Honey Glazed Turkey Platter

Honey Glazed Turkey Platter

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This was my first foray into cooking a turkey dish. Quite tangibly so, I was unaware of the outcome and had my fingers crossed. While being used to the extremes of a soft seafood bite to hard red mutton, turkey was quite a compromise. Roasting it in my oven was a safe bet, but I did manage to conjure up a recipe which was lip smacking and quite a treat for a chilly winter evening. Read on and enjoy the journey to a gourmet delight !! 

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 3 to 4.
  • Preparation time : 2 1/2 hours.
  • Serving size : 2 to 3 chunky roasts are a great treat.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Turkey pieces, 500 grams : Turkey has a thicker and firmer meat than chicken. It stronger flavor and a darker meat. Turkey is rich in proteins, amino acids and minerals like zinc. Not many find connoisseurs in India but can be sought and bought whenever required.
  • Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : Use the Himalayan pink salt for authenticity and it’s minerals.
  • Butter, 1 tablespoon : Butter is the best grease for a grill. While some oils also do the trick but nothing separates the meat from the bones like butter and gives it a perfect browning.
  • Dried Herb Mix, 3 teaspoon (Ground Mustard, Paprika, Pepper Black, Sage, Thyme) : All herbs are a fantastic essence. Dried herbs differ largely from the original harvest by the fact that they are more earthy and the fresh ones are moist and strong.
  • Chopped Garlic, 1 teaspoon : Very few of my dishes skip garlic 1. due to its amazing health benefits & 2. because it provides the right amount of pungency with almost every veggie and meat. All hail the ‘King Pungent’ !
  • Onion chopped, 1 medium : As in Red Onions for us Indians, strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Mix all the dried spices well in 1/3rd of the salt. Pound lightly in a mortar and shake to mix well. Do not grind in a mixer. That makes the spices hot and loose their flavor. Classical is the best in this case.
  • Now melt the butter and mix with honey. Warmth of butter will easily dissolve the honey at room temperature. Do not use refrigerated honey.
  • Apply this butter honey mix well on the turkey. Since turkey is best enjoyed with skin so you need to lift the skin lightly and apply the butter honey mix there too.
  • Take the spice mix and sprinkle well on all the turkey pieces. Cover well. Dried spice mix will stick well to the honey butter mix as well.
  • Wrap the turkey in an aluminium foil and place it in a baking plate.
  • Now pre heat the microwave for 15 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • Place your tray inside the microwave at a raised level. This allows for a more uniform roasting.
  • Grill the turkey for 2 hours at 400 degrees.
  • Serve hot with your favorite ketchups or chutneys as have been listed in the previous menus.

Storage : No way Jose !!!!

Missing Something ? : Only thing that can be added here would be freshly chopped rosemary if available !!

Broccoli Stalks Pesto Dip

Broccoli Stalks Pesto Dip

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I have always confessed the satisfaction of preparing ketchups, dips, pickles etc. since they make flavors last beyond their seasons and last several treats as well. . This one is slightly different from the Basil Pesto I shared earlier by way of the green dominance of broccoli stems/stalks. This is a uniqueness that I am proud to preserve (i.e. the broccoli stems). Recall the recipe of Cream of Celery Broccoli Stalks . Here, I just use the same power packed, nutritious stems of broccoli to prepare this fritter (pakora) accompaniment common at our place, just like the ajwain chutney recipe. Read on and enjoy the treat !!

