Raksha Bandhan themed bad joke of the month

Last weekend was bloody fantastic. We threw a BBQ party of epic proportions and consumed damn near illegal quantities of alcohol. Paro had already given me an awesome surprise by dropping in right after her Singapore trip, so what had promised to be an awesome weekend, only became awesomer. We decided to stick to my tried and tasted menu and only go crazy with one hero dish. Here’s what the menu looked like:

  1. Malai chicken tikka
  2. Good ol’ Chicken tikka
  3. Frankfurters
  4. Paneer Tikka
  5. Chilli Garlic jacket ‘taters
  6. Spicy Grilled Mushrooms

AND..

7.  A giant 1.8 kilo Para fish <insert Paro joke here> stuffed with 750 grams of prawns and masala.

I haven’t been in a very writey mood lately, so this is pretty much going to be a recipe dump with a few pictures (see – I said ‘writey’. Is that even a word? Sigh).  Moving along – The marinade for my chicken tikkas is really simple. People tend to get stressed out over marination times, methods etc. but I gotta tell you this, folks – making a chicken tikka is actually easier than brewing a good kettle of tea. Basic prep for these tikkas involves squeezing lime juice all over the meat and salting it upto 70%. Account for the other 30% in the marinade. [I used the juice of four limes to cover the 3 kilos of chicken breast I had neatly tikkaficated (cubed) and washed.]

Next, get your ingredients ready. Line ’em up on your kitchen counter / ironing board / car bonnet and start flinging them into the bowl / basin / helmet / whatever the hell you want to marinate the meat in. For 3 kilos of chicken I put together this generic marinde first before separating them into two for each kebab.



GENERIC TIKKA MARINADE –

1000 ml Curd (I use packed curd – Nestle / Britannia after draining off some of the liquid. No whey, Jose!)
200 ml cream
200 gm cashewnuts (very coarsely ground)
Salt

Mixed all of the above and separated the Generic Marinade into two portions.

 

MALAI TIKKA –

To the Generic Marinade, I added:
50 ml cream
3 tbsp garlic paste
3 tsp black pepper (freshly ground preferably)
1 tbsp oil
1 egg

Tossed everything into a container and mixed well. Added the chicken (that was chilling with the lime and salt) to the bowl and mixed like my life depended on it. You can refrigerate this stuff now. Or not. I didn’t. It doesn’t matter if you plan to cook it in the next two hours.

 

CHICKEN TIKKA –

To the Generic Marinade, I added:
3 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
3 tbsp Everest Tandoori Chicken Masala
1 tbsp oil
1 tbsp honey
1 egg
Red food colour (optional)

Again – mixed everything with fervour and madness, added limed and salted chicken to the helmet, mixed again and chilled.

TIP: Keep tasting the marinade to check seasoing and flavour. Don’t be a wuss. I didn’t say eat the chicken. Just take a quick lick at the marinade and make sure. I really really like the cashewnuts to be chunky. They stick to the tikka and do wonders for the texture of the nugget.

I left out the egg and used the same marinade for the Paneer Tikka. No red colour either. I used turmeric to give it a rich yellow tinge instead. I cut up enough onion, tomato and capsicum to skewer with each piece of paneer, and we were good to go as far as the tikkas were concerned.

 

 

CHILLI GARLIC JACKET ‘TATERS

500 gm Baby potatoes (in their jackets)
2 tbsp Garlic paste
1 tbsp Cummin seeds (coarsely ground)
2 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Turmeric
3 tbsp Oil
Salt

Combine the ingredients above in a bowl. Prick each potato with a fork and then throughly coat them with this mixture. Abandon. Two hours later, when the young potatoes have lost all hope of ever seeing your face again, and are on the verge of tears, show up and throw them in the microwave for 10 minutes. They will get a nice warm feeling, get 80% cooked and feel reassured that Daddy does love them after all.



GRILLED SPICY MUSHROOMS

750 gm white button mushrooms (you can use just about any mushroom – even the red ones found in Super Mario will do)
2 tbsp Garlic paste
1 tbsp Cummin seeds (coarsely ground)
2 tsp Black pepper powder
2 tbsp dried parsley
2 tbsp Oil
Salt

I coated and abandoned these as well, but they took it rather badly and wept copiously. Do not be alarmed. Mushrooms are emotional fungi that relase water when left in contact with salt for long periods of time. They get over it once skewered, grilled and consumed. 😀

 

THE AWESOMELY STUFFED FISH OF EPIC GOODNESS

I gotta give Paro credit here. I wanted to do this thing continental – with croutons, garlic and peppers inside, but she gently reasoned with me <read stamped her foot, broke a bottle of jam and threatened me with bodily harm> and managed to make me change my mind.  Anyway, we managed to pull off something pretty damn awesome, so mad props to her.

