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Mutton/ Lamb Kolhapuri

kolhapuri Mutton

As much as I enjoy cooking, I don’t really dream about food. Yes, I think about it at odd times and places, anything that triggers an idea or concept about food, does get me thinking. But never in my dreams. Oh..Never say ‘never’ right?

It happened! This one time I dreamt of Mutton Kolhapuri. Now, to be honest I have a sweet tooth and I love baking. But why on earth of all things did I dream of Mutton Kolhapuri? *rolls eyes* Even I don’t know. I lived in Mumbai for the major part of my life but guess what…and to make things more perplexing… I have (been acquainted with Kolhapuri cuisine but) never had Mutton Kolhapuri, ever!

How could I even dream of something I really don’t know what it tastes like? Not even in my dream. When I had just served myself and was about to eat it, I woke up. Somethings in life, you just have to let be.. I guess, sigh!

Then on a usual weekly hangout with my cousin, she mentioned she felt like eating mutton. And since Mutton Kolhapuri was playing on my mind ever since, I decided to give it a go. I checked out a couple of recipes to retain the essence but have made some changes to suit my circumstance and convenience.

Kolhapuri cuisine is known for its bold fiery flavours. Although the curry looks vibrant, the spice wasn’t overpowering for my Indian palate. Also, when I made it, I served it with a mild pulav and a cooling mint raita. I trust you to use your judgement likewise.

 

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Kolhapuri spice mix:
Dessicated coconut (Khopra)- half a cup
Dried kashmiri red chillies – 4-5
Coriander seeds – 2 tbsp
Cummin seeds – 1 tbsp
Sesame – 1 tsp
Fennel seeds – 1 tsp
Cinnamon stick – half a stick
Black peppercorns – 5-6
Fenugreek seeds – 1 tsp

Grind the above (WITHOUT ADDING WATER) to a dry spice mix. You can prepare this mix in advance and store it refrigerated in an airtight container for upto 2-3 days.
Kashmiri chillies provide a nice fiery red colour to the dish without the extra heat. Avoid using any other variant.
Note: Use only dessicated coconut and not fresh grated coconut. Many recipes I came across use an addition of poppy seeds as well to the above list of ingredients. However, since it is banned in Dubai, I had none at hand and skipped it. Nevertheless, I am completely satisfied with the way the curry turned out even without it.

Marinate the mutton/lamb:
Note: In India, we use goats meat,generally referred to as mutton to prepare this dish. My supermarket labeling here mentioned lamb.

Mutton/Lamb (stew cut) – 650 gms rinse under running water to clean
Garlic-Ginger paste – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 3/4th tsp
Lemon Juice – juice of 1&1/2 – 2 small indian lemons
Salt to taste (1 tsp)
Mix all the above ingredients and keep it aside for 40 mins – 1 hr.

Prepare the Kolhapuri curry:
Ghee/ Clarified butter – 1 & 1/2 tbsp
Black peppercorns – 4-5
Cloves – 4-5
Cinnamon stick – half a stick
Bayleaf (dried) – 2-3 slightly crushed
Onions – 2 medium sliced
Garlic – 2 cloves chopped
Kolhapuri spice mix – the entire qty from the above mentioned spice mix recipe
Salt – to taste/half a tsp
Tomatoes – 2 medium chopped
Marinated mutton/lamb
Coriander leaves – chopped – for garnishing

  • In a pressure cooker, add ghee. When it starts to heat up, add peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon and bayleaf.
  • After a minute, add onions and garlic and saute till the onions turn golden.
  • Once the onions turn golden, add the kolhapuri spice mix, tomatoes and salt.
  • Saute the tomatoes for a min and add the marinated mutton along with any water residue from the marination.
  • Give it a good stir and pressure cook it for about 4-5 whistles for well done and tender meat.
  • Once done, turn off the heat and allow the cooker to cool down a bit. Check and adjust the salt to taste and add chopped coriander to garnish.
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Rediscovering the joy of baking

‘You only need to see, feel and act from the heart. Let the heart guide you to your peaceful enlightenment’.   – (from the movie) Kung Fu Panda

Baking with sheer pleasure

It seems like ages ago, the time when I found absolute joy in baking. The idea of baking seemed so exciting, purely based on novelty, because back then baking still wasn’t a part of cooking the regular meals in most Indian households. Cakes, for celebrating occasions like birthdays, were only bought from stores. I loved being able to make a happy moment special by baking (a cake). As my hunger to learn more about this art thrived, I found myself reading several blogs, clipping recipes from magazines, buying cookbooks, all in an attempt to improve my baking skills, to learn other baking techniques and trying different things apart from cakes.

The smiles on the faces of loved ones as they walk into a room engulfed with the heady aroma wafting out of the oven. The happiness reflecting in their eyes, something that if it could be put into words it would express the gratitude they felt on realizing that I would take the trouble of going an extra mile, to give from the bottom of my heart and let them know they mean a lot to me. Baking was heartfelt. Like a personal handmade card, however imperfect, giving away signs of amateurish craftsmanship, but enveloped with immense love. That joy gave me a high.

Along the way, I discovered blogging. There were so many blogs that I was learning from, I wanted to share the lessons I learnt, as well. So that someone, somewhere may not make the mistakes I did, that they may be inspired to try something new, and partly for me to document my journey.

