Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Holi - the festival of Color!

Holi is a very important festival in India. It is celebrated sometime during March; and essentially brings the onset of summer (Spring is not very prominent in this part of the world). Holi is celebrated for two days, the second day is called Dhuleti. On Holi, a large fire is lit in the evening and various offerings are made to the fire - papad, popcorn, water, dates and so on. On Dhuleti, people play with color and water and there is a lot of fun and frolic involved. There are a number of reasons behind this festival; mythological, ecological and even psychological. With the help of my paternal grandmother Sudha Devi; I've managed to find out and log all the various reasons!

Mythological - the story is set in Ancient India. There was a great, but tyrant king - Hiranyakashyap; who was incredibly powerful. Unfortunately, the power went to his head and he wanted all his courtiers and people to pray to him instead of Lord Vishnu. Ironically; his son, Prahlad; was a staunch devotee of Lord Vishnu, and simply refused to bend to his fathers wish. He went to the extent of telling Hiranyakashyap's followers that Lord Vishnu was the real God, and not Hiranyakashyap. The kings argument was that when people were hungry or were in need; it was him who they come to; Lord Vishnu couldn't do anything at such times.

Frustrated by his sons behavior, Hiranyakashyap attempted to kill Prahlad innumerable times; but to no avail. Finally; he devised an evil plan with his sister Holika.She had received a boon that she could not be burned. So, the two siblings decided that they would make a large fire and tell Prahlad to sit on Holika's lap right in the center of it. Prahlad agreed as he had complete faith in his lord. The boon did not work for Holika and she burned to death while Prahlad emerged without a scar. This is the reason for burning a fire on the day of Holi.

Ecological - the Holi fire is made out of cow dung and wood. Cow dung is known to be an antiseptic; the smoke caused from the fire kills all the germs and little insects in the atmosphere.

Psychological - the second day of Holi is called Dhuleti. This is the day when everyone plays with powdered color and water. Dhuleti is the day to wash away all the past misunderstandings and problems with your friends and family. It is also to welcome summer with joy. The reason behind playing with bright colors is because there are many emotions in life, and various colors represent those emotions.

In a similar manner, there are various tastes in life, and they represent the various emotions. That's why, one will eat all the different flavors on Holi - sweet, sour, salty, bitter and spicy.

Each family, and each region of India has there own way to combine these flavors into one. My family uses Gudd ka Bhaat and Dahi Vada to represent these flavors.

Gudd ka Bhaat

Ingredients -
  • 1 cup Rice
  • 3/4 cup Jaggery (gudd)
  • 3 cups Water
  • 1tbsp Ghee
  • 2 Cloves (long/laving)
  • 2 Cardamom (elaichi)
Melt the jaggery in the water and keep aside. Heat the ghee slightly and add the cloves and cardamom. Fry the rice in the ghee and spices for about a minute. Add the sugar mixture and allow to cook until the water has all been soaked and you have a sticky rice. Serve hot.

Dahi Vada

Ingredients -
  • 3/4 cup Mung dal
  • 1/4 cup Urad dal (white lentil)
  • 1 1/2 cup Yogurt (dahi)
  • 50 grams Tamarind (imli)
  • 50 grams Jaggery (gudd)
  • 3tbsp red Chili powder
  • 3tbsp Cumin 
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for frying
Wash and soak the two dals for a couple of hours or even over night. Grind to a fine paste with a little bit of water. Form the batter into small balls and fry for a couple of minutes or until the vadas are cooked through. Dip each vada in some water for a couple of minutes and then squeeze out the water by placing a vada between your hands.

Soak the Tamarind in 1/2 cup of warm water for a couple of minutes and then strain to get a thick sauce.

Melt the jaggery in a pan with a few table spoons of water, add 1tbsp of chili powder to it.

Roast the cumin seeds till the oils in the spice release, and grind to a fine powder

Strain the yogurt so that it is smooth and creamy without any lumps.

