Mumbai my new abode

I never thought I would ever get an opportunity to sample working and discovering a new city but thanks to a great boss and husband moving bases, this opportunity landed in my lap. So here I am in Mumbai, trying out new stuff to cook for dinner and trying out new tastes. I am consciously avoiding chains that I can get to eat in Delhi so that my food horizons broaden. Will be writing my reviews soon so far I have had Parasi, Gujarati, Mexican, Italian, only in Mumbai cafes and street food here. A few places get my likes , some don’t impress me much contrary to what some people might say.

I have another handicap- as much as I would like to try new places I’m avoiding being too adventurous so that I don’t get Mumbai Belly (read Delhi belly) here, so I try to be innovative for dinner at home. A few experiments that I try on husband have been as follows

1. Garlic bread- All time favourite

Ingredients

1 French loaf or Garlic bread loaf

2 table spoons of butter (I use Amul)

2 small cloves Garlic crushed (depends on how strong do you want it)

Pinch of Salt

Pinch of Pepper

Pinch of Oregano

1 tea spoon Olive Oil

Mix garlic, Olive oil, Oregano, Salt and Pepper in softened butter. Cut the French loaf diagonally into 8-10 pieces. On top of each piece of loaf spoon out the butter mixture, spreading it across the pieces equally. On a baking tray arrange the pieces and let it bake till the bread top is crisp and brown but should be soft from inside.

If the tray is not non-stick  spray a little bit of Olive oil before putting the pieces on the baking tray. You can also jazz up the bread by putting alternate juliennes of tomato and capsicum after you’ve put the butter mixture and bake. Or you could also put a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella on top of the tomato and bake till the cheese has melted and is slightly brown.

2. Vegetable Au- Gratin

1 cup par boiled vegetables- carrots, mushrooms, baby corn, french beans, broccoli, capsicums (red, green and yellow) and potato (all veggies are to be cut into cubes)

2 table spoons maida

2 table spoons butter

Salt to taste

Pepper to taste

¼ cup milk

Ina non stick pan put the maida and sauté it with butter till the maida is slightly brown. Add milk to the pan stirring it constantly so that no lumps are formed. You can add water or more milk if you feel that the sauce is thick or will not cover the veggies. Add salt and pepper to the sauce and pour it over the par boiled veggies, hope the veggies are in a bowl that you want to bake the dish in. On top of the veggies in white sauce add generous helping of cheddar and mozzarella mixture and put it to bake. I usually use  100 degree Celsius for pre heating  the OTG and then keeping the dish at the same temperature till the cheese has melted and has become brown (approx. 5-10 mins) depends if your using a microwave with grill make sure you are using both microwave and grill so that the veggies are hot and the cheese slightly brown.To be served immediately.

3. My take on Cesar  Salad

For the dressing

2 table spoons olive oil

1 table spoon mayonnaise

1 tea spoon white vinegar

Salt to taste Pepper to taste

¼  tea spoon Oregano

1 tea spoon tomato ketchup

For the salad

¼ Ice berg lettuce torn into pieces and put in drinking water with ice

¼ carrot cut into cubes

¼ capsicums cubes (green, yellow, red)

5-6 Cherry tomatoes cut into half

4-5 pieces of Bread croutons

Drain water and dry the lettuce leaves on a kitchen towel , add carrots, capsicum and croutons. Mix all the ingredients for the dressing in a bowl. Mix dressing and the veggies together make sure the dressing is not runny and coates the veggies. The salad is ready to eat, you could keep the salad in the fridge as well, it tastes best when served cold.

To add Hawaiian touch to this, you can also add a few pieces of canned pineapple cut into same size cubes as the rest. For non-veg add cold cuts of chicken or cold fried beacon and mix in with the veggies.

That’s it for now, I would be writting my reviews soon, let me know if you would like a few recipes that I have tried so far

1. Golgappa jaljeera home made (gol gappey ka pani)

2. Phirni

3. Pizza including the pizza base

or

4. Moong Dal cheelas

 

Samosas— Yaaaay!!!

I have already conquered the gujiyas… and very close on its heels (like the same day)…. was the mighty Samosa!!!

So here’s the dope on that….

Filling: We made VEG peas and potato filling. Very simple, non-spicy so kids could also have it. But I’ll tell you some alternatives. Masalas we used: Salt, garam masala, jeera powder. Use a little oil and put the masalas, add the peas and diced potatoes (small pieces), stir around till light brown. The cover and cook till the veges are done. If there’s any water/ moisture, heat till its dry.

