Category Archives: Curries

Chicken Chettinad-or maybe not?

The cuisine of the Chettinad region of Tamilnadu in India is said to be very spicy/hot, if I remember this right. By that yardstick, the Chicken “Chettinad” I made today for dinner does not really qualify for that name.

But neither the girls nor I will ever be able to stomach the four dry red chillies that the recipe in Sanjeev Kapoor’s “Khana Khazana” would have required be added to the ground masala this dish needs.

So I made it today without any whole red chillies at all.

The girls liked the chicken a lot, as did I. It makes a nice change from the usual sort of chicken curry though it is rather heavy because of all the coconut that goes in to it.

I’ll take some tomorrow for the boulanger, and see what he thinks of it.


Chicken Chettinad

450 grams of boneless chicken, cut in to small pieces

3 small onions, sliced fine

2 teaspoons each of ginger paste and garlic paste

6 tablespoons of canned tomato pulp

5 tablespoons of desiccated coconut , or the flesh of 1/4 of a fresh coconut

poppy seeds – 1 teaspoon

fennel seeds – 1/2 teaspoon

coriander seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

cumin seeds – 1/4 teaspoon

cinnamon stick – 1 one inch stick

green cardamom – 2

cloves – 2

turmeric powder – 1/2 teaspoon

red chilli powder – 1/2 teaspoon ( I use Kashmiri red chilli powder)

4 tablespoons of oil

star anise – 1/4

2 small tomatoes

3 tablespoons of lemon juice

5-6 curry leaves

salt to taste

Leave a comment

Filed under Curries

Curried Potatoes aka Rasedar Aloo Tamatar

Shri loves this potato curry – he calls it aloo shak, which is probably an Indori name for it since he talks fondly of having eaten this many times in the sarafa bazaar of Indore – with puris and if he had his way this is what I would make each time we have friends over for a meal.

Yesterday, for dinner with Vishal and Shefali’s family, we had this curry with palak puris.  And it was so pleasing to see Twisha and Vayun enjoy the carrot salad I had made to go with the aloo-puri as much as Shri, Indira and Noor do.

Curries Potatoes/Rasedar Aloo Tamatar

600 gms of potatoes (enough for 4-6 people)

300 gms of tomatoes or an equivalent amount of canned tomato pulp (about 6 tablespoons)

4-5 tablespoons of oil

1/4 teaspoon each of the ingredients of paanchphoran – mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon of coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon of kashmiri red chilli powder (or to taste)

2 small cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine

1 teaspoon of kasoori methi and/or 1/2 a teaspoon of garam masala (optional)

1 large dry red chili (optional), broken in half

salt to taste

fresh, green coriander,chopped fine

Leave the tomatoes in very hot water – freshly boiled – till their skin comes off easily.  Then drain and leave aside to cool.

In the meanwhile cook the potatoes, till they are soft, in a pressure cooker. When the cooker has cooled a bit, open the lid, drain the water, take out the potatoes in a colander and leave aside to dry and cool.

Peel and chop the tomatoes in to very fine pieces.

When the potatoes are cold, peel them and dice them in to small pieces.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and put in the  red chili, the mustard seeds and the nigella seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the fennel seeds, fry for a couple of seconds, then add the garlic and fry for a few seconds till the garlic loses it’s raw look. Now add the cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds and fry for just another couple of seconds else the fenugreek seeds can burn and will develop a bitter taste.

Add the tomatoes next and cook on medium heat till their juice starts to dry up. Then add all the dry spices and fry for a minute or so, till the oil starts to appear on the sides of the mixture. Now stir in the kasoori methi and fry for another few seconds.

Add the potatoes, along with salt. Fry for a few minutes till the potatoes are  well-coated with the tomato mixture.  Then add about 2 cups of water and simmer the curry for a while till the gravy is as thick as you like (add more water if needed). Once way to ensure the curry is well-done is to let it simmer, stirring occasionally, till the surface starts to acquire a rich red color/glaze.

Garnish with green coriander , if you haven’t used kasoori methi.

