19 March 2012

Naga Fish Curry/ Fish in Bamboo-Shoot

I think i have mentioned in my earlier post, the Naga people's love for bamboo-shoot  and soya beans. When you live far away from your hometown it's not funny how you begin to appreciate and preserve with utmost care, things that remind of home :D. Today i am sharing the Naga Fish Curry recipe. Every home will make it differently but the dominant and uniting ingredient will be the bamboo-shoot/thunkhiang in Rongmei / bastenga in Nagamese. It is a simple unassuming dish surprisingly packed with amazing depth of flavors.


If you have Naga friends it doesn't hurt to ask them for some bamboo-shoot to try :) or else you can buy the canned ones sold at Ratnadeep Supermarket ( if you are in Hyderabad) but i must mention that the flavors are mild and miss the intensity of the Naga bamboo-shoot. The use of mustard oil in this recipe is important as it gives a distinct flavor to the dish. A possible Bengal influence among the Rongmei is the use of mustard oil in our cooking. I do remember clearly my mom using engine mustard oil, a really pungent one, for any oil based cooking  while growing up :D. These days though, dhara seem to be the preferred brand, and of course a variety of other refined vegetable oil.


There is nothing such as Naga style of cooking per se because it is just so simple. If you are short of time or patience, you can just toss in all the ingredients and cook for 15-20 minutes an you'll still have a surprisingly wonderful and flavorful curry :) but to create depth in flavor and if you love and enjoy the process of cooking in particular, here is the recipe and how to go about :). Please Enjoy!!

Ingredients:
For Curry:
1 Kilo - Rohu Fish
2 Tbsp - Mustard Oil
2-3 - Big Tomato, cut in 4 equal pieces each
2 - Big Onions, diced
1 Cup - Bamboo-Shoot, shreaded
5 - Green Chillies, Slit in half
1 - Garlic Pod, the cloves crushed
1 Tsp - Turmeric Powder
1/2 Tsp - Red Chilli Powder
500 ml - Water
1 cup - Shallots Chopped
Salt as per taste

To marinate Fish:
2 Tbsp - Ginger-Garlic Paste
2 Tsp - Red Chilli Powder
1 Tsp - Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp - Salt
Oil for deep frying fish


Method:
 Marinate the fish overnight or for atleast an hour.
Heat oil till hot and deep fry the fish till the pieces are evenly browned, about 2 mins each, and keep aside to drain excess oil.
In a casserole dish heat 2 Tbsp of mustard oil till the raw smell is gone or till you see the oil begin to smoke and add the diced onions and stir it is well caramelized.
Add the tomatoes and the rest of the spices and stir to allow the flavors to permeate.
Add the bamboo-shoot and water, cover the pot and cook till the water starts boiling, let boil for some time and then reduce flame and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.
Now add the fried fish and cook for ten minutes and then spread the shallots, cook for another 5 minutes, turn off flame, give a gentle stir making sure not to break the fish pieces, put the lid back on and let rest.

Serve it with hot rice, dried fish chutney and some salad and you have a well fed tummy :).

12 March 2012

Oats & Coconut Rice Cookies

The experiment baking continues in my small kitchen and thankfully more successes than failure. The only department i fail to conquer is bread making :(. Mine is a microwave-oven and so rectangular molds doesn't fit, problem one and BIG problem two is my relationship with dry yeast, it has been really pathetic and so...bread making as of now is 'mission impossible'. 


On the brighter side, cookies and cakes have been turning out really well :). I refrain from icing most of the bakes, unless it's a special occasion, preferring to go easy on the sugar & fat department :D. Today's recipe cooked up out of the need to use up the packets of rice flour lying in the kitchen cupboard. Hubby dear picked up four packets of 500g rice flour thinking (without thinking more like it) it is plain flour.


I have been wondering how to use up the rice flour and it so happened that I ran short of plain flour and so decided to make good of the rice flour. The cookies turned out really well. Kept some for the boys here and sent the rest to my lil' bro who's studying in the University. Do try and be surprised :D. Enjoy!


Ingredients:
1 Cup - Rice Flour
1 Tsp - Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp - Baking Soda
1/2 Cup - Sunflower Oil
1/2 Cup - White Sugar
1 - Egg
1/2 Cup - Oats
1/3 Cup - Dessicated Coconut

Method:
Preheat Oven at 160 Degree C. Grease cookie tray and keep aside
Sieve the rice flour, baking powder and soda and keep aside
Beat the sugar, oil and egg with a hand blender till it's well combined
Make a well in the center and pour the wet over the dry ingredients
Combine the ingredients, fold in the oats and coconut and gently bring it together to form a soft dough
Roll it into a cylindrical and then cut it up into bite pieces and bake in the preheated oven for 14-15 minutes
Let cool and store in an airtight container.

7 March 2012

Pumpkin-Ragi Spiced Cake

I love pumpkin...period. My son will eat almost anything that is baked a cake and so beetroot, pumpkin, carrot etc etc become cakes and that is why you'll find alot of veggie cakes here. I baked this while i was at my folks and they loved it. Till date there is no one who doesn't like this cake having tasted it...even hubby dear liked it :).


I normally make it with plain flour but decided to try with Ragi or finger millet flour and the result is an even  better tasting pumpkin cake. You can either make it plain without adding any spices, it taste just as good BUT i have to say that it taste best with the addition of the spices and yes the house smells lovely too as the cake bakes :).


With this recipe you can make one whole cake or 12 cup cakes. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
1/2 Cup - Plain Flour
1/2 Cup - Ragi/ Finger Miller Flour
1 Tsp - Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp - Baking Soda
1/2 Tsp - Cinnamon Power
1/4 Tsp - Cardamon Powder
1/4 Tsp - Nutmeg ground
11/4 Cup - Pumpkin Puree
1/2 Cup -  Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup - Veg' Oil
1/2 Cup - Curd
1 Tsp - Vanilla Essence (optional)
1 - Egg
A pinch of salt


Method:
  1. Preheat oven at 170 degree C and grease a baking pan and keep aside
  2. Sieve all the dry ingredients and keep aside
  3. In a bowl add the pumpkin puree, brown sugar, egg and oil and blend it well with a handheld mixer
  4. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and pour the liquid mixture and mix it up with a spatula
  5. Give a quick blending with the handheld mixer and then transfer batter to the prepared cake pan or into the cup cake molds (i used silicon ones so no greasing required)
  6. Bake in the preheated oven for 26 minutes and for 15 minutes if baking cup cakes.
  7. Let cool for sometime once done and then enjoy the thoroughly aromatic and moist cake 
Note: To make pumpkin puree, cut the pumpkin in half (select those small and cute ones :D) horizontally, scrape off the seed and fibers with a spoon and then roast it with the cut side down in a preheated oven at 200 degree C for 30-40 minutes or more depending on your oven. You know its done when a fork prick from the top feels no resistance and the shell easy to peel off.