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Raw Banana and Mint Cutlets

banana mint cultets

banana mint cultets

The Escapades household loves cutlets and patties in almost all forms. In fact to make up for the slacking away here, after I read this post of Nupur’s on after school snacks, I pulled out a few frozen ones that I had sitting in the fridge and made them to go with my chai today.

My formula is real simple, a nice starchy vegetable with lots of body as the base, add any more vegetables of choice, bread crumbs, spices, herbs to taste, shape up into cutlets, fingers or bullets and fry in a shallow pan with very little oil. infact, for about a dozen or so of the cutlets, i use just about a tablespoon of oil.

Raw Banana Mint Cutlets

(Makes 12)

2 medium Raw Bananas (boiled with skin on and peeled)

1 medium Potato (boiled and peeled)

1/2 cup Fresh Pudina (Mint Leaves)

1 slice of fresh / dried bread

salt to taste

1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder

1/4 teaspoon Garam Masala (optional)

In a large bowl, add the boiled and peeled green banana, peel the potato and add it to the bowl. with your fingers, mash it till there are no lumps.

grind together the bread, mint leaves, red chilli powder and garam masala (if using) and add it to the banana-potato mix. Sprinkle the salt and lemon juice and mix.

Make 12 equal parts, roll between your palms into a ball and flatten slightly.

heat a pan with a teaspoon on oil (i used a non stick one). when the pan is hot, place the cutlets without overcrowding them and fry on both sides till golden brown. Repeat with all the cutlets. Serve with sauce as an appetizer, or with ragda or as a side with a nice dal/ sambhar and rice. you can also stuff this into a roti with salad and a bit of this spread to make a roll.

Always running late……with badam kulfi, lychee shrikhand and beet n banana cutlets

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The past week has been a riot….between all the things that have been going on, I haven’t indulged in my favourite pastime blog hopping….nor have I had the time to post anything…..also feel horribly lousy when I miss all the foodie event…its like preparing for a test…you know the deadline and procrastinate and by the time you get your act together yoo hoo!! Date’s over!!

badam elaichi kulfi

I was thrilled when I saw the microwave quick cooking event hosted by Srivalli ….about 12 years ago when i was still in college, my aunt got one for my mother after her trip abroad…..i remember the customs officers in hyderabad didnt know how much to charge us because they hadn’t seen too many of them….the MW took pride of place in the kitchen…all covered up with choicest linen…. yours truly tested the waters…literally the first thing I made in it was a cup of hot water and subsequently instant coffee, served it to amma and watched her closely as she sipped it….asking “how is it?? Is it nice?? Is it different?” I was like the specialist penalty shooter after that….only I was called upon to operate her Majesty……I graduated from heating stuff to making mostly non Indian food in the MW – Mac and Cheese, Veg au gratin, pizzas etc. it has been my most beloved of all appliances and I use it extensively. Not just to boil and steam and reheat, but to cook a complete meals and even do the tadka sometimes…..especially when the cooking gas runs out and when I had a two burner stove……its such a blessing and cuts cooking time unbelievably…..the adage “slaving over the stove” has taken on a new meaning now I guess…..Inspired by Lata’s theratti paal made in the microwave and Tee’s post on malai kulfi plus not to mention the many litres of milk lying frozen in the fridge, it came as manna to me……I sort of married both of them and made some badam elaichi kulfi……..this is my entry to the Microwave Easy Cooking event, the brainchild of the creative Srivalli. I’m also sending it off to Sugar High Friday # 34, the oldest virtual food event, the brainchild of the innovative Jennifer of Domestic goddess and this month hosted by the passionate cook. The theme is local and regional specialties.

