Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Kadai Chicken/Spicy Chicken With Bell Pepper



I had mentioned in one of my previous post that a spicy chicken curry is well appreciated in my family.  The good news is that my little one is also enjoying the spicy Chicken curry these days.  So I am motivated to experiment with new Chicken curries.



  Kadai/Kathai Chicken is a popular dish served in Indian restaurants.  People who make frequent visits to Indian restaurants might have tasted it at least once.  They are super delicious and spicy enough to keep you crave for more.  The name Kadai/Kathai/Karahi Chicken is derived from the utensil in which it is cooked. Chicken is prepared in a Wok (Kadai) with freshly ground tempered spices and topped with bell pepper and tomato puree to make a flavorful and juicy Chicken curry.  They are typically served in copper bottom kadai in Indian restaurants with rice or naan.  The aroma of this curry is simply irresistible.



I made this Chicken curry couple of weeks ago and I served the lunch to the kids before the curry was ready.  Kids patiently waited for me to finish the photo shoot to start digging into the curry.  My daughter even volunteered to model for couple of shots to make the things go faster.  Finally they got to taste the Chicken with rice and yogurt with some veggie dishes on the side.  We loved the curry so much that we ate the curry without any sides.  The chicken was juicy and delicious with the proper balance of tempered spices.  If you have never tried making your own Kadai Chicken, then I encourage you to do so.  So what are you waiting for, roll your sleeves and get started!!!

Ingredients

3 lbs - Chicken cut into big pieces
1 cup - onion chopped
1 tbsp - ginger garlic paste
2 - dry red chili
1/2 tsp - kashmiri chili powder
1/4 tsp - cumin/jeera
1/2 tsp - turmeric powder
1/2 cup - tomato puree
1/4 cup - heavy cream (optional)
2 tbsp - oil

To garnish
1/2 cup - small red onion cut into square pieces
1/2 cup - green bell pepper cut into square pieces
1 tsp - dry fenugreek leaves
1 tbsp - chopped Cilantro
1/4 tsp - kadai masala

Kadai Masala
1 tbsp - coriander seeds
2 - red dry chilli
1/2 tsp - peppercorn
1/2 tsp - cumin/jeera
1/2 tsp - fennel seeds
1/2 tsp - dry fenugreek leaves (dry Methi leaves)

Directions:
  • Dry roast the ingredients in the Kadai Masala list except fenugreek leaves in a pan over medium heat for 2 minutes by mixing with a wooden spoon.  Turn off the flame and add the fenugreek leaves.  Let the roasted spices cool.  Using a food processor or mortar & pestle coarsely ground the spices and keep it aside. Keep 1/4 tsp of Kadai Masala separate for garnishing.
  • In a cast iron wok or non stick pan, fry the cumin seeds and red chilis in 2 tbsp oil.  Add chopped onion, garlic ginger paste and salt.  Cook till the onions are translucent and there is no raw smell of ginger & garlic.
  • Add turmeric powder, Kashmiri Chili powder, rest of kadai masala and chicken pieces to the wok and cook for 15 minutes covered.
  • Now remove the lid and add the tomato puree.  Cover and cook till the chicken is completely cooked on medium heat for 10 - 15 minutes and the gravy is thick.
  • Add the 1/4 cup heavy cream (if using) and mix well.
  • Remove the lid.  Add the cut onions and green pepper.  Stir them well into the chicken.  Turn off the flame.  Rub the 1/2 tsp fenugreek leaves between your palms and add to the chicken.  Sprinkle the 1/4 tsp kadai masala and chopped Cilantro over it.
  • Serve the Kadai Chicken with rice or Indian flat breads like Naan, Roti or Chapathi.

Notes:
  • Don't skip dry roasting the kadai masala, it gives the unique flavor to this dish.
  • The dish is spicy, so adjust the peppercorn, chili powder and red chili according to your taste.
  • Addition of heavy cream brings down the spice level of the curry.
  • Don't skip the dry fenugreek, it enhances the flavor of this dish.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Honey Maple Coconut Granola And 5 Minutes Healthy Breakfast Parfait



How are you doing?  How is the weather for you?  We are living like modern Eskimos geared with heavy jackets, layered and bundled up for bone numbing temperature that steeps down in the negatives mostly during the morning.  I am looking forward for the Sunshine and the warm weather. 



