Thursday, December 17, 2015

Saffron Flavoured Salmon

Ingredients: 
Salmon filets - 2 
Onions - 1 large sliced
Tomatoes - 1 small
Garlic cloves - 2 
Fresh thai red chilly - 1 chopped
Cilantro - 1 tbs chopped
Saffron - a pinch
Olive oil - 2 tbs
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Black pepper - to sprinkle
Paprika - 1/2 tsp
Lime juice - 1 tbs
Salt - to taste 

Method:
1. Clean, wash the salmon filets and towel dry them. Rub salt and leave aside.
2. In a sauce pan fry the onions in 1 tbs olive oil till golden brown.
3. Add chopped garlic, turmeric, paprika, salt and black pepper followed by tomatoes. 
4. Cook till tomatoes soften a bit and then with an electric hand blender, blend all the ingredients well to get a coarse paste. Add the fresh chopped thai red chilly and cilantro. 
5. Soak and crush the saffron threads in a little warm water and add it to the onion mixture. 
6. Smear this saffron onion mixture on the salmon filets, squeeze some lime or lemon juice and leave them to marinate for 10 - 15 mins. 
7. Heat a caste iron skillet add 1 tbs olive oil and place the filets in it till the bottom gets fried and is a bit crispy. 
8. Now remove from the stove and bake in the oven pre-heated at 400 degrees celsius for just 8 minutes. 
9. Remove from the oven and serve them hot with lemon wedges and a nutritious salad. I served it with Kale salad and sautéed black beans garnished with chopped cilantro. 
10. Do not over bake the salmon. It should be just done, which means crispy on the outside and juicy inside. Mine was perfectly done in just 8 minutes.


For the sautéed black beans: 
1.Boil 1/2 cup of black beans (soaked overnight) in a pot till soft. They should be al dente and not mushy. Or use canned beans instead. Keep aside. 
2. Heat 1/2 a tsp of vegetable oil in a sauce pan. Throw in 1/4 tsp of black mustard seeds and as soon as they start spluttering add 1/2 tsp chopped garlic followed by half a small chopped onion and fry till translucent. 
3. Add the cooked black beans to the pan and sauté with the onions. Give it a stir and remove from the stove. Drizzle some fresh squeezed lemon juice and enjoy.

Nutritious Kale Salad




Ingredients:
Kale - 1cup
Romain lettuce -  1 cup
Kalamata olives - 6
Red/green/yellow peppers - 1/2 cup diced
Tomatoes - 1/2 cup diced
Walnut pieces - 2 tbs
Sun flower seeds - 2 tsp

For the Salad Dressing:
Olive oil - 1 tbs
Balsamic vinegar- 1/2 tbs
Dijon mustard - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste 
Black pepper - just to sprinkle on top

Method:

1. Mix together kalamata olives, yellow peppers, tomatoes - all cut into dices along with chopped kale and lettuce. 

2. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and drizzle over the salad. Top with walnuts and sunflower seeds and serve with the baked salmon fish filets: saffron flavoured baked salmon fish filets . Enjoy!


Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jerk chicken meal


I have never tried jerk chicken from scratch, but always used either the dry jerk spices or the paste. I prefer the Grace jerk ground paste better than any other brand and I add some soya sauce, honey garlic barbeque sauce and ketchup to tone down the heat a bit and make it tangy and sweet.

Ingredients: 
Chicken drumsticks - 6
Grace jerk ground paste - 2 tbs
Honey garlic sauce - 2 tbs
Ketchup - 1 tbs
Soy sauce - 2 tsp
Vegetabl oil for deep frying - 1 cup

Method:
1. De-skin, clean and wash the drumsticks and drain them in a colander or dry with a tea towel,
2. Rub them with the jerk paste and steam in a pot with just a little water till they are cooked.  Allow them to cool.
3. Heat oil in a suace pan and deep fry the drumsticks on medium heat  Drain on wire rack and set aside .Do not throw away the left over juices from the steamed chicken.
4. In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, the honey garlic sauce and the ketchup. Add this to the left over juices from the steamed chicken with a table spoon of hot oil (use the oil in which the chcken was fried).  Mix everything together on low heat.
5. Now throw in the fried chicken drumsticks and toss them in the sauce till it coats the drumsticks well and they get a glazed look.
6. Serve with steamed veggies of your choice. I served them with steamed beans and  corn wihch I cooked in the microwave. Enjoy your jerk chicken with the veggies!

Tips: 
1. For steaming the corn just place it with the husk in the microwave for 4-5 mins on power 10. It tastes so good, much better than boiling it in water. So quick and easy as well as delicious!

2. As for  the beans I sensor cook them in the microwave for 2 - 3 mins, then toss them in the pan with some butter and olive oil, dried red chillies, slivered almonds, salt and pepper, stir fry them on medium heat till they are just rightly done and serve.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Smoked Butter Chicken

"This is the best butter chicken you ever made" was the comment from my son when he tasted it. When I tasted it, I knew what he meant. The earthenware dish that I used to smoke the butter chicken in the oven did the magic. The earthenware flavor combined with the smoky flavor tasted heavenly. None of us could stop till we wiped everything off.

