Just a lazy girl cooks – Chinese Five spice Chicken with Bok choy and steamed rice

It is Australia day weekend and everyone is doing something. All I want to do is lie down on the bed and not move an inch. I want to cook something special but it is one of those days when I cannot be bothered. I have such days quiet a lot.

I am usually a very hyperactive person. Infact I have been guilty of having too much energy perhaps and not being able to relax. When we lived in Mumbai life was very stressful. I spent around 4 hours every day in travelling for work, the hectic life and the pollution caused terrible stress which means I was always on my toes. Since we moved here life has become a little less stressful and with it my hyperactivity has somehow calmed down.

I have learned how to relax a bit but “D” and other friends who know how I am tell me that I am still really hyper and need to take it easy. So now that we have a long weekend I decided I would do just that  and not move from the bed at all.

I woke up late, skipped breakfast and spent most part of the afternoon watching crappy shows on TV. And then hunger pangs struck, I wistfully looked towards the kitchen hoping that to magically muster up a gorgeous meal for the lazy girl from Mumbai. But it was not gonna happen so I got up from my couch muttering and mumbling about the unfairness of life and went to the Kitchen.

Thankfully I knew exactly what I wanted to make. I had seen this gorgeous and easy recipe on “www.taste.com.au by Kerrie Sun” and it did not require me to do anything. I just altered the recipe a bit and the meal turned out to be delicious and perfect for a lazy holiday.

And I am glad to be back on my designated throne to spend the remainder of my day without moving an inch.

IMG_1006

Here is the recipe (cooking time 60 minutes) 

1 Tbsp Peanut Oil

1/3 cup Soy sauce (I used dark Soy, you can use light if you wish)

1 tsp Ginger paste

1 tsp Garlic paste

2 tbsp Brown Sugar

1/2 tsp Chili powder

1/2 tsp Turmeric powder

2 tsp Chinese five spice powder

1 whole Chicken, cleaned and cut into pieces

1 bunch Bok Choy (Choy sum)

My Photo Stream

The original recipe calls for 1/4 cup Peanut Oil but I felt it would make the Chicken too oily, so I just used 1 Tbsp. Mix all the ingredients except the Boy Choy together and marinate the Chicken pieces in it for an hour or more. You can keep the marinated Chicken in this mixture for upto 4 hours.

IMG_0997

Roast the Chicken in a pre heated oven at 180 Degrees centigrade for 40 minutes turning it around once or till the Chicken is cooked. Don’t worry about the oily soy gravy that is collected in the roasting pan. It tastes delicious with Rice.

Documents1

Just before the Chicken is ready steam the Bok choy in a steamer for 6 – 7 minutes or boil it in hot water for 5 minutes till the stem is tender.

My Photo Stream1

Serve the Chicken on a bed of steaming hot Rice. So simple isn’t it.  Happy Australia day and Republic day 🙂

Kheema Pulao for the day you don’t want leftovers

I have been missing in action for the past few days. Not sure if I was missed but I surely missed blogging. It’s funny how just writing about what I cook even though I don’t know how to, has become a big part of my life.

Now I was busy because my bestie “A” was here in Perth with her gorgeous new baby girl and her mad husband who I love to hate. So the past few days went in a blur of activity from cleaning the house, cooking like a maniac, ensuring that everyone was comfortable and that we all had a great time. There was no formality with them but since my house has never seen a baby and with the scorching Perth temperatures my stress levels had reached extreme levels.

Thankfully everything went well and they left hale and hearty with happy memories and I am left with a house that smells of a baby and lot of leftover food. Even though I am not a baby person I miss the little one who was one of the sweetest baby I have seen in a long time. I guess I am biased but what the hell I am her aunt and for me she is the most special baby in the world.

So feeling sad and depressed I dragged myself to the kitchen hoping to finish whatever was left but then I changed my mind and decided to make something to lift the gloomy spirit in the house and kept the leftover food for the next day.

I had some frozen mince in the fridge and “A” had loved the mince curry I had made for her a few days ago. I had already blogged about the curry so I decided to make a “Mince Pulao” instead. And I am glad I did. The Pulao was delicious and the mince gave it a lovely light texture. It surely lifted my spirits. Here is the recipe for you to try.

IMG_0559

Recipe – Keema Pulao (Rice with Mince meat) Serves 4, cooking time 40 minutes

½ kg Mince (you can use Chicken, Lamb or Pork)
1 ½ cup Basmati Rice washed and drained
½ cup Green Peas
2 medium-sized Tomatoes finely chopped
1 tbsp Tomato Paste
1 large Onion thinly sliced
2 Bay leaves
1 tsp Ginger Garlic paste
1 big Cinnamon stick
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 Cardamoms
1 ½ tsp Red Chilli powder (or less if you want it to be less spicy)
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
2 tsp Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
2 tsp vegetable oil
2 ½ cups Water
Juice of 1/2 Lemon
Freshly chopped Coriander

My Photo Stream

Heat oil in a pan or a pressure cooker and add Cumin seeds, Cinnamon stick and Cardamoms and let them splutter. Add the Onions and sauté on a medium flame till the Onions turn translucent. Add the chopper Tomatoes, Ginger Garlic and Tomato paste and sauté till the oil starts to leave the pan. Now add the mince meat and coat well.

