Archive for December, 2007

As far as my knowledge goes Yakhni Pulao is a traditional Kashmiri dish. Other than the fact that may be many generations ago my family may have had Kashimiri lineage, I have nothing common with that state or the cuisine. My early remembrance of eating anything Kashmiri was when I visited my sis in her college days and she had taken me to a restaurant. I was I think in sixth grade and to this day I can remember the sweet rice loaded with raisins which was absolutely nauseating! Then came my dear friend in college, hailing from Kashmir she talked so fondly of shalgam ka achar. (Turnip pickle). Now I am a die had fan of pickles and I can make a meal out of them. However this was again revolting to my palate. At that point I decided there was not much to dwell on in Kashmiri cuisine and the cold weather may have just made their taste buds blunt! What can I say I thought in my short span of years on earth I knew it all. 😦
Fast forward few years, add some of cooking experience and a situation where I had to cook different stuff everyday to keep both my and my hubby’s palate engaged. A Shalimar spice packet and an enthusiast neighbor who advocated that packet I set out to try Yakhni Pulao. First trial was a disaster. Not taste wise but texture wise. I lived, I learnt, I put my internet skills to good use, I looked at few recipes and inherited the goodness from them all! Voila, now not only can I make perfect yakhni pulao, I am so intrigued by Kashmiri cuisine which so intricately marries the spices.
Disclaimer: I don’t think this is the authentic way of making this dish.

What you need
1 pound mutton pieces (cut in to about 1 inch pieces)
1 1/2 cups Basmati rice
Salt to taste
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 small onion chopped lengthwise
1 tablespoon fennel powder
1/2 tablespoon dry ginger powder
3-4 Cloves
6-7 black peppercorns
2 inch stick cinnamon
1 Bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder
3 tablespoon ghee / oil
1 1/2 teaspoon caraway seeds (shahi jeera)
5 Green chilies cut length wise
3 cups chicken stock
½ cup Yogurt
10 – 15 mint leaves

How to make
Mix mutton with ginger garlic paste, salt, fennel powder, dry ginger powder, cloves, black peppercorns, cinnamon, bay leaves and green cardamom powder.
Leave to marinate for about half an hour.
Heat ghee in a deep pan over medium heat.
Add caraway seeds sauté for a few seconds.
Add onions and sauté for couple of minutes
Add the marinated mutton and sauté for two to three minutes.
Add whole green chilies.
Add chicken stock and bring to a boil.
Cover and cook on medium heat till mutton is almost cooked, stirring in between.
Alternatively, you can cook in pressure cooker for 3 whistles on medium high heat.
In another thick bottomed vessel (or pressure cooker), whisk yogurt till smooth.
Separate the cooked mutton pieces from stalk.
Add to yogurt the mutton pieces one by one stirring all the time so that yogurt doesn’t curdle.
Mix in 2.5 cups of the stalk mutton was cooked in.
Wash and drain rice and mix well in to the mixture.
Cook on high heat.
When the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and cook covered till both mutton and rice are done.
Garish with chopped mint leaves


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Galette Exotique

I won’t call myself a French food enthusiast. Nothing against the much celebrated cuisine, it’s just my palate preference.
However if we are talking about piquant galettes or scrumptious crepes I could eat them almost everyday.
There is a café near my home where I frequently have eaten Galette Exotique during my Grad school days.
Now that I am all done with school, I am trying to wear off the effects unhealthy eating has left on me.
Thus I don’t eat at Café Paris that frequently anymore.
With this backdrop, I certainly had to find a way, healthy enough to sneak my top craving into my diet.
I looked on the net for a basic galette recipe, didn’t find much. I tweaked the ones I found to what I think would fit our taste memory and the calorie count the best.
So here goes….

What you need
For Galette
1 / 4 cup butter
1 cup buckwheat flour
¼ teaspoon salt
2large eggs + 1 large egg white
1 ¼ cup skim milk
Cold water if needed

For filling
1/2 pound chorizo*
1/4 cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 red large peppers cut lengthwise
2 medium red onions cut length wise
Salt to taste
4 table spoon sour cream
1 tablespoon olive oil if needed

How to make

Remove chorizo casing if it’s easily removable and cut it into thin slices.
Heat a skillet over medium heat.
Add chorizo and cook.
Remove it to a paper towel lined plate.
If you feel you need more fat / oil than whats left behind from chorizo add olive oil.
Add onions, peppers and salt and sauté for few minutes.
Turn off the heat when onions are caramelized and peppers are cooked.
Alternatively if you want you can grill peppers and onions.

