Showing posts with label Appetizer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Appetizer. Show all posts

Monday, December 13, 2010

Charred Tawa Prawns

Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you've wondered . . . what do snowmen do at night?
What do these little snow people do when we tuck ourselves cozy in our bed ....... Have you ever wondered if all the snowman march up to the neighborhood park for a little "Snowman' get together. Do they slide down the slopes of snow and throw snow balls at each other. Or do they accompany Santa on his sledge and go distributing gifts to all the cute angels on earth.
Mr Gavin took us to a wonderland of fantasy as he read out this hilarious story of 'Snow Man in the Night' to his students. I was one of the lucky audiences of Mr Gavin's Story telling group. My friend's 6 year old had invited me to be a part of Snowman's Night Celebration at his school this weekend. We did a little scrap book on snowman later in his classroom. This super creative fella made a Snowman Baby and a Snowman Mommy ...... Can you be any better creative than him. I loved watching him doing his little Snowman family.
I felt like I was back to school after all these years. He was excited to show me his school. Cut outs of Snow Man adored every nook and corner of the school. The school cafeteria served hot chocolates and there was cookies for everyone. What better than dunking some cookies in hot chocolate while watching lil brats run and play all around you. Ahh I was loving every moment of it and wished if time could come to a halt.
As we walked out after the event we saw flurries all over. The night could not get any better....... Kids were sticking their tongues out to feel the cold cottony snow ..... I knew it was going to snow ....... an indication of 'Snowman Night'.
I remembered the little snowman I had made last winter and how he looked distorted the next morning with a crooked grin. Well now I know what Snowman do at night :-)

My Snowman family with their sledge and reindeer :-)

Well this Charred Masala Tawa Prawns are a HIT ..... Perfect Appetizer for a cold snowy eve when you want to have some quick fix meal.

Preparation Time 20 minutes
Serves 2

Big Shrimps/ Prawns - 14 nos
Chopped Onion - 1/3 cup
Garlic Clove - 1
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Cinnamon Stick - 1 inch
Cumin seeds - 1/3 tsp
Red Dry Chili - 2
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp
Salt per taste
Oil for cooking

Method of Preparation

1 Wash and de vein the shrimps/ prawns leaving only the tail. Pat dry and sprinkle some turmeric and salt. Keep aside
2 Make a smooth paste of Onion, ginger, garlic, dry red chili, cinnamon and cumin seeds in the blender and adding very little water or no water.
3 Add this mixture to the shrimps/ prawns and mix well. Add a little oil too while mixing.
4 Drizzle a little oil on a frying pan. When hot add the marinated shrimps/ prawns. Fry on medium-high heat till the masala on each side is a little charred.
5 Remove from heat and add a little lemon juice over it.

Serving Tips
Serve warm as an appetizer.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Thanksgiving weekend with Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks

How was your
Thanksgiving weekend ? Did you shop till you dropped ? Did you meet your family and friends over a feast ? Did you roast a turkey ? And most importantly did you have a wonderful time ?
Festivals help us break free from our mundane life. I have no two minds about it. It doesn't matter to me if it is
Diwali or Thanksgiving ........ what matters at the end of the day is getting to spend time with your loved ones and celebrating life !! These are the moments that we cherish later in life. And I pity people who build boundaries around themselves ..... There is nothing wrong in embracing and celebrating festivals of other countries/ culture as long as you are appreciating your owns. Festivals just give us another reason to get together with family and friends.
J and I were super enthusiastic this Thanksgiving. We didn't want to miss the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade this year. We were off to New York city at 3 am on Thursday morning (11/24/2010). We reached there when it was still dark and the roads were deserted with the temperature at -4 degrees Celsius. The deserted roads were so not New York style. The parade had been on our Bucket List for couple of years and we were happy to strike it off this year.
We shopped like crazy on Black Friday ..... fourteen hours at a stretch. I won't be surprised if you raised your eyebrow and said "Crazy People". The best thing that I love about myself and J is we live life every moment and we don't mind that little bit of madness.
Came home and slept like a pig. And when I woke up there was a sweet surprise awaiting for me ...... A lovely candle light dinner for two. Courtesy J. It was Thanksgiving Dinner ...... well no roasted Turkey but Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks and Cocktails ....... J's signature recipe which he has mastered over a period of time.
As I bit into the spicy and juicy chicken drumsticks I said my silent prayer and thanked God for everything !!

