Sheekh Kewab Series~I

Kawabs are one of the most delicious non-vegetarian tandoori item next to Tandoori Chicken. I heard and read at a site that the first kawabs were invented during the war times, when the animal was slaughtered, cut into pieces, and pierced by the only things they had along, sword (!) and they roasted it over fire. We in the modern world continue to do so, but in a more decent way, we have replaced swords with skewers. ‘Sheekh’ means a ‘skewer’, and ‘Sheekh Kawabs’ are the ‘Kawabs grilled/roasted on Skewers’.

Sheekh Kababs – Minced meat Kebabs

Kawabs are vegetables, or meat pieces or ground meat marinated with spices and wrapped around the skewers and grilled or roasted over fire, charcoal, or in oven. They are very easy to prepare too. Marinate them with the required ingredients, and later you just have to grill them. There is no long process to it. Kababs can be Vegetarian, Non-Vegetarian or both. They are a delicacy.

In this recipe I am using both minced chicken as well as minced lamb. The taste comes out very well. My Mother-In-Law usually prepares this type of kawabs. I learnt this procedure from her but modified it my way. An another version of Sheekh Kabab is posted here.

It is very important that after you wash the minced meat, the water from it has all been drained out completely, or else the shape doesnt come out very well. And while mixing the minced meat with the other ingredients, its important that you use your hands, and pulverise the mixture with your palm. You can marinate it for 2-6 hours in the refrigerator. Bring the whole marinated mixture to room temperature before you start grilling it.

Sheekh Kawabs – Minced meat Kebabs (I)

Ingredients:

Minced Chicken – 350 gms
Minced Lamb – 200 gms
Onions – 3, large, finely sliced
Dry Roasted Black Cumin powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry Roasted Sesame seeds powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry roasted Khus Khus powder – 3/4 tsp
Nigells seed/Kalaunji powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry Roasted Coriander seeds powder – 1 tsp
Dry Roasted Groundnut powder – 1 1/2 tbsp
Green chilli – 6, cut and grinded to paste
Garam Masala – 1 tsp
Raw papaya paste – 2 tbsp
Salt – 2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Eggs – 2, lightly beaten
Ginger Garlic Paste – 2 tsp
Cilantro/Kothmir – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Plain Parsley leaves – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Canola Oil – to baste the kababs, and to deep fry the onions.

Method:

1. Wash the meat and drain it well till all the water has been removed completely and the meat is dry. This is important or else the shape does not come out very well.
2. Fry the onions in oil oil they are crisp and brown in colour. Remove them once they are done from the oil onto a paper towel.
3. In a bowl, mix all the ingredients, with your hands till they nicely mixed. Knead the mixture till pulverized with your palms. Later wash your hands very well with an antiseptic soap. Let the mixture marinate for 2 to 6 hours.
4. Bring it to room temperature, and divide the mixture into 8 balls. Shape each one into a long cylinder.
5. Dip your skewer into oil and insert it into the cylinders just to make a big hole in each one. Remove the skewer and continue doing it with all the shaped cylinders.
6. Take a baking tray and line it with aluminium foil, place the holed cylinders on the tray and baste them with oil. Grill/Broil at low heat, 15 minutes, per side. Grill them till they are nicely done on both sides. (You can even grill them on a charcoal grill for the best smoked flavor).

Suggested Accompaniments: Enjoy the kawabs along with ‘Kaddu ka Dalcha’, or ‘Khatti Dal’ and ‘Baghara Chawal’ aka Zeera rice, or simply along with a chutney as a finger food.

Tip: Enjoy the leftover kawabs as delicious Pita pockets.

Luv,
Mona

Craving for a Quick Prawn Snack?!

Prawns are my favorite seafood, next to Salmon fish.

I prepare this quick prawn stir fry with minimal use of spices, keeping the flavour of prawns the dominating one.

Prawns are rich in proteins. Thay are also high in cholesterol, but the tendency of the body to produce more cholesterol depends on the amount of fat in a particular food. As Prawns are so low in saturated fats, the cholesterol in the Prawns does not affect much. They can be had once in two weeks for a change. People with Heart diseases and Diabetes have to consume it in moderation as advised by their doctors.

I buy frozen prawns more often here. Back in India fresh Prawns were always available. Fresh prawns can be stored for a day or two, till used in a bowl of cold water with ice cubes once bought from market. I buy and store the frozen prawns for almost a month in the freezer compartment. Always wash and devien the prawns before you cook them.

