Thursday, 21 January 2016

SPINACH BALLS IN TOMATO CURRY

SPINACH BALLS IN TOMATO CURRY

#Edited: - This recipe was featured as the best recipe on Real Food Friday blog hop, check here.

PALAK KOFTA CURRY


 

Three years ago, when I went to Vancouver during the summer holidays, I saw a bird show, that was named “birds of prey in action”, on the hill top of Grouse Mountain. It was really an amazing show; birds flew meters into the sky and dived back within a few minutes to take a bite of meat from the girl who was performing this show. Different types of birds were there- owls, falcons, hawks, and eagles.



 Those birds were trained for that demonstration, and it seems the birds were enjoying the show as much as we were enjoying. I was amazed to see that show and thought how much patience and time those trainers might have devoted to training those birds. Then I came to the conclusion that nothing is impossible in this world, anything can be done with time and dedication.



I enjoyed that trip so much and want to go and see it again. I am also sharing some pics below, of this show, which were taken by my son-in-law who is a photographer. This is the most popular summer program on that mountain which is viewed by hundreds of people every day during the summer months.




In the evening when we reached our hotel room, my grandson who was seven years old, explained me about the birds, which he had learned in his school. He told me how thousands of birds migrate from Canada in winter to warmer countries, they fly and travel kilometres and kilometres to settle in a new place, and when summer returns to Canada, they travel back. I enjoyed his lesson fully and was pleased to see/know his knowledge about birds and in general about Canada as well. This lesson and explanation of him were not new to me, this is a normal routine for me. Whenever he comes back from school, with all his enthusiasm and excitement, he will start like this, “Do you know, grandma? ….”- and the whole lesson will continue on with whatever his teacher taught him that particular day in class. This is a lot of fun and a memorable moment to enjoy, for a proud grandma like me.



Coming to the recipe, I tasted spinach balls in tomato gravy, in a restaurant in Vancouver and really enjoyed it. When I reached home, I tried the same recipe, based on the taste and look of that particular dish, it came out very nice. I was glad to have another recipe for spinach, as it is green and a healthy vegetable. In this recipe, I have used a small pack of frozen spinach, because in this recipe it is easier and faster compared to the fresh one.




RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • I packet of frozen spinach (400 grams)
  • 3 tbs chickpeas flour
  • 1 big onion (200 grams)
  • 2 big tomatoes (400 grams)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • a small piece of ginger
  • Salt and red pepper to taste
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbs oil and some oil for frying the balls

METHOD
  • Thaw the frozen spinach and remove all the water, then slice it again to make sure there is no whole leaf of spinach left.
  • Dry roast the chickpeas flour in a frying pan on low heat, once it is changing the colour to a few shades darker, remove from gas and leave it to cool.
  • When cool, add chickpeas flour into spinach with little salt and pepper and make small balls, and fry them on medium heat. Once they turn into light brown golden colour, take them out and drain on kitchen towel.
  • For curry, roughly chop ginger, garlic, onion, and tomatoes,
  • Heat 2 tbs oil in a saucepan and add cumin seeds when seeds are changing the colour, add ginger, garlic, onion and saute till light brown, add tomatoes and saute for another five minutes. Add all other spices and leave it to cool.
  • When this mixture is cold, make a puree in a blender, with 1/2 cup of water.
  • Boil again in a saucepan; when boiling, add the spinach balls, leave it on low heat for 5 more minutes.
  • Serve hot with roti, naan, rice or dinner bun.





Tuesday, 12 January 2016

INSTANT NAAN

INSTANT NAAN

Indian flat bread


I got my first cookery book, as a gift, by one of my colleagues in 1995, which was written by Madhur Jaffrey. I made many dishes using the recipes from her book and everybody in the family has enjoyed them. Some of the recipes were totally new to me where I had to start from scratch. However, her instructions in the book were so easy to follow and the measurements given in that book were so accurate that even an unacquainted person can easily follow them and can cook. I remember once I made coconut chutney using her recipe, then my husband said, “Let me call Madhur Jaffrey and tell her that my wife can cook exactly like you”. That was a big compliment for me.


A few weeks ago, I was amazed to see in the news that Madhur Jaffrey was publishing her 30th cookery book, I could not believe it. Now she is 82 years old, she is an internationally known authority on Indian and vegetarian cooking and a big inspiration to many like me. She is recognised for bringing Indian cuisine to the western world with her first book, which was published in 1973 as “An invitation to Indian cooking”. I was astonished to see how this lady has written so many books in the last six decades and inspired the world with the knowledge of the Indian cuisine.


While I was writing this post, I came across another clip of her in the news on 9th December 2015, when she was interviewed by Chris Caldicott of Telegraph.co.uk. My eyes wanted to get the glimpse of that headline, and it read- “No restaurant can ever compete with home cooked Indian food”. I searched on Google and then read the whole interview.


