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May 2014 COTM - My Bombay Kitchen: Fish and Seafood/Meat and Poultry

Greetings all!

Please use this thread to post your reviews of the following:

Fish and Seafood Pg. 93-110
Meat and Poultry Pg. 111-160

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  1. Masala Seafood (Tareli Attva Bhujeli Machhi), page 96-98.
    It has been SO long since I've posted in COTM, but it's Mayday, here I am, and My Bombay Kitchen just came into my library today!

    I believe I have found the absolutely easiest recipe in the book. I just got the book after work today, did a quick peruse, and came up with Masala Seafood. Although it looks like it takes up three pages of instructions, there is really almost nothing to it:

    Mix 1T cayenne, 1T turmeric, and 1T fine sea salt. Mix with a little oil. Rub on fish. Grill. That's it! Appropriately enough, I used Indian cayenne (I have sometimes used African cayenne in recipes and terrified the diners with heat). We had fresh Coho salmon, and left it in one piece. We also had shrimp, which went on the skewer. In the last paragraph it is mentioned that the same rub can be used on vegetables, so I rubbed it on sliced eggplant, which also went on the grill.

    Wow! King calls this a "stellar easy effect," and that it is. It's hot, but wonderfully so. It was perfect on the fish and shrimp, maybe a bit too hot on the eggplant. That will be remedied next time just by slicing the eggplant a bit thicker, so the spiced surface area is in better proportion to the meat of the eggplant. We didn't have any in the house, but decided a little dollop of yogurt would be lovely with the spicy eggplant.

    Definitely goes in the do-again, quick and easy, after-work list.

    9 Replies
      1. re: qianning

        Thank you qianning! Lovely to be back with you all!

      2. re: L.Nightshade

        Masala Seafood - oven-roasting a fillet method. We found the spice mix ratio (1 T. per pound of fish) too pungent for the baked fish, but note that we're spice wimps. I think when grilled or pan-fried more of the spice probably gets cooked off/removed. The baked fish was quite good with the outer spice layer scraped off - the spice had penetrated through the entire fillet.

        Next time I'll sprinkle spice mixture sparingly, not rub generously.

        1. re: L.Nightshade

          Masala Seafood, Pg. 96-98

          Our CSF share yesterday was lovely large freshly-caught-in-the-morning Hake fillets. Although I had another recipe in mind for the fish at the last minute I remembered the Masala that LN reported on. So that's what we made, and I'm so glad we did. It was everything she said it was and more.

          Hake is a wonderful alternative to any white fleshed fish, and in this instance it took the seasoning beautifully. I made the full recipe of 1 Tbsp. each of cayenne, turmeric, and sea salt which was sprinkled aggressively on both sides of the fish. G elected to pan sear it in the cast iron skillet. It didn't take much time to get to the perfect tender stage. The fish was absolutely delicious. The seasoning was not too much for us since G simply sprinkled then patted it on the fish.

          The other dishes were snow peas short braised in ghee and seasoned with the same rub , and a mixed vegetable tossed salad.

          1. re: Gio

            I have so much trouble cooking hake Gio. Do you have any tips? I never seem to get the texture and timing right. I do have a cast iron skillet, can you tell me more about how G cooked the fish?

            1. re: Westminstress

              WM, There's really no trick to getting the fish "just right". The only thing to be aware of is the thinner the fillet, the shorter the cooking time.

              G uses Rick Moonen's method of pan searing fillets: Heat 2 tbsp. oil (and 1 tbsp. butter, if you want) in the cast iron skillet over high heat. Cook the fillets, flipping once, until golden and cooked through, about 3–4 minutes total depending on thickness of the fillets. In our case we had just 1 long fillet, but the method was the same.

              NK's direction was to cook till "barely tender". And that's what he did. Use a good flexible spatular, it helps to keep the fillets from breaking apart.

              If you don't have Moonen's "Fish without A Doubt", I'd recommend considering a purchase. There's a tremendous amount of information and quite a few great recipes ranging from the multi-recipe within a recipe to truly simple ways of creating a tasty meal. Good Luck!

              1. re: Gio

                I have to second Gio's recommendation of Moonen's Fish Without a Doubt." It's one of the most versatile cookbooks I've ever used.

                1. re: Gio

                  Thanks for the suggestions. I've had FWAD ftom the library before but didn't get a chance to delve into it. I should try again. When I buy hake it is often very uneven in size, some parts very thin and others quite thick. This makes it hard to cook evenly. Does your hake look like this and if so how do you deal with it?

                  I am going to try your method with this rub very soon as it sounds easy and good. I am valiantly trying to like this fish as it is available and sustainable.

          2. Goan Meat or Poultry Stew, Vindaloo, pg. 127

            Vindaloo is one of those dishes we make once in a great while, enjoy and then forget about for a time. We'd never tried King's version before, but there was some pork shoulder in the freezer, so decided to start the month with this dish.

            The masala for this has all of the spices I love--chiles, cumin, ginger, garlic, cassia, cloves, peppercorns, salt, turmeric--and none that I'm dubious about (thinking of you fenugreek!). I ground the hard spices in a spice grinder and then micro-planed the ginger and garlic into my M&P, and mixed everything in that, where it came together fast.

            While the onions and masala were cooking, I did take NIK's tip of browning my pork in a separate cast iron skillet--something I don't usually do for Vindaloo- and I liked the results. Once the meat had been removed from the pan and the fat poured off, I de-glazed it with a bit of water to add to the onion, masala, meat, vinegar, mixture in the main cooking pot. Otherwise though my liquid was all vinegar. Of the zumpteen vinegars we've got in this house, neither cane nor coconut vinegar are among them, so home brewed cider vinegar it was. Tasty enough, but its got me wondering what cane vinegar tastes like.....we may soon own zumpteen + 1 vinegars.

            Meanwhile, the main difference between this recipe and our "standard" version is that this one has no tamarind. I liked this all vinegar version better, the Portuguese roots of the dish really come through. Living with a rice bucket, I relented and served this over steamed rice; but I really do think this would be fabulous served as NIK suggests with crispy potatoes.

            11 Replies
            1. re: qianning

              +1 for <<zumpteen + 1 vinegars.>>

              I am SO with you on this one!