Preparation Time - 50 minutes
Serves 2

Chicken Drumsticks - 6
Lime Juice - 2 tsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 2 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 2 tsp
Turmeric - 1 pinch
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Kasuri Methi Dry - 1 tsp
Plain Yogurt - 5 tsp
Salt per taste
Canola Oil - 2 tbsp

Method of Preparation

1 Remove the skin from the chicken drumsticks and wash under running water. Pat dry using a paper towel.
2 Make incisions in the chicken drumsticks. Take a tea spoon of lime juice. Mix 1 tsp red chili powder and a little salt to make a paste. Rub this paste on the chicken drumsticks and into the incisions.
3 Make a mixture of the remaining ingredients. Marinate the drumsticks with this mixture and keep keep in refrigerator for 30 minutes to 1 hour.
4 Preheat the oven at 450 F. Place the marinated drumsticks on a grilling tray and grill for about 35 - 40 minutes till the chicken is cooked.

Serving Tips
Serve warm. Sprinkle a little chat masala and drizzle a little bit of lime on it.

I would like to thank all my followers and people reading my blog on this occasion. Your comments and suggestions have helped me come a long way and are always an inspiration.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Wrap or Roll .... Chili Paneer !!

A typical conversation between me and my mother during my years of growing up ......

S : ( Shouting from her study table ) What is there for today's dinner ?

Maa : Mixed vegetable stew and Phulka.

S : Making faces ...... She is no more interested in dinner. Plans how to escape eating the vegetable stew.

Decides to take a walk to the kitchen on an inspection mode. Walks to the kitchen pretending that she is thirsty. Inspects the vegetable stew from a distance while drinking water.
Wishes she could skip dinner and the bland vegetable stew and drags her feet back to the study.

Couple of minutes later - "Maa, I am having a stomach ache I am not sure if I will have dinner".

Maa : (Rather the Smart Maa) Ok dear ....... have a glass of milk and eat a banana before going to bed.

S : Unable to decide which is worst. The Phulka and Vegetable Stew or milk and banana. Finally she decides upon eating one Phulka with a little vegetable stew and a banana. Escapes drinking milk !!

Another Day ..... A Saturday Eve !!

S : Entering the house after spending time at her friends house and playing badminton. The aroma of "something special" is in the air. Super Excited she hurries to the kitchen. Sees Maa preparing Chili Paneer. Drool !!

Maa : It's already late ..... you are never home at time. No going to anywhere from tomorrow. Go wash you hands and face and finish your homework. Dad will be there anytime soon.

S : Curses her teachers for burdening her with so much homework. Pulls out a book ..... opens it .......... Stares at the ceiling waiting for the Paneer Roll to get ready. Recollects how Sonali and Shweta fought at school during the games period, how Mrs Muller sent all the boys out of the class and punished them. Evil smile on her face ...Did everything but study.
Impatiently hurries to the kitchen " Maa I am very hungry. My stomach is churning ...... Can I have something to eat ?"

Maa : Wraps a little Chili Paneer in a Roti and hands it over.

S : Gobbles it with big bites as if there is no tomorrow !!

Preparation Time - 30 minutes
Makes - 5


Paneer Cubed - 1 cup
Chopped Bell Pepper - 1/2 cup
Chopped Onions - 1/3 cup
Chopped Garlic - 1 tbsp
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Chili Garlic Paste - 1 tsp
Chopped Chili - 2
Soy Sauce - 1 tbsp
Chinese Salt - 1 pinch
Lemon Juice - 2 tsp
Chopped Coriander Leaves
Tortilla - Any store bought one
Salt per taste
Oil for cooking

Method of Preparation

1 Heat about 1 tbsp oil in a open pan.
2 Add cumin seeds and chopped green chilies when the oil is warm.
3 Add Chopped garlic and saute for 3-4 minutes. Now add ginger garlic paste and fry for 2-3 minutes.
4 Add the coriander and cumin powder and fry for 1/2 minute. Add 1 tbsp water and stir well.
5 Add the chopped bell peppers and onion and fry till semi cooked. Add salt, chili garlic sauce and china salt. Saute for couple more minutes. Now add the soy sauce. Next add the lime juice.
6 Add cubed paneer and give it a rough stir to mix well with the remaining mixture.
7 Remove from heat and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
8 Wrap the mixture in a tortilla bread.

