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.

Rasmalai for a day of love

ishqne’ġhālib’nikammākardiyā

varna ham bhī aadmī the kaam ke

(Love has made you worthless Ghalib. Otherwise you were also a man of means)

 

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What does love mean to you?

 

Is it a whisper of something that you feel in your heart or is it a loud roar that rips your chest apart?

 

Is love a mirror of your true self or just another boost to your ego?

 

Is love passionate? Does it run inside your veins like blood, scorching your skin with just a breathe?

 

Is love the kind that makes your heart ache, your body shake and the one that drives you insane?

 

Is your love so fulfilling, one that gives you a million highs? Or is it just a passing fancy that doesn’t move your conscience at all?

 

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Whatever love means to you, I hope it is a love that you are devoted to. I hope it is a love that fills your senses with the deepest sense of longing and belonging. I hope it makes you want to conquer the world and make it a better place to live in. And I hope that it is not just on Valentine’s Day that you tell the people you love how you feel about them. Because we have one life and you don’t want to spend that life imagining that we are loved by someone. You want to know it, feel it and hear it every single day that you are alive.

 

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And for me, cooking is a way to show my love not just to others but also to myself. I don’t just cook for a Valentine, but I cook for my body and soul The kind of comfort and sense of being loved that is offered by a well-cooked meal is something that can only be experienced. So I cooked today I like I cook every other day with love, with passion and with the intent of ensuring that my dinner offered my body nourishment and my soul a much-needed hug.

 

Obviously, this delectable “Rasmalai” made with the Shan foods Rasmalai Mix just helped elevate the warm fuzzy feeling that I feel after I have polished off a meal. Deliciously creamy, it just melted in my mouth, a treat that was not guilty about eating at all. As they say, the only real love in this world is the love for food.  And I have taken that saying to my heart.

 

Recipe for this delicious Rasmalai to make yourself feel great on Valentines or any other day on the blog.

 

Recipe: (Cooking time 45 minutes, serves 4 – 6)

 

1 liter (5 cups)  full fat milk

½ cup Sugar

1 Egg whisked

1 tbsp Ghee or Butter

1 packet Shan Rasmalai mix

For garnishing : (Optional)

Almond flakes, Pistachio, Edible Silver Leaves, Saffron

 

Method:

 

Add sugar to milk and boil for 10 minutes or till the milk has thickened a bit.

Mix together Shan Rasmalai Mix, Ghee/Butter and Egg in a bowl. Knead and make soft dough (If necessary add 1 table spoon of water).

Make about 15 small round / flat / oval shape balls. Immediately, put them in boiling Milk. Increase the heat, so that the milk remains boiling. (The balls will become hard, if they are not immediately added to the boiling Milk).

Take a round sieved frying spoon and turn the balls by rotating bottom edge of the spoon against the top of the balls. Keep rotating until the balls swell by about 4 times their original size.

For thin Milk syrup remove from heat and serve cold. For thick Milk syrup, continue to boil for 10 minutes on medium heat until the syrup thickens.

Remove from the heat and cool.

Garnish and serve cold with a lot of love.

 

Tip: Do not worry if the balls break apart in the milk. They will thicken the milk and taste like Rabri, still really delicious.

Tandoori Chicken with Shan masalas

What are the three dishes that you associate Punjabis with? I am sure it would be:

Rajma Chawal (Kidney Beans and rice)

Butter Chicken, I know I don’t need to translate that

And

Tandoori Chicken  (Chicken cooked in a clay oven)

However contrary to popular belief, you won’t find us making Butter Chicken or Tandoori Chicken in our homes every day. Hell, most Punjabis have never made Tandoori Chicken at home because we can get it so easily in restaurants back home.

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The later two dishes are also very popular in Australia. However, the amount of colour used in the dishes by both restaurants is very off-putting to me. I hate it when I bite a piece of Chicken my hands are stained with red colour. Hence, as a result, we never order any of these dishes whenever we eat Indian food at a local restaurant.