              1. re: qianning

                Always having loved a vindaloo, i looked at this one longingly. But I'm a little nervous that it might be too hot for Lulu (and she's actually pretty good with heat - although she won't admit it). Where would you rate it on the heat scale? I don't see the point of it if it *isn't* spicy, so I feel conflicted.

                1. re: LulusMom

                  Hot but not searingly so (i.e. Mr. QN didn't break a sweat, and I wasn't in tears). My chiles were a mix of dried Thai chiles and home grown&dried sort-a-like cayenne.

                  If Lulu is OK with mixing yogurt with her food, Mr. QN's way to cut heat is to mix his Vindaloo and rice with some full milk yogurt. Mine is sliced cucumbers on the side.

                  1. re: qianning

                    OK, thanks. Not being in tears is, I am guessing, probably still a little hot for Lulu. I've only ever served one thing that was too hot for her, but I wasn't in tears for that (although my husband almost was). She's not a fan of mixing her yogurt into her food. Loves raita, but doesn't want it mixed in. Kids are weird that way sometimes.

                    1. re: qianning

                      About using tears as a heat level: in a paragraph preceding one of the recipes, NIK regales the reader with a humourous tale of her youth when her mother and her friends had a "hottest curry" contest; she still remembers the winning entry that had a table of adults weeping in bliss. Hah!

                  2. re: qianning

                    I'm wondering about the consistency of the sauce here. Vindaloo I've had before had a bit more heft to the sauce than what is now happening on our stovetop. It's as thin as, well, vinegar (coconut vinegar, to be precise). I don't see any ingredients in the recipe that might make it thicken. I've got the meat out now in an attempt to reduce, but I fear that no matter how long I simmer vinegar, it's not going to thicken! I'm about five minutes away from capitulating and making a roux. Anyone around now with ideas about this?

                    ETA. Nevermind. It actually is thickening up a bit!

                    1. re: L.Nightshade

                      The onions are the thickener, I'd guess. But it takes them a while to break down.

                    2. re: qianning

                      Goan Meat or Poultry Stew, Vindaloo, page 127

                      Well, it finally did thicken up, and I think that qianning is correct: it's the onions that made it happen. I ended up using lamb shanks for this, as that was all that seemed remotely appropriate at our minimalist butcher. I wasn't sure what kind of dried chiles to use, so I opted for my usual strategy of mixing chiles: two each of what I had on hand: arbol, japones, noras, new mexico, chipotle, and cayenne. It wasn't quite enough heat for me, perhaps I chose the wrong chiles, or perhaps the vinegar mellowed them out. The vinegar (coconut vinegar, and no water) was a bit much for Mr. Nightshade, I think he might prefer one of those versions of the dish made with a smaller amount of vinegar. The lamb shanks weren't ideal for me, a little too Fred Flintstone, but I really liked the flavors. I would just add a little more heat next time. I served it with crispy roast potatoes, roasted parsnips and turnips, and a side salad of cucumbers, ginger, lime juice, from page 218.

                      1. re: L.Nightshade

                        Fred Flinstone? Wilma never made a plate that looked so good!

                      2. re: qianning

                        Vindaloo - made this with pork shoulder and about 1.5 cups cider vinegar and .5 cups water. I'm not sure I've ever eaten real vindaloo before because I've never had anything this vinegary - it really is sort of a meat pickle, as she states in the intro to the dish. We really liked it, but we love vinegar/sour. It might be a bit much for some people. Next time I'd like to try it with the recommended cane or coconut vinegar.

                        ETA - I ordered a Preethi wet/dry grinder from Amazon after trying to put together the masala for this dish. I ground up the dry spices in a coffee grinder (which worked fine) and then tried to grind the dry mixture with the ginger and garlic in a mini food processor. As noted in the intro to the book, this doesn't really get you the correct consistency as the pieces just keep getting chopped finer, but never really become fully ground.

                        1. re: qianning

                          I made this last night, using boneless chicken thighs for the meat. I did a half recipe, using about 1 1/3 pound chicken. I used 5 cayenne peppers, did not seed them. I also diluted the cider vinegar a bit (3/4 cup + 1/4 cup water).

                          I liked it, not sure I'd make it again. Agree it was quite vinegar-y, not unpleasantly so, but pronounced. I was surprised that it was not "too hot". For me it was something I liked a couple bites of, but was glad I had rather substantial roasted potatoes instead of rice to munch on with it; I really wouldn't want to make it the bulk of the meal; more of a "condiment", if that makes sense.

                        2. Parsiburgers, p. 118

                          These ground meat patties flavored with finely chopped herbs and aromatics are a more streamlined version of the cutlets on the preceding page, according to NIK. They certainly come together easily enough for a quick, satisfying dish with some perk and spice.

                          Ground chicken, turkey, or pork (I used ground chicken thigh) is mixed with finely chopped red, yellow, or green onion (green), ginger, green chiles (serranos, including seeds), cilantro, optional mint (I used), an egg, and salt, and made into four flat patties, which are cooked in a cast iron pan. The burgers are a bit soft, so I'm not sure how they'd fare on a grill.

                          NIK suggests serving with a baked potato and salad; I had mine with roasted broccoli and cucumber raita. The remaining burgers are tucked in the freezer, for when I need no-fuss meals.

                          19 Replies
                          1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                            Hmm, making these for dinner on Monday. Sounds like they were good but not spectacular. Any tips for livening them up? Maybe up the ginger and chili? Add a little cumin or something?

                            1. re: LulusMom

                              While I wouldn't classify these as spectacular, I thought they were really very good just as is, and wouldn't say they need livening. The recipe calls for a fair bit of ginger, and the amount of chile is left to the cook. I used two fairly hot serranos with seeds and was pleased with the amount of spice. The mint and cilantro also add a bright note. I definitely recommend raita on the side; it was an excellent complement.

                              1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                I was thinking of the Russian salad on the side- figured that would give the sort of creamy, soothing element.

                                I realized after having gone to the grocery store that we just had the merguez burgers last week. Oh well, I'm fairly sure no one in this house will complain about getting a variation!

