Thursday, June 16, 2011

Curry leaf Masala, Potato Wedges and Chicken

All the spices for Rushinas Anna Rascalla Masala toasted and ready to be ground!
I am fascinated by spice blends. Every cuisine I have ever cooked has an all-important signature spice blend. Often these blends can even define the character of a cuisine (think Panch Phoron, Bottle Masala, Malvani Masalla, Chinese five spice). Living the Mumbai life as I do, juggling many roles, Spice blends bring convenient variety to my kitchen. A small amount added at the right moment can contribute characteristic flavor to the dish! In fact, often, just adding a different spice blend to a regular dish can result in new flavours. India being home to spices is a powerhouse of spice blends of course. But traditional blends notwithstanding I have been exploring my own combinations for a while now, here is one of my favoirtites for bringing South Indian flavours to the plate.

This Anna Rascalla Masala was inspired by the ingredients that are traditionally used to temper a South Indian Sambhar; the curry leaves being predominant of course but also the Fenugreek seeds. You can choose the texture you want. I like to grind it fine for curries, gravies dressings and soups but leave it coarse for things like wedges and meat rubs. You can store the coarsely ground version in a Pepper mill as well. Of course doing a Rajnikant sunglasses thing is mandatory!! Enjoy!

For Rushina’s signature "Anna Rascala" Masala (Makes about ½ a cup)

1 cup curry leaves, washed and air dried
1 tbsp Fenugreek seeds
2 tbsp Coriander seeds
1 tbsp cumin seed
5-6 chillies
½ c toasted sesame seeds
Toast Curry leaves on a dry pan till the curl up, turn olive green and become brittle and aromatic. Transfer to a bowl to cool. Now toast each of the spices; fenugreek, coriander, cumin and chillies individually until each of them darkens in color slightly and releases their aroma. In a Mortar and pestle or blender place fenugreek seeds and grind, then add cumin, coriander and chillies and grind or pound to a coarse powder. Lastly add chillies and curry leaves and pound. Stir in sesame seeds and transfer to an airtight container. Use as required.
Toasting the curry leavez, I love how they curl up!
then the Fenugreek...
the Cumin
and the coriander seeds
All set!
Start with the Fenugreek...
Add the Coriander and chillies.
Add rest of the spices, the chillies and some of the curry leaves.
Leave a little of the whole spices in when you crush the curry leaves for traction.
And Viola the Anna Rascalla Masala ia all ready!
Stir in toasted sesame !

Crush the garlic and add to masala mix, Yes I LOVE MY NEW MORTAR AND PESTLE!
Anna Rascalla Potato wedges (Serves 4-6; Time 40 mins to 1 hour)
I was planning on experimenting with potato wedges for a while but when I tasted some rather dismal so called South Indian Wedges at Beangaru recently, I just had to make these because it is just shameful to go wrong with so simple a dish. These make the ultimate easy spicy side dish with anything, great with pooris or parathas and dahi or Rassam rice, Sambhar rice, Sindhi Kadhi rice or just by themselves for rainy days and Sundays as a snack too. I kept the Anna rascalla masala I mixed up very coarse as I wanted the rustic mouthfeel and texture of larger bits of spice. They are fancy enough to serve as a starter for a party too. Just stick them in the oven and forget about them until hunger strikes. Being baked means they are fairly healthy and the toasted sesame add oodles of healthy crunch to the recipe.

1kg potatoes, cooked in salted water and cooled
3 tbsp sesame oil (Gingelly is fine but Toasted Sesame adds flavour and aroma)
3 tbsp Anna Rascalla Masala
6-8 cloves garlic crushed
1 tbsp Amchur
Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Cut your cooked potatoes into large wedges and place in a large mixing bowl. Reserve. In a smaller bowl combine the Anna rascalla Masala and Amchur. In a small pan heat the sesame oil and pour over the masalla mixture. Pour the resulting paste over the potato wedges and toss well. Tip the potatoes onto a baking tray. Place in the oven and bake until reddish golden-brown and crisp on the outside and cooked all the way through on the inside (about 30 minutes). Serve hot from the oven.
Add the amchur!
Add hot oil to the masala sesme mix ..
Pour spice sesame oil paste over prepped wedges and toss well.
Potato wedges all rady to go in the oven!
Another angle in case you STILL need motivation to make these!
Anna Rascalla Chicken
Anna Rascalla Chicken (Serves 4-6, Time taken 45 mins)
This is one of my own signature recipes, that also offers a healthy option to assuage our usual monsoon craving for Pakoras. Serve it dry with chai or drinks or lightly saucy for a hot spicy meal with butter dosa.

250g boneless chicken, diced small
2tbsp Anna Rascalla Masala
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
Salt to taste
2 tbsp oil
1 c shallots (sambar onions) or 3-4 small onions, quartered
1 c baby potatoes or whole potatoes diced, cooked
1 c Bhavnagari chillies or Capsicum cut in chunks
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
To make it saucy
1 c prepared chicken stock
2 tbsp coconut cream
Combine chicken, half the masala, ginger garlic paste, lime juice and salt to taste. Leave to marinate for ½ hour. Heat oil in a large pan or heavy pot add the rest of the masala and sauté for 20 seconds, add chicken pieces and stirfry till golden. Ensuring it does not burn. When chicken is close to being done (cut a piece in half if it is slightly pink and transluscent in the middle it is close to being done and if it white right through it is done.) Add all the vegetables, check and adjust salt stirfry until vegetables at tender but crunchy. To make dish saucy add stock and simmer till slightly reduced and then stir in coconut cream. 


thepickyeater said...

looks spicy n yummy ! thanks :D you're a fantastic writer rushina !!

Rushina said...

Aww Thanks very much Pickyeater!

Biny Anoop said...

wow dear...loved the picture depiction...masala ...i can smell from here and fab name

Snigdha Manchanda Binjola said...

Wowie...Your blog's getting tastier than ever!

Chetna said...

What can we use in lieu of coconut cream for making the sauce in the Anna Rascalla Chicken recipe ?

Ambika Bhatt said...

Hi Rushina! Can u tell me where in Mumbai can I find a mortar and pestle???