Cooking | Smoked Bhopali Köfte – a curry with a Turkish twist of taste

“The more you know, the more you can create. There’s no end to imagination in the kitchen.”
Julia Child

Smoked Bhopali Köfte with Turkish spicesSo I made Smoked Bhopali Köfte yet again a few days ago, this time a twist of taste with Turkish spices. I thought I’d shared the original recipe earlier, but just found it in my drafts! So here it is again, a recipe from an old aunt in Lucknow, one that is infinitely adaptable to taste as most curries are. This time it’s inspired by Turkish cuisine. Köfte or kifte, or kofte aka meatballs are found in possibly every cuisine and across different cultures. It is interesting to follow the trail to see how different cuisines have their own version of simply put, minced meal balls. India offers a smattering of vegetarian koftas as well – paneer, lauki, banana etc.

Kofta is a meatball or meatloaf and is a part of Jordanian, Albanian, Afghan, Azerbaijani, Arab, Armenian, Balkan, Bangladeshi, Greek, Indian, Israeli, Iranian, Kurdish, Pakistani and Turkish cuisine. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls of minced or ground meat—usually beef or lamb—mixed with spices and/or onions. In Bangladesh, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran, koftas are usually made of lamb, beef, mutton or chicken, whereas Greek and Cypriot varieties are usually made of pork, beef, veal or mixtures of them.

Turkish pidesOne of my favurite cusuines is of course Turkish cuisine, very adaptable to the Indian palette, very flavourful and fun. Takes me to back to Turkish flatbread pizzas or pides I made a while ago, or these Turkish Adana Kebabs which I make quite often. Turkey, once widely acknowledged as the centre of the ancient world, is a gateway between the civilizations that surrounded the Mediterranean and the Far East. It has long been called home by enterprising and hardy traders who introduced exotic spices and flavours between the two civilizations. Fertile land encouraged a varied cuisine, rich in meat, grains, seafood, fruit and vegetables.Smoked Bhopali Köfte

If you get a chance to travel through Turkey, do try to make a point of seeking out traditional food, and we don’t mean to stick only (pun intended) with their mouthwatering kebabs. They have a heritage of well over 1300 years of history and a long and storied tradition in the making of delicious, must-try Turkish dishes sourced from the best of local ingredients. Here are some typical Turkish dishes that you should make a point to sample when you are fortunate enough to drop by for a visit via last minute package holiday deals with the family. Holidays also allow you to put your feet up and relax while you enjoy the delicious local dishes and delicacies on offer:

6 Must Try Turkish Dishes

1. Lahmacun translates from its Arabic roots as dough with meat, coming originally from Syria. The meat is minced lamb or beef with chopped onions, that has been cooked and flavoured with spices, usually cinnamon, allspice and chilli, although each recipe will be someone’s family tradition. This is spread over a flaky, flat bread, similar to pizzas, but traditionally rolled up to eat on the move, long considered as one of the original fast food in Turkey.

2. Menemen is renowned by travelers throughout Turkey as a hearty, tasty meal that sets you up for the day. The base is chopped onions, peppers and tomatoes, simmered in a frying pan with some paprika and black pepper, topped with eggs, which are either cooked whole, or stirred into the dish. Another very budget-friendly Turkish comfort food.

3. Börek are all essentially a form of pie, with a filling wrapped in pastry, usually containing meat, cheese, potato or spinach, or a combination of one or more of these, and come in a variety of shapes and styles. There are various shops that sell the pies, but the best come from specialist Börek shops, which are worth seeking out for your first experience of this dish. Ask for the house specialty and you are sure not to be disappointed as their pride and reputation will be at stake.

4. Köfte are a type of kebab made by forming a delicious mix of minced meat and spices, typically lamb and cumin, on to skewers, before broiling them over an open flame. You will find these all over Turkey, which is always a good sign, where they are eaten served with pitta bread, or served with a salad or in a fresh tomato sauce.

5. Bulgur Pilavi is similar to a rice pilaf but made with bulgar (cracked) wheat instead, and is a typical central Anatolian dish. The grains themselves have a pleasant, nutty flavour, but they simply form the base for a wide variety of additional ingredients, most commonly onions, tomato, peppers and mint.

6. Dolmas refers to a style of dishes that are very popular throughout the country. Meaning in Turkish simply ‘stuffed’ they cover a range of vegetables with either a meat or vegetable filling. The meat ones tend to be served hot and the non-meat cold.

