Sunday, November 18, 2012

Pressure Cooker Diaries: Mutton Masala

Pressure Cooker Diaries: Mutton Masala: It’s been a while since I have bragged (Oops! blogged) about my cooking. It was just that I was a little caught up in work and it never seem...

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Red Hot Chili Mushrooms (R.H.C.M.)

Another Friday and another day in the kitchen. I tried to find part time work for my oven training. But it was not meant to be. The Bokharis only wanted Lebanese/Nepali guys in white banians (I had the banian but I am not Lebanese or Nepali). Anyhoo! I will not give up in trying to learn the Oven skills (I am trying to learn the Nepali language ... Oooh! Shabji).

I wanted to experiment something in Mushrooms. When I was little I used to always see this fungus growing on Trees or on the ground once the rains fall. I used to always think that god must have made these little umbrellas for the insects who could take refuge in the rains. Anyhoo! The first time I ate mushrooms was when my sister who was trying to experiment. I don’t remember the taste though but the fungus always used to fascinate me. Whenever I think about Mushrooms I always remember the fairy tale books and their interpretation of it. So therefore I tried to cook mushroom as the excitement and old memories were killing me. In this dish I have tried to merg various recipes from websites and YouTube to come up with the dish. I would love to dedicate this dish to the ever so bubbly Nigella Lawson whose cooking tips are helping me immensely.

Hope you all try it, it is simple and a little spicy.

1 box mushroom (de-stemmed and cut vertically)
2 green chilies (finely chopped)
1 tbsp Garam Masala
1 tbsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp red chili powder
4 tbsp tomato paste
1 large onion (finely chopped)
4 tbsp refined Sunflower Oil
1 tbsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 tbsp White Vinegar
Salt Pepper Powder to taste

1. Take oil in a frying pan and once it is hot add the sliced mushrooms. Fry the mushrooms till they are soft and elastic. Remove and keep aside. (I saw this YouTube video where they fry the mushrooms before they put it in the dish, this keeps the integrity of the mushroom)
2. In the same pan add onions and sauté' till transparent. Add the green chilies and Ginger-Garlic paste. Fry till onions turn brown.
3. Add turmeric, red chili powder and Garam Masala and mix well. Add the white vinegar (I think that wine or lemon juice too can be used as a substitute)
4. Once the oil starts leaving to the ends of the pan. Add the tomato paste and mix well. At this time the mixture looks sticky. Let it fry and cook till the tomato paste starts loosing its water. Once the mix is dry add the fried mushrooms and mix well. Cook for a short time till all the mushrooms are mixed well in the Masala. Add salt and pepper powder to taste. Done!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mutton Masala

It’s been a while since I have bragged (Oops! blogged) about my cooking. It was just that I was a little caught up in work and it never seems to get over. Anyways, in the past few weeks I did manage to cook one special dish called Mutton Masala. This is special because it was my first time that I have ever cooked Mutton. It was easy with a recipe that I found online.

My kitchen partner normally prepares mutton and as he went on vacation and the mutton was hogging a lot of space in the freezer I decided to take mutton (Oops! again matter) in my own hands. The worst part about mutton is the stink which emanates at the butchery which always used to make me run a mile away from it. And man oh man was it nauseating? But I did manage this time. Second worst thing about mutton is the bones that are not very cutting friendly. You need to be a butcher to crack and hammer the bones. I sound drunk. The good part of cooking mutton in the pressure cooker is the stock which remains back which is fantastic. It’s healthy and very heavy.

There are a lot of myths that mutton takes a lot of time to cook, but I did manage to finish the whole recipe in 30 minutes. Also it was the first time that I used Garam Masala which I ground myself in my Phillips mixer. The aroma of the masala was simply awesome. Garam Masala actually killed the smell of the mutton which was deterring me from cooking it. Finally mutton masala came out well, the salt was less but better safe than salty.

