Nargisi Koftay ka Qorma – Scotch Eggs in Gravy

June 25th, 2013 Mona Posted in Canola Oil, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Egg/Anda, Garam masala powder, Ginger-Garlic paste, Hyderabadi special, Lamb/Beef/Mutton/Veal/Sheep, Lemon/Nimbu, Red Chilli powder, Roasted Coconut paste, Roasted Groundnut paste, Salt/Namak, Turmeric/Haldi, Yellow Onion/Pyaaz, Yogurt/Dahi 7 Comments » 4,622 views

If you want to impress your guests, then this is the dish that you should be making and serving them. With just a little pre-preparation, you can make this exotic looking dish in a jiffy.

Nargisi Kofta are so named because when the koftas are sliced open, they look like the almond shaped flower of the narcissus. I usually make shaami meat in large amounts and store it in the freezer for later use. Doing this really simplifies my meals. When I have just Khatti dal and rice, and my hubby is craving something meaty, I quickly defrost a pack of shaami meat, and either make Shaami kawab, or Nargisi Kofta.

Nargisi Koftay ka Qorma – Scotch Eggs in Gravy
Serves: 4

For the Nargisi Kofte:

Ingredients:

Shaami Meat – 1 zip-lock bag, defrosted or frsh made
Hard boiled eggs – 2, peeled

Method:
1. Divide the shammi meat mixture into two portions. Roll each portion into a ball, then flatten out to form a thin patty. Wrap each patty around the peeled boiled eggs, smoothing out the join and making sure there is no egg left exposed. (if you feel that the shammi meat is not holding well to the egg, you can add a binding agent to the meat mixture, like egg white, or besan and mix well. Then, cover the boiled egg with the fixed meat, and it wont fall off)
2. Add 1-2 tbsp of canola oil and heat until hot. Shallow fry the nargisi koftay, turning it gently using a spoon, until it is browned on all sides. Some people also deep fry the kofta in oil, but I prefer to shallow fry them in little oil. Remove and drain on paper towel.

These are ready to serve as is. You can serve them as an appetizer. Or if you want to serve them in a gravy, follow the steps below.

For Qorma (the masala gravy):

Ingredients:

Canola oil – 5 tbsp
Onions – 4, finely sliced
Yogurt – 400 ml, lightly whipped
Red chilli powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste – 1 1/2 tsp
Roasted Groundnut paste – 2 tbsp
Roasted Coconut paste/Coconut cream – 2 tbsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Chopped cilantro – 2 tbsp
Lemon juice – 1 tsp (optional)

Method:
1. Take a heavy bottomed non stick frying pan on medium heat and throw in the thickly sliced onion rings with no oil. Give them a stir and cover with a lid. Open the lid, and stir them again, add a few splaches of water and cover the lid again. Continue doing this until the onions are are caramelized and cooked. Transfer them into a blender container. Add the yogurt, roasted groundnut paste and roasted coconut paste/coconut cream and blend till it is a smooth puree.
2. Pour oil into the same pan, and add ginger garlic paste. Fry for a minute and add the pureed paste. Throw in red chilli powder, salt and turmeric and mix well. Cover and let cook for around 15-30 minutes on low heat until oil separates and floats on top while stirring occasionally in between. Add garam masala, chopped cilantro and pour in a about 1 1/2 glass of water and mix well (you can add more water if you prefer a thin consistency.) Half-Cover and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Pour lemon juice and remove from heat. Serve immediately along with Naan or parathas or along with a Pulao or plain rice.

For the final curry preparation:

1. Just when you want to serve the curry, gently drop the Nargisi Kofte, each cut into half , into warm Qorma.
2. Serve warm with Roti or Naan or Pulao.

Luv,
Mona

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Aloo kay Samosay

March 23rd, 2010 Mona Posted in All-Purpose Flour/Maida, Canola Oil, Carom seeds/Ajwain, Carrot/Gajar, Cilantro/Kothmir (fresh), Cumin seeds/Zeera, Eid/Ramadhan/Iftaar, Garam masala powder, Ghee, Ginger/Adrak, Hyderabadi special, Kasuri methi, Lemon/Nimbu, Mustard seeds/Rai, Nigella seeds/Kalonji, Peas/Matar, Red Chilli powder, Red Potatoes, Roasted Coriander powder, Roasted Cumin powders, Salt/Namak, Turmeric/Haldi, White Potato/Aloo, Whole Wheat Flour/Durum Atta 17 Comments » 13,863 views

Chai shops, bakeries, mithaiwala shops, cart vendors, chat bhandars along the length and breadth of the Indian subcontinent, all sell these magical pastries. Originated and traveled to India possibly from the Middleeast, Samosas are triangular pastries, a popular street food, usually stuffed with minced meat, or a potato mixture. They are the usual appetizers that make their presence at the Nizami Hyderabadi meals, and also enjoyed throughout India and also all over the world by everyone. Samosas are also very famous in Toronto and loved by people here.

