Category Archives: Starters and Snacks

Shami Kababs

Ma used to make these sometimes, to serve with soup in the winter months or sometimes on Holi.

I was pleased that the ones I made yesterday for the boulangerie tasted quite like the ones I remember from all those years ago.

I have adapted the recipe here from the one in chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s “Khana Khazana”.

I decided to add an egg for binding the kabab mixture, though the original recipe does not require this, since the mixture seemed rather dry and I thought this might cause the kababs to break on frying. I also used a little more lime juice than the original recipe mentions because when Indira tasted a kabab from the trial lot I made last week, she thought a little more lime juice would be nice.

She was right -the kababs I made yesterday definitely benefited from that.

Shami Kababs

350-400 gms of chicken mince

1/3 cup of split pea lentils, soaked in warm water for 4-5 hours

1 and 1/2 teaspoons each of finely chopped ginger and garlic

1 large onion, chopped very fine

2 tablespoons each of finely chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves (or a little less)

about 1 and a 1/2  tablespoons of lime juice

1 egg

2 tablespoons of oil

1/2 a teaspoon of cummin seeds

2 pods of black cardamom

1/2  a teaspoon each of garam masala powder and Kashmiri red chili powder (or  stronger variety if you like)

1/2 teaspoon, or a little more, of coriander powder

1/2 teaspoon of green cardamom powder

salt to taste

Heat the oil in a frying pan. Add the cummin seeds and the black cardamom, fry for a few seconds and then add the ginger and garlic and fry these for half a minute. Now add the chicken, drained lentils and about 1 and a 1/2 cups of water. When the water begins to boil, cover the pan, turn down the heat and cook till the lentils are completely soft, stirring the mixture occasionally. Then remove the cover and cook the mixture on slightly higher heat till all the water has dried up.

Leave the mixture to cool, then grind it to a smooth paste. Take it out in a large bowl, add the onions, the herbs, the lime juice, the salt,  the spices and the egg (whisk it in a small bowl very lightly with a fork first, to blend the white and the yolk) , mix thoroughly and leave in the refrigerator for a couple of hours.

Divide the mixture in to equal portions – this quantity will make about 15 – and form these in to little patties. Shallow fry the kababs till they are nicely browned and crisp on both sides.

I made a tomato chutney for the boulanger to serve with the kebabs and he told me today that his customers liked that too.

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Rava Idlis

This is another of Pooja’s recipes, adapted a little by me.

Maybe I ought to start paying her a royalty for all these inspirations !

Thanks to this one, the girls loved their gouter today and I am looking forward to having the idlis for dinner tonight, with sambhar.

In the background – Ruhin’s artwork, from a year or so ago, which Boudi creatively transformed in to a set of place mats for us.

Rava Idlis

1 cup of suji/semolina/rava, slightly roasted

1 and a 1/2 cups of smooth yogurt

1 large carrot, finely grated

1 or 2 tablespoons of cashew nuts, sliced in half

5-6 curry leaves, finely chopped

1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds

2 teaspoons of sunflower oil

salt to taste

1 teaspoon of Eno fruit salt

Mix the yogurt in to the rava, adding a little water – about 1/2 to 1/3 of a small cup – if the batter seems too thick.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a small frying pan, then add the mustard seeds. When these start to pop, add the curry leaves, fry for a few seconds and then pour this mixture in to the rava batter. Now mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly.

Lightly oil the idli mold, pour about 2 tablespoons of batter in each section and steam the idlis till done. This will take about 15 minutes.

Take the idlis out with a butter knife.

The top of some of the idlis was a little damp still when I took them out of their molds but the moisture dried up in a few minutes.

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Filed under Breakfast Ideas, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Starters and Snacks

Mint- and Coriander-flavored Grilled Chicken

This is another recipe adapted from “Tikkas & Kebabs”, one of the “Chef’s Special” series published by Lustre Press in India.

I have wanted to try this one since a long time because of the very clear memory I have of the delicious mint-flavored chicken tikkas I ate once  in a restaurant in Delhi.

The girls loved this dish, when I cooked it for lunch last Wednesday.  When I told the boulanger about it – I wasn’t able to take any for him to taste because the girls and I polished it all off – he seemed to like the idea of it and has agreed to try it one Tuesday soon, instead of the usual tandoori chicken.