In a small sauce pan melt the butter and keep aside. Make sure it doesn’t solidify.
In a large bowl swift together buckwheat flour and salt.
Make a well in the center and whisk in the eggs till flour and eggs are thoroughly mixed.
Add about 3/4 milk gradually making a smooth batter.
Now stir in half of the melted butter and remaining milk and allow to stand for 2 hours.
Before beginning check the consistency of the batter.
It should be thin and like light cream, if not add water to bring it to desired consistency.
Heat an 8 inch skillet or crepe pan if you have over medium heat.
When the pan is heated brush a little melted butter.
Using a deep ladle pour in about 1 /4 cup batter in the pan.
Pick up the pan immediately and tilt and swirl so bottom of the pan is coated evenly with the batter.
When the edges start lifting up peel the galette carefully with a spatula or hands and flip over and cook.
To Serve
Once galette is cooked on the flip side, turn over and sprinkle with cheese.
Take the galette of the pan in to a plate when cheese starts to melt a little.
Put a part of the filling in the center and top it off with sour cream.
Fold galette in to a square or a rectangle.
This recipe will make about six galettes
Bon appetite !
*What I ate at the café had a spicy sausage. I had some chorizo at home and hence I used that.

Excusez moi, for the poor quality of the picture, I tried hard to capture all the details and yet keep it good looking, this is how far I could get.

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I have been in a non food mood for about a month now. Though I have had phases where I didn’t want to cook, this is the first that I don’t even want to eat much.
I don’t look for answers to my quirkiness, I just live that phase out. In order to survive this phase I try and look for recipes that I wouldn’t usually cook. But I am in no mood to write down measurements, or take pictures! So I dug into my drafts and stumbled upon this recipe.
This is my mom’s recipe. I absolutely relish to last morsel whenever she makes this. It has a distinct maharastrian influence and taste.   So here is an attempt at getting my groove back 🙂
TidBit While I was googling to make sure tondekai was called ivy gourd, I found out that ivy gourd is a good source of protein and fiber, has medicinal effects and also is used in diabetes and sugar control  

What you need

1/2 cup length wise cut onion
2 cups of lengthwise cut ivy gourd (You can make 4 pieces from one ivy gourd)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
4 teaspoon red chilly powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1.5 cups of basmati rice
3 cups water
1 tablespoon goda masala *
3 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon ghee
4 teaspoon cilantro leaves chopped
4 Salt to taste
tablespoon grated coconut fresh / frozen

How to make

Heat oil in a wide mouthed pan, preferably non stick on medium heat
When the oil is hot add mustard seeds
When mustard starts cracking add the onions
Sauté onions till they turn slightly pink
Add turmeric powder and 1/2 of chilly powder and continue cooking for a bit
Add ivy gourd pieces and salt (salt per taste for onions and ivy gourds only) and continue cooking while stirring
Once the ivy gourd is cooked 3/4 of the way add 3 cups of hot water
Add basmati rice and continue cooking on medium low covered
When rice is cooked halfway (about 5 minutes in to cooking), add salt enough for rice and rest of the chilly powder. Mix gently
Cover and cook for another 3 minutes
Now add goda masala, and mix gently so as to not break the rice grains
Cover and cook for another 4 minutes till rice is cooked
At the end add ghee
Garnish with plenty cilantro leaves and coconut.
Points to Note
Much of the heavenly taste comes from garnishing, so don’t omit that step.
If you have a tangy tooth you can also add a dash of lemon juice. Add lemon only to what’s in a plate. Adding lemon to al of the rice will make it bitter when reheated.

* Goda Masala – My mom makes me a fresh batch of goda masala, and I have never bothered to learn what exactly goes into it. When I run out of what she has made, I turn to old faithful bedekar, which these days is easily available in Indian stores here in US. Till I learn from my mom how she makes it, here is a refence

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