Surkh Tandoori Aloo


Aloo or potato is a perfect addition to most meals. The perfect potato in this case is a baby yellow gold ,they are so creamy and melt in your mouth,which is great considering the spice used here is a blend available in most Indian stores called Kashmiri red chili paste ,it is hot,spicy and delicious. Once again this dish is prepared in a tandoor or placed in an oven to roast.

20 baby Yukon gold potatoes

2 tablespoons vegetable oil plus for deep-frying

1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt

2 teaspoons Kashmiri red chili paste

Salt to taste

1 teaspoon garam masala

1/2 tsp roasted ground cumin

4 tablespoons gram flour

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Heat plenty of oil in a pan and deep fry the potatoes till they are half-cooked. Drain on absorbent paper and set aside.

Place the yogurt in a bowl. Add ginger and garlic paste ,chili paste,dry spices,salt lemon juice, oil and gram flour.Mix well.

Add the fried potatoes to the marinade and stir gently. Set aside, refrigerated for about 1 hour.

Thread the potatoes a little apart onto skewers  and roast in a preheated 400*F for 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.

Serve hot

Hara Bhara Paneer Tikka


On a very recent visit to India I was enticed by all the tandoor cooking. Tandoor is a special oven mostly found in Indian restaurants,it gives a moist baked flavor to foods prepared in it including several Indian specialty breads. Paneer is an Indian cheese much like ricotta ,but compressed to remove all moisture and form into a cake. In this very flavorful recipe it is combined with yoghurt ,spices and herbs ….delicious!

1/2 lb Paneer,cut into 1  1/2 inch squares

1 bunch fresh cilantro, washed and roughly chopped

1 bunch fresh mint, washed and roughly chopped

2 to 4 green Serrano chilis, washed and roughly chopped

5 to 10 garlic cloves,peeled

1 cup Greek yoghurt

3 tbsp Gram flour

salt to taste

1 tsp Chaat masala

1/2 tsp garam masala

1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tbsp vegetable oil

Grind cilantro, mint, green chilis and garlic to a paste. Scoop into a bowl and stir in yoghurt, spices, salt and lemon juice.

Stir in the oil and cubed paneer so that the paneer is well coated. Refrigerate and marinate for about half an hour.

Heat a pan. Cook the paneer pieces on a moderate flame turning frequently  until evenly cooked on all sides , about 10 to 15 minutes.

Serve hot with onion rings and lemon wedges

Eggless pistachio Apricot thumbprint cookies


The visual impression of the cookies is just beautiful.The soft green from the pistachios imbedded in the cookies peeps out from the sugar rolled cookies,then filled with the pale orange of the apricot jam. I used a little almond extract and ginger to flavor these cookies plus light brown sugar for a slightly chewier cookie .These cookies travel well so they make ideal gifts to pack and send for the holidays or even mail to friends.Nothing beats a home-made cookie.

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

2 1/3 cup all-purpose flour

1 tbsp rice flour

1/2 cup roasted,salted pistachio nuts chopped

1/2 tsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp almond extract

2 sticks ( 1/2 cup unsalted butter)

3/4 cup light brown sugar

Sugar for rolling cookies in.

Apricot jam for filling

Preheat oven to 350*F and line 2 baking pans with parchment paper. Set aside

Cream butter and light brown sugar just until combined.

Sift flour,salt and ginger,set aside.

Add almond extract to creamed butter sugar.

Stir in flour mixture followed by chopped nuts. Stir just to combine.

Using a tablespoon measure out 1 tablespoon of batter and roll into balls.Complete this with all the dough. Roll each ball in granulated sugar and place on the baking sheet.

Use your thumb or the back of a wooden spoon to make holes in the cookies,careful not to dip to the bottom of the cookie. Fill each hole with the jam and place in the preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes until golden.

Cool.Serve

Thai vegan green curry


Of all the Thai coconut based curries,Green is my favorite. It is spicy but not explosive as the paste is made with green chilis as opposed to red which  is a really acquired taste. I often buy a can of Maseri brand paste which does not contain any shrimp paste typically contained in store-bought pastes. Any number of vegetables can be added to the curry and it goes surprisingly well with green vegetables such as snow peas,peas or green beans. For protein I often add firm tofu or mock duck. In Thailand the curry is either served alongside Jasmin rice or hot Indian bread called rotis.

