Easy Sura Puttu (Flaked Shark with Coconut )

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Saturday is market day at our household ,which I would  think would be the case with everyone Or maybe not .. not everyone is as excited as  my son ‘J’ who loves to play with ‘Diego ‘  a lab   he befriended, who belongs to one of the stall owners  at the markets . Shopping for local produce or not , we still go there,  so  he could spend some  time with  Diego . Talk about sleep sacrifice ..Yawn !

At the markets   , don’t know if it is seasonal or not ,   I was very excited to chance upon white shark at the fish monger’s .  I have been wanting to try this steamed – flaked shark dish , which is very famous in South – India called ‘Sura Puttu’ .

Now ,  this might not look like “I need a bowlful right now!” , but wait till you try this .You might wonder why you didn’t buy the whole fish (5 kg or more ?!) 🙂

Sorry , I get carried away sometimes..

Let me walk you through the steps.

Ingredients :

500 gms  white shark ( cleaned and washed )

I tbps chopped curry leaves

½ teaspoon black mustard seeds

2 medium spanish onions finely chopped

3 birds eye chillies  finely chopped *

½ cup of Freshly grated coconut

3 tbps of minced garlic

¼ cup Coconut Oil / Sunflower Oil.

1  teaspoons Turmeric Powder

Salt – According to taste

1 teaspoon of chopped cliantro

Directions :

1.Add the shark pieces to a pan , add 2 cups of water , along with ½ teaspoon of turmeric  and ¼ teaspoon of   salt and cook for 10 mins .Allow it to cool .Drain the water .

2.Remove the skin and separate the flesh from the bones . Now flake the fish using a fork  and leave it aside.

3.Heat oil  in the non stick pan , add the curry leaves and mustard seeds   ( please take care as it may splutter )followed by green chillies and  chopped onions , fry well  for 5 mins on a medium flame , a pinch of salt may be added to quicken  the cooking process  of the onions by drawing  the moistture out .

4.Add the minced garlic and fry for 3 to 4 mins (don’t forget to open the windows or have the air vent on )

5.Now add the flaked fish , mix well , it will be soggy at this stage , but this will dry out as we keep stiring .

6.Add the other  half of turmeric powder  and mix well for 3 or 4 mins .

7.Now add the grated coconut , mix well and cook for 5 more minutes .Check for seasoning , add more salt or turmeric if required (You can add a bit of turmeric  to cut out the fishy odour  or to enhance the colour of this dish – totally up to you ).

8.Add the chopped cilantro , mix well and Serve it with Rice or Roti’s (unleavened bread ).

 

Basic Spices

I thought I would take some time to  explain the term ‘Basic’ when it comes to Spices, after all  my blog is named Spice Addiction   🙂

Coriander  powder , Chilli Powder and Turmeric  or a combination  of  these are  considered  to be the base  for  Indian curries /Stir fry .

These days a variety of spices  are readily available in supermarkets  all around the world. .  The best part about  Spices  is that they have a  shelf life of 6 months when stored in airtight containers  and away from moisture .

Coriander Powder –  is mainly  used as a  binder  i.e. to make the gravy  or curries thick , similar to using  corn starch to thicken  soups .Traditionally , in order to enhance flavour  and  smell , coriander seeds are  dry roasted and  powdered  . It is not  the end of the curry world  if you do not get your hands around roasted coriander powder , supermarket coriander powder will do the job for us .

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25 grams of coriander powder will be enough  to make  ‘Fish Curry’  and  at the  same time we won’t  need  that much  to  make   ‘Dhal /Sambar’  – remember this acts as a  thickener and  depends on how thick or how runny you like your curries to be . Yikes ! this sentence gave me a whole different picture .Moving on!

Chilli powder- Good  Indian curry  should make you sweat , thirst and crave for the next   bite ,That is, if you are able to stomach it .  Chilli powder  is basically used as a seasoning  agent .This super scorcher is essential  for increasing  your metabolism and balancing  the dish by giving the right seasoning .

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If you are allergic to Chillies , you may   by all means   avoid  chilli powder and substitute it with pepper   .

Turmeric Powder –This little guy   is  not only used  to enhance flavor  and  color but also  for its antibacterial  properties .Turmeric is used mainly when  cooking meat  and sea food,  to camouflage the raw smell .

Pic courtesy -Australian Women’s Weekly

Game meat – Quail (Kaadai )Fry

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Have you ever wondered why Quails ( Kaadai ) are not  served as a  part of the menu in restaurants if you are living  anywhere outside of south India ??

Is it because not many have tried this delicate bird?

Is it because it is mostly bones and less of meat?

Is it because, they are so tasty and flavourful that you can’t stop with  one or  2 ??

Or is it just me , with my  head floating around with these crazy questions ?!樂

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Whatever the reason, once  you’ve tried this  tender  meat  cooked in basic spices , onion gravy and a generous topping of freshly ground black pepper  you will change your mind about reaching for chicken  next time .

The dish by itself can be served as an entree, or as an accompaniment.

I have decided to pair this with my ever so simple but fluffy, fragrant coconut milk  rice aka Ghee rice .

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Ingredients :

6  Quails  , cleaned and halved .

¼ cup sesame oil *

1 tablespoon Pepper Powder

10 shallots or 2 medium onions ,chopped .

1 tablespoon   fresh Coriander , roughly chopped .

1  Tablespoon  fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

2 tablespoon Ginger ,finely chopped

2 tablespoon Garlic , finely chopped

4 cloves

1 cinnamon bark

I bay leaf

1 teaspoon fennel seeds

Curry leaves – 2 tablespoons , roughly chopped .

