Friday, March 25, 2011

Mutton Varuval (Spicy Dry Fry Mutton)

So finally after 5 years of marriage I can make my husband's favourite dish. It is indeed a proud moment for me. I mean seriously it means alot. Growing up when all my aunties could make super awesome curries, I would wonder if I would ever be able to cook like them. Whilst I still wonder, I know that I am on the right track.

In Indian cooking, specifically South Indian cooking, there are three types of 'curry' dishes. For example, we have mutton curry which are mutton pieces soaked in gravy. Then we have mutton peratal (pronounced pa-re-tel) which does not have as much gravy but is still 'wet' coated in thick gravy. Finally we have the youngest sibling known as mutton varuval which is completely dry, no curry in sight.

Mutton Varuval Recipe

Mutton (boneless) 1kg - cut into cubes

(A) To be blended to form a paste:
5 shallots
1 bunch garlic
1 piece ginger
Note: Chop all into pieces, throw in blender and blend.

2 tablespoons chilli powder
3 tablespoons meat curry powder
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon white pepper

Marinate meat with (A) and (B). Pre-cook the mutton using a pressure cooker:
Put marinated meat into pressure cooker. Add in half cup of water. Pressure cook for 15 minutes.
Set aside.

Note: I will be doing a separate blog post on pressure cooking the meat. Do not be afraid of a pressure cooker. It can be your friend. I will tell you how.
Update: Here is the post.
1 tsp fennel
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp fenugreek
5 cloves, 3 star anise, 2 cinnamon sticks, 5 cardamoms

Note: Not everyone knows what each spice looks like. You may google the names to see what they resemble. Purchase them in small packets from supermarkets and keep in air-tight containers.

3 big onions sliced
1 bunch garlic sliced
10 dried chillies (cut in half)
Bunch of curry leaves - remove from stalk use just leaves

3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 tsp salt

What to do:

Step 1
Heat oil in a wok. Pre-fry the dried chillies in hot oil for 20 seconds and remove.

Step 2
In same wok, fry onions then garlic until brown (about 5 minutes). Use a small flame. Add curry leaves right after and mix.

Step 3
Add spices in with the onions, garlic and curry leaves and continue to fry about 10 minutes.

Step 4
Add in pre-cooked mutton and stir. No need to cover wok. Keep stirring every 2-3 mins for 30 minutes.

Step 5
Towards the end, add salt and dried chillies and mix. You may even add a little bit of dark soya sauce for colour.

Serving Suggestion:
Goes great with rice or even chappati or just plain slices of bread.

Spices are very very important in Indian cooking. Here is an interesting link on spices I came across. I am slowly warming up to Indian cooking. It may take some time but it's worth it. Even if you don't have a mutton-crazed husband, you should try this.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

What to do with leftover baking chocolate......

You make Chocolate Vanilla Cupcakes!

So sometimes if I bake this classic chocolate cake I have some leftover baking chocolate. So this is what I like to do to finish of the chocolate and end up with some yummy simple-to-bake chocolate vanilla combo cupcakes.

What you need:
*Mixing bowl
*Muffin pan lined
*Oven pre-heated to 170C

120g butter - softened at room temp and cubed for easier mixing
Tip: To get butter soft and at room temp. just remove from fridge about 20 minutes before baking.
2 eggs - also remove from fridge when removing butter
170g caster sugar
180g self-raising flour - sifted
50g baking chocolate - roughly chopped
125ml milk
3/4 tsp vanilla essence
Pinch of salt

Step 1:
In most baking recipes on this blog, I always start by mixing or creaming the butter and sugar in a mixing bowl. That is almost always my first step.
Just cube butter and put in mixing bowl with caster sugar. Mix till both has combined well.

Step 2:
I add the eggs one by one and continue to mix.

Mix well to combine eggs with butter and sugar.

Step 3:
Add the vanilla essence and mix.

Step 4: 
Mix in the flour, milk and salt.

Tip: I usually add the flour in two batches otherwise things can get a bit messy. Using a hand-held mixer is easy and convenient.

Step 5:
Fold in the baking chocolate chunks. Meaning, I just add in the baking chocolate into the mixed batter and mix it using a spatula. Keep some chocolate aside.

I roughly chop the leftover baking chocolate.
Step 6:
Your batter should be ready. Spoon 2 tablespoons full of batter into each muffin hole.

They should be about 3/4 full.

Sprinkle the chocolate chunks you set aside earlier on top of each 'cupcake'.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 170C for 15 minutes.

Fresh from the oven. 

Truly a light cupcake with a hint of vanilla and chocolate combined. Zap in the microwave for 20 seconds (remove liners first) for a warm, fluffy treat!

I've also a variation of this recipe using raisins.

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