Monday, 31 March 2014

Roghni Naan



Naan is a famous bread from the northern part of Pakistan. Its a yeast dough baked in the tandoor oven. Tandoor is a round clay oven and the sides are used to bake the bread on. It has a very high temperature which gives naan its crisp outside and soft cotton like inside. There are many varieties of naan from plain to stuffed to buttery ones. This recipe is on roghni naans. Roghni literally means 'with butter or ghee'.
These naans used to be for special occasions like weddings, eids etc but now a days eaten at any time you want.



Ingredients


Flour                                     4+1 cup
Yeast                                    3/4 tbsp
Yogurt                                  3 tbsp
Milk                                      2 cup
Sugar                                    4 tsp
Salt                                       2 tsp
Baking Soda                         2 tsp
Butter                                   4-5 tbsp
Yogurt                                  1 tbsp mixed with 1 tbsp of water for the glaze
Sesame Seeds                       1/2 cup


Method



  1. In half a cup of warm milk, add sugar and yeast. Let stand till frothy approximately five mins. Add remaining milk to it.
  2. In a large enough bowl, add 4 cups of flour, salt, baking powder, oil and yogurt.
  3. Pour in the yeast mixture and knead the dough. Add more flour from remaining 1 cup if required. I almost used 3/4 cups. Knead for almost 5-8 minutes till the dough is smooth and comes into one mass.
  4. Pour a tbsp of oil in another bowl and swirl it around to coat the sides.
  5. Put the dough ball in the greased bowl, flip it once to cover all sides. Cover the bowl with a wet towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 90-120 minutes.
  6. Punch down the dough to release the air and divide into 8-10 balls.
  7. Cover with a wet cloth and let rest for another 40-45 minutes till balls are almost double in size.
  8. Preheat the oven at 500 for at least 30 minutes.
  9. Take a dough balls and flatten it by using your hands into  1/3 inch thickness.
  10. Wet your fingers and make deep indents in the middle of the disk leaving 1/2 inch along the edges. Flip to 90 degrees and make indents again. 
  11. Brush with the water and yogurt mix and sprinkle sesame seeds generously.
    1. If using pizza stone in the oven, using the paddle or back side of cookie sheet slide the naan on pizza stone and bake for 4-6 minutes.
    2. If using a cookie sheet, sprinkle some corn meal or semolina on your cookie sheet and put the naan on top. (it prevents the naan fro sticking to the pan). Bake for 5-8 minutes till nice golden brown on top. You may need to rotate the pan to cook in evenly.
  12. Take out of the oven and brush with some butter on top.
Serve hot with any curry, qorma, daal etc.

Friday, 28 March 2014

Farfalle with Chicken In Rose Sauce




Pasta is something not cooked very often in my kitchen but I can say this is my favourite way of eating it. Tender pieces of chicken cooked in creamy, rich rose sauce served on pretty bow-tie pasta. My kids call it butter chicken pasta :)
Here is how the recipe goes.

Ingredients


Farfalle                        1 pack 450 gms
Chicken                       2 breasts sliced
Onion                          2 tbsp chopped
Garlic                          2 cloves minced
Tomato                       1 can crushed and strained
Olive Oil                      3+3 tbsp
Cream                         1.5 cups
Cream Cheese             1 tbsp
Salt                              to taste
Sugar                           1 tbsp
Black pepper                1/2 tsp
Crushed chili pepper     2 pinches
Oregano                       1 pinch
Thyme                          1 pinch

Method



  1. Heat 3 tbsp of olive oil in a sauce pan. Add onion and fry till translucent.
  2. Add minced garlic and crushed red chili flakes and fry another minute.
  3. Pour in the can of crushed tomatoes, thyme and oregano. Lower the heat once it comes to a boil. Cook for 30-40 minutes till thick.
  4. Add salt, pepper and sugar and taste at this stage.
  5. In another frying pan add remaining 3 tbsp of olive oil and add chicken. Sprinkle a dash of salt and fry till chicken is cooked through. Add the cream and cream cheese to the chicken. Once it comes to boil, lower the heat and pour a cup and half of tomato sauce. Bring it to a boil until a bit thick. Consistency should be of hot custard.
  6. Boil farfalle according to the package instructions. Drain and put in the chicken pan. Mix well and serve hot.


