French Beans Foogath – Goan Style Green Beans Stir Fry

You’ll notice that a lot of recipes that I share here are vegetarian. I thought I’d talk about that for a moment. While my husband and I aren’t full time vegetarians, we eat very little fish and meat. Most of our meals in a regular week happen to be vegetarian and we like it like that.

Today’s recipe is another such gem. Its my French Beans Foogath, a Goan Style Green Beans Stir Fry. I love keeping things simple in the kitchen. This works well for me when I’m short on time but still want a home cooked meal. This recipe ticks all those boxes. Just a handful of ingredients, a little cooking and you end up with a delicious vegetable. Now that’s my kind of recipe. I hope you enjoy it too.





French Beans Foogath


1/4 kg green beans / french beans (approx)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2 chillies, cut into quarters lengthwise
1 onion, peeled and chopped
A little grated coconut
1 tbsp oil
Salt, to taste

Prep the green beans by washing them, trimming the ends and chopping into little pieces.

Heat some oil in a pan.

Add the mustard seeds.

When they start spluttering, add the chillies and stir for a few seconds.

Add the onion and saute till they’ve softened and they start developing a little color.

Add the green beans and stir well. Stir fry for about a minute.

Add a little salt and stir through for about another minute.

Add a couple of small splashes of water. Let the water come to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pot and let the vegetable cook.

Check the vegetable in a couple of minutes. Stir and ensure there is sufficient water. Add more water if needed. Check for seasoning and adjust if required and let it continue to cook till done.

When it’s almost done, add the coconut and stir through. Let it cook for another minute or so, to let the coconut warm through.

Serve hot.

Enjoy!!!

Goan Recheado Masala (Rechaad Masala)

Recheado Masala (Rechaad Masala) is a quintessential Goan spice blend. You will find this in every Goan or Goan food lovers home. While its a few basic spices that’s simply blended together in a mixer / food processor, the trick is getting the right balance of flavors. Every household has its own version of this masala. And yes, we have one too. The recipe I’m sharing with you today is my Mother’s recipe which I’ve tweaked a tiny bit and I think it’s now just the way we like it.

I always have a jar of this masala in the fridge. That’s the beauty of it. You can make a batch up when you need it or make it ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator. I store it in a clean, dry, airtight glass jar and it easily keeps for weeks, if not months. It’s a great masala to have on hand. Typically this masala is used to pan fry a variety of seafood from fish, to prawns and even crabs. We also make a finger-licking, lip-smacking okhra or bhindi with this masala. I will share those recipes with you really soon. 


Goan Recheado Masala 
20 Kashmiri red chillies 
1 whole pod of garlic, peeled
1 inch ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp black peppercorns
3 cloves
2 inches cinnamon
5 cardamom pods
A small ball of tamarind, about the size of a walnut
Vinegar, to grind the masala to a paste
Sugar and Salt, to taste (optional, see note)
Soak the tamarind in a little hot water for a couple of minutes. When it has softened, mash it between your fingers and discard any seeds, pieces of shell or fibre that you may find.)
Place all the spices in your mixer. Add the tamarind pulp and the water it was soaking in. Add a couple of generous tablespoons of vinegar. Blend to a smooth paste, adding more vinegar as required. (Halfway through this process, scrape down the sides of the jar to make sure you get a smooth paste).
When it has blended to a smooth paste, it is ready to use. 
Store any excess in a clean, dry, airtight glass jar in the refrigerator and use as needed. 
NOTE:
You can add a little salt to taste and 1-2 tsp. of sugar while grinding, if desired. I leave this out, so that I can season the dish as I need to, when using this masala. 

Goan Sausage Chilly Fry – No added oil recipe

Today, I’m showcasing a highly requested recipe for the oh-so-popular Goan Sausage Chilly Fry. These little beauties are also called Chorize much like its European counterpart, the Chorizo. The Goan sausages originally can be traced back to the Portuguese who ruled Goa and bought with them a lot of their culture, including their food. This sausage was then coupled with the local spices and flavors in Goa and the resulting Goan Chorize is much more spicy and tangy and more pungent than the Portuguese one. But this is a good thing. All these flavors, when well balanced, make for a delectable meal. I have yet to meet someone who has tried Goan sausages and not liked it. In the past, a really long time ago, I have shared one of the ways I make my chilly fry here.

