Showing posts with label fried. Show all posts
Showing posts with label fried. Show all posts

Aug 28, 2017

Bibi's Tomato and Bell Pepper Chutney

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

Get some tasty vegetables into your diet with this South Indian inspired bell pepper and tomato chutney! A savory vegan recipe that's so easy to make and a great way to enjoy Summer's bountiful produce. Pairs well with any rice or roti based meal and makes a great tortilla chip dip!

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

We're still enjoying tomatoes from our garden here in Nepal. Vegetables usually get expensive during the Monsoon season so I planted tomatoes, chili peppers, bell peppers, and eggplant in the sheltered areas of our yard. Above you see a day's harvest from our sixteen tomato plants, about a kilogram or two full pounds. You must pick tomatoes when they're not quite ripe here as they'll ripen and rot quickly in the heat and humidity of the Monsoon weather.

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

Here's about a day's harvest of bell peppers from our six bell pepper plants. Bell peppers are called capsicums or Shimla mirch in India and Nepal. What to do with all this vegetable largesse? Well, I made this recipe up! There aren't a lot of Indian or Nepali recipes for bell peppers aside from jalfrezi or tossing them into a veg omelet so I thought I'd try putting them into a South Indian inspired cooked chutney. And it worked beautifully! Now most South Indian chutneys require you to fry the vegetables first, cool them, grind them, and then fry the ground mixture again with spices. This double frying of vegetables goes on in a lot of Indian recipes. I'm not a fat-o-phobe nor a grease-o-phobe. But sometimes I think the goal of these Indian techniques is to get every pot in the kitchen dirty or to get as much grease flying around as possible! I thought about steaming the vegetables first but that's yet more gadgetry to clean. Recently, I suffered through watched a Jamie Oliver show where he made a tomato chutney by simmering the vegetables with a little water first and then frying the resulting mixture.

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

 SHABASH! (wonderful!) So I just combined the vegetables with a little water and spices in a pot and let them simmer until tender on the back burner while I cooked the rest of the day's meal. Then I let the mixture cool, ground it in the mixie, and then fried it to gorgeous glossiness. The result was fantastic! You probably do use a few less tablespoons of oil too. The spices I used were Kashmiri mirch, turmeric, cumin seeds, and black mustard seeds. Kashmiri mirch gives this condiment a rich red chili flavor with just a hint of heat. If you'd like more heat try using cayenne powder/degi mirch. If you'd like less heat try a mild and smoky paprika powder. Cumin seeds add their earthy warmth also. Turmeric is in there for it's bright color and antioxidants. Black mustard seeds add a bit of nutty flavor and are traditionally used in many South Indian cooked chutneys. If you wanted to make this even more South Indian you could fry some fresh curry leaves in the oil with the mustard seeds. Anyway you choose to spice it this recipe cooks up to a delicious, flavorful, fresh, and healthy chutney!

Ingredients:
7 medium sized tomatoes, roughly chopped
8 cloves of garlic/lahsun or 2&1/2 TBS garlic paste
1 large bell pepper/capsicum, roughly chopped
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp cayenne plus 1/2 tsp paprika)
1 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
1/2 tsp turmeric/haldi
3/4 C water
2 TBS cooking oil of choice
1 tsp black mustard seeds/rai
salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1) Combine tomatoes, garlic, bell pepper, Kashmiri mirch, cumin seeds, turmeric, 1/2 C water and 1 tsp salt in a deep pan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover and cook over a low heat for 15 minutes.

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

2) Take the pan off the heat and leave to cool for about 15 to 20 minutes.

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

3) Transfer the contents of the pan to a mixie or blender and grind the mixture to a paste.

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

4) Heat the cooking oil in the same pan over medium heat for about 5 minutes. Add the mustard seeds. When they begin to pop, add ground tomato mixture. (Be careful when adding the tomato mixture to the hot oil as it may splatter.)

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

5) Fry mixture over low/medium heat for 15–20 minutes until it becomes a thick paste and separates from the oil. Salt to taste and allow chutney to cool a little before serving. This chutney will keep refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days

bell pepper and tomato chutney, recipe, south indian, capsicum, tomato, fried, garlic, spicy, easy, chutney, condiment, vegan, vegetarian, indian, simple,

Helpful hints:
Kashmiri mirch gives this condiment a rich red chili flavor with just a hint of heat. If you'd like more heat try using cayenne powder/degi mirch. If you'd like less heat try a smoky paprika powder.

If you wanted to make this even more South Indian you could fry some fresh curry leaves in the oil with the mustard seeds.

Mar 16, 2016

Tips & Tools: Preparing Paneer

Paneer is a fresh cheese made by coagulating hot milk with lemon juice or vinegar. The whey is then drained from the curds and gathered in a cheesecloth or muslin bag before being pressed into blocks for ease of use. This versatile cheese does not melt and so may be prepared many different ways. I'm going to do a brief overview of four ways that paneer is commonly prepared in South Asian cooking: crumbled, simply cubed, cubed and fried, and a possibly "never before seen on the internet" exclusive- Kashmiri style "tsaman."

Three methods of preparing paneer:
1) Crumbled- Paneer can be crumbled and used a a garnish atop dishes or pan fried with spices to make a "bhurji." I don't really care for using paneer this way so I don't have a photo for you.

2) Simply cut into cubes- Just slice the paneer into cubes. The paneer can then simply be stirred into a sauce or gravy. Cubes of paneer can also marinated before skewering and broiling like a kebab for tandoori paneer or paneer tikka.

