Thursday, June 25, 2015

Garam Masala

"Garam Masala"
 "Garam Masala" is a Hindi term, "Garam means Hot and Masala means Spice". This is basically a blend of various spices  which have been ground together and is very commonly used in the preparation of "Indian Food"and is a common ingredient in most North Indian dishes.
The ingredients and there ratio varies from one region to the other depending on the use and personal taste. It can be prepared with just three basic spices like Cinnamon, Cloves and Cardamom as well as can be a complex blend of upto 10-15 or at times even more spices.

 
Garam Masala is mostly used along with other spices and in a small quantity as it has very strong flavors. The recipe which I am sharing here is how my Grandmother and Mother have been using since years, infact I usually get it from my mom as she makes it in batches and believe my its all made with "Andaz" that is approximation and is always perfect. As my stock got over so I had to prepare it and so thought of sharing the same.
A lot of Garam Masala recipe calls for Cumin (Jeera) and Coriander (Dhaniya) but my Mom doesn't use it. We usually add cumin and coriander along with other spices like chili powder and turmeric while we fry the masala, and that's how most of the dishes on my blog are, hence I too have omitted them.
Eliminating cumin and coriander makes this Garam Masala quite strong hence I suggest if the original recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of Garam Masala then just use 1/3rd teaspoon of this blend it will give the same result.

Ingredients

Black Cardamom - 6 pieces
Cloves - 3 tablespoon
Cinnamon stick, 2 inches - 8-10 sticks
Green Cardamom- 1/4th cup
Mace - 3 blades
Nutmeg- 1/2 piece (half of the whole nutmeg)
Star Anise - 2 pieces

Method

I usually sun dry the spices for a day or 2 to get rid of any moisture. Grind the spice mixture in a dry grinder or a coffee grinder.



Store in an air tight container in a cool dry place.

Notes

Its best to dry the spices in sunlight but due to any reason if its not possible to dry the spices in sunlight then you could also dry roast them in a pan. If you choose to dry roast the spices just ensure that the spices don't change colour.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Chilli Chicken the Indian way...

It's been quite some time that I posted something new, no apologies for the same as during these last couple of weeks I had been busy with my lil one and yes at this point of time that was my priority hence my blogging took a backseat. My lil boy just graduated from kindergarten to Grade 1.... it was a big thing for all of us and he was super excited too as he always looked up to the Grade kids. Somehow the transition from Kindergarten to Grade was not as smooth as we expected, he just didn't like the extended school hours and the new stuff what he was expected to do. He had too many questions and queries which were quite anticipated but not so early. However with the support of my hubby I could convince him and answer most of his questions. It took me sometime but finally my cheerful lil one was back to normal n by Gods grace he has started loving school again....bids me good bye with a broad smile n is back with a happy face eager to share all his experiences.

Finally things are better now and I am back to blogging....doing something what I love and what makes me happy :). 

So here is my first post after the break

Chili Chicken....The Indian way... Oh!! yes,  you must be wondering Chilli Chicken is supposedly a Chinese dish, so how come The Indian Way.... Well we love Chinese food and its quite evident with the numerous joints mushrooming across the county be it the Multinational chains or the pop up street stalls. But for most of us our favorite Chinese dish has a bit of Indian touch to it and it varies from one part of the country to the other.

"Chili Chicken"

For most of us our favorite Chinese dish is Chili Chicken and Chowmin (Hakka Noodles) or Fried rice. Usually the Chili chicken we get at most of the Chinese joints in India has a lot of Capsicum almost equal to the amount of chicken but I have avoided it. Personally I feel they add too much of Capsicum just to increase the quantity :( and its really annoying. 

Here is my version of the "Chili Chicken"...how my mom has been making it for years and now I follow the same. A simple and easy to follow recipe which can be prepared any time without much fuss and tastes great too. We love to have it with my easy peasy egg fried rice or just enjoy it with noodles.


Ingredients

Boneless chicken  - 300 grams (I used chicken breasts cut into 1 inch bite size cubes)
Egg - 1 medium size
Onion, roughly chopped - 1 medium
Garlic - 4-5 pods (I used the fat garlic, but if you are using the regular Indian garlic then take around 8-10 pods)
Green chilies - 5-6 (medium hot)
White vinegar - 1 teaspoon
Soy Sauce - 1+ 2 teaspoon
Chili sauce - 2-3 teaspoon
Cornflour - 1+1 tablespoon
Oil for frying the chicken
Salt to taste

Method

Roughly chop 2 pods of garlic and 2 green chillies and pound in a mortar and pestle to make a coarse paste.



Clean and wash the chicken cubes, place chicken cubes in a mixing bowl, add the vinegar and 1 teaspoon of soy sauce along with the freshly made green chili and garlic paste. Mix well ensuring the chicken cubes are well coated with the marinade, cover with a cling film and let it rest in the fridge 30 to 45 minutes.



Just before cooking remove the cling film give the marinated chicken a good mix and add 1 tablespoon of cornflour, mix well ensuring the chicken pieces are well coated. to this add beaten egg and mix well.




Heat oil in a kadhai or wok and carefully slide the marinated chicken pieces one at a time ensuring that they don't overlap each other and fry until the chicken is well done and has a nice golden brown colour. Drain and keep aside on a kitchen towel.




While the chicken in frying, pound the roughly chopped onions and the remaining pods of garlic in a mortar and pestle, into a coarse paste. This helps in releasing and blending the juices of the onion and garlic however if you want u could use it in chopped form as well. Also slice the green chilies and keep aside.



In the mean time we can prepare the ingredients for the sauce as well. To the leftover marinade add the remaining cornflour, soy sauce and chilli sauce, around 1/4th cup of water and salt if needed. Mix well and keep aside.





Once all the chicken has been fried remove extra oil from the kadhai leaving behind around 2 tablespoons of oil. Add the onion garlic paste to the hot oil and fry until it starts to turn brown, add the sliced green chilies mix well and add the fried chicken cubes.




Mix well so the chicken pieces are coated with the fried onions and chilies. Reduce the heat to sim, give the sauce mixture a good mix and pour over the fried chicken and mix quickly increase the flame to medium and let the sauce simmer for 3-5 minutes. In no time the sauce will start to thicken, once it gets to the desired consistency turn off the heat.



Serve hot along with Noodles or Rice.



Notes:

I have used boneless chicken breasts but you could use chicken on bones as well but try to keep the pieces small.
For frying the chicken I avoid using a lot of oil instead fry it in batches, it does take some extra time but but it's better than leftover oil especially if you don't cook non-veg food regularly. Also while frying the chicken avoid the chicken pieces from overlapping and also don't overcrowd the pan as well. Let one side be well done n then just flip once to cook the other side.
I have actually not used salt for this recipe because soy sauce has a high salt content and chill sauce  too contains salt, however you could add if needed.