Recipes

The Food of The Kingdom of Bhutan

Bhutan has many many lovely sceneries… from the stunning views of the Himalayas to the gho or Kira-clad Bhutanese going about their daily business, to the monks and mini-monks, and the quaint architecture of their Dzongs and temples. Food was the least of my concerns while I was there.

Vegetarians would likely not complain. Most dishes are non-meat. There isn’t also a good source of seafood outside of those brought in from India. Landlocked, there isn’t much variety in local ingredients. For the whole week I was there, I ate a lot of potatoes, vegetable dumplings and yak meat. All that accompanied by mountain rice and lots of chilies. So if you like all that carbo plus the spicy chili peppers, you won’t have any reason to complain. I guess.

Chilies are a regular ingredient in many dishes in Bhutan, so it’s not surprising that the national food, ema datshi, involves a heavy dose of chilies.

Ema datshi is a curry made of chili and cheese – ema locally means chili, and datshi means cheese – and is eaten almost daily. It is very easy to prepare; cooking time usually takes just around ten minutes. It also requires simple ingredients, such as tomatoes and onions.

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Momos are those dumplings much like their Chinese counterparts in appearance. The fillings differ though. The Bhutanese version has vegetables and cheese, accompanied by chili dip. Then someone told me that there was Ema Datshi on the table. I’ve read about this spicy “chili con queso” and hoped it’s asking to my favorite dish of chili relleno. Seems like this is the national dish of Bhutan, the way the locals talked about it. I didn’t waste time trying it, and then……felt I actually turned red — perhaps with nostrils flaring, smoke coming out — after just a spoonful. So. Don’t tell me you were not warned! As they say in Bhutan, “If it doesn’t make you sweat, why bother to eat it?”

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On cheese, do remember that Bhutanese love their cheese made from milk from cows, goats or yaks. It is not your typical cheese though. But you’d find them in many dishes. Also, most hotels and dining places serve food buffet style. There would be a variety of choices , for sure. While there, I never hesitated trying the noodle dishes, the leafy green vegetables which looked like they were simply boiled and the potatoes which came in a variety of preparations! Best Bhutanese meal was in a place in Chimi Lakhang in the middle of paddy fields, seated by a window with a perfect view of farmers harvesting their rice. I’m telling you, the scenery certainly ranks higher in importance, regardless of what’s on your plate.
Dishes which I tried in my trip
Yak Burger
yak burger and fries -- not bad!
Tibetan Momos : Chicken Momos
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Spinach Momos
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Yak  Fried Stuffed Momos
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Fried Momos
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Veggie momo
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Tibetan Samosa
Yak Burger
Tibetan Bread – Pun
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Naan with Mutton curry
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Szechuan Mala Rice Noodles served with roasted peanuts
Szechuan Mala Rice Noodles
Cheesy pun for breakfast
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Tibetan thali with chicken
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Tibetan pun with spicy potato
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Thukpa
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Yak Chese Sandwhich
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carrot cake, with vanilla-caramel ribbon ice-cream, topped with a heavenly sliver of honey comb. Sin never tasted this good!
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Samosa Stuffed Baked Potatoes

Samosa

India’s popular snack that finds a place in almost every bakery or chaat shop – our very own Samosa. Savory comfort food at its best, a crisp exterior filled with a savory potato stuffing that goes very well over a hot cup of chai especially on a rain filled, cold day. Samosa is always store bought and on rare occasions prepared at home, like today.

Ingredients:

1 cup maida (all-purpose flour)

2 tbsp oil

large pinch ajwain (optional)

enough water to knead the maida

salt to taste

oil for deep frying

For the filling:

2 boiled potatoes, crumble

1/4 cup boiled peas

1/4 tsp grated ginger

1 tsp red chilli pwd

1/2 tsp coriander pwd

pinch cumin pwd

pinch kasuri methi

dash of lemon juice

pinch of garam masala

chopped coriander leaves

salt to taste

Mix the maida with salt, oil, ghee and ajwain, combine to form a crumbly mixture. Now slowly add enough water to make a pliable dough, not too soft. Divide the dough and shape into balls. Keep aside covered with moist cloth for 15-20 mts.