Samosas – ready to be eaten

This classic Indian snack food appears in different avatars and types within the Hyderabad city, and also all over India with minor regional variations, some differing in the fillings used, others varying in shapes. For example Luqmi, a rectangular qimah-minced meat stuffed appetizer commonly eaten in Hyderabad, is a royal cousin of samosa. Other regional variants of samosas include the sambusak, samusak or shingara etc.

Today I had prepared some aloo samosas~potato stuffed pastries that are just as good as the Qimah Samosas – minced meat stuffed samosas. You can even bake them if you wish, bit I like to deep fry and prepare them the way they were supposed to be made. The crisp outer texture of samosa is what I love the most.

Aloo kay Samosay – Potato Stuffed Triangular Pastries

Ingredients:

Canola Oil to deep fry
For Filling:
Canola oil – 2 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Black mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Fresh Ginger – 1 tbsp, finely grated
Potatoes – 4, peeled and chopped
Carrot – peeled and chopped, 1 cup
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Dry roasted Coriander powder – 3/4 tsp
Dry roasted Cumin seed powder – 1/4 tsp
Kasuri methi – 3 tbsp
Salt – 1 tsp
Frozen green peas – 1/2 cup (or) Dried green peas – 1/2 cup, soak them in surplus water overnight and pressure cook until soft the next day, drain and keep aside to use
Lemon juice – 4 tbsp
Garam masala – 1/2 tsp
Cilantro – 2 tbsb, finely chopped
For Covering:
All-purpose flour/Maida – 1 cup
Whole wheat flour/Durum flour – 1 cup
Carom seeds/Ajwain – 1 tsp
Nigella seeds/Kalonji – 1/2 tsp
Canola Oil or Ghee – 2 tbsp
Water
Salt to taste

Method:

1. In a saucepan, heat oil and as soon as it warms up add the cumin seeds, mustard seeds and ginger and let them splutter. In a few seconds add the chopped potatoes and carrots. Add water to cover the vegetables and add red chilli powder, salt, cumin seed powder, kasuri methi and cover with a lid. As soon as the potatoes are done, uncover and add the frozen peas or cooked dried peas, garam masala, chopped cilantro and lemon juice. Cook while stirring until the mixture is dry. Keep aside.

2. Now prepare the dough. Add maida, ajwain, kalonji and salt in a mixing bowl and mix. Add canola oil or ghee and mix well using fingers. Gradually add water and knead to form a smooth and pliable dough. Turn the dough onto a floured work surface and knead until elastic. Cover with a towel and keep aside for 30 minutes for the dough to rest. Later shape the dough into 8 balls and cover them with a towel.
3. One by one roll the balls into thin ovals. Using a pizza cutter or a knife cut each oval in the center into two halves, thus a total of 16 half-ovals will be produced. Cover the rest with a towel while filling others. Take a half-oval and brush half of each straight edge using your fingertip with water. Fold the second half of the straight edge over the fist half to form into a cone. Pinch close the seam. Hold the cone with the open end up and fill the cone with some of the filling. Cut off any excess dough and use it later. Brush one side of the open end with water. Pinch to seal the top edges enclosing the filling. Prepare all the samosas the same way and keep them covered under a towel.
4. Once all are ready, heat oil in a deep saucepan or kadai. To test if the oil is ready to be used, drop a pinch of dough into the hot oil, the dough should come up within a few seconds. Deep fry the samosas a few at a time until golden. Using a slotted spoon remove them into a strainer. Serve warm along with tamarind chutney or ketchup. Once cool, they can even be stored in the refrigerator for 2-3 days and reheated in the oven.

To Bake the Samosa:
After step 4, place the samosas in a greased or non-stick baking tray. Bake in a pre-heated 220° C oven for 20 minutes or until light brown in color. Serve immediately

Note:
1.If you are finding it difficult to enlcose the filling in the dough this way, please head over to Qimah Samosa-Minced meat stuffed samosa where I have explained an easier way to assemble samosas.
2. If there is any left over dough and the filling has been used up, you can make namakpaare out them.
3. If there is any left over filling and the dough has been used up, use the filling to make vegetable curry puffs.

This month Sailaja is on a chaat spree and she is dishing out varieties of chaat items on her blog. Head over her blog to go though them all.

