Showing posts with label Main Course. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Main Course. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Crispy Grilled Sardines ......Oil Free Cooking

The owner of this fish shop is a very cheerful young guy. Each time I visit his shop he helps me recognize the fishes in display. Mostly with local names in Kannada ...... I can barely recognize fishes, except Rohu, which is our staple. Well, now I am well versed with white and black Pompfrets, Shrimps and Mackerel to a certain extent. Also, he would oblige me with cleaning the fishes and cutting it per my instructions, no matter how crowded the shop is. Especially on weekends.I can however boast of selecting fresh ones .... I got my lessons pretty young when I went to the fish market with my dad. 

These days I have been doing a bit of research on fishes and their nutritional values. I love my fish hot, crispy and shallow fried in oil. But I understand that frying the fish in oil is not that healthy and I don't like raw curried fish.To satisfy my taste buds, the fish needs to be fried first and they curried. But that's not quite healthy. Although I love the taste. Of late myself and J are on a health diet. No we don't kill ourselves by starving. We are just trying to eat healthy.  And we both love fish. We can eat it on any given day. So I am trying to recreate traditional dishes with very little or no oil. 

Today when I visited the fish shop, they had some good fresh stock of Sardines. We are not much into eating Sardines because it's a sea fish. People in my part of the world prefer fresh water fishes. The reason why I got attracted to it is because of it's nutritional values. It is a very oily fish and is extremely rich in Vitamin B12, Vitamin D, Calcium, Phosphorous and Omega 3 fatty acids. It is known to promote heart and bone health as it is rich in Omega 3 and calcium. However, if you are having a medical condition, it is better to consult a doctor before including it in your diet. 

I prepared a crispy grilled sardine today. It requires less than a teaspoon of oil as the fish itself is very oily. And I really loved it as it can be prepared in a jiffy. It was crisp and equally yum as the pan fried ones. Marinate and toss it into the oven and forget it for next 20 minutes. I can say that I recreated the taste of pan seared sardines minus the oil. So it was guilt free indulgence.

Serves - 2
Preparation Time - 10 minutes
Cooking Time - 20 minutes


Sardines - 6-7 (medium size) cleaned
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Laal Mirch - 1/2 tsp (or more if you like it more spicy)
Ginger Paste -  1 tsp (fresh is better)
Lemon Juice - 2 tsp
Tandoori Masala - 1/2 tsp (use any store bought ones)
Curry Leaves - A handful
Mustard oil -  1 tsp
Salt per taste

Method of Preparation

Clean the sardines and pat them dry. Or leave them in a colander so that all the water is drained out. 
Prepare a tray by lining it with aluminum foil (reduces your work of scrubbing and cleaning it later). Preheat oven in grill mode at 250 degrees centigrade for about 10 minutes.
In a bowl mix all the ingredients to make an even paste. Add curry leaves to the masala. It enhances the taste of the fish. 
Make deep gashes on both sides of the fish.
Take the marinate masala  and rub on both sides of the fish. Now layer the fish on the prepared tray. Now reduce the oven temperature to 200 degrees centigrade. Place the try on middle rack and grill for almost twenty minutes or till done.
Serve with rice.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Chicken Rezala ....

I have come across various Rezala recipes several times. Mutton/Chicken/ Potato and even Cauliflower Rezala. And one thing that is strikingly similar and interesting to note is that most of my bengali food bloggers have it on their blogs. Rezala as the name suggests is a Mughlai dish which the chefs of Mughal Emperors from Awadh introduced in East of India. 

The dish is highly rich, full of flavors, enticing to the taste buds and the secret of a successful Rezala is the use of homemade sweet yogurt that nicely compliments the dish giving a nice sweet taste. Though Rezala is synonymous with mutton, the one I have prepared is with chicken. A perfect chicken rezala would have flavorsome gravy with juicy tender chicken pieces which would make your taste buds lingering with a burst of tang.

While I was scouting for a perfect Rezala recipe (actually there are many versions), I settled with one from my friend Sayantani's blog, A Homemaker's Diary. Though I followed most of the steps she posted, I tweaked it a bit per my taste buds. I would say her's is a more authentic version of Rezala as she has used a generous amount of ghee/ clarified butter and kewra essence. I have cut down a bit on the ghee/ clarified butter (wanted to make a low fat version) and used saffron instead of kewra. And I must say, J and I loved it. But you may add a generous amount of ghee for enhanced flavor and richness. 

