Monday, 22 September 2014

Herbed Cucumber and Orange Juice--Cool and Healthy

Well, I thought my Eggless Orange and Cranberry Cake would be the last post on my blog before embarking on my India trip but after experimenting with this insanely simple mocktail, I could not stop myself from sharing it with my blog friends. It is cool, it is refreshing, and it is super healthy. It can be considered as a cross between a dessert and a salad and perfectly manages to quench your sweet cravings after any meal. 

1 big cucumber
3/4 cup fresh/canned orange juice (I used no sugar canned juice and added a little less than 1 cup as per my taste)
1 tsp honey (or as per your taste)
1 tsp dried oregano
You can add crushed mint leaves for added flavor (I did not have at hand)
A pinch of salt

Wash and cut the ends of the cucumber and scrub the open edges with them. Peel and cut the cucumber horizontally and remove the seeds. Cut the cucumber into smaller chunks and put them in a food processor or juicer. Add the orange juice and all other ingredients and pulse till smooth. You can seive the juice if you wish or directly pour it into glasses. Seiving might result in missing out on the fibrous nutrition of the juice. Cover and chill in the refrigerator till serving time. 

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Eggless Orange and Cranberry Cake with Cinnamon Sugar Crust

It was my Father-in-law's birthday last weekend and, though he stays miles away from us, I thought of baking a simple eggless cake to remember him on this day. We are going for a 2-week long India trip this week and so while the excitement of meeting family and friends is building up, the anxiety of last minute packing is also settling in. Nonetheless, I will really miss blogging and will surely try and post some recipes in between of the local food out there. I hope all of you have a blessed Durga Puja!!

11/2 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup brown sugar (regular sugar is also fine)
3/4 cup yogurt.
1/2 cup orange juice
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp of orange/lemon zest
1/3 cup dried cranberries rolled in 1 tbsp flour to avoid sinking
2 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon 

Preheat oven to 180 degree celsius. 

Take a round/bundt cake pan and grease well. Keep aside. 

Sift the flour and baking powder and keep aside.Take a separate bowl and beat oil and sugar till light and fluffy. Take yogurt in a bowl and whip it till creamy and smooth. Now add the baking soda and mix. Let it stand for 3-5 minutes till foamy and frothy. 

Add the orange/lemon zest, orange juice, and vanilla to the sugar and oil mixture and whip. Now fold in the flour and the cranberries and beat till smooth and no lumps remain. The batter will be quite thick at this point. Now gently fold in the foamy and frothy yogurt and mix in one direction till everything is well combined. Do not overmix as the trapped air might escape and you may get a flat cake. Mix the 2 tbsp brown sugar and cinnamon and keep aside. 

Pour the cake batter into the cake pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar on top evenly at all places and bake at 180C degrees / 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes.Test it in the center to check if cake is done by inserting a toothpick.

Remove from the oven and let cool before slicing.

This cake tastes even better the next day after refrigeration and slices well.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Gluten Free Crunchy Quinoa Thin Crust Pizza Base

Pizza is ideally considered as a junk food considering the ingredients that go into its making. However, modern day homemakers know exactly how to work around the ingredients and still enjoy this Italian hot favorite without compromising on the taste or the crunch. Today's pizza base is a good news for all who crave for a pizza but are either too lazy to knead the dough (like me) or too concsious about the calories (again like me). I am head-over-heels in love with Quinoa and today I got a little more crazy about this wonder grain. It is the simplest pizza base you would have ever made!! Trust me!

3/4 cup quinoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp parsley (you can use any spice mix as per your taste)
1 tsp garlic powder
Salt and pepper to taste (be careful while adding salt as the pizza sauce will also have some in it)

Wash and rinse the quinoa thoroughly 3-4 times. This is important to have a bitterless base as quinoa can sometimes turn quite bitter. Now soak the quinoa in sufficient water either overnight or at least for 5-6 hours. I soaked it in the morning for preparing in the night. 
Now again wash and rinse the soaked quinoa 3-4 times and drain the water. Transfer the quinoa into a grinder and add all other ingredients. Grind to a smooth paste and add water only as required to get it smooth. Excess water might prove difficult to get a crunchy base. 
Pre-heat the oven at 200 degree celsius on toast mode (both rods). Line a pizza pan with parchment paper and gently spray cooking oil or grease it with your hands. Now pour the batter into the prepared plate and spread out evenly to cover the entire plate. The more thinly you spread the thinner base you will get and more crunchier. However take care not to leave any gaps in between. The batter consistency will be the same as South Indian Vada batter. 
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 10-15 minutes till crunchy and golden on top. Remove from oven. You should be able to see that it is starting to curl up from the sides. Now carefully flip it without breaking and bake for another 5-10 minutes on the other side. If you feel that the base is still quite soft at the time of flipping, bake for another 5 minutes till firm and then flip. Also, adjust the temperature of the oven if you see quick browning. 
Once you pizza base is ready and baked on both the sides, spread your favorite pizza sauce and toppings as desired and bake in the oven for another 5-10 minutes till the cheese starts melting or toppings are done. Enjoy your yummy healthy pizza!

