Friday, November 27, 2009

Kasturi Kabab (Dried Fenugreek flavored Chicken Kababs)

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I start this post by wishing my elder son a Very Happy Birthday. Garv turns 5 today. Life has been so much more fuller having him around.
A few weeks back I cooked up some Burra Kabab quoting my visits to Bukhara at the Maurya Sheraton and my love for that Kabab. This weekend I cooked up another of my favorite from Bukhara - Kasturi Kabab. I planned to cook this Kabab many times, but always thought it was a tad bit tedious for a weekend cooking and kept postponing its arrival at our dining table.
A nice foggy morning with not a worry in a world and every bit of my body wanting to cook the whole day, I finally cooked up the famed kasturi kabab.
Other kababs that have found their way into our hearts, our dining table and this blog are:

Kasturi Kabab


Chicken, boneless, cut into 2 inch pieces - 600 gm

First Marinade -
Ginger-garlic paste - 3 Tsp
Vinegar - 1 Tblsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp

Second Marinade -
Refined Oil - 2 Tblsp
Gram flour (Besan) - 2.5 Tblsp
Garlic, finely chopped - 1 Tsp
Egg -1
Cardamom Powder (Elaichi) - 2 Tsp
White Pepper Powder - 2 Tsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp

Final Coat -
Breadcrumbs - 1 Tblsp
Egg - 1
Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi) - 1 Tblsp

1. Rub the chicken pieces with ginger-garlic paste, salt & vinegar. Keep in the refrigerator for an hour.
2. Heat oil in a wok. Add in the chopped garlic and fry till starts to brown.
3. Add in the gram flour and fry. Keep stirring continuously for about 10 minutes or till the oil separates. Remove from flame and allow to cool.
4. Mix together the gram flour mixture with 1 egg, cardamom powder, salt and white pepper powder in a big bowl.
5. Remove the chicken pieces from the refrigerator and add to this mixture.
6. Keep aside for 30 minutes.
7. Skewer the chicken pieces and grill on a tandoor or oven for 8-10 minutes. Turn after 5 minutes and baste the kababs with oil.
8. Once it is nearly cooked, remove the kababs from the tandoor/oven/grill and coat with a mixture of breadcrumbs, 1 egg and dry fenugreek leaves.
9. Cook again for 5 minutes.
10. Serve hot with mint chutney and onion rings on the side.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Apple Muffins

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Baking muffins every alternate weekend is something of a ritual at our household now. So much that my younger one who turns two next month calls all cakes as muffins ( or maapin in his lingo).
I tried baking apple muffins a long time back this year and met with disastrous results. The fault was entirely mine. I had gone against the one rule I follow in the kitchen- When cooking follow instinct, when baking follow instructions. I let my instinct take over and was left with something that resembled a crumble than a muffin. That explained my jitters when I set about baking apple muffins this time. This easy to follow recipe ensured success and the aroma of the freshly baked muffins made it into a hit. The first lot of 12 are over and I'm about to make another fresh batch for my muffin crazed sons.

Apple Muffins


Flour - 2 Cups
Baking powder - 2 Tsp
Sugar - 1/2 Cup
Nutmeg, freshly ground - 1/4 Tsp
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 Tsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp
Milk - 1 Cup
Egg - 1
Butter, melted - 1/4 Cup
Apple, cored, peeled and coarsely chopped - 1 Cup

1. Mix all the dry ingredients (Flour, sugar, spices, baking powder,salt) in a big bowl and whisk.
2. Mix all the wet ingredients (egg, Milk, butter) in a separate bowl. Whisk well.
3. Add the chopped apple and wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.
4. Stir to combine. Spoon into muffin molds.
5. Bake at 220 deg. Celsius for 20-25 minutes.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Chemmeen Mapas (Kerala Prawn Curry with coconut milk)

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The wedding season is here and all the partying and staying out late in the cold winter evenings does call for a sleepy and lazy Saturday/Sunday. The last thing you want to do that day is get up early and cook up a huge elaborate fare. Last Saturday was a similar one. We had just got over a very busy week involving loads of work at the office and hectic wedding celebrations in the evenings.
I decided to cook some prawn curry native to the christian community of Kerala. Since I have never tasted it in the past and was making do with an old newspaper cutting that had the instructions, I do not know whether I ended up making it as it should be, but it surely tasted heavenly with steamed rice on the side.

