7 May 2019

Guaktho Gaan ~ Pork Fat cooked with Bambooshoot

Your pork belly has too much fat and you're at a loss what to do with it? Trim  it and freeze it, please! Today's recipe is for those times when you have excess pork fat than you can stomach in one dish. What I normally do in such situation is to trim the fat off the meat, store it in the freezer for a couple of days, and then make this dish. This is a no fuss recipe with very few igredients, but super duper delicious. Considering this is purely pork fat in it's delicous best, you want to enjoy it just once in a very long while😅

For this recipe, I suggest you use the most pungent bambooshoots available with you, also fresh and fiery green chilli is a must have. It's important that you freeze your pork fat for a couple of days and then defreeze it inside the fridge - this makes the fat hold its shape when you pressure cook it. If you were to use fresh pork fat, the moment you presssure cook, the fat will just become goo and make your head spin😵 Another thing to note is that you must absolutely avoid adding extra water in the first round of cooking even if you're strongly tempted to. Adding water will compromise the taste of the dish and make the curry very greasy -- we want to avoid that noh? It's true, it really is, magic happens when pork, bambooshoots, green chillies and loads of garlic come together. Here's the delish recipe.

About 300 grams- Pork Fat
2 Tbsp - Pounded Bambooshoots, heapful
5 to 6 - Green Chillies whole
10-12 - Garlic Cloves, chopped fine
1 Tsp - Naga Peppers whole
1 Tsp - Salt
1/2 Tbsp - Coarsely ground smoked Red Chilli powder
2 - Small Tomatoes cut in half
1/3 Cup - Water

Defreeze the frozen pork fat in the fridge overnight. Once it's come apart, wash it and put it into a pressure coiker straight away without straining the water.
Add bambooshoots, geen chillies, garlic, Naga peppers, salt and mix the ingredients throughly using a wooden spoon. Now, close the the pressure cooker and cook till about 10 - 12 whistles or until you get a slightly burnt smell. Turn off heat and let it rest for 2 - 3 minutes.

Then, to take the presure off completely, run the cooker under running tap. Once all the pressure is gone, open the cooker carefully and add the red chilli powder, tomatoes, and water. Give the curry a good mixing and then put the cooker back on the stove and let it whistle for another 5-6 times. Turn off heat and let the pressure go off on its own. Your Guaktho Gaan, literally meaning Fork Fat Curry in Rongmei, is ready.

Enzoy this delicous dish with hot rice and some crunchy salad or boiled veggies.

23 February 2019

Gannampui Ganang Gaan/ Mustard Greens in Lard ~ Authentic Rongmei Naga Style

Mustard greens is my absolute winter favorite. Back in my home state you'd get some variety of this leafy greens in its different stage of maturity. Here in Hyderabad, I'm blessed with one variety, a very stalky variety. But I'm not one to complain, I'll have it in whatever way, for however long I can get hold of this greens.

Today's recipe is the most authentic way of enjoying mustard greens. What makes this recipe Rongmei to the core is the use of rendered lard -- pork fat fermented and reduced to it's very essence -- the bomb! In Rongmei Naga homes, especially those residing in Tamenglong district of Manipur, vegetable dishes are prepared either by using gannampui, or ngari/ fermented fish, or smoked river fish as the ingredient that brings the dish together. Gravy dishes are always runny and thin, sometimes thickened by potatoes smashed in the pot with the back of a wooden spoon. And that's what is done here in this curry to give the thin gravy some creaminess. 

Regarding the use of onion it's optional, but I always use onions in my cooking because I'm enslaved to the flavor. Yup! Also, you can use regular sized potatoes; however, baby potatoes adds better flavor. If you can get your hands on the tender red potato babies, even better! So, about this dish, my comfort food, channeling Marie Kondo, I have to say that those brown beauties sitting atop the bed of mustard greens sparks joy in me -- immense joy!😄Here's the recipe.

2 - 3 bunches of Mustard greens, washed in several change of water. Keep aside
1 small Onion sliced or diced
2 Green Chillies, sliced in halves
Handful of Baby Potatoes, throughly washed, skin on
3-4 cups of Water
1-2 Tbsp of Gannampui
2-3 pods of Galic smashed rough
Salt to taste

In a pot, add water, onion, potatoes and salt.
Once the water comes to a rolling boil, add gannampui and continue cooking in medium flame till the potatoes become soft. Add more water if required.
Now mash up some potatoes to slightly thicken the gravy.
Once that is done, take the cleaned and drained mustard greens, tear it up into bite sizes wih your hands and put it into the gannampui flavored gravy.
Add garlic, give it a through mixing and cooked covered until the leaves turns limp. Your curry is done!

Enjoy this dish with dried red chilli chutney. Yummmmmm!

5 February 2019

Crocodile Skin AKA Bitter Melon/ Karela/ Nkhonathoi Fry

A happy and blessed New Year, dear readers! January zipped passed just like that -- what is hppening? I hope this new year has been treating you well, so far. For me, the start of the year has been bitter-sweet. I'm having to let go something that I truely enjoy for something that demands more of me right now. It's bitter-sweet, literally!

Considering the state of my emotion at the moment, I thought I'll start my first post for the year 2019 with a bitter-yet-yummay dish. Karela/Bitter Melon or Nkhonathoi in Rongmei is the main character today. It's a side dish, a simple, fuss free, super delicious fry recipe. I was introduced to this recipe by my colleague from Mizoram. I absoltely love it, and I've been singing it's praise to anyone who loves some Croc fry. Yup, my son use use to call karela as crocodile when he was a teeny-tiny boy😃This recipe serves two person.

5 tender Karela
1/2 Tsp - Smoked chilli powder
1/2 Tsp - Chilli flakes
5-6 Cloves Garlic, chopped
6+2 Tbsp - Vegetable Oil
Salt as per taste

Chop up the karela into equal sized pieces, keep aside
Heat about 6 Tbsp oil in a pan. Once the Oil is hot, put the karela in and sprinkle salt. Mix it up and let it cook covered for a couple of minutes.
Now, add the remaining oil, more if required. You want to put in enough oil to fry the bitterness away from the karela, but not drench it.
Once the karela begin to grow limp, add the chilli and garlic. Give it a good stirring and then cook coved on medium low flame till every bit of the karela is golden and niceeee.
In the end, what you get is a dish that smells amazing and tatse as great as it's aromar. Enjoy!!