Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Chicken Pulao


"Chicken Pulao" is a very quick and easy recipe, a one pot meal made with basmati rice, tender chicken flavored with freshly ground aromatic spices, garnished with golden fried onion and fresh coriander.

Ingredients

Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Boneless chicken  - 200 gms
Onion, finely sliced - 1 large
Bay leaf - 1
Star anise - 1
Green Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 3-4
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Oil - 3 tablespoon
Garam Masala powder - 1/2  teaspoon
Salt to taste


For Masala Paste

Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoon
Fennel seeds (saunf) - 1 1/2 teaspoon
Black cardamom - 2 pcs
Cloves  - 5-6 pcs
Cinnamon stick - 2"
Dry red chilli (whole) - 2
Black pepper - 18-20 corns
Onion - 1 small
Ginger - 1 1/2 inch
Garlic - 3-4 cloves

For Garnish

Fresh coriander chopped - 2 - 3 tablespoon
Fried onion - 1 small
Ghee

Method

Clean and soak rice. Clean and soak all the whole masalas for the masala paste in a bowl of water for half an hour. Clean and wash the chicken and keep aside.

Drain and grind into a fine paste along with the ginger garlic and onion.




Heat oil in a thick bottom pan and add bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick and star anise, fry for a minute and add the sliced onions until they turn slightly brown. Add the ground masala paste and fry till oil starts leaving the sides.


Add the chicken pieces, mix well and fry until almost done and oil starts leaving the sides.



Add 2 1/4 cups of boiling water to the chicken, add the soaked rice and season with salt. Let this come to a boil reduce heat, cover with lid and cook on low flame for 12-15 minutes or until the rice is 90% done add the garam masala powder. While the rice is steaming, heat a tawa or iron skillet on high. Once hot reduce heat to very low, transfer the rice pot over the hot tawa and let it stand for another 10 minutes. (by doing so the rice will cook in its own steam and the indirect heat this will also avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pan.)


Open the lid and add a tablespoon of ghee, mix gently, ghee not only adds richness to the dish but it also enhances the aroma of the spices.
Garnish with fried onions and chopped coriander, Serve with a bowl of plain yogurt.

Note:

While making the pulao if you feel the rice might get sticky just add a tablespoon of fresh lime juice, this will avoid the rice grains from sticking and will also add flavour.

To make really crispy golden fried onions, slice the onion very fine and soak it in water for 10 to 15 minutes, this will help the layers of onion to separate, drain water and let it dry for 5-10 minutes. Heat around 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the sliced onions, fry for 2-3 minutes and sprinkle some salt over it. Salt will help the onions to release the moisture and avoid it from burning. I usually fry a batch of 4-5 onions and let them cool over absorbent  paper and store it in an air tight container. These can be used over a period of 3-4 weeks.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Cardamom flavoured Coconut Cookies

"Cardamom flavored Coconut Cookies" are the baked version of the traditional homemade cookies "Thekua", originating from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh....the Northern states of India. 


Thekua is a deep fried cookie and quite an essential during festivals. Its made with freshly grated coconut, maida (all purpose flour), sugar, cardamom and loads of ghee. Ghee is used to kneed the dough as well as for deep frying.


These traditional deep fried cookies are a delight for those with a sweet tooth but these days we all are so health conscious that we avoid eating deep fried food. But being health conscious doesn't mean that we give upon our traditional food. So this Diwali I made these cookies trying to incorporate most of the ingredients which are used traditionally, but have avoided deep frying to make it more healthy.

Ingredients

Coconut, dry desiccated - 1 cup
Refined flour - 1/2 cups
Butter, unsalted - 6 tablespoon (approx. - 90 gms)
Green cardamom - 2 pods
Black cardamom, seeds - 2
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Baking powder - 1/4th teaspoon

Method

Preheat oven at 340 degree Fahrenheit or 170 degree Celsius.

Dry roast the desiccated coconut at very low heat for 2-3 minutes, ensure that it does not turn brown, transfer to a plate and let it cool.



Add the sugar and cardamoms in a grinder and make a fine powder.



Mix the refined flour and baking powder and sieve. In a mixing bowl add all the ingredients along with the butter and mix with your hand until it mixed well and forms a crumbly texture. The butter and sugar in the dough will make it quite sticky to form the cookies.



