Basav mukherjees un-adulterated lamb rezala

One leg of mutton or lamb de-boned

A : Marinade :

 

1. One cup Fried onions. The packaged stuff works too. Otherwise you can fry the onions.

 

2. 4 Green cardamom, 02 black cardamom, 5 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon stick, one javitri, crushed pepper corns 7 or 8, one tea spoon of saunf (aniseed). Dry roast these spices on a tava. When roasted and fragrant, grind to a powder.(  i do this differently is to use the microwave  to toast them for about 30-45 seconds)

 

3. Plain yogurt. Try the packaged greek yogurt, but otherwise get the thick yogurt.

 

4. One bunch of fresh coriander leaves

 

5. About 20 mint leaves. Optional

 

6. One one inch piece of fresh ginger & 6-7 cloves of fresh garlic.

 

7. 15 cashew nuts. boil the cashewnuts in the water and grind to a smooth paste

 

8. Salt to taste.

 

Add some oil or ghee to the mutton and coat it well. This helps in the next process. Now add the ground spices and salt to the mutton and rub in with fingers. It will coat the mutton well. Your kitchen will get fragrant . Now in the food processor,  add the fried onions, fresh coriander, the ginger, garlic, the mint leaves and some water and create a fine paste. Add this to the mutton and massage with your hands. This will now coat the mutton in the masala. At this stage, you will have no choice but to stick in a finger and taste the marinade….it will smell so good

 

Now whisk 2 cups of the yogurt with a fork. Add some salt to it. The yogurt will be smooth and aerated and add it to the marinade. Using your hands mix well to coat the mutton.

 

Finally add the cashew nut paste. Check seasoning in the marinade.

 

Leave to rest for an hour if you have the time.

 

B. Cooking :

 

Ingredients :

 

1. 2 onions & 3 or 4 green chillies put in the blender and get a smooth paste. You can add more chillies if you like it hotter.

 

2. 6 cloves of garlic, crushed & an inch of ginger, cut in fine juliennes

 

3. Whole Masala : 1 black cardamom, 4 green cardamom, 2 bay leaves, 5 cloves, 1 inch stick of cinnamon, 1 tsp shahi jeera (optional)

 

4. Masala paste : In a bowl, add 2 tea spoons of Coriander powder, 1 tsp of cumin powder, 2 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder, 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Add a little water and make a paste.

 

Cooking Process :

 

Take a heavy bottomed pan or pressure cooker (your choice…Pressure cooker is quicker).

 

Add enough ghee or oil so that the entire base of pan gets covered and immediately add all the whole masalas. Let the masala get broiled as the oil heats up. Then, once the oil is fragrant and hot, add the onion & green chilli paste. Fry till the onion loses its raw smell. Add the garlic and ginger juliennes & some salt. Fry till the fat leaves the masala.

 

At this time, remove all mutton pieces from the marinade and add to the pan. Keep the left over marinade. it will be used later.

 

Fry the mutton. it will sear first and then it will lose some of its water. fry till all the water has evaporated. by now your kitchen would be full of the aroma of the rezala. Reduce the flame and bhunno gently for a while, till you get the nutty aroma of the cashewnut caramelising.

 

At this stage, add the masala paste to the mutton. Fry some more on low flame till the fat leaves the masala and till you feel that the mutton has been fried just enough. Dont burn the masala.

 

At this stage, add the rest of the marinade to the pan. Add some warm water as well to cover the meat and the right consistency of your sauce, as you would like it. Bring to boil.

 

Now, you can pressure cook it or let simmer in the lowest flame for 50 minutes. If you must pressure cook, please pressure cook at the lowest flame. There will be no whistles, but you can switch off the flame after 18 to 20 minutes and let the cooker lose steam by itself. The meat continues to cook at this time, even without the flame. This will take 15 minutes. I assure you that this is the best way to cook the meat.

