Saturday, 11 January 2014

Weekday Dinner with Bulgur Wheat Stir Fry!!

A weekday dinner is a chore everyone hates! Takeout foods, frozen food all are born from that hatred and we get addicted! And Addicted to it, for months on end. In India somehow the delivery system is so strong, that you hardly ever feel like coming back from work and tiring yourself silly in kitchen. Frozen food is a relatively new concept, and yet to make its lasting impression in the Indian markets. So I am thinking of writing in a series of weekday and weekend dinners for a couple of days now. These are easy to make in half an hour kind of meals. I am striving to make it as modern Indian and flavourful as possible by tweaking the classics to suit my ever so Indian curry taste buds, and yet a balanced meal owning to nutrients!!

Week day Dinner 1:- Stir fried bulgur wheat with crunchy veggies and boiled egg, served along with a chorizo flavoured sauce.

Carbohydrates in the form of Bulgur wheat, a recent addition in my kitchen!

Veggie portion in the form of stir fry, 2 ways!

Protein in the form of a perfectly boiled egg, served with a sauce falvoured with 2 thin salami pieces of chorizo!

Let’s tackle from the last- Protein. An egg boiling is not a new concept, but a perfectly 
boiled egg is a difficult concept to arrive on to. What is perfection? For me it is to get a slightly softish yolk which is set, yet not hard and powdery. And to get to this point of hardboiled egg perfection, you need to follow a few steps religiously as I mention here.
  •          A fridge cold egg goes in a water-bath and right on top of a medium flame. You may add vinegar or a matchstick in the water to prevent the eggs cracking up.
  •          Now let it take its own sweet time to come to a boil. Keep the heat medium and do not disturb it.
  •         Once it starts boiling, let it boil for a minute and switch off the gas.
  •          Let the eggs remain in the hot water and slowly come down to room temperature with the water.
  •         Once you are ready to plate, peel the shells and halve it. Perfectly set egg white with a just set soft pasty yolk, perfection achieved!!

While you were waiting for the eggs to start boiling, you could take a cup of bulgur wheat and soak it in water. And prep your veggies to get the stir fry started.

For stir fry, you would need:

1 ½ onions chopped in thin strips
3-4 cloves of garlic finely chopped
½ a cup Capsicum chopped in thin strips
½ a cup carrots chopped in thin strips
½ a cup of broccoli stems chopped in thin strips
2 tbsp of oil
A big pinch of paprika
Salt and pepper to taste

In a wok or a pan, heat the oil and garlic together till they are fragrant.

Add in the paprika, once the garlic starts sizzling. Let both these spices mingle and flavour the oil.

Once the garlic turns light brown, add in the onion and on a high flame, let it cook down and gather some colour.

Next dump in the broccoli and carrots and on high flame, let it cook and get crisp.

Last to go in the pan should be capsicum, give it a good stir and let it stand on high flame for a minute.

Sprinkle salt and pepper and stir well. Now, lower the gas flame and remove half the stir fry and let it stand uncovered, while you prep the bulgur wheat.

Soaked bulgur wheat, which has doubled its original size, will take far less time to cook. Tip in the wheat in the remaining veggies and stir well.

On high flame once again, cook the grains to add some flavour on to it.
Now, submerge the wheat and the veggies in salted warm water and a dash of freshly ground ginger, to cook the wheat completely. Let your stove be on medium flame and partially uncovered. Once all the liquid evaporates stir and check for doneness. It should be soft with a resistant bite.

PS: Now, to explain why we stir fried the veggies and took out half of it. For me cous-cous and bulgur wheat are both very cardboard-y and flavourless. So they need some sort of a flavour which came with the stir fried veggies. But as we need to add water, the crispness of stir fry is lost. Hence, reserving some out to add a crunchy element to the dish, seemed like a great idea!

Finally, the chorizo sauce:

2 big chorizo salami pieces chopped
Half an onion sliced
2 tbsp tomato sauce
A few dashes of worcestershire sauce
A few dashes of tobasco
2 tsp oyster sauce
A pinch of paprika
And water to thin it out

In a small pan let the chorizo simmer and give out its orangey flavoured oil.

Once it’s hot and crisp, add in the onions and cook for a minute to soften it.

Add in all the sauces and paprika, and let it simmer to concentrate the flavour.

Once it reduces, thin it out with water to your liking. I didn’t have to season beyond this, but taste and season as required.

And just in about 30 minutes, you have hot dinner, perfect to be coupled with a glass of slightly chilled chardonnay! 


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