Friday, December 23, 2016

Layered Idly Sandwich
























When ever we eat Idli we dip a piece of it in a chutney and then try another bite with a different one - it is always one chutney at a time. And if you dip the same piece in all the chutneys it becomes messy. So I thought why not build an idli layer by layer like a cake and fill each layer with a different chutney, like icing. I had been toying with this idea so much to the extent of checking with manufacturers if they could make a square idli mould for me. That seemed like a lengthy process for which I had no time. But I had to satisfy my craving to taste the idli and my favourite chutneys together - all in one bite. There was a shortcut which was tempting enough. I used the round steel plates from my Dhokla maker (I could have used a cake pan too) to steam my idli rounds and voila made my idli sandwich with different chutney layers. I had chutney powder (mologai podi), coconut and mint chutney which I used for each layer. It tasted just yummy as I had expected. Plus it looked so beautiful!
























Here's the recipe:

Ingredients: 
Idli batter
Mint chutney 
Coconut Chutney
Chutney Powder (Mologai Podi)
Clarified butter 
Round cake dish or Dhokla Maker plates
Parchment Paper


Method: 
1. Grease the cake pan/plate and line it with parchment paper cut in a circle, the same size as the base.  Pour in the Idli batter to your desired thickness. I keep it 1/2 " thick.

2. Place the cake pan in a steamer and steam for exactly 10 minutes. Remove and keep aside to cool.

3. When cooled, pass a knife around the sides of the pan/plate then overturn the plate carefully after topping it with another plate to unmould the idli cake. 

4. Cut the idli round into 4 quarters. Take one quarter and spread coconut chutney on it, then top it with another and spread with mint chutney, then alternate again with coconut chutney.  I had made only 2 chutneys this time so I had to repeat the layer. But you could use another different chutney instead. Then for the topmost layer I sprinkled with MTR's chutney powder and a few droplets of melted ghee (clarified butter) and brushed it evenly to coat. You could use as many layers as you want with different chutneys of your choice.  Enjoy!






























Notes:

1. You can get ready made refrigerated idli batter from indian stores. The other option is to make your own. I will be soon posting a recipe for making traditional recipes.

2. The chutney powder is available in indian stores as well, but MTR is a good brand.



Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Creamy Leek and Potato Soup

Nothing is more comforting to eat on a cold wintry rainy day than a bowl of creamy leek and potato soup with soft buns and mustard chicken to go with. The smooth texture of the soup with the flavour of leeks is so soothing to the senses and highly delectable. It is such a hearty, healthy and nutritious soup and so easy to make in no time. 



Ingredients: 
1 large Leek
2 Yukon gold potatoes
2 tbs Butter
2 Garlic cloves
1 Bay leaf
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1 cup Chicken  stock
1/2 cup heavy cream or half and half
Chives or spring onions finely chopped(optional)
Salt to taste
Method: 
1. Clean and wash the white and light green parts of the leeks and cut them into small pieces. Peel, wash and cut the pototoes into small pieces as well. Finely chop the garlic. 

2. In a soup pot melt the butter on medium heat, toss in the garlic, give it a stir and add the leeks and potatoes. 

3. Turn over and saute in the melted butter till they sweat and soften a bit. 

4. Add 2 cups hot water and the 1 hot cup chicken stock, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Let it cook on medium heat till the potatoes and leeks and very soft. Switch off the stove and remove the bay leaf. 

5. Using a hand held immersion blender, puree the cooked leeks and potatoes until smooth, adding a little water if too thick. I also added the shredded chicken pieces from the chicken soup stock and blended everything together. 

6. Add half and half or heavy cream. Taste and adjust the seasoning by adding salt and pepper if necessary. And if the soup appears to be thick add a little water and if it is too runny, leave it on simmer for sometime till it thickens.  

7. Garnish with chopped chives or spring onions and serve hot in soup bowls.  Enjoy with bread, buns or dinner rolls.





Monday, November 28, 2016

Lamb Shank Curry (Delhi Style)

It's been a long time since I made this curry in Delhi style. We used to relish it so much when we lived there. Luckily I happened to stumble upon it recently in one of those little trips into my past and therefore managed to bring this inanimate thing back to life. I had to make it the very next day otherwise it would have been a long lost forgotten thing again.

What makes it so unique in "Delhi style" is just one different spice and one finishing touch which changes its entire chemistry. It is the magic of the fried onions and the hint of the smoky flavour from the black cardamom that gives it the distinct flavour and taste which is so different from the traditional curries.