Chemmeen Mapas

Prawns, washed, shelled & deveined - 250 gm
Oil - 2 Tblsp
Mustard seeds (Rai) - 2 Tsp
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Onion, sliced - 1
Green Chillies, slit - 2
Ginger, chopped - 2 Tsp
Garlic cloves finely chopped - 12
Coriander Powder - 2 Tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Tamarind, soaked in 2/3 up of water - 1 Lemon sized ball
Coconut milk - 2/3 Cup
Salt - To Taste

1. Heat oil in a pan. Add in the mustard seeds. When they start to crackle, add in the fenugreek seeds, Sliced onion, green chillies, ginger and garlic.
2. Fry till onion turns translucent.
3. Mix together the coriander powder and red chili powder with a tblsp of water to form a paste. Add the spice paste in and fry again for 2 minutes.
4. Extract the tamarind pulp and add that to the pan. Add in the salt and cook.
5. Bring the mixture to a boil. Add prawns and cook till prawns are half done.
6. Pour in the coconut milk and mix well. Bring to a boil and remove from heat.
7. Serve hot with steamed rice or appams.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oat Bran Squares & Cookies

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Known by different names worldwide, cookies are a favorite with all ages, especially kids. Most English speaking countries except North America knows them as biscuits. In Spain they are known as galletas, and Kels in Germany. They stay well and a great snack on the move or over tea.
Finding myself home alone one day and in the mood to bake something I glanced upon some of my old recipe books that I have collected and saved up since my college days. Coincidentally, I opened up one of the handouts which my baking instructors had given about cookies. Armed with a few recipes and the motivation to bake some healthy cookies that I could use as an alternative to my late night junk food munching, I set about baking some oat bran cookies. My first lot was a traditional cookie. For the second lot, I poured the dough into a well greased mold cut it into squares and put it in the oven.
In my previous posts, I have already written about the health benefits of oat bran. These cookies have also resulted in me getting off the habit of munching junk food while watching late night TV and reaching for a healthy alternative. I think granola bars are up on my must try list now.

Oat Bran Cookies (or Squares)


Refined flour - 2 Cups
Oat bran - 1/2 Cup
Baking Soda - 1 Tsp
Salt - 1/2 Tsp
Brown sugar - 3/4 Cup
Granulated sugar - 3/4 Cup
Butter, softened at room temperature - 1/2 Cup
Eggs - 2
Vanilla Essence - 1 Tsp
Chopped walnuts - 1/4 Cup
Raisins - 1/4 Cup


Note: To make squares, drop the dough in a rectangular or square baking dish and cut into squares with a bread knife. bake as usual.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Burrah Kabab

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It has been a long and hot summer. The hot weather has been a factor in staying away from the kitchen and I missed staying away from my grill. The last two weeks you can feel the chill in the air during evenings and early mornings. The winters are here finally, though sadly we skipped monsoons here in Delhi. I have greeted this change in weather by taking out my grill and cooking up some tandoori fare. The Burra Kabab was one of the things I cooked. It had been on my mind for the last few months and this was a perfect occasion to try out the delicious kabab.
On my last few visits to the Bukhara I had found myself relishing the burrah kabab more than any other kababs and tikkas on the menu. Surprisingly, even some of the counterparts and visitors from overseas whom I had gone alongwith found a special liking for this kabab. Literally meaning the 'Big Kabab', the burrah kabab demands time for the preparation. The secret in the taste apart from the mild spiciness is the fact that the kabab should just melt in your mouth. This translates to marinating the pieces overnight or for atleast 6 hours if using a tenderizer. Having worked in the Bukhara for some time and knowing some of the old timers there helped in getting to know the recipe.

Burrah Kabab

Lamb/Mutton, chops and leg pieces, cut large (It is of course the Big Kabab) - 1 Kg ( I use mutton)
Red Chili Powder - 2 Tblsp
Mace (Javitri) powder - 1/4 Tsp
Nutmeg (Jaiphal) - 1/4 Tsp
Garam masala - 1 Tblsp
Shahi zeera (Black cumin seeds) - 2 Tblsp
Ginger-garlic paste - 6 Tblsp
Raw Papaya paste - 2 Tblsp
Malt vinegar - 1/2 Cup
Juice of 1 lemon
Hung yogurt - 1/4 Cup
Oil - 1 Tblsp
Salt - To Taste
Oil for basting

1. Make a marinade out of red chili powder, mace, nutmeg, garam masala powder, shahi zeera, ginger-garlic paste, raw papaya, lemon juice, malt vinegar and hung yogurt.
2. Marinade the lamb/mutton in the above ingredients for at least 6 hours (preferably overnight). Cover and put the marinated meat in the refrigerator.

3. Skewer the pieces an inch apart from each other.
4. Grill on a charcoal fire for 15-20 minutes or till half done.
5. Take the skewers off the grill and let them stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
6. Baste with oil and grill again till fully done ( 20 more minutes)
7. Serve hot garnished with chaat masala and lime juice sprinkled on top alongwith some mint chutney.

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