Tag Archives: Recipes

Chicken Biryani

From  A  Steamin’ cup of Goodness comes this recipe for a lovely authentic Biryani  Bakergal can be found over on Blogspot – http://steamincupofgoodness.blogspot.ae/2017/05/most-anticipated-evenings.html   and as they don’t have a reblog button like WP she has kindly let me share with you.

Me…I can’t wait to try it is sounds delicious I have made many a Biryani in my time and I am sure there are hundreds of versions but this one sounds just perfect.

So without any more ado I will hand you over to my friend and she will talk you through this recipe,  my friend Bakergal 🙂

Drum Roll:- Yes I know…I am a bit loopy…lol

Hello folks,

We are officially one week away from🌛 Ramadan.  In this part of the world; irrespective of your personal religious choices, the excitement of Ramadan grips everyone.

Evenings during Ramadan are the most anticipated event of the day; the air is as thick with delicious food aromas, as it is with the humidity (hello, it summer time after all). My super-alert nose can always sense a delicious Biryani simmering somewhere; almost once a day😋 during the entire Ramadan.

And that is why I never cook Biryani at home during Ramadan😆 It always seems puny, compared to the amazing ones being doled outside (in practically every joint)

I did make it last weekend, though. This is my home-made Chicken Biryani; our way!

By ‘our way’ I don’t claim exclusivity.

In fact, it’s the opposite, this recipe has no specific style statement; one can’t classify it as, Dum Biryani or Bombay Biryani or Hyderabad Biryani. It’s a melange or rather a homage, to all the things we loved in the many different Biryani’s we’ve eaten over the years.

Like a flavourful gravy base (no mild stuff in there), buttery fragrant rice with spices & saffron, oh the famous potatoes from the Mumbai Biryani that I’ve eaten from a lot of friend’s homes, the fried onions & cashews; and last but not the least the boiled eggs in garnish!

If all the above sounds like something you would relish, check out the recipe below😀

RECIPE:

Time taken: Your entire morning😁 Just kidding takes about 1.5 hrs in cooking/assembly time, plus overnight marination of the chicken. 

When making it for the first time you might take a bit longer than 90 mins as there are many elements of the Biryani that need to be either fried or boiled in advance, it takes time to get the rhythm of simultaneously making different elements at the same time.

Serves: A hearty 4-5 individual servings

Method:

1) A night prior, get the chicken marinated. Begin with 200gms of yoghurt, add the following spices – 1tsp chilli powder, 1.5 tsp garam masala powder, 1tsp dhania( coriander) powder, 1tsp jeera( cumin) powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric, salt & 1.5 tsp ginger-garlic paste (you can’t see it in the pic below, as it’s hidden below one of the masalas 😁)

Whisk everything well, then add the (washed & cut to your choice of size) chicken pieces (approx 300-400gms). Rub the yogurt-spice mix, in the chicken pieces thoroughly. Cover & keep it aside overnight. (I put this entire thing, in the fridge to marinate, as room temperature tends to get warm around here in summer’s even at night; and I didn’t want the yoghurt to go sour or any salmonella in the chicken to multiply owing to the ambient temperature.)

2) In the morning or whenever you get started on the Biryani, first prep is the rice. Wash & soak in water for half hr, 1.5 cups of basmati rice.

Then in 2.5 cups of water, par-boil the rice with a few spices (a stick of cinnamon, 2 green elaichi or cardamom, few cloves)

Once almost 90% cooked, drain the starch water thoroughly. Add a tbsp of butter, and spread this rice on a large plate. This halts, further cooking & prevents clumping.

3) Now for the prep for the Biryani gravy or whatever you call it.

Take the following whole spices – 1 bay leaf, 2 green cardamoms/elaichi, 1 brown cardamom/badi elaichi, 2-3 cloves, 5-6 peppercorns (you can see quite a bit of them in the pic, as my hubby loves whole-peppercorns, reduce as required), 1 stick of cinnamon.

