Categories
Brunch General Gluten Free Indian Curry one pot meals Side Dishes Vegetarian

Yogurt Stewed Cauliflower & Potatoes

Sinfully Spicy : Yogurt Stewed Cauliflower & Potatoes The silence of the afternoon in the house is totally different from the one at night.It is not as quiet and soothing as when its dark outside but definitely relaxing. I sit on our beige couch tucking a pillow below the knees and legs streched out to rest on the coffee table. It the time when I mostly hear the day than just seeing it. Sounds of normalcy, sounds of neglect, symphony of routine. The tap of  each key on the board is louder than usual as I write this, also the tick tocking of the clock above. I raise my head and through the blinds witness how extremely windy it is outside, the tall desert palms forcibly swaying against the milky blue sky. The street is that quite so the humming of the sprinkler in the front yard is evident even through those noise proof panes and the dancing water droplets in the glaring yellow sun promising that sweet summer days are not far. The irregular clattering above our fireplace indicating how we have been putting off that exhaust pipe repair and the aquarium in the is screechy than usual due to the interrupted  flow of the water through its uncleaned filter. Sinfully Spicy : Yogurt Stewed Cauliflower & Potatoes IMG_0231_2 My little girl naps in the afternoon and since I could never abide by the concept of afternoon siesta and certainly do judge people who follow it (well almost) these few hours of the day are most precious, ‘me’ time as they fancifully term it. I want to soak up in the nothingness of this moment before I rush back to regular household chores. Afternoon is also time for tea. Something simple, cozy and warm to sip on while I spend few hours practically doing nothing. The humid air in the room is intense with the aroma of lemongrass, time to get up, strain the tea and rest the hissing pot.I guess that the neighbors are soaking in their pool for I can hear a water splash every now and then, lots of laughter too.Engrossed in ‘me’ time, at the back of my head, ‘what to cook of dinner’ thoughts also hover by. I ponder over what my refrigerator stocks and mentally tick up and down a lot of ideas. Sinfully Spicy : Yogurt Stewed Cauliflower & Potatoes It could be a cauliflower for dinner kind of day today. Some days inspiration does not come easy, particularly when we are tired of regular turmeric hued aloo gobi. If I want to make something different which does not need me to continuously stand beside the pot but still with deliciously deep flavors,I make this recipe, one of my mom’s best.

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 4 tbsp virgin mustard oil (use olive or sunflower/grape seed)
  • 3/4 cup red onions, thin sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 ” cinnamon stick 
  • 1 black cardamom, cracked open
  • 3 whole dry chillies (adjust to tolerance, any mild hot variety will work)
  • 1 fat garlic clove, grated
  • 1 ” fresh ginger shoot, grated
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, finely chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 medium cauliflower (about 1 lb)
  • 1 large potato
  • Up to 1/2 cup water if required
  • Chopped cilantro (for garnish, optional)

For the spice rub

  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves
  • 1.5 tsp coriander seeds
  • Pinch of ajwain (optional)
  • 1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp plain greek yogurt (or equivalent quantity, thick hung yogurt/curd)

Method

Cut the cauliflower into florets. Peel the potatoes and cut them roughly the same size as cauliflower florets. Wash thoroughly under running water & let the water drain completely.Ensure that the cauliflower and potatoes are completely dry, use kitchen towel if required. 

Using your coffee grinder, grind black peppercorns, cumin seeds, cloves, and ajwain(if using). Mix these ground spices along with nutmeg and salt to the yogurt.

In a large bowl, combine the cauliflower and potatoes with spice mixed yogurt and let sit.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy bottomed pot with lid on medium heat.Once the oil is just about to smoke, add the chopped onions to the pot. Also add the bay leaf, cinnamon, chilies and black cardamom. Cook the onions till golden brown. About 5-7 minutes. Next, add the grated ginger & garlic to the pot. Cook for 1 minute.Add the tomatoes to the pot and let cook for 2-3 minutes till they start to sweat.

Lower the heat, wait for few minutes (very important to avoid curdling of yogurt)and add the marinated cauliflower to the pot next and combine well.Cook for 2-3 minutes with constant stirring, You will slowly see yogurt releasing water.Cover the pot and let cook to almost done,about 18-20 minutes. (This time will depend on your variety/size of cut too)

Lift the lid, check and adjust the salt now. If you want gravy, add water to the pot and let cook for another 5-8 minutes. Try not to stir the pot else the vegetables will turn mushy.

Remove from heat and let sit covered for another at least half an hour. Garnish with cilantro and serve warm.

