Thursday, January 31, 2013

Easy Meatloaf Dinner

Meatloaf Dinner 
All that's left to be made is the gravy!

Remove meatloaf from oven and allow to rest
for at least 15 minutes before slicing so that
any residual juices are absorbed
October 14, 2011
Kole, our grandson who is 5 years old, spent the evening with us yesterday. 
When we got to our home, he asked, "What are we having for dinner?" 
I said "Meatloaf, rice and gravy with green beans and carrots". 
"But I don't like meatloaf!" to which I replied "Which little boy do you know wh
o doesn't like hamburger?" 
You should have seen how clean his rice bowl was when he was all done  
He had so much fun with the green beans. He took each one apart and ate the little pods and counted all the depressions left by the pods before eating the rest. 
He's totally charming!

Serves:             6
Prep Time:       30 minutes
Baking Time:    1 hour
Cooking Time:  15 minutes (for vegetables & gravy)


For meatloaf:
1 lb. meatloaf mix (1:1 ground beef, pork and veal) 
½ 6 oz. pkg. Kraft Stove Top Chicken Stuffing Mix 
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 large or 8-10 baby carrots, grated
1 medium onion, grated
¼ cup Heinz tomato ketchup
2 eggs, beaten
Salt and pepper to taste

For side of vegetables per person:
1 handful green beans, ends removed
8-10 baby carrots
4-6 florets cauliflower or broccoli
Butter and salt to taste

For beef gravy:
1 8 oz. bottle Heinz Beef Gravy 
1 cup hot water

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Bring meatloaf mix to room temperature.
  3. Grind stuffing mix in food processor; place in a deep bowl.
  4. Grate celery, carrots and onion (mirepoix) in food processor.
  5. Combine stuffing mix, mirepoix, ketchup, beaten eggs, salt and pepper until thoroughly combined.
  6. Add this to the meatloaf mixture and using hands mix until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.
  7. Place in a glass loaf pan, pat down to fill all nooks and crannies, cover with foil and bake at 375°F for ½ hour.
  8. Remove foil and bake another ½ hour or until internal temperature reaches at least 160°F.
  9. Allow to cool for 15 minutes, slice and serve over hot cooked rice or mashed potatoes topped with gravy.
Mirepoix is a combination of chopped carrots, celery and onions used to add flavor and aroma to stocks, sauces, soups and other foods. 
The amount of vegetables listed in the ingredients should be multiplied by the number of guests being served. 

Blanched Vegetables:
  1. In a big pan, bring a generous quantity of water to a boil.
  2. Blanch each vegetable, removing vegetables as soon as water returns to a boil. 
  3. Toss each vegetable with a little butter and salt to taste. 
Beef Gravy:
  1. Reserve 1 cup hot water in which vegetables have been blanched.
  2. Into a saucepan, empty the bottle of Heinz Beef Gravy, stir in as much hot water as needed to achieve the desired consistency of gravy and bring to a boil.
I shared this recipe on:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Burmese Noodle Salad with Cilantro Dressing

Noodle Salad with Cilantro Dressing
Taster's Bowl (bottom right) garnished with
fried onions & garlic, roasted sesame seeds,
crushed cashews and a squeeze of lime
Fish Tofu
For another variation of this recipe, take a look at Burmese Noodles with Cilantro Pesto.

The cilantro dressing is reminiscent of pesto which is usually made with basil and pine nuts. This dressing uses cilantro and cashew nuts, along with other Burmese ingredients. The salad can be eaten at room temperature, cold or microwaved for 30 seconds, just enough to take the chill off. I added fish tofu (similar to fish cake) to add some protein to the dish.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lamb Shahi Korma

Mala Ray Chatterjee's Mutton Shahi Korma
Reproduced in my kitchen

Lamb Shahi Korma is a lamb curry fit for a king or Shah. Shahi Kormas are generally cream based dishes that include nuts and sometimes, raisins. I purchased a whole leg of baby lamb (9 lbs.) at the halal meat store and had the butcher remove most of the fat layer and cut it into pieces suitable for a stew. He packaged it into 4 bags which I froze until needed. I followed this recipe exactly, except that olive oil replaced most of the butter and ghee, fat-free half and half replaced the cream and since there were no almonds in the house, a paste of raw cashews had to suffice.  I ground about half a cup of golden raisins with the cashews. The reason my dish looks more red is because I used greek yogurt which has no moisture in it, instead of regular full-fat yogurt. To retain the white color of the gravy, I will use regular yogurt next time. The white pepper powder gives this lamb curry a real kick!