 

After you have removed the lid, taste for seasoning. By now your neighbours have rung the bell, asking you if they can join you for dinner

 

Let the mutton rest for 15 minutes then serve  with fragrant basmati or crisp parathas

 

Tip : If you forget to add the javitri, the magic is not going to happen

 

One leg of mutton or lamb de-boned
A : Marinade :
1. One cup Fried onions. The packaged stuff works too. Otherwise you can fry the onions.2. 4 Green cardamom, 02 black cardamom, 5 cloves, 1 inch cinnamon stick, one javitri, crushed pepper corns 7 or 8, one tea spoon of saunf (aniseed). Dry roast these spices on a tava. When roasted and fragrant, grind to a powder.(  i do this differently is to use the microwave  to toast them for about 30-45 seconds)3. Plain yogurt. Try the packaged greek yogurt, but otherwise get the thick yogurt. 4. One bunch of fresh coriander leaves5. About 20 mint leaves. Optional6. One one inch piece of fresh ginger & 6-7 cloves of fresh garlic.7. 15 cashew nuts. boil the cashewnuts in the water and grind to a smooth paste8. Salt to taste.
Add some oil or ghee to the mutton and coat it well. This helps in the next process. Now add the ground spices and salt to the mutton and rub in with fingers. It will coat the mutton well. Your kitchen will get fragrant . Now in the food processor,  add the fried onions, fresh coriander, the ginger, garlic, the mint leaves and some water and create a fine paste. Add this to the mutton and massage with your hands. This will now coat the mutton in the masala. At this stage, you will have no choice but to stick in a finger and taste the marinade….it will smell so good
Now whisk 2 cups of the yogurt with a fork. Add some salt to it. The yogurt will be smooth and aerated and add it to the marinade. Using your hands mix well to coat the mutton. Finally add the cashew nut paste. Check seasoning in the marinade.
Leave to rest for an hour if you have the time.
B. Cooking :
Ingredients :
1. 2 onions & 3 or 4 green chillies put in the blender and get a smooth paste. You can add more chillies if you like it hotter.2. 6 cloves of garlic, crushed & an inch of ginger, cut in fine juliennes3. Whole Masala : 1 black cardamom, 4 green cardamom, 2 bay leaves, 5 cloves, 1 inch stick of cinnamon, 1 tsp shahi jeera (optional)4. Masala paste : In a bowl, add 2 tea spoons of Coriander powder, 1 tsp of cumin powder, 2 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder, 1 tsp of turmeric powder. Add a little water and make a paste.
Cooking Process :
Take a heavy bottomed pan or pressure cooker (your choice…Pressure cooker is quicker).
Add enough ghee or oil so that the entire base of pan gets covered and immediately add all the whole masalas. Let the masala get broiled as the oil heats up. Then, once the oil is fragrant and hot, add the onion & green chilli paste. Fry till the onion loses its raw smell. Add the garlic and ginger juliennes & some salt. Fry till the fat leaves the masala.
At this time, remove all mutton pieces from the marinade and add to the pan. Keep the left over marinade. it will be used later.
Fry the mutton. it will sear first and then it will lose some of its water. fry till all the water has evaporated. by now your kitchen would be full of the aroma of the rezala. Reduce the flame and bhunno gently for a while, till you get the nutty aroma of the cashewnut caramelising.
At this stage, add the masala paste to the mutton. Fry some more on low flame till the fat leaves the masala and till you feel that the mutton has been fried just enough. Dont burn the masala.
At this stage, add the rest of the marinade to the pan. Add some warm water as well to cover the meat and the right consistency of your sauce, as you would like it. Bring to boil.
Now, you can pressure cook it or let simmer in the lowest flame for 50 minutes. If you must pressure cook, please pressure cook at the lowest flame. There will be no whistles, but you can switch off the flame after 18 to 20 minutes and let the cooker lose steam by itself. The meat continues to cook at this time, even without the flame. This will take 15 minutes. I assure you that this is the best way to cook the meat.
After you have removed the lid, taste for seasoning. By now your neighbours have rung the bell, asking you if they can join you for dinner
Let the mutton rest for 15 minutes then serve  with fragrant basmati or crisp parathas
Tip : If you forget to add the javitri, the magic is not going to happen

chocolate raspberry brownie

  1. Dark chocolate buttons  285 gms

  2. sugar  270 gms

  3. flour  45 gms

  4. cocoa 85 gms(dark really dark bitter kind)

  5. butter  185 gms

  6. eggs    3 nos

  7. Raspberry frozen  100 gms

  8. white chocolate buttons 100 gms

  9. vanilla essence 2 mlMethod
  • melt the dark chocolate and butter.

