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.