Posts Tagged ‘Indian’

The Indian GP – Indian Street Food

November 7, 2011

On the 30th October the inaugural Indian GP took place.  Unfortunately I was away with work and unable to watch it live.  After two days of desperately trying to avoid news on the race (largely succeeding, but I did find out about Hamilton’s and Massa’s crash!) I managed to watch a recording of it on the Tuesday evening once I was back home.

In terms of what to cook I didn’t want to go for the obvious choice of a curry, plus there are so many varieties of curry that I wouldn’t have been sure where to start.  Instead I thought it would be interesting to try and recreate some of the wonderful street food that is so prevalent and popular throughout the sub continent.

Trying to get a list of some good street food to cook proved to be more of a challenge than I expected.  The majority of Indian food sites I found just had food to cook at home; no one had any lists of street food.  Then I remembered, back in Cardiff there is a restaurant that specializes in Indian street food – Chai Street, and so in the end I looked at the food on their menu and found some recipes based on that.

The dishes I decided to cook were Poricha Kozhi (fried spiced chicken) and stuffed bread pakoras (a kind of deep fried potato sandwich).

The first thing I needed to do was to marinate my chicken legs for the Poricha Kozhi.  The marinade for 2 persons (4 chicken legs) was:

  • A small onion
  • 2 inches of fresh ginger
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
  • 125ml of yogurt
  • ½ teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • ½ teaspoon of turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon of ground fennel seeds.

The onion, ginger and garlic all went into my mini chopper and were blitzed till almost a paste.   They then were added to the rest of the ingredients to make the marinade.  I scored the chicken legs and smothered them in the marinade and left everything for a couple of hours.To cook the chicken they went into a nice heavy bottomed pan with 125ml of water.  The water was brought to a simmer and the chicken cooked uncovered for about 20 minutes till the water had evaporated. With the water gone and the chicken nice and tender I added some oil to the pan to crisp the chicken up and that was it – done!The bread pakoras would be stuffed with mash potato and so the mash was the first thing I needed to make.  To 4 medium potatoes worth of mash I added:

  • A sliced green chilli
  • Half a bunch of chopped coriander (stalks included)
  • 1 teaspoon of garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • ½ teaspoon of coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon of black onion seedsThe batter for the pakoras were made from:
  • A cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of chilli powder
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric
  • A pinch of salt

To this I added enough water to create a very thick batter.To make the pakoras I took 6 slices of bread and removed the crust.  I spread the mash potato on three of the slices giving a layer about 1cm think.  I then put the other pieces of bread on top and cut the ‘sandwiches’ to get 6 triangles. Each triangle was coated in the batter and fried in some oil for around 5 minutes till all the batter was  cooked.I served up two pieces of chicken and three stuffed break pakoras each.The chicken was delicious.  There was a gentle heat but the overall flavour was more fragrant than spicy, it had also penetrated right into the meat which was great.  The meat was soft and came easily away from the bone.  The pakoras were a lot spicier, particularly if you got a bit of the sliced chilli! For me, I felt the texture of the pakoras was a bit soft.  The batter had crisped as it cooked, but the bread and the mash were very soft and this made them a little hard to eat overall.  There were still pretty tasty though!

So, the race.  Well once again Vettel had pole position and comfortably led the race from start to finish, pinching Nigel Mansells record for most laps led in a season in the process (and with 2 races to go!).  The result of this was that we saw very little of Vettel all race as he cruised round by himself.  Behind him there was a bit racing to watch.  The usual first corner carnage resulted in 4 cars needing to pit, but the big talking point of the race was Massa and Hamiltons coming together, something that has happened too many time this season.  The feud between these two is really heating up.  This time it was Massa who turned into Hamilton as he tried to pass.  Both cars managed to carry on but Massa received a penalty and then had to retire later in the race after breaking his suspension on a monster curb.  All in all this race was not as exciting as I would have hoped.  The track looks great, but the dusty conditions meant that it was hard to go offline and so there wasn’t as much overtaking as I would have liked.

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Moksh Cardiff bay – An award winning curry

December 3, 2010

As part of the celebrations for getting my new job I went out for a meal with my family to the Moksh restaurant in Cardiff Bay.  I had wanted to visit the place for a while, having heard good things about it and smelt the wonderful fragrances while walking past.  The chef and owner, Stephen Gomez, is from Goa and has was won several awards in recent years including Chef of The Year 06/07 and Best UK Curry, amongst others. He proudly displays these along with articles and reviews in a glass case outside of the restaurant.  Given the all the above I had high hopes for this meal!

The restaurant itself is quite small, maybe 30 covers.  It was fairly loud and busy, with quite a modern funky feel with lots of coloured light.  We were lucky enough to be sat at one end, in a small alcove with a Buddha spray painted on the wall.  As the other tables in there remained untaken, this felt like having our own private room. It was great as we were away from the bustle in the rest of the restaurant.

