Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Honey BBQ Chicken

Serving: 4- 6

  • Chicken thighs - 5- 6 lb (2 - 3 kg)
  • Honey - 1/2 cup
  • Apple cider vinegar - 1/2 cup (can also use white vinegar)
  • Whole coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Caraway/carom seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Whole pepper corns - 2 tbsp (coarsely crushed)
  • Chili flakes - 1 tbsp
  • Kosher salt - 2 tbsp
  • Garlic cloves - 4-5 , crushed
  • 1. In a bowl mix in all the ingredients and let it soak for 15-30 min for the spices to marry together.
  • 2. Meanwhile, clean and prep the chicken pieces and pat dry with a paper towel.
  • 3. In a sealable bowl, marinate the chicken pieces with the marinade for minimum of 2 hours to up to 24 hours, sealed and refrigerated.
  • 4. On the day of cooking let the chicken come to room temperature. Cook the chicken pieces outdoors on your barbecuing grill or indoors in your oven.
  • 5. If using the oven, then heat your oven to 400F (200C). Place the chicken pieces on a rack, placing a tray on the bottom rack to collect the dripped juices. Brush the chicken pieces with some oil, or just spray some cooking oil on them. Cook for 25-30 min, turning once and basting them with the remaining marinade.
  • 6. Since the chicken pieces have been marinating in vinegar solution, it will not take too long to cook, so be careful not to burn them. Cook till your desired level of crunch. To make sure that they have been cooked through, insert a fork to the thickest part of the thigh, if the juice runs clear, your chicken thighs are cooked. Serve hot with a side of salad and garlic bread.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Beans & Cabbages

Serving: 4 -6 (as a small side)

  • Cabbage - 1/2 a head, chiffonade (thinly sliced)
  • Red kidney bean - 1 can, drained and rinsed
  • Raw shrimp* - 1/2 cup, minced or made to a paste.
  • Onion - 1 med, finely chopped
  • Garlic cloves - 2, minced
  • Salt - to taste
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Paprika powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
  • 1. Wash and prep the vegetables, set aside.
  • 2. In a non-stick wok, heat 3 tbsp of oil, add the onions and salt. Saute till translucent.
  • 3. Add the garlic, stir and add 1/2 cup of water. Add all the spices, saute till the water evaporates and the oil is separated from the spice mixture.
  • 4. Add the shrimp paste and stir vigorously to avoid any lumping. Add the beans, stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 min.
  • 5. Add the cabbages, stir to combine, cover and cook on med heat for about 15-20 min. Remember to stir in occasionally for even distribution of heat and cooking. Serve.
* For a fully vegetarian version you can skip the shrimp paste.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Mughlai Chicken Biriyani

Chicken Biriyani is a Mughlai dish, dated back to the Mughal Empire. It is a rich dish, adorned with nuts, fruits and of course a generous use of ghee(butter) and cream. Usually the meat is cooked separately then, half cooked rice and the cooked meat is layered and then baked in the oven to finish off. My version differs in the cooking method, but tastes brilliant every time. So here it is...

Serving: 6

  • Chicken - 1 whole (4-5 lb/ 2.5 kg), cut in small pieces
  • Basmati Rice - 5 cups
  • Onion - 1 lrg, thinly sliced
  • Green Chili - 4 -5 , sliced lengthwise (seeds removed if you do not like the heat)
  • Bay leaf - 1 or 2 lrg
  • Green Cardamons - 5 pcs
  • Cloves - 4-5 pcs
  • Cinnamon stick - 2.5 inch long
  • Whole pepper corns - 1 tbsp
  • Yellow potato - 1 lrg, cubed
  • Dried Prunes - 1/2 cup (to substitute Aloo Bokhora, since I don't like them)
  • Unsalted Cashew nuts - 1/2 cup
  • Ghee (clarified butter) - 1/2 cup
  • Full cream milk - 1.5 cups

