Herbed Turkey Patties

Herbed turkey patties2

Isn’t it wonderful to have friends that readily share their recipes with you? Hannah, is one such friend, and we have a wonderful time cooking together and sharing recipes. Thank you, Hannah, for teaching me how to make these wonderful herbed turkey patties. It was great picking fresh herbs from your garden and using them in the recipe. I was so inspired by your garden, that I’ve started my own little herb garden on my deck.

I’ve modified Hannah’s recipe by changing the shape and served them for breakfast. Its a glorious fusion of herbs and spices – shallots, sage, flat leaf celery, cilantro, thyme, oregano, mint, and chilli flakes. The oyster mushroom sauce added another dimension to the complex flavor in these herbed patties. My family enjoyed every bite.

I made them for breakfast, but you can make them into meatballs as well and serve them for lunch or dinner with spaghetti and marinara sauce. They also serve as great little appetizers. Stick a toothpick into them and serve them with a dipping sauce of your choice. I even enjoyed them as a snack at tea time with sriracha on the side. You can use all the herbs or only those that you prefer. Have fun making this recipe your own.

Herbed Turkey Patties
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
Makes: 15

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 lb minced turkey
1 tablespoon finely minced shallots
1 tablespoons finely minced sage leaves
1 tablespoon finely minced flat leaf celery
1 tablespoon finely minced cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons finely minced thyme
1 teaspoon finely minced oregano leaves
1 teaspoon finely minced mint leaves
1 teaspoon chilli flakes
2 tablespoons oyster mushroom sauce
1 teaspoon salt, (depending on your preference)

In a small bowl, add the minced turkey, shallots, sage, celery leaf, cilantro, thyme, oregano, mint, chilli flakes, oyster mushroom sauce and salt. Mix it well. Wet the palm of your hands and make small lime sized turkey balls and put them on a plate.

Heat a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Add 2 teaspoons of oil. Add the turkey balls, as is, or flatten them to about two-inch patties. Put about five at a time in the pan. Keep the heat on medium and fry the patties for two minutes per side or until the patties cook and turn light brown. Remove on to a paper-towel lined plate. Repeat with the rest of the minced turkey mix. If the pan collects a lot of grime, wash and dry it before you fry the final batch of patties. These taste amazing, if you like fresh herbs.



True confession – I love Indian snacks and I can live on them. I would rather snack all day than eat my regular meals! Murukku, also known as chakali in Hindi, is a traditional snack from Tamil Nadu. It is most often made by mixing rice flour, black gram flour (urad dal flour), water, salt, and either sesame seeds or cumin seeds. The ingredients are mixed together into a dough and then shaped into spiral or coil shapes by hand or by using a mould. They are then deep fried in oil. There are a number of varieties and it seems like every household has their own secret recipe.

My recipe is fairly easy and if you follow the measurements carefully, making these light, crunchy, salty treats is easy. They last for weeks if they are kept in an airtight container. However, if you are making murukku for the first time, I suggest you start by making only half the recipe. I bought the rice flour and black gram flour from the Indian grocery store and they work beautifully.

I used the murukku mould with its three-hole disc to make these murukkus. The murukku mould that I used was handed down to me by my mother. I’ve included a picture at the bottom of this page. Back in those days, it was made from brass. I remember one of the handles broke and my mom had to have the handle welded back into place. It is now one of my antique kitchen treasures. Do any of you have kitchen treasures that were handed down to you? Please share your comments with us.

Prep time: 8 minutes
Cook time: 40 minutes
Makes: 40

4 cups fine rice flour
½ cup black gram flour, (urad dal flour)
¼ teaspoon asafoetida powder
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1½ teaspoons salt, (depending on your preference)
6 tablespoons melted butter
1½ cups water (approximately)
Oil for deep frying

Put the rice flour, black gram flour, asafoetida powder, sesame seeds, and salt into a large bowl. Use a whisk or your fingers to mix all the ingredients. Add the melted butter and mix again with your finger tips so the butter and flour turn crumbly. To make the dough, I used approximately one and a half cups of water. Use your judgement and add just enough water slowly to make a smooth dough. The dough should not be sticky and there should not be any cracks in the dough.

Heat enough oil for deep frying in a wok (kadai). Use the murukku mould and the three-hole disc to make these murukkus. Make a small ball from the murukku dough that will fit into the murukku mould. Keep the rest of the dough covered with a damp paper towel so the dough will not dry out. I first made about six murukkus on a large zip lock bag and then picked them up one by one and put them into the oil. That way the shape of the murukkus turn out better and you don’t have to hold the mould over hot oil.

