Sunday, October 30, 2011

Roasted coconut chicken



Ingredients:
Whole chicken cut into 8-12 pieces
Fresh Coconut pieces - 1/2 cup
Garlic cloves - 2 big size
Shah Zeera(black cumin) - 1tspn
Dried red chillies - 3-4 medium size
Black Pepper- 1tspn
salt - 1/2 tspn
Water - 1-2 tblspns
Olive oil - 2tblspns
veg/canola oil - 1tspn
Lemon juice - 1 tblspn

Method:
De-skin, clean and cut the whole chicken into pieces, wash, rub them with a little salt & lemon juice and set them aside. Fry the red chillies, coconut and crushed garlic in 1 tspn veg/canola oil till the coconut pieces are golden and the chillies change color. Drain and remove from the pan. Put everything in the blender or wet grinder along with water, a pinch of salt and shah zeera to make a coarse paste. Add 2 tblspns olive oil to it. Rub the chicken pieces with this marinade. Leave for 1/2 an hr. Then roast the chicken in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 45-50 minutes. Serve hot with rice and salad.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cheesy White Chilli Chicken



There was ricotta cheese sitting in the fridge and I had to make a chicken dish for dinner. I wanted to make something different to avoid the curry smell and the spicy taste which the kids are fed up of eating day in and day out. I imagined what kind of taste the kids would appreciate, so had to incorporate the ingredients to get the flavour I wanted. The smooth texture of the ricotta cheese with the hung yoghurt and the subtle flavour of the cardamom along with the other ingredients made a good marinade. The white chilly powder spiced up the whole dish deceptively. White chilly powder can be a good substitute for white pepper if you want to avoid the strong odour of white pepper which cuts out all the other flavours in the food. The Minar brand of white chilly powder is available in grocery stores and in Ottawa at the Desi price club.




Ingredients:
1 Whole chicken - 1.5kgs
Ricotta cheese - 1/2 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tspns
White chilly powder - 1tspn
Cardamom powder - 1/2 tspn
Coriander powder - 1tspn
Hung yoghurt or thick curds - 1/4 cup
Raw papaya powder (kachri powder) - 1tspn
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Olive oil - 1 tbspn + 1 tblspn for basting

Method: Clean, wash and cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces, towel dry and set them aside. Rub them with salt and kachri powder and leave for 10 mins. Kachri powder is used to tenderise the chicken. It is important to use thick curds or hung yoghurt because we do not want a runny marinade. The chicken pieces should be dry too. Mix together all the marinade ingredients including olive oil and leave to marinate for 1-2 hrs. Put the chicken pieces in a baking tray or cookie sheet covered with tin foil and broil on high for 4-6 mins on each side. Do not cover the chicken while broiling. Baste them with olive oil while broiling. Serve them hot with sliced onions and lemon wedges. Alternatively you may also bake the chicken (if the pieces are of big size and the quantity is large) on 400 degrees fahrenheit for 45 minutes.

Black rice salad




























Yes, Black rice is the kind of food that can save your life! It is one of the special breeds of rice specifically reserved for kings in ancient times. It is chinese black rice and is different from wild rice and thai black rice. Rich in iron, vitamin E and full of antioxidants it has a natural healing power and anti-aging properties. It has more antioxidants than blueberries, less sugar and high fibre. It is a good substitute for prescriptive drugs which are taken to break down arterial plaque and fight high cholestrol levels. Unlike the prescribed medications it has no side effects. It has also become known as the 'super food' because of its high nutritional value. Read about the health benefits and some interesting facts on www.blackrice.com . Want to try it? It is available in Costco.

Ingredients:

Black rice - 2 cups
Red pepper - 1
Green pepper - 1
Spring onions - 2 stalks
Cherry tomatoes - 10
Curly Parsely - 1/2 cup chopped

Dressing:

Olive oil -2 tblspns
Juice of 1 Orange
Juice of one lemon
Lemon zest - 1 tspn finely chopped
Chopped ginger - 2 tbs
Dijon mustard - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp

Method:

1. Wash the black rice 3 or 4 times in water and let it soak overnight or for at least 2 hours.

2. Boil the soaked rice in a large pot filled with water. Add 2 tbs salt and let the rice cook till it is just done (al dente not overcooked). Drain and set aside till it cools.