  • whisk eggs and sugar till thick and creamy.

  • mix well the flour and cocoa powder, if lumpy then sieve together.

  • Add vanilla essence , and the melted chocolate and butter mix to the eggs.

  • slowly fold in the flour /cocoa mixture.

  • line one half chafing pan/or half sheet pan 12 inch x 18 inch pan  with greaseproof paper, and pour the mix over it then top with the raspberries and the white chocolate.

  • bake at 175 C for 25-30 minutes. the center shouldn’t be too dry just soft cos we want them to be gooey like proper brownies should

  • Cool down well, and cut into desired size for use.

  • Makes about 1 small tray of brownie

saffron and pistachio ice cream

 

this recipe has been influenced quite a bit by the quintessential indian frozen ice cream kulfi and uses the worlds most expensive spice saffron for flavoring and coloring.

 

Saffron if you dint know comes form the crocusplant, and is the stigma  of the purple flower which grows on the plant. because its so tiny and delicate it has to be handpicked and since you only get 3 per flower, so pushed the prices ridiculously high. but nothing compares to the aroma and color that you can get from using really good saffron. you get some very good saffrom from iran, the worlds largest producer and the best quality saffron to look for is called sargol, which is the all red part of the stigma, with maximum color and aroma.

 

anyway after all that info, lets get down to business.

 

creme anglaise/ english custard

 

250 ml milk or half milk and half cream like we did

 

4 egg yolks

 

120 gm sugar

 

7-8 strands of saffron / more is not good, can get bitter and too much toxic(really).

 

100 gms of crushed pistachio nuts lightly toasted

 

combine the egg yolks with the sugar. warm the milk and add it to the egg and sugar mix. mix in well, but dont whisk it too much, otherwise it gets to foamy and then its difficult to see whether it has been cooked to the right degree.strain to get rid of any shell fragments and get a smoother texture.

put on a very very very low heat. if in doubt, then use a double boiler. cook till the mixture starts to thicken .at this stage you could add in the saffron just as it is or lightly toasted(10seconds in the microwave). take it off the fire, when it has thickened enough to coat the back of spoon with. cool down and either churn in the ice cream machine or put in the freezer and take out every half hour or so and give it a good whisking then . when its half set add int he pistachio and freeze.

use with abandon !!

Feijoa mousse

I first ate this at the marina restaurant  in gisborne and then made my version of it.

Feijoas- 500 gms- you will need to scoop out the flesh from inside them.
sugar-50 gms

first part- scoop out the pulp from the feijoas-for the people not from nz, its similar to a guava and the aroma s incredible. then cook these on low heat with the sugar till really nice and soft and pulpy.blend to a puree. it will have crunchy bits from the seeds in it. dont strain these out.these add to the nice crunchy texture in the middle of some creamy goodness

 

2 eggs whole
50 gms grain sugar+30-40 depending on how sweet your feijoa mix was.
10 gm gelatine soaked in abt 20 ml of water
250 ml cream.

Method

whisk the eggs and 50 gm sugar over a double boiler until really frothy and thick and light. melt the gelatine in a microwave (10 seconds max and add it in)
taste your feijoa puree to see how sweet it is.should be fairly sweet but not cloyingly so.add into your egg mix.
whisk the cream and keep chilled.
when the feijoa , egg mix is cooled down , fold in the whipped cream, set in glass bowls or wine glasses or whatever you want it in really.

