Kolambi Batatyachi Curry

I really like to think of this recipe as my own invention – although it was put together one Sunday when I had an 11 am movie to catch and didn’t really feel like eating lunch outside! Influenced by 2-3 different kinds of curries we make with very simple ingredients and oh so easy to put together.

I love to have this with pau- especially on those lazy Sunday mornings when you don’t really want to make an elaborate spread. 

Doesn’t really qualify as a PP recipe…

Ingredients (4 portions)  

2 potatoes – peel and roughly dice – apply a lil turmeric powder and salt and fry them till cooked and golden. 
1/2 tsp each of sesame and poppy seeds  

1 tsp of coriander seeds

1 large sliced/chopped onion

( fry these 3 till brown in half tsp oil)

1/2 cup grated fresh coconut 

10-12 cashewnuts

2 tsp of ginger-garlic paste

Grind these to a fine paste using a tsp of vinegar and some water as required.

  
1 small chopped tomato

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1cup shelled and deveined medium to large prawns (marinate in some red chilli powder and a tsp of ginger garlic paste and set aside for 20-30 mins)

  
1/2 tsp methi seed

Pinch of hing 

1 tbsp of wholewheat flour (atta)

Method 

Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a non stick pan, add in hing and methi seeds. Fry for a minute and once the methi’s fragrant, add the flour and sauté for a min or two till brown.

  
 Add the masala paste and powdered masala – sauté till it starts to leave the sides.

  
 Add the tomato and 2 cups of water along with the fried potatoes and bring the mix to a bubbling boil.

The atta will thicken your curry… Boil down or add water to bring it to the consistency you like. Season with salt and half a tsp of sugar (I add sugar to all my savoury recipes and salt to almost all my sweet ones)

Last add in the prawns and cook for around 2-3 minutes till they curl up and cook.    
Serve the potato and prawn curry with pau (my favourite) or bhakri /chapati /rice.

  

चिंबोरीचं खडखडलं! The Crab Curry you cannot resist…

I’ve always wondered why such a regal dish has such a strange name… Aaji used to tell us it had to do with the sound the shell made against the vessel while being cooked which seems like a plausible explanation.

There’s 2 kinds of crab we commonly get around Mumbai. There are the sea crabs referred to in PP lingo as होरी (hori)

and then there are the tastier and more expensive ones , the mud crabs or चिंबोरं (chimbori)

Note the shape of the upper shell carapace. This is a female chimbori and in all probability is filled with ‘Laakh’ or bright orange coloured roe… This bit I think makes it worthwhile to buy the female crab (मादी) over the male (नर) which is fleshier but (obviously) has no roe!!!

The khadkhadle experience begins with buying the chimbori in the first place…

The koli (or more likely the Kolin) will try and convince you that they were out all night risking their life trying to catch one… But the carnivore in you’s gotta persevere and stick to a rate. The fisherfolk’ll be nice enough to break the pincers (फांगडे) for you… Once that’s done, the rest of the cleaning process happens at home (slaughter included… If you’re weak willed, stop reading NOW).

So once you got the squiggly-wigglies home, don a pair of rubber gloves and  carefully break away a leg at a time… At the end, you should be left with two piles looking like this – you want to rinse these off under running water using a toothbrush to get rid of any muck residue on the shell.

Unlike a restaurant or many other people I know, our prep just involves cutting these into half and getting rid of the sandbag (entrails) of the crab… And they’re ready to use…

The rest of the recipe is fairly simple…

For around 5-6 large sized crabs, you will need

3 heaped tbsp of garlic paste

1 pinch of Hing

1 tsp haldi powder

1 tbsp red chilli powder

1 tbsp PP sambhar powder

1/2 cup oil

Salt to taste and water as reqd

Method

Heat oil preferably in a brass vessel add a pinch of hing.