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : dip along and dip a long !!
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Basil, sweet or Thai, 3 cupfuls : In this I used sweet or Genovese basil leaves which I pluck-wash at my garden. Basil is the “King of Herbs” for many reasons. It is a strong anti oxidant. It fights virus, bacteria and other microbes in the body. I grow 4 to 5 types of basil in my garden and am always looking for new things to do with it.
  • Olive Oil, 1/3rd cup : Keep the oil light so as not to interfere with the flavor of your dish either in odor or in taste. Besides, olive oil is a great antioxidant, anti inflammatory, is good for heart and weight management.
  • Garlic, minced, 1 teaspoon : You will hardly find any of my recipes missing garlic. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Pink Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : I prefer coarse Himalayan pink salt here since it is extremely healthy.
  • Cheese cube, 100 grams : With all the calcium and protein benefits, cheese here is added for it’s creamy texture and nutty essence.
  • Walnuts, 1/2 cup : Walnuts have a good amount of good fats called polyunsaturated fats or PUFA. They have Omega 3 and decent amount of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and Vitamins like E & B loaded in them. In taste they add a distinct earthiness and nutty essence.
  • Broccoli stems, shaved, 250 grams : Broccoli’s health benefits and earthy flavors are amazing, esp. for kids. I use a rather peculier portion of the plant. The stems. I use the insides of the soft broccoli stems by peeling off the hard outer skin. It tastes like cucumber. you may also use it in salads and many other preparations.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash well and break the basil. Breaking works better than chopping the basil. Chopping is said to be detrimental to the flavor.
  • Wash and dry the walnuts since they are quite dusty when fresh.
  • Grate the cheese and mix with olive oil loosely.
  • Shave off the broccoli stems using only the inner less fibrous meaty part. It would seem quite like a cucumber.
  • Now add all ingredients in a kitchen grinder and make a paste of it. I would prefer not to add water to loosen it to your requirement, instead ad 1 teaspoon of olive oil.
  •  There you are !!

Storage : Good for storage for upto 3 months at optimum temperature .

Missing Something ? : You can replace the walnuts for groundnuts and even better with pine nuts for max authenticity.

Royal Junglee Maans

Royal Junglee Maans (Rajasthani Junglee Mutton)

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So now that the winter chills our bones in North India, I can safely indulge in my major culinary love i.e. red meat with strong spices and strong flavors 🙂 !! This one recipe comes from a favorite Indian state of Rajasthan. Being largely a desert, Rajasthan’s menu is splurged with strong red chilies and salt. How do you expect the gypsies in the desert state to make a good dish without spices ???? Well you have to feast them to believe them. The combination of a few strong spices dole out such lip smacking dishes that are unbelievable. You can almost call it the mutton piri piri – the gypsy version ! This is so removed from the regular lunch table Mutton Curry Sunshine which I make for the family and shared earlier.

This one is a true gypsy delicacy called Junglee Maans. Cook on and feast on !! Weak palates to avoid please 😀

 

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 extremely quite and slurpy guests (they wont open their mouths to speak while they gobble this, I promise 😉 ).
  • Preparation time : 60 minutes to marinate and 45 minutes of cooking.
  • Serving size : You will have to control them after a bowl each.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Mutton (Both goat and lamb would do) 500 grams approx. : Healthiest curry is prepared with mutton. It builds bones and is abundant in calcium.
  • Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : Use the coarse rock salt for authenticity and it’s minerals.
  • Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon or from 1 average sized lemon : Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/2 teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. I grow them in tubs in my backyard. They test your patience coming up, but they are amazingly pretty as a plant.
  • Coriander Powder : Coriander provides the garnish to the dish and takes off any unwanted smell. Coriander is also a great digestive and also aids in the digestive and blood system of our body. The sweet coriander is one of the most popular garnish across fat cooked dishes. I pluck the whole plant from my garden since roots give the best flavor in the coriander plant.
  • Dried Red Chilies : This seems to be the staple spice of Rajasthan. Wherever I could see, large patches of land in Jodhpur, Bikaner etc. were all covered with dried red chilies like large red ponds.
  • Red Chili powder : Red chili powder has a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. It is a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Ghee (saturated fats), 2 tablespoon : Unlike popular belief, ghee actually helps in weight loss. It is also a great soluble of most vegetables and strengthens bones doing so. We use ghee here for cooking for its great buttery essence.
  • Mustard oil, 1 tablespoon : This just brings out the bitter pungency beautifully.
  • Garlic, 6 cloves : The King Pungent. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Coriander, fresh plucked & chopped 5 to 6 twigs : It’s easy to garnish with a bunchfull freshly harvested from the backyard. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash clean the tender mutton pieces and rub them with salt, turmeric powder, red chili powder and 1 tablespoon mustard oil and keep aside for an hour to flavor well. This mix itself will give out a bitter pungent essence.
  • Now heat the ghee in a skillet till it melts.
  • To this add the coriander powder, the chopped garlic and the dried red chilies and fry for a minute. Do remember to keep your exhaust fan on full speed else your whole household will be coughing mad and swearing at you while this is being done  🙂
  • Add the marinated mutton and and salt to the skillet and fry the same for about 5 minutes.
  • To this add 3 cups of water and cook covered on medium to low heat for 45 minutes.
  • Garnish with coriander chopped and serve steaming hot.

