Indian, Malay, Meat

Daging Briyani (beef Briyani)

To go with my pilau rice, I decided to make a beef dish, something like those meat dishes I love so much at Malay weddings.

I followed a recipe from one of the many recipe books I have, but true to my own laziness, did not follow exactly. For example, the recipe called for onion paste but I was too lazy to grind onions. Then there was ‘5 green chillies’. When I opened my fridge, I saw exactly 5 red chillies (which was needed in the recipe) but no green chillies.

But in the end, my resulting dish was still amazingly a resounding success. Not to blow my own trumpet here but I received the most sincere compliment from MY MOTHER. Well, as any Asian girl will jolly well know, NOTHING and I mean absolutely NOTHING can be please an Asian mother.

But a few days after I’ve given the some of the meat dish to her, I returned to my cubicle, saw a message on whatsapp and read my mother’s message in disbelief. The day after I cooked this dish, I brought some to work and my colleagues praised me. It wasn’t the usual polite praise of thanks.

Well, my point here is after many years of cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, I have now in a way understood the art of cooking without having to look at a recipe and following precise measurements. I can use my gut feeling and go by sight, taste and some understanding of how ingredients work. In other words, I have become a real ASIAN MOTHER myself. 🙂 🙂

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My beef dish recipe

In a wok add some ghee and olive oil, and then cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon stick and stir fry thinly sliced onions until slightly yellow.
Add finely chopped fresh chillies, garlic mince or paste, fresh diced tomatoes and a smashed lemon grass. (If I had the onion paste, I’d have put it in as well).
Add beef cubes which have been boiled with water till almost soft.
Then stir in half a can or a small can of tomato paste (I like to use gilda brand).
Stir in 4 heaped tablespoons of meat curry powder (I like to use Baba’s brand).
Add the water from the boiled beef. Cover the wok.
After about 20 minutes, uncover the wok and let it simmer till the liquid has reduced and thickened to a gravy like consistency.
Stir salt in.
Once beef is fork tender and the seasoning is perfect (oh when I tasted line it was a tad too acidic for me as I had added too much tomato paste so I balanced that with some brown sugar), switch the heat off.
To serve, sprinkle toasted almond slivers, raisins and coriander leaves. And, crispy fried shallots. 🙂 try this one day! Super satisfying.

Indian, Poultry, Sides, Snack

Arooq: Indian Chicken Popcorn

A few weeks ago, I made arooq again after many years. I remember making these when I was a beginning teacher, and had brought some to work. It was a hit. Even back then, before marriage, I was already interested in cooking. Now, if only I can actually make a career out of cooking!

The recipe is very simple. All you need is ground chicken meat. I usually buy the breast part and then grind them myself in a chopper. To that, add a tablespoon of plain flour, chopped green chillies, turmeric, chilli powder, chopped spring onions, one egg, salt and pepper. And then chill in the fridge for an hour before using a spoon to drop them in hot oil. Delicious.

Indian, Meat

Keema

Just two hours ago, I cooked keema. Keema is an Indian, more like a Pakistani, ground beef dish usually eaten with chapattis or flat bread. It is delicious and so easy to make.

Notice my brand new $25 WMF stainless steel pan? My new toy. Here, I simply softened minced garlic and ginger till fragrant.
And then I added the ground beef and cooked it till done. I added garam masala, a bit of curry powder, two teaspoonfuls of chilli powder, beef stock and last, the tomato puree. Oh, and salt and white pepper.
After cooking some more for about ten minutes, I added in the frozen peas. Just before done, I added in a handful of freshly minced coriander. And this will be my family's break fast meal in another hour's time. 🙂
Indian, Salads and Vegetables, Snack

Fried Indian Bitter Melon (Bitter Gourd)

As a kid, I used to loathe bitter gourd. I only developed the taste of the vegetable, ironically, when I got pregnant. I started developing the taste of it not because I suddenly found out how tasty the bitter vegetable is but rather because of the fact that I kept forcing myself to eat the vegetable because of its purported health benefits. Bitter gourd supposedly lowers down the blood sugar level and when I was pregnant, I ate bitter gourd almost on a daily basis.

The recipe today is of the Indian variety of bitter melon. It’s small and has small bumps. A colleague once told of a famed Indian bitter melon recipe that her relative ate a long time ago in some restaurant. She described briefly but I’ve forgotten now. What I do remember is after that story, whenever we went to Little India for our Indian food fixes, we’d look at the mounds of small, bumpy emerald green gourds and think of ways to cook it. Always. Without fail.

This is one recipe that my ex-RO used. And it’s also the most palatable for most people since it’s fried. Even so, don’t be fooled because the bitterness of the Indian bitter melon will numb your tastebuds and you’ll be soon reaching for that glass of cold water soon after.

Such a beautiful rich vibrant green. Love it.

This is how it looks like when sliced thinly. Some seeds are white and some reddish, depending on the ripeness.

Marinade the bitter melon in turmeric, salt, chilli powder.

Fry till crisp.

Serve hot with rice and a chutney. Bottled in my case. If you’re feeling adventurous, try eating bitter melon. I’m sure your complexion will improve in time. :p

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The recipe

1. Wash bitter melon and cut into thin slices. Sprinkle salt over.

2. Leave to stand for 30 min after which drain the water that would come from the bitter melons.

3. Marinade in turmeric powder, chilli powder and salt.

4. Fry till really crisp.