10-12 chicken drumsticks

100 grams of yogurt

2 tablespoons of lime juice

1 tablespoon of garlic paste

3-4 teaspoons of ginger paste

1 teaspoon of cummin powder

1 teaspoon of coriander powder

1 teaspoon of garam masala

4 tablespoons of oil

1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint leaves

4-5 tablespoons of melted butter, for basting the chicken

salt to taste ( two teaspoons or a little less, for this quantity of chicken, works for us)

Mix the ginger and garlic pastes with the salt and lemon juice.

Skin the chicken, make 3-4 incisions on each piece, toss the pieces thoroughly in the lemon juice mixture and  leave them in this marinade for 30 minutes in a large bowl.

In the meanwhile, strain the water in the yogurt by leaving it in a fine sieve for 15-20 minutes.

Mix the rest of the ingredients – except the butter – in the yogurt. Add this mixture to the chicken pieces and coat them well in it. Leave the chicken in this marinade for at least 8-1o hours, turning over the pieces once during this time.

Heat the grill to about 240 degrees Celsius, then place the chicken on a wire rack and grill till done (this takes about 40 minutes in my oven), turning the pieces over a couple of times during this time to make sure they are evenly cooked and basting with butter each time.

I love the mild but distinctive flavor of herbs here.

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Filed under Baked Main Meal Dishes, Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments

Potato-stuffed Bread Rolls

Last night, dinner consisted of exactly the same combination that Ma often made for dinner in the winter when we lived in Bokaro – vegetable soup, with these aloo-filled bread rolls on the side.

Ma never served these rolls on salad leaves, but I guess I felt that a few leaves from the bag of mesclun would stop me from thinking about the significant amount of oil which the bread must have soaked up when I fried the rolls !

I actually made these as a sort of  trial-run, since I wanted to take a couple to the boulangerie.

This is another of Pooja’s suggestions and has been a winner too.

Next week’s order from the boulanger is for these rolls and vegetable korma.

April 13th 2010

I did, as planned, hand over bread rolls and korma for 10 to the boulanger this morning. But I have spent the last few days wondering if  this has really been such a good idea, to introduce the girls to this snack (well alright,my own tendency to over-indulge once the rolls are made has been worrying me too).

The combination of bread and potatoes which is then deep fried is surely not a recipe for good health.  I did substitute white bread with multi-cereal bread but then commercial versions of the latter are not the real deal at all.

Then, in what must surely be a Sign, a news story that  highlights once again the problems with high glycemic index foods – of which potatoes and white bread are common examples -caught my eye first thing this morning.

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/12/glycemic.diet.heart/?hpt=T2
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/diabetes/articles/2010/04/12/eating-the-wrong-kind-of-carbohydrates-increases-heart-disease-risk.html

So while I fried a few rolls – which have been hugely popular with the girls – this evening for gouter –  with the leftover potato stuffing, I decided that I am not going to include this particular recipe here.

They’ll just have to call me for this one, if they do remember these rolls when they are older. For my part, I am not going to make these again in a hurry !

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Tandoori Chicken

Though what this is , actually, is oven-grilled chicken.

The girls  have always called it “red” chicken after the color of the excellent chicken that Jitender and Neelam always make at their barbeque parties and which Indira so looks forward to eating when we are invited !

The marinade – and therefore the taste of the chicken – I prepare is different from theirs though and is adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe in his  “Khazana of Indian Recipes”.

Tandoori Chicken

800 gms of chicken drumsticks

1 or 2 teaspoons of kashmiri chilli powder

4 tablespoons of lime juice

200 gms of yogurt

4-5 teaspoons each of ginger and garlic pastes

3/4 teaspoon of garam masala powder

salt to taste

about 100 ml of melted butter

2-3 limes, cut in to wedges

Skin and wash the chicken, then make cuts in several places on each piece.

In a flat bowl, mix half the lime juice and Kashmiri chilli powder and toss the chicken pieces in this mixture. Keep aside for 30 minutes.

In the meanwhile, leave the yogurt in a very fine sieve – to drain the whey – for 15-20 minutes.