My Photo Stream1

Add the Turmeric, Red Chili powder, Salt and Coriander powder mixing everything well. Add the Rice, Green Peas and Kasuri Methi, freshly chopped Coriander and let it cook on a slow flame for atleast 10 minutes. You need to be careful at this stage to ensure that the rice does not stick to the pan.

My Photo Stream2

Add the water and let it cook in a pan on a medium flame for the first boil and then on a low flame till all the water has evaporated. If using a pressure cooker let it cook for 2 whistles and open the cooker once all the steam has evaporated. Add the Lemon juice once removed from the heat.

IMG_0565-001

Serve hot with some Yoghurt and Cucumber Raita.

Not a Christmassy meal – Roast Chicken with summer Vegetables and a light Lemon and Honey sauce

I cannot believe Christmas is just around the corner. The year is almost over and it has gone by so quickly.

 
There are so many things that happened this year. A lot of my friends and family welcomed little ones in their home and hearts. I met some incredible people who have become friends. I dealt with extremely painful health issues. I learned baking and have fallen in love with baking bread. I developed a taste for good Coffee without Sugar. I unsuccessfully tried to learn swimming. D and I completed 7 years of marriage and my blog has grown from 1 post to 80 by the end of the year.
 
So much has happened and I realize I have not done anything for my blog to end the year with.
 
A few weeks ago a friend in an online cooking forum had posted pictures of this beautiful looking Chicken she had roasted for thanksgiving. Although I make roast chicken a lot, what she had done looked simply beautiful.
 
I asked her on tips on how to roast the perfect chicken and she happily parted the knowledge. I made the chicken a few times after that and was very happy with the results. So as I sit down to write this not so Christmassy post I thought what could be better than making a gorgeous roast chicken with vegetables and gravy.
 
Now I love gravy but not the store brought one, I am talking of the real one here. But it is so hot in Perth and I do not have energy to make the real deal. Hence I decided to give my gravy a little twist and made a very light Lemon and Honey sauce (Don’t groan in disgust, the sauce is good even though there can be no substitute for gravy).
 
This roast might not be too festive and fancy. It doesn’t have any stuffing or gravy but it is beautiful, it is light and very easy. Every time I make it I kiss my own fingers and thank “P” for giving me her tips.
 
“D” tells me that eating this Roast makes his Christmas happy.
 
 
Recipe (Serves 4, cooking time 1 hour but the preparation time only 20 minutes)
 
For the Chicken
 
1 Large whole Chicken with Skin
 
7 – 8 Garlic Cloves
 
2 Big Lemons
 
Salt and Pepper to taste (I used 2 tsp of each)
 
Handful of  herbs (I used Rosemary, Oregano goes well too)
 
2 tbsp Olive Oil
 
Clean and wash the Chicken well. Pat dry before you lay it on a Baking Tray covered with Aluminum foil. In a small bowl add the Salt, Pepper, Juice of 1 Lemon, Herbs and Olive Oil.  Massage the Chicken gently with this to ensure it is well coated. Make sure you apply the mixture near the cavity as well. Now cut 1 Lemon into small chunks and stuff it in the cavity along with the Garlic cloves.
 
 
Roast the Chicken in the middle of a pre heated oven at 180 degrees for an hour or till a skewer comes out clean when you insert it. The Lemons and Garlic inside will stew and release the juices and the Olive oil mixture will give it a gorgeous crispy coating.
 

Once your Chicken is done remove it from the oven and cover it with a foil and let it rest for 10 minutes before you carve it. I know the picture above does not represent a well carved Chicken. But trust me when I say this my carving skills had no impact on the taste.

For the Lemon & honey sauce

1 1/2 cup Water

1/4 cup Honey

1/4 cup Lemon juice (I usually end up adding a little more as the sauce can taste a bit sweet)

1 Tbsp Chicken Stock powder or 2 cubes of Chicken stock

2 Tsp Brown Sugar

2 tsp Cornflour

 
To make this super easy light sauce all you need to do is throw all the ingredients in a pan, just mix them once and let them boil for around 10 minutes on a low flame. Don’t worry about the cornflour not mixing etc as we will strain the sauce once it is done.
 
 
After 10 minutes when the sauce has thickened. Strain it and keep it away till your Chicken is roasting. This is such a perfect accompaniment with the roast. I usually taste the sauce once it is done and sometimes add extra Lemon juice if I find it is very sweet.
 
