Showing posts with label coriander. Show all posts
Showing posts with label coriander. Show all posts

Sep 21, 2016

Bisbas Khudra (Yemeni Bell Pepper Chutney)

Bisbas Khudra  Yemeni Bell Pepper Chutney capsicum chili bell pepper cumin yemen easy recipe simple coriander

This zingy hot sauce recipe hails from Yemen. Khudra means green and bisbas means something spicy. Vibrant with the piquant flavors of peppers, cumin, coriander and garlic this chutney-like recipe packs a punch! Whip this delicious vegan dip up in minutes to accompany everything from tandoori to falafels.


A Yemeni friend I've known for years gave me this recipe a while back. Traditionally, it is made with a mortar and pestle but you know Bibi's going to run it through the mixie. I served it on Eid with the mutton and chicken kebabs we made on the barbecue and it was a hit! It works just as well as a vegan chutney with rice, rotis, and dal too. It's a great way to use up all those capsicum (bell peppers) that are in abundance this time of year in every market or garden.

Ingredients:
2 large bell peppers/capsicum, cleaned of seeds and pith and chopped roughly
2 to 3 hot green chilis/hari mirch
2 to 3 cloves of garlic/lahsun
1 to 2 dried red chilis, stems removed (or 1/2 tsp Kashmiri mirch or cayenne powder)
1/2 tsp cumin/jeera seeds
1 tsp ground coriander/dhania seeds
2 TBS olive oil or oil of choice
1 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Blend or grind all ingredients to a smooth emulsion in mixie, blender, food processor, or mortar and pestle. Salt to taste and keep in refrigerator in airtight container until ready to serve.

Bisbas Khudra  Yemeni Bell Pepper Chutney capsicum chili bell pepper cumin yemen easy recipe simple coriander


Bisbas Khudra  Yemeni Bell Pepper Chutney capsicum chili bell pepper cumin yemen easy recipe simple coriander

Helpful Hints:
If you find you've made this recipe too hot for your liking just stir in a few tablespoonfuls of yogurt to bring the heat down.

Apr 2, 2016

Boba's Baingan Bharta (Spicy Smoked Eggplant)


When my husband says a dish I've made tastes just like his mother made it, I know it's perfect! 

My mother in law's nickname is Boba and this her recipe for bhaingan bharta. "Bhaingan" means eggplant and "bharta" refers to the mashing technique with a wooden spoon. Similar to Middle Eastern "baba ghanoush" the eggplant is first roasted over a open flame or coals. This is what infuses the dish with smoky flavor. The roasted eggplant is then sauteed with a flavorsome blend of traditional north Indian spices. The result is a rich, savory pâté of eggplant almost caviar like in richness and intensity. The final step is a handful of chopped cilantro or mint stirred through just to add a bit of brightness. 


indian baba ghaneoushh aubergines Desi

Despite being from different cultures and not even speaking the same language my mother in law and I always shared a love of cooking and very similar tastes. Boba could neither read nor write nor had she ever left the city of Srinagar in her entire life. She never used any recipes but seasoned each dish to perfection. Boba would have taken the eggplant to the tandoori bakery down the street from her home, the bakers would place them into the tandoor oven to roast in a matter of minutes. Boba said that roasting the eggplant in the tandoor ovens was the only way to get the smoky flavor that was so important to this dish.


We're going to try and replicate the charring effect of a tandoor oven on the eggplant over a gas burner. It's not quite the same, and it does take a bit longer but the end result is still quite delicious. Kashmiris would top this dish with a garnish of their beloved local walnuts and perhaps a dollop of local curd or yoghurt. As eggplant is a notorious oil sop be sure to use an oil that you like in this dish. I seriously considered styling this dish with my nacre caviar spoon due to it's richness. (What else am I going to do with a caviar spoon in Nepal?)  Baingan bharta is traditionally served with rice or chapattis warm or at room temperature.

Ingredients:
2 large eggplants, about 1&1/2 lbs
1/4 C cooking oil
1 onion, diced finely
2 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic/lahsun paste
1 tsp ginger/adrak paste
1-2 green chilis/hari mirch, chopped finely
2 tsp ground coriander/dhania
2 tsp ground cumin/jeera
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika +1/2 tsp cayenne)
1/4 tsp turmeric/haldi
1/2 tsp garam masala
5 black peppercorns/kali mirch, ground coarsely
2 tomatoes, diced finely
3 TBS cilantro or fresh mint, chopped finely
5 walnuts, chopped coarsely  (optional for garnish)

Here's what to do:
1) Roast eggplants over a medium gas flame. Keep turning and cooking until outside of eggplant is charred and blackened evenly all over. The eggplant will seem to deflate as the flesh within cooks. Set aside to cool.


2) Peel off charred skin from roasted eggplants. Don't worry about black flecks that remain on the soft flesh as that will help give us the smoky flavor we seek.


3) Heat oil in kadhai or heavy bottomed frying pan. Fry walnut for garnish and set aside if using. Fry onions with 1 teaspoon salt until translucent. Add garlic, ginger and chilis and fry for 2 minutes.


4) Add tomatoes, and spices to onion mixture. Fry until tomatoes begin to soften.


5) Put the roasted eggplants in the pan with the tomatoes spice mixture. Stir and mash with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes.


6) When the mixture becomes smooth and shiny stir through the cilantro or mint and salt to taste. Garnish with fried walnuts if desired and serve warm or at room temperature.


Helpful Hints:
If you don't have a gas burner you could also roast the eggplants over an outdoor charcoal grill,  an indoor electric burner, or on a foil lined baking sheet under a broiler in an oven.