Lychee Shrikhand

I’ve also been eyeing the AFAM events that happen….i made an unusual (for me) Shrikhand that turned out super and i’m so thrilled to be able to send it to this event hosted by Sig this month, which is the brainchild of Maheshwari

Suganya not only suggested I post the other cutlet recipes I mentioned in the post on hara bhara kebabs (which I finished
off in the “replyto comment” itself), she graciously gave awarded me with the Thoughtful Blogger Award……thank you Suganya….here is finally the beetroot cutlet recipe ….

beet’n banana cutlets

its been raining blogger awards and I shall add my own two bits…… so on goes the thoughtful blogger award to these people here…..

tba

Mathy, Indira and Jenn– for making such a difference to the food blogging world with your food blog resources

To Sig, Mishmash, Kanchana, Nupur and Shammi….. ladies you rock!!

leave you now with the recipes…have a lovely weekend….. Read the rest of this entry

{Eating Out ~ The Anglo Indian Food Soiree at Kanak, Trident, Hyderabad

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Anglo Indian food has been a closely guarded cuisine, accessible only to those with close connections with families of Anglo Indian origin. Having grown up with a smattering of Anglo Indians in the family and subsequently having close friendships with them, I am privy to their life – their food, fashion and quirks. If one thing is clear, it is their love for the good life and that includes good food. Anglo Indians love their mince, several of their dishes use minced meat of chicken or mutton and beef liberally ranging from cutlets to their version of kofta curries called ball curry. However this is a cuisine that is slowly dying and in need of more attention and credit. A lot of the populace has migrated overseas and the ones that remain, have integrated with other communities via marriage, such that it is rare to find a true blue Anglo Indian.

The cuisine is no doubt a legacy of the British Raj, who trained Indian Cook staff at their establishments such as the Railway service, Mail service, Clubs and corporate establishments. Soon trained butlers were confident enough to marry very western preparations such as cutlets, roasts and steaks with locally available produce and very Indian spices of red chillies, pepper, cumin and cloves. As the empire spanned the length and breadth of the country, influences of Bengal, Kerala and the coasts is unmistakable in the use of mustard oil, potatoes, coconut milk and tamarind amongst others.

I was invited by Trident Hyderabad to sample the food at their ongoing Anglo Indian Food Soiree, at Kanak their speciality Indian Restaurant.

Chicken Pantras

Chicken Pantras

We started with  the Chicken Pantras ~ pancakes stuffed with minced chicken, parsley and with a hint of spice from the cinnamon and cloves. Subtle and yet flavoursome, this is a must try dish.

Fruit and Vegetable Grilled Salad

Fruit and Vegetable Grilled Salad

Next up was the Grilled fruits and  Vegetables Salad ~ fruit such as pears and green apple, skewered alternatively with sweet potato, tomatoes and pickled gherkins. This the chef told us, the inclusion of grilled fruit and vegetables was a very british inclusion. I liked the taste and texture of the pear and apple, but didn’t like the extreme acid of the pickled gherkins.

Vegetarians will love the Rawalpindi Potato Scones ~ patties made of indulgent ingredients such as potatoes and cheese, subtly flavoured with herbs and Kashmiri chilli. These scones are melt in the mouth and very filling. A must try for potato and cheese lovers.

Travancore Fried Fish

Travancore Fried Fish

Travancore Fried Fish took me by surprise. The menu takes into account all of the places that have Anglo Indian population and Chef Manik Magotra has included dishes from all over the country, some which rightfully deserve more attention. I will be honest that Kingfish is’nt a favourite of mine. Usually it ends up tasting very woody either because it is not prepared well or stored (frozen) properly. The minimal spices in the Travancore Fried Fish made sure the fish stands out and yet is succulent. With a squeeze of lime, this was one was a winner.

Railway Mutton Curry

Railway Mutton Curry

We moved onto the main course and I was most excited to try the famous Railway Mutton Curry. Legend has it that this curry was made palatable to the mild British palette by reducing the fiery hotness of the spices with the addition of coconut milk or / and yogurt. The Mutton curry was first served on the East Indian railway lines and hence has a strong Bengali influence. Soft pieces of lightly fried potato perfectly mingled with succulent pieces of mutton in a well spiced but nuanced gravy made with dried red chillies and whole spices. This is one curry that has gained popularity and is well recognised.

