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Tuesday, 26 March 2013

A simple bell pepper salad for all you pepper lovers…sweet and lemony and crunchy! Served perfectly with my MUSHROOM STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS

Serves 3

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You Will Need:

1 Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 Green Bell Pepper, Sliced

Dressing:

3 tbsp Lemon Juice
Chopped Parsley & Mint
A tsp of Sugar
Salt & Pepper to Season
1 Garlic Clove, grated
Olive Oil (Optional)

The Cooking:

In a bowl, place the sliced bell pepper.

Mix all the ingredients for the dressing.

Now simply toss the bell peppers with the dressing and serve.
Happy Cooking!
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Chicken and  mushrooms are a great marriage. This MUSHROOM STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS is something I wanted to try for a very long time. Finally, they served a great dinner for us and my husband just loved it. The chicken was perfectly seasoned and the BELL PEPPER SALAD complimented well. The mushroom sauce with the left over mushroom stuffing was fantastic, sweet garlicky and so creamy. 

For preparing the chicken for stuffing, there are two ways in which you can do it. I made a pocket by slitting thick part in the top of the chicken breast and made space inside for the stuffing. But this can be a little tricky, because there are chances of you slitting the chicken way to much and the stuffing really not holding inside. Or this is the easiest, slit the length of the chicken breast and place the stuffing inside. Once done, take a butchers string and tie the bottom part and the top part of the chicken breast together.

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You Will Need:

2 Firm Chicken Breast Fillets
Grated Cheddar / Swiss / Mozzarella
Extra Milk / Double Cream
Salt & Pepper to Season

For the Mushroom Stuffing:

200g Button Mushrooms, Sliced
A tsp of Garlic Powder
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, Finely Chopped
1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
Few Springs of Dill / Rosemary / Thyme
1/2 Cup of Whole Milk
Salt & Pepper to Season
A tbsp of Oil

The Cooking:

Heat a heavy bottom sauce pan on high and add the oil. Add the onions and bell pepper, and sauté for couple of mins. Then add the sliced mushrooms, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Sauté this on medium high. Now the mushroom will start to release a lot of moisture. let this cook for few mins and slowly add in the milk. Cook till the mushrooms are done and sprinkle the herbs and take off heat.

Season the fillet with salt and pepper. Now stuff the fillet with cheese and mushrooms. Heat a tsp of oil on a non – stick pan and sear the chicken breasts until they turn a nice golden colour. Then pop it in a preheated oven to finish the chicken cooking completely.
Definitely you will have the mushroom filling in excess. Pour the milk / double cream over the mushroom and cook on low heat till they thicken up.

To serve, slice the chicken breasts and serve with Bell Pepper Salad and the mushroom sauce.
Happy Cooking!
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Monday, 25 March 2013

STICKY LEMON CHICKEN WITH CHAMP….is an American Classic. I adapted this recipe from Gordon Ramsay’s Lemon Chicken recipe. It’s such an easy quick fix, with just a few basic ingredients. Its sticky, sweet, lemony and it’s sure you will lick your fingers.

It's best served with champ, a creamy mashed potatoes.

Serves 3



You Will Need:

For the Chicken

500g of Skinned Chicken, Drums and Thighs
A tbsp of Plain Flour
1 1/2 tsp of Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper

Other Ingredients:

3 Lemon Slices
1 1/2 tsp of Soy Sauce
A tbsp of Vinegar
A tbsp of Honey
1/2 Cup of Water / Stock
Dried Dill / Fresh Thyme
Salt & Pepper
A tbsp of oil

For the Champ:

500g Boiled Potatoes, Skinned
Tbsp of Unsalted Butter
6 – 8 Spring Onions, Chopped
50 ml Double Cream
50 ml Milk
Salt & Pepper

The Cooking:

Combine all the ingredients for the chicken.

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Heat oil on a pan and sear the chicken pieces till they turn a golden brown.

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Then, add the soy sauce, vinegar, salt and pepper (if required). Let it cook for a min.

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Now add the sliced lemon. Stir and pour in the water. Sprinkle the dill and drizzle over the honey.

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Cook for another couple of min on medium heat, till the chicken is tender and sticky.

