Four Clan Kitchen

What we eat everyday

Archive for June, 2010

Frozen Mango Custard

Posted by fourclankitchen on June 27, 2010

If you grew up in India like I did and Freud got you in one of those free association word games and said: Summer?.  You would respond immediately, Mangoes!.  Fortunately, mangoes in the US have come a long way and now you can get quite lovely mangoes, which are not fibrous and blend sweet and tangy perfectly. When you get your hands on a few of these and are stupid enough to put them in the back of the fridge so that they have frozen and thawed, well, you make frozen custard. I got this recipe from  J.G. who got it from some magazine (so this is not an original: I will do a citation soon as I find out what the original source is).


3 small Ataulfo or Manilla mangoes (about 1 ¼ cup puree)

1 tbs. lemon juice

1 cup sugar

4 egg yolks

¾ cup milk

½ cup heavy whipping cream

Peel, deseed and cube the mangoes.  Blend the mango and lemon juice in a blender/food processor until completely smooth.  If the mango pulp is fibrous, pass through a sieve.  Ataulfo mangoes will not require this.

Separate yolks in a medium sized bowl.  Add the sugar and beat the yolks and sugar with a hand held mixer till light yellow and foamy, about 5 min.

In a medium sized saucepan, boil milk and cream on the stove, stirring constantly.  Don’t let the cream separate out. When the mixture just begins to boil, turn off the stove and add half the cream-milk mix to the yolk-sugar mix whisking constantly, so that the egg does not set. Then add this mix to the remaining cream and milk and cook on low with constant stirring, until the custard starts to thicken and coats the back of a spoon. This will not take long, about 5 min.

If you are persnickety, you can pass the mix through a sieve or blend till smooth using a hand mixer. Otherwise, cool the custard in the fridge overnight.  Prior to putting it in the ice cream maker, place custard in the freezer for 10-15 min.  Then make the gelato according to the instructions in your ice cream machine or till the custard thickens to your liking. Serve immediately and freeze any unused portion.

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Squash Potato Poppy Seed Curry from Bengal (Squash Alu Posto)

Posted by fourclankitchen on June 18, 2010

Bengali cuisine is among the most delectable and intricate of the great cuisines of India.  I grew up eating this stuff, but never got around to craving it.  In my recent trips to Kolkata, I eat this stuff and wonder why the heck I have not figured out how to make this awesome food.  This curry is typically made with ridged gourd (jhinga/jhinge), which is not sold in most grocery stores in the US.  Since a trek to the Indian store is usually a chore, I make this with the more readily available summer squash or zucchini.

In addition to the usual Indian spices, Bengali curries are often tempered with panch phoran, a five seed mix where the flavors of Nigella/onion seed/Kalonji/kalonchoe dominate. Another flavor that is stereotypic of Bengali cuisine is mustard oil, which has a pungent, wasabi-like aroma and has been recently re-installed in the pantheon of good fats. The gravy is thickened with crushed poppy seeds, which give the curry a nutty flavor.  Finally, it is enriched with yoghurt.

2 medium sized potatoes, cooked for 5 min. in the microwave, cut into cubes

4 medium sized squashes, peeled and cut into ¾” pieces

1medium sized onion, coarsely chopped

3 ½ tbs. vegetable oil, divided

½ tbs. mustard oil.

4 cloves garlic, peeled

1 “ ginger, coarsely chopped

1-2 thai bird peppers (optional)

2.5 tbs. poppy seeds, ground to a fine paste in a coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle if you have it.

1 tsp panchphoron

1-2 bay leaves

1 tsp ground coriander seeds

½ tsp ground turmeric

1 tsp paprika

½ tsp garam masala

½ tsp sugar

pinch of asafetida/hing

2 tbs. yoghurt  (whole fat, please)

2 cups water

Salt to taste

Squeeze of lime juice (optional)

Cilantro for garnish

Heat 2 tbs. of vegetable oil to a thin-walled cast iron wok, or any large pot.  When hot, add the potatoes and squash. Add salt to taste and stir-fry till the vegetable are cooked through and start to caramelize a bit, about 5-10 min (depending on how finely you have chopped the squash and potatoes and what kind of pot you are using).  In a food processor, finely puree onions, garlic, ginger and bird peppers (if using).  In a coffee grinder, finely grind the poppy seeds.  Then add to the food processor and pulse to mix with the onion-puree.

Heat the remaining oil, and add the pancphoran, hing, bay leaves and stir till fragrant: a min or so.  Then add the onion puree and stir fry-until the mixture has browned and releases some the oil, about 5-7 min.  Then add the coriander, turmeric and paprika.  Stir fry for a few min. then add the yoghurt, a little at a time and fully incorporate it into the onion paste.  Now add the squash and potatoes and fully coat in the paste. Add salt. Then add the water and allow to come to a full boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 min.  Add the garam masala, mustard oil and sugar. Then add a squeeze of lime juice and cilantro, if using. Taste and adjust the salt.  Let cool for a few minutes so that the gravy thickens (I took the picture before it thickened). Serve with rice.

Posted in Indian Food, Main Dishes, Side Dishes, Vegetarian | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chinese Minced Chicken with Cabbage (or Chicken in Lettuce Wraps)

Posted by fourclankitchen on June 5, 2010

This is a version of  the minced chicken in lettuce wraps sold as an appetizer in Chinese restaurants.  I have just added cabbage and carrots to this dish to make it a 1 pot meal. I used the soy chun (oyster flavored soy sauce, available at Whole Foods) for flavoring the dish. It is a sweet thick soy sauce, not unlike kecap manis, but any thick sweet soy sauce will do.   This dish makes no claims to being the “real deal”, but the taste comes pretty close.  Serve with lettuce leaves as an appetizer or eat as a main course with rice.


3 ½ tbs. vegetable oil divided

4 cloves garlic, minced

½ inch ginger, minced

1-2 thai bird peppers (optional).

1.5 lbs ground chicken

½ cup sliced carrots

1 tsp salt, divided (adjust according to taste)

4 tbs. oyster flavored sauce (soy chun)

1 small cabbage (about 3-4 cups, shredded in the food processor)

¼ cup cilantro, minced

Heat 1.5 tbs. of oil in a cast iron wok, till hot (use a thin-walled wok, where the temperatures get nice and high).  Add the peppers, garlic and ginger and stir till fragrant- 1 min at high heat.  Then add the carrots and the ground chicken.  Stir fry the carrots and the chicken till fully browned- this takes about 5 min.  Add 2 tbs. of the soychun, taste, adjust the salt, then remove from the wok.

Add 2 tbs. of oil to the wok.  When hot, add the shredded cabbage and stir fry at high heat till cabbage is somewhere in the transition zone between soft and crunchy, about 10 min.  Add salt  (1/2 tsp or to taste) and 2 tbs. of soy chun.  Then add in the chicken-carrot mix to the cabbage and stir fry for 1-2 min. to meld the flavors. Taste and adjust the salt and add more soy chun if needed.  Stir in the cilantro and serve.

Posted in Asian, Chinese, Main Dishes, Poultry | Leave a Comment »

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