Storage : A week, if you can manage to keep it without cleaning the bowl off in a single sitting.

Missing Something ? : Let it be. Keep it as simple as original.

Fish Rechiado / Roopchand

Fish Rechiado

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Rupchand or Roopchand is a medium to big size fish which occupies your platter well. I always need courage to cook it, not because it is not tasty (which it certainly is plentifully), rather due to its hefty size. I like to cook fish whole, especially good looking ones and this is a pretty fish indeed. However, cooking whole means no leftovers. And that makes for a really big treat 😀  !  So here’s the one which I absolutely love when there’s a good couple of hours of eating strength left in me.

And the recipe, well, Rechiado is an amazing concoction which I first came across during a binge with friends in Goa. I was absolutely led by it’s umami essence and a fragrance that would fill a shackk or a room for hours.

So, here’s my treat !! Read on ….

 

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : This is a 4 guest fish for sure.
  • Preparation time : 30 minutes
  • Serving size : Half platefuls would be a great treat.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Roopchand fish, 1 full, cleaned and slit, 1400 grams approx. : Roopchand is sometimes called the Indian piranha, quite unfairly though. It is white and sweet and has chunky meat portions and bones that are easily separable. It is good in omega acid and proteins as well. It looks so pink and pretty and hence the nomenclature. Some also call it the fake pomfret or the chinese pomfret. 
  • Vinegar, 2 tablespoon : Vinegar preserves the flavors in my dishes very well, so I don’t mind frequenting it. Prime reason for it’s preservative qualities are the amounts of acetic acid and anti bacterial present in it. And yes of course, the sour essence is brought out very well with vinegar. It is an amazing preservative.
  • Curry Leaves, 1 tablespoon : There isn’t a household in India which does not have a curry leaves plant. They have high amount of calcium, carbohydrates, fibre, iron, phosphorus, Vitamin E, B, C and A hence helping heart, hair, skin and fighting infections. Here I add them for their extreme spicy aroma. One old friend from Bangalore once told me, if the South Indians would have their way, they would even add curry patta in Chinese food 🙂 
  • Salt, 3/4th teaspoon : Use the sea salt for authenticity and it’s minerals.
  • Sugar, 1 teaspoon : Gets necessary sweetness to the dish adding fibre and aiding digestion too.
  • Lemon juice, 1 teaspoon or from 1 average sized lemon : Sour and acidic, with a good amount of citric acid, we add lemon here not just to enhance the sour essence but also to use it’s hydrating and digestive qualities.
  • Dried Red Chilies, 6 : Dried red chillies have a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. They are a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Turmeric Powder, 1/3rd teaspoon : Turmeric gives a great orange color and a mild bitter taste to the pickle here. It is a wonderful antioxidant and anti inflammatory. I grow them in tubs in my backyard. They test your patience coming up, but they are amazingly pretty as a plant.
  • Cumin seeds, 1/3rd teaspoon : Cumin has the classical earthy and nutty essence. Cumin is also extremely popular due to it’s aid to digestion, immune system, respiratory system and being a source of iron.
  • Garlic, 10 cloves : The King Pungent. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Black peppercorns, 8 : Good proportion of salt and pepper are great anti oxidants too.
  • Ginger, 1 inch : Unmistakably earthy, the ginger adds the heat quotient in the dish. The gingerol in ginger is a strong anti nausea and anti inflammatory agent.
  • Cloves, 4 to 5 : Cloves is extremely beneficial for it being anti cancer, anti diabetic, pain killing and breath cleansing properties. It has a distinct pungent, bitter essence.
  • Cinnamon, 1 inch : Again an amazing sweet taste and flavor enhancer, cinnamon is also an anti oxidant, anti inflammatory and sugar controlling ingredient which I often use in meats.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Pick a cleaned fish from the market, the guys will slit it for you too. It’s a medium to big fish with medium to thick bones. Cleaning at home will make a you clean a lot more than you expect.
  • Rub it with sea salt, turmeric powder and lemon juice and set aside for 30 minutes. Make sure that the salt mix gets deep in its  cuts.
  • While that’s been done, grind the red chilies, cumin seeds, garlic cloves, peppercorns, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, vinegar, sugar and salt into a coarse paste. Using a mortar and pestle would be better since that would be cold grinding and wouldn’t evaporate the essence. Grinding it this way will also require any additional water. Apply this paste well to the fish.
  • Preheat the microwave for 5 minutes and then place your fish on a grilling tray. Grill your fish for 20 minutes on medium heat (about 180 degrees), turning 3 to 4 times.
  • Served smoking. Again as I always say, keep checking your fish to keep it soft and edible. Too much cooking and you’ll give it a funeral 😦   🙂