The recipe I’m sharing with you today, is more or less the same as the previous one as far as ingredients go, but the process of cooking it up differs. This is how my Nana and Mum have always made it and this is a method I personally prefer. The sausage meat usually contains a fair amount of fat and so no additional oil is needed. If the sausage you’re using is lean, I would recommend my previous version of this recipe. Now the taste of the dish you end up with, to a large extent depends on the actual sausage meat. So if at first you’re not happy with the dish, try using a different brand of sausages and you will be surprised at how much of the difference this makes. 
Today’s version of my Goan Sausage Chilly Fry is a great option for a quick and easy weeknight meal or for whenever you’re short on time too. All the ingredients go into a pot with some water and is placed on the heat till cooked through. All you then need to do, is check for seasoning and adjust, if needed and you’re ready to serve up. 
So if you haven’t yet tried making Goan sausages at home, try this out. I’m sure you’ll love it.

Goan Sausage Chilly Fry

60 beads of Goa sausages (take the meat out of the casing)
6-8 curry leaves
3 large, mild chillies, chopped into large pieces
1/2″ ginger, chopped into a couple of large pieces
1 1/2 large or 2 medium onions, chopped
2 potatoes, cubed
1 tomato, chopped
Salt, to taste
Vinegar, to taste
In a large pot, place the sausage meat, curry leaves, chillies, ginger, onions, potatoes, tomatoes and add 11/2 cup of water. Stir well. Cover the pot and bring to a boil on high heat. 
Once it comes to a boil, lower the heat to medium and cook till the potatoes and meat has cooked through and the liquid in the pot has mostly dried up. 
Taste and add salt and vinegar, as required. 
Serve hot!
This chilly fry pairs really well with some good bread – dinner rolls or some good crusty bread works brilliantly. You can also serve this up with some chapatis or some Peas Pulao
NOTE: You can adjust the consistency to suit your liking. If you want the chilly fry completely dry, once the meat and potatoes have cooked through, cook it uncovered till the liquid dries up. If you’d like more of a gravy, add a little more water or take it off the heat as soon as the meat and potatoes have cooked. 

Goan Okra Stir Fry – Bhende Solantule

Today, I have sort of a confession to make. Okra or Ladyfingers or Bhindi / Bhende (in Hindi / Konkani) whatever name you know it by, happens to be one of my favorite vegetables. There, I’ve said it out loud. Sadly, this intriguing vegetable has a bad reputation. It is infamous for being slimy and tasteless. I am going to try and persuade you otherwise. Yes, okra tends to  when raw. Because of that a lot of folks simply won’t work with it. I’ve had the opportunity to try this vegetable in many different forms. If you’ve been here a few times, you know my Mum is a great cook. She would use these is vegetable curries and lentils stews (sambhar), stuff them with rechaad masala and fry them and make a stir fry (bhaji) two different ways. Since then I’ve tried atleast 3 more ways to cook them, like this Kurkuri Ajwaini Bhindi. That’s how much I love okra. And I’m here to tell you that if it is cooked well, it isn’t slimy at all. And it is tastes amazingly delicious. 

In Goan homes, this is a very popular way to cook okra. Just a few simple ingredients go into the pot and result in a beautiful stir fry. Serve this vegetable hot with some chapatis or even as a side dish to some fish curry and rice for a complete Goan meal. 
Goan Okra Stir Fry / Bhende Solantule

250gms okra
1 medium onion, diced
2 birdseye chillies, slit
5 pieces of Kokum
1/4 cup grated coconut
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Wash and dry the okra. Cut off and discard the heads. Cut the okra into slices.
Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the chillies to the pan and saute it for a few seconds.
Now add the chopped onions and stir fry till the onion softens and the edges of the pieces of onion start turning brown. Now add the okra and kokum to the pan and saute for a couple of minutes, stirring every now and then to ensure it doesn’t stick to the pan or burn.
Add salt to taste and stir and continue to cook uncovered till the edges of the okra slices start turning a light brown. 
At this stage add a touch of water (a couple of tablespoons) to help the vegetable cook. Lower the flame, cover the pan and simmer for a few minutes. 
Stir the contents of the pan and check for seasoning and and when the okra is tender, add the coconut and stir through. (When you first uncover the pan, if the okra hasn’t cooked through and the liquid has been absorbed, add another small splash of water and continue to cook till the okra is tender).
Cook for another minute or till the coconut has warmed through.
Serve hot.

Dodol – The quick and easy way

** This post contains affiliate links.

Goa, renowned for its beautiful beaches and people is an idyllic getaway for many. Every school holiday meant a trip to Goa to spend time with family. Along with beautiful weather and some of the most amazing produce, what I enjoy most are the traditional Goan sweets. Since moving from Bombay, these sweets are no longer within easy reach for me. So over the last few years, I’ve done the next best thing – learn to make them myself. A lot of these sweets make an appearance on the Goan Christmas platter also called Kuswar (pronounced koos-wahr). So far, I’ve had brilliant luck with quite a few and I will list them along with links to their recipes at the end of this post. I’m hoping to get a few more of them up earlier this year. So check back soon.

