Showing posts with label coconut. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coconut. Show all posts

Aug 7, 2017

Murgh Xacuti (Goan Spiced Chicken)

murgh xacuti, goan, chicken, curry, easy, indian, recipe goa, coconot, simple, spicy, xacuti, murgh,

Pronounced 'sha-koo-tee,' this spicy chicken recipe comes from the tropical shores of Goa. A truly classic dish that can be found in almost all restaurants dotting the beaches, towns, and villages. Featuring a savory blend of rich coconut milk, hot red chilis, and aromatic spices- it's best served with steamed rice and mango chutney. 

murgh xacuti, goan, chicken, curry, easy, indian, recipe goa, coconut, simple, spicy, xacuti, murgh,

This recipe is adapted from the book Recipes from an Indian Kitchen by Parragon Books Ltd. I bought this book in Delhi's IGIA duty-free shopping area on a bargain table for about $6. I've since seen it in Target stores in Florida as well as on Amazon. It's a great cookbook for the price with 100 recipes from all across India. Most of the recipes seem to be restaurant versions of regional dishes rather than from an Indian's home kitchen. It is very well written, easy enough for beginners, and all recipes are accompanied by beautiful photographs.  

murgh xacuti, goan, chicken, curry, easy, indian, recipe goa, coconut, simple, spicy, xacuti, murgh,

I have made a few changes my adaption of this recipe. The original instructions called for 600g of boneless and skinless chicken pieces. I've upped the quantity of chicken to 1 kg/2.2lbs and use bone-in chicken as it's more authentic. Since I increased the quantity of chicken I increased the amount of spices accordingly. The amounts of coconut milk and water were generous to begin with so I left them the same. The recipe called for whole dried red chilis to be ground but of course I changed them to Kashmiri mirch as per my Kashmiri clan's preferences. The recipe also called for the whole spices to be dry roasted before grinding. I didn't do that. I don't think the dry roasting is a necessary step when then spices are going to be fried and then simmered with the chicken anyway. It is my understanding that dry roasting the spices is only necessary in humid climates to facilitate grinding. (You can read my diatribe on why I don't dry roasting spices here.) I think I added a bit of ginger paste to the base too. That's because ginger is good for you, I love it's lemony flavor,  and most other Xacuti recipes I've perused online include it too. Anyway, this is a really easy and really delicious South Indian style chicken curry. If you're new to making curries or a seasoned pro - I'm sure you'll enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!

1kg/2lbs skinless chicken pieces
3 TBS cooking oil of choice or ghee
1/2 C onion, finely diced
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrakh paste
400ml (1 can) or 14 oz coconut milk or coconut cream
1 C water
2 tsp tamarind paste
Grind to powder for masala:
1 TBS coriander seeds/dhania
1 TBS white poppy seeds/khus khus or ground cashews
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch (or 1&1/2 tsp cayenne plus 1&1/2 tsp paprika powder)
2 tsp fennel seeds/saunf
2 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1 tsp turmeric/hali
5 green cardamoms/elaichi
10 black peppercorns/kali mirch
5 cloves/laung
1 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini, broken into small pieces (or 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon)

Here's what to do:
1) Grind coriander seeds, poppy seeds, Kashmiri mirch, fennel seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric, green cardamoms, cloves, and cassia bark to fine powder. Set aside. (I use a coffee grinder dedicated solely to grinding spices.)

murgh xacuti, goan, chicken, curry, easy, indian, recipe goa, coconut, simple, spicy, xacuti, murgh,

2) Heat cooking oil or ghee with 2 teaspoonfuls salt in kadhai or deep heavy bottomed skillet for 5 minutes. Add diced onions and fry until beginning to brown. Add garlic paste and ginger paste and fry for about 2 minutes or until raw smell is gone from garlic.

murgh xacuti, goan, chicken, curry, easy, indian, recipe goa, coconut, simple, spicy, xacuti, murgh,

3) Add ground spices for masala to the fried onions, stir well, and fry for 2 minute. Add chicken pieces to fried onion mixture in pan. Cook chicken pieces for 2 minutes on each side. If mixture begins to stick or scorch add 1/4 C water to the pan, stir well, and reduce heat.

murgh xacuti, goan, chicken, curry, easy, indian, recipe goa, coconut, simple, spicy, xacuti, murgh,

4) Add coconut milk and water to pan. Stir well. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low/medium and allow to simmer gently for 20 minutes.

murgh xacuti, goan, chicken, curry, easy, indian, recipe goa, coconot, simple, spicy, xacuti, murgh,

5) Stir in the tamarind paste and cook for 5 more minutes or until chicken is cooked through and tender. Salt to taste and serve immediately. 

murgh xacuti, goan, chicken, curry, easy, indian, recipe goa, coconut, simple, spicy, xacuti, murgh,

Helpful hints:
You can make the spice mixture ahead of time and store it in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Gorgeous Goan coastline.

