Pork Sorpotel- The Ultimate feast

It’s back to blogging after a really long time. I do hope all of you enjoyed Christmas. For me, it had been a week or so of hectic Christmas preparations and a wedding in the family

Now speaking of weddings, An Indian wedding usually means a huge family affair with almost everyone getting involved with something or the other. Great pains are taken to ensure that the couples special day is indeed laden with memories they would cherish for the rest of their lives. That said, detailed attention is paid to the menu planning. Meals are planned with taking into account culinary preferences of guest from both sides. Considering how much we Catholics love pork, it is a given that a pork dish would take center stage in the buffet. Now in case you are reading this and are health conscious let me tell you that the remainder of the blog is laden with fats. For the rest it’s a meal you would run to your kitchen to prepare.

Now the dish for today is Pork Sorpotel. Though not much is known of the origin of the dish, some say it has its roots in Portugal. The secret lies in the tangy sauce and getting the proper mix of the vinegar and spices where the sweet, spicy, and tangy flavor all marrying together and none holds dominance over the other. The soft, succulent meat covered with a sauce and the fat is a delight.

Here is the recipe. I do hope you enjoy making it as much as I did

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Pork Sorpotel

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg pork with Fat
  • 3 Large onions
  • 15-20 large cloves of garlic
  • 1 large piece of fresh ginger
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 small tablespoon oil
  • 1 table spoon Bafat powder

Grind to a paste:-

  • 8 Bedki Chilies                                      * Refer notes below
  • 12-15 Kashmir Chillies
  • 15 pepper corns
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tablespoon Poppy seeds
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric powder
  • 1 large cinnamon stick
  • A lemon sized ball of tamarind
  • Vinegar for grinding

Method:

  • Wash, drain and dry the pork
  • Now, this pork needs to be cooked in a large vessel on a slow flame. I do not add oil during this time as the pork usually cooks in its own fat. However, if you feel like, you could add a teaspoon of oil. Make sure the pork is nicely cooked if there is some water in the vessel you could either drain out or let it evaporate. This should take about 45 minutes to an hour.
  • Once the pork is done, cut into small pieces and keep aside.
  • In a vessel add the oil and sauté the pork.
  • Chop the onions fine and fry in the same oil till they turn brown. Do not burn them. Remove and keep aside.
  • Repeat the process with the ginger, garlic and chillies. You could fry them together as well.
  • Now, combine all ingredients mentioned under “grind to a paste” and grind to a fine paste. Use vinegar as a lubricant for the mixing. You may need to reserve the masala water to adjust the thickness of the gravy later on.* Refer notes below.
  • In a large vessel, add just a teaspoon of oil, and quickly stir the onions, ginger, garlic and the chillies.
  • Now, add in the ground masala and let it cook for a while. Add in the bay leaf and the bafat powder.
  • Add in the pork, Salt and cook on medium flame for 15-20 minutes.
  • Serve hot with sanna or polay (dosa)

Chef’s Tip: Try making this a day or two prior to consumption. This will allow the spices to permeate well will the meat and will only help to enhance the flavor.

Important Notes:

  • I have combined bedki and Kashmir chillies for a mix and match of taste and colour. The spice comes from the bedki chillies and colour from Kashmir ones. However, please note that bedki chillies are spicier and so you will need to adjust accordingly.
  • Usually, any pork gravy is neither too thick nor too thin. The water from the masala was to adjust the thick should your gravy be too thick. Adding plain water will reduce the pungency of the masala.

Pork Sorpotel and Sanna

Christmas Kuswaar-1 – Besan Ladoo

It’s Christmastime and most Christian homes would be buzzing with the making of Kuswaar. The Kuswaar is a coming together of sweets of different kinds. Although each family would have its dedicated list of preparations, not all of them prepare the entire range. At my place, my mum usually makes the sweets at home and as a kid I would help her and get to grab the first bite as the incentive.

Among the Kuswaar, the ladoo occupies a place of pride. Usually, there are two kinds of ladoo’s prepared for the Kuswaar; one made from semolina and sugar which is the more difficult one since it needs to be bound right as soon as you take it out from the heat. This one is the simpler one made using Besan (Black Gram flour). The crusty texture of the besan when combined with the clarified butter and sugar gives you a melt in the mouth feeling that leaves you asking for more. It also gets done very quickly and yields about 60 ladoos.

This is also the 10th post on the blog and a sweet recipe just suited the occasion.  A big Thank you to all who follow the blog and are fans on the facebook page. Please do keep the support and encouragement pouring in.