Place the soaked vadas in a shallow bowl. Pour the yogurt on top. Then, pour the tamarind and jaggery sauce over the yogurt. Sprinkle the remaining chili powder and cumin powder. Serve cold.

Monday, 25 March 2013

Fried Potates and Sour Cream

This is one of my favorite meals. One may think that having such amounts of cream could be incredibly heavy, but the tartness from the lemon counters the richness of the cream.

I don't even require anything on the side when I have fried potatoes and sour cream! Although, you could serve it with roast chicken. That's what the family generally does.

Ingredients -
  • 4 medium sized Potatoes
  • 150ml cream, chilled
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Lemon juice
  • 2 Green Chilies, finely chopped
  • 1tbsp finely chopped Spring Onion
  • 1tsp Mixed Herbs (optional)
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • Oil, for deep frying
The trick to getting potatoes that are crisp on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside is to fry hot potatoes! So, boil and peel the potatoes and slice each one in half. Heat oil in a deep wok, fry the potato halves in batches of three or four; till they are lovely and golden on all sides.

Add the lemon juice to the cream and whisk until the cream forms hard peaks. Stir in the remaining ingredients.

Serve the hot potatoes with dollops of the cold cream.

Chinese Chews

These chewy cookies have been a favorite in my house since before I can remember. I don't know where the name came from; but it stuck. Chinese Chews are essentially dates and peanuts coated in a thin layer of batter and baked. Its the dates that add the chewy factor. These cookies are incredibly nutritious and just as yummy!

Ingredients -
  • 1 Egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup Flour
  • 2tbsp Sugar
  • 50g butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Dates, de-seeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups Peanuts, roasted and shelled
Beat the butter and sugar till it is light and fluffy. Add the egg, and fold in the flour. Mix the dates and peanuts into the batter; until everything is evenly mixed. It may seem like there isn't enough batter for the amount of dates and peanuts you are adding; trust me, its enough!

Evenly smooth out the mixture onto a greased baking pan. You could also make individual clusters. The layer should be about an inch thick. Bake in an oven pre-heated to 170C for about 15 minutes. Allow the Chinese Chews to cool completely and store in an airtight jar. Enjoy!

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Tomato Basil Pasta

My mother lives in a land far far away called Timbaktu. Yes, Timbaktu. Although this Timbaktu is a village around a six hour drive away from Bangalore and is an NGO where my mother works as the project coordinator for the school. The Timbaktu Collective is a very intriguing place where lots of very interesting things are always happening. To know more about the Timbaktu Collective please visit: http://www.timbaktu.org/

The one thing that grows really well in my mother's garden is basil. So, as a result, it tends to be used in as many ways as it possibly can! This recipe of her's is one of the more luxurious meals you can get in a place like that and tastes good without the basil as well.

Ingredients -

  • 4 fistfuls (400g) Pasta of your choice
  • 1 large Onion, finely sliced
  • 8 medium sized Tomatoes, blanched
  • 1/4 cup Ketchup
  • 6-7 cloves Garlic
  • 3 dried Red Chillis, halved
  • 9-10 fresh Basil leaves, chopped
  • Spring Onion shoots, chopped
  • Cheese (optional)
  • Olive Oil (optional)
  • Herb Seasoning
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Boil the pasta with a teaspoon full of oil and keep aside. The best way to make out if its done is to taste a piece!

Finely chop the blanched, skinned tomatoes and keep aside.

Heat oil (preferably olive oil) in a sauce pan and saute the garlic till it turns reddish pink. Add the chillies and stir about for a minute. Add the finely sliced onions and saute till they become transparent. Add the tomatoes and ketchup and cook for a while. Add any herb seasoning that you may have like oregano or Italian seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 5-6 minutes and if too thick add water till desired consistency is reached.

