One of my favourite dishes is Kheema Pav, which is mince served with the ubiquitous Mumbai bread rolls. There are many versions of this dish, mainly variations in the way the meat is cooked. As an apprentice Marine Engineer I used to spend a lot of time in and around the Mumbai docks, where there is an abundance of the small Muslim cafés and restaurants. These restaurants specialise in a multitude of meat dishes cooked in a particular style, that are not easily available elsewhere. And so, the Kheema Pav served there has a particular nostalgic attraction in my mind. After many years of trying to recreate the taste at home, I came across a recipe that triggered ‘that taste‘ in my mind (thanks to Farrukh Aziz). And now, finally, I’m able to make my version of this wonderful dish, tweaked to be healthier, with the use of alternate meats (like chicken or turkey) and much less oil than they use in the restaurants, but still with the key flavours that remind me of those idyllic days.
Category Archives: Indian
Sabudana Khichdi (literally meaning a ‘mishmash’) is a very popular breakfast dish, especially in Maharashtra. Growing up in Mumbai, one sees and consumes this everywhere and even now this is a firm favourite in our household, especially on weekends when one has the opportunity for a more leisurely breakfast.
Sabudana or Tapioca pearls are a processed form of the Tapioca root, and are a common ingredient in Indian kitchens. Sabudana is an accepted food during most religious fasts (vrat) and so it is used extensively on such days to make a variety of foods from breakfast dishes, fried snacks and even desserts.
My friends Rhea and Kurush have never missed an opportunity to extol the Parsi love of eggs or ‘eedu’ on and with everything. And one of their classic egg dishes is the Akuri, a delightful Parsi version of scrambled eggs, cooked in an onion-tomato masala and spices. Ever since Rhea posted a recipe for Akuri, it’s been lingering at the back of my mind. And so the other day, when I was craving eggs, but still something slightly different, I thought to dig up the recipe and give it a go. To my pleasant surprise, it’s not so different from the Punjabi version we usualy make at home… just subtle differences that you think will affect the dish subtly, but still makes for a fairly distinct dish in the end. I think the biggest difference was the use of ginger, garlic and turmeric.
The brain seems to be an organ that is woefully underutilised in British cuisine. Not many butchers will stock it, although some will provide it on special request. Growing up in Mumbai, Bheja (brain) fry was always a popular item in many restaurants there. The soft, creamy texture goes brilliantly well against the spicy onion masala and creates a wonderful dish that pleases the palate in more ways than one.
My brother and I happened to spy some fresh lamb brains at our local desi butcher’s and immediately, we knew we had to pick it up. And for breakfast today, we had an amazing bheja fry, with it’s awesome aromas and reminders of days gone by.
Of late, talented food blogger Sonal, of simplyvegetarian777 has been trying to convert us to ‘cult of Quinoa’. One dish at a time. Having tried it a few years ago, both V and I had not really been impressed by it, and so it became one of those things lying buried deep in the back of the store cupboard. But seeing the variety of quinoa recipes Sonal has been coming up with of late, we were tempted to try again.
I love citrus flavours and I love the south indian lemon rice, with its tangy hits of lemon, with the earthiness of the peanuts and the wonderful aromas of the curry leaves. And when Sonal came up with a Lemon Quinoa recipe, I knew we just had to try it. And the results were fabulous. We are now the latest acolytes to the cult, and quinoa is a regular rice-substitute on our menu. I’ve even had it plain, as an accompaniment to chinese and indian curries. But this recipe stands out as an all-time favourite.
To my mind, the alphonso mango is the king of fruit. Available for only a few months of the year, the best ones come from an area in Maharashtra called Ratnagiri. As children, we would eagerly await the summer, for that was when the markets were flooded with this gorgeous golden bounty. Even now, the mere thought of it evokes memories; the smell of a ripe alphonso with hints of the straw it was packed in, slightly warm and with just that touch of give that indicates the perfect ripeness. All hinting towards the ecstacy of that first mouthful, that first bite just overflowing with gorgeous sweet juiciness.
Sorry, got distraced there for a minute. As you may have noticed, I am a bit of a mango nut, and one of the drawbacks of not living in Mumbai anymore is the lack of ready availability of the really good alphonsos. This year was particularly harsh because of the EU ban on alphonsos. So watching the dozens and dozens of posts of mango recipes on my favourite facebook food group was particularly painful, and I found myself having to resort to the tinned version of the fruit. Not as good, but perfectly adequate for recipes like milkshakes and cheesecakes. So when we had some friends coming over for sunday lunch, and V asked for suggestions for dessert, the first thing that leapt to my mind was a mango cheesecake, like mum used to make back in the day. I’d also recently seen a few instances of people making individual portions of cheesecake, and both V and I were intrigued by the idea. So we thought we’d give that a try as well.
The results, as you can see from the photo, were fabulous and went way beyond our expectations. We had a few debates about whether a muffin-sized portion would be sufficient to be an individual serving, or was it too big. This debate has not yet been settled. Personally, I could eat two of the things, and would gladly skimp on the main meal to be able to do so.
So without further ado, here’s the recipe for the gorgeous, amazingly yummy muffin-sized mango cheesecakes whipped up by my darling wife