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Chilli Garlic Prawns in Lemon Butter Sauce

This appetizer is quite simple to make and is a wonderful way to kickstart your cocktail party. Easy to assemble and equally yummy to eat, it is an instant hit with guests who like to eat a little something with their drinks. 

300 gms small prawns deveined and tails removed
1 tbsp chopped garlic
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp chilli flakes or as per taste
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and clean the prawns and keep aside. Preferably, keep the prawns in a strainer to let go of excess water. 
In a pan heat the butter and just before it starts browning, add the lemon juice. Now add the garlic and fry for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell goes and turns a bit golden. Now add the prawns and sauté on medium heat till they turn pink. Add the chilli flakes, salt, and pepper and mix. If the prawns leave a lot of water, put the gas on high till most of it is dried up, for about 2-3 minutes while stirring constantly. Take care not to over fry else the prawns will be rubbery. Remove from heat and serve. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Cucumber and Avocado Dip/Spread

I am not a veggie or a salad person and sadly my baby is also turning into one. While I would really like to see her gorge on fruits and veggies like other or most babies do, I cannot blame her for her choice. However, I do love buying fresh and beautiful veggies and then come home looking for recipes which I think will satiate my taste buds. Today's recipe is one such. My cucumber and avocado were nearing their end and I had to do something meaningful with them. Luckily, there were a few recent posts on Cucumber Dip on CAL and from the basic recipe that was posted there, I decided to add my own twist. It is yummy, it is healthy, and it is filling too. Enjoy this dip with some Indian vadas, tortilla chips, or anything that you like. 

1 avocado skinned and deseeded and chopped finely
1 cucumber deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp garlic chopped (add more if you like)
1 tbsp coriander chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 medium onion chopped finely (you msy skip if you do not enjoy raw onions)
1 tsp olive oil (optional, I skipped)
10-12 roasted peanuts, skin removed
Salt, red chilli flakes and pepper to taste

Put the cucumber, avocado, peanuts, coriander, and garlic in a blender and make a smooth paste. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper and chilli flakes and pulse till smooth. The cucumber will be releasing a lot of water. You can strain the liquid and use it for making some fritters or likewise. I like my dip thick and chunky and so I strained the water completely. Now add the chopped onions and the olive oil, if using, and mix well. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator till further use. 

Monday, 15 September 2014

Eggless Torcetti or Yeasted Italian Cookies

I like to bake something new every week for my evening as well as morning tea (most importantly evening) and this week was no different. After a hectic last week and weekend with lots of gift shopping for my upcoming India trip, play dates for my baby and a barbeque party to end with, I wanted to bake something which was absolutely easy and does not take much of my time while still trying out something new. I wanted to do eggless and my Google search landed me with a interesting cookie called Torcetti from Italy. For the first time I saw a cookie with yeast and I knew I had to try this. They are believed to have come from a small mountainous town in North Western Italy. A baker wanted to use his leftover butter and so added it to his last batch of Grissini dough and rolled them in sugar and that is how they were born. The cookies are very interesting with a crunchy crust, a caramalized bottom, and a soft lemony inside. A sure ticket to heaven with your favorite cuppa! 

