Alu Baigan ke Tarkari (Eggplant and Potato Curry)

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Nothing satisfies the taste buds as this simple eggplant and potato curry. This dish maybe called curry but it does not have lots of spices or curry powders in it. The only spice used in this dish is cummin seeds. This is one of the unique Fiji Indian dish that uses no spices such as turmeric, corriander or garam masala. It is cooked using simple ingredients and yet it taste divine.

Ingredients

1 round eggplant or or 6-8 Japanese long eggplants

2-3 Potatoes

1 Onion

1-2 green chillies

1 tomato

1 teaspoon Cummin seeds

1 teaspoon salt

1-3 tablespoon oil

Method

Cut the eggplants into cubes and soak it in the cold water in a bowl. Now peel the potatoes and cut into big cubes and soak it with the eggplants. Peel and finely chop the onion. Chop the green chillies and tomato and set these aside. Place a deep based pot or an Indian karahi (wok) on the stove.  Light the stove and add 2-3 tablespoons of oil in the pot. Wait for the oil to get hot and then add the cummin seeds. When the cummin seeds starts to splutter add the finely chopped onions and green chillies to the pot. Stir everything and cook until the onions are translucent in colour. Finally add eggplant and potatoes. Now add the salt and stir everything in the pot so that everything is mixed well. Put the lid on the pot and lower the heat and let everything cook slowly. Every now and then stir the pot to ensure that everything is cooking evenly. When the eggplant and potatoes look half cooked add the chopped tomatoes and stir the pot. Now let everything cook on the low heat until the eggplant, potatoes and tomato are fully cooked. When everything is cooked turned the stove off. Now serve this dish with the Indian breads such as rotis, paratha or chapati. It can also be eaten as a side dish with any curry dishes.

Milk Coconut Barfi

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Milk Coconut Barfi 

4 cup powdered milk

1 cup desiccated coconut 

1 cup caster sugar (or can use icing sugar than it is 1 and ½ cup icing sugar)

1 teaspoon crushed cardamom (optional if you don’t like cardamom you don’t have to add it)

1 teaspoon powdered nutmeg

600 ml cream (thicken or cooking cream)

1 square cake tin or casserole dish

1 tablespoon oil

Method 

Mix the entire ingredient in a microwave safe deep container. Apply oil to a square cake tin or a casserole dish and keep that aside.

Now microwave the milk mixture on high for 5 mins. Do not put any lid on the microwave container. After 5 minutes, take the container out of the microwave, stir the milk mixture. Put it back into the microwave and then microwave for another 5 minutes. Please keep an eye on the container and its content that it does not overflow. After another 5 minutes, take the container out and stir the milk mixture again. Now microwave it for another 3-5 minutes until the mixture looks less liquids and more creamy in texture. Do not microwave it for longer than 3 or 5 minutes. After the additional 3 minutes the milk barfi is ready. Now pour the entire mixture in a square cake tin or casserole dish. Spread it evenly and let it cool. Sprinkle powdered nutmeg on top. Nutmeg gives the milk fudge a nice aroma. While milk fudge is cooling you can sprinkle hundreds and thousands or garnish it with sliced almonds. Once it is totally cooled, cut it into square and serve. 

Enjoy.

Chicken Pulao (Festive Chicken Rice)

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This recipe is inspired by (my aunt) Haleema Mami’s recipe for Chicken Pulao. She cooks the most delicious Chicken Pulao. This recipe does not have any turmeric only the brown pulao masala. This is the Fiji Indian Muslim style of cooking pulao.

Ingredients

1 kg chicken cut into curry pieces
6-8 Green Cardommon (Elaichi)
6-8 Cloves (Laung)
1-2 Cinnamon sticks (Dalchini)
1-2 Onions chopped finely
1-3 tablespoon Garlic and Ginger paste
1-3 teaspoon Pulao masala
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Chilli powder
3-4 tablespoon Oil or Ghee (clarified butter)
3-4 cup Basmati rice

Method

Get all the pulao ingredients ready. Put a deep based pot on the stove and turn the stove on. Now add 3-4 tablespoon ghee to the pot, when the ghee starts to melt, add cloves, cardamon and cinnamon to it. Slowly sauté it making sure the hard spices do not get burnt. As the spices sizzle and releases it’s aroma, add the finely chopped onions and fry it gently. As the onion changes colour add the crushed garlic and ginger paste. Slowly fry everything and when everything is fried add the pulao masala and stir for few seconds and then add the chicken pieces with chilli powder and salt. Stir the chicken well so it gets coated with the pulao masala. Close the pot lid and let the chicken cook on low heat.

