Kadhai Murg (Chicken cooked in a wok)

A good friend once told me that his philosophy on deciding how delicious the dish is by looking at the amount of fat/oil the dish is swimming in. The thickness of the layer of oil is directly proportional to the taste of the meat. And the friend is not wrong. There is something deliciously wicked about a dish that has generous amount of cooking fat in it. We whinge, we moan, we cringe about how we detest oily things but tell me if a dish as good as looking as this is placed in front of you with some hot Rotis, will you not be tempted to dive in?

1-IMG_4997And I have never bragged about being a saint as far as eating is concerned. I absolutely love cooking in Ghee. There is something very earthy about using Ghee to make your meals. Not only does it make your food taste amazing it also is believe or not good for your health. Ofcourse like anything else being excessive in the application of Ghee is also not a very smart choice.

1-IMG_5030But when one is cooking from a cookbook written by a master of Indian cuisine “Jiggs Kalra” you know there will be a lot of Ghee used.

1-IMG_4989This “Kadhai Murgh” (Chicken cooked in a wok) is no exception. The dish is hot and fiery, it will tantalize not only your taste buds but also your eyes. They say we eat with our eyes and this dish was finished by the time I was done taking pictures. It is very easy to make and just has Tomatoes as a base. The use of good quality Red chillies and a lot of Bhunoing (sautéing) gives the dish this colour and flavour. I also dry roasted some of the masalas before I cooked them, so that was another reason why the dish has such a deep colour.

Hope you enjoy making it as much as I did.

Recipe (Cooking time 40 – 45 minutes, serves 4 to 6 people)

1 kg Chicken, clean and cut into medium pieces

2 tbsp Ghee or Oil (The original recipe calls for 7 tbsp)

3 ½ tsp Garlic Paste

8 whole red chillies (you can use 4 chillies)

1 tbsp Coriander seeds

1 kg Tomatoes (I used 5 big ones) chopped

4 Green chillies (you can use 2) chopped finely

1 tbsp Ginger paste (fresh Ginger is the best)

2 tsp Garam masala

1 tsp dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi)

Salt to taste

Lots of freshly chopped Coriander

Heat a thick bottomed pan/Kadhai or a thick wok. Add the Coriander seeds and Red chillies till they start to release an aroma. Turn off the heat, cool and grind to a fine powder.

Heat Ghee/Oil in the same pan, add the Garlic paste and sauté till slightly brown on a medium heat.

Add the ground spice powder and stir for 30 seconds. Add the chopped green chillies, Ginger paste, half of the fresh Coriander and Tomatoes.

Reduce the heat and cook for 10 minutes or so on a medium flame till the fat starts to leave the masalas.

Add the Chicken, Garam masala, Salt, Kasuri Methi (dried Fenugreek leaves) and mix well.  Cook on a low heat till the Chicken is done, sautéing the Chicken in between to ensure it does not stick to the pan. You can add ½ a cup of warm water if you want a little extra gravy. However the Chicken will cook in its own juices.

Sprinkle the remaining fresh Coriander and garnish with some julienne Ginger before serving hot with Rotis.

Recipe : Prashad by Jiggs Kalra

Indian Spiced Chicken Wraps with Apple & Walnut salad because a North Indian can eat Salad

There is no such thing as a Salad in North Indian homes. For a cuisine that boasts of Butter Chicken, Dal Makhani, Tandoori Chicken and what not salad has never been a significant part of our menu.

1-IMG_5205Go to any North Indian home for a meal, and you will know what I mean. Hidden behind the Ghee and Butter laden dishes you will find a nondescript plate with 1 onion, 1 Tomato and a small cucumber chopped into equal slices feeling really sorry for itself. And during the winter season there will perhaps also be a Radish and Carrot thrown in for good measure. Because let’s face it we love our “Gajar Ka Halwa” and “Mooli he Parathe” in winters. The poor salad feels out of place amongst all the fan fare just like someone that you invited as an afterthought to a party planned a while ago.

1-IMG_5238If you throw a dinner party  here in Australia and serve  a Lasagne with Salad and Bread, your guests will praise you for the effort you put into making that. But if you call a North Indian guest home and serve them just 1 main dish and a salad you will probably have some very offended people on your hands. They will probably even chuck some left over pieces of Tandoori chicken that they carried in their pockets knowing very well that you won’t be serving much.

1-IMG_5126So yes you can see we don’t have much use for green leafy things. It is not that we can’t eat them but we just generally tip toe around the salad and move towards the meatier stuff. However today I am going against my Punjabiness and actually sharing a recipe for a appetizing “Apple and Walnut Salad”.

