Cooking with a Slow Cooker

 

 

Dear friends,

The weather is beautiful, the kind of weather where you want to take advantage of the beautiful afternoons and then eat a hearty homecooked meal in the evenings to warm up your family as the temperature drops…

This is when you should take out the crock pot/slow cooker and let it do all the hard work for you. This way  you can come home to a wonderfully smelling kitchen with a warm dinner ready to be served.

Here are a few desi-ish  recipies that I found online. Take a look, try them and tell us what you think!

 

Chicken Tikka Masala

http://cookingclassy.blogspot.com/2012/02/slow-cooker-chicken-tikka-masala.html

 

  Hyderabadi Curry:

 http://www.indianfoodrocks.com/2006/08/hyderabadi-marag-in-slow-cooker.html

Mint and Garlic Leg of Lamb :

 http://dinnerwithjulie.com/2012/10/19/leg-of-lamb-slow-cooker/

Super Shan!

Shan is my hero…Shan Masala that is!  I have to admit I rarely cooked my first year of marriage.  No matter what I made or how easy the recipe would be, it would horribly fail.  My husband was a good sport, he would normally pile on ketchup, ranch dressing, or lots of salad. I, on the other hand could not tolerate my food.  Eating it was torture.  So needless to say ‘take out’ and ‘Mother-in-law’s cafe’ became our best friends!

Then one day, my mom said those vicious words that normally a mother in law would say…“I feel sorry for your husband, a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, at least get shan masala and start cooking.”

There you have it, Shan came into my life and found the way to the stomachs of millions,  well not millions, but you know what I mean.

However, I don’t EXACTLY follow the recipe behind the Shan Masala box, here are a few things I do to change it up; (Note: Doesn’t have to be Shan, it could be any Masala box)

1.  When frying the onions, you can put ONE of the following items; a) green chili peppers, b) garlic clove slices, c) crushed red pepper, or d) cinamon stick.   Adding either one of those things will give a bit of aroma and a more “salan” type taste.

2.  If you are making chicken using Shan masala, after the dish is completed, for the last step add 1-2 teaspoons of lemon juice.  It gives it a more tangy flavor.

3.  Marinate the meat for a minimum of two hours with whatever masala you are using, the meat fully absorbs the masala and gives each bite a rich flavor.

These are a very small and subtle changes that change up the flavor.  If you have any additional tips, please share!

Something to cook about…

Samosa Fest – An American Muslim Family’s tradition

 

There is nothing better than biting into a delicious crunchy golden samosa after a day of fasting, but there are several steps that go into making samosas and it can be a tiring and time consuming process.  The Ayub family has turned this very tedious process into a festive family reunion.

For the past five years the Ayub family has been having the pre-Ramadan Samosa Fests.  Women in their family sit around, enjoy each others company and make perfect triangular shaped samosas. The first Samosa Fest was born when family members began talking at an iftaar.

“We decided that everyone makes samosas, so we should get together and make them together,” explained Humaira Ayub, one of the hosts of Samosa Fest.

The women bring their own batch of keema from home and then add the onions and other “masala”  when they get to Samosa Fest. Then everyone helps to complete one batch (5 pounds makes approximately 150 samosas) for the family member, This takes about 45 minutes, said Ayub.

“When it comes to preparing the samosas the women form an assembly line. The younger girls of the family usually do the sticking of the samosas and the putting them into ziplock bags,  while the more experienced wrap the samosas,” said Ayub.

Family members have traveled several hours for this annual event and see it as a way to spend quality time and get into the festive Ramadan spirit. One year the entire family went to Boston, they made Samosas in the afternoon and then after that they went on a duck tour.

While  the women do the Samosa assembling the guys are usually throwing around a football and the event usually concludes with a big family dinner. Each year, a different family volunteers to host Samosa Fest. The host for the first Samosa Fest,  Sharmeen Khan, had custom Samosa Fest aprons made for all the guest.

” I wanted to give everyone a party favor and aprons seem to suit the event,” said Khan.

She also added that Samosa Fest is about creating traditions,  ” It’s just fun! It’s also an amazing way to pass on a tradition and skill. Since we’ve been doing this, all of us including the girls are great at making samosas.”

 

Does your family have any Ramadan traditions? We would love to hear about your family’s traditons!

B&B Recipe of the week – Kerala Shrimp Curry

Make the tamarind mixture by placing the tamarind paste, chilli powder, cumin and turmeric in a small bowl with the measured water and stir to mix well.

 

Heat the oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic and shrimps and stir fry for a few minutes.

 

 Stir in the tamarind paste and the measured water. Bring to boil, reduce heat and stir.

 

Gently simmer on low heat add salt to taste. Now add coconut milk

Mix well and simmer for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat and garnish with cilantro, serve with rice. Enjoy!

Photo credit: Hamlyn 200 Curries

 

 

What your mother never told you about fried onions

Fried onions is an essential part of almost every Desi recipe. My mom was very precise when it came to frying her onions. The color was a perfect golden, the onions were crunchy and sweet and she stood in front of the stove the entire time while her onions crackled in the hot oil. I had a very short attention span when it came to cooking and was always looking for shortcuts, to my mothers dismay!

That is why I’m here to tell you that after many experiments I have come to the conclusion that you can in fact use store bought fried onions for certain recipes!

So typically recipes ask to fry onions and then add in the ginger and garlic paste. When I am using already fried onions I put oil in the pan and put about a half a cup of fried onions let them sizzle a bit then continue on with the GG paste and follow the rest of the recipe.

I have used store bought fried onions in aloo gosht, nihari, haleem and simple currys.

 

There are a few recipes that will always need freshly fried onions, these include rice dishes such as biryanis and pilaus which require the fried onions to be placed on top of the rice. Also freshly fried onions are ideal for all baghars for daals and other similar dishes.  For recipes that require you to crush/grind fried onions,  you should also use fresh onions.

So next time that your cooking  a meat curry don’t be afraid to use store bought fried onions. Happy Cooking and  please share!