Saturday, October 27, 2018

Jhinge Alu Posto

Jhinge Alu Posto
Jhinge is known as ridge gourd in English and, in North America, is available almost exclusively at Indian markets. It is a watery vegetable that reduces to practically nothing, so make sure to get 4-5 of them, if possible.

Spines on the surface give it its name
Posto are white poppy seeds that are soaked in boiling water, set aside until it cools to room temperature and then blended to a creamy paste with salt to taste and green chilies. It tastes wonderful with hot rice or any variety of Indian breads.

Kosha Mangsho - Slow Cooked Lamb or Goat Curry

Kosha Mangsho 
Kosha Mangsho is a lamb or goat curry that is simmered for hours over low heat until the meat falls off the bones, leaving a golden brown gravy that is silky and delicious! I went looking for a whole baby goat leg, but all they had at the halal meat shop was baby lamb shoulder. I much prefer goat because lamb has a horrible smell, but was pleasantly surprised to find that baby lamb doesn't smell bad at all! The shoulder was cut into 'stew' pieces by the butcher and it had lots of meaty bones which gives the curry so much more flavor than boneless cuts of meat. Besides, I love chewing on the bones and the marrow is to die for.

Kosha Mangsho with Baby Potatoes
Adding baby potatoes to lamb curry is my favorite way of preparing meat dishes. They add a different texture to the meaty parts of the dish and are so satisfying too! Marinating the lamb overnight in the refrigerator tenderizes and allows all the spices to penetrate the chunks of lamb from the inside out.

Simmered for Hours on the Stove Top
Rather than cook this quickly in a pressure cooker, I chose to cook it in a skillet over low heat on top of the stove. It simmered for 2-1/2 hours while I prepared the rest of the meal and was outstanding as a result of the slow cooking. This lamb curry is best served with steaming hot rice (in my humble opinion) but also goes well with any variety of Indian breads.

Monday, October 22, 2018

Eggplant Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Begun-er Raita
Raita is an Indian side dish or salad of yogurt containing chopped cucumber or other vegetables and spices. It is usually served alongside rich dishes like biryani, pulao or with kababs. The yogurt dressing helps to tone down spicy dishes, soothing the palate with its creaminess. Greek yogurt is a good option, as opposed to regular unflavoured yogurt, because it is already drained of its whey, making it thick and creamy.

Cutting the eggplants into thick rondelles and lightly frying them preserves the integrity and texture of the vegetable, otherwise eggplants tend to break down easily and turn mushy. Marinating the rondelles of eggplant with salt and powdered spices like turmeric, fennel and Kashmiri mirch (paprika) serves to saturate the eggplants with flavor from the inside out.

To keep the yogurt dressing from curdling or separating, it is added and stirred into the eggplants after removing the skillet from the heat source. This salad tastes best if it is chilled in the refrigerator prior to serving.

Fish with Garlic, Tomatoes and Green Onions

Rosun r Pyaj Koli Diye Maacher Jhol
My previous post detailed my memories attached to this dish. After consulting with my big sister, I was able to reproduce my Mamima, or aunt's recipe more accurately. The coarsely ground mustard seeds in my prior post were replaced with garlic which gives this gravy a lighter, fresher appearance and taste .

Any white fish, such as snapper, tilapia or carp, will work for this recipe and it goes without saying that fish cut in steaks with the bones intact, always taste much better than filleted fish. I used both sliced onions and onion paste and also added potatoes to this fish curry.