Beautiful food with beautiful people – Chicken Mughlai Koftas

Don’t you think that some days food should not just be a reason for nourishment, it should also be sheer poetry? Don’t you think that some days food should not just fill your belly, it also has to make you crave for more. Wouldn’t you want food to also entice your senses and tempt you and lure you to reach out and explore flavors that you would have never tasted before? Now I am the first to admit that the food I make every single day is very basic and plain, it is hardly tempting, exciting or adventurous. Don’t get me wrong, it makes me euphoric, it makes me happy, but it is not food that will win me any awards. Most days I don’t bother with any fancy garnishing and decorating, it goes from the cooking utensils to the plate and in my tummy as soon as it is cooked.

 

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However, I think that when you are surrounded by incredibly talented people you have to step up and ensure that you do your best too. You push your boundaries without knowing that you had them and end up with something that even surprises yourself. So when I recently attended a fabulous “Food Styling & Photography Workshop” at the propcoop_syd I knew that the food that I made to photograph there has to be more than basic, it had to also be good looking and then to top it up, it also had to taste bloody good.

 

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And as a result, I made this exquisite “Chicken Mughlai Kofta,” which looked so gorgeous that I was actually surprised that it came out of my kitchen. Perfectly formed melt in your mouth meatballs cooked in a dairy free yet creamy gravy, this dish just made me stand still for a minute and pat my own back. Not only did it look stunning in the beautifully chosen props by the very creative Georgie, the food stylist who ran the Z Workshop in Sydney. But under the supervision of her equally talented husband Joe, it even photographed well. As my first sense of feeling overwhelmed in a space that had so much to offer me turned to curiosity and then amazement, I left feeling delirious with happiness that not only was my food loved by all, but I had also learned some wonderful new ways to make it look attractive.

 

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Workshop details: The Z Workshop

Food Styling & Prop: Georgie Dolling Stylist

Photography suggestions & guidance: Joe Filshie

 

Recipe: (Cooking time 60 minutes, serves 4 – 6)

For the Koftas:

250 gms Chicken mince

2 green chilies finely chopped

1 tbsp freshly chopped Coriander

1 ½ tsp Ginger Garlic paste

1 tsp Cardamom powder

1 tbsp Almond powder

1 tsp Red chili powder

Salt to taste

Vegetable oil to shallow fry the koftas

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl, cover with the cling film and place in the fridge for 15 – 20 minutes.

When ready to fry, add the Oil to a thick bottomed pan and make small round balls and fry them lightly. You will find that the mince will stick to your palm, to avoid this, apply water on your palms and then shape the Koftas.

Drain the excess oil on a kitchen towel.

You can freeze the Koftas once they are cool and use them later. Alternatively, you can also serve them with a mint chutney or use them in a sandwich.

For the Sauce:

4 large onions thinly sliced

½ cup Cashewnuts

1 tbsp Charmagaz (melon seeds)

3 large Tomatoes

2 Green chillies

1 tsp Red chilli powder

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Ginger garlic paste

Salt to taste

2 tbsp Vegetable oil

1 tsp Garam masala powder

Garnishing:

Cream (You can skip this if you want to do a diary free version)

Almond flakes (toasted, Georgie suggested that toasted flakes would better when photographed and they did)

Method:

Soak the Cashewnuts and Melon seeds in warm water for atleast 15 minutes. Drain all the water and grind to a fine paste

Heat 1 tbsp Oil in a pan and add the Onion and cook till the Onion has become brown but not burned. Cool and grind to a paste

Blanche the Tomatoes in hot water and add the green chilies and make a puree.

Heat the remaining Oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the Ginger Garlic paste and then the Onion paste and cook on a low flame, be careful as the paste will splutter.

Once the raw smell of the Onion has disappeared, add the Cashewnut paste.

Cook on a low flame and keep stirring as the paste can stick to the pan and burn very easily. Once the oil starts to separate add the Tomato Puree, Salt, Red chilli powder & Turmeric powder. Cook for a few minutes. Add a cup of hot water and bring to a boil.

Add the Chicken Koftas and cook on a low flame for 10 minutes

Serve hot with Naans garnished with Almond Flakes and  Cream

Butter Chicken with Shan Masalas

IMG_1609Do you guys realize how we Indians never actually eat Bread on its own? Every piece of Bread must be dipped, mopped and scooped up with the main dish? Even leftover Roti’s (Flatbreads) are dunked in hot Tea before they are consumed. It’s like we just don’t trust the bread to do its job unless it is under the supervision of some Curry or Chutney or Tea.

IMG_1613But then that is the thing with Indian Bread, not all of them taste great on their own. And even when they do, you can feel them become stodgy and heavy after a few bites when consumed on their own. Hence to do justice to the “Naans” that I made, I decided to go all out and make a scintillating curry to go with it. After all one wouldn’t want to see a Naan that is lonely right? And what better way to celebrate a beautiful Bread but with “Butter Chicken.”

