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

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Pulled Chicken Sandwich ....Perfect for the Summer Picnics

Arrrrgghhhh .... These names are driving me crazy ... Apple Citrus, Guava Grapefruit Blast, Warm Vanilla Sugar, Citrus Blueberry Swirl. No I am not reading any menu ..... these are some of the shampoos and of course conditioners available at 'Bath n Body Works' !! I wandered around the shop with an equally clueless husband whom I forced to sniff each of these bottles and give his opinion before I dropped them into my shopping bag. Never thought buying shampoo could be so tedious. Also never in my craziest imagination had I thought that there would be exclusive shops selling toiletries !

I still remember Aai (maternal grandma) rubbing the red horrible looking and equally bad smelling Shikakai soap on my head. Later she decided to go herbal and graduated to Shikakai and Reetha (soap nut), which she would soak overnight in warm water. She would part my hair and rub it with the solution before washing it off. This continued till one day when the Reetha Solution ran into my eyes and caused havoc.

Then came the era of my mom ..... who neither had the time nor the inclination of going through a regime of making herbal soap solutions and rubbing into our hair. She would hand over a shiny one rupee coin and ask me or my sister to run to the Kirana (Grocery) shop to fetch a sachet of shampoo. With fewer names like Sunsilk, Halo and Clinic Plus there was little to get confused about. Radha Shyam the shop owner would snap a sachet from the string while we would stand there staring at the bottles of hard boiled sugar candies.

Maa would not let us use the entire sachet .... she would pour half the packet into my palm and save the remaining for my sister or for the next use. Soon we graduated from shampoo sachets to bottles. But the bottle would still remain in the custody of Maa .... On the days when she decided that I needed a head bath, she would squeeze a little amount from the bottle on my palm. Occasionally I would get into a squabble with her demanding more shampoo .... I would grumble and tell her ' When I grow big and start earning, I will buy my own shampoo and will wash my hair as much as I want'.

Well yes ... I am living that dream but it doesn't give the same kick as that the small amount of shampoo for which I often fought. But sure it brings a smile to my face ...... The small amount of shampoo that Maa poured into my tiny hands taught me a bigger lesson of life ..... to understand the value of even the insignificant things !

Well Maa and Aai have changed much over the years. Aai has moved on to using branded body washes n soaps and Maa no longer takes custody of the shampoo !!

Preparation Time - 2 hours to Overnight
Serves - 3

Chicken Thigh/ Leg Piece - Skinless and bone in - 3 or 4
For the Marinade
Diced red onion - 1/3 Cup
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp
Chilli Powder (Preferably Kashmiri Laal Mirch) - 2 tsp
Vinegar - 1 Tbsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/3 tsp
Oil - 2 Tbsp (Canola/ Vegetable/ Olive)
Thick yogurt - 1/3 cup
Salt to taste
For the Sandwich
Baguette - 1 (cut horizontally)
Cucumber Slices
Tomato Slices
Butter at room temperature
Red Onion Slices
Green Chutney (Store Bought)

Method of Preparation

1. Mix all the ingredients required for the marinade. Add the chicken pieces to it and coat the pieces uniformly. Transfer it to a zip lock bag or into a bowl and refrigerate it overnight or for 2- 3 hours
2. Remove the marinated chicken and thaw it to room temperature. Preheat oven at 400 Degrees F. Transfer the chicken to a oven proof dish and bake it for about 40 -45 minutes or till the chicken is cooked. Add the remaining marinade along with onions and bake it separately till the onions get cooked and there is no raw smell.
3. Once the Chicken cools , shred the flesh off the bones.
4. Spread some butter and green chutney on the baguette and layer it into a sandwich by adding shredded chicken, tomatoes, cucumber and red onions.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Curried Shrimp in Coconut Milk ..... And the Give Away Winner !!

No no.....there was no Food World, Reliance Fresh or Spencers.I went with Baba riding on his green Bajaj scooter to the sabzi mandi ..... Once upon a time !
As far as my memory goes only few of the big garment shops or gold shops had a climate controlled environment ..... in simple words A.C.
And it was definitely a big deal and a status symbol to buy things from a shop like that ... Yes you paid a price to sit in the 'thanda' room and for those glittering LED lights .... few extra bucks !!
And who in the world would have imagined that a day would come when big names like Reliance would engage in selling Sabzi in air conditioned shops ..... ok ok Retail Marketing or Food Mall. Hope I am technically correct.