Oct 5, 2016

Hawaiian Coconut Cookies

Hawaiian Coconut Cookies biscuit, eggless, vegan, vegetarian, veg, simple, easy, recipe, butter, crispy,

Aloha! From the beautiful island state of Hawaii comes this eggless sweet treat. Tenderly crisp, buttery, and rich with the flavor of coconut these cookies are sure to please anyone's palate. Such an easy recipe to make and perfect for any holiday platter or simply a tea time treat. 

Hawaiian Coconut Cookies biscuit, eggless, vegan, vegetarian, veg, simple, easy, recipe, butter, crispy,

This recipe came from the back of a C&H pure cane sugar package eons ago. I think. I can't find it on their website but I do have it scrawlled on the inside cover of my 1987 San Francisco Junior League cookbook. Anyway, it is a fantastic eggless recipe that can easily be made vegan by substituting a good quality margarine or shortening for the butter.

I used unsweetened coconut flakes from an American discount chain because they were on sale for less than a dollar for a 14 oz packet. (The coconuts we get here in Nepal tend to be dried out and soapy tasting so I line my suitcase with these packets every time I go to the US.) This recipe could easily be embellished by adding macadamia nuts, cashews, and or white chocolate chips. I usually make these without any add-ins because macadamia nuts and white chocolate chips aren't available in Nepal. My maid helps herself to the cashews so those usually aren't available either. Either way these cookies are delicious!

1 C butter, softened (or margarine if you wish to make this recipe vegan)
1 C white caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
2 C flour/maida
1&1/3 C shredded coconut
1/2 C chopped macadamia nuts or cashews (optional)
1/2 C white chocolate chips (optional)
Here's what to do:
1) In a large bowl of electric mixer, cream together butter, sugar and vanilla.

2) Add flour and coconut to creamed butter and sugar mixture and mix well.  Add chopped macadamia nuts, cashews or white chocolate chips if using and mix well. When the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and sticks to itself it is properly mixed. Cover dough with cling film or saran wrap and chill for at least 3 hours.

3) When ready to bake heat oven to 325F/170C. Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into balls the size of walnuts. Place on baking sheets lined with parchment or a silicone mat and flatten with the bottom of a glass wrapped in cling film or the heel of your hand.

4) Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until bottoms of cookies are slightly browned. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before removing from baking sheet with spatula. Makes 4 dozen.

Helpful Hints:
This recipe can easily be made vegan by the use of a good quality vegetable margarine or shortening in place of the butter.

Jun 1, 2016

Easy Rose, Coconut, and Cardamom Laddoos

cardamom, cardamom. Rooh Afza, coconut, condensed, Desi, dessert, easy, Indian, laddoos, milk, mithai, Recipe, rose, simple, sweetened,

These delicately flavored laddoos are elegant enough to serve as a dessert at a posh dinner party or holiday gathering yet easy enough to make for an after school treat. The classic Indian pairing of light rose, aromatic cardamom, and rich coconut is combined with milky sweetness in this dainty treat!

sweetened condensed milk mithai Desi sweet diwali eid

I first saw this recipe on a Nestle website featuring recipes for kids. It looked so easy I doubted it would really taste like mithai or the traditional milk-based sweets of South Asia. Was I ever pleasantly surprised! The can of sweetened condensed milk makes these taste just like the traditional laddoos made by the time-consuming process of reducing milk. This is such a great recipe to make with children, depending on age they can help with the brief cooking and mixing steps as well as have tons of fun rolling the mixture into balls and dredging them with coconut.