Talehuwe Jhinge – Simple Fried Prwans

Ingredients:

Oil – 2 tsp
Fresh/Frozen Prawns – 400 gms, deviened, and deshelled
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Red Chilli Powder – 1 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Water – 3/4 cup

Method:

1. Thaw the prawns and wash them well.
2. Pour oil in a pan on medium heat and throw in the prawns.
3. Stir fry them for 3-4 minutes.
4. Add salt, red chilli powder, and turmeric. Mix well.
5. Pour in water and cover the lid for 5 minutes.
6. Uncover and increase the temperature and let the water dry completely. Serve warm.

Luv,
Mona

Sheer Qurma

We celebrated Eid-Ul-Fitr, our festival after the month of fasting 3 days ago. On Eid I had prepared Chicken Biryani, Sheer Qurma and Cholay.

Sheer Qurma is a meetha/dessert prepared using roasted fine Vermicelli Noodles, or Seviyan cooked in milk with some fried dried nuts and sprinkled with saffron and nutmeg, cardamom powders to enhance the savory flavour of the dessert.

Sheerqurma

It is traditionally served after the Eid prayers to the entire household and also to all the guests who arrive to greet you on Eid, and is served hot along with other snacks, I usually serve spicy Cholay along. Some people like this dessert rich and slightly thick in consistency and some people like it a bit thin in consistency with less seviyan and more of milk. To make it rich, you can add khoa to it, or add a bit of condensed milk. I and my family prefer the latter kind. If you like it thick, you can cook the Sheer Qurma a bit more on medium heat till you get your desired consistency.

Sheer Qurma – Vemilcelli Cooked in Fragrant Milk

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

*Fine* Vermicelli noodles/Seviyan – 3/4 cup
Ghee/Oil – 2 tbsp
Almonds – 1 tbsp, deskined and thinly sliced
Pistachio – 1 tbsp, halved
Chironji nuts – 1 tbsp, soaked in water for 15-30 minutes and skinned
Melon seeds – 1 tbsp, shelled
Dates – 5 dates, halved and stoned
Saffron strands/Zafraan – 1/2 tsp
Raisins/Kishmish -1 tbsp
Milk – 5 1/2 cups
Nutmeg powder – 1/4 tsp
Green cardamom/Elaichi powder – 1/4 tsp
Green Cardamom/Elaichi – 1, whole
Sugar – 4 to 5 tbsp

Method:

1. Soak the saffron and the halved and deseeded dates in 1/2 cup warm milk. Cover and keep aside.
2. Pour milk into a large pan. Throw the skin of the whole cardamom and add the seeds to the milk. Boil milk in the pan at high heat with sugar and green cardamom powder, nutmeg powder until it is reduced by one-fourth.
3. In a heavy bottomed pan at medium low heat add ghee/oil and stir-fry the raisins, almonds, chironji, pistachio and melon seeds separately for just a few seconds until golden and remove using a slotted spoon into a small cup and keep aside. In the same oil/ghee roast the vermicelli noodles stirring them until they are a just few shades dark. Pour the reduced milk into it and let it come to a boil once. Add the dates and the saffron with the milk in which they have been soaking. Cover and let it cook for 2-3 minutes. By now the noodles must have become very soft. Remove from heat. It can be served hot or cold.

Note-Make Ahead:You can roast the vermicelli and store in the refrigerator for more than a week, a make ahead for this dish. If you prepare the whole thing and store it in the refrigrerator it will become a thick paste in consistency as the days pass. You can also fry the nuts and store in the refrigerator a day before to prepare this sweet savory instantly when your guests arrive, as you will just have to cook it all in milk and serve.

Luv,
Mona

Rajma Pulao

Pulao and Qorma is one combination I love. And this particualar combination of Rajma Pulao with Vegetable Qorma is my favourite. Try it once and you will love it.

I had prepared it for dinner yesterday night after having Cabbage Pakodas for iftaar. I will be posting the recipe for the pakodas soon. During this month I haven’t got much time to post. Only two days more, and Ramadhan, the holy month will go away, and we will have to wait for an another year to for this auspicious month to again arrive. Eid, our festival, which we celebrate at the end of Ramadhan might be on this Saturday. On Eid we usually prepare dishes like ‘Nihari‘, ‘Biryani‘, ‘Cholay‘ and ‘Sheer Kurma’, a sweet dish which we muslims especially prepare on Eid of Ramadhan which is called as Eid-Ul-Fitr.

On Eid, we get up early, and the men and women go to mosque and offer the Eid Prayers, some women offer their prayers for Eid at home. We then greet our relatives and spend the day together with our loved ones. We celebrate Eid for the three days after Ramadhan. Back in India, we used to have a grand celebration on Eid, with our all relatives and loved ones visiting and greeting each other, the whole day.