Add the chopped basil and spring onions and give it a quick stir. Pour over pasta and grate cheese on top before digging into this scrumptious meal! Serves: 4

Friday, 22 March 2013

Spinning Tomatoes

I have a rather large family; and it is close to impossible to get everyone together in one place. After I don't know how many years, we decided to go out for dinner a few days ago. My brother Ayush works at a restaurant called Spinning Tomatoes in Ahmedabad; and that's where we decided to go!

The restaurant has a rather interesting theme to it. They have tied up with the Spin Dance Academy, and have live dance performances every evening. The restaurant and academy are divided by large glass doors. And the diners can even look in on the dance rehearsals and practice! The restaurant was bustling with energy and it had a very good vibe to it. Although it was a Wednesday evening, it was practically full!

The only let down of the restaurant is that it is all vegetarian! That is why I was a little skeptical about it. Strangely, my views on vegetarian food are now slightly altered.

Considering the fact that all of us were rather hungry; we couldn't wait to order. For starters we called for Pizza Strips and the 3 Dip Platter. The Pizza Strips had a thin, crisp crust; and were topped with cheese, olives, red and yellow peppers and onion. The perfectly sized, delicious mouthfuls were well thought out of as they didn't have the monotony of a full pizza. The 3 Dip Platter was served on a wooden platter. There were three dips - hummus, tazazki and a fresh tomato salsa. The hummus was smooth and very delicately flavored. The tazazki was essentially creamy yoghurt with cucumber and mustard. Comparatively, the salsa wasn't that great, but it went well with the other dips. Crusty bread, carrot and cucumber sticks and pita bread crisps were also arranged on the platter. Aesthetically, the dish was incredibly appealing; and it tasted just as delicious!

Next came the main course, we had the Garden Skillet, Mexican Hot Pot and the Combination Cannelloni. The Garden Skillet was essentially a mix of vegetables in a strong pepper sauce. It was served with garlic bread which was the perfect accompaniment. The Mexican Hot Pot was served in foil, and was rice cooked in a tomato sauce with various interesting ingredients thrown in. The Combination Cannelloni was pasta stuffed with cottage cheese and spinach. It was covered with a cheese and tomato sauce. Absolutely delicious. The spinach had a bright green color which I considered to be very appealing; but my brother Joy thought it to be a bit on the gory side. Well each to his own I suppose!

The Dessert Skillet was served on a platter. A variety of delicious treats - chocolate eclairs, chocolate mousse, a scoop of vanilla ice-cream, a scoop of chocolate ice-cream and an amazingly fresh chocolate cake. The entire platter had been drizzled over with a generous helping of chocolate sauce. Truly decadent!

By the end of the evening, I was stuffed till my ears. I could barely breathe. This place has definitely changed my opinion on vegetarian food. I'm definitely going there again to try out everything on the menu!

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Ham and Cheese Quiche

Quiche is something we've been making at home ever since I can remember. Or probably I remember it so clearly because the whole house smells mouth watering if there's quiche in the oven!

The vegetarian version of this recipe saved my life during my Xth standard home science practical board exam!

The only real tricky part to making a good quiche is getting the pastry right. Therefore this recipe has two parts to it. First, the pastry and then, the incredibly easy quiche.

Ingredients -

  • 150g Flour
  • 3 Tablespoon Oil
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • 1/4 tsp Salt
  • Ice Cold Water
Mix the flour salt and sugar in a bowl. Add oil little bit at a time and using two forks to toss until the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs. Now slowly add cold water and continue to mix until the dough just about comes together. Do not over mix!

Wrap it in cling film and flatten to a disc 1 cm thick. Refrigerate for 15 minutes or until firm.

Roll out the dough as then and evenly as possible and line your pie dish. Trim the edges. 

Using the pointy end of a fork, poke small holes in the pastry so that air doesn't get trapped between the pie dish and the pastry.

This same pastry is used for pies, tarts, quiche etc.

