I had this interesting little appetizer at an Indian restaurant in Ottawa not long ago. Normally, when I order a Pakora, I expect a small fritter type affair where the main ingredient is chopped into small pieces along with other things (onion, etc.), and then mixed into batter before being deep-fried by the spoon full to make small ‘bites’.
Here however, the shrimp was cooked whole with a batter coating and this might have been boring except that the batter (made with ‘Besan’, or chick pea flour), was nicely spiced. I am not sure of the blend, but I believe I could detect paprika, some chili, and possibly a bit of ground coriander seed).
The shrimp were served with a Tamarind based sweet sauce (very nice) and a mint chutney (which might have been nice but was a bit stale) and overall, I thought the preparation was very good except for the fact that the batter ‘shell’ tended to slip away from the meat as one bit into it. If I try this at home (and I will), I think I will butterfly the shrimp, make the batter thinner, and likely try some other dipping sauces than the ones given here ….
On the last evening of a recent trip to Ottawa, I went on an ‘appetizer tour’ and stopped for drinks and one or two appetizers at a series of restaurants. One such stop was at the ‘Curry Kebab House’ which sits in the space in Byward Market once occupied by another Indian restaurant called ‘Haveli’. I will have to go back there sometime and do a proper review of the place after sampling a few more of their dishes, but the one I tried there on this occasion was terrific …
The dish was called Calamari ‘Manko’ …. I have no idea of the origin of the name ‘Manko’ and a search only yielded the fact that it is a very rude Japanese slang term (I’ll let you Google it yourselves). The menu described the dish as being squid ‘tossed with curry leaves and toasted coconut [and] served with a tomato chutney’. In fact, the ingredients were actually served ‘in’, rather than ‘with’ the chutney, which, in addition to the tomato, included mustard seed and coriander leaf. Toasted dried chilies were almost added to the mix, lending an almost ‘Sichuanesque’ effect to the overall taste, which was unusual, but really nicely done. The squid was cooked just perfectly, being tender, but still a bit chewy, and there was a sweetness that came in part from the toasted coconut, but, probably, also from the addition of a bit of sugar.
The curry leaves really made a difference here. I have cooked with these at home, but this was the first time I have had them served to me in a restaurant dish. The woody, slightly herby taste, really added a nice note. I want to try making this at home, sometime… Unfortunately, curry leaves are very hard to come by for me, but I think that a peppery Thai-Basil might make a very decent substitute…
A while ago, I posted a recipe for my homemade Madras Curry Paste and I wanted to try using it in something other than a ‘curry’ style dish. I came up with the idea of doing something along the lines of a Satay, but with the flavors of India and made the dish you see pictured abve. I made it is an appetizer but you could make larger (and more) skewers and serve them over rice for a more substantial course. Here, I served mine on a bed of finely shredded cabbage and Jalapeno peppers that were macerated in a little garlic salt before being tossed with some oil and lemon juice… Continue reading “Madrasi Grilled Beef”
Indian spice blends, collectively known as ‘Masalas’, can be dry powders or ‘wet’ pastes. Typically, pastes are made by combining dry powdered spices with a liquid (vinegar especially) and then either using as is, or else storing after cooking the paste in oil until the blending liquid evaporates out.
About two years ago, I posed my recipe for a Madras Curry Powder and, today, I used the basic recipe, with some additions, to make a paste… Continue reading “Spice Blend: Madras Curry Paste”
In Indian cuisine, a Korma (which can be spelled many different ways, including Qorma, Khorma, Kurma, etc.), is a braised dish to which either yoghurt, cream, or coconut milk is added, to yield a smooth and rich finished dish. There are all sorts of variations on the basic theme, and, though the end-result can be quite fiery, in restaurant versions they are typically very mild. Today’s rendition, using shrimp, cauliflower and carrot, falls into that category… Continue reading “Shrimp and Vegetable Korma”
At one time, a ‘Madras Curry’ was a standard on Indian restaurant menus in the west, and was also a fairly common recipe entry in Indian cookery books. It seems, however, to be a little less frequently encountered these days and this is perhaps because the Indian City of Madras (whence the name) is now known as Chennai, and the eponymous curry was probably more of an Anglo-Indian, rather than a purely Indian creation. Whatever the case, the Madras Curry is still something of a classic and well worth adding to one’s culinary repertoire.
In my research of a wide variety of spice blends, I have found that the Madras Curry blend is the closest to what most westerners would call the ‘curry flavor’ and the typical ingredients are much the same as found in the generic ‘Curry Powder’ you can find in almost any supermarket. The one major difference between the two, as far as I have seen, is that the generic type tends to be high in Turmeric and low in Chili, while, in a Madras blend, the reverse is usually true. In this post, we will have a quick look at the general composition and then I’ll provide a fairly straightforward version that you can use as a starting point for your own culinary creations… Continue reading “Spice: Homemade Madras Curry Powder”
10220 103 St. NW, Edmonton – Website
Date of Visit: July 14, 2015
I tried a couple of times to have dinner at this place after seeing it near my hotel but was initially thwarted; first, I was sidetracked by a Tapas Bar that happened to be on the way and, on the second attempt, on a Sunday, I discovered they close that day only after I arrived. I finally made it for lunch on the very last day of my visit to Edmonton… Continue reading “Review: Haweli”
I had a rather large zucchini leftover from a bunch I bought for other purposes and, being left home alone for the past few weeks while my wife is away, I decided to play around a little. A first, I thought I might do a pickle of some sort based on a minted vinegar (and I still plan to do so sometime), but then I decided to do something spicy in a vaguely Indian type of preparation that could be used as a side condiment, or even a ‘bread and butter’ type accompaniment.
Now, I will say at the outset that, though the result of this experiment was pretty, I did find that some tweaking is necessary. Accordingly, if you are inclined to play around with the basic idea yourselves, you may wish to read my notes at the end of this post… Continue reading “Experiment: Grilled Zucchini Pickle”
My wife included a small crop of Fenugreek in her greenhouse this summer. There wasn’t a lot to play around with and one of the dishes I used it in was this spicy Indian potato side- dish made with the Bengali spice blend Panch Phoron… Continue reading “Potatoes with Fresh Fenugreek”
Today’s recipe uses a batch of my Basic Kofta in a very spicy sauce. It isn’t supposed to be any specific dish in particular but it definitely reflects the flavorings of India… Continue reading “Kofta Curry”