Monday, 20 May 2013

Stuffed Karela with Kalonjee

Karela (Bitter Melon) is an Indian Vegetable which we have started to see in the UK Indian grocery stores. It is one of those Indian vegetables which is very much an acquired taste, you either love it or don't want to go anywhere near. I was in the second category till its recent resurgence in the UK. When I think about why I didn't like it as a child, it probably was because of it's looks. I would visualise it looking like a green mouse running around. Well it certainly doesn't run around, but as it's English name suggests it is bitter in taste, unless one uses lots of spices to mask the bitterness and then one starts to like it very much. This is what this recipe does very well.

Karela in India is alleged to have lots of medicinal qualities and recently there have been many articles about its benefit in treating Diabetes. Just as well then it is popular amongst the Indians who have one of the highest incidence of Diabetes.

  • Karela 4 pieces
  • Dhaniya whole 1/4 cup full
  • Sonf                                 1/4 cup full
  • Kalonjee seeds (onion seeds) 1 TSF
  • Whole Methi seeds 1 TSF
  • Whole Jeera 1 TSF
  • Shah Jeera 1 TSF
  • Whole red chilli approx 1 TSF small size
  • Mango Powder 2 table spoon
  • Salt         1 TSF
  • Onion 1 small
  • Garlic Cloves 2 cloves
  • Oil for cooking

  • Dry roast Daniya, Sonf, Kalonjee, Jeera and Methi seeds in a frying pan.
  • When above is almost roasted add Shah jeera and whole chillis and roast these as well for 1-2 mins.
  • Put the above in a blender and make a powder. Add salt and Mango powder to the above and mix. This can now be kept as a fillings as ‘Kalongee’.
  • Lightly scrape the Karela. 
  • Microwave the Karela for 5-8 minutes
  • Take Karela out of the microwave and split open from the side (make sure you do not fully cut it into halves) and take the seeds out. Throw away the hard ones but the small soft seeds can be used for filling.
  • Cut the onion into small cubes (just like preparing for making curry).
  • Brown the onion in 2 table spoons of oil in a pan. When slightly brown add the crushed garlic. When both a lightly golden brown add the Kalonjee masala powder. If you have kept the soft seed from Karela you can crush and add these as well. Now fill the Karela with this stuffing and seal the Karela side with wet atta (flour) with salt. You can tie it with thread as well.
  • Shallow fry the Karelas until brown on all sides (takes approx 10mins). 
  • Cut the Karela into 2 inch pieces for serving. This is best done hot at the time of serving.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Sookhi Lauki

Lauki also known as Ghiya, is from the marrow family. It is one of the commonest vegetable seen in the Indian markets. It is cheap and very easy to make. I remember it was often prepared when we were unwell. This was because it is supposed to be digested easily. However, you don't have to be unwell to have it as it is equally tasty when you are not unwell! In the literature there are so many medicinal qualities attributed to it, I can’t vouch for these, but looking at the raw marrow one can almost see it being filled with vitamins and goodness. 

It is a versatile vegetable which can not only be easily made within 15 minutes, but can be converted to mouth watering vegetable koftas and even sweets. Hopefully, I will give these recipes one day, but for today, I am giving you the simplest recipe. This is made with Jeera (cumin) seeds. 

  • One medium sized lauki (marrow) peeled and cut in small size pieces
  • 1 tbsf Oil
  • 1 tsf Cumin (Jeera) seeds
  • 2-3 whole dried red chillies (to taste)
  • 1 pinch of Asafetida (Hing)
  • ½ tsf Salt (adjust to taste)

Jeera Lauki
Whole Lauki

  1. In a wok heat the oil, when it is hot add a pinch of Asafetida.
  2. As soon the asafetida starts to sizzle add cumin seeds and crushed whole red chillis.
  3. As soon the cumin and chilli become brown add the cut lauki and salt. Give it a good stir and add a table spoon of water. Cover the wok and lower the heat and let it cook for approximately 10 minutes or till the lauki is cooked.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Pork Vindaloo (Goan Style)

Vindaloo dishes got popularity in the Indian Restaurants and for most, it just meant the hottest curry. In fact the original Vindaloo dish is a Pork dish, which originates from Goa. As the Indian cuisine was being promoted in the UK by Bangladeshis, who are almost all Muslims therefore couldn’t offer any Pork, because of their religion, so in the UK most locals would have never tasted the real Pork Vindaloo dish. Instead one would be given lamb, chicken vindaloo.

Vindaloo in fact is a Portuguese dish (Carne de Vinha d’ Alhos), which they prepared using wine and garlic. Later on the wine got substituted by vinegar. In Goa (which was a Portuguese colony), they started using Kashmiri chillis (which as you would know is not hot but gives the most beautiful red colour and flavour to the dishes. One can use any meat but traditionally it is Pork which is the most common in Goa. 

Another misconception is that Vindaloo is the hottest dish (which is what the UK Bangladeshi Restaurants felt and just added extra red chillis). However, it is a very spicy dish and the red colour is often described as fiery! Kashmiri chilli is not available in the UK stores except in the Indian grocery shops in most major cities. I guess one could use Paprika but you wont get the fiery taste.

