Sunday, August 22, 2010

TOMATO SOUP

(Serves 2-4)

You can turn this soup into a one pot meal by adding some vegetables. Use mushrooms, celery, spinach, carrots, broccoli or whatever you have. You can add in some boiled wheat noodles or pasta if you like. If you are using mushrooms make sure you fry them separately in some olive oil before adding them to the soup. Add the rest of the vegetables along with the tomato puree, so that they have enough time to cook. But if you are using any leafy vegetables add them along with the spring onions. You can also add some fat free grated cheese if you wish.


Ingredients
  • Tomatoes: 4 large, pureed
  • Extra virgin Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Garlic: 4-6 cloves, chopped
  • Green chillies: 1 finely chopped
  • Bay leaves: 1
  • Onions: 1 medium, finely chopped
  • Chicken stock: 1 cup
  • Salt: to taste
  • Fresh ground black pepper: to taste
  • Spring onions: ½ cup, chopped
  • Low fat half & half/cream: 2 tablespoons




Method
Heat oil in a pan and add green chillies, bay leaf and garlic. After about thirty seconds toss in the chopped onions and sauté till translucent. Add the tomato puree and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for ten to twelve minutes. Combine the chicken stock/water and add salt and pepper. Let it simmer for two more minutes. Add spring onions and cook covered for one minute.  Just before turning off heat add half & half. Serve hot with garlic bread.


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Thursday, August 19, 2010

GRILLED CHICKEN WITH CILANTRO PESTO

You will notice that I have used honey in this recipe, although not recommended for serious dieters. But I believe that honey is important to balance out the soy sauce. However, you can substitute it with a pinch of sugar, or use just about half a teaspoon of honey if your diet plan permits. Pine nuts can be difficult to find and a little expensive in India. You can use peanuts instead or just skip it altogether.  If you don’t have a grill, use a cast iron griddle or any griddle for that matter. Just be sure to cook over high heat.



Ingredients

For the chicken
  • Chicken breast: 4, skinless and boneless
  • Soy sauce: 4 tablespoons
  • Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Ginger: 1 inch stick, chopped
  • Garlic: 5-6 cloves, chopped
  • Honey: 2 teaspoons
  • Salt: to taste
  • Black pepper powder: to taste
For the pesto
  • Cilantro/Coriander leaves: 1 bunch
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • Salt: to taste
  • Black pepper powder: to taste
  • Lime juice: 2 tablespoons
  • Pine nuts (optional): 1 tablespoon
  • Olive oil: 1 tablespoon

Preparation

Put the chicken pieces in a glass bowl and add soy sauce, olive oil, ginger, garlic and honey and season with salt and pepper. Give a nice mix and set aside for half an hour.
For the pesto grind cilantro, garlic and pine nuts into a smooth paste. Add the lime juice and a little water if needed. Add olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Method

Heat a grill or a griddle and grease with some olive oil. Grill the chicken pieces for eight minutes on each side or till done. Drizzle some pesto and serve hot with Greek salad.
    

GREEK SALAD


If you don’t like raw peppers and onions grill the vegetables before adding the salad dressing. You may add grilled prawns or chicken to the salad if you like. Vegetarians can add chunks of grilled cottage cheese. This salad is high on protein, low on carb and a good source of fiber.

Ingredients



  • Red bell pepper: 1 large, cubed
  • Yellow bell pepper: 1 large, cubed
  • Tomatoes: 1 large, diced
  • Cucumbers: 1 diced
  • Onions: 1 medium, diced
  • Lettuce: 8-10 leaves, cut into bite sized pieces
  • Feta cheese: a handful
  • Fat free yogurt: ½ cup
  • Lime juice: 2 tablespoon
  • Garlic: 3-4 cloves, chopped
  • Salt: to taste
  • Black pepper powder: to taste
  • Red chilli powder: a pinch
  • Fresh basil: 1 teaspoon chopped

Method


Mix yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper, chilli powder and basil to make the dressing. Add a few drops of olive oil if you like. Add the salad dressing and feta cheese to the vegetables, add your choice of lean meat, mix well and serve cold.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

MASALEDAAR GOSHT/SPICY MUTTON


(Serves 4)

If you are not a great fan of mutton, use lamb instead. If you want it spicier add a few dry roasted, whole dry red chillies to the ground spices. If you are serving this dish with rice I recommend that you add the ground spices a little early and retain some of the gravy. Alternately if you don’t like spicy food add one cup of beaten yogurt to the marinade and go easy on the chilli powder, cloves, black pepper corns and cinnamon.