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Serves 4

1 can Green curry paste or 3 tbsp home-made curry paste

2 cups coconut milk

2 tbsp light soy sauce

1/3 cup vegetable stock

1 tbsp palm sugar or brown sugar

2 cups cooked vegetables of your choice,such as green beans,mushrooms,baby corn,snow peas etc

1 block firm tofu, drained,dried and cut into cubes

6 kaffir lime leaves

1/4 cup fresh Asian basil,torn

Heat a wok and add in 2 tbsp of thick coconut cream.Allow the cream to heat and add the curry paste.Cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes,stirring. Add in the rest of the coconut milk, the stock, soy sauce and sugar. Allow to come to a simmer while you add in the torn kaffir lime leaves.Stir well and allow to simmer (DO NOT BOIL) for about 5 minutes.

Gently stir in the vegetables and tofu. Simmer 2 minutes ,more.

Check for seasoning and adjust.

Pour into serving bowl and garnish with basil.Serve with a bowl of steamed Jasmin rice or hot Indian Chapatis.

Eggless fresh mango cheesecake


Almond Orange flower water cookies


Almonds are my most beloved nut ever,I would add it to everything if my family allowed. I love it in salads and pasta and of course couscous,to name a few,but,as often as possible in my desserts. Perhaps it is the Maltese upbringing where all the best cookies and cakes contain almonds or thanks to my aunt in Morocco who sent me the most sublime cookies, made with,of course,Almonds!!! it is that recollection that prompted me to add the orange flower water (available at most Middle Eastern stores) . However in the absence just add the zest of one large orange as opposed to a medium one. These are buttery,light cookies to enjoy with a steaming cup of coffee or tea or…just on their own.

Makes 45

Photograph by rahul Mahtani

Preheat oven to 325*F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.Set aside.

3  1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup Rice flour

1/2 cup toasted blanched almonds,ground

1/4 tsp table salt

3/4 cup superfine sugar plus more for sprinkling

3 sticks unsalted butter,room temperature

Zest of 1 medium orange

2 tablespoons Orange flower water

1 tsp vanilla extract

A few tablespoons of toasted blanched almonds for topping cookies

Sift flour, rice flour, almond flour and salt together. Add salt and orange zest.Stir to combine. set aside.

In a stand mixer cream butter for a few minutes to aerate and butter turns light and pale ( about 3 minutes). With mixer on medium speed start to pour in slowly the sugar so the butter fully absorbs the sugar. Continue to mix for an extra minute. Add orange flower water and vanilla extract.Stir just to combine.

Turn speed to the lowest setting. Start to add the flour mixture slowly,but just to combine.Do not over mix or the cookies will be tough.

Roll the dough out between two sheets of wax or parchment paper to about 1/4 inch thick. Cut out desired shapes and place on prepared baking sheets.

Sprinkle on nuts and sugar.

Bake for 20 minutes per sheet until pale golden. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 5 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely before transferring to an airtight container.

Salmon in hot bean sauce


This fantastic recipe was taught to me at culinary school years ago and is still one of the most requested dishes both by my family and friends .it has the best combination of flavors but is very Chinese seafood dish I have made. Originally this dish was made with Carp but I switched over to Salmon,a more widely available fish and touted for its great vitamin content. The best point with this dish is it can be under cooked and heated and finished cooking just prior to serving.

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

2 lb Salmon        1  1/2 tbsp chopped ginger root ( fresh please)

2 tbsp chopped fresh garlic

3 scallions,diced

2 tbsp hot bean sauce ( available in Asian markets)

2 tbsp dry Sherry or Rice wine

1  1/2 cup stock

2 tsp sugar

2 tsp soy sauce

1 tbsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tbsp water

2 tsp vinegar

1/2 cup peanut or corn oil ( I use Canola oil)

Clean the fish and pat dry with paper towels. Make 3 cuts on each side of the fish.

Put ginger,garlic and hot bean sauce on a plate.

Combine Sherry or Rice wine, stock , sugar and soy sauce in a cup.

Sprinkle salt on both sides of fish just before frying . heat a wok until hot. Add 5 tbsp of  oil and swirl it around. heat it until very hot. Slide the fish into the oil and fry until golden brown. Turn and brown the other side. Remove the Fish and oil.

Add 3 tbsp fresh oil and heat until hot. Add ginger and stir fry until fragrant. Add the hot bean sauce. Stir fry a few times.

Add the fish, the stock mixture . Bring to a boil. Cover and cook in medium heat for 5 minutes. Turn fish over and cook 5 more minutes or until done. Remove fish to a serving dish.

Restir the cornstarch mixture. Add it to the sauce,stirring all the while until it thickens. Add the vinegar, scallions, stir and pour over the fish.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.