Sunday, November 27, 2011

Whole spices and tomato chicken

Who does not love a chicken curry? who does not love a chicken curry that is easy to cook and tastes heavenly. This curry recipe uses whole spices , cinnamon , cardamon and caraway seeds to give this lingering yet not overpowering aroma to the dish. Apt for everyday lunch or an elaborate dinner.

1 kg chicken
6 tblspoon oil
3 medium onions sliced

Whole spices
4 cloves
4 green cardamom
3, 1/2 inch cinnamon  sticks

1tsp garlic paste
1tsp ginger paste
2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
 3 medium tomatoes pureed
few saffron strands soaked in milk
2 tbsp coriander leaves


Wash and clean the chicken and drain out the water. Add about a table spoon of salt and mix well, leave this aside while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

Take oil in a thick bottomed pan and fry the onions to a golden brown, the edges should turn crispy. Reserve half the onions for later.

Add the whole spices to the onions and fry for about two minutes. Add the chicken and fry for about 10 mins, adding water as required.

Add the ginger and garlic and fry with the chicken. Add the spice powders next and mix in.

As the spices mature and the chicken starts turning light brown add the tomatoes.

Turn the heat high and stir strongly for 5 mins to create a cohesive gravy.

Add some more water (about 1 cup) and the saffron milk. Let the gravy cook on medium heat till the oil separates.

Crush the fried onions and add to the curry.

Serve garnished with coriander with rice or roti.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Pad Thai, from an Indian kitchen

Pad thai, is one of those dishes that are universally liked, many times re-ordered, always saved as leftovers and  ordered by the non red/green/yellow curry eating person at a thai restaurant. I was first introduced to thai cuisine in the US, where I found myself switching  from the eaten - since - childhood - indo -chinese - food to the lemon grass and basil leaves spiced thai cuisine as my go to comfort oriental food of choice. I was fortunate find a few decent thai restaurants in Bangalore to keep the love going. And on a trip to singapore where thai food is extremely popular I found some very delectable versions of this noodle dish.

When I chanced upon some flat rice stick noodles at a local grocery store I knew that I had to make them, so I  quickly searched for pad thai recipe on  my phone and picked up the rest of the ingredients as well, technology well used.

Making a pad thai involves essentially five steps - boiling the noodles, making the sauce, preparing the meat and veggies, stir frying the ingredients and garnishing the dish. I've used this recipe which is a modification of various versions that I found on the internet. I think the end result was pretty decent, if I were to change something for the future I would make my sauce more tangy and use sesame oil instead of olive.

200 g  rice stick noodles
1.5 tablespoons dark tamarind paste
1/2 cup fish sauce
2 table spoons brown sugar
1 table spooon chilli paste
1 chicken breast (you can use shrimp/large prawns too)
2 eggs
1 spring onion
1/3 of a capsicum
4-5 mushrooms
1 lime/ lemon
5-6 garlic pods
5 table spoons peanuts
white/black pepper to taste
salt to taste
oil as required ( would recommend using sesame oil)
Most major supermarkets in Bangalore like Spar or Spencers stock the thai ingredients.

The sauce: In a saucepan, mix in the fish sauce, brown sugar and the tamarind paste ( I used the boxed one, you can me this paste from tamarind too but make sure it is concentrated). Add little water if required. once all ingredients are mixed in and the sugar is dissolved ( about 5-7 minutes) add the chilli paste. Taste the sauce and adjust the tanginess.

The meat and veggies: Chop the mushrooms, finely cube the capsicum, and finely chop the garlic. Take the chicken breast season with salt and pepper and grill or lightly fry after 20-30 mins. Chopped the chicken breasts into small cubes.

The noodles: Cooking the noodles is the tricky, its is suicidal for the dish to have overcooked soggy noodles. Follow the instructions on the pack carefully. Most rice stick noodles can be cooked by simply soaking in warm water as opposed to actual boiling. When in doubt leave the noodles slightly undercooked and cook gradually by sprinkling water.

The garnish: Take the eggs in a separate pan and scramble them to bits and keep aside,  take the peanuts and dry roast  on a hot pan and lightly crush, chop the spring onion to 1 cm long bits, cut a lime or lemon into 4 pieces and remove the seeds. The long bean sprouts are commonly seen as garnishing, I didn't have any hence I skipped.

