Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Toddler Friendly Chicken Curry

I have been blessed with two amazing kids... one is pretty recent (2 & half months to be exact)... and the older one is 3 and half now...

Being an American, who was born to Indian parents.. my son is still not used to eating very spicy food like any other Indian kid (in India) of his age...But he doesn't mind a little black pepper powder in his food... So I came up with this chicken curry specially for him, so that he knows the Indian flavors but without the red chili or too much spiciness.

PS : The adults in my family also loved this version. They thought it was a nice change from the monotonous Indian style spicy chicken curry.

What I used...

  • 1.5 Lbs of chicken thing fillets - I cut them into but size pieces
  • About 10 garlic pods - peeled & chopped fine
  • 1 small red onion - chopped fine
  • 1 small red plum tomato - chopped fine
  • Cumin + Coriander powder - As per taste (I think I used about 2 tsps)
  • Garam Masala Powder - 1 tsp
  • Salt + Turmeric
  • Mustard oil for cooking & marinating

  • First marinate the chicken with salt + Turmeric + Mustard oil. At this point I have tried adding a bit a black pepper powder too, no one complained. 
  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan (big enough to easily mix the chicken pieces)
  • When oil's hot, add the garlic & let it get fragrant.
  • Next add the onions & let them get brown-ish
  • Next add the tomatoes, salt, turmeric & wee bit of water & cook the masala till oil separates
  • Now its time to add the chicken pieces. 
  • For the first 5-7 minutes, fry the chicken - uncovered in high heat. This is to get the browning on the chicken.
  • Next 15 mins, cover the chicken and let it cook until soft.
  • Add garam masala at the end, give a good mix & adjust for seasonings. 
  • Server with roti or Dal+Rice !!

Tri-color bhaja

The classic combination of green beans, cauliflower florets & bright orange carrots always reminds me of the Indian national flag... the ever so loved & respected... Tri-color Flag..

The Indian national flag has three stripes, Saffron (aka Orange) followed by White followed by Green. Each color symbolizes a trait that the nation follows.

Saffron/ Orange shows strength & courage, White shows peace & Green shows growth.
The flag also has the "Dharma Chakra" (Wheel of righteousness) in the middle.

I remember back home, Baba will take out his National Flag & proudly let it fly on our roof top on every national holiday like the Republic Day or Independence Day.

No matter, where we go, India has always been and will always be our first love, our homeland & our respectable dear nation !! We know we are always welcome there.. :)

So here goes the tricolor bhaja ... in the memory of my dear nation...

  • 8 -10 green beans, trimmed & cut into small 1/2 inch pieces. 
  • 1/3rd of a cauliflower, cut into small florets.
  • 2 medium sized carrots, scrapped & cut into small cubes.
  • 1 tsp Panch-Phoran (a medley of 5 dry whole spices - Cumin, Mustard, Fenugreek, Nigella & Fennel)
  • Salt + Turmeric + Any masala powder for veg (I used Ruchi Veg Masala, MDH Kitchen King will also do.. or if you don't have anything, just add Cumin+Coriander powder)
  • Mustard Oil to fry 
  • Heat oil in a non-stick pan until smoky
  • Add panch phoran & let them splutter & dance in the oil
  • Add the veggies, salt + turmeric & let them veggies cook covered till tender
  • Just before switching off the heat, add the masala powder, mix well & take off the heat
  • Server hot with White rice + dal. 

Friday, February 24, 2017

No deep-fry chili paneer

Paneer is usually a Thursday affair in my household these days... why??? Because.. My Maa-in-law is with us.. and she's strict about the No-Onion-No-Garlic rule on Thursdays.. like many many Odiya married women.. who are Maa Laxmi devotees... So making paneer with just tomatoes & ginger is usually how we make it... usually.. until last week.. Wednesday when I made this... "Thaka" (meaning - Fake) Chili Paneer.. and it was Yum.. my son loved it... and everyone loved it.. with Roti

Me? Follow Thursday rules?? Naa...Not so much.. I am god fearing, but I don't believe gods (or goddesses) have food rules... Yes, that is where I have always been cross with my family... Like if I don't eat onion or garlic on Thursday (and think about killing someone or think bad stuff for them), god will love me more !!! No Way.. its these old fashioned thoughts are where we Indians are kind of party poopers... there are so many things that just don't fall in line.. hence.. I don't follow.. :)

Well.. This is what I used for my "Thaka" Chili Paneer - Why "Thaka"? Because it has no corn starch marination.. no deep frying... and no complicated stuff !!.... Easy.. Breezy...

What I used

  • One block Paneer - cut into cubes
  • One green bell pepper - cut into squares
  • One small red onion - cut into squares
  • 4 pods garlic - chopped fine
  • Sauces on hand (See the picture) - I eye balled what I added... but mostly between 2 teaspoons to 3 teaspoons of each...
  • Oil + Butter
  • Salt + Pepper

  • Heat olive oil & butter together (This is a very good way of skimping on butter while still having the flavor)
  • When oil's hot, add garlic & onions & fry till garlic in golden brown
  • Next add green bell peppers & fry till they are soft yet crunchy
  • Next goes in salt + pepper
  • Then paneer - Mix well
  • Then all the sauces... & done !!
Note : Since my son does not eat too much hot sauce (yet), I added the red chili & sriracha sauces later, after I spooned out his portion in a different bowl. 

Also, I did not have scallions or green onions to sprinkle on top, but if you try this.. it'd be nice !!
Enjoy !!

