Shikampuri Kebab (stuffed meat tikki/patties)

As usual…..I did the vanishing act, again ūüôā but have a good reason for that this time…Ma and Baba were here to stay with us in Melbourne…Oh! What a wonderful time we had together…visiting Tasmania where we went to Hobart, the 2nd oldest settlement of Australia and New Norfolk (a rusty old town rich in Antique shops dating back to World War II). We traveled a lot in the last few months, but in between I did cook..Baba and Ma, as you guys know, love variety and I wanted them to taste everything that isn’t easily available in India…from quails to new fish varieties like salmon, snapper, etc.., from veggies and fruits like fennel, butternut pumpkin, celery, persimmon, ¬† to ‘strange’ foods like raw oysters and mussels. In the next few posts I will share some of the recipes I that I made for them.

To start with lemme write about Shikampuri Kebab. Now the Mughals are praised for bringing in the concept of kebab to India. ¬†But it seems making kebab in different forms was a well-established tradition in India.¬†The Rajputs made ‘Suley’ or smoked kebabs with the game meat they brought in from their hunting expeditions. To preserve the meat they would spice &¬†pickle it and then cook it the next day over an open fire in the forest.¬†¬†When the Mughals came, they brought in their version of the kebabs and introduced the use of dried fruit, fragrances such as rose and¬†kewda¬†and nuts with the meat.

Interesting eh?! Anyways, going back to the post, here is the recipe.

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Easy Meat Loaf with Homemade Olive Bread and Grilled Veggies

Part 3 of Easy Peasy Meals

Aaaah….the Meat Loaf…brings back such fond memories of our early cooking adventures Didi…remember..you saw the recipe in one of Jethima’s cookbooks and decided to make it. I was staying at your Kirti Nagar home for a few days then…you being the Head Chef and I being your Sous Chef began making this dish. Once it was done, we quietly took it to the terrace, with our plates and ate the whole loaf!!!! Ufo (our beloved pet dog) kept inspecting the area around us lest we drop a few bits and pieces for him..but in despair ūüėõ Thinking of that day today is so strange..we both have come a loooooong long way from that phase…not only in-terms of cooking but also in terms of our girths ūüėÄ Do you have some pics from that time to post? Maybe looking at them I will get inspired to work out!! hehhehehee….anyways, going back to the post today, I am sharing it coz I think it is an easy dish even though it sounds complicated. Don’t you agree Didi?

Lamb Meat Loaf with Homemade Olive Bread and Grilled Veggies

Lamb Meat Loaf with Homemade Olive Bread and Grilled Veggies

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Braised Bacon and Silverbeet with Gratin Dauphinoise

Hello loves!

Where are you guys? You both have been too silent lately…tremendously busy, eh? But I have again started my cooking spree ūüôā and the latest was Braised Bacon and Silverbeet with Gratin Dauphinoise. ¬†I learned about Silverbeet first from my German family, the Oppolds – Erik, Alexa, Leo and Marta (an awesome bunch of foodies who not only adopted me in their love-filled household but also introduced me to the German Cuisine and many new vegetables/herbs). ¬†With a taste somewhat similar to spinach, ¬†it belongs to the beetroot family and has highly nutritious leaves. ¬†Do you know about this leafy veggie? Do you think any of the saags that we get in India, resembles this? ¬†The Gratin Dauphinoise is a French dish that uses the technique of baking or broiling ingredients topped with cheese, butter or breadcrumbs till a golden crust develops. ¬†It was created in the French region of¬†Dauphin√© where thinly sliced potatoes were layered with milk, cream, cheese and herbs in a garlic rubbed dish. Now you would ask how is it different from a Potato Au Gratin. ¬†The difference lies in the fact that the latter has breadcrumbs in it and is a bit softer/mushier than the former which is more crusty on the top due to the cheese. ¬†Besides gratins are made in deep pie dishes or casseroles where as a Dauphinoise only has 2-3 layers and can be cut into pieces to be served as¬†savory.

Without much ado, I will proceed with the recipes ample for 4 people.