Quiche Filling
  • 3 Eggs
  • 1 Cup Cheese
  • 1/3 Cup Milk
  • 100g Ham, roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp Cream (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Beat the eggs till they're a little fluffy. Add the remaining ingredients and gently mix together to keep the fluffiness of the beaten eggs. Add salt and pepper and pour into the pie dish.

Bake at 170C for 20 minutes.

Vegetable Pulao

This pulao is slightly different from the normal. That's because the ratio of rice to vegetables is 1:3! This may seem like a lot, but it is incredibly tasty; and the perfect way to eat healthy.

We eat this dish at least twice a week. It is simple to make and hardly takes half an hour from start to finish! The best part about it is that you don't even need any additional curry or gravy with it! It has more than enough flavor on it's own.

Ingredients -
  • 2 large Onions, sliced
  • 1 cup Peas
  • 1 cup Cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup Carrot, diced
  • 10-15 cloves Garlic, peeled and bashed with a stone
  • 4 cloves
  • 1 2 inch stick Cinnamon
  • 2 green Cardamom
  • 2 black Cardamom
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1/2tsp Cumin powder
  • 1/2tsp Coriander powder
  • 1tsp red Chili powder
  • 3tbsp Oil
  • 1 cup Rice (any long grained rice would do)
  • 2 cups Water
Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed pan. Add the garlic, cloves, cinnamon, green cardamom, black cardamom and bay leaves; fry till the spices are fragrant and the garlic is slightly browned. Throw the onions in and fry till they are golden. Add the cauliflower and carrot; saute for a couple of minutes.

Wash the rice thoroughly and add to the vegetables. Pour the water and sprinkle the remaining spices on top. Stir till everything is evenly mixed. Put a lid on the pan and allow the rice to simmer on a low heat for about ten minutes. Now, add the peas and stir the rice once more. Cover and cook for a further ten minutes or till the water has evaporated and the rice is cooked through.

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Chicken Cacciatorre (Simplified)

This was the first "fancy" recipe I ever learned how to make. However, there really isn't much to it! It's so incredibly simple to make, a quick throw-it-all-in recipe which tastes absolutely delicious.

Chicken Cacciatore goes very well with any bread. I would suggest corn bread or simple garlic bread.

Ingredients -

  • 500g Chicken
  • 3 Onions, chopped
  • 5 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 boxes Tomato Puree
  • 2 tbsp Tomato Ketchup
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Oil to shallow fry
  • Splash of White Wine (optional)

Brown the chicken in a shallow pan with salt and pepper and set aside.

In a larger pan heat oil add garlic and onions and fry till onions are pink, nearing translucent. Pour in the tomato puree and ketchup and cook for 5-6 minutes.

Toss in the bay leaves and the chicken. Sprinkle seasoning as per your taste, cover and let it simmer for 10 minutes.

Add a splash of wine just before serving and enjoy!

Biscuit Fudge

This recipe is one of my all time favorite dessert recipes. It instantly takes me back to when I was 6 years old, which was when I got my first taste of this decadent dessert.

Coincidentally, I found out later that Regina uses nearly the same recipe! The only difference was what we soaked the biscuit in; I in warm milk and she in coffee water!

Ingredients -

  • 250g Chocolate
  • 100g Butter
  • 1 tsp Coffee
  • 1 cup warm Milk OR Coffee Water mix
  • 1 pack (200gm) Marie Biscuits

Melt the chocolate and butter together and add the coffee to it. You could just stop here and eat this mix with a spoon and have a bad stomach and a smile on your face!

The idea of this dish is to layer the biscuits and the chocolate sauce. So soak the biscuits in warm milk or coffee water mix (don't let them get soggy!) and place them at the bottom of the dish forming a neat layer. Over this, evenly spread a layer of chocolate sauce. Next comes another layer of biscuit and then chocolate sauce; repeat this till you have used up all of the sauce and biscuits.

If you want it to look even fancier than it already does you could add a layer of crushed biscuit on top.

