Thursday, August 12, 2010

Simple Chicken Curry

Cooking involves a lot of mathematics. Add a spice, subtract another, the equation completely changes. So, does the recipe and the taste. That's exacrly what I do, everytime I cook a Chicken Curry. I don't think my Chicken curry has ever been the same each time I have cooked one. May sound a bit scary but then, as my blog title says - I experiment with food! So, here is one simple Chicken Curry which can be cooked in no time. I will shortly share some more variations - including one without Oil! Here is what you need:

1 chicken - cut into medium sized pieces
1 Onion (sliced  - whichever way you like)
1 tbsp crushed Garlic
1 Tbsp crushed Ginger
1 cup Yogurt

1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Chili Powder
1 tsp Coriander Powder
1 tsp Cumin Powder
Salt as per taste
2 Tbsp Oil
2 cloves, 1 cinnamon, 2 cardamom
1 Bay Leaf (optional)

Chicken needs marination. But, if you don't have time, then here is what you should do. Take the chicken a bowl and add the ginger, garlic, yogurt, all the 4 masalas (turmeric, Chilli, Coriander, Cumin) and Sugar. Add I tbsp of Oil and mix well. Keep the bowl in the fridge for 15-20mins. You can also put it in the freezer for 7-10mins. This makes the marinade stick to the chicken nicely.

Now in a Karahi or a pressure cooker ( I prefer pressure cooker for saving gas and quick cooking!), add 1 Tbsp of Oil. When the Oil is hot, add the Bay leaf and the whole spices. Now, add the sliced Onion and fry till the Onion turns a bit brown. Now add the chicken and stir well. Let the chicken cook for the next 5-7mins in its own water. Once the masala tends to dry up a bit or the oil segregates, Put 2-3 cups of water and cover the pressure cooker. If you are cooking in a Karahi, make sure the masala doesn't stick and add water as necessary and let it cook for atleast 30-40mins. If cooked in a Pressure cooker, about 15-18 whistles should be enough.

Once you put of the gas, let the cooker cool down and then serve with some coriander on the top and rotis/rice.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Paneer Kofta Curry

I have this strange theory that all Koftas are made of left over food. Left over food with mashed potatoes, made into round round balls, that's the Indian Kofta for you:) Well, contradicting my theory, I have my special paneer kofta curry recipe to share and yes! - It is without any potatoes. Paneer has a natural binding element to it and requires no additions like bread or potatoes to hold it. Here is Paneer Kofta Curry the way I make it :) -

250gms Paneer
1/2 tsp of Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp of Jeera Powder
1/2 tsp of Coriander Powder
1 tsp of Sugar
1 tsp of Salt
10 pieces of Cashewnuts and Raisins

For curry:
1 Onion - sliced thin
1 tsp Shahi Jeera
1/2 tsp of Turmeric or Haldi
1 tomato - finely chopped
1/2 cup green peas
1 tsp of Salt
1/2 tsp of Chilli Powder
1 tsp of Sugar
2 cups of Water

Mash the Paneer (Cottage Cheese) and add listed ingredients. Hand mashing is important as it helps in retaining the water content unlike when you crush the Paneer in a  Grinder/Mixer. Create flat balls of it with a 1 inch diameter. Now, heat oil in a non-stick frying pan and shallow fry the paneer balls ensuring them do not break. Keep the fried balls aside.

Now take another pan and heat Oil. Add the Jeera, Onion and fry for 3-5mins till the Onion changes to brown. Add Salt, Sugar, Chilli Powder and Turmeric . Add the tomatoes and stir fry the masala. Add the green peas. Stir for another 2-3mins. Add water and bring the curry to a boil. Add the paneer balls and let it simmer for another 4-5mins. Take it off the heat and serve with Roti or Rice.

Pumpkin and Potato Stirfry

Pumpkin isn't a favorite with several. But, it is a vegetable that is relished in several states like U.P., Bihar and West Bengal. The sweetness in Pumpkin tends to go very well with the subtle taste of Potatoes and that's why Pumpkin is widely made with Potatoes. In Bengal, a dish called 'Kumro Chenchki' is very popular and is basically a Stir fry with Red Chillies and Potatoes. Here is what you need to make this simple dish:

About 3 cups pumpkin ( cleaned of seeds and fibers, skin on, cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
2-3 pieces of Dry red chillies
About 2 cups Potatoes (Skin removed and cut into 1/2 inch pieces)
1/2 tsp Panch phoron (5 Spices)
1 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder and Turmeric
1 cup of water
1 Tbsp Mustard / Vegetable Oil - It tastes better with Mustard Oil
1 pinch of Asfoetida (hing) - Optional

Heat the Mustard oil in a frying pan until smoking. Now add the Panch Phoron, Asfoetida and Red Chillies (broken into small pieces) into the oil and let them crackle. Add the pumpkin, potatoes, salt, sugar, red chilli powder adn the Turmeric. Stir Fry for 4-5 mins. Add the salt and pour the water. Cook for another 5-6mins or till the vegetables get a bit soft. Serve hot with Luchis or Rice.