Ingredients

  • Mutton: 500 grams cut into small pieces
  • Oil: 4 tablespoons
  • Onions: 2 large, chopped
  • Garlic: 8-10 cloves
  • Ginger: 1 inch, chopped
  • Tomatoes: 2 medium, chopped
  • Cinnamon: 1 inch stick
  • Green cardamoms: 4
  • Cumin seeds: 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander seeds: 1 teaspoon
  • Black peppercorns: 6-8
  • Poppy seeds: 2 teaspoons
  • Cloves: 3-4
  • Lime juice: 2 tablespoons
  • Mustard oil: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Black pepper powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Fresh Coriander leaves: a handful


Preparation

Marinate the mutton pieces with lime juice, turmeric powder, mustard oil and salt and set aside for thirty minutes.
Dry roast poppy seeds, cinnamon, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, black peppercorns, green cardamoms and cloves and grind into a powder.


Method

In a pressure cooker add two cups of water and the mutton pieces and cook over medium heat till two whistles are given out. Heat oil in a pan and add onions. When the onions turn golden brown add ginger, garlic, red chilli powder and black pepper powder. Sauté for a minute and add toss in the chopped tomatoes. When the tomatoes turn tender add the cooked mutton with the cooking liquor. Reduce heat and cook over medium heat till moisture evaporates. Add the ground spices and sauté over high heat for about two minutes stirring continuously. Adjust salt and turn off heat. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with rice or roti.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

SIMPLE STEW

(Serves 2-3)


I have used boneless chicken for this recipe but you can practically use any thing you like. You can even use any leftover meat.  Skip the meat if you are a vegetarian. You don’t  necessarily have to use carrots and potatoes; use eggplant, celery, beet, radish, bell pepper, mushrooms or even okras, whatever you have.  This is an ingenious way of recycling whatever may have been sitting in your fridge for days. Does not matter what you put in this stew, it is going to taste heavenly any way. The flour helps thicken the soup and gives it a nice texture and the milk lightens up the color so it looks really pretty. Use cream for a richer texture. But you can skip the flour and milk if you like. If you want the stew healthier use olive oil or canola oil instead of butter. Don’t have chicken stock? No problem! Use water. Cooking this dish does not demand a lot of attention so this can be a homework friendly recipe.  You can simply mix all the ingredients together, put it over low flame and totally forget about it, or at least until the fire alarm goes off  :)

Ingredients

  • Boneless chicken: 250 grams cut into small pieces
  • Butter: 2 tablespoons
  • Bay leaves: 1
  • Onions: 1 medium, chopped
  • Garlic: 4 cloves, chopped
  • Carrots: 1 cup, diced
  • Green beans: 1 cup, cut into small pieces
  • Potatoes: 1 large, diced
  • Chicken stock: 2 cups
  • Black pepper powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Flour: 2 tablespoons
  • Milk: ½ cup

Method

Heat butter in a pan and add bay leaf. Add onions and garlic and sauté till translucent. After about thirty seconds add carrots and potatoes and sauté for about five minutes. Toss in the green beans and chicken and cook over medium heat for two to three minutes. Add chicken stock or water and bring the pot to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and cook covered till the vegetables are done. Reduce heat and add flour stirring continuously to avoid the formation of lumps. Now add milk and stir. Let it simmer for two to three minutes before turning off heat. Serve hot with garlic bread.
 
  

Sunday, August 15, 2010

ALU CHOP/POTATO CHOP

Happy Independence Day to all Indians and Pakistanis. This is my first Independence Day outside India and I am feeling extremely nostalgic. Sadhin Sangha (a club in my neighbourhood) must be blasting away patriotic songs. The locality must be exuberant with tri-colours flying everywhere. The sky must be covered with kites. I can almost smell the Rajanigandha (Tuberose) adorning the pictures of Netaji and Gandhiji everywhere. The local clubs must have been raising funds for a month now to help the not-so-privileged-ones. Harish Park (another local club) must be giving away free books to disadvantaged children. The Colleges must be organizing blood donation camps. The small tele bhaja (deep fried) shop around the corner of Turf Road must be giving away free alu chops (potato chops).  Everybody must be trying to help, to make a difference, does it matter if only for a day? And here I am doing nothing but celebrating Independence Day making alu chops for friends. Recipe follows...