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Baking |GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles … Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappiness #dessert #healthy

“Bread, milk and butter are of venerable antiquity. They taste of the morning of the world.”
Leigh Hunt

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Triflessummer of happiness in ever sense of the word. It’s a celebration of flavours, of the season, of delicious, healthy things in life. The good thing is that the Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles recipe is very doable, quick and quite hassle free. Almond meal in the sponge makes it gluten free too! Play around with ingredients in your pantry and fridge, skip the almonds if you are catering to nut allergy or don’t have any on hand. Substitute the nut meal with plain flour or 1/2 whole wheat + 1/2 all purpose flour.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappinessThe idea is to enjoy every season in the most delicious way. An even easier way might be to omit the sponge completely. Layer fresh fruit and Mother Dairys creamy and yum fruit yogurt, chill for a bit, and voila – light, healthy, refreshing summer dessert. Or make a granola fruit yogurt parfait with granola, fruit and fruit yogurt. It’s the Mother Dairy #SummerOfHappiness. Explore how much easier can it get with their line of products. For me fruit pairings are fab, specifically yogurt with fruit in any possible way, and summer is the best time for it!Mother DairyI am a through and through dairy lover. I can live forever on dairy products – milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, flavoured yogurts. It’s no coincidence that you will find loads of recipes using dairy on my blogs. Yogurt, buttermilk, cream, cottage cheese are some things I use really often. Panna Cotta, layered cream cakes, cookies, cakes, smoothies, desserts in glasses, cheese from scratch. Did I forget smoked butter paneer, the quintessential Indian Kadhi, savoury buttermilk lassi, buttermilk chicken pizzaKadhi  Indian yogurt curry

White butter and gheeClarified butter? Yes please! I collect top of the milk cream and churn out sweet butter every week. Gives me all that I need for baking. You will also find me making ghee or clarified butter every alternative weekend. Pure liquid gold. Nothing like a drizzle of ghee on a dal, a tadka of ghee to a kadhi, or naans smeared with this good fat. Say what you may, but I am old school here. Butter and ghee are good fats, and make food taste great when used in moderation. For other times, there is always cold pressed sesame oil, virgin olive oil, or good old mustard oil!

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles So, when I saw the ongoing challenge ‘Summer of Happiness‘ at Mother Dairy it was back to the good old days and a wave of nostalgia hit me. Back in the late 1970’s when we returned from a posting in Bangalore, we lived in the Central Vista Officers Mess for a couple of months waiting for regular accommodation. School was CJM at Gol Dak Khana, New Delhi. Every morning my mother drove us to school in a rickety old olive green Fiat, MEV6909 {the number still imprinted in my head}. Because we refused to drink the watery warm milk served in the Officers Mess, it was routine to stop by Mother Dairy, glug a tall glass of milk down right there every morning, and then be dropped to school. I cannot imagine doing that now, be seen glugging milk with wild abandon at the familiar blue and white Mother Dairy kiosk in school uniform, yet the taste of pasteurized milk ‘from the tap’ is a happy memory, a nostalgic connect. GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Decades later, I used to take my little one to buy milk, pop the token or ‘coin’ into the slot at the kiosk, telling him that there was a cow on the other side that delivers milk. For several years he naively believed me, and still laughs each time we pass the kiosk or stop by to buy something from there. I suspect a lot of folk might have carried similar tales to little ones back then, the fascination writ across faces completely worth every token of milk drawn! Kids are less gullible now, and Mother Dairy has moved on from milk and butter to a lot more!

The journey seeing them expand has been a fulfilling one. I still remember the first tub of blueberry yogurt I raced home with, and the whoop of delight my daughter let out. It was her favourite one, a product that till today remains on top of her list. Then came more stuff and we were spoilt for choice. Mishti Doi, Aam Doi, Mango Yogurt, Blueberry Yogurt, Mango Lassi, Strawberry Lassi all regulars at home. GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt TriflesEven though I set yogurt at home everyday, my Creamy Dip is always from a tub of Mother Dairy yogurt {nothing else works as well}. Quark, a soft, unripened curd cheese, is also something I regularly make, always with full fat milk and cultured buttermilk from the blue and white kiosk! Quark on hand opens the door to so many more recipe ideas.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles As I wrap up, I’m going to leave you with another collage of things I have made over the years using dairy products. Hope that inspires you to get motivated, begin thinking and create a recipe for this ‘Summer of Happiness‘. From smoothies, to cheesecakes, to desserts in glasses, to savoury curries, korma, buttermilk chicken, pancakes with fruit yogurt, dream on!

Summer of Happiness. PAB It’s a simple challenge, sweet or savoury is up to you, maybe both sweet & savoury in one! There are seven products you can choose from; details here. Take a look at the seven delicious recipes Chef Vikas Khanna has created for the Summer of Happiness, one that is more inspiring than the other. He talks about enhancing flavours, playing with textures, pairing dairy with interesting ingredients, spicing things up, and last but not the least, presentation.