Fry the murukkus, on both sides over medium heat, until the sizzling stops. Drain them on paper towels. Let them cool completely before you store them in an airtight container. Have fun snacking!
Murukku Mould

Tamarind Rice – Imli Chawal

Tamarind Rice1

Tamarind rice is a tangy, spicy, nutty, flavor-infused rice dish from South India. Since the dish is made with tamarind, it keeps well without refrigeration. I am sure you will remember that I recently shared my lemon rice recipe with you. Both tamarind rice and lemon rice are popular dishes made by Indian families when they go on picnics and long journeys. There are several variations of this recipe and each dialect in India calls this dish by a different name. Here are a few – puliyodhari, puli sadam, puliyogare, and imli chawal.

Growing up in Pune, India, there were tall tamarind trees right next to my home. I remember plucking and eating raw green tamarind pods with salt and chilli powder. If you’ve done the same, your mouth must be watering just thinking about it! Tamarind pods are about five inches long and contain seeds. When they become ripe the thick, sticky pulp that surrounds the seeds have a sweet-sour taste. It can be found in various forms at the Indian and Asia grocery stores – concentrated pulp, whole dried pods, solid block form, powdered, and also in liquid form in cans. For this recipe, I’ve used the whole dried pods which I soaked in water and extracted the juice.

Did you know one of the ingredients in Worcestershire sauce is tamarind? As the story goes, the famous Worcestershire sauce was originally an Indian recipe that was brought back to Britain by Lord Marcus Sandys, the ex-Governor of Bengal. He took it to a chemist in Worcestershire, England, and asked him to make a batch of sauce from his recipe. They kept the sauce in barrels in a cellar. One day, in the middle of spring cleaning, they came across the barrel and tasted the special mixture. It had mellowed into a great sauce. The recipe was bought from Lord Sandys and today you will find Worcestershire sauce on kitchen shelves around the world. It’s a great story, however, I’m not sure if it is true!

For this recipe, I’ve made the tamarind rice spice powder from scratch. Once you’ve tried it, you will not want to use the store-bought packet again. This spice powder has a long shelf life, so you can store it in a clean bottle and use it to make tamarind rice again.

Tamarind Rice – Imli Chawal
Prep time: 15 minutes (does not include time to soak ingredients)
Cooking time: 35 minutes
Serves: 8

To make tamarind rice spice powder
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
10-15 whole dry red chillies, (depending on heat and your preference)
½ teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon whole black pepper
½ teaspoon asafoetida powder, (hing)
6 tablespoons sesame seeds

You only need a drop or two of oil to roast each of the above ingredients. Heat a small non-stick frying pan over medium heat. Fry all the above ingredients in the sequence that they are listed, one by one. Stir constantly while you roast each of them for 10-15 seconds or until they turn lightly brown and fragrant. When they are ready put them on a plate. Let them cool. Grind to a coarse powder in a coffee grinder. If you grind for too long the sesame seeds will turn oily. So, be careful. You will use only three teaspoons of this spice powder when you make the tamarind sauce. It keeps well and you can use the leftover spice powder when you make tamarind rice again.

To make the rice
4 cups Basmathi rice
18 cups water
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
1 tablespoon salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil

Wash and soak the rice for 15 minutes. In a large pot, add water and bring it to boil over high heat. Add turmeric powder, salt and oil. Drain the soaked rice and add it to the boiling water. Stir and let the rice cook until al dente or almost done. Drain the water and spread the rice on a large sheet pan to cool.

To make the tamarind sauce
1 cup tamarind, (tightly packed)
4 cups hot water
¼ cup sesame or vegetable oil
2 teaspoons mustard seeds
½ cup split Bengal gram
½ cup raw peanuts, (you can add up to one cup, if you like)
¼ cup split black gram
5 whole dry red chillies, (depending on heat and your preference)
1 sprig curry leaves
1 teaspoon asafoetida powder
2 teaspoons turmeric powder
1 teaspoons turbinado sugar or jaggery, (optional)
2 tablespoons of sesame oil

Soak the tamarind in four cups of hot tap water for 20 minutes. When it is cool, mash it with your fingertips to extract the tamarind juice. Strain the juice into a bowl and taste it to see if the juice is tart enough for the amount of rice that you plan to use. Adjust the tartness to suit your palate. Set it aside.

