Thursday, February 23, 2012

Cheese smothered sunny side up egg

Heat  a frying pan, pour a little oil, spread all over, pour out the excess oil. When the oil gets hot, break an egg into it, spread out the white of the egg so it cooks uniformly sprinkle sea salt and pepper. Lift the egg on to a plate. Arrange slices of Kraft cheese over it. I say Kraft cos I used Kraft cheese today. Take two slices of bread and toast them lightly on the pan. You can lift the egg smothered with cheese on to one slice and cover with the other slice. It's absolute heaven. Or you can eat the genteel way with a fork, egg and cheese and a nibble of bread. Really, totally sets you on your feet for the day. I've finished dinner and I'm still thinking affectionate thoughts of this morning's breakfast :D

MOIST AND FLAVOURSOME - This pic is pretty close to what I cooked up this morning

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Brinjal sweet and sour

What I'm going to do is this. I'm going to put the main ingredient of the recipe in the title, so if you have brinjal all you have to do is write brinjal in the search box and recipes with brinjal will pop up.

Buy half a kilo of medium sized brinjals. Wash them. Angle your knife like you are sharpening a pencil and shave off the top green stem and leaf type thingy that holds the brinjal to the stem. The stem and the holder leaf type thingy can be used as a hair clip. :D Just kidding. Throw it in the bin.

The bin. That's another thing. I like keeping a small bin on the kitchen counter, next to the work surface so you don't drop bits and pieces of chopped veg waste all over the kitchen floor between work area and dustbin. Line the bin with newspaper and you're good to go. 

Now you have the washed and trimmed brinjals. YOu have to cut them into half inch, or one centimetre cubes. You can cut the brinjals lengthwise in half then half inch slices, then half inch strips and across the strips to get your cubes. Put in a holding bowl. 

I like the sound of "holding bowl".  You  don't cook in it. You hold the stuff you are going to put in a vessel for cooking. Buy nice shiny, easy to clean holding bowls of three different sizes. Small medium and large. The large one can double as a salad bowl.

So now you have the cubed brinjals in the holding bowl.

Chop an onion. You know how to do that right? Chop the top and the bottom. slice down the length. Peel off the outer layer. By the way I think when you keep your mouth open, or talk when chopping onions, your eyes water, if you keep your mouth shut, your eyes don't burn. I may be wrong. But my eyes don't burn when I'm chopping onions silently.

Place the onion cut side down, slice fine lengthwise, turn it around and slice horizontally. If you watch cooking on TV, they take a cleaver and chop rapidly up and down the pile of chopped onion. You can do that, but all it does is impress you, does not make much difference to the cooked dish. But finely chopped onions or finely sliced are easier to eat.

Chop one green chilli lengthwise then across as tiny as you can.

Chop one tomato finely

Chop about a tablespoon of fresh coriander (cotmir)

About 10 large curry leaves (curry patta)

One tsp ginger garlic paste

A tsp of whole mustard

A tsp of whole jeera

1/2 tsp haldi powder

1/2 tsp pepper powder

1/2 tsp dhania powder

1/2 tsp chilli powder

1/2 tsp mango powder (amchur)

A small lump of jaggery maybe 1 inch (optional)

Juice of one lemon 

Two tablespoons of water

Put your cooking vessel on the stove, let it get hot, keep flame high. 
When hot put in a teaspoon of oil. Swirl the oil around, so it coats the base of the vessel.
When the oil heats in half a minute, drop the mustard in. Turn the flame low, else the mustard will burn.
When the mustard stops popping, throw in the whole jeera.
A few seconds later when the jeera turns darker, throw in the curry leaves.
When they get brown, throw in ginger garlic paste. Stir it around for a about 10 seconds.

Now throw in the onions and stir them all over the place, so everything mixes nicely. Turn the flame up and stir till the onions get transparentish, or pink. There has to be some action there. Ideally, the onions should turn golden brown, but I find it annoying waiting for the stupid things to turn golden brown and if you dream a little, as it is PERFECTLY NORMAL to do, the stupid things get black. Less is more is what I say.

Chuck in the tomato, stir,  the chilli, stir,  the haldi, pepper, dhania, chilli, mango powders, stir until it's all mixed, chuck in HALF of the chopped coriander, now empty the chopped brinjals from the ahem, holding bowl, stir carefully until the masala is mixed nicely and evenly with the brinjal cubes. Turn the flame low, else you'll be coughing and sneezing all over the place.

