Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lamb Curry

My brother makes the best lamb curry, hands down! He always cooks it to perfection. He makes his own special marinade, with freshly ground spices, marinates the lamb overnight, and then cooks it next day, allowing it to simmer for what seems like an entire day! The result is this ultra-tender and outstandingly delicious lamb curry. Now regular people like me don't have the entire day to cook. Let me change that- people like me don't have the patience to cook for such long hours. I can spend about 3 hours tops, I'd say. The funny thing is that even though I am a fast cook, my food tastes pretty darn good! So there, go figure, brother! ;) 

Here's my comparatively quick and easy recipe for lamb curry. 

Total Cooking Time: Approximately 2 hours

Serves: 4 adults (if it is a case of gluttony, then maybe 2 adults!)


1. Lamb- bone in, or boneless lamb chops- ~2.5 lbs

2. 3 medium onions- sliced

3. Garlic, minced- the more, the better! 7-10 cloves

4. Ginger- 2 inch, grated

5. Tomatoes, chopped- 2-3 

6. Thai green chilies, sliced- 10 (adjust according to your level of heat)

7. Cooking oil- 2-3 tbs

8. Salt per taste

9. Water to be used in cooking


Just empty out your entire spice cabinet! ;) 

1. Asafoetida (hing)

2. Cumin seeds- 2 tsp

3. Fennel seeds- 2 tsp

4. Fenugreek seeds- 1/2-1 tsp

5. Cloves- 4-5

6. Green Cardamom- 3-4

7. Cinnamon powder- 1/2 tsp

8. Nutmeg powder- 1/2 tsp

9. Turmeric- 1/2-1 tsp

10. Garam Masala- 1-2 tsp

11. Red chili powder (optional)- per taste (If I use green chilies, I skip this)

Lamb chops



1. Pour in 2-3 tbs of cooking oil in a pot, and get the heat going. Cast iron will work beautifully. 

2. Add a pinch of asafoetida powder (hing), followed by spluttering cumin, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, cloves, and cardamom, and then slowly drop the lamb chops one by one into this boiling oil. Do not stir for about 5 minutes. You want to get a good sear going. Meanwhile also add a pinch of turmeric powder, cinnamon powder, and nutmeg powder. 

3. Then flip the lamb chops, to sear the other side, for another 5 minutes. You know it is good when the meat is nice and browned. 

4. At this point, throw in the sliced onions, minced garlic, grated ginger, and the slit green chilies. And stir fry everything, including the meat, for about 10 minutes, until the onions basically melt. At this point, add the tomatoes. Add salt per taste and garam masala. Stir it all up. And then add water enough to cover the lamb pieces. Bring to boil, cover with lid, and simmer away.

Searing the lamb

Throw in the onions, garlic, ginger and chilies

Onions melted

Add tomatoes, salt, garam masala

Cooking has begun, now that water has been added

5. After 30 minutes, remove lid, and give it a stir. Also taste the gravy and adjust salt, etc, if need be. If you think that you need some more water, then go ahead and add another 1/2 cup of water. In the end, it'll all reduce anyways. Then cover again, and simmer away for another hour.  

Simmering to perfection

Finally, at the end of just under 2 hours, you'll have created the perfect lamb curry. The lamb will be oh-so-tender, and will literally melt in your mouth!

Falling-off-the-bone tender, delicious Lamb Curry! 

Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve with roti/chapati or saffron rice. One bite, and there's bound to be a symphony in your mouth!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Garlic Scapes Chutney

Garlic scapes or spears are tender garlic shoots. They taste like garlic of course, but much more vibrant. When cooked, they are sweet and mellow. They definitely smell quite pungent, and so if storing in the refrigerator, I suggest you wrap them up well in plastic wrap or maybe just store them in a ziplock bag to prevent that smell from invading your fridge! 

Here's an easy recipe for Garlic Scapes Chutney:


1. Garlic Scapes- 1 bunch 

2. Peanuts- 1 handful

3. Green Chilies (I prefer thai green chilies)- 4-5 (adjust according to your liking)

4. Cumin seeds- 1 tsp

5. Salt per taste

6. Cooking oil- 2-3 tsp


1. Wash the garlic scapes and pat dry. Chop roughly. 

2. Roast a handful of peanuts, and set aside to cool.

3. Meanwhile, put 2-3 teaspoons of cooking oil into a little pan, and get the heat going. Splutter 1 tsp of cumin seeds, and then throw in the chopped garlic scapes, with the thai green chilies, and stir fry for about 5 minutes. Add salt per taste. The pungent smell will have mellowed down into a delicious aroma. 

