Thursday, July 31, 2008

Tu Talli Ho Gayi

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The title of this post also happens to be the latest rage blasting from all sound systems, be it disco's, pubs, cars, and all the TV channels. You cannot escape the soundbytes and sooner or later you are hooked and humming it yourself. I think, I'm the latest victim else how can you explain this post and the dish that I cooked up while listening to this song :)

This is also my second contribution to Sri's Curry Mela.

Talli Murgh Masaledar ( Drunk Spicy Chicken)

Chicken, cut into pieces - 250 gm
Rum - 90 ml
Amchoor Powder - 1 Tsp
Onion Paste - 4 Tblsp
Ginger Paste - 1 Tsp
Garlic Paste - 1 Tsp
Tomato Paste - 4 Tblsp
Yogurt - 3 Tblsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 Tsp
Black Pepper Powder - 1 Tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 Tsp
Corriander Powder - 1 Tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp
Salt To Taste
Oil -2 Tblsp

1.Clean and rub the chicken pieces with amchoor powder. Marinate in rum. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a wok. Add in the onion paste and fry till it starts to turn brown.
3. Add in the ginger and garlic paste. Fry for another 2 minutes.
4. Add in the masalas. Fry for 2 more minutes.
5. Add in the chicken pieces and fry for 2 minutes. Pour in the remaining marinade and salt.
6. Add in the tomato paste and mix well.
7. Add in the yogurt and a little water. Cook the gravy on low flame till chicken is done.
8. Serve hot garnished with chopped corriander.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Qasar- E- Pukhtan

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The first time I entered the kitchens cooking some delicious fare from Awadh, I was absolutely mesmerized by the names, which sounded both elegant and mysterious. Suddenly we had names like Koh-e-awadh, Guncha-o-Kheema and Qasar-e-pukhtan flying around. I'm sure, the customers who came down to eat must have been equally intrigued and must have ordered ordinary dishes with these fancy names just to check them out.
Qasar-e-Pukhtan is one of them. In simple terms, it is another version of the shahi paneer. But the names makes it sounds as if something out of the world being prepared just for you. After all these years, I felt like trying these fancy dishes out. This particular recipe is my version of the famous dish ( atleast famous in the kitchens of Welcomgroup). There are other versions that exist that use cashew paste and papaya paste but this turns out just fine.

Paneer (Cottage Cheese) - 250 gm
Tomatoes - 4 Large
Onion - 1
Ginger Paste - 3 Tblsp
Garlic paste - 3 Tblsp
Red Chillies, dried - 3
Shahi Zeera (Black Cumin) - 2 Tsp
Corriander Powder - 1 Tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 Tsp
green Cardamom, crushed - 1
Mace(Javitri) - 1/2 Tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 Tsp
Processed Cheese - 3 Tblsp
Salt - To Taste
Oil - 2 Tblsp

1. Heat very little oil in a pan and saute the onions for a minute.
2. Add in roughly chopped tomatoes and ginger & garlic paste alongwith dried red chillies.
3. Add in a little water and cook till the tomatoes are totally mashy.
4. Take out from flame, cool & make a paste in a processor.
5. Add 2 tblsp oil in a wok and heat.
6. Add in the shahi zeera.
7. When the shahi zeera crackles, add in the paneer cubes and fry for 2 minutes.
8. Add in the tomato paste and other spices.
9. Cook to form a gravy. Stir in the processed cheese and cook for 5 more minutes.
10. Serve hot garnished with chopped corriander and cream.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

5 Must See Recipes For The Week

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It's been raining since last night, and I have had to cancel my round of golf today. To add to it, I had promised my lovely better half that I would help her out with some house cleaning today. As it turns out, it happens to be a perfect day to spend in bed and I think she'll have a tough time to get me out of it and cleaning the junk which I call my studio. The whole idea of having my own place (studio) was that I could keep it anyways I wanted to.

