Thursday, March 8, 2012

MUM- bo Jumbo

Happy Holi!

Love the colors in my dish today, definitely goes with the festive spirit.

Growing up along the coast, we had access to the freshest, juiciest, tastiest prawns. Prawns would appear on the dining table with a certain regularity. Since they were fairly common place we did not go all ooh! and aah! at the sight of them. We just ate them in large quantities.

Mom cooked them in several different ways. There was of course the regular jhol( onion, ginger, garlic gravy), Mustard prawns( the prawns turned out really succulent when cooked this way), then she made prawn cutlets and stuck the tail of the prawn onto them- those looked quite unique. Tons of small sized prawns( read shrimps) got added to Chowmein and Prawn sweet and sour( prawn wantons in a fresh tomato pureed sauce) . I loved her prawns any which way.

One of my favorites was sauted prawns- she usually made this dish when we had larger sized prawns. So when my husband bought some of those prawns home I immediately decided to call Mommy for the recipe. As I was cooking the dish this afternoon the house smelt of my Mom's kitchen- that familiar aroma of prawns being sauted with vegetables and sauces.

Mom's Special Prawns
Serves: 4, Cooking time: 20 minutes


Large prawns( we call them Jumbo prawns): 1 kg
Onions: 4 large onions, quartered
Garlic: 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Capsicum: 1 small capsicum, cubed into 1" pieces
Tomato: 2, remove the seeds and cut into 1" pieces
Green chillies: 4/5, slit on top
Chilli sauce: 1 tsp
Tomato sauce: 1 tsp
Soya sauce: 1 tsp
Corn flour: 1 tsp, dissolved in half a cup of water
Oil: 1/2 tbsp
Sugar:1/2 tsp
Salt: To taste( go easy on the salt because all the sauces have added salt in them)


  • Clean the prawns, leave the head and tail on.
  • Heat the oil in a wok/kadhai.
  • Add the sugar and let it caramalise. Next add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes.
  • Add the prawns, cover and cook for about 10 minutes. The prawns should be almost done by this time.
  • Open the lid and add the capsicum, tomatoes, salt, all the sauce and the corn flour. Increase the flame and saute so that the prawn is evenly coated with all the sauces.
  • Turn off the stove and let the prawns rest for a bit. Helps the prawns soak up the sauces. You could also the dish covered.
  • Serve hot with either a fried rice or noodles. We had ours with regular daal and rice.

You could also add some mushrooms and baby corn to this dish. Serve it over a bed of boiled noodles and you have a wholesome meal ready in a jiffy.

The prawns tasted yumm! and as with most of my dishes helped me relive a bit of my childhood.

Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sesame Street.....

Sunday lunch: Chinese konji, Honey mustard chicken and Sesame Beans

It has been a relaxed weekend and we are enjoying the last of the Winters. Come summer and one wants to stay miles away from the kitchen.

I love re-reading my posts, brings the food memories back. As I was leafing through some my earlier posts I realized that I tend to be a little partial to non-vegetarian food. We do eat a fair amount of veggies and I for one love veggies in all forms, shapes and types. As I child Mom never ever had to force me to have my veggies. Though I must admit that putting together a good vegetarian menu for non-vegetarians is quite a challenge. In contrast, Chicken inherently appeals and you can rarely go wrong with the dish. However to get a 8/10 on vegetables needs a lot more effort.

Coming to today's dish- Sesame Beans, served as an accompaniment with rice and chicken. You could also serve it along with boiled potatoes and grilled/roast chicken. Beans are really versatile as vegetables- they lend themselves with equal ease to Indian, Chinese and Continental food. They are great as fries/bhajis, add color and crunch to salads, a must have in Chinese food. If you have carrots, peas and beans combine you can put together an interesting pulao in minutes. In my house it is a staple vegetable along with the usual potato, onion and tomato. Most people I know like beans as a vegetable. I love the tender ones- they cook so quickly and taste delicious.