Here's the recipe!


Ingredients: 
2 Lamb shanks
2 medium onions
4 green chillies
1-2 Black cardamoms
1 Bay leaf
4 Cloves
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbs yoghurt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste.


Method: 
1. Cut each one of the lamb shanks into 2 pieces. This makes it easier to eat the bone marrow which is very delicious rather than keeping them whole. Then clean them by trimming away the fat and removing the skin carefully without chopping off the tender meat. Rinse well, drain and keep aside.

2. Slice the two onions. Heat 1 tbs oil in a pressure cooker, add the black cardamom, cloves and the bay leaf and fry half the onion slices to a light golden brown. Reserve the other half.

4. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric, kashmiri chilli powder and coriander powder, give it a stir then add the lamb shanks and salt. Sauté well with the spices. 

5. Add the whisked yoghurt to the pot followed by green chillies, cilantro and 1-2  cups of water. The water should be 2 inches above the shanks. After the first whistle in the pressure cooker turn down the heat, close the lid air tight and pressure cook for 10 - 15 minutes.  (But if you are not using a pressure cooker you will have to cook on low to medium heat for at least 45minutes to an hour. They should be so tender as to come off the bone. You can also cook in the instant pot following the directions for cooking meat accordingly.)

6. Meanwhile fry the reserved onion in the remaining 1tbs of vegetable oil till nicely browned but not burnt. So extra care should be taken while frying the onions to have them rightly done. Set aside.

7. Once the shanks are done turn down the heat to low and add these fried onions to the pressure cooker, cover lightly not air tight and let it simmer slowly for some more time (5-10 mins).  The browned onions not only give colour to the curry but also a sweet nutty flavour which when combined with the smoky flavour from the black cardamom and other spices further enhances the taste and makes the curry insanely delicious! 

8. Do not let the curry thicken too much. If it tends to thicken then sprinkle a little water on all sides and let it simmer till the oil comes on top until you don't see those fried onions anymore. Add chopped fresh cilantro to garnish and enjoy with rotis (flat bread), naan or rice. 

Notes:

Kashmiri Chilli powder - Kashmiri chilli is a mild form of chilli which gives colour and flavour to the dish and not much heat. You can get the MDH brand of Kashmiri chilli powder from any indian grocery store.  I haven't found any other brands here. Or the other best alternative would be to soak the kashmiri chillies in water and grind them into a paste. Though this is a lengthy process, it is fresh and more flavourful. 

Black Cardamoms - Another variety of cardamoms. They are big and black and have a smoky flavour. All asian grocery stores carry it. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Chicken Calzones



















Chicken Calzones

Ingredients:
3 cups All Purpose Flour 
2 cups Mozzarella cheese(grated)
1tbs Yeast  
1/2tbs Sugar            
1 tsp Salt                    
1 tbs Olive oil              
1cup Water
1 tbs Olive oil
Pizza sauce
Mushrooms
Green/Red Peppers
Tomatoes
Olives
         
Method:
1. Add the yeast and sugar to 1 cup of luke warm water in a bowl and leave to rise for 5 mins.

2. In a food processor, add 3 cups of  flour and salt. Pulse to mix well.  Add the bubbly yeast water to the flour and pulse on and off till everything comes together and forms a dough. If you find it too dry then just sprinkle a little more water taking care not to make it soggy. Keep pulsing and pausing till the dough becomes springy and starts to spin.  Add 1 tbs of olive oil and pulse once more, then remove.

3. Make the dough into a ball  and place it in a greased bowl. Cover with a moist tea towel or cling wrap and leave it on the counter in a cozy corner to rise for 1- 2 hours.

4.  While the dough is rising prepare the chicken filling as given in the recipe here. After 2 hours the dough is double in size. It is now smooth, spongy and ready for making calzones, pizza, foccaccia or panza roti etc.

The Calzones:

1.Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and shape each like a round ball.  Cover and leave for 10-15 mins. Take each ball and roll it into a fairly thin circle. I prefer pressing it with my fingers lightly to make a small flat round. Drop 1 tbs of pizza sauce on it. Give it a quick swirl so that it stays in the inner circle leaving the circumference clean and dry.

2. Mix together the chicken filling and some grated mozarella cheese (as much as you want). Place a portion of the filling mixture on the flattened round of dough. Do not over or under load. The filling should be just enough for you to be able to seal the calzone neatly.