Put a large (non-reactive) pan over medium heat. Add oil and when it shimmers add the mustard seeds. When they splutter add the Bengal gram. When they begin to turn light brown add peanuts and fry for two minutes or until the peanuts are almost done. Add black gram and fry them until they turn light brown. Next, add the dry red chillies, curry leaves, asafoetida and turmeric. Fry for 10 seconds. Add the tamarind juice. Stir well and let the tamarind sauce thicken. It will take about 20-25 minutes. After the tamarind sauce thickens, add sugar, salt, three teaspoons of the tamarind rice spice powder, and two tablespoons of sesame oil. Stir, turn the heat to low and let it bubble gently for three minutes while the spices blend into the tamarind sauce.

To finish the Tamarind Rice
If you make the same amount of tamarind rice as I did, divide the rice and tamarind sauce into three portions. Put one-third of the rice and one-third of the tamarind sauce into a large bowl. Toss gently so they mix well together. You can also use a fork to combine the rice and tamarind sauce. Once the rice and tamarind sauce is well mixed put it into a large pot. Do the same with the other two parts of rice and tamarind sauce. Cover the pot and let the tamarind rice rest for at least 30 minutes before you serve. Garnish with some fresh curry leaves.

Red Kidney Bean Curry – Rajma Curry

Red Kidney Bean Curry3

Mea culpa! On Sunday, my trigger happy finger clicked the Publish button by mistake and my subscribers received a unintentional sneak preview of the pictures for Tuesday’s blog post. I hope it built up the anticipation for today’s recipe!

Red kidney bean curry, which is called rajma in Hindi, is a traditional dish prepared in almost every home in India. It is served with rice or whole wheat bread. Red kidney beans are naturally gluten free, nutritious, and well suited for those on a vegan or vegetarian diet. It is a great source of protein and good for lowering cholesterol because of its fiber content.

This recipe is ideal for a quick weeknight meal since you’ll be using canned kidney beans and spices that are already on your kitchen shelves. You can also make this dish with dried red kidney beans, but you’ll need to soak the beans overnight and then cook them in a pressure cooker the next day.

Please note that you can adjust the heat level of any recipe that I share with you, by lowering or raising the amount of green chillies, crushed red pepper flakes, black pepper, garam masala powder, or red chilli powder. The recipe below has a higher heat level, so you may wish to adjust the level to suit your family.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of you that take the time to comment and “like” my blog. You inspire me to learn, teach, and share.

Red Kidney Bean Curry
Prep time: 8 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

1lb 13 oz (822 grams) red kidney beans
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bay leaf, (tej patta)
2 black cardamoms
1-inch piece cinnamon
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
2 cups diced tomatoes
3 green chillies, (slit down the center – adjust depending on heat and your preference)
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons Kashmiri chilli powder, (depending on heat and your preference)
1 teaspoon crushed red chilli flakes, (depending on heat and your preference)
1 tablespoon coriander powder
2 teaspoons garam masala, (depending on your preference)
3 teaspoons kasori methi, (crushed in your palm)
1 cup warm water
¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
3-4 mint leaves, (torn into bits)

Heat a heavy bottomed pot on medium-high heat. Add oil and when it shimmers add the bay leaf, black cardamoms, and cinnamon. After 30 seconds add the chopped onion and salt. Fry until the onion turns light brown. Lower the heat to medium and add the ginger-garlic paste. Fry until the raw smell of ginger-garlic disappears, then add the tomatoes and green chillies. Cook until you see the oil separate from the tomato-onion mixture.

Add cumin seeds, turmeric powder, chilli powder, crushed red chilli flakes, coriander powder, garam masala powder, and kasori methi. Cook for 30 seconds and then add the canned red kidney beans along with the liquid in the can and one cup of warm water. Turn the heat to high and let the beans come to a boil. Once it comes to a boil, turn the heat to low, and let the beans simmer for 15-20 minutes. Garnish with cilantro and mint. Serve with plain steamed rice or rotis.

Egg Biryani

Egg Biriyani1

Biryani is one of the most famous dishes that has come down to us from the kitchens of the Mughal Emperors. Being artistic in nature, the Mughals looked on cooking as an art. It was brought to South Asia by travelers and merchants. There are many stories about the origin of biryani but this is the one that I like best! It is said that when Mumtaz Mahal (the beloved empress of Shah Jahan, and in whose memory the Taj Mahal was built) paid a visit to the Indian army barracks she found the soldiers weak and undernourished. She asked the chef to prepare a dish that combined both meat and rice which would provide a balance of rich nutrition and protein and “biryani” was born. Biryani is a rice based dish made with a blend of aromatic spices and a choice of chicken, mutton, fish, beef, eggs or vegetables.