IMG_1614Everyone knows Butter Chicken right?  Even if you don’t like Indian food, you will have heard of Butter Chicken. And if you have been reading my posts for you a while, you would read my constant whining about the terribly sweet Butter Chicken we get here in Australia. I swear to god I want to find the chef who decided to add a cup of Sugar in Milk and some Red color making us believe that what is being served is Butter Chicken and show him how to make a decent Butter Chicken (read beat the shit out of him).

IMG_1610Anyways as they say once bitten twice shy when Shan Foods sent me their “Butter Chicken” masala I was a little skeptical to try it. But since I have been using the brand for a while and trust them I decided to try it. And thank god I went with the faith in the brand rather than the experience that I have had with the local restaurants. Let’s just say that the key to a great Butter Chicken is the gravy and the masala that we used to marinade the Chicken with ensured that the gravy turned out really well.

Here is the super easy recipe for you to try.

 

Butter Chicken (Marinate for 1 – 3 hours, cooking time 1 hour, serves 6)

Ingredients:

1 Kg Chicken Breast

1 Kg Tomatoes finely chopped  (Get the juiciest ripest Tomatoes you can)

2 tsp Lemon Juice

3 tbsp Plain Yoghurt

½ cup Single Cream

¾ cup Butter (unsalted)

2 tsp Cooking Oil (preferably Mustard oil)

1 packet Shan Butter Chicken masala

 

For Garnishing:

Slivered Almonds

Cream

Crushed Kasuri Methi

 

Method:

  1. Mix Shan Butter chicken mix, Lemon juice, Yogurt, Oil and apply to the diced Chicken Breasts. Marinate for 1 – 3 hours or even overnight.
  2. Boil the Tomatoes in 1 – 2 cups of water for 10 minutes or until soft and tender. Sieve to remove skin and seeds. Keep Tomato puree aside.
  3. Separately heat a frying pan and add the marinated meat. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes on low hear and turn the meat. Remove from the pan. Alternatively, you can preheat an oven at 180 degrees C and grill the Chicken. Brush the Chicken with some Oil to ensure it stays juicy will grilling.
  4. Add the Chicken to the tomato puree, cover ad cook on a low heat for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the cream, stir and remove from heat. Garnish with Almonds, Cream and crushed Kasuri Methi. and serve hot with fresh bread.

Tips:

If using packaged cream, add a little milk to make the cream thin.

Wash the Chicken with 2 tbsp white vinegar in half cup of water before use.

Khudi – East Indian Chicken curry with Bottle Masala

We say India is a diverse country, but have we ever given its diversity some thought. Let me give you an example. I am a Punjabi who grew up in a Sindhi-dominated suburb, I had a Bengali neighbor and South Indian friends. In the early years of my working life, I worked in a suburb that had a predominant Gujarati community. I then moved to an Anglo-Indian suburb which had more bakeries than I could fathom and finally married into a very traditional Maharashtrian household.

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And this has helped shaped not just my thought process but also my palate, which was no longer restricted to just eating “Punjabi food.”  I can eat Sambhar (South Indian Lentil Stew), Macher Jhol (Bengali Fish Curry), Gujarati Kadhi (Gujarati yogurt broth), Sai Bhaji (Sindhi lentil & greens curry) and a Usal (Maharashtrian vegetarian curry) with the same amount of glee that I can tuck into a bowlful of Rajma Chawal (Punjabi style red kidney beans curry with rice).

 

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Now if this is not cultural diversity what is?

 

So when Shaheen another Mumbai girl from Perth and the founder of the blog SpiceMama sent me a packet of East Indian Bottle masala, I knew I had to try the masala that I had heard so much about, and that Shaheen so proudly makes using her grandmother’s recipe. For those who don’t know, Bottle masala is a very popular spice blend made by East Indians using 20 -30 different spices, stored in dark bottles to be used throughout the year. I decided to go all out and make an East Indian chicken curry called “ Khudi.” And let me tell you this was one of the best Chicken curries that I have eaten in a long time. The masala was not overpowering or too spicy. It gave the Chicken a lovely color and blended beautifully with the Coconut. I would definitely recommend buying “Bottle masala” and making this Chicken curry that you probably have been missing out on.

 

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Recipe courtesy: “The Essential Marathi Cookbook” – Kaumudi Marathe.

Bottle Masala:   Spice mama bottle masala

 

Serves 4 – 6, Cooking time 1 ¼ hours

Khudi Spice paste:

4 medium Onions, finely sliced

4 green chilies, sliced

¼ freshly grated Coconut

1 tsp fresh Ginger

8 small cloves Garlic

Toast the Onions, chilies, and Coconut in a griddle till golden brown. Keep stirring to ensure they don’t burn or stick to the bottom of the griddle.

