Friday, January 16, 2009

Beef Stew for Appam

Let's say you have finally managed to arrive at that magic recipe catered to your needs which brings out somewhat decent if not superb Appams. Now what? Sure, people have been known to eat them as is without any issues but you definitely need an accompaniment to fully realize the taste. Nothing serves this better than the 'Stew'. Be it veg or non-veg version. Oddly enough while here I am willing to opt for the veg version, my usually veggie conscious husband wouldn't budge if it does not have some beef - not chicken, mind you - with it. So we have always prepared the 'beef stew' which essentially is the veggie stew, only with beef added.

Think I have mentioned elsewhere about the Stew getting into Kerala homes from the English. Meat indeed is a main ingredient of 'that' stew. Looks like an 'Irish Stew' is more like it? Anyway I had also heard that milk was used in stew for its gravy and was adapted with coconut milk in the land of coconuts (Kerala). True or not this is why I almost always use warm milk as a substitute for coconut milk in any recipe calling for it. I also derived courage from the fact that my HMom commonly uses milk as a substitute. This recipe is adapted from Mrs. KMMathews's cookbook and is kind of similar to Fish Moli.

In The Mix

beef - 1/2 lbs cut into small pieces (can substitute with boned chicken pieces)
lemon drops - 6 or 7 (optional)
chili powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)
coriander powder - 1/4 tsp (optional)
salt to taste (optional)

potatoes - 2 medium sized, peeled and cubed into medium sized pieces
carrot - 1 peeled and sliced into 1/4" round or quartered 1/2" long pieces as you please
beans - 15-20 cut into 3/4" pieces.
cauliflower - 5-6 florets (optional)

cinnammon - 1 or 2 sticks broken into medium pieces
cardamom - 5 or 6 crushed so pod is slightly open
cloves - 12
freshly ground pepper - 1/2 or 1 tsp

red onion - 1 or 1/2 sliced thin depending on your love for onion
green chilies - 5 sliced long into two
ginger - 1 1/2 " piece sliced long and thin
garlic - 4 large cloves crushed and sliced. Crushing garlic always bring in the flavor as opposed to cutting it.
curry leaves - 1 or 2 sprigs

vinegar - 1 1/2 to 2 tsp
salt - to taste
oil - 1 tbsp

warm milk - 2 cups or more as needed for gravy
water - 1 cup or more as needed for gravy
ground pepper - 1/4 tsp

How To Do

Marinating the beef is optional for this recipe but if you do, it works wonders for the general taste. If you are so inclined, marinate with the optional lemon drops, salt, chili, coriander overnight or at least for half an hour:-) You can even marinate with just the lemon and salt.
I do the whole enchilada.

Heat oil in a pan. Add cardamom, cloves, cinnammon, pepper and fry shortly. Take good care so it won't burn. Add onion, green chilies, ginger, garlic and curry leaves preferably in that order. Add salt, mix well and saute till onion browns and curry leaves look appetizing. Now remove the mix from the pan and set aside.

Add beef to the remaining oil, stir and saute gently. Don't skip this step no matter which meat you use. (If you are not adding meat then go to the next step and follow all but instead of cooking 5 minutes add the veggies etc)

Add 1 cup warm milk and 1 cup water to this. Boil once and cover and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in between. Don't worry if the milk separates. Stir well whenever you can and eventually the whole dish will come out fine. Add potatoes, beans and carrot at this point. Boil once, add the set aside masala, add more water and 3/4 cup warm milk and cover and cook. It is better if the veggies are not overcooked. Check salt and stir occasionally. Once done add the remaining milk and remove from heat. Immediately add the vinegar, stir well and and add the remaining pepper powder and serve hot with 'hot' appams or idiappams.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This time with Real Hunted Meat

Around New Year, my brother sent some venison ( hunted deer meat) from a young deer that he had caught. I had just the recipe for it!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Original/Nadan Duck Roast

Hope everyone is enjoying the infant 2009. This recipe belongs to Mrs KMM with ever so slight adaptations. If the recipe sounds daunting, don't let that fool you. This is a winner and will always come out right regardless of your personal mood. What better you need from a recipe especially when you want to fill the table top with exotic sounding dishes for invited guests? The duck in this story comes fresh, undressed and with skin from the local Chinese grocery store. I leave the skin on.

In The Mix
Duck - 1 whole duck cut in medium to large sized pieces and each scored deep

large potatoes - 2 or 3 peeled and cut into concentric circles
big red onion - 1 large sliced thin (for greater taste, strain the onion with salt and squeeze to wilt before use)
warm milk - 2 cups
coconut milk - 1/4 or 1/2 cup (optional)
water - as needed
oil - as needed

To Marinate
coriander powder - 5 tsp
chili powder - 2 tsp
turmeric - 1/4 tsp
pepper powder - 1/2 to 1 tsp
cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
garam masala - 1 1/2 tsp (mix of equal amnts of cinnammon,cloves & cardamom powders)
garlic - 6 or 7 large cloves
ginger - 1 1/2" piece
vinegar - 1 1/2 tbsp (or 1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon)
salt - to taste

How To Do

Wash and pat dry the duck pieces. Chop ginger and garlic together and mix with rest of the marinade items including salt. Add in the duck pieces and marinate overnight or for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator.

Cook covered with 1 cup milk and enough water to almost cover the pieces. When done, separate the pieces and gravy. When you are pressed for time to prepare everything in a day, you can just follow the recipe up to this point a day or two ahead and keep refrigerated till D-day.

Heat oil in a pan to fry the potato pieces and drain on paper towels. Add the cooked duck pieces and fry all sides. Add oil as needed. Drain on paper towels.

Add onion to the remaining oil and saute well to brown. Now add the set aside gravy to the onions and add the remaining 1 cup milk. Boil the mixture, add the duck pieces and reduce to desired gravy consistancy. Stir occasionally so the milk won't separate too much. Thicker gravy is better for the dish but more gravy might be in order if going with porotta/chapathi or the likes. Either way, taste will be preserved. Check for salt. Add the optional coconut milk at this stage if you prefer, mix well and immediately remove from heat.

Pour into a serving dish and arrange with the fried potato pieces for oohs and aahs around the dinner table:-)