Note:

For a more fine version of the sauce, Strain the tomato sauce before adding to the chicken.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Mince Filled Naan/Qeema Naan



Ingredients


Mince Filling


Mince                                         2 lbs Lean
Onions                                        2 chopped
Garlic                                          6 cloves
Ginger                                         1.5 inch pc
Green chili                                   3 +3
Oil                                              3-4 tbsp
Salt                                             1.5 tsp or to taste
Cinnamon stick                           2 inch pc
Black pepper corn                      1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds                          1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds                               1 tsp
Coriander powder                      1 tsp
Red chili flakes                           1 tsp
Turmeric powder                       1/2 tsp
Almond powder/ Almond butter 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves for garnish


  • In a mortar and pestle, crush ginger, garlic, black pepper corns and three green chilies.
  • Heat oil in a pan and add onions, fry for a few mins till soft but don't brown them.
  • Add ginger/garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, cumin seeds, coriander powder+seeds and salt. Fry till spices are fragrant about a min or two.
  • Add mince and break it into pieces with spoon quickly before it changes color.
  • Fry mince in onion and spice mix till no moisture is left and no pink bits are left.
  • Stir in the almond butter and chopped coriander right before taking it off the heat.
  • Let it come to room temperature before filling in naan dough.


Dough Ingredients


Flour                                    4+1 cup
Yeast                                   3/4 tbsp
Yogurt                                 3 tbsp
Milk                                     1 cup
Water                                  1 cup
Sugar                                   4 tsp
Salt                                      2 tsp
Baking Soda                        2 tsp
Oil/ghee                               2 tbsp
Yogurt                                 1 tbsp mixed with 1 tbsp of water for the glaze

Method



  • In half a cup of warm water, add sugar and yeast. Let stand till frothy approximately five mins. Add remaining water and milk to it.
  • In a large enough bowl, add 4 cups of flour, salt, baking powder, oil and yogurt.
  • Pour in the yeast mixture and knead the dough. Add more flour from remaining 1 cup if required. I almost used 3/4 cups. Knead for almost 5-8 minutes till the dough is smooth and comes into one mass.
  • Pour a tbsp of oil in another bowl and swirl it around to coat the sides.
  • Put the dough ball in the greased bowl, flip it once to cover all sides. Cover the bowl with a wet towel or plastic wrap. Let the dough rest for 30-40 minutes.


Assembling The Naan



  • Divide the dough in 10 equal pieces and form into balls.
  • Flatten the dough balls into discs the size of your palm.
  • Add generous amount of mince filling around 3/4 cups and pinch the edges well to seal it from all sides.
  • Heat the oven at 500 for 30-45 minutes. I use a pizza stone to make my naans. You can use a cookie sheet if you don't have one.
  • Let the filled balls rest for 15 minutes.
  • Using a light dusting of flour, flatten the discs using your hands not the rolling pin till naan is half and inch thick.
  • Brush with yogurt/water mixture and sprinkle sesame seeds.
  • Bake till nice golden brown around 5-7 minutes.
  • Take out and brush with some butter. Serve with plain yogurt or green mint chutney.

Note:

You can choose your choice of meat like chicken, mutton or beef.
Preheating of the oven is crucial so make sure it is on for at least 35-45 minutes at the highest setting possible.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Honey Comb Bread



A beautiful looking bread which is soft like cotton and cheese filling makes it irresistible. Can be served with jam, jellies, honey or maple syrup. A perfect lunch box item which is mess free. Kids love to pull the buns apart.