Meanwhile, heat a vessel, add oil, add cumin seeds and allow to brown. Add the ginger, spice powders and a tbsp of water and saute for a few secs. Add the crumbled potato and boiled peas and cook over medium flame for a few minutes, approx 3-4 mts. Add kasuri methi and lemon juice, combine. Add the coriander leaves and turn off heat.
Now that the stuffing is ready, prepare the outer layer for the samosas.

Roll each ball with the rolling pin into a slightly thin puri, slightly elongated in shape as shown in the image. Take a knife and divide the rolled puri into two by cutting through the center.

Now take a semi-circle piece of the roti, and make a fold in the shape of a triangle as shown in the image. Seal along the fold. Now place this cone between your thumb and index finger and place a ball of the stuffing inside. Wet your finger and run it along the edges of the dough with water and seal to enclose the stuffing.
Press the ends firmly so that the filling does not come out during the deep frying process. Prepare with the rest of the dough in the same manner.

Heat enough oil in a wide vessel to deep fry the samosas. Heat the oil till hot but not piping hot. Reduce flame to low medium and drop 2-3 samosas into the oil slowly and deep fry them till golden brown, turning them carefully to the other side so that it cooks on all sides. Deep fry on low to medium heat and not piping hot oil.

 Note

Its better to make samosas in batches. Roll out, stuff and deep fry 3-4 samosas at a time (batch-wise). While preparing the next batch of samosas, reduce the stove flame and carry out the process. When deep frying the next batch, see that the oil is hot enough to deep fry. Keep the prepared samosas covered through out the preparation process.

Making of ALOO TIKKI

ALOO TIKKI

Aloo tikki

INGREDIENTS

3 large potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
¾ cup frozen peas (uncooked)
½ large onion, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
1 tsp. chili powder
2 tsp. garam masala
1 tsp. cumin powder
1 tbs. grated ginger
1 handful fresh parsley or cilantro leaves, chopped
2 tbs. bread crumbs (I used panko)
4 tbs. flour
INSTRUCTIONS

Once the potatoes have been boiled and mashed, add in all the other ingredients.
Form into patties (you should be able to get 8 large patties or 10 smaller ones).
Heat a little oil over medium-high heat and fry a few minutes on each side until golden brown. Drain and cool on paper towels.
Serve with any kind of sauce you like (I served it with a cottage/ricotta cheese mixture, but I imagine this would be delicious with some kind of chutney)!

No Ramen, No Life, Say Itadakimas

I’ve been doing thorough research on great ramen shops prior to landing in Tokyo. Menya Musashi was on my list and I came here right after I checked into my Shinjuku hotel. WOW!! That’s all I kept saying throughout my meal. I slurping my ramen and eating ravenously, while uttering the same word over and over again – “WOW!!”The noodles were thick and perfectly cooked, the broth was amazing, and after trying out about 10 or so ramen places in Japan.

 Menya Musashi's ramen

Black Ramen

True to its name, the soup is a deep dark color and has all of the flavors you would expect from a Japanese-style curry, without the gravy-like thickness.The ramen includes a slice of succulent pork, spinach stalks (at least they tasted like it), and some cabbage and corn drizzled with basalmic vinegar.  The basalmic vinegar might sound a little odd, but I thought it tasted good with the vegetables and chicken, and went well with the flavor of the curry soup. It seems that no bowl of ramen in Japan would be complete with a poached egg, which beautifully contrasts with the dark colors in this bowl ramen.

Special Ramen

One of the first things that stand out about the special ramen is the soup — unlike the usual white tonkotsu (pork bone) stock, this version is a brownish combination of miso and tonkotsu that was very delicious. It also includes seasoned ground pork and fresh cabbage topped with a red spicy sauce, to go along with two pieces of roast pork and black garlic oil.Furthermore, Ippudo uses a thicker, softer, and curlier egg noodle than the white, thin and straight kind that normally goes into their and other Hakata-style tonkotsu ramen. I liked how well the thicker ramen noodle soaked up the soup. However, when you ask for kaedama (extra noodles), they give you the normal thin noodle with pad of butter on top. A little odd, but I still enjoyed trying both kinds with the soup (the thicker ones go better, though)

By the way, if you happen to be interested in tsukemen (dipping noodles) and are unsure about how to eat it, Ippudo has posted an easy illustrated guide.

