salt to taste
mustard oil 1-2 tbsp
cumin seeds 1 tsp
tejpatta 2

procedure (takes about 40 minutes total)

Make a paste of garlic, ginger and shrimp and keep aside.

Heat oil in a deep thick base kadhai and tip in the cumin seeds and tejpatta. Add the chopped onions and fry till pinkish brown.

Now add the shrimp paste and the chopped lobiya both. Add salt and powdered spices as well and keep stirring to mix well as the mixture cooks and gets aromatic. It takes about 5-7 minutes.

Now add the keema and keep stirring to break the keema and cook till it starts releasing fat.

Add the fresh tomato paste and cook for about 5 minutes more, stirring all the while.

Now add a cup of water and cover the kadhai. Let the curry simmer on low flame for about 25 minutes. Serve hot.

There is no need to garnish this curry with any herbs as the aroma of shrimp paste cooked with the spicy gravy id really something you wouldn't want to mask. But add a few springs of coriander greens if you like. Some chopped green chillies and minced or julienne ginger will be good if you want the curry to be hot, especially if you are having it with khameeri roti.

The flavours are very meaty, very rich umami hints and the lobiya somehow seems to add to the flavours too. I think I would like this keema curry with cauliflower and may be with cabbage as well. I have more dry shrimps as I had ordered loads of ti from Anjali Koli of Annaparabramha. And I intend to use it well.

Let me try and let you know. Or you try and tell me what way you liked it.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

tasting temple cuisine at Masala Art, Taj Palace and a recipe of jaggery-ginger-tulsi lemonade, the gur ki shikanji

I had the best ganne ka ras recently and it was redolent with flavours of tulsi (holy Basil) and a bit of ginger. Thick pure sugarcane juice is a rare thing to come by and I took another helping at Masala Art, Taj Palace Hotel when I was there to taste their menu around Temple cuisines of India. Nothing can be better than ganne ka ras I though, I could skip having any temple food for this.

But then this tulsi infused water was more fun and I needed it. I had a throat infection and was anyway having a lot of ginger and tulsi infusion at home. Cold water with tulsi felt nice and comforting.

I loved the way they made us wash our hands in a brass urli. Purity while eating is after all a temple ritual.

And then my thali arrived that was a Bengali pujo thali, having all items of bhog in it. I dogged into the khichdi first, just couldn't resist as I have been missing the puja khichdi since my days in Dhanbad. And the khichdi took me back to the pujo days. Exactly the same taste with lightly fired cauliflower florets added in the cooked khichdi.

I liked everything else in this Bengali thali, the shukto, the chorchori, the potoler dalna and chholar daal. The slice of gondhoraj lebu not to be missed. Kheer was good if not excellent. I have had better bong kheer.

They have introduced Temple bhog thalis from all 4 corners of India and I tasted bits form the south Indian thali, the Western thali (Gujrati) and the Punjabi thali. I loved the Gujrati khichdi too and not just for my love of all things khichdi but it was really well done. I wouldn't care for the meethi kadhi or khatte mithe alu but the sukhdi in Guju thali was superb.

I tasted a few things from the south Indian thali too. Loved the rasam but sundal and pulihora was dull, a bit too dry for my taste.

Here is the Punjabi thali which had the chhole, daal makhni, tari wale alu etc and everything was done right. Chhole a bit too tart but it is a personal choice. What I loved the most was atte ka halwa that was made just like home.

 I have never tasted such good atte ka halwa apart from my own home. Kudos to the team to attempt this atte ka halwa for a menu, it is not easy to pull off.

Masala art will be doing this Temple cuisine thali every Navratra and one can enjoy these traditional meals without onion and garlic twice a year. They serve bengali kosha mangsho, bhetki paturi, chingri malai curry etc as well in their seafod thali and nonveg thali during Navratras. Bengalis eat all kinds of foods outside the puja pandal so it makes sense.

And then I was back home after a generous dose of temple cuisine into my system. I had eaten so much I skipped the dinner that day and breakfast the next day. But when I got hungry, I wanted ganne ka ras.

The closest I could do is gur ki shikanji and that is what I did.

Here is how to do it.

Boil 1 tbsp of grated fresh ginger root and a handful of tulsi leaves in a liter of water. Turn off the gas as soon as the water boils. Cover and let it cool. Strain the infusion when cold.

Add 3 tbsp of fresh lime juice and 2 tbsp of natural unbleached sugar or grated jaggery to the infusion and dissolve well.

Serve with or without ice cubes. I still had a mild throat infection so enjoyed the gur ki shikanji at room temperature.

You can even have this infusion warm if you want to have it in winters. Gur ki shikanji would be a nice adrak tulsi ki chai in that case.