Storage : Since it’s a big fish and cooked with vinegar, you may refrigerate for 2 days reheating once. Thereon, it’s texture will start getting leathery.

Missing Something ? : Dress them up with basil, I did so !!

Quick Kimchi Salad

Quick Kimchi Salad

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My earliest memories about Korea comes from my junior middle times when Daewoo Motors would be all over Indian roads with their Cielo Sedan and a popular dinky car called Matiz. The entire Indian car driving population fell under either of the two. Then the company went bust and sold off. The next storm of Korean products to inhabit Indian consumer markets were from LG and Samsung home device products. These were much cheaper than the superior Japanese products and pretty flashy too.

However, the Korean cuisine has not been able to make much in roads surprisingly though since most of their vegetables and other ingredients grow easily in India. I guess that shows that they only mean business 🙂 . Anyways, I love to grow lots of pak choi in winters and draw out some interesting Garlic Sauce recipe which I shared earlier. Another more popular one, which is one of my favorite evening munch is the Kimchi Salad. As with all other Korean recipes, it has Sesame written all over it. Do go through this one and enjoy preparing a quick and snappy salad with sesame essence !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : Ideally 2 but I don’t give any one a chance 🙂
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Pak Choi / Bok Choy, freshly picked (or packed), 1/2 Kg  : True to it’s green leafy genre, pak choy has good amount of fibre, calcium, iron, protein and carbohydrates. In taste it is quite like cabbage and in looks it rules the sight of your kitchen garden with it’s lovely spouting leaves from the base.
  • Chili Flakes, 1 tablespoon : Dried red chillies have a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. They are a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Garlic, chopped finely, 1 teaspoon : The king pungent as I call it, garlic provides the base flavor of this dish. Garlic is highly nutritious. It combats sickness, heals sore throat and regulates blood pressure as well.
  • Radish, 1/3rd cup : Hot Pungent and peppery, the common radish that grows in my buckets in the backyard are great for heart, skin respiration and immunity. They also fight jaundice and cancer, but tooooo much gives me a massive bolt of acidity 😀
  • Carrot, 1/3rd cup, grated : Carrots are high source of iron and anti oxidants and have sweet and earthy flavor. Though I much rather use pickle carrots as in the Gajar Shalgam Gobhi Achaar (Carrot Turnips Cauliflower pickle) but fresh as in salads is also welcome.
  • Ginger, finely chopped, 1/3rd teaspoon : This south asian spice king is a great compliment to garlic. It helps us in getting rid of morning sickness, nausea and muscle pain as well. It’s tea is a widely used generic organic medicine.
  • Onion slices, thin and separated, 2 teaspoon : As in Red Onions for us Indians, strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Soy Sauce, 1 teaspoon : It’s a low cal high antioxidant sauce with several good cholesterols. It has a fine salty taste and is widely prevalent in dishes across south east asia and China.
  • Leek, thinly sliced, 1/3rd cup, 2 inches in length : I grow leek in my garden. It grows super easily in any garden and requires minimum taking care. They are milder and more flavored than an onion. It is also very healthy for blood vessels, bones, heart, digestion, vision etc. I am always inclined to use leek for the sweetness instead of red onions and also the leaves of these leeks. 
  • Oyster Sauce, 1 teaspoon : This has high sodium content and is sweet, salty and has a deep savory flavor. Keep it low if children are to be served your salad too.
  • Sugar, 1 tablespoon : Gets necessary sweetness to the dish adding fibre and aiding digestion too.
  • Sesame seeds, roasted, 1 teaspoon : Sesame improves blood pressure, burns fats and is a good source of iron. It enhances the nutty flavor in the dip.
  • Water, 3/4th cup : Regular tap water to create mild brine.
  • Rock Salt, to taste : Rock salt gave me more authentic grounded essence than the regular table salt.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Was well and chop the Pak Choi in 1 inch to 1&1/2 inch pieces each.
  • Grate the carrots and radish. You may also grate the onions if you want them sleeker and not too prominent in your bite.
  • Leeks to be thinly chopped as advised in the ingredients section.
  • Take a round bowl about 10 inches in diameter and put your Pak Choi in it. Sprinkle the salt over it and add the 3/4th cup water reserved earlier. Mix all well and keep aside for 1 hour.
  • After the hour, drain off the water, wash off the salt water and pat the Pak Choi dry.
  • To this add the grated veggies and toss well to mix.
  • Now add chili flakes, garlic, ginger and sesame seeds and toss to mix again.
  • Now, in a separate bowl mix the soy and oyster sauce with sugar and mix well till the sauce is one (i.e. its a mixed solution with sugar completely dissolved).
  • Pour this over the Pak Choi bowl and again toss well.
  • I repeatedly mention that you should toss well and not use a spoon or a stirrer to mix so as not to break the leaves and spoil the texture. Tossing is fun too 🙂