Please guys, please comment else I will not be pushed towards my journey towards being Qatar’s TOP CHEF. I know I’m thinking too much, but still. You need to give me feedback or criticism (and Hayden no personal attack here) to inspire me to cook and try some more recipes. I have now cooked a dish in Chicken, Mutton, Eggs and Paneer. I will also be sharing my recipe for Mix Vegetable Gravy which I prepared a week back and was lazy not to blog about it. Also I am planning to broaden my horizons to baking and hoping to get a part time job at a Bokhari (Lebanese Restaurant) where I want to be the oven chef. Feedback people...

Recipe :
1 kg Fresh indian mutton (Cleant thoroughly and Cut in 2"x2" pieces)
4 Cloves
1 Long Cinnamon stick
10 Black Pepper corns
2 Bay Leaves
2 Whole Cardamom
2 Medium Onions (Chopped)
1 Medium Potato (Diced)
4 Chilies (Center Slit)
2 Medium Tomatoes
1/2 tbsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp Red Chili Powder
3 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 tbsp Garam Masala Powder
5 tbsp Sunflower Oil
Salt to taste
1. Put the condiments (Cardamom / Cinnamon / Pepper Corns / Bay Leaves /Cloves) alongwith the fresh mutton in a pressure cooker. Keep double the level of water with the mutton level. Cook until 4 whistles or till mutton is tender (Fork test here). Remove stock and keep separately.
2. Heat oil in a pot and once it is hot, add the onions and saute' till onions are transparent. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry till onions turn brown. Add the Chilis and tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes bleed.
3. Add red chili powder, turmeric powder, Garam masala and fry the mixture. Once the oil starts moving to the edges of the pot, add the cooked mutton (Without the stock)
4. Stir the fried masala in the mutton till all the mutton is covered. Add some stock (1/2 cup) so that there is a gravy formed. dsalt as per convinience. Cook on low flame and cook till stock is thick.
5. Garnish with coriander and Done!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Chicken Curry : Mangalorean Cuisine

The main course for Sunday lunch for most Mangy households is Chicken. Every Sunday after mass Mummy would usually buy fresh chicken from the butcher and prepare the most awesome curry. Sometimes there would be Kori Roti, Sannas, Bread, Pulav or Rice. Whatever be the item, chicken curry would be the common denominator for all these items. The color of the gravy used to vary from yellowish orange (Coconut Masala) to green (Coriander Masala). Being Mangy always meant that Coconut was the main ingredient in all if not most of the dishes, be it veggies or non-veggies or chutneys or anything. You just can’t imagine a dish without coconut.

Anyways, cooking chicken curry from my mom’s recipe was very simple. It had the basic ingredients like coconut, onion, tomatoes, chilies, garlic, ginger, the usual spices and chicken. The secret to the texture of the chicken curry is the grinding of all spices and coconut together to make a nice smooth paste. My mixer is not as good for fine grinding but it comes close. Still if you want a good consistency of the gravy, hand grinding of the masala is a good call. It may be time consuming but it’s all worth the muscles.

Another good thing about cooking chicken curry apart from being simple is that it tastes amazing the next day too. So just add extra water to the gravy while cooking. Chicken curry if properly stored and heated can be eaten for 3 days. And every passing day the chicken curry flavors even more. You can actually taste the spices. One ingredient I have used to experiment in the chicken curry I prepared is tamarind. It neutralizes all the chicken smell while cooking and gives a good chatpata taste.

Hope you all have tried cooking the recipes. People! I do need feedback so that I can be pursuing my quest to perfection. Below is the recipe to Chicken Curry Mangy style.

1 Kg. Chicken (with bones clean and cut in small pieces)
3 medium Onions (chopped)
2 medium tomatoes (chopped)
3 Green Chilies (Deveined)
1 small stick of cinnamon
10 – 12 Curry Leaves
3 cloves
2 pieces cardamom
2 bay leaves
1 tbsp Tamarind water (Tamarind as big as your finger nail - put in hot water and squeeze the life of the Tamarind)
6 tbsp Oil
Salt to Taste