                                Thanks as always for your help.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  Thanks to Caitlin for her review. I made the Parsiburgers tonight for dinner and we really loved them. I used a big jalapeno and a serrano, and everything else that was optional (mint, egg, etc.). I thought these had a pretty big bang of flavor. I used ground turkey. Agree that the grill could be problematic, but in a pan there were no problems with them breaking apart. I felt a bit guilty about the fact that I'd just served burgers last week (the merguez burgers from Cook This Now) but both were very much appreciated. I did end up serving this with the Russian Salad. I loved the salad. Husband was ok with it; Lulu made a big stink about not liking it before even trying it (remarkably - or not - this happened just days after her first ever sleep over. My personal guess is that she learned that some people/kids decide they don't like something before tasting it and then make a scene about it. This got nipped in the bud).

                              2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                Parsiburgers, p. 118

                                We loved these! I made them with turkey and used all the ingredients including lovely fresh mint from my garden. These were fresh and light and full of flavor thanks to the onion, ginger, chili and lots of herbs. They were very juicy after cooking with a lovely brown crust from the pan-frying. I normally am not a huge fan of ground turkey but I do cook with it from time to time and this is one of the few times that I felt the turkey was absolutely delicious in its own right and actually preferable to beef or pork. I will definitely be making these burgers again!

                                I served them as recommended with green salad and boiled potatoes (dressed with dill-lemon-butter sauce). This was fine, but I think I would have preferred a baked potato, or for a weeknight perhaps serving the burgers in a pita with raita or another yogurt sauce.

                                As an aside, discovering recipes like this is why I love COTM so much. I have had this book for years but never delved into it too much, and now I am finding great weeknight keepers hidden in plain sight on my own bookshelves! Gotta love that.

                                1. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                  Parsi Meat Loaf, p. 119.

                                  This is a variation of the Parsiburger recipe on p. 118. I decided to make it because my husband likes the concept of meatloaf ;-) and I liked the concept of just popping the mixture into a loaf pan and letting the oven do all the work of cooking.

                                  My husband did enjoy the finished result (I used ground turkey). We also appreciated the addition of the fresh herbs--mint as well as coriander--which gave the relatively pallid meatloaf slices a nice touch of color as well as flavor. Next time I will use more of them. I also liked the author's suggestion of a glaze of pomegranate molasses on top and wished that I had put more on--the flavor was piquant and a good addition.

                                  My reaction is that I would choose the original Parsiburger method of pan-frying the patties individually next time since I missed the flavor (and the color) that frying gives to the surface of a burger. I would also use the full number of chilies recommended, at least in the case of the green jalapeños I had. I was rather parsimonious with them (using only two rather than four) in deference to my husband's tastes, but the finished result needed more zip. I note that others have used serrano peppers and I should probably make the effort to get them.

                                  1. re: Goblin

                                    When I made the parsiburgers I used thai chiles. I mixed everything together without the chilies, set some aside for kids' burgers, then added chilies to the adult portion. In this way, it is easy to customize a burger for different heat preferences. The thai chilies add a nice zip.

                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                      Thank you, Westminstress for the advice about fresh Thai chilies. I'm kind of a chili pepper novice in many ways. What color ones did you use? Do you have a preference between the red and the green?

                                      1. re: Goblin

                                        I used green, but I think you could use red or green. The Thai chilies are hotter than serranos or jalapenos, but also much smaller, so you get more heat and less vegetal/pepper flavor from each chile. When I read the discussion on chiles in the introduction to the book, it seemed that Thai chiles were the best choice out of the kinds that are commonly available to me, plus I had some left over from last month.

                                    2. re: Goblin

                                      Parsi Meat Loaf, Pg. 119

                                      We made the meatloaf last night and loved it. I used ground chicken, red onion, 3 hot jalapenos, and included the mint. I totally forgot we had bird's eye chilies in the freezer. All the other ingredients remained as suggested. We liked the pomegranate molasses as a glaze, and must find other uses for it. It seemed to pull everything together. I guess at some point we'll make the burgers, but this meatloaf was a real winner. Side dishes were Cucumber Riata on page 225 using Persian cucumber (delicious), and steamed cauliflower and romanesco broccoli.

                                      1. re: Goblin

                                        I feel I should add that the leftovers from our Parsi Meatloaf were really quite good--the "heat" seemed to have increased slightly overnight. I had about half of the meatloaf left after our dinner a deux; for lunch the next day I sliced the meatloaf into 1-inch slices and and reheated them (microwaved) and then served them with the cucumber riata on p. 225. Delicious.

                                      2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                        Parsiburgers, Pg. 118

                                        Count us in with the growing number of admirers of these burgers. We used ground turkey, finely chopped yellow onion, ginger, green chiles (serranos w seeds), cilantro, all the optionals, formed into four flat patties. They were cooked in a cast iron pan. G thought they were "a bit soft" but I didn't. I thought they were delicious. The mint contributes an unobtrusive background note that I loved.

                                        The burgers were served with a potato salad consisting of EVOO, anchovies, lots of FGBpepper, and arugula. It's an Elizabeth Minichilli recipe that paired beautifully. The onion Riata on page 226 was the condiment. Excellent dinner.


                                        1. re: Gio

                                          I am so making that potato salad tomorrow night. May as well try the Parsiburgers too.

                                          1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                            Nomad, it was really delicious. Make sure you chop the anchovies as she recommends. it makes a difference. I used anchovies in oil, drained. Minchilli's recipes are deliberately simple, using the best ingredients and treating them with the utmost respect. I've made 4 or 5 at this point and we have been delighted with each of them. BTW: we actually did use the full 1/2 cup of EVOO. I thought we'd cut back but didn't and I'm glad.

                                            1. re: Gio

                                              Thanks for the tips. I'd just bought new potatoes and arugula at the FM, so I have everything on hand. It looks luscious. And I'm bookmarking that site too!

                                                1. re: Gio

                                                  Thumbs up on the salad, Gio, and thanks for the link. The only thing that I thought might improve it would be a few more anchovies. Mine were almost disintegrated into the salt, so I had a hard time judging how many I was fishing out and erred on the conservative side, I guess.

                                                  A keeper: I loved the arugula with the warm potatoes.

