There is one dried red chilli that I love to use, as it adds flavour and not much teekhapan to my food. Kashmiri red chilli – I remove the stems, cut the chillies into neat pieces and bottle them. I recently made pav bhaji using a fresh paste of Kashmiri red chillies and garlic as the base. The taste was excellent, and the colour a vivid red. Tandoori chicken too would not be this wonderful natural red if it weren’t for these chillies.
You can tame some of these chillies in sweet preserve.
Take about 30 Kashmiri red chillies, slit and remove seeds. Add a cup of vinegar and soak for half an hour. Grind to a paste.
Boil half-cup sugar with half cup water in a pan till sugar dissolves. Add the chilli paste and cook, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, heat one-tablespoon oil in a small pan and add half-inch chopped ginger and 15-20 chopped garlic cloves. Add a little salt and half teaspoon black salt to the chilli paste. Mix in the sautéed ginger and garlic. Roast a teaspoon of cumin seeds and crush.
Mix with a teaspoon and stir in briskly. Add salt to taste, cook for five minutes, cool and bottle.
Snack with some smack
A hatke snack is prawn vermicelli. Shell and de-vein prawns, leaving the tails intact. Slit on each prawn at one-third distance from the head, curl the tail in and slide into the slit. Marinate in salt, garlic paste, cumin powder, Kashmiri red chilli paste, honey, lemon juice and half an egg. Crush some vermicelli and place in a plate. Roll the marinated prawns in it till well coated. Refrigerate for about half an hour. Deep fry till golden brown.