Showing posts with label Lunch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lunch. Show all posts

Friday, April 7, 2017

Baked Spring Rolls


I have always fried spring rolls and have not tried baking them until today. I don't know why I always felt they would not be crispy enough. But this time they were as good as fried ones and my husband could not tell that they were baked  until I told him which kind of left him confused. They were not only crisp and crunchy but also not oily. I smeared them with olive oil and they turned out great. I can eat them without feeling guilty as they are healthy.   


Ingredients: For 12 Spring Rolls

24 Spring Roll Wrappers
1/2 Cup Shredded Chicken (1/2 Chicken breast)
1/2 Tsp Garlic paste
2 Cups Japanese style flat white Cabbage (finely grated)
1/4 Cup Carrot (thinly grated) 
2 Tbs finely chopped spring onions
1 Boiled egg
1/4 Tsp Black Pepper 
1/2 Tsp Hoisin Sauce
2 or 3 drops of Sesame oil
2 Tbs Olive oil
Flour and water paste
Sea Salt as required

Method:

1. Steam the chicken breast in a covered pot with a little water, garlic paste, salt and pepper till completely cooked. Remove and let it cool.

2. Grate the cabbage finely or slice thinly with a sharp knife to get long shreds. Add one tsp salt to the cabbage and mix it well by rubbing it with the salt with your fingers till the salt is dissolved and the cabbage starts oozing out water. Drain the water and repeat working with your fingers this time without the salt. Drain well again. Then wipe the shredded cabbage with paper towels till dry. Set aside.

3. Grate the carrot or make thin juliennes from thinly sliced carrots. Finely chop the spring onions.

4. Grate a hard boiled egg. Shred the steamed chicken with a fork and knife. 

5. Mix together the carrot, cabbage, spring onions, egg and chicken. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper as per taste, then 1/2 tsp hoisin sauce and 2 or 3 drops of sesame oil.

6. Place a portion of the filling in the near corner of the spring roll wrapper and apply the flour and water paste to the far corner away from you. You can also use egg white to seal instead of flour paste. Roll over neatly while tucking the near corner under the filling. When you roll to the centre of the square fold in both the sides then roll again tightly till the end (I used 2 wrappers for each roll coz my filling was a bit moist and I didn't want them to get soggy). For exact instructions please watch this video.

7. Brush the spring rolls with olive oil and place them on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. 

8. Bake in an oven preheated at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 30- 35 mins. The timing may differ with other ovens. When you are half way through baking turn them over and then bake till golden or evenly browned. Enjoy with sauces of your choice. 

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Broiled Golden Pomfret with Chaat Masala

The golden pomfret (pompano)  is a soft mild flavoured fleshy fish with a buttery flavour and no fishy or gamy smell. When fresh it tastes very delicious. You can use any kind of spicy or herb flavoured marinade on it and it works very well. This time I used chaat masala along with the other spices and it was just so delicious! My husband who is always quite reluctant when it comes to eating fish, actually enjoyed eating it.


Ingredients:
1 Golden Pomfret fish (around 1.25lbs)
 Juice of half a lemon
1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Tsp Kashmiri red chilly Powder  
1 Tsp MDH Chaat Masala 
1 Tsp Ground Black Pepper 
1 Tsp ginger garlic paste
1 Tbs Olive oil 
Salt to taste

Method: 
1 Clean the fish by scraping the skin and cut into two filets with out removing the skin. You could ask the fish vendor to clean and make filets for you. 

2. Sprinkle salt and lemon juice on the fish filets and rub them well. 


3. Mix together the black pepper, turmeric, red chilly powder and chaat masala with the ginger garlic paste and smear this marinade on the fish filets well. Leave to rest for half an hour. 

4. Heat a cast iron frying pan, brush it with 1 or 2 tsp of olive oil and place the fish on the pan skin side down. Let the fish get fried on the bottom  well. 


5.  Switch off the stove, drizzle the remaining olive oil on top of the fish and then place the frying pan with the fish on the top rack of the pre heated oven.

6.  Broil the fish on high for 5 - 6 minutes till the fish is browned all over. Switch off the oven. Tranfer to a serving plate and enjoy the crispy delicious mouth watering fish. 


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Saffron Rice




Ingredients: 

1 Cup Basumathi Rice
A pinch of Saffron
Salt to taste
4 tbs milk


Method: 

1. Wash the rice 3 or 4 times or till the water is no longer murky. Then soak the rice for half an hour.

2. Boil at least 2 litres of water in a pot. When the water is boiling put the rice in it. Add 1 tsp of salt or a little more. The water should taste like sea water not too salty. Give it a stir and let it cook.

3. Check the grains to see if they are done. Take one grain of rice and press it between your thumb and index finger. It should be just a little gritty inside but soft outside. So it is time to stop cooking.

