Sunday, February 22, 2015

Pomfret (রূপচাঁদা) Cooked in Cilantro-Coconut Gravy

For the past couple of weeks, I have been super busy at work. Have been staying late at work almost every other day. Generally this leaves me with a crappy mood, but this time around, there was so much work that I didn't even have the time to rant about  it! But it always feels better if after such a long day, a Bong gets to relish some soul food at dinner, that is machh-bhat (মাছ-ভাত) / rice and fish curry. I recently prepared this Pomfret curry and it turned out absolutely awesome; sharing the recipe with you.

Pomfret (রূপচাঁদা) - 3 (Whole fish)
Nigella Seeds / Kalojeera - 1/4 Tsp
Ginger Paste - 2 Tbsp
Shredded Coconut - 3 Tbsp
Green Chili - According to Taste
Cilantro - 1 Cup
Poppy Seed - 1 Tbsp
Mustard Powder - 1 Tbsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Mustard Oil
Water (Hot/Warm)

Clean the fish nicely. Smear turmeric, salt and some cumin powder on it and keep aside for a while.
Dry grind mustard, poppy seeds and then make a paste of it with water. (You can wet grind too)
Grind coconut, cilantro and green chilies together with 1/4 cup of water to make a paste.
Heat mustard oil in a deep pan. Fry the fish on both sides evenly on a medium flame. Keep aside.
Next heat oil in an wok, add the nigella seeds/kalojeera.
Add ginger paste, fry until an aroma comes out.
Now add coconut-cilantro-chili paste and fry for about a minute.
Add the mustard-poppy seed paste. Add salt. Mix well and fry it on a low flame for couple of minutes.
Add 1 cup of water and mix well.
Finally add the fried fish and cook it uncovered on medium heat for 5 minutes or until you get the desired consistency.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Beef Rendang and A Note From Our Vegas Trip

On our California trip last year, we stopped for a few hours (reached in the evening and left in the morning) in Las Vegas. We have heard a lot of intriguing things about Vegas from our friends and were really excited. But guess what, we did not like it there at all. Among all the glitz and glamour we found no life in this famous city. I was really disappointed and felt lost in the endless alleys of slot machines and poker tables. We prefer visiting natural scenic regions, like the national parks in US. Las Vegas is no doubt "the" spot for all who love to gamble and party, but for us it was a major disappointment.

Panoramic view of the strip captured with my phone

Only saving grace for us was Satay Thai restaurant right in the middle of the city! My husband ordered beef rendang for me. It was so flavorful, tender, juicy and tasted delicious. I just loved it!
Since then I have been planing to cook rendang. I have never cooked beef earlier, so was a little uncertain how it will turn out, or if the proportion of ingredients were correct. But the dish turned out awesome and tasted like a piece of Heaven! We both loved it! I am sharing the recipe below and am sure you will love it too.

Beef - 3 lb (Boneless cut in 2" cubes)
Shallots - 6
Galangal - 1/2"
Ginger - 1/2"
Garlic - 5 (Big cloves)
Lemongrass - 3 Stalks
Kaffir Lime Leaves - 8 (Thinly sliced)
Dry Red Chili - According to your taste
Cumin - 1 Tsp
Coriander - 1 Tsp
Green Cardamom - 5
Clove - 5
Cinnamon - 2" Stick
Star Anise - 1
Nutmeg - 1/2 Tsp
Palm Sugar - 1/2 Tbsp
Tamarind Concentrate - 2 Tsp
Coconut Powder - 1/4 Cup
Coconut Milk - 2&1/2 Cup

Wash the beef thoroughly, pat dry and keep aside.

Dry roast cumin, coriander, green cardamom, clove, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg together on a low flame until it gives out a nice aroma. Let it cool down to room temperature and then dry grind into a fine powder.
Dry roast coconut powder on low flame (take care not to burn it). Keep aside.
Soak the red chilies in warm water and let it soften. Once they are soft, add them (with the water it was soaked in), shallots, galangal, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and tamarind concentrate in a blender and make a paste. Add more water if needed.
This is a good instructional video on how to use lemongrass.

Heat 5 Tbsp oil in a heavy bottom pan.
To it add the paste, grounded spices and fry for 5 minutes.
Now add the beef cubes, mix and fry for about 10 minutes.
Next add the dry roasted coconut powder and mix well.
Add the kaffir lime leaves, palm sugar, salt and coconut milk. Mix everything thoroughly.
Cover and cook on a low flame until the meat is tender. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
It took me 4 hours to cook the meat and get the desired gravy color.

Once the meat is well cooked (the sauce will take on a brown color), turn up the heat. Stir continuously. Reduce the sauce to your desired consistency.

Tips: Beef Rendang tastes better the next day.