Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Lahsun Mirche Walli Machhli

Being a Mallu and growing up in Mumbai I always had only seafood as opposed to fresh water fish. I distinctly remember the first two times when I had fresh water fish, the first time was when we had a team lunch at Mainland China and a Bhetki starter was ordered. The second time was at my friend’s house and she is from Allahabad, her mother had made fish for her jamai and I was asked to taste it before it was served to the jamai and I readily agreed to sample :-).

After marriage into a family from Uttar Pradesh and consequent moving to Bangalore, fresh water fish became the norm instead of the exception. Now I think I like both almost equally…almost J.

The other day we went to buy fish and saw an almost 4.5 kilo rohu…we just had to buy it. Once before we had seen something like that, but then we were just two of us (hubby and me)…I remember then we waited for quite sometime to check if someone else would come along and be willing to share the rest of the fish with us. The entire fish was simply too much for just the two of us. But this time this was not the matter, my home is now filled with loved ones my parents, sister and her two lovely kids.

There are some things which you can say we always make it this way, so fish in my in-laws place is mostly made in a gravy with potatoes and peas or fried or following this recipe.


6 slices of rohu or katla (I have also made sea fish using this recipe),
2 pods of garlic,
Red chillies to taste (I generally use a combination of spicy and Kashmiri red chillies),
Salt to taste,
3 pieces of mango pickle with the masala,
2-3 tbsps of mustard oil,
¼ tsp turmeric powder,
½ tsp red chilli powder


Wash the fish slices well. Apply the salt, red chilli powder and turmeric powder to the slices and marinate it for say half an hour.

Grind the garlic and the red chillies into a fine paste.

Heat the mustard oil in a frying pan till smoking, then add the mango pickle pieces with the masala and fry for about 2 minutes. Now add the garlic and red chilli paste and fry it well till it changes colour and the oil separates. A well-fried masala is the trick to getting this recipe right.

Once the masala is well done slip in the fish slices and cook till done, turning it over at least once during the process.

Goes equally well with plain rice of phulkas.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Ghilafi Kulcha

My attempt at ghilafi kulcha is thanks to Fatima Harrisji from a Facebook group I am part of. She very graciously shared the detailed recipe and tips for a better outcome. Since the time I got the recipe from her, I have been keen on trying it out with Nihari and I did it for dinner, last night.

It is a little elaborate procedure and hence definitely a ‘not-so-everyday’ recipe. Ghilaf in Persian means cover...I learned this only after marriage when I heard my husband and his family referring to pillow covers as ghilaf :-) This kulcha is called ghilafi kulcha as it has a cover of a different dough, as compared to the main dough.  

Here is her recipe...


For the Ghilaf or Cover (Dough 1)

300 grams refined flour,
1 cup of ghee,
1 cup milk,
2 tsp sugar,
Salt to taste

For the Inner Dough (Dough 2)

750 grams refined flour (I used a  mix of refined flour and wholewheat flour),
4 tbsps ghee,
30 grams of dry active yeast,
1 cup warm water,
2 cups milk

For Basting

2 tbsps ghee


To Make the Dough for the Ghilaf (Dough 1)

Mix all the ingredients for the ghilaf except the ghee and knead it into a dough. Spread the dough and make small depressions in it with your fingers. Melt the ghee and pour it into the depressions and knead again. Refrigerate this dough.

To Make the Inner Dough (Dough 2)

Add the yeast and 1 tbsp sugar to the warm water. Cover and leave aside to froth. Once it is frothy, add this yeast mixture to all the other ingredients except the ghee. Knead it into a dough. Again spread the dough and make small depressions in it with your fingers. Melt the ghee and pour it into the depressions and knead again. Leave this dough in a covered utensil till it doubles in volume.

To Assemble the Kulcha

Divide dough 1 and dough 2 into 12 dough balls each. So you will get 12 balls of dough1 and 12 balls of dough 2.

Take a dough 1 ball and roll it into a disc. Place the dough 2 ball in the centre of the dough 1 disc. Gather all the edges of the dough 1 disc and completely cover the inner dough ball. This is similar to what you do while making aloo ka paratha. So you will get a ball with the inner ball of dough 2 covered with dough1. Repeat this procedure for all the other balls.

Cover all these prepared balls with a moist cloth and keep it aside for 45 minutes.

To Bake the Kulchas.

After 45 minutes roll the dough balls into a disc of about 1 cm thickness.

Preheat the oven to 180oC (this temperature will depend on your oven settings, you can try the first one at these settings and then adjust accordingly). Bake each kulcha for about 10 minutes. After 8 minutes baste it with a bit of ghee.

Make all the kulchas in a similar fashion.


Inspired by all the discussion on Shaan masala in one of the food groups I am part of I purchased a packet of Shaan Nihari Masala and used if while making Nihari for last night’s dinner. It came out good but I think I will stick to my homemade masalas henceforth :-). Not that it was bad but it was not out of the world too!

Someone had specifically told not to follow the recipe on the pack and so I followed my own recipe. Here it goes...