For the Summer Vegetables (use your own judgement depending on the number of people. I was making it for 2 and we love our Potatoes and Veggies)
 
4 big Royal Blue Potatoes cut into chunks (you can use the normal ones but I find that Royal Blue roast really well)
 
1 Medium sized Zucchini/Courgette cut into pieces
 
1 big Onion cut into chunks
 
Handful of baby Carrots. You can use the normal big ones and chop them into pieces
 
3 – 4 Garlic Cloves
 
1 Parsnip chopped into pieces
 
Salt & Pepper to taste
 
Olive Oil to drizzle on top
 
1 Lemon cut into pieces
 
Handful of dried herbs
 
 
The key to getting the perfect roasted vegetables is to make sure all the vegetables are cut into similar sized pieces. Because I am using Baby Carrots I have not chopped them as used them as is. Boil the Potatoes in Salted water for 10 minutes till they are almost cooked. Drain them in a colander and shake them around a bit so they are a little bruised.
 
Wash all the other vegetables and lay them together on a baking tray covered with baking paper or a foil. Sprinkle the Olive oil, salt and Pepper and mix them well so the vegetables are coated with the seasoning. Stick the vegetable tray in the oven after the Chicken has been cooking for 30 minutes. This will ensure your Chicken and Vegetables cook together and you will have time to spare to lay your table, have a glass of wine or just lay back. You can also be innovative and add any other vegetables that roast well.
 
 
This is how your gorgeous vegetables will look when they are done. I have mentioned that you should roast both the Chicken and the Vegetables at 180 degrees but every oven varies so if you feel the Chicken and vegetables are not done, let them cook in the oven for sometime. What I also do is I pick up the tray in which I roasted the Chicken and pour all the gorgeous juices from the tray on top of my vegetables. No wasting the lovely juices 🙂
 
 
Now isn’t that a lovely roast. I also love to use the leftovers as stuffing for sandwiches the next day. It tastes even better. Hope you all have a happy holiday while I wipe my plate clean.

The Chicken curry that saved my day – Basic Chicken Curry with Pepper


Of late I have been experiencing a writers and a cook’s block. Not that I am much of writer or a cook but I am at loss for words for some reason and have been unable to pen down anything for the blog. I haven’t been doing much cooking either. Maybe because I have been very busy at work and my head is pre occupied with a million thoughts that everything else has taken a back seat.

As it was a Sunday I decided I would try a new cake from a cook book I had recently brought. Unfortunately even though I followed the recipe to the T, the cake was a disaster. It was undercooked, soggy and looked really sad. I was not sure what I did wrong. Maybe it was the temperature of the Oven or the Cake tin as the recipe called for a Bundt tin and I used the regular round cake pan.
Then I tried making “Apple Kheer” for some friends coming over for Dinner and that was even worst. The minute I put the Apples in the Milk, the Milk curdled and my “Apple Kheer” dreams crumbled in front of my eyes as the Apples were a bit sour.
Deflated I decided to make some plain food for dinner which I knew how to make without ruining it. I had to save my day and feel good again. I decided to make a Chicken Curry and came upon a recipe in the book “Prashad” by “Jiggs Kalra”. The recipe is a south Indian recipe with a long name hence I don’t remember the name. It was a simple preparation but had no seasoning except lots and lots of Pepper and some Garam Masala.
I decided to use the same recipe but added more spices to make it tangier and a little spicier as well. “D” loves his chillies and if I made food without it, that would be the 3rd failure of the day. Thankfully the Chicken Curry recused me. Not only was it was a breeze to make. It was also very delicious and tasty. I just dug my fingers into the hot rice and curry and just ate it all up, feeling satisfied and redeemed in some way.
Here is the Recipe (Cooking time 1 hour, serves 2, increase the quantities of the ingredients if serving more people)
1 large Chicken Breast
1 cup Yogurt
Juice of half a Lemon
1 Big Onion finely sliced
2 medium sized Tomatoes finely Chopped
20 Peppercorns ground into fine powder
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp Garam masala powder
Freshly chopped Coriander
Salt to taste
2 Tsp oil to saute the masala.
In a bowl add the Yogurt, Lemon Juice, pepper powder and mix well. Now add the Chicken Breast diced into cubes and let it marinate for atleast 30 minutes outside the fridge. If the Yogurt it is not at room temperature, the curry will have a grainy texture.

Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan and add the Onions and saute till translucent. Add the chopped Tomatoes and let them cook till the oil separates. Now add the Turmeric, Garam masala, Salt and Chilli powder and saute for 2 minutes. Add the marinated yoghurt and let them cook without any water on a medium flame for around 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes add the freshly chopped Coriander and 2 small cups of water (depending on how watery you want the gravy to be). Cook for another 15 minutes or till the Chicken is tender. Serve with hot rice or rotis.