  • For the marinade:
  • Plain yogurt - 1 cup
  • Garlic Cloves - 4, crushed
  • Ginger root - 1 inch, grated finely
  • Salt - 1 tbsp
  • Nutmeg powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 2 tsp
  • Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
  • Hot spice powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • 1. Clean and pat dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel. In a sealable container, mix in all the ingredients for the marinade, and marinate the chicken pieces for 24 hours, refrigerated or minimum of 2 hours. The longer you marinate, the juicier the chicken gets.
  • 2. On the day of cooking, take the marinated chicken out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature before cooking. Wash the Basmati rice, let it drain and set aside.
  • 3. In a large non-stick pot, or a dutch oven, heat 1 tbsp of oil with the ghee. The oil is added to reduce smoking as butter/ghee burns very quickly.
  • 4. Add the cardamon, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, and the pepper corns. Saute till they pop. Add the onions and saute till they turn translucent.
  • 5. Drain the chicken pieces from their marinade (reserving the liquid) and saute on high heat to get a crispy brown coating. Add the reserved marinade, cover and simmer on low heat until the chicken pieces are 3/4 cooked, for about 20-25 min. Remember to stir occasionally to avoid any burns at the bottom of the pan. If the liquid seems to dry up very quickly then add 1/2 cup of hot water, however the trick is to cook the chicken in its own juices.
  • 6. Add the rice to the chicken and stir very gently to combine. Saute for 4 - 5 min on med heat. Remember to keep stirring otherwise the rice will burn.
  • 7. Add 8 cups of water (using the same cup you used for measuring the rice), bring to boil on high heat. Add the milk (warmed up in the microwave), stir to redistribute, then lower the heat to med, cover and simmer for 10 min.
  • 8. Meanwhile, in a microwavable bowl, put the potatoes with 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 tsp of sugar and a pinch of Zafran (orange food colour) and cook on high heat for about 3-4 min, or until the potatoes are cooked. In a small frying pan , heat 1 tbsp of butter and saute the cooked potatoes till they turn crispy. Set aside.
  • 9. Back to the rice, after 10 min of simmering, stir the rice gently only once. That is, fold the rice from left bottom side to the upper left side, then the right side. DO NOT over stir it, as it will make your Biriyani soggy. Even if you are worried about burning at the bottom, then lower the heat, still do not stir it vigorously. Place, the cooked potatoes, dried prunes, and the green chilies on top of the rice, cover and simmer on low-med heat for 10 more minutes. Turn the heat off, sprinkle the cashew nuts on top, cover and let it rest for at least 15 minutes before serving.
  • 10. After the long wait, your Chicken Biriyani is ready. Bon Appétit!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Mughlai Chicken ( Butter Chicken )

Mughlai Chicken curry, or most widely known as Butter Chicken is an authentic chicken curry originated from the Mughal Empire, created for the royal Emperors. Mughlai cuisine is heavily based on butter(ghee), nuts, dried fruits, and usage of aromatic whole spices. It is famous for its very mouth-watering, aromatic features. The Mughlai chicken curry is mild in taste with a rich creamy gravy. It is a special dish made in celebrations with the usage of nuts (almonds, cashews) and cream. However, my version does not include the almond paste. Here it is.. enjoy!

Servings - 6

  • Chicken - 1 whole( 4-5 lb), cut up in small pieces
  • Ghee(clarified butter) - 1/2 cup
  • Tomato puree - 1 lb/450 gm can
  • Cream/ Sour cream - 1 cup

  • For the marinade:
  • Garlic cloves - 4 lrg, crushed
  • Ginger root - 1 inch pc, finely grated
  • Lime juice - 1 whole lime
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp

  • For spice mixture:
  • Red dried chili pepper - 1 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds- 1 tbsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Green cardamon - 4-5 pcs
  • Cloves - 4-5 pcs
  • Cinnamon stick - 2 inch long pc
  • Black Pepper corns - 1 tsp
  • Star Anise - 1/2 of a small pc
  • 1. In a skillet, dry roast/toast the whole spices of the spice mixture, on high heat for 4-5 min. Make sure to stir the spices constantly when you toast them as they will burn very quickly. You will know when the spices are perfectly roasted, when they release their beautiful aroma. Remove from heat and let it cool.
  • 2. Clean and cut the chicken into small stew pieces. If you like you can use boneless meat, however I prefer the whole chicken as the combination of the red and white meat creates a wonderful taste. Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel and set aside.
  • 3. In a blender or a coffee grinder, grind the whole spices to a smooth powder. In a sealable bowl, mix in the ingredients for the marinade, the powdered spices. Marinate the chicken in the marinade, sealed and refrigerated, for about 24 hours, or min of 2 hours.
  • 4. On the day of cooking, take the chicken out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature. In a big non-stick pan, heat 2 tbsp of butter, brown the chicken pieces in batches to have even crispy coating.
  • 5. Return all the chicken pieces to the pan, add the tomato puree and 1 cup of hot water. Bring to boil and simmer on low-med heat for about 30 min. Make sure to gently stir in occasionally for even distribution of heat.
  • 6. After the 30 min, remove the pan from top of the heat, stir in the cream and ghee, then return the pan to the heat and simmer on low heat for 10 more minutes. Turn the heat off and let it rest for 5-7 minutes. Serve with naan or polao.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Stir-fry Balsamic Vegetables

Servings: 4

  • Carrots - 2 med, thinly sliced in 1.5 inch long pieces
  • Cauliflower florets - 1.5 cup
  • Broccoli florets - 1.5 cup
  • Beans - 1 cup, cut into 1.5 inch long pieces
  • Green capsicum - 1 lrg, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Snow peas - 1 cup
  • Chopped Italian Parsley - 1/2 cup (optional)
  • For sauce:
  • Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Balsamic Vinegar - 2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp (adjust depending on the saltiness of the soy sauce)
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • 1. In a bowl, mix in all the ingredients for the sauce. Set aside.
  • 2. In a microwavable bowl, put all the cleaned and cut vegetables, sprinkle 1/2 cup of water, cover and steam for 2 min on high in the microwave.
  • 3. In a wok, heat 2 tbsp of oil till smoking hot. Add the veg and stir fry for about 4-5 min, for it to be cooked but still stay crunchy.
  • 4. Pour over the sauce, stir to coat all the veg properly. Turn the heat off, and sprinkle the chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
*You can use any choice of vegetables you like.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Szechuan Beef & Vegetables