Dak Bunglow Murgi Roast

Dak Bunglow Murgi Roast

The dish of the evening tho, was the Dak Bunglow Murgi Roast. Stories about the history of these dishes abound. Mostly legends make up where authenticity fails. The British empire apart from establishing the network of rails, which gave birth to many a recipes that were served to passengers enroute, the mail system which employed a relay of men for delivery gave rise to the Dak Bunglow – dak meaning post and Bunglow meaning house. These relay carriers would have to rest enroute and hence they stayed at these houses, staffed by the Indians, usually in really small places with very little access to ingredients etc. The cooks employed at these places used their ingenuity to come up with recipes that married the methods and dishes of the British with locally available and Indian ingredients and spices. This dish is a perfect example of this method. Chicken is marinated with very Indian spices and slow roasted to perfection, roasting was a very western method of cooking. It is served with a thick gravy spiced liberally with whole pepper corns and accompanies either rice, vegetables or bread. The chicken was succulent, the gravy robust and it was easily my favourite dish of the meal.

The other famous dishes such as Country Captain Chicken Curry and a Shrimp and Egg Curry is also on offer.

Vegetable and Paneer Jhalfrezi

Vegetable and Paneer Jhalfrezi

Subz aur Paneer Jalfarezi ~ assorted vegetables and paneer tossed in spices and thick tomato sauce is a vegetarian main course option. I was pleasantly informed by the Chef that Jalfarezi was a very fusion recipe, I’d always assumed it was a punjabi dish.  A word that according to wikipedia combines the Bengali colloquial word ‘Jhal’ meaning spicy food and parhezī means suitable for a diet. This meant that leftover meat was stir fried with onions and spices and made suitable for eating, in a time when eating leftovers was not an allowed Hindu practice.

Bamboo and Bhindi Quoorma

Bamboo and Bhindi Quoorma

The unique combination of Bamboo and Bhindi Quoorma ~ Okra and Bamboo shoot in a light Quorma gravy was the discovery of the day. Whole okra, soft and simmered with the crunchy bamboo shoot was very unique and I loved both the flavour and texture of the dish. Having only eaten Bamboo shoots in oriental cuisine, this was a delightful surprise.

Doll Churchuree

Doll Churchuree

The Anglo Indians love their “doll curries” lentils simmered again in very little spices, Doll is dal in a new avatar. The Doll Churchuree, with the medley of atleast 4 lentils I could make out (bengal gram, moong, tur and black gram) and simmered with apples, raisins and Indian spices was silky smooth and gained from the individual textures so unique to each lentil. The apples and raisins adding a delicate tart and sweetness to the dish. Pale in colour, this dal dish is very rich in flavour and taste and is  a must have with Indian flat breads like naan or lachcha paratha.

To mop up all the gravies, we were served a subtly fragrant saffron rice.

Shahi Tukra

Shahi Tukra

To end the delightfully nostalgic meal, we had a rich Shahi Tukhra, deep fried pieces of bread, soaked in sugar syrup and flavoured with saffron, topped with indulgent rabri. This was a little on the sweeter side, as is typical of all Indian sweets.

It is rare that food of this kind finds its way to a food festival. The effort, research and intention is admirable and very visible. The Anglo Indian food festival is available on A La Carte and set menus based on the selections made by the guest on request are also available.

Recomended Dishes: Chicken Pantras, Bamboo Bhindi Quoorma, Dak Bunglow Murgu Roast, Doll Churchuree

Dates of the Festival: 16th June to 28th June 2015

Price: A meal for two (A la carte) would be approximately Rs. 3500 + Taxes.

Hours: 7.30 pm to midnight.

Location: Kanak, Trident Hyderabad, Hitech City, Hyderabad

Credit Card Accepted: Yes

Valet Parking: Available

Telephone: 91 40 6623 2323

PS: The meal was complimentary as I was invited by the hotel to the restaurant, however the views are my own.

{Eating Out ~ Review} Parsi Food Festival at Firdaus, Taj Krishna

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After browsing through numerous photographs of Parsi food across the interwebs, reading the elaborate descriptions of their slow cooking process, the blend of spices and the traditions and food stories, I was very excited to be invited to try the food at the Parsi Food Festival at Firdaus, the Indian restaurant at one of Hyderabad’s most beautiful hotels, Taj Krishna.