Chop 2 medium onions & one large tomato.

4) Heat 1tbsp of ghee/vanaspati + 1tbsp of oil in a pan. Add the whole spices first, roast for a while. Then add the onions, a tsp of ginger-garlic paste & cook till raw smell goes away.

Once you see the onions get a bit golden brown, add the tomatoes & 2-3 tsp of Kashmiri chilli paste (soak 4-5 Kashmiri chillies in hot water for 10 mins & then grind to a paste) Mix well, cook till tomatoes are soft.

Add the marinated chicken, along with all the yogurt-spice marinade. Stir well. The chicken will start to release moisture, if required add 1/4 cup of water to prevent the mixture from catching the bottom.

Add a small par-boiled potato to the gravy. I use par-boiled as we like the potato to be almost mushed in the gravy. Tip, to help you multi-task, par-boil this potato when you boil the rice (not with it, cook in a separate pan😉)

Cover & cook till the gravy thickens, chicken is cooked & oil/ghee starts leaving the sides of the pan.

Put off the flame. Optional, garnish gravy with fresh coriander.

5) The final layering of the biryani is the easiest part.

If you are layering it in the same pan as you cooked the Biryani gravy (like me) remove half of the gravy in a bowl. Spread the remaining 50% biryani gravy evenly at the bottom. I add a tsp of water to this gravy so that it does not blacken/burn during the ‘dum’ stage.

Then comes half the rice, spread as evenly as possible.

Again a layer of the Biryani gravy spread as evenly as possible.

Finally, the last layer of rice, make sure to cover all the gravy spots. Dilute few strands of saffron in  1/4 cup of ‘kewda’ or rose water (keep it aside for 5 mins so the saffrons soften & release it colour & flavour). Pour this saffron water over the final rice layer.

6) Now for the ‘dum’ or the steaming part. You can go the traditional way of caking/sealing the entire lid rim with a flour dough.

In my case, the pan in which I layer the biryani has a solid glass cover/lid with a heavy metal rim, this design does not release any steam from the sides. But, the cover has a steam-release opening, which I duly cover with some sticky flour dough to seal the steam within.

Put it back on the stove, make sure it is at the lowest flame option. It takes about 10-15 mins in my pan, for a good ‘dum’ & the rice to cook completely.

The glass lid is a great boon for me to track the progress of the ‘dum’. At the start when the steam starts to form, the lid is completely clouded; once the steam has been absorbed by the Biryani, the lid clears out (almost completely, apart from a few droplets of water here-n-there). Plus the flour covering the steam opening, hardens completely.

Biryani is ready. Garnish as you like it.

7) Oh, the garnish.
While the biryani is cooking on ‘dum’, I prepare the garnish. Fry one small chopped onion, till golden brown (I like it more caramelised, so it’s dark brown in my pics). Next, fry a few cashews (as much as you like) And yes how can I forget the boiled egg (this I actually boil in advance when I par-boil the potato)
8) For me, Chicken Biryani is incomplete without a serving of ‘raita’ – thinned yoghurt/curd mixed with diced onion, tomato & chillies, with just a dash of salt & jeera powder.

Whew! Just writing this post took me a few hours. Assuredly, it’s worth it; this Biryani is delicious right down to each morsel. It leaves you satiated in contentment😋

Now doesn’t this sound amazing? If you want to read more truly scrumptious recipes from this lady then she can be found here – http://steamincupofgoodness.blogspot.ae/2017/05/most-anticipated-evenings.html

Thank you so much for letting me share this recipe I will definitely be making this one 🙂

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot 🙂

 

Amazing foods of Thailand.

 

 

 

Thai food is known and eaten all over the world and for good reason who doesn’t love Thailands unique cuisine with its sweet, sour, bitter, spicy and salty tastes which combined make a Thai meal so memorable.

Here are a few of my favourite Thai foods and ones which if you do come to Thailand and try that you will love as much as I do.