Through this post, I would like to pay my personal tribute to herself and her reputation in Indian cooking/book writing and want to salute her for the commendable job she did in the field of cookery and book writing from last 50 or more years.


Only because of personalities like Madhur Jaffrey, people in the world today have the knowledge about Indian cuisine. Even before Google came into our life, these were the people spreading the knowledge of Indian cuisine to the world through their writings.


Coming to the recipe, naan is a world famous Indian flat bread, which is served in many Indian and non-Indian restaurants around the world. People really admire this Indian flatbread with both vegetarian and non-veg curries and stews of different types.



I have already posted Stuffed Tandoori Naan on my blog, that was the traditional recipe. This one is an instant one, which can be made in an hour or two depending upon the fermentation of the dough, and off-course is the recipe of Madhur Jaffrey.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 and ½ cups all-purpose flour (500 grams)
  • 1 tsp instant yeast *
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • butter to garnish the naan
  • 1 tbs oil for glazing the dough
* Check instructions on the yeast packet, you might need more.

METHOD


  • Mix instant yeast in half cup warm water, mix it and leave it to froth.
  • Take flour in a big bowl, mix water with yeast and make a medium-hard dough by adding more water.
  • Glaze with oil, cover it with cling film and leave it aside in a warm area to ferment, it may take 1-2 hours, depending on the temperature of the room.
  • Once the dough is fermented, make small balls.
  • Heat the grill /broiler to 200 degrees C
  • Flatten the ball with the help of your palms and roll it, giving round shape around 5 inches diameter.
  • Heat a frying pan on the stove.
  • Roast one side of the naan over fry pan, once slightly roasted transfer it into the oven in a flat tray.
  • Roast till golden brown on both sides, garnish with butter and serve hot, it may take 5-10 minutes.
  • Around 20 naans can be made, depending on the size.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

POACHED PEAR/ CANDIED PEAR

POACHED PEAR/ CANDIED PEAR

NASHPATI KA MURRABA

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and blessed New year 2016.


These days life is very easy compared to the olden days, all varieties of goods are available in all parts of the world, it doesn’t matter where they are produced or manufactured, they are available at the local grocery store down your street, right?


If we take the example of fresh produce like fruits and vegetables, they are grown on a large scale and exported to other countries. This is the reason all the fruits and vegetables are available in all parts of the world. When I go grocery shopping here in Calgary, I see fruits which were grown in South Africa, U.S.A., Mexico, and even China. We, customers, get the benefit of using these items when they are not in season locally because in other parts of the world they have different seasons and they are grown there.


These days, when commercial farmers are producing on such a large scale they are not only exporting to different countries of the world but use them in many other ways. Commercial farmers sell their surplus to secondary industries where they are again converted/manufactured to bi-products like jams, jellies, fruit candies, tinned fruits, dried fruits etc. The only problem is that they might use/contain many artificial and synthetic preservatives.


In olden days scenario, let’s say even 50 years ago, it was very different, fruits and vegetables were locally grown in an area and only available in that area in their seasons. In those days, in some seasons farmers got bumper harvests, which were sold at low prices in the market. The reason behind it was that farmers wanted to get rid of that extra produce before it could get rotten.


So people, after consuming what they could, were preserving the little extra left with them, in such a manner that it can last longer. ‘Murraba’ is one of the traditional methods of India, where fruits were preserved this way to be used for a longer period of time. At that time there were no preservatives used in these types of murraba, sugar in itself was the best preservative.


The other reason for making these murrabas was that they were considered good for health. These murrabas have a special place in Ayurveda, the ancient art of healing.


According to Ayur times (https://www.ayurtimes.com/murabba/) murraba is an Ayurvedic and Unani medicinal preparation which has many health benefits including being an immune booster. Murrabas are made with many fruits and they all have different health benefits depending on the fruit we are using in that particular murraba.


In Indian cuisine, murrabas are made differently compared to the other cuisines where it is called candies or poached fruits. The recipe I used here is a traditional Indian one, which I learned from some elderly ladies in my family the long time ago. I tried this recipe many times and made many types of murrabas with apples, pears and carrots etc.

RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 kg organic pear
  • ½ kg sugar for syrup
  • 250 lit. water
  • 1 small beetroot (100 grams)
  • 4-5 green cardamom
  • 1 big stick of cinnamon

METHOD
  • Boil beetroot and make puree in a food processor
  • Mix sugar and water and put it on the stove to make sugar syrup, when syrup is ready add beetroot puree, cardamom, and cinnamon and boil again.
  • Wash thoroughly, peel and cut pears into two or four pieces. I didn't peel the pears in this murraba.
  • Add pears to this sugar syrup, cover the lid and boil for 20 minutes on low flame.
  • When cold fill in a clean glass jar and keep it in the fridge.

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