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Shrimp Masala

Seafood dishes are usually served with a side of rice but growing up, we had them with rotis or naan bought from the next door tandoor vala all the time. The joy of scooping a succulent masala laced shrimp with soft roti or paratha is something. There would be a sirke vale pyaz (vinegar soaked onions) or cucumbers to go along and on some days, no rice at all 🙂

In northern india, in those days, shrimp were a difficult to find. A fancy items store near our house, used to carry them – a frozen pack of super tiny prawns that mom would sometimes turn into this dish. I looked a lot but could not find super small shrimp so I used what I usually buy- raw, deveined wild caught jumbo shrimp. If you happen to lay hands on shell on shrimp, use those, its a bit of hassle while eating but so worth it. This shrimp dish has a ginger, cumin and kasuri methi (fenugreek seeds) laced fresh tomato sauce. The fenugreek seeds swell up a bit after cooking and they add such a bitter sweet bite to the masala. I like to cook it in mustard oil however use any cooking oil you like. So delicious & easy when you want to rustle up a quick dinner.

Ingredients (Serves 3-4)

  • 1 lb(about 400gms) raw shrimp/prawns, deveined
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 4 tbsp pure mustard oil (substitute with cooking olive oil or vegetable oil)
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
  • 3/4 cup red onions, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 medium tomatoes, finely chopped (yield about 1 cup)
  • 2 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • 1.5 tsp hot red chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp kashmiri chilli powder (gives a red hue, can be skipped)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mango powder (amchoor, substitute with lemon juice to taste)
  • 1 tsp kasuri methi (dry fenugreek leaves, crushed between palms)
  • 1/3 cup of warm water (adjust to desired consistency of the curry, adjust amount accordingly)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala (or to taste)
  • Salt to taste
  • Chopped fresh cilantro for garnish

Method

Rub the shrimp with 1/2 tsp of turmeric powder & pinch of salt while you make the masala.

In a heavy bottomed pan, add the oil and heat on high up till you see slow ripples and little smoke on the surface. Reduce heat to medium. Add cumin & fenugreek seeds, let crackle. Then, add onions, keep sautéing and cook them till golden brown. Takes about 6-8 minutes. Next, add minced garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes till you start smelling the garlicky aroma.

Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes and ginger next along with kashmiri chilli, red chilli, coriander, and turmeric powders. Add a pinch of sugar. Cook this masala on low heat till the oil starts separating from the mix along the sides of the pan. About 10-12 minutes. Cook thoroughly to reduce moisture from tomatoes . This slow cooking is very important to develop flavors and color of the paste, please do not rush. Allow the masala to reduce till it acquires beautiful reddish to brown color.

Reduce the stove to lowest. Wait for 2 minutes.Then, add the marinated shrimp next.Also add salt to taste. Stir around gently so that the shrimp are coated in the masala. Cover the pan and cook on low for 5 -8 minutes or until the shrimps are opaque. This cooking time will depend on the size of shrimp. Adjust accordingly. When the shrimp is just about done, add the water (if using) to adjust the consistency of sauce. Add the kasuri methi, amchoor and garam masala and let simmer for another 2-3 minutes till everything comes together.

Let sit covered for at least 10 minutes, undisturbed.Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Enjoy!

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Paneer Lababdaar

Paneer lababdaar.A rich & robust paneer curry which has bit of an influence from Mughlai cuisine in use of nuts and yogurt but the whole spices and the unique texture of the sauce from adding grated paneer sets it different. 

On those special weekends when we visited Pandara Road restaurants near India gate for dinner, this was one thing I always ordered along with tandoori rotis.The first bite of crispy ghee smeared rotis straight from the tandoor with softest paneer chunks covered in a mild yet deftly spiced sauce was no less than romance.

I was itching to write down this recipe for long and finally it happened over the labor day weekend. Such dishes are special occasion and a perfect switch up from the home style paneer curries. 

If you would like a more reddish sauce, add a bit of good quality Kashmiri chilli powder when adding other spices. Also, if you like the sauce on a sweetish side, add more sugar. Enjoy!