1 teaspoon Coriander Powder

½ teaspoon turmeric Powder

¾  spoon  Chilli powder

1 – according to taste

Directions:

1.Heat oil in a non -stick  Pan  , add fennel , cloves , cinnamon and bay leaf . Fry for  30 sec .

2.Add the chopped curry leaves , mint and coriander leaves  , stir for well .

3.Add ginger and garlic  fry for 1 minute , followed by the chopped   onion until  golden brown .

4.Add the meat and fry well for 2- 3 minutes . The key to this dish is to add the ingredient  step by step and frying / incorporating them well .please don’t be in a hurry and add  the ingredient all at once .

5.Now , add the turmeric  powder , stir well , followed by coriander powder and chilli powder . Mix well . Add Salt .

6.Add ¾ cup of hot water , Stir  well , cover with a lid   and cook  for 7 – 8 minutes .

7.open the Lid , add pepper powder and  Stir well  for 2 to 4 minutes on low flame  , until water evaporates.

8.Garnish with coriander leaves / curry leaves  and Serve .

Best enjoyed with rice / rotis.

Additional notes :

*Sesame oil is KEY in the signature flavour of this dish. You can use sunflower /vegetable oil , but  the recipe will not taste the same. You can find it in the Asian section of grocery stores.

Best Mutton Briyani

My love for biryani  never ends !

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Just one spoonful  will get you hooked to this dish for the rest of your life.

I mean ..just look at the  long grains of the basmati rice  coated in  onion, tomato & mutton  gravy along   with a little hint of mint and chillies   served with  Onion raita  .. do I need to say more ?

Biryani and raita are a match made in the food heaven , Raise your hand if you  agree ! 🙂

I am here to prove that  you don’t have to struggle   in the kitchen from morning till noon to prepare this mouth-watering recipe .

If you are making this in  the Electric  rice cooker ( which I recommend )  it takes 60 mins or  less  from  start to finish .

Few things to note before we start :

The secret lies  in sautéing the ingredients  step by step on a slow to medium flame , this diffuses the flavour into the oil and enhances the taste .

Secondly , The logic with adding  water is adding  half  of the normal  count i.e.  normally  if  you add 3 cups of water for 1 cup of rice , for biryani  you should add half the quantity – 1 ½ cups of water for 1 cup of rice . Got it ?! you have mastered this dish ! See you in my next post .

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I recommend the Electric rice cooker just for the non – stick  aspect , but  the same result can be achieved in the  pressure cooker  if  you follow the instructions carefully.

We will start by  preparing biryani  in a heavy bottomed  pan and finishing it  off in the rice  cooker ,  please check notes* if you are using  the pressure cooker from start to finish .

Preparation time : 10 mins

Cooking time : 45 mins

Serves : 4

Ingredients :

Goat meat (Mutton) – 1/2 kg

Basmati   rice* –  3 cups (3/4 kg )

Sunflower oil  – ½ cup

Ghee      – 2 tablespoons

Onion – 2 medium sized

Tomato -2 ½  medium sized

Ginger garlic paste – 3 tablespoons

Cloves -6

Cinnamon  bark – 3

Bay leaves – 3

Star Anise – 1 or 2 ( optional)

Green chillies – 6 or more – depending upon your taste

Mint leaves- ½ cup

Coriander leaves – ¼  cup

Salt  – According to taste

Chilli Powder – ½ teaspoon – optional

Lemon  -1/2 a lemon juiced

Water – 4 ½ cups

Directions:

1.Wash the rice and drain the water completely .

2.Pressure Cook the mutton with 2 cups of water , ½ teaspoon of turmeric  and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in medium flame for 10 minutes.* This will reduce the cooking time as mutton pieces  will take longer to cook than rice. Separate the cooked  mutton pieces from the stock . Reserve the stock for later .

3.Meanwhile , heat the heavy bottomed pan and add oil and ghee .Season the oil with  cinnamon, star anise , cloves and bay leaves. Watch out for the cloves they may splutter sometimes .

4.Then add the sliced onions and sauté  until the onion turns translucent ,  add a pinch of salt to  the onions  which will  help to draw moisture out of the onions and quicken the sautéing process .Then  add the green chillies , followed by  ginger garlic paste , sauté for 2 or  3 seconds.

5.Add handful of mint leaves , sauté  well , followed by tomatoes  . Cook the tomatoes for a 2 or 3 minutes until they are  soft and mushy , this is going  to be our gravy for the biryani .

6. Add the mutton pieces ,  mix well , add salt as required .Cover and cook  for 3 mins .

6. Place the washed  rice in the rice cooker  and add the prepared mutton gravy .Mix well .

7.Add 4 ½  cups of water . Use  the reserved stock instead of water .Mix well . check the seasoning ( this is where you add salt / chilli powder ).

8.Add a pinch  of extra salt  than you’d  normally  consume as the rice will absorb the salt.

9.Stir in  lemon juice  and the remaining mint leaves and coriander leaves .Put the lid on and set it to cook .

10.when ready , mix the  rice with a long handled wooden spoon  from the bottom  , please take care not to stir,  but , to lift the rice from underneath and mix.

Serve with Onion or Cucumber Raita .

Additional Notes :

*I use India Gate Classic Basmati Rice . good quality rice = good biryani   🙂

* if you don’t  own a pressure cooker you can cook the meat  in a saucepan with the lid on by  adding  2 cups of extra water until the meat is tender . Please note that the  cooking time may vary .

If using pressure cooker instead of rice cooker , follow till step 9 , when the pressure starts building put the weight on  . Reduce the  flame once the whistle starts , cook for 10 mins. Once the pressure is released open the pressure cooker and  mix well.  Serve and  ENJOY !