The Lull

But slowly, numbers occupied the thoughts which were once only reserved for ideas. Disappointment crept in when I felt ‘left behind’. Those that started after me were far ahead now. Inspiration for ideas turned into an ugly competition analysis. I was angry with myself for not doing enough when others posted every week. I consoled myself in the most pathetic manner of justifying that others had ‘benefits’ that I did not. Support, either to take pictures or style, while I am here all by myself, baking, writing, taking pictures, juggling a full time job and a social life. These thoughts were exhausting, it drained out all my enthusiasm which also led to not feeling motivated enough to even attempt anything new.

Moment of Epiphany

All this only reinstated how my blog just wasn’t where it was supposed to be. But where am I/ my blog supposed to be? For a person blogging with ‘x’ number of years, what does the growth chart look like? Monetizing the blog? Growing in number of followers? Expanding horizons to x, y, z other things related to baking?  Yes, but who defines all this for me? Why?

I respect bloggers, whose sheer hard work has helped them scale and achieve things for themselves. But I was wrong to compete or compare myself to them or try to walk in their path. To be well known/ established like other renowned bloggers is not the reason I started baking or blogging. We may be in the same genre of the blogging world but we are different, our vision and mission for our blogs are different, our ideas and circumstances are different. The only way to move forward is to leverage our strengths and stay true to our purpose, to ourselves.

I am where I am meant to be. I still have everything on my side, the advantages in fact even more than that I once had, in my happily baking and blogging phase. I have drowned out the noise that distracts me and zoned out of the things that don’t matter to me. I am no longer in a race to chase numbers or beat myself up for not making it to any awards list. I have decided to stay true to my purpose and let things fall in place. For me, rediscovering my passion is success. Getting myself together and blogging again is an achievement. Sharing a recipe worth inspiring you to bake/cook is an accomplishment.

Today, as I bake, I am happy to try out something new. I am happy to linger on in the moment with hands covered in flour. I feel the supple dough ready to be transformed. The house is filled with the aroma of bread again. My thoughts float towards thinking of his reaction when he returns home. I hope he likes it too.

I have written this to serve as a reminder to myself, lest I forget the joy of baking.


P.S: I didn’t know ‘slow blogging’ was a thing until I found these articles. If you enjoy the thrill of being under constant pressure and do not agree with this, it’s ok. Maybe that’s what drives you. We need not all fall in the same category, right?
Slow blogging for creatives by Jen CarringtonSlow blogging for creatives by Jen Carrington
Slow blogging and Simple living by Dan Erickson

Summer coolers to beat the heat, desi style!

Indian summers can get really mean. Being closer to the equator means it is bound to get really hot. But with temperatures soaring above 35 degrees Celsius, it just requires a lot of self restrain to avoid complaining (read swearing) about the heat.

The droplets of sweat tricking down the forehead, in this hot furnace like atmosphere just makes you want to dunk yourself in a bucket full of ice. While the sweltering heat does render the throat parched dry, staying hydrated is the solution. But wait before you grab your next cola! Though the chilled bubbly drinks may seem momentarily enticing, why don’t you beat the heat with these desi coolers?

Here are my top picks for the summer:
1. Lemonade/ Nimbu paani lime-soda-pop
A lemon wedge can add spitz to your drooping spirits. An instantly refreshing drink that you can have either Sweet or Salty or just have it sprinkled with some rock salt masala.
Image credit: wisegeek

 

 

 

 

2. Sugarcane juice/ Ganney ka ras
Sugarcane-JuiceAs the sugarcanes are passed through the pressing wheels, you just wait for the vendor to pour it over a glass of chilled ice. Chilled, sweet and simple, this is one perfect drink for any weary traveller. No wonder you will find them located just outside every railway station.
Image credit: bharatdiscovery

 

 

 

TenderCoconut

 

3. Tender Coconut water/ Naariyal paani
Is not just for sick people! While you might not be able to judge the quantity of water or whether it will be sweet enough, it surely will work well for your body. And if you are lucky you might also get to eat some tender coconut from the shell.
Image credit: medindia

 

4. Falooda Falooda
A milk based drink with flavoured syrup, soaked chia seeds (sabja) and cooked vermicelli, topped with a scoop of ice cream. The falooda takes on a dual role of a refreshing drink as well as a dessert. The chia seeds are considered to have cooling properties. Soak them over night and have them the next day with a tall glass of cold milk.

 

 

5. Lassi/ Mango Lassi lassi
This yoghurt based creamy drink is a downright refresher after any spicy meal. Just to extract all the summer goodness from a glass, try the Mango flavoured Lassi. And after a glass of Lassi, do instagram your pic sporting the Lassi moustache 😉
Image credit: laweekly

 

 

 

6. buttermilk Spiced Buttermilk/Chaas
If you find the thick and creamy lassi a bit too heavy, you can opt for the lighter non sweet version, spiced buttermilk/ Chaas. A dash of ginger and a bit of chilly can add enough zing to your drink. You can it plain as well, if you like.
Image credit: lifestyle.yahoo

 

 

 

 

While the above mentioned are easily available, also look out for Aam Panna ( a drink made using raw mango pulp) and Kokum Sherbet.

Stay real cool this summer, opt for natural coolers!