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Monday, October 31, 2016

The Homey Diwali

Happy Diwali to those who celebrate it! This Diwali my cousin was over, and she knows my late grandmother's khandvi recipe like the back of her hand. So we made some khandvi and it felt like home! I didn't know that it takes literally five minutes to make this dish; there's going to be a lot of khandvi eating in our house from now on!

Mix together one cup of besan (gram flour), one cup of yogurt, one and a half cups of warm water, a spoon of salt, 1/3 spoon turmeric and 1/3 spoon red chilli powder. Make sure there are no lumps in the mix. Clean some counter space and grease lightly with oil. Now heat very little oil in a wok or a kadhai on medium heat and add the mixture. Stir constantly and vigorously (my cousin insists on a clockwise direction) till the mixture starts to set (but don't wait till it's fully set) - won't take more than a couple of minutes. Once it starts to set, IMMEDIATELY pour/scrape it out onto the clean greased counter space (any large flat space would do). Spread it like a thin film over the counter, moving in one direction with a spatula - make it as thin as possible. While you're trying to make it thin the mixture will have probably already set so let sit for two minutes while you make the tadka.

Heat a little oil in a small pan and add to it a sprinkle of black mustard seeds, curry leaves and a chopped green chilli. Once the seeds splatter take the pan off the heat. Go back to your counter and run a knife vertically through the set film to create strips. Roll up each strip and place on the plate. Add the tadka (seed mixture) to the top, and garnish with grated coconut and coriander leaves. VoilĂ !

Monday, October 24, 2016

The Crusty Rack

It's been a while since we fine-dined at home! Here's how to make your Monday special!! (Provided you have an hour to cook)

Pistachio-crusted rack of lamb stuffed with feta and spinach, with a side of hasselback potato

If you're going to do the hasselback potato, start with that. Slice a potato thinly but not all the way through; brush with garlic butter, salt and pepper and bake for an hour.

Get the rack of lamb out. If it's cap on (as in there's a chunk of fat on one side) cut it out. Now turn to the meaty side of the rack and cut a slice from the bone-side through the lean meat, but not all the way through, aka butterfly it. Stuff the inside with a handful of crumbed feta, a handful of blanched chopped spinach, chopped garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, cardamom and cinnamon powder. Close with the flap of meat and tie together with cooking string. Rub the outside of the lamb with the same spices. Now sear the rack of lamb in olive oil on a hot pan on all sides and take off the oil (discard the string). Save the oil for the sauce.

In a bowl, mix a spoon of flour and an egg yolk, and brush onto the seared rack of lamb. Now dip the lamb on a plate filled with crushed pistachios and panko breadcrumbs. Coat both sides and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 200C. Cut rack chops.

For the garlic-rosemary sauce, take the pan with the lamb fat and add to it a spoon of chopped garlic, some rosemary, a cup of stock, salt, pepper, paprika and two spoons of flour. Mix and reduce for 5 minutes; don't thicken it too much.

Serve your stuffed crusted rack of lamb with the sauce, with the crunchy potato on a bed of rocket. For additional crunch throw in a little leftover pistachio-panko breadcrumb mixture on the side. Light a candle; get fancy!

Monday, October 17, 2016

The Healer Soup

I love soups, and my husband made me this bowl of awesomeness when I was under the weather last week. I liked it so much, I might actually make it at the next party!

The "Thai chicken soup"

In a saucepan, boil 3-4 stalks lemongrass, a spoon of chopped ginger, 4 sliced garlic cloves and 4-5 cups of chicken broth for about 20 minutes, then strain out the veggies. Set aside.

Sauté a few pieces of boneless chicken (the chicken you might have used to make the broth) with whole shiitake mushrooms in a little vegetable oil. Add to it two spoons of red curry paste, a 3/4 lemon, and a spoon of fish oil. Finally add a cup of coconut milk and the broth, with a third of a diced red onion, and simmer for 20 min. Top with chives and/or cilantro and a slit chilli.

Monday, October 10, 2016

The Paella

The more I've delayed attempting paella in my kitchen, the more the idea has increasingly intimidated me. Paella enthusiasts are very particular about doing it right. Some say garlic and chorizo do not belong in an authentic paella, and mixing seafood and chicken is nothing short of sacrilege. The fact that I used a nonstick frying pan instead of a paellera pretty much begs for scorn. Nevertheless, I love paella too much to never try. And try I did. And somehow managed to burn the bottom just a little, just the way it's supposed to be! So here is my easy, blasphemous recipe.

Chicken paella

Heat a little olive oil and add a fat spoon of chopped garlic and some sliced chorizo. Also add two bone-in thigh and two leg pieces and let fry on both sides for 15 minutes. Then add two diced tomatoes and some green beans and cook for a while more. Finally add two and a half cups of medium-grain Spanish rice or Arborio (risotto rice), a dash or three of smoked paprika, two branches of fresh rosemary and a few strands of saffron, with three cups of water and salt to taste. Simmer till the rice is cooked; try not to stir the rice too much. Dry it up and serve!

PS: some recipes will ask you to add stock. All I'm saying is, if it's a one-pot recipe involving cooking chicken with the rice and then simmering, the water becomes broth anyway. You don't need stock.

Monday, October 3, 2016

The Gozleme

Long weekends = Picnics = Picnic food.
Turns out gozleme is a really fun and easy picnic food for a bright Sunday at the beach like the one we just had :)

Lamb gozleme with feta and spinach

Knead about 4 cups of flour for 6 fat gozlemes with a pinch of salt and some water. Set aside. Meanwhile add half a chopped onion to a pan with some oil, and add a spoonful of chopped garlic. Add salt, sumac, cumin and chilli flakes to taste, and then add about half a kg of minced lamb. Cook until done and dry, and set aside to cool.

Take a fat ball of dough and roll it out into a large thin rectangle. Place the cooled lamb mixture on one half of the rectangle and fold the other side of the rectangle over. Pinch down the sides to seal. Heat a grill pan with a little oil, and cook both sides of each folded rectangle. Cut into smaller pieces and serve with a lemon wedge! Pack and take to the beach!