Important Pointers:
  • Lemon peel will give a bitter taste, so DO NOT add lot. Just couple of slices of it gives a nice lemony flavour.
  • The water is just to moisten the chicken and bring everything together. The chicken cooks in 10 min, so its not really required to add lot and water.
For Making the Champ:

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In a heavy bottom sauce pan, boil the cream and milk together until it has reduced a little and thickened.


In a large bowl, mash the boiled potatoes and season with salt and pepper. Add the spring onions and mix well. Slowly stir in the thickened milk & cream, until its all smooth & combined. Finely, stir in the butter and sprinkle dill.

Serve Hot with The Lemon Chicken
Happy Cooking!
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Saturday, 23 March 2013

PANEER BUTTER MASALA…I don’t have to say anything more about this dish. It’s a very popular vegetarian curry, originating from my favourite cuisine ‘Punjabi’. This dish is cooked with Paneer or Cottage Cheese in a rich creamy tomato gravy. It’s mild in spice with a hint of sweetness and very aromatic. I love this dish. Paneer butter masala is delicious with roti, Plain Naan or with any flatbread, with fried rice and pulao. It may sound odd, but I love this with idlis too ;) It just tastes amazing. Like many other recipes, I learnt this from my mom.


Paneer Butter Masala is a ‘heavy on the waistline’ kind of dish. You need to add butter when sautéing the onion paste and in the end of the cooking too. It does give a fab taste, but when I cook for my family I totally skip the butter, cashew nuts and double cream. Also I use low – fat milk, still it gives nice creaminess to the gravy. But if you are have some guests around or a  get – together, its alright to add those extra calorie. 

Serves 3


You Will Need:

1 Onion, Finely Chopped
Tbsp of Kasuri Methi, Crushed
1/4 tsp of Turmeric Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
Tsp of Coriander Powder
Tsp of Garam Masala
Tsp and a half of Tomato Ketchup
2 tbsp of Double Cream
Salt to Taste
Oil / Butter

Paneer Marination:

200g of Paneer or Cottage Cheese, Cubed
Approx a Cup of Milk

Onion Paste:
3 Medium Sized Onion, Cubed
7 Cashew Nuts
2 Cinnamon Sticks
4 Cardamom Pods
5 – 6 Cloves
A tbsp of Ginger Garlic Paste

Tomato Paste:

3 Large Tomatoes, Quartered

The Cooking:

Combine together the panner and milk.



Heat a tbsp of oil in a wok and add the cubed onions, cashew nuts, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves until they turn a light brown colour. Let this cool completely. Place the cooled onions in a blender along with the ginger garlic paste and this needs to be ground into a very smooth paste. Add a little water if needed.

On the same wok add the quartered tomatoes and cook it they become pulpy. This needs to be cooled and ground into a smooth paste.


Heat oil / butter in the same wok and add the finely chopped onions. This has to be sautéed till it turns a deep golden brown so that they will easily melt into the gravy in the end. If you don't sauté this properly, you will feel the bite of the onions in the gravy which you don't want.  

Now add the onion paste, kasuri methi (crushed between your palms) and stir continuously on high heat.

You will the know the onion paste is completely cooked when it starts to lump around and does not stick to the pan anymore. This is the thumb rule whenever you cook onion paste. Add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder, salt, coriander powder and garam masala.

 Stir this for a min, now the onion will not more stick to the bottom of the pan anymore. At this stage add the Tomato paste.

Give it a nice stir and cook the gravy on medium low heat for couple of min covered. Add the sugar and tomato ketchup. Stir well and pour in the milk.

Give this a good stir and cook the gravy for 10 – 15 min covered on a low medium heat. Then add in the cubed paneer and stir gently and cook it for further 5 min.

Lastly stir in the cream and take off heat.

Serve hot.

Important Pointers:
  • I never fry the paneer cubes, they add extra oil to the gravy and they tend to become harder.
  • Soaking the paneer in milk will keep them from drying out and they stay soft.
  • You can also microwave the onions instead of sautéing them on pan.
  • For any gravy which calls for pureed tomato or tomato paste, sautéing them on pan till they become pulpy gives nice colour to the gravy and also they cook easier.
  • Be careful when adding milk. There are chances of the milk separating. Always add warm milk to any gravy.
  • Keep the flame low or take the pan off heat when adding the milk.
  • Add in small quantities, and stir well before adding some more.
Happy Cooking!
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No yeast No Oven…It can’t get easier than this.

