Indian Jewish Congregation Newsletter Features Family Indian Recipes

Rice Chapatis: Recipe from Noreen’s Kitchen

Preparation for a typical Bene Israel kitchen for Passover would start right after Purim. Special cooking utensils of copper and brass would be brought down from the loft and scrubbed. The tinning man knew that it was the Jewish festival and charged extra for tinning depending on the size of the pots and plates. Passover crockery and cutlery was brought out, cleaned and kept in a special place in the cupboard. The grinding stone and hand grinding stone mill (Pata Varvanta) were roughened with a chisel, washed well and kept aside for use during Pesach. Broken rice grain was specially purchased for rice chapatis. This was picked of small stones, washed in a big utensil a couple of times and dried in the April sun on an old sari spread out on the courtyard or the terrace of the house. The next afternoon, this rice was ground at
home in the stone hand mill. This procedure was followed by mothers and daughters of earlier generations. These days, we get ready-made rice flour. The Bene Israel make rice chapatis especially for Passover as this recipe explains, there is no fermentation of the dough in its preparation.

Rice Chapatis

2 cups water
1?4 teaspoon salt
2 cups rice flour plus more for rolling the chapatis

Put the water in a container with a thick bottom or a non-stick deep pan and add the salt. Put the pan on the stove and bring the water to a boil. Remove from heat and add the rice flour slowly, stirring constantly until it is mixed well. Cover the pan and leave it to cool a bit. When warm, knead the dough well by hand until there are no lumps in it. Make a ball of dough about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. Sprinkle some dry rice flour on a clean flat surface and roll the ball of dough with a rolling pin into a chapati about six inches in diameter. Put a flat non-stick pan on medium flame. When hot, transfer the chapati on it and roast well on both the sides. These taste best when eaten hot.

Mutton Albaras: Recipe from Stella Benjamin’s Kitchen
Among the Bene Israel, goat or lamb curry is a common dish. Kosher meat is sold from a small room in the synagogue compound. There is a line from the early morning when a male member of the family is usually given the job of getting the best meat cuts with fewer bones, which is a gigantic task in itself.

After being cut into small pieces and thoroughly washed, the meat is salted and kept aside for three hours for koshering. The meat is again washed twice, and then it is ready for use. In this part of the world, we can get clean and kosher meat cuts of our choice. Here is a simple recipe of a meat dish.
Mutton Albaras
Serves 8

8 – 10 thick mutton cutlets or 2 pounds boneless mutton
3 large tomatoes
3 large pink onions
3 large potatoes
2-inch piece of ginger
6 flakes of garlic
3 green or red chili peppers
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
2 tablespoons lime juice or white vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1/2 cup matzah meal

Grind all the spices together to a paste. Add lime juice or vinegar and salt. Roll the mutton cutlets in the spice paste and leave them to marinate for about 2 hours.
Peel and cut the onions in thick circles. Peel and cut the potatoes in thick circles. Pour the oil into a non- stick frying pan and heat on a medium flame. Dip each cutlet in matzah meal and pan fry lightly to seal the juices and the marinade. Remove all the cutlets to a big glass dish.
Apply some of the remaining marinade to the onion circles. Fry quickly and arrange above the cutlets.
Apply the left-over marinade to the potato circles and stir them in warm oil for one minute. Remove from the frying pan and arrange them on top of the onions.
Cut the tomatoes in thick circles and arrange as a topmost layer. Cover the dish with aluminum foil. Pre- heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Put the lamb cutlet dish into the oven and cook covered for one hour. Bring the oven temperature down to 300 degrees and cook for another hour. There is no need to turn the pieces over. If there is too much gravy, remove the foil during the last half hour and let it dry a bit. Enjoy the Mutton Albaras while it is hot

Tuna Pancake Wraps: Recipe from Abigail Daniel of London
Ingredients for the pancakes:

125 grams (4 ounces) flour or rice flour
1?4 teaspoon salt
1 egg
300 ml or 1/2 pint milk
Butter or oil for frying

Preparation for the pancakes:
Sift the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the egg, and beat with a wooden spoon, adding the milk gradually until incorporated. Heat a little butter or oil in a 7-inch frying pan until very hot, running it around to coat the sides of the pan. Pour in a little batter, rotating the pan at the same time, until enough batter is added to give a thin coating. Cook until the pancake begins to curl around the edges. Flip it over, and fry on the other side until golden brown. Transfer on to a warm plate and cover.

Ingredients for the tuna filling:
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green chili, finely chopped
1 1?2-inch piece of ginger, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1?4 bunch of coriander, finely chopped
1 tbsp malt vinegar
Salt and black pepper
390 grams of drained tin tuna or fresh cooked tuna

Preparation for the tuna filling:
Fry the onion, chili, ginger and garlic in a frying pan with a little oil. Put aside to cool.
Add the coriander to the mixture, along with malt vinegar and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Add the tuna and mix together. Put two tablespoons of the filling on each pancake and fold into square parcels or into rolls.
Serve with a slice of lime.

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