Buying vegetables and grocery is so much easier ... provided you secure a place to park your car. Thanks to the proactive ICICI Car loan agents, there is at least one car in every household !! After all who would want to go to a sabzi mandi in the blaring hot sun.
And there is no such word as 'Bargaining'. Did you say 'cheapo'. Indeed that is why the modern marketing guru's have abolished that word and also it's synonyms. Life is easy ... no more engaging in arguments over an extra bunch of dhaniya patta or few green chilies.

In other words 'India Shining' ... quoted by the NDA government. Before you tag me with being associated with BJP, RSS etc I am also going to write what the current UPA govt says ...'Ho Raha Bharat Nirmaan'

But what about the developed West from where we imitated this culture. Why do they fancy the 'Farmer's Market','Grow your own herb' movement etc ?? Why so much importance on buying food directly from the farmers or even growing your own. Well I am sure we all know the answer ...don't we ??

Are any of the Retail Marketing Gurus' listening ??

Preparation Time - 40 minutes
Serves - 2


Medium size Shrimp/ Prawn - 12
Onion - 1/2 (medium size)
Garlic Cloves - 2
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Cumin - 1/2 tsp
Coriander - 1/2 tsp
Tomato paste - 1 tsp
Mustard - 1/3 tsp
Chili (Fresh or Green) - 4 (per taste)
Curry Leaves - few
Coconut Milk - 1 cup
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Salt per taste

Method of Preparation

1. Grind onion, ginger,garlic,cumin,coriander,chilies,cinnamon to make a smooth paste.
2. Marinate the shrimp with little turmeric and salt and keep aside for 10 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a pan and fry the shrimp just for few minutes so that they turn opaque. Refrain from over frying else the shrimps would be rubbery.
4. In a wok add some more oil. When the oil is hot temper it with mustard seeds and curry leaves. Add the groundmasala and salt and fry till the masala is cooked well and there is no raw smell. Add tomato paste.
5. Add the coconut milk and simmer. Add some water if needed to adjust the consistency. Add the shrimps and simmer for 2 minutes before turning off the heat.

Serving Tips

Serve warm with rice.

I would like to thank everyone for their constant encouragement and for the love they show towards me and my blog and for participating in the give away.I wish I could give one book to each.

I promise to come up with another give away very soon .....

So J helped me with picking up a random winner. And the winner of this give away is

6 Bittersweets
- Big falafel-lover here and yours look perfect!

Congratulations !! Please email me your name and address @ to mail you the cook book.I would surely recommend all of you to visit her blog for her flawless clicks and awesome cupcakes.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Women in Power ... Letz celebrate with Matar Paneer

It's the victory of Woman Power and the entire nation is celebrating it in grandeur. And I too included myself in the celebration uninvited and am basking in the glory of these successful women across the globe. No I am not into politics or anything but I am a woman and I don't need any bigger reason than this.

Women are in the limelight everywhere .... be it S.Divyadarshini or Sweta Mohanty who topped the Civil Services Exam or even Mamta Banerjee who created history in West Bengal. The entire media is watching these women like a hawk. And so am I listening to their interviews ....

And do I have the right to judge these women ? Yes I do !! Not that I always judge people but definitely them. They are no ordinary woman like you and me. They will be the ones who would be deciding where my tax money would go and would be responsible for taking my country on the path of progress.Hence answerable to everyone.

Mamta Di is definitely not a new face to the media. I have had heard Mamta Banerjee several times before as she had been in the media for reasons right and wrong. And neither am I a big admirer of her Trinumul Congress or for that matter any political party. So I just over heard the interview of Mamta Di. Didi spoke confidently in her funny Bengali English accent during her interview with Barkha Dutt ( Another woman in power). I heard it and it faded from my memory within hours .... after all she is a politician and it is her profession to make a 'Speech' for her living if I may say so.
Well irrespective of her wrong English and her funny accent she spoke confidently. And that is one thing that I must admire in this woman who is ready to make changes to the crippled West Bengal.

BUT I sat down to listen to Divyadarshini the new face of Indian youth who has been basking in the glory of being the topper of the most prestigious and powerful position of India, the Civil Services. She was on Vinod Dua live on NDTV and I was all ears to her.
I am still unable to ignore the amateurish answers that this 24 year old topper gave. And it is not pardonable as she is no ordinary woman ! When asked 'What does the position of being an IAS officer mean to her .... is it just power and fame or something beyond that', Divyadarshini didn't give any definitive answer and it clearly reflected of her low confidence level .... which is unacceptable !!
She is the role model of thousands now and more importantly she would be taking the reigns of reforming the country and making decisions that's not confined to her.