Grind into a paste with the Ginger and Garlic.

 

For the Chicken:

1 Kg Chicken cut into pieces

2 tbsp Vegetable Oil

1 tbsp Bottle masala

1 -2 tsp Salt

1-2 tsp tamarind pulp or Lime juice

1 tsp Garam masala

2 large potatoes, thickly cut

2 tbsp Oil for frying the Potatoes

 

Heat oil in a large pan. Saute the khudi paste for 5 -7 minutes, till aromatic and slightly crisp. Stir in the bottle masala.

Add chicken and saute for a few minutes till the Chicken is coated really well in the masala and begins t o brown. Add 1- 2 cups of water and salt. Cook covered over low heat for 20 -30 minutes till the Chicken is cooked. Keep stirring to ensure that masala doesn’t stick.

Sprinkle Chicken with tamarind or lime juice and garam masala.

Shallow Fry the Potatoes till cooked. Add to the Chicken and cook for minutes. Turn off the heat and serve with Rice or Bread.

 

 

Chicken Jalfrezi

I can easily cook Indian food for Indians. But cooking Indian food for non-Indians can be a challenge. Because a lot of them have eaten desi food at restaurants abroad and identify it with the particular dishes that they have eaten and then there is that request for that “Tikka Masala” or “Jalfrezi” which they have tried a million times and loved.

 

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As a gracious host, you want to make what your guests will love, so you have to oblige. Hence when some Aussie friends came over for lunch and requested I make a “Chicken Jalfrezi,” I had a moment of panic attack. Because to be honest I have never made it before. Thankfully I could find a Jalfrezi spice mix from Shan Masalas, and it worked like a charm.

 

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All I had to do was follow the recipe to the box and within 60 minutes I had a very delicious looking and smelling “Chicken Jalfrezi” ready for some keen and hungry guests. Fuss free and really simple to make I was quite happy with the way it turned out. Not too spicy, not too mild the dish went really well with Rice.

 

Recipe  (Cooking time 60 minutes Serves 4 -6 )

1 Kg Boneless chicken cut into small cubes

500 gms Tomato Puree

250 gms Tomato cut into cubes

2 medium Onions chopped into square pieces

2 Green Capsicum cut into square pieces

4 large Green chilies slit lengthwise

3 tbsp cooking Oil

1 packet of Shan Chicken Jalfrezi mix

Method:

Combine the Shan Chicken Jalfrezi mix in half cup of water and marinate the chicken in it for at least 30 minutes.

Heat oil in a pan and add the marinated Chicken and stir -fry for about 5 minutes.

Add the Tomato puree, cover and cook for 15 – 20 minutes.

Add the chopped Onion, Tomatoes, Capsicum and Green chilies. Stir fry for 5 minutes and turn off the heat.

Serve hot with boiled rice or noodles.

Tips for best results – Wash the Chicken with 2 Tbsp white vinegar in half cup of water before use.

A Chicken curry made for memories

In my head weekends are all about eating Non-vegetarian food, especially on Sundays. I don’t know why but Sunday is the day when I am not too keen on vegetarian food; the day feels oddly incomplete without some meaty fare added to the mix.

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It was my dad’s job to cook a non-vegetarian dish on Sundays. My mother was banished from the kitchen, and we would take over the tiny space, hovering around my father like small minions ready to do whatever to please him. The morning ritual included Papa and me going to the local butcher to buy meat for the shenanigans that we had to indulge in the afternoon. My brother clearly thought it was very uncool to go to the butchers and my mother felt it was an unladylike behavior and constantly admonished me for being such an unruly girl.

 

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Now we all know that watching a Butcher do his job is not for the faint-hearted. But I had to show my father that his girl was very brave. So I would stand there in the midst of all the carnage and the smell, squirming in my shoes pretending to be unyielding and courageous. It made me feel very self-important being a part of this ritual with my dad, something we did together. We would come home and pretend that we were on TV, my father the chef and me and my brother the little helpers.  We would arrange everything in small saucers and my brother pretended to be the camera operator, and I would be the host interviewing my father who indulged us much to my mother’s chagrin because of all the washing up she would have to do later.

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Over the years I moved away from my home and can go to a butcher and buy any kind of meat without squirming, my father stopped cooking, and my brother lost all interest in becoming a cameraman, but the memories of that small kitchen have stayed etched in the recesses of my brain forever. And even now on a Sunday, when I feel the need to cook something from my childhood, something that brings back memories of weekends spent in the comforting home of my parents, I make this Chicken curry.  Usually, when I make the curry, I make extra gravy which I freeze in zip-lock bags which always comes handy every time I want to revisit the past.

