Monday, July 23, 2012

~Lamb Tagine~

Enjoy cooking tasty Arabic food and learn how to make Lamb tagine with dates & potatoes. 

Serves 10

6 tbsp olive oil
4 onions, thinly sliced
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
2kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 5cm chunks - Optional (I use chicken sometimes but lamb is excellent)
4 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp each paprika and ground coriander
2 cinnamon sticks
850ml passata (Tomato Puree)
5 pcs potatoes, cut into chunks (Recipe has sweet Potatoes)
350g pitted dates

Chilies to taste
Salt to taste

100g blanched almonds, toasted
good handful coriander, roughly chopped

1. Heat the oil in a large, deep pan. Add the onions, then gently fry until softened, about 5 mins. Stir in the ginger, add the meat (your option) in batches, and then fry on all sides until lightly colored. Return all the meat to the pan, stir in all the spices and cinnamon sticks, and then cook the meat.

2. Add the passata (tomato puree) and 800ml water, and then bring to the boil, stirring. Season well, then cover and simmer for 1
½ hrs, until the lamb is tender.  I have used chicken and turns out excellent as well.

3. Add the potatoes, stir well, cover again, then cook for 20 mins or until the potatoes are just tender. Stir in the dates and heat through for 5 mins. Taste and add more seasoning if necessary. To serve, spoon the tagine into a serving dish and scatter with the almonds and coriander.

Served with Rice and all kinds of Rotis.
*  This is one of those wonderful dishes that improves with keeping in the freezer after making.  It can be freeze up to months and taken out and add little water and reheat to enjoy.*

Potato Chops

I’ve got just one word for these:  Yummy! Potato chops are potato patties filled with a spicy meat mixture. As far as my knowledge dates back to my ancestors doing these chops which we call Bateta Champ (Potato chops) – I’m glad Potato Chops made it into Indian cooking! If you visit a Muslim ot Catholic’s home, you’re bound to end up eating these heavenly morsels of potato and meat :)
Each home has got its own secret recipe for the meat mixture and I can assure you each potato chop tastes unique. It may look a little difficult to make, but if you follow my recipe closely, these will be an instant hit at home! You can serve them on its own as a snack/appetizer, or serve it as a side dish. You’re in for a treat with this one!

Makes around 20 chops

What goes in?
1/2 kg of mutton mince, finely minced (this can vary with shreeded meat, chicken and vegies)
3 medium onions, finely chopped
1 kg potato, skin on and washed well
4 green chillies, finely chopped
1 large tomato, chopped fine
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1/2 tsp turmeric (haldi) powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 table spoon Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce - Optional
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste

When the chops are done:
1/2 cup fine breadcrumbs - Coat all the chops into breadcrumbs
2 eggs, well beaten
Vegetable oil for frying

How do you make it?
Step 1: Boil the potatoes with the skin on in a large deep vessel with 3/4 tsp salt. Once the potatoes are well cooked, turn the gas off and set aside. When cooled down, remove the skin and with the help of a potato masher or fork, mash the potato well. Add salt and black pepper powder to the mashed potatoes.  Roll into a dough (as in the picture).

Mashed potato rolled into dough

Step 2: In a separate shallow vessel, heat about 2 tbsp of oil. Add the onions and chillies and saute till the onions have turned a light brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste, fry for a minute and then add the chopped tomatoes.
Step 3: When the tomatoes have softened a bit, add in the turmeric and garam masala powders. Adjust the seasoning with salt. Finally add in the chopped coriander.
Step 4: For potato chops, the minced meat mix has to be very dry. So on slow fire, keep stirring the mince till you notice it turns dry (you will notice the mince separating from each other), and no water is left.
Step 5: The last step is to roll the potato chop. The key trick here is to have a very smooth mashed potato (with no lumps at all) and dry minced meat. You might want to grease the palms of your hand a bit, so you can work easily with the potato. Take a lumb of potato mixture and flatten on your palm, add a heaped spoon of meat mixture in the centre and fold the sides to a ball.  Flatten a little and you have the chops.  Roll into the breadcrumbs and keep all on tray.

Potato chop coated with breadcrumbs

Step 6: Take the beaten eggs. Begin by dipping a chop into the beaten eggs and shallow fry in a shallow frying pan, heat just enough oil for frying (we are not deep-fat frying, so do not pour too much oil into the pan). When the oil is hot enough, place the potato chops. When it has browned on one side, turn over and fry the other side till golden brown. Lift from the pan, drain the oil and set on a kitchen towel to remove any excess oil.  Serve with any chutneys, Ketchup etc.

Tip: if the oil is hot enough, the chop will not catch on too much oil. Usually fried stuff come out oily when the oil is still cold and you’ve already begun to fry the item.

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Say Alhamdullilah

Whatever happens is by the Will of Allah, whether it be good or bad. Sometimes we forget Allah when it comes to happy moments, but immediately turn to Him for the bad. We should always be thanking Allah (SWT) for His infinite blessings, even in the tough times. He still gives and gives and we don’t even ask. The mercy of our Lord is beyond.. Subhna’Allah. “Its better a calamity that turns you to Allah, than a blessing that makes you forget Allah”
Always say Alhamdulillah for everything….