                                                  We ended up eating this with a grilled steak (great accompaniment), so the Parsi burgers will have to wait.

                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                    Oh good, Nomad! I used anchovies in EVOO. We rally love anchovies but I can't take all the salt in the salt-pack. This is repeat recipe for us too. So glad you liked it.

                                        2. re: Caitlin McGrath

                                          I think these Parsi burgers are going to end up being worthy of TDQ's "COTM easy and delicious week night dinner worthy recipes" list.

                                        3. One Hundred Almond Curry

                                          I knew as soon as I saw this I wanted to make it; since I prefer white meat chicken, I bought a whole chicken, had butcher remove/discard skin, saved back in freezer (to make stock later). I boned the breasts when I got home since it's unpleasant to have tiny bones falling apart into your food.

                                          I forgot to buy extra thighs; the recipe makes so much sauce .. It could have used 4 - 6 more thighs. Even though this recipe does NOT call for sautéing the chicken first, I did so. (When my Italian mother and I made chicken in tomato sauce we felt it was better to sauté first). (Checking out other blogs on this recipe, at least one other sautéed first.)

                                          Recipe calls for 2-3 Tbl brown sugar or jaggery. I used 2. Calls for 2-3 Tbl tamarind concentrate. I was going to use 2 Tbl but only had 1. My son in law is from Northern India and they don't favor sugar in savory dishes so he thought it was too sweet. Next time I'll either put 1 tsp. or none. Maybe I'll skip the tamarind and squeeze fresh lime juice at end. He also thought it did not have enough chili. It was just right for me but next time I'll sauté 1-2 serranos to add to the sauce.

                                          Otherwise I followed the ingredient list and directions.

                                          It was a bit of work for me but I loved it, especially the sauce. I love coconut milk dishes. Served with plain basmati rice and Japanese cucumber batons. It is a rich dish with all those almonds and coconut milk. Maybe next time I'll just use 1 can of coconut milk and not the 3 cups called for in the recipe.

                                          I even liked nibbling on this cold from fridge next day, a bit of baguette smeared in the sauce.

                                          13 Replies
                                          1. re: walker

                                            Looks lovely and sounds wonderful!

                                            1. re: Allegra_K

                                              Thank you. The recipe calls for 10 dried red bird's eye chilis. I only had chili de arbol, considered using fresh, minced serranos, didn't want to make a special trip to an Indian store. Ended up getting dried red Indian chilies from a Pakistani friend; will have to pick up a package next time.

                                            2. re: walker

                                              Agree; it sounds wonderful. I'm putting it on my list. You've got the perfect serving bowl, very pretty!

                                              1. re: L.Nightshade

                                                Yes, it's hard to make curries pretty in a photo; I just tried to copy the photo from the recipe.

                                                I agree, that bowl makes the dish even more enticing. That's the largest in a group of 3. I bought it in India after a lot of searching; maybe you can find them in Indian stores in US.

                                                1. re: walker

                                                  I have similar bowls also from India and have seen them in Indian stores in Canada and US. LN, Vancouver has large Indian population and they will have them for sure.

                                              2. re: walker

                                                Did you have white poppy seeds? I'd have to make a trip to get those.

                                                1. re: DGresh

                                                  My daughter (she lives downstairs) has a good supply of Indian stuff and she had some. In a blind taste test, I can't believe you'd tell if it were left out or if you used black poppy seeds. (You'd tell if you left out the fresh ginger, onions, garlic!)

                                                  Do you have the right kind of Indian dried red peppers? If you minced fresh serranos, I think that would be ok.

                                                  1. re: walker

                                                    I think the ground poppy seeds act to thicken the sauce as well as adding more nutty flavor when cooked. Would imagine the black poppyseed would be less attractive.

                                                    also re above, the sugar and tamarind should balance each other out to some degree, so reducing the tamarind should logically call for a reduction of the sugar also.

                                                2. re: walker

                                                  One Hundred Almond Curry, p. 142

                                                  Walker did such a nice job with the description of this dish and provided such a great photo that I'll just mention the few things I did with it.

                                                  To save a little time I made the masala the day before, grinding the spices in my Braun coffee grinder, (now my designated spice grinder!) omitting the white poppy seeds, and only using 6 red chiles (kinda afraid of the heat). But as walker mentioned, there is plenty of sauce to mellow out the chiles so I actually ended up adding some dried red pepper flakes when the dish was finished. I used eight skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs, but I could have easily browned four more to add to all of that sauce. I did use a bit of prepared tamarind sauce at the end, which balances the richness of the dish, but lime juice would work just as well. The sauce does thicken overnight, but next time I may do what walker suggests and use less coconut milk, or less water (allowing more curry flavor to shine through). Also good to have walker's opinion on the white poppy seeds; I probably won't go to the trouble of looking for them.

                                                  A great dish with great curry flavor, which is even better the next day.

                                                  1. re: walker

                                                    One Hundred Almond Curry--Sau Badam Ni Kari, p. 142

                                                    My husband deemed this the best curry I've ever made--and I've made lots. (I don't think I've ever made a nut-based curry, however.) He liked the richness and the relatively mild heat. I do wish I'd remembered Walker's notes and cut back a little on both the water and the coconut milk as I had a lot of sauce.

                                                    I made half a recipe. My nifty Meethi wet-dry drinder made quick work of the masala (fresh ginger, garlic, whole cloves, cardamom pods, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, turmeric, and almonds; toasted Indian chiles, coriander seeds, white poppy seeds, and cumin seeds).

                                                    Unlike Walker's, my recipe did call for browning the chicken thighs, after which I lightly browned onions in oil, in a LC DO, then added the masala paste, water, and salt and simmered for 25 minutes or so before adding coconut milk and simmering another 15.

                                                    Again, unlike Walker's, my recipe did not call for adding sugar, but for choosing between lime juice or tamarind to stir in at the end. I opted for lime juice.

                                                    We enjoyed this with plain basmati rice, beet salad (p. 214), dal, ginger raita (p. 226), and naan--a lovely little feast.

                                                    This delicious, relatively easy dish is definitely joining the curry file.

                                                    1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                      I used the recipe listed in the original thread; yes, I think browning the chicken is the way to go, omitting sugar & using fresh lime at end.