3. You can also add olives, green/red peppers, tomatoes and sliced mushrooms to the filling if you like. Drizzle some more pizza sauce, some blobs here and there if you want and sprinkle some more mozarella cheese.

4. With wet fingers moisten the edge of the calzone, then dust a little flour on it so that it becomes sticky enough to seal the edges.

5. Close the calzone in the shape of a crescent, press the edges with a fork and tightly seal them. Care should be taken not to let the filling bulge out and touch the edges, If the edges are not sealed well then there is a chance of the filling leaking out while the calzone is baking. Repeat the same process for each one of the calzones.

6. Take a baking sheet, line it with parchment paper and place the calzones on it. Glaze them with an egg wash (egg whites whisked with a little water) prick them with a fork and bake in the center of the oven preheated at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 15 - 20 mins or until done.

7. Remove from the oven, let them cool a bit before serving them.


8. Drizzle some warm pizza sauce and mozzarella cheese on top and enjoy!

Chicken Filling























Here's the Recipe :

Ingredients: 
1 Whole Chicken breast
1 Large Onion
2 tsp Garlic chopped
1/2 tsp Black pepper ground
1/2 tsp Oregano dried 
1/2 tsp Basil dried


Method: 
1. Clean and place the chicken breast in a pot with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 a cup of boiling water, cover with a lid  and let it simmer till the water gets absorbed completely and the chicken is thoroughly cooked.  Remove and set aside to cool.

2. In another sauce pan, add olive oil and on medium heat, fry the sliced onions till they are soft and golden. Add the chopped garlic, basil, oregano and pepper. (You can substitute basil and oregano for cilantro and spring onions as per taste)

3. Shred the cooled cooked chicken with two forks and add it to the onion mixture in the sauce pan, Adjust the salt, turn over, stir fry it with the onion mixture till it gets mixed well. Remove and set aside. The filling is now ready for samosas, calzones, pastries, focaccia etc.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Coconut Shrimp Poppers
























Everybody loves my coconut shrimp poppers and I have made these many times for get togethers at home, friends' parties, pot lucks etc and each time I made them they disappeared in no time. They have an extra crunch that awakens your senses when you take your first bite. Then the subtle heat from the dijon mustard infused with the Sriracha hot sauce kicks in resulting in a tongue tingling sensation. And the dipping soy sauce fired up with ginger and green chillies has enough zing to ignite your soul and take you to another level of flavour. Hmm, what an experience of flavours to enjoy!


 Ingredients:
Raw Jumbo Tiger shrimps -  1/2 Kg
Kellog's Corn flakes - 1 cup
Panko Crumbs           - 1 cup
White flour                -  1 cup
Black Pepper - 1tsp
Dijon Mustard - 1 tsp
Sriracha chilly sauce - 1 tsp
Garlic Powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper - 1 tsp
Egg - 1 -2
Flour - 1 cup
White sesame seeds - 1tbs
Unsweetened coconut flakes - 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt to taste
           
1.Peel the shrimp but leave the tail, then devein, rinse, drain and dry on paper towels. Season them with salt and pepper and set them aside. 

2.Mix together dijon mustard, sriracha sauce, garlic and cumin powders and marinate the shrimps with this paste. Leave for half an hour. 

3.Put the corn flakes in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Do not make a fine powder. they should be coarsely crushed. Mix together the crushed corn flakes with the panko crumbs. Add some salt, pepper, coconut flakes and sesame seeds.  

 4.Place the beaten egg, flour and Panko Corn flakes mixture separately in 3 different bowls.

5.Take each shrimp, first coat with flour, next dip in the beaten egg and then roll in the panko corn flakes mixture. Repeat for all the shrimps with patience taking care to coat them evenly. 

6.Heat oil in a frying pan and fry them till golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with soy dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Dipping Sauce: 

Ingredients: 
Soy sauce                      -  1/2 cup  
Chopped ginger             - 1 tsp
Chopped green chillies - 1 tsp
White Vinegar               - 2 tsp
Franks Red hot sauce    - 1 tsp

Method:
1.Mix together all the above ingredients and leave aside for at least 15 mins. The soy dipping sauce infused with the flavours of ginger, green chillies and red hot sauce is now ready for use. Enjoy the Shrimp Poppers with the dipping sauce.
               



Friday, November 11, 2016

Ande ki kadi (Egg Curry)



Ingredients:
Eggs - 4
Onion - 1 medium size
Tomato - 1 large
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Dried seedless tamarind pulp - 1 tsp 
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Fenugreek powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few 
Green chillies - 4 small

Method:

1. Hard boil the eggs and keep aside. Please make sure that the eggs and the water are at room temperature before you put them to boil. Switch off the stove when the water begins to boil. Leave for 15 minutes then drain the water and allow them to cool in cold water before you start peeling their shell. Overcooked eggs have a crumbly yolk with a grey green tint, a sulphur like odour which is distasteful and a rubbery white. 

2. Cut the onion into thin slices and tomatoes into small quarters. Remove stems from the green chillies. 

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot. Fry the sliced onion to golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste, tomatoes, curry leaves, whole green chillies and salt, followed by turmeric, red chilly, coriander, cumin and fenugreek powders. You can enhance the flavour by adding roasted ground cumin and fenugreek (roast the cumin and fenugreek seeds first then grind them to a powder). 

4. Stir fry till the tomatoes are soft and tender. 

5. Soak the tamarind pulp in a little water after rinsing it. Squeeze the tamarind in the water to extract the juice and add it to the curry. I don't like to use tamarind paste as the taste and flavour is different, plus it has preservatives. 

6. Adjust the salt and simmer for sometime. Now remove the shells from the boiled eggs, make long slits and add them to the curry. Leave them on simmer to absorb the curry juices till they get discoloured. 

7. Garnish with chopped cilantro. The egg curry is now ready to serve. Enjoy with boiled jasmine rice. It goes so well with this curry. 


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Steamed Coconut Radish



This is a light side dish which is enjoyed with rice and curry or dal. It is just steamed for a few minutes till tender and then tempered with mustard, dried red chillies and curry leaves. I love to eat this with boiled rice and sambar. 

I prefer to use small or medium size white radishes for this dish as they have strong flavour unlike the chinese lobok which are usually very huge and lacking in flavour.   

Ingredients: 

White radish - 1 medium size 
Fresh coconut finely grated - 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Curry leaves - 4 or 5
Dried red chilly - 1 small
Canola oil - 1 tsp
Green chilly - 1 small
Salt to taste

Method: 

1. Peel, wash and cut the radish into small pieces. Add a little salt, slit green chilly,  then cover and steam it with just a teaspoon of water in a sauce pan till it is tender. 

2. Grate finely or coarsely grind the fresh coconut and add it to the steamed radish and on low heat turn it over a bit just to coat all the pieces with the fresh coconut. Do not cook anymore. 

3. For tempering heat the canola oil in a small sauce pan. Break the dried red chilly into two pieces and add it to the oil followed by mustard seeds. When they begin to splutter add the fresh curry leaves. Switch off the stove and pour the tempering over the steamed radish. 

4. Turn over, adjust the salt and enjoy with rice and curry. 

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Husainy Malai chicken kebabs


Soft, tender, juicy and grilled to perfection, these cheesy chicken tikka kebabs just melt in your mouth when you eat them. The first marinade of salt and lemon juice breaks down their fibre and makes them soft and succulent. The second marinade in a blend of cream cheese, hung yoghurt and light spices tones them down adding more moisture and flavour. Also using the right technique of grilling kicks them up a notch. They are at their best when enjoyed as soon as they are done, hot from the grill as their juices run out. Heating them over and over again affects their taste and texture, so it should be avoided. I have made them many times and I realized that marinating them for 24 hours really makes a lot of difference as it enhances the flavour and taste very much. 

Here's the recipe:




Ingredients:
Chicken breasts - 2 (halves from 1 whole chicken) 
Green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers - 1 each
Onion - 1
Lemon - 1
Seven spices - 1 tsp (optional)
Vegetable/olive oil - 2 tbs plus more for basting
Heavy duty tin foil - as much as you need.

1st marinade
Lemon juice - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

2nd Marinade:
Hung yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Cream cheese - 1/4 cup
Green Cardamoms - 12
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Green chillies - 2 - 4
Cilantro - 1/4 cup





Method:
1. Clean, wash and cut the chicken into cubes. Drain and towel dry them.

2. Rub the chicken cubes with salt and lemon juice, cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Remove from marinade, and leave to drain for sometime in a colander. 

3. Prepare the second marinade by whisking together the cream cheese, hung yoghurt, ginger garlic paste, ground green chilli cilantro paste (pound it using a mortar and pestle with just a little salt), freshly ground cardamom, cumin and fennel powder (grind together the green cardamoms with cumin and  fennel seeds in a dry grinder).