Once it splutters, add the salt, dry spices and , cook till the raw smell goes away (a minute)

Add crabs and a bit of water and cook covered on a medium flame till the shells change colour to a bright orange.

Serve this salty spicy connoisseur’s bliss with plain rice and watch the partaking people demolish endless mounds of rice… You just won’t know when to stop!

Konfal Pattice

Konfal aka purple yam is a tuber popular among the #pathareprabhu clan as fasting food… 

The texture is quite unlike a potato or sweet potato and the flavour’s pretty unique too.

 I usually pressure cook the whole yam – cut into chunks and devour them with salt and fresh coconut chutney – this is my favourite fasting food and occasional breakfast… 

This particular recipe I’m posting here doesn’t qualify for upvaas ( it has peas and coriander)… But it’s a family favourite nevertheless.

The added advantage of using this yam to cover a stuffing for pattice – you can’t go wrong!! The starch content is so high – they’ll never disintegrate unlike say a potato…

These make a wonderful crisp on the outside – delicious on the inside snack… 

Ingredients 
1/2 kg purple yam or कोनफळ 
2 medium potatoes
2 slices of bread
1 green chilli 
1 tsp jeera

For the filling 
1 cup shelled green peas
2 medium sized chopped onions 
1 cup chopped coriander 
1 cup grated fresh coconut 

Salt and sugar to season and oil for frying

Method

Pressure cook the yam and potatoes (1 whistle and 10-12 minutes), peel and grate, add salt and a chopped chilli.


Soak the bread slices in water for a minute and squeeze dry. Crumble and mix into the mashed potato yam mix. Add a tsp of jeera.

Knead for a minute and add a few drops of oil. Divide into 20 equal balls and set aside.

Heat a tsp of oil in a nonstick pan, add a pinch of hing and 1/2 tsp jeera… Add chopped onion and once translucent, add boiled peas, grated coconut and chopped coriander. Season, Mix well and roughly mash together.

Stuff each mash ball with a portion of stuffing and deep fry / pan fry till golden brown.

Serve hot with some green chutney or ketchup

  

My first attempt at Kolkata Biryani

The components required to construct the Biryani –

1. Garam Masala

2. Potato

3. Rice

4. Chicken (2 drumsticks, 2 thighs and 2 breast pieces cut in half) 

Garam Masala Powder

1 tbs cumin seeds (Shah Jeera)

1 tbs coriander seeds

1 tbs black pepper

1 tbs white pepper

2 or 3 black cardamom

7 or 8 green cardamom

1 whole nutmeg 

2 whole mace (javetri flower)

5 or 6 whole cloves

1 inch cinnamon stick

  

Dry roast on a tawa/pan and grind – sieve through a muslin cloth. The above spices will yield probably enough for 2-3 times you make the Biryani.

Potatoes 

 Peel 4 medium sized potatoes, cut in half and fry them over a high flame in some oil till the outside is golden and seared… Doesn’t need to be cooked through at this point.

  

Rice 

2 cups of fine quality Basmati Rice (I used India Gate aged rice which they claim is less sticky – I was very happy with the outcome but any old long grained basmati should work just as fine)

Wash the rice and soak in water for around 30 minutes

Heat about 6-7 cups of water with plenty of salt till it comes to a rolling boil. Add a tsp of ghee, a few drops of lemon juice,  couple of green cardamoms, peppercorns and cloves – continue to boil for 4-5 minutes.

Add the soaked rice and cook till almost done. Drain off the excess water (reserve a cup of liquid) and cool the rice. Sprinkle a generous pinch of the garam masala powder and gently mix into the rice with a few drops of kewra water. 

This drainage method and addition of ghee ensures that the rice grains stay separate in addition to giving the rice nice and fragrant.

   

   

Soak a generous of saffron strands in half a cup of milk and set aside

Other Components 

Onions 

1 onion to be sliced really fine and fry to a golden brown birista 

2 onions sliced roughly and fried to a golden pink

Chicken 

Trim off excess fat and make deep gashes into the chicken pieces, rub in half a tsp of the garam masala powder with 3-4 tbsp dahi, salt to taste, marinate and set aside for 30-40 minutes.