1. Whiskey Sour - If you ask me what this simple recipe is doing on this post, my answer is ...there are still many who haven't discovered this wonderful drink. A piece of caution: go easy on this! You wouldn't realize when you are blanked out.

2. Gumbo - For starters Gumbo is a hearty soup or stew that originated in Louisiana and is traditionally served over rice. I had gumbo a few years back in Texas and I have been a convert since then. This recipe is fantastic and is a must try for all.

3. Chicken with Olives and Apricots - A taste of Algeria with some amazing photos of the dish alongwith an excellently written post that just absorbs you and transports you there as if all this was happening in front of you. I have tried matching apricots with chicken before in a Biryani and have also had the parsi dish of Salli Zardaloo murgi. It'll be nice to check this one out.

4. Chai Chocolate Sorbet - Sorbets are back in vogue and so is mixing and matching. Chai or tea has been a much experimented medium for sorbets. We have the green tea sorbets, Earl grey and Pear sorbet and now this. What amazing about this dish is that it is uncomplicated and exotic enough.

5. Watermelon Ginger Punch - Summers are gone, although we haven't had much rain this season in our area( apart from yesterday and today), so it still makes it summers for us :)
Nice punch with a neat kick to it. Though the author recommends not using fresh ginger in large quantities, if you are the ginger ale type, go ahead and indulge. I would infact add a bottle of Ginger ale to it.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


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Korma, Kurma, Qurrama, Quorma many different names and so many different myths. But ask someone, even a restaurant guy as to what a Korma is and you will see a different look of blankness. The most amazing explanation that I have come across is that any creamy dish made without turmeric or tomatoes is Korma. It would have sufficed but for the fact that I knew many Korma dishes that used turmeric, if not tomatoes.
So let me try explaining this one...who knows someone may write a post quoting mine as the most ridiculous explanation. Korma (KOR-mah) is a curry with mild, creamy aromatic stew base in which meat or vegetables are simmered slowly. More specifically Korma is a cooking technique which means braising. The Larousse Gastronomique which I have consulted many times over for different things defines it as a mildy spiced Indian dish thickened with poppy seeds and/or nuts such as almonds/cashews. Yogurt and/or cream can be used to thicken the sauce and make it more creamy.
Over time I have come to three types of Korma, the north indian or mughlai korma where almonds, cashews and yogurt is used to make the creamy base. Addition of saffron and cardamoms given the dish the aroma. The second type of korma is the kashmiri korma which has a lot dried fruits added to the dish. It may not be as thick as the mughali korma. The last one is south indian Korma also called Kurma in those parts. Here coconut milk and freshly grated coconut make the creamy base. The aroma is contributed by addition of Curry leaves and fennel. In some restaurants you may find certain dishes like malai korma or shahi korma, which are but north indian kormas with liberal addition of cream.
Case over, I move on to make my version of the Murg Korma and yes! I have used turmeric in it.

Murg Korma


Chicken, cleaned and cut into pieces - 500 gm
Onion Paste - 1 Cup
Ginger-Garlic Paste - 2 Tblsp
Red Chili Powder - 2 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 2 Tsp
Yogurt - 1 and a1/2 Cup
Garam Masala Powder - 1 Tsp
Poppy Seeds paste - 2 Tblsp
Almond Paste - 2 Tbslp
Salt - To Taste
Oil - 3 Tbslp

Method :
1. Marinate the chicken with 1/2 cup yogurt, salt and 1/4 cup onion paste. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
2. Heat oil in a wok.
3. Add in the onion paste and ginger-garlic paste. Fry till it starts turning brown.
4. Add in the chicken pieces and fry them for 2 minutes.
5. Add in the garam masala, red chili powder and turmeric powder. Fry for a minute.
6. Add in the poppy seed and almond paste. Mix well.
7. Add in the whisked yogurt. Add in some water and simmer for 10 minutes.
8. Serve hot garnished with fresh cream.