Servings: 3-4

  • Whole pepper corns- 1 tbsp
  • Dried chili peppers - 2 tbsp
  • Ginger root- 1.5 cm long, grated finely
  • Garlic cloves - 3-4, crushed
  • Water chestnuts - 1/2 cup, thinly sliced
  • Snow peas - 1 cup, whole (or halved if too big)
  • Capsicum/ bell pepper(any colour) - 1, julienned
  • Carrots - 1 lrg, julienned
  • Green onions/ scallions - 3, chopped into 1 inch long pieces
  • Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Sugar - 1 tbsp
  • Cider vinegar - 1 tbsp

  • For the Marinade:
  • Beef rib-eye steak- 1 lb, cut into thin strips
  • Tomato sauce/ketchup - 2 tbsp
  • Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Cider vinegar - 1 tbsp
  • Salt - adjust to taste, since the soy sauce will be salty
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • 1. In a bowl mix in all the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the beef strips overnight or minimum of 2 hours, refrigerated. On the day of cooking, take them out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, for at least half hour before cooking.
  • 2. In a wok, heat 3 tbsp of oil, till smoking hot. Add the pepper corns, saute for few min, then remove the pepper corns with a spoon. This is just to infuse the oil with the peppery taste and scent.
  • 3. Add the dried chili peppers to the oil, saute for couple of min. Add the garlic, ginger and the beef strips. Saute on high heat till they are cooked. For about 3-4 min.
  • 4. Add the vegetables, except the scallions and stir-fry for about 3 - 4 min on high heat.
  • 5. In a bowl, mix in the vinegar, soy sauce, and the sugar. Pour this mixture on top of the beef and veg. Turn the heat off. Stir to combine everything together. Garnish with the chopped scallions. Serve with plain white rice.
For a vegetarian version, you can skip the meat altogether. Also, use any combination of vegetables you like.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Curried Rice

Servings: 3 -4

  • Rice* - 2.5 cups
  • Ground Beef - 1 lb (450 gm) (you can also use ground chicken/ turkey)
  • Onion - 1 med, finely chopped
  • Garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp
  • Green Chili - 2, sliced lengthwise (seeds removed if you don't like the heat)
  • Nutmeg powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Hot spice powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1.5 tsp (or to taste)
  • Black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf - 1 lrg
  • Clarified Butter - 4 tbsp (you can use oil in stead)
  • 1. Wash the rice, drain and set aside.
  • 2. In a non-stick pot, heat the butter, add the bay leaf. Add the onions and saute till they turn translucent.
  • 3. Add the salt, ginger and garlic paste, saute for 2-3 min. Add the ground meat, saute till they turn brown.
  • 4. Add the dry spices (cumin, coriander, hot spice, nutmeg, black pepper), saute for about 3-4 min.
  • 5. Add the rice and keep sauteing for 4-5 more min. Add 5 cups (using the same cup you used for measuring the rice) of hot water** to the pot, stir to combine. Bring the water to boil, stir the rice once, add the green chilies, then reduce the heat to medium and let it simmer for 15 min, covered.
  • 6. After 15 min, gently stir the rice (do NOT over stir it, as it will make the rice soggy), turn the heat off. Let it rest for at least 10 min. With a fork, carefully loosen/fluff the rice, before serving. You can serve it as it is, or as a side to some grilled meat/veg.
*I used Sona Masoori rice, however any fragrant rice can be used. However, adjust the measurement of the cooking water to the specific rice you use.
** You can also use beef/chicken/veg broth in stead of water. In that case, make sure to adjust the salt you add at the start since broths usually tend to be salty.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bengali Fish Curry

Servings: 4 - 6


  • Ruhi/Carp fish - 6 steaks, (6 pieces cut off the whole fish)*
  • Eggplant - 1 cup, cut into finger length wedges
  • Idaho Potato - 2 med, cut into finger length wedges
  • Roma Tomato - 2 lrg, cut into finger length wedges
  • Green chili - 2 - 3, sliced lengthwise (seeds removed if you don't like the heat)
  • Onion - 1 med, thinly sliced
  • Garlic paste - 1 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Fresh Cilantro - 1/2 cup, coarsely chopped
  • For the spice rub:
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
  • 1. First wash and drain the fish steaks. In a bowl mix in the spices for the rub. Coat the fish steaks with the spice rub evenly, rubbing all over the flesh. Let it rest for 1/2 hour.
  • 2. In a non-stick pan, heat 4 tbsp oil, pan fry the steaks for 2-3 min on each side. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • 3. Add the onions and salt to the oil, saute till they turn translucent. Add the garlic, saute for a minute. Add 1/2 cup of hot water and all the dry spices (chili, cumin, turmeric, coriander) and stir combine. Simmer till the added water evaporates and creates a thick spice mixture. Return the fish steaks to the spice mixture and gently flip over to combine overall.
  • 4. After few min, remove the fish from the spice, add all the vegetables to the pan and stir to combine. Make sure to coat all the vegetables. Saute for 4-5 min. Carefully lay the fish steaks over the vegetables. Add 3 cups of hot water to the pan, to make sure to soak the fish and veg properly. Simmer on med heat for about 30 min, covered.
  • 5. After 30 min, uncover the lid, carefully stir to rearrange the veg and the fish, simmer for 5 more min uncovered to reduce the gravy to a thick consistency. Turn the heat off and sprinkle the chopped cilantro on top before serving. Serve with rice.
*You can use any type of fish for this curry. You can also use fillets rather than steak cut fish, however for the big fishes like Ruhi/ Buffalo Carp/Silver carp, etc, steak cut is more tasty for this type of curry.