Dough: (see the Gujiya post)

Sticking glue: (see the gujiya post)

Now step wise process (with pics!!):

Step 1: Roll out into a round shape. Cut into 2 halves. One half for each Samosa.

Step 2: Need to make a cone shape. Use your hands to hold it open to stuff the filling in.

  

 

Step 3: Once the filling is in, flatten it a bit on your palm into a triangular shape, with some space around the edges

 

Step 4: Paste edges, put in kadhai to fry till golden brown

  

Step 5: What else? SLURP!! 🙂

P.S.: Alternatives – For better taste, add finely chopped coriander, grated ginger and finely chopped green chillies. Also a good Non-veg option is mutton keema and peas. You’ll have to pressure cook and dry the filling.

Holi is gujiya time… :)

So this Holi I tried Gujiyas at home… with Mom, and maid’s help of course… I was a bit scared to try it on my own… Mom gathered up the initial enthu!!

Well… to my surprise it quite easy !! (Funny how that comes to you when you have been avoiding it for years)!! So I thought I should pass on my newfound wisdom, and easy recipe, of course.

Now, the recipe is by ‘andaaz’… you know how we all cook but never really know how much of what we are putting…. but seriously, give it a try, tweak it around to suit your own fancy… the process is not tough. And when you eat the warm gujiyas…. yummmmmmmmmmmmm! 🙂

For the filling this is what we did:  dry roast   (keep aside), add 100 gms khoya to kadhai with some ghee and stir till it turns light brown, then add dry fruits, stir a bit more. Add 1 or 2 tbsp sugar till it melts and becomes soft, and lastly grated desiccated coconut about 2-3 tbsp. Add the suji also at this time. Now everyone doesn’t like the coconut flavour, so choose accordingly. You can up the Suji content if you are not putting coconut. The consistency should be a bit crumbly and a bit powdery in places.

For the dough: Maida kneaded with oil/ghee. First rub the ghee/oil through the maida till its crumbly. Then add a bit more till it holds in your palm when you close it tight. Add just a bit more water to make a soft dough and comes out clean from the vessel. If its sticky, just a hint of more oil/ghee should do the trick.

For sticking the ends together: Just prepare a little mix of maida and water. Maida doesn’t dissolve, so you’ll have to stir it with your fingers each time you are trying to use that as ‘glue’ to stick the ends of your gujiya together.

So now step wise:

Step 1: Roll out the dough in small round shapes. Take it on your palm.                 

Step 2: Add enough filling to ensure you can fold over the filling into a semi-circular shapes, but still leave enough space around the edges to stick the edges.                

 

Step 3: And then try pinching it all around to seal it and give a nice shape (the nice edges come only after you’ve made about a million of these… so don’t be critical of mine… or yours when you make them!)

Step 3: Put in hot oil and fry till light brown

Step 4: Eat and enjoy!!  🙂

Trying out Chicken Saltimbocca…

Ok, here;s a recipe that I improvised from Rouxbe (http://rouxbe.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&type=recipes&q=chicken+saltimbocca) 

It’s much easier to cook recipes from cookbooks and websites now : 1) Ingredients are now more easily available and 2) The authors make sure they provide the Indian name, or a recipe to make something (so there are recipes within recipes)… it still took much longer than I expected. But it was surprisingly fun… layering stuff, pounding it to flatten… interesting aromas and flavours, and lots of cheese and meat!! What else does one need?

I substituted the cambozola cheese with Gorgonzola. I went to Godrej Nature’s Basket and didn’t find Cambozola (very sad), then googled and found out I could use Gorgonzola (http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/Dictionary/C/Cambozola-cheese-5786.aspx) … so i did. I managed all the other ingredients fine. But forgot the unsalted butter. So I went ahead with normal butter, and went easy on the salt. I used normal white wine, didn’t bother with a cooking wine etc. And for the sauce, i didn’t follow exact measurements… there may have been a little more wine! (HIC!)  🙂  Just tried to get the consistency right.

Try it… it’s quite easy… and the prosciutto makes it taste absolutely fantastic!!!! Here’s two pics….

Recipe – chicken seekh kebabs

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…

Fried onions

 

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

Salt

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

Ground spices

 

Put everything into the mince except the egg and mix well. It should look like this…

Seekh kebab mixture

 

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 🙂