A weekday is always made better with the prospect of good food and company and despite declining many previous invites from the good folks at the hotel, I made the trek half around the city to sample what I expected to be a gastronomic treat. I’ve only eaten Parsi food made home style and have sampled a few of their most famous dishes. I’ve always loved their Brown rice and have made versions of it in my own home several times. Their desserts are legendary and there was nothing to stop me from plunging headlong into many thousands of calorie laden decadent sweets :D

Firdaus is a fine dining elegant restaurant that is cocooned by huge gardens. The setting makes for a very pleasant dining experience.

Chef Manoj Vyas of Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Chef Manoj Vyas of Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai

Chef Manoj Vyas, from Taj Mahal Palace Mumbai is helming the kitchens for the festival and comes with the experience of dishing up exotic Parsi dishes which still retain the flavours of the West coast and blend with it the original influences of ancient Persian cuisine. The specially designed menu showcases some of the most well recognised favourites.

We begin with the starters. Parsi cuisine loves its cutlets and kebabs. This was on full display with the assorted appetizers that were served.

Appetizers ~ Cutlet

Appetizers ~ Cutlet

The Chicken Farcha a cutlet made of minced and mildly spiced chicken, coated with beaten egg and shallow fried to give it a  crisp and delicate papery exterior. Served with the khatta meetha sauce, this was the first item served. I found the sauce overwhelmingly sweet and completely overpowered the delicacy of the cutlet. Had on its own, the cutlet is a nice contrast of textures from the batter coating

Lacy Cutlets made with ground mutton was similar to the chicken version, the spices again mild and subtle.

Kolmi nu Kebab this was minced prawn meat, spiced and batter coated before being shallow fried. The flavour of the prawns lends itself very well to this dish and I would recommend this if you like sea food. As a blanket rule, skip the sweet and sour sauce, unless you like dousing your food with jam.

Khatta Meetha Paneer Kebab

Khatta Meetha Paneer Kebab

For the vegetarians, the Khatta Meetha Paneer Kebab which is batter coated tangy paneer bites shallow fried was pleasant. The Vegetable cutlet, though it had a nice crunch with small chunks of vegetables as against the homogenous mash one usually encounters in cutlets, was very densely coated and needed a little more seasoning.

Over a few glasses of red and white wine and conversations on how the Parsis in India are famed for their interest and possession of the best antiques, rubies and automobiles, we moved on to the main course.

We were served an assortment of side dishes, with rotli (roti) and brown rice. A crescent shaped plate with bowls of Saas ni macchi, Mutton dhansak, Salli marghi and Zardaloo gosht arrived. Next came the Patra ni Macchli and Papeta par Edu.

The Main Course Platter

The Main Course Platter

The names are exotic and exciting, but the dishes didn’t exactly live up to my expectation. First up the pale yellow sauced Saas ni Macchi ~ Parsi style fish fillets in a gravy made out of eggs and flour (similar to a roux) the tang comes from vinegar and it has the by now expected balance of sweet and salt. I felt like I was eating lemon custard with pieces of fish. Tis dish has a very continental vibe to it.

The Mutton Dhansak is tur dal cooked with spices and simmered till it is almost mashed, mutton is added and this is slow cooked till all the flavours blend well. I loved the flavours, deep and rich and very comforting. I could draw parallels between this dish and Hyderabadi Daalcha which is a lentil and meat dish, cooked with spices. The vegetarian version of Dhansak also did not disappoint.

The pick of the lot was the Zardaloo Gosht ~ succulent pieces of lamb meat, slow cooked to perfection in a mild gravy, sweetened with apricots. I spooned out almost all of my portion.

Salli Margi

Salli Margi

The Salli Marghi ~ spiced chicken curry with fine fried matchstick potatoes was similar in taste and flavour to the zardaloo gosht, the matchstick potatoes adding the crunch and texture to the dish. This too paired well with the Brown Rice ~ Rice flavoured with deep fried onions, goes well with any of the side dishes, and flavourful enough to be eaten on its own

The Papeta par Edu is another classic potato and egg preparation which I instantly liked because the eggs baked sunny side up on a bed of curried potatoes, looked so good! This is definitely a dish I would want to recommend and also try making in my own kitchen.