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Brunch Easy Recipes Gluten Free Indian Curry Indian Streetfood Indo Chinese Non vegetarian Side Dishes Stir-fry

Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce (IndoChinese)

Sinfully Spicy - Chicken in Hot garlic sauce, indochinese #recipe

Sinfully Spicy - Chicken in Hot garlic sauce, indochinese #recipe

Sinfully Spicy - Chicken in Hot garlic sauce, indochinese #recipeI start craving that chicken in hot garlic sauce severely,one with bits of garlic and crispy morsels coated in a deep flavored, sticky and hot reddish sauce. With no recipe to follow, it is just left to receding memories to build one.

Sinfully Spicy - Chicken in Hot garlic sauce, indochinese #recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)1 lb boneless chicken thighs,skinless1 tbsp all-purpose flour1 garlic pod, minced1/2 tbsp dark soya sauce ((I use Ching’s brand)pinch of  turmeric powder1/2 tsp salt1/2 tsp black pepperOil for skillet frying (I used sunflower)Use tofu, paneer and assorted vegetables for a vegetarian version of this recipeFor the Sauce8 garlic pods5-6 whole red Kashmiri chillies (adjust to tolerance, de seed if you like )1 tsp roasted white sesame seeds1-2 Thai bird chili, whole2 tsp dark soya sauce (I use Ching’s brand)3 tbsp chilli tomato sauce (I use Maggi Hot & sweet)2.5 tsp honey (or brown sugar)1 tsp coriander powder1/4 turmeric powder3/4 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust to tolerance)1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced1 tsp pure sesame oil (optional but recommended)2 tsp corn starch2/3 cup chicken/vegetable stock or water3-4 tbsp oil (I used sunflower, use any neutral oil)4 scallion stalks, white & green cut separately1/2 cup thin sliced red onionSalt to taste1.5 tbsp white vinegar (adjust to taste)1/4 tsp garam masalaFor Garnish – chopped scallions(green parts)MethodPreparationSoak the whole red chillies in warm water for 20 minutes.Cut the cleaned chicken into bite size pieces. Rub it with flour, garlic, chili, soya sauce, turmeric, salt & pepper and let sit for about 25-30 minutes.While the chicken is marinating, using your mortar and pestle or mini processor, crush the garlic, sesame seeds and soaked red chillies to tiny bits.You could use some soaking water if required for blending.In a small bowl, mix up the soya sauce, chili tomato sauce, honey and sesame oil(if using). In another bowl, mix the cornstarch with the stock and set aside.CookingIn a wide skillet (I used my 12″), heat up 2-3 tbsp of oil on high. Layer the marinated chicken pieces on the skillet and let sear on both sides, flipping in between. Make sure that the chicken pieces cook all the way through. This may take about 7-8 minutes or more depending on size of pieces.Once done, transfer the chicken pieces to a plate and reserve the dripping in the skillet itself.Add the 3 tbsp oil into the same skillet and heat it up on medium. Add the crushed garlic- chili paste as well as the whole green chili to it and fry up these for 20-30 second or so till you smell the aroma. Be careful that the garlic does not burn. Next add the chopped scallions (white part) & onions and cook on medium high for 2-3 minutes or till light brown in color. Add the coriander, turmeric,ginger and soya sauce mix made earlier, let cook for 3-4 minutes till everything starts looking glossy or till you see bubbles on the sides.Next, add the cornstarch mix to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low and let everything simmer for another 2-3 minutes till the sauce thickens slightly.Next, taste & adjust the salt in the sauce. Sprinkle the garam masala & vinegar to the skillet and stir everything well. Add the chicken & toss so that the pieces are evenly coated.Garnish with chopped green scallions & serve immediately.
Categories
Beverages Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Gluten Free Indian Streetfood Vegetarian

Gajar Kaanji – Fermented Carrot-Mustard Drink

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard DrinkYou do not realize the goodness associated with certain kinds of foods (and drinks) until you are of a certain age. I say this because no matter how pretty it looked, I don’t remember enjoying a glass of kanji back then.Now that I try to debate what to eat & what not to, guiltlessly gulping down this drink with the afternoon meals is a must.My container is nearing end but I am relishing it at least once a day for now.

I am not much of a beverage person, a glass of water with a lemon wedge is my treat,even when eating out.The very fact that this fermented drink does not have a speck of sugar or other usual suspects found in beverages makes it very unique and the crisp, tart flavor is truly an acquired taste. If you are a fan of pickles & mustard, this could be a treat for you in the liquid form. I would compare it to the taste of a mellow pickling liquid but with hints of spices – all of which are all actually so so good for you.

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard DrinkThere is the star spice- the small brown mustard seeds,commonly know as rai in Indiarich in omega-3 fatty acids & magnesium. Then the essential turmeric, best known for its anti inflammatory properties. Usually many don’t use it,but I add a pinch of ajwain (carom seeds) & methi dana (fenugreek seeds), both of which help in better digestion & metabolism. Additionally, fenugreek seeds help lower the blood sugars. To top it all, the sun fermentation for about a week or so further improves the nutritional value of this drink.