The frying: Once all the prep is done take a wok (or a kadhai) and heat it up on high heat. Make sure you break down the pad thai ingredients into smaller portions according to the size of your wok so that you can work in batches. One the wok if fuming hot add 3-4 table spoons of oil and reduce the flame marginally (I did this because I was using olive oil). Add the capsicum first followed by the mushrooms let it fry for half a min and then add the garlic, and in go the chicken next. Traditionally the chicken would have been put in raw and then cooked in the wok itself but I precooked it, perhaps if you are using shrimp you can add them directly. Add the noodles stir vigorously to avoid clumping (I took the help of spaghetti tongs to move them apart). Add in the sauce so that all ingredients are coated with the brown liquid. Add in the salt and pepper to adjust the flavor.
Add in more oil if required. The entire frying should not take more than  8 minutes. Finally just before turning the the flame off add squeeze the lime and add the egg.

Serve immediately in individual serving plates topped with spring onions, peanuts, sprouts and lime wedges.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Ande ki kadi (tangy egg curry)

I love eggs. If my husband and I ever happen to take part in one of those game shows where you are asked questions about your spouse like his/her favorite color, dream vacation, celebrity crush, favorite food, I think he has it easy on the food question (not sure about the rest though!).
As a kid, I remember I was forced to eat eggs in a attempt to make me gain weight and grow tall. Though I loved eating them, I became extremely fussy about the way it should be cooked, I liked it fried the masala way with loads of onions and coriander along with red chilli powder and ginger garlic paste fried to a brown ( not yellow ) color or the sunny side up with the yolk both intact and liquid and the edges browned to a thin crunchy lining. As the years went by my equation with weight reversed and eating eggs became a not so routine affair and other forms such as poached, boiled and scrambled whites (shudder) made inroads into my meals. Now my relation with eggs rests comfortable with two good fried eggs once a week. And or other occasions I manage to sneak in boiled egg as 'garnishing' on curries and rice.

Enough said about my adulation for the little humpty dumpties, the recipe that I have to share today is an elevation of status of some sorts for my oval friend, it makes its foray into the main course and is not relegated to a garnishing or a scrambled to bits sharing space with five different ingredients in rice.

This ande ki kadi is a tangy gravy that perfectly offsets the blandness of eggs.

1 onion sliced
1tsp garlic paste
2tsp red chilli powder
2tsp zeera powder
1tsp coriander powder
1 pinch turmeric
4 tablespoon tamarind pulp
1 tbsp fresh coconut paste
6 green chillies slit
6 eggs hard boiled and shelled

6- 8 tbl sp oil
1/2 tsp mustard leaves
12 curry leaves

Ground to paste
1 medium onion
4 medium tomatoes
2tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves

Pour the oil in a cooking vessel and let it warm. Add the mustard seeds and curry leaves and let it splutter
After a minute or so add the onion and fry till brown.
Add the garlic paste and fry for 5 mins with sprinkling of water as required
Add all the powders and fry for 5 mins
Pour the pureed onions and tomatoes, cook for 15 mins.
Add the green chillies and coconut and cook for 10 mins.
Drop the hard boiled eggs just before serving . Leave to simmer for 5-10 mins

Enjoy with steamed white rice

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Comfort Food - Khichdi

There are some foods that you always associate with being simple and  home cooked. The humble khichdi may not make it to the menu of a gourmet restaurant (yet!), does remain fairly popular across different Indian cuisines. Most versions involve cooking rice to a soggy consistency, but this one, the hyderabadi style retains the grains intact and can be eaten on any day regardless of the condition of the stomach!

150 gms rice
20 grams masoor dal
Around 3 cups of water
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 an onion
1/2 inch cinnamon
1 cardamom
1 table spoon oil
Salt to taste
a few sprigs of cilantro leaves

Wash and soak the rice and dal separately for about 15 mins.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed vessel and fry the onions to translucent.
Drain the water off the dal and add to the onions. fry for about a minute.
Add turmeric, cardamom and cinnamon and mix for about half a minute.
Add the drained rice and water; sprinkle salt let in cook with the lid closed for 10 mins
One the grains are about 80 % cooked, check to see if a sprinkle of water in required. Add cilantro and let is cook for about 5-7 mins.

Serve hot with til ki chutney ( will do a post on it), tamatar ki chutney or kheema.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

El Tablao - When spain said hello to Bangalore

At first there was a vinyl flyer announcing 'opening shortly - el tablao' and in a few months stood many more announcements of operation; I would glance at it everyday on my way to work conjuring up images of delectable spanish delicacies served my way. A few weeks later when husband and I found ourselves contemplating choices for a quiet sunday night dinner - el tablao it was.

As I entered the restaurant, I felt a sense of warmth that is characteristic of all things Spanish. The decor was eclectic with spanish themes spashed all over. The USP of the place was of course their Tapas. Tapas are small sized potions of appetizers and snacks that are essential to spanish cuisine. We ordered about 4 such potions veggie, seafood and chicken and we are not disappointed. The flavors were unique and the combination well chosen. My top picks from the menu were -Gambas al ajilo, which was shrimp in chilli garlic oil and Alitas de pollo, which was grilled chicken served with rice.