Serving Tips
Serve warm. You may also add chopped raw onions to it.

Instead of using Tortilla, you may wrap it in your regular roti/ chapati.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Chingudi Bara aka Shrimp Cakes

How was your weekend ? Did you relax and have quality time with your family and friends ? Did you cook something special, light some fragrant candles and play some light music and enjoy some mushy moments ? Or was it a busy one ..... with you catching up with pending stuff and running around to complete errands that had been waiting to catch your attention.
Mine was quite a balanced one.
It began with the birthday party of a six year old on Friday. I ran errands on Saturday but Sunday was quite peaceful.
I decided to prepare these Chingudi Bara ( Chingudi = Shrimp in Odiya) Shrimp Cakes ..... my very own recipe. But there is not much to boast about because when you add shrimps to potatoes with some dry ground spices they are supposed to taste good. You can never go wrong with it.

Preparation Time 30 minutes
Makes about 8-9 medium size cakes

Cleaned and de-veined Shrimp - 6
Potato - 1 (Medium Sized)
Chopped Scallions - 1 cup
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 pinch
Lime Juice - 1 tsp
Salt per taste
Oil for cooking

Method of Preparation

1. Roughly chop the shrimps. Mash the Potatoes.
2. In a pan, heat about 1 tsp of oil. Add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 -3 minutes. Add the chopped shrimps and fry till the shrimps are transparent. Remove from pan and let it cool.
3 Mix the rest of the ingredients with the mashed potatoes along with this fried shrimps.
4 Make small cakes out of the mixture.
5 Heat some more oil in a tawa. Fry till both sides are brown and crisp.

Serving Tips
Serve warm. Sprinkle some Chat Masala and lime juice.

You many also shallow fry the cakes.

Other Names
Shrimp Cakes - Chingudi Bara

Do let me know what you think about this recipe. I would appreciate your inputs for the same. Have a wonderful week ahead !

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Alu Chop

If you see a bee line before an old rickety looking 'Thela' at Old Station Bazar road in Bhubaneswar ... then don't hesitate to join the Que. If you categorize yourself as a health and cleanliness freak who would only dine in restaurants that make it to the Page 3 of the leading news papers and drink mineral water, then ignore it . All I can say is you are missing a lot in life and you can buy my words for that.
Like someone has quoted 'Don't judge a book by it's cover', I would say don't judge this mobile Desi fast food joint by it's look. I have seen this cart smudged with the ugliest looking blue color since I was a child. Only the blue color and the hand written 'Jalakhiya' (Jalakhiya = Nashta in Hindi) has faded over time. Everything else remains the same. The taste of the Alu Chop, Singada (Samosa), Anda Chop (Egg Chop), Chingudi Chop (Prawn Chop) is as delectable as it used to be even fifteen years back.
I was standing in this long Que after a long gap of seven years just to have a bite of his delicious 'Alu Chop'. In fact it was J's idea as he could not give in to the temptation as we were walking past by that way.
Gopal Kaka the owner of this Thela has seen me from the time I held my father's finger and walked up to his Thela. As a kid I would have made innumerable trips to his cart .... especially when it rained. He looked at me from a distance. It was the same warm look ..... yes I was amused that he recognized me even after so many years. Only this time I could see that age had taken a toll on his appearance. His hair was grey and his face had more wrinkles than I could count. But his enthusiasm and energy level had not reduced a bit. He never got tired smiling at the crowd and talking to them. His wrinkled face had the same old charm. He was talking to his old customers and enquiring about their family and what their kids were doing. And he tried striking a cord with the new ones as he dropped the alu (potato) dipped batter into the hot oil.
Soon the gap between us and the cart shrunk. He looked at me and the 'new face' with me . I could see the happy disbelief on his face. 'Arey kete bada hai galuni' (Can't believe that you have grown up ) he said looking at me. I introduced J to Gopal Kaka. The expression on his face was as pure as his heart.
He quickly wrapped some hot Alu Chop in a 'Khali Patra' (Plate made from dry leaves) before putting it in the plastic bag. I stood in utter disbelief that he remembered what I relished after so many years. When J handed him the money, he grabbed him by his side and gave him a hug. He put the money back into J's pocket. I saw his eyes go wet ..... and so was mine. I felt very small before this old guy selling some snacks to make a living. But I tried hiding my tears as I walked back home.
Every time I prepare 'Alu Chop', I remember this man. And because he knew that I was going to miss his 'Alu Chop' across the seas, he handed me his secret recipe.
He taught me one of the biggest lessons of life ' People remember you by the good deeds you do. They won't remember you for the fortune you leave behind'.
No matter how hard I try I don't match up to Gopal Kaka's Alu Chop ....... the most important ingredient called 'Love' is not available over the counter !!!