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard Drink

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard DrinkKaanji is an end of winter, spring onset drink in northern parts of India, particularly Punjab. It is usually prepared during Holi, and served as a beverage.Normally, purple/black carrots are used which are available in abundance in India during February-March spring months but if you do not get those – use any kind of carrots & put in a few slices of beets for that lovely ruby color. Many recipes add turnip slices or alma (indian gooseberries) too – just to increase the nutritional value.

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard DrinkSometimes, lentil nuggets (Kaanji Vada) are dunked in this sour liquid & served as a street side snack. The fluffy nuggets absorb all that liquid and turn deliciously spongy and soft to eat. Boondi ( Crispy chickpea flour drops) are what I topped my tumbler with, however you can serve it all on its own. The fermented carrots & beets can be eaten as pickles.

Sinfully Spicy - Gajar Kaanji, Fermented Carrot-Mustard Drink

Ingredients

  • 4-5 carrots
  • 1 medium beetroot
  • 1.5 tbsp rai (small variety brown mustard seeds)
  • 1/4 tsp each ajwain (carom seeds) & methi (fenugreek seeds) (optional)
  • 1/4 tsp hing (asafoetida)
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1.5 tsp kala namak (black salt, substitute with normal salt)
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 6 cups water

Method

Sterlize a wide mouthed glass container large enough to contain 6 cups water with a non-reactive lid.

Thoroughly wash & peel the carrots and beetroot. Using a sharp knife, cut them into thin slices. You could cut them in rounds or batons, dosent matter, but the slices should not be very thick.

Bring water to a boil. While the water is boiling, using mortar & pestle, coarsely crush the mustard, ajwain & methi seeds. Place the sliced beet & carrots in the container. Add the crushed spices.Sprinkle turmeric, black salt & red chili powder on top.

When the water has boiled, take off the stove and let sit on counter top to cool down a bit. Add the hot water to the container and using a wooden spoon, stir the contents thoroughly. With another clean spoon, taste and adjust the salt. At this point the contents will taste bitter but all that will go away after fermentation.

Place the lid on the container and let sit in sun for 5-7 days. Stir 2-3 times a day with clean wooden spoon.Kaanji is ready when it starts tasting sour.The fermentation time will depend on sunlight in the place you live.

You can serve Kaanji at room temperature or chilled. Add boondi or dried mint leaves as garnish.

The fermented carrots & beets can be eaten as pickles. Kaanji can be stored for up to 2 weeks, refrigerated.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by.

Categories
Brunch Easy Recipes Gluten Free Indian Curry Side Dishes Stir-fry Vegetarian

Mushroom Matar – Mushroom & Peas Stirfry

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry01

Mushrooms rarely made an appearance at meal time during my childhood years so I don’t even remember how and when I started liking them. The then winter vegetable, it was overly price and named fancy. There was this white  puffy vegetable that had hit the vegetable market and no one cared about it for a while.They say it’s a kind of fungi – could be poisonous, the rumor went viral.

I still remember how small button mushrooms were cooked with just shelled, sweet tasting winter peas(matar) & gently simmered in a tomato base. In no time we sat down to scoop the stir fry with fresh-off -the skillet triangle parathas. They were mellow, meaty and pleasantly chewy. The hints of spices, just perfect to balance the natural sweetness & adding the correct depth of flavor to offset their blandness.

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry02

Weekday lunches are quite rushed for me, you will usually find me decking up the lunch plate from  what’s in the refrigerator.With a toddler who wants to explore every cabinet in the house and has to be constantly watched,I barely cook something elaborate for myself. On some days its lentils re- tempered & served with pickled vegetables or leftover chickpeas curry with a side of yogurt. Sometimes, I treat myself to quickest scrambled egg (bhurji) with flatbreads on the side.

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry

Even after trying hard for years, I could never get my husband to like mushrooms.That leaves only me in the house who eats them.Sweet & spicy,this mushroom & pea stir fry is few of those things that I make just for myself for a quick lunch. You could buy pre sliced, cleaned mushrooms and make it extra fast.

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry033

Many versions of mushroom matar use heavy cream or nut paste for a rich version or may a times water is added to make it sort of a curry but I have always liked this dryish stir fry than gravy. I really like how the tomato base coats the mushroom keeping them perfectly moist and adding hints of acidity.If you cook the tomatoes properly, they almost taste like a chunky ketchup like (if you know what I mean).

