Tag Archives: Mains

Yoghurt Brinjal Curry

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When I was a child I really hated brinjals.
I specifically hated the way my mum and granny would sneak slimy, squishy blocks of brinjal into our evening vegetable shaak.
At the time we lived in a flat. Every day,I resented not having a dog.I envied the kids on tv and in comic books,who would sneak their unwanted dinner under the table to feed their pets!

I owe it to the Italians for inventing Melanzane Parmigiana – the dish that changed my life! I can’t quite remember when I first tasted it, but credit must be given to that life changing moment!

We often cook brinjal in a tomato based sauce. I found this recipe in an old recipe journal and decided to give it a try. You should too!

Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Ingredients: (serves 4)

500g of small ,long brinjals ( try to make sure they’re not very seedy!)
500ml plain yoghurt
1.5 tsp red chilli powder ( or 2 whole dry Kashmiri chillies)
1 tsp finely grated ginger
2 tsp ajmo (aniseed)
1 tbsp ghee
1 tbsp olive oil

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Method:

Halve the brinjals lengthwise, and rub with olive oil.
Now when it comes to actually cooking them, you have a few options. I must admit I cheated by using my air-fryer for 10 minutes in order to avoid using oil. Alternatively, shallow fry the brinjals after you fry the spices, until the skin is wrinkly, or grill in the oven for 10-15minutes.

In a shallow pan,heat the ghee over a low flame. When the ghee has melted, add the ajmo. Once the ajmo is sizzling, add the ginger and chilli. Sauté the brinjals in the spice mixture for a few minutes.

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Once the brinjal is cooked, stir in the yogurt and cook on a very low flame, for just about a few minutes until just before it begins to boil. Add salt to taste.
Do this very carefully – there is nothing worse than split yoghurt!

Garnish with fresh coriander and serve hot with rotli!

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I’m Back! Wild Mushroom Risotto

I’m back! I know, I am guilty of neglecting my blog for two months now. It’s not that I didn’t make anything delicious and photograph worthy in those two months….trust me..I did! I found it difficult to balance my new work life and fasting ( which is now over!) during the optimum daylight hours for taking photographs of all the beautiful food that I have made and eaten.

I went to the Neighbourgoods Market today in Braamfontein – a block away from my office. I found the most exotic, fresh, (expensive) mushrooms. I couldn’t resist and decided that the close of winter calls for a creamy mushroom risotto!

to serve 6:

Gather:

1 cup of chopped celery

6-7 baby fennel bulbs

3tsp crushed green chilli

4 tbsp butter

150g mixed mushrooms ( I used Shitake, Porcini a must,  Pink Oyster, Shimeji, White, and an abnormally large mushroom that I can’t remember the name of)

3 cups Arborio rice

1 cup Monis white grape juice

Salt

Pepper

1/3 cup Parmesan

1/3 cup fresh cream

Most people will find it odd, maybe offensive, that I haven’t included vegetable stock in the recipe as most risotto dishes would.

The problem is:

1) They all have onion and garlic in them

2) It tastes like crap.

3) Its an excuse for not flavouring something in an original way and relying on the yucky flavour of stock to make up for it.

Please keep in mind that it is best to use a shallow dish when preparing any risotto in order to maintain even cooking, a generous distribution of flavours, and less mushing!

Keep Calm and Cook:

Soak the Porcini mushrooms in 1.5 cups of warm water for 20minutes.

Remove and strain once the mushrooms are hydrated. Do NOT throw the liquid away!

Gently heat 1tbsp of butter. Fry the chilli, and a tsp of cracked black pepper.Saute the celery and baby fennel until slightly translucent.

Add the remaining liquid of the Porcini mushrooms to a saucepan of 1.5 cups of warm water, and keep aside on low heat.

My favourite part:

Julia Child had a very good reason. “Never crowd the mushrooms”, unless you want mushy mushroom stew.

Add the mushrooms one handful at a time. I tend to saute the tougher/more dense mushrooms first as they usually need slightly more cooking time. Carefully saute all the mushrooms. Add another tbsp of butter to assist in bringing out all of the nutty, earthy flavours of the different mushrooms.

Once the mushrooms are cooked, add the Arborio rice and saute until a translucent coat is formed around each grain.

Add the grape juice and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add a ladle of the Porcini liquid to the risotto, and gentle stir. As the liquid gets absorbed by the  Arborio rice, gradually add the remaining water over 15minutes, whilst gently stirring in between.

Once the risotto is cooked – (I prefer mine slightly more cooked than al dente), stir in the cream and Parmesan.

Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Allow to sit for 10 mintues.

Serve with an extra dash of cream or Parmesan!

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