Some are almost iconic Thai dishes and well known around the world.

I have also added the links to some of them with recipes so if you want to try them at home …I hope I have made it easy for you.

Enjoy!

 

Source: Amazing foods of Thailand.

Red Duck Curry ( Kaeng Ped Pett Yang)

One of my favorite curries and one which I don’t have very often…why? Not sure really..I probably save it for special occasions.

Well, this is it..I am now on the letter D for my self-imposed walk through the alphabet. Not much beginning with D…A few fruits and duck…a lot of recipes which say dried this and dried that but only really pre fixing the recipe with dried to say it starts with D.

So I have certainly set myself a task….mmmmmm…i am beginning to ask myself why but not one to give up..

I had Duck curry for the first time on a little island just off Phuket, Thailand it is a fiery curry offset by pineapple and tomatoes. Some add lychee as well as pineapple but we found it a little sweet for us but experiment, everyone’s taste is different….I also add some vegetables, mange tout or sugar snap peas maybe a few florets of brocolli..really whatever I have in the fridge.

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Let’s Cook!

Firstly cook your duck breasts, we like ours medium rare.

Put the duck skin side down in a cold pan, turn the heat to medium and cook the duck breasts for 6-8 minutes until the skin is golden and crispy, turn the breasts over and just sear the other side for 1 minute. Turn over so they are breast side up and put in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees for 7-9 minutes. Remove from oven and rest for 10 minutes before slicing the breasts thinly.

Sauce:

400ml coconut milk

1 tbsp fish sauce

3/4 cup fresh pineapple cut into bite sized pieces.

10 cherry tomatoes.

6-10 mange tout..or other vegetables of your choice.

100gm Thai egg plant cut into quarters.( Pictured below)

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100gm pea egg plants( Pictured below)

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If you can’t get these any small egg plant will be ok I sometimes use small purple ones if I can’t get the green.

1-2 tbsp red curry paste.

6 kaffir lime leaves torn

Bunch Thai basil washed and leaves picked..

2 tsp lime juice.

To make sauce put a very tiny drop of oil in the pan over a medium heat add your curry paste and stir to cook for 1 min, add fish sauce. Gradually add coconut milk whilst still stirring.

Bring to a slow boil and add torn lime leaves and egg plants cook for 5/6 mins and add tomatoes and pineapple, cook for a further 10 minutes then add mange tout and stir in some Thai basil leaves and lime juice.

Now taste and adjust curry paste if you want more heat. If other seasonings want adjusting you can also do that now. Thai flavours are very pronounced and if you get it balanced ..very nice if not..I have had some disasters and I don’t mind admitting that…which is why I always say TASTE and Taste again.

My very first duck curry I made was ok…so we left out the lychee next time and it was much better…also I know which curry paste to now use as they are all so different….Please don’t let this put you off making it as when you get it right it is a lovely thing.

When you are ready to serve then add sliced duck to the sauce and just warm through and serve with some Thai basil over the top and a sliced red chilli if you like.

Serve with steamed rice.

Enjoy!

Dock leaves and Dolmas.

dock leaves

Where do you get your  inspiration for posts from?  I read and always look for the unknown or little known when I am out and about on my travels …I love nothing more than a recipe which gives me more.

Information about one of the ingredients, its benefits and other uses. But that’s me I ramble…Yes I know I have to be prompted at times to cook or just get on with it…Ha ha

This post was born when I was reading about Stinging nettles and it very quickly bought back the vivid memory of how when we were kids we scrambled around to find a Dock leaf to soothe the itchy rash the nettles left us with. Giving instant relief they were great..

Now young Dock leaves are tender and delicious they do however get very bitter the older they get. But the root boiled and drank as a tea was said to be a cure for boils.

I have been doing a lot more research lately into the benefits of plants and fruits and am constantly amazed at what properties most of them have both medicinally and uses as dyes, glue and so much more.

