A 10 Minute Prawn Pickle

The fish market today was flooded with fish and I bought some prawn to make into a pickle. Here’s how to do it. Go for the smaller prawn as they absorb the flavours
You will need
1/2 cup oil ( I used Canola since it is supposed to be low on  fat and high on health)
300 g shelled and deveined prawn ( small to medium size taste best)
4 red kashmiri chilli
10 cloves of garlic
3/4 cup of vinegar
1 heaped tspn cumin seed
1/4 tspn turmeric
salt to taste
dash of sugar to finish off
Here’s what you do
1. Wash the prawns and pat dry on a napkin. Sprinkle salt and let it stand for a while.
2. Soak the red chilli in the vinegar for 1-2 minutes before grinding it into a paste with the garlic and cumin seed.
2. Heat the oil in a karahi and quickly fry the prawn till they curl up and turn pink. Drain and set aside.
3. Add turmeric to the oil and then the ground masala paste. Stir for a bit till the vinegar evaporates and the oil separates from the paste.
4. Added the fried prawn and allow to simmer for another 2-3 minutes till the oil floats on top.
6. Add a dash of sugar
5. Allow to cool uncovered before storing.
This pickle keeps only for about 15 days in the refrigerator and is great to have around for a quick snack with bread or chapati.
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Easy-peasy Lobster Thermidor

With the winter chill lingering on longer than usual, I decided to serve my dinner guests a Lobster Thermidor as the Entree. Lobster Thermidor  is a dish which draws immediate oohs and aahs from a crowd and establishes your undisputed reputation as a master chef. The traditional recipe requires a lot of preparation but I have found a quick and painless way of making this classic dish. an easy way out.

With Valentine’s day looming up, it’s time to start thinking of doing something special and romantic. Nothing can be more romantic than a candle light dinner at home with a special dish to make your loved one feel even more special on this special day.

First off, get someone to deliver a fresh lobster – one that’s been cleaned and deveined. Live lobsters would be the best option but ever since my vegetarian cook thought she was being attacked by the lobster that jumped out of the hot water, I’ve decided to buy dead lobsters instead. I still prefer going to the local fish market and haggling with the fisher women but these days I find cleaning the fish a bit tedious and  with  an efficient home delivery fish service like Pesca that provides fresh fish, cut the way you want, my fishing in the market is restricted to the days when I want to actually interact with the fisher women .

                               

Make sure you also have on hand some mushrooms, milk/cream, flour, olive oil and cheese. The rest of the ingredients should be easily available on your kitchen shelf. So for your romantic dinner for two, you will need

2 Rock Lobster cleaned and deveined with the carapace ( 200-350 g per piece)
1 tbspn butter
1 tbspn olive oil
1/4 cup finely sliced mushrooms
2 tbspns refined flour
1/4 tspn freshly ground black pepper
1/4 tspn ground mustard powder
3/4 cup milk
2-3 drops of fiery hot Tabasco ( Opitional)
1/4 cup grated cheese for the sauce ( I love Amul‘s regular cheese)
1/4 cup grated cheese for the topping
What to do:
1.Fill up a large pot with water and add a teaspoon of salt and bring to the boil.
2. In the meanwhile, wash the lobster tails and heads under running water to remove any grit or sand.
3. Put the lobster in the boiling water and allow to cook till they turn orange.
4. In the meanwhile, heat the butter and oil in a pan.
5. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for 1 minute
5. Add the flour and spices and make into a roux.
6. Stir in the milk and cook on medium heat .
7. Add the grated cheese and turn off heat.
8. The lobsters should be done in 5-10 minutes so take out of the water keeping some just as reserve to dilute the sauce if required.
9. When the lobster tails cool down, remove the meat from the shell and chop into four large pieces. With a kitchen scissors carefully cut the tail into two pieces. Do the same with the head and place the shell in a baking tray/pan.
10. Add the lobster meat to the cheese sauce and cook for a bit. 
11. Assemble the lobster shell and fill with the meat.
12. Sprinkle grated cheese on top and grill for 5 minutes in a hot oven or till top is crusty and done.
Then turn down the lights, and bring your Lobster Thermidor with the flourish of a Domestic Goddess, to a well laid out table and watch the eye popping surprise of delight!
Serve with a crisp salad or with sauted green beans, red peppers……. accompanied with a chilled bottle of  Fratelli’s Chardonnay.

Image – I’ve taken the liberty of using the photo from Pesca’s website

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Perfect Porridge

Breakfast is one of the most important meals for me and I always make sure that I have a great start to a great day with the perfect breakfast. There are days when I wake up with that slight rumble in my tummy just calling out to be filled quick!

So on a February morning like today, where there’s a slight chill in the air,  the perfect way to combat this nip is with a warm bowl of Oatmeal porridge. Porridge is a gooey dish made by boiling cereal in milk or water or both and traditionally served at breakfast time. Commonly used grain in India is broken wheat or semolina but I prefer to make mine with Quaker Oats  even though it is not native to India. Ever since Kay’s waistline has started shrinking, thanks to the bowlful of Oats she’s been having every day, I’ve been tempted to try out this grain and  I now find it a healthier option than my usual porridge of ground Rajgira ( Ramdana) that was a staple on my table while the girls were growing up. With my aging arteries slowly clogging up, Oats is the best way to reduce cholesterol . Another advantage is its low glycemic index which leaves you feeling full for longer and the roughage it provides .

Going into the kitchen,I look for the big bottle of oats and  rustle up 3 generously overflowing tablespoons of Quaker Oats in a small pan. To this I  add enough water to soak and drown the grain. Putting this to cook on medium heat, I add a generous pinch of powdered roasted Cumin seed (which lends this otherwise bland and tasteless gruel a touch of spice), half a teaspoon of salt, some freshly chopped green coriander for that extra freshness and flavour, stirring all the time to prevent scorching. The cooked porridge acquires a glazed , glutinous look and resembles a thick gluey paste. Taking it off the fire, I add a heaped teaspoonful of powdered roasted peanuts which gives it that divine nutty taste and a tiny bit of crunch.

Literally within minutes, I’ve cooked up a tasty and nutritious porridge which would have Goldilocks finish it off in a trice!

Mmmmmmmmmmm. Go try it!

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