Ingredients


Flour                                         4-5 cups
Milk                                          1 1/2 cup
Water                                        1/4 cup
Yeast                                        3/4 tbsp
Salt                                           1/4 tsp
Sugar                                        4 tbsp
Butter                                       1/3 cup + 2 tsp
Oil                                            1 tsp
Egg                                           1 + 2 yolks
Sesame seeds/ Black seeds       2 tbsp (optional)
Cream cheese                           8 oz block

Method



  1. In a cup, pour warm water and add sugar and yeast. Let stand for 10 minutes till all frothy and foamy.
  2. In the mean time, mix salt and flour and keep aside.
  3. Melt the butter and add milk followed by the egg and pour in the yeast mix.
  4. Take four cups of flour and pour in the liquid. Knead the dough to a very smooth and soft consistency for about 10 mins. Add more flour if needed.
  5. Add 1 tsp of oil in a big bowl and coat all the sides.
  6. Make a ball of the dough and put in the oiled bowl. Flip the ball over to coat with oil from all sides. Cover with a plastic wrap and leave in a warm place like inside of your oven or on top of the fridge for 2 hours.
  7. Preheat the oven at 350 and start preparing your buns.
  8. After two hours, dough should be double in size. Punch it down to release all the air.
  9. Cut it in half and then quarters and then every quarter into 12 pieces.
  10. Cut cheese block into 1/2 tsp cubes.
  11. Grease two nine inches pans with 2 tsp spoon of butter.
  12. Flatten a piece of dough into a disc and put in a piece of cheese and pinch all the seems down to close it really well and form a ball. Put it in the prepared pan.
  13. Repeat the same process with remaining 47 balls and arrange them in baking pans in a honey comb pattern.
  14. Beat the egg yolks and brush on top of the buns. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top.
  15. Bake till golden brown on top around 25-30 mins.


Note:

Kneading takes time so don't hurry. If not kneaded properly you wont get soft buns.
You can skip sesame seeds or replace them with back seeds according to your preference.
Serve with honey or maple syrup for a sweet touch.

Friday, 21 March 2014

Chicken with Cashews



Chicken with cashews is a very healthy dish since it has protein, vegetables and nuts.


Ingredients


Boneless chicken                                3 cups cut in thin strips
Red pepper                                        1/2 cup slices or squares
Mushrooms                                        1/2 cup slices or squares
Carrots                                              1/2 cup slices or squares
Green pepper                                     1/2 cup slices or squares
Oyster Sauce                                      2 tbsp
Soy sauce                                          1 tsp
Corn flour                                           1 tbsp
Salt                                                     to taste
Black pepper                                      1/4 tsp
Cashews                                             20-25 pcs (Roasted or fried, your choice)
Oil                                                      3 tbsp

Method



  1. Dissolve Corn flour, oyster sauce and soy sauce in half a cup of water and keep aside.
  2. Heat a wok on high till smoking. Add the oil and quickly swirl around to coat it with oil all over and immediately add chicken.
  3. Stir fry chicken for 3-4 four minutes and add vegetables. Cook for another 2-3 minutes. Sprinkle salt and pepper and mix well.
  4. Pour in half a cup of water/stock and let come to a boil.
  5. Add the corn flour mixture, mixing continuously to avoid lumps and bring to a boil. Cook for another 2-4 minutes. Take off the heat and add cashews. Serve immediately with steamed or fried rice.


Note:
Salt content varies in different brands of oyster and soy sauce so keep in mind before you add salt to the dish.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Spicy Baked Chicken


Chicken drumsticks and thighs are very kid friendly as according to my honey bunches it have handles :)
Its spicy and tangy pieces of succulent chicken are irresistible. Its another quick cooking meal where your preparation time is barely 10 minutes. I wish you could hear the crispy skin sounds through the pictures.

Ingredients


Chicken legs quarters                         4 skin on
Salt                                                   1 tsp
Cumin powder                                  1 tbsp
Smoked Paprika                               1 tbsp
Brown sugar                                     1/2 tsp
Crushed red chili                               1 tsp
All spice                                            1/4 tsp
Raw Mango powder                         2 tsp

Method



  1. Put all the spices in a bowl and mix them well.
  2. Coat chicken pieces with the spice rub and massage it.
  3. Preheat oven at 375.
  4. Put the chicken pieces on a rack in baking tray.
  5. Bake the chicken for 50-60 mins until skin is crisp and golden.
  6. Serve the chicken with brown rice or a green salad.