Meanwhile wash the basmati rice well and soak it in the cold water in a bowl. In between keep stirring the pot to ensure the spices are mixing well with the chicken and that its cooking evenly in the pot. The chicken should take approximately 20-30 mins to cook. You will know that the chicken is cooked when chicken breaks away easily from the bones. By the now the chicken should also have released enough liquid in the pot. Now drain the basmati rice and add to the pot. If you are using 3 to 4 cups of raw rice you will have to add 5 cups of water to the pot. The aim is to totally cover the curry. In this way you will ensure that the rice is fully cooked and you don’t end up with uncooked rice. Nothing is worse than eating a pulao with half cooked rice. To the raw rice now add further 1-4 tablespoon of ghee. This will make sure that your pulao gets the golden glint, it should be all shiny and glossy in look. Cook the pulao on low heat. The chicken pulao is ready when the rice is cooked. Serve your pulao with tomato chutney with a side dish of raw onion or green salad.

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Jeera Mattar Chawal (Cumin & Mint Pea Rice)

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Jeera Mattar Chawal (Cumin & Minted Pea Rice)

Ingredients

2-3 cups basmati rice
1 cup mint flavoured green peas
1 onion
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
2-4 green cardamom pods (elachi)
1 cinnamon stick (dalchini)
1-2 tbspn oil
1 tsp salt
4 cups water

Method

Soak the rice in a bowl of cold water for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Now peel and finely slice the onion. In a non-stick pot or a deep pot, heat 1-2 tablespoon of oil on low heat. To the oil add cumin seeds, green cardamom and cinnamon stick. Let the whole thing sizzle in the hot oil for a second or two and then add the finely sliced onion. Now gently fry the onions on low heat until it changes its colour to light brown. Once this change occurs add the rice and sauté everything together for 1 minute making sure the rice is well coated with the oil. Now to the rice add the mint flavoured green peas and mix everything together. If you are cooking 3 cups of raw rice then add 4 cups of water to it. Stir everything together and add the salt. Put the lid on the pot and let the rice cook gently on low heat. Every now and then give the rice a stir. Test the rice to see if its cooked by pressing the grain between your finger and thumb. If the rice is soft and breaks when pressed it is cooked and ready to be eaten. If it’s still a bit raw then you will need to add half a cup of water to the rice and cook it until all the grains are cooked. The rice will be ready when all the water has been absorbed. Serve the jeera mattar chawal with a meat dish or dhal, salad and raita. Enjoy.

Gulgula (Banana Yummy Delights)

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Gulgula Recipe

2 ripe bananas
1 cup raw sugar
1 1/2 to 2 cups plain flour or self-raising powder
2 tblspns sultanas (optional)
1-1 1/2 cup milk
1 tspn baking powder (optional only used for plain flour)
1 tablespoon warm oil
Oil for deep frying
1 tspn Cinnamon powder
1 tspn Nutmeg powder

Method

Take a big bowl and combined all the dry ingredients in it. To this add milk and warm oil and gradually mix using a wooden spoon or hand and make it into a thick batter, make sure that it is not too runny like a Pancake mixture. Now heat the oil in a wok or deep pan. When the oil becomes really hot lower the heat to medium. The aim is to keep the oil hot but not too hot so that the gugula can cook evenly without getting burnt. You can test the level of the heat by inserting a wooden spoon in the oil to see how much bubble is forming around the wood. Once the oil is hot enough put a teaspoon of the gulgula batter into the hot oil. Fry them until they are golden brown. Scoop out and serve hot or cold. Enjoy.

Sausage Aur Tamatar Tarkawala (Sausage in Tomato Gravy)

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Sausage Aur Tamatar TarkawalaI am back with another recipe to tease your taste buds. This a sausage recipe that is cooked in tomato gravy. My mother used to cook this for us, and my siblings and I used to relish the taste and eat it with Fiji long loaf bread. Using the bread to mop the tomato gravy sauce  and practically wiping the plate clean. Ha! the tasty Fiji long loaf  bread how much I miss eating it. As I write this I am reminiscing about the days when for the afternoon tea my mother used to buy the fresh long loaf  from the bakery, cut it into thick slices and covered it with thick dollop of butter and served it with a sweet milky tea. Just makes my mouth water lol. Ha! Memories of by gone days ….. Now back to the recipe. This recipe is really simple to make and can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is best eaten with bread. Do try this recipe out and leave comments to let me know how it turned out for you. Enjoy.