1-IMG_5172But before you give up on me, let me reassure you that I have not suddenly become health conscious and living on leafs. This baby was an accompaniment to the very delicious “Indian Spiced Chicken puff pastries” that I made. The puffs on their own would have been boring, but I had some salad leaves and 2 apples that needed to be rescued, so the salad was made as a little healthy accompaniment. To be honest, it made me feel a little good about all the gluttony I have been indulging in off late.

1-Food 26The sweetness of the Apple and nutty Walnuts work really well with the flaky pastry. I have of course used store bought puff pastry but if you have time you can make your own. I also marinated the chicken for a day, but you can just marinate it for 15 minutes. Trust me this is one quick recipe you will be very thankful to have in your kitty.

Indian spiced puff pastries (serves 2)

1 large chicken breast cut into thin slices
1 large onion finely sliced
1 tbsp yogurt
1 tsp freshly chopped Ginger
Salt to taste
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder

Mix everything together in a bowl (except the oil and the Onion) and leave it to marinade for latest 15 minutes in the fridge. Preferably overnight.

Remove the chicken from the refrigerator and bring to room temperature when ready to cook.

Heat oil in a pan, once hot add the chopped onions and sauté till onions have turned translucent. Add the Chicken and cook till almost done. Make sure you are constantly stirring  or the Chicken will burn and stick to  the pan.Once done, let it cool down before you stuff it in the pastry.

For the Pastry

1 sheet of puff pastry

1 Egg white or Milk for brushing

Pre-heat the oven at 180 degrees C.

Completely thaw the pastry and cut it into 4 equal squares. 1 part of the pastry will cover the other.

Carefully place the Chicken filling in the middle of the pastry square. Wet the edges of the square by dabbing it with a little water. Now place another square on top and gently press it sealing the edges tight. You can use a back of a fork to press it down and make some patterns on it.

Do the same with the other square. Brush with Egg White or Milk and bake in the oven for 15 – 20 minutes the pastry has risen and is Golden in color.

For the Apple & Walnut Salad

One large apple diced (you can remove the skin; I left it)

1 tbsp Walnuts chopped coarsely

Salad leaves depending on the number of people you are serving

Lemon infused Olive Oil to drizzle for the dressing, Or you can make your own dressing with Some Lemon zest, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice mixed together.

Salt for seasoning (I didn’t use any Salt)

Wash the salad leaves and drain the water.

Add the chopped Apples and Walnuts on the leaves and drizzle the dressing on top.

 

 

 

The Chicken curry with an identity crisis

I was talking to a friend yesterday about how Indian food doesn’t always get the credit it deserves. In most countries, Indian food is portrayed as Oily and Spicy, overwhelming the taste buds with flavors that can numb your mouth and make you queasy. And as an Indian who loves her food I beg to differ.

1-IMG_2366I think Indian food is sexy, it is versatile and it is beautiful. It is amazing how we can use some main ingredients and change the flavor and texture of a dish from one region to another.  And I feel that this adaptability in our cuisines says a lot about a country that has so much diversity in not only the people and culture but also food.

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Take for example something as basic as “Chicken Curry”, the way, it is made in North India, is completely different than the way the South Indians, East Indians or West Indians cook it. While North Indians will go heavy on Tomatoes and a rich gravy,  South Indians will have a generous helping of Peppercorns; Curry leaves, and Coconut.

1-IMG_2416I am not sure what region will I classify the Chicken curry I am sharing today. It has a big of North India and a bit of South India so the poor dish is suffering from an identity crisis. Having said that it tastes amazing and is one of my fail proof recipes that has worked for me for a very long time.  Infact I make the gravy in advance and freeze it and use it for Curry emergencies.  So when I found a bag of this sauce in my freezer I decided I will make it and share the recipe. Try it and let me know what you think.

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

1 Kg Chicken cut into pieces

1 tsp Vegetable Oil

1 tsp Mustard seeds

7 – 10 curry leaves

Salt to taste

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 tsp turmeric powder

For the Gravy:

Dry Masala

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 Cinnamon stick

4 Cardamoms

4 Cloves

8 peppercorns

2 Bay leaves

4 dry red chillies

Dry roast all the dry spicies together till they release a beautiful aroma. Cool and grind them to a fine powder.

For the wet masala

2 large Onions roughly chopped

3 medium Tomatoes roughly chopped

2 Green chillies

1 ½ tsp fresh Ginger paste

1 ½ tsp fresh Garlic paste

2 tsp Vegetable oil (you can use a little more but I was trying to be good)

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and add the Ginger, Garlic and Green Chilli and sauté for 10 seconds. Add the chopped Onions and sauté till the Onions have turned almost translucent.

Now add the tomatoes and cook till they become mushy.

Cool and grind to a fine paste. At this stage you can freeze this masala and it will stay for 2 – 3 months. Do not add any water to grind the masala if you intend to freeze it.