The experience was definitely different and the food was refreshingly unique with no major ugly surprises. It was such a pity that the place had few takers even on a weekend considering that Bangaloreans are first to lap up any new cuisine, maybe we like our food big !

Overall, please try out if you need a break from the usual cuisine offerings.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Restaurant review - Elements Eatery

Mosque road in Frazer town is a foodie's delight. If you are a serious non vegetarian this street will not disappoint you. Kabab places, biryani joints, a customary Empire restaurant, small chai and samosa shops, a great shawarma place (a separate post on that in the future) and some set ups serving authentic 'muslim dishes' such as paya and kheeme ki roti. In the midst of the busy road and the strong aroma of grilled meat stands Elements eatery. The word "eatery" almost trivializes the scale of things that take you by surprise as you enter the place. Designed as a middle eastern villa the restaurant is subtly opulent yet homelike warm. 

The concept is similar to open grill cooking seen in many other cuisines, the table is essentially a rectangle with the grill in the center and two chefs serving up a delectable fare. One such table can accommodate up to 15 people so this is ideal for a big group, else you can hope to make some friends over a shared eating space and sumptuous meats.
The beginning of the meal was with  a coconut lime juice that was excellent and so was the mutton soup. The kababs are beautifully flavored and made from all the meat types – mutton, chicken, fish and prawn. This is a true non-veg heaven but quite disappointing for the veggies.The salads and sides can also be given a miss.

The staff is courteous and the service great, I mean they are literally standing in front of you the whole time.

Highly recommended for a family dinner.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Whole Wheat Pancakes

I came across this amazing blog, full of great low cal recipes. I had some stewed strawberries and some grape extract which got me craving for some pancakes. Gina had the perfect answer in the form of this recipe. Here goes the recipe after a few modifications by me 

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 cup slim milk
  • 4 regular egg whites
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp sugar or honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • Pam spray ( can use regular oil in asmall teaspoon)
Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Add wet ingredients to to it and mix well with a spoon until there are no dry spots. Don't over-mix.

Heat a large skillet on medium heat. Spray oil to lightly coat and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter. When the bubbles settle and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes. Repeat with the remainder of the batter.

Serve warm with stewed fruit, maple syrup or honey

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Prawn Biryani

I decided to give my husband a surprise a few days back by cooking one of his favorite dishes. Wanting to make something authentic, something reminiscent of the taste he grew up with I decided to go with – Prawn biryani. I had recently laid my hands on a traditional cutchi memon cook book by Hajira Mohammad and was waiting to try one of the recipes from there. I made a few modifications to the book’s version with inputs from my mother in law, so about 85% of the following recipes is Hajira’s. The result was quite spectacular, husband enjoyed it thoroughly and a new recipe made its way into my bank.

Will keep posting more recipes from the book.


For masala

1 kg Prawns
1 cup Oil
4 large onions
1 1/2 tbsp Ginger paste
1 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp garam masala powder
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tbsp salt
3 large tomatoes roasted , skinned and pureed
1 tbsp fresh coconut paste

Grind to paste

5 green chillies
1 cup coriander leaves chopped
2 tbsp water


1 kg basmati rice
8 mint leaves
4 tbsp sea salt

For layering

Juice of 2 limes
1 tsp saffron strands soaked in milk


·         Shell and de-vein the prawns. Marinate the same in 4table spoon lemon juice

·         Wash and soak the rice for 30 mins 

·         Fry the onions in a heavy bottomed pan till golden broown ( the edges should start getting crispy)

·         Add ginger and garlic and fry well for about 15 mins . Sprinkle water if required

·         Add all the spice powders, spice paste and salt and fry for about 10 mins

·         Pour in the tomato puree and cook till raw smell is gone

·         Meanwhile prebiol the prawns in 3 cups water for about 3 mins

·         Add the prebioled prawns to the gravy and stir in for 3 mins

·         Add the coconut and continue stirring till the gravy just about begins leaving oil on the side.

·         Boil the rice with sea salt and mint leavestill its about 85-90 % done. Drain the watyer and start assembly


·         Place a flat skillet (tava) on the stove

·         Place a large vessel on top of it and start layering the rice

·         Spread  half the  rice in the vessel

·         Add a layer of prawn gravy and then spread the rest of the rice (Sandwiching the prawns between two layers of rice)

·         Sprinkle some cilantro, drizzle the rest of the lime juice and the saffron milk.

·         Cook on high for 5 mins and for medium for 15 mins