4. Drain the rice immediately in a colander.

5. Soak the saffron in 1 tbs hot milk in a mortar and pestle and crush the saffron threads till they soften and dissolve. Add the remaining milk and pour it in the rice pot. Throw in some mint leaves and close the lid, leave it to simmer for 2-3 minutes. Then switch off the stove.

6. Serve hot with any curry of your choice. You could serve the Saffron Rice  with the following Curries:

Green Masala Chicken Khorma
White Chicken Khorma
Butter Chicken 
White Methi Chicken


There's one more way of making saffron rice. Dissolve the saffron in hot water instead of milk. To this add a blob of unsalted butter. Let it rest for sometime till the saffron softens and leaves out color. Take a bowl of rice and add the saffron solution to it. Mix well. The rice gets saffron colored. You could sprinkle this rice on top of the white rice as garnish with some toasted nuts or mix this with the white rice and serve.

Green Masala Chicken Khorma

I was kind of inspired by Farruqh Aziz's "Hariyali chicken khorma" on her interesting blog "CubesandJuliennes". She had made it in mughlai style with a rich and creamy sauce. But I wanted to keep it simple and make it in my south indian style which I love too. The concept was good enough to get me going. Here's the recipe:








Ingredients:
 Chicken 2 legs and 2 wings
1 Onion thinly sliced
1/4 cup Yoghurt
1/2 cup Coconut milk 
2 tbs Olive oil
4 - 6 Green chillies
1 sprig of Cilantro
A few fresh Mint leaves
2 black Cardamoms
1 inch Cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp crushed Black pepper
2 tsp fresh Ginger Garlic paste

For the ground masala
2 green Chillies
1 sprig of Cilantro
1/2 tsp whole Black pepper
1 tsp Coriander seeds
1/2 tsp Fennel seeds
2 Cloves 
3 green Cardamoms

Method: 

1. Clean wash and drain the  chicken,  Cut the onion into thin slices.

2.Put all the dry masala ingredients in a grinder and pulse them first before adding the chillies and cilantro with a pinch of salt.

3. To a sauce pan on medium heat add the whole spices - black cardamom, cinnamon and bay leaf followed by the sliced onions and fry till golden brown.

4. Add the ginger garlic paste and the ground  masala to the fried onions and saute then add the chicken pieces. 

5. Turn over and roast the chicken in the masala till it changes colour.  Add the yoghurt, whole green chillies, coconut milk and let it cook on medium heat till done. 

6. For the last finishing touch which gives the extra flavour toss in the crushed black pepper, cilantro and mint. Cover with the lid and switch off the stove. Let it rest for 2 minutes then serve hot with saffron rice and pineapple kachumbar salad. 



Notes:

 For the coconut milk,  I always choose "A taste of Thai" if not available then I go for Aroy D.   Unlike the other brands. "A taste of Thai" has 85% coconut milk and 15% water while Aroy D has 60% coconut milk and 40%  water with no preservatives or guar gum. There is another brand "Thai Kitchen" looks similar to "A taste of Thai" but not as good. It has guar gum in it which gives the milk a gooey texture. In cooking if the quality of the ingredients is not good then all the taste and flavour is lost.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Tandoori Chicken

Barbecued Tandoori Chicken Biryani
Smoked Butter Chicken 
Butter Chicken, My Style!

The secret to good tasting tandoori chicken lies not only in the marinade and the length of time the chicken is marinated, but also the technique of cooking it.

The rule #1 is to keep the chicken dry before rubbing in the marinade. The yoghurt and the ginger garlic paste should not be runny. You should use hung yoghurt or greek yoghurt and grind the ginger garlic in a wet grinder to get a thick paste without adding water. If you don't have a wet grinder then you could use grated ginger and garlic (1:1 ratio).

Next comes the technique of cooking. Of course the tandoori chicken is at its best when cooked in the tandoor which is a clay oven. Since we cannot cook in the tandoor at home we could barbeque or grill it and also bake it in the oven.

Soaking the chicken in brine for up to six hours and marinating in the tandoori masala for up to 4 hours before cooking, enhances the flavour and taste to a great extent.



Here's the recipe!

Ingredients: 
3 Chicken legs
2 tbs Hung sour yoghurt 
1 tbs tandoori masala 
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilly powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
1 tbs ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1tbs vegetable oil 
Salt to taste

Method:
1. Clean, wash, drain and towel dry the chicken legs each cut into 2 pieces (thigh and drumstick).  Make slits in the chicken pieces then rub with salt and lemon juice and set aside for 10 -15 minutes.

2. Mix together all the spices and the hung yoghurt in a bowl, add the vegetable oil and the required amount of salt to make the tandoori marinade.

3. Massage the chicken with this marinade and leave for up to 4 hours. 


4. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees fahrenheit and bake for 40 - 45 minutes. I line the cookie sheet with tin foil and place the chicken pieces on it. This way it is easier to keep the cookie sheet clean. 

