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Friday, July 22, 2011

Chicken garnished with Sesame-seed-speckled Capsicum

Surprise in the fridge!
The weekend was near and the fridge almost empty. And I had resigned myself to a dinner of dal, cabbage and rice. Even the stock of eggs was dwindling to one....quite a sad affair indeed! (Yes! I am a shamelessly unrepentant carnivore!!)
Just as I was about to close the freezer door shut after having opened it out of sheer habit, saw a little flash of red lid peeping from behind the big packets of frozen peas and sweet kernels. The mood perked up and a quick shuffle and it was a red lidded box of marinated chicken breasts which I had completely forgotten about. I had marinated the meat in my perennial marination of lemon-salt-pepper-ginger-garlic and there it was sitting pretty in the freezer waiting to be discovered!

Chicken breasts - 500 gms
Lemon juice of 1 large or 2 small lemons
Ginger-garlic paste - 1tbsp
Bay leaf - 1
Sliced Garlic cloves - 4-5 cloves
diced onions -1
diced capsicum
Worcestershire  sauce - 1.5-2 tbspn
White sesame seed (added as an afterthought!)
Potatoes diced - 1 large (optional...I'd added to add volume)
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp

1. Marinate the chicken breasts in lemon juice + salt + pepper + ginger-garlic paste for a couple of hours. Though I had marinated or rather marinated and forgotten about it for more than 3 days.;)
2. Heat  oil in a wok. Temper with the Bay leaf.
3. Add the potatoes.
4. Add the diced onions and sprinkle some sugar on it for colour. Fry on high heat and keep stirring
5. Throw in the chopped garlic.keep stirring
6. Add the marinated chicken after cutting them into small pieces. Cook on high heat.Since it was in the marination for so long, the meat is very tender and takes very less time to cook.
7. Add some pepper powder, followed by Worcestershire  sauce. Toss around and keep stir frying.

8. Just as I was about to add the diced capsicum, an idead struck and I took out my tawa, put it on flame, threw the capsicum and tossed them around to dry roast. As a final touch of brainwave, threw in a tablespoon or two of white sesame seeds into the tawa and roasted till they were crisp and pale golden.

9. Now garnish the chicken with the dry roasted capsicum and white sesame seeds.

10. Finally throw in some green chilies and garnish with coriander leaves.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Roast Chicken on a bed of vegetables.....served with butter rice

The success and satisfaction of a job well done, egged me onto to try out a simpler chicken roast unencumbered by a deluge of ingredients and sauces. While at it, habit led me to google and amongst the various Chicken roast recipes, it was this recipe  which appealed to me due to its simplicity and ready availability of all ingredients....of course slight changes, modifications were made here and there.

So here goes my version...

Ingredients :
Whole chicken with skin on - 1.4 kg
Rock Salt
Chili flakes
Lemon juice - of 2 medium sized lemons
Dried oregano 
A mix of dried thyme-basil-rosemary-parsley 
Lemon - 1 whole 
Vegetables - lots of roughly diced vegetables. I used carrot beans, baby corns, potatoes
Mushrooms  - about 12 button mushrooms
Garlic cloves - 10-12
Coriander leaves - a handful of chopped coriander
Butter - about 40 gms.

1. Mix lemon juice + rock salt +pepper+chili flakes + dried oregano+herb mix and rub the it all into every possible surface of the chicken and also inside the cavity.
2. An hour's marination is adequate but the longer the marination the better. I marinated it for 24 hours, unplanned and unintentionally.
3. While dicing the vegetables and mushrooms, switch on the oven (I used OTG) for preheating, at 250 deg C.
4.Spray/smear the baking tray with butter/olive oil
5. Arrange the diced vegetables on the tray. Sprinkle salt and pepper and drizzle/brush on some butter/olive oil on the vegetables.
6. Smear semi melted butter all over the chicken and also inside its cavity.
7. Take a lemon, prick it all over. Microwave it for 15-20 seconds and then push it into the chicken cavity along with some chopped coriander and garlic cloves.
8. Place the chicken on the vegetable bed. 
9. I used 'BAKE MODE' of the OTG for 50 minutes first.
10. Place the chicken on vegetables into the oven. After 10-15 minutes (till the chicken has a crispy golden coating), reduce the temperature to 200 deg C.
11. After lapse of 45-50 minutes, turn the chicken around. Baste the chicken and toss the vegetables around. Sprinkle some water if they are darkening/burning