Recipe

For the Sauce

  • 3 tbsp oil (any neutral oil)
  • 4 cloves
  • 5-6 green cardamom
  • 1/2″ cinnamon stick
  • 1/4 tsp shahjeera 
  • 2 small blades javitri (mace)
  • 1 large tejpatta (indian bay leaf)
  • 3/4 cup chopped yellow/white onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1.5 inch fresh ginger shoot, roughly chopped
  • 2-3 Thai bird green chillies (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1/3 cup raw broken cashews (or 5-6 tbsp whole cashews)
  • 2-3 tbsp ghee
  • 2/3 cup plain whole milk thick yogurt, beaten
  • 1/2 cup-3/4 cup water (depending on how thick/thin you want the sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves, optional)
  • 6 oz paneer (cut into any shape you like)
  • 1/3 cup paneer, grated
  • salt to taste
  • 5-6 tbsp heavy cream (quantity can up to 1/2 cup, depending on how rich you like)
  • a generous pinch of good quality saffron (ground to fine dust in mortar pestle),soaked in 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 1/4 tsp green cardamom powder (fresh ground if possible)
  • 1/2 to 1 tsp sugar
  • 2-3 tbsp golden raisins
  • Chopped cilantro for garnish

Method

Soak the cashews in 1/2 cup water for 10 minutes. Drain and discard the water.

In a heavy bottomed pot or kadhai, heat up the oil on medium high. Add the cloves,cardamom, mace, shahjeera, cinnamon, tejpatta to hot oil and let the whole spices crackle, about 8-10 seconds or till you smell an aroma.

Next add the onions, ginger and garlic and saute for 3-5 minutes until the onions starts to turn translucent (don’t brown them). Add the soaked cashews next along with green chillies. Saute for 2-3 minutes. Reduce the heat to very low now and add the coriander, turmeric Cook for 3-4 minutes on low heat until you see oil separating on the sides. Put the stove off, pick out the bay leaf & cinnamon, half of the cloves & cardamom and tip the contents into a blender. The mixture is going to be hot so wait for 10 minutes before you start blending it. Blend (use as less water as possible during blending).I do not make a very smooth paste, you can decide the texture of the sauce at this point).

Meanwhile, in the same pot or another pot, heat up the 2-3 tbsp ghee on medium. When the ghee is hot enough, start searing the paneer pieces on both sides. You could do this is batches. Once paneer is seared, take them out and in the same ghee, add the blended sauce. Stir around, lower the heat and add beaten yogurt.Cook for 6-8 minutes continuously stirring till you see little drops of oil bubbling.

Add the water now depending on the desired consistency  of sauce (I add 1/2 cup water) along with crushed kasuri methi. Check and adjust the salt. Let come to a slow boil on medium. Add the paneer cubes and grated paneer. Finish with cream, saffron infused milk, cardamom powder, sugar and raisins. Let simmer (not boil) for 5-7 minutes on very low heat. Once simmered, put off the heat and let sit covered for 2 hours.

Serve.

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Walnut(Akhrot) Ladoo

Walnut(akhrot) ladoos. Nutty, ghee laden and so delightful. Full of walnuts and scented with addicting aroma of ground cardamom. If you are little bit like me, ladoos stocked in the snack shelf provide you sort of a comfort. They were a huge part of my snacking regime as a child, and even now, it’s hard to keep myself away from them. Given that these are loaded with goodness of walnuts, I am happy to handover them to kids anytime. 
These ladoos are glutenfree, I used a little bit of besan(bengal gram flour) to bind these together however atta(whole wheat) can be used as well if you prefer.

Ingredients

  • 1.5 cup raw walnut halves
  • 5-7 tablespoons melted ghee, divided
  • 1/2 cup besan (bengal gram flour)
  • 1/3 cup powdered sugar (boora)
  • 1/2 tsp ground green cardamom

Method

In a wide heavy bottom pan or iron kadai, dry roast the walnuts on low heat for 6-7 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool down. Once cooled, using a sharp knife, finely chop the walnuts (don’t powder).

Add 5 tbsp of ghee to begin with to the kadai and add the besan. Continuously stirring, roast the besan in ghee for about 10-12 minutes or until its golden and you sniff a nice aroma. Add the chopped walnuts and mix thoroughly with the besan. Roast everything togther for another 2 mins and then switch off the stove.