Braised Bacon and Silverbeet with Gratin Dauphinoise

Braised Bacon and Silverbeet

250gms Bacon Rashers/cubes

500 gms Silverbeet or any green leafy vegetable that can be cooked like savoy cabbage

100 gms Sour Cream or 2 tbsp sour curd mixed with 2 tbsp cream

2-3 pinch of Nutmeg powder

1 large Onion

2 cloves of Garlic

Salt and black pepper to taste

First, wash and chop the silverbeet. In a pan, throw in the bacon and saute till crispy and golden brown. ¬†You don’t need to put oil in the pan as the bacon itself releases a lot of fat. ¬†Add in chopped onions and garlic. When the onions have softened, add the chopped silverbeet, 1 tsp of salt and cover to cook on ¬†medium heat. ¬†Please be careful while using the salt in this as the bacon is already salty. ¬†Once the leaves are cooked till a point that some crunch is left, add the sour cream, black pepper and the nutmeg powder. Stir well for 2-3 minutes, check the seasoning and take off the flame.

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Gratin Dauphinoise

4 big Potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices

1 shallot or 1/2 red onion finely chopped

1 big clove of Garlic (bruised)

Few Thyme sprigs

1 cup milk

1 tbsp cream

3/4 cup Grated Cheddar cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

In a saucepan, pour in the milk, the cream, thyme and onion/shallots. ¬†Bring to a boil and simmer for 3-4 minutes. Take a shallow baking tin/dish, brush it with the bruised garlic thoroughly and put a layer of the potato slices (retain the large and well cut slices for the top layer). ¬†With a¬†ladle, pour half of the milk mixture over the potatoes, enough to cover them. ¬†Sprinkle some salt and pepper and half of the cheese. Top this with another layer of potato slices, and the milk mix. ¬†Then bake at 160 degrees in a pre-heated oven for 45¬†minutes¬†or till a fork goes smoothly through the potato layers. ¬†The milk would start curdling and you may think that you would be left with a mushy bake. But don’t worry, take the dish out, sprinkle it with rest of the cheese and bake for another 15 minutes or till the whole thing is set and the top looks crusty and golden brown!!

Arrange the Braised Bacon and Silverbeet on a plate, cut a piece of the dauphinoise (didi you can present it in a better way I think) and serve with bread or fresh salad. ¬†It is not necessary to combine these two elements…so one can try new combinations..like Silverbeet/Gratin Dauphinoise with a lovely fish fillet or a chicken steak. ¬†One can also cook a vegetarian version of Silverbeet by adding mushrooms or ricotta/cottage cheese, just like our Palak Paneer ūüôā

Write back both of you, missing the chatter ūüė¶

Love,

Dakhina

Murgh Biryani (Chicken Biryani)

Dearest Rinki,

On April 8, 1981, one of my mother‚Äôs great-aunts passed away. Two years after the incident on her second anniversary, her husband showed his regard for his partner of forty three years by doing something extraordinarily beautiful. Kings of yore may have built marble edifices, but he a simple ordinary man did what he could do best. He painstakingly collected and documented his wife‚Äôs recipes from over a period of 37 years and had each one typed and bound into a recipe book. He then proceeded to gift a copy of this book to all of his wife‚Äôs loved ones. The amazing fact is that, Madhusrava Das Gupta, a South Indian ‚Äėnon meat eating‚Äô Brahmin, did not know how to cook when she got married and yet she left behind this impressive culinary legacy of almost five hundred recipes of which more than half are scrumptious meat dishes. She loved to cook and she cooked with love. She toiled in the kitchen to feed her friends, family and neighbors. Her book has such a vast array of recipes from snacks to jams, ice creams, sweet-meats ,fish and meat dishes from all over India, as well as what was then called continental food‚Ķor the sahib food of the British Raj like Bread and Butter Pudding, Roast chicken, Treacle tarts, and even a Baked Egg Custard for Baby! This much loved; dog eared book was passed on to me by my mother exactly a decade ago right after I got married. The action, may have been precipitated by the fact that, stuck in the middle of cooking something, I would call her long distance every day, from Santiniketan to Delhi to ask what I should do next. In recent times, the internet or apps on the phone may have become an easy source to access more exotic food. But when it comes to old favorites, Madhu didu‚Äôs (grandmother) book is still my bible. I met her only once when I was a small kid, yet her food has talked to me across decades. Some of her recipes like Mutton Biryani, I know by heart, and it has occupied a place of pride in my repertoire. ¬†I had occasion to make it just a few days back, and felt that writing about it here was a befitting tribute to the umbilicus called food.

