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.
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.
1 1/2 cup rice flour
1 can (400ml) coconut cream
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.
Pin now and try later.
So it’s almost Diwali. Even though we don’t celebrate it, we enjoy the food that comes with it. After trying out a few sweet and savory recipes for Diwali over the last five years, I’ve come to realize that a lot of recipes are fairly quick and easy to make, compared to most of the traditional Goan sweets. That makes me happy because I know I can whip up so many treats in a jiffy. However, there are a few recipes that are time consuming and tedious when made from scratch, like a good peda. A peda, for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term, is a hand shaped piece of fudge made and enjoyed all over India. Now, I have made fudge before but had never tried making Pedas at home.This recipe is an instant version of the good old peda.
Today’s post is one such snack option. Kale Chips. I never thought I’d love it as much as I do. I’ve had the option to cook with Kale only in the last couple of years. I’ve not tried too many Kale recipes so far. Just this Skillet Breakfast Hash and now these Kale Chips. I’ve made them both a few times and we love them. That is how I knew, I had to share these Kale Chips with you. Kale is really good for you. They are choc full of antioxidants. These are baked and I can’t tell you how delightful they are to snack on. You have to try it to believe it. What I love is that the options for the seasonings are endless. I have a soft spot to this Spicy Masala Chaat Seasoning. It is a little tangy, a little salty and a little spicy – just perfect. And its such an easy recipe too. All you do is prep the leaves, sprinkle the seasoning over, toss and bake. So what are you waiting for? Try it out. You’ll definitely want to make it again.
You can watch the recipe here –
1 bunch of Kale, washed and shaken dry
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder or to taste
1/2 tsp Chaat masala, or to taste
Salt, to taste
Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
To prep the Kale leaves, break the leaves into smaller chip size portions, discarding the tougher stem.
In a small bowl, mix the olive oil, the chilli powder, chaat masal and salt together.
Drizzle this over the the kale leaves and toss well to make sure all the leaves are coated with the spices. Its best to do this with your hands. Rub the leaves gently to get the seasoning in the little nooks and crannies.
Either line a baking tray with some parchment paper or lightly spray with some oil
Arrange the kale leaves in a single layer on the tray.
Bake for 10-15 minutes or till the leaves are lightly browned.
Keep a close watch on the leaves as they can go from just right to burnt very quickly.
Take them out of the oven and let the chips cool completely before eating. They crisp up as they cool.
Sit back and enjoy.
Pin now and enjoy later!
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 1/2″ cinnamon
2 cardamom pods
32 black peppercorns (I know it seems like a lot, but its not)
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.
I can’t wait to share more about the trip with you. However, that wonderful trip ended with an anti-climatic couple of days of jet lag followed by 2 weeks of a cold, stubborn cough and a couple of days of a fever. Am I glad that’s over. I hate being unwell mostly, because that means I cannot be up and about cooking and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. But I’m well and truly glad to be back.
One of the first few things I cooked up after getting back on my feet is my beloved Mama’s Meatball Curry. I’ve always loved this curry right from the time I was a little girl. This time when I went to Mumbai, I knew I had to learn this recipe from her. See this is the thing with her recipes, she can whip them up with her eyes closed, but ask her to tell you how she makes it and she may leave out a thing or two, not intentionally of course. So this time around, I got into the kitchen and watched her make it. Yes, I watched her, like a hawk 😉 And I’m happy to report that I got the recipe down and made the curry today and I was really pleased with how it turned out. Ofcourse, nothing can beat the food my Mother makes (even though I follow her recipes to the T, her food always turns out better), but this came pretty close, I tell ya.
This recipe is a little more intricate than most of the recipes I share here, but it is really easy. There are two parts to it – one is making the meatballs and the second is making the curry itself. This curry is full of flavor and goes really well with either plain steamed rice or this fragrant Peas Pulao. If you’re not in the mood for rice, it goes well with some Goan bread (Poee) or dinner rolls too.
Goan Meatball Curry
For the Meatballs –
1/2 kg beef mince (ground beef)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 green or red chillies, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2-1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (optional, though it does add good flavor)
Mix all the ingredients together.
Form the meatballs and set aside.