In a non stick pan, heat a tsp oil, add chicken pieces and sear off on a high flame till brown.

Add another tsp of oil, add the roughly sliced pink onions, 3 tbsp ginger-garlic paste and a cup of dahi, add 2 tsp of red chilli powder and a tsp of the ground garam masala powder. Add a handful each of chopped mint and coriander leaves. Add salt to taste

Cook these for a few minutes and strain this – grind the residue in a blender till smooth.

Mix this paste with the browned chicken pieces. 

   

 

Assembling the Biryani 

Coat a thick bottomed pan with a tsp of ghee till the vessel is coated

Arrange the potatoes at the bottom

Add a layer of the chicken pieces and the masala paste

   

   

Arrange one thirds of the rice in a layer over the chicken

Add one third of the rice colored with the soaked saffron 

Finally, add the last one third of the rice mixed with the birista

Add half a cup of the reserved rice cooking liquid and sprinkle a tsp of kewra water over the top

Cover the vessel with a tight lid sealing the edges with atta dough

Cook over a low flame for 1 hour and rest for 30 minutes thereafter

Served these with a boondi raita and tomato-onion kachumber… Cholesterol laden bliss!

   

 

 Bilimbachi Sheer

Averrhoa Bilimbi (बिलिंब in Marathi) is an exotic sour fruit – the Pathare Prabhu clan uses this to make a curry that goes by the name बिलिंबाची शीर. The bilimbi may be replaced by any fruit / veggies (tomato / grapes / pineapple). Here goes the recipe –

Ingredients

Coconut Milk – 2 cups Grated coconut – grind with one cup of water and squeeze and strain out thick extract, grind the residual coconut with one two cups of water, squeeze and strain again to yield thin extract

Besan – 2 heaped tablespoons to be dissolved in the thin coconut extract

1/2 tsp each of hing and haldi

1 tsp each of red chilli powder and Pathare Prabhu Sambhar (may be replaced with a garam masala powder)

10-12 ripe bilimbi chopped roughly

1 small onion – chopped roughly

Salt and Sugar to season

Method

Add the chopped fruit and onion in a vessel, cook in a little water with the hing, haldi, chilli and sambar (no oil) till done.

Once cooked, add the besan dissolved in thin extract and mix well. Cover and cook for 5 minutes till the slurry thickens and there is no raw residual smell of the besan. Season with salt and sugar to your taste.

Add the thick extract and take off the flame.

Serve at room temperature with a spicy pickle and steaming white rice.

PS – the pic has the original recipe from गृहिणी मित्र (first version published circa 1910) – from my 1948 version of the book.

 Kolambi/Karandiche Hirwe Kalwan

Just like the earlier shiryache post, this is a fairly simple and utterly delicious coconut curry. It’s a Pathare Prabhu staple and apart from prawns (kolambi/karandi) variations can be made with egg or you could choose to keep it vegetarian.

Personally, I prefer the version with karandi (small prawns) in it.

This recipe serves around 6 people if you are having it as a side and have a main course to go with it.

It will easily serve 4 people if you are serving it on it’s own. I love eating this with fresh pav. But it goes well with chapatis/steamed rice too.