To cook the Chicken

Heat the oil in a thick bottomed pan and add Mustard seeds and Curry leaves and  add the wet masala carefully.

Mix well, cover and let the masala cook till the Oil begins to separate.

Add the chicken and mix well and let it cook in the masala for 10 minutes on a low flame. Add the dry spice masals, Salt, Red chilli powder and Turmeric powder and mix well. Cook on a low flame for 10 minutes more. Keep an eye on the Chicken as it may stick to the pan.

Add a cup of hot water  or more depending on how watery you want the gravt to be and cook the Chicken till done. Typically I like the gravy to be a bit dry.

Sprinkle freshly chopped Coriander before you serve the Chicken with Roti or Rice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not so Chicken 65 – Hotchpotch Chicken

I enjoy eating and cooking a lot and there is no greater high than cooking a meal that everyone loves and enjoys.

Hence I do take the effort, well most times to cook something nice. Even though it is just the two of us, one needs to look forward to good food after a hard day at work. So as usual I do the task of hunting for some good recipes while traveling back from work (thank god for smart phones).

And my favorite blog is my friend “Anshie’s blog Spiceroots”. She has a recipe for Chicken 65 which everyone just goes crazy about, I wanted to try it for dinner tonight with some hot rotis. But the recipe called for an Egg and unfortunately I am allergic to Eggs so I decided to not make it. But her recipe was such an easy recipe that I ended up making my own version of Chicken 65 without the Egg and the curd.

 

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Thankfully my hotchpotch take on her fabulous recipe worked and now I can say I can cook with whatever I have in my pantry (with a little inspiration ofcourse). You will not regret making this superb dish which just melts in your mouth with hot Rotis off the griddle.

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Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 4)

500 gms Chicken thigh pieces (medium sized on the bone)

1 ½ tsp freshly grated Ginger

1 ½ tsp freshly grated Garlic

10 black peppercorns

1 tsp Mustard seeds

2 medium sized Onions finely sliced

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1 tsp Coriander powder

1 tbsp Vegetable oil

3 – 4 dry Red Chillies

10 Curry leaves

1 tsp fresh Pepper powder

Juice of half a Lemon

Salt to taste

Wash and pat dry the Chicken add the fresh Ginger, Garlic, Red Chilli and Coriander powder and let it marinade for 10 – 15 minutes, while you sauté the Onion.

In a thick bottomed pan, add the Oil and heat. Then add the Mustard seeds, whole Peppercorns, Red Chillies, Curry leaves and let them splutter for a few seconds.

Now add the thinly sliced Onion and cook on low flame. Till the Onions starts to brown well. Now add the Turmeric powder, Pepper powder and Salt to taste mixing everything well.

Add the Chicken pieces, mix well and let it cook on a medium flame, covered with a lid. Occasionally stir the Chicken so it doesn’t burn or stick to the bottom. Cook for 15 – 20 minutes till done.

Sprinkle the Lemon juice on top and serve with hot rotis.

Not a Valentine’s day feast – Coriander Chicken

”One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.” – Virgina Woolf

It was Valentine’s Day a few days ago and I being the eternal unromantic did not do anything. However since I blog about food, the first thing I thought was I must do something for my blog and also uttered that out loud. The husband looked at me and laughed because he knows I am not the kind of girl who likes to do celebrate any kind of Love day but I would celebrate food.

Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe in love.  Whether it is the love that I feel for my mother because she is my mother and is the only person in this world who loves me unconditionally Or whether it is the love I feel for my little nephew who I miss tremendously and who is growing up everyday without knowing an aunt who adores him or whether it is the husband whose green eyes remind me of  what a kind man he is.

All the loves in my life are subjective to the fact that I am either related to them by blood or by matrimony. However there are 2 great loves in my life Books and food that are not bound to any terms and conditions.

I have loved reading since as long as I remember and food, well what do I say about it. I have made friendships with people over books and food. I have fallen in love with people who love to read and eat. Discovered passion with someone while talking about a book we have read growing up in different cities without knowing each others existence or falling in love with someone over a plate of “Momos” (dumplings) talking about everything and anything and then ordering some more Momos because we could not get enough of the momos or each other.

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And these are the only loves that have lasted. I have rekindled my romance with books and read atleast 2 books every month and food gives me such a high that I cannot get enough of it. I love discovering new cuisines and enjoy spending time in the kitchen even when I am dead tired.

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So since I do not believe in celebrating the day of love, the day after Valentines day I made a delicious meal for the man who has been kind to me and has been with me through bad times and good times and has been my friend in all these years. Because I believe that even when love doesn’t last friendship does and one can live in harmony if one is with a friend.

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Hope you had a nice day with your loved one and ate some great food. I made some “Coriander Chicken” from the lovely blog “Mix and Stir” which we both enjoyed a lot.  I have divided the recipe into 3 sections, alternatively you can visit the original post and read the recipe there.

 Recipe (Cooking time 45 minutes, serves 5 -6 )

Marinade 1:

1 Kg Chicken (cut into medium pieces)

Juice of 1 Lemon

Salt to taste

1 tsp Red Chili powder

Marinade 2:

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

3 Green Cardamoms

1 inch Cinnamon stick

3 Cloves

1 large Onion finely sliced

3 Green Chilies

1 large bunch of fresh Coriander (Cilantro) leaves

½ tsp Coriander Powder

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Kashmiri Chilli powder

Marinade 3

1 large Onion finely sliced

1 tbsp fresh Garlic paste

1 tbsp fresh Ginger paste

Salt to taste

Method:

Marinade 1:

Wash the chicken pieces and pat dry. Add the lime juice, salt, red chili powder to the chicken. Toss it and mix it well and let it sit for 15 – 20 minutes.

Marinade 2:

In a deep pan add 1 tbsp of oil and heat it up. Once oil is ready, add the green cardamoms, cinnamon and cloves.

Once they are aromatic, add the sliced onions. Sauté till the Onion becomes transparent. Add the chopped cilantro and chopped green chilies.

Stir well and then add the turmeric, Kashmir red chili powder and coriander powder. Cook it until everything is well mixed. Cool and make a fine paste.

Marinade 3:

Add 1 tsp Oil to the same pan and heat it up. Add the Onion and sauté till transparent.

Add the marinated chicken to the pan and sauté it for 5 to 7 minutes. Then add ginger and garlic and mix well (use only fresh Ginger and Garlic). Over and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally so the Chicken doesn’t burn.

Add the Coriander paste from Marinade 2 and mix well. Adding Salt and a cup of Warm water and letting it cook on a medium flame covered.

Once the Chicken is tender, turn off the heat and serve hot with some Rice, naan or bread.

Not your ghar ki murgi dal barabar this – Nonya Chicken Curry

We have a popular saying in India “Ghar ki Murgi Dal barabar” which literally translates into “Home grown Chicken is like plain Dal” . It is usually used as a taunt that home made food is not that great. So when the husband made an off handed comment the other day about how the Chicken curry I make at home always tastes the same I was promptly offended and sulked for a few minutes.

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I decided that going forward I will never make the same Chicken curry again and the Ghar ki murgi in my house will taste different everytime and yes that is going to be my Chicken mission for the rest of my life as long as I am alive. Lest the husband forgets. So I am always on the look out for great recipes to prove my point.

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And when we visited a local Malaysian restaurant “Bull creek Hawker” and ate a very delicious Nonya Chicken curry and saw the husband making happy noises while eating it, I decided I have to make it. It was one of most delicious Chicken curries I had ever eaten and we actually ended up ordering it 3 times as neither of us were able to get enough of it. I wanted to try it instantly and because it was the husbands birthday I did not have to wait longer.

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Thankfully the recipe was super easy to make with all the ingredients locally available. I was nervous as I had never made it before and having eaten it with so much gusto at the local restaurant I wanted to ensure it tasted the same and none of the flavors were lost. The recipe involves making of a paste to use a base, which I am sure can be made in advance if one wishes too.

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The flavors of this curry are very familiar due to the addition of curry leaves but it still tastes different, almost soft and velvety, with the Chicken falling off the bone. It is traditionally served with soft flaky Roti Canai but I was not going to try my luck with that so I just served it with some Jasmine Rice and boy it was a very delicious birthday treat.

Here is the recipe : Cooking time 40 minutes, serves 6

Ingredients

 For the Rempah/Spice Paste

3 Tbs Coriander seeds
1 tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp Fennel seeds
15 dried long red chillies*, deseeded*, soaked in boiling water until soft, drained and chopped (I used only 10)
20g Belacan (toasted Shrimp paste)
25g fresh Turmeric root, peeled and sliced (I used 1 tsp Turmeric powder)
3 cloves garlic, peeled, sliced
270g red Shallots OR Spanish onion, peeled, sliced
1/3 cup vegetable oil

1)       Dry roast the Fennel seeds, Coriander seeds and cumin seeds and grind to a fine dry powder.

2)       Add all the ingredients of the spice paste including the dry roast powder and blitz to fine wet paste. Do not be tempted to add water as the Oil is enough. The paste will be thick and fine.

For the Curry

3 Tbs coconut cream
10 sprigs of curry leaves
1 star anise
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 1/2 kg chicken thigh fillets
500g baby chat potatoes, peeled, halved and parboiled
2 bird’s eye chillies deseeded and halved lengthways
500ml coconut milk
1 Tbs salt
1 tsp sugar

1)    Heat heavy based saucepan or wok, to a medium heat.

2)    Add rempah, coconut cream, curry leaves, star anise, cloves and cinnamon stick and saute for about 10 minutes. You will know the paste is ready when it thickens, darkens in colour and the oil begins to separate from the mixture.

3)    Add chicken pieces and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add potatoes, chillies, coconut milk, salt and sugar. Cover and simmer until chicken and potatoes are cooked through.

Serve with steamed jasmine rice or roti canai.

 Recipe Source : http://malaysiakitchen.com.au/?type_recipe=pohs-nyonya-chicken-curry

Just a different Chicken curry – Murgh Masala

I love eating Chicken but I don’t enjoy making it because more often then not I end up using the same recipe and get the same results.

Not that I am scared of trying new recipes, I just can’t be bothered most of the time. Most days when I come back from home I am dead tired and have no energy to rustle up exotic meals. The other days I am too lazy and can’t move my bottom from the confines of the couch where it rests permanently. So I stick to the familiar and make things that I know work for me. Hence when I have to make Chicken I am usually uninspired and lost.

So to get myself some ray of inspiration I decided to prowl the blogging world/recipe books to look for some different Chicken recipes that were easy and wholesome. In my quest for attaining Chicken nirvana I stumbled upon a Kulsum’s lovely blog “Journey Kitchen“. The blog was a treasure trove of gorgeous photographs and some delicious tried and tested recipes.

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One of the recipes that caught my eye was Murgh (Chicken) masala. The Chicken in the picture looked succulent and lip smacking and I instantly wanted to try it. As I read the recipe I realized like almost every good cook Kulsum did not stick to exact measurements and still managed to make really nice food, which for me was one more reason to try this dish.

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So just like her I changed the quantities of the ingredients and the final dish was melt in the mouth soft velvety Chicken. It was not very spicy and not bland either. The Almonds in the masala worked really well in bringing it all together. Everyone really enjoyed it and asked for seconds. This is one dish that I will be going back to again till I find another Chicken recipe.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Recipe: (Cooking time 40 minutes) Even though I have given measurements here please use your judgement when using the ingredients.

For the Marinade

1/2 Kg Chicken pieces

1/2 cup Yogurt/Curd

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Red Chilli powder (may need a little more to add in the curry later if you like it a little spicy.

1 1/2 tsp Ginger Garlic paste

2 – 3 Green chillies finely chopped

Salt to taste

For the Dry masala

1 tbsp Coriander seeds

1 tbsp Fennel seeds

1 tsp Cumin seeds

15 Almonds

4 Cardamom pods

2 medium sized Onions finely chopped

3 medium sized Tomatoes finely chopped

1 tbsp Vegetable Oil

Salt to taste

Freshly chopped Coriander to garnish.

1) Marinade the Chicken with the Yogurt, Ginger Garlic paste, Salt, Turmeric and Red chilli powder and Green chillies and leave it aside for an hour or more.

2) Grind the Cumin seeds, Cardamom pods, Almonds, Coriander and Fennel seeds to a fine powder (the smell of this masala is intoxicating).

3) Heat oil in a pan and add the finely chopped onions and Saute till translucent.

4) Add the ground masala (from step 2) and saute with the Onion for 2 – 3 minutes on a slow flame so the masala does not burn.

5) Add the Tomatoes to this mixture and let them cook till the Oil starts to leave the pan and the Tomatoes have gone all mushy. Now add the Chicken and mix well.

6) Add a little extra chilli powder and Salt if you wish and let it cook covered with a lid on a medium flame for 20 – 25 minutes of till the Chicken is tender.

7) If you wish to eat the Chicken with Rice add 1 cup of hot water to the gravy while cooking. Garnish with freshly chopped Coriander and serve hot.

Recipe source : Journey Kitchen

Beat the winter blues with Mushroom & Chicken Stew in White wine

I must admit that I am taken aback with how cold it has been in Perth the past few weeks. It gets extremely hot in the summer months and coming from Mumbai where we only really experience 2 seasons – summer and Monsoon, this cold Perth weather has taken everyone by surprise.

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It is a struggle to wake up in the morning and drag yourself away from the comfort of the warm bed. I roam around in the darkness of the chilly house almost in trance trying to get my bearings until I have had the first cup of tea and let it warm my insides.

However the days when it gets extremely cold I find that getting up is even more difficult, so I splash my face with icy cold water to wake myself up. Evenings get even gloomier as the sun sets by 5 pm and then the world outside is covered in a blanket of darkness with the moon coming out and shining brightly giving the cold night an eerie feeling.

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Since I have to travel a considerable distance for work by the time I come back from work it is already dark and that makes me feel lazy and I am usually not in the mood to make elaborate dinners. So I usually stick to cooking one pot meals where I can put everything in a single pan and just forget about it and go and hide in my room under the warmth of my bed till the heady aromas of whatever I have on the gas drag me out.