Chicken Rags

Serving: 4

  • Chicken - 1 whole (3 lb), cut into 8 pieces or big pieces.
  • Canned chopped tomato - 1, (1 lb can)
  • Garlic cloves - 3-4, crushed
  • Ginger root - 1 inch, grated finely
  • Jalapeno - 2, (seeds removed if you don't like the heat)
  • Canned pitted green olives - 1/2 cup, drained of its liquid
  • Curry powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Hot spice powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Whole pepper corns - 1 tsp
  • Bay leaf - 1 lrg/ 2 med
  • 1. In a heavy base pot or a dutch oven, heat 4 tbsp of oil. Add the bay leaf and the pepper corns, saute.
  • 2. Add all the ingredients, except the jalapeno and the olives, to the pan. Stir gently to combine all the chicken pieces with the spices. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 15 min.
  • 3. The juices from the chicken will be released and create a liquid for the chicken to be cooked in. Stir and add 1/2 cup of hot water. Continue this process of stirring the chicken every 15 min and adding 1/2 cup of hot water every time.
  • 4. Simmer on low-med heat for about 1 - 1.5 hours, till the meat falls off the bones and looks like old rags. Add the olives and the jalapeno. Stir to combine, and simmer for 15 more min. Turn off the heat.
  • 5. Let it rest for 15 min before serving. Serve with a hearty bread or even simple pasta.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Rotini with Roast Vegetables & Chicken

Servings: 4

  • Rotini Pasta - 1 lb
  • Chicken breast fillet* - 1, boneless, cut into bite size pieces
  • Carrots - 2, cut into 1 inch pieces (to yield 1 cup)
  • Green beans - 1 cup, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • Grape tomatoes - 1/2 pint (1 cup)
  • Baby potatoes - 1 cup, peeled (and halved if bigger than bite size)
  • Green pepper - 1, cut into bite size pieces
  • Parmesan cheese - 1 cup
  • Chicken Bouillon - 1 cube
  • Salt & Pepper - to taste
  • 1. Prepare all the vegetables by washing and cutting them. In half cup of water mix in the chicken bouillon. In a roasting tray arranged the vegetables, toss them with the broth mixture, salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.
  • 2. In a piece of aluminum foil, place the chicken breast, season with salt , pepper and a drizzle of olive oil. Fold to make a pouch. You can place it in the same tray with the vegetables or use a separate tray.
  • 3. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C) and bake/roast the chicken and the vegetable for about 30 min. When the skin of the veg turn a little crispy you will know they are done.
  • 4. Meanwhile, cook your pasta** according to the package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • 5. Once the veg and the chicken are done, remove the foil wrapping of the chicken and cut it into bite size pieces. Be careful, since it will be quite hot. Use a fork to hold it in place while you cut it.
  • 6. In a big serving bowl, toss the cooked pasta with the veg and chicken together. Stir in 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese. The heat from the pasta will melt the cheese and create a sticky consistency.
  • 7. Serve the Rotini in individual bowls with a sprinkle of the remaining Parmesan cheese.
For a vegetarian version, you can skip the chicken altogether. Also, use any type of vegetables that you like. Pumpkin, butternut squash, zucchini, broccoli, asparagus are also my favorites for roasting.
** Make sure to salt the water as this is the only time to flavour the pasta. You can also cook your pasta in broth rather than water to give it a extra boost of flavour.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Chicken Ciabatta Sandwich

Servings: 4

  • Ciabatta Bread - 4 individual pieces
  • Chicken Breast fillet - 1 lb (450 gm), boneless, cut into thin strips
  • Lettuce (any variety) - 4 portions
  • Curry powder - 1 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • BBQ sauce - 1 tbsp
  • Garlic powder/paste - 1 tsp

  • For the sandwich dressing:
  • Plain yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Hot sauce - 1 tsp (or less/more, upon preference)
  • Lemon juice - 1/2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • 1. In a bowl mix in the curry powder, chili powder, salt, BBQ sauce and the garlic powder. Coat the chicken strips in the spice mixture evenly.
  • 2. In a wok heat 2 tbsp of oil till smoking, add the chicken strips and saute till cooked. Turn the heat off and set aside.
  • 3. In a bowl, mix in all the ingredients for the dressing, set aside and prepare the sandwiches.
  • 4. Toast each side of the Ciabatta breads. On the heal (bottom half of the bread) place the lettuce, then a generous serving of the chicken, 1 tbsp (or more, but be careful it will be messy) full of the sauce and top it with the crowns (top half). Serve hot.
This sandwich is damn yummy as well as super messy. So, have those paper napkins handy before sitting down to eat. :)

Raas Malai- the Sweetest Delicacy!