Ingredients –

1 Grated Coconut –  roughly 3 cups

Shelled and cleaned prawn (kolambi/karandi) – 1 cup

Juice of 1 Lemon

Rice – 1 tbsp (washed and soaked in water)

Garlic – 5-6 cloves

Coriander leaves – 1 small bunch (cleaned and washed)

Salt to taste

Hing – A pinch

Oil – 1 tbsp

1. Grind together a cup of grated coconut, garlic, coriander, soaked rice and salt to a chutney and set aside.

2. Use the balance 2 cups coconut to extract coconut milk. Start with a cup of water for the thick extract and then 2 cups water for the thin extract

3. Heat the oil in a deep vessel and add hing. Once it splutters, add the ground green chutney and saute for a minute over a medium flame

4. Add the thin extract (2 cups) and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, cover it and simmer over a low flame for 2 minutes. (I usually boil some prawn heads in the thin extract – find that the flavour’s better without having to overcook the prawns)

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5. Add the prawns in at this point and the thick extract . Stir this in and cook uncovered for a minute or two untill the prawns are cooked. (After the thick extract is added, the flame needs to be low. Thick extract requires gentle cooking. If it boils over post this point, the curry tends to have a split appearance and texture… Doesn’t really impact the taste!)

6. Take it off the flame and let it cool down a bit. Add the lemon juice and adjust the seasoning.

This needs to be served at room temperature with steaming hot rice or warm with pav.

 

 

 

Dabba Gosht – My version

I have very fond memories of eating this at Delhi Durbar in Colaba for the longest time… 

This is the first time I tried it at home though! 

My recipe is slightly different from the Delhi Durbar version. And while its inspired by this recipe I stumbled upon at http://bohra-gourmet.blogspot.in/2011/02/dabba-gosht.html, there are many variations which I made up as I went along.

 For starters, my butcher refused to give me boneless mutton and insisted that I also take along some fatty tissue (which I don’t normally buy!). Nevertheless I just tied the white stuff into a muslin pouch with some whole garam masala and popped it into the pressure cooker while cooking the meat. 

The end result did turn out very nice! 

 This should easily serve 4 people 

Ingredients

 1 cup boiled and cooked Pasta – preferably macaroni 

 Mutton – 500 gms (boneless) I went with around 750 gms net. Total yield of the boneless meat would be approximately 500 gms. This needs to be cut into cubes around 3/4″ thick. 

 Whole garam masala to be tied in a muslin cloth (cloves – 2-3, cinnamon – 1″ stick, cardamom – 2-3, peppercorns 5-6)… Since I used only the boneless meat, I tied the bones and discards (fatty tissue etc) in the muslin cloth. 

 1 finely chopped onion 

 Ginger-Garlic paste – 2 tbsp 

 2-3 slit Green Chillies

 1/2 tsp Haldi 

A tsp each of red chilli powder and dhania jeera powder 

 Put all the above ingredients and the muslin bundle into a pressure cooker and cook upto 2 whistles with 2 cups of water. 

  

Then simmer for a further 10 minutes.

At the end of this, the meat will be really soft and tender and you should be left with around 2.5 cups of stock (onions and water which’ll leach out of the meat will add the volume). 

  

 Strain out the stock and reduce the stock on full flame till you have a paste like residue. 

This will have a concentrated flavour of the onions, ginger-garlic and meat. 

Cook the pasta alongside…

For the Sauce

2 tbsp – ghee

1.5 tbsp – wholewheat flour

1.5 cups of milk (if you don’t care about the calories adding up, use malai… Tastes delicious!) 

Heat ghee, add flour and whisk in the milk – cook till thick.

 1 tomato – cut into really thin slices 

 Salt to taste, 

Pepper Powder, 

Red chilli powder 

Garam masala powder for seasoning

 (I used 1/2 tsp each… This is really upto individual taste)   

Mx all of these and pour into a baking dish… Beat an egg and pour it over the top.

  

Bake till the egg sets and bakes to a golden colour – around 15 mins at 160-180 degrees.

  

Garnish with coriander on top and serve with chapati/rumaali roti.

My Gudi Padwa Lunch table for Family

There was pineapple shrikhand with puris (made by Aai and Maushi), stuffed chilli bhajiyas and wheat kurdayis, Aamti Bhaat and Batata Bhaji (yellow) and Matkichi Usal…

T’was one of those rare days when everything on the menu was vegetarian!