The Broad-leaved Dock leaf was also known as Butter Dock as the leaves were used to preserve and wrap butter.

I know….

Now Let’s Cook!

dolmas

The leaves also make a great wrap for dolmas just a 30-second blanch in boiling water and drain on paper, pat lightly so as not to tear the leaves.

Secondly, sweat 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic and half an onion in some olive oil add 2 cups of cooked rice, stir gently to combine and remove from the heat.

Squeeze a large lemon or lime  you need about 1/4 cup into the mixture with a large handful of chopped mint and parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Refrigerate as these are generally eaten cold with a dash of lemon and olive oil. I prefer mine heated up and just very lightly sautéed in a little oil and serve with a mayo dip.

Enjoy!

Dock leaf crisps are also very tasty and if you boil the dock leaves down they make a sort of paste which has a lemony flavour and mixed with feta it is a lovely thing…or olive oil, chillies, garlic and black pepper…. and yes you just knew I would sneak in a chilli or two…ha ha

But remember you want the leaves from the centre of the plant the young leaves just unfurling are the best….older equals bitter.

It is also grown as a pot herb in Europe.

Traditional medics also used the leaves and roots to cure viral infections.

Found in Europe, Australia and the US where in the South western states it is cultivated because of its Tannin content where it is used by the Leather industry to tan leather.

The leaves and stem are also used to produce a mustard coloured dye.

So that broad-leafed dock plant which soothed my nettle stings and also was used by my mum in her kitchen when she caught her arm or hand on the oven or cooker ..its alkaline secretions being very good and immediately neutralising any acidic sting or burn is a little more than just a dock leaf isn’t it?

And just a piece of trivia for you..Did you know? If you slice the dock root vertically then you can age it as it has growth rings just like a tree.

Well that’s all for today I hope you enjoyed learning about the humble dock leaf until next time stay safe and laugh a lot.

All images are my own ( as you can sometimes see) lol…but with the occasional brilliant shot..ha ha or from Pixabay and require no attribution.

 

 

 

Wat Baan Waeng or Heaven and Hell.

50 km’s north of Udon Thani where we now live is Wat Baan Waeng or Pho Chai Sri as it is also known.

It is home to larger than life statues and sculptures which depict the heaven and hell side of Buddhism. So in other words if you stray from the path of the five precepts of Buddhism then “Hell” is what awaits you.

It shows the fate or karma of these individuals and the gory fates that await them for their sins.

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Initially when we pulled into the temple we were met with the scene of monks sitting, children playing and stalls selling trinkets, spiritual items and a well. The water level of which is always very high so if you do want to peer down into the blackness then first remove your shoes before you step onto the plinth. The well according to local folktales just appeared!

Such tranquility that we  thought we had chanced upon the wrong temple(wat).

But no, if you follow the path lined with Buddhas statues you will be led through beautiful gardens, music playing, good food and drink everything that heaven is meant to be.

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Happy smiles and music playing.

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All plaques and writing are in Thai so it will enhance your visit if you have someone with you who can read Thai.

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The tree of life depicting the man or king at the top surrounded by ladies. Showing as flowers hanging from the tree of life.

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Do not be fooled!

You are now entering hell.

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You will then come upon statues showing the horrific torture that you would suffer if you went to hell. Depending on your sin your punishment would fit the crime. A liar would have his tongue removed and a thief his hands.

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Forced to climb the thorny tree or be eaten by the waiting dogs. It looks like he wasn’t quite quick enough.

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A liar…Off with your tongue!

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Boiling liquid!

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Cruelty to animals will not be tolerated.

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Karma reigns!  What goes around comes around as the saying goes.

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A fruitless gesture, begging for mercy I don’t think any mercy was going to be granted here.

I hope you enjoyed this trip through heaven and hell, it will be on my to visit again list as there is a temple being built in the middle of the lake there which promises to be a lovely tranquil place to sit and read or write.