Chicken Biryani

Murgh Biryani

Biryani is found in different avatars all over the country. Although there is no single fixed recipe for it, there is a logic which runs as the thread. It is usually a meat, chicken or fish and rice dish, usually slow cooked in a Handi (metal or earthen-ware pot). And it is usually served with a side dish of Raita or other kebabs. The one shared here was initially learnt from the cookbook I have talked about above, yet over the years it has undergone several changes according to my own tastes and preferences…This is a chicken biryani, but this can easily be replaced by mutton(goats meat), lamb or beef.

Ingredients (for 8 servings)

Chicken                                                                      2kg

Rice (long grained basmati)                             1kg

Potatoes                                                                    1 per person

Sour curd (yoghurt)                                             500gms

Onions (halved and thinly sliced)                   600gms + 400gms

Ginger + Garlic paste                                            2tbsp+2tbsp

Garam Masala powder                                         4 tsp

Kashmiri chili powder                                          4 tsp

Cumin powder                                                          4tsp

Coriander powder                                                  4 tsp

Whole spices: Cardamom 4-5, Cloves 4-5, Cinnamon 2 sticks, Bay leaf 2

Green chilies deseeded and julienned           6-7

Ghee (clarified butter, melted)                      2tbsp (the more the better!)

Cashew nuts, fried in ghee                             50 gm

Raisins                                                                    50 gm

Coriander and Mint                                        1 bunch each

Sugar                                                                     1 tsp

Juice of 4-5 Lemons and 2-3 tbsp Rose Water

100 mg Saffron strands soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk

Salt to taste

White Oil to cook

Method

Wash and marinade the meat in the yoghurt. Add salt enough for the meat, half of all the Powder Masalas (spices), half of the ginger garlic paste. Marinate for 1 hour if chicken and 2-3 hours for other meats.

Fry the 400 gm of onions to a crisp golden brown, in small batches. Mix half of this with the marinated meat. Reserve the rest for garnish.

Cut the potatoes into half lengthwise. Deep fry to golden brown, keep aside.

In a large pot heat approx. 250ml oil, add the sugar and let it caramelize, add the cardamom and cloves, next add the 500gm finely chopped onions and fry till soft and golden. Add the remaining ginger garlic paste and the remaining chili powder, Coriander powder and the cumin powder. Fry the masala stirring often, till it changes color, reduces, and the oil separates from it. Add the marinated meat, stir and slow cook covered. (At this stage add a little more salt for the masala and the potatoes) Stir occasionally. Arrange the potatoes on the top of the meat and cover and cook on slow fire. After fifteen minutes check the potatoes, if done take them out and keep aside.  Cook till meat is tender and the gravy thickened and oil has risen to the top. Now take out the meats and keep in a dish, and reserve all the gravy.

Wash the rice delicately. Boil a pot full of water with salt, cinnamon stick and bay leaf. You must not let the rice cook completely. The rice has to be taken out while it is still undercooked. It will cook in its own steam. If the rice is cooked well, then finally it will become soft and soggy. Check the rice; it should still have a white core in the center. Pour it out into a colander to drain the water.

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Traditionally Biryani is arranged and served in a handi. If you have one, it’s good otherwise a deep large pot with a lid will do. Arrange in front of you all the following:

(a) The meat and the gravy

(b) Rest of the crispy fried onions, fried cashew, raisins, julienned chili, mint and coriander   leaves, melted ghee, rose water, lemon juice and the garam masala.

Layer the bottom of the pan with an inch of rice, over this sprinkle a little of all the (b) ingredients. Then arrange a few meat pieces and gravy. Layer with the rice. Then again ingredients (b), on top of this the meat and gravy, and again rice…till all your rice and meat is used up. The top layer is rice. Over this arrange the potatoes and a final sprinkling of (b).Cover and stand the pot on the very slow fire, or you can put it in the oven for further fifteens twenty minutes.