This is my contribution to Srivalli's curry mela. Sri, Havent been able to contribute to all those wonderful events that you ran all this while. Hope this makes up for them :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

5 Must See Recipes For The Week

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Had a horrid round of golf, which can only be termed as forgettable. The weird part was that during the last 4 holes even my pitching wedge failed me. Usually I pride myself for my pitching wedge. I have got almost 200 yards with it and when my golf buddies tee off on a par 3 with an 8-iron I use my pitching wedge. Nevermind, better luck next weekend.
Now golf is like cooking, it requires patience, sticking to the basics mostly, absolute concentration and you have your days. If it's not your day, you can try something as easy as making lemonade and yet goof up!This week's selection is fantastic. I'm sure all those who posted these are the masters of the game :). The must see for this week is as follows:

1. Sweet Potato Wedges - Now I'm not a typical sweet potato fan, but looking at the photos, I'm all set to give it a try. Kevin also finds his way back to this list again. His choice of dishes and his photography can anyone go hungry.

2. Smoked Chicken with curried stuffing - Wow! look at the balancing of flavors in this one. This is just the dish you were looking for to impress your friends on the BBQ. The wide flavors ranging from sweet to mild spicy make it a meal in itself.

3.Two toned Melon Gazpacho - I'm not a soup guy! But the only time I end up having a soup is when someone offers me a gazpacho. The coolness of the soup and the mild flavors just set me off to explore more on the table. Now I've only had a normal tomato based gazpacho, but this one is good.

4. Papa Al Pomodoro - So soups are the flavor of this week. Coming close to the heels of the gazpacho is the tomato and bread soup ( the translation). I like the choice of rock salt to this one and the herbs are so nicely blended, complimenting the soup rather than overpowering it.

5. Heston Blumenthal's popping-candy chocolate cake - What a way to finish this list. An absolute show stealer. I love popping candy and would love to try this one out. Actually will want to see the look on my sons face when he eats a slice.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Khoja Kachi Biryani ( With Chicken)

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Continuing with my love for Biryanis and adding more of them to this blog, here is one that the Khoja community makes. Now, this Biryani is typically made with Lamb but I tried it out with chicken. The term Kachi is to denote a kind of Biryani where the meat is cooked alongwith the rice. Pukki the other term denotes that the meat has been cooked separately and then layered.
I'm still on the lookout for some Khoja family that can actually invite me over and take me through the way they make their authentic biryani's. Till then maybe this will have to suffice.

Khoja Kachi Biryani

For Rice:
Basmati Rice - 500 gm
Black Cardamom - 3
Black Peppercorns - 10
Bay Leaves - 3
Cinnamon - 1" piece

For Chicken:
Chicken, cut into pieces - 1 kg
Tomatoes, chopped - 300 gm
Onions, sliced - 300 gm
Potatoes, cubed - 200 gm
Yogurt - 300 gm
Garam Masala - 2 Tblsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 Tblsp
Cumin Seeds - 1 Tblsp
Black Cumin (Shahi Zeera) - 2 Tsp
Green Cardamom, crushed - 3
Dried Apricots - 12
Lemon Juice - 4 Tbslp
Black Peppercorns - 12
Ginger Garlic Paste - 4 Tbslp
Green Chillies, minced - 4
Salt - To Taste

1. Marinate the chicken in yogurt, ginger garlic paste, green chillies, peppercorns, red chili powder, lemon juice and chopped tomatoes. Keep aside in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
2. Fry the sliced onions to a crisp golden brown color. Drain and keep aside.
3. Fry the potato cubes in the same oil to a golden color and keep them aside too. ( I typically cut the potatoes into cubes and keep them in a salted water for some time before frying.)
4. Add this oil to the chicken marinade.
5. Cook the rice in water alongwith the spices, and when it is half done, drain and keep aside.
6. Take a heavy bottomed vessel and grease the inside with ghee.
7. Add some more ghee to this vessel and when it becomes hot, add in cumin seeds, shahi zeera garam masala and green cardamom. Fry for 2 minutes.
8. Add in the chicken pieces and fry till chicken is half done and add in the dried apricots.
9. Add in a layer of rice followed by potatoes and onions. Pour over the remaining marinade.
10. Add in the remaining rice on top to form a final layer. Sprinkle the saffron soaked in milk over.
11. Add 4 cups of water and cover the vessel with a tight lid. Seal the vessel's rim and lid with fresh dough.
12. Place a iron tava on medium flame and put the biryani vessel on top. Cook for 30 minutes.
13. Open seal and serve hot biryani alongwith raita and papad.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spiced Mango Jelly with Cut Mangoes

