Mangalorean Prawn Sukke (Shrimp with Coconut and Tamarind

12-14 king prawns deveined, shelled with tails left on
1 tsp turmeric powder
Pinch of salt
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
120gm white onions finely chopped
12 curry leaves
6 cloves of garlic roughly chopped
1 inch ginger roughly chopped
1/4 tsp mild chilli powder
2 heaped tsp tamarind paste
100 mls water
Salt to taste
Handful of coriander for garnish

For the coconut spice mix:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp fenugreek seeds
5 mild dried red chillies
120 gms grated coconut (fresh or frozen) or desiccated coconut

Add the prawns to a large bowl and sprinkle over the turmeric powder and pinch of salt. Mix well and set aside. Crush the garlic and ginger to a smooth paste in a grinder or pestle and mortar.

Heat a frying pan over a low flame. Add the all the ingredients of the spice paste except the coconut. Roast for 7-8 minutes stirring a few times while they release their aroma and change colour slightly. Turn the heat off and cool the spices.

Grind the spices in a spice grinder to a powder. Decant into a bowl. If the coconut has any moisture dab lightly with a kitchen towel. In the same grinder add the coconut and grind it roughly. Add the coconut to the spice powder and set aside.

In a large heavy bottom sauce pan heat the oil over a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds as they begin the splutter add the chopped onions. Fry for 14-15 minutes stirring well making sure they soften and go light brown in colour.

Add the curry leaves and now turning the heat to a low setting add the garlic and ginger paste. Fry for 2 minutes

Add the chilli powder, blended spice and coconut mix along with the tamarind paste. Stir for a few seconds and add the marinated prawns. Mix well and season to taste.

Add the water and simmer over a low heat for 5-6 minutes with the lid on until the prawns are cooked all the way through. Stir half way through cooking. Turn the heat off and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve with plain rice or pav/ bread roll and some raita.

Andhra Royala Vegundu (Andhra-Style Shrimp with Fennel and Tomato Sauce)

500 gms king prawns shelled and deveined
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 inch ginger roughly chopped
1 birds eye chilli

For the stir fry;
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp mustard seeds
180 gms shallots finely chopped
10 curry leaves
5 garlic cloves thinly sliced
1 tsp mild chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coarsely ground fennel
90 gms tomato finely chopped
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish

In a blender add the ginger and green chilli with a splash of water and blend to a smooth paste. Add the prawns to a large mixing bowl along with the turmeric. Add the ginger chilli paste and marinate for 1 hour

Heat the oil in a kadhai or wok on a medium flame. Add the mustard seeds and as they splutter add the shallots. Fry the shallots for 10 minutes as they begin turn light brown in colour.

Now add the curry leaves and garlic and fry for 2 minutes stir well. Add the chilli powder, turmeric and fennel along with the chopped tomato. Fry for 1 minute over a medium heat

Now add the marinated prawns, season to taste and fry for a further 2 minutes stirring to make sure it does stick to the bottom. Continue to cook for 6 minutes with the lid on stirring halfway through.

Garnish with coriander and serve warm with rice or chapatti.

Bengali Cholar Dal

250 gms Chana Dal/ Bengal gram
1.2 litres water
2-3 cloves
1 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 heaped tsp sugar
2 tbsp mustard oil or vegetable oil
1 bay leaf
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 green chillies slit lengthwise
30gms grated coconut
1 heaped tbsp raisins
1 tbsp chopped coriander for garnish

for the spice mix:
1 inch cinnamon stick
5-6 cardamom pods seeds only

Add the lentils and water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over a medium heat stirring often. Simmer and add the cloves, turmeric, salt & sugar. Continue cooking for a further hour and 15 minutes until the dal is soft stirring often making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Turn the heat off and mash roughly with a potato masher or back of a fork.

To make the ground spice mix; heat a frying pan over a low flame. Break the cinnamon stick and chillies to smaller pieces. Add the cardamom seeds along with the cinnamon and red chillies to the pan. Keep the heat on low giving the pan a few shakes every couple of minutes. Roast the spices for 7-8 minutes. Cool slightly and tip it in a coffee grinder to make a fine powder. Set aside.

n a heavy bottom non stick pan heat the oil over medium flame; add the bay leaf and cumin seeds cooking until they sizzle for a few seconds. Now add the green chillies and stir for 2-3 seconds. Add the coconut frying for a minute or so until it start to turn light brown

Slowly pour in the cooked chana dal stirring well. Bring it to a boil, add the raisins and the ground spice powder. Simmer on a low heat cooking for 10 minutes with a lid on. Stir a few times as it simmers making sure it doesnt stick to the bottom of the pan. Check seasoning and garnish with fresh coriander. Serve parathas, luchis or steamed rice

Chilli Paneer

200 gms Paneer/ Indian cottage cheese chopped into cubes
Oil for frying

for the batter;
2 tbsp rice flour
2 tbsp corn flour
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder or mild paprika
1/2 tsp white pepper powder
1/2 tsp garlic paste
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp water

for the sauce:
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 tsp finely chopped garlic
1 tsp ginger finely chopped
80 gms red onion chopped into cubes
1 medium red or green pepper chopped into cubes
1 green chilli slit lengthwise (deseed if you wish)
1 1/2 tbsp chilli garlic sauce
1 tsp dark soy sauce or kecap manis
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
Sliver of ginger and chilli for garnish

Heat couple of inches of oil in a wide sauce pan or a wok. Mix the water with all the batter ingredients in a bowl you want a sticky thick paste like consistency. Toss the paneer cubes in the bowl to coat the pieces evenly. Fry the paneer in the hot oil in batches for 20-30 seconds. They should have a light brown crisp coating on all sides. Drain the paneer on kitchen paper and set aside.