Serve hot with Raita.

 I hope you will make this wonderful flavorsome and hearty dish. Trust me, it is guaranteed to make your home a favorite destination of all your friends !

Love you

Didi

Juicy Honey-Sesame Chicken Drummettes, Fried Eggs with Tamarind Relish & Fish Tikkis

Woooooooow Daibi!!! What a walk!!! I sure miss Delhi on such days….when I visit next time, please, oh please take me there again..coz I see new things that I never tasted…me and Niloy together drooled over your¬†Iftaar¬†foods post and the other pictures on your¬†DelhiByFoot¬†Facebook¬†page and took a pledge..WE HAVE TO GO TO DELHI 6 ON OUR NEXT VISIT!!

Didi, I too wish I was at one of Rizi’s B’day parties…managing kids or helping you clean afterwards would have been a cake-walk if I would have¬†had the chance to fill myself with all the goodies you make for these parties…I still remember the pictures of the self-made burgers that you made last year…yuummmm!! But lemme not stray with old memories of food again (is there something about food & memories, good or bad, they tend to linger on, don’t they?)… So¬†getting back to your last post, like you, some of my friends too have been asking me about a few starters that I keep making regularly..so here are some of my favorite recipes..please note that in this post the ingredients of the recipes are in italics.

Juicy Honey-Sesame Drummets with Grilled Butternut, Grilled Tomato and Avocado Salad

There are four amazing starters on this plate.  Grilled Butternut, which is basically half-inch slices of this buttery-textured pumpkin arranged on a grill pan and then sprinkled with olive oil, salt and freshly ground black pepper.  Just when the butternut slices are cooked (you can poke a knife in it to check) and slightly browned, sprinkle some shredded cheddar cheese on top.

Second is that beautiful Grilled Tomato where I cut the tomato in to half, cleaned the innards (Beauty Tip: don’t throw them..the juice and seeds mixed with one tsp of olive or almond oil and 1 tbsp whole wheat flour or black chickpea flour makes an awesome face pack or body scrub to reduce dark spots), stuffed it with lots of cheddar cheese and chives and then grilled it for 10 mins.

The third is an Avocado Salad or dip which as you know is called a guacamole.

The fourth is the very Juicy Honey-Sesame Chicken Drummettes! It is a bit different from the normal recipes coz I add a few extra flavors in it. ¬†For the two of us, I take 8-10 drummettes with skin (A whole chicken wing has three joints – one is the wingette which sort of rectangular in shape with the two skinny bones & meat in between. The drumette is the section that is attached to the body of the chicken and¬†resembles¬†a drumstick. The wing tip isn’t eaten normally). If someone doesn’t like the skin, they can peel it off by soaking the pieces in hot water. ¬†Then I marinate these drummettes in 1tbsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp oyster sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 1 tbsp tomato ketchup, 1 tbsp honey, 1/2 tsp hot chilli powder, 2 tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp ginger and 1 tsp garlic. ¬†I also add grated lime rind and finely chopped coriander root in this (according to my Thai friend Paruedee to get the maximum flavor of coriander leaves, one must use the part close to the roots. ¬†She washes them thoroughly and adds the green parts to her curry pastes or simply throws them in a boiling soup). ¬†After marinating for 5-6 hours, I pan fry them with very little oil on mostly high heat till they are partially charred and yummily cooked ūüôā In this way, all the juices remain intact and you have these flavorsome soft and amaazing drummettes….gosh I am drooling!!!!

Fried Eggs with a Tamarind Relish

Fried Eggs with a Tamarind Relish

This is again a recipe from Paruedee and she used to produce this simple but totally delicious¬†starter/main dish from thin air in what the Germans say, an augenblick (a moment). ¬†So you pan fry boiled eggs and set aside. ¬†Make a table tennis sized ball of tamarind and soak it in hot water. ¬†In a pan fry some chopped red chillis (depending on how hot you want it) and then add the tamarind water, sugar and salt according to taste and boil. I like it hot, sweet and very sour..but you can tweak accordingly. ¬†Then slice the eggs into halves and plate them. ¬†Pour the tamarind sauce liberally all over them, sprinkle chopped coriander, mint and basil, and throw in a generous dash of fried shallots on top (here you get them prepackaged in the market, but you can fry some onions till they are crispy brown). ¬†I drizzle some more sauce to add an extra kick ūüôā And you can serve these with drinks or as a party snack for kiddies or if you have made a lot of sauce, you can serve it with rice too!!