For the Gravy:
1 half of the coconut kernel (grated and roasted to remove the moisture)
3 Kashmiri chilies
½ tbsp Coriander seeds (kanpeer)
1 tbsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tbsp mustard seeds (sasao)
½ tbsp Fennel seeds (saunf)
10-12 pepper corns
1 pcs. Fresh Ginger (as big as your thumb – Chopped)
6 cloves of Garlic
½ pcs. Onion (chopped)

1. Hand Grind or Grind (Mixer) the ingredients from the Gravy items to a smooth fine paste. Keep on grinding till paste is a smooth paste. Keep adding water so that the paste is consistent.
2. Take a deep vessel, add oil. Once oil is hot add the chopped onions and curry leaves. Once the onions are transparent add the green chilies and the spices (Cardamom, Clove, Bay Leaves & Cinnamon) and fry.
3. Once the onions turn brown, add the chicken and cover the vessel with a lid and cook the chicken in the oil.
4. When he chicken turns pale white, add the tomatoes and let the tomatoes bleed till there is gravy formed.
5. Add the ground coconut masala and tamarind water to the vessel and mix it well with the chicken. Keep gas at a minimum and let the masala melt in the chicken. Once the oil starts leaving the chicken and starts going to the sides of the vessel. Add 3 cups of water (this depends on how much gravy you want).
6. Stir the contents of the vessel and cover the vessel and let it simmer.
7. In 10 – 15 minutes the gravy starts boiling. Use the poke test to check the tenderness of the chicken. Add salt to taste and shut down the gas and keep the lid on. Done!!!

Photos to follow.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Anda Curry

Eggs (Anda /Baida /Thanthi) are the best source of proteins and energy. We can have them raw, hard boiled; full fried, half fried, scrambled (burji), omelets, etc. In whatever form we prepare the eggs, it’s simply egg-static. I can make all the above forms of egg dishes but the egg curry used to always elude me. Making egg curry in the Mangalorean style (with coconut) was simple, I wanted to challenge my culinary skills and prepare egg curry in a different style. So there I was scanning the Google pages finding the recipe for Egg Curry. It did not take me long before I found an awesome recipe for Egg Curry (North Indian style). It was easy to cook and the ingredients were readily available. I tried to improvise with one South Indian ingredient (curry leaves) which actually made me feel like I was anchored home.

Whenever I hear the word eggs I recall the wedding masala song “Ande ka Funda” and indeed there are a lot of Fundas while cooking eggs. One funda being that poaching eggs is not an easy thing to do; how much ever you boil the eggs it’s up to your instincts when you need to shut down the gas also the name poached. The first time I heard the word poached eggs I was wondering whether we have to wait with a double barrel gun and shoot the first thing that came out of the boiling eggs. Another funda being that it’s not easy to blow an egg out of its shell with the shell still intact (tried it after watching a YouTube video and it looked easy). One more funda about eggs is that I still haven’t figured out whether it’s vegetarian or non-vegetarian. Also I don’t know how the names of egg dishes have been figured. For example omelet (sounds Shakespearean for me), scrambled (I feel like I am in a war zone), full fried (nuked), half fried (half nuked), duh! What the fudge …

Anyhoo, cooking egg curry was an amazing experience as the ingredients were all available with me. It was a long process but I enjoyed it thoroughly with a bottle of Becks giving me company. The best part of this egg curry was that I was actually satisfied with the end result. The taste, the creaminess of the gravy, color and aroma were all distinct and it gave an amazing after taste reminding how wonderfully it was prepared (I am not trying to praise myself here). Anyhoo egging that you all try the recipe, and the others too that have been put up. I will try to make newer dishes and will be Bl’egging (oops! blogging) at the end of it.


