26 February 2017

Kuaklei & Ganengdui Chutney

As you would have noticed, for the month of February, I decided to concentrate on chutneys.  And to wind up this chutney series, today, i'll be sharing a chutney that is special and typical to the Rongmei Nagas in the Tamenglong, Manipur region.  The special ingredients for todays chutney highlights fresh Kuaklei or Indian pennywort and Ganengdui or Fermented Mustard greens paste.

Kuaklei is a herb with many medicinal properties, and it is largely consumed by many in the northeast region, and even in the other parts of mainland India.  However, Ganengdui is very much a special and expensive produce enjoyed by the hardworking folks of Tamenglong, my home town.

It is a thick paste made from the reduction of the juice of fermented mustard greens, a long and tedious process.  This thick black lava is then stored in a bamboo container and placed near the fireplace to develop layers and layers of it's awesome taste and flavor.

Please find the simple recipe of this authentic and healthy chutney recipe below:

1 Tsp - Ganengdui Paste
I Tbsp - Drinking water, room temperature
4-5 - Fresh and crisp green chilies ( you can use any chilies of your choice, dried or fresh) 
4-5 - Garlic Pods
Handful of Kuaklei or a whole bunch of it, if you have
Salt as per taste

Clean the Kuaklei, soak it in saline water for a minute or two, rise it with cold water, and keep it aside.

Put the garlic and chilies in a bowl, add salt, and then crush it together roughly.  Keep aside.

Dilute the thick Ganengdui paste with 1 Tbsp water,  and then pour this into the chili-garlic mixture.  Give this a good mixing.

Finally, add the fresh Kuaklei into the spicy Ganengdui chutney base,  mix it up thoroughly, and chutney is ready!

Note: If Kuaklei is unavailable, you can substitute it with fresh Chives. It taste equally splendid!

16 February 2017

Spicy-Crispy Meat Pickle

Meat pickle in an old horlicks bottle is a parcel, i'm sure, most school or college students from the north-east staying in a hostel are familiar with.  What a moment of ecstatic happiness it use to be to receive parcels from home when you're "rotting away" eating hostel food.  Meat pickles made in the taste and flavors of home -- yum!!  We would have this spicy treat with tea straight off the bottle, as a side with dal&rice, and even with waiwai ( if you don't know what this is -- i'm sorry, you haven't been living well 😄) adding more pickled raja mircha -- wonderful food memories! 

For this post, i tweaked the recipe slightly.  I must warn you right now that this is a time consuming recipe.  It takes a good two to three hours to get this done.  The pain is not so much in prepping the ingredients, but it's more about the waiting and mixing for the meat to crisp up.  Also, i would suggest that you make this in a big batch, that way you get to enjoy the produce of your labor a little longer😉.

For this recipe, i've used wild boar meat, but you can substitute using regular pork meat.   The magic ingredient that makes this unique is the use of dried Machiang or Winged Prickly Ash seeds.  And you absolutely must use Mustard Oil, as well.  Please find the detailed recipe below: 

2 Kilo - Meat
3/4 Cup - Mustard Oil
1 Cup - Onion, Sliced thin
1/2 Cup - Ginger, diced, bite pieces
1/2 Cup - Garlic, Sliced thin
1/2 Cup - Dried, Machiang seeds/ WingedPrickly Ash.
4 - Dried, Raja/King Chilies
6 - Dried, Red Chilies
2 Tbsp - Soy Sauce
4 Tbsp - White vinegar
2 Tsp - Sugar
Salt - Per taste

Pressure cook the meat till tender, about 3 -4 whistle, cool it and then chop it up to small pieces. Keep aside

Dry roast the machiang seeds, crush it to rough powder and keep aside.

Take a deep bottomed pan and bring the oil to boil. First, chuck in the onion slices and fry till slightly brown. Add ginger and garlic one after the other and fry till aromatic. Then, add half of the powdered Machiang seeds and give it a good mixing.

Now, add the diced precooked meat, salt, and stir the meat ensuring that everything is well mixed. Reduce the flame to medium and keep cooking for a while. 

Add the vinegar, give it a good stirring, cook for a couple more minutes; then, add the soy sauce. Again, give it a good mixing and keep cooking, open. 

Halfway through the cooking, once the meat is slowly coming together, add the remainder of the powdered Machaing seeds, give it a good stirring, reduce flame to simmer, and cook till the meat gets crispy to your liking.

Once done, let it cool complete and then transfer it to a jar; or, have at it straight away!

3 February 2017

Ganpaluh Chutney

Today, i'm sharing another favorite chutney recipe of mine.  The hero of this recipe is Ganpaluh in Rongmei or Fish Mint Root in English.  

Back at home in the north-east, we use both the heart shaped leaf and the roots for this herb for chutney.  But, i'll be using just the roots for today's chutney.  Surprisingly, not everyone in the north-east enjoys this root chutney, preferring the leafy bit only.  As for me, i love, love this herb just as much as Nkampoi.  The chutney base is the same as all preparation using ngari; however, just a little addition of extra ingredients can turn a simple chutney into a totally unique and special dish.  Please find the detailed recipe below:

Preparing the Ganpaluh:

Since Ganpaluh is a fibrous root it needs thorough cleaning with several changes of water.  After the final rinse, I would suggest that you soak the Ganpaluh in salt water for some time. Then, drain the water, chop it up to bite size, and keep it aside.

Chutney base:

Ngari (Fermented fish) - 4-5
Garlic - 6-5 Pods
Fresh Green Chillies - 10

Fresh Local Tomato, small - 1 (optional)
Onion, small - 1
Salt - as per taste

Wrap the Ngari in an aluminium foil and roast it over the flame of a stove for 2-3 minutes on both sides, using an old aluminium slotted spoon or any old plate or lid with a perforated surface, keep aside.

Now, roast the green chilies and the tomato (if using) over the flame of a stove and keep aside.

Once all the ingredients are prepped, first put the Ngari, garlic, a little salt and pound it up till well mashed using a mortar&pestle.  Then, add the green chillies  and continue pounding or mashing till it becomes a paste.  Now, add the roasted tomato (if using) ensuring it is well mixed into the chutney.  

Finally, add the chopped Ganpaluh, give it a really good mixing, check for salt, throw in the sliced onions, mix and serve.  Ganpaluh chutney is ready!