Raan -sublime slow braised leg / shoulder of lamb

So…theres this slow braised kind of lamb which I’m sure had it’s origins in the Levant region or with the Ottomans.. in the middle east it’s quite the custom to serve a braised / roasted whole lamb for a feast.

Since we don’t have Tyrannosaurus sized ovens at home and because a raan is an Indian version of the middle eastern thing we will use the lamb leg . You could use a shoulder..if you like that’s perfectly fine . The idea is to get it so tender that when you touch it with your fork or fingers the meat should be easy to tear off ..kind of like the Galouti kebab invented for the toothless Nawab but not as melty..but you get the general idea.

The first step is to get a whole shoulder or leg of lamb, not too big approximately 1.5 kgs -2 kgs..a day and half before you want to eat this any faster and you swiftly lose the plot..its not meant to be fast food.

So

  • Lamb leg / shoulder bone in( better flavour)-1.5-2 kg
  • Plain natural yoghurt- approximately 200 g
  • Red chilli powder bright red in colour not crazy hot- as much as you like/ or 1/2 t
  • fried onions – approximately 2 T or 35-40 g
  • Ginger chopped/ ground- 20 g
  • Garlic chopped / ground- 30 g
  • Nutmeg grated – very small pinch .grate it fresh it’s better but not too much it can be toxic and and we don’t to overpower the meat flavour
  • Turmeric – yup the stuff they add in these new fangled lattes these days – pinch
  • Slit green chilli- 2-3 depending on how much heat you want..
  • Roasted cashew – 1 T ground to a paste .. this is optional but adds some thickening to the sauce and makes it richer.

So we are going to poke the lamb with a fork or the tip of a stout sharp knife , minding those fingers we don’t want you bleeding all over the beautiful meat.

Then we combine all the ingredients and rub it into the meat with some salt ..cover it all up and keep it overnight in the fridge .

The next day if you want this for dinner then you need to start in the morning and slow roast this with some water or better still lamb stock..

So the way to do this is keep it In a deep dish/ roasting pan lined with baking paper + foil underneath .then set your oven to 170C/ 375F . Add liquid ( stock or water) till it’s atleast 1/3 rd upto level of the meat . Then slow cook this and baste several times so it’s stays moist .

The liquid helps the break down the connective tissue in the meat faster and converts it to gelatine( but that’s the science behind it). We use science to make yummy food. We also test the lamb for doneness the old fashioned way.. poke it till the meat is fork tender .almost falling off the bone.. ( no this is not eaten medium rare or pink ) .

When youve achieved this take off the heat and flavour with some fresh mint and a pinch of garam masala .In some of our hotels we would flambe this with some dark rum but I believe this was more for the ” Oooh Aahh ” factor ..let’s save the rum for the chocolate truffles ..

Serve with hot parathas basmati rice or Turkish bread . Best eaten with a crowd as a part of a few more food offerings .more is good in this case.

Ayam berempah /goreng / KIND of …k…fried C WITH A tonne of flavour

The name is not really accurate it’s like saying grill fry chicken. Berempah is grilled goreng is fried so this is kind of hybrid version of them both.

Ideally made with chicken with the skin on cos the fat from the skin slowly melts as you cook it and bastes the chicken and gets cripsier yeah that’s an actual word that some folks have invented .

So in the world of takesaway and fried chicken places galore this sticks out like a sore thumb cos it’s slow not deep fried and needs some effort to get right.

The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say and it’s the same with me goreng..( see the pun there).

  • Chicken cut into 12 skin on ideally roughly 1-1.2 kg
  • Salt
  • Lemon juice or white vinegar
  • Garlic5-6 cloves
  • Ginger – 1 piece roughly 25 g
  • Turmeric – 1/4
  • Coriander stems- 5 g
  • Red chilli fresh 2-3 ( not very hot but not mild either)
  • Cumin-1/4 t
  • Star anise- 2-3 small petals from 1 star.
  • Chicken stock powder/ji jing – pinch

Ok we need to grind the above except chicken to a kind of paste / marinade and then add in….

  • Oil 30 ml approximately
  • corn flour- 10 g/ 1/2 T
  • rice flour- 20 g/ 1 T

Marinade and keep overnight atleast ..12 hrs.. the longer the better.

The next day , take the chicken out of the refrigerator atleast 30 mins before cooking. then line a cast iron deep saute pan with baking paper and arrange the chicken on it skin side down. Heat the pan , and keep the lid on so it stays moist and juicy. after about 10 minutes turn the pieces over to see that they are not burnt and cook some more. How much more , youll know it when the juices from the leg , when pierced run clear( or use a meat thermometer – to cook until 75 C/ 165 F internal).Chicken is not something you cook rare or medium..

You wont need any extra oil as you already had oil in the marinade and the trick is to slow cook it so that the skin fat melts aand bastes the meat and keeps t moist and juicy and gets crisped. the Rice flour and cornflour also help with that. If you want it crispier you can add a bit more of those and as in all recipes feel free to play around a bit to get it to the taste/ flavour profile you are looking for. This is recipe is not the stairway to heaven , merely points in the general direction .