Steps to follow

Steps to follow

Home-Style Chicken Masala (Indian-Spiced Chicken Stew)

It’s no secret that I love Indian food.  Love may even be an understatement.  Truthfully, I am obsessed with the cuisine!

This is a very simple recipe, really.  It doesn’t take long to throw together, and is quite forgiving.  You can toss in any stray veggies laying around in your refrigerator, and substitute the chicken with any protein you desire (mushrooms are an excellent vegetarian option!).

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Ingredients:

  • 6-8 chicken thighs (I used boneless/skinless)
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 large red onion- diced
  • 1 tbsp. garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 1 tsp. ground turmeric
  • 3 tsp. ground garam masala
  • 2 tsp. ground corriander
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground chili powder (more or less, depending on how spicy it is.  Mine is quite spicy.)
  • 2 large roma tomatoes- diced
  • 2 tsp. plain yogurt- whisked
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp. salt–or to taste
  • about 2 c. vegetables- whatever you have on hand
  • chicken stock, vegetable stock, or water- as needed to thin the curry
Directions:
  • Using one large pot with a tight fitting lid, heat oil over medium-high heat and add 1/2 tsp. cumin seeds. Once they begin to pop, add the diced onions and fry until the pieces become translucent.
  • Add the ginger and garlic pastes.  Keep stirring.
  • Add all the quantities of ground spices, and the bay leaf.  Keep frying.  The mixture should be quite dry and begin to stick to the bottom of the pan.  About three minutes.
  • Add the chicken to the pan and cook on high-heat for about 5 minutes, until the chicken has fully browned.  Add any vegetables you are using at this point.
  • Turn the heat back to medium-high and add the tomatoes to the pot.  Add about 1 cup of chicken stock (or water) and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down.  Add the whisked yogurt.  Stir it all together and then bring the mixture to a fierce boil.
  • Put the lid on the pot, turn the heat to medium and simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours–checking and stirring every 30 minutes.
  • Taste and adjust the salt-level.  Add additional chicken stock if the curry has become to thick.
  • Garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and serve with rice.

Dal Makhani

I Love Dal Makhani. It is my favorite among-st all the dals.. I can gorge on it anytime and every time :-). I think its very earthy and rustic in taste and that’s what I really love.

Here’s how I make it.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup whole urad (whole black lentil),
2 tbsp rajma,
3 tbsp butter,
1 tsp jeera,
green chillies, cut lengthwise,
1″ stick of cinnamon,
cloves,
cardamoms,
1/2 cup finely chopped onions,
1/2 tsp ginger-garlic paste,
1 tsp chilli powder,
1/4 tsp turmeric powder,
1 1/2 cups fresh tomato puree,
1/2 cup fresh cream,
2 tbsp chopped coriander,
1 tbsp fresh cream for the garnish,
Salt to taste

Method:

  1. Clean, wash and soak the whole urad and rajma overnight.
  2. Drain, add 2 cups of water and salt and pressure cook for 7 whistles or till the dals are overcooked.
  3. Allow the steam to escape before opening the lid.
  4. Whisk till the dal is almost mashed. Keep aside.
  5. For the tempering, heat the butter in a deep pan and add the cumin seeds.
  6. When the cumin seeds crackle, add the green chillies, cinnamon, cloves, cardamoms, and onions and sauté till the onions turn golden brown in colour.
  7. Add the ginger-garlic paste,chilli powder, turmeric powder and tomato puree and cook over a medium flame till the mixture leaves oil.
  8. Add the dal, salt and approx 2 to 3 tbsp water if required and simmer for 10 to 15 minutes.
  9. Add the cream and mix well. Simmer for 2 to 3 more minutes.
  10. Serve hot garnished with coriander and fresh cream.

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I must tell you, that the cloves really give a lot of heat to the dish. This dal tastes even better the next day, so if you really want the entire flavour to come through make it a day in advance. Just dont add the cream to the recipe. Add it when you heat it up before serving.

Serve it with hot roti

Potato Wedges

Comfort Food…
Hot, crisp, fried…well almost- baked potato wedges…
When they come out of a zip pouch…
Wow!
The smell of a buttery new potato, baking n its skin…
Slathered in spices and then dipped in a sour cream sweet chilli

Yum, yum,yum!!