4. Add the drained chicken cubes to this marinade, mix well, then spoon in the oil and mix together again. Leave this to marinate for 15- 20 hours. 

5. Brush the metal skewers with oil and set them aside. 

6. Cut the bell peppers and onions into dices. Sprinkle them with with salt, pepper and a little of the cream cheese marinade

7. Start skewering the chicken cubes alternating with bell peppers and onions. Brush them with oil and set aside.

8. Place the skewers on a foil lined cookie sheet and broil on high for 5-6 mins on each side or until just rightly done which is when they turn opaque and slightly golden. Baste them with oil before turning them over. They would become hard if you overcook them, so do not, let them be juicy and tender to melt in your mouth. 

9. Slowly slide them down from the skewers on to a fresh heavy duty tin foil and quickly wrap them up to keep them hot. Use a silicon glove or clean moist paper towels when you do this otherwise you'll end up scorching your hands. Remove them from the pointed end one by one, otherwise they will break.

10. Finally as a finishing touch, sprinkle some lemon juice and garam madala powder optional) and serve them hot with the bell peppers, onions and lemon wedges. Enjoy them with rice, naan, yoghurt mint chutney etc. I made plain rice pulao, cranberry sauce and salad for a change. These juicy and delicious tikka kebabs just melt in the mouth. So yummy, enjoy!




Tips:

1. You could grill the chicken tikka kebabs and the vegetables separately too on different skewers if you want. But grilling them together keeps the chicken pieces moist.

2. Cherry tomatoes and pineapple can be used with the kebabs for grilling.

3. Wrapping them up in tin foil as soon as they are done retains their moisture as well as keeps them hot. You could prepare them early and keep them wrapped in foil. But before serving them, place them in a hot oven for 5 - 10 mins depending on the quantity.  (The oven should have been preheated at 400 degrees and then switched off ). Do not forget and leave them in the oven for a long time as they will dry out. It is better to set a timer on.

4. Using metal skewers is convenient. But if you want to use wooden skewers, soak them in water for a couple of hrs. I put them in a 2 litre soft drinks bottle filled with water, then closed the cap. This way it is easier to soak them rather than laying them down in a dish filled with water which takes up counter space.

Cranberry Sauce

The store bought cranberry sauce was awful, it was like a jello paste and I didn't like it at all. I looked up recipes and found the Pioneer Woman's cranberry sauce recipe very interesting.  It was so simple and when I tried it out, it was amazing. I made a slight change to the recipe by replacing the tartness of the cranberry juice with the sweetness of orange juice. I also added a blob of butter to give it a glaze and buttery flavour. We all licked the bowl clean, it was tongue tingling, tangy, sweet and so yummy. Here's the link to Ree Drummond's recipe: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/homemade-cranberry-sauce/

Here's my recipe: 

Fresh Cranberries - 1 pack
Orange juice - 1 cup
Lemon juice - 1 tbs
Maple syrup - 1 cup
Orange zest - 1 tbs
Butter - 1 tbs

Method:

1. Rinse the fresh cranberries in cool water after picking the bad ones out, drain and put them in a pot. 

2. Add the orange juice, lemon juice and maple syrup and bring to boil. Skim off the froth that floats on top. 

3. The berries start popping out when the maximum heat is reached. Stir on and off and let the sauce thicken. 

4. Add the blob of butter and orange zest, simmer a bit to get the right jelly like consistency and remove. 

5. Allow it to cool before transferring to a serving bowl or jar. 

6. Enjoy with turkey or chicken. 





Saturday, June 4, 2016

Barbecued Tandoori Chicken Biryani

I wanted to give a different flavour to the usual traditional chicken biryani so gave this twist by using the barbecued chicken pieces in the biryani masala and it turned out just delicious. All the guests I had invited loved it too. 



Ingredients:
Chicken - 2 whole 1.5 kg / each cut into 12 pieces at the joints.
Onions - 5 - 6 medium size
Yoghurt - 1 cup
Fresh Mint - 1 cup
Fresh Cilantro - 2 cups
Fresh green chillies - 12
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2cup
Ripe tomatoes - 5 (1lb)
Cloves - 10
Green Cardamoms- 10
Cinnamon stick - 1 x 3"
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Chicken stock - 4 cups
Long Grain basumathi Rice - 5 1/2 cups
Saffron - a pinch
Salt to taste
Orange food colouring - a pinch (optional)
Vegetable oil - 1 cup

Tandoori Marinade
Hung yoghurt- 1/2 cup
Kashmiri red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Desi/Kissan Tandoori Masala - 2 tbs
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbs
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs

Method:
1. Clean, wash, drain and dry the chicken with paper towels. Make slits all over the chicken pieces. Rub salt and lemon juice, leave for 10 minutes then massage the chicken with the tandoori marinade. Let it rest for at least 4 hours.

2. Preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue. Arrange the marinated chicken pieces on the preheated grill to roast them. Turn once mid way and quickly roast till half done as they will cook in the sauce later. Keep aside.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a big pot. Add whole garam masala spices immediately followed by sliced onions. Fry them till they are golden brown. Stir in the ginger garlic paste and turmeric then add quartered tomatoes, yoghurt, whole green chillies followed by mint and cilantro.

4. Cook for sometime till the tomatoes soften a bit, then pour in the chicken stock and cook till everything blends well to a sauce consistency.  (The chicken stock should be made by slow cooking the chicken with the bones, water, salt and a little ginger garlic paste. Nothing else should be added to this stock).

5. Add the roasted chicken to the prepared sauce then toss in a few green cardamoms for extra flavour and leave it to simmer till the chicken absorbs the sauce a bit. 

6. Meanwhile boil water in a large pot.  Add 2 tbs of salt and basumathi rice previously washed and soaked in water for 1/2 an hour.

8. Let the water boil a second time after adding rice. Leave for 2 more minutes then check the rice to see if it is done by pressing a grain of rice between your finger and thumb.  It should be slightly soft on the outside but brittle and gritty inside which means it is 60% cooked. Do not overcook it. Turn off the stove and immediately drain the rice.

9. Take 1/4 tsp of saffron, crush it with the mortar and pestle, add it to warm milk, then add a blob of melted butter to it. 

10. Add 1/2 a cup of the steamed basumathi rice to the saffron mixture. Mix well and keep aside. If you want to give a colourful look add yellow food colouring to another 1/4 cup of the steamed rice to sprinkle on the top layer (optional). Keep aside.

11. Now remove the chicken pieces from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce to the roaster.

12. Add a layer of rice over the sauce followed by a few chicken pieces , a little chopped cilantro and a few whole mint leaves.

13. Repeat another layer in the same manner using up all the rice and sauce.

14. Finally top it with the saffron rice layer. Sprinkle yellow coloured rice on top followed by cilantro and mint.

15. Steam in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 - 15 minutes. 

16. Remove from oven when done. Mix the biryani gently before serving. Enjoy with yoghurt chutney.

Alternatively if you cannot barbecue the chicken, you may grill or bake it in the oven for 30 minutes then turn the heat off and smoke the chicken while in the oven. To do this place a burning charcoal with the help of tongs in a tinfoil bowl and add a blob of ghee to it. When it starts to smoke immediately place it in the roaster in between the chicken pieces and close the lid. Leave it for sometime to smoke. This gives the chicken the smoky barbecue flavour.  Then follow the rest of the recipe from step 5.




Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dal Zucchini

I love this dal for its amazing flavour. This is more or less like a lentil (dal) curry with zucchini slices cooked till just tender and then to give a unique taste it is flavoured with black seeds and cumin seeds. So nutritious and comforting to eat with rotis or rice. 



Ingredients:

1 Zucchini 
 1/2 cup Moong Dal (Yellow lentils) 
1/2 Tsp Tomato paste
2 Tbs Chopped onions 
1 Tsp Ginger garlic paste 
1 Small Dried red chilli
2 Small Green chillies whole 
1/2 Tsp Black seeds 
1/2 Tsp Cumin seeds 
 1Tbs Cilantro chopped 
1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder 
 1Tbs Canola oil 
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Wash and soak the moong dal for 10 minutes. Slice the zucchini, chop the onions, grind ginger garlic paste and keep everything ready.

2. Heat the oil in a sauce pan. Add the dried red chilli, black seeds, cumin seeds followed by chopped onions.

3. When the onions start turning slightly golden add the turmeric, ginger garlic paste and the moong dal after draining it.

4. Roast the moong dal till it no longer sticks to the pan.

5. Throw in the zucchini slices, gently turn them over with the dal and roast them too a bit.

6. Now pour in 2 cups of water, salt and whole green chillies.

7. Turn the heat to medium and cook till just done. The dal should be of pouring consistency - soft but not mushy and the zucchini not overdone either.

