Friday, June 27, 2008

BHEJA FRY - FRIED BRAINS

BHEJA FRY
[Fried brain, Sindhi style]
Serves 4

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2005/10/this-is-your-brain-this-is-your-brain.html


Four whole goat brains,
Four TBS butter or ghee.
Two Tsp. cayenne powder
One Tsp. turmeric powder
Generous pinches nutmeg or mace, ground black pepper, and salt.


Rinse the brains. Put a pot of lightly salted water on the fire (about six or so cups), add the cayenne and turmeric, and when the water boils dump in the brains. Cook for fifteen minutes.
Remove brains, drain, and when cool enough to handle remove the thin membranes. Slice each brain into four pieces, and pan-fry in the butter or ghee.
Add nutmeg or mace before removing from the flame, pepper and salt after. Serve hot.


Serve the bheja with some nice crisp roasted papad and rice or kichri.

MIRCHI KA SALAN

MIRCHI KA SALAN
[Green chilies in curry sauce - personal variation]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2005/11/agar-firdaws-bar-ru-ye-zamin-ast.html



One pound of Mulatto Isleño chilies (or substitute any other large mild chili, such as Poblanos or Anaheims).
One onion, minced.
Three or four cloves of Garlic, minced.
A thumb-length of ginger, minced.
Quarter cup roasted Peanuts.
Two TBS Sesame seeds, lightly toasted.
Three Tsp. ground Coriander.
One Tsp. ground Cumin.
Half Tsp. Cayenne (or more).
Half Tsp. Turmeric.
A generous pinch of Sugar.
A pinch of ground Cinnamon.
Pinch Salt.
One and a half cups Water.
One and a half cups Coconut milk.
Half cup strong Tamarind water (2 - 4 TBS Tamarind paste in hot water).
Quarter cup chopped Cilantro.
Quarter cup chopped Basil.
Quarter cup chopped Parsley.
Quarter cup Olive Oil.
A hefty squeeze of Lime juice, added at end of cooking,


1. Grind peanuts and sesame seeds to a fine paste.
2. Roast whole chilies over a flame till the skin blackens. Peel, deseed, chop into large pieces.
3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, fry the onion golden, and add garlic and ginger. When the garlic has gilded, add the spices, salt, sugar, and stir-fry till the fragrance rises.
4. Add the peanut and sesame paste, plus the coconut milk and the water. When it boils, add the chilies. Simmer, stirring, till the sauce thickens and the oil separates.
5. Add the tamarind water, bring back to boil and cook a short while longer.
6. Stir in the fresh herbs and remove from heat. Now add the hefty squeeze of lime juice.
7. Garnish generously with two or three chopped Roma tomatoes.

Serve with flaky flatbread and rice.
Serves four.


Note I: Instead of grinding peanuts and sesame, one can substitute a quarter cup (four tablespoons) of smooth peanut butter. The taste will not be much affected.
Note II: There will be some wastage when peeling the chilies.
Note III: The hue of this dish should be a lovely speckled vert emeraude. It should be semi-scoopable, and not soupy.
Note IV: This is like the Hyderabadi Mirchi Ka Salan (see this post: http://cookingwithalizard.blogspot.com/2008/06/mirchi-ka-salan-andhra-version.html ). But it is better. And not as greasy.

HYDERABADI MIRCHI KA SALAN

MIRCHI KA SALAN
[Green chilies in curry sauce - Andhra version]


Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2005/11/agar-firdaws-bar-ru-ye-zamin-ast.html



Half a pound of long green chilies (Paprika in Europe, Anaheim or Mild New Mexico in US).
One onion, minced.
Three or four cloves of Garlic, minced.
A thumb-length of ginger, minced.
Quarter cup roasted Peanuts.
Two TBS Sesame seeds, lightly toasted.
Three Tsp. ground Coriander.
One Tsp. ground Cumin.
Half Tsp. Cayenne.
Half Tsp. Turmeric.
A generous pinch of Sugar.
A pinch of ground Cinnamon.
Pinch Salt.
One and a half cups Water.
One and a half cups Coconut milk.
Half cup strong Tamarind water (2 - 4 TBS Tamarind paste in hot water).
Half cup chopped Cilantro.
Quarter cup chopped Basil.
Quarter cup chopped Parsley.
Quarter cup Olive Oil.
A hefty squeeze of Lime juice, added at end of cooking,


1. Grind peanuts and sesame seeds to a fine paste.
2. Blanch whole chilies briefly in boiling salted water. Drain, deseed, chop into large pieces.
3. Heat oil in a large frying pan, fry chilies to gild, remove and set aside.
4. Fry onion golden, add garlic and ginger. When the garlic has gilded, add the spices, salt, sugar, and stir-fry till the fragrance rises.
5. Add the peanut and sesame paste, plus the coconut milk, water, and chilies. Simmer, stirring, till the sauce is thick and the oil separates.
6. Add the tamarind water, bring back to boil and cook a short while longer.
7. Stir in the fresh herbs and remove from heat, add the hefty squeeze of lime juice.
8. Garnish generously with two or three chopped Roma tomatoes.