 

Recipe (Cooking time 60 minutes, serves 4)

 

For the Chicken

500 gms Chicken cut into pieces

One cup plain Yogurt

One tsp Turmeric powder

One tsp Garam masala powder

One tsp Red chili powder

Wash the chicken and pat dry, Marinate, the Chicken in the Yogurt and the spices and leave for at least 15 minutes. You can keep the marinated Chicken in a ziplock bag in the fridge for up to two days. Before cooking it ensure that the Chicken is at room temperature of the Yogurt will split.

 

For the Gravy (As mentioned earlier you can make this gravy and freeze it for up to two months, just increase the quantities of the ingredients mentioned below)

One large onion roughly chopped

Two medium sized Tomatoes blanched in hot water and roughly chopped

One tsp fresh Ginger paste

Two cloves of Garlic

Two Green chilies roughly chopped

Two green Cardamoms

1 Cinnamon stick

2 Bay leaves

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

One tsp Cumin seeds

Freshly chopped Coriander

One tsp Turmeric powder

One tsp red Chilli powder

One tsp Coriander powder

Two Potatoes cut into medium pieces

Salt to taste

 

Heat oil in a pan and add the Cumin seeds, Cinnamon stick, Bay leaves, Cardamons and Green chilies.

Add the Ginger and Garlic, chopped Onions and cover the pan cooking the onions over a medium flame. The Onions will cook in the steam and caramelize.

After 10 minutes add the Tomatoes and cook till they have turned mushy. Turn off the heat and let them cool.

Grind the Onion & Tomato gravy to a smooth paste. You can at this stage freeze the paste if you want to use later.

 

For the Curry

In the same pan add the Onion & Tomato paste, cover and cook on a low flame for 5 – 10 minutes. It is important to cover the pan as the gravy would splutter everywhere.

Add the Turmeric powder, Salt, Coriander Powder and Red Chili powder and mix well.

Add the marinated Chicken and Potatoes and mix well, cook on a slow flame, stirring at regular intervals. Add a cup of warm water if you want the gravy to be not too thick.

Cook till the Potatoes and Chicken are done, serve hot with freshly chopped Coriander.

This is one Chicken dish that you will be very proud of

 

 

 

 

Stir Fried Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach noodles for fabulous Fridays

You wake up on a Monday and send a silent prayer to the universe hoping that it is kind of you. You hope and wish that everything that can go bad doesn’t go bad for you. You hope that if you are kind to the universe, it will return the favor. But somehow between your tired body and the aching prayers, those hopes bounce back on the high rise buildings near your home and disappear inside an open window instead of reaching for the sky.

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So, as a result, you suffer from a severe bout of “Mondayitis”, Monday pushes you, pulls you, Stretches you and drives you insane. And if that is not enough like a disease it spills on to the entire week. Terrible Tuesday, Woeful Wednesday, Thundering Thursday become friends, and you become the enemy that they are out to get. But then comes “Fabulous Friday” with a promise of a weekend in its wake.

And suddenly as the day winds up you feel as if a huge weight has been lifted from your back. The fact that you may have the luxury of taking it easy for two whole days seems exciting. You feel a spring in your step and the day passes in a breeze. No task, no challenge that the universe throws at you on that day seems daunting because you know you can switch off and all the stresses of the week can take a back seat.

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For all these reasons Friday deserves a good welcome. And nothing can be more welcoming than this quick and easy “Stir Fried Chicken, Mushroom and Spinach noodles”. Effortless to make, ready in minutes these glistening noodles are such a treat for a day that deserves to be welcomed with open arms. I like to buy cooked “Egg Noodles” from the local market which can be just thrown in a wok, and they are done. However, you can buy dry noodles and pre-cook them as well.

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If Chicken is not your thing, you can use Prawns If Prawns is not your thing you can do Tofu and if Tofu is not your thing you can use thinly sliced Beef and it will taste as delicious. Throw in any vegetables you like and you have yourself a fabulous treat to wind up the day. I am sure Friday will tell Thank you to you after you indulge in this meal.

 

Recipe (Cooking time 20 minutes, serves 2)

1 Packet of ready made Egg Noodles – 450 gms (if using dry noodles, boil as per the instructions on the package, drain and keep aside)

200 gms thinly sliced Chicken Breasts

A handful of baby Spinach leaves washed. If you are using Indian Spinach, Chop, Blanch in hot water and drain.

200 gms Mushrooms thinly sliced

1 tbsp chopped Spring Onions

For the Seasoning

Soy Sauce as per taste

Fish sauce as per taste

Sweet Chilli sauce as per taste

1 tbsp Peanut or Sesame Oil for cooking

I don’t add Salt as the sauces are salty, but you can adjust the seasoning as you like.

Heat Oil in a wok and add the Spring Onions. Saute for a few minutes on low flame and then add the Mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes.

