Mutton cooked with green lentils

Here is one of the best recipes I’ve prepared till date! Mutton has been my favorite meat all along. In fact, I can have a mutton dish at least once, every single day! But in reality I try to restrict it to once a week or once in two weeks for health reasons of course, and most of the times I have it outside since it takes a while to prepare at home.

Last weekend I had lots of time in hand and so I decided to indulge in the very palatable experience. In the past few months I’ve come to realize something. I found that I get extreme pleasure in cooking dishes with ingredients I prefer the most. Even when I’m sorting out the ingredients, I start getting thought bubbles of what the food will taste like once I’m done with the cooking and the thought itself makes me very happy!! You may have already guessed by now that mutton is one of those ingredients 🙂

However, this time I was in no mood of having the same old mutton curry! Suddenly it struck me…. why not cook it with lentils? The thought itself made me excited! I had seen some middle eastern recipes in some cook books (can’t recall the name of the books) before where meat is cooked with lentils but I couldn’t remember the exact recipe. So I prepared the dish in my style. I used clarified butter (ghee) in this recipe. It gave an amazing flavor to the dish, but I tried to use as little as possible to keep it gentle on the stomach.

If you’re thinking of a recipe for a party or how to make your partner happy after a stressful day at work, this will definitely work!! 🙂

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Preparation Time: 15 minutes (excludes marinating time)

Cooking Time:  Around 1 hour 15 minutes

Serves: 3

Ingredients:

Cooking oil – 1.5 tablespoons

Mutton – 500 g (with bone). You can use boneless as well as per your preference

Green lentils – 1/2 cup, boiled in 2 cups water

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Red chili – 2 to 3, slit horizontally from the middle

Cinnamon sticks – 2 small sticks

Cloves –  4 to 5

Cardamom seeds – 4 to 5

Coriander powder – 2 teaspoons

Cumin powder – 2 teaspoons

Paprika – 2 teaspoons

Ginger garlic paste – 1.5 tablespoons

Clarified butter (ghee) – 2 teaspoons

Dried raisins or mixed fruits – around 1/4 to 1/2 cup (as desired)

Diet Coke – as required, for marinating (optional)

Salt – to taste

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Step 1: Add some grated ginger and diet coke to the mutton and marinate it for 30 to 40 minutes. This will make the mutton soft. Once marinated, drain the diet coke and ginger and wash the mutton properly. You can use other methods to soften the mutton as well (as per your preference).

Step 2: Heat the oil and clarified butter (ghee) in a U-shaped vessel or pan. Add the dried red chili, cardamom seeds, cloves and cinnamon sticks. Once they splutter, add the onions and paprika and cook for 2 minutes.

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Step 3: Add the ginger garlic paste, followed by the cumin and coriander powder. Mix well and cook for 2 to 3 minutes.

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Step 4: Add the mutton. Mix it well with all the other ingredients and let it cook for few minutes until the color of the meat has changed. Now add around 2 cups of water, lower the heat and cover the pan. Let the mutton cook slowly in low heat. You will need to let it cook for around 45 minutes to 1 hour until the mutton is soft. Stir the mixture at 15-20 minutes intervals. If the water has almost evaporated and the mutton isn’t cooked yet, add a little more and cover again.

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Step 5: Once the mutton is soft, add the dry fruit mixture and the boiled lentils. Stir to mix well and cook for another 3 to 5 minutes. Add salt for taste. Once you have the desired consistency, transfer to a serving bowl.

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Step 6: Serve hot with rice or bread of your choice.

A few tips:

  • If you don’t have much time, you can use a pressure cooker to cook the above recipe. After Step 4, cover the cooker and let it cook until 8 to 10 whistles approximately. You can open the cooker after that (make sure you eject the steam) and then follow from Step 5.
  • Feel free to use the meat of your choice as per your preference.
  • I believe adding cashews and similar nuts would make it even more delicious. I was running out of stock and hence couldn’t add. Try it out and let me know 🙂

If you’ve enjoyed reading or cooking the above recipe, do subscribe to my blog by clicking the“Follow” button and “Like” my Facebook page at the top right hand corner for regular updates. Help spread the joy! 🙂

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Tofu by the beach

When I sat down to write this post, I was thinking about the last 10 years of my life! Who knew I would start writing a food blog? Who knew that I would even start to enjoy cooking? If you had asked me even around 5 years ago, although I loved food, I was far away from cooking. Only after I came to Singapore I was exposed to all the different cuisines and it evoked a curiosity every time I went to any restaurant – ‘Wow this is yummm! How did they cook it?? What spices/herbs have they used?’ And soon enough I felt the desire to cook tastier meals and discovered that cooking good food at home doesn’t necessarily have to involve hours of cooking or hundreds of ingredients 🙂

If you think about it, there are several dishes which can can be put together very quickly with things you have at home or commonly find in stores, which makes each meal, each day, a happy event 🙂

I had a box of tofu in the fridge along with some vegetables and it gave me an idea – what if I use Tofu and cooked it in a different style? So today’s recipe is a  quite a unique combination of tofu and middle eastern style of cooking!  Although the combination  is different, you won’t be disappointed at all with the end result 🙂

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Preparation Time: 25 minutes

Cooking Time: 35 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Olive oil – 3 tablespoons

Tofu – 300 g, crumbled

Eggplant – 1 medium, cut into 1.5 to 2 inches long pieces

Carrot – 1 medium, cut into 1 inch long pieces

Onion – 1 medium, chopped

Garlic – 4 to 5 cloves, cut into horizontally into pieces

Feta Cheese – 80 g Raisins – 1.5 to 2 tablespoons

Walnuts – 1.5 to 2 tablespoons

Spice Mixture – Mix 1 teaspoon each of turmeric powder, chili powder, coriander powder, cumin powder, cinnamon powder, crushed cardamom and ground pepper to make the spice mixture

Coriander leaves – a handful, chopped

Salt – to taste

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Step 1: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a U-shaped vessel or pan. Add the spice mixture, onion and garlic. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes. Pic 5

Step 2: Add the eggplant and carrot and cook for another 5 minutes until the eggplant and carrots have softened.

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Step 3: Add half of the crumbled cheese and mix well (do not cook for more than a minute). Add salt as required. Turn off the stove. The eggplant mixture is ready.

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Step 4: Preheat the oven at 175 degrees for 10 minutes. Take an ovenproof dish and grease it with the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Arrange the cubed tofu neatly on the ovenproof dish side by side. Spread the eggplant mixture to uniformly cover the tofu. Sprinkle rest of the crumbled cheese on top. Squeeze in a few coriander leaves in between if you wish (do ensure that the tofu doesn’t break in doing so).

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Step 5: Place the dish in the oven and bake it for around 20 minutes (until the tofu has browned lightly). Garnish with few more coriander leaves (optional) and serve hot as a standalone dish or with bread. A few tips:

  • You can use cottage cheese (paneer) if you don’t have tofu.
  • Add almonds or other nuts too as per your preference.

If you’ve enjoyed reading or cooking the above recipe, do subscribe to my blog by clicking the“Follow” button and “Like” my Facebook page at the top right hand corner for regular updates. Help spread the joy! 🙂

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