Divide the dough into 18-20 equal parts. I have used a cookie cutter to shape my cookies however you could roll each portion between your palms to form a ball. Place them on the baking dish approximately one inch apart.



Bake in the pre heated oven for 18- 20 minutes. Keep a close check while the cookies are baking so that they don't turn golden brown.


Transfer onto a wire rack and let them cool. Once cooled store them in air tight containers and enjoy.




Monday, October 28, 2013

Methi Mutter Paneer

"Methi Mutter Paneer"

"Mutter Paneer" is a simple north  Indian  curry prepared with mutter (green peas) and paneer (cottage cheese)  cooked in a creamy tomato based gravy generously spiced.
"Methi Mutter Paneer" is inspired by this traditional recipe, Methi Mutter Paneer.... a simple semi dry gravy of green peas and paneer cooked in a tomato based gravy flavored with yogurt and methi.

Ingredients

Paneer, cubed - 1 cup ( approx. 200 gms)
Peas  - 1/2 cup (I have used frozen ones)
Onion - 1 small
Onion, chopped - 1 small
Garlic- 3-4 cloves
Ginger, grated - 1"
Green chillies, chopped - 2
Tomato, blanched and pureed - 1 medium
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Kasuri Methi - 4 tablespoon
Yogurt - 3 tablespoon
Milk - 1/4th cup
Salt to taste
Oil - 4 tablespoon.

Method

Heat 2 tablespoon of oil in a kadhai and sauté paneer cubes till lightly brown. Drain and keep aside on absorbent paper.


Make a paste of one onion and garlic cloves. In a bowl add the onion garlic paste and add all the dry masala other than the garam masala powder. Add some water and make a fine paste.


 Heat the remaining oil in a kadhai, add the chopped onions and fry till golden brown.



 Add the masala paste and fry for 4-5 minutes, add the tomato puree and fry till oil starts leaving the sides.



Add green peas, salt mix well, add water and cover and cook for 4-5 minutes until peas are almost done.


Add the kasuri methi mix well and cook for 2-3 minutes.


Add the fried paneer and mix well, ensure the paneer is well coated with the masala.


Add the yogurt and give it a good stir.


Add 1/4 the cup of milk and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and add chopped green chillies and grated ginger, cook for another 2-3 minutes until almost dry.


Serve hot along with Roti, Naan or Paratha. 

Notes:

To blanch the tomatoes, just immerse the tomatoes into boiling water (approximately 15-20 seconds)

and then immediately put it into ice cold water to stop further cooking. You can then peal the tomato and make a puree.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Aloo Muttar ke Tahiri

"Aloo Muttar Ke Taheri" is a one pot meal, made with aromatic basmati rice, potatoes and green peas. It's very easy and quick to make, I find it to be a comfort meal which you could have as lunch or dinner. The best part of this dish is that its a complete meal in itself, spicy and loaded with the goodness of vegetables. You really do not need a side dish along with it as it is quite flavorful but I love it with a bowl of curd and a dollop of ghee over the steaming hot rice make it a soul food. Usually I try to make extra Taheri as the leftover tastes even more yummy.

Ingredients

Basmati rice- 1 cup
Potato, pealed and cut into 1" cubes - 2 medium
Green peas - 3/4th cup (fresh or frozen)
Cauliflower florets - 1/2 cups
Onion,finely sliced - 1 large
Onion - 1 small
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Ginger, chopped - 1" piece
Green cardamom - 2-3
Cloves  - 4-5
Cinnamon stick  - 1"
Black pepper - 8-10
Bay leaf - 1
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Black Pepper powder - 1/4th teaspoon
Garam masala powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Green chilli, slit - 2
Fresh green coriander, chopped - 2 tablespoon
Salt to taste
Oil- 3 tablespoon

Method

Clean and wash rice under running water 2-3 times and let it stand. Do not soak the rice.
Heat oil in a kadhai / pot and fry one third of the sliced onion until golden brown and keep aside for garnish and use the oil for further cooking. Make a paste of one small onion and garlic.