Is she just another high grade brainless pawn that our politicians would be using for their own benefit.

Not to forget the fact that she doesn't know 'Hindi', which is the official language of India. I hope she is aware that she may have to read documents that will be only available in Hindi !! And there is no excuse to this ...... no matter what one argues. Tamil Nadu in not outside India and if you are in the Indian Civil Services, girl you better start taking Hindi tuition's !!

However I thought of still going ahead and celebrating the victory of these women in my own style, in my kitchen !! And on the menu was Roti and Matar Paneer. Nothing Fancy !!

My best wishes to these ladies, especially Divyadarshini.

May the hand which rocks the cradle rule the world. Amen !

Serves - 2
Preparation Time 30 minutes


Onion - 1/2 cup
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Garlic - 2 cloves
Whole Coriander seeds - 2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 tsp
Tomato - 2 (small)
Paneer - 1 cup (cubed)
Green Peas - 1/2 cup
Garam Masala Powder - 1/3 tsp
Milk -1/2 cup
Turmeric - 1/3 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for cooking

Method of Preparation

1. Grind onion, garlic, ginger, cumin and coriander seeds into a paste.
2. Drizzle a pan with little oil and fry the panner till golden brown and keep aside.
3. Heat about 3tbsp of oil in a wok. Add the masala paste and stir fry. Add turmeric powder, red chili powder and salt and saute till it leaves oil from the side and there is no raw masala smell.
4 Add milk to the masala and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
5 Mix the paneer and the green peas and mix well. Add little water to adjust the consistency if required.
6 Add the garam masala on top and let it simmer for a minute before removing from heat.

Serving Tips
Serve warm with any flat bread, pulao, rice.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bagara Baingan or Eggplants in an exotic gravy of peanuts,coconut and sesame seeds ....

Deserted afternoon streets, piles of watermelons on the roadsides, exuberantly priced mangoes and frequent power outages. Does this ring a bell ??
You guessed it right - The Indian Summer.Our schools were closed and we were a bunch of juveniles running around Aai's (Grandma) courtyard, mostly engaged in regular squabbles ..... like who would sleep next to Aai during the afternoon story telling session, yet another thing that we fought over regularly was who would get to eat the takua (Mango seed or Endocarp)!
While we fought about the most trivial things within the comfort of the four walls caring little about the difficulties of life, there was one sweaty lean guy who struggled to make a living ... Raghu Kaka. He was probably in his forty something, dark complexioned and wrinkled faced, paan stained teeth and unkept hair ... in short nothing close to looking attractive. The only thing that made him look human was his warm affectionate smile.

Every morning I would see him sit by the staircase having a word with Aai. He would often talk about the village politics,his daily business and the sabzi mandi, his family and about his four kids who went to school. At times Aai would offer him a cup of tea with some Mudhi (puffed rice). He was supposedly from Aai's native and was a fruit vendor. He would arrive by the early morning passenger train and pull out his rickety rusted cycle which he kept in one corner of our garage. He would carefully inspect the bicycle and then tie a big bamboo basket behind the cycle and tightly secure it with a rope before riding it away. That was his everyday routine. I would sometimes watch him sitting on the staircase leaning against Aai as they made a conversation ..... Some days he would offer me a mango. But it was Aai's strict instruction not to take anything for free.
This was everyday routine to see Raghu Kaka during our summer vacations for years together till he grew old and weak and stopped coming.
Today I remembered him after decades ...simply out of the blue without any relevance while preparing this South Indian delicacy. There wasn't anything significant about this person that would leave a lasting impression ..... he was like any regular guy who came to the city to make a living.

I wondered why he crossed my mind after all these years .... Is it because things which we sometimes consider to be insignificant and irrelevant leave a bigger impression on our lives ??