1 can sweetened condensed milk (390g)
3 C desiccated coconut
1 tsp butter or ghee
2 TBS rose syrup (or Rooh Afza)*
seeds of 9-10 green cardamoms, ground coarsely
1 drop coconut flavor (optional)
1 drop red food coloring (optional)
extra desiccated coconut to roll laddoos in

Here's what to do:
1) Combine 3 C desiccated coconut, can of sweetened condensed milk, rose syrup, ground cardamom seeds, coconut flavor, and butter or ghee in large heavy-bottomed skillet or kadhai and mix well.

2) Heat pan with mixture over a low flame stirring continuously. Keep stirring until mixture pulls away from the pan and forms a mass clinging to itself. This should take about 7-8 minutes at the most.

3) Remove pan from heat and transfer mixture to a heat proof bowl. Allow mixture to cool to room temperature or place in airtight container in the refrigerator for an hour. (I usually put it in the fridge as my family tends to "sample" whatever's out on the counter. I am told it is for "quality control" purposes. :::eye roll:::)

4) When cooled form tablespoonfuls into balls. I use a cookie scoop to get uniform amounts. Coat your palms with butter, ghee or coconut oil if mixture sticks to your hands.

5) Roll laddoos in desiccated coconut if desired. Refrigerate finished laddoos in an airtight container for 30 minutes before serving to set. These will keep for up to a week in an airtight container in the refrigerator. This recipe made 20 tablespoonful sized laddoos.

mithai traditional dessert sweetened condensed milk desiccated coconut

Helpful hints:
*If you don't have rose syrup or Rooh Afza you could use 1-2 drops of rose essence or 1 teaspoon of rose water plus 1 drop red food coloring for flavor. If you're not familiar with the iconic Desi sharbat syrup of Rooh Afza there's a post on my blog about it here.

If using freshly grated coconut increase amount to 4 cups and omit ghee or butter.
You can make many variations in flavors and colors with this recipe. I've made them with pistachios and saffron threads soaked in 1 TBS water for 20 minutes which came out a brilliant yellow. I've made them pure white by adding no flavor except for coconut essence. I've even made blue laddoos by adding curacao syrup.

Apr 23, 2016

Bibi's Paruppu (South Indian Style Dal)

Every region of the Indian Subcontinent has their own unique way of preparing dal. South Indian dal preparations often feature curry leaves and coconut. I've tasted various versions of paruppu at restaurants and served as a first course at South Indian weddings. In this dish I've paired masoor dal's velvety texture with rich coconut cream, aromatic spices, and the zing of lime juice. Serve with steamed rice, rasam, papads, buttermilk, or whatever South Indian dish you love.

coconut masoor dal easy simple recipe paruppu

I make no claims that this dish is authentic in any way. It is very tasty though. I made this recipe up after tasting a similar dish at a South Indian restaurant in Delhi. I love anything coconut and the brightness of curry leaves in a dish. Unfortunately, coconuts and curry leaves are rarely available in Nepal. So I've used canned coconut cream in this dal for richness, along with cilantro and lime juice in to brighten up the flavors as fresh curry leaves would do.

3 TBS coconut oil or ghee
1/2 C onion, finely diced
1/2 tsp black mustard/rai seeds
1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
1/2 tsp fennel/saunf seeds
1 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
1 TBS ginger/adrak paste
1 tomato, diced finely
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
1 C masoor dal/red lentils, rinsed thoroughly
3 TBS coconut cream
3 TBS fresh cilantro/dhania, leaves and stems chopped finely
2 tsp salt
1 TBS lime juice (optional)

Here's what to do:
1) In a large stock pot heat coconut oil or ghee with 1 tsp salt. Fry onions until just beginning to brown.  Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds. Fry for 2 minutes.

2) Add garlic, ginger, tomatoes, green chilis, Kashmiri mirch, and turmeric. Fry for 3 to 4 minutes or until tomatoes soften.

 3) Add masoor dal, coconut cream, 1 tsp salt, cilantro, and 4 cups water, stir well and bring to boil.

4) Reduce heat and allow to simmer for 40 minutes to an hour or until dal is to desired tenderness. Stir every 10 minutes or so to make sure dal is not sticking to the bottom. Add water if necessary until dal is to preferred consistency. Stir in lime juice if using, salt to taste and serve.

Helpful Hints:

This recipe can also be made with urad dal or in a pressure cooker also.

I've got a lov-e-ly bunch of coconuts!