(Makes 20-25 chops)


Ingredients

  • Potatoes: 3 medium, boiled
  • Cumin seeds: 2 teaspoons
  • Coriander seeds: 1 teaspoon
  • Whole dry red chillies: 6
  • Chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Black salt: 2 teaspoons
  • Salt: to taste
  • Green chillies: 2 chopped
  • Ginger paste: 1teaspoon
  • Gram flour: 1 cup
  • Carom seeds (Ajwain): 1/2 teaspoon
  • Oil: 1 tablespoon, plus extra for deep frying.
  • Baking powder: ½ teaspoon



Preparation

Dry roast cumin seeds, coriander seeds and dry red chillies and grind into a powder.
Add ¾ cup of water to the gram flour to make a smooth batter. Season with salt and add baking powder, carom seeds and half teaspoon chilli powder. You can add a pinch of turmeric powder to the batter if you like. Mix very well and set aside for fifteen minutes.
Mash the boiled potatoes.
Method

Heat oil in a pan and add potatoes, the ground spices, ginger, green chillies and chilli powder. Cook till the potatoes form a lump and no longer stick to the bottom of the pan. Season with black salt and extra salt if needed. Turn off heat. Let cool and then divide into twenty to twenty five balls. Flatten with your palms; dip in the batter and deep fry till golden brown. Sprinkle some black salt and serve immediately.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

GREEN CURRY EGG

(Serves 2-3)

This is a very simple recipe, very easy to put together but an absolute hit. This is another way of enriching the insipid quick fix egg curry. The cooking time is under fifteen minutes so this is a must try. If you don’t have coconut milk you can use two tablespoons of scraped coconut, mixed with four tablespoons of cream instead. Do not forget to leave your comments when you try this recipe. Happy cooking!



Ingredients

  • Egg: 4, boiled
  • Oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Onions: 1 small finely chopped
  • Garlic: 3-4 cloves
  • Coriander leaves: 1 cup
  • Green chillies: 1
  • Cumin powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Tomato ketchup: 2 tablespoons
  • Red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Coconut milk: ½ cup
  • Salt: to taste



Preparation

Grind coriander leaves, green chilli and garlic into a smooth paste.
Boil eggs, peel and cut them into halves.

Method

Heat oil in a pan and add the chopped onions. Sauté till translucent and add cumin powder and red chilli powder. After about one minute add the ketchup and the coriander leaves paste. Sauté over high heat for two minutes and add half a cup of water. Reduce heat and simmer till oil separates. Adjust salt and pour in coconut milk. Give it a stir and turn off heat. Pour the sauce over the eggs and garnish with coriander leaves. Serve hot with steamed rice. 

Thursday, August 12, 2010

MACHER PATURI/WRAPPED BENGALI STYLE FISH

(Serves 3-4)



Ideally paturis are wrapped in banana leaves and steamed. But for the want of banana leaves in my part of the town I settled for cabbage leaves. The advantage of using cabbage leaves for this recipe is that you can eat the fish with the wraps. Unwrapping and discarding each banana leaf before eating a paturi is quite an annoying task to me, considering how many of them I can devour in one go. But, there is no contesting the fact that they taste heavenly when wrapped in banana leaves. 
Ingredients



  • Fish fillets: 500 grams cut into 6-8 pieces
  • Mustard oil: 3 tablespoons
  • Mustard paste: 3 tablespoons
  • Poppy seed paste: 1 tablespoon
  • Yogurt: 2 tablespoons
  • Turmeric powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Green chilles: 3-4 chopped
  • Banana or cabbage leaves: enough to individually wrap all the pieces
  • Salt: to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a pan with cooking spray.
If you are using banana leaves cut out the hard stem like portions. You can further cut each leaf into several pieces depending on the size of the fish pieces. Ideally the wraps should be three times the size of the fish, otherwise the marinade will escape. If you are using cabbage leaves remove the core of the cabbage with a sharp knife and immerse the cabbage in a pot of salted boiling water. Let it sit for a few minutes. Remove and refresh with cold water.   Now very carefully peel off the leaves one by one. You want to use the soft leaves for wrapping because they are more pliable.  Cut out the hard portions from the leaves to prevent the leaves from breaking when folded.

