Archive | July 2016

Mughal Kadhai Tender Mutton……

(…fit for the one I love!)

Just over one month ago Jo, my husband, posted on his own website the story of the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan and his wife Arjumand Banu Begum, popularly known as Mumtaz Mahal. (see The Most Worthy Of Love (17.6.2016) – on https://manningtreearchive.com/2016/06/17/the-most-worthy-of-love).

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We talked at length about Shah Jahan and his beloved Mumtaz and this inevitably triggered off not only our own fond memory of the first time when Jo took me to see the Taj Mahal in Agra but also in the end……yes, you guessed it, to food – glorious food. To be precise to one particular Mutton dish the Chef in our favourite Indian Restaurant back on the East coast of England often made for me (at my special request) … Mughal Kadhai Mutton, a dish one frequently finds at weddings up in the North of India.

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It is a dish without too much gravy and best eaten simply with either Chapattis (fresh and hot straight out of the pan) or Naan or Hoops (Arabic bread); but if you need your rice, then why not by all means go for a nice Pulao of your choice.

Although Chef eventually parted with his restaurant recipe but, as usual, I tweaked a little bit here and there to suit our own taste and that of family and friends. And proudly I confess it became sort of mini runaway success in our house at impromptu get-togethers with friends who loved Indian food – but, in order to suit their taste I often served a bowl of French beans as well, just tossed in a little bit of butter with salt, pepper and finely chopped garlic.

As with quite a number of other dishes I had not made this one for quite some time and Jo’s story reminded me to serve it once again here in Kerala.
The head butcher at my local Hypermarket here did me proud – he chose a beautiful piece of mutton, boneless (although I added 2-3 little marrow bones whilst cooking – just for taste and removed them before serving). The meat was beautiful, succulent and tender.

So again, what you can see in the photographs is just for the 2 of us.

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Ingredients:
Marinate the following over night:
½ kg x Mutton (Lamb), cut into nice bite-sized pieces
1 ½ x cup of good plain yoghurt
2 x heaped Tbsp of garlic paste
2 x Tbsp Garam Masala
3 x Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 x Tbsp Curry Powder
Salt and black pepper to suit your personal taste.

Add all the above into a large bowl (with lid) and best with your clean hands sort of massage the spices etc. into the meat. Cover bowl with lid and let it stay in the fridge over night until you are ready to cook the next day.

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When you are ready to cook take your Kadhai/Wok and on medium heat only heat up 1 ½ x Tbsp of Oil, add 4-5 large green chillies, split in half, and fry those just for a couple of minutes. Be careful; avert your eyes, chillies ‘spit’!

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To this add all your marinated Mutton (Lamb) WITH all the marinate , mix and fry for maybe 5-10 minutes (I do this on the lowest gas-setting!), stirring all the time.

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After this add 2-3 x large tomatoes, chopped into small pieces, at least 2 x Tbsp coriander powder and 1½ x tsp of cumin powder and some fresh ginger, julienned, mix all this carefully. You might need to sprinkle some water over this mixture if you feel it starts to stick to the bottom of your Kadhai/Wok.

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The near intoxicating smells from all those spices suddenly turn your kitchen into a mini-heaven for curry lovers.

Remember, this is meant to be a fairly dry dish, without too much gravy. But, having said that, since we do like this particularly delicious gravy I make sure there is always some to be ‘mopped up’ with a chapatti or naan.

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Guten Appetit
Carina xx

Fusion-Chickpea-Burgers

Namaskaram friends – who is ready for Tea?

You – you or you ? Then please come and join me at my table for some delicious little “Fusion-Chickpea-Burgers” – (…… of West-Africa and India).

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The original recipe I managed to extract from a dear friend in Nigeria, where we lived for nearly 5 years a long time ago! Her cook seemed to have a never-ending supply ready for ‘Madam’s visitors’, and there were always plenty, since her husband was the Governor of Western Nigeria. She and I became very good friends over those years and it was truly sad to have to say goodbye to her and the family.

Over the following years I ‘tweaked’ the recipe a bit here and there to suit our personal taste. I have not made this for quite some time until the other day, when I was caught having been a bit over ambitious cooking far too much ‘white Kaddala’ – Chickpeas. I believe that most of you can just go to the nearest grocery store and buy tins of readily cooked chickpeas – I cannot, but this is not too much of a bother. I normally just soak the amount I need overnight and wash and cook them the next day, ready to be used in all sorts of recipes – Indian or International – (I particularly love to use them in a nice fresh salad), so you can always find a container of them in my fridge.