Here's the recipe:


For the Marinade:

Chicken breasts - 1 1/2 (or 3 halves)

For the tandoori masala 
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
Greek Yoghurt / Labneh) - 1/2tbs
 Salt - to taste

For the gravy:
Cinnamon - 1" stick
Cloves - 4
Green cardamoms - 4
Black cardamoms -1
Fennel seeds - 1/4 tsp
Black peppercorns - 10
Bay leaf - 1
Onion - 1 medium sized
Fresh Tomatoes - 3 medium sized
Green Chillies - 2
Grated ginger - 1 tsp
Whipping cream - 1/2 a cup
Brown sugar - 1/2 tsp
Olive oil - 1tbs
Butter - 1tbs

Method:
1. Put the marinated chicken pieces in an earthenware pan and bake in the oven preheated at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 1/2 an hr. Switch off the oven. Light a piece of charcoal and place it in a tin foil cup (shape the tin foil like a small cup to hold the burning charcoal). Place the cup on top of the chicken pieces in the center of the earthenware pan. Add a small blob of ghee(clarified butter) to the coal. When it smokes, close the earthenware pan with a lid and leave it in the oven for sometime.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter with the olive oil in a sauce pan on medium heat. Add the whole spices (the first seven ingredients for the gravy) and the sliced onion, cook on low heat till it sweats a little. Add to the sauce pan, the grated ginger, green chillies and chopped tomatoes.

3. Mash the tomatoes with the spatula, add 2 tsps tomato paste and mix well to form a gravy.

4. Remove the charcoal and transfer the chicken pieces to the sauce pan adding  a little water. Let it simmer on the stove top for sometime.

5. Now pour in the whipping cream little by little while reserving 1 or 2 tbsps to use as garnish. 

6. Simmer for 2 - 4 mins till the gravy thickens a bit. Garnish with the remaining whipping cream by drizzling it on the butter chicken just before serving. Serve hot with fresh baked naan or tandoori roti. Enjoy!

My Canadian Thali


"Thali" literally means a plate and in India it is used to serve a variety of dishes, so the meal itself is referred to as a "Thali" such as a vegetarian thali, a fish thali etc........

I enjoyed eating "Thalis" in India. It is so exciting to wait for the "Thali" to be served at a restaurant and interesting to see the different kinds of vegetables, lentils, chutneys, pickles, breads served in little bowls placed in a big round plate or platter. I wanted to create my Canadian Thali similar to something like this, but filled with dishes that suit the canadian taste.

For the Cranberry sauce I followed Ree Drummond's recipe (the Pioneer Woman) and it was so delicious! She uses maple syrup, orange juice and orange zest which is a great combination of flavours.

My Canadian Thali has the following:

1. Naan (brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven).

2. Zucchini (cut into 3 inch pieces, sprinkled with salt, pepper, basil and olive oil and baked in the oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 15 - 20 mins or till done).

5. Pan fried Baby Veal (recipe will follow)

6. Butternut squash (cut into half, seeds scooped out, brushed with some melted butter and baked in the oven till it is done, that is when it turns a little brown and starts leaving an aroma)

7. Prepare all the above dishes, place them on a plate side by side and enjoy with toasted Naan. 

Egg Plant Tapenade



This is a mediterranean recipe that I modified to suit my taste. I flame grilled the egg plant to give it smoky flavour and substituted pine nuts for walnuts and sun dried tomatoes for fresh ones. The smoky egg plant combined with the slightly tangy and nutty flavours turned out really delicious. We should not forget that the egg plant is the king in this dish, so care should be taken not to over power it with other flavours. Therefore adding just the right proportions of everything makes it not only enhanced in flavour but also in taste.

Ingredients:
Large dark purple egg plant - 1
Sun dried tomatoes             - 1 tbs
Walnuts(lightly toasted)        - 2 tbs
Extra virgin olive oil              - 2 tbs
Pitted kalamata olives          - 8-10
Lemon juice                         - 1 tsp
Small onion(finely chopped  - 1
Garlic clove                          - 1

To garnish:
Ground Cumin                   - 1/2tsp
Cayenne pepper/paprika    - 1/4tsp
Extra virgin olive oil            - 2 tbs
Cilantro finely chopped      - 1 tbs

Method: 
1. Flame grill the egg plant on the gas stove till it is charred all over and becomes soft. Leave it to cool.
2. Toast the walnuts with a little olive oil. Soak the sun-dried tomatoes in just a little water.
3. Remove the charred skin from the cooled egg plant, clean well so that no charred remnants are sticking to the egg plant, cut it open without loosing its juices, scrape out the seeds if they are too big and hard, otherwise you can leave them.
4. Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a sauce pan and fry the chopped onion, once it is translucent add the chopped garlic clove, walnuts, give it a quick stir and remove from stove.
5. In a dry grinder, grind together the chopped onion and walnut mixture (pour it with the olive oil in the pan into the grinder) along with the sun-dried tomatoes, salt and pepper to make a smooth paste. You can add a green chilly if you want some heat. For me without thegreen chilly it tasted better.
6. Now mash the egg plant with a hand blender and incorporate the ground mixture into it to make a sligthly smooth but still a little coarse paste. The roasted egg plant should be well blended with the ground paste.
7. Transfer the contents to a serving bowl. Add chopped cilantro, a dash of  lemon juice, adjust the salt and mix well.  Sprinkle cumin and cayenne or paprika on top, drizzle olive oil and enjoy!


Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Zucchini Papaya Salad


Ingredients: 
1 Cup Light green zucchini
1 Cup Papaya (not so ripe)
4 Tbs Peanuts crushed
1 Tbs Sesame seeds

Lemon dressing:
1 Tbs Lemon juice
1 Tbs Olive oil
1/4 Tsp Sesame oil
1/2 Tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper as required

Method:
1. Peel the Zucchini and Papaya. Wash and towel dry. Grate into thin long strips or julienes.

2. Dry roast the peanuts and sesame seeds.

3. Mix all the dressing ingredients and whisk well till it emulsifies and thickens.

4. Pour the dressing over the grated zucchini and papaya.

5. Top with roasted peanuts and sesame seeds.

6. Enjoy.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Spicy Carrot and Green Apple Salad



This recipe is adapted from a carrot salad recipe I found on one of the south indian blogs. It is a very refreshing salad and I like it very much. The sauteed mustard seeds add an extra flavour to the salad.

Ingredients: 

Carrots shredded - 2
Green Apple Shredded - 1
Fresh Cilantro - 1 tbs
Fresh lemon juice - 1 tbs
Ginger grated - 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Sugar - 1 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Fresh Curry leaves - a few
Green chillies - 1 small (optional)
Vegetable oil - 1/2 tsp

Method:

1. Mix together the shredded carrots and apple. Add chopped cilantro.
2. Heat 1/2 tsp vegetable oil in a small sauce pan. Add the mustard seeds when the oil is just hot to make them splutter. Add the chopped curry leaves and remove immediately and pour it on the shredded salad mix.
3. Add lemon juice, salt and sugar, toss well and serve. Enjoy!

Apple grape salad



A refreshing salad for lunch or dinner as a snack or a side dish in summer.  This is a very simple salad to make from the fruits you have at home, especially when you are pressed for time and your imagination has deserted you. Cut up an apple or pear, some grapes or berries and throw them in together with a handful of spring mix, garnish with some chopped walnuts, drizzle some dressing on top and voila your salad is ready in no time! You may any dressing of your choice. I also use lemon poppy seed dressing sometimes.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

Green apple - 1
Red grapes  -  1/2 cup
Spring mix -   1 cup
Walnuts      -   1tbs

For the lemon dijon dressing:

Lemon juice (fresh) - 1 tbs
Dijon mustard - 1tsp
Brown sugar   -  a pinch
Olive oil          - 1tbs
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Wash, peel and thinly slice the green apple. Deseed and cut in half the red grapes.
2. Layer the spring mix on a plate, then throw in the apple slices followed by the grapes on top.
3. Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a bottle and shake well to blend.
4. Sprinkle chopped walnuts and drizzle the dressing on top.
5. The salad is now ready to be served. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Stuffed Chilli Bhajjis


I have long been craving for the stuffed chilly bhajjis that I used to eat in Chennai,India at one particular location and my mouth still waters thinking about them. I loved them as a child and enjoyed eating them. I don't find them now when I go to India. The small tea shop by the Cinema theatre where a lady vendor used to sell them is no more, though the theatre is still there. Everything has changed. But the taste is still alive and it evokes fond memories of the past of how we (me with my family) walked home after watching the movie enjoying these hot fuming mouthwatering bhajjis. I still remember how her small tea stall was always crowded and how we watched her fry a bazillion of them in a huge wok as we waited impatiently for our turn to buy them These bhajjis were stuffed with a delicious spicy filling and back then I used to wonder what it could be. I tried to recreate it and  kept trying different combinations and finally after many trials i managed to come very close to the taste. This was the best I could do. 

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
a few green fat chilli peppers
1 large potato
1 tbs MTR chutney powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp amchoor (dried mango) powder 
1/2 tsp ginger powder 
1/2 tsp kashmiri mirch powder
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 cup + 2 tbs besan (chickpea flour)
1 tsp ghee 
1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses (optional)
Salt to taste

Method: 

1. Dry roast the cumin seeds. Grind them in a mortar and pestle and keep aside. 

2. Take a sauce pan, add a tsp of ghee (clarified butter) and on medium heat roast the 2tbs of besan (chick pea flour). When it starts leaving an aroma it means it is well roasted and the raw smell is gone. Remove from the pan into a bowl and keep aside.

3. Peel, boil and grate the potato when it is cool. 

4. Now add the roasted besan (chick pea flour), MTR chutney powder, roasted ground cumin and the other spice powders to the grated potato. Mix well. Add salt and pomegranate molasses. The filling is ready  now.

5. Take a green chilly slit it open vertically, remove the seeds and stuff it with the filling. Then take some more filling and wrap it around the stuffed chilly. Compress it inside your fist and make it smooth. Set aside.

6. Repeat the same process with the rest of the chillies and set aside.

7. Make a thick batter with the 1/2 cup besan (chick pea flour), 1/2 tsp turmeric powder, 1/2tsp cumin powder, 1/2 tsp chilly powder and1/4 tsp baking soda with a little water. 

8. Dip the wrapped stuffed bhajjis in the batter and swirl them around so that they gather more batter and then slowly slide them in the hot oil on medium heat. Keep splashing the hot oil over them carefully and turn them over from time to time in order to fry them evenly. Remove them when they are crisp and golden.  

9. Drain them on paper towels and serve them hot with mint or tamarind chutney. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Mini Oatmeal berry muffins and pancakes for toddlers


My grandson is a fussy eater. I made these for his morning breakfast and served them with yoghurt, fruits and  peanut butter. It brought a big smile on his face when I placed the plate before him. He sang as he ate and enjoyed every bite, wiping the plate clean. 








Here's the Recipe:

Ingredients

Oatmeal - 1 cup
White flour - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt- a small pinch
Butter melted - 2 tbs
Egg - 1
Milk - 1/2 cup
Strawberries - 4 or 5
Blueberries - a handful
Pears/Apples - grated
Honey - 1- 2 tsp
Cinnamon for flavouring (optional) - can be used with grated apples


Method: 
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
2. Grind the oats in a dry grinder. Then mix together all dry ingredients. 
3. Whisk the egg, add the milk followed by the cooled melted butter and honey. 
4. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well to get a smooth thick batter.
5. Pour into mini muffin tins, top with berries and bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 12 mins till a tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
6. You can use the same batter to make mini pancakes and use different toppings such as grated apples or pears, berries etc. Use clarified butter to cook the mini pancakes in the non stick pan.
7. Turn over and cook gently on low heat till they are done. Remove from pan, cool and serve them to your little toddler with peanut butter or yoghurt. 







Chicken Dijon

This is a quick chicken dish for those who are pressed for time and want something quick and easy to make and at the same time is good to eat.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:
Chicken breast - 1 lb
Garlic paste - 2 tsp
Djon mustard - 2tsp
Mayonnaise- 4 tbs
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil- 2 tbs + 1 tsp

Method:
1. Cut chicken breast into bite size pieces.
2. Rub garlic paste, salt and pepper.
3. Add 2 tbs olive oil to a sauce pan. Stir fry on medium heat till they are well cooked  and are golden and crispy. 
4. Remove from pan into a serving bowl.
5. Combine dijon, mayonnaise and olive oil and add it to the chicken. Mix well and enjoy.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Shahi Egg Sweet (Ande ki Mithai)





Ande ki Mithai is a popular egg sweet of the muslim community in Chennai. It is considered a delicacy which is reserved to be served on special occasions, holidays and important events. Though it is made with eggs it does not taste eggy at all. Its soft and silky texture and juicy sweetness just melts in your mouth. It is a must to have it as dessert after eating biryani. It is just divine!

It is so easy to make as you just blend together all the ingredients. But care should be taken to make it using the right proportions and the right technique. If the eggs are not whisked well before adding them to the khoya then you are sure to end up with a lumpy texture.

As a kid I grew up seeing my mom bake this sweet on charcoal in a huge copper baking pan. Those were the days of no blenders or mixies, so she would do everything by hand right from whipping up the eggs to making soft and smooth khoya from scratch. Then she would blend everything together by hand in a big mixing bowl. No doubt it took longer to make this sweet back then, but the end result was excellent. You got to be careful not to cook the mixture in the blender by blending it for too long. It is better to pulse to mix everything together than to blend continuously for a long time.

Following is the tried and tested recipe:

Ingredients:


Eggs- 4 extra large
Ghee- 125 gm
Sugar - 250 gm
Khoya - 250 gm
Semolina - 1 tbs
Milk - 3 -4 tbs
Almonds for paste - 25 
Almonds for garnish - 12
Saffron - a pinch
Rose essence - 2 -3 drops

1. Whisk the eggs together in a mixing bowl. Soak the semolina in 2 tbs milk. Add a few drops of hot water to the saffron strands and let them soak as well.

2. Pulse the khoya in a blender till there are no lumps.  Add the sugar and pulse again. Grind the almonds separately by adding 1- 2 tbs milk to make it into a smooth paste.

3. Now add the whisked eggs, almond paste  and ghee to the khoya mixture in the blender. Blend well by running the motor for not more than 15 secs each time. Do not make it runny.

4. Now add the soaked semolina, saffron and rose essence. Mix well to combine.

5. Meanwhile keep the almonds for garnish ready by soaking them in water, peeling them then slicing them into thin slivers. Keep aside.

6.Smear the baking dish with a little ghee and pour in the egg mixture. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 25 - 30 mins until it is golden brown on top. When you are half way through the baking, sprinkle the slivered almonds on top.

7. Remove when done. When it cools down cut into diamond shaped pieces, decorate with silver foil and enjoy. You may also chill it in the refrigerator and eat it cold. It stays fresh in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 days.



Monday, June 29, 2015

Rice Ganji (Porridge)






















Rice Ganji or kanji is an all time favourite for Ifthaar during Ramadan in Chennai. It is served to fasting muslims at most of the mosques there and is also prepared in almost every muslim house in Ramadan. It is a satisfying and fulfilling meal and is enjoyed with all sorts of snacks especially different kinds of vadas, samosas, pakoras etc. Sometimes to make it rich, some ground lamb or beef is added and it is called Aash. As a variation, small fried meat balls are also added.
 On the left is the picture of the rice ganji with grated coconut, chopped ciilantro and mint and below is the picture without the coconut which is also flavourful but has a lighter taste.

 Most important of all is the tadka or tempering which (done right at the end with ghee) takes it to the next level by making it rich and aromatic. Grated coconut and a hint of mint and chopped cilantro added just before tempering enhances its flavour and taste.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients: 

Rice - 1 cup
Moong dal - 1/4 cup
Onions - 1 small sliced
Green chillies - 2 small
Black pepper corns - 1/2  tsp + 5-6 for tempering
Fresh mint leaves - 5-6
Cilantro chopped - 1 tbs
Ghee - 2 tbs for tempering
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 tsp
Cloves - 2
Fresh grated coconut - 1 tbs
Ground beef/lamb - 1 tbs (optional)

Method: 

1. Dry roast the moong dal till lightly golden.
2. Wash the rice and the roasted moong dal till the water is clear.
3. Put it in a pressure cooker and add 2 cups of water, salt, pepper corns, green chillies and a little cilantro.
4. Close the lid and pressure cook for 5 mins after the first whizz or whistle. If you are not using a pressure cooker you can cook in the normal way by adding enough water and cooking on medium heat till the rice and dal are mushy.
5. Remove the lid of the pressure cooker after all the steam is out and add some more water to get a flowing consistency. It should neither be too thick nor too runny.
6. Now add the fresh grated coconut, mint and cilantro and let it simmer for 2 mins. Please note that the coconut has to be really fresh otherwise all your effort will be lost. Do not use the coconut if you get a stale or rancid smell. Transfer it to a serving bowl.
7. Now for the tempering, take a sauce pan, set it on medium heat.  Melt the ghee then add the 2 cloves, a few more (5-6) pepper corns and the sliced onions and stir continuously till they turn evenly golden brown. Now quickly add the ginger garlic paste, give it a stir and as soon as you get a whiff of the aroma pour it on top of  the prepared ganji.
8. Gently mix the tadka in the ganji and enjoy with fritters of your choice.
























Tips:

Care should be taken not to burn the rice porridge at the bottom of the pressure cooker or pot. So cook on medium heat, add enough water and stir from time to time.

Do not burn the onions in the tempering, nor let the ginger garlic paste burn too as all the flavour is lost if it is burnt.

Those who want a meaty flavour can add 1 tbs of ground beef/lamb to the pot initially along with the rice, dal and other ingredients and follow the same method for the rest of the cooking.

Alternatively you may roast the ground meat in a just a little oil or butter, add ginger garlic paste, and then add the rest of the ingredients and pressure cook. Follow the rest from step 5. And when you do the tempering just brown the onions with the pepper corns and cloves only and add to the ganji.

Or add small fried meat balls and simmer for a while just before tempering.




Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Kadai chicken


The flavour of the melted butter along with the pounded spices added a new dimension to the dish and it tasted intensely delicious!

Here's the recipe.

Ingredients:
Chicken - 2 legs and 2 wings
Butter - 1/4 cup
Olive oil- 2 tbs
Black pepper - 1 tsp
Whole Coriander- 1 tbs
Whole Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Green cardamom- 8
Green chillies - 2 
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Tomato - 1 medium size
Dried Kashmiri red chillies  - 2 
Garlic cloves - 5 medium size
Chopped ginger - 1 tsp for garnish
Chopped cilantro - 2 tbs for garnish


Method:

1. De skin, clean, wash and drain the chicken. Rub with salt and keep aside.

2. Melt the butter with the olive oil in a sauce pan on low heat.

3. Pound the coriander, black pepper, green cardamom and cumin separately. Break the dried kashmiri red chillies. 

4. Add the pounded spices to the pan followed by the crushed garlic cloves.  Stir on medium hear to release a whiff of aroma. 

5. Add the chicken to the sizzling spices in the pan.

6. Turn over and cook the chicken till it changes colour. 

7. Add the whole green chillies and chopped tomato and give it another stir. 

8. Add 1/2 a cup of water, cover with a lid and leave to cook on simmer for 15 - 20 mins or more till the chicken is soft, tender and juicy.

9.  Do not forget to stir from time to time. If the water dries up, sprinkle a little more water. 

10. At the final stage add chopped ginger and cilantro, simmer for 2 more minutes and serve hot with rice. 









Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Murmura chicken ( A Crispy Chicken Snack)

This is a quick chicken dish which I made for my son. It tastes more like a chicken snack than a main dish. It could be eaten on its own or with rice and curry. Great as an appetizer or side dish.  


Ingredients:
Chicken breast pieces - 1lb
Ginger garlic paste - 1 heaped tsp.
Red Chilli powder - 1 heaped tsp.
Turmeric - 1/2 a tsp.
Garam masala powder -1 tsp.
Fresh lemon juice – 1tbs.
Crispy fried onions - 1 handful
Curry leaves - a few
Mustard seeds – ¼ tsp.
Ginger chopped –1/2 tsp.
Dried red chillies – 2 small
Green chilli chopped –1 small
Onion chopped -1 small
 Vegetable oil –1 cup
Cilantro chopped – ½ cup

Method:
1.   Clean, wash and towel dry the chicken breast and cut into bite size pieces.
2.   Rub salt and lemon juice and leave aside for 5 minutes.
3.   Meanwhile mix together ginger garlic paste, turmeric, red chilli powder & garam masala powder and rub the chicken pieces with it.
4.   Heat the vegetable oil in a pot or frying pan and deep fry the chicken pieces till just crisp. Remove and drain on wire rack. (Draining on paper towels makes them soggy).
5.   Heat one teaspoon vegetable oil in a clean sauce pan. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle add dried red chillies (whole) and curry leaves followed by chopped onion & green chilli.
6.   Give it a good stir and quickly add the fried chicken pieces to the sauce pan.
7.   Throw in the crispy fried onions chopped ginger and chopped cilantro. Sprinkle some lemon juice and salt as required, then quickly give it another good stir and remove from pan.
8.   The crispy (murmura) chicken snack is now ready to enjoy.


