Sunday, December 30, 2018

Chicken Curry with Mint & Cilantro

Minty Chicken Curry
Mum used to make her father's scrumptious recipe which she called Ceylon Chicken. Dadu (grandfather) was a wonderful cook and enjoyed international cuisine as much as Indian food. 

Using bone-in chicken in this dish would make it immensely more flavourful, but that's a matter of personal preference. I've used boneless and skinless chicken thighs for dinner tonight. Serve this as a main course with steamed rice or chapatis.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Lamb Rogan Josh

Lamb Rogan Josh
Over 3 decades ago, during time spent in California, Mum's sister and my aunt came to visit us for a number of months. She enjoyed talking about her (and Mum's) childhood in Burma. It was during her stay that we met 3 families from Burma, also living in Southern California. My most precious memories of her are the endless hours we spent in the kitchen while we prepared a number of her favorite dishes. She taught me how to make tandoori chicken in the toaster oven, plump and juicy gulab jamuns and this lamb curry that originated in Kashmir, India.

The lamb simmers on the stove top for 2-1/2 hours until fall-off-the-bone tender and tastes delicious served with rice or any Indian bread.

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Bori Diye Bandhakopi - Stir-fried Cabbage with Lentil Dumplings

Bori Diye Bandhakopi
Boris or lentil dumplings add flavour and crunch to vegetable and fish dishes. Each is shaped like a little pagoda with a rounded base and a tiny pointed steeple. Just like garam masala powder, boris vary widely depending on each region in India. 

Lentil Dumplings
Bengali boris are small and delicately flavoured predominantly with asafoetida/hing and are made from a wide variety of lentils and/or vegetables as pictured above. This picture which I was lucky to find on the BongHaat website on the internet ( features Til/Sesame, Posto/White Poppy Seed, Hing/Asafoetida, Fulkopi/Cauliflower, Chalkumro/Ash Gourd, Motor Dal/Split Pea, Kalai/Split Black Gram and Masoor/Red Lentil. Wadis from other parts of India are much larger and heavily spiced, predominantly with chili powder.

Cabbage is one of those vegetables that's available year-round here in North America. My favourite preparation with cabbage is to make it with shrimp, but we have recently developed an allergy to shrimp which we now try to avoid. On its own, cabbage is tasteless so adding boris is a great idea!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Jeera Guro Diye Maacher Jhol - Fish in Cumin Gravy

Jeera Guro Diye Maacher Jhol
Another quick and easy gravy for fish. Any white fish such as snapper, carp or whitefish works in this recipe. Since we all love eggplant, it's one way to sneak vegetables into a meal. Cumin seeds are roasted in a dry pan without oil and ground to a fine powder for the gravy.

This main dish is best served with basmati or jasmine rice.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Oven-Baked Lamb Stew

Lamb Stew
Cooking meat dishes in the oven in the winter time has the huge benefit that it can be left to cook unattended with practically no interference. Another bonus is that winter can be shut out and left outdoors where it belongs because cooking in the oven doesn't release too many aromas. It took just 15 minutes to prepare the meat and vegetables for the oven. This was so quick and easy that I was a little unsure of how it would turn out and was pleasantly surprised.

After layering all the ingredients in the baking dish it took 3.5 hours to bake this stew in the oven. By the time we sat down to dinner the lamb was fork tender and falling off the bones. And because it baked for so long, there was no need to brown the meat which was a huge relief. The baking dish also served as a serving dish so there were no pots and pans to clean. So I will be filing this under my 'stress-free recipes' category.

Saturday, December 08, 2018

Tilapia Maacher Tel Jhol - Tilapia in Mustard Oil Gravy

This is a delectable way of preparing fish when you're craving a tasty fish dish to have with hot, fragrant Basmati rice. It takes less than 10 minutes to prepare on the stove top and is finger-licking good! To save time on the days I cook, when fish arrives home on marketing day, they are cut into serving size pieces, rubbed with salt and turmeric powder and stored in Ziploc bags, ready to slide into a skillet on demand.

The gravy is so simple to assemble that the resulting goodness at the end is a pleasurable surprise.  It's perfect for those busy days when the choice between going out to eat or enjoying a hot rice bowl with fish at home is a no-brainer! And it uses only 5 ingredients if spices are omitted.