 

My wannabe restaurant style dinner – Jerk Chicken, Cannellini Beans with a minty dressing and perfect roast Potatoes

Last week was super busy. I was traveling to Melbourne for a work conference and was completely immersed in the schedule planned for us. I absolutely love my job and the people I work with and it was great fun to catch up with people from work and have this time away from the daily grind.
We stayed in a beautiful beach side resort and ate some good food. We also had the opportunity to dine at Bellbrae Harvest which was a gorgeous restaurant surrounded by a beautiful dam filled with water lilies and lots and lots of birds and trees.
It was such a idyllic location. They had an excellent selection of really good wines and there were a few to choose from. As the starters began to come out of the kitchen and the wines began to flow, the conversations at the table became more animated and interesting.
Everyone was relaxed and was having a good time just enjoying the company. The food was presented really well and was worth the wait and the distance we had to travel for it.
 
The entree comprised of soft homemade Gnocchi with Chipotle and Goats Cheese or Salt and Pepper Calamari with Pea Sprouts. Being a huge Gnocchi fan I choose that and as I tasted the soft velvety Gnocchi I moaned with pleasure. For the mains there was a choice of Pan fried King Dory with Garlic chats, Roasted Zucchini with Sage buerre blanc or  Otway Eye Fillet with Blue Cheese Butter, Smashed Potatoes and Balsamic Caviar. Having indulged with the Gnocchi, I went for the perfectly done King Dori and I was not disappointed.
For the sides we had beautiful Polenta Chips which were out of the world and buttered vegetables. The Dessert were a different story in themselves. There was a trio of Salted Creme Brulee with Popcorn Bubbles, Chocolate and Balsamic Brownie with a Caramel Sorbet and Lemon Curd with shortbread and toasted Meringue. You could hear the oohs and aahs around the table as everyone enjoyed the lovely dinner. We felt thoroughly spoiled having the opportunity to eat such amazing food in this beautiful surrounding with some lovely people for company.
So obviously after coming back from Melbourne I showed the pictures of the delicious food I had eaten to “D”. He got really grumpy and complained about how I never made such food at home ( who said only women were not satisfied). So to please him I decided to make a restaurant style dinner at home of Jerk Chicken, Cannellini Beans with a minty dressing and perfect roast Potatoes.
The minute he saw the food laid out on the plate he had a huge smile on his face. After dinner he admitted that he would happily pay $20 for this food in a restaurant, which obviously got a huge smile on my face. The recipe is so simple and easy to make that you can do it without breaking a sweat.
Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, Preparation time 30 minutes)
 
Jerk Chicken
1 nice big Chicken Breast (serves 2)
1 tbsp Jerk Seasoning
2 Tsp Oil for frying the Chicken
Take a baking paper and sprinkle form Jerk Seasoning on it. Now lay the Chicken on top and sprinkle the remaining seasoning. Cover it completely now and start beating it with a rolling pin to flatten it out. This will help the seasoning stick to the Chicken and also make it easier to cook. Keep the chicken covered with the baking paper for atleast 30 minutes or more.
When you are ready to cook it. Heat oil in a non stick pan and place the Chicken once the pan is hot. Cover the Chicken and let it cook for 7 minutes on each side on a medium flame. Covering the Chicken will ensure that it cooks well in the steam and get a beautiful caramelized texture.

For the roast potatoes I just boiled the Potatoes till they were half cooked in Salted water (Around 12 minutes) and then roasted them in a baking tray with some Olive Oil in a hot oven till they were done.

Make sure you get your roast Potatoes done before the Chicken is cooked so you can throw the Potatoes in the same pan and let them soak all the lovely Jerk flavor.

Cannellini Beans with a minty dressing

1 Tin cooked Cannellini Beans

1/2 cup fresh Basil Leaves

3 tsp dried Parsley or handful of fresh Parsley Leaves

1/4 cup Olive Oil

Juice of 1 Lemon

3 cloves of Garlic

Salt and Pepper to taste

Put the Beans in a colander and wash them gently under water. Drain and put them in a bowl. Puree all the ingredients except the Beans together. Check the taste to ensure it is not too Salty. Add this dressing to the Beans. Mix well and keep it aside for some time. I actually made this dressing before marinating the Chicken which ensured they got enough time to soak up all the dressing.

Cut the Chicken into 4 pieces and plate it up with a Portion of Beans and Roast Potatoes. This is a very light Dinner or lunch dish and is so easy to make. Moreover it looks great on the plate without any fuss. Try it and let me know what you think, while I wipe the smug look of my face as “D” licks the plate clean.

