Sunday, October 21, 2007

Jeera Chicken

R was here. For ten whole days. At first I was a bit nervous about my very basic kitchen. No mixer, juicer, blender. No toaster. No OTG. Very very basic. Turns out, I needn't have worried on that account. I was very eager to show off my house keeping -skills. And to some extent I did. But for some strange reason, whatever I cooked...fell flat and how. I even over boiled the rice to a unholy mess. Yikes. And served it to not only her, but even to two friends of hers, who had dropped in to say hello. I am lucky that one of them gave me a beautiful lapiz lazuli pendent, before he tasted my cooking. Eeps. So much for my bragging. Even A's vouching for my cooking (that is my cooking before R's arrival) seemed false. And to think I had the guts to keep a food blog. Anyhow, I managed to salvage the situation a little bit. I did make couple of passable veggies dishes. (The rice was still over boiled). So I am afraid of posting anymore of my own recipes. Instead, I have here a recipe for Jeera Chicken that R picked up from a programme on TV. And like she is wont to, remembered it properly without bothering to write it down. It was YUMMY. And yes, Shubo Bijoya to everyone.

You will need:
Chicken 1 kg, cut into medium pieces
Onions 2 large, cut into rings
Green Chillies 3, Chopped
Fresh corainder 1 1/2 cups, chopped
Cumin seeds / Jeera 3 tsp
Jeera powder 1 1/4 tsp
Dhania powder 2 1/2 tsp
Mustard oil, Salt and Sugar as required

How to:

  1. Heat 4 tbsp mustard oil in a kadai / wok.
  2. When the oil is hot, throw in 1&1/2 tsp jeera seeds; When the seeds start to pop, add jeera powder followed bythe dhania powder. Stir.
  3. Add 2 tsp salt, sugar 2 tsp and a little water.When the oil floats to the top, throw in the chicken pieces and toss so as to coat the pieces well with the spices.
  4. Let it fry on high for about ten minutes. Sprinkle a little water in between so that the chicken pieces don't stick to the pan.
  5. Then lower the flame. Pour water to make the curry. Cover and cook till the chicken is cooked.
  6. Again increase flame to reduce curry and then adjust sugar and salt. Take off fire.

To garnish

  1. Heat 4 tsp mustard oil in a wok. Add 1&1/2 tsp jeera, chiilies, onionrings and lightly fry for two minutes. Add coriander and remove from fire. Garnish the chicken and serve!

Bon appetit!!!!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Lemon Dal

Dal is such a must for me. Dal (of the day) along with rice and veggies are always my first course. And since we have dal day in and day out (almost), a variation in the recipe is always welcome. Lemon dal is one such variation. It makes a nice change, once in a while. Like with most recipes on this blog, mine is a variation on the original. The lemon comes from the leaves of the lemon plant and not from actual lemon itself. (Although I have a recipe from a very interesting book Life & Food in Bengal by Chitrita Banerji which uses both the leaves as well as slices of lemon). This is my variation.

You will need:
Masoor dal: 1 small cup
Turmeric: 1/4 tsp
Lemon leaves: 3-4
Salt: 1-2 tsp
For tempering
Oil: 1 tsp
Jeera / Cumin: 1 tsp

How to:

  1. Wash the dal, with several changes of water. Drain.
  2. In a pressure cooker, add the dal and 2 cups of water and the turmeric.
  3. Close the lid and cook for one whistle of the pressure cooker. (Might need two in winters or at higher altitudes).
  4. Remove cover and stir the dal properly.
  5. In a pan, add the oil and the jeera. When the jeera start spluttering, add first the lemon leaves and then dal to the pan.
  6. Keep on high flame.
  7. Adjust salt and also, add water if the dal has become too thick. It should be fairly thin.
  8. Let it boil for 3-4 minutes and remove from fire.
  9. Serve with rice and veggies (of course).

Note: It could possibly be a nice and different soup for non rice eaters!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Chappati Corn Rolls

Today is 2nd October the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and therefore a holiday through the length and breadth of India. Holidays always have this getting-up-late-lazing-around-after-a-huge-breakfast feel. Specially if the holiday comes in between a work week.

The first two are fine...but the huge breakfast is a perennial problem. I have always been a milk and cereal or tea and toast breakfast person. Alas, not hubby dear. He would like oily parathas, eggs and bacon and all sorts of cholesterol laden fatty oily food. And like all such things, incredibly tasty. So the challenge before me was manifold:

  • Make it tasty enough to make him forgo parathas / eggs etc.
  • Make it low cal enough to make it healthy without him realising it.
  • Make it with the odds and end that there are in the fridge / kitchen
  • Go make it myself, curbing the enormous desire to sit in the verandah and enjoy the wonderful teeny tiny nip in the air on this lazy morning
  • Also, I have sacked my irascible maid ...just yesterday.

So I summoned up all my courage and made a hodge podge of ingredients and recipes learnt from m-i-l, my s-i-l (a terrific cook) and ofcourse R (even more terrific a cook if possible).

This is what I found in my fridge / kitchen and therefore used

1/2 a capsicum (bell pepper)

1 cube amul cheese

1 small cup corn

1 small onion

6-7 garlic

A pinch dried Thyme

Olive oil

Atta / Whole wheat flour

A tiny bit of butter

This is what I did of the above

  1. Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a pan.
  2. Add the garlic and stir till the garlic releases its aroms (couple of seconds)
  3. Lightly saute the onions till they turn pink
  4. Add the capsicum, dried thyme, followed by the corn
  5. About 3 or 4 minutes later, add the grated cheese and mix well.
  6. Season with salt to taste.
  7. Remove from flame, cover and keep.
  8. Knead the atta in to a dough and roll out five (size of a quarter plate) thin chapattis.
  9. Add 3-4 pods garlic crushed into a small bit butter (about a tsp full). Melt a dash of butter (I kept the butter in a small bowl on top of the pan with the corn mix).
  10. Put the rolled chappattis in a pan - be careful about not burning the chappatis otherwise they will get hard.
  11. When each chappati has been dry fried (their colour change) on each side, use a spoon to put a bit of the garlic butter on each side.
  12. When done, remove from fire, add the corn mix, roll and serve. Viola!

End result: All rolls gone, a breakfast fit for a holiday, happy hubby and most importantly, low cal.

Low cal, despite the cheese and butter. How?

Butter: I used only one curl of butter. Curl? Well when you run a knife on the surface of the slab of butter, the knife will cut it out in a thin curl. And since I melted it, it was enough for all 5 rolls. And instead of lathering it on the chapattis, I dabbed a bit on each chappati. This is better than putting the butter in the corn mix. You'd or rather I'd need a huge amount to convince hubby that I had indeed used copious amounts of butter.

Now the cheese: I did grate one whole cube of cheese (enough for two sandwiches). However, I used only 1 tsp on the grated cheese, again sprinkled on top of the cooked that its taste was definitely identifiable!! The rest I put away in the fridge, in a small jar.

Oil: I used only 1 tbsp of olive oil.

And I was actually going to put the corn mix in lightly toasted bread. But we are all out of bread and hubby was feeling a tad lazy. And I, still dressed in my night rags, couldn't venture out.

So, the chappati innovation.

Note for other Timid Cooks like me: Bread, Pita bread are easier options than rolling out chapattis.

Note for Interpid Cooks: You might be right about laughing at this silly recipe if you happened to be anyone other than a Timid Cook. So please be kind to me, when you read this!