Luv,
Mona

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Basic How To’s: Series VI ~ Homemade Khoa/Mawa

October 26th, 2009 Mona Posted in Home-made Khoa/Mawa, Khoa, Lemon/Nimbu, Milk and Milk Products 19 Comments » 19,296 views

Basic How To: Homemade Khoa/Mawa

Milk and its products like Yogurt, Ghee, Khoa, Paneer are much valued and used very extensively in Indian cooking.

Khoa (also referred to as Khoya/Khawa/Mawa) is reduced milk, reduced to such an extent that it is almost doughy or granular in texture. This concentrated solid is used as the base in most of the Indian sweet preperations like Burfi, Gulab Jamun, Peda, Kalakand, Chumchum, Kalajamun and various other Halwa’s and Mithai’s. It is very easily available in India and sold at the dairy stores or parlours by halwais(milk traders) selling all kinds of Indian diary products like ghee, paneer, curd etc. In Canada, I am lucky enough to find Khoa packets available ready made at most of the Indian stores or Bombay Bazaar.

store brought Khoa packet from Bombay bazaar in Toronto

I prepare two kinds of Khoa at home usually, the ‘Chikna khoa’, and the ‘Daan-e-daar khoa’.
Chikna Khoa: has about 80% mositure and is made by slowly cooking milk uncovered until it is reduced to a doughy mass.
Daan-e-daar Khoa (granular khoa): is made coagulating milk with acid and then slow cooked until all the moisture is evaporated and you are left with granular milk solids.
The rock hard kind of Khoa that you get ready made from the market which even can be grated is called as Batti Khoa.

Many friends and readers of my blog have asked me the procedure to prepare Khoa at home, or its substitutions. Here is a pictorial tutorial for the procedure to prepare Khoa at home:

Chikna Khoa
Makes – 170 gms

Pour 1 liter milk in a heavy bottomed milk saucepan (of you can use any clean heavy bottomed vessel, you can even use a heavy bottomed non-stick saucepan) at medium high and let it come to a boil once.

Lower the heat to medium and let cook until the milk is reduced to 1/4th the original quantity. This takes about 1 hour or so and it requires a careful watch to prevent milk from getting burnt, and a constant/very frequent stirring.

Once the milk is reduced to 1/4 quantity, lower the heat to medium low and let cook for some more time, stirring continously, until it is dry and lumpy/doughy.

Remove from heat and transfer the khoa to a cup and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate it for a hour so that it thickens/hardens. Remove the prepared Khoa from the refrigerator transfer to a zip-lock sandwich bag and freeze to store for future use, or use immediately. Normally one liter of milk should give you 125-170 gm of khoya.

fresh and home-made ~ Chikna Khoa

This procedure prepares unsweetened khoa. To prepare sweetened khoa, add desired quantity of sugar on the last stages to sweeten the khoa.

Daan-e-daar Khoa

Pour 1 liter milk in a heavy bottomed milk saucepan (of you can use any clean heavy bottomed vessel, you can even use a heavy bottomed non-stick saucepan) at medium high and let it come to a boil once. Add 1 tbsp lemon juice so that the milk curdles and lower the heat to medium and continue cooking. Keep stirring the milk and cook until most of the moisture has been evaporated and the milk is reduced to dry lumpy texture. Remove from heat and transfer the khoa to a cup and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate it for a hour so that it thickens/hardens. Remove the prepared Khoa from the refrigerator transfer to a zip-lock sandwich bag and freeze to store for future use, or use immediately.
Tip: Daan-e-dar khoa can also be prepared from failed yogurt.

A friend of mine had once shared this useful recipe for a quick khoa substitute:

Quick Khoa Substitutes:

1. Add full fat or low fat milk powder and just a little bit of full fat or low fat unsweetened condensed milk/heavy cream to make it into a semi-solid paste in a bowl. Pour this into into a thick milk saucepan at medium low heat. Let cook stirring continously until it is until it is dry and lumpy/doughy. Remove from heat and let it cool completely. Transfer to refrigerator so that it thickens/hardens. Shape/cut into blocks and store the khoa blocks in plastic wrap in zip-lock sandwich bags and freeze to store for future use, or use immediately.

2. If all this is not possible, you can simply substitute khoya with equal amounts of milk powder. That should work out fine.

This post is my contribution to the event Back to Basics originally stated by Jaya, and currently being hosted by Aqua at Served with Love.