The comfort of home cooked food – Palak Chicken (Chicken curry with Spinach)


I am exhausted with all the traveling I have been doing of late. I was in Melbourne last week for work and had a full on week of meetings, trainings and catching up with old friends. It was fun but too much for my old bones to take. I ate all 3 meals outside which can soon get to you if you don’t know where to eat in the city you are traveling to.
Although I do enjoy traveling and love visiting Melbourne I was certainly glad to be back home in my own kitchen. There is something so comforting to cook for your family in your kitchen where you are familiar with the surroundings, the utensils and the ingredients you will use. 
So after 1 week of eating Pizzas, Rolls, Pies, Sandwiches and Rolls I was just about ready for some home cooked Indian food. But I did not have any vegetables as I had cleaned the fridge before I left except some frozen Chicken Drumsticks and Tomatoes. So imagine my surprise when I saw a bunch of Spinach lying away idly on its own in the fridge. 
D has been known not to cook or buy any food or groceries in my absence so I called him and asked him what did he intended to do with it. Apparently he thought it was Lettuce leaves and he had brought it to use in some sandwich but then gave up. Men I tell you 😉 
Thankfully the Spinach leaves were not dead and I could use them to only make one thing Chicken with Spinach. I have made this dish a million times and absolutely love the creamy velvety texture which goes so well with hot buttered Naans (Indian flatbread) or with Rotis. 

This is an easy simple recipe to make. Infact you can make the Gravy well in advance and substitute the Chicken with Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese) Or Lamb.
Here is the recipe (Cooking time 40 minutes, serves 4)
As we have to make 2 different Purees, I have divided the recipe in 2 parts so it is easy to follow. 

1/2 Kg (500 gm) Chicken (Just wash and keep it aside) 

For the Spinach Puree

1 large bunch of Spinach leaves washed and boiled in hot water for 7 – 8 minutes. Throw the water away and keep the Spinach leaves aside.

3 cloves of Garlic

a pinch of Salt

Add all the 3 things together and puree them in a blender, put it aside. 

For the Onion Puree
1 medium sized Onion
1 ½ tsp Ginger Garlic paste
3 -4 Green chillies (add more if you want it spicy or less if you want it less spicy)
Put all the ingredients in a blender and puree everything together till nice and smooth. Add the water only if you are unable to blend the Onions.
Ingredients for the masala
1 medium sized Onion thinly sliced
1 large Tomato finely chopped 

2 -3 Green chillies

1 tsp Turmeric Powder

1 tsp Garam masala powder
1/2 tsp Cumin Seeds
1/2 tsp Freshly grounded Black Pepper powder

Salt to taste

Oil to fry the masala

Heat oil in a deep bottomed pan and add the Cumin seeds and thinly Sliced Onions. Saute for 5 minutes till the Onions become translucent. Now add the Onion masala that we pureed earlier and let it cook till the water evaporates and the raw Onion smell disappears. 

Add the Turmeric powder and Salt to the masala and then add the Chicken pieces and let it cook on slow flame for around 10 – 12 minutes till the Chicken is half cooked (Add 1/2 cup water if the masala is too dry and sticks to the pan) . Now add the chopped Tomatoes, Garam masala, Green Chillies, Pepper and Salt and let it cook for another 10 minutes.

Once the Chicken is cooked add the Palak Puree to the masala and let it cook on a slow flame for 7 – 8 minutes before turning the heat off. Serve the Chicken with a dollap of Butter or Fresh Cream. It is delicious.



This is what happens when one is inspired – Spicy Dry Roast Chicken with Mexican Rice

Cooking is my passion and my stress buster but off late it is also bringing out the creative side of me which I never thought I possessed. I have been trying new cuisines and new things which I would not do typically. And the best thing is I am still making easy food which can be prepared in a jiffy. Moreover when friends applaud me for the food that I cook and tell me how easy they find the recipes it makes me happy and gives me the encouragement to keep going ahead.
I have been so supercharged lately that I have been taking inspiration and food ideas from recipes I see or read about to create my own take on them. And thankfully till now I have had good results (at least I think so).
And yesterday was a special Sunday as D was home on a weekend after ages. So I made a nice breakfast of Buttermilk Pancakes with mixed Berry Glaze and Macrospore Cheese and for Lunch I made the perfect Paneer Parathas. For me the Parathas were an achievement as I have never had success with them and have to usually beg Punjabi friends to make them for me when I visit. So the fact that I actually managed to make beautiful round parathas that did not break when I rolled the dough was thrilling. 
For Dinner I decided to go all out and try something new. I had some Chicken drumsticks in the fridge that I wanted to cook. But I did not want to make a curry which is typically how I make my Chicken. Since I was in the mood to invent I decided to make a dry spice roast Chicken and some Mexican rice to go with it as I had this beautiful block of Salami sitting in my fridge which I needed to use. 
I was so happy with both the dishes that I had to pat myself on the back.The recipe is so easy and moreover you can make the marination days in advance if you wish to. Happy end to a beautiful Sunday eh !!
Spicy Dry Roast Chicken Drumsticks. (serves 2, cooking time 40 minutes, prep time 10 minutes)
5-6  Chicken Drumsticks (Depending on the number of people)
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Juice of 1 Lemon
1 ½ tsp Paprika powder
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 ½ tsp Cumin powder
1 ½ tsp Chilli flakes (you can add more if you want it to be spicier)
Salt to taste
4 cloves of Garlic finely chopped
The quantities I have mentioned here was sufficient enough to coat 6 big pieces of Chicken drumsticks. You can increase the quantity if you have more.  