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Fish Tikkis

I made these fish tikkis or kebabs for Niloy’s b’day party. ¬†It was again very simple…I made some 35 tikkis by mashing 1kg boiled Basa fish fillets (any boneless fish would do), 4 medium sized boiled potatoes, 2 medium sized onions and 4 cloves of garlic chopped finely, 2 handfuls of mint leaves &¬†coriander¬†leaves, 5-6 chopped green chillis, 1 cup breadcrumbs, 2 tsp homemade garam masala, 4 tbsp lemon juice and salt to taste. ¬†¬†You can do the maths if you want small amounts ūüôā With a clean hand roll out table tennis sized balls and flatten them into a shape of a tikki. ¬†Pan fry these with few drops of oil. ¬†The sheer¬†exhilaration¬†of producing 35 tikkis made me forget my blog and¬†I didn’t take any pictures!! ūüėõ

Let me know if you guys try these..sending lots of love,

Dakhina

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Hey Rinks,

I still remember those half-spheres of eggs and were they addictive or what…the sauce was to-die-for. Actually I always thought that the eggs were simply boiled, now I know that u did saute them a bit…

This is really simple, i am making this very very sooooon ūüôā

cheers & take care

Ramit.

Iftaar Foods in Old Delhi, Jama Masjid

Hey hey hey lovely ladies…

I see you¬†both have been upto a LOT of cooking & eating & creating magic on the platters on the dining tables…and I wish while reading and going through the ‘edible’ pictures, that if only I had the Star Trek Transporters. Oh if only I could say “Beam me to Melbourne or Shantiniketan, Scotty”!! Do you remember them didi? Oh what excitement each week as we waited to watch the Star Trek TV series on our DD channel in India. Captain Kirk, Spock, Dr. McCoy,Uhura, Sulu, Scotty…wow what a time it was …

But I digress. So coming back to the question you asked me Didi, as to where have I been for past few weeks, in your previous post of the Chessboard & Chessman cake for our dear nephew’s birthday. Since I didn’t want to feel left out in the ‘Food explorations’ you both have been upto, so I best made use of these weeks of the Holy month of Ramzaan with multiple visits to the Foodie Paradise of ‘Old Delhi’ or ‘Delhi-6’ or as it was once known 350years back, the city of ‘Shahjahanabad’

The streets of Old Delhi are a treat for a foodie throughout the year, especially for authentic street foods, as you both have enjoyed with me earlier. But visiting that place with friends, guests & tourists who joined our DelhiByFoot gang’s Special Iftaar Walks during Ramzan was an altogether out of the world experience! During Ramzan, world-over as the sun sets, devout muslims break their day-long fast with the Iftaar¬†foods/feast and its called the ‘time for Iftaar or Iftaari’.

And Old Delhi, especially the streets near the Jama Masjid,¬†which incidentally is the largest mosque by size in India, awakens to a slew of delectable aromas and brightly decorated markets as Muslims break their fast with Iftaar. Our first Iftaar walk in early August was a great success and many friends ‘forced’ me to do it again and again…and you know how much ‘force’ they would have used over me, before¬†I agreed to make¬†2 more¬†forays into those streets,¬†to savour these special Iftaari foods!! Evil grin ūüėČ ūüėČ

Navigating through the¬†hustle-bustle¬†of the main markets around the mosque we made our entrance into the Jama Masjid after the mandatory security checks. And were greeted by¬†a sea of humanity!¬†Small groups of people crowded around sitting-mats, laying out foods & drinks, it was a festive atmosphere, more like a ‘community’ picnic of sorts where all people had their own hamper of goodies to¬†dig into. Every evening during Ramzaan, people living in the vicinity of Jama Masjid prepare traditional delicacies at their homes or buy foods from street vendors and head out to the Jama Masjid, to eat in its gigantic courtyard.