Leave a comment

Filed under Curries, Everyday Subzis, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas

Vegetable Korma

I made this for lunch yesterday, since I was looking for a new idea for a curry for the boulangerie.

Patrick the boulanger seems to have liked the look of it, though he hadn’t tasted it yet when I went back yesterday evening to ask what he thought of it, since he said he’d like me to make this along with the bread rolls for next Tuesday.

The girls did like it a lot though when they had this for lunch with phulkas.

I enjoyed making it because it will make a nice addition to the repertoire of vegetarian dishes to cook when friends come over for a meal.

Leave a comment

Filed under Curries

Fish Fillets in Coconut-flavored Sauce aka Fish Malai Curry

Inspired by the decent results from the trial run of the Prawn Malai curry – I made a very small portion to take to the boulangerie for Patrick to taste and he liked it a lot – and prompted by Indira who was very curious to know what sort of curry I am going to make for this Tuesday’s order from the boulangerie, I decided to make the same curry with white fish fillets and the result is very nice too.

The fish that I used is called cabillaud in French and that’s haddock/hake/cod in English, I think.

We had this tonight with a peas pulav and a small, very fresh-tasting salad of red bell pepper slices and mesclun (the Provencal term for a mixture of young salad greens) tossed in an olive oil, lime juice and basil flakes dressing.

The girls said they liked their dinner very much so I am glad I gave this a try.

Fish Malai Curry

300 gms of fish fillets, cut in to 2 or 3 inch pieces

2 small onions, chopped really fine

4-5 tablespoons of tomato puree

2 teaspoons each of ginger and garlic paste

a couple of bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon of garam masala powder

3/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 a teaspoon of Kashmiri chilli powder

1 green chilli, slit in half (optional)

salt to taste

3 tablespoons of oil

50-75 ml of packaged coconut milk (vary to taste – I like the coconut flavor to not be too strong)

Cut the fillets into 2 or 3 inch pieces.

Mix the salt and turmeric in a large bowl and turn the pieces of fish in this mixture gently, to coat them well.

In a frying pan, heat the oil, add the bay leaves, fry for a minute, then add the green chilli and the onions and fry till they are a golden color. Now add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry everything for a few minutes till th onions start to turn a golden brown- but without letting the onions burn or brown too much as this will affect the final color of the curry.

Add the tomato puree next and once the oil starts to appear on the sides, add the turmeric powder and the red chilli powder and fry everything for a minute. Now add the fish pieces, turn over gently a couple of times to coat them well with the onion-tomato mixture, then pour in the coconut milk and water. Simmer the curry for about 10 minutes or till it has the right consistency (not thin and runny, but it shouldn’t be too thick either).

Stir in the garam masala and garnish with fresh, chopped coriander leaves.

Leave a comment

Filed under Curries, Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas

Prawn Malai Curry

When the boulanger asked if I could do a fish curry for next Tuesday, my first reaction was to tell him honestly that I have very little experience cooking fish. But then I remembered that I made this Bengali curry, which combines prawns and coconut milk, once a long time ago and the girls did like it.

He was quite happy with that suggestion when I mentioned it so this is what I am going to make for next Tuesday along with some peas pulav, batata vada, mint-coriander chutney and carrot salad.

The classical chingri (that’s Bengali for prawn) malai curry does not include tomatoes I think, but I prefer to make it with them.

Prawn Malai Curry

10-12 medium-sized prawns (shelled and de-veined; so I like to use the frozen, ready-to-use variety)

1 small onion, chopped really fine

3 tablespoons of tomato puree

1 teaspoon each of ginger and garlic paste

a couple of bay leaves

1/4 teaspoon of garam masala powder

3/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 a teaspoon of Kashmiri chilli powder

1 green chilli, slit in to half (optional)

salt to taste

3 tablespoons of oil

50 ml of packaged coconut milk (or a little less would be okay too)

3/4 cup of water

Soak the frozen prawns in some water for a few minutes, then drain the water and pat the prawns dry.

Mix the salt and turmeric in a large bowl and turn the prawns in this mixture gently to coat them well.

In a frying pan, heat the oil and fry the prawns till they are a golden color (don’t fry for too long else the prawns can become a little hard). Take them out and keep them aside.