When the mixture is cool to touch, add the sugar and cardamom, and mix everything with hands thoroughly. If you feel that the mix is dry, add more ghee and mix well (I used about 7 tbsp ghee in all). Divide the mixture into portions and using your palms and fingers, form into ladoos of desired size without cracks.

Store in an airtight container for upto a week. If its summer, store in fridge. You can freeze unto a month too.

Enjoy!

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Mutton Kabobs

Grilled meat kabobs that we made over the weekend. My husband loves kabobs so I came up with this recipe using goat meat. They turn out very well, marinated in a herby lemony marinade, you will need raw papaya for tender kabobs, if bimeat tenderizer will work well too. Spicy and juicy with mild notes of fresh pounded spices- these are quite delicious. Green chutney, rice, some doughy naan etc to go along. Simple late summer meal. 

Ingredients

First marinade

  • 1 lb (1/2 kg) boneless mutton, cut in 1.5-2″ chunks
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp raw papaya paste (or use meat tenderizer)
  • 1 tsp salt

Second marinade

  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 tsp coriander seeds
  • 5-7 black pepper corns
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup fine grated onion
  • 5 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.5 tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 tbsp birds eye green chilli paste (adjust to tolerance)
  • 1.5 tbsp mixed herbs, chopped super fine (cilantro, mint, parsley)
  • pinch saffron threads
  • 2-3 tsp salt(adjust to taste)

Onions, lime, so serve with

Method

Pat the meat dry and place in a large bowl. Add 2 tbsp lemon juice, papaya and salt. Rub everything nicely and leave to marinate for 2 hours.

Dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds along with pepper corns, pound them fine or grind in a grinder. Add everything for the second marinade in a bowl and mix very well. Pour over the marinated mutton, mix very well till all the pieces are coated, cover the bowl with a cling film and let marinate for at least 6-8 hours.

Once marinated, drain and discard the marinade. Thread the meat on long metal skewers.Brush some oil. Preheat an outdoor or indoor grill to high. Grill for 12-15 minutes for well done kabobs.

Serve warm.

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Kali Masoor Ki Dal

As we are progressing through the week, I can only express my gratitude towards how much thought the staff at our school has put behind this entire virtual learning thing. I was quite overwhelmed on first day, and even though I consider myself quite technologically sound,I had a fair amount of doubt switching among multiple portals and galloping through so many google classrooms. Its mid week and I feel much better. We might be able to do this after all!

I needed my mid week comfort today. So one of my favorite, kali masoor ki daal happened.These are basically skin on whole red lentils,they are full of fiber and are super duper delicious. I often compare  dal preparation in Indian homes to the roasted chicken in the west. It is such a simple thing to make, comforting at the same time and each cook has it own recipe which without a doubt is delicious.

I make this dal very differently from the way I grew up eating. I like this recipe more than my family’s, something I worked on for a few years to get right. I don’t like this dal mushy or watery. More of a slurry like consistency, compare it to something you can ladle on your plate directly. The lentils should be holding shape, yet they should be soft, best way to ensure even cooking is to use fresh lentils which are not lying around for more than 2-3 months in your pantry . I temper this dal twice. It is so hearty and delicious that you dont need a side with it. Just some rotis and papad will do. Read the recipe below 🙂

Ingredients(Serves 3-4)

To boil the daal

  • 1.5 cup kali masoor dal(whole skin on red lentils)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 black cardamom, cracked open
  • 2 inch cinnamon stick
  • 1 tsp ghee

First tempering

  • 4 tbsp mustard oil (or use ghee)
  • 2-3 dried red chillies
  • 3/4 cup chopped onions
  • 2 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 2 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 – 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1.5 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp amchoor(or lemon juice, adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 tsp roasted cumin powder
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • Salt to taste

Second tempering

  • 1 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1/4 tsp red chilli powder

Cilantro to garnish

Method

Clean and wash the lentils under running water 2-3 times.Place the washed lentils in a pressure cooker, add 2.5 cups water and soak the lentils for 30 mins. Once soaked, add the whole spices (bay leaf, black cardamom and cinnamon), add ghee and pressure cook the dal for 2-4 whistles on high pressure. Let pressure release naturally, open the cooker lid, test a few grains of dal (they should be holding shape), press between your fingers, they should be really soft. Mix (not mash) the dal while still warm gently using back of a spoon for 30-40 seconds, it will be thick and creamy. Set aside.