NAAN is an Indian Flatbread traditionally cooked in a clay oven or a tandoor in a very high temperature. Its a favourite for many and tastes great when dunked into any gravy or curry. You can make so many varieties of Naan; cheese naan, garlic naan, onion naan, butter naan, you can add just about anything.

There is a phrase ‘Third time’s a Charm!’, which means something attempted for a third time will turn out better than the first two attempts. And this naan is a third time’s at a charm for me :) My first attempt at Naan turned out crisp and biscuit like; my second attempt was much better. I once had Naan at Muthu’s Curry an Indian Restaurant in Little India, Singapore. That’s the best of all the Naans I have ever tasted. It was so delicate and so soft, I ended up eating three or four.

My first two attempts on Naan, I used dried active yeast and cooked in my oven. And it took lot of time to prepare the dough. First you need to wait till the yeast proofs, then make the dough and let it raise double its size. It was not at all working out for me. Yeast can be tricky at times, you need good quality yeast and the dough smells of yeast even after its cooked. It was big NO. I adapted this recipe from Anjum Anand cookery show ‘Indian Food Made Easy’, where she used baking powder and baking soda instead of yeast. Making this dough with these two chemical leavening is easy and fast. But unlike yeast the dough doesn't double in size but just a little. Adding eggs to the dough is optional, the taste and texture is hardly noticeable.

I cooked these on a hot tawa instead of oven. I like it soft and somehow cooking them in oven never helped me. It tasted delicious with Paneer Butter Masala (it’s always paneer butter masala for me) or any of your favourite gravy.

Makes 6 Depending on the Size You Make Them…

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You Will Need:

2 Cups of All – Purpose Flour
A tsp of Baking Powder
1/2 tsp of Baking Soda
Tsp of Salt
2 tbsp of Thick Yogurt
Approx. 1/2 Cup of Lukewarm Milk
1 1/2 tsp of Sugar
An Egg Beaten
2 tbsp Oil
Melted Butter

The Cooking:

In a bowl combine together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
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In a cup, stir together milk, half of the beaten egg, sugar, yogurt and oil. Make a well in the flour mixture and slowly pour in the liquid mixture.

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Now, combine this well with your hand to form a non – sticky soft dough. If the dough is too dry, add bit more of the milk. If its becomes too sticky add bit more of the flour. Apply little oil on the dough to avoid it from drying out. Cover and let it sit for 30 min.

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The dough will rise a little, unlike the dough made with yeast which doubles its actual size. Put this on a floured surface and knead the dough for about 10 min. The dough will become softer and smoother when you finish kneading it.

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Make small lemon sized balls out of these and roll it out (thin or thick however you like your naan to be), sprinkling little flour to avoid it from sticking. After rolling it out apply little oil on both the side and place on the hot tawa. Immediately after a min or so you can see the top of the naan begins to bubble up.

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Flip the naan and apply oil and cook for another 2 mins on low heat. Take off heat and brush the naan with melted butter / ghee.

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These are plain naan, for making garlic naan gently press down chopped garlic when you roll out the dough and cook just like the plain ones.

Serve hot with any of your favourite sides.
Happy Cooking!
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Friday, 22 March 2013

This dish is close to my heart. CHICKEN SUKKA…the first dish I learnt to cook perfectly from my mom, about 2 years ago. Its from the down south of Tamil Nadu, my native Sivakasi. Its a must have in every hotel there, and they serve a mutton or lamb version of this. Small chunks of lamb in a spicy sauce with lots of oil. Just fab. And I did make a couple of changes to my mom’s version by adding cloves of garlic. This I adapted from my mom’s mutton keema recipe where she cooks minced lamb in a similar sauce with lots and lots of whole garlic cloves. Sukka basically means ‘dry’, the onions you add to the dish makes the difference. If you add less, the chicken turns dry in the end. Bit more of chopped onions will give gravy to the dish.

A very simple dish to make, the sweetness from the caramelized onions, garlicky flavour and the touch of freshly ground cumin and peppercorns….Just Yum…. 



You Will Need:

A kg of Chicken On Bone
10 Garlic Cloves
1 tsp Fennel Seeds 
½ tsp Cumin Seeds
A Cup of Chopped Shallots
4 – 5 Dried Red Chillies
1/2 tsp Turmeric Powder 
A tsp of Homemade Chilli Powder
Tsp of Cumin Powder
Few Curry leaves
4 tbsp Gingelly Oil
1/4 tsp Ground Peppercorns (Optional)
Salt to taste

The Cooking:


Heat oil in a wok and add fennel, cumin, curry leaves and dried red chillies.

