January 28, 2012

Fish galawati kebab

Galawati kebab is a delicacy from Awadhi cuisine. It originated to satisfy the delicate tastes of the Lucknow Nawabs (Uttar Pradesh, India). The name Galawati means ‘that melts in mouth’. It is an exquisite mixture of ground meat and aromatic spices formed into patty and fried on a griddle. The high fat content makes the kebab melt in the mouth. It is said that the authentic recipe has long secret list of aromatic ingredients that are signature of this preparation. Even though I do not know the secret recipe, I tried to keep it as close to the authentic one as possible. However, there are variations. I did not use atar or rose petals, because I did not have those. The major variation is the use of fish instead of meat. And that is why the name is Fish galawati kebab instead of just Galawati kebab. I wished to experiment with fish. The fat in this recipe mostly is fish oil with some cream. I do intend to try it once with ground meat, but this time it was with fish. But don’t let that disappoint you, as the kebabs were no less delicate. Soft, juicy, and delicious they were. With each bite, it was a celebration of flavors. The fish meat created a nice smooth texture, and the subtle blend of flavors and aroma of different spices took it to a different level. It was delicious.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Makes 6)

250g Rohu fish (or Carp fish)
1 onion
1 inch ginger
4 cloves garlic
2 green chili
2tbsp Bengal gram flour
2tbsp khoya kheer
1tbsp cream
Salt, sugar

Spice mix:
1inch cinnamon,
2 black cardamom
4-5 cloves
10 black pepper
3g mace
Pinch nutmeg powder
1 small dry red chili
2tbsp sesame seeds
1tbsp poppy seeds


1.      Boil the fish pieces, debone and set aside.
2.      Make a paste of the onion, ginger, garlic, chili.
3.      Heat ghee in a wok. Add the paste.
4.      Fry the paste until water evaporates and it is nicely brown.
5.      In the meantime, roast all ingredients of spice mix except nutmeg powder. Finely grind everything. Add the nutmeg powder.
6.      Mash the fish well. Add the onion-ginger-garlic-chili paste and the ground spices. Add khoya kheer and cream. Season with salt and a pinch of sugar. Mix well.
7.      Make dough using roasted Bengal gram flour.
8.      Cover and put in the refrigerator for 2 hours.
9.      When making the kebabs, take the dough out and again knead well.
10.   Make 6 equal sized balls and shape them like a patty.
11.   Grease a pan with ghee and pan-fry each of the kebabs until brown on both sides and starting to get a hint of char.

Condensed milk powder can be used instead of khoya kheer.
The kebab is very delicate and needs gentle handling while pan-frying.
If Rohu (or even Carp) is not available, any other sweet water fish from same family can be used.

Kheer patisapta (Rice flour crepe with kheer stuffing)

Makar Sankranti  or  Pongal is one the harvest festivals in India. It is celebrated as Poush Parbon or Poush Sankranti  Bengal on the last day of the month of Poush. The freshly harvested paddy, date palm syrup and abundant coconuts are used to make traditional and delicate Bengali sweets, the different varieties of Pithe. I remember my grandma making all the delicious Puli pithe, patisapta, gokul pithe and so on. My parents talk about all the other tens of varieties of Pithe they had had when they were young. This time also my parents made puli pithe and patisapta at home. And I also got inspired to carry on the tradition. And maybe more than tradition, I guess I was just craving for all these sweet delicacies. Therefore, I decided to make Patisapta. It is rice flour crepe stuffed with coconut or kheer. I went with the kheer stuffing. In India, I would have used khoya to make the kheer. Here I substituted it with ricotta cheese and condensed milk powder. It was perfect and delicious. And here goes the recipe..