5. Remove from the oven when the chicken is well done - should be moist and juicy inside and brown and crispy outside. 

6. Serve hot on a bed of onion rings and lemon wedges sprinkled with chaat masala. Enjoy with Naan and dal or rice. 


Friday, December 23, 2016

Layered Idly Sandwich
























When ever we eat Idli we dip a piece of it in a chutney and then try another bite with a different one - it is always one chutney at a time. And if you dip the same piece in all the chutneys it becomes messy. So I thought why not build an idli layer by layer like a cake and fill each layer with a different chutney, like icing. I had been toying with this idea so much to the extent of checking with manufacturers if they could make a square idli mould for me. That seemed like a lengthy process for which I had no time. But I had to satisfy my craving to taste the idli and my favourite chutneys together - all in one bite. There was a shortcut which was tempting enough. I used the round steel plates from my Dhokla maker (I could have used a cake pan too) to steam my idli rounds and voila made my idli sandwich with different chutney layers. I had chutney powder (mologai podi), coconut and mint chutney which I used for each layer. It tasted just yummy as I had expected. Plus it looked so beautiful!
























Here's the recipe:

Ingredients: 
Idli batter
Mint chutney 
Coconut Chutney
Chutney Powder (Mologai Podi)
Clarified butter 
Round cake dish or Dhokla Maker plates
Parchment Paper


Method: 
1. Grease the cake pan/plate and line it with parchment paper cut in a circle, the same size as the base.  Pour in the Idli batter to your desired thickness. I keep it 1/2 " thick.

2. Place the cake pan in a steamer and steam for exactly 10 minutes. Remove and keep aside to cool.

3. When cooled, pass a knife around the sides of the pan/plate then overturn the plate carefully after topping it with another plate to unmould the idli cake. 

4. Cut the idli round into 4 quarters. Take one quarter and spread coconut chutney on it, then top it with another and spread with mint chutney, then alternate again with coconut chutney.  I had made only 2 chutneys this time so I had to repeat the layer. But you could use another different chutney instead. Then for the topmost layer I sprinkled with MTR's chutney powder and a few droplets of melted ghee (clarified butter) and brushed it evenly to coat. You could use as many layers as you want with different chutneys of your choice.  Enjoy!






























Notes:

1. You can get ready made refrigerated idli batter from indian stores. The other option is to make your own. I will be soon posting a recipe for making traditional recipes.

2. The chutney powder is available in indian stores as well, but MTR is a good brand.



Monday, November 28, 2016

Lamb Shank Curry (Delhi Style)

It's been a long time since I made this curry in Delhi style. We used to relish it so much when we lived there. Luckily I happened to stumble upon it recently in one of those little trips into my past and therefore managed to bring this inanimate thing back to life. I had to make it the very next day otherwise it would have been a long lost forgotten thing again.

What makes it so unique in "Delhi style" is just one different spice and one finishing touch which changes its entire chemistry. It is the magic of the fried onions and the hint of the smoky flavour from the black cardamom that gives it the distinct flavour and taste which is so different from the traditional curries.

Here's the recipe!


Ingredients: 
2 Lamb shanks
2 medium onions
4 green chillies
1-2 Black cardamoms
1 Bay leaf
4 Cloves
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 tbs yoghurt
2 tbs vegetable oil
1 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
Salt to taste.


Method: 
1. Cut each one of the lamb shanks into 2 pieces. This makes it easier to eat the bone marrow which is very delicious rather than keeping them whole. Then clean them by trimming away the fat and removing the skin carefully without chopping off the tender meat. Rinse well, drain and keep aside.

2. Slice the two onions. Heat 1 tbs oil in a pressure cooker, add the black cardamom, cloves and the bay leaf and fry half the onion slices to a light golden brown. Reserve the other half.

4. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric, kashmiri chilli powder and coriander powder, give it a stir then add the lamb shanks and salt. Sauté well with the spices. 

5. Add the whisked yoghurt to the pot followed by green chillies, cilantro and 1-2  cups of water. The water should be 2 inches above the shanks. After the first whistle in the pressure cooker turn down the heat, close the lid air tight and pressure cook for 10 - 15 minutes.  (But if you are not using a pressure cooker you will have to cook on low to medium heat for at least 45minutes to an hour. They should be so tender as to come off the bone. You can also cook in the instant pot following the directions for cooking meat accordingly.)

6. Meanwhile fry the reserved onion in the remaining 1tbs of vegetable oil till nicely browned but not burnt. So extra care should be taken while frying the onions to have them rightly done. Set aside.

7. Once the shanks are done turn down the heat to low and add these fried onions to the pressure cooker, cover lightly not air tight and let it simmer slowly for some more time (5-10 mins).  The browned onions not only give colour to the curry but also a sweet nutty flavour which when combined with the smoky flavour from the black cardamom and other spices further enhances the taste and makes the curry insanely delicious! 

8. Do not let the curry thicken too much. If it tends to thicken then sprinkle a little water on all sides and let it simmer till the oil comes on top until you don't see those fried onions anymore. Add chopped fresh cilantro to garnish and enjoy with rotis (flat bread), naan or rice. 