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So when I received a pack of Tandoori Chicken as a Buy 3 get 1 promotion offer from Shan masalas, I was still a bit unsure if I wanted to use it. I have been using Shan masalas for a few months now and have sort of started to trust its products as all the dishes I have made have come out really well.

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And I thought why not? After all, I had not eaten a good Tandoori Chicken in years and after having watched this video on how easy it is to make fabulous meals with Shan masalas, I had to try.

 

I was so glad that I trusted the brand and made the Chicken. Although the recipe on the box called for Red colour, I skipped it, However the Chicken was still beautifully red and juicy when roasted. The masala was not overpowering but beautifully subtle, the Chicken melting in our mouth made for a delightful dinner.

 

Recipe (Cooking time 30 minutes, serves 6)

 

1 ½ Kg Chicken (Skinless cut into 8 – 12 portions, make a slit on each piece)

1 cup plain yogurt

5 – 6 Tablespoons Lemon Juice

½ tsp Red food colour No.6 (Optional)

Cooking Oil/Melted Butter 4 – 6 Tablespoons

Shan Tandoori masala  mix 1 packet (Do not mix with water)

Method

Mix the Lemon Juice, food colour if using and the Shan Tandoori masala. Apply to the Chicken pieces and prick the chicken with a toothpick to ensure the Chicken is coated well. Set aside for 30 minutes.

Apply the yogurt and set aside for 3 hours or even overnight if you want to.

Arrange the pieces in a tray and discard the marinade.

Preheat the oven at 350 degrees F apply oil to the Chicken pieces and bake for 25 – 30 minutes under the high setting of a grill or on a barbecue.

Serve hot with Green chutney.

 

 

 

Bombay Biryani – Chicken Biryani with Shan spice mix

I am not a food historian, so forgive me for any mistakes but from whatever little I have read it seems that the origins of ‘Biryani’ are a little sketchy when you read the history of food. Some accounts state that it was a Mughal take on the very basic Khichdi (a type of Rice and Lentil risotto) that was cooked by the peasants of India. There are other accounts of it being an offshoot of the Persian Pilau, which was the jewel in any Persian chefs crown. Aromatic, full of flavours, colours, meat and  vegetables, the pilaus of Persia were to die for.

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Since the Mughals were always at war, the chefs had to ensure there was always a huge quantity of food available for the ever hungry army. And what can be more filling than Rice and Meat? So the Mughals borrowed all the goodness of the humble Khichdi and the decadent Pilau, mixed it with Indian spices and aromatics and made it into the beautiful Biryani that we so love in India and Pakistan.

Well whatever the origins are I am sure everyone is thankful to the Mughals for inventing this dish.

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There is something so amazing about a well cooked biryani that is neither too spicy, neither too bland. And I love making it as often as I can. Typically I make my own Biryani masala but now that I have discovered the ‘Bombay Biryani” masala by Shan Foods, I am more than happy to use a packet whenever I get Biryani eating pangs.

 

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This is a fool proof recipe and gives me great results every single time. The best thing is I don’t have to do a lot of preparation before hand as the masala has all the ingredients to make a lovely Biryani in the comfort of your home without the added stress of preparation. Served with a refreshing Salad and chilled Raita, it doesn’t get any better.

 

Recipe (Cooking time 60 – 90 minutes, serves 6 – 8 generous portions)

Ingredients

1 Kgs Meat/Chicken on bones cut into small portions

3 ½ cups Basmati Rice washed and soaked

3 medium Onions finely sliced

3 -4 medium Tomatoes diced

2 medium Potatoes peeled and quatered

2 tbsp Garlic paste

2 tbsp Ginger paste

1 cup plain Yogurt (at room temperature)

1 cup Vegetable oil or Ghee

1 packed Shan Bombay Biryani masala mixed in ½ cup water

Method –

Prepare the Rice

In 15 cups of water add Salt and boil the rice till ¾ cooked. Drain all the water and keep the rice aside.