Then mix the yogurt with the rest of the ingredients (except the butter),  toss the chicien pieces in this marinade to coat them well and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.

Pre-heat the grill to 240 degrees C, then place the chicken pieces at the top of the oven and cook till they are done, turning them over a couple of times so that all the sides are cooked evenly. Apply butter lightly with a brush each time on the surface just below the grill.

This dish is best eaten hot from the oven and lime wedges are a must-have accompaniment, for the juice to be squeezed on to each piece as it’s eaten.

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Filed under Baked Main Meal Dishes, Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments

Mangori – Green Moong Daal Vadas

This is another great dish that I learned to make from Atto.  On our visits to her home in Indore, I used to look forward to eating these – which she made each time – hot and crispy as they came out of the karahi.

These vadas have always been very popular whenever I have made them for get-togethers with friends here so when Pooja suggested I make these for the boulangerie, I thought that a great idea.

And indeed, the boulanger simply loved the mangoris I took for him to taste a couple of days ago.

So this is one of the things I’ll make for next week’s order, along with some vegetable biryani and tandoori chicken.

This recipe is adapted from Atto’s.  I also  add fennel seeds as Pooja does since this adds a wonderful flavor.

Mangoris

1 cup of whole green moong daal (or split/chilka moong)

1/4 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds

1 teaspoon of ginger paste

1 onion , chopped very fine

3 teaspoons of fennel seeds

1 and a 1/2 teaspoons of salt (or to taste)

oil to deep fry

Soak the lentils with the fenugreek seeds in 3 cups of water for at least 12  hours. then drain the water and grind the daal with as little water as possible to a smooth paste. Take this out in to a bowl and mix in the salt, the chopped onion, the fennel seeds and the ginger paste.

Heat about 400-500 ml of  oil in a deep frying pan till it almost reaches smoking point. Drop small portions of the batter – about 1 or 1/12 teaspoons each – to the oil and fry  the vadas till they are brown – they will be need to be darker than a golden brown so as to be well-cooked inside – and crisp.

These are delicious enough by themselves; coconut chutney on the side would be the icing on the cake.

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Tuna and Potato Cutlets

I first tasted these delicious fish cutlets at a potluck meal to which Jinia brought this dish as one of the starters.

I got the recipe from her when I made them for a “Cuisine de Monde” day at school when Indira was in the maternelle.   She had suggested that I make these, when I discussed the event with her, because in her experience, she said, this was a popular finger food with kids. And she was right about that – most of the children loved them, I remember, as did the mothers who were there.

I hadn’t made them again since then, but today as I mixed a salad for lunch and added some canned tuna to it, I was reminded of these cutlets. So I thought that instead of racking my brains trying to think of another potato-based dish for the boulangerie – since I don’t feel like making aloo tikkis or batata vadas again next week but potatoes do seem to be popular – I would make these cutlets, with the rest of the tuna in the can I opened this afternoon, for the girls’ gouter and take a couple of them to the boulangerie for Patrick to taste.

The girls, especially Noor, liked them a lot; I’ll find out tomorrow whether these will be part of the order for next Tuesday.

Tuna and Potato Cutlets

For 10 small cutlets –

90 grams of tuna (packed in water), drained

3-4 small potatoes

1 small onion, chopped fine

1/2 teaspoon of cumin powder

1/2 teaspoon of coriander powder

salt to taste

1/2 red chilli powder (optional) or 1 small green chilli, chopped fine (optional)

1 and a 1/2 tablespoons of cooking oil

2 eggs, whisked in a deep bowl (in which the cutlets can be dipped in to the egg)

6-7 tablespoons of breadcrumbs

Enough oil to deep-fry the cutlets

Boil and then peel the potatoes. Drain the tuna and break up the flesh with a fork. In a small frying pan, heat the oil, fry the onions till they are translucent, then add the tuna and cook for a just a little while till it is dry. Mix in the spices and cook for another minute, then take off the heat.

When the tuna is cool, mash in the potatoes and mix everything together thoroughly. Form 10 cutlets from this mixture. Dip them in the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs and deep-fry till they are golden brown.

This really does transform plain, canned tuna in the nicest way.

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Filed under Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments