Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Avocado Mango Salad















Ingredients:
Ripe Avocados - 2
Ripe Mangoes - 1
Hot pickled peppers - a few 

For the dressing:

Lemon juice = 2 tbs
Salt to taste 
Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tbs
Dijon Mustard - 1/2 tsp

Method:  

1. Peel, remove the stone and cut the avocado into cubes.
2. Peel, wash and cut the mango into cubes too.
3. Add coarsely chopped pickled peppers.
4. Prepare the dressing by whisking together all the dressing ingredients. 
5. Sprinkle dressing on the avocado mango pieces.
6. Toss gently with two forks and serve. 





The White Biryani

Ever imagined eating a biryani and not feeling heavy? The White biryani does the trick. It is less oily, less hot and less spicy, but full of flavour and very tasty. Ever since I created the white chicken, I have been wanting to create this dish for so long and had been imagining it all the time. Thanks to the Almighty it turned out to be as tasty as I had imagined it to be.  The chicken pieces were soft, silky,  flavourful and juicy and the biryani had a subtle exotic flavour and intense taste.
My favourite dish is our traditional Madrasi biryani. There are different kinds of biryanis all over the world. But I am proud to say and challenge that none can beat our traditional madrasi biryani not even the white biryani which is my own creation. I will be posting that soon.
Ingredients:
Whole chickens – 2 (1.5kgs each)
Long grain Basumati Rice-6 cups
For the marinade:
Thick Yoghurt – 1 full cup
Ginger garlic paste – 1/4 cup
Dhania powder – 2 tspns
Cumin powder – 1 tspn
Fennel powder – 1/2 tspn
Green cardamom powder – 1 1/2 tspns
Green chillies – 4 -6 small size
Vegetable oil – 1/4 cup
For the sauce:
Cinnamon bark (dark brown) – 1 (3 inch piece)
Cloves – 8 – 10
Green cardamoms 10
Star anise – 1-2
Vegetable oil – 1/2cup
Blanched Almonds – 1/2 cup
Fried onion paste – 1 cup (made with 2 medium sized onions)
1 small to medium sized onion sliced.
Cilantro – 1 cup chopped
Mint – 1 bunch (pepper mint only)
Saffron -1/2 tsp
Whole green chillies – 6 – 8 small size
Ginger garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Half and half milk – 1 cup
Top quality Basumati Rice for biryani – 6 cups
Lemon- 1
Yoghurt – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Method:
1. Remove the skin, clean, wash and drain the chicken. Wipe it dry with paper towels. Rub the chicken with the lime juice and salt, keep aside for 15 mins.
2. Mix together all the ingredients for the marinade and stir well till it becomes a thick paste. Combine everything well adding appropriate salt.
3. Rub the chicken with this marinade and set aside for a couple of hrs.
4. Broil the marinated chicken pieces for 4-6 mins on each side. Remove and set aside.
5. Lightly fry the blanched almonds separately in a tspn of butter. Grind them in a wet grinder to a fine paste and keep aside.
6.  To prepare the sauce, heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a big pot add the whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, star anise and cardamom)  then fry the sliced onion on medium heat till it becomes translucent and not golden brown as in the other biryanis. Remember always that we are making white biryani here and we don’t want it to be brown in any way, therefore enough care is to be taken not to overdo anything.
7. Once the onions turn translucent, stir in the fried onion paste and ginger garlic paste followed by the yoghurt and ground almonds. Fry lightly till the onions blend well with the paste.
8. Add the broiled chicken pieces to the  pot, mix gently. Add green chillies, mint, chopped coriander  and let it simmer for a while. Add a little water if it is too thick.
9. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot. Add the basumati rice which has been pre-soaked for atleast 1/2 an hr and 2 tblspns salt.
10. Test the rice for doneness by pressing a grain of rice between your index finger and thumb. It should be soft on the outside and still gritty inside. At this stage switch off the stove and drain the rice.
11. Transfer the cooked chicken with the gravy to the roaster. Top it with chopped coriander, sprinkle 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and adjust the salt after tasting the curry.
12. Put the roaster in a pre-heated oven (at 375 degrees Fahrenheit) and let it simmer for a while. do not close the lid yet.
13. Now transfer the hot cooked rice to the roaster.
14. Crush the saffron threads with a mortar and pestle. Add some water mix well and pour it in a cup. Add a tbsp of butter to it. Take a ladle of rice and mix it with the saffron butter water.
15. Sprinkle the top of the roaster with the saffron rice, mint leaves and 1/2- 1 cup of chopped fresh cilantro and put it back in the oven for 10-15 mins.
16. Remove from the oven when you smell the aroma of the biryani around. The white Biryani is now ready. Serve hot with yoghurt chutney and kachumbar. Enjoy!

Egg Plant Bun Sandwich


Those who are not fond of egg plant would love this sandwich for sure. It can be packed for lunch to school or work place. So quick and easy to make and so healthy and nutritious!


Ingredients:
Egg Plant large - 1
Buns                 - 1
Dijon Mustard  - 1 tsp
Cream Cheese   - 2 tbsp
Green Olives     -  2-4
Pickled Dill       -  1 tsp chopped
Pickled Peppers  -  1- 2 rings chopped
Olive Oil             - 2 tbs
Salt and Pepper to sprinkle on the egg plant.