To make the sauce; heat the vegetable oil in a sauce pan on a medium heat. Add the garlic and chopped ginger. Fry for 20 seconds and add the red onions. Sauté the onions for a further minute until they soften and tip in the red peppers along with the slit chilli and fry for a couple of minutes.

Add the chilli garlic sauce and the dark soy & stir well. If the sauce is a little thick add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out slightly

Kashmiri Dum Aloo (Potatoes in Fennel and Tomato Gravy)

60 gms cashew nuts
18-20 small new potatoes peeled
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium white onion finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger finely chopped
200 gms greek yoghurt lightly whisked
1 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1 tsp fennel powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp tomato puree
150 mls water
1/2 tsp ground cardamom powder
Salt to taste
1 tsp crushed dried fenugreek leaves (optional)
1 tbsp coriander leaves for garnish
Slivers of ginger for garnish

Soak the cashew nuts in warm water for 20 mins. Prick the new potatoes with a fork lightly (this helps them cook all the way through). Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a wok or kadhai. Add the potatoes and fry for 3-4 minutes until they turn crisp and golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper & set aside.

Whisk the yoghurt and mix in the chilli powder, fennel powder and cumin powder. Stir the spiced yoghurt and set aside.

Drain most of the water from the cashew nuts; blend the cashew nuts to a fine puree. Set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the kadhai. Add the chopped onions and sauté until they begin to soften for 4-5 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and ginger and fry for a couple of minutes as it cooks. Turn the heat to a low setting and add the spiced yoghurt. Stir well for a minute and add the cashew nut paste. Stir for 2-3 mins. Tip in the tomato puree and stir for a further 2 minutes.

As the curry starts to leave oil from the sides of the pan add the fried potatoes, water and salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 mins stirring ever so often until the potatoes have soaked in the flavours and cooked all the way through. Add the cardamom powder, crushed methi/fenugreek leaves if using, fresh coriander and ginger. Stir and serve warm with soft naans and some fresh salad.

Kashmiri Paneer Masala

350 gms Paneer diced in cubes
Mustard oil for shallow frying (or vegetable oil)
500 ml water
Pinch hing/ asafoetida
2 inch cinnamon stick
2 bay leaves
6 green cardamom
1/2 tsp shahi
3 tbsp tomato puree
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (or mild paprika)
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp fennel powder
2 tbsp greek yoghurt
Pinch of saffron
Pinch of garam masala powder
Salt to taste
Coriander for garnish

In a bowl add 500mls of warm water and set aside. In a frying pan heat oil and fry the cubes of paneer in batches until golden brown. The paneer might splutter slightly so make sure the heat is on medium. Drain on kitchen paper and add the fried paneer to the bowl of warm water. Let it soak while you make the curry. This helps the paneer to retain its moisture and stay soft.

Add 3 tablespoons of the oil to a heavy bottom sauce pan. Add asafoetida and let it sizzle for a few seconds. Now add cinnamon stick, bay leaves and green cardamom. Fry the spices for a minute as they begin to splutter and release their flavour into the oil. Add the shahi jeera and fry for 2-3 seconds.

On a low heat add the tomato puree. Stir well making sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Add the chilli, ginger and fennel powder. Stir and fry for 2 minutes as they blend with the paste. Add 350mls of the soaking paneer liquid and continue to cook on a medium heat. Bring to a boil and simmer for 5-7minutes without the lid. The curry should have a thick consistency if it is too thick add a little more of the soaking liquid.

Crush the saffron into the gravy and whisk in the yoghurt. Simmer for a further 8 minutes and now tip the paneer chunks into the pot. Stir gently making sure they don’t break. You don’t really need to cook the paneer but just make sure the gravy coats the pieces well. Season to taste.

Khatta Jeera Aloo (Spiced Potatoes with Cumin and Pomegranate)

700 gms baby potatoes boiled and peeled
2 tbsp sunflower oil
1/2 tsp hing or asafoetida
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 ginger slivers
1 green chilli finely chopped
1/2 tsp mild red chilli powder
Pinch of turmeric powder
2 tbsp pomegranate powder
Pinch of sugar
Salt to taste
Fresh coriander for garnish

In a wok heat the oil on a medium heat add the asafoetida and fry for couple of seconds while it sizzles and infuses the oil. Add the cumin seed and fry for a further 10 seconds. Add the ginger slivers and the green chilli. Stir well and fry for 8-10 seconds followed by the boiled potatoes

Add the powdered spices and stir for 3-4 minutes. The colour will deepen slightly and the spices will begin to coat all the potato chunks. If you feel its sticking to the bottom of the pan turn the heat lower or add a splash of water (although this is a dry dish and you wouldn’t want to add any moisture to it).

Add the sugar, salt and chopped coriander. Turn the heat off, cover with a lid and let it rest for a few minutes as the potatoes soak in all the spices. Serve with dal and roti/ parathas.