  • 500 gms Pork cut into small pieces.
    Pork Vindaloo
  • 1 Large onion chopped finely.
  • 6 dried Kashmiri mirch (chilli).
  • 3 Garlic cloves crushed or paste.
  • 1 inch Ginger grated or paste.
  • 1 tsf Haldi (turmeric).
  • 1 Cinnamon stick.
  • 4-6 Peppercorns.
  • 3-4 Cloves.
  • 4-6 Cardamons. 
  • 2 tsf Jeera (Cumin) seeds.
  • 1 tsf Dhania (Coriander) seeds.
  • 5-6 tbsf White Vinegar.
  • 1 tsf Salt (to taste).
  • 1 tsf Brown Sugar.
  • 4 tbsf of vegetable Oil.

  1. Grind the Kashmiri mirch, peppercorn, cinnamon, cardamon, cumin seeds and coriander seeds in a grinder. Add this mixture and turmeric to the vinegar, to make a slightly runny paste.
  2. Add the pork pieces to the paste and keep aside. Some people leave it overnight in the fridge.
  3. In a pan with cover, fry the onions to a golden colour. 
  4. Add ginger and garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.
  5. Now add the pork with the marinade including all juices. Fry it till oil separates.
  6. Add sugar and about 200mls of water. Bring it to a boil and lower the heat. Cover the pan and let it cook for about 45 minutes or till pork is tender. You may need to check and add more water if the gravy is becoming thick.

Serve hot with rice.
(I have kept it very dry because that is what I like and eat it with chapatis, but in Goa one would see more gravy i.e., adding more water and served with rice).

Monday, 6 May 2013

Kathal Kayastha Style (Jackfruit)

Kathal is a seasonal vegetable, not a common one, yet liked immensely whenever it was served by my mother. I can’t recollect ever eating it at any other home barring a Kayastha family. That is not to say others don’t make it, as my mother had to pre-book a supply whenever the vendor could get Kathal , otherwise he would runout almost the same day, indicating the popularity of it.

In the South India, Jackfruit is actually eaten raw as a fruit, but only when it has repined, whereas in the North India we eat it as a cooked vegetable and one has to pick the fruit when it is still green. It is rather a large fruit almost as big as medium sized pumpkin. What is surprising is that unlike pumpkin, it grows off a tree and hangs despite of its size and weight. It has a tough spiky skin, which is difficult to cut and peel off. We would invariably get it cut by the vendor himself, who had the large tough knife needed for larger vegetables.

I am sure Kathal is prepared in different styles but my mother’s recipe is dry and tangy in taste because she used a fair amount of tomatoes. She would serve it with pride along with other dried specialities like lamb chops. I can remember that it got its due and deserved share of praise.

I normally only put the recipes once I have made them and taken correct measurements of the ingredients. Unfortunately, Kathal is something not easily available in the UK so I can't take the pictures, but I have made this not so long ago (just before I started to take pictures!) so am reasonably confident the amounts are correct. I am adding this because someone has requested it. So here we go.....

  • Kathal 250 gms
  • 2 medium sized Onion
  • ½ tin of chopped Tomato
  • 1 tsf Salt
  • ½ tsf Chilli powder (to taste)
  • ½ - 1 tsf Garam Masala (to taste)
  • 5 tbsf oil.
  1. Cut the Kathal into approximately 2 inch pieces, keeping the seeds in each of the piece.
  2. Shallow fry the Kathal and keep aside.
  3. In the same wok while the oil is still hot add the chopped onions and fry till brown.
  4. Add chopped tomatoes and fry till brown and oil separates.
  5. Add salt, chilli powder and garam masala and fry for 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add the fried Kathal mix well and cover the wok and cook on low heat for approximately, 20 minutes or till the Kathal is cooked.
It goes very well with Parathas!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Fish Curry in a Creamy Sauce

Sometimes even I get home sick and want to have something North Indian. I had bought this lovely  fillet of Hake and wanted to have it in a North Indian style. Now fish curries, not only my blog but a lot other sites, originate from the coastal areas of India. But I just wanted a change from the Goan, the Keralite or a Bengali style of cooking fish so I tried out this recipe. It is a trial and may not be to everyone’s taste, but I got the thumbs up from my wife. Well she is biased! All I can say is that we did finish the dish and I did see her taking second helpings.


  • 400 gms Fillet of a white fish cut in to small chunks
  • ½ tsf Mustard seeds
  • ½ Small Onion chopped
  • ½ tsf Garlic paste
  • ½ tsf Ginger paste
  • 1 fresh Green Chilli sliced
  • 3 tbsf Tomato puree
  • 1 tsf Salt
  • ½ tsf Cumin powder
  • ¾ tsf Coriander powder
  • ¼ tsf Chilli powder
  • ½ tsf Garam masala
  • 75 mls of Single cream
  • 3 tbsf Oil 


  1. Cut the fish fillet into small pieces.
  2. In a pan heat the oil and add the mustard seed, they should start to sizzle.
  3. Add chopped onion and fry to golden colour.
  4. Add garlic and ginger paste and fry for 3 minutes.
  5. Add tomato puree and fry till oil separates.
  6. Now add all the spices and the slit green chilli and mix well for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add 100-150mls of water (amount depends on the thickness of the sauce). Bring it to a boil and cover and cook for 10-15 minutes till the sauce shows oil on the top.
  8. Add cream and mix well for 2-3 minutes.
  9. Add the chunks of fish bring it to a boil then lower heat to low and cook on low heat for 5 minutes. Can garnish it with fresh coriander. 
Serve hot, goes well with rice or rotis.