The funky Buddha

The menu has a huge range of choice, and being a first time visitor I found it a bit overwhelming. If only their website was up and running I could have browsed the menu at my leisure! So not entirely knowing where to start, and with this being a celebration, we all eventually decided to go for the Chefs Taster Menu.

This was a four course feast priced at £28 a head, pretty good value as starters are between £3-5 and mains £12 – 14 plus rice.  The exact content of the taster menu was not written down, and although it was explained to us before we started,  I struggled to remember it all.  Luckily everything was explained again as it was served so we knew what we were eating.

First up was the selection of starters.  There were three: A cheese, onion and spinach samosa, an aloo tikki potato cake and a lamb shammi kebab.  The presentation of these was unlike anything I have seen before. The samosa was upright on its own stand and a spring of lamb’s lettuce was stuck in the top of the shammi kebab.  This was not bad, just unusual!

My Starters: Aloo Tikki, Samosa and Lamb Shammi Kebab

Everything tasted great.  The aloo tikki and kebab were fragrant and subtly spiced, the meat in the kebab was extremely finely ground and the samosa was crisp and tasty.  I was really impressed with the flavours.  Also, considering that all three items had most likely been deep fried they were all remarkably light and non greasy.

The next course was our kebabs from the tandoor.  Each of us was presented with a plate with a freestanding skewer containing chicken, beef and a king prawn.

The Kebab

This was visually very impressive; however it was much easier to eat if you shifted the freestanding skewer out of the way once you’d removed the food!  The meat itself was lovely.   Everything was coated in an aromatic paste of spices which, although hot, was tasty and did not overpower the dish.  The chicken was moist, the beef had a deep earthy flavour and the prawn was soft. This well cooked prawn was my favourite of the three kebabs.

After a little breather it was now time for the main course!  This consisted of four pots of curry each with a selection of plain, garlic and keema nann, and plenty of pilau rice.  The curries were Chicken Szechwan, Lamb Navarin Bhuna, Malabar King Prawn Curry and Tarka Dal.

Lots and Lots of Mains!

The chicken Szechwan is an Indian take on the Chinese dish.  This was quite different to the other curries and it certainly packed a punch.  There was less sauce with this as it had chunkier veg and chilli pieces.  The Lamb Navarin Bhuna is another interesting cultural blend, being Moskh’s take on the French classic.  The meat was very tender and rich and although I failed to spot the French influence/flavours it was very tasty and a lovely medium curry.  The Tarka dal proved slightly divisive with the girls enjoying it and the boys not so sure. I think this had more to do with the lentils themselves rather than the way in which they had been cooked.  My favourite of the four dishes was the Malabar King Prawn Curry.  This had a slight sweet fruitiness to it which came from the coconut milk and moderate spicing.

Clockwise from top left: Tarka Dal, Lamb Navarin Bhuna, Malabar King Prawn Curry and Chicken Szechwan

Of the accompaniments, the rice was rice, nothing more, nothing less. There was however a huge amount of the stuff!  The nann breads were lovely, the garlic nann was smothered in garlic butter and delicious.  The keema contained one large piece of (processed) meat rather than the mince I’ve usually seen which was meant you got plenty of meat with every bite.

The service was leisurely which suited the style of meal.  You had plenty of time to consume and digest one course before the next was served.   Despite these long pauses by the time desserts came around I was still very full!  For dessert we had two mini chocolate ginger cakes and two mini cheesecakes which we shared between the four of use.

The desserts

Both desserts were interesting, but very small and not quite up to the standard of the rest of the food. But having already eaten so much I wasn’t too bothered by this.  The final thing to be served just before we left were some Welsh cakes, which struck me as odd in an Indian restaurant, even if it is in Wales!

The Welsh cakes

These were again nice enough, but did leave me with the feeling that perhaps desserts were not this restaurants strong point!

My only real complaint came when the waiters started to mention that their card machine was “not always working”.   When we came to and explained that we needed to use the card they were quite insistent that the machine would not work and that we should visit a cash point nearby without trying the machine.  However when we also insisted and did try the machine it miraculously worked first time!

Although I had really enjoyed the food and the evening, the farce with the card machine did spoil things a little. It would also make me think twice about recommending the restaurant to someone.  However, I’ve never heard similar complaints, so I hope that this was a one off!

Overall I thought the food was great, it was nice to see attempts to create fusion dishes (even if I could not have guessed some without being told!).  I think a lot of the food was innovative, well executed and well presented.  Now, having tried the chef’s selection I fancy trying some of the other dishes on the menu such as the Lamb with Gunpowder and the Goan Fish Curry.