 Ingredients

6-8 Chicken Sausages

1 Canned Roma Tomato

1 Onion

1-2 Garlic

1-2  Green Chillies

1 tsp Salt

1 tsp Sugar

1-3 tablespoon Oil

Method

Boil some water in a big pot. Once the water starts to boil, add the sausage and let it cook slowly on low heat until the sausage is fully cooked. Once the sausage is fully cooked drain the water and keep the sausage aside to cool down.  Now prepare all the  other ingredients for cooking. Peel the onion and sliced them finely, peel and chop the garlic into small fine pieces and finally chop some green chilies. Now cut the cooled sausage meat into a bite size pieces. Take a wok/Indian karahi and put it on the stove. Turn the stove on and add the oil to the wok. When the oil starts to get hot, lower the heat and add onion, garlic and chilies. Sauté everything until the onion have turned translucent in colour.  Now add the canned tomato, salt and sugar and cooked the sauce until a layer of oil can be seen on top of the sauce.  Now add the sausage and cook it for 10-15 minutes. The Sausage Aur Tamatar Tarkawala should be ready when the sauce gravy has thicken a bit and the sausage has absorbed the tomato sauce. Once ready, eat it with fresh bread such as Vienna long loaf bread or Italian crusty bread.

Lamb Aur Alu ke Tarkari (Lamb and Potato Curry)

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imageimage Lamb and Potato curry is a very popular curry dish in Fiji. Growing up in Fiji, I remember eating it mostly on the weekend. There are many varieties of lamb curries but the potatoes variety is the most popular one. Not long ago my friend Sandeep and Kavita requested this recipe so this recipe is especially dedicated to them.  This dish is very simple to make but a big difference depends on what masala powder is used in the curry.  I am not promoting anyone’s product but I find the Pacific Premium Special Meat Masala the best curry powder to use for cooking the meat curries. This product can be found at any Indian spice shop that sells the Fiji made products.

Ingredients

1kg Lamb (diced in to curry pieces)
1 Onion
3-4 Potatoes
1 cinnamon stick
6 Garlic Cloves
1 small piece of Ginger
1 tspn Fiji masala powder or 1 tspn Corriander powder
1 tspn Turmeric
2-3 fresh chopped Chillies/or 1 tspn chilli powder
2-4 Curry Leaves (tejpattis)
Freshly chopped coriander
1 tspn Salt
1-2 tablespoon oil

Method

Prepare the curry ingredients by peeling and chopping the onion. Peel garlic and ginger and pound it into a fine paste using pestle and mortar. Fresh chillies can be crushed in the garlic and ginger paste as well.

Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a cooking pot. Add a cinnamon stick to the oil. Once the cinnamon stick starts to sizzle, add chopped onion and curry leaves. Stir and cook the onion until it starts to change its colour. Now add crushed garlic, ginger and chilli paste. Stirs the garlic and ginger paste with the onion mixture and cook it on low heat until the raw smell is released and then add the Fiji masala powder and turmeric. Mix the curry powder and cook for few second and add the lamb curry piece. To this add a teaspoon of salt and stirs everything well and put the lid on the pot and let it cook on a low heat. While curry is being cooked, peel and chopped potatoes into four big pieces and leave it aside in a bowl of cold water.

From time to time stirs the curry and keep an eye on it. You will notice that lamb curry pieces will release water as it cooks once the water is slightly reduce, add the chopped potatoes and cook until potatoes are cooked. Once the potatoes is cooked your lamb curry is ready. Add the freshly chopped coriander to the lamb curry and served it with boiled rice accompanied by fresh tomatoes chutney or pickles.

 

 

 

Dhal Bhari Roti (Spicy Lentil Mash Bread)

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imageimageimageimageYesterday was my wedding anniversary and I thought I will cook dhal bhari roti  for my dear hubby. This being one of his favourite dishes. Every time one of his sister visits, he always request them to make this dish. I never learn how to make this dish from my mum so I did not have much faith in my cooking skill to produce this dish to his liking. But lucky for me I got this recipe from one of his aunties so I was pretty confident that I could make this with an ease. This is the best recipe that I have personally come across for Dhal Bhari Roti. The Dhal Bhari Roti in Fiji is only made in festive season such as Diwali, Holi or on a special occasion such as wedding. The process for making this is time consuming but this dish is not hard to make. I have presented this dish in three steps so it is easy to follow and make.