Storage : You may use it for another snack or with another meal about 12 hours later, but do you really eat salads refrigerated 😦 .

Missing Something ? : I did not bother it much since the entire thing is so nice and crunchy this way. You may sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon sesame oil to make the essence more authentic.

Beet Stalks Pickle With Ginger Garlic

Beet Stalks Pickle With Ginger Garlic / Chukandar Ka Achaar

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This one is another of my indigenous garden to kitchen experiments that created the “MCMH Original Recipe” . Read on and try to believe it. You know that I am an avid gardner too. The effort that takes to create vegetables and flowers out of dry seeds is only next to parenting a child. So when it’s the time for fruitation, you would want your produce to be used to it’s maximum and respect every element edible or otherwise usable. This is exactly what made me use beet stalks in many ways. remember the beet stalk fries

Do try this one and I promise you’ll stand out unique when you discuss about it in a group. Enjoy !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : Several happy lip smacking faces 🙂
  • Preparation time : 15 minutes max.

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Beet Stalks (stalks + leaves) chopped, 2 cups : Amazing earthly tasting veggie with high level of immunity boosting Vitamin C and with other benefits to bones, liver, kidneys etc. So what are the stalks that i use here. Pluck a beetroot plant off the ground. Most popularly used is the bulbous root, then there are the leaves which are a great alternative to spinach. Finally there are 1/4th to 1/2 inch thick stems which may vary from 4 to 7 inches in length which lie between the root and the leaves. I am using that here. I know we use to throw them away forever long back as we knew. But it is the healthiest and tastiest part of the plant as i have discovered. 
  • Garlic chopped, 1/2 cup : You will hardly find any of my recipes missing garlic. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Green Chilies, 3-4 large, slit & deseeded : Fresh green chilies from my garden add to the fresh heat and mild bitter component while adding benefits of eyes and skin.
  • Coarse Salt, 1 tablespoon : Use a rough pink salt, it is a good sodium and magnesium provider. Also aids in digestion and dissolution of food particles.
  • Peppercorns, 1/2 teaspoon : Hot and mildly pungent, black pepper is good for digestion, skin, respiration and is a good antioxidant too. On tables across the world salt n pepper are partners in relation.
  • Yellow Mustard Seeds, 1 teaspoon : Mustard tastes from sweet to sour, bitter to steaming hot. But it’s great for digestion and respiration and strengthens bones and teeth. I use it here for the bitter sour essence.
  • Cloves, 4 to 5 : Cloves is extremely beneficial for it being anti cancer, anti diabetic, pain killing and breath cleansing properties. It has a distinct pungent, bitter essence.
  • Bay Leaf, 2 : Bay leaf is great for joints and skin and are packed with Vitamin A & C and many other minerals like iron, potassium and manganese. They are pungent and bitter in taste. I grow bay leaves in my garden so I can tell you that the fresh ones and dried ones are quite different. Use the dried ones only please. Bay leaves can grow into small trees giving lifetime supply 🙂
  • Star Anise, 1 : It has a strong licorice essence and helps in digestion.
  • Red Chili Powder, 1/2 teaspoon : Dried red chilies have a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. They are a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Vinegar, White, 1/2 cup : Vinegar preserves the flavors in my dishes very well, so I don’t mind frequenting it. Prime reason for it’s preservative qualities are the amounts of acetic acid and anti bacterial present in it. And yes of course, the sour essence is brought out very well with vinegar. It is an amazing preservative.