Besan Ladoo (Recipe Courtesy: My Mum)

Ingredients:

  • 1 Kg Black grams (Chana dal)* Refer note below
  • 750 grams Powdered Sugar
  • 500 grams Clarified Butter (Ghee)
  • 100 grams Cashewnuts roughly chopped
  • 100 grams Raisins
  • 1 large tablespoon Cardamon Powder
  • 1 large tablespoon Dry Ginger Powder

Procedure:

  • Roast the whole black gram and grind to a course flour.
  • On a low heat, once again roast the flour and when it gets a reddish colour, add butter little by little and keep roasting till it releases the aroma and resembles the texture of wet sand. Allow it to cool

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  • Once it has cooled, sieve in the sugar and mix well so that it integrates well.
  • Add in the cashews, raisins, cardamom, and dry ginger powder and mix well.
  • Shape into small lemon sized balls and serve.

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Important Notes:

  • Although you could use readymade gram flour; it could be better if you make it at home. Make sure to use skinless gram.

Goan Pork Sausage Pulao

Here’s a quick question. What best reminds you of Goa? Sandy pristine beaches, Port wine, fun loving people and awesome seafood. But are we missing something? Yes of course!! How could we miss the Goan Pork Sausages, the best gift that Goa could give the world?

The Sausages, Lingis (Linguica) or Choriso as they are called in local language are often ranked number one on the shopping list of any tourist visiting Goa.  I, for one, have been lucky enough to have an aunt who visits Goa at least 2-3 times a year and thus I have my year long supply continuously replenished. In simple terms, the sausages are chunks of pork meat coated with chilly, spices, and marinated with vinegar giving them a fiery hot colour. These are then tied together with a thick thread. You could store them for at least six months. To tell you the truth, they barely remain that long, the magic is when you take the sausages, and there is a nice pungent aroma of the spices and vinegar that have by now mingled well with each other. Then, as you slowly tear the outer covering, the aroma fills your entire house. It has to be experienced.

Goan Pork Sausage

Because they come preloaded with a whole lot of spices and are already marinated, the sausages serve as a quick fix meal on a day when probably you have guests at a short notice or are feeling lazy to cook. All you need to do is chop some onions, a potato and add the sausages & some salt…. Done…. Your jhatpat meal is ready.

My mum usually makes sausages in the manner mentioned above and they are awesome. I had always wanted to make this sausage pulao and so I gave it a try this time. Spicy, aromatic, and yummy was how I would describe the result.

As always make some extra, you never know someone might just drop in sensing the aroma.

Goan Sausage Pulao

Ingredients

  • 150 grams long grained rice
  • 150 grams Goan Pork Sausages
  • 2 Onions (Peeled and Cubed)
  • 2 Potatoes (Peeled, Cut into wedges & fried)- I excluded this
  • 2 tablespoons Garlic Paste
  • 2 tablespoons Ginger Paste
  • 1 Green Chilly (Chopped)
  • 1 tablespoon Oil and for frying the potatoes.
  • 2 Green Cardamoms
  • 8 Black peppercorns
  • 1 Bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 4-5 Cloves

Procedure

  • Wash the rice, and soak in water for about 20-25 minutes. Drain and keep aside.
  • Peel the potatoes and cut into wedges. Heat oil in a pan and fry the potatoes till they are golden brown in colour. Keep them on an absorbent paper for oil to drip off.
  • Open the casing of the sausages by cutting the string and keep aside.
  • In a pan, add 1 teaspoon oil and heat. Add in the ginger-garlic paste and let it cook.
  • Once the pastes start to brown, add onions, and stir well till they turn translucent.
  • Add in the whole spices, chilly and potato wedges and let them cook for a while.
  • Once the spices begin to give out an aroma, add in the sausages, and let them cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the rice and mix well. Be careful when you mix as too much mixing will cause the grains to break.
  • Add water and cover and cook for about 20-25 minutes. Remember to keep checking at regular intervals if more water is required. Usually, the proportion of rice and water is 1:2. So for 1 cup rice, you will require 2 cups of water.

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Voila!!! The Goan sausage pulao is ready…. Enjoy with friends and family.

 

Chinese food!

I have noticed that whenever I go to a restaurant, somehow I tend to flip to the Chinese section of the menu and order something from there.  Can’t really help; I doubt any other cuisine in the world offers such a unique combination of colour, texture, cooking and tastes. That is perhaps the reason why almost every street would have a Chinese restaurant. Although Chinese food has faced criticism in the past for its excessive use of sodium (salts) and Mono-sodium Glutamate (Ajino motto), the fact is that authentic Chinese food is healthy and a food connoisseurs delight.