My Verdict - This is one simple dish bursting with flavors.

Preparation Time - 1 hour


Skinless Chicken, Bone in Medium size pieces -500 gms
Medium Size onion - 2
Garlic Pods - 3-4 large
Ginger - 1 inch
Fresh Curd - 1 cup
Ground Black/ White Pepper - 1 tsp
Nutmeg Powder - 1 tsp 

Whole Garam Masala

Green Cardamom - 3
Black Cardamom - 1
Cloves - 4/5
Black Pepper - 8/10
Red Chili - 2
Bayleaf - 1

Clarified Butter - 2 tsp
Refine Oil - 3 tsp
Cashew Nuts (Whole)  - 4/5
Poppy Seeds - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 pinch
Saffron - few strands

Method of Preparation

First wash the chicken and drain all water from it. Keep aside. Remove the skin of onions and pressure cook it using little water till one whistle. When cool open and remove from cooker. Let it sit for some time till it cools thoroughly. Crush garlic and ginger using a mortar and pestle. 
When the onion is cooled down chop it roughly. Grind onion, ginger n garlic together in a blender to make a smooth paste. The paste has to be absolutely smooth. 
Using a whisk, beat the curd to make it smooth.
Grind cashew n poppy seeds to a paste and keep aside.

In a bowl mix onion/ginger garlic paste and curd. Add nutmeg and pepper powder. Add salt to taste. Add the chicken pieces to the mixture and marinate. Keep it aside for minimum 30 minute. est if you can marinate it for 4-5 hours.

Once you are ready to cook Heat the oil and ghee. Lightly pound (just one or two stroke for the pods to open and release more aroma) the whole spices and add to the oil. Let it sizzle and  fill up your kitchen with lovely aroma.Shake off the marinate from the chicken and arrange them on the pan, preferably in single layer. on medium heat seal the chicken and cook till all sides turn white. Now pour in all the marinade and mix. 
Cook for 8-10 minutes and the add the poppy/ cashew seeds paste. cook for a minute and pour 3/4 cup warm water. Check the seasoning and cover. Let it simmer on low heat till oil starts to float on top and the chicken is cooked through.

Uncover and add the sugar and strands of saffron . Keep covered till you are ready to serve.
Serve with Indian flat breads Naan/ Paratha/ Kulcha etc.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Chicken Keema .....

These days when I blog I think about my little sister who is dealing with sleepless nights and tied up mornings for past few months. Her five month old monster is a handful. So I am trying to think of easy below thirty minutes recipes for her which can be done in no time with simple ingredients from the pantry. Chicken Keema is one such dish. It can be prepared in less that thirty minutes and can be paired with rice and breads.
My Marathi friend likes it a little spicy and pairs it with the famous Mumbai Pav. You can also make a wrap using your regular roti or make a grilled sandwich with it. You can also make a stuffed indian bread "Keema Paratha" with it. The options are many. Or just relish it with naan or roti.

Keema is packed with flavors and you can never go wrong with it.


Minced Chicken ( You can ask your local butcher to do it if it is not readily available) - 500 gms
Finely chopped onion - 2 medium size
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tsp
Tomato Pureed - 3 medium size
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Corriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp ( You can add more if you want more spicy)
Chopped green chilies - 3
Salt per taste
Oil for cooking

For Garnishing (Optional)
Coriander leaves
Chopped onions

Method of Preparation

First wash the chicken keema pieces. Let it sit in a colander to remove excess water from it. Finely chop onions and green chilies, puree the tomato and prepare ginger garlic paste by taking equal quantity of ginger and garlic. You can also use store bought one.

Take a heavy bottom skillet. Add about 4 tbsp of oil. When hot add the finely chopped green chilies and then chopped onions. Saute the onions till they look translucent to golden brown. Then add the ginger garlic paste. Saute by stirring it regularly. Else it may burn. Then add the pureed tomatoes to it. Add turmeric powder, salt, red chili powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. Cook the masala till there is no raw smell and it starts leaving oil from the sides.
Add the minced chicken meat to it.

Mix well with the masala. Now add garam masala to it.
Add about 2 cups of water. Cover and simmer the meat on medium heat till most of the water evaporates and the meat it cooked.
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

Suggestion for Serving

Team it up with any Indian flat bread (Roti/ Naan etc)
You can also make a grilled sandwich with it.
Or even a wrap/ roll.
You can also use this keema for pizza topping

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Methi Daal - Lentil Soup flavored with fenugreek leaves.