While the dal is cooking, start making the first tempering. Add mustard oil to a shallow wide pan (I use my 12 inch) and let heat up till you see ripples on surface and its smoky (if using ghee, just warm it up).Temper with dried chilies and add onions, cook for for 7-8 mins on medium heat until onions start turning dark brown. Add the ginger garlic next and saute for 30 seconds. Then add the tomatoes and purée , sprinkle a little salt, add the red chilli powder and black pepper, cook everything for 5-8 minutes until the tomatoes are mushy and the oil starts separating. Add the pressure cooked dal. Mix it nicely with the onion tomato base and add a little water (about 1/2 cup or less/more) depending on the consistency you desire. Cover the pan, let come of to a slow boil and then let simmer for 15-20 minutes on low.

Once the dal has simmered, pick out and discard all the whole spices. Add the amchoor, cumin powder and garam masala and mix nicely. Let simmer while you make the second tempering. Simply warm up the ghee and crackle cumin seeds in it. Add the red chilli powder and immediately add it on top of the daal. Switch off the stove. Mix everything. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Enjoy!

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Mango Mawa Ladoo

Mango Mawa Ladoos. We offer ladoos to Lord Ganesha in our family and even though we didn’t have elaborate celebrations like in other parts of india, my grandmother offered homemade prashad, lighted a lamp and chanted twice a day during this time of the year.

I perform a very basic pooja and made his favorite ladoos as an offering 🙂

I am super proud of this recipe. I used inspiration from my mango burfi recipe and everyone at home likes these so much. Made with mango puree, rava(semolina), crumbled mawa, coconut and coconut condensed milk, this recipe is infused with saffron and nutty aroma of ghee. They come together quickly once you gather all the ingredients.

A perfect ladoo is one which holds its round shape (without flattening at the bottom) and is melt in the mouth to bite into. Since you want the color of the mango to shine, be careful while roasting the semolina and coconut so that they don’t change color. The recipe needs way less ghee than usual ladoo recipes coz the fats from mawa and coconut add to it, that said, its not healthy or guiltfree. Its just like mithai should be – rich and satisfying.

Ingredients (Makes 15 ladoos)

  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 cup fine rawa (semolina)
  • 3/4 cup dried desiccated coconut
  • 4 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup condensed coconut milk(or regular condensed milk)
  • 1/2 cup mango puree(fresh or canned)
  • 60 grams mawa, grated fine
  • 10-12 strands of saffron (infused in 1 tbsp warm milk)

Method

In a wide non stick pan(I used my 12 inch), add the ghee and let it melt. Add the semolina next and on very low heat, roast it for 8-10 minutes till its starts smelling nice and the color is not changed.

Add the desiccated coconut and continue to roast it with semolina on low heat for about 3-4 minutes until you smell a nice coconut aroma but it does not change color.

Next, add the sugar, coconut condensed milk along with mango puree. Continue to cook on low heat. The mixture will resemble a slurry but don’t worry, the semolina will absorb the moisture and the heat will dry the moisture too. Keep on stirring around, the mixture will become sticky after about 8-10 minutes and start clinging around the spoon that you are using to stir. At this point add the mawa and saffron infused in milk. Cook for another 5-6 minutes until the mixture starts to leave the side of the pan and forms a big mass and you can fold it over itself. Another way to check if mixture is ready is that if you bring it all together in one place, it won’t spread too much.

Switch off the heat and transfer the mixture to a plate to cool. When its okay to touch but still warm, knead it nicely for 3-4 minutes. When you knead, don’t squeeze it, rather fold it over itself on all sides (like you would knead a roti dough). You will be able to feel the ghee/fat from coconut and mawa on your hands.

Pinch equal portions and shape into smooth rounds without any cracks between the palms of your hands. Decorate as you wish. Store in a cool place for upto 3-4 days.

Enjoy!