Families, friends, shopkeepers and anybody & everybody simply get together an assortment¬†of delicacies to eat, and¬†water &¬†juices and spread it out on sitting-mats inside the courtyard of the Jama Masjid.¬†At the appointed time of Iftaar the sound of a big cracker being burst symbolically opens the¬†‘floodgates to food-salvation’ for the day-long hungry, but devout Muslim. A short 2-3 minutes¬†of a ‘duaa’ or prayer¬†and the Iftaar feasting begins in earnest.¬† And thats the typical daily routine all through¬†the nearly 30 days of Ramzaan here at Delhi’s famed Jama Masjid, or Masjid-e-Jahanuma as it was known during the reign of Mughal Emperor Shahjahan who built this grandest of mosques in the world.

For all¬†the¬†participants who joined our two DelhiByFoot Iftaar Food walks, this kind of a ‘breaking of the fast’ Iftaar ceremony inside the Jama Masjid was a first-time experience of¬†their lifes. And this whole event got all our participants excited & gushing appreciative words like, “Waah waah”, “We alone would have never ever been able to do this”, “Awsome once-in-a-life opportunity”, “Oh this is sssoooooooooo soooooo cool”, “Shaabash”, “We can’t thank you enough for this experience”¬†and on & on & on!! Another of those moments when we at DelhiByFoot feel happy that¬†the unique experiences we have created are actually helping people¬†enjoy a new ‘slice of Delhi’ they have never experienced before!

So what did we eat inside the mosque for the Iftaar? We had taken with us Mutter(Pea) Samosas, Pakodas (Fritters), Fruit Sandwiches and Kheer.

Once the ceremonial breaking of the fast was over it was time for us to hit the narrow lanes radiating out from the Jama Masjid to feast upon the numerous varieties of foods that the street vendors dish out at a rapid pace.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†During Ramzaan the streets are all illuminated with multi-colored bright lights everywhere, people crowd around the shops wearing brightly colored clothes and the shop-owners have a hard time keeping up with the frenetic demands of hundreds of muslims pouring out of the Jama Masjid and their houses/shops for food. The fragrant aromas from variety of¬†food-carts & shops¬†selling Biryanis, Kormas, Kebabs, Khajlas, Phirni, Sherbets, Iced-lollies, Fried savouries simply overwhelm your olfactory senses, making you drool and feel hungry for whatever you see…

Next on agenda for us was this sinfully calorie-rich Chicken, barbequed over coals, served with a special secret masala which finally is drenched in butter and served sizzling hot! In one word as one of my friends said YUMMIEST!

This¬†was followed by these crunchy pieces of Fish, which had been¬†dipped in a gram-flour batter and then deep-fried in a huge cauldron of boiling oil and¬†served straight out of the vessel¬†with a Chutney made of raw mangoes, mint leafs & yellow chilli….

This ‘hot & fiery’¬†combination left us wanting something to cool us down and we headed for the shop selling this Pink-colored Sherbet made of Iced Milk + Watermelons + RoohAfza, yes you read it right the same old Roohafza Squash made of rose petals and what not which was once a favourite cold beverage¬†during our growing-up years!!

Suitably refreshed after glasses¬†of the¬†Sherbet, we ate the slightly sweet, soft & crunchy¬†Khajlas (palm-sized, round, fluffy & flaky¬†puffed pastries made of white flour) alongwith¬†kulhars (earthen clay cups) of hot-steaming¬†milk. This milk which is a favourite amongst muslims all over has been slowly cooked over a low fire with copious¬†amounts of dry fruits like dates, almonds, pistachios, cashew nuts and¬†raisins in it. And after a whole day of fasting these are the¬†perfect ‘complete’ nourishment that any Muslim eagerly looks forward to. Some of us who did not wish to drink¬†hot-milk,¬†preferred the thick, slightly sweet chilled Lassis.