Notes:

Kashmiri Chilli powder - Kashmiri chilli is a mild form of chilli which gives colour and flavour to the dish and not much heat. You can get the MDH brand of Kashmiri chilli powder from any indian grocery store.  I haven't found any other brands here. Or the other best alternative would be to soak the kashmiri chillies in water and grind them into a paste. Though this is a lengthy process, it is fresh and more flavourful. 

Black Cardamoms - Another variety of cardamoms. They are big and black and have a smoky flavour. All asian grocery stores carry it. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Coconut Shrimp Poppers
























Everybody loves my coconut shrimp poppers and I have made these many times for get togethers at home, friends' parties, pot lucks etc and each time I made them they disappeared in no time. They have an extra crunch that awakens your senses when you take your first bite. Then the subtle heat from the dijon mustard infused with the Sriracha hot sauce kicks in resulting in a tongue tingling sensation. And the dipping soy sauce fired up with ginger and green chillies has enough zing to ignite your soul and take you to another level of flavour. Hmm, what an experience of flavours to enjoy!


 Ingredients:
Raw Jumbo Tiger shrimps -  1/2 Kg
Kellog's Corn flakes - 1 cup
Panko Crumbs           - 1 cup
White flour                -  1 cup
Black Pepper - 1tsp
Dijon Mustard - 1 tsp
Sriracha chilly sauce - 1 tsp
Garlic Powder - 1/4 tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper - 1 tsp
Egg - 1 -2
Flour - 1 cup
White sesame seeds - 1tbs
Unsweetened coconut flakes - 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil for frying
Salt to taste
           
1.Peel the shrimp but leave the tail, then devein, rinse, drain and dry on paper towels. Season them with salt and pepper and set them aside. 

2.Mix together dijon mustard, sriracha sauce, garlic and cumin powders and marinate the shrimps with this paste. Leave for half an hour. 

3.Put the corn flakes in a ziplock bag and crush them with a rolling pin. Do not make a fine powder. they should be coarsely crushed. Mix together the crushed corn flakes with the panko crumbs. Add some salt, pepper, coconut flakes and sesame seeds.  

 4.Place the beaten egg, flour and Panko Corn flakes mixture separately in 3 different bowls.

5.Take each shrimp, first coat with flour, next dip in the beaten egg and then roll in the panko corn flakes mixture. Repeat for all the shrimps with patience taking care to coat them evenly. 

6.Heat oil in a frying pan and fry them till golden brown and crisp. Drain on paper towels and serve hot with soy dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Dipping Sauce: 

Ingredients: 
Soy sauce                      -  1/2 cup  
Chopped ginger             - 1 tsp
Chopped green chillies - 1 tsp
White Vinegar               - 2 tsp
Franks Red hot sauce    - 1 tsp

Method:
1.Mix together all the above ingredients and leave aside for at least 15 mins. The soy dipping sauce infused with the flavours of ginger, green chillies and red hot sauce is now ready for use. Enjoy the Shrimp Poppers with the dipping sauce.
               



Friday, November 11, 2016

Ande ki kadi (Egg Curry)



Ingredients:
Eggs - 4
Onion - 1 medium size
Tomato - 1 large
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Dried seedless tamarind pulp - 1 tsp 
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Fenugreek powder - 1/2 tsp
Curry leaves - a few 
Green chillies - 4 small

Method:

1. Hard boil the eggs and keep aside. Please make sure that the eggs and the water are at room temperature before you put them to boil. Switch off the stove when the water begins to boil. Leave for 15 minutes then drain the water and allow them to cool in cold water before you start peeling their shell. Overcooked eggs have a crumbly yolk with a grey green tint, a sulphur like odour which is distasteful and a rubbery white. 

2. Cut the onion into thin slices and tomatoes into small quarters. Remove stems from the green chillies. 

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pot. Fry the sliced onion to golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste, tomatoes, curry leaves, whole green chillies and salt, followed by turmeric, red chilly, coriander, cumin and fenugreek powders. You can enhance the flavour by adding roasted ground cumin and fenugreek (roast the cumin and fenugreek seeds first then grind them to a powder). 

4. Stir fry till the tomatoes are soft and tender. 

5. Soak the tamarind pulp in a little water after rinsing it. Squeeze the tamarind in the water to extract the juice and add it to the curry. I don't like to use tamarind paste as the taste and flavour is different, plus it has preservatives. 

6. Adjust the salt and simmer for sometime. Now remove the shells from the boiled eggs, make long slits and add them to the curry. Leave them on simmer to absorb the curry juices till they get discoloured. 

7. Garnish with chopped cilantro. The egg curry is now ready to serve. Enjoy with boiled jasmine rice. It goes so well with this curry. 


