Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Spice Factory - Chilli Potatoes

Chillies: Spicy is a word synonymous with Indian cuisine. But chillies only came to us in India in the 17th century with the advent of the Portugese. For an ingredient that entered our cuisine so late, it has managed to make itself irreplaceable. Today chillies are extensively used and every region in India has a different variety of chillies. In India chillies are used in all their avatars from fresh and green to ripe red and dried crimson. Green chillies are used for chutneys, salads and vegetables and the dried red varieties are used popularly in the tadkas and to add heat. Red chilli powder is undoubtedly the most used spice in Indian cooking. But Chillies are used for their heat.


Chilli Potatoes
(Preparation Time: 20 minutes; serves: 4)



Ingredients:
4-5 potatoes-par-boiled with jackets, peeled and cut into chunks or you can cut them into chunks and deep fry them.
½ cup water or stock
Salt to taste
1 tbsp oil
2 tbsp of the Thencha
Chopped Cilantro to garnish










Method:Heat the oil in a pan. Add the Thencha and sauté for 30 second. Add the stock to break up paste into a sauce. Add salt. Add the potatoes and toss them well until they are coated with the chilli garlic oil Taste and adjust seasoning if required. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and stir fry for about 5 minutes till the potatoes are done and their jackets are crisp.

Spice Factory - Maharashtrian Mirchi Thecha

Chillies: Spicy is a word synonymous with Indian cuisine. But chillies only came to us in India in the 17th century with the advent of the Portugese. For an ingredient that entered our cuisine so late, it has managed to make itself irreplaceable. Today chillies are extensively used and every region in India has a different variety of chillies. In India chillies are used in all their avatars from fresh and green to ripe red and dried crimson. Green chillies are used for chutneys, salads and vegetables and the dried red varieties are used popularly in the tadkas and to add heat. Red chilli powder is undoubtedly the most used spice in Indian cooking. But Chillies are used for their heat.
Maharashtrian Mirchi Thecha
 (Preparation Time: 15 minutes; Makes: 1 cup)

Thencha (meaning pounded) is a condiment called so due to its method of preparation made from pounding slightly charred fresh chillies and garlic pounded together to form a coarse paste. The smoky flavour from the roasting adds to the heat of the chillies and the aroma of the garlic. This is a mild version using capsicums for the green chilli flavour and a few green chillies for heat.

“Zhanzhanit”- meaning electrifyingly spicy in Marathi (a regional language) is an exclusive word used for chilli preparations, mostly the ones that are so hot that it makes one cry while eating.

Ingredients:
3-4 capsicums
6-10 hot spicy Green chillies
12 cloves of Garlic, peeled
Salt
Oil








Method:
In a small baking tray, place Capsicums, chillies and garlic pods. Drizzle with Olive oil and roast Roast them uniformly on all sides till you see brown black spots over them. Place capsicums in a paper bag to sweat off the skins, peel and reserve. (If you are using the green chillies available, peel them too. If using spicy Thai or Indian green chillies , those can’t be peeled. Place peeled capsicums, chillies and garlic in a mortar and pestle or blender and process to a coarse paste. Roast them uniformly on all sides till you see brown black spots over them. Thecha can be stored for 4-5 days in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Buttermilk (Chaas) with Cumin


Cumin: Cumin is usually used both as whole seed or roasted and ground into most dals, curry dishes and vegetables. Not only is it one of the prolifically used spices, it is also an important one because it aids in digestion. It has a slightly bitter and nutty taste and a distinct strong and warm aroma. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as curries and chilli.

Buttermilk (Chaas) with Cumin


Watch the Cooking Demo for this recipe here

(Preparation time: 5 minutes; cooking time: 2 minutes; makes 4 glasses)
Mattha or spiced buttermilk is a savoury drink drunk all over India. With a hint of spices and fresh herbs, this refreshing drink is very healthy and aids in digestion. Sit back, relax and enjoy every sip of this cool concoction!

Ingredients:
3 cups Greek yoghurt
1 cups water
½ tsp salt or to taste
½ tsp toasted Cumin powder
½ tsp Green chilli-ginger paste
1 tsp fresh mint leaves-chopped
Salt to taste
For the tempering:
1 tsp Ghee/Grapeseed oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp garlic chopped
¼ tsp green chillies

For the Garnish
1 tbsp chopped cilantro

Method:
Whisk the yoghurt with the water until it is smooth. Add the cumin powder, green chilli-ginger paste and salt and mix well. To temper the chaas, heat the oil/ghee, add the cumin seeds and garlic. When the garlic becomes golden add chillies. Allow chillies to crisp up and pour the tempering over the buttermilk. Serve garnished with chopped coriander.

Buttermilk braised Garlicky Yoghurt Chicken


Cumin: Cumin is usually used both as whole seed or roasted and ground into most dals, curry dishes and vegetables. Not only is it one of the prolifically used spices, it is also an important one because it aids in digestion. It has a slightly bitter and nutty taste and a distinct strong and warm aroma. It helps to add an earthy and warming feeling to cooking, making it a staple in certain stews and soups, as well as curries and chilli


Buttermilk braised Garlicky Yogurt Chicken

(Preparation Time: 30 minutes; Serves: 4)


Ingredients:
500g boneless chicken breasts but to bitesize
1 1/2 cups Greek yoghurt
1 cup water
1 tsp salt or to taste
1 tsp toasted Cumin powder
½ tsp Green chilli paste
1 tsp ginger grated
1 tsp fresh mint leaves-chopped
Salt to taste
1 tbsp cornflour dissolved into a paste in a little water.
For the tempering:
1 tbsp Ghee/Grapeseed oil
½ tsp cumin seeds
2 tbsp garlic chopped
1/2 tsp green chillies, chopped

For the Garnish
1 tbsp chopped cilantro


Method:
Whisk the yoghurt with the water until it becomes smooth.  Add the cumin powder, green chilli paste, grated ginger and salt and mix well. Add water and mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning.
Temper the yoghurt mixture; heat the ghee and add cumin seeds. When the cumin sarkens and gets aromatic add the garlic. When garlic starts getting golden at the edges, add chillies. Allow the chillies to fry until they begin to darken but not burn. Pour this flavoured ghee over the buttermilk.
Add the prepared cleaned chicken to the buttermilk mixture. Place on a slow flame and cook slowly, stirring often. Keep cooking until the chicken pieces have turned opaque. Strain out chicken and transfer to a large pan. Leave yoghurt liquid to simmer. Cook slowly using some of the yoghurt liquid left in the other pan to baste chicken.  
Meanwhile add the cornflour paste to the simmering yoghurt liquid and stir in well. It will thicken quickly to the consistency of a bĂ©chamel sauce. When chicken begins to get golden brown and crisping at the edges return to yoghurt sauce and stir well to coat. Scatter with Mint leaves and serve with Crusty bread and a green salad.