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And stews are such wintery comfort meals in themselves. I love making Chicken stews a lot and this delicious “Chicken and Mushroom stew” is a one pot heartening wonder meal. I have resorted to making this when I have nothing else to cook or when I am feeling terribly lazy on a cold winter evening. It has a soupy consistency which means I don’t need to make Rice or Roti and can just mop up the juices with a warm crusty bread.

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And ofcourse the generous quantity of Wine that goes in the stew helps a lot to make you forget your blues.

Here is the recipe: (Cooking time 40 minutes, serves 4 big portions)

8 Chicken thighs (skin removed)

½ cup Plain flour

1 Coffee cup Chicken Stock

½ Cup good Quality White Wine

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 Cup Button Mushrooms cleaned and chopped into thin slices

1 Cup Leek Chopped (you can substitute Leeks with White Onions if you can’t find it)

4 -5 medium sized Carrots cut into round pieces

Small bunch of Parsley

Good Quality Olive Oil

1) Heat around a tbsp of Olive oil in a big pan in which you want to cook the Chicken.

2) Sprinkle Salt and Pepper to the Flour and mix well. Rub the cleaned and dried Chicken thighs in the flour and lightly fry them in the olive oil till lightly Golden in color.

3) Drain the Chicken thighs on a kitchen towel to remove any excess oil and keep them aside.

4) In the same pan add a little more Olive Oil and add the Chopped leek and cook for 5 minutes on a medium flame.

5) Now add the Chopped Mushrooms and Carrots, cover the lid and let them cook for 5 minutes again on a medium flame.

6) Put the Chicken pieces directly over the vegetables, adding the Wine and the Chicken stock and letting it come to its first boil.  Add the chopped Parsley and some more Salt depending on your tastes and some Pepper, cover and let it cook for 20 – 25 minutes on a medium head till the Chicken and Vegetables are cooked.

7) Serve hot with some warm crusty bread.

A fabulous meal – Chicken breast stuffed with Bread pesto served with boozy white sauce

I am not one of those innovative cooks who can just whip up something fantastic every time they step their foot in the kitchen. Although cooking is second nature to me it is not easy. I can make simple food but I cannot dish up fabulous food. Fabulous means putting in a lot of thought and effort for me.

I have to plot, plan and execute especially because I am not very creative. The food I make is something I see or have read other people make. Very rarely do I find the inspiration in me to cook something that is different and exotic which is something out of the ordinary.

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Today’s blog post is about something fabulous that I made entirely on my own with some inspiration from a food show – Better Homes & Garden Australia.The chef made this Pesto paste with left over Bread to be smeared on Salmon and pan fried. I wanted to really try it but I had some Chicken in the fridge and not Salmon.

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So I decided to stuff the Chicken breasts with the Pesto and pan fry them. So I beat the chicken breast and rolled them after they were stuffed. D walked in while I was doing it and remarked how bad the Chicken breasts looked due to the beating down and it stuck me that I need to make a sauce to go with them or they would really look bad when served.

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The only sauce that would have worked with the Chicken was White sauce, which was not the way I wanted to go. So I added some White wine and Chicken stock to lift the sauce up and boy was I happy that I tried it.

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The Chicken was cooked to perfection and was juicy and succulent when carved. And the sauce was so delicious that I could just have it on its own.

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I steamed up some Carrots & Broccolinni to go with it and it made for a very happy Dinner for the two of us. D was surprised at how delicious the sad looking Chicken tasted and I was super impressed with myself.

Recipe : (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 2 – 3)

For the Bread Pesto

1 cup Parsley

Lemon Zest of 1 Lemon

Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Salt & Pepper to taste

3 Cloves of Garlic

4 -5 Pieces of dry Bread (I used Rye Bread)

Some olive oil to drizzle
1) To make the Pesto just add everything in a grinder and blitz it to a paste. Add more Olive oil if you need to make the Pesto smooth.

You can keep this pesto for 2 – 3 days and add it into a variety of things including Potatoes.

For the Wine Sauce

1 tbsp Plain flour

3/4 cup White wine

3/4 cup Chicken Stock

Salt & Pepper to taste

30 gms unsalted Butter

Chopped Parsley

Juice of half a Lemon

1) In a pan add the Butter as it starts to melt quickly add the flour and start mixing till it forms a smooth paste without any lumps.

2) Add the Chicken stock ensuring that you keep mixing to avoid lumps.

3) Add the white wine, parsley, Lemon juice, salt and Pepper and let it cook on a low flame for 5 minutes. Turn the heat off and keep it warm till you serve.

For the Chicken

2 Chicken Breasts

Salt and Pepper to taste

Cooking twine to bind the Chicken together

Some Olive oil to to pan fry the Chicken

1 cup of the Bread pesto we made earlier.