Prepare the Meat

Heat oil in a big pan. Add the Onions and fry till golden.

Add Tomatoes and fry, until oil seperates.

Add meat, Garlic & Ginger paste, Yogurt, Potatoes and Shan masala. Cover and cook on low heat until the meat is ender. Then increase the heat and stir fry till the oil seperates fro the gravy. Chicken will cook faster than Meat.

Arrange the Biryani

In another pot spread half of the rice and then layer all the meat. Top up with the remaining rice, cover for 15 minutes until the rice is fully cooked.

Garnish with fried Onions, Raisins, Pomegrante seeds, fresh Coriander before you serve.

Note: Another way to make the biryani is to marinate the meat in the yogurt with half of the Ginger garlic paste for a day before you cook.

You can also had a handful of chopped Coriander and Mint in the meat when you are cooking it.

 

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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.

Lamb Karahi – A sinful treat

Some days and I strictly mean only some days food needs to be more than just ordinary. It needs to be sinful, indulgent and make you feel a little guilty about eating it because we only live once right. This Lamb Karahi does all that. It has so much Oil and Ghee that you want to be on a diet for a whole week after you have eaten it.

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While I usually try to be good and not go overboard, I must admit one bite of the Lamb scooped up with a piece of hot naan is enough to vanish all the remorse that I felt while I added generous portions of heart clogging goodies to make the dish what it is. I must admit that I love making it because it doesn’t require much of an effort especially since I use a premix Karahi Masala from Shan which has all the spices blended perfectly.

 

The perfect way to start your weekend. Don’t you think so?

 

Recipe (Cooking time 60 minutes, Serves 8)

Ingredients:

1 ½ kg Meat cut into small cubes

500 gms diced Tomatoes

2 tbsp Garlic crushed

1 tbsp Ginger paste

2 tbsp Ginger julienne

6 medium Green chilies

2 – 3 tbsp freshly chopped Coriander

1 cup Cooking Oil

½ cup Butter

1 packed Shan Karahi Masala

 

Mix Garlic, Ginger paste, and Shan Karahi mix. Apply it to meat and marinate the lamb for 30 minutes.

Heat one cup of Oil and stir fry meat on high heat for 5 – 6 minutes. Add Julienne Ginger. Cover and cook on low heat until meat is tender.

Separately heat ½ cup oil and add Tomatoes. Cook on low heat until soft (5-6 minutes). Stir periodically.

Add cooked Tomatoes and Green Chilies to the cooked meat. On medium heat stir-fry meat until oil separates from the masala. Stir constantly. If desired remove excessive oil.

Add fresh Coriander and butter. Stir dry and serve with hot naan

 

 

 

Beat your Biryani Blues – Fish Biryani with Shan Masala

While most people love to indulge in this treat, not everyone wants to make it. There seems to be this belief that making a Biryani is hard. Well making a great Biryani can be an elaborate process but not a hard one. With the right ingredients, you can quickly make a decent Biryani at home or even a fabulous one if you are ready to go the extra mile.

 

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I am yet to find someone who doesn’t like a good Biryani. There is something so delicate and luxurious about it. A complete meal in itself this famed Rice dish is a delight if you know how to make it well. Thankfully you don’t need to be a chef who knows all the spices that one needs when Biryani blue strikes.

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You can use the Shaan Biryani Mix like I do when I want to make a special Biryani without worrying about what masala to add and what to skip. Made with just a few ingredients this Fish Biryani is so easy to make that it was almost a pleasant surprise that it was even possible to make something so delicious that you thought would take up so much of your time.