!The best way to begin and end a meal…
The easiest meal to make…
Wholesome and comforting and loaded with calories…
Satisfying…mmmmThe following ingredients serves 2, or 1. hehe

– 500 gram medium size potatoes
– like 10 cloves of garlic (team Edward would be so scared!)
– water to cook the potatoes
– Sea salt by taste
– a bit Black pepper
– red chili powder
– around 3 to 4 tbs olive oil

First clean the potatoes, you can brush them a little, but watch the skin. Then cut the potatoes in wedges, cut it in half and then another half of the half.

Place the potatoes in a medium sized pan with water, just about till it covers the potatoes, cook this for 25 minutes.

In the meantime you can prepare the garlic, you can press the garlic with the flat side of your knife to remove the skin easily.421810553489651028_215344284

Then dice the garlic or use a garlic press and set it aside.

Drain the potatoes and heat a non-stick pan with olive oil. Fry a bit of garlic and then add the potato wedges to the pan. Give it a shake, add red chilli,salt and pepper and the rest of the garlic and fry till it’s golden brown.

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Serve in a warm bowl.

Enjoy!

Kheema Biryani

To show my love for you, I will learn, cook and share some biryani with you. That’s how deep my love is.

Everyone thinks that biryani is a very complex dish and very difficult to make, but trust me it’s the easiest and super delicious dish you could every make. So let’s go to the recipe.For this dish, you can use any kind of minced meet (lamb, chicken). Fragrant and spicy kheema masala are layered with the partially cooked basmati rice and garnished with saffron and nuts. Very easy to make and here are the steps to follow.

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Ingredients:

For Rice:

  • 2 Cups Basmati rice
  • 3-1/2 Cup Vegetable Stock
  • 1″ Piece of Cinnamon
  • 3-4 Cardamoms
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • 3 Black Cardamom
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 4 Star Anise
  • 1-1/2 tbsp Clarified butter or Vegetable Oil
  • Salt to taste

For kheema Masala:

  • 1 Pound Minced Meat (I used Turkey)
  • 1 large onion (chopped)
  • 4-5 Green Chillies (sliced)
  • ¼ Cup English Peas
  • 1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
  • 1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 2 tbsp Red Chilli powder (You can reduce the spice)
  • 1 tsp Nutmeg powder
  • 1 tsp Cumin powder
  • 1 tsp Coriander powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • 3 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • Salt to taste

For Garnishing:

  • 1/3 Cup Milk (warm) and few strands of Saffron (Mix the saffron in warm milk and set aside.)
  • 1/2 Cup Cilantro, mint, green onion (Chopped)
  • Cashews (optional)

Method:

How to cook Kheema:

  • In a deep pan heat the oil at medium temperature, add onions, green chilles and fry them until the onion is translucent. Add ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder and fry them for few seconds.
  • Now add the minced meat, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric powder and mix it properly on a high temperature.
  • Once the lamb is fried to golden brown in color reduce the heat to medium temperature and add the garam masala, red chilli , cumin, coriander powder and green peas.
  • Cook few more minute over medium temperature and then keep it aside.

To Cook Rice:

  • Wash the rice thorougly couple of times and drain the water.
  • Now take a pan and heat the clarified butter, add all the ingredients except vegetable stock and salt and fry them properly.
  • Add the stock and 1/2 tsp salt and cook the rice until it is just half done. Drain out all the liquid and set it aside.

Setting the Biryani:

  • Pre heat the oven at 325 degrees temperature
  • Take a heavy bottom pan and first spread the thick layer of kheema masala in the pan, now add the rice on top of kheema.
  • You can do multiple layers or just two layers of kheema and rice.
  • Now add the saffron milk on top of the rice and cover it with silver foil.
  • Cook the rice in the oven for 20 minutes. Once it is done just garnish it with nuts and chopped mint,cilantro and green onion.

Serve the hot keema biryani with cold raitha or your choice of accompaniments.