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Makes around 15)

For filling:
250g ricotta cheese
1cup condensed milk powder
500ml full cream milk
3tbsp light yogurt

For crepe:
1cup rice flour
1/2cup semolina flour
~350ml milk
2-3tbsp sugar (as per taste and sweetness of filling)

Mix all the ingredients for filling together.
Pour in a heavy bottomed pan and cook on low-medium heat with occasional stirring. Take care that it does not stick to the bottom.
Cook until the milk condenses and it forms an almost solid mass.
Let it cool and then separate into 15 portions.
Roll each portion into a cylinder.
Soak semolina flour for 30 minutes with minimum water. Mix it with rice flour.
Make a batter with around 300ml milk. Do not add all the milk at once. Add as required to get the right consistency. It should be quite a bit thinner than pancake batter.
Grease a griddle and lightly warm it.
Add a small ladle full of batter on it. Quickly spread it to make an even crepe. This has to be done quickly before the batter sets. The heat should be low-medium.
After the batter sets, flip over. Cook for a minute more but do not let it brown.
Add the filling in center and roll the crepe.

For this particular rice flour batter, the batter has to be very thin; otherwise, the crepes will be hard and unpalatable when cold.
When pouring the batter make sure that the griddle is not too hot, or the batter will start setting before it is spread. 
There is no need to grease the griddle before making every crepe.

January 23, 2012

Tamatar murgh (Chicken in tomato gravy)

I had a few tomatoes sitting in my fridge. I had to make some dry chicken preparation for my work lunch box. Therefore, came up with this idea of tomato chicken. In India, tomato is used in almost every chicken gravy. Hence, tomato coupled up with Indian spices cannot go wrong with the chicken. And I so much love the tanginess of tomatoes. With the wish to highlight the flavors of tomato, and therefore decided on omitting onion and reducing the amount of ginger-garlic. The flavor of nigella seeds is one of my favorites. And sesame seeds added a hint of rich creamy flavor. Overall it turned out to be a very good and simple preparation, which I will surely cook again, for my lunch box or a simple lunch/dinner.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 3)

500g chicken
1inch ginger
3cloves garlic
250g tomato
1sp cumin powder
1sp coriander powder
1/2sp turmeric powder
1sp nigella seeds
Salt, sugar

Spice mix:
1 dry red chili
1 black cardamom
4-5 cloves
1inch cinnamon
1tbsp sesame seeds


1.      Make a paste of ginger garlic. Dice the tomatoes.
2.      Roast the ingredients of spice mix and coarsely grind.
3.      Heat oil in a wok. Rub the nigella seeds on palm and add it to the oil. Let it splutter.
4.      Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for a minute.
5.      Add the spice mix, cumin, coriander, turmeric powder. Add salt and a pinch of sugar. Fry for another minute.
6.      Add the diced tomato. Fry on medium heat until it leaves oil on the sides.
7.      Now add the chicken pieces.
8.      Cook on low-medium heat until the chicken is cooked.

Methi roti (Indian bread with methi leaves)

I did not wish to make naan, kulcha or simple roti on their own. Therefore, the result was something that was a fusion of all these in a way. The whole-wheat flour gave the identity of roti. The yeast dough and yogurt gave the dimensions of naan, kulcha. I flavored it with dried kasoori methi, one of my favorite herbs. The freshly baked rotis smeared generously with butter were just irresistible with the dal I made along with.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Makes 5)

1.5cup whole-wheat flour
1cup yogurt
7g instant yeast
1/2sp baking soda
2tbsp dried kasoori methi leaves
Salt, sugar
1tbsp oil


1.      Rub the flour with oil for some minutes to let in air and make the flour fluffier.
2.      Add the salt, sugar, yeast, baking soda, kasoori methi. Mix well.
3.      Knead dough with slightly warm yogurt.
4.      Let the dough stand in a warm place for an hour and rise (It will not rise as much as dough using refined flour).
5.      Knead again after the dough has risen.
6.      Make 5 equal balls and roll into 7inch circles.
7.      Heat a pan. Put one roti for baking. When it starts to bubble a bit, flip over and bake the other side. The roti will take around a couple of minutes to be done.
8.      Smear it with butter and keep covered under a clean kitchen cloth.
9.      Repeat the same process with the other 4.