Sunday, June 26, 2016

Husainy Malai chicken kebabs


Soft, tender, juicy and grilled to perfection, these cheesy chicken tikka kebabs just melt in your mouth when you eat them. The first marinade of salt and lemon juice breaks down their fibre and makes them soft and succulent. The second marinade in a blend of cream cheese, hung yoghurt and light spices tones them down adding more moisture and flavour. Also using the right technique of grilling kicks them up a notch. They are at their best when enjoyed as soon as they are done, hot from the grill as their juices run out. Heating them over and over again affects their taste and texture, so it should be avoided. I have made them many times and I realized that marinating them for 24 hours really makes a lot of difference as it enhances the flavour and taste very much. 

Here's the recipe:




Ingredients:
Chicken breasts - 2 (halves from 1 whole chicken) 
Green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers - 1 each
Onion - 1
Lemon - 1
Seven spices - 1 tsp (optional)
Vegetable/olive oil - 2 tbs plus more for basting
Heavy duty tin foil - as much as you need.

1st marinade
Lemon juice - 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

2nd Marinade:
Hung yoghurt - 1/2 cup
Cream cheese - 1/4 cup
Green Cardamoms - 12
Fennel powder - 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
Ginger garlic paste- 2 tsp
Green chillies - 2 - 4
Cilantro - 1/4 cup





Method:
1. Clean, wash and cut the chicken into cubes. Drain and towel dry them.

2. Rub the chicken cubes with salt and lemon juice, cover with plastic wrap and allow to marinate for 15 minutes. Remove from marinade, and leave to drain for sometime in a colander. 

3. Prepare the second marinade by whisking together the cream cheese, hung yoghurt, ginger garlic paste, ground green chilli cilantro paste (pound it using a mortar and pestle with just a little salt), freshly ground cardamom, cumin and fennel powder (grind together the green cardamoms with cumin and  fennel seeds in a dry grinder).

4. Add the drained chicken cubes to this marinade, mix well, then spoon in the oil and mix together again. Leave this to marinate for 15- 20 hours. 

5. Brush the metal skewers with oil and set them aside. 

6. Cut the bell peppers and onions into dices. Sprinkle them with with salt, pepper and a little of the cream cheese marinade

7. Start skewering the chicken cubes alternating with bell peppers and onions. Brush them with oil and set aside.

8. Place the skewers on a foil lined cookie sheet and broil on high for 5-6 mins on each side or until just rightly done which is when they turn opaque and slightly golden. Baste them with oil before turning them over. They would become hard if you overcook them, so do not, let them be juicy and tender to melt in your mouth. 

9. Slowly slide them down from the skewers on to a fresh heavy duty tin foil and quickly wrap them up to keep them hot. Use a silicon glove or clean moist paper towels when you do this otherwise you'll end up scorching your hands. Remove them from the pointed end one by one, otherwise they will break.

10. Finally as a finishing touch, sprinkle some lemon juice and garam madala powder optional) and serve them hot with the bell peppers, onions and lemon wedges. Enjoy them with rice, naan, yoghurt mint chutney etc. I made plain rice pulao, cranberry sauce and salad for a change. These juicy and delicious tikka kebabs just melt in the mouth. So yummy, enjoy!




Tips:

1. You could grill the chicken tikka kebabs and the vegetables separately too on different skewers if you want. But grilling them together keeps the chicken pieces moist.

2. Cherry tomatoes and pineapple can be used with the kebabs for grilling.

3. Wrapping them up in tin foil as soon as they are done retains their moisture as well as keeps them hot. You could prepare them early and keep them wrapped in foil. But before serving them, place them in a hot oven for 5 - 10 mins depending on the quantity.  (The oven should have been preheated at 400 degrees and then switched off ). Do not forget and leave them in the oven for a long time as they will dry out. It is better to set a timer on.

4. Using metal skewers is convenient. But if you want to use wooden skewers, soak them in water for a couple of hrs. I put them in a 2 litre soft drinks bottle filled with water, then closed the cap. This way it is easier to soak them rather than laying them down in a dish filled with water which takes up counter space.

Cranberry Sauce

The store bought cranberry sauce was awful, it was like a jello paste and I didn't like it at all. I looked up recipes and found the Pioneer Woman's cranberry sauce recipe very interesting.  It was so simple and when I tried it out, it was amazing. I made a slight change to the recipe by replacing the tartness of the cranberry juice with the sweetness of orange juice. I also added a blob of butter to give it a glaze and buttery flavour. We all licked the bowl clean, it was tongue tingling, tangy, sweet and so yummy. Here's the link to Ree Drummond's recipe: http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/homemade-cranberry-sauce/

Here's my recipe: 

Fresh Cranberries - 1 pack
Orange juice - 1 cup
Lemon juice - 1 tbs
Maple syrup - 1 cup
Orange zest - 1 tbs
Butter - 1 tbs

Method:

1. Rinse the fresh cranberries in cool water after picking the bad ones out, drain and put them in a pot. 

2. Add the orange juice, lemon juice and maple syrup and bring to boil. Skim off the froth that floats on top. 

3. The berries start popping out when the maximum heat is reached. Stir on and off and let the sauce thicken. 

4. Add the blob of butter and orange zest, simmer a bit to get the right jelly like consistency and remove. 

5. Allow it to cool before transferring to a serving bowl or jar. 

6. Enjoy with turkey or chicken. 





Saturday, June 4, 2016

Barbecued Tandoori Chicken Biryani

I wanted to give a different flavour to the usual traditional chicken biryani so gave this twist by using the barbecued chicken pieces in the biryani masala and it turned out just delicious. All the guests I had invited loved it too. 