Pakora or Pakodi

Pakoras are something I grew up on. I love how how imperfect and rustic they are once out of the hot oil. And I love that they bring brightness to a dreary day.Pakora are a classic Indian snack food or appetizer, made by coating just about any vegetable (or sometimes fruit) with a chickpea flour batter and deep frying. They can be made from whole slices of vegetable or smaller pieces spooned together, and the batter can be thick or thin, crispy or puffy. A good pakora batter has lots of spice – which can include chilies, coriander. I’ve seen pakora made with anything from spinach to raw banana, but my heart will always belong to onion pakora. I’m an onion ring kinda guy too, and onion pakora basically scratches that same itch.In my personal recipe, I enjoy adding a touch of garam masala to my batter. I also adore the sweet and spicy ketchup chutney served with them.

Ingredients :

  • Onions : 2 medium sized
  • Chickpeas flour(Indian name Besan) : 1/2 cup
  • Rice Flour : 1/4 cup
  • Chopped Green Chilies : 1 tsp
  • Cumin Powder : 1/2 tsp
  • Red Chili Powder : 1/2 tsp (Optional )
  • Curry Leaves : 1 sprig
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch of cooking soda
  • A pinch of garam masala
  • Oil for deep frying

Method :

1. Peel and chop the onions into a small pieces and set aside.

2. Combine the both flours with salt, red chilli powder, curry leaves, soda, green chillies,garam masala and cumin powder.

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3.Add enough water to make a thick batter. Mix very well and set aside.

4. Heat enough oil for deep frying in a frying pan.

5. Take a small portion of batter and drop them into the hot oil.

6. Deep fry the fritters until golden brown and crispy and remove from the oil*.

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*Once the oil is heated, carefully place in heaping tablespoonfuls of batter into the hot oil. Try not to overcrowd the oil because it will result in greasy pakoras. Fry until the pakoras are a pecan-brown. Drain on a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet.Repeat with the remainder of the batter.Serve right away with tomato sauce or chili sauce, and enjoy.e71db326716711e28fba22000a1fb1a7_7

Puffy & Creamy: Phool Makhani Curry

“Cooking is at once child’s play and adult joy. And cooking done with care is an act of love.”-Craig Claiborne

Blogging has its own advantage. I was used to cooking same food with same ingredients before I started blogging. I must admit that the time I am referring goes back to the era of me being a novice cook and I was not in a position to identify and differentiate one ingredient from other, especially when it came to lentils and flours.

I remember eating Phool Makhana when I was very young. I heard that it is a Maharastrian dish(Of-course not sure whether it is true or not).Most of my friends also does not know what Phool Makhana is.Most of you might be wondering what this “Phool Makhana” is – which in fact I was also wondering until I came to know what it is. “Popped Lotus seeds” – It almost looks like popcorn (of course does not taste like popcorn 😉 . Here goes the recipe………….

Ingredients:

2-3 cups Phool Makhani/Puffed Lotus Seeds
1 large Onion, finely chopped
2 large Tomatoes, finely chopped
1 tsp Jeera/Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Garam Masala
½ tsp Kitchen King Masala (Optional)
1-2 tbsp Sugar (Adjust acc to taste)
Small bunch of Coriander Leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp Oil + Oil for Deep Frying
Salt to taste

Ground to Smooth Paste:

½-¾ cup Coconut, fresh/frozen
1 tbsp Cashews
1 tbsp Poppy Seeds/Khus-Khus, dry roasted till light golden
1 inch Cinnamon Stick
3 Cloves
3 Green Cardamoms
1 inch Ginger, peeled

Method:

Deep fry phool makhani in heated oil till it turns light golden brown in colour and place them on paper towel to drain excess oil.

Grind cashews, roasted poppy seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and coconut to smooth paste adding little water at time.
Heat oil in a pan and add cumin seeds. When they start to sizzle, add finely chopped onion and sauté till they turn golden brown.
Mix in ground paste and keep stirring for about 4-5 minutes till the masala paste turns light brown in colour and becomes dry.
Now add finely chopped tomatoes, garam malasa, kitchen king masala, sugar and give it a good stir till tomatoes turn pulpy, about 2-3 minutes.
Add around 1½-2 cups of water and mix in salt to taste. Cook this gravy on medium-low heat for about 10 mins, stirring in between.
Now add fried phool makhani and mix well. You can add little more water if needed depending on required consistency of the gravy. Cook on low heat for another 3-5 minutes. Mix in finely chopped coriander leaves and serve this delicious Phool Makhani Curry with roti, chapatti or rice of your choice.

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