#succulentchicken #spicychicken

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Shakshouka



Shakshouka is a breakfast dish from Tunisia although it is made in many other countries and equally claimed to be theirs. Use of tomatoes makes it very fresh to the palate. Traditionally no green chilies are used. Since I like spicy food I used them but its totally up to your preference. There can be many variations to it like the addition of garlic, parsley, cilantro, artichokes etc. This is how I like my shakshouka.

Ingredients


Eggs                                     2
Tomato                                1
Onion                                  2 tbsp
Butter                                  1 tbsp
Salt                                      to taste
Cumin Powder                     1/2 tsp
Black pepper                       2 pinches
Red chili powder                  1/6 tsp optional
Green chili                            1 sliced (optional)

Method


Heat the butter in a frying pan. Add chopped onion and fry for a min just to soften them up a bit.
Add chopped tomato, salt, pepper, cumin powder, red chili powder and green chili. Stir well to mix the spices.
Make two indents in onion tomato mix and break the egg in each. Put the lid on and cook for 1 minute on low heat for soft yolk or 2 minutes for fully cooked yolk.
Sprinkle some black pepper and sea salt on top and serve with pita/rye bread.

Note:
You can use olive oil instead of butter.

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Sweet Jaggery Rice


Jaggery is raw sugar obtained from cooking sugar cane juice. It has a very distinctive sweet flavour and aroma to it. This sweet rice comes from the land of Punjab where sugar is grown in abundance and is the major source for producing sugar. Here is how the recipe goes:

Ingredients

Basmati Rice                 1 cup
Jaggery                         1 cup
Salt                               1 pinch
Butter                           3 tbsp
Water                           1/4 cup
Cardamom                    4
Almonds                       12
Aniseed                         1/4 tsp
Raisins                          12 Optional
Milk                              1/4 cup

Method


  1. Wash the rice till water runs clear. Soak for at least 1 hour.
  2. Pour hot water over the almonds. Leave for 30 minutes and then take the peel off. Slit from the middle.
  3. Put 1/4 cup of water in a pot and add jaggery and aniseeds to it. Stir it often to prevent burning. Add 1/4 cup of milk and cook till its syrupy. If any foam forms on top, using a spoon , discard it.
  4. Put 4 cups of water in a pot. Add salt and bring it to boil.
  5. Add the rice and cook till 3/4 way done. Drain and keep aside.
  6. Melt butter in the same pot and add cracked green cardamoms. Heat for 20 seconds. 
  7. Pour the syrup over. Add the rice and gently coat them in syrup.
  8. Put the almonds and dry all the extra moisture by increasing the flame.
  9. Once there is no moisture, add raisins if using.
  10. Lower the heat to slowest and cover with a tight fitting lid. Let the rice steam for 15 minutes.
  11. Fluff them with a folk and serve with cream or yogurt.


Note:
Sometimes jaggery has impurities in it so pour the syrup from top leaving the impurities at the bottom.
Use the finest quality basmati rice for best results.
Double or triple the recipe for more servings.
Jaggery normally comes in lumps so you can use a measuring scale to weigh the rice and jaggery or grate jaggery before measuring with a cup.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Coconut Chicken Curry



This curry was on my to do list for a long time but some how just getting delayed.
Chicken curry in coconut and poppy seeds gravy. All I can say is its lip smacking good, spicy but not too hot as coconut balances the heat very well.

Ingredients

Ingredients 1

Chicken                        1 2-3 lbs
Oil                                1/3 cup
Onion                            1
Garlic                            1 head
Ginger                           1 inch
Green chili                     2
Salt                               to taste

Ingredients 2

Poppy Seeds                       1 tbsp
Coconut                              1/2 cup finely grated
Cumin seeds                        1 tsp
Coriander seeds                  1 tsp
Cinnamon                            1 inch
Green Cardamom                4
Cloves                                 6
Red whole chilies                 4-6
Turmeric                             1/2 tsp
Paprika                               1 tsp


Method

  1. Grind ginger, garlic and green chillies into a paste.
  2. Chop onion very finely or grate it.
  3. From ingredients 2, dry roast all the spices except last three.
  4. Once roasted, grind them to a very fine paste. Poppy seeds are a little hard to grind so start with them then add coconut followed by remaining spices. You can add a little bit of water if required.
  5. Heat the oil in a pan on medium and add onion. Fry till edges start browning.
  6. Add the chicken and ginger/garlic paste., sprinkle the salt and fry for a couple of minutes. 
  7. Add in the all ingredients from 'ingredients 2'.
  8. Lower the heat and fry till every thing is fragrant and chicken has browned a bit.
  9. Add 1-2 cups of water and cover. Cook till chicken is tender.
  10. You can adjust the amount of gravy in the curry. If serving with rice, keep it a little soupy or dry it out if serving with naan/roti.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast


Anything stuffed with cheese gives an instant festive feel to the table as well as the palette. What could be a better choice than cheese and that too flavoured with herb and garlic. These succulent juicy morsels of chicken with oozing cheese is enough to drool any one. Pic definitely does not do justice to the immense flavour. It needs a bit of preparation time but the taste is well worth the effort.

Ingredients


Chicken breast                                          2
Mozzarella cheese                                     1/3 cup
Cream cheese                                           2 tbsp
Garlic clove                                               1 grated
Thyme                                                       1/4 tsp
Oregano                                                    1/4 tsp
Salt                                                            to sprinkle on chicken
Black pepper                                             1/2 tsp freshly ground
Flour                                                          1/2 cup + 1/2 tsp of salt + 1/4 tsp of cayenne
Oil                                                              for frying

Method

Put the chicken breast flat on a cutting board. Use a long sharp knife. Put you left hand on the chicken and using a saw motion, slice through the meat leaving the other end intact. It is as if you are opening the breast by cutting it in half and then opening it up. This process is called butterflying.
Sprinkle salt and pepper on both sides.
Mix herbs, garlic, cream cheese and mozzarella cheese. Divide into two and shape each into a log.
Put each log into the butterflied chicken and roll it like a cigar. You can use a twine or a tooth pick to close the ends.
Heat around 1 inch of oil in the pan on medium heat.
Dip the chicken into flour mix and put in the pan.
Fry till nice and golden on one side, flip and brown all sides. Cooking time will vary on the size and the thickness of the chicken roll. You can use a thermometer to check if the chicken is done. Reading on the thermometer should be 165 F.
Once done, take out in a plate and cover with aluminium. Let rest for five minutes before slicing.
I served it with fresh garden salad. You can serve it with french fries, brown rice, mash potatoes, steamed veg etc.


Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Okra fry/ Bhindi Piyaaz

Ingredients

Okra                                         1 lbs cut in 1 inch pieces
Onion                                        1 large or 2 medium
Green chilli                                 2-3
Tomato                                     1 big cut in cubes
Salt                                           2/3 tsp or to taste
Turmeric                                   1/4 tsp
Garam masala                           1/2 tsp
Cumin powder                          1/2 tsp
Fresh lemon juice                      1 tbsp
Oil                                            4 tbsp
Red chiili powder                      1/2 tsp or to taste


Method

Sprinkle half salt n turmeric on okra pieces n leave for 10 mins.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan on medium high and fry okra until u see it changing color n getting dry for about 5-8 mins.
Take out the okra and add remaining oil and fry sliced onions till translucent.
Take the onions out of the pan and add chopped tomatoes and spices. Fry for about 2 mins just to toast the spices. Add okra and coat it with spices well, cover and cook for 5 mins.
Add onions n chopped green chilli, cover for another 4-5 mins.
Sprinkle the lemon juice and serve.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Pasta with chicken & mushroom cream sauce



This is one meal which comes under my quick cooking days menu. Its kids friendly and I can make it in under 30 mins. It is very easy to cook but packed with flavor. You just need a handful of ingredients to put it together.

