29 November 2012

Beef Liver & Galangal Leaves Chutney - Naga Chutney

OMG! December is just a breath away and Christmas just around the corner. How did this year go by?? Time seems to be moving at a killer speed and yet again, one more year is slowly passing by. I could not put in as much time over here as i wanted to, since everything had to be worked around my toddler's schedule. And yet, it has been a very fulfilling year where Pan Cuisine is concerned. I am so kicked  by the number of response the Naga cuisine is generating. To all those those who wrote to me, thank you for all your lovely feedback. I am deeply encouraged that a lot of you find my blog useful in your quest to recreate our cuisine in your homes.

Today I am sharing with you an all time favorite in my home, the recipe for Beef Liver & Galangal leaves Chutney. I planned on ending this year on a sweet note just before Christmas, but it is not gonna be possible as i am headed to my parents place first week of December and so this will be my last post for this year.

My mom is not a good cook and we have many stories of the her many failed experiments in the kitchen. Every time we get together, we kids use to tease her of all those horrendous dishes she had made and we would always have a good laugh over it. There are few dishes though, that taste best ONLY when it is made by her, and so anything to do with Beef make me think of my mom. I made this chutney for some friends who were visiting the city, and boy! did they enjoy it.

The uniqueness of this chutney is the use of Galangal leaves. Galangal is from the same family as ginger, and we use the leaves of this plant in chutneys and also in meat curries, especially beef as it complements the flavor of the meat. My mom loves galangal leaves, growing up, i could not stand the smell of this plant but now, i love it, and i believe it is because of the memories of mom the smell of this leaves generate. The Thai people also use it generously in many of their dishes.

Another thing about chutneys, and what make it taste better, i believe, is the use of wooden mortar and pestle. I love the after smell it leaves behind after making chutney in it :). If you can get your hand on some galangal, and you haven't tried this combination, make a go for it because let me shamelessly tell you, it is ridiculousely good. The sign of a great chutney is a burning tummy and the run to the throne room...lol!! But let me tell you the spicier the better for this chutney.

Make some scrumptious chutney and have a wonderful celebration this December wherever you are. Cheers!!

Here's the recipe.

150 gms - Precooked Beef Liver
12 ( or more) - Green Chillies, roasted over medium flame
4-5 - Medium sized Ngari (Fermented Dried Fish)
5-6 - Garlic Pods
Salt to taste
2-3 - Stalks of galangal leaves
Onion for garnish

Remove the sinews and thick fat lumps from the liver and pressure cook it for a couple of minutes till cooked and soft. Once cooled, chop it up into small pieces and keep aside.
Roast the Chillies and Ngari over medium heat. Peel off the transparent skin off the chillies.
Pound the chillies, ngari and garlic till well combined. Add salt to taste.
Once the simple green chillies chutney is done, mix it up properly with the prepared beef liver, add more salt if needed.
Tear or chop up the galangal leaves and mix it into the chutney.
Garnish with Onion ringlets, or diced, which ever way you like it. Enjoy!

1 November 2012

Upside down Orange Cake

There is no excuse for neglecting this space, so i'm not going to make one. I really haven't been doing any experimental cooking since my last post, somehow the drive just eluded me, and then i baked this cake the other day and can i tell you, i was recharged to get cooking and baking again. 

I wanted to use up the oranges that has been sitting in the fridge for a couple of weeks before it get spoilt, and so this cake came about. I love upside down cakes and so i said, why not these oranges? So instead of making the usual orange cake where i use the whole orange with or without nuts and oats, i decided to experiment and thankfully it came out really well. I normally prefer my cakes to be a little low on the sugar quotient, this time it was a wee bit sweet for me, will reduce the sugar to 1/4 cup next time.

The cake as a whole was light and very orangy ( if i may use the word ;)). I used Kinnow orange and so there was no need to peel the fruit before cutting it into slices. Incase you are trying with local orange ( the green skin variety) it will be wise to first peel and then cut the fruit into slices, and also avoid using the zest ( of the local orange) as it may turn out to be bitter and spoil the whole taste of the cake. 

Oranges slices - 7 Slices
2 Tbsp - Brown Sugar
1 Cup - Plain Flour
1 Tsp - Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp - Baking Soda
3 - Eggs
1 Tbsp - Orange Zest
1/2 Cup - Veg' Oil
1/3 Cup - White Sugar
1 Tsp - Vanilla Essence
The juice of 1/2 an orange

Preheat oven to 180 degree C.
Oil a shallow baking pan, sprinkle the brown sugar over the base and then arrange the orange slices over it and keep aside.
Sieve the flour, baking powder and soda and keep aside.
In a mixing bowl whisk the sugar and oil till combined, add vanilla essence and the orange juice and then the eggs, one at a time and whisk till well combined.  
Now add the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and mix and then whisk till the the batter is smooth.
Fold in the zest, pour the cake batter over the prepared pan and bake it for a good 30-40 minutes.
Once done, that is  when the cake come off from the side of the pan and a tooth pick inserted in the center
come out clean, let the cake cool in the pan for 5- 6 minutes.
Once cooled enough to handle, transfer the cake onto a plate and serve it over tea. You can dust some icing sugar if yo wish, but i loved it just the way it came out off the oven.