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Recipe (Serves 6, cooking time 60 minutes)

Ingredients

750 gms filleted fish (I used a seafood marinara mixture and Barramundi fillets)

750 gms (Basmati Rice, washed and soaked for 30 minutes)

Three medium Onions finely sliced

Two tbsps Garlic Paste

1 ¼ cups plain Yogurt

½ cup Soya leaves

½ cup Cilantro fresh Coriander

10 – 15 Green Chillies whole, slit from one side

Four tbsp Lemon Juice

One ½ cup Oil or Ghee

One packet Shan Fish Biryani Mix

Method

Mix Lemon Juice, Shan Fish Biryani Mix, and Garlic. Apply the mixture to the fish and set it aside to marinate for half an hour.

 

Heat half a cup of Ghee/Oil and fry 2 sliced Onions for few minutes. Then add marinated Fish, green chilies, and fresh Coriander.

 

Fry until oil separates from the masala. Stir in Yogurt. Cover and cook on medium heat until the Fish is tender. Avoid over mixing the Fish.

 

Separately: Take 2 tablespoons of Ghee/Oil and fry the Soya leaves for about 2 minutes.

 

Add 12 glasses of water and 2 tablespoons Salt. Bring to boil and add the soaked Rice. Cook until the rice is three-quarter tender. The drain the liquid thoroughly.

 

Spread half the rice in a pot and evenly pour the cooked fish and masala over it. Then spread and cover it with remaining.

 

Heat the remaining 1 cup oil/ghee and fry the remaining 1 sliced Onion until golden. Pour this evenly over the rice. Cover and cook on low heat until the rice is tender.

 

Serve with some chopped Coriander and dried Onion.

Shan Diwali Breakfast – Achari Aloo

Breakfast for Diwali has to be special and especially when you live abroad, and Diwali falls on a Sunday. It means that you have the luxury of time to indulge in a delicious treat to start your day.

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It means that you can eat whatever you want to without feeling guilty about over doing it. Because if you can’t get chubby during Diwali when can you. And we all know there is nothing more luxurious than a deep fried bread (Pooris) with a Potato gravy. And since I have been collaborating with “Shan Foods” I decided to use their “Achar Gosht” masala for the Potatoes rather than doing the typical Tomato based Potato curry that I usually make.

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Achar means Pickle, so the spice mix is a standard pickling spice mix commonly used with meat. However, since it was Diwali and we did not want to have Non-vegetarian food, I decided to use Potatoes instead, and I must admit the Potatoes were a revelation. They were tangy, mildly spicy, delicious and tasted oh so good.

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The fluffed up pooris perfect to scoop up the Potatoes and the hot cup of Masala Chai made up for a good way to start the festive day.

Recipe (Cooking time 20 minutes, serves 6)
7 – 8 large Potatoes

One large Onion finely chopped

One or Two green chilies finely chopped

One tsp freshly grated Ginger (do not use store bought paste)

½ packet of Shan Achar Gosht Masala

One tsp Turmeric powder

Salt for seasoning (The masala already has Salt, so I added Salt only in the end after I had tasted the cooked dish to ensure I was not overdoing the Salt)

Two tsp Vegetable Oil

Freshly chopped Coriander

One tsp Mustard seeds

Ten Curry leaves

Boil the Potatoes till done, remove the skin and chop into bite sized pieces

Heat vegetable oil in a pan and add the Mustard seeds, Curry leaves and Ginger.

Add the Potatoes and cook for a few minutes.

Sprinkle the Shan masala and Turmeric powder coating the Potatoes well.

Cook on a low heat, occasionally stirring the Potatoes so they don’t burn for 10 minutes.

Once done check the Seasoning and add Salt if needed, sprinkle a lot of fresh Coriander and serve with Pooris or Roti’s.

Tip: You can use Red Chili Powder, Coriander Powder and Amchur powder as a mix if you cannot find the masala.

If you really want to indulge yourself, you can boil and then deep fry the potatoes till they are crispy and then follow the steps above. Drizzle some yogurt on top at the time of serving and you have delicious Aloo Chat.