12. After turning the chicken around, cook at 200 deg C for another 40-50 minutes....making it a total of 90-100 minutes cooking time..
13. Take it out of the kitchen. Keep it completely covered for about 10 minutes (I covered with my large wok upside down)

While the chicken was cooking and the aroma of melted butter wafted from the kitchen, my olfactories started working overtime, and suddenly I felt  a craving for rice.....took out some cooked rice leftover from the lunch and in a wok, melted a tbsp of butter, threw in a bay leaf, peppercorns, pinch of sugar & salt. Added the plain white rice, tossed it around to coat the butter-salt-sugar-pepper mix uniformly and hey presto! a heavenly butter rice to go with the chicken and vegetables, was ready!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Reposting Protein Rich Food

The following two main courses are being reposted for the event "COOK IT HEALTHY" - "Proteinicious"

Baked Bhetki Fillet (wrapped in spinach and topped with cheese) served with steamed & sauted vegetables and fried baby potatoes


Jumbo Prawns fried in butter in cheese-roast tomato-garlic sauce and served with Cinnamon Rice

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Pan(fried) Pseudo Pizza!!

It looks like a small sized pan pizza. Tastes quite like one....well, almost! But the difference doesnt make it any less tasty! Inspired by Indira Mukherjee, I have adapted to make it simpler and faster. This recipe suits me fine on the "Onno kichhu khaabo" (Something different from regular stuff!!) days.

Here goes the recipe :

Ingredients : yielded 4 nos. 1/2" thick 6" dia pseudo pizzas
All purpose Flour (Maida) & Milk in 1:1 ratio
Egg - 1 for 1 cup Maida:1cup milk (200ml cup)
Any Grated / finely chopped vegetables like carrot, bean, cabbage, capsicum, cauliflower/broccoli florets, babycorn etc
Garlic - 3-4 cloves - chopped
Chili flakes
Oregano & dried herbs-I used FabIndia's Chili-Oregano & Italian seasoning
Grated Mozzarella cheese - 1 bowl (200ml)
For topping -Boiled corn kernel /Chicken sausages/nuggets/mushroom/paneer cubes/soya chunks etc etc
Diced Onions - 1 medium

Procedure :
1. Mix Milk and Maida and add the egg, Salt & pepper Mix well with a hand blender. The batter is thick but of pouring consistency.

2. Add the chopped garlic and all the grated/chopped vegetables.

3. Keep the topping ready (the choice is yours...I used paneer cubes+diced onions on one occasion and chicken sausages+corn kernels+diced onions on another) stir fried or sauted.

4. A small pancake frying pan makes the base preparation a cake walk. Pour a ladle full of veggie mixed batter and spread it to cover the whole pan. Pour some more to increase the thickness of the base. Cook on minimum heat. While frying the base on gas stove top, keep the oven ready for next step by preheating oven (I used my OTG) at around 225-250 deg C.

5. Flip the pancake pizza or pseudo pizza base and let the other side cook.

6. Now on a flat ovenproof plate, place the (Pseudo) pizza base, arrange the toppings and sprinkle desired quantity of grated mozzarella. Sprinkle the italian seasoning and dried oregano and other herbs of choice.

 7.Place it in the preheated oven on Grill mode at 225-250 deg C for around 5-7 minutes or till the cheese melts and gets a golden colour!

Ready to serve!!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Thor Ghonto

A dry vegetarian dish made of BANANA PITH or STEM

The abundance of Banana Plant in Bengal is probably responsible for Bengalis using up each and every part of the plant, as I've already mentioned in several of my previous posts (here & here).