Combine all the dry ingredients and the chopped Garlic in a bowl together.
 
Now add the Lemon juice and Olive Oil and mix everything together. At this stage you can taste to ensure the ingredients have a perfect balance. If you feel that the mix is too spicy you can increase the quantity of the Lemon Juice or add some Honey or Sugar to reduce the spiciness. 
Make small incisions on the Chicken pieces and put them in a Zip lock bag and add the gravy on top. You can marinate the Chicken in a bowl if you wish, I just feel Zip lock bags are easy to manage and take less space in the fridge. You can marinate for 30 minutes or more. I put the marinated Chicken in the fridge in the morning and in the evening when I start to cook it had this beautiful colour and all the juices were sucked in the Chicken. You can also freeze the Chicken in the marination bags for days and just thaw it before you want to roast it. 
 
When you are ready to roast the Chicken remove it from the bag and put it on a roasting tray and roast it for 30 – 40 minutes till you see the skin becoming nice and crispy. You can add some Olive Oil while roasting but I skipped that.

You can serve the Chicken on its own with some Lemon and Mint Chutney. It makes a great starter for a party.
Recipe for Mexican Rice: (serves 3 , cooking time 25 minutes  ) 

1 Cup Rice 

1 finely chopped Tomato

1 finely chopped Onion

1 Tbsp Tomato paste

1 diced Capsicum ( you can use any colour or mix 2 different colors) 

1/2 cup Corn kernels
Juice of 1 Lemon

Few slices of Salami (I had a huge block in my fridge and I just chopped a few slices). If you want to make this a vegetarian option then skip the Salami and add boiled and drained Red kidney beans instead)

2 Cups Chicken stock or vegetable stock if you want to make it Vegetarian. The way the ratio works is 2 cups water for 1 cup rice. 

Salt to taste
3 cloves of Garlic finely chopped

1 tsp Oil 


Heat oil in a pan and add the Onions and Garlic and sauté till Onions turn slightly translucent.

Add the diced Capsicum and sauté for 5 minutes. 

 Now add the chopped Salami, Tomato and Tomato Puree and saute till the oil starts to separate. 


Now add the washed rice, corn and Salt and saute for 5 minutes till the rice is evenly coated with the sauce. 


Add the Chicken stock and let it boil. Once boiled reduce the flame and cover with a lid and let it cook for 10 minutes or till the stock has evaporated. 

Add Lemon juice after the rice is cooked and serve it with or without the Chicken. I feel the Chicken really enhanced the taste of the Rice.

A 3 hour Chicken which is so easy to make – Roast Lemon Chicken

So after the crazy Bake event that I participated on Saturday I was exhausted because of all the nerves. So I decided to take it easy on Sunday and not do much. I lazed around almost all day watching TV, reading, eating unhealthy quantities of the Pistachio cake and then washing it all down with lots of Green tea.
During my lazy sojourn I stumbled upon Nigella Lawson’s blog and chanced upon this lovely Summery Chicken and Lemon roast which looked delicious. I instantly wanted to make it for Dinner (who said I was resting). Now the cooking time was 3 hours and my blog is all about easy food. But fear not I had to spend less than 15 minutes in the kitchen and all the hard work was to be done by the oven. 
I was so happy with myself when the Chicken was finally cooked especially because it required minimal effort on my part. Also I did stick to the original recipe but I did add few vegetables in the roasting pan to make the meal heartier and more filling. Although the Chicken was cooking for a long time it was not overcooked and fell of the bone. 

Here goes (cooking time almost 2 1/2 to 3 hours but you only have to be present in the kitchen for 10 minutes, serves 4)
½ Kg Chicken Drumsticks
7 – 8 Garlic Cloves
1 Big Lemon cut into halves
Fresh or dried Thyme
¾ cup Dry white wine
1 Red Onion Cut into big chunks
5 -6 Potatoes cut into big chunks and par boiled (this will ensure they roast faster and remain crispy). 
Any other vegetables that you want to throw in the roast. I used half a yellow capsicum sitting in my fridge. You can use Courgettes, Carrots , Parsnips, Broccoli.
2 tsp Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a roasting pan add the Chicken, Garlic Cloves, Thyme, Lemons, Salt and Olive oil and rub them all together.

Add the white wine and pepper to the pan. 