Now add the Chicken and cook till done. Add the Spinach and cook for a few more minutes till the spinach has wilted.

Add the noodles and all the sauces, mix well and cook the noodles till they get coated well with all the lovely sauces. Serve hot.

Chicken Rizzala – Green Chicken Korma

I don’t think I will be wrong in assuming that most of us wait all week for the weekend to make an appearance. So we can hide under the blankets and pretend to be oblivious to what the day may hold. A day where we can kick our shoes, relax and unwind and not be bothered by the things that keep us occupied during the week. We wait for the much-wanted laziness to take over us because there is no real rush to go anywhere and we can surrender to it unabashedly without feeling an iota of guilt of missing out on anything.

IMG_5037[1]Most of us go out of our way to to make sure that the food we eat on the weekend is hardly relaxed. We want our food to be almost luxurious, a feast if I may call it that. Since all of us have memories of growing up on special weekend meals that our mothers so lovingly made for us, it has to be special.

IMG_5035[1]And this food can not be a hurried affair, it needs a little TLC, a little effort, a little panache. Like this beautiful “Chicken Rizzala”. The silky smooth gravy is not one that is bursting with overpowering flavors but has a very mild delicate taste to it.

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The succulent pieces of boneless Chicken soak up all the flavors of the herby green gravy, almost falling apart with every bite. If you are not a meat eater, you can substitute the Chicken with some ‘Paneer’ (Cottage Cheese) and still enjoy this dish.

 

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The recipe I have used is from Camellia Punjabi’s versatile cookbook “50 Great Curries of India”. I have completely skipped the “Cream” as I did not want to feel too guilty about indulging in a sinfully rich dish. I hope you enjoy making this dish as much as I do. But nonetheless, the dish tastes as delicious and thoughtful as we want our weekend meals to be.

 

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Recipe Courtesy :Camellia Punjabi’s  “50 Great Curries of India”.

 

 

A kiss that never happened with Kombdi Vade (Chicken Curry with masala Pooris)

When we are young, we feel that the whole world is at our feet. We are open to experiences and are more trusting by nature. So when I met a guy many years ago, I was not averse to the idea of getting to know him better. While the first stirrings of love were yet to be experienced, we were happy just to talk and spend time together. It went on for a few months until one fine day he suggested we go for a long drive out of town. Despite my apprehensions, I agreed to spend a day with him because he seemed trustworthy.

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So on a very sunny Sunday morning I met him at a designated spot and together we went on a long drive. We listened to music and spoke about everything under the sun till we reached a quiet little place where he parked his car. We tentatively held hands giggling nervously with expectation when he asked me to close my eyes. The prospect of the first kiss can be a very exciting one, and I thought that this would be the moment when we will have our first one. I closed my eyes in edgy expectation, slightly moving towards him. But nothing happened, I squirmed in my seat and pushed a little more, and nothing happened. While I heard him fumbling in the car looking for something, it was clearly not my cheek that’s he was searching for.

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I finally opened my eyes to see that he was up he was staring at me with a round box in his hands. As my hope for the first kiss went down the drain, my inquisitive nature took over, and I opened the box. Suddenly my nose was hit with the delicious smell of something fried and spicy at the same time. And that was the first time that I was introduced to “Kombdi Vade” which was something his mother made well. Kombdi means “Chicken” in Marathi and Vade means “Pooris/Flat Bread.” It is a specialty of the Konkan region of Maharashtra where they use a lot of Coconut in their cooking. The Chicken curry is deliciously thick and slightly spicy and the Vade are not the Oily concoction as one would assume they would be.

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As I looked at his earnest face and deep green eyes, I knew that the guy was special and had apparently guessed that the way to my heart was through my stomach. I tentatively took the first bite with him staring at me and I knew while the kiss would take some time to come, I could surely enjoy the company of a man who wanted to feed me exotic food.

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It has been 14 years since I first tasted “Kombdi Vade” and I have been married to the Green eyed boy for 11 of them. Cooking Kombdi Vade is a part of my life now and every time I make it we have a big laugh about the day when I was fed Vade instead of being kissed.

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Don’t let the length of the recipe fool you into thinking that it is very difficult. You can make the Chicken curry a day in advance if you wish to and the Vade are really simple to make anyways.

 

Recipe

For the Vade (Cooking time 15 minutes, Preparation time 30 minutes, serves 4)

1 cup Rice Flour

¼ cup Gram Flour

½ cup Urad dal (Soak overnight in water)

1 tsp Cumin seeds

1 tsp Coriander powder

½ tsp Red chili powder

½ tsp Turmeric powder

Salt to taste

Vegetable Oil for frying the vadas

Drain all the liquid from the Urad Dal and grind to fine paste.