Luv,
Mona

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Basic How To’s: Series V~ Home-Made Ghee

July 8th, 2009 Mona Posted in Ghee, Home-Made Ghee 10 Comments » 10,260 views

Basic How To: Ghee

Ghee (Clarified Butter) (also referred to as ‘Maska’) is an essential flavoring ingredient in most of the Indian culinary preperations. It is also added as a dollop on warm Khichdi, Idli etc for delicious flavor. Ghee also is used as the culinary fat in some Indian dishes, especially sweets, for richness and lovely aroma and flavor. It is lactose free and rich in Vitamin A. I have never brought Ghee from stores. I always use my own Home-made Ghee.

Ghee is prepared from butter, butter is prepared from cream, and cream is obtained from milk. Back in India my Ammi always prepares Ghee from scratch. Accumulated cream was daily skimmed off milk brought by the doodhwallahs/door to door milk vendors, until the container with cream was full and ready to be made into Ghee (I have explained her procedure below). But here in Toronto, I prepare ghee from store bought unsalted butter for ease of use.

Warm Ghee,
and the strained left over milk solids in the spoon

Ghee from Scratch:

1. Boil milk and then let it cool uncovered. Once it is cool, you will observe that a layer of cream has been accumulated on the top of the milk. Transfer the vessel to the refrigerator very carefully without disturbing the top layer. After about 2-3 hours, using a spoon carefully collect the cream and transfer it to a clean and dry air tight food storage container. Cover and store the container in the refrigerator. Continue collecting cream in this way for a week to 10-15 days until the container is full.

Cream accumulated as the top layer on cooled boiled Milk

2. Once the container is full, using a wood churner or a dal ghotni, or a hand mixer, churn the cream until you see that the butter and whey has started to separate. You can even churn the cream at room temperature in a mixer using ice and cold water until the soft white butter and clear whey has separated. Use this whey which is highly nutritious in other recipes instead of water. Using your hands remove the formed soft butter from the whey and place it in a clean bowl.

Churning collected cream using a dal ghotni

Butter separated from Cream after churning

3. Add the separated butter into a saucepan and follow the steps below under the heading ‘Ghee from Store Bought Unsalted Butter Blocks’.

Note: You can also skip step 2, and directly add the cream at room temperature to a stainless steel saucepan at medium heat. and continue with step 3.

Ghee from Store Bought Unsalted Butter Blocks:

The amount that I have prepared lasts for around 2-3 months in my house (although it can be stored without getting spoiled indefinitely). It may vary depending on the number of members in your house and also on the frequency of use. Always use a dry clean spoon for Ghee whenever you want to use it.

Required:

Finest Quality Organic Unsalted Butter – 1 lb, 454 grams cut into small size blocks
Fine Wire Mesh Strainer
Heat proof canning or bottling glass jar like the Mason jar, or food safe glazed ceramic jar or stone jar or a terrine or stainless steel container, with tight fitting lid

Unsalted Store Bought Butter Blocks

Method:

In a heavy bottomed medium size stainless steel saucepan, heat the butter blocks on medium high heat.
Once melted, you will observe a large amount of froth/foam on the top. This takes about 6-8 minutes on medium high heat. Immediately lower the heat to lowest and let cook uncovered for 40-45 minutes. During this time the froth/foam will slowly dissapear, the milk solids have seperated and will sink to the bottom. Using a spoon very gently push aside the foam to check the color of the milk solids in the bottom. You will notice the milk solids have begun to turn into beige brown in color. Keep a close eye and do not let the milk solids turn into dark brown in color. The Ghee will also start emanating a pleasing nutty aroma. If a drop or two of cool water is dropped into the cooking ghee, a crackling sound is produced. (This is because all the water from ghee has been boiled off)

Ghee Solids turned into beige brown color and settled in the bottom.
Notice the foam has also been almost disappeared

Immediately at this stage, remove the ghee from heat and let cool slightly. Strain the ghee using a fine wire mesh into a completely dry jar to store. Reserve the left over milk solids in the strainer for later use. Do not cover the jar until the ghee is completely cooled at room temperature, it will take a few hours. The ghee solidifies into opaque beige-golden colored granulated mass when no longer warm. Ghee has a very long shelf life. Store it refrigerated in air-tight jars with care and it will last very long (during winters I store my Ghee jar at the countertop, and in summer i store the Ghee jar in the refrigerator).

You can add the reserved milk solids to any curry, rice, dessert, or to the dough while you prepare Roti/Paratha or any other flat bread for delicious flavor.

This post is my contribution to the event Back to Basics originally stated by Jaya, and currently being hosted by Aqua at Served with Love.