Nothing beats a home cooked meal .... but having the same staple food everyday can get a bit boring. And with the temperature soaring high I just wish I had a magic wand. That I could just wish and food would be served. The other option left is eating out or ordering food. That can surely solve the problem to an extent but that ain't  a permanent solution, especially for a person like me who is paranoid of calculating calories and is very picky about what oil the restaurant uses for cooking, blah blah ..... 
So, these days I am trying to tweak n twist some of my everyday recipes to make it little more interesting. And the best part is without much effort.
Lentils are an integral part of Indian cooking. There are a plethora of lentil or daal recipes in Indian cooking. Every Indian home has their own way of cooking it. In my place we normally have toor daal/ pigeon pea as a staple. The daal is pressure cooked adding salt and turmeric powder and in the end seasoned with tadka of spices. 

So today while cooking, I added a twist by adding some dry fenugreek leaves .... It was not much an effort but it took the otherwise everyday boring daal/ lentil soup to another level. 

Food Facts
  • Toor Daal/ Pigeon Peas is a rich source of protein for vegetarians.
  • It also has a good amount of iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and B vitamins.
  • It is high in dietary fibre.
  • Toor dal contains folic acid, an important vitamin for all women especially those planning to become pregnant.
  • Studies have shown that the fibers in fenugreek help prevent certain cancers.
  • Fenugreek contains saponins that help reduce the body’s absorption of cholesterol from fatty foods. Some studies also indicate saponins to have a role to play in reducing the body’s production of cholesterol, especially the LDL (bad cholesterol) levels.

(Makes -3) 

Split Toor/ Tuvar/ Arhar Daal / Pigeon peas - 1/2 cup
Garlic Pods - 4 (large ones)
Dry Red Chilies - 1
Asafoetida - 1 pinch
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Dry Fenugreek leaves (Kasturi Methi - Available is Indian Grocery stores) - 2 tsp
Oil - 3 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Water - 1.5 cups
Salt to taste

Method of Preparation

Take good quality lentils. This is the first step towards making a great dish. Wash and soak the daal for about 30 minutes. This will save the cooking time. Peel the garlic pods and crush them using a small mortal and pestle. Alternately, you can finely chop it. Using a kitchen scissor, cut the red chili into small pieces removing the seeds.

Now take the daal/ lentil in a pressure cooker. Add water to it. Add salt and turmeric powder to it and cook for about 2 whistles on medium flame. You can also cook it in any other vessel with a lid till its soft and cooked. 

After the lentils are cooked. Take oil (You can also use Ghee) in a small wok/ tadka pan and bring it to a smoking point. Add cumin seeds and let it crackle. Then add garlic, red chilies and asafoetida. In the end add the dry fenugreek leaves (Adding it in the beginning can burn it and it will loose it's delicate flavor) . Remove from heat and add the mixture to the daal. Stir and close the lid of the cooker.  

Serve warm with rice or roti.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Macha Tarkari aka Fish Curry

Shanti would sit just outside the porch and call out for Aai  in her shrill voice that can be heard from a mile after keeping aside her big basket of fish. Her timing is always perfect..... 9 am sharp, Sunday mornings. The old bamboo basket is now falling apart and permanently stinks fish. Shanti has been selling fish for many years now. She is a dark busty woman with paan stained teeth. Padma, Aai's domestic help would also follow Aai to the porch. Buying fish every Sunday was more of a ritual. Shanti would carefully remove the leaves from top of the basket and pull out the best one for Aai. But it is Padma who would give the final approval after checking the gills. Then they all nod in agreement before the fish is weighed and cut. 

Aai's house had a big aangan,a courtyard in the middle of the house. The fish is cleaned there, even now. While Padma cleans it, there are more than one onlookers. One of them being Meeoon - Aai's cat, my sister M and few crows perched on the roof. The cleaning regime is completed admist constant chatter, purring of Meeoon and cawing of the crows. After through cleaning the pieces are marinated with a generous amount of haldi and salt and kept away securely from the prying eyes, especially Meeoon. 

Aai eye balls the amount of garlic, ginger and onion and hands it to Padma. And its perfect every time. The masala for the fish curry is prepared the old school way using a seelbata (a mortal and pestle made of stone). Padma's bangles make a nice jingle as she grinds the masala. 