My first experience with Chinese was when I was in college and happened to visit a newly opened Chinese restaurant in the college vicinity. I sat observing the chef who expertly went about his task off tossing and flipping the rice, noodles he prepared like a pro. Excited, I came home and tried the same, ending up with nothing more than a Chinese khichdi and a very messy kitchen that my dear mum spent the rest of the day cleaningJ.

Coming back, Chinese is one of the few cuisines in the world that manages to retain the original flavors and textures of the ingredients used. There is a generous usage of vegetable, meat, fish, or poultry. The cooking is done on a high flame that helps retain the crunch of the vegetables and the taste of the meats. Another reason for the popularity is that Chinese is relatively easy to prepare (just change a few ingredients and sauces and ……. Presto, you have a new dish) and it’s adaptability to the local cuisine. I have seen almost every Indian dish coming under the Chinese influence right from dosa’s to samosa’s to even a schezwan dhokla.

What I’ve made today is an authentic Chinese meal with an Indian touch. Burnt Garlic Fried rice & Schezwan Hot Chicken. Call it a Chinese meal or Indo-Chinese fusion, the taste was awesome nevertheless.

Fried Rice and Schezwan Chicken

Burnt Garlic Fried Rice

Ingredients
• 1 cup Pre-cooked rice * refer notes below
• 100 grams mixed vegetables- finely chopped (Carrots, French Beans, Bell Peppers, Cauliflower)
• 1 bulb Spring onion
• 6-7 cloves Garlic finely chopped
• ½ inch piece Ginger finely chopped
• 1 Egg – Beaten well
• 2 tablespoon Soya Sauce
• 3 table spoon oil
• 1 teaspoon vinegar
• Salt – to taste

Method
• If your preparing rice fresh cook it till it’s Al-Dante (75% done)
• In a wok or a deep bottomed pan, heat oil till just before smoking point. Add the egg and stir well so it becomes like a minced omlette.
• Add in the garlic and let it brown. Take care not to burn it or it will give out a bitter taste.
• Add in the ginger and onions stir quickly.
• Now, add some of the mixed vegetables, rice, and 1 tablespoon soya sauce and stir well. Repeat the same with the other batch of vegetables and rice and the remaining soya sauce, salt and keep stirring.
• Once the vegetables and sauce have mixed well with the rice add in the vinegar and give it once last mix
• Serve hot garnished with spring onion greens.

Burned Garlic Fried Rice

Schezwan Hot Chicken

Ingredients

  • 200 grams boneless chicken
  • 1 Egg white
  • 3 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons red chili paste * refer notes below
  • 3 Dried red chilies
  • 1 spring onion – finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon soya sauce
  • 8 cloves garlic – finely chopped
  • ½ inch piece of ginger – finely chopped
  • ½ teaspoon crushed pepper
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar
  • Salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons corn flour
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Oil for frying

Method

  •  Make a batter with the egg white, corn flour, crushed pepper and salt. Coat the chicken well with this batter and keep aside for about 15 minutes
  •  Heat oil in a pan and fry the chicken pieces till they are golden brown. This should not take more than 2 minutes if the oil is smoking hot; else 5 minutes. Take out and drain the excess oil on an absorbent paper.
  •  For the gravy, add in the 3 tablespoon oil, add in the ginger garlic, red chilies, and stir well quickly.
  •  Next add in the onions, red chili paste, and ketchup stirring it well.
  •  Now, add in the soya sauce and some water.
  •  When it comes to a boil, add in the chicken pieces and the spring onion greens and salt.
  •  Dissolve the remaining corn flour in water and stir well to make a solution. Add this to the gravy. Adding corn flour thickens the gravy giving it texture and also gives it a gloss.
  •  Add in the vinegar and give it one last mix.
  •  Garnish with remaining spring onion greens and serve hot with the fried rice or noodles.

Schezwan Hot Chicken

Notes:

  • Traditionally, fried rice is prepared using rice is slightly old. If possible, try and use rice that has been prepared probably the night before. It tastes better with rice that is slightly thick grained, so try and avoid the basmati variety.
  • To prepare the red chili paste, soak 3-4 red chilies in warm water for half an hour and then grind to a fine paste along with 2 cloves of garlic and ½ teaspoon of cumin seeds. This paste can be used for any other gravy as well.
  • Be careful when using salt for the seasoning as soya sauce already has a very high salt content. Also, when you buy soya sauce remember to check the label. Dark soya sauce is for the colour and light soya sauce is for the taste.
  • I have mentioned in the blog about cooking on a high flame. Please be careful when you’re trying this for the first time.