                                                      What is a Meethi wet-dry grinder?

                                                      1. re: walker

                                                        Actually it's a Preethi--it works wonderfully.

                                                    2. re: walker

                                                      I just made this dish again tonight. When will I learn to make notations on recipes? This recipe makes twice as much sauce as necessary. Very strange. I love the flavors but since I forget these details, I just forced myself to note to put 1/2 the coconut milk and water.

                                                    3. Cutlets p. 116

                                                      I made these on a weeknight since I had a pound of ground beef from a farm and boiled potatoes in the fridge. The recipe calls for mixing ground chicken, turkey, lamb, pork or beef (beef) with boiled mashed (riced) potatoes, onion, green chilies (red), ginger-garlic paste (MP-ed garlic and ginger), turmeric, fresh coriander and salt. Oval cutlets are formed, dipped in egg, rolled in breadcrumbs and shallow fried. King suggests to use 1C of oil to fry the cutlets but I used as little as I could get away with and let them rest on a paper towel to soak up excess oil. Fresh out of the pan they were wonderful - crispy exterior, soft and flavouful inside. Fresh coriander added freshness and an extra layer of flavour. Served with simple salad and loved it! Took for lunch next day and what a disappointment - the exterior wasn't as crisp though I heated in a toasted oven and not MV; the flavour was gone, couldn't even taste coriander any longer - just a plain boring cutlet. Maybe if I made recommended tomato gravy it would've been better, don't know. I still have two sitting in the fridge but can't imagine they improved any and most likely will toss tomorrow as I do my fridge clean up and weekly prep - shame :(

                                                      1. Fish in Coconut Milk, p. 105

                                                        I used the lazy coconut milk, so this was a very quick dinner, albeit not quite as flavorful as what I usually think of for Indian cooking (having not had much exposure to Parsi). To make, chiles and curry leaves are sizzled in oil. She suggests 3 to 6 green chiles. I used 6 Thai bird's eye and the dish was still fairly mild to us, although I think this batch of chiles lacks heat and the heat did become a bit more pronounced towards the end of the dish. Then finely chopped onion and garlic is browned and cooked until softened. Turmeric is added and then the thin coconut milk. My can of coconut milk wasn't separating very nicely, so I just poured in the full can. She suggests 3 - 4 cups of liquid in all, but that seemed excessive and I wanted the flavor a bit more concentrated, so I just used 1 can. After the mixture simmers for a bit with some salt, she has you add the thick coconut milk and then the fish. I was using very thin Dover sole fillets, so I let the sauce simmer until it became a beautiful sunshine yellow. The fish are added and simmered until the fish is cooked. The fish was wonderfully moist. Don't forget some rice to soak up the sauce. We enjoyed it, but I can't help but compare it to a similar dish in 660 Curries that had a lot more going on (the halibut with coconut-mustard sauce).

                                                        5 Replies
                                                        1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                          Bit of a bummer - I have this planned for later this week, and we tend to like more Ka-Pow flavors.

                                                          1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                            My turn on the Fish in Coconut Milk. I agree with TxninMtl's review - it was good, but could have had stronger flavors. That said, I used 4 jalapenos and added some cayenne just to make sure toward the end. I also added lime juice to the stew to finish. While i wouldn't say this was a "wow" dish, we all really liked it a lot. And it was easy to make on a very rushed evening (picking L up at school, taking her to ballet, running to the grocery store to pick up the fish, coming home and washing her lunch stuff and then cutting the fish) and that made me less stressed than expected. I went with her suggested steamed chayote with lime and cilantro - my first time with chayote which was kind fun - always a kick to try some new to you food.

                                                            My take so far is that basically Parsi food is milder than most Indian stuff; knowing that helps know what to expect.

                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                              I'm glad you made it work for you. It is very quick and the lime juice sounds like a nice touch.

                                                              1. re: TxnInMtl

                                                                I love lime and coconut, and since she'd said to serve it with lime slices I didn't feel I was deviating too much. I do agree with you that it could use more oomph, but I liked the basic flavors a lot.

                                                            2. re: TxnInMtl

                                                              I made this tonight. I used the upper end of the chilies, given the reports here, also the garlic and curry leaves. I enjoyed it; it was not transcendent, but it was tasty. The spice wimp of our home (my 17 year old son) said that "it's spicy even though it doesn't look like it is" so I guess I walked that fine line. Certainly very straightforward to make.

                                                            3. Chicken with Apricots, Jardalu Ma Marghi pg. 141

                                                              Although we usually have Hunza apricots, Jardalu, in the house to snack on, I don't think I've ever cooked with them before now. That will change. For us this was a scrape every last bit of the sauce off the plate kind of a dish.

                                                              When I weighed the apricots they were a bit shy of the half pound needed for a half recipe; I reduced the sugar a bit to keep it in proportion with the apricots but left everything else at an exact half recipe. Otherwise I followed everything to a t until the very end--oops no Madeira in the house. Was going to sub Marsala for it, but on tasting the sauce it really didn't need it, so left well enough alone.

                                                              And it was so good. The apricots play so well with the spices--dried chili, cumin, cardamom, clove, cinnamon, --and the apricot stewing liquid blends perfectly with the onion for a rich and tasty sauce. We had it with the recommended Angel Hair potatoes, and sauteed ivy gourd.

                                                              Here's a snap of the apricots just before they were mixed into the dish.

                                                              6 Replies
                                                              1. re: qianning

                                                                Wow, this sounds wonderful! Going into the to-do list.

                                                                1. re: qianning

                                                                  I was intrigued by this recipe, but I don't think I've ever seen this type of apricot before. Where do you find them? Just trying to figure out which international market to hit up.

                                                                  1. re: stockholm28

                                                                    Indian or Pakistani markets.

                                                                    If you haven't seen them before, keep in mind that these look completely different from Turkish or California apricots. Rather than flat orange discs these are about the size and shape of a marble, and a wizened beige/brown color.

                                                                  2. re: qianning

                                                                    I marked this recipe last night - happy to see your review - thank you, Q!

                                                                    1. re: qianning

                                                                      Thanks, this has been on my to do list as well. Glad to hear it works without the Madeira/Marsala.