The smoky and nutty smell of hot mustard oil fills the kitchen as Aai carefully drops the fish into the hot oil. And you don't need a sensitive nose to know that the maach is already in the oil. Even before the first batch is out of the kadhai, little M is already there waiting for her share with a small shiny steel plate. Aai smiles and carefully places a crisp hot piece on M's plate with a warning "hot". And as for Meeoon, she is curled comfortably on the kitchen doormat hoping that she gets a little more than the left over bones. 

Preparation Time - 60 minutes
Serves - 4
Rohu Fish - 750 gms ( You can also prepare this with Catla or Tilapia)  
Potato - 2 small
For the masala
Onion - 1 medium 
Tomato - 1 small
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 4-5 pods
Cinnamon - 1 inch 
Cardamom - 2 
Bayleaf - 1
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Corriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala - 1/3 tsp
Turmeric - 1/3 tsp
Cayenne Pepper/ Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt -  to taste 
Oil for cooking 

Method of Preparation
1. Wash the fish pieces and pat dry. Add 1 tsp of turmeric and 1/2 tsp salt to the fish. Marinate and keep aside.
2. Chop the onion, ginger and garlic roughly and make a smooth paste using a food processer/ blender.
3. Cut tomato into small pieces and keep aside.
4. Cut the potatoes skin on into medium side wedges.
5. Pour some mustard oil (you can use any vegetable oil instead) and heat it to smoking point. Slowly add the fish pieces one by one and shallow fry them in batches. 
6. When the fish is done add the potatoes and shallow fry them in the same oil and keep aside.
7. If enough oil is still left in the kadhai (else add some more oil)  add whole garam masala to it, ie cinnamon, cardamom and bayleaf.
8. Next add the onion ginger garlic paste to the oil. Stir and fry the masala till the masala is cooked and there is no raw smell. Add chopped tomato, turmeric, cumin powder,corriander powder, chili powder and salt. Cook for few more minutes till the masala starts leaving oil at the sides. Cover and let the curry simmer on medium heat till potatoes get soft.
9. Remove from heat and add chopped coriander leaves on top to garnish.

Serve with rice. 
9. Add 2 cups water to the masala to make a gravy. Cover and bring it to a boil.
10. Add potato wedges and fish to it. Now add the garam masala powder. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The guy next door and Baby Potatoes Masala

The first time we met was in the elevator of our apartment. I smiled at him and he too did shyly as our eyes met. And even before we could steal glances the elevator stopped and we departed. And I secretly wished to meet this guy again. We had shifted to our new home ..... a newly built apartment overlooking the swanky IT hub of ITPL. And I got on with my work, running around the interior guys, fixing things and settling down that I almost forgot about this guy. 
It was a lazy sunday morning and I was sipping my morning tea when I heard some voices in the corridor. Eager as I was to make new friends and socialize I rushed to open the door. It was the same guy ..... Good Lord we are neighbors, I said to myself. As I picked up the newspaper and the milk packets from the front door I greeted him with a "Hi" and so did he with some reservations. 
It's been over a month now .... and we meet often. He is no longer shy but demanding ....... We have opened up. And we love to spend time together especially in the evenings. And on days when we don't we both get anxious. 
And yes ....... I do share my special meals with him as good neighbors should. So last time I made potato finger chips, I sent a plateful of it. It was late eve and J was back from work and I was in the kitchen prepping for dinner. The door bell rang. My husband answered it .... and there he was standing at the door. He conveniently ignored J and peeped inside to see if he could find me around. I knew it was him. I wiped my wet hands and rushed to the door. I kneeled down so that I could see his face clearly in the dim ambience lights. He kissed me lightly on my cheeks and said "Thank you Aunty, the finger chips were yummy and then paused to say "just like you" ! Meet him he is lil D ( a six year old) my next door neighbor and my secret admirer. 

So here I am back after almost a year of blog break. And nothing fancy but a comfort meal as one can never get wrong with potatoes. 