3.  Meanwhile prepare the vegetables. Cut the green and red pepper into small dices, chop finely the green onions and parsley, deseed the cherry tomatoes, cut them into halves. Use paper towels to dab the vegetables dry.

4. Add the cut vegetables to the cooled black rice. Sprinkle salt and pepper as required. Mix well with a fork.

5. For the dressing whisk all the ingredients well. Keep aside.

6. Drizzle the dressing on the rice salad just before serving.  Enjoy.




Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Thin Beef steaks in coconut sauce



Ingredients:
Thin Beef steaks - 8 (1/4 - 1/2 an inch thick)
Black pepper - 1 - 2tblspns
Lemon juice - 2 tblspns
Garlic cloves - 2 medium size finely grated
Salt to taste
Cumin powder - 1tspn
Olive oil - 2 tblspns

Coconut sauce:
Coconut powder- 2 tblspns
Ginger garlic paste - 1/4 tspn
Cayenne pepper flakes - 1/4 tspn
Crushed cumin seeds - 1/2 tspn
Black pepper - 1 tspn
Water - 1/4 cup
Olive oil - 1 tspn

Method:
Mix together lemon juice,salt, black pepper, cumin powder, grated garlic and olive oil and make a fine paste by mashing the grated garlic with a tspn. Marinate the steaks with this paste after rubbing them with 1/2 tspn salt. Leave aside for 1/2 an hr. Take a non stick pan and set on medium heat. Pan fry the steaks for 3 mins on each side. Do not over cook them. Remove and set aside. Now prepare the sauce on the same pan by adding the crushed cumin, red cayenne pepper flakes, ginger garlic paste to the 1tspn olive oil. Give it a quick stir. Mix the coconut powder with water and add it immediately to the pan. Let it thicken a bit. Turn the heat to low. Now add the steaks to the pan, turn them over in the pan till they are nicely slothered in the sauce. Garnish with fresh parsely and serve with fries & salad of your choice. Enjoy.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Traditional Madrasi Chicken Biryani

The traditional madrasi biryani is very popular in South India especially in Chennai where not a single muslim function or event is complete without this being served. Its aroma fills the air and you can smell the biryani at least 5 houses down the street. It is so insanely delicious! 

The art of the traditional madrasi biryani lies in its technique and the few tips and tricks which add to its flavour and taste.  The flavour is enhanced by adding selected whole garam masala spices. Adding too many garam masala spices or garam masala powders mars its flavour and adding cashew or almond paste makes the rice grains sticky.  

What is important in a delicious biryani is a combination of  flavour, texture and taste and this is achieved by adding the right spices, the right quality and the right proportions of all the  ingredients and at the right time using the right technique. It is like a marriage which comes together when everything is in perfect harmony.  




Here's the recipe:


Ingredients:

Chicken - 1 whole + 1/2 a breast (2kgs)
Onions - 6 medium size
Tomatoes - 5 medium size (preferably plum)
Cloves - 10
Green cardamoms - 8
Cinnamon sticks - 2- 3 (2 " inch sticks)
Vegetable oil - 1 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 cup
Thick yoghurt - 1 cup
Green chillies - 10 -12 small size
Mint leaves - a handful
Cilantro chopped - 1 cup
Saffron - 1 generous pinch
Milk   - 1/2 a cup
Turmeric- 1/2 a tspn
Red chilly powder- 1tspn
Basumati Rice - 5 cups (Long grain rice )

*Some of the good brands of regular basumati rice are  817, Lal Qila, Tilda etc.