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Dahi Vaale Aloo (Baby Potatoes in Yogurt sauce)

I grew up in a household where potatoes were cooked on a slightest cue for any meal of the day. We always had boiled potatoes ready to go in the fridge. My grandmother’s kitchen was pure vegetarian and dishes made with the humble spud were a staple similar to most Indian homes.

I picked a bag of baby potatoes from the store the other day and I had a few ideas in my mind. Brutal summers are raging here in Las Vegas and yogurt based curries are my go to on most days. They are light and refreshing to eat.

For this sauce, I made a dried mint scented yogurt sauce.It has notes of fennel and cardamom. I didn’t fry the potatoes before adding them to the sauce, however you can do so if you would like. The sauce is rather thickish. It pair beautifully with flatbread and a side of chutney or pickle.

Recipe (Serves 3-4)

Ingredients

For the Potatoes

  • 12-15 baby potatoes
  • water for boiling
  • 1 green cardamom + 2 cloves
  • 1 tsp salt

For the Sauce

  • 1 small onion, roughly chopped (don’t use too much onions else the sauce will turn sweet)
  • 4 fat garlic cloves
  • 2 inch fresh ginger
  • 8-10 whole raw cashews(optional)
  • 1/2 cup plain full fat yogurt
  • 1/4 tsp sugar
  • 1.5 tsp dried mint
  • 1.5 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tbsp ghee or any neutral cooking oil
  • 1 inch cinnamom stick
  • 3 green cardamom
  • 2 cloves
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2-3 thai bird chillies, slit (or to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder (or to taste)
  • Salt to taste

Method

In a large pot, add the whole spices to water and bring it to a boil. Add the washed and scrubbed potatoes and add to boiling water. Cook on high heat for about 8 minutes till the are 80% cooked. Drain, discard the spices and let potatoes cool down. If you wish you can leave them skin on, I peel them. Set aside. Note- If you wish you can pan fry or deep fry the cooled potatoes, I did not.

While the potatoes are boiling, in another pot, add the onions, ginger, garlic and cashews, add 1/2 cup water and let cook for about 5-8 mins on medium heat till the onions are soft. Tip everything into a blender jar, make a fine paste. Keep aside.

In a small bowl, mix yogurt with sugar, dried mint and garam masala. Set aside.

Note- All the above steps can be done a day in advance.

Lets begin cooking the sauce.In a heavy bottom kadai (indian wok) or a cooking pot, warm up the ghee on low medium heat. Temper with cinnamon, cardamom and cloves. Cook for 20 seconds. Immediately add the fennel and cumin seeds along with green chillies and let them crackle for a few seconds.

Add the onion paste. On medium low heat, stirring, cook the paste for 5-7 mins or till you start see oil separating but the color of paste should not change much.Next, add the coriander & red chili powder, saute for a minute. Add the potatoes now and stir around to cover all the potatoes in the onion masala. Reduce the heat to low and keep cooking potatoes while stirring with the onion masala for 3-4 minutes.

Add the beaten yogurt to the pot next. Immediately start mixing and continue for 2-3 minutes so as to avoid yogurt from curdling. Slowly you will see that yogurt forms part of the masala. Check and adjust the salt. We will continue to stir for few more minute till yogurt is warmed through. Slowly you will see fat from the yogurt separating in tiny bubbles.

Add 1/3 cup to 3/4 water next to the pot (depending on the sauce consistency you prefer). Mix around, let come to a slow boil and cover the pot. Let simmer for 10 minutes on low heat till the potatoes are cooked through.

Let sit for 20-30 minutes before serving with pooris or however you like 🙂

Enjoy!

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Badam Chikki (Almond Brittle)

Similar to peanut chikki(brittle), I often make this 3 ingredient almond chikki with silvered almonds, jaggery and green cardamom powder. It is super easy to make and a healthy(ish) snack. Can be easily made vegan if you substitute that teaspoon of ghee. Crunchy to dig into and a pleasant smoky sweetness from jaggery makes it so addictive for times when the cravings strike.