Method

Mix all the ingredients in a glass bowl and set aside for fifteen minutes. Individually wrap each piece of fish with a leaf. Secure the edges with threads if needed. Arrange the wraps on the baking tray and bake for eight to ten minutes or till the fish is done. To avoid scorching drizzle some oil on the wraps before baking. Serve with steamed rice. 

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BAKED SALMON WITH WHITE WINE SAUCE

(Serves 4-5)

Ingredients
  • Salmon fillet: 500 grams, cut into 5 slices
  • Lemon: 1, sliced
  • White wine: 1 cup
  • Olive oil: ½ cup
  • Black pepper powder: to taste
  • Salt: to taste
  • Butter: 1 stick
  • Heavy whipping cream: ½ cup
  • Tomato sauce: ½ cup
  • Fresh parsley: a handful
  • Dried thyme: ½ teaspoon
  • Dried basil: ½ teaspoon
Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a baking tray.
Season the fish with salt and pepper and set aside for fifteen minutes.

Method

Place the fish on the baking tray and pour olive oil and half a cup of white wine over the fillets. Arrange the lemon slices and parsley to cover the fish fillets. Bake the fish in the preheated oven till done, about eight to ten minutes. Be careful not to overcook the salmon. While the fish is baking take a pan and heat the remaining white wine in it. Combine cream and tomato sauce and stir continuously. Add dried thyme and basil and season with salt and pepper. Turn off heat and add the butter. Keep stirring till the butter melts. When the fish is done transfer to a serving platter and pour the sauce over the fillets. Serve hot with garlic bread. 

MUTTON BIRIYANI

(Serves 4-5)


Ingredients

  • Mutton: 800 grams on bones
  • Meat tenderizer: 1 teaspoon
  • Basmati rice: 2 cups
  • Yogurt: 1 cup
  • Fried onions: 1 cup
  • Green chillies: 2 chopped
  • Garlic paste: 1 tablespoon
  • Ginger paste: 1 tablespoon
  • Green cardamom: 4
  • Black cardamom: 1
  • Nutmeg powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Mace: a few blades
  • Cloves: 1
  • Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
  • Black pepper corns: 8-10
  • Black cumin seeds: ½ teaspoon
  • Bay leaves: 1
  • Coriander leaves: a handful
  • Mint leaves: a handful
  • Oil: 2 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder: 1 tablespoon
  • Cumin powder: 1 tablespoon
  • Turmeric: ½ teaspoon
  • Red chilli powder: ½ teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Kesar (saffron): a few strands
  • Rose water: 1 tablespoon
  • Kewra water: 1 tablespoon



Method

Soak the rice in four cups of water for thirty minutes.
Bring a pot of water to a boil and season with salt. Add the soaked rice, half the black cumin seeds and a dash of oil and cook till the rice is half done. Remove from heat, drain the rice and let it cool under a fan.
Soak the kesar in two tablespoons of water.
Wash the mutton pieces thoroughly and dab with a piece of cloth to absorb excess moisture. Sprinkle the meat tenderizer and mix well. Let it marinate for thirty minutes.
For the second marinade take yogurt in a glass bowl and add coriander leaves, mint leaves, half the fried onions, cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, oil, chopped green chillies and all the whole spices. Season with salt.
When the meat has marinated in the tenderizer for thirty minutes drop the pieces into the second marinade and refrigerate for two hours.

Method

In a deep, thick bottomed pan add the mutton with the marinade and smooth out the surface. Cover with the boiled rice and sprinkle some fried onions on top.  You may add some coriander leaves and mint leaves if you like. Sprinkle the Saffron water and a tablespoon each of rose water and kewra water on the top. Seal the pot and cook over high heat for four to five minutes. Reduce heat and cook over medium-low heat for forty to forty five minutes. When done carefully stir so that the meat and the rice are properly incorporated. Serve hot. 


