Get healthy in 2015 with recipes considered to be power food by different ethnic New Zealand communities

Popular Indian street dish bheja fry takes main ingredient from lamb, goat or cow

When Indians need something to stimulate and boost their minds, they eat brains.

Mohammed Jamal, head chef at Bawarchi Restaurant on Sandringham, said bheja fry - masala brains - is a popular street dish which many consider to be a "brain food" in his native India.

Lamb brain is often used to make bheja fry, but it is also sometimes made with goat brains.

"Many consider it to be nourishing and that it can help stimulate the mind," said Mr Jamal.

Advertisement

"We don't consider eating brains to be exotic, it is just normal food to us."

Bheja fry is also one of the popular dishes served during the Muslim festival of Eid.

When sheep or goats are sacrificed, the brains of the slaughtered animals are removed and cooked to make the dish.

The texture and taste of the brain is somewhat like soft tofu or scrambled eggs that are cooked with chillies, onions and ginger.

The brain is reportedly extremely rich in DHA as well as other omega-3 fatty acids, good for the brain, eyes and nerves. It is also very high in cholesterol.

Bheja fry

Ingredients

• 4 lamb brains
• 4 onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 4 green chillies, chopped
• 2 lemons
• tablespoons red chilli powder
• 1 tablespoons coriander powder
• 1 teaspoon garam masala
• salt (to taste)
• 1 teaspoon ginger paste
• 1 teaspoon garlic paste
• 1/2 cup plain yoghurt
• 1 cup cooking oil
• 1 small piece ginger, finely chopped
• Bunch of fresh coriander leaves, chopped

Method
1. Wash the brains thoroughly and boil in water for five minutes.

2. Remove from the water and chop the brains into smaller pieces.

3. Heat oil in a pan and add onions, saute until golden brown.

4. Remove half the onions and put aside.

5. Add the green chillies, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, salt, ginger paste, garlic paste and yoghurt. Stir well and fry for about 10 minutes, add water if required.

6. Add the brains and mix gently with the spice mixture.

7. When the oil separates from the spice masala, add chopped coriander, lemon juice, ginger and brown onion set aside earlier.

8. Serve hot with rice, roti or naan.

Bawarchi Restaurant is at 519 Sandringham Rd. Ph: (09) 845 5552.
The series

Monday: Kitfo (Ethiopian)
Tuesday: Haejangguk (S Korea)
Today: Bheja fry (India)
Thursday: Herbal duck (China)
Friday: Rainbow stir fry (Thailand)
Saturday: Oysters with coriander dressing (NZ-Fusion)