8 hard boiled Eggs (Half slit vertically)
3 medium Onions (Chopped)
4 medium Tomatoes (Chopped)
3 green chilies (Chopped)
1 piece Ginger (Thumb rule here! As big as your thumb - julienned)
8 cloves Garlic (Halved)
1 ½ tbsp Coriander Powder (Kanpeer powder)
1 tbsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)
1 tbsp Mustard seeds (Sasau)
½ tbsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
6 – 7 Dry Kashmiri Chillis (Stem to be removed)
1 medium Potato (cubed in 2 cm x 2 cm cubes)
Small stick of Cinnamon (4 cm long)
4 dry Cloves
8 – 10 ears of Black Pepper seeds
½ tbsp Fennel Seeds (Saunf)
10 – 15 Curry Leaves (Kadi patta)
10 – 12 tbsp Oil (Sunflower)
Salt to Taste

1. Take two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan; once oil is hot add the onions and fry till they turn golden brown. Shut down the gas
2. Take the tomatoes and the chilies and grind them in the Mixer, Do not add any water, Once it becomes a creamy paste stop.
3. Add the fried onions to this paste along with the ginger, garlic, coriander powder, jeera, mustard seeds, turmeric powder, dry Kashmiri chilies, Cinnamon stick, cloves, pepper and fennel and grind till the sauce is thick and consistent. Do not add any water.
4. In a deep dish (Aluminum) add the balance oil, heat it and once the oil is hot add the curry leaves and just lightly burn it.
5. Add the sauce that has been ground in the mixer. While adding the sauce to the oil, lower the flame of the gas and then put the sauce. (we don’t want 3rd degree burns)
6. Once the oil separates from the masala (when the see the oil at the ends of the dish) at that time you need to add 2 ½ cups of warm or hot water to the dish.
7. Keep stirring till the masala mixes completely with the water. Add the cubed potatoes to the curry and let it boil. Occasionally keep on stirring so that nothing sticks to the bottom of the dish. Check the potatoes to find out whether the curry is at boiling point.
8. Once the boiling is completed (the levels of the curry reduces to three quarters) add the half slit eggs. Slowly stir as you don’t want your eggs to disintegrate.
9. Keep on lower flame for 10 minutes with a closed lid till it simmers and DONE!!!

Photos to follow

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Palak Paneer (Spinach Farmer Cheese)

These two words always bring tears of happiness to me. I always have loved Paneer and who wouldn’t want to be like Popeye (the strongest man in the animated world). My journey with palak or must I say spinach was a long time back when my mom used to make this green leafy vegetable boiled in water with other ingredients. It was tasty and man! Do I miss my mom’s cooking? It was so healthy that I could actually feel the iron coming out of my biceps or must I say chop-sticks shoulders (then and not now). But still you can feel the energy once you have gorged on the beautiful jealous (green) leafy vegetable.

Fresh spinach is readily available in all Supermarkets, but we need to inspect closely to see the color of the leaves (dark olive green), the color of the stems (light green) and also there is a way to gauge the freshness of spinach by breaking the stem with two fingers. It should snap easily in two pieces, if the three conditions are met, you have good spinach in your hands.

Cleaning spinach is very boring as you need to clear all the other leaves that come packed with the spinach, leaves of peas (vatana), tendli creepers, tomato leaves, etc. After removing the unwanted weeds which actually is very time consuming and the ultimate moment killer, we need to rinse the spinach leaves and clean all the dirt, mud and other coloring agents which the retailers add. I was so bored while cleaning the spinach that sometimes I just wondered if I could munch it directly like Popeye. Anyhoo, after all the cleaning you just need to pressure cooker the spinach in water along with some vegetables like onions, tomatoes, garlic, ginger and chilies for four whistles and you are half way to the finish line.

For the next half, you start with first removing the excess water from the boiled spinach using a sieve. The stock formed with the boiled spinach mix is very healthy and it should be given to children and adults as well. It’s an instant source of iron and it should not be discarded. We then grind the boiled vegetable using a mixer (Phillips 1000W) to form a thick paste. Finally, we take a deep dish frying pan and we add some butter and do be generous in the quantity as this makes the dish very very creamy and tasty. Once the butter is melted and become brown, we add the paneer cubes (don’t use too much paneer, Thumb rule here is 4 cubes of paneer for each person) and just sauté and toss till the top layer of the paneer turns light brown. I like to use less paneer because I don’t like the paneer to crowd with the palak mix. Also while stir frying (sautéing and tossing) the Paneer you need to take care of you eye-brows, if you know what I mean (I think my friends have seen this example in Asangaon). Remove the paneer and keep aside and you do get tempted to eat the hot paneer tikkis. But control your urges there is light at the end of the tunnel. Now in the same pan which is already greased with the butter and what a lovely aroma it is put the palak mix and keep on stirring till all the liquid butter is mixed with the palak mix. Keep on stirring and keep on adding the stock little by little so that the mix doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan (we don’t need that.. do we). We need to constantly stir the palak mix because there are tiny eruptions and we don’t want the dish to erupt like Mt. Etna.

Once you have cooked the palak mix (free of any water), you add the stirred (not shaken) fried paneer and just blanket the paneer inside the palak mix. And Serve.


1 bundle Spinach leaves (Washed & Chopped – 4 inches long, use stem also)
2 Small Onions (Diced)
1 medium Tomato (Washed & Diced)
4 green Chilies (Washed & Chopped)
6 Cloves Garlic (Halved)
1 Ginger (Thumb Piece: Skinned and Chopped)
10 - 12 cubes of Paneer (Size of cube 1.5 cm. x 1.5 cm.)
Generous helping of butter (Amul Butter works wonders here)
Salt to taste

Part 1:
Take the chopped spinach leaves, chilies, onions, tomatoes, ginger, and garlic and put it in a pressure cooker. Fill water in the pressure cooker till vegetables are actually at half length of the water level. Close pressure cook and cook till 4 whistles.

Part 2:
After the vegetables are cooked, pass the boiled vegetables and stock in a sieve. Don’t discard the stock. Put the boiled vegetables in a mixer add some stock (Approx. 10 ml) and grind till a smooth paste is formed. Don’t make it too watery so control your intake of the stock and it should be a smooth and consistent paste.

Part 3:
Take a deep frying pan. Put a generous dollop of Butter and melt it at a high flame. Once the butter has melted add paneer cubes and just stir fry. Do not overcook the paneer, just light brown the top layer and keep aside. In the same pan, add the ground palak mix and stir this till the melted butter has mixed with the ground palak mix. Lower Flame. Keep adding the stock (little by little) and cook the palak mix. Take care while stirring and stir slowly as it might just erupt in your face. Once the water content has completely evaporated add the stir fried paneer cubes. Mix the paneer cubes nicely in the palak mix and shut down the gas. And Serve

Thursday, July 29, 2010


Finally, I have completed my first blog, hope you all try to cook from the recipe that has been provided. By attempting to experiment you win half the battle. Thank you Savita for posting your comment, I am happy that someone has at least has read my blog and commented. Indeed life gets dull when we lead a very predictable life. I hope to continue with my quest to cook and blog at the same time.

Many of my friends have asked me “Why the name Pressure Cooker Diaries”? I would like to answer that question with 2 events of my life.

Life is very fast for most of us, with work and other responsibilities that keep on hovering over our heads. We are basically like a pressure cooker waiting to let out steam when the situation gets out of hand. So writing about the events and experiences in turn eases our minds which are very important in today’s day and age. Doing things that are not related to work helps in clearing our minds from the usual hula-boo. Cooking in turn helps me in getting that peace of mind.

Anyhoo, The second event on how I arrived to the name is actually from the revolutionary Che Guevara of Latin America. I was once wiki-ing on the great legendary Che and found out that he used to travel the length and breadth of Latin America with his friend on his motorcycle. He was a doctor and he used to treat people of all color, race and all along Latin America. He wrote a book about his travels which was called “The Motorcycle Diaries”. I don’t think I will be as great as he was but I wanted to write about the voices in my head and my experiences about things I liked, disliked etc. So when I came to Qatar from Saudi, I found out from my cooking partners that they used to cook everything using Pressure Cooker as it was a faster medium for cooking. It was a new idea for me and in turn gave me this new idea of writing about my culinary skills using the Pressure Cooker. So the name was christened as “The Pressure Cooker Diaries”. I hope to add many more recipes with my Pressure Cooker escapades.

I am planning to cook Palak Paneer coming Friday. So wish me Luck!!!!