Sinfully Spicy - Mushroom Matar (peas) Stirfry04

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 8 oz mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup peas (fresh or frozen)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1/3 cup onions, finely chopped
  • 1 fat garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 large tomato, finely chopped (yield about 3/4 cup)
  • 1-2 Thai green chillies, chopped (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp red chili powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder, substitute with fresh lemon juice to taste)
  • salt to taste
  • pinch of sugar
  • Generous pinch of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves, crushed between palms)
  • Chopped Cilantro – for garnish

Clean the mushrooms and slice them. If using frozen peas, thaw them. Set aside.

In a pan/wok/kadhai, on high, heat up the oil to smoky point.Reduce the heat to medium & add the chopped onions & garlic. When the onions start to soften & turn lightly brown, add the chopped tomatoes, green chilies, ginger, turmeric, coriander,amchoor and red chili powder to the kadhai and turn heat to medium-low. Let the tomatoes cook down and soften, cook this masala till you see oil separating on sides. At this point turn heat to medium high & add the sliced mushrooms. Also add pinch of salt. Cook the mushrooms till the are tender. They will slowly release their water and start to shrink in size. I used white button mushrooms & it took they approximately 6-8 minutes to cook. The time will depend on the variety of mushrooms you are using. Once the mushrooms are sweaty and have shrunk in size, add the peas,adjust the salt, sprinkle the sugar and also add the kasuri methi .  Cover for 5 minutes on medium – low heat and let cook.

Garnish with chopped cilantro. You can also squirt little lemon juice/vinegar if you like. Serve immediately.

Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Brunch Easy Recipes Gluten Free one pot meals Salads Side Dishes Snacks Vegetarian

Warm Chickpea Chaat (Indian Salad)

Sinfully Spicy- Warm Chickpea Chaat/Indian Salad 001

Last weekend was eventful.We celebrated our little munchkin’s first birthday. I made her a smash cake and we also got an adult cake. Her reaction towards both the cakes was the same – she cried. I think the flickering candle frightened her. It’s so funny that they react completely different to how you think they might.

Sinfully Spicy- Ingredients, Warm Chickpea Chaat/Indian Salad 002

Sinfully Spicy- Tamarind(imli Chutney) Chaat

Taking advantage of fading winters, I made this warm chaat this weekend. The weather out here is not yet hot for a crisp cold salad & a bit too warm for soups, this chaat drizzled with imli (tamarind) chutney & tossed with fresh mint leaves perfectly fitted the onset of spring mood.We are huge fan of  textures and multiple flavors in food and that is what this chaat is full of.

Sinfully Spicy- Warm Chickpea Chaat/Indian Salad 002

In India, chaat is a savory preparation which can be categorized as street food. There are few base ingredients which essentially form part of chaat– chopped onions or grated radish/cucumber for crunch,chaat masala (tangy spice powder) for the pungency & heat, tamarind chutney adds that saucy, tart layer while the green chutney & cilantro (or any herb)add the much needed freshness.The yogurt adds the acidity as well as cools down the palate.These are usually the toppings without which a bowl of chaat is incomplete. However, you can pick or drop any as per your taste.Chaat could be layering of fried dough or diced up fruits cut up and mixed together.If you are looking for really heavy options then kachoris (stuffed fried breads) or aloo(potato) tikki are your choices.

Sinfully Spicy - Mint

I like how healthy and filling this recipe turned out. You can also use black chickpeas(kala chana) or mung sprouts in this recipe and it works fine. It can be served as a perfect appetizer as well as a side dish. All the prep work like boiling chickpeas, potatoes, making the chutney, chopping toppings etc can be done a day before and then its just tossing everything together. Sinfully Spicy- Warm Chickpea Chaat/Indian Salad 003

I soak raw chickpeas overnight and then pressure cook them in enough water with little salt and a tsp of oil. Drain the chickpeas and reserve liquid for use as stock.

Ingredients (Serve 2)

  • 1 cup boiled chickpeas (or use canned)
  • 1 medium potato, boiled, peeled & diced into bite size pieces
  • 2 tsp oil, any neutral oil of choice
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • generous pinch of hing (asofetida)
  • 1/4 tsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or to taste)

Other ingredients/toppings

  • Chopped onions – about 1/3 cup
  • Chopped tomatoes/ Grape tomatoes
  • 2 Thai green chillies (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1 tbsp chopped mint leaves
  • Black Salt/Kala Namak ( to taste)
  • Chaat Masala (to taste) (available online or at indian grocery stores)
  • Imli/Tamarind Chutney – 2 tbsp or to taste (recipe below)
  • Roasted Cumin Powder- to taste
  • Red Chilli Powder – to taste

You can add cucumber, grated radish, pomegranate seeds, sev, crushed papris etc to add more texture and crunch.

Method 

In a pan, heat up the oil. Add the cumin seeds and once they sizzle add the hing. Once you smell the aroma, add the chickpeas & potatoes. Also add the garam masala, cumin powder and salt. Toss around for 3-5 minutes till the chickpeas look shiny.Remove from heat & add the lemon juice. Mix well.