An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:

Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

Apr 7, 2016

Malabar Style Chicken Curry

Malabar Style Chicken Curry

On the southwestern coast of India lies the beautiful region of Malabar. A lush tropical paradise long known as the "Land of Spices" that lies between the Arabian Sea and the Western Ghats. Malabar's astonishingly diverse cuisine is the result of the influence of Arabic, Syrian, Chinese, Dutch, Portuguese, and British spice traders over the centuries. A lavish use of spices, tart tamarind, and rich coconut are the hallmarks of Malabar cuisine. This boldly spiced brilliant red chicken curry is typical of Malabar's delicious dishes. Mellowed by sweet and sumptuous coconut milk the spices present as warmly aromatic rather than fiery hot. The sweet and sour tang of tamarind perfectly accentuates the combination of assertive flavors. This chicken curry is easy to make and it's rich gravy pairs well with steamed rice, chapattis, pulao, appam, or pathiri. 

1 kg/2lbs chicken, skinless, cut into 6-8 pieces
3 TBS cooking oil
2 onions, sliced into thin half moons
1 tsp salt
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
2 tomatoes, diced finely
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped
1 can coconut milk (400ml)
2 tsp tamarind paste
Mix for marinade:
3 TBS yogurt/dahi
2 TBS garlic paste
1 TBS ginger paste
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
Grind to smooth paste for masala:
1 TBS lime juice
1 TBS water
3 whole star anise/phoolchakri
9 cloves/laung
15 black peppercorns/kali mirch
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp paprika + 1 tsp cayenne powder)
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi

Here's what to do:
1) Mix yogurt, garlic, ginger, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp tumeric together for marinade. Coat all chicken pieces in marinade mix and place in sealable airtight container. Allow chicken to marinate for 30 minutes up to overnight in the refrigerator.

2) When ready to cook grind all ingredients listed under masala to smooth paste, and set aside. Heat oil in deep heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai and fry sliced onions with 1 tsp salt until just beginning to brown.

3) Add cassia bark/dalchini and ground masala paste to fried onions. Stir well and fry for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and green chilis, stir well and fry until tomatoes soften.

4) Add marinated chicken pieces to fried onion and masala mixture in pan. Allow chicken pieces to fry for 4 minutes on each side, the chicken should just be turning white. If masala mixture begins to stick or scorch reduce heat and add 1/4 C water.

5) Add can of coconut milk and teaspoon of tamarind paste to chicken and masala mixture in pan, stir well. Allow mixture to simmer uncovered over medium low heat for 20 to 25 minutes. If mixture begins to stick or scorch reduce heat and add 1/4 water.

6) When chicken has cooked through and oil separates from gravy your dish is ready. Salt to taste and serve.

Helpful Hints:

Never cook chicken in a pressure cooker, it gets a rubbery texture from the extreme, high heat.

If you don't have Kashmiri mirch a good substitute is 1/2 paprika plus 1/2 cayenne powder.

An interesting aside:
I have been notified that I have been nominated for the "Best Food Blog"  AND "Best New Blog" awards on the  nepaliaustralian blog so get on over there and vote for my blog if you choose at:

Be sure to check out all the other amazing blogs in all the different categories and vote for all your favorites!!! Winners will be announced in May.

Mar 15, 2016

Railway Mutton Curry

lamb curry mutton goat coconut cream

So the story goes something like this: During the days of the British Raj while traveling on Indian Railways a British officer complained the mutton curry served was too hot for his liking. An ingenious Indian Railways chef deliciously tamed the fiery curry by adding coconut milk, yoghurt, and perhaps even some ground cashews. Vinegar or tamarind were also added to preserve the mutton in those days before refrigeration also giving the dish a unique flavor. Thus "Railway Mutton Curry" became a popular dish in it's own right and was served in restaurants as well as railway refreshment rooms and long distance trains throughout India.

This is my version of "Railway Mutton Curry." I've made a hot and fiery curry then dialed back the heat a bit with coconut cream rather than a slurry of cashews, yogurt, and or coconut milk. I've chosen to use tamarind paste rather than vinegar because I prefer tamarind's sweet and sour complexity over vinegar's one note tang. I also love how tamarind lends it's deep brown hue to the dish, and the coconut cream renders the gravy rich and velvety. 