Ingredients:

1 large fish suitable for stuffing (We used a fish called Para <insert Paro joke here> – a salt water leather fish that was about a foot and a half long and about 8 inches wide)
6 Lemons
Salt

Initial prep:

Clean the fish and score the sides with a sharp knife. Ensure that you make the inner cavity as large as possible. It took me a bit of work with my biggest knife, to make sure that I had enough room to fill up with the stuffing. Rub over with sea salt and lemon juice and allow the fish to rest.

The stuffing:
500 gm prawns (shelled and deveined)

In a mixer, combine the following to form a smooth paste:

6 Green chillies
1 bunch of coriander
Half an onion (approx 50 gm)
half a cup of grated coconut

Heat a little oil in a pan. Add 1 tsp mustard seeds and let them splutter noisily till one painfully gets you in the eye. Add the ground paste to the pan and saute. We were using large prawns, so I chopped them small and tossed them to into the pan. If you’re using small shrimps, go ahead and leave them whole. We cooked up this mixture, added some water and made sure the masala was cooked through. Once Paro was happy with how it looked, we set it aside to cool and I got started on the rest of the fish.

 

 

I combined:

2 tsp chilli powder
2 tsp turmeric
Oil
Salt

.. and rubbed it all over the fish. Meanwhile, we sauteed up –

1 onion – sliced
1 medium sized tomato – also sliced
a handful of curry leaves

Do not brown the onions. Let them get transparent and you’re done. We added some red chilli to this, checked seasoning and allowed it to cool.

 

Assembly –

This fish had been sitting around for a good hour now and it was time to start assembling the goodness on a plate. With Paro’s help, I started to spoon the prawn mixture into the fish. After a little while, I abandoned the spoon and got busy with my hands, elbows and knees. It’s important that you guide the prawn stuffing inside the fish, folks. I kept pushing with a knife and eventually, all 750 odd gm of the stuffing disappeared inside the fish.

 


The onion – tomato masala that we did was up next. This acts as garniture really – goes all around the fish and isn’t really part of the stuffing, but we figured it would be a nice idea to stuff the slits we’d made on the sides of the fish with this masala as well. Once this was done, using both hands, I carefully transferred the fish onto a piece of aluminum foil large enough to carpet the entire state of Uttar Pradesh. Wrapped it up and loaded it into the car. Before you begin to assume that I baked it under the bonnet of my trusty old Maruti Esteem, please know that the party was being thown at a friend’s place. (My last BBQ party saw a cranky-fool neighbour call the cops on me.) [Yes, I party like that!] {Yes, I love writing inside brackets!} | I’m the one your parantheses warned you about! |



Anyway, we arrived on the scene and got a nice little coal fire going in the BBQ grill. Skewered all our meats, skewered the mushrooms, skewered the almost cooked jacket potatoes and assembled the paneer tikka shasliks with the onion, tomato and capsicum. The fish, we lowered into the oven at 200 degrees C. I use salted Amul butter to baste everything I grill. A handy paintbrush that I bought at New Janta Hardware shop serves this purpose very nicely. The grilling itself is very easy to do. Put one person in charge of the table fan (essential to fan the flames and dispel the smoke) and one person in charge of chutney and your mother’s brother’s name is Robert*.

[If you get the convoluted joke in the sentence above, please email me, and I will send you your 300 points by SpeedPost]

 

 

While I tended to the chicken and veggies on the grill, the fish was doing its thing in the oven. I gave it the occasional
brush down with butter, but mostly gave it its privacy. By the time one round of kebabs was off the grill and in our stomachs, it was time to get Fishwathan Anand out of the oven. Piping hot, we served it up real classy. Plonked it on the table and handed a bunch of forks around. 🙂

This stuffed fish was a first for me and I’m glad I followed Paro’s lead on this. We pulled off a spectacular dish that I’m definitely going to do again. The kebabs too, were well received. On the vegetarian side of things, the mushrooms definitely ran away with the Golden Skewer of the night. All in all, a fabulous time was had by all and we made merry into the wee hours of the morning. Apologies for the lack of photos. Paro got sloshed and didn’t take any pictures. She’s going to make up a tall tale about how I forgot to carry the camera, but don’t believe her. 😛

Over and out!
No words. Only this image.


Over and out! 😀

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