Ingredients:
Chicken - 2 whole 1.5 kg / each cut into 12 pieces at the joints.
Onions - 5 - 6 medium size
Yoghurt - 1 cup
Fresh Mint - 1 cup
Fresh Cilantro - 2 cups
Fresh green chillies - 12
Ginger garlic paste - 1/2cup
Ripe tomatoes - 5 (1lb)
Cloves - 10
Green Cardamoms- 10
Cinnamon stick - 1 x 3"
Turmeric - 1 tsp
Chicken stock - 4 cups
Long Grain basumathi Rice - 5 1/2 cups
Saffron - a pinch
Salt to taste
Orange food colouring - a pinch (optional)
Vegetable oil - 1 cup

Tandoori Marinade
Hung yoghurt- 1/2 cup
Kashmiri red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Desi/Kissan Tandoori Masala - 2 tbs
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbs
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs

Method:
1. Clean, wash, drain and dry the chicken with paper towels. Make slits all over the chicken pieces. Rub salt and lemon juice, leave for 10 minutes then massage the chicken with the tandoori marinade. Let it rest for at least 4 hours.

2. Preheat an outdoor gas or charcoal barbecue. Arrange the marinated chicken pieces on the preheated grill to roast them. Turn once mid way and quickly roast till half done as they will cook in the sauce later. Keep aside.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a big pot. Add whole garam masala spices immediately followed by sliced onions. Fry them till they are golden brown. Stir in the ginger garlic paste and turmeric then add quartered tomatoes, yoghurt, whole green chillies followed by mint and cilantro.

4. Cook for sometime till the tomatoes soften a bit, then pour in the chicken stock and cook till everything blends well to a sauce consistency.  (The chicken stock should be made by slow cooking the chicken with the bones, water, salt and a little ginger garlic paste. Nothing else should be added to this stock).

5. Add the roasted chicken to the prepared sauce then toss in a few green cardamoms for extra flavour and leave it to simmer till the chicken absorbs the sauce a bit. 

6. Meanwhile boil water in a large pot.  Add 2 tbs of salt and basumathi rice previously washed and soaked in water for 1/2 an hour.

8. Let the water boil a second time after adding rice. Leave for 2 more minutes then check the rice to see if it is done by pressing a grain of rice between your finger and thumb.  It should be slightly soft on the outside but brittle and gritty inside which means it is 60% cooked. Do not overcook it. Turn off the stove and immediately drain the rice.

9. Take 1/4 tsp of saffron, crush it with the mortar and pestle, add it to warm milk, then add a blob of melted butter to it. 

10. Add 1/2 a cup of the steamed basumathi rice to the saffron mixture. Mix well and keep aside. If you want to give a colourful look add yellow food colouring to another 1/4 cup of the steamed rice to sprinkle on the top layer (optional). Keep aside.

11. Now remove the chicken pieces from the sauce. Transfer half the sauce to the roaster.

12. Add a layer of rice over the sauce followed by a few chicken pieces , a little chopped cilantro and a few whole mint leaves.

13. Repeat another layer in the same manner using up all the rice and sauce.

14. Finally top it with the saffron rice layer. Sprinkle yellow coloured rice on top followed by cilantro and mint.

15. Steam in a preheated oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 - 15 minutes. 

16. Remove from oven when done. Mix the biryani gently before serving. Enjoy with yoghurt chutney.

Alternatively if you cannot barbecue the chicken, you may grill or bake it in the oven for 30 minutes then turn the heat off and smoke the chicken while in the oven. To do this place a burning charcoal with the help of tongs in a tinfoil bowl and add a blob of ghee to it. When it starts to smoke immediately place it in the roaster in between the chicken pieces and close the lid. Leave it for sometime to smoke. This gives the chicken the smoky barbecue flavour.  Then follow the rest of the recipe from step 5.




Sunday, May 29, 2016

Dal Zucchini

I love this dal for its amazing flavour. This is more or less like a lentil (dal) curry with zucchini slices cooked till just tender and then to give a unique taste it is flavoured with black seeds and cumin seeds. So nutritious and comforting to eat with rotis or rice. 