"Aloo Muttar ke Tahiri"
Add the bay leaf, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, whole black pepper to hot oil in the kadhai, add the remaining chopped onion and fry till it turns pink. Mix all the dry masala other than the garam masala, in a bowl add water to make a paste. Add the onion garlic paste to the fried onion and cook for 3-4 minutes and add the masala paste and fry until the oil starts leaving the sides. Add the vegetables, rice and fry for 3-4 minutes, add the washed rice and gently mix so all ingredients are combined well, add approximately 2 and one fourth cup of boiling water, give it a gentle stir, add salt and garam masala powder, let this come to a boil and reduce heat to low, add the chopped ginger and slit green chillies, cover and  let it cook for 10-12 minutes (please check as the rice should be 90% done by now).  Turn off the heat and let it stand covered for 10 minutes.

Garnish with chopped green coriander and fried onions and serve hot along with curd.

Note:

Add some salt to the hot oil before frying the onions, this will help the onions brown well without getting burnt and will be crispy too.
Usually I add twice the amount of water while cooking rice but for this recipe I have added an extra 1/4th cup, that's because the vegetables also need to cook along with rice.
I have used potato, cauliflower  and peas for this recipe but you could add more vegetables (carrot, capsicum and french beans).

Monday, October 21, 2013

Chole Bhature

"Chole Bhature"
"Chole Bhature" is one of the most popular Punjabi dish, its spicy, tangy and heavy too, "Chole" is a spicy curry made of white chickpeas and "Bhature" is a fried flat bread which has been fermented. Its a complete meal in itself and can be served as a breakfast, lunch or dinner.
 I would like to share with you my mom's recipe of "Chole Bhature" which has been an all time favourite with our family.

Ingredients

Chickpeas, Kabuli chana - 1cup
Teabag - 1
Onion, paste - 1 medium
Onion, chopped - 1 small
Garlic- 3-4 cloves
Ginger, chopped - 1 inch piece
Coriander powder - 1 table spoon
Cumin Powder  - 1 teaspoon
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Dry mango powder - 1/4 the teaspoon
Dry pomegranate seeds (anardana) - 1 tablespoon
Tomato, chopped - 1 large
Oil - 3 tablespoon
Salt as per taste
Bay leaf - 1 pc
Black Cardamom - 1pc
Clove - 3-4 pcs
Cinnamon stick 1"

Dry ground masala

Green Cardamom - 2 pods
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
Cloves - 3 -4 pcs
Black pepper - 4-5 pcs
Kasuri Methi (dry fenugreek leaves) - 1 teaspoon
Coriander seeds - 1 tablespoon
Cumin seeds - 1 teaspoons

Bhature

Refined Flour - 2 1/2cups
Yogurt - 1/2cup
Baking powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Salt - 1 teaspoon
Oil  - 2 tablespoon
Oil for deep frying

Method

For the Chole

Clean, wash and soak chickpeas overnight in water.

Drain chickpeas, add around 6 - 7 cups of water, salt, tea bag, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon stick, bayleaf  and pressure cook for 20 minutes or until soft and completely cooked. Drain the chick pea, discard the tea bag and reserve the stock.

Dry roast coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black pepper, green cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, and kaasuri methi, let it cool and grind into a coarse powder. Make a paste of one onion, garlic and dry pomegranate seeds.

 Heat oil in a kadhai and add  the chopped onion, fry until its golden brown, add the onion garlic and pomegranate seed paste and fry, add coriander powder, cumin powder, red chilli powder, half a cup of the chickpea stock, fry for 4-5 minutes and add the chopped tomatoes, fry for another 3-4 minutes. Once the tomatoes are mushy and oil starts leaving the sides of the kadhai add the chickpeas, salt and the chickpea stock. Check and add salt, the dry ground masala and amchur. Add chopped ginger and slit green chillies, bring it to a boil and let it simmer on medium flame for 15 to 20 minutes. Garnish with chopped green coriander.

For the Bhature

Mix flour, salt and baking powder in a large bowl and miix well. Sieve this mixture. Add 2 table spoon of oil and yogurt to the flour and mix with your hand add around a cup of water and  make a soft dough. Cover the dough with a wet muslin cloth and keep in a warm place to ferment for an hour. Punch down the dough and divide it into 16 equal parts and roll into balls. Cover with wet cloth and let these ferment for another 15 minutes or so. Heat sufficient oil in a kadhai, roll out approx. five inch round diameter bhature. Heep fry in hot oil until light golden brown on bot sides. Drain and place the bhature on absorbent kitchen paper.

Serve hot with Chole and salad.

