Showing posts with label hot. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hot. Show all posts

Jan 30, 2017

Momo ko Achar (Nepali Chutney for Dumplings)

momo ko achar, Nepali, dumplings, momos, momo, chutney, hot, dip, dipping, authentic, traditional, sauce, tomato, timur, vegan, veg, vegetarian, recipe, easy, Nepal,

Momos are a savory dumpling of Tibetan origin that are popular in Nepal. Momo ko achar is the spicy tomato based dipping sauce traditionally served with momos. This recipe combines fire roasted vegetables with earthy cumin, bright coriander, zesty red chili, and the surprising zing of Szechuan peppercorns. The result is an amazing blend with a uniquely Nepali taste! Serve as an authentic accompaniment to steaming hot momos or as a delicious dip for potstickers. 

momo ko achar, Nepali, dumplings, momos, momo, chutney, hot, dip, dipping, authentic, traditional, sauce, tomato, timur, vegan, veg, vegetarian, recipe, easy, Nepal,

My Nepali maid taught me how to make this chutney or dip. I've tasted several different versions of this sauce across Nepal but hers is still the best! I guessed what was in the chutney but didn't know Nepalis charred the tomatoes, bell pepper, chilis, garlic, and ginger. Fire roasting certainly makes a huge difference in flavor! 


For truly authentic momo ko achar the vegetables would be roasted on the embers of a traditional Nepali stove called a chulo. Chulos come in various sizes and configurations but are generally made of clay and wood fired. The lovely lady in the above photo has one of the newer indoor models which have a chimney built along the wall. If you look closely you can see her pots are coated with mud on the bottom to prevent blackening and scorching from the fire.  I am told nothing can compare to the taste of food slow-cooked upon a chulo but I use my gas stove for more timely results. I char the vegetables on the gas burners of my stove but you can get similar results if you use the broiler in an oven. I wondered if the spices would be dry roasted but traditionally they aren't.

Nepali timur or Szechuan peppercorns
Please be advised that this chutney is HOT.  It's not just the green chilies that are spicy hot. Nepali timur or Szechuan peppercorns and red chili powder adding their zing too. So there's three kinds of heat going on in this sauce! You may leave the chilies out for less heat and swap the traditional timur for tamer black peppercorns - but momos are meant to be eaten with tears streaming down your face!

Ingredients:
3 large tomatoes
1 bell pepper/capsicum, destemmed and deseeded
2-3 green chilies/hari mirch
4 cloves of garlic/lahsun, peeled
1&1/2 inch piece of ginger/adrakh, peeled
1 C cilantro/dhania, chopped
1 tsp cumin/jeera, ground
1 tsp coriander/dhania seeds, ground
1 tsp Kashmiri mirch (or 1/2 tsp paprika plus 1/2 tsp cayenne powder)
1/2 tsp timur/Szechuan peppercorns (or ground black pepper)
1 TBS oil of choice
Salt to taste

Here's what to do:
1) Roast the tomatoes, bell pepper, green chilies, garlic, and ginger until blackened. Either put them over an open flame or cut them in half and put them under a broiler until the skin blackens and splits. I do this on the gas burners of my stove but traditionally this would be done on the coals of a cooking fire.

momo ko achar, Nepali, dumplings, momos, momo, chutney, hot, dip, dipping, authentic, traditional, sauce, tomato, timur, vegan, veg, vegetarian, recipe, easy, Nepal,

2) Allow roasted vegetables to cool completely. 

momo ko achar, Nepali, dumplings, momos, momo, chutney, hot, dip, dipping, authentic, traditional, sauce, tomato, timur, vegan, veg, vegetarian, recipe, easy, Nepal,

3) When the roasted vegetables have completely cooled peel away the blackened skin. Remove seeds and stem from bell pepper. Place roasted vegetables, cilantro, cumin, coriander, Kashmiri mirch, timur, oil, and one teaspoon salt in a blender, mixie, or food processor. Grind until mixture is smooth.

momo ko achar, Nepali, dumplings, momos, momo, chutney, hot, dip, dipping, authentic, traditional, sauce, tomato, timur, vegan, veg, vegetarian, recipe, easy, Nepal,

4) Grind until mixture is smooth. Salt to taste and serve with piping hot momos or potstickers. Keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.

momo ko achar, Nepali, dumplings, momos, momo, chutney, hot, dip, dipping, authentic, traditional, sauce, tomato, timur, vegan, veg, vegetarian, recipe, easy, Nepal,
Helpful Hints-
Other authentic variations of this recipe blend in a tablespoonful of dry roasted sesame seeds or dry roasted peanuts.

Jan 25, 2017

Mughlai Garam Masala

garam masala, mughal, mughlai, recipe, easy, garam, masala, traditional, authentic, simple, hot, spice, blend, mixture, indian, north indian, sahni, julie,

In Hindi, masala refers to a mixture of spices and garam means hot or warming in the Ayurvedic sense. Mughlai garam masala is a traditional mixture of cardamom, cassia bark, cloves, black pepper, and nutmeg added. It adds a subtle aromatic flavor to dishes and is considered a hallmark of classical north Indian cooking.