Add the Rice Flour, Gram Flour, Salt, Coriander Powder Turmeric powder, Carom seeds, and Cumin seeds and mix well. Heat 2 tsp Oil and add it to this mixture ensuring your rub the mixture with your hands, so there are no lumps.

Add the Urad dal mixture little by little and start kneading the dough till it all comes together. The consistency of the dough is stiff. Let the dough rest for 30 minutes before you start rolling the vadas.

Take medium shaped balls in the palm of your hands; apply a little oil and using your fingers start forming the dough into circular shapes. The vadas are a bitch to make so you will have to use a little oil while shaping them. Alternatively you can place cling film on your rolling surface, apply a little oil and gently roll the dough with your fingers on the cling film till you have the desired shape.

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and fry the vadas one by one. Drain on a kitchen towel and serve hot with the Chicken Curry.

 

For the Malvani Chicken Curry (Cooking time 45 minutes, serves 4)

 

For the dry Malvani Masala

One tsp Fennel seeds

Two tsp Coriander seeds

6 -7 Dry Red Chillies

One tsp Cumin seeds

4 Cloves

1 Mace

1-star anise

4 Green Cardamoms

1 inch Cinnamon stick

One Black Cardamom

One tsp Vegetable oil

Heat oil in a pan and add all the ingredients for the masala and roast till they release a light aroma roasting them well.

Turn off the heat and grind to a fine powder and keep aside.

 

For the Marination

500 gms Chicken

Juice of 1 Lemon

One tsp Turmeric powder

All of the Malvani masala that we roasted earlier try and use fresh masala as it enhances the taste.

Wash and dry the Chicken and add the Lemon Juice, Turmeric powder, and Malvani masala and mix well.

Keep the Chicken aside in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. I left it overnight.

 

For the wet masala

1 cup freshly grated Coconut (typically the dish calls for dry Coconut but since I could not find it I used fresh Coconut)

1 Onion roughly chopped

One tsp freshly chopped Ginger

Three cloves of Garlic

½ cup chopped Coriander

If you are using fresh Coconut, dry roast it first for a few minutes. Place all the ingredients in a blender with ½ cup water and grind to a smooth paste.

For the Curry

1 tbsp Vegetable Onion

One large Onion Finely Chopped

All of the wet masala

Salt to taste

Some Freshly Chopped Coriander to garnish

Heat oil in a pan and add the onion. Sauté till the Onions are translucent.

Now add the wet masala and cook till the masala turns lightly brown. Since we did not cook the Onion when we made the wet masala we need to ensure that the masala is cooked well.

Add the marinated Chicken to the Onion and Coconut mixture and cook for 10 minutes on a low flame.

Add Salt and 1 – 2 cups of warm water. Cover and cook till done. If you are serving the curry with Rice, you can have a watery consistency. But if serving with the Vade keep the consistency a little thick.

Garnish with freshly chopped Coriander. Typically the Kombdi Vade is served with the Chicken Curry, Lemon, and some roughly chopped Onions.

 

Indian spiced grilled Chicken with Warm Kale & Bean Salad for days when you are Blue

Even though cooking is therapeutic for me after a long day at work and spending time in the kitchen chopping, dicing, frying, sauteing vegetables and meat somehow washes away the excess stress of the day; this week I did not want to indulge in cooking at all. Usually when I cook something really nice that I feel I can blog about, I try to think of engaging stories that I can write or anecdotes that I can share with the few people who do read my blog, so they can related to me. So they can feel my emotions through not just what I am cooking but also my words, which are not always the best.

FoodBut today when I try and write this post, my words fail me and even my cooking has been a bit off. It seems like there is no inspiration or a soul in my body to encourage me to put my thoughts into words. So I will just stick to writing the recipe pf a very simple and delicious meal and hope it instantly gratifies anyone who wants to make something fuss free. Something that doesn’t take a long time to cook but does the job of nourishing the body even if your soul seems lost somewhere far away.

1-IMG_9411This “Indian spiced grilled Chicken” with a “Warm Kale & Bean Salad” took less than 30 minutes to get ready and was a meal that kept me going this week a few times. Since I was home alone I marinated 2 Chicken Breasts and made an extra serve of Salad and there I had 2 meals ready for me. I tried to eat healthy so I used Kale in the Salad and very little Oil. The Chicken was juicy and tender and the Salad was warm and gratifying.

So till my inspiration finds me again I hope you enjoy this meal.

Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, Serves 2)

For the Indian spiced grilled Chicken

2 Chicken Breasts

1 tbsp Yogurt

1 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 1/2 tsp Red chilli powder

1 tbsp freshly chopped Coriander

1 tsp Coriander powder

1 Garlic clove crushed (do not use Garlic paste)

Salt to taste

Juice of half a Lemon

1 tsp Olive Oil

Clean the Chicken Breast and make small incisions so the marinade can seep it.

