Monday, April 4, 2016

MOTHER INDIA AT HOME





I have been a lover of Indian food for several years now.  But for as long as I have loved to eat it, actually making it was something I avoided for most of those years.  I would do like a lot of people do and look for the pre-made sauces in a jar, add a protein and call it Indian food.  I was content.  But as my love for cooking entered a more serious level in 2015 and I quickly ditched the pre-made ingredients wherever I could, I knew in the back of my head that I would eventually enter the world of cooking my favorite cuisine the proper way.  I kept avoiding it, though.  I knew enough to know that Indian food is not like making your own pasta sauce from scratch, and it was important for me to go into it with a decent amount of experience of proper cooking.

As luck would have it, my mother works for an Indian restaurant in Glasgow, Scotland, and the owner is not your typical businessman with a love for the restaurant business, but an actual Chef.

Chef Monir Mohammed, owner of Mother India restaurant in Glasgow, had just recently released his recipe book, "Mother India at Home".  My mom suggested to me that perhaps I would be interested in a copy.  I said yes and Chef Mohammed was kind enough to send me a signed copy, via my mother, of his book.



Chef Monir's Butter Chicken fresh out of the oven!


I received the book in short time and quickly discovered that this was not the typical kind of cookbook that I was used to, simply filled with recipes and pictures of the dishes.  This book is also a biography with pictures, not only of the dishes, but of family, friends and kitchen brigade.  As someone who has had a love for cooking ever since cooking classes in 7th grade, this cookbook was a welcome experience compared to the few others I had in my possession.

An inspiring story of growing up in a small 4 bedroom flat with 9 people, eventually being forced out because of dangers of literally falling into a hole in the ground because of the age of the structure, Chef Monir's is a tale of struggling through tough times, fighting adversity and going from peeling a bag of onions at his brother's restaurant one day to owning 5 restaurants of his own.

Chef Mohammed started at the bottom with peeling onions and worked his way up, from doing dishes and cleaning, to making salads.  His experience in all levels of the restaurant business is something that a lot of restaurant owners lack and why a lot of them end up going under.


Serve with Basmati rice, Naan bread or eat as is!


Chef Monir was not particularly a fan of Indian cooking growing up until he traveled and spent some time living in the Punjab which changed the way he looked at one of the best cuisines out there (THE best, in my opinion).  He took his new found love for South Asian cuisine, added his own special touches and brought it back to Glasgow, Scotland where he transformed it into a successful restaurant business and an excellent biography/cookbook.

I have gotten so much use out of my copy of Chef Mohammed's "Mother India at Home" biography and recipe book that it has suffered a bit of wear and tear.  As a result, Chef Monir was kind enough to send me another copy with my mother when she came to visit me for my 40th birthday in 2014, along with an authentic Chef's jacket courtesy of Chef Mohammed and his wife, Smeena, who also has a recipe or two of her own in this excellent book.

I made Chef Mohammed's outstanding Butter Chicken for my mom when she visited and she loved it.  This book is packed with excellent recipes, pictures and stories.  It is an excellent read and a great guide for those who love Indian food but are apprehensive.  I can confirm that once you try just one dish in this book, you will go back for more!




Chef Monir Mohammed's, Mother India at Home:




Checkout my latest tutorial video on how to make Chef Monir's Butter Chicken!





CHEF MONIR'S BUTTER CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS
30g Ghee (Clarified Butter)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
3 green chillies, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 knob of fresh ginger, chopped
6 cloves
5 green cardamom pods
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin seeds, crushed
1/2 x 400g tomatoes
1/2 tablespoon tomato puree
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
4 chicken supremes (chicken breasts with the wing portion still attached)
300ml double cream, plus a little extra to finish
20 whole almonds, shell off
salt and black pepper



INSTRUCTIONS
1.  Heat ghee in a pan large enough for the chicken to fit into and add the onion.  Cook gently for 5 minutes.
2.  Add green chillies, garlic and ginger.  Cook on low-to-medium heat for 5 minutes.
3.  Add cloves, cardamom pods and cumin.  Stir thoroughly and cook for 5 minutes.
4.  Add tomatoes and tomato puree.  Cook for 5 minutes.
5.  Add salt, chilli powder, tumeric and yogurt.  Cook for 3-5 minutes, adding a little water if the mixture starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.
6.  Preheat the oven at 190 degree celcius or 375F.
7.  Heat a non-stick frying pan and add the oil.  Once it's hot, add the chicken and sear on both sides until the outside is golden brown, then season with salt and black pepper.
8.  Add chicken to the pan of sauce and cook for 10 minutes, then stir in the cream and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
9.  Decant everything into a roasting try or oven-proof dish and scatter with the almonds.  Place in the oven and roast for 12 minutes, or until the juices from the chicken run clear.
10.  Serve with plain Basmati rice, with a splash of double cream over the almonds.


Chef Nairby

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