Today, after a long wait, I’m happy to share with you a recipe for Dodol. Dodol is almost a jelly like sweet made using Goa Jaggery, coconut and rice. Traditionally made, it is a very labor intensive recipe, but the results are so worth it. You use coconuts, freshly grated and juice extracted, the rice roasted and ground and after the jaggery is added you cook it long and slow, stirring continuously.  Unfortunately for me, I don’t have access to Goa Jaggery in Sydney. But I was told that I could use Molasses instead. So on my last grocery shop, I picked up a bottle of Molasses. I decided I was going to try a few short cuts to cut down on time involved and used rice flour and a can of coconut cream. I’m happy to report that the whole prep and cooking process that usually takes hours, took be about half an hour from start to finish. The hardest part was leaving it overnight to set. You may not need to leave it that long, but I made the dodol in the evening and it was too warm to cut into after dinner.

But when I did cut into it, it was soft and delicious, just like I remember. I would recommend refrigerating it for a while before serving. It cuts a lot easier when cold. So if you’ve been putting of making Dodol because you can’t find jaggery, go get some molasses and get making. When adding the molasses, don’t go by the color of the mix, but taste for sweetness.

Dodol


1 1/2 cup rice flour
1 can (400ml) coconut cream
350-400g molasses
3 tbsp roughly chopped cashew nuts
1 tsp ghee to grease the loaf tin and knife
Water, as needed

Grease a loaf tin with a little ghee and keep aside.

In a large pan (I use the 12″ Kitchenaid Stainless steel skillet) measure out the rice flour. Add enough water and make a batter (almost like a thick pancake batter). I use a whisk for this as it mixes the flour well without any lumps.

Pour in the coconut cream and whisk till dissolved.

Add the molasses and stir.

Now, place the mix on a medium heat and let it cook, stirring continuously.

When it starts thickening, drop the heat to low and continue stirring. I find that you may still find lumps in the mix even inspite of stirring. Use a whisk and break them up. It returns to a smooth consistency very quickly. I had to do this about 3 times.

As it thickens, it gets harder to stir. Add the chopped cashew nuts and keep stirring.

After about 20 minutes, here’s what my mix looked like.

Continue cooking till the mixture starts leaving the sides of pan and looks a little glossy. I cooked the mix down for about another 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

At this stage, you need to work quickly. Pour into the greased loaf tin and flatten it down using the back of a spoon or a spatula.

Leave to set and cool completely. Once it has cooled you can either refrigerate it for later use or demould it to serve. To demould, just place a plate, slightly larger in size than the loaf tin, on top and tip the tin over the plate. A slight shake of the tin and plate should be enough to loosen the dodol and let prop it on the plate.

Slice and serve.

Enjoy!!!

Pin now and try later.

Other Goan sweets and Kuswar –
Perad / Guava Cheese (using canned guavas)
Perad / Guava Cheese (using fresh guavas)
Kulkuls
Coconut Toffee
Milk Cream
Jujups
Baath
Marzipan

Goan Crab Curry

What do you do when some gorgeous Blue Swimmer Crabs call out to you at the Fish Mongers? Well, you take them home of course. And then you get your Mum, who by the way is a fantastic cook and happens to be visiting at the moment, to whip you up a big ol’ pot of some amazing Goan Crab Curry. Nothing compares to the joys of enjoying Mum’s cooking. Atleast, that’s what I did. If you don’t have the same luxury, I’ve got permission from Mum to share her Crab Curry recipe with you so that you can enjoy some of it too.

We use a roasted masala (spice mix) for this curry. So there is an extra step of roasting a few ingredients before grinding, but it doesn’t take too long and that added step does a whole lot of good stuff for your curry. It adds amazing depth of flavor and your curry just wouldn’t be the same without roasting the masala.

So if you’re craving some good Goan food, try this curry. It took us right back to Goa. And until we visit Goa again, we’ll just have to make do with little culinary gems like this one.