Sunday, May 24, 2015

Green Masala Chicken

The Hara (Green) Masala Chicken has many variations. I like to keep it simple to bring out the flavors of the herbs and spices and not make it too heavy by using coconut, almonds, yoghurt and cream which I feel tones down the actual flavors and makes the dish tangy, sweet and heavy.
For this dish, I am using the same recipe my mom used for making lamb (hare masale ki phaal) which I loved so much. 

Again I forgot to take a picture for the blog.

Here's the recipe

Ingredients: 
Chicken - 4 legs
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs

Green masala paste:
Green chillies - 2- 4 (medium size)
Onions - 1 medium size 
Garlic clove - 2 medium size
Fresh coriander - 1/2 cup
Fresh Mint - 1/4 cup
Cloves - 4 
Green Cardamom - 4
Black Pepper corns - 1 tbs
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp

Method: 

1. Clean, wash the chicken legs, put them in a pot, add a glass of water, 1 tsp ginger garlic paste and 1/2 a tsp turmeric, salt and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for sometime till it is cooked.

2. Meanwhile grind together first the dry spices (black pepper, cumin, cloves and cardamoms). Now add the garlic, 1/2 onion, green chillies and fresh mint and coriander leaves. Grind again to make a paste and set aside. 

3. Heat 2 tbs of oil in a sauce pan. Slice the other 1/2 of the onion and fry in the oil till they caramelize.

4. Take the cooked chicken pieces from the soup and add them to the pan with the onions. Turn down the heat and lightly fry them turning them over gently from side to side till they are evenly golden brown.

5. Now add the soup left from the cooked chicken followed by the ground masala and cook till the mixture thickens. Adjust the salt. The green chicken is now ready.

6. Garnish with some chopped fresh coriander on top and serve hot with some jasmine rice. 

Boiling the chicken first in water spiced up with turmeric, salt and ginger garlic paste makes it soft, juicy and aromatic. Then, sautéing it with caramelised onions enhances its flavour. Finally adding the ground green masala after the chicken has browned in the pan retains the flavours of the herbs and spices ground together. This chicken is so delicious!!


Barbequed lamb chops

I had pickled garlic and figs at home and so I tried to use them in the marinade for the chops. It not only enhanced the barbecued flavor but also kicked it up a notch and was just so delicious!!

We got so busy enjoying the chops that I forgot to take a few shots for my blog. Here's the recipe:



Ingredients:

Lamb chops - 6-8 pcs (1kg)

Marinade 1
Pickled garlic - 6 small size
Pickled red chillies - 4
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Pepper - 1 tsp
Salt - 1/2 tspa
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs

Marinade 2
Pickled figs 
Italian parsley
Garlic and red chillies pickled in vinegar

Method:
1. Clean, wash and dry the lamb chops with paper towels.
2. Grind together all the ingredients of marinade1 to a fine paste.
3. Rub the chops with salt. Then rub them well with the ground paste mixed with vegetable oil and leave to marinate for 3 - 4 hours. 
4. Barbecue the marinated chops on a medium hot grill for a few mins on both the sides till they are golden brown.
5. Grind together all the ingredients of marinade 2 to a fine paste and brush this rub at the final stage of barbecuing the chops. Keep basting with oil from time to time. 
6. Remove the chops quickly from the grill while they are still moist with the marinade. 
7. Brush more if there's any leftover marinade while they are still hot.
8. Sprinkle some chopped cilantro and serve them hot. Enjoy the delicious lamb chops.

Tips:

To pickle garlic, red chillies, figs etc just put them in a clean bottle and add salt, chilly powder (optional)  and vinegar, then cover the mouth of the bottle with cling wrap and leave it in the sun for a few days till they are soft, juicy and tender. 

Friday, May 22, 2015

Eggplant egg sandwich


Ingredients: 
Sicilian egg plant - 1sliced
Panko crumbs - 1 cup
Corn flakes/ potato chips - 1 cup
White flour - 2 tbs
Egg - 1 for egg wash
Milk - 1tbs
Hard Boiled eggs- 2 - 4
Olive oill - 2 tbs
Mayonnaise
Tomato ketchup
Dijon Mustard


Method:

1. Cut the egg plant into 1/4" slices, sprinkle with salt and keep them aside.

2. Whisk the egg with 1 tbs milk in a bowl. Put the flour and the panko corn flake crumbs separately in two other bowls

3. Slice  the hard boiled eggs.

4. Take each egg plant slice, dust it with flour, then soak it in the egg wash, then coat it with the panko corn flake crumb mixture and keep it on a cookie sheet greased with olive oil. Sprinkle or spray some more oil on top of the slices.

5. Bake at 375 degrees fahrenheit for 10 mins or until golden brown. Set aside to cool. Another alternative is to fry the egg plant slices coated with crumbs on a non stick pan with a little olive oil.