  • Heeng, Asafoetida, 1 pinch : Heeng controls blood flow and sugar level and further adds pungency.
  • Jaggery, 100 grams : Jaggery is an amazing anti oxidant and helps the body fight against infections. It is like a buttery liquid sugar and is good to mix in food in powder or liquid forms.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • In a hard bottomed pan or a skillet, heat the Jaggery Vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon Salt and cook for 3 minutes on medium till it gets dissolved into a solution. You may take a couple of more minutes if required. Now set this aside for cooling.
  • Now in another pan, heat some oil (2 tablespoon of any vegetable oil would do).
  • Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and mustard to it on medium. Stir till it sputters.
  • Add veggies to it one by one starting with chilies and cook for 2 progressive minute each.
  • Add all the dry and whole spices now and cook till the spices are well immersed.
  • Now set down and bottle once cold.
  • In this bottle, now pour the vinegar solution made earlier.
  • Secure the bottle cap well and shake hard to mix everything inside well.
  • Place this bottle in sun for 10 days to sun bake well, while remembering to shake it before every sunbath 🙂
  • You have your most unique pickle ready !

Storage : You can enjoy this for around 12 months for sure, if you do not gobble it all before so.

Missing Something ? : You may add some whole curry leaves to the pickle to give an amazing South Indian recall.

Basil Pesto Sauce / Dip

Basil Pesto Sauce

Pesto is probably the most popular organic dip besides mustard and the good old ketchup. Though we have immensely popular Indian chutney’s of various types of amazing flavors and benefits. Hope you recall the Cherry Tomato Ketchup recipe and the Carom Leaves Chutney that I shared sometime back. While, to many of us pesto would not raise eyebrows or turn heads, believe me, I have known people who have not known what to do with big basil shrubs and have pruned and thrown away a healthy lot of it. Interestingly it is these set of folks who enjoy pesto in my treats loudly and ask me for its recipe. So for those folks and for all to enjoy, here’s how I do this simple yet wholesome sauce !

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : This much would last at least 10 fritter treats 🙂
  • Preparation time : 10 minutes
  • Serving size : 1 tablespoon works well with 1 bowl of fritters

….and we need (ingredients)

  • Basil leaves, 2 cups, fresh would be great : In this I used sweet or Genovese basil leaves which I pluck-wash at my garden. Basil is the “King of Herbs” for many reasons. It is a strong anti oxidant. It fights virus, bacteria and other microbes in the body. I grow 4 to 5 types of basil in my garden and am always looking for new things to do with it.
  • Garlic, 3 – 4 cloves : You will hardly find any of my recipes missing garlic. Pungency is the reason why we use this allicin rich clove which combats sickness and common cold.
  • Walnuts, 1/3rd cup : Walnuts have a good amount of good fats called polyunsaturated fats or PUFA. They have Omega 3 and decent amount of minerals like iron, zinc, calcium and Vitamins like E & B loaded in them. In taste they add a distinct earthiness and nutty essence.
  • Cheese cube, 1, 200 grams : With all the calcium and protein benefits, cheese here is added for it’s creamy texture and nutty essence.
  • Olive oil, 1/2 cup : Keep the oil light so as not to interfere with the flavor of your dish either in odor or in taste. Besides, olive oil is a great antioxidant, anti inflammatory, is good for heart and weight management.
  • Salt, 1 tablespoon : I prefer coarse Himalayan pink salt here since it is extremely healthy. 