Mix the Yogurt, Turmeric powder, Salt, Red Chilli powder, Coriander powder, crushed Garlic, fresh Coriander and Lemon juice together.

Rub this mix over the Chicken Breast and let it marinade for at least 15 minutes. I actually put everything in a zip lock bag and left the Chicken in the fridge for a day.

When ready heat the Oil in a pan and cook the Chicken on both sides for around 7 minutes till done. I covered the pan with a lid and lowered the flame to let the Chicken cook in its own juices. Since we have marinated the Chicken in yogurt, you need to ensure the Chicken is grilled on a low flame or it will burn.

Once done let it rest in the pan till ready to serve.

For the Warm mixed Bean & Kale salad

1 can of 400 Gms cooked mixed Beans (you can use just any beans)

1 red Onion finely chopped

1 large Tomato finely chopped

2 red chillies finely chopped

1 tbsp. Red wine vinegar (ordinary vinegar will also do)

2 cups freshly chopped Kale (blanched in hot water for 5 minutes and drained)

Salt to taste

1 tsp Olive Oil

Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped Onions and sauté till the Onions are translucent.

Add the Tomatoes and red chillies and mix well. We don’t want the Tomatoes to go too mushy.

Drain the water from the can of beans and run them through fresh water and drain again. Add the beans to the pan.

Add Kale, Salt and Vinegar and cook for 5 more minutes.

Serve the warm Salad with the Chicken and sit back and enjoy,

Happy Father’s Day with Chicken Livers

I am my father’s daughter and everyone says so. Not only do I apparently look like him, but I also share his love for books and history. I remember waiting for him to come home from work, and once he would freshen up, we would sit around the dinner table and listen to him talk about the Mughal emperor Akbar or Shah Jahan. While my brother’s eyes would glaze over, I would hang on to his every word.

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He taught me a lot of things including his love for somewhat bizarre food. Goats brains, Chicken Livers you name it he ate it and Daddy’s girl that I am I ate it too much to the disgust of my very vegetarian mother.

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Chicken Liver is such a hit and miss, not everyone likes it and it is an acquired taste. But I loved it because my father did and it was a religious experience enjoying something that only he and I loved. Something that he only shared with me. So even though I don’t celebrate any days, as I had Chicken Livers in my fridge and it was Fathers day it was only apt that I made it.

Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 4)

1/2 Kg Fresh Chicken Liver

1 1/2 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste

1 big Onion finely chopped

2 Green Chillies finely chopped

½ cup desiccated Coconut (optional)

1 tsp Red Chilli Powder

1 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Coriander powder

Salt to taste

1 Tbsp Oil

5 – 6 Curry leaves

1 tsp Cumin seeds

Lots of freshly chopped Coriander

Juice of 1 Lemon

Clean and wash the Livers and keep them aside.  Heat oil in a pan and add the Cumin seeds and Curry leaves and let them splutter.

Add the Onions, green chillies and Ginger Garlic paste and cook till the Onions turn dark brown in color.

Keep stirring the mixture to ensure the Onions don’t burn but get a nice even texture. If you are using the Coconut add it now and cook until a little brown.

At this stage add the Livers to the Onion and then add the Red chilli powder, Turmeric powder, Coriander powder and Salt. Add the chopped coriander and a cup of Water. Cover the lid of the pan and let them cook for around 10 minutes.

The consistency we are looking for is nice and thick. The water should evaporate, and the masalas should coat the Livers very nicely. Add the Lemon Juice after switching the gas off.

You can serve this dish with hot chapatis, or have them on their own with some drinks. Another way to serve them is on thick slices of bread at Cocktail parties.  Enjoy !!!

 

 

Chicken Sukha – Dry Chicken curry in a Coconut Gravy

My blog is not just about my stories of India or the food that I cook; it is also about the emotions that I put into them. I am not a very methodical writer but like my food my writing thrives on spurts and bouts of inspiration.

1-IMG_7856The inspiration that I get from not just my memories related to what I am cooking but also the people associated with it. And the constant pressure to write something witty or engaging about a recipe I am posting can be exhausting. Especially on days when inspiration eludes you, and you feel at a loss for words.On days when your mind wanders off in directions other than the ones you want it to take, and the task at hand becomes a chore that you don’t mean to be bothered with.

1-IMG_7900So you see my blog is not just about food but also an extension of my faded fuzzy mind that is always working. Therefore today I will stick to the basics and just post a recipe for this “Chicken Sukha or Dry Chicken in Coconut Gravy”. The coconut in this recipe is not overwhelming and works beautifully with the chicken. A satisfying result for an unsatisfactory day.