Method:
1. Wash, wipe dry and cut the egg plant into slices.
2. Sprinkle them with salt and pepper, brush with olive oil and bake in the oven till golden brown at 400 degrees fahrenheit for around 10 -15 mins.
3. Mix together cream cheese and dijon mustard then add the chopped olives, pickled peppers and dill. You may add some chopped parsely or cilantro if you want. Mix well and keep aside.
4. Toast the two halves of the bun and spread the prepared cream cheese dijon mixture on the insides of the bun halves.
5. Place the baked egg plant slices on top of the bottom bun half spread with cream cheese mix, then drizzle some ketchup and/or chilly sauce on them,  top with the other half of the bun which is also spread with cream cheese mix and enjoy your yummy healthy and nutritious bun sandwich.

Red chilli garlic chicken roast


This is a lighter version of the traditional zafrani chicken. Those who do not want the saffron flavour and the spicy taste can go for this chicken roast which is a equally good yet different in flavour and taste.
Ingredients:
Dried red long chillies – 4 – 6
Garlic cloves – 4 medium size
Cumin whole – 1 tspn
Black pepper – 1/2 tspn
Salt to taste
Method:
1.Clean a whole chicken, drain and towel dry. Rub it with a little salt(1/4 tspn) and set aside.
2. Grind the dried red chillies, garlic cloves, cumin and black pepper to a slightly coarse paste.
3. Make slits in the chicken here and there. Rub the chicken with the ground paste, put it in a roasting pan, leave to marinate for 15 mins.
4. Add  1 cup of water to the roasting pan and bake in a pre-heated oven with the lid tightly closed for 1 hr at 325 degrees fahrenheit.
5. Now change the setting to convection roast, set the temperature at 375 degrees and roast uncovered for 20 – 30 mins basting with the juices every now and then to keep it moist. Don’t worry if you do not  have a convection oven, it is enough if you just change the temperature.  Half way through the cooking you may turn the chicken over gently to make it golden brown on both the sides. At this stage the chicken just comes off the bone and is so juicy and flavourful.
6. Remove chicken gently from the roasting pan and put it on the serving platter. Pour some of the remaining juices on the chicken and serve hot with basumati rice. Enjoy!


Tips:
 For a tangy taste you could add 1 tbs of sun-dried tomatoes to the above ingredients before grinding them to a paste and rub the chicken with salt and 1 tbs of lemon juice.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Roasted red bell pepper and peanut chutney.

Ingredients:
Red Bell Pepper - 1
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Dried red chillies - 3 - 4 long
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Vegetable oil - 1 tsp
Garlic clove - 1 large
Curry leaves - 6-8
Tamarind (seedless) - a marble sized round

For tempering:
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Dried red chillies - 1 or two small ones
Curry leaves - 4-5
Urad dal - 1/4 tsp
Vegetable oil - 1 tsp
Asafoetida - a pinch ( optional)

Method: 
1. Roast the red bell pepper on a pan in the oven.
2. Heat a tsp of oil in a sauce pan. Roast the peanuts, cumin seeds and dry red chillies together. Then add the diced onions, stirfry for sometime before adding the tomatoes and curry leaves. 
3. Grind everything together coarsely with the tamarind. 
4. Peel the roasted pepper, remove and discard the seeds inside and lastly add it  to the ground ingredients and pulse 2 or 3 times till  it is well blended.  
4. Remove the chutney in a serving bowl.
5. Now for tempering, heat a tsp of  vegetable oil, add mustard seeds and when they splutter add dried red chillies, urad dal, curry leaves and lastly asafoetida. 
6. Quickly pour this on top of the ground chutney in the serving bowl. Enjoy with idli, dosa, vada or any finger snacks.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Black Rice Porridge


I had this porridge for my breakfast this morning instead of oats. I made it with the left over cooked black rice that I had in the fridge. It tasted nutty and delicious and I enjoyed eating it and wished there was more.... 

The health benefits of Black rice are amazing. It is a naturally gluten free grain, a super food that can keep you healthy. You will be surprised to know that it is packed with 18 amino acids and loaded with vitamins (a good source of vitamin B and E), minerals, is rich in iron and full of antioxidants. A spoonful of black rice has more antioxidants than a spoonful of blue berries. It is called a super food because of its high nutritive content and is known to prevent major diseases like cancer, Alzeimer's, diabetes, and lowers the risk of heart attack, also helps reduce levels of bad cholesterol (LDL). Studies show that Black rice contains a large amount of anthocyanin, an ingredient capable of controlling cholestrol levels than any other supplement available today. Read more about black rice on http://www.blackrice.com. 

I had also posted a black rice recipe earlier and it was a black rice salad. You can view the recipe here: http://www.mamasecretrecipes.blogspot.ca/2011/09/black-rice-salad.html

For best results in cooking Black rice, it has to be soaked overnight. Otherwise it takes longer to cook. It is better to cook it in the water it has been soaking in as its nutrients would be lost. 


Ingredients: 

1 Cup Black rice 
1.5 litres (6 cups) of Water 
1 Small Sliced Onion 
1Tsp Butter / Olive oil
1/4 Tsp Ginger garlic paste 
1/2 Tbs Salt
1 Tsp Chopped Cilantro 


Method: 

1. Wash the rice 2 or 3 times and soak it in water overnight. There should be at least 2 inches of water above the rice.

2. Bring to boil 1.5 litres of water in a pot. Add the black rice and 1/2 tbs of salt. 

3. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for 30 minutes. Stir one or two times just to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. 

4. Check to see if the rice is soft  and cooked, but not mushy.  If not, then add a little more water and simmer for some more time. 

5. To a sauce pan on medium heat add the butter or olive oil and fry the sliced onion till soft and golden. 

6. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry with the onions.

7. To this add the cooked black rice and 1 cup of water. Let it simmer till the water evaporates and starts thickening. When it attains porridge consistency, remove from heat. 

8. Garnish with a little chopped cilantro and serve warm. Good as a breakfast cereal. Very tasty and delicious.