Method:

Peel, wash and slice the onions. You could use a food processor as it is much easier. Grind the ginger garlic paste. Wash and cut tomatoes into quarters, remove the stems from the green chillies, wash and chop coriander, wash mint leaves and keep aside.                                          
                                          

Heat 1 cup of oil in a big pot. Add the whole cinnamon sticks, cloves and cardamoms.  


Add the sliced onions and fry them on medium heat stirring on and off taking care not to burn them. The onions first turn translucent and then start turning golden brown. This takes atleast 10 to 15 mins. 


The onions should be evenly brown as in the picture.

Stir in the ginger garlic paste, turmeric and red chilly powder. When it leaves an aroma add the tomatoes and green chillies.

Let the tomatoes soften a bit, then add the chicken pieces. 


Roast the chicken in the masala by turning it over gently taking good care not to break the pieces. This should be done on medium to high heat.  



Add the yoghurt followed by mint leaves and chopped coriander. 




Let the chicken cook for sometime on medium heat till the broth thickens a bit and a whiff of the aroma comes out when you open the lid. At this stage the chicken yakhni (biryani curry) is ready. Squeeze in the juiice of half a lime and adjust the  salt. 


Now transfer the chicken to a roaster. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Boil the soaked basumati rice (regular rice should be washed and soaked for 1/2 an hr and the golden sela basumati for 2 - 4 hrs) till it is half cooked. The grains should be soft outside but still brittle inside. 


                                            

Drain the rice and pour it over the yakhni (the prepared chicken biryani curry) in the roaster. Top it with chopped coriander and  mint leaves. Dissolve saffron in 1/2 a cup of milk and sprinkle the half the saffron milk on the rice. Add the food coloring to a few grains of cooked rice and sprinkle the colored rice on top.

Close the lid well as firm but not brittle inside. If you find it gritty then bake it for 5 more minutes. Once it is done,  remove from the oven, add the remaining saffron milk, close the lid and let the roaster rest for 5 more minutes. The saffron flavour comes out.and bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 mins.

With the help of a flat round spatula gently turn over and mix the biryani from the bottom to the top little by little taking care not to break the chicken pieces.  And as you mix, keep transferring the biryani to the serving platter a little at a time. Do not mix the biryani all at once as this will not only break the chicken pieces but also he rice grains. You have to slowly and gently mix it little by little with all patience.The steaming hot biryani is now ready. Enjoy the chicken biryani with onion raita and egg plant chutney. 




Cooking Tips:


1. When you soak the basumati rice the water should be atleast 4 inches above the rice. If there is less  water the rice would tend to break and become sticky.
2. Boil the rice in a big colander or pot which can hold atleast 2 litres of water. If you boil 1 kg of rice in a 1 litre pot then the rice woud become sticky and mushy.
3. To test the rice for doneness, take a grain of rice and press it between your index finger and thumb. It should leave 3 small brittle grains on your finger. If the rice is not done yet then you wouldn't be able to press the rice. Therefore it should be just a little soft on the outside but still gritty inside. .
4. For extra flavour,smash 3-4 green cardamoms just to open them a little and add them to the yakni when it is simmering in the roaster just before adding the rice. 
5. Adding saffron milk right at the end brings out the extra flavour.
6. I also add a little ghee on top of the rice before steaming it in the roaster at the final stage  for added flavour . 
7. Instead of pouring the saffron milk on the biryani,, you can melt butter in the saffron solution, add some of the boiled basumati rice to it and then sprinkle the butter flavoured saffron rice on top. This also enhances the flavour. 
8. Use preferably plum tomatoes or vine tomatoes as they are not very tangy. 
9. Choose medium sized freshly slaughtered yellow grain fed chicken.
10. Yoghurt should be thick, creamy and sour. I prefer balkan style astro yoghurt or the 3.5% plain astro yoghurt. 
11. Use the darker variety of cinnamon not the lighter ceylon cinnamon which is used in mostly desserts. 
12. For food coloring use the natural food coloring such as cochineal. the other dyes (red no.1 and red no.40) carry great health risks as they come from petroleum byproducts.