Preparation Time - 40 minutes
Serves 3


For the Alu masala
Potato - 3 mid size
Green Chili - 3
Garlic cloves - 6/7
Mustard seeds - 1/3 tsp
Curry leaves - few
Turmeric - One pinch
Salt per taste
For the Batter
Besan - 2/3 cup
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1 pinch
Salt per taste

Oil for deep frying

Method of preparation

1 Mix Besan + Red Chili Powder +Coriander Powder + Turmeric + Salt per taste in a mixing bowl. Add a little water and mix well to form a thick batter. Do not make the batter runny else it will be difficult to coat the Potato masala.
Keep aside.
2 Boil and mash the Potato. Crush the garlic. Chop the green chilies.
3 In a pan heat a little oil. When hot add the mustard seeds to sputter. Add the crushed garlic and chilies, fry for a minute. Also add curry leaves.
4 Now add the mashed potatoes along with a pinch of turmeric and salt per taste. Mix well. Remove and let it cool.
5 Form small balls of the mashed potato masala.
6 Heat oil in a kadhai. When hot, dip the potato balls into the batter and coat uniformly. Deep fry.
7 Remove to paper towel.

Serving Tips
Serve warm with you choice of sauce or chutney.

Do not make the batter runny/ watery. Add water slowly a little at a time.

You may add the chili per taste.

And yet another Sunshine Award from Soumya ...... Thanks Soumya for the sweet gesture and for sharing this with me.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chili Chicken

The 'Lazy Bug' had bit me hard ...... happens to me once in a while. I decided to hibernate for few days, which turned out to be little over a week. Now I have a long list of pending stuff that needs my attention ..... huh ! So I have decided to pen them down here. Don't you raise an eyebrow ..... I know its not of your interest to know about my pending stuff. Really ?? Who doesn't like to peek into the life of others ......... (evil grin). Don't you log into twitter trying to follow even damn soul ? Not to forget Face Book ....... you are considered an outcast if you don't have one.
Ufff ....... I have again drifted from my objective. So now my list of things that are crying out for my attention.
1. Cleaning my closet (J's included).
2. Laundry.
3. Check what's lurking in the kitchen and cleaning my pantry.
4. Plan the menu for the Halloween Party.
5. Decide on my and J's Halloween Costumes.
6. Complete one of the DIY projects that I began last month.
7. Finish writing my New Hampshire Travelogue.

Needless to say ...... these are included along with the daily chores. I know you can't help me in completing all this stuff but you can definitely help me in one ......

How about suggesting me a Halloween Party Menu for a crowd of 20 (kids included) ? Make sure it needs less work but leaves my guests go ga ga about the food.

Now time to nurse my neglected blog ........ hope you enjoy the Chili Chicken Recipe.

Preparation Time - 30 minutes
Serves - 4
Boneless Chicken Thighs - 1 pound
Dry Red Chili - 2
Bell Pepper - 1/2 cup diced
Onion - 1/2 cup diced
Egg - 1
Corn Flour - 1 tsp
Crushed black Pepper - 1 tsp
Soy Sauce - 1 tbsp
Chili Garlic Sauce - 2 tsp
Chinese Salt - 2 pinches
Salt per taste

