I had to narrow down my pick eventually and sort of like thinking of cooking nasi lemak since it is possibily Malaysia's national dish. I've never made nasi lemak before LOL and kinda panic thinking I had to cook so many condiments, sambal and curry. When I saw Jason's comment somewhere that he hinted that he gonna submit that, I had to crack my head again. If you have been following my blog, you would noticed that I have this issue of tackling complicated recipes with long list of ingredients. So there was I, flipping thru all my local cookbooks and magazines sourcing for inspiration and recipes that have little ingredients and simple to prepare. Can you imagine how difficult it is for me? LOL darn!
It took me many days until I chanced upon a Flavours magazine pull-out - Flavours of Malaysia which was distributed with the Jan/Feb 2007 issue. I was overjoyed to see amongst the many, a complete meal staring at me. They are one of my favourite meal definitely. Boy, I was soooo glad!
I am submitting Chapati served with a Lamb and Pea Keema Curry; and Vegetable Dhal for this year's virtual open house. These are typically Punjabi's traditional home cooked dishes in northern India and Pakistan. Chapati is a roti or unleavened bread made from atta flour (finely ground wholewheat flour), water, a bit of ghee and water; cooked in a cast iron girddle. Keema is usually minced lamb curry cooked with peas or potatoes. The original meaning of Keema means minced meat, hence this dish can be made using mutton, lamb, beef or chicken but it is usually made using lamb. These are cooked with spices until they're dried out which is perfect to be eaten with chapati. Other than Keema, a vegetable dhal is usually served together with the chapatis. I was informed by my Indian colleague that Indian restaurants' dhal is usually vegetarian of nature where else the Indian Muslims or commonly known as Mamak version are cooked with bones for a better flavour.
I got to like these 3 items when my foodie colleague brought me to Santa Chapati at Jalan Tun HS Lee many years back. Later on we found out the tasty treats at TigerJit's at Jalan San Peng. We managed to discovered Tarmesh at Jalan Berangan (one of the road behind Istana Hotel) as well that serves excellent Punjabi cuisine.
This recipe for the keema is certainly for keep. The spices are not overly strong and I can't help myself from eating spoonfuls of this alone! Excellent indeed. The chapati is nice and fluffy, best to mop up the keema!
As for the dhal, it's somewhat very different in terms of the flavouring and it's very very pale in colour. Hubby said it was totally off which I think so too but the taste is great with the infusion of the aromatic fried shallots, garlic and chillies towards the end. This recipe came out to be somewhat like a vegetable stew or thick soup. Instead of the vegetables specified in the recipe, I've used eggplant, cauliflower, carrot and white raddish. I totally loved this, slurping them up as if it's a thick soup. I would like to rename it though, perhaps Lentil and Vegetable Soup would be more fitting. Looks like I'll need to look for another recipe to create a better dhal.
300g atta flour
1 tbsp softened ghee or butter
1 tsp salt
water to mix (approximately 275ml)
Mix together the flour, ghee and salt. Add enough water to work into a soft and smooth, but not sticky dough. Cover with damp cloth and set aside for 30 mins.
Divide dough into 8-10 balls. Coat lightly with flour and flatten with rolling pin forming a thin circle. Remember to lightly floured surface before rolling out.
Heat girddle or a heavy non-stick pan over medium flame. Slap chapati in between palms to get rid of loose flour and place on pan. Flip chapati over, press down around the edges with a folded paper towel. This will encourage it to bubble up. Cook no more than 20 seconds on each side to prevent drying it out.
Place chapatis on a cloth-lined plate, stacking them as you go along and cover with cloth to keep warm and prevent them from drying out.
Lamb and Pea Keema Curry
2 tbsp ghee, butter or oil
2 medium-sized onions (100g each), quartered and thinly sliced
20g ginger, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 piece cinnamon
300g lamb, minced or cubed
2 tbsp ground coriander
2 tbsp chilli powder
2 tomatoes (250g), roughly chopped
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1/2 cup coriander leaves and stalks, roughly chopped
1/2 cup mint leaves, roughly chopped
In a pan, heat the ghee and fry half the onions until they begin to brown. Add ginger, garlic and green chilli and whole spices.
Cook 2-3 mins and add the lamb, stirring until meat browns. Add ground corriander and chilli powder and cook for 1-2 minutes, add chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium heat until the tomatoes break down, then add a cup of water.
Lower heat, stir in the salt and simmer, partially covered, until lamb is tender - about 20 mins. Add peas and cook for a few minutes. Stir in corriander and mint, remove from heat.
100g yellow dhal (split yellow lentils, Toovar or thoor dhal)
3 tbsp oil (or 1 tbsp oil and 2 tbsp ghee)
1 small onion, sliced
1 small carrot, sliced 1 cm thick
1/2 small white raddish, sliced 1cm thick
100g vegetable gourd (Indian bottle gourd) or zucchini, sliced 1cm thick
1 small wedge pumpkin (120g), peeled and cut into 1cm slices
1 tomato (120g), cut into wedges
3-4 tbsp milk or coconut milk, optional
2 shallots, finely sliced
2 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 fresh red chilli, sliced (or 2 dried chillies, cut into 2cm lengths)
salt to taste
Rinse dhal in water several times. Place in saucepan, add 300ml water and bring to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer until dhal is tender but not broken. Set aside.
Heat half the oil in roomy saucepan and fry onion till translucent. Add carrot, raddish and vegetable gourd and cook until they begin to colour around the edge.
Strain the dhal cooking water into the saucepan, reserve the dhal. If necessary, top up with water - there should be just enough liquid to cover the vegetables. Bring to boil and bring down the heat.
Simmer until vegetables are tender (about 8 mins). Add pumpkin and tomtaoes, season with salt and continue cooking for another 8-10 mins, adding reserved dhal towards the last 5 mins. Stir in milk if using.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil and fry the shallots and garlic separately until golden brown, adding the fresh or dried chillies towards the end, so that they do not burn.
When the dhal is cooked, add the fried shallots, garlic and chillies. Cover pan and allow flavours to infuse. Stir through before serving.
Ref: Flavours of Malaysia, Jan/Feb 2007 Flavours pullout
Well, I have great fun this year and enjoyed those anxiety plus panic attack going round like a headless chicken searching for an item for this event. Come to think of it, instead of one item, I now have 3 items that compliment each other as a fullfilling meal.
Please come back tomorrow for the virtual party ok.
Saluting Malaysia's Golden Jubilee, I wish all Malaysians - Selamat Menyambut Hari Kebangsaan, hoping to see more peace, racial harmony as the country prosper on. Terima Kasih.
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