Transfer to a large enough bowl and add the listed toppings as per taste. Toss well and serve immediately.

Imli/Tamarind Chutney

I soak raw tamarind in warm water for 4-5 hours and then mash it until pulp is separated.Sieve the pulp into a bowl and discard the seeds and thick fibers. You can also use store bought but just keep in mind that its very salty & slightly acidic so adjust seasonings accordingly. 

Ingredients (Makes about 1.5 cups)

  • 1/2 cup thick,tamarind pulp(store bought or homemade)
  • 3/4 cup – 1 cup jaggery powder/granulated sugar (adjust quantity to your sweetness)
  • 1 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • pinch of hing (asafoetida)
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp roasted cumin seed powder
  • 1/2 tsp kala namak/black salt [available in indian stores, else replace with normal salt, adjust to taste]
  • 1/4 tsp ginger powder
  • salt to taste
  • Up to 1/2 cup water ( you may or may not need it, usually not needed when using sugar instead of jaggery)

Method

In a small sauce pan, heat the oil.Once heated add the cumin seeds, as soon as the cumin starts to crackle, add all the ingredients listed above to the pan except water.Simmer the  for atleast 20 minutes till it starts to thicken. You can adjust water once the chutney has simmered. It will thicken more on cooling. Remove from heat, let cool, transfer to a container.

Let cool completely. This can sit for unto 3 weeks in a refrigerator.

Enjoy and Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Brunch Easy Recipes Gluten Free Indian Curry Non vegetarian one pot meals Side Dishes

Chicken With Yogurt & Whole Spices – Sabut Masale ka Murgh

SinfullySpicy - Chicken With Yogurt & Whole Spices 001

A very homestyle, rustic kind of chicken dish where you just need to throw everything together and let it be on its own for some time.The soggy whole spices steeped beforehand in warm water burst open their flavors over slow heat. The dark chicken meat soaks up all of it and gives in,releasing its juices to the sauce and requiring very little care as it cooks.

SinfullySpicy - Chicken With Yogurt & Whole Spices 002

If you try to lift up the lid to peek in, a strong aroma wafts out, filling up your senses. Once the steam clears you would see little bubbles in the sauce with holes in the centre and reddish glisten all around from fat of the chicken. You know its going to be good.

SinfullySpicy - Chicken With Yogurt & Whole Spices 003

Except whole peppercorns, almost all the spices (including the red chillies which become sweetish) melt away in the gravy.Even though you might be intimidated by the long list of spices but the addition of yogurt perfectly offsets the heat level, not making the sauce too spicy, rather savory.

SinfullySpicy - Chicken With Yogurt & Whole Spices 004

I made this dish quite a number of times for few weeks. This is what happens when we like something. We keep on cooking and eating it till we are at the brink of getting bored. Then we nestle the recipe for a while and start our quest for another spice blend, another curry, different flavors.

SinfullySpicy - Chicken With Yogurt & Whole Spices 005

Sabut (Khade) Masale ka Murgh- Chicken with Whole Spices & Yogurt

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 1 lb  chicken thighs, cut into 2″ pieces (use dark meat)
  • 1/3 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 3-4 tbsp mustard oil
  • 3/4 cup onions, thinly sliced
  • tejpatta (indian bay leaf)
  • 1/3 cup water (or more/less depending on the desired consistency)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped Cilantro for garnish

In a small bowl, steep the spices below in 1/3 cup warm water for 30 minutes –

  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp coriander seeds 
  • 1/2 tsp black peppercorns
  • 3 cloves
  • 1 black cardamom
  • small twig of mace
  • 1″ piece of cinnamon
  • 6-7 dry whole red chillies (adjust to tolerance)
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2″ shoot of fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (optional,this primarily lends a beautiful color)

Method

Marinate the chicken in yogurt,turmeric and 1/4 tsp salt for about 2-3 hours, refrigerated.

Once ready to cook, take out the chicken from the fridge and let sit on the kitchen counter. In a large pot, heat up the mustard oil on high till you see its slightly smoky. Reduce the heat to medium and wait for 2 minutes. Add the sliced onions to the pot, also add the tejpatta and cook till onions are lightly browned.This will take around 5-8 minutes.

Reduce the heat to low and add the marinated chicken to the pot.Using the cooking spoon, slowly toss the chicken pieces to combine with the browned onions. Let cook for 5-6 minutes.Do not rush else the yogurt will curdle.

Raise the heat to medium and add the soaked spices (along with liquid) to the pot and mix well with the chicken. Let cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add salt to taste to the pot. Next, close the lid, reduce stove to low and let the chicken simmer for 30 minutes. There is no need to stir continuously, you can check 1-2 times in between than the chicken is not sticking to the bottom.