If you enjoy my travels around Thailand I can also be found on Niume and Mytrendingstories where I share my travels and recipes, fruits of Thailand and much more.

Toddy Palm    https://niume.com/post/313107

Takhop Tree https://niume.com/post/308167

  https://mytrendingstories.com/article/authentic-thai-herbal-soup/

I hope you enjoy!

 

 

Down on The farm… Thai Potatoes…

Thai potatoes which in Thai are called Man sam Palang but are also known as Cassava, Yuca or Tapioca root. It is widely grown throughout the east and north-east Thailand as cattle food  and also for starch and Tapioca flour.

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It is a very drought resistant vegetable and there are two main sorts sweet or bitter with a hard brown outer shell and yellow or white flesh. It is the bitter one which contains more of the chemical bound cyanide.

The smaller sweet rooted varieties which are used for desserts here in Thailand like the famous Khanom man sampalang where cooking is deemed to be enough to break down the cyanide.

There are a lot of warnings about eating raw roots and how they should be prepared carefully before eating as it can cause death.

Modern thinking is that it is not as dangerous as it was originally thought to be  however it is always wise to err on the side of caution.

This root should NOT be eaten raw.

Cooking is said to cause the cells to break down and the cyanide to be broken down which renders it safe to eat.

Thailand is the worlds largest importer of dried Cassava.

Down here on the farm it is grown for animal feed and to make flour. The potato is harvested when it is around 3-4months and the roots 30-45cm, harvested by hand although now some farmers use mechanical means generally the lower part of the stem is raised and the roots pulled from the ground.

cassava-285033_1920 root

It is then cut into approx 15cm pieces and sun-dried for 2 days. As cattle feed it is high  in proteins and contains tannins and is  valued as  a good source of roughage for cattle food.

The cassava root which is going to be used for next seasons crop is soaked and treated for termites before planting prior to the next wet season.

The remainder of the outer shell from which the flesh is extracted is sometimes used for wood or just burnt as it has no further use. The picture below is the empty root with the flesh extracted.

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Other uses for the root  are:

To make starch for clothing.

To make tapioca, the tapioca beads are balls of Cassava. When fermented it is called garri.

Crackers for frying as in a previous post can be made from Tapioca flour. Thai pancakes

It is used in the making of MSG ..Monosodium glutamate.

Boiled as a vegetable it is similar to British potatoes.

Now for a recipe:

dessert-1549271_1920 steamed

Khanom  man sampalang is cross between a cake and a dessert and is very popular here in Thailand. It is thick, hearty, smooth and sticky. A steamed tapioca cake.

You will need:

2   cups of grated Cassava

6 tbsp of tapioca flour

1 tbsp of mung bean starch

1/2 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of coconut milk

1 cup of shredded coconut.

Food colouring

Let’s Cook!

 

Put all ingredients except salt and shredded coconut in a bowl. Mix well for 5 minutes get your hands in there and work it until the sugar has dissolved.

Add the colour and mix well to combine. Add 1/2 cup of the shredded coconut and salt and mix together. Set to one side.

Put small cups into a steamer and pour some mixture into each cup. Steam for 15 minutes then either stir in the remainder of the shredded coconut or spread over the top of the cake. before serving. If you spread over the top then it is lovely toasted before spreading over the top of the cake.

Enjoy!

It was also time to plant some more banana trees as the land has been built up and there are lots of bananas for frying and making Somtam..A thai salad where banana is used instead of green papaya. These ones are for eating and the trees don’t grow as tall as the other banana trees the bananas are lovely eating ones and a nice sized banana.The rice has just been planted also and it is fingers crossed that this last down pour didn’t wash all the rice away…Time will tell.

I hope that you enjoyed this trip down on the farm. Some more posts on life in rural Thailand can be found on  my Niume posts.