By Mala Ray Chatterjee

1 kg. (2 lbs.) mutton/lamb (marinated overnight in curd and ginger-garlic paste) 
100 gms. (1/2 cup) roasted almonds/cashews, soaked and made into a paste
white butter-100 gms. (1 stick or 1/2 cup)
ghee-100 gms. (1/2 cup)
Amul cream-100 gms. (1/2 cup)
white pepper powder-2 Tbsp.
4 large onions, chopped
2 Tbsp. ginger paste
2 Tbsp. garlic paste
300 gms. (1 cup) curd/yogurt
whole garam masala - 4 sticks of cinnamon, 4 bayleaves, 8-10 cardamoms, 8-9 cloves
6-8 slit green chillies

Pour butter and ghee in pressure cooker, put the whole garam masala, fry the onions till translucent..not brown, add the marinated mutton/lamb and pressure cook till done...on simmer...(no water). Open the lid , add almond paste , salt, cream, white pepper and green chillies...take off heat after 2-3 minutes....finger-licking good!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Khichuri - Rice & Lentil Soup

This is the perfect soup for a cold and rainy or snowy day. Equal portions of rice and mung and/or red lentils along with a variety of vegetables (cauliflower & potatoes are a must) are fried with spices and onions before being cooked long and slow at a simmer. It is garnished with hard-boiled eggs, a wedge of lemon and deep-fried onions.

1/4 cup red lentils, washed and drained
1/4 cup mung dal, washed and drained
1/2 cup Basmati rice, washed and drained
1/4 cup wheat berries*, washed & drained (optional)
1/2 pkg Freshlike frozen vegetables
2 russet potatoes, chopped small
1/2 cauliflower, cut in florets
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 cinnamon stick
4 green cardamoms
6 cloves
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
1/4 tsp. fennel seeds
1/4 tsp. paprika or Kashmiri mirch powder
1/4 tsp. cumin-coriander powder
1/8 tsp. turmeric
salt to taste
2 onions, chopped fine
1 green chili, chopped fine
2 Tbsp. grated coconut, unsweetened
1 tomato, chopped fine
1 tsp. ginger paste
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 lemon, cut in wedges
4 hard-boiled eggs, shelled and chopped
1/4 cup deep fried onions
2 tsp. ghee

  1. Wash rice and lentils, soak in water and set aside.
  2. Add eggs to a pan of cold water and boil for 10 minutes.
  3. Remove pan from heat, cover eggs and set aside for 10 minutes.
  4. Drain eggs and cool, remove shells, chop and reserve for later.
  5. Heat oil over high heat in a large saucepan.
  6. Fry cinnamon, cardamom, cloves and star anise for 2 minutes.
  7. Transfer cardamom, cloves and star anise to a stainless steel tea ball or tie in a cheese-cloth and set aside.
  8. In same oil, sputter cumin and fennel seeds.
  9. Add 2 Tbsp. deep fried onions, chopped onions, grated coconut and green chilies and fry until onions turn translucent.
  10. Add tomatoes, turmeric, paprika and cumin-coriander powder and stir-fry for 2 minutes.
  11. Stir in frozen and fresh vegetables and fry until vegetables are well coated with the rest.
  12. Add rice and lentils, salt to taste and stir well until thoroughly combined.
  13. Add 8 cups of boiling water along with tea ball with spices and simmer until potatoes are cooked and soup is reduced by half.
  14. Adjust salt to taste and stir in ginger paste, sugar and ghee.
  15. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish each with chopped eggs, deep fried onions and juice of one lemon wedge.
Khichuri with a side of pan-fried eggplant
* Wheat berries are grains of whole wheat. They are pre-packaged and sold in Indian grocery stores and are used in a dish called Haleem. Because everything in this soup becomes really soft and merges together, the wheat berries give a surprising texture and bite to this dish.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chicken Corn Soup