Sprinkle a little water over not more than two tablespoons of water. You should never use lots of water to cook veggies, cos the vitamins go, and it tastes horrible. Again, less is more. Leetle water is all you need.

Add the jaggery and stir it around until it dissolves.

Close the vessel and check that the flame is low.

Let it cook for 7 minutes.


Add juice of one lemon


Replace lid of vessel. 

Cook for another 2 minutes.

Taste a cube and see if more salt is needed.

If it is not spicy enough, make a note next time to add another chilli and maybe some more chilli and pepper powder. Don't add any more things now. 

Turn stove off.  Add remaining chopped coriander, stir gently. Close lid.


YOU CAN ADD FRESH PRAWNS AFTER THE SPICES ARE ADDED TO THE ONIONS AND A TABLESPOON OF WATER. (I used to do this when you both were small, but el kunjooso stopped that when frugality became his god)



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

CHICKEN A LA MOI (best in world and easiest to cook)

Those chicken pieces that were marinated in masalas, curd etc? Defrost them. When it gets to room temperature, put a pan on the stove. 

Once it gets hot, don't use any oil, just place the pieces of chicken in the hot pan. 

Let them sizzle on a high flame for a minute. 

Turn them over. Sizzle for a minute. Turn the flame down to 'Low', cover the pan with a cover or a plate and set your timer for 12-15 minutes.

After 12-15 minutes, turn the pieces over again, cover. Cook on the same low heat for 10 minutes this time.

Take the pieces out of the pan and place them in a dish. 

Don't waste all that goodness of fat and spices and lovely, lovely gravy that is in the pan. 

Add whatever is left in the packet that held the marinating chicken. Empty the remaining marinade into the pan with the fried marinade. 

Add a little water, 
a little tomato sauce, 
a spritz of soya sauce, 
add a pinch of cornflour powder dusted over the boiling liquid. 

Stir gently as it thickens then pour it over the 'fried' chicken pieces in the dish. Stir them around so all the pieces are coated. 

Chop fresh coriander(cotmir) sprinkle over. 

You can slice some raw onion too and sprinkle salt pepper and a tsp of lemon juice, Mix it gently and spread over the chicken. 

Eat. Enjoy. Best thing ever? No oil used for frying in this dish. Note: if the pieces stick to the pan sprinkle a little water (as much as you can hold in your hand), cover, then gently lift each piece with a spatula. Same, if the sauce sticks.

Sunday, February 5, 2012


Wash the chicken in running water, cos you don't know where the butcher stored it. Be suspicious always. Place the chicken on its back, make certain you have  a sharp cleaver and knife. For that you get an oil-stone to sharpen your knives, wet the blade and then holding the blade at an angle draw it up and down the stone about 10 or 15 times, both sides of the blade.

So now you have your defrosted bird on its back and a sharp cleaver and knife.

There are some goodies in the body cavity, reach inside and take out the liver, gizzard and feel for the heart and yank it out. Wash all three properly remove any loose fat from the gizzard and gut it in two. Chuck it into a deep bowl.

Next grab hold of one leg bend it. See where the joint is and place the blade of your cleaver or knife on it and bear down exerting pressure on the blade. It will go through the joint nicely. Why the joint? because then you don't get bone splinters when you cook. Make two deep nicks on the chicken leg so that when you cook it, it cooks to the bone easily and you don't get that disgusting pink or worse, bloody portion near the bone.

Do the same for the other leg.

Now grab the thigh, work it up and down to see where the joint is, place the blade of the knife or cleaver and bear down heavily. Be very careful at all times that your finger does not come under the blade. Score the thigh with two cuts to the bone.

Do the same for the other thigh. 

Now go to the wings. Always cut out the small portion of the wing and keep it aside for a woggle you may know. Why I say this, is because some poultry farmers inject their birds in the wing tips with growth hormones. It may be an urban legend but no harm in taking a few precautions. Danielle, you told me, you heard that if the tip of the wing is pink or red, it is a fresh chicken.  I get rid of that part though from the joint. So you are left with the lollipop and the wing. 

Feel for the shoulder joint and cut there. If you want a fat lollipop cut a lot of flesh about an inch from around the joint, so you get a nice fat lollipop.