Well, even as you enjoy your Chinese meal, Keep smiling and happy cooking!!!!!

It’s Christmas time!!!

“This is Christmas Season

So there isn’t any reason, we can’t dance the Christmas Polka”

I haven’t been able to stop humming these lyrics since morning today. Yes, my dear friends I can’t tell you how excited I am, now that we have begun the Christmas season.  Somewhere in the last week of November or early December, the Catholic Church begins observing the season of Advent which is a time to prepare ourselves for the birth of Jesus Christ (on December 25).

There are numerous traditions and customs surrounding Christmas. One of them is making a crib (that is a replication of the birth scene of Jesus), setting up a Christmas tree, and preparing of Kooswar (Home- made Sweets). Each family would have a story, a tradition, and a special sweet that they proudly display during this time and so does my family. In the coming few posts, I will put up posts with recipes of Kooswar made by my mum (and me of course). But all that apart, the message is Christmas is clear for all “Love all unconditionally”.

And so, Christmas is incomplete without that traditional Christmas cake, right? For quite a while now, I have been searching for the right cake recipe with no avail. So after having tried a couple of recipes from across the globe and topping it with a few failed attempts here is my version of the all time favorite Christmas cake.

This is a dark cake where the fruit are soaked in rum almost a month in advance. I avoided both (making a dark cake and soaking it in rum), since I don’t like any food that has a dark colour nor do I like the kick from the rum. As in any baking endeavor it is extremely important to get your measurements spot on. The process is long drawn but believe you me it’s worth it.

Christmas cake:

Ingredients:

  • 200 grams mixed fruit peels (I used a mixture of Tutti –fruity, finely chopped glazed cherries, finely chopped dates, raisins)
  • 125 grams Maida (All-purpose flour). Keep additional flour aside for dusting the tin and coating the fruits.
  • 125 grams Powdered Sugar
  • 125 grams Unsalted butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1½ table spoon baking powder
  • Juice of 1 medium sized orange
  • 1 stick cinnamon (finely powdered)
  • 5 cloves (finely powdered)
  • Icing sugar for decoration

Procedure:

  • Pre-heat oven at 150 C for half an hour.
  • Prepare an 8 inch baking tin by greasing it with butter and dusting it with flour.
  • Coat the mixed fruit with some flour and keep side. This will prevent the fruits from sinking to the bottom during the baking process.

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  • Mix the baking powder and flour well and keep aside.
  • In a separate bowl, mix the butter and sugar well. This should take about 4-5 minutes till the both, the butter, and sugar are integrated well.
  • Add 1 egg to the butter and sugar mixture. At this point your mixture might curdle. Don’t panic. Add a tablespoon of flour. Repeat the process with the other egg as well.
  • Now add in the orange juice, honey and the mixed spice powder and make sure they are mixed well.
  • Add in the remaining flour and fold well. Try dropping the mixture from a height. It needs to be the correct consistency. Incase its watery, add a tablespoon of flour, and if it’s getting dry, add some milk.
  • Now fold in the mixed peel. It is better to use your hand to mix at this point since mixing them in a cake mixer might break the fruits.

Right consistency

  • Pour this batter in the greased cake tin and spread it evenly on all side and make a slight valley in the center. This will help the cake to rise.
  • Bake at 210 C for 45 minutes while checking at regular intervals. Insert a tooth pick or skewer to check if done. It should come out clean.
  • Once done, allow the cake to rest for a while before de-mouding.
  • Now is the best part. Prick a few holes all over the surface and pour some brandy or rum all over. The cake remains moist for a longer time.
  • Dab the upper surface of the cake with icing sugar and decorate with the cherries.

That’s it. Christmas cake is ready… Now is the more difficult part …. Keeping it till Christmas.

Christmas cake

 

 

 

 

Important notes

  • Most recipes will ask you to soak the fruits in either brandy or rum. I have avoided it to suit my taste. Incase you want to use that method; you will need to soak the fruits in 10 tablespoons of brandy or rum for atleast 21 days. Make sure to stir it well atleast once a day.
  • We have baked this cake at a high temperature, it is possible that the upper surface may start getting burned, if that happens place a brown paper just enough to cover the tin.

Merry Christmas to you all and stay blessed!!!!!!