But a sad reality of today's fast paced nuclear families, is a gradual obsolescence of these regional delicacies. The main reason behind it is the difficulty in cutting and chopping these plant parts. I found a blogpost detailing the cutting procedure of Banana stem or pith, or as we Bengalis call it THOR.An additional tip is the last dicing or should be as fine as possible. Almost minced.

Well, coming to the recipe of Thor Ghonto....this recipe is suitable when the stem/pith i.e Thor, is tender. Else the better option would be to go for Thor Chhechki.

Ingredients :
-Thor of length abt 1.5 ft - 2 nos.
-Gobindobhog rice preferably or any other similarly fragranced rice - 1/2 bowl
-Potatoes diced small - 1 medium or 2 small
-Grated coconut - 1/2 Gram/
-Bengal Gram - 1/2 bowl soaked in water (overnight preferably)
-Bay leaf/Tej Pata - 1 or 2
-Whole Jeera/Cumin Seeds - 1 tsp
-Whole garam masala - 2-3 green elaichi/cardamom, 1 1"stick of cinnamon, 2-3 cloves
-Masala Paste -
     Jeera powder - 2 tbsp;
     Halid/Turmeric-1 tsp;
     Red Chili powder- 1 tsp;
     Kashmiri Chili powder - 1tsp (optional)
-Ghee - 1-1 1/2 tsp
-Roasted Garam masala powder
-Mustard Oil - 1 cup (This recipe is high on oil...for that matter all thor, mocha recipes are....)
-Wheat flour/Ata - 2 tbsp (optional, as a binder)

Procedure :
1. Cut the thor as given here. It's a very well illustrated explanation.Chop as fine as possible.
2. In a pressure cooker, take the minced thor, add a cup of water, add salt and haldi/turmeric and pressure cook upto 2 whistles. Drain the water and squeeze out as much water as possible.
3. Fry the diced potatoes after sprinkling a pinch of salt and turmeric.Keep aside after frying.
4. Now fry the washed gobindobhog rice in oil till crispy. Keep aside.
5. In the wok, pour the cup full of oil, heat it and season with whole garam masala, tej pata/bay leaf and cumin seeds/whole jeera.
6. Throw in the soaked Bengal Gram and immediately cover the wok with a lid until the bengal grams stop spluttering.
7. Now add the masala paste (haldi, jeera powder, red chili powder & kashmiri chili powder) and salt and sugar.
8. Also add the grated coconut now. Cook the masala well, 'koshano' as we call it in Bengali.
9. After the masala is well cooked, add the pressure cooked, water drained & squeezed minced thor. Mix well with the masala.
10. Add the fried rice followed by diced potatoes.
11. Cover and cook on low/medium flame for around 10 minutes. Keep stirring on and off. No water is to be added. If required drizzle a spoon of oil.
12. If the thor ghonto appears a bit too moist, sprinkle a tsp of Flour/Ata and turn the vegetable around to mix it. This is an optional step and is required ONLY to reduce the moistness of the dish.
13. Before taking off the 'ghonto' off the flame, heat ghee and season with roasted garam masala powder and pour over the 'Thor ghonto'.

The Thor Ghonto is ready to be served with steamed rice.

This post is off to Weekend Herb Blogging #291 started by HAALO and  hosted for the week by PAULCHEN'S FOODBLOG

Monday, July 4, 2011

Soupy affair 2 - Spinach-Almond Soup

Though it's an ideal winter evening pre-dinner appetizer, if fresh spinach is available, a wet monsoon evening is also 'just right' for this soup. That is exactly what happened. Picked up bunches of fresh spinach. Spinach as it is, is not exactly my elder one's (AD) favourite....hence have to resort to 'soupy' tricks !!
So here goes the recipe....

