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This almost had me in tears of nostalgia. My London home is a few minutes walk from here and I love the place. So glad to hear it seems to be being protected from developers, as I had heard it was under threat. Wonderful food, too. Mostly vegetarian, which I'm decidedly not, but will happily eat from time to time. London's most authentic Indian food?
Prawn Balchao is a very famous Goan pickle that has a sweet, spicy and tangy flavor to it.
For the balchao paste you will need:
> 8-10 kashmiri red chillies
> 4-5 Byadagi red chillies
> 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
> 1/2 tsk turmeric powder
> 1 tsp peppercorn
> 6 garlic cloves
> 1/2 tsp cloves
> 1 inch cinnamon stick
First you will need to marinate about 250 grams of prawns in some turmeric powder and salt. After 15 minutes deep fry them in oil till them become golden n crisp. Set them aside and add tsp vinegar to them and let it sit for 1 hour. Now, make a paste of all the ingredients mentioned under the balchao paste and make sure not to add any water. In the same pan used for fryin the prawns, add in some chopped garlic and ginger. Lightly fry them and immediately add one whole chopped onion. Next, add the balchao paste amd let it cook for 2-3 minutes. Add in the prawns and cook until the gravy thickens. Finally add 1 tsp sugar and salt according to your taste. Allow it to cool. This can be stored in a glass jar. Let this mature for 1-3 weeks before its use. Make sure never to use water at any stage. This can be enjoyed with a simple lentil curry and rice.
This is one of my daughter favorite dishes, being mild and less spicy she loves this rice dish. Its super easy to make and goes well with most Indian curries.
Do try this out and I am sure you will be happy with the results.
Prep Time : 5 mins
Cook Time: 5 mins
1 cup rice(basmati), cooked
1/2 cup coconut, shredded or grated
1 green chili, slit
1 dried red chili
1 1/2 tablespoon oil/ghee(clarified butter)
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 tablespoon chana dal(split chickpeas)
1/2 tablespoon urad dal(split black gram)
1 teaspoon ginger, finely chopped
A pinch of hing (asafoetida)
Few curry leaves
Salt to taste
1) Heat oil/ghee(clarified butter) in a pan in medium flame. I used coconut oil here because it tastes best for this dish.
2) Add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, chana dal(split chickpeas), urad dal(split black gram), green chili, dried red chili, ginger and curry leaves. Fry this for 30 seconds in medium flame. The trick is to ensure that these are fried but not burned.
3) Add a pinch of hing(asafoetida) and mix well.
4) Now add the cooked rice and coconut. Stir well for about 15 to 20 seconds and switch off the flame.
5) Finally add salt into this and mix well. You could add peanuts or cashew nuts if you prefer. Goes well with most curries.
Sweet Eggplant Pickle
This is an Indian pickle, some would call a chutney, that I made up from several sources and my own tastes. It is based it on my favorite sweet brinjal (eggplant here in the US) pickle available commercially. It has onion and garlic, which are often omitted in some recipes due to dietary restrictions of some religious orders. It also has dates which I added on my own based on another pickle I love. I also used olive oil as mustard oil is not available and I like it's taste in these pickles. Use other oils if you like. This has more spices than the commercial type - and I think it's superior. I avoided black mustard seed, fenugreek, and cumin because almost all other pickles use these and they start to taste the same. One recipe from Andhra Pradesh used neither and I followed it a little. It's wonderful with all sorts of Indian foods - and also used for many other dishes, especially appetizers.
SPICE MIX (Masala)
4 Tbs coriander seeds
3 hot chilies (I used a very hot Habanero type, so use more if you use others)
18 cardamom pods
2 inches cinnamon
1 1/2 Tbs peppercorns
1 cups olive oil
4 inches fresh ginger, minced fine, about 1/2 cup
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion finely chopped
3 lb eggplant, diced, 1/4 inch cubes
1/2 lb chopped dates
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 cups rice vinegar (4.3 percent acidity or more)
2 cups brown sugar
2 Tbs salt
2 tsp citric acid
Spice Mix (Masala)
1. Dry roast half the coriander seeds in a pan till they begin to brown slightly and become fragrant - do not burn. Cool.
2. Put roasted and raw coriander seeds and all the other spices in a spice mill and grind till quite fine, or use a mortar and pestle. Put aside.
1. Heat half the oil and fry ginger till slightly browned, slowly.
2. Add garlic, onion, and half the salt and fry slowly till these begin to brown a bit too.
3. Add eggplant, turmeric, and spice mix (Masala) and combine well. Fry for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. Add rest of ingredients, including rest of the salt and olive oil and heat slowly to a boil.
5. Boil for about 5 minutes. Add a little water if too thick - it should be nearly covered with liquid, but not quite - it will thin upon cooking so wait to add the water till heated through.
6. Bottle in sterilized jars and seal according to your local pickling instructions. This recipe will be sufficiently acidic.
Sour Tomatillo Achar
Made this one up from a recipe for lemons. It really works for tomatilloes. A unique spice mix, and really sour for a 'different' type of pickle, or achar. It is based on a Marwari recipe - from the arid north-western part of India. Tomatilloes are not used in India (or at least not much) but are quite productive plants in my garden while lemons or other sour fruits are not possible to grow here. No vinegar or lemon juice is used, because tomatilloes are very acidic and don't need any extra.
3 lbs tomatilloes husks removed and quartered
1/4 cup salt
1 Tbs black mustard seeds
2 star anise buds
10 dried chilies (I used very hot yellow peppers)
1 tsp fenugreek seeds
2 inch ginger (ground to a paste)
2 TBL dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1. In a large bowl, put the tomatilloes and sprinkle salt over them. Cover it and leave for a day, mixing occasionally.
2. Next day drain the tomatilloes.
3. Dry roast the star anise (put in first as these take longer, the black mustard, and the chilie pods (add last and barely brown in places). Cool.
4. Grind the roasted spices with the fenugreek and put aside.
5. Add tomatilloes, ginger, sugars, and everything else to a large pan and heat to boiling.
6. Cook till fully hot and boiling.
7. Fill half-pint jars and seal.
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