Preparation Time - 30 minutes
Serves - 2 
Baby Potatoes - 250 gms
Onion - 1 small
Tomato - 1 small
Ginger - 1 inch
Garlic - 4-5 pods
Cinnamon - 1 inch 
Cardamom - 2 
Bayleaf - 1
Cumin Powder - 1 pinch
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric - 1 small pinch
Cayenne Pepper/ Red Chilli Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt -  to taste 
Oil for cooking 

Method of Preparation

1.  Prik the potatoes with a fork and boil them in a pressure cooker adding some salt to it. When done      peel and keep aside. 
2.  Make a paste of Onion, ginger and garlic. Puree the tomato separately.
3. In a wok add about 2 tsp of oil and a pinch of turmeric to it. When the oil gets smoking add the potatoes and toss it for few minutes till lightly browned. Remove and keep aside.
4. Take another 2 tbsp of oil in a wok. When warm add cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf. Now add the onion ginger garlic paste to it. Stir and fry the masala till the masala is cooked and there is no raw smell. Add tomato puree, turmeric, cumin powder,chili powder and salt. Cook for few more minutes till the masala starts leaving oil at the sides. Finally add a pinch of garam masala to it.
5. Add the potatoes to the masala and mix well so that the potatoes get coated with the masala.
6. Garnish with chopped corriander leaves. (Optional).

Serve warm with your choice of roti/ paratha/ naan. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Palak Paneer Laasuni ....... memories of Diwali

That morning was unusually calm. The marigolds that decked the front door had wilted away. I could still sniff the gun powder in the early morning breeze. The oil from the diyas had left a mark on my expensive floor tiles. The color of the rangoli had bled into each other. The municipality workers were back on the streets sweeping tattered papers and remnants of the crackers. Moti the neighborhood street dog was so much at peace with himself after yesterdays bombastic night. The garlands of electric lights on the opposite balcony swayed gently in the morning breeze.

Although I am not a very traditional person I still love to light up diyas instead of those electric light garlands. Yes I like those earthy rustic ones. Each Diwali when I light those oil lamps, there is a storm of emotions that stir up within me. 

Some how Diwali is not quite the same ...... things have changed for the better or for the worse. I just buy enough diyas to deck up the tiny winy balconies of my apartment in this distant city that I call home...... not like hundreds of them that my grandma used to buy every Diwali to light up our ancestral home. I miss washing those diyas in buckets of water and that earthy smell. 

The giggles of cousins in the courtyard has faded away with passing years. So have the clanking of the cauldrons that were usually taken out during festive season from the attic for making huge batches of 'boondi ladoos' and namkeens. Now there is no hurry to pack and distribute these goodies to the neighbors.

I simply make a trip to the neighborhood shop to pick up some dry fruit packets. Things are much more convenient than they used to be ...... but still I am not enjoying this easy life. I am missing those cumbersome afternoons when the women of the house would make batches of boondi soaked in sugar syrup and we little girls trying to shape the warm boondies into ladoos with our tiny hands. 

I miss making those trips to the neighborhood darzi for getting that simple dress stitched ........ I feel I  had rejoiced wearing that simple dress more than the designer ones I own today. 

Somehow I felt more of a spectator than a participant in the festival this year.
Yes I did wear festive clothes and I was happy to meet with people but somewhere inside I don't quite get it. May be I am just a little weird !!

Preparation Time - 30 Minutes
Serves - 4

Paneer/ Cottage Cheese cubed - 2 cups
Spinach Leaves shredded - 3 cups
Garlic Minced -  4 tsp
Finely chopped onion - 1/2 cup
Finely Chopped Green Chillies - 2
Garam Masala - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric -  1 big pinch
Clarified butter - 1 tbsp
Salt to taste 
Method of Preparation 
1. Heat about 1tbsp of clarified butter/ ghee in a kadhai. When the oil gets warm add minced garlic to it. Reduce the flame   and stir constantly to make sure that the garlic doesn't get burnt. 
2. Now add the chopped onions and green chillies. Add salt and turmeric. Cook till the onions get mushy and have no raw smell. 
3. Add in the shredded spinach leaves and mix well. Now add the cubed paneer cubes. Sir intermittently for about 5 minutes.
4. Lastly add garam masala.

Serving Tips

Serve with any bread/ flat indian bread. You could also make a sandwich with this filling. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sweet Almond Rice & Life in a Metro !

Life in a Metro ……………. Well it is not about the fast forward life I lead, I am not complaining, period!