I guess I gave you an intro on how I feel about this weather and my mood.  It reflects in my posts and the pictures.  My hubby was pointing out that I prefer moody pictures now a day.  All I have to blame is this weather which creates that mood for me.  If we analyze human nature, it will speak the truth.  I like a balance of cold and warm weather and it makes things fall in the right place for me.  My expectation is that it's about time to show some signs of spring and that's where the problem lies.  We have expectations and it is just our conviction of how we want things to be and if something happens against it or ruins the expectation, that lingers around and hinders our mood.  At least that is true for me.  Let it be a photo submission to food gawker expecting that your picture will be accepted, but it may not be acceptable for others.  Keeping high expectation about anything is not good.  The underlying truth is that what you expect may not be the outcome all the time, so let it take its course and come up with its own outcome or destiny.   C'mmon... Am I getting too philosophical?????



Ok, let's deviate from that darker corner and think something bright like Valentine's Day.  Hope you all had a great Valentine's Day.  I baked Meringues and made some Coconut Chocolate bars, but unfortunately I couldn't post it earlier and they were all gobbled by my munchkins.  Valentine's day evening was a sweet treat for my kids.  Lil Noah and Nicole brought a load of candy from school.  All Nathan had was 5 Hershey kisses.  As usual I served the kids some snacks and made chocolate milk for them.  They were all sitting cozy under the blankets and were watching Sponge Bob.  I went to make some tea in the kitchen.  There comes the big cry from Noah, I rushed thinking that he fell or something happened.  He was crying for his ring that he got from school that has a flashy florescent green light that he traded with Nathan for 5 Hershey kisses.  Apparently Noah had made a deal with Nathan to trade his cool ring for 5 Hershey kisses.  Noah was crying for the ring back.  I told Noah to give Nathan's Hershey kisses back so that Nathan can return the ring back to make it a fair deal.  Noah was like,"I don't have the candy."  To my inquiry of what happened to the candy, he was smiling and crying at the same time and gently answered that he ate all of them!!!!!  It took me 10  minutes to convince Noah that once something is traded, it's done for good.  Also Nathan found the ring to be 'cool' and wanted to keep it, even though he knew that Noah will make a big deal about it, he found the situation to be amusing and didn't want to give up.  After 5 to 10 minutes of reconciliation process, Noah agreed to have Nathan keep the ring for that night and return to him the next day.  Noah waited for Daddy to come back from work and tell the entire story.  We couldn't stop laughing and my hubby had his share of explanation for lil Noah about trading 'goods'...lol.:).



In my today's post I have a simple and delicious granola that can be made ahead and used as snack, topping for desserts or in breakfast parfaits.  I make a big batch of this granola all the time, so that kids could enjoy it as a snack with nuts after school and it's mainly used in the breakfast parfait on busy mornings.  So if you are looking for a 5 minute easy healthy breakfast option, this recipe is for you!!!



Ingredients:

3 cups - rolled oats
1/4 cup - pure maple syrup
2 tbsp - honey
3 tbsp - oil
1/2 tsp - ground cinnamon
1/4 cup - packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp - salt
1/2 tsp - vanilla extract
1/4 cup - shredded sweetened coconut

Directions:

Granola
  • Pre-heat the oven to 300 F.
  • Spread the rolled oat on a baking sheet and bake for 25-30 minutes.  
  • In a microwave safe bowl, mix maple syrup, honey, oil, brown sugar, cinnamon and oil and microwave for 1 minute till all the ingredients are mixed together.
  • Increase the temperature of the oven tp 350 F.
  • Pour the mixture over the roasted oats and mix well.  Sprinkle the shredded coconut over it.  Spread evenly and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Take the granola out and let it cool completely.  As it cools, it will get crispy and break the crumbled granola if it is clustered together.
  • Store in air tight container.
Breakfast Parfait

Ingredients:

Plain yogurt enough to make 2 layers in a glass
1/2 - 1 tsp - pure maple syrup/honey
fresh cut fruits or berries
1/4 cup granola
Honey/Maple syrup to drizzle