After 30 minutes,check the seasoning and the doneness of the chicken. Raise the stove to medium heat, add 1/3 cup water and let simmer for another 10 minutes.

Let rest for at least 2-3 hours before serving.

When ready to serve, reheat, garnish with chopped cilantro & serve.

Enjoy & Thanks for Stopping by!

Categories
Desserts Festival Recipes Gluten Free Side Dishes Vegetarian

Gajar Halwa

Sinfully Spicy :Gajar Halwa-Indian Carrot Confection001

When food connects to a memory, there is a sense of warmth that crosses the heart.That time, those days, chatter, loud laughter, aroma of food, one thought after the other and I m suddenly transported to my grandma’s house where we had a huge aangan (backyard). I used to stroll through the vegetable patch soaking in the morning sun, brushing my teeth. We used to eat lunch after coming back from school there, sitting on charpai (four-legged cots),plucking & eating delicate garlic chives. When the sun decided to call it a day, we played in the mud while the gardener picked up potatoes and harvested the winter greens.

Oh Memories,so far are thee. yet so close in my heart…

Sinfully Spicy :Gajar Halwa-Indian Carrot Confection002

Sinfully Spicy :Gajar Halwa-Indian Carrot Confection002

Those sweet days are behind me but as I stir couple pounds of shredded carrot on stove, I think about the days when gajar halwa was made, my grandma just scraped, peeleed & grated all morning sitting there. There were no food processors then so she used a stainless steel rectangular grater placed on top of a large paraat. In between, she chatted with the lady who came in to clean the house or the next door aunt who stopped by for a cup of tea. She even tried giving me knitting lessons if I was just lazying around but the grating never stopped.

Sinfully Spicy :Gajar Halwa-Indian Carrot Confection002

When there are few ingredients, the recipe gets all the more tricky,this is what I learned on my trip to India couple of months back. Everytime I made it, my halwa hardly came out good. I blamed it on the variety of carrots (we get those red, juicy carrots in India during winters) or on the quality of dairy blah blah… All my bad. I was mixing up steps in the recipe is what I realized.

Sinfully Spicy :Gajar Halwa-Indian Carrot Confection004

In India, Halwa is usually an after meal or breakfast (like in my home) treat.Made with different kinds of vegetables, grains, fruits, nuts, seeds and even with lentils, it is a very popular thing when it comes to desserts. 

Gajar Halwa is an indulgent confection of shredded carrots slow cooked in milk & ghee for hours. It is a winter speciality in northern parts of India. Too bad that I am making it at the fag-end of the season (yep, it almost feels like spring in my part of the world). There are a lot of recipes which use khoya (solidified milk),condensed milk to make it rather rich & decadent.I don’t add all those because I don’t want to steal away the taste of the carrots and also that much dairy makes it quite heavy. You can add a cup or so of khoya to this recipe towards the end if you like.

Sinfully Spicy :Gajar Halwa-Indian Carrot Confection005

Ingredients (Makes 6-8 servings)

  • 2 lb carrots (preferably organic, they make a lot of difference in taste)
  • 2 tbsp + 1/2 cup ghee
  • 1 cup + 3/4 cup whole milk,warmed
  • 1 cup crystal sugar ( can reduce to 3/4 cup if you like less sugar like me)
  • 1 tsp cardamom powder
  • Almonds & Raisins for garnish (use roasted nuts of any kind you like)

Method

Peel the carrots and thoroughly wash them under running water, air dry the carrots completely before proceeding to grate. Using the food processor, shred the carrots.

In a heavy bottomed kadhai/pan on medium heat, tip in 2 tbsp ghee, after it melts, add the carrots. Mix so that the carrots are coated in ghee. Let the carrots cook for about 20-25 minutes, uncovered. You can stir occasionally in between so that they do not stick to the bottom.You will see a lot of steam coming up and the carrot shreds break down but this is fine because we want to cook off the moisture.

After 20-25 minutes of cooking, add warm milk to the kadhai/pan. Be careful when you do so because there will be splutter. Combine the milk & carrots thoroughly. Now, again let the carrot & milk mixture cook on medium – low heat so that the carrots are almost cooked and the milk has evaporated. This will take approximately 1.5 – 2 hours (or more depending on how juicy your carrots are).You will need to  occasionally in between. You will see the carrots turning a dark shade of orange and little drops of fat (from ghee & milk)on the sides of the pot, some of it might start sticking to the bottom of the pan, reduce the heat to low or take off from stove for few minutes if that happens.

After all the milk has evaporated, add the 1/2 cup ghee and keep on sautéing the carrots on low heat for another 15-20 minutes.At this point, you can try to pinch a little bit of carrots between your fingers, it should feel dryish. The point is to completely dry out the carrots, they should be glossy just because of ghee.