Sugar - 1 pinch
Oil for cooking
Method of Cooking
1 Cut the chicken into bite size pieces. Wash and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Add egg , corn flour, pinch of
chinese salt and a pinch of salt. Mix well to coat the chicken pieces. Heat oil in a kadhai, deep fry and keep aside.
2 In a skillet, heat some oil. Add the dry red chilies. Add the onions and bell pepper and fry for 5 minutes till the onions look transparent.
3 Add the soy sauce, salt and a pinch of
Chinese salt and pinch of sugar. Stir fry for 2 minutes.Add the chili garlic sauce and mix well.
4 Combine the fried chicken pieces with the onion and bell pepper sauce mix. Stir fry for some time. Add a pinch of crushed pepper.
Serving Tips
Serve warm
Chinese should be cooked at high flame. Make sure you stir well to avoid burning the food.
Add Cashew nuts if you want. If you want the chili chicken with a little gravy, mix 1/2 tsp of corn flour to water and add it to the end product and simmer for a minute.
Other Names
Chili Chicken - Indo Chinese Chili Chicken, Bell Pepper - Capsicum, Chinese Salt - Ajinomoto.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Chicken Fry

I am so not a movie person .... I am pretty picky about the movies I watch. If the movie doesn't hold my attention for the first 15 minutes I simply choose to dump it.I don't care even if it's a Tom Hank's or Brad Pitt's movie. On the contrary, if I like something I never get bored of it and can watch it for ever !! I know some people think that's ridiculous but sorry that's how it is.
Of the few movies that could make their way to my good books is 'Julie n Julia'. I fell so much in love with the characters of the movie that I went ahead in buying the DVD. Thanks to J who persuaded me to watch it when I was so not in the mood for a movie.

Every time I watch the movie I step into the shoes of Julie Powell - She is a government employee by day who is not so happy with her job but has to keep it for the heck of it. She loves cooking, that is something where she finds true happiness and which is so much a stress buster at the end of a busy boring day. She jumps with joy with the little happiness she finds through her way to cooking and gets equally upset when things don't work out her way. She cries like a child when her Beef bourguignon gets burnt. Well I am so much like her in my real life. That's how I feel. And with J telling me the same I have started believing that.

Also did I mention that she blogs about food and jumps with excitement seeing the first comment on her post. Julie believes that the world would come to a stand still and her readers would terribly get upset if she doesn't write.

Today I was so not in the mood to post anything on my blog. But then there was this strange belief that my blog friends and readers would be waiting for my post. Not sure if that is true at all !! So here I am .... I have ignored the pile of clothes that are crying out to be folded and kept in the closet,given a blind eye to the dust that has set on the books and given a deaf ear to J's demand for pakodas on this rainy eve.

Not sure if any body out there is waiting to read my blog but here I am writing ......the truth being it brings solace to me.

Preparation Time - 40 minutes
Serves - 3
Boneless Chicken - 1/2 pound
Egg - 1
Corn Flour - 1 tsp
Dry Red Chilies - 2
Pepper Powder - 1/2 tsp
Chopped Garlic - 1 tbsp
Chopped Ginger - 1/2 tbsp
Ginger Garlic Sauce - 1 tbsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Lemon Juice - 1 tsp
Cashew Nuts - 1/3 cup
Salt per taste
Oil for cooking.
Method of Preparation
1 Cut the chicken into small bite size pieces. Wash and pat dry.
2 Add corn flour + 1/2 tsp red chili powder and egg to the chicken. Mix well to coat the chicken.
3 Heat some oil in a Kadhai and shallow fry the chicken. Remove to a paper towel and keep aside.
4 Take about 1 tbsp of oil in a frying pan. When hot, break the dry red chilies and add to the oil. Add chopped garlic and ginger and fry on medium heat for 5 minutes. Next add the cumin powder and remaining red chili powder and mix well.
5 Add the fried chicken to it and mix well. Add the cashewnuts too. Add salt per taste.
6 Add the chili garlic sauce to it and stir well to coat the chicken pieces. If it is too dry, sprinkle a little water to it.
7 Saute till all the flavors mix and remove to a serving plate. Sprinkle lime juice on top of it and mix well.
Serving Tips
Serve as a starter at room temperature.
Do not over fry the chicken, else it may become rubbery.
You may increase or decrease the amount of chili garlic sauce to make it more / less spicy.
Adding cashew nuts is also optional.