ANANAS KA MUZAFFAR

ANANAS KA MUZAFFAR
[Electric yellow rice with syrup, pineapple chunks, and ghee!]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2005/11/agar-firdaws-bar-ru-ye-zamin-ast.html


One cup basmati rice.
One and a half tsp saffron.
Two cups sugar.
One cup pineapple juice.
2 TBS lemon juice.
5 cloves.
5 green cardamom.
5 drops yellow foodcolour.
5 fresh pineapple rings, chunk cut.
Quarter cup ghee.
1. Rinse and soak the rice for 2 hours. Drain.
2. Soak the saffron in two TBS warm water.
3. Boil sugar with half a cup water, pineapple and lemon juices; stir until the syrup becomes thick. Reserve.
4. Heat four cups water in a pot with the cloves, cardamom pods and yellow food colouring added. Boil fiercely for five minutes, skim out the spices with a kafgir, and add the rice. Cook till puffy and half way done. Drain.
5. Heat the syrup over low heat to boiling, add the rice, mix well and remove from the fire when heated through, whereupon stir in the pineapple chunks and the saffron water.
6. Transfer the rice mixture to a shallow casserole, place the lid on tight and set the casserole in the oven at 300 degrees for half an hour.
7. Melt the ghee and pour it in a circular motion all over the rice.


Note I: The dish as given above is not nearly sweet enough for some Indians; if you're cooking for such a person, add more sugar, plus extra ghee.

Note II: Muzaffar means yellowed. Which, thanks to liberal use of both food colour and saffron, it will indeed be.

Note III: This dish can also be done with mango (Aamb Ka Muzaffar) or even jackfruit (Kathal Ka Muzaffar).

MUTANJAN

MUTANJAN
[Semi-sweet meat and rice]


Originally posted here:http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2005/11/agar-firdaws-bar-ru-ye-zamin-ast.html



One and a half cups Basmati rice - washed, soaked an hour, drained.
One and a half pounds goat, chunk cut.
One onion, minced.
Half a cup sugar.
Half a cup water.
One lemon.
Six green cardamom pods.
Two black cardamom pods.
Two smallish pieces stick cinnamon.
Two blades of mace.
Two bay leaves.
One teaspoon whole peppercorns.
Six TBS ghee (or substitute vegetable oil).
Two TBS rosewater.
Two TBS kewra water.
A very generous pinch of saffron.
Pinch salt.


1. Mix saffron, rosewater, and kewra water, and let stand to colour.
2. Make a syrup by dissolving the sugar in the half cup water in an enamel saucepan. Squeeze in the juice of the lemon, and remove from heat.
3. Fry the onion in the ghee till glazy-golden. Add half of the whole spices, stir, add the meat and a small splash water. Fry till the oil comes out and the meat is browned. Cover with water, simmer till nearly dry. Remove the whole spices, and set the meat and onion mixture aside.
4. Bring a pot of water to boil with the remaining whole spices. Boil fiercely for five minutes to aromatize the water, then use your kafcha or kafgir to skim out the whole spices, and add the rice. Parboil till the rice starts to puff, then strain.
5. Mix the rice with the meat and onion in a casserole, add the syrup. Pour the rose-kewra-saffron water spiral-wise over the mixture, cover well, and use tinfoil or dough to really seal the edges and prevent much steam escaping. Set in a 300º oven for half an hour. Remove and up end on a platter.


Note I: Rosewater is available at Middle Eastern stores, Kewra water can be bought at Indian stores. Kewra, kewda, or keora is pandanus - the fragrant screwpine, which has a semi floral grass-like aroma. One can substitute a jigger of pandan extract (available in S.E.Asian markets) for the Indian or Paki product.

Note II: This version of Mutanjan is not nearly as sweet as some Indians would make it.

KABILI PILAW

KABILI PILAW
[A robust tribal pilaf from Afghanistan]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2005/11/agar-firdaws-bar-ru-ye-zamin-ast.html


One large onion, chopped.
One and a half pounds of goat, cut in 1 inch cubes.
Two carrots cut into matchstick size pieces.
1 cup dark seedless raisins.
2 Tbs. blanched almonds.
1/2 tsp. each: ground cinnamon, cloves, cumin, and cardamom.
Pinches of turmeric and dry ginger (optional).
1/8 tsp. saffron (firm pack), soaked in a two tablespoons of warm water.
2 cups long grain rice (Basmati) - soaked, rinsed, and drained.
1 Tbs. sugar.
Oil
Water or broth
Salt


1. Heat four Tbs. oil in a heavy pan and fry onion golden.
2. Add meat and brown.
3. Add two and a half cups water, 1/2 tsp. salt and the ground spices. Cover and simmer until the meat is tender. Take out meat and set aside. Leave cooking juices in pan, which remove from heat and set on backburner.
4. Heat four Tbs. oil in a saucepan. Add the carrots and cook until well gilded, remove from pan and set aside.
5. Add 1 cup dark seedless raisins plus couple of tablespoons of blanched almonds, and cook until the raisins swell up. Remove and set aside.
6. Bring the meat juice in the first pan to a boil and add the rice, 1 tbsp. sugar, and 1 tsp. salt, with sufficient water to bring the liquid one and a half inches above the rice. Cook till water is absorbed.
7. Mix the oil in which the carrots were cooked and the saffron-water into the cooked rice. Add the meat, cover and set in a 300 degree oven for 20-30 minutes.
8. Mound meat and rice in the center of a large platter. Sprinkle with carrots, raisins, and almonds.


Note I: Afghans tend to use oil, grease, or clarified butter for this dish much more liberally than in the recipe above. But then it sits heavy on the stomach.

Note II: Qabili = tribal, regional. From Arabic 'Qabila' = tribe. Hence 'qaba'il' for tribesman, and 'qabaili' for the North West Frontier Province.
'Cabal' may also come from this root, though dictionaries standardly give an acronym as the derivation.

SAKASAKA

COOKED SAKA SAKA
[Cassava greens, as eaten in West Africa.]


Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2006/10/sakasaka-witiman-witiman.html


A big bunch of cleaned sakasaka.
One onion, chopped.
A tomato, peeled, seeded, and chopped.
One or two cloves garlic, minced.
One or two mild peppers, minced.
A palm-size piece of dried smoke-fish (substitute a tin of sardines, especially of you are British).
Three or four TBS palm oil.
A pinch of salt, and a pinch of wood-ash.

Chop and thoroughly bruise the sakasaka (and I do mean bruise - whack it with a rolling pin or a mallet). Simmer with plenty of water for an hour or two (the sakasaka should lose its toughness and fibrous quality). One the sakasaka is palatable, add everything else, and cook till the liquid is much reduced and the mass has become pulpy. Eat with fufu or rice.


NOTES:

Adding cooked white beans, lady fingers, or eggplant chunks to the sakasaka is authentic, popular, and good.

Sakasaka are cassava greens (feuilles de manioc), known by that name in the Congo, and as mpondu in other parts of central and western Africa. Cassava is also called manioc and yucca.

If you cannot find palm-oil, use moambé sauce (aka mwambe or nyembwé). Moambé sauce is a flavourful greasy pulp made by boiling mashed palm-nut fruits and straining out the kernels and skins. If even moambé sauce is unavailable (where ARE you living?!?!), just toss in some canned palm-soup concentrate (noix de palme, or sauce greine) into the pot.
Palm-oil, moambé sauce, and palm-soup concentrate add that authentic flavour to African foods - all are also good with meat stews and fricasseed chicken.

Some people add a scoop peanut butter or some coconut milk, either in addition or in-lieu of - this too is good.

The pinch of wood ash gives it the flavour of the crude salt used locally - a tiny pinch of baking soda is also good in this regard.

Fufu are West-African dumplings, very comparable to Surinamese Tongtong. Whatever starchy product is used (polenta, plantains, yams, manioc, etcetera) is first boiled till edible, than pounded to a paste resembling stiff mashed potato, and rolled into balls. These then are either dumped into soupy dishes (rather like matze-balls), or served as the staple on the side with the main-dishes and vegetable dishes, portions to be pinched off and sopped with the greens or sauces.

ZEBRA MYEMBWE

ZEBRA MYEMBWE
[Or, if you don't have access to bush meats, use some other animal. Goat is good.]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/03/how-to-cook-zebra.html



Two pounds of zebra, cut into chunks.
Two onions, chopped.
Half a dozen tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped.
One pound of spinach or chard, washed and chopped.
One cup of Myembwe sauce (moambé sauce, nyembwe sauce, or canned palm soup base aka sauce graine).
Juice of one or two lemons.
Garlic, ginger, chilies – minced.
Olive oil.
Pinch of salt.


Mix lemon juice with garlic, salt, and chilies. Wet meat with this and allow to marinate for an hour.
Brown the onions in a large casserole, then add the meat and brown also.
Add the tomatoes and water to generously cover, simmer for about an hour (longer if it was a tough old beast). Then add the chopped greens and the myembwe sauce, and cook till the vegetables are mooshy.

Serve with fried plantains and fufu or rice.

ZEBRA STAMPOT

ZEBRA STAMPOT
[Or, if you don't have access to bush meats, use some other animal. Goat is good.]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/03/how-to-cook-zebra.html


Two pounds of zebra, cut into chunks.
Two onions, chopped.
Two tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped.
Two green plantain, peeled and chunked.
Two sweet potatoes, chunked.
Two large regular potatoes, chunked.
Two or three chilies, minced.
One can (one and half cup) coconut milk (santen).
One or two cups browned bone stock.
Minced garlic, ginger.
Salt, pepper, plus pinches of ground clove and nutmeg.


Rub the garlic, ginger, chilies, salt, and pepper into the meat, and let it rest for one or two hours in the refrigerator.
Then brown it in a heavy casserole with a little oil. When it is well gilded, add the stock and spices, simmer for an hour.
Then add the vegetables and scant water to cover. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, then mash everything with a potato masher. If using meat on the bone from an odd cut, it would be a good idea to remove it from the bones before mashing. Mix in the coconut milk before serving.

MABOKAY

MABOKAY
[Or, if you don't have access to bush meats, use some other animal. Goat is good.]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/03/how-to-cook-zebra.html


Two pounds of zebra, cut into chunks.
Two cups of crumbled roasted peanuts.
Two large onions, chopped.
Juice from one or two lemons.
Half a dozen chopped green chilies.
Plantain leaf – one or two whole leaves.


Cook the peanuts, meat, and onion with a little water for about twenty minutes. It should be a stiff glop.
Take a leaf and pull off the central rib (cut across the rib, flip the edge of the blade underneath the rib, and pull). Trim the leaf to a large rectangle. Sprinkle some salt on the leaf, and place the meat mixture on one side. Flavour it with the lemon juice and chilies.
Now fold over all ends to make a secure package within several layers of plantain leaf, and tie it up like a postage parcel. Place on a rack in a large pot and steam for over an hour.
Unwrap at the table and serve with corn mush.

BRAISED ZEBRA

BRAISED ZEBRA
[Or, if you don't have access to bush meats, use some other animal. Goat is good.]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/03/how-to-cook-zebra.html


Two pounds of zebra, cut into chunks.
One pound tomatoes, peeled seeded and chopped.
Two onions, chopped.
Two TBS flour.
One Tsp. paprika.
Pinches salt, pepper, turmeric, coriander, cayenne.
One cup browned bone stock.
Quarter cup olive oil.
Quarter cup heavy cream.
A good jigger of sherry.

Fry the onion golden in the oil and remove to a plate.
Dust the meat with flour, salt, and pepper, and brown in oil. Add tomatoes and onions, stir briefly to take up the crusty bits on the bottom of the pan, then add the sherry, stock, and spices. Simmer until tender, which may take a while if the beast was old. Before serving, whisk in the heavy cream.

ALU MAKHNI - HEART ATTACK ON A PLATE

ALU MAKHNI
[Potatoes in a butter (makhan) sauce]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2006/09/heart-attack-on-plate.html


Three large potatoes.
One and a half cups heavy cream.
Half a cup tomato paste.
Quarter cup butter.
One TBS cumin seeds.
One Tsp. Paprika.
Half a Tsp. Cayenne.
Pinches dry ginger, cloves, mace, salt, pepper.
A little mashed garlic and ginger.


Peel and chunk the potatoes, boil in salted water till the outside softens. Drain.

Roast the cumin seeds in a skillet till deeply fragrant, remove and grind semi-fine.

Cook the potato chunks in the butter with the garlic and ginger for a few minutes, and remove to a plate.
Add the spices to the grease remaining in the pan, stir briefly over heat, then add the tomato paste and heavy cream while stirring. Do not boil. The objective is a rich emulsion, which will form naturally, of a rusty hue, creamy and spicy. Taste it!
And adjust quantities of cream, paste, and butter as you see fit.

When the sauce has become what you have always wanted, slide the potatoes back in and simmer for about ten minutes, adding some sliced green chili and chopped fresh herbs for sparkle. Serve as a side dish. Or as a main dish.

DHANSAK MASALA - 2007 VERSION

DHANSAK MASALA
[Parsi spice mixture used primarily for dhansak]


Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2007/06/dhansak-masala.html


9 Dry chilies (Guajillo or New Mexico chiles secos).
Two and a half TBS coriander seed.
One and a half TBS cumin seed.
One TBS whole peppercorns.
Half a TBS fennel seed.
Half a TBS black mustard seed.
Half a TBS fenugreek seed.
Three Tej Patta (cassia leaves - bay leaf may be substituted, but it isn't really the same).
Three green cardamom pods, seeds only.
One black cardamom pod, seeds, only.
One three-inch stick of cinnamon.
One star-anise pod.
Nine whole cloves.
One Tsp. mace.

Roast all spices except the mace. Cool and grind. Add mace and regrind, sift. If it is to be stored use a brown or blue glass jar. Optionally add half a teaspoon of turmeric to inhibit mold if you intend to make more than you will use soon.

To use, mash with about eight or nine cloves of garlice and a thumb of ginger. It will be sufficient for enough dhansak to feed about eight people.

You would use two thirds of a cup of toovar dal (telwalla), one third of a cup each of masoor and moong dal. Slightly more than a pound of red pumpkin, one or two Chinese eggplants, three or four tomatoes, two or three onions, and a small bunch of methi leaves plus a handful of cilantro. You will need about a pound and a half of lamb-stew meat chunks on the bone, up to two pounds.

The procedure is standard, and you probably do not need me to describe it - cook the dals in one pan, gild the onion, aromatics, spices, lamb in another pan. Then mix everything for further cooking. A small dash vinegar and a little tamarind may be added for a pleasing tang. Do NOT add pineapple, unless you are Angrezi and more than a little mad.

Serve with kachumber and Parsi brown rice. Plus some lime segments for squeezing. And croquettes or pattice.

Then spend the rest of the afternoon sleeping.

PAYA NAHARI - SHEEP TROTTER STEW

PAYA NAHARI ( نہاری )
[Pakistani and Indian Muslim sheep-trotter stew, usually eaten for breakfast with flaky roti.]


Eight sheep's trotters, well-scrubbed.
Eight marrow bones.
Two large or three medium onions, chopped.
Three or four cloves garlic, minced.
A generous thumb of ginger, minced.
One Tablespoon ground coriander.
Half a Tablespoon cayenne.
One teaspoon ground cumin.
Half a teaspoon turmeric.
One teaspoon garam masala (Sindhi style - it is more fragrant).
Half a teaspoon salt.
Three or four whole black cardamom pods (bari elaichi).
Three or four whole star anise.
Three or four Jalapeňos, left whole.
A generous handful or two of chopped cilantro, or cilantro and parsley mixed.


Brown the onions in ghee or oil. Add the garlic and ginger, gild, then add the ground coriander, cumin, and turmeric. Stir till fragrant. Stir in the remaining spices and salt, put the trotters and marrow bones in the pan along with the whole green chilies, cover with plenty of water or meat broth, and simmer for several hours. Put in the chopped herbs to wilt with a little extra garam masala for fragrance. Serve with wedges of lime on the side for squeezing over, plus chopped green chili for heat.

It should be soupy. Feel free to slurp the soft meat off the bones.


Note I: It benefits from a long period on low heat. You could place it in the oven or on the blech overnight and have it for breakfast.

Note II: The Jalapeňos are left whole, so that they may impart their fragrance. You could eat them alongside the nahari - they will have mellowed considerably after cooking.

Note III: For broth or stock, added in lieu of water, I like to take shank bones, rub 'em with a little olive oil, and roast them dark in the oven, then simmer them with scrap mutton for a few hours. It yields a flavourful browned-bone broth which combines nicely with spices.

KHEER - INDIAN RICE PUDDING

CHAWAL KI KHEER
[Indian Rice pudding]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/06/smelling-hair-of-young-lady.html


One cup milk.
One cup heavy cream.
One cup cooked rice.
Half a cup cane sugar.
Four or five green cardamom, seeds only.
A generous pinch of saffron.
Sliced almonds and golden raisins as you see fit.

Gently heat rice and milk to a barely boiling state. Add sugar, turn low and simmer, stirring, till much thickened. Now add the cream, cardamom seeds, the saffron, and the almonds and raisins. Simmer stirring till again thickened. Cool.
Serve garnished with a sprinkling of crushed pistachio for colour.

A few fresh rose petals on top are also a nice edible touch of colour to add.


The term 'kheer' refers to the thickened sweetened milk preparation. One can also have sevian (fried thin vermicelli) in kheer, or Sabudana (tapioca) ki kheer. But most often it will be long-grain rice.

CHOLENT

CHOLENT
[Enough of the Eastern European Sabbath afternoon hotpot for six to eight people. Sollst hobn a gitte shabbes. It's pronounced 'tsholnt'.]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/06/you-cook-like-white-man.html


Three quarters of a cup white beans (navy).
Three quarters of a cup red beans (kidney).
Half a cup pearl barley.
One and half pounds brisket or beef shortribs, attacked with a cleaver.
One and a half pounds potatoes, cut into large chunks.
One large onion, or two small - large chunks.
One large tomato, or two small, chopped.
Three to five cloves garlic, chopped.
One and a half TBS paprika.
Two or three bayleaves.
Salt, pepper, sugar, splash of sherry, jigger of Louisiana hotsauce.
Pinches ground cumin, turmeric, and dry ginger.
Olive oil.
Vinegar, to dash if wished.
Six or eight hardboiled eggs, rolled to crack the shells.

[Bonenkruid (Satureiea Hortensis, or Summer Savoury), if you have it in your larder, is an excellent addition - a sprig or goodly pinch added to the pot of beans has a salutary effect. Add it to all bean dishes.]



Soak beans overnight. Cast out the soaking water, and remove any grit or stones. Place in a large enamel stewpot with enough water to cover by an inch. Heat up the oil in a skillet, gild the onion and garlic, remove to the bean pot. Set the skillet aside for use in another hour or so for the meat. Bring the beans and onion to a boil, turn low, simmer for about three hours.

Salt and pepper the meat, and sprinkle just a pinch of sugar over, to facilitate browning. Put the meat in the skillet, brown a bit, stir in paprika and seethe with sherry before it burns, then transfer this also into the bean pot and scrape in the pan-crunchies after the beans have already simmered for about three hours. Add the pearl barley and everything else, burying the eggs and potatoes in the beans. Add a dash of vinegar also, and simmer on a backburner for an hour longer. Judge the liquid level and adjust (probably not necessary), then cover the pot and place it on the blech till Saturday afternoon, when you will serve it.

AMBAKALIO - MANGO RELISH

AMBAKALIO
[Side-dish, perfect as an accompaniment to dhansak, among other things.]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/06/you-cook-like-white-man.html


One pound small green mangoes (or in any case, NOT squishy ripe mangoes)
Half a pound jaggery (palm sugar in big chunks)
A fragment of stick cinnamon
Chopped onion (about a quarter to a half) optional (some recipes leave it out, as would I also).
A green cardamom or two, a whole clove or two.
Water - two to four tablespoons.


Break jaggery apart, put in an enamel saucepan with water, the cardamom, and the cloves. Plus the onion, if despite my better judgment you decided to use it. Cook till the jaggery is dissolved.

Peel, cut, and de-seed the mangoes. Note that very nicely green mangoes will have a tender seed and the flesh will not have become all fibrous around it. Nor will juice and pulp cascade over your hands at this stage of unripeness, and the flesh is firm and fragrant, albeit pleasingly tart.

Add the sliced mango to the jaggery water, and simmer till the mango has softened and the liquid has become stroppy.

HALEEM

HALEEM
[Pakistani and Indian Muslim meat porridge for breaking the fast.]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/06/sweetness-of-lamb.html


Two cups wheat (whole grains).
Two cups masoor dal.
One cup dry chickpeas.
One and half pounds of lamb, cut into small chunks.
Three large onions, chopped fine.
Three to six cloves garlic, slivered.
A thumb of ginger, minced.
One Tablespoon cayenne.
Half a Tablespoon sweet paprika.
Half a Tablespoon cumin seeds (toast and grind).
Half a Tablespoon garam masala (Sindhi style - very fragrant).
One teaspoon turmeric.
One teaspoon salt.
Pinches of sugar (accentuates browning of ingredients).
Olive oil, samin, or ghee - your choice.
Juice of two or three lemons.
Generous handfuls of cilantro and parsley, plus a pluck of mint leaves. Finely minced.


Soak the grain, lentils, and chickpeas separately overnight. Drain, and cook separately with water to cover for an hour or so. Turn off heat and let cool.

Fry the onions golden (add a pinch sugar if needed), remove to a plate. Fry the garlic and ginger in the same pan, remove to a plate. Now decant most of the onion plus all of the fried garlic and ginger to the blender and pulp them (this is where the vigorously thrashing man came into play, in the days before blenders). Do the same with the lentils. And the chickpeas.

Put the spices in the pan with the onion puree and fry fragrant. Add the meat and turn to coat and brown well (again, pinch of sugar if needed). Add the grain, lentils, chickpeas, plus water to cover if necessary. Simmer for an hour or more on low, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. At this point the grains should be mushy enough that a wooden spoon held by a strong hand will break them apart; do so (this also is the work of male muscles). If some of the meat also breaks apart, excellent. The result should be a meaty porridge. Simmer a bit longer, then add the herbs to wilt, salt to taste, some fresh garam masala for aroma, and the lemon juice for tang. Garnish with the remaining fried onion and serve.


I usually add a few tablespoons of minced green chili on top for my own pleasure.


Note I:
In order to smoothen the mouth-feel or thicken the porridge, some corn-flour paste may be used. Add a few minutes before turning off the heat, at the same time as the herbs, and stir.

Note II:
If the grain is omitted, it will be a type of kichri.

DHANSAK MASALA - BAWI'S MOM'S VERSION

BAWI'S MOM'S DHANSAK MASALA

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/06/you-cook-like-white-man.html


Masala - grind to a fine paste:
One teaspoon Methi (Fenugreek) seeds
Half teaspoon Cumin seeds
4 Cloves
2 Cardamoms (green)
Half inch stick cinnamon
Six to seven dry red chilies
One clove garlic

One and a half to two teaspoons dhana-jeera masala (add when frying paste)


Heat oil and fry ground masala paste. Add dhana-jeera masala and fry on low heat till done (clarification: the fragrance has changed and the oil has come out). Add dal and bring to boil. Simmer a while longer - about 15 to 20 minutes.

Add to dal and vegetable mixture. Add meat at your own discretion.

DHANSAK - BAWI'S MOM'S VERSION

BAWI'S MOM'S DHANSAK

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/06/you-cook-like-white-man.html


Masala - grind to a fine paste:
One teaspoon Methi (Fenugreek) seeds
Half teaspoon Cumin seeds
4 Cloves
2 Cardamoms (green)
Half inch stick cinnamon
Six to seven dry red chilies (more like chile d'arbol than other)
One clove garlic
One and a half to two teaspoons dhana-jeera masala (add when frying paste)

Dal:
One and a half cups toovar dal
One onion, halved or quartered
Two and a half cups cubed red pumpkin
One eggplant (med - small) - no seeds if possible
One tomato
Half cup cilantro (not chopped)
Three to four sprigs mint (must!)
Four to five green chilies
Salt

Boil all vegetables and dal together until dal is done. Put dal and vegetables through sieve. Heat oil and fry ground masala paste. Add dhana-jeera masala and fry on low heat till done (clarification: the fragrance has changed and the oil has come out). Add dal and bring to boil. Simmer a while longer - about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with brown rice (Parsi style rice - gilded with some onion and sugar).

Note that there is no meat in this recipe - it is just the lentil gravy. Many cook it with meat (NOT chased through the sieve), and some prefer chicken over mutton, for reasons that are entirely their own. I would add about a pound of mutton, goat, or lamb, in chunks, to this quantity of dal. Browned in onion and spices first.

SHIR BERINJ - AFGHANI RICE PUDDING

SHIR BERINJ
[Rice in sweetened cream.]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/06/dhansak-or-this-is-why-you-should-never.html


Two cups heavy cream, and a dash extra.
One cup rice.One cup cane sugar.
One cup plump golden raisins.
Four Tablespoons rosewater (Arabic: ma'-ward, moit el warda).
Four Tablespoons crumbled pistachios.
A pinch of saffron.


Wash the rice well, spread it out to dry on a tray for a day. Then pound with a brass mortar and pestle until the grains are about one quarter their original size.Add the saffron to the cream and bring to a boil, add the rice and bring back to boiling, turn low, stir, and add the sugar and raisins. Keep stirring till it has become thick and custardy (meh, takes about ten minutes or so). Remove from heat, and when it has cooled add the rose water and pistachio. Serve semi-chilled.

Shortcuts are possible: one is to dry the rice in the oven on a very low heat (which, if you live in a boggy climate, is better than relying on the weather), another is to use a coffee grinder and pulse the dried rice. The reason why you wash the rice and re-dry it is obvious - you do not want all the powdery crap that normally coats even the best rice, and washing the rice dissolves some of the starches. Redrying it afterwards makes it easier to pound, too.

DHANSAK MASALA - MY RECIPE

DHANSAK MASALA
[Parsi spice mixture used primarily for dhansak]

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2008/06/dhansak-or-this-is-why-you-should-never.html


Ten Dry chilies - Guajillo or New Mexico chiles secos.
Three TBS coriander seed.
One and a half TBS cumin seed.
One TBS whole peppercorns.
Half a TBS fennel seed.Half a TBS black mustard seed.
Half a TBS fenugreek seed.
Four Tej Patta (cassia leaves - bay leaf may be substituted, but it isn't really the same).
Four green cardamom pods, seeds only.
One black cardamom pod, seeds only.
One three-inch stick of cinnamon.
One star-anise pod.
Eight whole cloves.
One Tsp. mace.

Toast all spices except the mace. Cool and grind. Add the mace and regrind, sift. If you double the recipe to have some for future use, store the excess in a brown or blue glass jar in a cool place. Use within a month.

---------------------------

Note: Guajillo chile: A nice winey dry chile that yields a lovely simmered salsa for New Mexicans, but which also makes a superior chile powder. One Guajillo is roughly equivalent to between two teaspoons and one tablespoon of powder.

KOLMI NO PATIO

KOLMI NO PATIO - PRAWN PATIA

Originally posted here:
http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/2005/10/kolmi-no-patio.html



Ingredients:

Half pound prawns - shelled, deveined, rinsed.
Half dozen (or less) fresh green chilies.
Half dozen (or less) cloves of garlic.
A little bit of fresh ginger (approx. fingertip sized amount).
Two medium onions, chopped.
Two or three tomatoes, chopped (more if skinned and deseeded).
Half TBS tamarind pulp.
Fresh lime (for a squeeze of juice).
Vinegar (for a dash or jigger).
Between half to one TBS jaggery / palm sugar (golden sugar may be substituted).
Four TBS chopped cilantro / kothmir.
Oil, ghee, water (as needed).
One teaspoon EACH: Ground coriander seed, ground cumin (preferably both toasted before grinding).
Half to one teaspoon EACH: Cayenne, Turmeric, Garam Masala (Delhwi or Northern style).
Salt.