Goan Crab Curry
Serves 6-8

3 Blue Swimmer Crabs (or any other crabs of your choice)
8 curry leaves (curry patta)
1/2 large onion, finely chopped
2-3 fresh green chillies, slit
5-6 pieces of Kokum*** (See note below)
1 tbsp oil (We use olive oil for all our cooking, you can use whatever mild cooking oil you have)
Salt, to taste

For the Masala (Spice Paste) – 
1/2 large onion, roughly chopped
6 large cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
3/4 inch ginger, roughly chopped
1/2 cup grated coconut (fresh or frozen will both work. If using frozen, let it thaw before roasting)
10 Kashmiri Chillies (See note below), discard stalks
1 tbsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp tumeric powder
3 cloves
8-10 peppercorns (this will add heat so use about 6-8 for a milder curry and around 10 if you want it hotter)
2″ cinnamon
1 tbsp oil
1 tomato, roughly chopped

Prep the crabs, sprinkle a little salt (about 1/2 tsp) on it, toss it in a bowl to salt the crabs well and set aside.

Roasting the Masala – 

Heat a large pan / tava on medium heat.

Drizzle the oil in the pan and add the onion, garlic and ginger. Saute till it softens a bit.

Add the coconut and stirring frequently, roast it till it gets fragrant and the color starts changing. Lower the heat, if needed, to ensure the coconut and the spices don’t burn.

Next add the Kashmiri chillies, coriander and cumin seeds and stir with the rest of the ingredients for about another 30 seconds.

Now add the turmeric powder, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon to the rest of the spices in the pan and roast for about another 30 seconds to a minute, till it all gets fragrant and heated through.

Take off the heat and transfer to a large plate to cool.

Once it has cooled to room temperature, grind the roasted spice and coconut mix with the chopped tomato and a little water to a fine, smooth paste in the blender.

Keep aside.

For the curry – 

Take a large pot, preferably with a slightly wide base that you will be able to fit all the crabs into.

Heat a tbsp of oil and add the finely chopped onion to the pan.

Saute till it has softened and is golden brown.

Add the spice paste and stir through. Let if fry off for about 2 minutes.

Add the Kokum at this stage.

Next add the crabs stir to coat with the spices.

Now add a little water to achieve the desired consistency for your curry.

If you don’t have kokum and are using apple cider vinegar, add the vinegar, to taste, at this stage.

Let it come to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes (Please note, this time will vary depending on the size of the crabs.)

Check for seasoning and add more salt if needed. At this stage if you find the curry too thick you can add a little more water to thin it down a little and continue to cook till it comes back to a boil.

If you find your curry too thin and want it thicker, continue cooking on a medium high heat till you get the desired thickness, stirring every now and then to ensure the curry doesn’t stick to the pan and burn.

Serve hot with some boiled rice or bread.

Enjoy!!!

*** NOTES: 
– Kokum is an Goan souring agent (dried pieces of the Indian plum) using in cooking. You will find it in any Indian grocery store. If you don’t have any on hand, just use some Apple Cider Vinegar, to taste.

– Kashmiri Chillies are dried red chillies. These are mild in flavor. You can substitute any other mild dried chillies or chilly powder. 

Goan Red (Beef) Kheema

I’m back …. after what seems like forever. There have been a few changes around here. First of all, a name change. We are now called “The Aspiring Home Cook” which I think suits me and the site just right. The housekeeping will take a little longer. I am currently working on updating names and links on Facebook and Pinterest. So if you have any of the links saved locally, you will need to replace “myhobbielobbie” with “theaspiringhomecook”. All the pictures before today will still have watermarks with the old name and I hope to replace them eventually. So there will be a few more changes around here.

So there you have it. You now know why I’ve been missing in action around these parts. Up until now, I thought I’d wait to sort everything out before I got back to posting here again. But I couldn’t stay away any longer. I needed to try out new recipes and have someone to tell about them. So I’m back. All this techie business has lead me into a kind of cooking / baking rut lately and I’ve been longing to dig into some interesting food again.

So after a little bit of looking around, I think I’ve found some of my mojo again. I found this really good recipe for a curried beef mince, Goan style. This recipe is very different in technique from my usual recipe. I was a little skeptical when I started reading through it because of the major differences. But its the differences that convinced me to try it out. I was glad I did. There are a couple more steps involved in this recipe but it results in a very flavorful beef kheema. The red masala comes through making the resulting dish a warming shade of red, perfect for these cooler autumn days. I hope you try this recipe out when you have a hankering for some good homemade Goan / Indian food.

Goan Red (Beef) Kheema
Recipe from: Delicious Memories with Alves Fernandes

500g Beef mince
1 1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
Juice of 1 lime
2 medium potatoes, cut into cubes
1 tbsp cooking oil (sunflower, vegetable, groundnut, olive – whatever you use for your day to day cooking)
2 onions, finely chopped
2 medium sized tomatoes, chopped
1 fresh green / red chillies, slit
1-2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
2 tbsp vinegar
Salt, to taste
A pinch of sugar

Grind to a paste
5 dry red Kashmiri chillies (or any mild variety)
2-3 large cloves of garlic
1″ ginger
1 1/2″ cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
32 black peppercorns (I know it seems like a lot, but its not)
15 cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 teaspoon white poppy seeds (khuskhus)
1 tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp vinegar
Water, as needed

Marinade the raw beef mince with salt, ginger garlic paste, juice of 1/2 a lime and mix thoroughly. Keep aside.