 

Step one

1 cup Channa Dhal (chickpea lentils) or Split Peas

1 tspn salt

1/2 tspn Turmeric

2-3 cups water

Method

Boil the dhal with salt and turmeric until fully cooked but it should not become too mushy. The dhal should be still be in solid form but when pressed it should break easily. Once the dhal is cooked to the desired form, strain the dhal and set it aside to cool.

Step 2

For Tempering

8-10 Garlic Cloves

A handful Tejpatti (Curry Leaves)

1  finely chopped Onion

1/2 tspn Turmeric

1 tspn Jeera (cummins)

1 tspn Jeera (to be roasted dry, grounded and added to the dhal in the final step)

1 tspn Masala (brown Fiji curry powder)

1 tspn Sarso (black mustard seeds)

2 tblspn Ghee (Clarified butter) or vegetable oil

Method

Heat ghee in a wok or pan. When the ghee is hot add jeera and sarso seeds, let it temper for a while, then add finely sliced onions, chopped garlic and two whole pieces of garlic, tejapatti leaves, fry these until golden in colour and then add turmeric and masala, fry for another 2-3 minutes and add dhal. Fry the dhal well and turn the stove off. Let the dhal mixture cool down completely and then grind it in a food processor  until it is fine like a powder consistency. Set this aside. Now dry roast Jeera, ground it and add to the dhal mixture. Taste the dhal mixture for salt and add more salt if required.

 

Step 3

1-2 cup wheat flour or plain flour wheat blend like 60/40 mix

1 cup lukewarm water

1-2 tblspn oil

In a big bowl add flour, to this add oil and mix the flour and oil together by hand. To this gradually add water and make a soft dough. Take care not to make the dough too soft.  Once the dough is formed apply oil to the dough and knead it further. Now heat a non stick frying pan and get your rolling board and pins out and ready to prepare the dhal bhari roti. Now take the dough the size of a small apple. Roll the dough out and put a tablespoon of powdered dhal mix on it. Now enclosed the rolled dough. Flatten the dough gently and apply some dry flour to it and gently roll it out to a size of a small pancake. Heat the non stick pan or Dosa tawa (grill). Once the pan is hot add the rolled roti, flip over the other side and apply ghee. The dhal bhari rotis taste really nice with extra dollop of ghee. Flip the roti over and apply more ghee. The roti should be ready in few seconds. Take care not to burn your rotis. Cook all the rotis in this way and have it hot with a slightly sweet black tea, pickles and vegetable curries.

Baigan Raita (Eggplant yoghurt relish)

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Eggplant is an interesting vegetable it can be cooked in many different ways. I like it cooked as curry, in soya sauce, deep fried as pakora or simply made into a baigan choka, bharta or just as plain potato, tomato and eggplant curry. And when I am all out of option, I simply make the baigan raita. I discovered this recipe many years ago by accident at my friend Noni’s place. She had few cookbooks and I was browsing one when my eye caught this recipe. I scanned the recipe and realised that it had a unique combination of fried eggplants and yoghurt. In Fiji, we mainly make cucumber and carrot raita (I will post this recipe soon) so this unique combination really intrigued me. Next minute I was in Noni’s fridge searching for that hidden eggplant hiding behind the smelly radish, reddish tomato and some greenish buk choy. I rescued the eggplant, sliced it finely, smeared it with salt, washed it in cold water, tortured it in hot oil and added it to the blended yoghurt. The final product was just amazing. I have never tasted a raita that was so delicious. Since then it has become a family favourite and I make this once a month. I have taught few friends how to make this raita and everyone love it’s unique taste. So here is my recipe for my favourite eggplant raita.

Ingredients

1 big round eggplant or 4 small round eggplants
1 carton or 500 grams plain yoghurt
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon red chillies powder (optional)
1 teaspoon sweet paprika
1 clove crushed garlic
1-2 cups oil

Method

Cut the eggplant into two and finely slice it. The sliced eggplant pieces should not be too thin or thick just the right size so that it can be shallow fried. Put the sliced pieces into a bowl and add salt to it and leave it aside for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes the bitter water is released from the eggplant. Wash the salted eggplant in the cold water and empty it into a colander and let it sit aside so that all the water drips off the eggplant or you can pat the eggplant dry with the paper towel.