The only tricky thing in making chikki at home is the jaggery syrup. It is important to cook it to the right stage and temperature before adding almonds. If you under cook it, the almonds won’t stick together and chikki will fall apart. If over cooked , the syrup will have a burnt after taste and will become too hard to set. I use age old indian technique of checking the “hard ball” formation of syrup like our grandmothers used to. I start checking by pouring the jaggery in a bowl of water and try to make a ball, once a hard ball is set, the time is perfect to add almonds. This technique needs a bit of practice but once you get comfortable, its a great trick up your sleeve.

Ingredients

  • 200gms silvered almonds
  • 140 gms powdered jaggery
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp ghee
  • 1 tsp fresh ground green cardamom powder

Method

Weigh the ingredients accurately using a kitchen scale. Line a small sheet or plate with parchment paper and and grease with 1/2 tsp melted ghee. In a pan, dry roast the almonds on low heat for 5-8 mins until you see that a few of them start to turn light brown. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

In the same pan, add jaggery powder, water and ghee. Mix well. Start cooking on low heat stirring continously. Slowly in about 3-5 minutes the jaggery will start bubbling(similar to how milk boils). Keep on stirring and cooking. After about 9 minutes, start checking the syrup. To do this, pour a few drops of jaggery syrup in a bowl of cold water and try to bring the jaggery together to form a tiny ball. At about 11 mins, I could form the ball. However, time also depends on the quality, type of jaggery and the moisture content so it might be little longer or shorter.

Add the cardamom powder, mix and immediately add the toasted almonds to the syrup. Cook for 1-2 minutes and mix together nicely such that all the almonds are covered in syrup. Work fast and transfer to the greased sheet and press down using a spatula or spoon to set a thickish layer.

Leave to cool for around 5 minutes and the using a very sharp knife, mark squares on the chikki(this helps in neat pieces later). Cool the chikki completely for 2-3 hours or you can leave it overnight.

Break into pieces and store in an air tight container.

Enjoy!

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Mom’s Ginger Garlic Chicken

She simply calls it ginger garlic chicken but this recipe is way more special than that. It does use a lot of ginger and garlic, but then most chicken dishes do 🙂 This is one of mom’s incredibly delicious chicken recipe and she has been asking me to make it for him for a long time.We usually get boneless chicken so it took me a while to get to it. The first chance I got to visit our halal middle eastern store last week, I got bone in chicken. This recipe, it needs chicken with bones because the main flavor comes from there. The method of cooking and the short list of ingredients here will not allow for much flavor if you use boneless chicken. There are no powdered spices and the chicken cooks in its own juices with herbs and green chillies while you bhuno(saute) it, bhuno it for good half hour without halting. Its very easy to make. The little masala that there is, it is full of ghee caramalized onions, garlic ginger and table spoons of thick full fat yogurt. Finished with fresh herbs like cilantro and mint leaves and a good dose of kasuri methi, the chicken is delicious if served as soon as it is cooked.

The only thing to be kept in mind is a wide heavy bottom kadhai or cast iron pot, its a must for that beautiful caramelization , smokiness and even cooking on open stove. An easy weeknight dish which will take you under 30 mins to make and it will still bring the feeling of “something special” to the table. On days we had unannocuned guests over, mom quickly whipped up this dish.You can even serve these chicken pieces as starters or with some doughy naan or rotis and some pyaz for a complete meal.

Ingredients

  • 1.5lb skinless, bone in chicken(cut into medium pieces)
  • 3 tbsp full fat plain yogurt
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp minced ginger
  • Salt
  • 3 tbsp ghee
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 3-4 green cardamom
  • 3/4 cup thinly sliced onions
  • 4-5 thai bird green chillies, slit (or to taste)
  • fresh ground black pepper – to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • 1.5 tbsp kauri methi
  • 1/2 cup fresh mint & cilantro
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream(optional)

Method

In a large bowl, marinate the chicken in yogurt, ginger & garlic and salt. Massage the chicken well, cover and let marinate refrigerated for atleast 2 hours, overnight is better.

Take out the chicken out of the fridge an hour before ready to cook. Heat up ghee in a wide, heavy bottomed kadai/pot. Temper the hot ghee with cumin, bay and cardamom. After 15 seconds, start adding the onions and separate the onions as you go. Add the green chillies as well. Once the onions are browned, lower the heat and add the marinated chicken. Keep on mixing continuously for 5-7 minutes to avoid curdling of yogurt.

Once the chicken starts to cook, add the black pepper and salt.Keep the flame on medium low. Don’t cover else the chicken will become watery. Keep on mixing around, tossing and turning regularly for next 25-30 minutes till the chicken is browned and cooked through. You will see the chicken starts to separate from the bone.

Add the fresh herbs and the kauri methi. Saute for 4-5 mins with the herbs. Finish with cream and serve immediately.

Enjoy!

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Indrani/Angoori Rasmalai

A delightful dessert usually sold chilled in little matkis (clay pots) at halwai shops in north india. It is different from rasmalai though there are few similarities. Rasmalai is chenna patties served with thickened (but still runny) milk, in this sweet, the milk is almost rabri like consistency. Quite a bit of layers of flavors and textures going on in here- spongy petite (grape sized) roundels of chenna in a lacy rabri base. You can make a traditional rabri, I add little custard powder to milk for smoothness and flavor. There’s desiccated coconut in the custard along with plump golden raisins, sliced nuts and cherries. Takes time to put together but on festivals I like pull out all plugs and spend time in the kitchen .

To color chenna balls naturally pink, I add roohafza (rose syrup) to the sugar syrup while boiling. The chenna balls can be made ahead and your can make custard next day and assemble it all together. We are in the middle of a heatwave and I wanted to make a chilled dessert for Rakhi. Their excitement about mithai will never be similar to mine, however the girls were elated to see “pink balls” Rakhi wishes to those celebrating 🙂

Ingredients (Serves 4)

For Chenna Balls (Makes 16-20 grape size balls)

  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 cups water
  • 3 tbsp roohafza (rose syrup)
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 1 -2 tbsp rosewater

For the Rabri

  • 2 cups full fat milk
  • 1.5 tbsp vanilla custard powder mixed in 2 tbsp cold milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar (or to taste)
  • 5 tbsp desiccated coconut, lightly roasted
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla essence
  • 1/4 cup raisins

Miscellaneous

  • Marachino Cherries – as much as you want
  • Sliced nuts- as much as you want
  • Edible gold or silver film(varq)
  • Crushed rose petals

Method

For the chenna balls

Set milk to a boil in a heavy pot and keep on stirring it.Once the milk is boiling, switch off the flame and immediately add vinegar to it. Stir gently 2-3 times. You will see that the milk starts curdling. Let the curds form, don’t stir a lot. Once you see that all the milk has curdled and a greenish whey has separated, strain the curdled milk through a muslin/cheese cloth. Pour some cold water to remove the traces of vinegar and to cool it down. Tie the cheesecloth and hang it for about 20-25 minutes to remove some liquid from the chenna.

Transfer the chenna to a wide dish and using the base of your palm, knead the chenna for around 5 minutes to a smooth grain free dough. Pinch small grape size portions and make smooth round balls. Set aside, covered.

In a wide pot, transfer the sugar and water for the syrup, add the cardamom pods and bring it to a rolling boil. Add the rose syrup, let boil again and slowly add the chenna balls in there. Dont lower the heat, let cook for 10-12 mins. Meanwhile transfer a little (about 1/2 cup) sugar syrup to a bowl of ice. Immediately add cooked chenna balls to ice bath and let cool off for 5-8 mins. Mix rose water with the remaining syrup in the pot and cool down the syrup. Transfer the cooled chenna balls and syrup to a container together and let soak for 6-8 hours. Discard the syrup in ice bath.

For the Rabri custard

In a heavy pot, add the full fat milk, bring it to boil, reduce the heat and let simmer for 20 mins. Add sugar and mix well. Then slowly add the custard powder mixed with cold milk while continuously mixing the milk in the pot with the other hand. Also add the heavy cream(if using)

Cook for 5-7 minutes, we don’t want the milk to get very thick. Switch off the stove. Mix in the coconut along with the vanilla and raisins. Chill the custard completely for 3-5 hours in the fridge.

To assemble

Transfer the custard to a wide dish. Squeeeze the syrup from the chenna balls and add it to custard. Add drained cherries and nuts. Add rose crushed rose petals and some edible gold film to decorate. Serve chilled.

You can form individual servings as well following the same steps.

Enjoy

-Tanvi