Lobster Curry- From across the Palk Strait.

There is a certain romance about curries. The joy of breaking a buttered naan into a thick, redolent butter chicken gravy is difficult to put to prose. Down south, you have crisp rice rotis playing a demure foil to the fiery kori ghassi in Mangalore ; while brown rice or appams marry well with the keralan meen moillee. I could go on and on about curries and their pairings with rice or some sort of bread. Point is, across the world, curries form an intrinsic part of the meal; or should i say, they complete the meal.

For us Mangaloreans, fish curry and rice is the raison d’etre. It was in my household too. I didnt like curry so much personally; but, I made and exception for the Kori ghassi (chicken curry). What interested me more was the process by which the curry was made. I would eagerly sit beside my mai (grandmother) as she scraped the coconut, and swiftly grab some and eat it, only to be reprimanded by a stern “Ummm”, not because i took the coconut. but she was scared that I’d hurt myself. Then she’d measure the spices with her fingers and then came the rhythmic grunting of the huge stone (we call it waan in konkani). Then the tempering and an amazing curry was ready. What amazed me though was the consistency with which she got the colour and texture of the curry same, each and everytime. A trait her daughter, my mother has inherited. And I am only smiling 🙂

And if you haven’t guessed as yet, I am going to share with you a recipe for a curry. This is a curry from across the Palk Strait, Sri Lanka to be precise. I went to Sri Lanka on a holiday last year and i was totally enamoured by the scenic beauty and the food. To be fair, the food isn’t much different from the food in south India but the ample and deft use of spices is where the difference lies. SO if you are well versed with South Indian food, Sri Lankan food isnt a difficult nut to crack. This isn’t my recipe but I’ve adapted this one from a recipe by Peter Kuruvita. The original recipe used squid or cuttlefish. Lobsters rendered themselves well to. I loved the addition of coconut milk to the gravy, rich and thick and creamy. We had it with brown rice that suited the spicy curry perfectly well.

I strongly recommend you try this one, you can write and tell me how you liked it.

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Lobster Curry- Sri Lankan Style.

You will need

  • 10-12 Baby Lobsters

For the marination:

  • 2 teaspoons – pepper powder
  • 1 lemon sized ball of tamarind soaked in warm water
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 4 teaspoons red chilli powder (tone down or up depending on how much heat you can take)
  • 2 teaspoons Sri Lankan roasted curry powder
  • 3-4 fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon corriander powder

For the curry:

  • 80 ml coconut oil
  • few sprigs of curry leaves
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • 4-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 small piece of ginger, minced
  • 3-4 green chillies, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon, red chilli powder
  • 1 cup of 2nd extract of coconut
  • 60 ml, 1st extract of coconut
  • salt to taste

Method:

  • Wash, clean and devein the lobsters.
  • In a large vessel combine the ingredients mentioned under marination along with the lobsters and keep aside.
  • In another pot, heat the coconut oil and add the curry leaves.
  • Once the leaves start to splutter, add the onion, garlic, ginger, green chillies and cook till the onions are browned well
  • Now, add the red chilli powder and mix well. If you see the pan getting dry , sprinkle a few drops of water.
  • Now add the 2nd extract of coconut and salt. Cover and cook for 10-12 mins till the lobsters are done.
  • Reduce the flame to to the lowest you can to bring down the temperature and take the vessel of the heat and add in the first extract of coconut. Give it a good mix and take of flame immediately.
  • Serve hot with brown rice.

Pro -tip: Use the first extract of coconut milk ONLY towards the end. And make sure the flame isn’t high cause if you cook the coconut link for too long it will curdle and look terrible.

 

 

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Egg Biryani

There are a few questions that mankind has been to find answers to. Will Sachin Tendulkar ever quit playing cricket? Will we ever find a renewable bio fuel? Is there life elsewhere in the galaxy? Another such question is what came first, the chicken or the egg? And so, while the debate goes on who came first, almost all of us would agree to the fact that eggs in any manner taste delicious.

At my place, we have eggs at least once a week. This usually happens we want to have a non-fussy & simple dish that still gives you that “I-have-had-the best-meal” feeling. Remember my post on the “Aloo Saunfiyana”? Where I had spoken about the humble potato winning the most versatile ingredient award in the veggies category, I guess the more suave egg would win hands down in the non- vegetarian category.