Preparation Time 60 minutes
Serves 3

Small Tender Eggplants/Bringjal - 6
Peanuts - 1/2 cup
Sesame Seeds - 1 tbsp
Dry Coconut powder - 1 tbsp
Chopped Onion - 1/2 cup
Ginger Garlic Paste - 1/2 tsp
Dry Red Chilis - 5
Cumin Seeds - 1/2tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves - Few
Turmeric Powder - 1/3 tsp
Asafoetida/Hing - 1/3 tsp
Tamarind juice - 1/3 cup
Jaggery/ Sugar -1/2 tsp
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 1 inch
Cardamon - 2
Bay Leaf - 1
Salt per taste
Oil for cooking

Method of Preparation
1 Wash the eggplants and pat dry. Slit them into four halves with the stem intact and fry them in oil. Keep aside.
2 Dry roast peanuts,sesame seeds, coconut powder and red chilies. Grind them into a paste adding little water and keep aside.
3 Heat little oil in a wok. Add all the whole spices,curry leaves and cumin seeds. Add chopped o onions and fry till golden brown. Add ginger garlic paste and saute for 2-3 minutes. Add salt and turmeric.
4 Now add the tamarind juice and add cumin and coriander powder. Mix well and let it simmer. Add sugar/ jaggery to it. Also add the asafoetida.
5 Take the peanut paste and add it to the above mixture. You may add water to adjust the consistency.
6 Once the gravy begins to simmer add the egg plants and cook. Make sure to stir the gravy in between.

Serving Tips
Serve as a side with pulao/rice or any Indian Flat bread.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Greens with Beans ..... Chole Palak or Spinach cooked with Garbanzo Beans

'Beta bade hoke tum kya banoge' (What do you aspire to become when you grow up) is one of the favorite questions adults ask kids. I am sure each one of you would have answered this question n number of times till you actually figured out what you wanted out of life. And I am in that phase of life where I ask this to kids around me ... and most times I am amused by their innocence.

I remember someone asking this to my little sister when she was a five year old. She promptly replied 'Traffic Pulish'. For a second there was silence in the room ....Maa was shocked. That was the last thing she would have wanted her daughter to become. May be she had expected something like a doctor or a pilot. Guess that is the most favorite and popular thing kids say. But 'Traffic Pulish' was the least expected one. 'Traffic Pulish is so powerful ..... he can stand in the middle of the road and with a wave of hand the entire traffic comes to a halt', she explained to Maa. The entire room broke into laughter. Well she really didn't grow up to be one but that was her first aspiration !!

Ok but I thought I was the smarter one !! So like every kid I wanted to become a doctor. My Aunt had also gifted me a plastic medical kit on my birthday. I would stand in front of the mirror with a pink stethoscope hanging around my neck and pretend like I was talking to a patient. But soon I managed to find a scapegoat ... it was Rani, out domestic help. Playing doctor-doctor was my favorite pass time. I would ask Rani to open her mouth. I would check her temperature using the Pink thermometer. I would scribble on pieces of papers with illegible writings and prescribe her medicines.Little did I know that becoming a doc was no child play. Not until I decided to write the medical entrance ...... and sure I failed miserably !!
But like always I had my plan B ready. Failure was never an option for me.

But that was that !! I had almost forgotten about it till I hanged out with a bunch of kids this weekend. 'Sweetie Pie what is that you want to become when you grow up' I asked a cutie. ' Miss Universe' she said batting her eye lids and running her tiny fingers through her silky hair. And there was another brat who screamed ' Fire Fighter'. Another one wanted to become a truck driver. And yes there was a doctor too !!

Ok, now coming to the recipe ... I make this 'Chole Palak' often.I have discovered that Palak tastes good when cooked with any pulses.

Preparation Time - 20 minutes
Serves 2


Boiled Chole/ Garbanzo Beans - 1 Cup (You can soak and pressure cook it with a little salt added or use the tinned ones)
Chopped Spinach/ Palak - 2 cups
Chopped Onions - 1/2 cup
Minced Garlic - 1 tbsp
Minced Ginger - 1 tsp
Tomato - 1 pureed
Garam Masala powder - 1 tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 tsp (per taste)
Turmeric Powder - 1 pinch
Butter - 1 tsp
Salt per taste
Oil for cooking

Method of Preparation

1 Heat about 1 tbsp of oil in a wok. When warm add ginger to it and fry for a minute. Add the minced garlic and keep stirring it else the garlic will get burnt. Add the finely chopped onions to it and saute till the onion is mushy and there is no raw smell.
2 Add the tomato puree, turmeric and red chili powder and mix well. Saute for 2 minutes.
3 Add the chopped spinach to it and mix well. Cook for 3 minutes.
4 Mix the boiled garbanzo beans/ chole and stir in. Add 1/2 a cup of water.
5 Add garam masala and let the curry simmer for 4 to 5 minutes.
6 Top it with some butter and remove from heat.

Serving Tips
Serve warm with any flat bread or rice

You may add more spinach if you want.

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