4. With the help of a food processor, grind the cooked scapes and the peanuts into a beautiful chutney.   You could add a tablespoon of water just to help with the grinding, if needed. That's it! It is now ready to be served. Squeeze some fresh lime to spruce it up. 

Garlic Scapes

Mellowing down


Garlic Scapes Chutney

Swap the peanuts with almonds or pine nuts, and voila! You can use it like pesto. Or this can be eaten like a dip with pita chips. You could even make sandwiches with this chutney. It of course goes well with Indian chapati. Garlic, green chilies, and peanuts, with a hint of cumin and lime- it is all good!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Butternut Squash- Sautéed

The first thing that comes to mind when I see butternut squash is soup- a lovely sweet and savory, thick and creamy soup, with a hint of nutmeg, topped off with toasted sunflower seeds- mm, mm, good, especially during those cold winter days! 

I also quite like our Indian style of simply sautéing this fruit (or vegetable, if you will) with some cumin, mustard and fennel seeds, and salt and slit green chilies. The more popular version is made with pumpkin (kaddu ki sabzi), that goes real well with puris/poories, or alongside some plain rice and dal

Without further adieu, here's the recipe for sautéed butternut squash:


1. Butternut Squash- cubed, 2-3 cups (now available all chopped and clean and ready to use)

2. Cooking oil- 3-4 tablespoons (if you want it to taste good, gotta put that grease!)

3. Mustard seeds- 1/2-1 tsp

4. Cumin- 1/2-1 tsp

5. Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp

6. Asafoetida (hing)- a pinch (or more, if you like)

7. Fenugreek (methi) seeds- 1/2-1 tsp

8. Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp

9. Green chilies- 3-4 (or more, or less) slit lengthwise

10. Salt per taste

11. Sugar (optional)- 1/2-1 tsp 

12. Red Chili powder (optional)- 1 tsp

Butternut Squash ready to use


1. Take a kadhai/wok or pan, add 3-4 tbs of cooking oil, and get the heat going.

2. Splutter asafoetida (hing), mustard seeds, cumin, fennel seeds, and fenugreek (methi) seeds, followed by 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder. 

The Spices (turmeric not yet added)

3. Next throw in the cut butternut squash and the slit green chilies, and start sautéing. While doing so, add salt per taste. I like to add a tsp of sugar to this, as well as red chili powder (coz I like everything with a kick!). Continue stirring, mixing, and sautéing until all the squash is evenly coated with the spices and oil. Sprinkle some water, so as to aid in softening of the squash, cover with lid, and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Cooking has begun

4. After 15-20 minutes, uncover and stir carefully so you don't err, squish the squash! Give it a taste, and if you think it needs to be cooked further (it most likely shouldn't), then cover again and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes. Adjust salt and sugar if needed. And it is now ready to be served!

Sautéed Butternut Squash 

It goes real well with any kind of bread, or alongside some plain rice and lentils, or with yogurt too. Of course, you can always eat as it is. I love the sweet element in this dish, that balances so well with the saltiness as well as the heat (green chilies and/red chili powder). And of course, the color is simply beautiful!

Sautéed Butternut Squash with Indian chapati 

Closer look at the deliciousness! 

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year 2015

Happy 2015, everybody! This time on New Year's Eve we just stayed at home, ate good dinner, had some quality family time, and slept off. Woke up nice and fresh to welcome the new year. We even went on a hike! Followed by some par excellent lunch at this new place called Chaat N Roll

Here are the pictures: 

Aloo ka Paratha

with real churned butter!! YUM! 

Chola Bhatura (Spicy Garbanzo with fried leavened bread)

Achaari Paneer Kathi Roll (similar to a burrito)

Mirchi Bajji Chaat (Stuffed Jalapeño poppers with a spicy mishmash) 

Everything was simply superb. The kathi roll could use some more flavor, though- didn't find it that great. There are a lot more items on their menu, for which a few more visits will have to made. Best was the paratha- never seen churned butter in any other Indian restaurant out here. Hopefully they maintain this standard!

Err, guess all the calories burned during the hike were made up for..... hey, no regrets though! ;)

Happy and Healthy 2015 to all!!