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And the winner is…

6 Jan

Lamb Dopiaza drawing with the ever versatile sandwich pies.

So whilst our blogging efforts for the last 2 months of 2011 were undoubtedly poor I’d like to reassure people that Mr M and I did perservere with the cooking and eating part of the challenge!

In conclusion I think our year of munching adventures has definitely opened our eyes to a wide variety of yummyness and ensured we got good use from our cook book collection (it might have grown slightly as a result)…

New Year so new challenge over and out Mrs M.

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The last Indian supper – our takeaway favourite Chicken Biryani

31 Jan

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Indian month has drawn to a close with a scrumptious Chicken Biryani and a lovely vegetable side curry.  A good end to a delicious month,  I’ve really enjoyed cooking and eating the food.  I wish we’d got round to making some puds, but nevermind.  Back to tonight’s food.

Chicken was gently marinated in cardomom, tumeric, chilli powder, garlic and ginger with yoghurt to bind it.

I chopped and fried onions in a copious amount of ghee.  I then browned the chicken off.  I added more yoghurt, mint and coriander.  This cooked gently for 15 minutes.  After soaking the rice,  I cooked it for ten minutes.

The rice was then layered in a dish, with the chicken mix and a coating of milk, ghee and saffron.  Once I had 3 layers it went into a hot oven for 15 minutes.

Mr M made a delicious spicy vegetable curry with onions,  carrots, peas, lentils, tomatoes and plenty of chillies, black cardomom, mustard seeds, panch poram and turmeric.

The light delicate spices of the Biryani meant it was a pleasure to eat.  Perfectly accompanied by the vegetables and some nice cold lager.  9.5 out of 10.

Bye, bye India,  hello China!

Kerala’s Red Fish Curry, just 1 more Indian meal to go!

30 Jan

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Credit again to Anjum Annan for nearly the last time.  A tasty and spicy fish curry though not as red as it looks in the book. I suspect the photos in the recipe book don’t feature the full list of ingredients – primarily the tamarind paste, which turns any colourful curry instantly brown!

A selection of seeds were fried off to start: cumin, mustard, fenugreek. Onions, garlic and ginger next and another list of spices.  Red chilli powder, ground coriander, garam masala, tamarind paste and a good handful of curry leaves. Two small fresh green chillies provided the spice.

Meanwhile, some frozen white fish cooked off in the oven and was flakes in at the end.

The verdict – 7.5 out of 10.

Mr M

Leftover lunch – cannelini bean curry

29 Jan

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As Mrs M was out being entertained and fed by friends last night, she missed out on this dish first time around but was able to enjoy it for lunch today.

Another of Anjam Anand’s easy recipes, this was quick and simple to make, although had plenty of tasty ingredients.

Basically spices, onions and garlic, coconut milk and beans. The spices included Asafoetida, mustard seeds, red chilli powder and turmeric.  A surprisingly rare ingredient for this month – tomatoes – was also thrown in, with curry leaves and tamarind paste as well. The cooking was basically a matter of throwing these all together and simmering for 10 minutes,  or as long as you can wait.

With the addition of some cous cous, this made a pleasant Saturday lunch as well.

Annum suggests that this recipe could also be blended into a mash accompaniment,  or blended and watered down a little as a warming soup. Any of these would be tasty and welcome, especially in the recent return to cold weather!

Mr M

Battered Amritsari sole

27 Jan

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… well, fish anyway! A very quick and tasty fish dish, supplemented by more naan and some chickpeas in a spicy tomato sauce.

The fish was marinades in lemon juice with garlic,  ground ginger, pepper and salt. A batter mix of gram flour, chilli powder,  baking powder, more ginger and garlic and carom/ajwain seeds. The fish was coated in the batter and fried for less than a minute per side.

To go alongside, I fried a couple of dried chillies, some mustard seeds and a green cardomom, added a tin of chickpeas, half tin of tomatoes and some turmeric and garam masala. Mrs M requested a bay leaf too. A slightly random but nice accompaniment. With some more of Mrs M’s excellent naan and some chutney finished it off well. She scored it 8.5 out of 10.

Mr M

Apologies for the delay – Jan 26th Lamb gosht korma

27 Jan

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No blog for Jan 25th,  I was out for a curry (bhindee bhajee, and prawn malabar).  Yesterday we had Lamb Gosht Korma.  A tasty lamb dish made with a spiced yogurt sauce (ginger, garlic,  green cardomom, cinnamon, cloves, green chillies) and almonds,  gently coloured with saffron.  This was mildly spicy,  with lots of complex spices and a richness from the almonds.  Served with a boiled egg and rice, Mr M voted 8 out of 10.