500gms fresh mutton shanks (I couldn’t get shanks exclusively so just used a shoulder),
1 tsp turmeric powder,
1 tbsp roasted gram flour,
Red chilli powder as per taste (I used a mix of Kashmiri mirch powder and spicy red chilli powder),
1 tbsp Shaan nihari masala,
1 large pinch of fenugreek seeds,
2 bay leaves,
5-6 cloves,
3 green cardamoms,
2 black cardamoms,
1 blade of mace,
2 one-inch pieces of cinnamon,
1 star anise,
10-12 black peppercorns,
1 tbsp of finely powdered coriander,
1 tbsp yoghurt,
3 medium sized onions,
1 cup of  mustard oil,
1 tbsp garlic paste,
1 tbsp ginger paste,
½ tsp kewda water

For Serving

Some julienned fresh ginger,
Some sliced green chillies,
Some chopped coriander leaves


Cook the mutton pieces in salt and water till done. (I pressure cooked it.)

Slice the onions finely.

Heat the oil in a deep frying pan and add the sliced onions and fry till it is brown in colour. Drain and keep aside. Once cool crush them finely by hand.

In the same oil add the fenugreek seeds and all the whole spices. Let them crackle and then add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder and a cup of water. Bhuno it well. Then add the crushed and fried onions and sauté for another 2-3 minutes.

At this stage add the yoghurt and stir well and then add the lamb shanks.

Cook on a medium heat for 10 to 15 mins and then add two cups of water, followed by the nihari masala and allow it to cook for a while.Then add the roasted gram powder and cook till the gravy thickens.

Turn off the heat and sprinkle the kewda water.

Garnish with the ginger juliennes, sliced green chillies and chopped coriander leaves.

Goes well with Ghilafi Kulcha or plain rice or plain pulao or naan.

Friday, 13 December 2013


Ma'amoul are small shortbread pastries filled with dates, pistachios or walnuts (or occasionally almonds, figs, or other fillings). They are popular in Levantine cuisine and in the Gulf countries. They may be in the shape of balls or of domed or flattened cookies. They can either be decorated by hand or be made in special wooden moulds.

Many households keep a stock of them all year round, but they are particularly used on religious festivals. Muslims eat them at night during Ramadan, and Arabic-speaking Christians eat them at Easter.
-          Wikipedia

I made the version which is filled with walnuts and pistachios. Of course I did not have the wooden moulds so I relied on my palms and the use of a fork and I also used a ridged part which came out from one of my nephew’s toys.


400 grams fine semolina,
200 grams frozen butter,
10 grams refined flour,
1 tsp baking powder,
100 grams icing sugar + extra for dusting,
2 tbsp milk,
1 tsp orange essence,
175 grams of a mixture or walnuts and pistachios,
50 grams sugar,
¼ tsp cinnamon powder


Mix together the semolina, flour, baking powder and icing sugar in a bowl.

Cut the frozen butter into cubes and add it to the dry ingredients and work it in with your fingers till it resembles bread crumbs. Add the milk and orange essence and make a dough. Let it stand covered for about 3-4 hours. This is an important step as it makes the dough workable.

Blend the nuts, cinnamon powder and sugar into a coarse blend.

There are two methods to make the actual cookie:

Method 1 – Take a walnut-sized ball of the dough and flatten it on your palm, then make a cup shape and fill it with the filling. Get the edges of the cup together and join them to form a dough ball filled with the stuffing.

Method 2 – Take two dough balls one small and one big. Take the bigger dough ball and flatten it into a disc and make a slight depression in the centre. Flatten the smaller dough ball into a disc too. Place some filling in the depression of the bigger disc and place the smaller disc on top and seal the edges. Shape into a flat cookie.

Then make ridges on the cookie (irrespective of the method you follow for the cookie making) using a fork or any other tool you find handy.

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Bake for 25 minutes at 180oC.

Let them cool completely and then dust with the remaining icing sugar.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Cheesy Corn Mini Pies

I was aiming to serve these for Sunday evening tea but because of the truant electricity was not able to get it ready in time. I had them in the oven and already baking for sometime when the electricity went off. Was so excited at my first attempt at a pie, albeit mini.

Anyways when it was ready it came out quite well encouraging me to try pies more often.

Here goes the recipe...


For the Pie Crust

1 cup refined flour,
1/3 cup vegetable shortening,
½ tsp salt,
2 tbsp cold water

For the Filling

1 cup sweet corn,
1 medium sized onion,
1 tbsp sliced black olives,
Salt to taste,
Crushed black pepper as required,
2 tbsp shredded cheddar cheese
2 tbsp butter


Take the refined flour, salt, vegetable shortening in a bowl and mix it together. Add the cold water and knead it till it all holds together. Use a little more water if required but the resultant dough shouldn’t be too soft. Keep this covered for some ten minutes.

Finely chop the onion. Heat about a tbsp of butter in a pan and add the chopped onion. Once it is transclucent add the corn and sprinkle a little water. Cook till it is half done. Switch off the heat and add the salt, pepper, sliced olives and cheese. Mix well together.

Roll the dough into 6 small discs and 6 bigger discs. Take a muffin tray and lay the bigger dough discs in the cups of the tray and gently press the sides to form dough cups. Divide the filling into six portions and spoon in the filling into each of the dough cups.

Top them with the small dough discs and seal the edges. Brush the tops with melted butter (I forgot this step :-( ).

Preheat the oven to 180oC. Bake for 25 minutes at 180oC.

Cool a bit on a wire rack and serve immediately.