I had not met my closest friends in Washington DC since Christmas. Caught in the mundane aspects of life, time went by. Then my wife and I went to India for couple of weeks in February-March. Once we got back I invited my friends over for dinner this weekend, and considering the great weather we are enjoying on the east coast in the month of March we decided for a grill cookout. I made grilled prawns with my mother’s spice recipe, saffron-mashed potatoes, grilled bokchoy and shichimi togarashi marinated mushrooms, I also had flank steak but that ended up in a disaster (More details on it down the post).
1. 1 kilo (2 pounds) prawns (shrimp)
2. 5-6 dried curry leaves crushed into small flakes**
3. 1 teaspoon (tsp) turmeric powder
4. 2 tsp black pepper powder
5. 2 tsp chilli powder
6. 1 tsp grated ginger
7. salt to taste
8. 1 tsp oil (vegetable/grapeseed)
Wash and pat dry all water from prawns. Mix all the spices and oil, and marinate the prawns. Let it sit for about 30 minutes. Grill on medium heat for about 2-3 minutes each side (If the prawns are big, increase grill time accordingly).
**I dry curry leaves by storing fresh leaves in a dry steel container at the bottom of the refrigerator. Check the container every couple of days because some leaves might rot or turn black. Discard them.
1. 1 kilo (2 pounds) of Russet potatoes
2. 3 – 4 ounces of goat butter
3. 1/2 teaspoon of saffron steeped in 1/2 cup of milk
4. 1 tsp grated ginger
5. 1/2 tsp grated jalapeno (make sure the seeds are excluded)
6. 3/4 tsp smoked paprika
7. salt to taste
8. Milk if needed
Peel and boil the potatoes till they are buttery soft. Add rest of the ingredients and mash the potatoes well. Add additional milk if the potatoes are dry. I like to leave tiny chunks of potatoes, so that the dish does not feel like baby food.
NOTE – I dont add cream or half & half to this recipe
Grilled Mushrooms and Bok Choy
Earlier this year my wife had picked up a bag of shichimi togarashi (Japanese 7 spice mixture) from a grocery store. I marinated the mushrooms (about a pound) with the 2 teaspoons (tsp) of the spice and 1 tsp of grapeseed oil, and grilled them at a medium-high heat for about 5-7 minutes, flipping the mushrooms periodically so that all sides of the vegetable got cooked.
I tossed the Bok Choy with 1 tsp of black pepper, salt and olive oil and let it sit for about 15 minutes. I grilled them at medium heat for about 8-10 minutes flipping them constantly so that the leaves don’t burn and turn black. Done well the leaves will turn crunchy and slightly brown in color. The bulbs should be soft.
The Flank Steak Disaster
My friends like flank steak so I decided to include that for the grill cookout. I have earlier grilled meat, especially chicken, with rum, onions, green chillies, ginger, cilantro and salt. So I tried the same recipe on the flank steak, presuming nothing should go wrong. Probably I should utilized the tool called the internet before doing this. Apparently dark rum and flank steak don’t go well together as clearly explained by Lucy Coltrane on her blog. Long story short the grilled steak was pretty uneatable because of the strong alcoholic taste.
I had two options – throw all the pieces away or try to re-purpose it. Well, being an Indian, I took the second path. Next day morning I cut the the steak into bit size pieces and braised them in a pressure cooker with water for about 10-15 minutes. It softened the meat and when I dumped the water , it pretty much washed away the alcoholic content.
And then in a kind of homage to St. Patrick’s Day “Corned Beef and Cabbage” I made a flank steak and cabbage dish a la Indian version.
1. a whole cabbage (about 2 pounds) chopped fine
2. 1 tsp mustard seeds
3. 2-3 bay leaves
4. 4-5 crushed red chillies (Tien Tsin peppers)
5. 1 1/2 tsp fine chopped ginger
6. 1/2 cup of fine chopped onion
7. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8. 1/8 tsp Asafoetida powder
9. 1/2 cup of chicken/vegetable stock
10. Salt to taste
11. 2 tsp oil
Heat oil and pop mustard seeds. Lower heat and add bay leaves, red chillies, and ginger. Fry till ginger turns crispy. Add turmeric powder, asafoetida powder and onions and continue stir-frying till onions turn soft. Add flank steak, cabbage and stock and cook on low heat till cabbage becomes soft. Overall the dish was not bad. My wife liked it and we had it for dinner.