Falafel with tahina sauce

chick peas dry- soak overnight with a pinch of baking soda- 200 gms

fresh parsley- few sprigs – enough to make the mixture nice and green and give it a burst of flavour

fresh peeled garlic cloves – 4 nos.

lemon juce- from 1 lemon

salt – to taste

white onion peeled- 1 no

sesame seeds- about 2 tsp/10 gms

now drain the chickpeas, and grind to a semi smooth paste, without any water,(ok maybe 20 ml or so)  but with the onion, parsley, and the garlic. add in the lemon juice, the sesame seeds and season with salt.

form into about 20 gm patties and deep fry till browned and cooekd through.

serve with tahina sauce (tahina thinned down with some natural yoghurt ) called taratoor sauce in lebanon/syria

good as a snack or in a bun as vege filling.

Crab cakes

Heres a really nice crab cake recipe , but you have to be using real crab meat.Doesnt matter if its frozen , but not that awful stuff called crab sticks they have about 1% crabmeat and flavour and is cheap and nasty.

crabmeat- 250 gms / canned or frozen claw meat( lump is nice but thats for eating in salads and stuff for cooking claw meat is more economic and makes more sense to use.
mayonnaise- 25 gms +50 gms the 1st bit gets mixed in and the remainders for the dipping sauce
breadcrumbs- 50 gms – or just enough to bind the crab, we want the cakes to be moist and juicy not like a lump of cement.
egg- 1 nos
salt and pepper – to taste
chopped red onion- 50 gms
garlic- 2cloves chopped
parsley- small sprig
thyme
oil to shallow fry
chipotle chillies- 1/4 of dry chilli/can use the canned ones too.

method

heat about 10 gms of oil and lightly saute the onion ,garlic ,thyme and crab meat.  cool down
add mayonnaise, egg, bread , seasoning and shape into 30 gm flat round cakes
heat oil and shallow fry on both sides till crisp
for the sauce, whizz chipotle chillies with mayonnaise add some lime juice and zest.

 

Dosa -pour Gerard Mouille

for the uninitiated this is the south Indian version of a crepe which is bloody delicious.its made from a fermented batter comprising rice and split and de husked black lentils, which have an off white centre which is called urad dal in Hindi.it was a long standing thing, for me to have made some for my friend Gerard Mouille who was owner /operator of La bastille, one of my favourite french restaurants in Trinidad.

now the method.

1 part by volume of urad dal
3 to 4 parts by volume of cheapest rice. since you are going to be grinding it to a paste, you dont need specifically some extra special one.
1-2 gms of fenugreek seeds-called methi in Hindi.
15-20 gms of split peas/chana dal
Salt and sugar to taste

Soak every thing together , execpt the seasoning ingredients for about half an hour. grind to a coarse paste, add salt and sugar and leave overnight to ferment and rise naturally.

How to cook them is another thing altogether and needs much practice. the idea is to spread the batter thin over a cast iron/ cast aluminium griddle plate called a tawa and cook it on one side only really. there are many important factors, the batter should be the right consistency , the griddle plate the right temperature.and should start to separate from the griddle really before you sprinkle a few drops of oil or butter or ghee and can be eaten with coconut chutney or tomato chutney or sambar , which are a few different lessons altogether.

For practical lessons pls contact me !!

Oriental rice.

This is the one served with ouzi or the arabic styled roasted lamb.its really aromatic and flavourful.

you will need

  1. lamb mince- 200 gms

  2. onion chopped- 1 no / 150 gms

  3. garlic- 2-3 cloves chopped

  4. bayleaf-1 no

  5. baharat powder- 1/2 teaspoon ( you can make this one at home and use for shawarma etc, needs cinnamon, cloves, some green cardamom  and some pepper, quite strong on the cloves)

  6. cinnamon powder as well again -1//4 tsp

  7. black pepper powder-1/4 tsp

  8. Gum arabic/ gundar/ gond/mistika – 1/4 tsp- pounded with some rock salt to a fine powder

  9. Basmati rice- 250 gms soaked in cold water and washed well.

  10. Saffron strands- 1/4 gm or less.

  11. oil+Butter mix-25 ml

Process

  • heat oil and add onions and garlic, lightly brown and then add the mince, which has to be really well browned and caramelised.