Grind all the ingredients listed under ‘grind to a paste’ to a fine paste and keep aside.

Bring the marinaded mince and 1 cup of water to a boil. Simmer till the mince is cooked about 3/4 of the way.

Heat the oil in another large pan.

Saute the onion. till they have turned translucent.

Add the tomatoes and cook till it has softened.

Add the ground spices and let it fry for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally.

Add the potatoes and stir well to coat them in the spices.

Add the boiled mince to the pot and stir through. Let it cook for about a minute, then add the remaining stock that the mince boiled in.

Add about a cup of water to the blender in which the spices were ground and swirl around to get any remaining masala (spice paste) and continue cooking.

After about 5 minutes, add the slit red / green chilly and the remaining lime juice (juice of 1/2 a lime).

Let it cook till the potatoes are tender. Just before the potatoes are cooked, add salt (to taste) and a pinch of sugar.

Cook till the potatoes are cooked and the gravy is the consistency you like. I like mine to be more on the thicker side.

Check for salt and sourness and add more as needed.

Turn off the heat.

Sprinkle chopped coriander over the top and serve hot.

Serve with some boiled rice, pulao, chapatis or even your favorite bread.

Eeril Fugad / Goan Snake Beans Stir Fry

Today I have a very humble treat lined up for you. I happen to be a huge fan of beans. Fresh, dried, kidney beans, snakes beans, butter beans the whole lot, really. Growing up, every summer, the family would go to our ancestral home in Goa. We’d look forward to it. Our home had a massive edible garden. Back when I was too little to remember and even before I was born, the family grew a lot of vegetables and fruit. When my grandmother was little, they also had cattle and goats on the property.But in more recent times they had plenty of fruit trees. We had mangoes (a few varities), cashews, coconuts, chickoos, guavas and jackfruits growing. The only vegetables we had was some tapioca, dumsticks (moringa), tamarind and kokum. I have very fond memories of those summers and hope I can someday go back to something like this again. Though I may seem like I’ve digressed, I haven’t, not much. I had to build a setting of sorts 🙂

Every summer, snake beans were at the peak of their season. We didn’t grow this but there was a local farmer in the village who did. And he did a fantastic job of it. I loved and to this day love snake beans. We cook this up in a very simple way, a traditional Goan fugad. A fugad has its roots in Portuguese food. It is a stir fry of vegetables with some spices and seasonings and a sprinkling of fresh grated coconut. Most Goan households still cook their vegetables this way. The snake bean version was my favorite. I volunteered to prep 2 massive bundles every single day. Yes, I managed to convince my mother and aunt that I wanted to eat this every single day while I was there and that I would clean it and get it ready to be cooked myself. Thankfully, they obliged and so someone from that good old farmers household would graciously drop off a couple of bundles at the house on their way to the market. The simplicity of the dish may fool you. But the end result is fantastic. In my humble opinion, it is delicious. The beans turn out tender and sweet I’m sure kids would love it too. I could eat it by itself or with steamed rice or chapatis.

I recently managed to get some gorgeous bundles of snake beans and had to make this fugad again and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to share it with you. So if you can find some good, fresh snake beans or if you grow them yourself, I hope you try this out.

Eeril Fugad / Goan Snake Beans Stir Fry


3 small bundles of snake beans, the fresher the better
1 large onion, diced
2 fresh green / red chillies
Salt, to taste
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
1 tbsp olive oil

Break off the ends of the snake beans and break off into inch sized pieces. Rinse through and drain and keep aside.

Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat.

Slit the chillies in length, but not all the way through. This way you get all the flavor but not much of the heat.

Let the chillies fry up for a few seconds till they get fragrant.

Add the chopped onions and saute till the onions have softened and get slightly brown on the edges.

Add the snake beans and stir them in for a while. You will see the green color of the beans turn a darker shade.

Add the salt and let the bean stir fry for about 2 minutes.

Add a splash of water, a very small amount to prevent the beans from burning and help them cook through.

Cover the pan and let it cook. Add more water, if needed.

When the beans are almost cooked, add the freshly grated coconut and stir through.

Serve hot as a side dish with some Goan fish curry or prawn curry and rice or with some chapatis.

Some other Fugad recipes –
Cabbage Fugad
Black Channa (Chickpeas) Fugad