                                                                    2. Savory Braised Lamb, Pg. 112

                                                                      For this recipe we used chicken thighs, an alternative, since that's what we had defrosted but lamb is waiting in the freezer to be used next week. It was so delicious I can't wait to taste it with lamb! Also, after the prep the thighs take only 30 minutes or so to cook, the lamb will take closer to 45 min. or longer. Goat and veal are additional alternatives. We made the whole recipe using 2 pounds of boneless thighs, cubed.

                                                                      The recipe calls for the Ginger - Garlic Paste on page 36 but only a teaspoon so I minced just enough for the recipe. Because our grapeseed oil is old I used EVOO but the grapeseed is on today's shopping list. Of the other ingredients we used 3 dried arbols, included the optionals of ground cumin and turmeric, 1/2 t salt.

                                                                      Rub the meat with the paste and let sit for 30 minutes. The cumin and chilies are heated in oil for a few, add chopped onion, add meat, add a little water, add the turmeric and salt, cover, cook till tender. Couldn't be simpler.

                                                                      We loved it. Deep rich flavor is how NIK describes the finished dish and it's perfectly true. Definitely a do-again recipe. I also served steamed sugar snap peas, and warm potato salad with a cider vinegar vinaigrette.

                                                                      13 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Gio

                                                                        I would have totally missed this one because it called for lamb - thank you for bringing it to my attention. Sounds very good.

                                                                        1. re: Gio

                                                                          Thanks for flagging, this sounds great! Good to see you back on the COTM threads, Gio.

                                                                          1. re: Westminstress

                                                                            Thanks WM. I hope I can continue.

                                                                          2. re: Gio

                                                                            Savory Braised Chicken p. 112


                                                                            Wanting a quick and healthy weeknight meal, we made this dish with chicken and also chose to include the optional cumin and tumeric. We also grated the ginger and garlic to make the paste rather than making the whole recipe. Our results did not turn out as well as Gio's (glad to see you posting again), but that was due to user error, not the recipe.

                                                                            We made half a recipe and in retrospect, I should have used a smaller pan, because the dish ended up being too soupy (I inadvertently flooded the chicken). When the chicken was nice and tender, we served it with basmati rice. There was too much liquid to be a gravy, so we boiled it down a bit and enjoyed it as a a cuminy chicken broth. Based on Gio's results, we may have to try this one again.

                                                                            1. re: BigSal

                                                                              Thank you! That's a shame Big Sal. Next time...

                                                                            2. re: Gio

                                                                              I love that ginger-garlic paste. It's so simple, but adds so much to any meat rub/marinade. I used to keep it in oil in the fridge for several days.
                                                                              We especially like it on rack of lamb.
                                                                              It's almost the middle of the month, I need to dig out my book and join you all!

                                                                              1. re: rabaja

                                                                                It's good to know about the G & G paste in oil, Rabaja. The recipe in the book makes 2 cups and since we only needed 1 teaspoon I took the easy way out. Please do join us. All the recipes I've read so far seem very appealing, but I have to choose those that won't send my husband into fits since he's doing all the cooking now. (I prep and do the mixing etc.)

                                                                                1. re: rabaja

                                                                                  I also love having the ginger-garlic paste at hand in the refrigerator. I made it about a week ago and keep it in the fridge. I find myself scooping out a teaspoon or two and adding it to many vegetable dishes. It gives a rounded, lightly sweet-savory flavor to sautéed/stir-fried vegetables, particularly if you start by softening some chopped onion in oil, then add a teaspoon or two of the paste to sauté briefly together, and then add the veggies to the sauté. Tonight it was a melange of sliced bell peppers.

                                                                                  1. re: Goblin

                                                                                    I hadn't thought of actually making the ginger garlic paste in quantity ( I just micro plane whatever is needed for a dish ) but you make it sound very appealing!

                                                                                    1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                      I hope I've done this right--here's my review of making the whole recipe for ginger-garlic paste from the relevant thread. It takes just a few minutes in the FP--I do think that you need a small-capacity one to make this work because in this particular recipe you aren't working which a huge amount of chopped garlic and ginger (1/2 cup of each). Though you could always increase the amounts as you chose. It seems to keep perfectly with a light slick of oil on top, in a closed container in the fridge.


                                                                                      1. re: Goblin

                                                                                        ginger garlic paste is also freezable - you can slice off pieces as needed.

                                                                                        1. re: jen kalb

                                                                                          Excellent suggestion, Jen! I shall slice and freeze my ginger-garlic paste forthwith!

                                                                                2. re: Gio

                                                                                  Savory Braised Chicken, Tomato Sauce variation, p. 112

                                                                                  I'd have passed this right by but for Gio's post, and now that I've looked a little closer at more of the recipes in the meat and poultry chapter, I see that several of them give a range of lamb, veal, goat, and chicken as possibilities. The main recipe here is followed by a few variations, one of which involves tomatoes. In this version, cinnamon sticks and whole cloves are added with the chiles and cumin seeds, and instead of just adding water, grated fresh or chopped canned or tetrapak tomatoes make up the braising liquid.

                                                                                  I made a half recipe or so, using about a pound of boneless, skinless thighs, two chiles de arbol, 1/2 tsp or so cumin seed, a cinnamon stick, a few cloves, and a small can of "petite diced" tomatoes, following just a little splash of water to loosen up the bits on the bottom of the pan. I skipped the turmeric, and though she instructs adding a bit of brown sugar at the end, I didn't having decided the tomatoes were sweet enough on their own.

                                                                                  This was simple to make, and simply satisfying, with sweetness from the tomatoes and onions, just a touch of heat, and depth from the warm spices. Steamed asparagus and a glass of wine completed my meal.

                                                                                3. Green Curry, p. 135

                                                                                  Warning: major deliciousness alert!!! We loved this dish.

                                                                                  According to the author, her friend Firoza always keeps some green masala around along with her ginger-garlic paste. After making this yummy curry, I can see why.

                                                                                  I made the masala paste over the weekend to save time during the week. It consists of cilantro, cashews, chiles, ginger-garlic paste (or MPed ginger and garlic for me), cumin and turmeric, whizzed in the FP. This smells and tastes delicious. I kept it on the very mild side so my kids could eat it and it was still very tasty.