Now get a deep based pan ready to fry the eggplant pieces. Add just enough oil to the pan and heat the oil. I normal use a frying pan that is deep but just perfect for shallow frying. When the oil is hot, lower the heat and gradually add the eggplants. Here you have to be very careful because the eggplant will splutter and caused oil to explode in different direction so just be careful and keep yourself safe from oil splutter. Slowly fry the eggplant in the oil until they turn slightly golden in colour. Scoop the fried eggplant out and let them cool. Fry all the eggplant in this manner and then let it all cool down.

Yoghurt preparation

Get a deep bowl and add the plain yoghurt to it. Peel one clove of garlic, crush and add that to the yoghurt. Here you can also add red chilli powder. Mix and blend the yoghurt with a spoon. Don’t add any salt to the yoghurt because the eggplant will have enough salt in it so no extra salt is needed. Once the yoghurt is prepared, add the fried eggplant slices and mix it well. Sprinkle the top with paprika and your eggplant raita is ready. Eat this with any dishes accompanied by roti or rice.

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Chicken Biryani

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Well here it is!! My dear sister Sanjana, who blogs at Feeding The Sonis have been after me to post the chicken biryani recipe. Well finally I took some time out to write and post my recipe for the Chicken Biryani. This recipe was taught to me by my friend Nasreen who is a brilliant cook. Anything that she cooks is yummy and delicious. It was a privilege to learn how to cook this biryani from her. Everyone have their unique version of cooking biryani and this version is Nasreen’s own unique style. I have written this recipe in three steps because it is bit complex to cook this dish. However once cooked it is quite worth the effort for the mouth watering dish that you get to eat at the end of the day. So enjoy the biryani and let you taste buds do the talking.

Chicken Biryani

1 kg – 500 grams Chicken (chopped into curry pieces)
1 pkt Shaan Sindhi Biryani masala
2 medium sized onions or 3 small onions finely chopped
½ cup yoghurt
1 canned roma tomatoes
1 bunch mint leaves
1 bunch corriader leaves
3-4 cups of basmati rice (washed and soaked in the cold water)
1 whole bunch of garlic cloves
1-2 chopped piece of ginger
4-5 pieces green chillies
3-4 tablespoon oil (use more if required)
1 tsp Kewra water (optional)
1 tsp salt

Method

Step 1

Start by chopping the chicken into curry pieces and setting it aside in a bowl. Prepare garlic and ginger by peeling and crushing it using a pestle and mortar. Get the onions ready by chopping them finely. Heat the oil in a deep based or a non-stick pot. When the oil is hot, lower the heat and add the chopped onions and slowly fry them until it starts to turn glossy in colour. To this add the crushed garlic and ginger, fry these for two or three minutes. Now add the chopped chicken pieces, Shan Sindhi Biryani masala, 1 can of roma tomatoes and 1/2 a cup of yoghurt. Mix it all well. Do not add any salt to this mix. The Shan Briyani Masala has enough salt in it so no further salt is required. Mix the chicken and spices well and let it cook slowly on a low heat. From time to time keep an eye on the curry to ensure that it has enough water and it does not become too dry. The aim of this curry is to still have enough liquid in it. The chicken is cooked when you see a layer of oil on the top of the curry. Turn off the heat and keep the pot aside.

Step 2

Now boil a big pot of water. When the water starts to boil, reduce the heat and add the washed basmati rice and a teaspoon salt. Stir rice and let it cook. While the rice is cooking, prepare, wash and chop the mint and coriander leaves. Keep monitoring the rice. The aim of this process is to ensure that rice is not fully cooked. It should be half cooked. You can test the texture of the rice by pressing a grain of rice between your fingers. It will be slightly cooked but still a little raw in the middle. Once you get the rice to this texture, drain the rice in a colander and keep it ready for step 3.

Step 3

Empty half of the chicken curry into a big bowl. Spread the remaining half in the pot with a spoon or spatula. To this curry mixture add and evenly spread half the quantity of rice. On the rice layer, make another layer by spreading the chopped mint and coriander. To the herb spread you can add some fresh green chillies and freshly chopped tomatoes. I mainly put in the herbs and fresh green chillies, it gives biryani an extra kick. Now add the remaining chicken curry on the top followed by the remaining rice and add kewar essence (optional). Put the lid on the pot and let it steam slowly on a very low heat. The aim is to cook the rice slowly until all the rice grain is totally cooked. When the briyani is ready, serve it with the yoghurt and cumin relish. Serve the biryani by showing the four different layers on the serving platter.

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