Ingredients:

1 Zucchini 
 1/2 cup Moong Dal (Yellow lentils) 
1/2 Tsp Tomato paste
2 Tbs Chopped onions 
1 Tsp Ginger garlic paste 
1 Small Dried red chilli
2 Small Green chillies whole 
1/2 Tsp Black seeds 
1/2 Tsp Cumin seeds 
 1Tbs Cilantro chopped 
1/4 Tsp Turmeric powder 
 1Tbs Canola oil 
Salt to taste

Method:

1. Wash and soak the moong dal for 10 minutes. Slice the zucchini, chop the onions, grind ginger garlic paste and keep everything ready.

2. Heat the oil in a sauce pan. Add the dried red chilli, black seeds, cumin seeds followed by chopped onions.

3. When the onions start turning slightly golden add the turmeric, ginger garlic paste and the moong dal after draining it.

4. Roast the moong dal till it no longer sticks to the pan.

5. Throw in the zucchini slices, gently turn them over with the dal and roast them too a bit.

6. Now pour in 2 cups of water, salt and whole green chillies.

7. Turn the heat to medium and cook till just done. The dal should be of pouring consistency - soft but not mushy and the zucchini not overdone either.

8. Add chopped cilantro, and serve hot with rice or parantas. You may add boiled eggs if you want, but slit them before adding them. Enjoy!


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Buttery Garlic Shrimp

I ate these juicy buttery shrimps at this sea-food restaurant called Rayan in Ottawa and fell in love with them at first sight. Earlier I could not digest the fact of eating shrimps with their shell on, but I had to change my mind. I tried cooking them at home and they turned out just exactly the same as the restaurant style.  The best thing of all is that you can cook them in 3- 5 minutes. I have made this dish with jumbo tiger shrimps earlier, but these wild red shrimps from Costco are even better. I used pink salt for this recipe for its mild flavour, but you could just use normal salt. Here's the recipe:


Ingredients:
Wild Red Uncooked Shrimp (big size) - 6 
Pink salt as required
1 Garlic Clove (large)
1 tsp Ground Black Pepper
1 tsp Parsley chopped
2 - 3 tbs Butter 

Method:
1. Clean wash and drain the shrimp. They already come deveined with the shell on. So just trim the legs and do not remove the shell.

2. Melt butter on medium heat in a wok. Stir fry chopped garlic in butter till it leaves an aroma.

3. Toss in the shrimps, sprinkle pink salt and ground black pepper.

4. Turn over and cook for 3-5 mins till they turn opaque and start curling.

5. Add chopped parsley, toss and remove quickly. Do not over cook them as they will become tough and rubbery.

6. Serve hot with vegetable fried rice and enjoy!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Saffron Flavoured Salmon

Ingredients: 
Salmon filets - 2 
Onions - 1 large sliced
Tomatoes - 1 small
Garlic cloves - 2 
Fresh thai red chilly - 1 chopped
Cilantro - 1 tbs chopped
Saffron - a pinch
Olive oil - 2 tbs
Turmeric - 1/4 tsp
Black pepper - to sprinkle
Paprika - 1/2 tsp
Lime juice - 1 tbs
Salt - to taste 

Method:
1. Clean, wash the salmon filets and towel dry them. Rub salt and leave aside.
2. In a sauce pan fry the onions in 1 tbs olive oil till golden brown.
3. Add chopped garlic, turmeric, paprika, salt and black pepper followed by tomatoes. 
4. Cook till tomatoes soften a bit and then with an electric hand blender, blend all the ingredients well to get a coarse paste. Add the fresh chopped thai red chilly and cilantro. 
5. Soak and crush the saffron threads in a little warm water and add it to the onion mixture. 
6. Smear this saffron onion mixture on the salmon filets, squeeze some lime or lemon juice and leave them to marinate for 10 - 15 mins. 
7. Heat a caste iron skillet add 1 tbs olive oil and place the filets in it till the bottom gets fried and is a bit crispy. 
8. Now remove from the stove and bake in the oven pre-heated at 400 degrees celsius for just 8 minutes. 
9. Remove from the oven and serve them hot with lemon wedges and a nutritious salad. I served it with Kale salad and sautéed black beans garnished with chopped cilantro. 
10. Do not over bake the salmon. It should be just done, which means crispy on the outside and juicy inside. Mine was perfectly done in just 8 minutes.


For the sautéed black beans: 
1.Boil 1/2 cup of black beans (soaked overnight) in a pot till soft. They should be al dente and not mushy. Or use canned beans instead. Keep aside. 
2. Heat 1/2 a tsp of vegetable oil in a sauce pan. Throw in 1/4 tsp of black mustard seeds and as soon as they start spluttering add 1/2 tsp chopped garlic followed by half a small chopped onion and fry till translucent. 
3. Add the cooked black beans to the pan and sauté with the onions. Give it a stir and remove from the stove. Drizzle some fresh squeezed lemon juice and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Jerk chicken meal


I have never tried jerk chicken from scratch, but always used either the dry jerk spices or the paste. I prefer the Grace jerk ground paste better than any other brand and I add some soya sauce, honey garlic barbeque sauce and ketchup to tone down the heat a bit and make it tangy and sweet.