6. Take one baked egg plant slice, spread some mayonnaise and dijon mustard on one side, place some boiled egg slices, sprinkle with salt and pepper, squirt some drops of ketchup then close it with another egg plant slice on which is spread mayonnaise and dijon mustard on the inside. Repeat with the other slices and make sandwiches out of them. Cut them into halves and enjoy.




Saturday, May 2, 2015

My French Omelette


I have been trying to perfect the art of making french omelette for so long. At last I did it! I tried and tried but finally I did succeed. It all requires tonnes of patience and diligent handling. Well it turned out just right - soft, silky and smooth. 

I used king oyster mushrooms and liked the flavour. You could use any mushrooms - white button, brown cremini or enochi etc. 

Here's the recipe.

Ingredients:
Eggs- 1
Milk - 2 tbs
Salt to taste
Black Pepper- a pinch
Unsalted Butter - 1 tsp
Mushrooms chopped - 1 tsp 
Mozzarella cheese grated - 1 tbs


Method: 
1.Lightly fry the chopped mushrooms. Remove and keep aside. Grate the mozzarella cheese.
2. Set the non-stick frying pan on low medium heat which is really important as we don't want a leathery texture.  
3. Whisk the egg well with salt, pepper and milk till it froths.
4. Add a blob of butter to the pan and as soon as it melts pour in the egg mixture. 
5. As the mixture begins to set, spread it around and swirl it lightly on top with a fork or chop sticks so that it resembles custard consistency. 
6. Now add the mushrooms and cheese. Let the heat be on low or medium low only. Do not raise the heat. 


7. Insert a spatula under the egg and slowly turn over and fold the edge on one side. Wait till it cooks a bit more taking care not to let it brown at all.
8. Fold over again on the exposed side, then turn over gently on the other side and slide it slowly onto the plate. Enjoy!


Thursday, April 30, 2015

Oats with poached egg


I got tired of eating oats with milk and sugar, so tried this indianized oats recipe which my mom used to make, gave a twist to it and enjoyed it so much! I added my own home made yoghurt (which had turned a little sour) along with fresh curry leaves and chopped cilantro. The Poached egg in the oats was just perfect, so lip smackingly yummy and really satisfying to have it in the morning as your first meal of the day. It was also a very nutritious and healthy breakfast.

Try this recipe.

Ingredients:
Quick cooking Oats -  1/4 cup  (cooking time -1.5 mins)
Onion chopped - 1 tbs
Ginger garlic paste - 1/8 tsp (optional)
Green chilly deseeded (optional) - 1 very small
Curry leaves or mint (fresh) - 4 or 5
Cilantro (chopped) - 1 tsp
Yoghurt - 1 tbs (optional)
Egg - 1
Salt to taste
Water - 11/2 cups
Olive oil - 1 - 2 tsp

Method: 
1.Put the olive oil in a sauce pan on medium heat.
2. Add the chopped onion, curry leaves and the green chilly. You may omit the green chilly if you don't want it or add half of it. I added a very small one after removing the seeds just for the zing. It wasn't hot for me.
3. Fry till the onions turn translucent. Add the ginger garlic paste - a little just for its flavor, then the whipped yoghurt. You can make it without the ginger garlic paste and yoghurt too and it still tastes good.
4. Now add the water and let it come to a boil.
5. Add the oats, salt and chopped cilantro and let it cook for 2 mins.
6. Break the egg first into a small bowl then slide it slowly into the sauce pan with the runny oats.
7. Simmer for 2 more mins till the egg is poached to your choice - half done, well done or runny. I like it with the center still runny but the sides slightly done. Add a tablespoon of some sour yoghurt and chopped curry leaves as a final touch and enjoy!


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Beef chilly garlic
























Ingredients: 

For the marinade: 

Beef - 1lb
Garlic - 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Brown sugar - 1 tsp
Vinegar - 2 tsp
White flour - 1 tsp

For the Red Sauce:

Garlic - 1 clove minced (medium size)
Red chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Brown sugar - 1 tsp
Vinegar - 4 tsp
Soya sauce - 2 tsp
Chopped green chillies - 1 (optional)
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Clean, wash and cut the beef into strips. Drain with paper towels and set aside.

2. Mix together all the ingredients of the first marinade except the flour and rub the beef pieces with it nicely. Set aside for 1/2 an hour.

3. Dust the marinated beef pieces with flour and deep fry them in oil till crisp. Drain on paper towels.

4. Meanwhile prepare the red sauce by combining all the sauce ingredients together.

5. Now toss the fried beef pieces in the red sauce and enjoy.

For Chilly garlic beef in glazed red sauce:

Follow the steps from 1 to 3

4. Heat 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Combine all the sauce ingredients with 1 tbs of ketchup and 1 tsp of hot chilli sauce (optional) and add to the sauce pan.

5. Dissolve 1 tsp of cornstarch in 1 tbs of water and add it to the red sauce to glaze it. Simmer till the sauce thickens a bit. If it becomes too thick add another tablespoon of water.

6.Toss in the fried beef.

7. Garnish with chopped spring onions and serve hot with rice or noodles. You may also add thinly sliced red and green peppers to it.



Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Madrasi Vegetable Biryani

The pictures below show the vegetable biryani made at two different times with a slightly different technique. Adding the beetroot to the sauce colours all the vegetables and the rice as well, so it looks like beetroot colour all over. But if you layer the beetroot pieces on top of the rice it stands out like a jewel in the crown and makes the biryani more colourful and I prefer doing that. Also I feel a difference in flavour too though both are equally good.  I have shown both the methods below with pictures.