The next stop was some Biryani at Mota Pehelwaan’s shop. Followed by Goat-Meat Qorma and Chicken in a Kashmiri-style white yoghurt curry at Al Rehmani in Galli Chudi Wallan. ¬†The yoghurt curry was almost similar to¬†a Meat Goshtaba curry, which is a popular¬†dish of the¬†Kashmiri Wazwaan cuisine, albeit the Goshtaba curry is far less dense than this one was.

Next we recommend the ‘Sutli Kebabs’. A special kind of seekh (Skewer) kebab made from tenderised beef that is so soft, that a fine string is needed to hold the meat on to the skewers before roasting it on an¬†open charcoal fire, thus¬†giving it the name of Sutli (string) Kebabs. You can clearly see¬†in the pic below the thin string wound around the skewers before it is roasted to perfection¬†over the charcoal fire. You know Didi, in Kolkata there is a place which sells the same kind¬†of Sutli Kebabs, near one of the famous mosques of Kolkata. Just that¬†I have tried many times to find that place but have never been able to do so, as it must be a small shop. Maybe my picture will inspire you to search out this the next time you are in Kolkata!

No Iftaari walk can be complete without polishing off some ‘Shahi Tukda’, literally meaning ‘A Royal Piece’ which is a dessert made of¬†over-baked dry bread fried in ghee,¬†dipped in a syrupy solution of saffron & cardamom infused milk, some¬†more ghee, sprinkled with a variety of nuts, pistachios¬†& raisins and all this kept & served¬†at a piping hot temperatures maintained using a slow fire throughout the evening & night! It is really really very sweet, overflowing with calories¬†and even the die-hard foodie skips a beat before eating this goodie! Me, well¬†I never give¬†a second thought to it,¬†before gulping down 100gms of this sinful wonder! Those of us who preferred a little less of the sugary stuff, ate these brightly orange colored¬†‘Paneer jalebis’…the taste was good, but the color was suspect as maybe harmful, unfortunately.

Our final pit-stop of these 5-6 hour long ‘Food-athons’ was the old Kulfiwallas (frozen milk desserts & frozen sorbet sellers). Almost 35 different varieties of await connoisseurs of the ‘Frozen desserts’ kind, ranging from Kulfis stuffed inside whole fruits, to frozen fruit pulp & flavoured milk and slushy fruit sorbets. Our gang’s favourite was the whole mango stuffed, grapes, jaamun, paan kulfi and¬†pomegranates.

So now sisters you know where I have been, what I have been eating and for a change I can say, what you guys have missed in these past 4 weeks of exciting Ramzaan food-explorations!

Lotsa love and I sign off now with this pic of the Jama Masjid as it was lit up during Ramzaan…

Chicken Involtini aka Roulade/Galantine/Ballotine/Braciola with Basil & Nuts filling

Dear Daibi and Didi,

Hope you two are doing well. I too haven’t been able to write much lately as we attended an Indian wedding here..was awesome to see a traditional wedding in Australia where mostly all rituals were followed to the letter. ¬†The wedding reception was very European with tables marked, set menus that were served by waiters, speeches from family and close friends and dancing to a live band!! I felt like a tourist there awestruck with everything coz I have seen such weddings only on TV!! ¬†heheeeehe…Then there was Janmashtami. ¬†We celebrated it with pooris, potato curry and 6 types of home-made mithais (sweets)…I also learned how to make narkol nadu (coconut laddoo) with packaged dry desiccated coconut from Niloy’s sister who lives in Melbourne too. ¬†One has to soak it in milk enough to cover the whole amount for 2-3 hrs and then cook it with sugar/brown sugar/jaggery and some milk powder till it becomes sticky. ¬†For the first time I also tried to make the Bengali¬†malpua¬†but instead of putting them in a¬†sugar syrup, I added some sugar in the batter itself…while frying them, I realised how much oil they absorb…out of shock, I turned the malpua batter into pancakes ūüėõ they tasted the same…next time am thinking I would drop them in sugar syrup and see what happens!! What say??!

Anyways, what I wanted to talk about today was this dish called Chicken Involtini.

Chicken Involtini (with basil) and Polenta with Tomato Veggies

Chicken Involtini (with basil) and Polenta with Tomato Veggies

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