For the curry –
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil
Salt, to taste
Tamarind, to taste (Soak tamarind in warm water to form a pulp)
Fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cut into large cubes
Grind to a fine, smooth paste (masala) using a little water –
8 Kashmiri chillies (dry red chillies, mildly spiced, but used for its vibrant color)
4 Bedki chillies (dry red chillies, spicy)
3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 black pepper corns
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
Heat the oil in a pan and carefully drop the curry leaves in.
Add the onion and saute on a medium high heat till the onions are translucent.
Add the masala and continue sauteeing for a few minutes till the raw smell of the masala goes and the oil starts to seperate.
Add salt, to taste.
Add water to get it to the desired consistency, depending on how thick or thin you’d like the gravy. Keep in mind that the gravy does thicken a little as it cooks. Err on the side of less, you can always add more water as you need.
Gently place the meatballs in the gravy.
Place the potato cubes in the gravy without smashing the meatballs.
Once the gravy comes to a boil, turn the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let the curry cook.
After about 15 minutes, check to see if done.
Check and add more salt, if needed.
Add tamarind pulp to taste.
Once ready, garnish with some fresh coriander and serve hot.
**Note: You will be able to find Kashmiri chillies in most Indian shops in Sydney and a few of them carry the Bedki / bedgi variety. If you can’t get your hands on them, substitute with any dry red chillies you have on hand. You may then need to adjust the number of dry red chillies used, to regulate the spice level to your liking.
The trick to a good papdi chaat is getting the right balance with the whipped yogurt. Unfortunately, there is no accurate measure here, because the tartness of the yogurt varies greatly. You could use regular pot set yogurt or greek yogurt here, either way, it has to be plain, unflavored and unsweetened yogurt. I start off with half a cup of yogurt for a single plate of chaat or 1 cup for 2 plates or portions. Trust me here, you’d rather have more of the whipped yogurt dip at hand, instead of falling short or running out of it.
So let’s get straight to it then. The list below is an approximation. You add as much or as little of each of the ingredients to suit your preferences. The quantities below make one plate or 1 portion. You can easily double or multiply the quantities to make more. Also I used chickpeas here, you could use boiled potato instead or a combination of both.
For 1 portion
6-7 puris (also called Papdi)
1/2 cup boiled / canned chickpeas, roughly mashed
1/4 onion, finely chopped
1/4 tomato, finely diced
Date and Tamarind Chutney
Fresh coriander, chopped
Some chaat masala / amchur (dried mango) powder
1/2 cup plain, unflavoured and unsweetened yogurt
A pinch of salt
Sugar, to taste (superfine sugar)
To make this chaat, start off my making the yogurt whip. The mixed yogurt needs to sit for about 5 minutes for the flavor to develop.
Place the yogurt, a scant pinch of salt and 1 tsp sugar and stir together to combine. Taste and add more sugar if you need to. You are looking for a slightly tangy, slightly sweet taste with a faint hint of saltiness as well. If your yogurt is not too tart, start with 1/2 tsp sugar and add more if needed. Set the bowl aside while you assemble the chaat.
Place your puris on your serving plate.
(These puris can be made at home. I haven’t tried making them yet. For now, I use the store bought version. I get mine in packets that look like the one below).
Over the puris, arrange the mashed chickpeas in a layer. Unfortunately I don’t have a picture of the chickpeas layer but here’s one of the boiled potato slices. The trick here too is to not overload the puris. They will get difficult to manage.
Top that with the chopped onion. Use as much or as little as you like. But make sure you use some.
Top this with some chopped tomato.
Now add your green mint chutney. I would start of with small quantities of this as this is on the spicy side.
Now you add the Date and Tamarind Chutney. This is the sweet and tangy stuff, so feel free to add some.
At this stage, add a dollop of the whipped yogurt on each puri. I like a little extra yogurt on mine, but go with what you think you’d enjoy.
The next layer uses sev. Sev is basically little fried crispy noodles made out of chickpea flour. Again, this can be made at home, but I haven’t tried that yet. I simply use a store bought packet.
Add a layer of the sev to the puris.
It’s almost done. But there are a couple of flourishes that will take this treat to a whole new level. Sprinkle the puris with a pinch of chaat masala / amchur powder. Use this sparingly as a little goes a long way. Lastly garnish with some freshly chopped coriander.
There is only one way to eat these puris. You get a whole puri with its toppings in your mouth at one go.