Sunday, April 19, 2015

Surmai Tawa Fry

As a child, when I first heard the song from Sadma - Surmayi akhiyon main, I was convinced, that Kamal Hasan was talking about the king fish which we call "Surmai" in Marathi!:-D
Every time, I make anything with Surmai - King fish , I think about my own folly and I chuckle!
Today, let's make Surmai Fry.
Surmai Tawa Fry
Fried King Fish
2 steaks Surmai/King fish
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp asafetida
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp. lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tbsp. Semolina or (1 tbsp. semolina  + 1 tbsp. rice flour)
Oil for frying
1. Rinse surmai steaks.
2. Mix all the spices with lemon juice.
3. Apply on the steaks. Adjust seasoning as needed.
4. Set aside for 15 minutes.
5. Heat oil in a tawa/griddle.
6. Dredge steaks on the semolina or semolina+ rice flour mixture. Shake off excess.
7. Place in a single layer on the tawa.
8. Fry on medium flame.
9. Turn over and fry on the other side till it's crispy on both the sides.
10. Place on the kitchen towel to absorb excess oil
11. Serve with a lemon wedge.
Note -
1. Surmai or King fish is a fleshy fish. It needs more seasoning. So adjust ginger-garlic paste and chili powder accordingly
2. Instead of lemon juice, tamarind pulp or kokum pulp (Agol) can also be used.
3. Surmai steaks vary in size. I used the steaks on the smaller size.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Achari Chhole

 I was talking to my best friend Rakhee and she mentioned about using pickle masala in the chhole recipe. I thought that was very innovative. Pickle Masala gives a distinctly different taste since it has pungent ground mustard. To get that distinct flavor, use only a smidgen of garam masala.

Achari Chhole
Garbanzo Beans with Pickling Spices
1 1/2 cup Garbanzo beans, soak overnight
 2 medium potatoes

1 tbsp. Pickle Masala
A generous pinch of Punjabi Garam Masala or to taste
Salt to taste

Grind to a smooth paste
1 1/2 cup roughly chopped onion
3-4 cloves garlic
2-3 kashmiri chilies, soaked in water, till plump
1" ginger, peeled & chopped
1 tomato, roughly chopped

1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes

2 tbsp. minced cilantro

1. Pressure cook soaked chickpeas & potatoes adding adequate water. Set aside. Peel potatoes and cut them into chunks.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker. Add cumin seeds, bay leaf, asafoetida and turmeric powder.
3. Add finely chopped onion. Sauté till soft. Add tomatoes. Sauté till pulpy.
4. Add ground paste. Sauté for 20 minutes.
6. Now add cooked chickpeas. Add 1 cup water.
7. Add salt, chili powder, Pickle Masala and Punjabi Garam Masala.
8. Simmer for about 15 minutes or till the desired consistency is achieved.
9. Serve with toasted bread.

1. Taste your pickle masala. It may already have salt. Adjust your salt accordingly.

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Monday, April 13, 2015

Asparagus Koshimbeer - Asparagus Salad

A bunch of tender Asparagus inspired me to make this Maharashtrian salad.

Asparagus Koshimbeer
Asparagus Salad
1 bunch tender asparagus, ends removed, chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 lemon, freshly squeezed
2 - 4 tbsp. daaNyache KooT/Roasted, unsalted peanut powdered/crushed

1 tsp oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1-2 green chilies, slit or minced
A pich of asafetida

1 tbsp. minced cilantro

1. Place chopped asparagus in a pressure cooker pot. Add 1 tbsp. water. Steam without using weight.
2. Let it cool down completely.
3. Add salt, sugar, crushed peanuts. Squeeze fresh lemon. Mix well.
4. Heat oil in a saucepan. Add cumin seeds, chilies and asafetida.
5. Drizzle over the salad.
6. Garnish with cilantro. Mix.

1. Do not over cook the asparagus.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Black Bean Noodles with Schezwan Prawns Curry



I was browsing through Costco's Organic section and chanced upon these black bean noodles/pasta. The ingredients list comprised only one ingredient - black beans. That was very promising so I decided to experiment with it. For an unknown reason, I didn't feel like treating it as pasta so I didn't go Italian way. I thought some Asian flavor may work well. I raided my fridge and found Schezwan/Sicuan sauce bottle. As the it was getting ready, I thought of giving a taste test. Boy, was it spicy! So I had to tone it down a little for Gudiya to enjoy. So I decided to add some peanut butter and coconut milk. I think overall, it really worked well.