Luv,
Mona

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Basic How To’s: Series IV ~ Home made Yogurt, Dahi

February 26th, 2009 Mona Posted in Milk and Milk Products, Simple Kitchen Tips, Yogurt/Dahi, Yogurt/Dahi 9 Comments » 11,561 views

Basic How To: Yogurt/Curd/Dahi

Preparing yogurt, also referred to as ‘curd’ by Indians, or dahi in Urdu language, the wonder food, a natural antibiotic, at home is quite a simple task. Just like milk, yogurt is packed with good nutrients including protein, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc and B vitamins. Probiotic yogurts with active cultures helps reduce constipation and bloating, and boosts immune system function. Yogurt is one of the essential ingredients in Indian cuisine. Its sweet-sour flavor is used in marinating the meats, and to prepare gravies for curries, as a dessert, in face-packs or hair-packs etc.

I often prepare yogurt at home and use store brought yogurt only if I need to get a new starter, or at times when I am out of yogurt and need it immediately for my cooking. Store bought yogurt often has gelatin/pectin mixed in it to enhance the thickness consistency of it, which is very bad news for both non-vegetarians as well as Muslims, because gelatin is not Halal.

Homemade Yogurt

To prepare yogurt you can either use full fat whole milk or skimmed milk, or milk prepared from milk powder, it is your wish. Yogurt from whole milk or full fat milk is definitely thicker and much creamier. The proportion I use to make yogurt is 2 tablespoons of starter yogurt to every 1 litre of milk.

Homemade Yogurt/Dahi:
Makes-2 cups
Note: Make sure you sterilize all the containers and utensils you are using while preparing yogurt

Heat milk until it reaches 180°F/80°C either in the microwave or on stove. Set aside for a few minutes. Let it cool down until the milk is just lukewarm, you should be able to tolerate the heat of the milk on your finger for about 20 seconds or a thermometer inserted should read between 115°F/46°C  (if the milk is too hot or cold, yogurt/dahi will not properly set). Stir in yogurt, either commercial or some of your previous batch, 2 tbsp for each quart or liter of milk. Cover and wrap the container in kitchen towel . Keep it undisturbed to ferment in a constant warm and dark place for around 2-4 hours or overnight. Once set, refrigerate the yogurt to store. Its consistency will firm as it chills in the refrigerator and then slowly continues to acidify. The longer the yogurt is stored, the sourer it becomes
Always save some yogurt as it can be used as a starter for the next batch.

In places where it is warm and humid, making yogurt is quite easy and does not require much attention. You can cover the bowl with the yogurt starter and leave it on your countertop, undisturbed for it to set in around 8 hours.

***

Tip: As I currently live in Toronto where the temperatures are usually very chilly during winters, what I do is put the bowl of lukewarm milk on a heating vent and add the yogurt starter, mix it well and cover the bowl with a lid. Wrap the bowl in a towel and leave it to set, undisturbed, for about 6-8 hours or overnight. You will get thick and creamy yogurt by morning.
Some of my friends even use a heating pad at medium heat, below the container in which you are setting the yogurt for a constant supply of heat to aid in its formation.

***

Tip:  Many a times it happens that you end up with failed yogurt. You discover that the yogurt has not set at all, and it is just like milk, and you discard the whole thing.
Instead of discarding it, you can prepare two Indian milk products from it:
1. Daan-e-daar Khoa (Granular Khoa): Pour the failed yogurt in a saucepan at medium heat and add about 1 tbsp of lemon juice (to 2 cups of failed yogurt) to curdle the milk and continue cooking. Keep stirring the milk and cook until most of the moisture has been evaporated and the milk is reduced to dry lumpy texture. Remove from heat and transfer to a cup and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate it for a hour so that it thickens/hardens. Remove the prepared Khoa from the refrigerator transfer to a zip-lock sandwich bag and freeze to store for future use, or use immediately.
2. Paneer: Pour the failed yogurt in a saucepan at medium heat and add about 1 tbsp of lemon juice (to 2 cups of failed yogurt) to curdle the milk and continue cooking milk for a few minutes until you see the milk has curdled completely. Carefully strain the curdled milk through the sieve lined with the muslin cloth. Let the whey collect in the bottom saucepan. The whey is highly nutritious. Store it to use later on in other curries instead of water (at this stage if you wish, you can experiment and add a few flavors that you like to the curds in the muslin cloth, like dried herbs, etc. Mix the dried herbs well with the curds and continue). Later, lift the edges of the cloth and tie the corners of the cloth into a bag completely enclosing the curds. Remove the sieve from saucepan and place it in the sink. Place the bag of curds back in the sieve. Set aside under a heavy weight for about 3-4 hours to press to a flat shape about 2 cm thick. Later, transfer the Paneer block to a zip-lock packet and store refrigerated. Use within a week.

This post is my contribution to the event Back to Basics originally stated by Jaya, and currently being hosted by Aqua at Served with Love.

Luv,
Mona

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