Jain Bengal Gram Curry

24 Jan

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Another of Anjam’s recipes, a vegetarian Jain one,  promised to be simple and quick.  Which it is, if you remember to soak the lentils well in advance.  Which fortunately we had.

Asafoetida and cumin were fried briefly and the lentils added with enough water to cover. Turmeric, red chilli powder and ground coriander were added and left to bubble away for 15 minutes with some garam masala and yoghurt thrown in at the end.

Mrs M returned from yoga to help finish off the ritual she had started earlier.

Definitely quick and easy and pretty tasty too.  More of a side dish than a main if you ask me,  but pretty good. As usual the suggested portions for 45 were a good amount to feed the pair of us, so no leftovers for tomorrow! Mrs M awarded 7.5 out of 10.

Mr M

Lamb DoPiaza and Spongy Lentil cake

23 Jan

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Yum.  Dinner has just been consumed and it’s safe to say today’s was a good un. Lamb DoPiaza is a curry house fav, and definitely worth trying at home.  As long as you like onions,  DoPiaza means 2 onions, the 2 being whole baby (pickling) onions and finely chopped brown onions.  After the faff of peeling the little ones,  they were blanched then covered in melted butter until needed later. 

First the red chillies,  cardomom,  cinnamon,  cloves and turmeric were fried.  Then the chopped onions were added,  they soaked up the colours beautifully.  Obligatory ginger and garlic added here.  After a little bit of cooking,  tinned tomatoes were added.  A few minutes later and the lamb went in for 45 minutes.  Towards the end of cooking more spices were added,  garam masala,  coriander,  mace and black pepper.  A little bit of fresh coriander and the curry was done.

The Lentil cake contained gram flour mixed with yoghurt to make a battery that was spiced with ginger, green chillies and turmeric.  Poured into a cake tin and steamed for 25 minutes.  This was topped with fried mustard seeds, sesame seeds and curry leaves, boiled in a sugar syrup.  More coriander and coconut to garnish.

With both parts of the meal prepared we plated up and tucked in.  Spicy, aromatic curry with tender lamb.  Sweet, sour, salty and tangy Lentil cake to mop up the juices.

Mr M voted 9.5.  When asked what I needed for the last half he said a pudding.  Mmmm.  Me thinks he just won’t give me full marks so I keep trying hard to impress him.

Think today’s efforts should compensate for the lack of post yesterday,  we ate with a friend.  Fear not, we had leftover curry for lunch. Think we shall return to the advertised menu tomorrow,  which means vegetarian food.

Dum shahi koftas

21 Jan

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More lamb mince today, prompting us to try and think of the last time we cooked pork or beef.  Not this month,  but forthcoming plans for Chinese and Italian months will balance that out!

Today’s recipe was rather complicated, calling for a kofta mix with a blend of spices as well as a sauce (or ‘gravy’ according to our little Indian cookbooks) both with a similar base of spices. Add to that the fact that the meatballs were stuffed with apricots and it all took quite a while to make.

For the meatballs, lamb mince is combined with the following: coriander and fennel seeds (ground to powder), garlic and ginger (both mashed in the mortar*),  green chillies and grated onion. These were formed into meaty golfballs before being stuffed with apricots.

*Careful not to get squirted in the eye with ginger juice when mashing it in the pestle and mortar – it hurts quite a bit!

For the sauce bay leaves,  green cardomom, cloves and cinnamon sticks were fried briefly in oil, and more garlic,  ginger and grated onion was added. A teaspoon of red chilli powder and a tin of tomatoes made up the sauce. A half pint of water topped up the sauce so that it almost covered the kofta balls when they were popped in (from their short spell in the fridge,  which helps keep burgers or balls of mince together when fried or boiled).

This was all left to simmer for a good while,  with a mix of saffron in milk,  garam masala and mace added towards the end.

This was very tasty indeed and worthy of 10 out of 10 if it had been accompanied by naan, but there had not been time,  so I would say 9/10. Mrs M scored it almost the same, but unable to bring herself to give the full 9, so awarded it 8.75 out of 10!

Mr M

Buttered fish tikka

20 Jan

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A spicy one tonight. Not necessarily sure that my recipe following was ace, as I made the marinade last night and was quite tired!  Or it could just be that the Indian cookbook recipes are spicier,  than Anjum’s anglicised efforts!

I made a marinade from fried browned onions which were blended.  I then added garlic with coriander,  tumeric and chilli powder.  A bit of yoghurt and the marinade was done.  Fish and marinade got to know each other over night.

Oven cooked the fish for 30 minutes,  then served with rice and beans.  Yummy, needed some yoghurt to cope with the heat.  I reckon 8 out of 10.