The dish I was most disappointed with was the famed Patra ni Macchli ~ supposed to be fillets of fish marinated with a green herb and coconut chutney, wrapped in banana leaf and steamed. This is a classic Parsi preparation and has a legion of fans. It is a dish that is a must have for all festive occasions. I found the dish too sweet even tho the palette was now expected a hint of sweet in all savoury preparations. I assumed this was how it was meant to taste, but when my lunch mates some of  who were not new to the cuisine pointed this out to the chef, we got a rather blase comment about how native Andhra / Telangana palettes, accustomed to loads of spice would not like this delicate dish. I protested, because I found the explanation ill informed and in very poor taste. Also one has travelled enough, eaten at many places, not to mention countries and tried enough variety in food to know the difference between a dish that has subtle undertones of sweet and one that is overpowered by jaggery. To me this dish tasted like a coconut jaggery sweet made with a tasteless fillet of fish. I would like to taste this again at an authentic Parsi joint to check if my expectation was incorrect or my taste buds un-evolved.

the yummy pickles

the yummy pickles

A special mention to the delectable range of pickles, both vegetarian and non vegetarian, piquant, tangy and very fresh tasting!

For the vegetarians, Parsi cuisine is a tricky place. The cuisine is meat heavy and it was interesting to see what was in store. We were promised that the vegetarians would not be disappointed. For the main course, we were served a sampling of the Lagan nu Stew which was a mixed vegetable sweet and sour stew. The base seemed to be made of tomatoes and that comes through quite strongly.

Vegetarian Main Course

Vegetarian Main Course

The Khara Papeta looked and tasted like a home style potato curry and I was beginning to tire of the meal by now.

The Dhansak dal which was made minus the meat was just as flavoursome as the non vegetarian version and was the stand out dish in the vegetarian platter. Like its fish friend, Ravaiya whole brinjals stuffed with the herb and coconut chutney and cooked was disappointing, no flavour, not fully cooked and full of seeds.

Just as I was mentally checking off this meal, a major change of pace happened when the desserts appeared. I imagined I wouldn’t be able to eat another mouthful of anything sweet considering how much of it was had during the main course. But how wrong I was. We were served a trio of much loved Parsi desserts – Lagan nu custard, Parsi Sev and Parsi Kulfi.

IMG_7918

The Parsi sev was a subtle sweet dish of fine vermicelli, roasted golden in ghee and garnished with finely sliced pistachios and almonds. This reminded me very much of one of the sweets made in Hyderabad during Ramzaan. I enjoyed the simplicity of this dish.

Lagan nu Custard is everything it ought to be, rich, creamy, decadent and so indulgent that one needs to crawl onto a couch after eating this dish. It is thick and creamy and full of richness and yet that doesn’t stop you from gulping it down. Sort of a cheesecake made with condensed milk and eggs, which give it a pale yellow colour.

Parsi Kulfi, again sweet, rich and made with condensed milk is a treat for sweet lovers, the basil seeds and vermicelli used to garnish it adding texture to this dessert.

By this time I was fairly happy with the end to the meal. The desserts really were the stars of the meal experience.

Read what my friend Siri has to say about her experience here.

PS: All photos in this post are courtesy of Siri. As is characteristic of my forgetful self these days, I landed up for lunch minus the battery for my camera.

Foxtail Millet and Vegetable Patties ~ Gluten free recipe

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I haven’t disappeared. Just been engulfed with things that happen in my non-blog world. I have opened this window countless times to just say hello or post a recipe, and shut it either because the words didn’t come out right (if at all), or I was too tired to even type out a recipe. 

A couple of years ago I began cooking (infrequently) with Millets. We first began buying and using them because they are nutritious and suited Amma’s diabetic diet. Later when we found our dog Sage was gluten intolerant, we switched him over to rotis made out of a combination of millets and rice flour. Millets now find themselves on the shelf with the other staples in my kitchen. Considering how long I have been cooking with them, I am quite ashamed I haven’t posted too many recipes here.

The easiest way to introduce yourself to millets, is to buy the flour and add it to dosa batter. I discovered foxtail millet and have been using it to replace rice to be eaten with dal, vegetables and curries and make pulav or upma with it. This millet looks like broken rice and is neutral in taste and flavour and hence is a good candidate to take for a test run if you are just starting off on millets. Ofcourse K won’t touch anything non mainstream with a barge-pole and one of the ways I got him to eat foxtail millet was to repeatedly sneak it into patties! He loves cutlets of all kinds, shapes and colours and sizes. 