  • Full-cream Milk - 1.25 gallon/ 4.5 liter
  • Vinegar - 4 tbsp
  • Sugar - 5 cups
  • Green Cardamon - 2
  • 1. In a non-stick pot , bring half a gallon of milk into boil by simmering on very low heat. Reduce the milk to half the amount by keeping it simmering for about 2-3 hours on low heat. Remember to stir occasionally to avoid any burns or lumps.
  • 2. Mean while, in another pot bring the rest of the milk to boil. Once it starts bubbling, turn the heat off and add the vinegar. The milk solids (chana) will separate from the whey.
  • 3. Drain it in a cheese cloth, and hang it somewhere to drain for about 1.5- 2 hours. Do not squeeze to get the water out faster. This will make the chana (cottage cheese) hard and result in harder sweets.
  • 4. Back to the evaporated milk, once the milk has reduced to a thick sticky consistency (you will know when you dip a wooden spoon in the milk and a thick cream sticks to the spoon) add 1 cup of sugar (or to your preference) and keep stirring to melt in the sugar completely. Your sweetened cream is done, set it aside and let it cool. Once cold , keep it in the fridge until it is required for the sweets.
  • 5. Meanwhile in a pot with a wide surface area, make the simple syrup by adding 4 cups of sugar to 5 cups of water and the cardamons. Simmer on low heat, and keep it warm while you make the chana balls. You need a large pan*, because once you add the chana balls they will puff up and take up as much area as you give them, that means the bigger they will get.
  • 6. Once the chana has properly been drained out of all the liquid, knead it with 1 tbsp of sugar for about 6-10 min. The more you knead it the softer the sweets will be.
  • 7. Form tiny little balls out of the chana, the recipe allows for about 70-90 balls. Once all the chana balls have been prepared, poach them in the simple syrup for about 20 min on low-med heat, covered. Do NOT open the lid while cooking. This will make the balls shrink and hard.
  • 8. Once the 20 min is up, turn the heat off and let the sweets cool down. Do not open the lid until the pot is cool to touch. This will make sure the sweets are soft and spongy. Soak the sweets in the syrup for about 24 hours.
  • 9. Then transfer them (drained of the syrup) to the sweetened cream and soak in the cream for 24 hours more, refrigerated. The longer you soak the sweets, the sweeter and plumper it will get. After the 2 long days of waiting, you can serve the sweetest delicacy ever. It is no doubt a lot of hard work, but the result is heavenly!!!
* If you do not have a large enough pan, then cook the sweets in two batches or use two different pots, that is what I did. This also means that you need to divide your syrup in the two pots or make extra syrup for two different pots.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Orange Cream Delight

Few days ago, after lunch I felt like having a cream cheese pie. I had none at home, and couldn't be bothered running to the store. So had to do with whatever I had in the fridge. However, I was feeling lazy to create a pie crust and go the whole yard for a pie. So , here is my take on it. This is a lazy version of cream cheese pie, in other words it has most of the ingredients of a pie but just does not look like one. Bon Appétit!

Servings: 2

  • Cream cheese -1 cup*
  • Orange flavoured yogurt- 2/3 cup
  • Orange Zest - 1 tbsp (zest of 1 fresh orange, can also use lemon)
  • Orange extract - 1/4 tsp
  • Canned orange - 1 can
  • Chocolate Brownie - 2 big pieces **
  • Strawberry preserve/jam - 2 tbsp
  • 1. In a bowl beat the cream cheese with a electric mixer until frothy.
  • 2. Add the orange zest, extract and slowly beat in the yogurt with the cheese. Put it in a zip log bag for piping/filling the cups.
  • 3. Drain the canned oranges from their juice and set aside. Preserve the juice. With a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut your brownies, don't throw away the cut leftover pieces.
  • 4. In each wine glass***, first put 1 tbsp of the strawberry preserve, then top it with a layer of oranges, then a layer of the broken/leftover brownie pieces.
  • 5. Cut of one corner of the zip log bag with the cheese in it to create a piping bag. Gently squeeze the bag to pipe over the cheese/yogurt mix on top of the brownie layer in swirls.
  • 6. Arrange some more orange pieces on top of the cheese. With the piping bag do some decorations on the cut-out heart shaped brownie and place it in the center of the yogurt.
  • 7. Pour about 2-3 tbsp of the preserved canned orange liquid over the brownie to allow it to soak up the juices. Chill for at least 2 hours before serving.
*You can use fat-free or reduced fat cheese and yogurt for a healthier version.
** I baked my own brownie to have control over the thickness and crunch I wanted. I also used heart shaped cup to bake my brownie so that I wont have to cut it later. You can use store bought brownie and cut it to your desired shape.
***You can use margarita or any other glasses as well. Instead of using any fancy glass, you can also use flat cups with leads and store your orange delight in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. In this case just defrost it for about an hour or so in the fridge before serving.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Roast Chicken with Garlic Mustard Rub

I bought these tiny little Cornish hens which were too cute to look rather than cook. They were so small that they would fit on your palm. However, for our New Years dinner I decided to cook them(finally) and the result was this. I had also roasted some vegetables with it which were a great accompaniment to any roast (I think). Enjoy!

