Archives

CRAB – 20 Minuten!

“……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..”

Today my dear friends I invite you to Bangkok – for a visit to the largest outdoor market in the world – to be precise; to Chatuchak Weekend Market on Kamphaeng Phet 2 Road.

This market, also known as JJ Market is offering, with over 15,000 stalls, an eclectic variety of goods, from antiques to pets.

Going there is as much enjoyable as tiring – this place is literally huge, very crowded (even in the early mornings) and one can easily get lost in this rabbit warren of very narrow lanes.

But not to worry, there is always a smiling face helping you out and a place where to sit for “people watching” and, most of all, to enjoy one of their delicious foods.

My friend Yui one day invited me to accompany her to this Market since she wanted to buy a few items for her house in Bangkok. Good enough reason for me to have yet again another look at some of the stalls I was interested in on one of our previous visits to this vibrant city.

We arrived early, hoping to beat not only the rush of visitors but also the heat – but of course many people had the same idea and we found the place already somewhat crowded, but it did not spoil our fun at all.

After a few hours!! of walking, talking, bargaining and buying the items Yui had wanted, our feet started to object. What better idea than to go and have one of those wonderful foot massages, for which Thailand is famous for, amongst other things. I just love to have my feet massaged by a Professional that I, without fail, always fall asleep, but waking up totally rejuvenated.

Soon it was lunchtime and Yui took me to one of her favourite food stalls where she suggested I must try her friend’s Crab and Sweetcorn Soup. I do so love soups, of all kind (or nearly) and especially Thai soups.

Gratefully we sat down, ordered and very quickly a steaming bowl of my Crab soup arrived. It truly was so good, that I tried to make this at home once back here in India.

This dish is so easy to make and in fact only takes 20 minutes from start to finish.

So I will not let you wait much longer, but share with you my version of Chatuchak Crab and Sweetcorn soup.

Ingredients
(for 4 portions I used here…)

½ x pack of frozen Crabsticks (finely chopped)
¼ x pack of Thai Glass Noodles
½ x cup of frozen sweet corn
¼ x cup of the green only part of Spring Onions (finely chopped)
¼ x cup of Peanuts (dry fried)
1 ½ x cup of Vegetable Stock
1 x Tbsp Soya sauce
5 x Kaffir Leaves (or lime zest)
1 x Tbsp dry red chilli flakes (or more if you like the heat)
2/3 x Tbsp Lime juice
2 x tsp of Sesame Oil (or plain vegetable oil)
Salt (to taste)

How I made this:

In a large vessel I boiled the noodles in the vegetable stock with Sesame Oil.

Next I dry fried the peanuts, stirring all the time.

In a separate pan I sautéed, just for a couple of minutes, (in 1 tsp of oil) the chopped spring onion greens, the previously fried peanuts, Kaffir leaves, chilli flakes, lime juice and little bit of salt.

When this was done and the noodles cooked, I then transferred those to the above mixture and added the vegetable stock bit by bit to until I had the right liquid consistency.

Before serving I added all the chopped crabsticks and mixed everything well together and then served.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

Advertisements

Pancakes Surprise

……… I DO THIS, MY WAY! …..

Pancakes Surprise
(Pancakes filled with –tinned- Tuna fish and a variety of vegetables)

We all had this situation at one time – you are in need to relax after a hard day at work and now ready to sit down and watch a nice film. No cooking that evening for once. And then the doorbell goes and friends from out-of-town ‘pop in’ to say ‘Hello’. Here go all the beautiful plans for that evening, but soon the joy of seeing these good friends takes over.

Of course they stayed for supper, which was very nice. But what to do? A look into my (nearly barren) fridge – big shopping day was ‘tomorrow’ – and into my larder (store cupboard) and I came up with the idea of serving my faithful standby ‘pancakes surprise’.

These are savoury pancakes filled with all sorts of delicious items like here with Tuna and various vegetables and another one with very spicy Quark.

My friend and I quickly went to work in the kitchen while the men caught up with the latest news. But soon we were able to join them for a drink of our delicious Sula wine from the Nashik region of western India, 180 km northeast of Mumbai.