Method:

Soak tamarind pulp in one cup hot water for half an hour. Kneed and strain. Set aside.
Grind chilies, garlic, ginger to a coarse paste.
Prepare the gravy first: Fry onion in oil and ghee till golden but not browned, on medium heat. Add the chilies garlic ginger paste, stir well, add turmeric, stir well, add remaining ground spices, stir well. After a few seconds add the tomatoes, tamarind water, jaggery, dash of vinegar, and salt. Once it has boiled for a minute or so, taste, and adjust the sweet-sour balance as appropriate - add more vinegar or jaggery.
Cook for five to ten minutes to develop the flavour and thicken the gravy - it should be semi-thick, not runny or soupy.
Add the prawns to the pan.
Add the chopped cilantro once the colour of the prawns changes, and stir briefly. Note that prawns cook very fast - it only takes two or three minutes for them to change colour.
Adjust flavour with a quick squeeze of fresh lime juice, and remove from heat.

Serve with moong dal simply cooked, yellow rice, and rotli.


Notes:

1. For a somewhat more intense prawn flavour, boil the shells and a couple of extra prawns (chopped) in the water in which you will soak the tamarind.

2. Some curry leaf / kari patta may be added to the gravy at the same time as the tomatoes. They need not be removed later.

3. Some cooks add fenugreek / methi and coconut milk. But this is neither standard nor necessary.

4. Garam masala: The reason why Delhwi garam masala is specified is because, due to the inclusion of ground coriander and cumin, it is appropriate to add during early stages of cooking. If you are using a Sindhi garam masala, add just a pinch near the end of the cooking time, and increase the proportion of ground coriander and cumin.

5. Aromatics: Two or three whole cloves can be added, as well as pinches of ground cinnamon and star anise. Sour dishes benefit from aromatics, but should not be overwhelmed with them. The use of tomatoes begs for a touch of cinnamon.

6. Proportions: Adapt quantity of chilies, garlic, and tomatoes as needed. There is great variation in chilies, with d'arbol being very hot, serrano resinous in taste and milder, and jalapeno zesty-peppy. Garlic, while not as variable, may not please all people equally. And sweet tomatoes will give a different taste to the dish than slightly unripe tomatoes. The sour taste of the dish depends primarily on the tamarind, with tomato, vinegar, and lime juice filling it out. As for the spices, it is seldom good to use too much turmeric, and it should always be cooked to remove the raw taste. But it is good for the skin and the digestion, and does add flavour. One inch of turmeric root is roughly equivalent to one teaspoon.

7. Measurements: One teaspoon is an amount roughly equal to a fingertip in volume (unless one has unusually small or large fingers), and can easily be measured out in the palm of the hand. There are three teaspoons to the tablespoon, which is roughly equal in volume to the thumb from the ball to the nail. There are sixteen tablespoons in a cup.

8. Prawns should not be overcooked. It is actually best to slightly undercook them, especially in a sour dish such as this. They only take a very short while to cook, even if they are large. What are often called giant tiger prawns are actually estuarine crayfish or langouste, and should be treated as if they were small lobsters instead.

9. Cayenne: commercial cayenne is actually African birdpepper grown bred to a specific heat level. But it is seldom fresh, and flavourwise it is not very good even when it is. The same can be said about paprika. Instead of cayenne and paprika, I prefer to use ground toasted dry Thai peppers and sweet Spanish pepper. If you have access to a sweet and brilliantly red pepper powder, one or two teaspoons of that may also be added, in addition to whatever hot red pepper powder you actually prefer to use.

10. Ghee is clarified butter (regular butter also can), Garam Masala is a mixture of aromatic spices (pinches of cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, and black pepper can be substituted), rotli is a type of flatbread. Everything else, except kari patta ('curry leaf', optional in any case), should present no problem.

NOTE OF EXPLANATION - WOORD VOORAF

Going through several of my food-related posts on my regular blog (http://atthebackofthehill.blogspot.com/), I notice that some posts have multiple recipes. Which may not be the most convenient way of storing them on the internet, and might present problems if you (my reader) remember mention of a particular dish, but cannot find it again.

On this blog, each recipe will be reproduced, without the before and after text, but with a link to the original post. I hope you enjoy browsing here, and if you have any questions I will try to answer them.



------B.O.T.H. (The Back of the Hill)


Note: Tags will be similar to those on the regular blog.