Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Roasted Mutton Curry - Valentine's Day Special

On Valentine's Day my husband surprised me with a very special mutton dish. He is a good cook, specially with different types of meat recipes. Even our friends love the mutton dishes he makes. He made a mutton curry and yet again it tasted awesome! He referred Vah-chef Sanjay Thumma's recipe of Rara Gosht.

Vah-chef is simply a genius at his art. His videos are a reflection of his passion towards cooking. Both me and my husband follow Vah-chef on social media. His website VahrehVah is a treasure trove of his many creations and each single item looks perfectly crafted. We have already tried many of his recipes and have never been disappointed. The best part of Vah-chef's recipe is that he uses common ingredients and explores simple ways of preparing them. His videos are fun to watch too! He is a live wire in them and is an expert at presentation. Towards the end of these videos, specially when the food is ready, happiness reflects all over his face. His excitement for tasty food is so viral, this alone will make you want to prepare those items. And his tagline is so appropriate:  "It's is all about inspiring others to cook"

Mutton - 1 lb (Medium pieces)
Minced Mutton Meat / Keema - 1 Cup
Onion - 1 Big (Sliced)
Ginger Paste - 2 Tbsp
Garlic Paste - 2 Tbsp
Dry Red Chili Paste - According to taste
Tomato - 3 (Finely Chopped)
Coriander Powder - 2 Tsp
Greek Yogurt / Hung Curd - 1/2 Cup
Mint - 2 Tbsp (Chopped)
Cilantro - 1 Cup (Chopped)
Warm Water

For Garam Masala:
Black Cumin / Shaheejeera

Dry roast all the garam masala ingredients and then grind to a powder.
Heat oil.
Fry mutton pieces in high flame for 5-8 minutes and then in medium flame until it turns brown in color.

Add onion and 1 tsp of salt and fry on medium flame till the onion turns golden brown in color.

Add ginger-garlic paste and fry until the raw flavor is gone.
Now add coriander powder, salt, chili paste and mix it well.
Add tomato, curd and mix well.

Add chopped mint leaves and cilantro.
Cook it covered on a low flame for 5-8 minutes.
Add warm water, mix well and cook it covered for another 5 minutes.
Now add the minced meat, mix well and cook it covered on low flame until the mutton is tender.

Add the ground garam masala made earlier, mix well and its ready to serve.

I have used few red hot dry chili and few round dry chili (which are not hot). I soaked them in warm water for couple of minutes and then made a paste.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Roasted Spice Mix - Maa-er Bhaja Masala

We Bengalees are very familiar with roasted spice mix or "bhaja masala". We use it to spice up almost any chotpota snacks as well as use it in regular cooking. I like the way it enhances the flavor, specially the strong aroma it oozes once roasted perfectly. On those lazy days it is a handy solution that adds a different dimension to many simple dishes.
My mom used bhaja masala in many of her dishes as in chutney, niramis alur dum, ghugni, vegetable chop and so on. The recipe below is from my mom, her special ingredient was celery seed and dry red chillies.

Cumin seed (Jeera) - 3 Tbsp
Coriander seed (Dhone) - 2 Tbsp
Fennel seed (Mouri) - 1 Tbsp
Celery seed (Radhuni) - 1 Tsp
Black peppercorn - 1 Tsp
Dry red chili - 1
Bayleaf - 1

Dry roast all the spices together on a tawa or pan in a low flame until it turns brownish in color and gives a nice aroma. Be careful not to burn spices.
Let it cool down to room temperature. Dry grind into powder and store in a cool dry place.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Continental Chicken - Flavored with Roasted Cumin

This recipe is quite different from the others I have posted before. When I decided to make this dish, I wasn't too sure if it was worth the effort, but surprisingly it tasted exactly like continental cuisine. So named it "Continental Chicken". I kept it very basic and the cooking method is also quick and easy. I am sure you will like it.

Chicken - 1.5 lb (Boneless, cut into small pieces)
Onion - 1 big (Cut into rings)
Tomato - 2 big (Skin removed and diced)
Garlic - 1 tbsp (Chopped)
Green chili / Chili Powder - According to your taste (Chopped)
Cumin powder - 2 tsp (Roasted)
Cream - 1/4 cup
Cheese - 2 tbsp (I used Mozarella)
Black pepper powder
Chicken stock - 1 cup

First smear the chicken pieces with salt and black pepper and keep it aside for a while.
Next heat oil in a pan and lightly fry the chicken pieces. Keep them aside.
Add more oil to the pan, if required.
Now add garlic, green chili and fry them for a while.
Add the onion rings and salt. Fry till the onions becomes translucent.
Next add the diced tomatoes. Fry until the raw smell of onion and tomato goes away, but try not to mash them.
Now add the fried chicken pieces and chicken stock. Bring it to a boil. Then cook it on a medium flame for 6-9 minutes or until your desired consistency.
Finally add cream, cheese and the roasted cumin powder. Mix well and cook it on low flame for another 5 minutes.
Serve it with rice or bread.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Death Valley National Park, California

On the way from Barstow to Death Valley

One of my favorite click from the lot

A small village, Shoshone, on our way to Death Valley

Badwater Basin Salt Flats
Badwater Basin Salt Flats
Badwater Basin Salt Flats
Devil's Golf Course
Devil's Golf Course
Artists Palette
Zabriskie Point at 6:30 am

Sunrise at Zabriskie Point

A panaromic view of Zabriskie Point clicked by my phone camera

Dante's View - Southernmost point from where the entire valley can be seen 

Mesquite Flat Dunes

Salt Creek Interpretive Trail

Harmony Borax Works

Ubehebe Crater

Scotty's Castle