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The season is over and I'm already missing them. I simply love mangoes and the only other fruit that comes close to getting that sort of attention from me is probably lychees. Unfortunately, even their season is over. So when I found some nice kesar mangoes the other day at the Metro Cash & Carry, it was a reason to celebrate.Here is my ode to the Mango till the next year and another season :)

Spiced Mango Jelly with Cut Mangoes

Mangoes, sliced and diced - 4
Mango Pulp - 2 Glasses
Star Anise, powdered - 1 Tsp
Cinnamon Powder - 1 Tsp
Gelatin - 2 Tsp
Water - 1 Cup
Sugar - 2 Tsp

1. Dissolve the gelatin in 4 tblsp of warm water.
2. Heat the mango pulp alongwith sugar and water to near boiling point and pour in the gelatin.
3. Stir well and add in the powdered star anise and cinnamon powder.
4. Pour the mixture in a jelly mold or a glass bowl.
5. Chill until set. Take out from mold, arrange the mango cubes around the jelly and garnish with sprinkled cinnamon powder.
6. Serve and watch it disappear.

Monday, July 14, 2008

5 Must See Recipes For The Week

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I'm late again this week. We lost our Dog this Saturday and I haven't been in the mood for the past 2 days to post anything. It was indeed a sad day for all of us. Snuff ( his name) had been a part of the Bhaskar family for 14 years,9 months and 25 days and I still cannot get over it. The whole episode just strengthened my resolve not to get another pet home. The lifespan is too short and the attachment too great. I dedicate this post to him.
Snuff U will be missed !

1. Green Mango Salad with Macadamia Nuts - Spicy, tangy, crunchy ...varied flavors exploding in your mouth. Perfect to have while you can still lay your hands on some green mangoes.

2. Potatoes Gratin - The classic reason needed to have this one. I make it with one exception, a hint of garlic and chili flakes.

3. Rice Ice Cream - Wow! Never knew this existed. A must try for all those who are a sucker for novelty experiments. Read the comments too...nice suggestions given.

4. Cream Cheese Wontons - Nice variation. All of you like me who have a problem finding Wildfire spice, can do with a little ingenuity, like I always do. Who knows, we might create a new signature masterpiece. Personally, I'll make my own desifire spice by mixing some lemongrass, green peppercorns, aniseed and curry powder. As far as the bush tomato chutney goes, I'll substitute the bush tomatoes with some green ones and sun dried ones.

5. Stuffed Eggplants, Peppers & Tomatoes - My wife would absolutely dig this. Just look at the variety it'll add to your table. Vegetarians, substitute the ground beef/lamb with mushrooms and other veggies. Farida ...u truly rock!

As a footnote I leave you with a great blog that my dear friend Harry writes. It has some great home remedies for prickly situations and issues. A must see and add to your favorites to visit time and again when u get caught in those situations.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday ! ...My Annual Roundup and a Giveaway