Do the same for the other wing.

Now your bird has no legs and no wings. Place your left hand over the breast area. Hold the cleaver flat, cut along the sides, through the ribs on both sides. Careful not to let the cleaver slip. Make sure your cutting board is not near the edge of the kitchen counter. It can slip off and your chicken will be all over the floor. I say this, cos it happened to me.

Cut up to the shoulder joint and force the blade through the joint. Both sides. Now you have the backbone area and neck separate from the breast portion.

Cut the breast portion any way you like. You can cut it in three horizontal pieces so you get the wish bone intact, or you can chop down vertically through the wishbone and have two large breast pieces.

All this goes into the deep bowl.

The back can be chopped into three or four sections, the neck into two. Put this in a separate bowl. The back and neck are very bony pieces and are great for boiling for soup, or making a killer chicken xacuti. Bony meat make superb soups and superb curries. Sprinkle a little salt, maybe a tablespoon of it (less is more) put in a clean clear plastic packet, not the recycled type, or wrap in plastic wrap and store in a box in the freezer.


Now take the deep bowl with the chicken pieces.  Take a four finger and one thumb grab  amount of salt. Sea salt is better, healthier than the table salt with all its chemicals. Sea salt has good bacteria that prevents cancers and Alzheimer's  Disease. So, for cooking make certain you have at least 2 kilos of sea salt in your kitchen. The grey salt is great, but the pinkish salt is the best. The pure white is useless with all the grit washed out of it.

So sprinkle the 4-finger-and-thumb pinch of salt on the chicken pieces and massage them well. Then add a heaped tablespoon of ginger garlic paste. Massage. Add a tablespoon of soya sauce and a tablespoon of barbecue sauce or Bancal sauce, which you get in Goa, so Goa is the best place in the world to live since you get Bancal sauce here. Add a tablespoon of curd. Massage. Throw in a teaspoon (tsp) of haldi, a tsp of jeera, tsp of chilli powder, tsp of garam masala, tsp pepper, tsp dhania. Mix the whole lot thoroughly, add a tablespoon of lemon juice. Pour it all into a plastic bag, put in a box, store in a fridge and cook it whenever you like. It stays fine in a good fridge for even two months. That's the longest I've kept chicken. No it didn't grow a beard, or get any mould. And it tasted great.   


I studied him with a surreptitious eye this morning. He chops an onion, a tomato, two green chillies, cotmir, sprinkles a pinch of salt and massages the lot with his hand. He takes two frankfurters which have been taken out from the freezer the previous night and placed in the chiller tray for two omlettes, pricks them randomly, fries them until they burst here and there. He places them in a plate. 

Stage 2: He beats an egg in a bowl, beats, beats, beats until it is fluffy frothy, sprinkles a quarter tsp haldi (turmeric), a quarter tsp chilly powder, a quarter tsp ground pepper, a quarter tsp of jeera powder and a quarter tsp of dhania (dry coriander) powder, a pinch of salt. Then he beats the egg again. He then spoons a couple of tablespoons of the onion tomato mix into the fluffy, frothy, egg. 

Stage 3: He pours the egg and onion and stuff mixture into the hot frying pan, with a spatula he spreads it around slightly to make a circle of around 7 or 8 inches. Since it is so fluffy, it's uniformly around half an inch thick. He places one of the fried frankfurters about one inch from the centre. He drops another tablespoon of onion mix on one half portion of the omlette circle. Not the half which has the frankfurter. Turn the flame low and let the omlette cook for a few minutes. You can place slices of cheese over the frankfurter at this point.

Stage 4: Then slide your spatula carefully under the omlette and gently fold it over. You can fold it in half, or do an envelop fold, one third and from the other end one third folded over. Turn the omlette over, let it cook for two minutes and slip it into a plate.

Garnish with tomato sauce or anything you like.

Eat. Enjoy.

Ingredients needed for one omlette:

1 frankfurter
1 egg
1 small to medium onion
1 small tomato
1 tablespoon chopped cotmir
1 or 2 green chillies
1/4 tsp each of haldi, chilli pwdr, pepper pwdr, jeera powder, dhania powder
couple of slices of cheese or a couple of tablespoons of grated cheese
salt to taste a couple of pinches (less is better always)
Tomato sauce for garnishing.