It is not even about how I have build cubicles around myself and that I don’t even know my next door neighbors. Sure it’s not my business to ‘know’ them. I don’t like being labeled as a person who pokes her nose ……. Of course it’s none of anyone’s business to know what Mr Iyer does for his living, although I have shared the same apartment corridor with him for more than two years. But I do know what car he drives! It’s not criminal if I don’t know his family. I know my etiquette's; sure I do smile at my neighbors whenever we come face to face on the corridor. Even I did care to return a post of Mr Iyer which had once made its way into my mailbox. I managed to get their phone number from the apartment security. I did check with them over phone before knocking on their door to pass the letter. And Mrs Iyer is a fine woman too. She did let me in and we exchanged few words over her perfectly brewed filter coffee while my eyes browsed through her well furnished home. It’s not like I didn’t know her at all ……… She is a religious and god fearing woman. How?? The chants of the shlokas and the aroma of the agarbattis that flow with the morning breeze tell it all. And yes did I tell you she looks gorgeous in her kanjeevarams and jasmines. 

Having lived in an air force base I have seen people relocating often. When the Sharma’s came with their truck load of things on a sunny afternoon, I was at my study table next to the bedroom window. The window did let in fresh air and fresh thoughts to break the monotony of the unsolved Mathematics questions that I often struggled with. I saw many faces peeping out of their respective homes ………… and within minutes a group of people had assembled on the road. They were off loading stuff from the truck. I too sneaked out of the house and became a quite spectator of the entire ‘shifting’ episode. 

People were there to offer all kind of advice and help, like where the sofa should be placed according to Vaastu, what school the kids should be sent, Mrs Misra also promised to send Mala her domestic help to help them with the initial cleaning. Neighbors’ volunteered for lunch and dinner till their kitchen became functional ……. One of the neighbors’ bought a jug full of ‘Nimbu Pani’. I wondered if these people knew each other already! There seemed to be some kind of celebration and connection between these people on the street. I was back at my study intermittently monitoring all that was going on. In a couple of hours the house of the Sharma’s was set and they were heading over to their next door neighbor for evening tea and snacks.

It seemed like the new kid on the block was no longer ‘new’. 

I felt a jerk, the announcement on the Noida City Centre bound Metro Rail interrupted my thoughts. I realized that the train was approaching the next station. I looked around myself to only see lifeless, tired and indifferent faces. Some were busy texting and checking their mobile phones while some spoke atop their voice ignoring others ……….. few browsed through magazines and books. Sigh there was not much difference between the ‘Bangalore’ or the ‘Delhi’ Metro or the 'New York' Subway either.

My stop was approaching fast. I de-boarded the train carefully watching the gap. The thoughts of Iyer’s and the Sharma’s afresh and haunting me.

Note : This is not a true story, only a replica of my perception of the modern society we are living in.

Preparation Time – 20 minutes
Serves – 2

Long grain basmati rice – 1 cup
Milk – 1 cup
Water – 1 cup
Cinnamon – 2 inches
Cardamom – 4
Fennel Seeds – 1/3 tsp
Bay leaf – 1
Dry red chili - 1
Sugar – ½ Cup
Almonds – handful
Clarified Butter/ Ghee – 2 tsp
Salt – 1 pinch
Turmeric – 1 pinch 
Coriander leaf - for garnishing

Method of Preparation
Wash and drain the rice in a colander till dry. Sprinkle the turmeric on the rice grains for color.
Put a pressure cooker on medium heat and add the clarified butter to melt. Add all the whole spices ( Cinnamon,Cardamom,Fennel Seeds, Bay Leaf and Red Chili ). One you smell the aroma of the spices add almonds and saute for 2 minutes.
Add the drained rice and fry on low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir continuously else the rice will stick to the bottom.
Add the sugar and salt and stir in till the sugar dissolves.
Add milk and let it simmer for 2-3 minutes.
Add water and pressure cook till one whistle.

Remove pressure and let the rice cool. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves

Serving Tips
Serve warm with spicy curry.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Chicken Kohlapuri

What were my last year's resolution ....... Oh you must be kidding me !! Didn't I mention earlier that I suffer from ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder). So this year I decided not to waste time penning my resolution ... It's so cool to kick your heels and relax. No obligations what so ever ! For once it feels great not having any ambitious new year plans. Totally relaxing .....  I must confess.