1kg/2 lbs mutton/goat, lean & bone in preferred, cut into 3-4 inch pieces
2 onions, sliced thinly into half moons
3 TBS cooking oil
2 tsp salt
2 TBS garlic/lahsun paste
2 TBS ginger/adrak paste
2-3 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped
5 cloves/laung
3 star anise, whole
2 tej patta/cassia leaves
15 black peppercorns, coarsely ground
2 inch piece of cassia bark/dalchini (or cinnamon stick)
3 tomatoes, diced finely
1 TBS garam masala
1 TBS ground coriander/dhania
1 TBS Kashmiri mirch
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek leaves/kasoori methi
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
400 ml can of coconut cream
1 TBS tamarind paste

Here's what to do:
1)  In a pressure cooker or deep, heavy bottomed skillet or stock pot heat oil with 2 tsp salt for 5 minutes. Fry sliced onion until just beginning to brown. Add garlic, ginger, and green chilis and fry for 2 minutes.

2) Add cloves, star anise, black peppercorns, tej patta, cassia bark, to fried onion mixture and fry for 1 minute. Add diced tomatoes, garam masala, coriander, Kashmiri mirch, cumin, dried fenugreek leaves, and turmeric to pan, stir well and fry until tomatoes soften.

3) Add mutton pieces to mixture in pot, stir well and fry for 5 minutes.

4) Add the can of coconut cream and tamarind to mutton mixture, stir well.

5) Seal up pressure cooker & continue cooking for 5-6 whistles or until meat is to desired tenderness. If using deep skillet or stock pot add enough water so that meat mixture is covered by at least 3 inches. Simmer without lid until meat is of desired tenderness, adding water if necessary. Salt to taste and serve.
When the mutton is tender and the oil is separated from the sauce, your dish is ready!

Helpful Hints:
This is one of those curries where you could probably get away with using tinned tomatoes, since we're trying to accommodate "Britishers" taste anyway.

This recipe would work well with beef, lamb, or water buffalo also.

Are you being served?
(The staff & engine of the exquisite "Palace on Wheels" luxury train.)

Feb 10, 2016

Anzac Biscuits

australia new zealand anzac biscuits recipe veg vegetarian golden syrup coconut

This is my recipe for Anzac biscuits, the eggless cookie made famous during World War II. These deliciously crispy, buttery, coconut-y cookies were baked and sent to the Australia New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) while abroad. Easy to make and excellent 'keepers' these biscuits are a great choice for the cookie jar or a tea time treat.

Hail, Britannia!
Golden syrup, the UK's greatest culinary achievement.
1 C white flour
1 C rolled oats
3/4 C brown or white sugar
1/2 C desiccated coconut
1/2 C butter
3 TBS golden syrup
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 TBS hot water

Here's what to do:
1) Heat oven to 350F/180C. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. In a large mixing bowl combine flour, oats, sugar, and coconut. Set aside.
Mix dry ingredients & set aside.
2) In a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat melt the butter, a pinch of salt, and golden syrup together. Dissolve baking soda in hot water and add to melted butter and syrup mixture. (Be careful, the mixture may foam up a bit.)

Beware of bubbles!
3) Pour hot butter and syrup mixture over dry ingredients in mixing bowl, stir until thoroughly combined.

Mixed thoroughly.
4) Form tablespoon sized balls of the mixture and place on lined baking sheets two inches apart. Flatten biscuits slightly with the palm of your hand. The biscuits will puff up and spread a bit when baked.

Ready to go into the oven.
5) Bake about 12 to 15 minutes or until evenly brown on the bottom. Biscuits will be soft when hot but will firm upon cooling. Allow to cool for 10 minutes before transferring with spatula. Makes about 16 biscuits.

Ready to eat!
Helpful Hints:
According to certain Kiwi friend of mine: "Do not put sultanas, dried cranberries, flax seeds, spice, margarine, or any another abominations into Anzac biscuits." This biscuit is a matter of national pride! (For those who don't know, "Kiwi" is slang for a New Zealander.)

If you are unable to obtain golden syrup, honey works well as a substitute. (But don't tell my Kiwi friend I told you that!)

Store in an airtight container to maintain crispness.

The dough is a little crumbly so I use a tablespoon sized scoop to press it into balls.

Using brown sugar will make these biscuits a little chewy. Using white sugar in these biscuits will make them crispier.

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