8. Add chopped cilantro, and serve hot with rice or parantas. You may add boiled eggs if you want, but slit them before adding them. Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Methi Fish Curry

I love to eat fish especially south indian style fish curries which are mouth watering. I keep trying all kinds of fish recipes - baked, fried, grilled, kebabs, cutlets, curries, etc each time looking for exotic and unique flavours which I haven't tasted. Today I wanted to make a fish curry to eat with rice but with a different flavour. I happened to hop on this blog on this blog "Cubes and Juliennes" and the recipe "Methi Machli" on this blog caught my attention. I could imagine the magic aroma of "methi" emanating from the dish as I read the recipe and saw the pictures which made me fall in love with her food. This was inspiration enough for me to create my fish curry with the flavour of methi (fenugreek) which for sometime made me methi crazy too just like the author Farruqh Aziz Ansari. A look at her recipes tells me that she is an amazing cook. I am sure going to try some of her recipes and post them here.

Here's my version of Methi fish curry:



Ingredients:

Trout fish filets - 6 (1/2 a pound)
Methi (Fenugreek) seeds - 1 tsp
Zeera (Cumin) seeds - 1/2 tsp
Tomato paste - 1 tbs
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Kashmiri red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Whole green chillies - 2 medium size
Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves) - 1 tbs
Cilantro chopped - 1 tbs
Lemon juice - 1- 2tsp
Canola oil - 3 tbs
Salt to taste

Method: 
1. Clean, wash and drain the fish filets. 
2. Rub salt on the fish filets. Mix together 1/2 tsp red chilly powder and 1/2 tsp turmeric with 1 tsp lemon juice and marinate the fish filets with this paste for 10 mins. 
3. Heat 1 tbs canola oil in a non stick or cast iron pan and lightly fry the fish filets on both the sides. Remove and set aside. 
4. Heat 2 tbs of the remaining oil in a Kadai (pot) add the methi seeds and as soon as they change color a bit and you get a whiff of their aroma, quickly add the cumin seeds followed by the ginger garlic paste, whole green chillies (with stems removed) coriander powder, turmeric powder, kashmiri chilly powder and tomato paste. 
5. Fry the mixture in the oil till the raw smell of the spices and tomato paste is gone. Add 1/2 a cup water, stir well.
6. When it comes to a boil, add the fried fish, cover and let it simmer on low for 5 minutes. 
7. Add the chopped cilantro and Kasuri methi, sprinkle the remaining lemon juice. Simmer for another minute and serve hot with boiled rice or tomato dosa. Enjoy the fish curry with the exotic flavour of methi. 



Friday, May 6, 2016

Tomato Rasam

http://mamasecretrecipes.blogspot.ca/search/label/SoupsRasam is a tomato based spicy soup which is eaten separately or mixed with boiled rice and is enjoyed by all south indians in their everyday meals. It is traditionally prepared using tamarind juice and tomatoes as its base and there are so many different versions of it and each one has its unique taste and flavour of spices and seasonings. Eating a vegetarian thali served with rasam and sambar followed by a glass of soothing and cooling flavoured butter milk on a hot summer day is heaven indeed!

Ingredients:

Tomatoes - 4 
Garlic cloves - 4 
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Ground black pepper - 1/2 tsp
Cilantro chopped - 1 tbs
Tamarind - a marble sized ball

For tempering:
Curry leaves - a few
Mustard seeds - 1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Crushed garlic cloves - 2 small
Asafoetida - a pinch
Canola/Vegetable oil - 1 tsp


Method: 

1. Cut tomatoes into quarters, peel the garlic cloves and cook them with a little water in a sauce pan. Add turmeric, cumin and pepper powders. 
2. When tomatoes are soft mash them with the back of the spoon, add more water and let it simmer. 

3. Soak tamarind in a little water, extract its juice and add it to the pan.
4. Adjust the salt, strain the tomato rasam and add chopped cilantro.
5. For the tempering heat the oil, first add the mustard seed, when it splutters, add the crushed garlic and as soon as it turns golden brown (do not burn it) add the cumin seeds. When they start changing color add the curry leaves and a pinch of powdered asafoetida.


6. Immediately add the tempering to the rasam. The rasam is now ready to enjoy.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Blueberry Yoghurt Popsicle





This quick and easy dessert can be created with greek yoghurt with different fruits - a very healthy choice to eating ice-cream outside. I used home made yoghurt made with 2% milk and no sugar at all, the blueberries and maple syrup sweetened it enough. And it was yummy! 