Servings: 2


  • Cornish Hens - 2, whole
  • Garlic - 1 tbsp, crushed or paste
  • Dijon Mustard - 3 tbsp
  • Ketchup - 3 tbsp
  • Chili powder - 2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp (or to taste, remember the mustard will be salty)
  • Black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Butter - 1 stick/ 8 tbsp
  • Garlic - 1 whole bulb (for roast)
  • Vegetables of your choice*
  • 1. Wash and pat dry the chickens. Leave the skin on, as it will help keep the meat moist.
  • 2. In a bowl mix in all the ingredients except the veg. Rub the marinade on the chickens thoroughly. Make sure you also put some under the skin of the breasts and thighs.
  • 3. Let it marinade for about 24 hours, min of 2 hours. The longer you marinade the tastier it gets.
  • 4. Preheat your oven to 400F (200C). On a roasting tray**, first place the vegetables (peeled and cut) that you want to roast. Open up the cloves of garlic from the whole bulb. Reserve 4 cloves and scatter the rest (skin on***) on the tray with the vegetables. Sprinkle some salt, pepper on top.
  • 5. Cut the stick of butter in 8 pieces (to make 8 tables spoons). Scatter around 4 pieces on top of the veg. Stick 2 remaining pieces of butter(breaking them in smaller dollops) underneath the skin of the chicken breasts and thighs.
  • 6. Stuff the cavity of each chickens with 1 piece of butter and 2 cloves of garlic. Use small metal roasting skewers to keep the legs close to the breast. You can also tie the legs with a pieces of kitchen string.
  • 7. Bake for about 1- 1.5 hour (20 minutes per pound of meat). Rotating the chickens every 15 min. If you do not want your chicken to be crispy on the outside, then after the 1 hour mark, insert a knife to the thickest part of the chicken. If the juices run clear, your chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken from the oven. Otherwise let it cook till the skin gets charred and crispy.
  • 8. Let the chickens rest for about 15 min before serving. Serve with a side of the vegetables roasted in the delicious juices dripping from the chickens
* I used 1 large onion quartered, 2 med potatoes cut in wedges, 3 large carrots chopped in 2 inch long pieces, 1 whole bulb of garlic, cloves separated.
** Line your roasting tray with aluminum foil for easy clean up.
*** Leaving the skin on while roasting, leaves the garlic flesh really juicy and sweet. It is also really easy and fun to peel them while eating. You can also use roast a lot more than a bulb in this recipe and reserve the extra for uses in other dishes. I use them in salads, pasta, sandwich spreads, etc.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

White Chicken Rezala

Servings: 4

  • Chicken Breasts - 2 lb (1 kg), boneless, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • Onion - 1 med, 1/2 of it thinly sliced
  • Green Chili - 4, (2 sliced)
  • Garlic cloves - 2-3
  • Ginger root - 1/2 inch (to yield 1/2 tsp in paste)
  • Ghee/ Clarified Butter - 4 tbsp
  • Garam Masala Powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Milk - 1/2 cup
  • Plain yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp (or to taste, the dish is meant to be on the sweet side)
  • Black pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1.5 tsp
  • 1. Prepare the chicken by washing and patting them dry with a paper towel, before chopping them into cubes.
  • 2. In a blender, blend 2 chilies, garlic, ginger and half of the unsliced onion into a puree.
  • 3. In a sealable container, marinate the chicken pieces with the blended aromatics, garam masala powder, 1 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp of ground black pepper, for about 1/2 -1 hour. The longer you marinate the tender the meat gets, I did for about an hour.
  • 4. In a bowl, beat the yogurt with the sugar and set aside.
  • 5. In a heavy base non-stick pan, heat the ghee/butter. In batches, saute the chicken pieces until cooked through. Make sure your heat is not too high as it will brown up the chicken. Remove and let it rest on a plate.
  • 6. Add the sliced half of the onion to the pan, and 1/2 tsp of the salt. Saute till translucent.
  • 7. Add the yogurt mixture and simmer on med heat for 4-5 min. Return the chicken pieces to the pan along with the milk. When adding the milk, make sure to remove your pan from heat, and then once stirred in properly, return it on the heat. This will stop the milk from breaking.
  • 8. Add the remaining 2 chilies. Simmer the chicken on low-med heat for about 25-30 min or until the milk evaporates and the ghee separates to create a thick shiny white gravy. Serve with Polao or Nutmeg Rice.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Kofta Curry