For 2 people you will need:

For the pancakes
125 g flour
¼ l milk
2 eggs
Salt (to taste)
Some butter to fry the pancakes

For one of the fillings:

Some Butter
1 Tbsp flour
¼ l milk
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 tin of Tuna fish (in water)
2 Tbsp Capers
1 Tbsp lemon juice
250 g assorted vegetables (here I used finely grated carrots, peas, cauliflower)

Here is how I do this “… my way”

Make medium sized thin pancakes and keep warm.

Now heat butter, add flour and whilst stirring all the time, cook this until smooth. Add the cold milk bit by bit – keep stirring – ; bring to boil and add spices.

Add the vegetables (I only blanched the cauliflower florets) to the Béchamel sauce and slowly cook for a few minutes.

Add drained Tuna and Capers, salt, pepper and lemon juice – bring once again to the boil for a couple of minutes.

Take an ovenproof dish and using a small piece of soft butter smear this all over the inside of this dish.

Take some of the Tuna/Vegetable filling and spoon all over the pancake – continue until all the pancakes are filled. Roll each one up tightly and add to the ovenproof dish.

Bake in the pre-heated oven by 180 C for 20-30 minutes or until the pancakes are really golden brown.

N.B. Most vegetables can be used here, depending on your imagination and what you have in your larder.

Here is how I do this “… my way” (Part 2)

Before our friends arrived I had already made our own Supper ready to be enjoyed later on. I thought I will share this one with you as well – it’s so easy, quick, delicious but very filling.

I made:
3 large thin ‘dosas’ (Pancakes) using whole wheat (Atta) flour, egg and milk

When they were done I used up my home-made Quark by adding to this salt and pepper (to taste), Lots of Spring onions, finely chopped, 2 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder, a generous helping of our beloved Lingham’s Chilli Sauce (it all depends how much heat you can take), mixed all this well and spread this mixture evenly over all 3 pancakes. Added one on top of the other and then rolled all this tightly together. With a serrated knife I cut our portions.
No need to keep in oven. Any left overs keep well in the fridge for the next day when I heat this up until just warm.

That’s it – enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

TILAPIA IN A LEMON-PARSLEY SAUCE

This here is such an easy and quick fish recipe, which I first tasted in Florence/Italy in one of our friend’s houses. She knew that Jo absolutely adores fish (coming from the coastal area in Kerala this is no wonder!) – and so this was really for him.

Tilapia recipes are seen in profusion all over the Net but it has not, here in Kerala, quite reached the appeal this fish has outside our State.

Compared to Seer fish/King Fish (which is the absolute number One fish here), the price of which has gone literally through the roof, Tilapia is much easier on one’s pocket and apart from that it is a delicious light fish and our freezer is always well stocked.

So I do hope you will enjoy my “<strong>Italian Tilapia dish” as we do. Buon appetito!

For 2 people you will need the following:

For the fish:
400 g Tilapia fillet
25 g Butter
Juice of ½ lemon
Freshly grounded pepper

For the Sauce:
1 Tbsp Butter
1 ½ Tbsp flour
250 ml Milk
Juice from the other ½ of your lemon
A nice handful of Parsley (finely chopped)
Salt and pepper to taste

And here is what you do:

Line a baking sheet with baking paper and keep aside.
Heat oven to 190 C.
Wash fish well and dry completely, using paper towels.
Melt butter and stir in the lemon juice.
With a pastry brush, spread this mixture all over the fish fillets, grind the pepper over this and bake in the oven for app. 30 minutes.

In the meantime melt butter on the lowest!! heat.
Add the flour into this and cook for app. 3 minutes, keep stirring all the time.
Now add the cold!! milk and with a balloon whisk, mix everything together.
Bring to a slight boil and then turn down heat to medium for 5-10 minutes – stirring all the while.
Finish this off with salt, lemon juice and chopped up parsley.

To plate:
Place your fish on a plate and top it with the sauce and some basmati rice or a few “finger chips” on the side.

That’s it – all done. Enjoy.

Namaskaram
Carina

Mango Prawns and Thrissur Pooram

It’s been now close to 9 long months since I have been able to post my last Recipe.

Unfortunately I had a couple of health issues to deal with. But now it seems that I am ok again – toi-toi-toi (as we say in Germany wishing Good Luck!)

