Kheema Recipe : From My Rasoi

Since I started blogging, I had known so many Indian food lovers and bloggers alike out there. If you want to be swarm by it, go over and get the links from VK of My Dhaba. Meena from Hooked on Heat had suggested a monthly cookout celebrating Indian cuisines in various forms, called as From My Rasoi, literary meaning, from my kitchen. Every month Meena would come up with a theme and for this month, along with the cold period in half part of the world, the theme is “Winter”.

Winter is a tough theme for a tropical gal like me. In Malaysia, it is either rain or shine here. When it is hot here, it can be burning hot. You would not want to be caught out in the sun especially right at noon. In fact, you can have burning sensation on your head. During my high school days, I was a school basketball players and fanatically, we play till 11am when the sun is high and our head is about to set on fire. Although it is really hot around, we are still lucky as the air is humid and never too dry plus we get a fair share of rain all the time. In Taiping, as I had mentioned as the wettest town in Southeast Asia, I had countless times of enjoying the cooling rain while I sleep.

Sometimes I do wish for four seasons like other countries, where we can enjoy the sun in the summer, catch fallen leaves in autumn, throw snowballs at winter and enjoy rebirth of nature in spring. But sometimes, I revel in the fact that we have consistent weather and nothing to worry about, just maybe occasional floods.

So therefore, my interpretation of the theme may vary a lot from people but I feel, as for winter, it is a cold time calling for hot food! Coincidently, all Indian food is hot! And I meant not just the high heat but spicy and exciting.

As for me, this month I will be featuring a really delectable dish that was introduced to me in a recent food gathering. As I had mentioned a few times, I am actively involved in a Singapore/Malaysia food forum Kitchen Capers, where we had organized a meet up, joint with another local forum that I was recently introduced to – Jo’s Deli, last month for both Malaysian members. There, a member had cooked up a delicious and ‘never get enough of’ dish – Lamb Kheema. Oh it got me dreaming of it day and night after the gathering. So, naturally, when everyone posted up their recipes, I try this one out first straightaway.

Kheema is a hot dish which is not too spicy but yet do not lack in taste. It is really complex in flavours although the ingredients are pretty simple and I am quite sure, readily available. According to Wiki:
This is a traditional Punjabi home cooked dish and is popular with northern Indian/Pakistani people in the Midlands. It is minced lamb curry served with
peas.

Meena had also cooked up some Keema Matar, with ground chicken and peas. I totally agree with her on the part about peas, as I personally feel it is the main ingredient that made the dish at the right texture with the right taste. Not to mention it adds more colour to the dish and of course, more nutrition. Now, without further ado, let me introduce you this hot dish for cold times or to level your winter, if you are in one.

Kheema Recipe
Kheema

Kheema

I had used ground pork for this dish but found that the lamb that I had in the gathering had much more complex taste, but nonetheless this was also really tasty. This is a simple yet wonderful dish, certainly a keeper in my rasoi!

Grind to a fine paste:
4 slices of ginger (each 1 cm thick)
3 cloves of garlic

250gm minced meat (lamb, beef, chicken or pork)
3-5 tbsps of curry powder (according to level of spiciness)

2 cups of water salt to taste
120 gm green peas (I used 1 can)
1 green chilli (thinly sliced)

Cut into cubes:
2-3 medium sized potatoes (peeled)
2 tomatoes
1 big onion

For frying:
1/2 onion (thinly sliced)
3 cardamoms
4 cloves
1 stick cinnamon – about 4cm long

In a bowl, mix the meat with ginger-garlic paste, curry powder, salt and ½ cup water.
Then heat oil in pan and fry the ingredients for frying.
When onions are soft, add the mince meat and fry till fragrant.
Add the potatoes and stir in 1 ½ cup of water. Bring to boil. Cover and cook till potatoes are soft, stir occasionally.
Then add cubed tomatoes and onions, peas, chilli. Cover and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
Dish out and devour!

Serves 4

Masala Vadai with Curry Leaves Recipe

Curry Leaves
Curry Leaves

This is my first time participating in the weekend herb blogging, and I could not find a better herb to blog about than curry leaves! This is because it is one of the herbs that I used freshly in variety of cooking, such as my Chicken Korma. These leaves are also readily available in Malaysia.

Curry leaves are featured mainly in Indian cuisines that are ubiquitous in Malaysia as the Indians are one of the three main ethnic groups in my multi-racial country. I have always been a lover of Indian cuisines, and had taken note of this unique and strong smelling herb. This special herb emits a special aroma which I believe, is hard to substitute with any other herbs. If one leaves it out in a recipe, the taste would not be quite right.

Once, our local KFC even had a version of Curry Fried Chicken, where curry leaves are mixed into the batter and then deep fried with the chicken. It was certainly special where the leaves are still clearly shown on the fried chicken, but now it is off the menu as somehow, Malaysians love the long-time hot and spicy version much better.

So in order to introduce this herb further, I had made vadai with it. Vadai is a type of fried gram that we in Malaysia like to snack on. It is extremely tasty with lots of flavours from the spices, a little spicy from the chillies and of course, the curry leaves. In this version that I modified from a cooking forum, KC, it includes masala in it. If masala powder is not available to you, you can make it yourself from a recipe here or any other recipes out there.

Masala Vadai
Masala Vadai

Eat it out of your hands with a good lime-chilly sauce and I guaranteed it finger licking good!

Masala Vadai

During shaping, I had experience difficulties in holding them together because it was too wet. I supposed it is because I did not drain the soaked dhal grams properly enough, therefore I had added a bit more flour. After that I had chilled it in the fridge while I shaped the rest of the vadais and while I heat up the oil. It did help to hold the form a little.

The first batch of my vadais had gone to the trash because I had flipped it too early before it was thoroughly fried, therefore everything split. I also made a mistake by taking it out too fast, resulting in pieces of under-fried vadais. Therefore, I had timed and found that the best is to first let it fried for at least bout 5 minutes before flipping it over and then fried it for another 3 minutes to achieve the brown outlook with crunchy on the outside but soft on the inside texture. Besides, I found that one should be gentle while lowering the vadai into the oil, using a spoon and your fingers to sandwich the vadai while transferring would help.

1 cup Dhal Gram (grind until fine)
3/4 cup Dhal Gram
2 green chilies (remove seeds, chopped finely)
1 medium onions (chopped finely)
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp Masala powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tbsp chopped curry leaves
6 tbsp plain flour

Soak both ground and whole dhal gram in separate bowls for 5 hours.
Drain both bowls of dhal gram and mixed into a large mixing bowl.
Add the rest of ingredients.
Mixed together evenly.
Wet your hands and shape them into patties.
Deep fry in hot wok of oil till golden brown (about 5 minutes on one side then turn and fry for about 3 more minutes)

Makes about 10-12 vadais

Chicken Korma Recipe : Spicing Up My Life

When I was young, I used to not able to stomach spicy food. In fact, as a kid, I’m pretty fussy bout food. I choose what to put into my mouth and what not. I also, terrible me, always refuse to finish my food. I would usually complaint I’m full, and then my nanny’s daughter (the one who usually feeds me), would urge me for three spoons more. The naughty I would keep count and at the third mouthful, I would declare “Finished!” she used to be amaze, at such tender age it is impossible to con me. Although, I could not eat much but the miracle thing is, I’m still as chubby and red as ever with a huge rounded tummy. My dad used to joke there must be air inside there.

Somehow, as I grew up, I learnt to stomach more and more spicy food. By the time I shifted over to live independently in KL, I even developed a liking towards spicy food. In fact thinking of spicy food makes me salivate. I love Indian curries, I love Malay rendang and sambal, and of course all the spicy Chinese cuisines. I also seek for various spicy foods from all over other than Malaysia.

Therefore, nowadays, I have been seeking out to cook something spicy at home. Had always been a dream of mine, thinking of what I could conjure up with spices and chilies available locally. I always crave for the long-gone authentic home cooked Indian food that I get to eat during Deepavali in my friends’ house.

Thanks to Kitchen Capers, I had been exposed to both authentic Singaporean and Malaysian food and its simplicity in the making. There were many spicy Asian dishes featured there and it opened up so many possibilities for me to spice up my life!

Chicken Korma Recipe
Chicken Korma

Chicken Korma

This version of curry is not so spicy but nonetheless a real treat to the taste buds. You can get the forum version here but I have added curry leaves for kick and omitted some ingredients I did not have in hands. This is a real tasty treat and how I wish I could have had it with my chapatti.

6 pcs chicken upper thigh (chopped into 2 sections)
2 onions (diced)
50 g butter
120g plain yoghurt
150 ml UHT milk
10 pcs cardamom seeds
Bunch of curry leaves
Salt and black pepper to taste

Spices:
2 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tbsp Cumin seeds

1. Pound the spices together with mortar and pestle (You can also use a grinder)
2. Heat up wok with butter and add onion to sauté till soft and slightly browned
3. Add cardamom seeds and curry leaves to fry till fragrant
4. Add spice mix and stir fry to mix evenly
5. Add chicken and yoghurt
6. Stir to mix and then add the milk
7. Cover the wok and simmer to cook over medium heat for 30 minutes

Serves 4-6 people

Chapati Recipe : Fast Food Malaysian Style

In Malaysia, one of the most common habits among youths is staying up late at night and then goes out seeking for food in the middle of the night. Luckily here, we can find food 24 hours a day.

When we mention supper or commonly known as “yum cha”, the first thing to struck our mind is mamak! Mamak is an Indian-Muslim community in Malaysia who are famous for its fast and good food, available 24 hours a day. It’s in a way our own version of fast food. Mamak is like grown mushrooms after the rain in Malaysia. You can simply find one nearby whenever you need it. There are all sorts of choices ranging from breads to noodles to soups to rice with various spicy dishes. Definitely a place for food indulgence.

When I first came up to KL to stay, I lived in Wangsa Maju. Many foodies should know that it’s a heaven for food. Right smacked in front of my condominium is the infamous mamak, BRJ. There they serve truly delicious and sinful Nasi Lemak. More on that next time if I ever have the chance to go back for my true Nasi Lemak. But the sad thing is they don’t serve one of my favourite Indian cuisines, which is chapatti. Chapatti is an Indian flatbread made from atta flour(South Asian whole grain durum wheat flour).

Everytime I go to mamak, if I’m hungry (I never have this habit anymore to eat late at night), I would order chapatti. It is one of my favorite healthier options for a midnight snack. Chapatti is usually served with dhal, another favourite curry accompaniment of mine.

But now, lucky me, I have a nearby mamak which serves chapatti with thick and rich dhal. I would keep on ordering refill for the dhal. Nowadays, the “yum cha” session had toned down considerably, and even if we do go out, I seldom eat. Therefore, it has been quite some time since I have my chapatti fix. The only solution I can think of is to make my own!

Malaysia Chapati Recipe
Malaysia Chapati

Chickpea Chapatti

I came across this recipe from Zu’s Blog, to make simple and easy chapatti. The part I find most troublesome is the rolling out. I had quite a trouble because it kept on sticking to the table and to my rolling pin. Lessons I learn is, to use more flours to knead it after resting and then use hand to first flatten it. Our hands are the best tool to feel the right texture needed for the bread. After that, use the rolling pin to flatten it further. Each time turning it 90 degrees and flatten again, to achieve a better rounded shape. Careful not to roll to thin or you’ll end up with crispy biscuit like bread instead.

One more thing is, I had replaced recipes ½ cup plain flour to make it all atta flour, and regretted it. The chapatti was slightly on the tough texture, and later I learnt that the plain flour is to make it softer. Next time I would stick to the right flour ratio. To coarsely grind the spices, I had used my good ol’ pestle and mortar, courtesy from my dear nanny.

1 1/2 cups atta flour
1/2 cup plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil)
1 cup warm water
1 cup chickpea, mashed (1/2 can)
1/2 tbsp coriander seeds, coarsely grind
1/2 tbsp cumin seeds, coarsely grind

1. Mix the flours and salt together
2. Add oil and water slowly into the flours and knead till it forms into dough
3. Add mashed chickpea, coriander and cumin and mix well
4. Rest the dough covered with cling wrap for 1-2hrs
5. Shape the dough into palm size and roll it out thin
6. Place rolled dough onto non-stick pan and cook till bubble forms. Turn over and cook.

Makes 8-10 chapattis.