Sunday, September 25, 2011
Friday, November 19, 2010
The one major ingredient of this dish that is different from most CKP cooking is the Malvani Masala. It gives a very distinctive taste to the curry. You can generally buy Malvani Masala in grocery stores. A company called K-Pra (similar to Everest, MDH etc.) sells this masala. Alternately any 'assal Marathi dukaan' will definitely sell this. Ask Renuka Vahini to find some for you - I am sure she'll know where to go look. Any shop that sells kokum aagal will almost certainly have Malvani Masala.
Chicken pieces - 800g - 1 kg
Vaatan - 2 tablespoons
Malvani Masala - 4 heaped teaspoons
Garam Masala - 1/4 heaped teaspoon
Salt - to taste
Turmeric - 1/8 teaspoon
Water of one large baby coconut (Shahaala)
Freshly grated coconut - 1 large vaati
Onions - 3 large
Chopped coriander - 1/2 cup
1) Clean the chicken pieces, liberally apply vaatan and let the chicken marinate for 30 minutes
2) Take 2 of the onions, and slice them vertically (no need to be too precise). In a large flat pan, add a little oil (3 teaspoons), and dry roast the onions thoroughly (almost till they start getting a little burnt). This is similar to when we dry roast onions for making crabs.
3) Once the onions start turning a dark brown, add the freshly grated coconut to the pan, and continue roasting till the coconut starts getting brown as well. Keep on constantly moving the items in the pan to prevent any 'karapne'.
4) Let the dry roasted onions+coconut mixture cool, and then blend it in a mixer with a little water to get a thick brown paste - this is the typical Maharashtrian 'garam vaatan' which is the base of almost any non-fish meat dish.
5) Chop the remaining onion finely
6) In a large utensil, heat 2 tablespoons of oil
7) Once the oil is heated, add the chopped onion and saute till it turns golden brown
8) Add Malvani Masala, Garam Masala, Turmeric and about 1 teaspoon of salt and saute the onions a little more (1-2 minutes)
9) Add the marinated chicken pieces and saute for 1-2 minutes
10) Add the water of one entire shahaala, cover the utensil with a lid and let it cook for 7-8 minutes on a medium flame
11) Add the garam vaatan (roughly 4-5 heaped tablespoons of it), and a little water (1/2 cup). Cover and cook for another 5-6 minutes
12) Check the doneness of the chicken pieces, and the salt level. Add more salt if needed.
13) Sprinkle about 1/2 teaspoon on Malvani Masala into the curry and stir it in. You should have a thick-ish curry at this point.
14) Add the chopped coriander, turn off the flame, cover with a lid.
Enjoy this with 'kombdi vade' ... ask vahini if she knows how to make kombdi vade. If not, chapati and jeera rice.
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Ingredients (For 2 people for 1 meal with roti and rice)
1 cup shelled prawns (1 cup after shelling, not before, cup is more like mothi vaati) Note : If possible, do not buy the big giant prawns - not as tasty. Also, do not buy the pink prawns - go for the black ones if available.
Salt - to taste
3/4 teaspoon red chilli powder (if you do not want it to be 'jhanjhanit', then use 1/2 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder (dhana pood)
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
Tamarind - a ball as big as a medium sized lemon lemon
1 1/2 teaspoon Vaatan
3/4 vaati coconut milk (not too thick, of the consistency that we have in kokum kadhi)
1 medium onion - finely chopped
1 potato peeled, and chopped into 1/8ths :)
2 green chillies
3 garlic petals peeled
1/2 cup chopped coriander
1) Seperate the turmeric into two halves - soak one half in very little water (3-4 tablespoons of water) and soak the remaining in 2 1/4 vaatis of water. Let both sit in the water for a while. After the tamarind softens, mash the tamarind in both the waters with your hand, creating a fine pulp. Discard any seeds. At this point, do not discard any of the soft solidy parts of the tamarind let them stay in their respective waters.
2) Take the cleaned shrimp in a plate or bowl - add salt, red chilli powder, turmeric, dhana pood, vaatan and apply evenly to the shrimp
3) Take the tamarind mixture with the little water, and squeeze the thick tamarind pulp over the above mixture (about 2 tablespoons of thick pulp). Rub into the prawns.
4) Let the prawns marinate in the above masala for 30 minutes (you can taste the masala to check for salt level etc. You are looking for a predominantly aambat-tikhat taste)
5) In a vessel, add some oil and let it heat on a medium flame
6) Smash the garlic petals, slit the chillies lengthwise and add to the heated oil
7) Saute for 10-15 seconds, then add the chopped onions and saute till the onions become light golden brown. At this point add the marinated prawns along with all extra dripping marinade - make sure to get as much of the marinade in along with the prawns as you can.
8) Gently saute the prawns in the oil for 1 1/2 minute till they start changing color - hyala CKP loka savtaalne mhantat bara ka!
9) Add the peeled potatoes to the mixture and stir for a minute longer
10) Take the other tamarind water - which should really not be too strong - just a hint of ambatpana to the water, remove any tamarind solids from it, and add the water to the cooking prawn mixture. You might have to add a little more water - make sure that all the prawns and potatoes and covered. This is a proper rassa dish - not a dry gravy, so do not skimp on the water.
11) Cover the pot with a lid and let the prawns cook for 5-7 minutes
12) Remove the lid and add the coconut milk to the prawns. Mix well, cover and cook again on a low flame for 7-8 minutes.
13) At this point add salt to the curry. Start with less and then increase more - the tamarind will already have given some ambatpana, plus there was salt in the marinade. You might also want to adjust quantities of water / coconut milk depending on how much gravy you want.
14) Let the curry cook for 3-4 more minutes after adding the salt. Check on the potatoes to make sure that they are cooked.
15) Once the potatoes are cooked, add the chopped coriander to the curry, shut off the flame, and cover with a lid.
Enjoy with chapati and bhaat! Kolmabiche kalvan is one of those rare kalvans in CKP cooking that actually uses onions. The final result should reflect an aambat-tikhat taste. Experiment subsequent times with more or less tamarind, more or less tikhat etc. per your taste.
Two other things besides Vaatan, that are a staple of CKP cooking are - tamarind (chincha) and coconut milk (naralache doodh).
Preferably the coconut milk should be fresh, and homemade ... but the canned variety can be used as a last minute substitute. If using canned cocnout milk, then -
1) make sure that it is not sweetened
2) The consistency that you want to achieve for the coconut milk is more on the watery side, not the thick pulpy, creamy kind that you usually find in the cans. If using canned variety, then as a general guideline, add 3/4 cup of water to one cup of milk and dilute it before using.
Making coconut milk at home is best -
1) Grate fresh coconut
2) Blend the coconut + water together in the blender (you'll have to judge the quantity of water - general guidance is 2:1 ratio of water to coconut). Blend for a nice long time.
3) Pass the mixture through a seive to separate the chotha from the milk.
4) Depending on how much juice is left in the chotha, it can be blended a second time with some more water for additional milk. However add lesser water (1:1) when using chotha instead of fresh coconut.
5) Try out the above on a small batch first to judge the overall richness, thickness and taste of the coconut milk, and accordingly adjust your water quantity up or down. Each coconut is different - some are juicier than others, some oilier than others. Based on each of these the exact amount of water you add will be different each time.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Well ... its for my friend B ... who insists that he wants to learn CKP cooking. And especially now that he has the additional time on his hands to experiment, I have decided to help him out. I'll start out with the CKP stuff, but I'm sure I'll also venture into other recipes like Kerala meen curry better than Ninn's mom, and Paav Bhaji that is better than Achija's. Oh well ... one can hope!