Refrigerate for 4-5 hours and serve.

Baingan ka Bharta

This is one of my favorite sabjis. It is spicy and really packs a punch. It is simply perfect with rotis and some curd or raita to cut the spice. I even managed to convert Varun from a baingan hater with this recipe!

Ingredients –
  • 500g Baingan (Aubergine/eggplant, the round fat ones)
  • 2 Onions, sliced
  • 2 Tomatoes, diced
  • 1 square inch Ginger, minced
  • 5 cloves Garlic, minced
  • 1tsp red chili powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ½ tsp cumin powder
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 3tbsp oil
  • Salt to taste (baingan soaks up quite a bit of salt)

Roast the baingan over the stove till it is nice and blistered.

Allow it to cool slightly, and peel off the burned skin. You don’t need to be very careful about getting all the skin off. A few bits of skin in your sabji will give a lovely smoky flavor. You could also roast the baingan in a tandoor or barbeque. Once you have peeled the baingan, mash it with a fork. It doesn’t need to be completely smooth.

Heat the oil in a pan and add the onions. Once the onions are slightly translucent throw in the ginger and garlic; fry till the onions are browned completely.

Next, put the tomatoes in and add all of the spices (apart from the salt). Continue to fry the masala till a little oil releases from the mixture.

Add the roasted baingan to the masala and cook for a couple of minutes. You can add salt at this point. Serve hot with rotis and some raita.

Peanut Butter

Ever since I can remember I've been in love with peanut butter. As a kid I would sneak into the kitchen when no one was around and gobble up a nice big spoonful and then scurry out, making sure there were no traces left behind.

In fact, my love for peanut butter was so deep that I once got caught red handed by my mother and all she said was,"Go ahead!" I wasn't going to pass up such an opportunity so I dipped the spoon in and had a nice, big, not so yummy mouthful of ginger garlic paste!

This recipe gives only a rough idea of quantities as some people may prefer their peanut butter sweeter than others would. 

Ingredients -
  • 300g Peanuts
  • 2-3 tbsp Sugar
  • 1/2-1 tsp Salt

Roast the peanuts on a medium flame until they turn brownish and let them cool. Place the peanuts in a grinder with the desired amount of sugar and salt and grind till it starts to come together. This may take a while as you will have to keep opening the grinder and scraping down the sides as it tends to get stuck all over the place. Also, check for sugar and add if required.

This recipe does not require any oil as the peanuts release more than enough oil to reach the desired consistency. If you prefer your peanut butter smoother, simply grind it for a while longer!

Bacon Wrapped Chicken

If you're looking to cook a special meal for that special someone, this is the perfect recipe! Although this dish looks amazing and tastes sinfully delicious; it is incredibly easy to make. You can happily pocket all the praise and act as if you were slaving away in the kitchen all day long! And trust me, the look on that special someones face when they bite into this juicy treat is worth the effort!

Ingredients -
  • 3 boneless Chicken Breasts
  • 100g Cheese OR 1 box of Cheese Spread
  • 1 tbsp Butter
  • 6 strips Bacon
  • 4 cloves Garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste 
Before you start preparing the dish you need to prepare the chicken breasts. Fillet the breasts along the length as you would fillet a fish and beat down with a mallet or rolling pin till they are about half a centimeter thick. You may find it easier to do this by placing the chicken between two sheets of cling film. Slice each breast fillet into half, so that you are left with 6 strips of chicken.

Grate or spread a generous amount of cheese onto the chicken strips and dot with butter. Add some finely chopped garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Starting from one end roll the strip of chicken into a tight cylinder; don't worry if a little cheese falls or oozes out, you can always push it back in.

Lay out a strip of bacon and place the rolled chicken on one end. Holding both the chicken and the end of the bacon strip, roll again and fasten the loose end of bacon with a toothpick. This should give you 6 neatly wrapped, already delicious looking rolls of chicken wrapped in bacon.

