Saturday, November 28, 2015

Happy TG

Had about ten families over for thanksgiving this year. Stressed a little but despite the sharp, cold weather, things went well. To hedge my bet on a single 20lbs turkey I also cooked a 6 lbs turkey breast roast in my 4.5 quartz slow cooker this year. Came out good too and this will be an easy go to dish for a quick TG dinner another time. Recipe to come later. Here are the before and after snaps of the main dish.

I brined the turkey for 24 hours. Following Alton Brown's turkey recipe, it only took a total of 1 hour and 45 minutes to cook the 20 pounder! I wasn't sure if I should take the turkey out when the thermometer alarmed at 161 because the time seemed so short. Took it out anyways since I didn't want the bird to dry out. It was cooked perfectly. Could be that organic brined turkeys may not need a long time to cook? I tented the turkey while resting out of the oven just to help the cooking along.

We had stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy and mashed potatoes. I'll need a larger fat separator next time for the amount of liquid specified in AB's gravy recipe. Guests brought more yummy sides and a good time was had by all. With leftover turkey and mashed potatoes in the fridge, my son is in TG heaven. The only down side is molu and I are a little under the weather. Having 2 more days to recover is just great. Used cornbread for stuffing this year inspired by the TG lunch we had at work. It came out decent but not as good as the inspiration. Something to try and get right next time. There is something about thanksgiving that makes people happy regardless of how the food comes out. It must be the feeling of togetherness, savoring of warm food and the conversation with everyone in a holiday mood. Our homemade wine was well received with the authentic labeling and nostalgia inducing taste. Through all this I think I just miss my mom. Food is so indelibly connected to mom, that it is difficult not to...

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Original Duck Curry - നാടൻ താറാവ് കറി

It's been a while since we had duck at home. H had mentioned this sad fact the other day and so when I spied some fresh duck at Costco it was just meant to be. I was relaxed and in a good  mood and so checked out a few good recipes. What I had in mind matched with what I saw at kothiyavanu and mishmash. Thanks to both these ladies the family had a little duck fest I'd say! Recipe mostly follows what is given at mishmash with some inputs taken from kothiyavanu and slight adaptations called for by what I had at hand.

In The Mix

duck - cut into medium sized pieces - 2 lbs.
turmeric - 1/4 tsp
salt - 1 tsp

potatoes - 3 medium sized, peeled and halved

coconut oil - 2 tbsp
big red onion - 1 big thinly sliced
shallots - 8 medium sized, thinly sliced
serano chilies - 3 slit sideways
ginger - 1 1/2 inch, peeled and sliced
garam masala - 2 tsp
coconut milk - 1/2 cup mixed with 1/4 cup water
water - 2 cup
curry leaves - 2 sprigs
salt to taste

pressure cooker

to marinate:
roasted coriander powder - 1/4 cup
chili powder - 3 tsp
turmeric powder - 1 tsp
black pepper powder - 1 tsp (freshly ground from pepper corns using a pestle & mortar)
garam masala - 1 tsp (from equal parts powder mix of cardamom, cinnamon & cloves)
ginger garlic mix - 3 tsp (freshly ground/chopped from equal parts ginger and garlic)
salt to taste

How To Do

Wash and drain the duck pieces. Mix 1/4 tsp turmeric and 1 tsp salt with enough water to soak the duck and let sit for 2-3 minutes. Rinse and drain the duck.

Add all the marinade ingredients to the duck, mix well and let sit covered for 30 minutes at room temperature.

Boil a pan with water and add the potatoes. Boil once and cover and cook for 20-25 minutes so the potatoes are soft but still holds together well. Drain, cool, slice and set aside. Alternately, dice the peeled potatoes, add a tbsp of water, cover in plastic wrap and microwave for 3-4 minutes.

Growing up in our farm where everything was cooked from scratch, I had not seen a pressure cooker used for cooking till much later. I was rather afraid of the terrible earth shattering sound it can make which was later identified as just a whistle! H's family on the other hand probably used pressure cooker for cooking all kinds of meat and so he had one with him which became ours after marriage. I just never liked using it though. Anyways, we got a brand new one from India sometime back and looking at this duck curry recipe I decided try out the beast, er.. cooker. So the short of the matter is we can marinate the meat in the cooker itself thus saving an extra pan.

Add 1 cup of water to the marinated meat after the 30 minutes, cover and pressure cook on medium high. Once the steam starts to come, put the weight on. About 5-6 whistles and the duck is ready! A total of 10-12 minutes went by for this. Remove the cooker from heat and let sit so it cools before you can open it.


Heat oil in a pan, saute the sliced onions. Once onions are soft, add ginger and green chili. Saute for 2-3 minutes and add 1 tsp of garam masala. Keep on low to medium heat and saute till the roasted aroma rises. Then add the pressure cooked duck and let sit for a minute or two. Add coconut milk and 1 cup of water after using it to clean out any remaining pressure cooker masala. Check salt and add as needed, let boil once on medium heat. Gently add the potatoes and mix all well together.

Now add the curry leaves along with the remaining 1 tsp of garam masala and simmer on stove for about 20 minutes. Rotate the pan once or twice to keep things moving. Keep simmering as needed till the right consistency is achieved for the by-now glorious gravy.

Enjoy with freshly baked bread from the nearby bakery like we did or with appam or rice.