Ingredients :
Spinach - 6-7 bunches washed and roughly chopped
Almonds - 10-12 - blanched to remove the skin
Onion - 1 small, chopped
Garlic - 2-3 cloves - chopped (Optional)
Pepper corns - freshly ground - to taste
Milk - 600  ml
Cream - optional - 1 tbsp
Grated cheese - depends....cheese always tastes great
salt - to taste & sugar - a pinch
red chili flakes - 1 tsp - optional
Ghee/Butter/Olive Oil - 2 tsp

Procedure :
1. In a wok, heat butter/ghee/oil and add the chopped onions, garlic, almond and a pinch of sugar. And fry till the almonds & onions are golden brown.
2. Add the washed & chopped spinach. Stir it around a bit and continue cooking till the water evaporates.
3. After cooling, grind the fried/sauted almond-onion-garlic-spinach into a smooth paste
4. Transfer back to the wok and slowly add warm milk and keep stirring to ensure no lump forms. Bring it to a boil and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Now add the salt. Let it simmer for a minute more
5. Take it off the flame and serve after garnishing with freshly ground pepper & grated cheese.

This post is off to Weekend Herb Blogging #291 started by HAALO and  hosted for the week by PAULCHEN'S FOODBLOG

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Penne Pasta with Roasted tomato sauce and vegetables, chicken nuggets

As the kids grow up , fussiness and tantrums are often on the rise. Variety is not an option anymore but a compulsion. Same similar food on consecutive days is a big no no...the whine is almost instantaneous. Family meals , especially dinners are often dictated by their likes and dislikes, at least to ensure the given meal is finished without much ado. I am sure most Moms would agree.  
In my home, the current rage being pasta, I take the opportunity to pack in as much of veggies  into a bowl full of pasta as I can.....

Ingredients :
1.Penne Pasta cooked 'al dente' as per pkt instructions - 250 gm
2.Blanched vegetables for stir fry - carrot, beans, baby corn, brocolli etc
3.Tomatoes cut into quarters - 8-10 medium sized
4.Chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces - 250 gm, marinated in ginger-garlic paste-lemon juice-White 5.Sesame seeds-3 tbsp
6.Pepper corns - crushed
7.fennel seed paste
8.Rock Salt
9. Pepper
10.Chilli flakes 
11.Basil - a handful
12.Garlic - finely chopped - 8-10 cloves
13. Dried Oregano
14. Italian seasoning
15. Grated cheddar cheese - 1 cup
16.Salt to taste
17. Butter/Olive Oil

Procedure :
Roast Tomato Sauce (inspired by Kalyn's recipe of slow roast tomato)
1. In a mortar pestle roughly grind 2 tbsp of fennel seeds with a few drops of water
2. Brush the baking tray with oil and preheat the oven (OTG) to 250 deg C
3. Smear the quartered tomatoes with the fennel paste, pepper powder, rock salt, dried oregano and drizzle EVOO.
4.Place on the baking tray cut side down.
5.Set the OTG in grill mode for about 25 minutes at 250 deg C. Keep and eye to ensure the tomatoes dont get charred.Continue till the skin of the tomatoes are wrinkled.
While the tomatoes were being grilled, I continued with the stir fried vegetables & chicken
6.In a pan/wok, take a tsp of EVOO. Add chopped garlic and basil leaves. lightly fry.
7. Add the roasted tomatoes and mash them.
8. Add water drained after boiling pasta mixed with a spoon of cornflour. Add 1/2 cup of grated cheese. Mix well

Stir fried Vegetables : 
1. Blanch the vegetables after cutting them into small equal sized pieces.
2. Dry roast white sesame seeds in the wok. Remove
3. Heat EVOO/Butter. Add crushed pepper corns, a dash of sugar.
4. Add the blanched vegetables and toss them around in high heat.
5. Add required salt, dried oregano and chili flakes
6. Sprinkle the toasted sesame seeds

Chicken nuggets
1. I used some previously marinated (ginger-garlic paste, salt, pepper, lemon juice) chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces.
2. Heat oil in a wok. And throw a bay leaf or two.
3. Pour the chicken pieces. Brown them on medium-high heat.

In a large bowl assemble the cooked (al-dente) penne pasta, stir fried-white sesame garnished vegetables and chicken nuggets along with the roast tomato sauce. Toss them around to mix well. Garnish with grated cheese.