Take the kadhai/pan off from the stove and add the chopped roasted nuts,cardamom powder & raisins and combine. Let the halwa sit for 10-12 minutes to cool down a bit.Once cooled slightly, add the sugar and mix well.You do not need to cook on heat again.Adding sugar will loosen the halwa a bit and also enhance the color further.

Whenever you want to serve, reheat & serve garnished with more nuts.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Brunch Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Gluten Free Side Dishes Vegetarian

Sabudana Kheer – Tapicoa Pudding (Glutenfree)

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 001

My grandma used to make sabudana kheer on days when she observed fasts, not so much otherwise.I remember skipping meals and tucking down quite a number of bowls of it on those occasions.

Like most puddings, this one does not require much effort in cooking, so it was not the cooking time but the wait till sunset that got me impatient. Despite the fact that I wanted to lick it right away from the pot as soon as it was ready, we waited until prayer time. She would then fill the bowls with the kheer and spoon over generous amount of ghee sautéed raisins and almonds. She did not use saffron in hers, but I like the hue and flavor it lends, so it is must when I make kheer.

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 002

This luscious kheer is as comforting as a rice pudding, but much more smooth, almost custard like.The fluffy, opaque tapioca pearls melt down in the bubbling milk, naturally thickening it, become translucent and get pleasantly chewy as the kheer cooks. You can smell the mellow aroma of the starchy pearls and the saffron, the starch from the tapioca also makes the consistency silk-like.

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 003

Kheer forms a quintessential part of indian cuisine. It is a perfect accompaniment to spicy food and is usually a must during religious celebrations and festivals as offering to God.Wedding and special occasion menus are incomplete without certain kind of kheer, making it the most popular way of rounding off the meals.

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 004

I am such a huge fan of puddings and fail to understand how can somebody (like my husband ) doesn’t want to eat it. There’s something so comforting about a gooey, warm bowl of kheer, redolent with an aroma of saffron with nuts adding a texture.

Go imaginative with the kind of aroma you want to flavor this pudding with, I have tried, vanilla, orange zest and rose-water. It tastes as wonderful with each of them.

Sinfully Spicy - Sabudana Kheer, Indian tapioca Pudding 004

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1/3 cup sabudana (tapioca)
  • 2 tsp ghee
  •  1/2 cup nuts of choice ( I used sliced almond &raisins)
  • 2.5-3 cups whole milk
  • 2 green cardamom, cracked
  • 1/2 tsp saffron soaked in  1 tbsp warm milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar ( or to taste)

Notes:-

  1. Depending on the size and quality, you will need to soak tapioca pearls for 20 minutes (smaller variety) or up to 3-4 hours(larger variety).
  2. You could use a combination of cream & milk or half and half depending on how rich you want the pudding.
  3. The amount of milk in the recipe can be varied as per desired thickness of the pudding.
  4. Cooking time of tapioca pearls will depend on variety and how long it takes them to swell up and is cooked through.Please adjust accordingly.
  5. The pudding thickens up as it sits so you will need to thin it out later with little warm milk if serving next day. You can boil up the milk, add the pudding and reheat.

Method – Wash the tapioca pearls in water, drain the water and set aside for 20 minutes.Meanwhile, in a heavy bottomed pot, melt the ghee on low. Add the nuts to it and sauté for about 20-25 seconds till you smell the aroma. Take out in a bowl and set aside for garnish.In the same pot, add the cardamom seeds and slowly add the milk. Let milk come to a boil on low heat, you will need to stir in between. Once the milk is boiling,add the soaked tapioca to the pot and mix well.

Cook on low – medium heat for 30-35 minutes with continual stirring till you see that tapioca pearls have started to become translucent and are cooked through.Add the saffron milk at this point mix well. Let cook for another 5-10 minutes on low till the tapioca are cooked through. You can pinch one of the pearls between fingers to check that they are soft. Take off the stove and let cool down for 10 minutes. Add the sugar to the pudding and combine well. You can add the ghee sautéed nuts too.Serve the kheer warm or cold garnished with more nuts (if desired) .

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping by!

Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Festival Recipes Gluten Free Snacks Vegetarian

Mewa Chikki – Nut & Seed Brittle (Gluten & Grain Free)

Sinfully Spicy - Mewa Chikki, Nut & Seed Brittle01 (Gluten-Grain free)

Paani, cheeni se kam hona chahiye‘, mum replied that the quantity of water should be less than sugar. I had called in to ask the ratio of sugar and water for the syrup before setting out to make this chikki.

Agar ek katori cheeni hai to kitna paani?‘ I re worded the question knowing that if at all, sometimes she measures using katori (small bowl).The reply remained the same ‘Paani kam aur cheeni jyada‘ (more sugar, less water). I gave up knowing that those teaspoons and cups that I am slowly becoming slave to, have no place in her kitchen.