.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Beetroot Biryani


Ingredients:
Beetroots - 4 medium sized
Onions - 4 medium sized
Green Chillies -6
Tomatoes - 4 medium sized
Ginger garlic paste - 1/4 cup
Pudina/Mint - a handful
Cilantro - 1 cup chopped
Vegetable oil - 3/4 cup
Basumathi Rice - 4 cups
Dark Cinnamon - 2 inch stick
Green Cardamoms - 6
Cloves - 6
Salt to taste
Turmeric - 1/2 a tspn
Red chilly powder - 1/2 - 1 tspn
Orange color














1. Peel, wash and grate the beetroot. Peel and slice the onions, deseed the green chillies

2.Fry the onions till golden brown in 3/4th cup of oil on medium heat after adding the whole garam masala spices(cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon).
3. When the onions turn golden brown, add the ginger garlic paste followed by the dry spices - turmeric and red chilly powder. (I prefer using either Resham patti chilly powder or kashmiri mirch as they have deep red color and good flavour) Stir for a few seconds, then immediately add the diced tomatoes, green chillies and salt. Cook till the tomatoes are soft and juicy.















4.Throw in the grated beetroot. Turn over and mix well in the masala. Add mint leaves and chopped cilantro.  Let it cook for 2 - 3 minutes on simmer.

5. Meanwhile boil the basumati rice in another pot filled with water. Add one heaped tablespoon of salt to the boiling rice. Cook the rice till it is half done. The outer layer of the grains should have softened a little and when you press it in between your index finger and thumb it should leave at least 2 or 3 round uncooked grains. It is now time to drain the rice using a strainer or a perforated colander. 
6. Pour the steaming hot rice on the beetroot masala. Take a a tablespoon of the boiled rice, add some food coloring to it, mix well and sprinkle the colored rice on top. Also throw in a few mint leaves and chopped coriander. Then let it steam in a preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit. Remove from oven after 15 mins. Turn over the biryani rice gently from the bottom to the top with a round spatula to mix well. Serve hot with onion raita and roasted chicken.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Creamy coco chilly pepper trout

























Ingredients:
Rainbow trout filets cut into 8 -10 pieces
Cumin powder - 1/2 tspnAdd Image
Red chilly powder - 1 heaped tspn
Black pepper ground - 1/2 tspn
Coconut powder - 4 tblspns
Olive oil - 2 tblspns
Fresh cilantro chopped
Salt to taste

Method: Clean, rinse and dry the trout pieces between paper towels, rub them with salt, red chilly powder, cumin powder, ground pepper, lemon juice & chopped cilantro and let them marinate for 10 - 15 minutes. Put 4 tblspns of coconut powder in a small dry plate. Take the trout pieces one at a time, dab them in the coconut powder and shallow fry all of them in a non stick pan on medium heat till they are just done. Take care not to over cook them by turning over after 3 minutes and cooking each side only once. They should be golden on the outside and juicy on the inside. They are just delicious! Enjoy with rice and curry.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Spicy Green Chilli Chicken


















Ingredients:
2  Chicken breasts (1kg)
2 tsp Ginger garlic paste
 1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tsp Cumin powder
Egg
2 + 1 tbs Corn flour

For the chutney:
Green chillies - 4-5
1 cup Fresh chopped cilantro
1/2 cupFresh chopped curly parsley
1/2 inch piece Ginger
Onion (small)
1 Tomato (medium)
 2 tbs Vinegar
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil for deep frying

Method:
1. Clean, wash, dry and cut the chicken breasts into small bite size pieces. Rub with salt, black pepper, ginger garlic paste, cumin and turmeric powder and keep aside for 1/2 an hr.

2. Add 2 tbs corn flour to the marinated chicken pieces and mix well. Break the egg into the chicken and mix gently so that all the chicken pieces are well coated.