Servings 4- 6

  • Ground Sirloin - 1.5 lb (750 gm)*
  • Onion - 1 med, finely chopped
  • Tomatoes - 1/2 lb, chopped finely, reserving their juices
  • Plain Yogurt - 1 cup (full cream)**
  • Ginger paste - 1/2 tsp (I prefer freshly made paste or crushed for full flavour)
  • Garlic Cloves - 3, crushed
  • Green chili - 2-3, seeded and crushed
  • Salt - 2 tsp
  • Black pepper - 1 tsp
  • Sugar - 1 tsp
  • Ground Cumin - 1/2 tsp
  • Ground Coriander - 1 tsp
  • Hot spice powder - 1 tsp**
  • 1. In a bowl mix in the garlic, ginger , chili, 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper, and 1 tsp of oil with the ground meat. Do not over work the meat as that will result in hard meatballs when cooked. I use a fork to mix in the ingredients with the meat rather than smashing them with my fingers.
  • 2. Form the meat into round balls, the recipe should yield about 20-25 balls. Cover them with a plastic wrap and chill for at least 1/2 hour to 2 hours.
  • 3. When ready to cook, heat 2 tbsp of oil in a deep base pan, add the onions and the remaining salt and pepper. Saute till the onions turn brown on the edges.
  • 4. Add the tomatoes with their juices and saute for about 5-6 min. Add the cumin, coriander, hot spice powder and the sugar. Stir to combine.
  • 5. Add 1 cup of hot water and simmer on med heat for about 6-10 min, till the tomatoes turn soft and gooey. Remove the pan from top of the heat and stir in the yogurt. If you add the yogurt to the pan while keeping it on heat, the yogurt will break.
  • 6. Return the pan to the heat. Add 1 cup of hot water. Take the meatballs out of the fridge and gently place each onto the sauce.
  • 7. Cover and simmer on low heat for about 1.5 hours to 2 hours. Stirring occasionally to avoid burning at the bottom. The final gravy will be thick and rich. Serve with naan/flat bread or even on a bed of rice or pasta and a salad.
  • Simply bellissimo !!
* You can also use ground chuck or even chicken. However, I prefer sirloin since it is the leanest and works best with this dish.
** I prefer using the full cream yogurt as this dish does not require much oil to cook. So the full cream yogurt gives it a rich body. However, for a more diet version you can use fat-free yogurt, but you will be sacrificing the flavour a bit.
***I make my own hot spice powder by first toasting the whole spices (cardamon, cinnamon, cloves) on a skillet and then grinding them into powder. However, store bought hot spice powder will do fine. The store bought mix usually includes powder of cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, fenugreek, and mustard seeds.

Paprika Spiced Eggs

Servings: 6-10

  • Eggs - 12, hard boiled, shelled
  • Onion - 1 med, thinly sliced, lengthwise
  • Fresh Paprika / Red capsicum- 1 lrg, seeded & thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Paprika powder - 1 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Cumin powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • 1. Once the eggs are cooled and shelled, with a knife make some shallow scars on the surface all around the egg. This will allow the spices to stick by creating a ruff surface.
  • 2. On a plate sprinkle 1/2 tsp of the paprika powder and 1/2 tsp salt. roll the eggs on the mixture to coat all around evenly.
  • 3. In a pan heat 3 tbsp of oil, and saute the eggs for about 3-4 min till all are browned and crispy all over
  • 4. Remove the eggs and rest it on a plate. Add the onions and the red peppers to the pan. If required add a bit more oil, however you should not need to.
  • 5. In half a cup of water mix the remaining paprika powder, salt, sugar, cumin and chili powder. Add the mixture to the onions and peppers. Saute till the water evaporates.
  • 6. Return the eggs back to pan, stir to combine everything and coat the eggs with the onion mixture all over. Saute for 2-3 min. Serve warm.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mustard Chili Salmon

Servings: 4

  • Salmon Fillet - 4 (2.5 inch wide slices)
  • Onion - 1 lrg, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Jalapeno- 1 lrg, thinly sliced
  • Dijon Mustard Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Ketchup - 1 tbsp
  • Whole Mustard seeds- 1.5 tsp, coarsely crushed
  • Cumin powder - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp or to taste (remember the mustard sauce tends to be a little salty)
  • 1. Wash and pat dry the salmon fillets with a paper towel. In a bowl mix the mustard sauce, ketchup, cumin, coriander powder, salt and 1 tsp of the crushed mustard seeds.
  • 2. Marinate the salmon pieces in the spice mixture for about 30 min to 1 hour.
  • 3. In a non stick pan, heat 3 tbsp of oil. When the the oil is smoking hot, pan fry the fillets for about 2-3 min on each side, till they get a nice and crispy coating.
  • 4. Remove and let it rest on a plate.
  • 5. Add the chopped onions to the pan, and saute till they turn translucent. Add 1/2 cup of hot water, chilies, and the remaining 1/2 tsp of the crushed mustard seeds. Stir to combine.
  • 6. Return the salmon fillet back into the pan with their juices. Gently flip so that the fillets are evenly coated with the onions and chilies.
  • 7. Simmer on low heat till the added water evaporated to leave a glossy sticky consistency.
  • 8. Serve on a bed of white rice or some roasted vegetables.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Beef Stew with Panch Foron

Panch Foron is a mix of five different whole spices. It comprises of Cumin (jeera), Nigella (kalojeera), Mustard seeds (shorshe dana), Ajwain/caraway seeds (radhuni), and Fanugreek (methi). Usually panch foron is used for adding a distinct aroma and taste to vegetable dishes and pickles (mango pickle etc). Some also use it in fish. I have tried my version of beef stew with panch foron and the result was brilliant. Panch foron comes as a mix, and you can find it in any Indian/Bengali or authentic food stores.

