Though Easter follows 40 days of vegetarianism, Tamil people don’t have a great spread for the festival. I wanted to offer an alternative to the traditional chicken or mutton biriyani, and I chose this Bacon and Sausage Pulav as it is the same meat-and-rice type of dish, but is also very different and very mild flavoured. This is a scrumptious one-dish meal, and it only needs ketchup as an accompaniment if required.
When I flip through my collection of cookery books, if a photograph of some preparation fascinates me I try to make an Indian dish to suit our palate and kitchen. I came across a photograph of sausages and potatoes, beautifully presented but in a curry form – curry meaning western style bland curry. Therefore I decided to combine sausage and potatoes in what the Tamilians call a poriyal, meaning fry. The cocktail sausages available in India are quite spicy; therefore I decided to keep the add-on spices to a minimum. We usually get chicken sausages, but if you’re lucky you might find pork sausages in the stores. I have used chicken sausages to prepare this dish, but you can also use pork sausages.
Happy Easter in advance! I love to create festive specials using rice. When I was going through my collection of recipe books I came across a Mexican sausage rice recipe. Though the ingredients of the recipe did not appeal to me, the concept did. I studied sausage preparations, especially in a volume of the Encyclopaedia of Creative Cooking on pork. This dealt with various kinds of pork sausages, particularly combined with potatoes. Inspired by this I created a fried rice using sausages and potatoes, suited to the Indian market and kitchen. This was a tremendous success. My family loved it, and it was finished with not a grain of rice left. The flavour is very mild but rich in taste. It goes amazingly well with my Sweet Brinjal Pickle.
Ireland is famous for Coddle (amongst many other things like leprechauns). There are many versions of this dish as it is made from leftovers, but the main ingredients are bacon, sausages, and potatoes. It makes a very good 1-pot meal. We love sausages in my family, and I was very keen to try this easy-to-make sausage ‘curry’ :D. I found a recipe in Best of Ireland and modified the method of cooking to suit the Indian kitchen. I follow the book’s suggestion and usually serve this with Irish Soda Bread.
At Christmas we see Christians thronging meat shops with money saved through the year for their annual Christmas feast. I once witnessed a family buying such a variety of meat at one go that I kept speaking about it for days, much to the amused exasperation of my family! Sausages are particularly popular during this season. They are usually only fried, but I wanted to try something different that people can serve when they celebrate with guests or family.
December 2015 saw most of Chennai devastated by floods after heavy rains. Water entered the electricity substation feeding my neighbourhood and we did not have electricity for 5 days. I had unwisely stocked my freezer just a few days before this happened with perishables. I developed this recipe (along with Candlelit Chicken Pulav) as a dish that could be made without electricity, cooking only with gas, and to use the non vegetarian foodstuffs before they spoilt. To my surprise and delight the curry turned out to be very tasty. A few months later I tried the curry again with the addition of coconut milk and coriander leaves, and it was an excellent preparation.
Toad in the Hole is famous as the English pub food. I’ve been a member of the British Council Library in Chennai for more than 45 years and have come across this dish many times both in the recipe books as well as novels. After going through several recipes I learnt that the Yorkshire Pudding Batter is used in the preparation of this dish. I found that Nigella Lawson’s recipe to be much more practical than others but I had to add pepper and the dried herbs to add a dash of flavour to suit the Indian palate while taking care to avoid an Indian flavour which would change the character of the dish. I have also changed the amount of flour used to suit the Indian kitchen where cup measures are more likely to be available than kitchen scales.