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Wash well and break the basil. Breaking works better than chopping the basil. Chopping is said to be detrimental to the flavor.
  • Wash and dry the walnuts since they are quite dusty when fresh.
  • Grate the cheese and mix with olive oil loosely.
  • Now add all ingredients in a kitchen grinder and make a paste of it. I would prefer not to add water to loosen it to your requirement, instead ad 1 teaspoon of olive oil.

Storage : 1 month refrigeration is a “can do”. You’ll also love doing things with the sauce besides using it as a dip. Remember, when I made the Tricolor Tiffin last month. They rocked 🙂

Missing Something ? : Many iterations are possible in this. You can change the salt to Kosher or even regular table salt. The oil should preferably be virgin olive oil. The cheese can be romano, Reggiano or even simple cheese cubes which can be grated and later pasted. It’s best to use sweet broad basil only. The walnuts can be replaced with pine nuts. Didn’t I mention that there are several iterations 🙂  !!

Basa Chili Basil

Basa Chili Basil

This is an amazing go-to recipe. Just pluck off some basil from the garden, handful of spices from your drawers and chop slash an onion and light up the flame to get this dead fish into a treat for all around. Though basa is not the most nutritious of fish around, it would certainly be one of the friendliest to serve. Less bones, more meat, sweet and friendly which the kids would love in so many different styles and so many different spices ! Enjoy while you make this fragrant delicacy and feel good when you serve this greedy eyes 😀

…need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 3 to 4 in 500 grams of cut fish. You are having rice or bread alongwith it right !
  • Preparation time : 20 minutes

….and we need (ingredients)

  • River Basa, 500 grams, cut pieces :Also called pangasius this is a very common river fish which is extremely easy to fillet. It is not very nutritious but the great thing about it is that bass is safe for all ages and does not have high mercury levels as in some other popular fishes. 
  • Basil leaves, 20, lime would be best : Basil is the king of the herbs. It’s a good king as well since it is very easily grown. Be it opal (purple basil), lime, cinnamon or holy (tulsi) basil, it grows super easy with cuttings or seeds. Check out my blog regarding propagation of basil by punching in basil in the search box. Sweet basil is an amazing seasoning besides having a host of health benefits like healing qualities, anti stress, anti inflammation, analgesic (pain-killer), antipyretic (anti fever), cancer fighter etc.
  • Oil, 3 tablespoon : Use any light odorless and tasteless oil only required for greasing the pan.
  • Onion, chopped, 1 : Strong, acidic and bitter. That’s what a good red onion is supposed to be. They are also good sources of Vitamin C and Iron and are good for hair, skin and help in weight-loss.
  • Red Chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon : Dried red chillies have a sharper, earthier essence then the fresh green ones. They are a good source of Vitamin C, A and E hence beneficial for skin and hair.
  • Ginger Garlic paste. 1/2 teaspoon : An amazing herb mix to cure all sickness, pains etc. and providing the pungency and earthiness to the dish.
  • Black pepper powder, 1/4th teaspoon : Hot and mildly pungent, black pepper is good for digestion, skin, respiration and is a good antioxidant too. On tables across the world salt n pepper are partners in relation.
  • Oyster Sauce, 1 teaspoon : This has high sodium content and is sweet, salty and has a deep savory flavor.
  • Salt to taste : Regular treated table salt would do here.Since it is a river fish that we make here, sea salt which I otherwise use would feel out of place.