                                                                                  For the curry, you start by sizzling curry leaves and cloves in oil (I used coconut oil), then soften some onion (she says sliced but I did finely chopped as my kids don't like big pieces of onion), add your meat, then your masala paste, then coconut milk and salt. For the meat, there are tons of options including lamb, chicken, seafood and veg. I used about three pounds of bone-in chicken thighs (she suggests boneless thighs but they were out of them at my market). For the coconut milk, she suggests using two cups plus additional water as needed. I used one cup of frozen coconut cream thinned with about 1/2 cup water. That was plenty! I skipped the optional potato. The curry is finished with lime juice.

                                                                                  She says that the curry needs at least 45 min to 1 hour to thicken up properly and for flavors to develop. She is absolutely right. I tasted it around the 40 minute mark and felt disappointed - sauce seemed thin, sweet, much more bland than expected. I kept cooking and twenty minutes later it suddenly thickened up and became wonderful. After the lime juice went in, it was perfect! My son pronounced, "the sauce is good," which is high praise indeed coming from him.

                                                                                  I served the curry with Perfect Basmati Rice, Simple Onion Kuchambar, and Quick-Cooked Greens. This was an awesome meal!

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                    Good to see your enthusiastic report (though reading over the recipe, it sounded pretty darn good), because this is on the menu soon with fish and maybe also some zucchini or something.

                                                                                      1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                        Green Curry (with Seafood) and (with Vegetables), p. 135

                                                                                        As Westminstress noted, there are many possibilities for this curry. The main recipe gives options of lamb, veal, goat, or chicken thigh, and variations follow for seafood (fish, shrimp, mussels, or clams), meatballs, hard-boiled eggs, or vegetables. I used a pound of wild Pacific cod cut in chunks, and also threw in a couple of small sliced zucchini.

                                                                                        For the non-meat variations, the coconut milk and a cup of water (I replaced half of that with vegetable stock because it needed using) are added after the masala has been fried, and the whole is cooked until thickened, after which the fish and vegetables are added and simmered until cooked.

                                                                                        I completely forgot to add the lime juice at the end, but regardless, this was thoroughly delicious. With the versatility of ingredients and the ease of making it mild or spicy depending on taste and audience, this is really a keeper.

                                                                                        I served it with brown basmati, the Stir-Fried Long Beans, and a reprise of the terrific Seared Ginger Raita. Great meal, looking forward to the leftovers!

                                                                                      2. Cashew Cream Chicken, Kaju Ni Gravy Ma Marghi, pg. 139

                                                                                        Yummy. The chicken itself is good, but really it is all about the gravy. Incredibly satisfying stuff.

                                                                                        Sear chix thighs, take out of pan and marinate in the ubiquitous ginger/garlic paste. Heat oil in braising pan, add dried chiles, cassia, cloves, cardamom until fragrant and beginning to turn, add sliced onion saute a few minutes, add back chicken, saute a few minutes, add water, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20+ minutes.

                                                                                        Remove chicken and whole spices from pan. To a blender add strained yogurt, raw cashews and 1 C pan juices + as many or as few of the dried chiles as you'd like (I added one for my half batch, which made for a very light spicy sauce--we had spicy lime pickle on the side, which more than compensated for any missing spiciness); blend until smooth, return this to the rest of the pan juices and whisk together. Warm gently with the thighs --the sauce thickens considerably over very little time/heat.

                                                                                        My only deviation from the recipe was to skim the pan juices before combining them with the yogurt & cashews. We had this served over "Simplest Pulao", it is a bit beige, but what it lacks in color it makes up for in flavor.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: qianning

                                                                                          We had this again tonight, but this time made it with almonds rather than cashews, and reduced the cooking oil to 2 tsp (for a half batch), so didn't need to skim at all. But the big difference was serving it with naan rather than rice. If you find yourself with some good naan, keep this one in mind. That sauce is just wonderful with soft bread.

                                                                                        2. Irene's Fabulous Fish Cakes (p. 98)

                                                                                          Delicious. I may have over-fried them just a little, but still, delicious flavors. I used tilapia, which is poached and then left to drain/cool. I made the mashed potatoes the day before to make this quicker. I have to say, I wasn't so sure the mashers were going to do the trick with binding; the fish cakes seemed to be falling apart when I made them in the morning. But they give a nice creaminess to the whole thing. So - flaked poached fish, mashed potatoes, an egg, chopped onion, 3-4 green chilies, chopped cilantro, and I microplaned (thanks to whoever it was who suggested this instead of making the paste - much quicker and smarter when not using a lot) some ginger and garlic into the mix. Form into fish cakes, then dip in eggs and then in breadcrumbs (I used panko). You can make these ahead of time and then shallow fry when ready. We liked these quite a bit, but the real hit of the dinner was the cabbage salad, which I will review in the proper place.

                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                          1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                            Sounds good. I just noticed this recipe and it's on my short list for next week's dinner. Glad to hear it worked out well for you.

                                                                                            1. re: LulusMom

                                                                                              Irene's Fabulous Fish Cakes, p. 98

                                                                                              I made these for dinner last night, having mashed my potato and poached my fish (hake) ahead of time. First let me say that mashed up in a fish cake is the first good use that I have found for this fish. That said, while I liked the fish cakes, they were definitely more fiddly to put together than the parsiburgers, and I didn't like them as much. I found that the mixture did not hold together well and it was hard to form the patties. I ended up just rolling the fish cakes directly in breadcrumbs (and skipping the egg wash) because they were so wet already, they just fell apart in the egg. The odd (but good) thing was that after being coated in breadcrumbs they seemed to firm up quite a bit and did not fall apart in the pan. Anyway, I liked them but my kids didn't so not a repeater for us.

                                                                                              1. re: Westminstress

                                                                                                Too bad! I used panko (which I probably should have mentioned) and put them in the fridge after making them, which I think helped firm them up. I just had a bit of a leftover one yesterday and was really liking it. Agree that they are more of a pain to put together than the parsi burgers, which we also really enjoyed.