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Anda Poha - Very early morning breakfast

It's 4am in the morning.. and I am tired because I haven't slept in days.. and the baby is still crying in her sleep.. she's on my shoulder.. and I have to do everything with my right hand.. while I support her with my left hand... I am hungry too.. because what I ate last night has been digested due to all the walking & strolling with the baby...Yes, all in one night...

I remembered that we had some left over poha from last evening.. and all I wanted to do was to heat up & eat that.. but where's the fun in it... and its 4am... & I'm thinking.. if I have this.. it better be worth it... so.. I decided to make anda poha with the left overs...

What I had...

  • Poha (left over from last evening).... I am sure we can use the MTR ready-to-eat poha as well..and it will work just fine..
  • 1 egg
  • salt & pepper
  • Heat oil & crack the egg directly.. (remember I have only one hand at this time at my disposal for cooking)
  • sprinkle salt & pepper
  • scramble the egg
  • add the poha.. give it a good mix & done !!

Capsicum aloo fry

"Sabu dina ruti santula khai khai bore lagilani" Said my Maa-In-Law...
And right she was... ever since she has been with us.. almost every night we have been having roti with some mixed veg.. sometimes its with tomatoes.. sometimes without.. etc etc...
"Santula" is a very good dish.. I have no doubts about it in my mind.. but having it almost every night is not advisable for our stomach's & heart's sanity !!

So here it is... a simple tawa fry type preparation... with green & orange bell peppers (we Indians call it Capsicum)... and potatoes... its not a santula so.. everyone's happy ... and went perfectly with roti..

What I used....

  • 1 green bell pepper - cut into stripes
  • 1 orange bell pepper - cut into strips
  • 2 small red potatoes - cut into long slices
  • Salt + Turmeric + Pepper + Ruchi Subjee Masala (No onion + No garlic)
  • Oil as needed
  • Little bit butter

Method is very simple... heat oil & splutter cumin seeds .. add the veggies, salt & turmeric & fry until they are soft...mid way through add pepper & subjee masala.. serve hot with roti. 

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Soft White Manda Pitha

Sweet coconut stuffing + fluffy, soft white rice flour dough cover + 15 minutes steam = Yummy yummy Panda pitha !!

  • 3 cups rice flour
  • 3.5 cups water
  • 1 table spoon sugar
  • 2 pinches salt
  • 1 tablespoon ghee
  • sweet coconut filling - Recipe here.
  • Put water on medium flame & add sugar, salt & ghee.
  • Get the water to a boil & lower the flame to lowest when water starts to boil.
  • Mix the rice flour little by little into the water. Keep staring the mixture continuously, else it'll form lumps that'll be difficult to handle later.
  • When the mixture has come together, turn off heat & cover the pan. 
  • Keep the mixture covered for 10 mins. It'll be still warm & you should be able to handle the mixture. We'd need to knead it to a soft dough. 
  • Knead the dough to a super soft dough, fluffy & white !!
  • Next make small balls of the dough, flatten them with your palm (use water or oil to handle the stickiness of the dough), fill with sweet coconut stuffing, close the balls.
  • Once all balls are ready, steam them for 15 minutes and all done !!

Monday, January 9, 2017

Stir Fry Chili Chicken

My family... we love chicken... especially if it is spicy.. well... we are Odiyas and we love spicy chicken.. whats new in that???

New is... I have found a hack for making chili chicken which my family LOVED and ADORED.... so much that I have already made it twice in a 6 days range...

Regular chili chicken calls for marinating the chicken (with may ingredients including egg) & deep frying it & then tossing it with bell peppers & sauces etc... 
Well... I skipped the deep frying... skimped on marinating ingredients... added tons of veggies.. and viola.... Our super easy stir fry chili chicken was ready... We had it once with Roti & another time with Rice & Dal... both the times... we finished the whole pan full... Well yes.. we are Odiyas.. and we love spicy chicken !!!!

What to use

  • Chicken thigh fillets - 1Lb - Cut into small bite size cubes
  • Green, Yellow, Red bell peppers - Cut into small bite size square pieces
  • Red onion - 1 small - Cut into small bite size square pieces
  • 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste (I used store bought.. haven't tried with home made.. store bought gave it that pungent vinegar smell and was perfect !!)
  • Salt + Pepper (To taste of course)
  • Sriracha sauce (To taste) + Regular Indian chili sauce (to taste)
  • 4 Tbsp Dark soy sauce (2 + 2 Tbsp - for marinade & then for the sauce)
  • 2 Tbsp corn starch (add more if you don't think the chicken pieces are covered nicely)
  • 8 fat cloves of garlic - Finely chopped
  • 2 sticks of celery - Finely chopped
  • Oil to cook

  • First marinate the chicken with salt, pepper, ginger+garlic paste, sriracha, corn starch & soy sauce. Keep for 10 mins (while you prep other veggies & all)
  • Heat olive oil in non-stick pan (I tried with Calphalon stainless steel & it did not work good for me.. mainly because of the ginger garlic paste).
  • When oil's hot, add the garlic + celery & fry for 30 seconds.
  • Next add the chicken & let it brown & cook at the same time... how to do that? Well its easy... you cover & cook the chicken on medium to high heat... Yes, you can not leave the kitchen while that is happening... there's a risk of food burning..
  • When chicken is done, add the veggies & ketchup, chili sauce (skip if you don't want too much spicy) & soy sauce.. and stir.
  • This is all happening on medium to high heat.. so be careful of not burning the food or yourself...
  • When the veggies are cooked yet crunchy... adjust salt & pepper... turn off heat & serve super hot !!