Mar 23, 2010

In the mood for some Thai?

I love thai red curry with some steamed is heaven. Haven't yet tried the yellow or green Thai curries. Will do sometime soon.

I am a lazy bum..most of you know that(those who didn't, now you know). If there is a way with a short cut, I will do it. So also with this recipe, I don't make the curry paste. I have a box of ready made curry paste, also don't bother extracting coconut milk..cartons or dehydrated powders to the rescue. There are several traditionalists who believe that everything done from a scratch gives you the best taste..I fully agree, so the next time you make something from a scratch, call me..I'll come over for a bite...As for me..I still love my shortcuts!

I had been over to Pune, to meet my in-law cousins..and there is a very famous shop over there..Dorabjee's. Went hunting there for some herbs, sauces and brought the Pantai Red Curry paste . Its superb. I've had no complaints so far...

Whenever H comes home grinning having spotted a perfect packet of white mushrooms, I know next day it is going to be Thai Red Curry with rice. And he slurps over every last bit of gravy...

If you have the short-cuts ready, this dish is ready in flat 15 more...

I'm giving you a recipe for Red curry paste for the ones who love making it at home..(its from a nita-mehta book..I've tried it once!)

Thai Red Curry

For the red curry paste

4-5 Kashmiri Red chillies - soaked in 1/2 cup of warm water for 10 min
1/2 onion - chopped
8-10 garlic flakes - peeled
1 1/2 slice ginger - sliced
1 stalk lemon grass or rind of 1 lemon
3-5 stalks of coriander
1 1/2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin
6 peppercorns
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp vinegar

6-8 babycorn - slit lengthwise
1 medium broccoli- cut into florets
5-6 mushrooms - sliced
1/2 red, yellow, green capsicum - cubed 1"
2 small brinjals - sliced (optional)

Other ingredients
3 cups coconut milk mixed with 1 Tbsp cornflour
1/2 tsp soya sauce
10 basil leaves - chopped or use coriander leaves
salt to taste
1/2 tsp brown sugar/ regular sugar

Grind all the ingredients of the red curry paste along with the water in which you've soaked red
chillies. Grind it to as fine paste as you can.

1. Heat a non-stick pan, add about 1Tbsp oil, add the paste, fry for a few seconds on low heat.
( you can make this oil-free by omitting the oil and adding the paste straight into the difference in taste). Since I use the ready-made paste, I add about 2 Tbsp of the paste..I like it a bit on the hotter side..

2. Add 3-4 Tbsp of coconut milk (can use fresh coconut milk, straight from the carton or mix water and dried coconut powder-Maggi). Add vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes.

(Love the green color of broccoli in this...and the crunch..yumm..Thank God broccoli is cheap now.)

3. Add the rest of the coconut milk, soya sauce, chopped basil leaves.

4. Cover and simmer on low heat for 5-8 min, till the vegetable are tender (Do not over cook them, they should still have a crunch)

5. Add salt and sugar to taste. Bring to a boil, let it boil for 1-2 min. Take off the heat and serve hot with steamed rice.

These days, this recipe is not so frequent. With the temperatures hitting the 40C mark, its tough to work in the kitchen. So most days food is something cold- Curd Rice, Dahi Vada - which I learnt from Arundati's..made in an appam patra..sometimes its cold pani-puri..some cold salads..

Still searching for some cold foods to make.

Mar 15, 2010

Mushroom Capsicum

One fine day, H came home with a big grin on his face. And then proudly showed me what he got. A packet of button mushrooms. Make something nice for me baby, he croons. I’ve never liked mushrooms and at my mom’s place we never even bought mushrooms. And in this one year of marriage, I’ve had to dig through the net and search and search for recipes. So then I found this one by Nita Mehta. 7am, and I’m digging through my recipe books for a recipe. Confirm that I have all the ingredients and then set out to prepare this for the first time to give it to him in his tiffin.

I applauded my own guts, what if it wasn’t good enough? More on that later.

Here’s how it goes,


A cup full of mushroom- wash, dry and cut into thick slices.
1 big onion- finely chopped
3-4 garlic flakes- crushed
1 green chilli- finely chopped
1” ginger-shredded
2 tomatoes-blanched, peeled and then finely chopped
1 capsicum- cut into thin long strips
1 Tbsp tomato ketchup
¼ tsp chilli pwd
Salt to taste
1Tbsp oil
½ tsp ajwain (carom seeds) can use oregano too.

Heat oil, lower the flame and add ajwain.
Add onion and cook till slightly transluscent.
Add garlic, stir.
Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, green chilli and ginger.
Cook on low flame till tomatoes are dry (takes about 5-8 min)
Add mushroom, salt and chilli pwd. Cook till mushrooms are done.
Add capsicums just before the mushrooms are done.
Cook for a few minutes and you’re done.

Things I learned during this process, mushrooms shrink if cooked for too long. My 1” mushrooms became so tiny, I had to search for them. Let the tomato gravy cook well and then add mushrooms.

And then during his lunchtime, H texts me " just had one bite and I love it. "
So much for risk taking at 7 am, It worked. And when the tiffin box came home in the evening, H had practically licked the tiffin clean. I wondered if he’d washed it and brought it back!!

It was the best compliment he gave me, besides some obnoxious loud belches on the phone.