Place these in a lightly greased baking dish and bake at 175C for 25 minutes and then at 200C till the outer layer of bacon crisps up slightly.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Cheese Sauce

Cheese sauce is one of the best things that happened to the planet. It can be eaten with practically anything; and can really spruce up a boring dish. This recipe makes around a cup and a half of thick, yummy sauce. 

Ingredients –
·         ½ cup Milk
·         200g Cheese, grated
·         20g butter
·         2 tbsp flour
·         1 green chili, finely chopped
·         2 cloves garlic, minced
·         2 tbsp celery, finely chopped
·         2 tbsp spring onion, finely chopped
·         1 tsp dried oregano
·         Salt and Pepper, to taste

Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the flour. Fry for a couple of seconds and pour in the milk, whisk quickly to get a thick sauce. Add the grated cheese while continuously stirring till the cheese has melted. Add all the remaining ingredients to the sauce. Serve hot with boiled and fried potatoes.

Note – you can use this sauce as a sandwich spread for the next day.

Grilled Cheesy Potatoes

This recipe has a very funny origin. One fine day I get a call from Regina saying that she dreamt of a recipe and that I had to try it out! So I try it out and this is by far the yummiest take on cheese and potatoes I've ever tasted. Simple and absolutely delicious!

Ingredients –
·         4 fist sized Potatoes
·         100g Cheese
·         6-7 cloves Garlic
·         40g Butter
·         Salt and pepper to taste

Cut the potatoes in half and boil till they are cooked through.
Meanwhile, chop the garlic fine and cut the cheese into small cubes. 

Once the potatoes are boiled using a spoon scoop out the halves leaving a little bit adhering the skin so you’re left with little potato cups.

Now mix the scooped out potato with the cheese and garlic and add salt and pepper to taste. Fill the potato, cheese and garlic mix back into the empty potato skins, add a dollop of butter on the tops of each and bake in the oven at 200C for 15-20 minutes.

For those of you with the willpower to wait, you might want to let it cool for 5-10 minutes before digging in as the melted cheese can be piping hot!

Note: Replace grated cheese with cubed cheese wherever you possibly can. It tastes so much better!

Varun's 21st Birthday Cake

As the name suggests, we made this cake for Varun's 21st birthday. Both of us are born in February, the month of strawberries! We went to the Aundh Fruit Market in Pune; and the first thing I saw was a large basket full of juicy, luscious strawberries! In Ahmedabad; I have only ever seen strawberries in tiny little boxes with huge price tags. This was a lovely surprise.

This cake is incredibly chocolaty, but it doesn't feel very heavy because the chocolate is countered by the tang of the strawberries. Chocolate and strawberries have always gone together; this is yet another way to reach that sweet heaven!

Ingredients –
·         200g Sugar
·         5 Eggs
·         300g Flour
·         150g Cocoa
·         2 tsp Baking Powder
·         ½ tsp Baking Soda
·         200g Butter
·         ½ cup Water, recently boiled
·         300g Dark Cooking Chocolate
·         2 tsp Icing Sugar

Beat 150g butter and the sugar in a bowl until it is pale and fluffy (do not melt the butter over the stove). Whisk the eggs in one at a time.

Sieve the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda a couple of times on a piece of newspaper or a bowl. This will help your cake to be light and airy.

Gently fold the flour and cocoa mixture into the eggs mixture. Once it is almost mixed through; add the water and stir to get a smooth batter. Pour the batter into a greased baking dish and bake in an oven pre-heated to 170C for about 40 minutes; or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack.

Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Once the chocolate has melted, take the bowl out of the water and allow it to cool slightly.

Beat the remaining 50g of butter until it is light and pale. Pour the melted, cooled chocolate over the butter and vigorously beat until you have a smooth, glossy icing.

Keep a few strawberries aside for garnishing, and chop the remaining into small cubes. Sprinkle 2 teaspoons of icing sugar on top.