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour plus more while rolling
1 tsp instant dry yeast
40 gms cold butter
1/2 cup lukewarm water (45 degree celsius)
1 tsp+3 tbsp+1/4 cup fine grain brown/white sugar (I used brown)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tbsp lemon zest
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon (may require more)
3 tbsp milk for milk wash

Dissolve 1 tsp sugar and 1 tsp yeast in lukewarm water (a drop feels comfortable on the back of your wrist) and let it stand for 10 minutes or until frothy. 
In a bowl, take the flour, 3 tbsp sugar, salt and lemon zest and mix well. Cut the butter and, either using a hand mixer or with your hands, crumble the flour and butter together till it resembles bread crumbs. 
Now add the yeasty liquid and mix everything well with the hand mixer till it comes together and forms a soft yet firm dough. You may add 1-2 tbsp more flour if you find it too sticky. I added about 1 tbsp. Do not overmix. You do not need to knead it like bread dough. It just needs to  come together into a soft but smooth dough. 
Take a clingwrap and cover the dough properly. You do not need to oil it. Refrigerate the dough from 1-24 hrs. I kept it for 1 full day. The dough rises very slightly even though it has yeast in it. 
Take the dough out of the refrigerator and without bringing it to room temperature, cut into 4 blocks. Roll a dough block into a thin circle on a lightly floured surface. You may need some extra flour while rolling as it might become sticky. However, add only to remove the stickiness and do not over do it. Dust any additional flour if remaining on the dough after rolling. 

Now roll in the circle like a mat. 
Cut this rope into 3-4 equal parts and again roll them out to ropes with the to and fro movement of your hands. 
In a plate mix the 1/4 cup sugar and ground cinnamon and keep it handy. Brush the ropes with a little milk and immediatelt roll them on the sugar cinnamon mixture and bring one of the ends on top of the other to form a "tear". Place this loop/tear shaped dough on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Repeat for the rest of the dough. 
You may use extra sugar and cinnamon for rolling if you run out of it. Roll generously on the sugar mix to get a beautiful caramalized crunchy bottom. Let the cookies rest for 20 minutes while you pre-heat the oven at 175 degree celsius. Take care not to let them rest for more than 20 minutes else you may get more of bread like texture on the inside. The cookies will now look slightly puffed. 
Bake the cookies in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until golden on top. For the last 2-3 minutes, you may increase the temperature to 180 degree celsius with only the top rod to get a more golden shade. 
Cool on a wire rack completely before storing them in air- tight containers and enjoying them with your favorite cuppa!!

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Cambodian Fish Amok

On my recent trip to Cambodia, the one thing that really made my trip memorable, apart from the awesome Spa and the wonderful hospitality of the local people, was this Cambodian speciality called the Fish Amok. Simple delicate flavors of Coconut, Lemon Grass, Lime leaves, and Galangal to name a few, made into a paste and marinated with the fish and then carefully wrapped in Banana leaves takes this dish to a different level altogether. What I like best about this dish is that it is completely oil free and yet so yummy to taste. I did not have banana leaves at hand today and so had to manage with small portion-sized oven-safe bakeware to make this. While I had got the readymade spice mix for this preparation from the resort, the same is equally easy to make at home. The resort's Head Chef was kind enough to share the recipe with me. If you are not sure whether you will be getting a chance to visit Cambodia, I highly recommend to make this dish and enjoy their local cuisine from the comforts of your home!

400 gms boneless fish
5 kaffir lime leaves (I love the flavor and so added extra although it is already present in the spice paste)
1/2 cup coconut freshly grated
1/2 cup coconut milk plus a little extra while serving
4-5 whole red chillies
1 tbsp oyster sauce or fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
4 tsp Amok Spice paste
2 lemongrass stems (inner core only) grated
4 lime leaves finely shredded
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbsp grated galangal (Thai ginger root)
3 garlic cloves chopped
1 medium onion chopped
2-3 whole dry red chillies

Clean and wash the fish fillet and cut into small 1/2" chunks. Keep it in a bowl. 
Now add all the ingredients listed under the spice paste and make a smooth paste, adding little water as required. Do not add a lot of water but just enough to make a fine but not watery paste. Keep aside. 
Now make a paste with the grated coconut, whole red chillies, and lime leaves adding just a dash of water as required. 
Mix the fish with the coconut paste, 4 tsp spice paste (you may finish it off if only a little is left behind or store in a air-tight jar in the refrigetator for later use), salt, sugar, coconut milk, oyster sauce, and coat all the fish chunks evenly. 
Pre-heat the oven at 200 degree celsius. Take portion-sized ovensafe bakeware or any bakeware of your choice and transfer the fish mixture to the dish. 

Take an aluminium foil and cover the dish completely.

Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes until the fish is cooked through. Top it with some more coconut milk and serve hot with steamed rice.
Please note that this dish is best baked in banana leaves. However, I did not have any at hand and so prepared it this way. 