And there’s our ‘Gudhi’ to the left… I thought it looked gorgeous! Nestled amidst the house plants was truly reminiscent of Spring!

Tomatochi Sheer (टोमटोची शीर)

Shire (शिरे) simply means coconut milk. The PP community uses a few words and terms which are quite different compared to the regular colloquial Marathi…  Shire being one such instance. (Most Maharashtrians would refer to coconut milk as नारळाचे दूध… And barring the PPs, very few coastal regions would be aware of the existance of coconut milk… Typically, before the advent and eventual popularity of Thai food, mostly the expression ‘coconut milk’ would draw a blank!)

Coming back to the topic at hand.. ‘Shiryache’!

No PP meal is complete without shiryache (coconut milk gravy). On vegetarian days, typically Mondays, Chaturthi or some specific religious events there are vegetarian versions. Shiryache is very versatile… There are versions which can be had as ‘fasting food’, some are cooked using seasonal fruits and vegetables, some with prawns (कोलंबी or करंदी) and go by the name ‘sheer’ (शीर) or ‘sambhare’ (सांभारे).

The shiryache is never too spicy. On the contrary, more often than not, it has a sweet undertone balancing out the spice of the fish/mutton/chicken/veggie which usually form the hot and spicy elements in the meal. This goes well with chapatis, pav but I personally like it best with a mound of steaming hot white rice!

Another peculiarity is that once made, the shiryache is rested for at least 30 mins to an hour (in a process which PP’s refer to as निरसायला… I’m not sure that word is used by any non PP). Shiryache is usually not served piping hot. The entire flavour and taste of the dish is apparent only when served lukewarm or at room temperature! It needs to be treated delicately even when reheating as it can split if it boils over ruining the texture and look of the dish!

This recipe for tomatochi sheer is simple to prepare, is a lovely colour and has a nice mild flavour. You could even serve this as a soup. Leave the prawns out of this recipe and you have a lovely vegan version. Here’s the recipe (Serves 4) –

Ingredients

  • Ripe Red Tomatoes – 4 large nos (Roughly chopped)
  • Green Chillies – 2 nos (Roughly Chopped)
  • Coriander Leaves – 2 tbsp (washed and chopped)
  • Besan – 1.5 tbsp
  • 1/2 Grated Coconut
  • 1/2 cup peeled, shelled and cleaned prawns
  • 4 cups of water
  • Methi seeds – 1/2 tsp (optional – most traditional recipes would exclude this.. It’s just something that I personally like)
  • Red Chilli Powder – 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
  • A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • Oil – 1 tbsp
  • Salt and Sugar for seasoning

1

Method

  • In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat a tbsp of oil. To the heated oil, add a pinch of hing and methi seeds and splutter for a couple of seconds.
  • Add in the tomatoes (set aside a tbsp for garnish), chillies, chilli powder, coriander, turmeric, besan, salt to taste and around 1/2 tsp of sugar.
  • Cook these stirring once in a while on a medium flame and add 1/2 a cup of water. Once this reaches a boil, cover and simmer over a low flame for around 5-7 minutes till the tomatoes are cooked and the besan loses its raw smell.

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  • Remove the lid and cook further for around 5-7 minutes on a medium fame, till most of the liquid evaporates. The idea is to extract the maximum flavour from the tomatoes at this point. You will notice that by now the besan has cooked and thickened this mixture,
  • Once this cools, run the mixture through a blender till smooth. (This step is optional. Many prefer the chunky texture in the final dish. I set aside a few chopped tomatoes and add them in later to get that effect.)
  • I will attempt to explain the process of extraction of shire from the grated coconut. You need to make 2 extracts ( first thick extract known as आपशीरे  and 2nd thin extract which we refer to as पाणशिरे…)
  • In the same blender, add the grated coconut and a cup of lukewarm water. Blend these for a couple of minutes and strain into a bowl. Extract the maximum liquid you can from this grated coconut and water blend into a bowl (this is the आपशीरे) and put the coconut back into the blender.
  • Add 1.5-2 cups of lukewarm water again to the blender and blend the same coconut again for a couple of minutes. Again repeat the process of straining and extracting the liquid from this blend into a separate bowl. This is the thin extract or पाणशिरे.

