Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Chicken Masala (Type 1- with Gravy) !!

Preparation Time :- 5-10 mins 
Cooking Time :- 15-20 mins 

Serves 2-3 People
1/2 kg (approx 1 lbs) Medium Sized Chicken
2 Tomatoes 
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
7-8 Red Chillies
1 Lemon
1 tsp Sugar (optional)
1 tsp Garam Masala
1/2 cup of Cilantro leaves chopped
2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil
1 Medium sized Onion

1. Cut the chicken in medium sized pieces.
2. Marinate the chicken pieces with ginger-garlic paste and 
3. Soak the red chillies in lemon juice. Grind after 5 min and keep aside.
4. Make onion paste & tomato puree and keep aside.
5. Heat oil in a pan. Add onion paste. Cook till golden brown.
6. Add chicken pieces and cook for 3-4 minutes.
7. Add the tomato puree, salt to your taste and a cup of warm water. Cook till the chicken softens.
8. Add lemon juice and the red chilli paste.
9. Cook for another 5-8 minutes. 
10. Add garam masala and cook for another minute.

*Garnish with Cilantro and Serve Hot with Chapati/Roti

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Kolmiche Lonche !! (Shrimp/Prawns Pickle)

Preparation Time :- 5-10 mins 
Cooking Time :- 15-20 mins
Serve 2-3 People

Small bowl of Shrimps/Prawns 
(approx 20-25 cocktail shrimps)
1/2 tsp of mustard seeds
3-4 curry leave (sprigs)
1/2 tsp of red chilli powder
a pinch of hing (asafoetida)
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
4-5 tbsp of Kepra Pickle Masala
1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil or mustard oil 

1.  In a pan heat 1-2 tbsp of oil.
2. Add hing, mustard seeds, curry leaves and let them crackle.
3. Add crushed garlic and saute for 1/2 minute.
4. If the pickle mix is not very spicy/hot add 1/2 tsp of red chilli powder.
5. Add the pickle mix and saute for 1/2 a minute.
6. Add Shrimps/Prawns and Cover the lid of the pan. Add very little water.
7. No need to add salt as the mix itself as sufficient salt. 
8. You can add it later as per your taste.
9. Sprinkle very little water if you think the pickle is too dry. 
10. Cook the shrimps on low flame for about 10 minutes.
11. Make sure you do not overcook the shrimps. 
12. Simply leave them crunchy.

Serve Hot with Naan/Roti/Jeera Rice.

Caramel Pudding !!

Preparation Time :- 5-10 mins 
Cooking Time :- 15-20 mins

2 Bread Slices
2 Eggs
1/2 - 1 Cup Of Milk 
10-12 tsp of Sugar
1 tbsp of Vanilla Essence 
2 tsp of sugar used for the making of Caramel

Serves 2-3 People 
1. Use 2 bread slices to make bread crumbs 
(small food chopper makes very good bread crumbs)
2. In a bowl pour 1/2 - 1 cup of whole milk, add sugar and mix well.
3. Add bread crumbs, eggs and beat well.
4. Add vanilla essence and keep the mixture aside.

* For The Caramel:- 
1. In a small vessel (that fit's and can be used in the pressure cooker), take 2-3 tsp of sugar, on high flame melt the sugar to turn into caramel. (Caramel is sugar that is melted & browned).
2. Once the caramel is ready, keep it aside for cooling.
3. Pour the above mixture into the vessel which has the caramel, make sure the caramel is not warm.
4. Pressure cook until the whistle goes off 7-10 times.
 *Ready to be Served:-
Let the pudding cool completely, convert the pudding to a plate and arrange in the refrigerator. Chill and Serve !

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Sugary Salt !!

           This one is for all my friends and regular visitors to my blog - Would you really trust my cooking? hadn't you known me at all? hadn't you tasted any of my recipes/dishes at all? hadn't you met me at all ? I keep nagging and bothering my poor husband with such silly questions and at times he does have an answer for my silly, uncanny questions! Well, all he has to say is " If they Love you they would Trust on every bit of your cooking & If they Trust you They would simply Love every bit of your cooking! hmmm yes ...whatever that means :) Sounds Music to my ears ...where there is Love & Trust -You will definitely find me there!