My mom used to add Black peas or Black Chana in the mustard oil. That also tastes really nice! You can try that too.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chicken Sandwich

Home-made chicken sanwiches are my favorite. Easy to make and a good Lunch option for all School-going kids. Some like it in a bun with Grilled chicken patty or with Chicken ham but what I like is a traditional Chicken Sandwich - shredded chicken in buttered, soft, white/brown bread. On a winter night, this tastes wonderful with a hot bowl of Chicken soup. A must try for all chicken sandwich lovers!
Here is what you need:
Slices of Bread  - if you don't like the sides, cut them
Pre-boiled shredded chicken
Cut the pieces of bread diagonally to get triangles. Now take a triangle and spread butter. Take a bowl and add the shredded chicken, add salt and pepper and toss the shredded chicken. Alternatively, you don't need to spread butter on the slices, but add butter in the shredded chicken with salt and pepper. Add to the slice and cover it with the other triangle to complete the sandwich. Now, munch away to happiness. Simple no? You can also add shredded lettuce to the chicken to make it crunchier!

Bread Crumbs Fried Fish

This one's definitely a party stealer. Bread Crumbs are supposedly an easy-to-get ingredient, though I am yet to get a taste of good luck in that department. I have substitutes for Bread Crumbs that work equally well, if not better. So, without prolonging any further, here is what you need to make this delicious, crispy, all-time-favorite Fried Fish!

10-15 pieces of Fish Fillet (One without bones!!), thin slices please!

For the marinade:
2 Tbsp of Ginger and Garlic Paste
1 Tsp of Lemon Juice
1 tsp of Turmeric, Red Chilli Powder,
Salt to taste

Other Ingredients:
Bread Crumbs (Ofcourse!!)
2 eggs beaten in a bowl

If you can't find Bread Crumbs, try Milk/Suji Rusk, grind them in a mixer till they look like Bread Crumbs! It works perfectly well and has a sweet flavor - so even better!

Here we begin:

Add all the marinade items together in a bowl. Add the fish and nicely wrap all the fish fillets with the marinade in the bowl. Refrigerate the bowl with the fish fillets for 2hrs. Add salt to the beaten egg and bread crumbs. Keep in separate bowls respectively.

Now take out the fish from the refrigerator and dip each fillet one at a time in the egg mix and them wrap it in bread crumbs. Set each fillet aside on a plate. Refrigerate for another 15-25mins.

Heat Oil in a deep frying pan and add the fish fillets one at a time. Fry till golden brown. Serve hot with Mustard Sauce or Mayonnaise.

Rice with Soya Chunks

Soya - Very nutritive, healthy, great source of protein, reduced cholestrol, reduces heart related risks etc.. - Isn't that what Moms keep saying and all Soya ads keep pointing out on Television?? Well - I agree but if you keep all the benefits aside, don't you find Soya chunks amusing? These round chunks have a wonderful soaking capacity - tiny granules soaked in Salt water, increase in size just like the organisms in one of the Sci-fi movies and moreover suck in every bit of the masala that you add to your dish, making themselves more 'powerful' and the tastiest bit of the dish! A very smart piece of food with a brain and strategy of its own! And that forms the base for my uncanny habit of picking them up with a fork and eating them without finishing the dish in which it had been put. Sorry! Haven't been able to change that habit over years - the soya chunks once cooked are juicy, full of the masala, chewy and very tasty. A rather bland combo but Soya Chunks when cooked with Rice like a Biryani or Pulao, tends to mix and wrap itself well with flavored Rice and is an easy to cook dish on the days you really don't wanna cook! So, here is what you need:

You definitely need - Soya - 1 Cup ( Use Chunks)
1 cup - Basmati Rice
1 Tbsp - Peas
1-2 pieces of clove, cinnamon, cardamom
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbsp Vegetable Oil
1 tsp - Salt, Red Chilli Powder, Sugar
203 Green Chillies - sliced thinly
1 Onion - sliced thinly
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
2-3 cups of water

Wash the Basmati Rice in flowing water and soak it for 20mins in a vessel. Take a bowl of water, add salt and add the Soya Chunks. Let it be immersed in water for 15mins.

In a skillet, add 1 Tbsp of Oil, add the cumin seeds, Bay Leaf, Onion, Clove, Cinnamon, Cardamom, Peas, Green Chillies and stir fry till the onion is slightly brown. Now, add the Red Chilli Powder, Sugar and Salt and add the Soya Chunks. Stir for another 3-4 minutes. Add the rice and Saute for another 1-2 mins. Add 2-3 cups of water and cover the rice with a lid. Let the rice cook for 6-10mins. Once the water evaporates, remove the skillet from heat and serve the Rice with Raita or semi-sweetened Curd.