You have to love the food , so that you get make it good!! thats the trick.

Sour dough -oil poached bread fritters

Actually we are cheating a bit by saying oil poached . I did that just to make it sound healthy. Well it’s great for your mental health when the little monsters you make it for say yummy can we have some more ….but it’s not really poached more like deep fried ..good bye right artery of the heart .

The dough does have oats inside so supposed to reduce your bad cholesterol.But if you truly want to be healthy then you will be and won’t be trolling the internet for ways for heart health.

The good bit is you can say no..Ahh who are you kidding , when u dip one of these puppies in the chipotle tamarind sauce all resolve melts away..

Without much ado..

  • Sourdough starter approximately 200 g
  • Water – 75 ml
  • Oats – 50 g
  • Flour to make into a soft dough- 300 g( can use a mix of wholewheat and white)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar- 5 g/ 1 t
  • Basil and parsley to flavour or you can add your favorite herbs or even kimchi..
  • Olive oil- 20 ml
  • Oil to gently poach…😆😆😆

The method is to simply mix everything and keep it till it’s very bubbly , then shape into small balls and deep fry poach in oil 😛

Nasi Goreng- just like INdo style

So there is this rice, fried rice, some say from Indonesia and some say,’Gulp, dare i say it Malaysia”Oh god, well in any case we arent here to argue over the provenance, but rather to look for the best way to cook it.

Since i learnt to make this from my Indonesian Chefs, one Nety Rudat and Harryson Tobing , im dedicating this to them.

  • Shallots or small red onions- 6-8 or2 medium/ 100 g
  • Red chillies non spicy banana pepper kind- 5-6
  • Garlic cloves -8 large ones peeled….with all of these there is room for give and take, depending on how hot the chillies might be or how pungent the garlic and so on.

We peel the shallot/ onions and grind it to a paste with very little water.

  • Cooked Jasmine rice- 2 cups/ raw approximately 1 cup/ 100 g
  • Oil for cooking- 30 g
  • raw chicken cubes- 100 g
  • peeled and deveined prawns – 100 g
  • spring onions -2 green separate and white separate sliced
  • Prawns krupuk- as many or as few as you like look for the ones wit mst prawn content, not the cheapie ones.( fry these in advance and hide them, they will disappear otherwise )
  • Kecap Manis ABC- ive put a photo of this in the saus kacang recipe- how much to put…is dependant on how sweet you want the rice too be.. it gives it caramelly tones and colur and offsets the heat from chilli garlic.
  • Salt or Light soy sauce-little.

The way to make it very simple. Heat the oil and add the chilli paste and saute it till fragrant. Add in the chicken and cook till done., when the chicken is nearly done add in the spring onion whites(no greens yet)

Add the prawns then too saute for a minute or two till they turn pink and add the rice and rest of the imgredients..saute it so it doesnt burn because Saus ABC is very sticky….

Serve with some krupuk, and maybe a Telur bawang/Fried egg, ( i dont put it on mine because i dont like eggs ).

How we discovered not to go fishing-or how not to be a drownded rat!

So this is a story not related much with food unless you say but theres fish on the heading. Well there is but these were not the kind that you ate unless your were Gollum/ Smeagol and ate fishies.

So imagine a city in Western India where you have a band of young peoples. Their names are Yash and Deep and they are typical boys who want to have a bit of an adventure as boys are prone to be. So these young scoundrels were interested in fish because they save fish in a tank at someones house. Now there are shops which sell fish and the paraphernalia to go with the fish but that costs mucho rupees,(2-3 Rs, which at the time in the 80’s was a fair bit ) which they are not likely to get ( or so they think), but they havent asked yet.

So in the are where they live lets call it the colony..indiranagar colony.

There they have other male children who have similar tastes. One male child says hey there are sugarcane fields next to the colony and ive seen a well in them. All the other kids are wide eyed/ OMG, he has been in the forbidden forest of sugarcane, where no living being should go.

So they set off on Sunday morning for this quest. The well is deep in the fields, and has a narrow set of stairs to go by the waters edge deep down. these steps were solid mud not brick or stone, so as the kids went up and down they would get wet , nay make that very wet and slippery.

When the kids went missing for such a long time, the father met up with another dad across the street and they took their black retriever “Bagheera” to track these rascals.

Back the well the kids were having a blast. Walk down slippery clay to the waters edge and crouch down on thee knees and with your palms try and catch slippery colourful fishies. they had collected a few in sort of container by noon. Suddenly they hear barking and a familiar voice calling out and lo and behold. Two dads and a barking Bagheera are by the wells edge .

40 years later i realise how stupid we were and so lucky not to have an accident or drown. None of use knew to swim and followng this we did get a fish tank with 2 and 3 rs fishes swimming inside till they all went belly up