Black Bean Noodles with Schezwan Curry
1 bunch spring onions, chopped
1 red bell pepper, cored, sliced
1 green bell pepper, cored, sliced
A handful of green beans, sliced/French cut
1/4 cup each of water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and baby corn
1 tbsp. peanut butter
1 cup coconut milk
Few drops of toasted sesame oil
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp rice vinegar
1/2 tbsp. Schezwan Sauce (Readymade)

3/4 cup peeled and deveined shrimp/prawns
A pinch of turmeric powder

1 tbso oik
1.2 tbso ginger garlic paste

1. Heat oil in a hot wok. Add ginger garlic paste. Add vegetables one after the other. Do not overcook.
2. Add marinated shrimp. Saute for a minute or so.
3. Add schezwan sauce, salt as needed, sugar and toasted sesame oil.
4. Stir fry.
5. Meanwhile cook black bean noodles per package directions. I undercooked them since they were to boil again in the curry.
6. Add peanut butter and coconut milk. Add 1  1/2 cup water. Adjust for seasoning.
7. As curry is boiling, add drained moodles immediately.
8. Simmer for a minute.
9. Serve curry, vegetables, noodles in a bowl. Serve with a wedge of fresh lemon.

1. For a vegan version, skip shrimp. Use Tofu if desired.

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Vegetable Potstickers


I was introduced to the pot stickers in late 90s/early 2000. A friend who was originally from Minneapolis would rave about a place called Leeann Chin. According to her, it was the best Chinese food ever. So when I got a chance to visit Minneapolis later, I visited Leeann Chin and tried their signature pot stickers. They were delicious. I loved the technique of making Pot stickers where they are shallow fried as well as steamed and in the process they literally stick to the pot and hence the name!

I had bookmarked chef Ming Tsai's recipe eons ago. I couldn't find the round Gyoza wrappers around so I had to make that special trip to the Chinatown. When I was actually assembling the pot stickers, I was too occupied to go to the bookmarked site and actually read the recipe and follow it. So I proceeded with my interpretation.

Vegetable Potstickers
30 Round Spring Roll Wrappers/Gyoza

For the stuffing
1 tsp oil
1 tbsp. ginger paste
1/2 tsp garlic paste
2 tbsp. minced scallions/green onion
2 tbsp. minced red bell pepper
2 tbsp. mined green bell pepper
1 cup grated cabbage
1/2 cup grated carrots
1 cup sliced mushrooms
Few drops of Soy Sauce
Salt to taste
Few drops of sesame oil

Oil for sautéing

1. Thaw the spring roll wrappers in the fridge if they are frozen.
2. Make your stuffing ahead of time. Heat oil in a wok. Sauté ginger and garlic pastes.
3. Add scallions and the remaining vegetables. Sauté for about 5 minutes.
4. Add soy sauce, salt as needed and a few drops of Asian sesame oil.
5. Let the mixture cool down. Adjust for seasoning.
6. Keep the mixture in a huge sieve or colander so excess moisture will drain out.
 Keep this way at least for an hour.
7. Now let's assemble the wrappers. Take about 6 round wrappers at a time.
Meanwhile, keep a pot ready. Add a spoonful of oil, swirl around and keep it moderately hot.
8. Add a spoonful of stuffing in the center. And fold like a half-moon dumpling.
9. Use water around the circumference of the wrapper so it folds easily.
10. Using a fork, make markings.
11. Now, place those dumplings in a single layer on the hot pot.
12. As they crisp up, flip them. Let them get little crispy on the other side. Add 1/4 cup water. Switch gas to high. Cover and let them steam.
13. As the water evaporates, the dumplings will stick to the pot.  They should be soft but look crispy.
14. Proceed with remaining dumplings.

Note -
1. Do not shred the carrots or cabbage. Grate them so they have finer threads.
2. As the dumplings are getting steamed, you can make next batch of dumplings ready by stuffing, folding, using fork etc. But keep them covered with a moist towel till they go into the pot.

Recipe Inspiration/Credits

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Sunday, April 5, 2015

Shrimp with Broccoli

Shrimp with Broccoli & Yakisoba Noodles

I decided to give my own spin to this popular Chinese restaurant take-out food.

Shrimp with Broccoli
20 medium shrimp
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder (Optional)
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. black pepper powder
1 tsp. ginger garlic paste

Whisk for sauce
1 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. hoisin sauce
1 tsp. chili garlic paste
few drops of toasted sesame oil
1/2 tbsp. sugar (optional)
1 tsp. paprika
1 tbsp. corn starch
1/2 cup water

Process vegetables
A handful of broccoli florets
1 bell pepper
1 spring onion, chopped, reserve greens for garnish

1 tbsp. peanut oil
1 tbsp. ginger-garlic paste
2 red chilies

1. Marinate shrimp with turmeric powder -if using, salt, black pepper powder and ginger garlic paste.
2. Whisk all the ingredients for sauce and set aside.
3. Heat oil in a wok. Add red chilies and ginger garlic paste. Stir fry for30 seconds
4. Add broccoli, red bell pepper and white parts of spring onion. Stir fry for 1 minute.
5. Add shrimp along with marinade. Sauté for 3 minutes.
6. Add whisked sauce. Adjust for salt.
7. Cook till done.
8. Garnish with green parts of spring onions.
9. Serve with noodles, fried or plain rice.