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  • Alternately, to simplify matters, you could use cans or tetrapacks of coconut milk readily available in stores. I find that these seem to alter the taste a bit but work just fine if you’re short of time or just plain bored.
  • Add the thin extract and the reserved chopped tomatoes and prawns (if using) to the tomato-besan blend and on a medium flame, bring this to a boil stirring continuously. As soon as it starts bubbling gently, reduce the heat and simmer gently for a 3-4 of minutes still stirring the mix. The tomatoes and prawns should be cooked by now.

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  • Add the thick coconut milk extract. Mix well. Continue to simmer  for 2-3 more minutes stirring continuously without allowing the mix to come to a boil. If it boils over, the coconut milk tends to split. If this happens, there is no way I know to rectify the dish (although it just affects the look… the dish still tastes almost the same)
  • Adjust the salt+sugar seasoning. Most PPs generally prefer to add a couple of teaspoons of sugar and have this really sweet.
  • Now take it off the flame and let it cool down till its lukewarm or at room temperature. This resting phase is also important as the flavours get stronger as it cools down.
  • Tomato sheer is best served with a spicy gholiche bhujane (more on this later) and steaming white rice.

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Chicken Korma – my twist to the traditional दक्खनी (Deccan) Korma

Ironically, I’m choosing to post a non-PP recipe as my first post. We had a couple of visitors for lunch last Sunday. I wanted to cook something non-spicy yet delicious… 

Hence chose this recipe!

 

image 

Ingredients 

 Chicken (On the bone) – 1 kg 

Dahi – 200 gm (hang the curd in a muslin cloth and remove excess water – The consistency should be stiff but not as dry as श्रीखंड चक्का) 

Fresh Cream – 100 ml (You could choose to skip this) 

Tomatoes – 3 nos large – pureed

Onions  – 3 nos large – slice and deep-fry to golden brown crisps, crush with palms to a coarse powder consistency 

Cashewnuts – 1 वाटी (soak in warm water and grind to paste) 

Ginger Garlic Paste – ½ वाटी
Pinch of saffron (dry roast, crush and soak in the juice of 1 lime) 

Red Chilli Powder (Kashmiri), 

Turmeric Powder, 

Garam Masala Powder (Sambar will do) – a tsp each
Khada Garam Masala – peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom 

Oil – 4 tbsp 

 Masala Paste 

1 large onion – slice and sauté in very little oil till brown 

Khas Khas – 2 tbsp (dry roast) 

Coriander Seeds – 2 tbsp (dry roast) 

Whole Red Chillies – 7-8 nos (dry roast – I used Bedgi as I didn’t want it too hot)

 Grated Coconut – 2 tbsp (dry coconut is traditionally used in most Hyderabadi Kormas which is what influenced this dish… but fresh grated coconut works just fine – roast in very little oil till nutty n toasted) 

Grind these to a smooth paste

image image

  

 Method 

Season and marinate the chicken in lemon juice and saffron

 Heat the oil in a pan, add the khada garam masala and temper. 

Add the masala paste and fry till the oil separates (roughly 5-6 min)

 

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Add dry masala (turmeric, kashmiri chilli powder and garam masala) and mix it in. 

Add tomato puree and again saute till oil separates (another 5-6 min) 

Add the marinated chicken and saute till coated in masala.

Mix in the hung curd and cashew paste.

Simmer till the chicken is cooked through (You may need to add some water to adjust the gravy thickness) 

Add the fresh cream and check for seasoning.
Garnish with the crushed fried onion and chopped coriander.