Mung-Matar dal

This is a tasty result of yet another of my many experiments in kitchen.  I was playing with different ideas of how to cook lentils. I did not wish to make the regular preparations and yet wished something simple. Unable to settle with either mung or matar (yellow split peas), I decided to use both. Instead of boiling the lentils, the cooking method was soaking and grinding into paste before cooking over medium heat for some time. It created a fine grainy texture and a highlighted the almost raw flavors and aroma that is signature of the Bengali style of cooking ‘bhape’. How deliciously it paired up with the rustic Indian breads. 

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 6)

1/2cup split yellow mung
1/2cup yellow split peas
2 green chili
1 large tomato
1 onion
1inch ginger
1sp cumin powder
1/2sp turmeric powder
1 pinch mace grounded
750ml water
3tbsp cream
Salt, sugar


1.      Soak both the lentils separately overnight.
2.      Make a fine paste of the lentils along with tomato, ginger and chili.
3.      In a heavy-bottomed pan, add 1 tbsp ghee. Add the lentil paste and cook on high heat for 10 mins taking care that it does not stick to bottom.
4.      Add cumin and turmeric powder. Season with salt and 1sp of sugar.
5.      Add 500 ml of water and cook on medium heat for ~30 mins with occasional stirring. It will be a thick paste like mixture.
6.      In mean time, slice the onion and fry until brown.
7.      Increase the heat. Add 250ml water and the cream. Bring to boil.
8.      Garnish with fried onion, mace and a bit of cream before serving.

January 19, 2012

Baked sweet potato

The best way to eat sweet potato is to bake it, unless it is in some Bengali dessert! And, as these days nutmeg is my favorite spice, I garnished my soft baked potatoes with this delicious aroma.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves 2)

400g sweet potato
1tbsp butter
Cayenne pepper (to taste)
Nutmeg powder


1.      Preheat the oven at 250°C.
2.      Peel and thickly slice the sweet potatoes.
3.      Rub in the butter. Garnish with salt and cayenne pepper.
4.      Bake for 20 mins until it is soft.
5.      Garnish with nutmeg powder before serving.

Adraki murgh (Ginger chicken)

I was searching a bit about different types of kebabs and Awadhi cuisine, when I came upon the name ‘Adraki murgh’ (Ginger chicken).  Instantly I decided to cook it for the week. I love ginger and aromatic spices. Therefore, this rich, spicy, aromatic dish was perfect for me. I had tasted the dish before in restaurants but never cooked on my own. I decided to add the julienned ginger along with onion and not use the ginger-garlic paste. Also, as I mostly like semi-dry preparations instead of gravies, I added the yogurt a bit earlier than usual to make the gravy on the drier side. Ghee, which gives a rich flavor, was  used instead of oil. All the aromatic spices created a perfect blend with the spiciness of ginger. I couldn’t stop eating it, and will surely cook it more often now.

You can print the recipe for your kitchen here: PRINTABLE RECIPE

(Serves  2)

400g chicken
1 big onion
1cup yogurt
3 inch ginger
1tbsp ginger powder
1/2sp turmeric powder
1sp cumin powder
1sp coriander powder
1 pinch nutmeg powder
Green chili (according to taste)
Salt, 1sp sugar
2tbsp ghee

Spice mix
1 bay leaf
2 black cardamom
1sp whole black pepper
1 dry red chili
Few cloves
1 inch cinnamon
Little piece of mace


1.      Roast the ingredients of spice mix and grind. Mix the nutmeg powder in it.
2.      Finely slice the onion and julienne the ginger.
3.      Heat ghee in a wok. Add the sliced onion and 2/3 of the julienned ginger. Fry until golden brown.
4.      Add cumin, coriander, turmeric and ginger powder. Cook on medium heat until it leaves oil on sides.
5.      Add the chicken pieces and the spice mix. Add salt and a sugar.
6.      Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes.
7.      Increase heat to high. Add the yogurt.
8.      Cook until the chicken is done and the gravy is almost dry.
9.      Garnish with remaining of julienned ginger and chopped green chili.

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