I do hope that you enjoy my tales of life on the farm. This weeks post was going to be about our new baby turkeys which we went to collect on Saturday . Unfortunately there was very high winds and very heavy torrentail rains during this last week and the chicks got too cold and died. I was so sad as we were looking forward to getting them and settling them in their new home. The plus side was we got to see the baby calves one which had only just been born which will be our next acquisition. He was so very cute and beautiful.

Down on the farm..Star Apple

Down on the farm Snake Gourd Raita

Down on the farm our 1st Passion Fruit

Until next time stay safe and laugh a lot …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Down on the Farm…Jambulan Plum.

Down on the farm this Jambulan plum- tree is another tree which is bearing fruits for us and another one which I have not seen or tasted before now …It is so exciting all these wonderful tasting fruits that are coming into season.

Jambulan is a nutritious seasonal fruit found in abundance in Asia. It’s season is April to July. It can be found growing in forests, backyards and along the roadsides. Naturally it has a single seed . The hybrid varieties are seedless.

A purplish black oval- shaped fruit when it is mature has a sweet and sour flavour which can be acidic and astringent. It is rich in the plant pigment anthocyanin and if you eat too much it is likely to leave you with  a purple tongue and you may get the same feeling as I did when as a kid I ate too much of that sour lemon sherbet which made your fingers where you dipped and licked wrinkly and your tongue tingle. Who remembers that??

It can be used to make Jams and jellies but due to the very low pectin levels must be mixed with a fruit with high pectin or a commercial pectin substitute.

It makes a lovely accompaniment for pulao or a rice pilaf. Just mix chopped deseeded Jambulan with fresh yogurt and combine . Add chopped coriander and powdered cumin and stir. Taste and season with salt.

The pulp is used to makes sauces and fermented beverages like shrub, cider and wine. Now if you are wondering what shrub is ( and I was) it is flavoured vinegar. Which makes wonderful drinks with soda and ice or with cocktails…But that is another post for another day.

Jambulan Jelly.

13/4 cups of chopped and seeded Jambulan.

1 1/4 cups of water

1/2 cup of liquid pectin

1/2 cup lemon or lime juice.

7 cups of sugar.

Combine the Pectin,juice and water with the Jumbulan and bring to a fast, rolling boil. Add the sugar and stirring bring to a fast rolling boil for 1 minute.

Remove from the heat and skim of any foam. Pour quickly into hot pre sterilised jars and seal.

N.B: If the fruit is too astringent then it can be soaked in salt water before cooking.

 

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The Jambulan plum can also be known as Java plum, black plum and Jambul it is also often eaten just as a healthy snack sometimes with a little salt to taste. It is rich in vitamins,minerals, anti oxidants and flavonoids.

The fruit, seeds, bark and leaves all have medicinal properties and it is believed to have its origins in Neolithic times. In  India it is known as  ” Fruit of the Gods

They can vary in size due to the soil and the weather conditions but can survive and thrive in dry , humid conditions.

The seeds when dried and powdered  are a known effective treatment for diabetes. Bark powder mixed with the juice of the fruit is an effective treatment for coughs and colds. Leaves when they are ground are effective against dysentery and also for healing wounds.

Bark powder is also used as a cure for tapeworm. I am always amazed when I come across fruits like this as to how much they are still relied on in the villages  here as cures for so much.

When I got stung by a jellyfish a couple of years ago one of the ladies in a close by restaurant went and picked some leaves crushed them and mixed them with something and put it on my sting and gave me the rest to take home and apply when needed ….It worked..

At the time I was in so much pain and I didn’t ask the name of what she mixed it with or the name of the leaves she picked  but my point being she knew what to use and it was obviously a remedy which had been passed down.

I am not saying that conventional medicine is not an option at all as sometimes it is a necessity and has saved many lives but there are times when if we know what to use we can find very effective drug free ways to heal and cure ourselves and our families.

I hope you enjoyed learning about this little fruit I hope to bring you a few more I habe at least one more which is ripe and ready to eat so until next time.

Stay safe and laugh a lot 🙂