Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mango tart

As a little boy, my husband had planted a mango seed, “aanti” as we call in Bengali. Obviously, good care must have been taken care of it, for it grew up to be a tall, strong tree. It is a prolific producer of the Himsagar variety of mangoes. Every summer we look forward to reaping the benefits of that successful planting. A few mangoes trickle down south in intact form. More often we get bottles of “Aam er aachar”, mango pickle or chutneys from the mothers. There are of course as many recipes for mango pickle or chutneys as there are households in India. They can be made from mangoes of all ages and all variety. Sour, sweet, hot or all together. A few years back I had made a yeast cake with the fabulous chutney made by my mother –in-law. The following tart was inspired this time by my mother’s ginger-chilli-mango chutney. The tart is in the form of a Bakewell Tart. It has a shortcrust base, a jam and a frangipane. Chez Pim’s shortcrust pastry recipe is as good as any. I always have a batch frozen. The jam component was replaced by mother’s mango chutney. The frangipane was made with pistachio; the marriage of mango and pistachio is very common. The recipe for the chutney is from my mother, as is the picture. I have included the measurements for the pistachio frangipane as well instructions for putting together of the tart. It tastes and looks delectable! I particularly love the three colour tone.

For the Ginger and Green Chilli Mango Chutney

5 large grated unripe Mangoes, about 4 Cups
1 and 1/2 Tablespoon Ginger, grated
5 Green Chili, Chopped-.
2 and 1/2 cups Sugar
2 and 1/2 teaspoon Salt

Take a non-stick pan. Mix all the ingredients in the pan thoroughly. On full flame stir the mixture continuously for 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the heat. Go on stirring till the sugar has melted. Don’t skip this step. Stirring the mixture is very important. Stir the chutney till it is bit sticky. Taste the Chutney to test the sweetness. Preserve this in clean Glass bottles. In the refrigerator it can stay for 3 to 4 months.

For the Pistachio frangipane


75g whole peeled pistachio (about 1/2 cup)
75g sugar, white granulated sugar

75g butter at room temperature
1 large egg


Prepare the pie crust. Press it into a 7 inch pan. Trim and bake it blind for 15 minutes at 180 degrees Centigrade. Cool it. Prepare the frangipane by toasting the pistachio and letting them cool. Blend the butter and sugar. Mix all the other ingredients together. The frangipane can be used immediately or frozen to keep a very long time. Spread the chutney in a thick layer. I used up about 6 Tablespoons for a 7 inch pie. Pour the frangipane over it. Smooth over. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees centigrade. Cool to room temperature before serving.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Garlic Yeast bread; curls and frills

My husband insisted a record be taken of this bread. Indeed it had come out remarkably pretty, and tasty. The bread though is a basic pizza dough made with whole flour, white flour, salt, sugar, warm water and yeast. And a handful of cloves of minced garlic. I let it rise twice, for one and half hours. The fancy looks were achieved by piling little knots made from the dough and letting them rise in a loaf pan.

2 cups white flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon fresh yeast
1 cup water plus a little more
4 clloves garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon oil to grease

Let the yeast foam in half cup water with salt and sugar. Add it to the well in the mound of flour. Knead for 10 minutes. Add more water to bring together the flour into a dough. Add a little more water and work that in. Let it rise for 1 and half hour. Once doubled, work the dough again. Make dough balls and roll it into a rop. Make it into a knot and put it into the greased pan. Pile all knots and let it rise again. Bake at 180 degree centigrade for 30 minutes.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Caramelised chicken skin

I fell for the "chicken skin bacon" idea on Simplyrecipes heavily. Indian dishes almost never include chicken with skin on, so I always have chicken skin accumulating in my freezer. I frequently use them as the filling for Chinese yeast dumplings. Still they do tend to languish long in my freezer. Using them in wraps once crisped up with a dusting of salt and pepper proved to be an excellent idea. Caramelising them with a shallot in fish sauce was awesome. The recipe in RavenousCouple had suggested pork belly. That's something hard to come by in the Indian baazar and perhaps best avoided. But why not with chicken skin??? The recipe is an amalgamation of ideas from both above-mentioned sites. I used palm jaggery instead of the suggested sugar since its less cloyingly sweet and has more umami. The addition of fresh green chilli instead of pepper added a kick. We had it with a pickled greens, red rice and daal. A rounded meal!

Chicken skin from 1 whole chicken
1 shallot, minced
1/2-1 Tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 Tablespoon jaggery
6 large prawns with shell on, deveined
salt to taste
2 cloves garlic
1 green chilli, deseeded and minced finely

Clean the chicken skin thoroughly. Devein and clean the shrimps. Pat both dry. Marinate the chicken skin with the fish sauce, jaggery and minced shallot. Marinate the prawn with salt, green chilli. Rest for 10 minutes. In a hot griddle cook the skins. They tend to splutter so cover the griddle. Make sure that the skins are as flat as possible so they brown themselves. Flip them after 8-10 minutes. Cook them uncovered for another 10 minutes to brown the other side. Drain and keep warm. The pan should now have some rendered fat left over. In the same pan add the marinated prawns. The prawns should not take more than 5 minutes to cook. Flip them to cook both sides pink. Add the garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes to lightly cook the garlic. You can put the chicken skin pieces and prawns together at this point. I mounded them separately on the pickled greens.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Fish egg balls

I have never understood the hullabaloo over caviar. Of course part of the reason was when I was little I used to think caviar was black ant eggs, and we had plenty of them around! Still, even as a grown up, I didn't go over the moon, when I at last had caviar daintily garnishing graduate celebratory parties (yes, they always used to be on the canapes at the bash thrown by a student completing his Ph.D. A VERY WORTHY cause for celebration!). Fish roe are middle class fare in Bengal, that riverine country where fish is staple at most tables. They are delicacies of course, more so because they are strictly seasonal. Come monsoon and the mating season, and once in a while we would be lucky to get a fat fish rich with roe. However, after seeing a programme featuring a $1000 pizza showcasing four different varieties of caviar, I felt I had been doing injustice to the homely fare!
I had about 300 gm roe from "katla" (silver carp) stocked in my freezer. Generally, it is used to make "bora" as called in Bengal or kofta. One can just leave it fried or make it into a gravy dish.

300 gm fish roe, roughly chopped
1/2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
3 Tablespoon coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon salt
1 and half teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon black pepper, ground
3-5 Tablespoon Bengal gram flour
Mustard Oil to fry

For the gravy
1/2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 inch ginger, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato or 3 Tablespoon paste
1/2 teaspoon coriander powder
2 Tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoon curd, mixed with another tablespoon water

Chop the roe and drain it well. Finely mince garlic, chilli, onion, coriander. In a large bowl put the dry ingredients together and mix thoroughly. Add the minced ingredients. Finally put the roe and mix it in. Everything should be by hand, since we don't want the components blitzed. The mixture should hold its shape when made into balls.
Heat oil in a kadai. Add the balls, frying them golden. Drain.

For a gravy, I usually make a simple paste with onion, garlic, ginger and tomato. The paste is cooked in a few tablespoon of oil until the oil separates. Beat a few tablespoon of yoghurt and add it to the onion mixture. Add the fried balls/bora/kofta, add salt to taste and cook covered for 5 minutes. Serve hot.