Ingredients:

Greek Yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Maple syrup - 3 tsp
Blueberries - 1/4 cup
Popsicle moulds


Method:

1.Make blueberry sauce by adding 2 tsp maple syrup and 1 tsp water to the blueberries and cook till they soften down. 

2. Whisk the yoghurt well with the rest of the maple syrup. 

3. Pour a little of the blueberry sauce at the bottom of the popsicle moulds, then alternate with the whipped yoghurt. Take a Popsicle stick and swirl lightly to create a marbleized effect.

4. Put in the freezer to set. Enjoy when it is ready. 



















I used kulfi containers to freeze the pops as I don't have popsicle moulds. I put them in a zip lock bag and zipped it before putting them in the freezer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Bottle gourd coconut yoghurt curry

This is just one of my favourite side dishes to eat with rice. It is a very flavourful dish which is made with vegetables steamed in a coconut yoghurt sauce and flavoured with ground spices and tempering. A great vegetarian delight originating from Kerala but enjoyed by all the south indians. This can be made with pumpkin, bottle gourd, ash gourd, cucumber, white radish, beetroot and pineapple. Whenever I make this dish I wipe the pot clean, because it is so tasty. I just love it!

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

Bottle gourd - 2 cups
Turmeric      - 1/2 tsp
Coconut grated - 1/2 cup
Green Chillies  - 2 small
Cumin seeds    - 1 tsp
Cilantro           - 1 tbs
Yoghurt           - 1/2 cup
Coconut oil / Canola oil       - 2 tsp
Water             -  1/4 cup

For Tempering:

Dried red chillies - 2 small
Curry Leaves       -  6
Mustard seeds      1/2 tsp  

Method: 

1. Peel the bottle gourd, cut it lengthwise into 2 halves, scoop out the pulp and cut it into small cubes.

2. Steam it with 1/4 cup water till it is just tender, do not over cook.

3. Grind together the grated coconut, cumin seeds, green chillies and cilantro with a little water to make a smooth paste.

4. Add this ground paste to the cooked bottle gourd along with the turmeric powder and simmer for a while till the raw smell vanishes. Switch off the stove.

5. Whisk the yoghurt to a creamy texture and add it immediately to the pot with the bottle gourd, mix well gently. Put it back on the stove on very low heat till it is hot enough. Remove from heat to add the tempering.

6. Heat 2 tsp of oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and when they splutter add the dried red chillies followed by the curry leaves. Immediately pour this over the bottle gourd coconut yoghurt gravy. Close the lid to retain the flavours. Serve hot with boiled rice. It is so yummy!

Tips:

1. Do not over cook the vegetables.

2. Do not boil the gravy after adding the yoghurt as it will curdle. Heat it only on low heat while stirring every now and then.

3. Use 3 day old slightly sour yoghurt. The sweetness of the coconut combined with the tangy  yoghurt balances the taste.

Friday, March 18, 2016

OAT MEAL PORRIDGE

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Ingredients: 
Steel cut Oats - 1/2 cup
Water - 2 cups
Cloves, Cardamoms - 1 each
Cinnamon Stick - 1/4"
Fresh Mint leaves -  6
Onions chopped - 2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1/4 tsp
Canola/Olive Oil - 1tsp


Method:

1. Boil 2 cups of water in a sauce pan and add 1/2 a cup of steel cut oats to it, give it a stir and let it cook for 20 mins. 

2. When it is done remove from stove, add required amount of salt, throw in the fresh mint leaves and keep aside. 

3. Take another small pan and heat the oil. Add the cloves, cardamom and chopped onion. Stir till the onions become translucent and golden. Add the ginger garlic paste and quickly fry a bit with the onions. Switch off the stove, pour this tempering over the cooked oats and enjoy. 

 Tips: 

1. Add the tempering to the cooked oats as quickly as possible. The cooked oats tend to dry out quickly. It should be like a porridge consistency, neither too runny nor too dry. 

2. Another method of cooking the oat meal porridge is to fry the onions with the whole garam masala spices (cloves & green cardamoms), saute with the ginger garlic paste, add the water and when it comes to a boil add the oats and wait till they get cooked which is 20mins. 

3. The mint leaves should not be added to the tempering, but to the oats as a finishing touch to 
enhance the flavour. 

4. The same methods can be followed with Quick Cooking Oats as well. 

Servings: 2
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes