If you are in the mood for some exotic and rich flavors from South East Asia, do try my Chicken Rendang Recipe.
Rendang is a reduced, thickened meat stew, cooked in coconut milk and spices. Popular in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore, you can find unique versions in the different territories.
The distinctness in flavors of each region is attributed to the unique rempah (spice paste) that is used. The different ingredients that go into the rempah, create varied flavors for this dish with a long history.
One thing is common. The use of the freshest ingredients, which include fresh turmeric root, ginger, and galangal. Lemongrass, garlic, shallots, kaffir lime leaves and fresh along with dried chilies are used. Spice powders are absent or seldom used in this dish. Coconut milk and/or roasted coconut paste (kerisik) is also used.
The trademark thick and fiber-rich gravy coats the meat pieces, which are slow-cooked until very tender. A wide wok or skillet is preferred to a deep pot or cooker. Constant stirring is required for a process that can be time-consuming.
A skillful hand is required to make a good rendang. You need to roast the coconut precisely, in order to create a good kerisik. And constant checking and stirring over low heat to ensure the gravy nor the meat is sticking to the pan. Even the slightest scorching os this spice paste can ruin the flavor. You also need some practice, to keep the thick coconut milk from curdling. Maintenance of low heat is of utmost importance.
As the gravy dries up and thickens and braises the meat in the process, the brilliantly tender meat is richly flavored with the rempah ingredients. Absolutely delicious, with steamed rice or Nasi Kunyit (Turmeric Rice), Ketupat (Steamed Pressed rice) or as an addition to Nasi Padang (Miniature banquet consisting of rice with many optional side dishes).
Rendang is believed to have originated in West Sumatra, Indonesia. It can be cooked with Buffalo meat, Beef or Chicken.
Varutharacha Kadala Curry is the authentic preparation of Black Chickpeas in a spiced, roasted coconut curry. The inviting aroma of the grated coconut, being fried with the simple spices lets everyone know what we are having for breakfast! Puttu and Kadala is a very popular breakfast item in Kerala and my husband loves it.
Roasting the grated coconut requires patience. You just can not step away from the stove during the 10 minutes of stir-frying
Earlier I had shared the recipe for a Simple Kadala Curry, which does not use the method of frying the coconut with patience and care. You can use that recipe on your rushed days. However, the patience and love that goes into this homely preparation yields a result that is well worth the extra effort!
Check out the stepwise pictures or the video for more detail.
Kori Gassi | Mangalorean Chicken Curry is a speciality of the Bunt community in Mangalore, India. Translated, ‘Kori’ means ‘Chicken’ and Gassi is ‘Curry’. The use a dried red chillies and coconut is vital in the authentic taste of this unique and tasty curry. Often served with Rice Balls (Pundi), or a local Rice Roti , known as Kori Rotti. It also goes really well with thin rice Crêpes (Neer Dosa) . At my place we have it with Kaima Pathiri / Nura Pathiri. The combination is absolutely splendid!
Try my Salmon Curry!
What is it that makes Salmon, the fish of choice for so many! Apart from the obvious healthy oils and all, it’s truly hard to resist the moist, tender and flaky fish. Are there ‘still’ those out there who are hesitant to even try salmon?? I can’t for the life of me, understand why! Although long ago, even I was reluctant to eat Salmon, reason being; I tried it for the first time in a simple curry, and I must not have done a good job because I decided not to buy salmon again..
Then after some time, I ended up buying it again to try once again, and this time I baked it. It – was – just – amazing! I absolutely love the fact that you can make it into a complete meal over a salad too. Perfect for my low-carb days!
And yes, I finally made a curry that we all loved as well. It is a Salmon Curry with the exotic flavors of Thai ingredients. It comes together simply and tastily!
Malabar Fish Curry with Coconut Tamarind and Tomato
Kerala is known for its delicious fish and seafood. There are so many varieties of fish curry that are so very delicious. While in many curries, ‘kudampuli’ or gambooge is used, in the Malabar region, most curries only use tamarind as the souring agent. Ground coconut, tomato and tamarind flavors this curry, which is so simple to make but so heartwarmingly comforting to eat as well! Served over rice with papad and vegetables or even for breakfast with puttu. For this curry, I love to use the milk pepper (thondan mulaku, ney mulaku (ghee pepper) or sambar chilli). It has the loveliest buttery or milky aroma. It can be replaced with any mild green chilli. The curry is also best made with fish like Seer Fish.
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Rogan Josh | Kashmiri Mutton Curry
This is the hugely popular Mutton Curry from the beautiful Kashmir Valley. One of the menu items of the ‘Kashmiri Wazwaan’, the traditional Kashmiri banquet. Rogan Josh was bought to Kashmir by the Mughals. The dish is of Persian origin and is rich and deeply aromatic. Rogan / Roghan is derived from the Persian word ‘روغن’ which actually means, ‘ghee’. Josh, ‘جوش; means boil, and is also used as an expression of intensity. So essentially Rogan Josh, means ‘boiled in ghee with intensity or at high heat’. A perfect dish for the cooler climates.
Mutton is used (Goat Meat) here, and the meat is cooked so tender in the ghee. So delicious that it just has to be experienced to know the deliciousness! This is how the Pandit style Rogan Josh is made. No onions or garlic in the preparation.