Friday, 12 September 2014

Indian Chicken Curry

Chicken Butter Masala was what I had initially set out to cook but having consulted 2-3 recipes, my version of the chicken butter masala was absolutely yummy indeed but did not look like one. Nevertheless, my German guests and Indians too enjoyed the chicken thoroughly and I was only pleased to see them relishing the spiciness (although very mild) with sips of water in between! 

1.5 kg chicken washed and cleaned
For marination
4 tbsp yogurt
1 tbsp red chilli paste (soak 6-7 red chillies in a little hot water and make into a paste)
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
2 tbsp oil (I used mustard oil)
Salt to taste
Ground masala (dry roast and grind the following to a fine powder)
6 cloves
4 green cardamoms
2 black cardamoms
1 tsp cumin seeds
10-12 black peppercorns
1 1/2" cinnamon stick
1/2 seed of nutmeg
For Gravy
3 medium onions finely chopped
3 big tomatoes, pureed (boil the tomatoes till soft and blend only the tomatoes, keeping the liquid aside)
1 tbsp fresh ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp cashew paste (soak the cashews and make a paste)
2 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2-1 tsp sugar
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (non-spicy)
Kasuri methi to sprinkle
Chopped green chillies (optional)
2-3 tbsp butter (use as per your choice of richness in the gravy; you may use oil instead but the richness will be missed)

Take the washed and cleaned chicken pieces in a bowl and add all the ingredients listed under marination. Mux well and coat the chicken pieces well with the marinade. Make slits on the chicken and cover and keep aside for a minimum of 1 hour to 3-4 hours. 
Pre-heat the oven at 200 degree celsius and line the chicken pieces on a baking dish or grill plate in a single layer and brush with a little oil. Do not discard the marinade. Grill the chicken in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes till browned and about 3/4th cooked. You may use only the top rod for this purpose and for quicker browning. Alternatively, you can also grill the chicken on stove top in a frying pan or grill plate with a little oil. 
Now take a big wok or kadhai and melt the butter. Add the chopped onions and fry till golden but not burnt. Now add the ginger garlic paste and fry till raw smell disappears. Next add the marinade, tomato puree, cashew paste, and all the spices and sugar except the kasuri methi. Fry till drops of oil/butter starts appearing on top. This is the most important step of the recipe. Now add the grilled chicken pieces into the masala and any juice or liquid the chicken released while grilling. Mix well while taking care not to break the chicken pieces. 
Add 1 cup of warm water (the reserved water from boiling the tomatoes) and bring it to a boil. Cover and cook till chicken is completely done. Now add the cream and kasuri methi. Check for seasoning and stir for a final time. 
Remove from heat and serve hot with pulao/naan/paratha/steamed rice. 

Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Cauliflower and Black Gram Soup with Crispy Sautéed Mushrooms

Experiments happen in the kitchen all the time and when they turn out good, they give you a great satisfaction. This week is my baby's school holiday and as such I haven't been able to do much of grocery shopping. With just a cauliflower head and some boiled Black Gram (kaala chana) at hand, I was totally at loss. Husband wanted to have only soup after an indulgent weekend and I liked the idea too but the cauliflower soups that I saw on the Internet did not seem quite appealing to me. So I set out to make my version and experiment with a new ingredient. I was quite skeptical of the results as I had never heard or tasted such a combination. However, I did not have any other option but to give it a try. The taste was superb and gives a rich creamy earthy flavor to the soup and the sauteed mushrooms only make it even more delicious!!! You must try this super healthy and delicious soup for a refreshing change from the stereotypical tried and tested ones!

1 medium cauliflower head, florets removed and washed thoroughly
1/3 cup black gram soaked overnight
1 medium onion sliced
1 tbsp garlic chopped (add more if you like or adjust later with garlic powder)
1 tsp butter (optional)
1/4 cup skim milk (you may use full cream; also, you can increase the quantity as per your serving size)
Salt and pepper to taste
For the topping
1/4 cup finely chopped mushrooms (I used the leftover mushroom stems from the weekend appetizer)
1 tsp butter
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash and drain the soaked black gram. Take a pressure cooker and add the black gram, cauliflower, onions, and garlic and 3 cups of water. Pressure cook  until done. I had used boiled chana which I pressure cooked again with the cauliflower to get a smoother consistency. You may choose to do the same. 
Remove from heat and let the pressure release on its own. Now blend the soup with the help of an immersion blender or in the food processor until smooth. Put it back on flame and add a tsp of butter if using and the skim milk. Add the salt and pepper as per your taste. Bring it to a boil and remove from heat and keep aside. 
In another pan, heat a tsp of butter and sauté the mushroom until crisp. Season with a little salt and pepper. Serve the soup into individual bowls and top it with some crispy sautéed mushrooms and serve hot!