The little red dot is a drop of Sriracha chili sauce
This is one of my family's favourite soups to order at a Chinese restaurant, so here is my take on it. It is a popular item on Chinese menus in Kolkata, India and can also be found at Indo-Chinese Hakka restaurants in Toronto, Canada, where the signs often call out 'Calcutta style Chinese food'. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

Baingan Bhartha

Stir-Fried Eggplants & Peas

When we lived in Defense Colony in New Delhi, there was a dhaba in the corner of our street.  The vegetarian dishes there were wholesome, but some non-vegetarian dishes were very rich. This eggplant preparation was a favorite and something the whole family enjoyed.  It is very simple to make and requires that large eggplants be roasted prior to mashing and cooking. I had oriental eggplant which, as suggested by my niece, I chopped instead of roasting.  The next time, I will chop the oriental eggplant in much smaller pieces so that they practically disintegrate during the slow cooking process.



4 large oriental eggplants, chopped finely
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. cumin seeds or shah jeera
2 green chilies, chopped fine
3 large onions, chopped fine
1 Tbsp. garlic paste
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1 Tbsp. tomato paste
3 medium Roma tomatoes, chopped fine  
½ tsp. coriander powder
¼ tsp. cumin powder
½ tsp. garam masala powder
¼ tsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped fine
1 tsp. ghee



1.    Sputter cumin seeds and chopped chilies in hot oil over medium-high heat.
2.    Add onions and stir-fry until soft and translucent.
3.    Add garlic, ginger and tomato pastes and stir-fry for a minute.
4.    Reduce heat to medium-low and add tomatoes and powdered spices.
5.    Stir well and cook until oil resurfaces.
6.    Add eggplant pieces, stir, cover and simmer again until oil resurfaces.
7.    Stir in frozen peas, cover and cook until peas are cooked.
8.    Garnish with sugar, cilantro and ghee and cook for another minute or two.
9.    Serve hot with cooked basmati rice or chapatis.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Muro Lau

Squash with Fish Bones

I remember Mum making this for us. She is such an inspiration to us all! She had such a zest for life and enjoyed cooking till the last and was so willing to share her recipes. I've tried to reproduce this as best my memory will allow.

Fish bones are available in any oriental market that sells live and fresh fish.  The bones that are left over from filleting fish are packaged and sold separately.  Fish heads may be included among the fish bones.  I recently purchased a package of Garupa/Grouper fish bones which was used in this recipe. Marinating the fish bones in garlic paste, turmeric and salt removes the fishy smell.  

The green chilies are of a tiny Thai variety that I grew in a container on my front porch. When the weather got too cold I had to harvest the remaining chilies on the plant so I froze them in a ziploc bag and have been using them ever since. If left to ripen on the plant, the chilies turn a bright red.

Chayote squash may be replaced with Lau/Lauki (Bottle Gourd) or Zucchini.


3 chayote squash, peeled & julienned

Marinate for ½ hour: 
1 pkg. (1½ lbs.) fish bones, cut in pieces
1 Tbsp. garlic paste
½ tsp. turmeric

1 cup hot water
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
1 cup hot water
½ tsp. roasted cumin powder
Salt to taste

2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 green chili, chopped
¼ tsp. cumin seeds or Shah Jeera
¼ tsp. black mustard seeds

4 green chilies
2 Tbsp. chopped cilantro
½ tsp. garam masala powder
1 tsp. ghee

1.    Marinate fish bones in garlic paste, salt and turmeric for ½ hour.
2.    Bring water to boil & simmer gravy ingredients on low heat until needed.
3.    Heat oil in a pan and pan-fry fish bones until golden; set aside.
4.    In the same oil, fry aromatics, stir in squash and cook until soft.
5.    Add simmering gravy and fish bones, cover and cook until oil resurfaces.
6.    Garnish with garam masala powder, green chilies, cilantro and ghee.
7.    Serve on a bed of hot Basmati rice.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Candied Ginger

A great mouth freshener after eating Burmese or any food. Tidbits of ginger cooked in a simple syrup, dried on a rack and then tossed in granulated sugar, this finger-food is very easy to make at home.