Cover loosely with an Aluminum foil and stick it in the oven for 1 ½ hours on 160 degrees and let it stew in the Wine. I did not use the “Grill” settings when doing this. Instead used the “Au Gratin” Setting which allowed the Chicken to Stew rather then roast.

This is how the Chicken will look after 1 and ½ hours.

Now add the parboiled Potatoes, Onion and any vegetables you want and let it roast on 180 degrees for 40 minutes without the Aluminum foil. I used the “Roast” setting in my oven at this stage.

Do remember to keep tossing the ingredients after 10 – 15 minutes to ensure that everything gets nice and crispy otherwise you will end up with an uneven dish. Serve it with a glass of Chilled White wine or Beer and just soak the flavors with some fresh Garlic Bread. 

Believe me when I tell you out of all the food I cook, this was one of the easiest dishes to make even though it took almost 3 hours to roast.

Enjoy !!

A tangy Curry – Murg Methi Curry

I had this conversation with a friend today who was telling me how lucky I was that I was living abroad and had all the luxuries. I don’t think people realise life abroad is not easy. You have to work extra hard to prove yourself, you have no family around in emergencies and you have to do everything alone. You are the maid, the cook, the laundry guy and all those tasks that would be done by other people back home now fall on your shoulders. 
The worst thing is you do not get the food that you grew up on especially if one lives in the farthest city in the world. So the options to make Indian food with fresh ingredients get very limited and this restriction causes me great pain.  More often than not I have to resort to cold frozen vegetables to make some of the delicacies one would easily get at home. 
So while I was thinking about these depressing thoughts a friend called and mentioned how he had not eaten good Indian food in days and wanted to eat some Indian styled Chicken. I called him over for dinner and decided to make a nice curry. But I did not want to do the same basic Chicken curry and wanted to give it a twist.
I quickly ran to the kitchen opened the freezer and found a bag of some frozen Methi (Fenugreek) leaves dying to be cooked. Now what could be more Indian then Methi. I love the bitter taste of the leaves and they are super nutritious with some amazing health benefits. Now I am not sure how good the frozen ones are but one has to do what one has to.  
So I decided to make us both happy by dishing up some Methi Chicken. This is one of the favourite ways to use Methi and it tastes really good. 

Here is the recipe:
500 gms chopped Methi leaves (I used a packed of frozen leaves and defrosted them)
1 Kg Chicken 
2 Tomatoes or 2 tbsps Tomato Puree
5 Green Chillies
3 tbsps Curd
1 ½ Onion finely sliced
1 ½ tsp Ginger Garlic paste
2 Cloves
2 Cardamoms
1 Cinnamon Stick
1 tsp Turmeric Powder
1 tsp Cumin seeds
Salt to taste
2 Tsp Oil 
 
Add the Curd, chopped Green chillies and Turmeric in a bowl and marinate the Chicken in it for 30 minutes or more.
If you are using frozen Methi like I did defrost it first and then add the Methi in a non stick pan for 10 minutes or so ensuring it doesn’t burn but all the water has evaporated. You can add a tsp of Oil if you wish to. Keep it aside when done.

In another pan add the Oil, once hot add the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Cloves and Cinnamon till they start crackling.

 Add the Onions to this and let them cook till they turn translucent and Golden in colour.
 
Add the Methi to the Onions and saute for 5 – 7 minutes. 
Add the marinated Chicken and let it cook with the Methi for 5 minutes.

Now add the Tomato Puree, Ginger Garlic Paste and Salt to the Chicken and let it cook on a slow flame for 20 – 25 minutes or till the Chicken is tender and cooked, adding water only if you feel it is needed. Remember the gravy will release water so you may not have to add a lot of water.

Serve with hot Rotis or Rice. My friend loved it and so did it. The Methi blended very well with the Tangy Curd making the curry different then the ones I regularly make.

A meal that does not dent my lazy Sunday plans

I don’t include Saturday in my weekends as Saturdays are basically reserved for catching up on all the work that you have been avoiding all week. So the whole day is spend doing household chores or things that have been pending for the week.

Sunday however is my day of relaxing when I just laze around (those who know me know how difficult it is for me to laze). Sunday’s also mean cooking something special to excite your taste buds.

Now if you have been following my blog you know I am all for easy meals. But once in a while a girl needs a dressy meal to feel posh. So this Sunday I decided to make a easy meal which looks elaborate is visually appealing  and tasted really posh.

The best thing is that it is so simple to make that it does not dent my Sunday plans to do nothing at all.

Here is my recipe for Roast Chicken with summer vegetables and Mushroom Sauce

For the chicken – (Serves 2)

2 Chicken breasts

A few Garlic cloves

Rosemary

Salt to taste

Pepper

Olive oil

Some summer vegetables – I have used Beans , Potatoes and Carrots.

Wash the Chicken pieces and put them in a roasting pan making small cuts to stuff the Garlic. Sprinkle Salt, Pepper, Rosemary and olive oil on the Chicken and keep aside till you get the vegetables ready.