Monday, 8 September 2014

Eggless Fruit Cake

I have always been comfortable baking with eggs as it is guaranteed to have the perfect results and also since there are no religious restrictions at home for baking with eggs. However, I have been often asked for Eggless Cake recipes and I was of no help to my friends. Today, I decided to step out of my comfort zone and try my hands on a simple eggless cake to know the procedure and the results and was quite satisfied and happy with what I got. The cake is even more special to me because today, for the first time, I did a demonstration of making a cake to a friend, who stays nearby and who is having failed attempts at making a cake and who dearly wants to bake one for her baby's birthday this weekend!! So glad it turned out perfect!  :)
P.S.: The recipe has been adapted from here.
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup castor sugar
1 cup yogurt
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanila extract
1/2 cup oil (I used olive oil; Though next time I will try using 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup tutti fruity
A pinch of salt
1 tbsp milk for milk wash (I got a beautiful crust even without it)

Take the yogurt in a bowl and add the sugar and whip till smooth and creamy. Add the baking powder and baking soda and mix well. Let it stand for 3-5 minutes. It will start foaming and frothing. 
Now add the oil and vanila extract and mix gently. Sieve the flour with the salt and add it to the yogurt mixture in two batches. Take care not to overmix and deflate the yogurt. Stir just enough so as to get a smooth lump free batter without any vigorous movement. Using an electric beater is not advisable for this recipe. Now dredge the fruit bits in a little flour (which you may reserve from before) and add it to the batter. Mix gently so as to bring everything together. The batter should be of drop consistency. 
Pre-heat the oven at 175 degree celsius and line/grease a loaf tin or square/circle 6" cake tin. Spread the batter into the prepared dish and smoothen out the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Once done and if your cake hasn't yet got a beautiful golden crust, brush the top with milk and bake again for 2-3 minutes. On the other hand, like in my case, if you have got a beautiful golden crust but your cake is still not fully cooked, take an aluminium foil and put it on top of the cake like a tent. This will prevent the crust from burning while your cake gets cooked completely. Remove from oven and let it cool in the pan for 5 minutes. 

Transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing. The cake is very soft and moist and so take care while slicing! 

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Cottage Cheese and Pesto Stuffed Baked Mushrooms

Mushrooms are my favorite and can have them at any time during the day for any or every meal. In fact, I have noticed that there are very few people who dislike them. The Westerners are always all love for them and so when I had the task of hosting my German guests last weekend, I knew a Mushroom starter would definitely be a good option. I had once baked the mushrooms with spiced cream cheese and, although it was highly appreciated, I wanted to work on the health factor this time. Cottage cheese or paneer was the best healthy alternative for the cream cheese and pesto is anyway a powerhouse of nutrients. The combination turned out superb and was the star of the evening. 
P.S.: The final pictures here are not of very high quality as I could not click a proper one in front of the guests! :(

For the Basil Almond Pesto
2 cups packed Basil leaves (stems removed and washed)
2-3 sprigs Italian Parsley or any variety that you have
1/4 cup almonds lightly roasted (I used chopped peeled almonds from the market but you can use whole ones too with the skin on) 
5-6 big fat cloves of garlic (adjust as per your taste)
1 tbsp olive oil plus more for topping
Salt and pepper to taste
For the Mushrooms
18 Portobello Mushrooms or any variety mushroom that you have; however, button mushrooms (the regular ones) shrink to half and leave a lot of water and is better not to use them. 
150 gms cottage cheese or paneer mashed
2 tbsp parsley finely chopped
3-4 tbsp pesto 
Grated parmesan cheese as required
Salt and pepper to taste
Red chilli flakes (optional)

Making the pesto
Put the basil leaves, garlic, parsley, and roasted almonds in a grinder and make a smooth paste. Do not add any water. After the initial pulses, add 1 tbsp olive oil or as required and pulse further till smooth. Transfer to a clean tight lid jar and add salt and pepper as per taste. Top it up with some more olive oil and store in the refrigerator till further use. 
For the Mushrooms
Mash the paneer with your hands or a fork ensuring there are no big lumps. Now add the pesto, salt and pepper as per your taste. Check for seasoning and adjust accordingly. Start with 3-4 tbsp of the pesto and then add according to your taste. Mix well and keep aside. 
Take the mushrooms and remove the stems gently. Wash inside out and wipe them dry. Prepare a large baking tray big enough to hold all the mushrooms in a single layer. Lightly grease the tray and keep aside. Pre-heat the oven at 175 degree celsius. 
Now take spoonfuls of the paneer and pesto mixture and fill it inside the mushroom caps. Place the mushrooms on the baking tray rounded side down. Repeat till all the mushrooms are stuffed. Now sprinkle some parsley and cheese on top of each mushroom and bake in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the cheese starts browning. If the mushroom leaves a lot of water, discard it before serving. Serve hot or warm!