Plain, cubed yummy paneer.
3) Cubed and fried- For a bit of extra flavor and texture cubed paneer can be shallow fried to a create a delicate golden brown crust. This can also be useful if your paneer is particularly crumbly and or falling apart. Be sure to heat the oil for 7-9 minutes before you fry the paneer or the cubes will stick to the pan. A teaspoon of salt sprinkled into the hot oil will help prevent the paneer cubes from sticking also and give the paneer a bit of a flavor boost by forming a salty crust.

Get that oil really, really hot and add a teaspoonful of salt before you start to fry the paneer cubes.  If you don't get the oil hot enough the paneer cubes will stick and you'll have bhurji!
Lovely golden brown shallow fried paneer cubes. Well, at least some are cubes anyway.

3) Kashmiri style paneer or "tsaman"- I have never seen this technique shown online and only once in a cookbook. "Tsaman" is the Kashmiri word for paneer. Kashmir is too high in altitude for water buffaloes so the cheese is made from cow's milk and can be a bit rubbery or crumbly in it's plain state due to the lower butterfat content. Kashmiris prefer a spongy, soft texture in their paneer. To get this texture the tsaman is boiled with a bit of turmeric then drained. The cheese contracts and melds together when boiled which results in this unique texture. The turmeric in the water renders the outside of the tsaman a brilliant yellow hue. Then the tsaman is shallow fried in salted oil to give it a bit of a crispy salt crust on the outside. The delicately crisp crust contrasts beautifully with the soft, sponge-like inside. This is where a lot of restaurants and recipes get Kashmiri tsaman dishes wrong, they don't boil the paneer first to get the authentic texture. Kashmiris also cut their tsaman in rectangular blocks rather than cubes, almost resulting in a "paneer cutlet" of sorts.

Slice the paneer into rectangles about 2 inches long by 1&1/2 inches wide by 3/4 inch thick.
Drop the tsaman into water in a large stock pot with 1/2 teaspoon turmeric. Make sure the tsaman is covered by at least 2 inches of water. Heat until water just begins to boil. 
When the water just begins to boil the tsaman will float and look like this. See how it has contracted and shrinks up a bit? Remove the tsaman from the liquid and allow to drain while you heat the oil.  As the cheese is quite soft at this stage I usually put it in the refrigerator on a plate to firm up and make it easer to handle. Don't throw that turmeric/whey water away! You can use it like stock in other recipes or even to fertilize plants.

Shallow fry the tsaman in hot, salted oil to a golden brown.
Your tsaman is ready!
As you can see the tsaman turned a beautiful bright yellow hue from being boiled with the turmeric. The shallow frying gives it a delicately crisp browned crust. Inside, the tsaman is quite soft and spongy from being boiled. If you look closely you can see the tiny holes where the butterfat has melted together with the whey, that's what causes the textural change. Yes, this is a tedious extra step. We usually buy a kilo of paneer about once a month. I cut it all up, then boil and fry the entire kilo at once. I store the prepared tsaman in an airtight, sealed container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Whenever I want to make a dish, I simply take out as many tsaman pieces as I'd like to make dishes such as tamatar tsaman, or haak tsaman. 

That concludes my brief survey on preparing paneer. If you have any questions about the above techniques please feel free to ask in the comments below.

Curry on,
Bibi

Jan 31, 2016

Kashmiri Tao Mooj (Fried Radish Chutney)

Mooj means radish and tao means to stir-fry in Kashmiri. This authentic recipe is a fiery hot and savory chutney from the vale of Kashmir. Daikon radish is grated and simmered with onions, fresh cilantro, and green chilis until tender. Then a pinch of turmeric and a hefty dollop of Kashmiri mirch is added for rich color and traditional chili flavor. Excellent with kebabs, tandoori, or as an accompaniment to any rice or roti based meal.


I know this recipe sounds odd but it's really delicious! If you love hot and spicy food and are looking for a new way to use daikon radish definitely give this a try. Stir-frying the daikon radish makes it quite tender and mellows it's bite just a bit in this chutney. Onions lend their umami boost, cilantro brings it's brightness, green chilis give an herbaceous heat, and red chili powder lends it's rich color and flavor to this tasty relish. Such a simple and delicious way to prepare daikon radish, the hardest part is all the grating!

All grated, chopped, cleaned & ready to go.
Ingredients:
1/4 C cooking oil (mustard oil if you wish to be authentic)
3 C peeled & grated daikon radish/moolah
1 C grated onion
3 TBS chopped cilantro/dhania leaves
3 green chilis, chopped roughly
2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1 tsp cayenne + 1 tsp paprika)
1/4 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt

Here's what to do:
1) Over medium high heat in a heavy bottomed skillet or kadhai mix grated radish, grated onion, chopped cilantro, chopped green chilis, salt, and cooking oil of choice. 


All mixed & ready to fry over medium heat.
2) Allow to fry covered for 14 to 15 minutes, stir every 3 to 4 minutes to make sure mixture does not scorch or burn.


3) When onions and radish are translucent and oil has separated from the mixture add the Kashmiri mirch and turmeric, stir well until completely mixed. Allow to fry for 2 minutes longer, keep stirring so that mixture does stick or scorch.

4) Salt to taste and serve warm or cold.

Helpful Hints:

Keeps well when refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week. Makes about 1 and 1/2 cups of chutney.

If you don't care for cilantro/dhania try 3 TBS of fresh chopped mint/pudina or 2 TBS of dried mint instead.

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