Garam masala is used as a finishing touch in many Subcontinental cuisines just as ground black pepper is used in Western cooking. Recipes for garam masala vary from region to region and even household to household! This classic recipe for garam masala in royal Mughal style is adapted from the famed chef Julie Sahni's brilliant cookbook, Classic Indian Cooking. Differing in the lavish use of expensive spices this particular blend is not often commercially available. If you were to purchase the ingredients for this garam masala at a western supermarket or specialty spice store the cost would be exorbitant. However, if you buy the whole spices at your local Indian grocer and grind them yourself, this blend will cost mere pennies!

garam masala, mughal, mughlai, recipe, easy, garam, masala, traditional, authentic, simple, hot, spice, blend, mixture, indian, north indian, sahni, julie,

The flavor of this garam masala is sweeter and more delicate compared to most ready made blends too. I like to use this recipe when cooking the rich cream, milk, or meat-based dishes of north Indian cuisines. According to Chef Sahni, the spices in this blend are so naturally fragrant and easily digested that dry roasting them isn't necessary. I chose green cardamoms for this batch but using black or brown cardamoms results in a deeper, smoky flavor. I also used cassia bark rather than cinnamon sticks because it's traditional and I prefer it's peppery bite over the sweeter cinnamon. Anyway you choose to customize this blend it's sure to add a little Mughal splendor to everything you make!

Ingredients:
1/3 cup (about 200) green cardamom/elaichi pods or 1/2 C (about 60) black cardamoms/badi elaichi
2 three inch pieces of cassia bark/dalchini or cinnamon sticks
1 TBS whole cloves/laung
1 TBS black peppercorns/kali mirch
1&1/2 tsp grated nutmeg/jaiphal (optional)

Here's what to do:
1) Crush cassia bark or cinnamon sticks with a kitchen mallet, rolling pin, or belan to break it into small pieces. (If you have little bits and bobs of cassia bark or cinnamon stick about this is a good place to use them.)

garam masala, mughal, mughlai, recipe, easy, garam, masala, traditional, authentic, simple, hot, spice, blend, mixture, indian, north indian, sahni, julie,

2) Combine all the spices except nutmeg and grind to a fine powder in a coffee grinder, a spice mill, or a mixie.
garam masala, mughal, mughlai, recipe, easy, garam, masala, traditional, authentic, simple, hot, spice, blend, mixture, indian, north indian, sahni, julie,

3) Mix in the grated nutmeg, if desired. Store in an airtight container away from heat and light. Use within three months. Makes about 3/4C

Helpful Hints:
Chef Sahni advises removing the seeds from the cardamom pods and discarding the skins. I disagree, the skin of green cardamoms and black cardamoms have flavor. I can't bear to throw the skins away! Anyway, I use the whole pod when I grind my masalas but peel away if you must. (But don't throw away those skins, put them in your masala chai mix!)

If you are interested in trying other regional variations of this classic spice blend try Punjabi Garam Masala, Nepali Garam Masala, or Kashmiri Garam Masala.

Portrait of Mughal Emperor Zahir ud-Din Mohammad (Babur), founder of the Mughal empire
date 1630AD, artist unknown

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.

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.

Jan 10, 2016

Ingredients: Kashmiri Mirch

From the westernmost Himalayan vale of Kashmir comes the brilliant red chili essential to many a Subcontinental savory dish, Kashmiri mirch:


Here you can see the dried red peppers known as Kashmiri mirch in large sacks being sold in Kashmir.
The salesman looks a lot like my brother in law, complete with cigarette in one hand and cell phone in the other. The baskets in the lower left hand corner contain a variety of Kashmiri shallots that are commonly dried for use called praan. Looks like my brother in law's clone is selling garlic and possibly some pants too.


This Kashmiri beauty is spreading the brilliant red peppers out to dry in the unused parking lot of a derelict sports stadium in Srinagar. As you can tell by the poplar trees on the left which have lost most of their leaves, this drying process takes place during the early autumn season. 

ingredient kashmiri mirch indian chili red spice

By now you're probably wondering what is so unique about this chili pepper? Well, in a nutshell it's milder in heat than cayenne but richer in flavor than paprika. Kashmiri mirch is not only flavorsome, but is what imparts the vibrant red color desired in tandoori dishes, curries, and some savory chutneys. The mild, almost Mediterranean climate of Kashmir's valleys give these peppers their unique flavor.
ingredient kashmiri mirch indian chili red spice

The Mughals spent their summers in Kashmir's famed lakeside gardens of Shalimar and Nishat bringing their rich and royal cuisine with them. Portuguese traders introduced chili peppers to the Subcontinent in 1498. Chili peppers became quite popular across Asia even supplanting the use of the native black pepper. The Mughals loved hot and spicy dishes flavored with the exotic crimson chilis from the New World. Much of Kashmir's cuisine is directly from the Mughal court and therefore is quite different from most of the regional cuisines of India.


What to look for when buying Kashmiri mirch:
There are several good Indian brands of Kashmiri mirch. "Kanwal" is the best, as it's actually made in Kashmir, but you probably won't find that in western countries easily. The Delhi based brands "MDH", "Everest", and "Catch" are also excellent quality and are readily found in most Indian markets in western countries. Do not confuse Kashmiri Mirch with what is called Deggi mirch, it looks similar but is a different type of chilis that's more like cayenne powder.

ingredient kashmiri mirch indian chili red spice
Helpful hints:
If you can't find Kashmiri mirch or don't have any on hand a good substitute is a blend of half paprika and half cayenne powder.

Kashmiri mirch burns easily and when scorched it has an unpleasant bitter flavor. That is why Kashmiri mirch is usually mixed with yogurt or water before adding to a dish, or added towards the end of cooking a dish to prevent burning.

Printfriendly