Burmese Ginger Salad

Set Hna Myo Gin Thoke
12 Ingredient Ginger Salad
A refreshing salad made from julienned strips of ginger, along with 12 other ingredients.  All the fresh ingredients are cut in the same size and shape. If fried onions and garlic are not available in your area, you will have to take the time to slice and fry them yourself.  The shrimp floss is made by pounding dried shrimp until they turn to a powdery floss. I make my own garlic-onion-chili oil by filling a bottle with a cup of fried garlic and onions & 2 Tbsp. red chili flakes and pouring hot Crisco oil to fill the bottle.  Allow the oil to cool a little before pouring in the bottle so the bottle doesn't crack from the heat. Store at room temperature for an indefinite period of time.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Cauliflower, Potatoes & Peas Curry

Alu Gobi Matar in Hindi
Phoolkopi Alu Matar in Bengali

1 cauliflower, cut in florets
1 russet potato, cubed
1 cup frozen peas
4 Tbsp. extra light olive oil
½ tsp. shah jeera or cumin seeds
2 medium onions, cubed
2 tsp. ginger paste
1 tsp. garlic paste
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
2 – 3 green chilies
½ tsp. garam masala powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp. ghee

1.    Boil water and blanch onions for 2 minutes, strain and set both aside.
2.    Puree onions, chilies, onion, ginger, garlic and tomato pastes in a blender.
3.    Heat oil in a pan over medium-high heat and fry cauliflower until golden.
4.    Remove cauliflower and set aside, then do the same with potato cubes.
5.    Heat oil in the same pan and add cumin seeds.
6.    When cumin starts to sizzle, add onion puree and simmer until oil resurfaces.
7.    Add reserved hot water, bring to a boil and add cauliflower & potatoes.
8.    Cover and simmer until potatoes are cooked.
9.    Add frozen peas, adjust salt to taste, cover and simmer for five minutes.
10. Sprinkle garam masala powder over the cauliflower, stir and remove from heat.
11. Garnish with ghee and serve.

Keema Kofta Curry

By Mala Ray Chatterjee

Mala Ray Chatterjee is an avid cook and is a fellow-member of the  Kitchen Raagas group on Facebook.  She makes her own homemade meatballs for this kofta curry. 

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Meatballs & Potatoes in a Red Gravy

Ready made meatballs work just as well as homemade meatballs. All kinds of meatballs are available in the grocery stores these days - chicken, beef & pork, turkey - except lamb or mutton which need to be made from scratch.  Just make sure to use regular meatballs as opposed to flavored, such as Italian or Teriyaki meatballs.  

25-30 frozen cocktail meatballs
1 russet potato, cubed
2 onions, quartered 
1 tsp. garlic paste
1 tsp. ginger paste
2 tsp. tomato paste
2 green chilies
1/4 tsp. cumin seeds (jeera or Shah jeera)
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
salt to taste
4 Tbsp. vegetable oil

  1. Blanch onions in one cup boiling water, strain and set water aside.
  2. Puree onions, garlic, ginger, tomato paste and green chilies.
  3. Heat oil in a saucepan, brown meatballs and set aside.
  4. In the same hot oil, brown the potatoes and set aside.
  5. In the same hot oil sputter cumin seeds, cinnamon and star anise.
  6. Add pureed onions and season with salt to taste.
  7. Turn heat down to low and simmer gravy until oil resurfaces.
  8. Add reserved hot water, bring to boil and add meatballs & potatoes.
  9. Simmer on low heat until potatoes are cooked.
Serve with hot rice, roti or naan.

Burmese Bamboo Shoots & Shrimp

Serves: 4
Here's one of those recipes that bring back memories of our life in Burma. Fresh bamboo shoots are available in the market, soaking in salted water. Here in Michigan, I found it in an Oriental store, marinated and packaged in packets.  They turned out to be very tender and succulent and pairs really well with green onions and shrimp.