Sinfully Spicy - Mewa Chikki, Nut & Seed Brittle 02 (Gluten-Grain free)

There, lies the beauty of Indian cooking,everything done with accurate approximations, andaza.There isn’t a need to fish through kitchen drawers ahead of cooking to locate cups and spoons, neither to flip through recipe books because there aren’t any written ones. My mum and aunts could cook off an entire meal discussing the neighbour’s daughter in law, it’s just eyeballing,tasting and adjusting the flavors in between. There are no hard and fast rules, the methods are traditional,the food comes out wonderful each time. It’s all about cooking with good impulse and feeling.Though it takes while to learn those techniques and pointers to dish out your bestest recipes, but once you are on it, you can trust your gut for the lifetime.

Sinfully Spicy - Mewa Chikki, Nut & Seed Brittle 03, Ingredients (Gluten-Grain free)

I never understood the ‘taar‘ or the number of strings method that they use to make sugar syrup for indian sweets. Putting it in a very lame way, after a few minutes of bubbling, you are supposed to squeeze the boiling sugar (ouch! ) between your thumb and index finger and count the number of strings formed to know if the right consistency has been reached.Again, something which comes with experience.

Making this chikki from scratch has been one of the most brave things I have done this summer. Studded with lots of nuts and seeds, edible gum resin (gond), not only is this good for you, but you can play around with the type and quantity of nuts in the recipe. Do  make this delicious snackage for the upcoming winter months, it promises to keep you warm and happy.

Sinfully Spicy - Mewa Chikki, Nut & Seed Brittle 05 (Gluten-Grain free)

In my family, makana or foxnuts and coconut are the main ingredients in making this.Read about foxnuts in one of my earlier posts here.

Edible Gum or gond is an extract from the bark of gum tree and is used a lot in indian sweets. It is either white or brown in color, crystal like. When cooked in oil, it puffs up like popcorn and turns opaque. It provides heat to the body and is usually eaten in cold winter months. In India, it is very much used during postpartum of women since it strengthens the body and helps in lactation of new mothers.

Sinfully Spicy - Mewa Chikki, Nut & Seed Brittle 05 (Gluten-Grain free)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups makhana (foxnuts), roughly chopped
  • 2 tbsp gond (edible gum resin)
  • 3/4 cup raw almonds, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup coconut shavings
  • 1/4 cup melon seeds
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 3 tbsp ghee, divided
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • few saffron strands soaked in 1/2 tbsp of warm water (optional)

Also needed – Any well-greased plate/thaali or simply line your brownie sheet with parchment.

Notes :-

  1. If you are using edible gum,make sure that it is completely dry (you can keep it in sun for few hours), else it will not bloom well when you roast it.
  2. Feel free to use any kind of nuts or seeds in this recipe. If you cannot find foxnuts or edible gum, you can increase the quantity of coconut, almond or walnut by equivalent amount.
  3. Use sunflower/pumpkin/pepitas in place of melon seeds.
  4. Add crasins, dried cherries, cranberries, dehydrated blueberries or raspberries to this recipe.

Method

In a heavy bottomed pan or kadhai, on low-medium heat, warm up 1 tbsp of ghee. Add the sliced foxnuts and lightly roast on low heat for 2-3 minutes till you smell the aroma. Transfer to a large bowl.

Add another 1/2 tbsp of ghee in the kadhai and add almonds, walnuts and coconut shavings to it. Lightly roast on low heat for 2-3 minutes till you smell the aroma. Take care that the nuts do not change color. Transfer to the large bowl.

Next, on very low heat add another 1 tbsp of ghee and add the gond crystals. Keep on stirring constantly, the crystals will puff up and turn opaque as they roast. This will take  about 1-2 minutes. Transfer to the large bowl.

Add the remaining 1/2 tbsp of ghee to the kadhai and roast the melon seeds on low heat for 2-3 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the raisins. Stir again for 1 minutes or so. Transfer to the large bowl.

Mix all the roasted nuts and seeds well in the large bowl and let sit for 5-8 minutes so that they cool down a bit.

Keep your greased plate or parchment lined dish ready.I used a 9′ X 2′ brownie pan to set the chikki.

Pour water and sugar into the kadhai next and bring to a boil on medium heat. When the sugar starts to bubble around the edges, add cardamom powder, soaked saffron and reduce heat and let simmer for about 2-3 minutes.Remove from heat and immediately pour over the roasted nuts. Stir everything quickly using a spatula so that the nuts are coated in sugar and transfer to the setting plate/pan. Lightly press with hands or spoon to spread out to a uniform thickness. Let sit at room temperature to completely cool down.

Break into desired size chunks or pieces.

Enjoy & Thanks for stopping  by!