1. You can fry shrimp separately before adding to the vegetable mixture. I save some oil by choosing not to do it.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

Asparagus chi Bhaaji

I decided to make simple Maharastrian style bhaji with my bunch of fresh Asparagus today. Guess what, another recipe idea with Asparagus is already bubbling in my head. I hope it works , if it does, I will share it with you all real soon.
Asparagus Chi Bhaaji
Sautéed Asparagus
1 bunch Aspragus, tail ends removed, chopped into small bits
salt to taste
A pinch of sugar (optional)
1/2 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/4 tsp asafetida
2-3 red chilies, halved
1/3 cup minced onion
4-5 cloves of garlic, peeled & sliced
1 tbsp. fresh coconut
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat oil in a saucepan.
2. Add spices and red chilies. Add garlic, as it changes color, add onion. Saute till onion is soft.
3. Add chopped asparagus. Mix well. Cover with a lid. Pour some water on the lid
4. Let it cook. Add salt and sugar - if using.
5. Add coconut + black pepper.
6. Serve with your daily meal.
Note -
1. You may also add cooked black chanas, black vatana or soaked chana or moong daal for a protein boost. If using cooked chana, add it after the asparagus is cooked. If using soaked/drained daal, add it after onion.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Asparagus Paneer

Spring is finally here. Tender asparagus are in season these days. So I keep playing around with them. Today, I gave Asparagus a Punjabi makeover.

Asparagus Paneer
Asparagus with Indian Cottage Cheese
1 bunch Asparagus, remove bottom ends, cut into 2" pieces
1/2 cup paneer, cut into strips
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into strips
salt to taste
1 tsp Punjabi Garam Masala
1 tsp coriander cumin powder

1 tbsp. oil
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
2 cloves
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped tomato

1 tbsp. chopped cilantro

1. Rinse asparagus. Cut off the tail end till it's no longer rough. Cut the remaining asparagus into about 2" strips. Peel potato and cut them into matchsticks. Cut paneer into matchsticks.
2. Heat oil in  heavy bottomed saucepan. Add spices. As they splutter, add ginger garlic paste. Stir for 1 minute.
3. Add onion and sauté till soft. Now add tomato paste. Sauté for about 10 minutes.
4. Add asparagus and potatoes. Mix well. Add 1/2 cup water. Let it cook.
5. Add salt to taste, Punjabi garam masala and coriander cumin powder.
6. Add more water depending on the desired consistency.
7. Add paneer strips.
8. Let the water evaporate if thick gravy is desired.
9. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro before serving. Also serve with a wedge of fresh lemon.

Note -
1. You can grind onion, tomato, ginger and garlic to a fine paste before adding to the gravy.
2. For vegan version, skip paneer.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015





This is wonderful dessert which has different names all over the world. But the great bard has said - what's in name, right?

It's called Flan in Mexico, Pudim Flan in Brazil and Portugal and we call it "Caramel Custard" in India. My aunt's recipe was pressure cooker based and I will share it some other time. But today's recipe is from my co-worker, Maria. According to her, this is the most common recipe for making Flan in her part of the world.


For Caramel Sauce
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup water

14 oz can of sweetened condensed milk
Whole milk, use the same can to measure
4 eggs, whisked

1. Let's make the caramel sauce first. Mix sugar and water in a saucepan. Bring to boil on medium flame. Simmer on low flame for about 15-20 minutes. It should have that caramel color.
2. Pour into the bottom of the mold. If serving in individual containers, take about 8 ramekins. Divide the caramel sauce among them. Swirl so it coats the bottom and sides evenly.
3. Preheat oven 350F
4. Use an electric beater and whisk eggs, condensed milk. After pouring the condensed milk, use the same can to measure the whole milk. Mix all three ingredients.
5. Sieve through a strainer.
6. Pour into the cold mold/ramekins.
7. Take a large pan in which the mold or ramekins will fit. Pour water in the pan. Place the molds/ramekins. Cover with an aluminum foil.
8. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour.
9. Take out carefully.
10. Chill in the fridge.
11. Before serving, take off. Loosen the edge with a knife.
12. Invert onto a serving plate.
13. Enjoy!

Note -
1. If you don't want to use the oven, you can make this in a pressure cooker as well. Add water to the pressure cooker as usual. Place your mould covering with aluminum foil. Bring to full pressure. Reduce the flame to medium low and steam for 15-20 minutes.

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