Today, is the story of love & trust which I am going to share with all of you. This happened sometime in/between 2004-2006. We were still new to the USA rather we still are, haven't had an opportunity to explore much of the US...but that's another story. Anyways-So, being a huge fan of the Sam's Club and assuming that we were on the right track of consuming healthy food /drinks , we bought home this Waring Pro's Juicer. These juice extractors are made for today's health-conscious consumers so we are/were told. We were so Proud to think we were one of them. Jokes apart, The Juicer is a steal-there is no more time-consuming peeling, chopping or cooking required .Pulp is easy to remove and most parts are dishwasher-safe! Waring Pro makes it easy to drink healthy !
we were so happy with our new Juicer. Made our lives healthy & easy.  
 Spring/Summer mornings were even more beautiful, just the way 'Karan Johar' shows his mornings in his movies - Birds chirping in the background, charming Wife looking all pretty with her glowing skin and 'chutki bhar sindoor in her maang', with her melodious voice humming softly  " aaj kal paav zameen par nahi padtey mere " trying to create music with her kitchen tools in her kitchen, oh so lovingly making 'A Royal & Sophisticated Breakfast' for her tall, not so dark and oh so handsome husband who is ready to head his way to his office in a 'suit-boot', and that royal sophisticated breakfast to begin with has 'A tall glass of Orange juice in one hand , a newspaper in the other, a small egg omelette on his plate, salt and pepper shakers on the table, a slightly toasted bread slice with melting butter on the side just ready to go straight down your tummy! hmmm... YUMMY !!! 
Okay ! Wake up now ! I am not done yet not even started where I wanted to-I know there I go again:) Oh! Those were some memorable mornings my friends! 
For some time now, I had been experimenting on making some real good fruit punches/drinks with the help of my Juicer. Now,was the time to invite friends for a few healthy summer drinks to hydrate and refresh one on a hot summer day. It was a perfect day, we had a a few family friends come over to our home. They were - My mom-in-law's classmate and his family, his beautiful wife, his lovely daughter and another fella (again a son of my mom-in-laws classmate). What a wonderful day it was, spring was in full bloom, it was a flourishing season with beautiful flowers and charming fragrances in the air. It was a perfect combination to refresh us from the severe winter we had just experienced that year! We along with the admiration for the scenic drives had been shopping around for most of the part of the day. It was evening by the time we came home,when my husband suggested we all had some cool drinks at our home as I had been making some real chilled out punches! All Agreed !

All Proud me happily rushed to the kitchen that evening. Got hold of all the watermelons, carrots, oranges and apples from my refrigerator. Put them in the juicer, had the fruit juices extracted ...had them served in tall glasses with all the funky decoration minus me even tasting a little bit ! YES ..that sure was some confidence!

From the kitchen, I could hear all the chattering, could hear everybody call out my name saying "Roops..what a lovely drink, we all are up for another one as well, you definitely are an amazing cook but now you are too good at making these refreshing fruit punches ..soon should be letting your mom-in-law know about this. It is an art and you have mastered it my dear !" Ohh Proudy me :) with all those 'ladoos futoing in my maNN' meaning 'me being all happy & excited' was busy making another round, served them again and joined them with my tall glass of watermelon/oranges/carrots/apples combined chilled fruit punch ! 
Took a sip and hold onto my breath ! Was actually appalled to see everyone enjoying the drink ! I had to stop them from taking another of that heavenly sip! That "Heavenly Salted Sip !" You get no marks for guessing that-I had added 'SALT' instead of 'SUGAR' to make that drink even more miserable than you think it was ! 

Seeing me aghast, my mom-in-laws classmate whom we call Uncle 'A' patted me and said "It is fine, it's a great fruit punch, we are enjoying it. Oh, ComeOn now make us another one!" Then, looking at me and me looking all the more confused he said "Look, we all love you and we love the fruit punch you have made for us, so what happened if you added a little salt instead of sugar, it tastes even you call it your new found recipe, just chill and quickly make us another one ...this time with 'sugar' Honey! He said it with a wink ;)  And then everybody continued to sip on ! It was a room full of roar with laughter! 

Oh!! what an evening to remember! It's amazing how people around you Love you and Trust every bit of you! No matter what you offer, it is accepted with bucket full of lovingly ! How do you put it in words those emotions the eyes see? 
Guess my husband says it right " Where there is Love There is Trust & where there is Trust There is Love !" 

Crux of the story - "Sometimes, To be trusted is even a greater compliment than being loved...though you know you are being loved by all every single minute !”
And now, do you my friends still need the recipe for that drink ? Sure, it's coming up next ! " Just Take It As/With A Pinch Of Salt !" :)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gajrela !! (Carrot Pudding)

Preparation Time :- 5 mins 
Cooking Time :- 15-20 mins

Serves - 3-4 People 

6 Medium red Carrots - grated
1/2 Cup Full of Fat Milk
1/2 Cup Of Sugar
1/4 tsp Cardamom (Elaichi) pwd
A few saffron strands
2 tbsp of Heavy Cream
3-4 tsp of Ghee

For The Garnish :- 
2 tbsp Silvered Almonds/Cashews/Raisins 

Method :-
1. Heat the Ghee in a broad non-stick pan and saute the grated carrots for 2-3 minutes.
2. Add the milk and stir till it evaporates.
3. Then add sugar and continue stirring until the mixture is slighly thick.
4. Add the Cardamom powder, saffron (dissolved in very little warm milk,approx 3-4 tbsp) and cream and stir well.
5. Serve hot, garnished with silvered almonds/cashews/raisins. 