In the same oil, add the bay leaves, fry for a minute, then add the green chilli and the onions and fry till they are a golden color. Now add the ginger and garlic pastes and fry everything for a couple of minutes, without letting the onions brown as this will affect the final color of the curry.

Add the tomato puree next and once the oil starts to appear on the sides, add the turmeric powder and the red chilli powder and fry everything for a minute. Now add the prawns, stir together everything well, then pour in the coconut milk and water. Simmer the curry for about 10 minutes or till it has the right consistency (not thin and runny, but it shouldn’t be too thick either).

Stir in the garam masala and garnish with fresh, chopped coriander leaves.

This curry is best eaten with plain, hot Basmati rice or a peas pulav, IMO and makes a great change from the more time-consuming chicken or lamb curries. It reminds me of that ad from long ago – I think it was the TV commercial for Maggie noodles when they were first introduced in India – “quick to cook, good to eat!”

Leave a comment

Filed under Curries, Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas

Egg Curry

Maria, our neighbor from the first floor and the mother of Katia who is in CP in the girls’ school, came over this Tuesday afternoon for a “how-to-cook-a-curry” demo.

Carrot salad -which was the other thing I showed her to make, since she and her husband liked it very much at a PTA lunch in December- and jeera pulav on the side made for a nice dinner that evening. The girls love this curry as much as they do rajma or chicken curry and they were quite pleased to find three of their favorite things on the table.

The quantity here was enough for the four of us, Maria’s family and there was some left over as well.

Egg Curry
8 eggs –  hard boiled, shelled and sliced in half

5 large potatoes, peeled and cut in to 3 or 4 chunks across the length

4-5 large onions, peeled and chopped quite fine

8 tablespoons of tomato puree (made from canned tomatoes)

5 cloves of garlic, peeled and grated

a 1 and a 1/2  inch square chunk of peeled ginger, grated

3/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder

3/4th or 1 teaspoon of coriander powder

1/2 or 3/4th teaspoon of garam masala

1 teaspoon of kashmiri/deghi chilli powder

1 teaspoon of ajwain seeds (optional)

1/2 a teaspoon of cumin seeds

3 pods of black cardamom

2-3 small sticks of cinnamon

salt to taste

6 tablespoons of sunflower oil

Warm the oil in a pressure cooker, add the black cardamom and cinnamon, then when their aroma is released add the ajwain seeds and the cumin seeds. When these begin to brown, add the onions and fry at a medium hot temperature till they are golden brown in color. Now add the potatoes and fry these with the onions till the potatoes start to acquire a crisp, golden color and the onions turn quite brown. Add the ginger and garlic halfway through this process. Add the tomato puree next and cook till the oil starts to appear on the sides.  Add the dry spices now and cook everything together or another 2-3 minutes. Season with salt, put about 3-4 cups of boiled water and pressure cook for as many whistles as are needed for the potatoes to be soft enough (2-4 whistles are usually enough  because the potatoes tend to be half-way there by this point anyway).

When the cooker can be opened, add the boiled and sliced egg halves to the curry and simmer for 7-8 minutes or till the curry is the consistency/thickness you want, stirring once in a while.

Chopped, fresh green coriander makes a great garnish.

Leave a comment

Filed under Curries

A Healthier Kofta Curry

I have always loved eating the kofta curry my Ma makes with paranthas, though it is something I myself made only very rarely until recently because the thought of deep-frying the koftas made me avoid this curry as not the healthiest choice.

But seeing how much the girls and Shri enjoyed the courgette-kofta curry I made a couple of months ago set me thinking again that I needed to figure out how to make the koftas with as little oil as possible. I did know it can be done- Gunchu di once told me that she makes them in the micro-wave oven. So some time ago I decided to carry out a little experiment and baked them instead, as Shri is not too keen on my using the micro-wave oven for cooking.

As it turned out, none of them noticed anything different about the kofta curry that evening; so I will be making it like this – by baking the koftas – and therefore a lot more often now !

The baked koftas; the roses are from November 6th .

Leave a comment

Filed under Curries