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Now, cut a long story short, looking at this big bowl of cooked chickpeas suddenly the idea of making some delicious snacks for our tea time came like a flash. But where did I keep the old recipe? Of course, in the hurry I could not find it and so just from memory I jotted it down and started ‘tweaking’ again and I came up with the following:

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I do hope you like this and will give it a try.

Remember: if you cannot buy tinned chickpeas – soak and boil!!!! In advance.

I used the following for 8 little Burgers:

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1 ½ x cups of boiled chickpeas
2 x medium sized boiled potatoes
½ x cup of very finely grated carrots
¼ x cup of finely chopped red capsicum
4 x garlic cloves
1 x tsp of hot red chilli flakes
1 x Tbsp of wheat flour (you can use 1 x egg instead for binding, if you prefer)
1 ½ Tbsp of Chaat Masala (store bought)
Salt and pepper to taste
A splash or two of Tabasco
Plenty of finely chopped coriander (you can also use parsley instead)
Oil for shallow-frying!

Method:
Put everything with the exception of the carrots (those have to be grated separately) into the Mixy and pulse just for a few seconds. You may have to add a few drops of water – so keep checking.

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Do not over-pulse this, a little bit of crunch is nice!
Wet your hands and start making small Burgers – not to thick thou. Keep on a plate/tray and move to your freezer for 30 minutes or so.

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Add little bit of oil to your favourite frying pan and on a medium to low heat start frying those little Burgers – 3-5 minutes each side was enough for mine, but please keep checking yours – they should end up golden brown and not dark!!!

Drain on plenty of kitchen paper and serve while still hot – with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
They are also very nice for Lunch or a light evening meal with a good salad on the side.

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And guess what – tomorrow I will make yet another batch for my freezer!!! – after all there are still chickpeas left!!!

BTW, today is my late mother’s birthday – Happy Birthday, Mutti – R.I.P

Guten Appetit.

Carina xx

QUARK – GLORIOUS QUARK !

…….and my today’s Lunch!

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You who have visited Germany no doubt will have come across this delicious, super healthy and versatile cheese at most breakfast tables in their Hotel or/and in private homes.

As a born German I simply cannot, for the heck of it, imagine sitting down for breakfast and not finding a bowl of this cheese waiting to be lavishly spread on my preferably “Vollkornbrot” (whole grain bread), Pumpernickel, or toast, with just salt and pepper added or mixed with chopped fresh herbs or simply topped with a slice of tomato.

Quark to me (my family and friends) is quite obviously what the potato is to the Irish!

And when I lived in those faraway lands and also in England I missed my daily dosage of Quark, never of course even thinking of making it myself at home. Come to think of it, I actually knew not a single person who made this in their own home; it was always readily available in most shops and at a pretty low price, too.
So, living here now again I found that Quark was not available and only with the opening of India’s largest Hypermarket near us just over a year ago, did I find out to my delight, that a certain world famous creamcheese (imported, of course) was occasionally available – but……… at a price!!!

So a quick telephone call to one of my close friends in Germany and hey presto – her recipe for making my own Quark at home came flying into my email account. And as you will see, it is sooooo dead easy to make, that I got a bit annoyed with myself for not having made this all those years ago. But then, as the saying goes “…one is never too old to learn new tricks...”

Surely you can understand my amazement when subsequently I googled “Quark” and found that now, only a couple of years or so ago, a company in the UK started producing Quark and from a sheer commercial point of view they never looked back.

So, for all of you, who are not suffering from a dairy intolerance or are vegans, here is the recipe I make now for the past year in my kitchen on average once a week.

I not only use Quark for cooking (often instead of cream), baking (use it to make your favourite cheese cake), I often eat it just on its own mixed just with delicious fresh herbs (if and when I can get them), mixed with fresh fruit like kiwi, apple, grapes etc, on bread/toast and/or water biscuits or the typical German way, just some boiled potatoes (Pellkartoffeln), and a salad on the side or a filling of a baked potato mixed with a chopped hardboiled egg for example. There are 1001 and more ways in which to consume this, so I suggest, just let your imagination run wild – go ahead, try out anything!!! It is soooo good, healthy and slimming, too. After all on average you will find that in 100 grams, it has just 0.2 grams of fat. So in short, it is a healthier alternative to many cheeses and yoghurts.