There are many varieties of biryanis and different ways of preparing it. I thought we would start with a basic egg biryani recipe and then slowly graduate to the more complex biryani recipes. In this recipe we use “potli ka masala,” which is the Indian version of a “bouquet garni.” It is unlike a bouquet garni in that the spices are tied in a muslin cloth with a piece of string and used in the cooking process. It is then discarded before the dish is finally completed.

The potli ka masala used to make different kinds of biryani contain over 20 aromatic herbs and spices and can be bought in a well stocked Indian or Pakistani grocery store. For this simple egg biryani, I put seven spices in a small piece of cheese cloth and tied the mouth with a piece of string. I used it to infuse flavor to the boiling water in which the rice was cooked. The list of ingredients may seem long and the directions lengthy, but try this recipe and I am sure you will be pleased with the results.

Egg Biryani
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 60 minutes
Serves: 5-6

For Egg Masala
6 eggs
3 tablespoons ghee
2 whole star anise
2 petals of mace
1 2-inch piece of cinnamon, broken in half
2 black cardamoms
2 cups finely chopped onion
2 tablespoons ginger-garlic paste
3 green chillies, slit in half (optional)
½ teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons chillie powder, (depending on heat and your preference)
1 tablespoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
2 cups diced tomatoes
¼ cup yoghurt
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
5 mint leaves, torn into bits

Place the eggs in a saucepan and add enough cold water to cover them. When the water comes to a boil, immediately turn off the heat. Cover with a lid, and let the eggs sit in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove the eggs from the pan and put them in a bowl. Allow to rest for two minutes and when the eggs are cool enough to handle, remove and discard the shell. Slice each egg in half and set aside.

Heat ghee in a large, wide, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add star anise, mace, cinnamon, cardamom and let the spices infuse the ghee with their essence for one minute. Next, add onion and salt and fry until the onion turns light brown. Add ginger-garlic paste, and green chillies. Cook until the raw smell disappears. Then add the turmeric, chillie cumin, coriander, and garam masala powder. Fry for one minute and add the tomatoes. Cook until the oil separates from the tomato mixture. Add the yoghurt, cilantro, and mint. Stir well. Add the egg halves and mix gently so that the eggs stay intact and are well coated with the tomato mixture. Cover and set aside until the rice is ready. You will use this pot to create the layers for the biryani.

For the Rice

2½ cups Basmati rice
8 cups of water
1 teaspoon of ghee
1 teaspoon caraway seeds, (shah jeera)
1 bay leaf
3 green cardamoms
2 black cardamoms
6 cloves
12 black pepper corns
1 2-inch piece of cinnamon
2 marathi mogga, (optional)

In a small piece of cheese cloth add bay leaf, green cardamoms, black cardamoms, cloves, pepper, cinnamon and marathi mogga. Tie it up with a small piece of string. This bundle of spices will be used to flavor the water in which the rice is cooked.

Wash the rice and soak it for 15-20 minutes. Drain the water completely. Add eight cups of fresh water to a large pot. Add salt, ghee, caraway seeds, and the potli ka masala. Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring the water to a boil. Let the water boil for two minutes. Then turn the heat to medium so the water comes to a simmer. Add the drained rice, stir gently and let the rice simmer for 10-12 minutes. Check by pressing a couple of grains of rice between your thumb and forefinger to see if it is cooked. If you find it still has a hard, grainy center, cook for another minute or two. The rice will continue to cook when you are draining it and also when you layer the rice with the egg masala in the next step. Switch off the flame and drain the rice in a colander. Discard the potli ka masala. Gently fluff the rice with a fork.

To Finish the Biryani
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro
6 mint leaves, torn into bits
¼ cup fried onions
¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
a few strands of saffron
¼ cup warm milk
¼ teaspoon orange food color, (optional)
2 teaspoons water
2 tablespoons melted ghee

Put the saffron strands into a small bowl, add the warm milk and stir gently. Put the orange food color in another small bowl and add two teaspoons of water to dissolve it.  Set aside.

Take half the egg masala out of the heavy-bottomed pot and keep it in a bowl. Put half the cooked rice over the egg masala that is in the pot. Scatter one tablespoon of cilantro, a few bits of mint and half the fried onions over the rice. Sprinkle half the garam masala powder, and dribble a little saffron milk and a few drops of orange food color over the rice. Arrange the rest of the egg masala over this and add the remaining rice. Sprinkle the rest of the cilantro, mint, fried onion, and garam masala. And finally dribble the rest of the saffron milk and orange food color. Lastly pour melted ghee over the layered egg biryani. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid and place it over medium heat. When you see the steam escaping, reduce the heat to low and cook for ten minutes.