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Ajwaini Murg (Chicken with Carrom Seeds)

Jaspreet Nirula, whose recipe I was to follow initially, is an excellent chef and his recipes always give excellent results. I have been following his recipes and saving them but somehow did not get the chance to execute them. Today, I decided to try his  Ajwaini Murg and set out with the marination to start with. The recipe was extremely simple and as I started cooking, I realized I was out of a crucial ingredient, coriander leaves! I was all lost as I could not find any proper substitute for the same. The chicken was getting cooked and I had to continue with the gravy and so I decided to do a makeover of the recipe, while still retaining the flavor of ajwain, which was the heart of the dish. It turned out a superbly delicious dish, just perfect with hot phulkas on a rainy Wednesday afternoon!!! Highly recommended!!

300 gms chicken, washed and cleaned and cut into your preferred size
3 medium onions finely sliced
1" piece ginger grated
1 tbsp garlic grated
3 tbsp yogurt whipped
1 tsp ajwain or carrom seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sugar
2-3 green chillies, chopped
1/2 tbsp crushed kasuri methi
2 tbsp coconut milk
1 tbsp oil

Marinate the chicken with the curd, ginger garlic paste, ajwain, turmeric powder, chilli  powder, garam masala powder, green chillies, sugar, and salt. Keep aside for 1-2 hours. 
Heat oil in a pan. Add the marinated chicken along with the marinade and fry on a medium heat till the juices are sealed and excess moisture is absorbed. This will take around 10 minutes depending on how much water the chicken releases. Add the onions now and stir. Cover and cook till the chicken is tender and the oil starts appearing on top. No addition of water is required as this is a semi dry preparation. Add the crushed kasuri methi and coconut milk and stir well. Check for seasoning and cook on a high flame for 2-3 minutes. Serve hot with roti/paratha. 

Monday, 1 September 2014

Paneer Do-Pyaaza

Just back from my pre-birthday holiday, and, although it was a short one, it was a super relaxed weekend with a massage a day, good food, and lots of shopping along with some sight seeing. Coming back home, I am still reeling from the holiday blues and totally disoriented. However, people at home need to be fed and you have to get back to the grind sooner or later. I opened the fridge and all I could find was a big jar of milk and lots of onions. The dish immediately flashed in front of my eyes and even before I could realize, it was ready. The gravy is actually same as any regular gravy with the only change being the addition of two different forms of onions. Hence, the name Do-Pyaaza! 

300 gms paneer cubed
4 medium onions, 2 finely sliced and 2 cut into big chunks and separated
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2-3 green chillies paste
1 big tomato finely chopped
2 tbsp yogurt whipped
1 tsp mustard seeds
2 bay leaves
2 whole red chillies
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
11/2 tsp good garam masala powder
1/2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp fresh coriander leaves
Salt to taste
Oil as required

Heat oil in a pan and fry the paneer cubes till golden on all sides. Do not overfry, else they will become rubbery. Drain on absorbent paper and keep aside. In the same pan, add any additional oil if required and fry the onions cubes till just pink but not completely soft. We need to retain a slight crunch. Drain on absorbent paper and keep aside. 
In the same pan, splutter the mustard seeds and red chillies. Add the sliced onions and fry till pink and slightly golden. Now add the ginger, garlic, and chilli paste and fry till the raw smell disappears. Now add the chilli powder, turmeric powder, and coriander powder and fry till oil starts coming out. You can splash some water if required. Now add the tomatoes and fry with a little salt and sugar till soft and mushy. 
Now remove the pan from heat and add the whipped yogurt. Mix well and put the pan back on flame. Add the garam masala and continue stirring for 5-10 minutes till the masala starts oozing out oil. Now add the fried paneer and onions and 1/2 cup of water and cream and mix well. Bring it to a boil and keep covered on a medium flame for 5 minutes. Check for seasoning and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with paratha/naan/roti or steamed rice.