Ingredients: 
Chicken drumsticks - 6
Grace jerk ground paste - 2 tbs
Honey garlic sauce - 2 tbs
Ketchup - 1 tbs
Soy sauce - 2 tsp
Vegetabl oil for deep frying - 1 cup

Method:
1. De-skin, clean and wash the drumsticks and drain them in a colander or dry with a tea towel,
2. Rub them with the jerk paste and steam in a pot with just a little water till they are cooked.  Allow them to cool.
3. Heat oil in a suace pan and deep fry the drumsticks on medium heat  Drain on wire rack and set aside .Do not throw away the left over juices from the steamed chicken.
4. In a small bowl mix together the soy sauce, the honey garlic sauce and the ketchup. Add this to the left over juices from the steamed chicken with a table spoon of hot oil (use the oil in which the chcken was fried).  Mix everything together on low heat.
5. Now throw in the fried chicken drumsticks and toss them in the sauce till it coats the drumsticks well and they get a glazed look.
6. Serve with steamed veggies of your choice. I served them with steamed beans and  corn wihch I cooked in the microwave. Enjoy your jerk chicken with the veggies!

Tips: 
1. For steaming the corn just place it with the husk in the microwave for 4-5 mins on power 10. It tastes so good, much better than boiling it in water. So quick and easy as well as delicious!

2. As for  the beans I sensor cook them in the microwave for 2 - 3 mins, then toss them in the pan with some butter and olive oil, dried red chillies, slivered almonds, salt and pepper, stir fry them on medium heat till they are just rightly done and serve.

Friday, November 13, 2015

My Canadian Thali


"Thali" literally means a plate and in India it is used to serve a variety of dishes, so the meal itself is referred to as a "Thali" such as a vegetarian thali, a fish thali etc........

I enjoyed eating "Thalis" in India. It is so exciting to wait for the "Thali" to be served at a restaurant and interesting to see the different kinds of vegetables, lentils, chutneys, pickles, breads served in little bowls placed in a big round plate or platter. I wanted to create my Canadian Thali similar to something like this, but filled with dishes that suit the canadian taste.

For the Cranberry sauce I followed Ree Drummond's recipe (the Pioneer Woman) and it was so delicious! She uses maple syrup, orange juice and orange zest which is a great combination of flavours.

My Canadian Thali has the following:

1. Naan (brushed with olive oil and toasted in the oven).

2. Zucchini (cut into 3 inch pieces, sprinkled with salt, pepper, basil and olive oil and baked in the oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for 15 - 20 mins or till done).

5. Pan fried Baby Veal (recipe will follow)

6. Butternut squash (cut into half, seeds scooped out, brushed with some melted butter and baked in the oven till it is done, that is when it turns a little brown and starts leaving an aroma)

7. Prepare all the above dishes, place them on a plate side by side and enjoy with toasted Naan. 

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Zucchini Papaya Salad


Ingredients: 
1 Cup Light green zucchini
1 Cup Papaya (not so ripe)
4 Tbs Peanuts crushed
1 Tbs Sesame seeds

Lemon dressing:
1 Tbs Lemon juice
1 Tbs Olive oil
1/4 Tsp Sesame oil
1/2 Tsp Dijon mustard
Salt and Pepper as required

Method:
1. Peel the Zucchini and Papaya. Wash and towel dry. Grate into thin long strips or julienes.

2. Dry roast the peanuts and sesame seeds.

3. Mix all the dressing ingredients and whisk well till it emulsifies and thickens.

4. Pour the dressing over the grated zucchini and papaya.

5. Top with roasted peanuts and sesame seeds.

6. Enjoy.



Friday, August 21, 2015

Apple grape salad



A refreshing salad for lunch or dinner as a snack or a side dish in summer.  This is a very simple salad to make from the fruits you have at home, especially when you are pressed for time and your imagination has deserted you. Cut up an apple or pear, some grapes or berries and throw them in together with a handful of spring mix, garnish with some chopped walnuts, drizzle some dressing on top and voila your salad is ready in no time! You may any dressing of your choice. I also use lemon poppy seed dressing sometimes.

Here's the recipe:

Ingredients:

Green apple - 1
Red grapes  -  1/2 cup
Spring mix -   1 cup
Walnuts      -   1tbs

For the lemon dijon dressing:

Lemon juice (fresh) - 1 tbs
Dijon mustard - 1tsp
Brown sugar   -  a pinch
Olive oil          - 1tbs
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Wash, peel and thinly slice the green apple. Deseed and cut in half the red grapes.
2. Layer the spring mix on a plate, then throw in the apple slices followed by the grapes on top.
3. Mix together all the dressing ingredients in a bottle and shake well to blend.
4. Sprinkle chopped walnuts and drizzle the dressing on top.
5. The salad is now ready to be served. Enjoy!