Slice the cake in two horizontally (the easiest way is to tie a piece of thread around the cake and pull it through). Spread one-third of the chocolate icing all over one part, and cover it with the chopped strawberries. Place the other part of the cake on top and gently push down. Spread the remaining icing all over the top and sides of the cake. You can arrange a few slices of strawberries on top for garnishing. 

Pea Soup

I eat my peas with honey;
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But it keeps them on the knife.
Source: The Random House Book of Poetry for Children (1983)

Pea soup is my sister Aisha's favorite comfort food. During the winters it is always nice to have warm liquids; they run through your body warming the very 'cockles of your heart'. Also, this is what changed a certain someones mind about soup completely. From hating the very word soup, he went to asking me to make soup!

The soup is creamy and incredibly garlicky. Although I always use fresh peas for it, you could also use the frozen ones if you don't have the patience to sit and shell them!

Ingredients –
·         200g Peas
·         50g Cheese
·         10g Butter
·         ½ tsp Red Chili Powder
·         5 cloves Garlic
·         300ml Water
·         Salt to taste

Put the peas, chili, garlic and water in a saucepan and boil till the peas are soft and cooked through.Let it cool for a couple of minutes and then pour into a blender. Add the butter on top and then the cheese. Blend the mixture until you have a smooth creamy soup. Add salt to taste; serve hot.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Coriander Chicken

Coriander is a herb that is incredibly easily available in Ahmedabad. The only problem is that the leaves wilt in hardly a day and it’s not fun to use sad, dry coriander. That's when we discovered a solution; the magic of chutney! Coriander chutney is incredibly fresh and you can mix and match it with whichever flavors you wish to. The classic mix is coriander, mint, green chili, lemon and salt; all blended together with a dash of water. Considering the fact that we eat a lot of daal and rice at home; chutney is the perfect condiment.

Predictably, I had a whole bag full of coriander in the fridge when my uncle brought home some chicken. I thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if I mixed the two. This coriander chicken is essentially chicken that has been marinated in chutney. It can't get any simpler!

Ingredients –
·         1kg Chicken
·         200g Coriander
·         50g Mint leaves
·         3tbsp Oil
·         Juice of 2 Lemons
·         Salt to taste
·         1 square inch Ginger
·         1 pod Garlic, peeled
·         4 Onions, sliced

Grind the coriander, mint, ginger, lemon, oil and salt to a paste. Slash the chicken so that the marinade can truly penetrate and rub the chicken with this paste. If you have the time then let the meat marinade for a few hours or even over-night.

Pour some oil in a deep wok and fry the sliced onions till they are translucent and on the verge of becoming brown. Add the marinated chicken and fry till the meat is cooked through.

 Serve hot with some tomatoes or deep fried potatoes on the side.

Hot Pot

How many times in a week do you open your fridge to find random ingredients, too few of each to actually be able to do anything with them? This recipe is the solution to that problem. Although I have only mentioned a few ingredients here; you can use the same concept for literally anything!

I was in Hyderabad when this idea came to mind. We were watching television when the hunger pangs suddenly struck! Considering the fact that it was a warm summer day, we didn't really have the patience to stand for hours over the stove. This was something that hardly took ten minutes to throw together and it tasted absolutely scrumptious!

Ingredients –
      ·         4 rashers bacon
·         20 baby potatoes, boiled
·         2 cloves garlic, minced
·         1 tbsp cheese sauce
·         10 mushrooms, sliced
·         1 tsp pepper
·         A few slices of ham or salami and celery leaves (optional)

Snip the bacon into a large frying pan and cook till all the pieces are nice and crispy. Add the garlic and potatoes; fry till the potatoes are slightly golden. Finally, add the mushrooms and fry it all together until it is cooked. Sprinkle with pepper and arrange a few slices of ham and celery leaves on top. Pour cheese sauce over the dish just before serving.