Servings: 4-6

  • Beef - 3 lb (1.5 kg), cut into small stew pieces
  • Onion - 1 lrg, thinly sliced
  • Salt- 1/2 tsp
  • Potatoes - 2 lrg, cubed (optional)
  • Cinnamon stick - 1.5 inch
  • Whole Cardamon - 4-5 pcs
  • Whole Cloves - 4-5 pcs
  • Bay leaf - 1, med

  • For the Marinade:
  • Panch Foron - 2 tsp
  • Salt - 1.5 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1.5 tsp
  • Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Whole pepper corns - 1 tsp
  • Plain Yogurt - 1/2 cup
  • 1. Wash and drain the beef. In a bowl mix in all the ingredients for the marinade and marinate the beef overnight in the refrigerator.
  • 2. On the day of cooking, let the beef come to room temperature for about 1/2 hour before cooking. In a non stick pot (I prefer a dutch oven) heat 2 tbsp of oil.
  • 3. Add the bay leaf, cardamons, cloves, cinnamon, pepper corns. Be careful, as they will start to pop as they infuse the oil. Add the onions and 1/2 tsp salt. Saute till the onions are nicely golden.
  • 4. Add the beef along with the marinade to the pot. Stir to combine, and 1/2 cup of hot water.
  • 5. Simmer on low-med heat for about 1.5- 2 hours, stirring occasionally for the flavours to blend. Add 1/2 - 1 cup of hot water every 15 min, to make sure there is enough juice for the beef to be cooked without burning.*
  • 6. Nearly at the end of the cooking time, check a piece of meat to make sure it is tender to pull, then add the cubed potatoes. Simmer till the potatoes are cooked through. You might need to add a bit more water when you add the potatoes, so that they will absorb all the flavours from the gravy.
  • 7. Serve with a side of garden salad and rice or flat bread.
*Do not be lazy and add a whole quart of water all at once. By adding small amount of water frequently will allow the beef stew to develop a strong and gourmet flavour which you will not achieve if you drown the beet with a lot of water at the very start.
** Some people like adding beef stock to their stew. However, my version does not require that, as it already possesses an infusion of great flavours.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Flame Grilled Beef Burgers

Servings: 4- 8

  • Ground Hamburger meat/ Beef (73/27)* - 2 lb (1 Kg)
  • Onion - 1/2 med, chopped finely
  • Italian/ flat leaf Parsley - 2 tbsp, finely chopped
  • Pitted Olive - 1/2 cup, chopped finely
  • Garlic paste - 2 tsp
  • Soy Sauce - 4 tbsp
  • Worcestershire Sauce - 2 tbsp
  • Chili Powder - 2 tsp
  • Black Pepper - 1 tsp
  • Ground Cumin - 1 tsp
  • Ground Coriander - 1.5 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • 1. In a bowl mix in all the ingredients with the ground beef. Make sure you mix everything evenly but without over working the meat. Set to rest for about 1/2 hour, sealed, in the refrigerator.
  • 2. Prepare your BBQ and have fire going on a steady rate.

  • 3. Take the meat out of the fridge, divide into 8 equal portions and form them into round balls.
  • 4. Place them on a foil and press with your palm to create the patties. Cut the foil around the patties, so that you can easily place them ont0 the BBQ without a fuss.
  • 5. Cook for 4-5 min on each wide, or depending on how you like them. I like mine well done.
  • 6. Serve on a bread roll with any salad of your choice as a sandwich. You can also serve the beef patties, as a main dish with a drizzle of Honey BBQ Sauce and with the salad as a side.
* 73/27 means that the ground meat consists of 73 percent meat and 27 percent fat content. You can also use a more leaner version or ground sirloin. However, I prefer the fat content when barbecuing, since the fat usually melts and drains off while cooking on the fire.

Barramundi with 3 Pepper Sauce

Servings: 4

  • Barramundi Fish fillet- 1 lb (450 gm)
  • Red Onion- 1 sml, thinly sliced
  • Red bell pepper/capsicum- 1/2 sml, thinly sliced
  • Green bell pepper/capsicum- 1/2 sml, thinly sliced
  • Yellow bell pepper/capsicum- 1/2 sml, thinly sliced
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
  • Chili Powder - 1 tsp
  • Garlic Powder - 1 tsp, alternatively use garlic paste
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Ketchup - 3 tbsp
  • Black pepper - 1/4 tsp
  • 1. Wash and cut the fish fillets into 2.5 inch wide pieces. In a bowl mix in the salt, turmeric, coriander, chili and the garlic powder. Coat the fillets evenly with the spice mixture. Let it marinade for 15 - 30 min.
  • 2. In a non-stick pan, heat 4 tbsp of oil and fry the fillets, in batches, for 3-4 min on each side or until it develops a crispy coating. Remove from the pan and let it rest on the serving plate.
  • 3. Add 2 tbsp of oil to the pan and heat. Add the onions and saute till they turn translucent.
  • 4. Add the bell peppers, 1/2 tsp salt and black pepper and saute for 2-3 min.
  • 5. Mix in the ketchup in a cup of hot water and pour on top of the peppers. Stir to combine. Simmer for 4-5 min on med heat, till it reaches a shiny thick consistency.
  • 6. Remove from heat and pour over the fish fillets and serve with rice.