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 28, 2016

Ingredient of the Week: Coriander, Cilantro, or Dhania

Coriander, dhania, hsang tsai, kibara, Koriander, kothamilee, kottamalli, kothimbir, kothimli, coriandre, Chinese parsley, coriandolo, pak chee, whatever you wish to call it here 'tis:



The coriander (Coriandrum sativum) plant is an herbaceous hardy annual belonging to the parsley family. It's slender bright green branching stems grow to a height of around two foot tall. The flowers are pink or white assymetrical umbels. Coriander's fruit is usually mistaken for seeds and is a globular schizocarp. 


The plant requires moderately warm weather and well drained soil to thrive. Coriander's name is interestingly derived from Ariadne, the daughter of Minos in Greek mythology. Why coriander is associated with Ariadne I don't know. Evidently coriander has been used as a spice, herb, and perfume ingredient since the second millenium BC by the Greeks.


All parts of the coriander plant are edible. Coriander's leaves are rich in vitamins A, C, and K while it's seeds or fruits are rich in calcium, selenium, magnesium, manganese, and iron. Both the leaves and seeds/fruits of coriander have a definite citrus flavor due to their concentrations of the terpenes linalool and pinene. However, some people perceive the taste of coriander leaves as soapy or putrid. Studies seem to suggest this is a genetically determined sensitivity to the unsaturated aldehydes in coriander combined with an insensitivity to the aromatic chemicals that others find pleasant.


Coriander is called "dhania" in Hindi and Urdu. If you wish to refer to the leaves and stems of the coriander plant you would specify by saying "hari dhania" which means "green coriander." In Desi cooking the leaves, stems, and seeds of coriander/dhania are commonly used. The fresh leaves are pureed or minced into chutneys and relishes or stirred into curries and dals to impart their bold and bright green flavor. Ground coriander seeds/fruits provide a subtler flavor as well as bulk and body to numerous Desi dishes. Westerners are probably most familiar with flavor and appearance of coriander seeds seen floating in the brine of dill pickles or corned beef.


Ground coriander and cumin are a common flavor pairing in Desi cooking. The mild lemony notes of ground coriander provide a brilliant foil to the warm earthy flavor of cumin. Onions and ground coriander suspended in oil are the base of most Desi gravies and curry sauces. Ground coriander's fibrous husks lend themselves perfectly in this use as a thickener and emulsifier. The flavor of ground coriander isn't going to overwhelm you with it's mellow citrus aroma, you might not even realize it's there. In contrast to fresh coriander leaves' bold and assertive flavor the subtler notes of ground coriander remain in the background adding a just a bit of "je ne sais quoi" to the main attraction.

Helpful hints:
Whole coriander seeds will store nearly indefinitely. Once ground, coriander seeds are apt to lose flavor and aroma quickly resulting in a sawdust like flavor. That's why I only buy coriander seeds and grind them once a week for use as needed. I use an electric grinder but the seeds are delicate enough to be ground to whatever coarseness you desire with a mortar and pestle. Always store coriander in an opaque airtight container for freshness.

If you are cooking anything gamy like goat, lamb, caribou, elk, or venison try using some ground coriander with it. Ground coriander's light and warm lemony citrus flavor really brightens up gamy meat without the acidic tang of an actual lemon or citrus fruit.

Keep calm & curry on,
Bibi




Jan 3, 2016

Ingredient of the Week: Kitchen King

Darned good stuff!
Oh, stop.
Don't judge until you've tried these readymade spice mixes.
Don't start with the *"Chi, chi, Bibi's not being authentic, or Desi, or home style," or whatever disdainful & derogatory notions you may have about using prepared spice mixes. Readymade masalas are one of the newer convenience products available for the burgeoning Desi middle class. As more & more women enter the work force in Desi-dom or simply wish to spend less time in the kitchen for whatever reason, products like this are becoming increasingly popular. I've even seen kilo sized boxes of these mixes in the kitchens of 5 star hotels and popular restaurants in India so I know that even the "pros" use these. They are great time and money savers when you think of all the different spices you'd have to purchase, store, measure, & grind for use in each dish. Kitchen King is a blend of cumin, turmeric, Kashmiri mirch,  garlic, red chili, coriander, green cardamom, brown cardamom, dry ginger, black pepper, cloves, fenugreek, poppy seeds, mace, nutmeg, star anise, fennel, long pepper, and cassia.

Foil wrapped for freshness!
Guaranteed to delight your palate with taste & aroma.
(It says so on the box!)
I have to say, they are generally excellent quality too. The box boasts that the fresh spices are hand picked and ground using "Low Temperature Grinding technology." The mixes are foil wrapped inside for freshness, although I'd recommend decanting them into an airtight glass container once opened for storage. You could use a plastic container, but be forewarned that plastic container will reek of Kitchen King forever after.

I'd recommend storing in an airtight glass container.
This old pickle jar works well.
 I'd also recommend buying them in boxes no larger than 100g to 200g depending on usage as they'll usually remain fresh for only about a month after opening.





Kitchen King is one of my favorites. I always have a box around. My favorite brand is "Catch," although "MDH" and "Everest" are quite good also. I'm guessing it's called Kitchen King due to its versatility in dishes. It's a quick and easy way to make tasty vegetarian dishes such as mattar paneer (peas & cheese) or curried peas and mushrooms. 

Helpful Hints:

A good substitute for Kitchen King spice mix is-  1/2tsp cayenne + 1/2tsp paprika + 1tsp cumin + 1tsp coriander + + 1/2 tsp fennel + 1/4tsp ground fenugreek +1/4tsp mace + 1/8tsp nutmeg 

*"Chi, chi," is roughly translated as "For shame," in Desi-Land. It is often accompanied by an imperiously & emphatically extended index finger being jabbed perilously in proximity of whomever is being blamed or shamed's face. 
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