  Chef's Tip :-
 * You can use Milk Powder for thickening of the pudding.
 * Instead of Sugar, you can also use Condensed Milk.
 * The Gajrela/Carrot Pudding when refrigerated(for those of you who do not like it hot) also  tastes yummy. You could just warm it for a few seconds before serving!

Murgh Makhani !! (Butter Chicken/Chicken Tikka Masala)

Preparation Time :- 4 hours 
Cooking Time :- 35-45mins

Serves - 3-4 People

800 gms of Chicken
1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli pwd
2 tbsp Butter
1 tbsp Lemon juice
Salt as per taste
For Marination :-
1 Cup Yogurt
2 tsp Garlic paste
1/2 tsp Ginger paste
1/2 tsp Garam Masala Pwd
1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Pwd
2 tbsp Lemon Juice
2 tbsp Mustard/Veg Oil
Salt as per taste
For Makhani Gravy :-
50 grams of Butter
1 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste
 1 tsp Red Chilli pwd
1/2 tsp Dry Fenugreek Leaves (Kasoori Methi)
1 tbsp Whole Garam Masala
1/2 Garam Masala Pwd
400 grams Tomato Puree
2 tbsp Sugar/Honey
1 Cup Cream

Method :-
1. Make incisions with a sharp knife on breast and leg pieces of the chicken. Apply a mixture of red chilli powder, lemon juice and salt to the chicken and set aside for half an hour. 
2. Add red chilli powder, salt, ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, garam masala powder and mustard oil.
3. Hang yogurt in a muslin cloth for fifteen to twenty minutes to remove extra water. 
4. Apply this marinade to the chicken pieces and refrigerate for three to four hours. 
5. Put the chicken onto a skewer and cook in a moderately hot tandoor or a preheated oven (200°C) for ten to twelve minutes or until almost done. Baste it with butter and cook for another two minutes. Remove and set aside. 
6. Heat butter in a pan. Add green cardamoms, cloves, peppercorns and cinnamon. Sauté for two minutes, add ginger-garlic paste and chopped green chillies. Cook for two minutes. Add tomato puree, red chilli powder, garam masala powder, salt and one cup of water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for ten minutes. 
 7. Add sugar or honey and powdered kasoori methi. 
8. Add cooked tandoori chicken pieces. 
9. Simmer for 5-7 minutes and then add fresh cream. 
10. Serve hot with naan or parantha. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kadhai Chicken !! (Spicy Chicken Curry)

Preparation Time :- 20 mins 
Cooking Time :- Approx - 35-45 mins

2-3 tbsp of Vegetable oil
2 tsp of Ginger-garlic paste
1/2 Cup tomato puree(fresh or canned)
1/2 Cup Onion paste
1/4 -1/2  Cup of Beaten Yoghurt
1/4 tsp Turmeric pwd
1 tsp of Garam masala pwd
1/2 tsp Cumin pwd
1/2 tsp Coriander pwd
1/4 tsp Red chilli pwd (optional)
Salt-to taste
1 Bowl of Chicken cut into small cubes
1/2 Bowl of Green Pepper cut into small cubes
1 tbsp Heavy cream, for garnish

Serves - 3-4 People

Method :-
1. Wash and cut the chicken into small cubes.
2. Wash and cut green pepper/capsicum  into ¼ th inch cubes. 
3. In a pan heat 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil.
4. Add onion paste and saute till golden brown.
5. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute again for less than a minute.
6. Add tomato puree and saute again for about 3-4 min.
7. Add salt to taste, red chilli pwd, turmeric pwd, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, garam masala and saute till the oil separates. Make sure you do not burn the paste. Keep it on low to medium flame.
8. Add chicken cubes and saute for 2-3 min 
9. Then add the bowl of green peppers and saute for a minute or two later followed by adding beaten yogurt. Again, saute for about a minute or two.
10. Next, Sprinkle 3-4 tbsp of water to the pan, cover the pan and let the gravy cook for 10-15 min.
11. Garnish with heavy cream & Serve hot with Roti or Jeera Rice.