Dice the potatoes in cubes and boil them with a pinch of Salt for 6-9 minutes. The potatoes I buy in Perth take longer to cook so I boil them for almost 9 minutes. Drain the water in a Collander. Now to be honest I did not have fresh carrots and beans so I just used a bag of frozen microwave vegetables.

If you are using fresh veggies please boil them for a few minutes before you roast them.

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Put all the vegetables on the tray evenly and sprinkle a little Salt, Pepper olive oil and rosemary.

Put both the Chicken and vegetables in the oven to roast ( check your cooking times depending on what oven you have). I roasted them for 25 minutes on 200 degrees f. Turning the sides to ensure even cooking.

For the sauce

1 medium white Onion finally chopped
1 small pack of Sour cream
Half a packet of sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper
1 knob of butter
Salt and pepper

Heat butter in a pan. To this add the onions and sliced mushrooms. Sauté till they are cooked.

In a small bowl add the Sour cream and Worcestershire sauce and mix with some water depending on how thick you want your sauce. I do this in a bowl as the sour cream will curdle if you put it straight in the pan.

Add salt and pepper and pour it in the pan with Mushrooms and Onion. Cook it on a slow flame for 8 – 10 minutes till the sauce thickens.

Remove the Chicken and the Vegetables from the Oven.

Place the chicken breasts on a plate and lay the roast vegetables on the side.

Pour the Mushroom sauce on top of the Chicken and serve it hot.

Throw in a glass of Red, light some candles and some nice music and you will feel you are in a restaurant enjoying a gourmet meal.

Cannot be bothered Chicken

There was no Milk in my fridge today which meant no Chai , which meant constant headache all day. Yes I am a Tea addict. I need my cuppa in the morning to start my day. I will share my Masala Chai recipe some day but this post is not about that. This post is about Chicken.

Now the lack of Tea meant the day just dragged on. Finally when I reached home I just lay down on the couch feeling sorry for myself. After few minutes of pitying myself my thoughts wandered towards the kitchen and what to cook for Dinner. I did not want to settle for something plain tonight. I wanted something spicy and something tangy which excited my taste buds and brought me back from this drudgery I was sinking into. I also did not have the energy to cook anything exciting.

I raided my fridge and there was some Marinated Chicken begging to be cooked. Thankfully I had some frozen gravy which would be perfect with this Chicken.

So here is the recipe.

For the marinate

Chicken Drumsticks (I will not recommend Chicken Breasts)
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp Chilli Powder
2 Tbsp Curd or Yoghurt.
1 Tsp Ginger and 1 Tsp Garlic Paste
Salt to taste

I was naughty and I add some Potatoes to this. I am the queen of Potato and add them in almost everything. Hence I have now started to resemble one.

I put this mixture in a big Zip lock back and store it in the fridge. Less space, less utensils to wash. Also this chicken can be marinated only for 2 hours upto 2 days.

For the sauce (you can increase the ingredients if you want to store the sauce)

2 Onion roughly chopped
3 Tomatoes blanched in hot water (I don’t remove the skins)
3 Green Chillies.
1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
3 -4 Cardamoms
1 mace (optional)
2 -3 cloves
1 – 2 Cinnamon sticks
Chopped Green Coriander 

Dry roast the Cumin seeds, Cardamom, Mace, Cloves and Cinnamon sticks. Add some oil to the pain and add the Onion and Green chillies and saute till the Onion turns golden in color. Add the tomatoes and Coriander. Remember I have just cut everything into big pieces as all this will be pureed in a blender.

Saute this mixture till the tomatoes start to coat the onion and everything looks mushy. Let this cool. Puree this mixture and store in individual zip lock bags. and freeze them, ready to go whenever I want to quickly dish up something yummy.

The Curry

Heat a pan and add some oil to fry the Chicken. I remove the Chicken from the marinade and fry it lightly for 2 minutes on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan add the Gravy (defrost it before hand) . Let the gravy cook till the oil leaves the sides of the pan. Make sure you do not burn the gravy.

Add the chicken pieces and rest of the marinade and mix well. Cover the pot and let the Chicken cook on low flame for 10 – 15 minutes. Add some salt to taste if you want to. Once the Chicken has cooked, add some hot water to the gravy if you wish.

You can sprinkle some Kasuri Methi (Dried Fenugreek Leaves) on the gravy for the extra Zing.

There you go my Cannot be Bothered Chicken curry is ready in less then 30 minutes if you have the marinade and the gravy ready. I only used 1 pot to make the Chicken and 1 pot to cook the Rice. So I do not have to spend time cleaning utensils. What more can a woman want 🙂

Perfect meal for the busy weekday.

PS: You can substitute potatoes instead of Chicken and make a vegetarian curry. It tastes just as nice.