And so I use one of the famous (film) quotes of Actor Arnold Schwarzenegger “…. I am back” and so happy too.”

Actually I intended to post this last week Thursday, but I had forgotten that it was the famous “Thrissur Pooram” – meaning to sit in front of the TV for a few hours to watch this incredible spectacle and so unique to our part of India – our Kerala!

A few years ago, I had the chance to visit Thrissur with Jo. Thrissur (Trisivaperoor) is less than 70 kms by road from our Cochin. Perched on top of a beautiful hillock right in the heart of Thrissur (in central Kerala) is the ‘Vadakkunnathan Temple’ – one of the oldest temples in Kerala. Having begun in the 11th century, it underwent modifications and additions until the 19th century. The annual festival of Pooram with its elephant pageantry is celebrated on these temple grounds.

Amongst the Pooram festivals of Kerala, the most famous is the magnificent Thrissur Pooram. Introduced during 1789 – 1805 by Shakthan Thampuran, the then King of Cochin, and it takes place in the month of “Medam” (April/May in the Malayalam calendar).

During this year’s Pooram held on April 25, for 1 ½ days, a great parade of thirty richly caparisoned elephants carrying ceremonial umbrellas with ‘Aalavattoms’ and ‘Venchamaroms’ were displayed. On the elephant in the centre rides the temple deity ‘Vadakkunathan’ (Shiva). They come out through the magnificent temple entrance tower and line up in the open ground. A most beautiful site, those magnificent creatures clearly enjoying all the fuss and the extra culinary titbits of leafs, bananas etc. and their giant ‘earlobes’ flapping in unison to keep the heat and flies away.

Fifteen elephants in a row facing the other fifteen for the famous ‘Kudamattom’ (exchange of those colourful umbrellas).

For ‘Kudamattom’ two parties representing the two divisions of Thrissur. ‘Paramekavu’ and ‘Tiruvampadi’ each puts forth their best exertions to make their display grander than the other while bands of musicians playing their traditional instruments of drums, cymbals, etc., add local melodies to the occasion.
During this grand community event celebrated by the entire citizens of Thrissur, a vast crowd from near and far gather on the grounds to witness and support the Pooram. The renowned grand display of fireworks related to the Pooram should not be missed.

The next Pooram is on Medam 29th, which is Monday, May 13th 2019 (for those who might be interested visiting)

But now to our “meal of that Pooram day” – a most delicious Prawn dish with green mangoes – a recipe which I extracted from Jo, whose Indian cooking I absolutely love.

Prawns with Mango Jo’s Style
Altogether you will need:

½ kg prawns, peeled and deveined
19 Ullis (keep of those appr. 8-10 whole for curry)
4 green chillies, to be used for blending in Mixi (keep 2 for curry)
5 dry red chillies, halved for tempering
2 green mangoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tsp Ginger & Garlic paste
1 1/4 Cup of grated coconut
3 Tbsp of coco oil
½ tsp Fenugreek
3 medium sized Kokum’s, washed and soaked in warm water for 15 minutes
5 tsp coconut powder
1 ½ cup of water
1 ½ tsp black pepper powder
1 ¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
½ Tbsp of coconut oil
½ tsp of mustard seeds
2 sprigs of curry leafs
Salt to taste (to be added only at the very end!)
Prepare in advance
Grind 4 x Ullis and 2 x green chillies and 1 x tsp Garlic and Ginger paste and 1 1/4 cup grated coconut, and if available, some left-over home-made chutney, very very finely.

Peel 2 x green raw mangoes and cut into large pieces and keep aside.
Put aside 5 x dry red chillies, cut in halves, and 5 x sliced Ullis for tempering later with some Curry Leafs.