Some versions of the curry use yoghurt to add a sour note. I mush prefer the one without yoghurt as I have made here. The trademark color of the Rogan Josh is also very appealing. A fiery red color, that originally comes from the ‘Mawal ke phool’ or Dried Cockscomb flower , a red flower, indigenous to the Valley. Since it is not easy to find, deep red kashmiri chilli powder combined with kashmiri saffron is used to get the natural red color. Alternatively, these days Ratanjot or its powder is used, however these days it is often mixed with synthetic coloring. If you have neither, simply use a good bright red kashmiri chilli powder.
I served this for this Eid ul Adha along with Shirazi Rice and it was quite a hit.
Mung Dal Tadka – Perfectly Cooked and Seasoned Lentils
What is it about the humble dal, that makes it a comfort food that transcends cultures? Simple, healthy and just plain delicious. Let’s take a look at the different elements to consider if you want to make that perfect Dal!
First and foremost, if you are new to preparing dal, here’s some things that might help. Dal is defined as being a split pulse, but generally the term is used for any dried bean or peas. Tur Dal, Chana Dal, Maash Dal, Masoor Dal… there are around 5 dozen varieties…
The term Dal is also used for the dish prepared using these lentils. It might be on the drier side and it might be more curry like. Some dals require a long soaking period. Some dals require dry roasting to release the flavors, prior to cooking. In this recipe, we are using husked green bean, which is called Mung Dal. It can be cooked without soaking, although some may argue this point. It is often the first dal given to a toddler, since it is easily digested and can be very smooth. It is also very nutritious.
Next, is our mode of cooking. These days many will resort to pressure cookers to cook the dal quickly. I am a fan of pressure cooking. I find that many Indian Meat dishes particularly, are actually enhanced by using a pressure cooker. However, in the case of the humble dal, I would recommend taking that extra time to slow cook it, for the ultra smooth and luscious consistency. All the flavors get time to ‘get to know’ each other during the cooking process. Quick cooking can cause the flavors to turn frigid.. they just need time to ‘melt’ into the mix. Remember – Slow and Low. I also love cooking in heavy based pots or earthen ware, to prevent the dal from sticking to the bottom.
We also take into account the different additional ingredients. Dal is often mixed with other vegetables like cauliflower or various squash varieties. It is sometimes cooked with a ground coconut paste. Onions, Garlic, Ginger, Green Chillies and tomatoes… all of these are often used.
Salt is essential in the perfect dal, but too little or too much can make a drastic impact on the end result. I have found, the old wives tale of not adding salt at the beginning to be helpful. Salt is best added after the dal has softened. Always add a little at first, if unsure.
Then theres the ‘Tarka’ – the Tempering of the dal, with oil or ghee and spice. Although ghee (clarified butter) makes a dal all the more delicious, groundnut oil, coconut oil or bran oil are other good options. The oil is heated and spices like cumin, black cumin, mustard seeds, dried chillies , curry leaves, and other whole spices are sometimes added. The spluttering mixture is poured over the cooked dal. After allowing the dal to rest briefly, it can be served.
Okay, enough of that, let me tell you how a make a simple, humble and delicious dal.
Dal Makhani Punjabi Recipe | Delicious Buttery Lentils
Whole Black Lentils (Urad Sabut Dal) is used to make this creamy and well blended dish. Dal Makhani, may not be as quick as other lentils to prepare as it requires a longer cook time. For those who may not know, the black dal is the same dal that is used to make Idli or Dosa Batter, just that it is with the black husk intact. Another popular dish made with this is Mah ki Dal (Kaali Dal). This is made using only the black dal. The Dal Makhani , however combines a little bit of Kidney Beans (Rajmah) and sometimes a little bit of Yellow Dal (Chana Dal).. A very comforting and traditional dish that goes well with roti or rice. Even the kids love it.
Due to the lengthy preparation process, many Indians only prepare this dish for special occasions, but using a pressure cooker the dish can be prepared easily.. just plan ahead as the dal requires a good amount of time for soaking. Once you sit down to enjoy this creamy and rich meal, you will delightfully realize that it was worth the time spent! Worth the buttery calories too. 🙂 A little butter is good for you, I swear. 😉
Depending on what you are serving the Dal Makhani with, you can make it a thicker gravy like mine or a little more loose in consistency.
Nadan Varal Curry | Bral Fish Curry
This is the Nadan Varal Curry – The country style Bral Fish Curry which is much sought after by so many. Feelings of nostalgia, certainly take over when those who love this fish are served this curry. An authentic method of preparation that has been followed for decades. Varal fish is also known by the names of ‘banded snake head fish or dragon head fish’ .. It is also popular in Thailand and Indonesia.
Murgh Makhani – Moti Mahal Style – Delhi Butter Chicken
Murgh Makhani or Butter Chicken is one of Indian Cuisines Star Creations. The original was made at Moti Mahal Restaurant and still remains one of the best out there. This recipe gives you a truly Restaurant quality dish that tastes so much like the famous recipe. You must try this! I have another version of Butter Chicken here. It is slightly more tangy than this one, and provides a detailed garam masala recipe along with it. And then theres the super Easy Butter Chicken Recipe using canned nestle cream. Yupp, I have tried all sorts of recipes. These are the ones with the best, yummiest results! Try them all! 🙂
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