3. Deep fry them lightly in medium to hot oil till they just turn opaque. Remove from pan, drain and keep aside.












4. Blend together all the ingredients of the chutney. Add salt. The chutney is now ready.

5. Take another pan add 3-4 tbs of oil and set it on medium heat. Add the chutney to the oil and cook till the colour darkens a bit and begins to thicken. Now adjust the seasoning after adding vinegar and salt. Take 1/4 cup of water, blend in 1 tbs cornflour and add to the chicken as it is cooking. Mix well. The corn flour paste gives the sauce a glazed look. Let it simmer on low heat for 2 to 3 minutes.Serve hot with fried rice or noodles and enjoy.














As a variation you can add garlic (2 cloves) instead of ginger in the chutney. You get the zing thing with the ginger while the garlic tones it down a bit. 

Creamy coco lemon pepper fish


















Ingredients:
Basa fish filets - 4
Fresh curly parsely chopped- 1/2 tbspn
Lemon pepper powder - 2 tspns
Coconut powder - 4 tblspns
Ground cumin - 1/2 tspn
Olive oil - 2 tblspns
Salt to taste

Method: Clean, rinse and cut each Basa fish filet into 2 or 3 pieces. Rub them with salt & cumin & keep them aside. After 10 minutes sprinkle lemon pepper, throw in chopped parsely & dust with coconut powder so that it coats evenly and thoroughly. Then shallow fry them in olive oil in a non stick pan and serve them hot with steamed or fried rice.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Tandoori Naan





Ingredients:
4 cups white flour
1 egg
1/2 cup plain sour yoghurt
1 tblspn vegetable oil
1 tblspn butter
1 tspn active dried yeast
1/2 tspn baking powder
3/4 cup lukewarm water
1tspn sugar
Salt to taste















Method:
Add 1/2 a tspn salt & baking powder to the flour run the processor to blend well. Add egg, yoghurt, yeast (dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water) and pulse 3 to 4 times till the dough is formed. Add a little more water and process well till you get a sticky, gooey dough for the Naan. Make 8 balls out of the dough and put them on a greased cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Cover with a damp cloth and leave for 4hrs till they are double in size. Set the oven to broil at 450 degrees fahrenheit. Take one ball, dust it with a little flour, then flip flap in between the palms of your hands till it gets the shape of a naan. Put it on the griddle or a frying pan to toast on one side. You can give it a good shape by pressing it on the uneven sides after you put it on the griddle. Once you see the bubbles on the top remove and put it on broil in the oven so that the bubbly untoasted side is under the broil. Wait for it to puff up -2-3 mins. As soon as it turns golden brown remove from the oven, brush it with butter or olive oil. The Naan is now ready. Enjoy it with a delicious curry of your choice.

Whole wheat Naan

Ingredients:
4 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 a cup plain yoghurt
1 tspn yeast
1/2 a tspn baking powder
2 tblspn Olive oil
Salt to taste
Chopped pudina/cilantro/onions & green chillies/garlic butter can be used for naan variations.


Method: Dissolve yeast in a small bowl filled with 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Add one tspn salt to the flour and run the food processsor. Add the yoghurt & yeast mixture followed by 1 tblspn olive oil. Process well till the dough is well mixed and is sticky, elastic and gooey. Make balls out of the dough. Press the balls between the palm of the hand, toast them on one side of the griddle. Set the oven to broil at 450 degrees. Once the naan is toasted nicely (shows golden brown specs at the bottom and tiny bubbles on top) slide it on the top shelf of the oven and let it bake for 2 minutes until it turns golden brown. Watch the naan carefully at this stage as it takes just a couple of minutes to bake on one side. It first puffs up and then turns golden brown. Remove from the oven and enjoy the naan with the curry of your choice.

Naan variations: Pudina Naan, Hara dhania Naan, garlic butter naan etc. After you press the naan on the griddle or tava, sprinkle the pudina/cilantro/onions & green chillies, press lightly and then grill under the broil for 2 - 3 minutes. The naan is ready to enjoy.