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Mutton Biriyani

BHAPA ILISH/STEAMED HILSA

(Serves 4-6)


As Suman has rightly pointed out, I have used onion seeds in this recipe but have not listed it in the ingredients. Well, sorry about that. You can add onion seeds to the mix but traditionally it is not used in this particular recipe. Onion seed is basically considered a tempering agent. What I usually do is that I heat the mustard oil in  a pan and temper it with onion seeds, cool it down and then add it to the mix  (this is what my grandma used to do). But this is an unnecessary step and you can very well avoid it. But thanks Suman, I am happy to see that my readers are taking this seriously. Happy cooking!


Ingredients

  • Hilsa cut into thick1 inch slices: 6 slices
  • Mustard oil: ¼ cup
  • Mustard paste or powder: 3 tablespoons
  • Green chillies: 4 slit
  • Turmeric powder: ¼ teaspoon
  • Salt: to taste








Preparation


Mix all the ingredients in a pan and let it sit for fifteen minutes.

Method

Take a pressure cooker, fill one third of it with water and place a ring in it. Bring the water to a boil. Put the pan on the ring, cover with the pressure cooker  lid without the whistle and steam for ten minutes or till the fish is cooked. Serve hot with steamed rice.

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KESARI KALAKAND

Ingredients

  • Milk: 2 litres (8 cups)
  • Sugar: ½ cup sugar (or less if you prefer)
  • Kesar (Saffron): a few strands
  • Alum powder: ¼ teaspoon





Preparation

Soak the saffron in two tablespoons lukewarm milk for bout fifteen minutes.
Take an aluminium tray and grease it with cooking spray.

Method

In a thick bottomed pan boil the milk till it thickens and reduces to three fourth of its original volume. Pour in the saffron and stir. Add alum powder to the milk and keep stirring till it becomes granular. Go on cooking till all the moisture evaporates and it reduces to a lump. Add the sugar and mix well.  Reduce heat to medium and keep stirring till it thickens again. Pour the mix into the aluminium tray and smooth out the top. Refrigerate for a few hours. When properly set cut into squares and serve cold. 

FISH FRY

Ingredients

  • Fish fillets: 500 grams cut into 5-6 pieces
  • Lime juice: 3 tablespoons
  • Red chilli powder: 1 teaspoon
  • Green chillies: 2
  • Garlic: 4 cloves
  • Fresh coriander leaves: 1 cup
  • Onions: 1 medium
  • Salt: to taste
  • Eggs: 2 beaten
  • Bread crumbs: 2 cups
  • Oil: for deep frying


 
Preparation

Grind together coriander leaves, green chillies, garlics and onion and add lime juice, salt and red chilli powder.
Marinate the fish in the coriander paste for thirty minutes.

Method

Take one fish fillet at a time and dip it first into the egg wash and then in the bread crumbs. Make sure that the fillets are nicely coated with bread crumbs. For very crispy fries refrigerate the fillets for two hours and then deep fry one at a time. Serve with tartar sauce and pickled onions. 


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CHICKEN MOMOS/DUMPLINGS

 (Serves 2)

Ingredients

For the dumplings
  • Chicken: 250 grams minced
  • Oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Spring onions: ½ cup, chopped
  • Onions: ½ cup, chopped
  • Green chillies: 2 chopped
  • Garlic: 4-5 cloves, chopped
  • Soy sauce: 1 tablespoon
  • Vinegar: 1 tablespoon
  • Salt: to taste
  • Flour: 2 cups


For the sauce
  • Fresh red/green chillies: 2-3
  • Tomato sauce: ½ cup
  • Salt: to taste
  • Garlic: 2 cloves
  • Oil: 2 tablespoons
  • Vinegar: 1 tablespoon



Preparation

Mix flour, water and a pinch of salt to make the dough. The dough should be pliable enough but not very soft either.  Divide the dough into eight to ten balls. To make the wraps role out the balls into thin round sheets.
To make the sauce, mix all the sauce ingredients in a food processor.

Method

Heat oil in a pan and toss in garlic, chillies and onions. Sauté till the onions turn translucent. Add the chicken and sauté for five minutes. Combine soy sauce, vinegar and salt and cook for two minutes. Add the spring onions and turn off heat. Let the stuffing cool down. Put some stuffing in the centre of each wrap and seal the edges properly. Arrange the dumplings on steamers and steam for fifteen to twenty minutes. You can fry the dumplings also. Serve hot with the sauce.