Cooking non vegetarian food at home has been pretty lean for me as I happen to be the only consumer in my vegetarian sasural. Not that I don’t cook for myself but somehow one needs quite a bit of drive to go through the process of buying, freezing, thawing, cleaning, cutting, marinating, cooking 200 grams of meat just for oneself. So when people sharing my taste of food visit, I kind of end up taking too much on my hands. All the recipes that I have read/watched since the last time I cooked NV come flooding to my mind, battling with each other to make it to the table. And I must say, my leniency gets the better of me and very few dishes return with heavy hearts. So you can imagine what happened when my father announced he was coming for a day to Mumbai. He would have just one meal with us so I had to pack as much as I could in it. I decided to make Chinese for main course and a Mughlai starter. You can get away with such a medley only at home or at weddings.
I planned the menu –
Non vegetarian – Home made chicken seekh kebab for the starter, mixed fried rice (with egg, chicken and prawns), chilli chicken, golden fried prawns for the main course
Vegetarian – Haldiram namkeen and peanuts for starters (hehe…that would be for my husband…he’s very forgiving), vegetable fried rice, almond vegetables in some sauce (that I can whiz up with dashes of this and that)
Am I cruel or what…
So I started a day in advance – with the seekh kebabs. I don’t mind admitting it was an inspiration from Nigella Lawson (not the seekh kebabs, but the preparing in advance bit), but actually the longer you marinate the meat for seekh kebabs, the tastier they get.
It was my first attempt ever at making any sort of kebabs. I watched videos and read up recipes to prepare myself for this and one rule blared loud and clear in all of them – the biggest mistake while making kebabs is to leave any moisture in the meat. Fine, that can be taken care of. Moreover, I had seen one of the chefs blotting the mince with kitchen paper to absorb residual moisture. So after thoroughly draining the washed mince in the sieve, I tried the kitchen paper trick. And as soon as I pressed the paper (that I had folded several times to make it thick) to the mince, voila! I had the base for the revised recipe of ‘chicken seekh kebabs with a crispy kitchen paper crust’. The damn paper stuck to the mince like skin. You can imagine what a perfect a** I felt. This happens when you don’t use your brains. So I carefully peeled off the paper till the very last bit and stared at the mince for a while as if trying to make the moisture evaporate by just looking. Then I got it. I plonked all the mince in a wide bowl, pressed the sieve on top of the meat to squash it as much as possible and then dabbed the kitchen paper on top of the sieve over the mince. I used up nearly half a roll of kitchen paper this way but how it worked!!! Hah…the power of the human mind…
Well now with the mince taken care of, I went ahead with the marination…here’s the recipe –
½ kg chicken mince – I used less…what with the dabbing and getting out the moisture thing…phew!!
2 tbsps ginger garlic paste – freshly made
1 cup fried onions – this was the secret ingredient…the taste and smell that you get from this…mmmhh…
20 sprigs of coriander leaves – I used less
2 green chillies – depends on how much heat you want
1 tsp garam masala – freshly ground
1 tsp amchoor – lemon juice sounds ideal but you don’t wanna add any more moisture that you so painfully extracted so amchoor’s perfect
½ egg – to be used later
Bread crumbs – to be used only if the final mix is a little moist. I didn’t use any. Remember that this will eat up a lot of flavour so in case you’re using bread crumbs, season the mince a little more
To be dry roasted and ground – 3 dry red chillies, ½ tsp black peppercorns, 2 tbsps coriander seeds – I didn’t use all of the powder
Put everything into the mince except the egg and mix well. It should look like this…
The sad thing is, this is something you can’t taste to check for seasoning as the meat is raw. So what I did was, I took a little bit and microwaved it for 30 secs. It came out cooked and crisp at the edges. Perfect to check seasoning. Just make sure it’s nice and spicy. This is a seekh kebab mix, the finished product will preferably be eaten all by itself so the taste needs to really hit your senses. So although you don’t want the masalas to overpower the taste of the meat, you do want a ‘kadak swaad’ (really couldn’t find an English equivalent for this). But do go a little easy on the garam masala especially if you’ve freshly ground it. It can be really strong.
So now pop it into the fridge and let it marinate for as long as you want. I gave it 24 hours. Out with it, add the whisked egg and mix well. Press it along a skewer and grill for about 15-20 mins. Done. Served with sliced onions. I did not get a picture of the finished product as the moment it was cooked and served, the plate was wiped clean 🙂
As for the rest I marinated the chicken (for the chilli chicken) and the prawns (for the golden fried prawns) next morning ready to be fried and cooked in a matter of minutes. (I just got pictures of the seekh kebab because that was something I was making for the first time and was really excited about it.)
Actually it was more of a prepping job for the rest of the dishes I did. It took a hell of a long time with all the chopping, dicing ans slicing. Cooking all these dishes did not really take longer than half an hour. I’m glad I made enough to send some back home with my father for tasting. The compliments were more than welcome 🙂