The husband is also so much at ease ....... well once in a while he too deserves a life. I am sure many of you would be nodding your head in affirmation. For a change he didn't have to go through my mood swings and pangs about not arranging a "happening" new year eve. 
This year strangely there were no emotions brewing. I didn't wish to be amongst those thousand crazy souls who hooted, hugged and kissed as the historic crystal ball dropped at Times Square in New York or even at Brigade Road in Bangalore.I am probably still having the hangover of last years new year eve and thus decided to have a more sober one .How sober I leave it completely to your imagination. 
So unlike the past there were no tables booked and no lavish spread in those fancy restaurants. And I suck when it comes to handling crowded places ....... and of course the pressure of looking good and dressing up for the occasion simply adds a lot of pressure. Yes you have a hundred eyes staring at you to death as you struggle with the silver cutlery.
So I decided to stretch my legs and curl up on the sofa, be my own DJ ,sip my drink ..... courtesy my very own bartender J, lick my fingers and smack my plates clean. Simply being my self, not allowing anyone to be judgmental of me ! And can it get any better for a new beginning.

Hope you all had a wonderful and rocking year ...... So here's a recipe that's sure to spice it up :)

Preparation Time - 90 mnts
Serves - 6 
2 lbs chicken, skin removed and cut into medium pieces
1/4 cup oil
For marinating: 
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 tablespoon turmeric
2 tablespoon red chili powder (more or less) 
2-3  tablespoons Spice Mix 
For the main Sauce: 
3 large onions finely sliced
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced or minced
2″ fresh ginger, grated or thinly sliced
1/3 can coconut milk
3/4 cup oil
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 bunch fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh or dried coconut
3/4 cup tomato paste 
Spice Mix 
Light fry in oil: 
1/2 tablespoon white poppy seeds
1 teaspoon cumin/jeera
3 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek/methi seeds
1 teaspoon peppercorn
4 dry red chilli pepper (more or less as per taste)
4 cloves
4 small  green cardamom
2″ cinnamon stick
A pinch of hing/asafoetida
Dry Roast: 
2 tablespoons dried coconut
1 teaspoon sesame seed

Spice Mix
1. Heat very little oil in a pan and very lightly fry the ingredients mentioned in the “Light Fry”at low heat for a couple of minutes. Switch off the heat when they get fragrant.
2. Dry roast the coconut and sesame seeds for a couple of minutes, till the coconut is very light brown.
Blend all the ingredients of the “light fry” and “dry roast” in a powder.
Marinating Chicken
Marinate chicken with yogurt, turmeric, salt, chili powder and spice mix for at least an hour (I left mine overnight).
For the curry
Remove the chicken pieces from the marinade and brown them in the heated oil on both sides. they should be light brown; does not need to be evenly brown. Save the marinade.
Remove the chicken pieces and save the leftover oil.
For Gravy
1.Heat 3/4 cup oil  and fry the onions, ginger, garlic, sugar and salt till the onions are brown and starts to caramelize. Switch off the heat and transfer half of the onion mix from the pan to a blender or food processor along with the fresh cilantro, coconut, tomato paste, water and the left over marinade and blend till smooth.
2. In the remaining half of the fried onions in the pan, add the chicken and toss them and cook them for about 10 minutes at medium to high heat. If the spices stick at the bottom of the pan just sprinkle some water and scrape it off .
3. Add half of the mix from the blender to the chicken and the leftover oil from frying the chicken if you have any) in the pan and stir everything gently. Cook/simmer for about 10 – 15 minutes at medium to high heat. When you see the sauce reducing pour out the rest of the blended ingredients in to the pan. Gently stir everything together for them to combine. Cover and cook at low to medium heat till the chicken pieces are tender.
Remove cover and increase the heat. Add the coconut milk. Cook till the oil separates  for about 10 - 15  minutes. 