GF Blueberry & Mango Yogurt Trifles Submit innovative recipes at Summer of Happiness using any of the 7 products, and the best recipes will win goodies from Mother Dairy. 

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Cooking | Kadhi {Indian vegetarian yogurt curry} … #CreateFearlessly with Hamilton Beach Multiblender

“It is the food which you furnish to your mind that determines the whole character of your life.”
Emmet Fox

Kadhi  indian yogurt curryKadhi {Indian vegetarian yogurt curry}. Ask me to pick my favourite Indian curry, and chances are that kadhi will be the first thing that comes to my mind. It is the best comfort food ever, leaves me deeply satiated, fills me with nostalgia right from the aromas that rise from the first tempering. As the flavours of aesofoetida and curry leaves dance wildly in the summer air, I am transported to the air cooled house of Sheela Aunty, my mothers friend from Delhi University.

tadka spicesShe passed away several years ago, but a large part of our growing up unfolded under her wings. It is rare for even a few days to go by when we don’t exclaim like her, and then dissolve into giggles. Large-hearted, earnest, easily shocked, far too loving, the best collection of crisp summer sarees, jewellery to make the heart sing {after all she was born into one of Delhi’s leading jewelers families}, too humble, a great Indian vegetarian cook, she left a deep impact on us.

Kadhi  Indian yogurt curryI wasn’t foodily aware or obsessed at the time she was around and still rue the fact that I didn’t get a chance to chase her with paper and pencil to record recipes …I did that a lot {A LOT} after I got married in the mid 1990’s. Pages and pages were filled and I am glad I managed some. Aesofoetida was introduced into our rather differently spiced house thanks to her.

Spice Market, Khari Baoli, Old Delhi Spices became a fascination, hing or aesofoetida ‘the spice’ I fell in love with. I have grown to love the spice, not very well known in the West, very popular with Indian vegetarian food, and extremely popular down in South India too. Surprisingly enough, you see influences of the spice in non-vegetarian cuisine in Kashmir too! {One of my favourite haunts is Khari Baoli, Old Delhi to visit the spice market seen above. That was at the Lumia shoot 2 days ago}

Kadhi  indian yogurt curry tadkaNo tadka or tempering is complete without this magical ingredient, the nostalgia lingers on. So that morning when I looked at the Hamilton Beach MultiBlend Blender and Chopper on my kitchen counter, I didn’t have to think of what to make for lunch. With buttermilk and homemade yogurt in the fridge, I knew it was time for my favourite summer curry.

Kadhi  Indian yogurt curry Sometimes it seems like a bit of work, the pakoras or dumplings actually but in time I have cut the work out for me. Blenders the way to go for curry always, and the Hamilton Beach Multiblender did the job to perfection. In seconds. It also cut the work out when it came to making pakoras, or the dumplings. A friend whatsapped me the other day to say she was waiting for my review as she wanted to know how the onions got cut in the bender. A 100% good I have to say! Finer than I could ever manage, and within seconds. I love that there are two separate jars, complete with blades etc which allow you to multitask!

Hamilton Beach Multiblender chopped onionsI’ve been doing a lot more with the multiblender. Grinding oats as I develop recipes for Fit Foodie.

oatmealWhisking up delicious smoothies inspired by Aditya on Instagram. #CreateFearlessly is a great hashtag to carry. Goes in line with the ‘Good Thinking’ that spells out the Hamilton Beach line of products! ‘Really Good Thinking’. I’m loving it.

Papaya Yogurt SmoothieDid I tell you we’re not the only ones who are in love with papaya and smoothies this summer? There’s a little someone who shares every papaya that is cut in the kitchen. She makes a meal of quarter at least before it gets to the blender!

Coco & PapayaThen there is someone else smitten with the blender. The lad wakes up every morning in a somnambulent state and glides into the kitchen to make himself a frozen strawberry almond smoothie. Goes on to slurp his way through, enjoying it to the last drop, then even washes up the blender! On Mother’s Day, he  burst into my room with a tall {and really really good} glass of Guava+Strawberry+Lychee Smoothie that he conjured up for me.Guava, Strawberry, Lychee SmoothieHonestly, this is one kitchen companion I am enjoying fearlessly! There have been glasses of cold coffee, mango shakes, papaya flax seed smoothies, 3 batches of kadhi, buttermilk lassi, pineapple apricot coolers, watermelon strawberry delights, aam panna … and plenty more this last month.

Cold coffee

Smoothies etc

aam pannaThe upside is having one kid enjoying it even more. The downside? Yes there is one! The daughter has now threatened to take the Hamilton Beach MultiBlender back with her when she goes back to uni after the vacations. #CreateFearlessly might well reach the battleground between the two kids!

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