 Notes: 

I prepare the bhature dough before I  start cooking the chole as this saves on time.
Its easy to cook the chole in a pressure cooker, I usually cook until 5 whistles, prepare the masala and mix well and again pressure cook for another 3 whistles. By doing so the chole absorbes the masala flavor well and its faster too.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Oats Pancakes (Cheela)

"Oats Pancake" or cheela as it is commonly called in Hindi is a very healthy and nutritious breakfast option. Oats in itself has a lot of health benefits, the soluble fiber in oats helps reduce cholesterol, reduces risk of heart disease and other lifestyle related health problems. Oats cheela is a very simple and easy recipe with a few ingredients which are easily available at most homes.

"Oats Pancakes"
Ingredients

Oats, dry roasted and powdered - 1 cup
Rawa / Suji - 1/4 the cup
Rice powder - 1/4 cup
Whole cumin - 1 teaspoon
Onion, chopped - 1 medium
Green chilli, chopped - 2
Fresh coriander, chopped - 2 tablespoon
Asafetida - a pinch
Salt to taste
Water as required
Oil.

Method

Dry roast oats in a kadhai for 2-3 minutes, let it cool and grind into a fine powder.




Transfer the powder to a mixing bowl and add rawa, rice powder, cumin, onion, green chilli, fresh coriander, asafetida, salt, mix well. Add water and make a batter, ensure it is not too runny almost like a dosa batter. Keep aside for 30 - 45 minutes.




Heat a tawa, add a ladle full of the batter and spread as a dosa, but not too thin. Drizzle oil and cook on both sides till golden brown.



Serve hot with ketchup or chutney of your choice.






Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Chicken Bharta


"Bharta" ia a Hindi word which means Mashed. As the name suggests "Chicken Bharta" is a mashed chicken dish, which is  mildly spiced and cooked in a tomato and cashew based gravy. Its different from the regular chicken curry recipe, easy to cook and goes well with roti, naan, paratha or any bread of your choice. If leftover you could use it as filling for wraps or sandwiches.

Ingredients

Boneless chicken - 400 grams
Onion - 1 large
Tomato - 1 medium
Garlic - 3-4 cloves
Ginger, chopped - 1 inch
Green chillies, chopped - 2-3
Kasuri Methi - 1 tablespoon
Cashew - 8-10
Green Cardamom - 2-3
Cloves - 4-5
Red chilli powder - 1 teaspoon
Coriander powder - 1 tablespoon
Cumin powder - 1 teaspoon
Turmeric powder - 1 teaspoon
Fresh Cream - 3 tablespoon
Garam masala powder -1/2 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Oil - 4 tablespoon

For the chicken marinade

Dahi / Yogurt -3 tablespoon
Ginger garlic, crushed - 1 tablespoon
Turmeric - 1/4 teaspoon

For the garnish

Hard boiled egg - 1
Fresh coriander, chopped - 2 tablespoon

Method

Clean and wash the boneless chicken (I have used Chicken breasts) and cut into cubes. Place the chicken cubes in a large bowl, add the crushed ginger garlic, dahi and turmeric powder,mix well so that the chicken pieces are well coated, cover and let it marinate for an hour in the refrigerator.




Soak the cashew in water and grind it into a fine paste.
While the chicken is marinating roughly chop the onion and tomato, and boil it with garlic cloves and a pinch of salt ( I have microwaved for 3 minutes on high). Let it cool and grind it to a fine paste.



Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a kadhai and add the marinated chicken and fry till its done (as the chicken will release its water so we don't need extra oil but keep string to avoid the chicken from sticking to the bottom). Once done let the the chicken chunks cool and then shred it into smaller pieces.




Heat the remaining oil in a kadhai and add the whole spices, add the onion tomato and garlic paste fry fro 2-3 minutes and add red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder and fry till the oil starts leaving the sides. Add the shredded chicken and mix well and fry for 3-4 minutes.



Add salt, cashew paste and fresh cream, mix well. Add 1/4th cup of water, let it come to a boil and add crushed Kasuri methi, reduce the heat and let it cook for 10 to 12 minutes or until its semi dry. Add chopped green chillies, ginger, turn off the heat and cover the pan. This will infuse the chilli flavor without making it hot.


Garnish with Egg wedges add chopped coriander.
Serve hot.