Veg Kadhai !! (Mixed Vegetable Curry)

Preparation Time :- 20 mins &
Cooking Time :- Approx - 30 mins

Serves - 3-4 People
2-3 tbsp of Vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp of Ginger-garlic paste
1/2 Cup tomato puree(fresh or canned)
1/2 Cup Onion paste
1/4 -1/2  Cup of Beaten Yoghurt
1/4 tsp Turmeric pwd
1/2 tsp Garam masala pwd
1/2 tsp Cumin pwd
1/2 tsp Coriander pwd
1/4 tsp Red chilli pwd (optional)
Salt-to taste
1 Bowl of Mixed Vegetables (1/2 Cut Cauliflower,1/2 Cut Each of Stop Light Peppers, 2-3 Carrots)
1 tbsp Heavy cream, for garnish

Method :-
1. Peel and wash carrots, cut half each of the stop light peppers(capsicums). Cut all the vegetables into ¼ th inch cubes. Separate cauliflower into small florets and wash.
2. Stir fry the above mentioned bowl of vegetables in a pan for about 2-3 min, next remove them from the pan and keep them aside.
3. Now in the same pan heat 2-3 tbsp of vegetable oil.
4. Add onion paste and saute till golden brown.
5. Add ginger-garlic paste and saute again for less than a minute.
6. Add tomato puree and saute again for about 3-4 min.
7. Add salt to taste, red chilli pwd, turmeric pwd, cumin pwd, coriander pwd, garam masala and saute till the oil separates. Make sure you do not burn the paste. Keep it on low to medium flame.
8. Now add the bowl of stirred vegetables and saute for 2-3 min later followed by adding beaten yogurt. Again, saute for about a minute or two.
9. Next, Sprinkle 3-4 tbsp of water to the pan, cover the pan and let the mixed vegetables cook for 10 min.
10. Garnish with heavy cream & 

Serve hot with Roti.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Life is Beautiful !!

Last night I  dreamt about my mother, holding me tight in her arms and say "Life is beautiful! Do not fear, come what may.." When I woke up this morning how I wished it wasn't just a dream! I Could still feel her touch, her caress, can never forget that warmth of being held in her arms and that beautiful voice which was still lingering in my ears!   

As I was in the kitchen making morning tea for me, I could not help but recall the relationship we shared as a Mother & Daughter. As a single parent let me tell you she was a very strong woman. She survived a divorce when divorce wasn't a norm, later faced many a scares with complications from her cancer, simultaneously dealing with a complicated teenager-that's true me ! She sure was the strongest person I've known. 

 As a child I remember my mother telling me stories of the moon, at times she would simply come up with something beautiful. These stories were often followed by wrapping up of a homely function, a get-together or a festival, say a birthday celebration which included just the three of us my grandmother, my mother & me.

Also after those functions and events that she attended as a single parent at my school, when and where my eyes kept searching and looking for a figure sitting besides her and cheering me up, which never ever happened ..not once. My mother always understood my silence and the look I gave her from far away. My mother she was !

After our event at school, on our way back home, she would never ask me what was wrong with me, she understood me right ! She would then simply play my favorite music in the car, would take me on long rides, would buy me stuff I wanted, would take me to my favorite food joint and in a blink I would forget my reason of being upset. She was that Beautiful Fairy to me who with her magic wand made all uneasiness disappear.  
I would then later ask her if at all I remembered,"if you have so much of power and can do anything for me, how come I don't get to see or hear from Papa? She would then take me in her arms, kiss my forehead and say "I love you my baby and so does Papa, But there are certain things as a Mother, I will never be able to explain to my 4 year old, even if I do try explaining it to you now, it would leave you all the more confused and you my child would not  understand a thing just the way you don't get that tiny little scar on the moon." She used to then ask me to look out at the moon from the window " The Beautiful Moon you see every night from your window, that has a scar too and yet looks so beautiful. Do you ever think of that scar while admiring it's beauty? and I immediately used to say "NOOO". She then said, "That's it then, Cherish the Beauty and Happiness of life that comes your way, that is what makes Life Beautiful & Worth Living !" Do not pay attention to any of those scars because scars my dear are not here to stay !" Gradually and slowly then I could hear her voice fade away as she put me to bed, all night long she would then hold me like a baby ! Ohh!! what comfort it was to be in her arms ! 

Friends, that was my tiny little piece of childhood, which I have shared with you, and I promise there are many more to follow-gradually!
Nevertheless, I would also want to admit, that however Adorable I seemed to be as a child, stepping into teenage was not that all easy as a pie! I was a very complicated, difficult and rather rebellious Teenager who grew up with a feeling that my mother was hellbent on squashing my independence !