                                                                                            2. Grilled Lamb "Lollipops", page 123

                                                                                              This was very easy and nice mix of flavors with lamb. You essentially make a wet rub of olive oil, pomegranate molasses, cayenne, Parsi garam masala (p 37), salt, and pepper. The parsi garam masala is a blend of cardamom, cinnamon, black cumin, cloves, peppercorns, and nutmeg. I used a rack of lamb rather than tenderloin. This was actually a mistake on my part (when I first read the recipe and saw "lollipop", I assumed it was calling for rib chops); however, I really liked this with the chops. You rub the blend on the lamb and let it "marinate" for 1-2 hours and then grill.

                                                                                              I liked this a lot. I've used pomegranate molasses before with mixed results. I think there are a lot of recipes that are too heavy handed with it. This was just right. The lamb just had an occasional hint of the sweet/sour pomegranate flavor and the spices were a nice complement. I'd use this again for lamb.

                                                                                              3 Replies
                                                                                              1. re: stockholm28

                                                                                                Grilled Lamb "Lollipops", p. 123

                                                                                                Agree with everything stockholm28 said. I too used a lamb rack. We loved the subtle flavors this marinade lent to the meat, and I'll definitely use it again as we liked this better than my go-to marinade for lamb chops. (Didn't hurt that DH grilled them to perfection.)

                                                                                                1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                  Those are beautiful! This recipe reminds me of Ottlenghi's lamb. Since he "borrows" methods from anywhere he can, I suspect that he knew of this preparation.

                                                                                                  1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                    Hi NCW, I'm planning on giving this marinade a try pretty soon thanks to your comments on another thread. Did you mix up the parsi garam masala for use in this marinade and do you think it makes a big difference? I have some commercial garam masala around and was wondering if I could get away with using that instead....

                                                                                                2. Marsala Grilled Liver & Kidneys, pg. 159 (green Marsala version)

                                                                                                  There are actually two recipes contained in this, one for green and one for red masala. I opted for the green--green chiles, cilantro leaf, cumin seed, ginger/garlic paste. For the offal, lamb kidneys, chicken liver, and duck gizzard (in the footnote NIK mentions hearts, but we prefer gizzard). The chicken liver was a bit difficult to control on the skewers--I probably should have cut the pieces smaller--and it over cooked a bit by the time both sides were exposed to the heat. But still overall we liked this dish. And the gizzard lover in this house really enjoyed them cooked this way. That said, this recipe won't replace our standard grilled lamb kidney recipe, http://ediblyasian.info/recipes/xinji... .

                                                                                                  1. Shrimp Balls--Kolmi Na Kavab, p. 99

                                                                                                    I decided to try these as I'm charged with providing a hot appetizer for an upcoming potluck-style party, and I wanted to see if these balls would work as a make-ahead appetizer. I was glad to discover that they froze and reheated (in a 350F oven) nicely. Maybe in a side-by-side test, you could tell the just-fried from the reheated, but we enjoyed the second go-round every bit as much. A definite keeper.

                                                                                                    I made half a recipe: half-pound shrimp and small egg are whizzed in FB to coarse paste Then finely chopped veggies are added: 1/4 onion (about 1/3 c), 1 lg jalapeno, 1/4 c cilantro w/stems, 1/2 tsp. ginger-garlic paste (just equal portions microplane grated ginger and garlic--easy), 1/8 tsp. ground turmeric, 1/2 tsp. salt. (At this point I transferred the mixture to a bowl and put it in the fridge as I didn't want to stir in my breadcrumbs until I got ready to fry.)

                                                                                                    Just before frying in hot (peanut) oil in my wok, I stirred in enough fine breadcrumbs (about 1/3 c) to the mixture to make it "stiff." I shaped the mixture into rough (very rough) "balls" using two spoons and fried until brown, probably a tad over "golden" but not burned in the least.

                                                                                                    A half-recipe easily yields enough for six people as appetizers. For serving to company, I'd make the balls smaller than I did when I was trying to rush things along. These were delicious--hushpuppy-like but much more flavorful. We ate them with the suggested squeeze of lime, but I'm thinking next time a nice spiced yogurt dipping sauce would be nice.

                                                                                                    I'd also like to try them with the chickpea flour instead of the breadcrumbs as I love fritters w/chickpea flour.

                                                                                                    1. Trotters with Black Eyed Peas, Kharia, pg. 156

                                                                                                      Memorial Day may have come and gone, but our thermometer refused to budge past 48 today, rainy and raw too. A perfect day to have something bubbling on the stove, and with a work from home day scheduled the timing was right. It does take a whole day to cook this, but most of that is hands off simmering. Fortunately I had the more complicated of the three masalas already made, and the other two come together easily.

                                                                                                      I'm not sure why NIK says that goat trotters aren't available--our halal butcher has them, albeit it frozen. Anyway, I made this with paya (goat feet) rather than the pig's feet, and I made a half recipe, otherwise followed the directions exactly.

                                                                                                      Roughly--simmer trotters in a simple broth of water, salt and ginger/garlic paste for around 3 hours. At that point, saute onions until soft in a skillet, add masala #1 to the skillet and fry with the onions for a bit, add this to the pot with the simmering trotters, add also black eyed peas that have been soaked (overnight in my case), masala # 2 which is the dhana jiru from pg, 38, masala #3 which is the sambhar masala from pg. 37, some additional turmeric and cayenne which I used sparingly (masala 1, 2, & 3 all have chiles), bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and let cook another 3 hours. Add chopped cilantro at the end.

                                                                                                      How to describe this? Supple and unctuous with a fantastically complex yet balanced spicing that is perfectly enhanced by the earthiness and texture of the peas. OK, that's pretty dreadful writing. How about, it is good, really really soul warmingly good.

                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                      1. re: qianning

                                                                                                        I must confess I've never had trotters (but always love that they're called "trotters"), but that dish sounds wonderful and looks amazing!

                                                                                                        1. re: nomadchowwoman

                                                                                                          "Trotters" it is a smile inducing word, isn't it?

                                                                                                          I've had paya before in Pakistani restaurants, but never cooked it. They really make a wonderful broth--much less strong a flavor than lamb, and at least as unctuous and supple as veal bones. Up there with duck wings in the "how to make a great stock" secret weapons.