Ingredients


Pasta                                                 250 grms pack (preferably rotini or penne)
Chicken breast                                   2 cups cut in thin strips
Onion                                                2 tbsp chopped
Garlic                                                2 cloves finely chopped
Table cream 10%                              1 cup
Chicken stock                                   1 cup
Cream cheese                                   2 tbsp
Olive oil                                            1 tbsp
Crushed red chili                               1/2 tsp
Mushrooms                                      1 cup thick slice
Salt                                                   to taste

Method

Boil pasta according the package directions and keep aside.
Heat olive oil in a pan add onion and garlic. Sprinkle crushed red chilies and saute for a minute.
Add the chicken in and season with salt. Cook till chicken is opaque.
Pour the chicken stock in and let it come to a boil. Add the mushrooms. Cook for a minute.
Pour the cream. Cut cream cheese into bite site pieces and add to the sauce.
Let it come to the boil and add the pasta into the pan.
Just let the pasta reheat for a minute.
Served hot with a fresh green salad.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Chapli Kabab



Chapli kabab or chapal kabab has a very interesting name.Chapal means slippers and honestly I don't have any clue why such a delicious thing is named so bad. May be its their long oval shape and large size but still its a guess only. Don't go for the name as they are super yummy and quiet easy to make. Traditionally they were made with sheep meat and fried in sheep fat but I am making it with beef and frying is done in canola oil to make a healthier version but if you prefer by all means use sheep fat as it definitely have more authentic flavour.
Here is how the recipe goes:

Ingredients


Beef mince                                  2 lbs (10% fat)
Onion                                         2 large
Green chili                                  3-6 adjust the heat according to your preference
Coriander leaves                        1/4 cup
Tomato                                      1 chopped
Crushed red chili                        1 tbsp
Salt                                            1/2 tbsp
Turmeric                                    1/4 tsp
Cumin seeds                              1 tbsp
Coriander seeds                        1 tbsp
Dry Pomegranate                      1.5 tbsp
Corn meal                                1/4 cup fine grind
Eggs                                         2
Butter                                      1 tbsp
Oil                                           for frying

Method


Dry roast cumin and coriander seeds and crush them roughly.
Chop onions, green chili and coriander leaves very finely.
Chop tomato roughly.
Crush the pomegranate seeds with the mortar and pestle but don't make paste.
Heat the butter in a pan and scramble the eggs half way through. Don't let them cook completely as they should still be very soft.
Put mince in a bowl and add everything in it. Mix until everything is incorporated well. Ideally let rest in the fridge for 1-2 hours.
Heat an inch of oil in a heavy bottomed pan.
Make oval kababs about the size of your hand and fry on medium heat until golden and crisp on both sides.
Serve with tomato and walnut chutney and hot naans..
Note:You can also use it in buns and serve as a burger.
Slice the kababs and roll in tortillas to serve as a wrap.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Tangy Chicken Biryani



Biryani! This words makes most of the people drool. It is one of the favourite meals at our dinner table and a must at least once a week. It is so delicious and satisfying that you really don't need anything else with it. Here is the basic tangy chicken biryani for the beginners. Its spicy, tangy and finger-licking good. If you have whole spices in your pantry and basic groceries in your fridge, you can make it in under one hour. Key to having a wonderful biryani is good quality basmati rice so try to get the best available. Sign of a good biryani is every grain of rice has to be separate and that is where the beauty of basmati shines through. Basmati rice are grown in the foothills of Himalayas. Rice paddies are flooded with water as they like to drown in it. And the end result is thin, long grains of nutty rice. A good basmati rice is almost an inch long.
Plz use fresh home made ginger garlic paste as well as garam masala as it makes a remarkable difference in the end result. You can find the recipe of garam masala on the blog. Here is how I make my tangy chicken biryani.

