Crab cakes

We were grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s this weekend and decided to get crab meat. It’s usually very expensive and that made us think twice. But our daughter wanted to try it since she had read about crab cakes in a story recently and wanted to try them. Also, I had the Red Lobster commercial playing in my head, I guess…. which tempted me. It’s all good…. we all need to succumb to our cravings from time to time, right?

After he got back from work last evening, my hubby dear declared, “I am going cook some deliciously evil crab cakes… you guys will be left licking your fingers”. I rolled my eyes and walked to my daughter’s room to check on her homework. Soon all of us were at the dining table, drawn by the smells from the kitchen. I must admit we were left licking our plates indeed!!

Here’s the recipe for all of you to enjoy. It’s slightly different from the standard recipe…. our take on it. I hope all of you like it 🙂

Ingredients:

Crab meat – 16 oz. can
Scallions – 1 small bunch, finely chopped
Mayo – 2 tsps
Mustard sauce – 1 tsp
Garlic – 3 to 4 cloves, chopped
Green chillies – 2 (deseeded, finely chopped)
Bread crumbs – 3/4 cup
Egg – 1, beaten
Juice from half a lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl. Roll into small balls and flatten into cakes. Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the crab cakes till they are golden brown on both sides.

Serve along with dip of your choice or just try them as it is. They are delectable…. enjoy!!

Brunch at Meal Ticket

This weekend we thought of exploring something local. There is this really cool, family run restaurant on San Pablo in Berkeley called “Meal Ticket” that I had been eyeing for a long time. The name sounded different and it was featured in Diners, Dive-ins and Drives on Food network.

The food was simple diner style made using local ingredients and felt like it’s coming from a home kitchen. It looked delicious, the aroma was great and we dug right in. My daughter had berry pancakes which were scrumptious and topped with fresh fruit. Their baguette was really good and so were the scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms and pesto. My husband had the slow-roast pork with coconut curry which was divine. And yes, don’t miss the fresh orange juice. The weather in Berkeley was great, and I think that helped too.

It’s a treasure, I think I have found my favorite brunch place!!

Chicken Kofta

My husband had the day off on Friday and he decided to cook his special chicken koftas. Koftas are Indian-style meatballs in a curry sauce. In India, vegetarian koftas are also popular such as lauki kofta (made using bottle gourd and chick-pea flour) or malai kofta (potato and cheese balls). Chicken meatballs are fast to cook and tasty too. Here’s the recipe for these delicious meatballs in yogurt sauce.

Ingredients

For meatballs:

Minced chicken – 1 pound
Mayonnaise – 1 1/2 tbsp
Finely chopped onions – 1/4 cup
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 1/2 tbsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Bread crumbs – 1/2 cup
Egg – 1
Green chilies, chopped finely – 2 or 3
Coriander leaves and mint leaves (chopped) – 1/4 cup
Salt to taste

For the sauce:

Plain Greek yogurt – 1 cup (or regular yogurt, but finish with some cream in the end)
Fennel seed powder (saunf) – 1 tsp
Dried ginger powder (saunth) – 1 tsp
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Vegetable oil (or ghee)
Jeera – 1 tsp
Chopped coriander leaves (for garnish)

Method

– Mix all the ingredients for the chicken meat balls in a bowl. Now wet your palms and roll the mixture in balls and set aside.

– Whisk all the ingredients for the yogurt sauce and set aside.

– In a pan, heat some oil and add jeera to it.

– Once the jeera crackles, add the yogurt sauce to it and let this cook for about 10 mins. Keep stirring. You might see that the yogurt curdles a little bit. That is fine. It will come together as it cooks through.

– Now add the chicken balls to this curry one at a time. Let them simmer for about 10-15 mins till the meatballs are cooked. You could add some water if the curry becomes too thick.

– Check the seasoning. Add freshly chopped coriander leaves and a pinch of garam masala to garnish.

– Serve hot with steamed rice or rotis.

Bengali fish in mustard sauce

Last night’s dinner was fish in mustard sauce and steamed white rice. My family loves it, it’s hearty and fairly easy to cook. It is a simple yet traditional Indian meal. The mustard sauce can be prepped in advance. It stays in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.

Fish cooked in mustard sauce is a traditional fish curry from Bengal, a state in Eastern India. Bengalis are crazy about this and everyone probably has their own version. This is my husband’s recipe which he has perfected with memories from his mom’s cooking and adding his own twist. You have to be a mustard lover to relish this as it can be quiet pungent. So here you go…

Ingredients:

Fish (preferably steak cut) – 4-5 pieces

Black mustard seeds (small) – 3 tbsp.

Tumeric powder- 2 tsp

Red chilly powder – 1/2 tsp

Grated coconut – 1/2 cup

Green chillies – 2-3

Diced onion – 1/2 cup

Plain yogurt – 2 tbsp

Mustard oil (substitute with vegetable oil)

Sugar – 1 tbsp

Juice from one lemon

Chopped coriander leaves to garnish

Salt to taste

Preparation:

Soak the mustard seeds in water for 30 minutes or so. Coat the fish pieces with some salt, tumeric powder, red chilly powder and half of the lemon juice and set aside.

Sauce:

For preparing the sauce, grind the following in a food processor- the soaked mustard seeds, diced onion, coconut, green chilies, yogurt and sugar. You could add some water if the mixture is too thick.

Cooking:

– Saute the fish lightly in vegetable oil and set aside. You could skip this step if you want cut down the oil in the recipe.

– If you are using mustard oil, heat it in a pan till it starts smoking. Turn off the heat and let it cool for a while. Then heat it again and add the mustard sauce to it. Let this sauce cook for about 10 mins. Add some water if it thickens too much and keep stirring. Add salt for seasoning.

– Now add the fish to the sauce and let it cook for another 10 mins.

– Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and remaining lemon juice. Serve with steamed white rice.

Hope you like this…. and let me know if you try it. Enjoy, and stay “khush”!!

The smell of mustard is in the air...

Sunday night dinner

Dinner last night on Sunday was amazing. We wanted to cook something simple, yet nutritious. So here’s what we had…. Roasted butternut squash soup, mixed-green salad with home-made dressing and small oven-roasted red peppers and beans. To go with all this, Moscato wine, can’t go wrong with that.