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Gastronome By Choice completes its first year today. It's been a wonderful and exciting journey so far. When I started blogging, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that this blog will go so far and be so well received.
Now that a year goes by, here's the opportunity to roll out the credits and vote of thanks to all the people behind (promise it will not be a tear jerker). First and foremost, Thanks to Sudhindra for introducing me to the blogosphere. Sudhi, really owe it to you for this and those amazing times at office discussing the big bad world and how two old guys on the wrong side of 30 are coping with it (Krithika, If you are reading it in know what we discuss and laugh about).
My spouse, Subha has been a real pillar throughout my life come what may and has really motivated me to do more than I would have usually done. Though I started this blog, she made me really go the whole nine yards with this blog, just as she has been pushy about me pursuing my love for golf and going back to painting the canvases.
Harry has been extremely kind in raving about my blog and giving me the sense of satisfaction with doing this thing.
Last but not the least, a big thanks to all those who found the time to come to my blog, read it and post their comments. I know, I have been a real jerk in not replying to all those comments and not even complimenting by going back to your blogs and posting comments, but with a job which is anything but a 9 to 5 thing, 2 kids who are mischief personified and a whole big load of extra hobbies to devote time to, it really becomes a grind. I promise though, that I will improve on this and for starters reply back to the comments in time. Again, thanks Srivalli, Arundati, Swati, Arundathi, Nags, Divya, Mansi, Jayasree, and all others who I cannot recollect at this moment.
Coming to the point. Here's the round-up of the year gone by, the recipes that I have posted and the giveaway.

Beverages :
Burning Peaches (Cocktail)
Tiranga (Cocktail)
Screwdriver (Cocktail)

Bread Pakoras
Cilantro Falafel with Star Anise flavored Soy Garlic Humus
Potato Chops
Lachhedar Aloo
Tandoori Gobi
Achari Paneer Tikka
Murg Malai Tikka (Creamy Chicken Kababs)
Vegetable Skewers
Cocktail Sticks
Chicken 65
Chicken Fry

Veg Dishes & Accompaniments:
Ennai Kathrikai
Aloo Poshto
Tamatar Ka Saar
Mirch Ka Salan
Tamatar aur Chana Dal Ka Salan
Lasan Ka Salan
Dry Fruit Salan
Gobi Aur Mirch Ka Salan
Kache Pyaaz Ka Khatta
Stuffed Chili with coconut peanut sauce
Paruppu Usili (Lentil Curry)
Chhole Bhature
Baghare Baingan
Beetroot Fry
Kashmiri Mushroom
Khumb Masaledaar
Pickled Carrot Relish
Paneer Makai
Vengaya Sambar ( Lentil Curry with shallots)
Mint Potatoes
Heart Shaped Cheese Mushroom Ravioli in Herbed Tomato Sauce

Chicken Dishes:
Murg Kairi ( Chicken with raw mango)
Hyderabadi Anjeer Murg (Chicken in Figs Gravy)
Chicken Whatever
Olive Chicken
Butter Chicken
Hot Garlic Chicken
Murg Patiala

Mutton Chops Kozhambu
Malabar Mutton Curry

Hari Machhli
Konkani Fish Curry
Rice Crusted Snapper
Narangi Mahi ( Pan seared fish with orange dill & vodka)
Squid Fritters
Prawn Curry
Jhinga Samarkand

Puliyogare (Tamarind Rice)
Carrot Rice
Bohri Biryani
Hyderabadi Biryani

Sabudana Khichadi
Carrot Idli
Strawberry Smoothie
Chocolate Muffins
Banana Bread

Khubani Ka Meetha (Indian Apricot Compote)
Gajjar Halwa with Star Anise
Poached Spiced Pears in Pear Sauce
Baked Figs Jamun-E-Gul
Pineapple Calypso
Apple Torte
Strawberry Cheesecake
Cheesecake Omnia

Wow! I cannot believe I cooked up that much in the year gone by.
Now coming to the giveaway. Choose the 5 best recipes that I have posted in the year gone by and post it in the comments section. A panel independent of myself but consisting of my better half and some fellow foodies (read a motley group of fellow colleagues who love gluttony and some old pals who are chefs worldwide) will choose the best 5. The one's that come closest to that list stand to win specially designed cooking aprons. I have 3 aprons to give away. Wish I could have put up a photo of them but after I finished designing them for myself and placed the order much time had gone by and they are still being made. I have designed it myself and gone through the trouble of going through each and every detail alongwith Subha.
We post the lucky one's names on the 20th of this month.

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