Here are just a few ideas how to eat Quark – the sky is the limit, as the saying goes. Just experiment.

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As you see in my photograph below, I use 4 pouches of milk and later, after boiling, I add 1 pouch of Curd. A couple of days later I have a yield of app ½ kg plus of beautiful Quark.

And regarding cost? It is so very low cost, (app GBP = 1.101, USD = 1.48, Austr. Dollar = 1.935) that I believe you too will rush into your kitchen and start making QUARK – GLORIOUS QUARK!!!

What you will need!

4 x pouches of milk (500 ml each)
1 x pouch of curd
Large pot, cheese cloth, large spoon and large bowl, 1 scissor

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How I make my QUARK – GLORIOUS QUARK

1) Empty 4 x pouches of milk into a large pot.
2) Put on flame and WHILST WATCHING bring this milk to just boil.
3) Switch off and let cool down (since I live in a tropical country I switch on my fan in the kitchen to cool milk down quickly)
4) Once cool enough add 1 pouch of Curd, stir, cover and keep aside overnight (I normally make this late morning)

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5) Next morning, dampen your cheesecloth, line a colander and carefully pour your milk with curd into this

And then knot cloth, cover with heavy lid, and keep inside fridge once more overnight!

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After that discard of whey (some people might want to use this – I do not!), open your cloth and transfer Quark into a smaller bowl (with lid) and keep in fridge – ready to be used!

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And now tada tada once again – this is it – ready!!

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Enjoy …. und Guten Appetit!

Carina xx

CALYPSO AUBERGINE MEDLEY

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or….. FIRE IN MY WOK !

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Yes, it is really me. After a spell in Hospital and subsequent recuperation at home under the very competent and (sometimes strict) care of my beloved “Head nurse Jo”, I am at last again able to do my bit in the kitchen and ‘talk with you’ via the computer.

For starters let me explain something here – I do love meat of nearly any kind, but I find that as I get older I end up eating less meat and also I am pretty certain that I will never become a true vegetarian, I started to enjoy quite often meals without any meat.

So therefore today I post a “no meat” dish which again I picked up during my time on the island of Trinidad. I love this one in particular because it gives me the right spice kick whenever I need it without making a proper curry. Also it takes me only 10 to 15 minutes to bring this to the table.

It’s wonderful just on its own (as in my picture) served with plain boiled Basmati rice or serve it as a side dish to most chicken- and/or burger dishes.

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Regarding the heat, that of course is entirely up to you and the tolerance of your palate.

Don’t worry regarding any exact measurements, just take what I did for this post as a guide line and go for it and…..if you like ‘heat’ you will like this.

What you see in my photographs here today is for 2 people as a light meal or for 1 very greedy and hungry person.

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AUB-41 x large aubergine, washed, topped and tailed and cut into bite sized cubes
1 x large onion, finely sliced
2-3 x small red hot chillies, very finely sliced
A small piece of fresh ginger, finely sliced
3-4 x cloves of garlic, very finely sliced (our garlic here is not very strong, so try out yours)
1 x Tbsp soft brown sugar
½ to 1 Tbsp of Chilli Sauce (I used one of my decade old favourite: “Lingham’s Chilli Sauce”)

1x Tbsp and a bit of red wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 x Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp Hoisin Sauce
Some vegetable stock, I used a Knorr Stock cube.

1. Wash your rice (1/2 cup dry makes 1 full cup cooked) until water runs clear. Soak rice for 15 minutes, then cook until ready (it takes me just another 15 minutes or so).
2. Keep prepared aubergines in a colander, sprinkle with salt, mix, cover and let sit for 15 minutes to extract water.

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3. Heat oil in wok, add onion, ginger, garlic, chilli and stir-fry for a few seconds and then add the aubergines (make sure to dry them first in a clean dish clothes), stir and cook on medium heat for around 2 minutes more.

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4. Add all your sauces, sugar, vinegar, stock, salt and pepper, stir gently, cover and simmer for maybe another 10 minutes. Check. Don’t let aubergines get too soft and mushy.

That’s it, just check your spices and serve on a bed of fluffy basmati rice.

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Enjoy this Medley my friends. We are off to the Dining room now to have our own supper of this dish.

Have a good and peaceful week-end.

Carina