Vegetable Oil - 1 cup
Cloves - 10
Green cardamoms - 10
Cinnamon sticks - 2 x 3"
Basumati rice - 5 cups
Onions - 5 medium to large size
Potatoes - 4 - 5
Peas - 1 1/2 cups
Carrot - 1large
Green beans - 2cups
kohlarabi - 1
Beetroot - 1 
Cauliflower florets - 2 cups
Plum tomatoes - 4 large 
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2 cup
Yoghurt - 1 cup
Saffron - a pinch
Cilantro - 2 cups chopped
Mint - 1/2 cup
Green chillies - 10
fresh lemon/lime juice - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method: 
Peel, wash and cut potatoes into big chunks. Peel carrots, kohlarabi and beetroot, wash them and cut into thin dices and keep them aside separately. Cut beans each into 2 pieces. Separate cauliflower florets, wash, towel dry and keep aside. 

Deep fry all the vegetables separately except the beetroot as it colours the oil. 

Pre soak the basumathi rice for half an hour, after rinsing in several changes of water until clear. For golden sela rice, it has to be soaked for 2- 4 hours.



1. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot. Add the whole spices - 10 cloves, 10 green cardamoms, and 2x 3" cinnamon sticks. 
  
2. Peel, wash and slice 5 large onions and add them to the pot
.

3. Fry the onions on medium heat till they are golden brown.


4. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric and red chilly powder. 


5. Add green chillies and tomatoes.


6.Turn over and cook till they soften a bit.


 7. Add yoghurt and mix well.



8. Add a few mint leaves. 


9. Add chopped fresh cilantro.

10. Meanwhile fry all the vegetables separately and the beetroot at the end, otherwise it will color them all. Do not fry the peas.


11. Add all the fried vegetables and green peas.


12. Sprinkle 1 tsp lemon juice, adjust the salt and mix all the vegetables well with the saiuce gently. 


13. Pre soak basumathi rice for 1/2 an hour. Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the basumathi rice and 2 -3tbs salt. Cook for a few minutes till the grains become just a little soft on the outside but still gritty when you press them between your index finger and thumb (you should keep checking from time to time). At this stage you should drain the rice to the last drop


14. Transfer all the contents of the pot (the sauce with the vegetables) to the roaster and place it in the oven preheated at 375 degrees centigrade. 


15. Immediately layer the drained rice on top of the sauce in the roaster simmering in the oven.


16. Add the fresh mint and coriander.
                                                                                                  

17. Add a pinch of edible orange food colouring on one side and mix it with a little rice as seen in the picture.


18. Sprinkle the coloured rice on top of the white rice. Add the saffron milk. Close the roaster lid and steam in the oven preheated at 375 degrees centigrade for 10 mins.


19. Remove from the oven when done and let it settle for 5 mins. Then open the lid and mix the rice with a round or flat spatula gently starting from the bottom and then folding in with the rice on top.

20. Mix well till all the white rice is coated with the sauce. Now close the lid and put it back into the hot oven for 5 more mins.  The vegetable biryani is now ready to eat. Serve hot with onion yoghurt chutney and enjoy!

Tips:

1.  It is very important to use good quality long grain basumathi rice which has been aged.

2 Adding the beetroot pieces along with the other vegetables to the sauce colours the rice and all the vegetables in it as you can see in the picture. If you want it coloured it is fine. But I prefer adding the beetroot pieces as a layer on top of the rice, which makes them stand out like a jewel in the crown.

Take a look at the pictures here after step 10:

11. Add all the vegetables except the beetroot pieces. Mix well


12. Add fresh lemon juice, mix well then transfer the sauce with the vegetables to a roaster and place it in the oven preheated at 375 degrees centigrade. 


13. Now top the vegetable sauce in the roaster with a layer of 3/4 cooked basumathi rice, then put all the beetroot pieces on top of the rice. 


14. Add another thin layer of rice over the beetroot pieces. Throw in some fresh mint leaves and lots of chopped cilantro. Colour a little of the rice in the corner of the roaster with edible natural food colouring and sprinkle the coloured rice all over the top layer which makes it look so decorative and colourful. Finally sprinkle a few drops of saffron milk (saffron dissolved in milk) here and there as the last finishing touch before closing the lid on the roaster. Let it steam in the oven preheated at 375 degrees centigrade for 10 mins. 



15. Remove the roaster from the oven when you get an aroma of the biryani which means it is done. Do not open the lid immediately as you could burn your face - it is steaming hot! let it sit for at least 5 minutes so all the juices get absorbed. Then wear your kitchen gloves and slowly open the lid little by little, while keeping your face away from it. Take a flat or round spatula and gently turn over the rice from the bottom to mix it. Start from one side of the roaster and as you turn the rice over the sauce from the bottom, mix well lightly and gently and enjoy!

As it is vegetable biryani you can mix all the biryani in the roaster, then reheat again before serving. With all the other biryanis it is not recommended. It is better to mix only as much as you want to serve, as there is a tendency for the meat pieces to break. But the foremost thing is to mix gently and carefully with a flat spatula. Also it cools down fast as all the steam comes out if you mix everything all at once. Everyone loves to eat steaming hot biryani, so we mix when we serve and keep the lid closed.