Sunday, September 25, 2011

Shish Kebab

First, sorry guys for having gone missing for quite some time. Was having one of those phases of staying away from the Net, spending some time out in the outdoors, with friends, family. 

In fact this recipe was cooked up with my BIL (Brother-In-Law) on a lazy Thursday afternoon. What do two guys on holiday do? They plan for an afternoon of beer, and then decide beer is great with barbecue, and head to Walmart to splurge $100 on a barbecue set and beer, only to realize that they have nothing to cook. So necessity became the mother of the "Sheesh Kebab".

So here's the recipe that we turned out after another frantic trip to the local store.

Ingredients (Serves 3 adults and one very hungry dog):

  • Lean beef/ beefalo mince - 400 gm
  • Onions- 2 large
  • Garlic- 4 large cloves
  • Green chilli- 3 large
  • Paprika powder- 1 tbsp
  • Pepper- 1 tsp freshly coarse ground peppercorns
  • Cumin- 1/2 tsp (roasted and ground fine)
  • Salt- To taste
  • Bamboo skewers- As required
  • Butter/ Oil- To baste 
Preparation (Marination/ Precooking time-1/2 hr, Cooking Time- 1/2 hr):

 First, take bamboo skewers and put them in a jar of clean water so that they soak through. Not necessary, but sure does help to prevent the skewers from burning out and breaking up on the grill. Next chop onions, garlic and green chilli into small pieces, blend to smooth paste. Add paprika, ground pepper, salt, cumin. Fold into the ground thawed mince. Leave to marinate.

Start grill and wait till coals are formed (for novices trying out for the first time like we did, it's the stage that the fire burns without smoke but with enough heat). Spread out the coals. Meanwhile, mold the mince around the skewers. If the meat keeps falling off, try to squeeze as much water as you can out of the mince when you are putting it on the skewer. The idea is to spread it as evenly and as thinly as possible for even cooking. The thumb rule I would say is to have a thickness between skewer and surface of a third or half a centimeter.

Baste the surface of the seekh's with a dash of oil. Place on grill. Keep turning at intervals. You will know that the meat is done from the smell. Visually speaking, the meat turns a light brown and then a dark caramel colour.

Enjoy with beer (if you did not run out during the hot and thirsty work of cooking- We did, ran through two six packs :P).

  • Don't run out of beer. Kidding apart, try pairing this with a salad. On a hot summer day you could throw in a quick 'mojito' - Crushed mint, lemon, white rum, little salt, ginger ale, ice. Heaven

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mackerel Curry with Rice

Okay, this is not a traditional Bengali fish and rice combo, for neither is Mackerel a common fish in Bengal (quite a sizable chunk of people had a thing about sea fish), nor is this a recipe that you will find in gastronomic paeans. But the reason for including this one is because of the influence that the traditional 'bhat and macher jhol' recipes had on this dish.

It's easy to cook- right from preparation to serving takes about an hour and is light on the stomach. Maybe the best description for this would be 'comfort food for the restless Bengali soul far from home.'
For those of you who are curious but tentative about trying out complex fish curries, this one may be the right one to start off with.

Ingredients (Serves 2):
  • Mackerel-2 (Cleaned and cut into head, body and tail)~ About 300 gm each
  • Tomato-1 large
  • Onion- 1 large (finely sliced)
  • Ginger- 1 inch stick (chopped finely)
  • Garlic - 2 large cloves
  • Turmeric- 2 tsp
  • Chilli powder -1 tsp
  • Chilli flakes - 1/2 tsp (just for the smell, trust me it does not make it hot).
  • Salt- To taste
  • Mustard oil to cook - 4 tbsp
  • Bay leaf- 2 small


Clean fish in fresh water, drain, dress with turmeric, salt and leave aside for 15 mins. Chop onions, ginger, garlic. Quarter tomato and cut into halves. Heat 3 tbsp oil in pan till smoking. Fry fish till lightly browned. Remove from flame.

Pour remaining oil in pan. Add onions, garlic, ginger to oil- stir till soft. Add tomato pieces, bay leaf, chili flakes, chili powder. Stir on low flame.
Add fish to the mix. Add a little water. Simmer for 20 mins and your fish curry is down.

Serve hot with rice for lunch.

Estimated cost:
  • Fish~ OMR 1
  • Tomato+ Garlic+ Ginger+ Onion~OMR 0.100
  • Oil+ Spices~ OMR 0.200
  • Total cost~OMR 1.3 or USD 3.5 for two people
  • If you have the time and inclination, I would recommend pairing this off with a light 'aloo posto'.