Ingredients

Chicken                                  1 whole 2-3 lbs cut into 14 pcs
Onions                                    3 large
Garlic                                      1 whole head
Ginger                                     1 inch pc
Tomato                                   1 large or 2 medium
Green chilies                            3-4
Lemon Juice                            2 tbsp
Tamarind                                 1 tbsp
Salt                                         to taste
Red chili powder                     1-2 tsp
Turmeric                                 1/2 tsp
Cumin Powder                        1 tsp
Coriander powder                   1 tsp
Garam masala                          2 tsp
Oil                                           1/2 cup

For whole spices take the following:

Black pepper                      8-10
Cumin seeds                       1 tsp+ 1tsp
Cinnamon                           2 inch pc
Cloves                                10-12
Green Cardamom                6-8
Mace blade                         2 pcs

For the rice preparation:


Rice                                   3 cups
Salt                                    3 tsp
Cumin seeds                       1 tsp
Vinegar                               1 tbsp
Butter                                 2 tbsp
Rose water                         1 tbsp
Milk                                   1/2 cup
Saffron                               1 big pinch
Water                                 to boil rice

Method

Wash the rice really well  until the water runs clear and then soak for at least an hour or uptill 4 hours.
Soak the tamarind in hot water for 10 mins. Using your fingers, rub the tamarind and then starin to get the pulp.
Slice the onions thinly.
Put tomato, green chili, ginger and garlic in a blender and make a smooth paste by adding 1/4 cup of water.
Heat the oil in a heavy bottom wide pan. Add the whole spices reserving 1 tsp of cumin seeds, when the start crackling add sliced onions.
Cook the onion on medium high till the edges start browning. Put the chicken in the pan and fry till the chicken changes colour. Add the powdered spices and ginger garlic paste. Mix well and cover the pot. Lower the heat and cook for 5-8 minutes.
Increase the heat to high and bhunofy/brown the masala till oil separates from the chicken.
Pour the lemon juice and tamarind pulp and mix. After one minute turn the heat off.
Put another pot containing 15 cups of water to boil when you add the chicken to the masala.
Add salt, vinegar and cumin seeds to the water. When water start boiling, add the drained rice.
Cook the rice till 3/4 way done. Drain.
Now start layering he biryani. Put some of the oil from chicken gravy at the bottom of the pot and sprinkle the remaining 1 tsp of cumin seeds.
Add around 3/4 of the rice on the bottom. Pour the chicken gravy on top covering almost all the rice.
In another cup warm the milk and add saffron and rose water to it. Add this milk to the remaining 1/3 of the rice. Layer the milk saffron rice on top.
Using the back of a wooden spoon, poke a few holes for the steam to escape. Put the pot on the lowest setting of your stove. Cover with a tight fitting lid and let the rice steam for at least 25-30 mins.
When you can see the steam coming from the edges of lid. turn the heat off.
Fluff the rice with a flat slotted spoon using very gentle moves.
Serve hot with plain yogurt or green mint chutney.

Note:
You can make it completely dairy free by replacing milk with coconut or almond milk.
Heat of the biryani depends on your tolerance to increase or decrease the amount of chilies to adjust.

Eggplant Dip/ Baingan Bharta



One of healthiest dips with minimal fat content. A great addition to the menu for people trying to loose or control their weight. It taste great with carrot, cucumber and celery stick for the low carb or you can use bread, roti, pulao, or tortilla chips.  My mother used to roast it on open flame to get the smokey flavour. If you can do that its ideal or you can use the broiler in first 8-10 minutes and then turn the bake option on.

Ingredients


Eggplant                                           1 big or 3 medium
Red onion                                         1/4 chopped
Garlic                                               1 clove grated/mashed
Tomato                                            1 seeds removed and chopped
Jalapeno                                           1/4 chopped finely Optional
Olive oil                                            2 tsp
Salt                                                  to taste
Cumin powder                                  1/2 tsp
Black pepper powder                         1/4 tsp
Cilantro                                            1 handful
Smoked paprika                                2 pinches

Method

Preheat the oven at 400 Fahrenheit.
Wash the egg plant and wrap in the aluminium foil.
Bake for 45-60 minutes until tender.
After it has cooled remove the skin and mash it up.
Heat the oil in a pan and add onion and saute for a minute.
Add the mashed eggplant and garlic and saute for another minute.
Take it off the heat and season with salt, pepper and cumin.
Put chopped tomatoes, jalapeno and cilantro.
Put in the serving bowl and garnish with more olive oil and paprika.


Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Russian Salad



This salad can be a meal on its own since it contains vegetables, fruits, nuts, meat and pasta. Its a beautiful combination of sweet and sour flavours as well as texture contrast.
Here is how the recipe goes:

Ingredients


Macaroni pasta                                      2 cup (boiled as per package instructions)
Potato                                                    1 large boiled and cubed
Peas                                                      1/2 cup
Carrots                                                  1/2 cup
Apple                                                    1
Grapes                                                  1/2 cup
Pineapple                                               1/2 cup
Walnuts                                                 1/2 cup
Chicken                                                 1 whole breast

Dressing Ingredients


Mayonnaise                                            3/4 cup
Lemon Juice                                           2 tbsp
Sugar                                                     1 tbsp
Salt                                                        1/2 tsp
Black pepper                                          1/4 tsp
Honey Mustard                                       1 tbsp
Sour Cream                                            1/4 cup

Method

Mix all the dressing ingredients in a large bowl and keep aside.
Chop the carrots in 1/2 cm cubes and steam them for around 5 minutes. they should still have some crunch to them.
Steam the peas till bright green in color.
Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the chicken breast and bake at 400 for 15-18 minutes. Alternatively, you can boil chicken breast. Cut into 1 cm cubes.
Peel and cut apple and pineapple  into 1 cm cubes as well.
Cut grapes in half.
Boil the macaroni according to the package instructions. Once you drain the macaroni, pass it under cold water.
Add all the above ingredients into the dressing bowl and mix well to coat everything with it. Add chopped walnuts on top.
Serve Chilled.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Lamb Trotter Soup / Paya Curry





Lamb trotters are a very common way to make soup specially in winter. Traditionally it is served with naan or even steamed rice. My mother always said, it keeps the cold and flu away. Its a little fatty since there is a lot of bones and bones have marrow but its delicious and heart warming on cold windy days.

Ingredients


Lamb trotters                                     4 (cut in half and then slit between the toes)
Onion                                                1 thinly sliced
Garlic                                                2 heads (make the paste)
Ginger paste                                      1 tsp
Tomato                                             2 peeled and chopped
Salt                                                   1.5 tsp or to taste
Red chili powder                               1/2 tsp
Turmeric                                           1/2 tsp
Coriander powder                            1 tbsp
Cumin powder                                  1 tsp
Cinnamon stick                                 1 inch piece
Cloves                                              5
Black Cardamom                             1 slit in half
Garam masala                                  1 tsp
Cilantro leaves                                  1/2 cup
Green chili                                         2
Oil                                                    5 tbsp

Method

Heat the oil in a pan and add sliced onions. Fry the onions till golden brown. Take the onions out and spread them on a paper towel and let them get crisp.
In the same oil, add the trotters. Fry them for a couple of minutes and put the garlic paste.
Add the tomatoes, ginger paste and all the spices leaving garam masala and cilantro leaves.
Keep frying the trotters till every thing has browned nicely and oil separates from it leaving the spices and ginger garlic paste sticking to the trotters.
Pour enough water to cover the meat around 8-10 cups. Let it come to a boil and then lower the heat to a simmer.
Let it cook for 2.5-3.5 hours.
Turn the heat off when the meat is falling off the bone. (You may need to add more water to adjust the consistency of the soup and taste for the salt and adjust it according to your taste)
Put the crisp onions in and stir. Sprinkle garama masala powder and cilantro leaves.
Serve hot with naan or boiled rice.

Note:
Some people prefer making it without tomatoes but i like because tartness of tomatoes cut through the fatty soup really well and complements the flavour. You can skip it if you like.