….time to cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Marinate the cut fish with salt, ginger garlic paste and the red chili powder and set your bowl aside in the refrigerator for 30 mins. Cover it.
  • Take a non stick pan and grease it with the oil. Heat it till smoke starts coming off it.
  • Add onions to it and saute’ till they turn golden brown.
  • Now add fish to it and move around in the pan for 2 minutes on medium heat.
  • Sprinkle the pepper powder on this and mix well. Cook further for 5 minutes now.
  • Spread out the oyster sauce on pan and mix well.
  • Add the torn basil leaves and adjust the salt now to your taste. You may add 2 tablespoons of water now.
  • Cook uncovered for 10 minutes moving the fish in the pan well. Do not toss else you may breaks the fish pieces.
  • Serve the fish hot and steaming with bread or rice.

Storage : Storing the fish firms the texture and the initial softness and oils are practically lost. But you can still store this dish for 2 days in the refrigerator provided that you do not reheat more than once.

Missing Something ? : You may want to garnish with dry parsley. That would be quite fine as well.

Rock Lobster in Garlic Sauce

Rock Lobster in Garlic Butter Sauce

I am self-confessed seafood fanatic. Based out of a location in India which may be one of the furthest points in the country away from sea, this can be sometimes challenging. So when ever I decide to conjure up a seafood dish, I make sure it counts. Seafood cooking doesn’t take much time, what is expended is the process of cooking and the right flavors for it. This dish is downright spectacular in taste and you’ll find forks scooping out every bit of it and scaling off the platter in minutes after you serve it ! So cook on !!

….need to know (food details)

  • Number of people served : 2 to 3
  • Preparation time : 30 minutes

…..and we need (ingredients)

  • Rock lobster 1 (about 500 to 750 grams) : The rock lobster is a very light food and hence good to help weight loss. It is also readily available around the year in the local fish market.
  • Lemon juice of 1 lemon : Besides the Vitamin C benefits to the hair and skin the lemon juice takes away the brackish smell off the seafood.
  • Olive oil 4 tablespoon : Light, odourless, this is the best drizzle oil for most sea and tropical foods. Believe me it’s not so light in benefits. Olive oil is a great antioxidant, helps the heart and is anti inflammatory too.
  • Kosher salt or Sea salt 1/3rd teaspoon : Away from the table salt, these salts are good with meats and bring out the flavors best.
  • Garlic chopped cloves 5 to 6 : Very few of my dishes skip garlic 1. due to its amazing health benefits & 2. because it provides the right amount of pungency with almost every veggie and meat. All hail the ‘King Pungent’ !
  • Black pepper crushed 1/4th teaspoon : Hot and mildly pungent, black pepper is good for digestion, skin, respiration and is a good antioxidant too. On tables across the world salt n pepper are partners in relation.
  • Butter 6 to 7 tablespoons : Butter is the best grease for a grill. While some oils also do the trick but nothing separates the meat from the bones like butter.
  • Chopped parsley and tomatoes 4 tablespoon : Parsley is the best mouth freshener and tomato is the right natural condiment with seafood.

….let’s cook ‘n roll (preparing instructions)

  • Every step in this dish is a chef’s delight. Starting with the buying of a lobster and preparing it for cooking.
  • When you have a lobster at hand, start with splitting open the lobster through its head to its tail and scooping out the tomally (i.e. the greenish-yellow stuff inside). I have a full blog on how to cut and prepare a lobster for cooking. That blog will tell you the specifics on splitting and preparing a lobster.
  • Now place the lobster open side up on a platter and sprinkle sea salt and ground pepper on it. Drizzle olive oil over it and place inside a preheated microwave oven.
  • Move the lobster in the grill (microwave) for 2 minutes only and then take out the platter.
  • Now dress the lobster with butter and garlic and place the platter back in the grill.
  • Move the lobster in the grill for 7 to 10 minutes more. By then the butter would be well melted and greased within the lobster.
  • Take out now and dress with tomatoes and parsley and serve hot.

Storage : Naaaaaah !!

Missing Something ? : You can’t miss anything here. There are just 3-4 primary ingredients. 1 iteration that can be done is that during the final minute of grilling you can dress and garnish the platter with tomatoes and parsley to make them mildly cooked.