  • then add the spice powders and stir fry even more. add bayleaf and the rice and continue to stir fry till the rice is well coated with the mince and the oil . that will make the rice grains quite separate and nice when the mix has cooked.add in the gum arabic powder.

  • Add in enough hot stock or water (you can add some chicken stock powder to cheat) to cover the rice and a little more still.

  • Top with the saffron which you must have soaked in a little water.(what you dint know that?.Then get out of here).

  • cover with a lid for about 15 minutes on a low heat .

  • Serve with roasted lamb as an accompaniment.you can top the rice with fried almonds, cashew, pistachio ..

maa bahen sauce- name inspired by Chris francis

Adapted from the Trini hot pepper sauce, which was more important than the salt and pepper for every dinner function that we did , when in trinidad, this sauce has the potential to blow the top of your mouth off. learned how to make tonnes of it by watching Wendy forde, Heston morreira and Sophia ghany, each one  had a slightly different version to it.

the english name for this sauce has been inspired because of the fiery heat of this sauce, which im sure when you taste for the first time , is like one step closer to suicide.

For the hindi name , i must owe homage to my good friend Christopher Francis, De bloody bugger from Bandra..that and the fact that there was a silly sounding sona chandi chywanprash at some point in the indian market. we transmogrified the name to maa bahen chywanprash and from there onwards, a few years later, when i was struck by a bizzarre idea to call it by this name.

there is no fixed recipe really, because every time in the name of creative spirit, or inspired genius.. i make new version. so far i have not decide to market the product for commercial gain,but instead give away free samples to friends.

Chillies green / red or mix / the hotter the better- last batch i used some bhut jolokias!!.

garlic

mustard paste/ dijon by preference, i dont like english mustard.

onions

salt

vinegar.

Blend all of the above in a blender till smooth. Refrigerate and use as dipping sauce, spread, to add heat,  zest..life to all things which are duller..

Please wash hands after making and before  visiting the toilet or rubbing your eyes.

Too much will cause acidity/ heartburn/ reflux..and the need to call the fire service the next morning.

Hummus – by Petit Fleur De liban Ibrahim hadla

For this delicious and sometimes gassy levantine dip you need chick peas, tahina(sesame seed paste),garlic, lemon juice or citric acid.and olive oil to top it off.

  • chick peas- 250 gms
  • Tahina – 40-50 gms ..look for the ones from lebanon, habibi ibrahim will be most upset if its an israeli tahina paste, and not kanater abu naoum or mounir bissat from good old lebanon. having said that i use an israeli one in nz, though ibrahim will have a fit if he knew that.
  • garlic- 2-3 cloves peeled
  • lemon juice- from1 lemon . alternatively you can use a citric acid dissolved in water.
  • soda bicarb- 1/4 tsp to soak the chickpeas.
  • salt- to taste.

method.

  1. soak the chickpeas overnight with soda bicarb and plenty of water. the next day the soaking and soda will have softened the skins of the chickpeas.
  2. These then should be drained and washed very thoroughly. Put it with some fresh water and cook, for really very long. Chef ibrahim hadla, would famously take one chickpea and throw it on the wall. it should be cooked so much that it will stick to the wall.
  3. after they are cooked till really soft and mushy. drain and wash these very well in water.let them soak in a bowl of cold water and let the skins float on top.take these skins off and discard.
  4. Then you need a good food processor.like a food chopper, moulinex or any similar ones. at work we used one called robot coupe, which is the Mercedes Benz of food processors. start to blend .also add a few crushed ice cubes to the mix or really chilled water about 20 mls or so..
  5. this will make the mixture very light and airy and fluffy.add in the tahina and garlic,salt and lemon juice.it should be slightly garlickly , and lemony, but most importantly very very creamy and smooth.
  6. arrange in a flat- ish sort of dish nd then top it with some fruity good quality olive oil, and enjoy with pita bread.
  7. this can be topped with toasted pine nuts or small cubes of lamb/ beef sauteed with onions garlic and some lemon juice as well.
  8. Sahten as they say in arabic, or Bon appetit.
  9. Dedicated to le petit fleur de liban!!!! god how much we laughed when chef ibrahim used to say that.