Friday, August 26, 2011

Nigella's Mughlai Chicken

Sumitra had just finished her morning chores. Her kids were off to school. The morning sun shined gently on her veranda. She switched on the dusty transistor that sat in one corner of the living room from time eternal ..... it was time for her daily dose of Vividh Bharati. She pulled up the cane chair and sat in the winter sun sipping away her tea and listening to her favorite old Hindi numbers from the eighties.
Her rusted iron gate made a sharp screeching noise, the brown paint on it was already peeling off .... she turned back to see who it was. Her neighbor, Mrs Kumar came hurrying towards her with a packet of sondesh (sweets). The silver foil on the sondesh glittered in the sun and so did Mrs Kumar. She was beaming with joy and pride. Mrs Kumar had smudged some extra talcum powder on her face and her big kohl laden eyes sparkled.
Sumitra and Mrs Kumar had been neighbors from a long time. They had got married around the same time and had moved into the neighborhood just about the same time . Also their husbands worked in the same Sarkari office.
"Meethai kish khusi mein" (What's the good news ), Sumitra asked, picking up a piece of Sondesh from the box. That was exactly what Mrs Kumar was waiting to hear so that she could spill her beans.
"Humare ghar mein aaj subah telephone connection laag gaya, isshi khusi mein" (Got a new telephone connection this morning), said Mrs Kumar in a very dramatic voice."Badhai Ho" (Congratulations),Sumitra said in a feeble voice, her mouth still stuffed with Sondesh.
"Do come home sometime to have a look at our new phone. And don't forget to get Cheeku and his Papa. I will give you my number so that your relatives can call you. Incoming if free she emphasized. This was exactly what Sumitra didn't want to hear. She always wanted to be the first one to get a telephone connection in her colony.

She could hardly wait for Rakesh, her husband to come back from work. Something seemed to bother her the entire day and she was restless. In spite of all this she was making Rakesh's favorite tea time snack. That was something that she would only do on special occasions to bring back the lost charm to her decade old married life.
She waited impatiently walking up and down the verandah ..... her eyes glued on the rusted iron gate and the dusty road. Time stood still for her. As soon as she heard the sound of Rakesh's scooter, she ran towards the gate.
"Mrs Kumar k ghar pe telephone connection laag gaya ji", were the first words she uttered. And to her agony Mrs Kumar's phone rang at that very moment .... the sound loud enough for all her neighbors to hear.
Soon she served the samosa that she had painfully prepared during the afternoon with some tea. They spoke very less between the tea .... Rakesh was busy eating the samosa and nooded his head in affirmation to whatever Sumitra said. He knew no matter what he says, the last word would be of Sumitra's.
Well six months have passed since then. Rakesh had taken a half day off the very next day to put the application for the telephone connection. There are no updates from the telecom department since then. Mrs Kumar drops in once in a while to narrate her 'telephone tales'. And Sumitra still sits on her cane chair waiting for the guy from the telecom office to come with the 'black' equipment and a roll of black wires.

This recipe has been adapted from Nigella's website. I was a bit intimidated by the long list of ingredients. But it turned out to be an easy breezy recipe .... and absolutely finger licking good.

Preparation Time - 60 minutes
Serves - 6
Fresh Ginger Peeled - 2.5cm
Garlic cloves peeled - 4 big
Ground Cumin - 2 tsp
Ground Coriander - 1 tsp
Dried Chilli - 1/2 tsp
Ground Almonds - 4 tbsp
Water - 125 ml
Cardamon Pods - 5 Bruised
Cinnamon Stick - 2 inches
Bay Leaves - 2
Cloves - 4
Vegetable Oil - 4 tablespoon
Chicken Thigh bone in/ boneless - 1.5 kg
Onion - 2 large
Greek Yogurt - 250 ml
Double Cream - 125 ml
Raisins - A handful
Garam Masala - 1tsp
Castor sugar - 1 tsp
Almonds for garnishing

Method of Preparation

1. Put the ginger, garlic, cumin, coriander and chilli into a food processor, and blend to a paste. Add the ground almonds and water, then blend again, and set aside. Traditionally, this would be done with a pestle and mortar, and there's nothing to stop you using those, or a little spice grinder.
2. Heat the oil in a large pan and add the chicken pieces - in batches so they fry rather than stew - and cook them just long enough to seal on both sides, then remove to a dish.
3. Tip in the bowlful of spices and turn them in the oil. Peel and finely chop the onions, add to the pan of spices, and cook until softened and lightly browned, but keep the heat gentle and stir frequently, to avoid them catching. Pour in the blended paste, and cook everything until it begins to color. Add the yogurt, 125ml at a time, stirring it in to make a sauce; then stir in the cream and sultanas. Add a little water if required.
4. Put the browned chicken back into the pan, along with any juices that have collected under them, and sprinkle over the garam masala, sugar and salt. Cover and cook on a gentle heat for 20 minutes, testing to make sure the chicken meat is cooked through.
5. Garnish with flaked almonds
Serving Tips
Serve warm with any Indian Flat Bread or Rice/ Pilaf