Category Archives: Indo-Pak

Ramadan essentials – Samosas

Basmala

Samosas, samboosa, samboosak, spring rolls, borek, borega as they are variously called in different countries are all a variation on a similar theme. They generally consist of a paper thin pastry filled with meat or vegetables, rolled into triangles or logs and deep fried. They feature on iftar tables during Ramadan worldwide in some form or other.

I have no set recipe for these and will generally fill them with whatever ingredients I have on hand, favourites include spiced mixed vegetables (as below), minced meat, onions and scrambled egg (Algerian style) and mashed potato/ Cheddar cheese. I have also tried filling them with Pakistani chicken kebab mixture and they were a hit.

One thing I love to do, whatever the filling, is to quickly dip each rolled samosa into egg wash and then in breadcrumbs before frying.

The prepared, uncooked samosas can be kept in the fridge for a couple of days or they can be frozen and thawed as needed.

Today’s recipes consisted of:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 potato, diced
  • 1 carrot, diced
  • 1/2 cup sweetcorn
  • 1/2 cup petits pois
  • 1/2 tsp cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • salt and chilli to taste
  • a squeeze of fresh lemon juice
Place the potato, carrots, sweetcorn and peas into boiling water and cook until soft.
Drain the vegetables and then very quickly give them a little mash – mainly just to break up the potato cubes a bit.
Fry the onion until soft and then add the mustard seeds, cumin, coriander, chilli and salt and stir on a medium to high heat for one minute before adding the cooked vegetables. Stir fry for a minute and finally add the squeeze of lemon juice.
Allow to cool before filling the samosa pastry. Fold into triangles, dip in beaten egg and then breadcrumbs if desired.
Fry in hot oil until golden and crispy.

Photobucket

Advertisements

Chicken kebabs

Basmala

These little, lightly spiced patties make a delicious side dish and are very easy to make. Thanks to Sarah for this recipe; hope you are reading!

Ingredients:

  • 300g chicken breast
  • 1 chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoon garlic paste
  • 1.5 litres water
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons chopped coriander
  • 1.2 teaspoon each of salt, cumin, garam masala
  • 1.5 ladlefuls (approx 150ml) of the stock from cooking the chicken
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs

Method:

Start by placing the garlic, onion, chicken and water into a pan and boil until the chicken is tender. Allow to cool.

Remove the chicken from the bone if there is any bone and place the chicken into the food processor. Add the breadcrumbs, coriander and spices and pulse until the mixture looks like chunky breadcrumbs.

Add about 150 ml of the stock from cooking the chicken and pulse again to make a dough that is mouldable but not to moist.

Shape into patties (I made mine into about 15 patties weighing approx 30g), dip in beaten egg white and then roll in the breadcrumbs. Fry for a few minutes on either side until golden.

Delicious hot or cold with chili sauce.

Note: This is also delicious used as a samosa filling!

Okra curry (Bhindi)

Basmala

The spices used in this curry are very basic but the flavours really work. It is not a ‘wet’ curry but more of a rustic and dry curry.  You can use fresh or frozen okra – the okra I have used here was frozen. I rinsed the ice crystals off the okra before cooking.

1lb (I used a 400g bag) okra
2 medium onions, chopped
3 medium fresh tomatoes, diced
1 fresh chilli, left whole
1 teaspoon powdered turmeric
powdered chilli according to your palate, I use 1/8 teaspoon
1 teaspoon salt

Fry the onion until soft and then add the tomato.

Next add the spices and chilli and fry for a further few minutes.

Add the okra and half a cup of water, cover and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes.

Be careful not to overcook the okra, it is best served with a bit of ‘bite’ rather than leaving it to go soft and gluey.

I served this with vegetable paratha, and potato bhaji.

Paratha

Basmala

Parathas are cooked on the ‘tawa‘ or hotplate and are often filled with spiced vegetables or a meat filling. Potato and vegetable is my personal favourite. They make a delicious snack on their own or a tasty accompaniment to curries.

For the paratha you need:

1.5 cups (240ml cup) of white flour

1.5 cups of wholewheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

approx 1.5 cups of warm water, maybe a little more

Sift the flours and salt into a bowl and add the water. Start by adding adding 1 cup of the water, mix well and judge how much more you will need to make a sticky, soft dough; knead well. I usually need between 1.5 and 1.75 cups of water and I leave the bread machine to do the kneading for me. After kneading leave the dough to rest for a while – 30-60 mins.

For the filling:

  • 1 finely chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/4 tsp chili powder
  • 50g minced meat (optional)
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped and boiled until soft
  • 1 carrot chopped and boiled with the potato or grated finely into the onions whilst sautéing
  • handful of peas, boiled (optional)

Sauté the onion until soft and then add the garlic and ginger. If using minced meat, add now and stir fry until browned. Next, add mustard seeds and spices. Add the boiled potatoes and cooked veg. Mash roughly and then mix well  until everything is well combined. Leave to cool.

Turn the dough out onto a floured worktop, roll the dough into a sausage and then divide in half. Divide each portion in half again and then divide those 4 portions into 3 equal balls so that you have 12 roughly equal sized pieces.

dough

Roll each piece out into a circle of roughly 15cm diameter.

Place approx 2 tbsp of the filling on top of 6 of the circles and spread over the disc, leaving about 2cm from the outer edge.

Place another disc on top of each filled paratha.

Gradually flatten with a rolling pin and start rolling the paratha flatter until it is about 30cm in diameter – or so that it fits within the boundary of your hotplate/tawa.

Brush or rub vegetable oil over the surface of the paratha, place oiled side down on a heated hotplate.

Photobucket

Rub a little oil over the upper side and cook until the paratha starts to bubble up. Flip and then cook the other side.

Eat alone or with curry. Store the paratha by rolling and wrapping in foil and keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days. Easy to reheat on the tawa for about 1 minute.

Photobucket

Photobucket

tawa

Hyderabadi Biriani

Basmala

I’ve made biriani/biryani many times before but have never been 100% happy with the results and have found it a little time consuming to make. That was until someone pointed me in the direction of this recipe for Hyderabadi Biriani (the link will take you to a Youtube video of the vahrehvah.com chef making the biriani). The method for making the biriani is simplicity itself but there is certainly no compromise on the taste!

All you need to do is marinade the chicken pieces in yogurt and spices for a few hours, semi-cook some basamati rice and then transfer it all to a large pot. I used my dutch oven (cast iron, enamelled pot). First empty the chicken into the pot along with it’s marinade, cover with the half-cooked rice, sprinkle some saffron water (I also added a few drops of red and yellow food colouring) top with a scattering of fried onions and mint leaves  and then leave to cook for around half an hour. In that short amount of time your chicken and rice will transform into a beautifully aromatic biriani.

I did find that the chicken stuck a little to the bottom of the pot so I intend to try baking in the oven next time. Hubby also asked me to leave out the mint leaves next time. In all though, I was really pleased to have made a quick, easy and authentic looking and tasting biriani! Top marks!

Chickpea curry

Basmala

This dish is a big favourite with my children which is strange as they tend to pick the chickpeas out of every other dish we have! I often get special requests to make this curry which is fine by me as it’s cheap, cheerful and very nutritious!

I like to start making the curry in the early afternoon and then once the chickpeas and water have been added to the pan I leave it to simer very gently for two or three hours so the chickpeas are soft and the sauce flavoursome.

Click here for printable recipe

 Ingredients

  • 2 large onions finely sliced
  • 1 inch chunk of cassia bark or cinnamon
  • several peppercorns
  • 2 black cardamoms 
  • 3 bayleaves
  • 1/2 tin tomatoes and some of the juice
  • 1tsp turmeric
  • 1/8 tsp of chilli powder
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 inch chunk ginger, minced
  • 1 whole green chilli
  • 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds
  • 2 tins of chickpeas
  • 1/4 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/4 tsp ground cummin

At the end add:

  • pinch of garam masala
  • chopped coriander leaf
  • 1 whole green chilli
  • generous pinch each of cumin and coriander

Directions:

Throw the two chopped onions and the whole spices (cassia or cinnamon, peppercorns, black cardamoms and bayleaves) into a heated wok with a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil.

I didn’t have black cardamoms this time but they are interesting to try as they impart a distinctive but not overpowering, smokey aroma to the dish.

Photobucket

Lightly caramelise the onions… this should take around 10 mins on a medium heat. Be sure to stir regularly to prevent burning.

Photobucket

Add 1/2 tin (about 3 medium tinned tomatoes) and some of the juice, 1 tsp turmeric and 1/8 tsp chili powder (more if you like it spicy).

Photobucket

Stir well and allow to cook for about 10 mins…

Photobucket

Soon you’ll be able to see that the oil separates from the rest if the sauce…

Photobucket

Add the ginger and garlic and stir fry for a couple of minutes before adding the 1/4 tsp of mustard seeds and the whole green chili (I omitted the chili this time as I was cooking for my children).

Photobucket

Now it’s time to add the two tins of drained chickpeas and the 1/4 tsp each of cummin and coriander.

Photobucket

Add 500ml of hot water, give a quick stir and then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low-medium, cover the pan and simmer for at least 45 minutes.

Photobucket

The sauce should reduce somewhat and the chickpeas soften.

Photobucket

When the chickpeas are soft enough, bring the heat up and reduce the sauce to your desired consistency.

Photobucket

At the end add:

a generous pinch of garam masala
chopped coriander leaf (I omitted as my children don’t like to see the ‘green bits’ on their curry)
1 whole green chilli (Again, omitted for the sake of the children)
generous pinch each of cumin and coriander

Put the lid on and leave on a very low heat to allow the flavours to infuse.

I served this with vegetable pilau and tandoori chicken.

Photobucket