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One they crackle, add the chopped onions and garlic cloves and sauté till they turn deep golden brown. 

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Then tip in the washed chicken, stir and add the turmeric, chilli powder and salt.

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Give it a nice mix and cook for couple of min covered. This will help the spices to stick to the chicken. Add required water and cook covered on medium high stirring every few mins.

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Now the quantity of water needed for the chicken I just eyeball it. What I do is, I pour in the water till it comes almost to the top covering the chicken. That's how I measure it. Let the chicken cook till tender and oil starts oozing out of the sukka.

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The onions will make a nice sweet gravy and this is the stage you need to decide the consistency of the gravy you want. If you want them really dry, keep stirring the chicken on high heat for few more min. Sprinkle the cumin powder and give it a nice mix.

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Well, its done.  And if you want it more spicy sprinkle little ground peppercorn, stir and take off heat.


Like ShobsKitchen On FaceBook
Happy Cooking!
































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Thursday, 21 March 2013

GARLIC POWDER is dehydrated garlic, ground to a fine powder. I never really had a need to use garlic powder hence I don’t stock these in my pantry. But quite recently I was looking for some nice recipes for salad dressings, wraps and fries and everything had garlic powder and Onion Powder as its major seasoning. I don’t have easy access to store bought garlic powder and finally decided to make my own. Without a Dehydrator. The place where I live is sunny almost everyday of the year. When the sun is not out or if you need the garlic powder immediately, just spread the sliced garlic on a baking tray and let it dehydrate in a preheated oven at 150c. Then take it out, let it cool and grind.



You Will Need:
As much as Garlic Cloves You Need
Hot Sun / Oven / Dehydrator

What you Need to Do:

Peel and finely slice the garlic gloves and spread them on a plate.

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Let this rest under the sun and bring them inside the house in the evening. Don’t cover the garlic, let it get lot of air.

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I left the garlic under the sun for two days and they were dried completely and were brittle. I was able to easily break them with my fingers. Put it in a food processor and grind very finely.

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Pass the garlic powder through a fine sieve to get rid of the bits (like shown in the pic below) and store it in an air tight container. If they have lumped in a few days don’t worry, you will still be able to crumble them with your fingers.

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Important Pointers:
  • Slice the garlic cloves finely so that they dry up quick.
  • It may take more than 2 days depending on the climatic conditions so make sure they are well dried before you grind them. Even little moisture will spoil the whole batch.
Happy Cooking!
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SHEPHERD’S PIE is meat dish that is baked with creamy mashed potatoes as its crust. The pie was know as cottage pie in the 1700’s and basically made from any kind of leftover meat and it was in 1800’s that it was came be to known as Shepherd's pie regardless of the meant that goes in the dish. 


 This is a British classic and I adapted Jamie Oliver’s Shepherd Pie recipe. Well he wouldn't believe the number of changes I made to his recipe to suit my Indian palate. The ‘You Will Need’ list may look endless but trust me this is the easiest pie of all. I have just thrown in all my favourite veggies and chicken in the pie and added a little more spice to suite my palate. 



Doesn't he look gorgeous? Just a little fancy work ;) and all set to go into the oven.


Checkout the gravy oozing in the ends...ahhh....Slurp!!!

Like many first timers, I had my doubts on this recipe too that it may turn out too bland for my Indian taste buds. But the mixed veggies were perfect and the mashed potato was unbelievably soft and creamy when it came out of the oven. This was an instant hit at out dinner table. So Get creative, throw in your favourite veggies and meat and I promise you will love it just like we did.