1) Take some Baking paper and keep the Chicken in between the paper beating it down flat with a rolling pin to make it thin. Rub Salt & Pepper on both sides.

2) Add the Pesto to the chicken breast, rolling it gently ensuring it does not fall apart. Take the twine and bind it together.

3) Heat the Olive oil in a pan and put the Chicken Breasts letting them cook on a medium flame for 15 – 20 minutes rolling them gently on all sides making sure it is nice and golden on all sides.

4) Once the Chicken is cooked turn off  the gas and let it rest for 5 minutes before you remove the twine and cut them Chicken gently to reveal the delicious filling inside.

While you are cooking the Chicken you can boil some vegetables to go with it. I just boiled some Carrots and Broccolini and then after draining the water I just sauted the vegetables in the same pan that I cooked the Chicken in.

Serve the Chicken with the Vegetables and some sauce on the top and you would be happy you tried this in the first bite you took.

Bread Pesto Inspiration – Better Homes & Garden Australia.

INA Friday’s – Lemon Chicken with Croutons

Winter’s have officially arrived in Perth and I love it. Sadly the winter’s here are not terribly exciting but there is a nip in the air and you can feel your body aching for some warmth all the time. Winter’s have to be my favorite time of the year, I wait for them like a lover who is waiting for the object of their desire to come back from their yearly holiday.

I love the winter jackets, mittens, socks, boots and coats that one gets to wear during this time, I love the way the cold breathe escape our mouths every time we talk, I love holding a warm Coffee cup in my my hands and touching it against my cheeks to give me warmth.

There is also something deliciously comforting about a warm oven on a cold evening. So for this month’s INA Friday where our choice was from a whole range of Ina Garten’s Main dishes, I decided to make a Lemon Chicken with Croutons.

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Now I have made Roast Chicken several times but this time I used Butter to coat the Chicken and served it on a bed of Croutons. The Butter just gave it a lovely crispy skin and the Lemon’s inside the Chicken meant the Chicken was nice and Juicy from the inside.

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The best thing is I had to literally do nothing, I just stuck everything in the oven, poured me a Glass of Wine and watched a movie. By the time the Movie was over and the wine was gulped down the Chicken was ready. Now why wouldn’t you make that 🙂 The Chicken was so juicy it almost fell off the bone. I served it with some Peas and Carrots.

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Do visit these amazing bloggers who are a part of the INA Friday groups.

Alyce Morgan @moretimeatthetable.blogspot.com, Anchie Dhar @spiceroots.com         Mireya Merrit @myhealthyeatinghabits.com, Barbara Williams @moveablefeastscookbook.blogspot.com, Rocky Mountain Woman @ http://www.therockymountainwoman.com  Nancy Lima @mypicadillo.com, Veronica Gantley @mycatholickitchen.com, Linda @http://www.tumbleweedcontessa.com/  Chaya Selig @bizzybakes.blogspot.com, Martha McKinnon @simple-nourished-living.com, Minnie Gupta @http://thelady8home.com

Ingredients (Cooking time 1 hour 30 minutes)1 (4 to 5-pound) roasting chicken
1 large yellow onion, sliced
Good olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 lemons, quartered
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
6 cups (3/4-inch) bread cubes (1 baguette or round boule)
Preheat the oven to 200 Degrees C

1) Take the giblets out of the chicken and wash it inside and out. Remove any excess fat and leftover pinfeathers. Toss the onion with a little olive oil in a small roasting pan. Place the chicken on top and sprinkle the inside of the cavity with salt and pepper. Place the lemons inside the chicken. Pat the outside of the chicken dry with paper towels, brush it with the melted butter, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie the legs together with kitchen string and tuck the wing tips under the body of the chicken.2) Roast for 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and the thigh. Cover with foil and allow to sit at room temperature for 15 minutes. (The onions may burn, but the flavor is good.)

3) Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil until very hot. Lower the heat to medium-low and saute the bread cubes, tossing frequently, until nicely browned, 8 to 10 minutes.

4) Add more olive oil, as needed, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Place the croutons on a serving platter. Slice the chicken and place it, plus all the pan juices, over the croutons. Sprinkle with salt and serve warm.Recipe Courtesy : Ina Garten

Another Italian masterpiece – Polla alla Cacciatora Chicken Cacciatore (Chicken in white wine with Tomatoes)

Although my blog is a lot about Indian food and that is what I make in my kitchen most days. However the husband and I are food lovers and usually experiment with the cuisines a lot. Especially since Australia is such a big melting pot of cultures you get food from almost every part of the world here.

So even though we try a lot of different cuisines, our favorite is Italian food. I have started making my own Pasta, Pizza, Gnocchi and even the sauce to get the authentic taste.  A few weeks ago I had done a post on Fettuccine alla Puttanesca . The pasta recipe was taken from a lovely Italian cook book that I had received as an birthday gift. The book is called “The Italian Kitchen”. It is a collection of some authentic and surprisingly easy Italian recipes.