Preparation
Take a large pot, heat up 3 x Tbsp of coco oil (or Veg oil), ½ x tsp Fenugreek,– stir and add 10 x sliced Ullis and 2 x green chillies, sliced, stir and sauté.
After 5 minutes add fully drained Kokum’s (3 x) and half fry only – do NOT add salt yet -.
Mix 5 x tsp of coconut powder in 1 ½ x cup of water and keep aside.
After some time add around 8-10 x Ullis (for bite) and sauté.
Add 1 ½ x tsp black pepper powder and 1 ¼ x tsp yellow powder (Turmeric).
Add 1 x tsp Coriander powder (heaped) and mix.
Add grinded lot and fry for appr. 10 minutes. Only now add cut mangos and salt to taste. Boil for another 10 minutes until raw mango is cooked.
Now add all the earlier prepared prawns and add the 1 ½ x cups of coconut milk, cook for 5 minutes until prawns have all turned pink,

TEMPERING

Heat ½ x Tbsp of coconut oil, add ½ x tsp Mustard seeds and 5 x dry red chillies, cut in halves, 5 x sliced Ullis and 2 x sprigs of Curry leafs, stir for 1 minute and pour over the curry.

Serve with Rice and Poppadums.

That’s it – enjoy your meal.
Namaskaram
Carina

A FISHY TALE . . . . .

thir00-a-fishy-tale

So that’s it – ONAM (and all the other combined Festivals which come up every year around this time) is now over and everything in our beautiful State of Kerala, where the people are blessed with an abundance of Coconuts, Spices and most of all with the Treasures of the Sea, has returned to the usual normality.

thir01

This year we did not make our own Sadhya of 18 delectable dishes – instead we went out visiting!!!

But when JS went out to our little local market ‘around the corner’ to visit his ‘friendly fish man’ – you know the kind who quietly lets you know of some special kind of fish coming in, when the price of prawns will go up or down! Who takes trouble in cleaning your order etc. etc. – in order to maybe get some extra treats for the long ONAM week, he not only succeeded in getting some lovely looking Karimeen (Pearl spot)

thir02

which he and the girls love fried with just the right amount of his ‘secret’ masala massaged into the fish, but he returned home with also a special surprise for me!! A whole THIRUTHA (Grey Mullet).

This is a fish extremely popular especially with the visiting Tourists, who love to order this fish whole so it can be shared amongst two to three people.
Thirutha is available normally in abundance, but because of its very delicate taste any catch gets snapped up by Hotels, Restaurants and even certain vendors, especially in places like Fort Cochin, where domestic and foreign tourists can choose their own fish, have it grilled right there and then and enjoyed ‘al fresco’ mainly along the seafront by the famous “Chinese Nets”.

But now I have to confess something here to you – when it comes to fish I am just a little bit squeamish. I am certainly not a female Rick Stein, the seafood master himself, and so looking at and handling a large fish, head, eyes, etc, does not come easy for me. But surely . . . one is never too old to learn, right!?

thir03

And so, with JS’ help and under his guidance, I set about in tackling this nice, fresh, slippery ‘friend’. This being my first attempt of cooking Thirutha I decided to keep it simple and just steam the fish in foil with some vegetables (after all – it’s healthy, too) – and here now is the result!

It turned out to be a really delishes meal and now I want to think up a different recipe using the same kind of fish– there is of course always a curry!!

This fish may look big for you – but in the end it was just enough for the two of us. Unfortunately I did not weigh him, just as a matter of interest.

And here is what I did:
1 x whole Thirutha, scaled and gutted by “Friendly Fish Man”
At home washed and dried thoroughly.

I made 5 incisions into the back of the Thirutha and then rubbed a mixture of salt, pepper and 1 tsp of dried Dill all over the fish (including the inside).
Sprinkle fresh lemon juice over the whole fish incl. the inside.

Prepare vegetables: I used carrots, leeks, onion slices and parsley
I blanched the three vegetables in photo for just 2 minutes, not more!! Drain well.

thir04

Preheat oven to 180/200 C
Put fish onto a double layer of foil, drizzle a tiny amount of olive oil around fish, add blanched vegetables incl. a couple of half cooked potatoes.

thir05

Now make the foil into a parcel and leave in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes – check!!! Ovens vary in temperature.

thir06

When done open foil carefully, averting your face – steam is really hot! Taste and when cooked (fish should not be dry) keep fish parcel open on top of oven in order to cool down slightly.

Carefully take the fish off the bone from one side first and put on a plate with the vegetables and just a few plain boiled potatoes.