You Will Need:

For the Gravy

350g of Minced Chicken
A tbsp of Plain Flour 
1/2 Cup of Cooked Green Peas
1/2 Bell Pepper, Chopped
1 Large Onion, Finely Chopped
2 Medium Carrots, Chopped
250g of Button Mushroom, Sliced
Cup of Tomato Puree ( 3 – 4 Large Tomatoes pureed)
2 tbsp of Tomato Ketchup / A tbsp of Tomato paste
1/2 Cup to A cup of Chicken Stock / Water
1/2 tsp of Dried Basil
1/2 tsp of Cumin Powder
1/2 tsp of Chilli Flakes
1/2 Tsp of Dried Thyme 
Freshly Crushed Black Pepper Corns
Salt to Taste
3 Tbsp Oil

For the Mashed Potato

5 Potatoes, Medium Sized
100 ml Whole Milk 
A knob of Butter
Salt & Pepper to Season

The Cooking:

Heat oil on a heavy bottom sauce pan and add the onions. Sauté for a min or two and add the carrot and bell pepper. Stir well and add in the minced chicken. Mix well and sprinkle the flour. The flour browns the meat and gives thickness to the gravy. Cook on medium high till the chicken turns little brown. Then add the mushrooms and saute till they turn golden brown. Pour in the tomato puree and stock / water. Add salt, pepper, cumin powder, chilli flakes, thyme and basil. Bring this to a boil and cook on medium low heat for another 20 – 25 min or till the excess water has evaporated and the gravy has thickened. 

Preheat your oven to 250c for 10  -15mins. 

For the Mashed potato, cook the potatoes until they are soft. Peel the skin off and place them in a bowl. Now mash them well. Slowly add the milk and butter mashing everything together. Season with salt and pepper. The mashed potatoes need to be smooth and not lumpy.

I have used my round cake tin to bake this pie. Round, square anything will do. Now, layer the bottom of the baking dish or pie dish with the gravy. Make sure they are nice and evenly spread. Now top this off with a layer of the mashed potatoes. Be gentle when spreading. You don't want the veggies and mashed potatoes to get mixed like crazy with each other. I wanted it to look a little sophisticated. So I have piped a simple star pattern :) Dribble little oil over the pie and bake in the oven for 30 - 40 mins. 

Serve hot with your favourite stir fry.
Happy Baking!
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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

This is all I could click. I was starving by the time I finished cooking this dish and my growling tummy just didn't allow me to take a decent photo :) But hey its KOLHAPURI CHICKEN originating from Kolhapur, Maharashtra in India. Kolhapur cuisine is known for its bold and aromatic dishes. I adapted this recipe from Chef Anish Padgaonkar, The Oberoi Mumbai recipe for Kolhapuri chicken. Its spicy and robust in flavours. And I really loved the slight taste that comes from the marinating ingredients and a touch of tomato. The flavours were very different to me the first time I tasted it. Very simple recipe to make and so full of flavours.

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You Will Need:

For Marinating the Chicken:

A kg of Chicken On Bone
2/3 Cup of Fresh Yogurt
A tsp of Turmeric Powder
1 1/2 Tsp of Red Chilli Powder
A tbsp of Ginger Garlic Paste
Juice of a Lime / 2 tbsp Vinegar
Required Salt

For Kolhapuri Masala:

A Bay Leaf
2 Cinnamon Sticks
6 Cloves
1/2 tsp of Crushed Pepper Corns
2 tsp Grated Coconut
2 Medium Onions, Roughly Chopped
1 Large Tomato, Roughly Chopped
2 tbsp Gingelly Oil

Other Ingredients:

1 Finely Chopped Onion
3 tbsp Gingelly Oil
Chopped Coriander Leaves

The Cooking:

Mix all the ingredients for marinating the chicken and let it sit for 30 – 40 min.

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I used a pressure cooker to cook the chicken, but you can use a shallow pot to cook it. So heat oil and crackle the bay leaves, peppercorn and cloves. Then add the chopped onions and sauté till they turn golden brown. 

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I had a cup of leftover tomato puree from last night so I have used that. You just add the chopped tomatoes and the grated coconut. Sauté for couple of mins. Let this cool completely and transfer to a blender.

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Blend this mixture smooth adding just little water if they don’t come together to a smooth paste.

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Heat oil in the same pan. Once hot add the finely chopped onion and sauté till they brown. Then tip in the marinated chicken and cook for 5 min.

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Then add the Kolhapuri masala and check for seasoning. Cook covered on medium low heat till the chicken is tender and oil separates from the gravy.

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You don’t have to add excess water to the gravy, as the marinate has enough water in it. If you are cooking in a pressure cooker, cook on full pressure till it gives 2 sounds. Then turn the heat off.
Finally sprinkle coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or your favourite roti.
Happy Cooking!
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