Sesame Beans
Cooking time: 10 minutes, serves: 4

Tender French Beans: 500 grams, cut into long pieces( cut each bean into three)
Sesame oil/Vegetable oil: 2 tsp
Chili oil: 1 tsp( helps spice up an otherwise bland dish)
Chili flakes: Snip and crush two regular dry red chili (these contrast well with the green beans and white sesame) or save the extra topping that comes with Pizza
Sesame seeds: 2 tbsp


  • Steam the beans for about 2 minutes( you could do this in the microwave as I did). Refresh in cold water. This keep the beans green and crunchy.
  • Heat the oil( combine the oils) in a wok. Add the crushed red chili. Once the pepper starts to sputter and smoke(I love these descriptions, they help create so much drama around basic recipes, makes the experience come alive in the post) add the beans and saute for a few minutes.
  • Next add the sesame seeds and toss so that the beans are covered with the same.
  • Remove and serve hot
Altogether it was an interesting combination of flavors- bland konji, pungent mustard chicken and spicy beans. Now for some Sunday siesta.

Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

On a roll...

We are having rolls for dinner tonight. That was a hurried photograph before the plate got whisked away. Once a dish is ready to be eaten my boys just don't have the patience for it to be photographed. So that part continues to be a little rushed.

Rolls always remind me of college. The 'mess' food left a lot to be desired. When food was doled out( we had to queue up for it) I was reminded of the lines from the movie Betaab, "khana hai to yahi khana hai, nahin khana hai to bhi yahi khana hai". Pocket money was fairly limited( yes, from a generation where parents did not believe in over indulging their children- you were sent to hostels so that you grew tougher in every possible way). There used to be a small department store close to our college called Snacko. We used the store to top up on the basics. Then Snacko introduced a roll counter. Going to Snacko was the high point in our lives. An egg roll cost Rs.3/, an egg chicken around Rs.5/ and a special roll(with all of the above) was Rs.8/. Most of us would settle for the egg chicken one as that allowed us to stretch our 'monies' for longer. For birthdays we would go to a small restaurant called "Eats" that served large portions of really delicious Chinese food. It worked out to under Rs.30 a head. Some very fond food memories and friends for life.

We occasionally have rolls for dinner. Typically it is the egg chicken variety. Funny how the same basic ingredients presented a little differently has a completely different response. On an average the boys eat around four rolls each, yes the same boys who struggle to finish two rotis when served with a regular subzi. I sometimes trick them with the vegetarian version.

Egg Chicken Roll

Serves: 4

Roti/paratha dough( Knead the dough just as you would for your rotis, could add a few tablespoons of maida to it)- enough dough to make about 10/12 rolls- roughly about 2 cups should suffice. If there is extra dough carry it over for regular rotis.
Onions: 6/7 sliced fine. My family loves a lot of sliced onion in their roll so I do go a little overboard.
Eggs: 3
Green chillies: 2/3, Chopped fine
Chicken Tikka: 10/12 pieces( you could buy them off the shelf or marinate some boneless chicken in ginger garlic paste, hung curd, garam masala and red chilli paste for a couple of hours. Saute till done and your tikkas are ready)
Oil: About a tsp per roll and 2 tbsp to saute the onions
Tomato ketchup: 2 tbsps
Chilli sauce: 2 tbsp


  • Beat the eggs and keep aside
  • Heat 2 tbsps of oil and lightly saute the onions and green chillies( for about a minute or two)
  • Roll out the paratha, cook it on both sides with about a teaspoon of oil. Once done ladle about a tbsp of the egg mixture on to it and spread it around to cover the roti completely( could also brush the egg on the roti) and let the egg cook. Once the egg starts to resemble an omelet, layer the onions,chicken tikka( could use about 2 tikkas per roll), add a dash of chilli sauce and roll it up.
  • Serve hot.
This tastes best when served immediately but also makes for a good lunch box option. Leftover sauted vegetables work well for the filling. Ideal time to make rolls is the on the day after the big party when you have leftover tikkas and kebabs.

Bon Apetit and Happy Cooking!