As an edition I served separately some dill-lemon-butter-sauce.

thir07

There is a saying in German, my mother tongue, which goes:

……Uebung macht den Meister”. (Meaning: Practice maketh the Master) – so now I will try and make fish more often!

But for now, THAT’S IT!

thir01

Guten Appetit!
Carina

Dora’s Moqueca Prawn Stew

Moq-01

The Olympic Games are still in full swing in Rio – and by now many of us will have already “square eyes” for watching too much television at unusual and peculiar hours!!!

Rio – Brazil – Moqueca – all this and much more is taking me on a wonderful ‘memory-into-my-past’ journey all the way back again to my years in Trinidad/W.I.

I tasted Moqueca for the very first time in the house of the then Brazilian Ambassador to Trinidad & Tobago and immediately ‘fell in love’ with this dish (loving prawns of course as I do). From then on I spent many many happy hours in her Residence down by the Sea, listening to beautiful soft samba music and listening to her talking to me about this and that in her charming deep voice. She had no children and I think in a way very shortly after my arrival on the Islands I became a sort of substitute child to her – and I had no objection, in fact loving every moment of this. She became my close trusted friend – my mentor on this, sometimes difficult, diplomatic parquet and I could not have wished for a better and sweeter one. But sadly due to illness she had to leave this earth far too early – but certainly never my gratitude nor my fond memories. So Dora, the posting of this ‘your’ Moqueca is for you. Obrigado!!

I am talking here about Ambassador Dora Alencar Vasconcellos – who was already a very well-known Poet in her own country before she accepted this diplomatic post and one of her most famous poems “Canção do Amor” (Love song) was set to music by Heitor Villa-Lobos.

Moq-02

To make this Moqueca like in my pictures you will need:
½ kg prawns, cleaned and deveined

Moq-03

½ x of large capsicum, cut into “matchsticks”
½ x of large green capsicum, cut into “matchsticks”
½ x of large yellow capsicum, cut into “matchsticks”
5 x garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 x medium sized onions, finely chopped
2 x large tomatoes, deseeded and cut into “matchsticks

Moq-04

½ x cup of coconut milk, medium thickness
2-3 x good splashes of Fish Sauce
100 ml oil, more or less (I used Coconut oil here)
Some fresh lime/lemon juice,
¾ x Tbsp of red chilli flakes (we always use a bit more!)
A pinch of salt and paprika- (or chilli-) powder
1 good fish/prawn stock cube (Knorr is good) or fresh stock if you have it ready
Generous amount of fresh coriander, finely chopped

How to cook this:
At least a couple of hours before you start cooking start marinating the prawns.

Into a bowl add 3-4 Tbsp of lime/lemon juice, a pinch of salt, a pinch of paprika (or chilli) powder – optional – and the sliced garlic. Mix all this (best with your clean hands), cover and keep in fridge until needed.

Take Wok, using medium heat, add oil, onions and fry for a few minutes, and follow this with all your capsicum/sweet peppers, tomatoes,

Moq-05

pinch of salt

Moq-06

and all your chilli flakes. Mix gently and cook for another 5 minutes or so. Now taste this; your vegetables should not be mushy but just a little bit ‘undercooked’ still. Add coconut milk, stir, reduce heat to simmer!!, cover and cook maybe for another 10 minutes, not more.

Moq-07

Keep checking on vegetables and spices. Take all your prawns with the marinate and add this to the wok.

Moq-08

Check – you might need some more lemon/lime juice at this stage. When prawns turn pink check once again. Your Moqueca should be done by now. Sprinkle a very generous amount of fresh coriander of your dish before serving.

Moq-09

Fluffy Basmati rice is best with this. Dora gave me a tip: add a couple Tbsp (or a cube) of prawns/fish stock to the boiling rice – this gives the rice a very subtle flavour.

Note: The beauty of this dish is, that you just add more of the above mentioned vegetables and prawns – and also add some nice firm fish cubes (no bones!) – a real feast – trust me!

Moq-10

Bom apetite – Guten Appetit – Enjoy your meal!

For you who wish to listen to some more Brazilian music here is a special link:


the famous Astrud Gilberto with Stan Getz with her most popular song “The Girl from Ipanema” – surely there are a number of you who still remember this song!!!

Carina