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Recipe: (Cooking time 1 hour)

½ kg Chicken cut into pieces with the bones

1 tsp Cumin seeds

Freshly chopped green Coriander

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

Salt to taste

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Red chilli powder

1 Lemon

For the wet masala:

1 cup freshly grated Coconut

1 Onion roughly chopped

3 cloves of Garlic

1 tsp freshly chopped Ginger

1 green chilli finely chopped

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

For the Day Masala:

3 – 4 Dry Red Chillies

3 Cloves

10 Peppercorns

3 Tsp Coriander seeds

1 tbsp Sesame Seeds

 

Dry roast all the ingredients from the Dry masala till you can smell the spices. Cool and grind to a powder and keep it aside.

Prepare the wet masala by heating Oil in a pan and adding the Green chilly, Garlic and Ginger. Add the Chopped Onions and stir till the Onion becomes translucent. Add the coconut and mix well and roast till the coconut starts to brown. Ensure that you regularly keep stirring as the Coconut can easily stick to the bottom of the pan. Cool and add ½ cup of Water and grind it to a fine paste. The wet masala can easily be prepared in advance and freezes well.

Heat the remaining oil in the same pan and the Cumin seeds and the wet masala. Be careful as the masala will splatter. Cover the pan and let the masala cook on a slow flame till the oil starts separating from the sides of the pan. Again ensure you stir the masala occasionally else it will burn.

Add the Chicken, Salt, Red Chilli powder and Turmeric Powder and mix well. Cook for a few minutes and add ½ cup of water if needed. Typically this is a dry Curry so avoid adding any water. Cover and cook till the Chicken is done.

Sprinkle some freshly Chopped Coriander and sprinkle some Lemon Juice at the time of service.

 

One Pot meal – Pan fried Chicken breast in Tomato sauce

We have a rule in my house, if I am cooking dinner then the husband has to do the washing up and cleaning after Dinner, and there are no two ways about it. I firmly believe that every member of the household should do their bit in contributing towards the upkeep of the house, and it is not just a woman’s job to do the cleaning, cooking, etc.

1-IMG_2694So the husband chops vegetables and does all the cleaning up, and it takes a tremendous load off my back when I come home to a clean house the man takes the initiative to help. Although he is still very lazy as per my books, I guess we have learned to tiptoe around his laziness and my hyperactivity, and we have sort of clicked.

1-IMG_2695-001However, he still grumbles when there are too many utensils to clean after  I have made dinner. So sometimes I try and stick to “One Pot dinners” that don’t use all the utensils in the kitchen and are not a huge mess to clean up. And this “Pan-fried Chicken in Tomato sauce” is truly a “One Pot Wonder”. I just need a Plate and a Pan, and that’s it. It is easy to cook and tastes delicious with a piece of crusty fresh Bread and a glass of Wine. Perfect weekday treat for a tired couple who cannot be bothered with the aftermath of a long Indian dinner.

Pan Fried Chicken in Tomato Sauce (Serves 2 – 3, cooking time 30 minutes)

For the Chicken

2 large Chicken Breasts cut into 2 each.

1 tbsp plain flour

1 tsp Lemon Zest

1 tsp dried Thyme

Salt and Pepper to taste

2 tsp Olive Oil

For the Tomato Sauce

4 large ripe Tomatoes chopped into medium sized chunks (the tomatoes must be juicy and ripe) Alternatively you can use a 400 G tin of Tomatoes.

½ cup Red Wine

1 tbsp Red Wine Vinegar

Salt and pepper to taste

Lots of freshly chopped Parsley

1 tbsp Capers (optional)

1 cup Chicken Stock (you may need a little more if your sauce is too dry)

2 Garlic cloves finely chopped

50 g diced Pancetta or Bacon (Optional)

Put the Chicken breast in between a sheet of Baking paper and using a rolling pin beat them a bit to flatten them, this makes the cooking faster.

In a plate add the Flour, salt, pepper, dried thyme and Lemon zest and mix well. Rub the Chicken breasts on both sides with the flour. Remove any excess flour stuck to the breast

Heat Olive oil in a pan and place the Chicken pieces, fry on both sides till Golden Brown.  Remove from the pan and drain on a kitchen towel.

For the Sauce

In the same pan add a little more Oil if needed or use whatever is left over.

Add the chopped Garlic, Capers and Pancetta/Bacon and fry for 5 minutes . Now add the chopped Tomatoes and cook till the Tomatoes are mushy and almost done.

Add the Wine and bring to a boil. Add the Vinegar, Salt, Pepper and Chicken stock and bring to a boil again.

Now gently add the Chicken Breasts, cover and cook for another 10 minutes or so till the Chicken is nice and tender and the sauce is thick. If you feel the sauce is too watery, remove the Cooked Chicken breasts and cook the sauce on a high flame for the extra water to evaporate, till you have desired consistency.

Sprinkle lots of freshly chopped Parsley and serve.