This pattice recipe is quite simple and versatile enough to accommodate whatever vegetables you may have on hand, so feel free not to stick to the ones I used!

foxtail millet and vegetable patties

foxtail millet and vegetable patties

Foxtail Millet and Vegetable Patties

(Makes 8 medium patties)

Potato                                        2 medium, boiled, peeled and crumbled

Foxtail Millet                          1/2 cup, soaked in water for 2 hours, pressure cooked with 1 cup water for 2-3 whistles

Corn Kernels                           1/4 cup, fresh or frozen

Peas                                             1/4 cup, fresh or frozen

Carrot                                         1/2 cup, grated

Salt and pepper                      to taste

Lemon juice                            1 teaspoon

Fresh coriander leaves       a small bunch, chopped finely

Fresh Ginger                           1/2 inch piece, grated or chopped finely

Cumin Powder                       1/4 teaspoon

Garam Masala                        1/4 teaspoon (optional)

Red Chilli Powder                1/2 teaspoon (adjust according to spice tolerance)

Gram Flour (besan)             1-11/2 tablespoons (adjust according to the requirement for binding)

Oil                                                2-3 tablespoons for frying

Wash and soak the foxtail millet. After 2 hours, pressure cook with 1 cup water for 2-3 whistles. When cooled, fluff with a fork.

Add the peas, corn and grated carrot to a bowl and cook on high power in the microwave oven (or blanch in hot water on a stove top) for 3 minutes.

Crumble the potatoes, add the cooked millets and the rest of the ingredients  except the gram flour. Mix together and do a taste test. Adjust salt and spices according to your preferance. 

take a small portion of the mixture and shape into a patty, if it does not hold shape, add the gram flour with 1/2 tablespoon of water and mix together. Make 8 portions, shape into a round and flatten into a patty. 

Heat a frying pan (I use a non stick one) on medium high heat till hot. Add 2 tablespoons of oil swirl the pan so that the oil coats the whole cooking surface. Gently place the patties onto the pan and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes till golden brown. Flip over and fry on the other side too. 

Serve hot with sauce or chutney. 

~

Reader’s of my blog know that I do the disappearing act now and then. It’s some wonder that you are all still here, even if you stumbled upon my blog by chance, please stay, say hello and leave me a comment. A few days ago, we hit the magic number of 10K fans on the facebook page. Those of you who are subscribed to the page will get all the updates as they happen. I have merged the pages of the blog and the classes for the sake of my sanity. So while I apologise for the bombardment of class schedules, hopefully regular programming of recipes, tips and other fun stuff will resume quickly. 

The Culinary Escapades classes have been doing very well. Thank you for your love and support. It all started right here, on this blog. I still remember being super excited when I baked my first ‘edible’ cake. I remember tagging them as ‘baking escapades’ with their own numbers! I cannot believe I am teaching baking and slaying baking demons today. I am grateful for the love and the encouragement I receive each day through this blog. I’m doing multiple classes now, teaching all sorts of recipes from salads to chocolates. I’ve done classes with just one person and groups from corporate offices too. Each class I teach, I learn much more than I give. I’ve gained beautiful friendships and experienced the encouragement of friends who will push me to announce a class or force me to undertake an order for a batch of cupcakes. 

Today in my Dessert making class, I spoke for the first time about how I spent my teens and early twenties trying to prove so hard that I wasn’t a girly girl. I tried to be tough and break every stereotype. People who knew me through school and college gag at the fact that I write a food blog and that I teach cooking. But the truth is, I have found myself in the last 8 odd years, I have made peace with the demons both inside and outside my head, I have learnt to listen to my heart and do what makes me feel good. If this translates into being every form of stereotype, then so be it, because today, it does not make me upset to have a label stuck to me. I know better than to judge my life or that of anyone else’s with a set of words. 

If you want to see the pictures of our dessert making shenanigans, click here

On that note, I wish you a beautiful weekend and wherever in the world you are, stay happy. 

 

 

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