I have always confessed how much we as a family love any biryani. And when it combined with the goodness of eggs, it doesn’t get any better. Please don’t get intimidated with the long list of ingredients, they are all easily available in the kitchen. Add some love coupled with lots of efforts and you will have a biryani that will remain in your hearts for a long time to come. The one that I made certainly did!

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Egg BiryaniIngredients:
  • 6 Eggs
  • Oil for frying

For the rice

  • 250 grams long grained Basmati rice
  • 2 Green Cardamoms
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1 Inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 Tablespoons Ghee (Clarified Butter)
  • 50 ml Milk
  • 1 tablespoon tumeric powder (haldi)
  • Salt
For the gravy
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped
  • 2 green chillies, finely chopped (Increase the quantity if you want it spicier)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic paste
  • 1 tablespoon ginger paste
  • 250 ml thick curds
  • 2 tablespoons Biryani Masala Powder (I used Everest Biryani Masala)
  • 1 tablespoon tumeric powder (haldi)
  • 1 tablespoon garam masala powder
  • 1 large tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 2 Green Cardamoms
  • 1 Black Cardamom
  • 1 Inch Cinnamon stick
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt – to taste
  • 2 stalks of corriander, chopped
  • few mint leaves

For the Garnishing

  • 2 large onions, sliced finely
  • 10-15 cashews
  • 10 -12 raisins
  • Ghee/ Oil to fry
  • Few Mint leaves
  • 1 lime, quartered
Procedure:
  • To prepare the garnishing, heat the ghee/ oil in a pan. Now fry the sliced onions on medium heat till they turn reddish brown in colour. Take out and drain on an absorbent paper.
  • In the same oil, fry the cashews and raisins until they change colour to reddish brown. Once again, Take out and drain on an absorbent paper.
  • Keep both aside while we shall begin work on the rice.
To prepare the rice:
  • Soak the rice in water for about 15 mins, then wash and drain till the water runs clear.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of ghee in a large vessel and add in the whole spices (Cardamoms, Cinnamon and Bay leaf).
  • When the spices begin to splutter, add the rice and fry for a while.
  • Now add in water that is double the quantity of rice. E.g. for 1 cup rice you will require to use 2 cups water. Add salt and let the  rice cook.
  • When the water begins to boil, lower the heat and allow the rice to cook till you have large and fluffy grains of rice, each separate from the other.
  • Once the rice has reached that stage, drain using a colander. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of ghee and mix well
  • Separate a handful of rice from the colander. Now, mix the milk and turmeric and sprinkle over the rice you have separated.
  • Your rice is ready
To prepare the eggs:
  • In a large vessel heat water and add the eggs and bring to a boil for 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the eggs are done, peel them and cut each into half, lengthwise.
  • Heat the oil in a pan, and lightly fry the eggs on each side till they get a light brown colour. This step is optional, however, I do it to give the eggs slight texture.
  • Remove and keep aside.
For the gravy:
  • In a large vessel, heat the ghee and add the whole spices and allow them to splutter.
  • When the spices begin releasing aroma, add the chopped onions and let them cook till they turn golden brown. Add the ginger, garlic pastes along with the chillies.
  • Once the onions are done, add the chopped tomato and cook till it it is limp.
  • Beat the curds well and add. Once the mixture has simmered well, add in the masalas (red chilli powder, biryani masala, turmeric powder, garam masala)
  • Now, add the eggs and mix well so that the eggs are covered well with the mixture
  • Once done, add the chopped corriander& mint leaves.
To assemble the biryani:
  • Line a large vessel with ghee.
  • Add the gravy mixture. Now add in half the onions we had fried earlier and some of the fried cashews and raisins.
  • Layer the gravy mixture with the cooked rice. Sprinkle the surface with the rice that was mixed with the milk and turmeric.
  • Finish the layering with the remaining fried onions and dried fruits.
  • Cover the vessel with a lid that fits perfectly. Or you could cover with aluminium foil so that no steam escapes.
  • Place the vessel on a tawa and cook for 20 minutes. Allow it to rest for about 10 minutes even after you’ve turned off the gas.
  • Serve hot with raita.