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I have grown to love this book as I have started exploring the recipes and cooking them whenever I can. Last week while browsing through the recipe I chanced upon a picture of a scrumptious looking Chicken. I just knew I had to make it.

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It was a one pot dish that was so hearty and satisfying that this Italian masterpiece made my weekend again. It tasted even delicious the next day. The best thing that I loved about this was that I just had to put everything in the pot and forget about it for 40 minutes and I was left with this delicious meal.

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The dish was not very dry but quiet soupy and that was something that I liked as it was a perfect accompaniment with my store brought Garlic Bread and Mashed potatoes.

Here is the recipe (Cooking time 40 minutes, serves 4)

1 full Chicken cut into nice big pieces.

2 tbsp Olive Oil

50 g Pancetta (I used Prosciutto)

1 big White Onion finely Chopped

125 ml White Wine

4 Tomatoes

250 ml Meat stock (I used Chicken stock)

Salt and Pepper to taste

Just a handful of freshly chopped Parsley

1) Clean and wash the chicken. Pat it dry thoroughly and rub Salt and Pepper to it.

2) Heat the Oil in a big pan and saute the Onions and Prosciutto till the Onions have almost become translucent.

3) Add the Chicken Pieces and brown on all sides.

4) De glaze the pan with the White Wine and simmer for  5 minutes.

5) De-seed the Tomatoes and cut them into small dice. Add them to the Chicken, then pour the Meat stock, some more Salt and Pepper to taste before you cover and cook for 30 – 35 minutes. Once ready sprinkle some Parsley and cover again till you are about to serve.

How to make a grumpy husband happy – Chicken Breasts with Capsicum in a dry gravy

I have a grumpy husband on my hands today. I am trying to be a good girl and go the healthy way by eating Salads, Brown Rice etc. But he wants his Indian food and no Brown Rice. Being a Maharastrian he has grown up on a diet of Rice and Chapatis (Rotis) as a part of his everyday meal. He tells me he feels he has not eaten properly if he doesn’t eat Rice with his meals. And although usually he eats everything he was no a happy bunny today.

Now the husband is a very reasonable man, very rarely does he fuss over food and eats everything I make including leftovers and mishaps in the kitchen. So when I made a lovely grilled Chicken Salad for us today, he refused to eat it. After a little prodding and probing I realized that he had a long and bad day at work and had not eaten anything all day. He wanted some comfort and food means comfort for him.

Like me he loves his food and gets grumpy when he doesn’t eat his meals on time. Hence I thought I should do something to make him happy. Thankfully I had some Chicken Breasts in the fridge and I managed to make this gorgeous Dry Capsicum Chicken for him.

The Chicken tasted great and was ready under 30 minutes. It had a lovely aroma and flavor. Not too spicy nor too bland. I served it to him with some steaming hot Rice and Dal and was rewarded with a huge smile and a thank you, which was totally worth the effort. We all have to do things to make our loved ones happy right J

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Here is the recipe (Serves 2 – 4, cooking time 30 minutes)

For the Chicken:

2 medium sized Chicken Breasts (I used around 500 gms)

1 large Green Capsicum chopped into chunky pieces

2 medium sized Onions thinly sliced

6 – 7 Curry Leaves

1 tsp Cumin seeds

4 Garlic cloves thinly sliced or chopped

1 Tbsp Oil

Salt to taste

1 tsp Turmeric powder

1 tsp Red chilli powder

Juice of half a Lemon

Finely chopped Coriander for garnishing

1 cup water

For the Masala

20 Peppercorns

2 tbsp Coriander powder

1 tbsp Fennel seeds

4 Green Cardamoms

4 dry Red Chillies

1 star Anise

1 Cinnamon stick

Juice of half a Lemon

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Grind all the ingredients for the masala except the Lemon Juice to a fine powder.

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Wash and cut the Chicken Breasts into medium pieces. Now pat them dry and apply the ground masala to them and sprinkle Lemon juice on it. Let the Chicken rest while you get everything else ready.

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Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and add the Cumin seeds, Curry Leaves and Garlic. Once they start to splutter add the Onion to it and cook till the Onion has become a little translucent. Now add the chopped Capsicum to the Onions and cook on a medium flame for 5 – 7 minutes.

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Add the Turmeric, Red Chili powder and Salt and saute the Capsicum and Onion for 5 more minutes.  Add the Chicken and cook for 5 minutes and then add a cup of Water. Cover and cook for 10 – 15 minutes of till the Chicken is cooked and all the water has evaporated.

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Turn the heat off and sprinkle the Lemon juice. Mix well and garnish with chopped Coriander.