Rajma Pulao – Red Kidney Beans and Rice Casserole

One of my friend had once invited me and she served Rajma Pulao. I had loved it and that day, I decided someday I will try to prepare that dish in my own way. So, yesterday, i was all set and we had Rajma Pulao with Vegetable Kurma, it was one yummy dinner which we enjoyed a lot. It didnt take a lot of time and I was very happy over my own successful experiment of preparing my version of Rajma Pulao.

Rajma Pulao – Red Kidney Beans and Rice Casserole

Ingredients:

  • Long Grained Basmati Rice – 2 cups
  • Salt – 1 tbsp
  • Black Peppercorns – 4
  • Green cardamom – 2
  • Cinnamon – one 2 inch stick
  • Cloves – 2
  • Onion – 1, large, sliced thin
  • Oil – 6 tbsp
  • Sesame seeds – 2 tbsp
  • Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
  • Cashewnuts – 2 tbsp
  • Green chillies – 2, sliced lengthwise
  • Dried Red Chillies – 1
  • Shredded/Grated Coconut – 2 tbsp
  • Canned Red Kidney Beans – 1 Can

Method:

  • Make a bouquet garni with black peppercorns, green cardamom, cinnamon and cloves.
  • Boil five cups of water in a heavy bottomed bowl on stovetop and add the salt and the prepared bouquet garni to it. Once the water is boiling nicely, squeeze and remove the bouquet garni and add the rice and set the gas temp to 8 level.
  • After 3-4 minutes, take some grains of rice in a spoon from the boiling water and test them if they are soft enough. Once they are just soft, drain the water and adjust the gas level now to 2, and put the bowl of rice onto the stovetop and cover well.
  • Remove the bowl from heat after 2-3 minutes once the steam has nicely formed.
  • Meanwhile open and put the red kidney beans in a colander and wash them well in a water bath, taking care that you do not break the beans into pieces.
  • Pour 2 tbsp ghee/butter/oil into a pan and add the mustard seeds, sesame seeds, cashewnuts and green chillies and dried red chillies. Let them splutter up a bit. Then add the red kidney beans. Give it a careful stir and add this to the prepared rice.Mix it well with the rice
  • Pour 4 tbsp of butter/oil/ghee in a heavy bottom pan and fry the onions till brown and crisp. Remove in a paper towel and garnish the rice with the fried onion and serve hot.

Luv,
Mona

Navratan Khorma

Khorma is one dish which we can have with Pulao, or Plain Rice, or Parathas or Naan. Today I savored this curry along with Rajma Pulao. I love the meal the day I get to enjoy combination. It is even great for gatherings, when you can prepare this combination with some snacks and a dessert to finish off and impress your loved ones.

This dish comes from the cookbook India’s Vegetarian Cooking by Monisha Bharadwaj. I have tried many recipes from this cookbook and loved most of them. I have not yet bought this book, but it sure now is among the top in the list of my Cookbook Wishlist.

Navratan Korma – Nine Jewelled Curry

It was yummy, and I am glad I tried this recipe. You can dump in all the left over vegetables, like cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, peas, corn, capsicum, carrots, beans, from the refrigerator you have in you house. I have used only a few, I didnt have all those in the house.

Navratan Korma – Nine Jewelled Curry

Serves:4; Preperation Time:15 mins; Cooking time:25 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Frozen Mixed Vegetables – 300 gms
  • Canola Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Onion – 1, small, finely sliced
  • Ginger Garlic Paste/Adrak-Lahsun Masala – 1 tbsp
  • Tomato Paste – 3 tbsp
  • Green Chillies – 3 fresh, slit in middle
  • Turmeric powder/Haldi – 1 tsp
  • Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
  • Cashew Nuts – 2 tbsp
  • Salt – to taste
  • Tinned Pineapple Chunks – 2 tbsp, chopped
  • Light Cream – 100 ml
  • Cherries – to garnish
  • Cilantro – to garnish
  • Grated Cheddar Cheese – to garnish

Method:

  • Heat oil in a saucepan and fry the onion for a minute or so. Keep stirring to prevent it from sticking and stir in the ginger garlic paste.
  • Add the tomato puree and chillies and cook until oil seperates, ading a couple of tablespoons of water to hasten the process.
  • Add the frozen vegetables, turmeric powder, garam masala and salt. Mix gently and cook for a couple of minutes before folding in the cashewnuts, pineapple and cream. Heat through without allowing to boil.
  • Serve hot garnished with the cherries, coriander leaves and cheese.

Suggested Accompaniments: You can have it along with Pulaos, Naan, Parathas, Basmati Chawal or Roti

Luv,
Mona