Directions:
  • Fill 1/4th of the glass with yogurt. Spread the granola over it and pour the honey/maple syrup on it.  Add the berries/fruits of your choice and top with another layer of yogurt.  Top with berries/fruits of your choice and drizzle honey/pure maple syrup over it. 
  • Enjoy the freshly made parfait which is filling & healthy when compared to the store bought granola bars.
Notes:
  • While making granola, don't over bake the oats which can burn them.  The oat will be soft when you take out, it will get crispy once it cools down.
  • Feel free to add roasted nuts like almonds, walnuts, pepita or flax seeds etc to the baked granola.
  • If you are adding raisins or any other dried fruits, please add them to the baked granola and not to the baking mixture as it will burn the fruits.
  • You can use Vanilla yogurt or any flavored yogurt for the parfait.  But I usually make my own yogurt, so I prefer the plain ones over store bought flavored ones. 
  • Adjust the honey or maple syrup according to your taste.
  • Don't make the parfait ahead as it will soak the granola and won't taste that great.  All you need is some cut fruits or fresh berries and just assemble them before you want to have it.  It only takes 5 minutes or less to make it, so make it fresh and enjoy!!!


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Sticky Hot And Sweet Chicken



I am amazed by the fact that how the taste buds change over the years.  I still remember to this day, my first meal in US at my parent's house.  I was doing my school in India while my parents were here.  So I joined them later after getting married.  After the long 18 to 22 hrs of jet lag and wait I was welcomed by my hubby and parents.  Later in the evening my Mom prepared a whole spread of dishes for her daughter thinking that she would be enjoying them.  I couldn't enjoy a bit what she made. It was not only because of the excitement, but also by the taste difference.  Everything tasted bland for me.  I even suspected my Mom's cooking skills.  She was a good cook back in India, may be she doesn't cook any more here.  She must have lost her taste buds so bad...But when I came back to my hubby's house, it was even different, those were the times, and I craved for a hot and spicy chutney or pickle.  Later it became habitual and the taste buds adjusted to the environment.  I am sure most of you guys might have encountered this situation at least once.




Looking back, I can say that my spice tolerance level trended down all the way on the graph from those days.  You will start with a higher point on the graph, but when kids starts to eat solid food, it goes little bit down.  Over the years, it goes all the way down since you make adjustments for your kids and get settled at a point tolerable for the whole family.  I would have never enjoyed a hot and sweet chicken 15 years ago, but now the taste palate has changed so much that this oriental dishes has become my favorites.  My kids love these sticky sweet and hot chicken drumsticks.  They are super delicious and you would be asking for more!!!



Ingredients:

To marinate
10 - Skinless Chicken drumsticks
1/2 tsp - ground pepper
1 tsp - Red Chilli powder
1 tbsp - ginger garlic paste
2 tbsp - soy sauce
1 tsp - sesame oil
salt to taste

For the Sauce
1/4 cup - Soy Sauce
2 tbsp - brown sugar
1/2 tsp - Red chilli flakes
1 tsp - sesame oil
1 tbsp - honey
1 tbsp - worcheshire sauce
2 tbsp - Chilli Tomato Sauce
1 tsp - grated ginger

To garnish
1 tsp - Sesame seeds
2 tsp - Thinly sliced green onions/scallions

Directions:
  • Clean and pat dry the Chicken drum sticks with a paper towel.  Make small cuts on the chicken or using a skewer poke some holes on the meat.
  • Mix all the ingredients under marination list and coat well on the chicken.
  • Refrigerate for minimum 8 hrs or over night.
  • Pre-heat oven to 350°F.
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and apply cooking spray.  Drain excess juice away and place the ckicken on the tray.  Bake the chicken covered with Aluminum foil for 30 minutes.  Remove the cover and cook for another 10 minutes till the juice tries to dry up and the chicken is not pink inside.
  • Mean time mix all the ingredients under sauce and microwave for  30 - 40 seconds and mix well till the brown sugar is melted.
  • Take the chicken out of the oven.  Increase the temperature to 400°F.
  • Brush the sauce on both sides of the chicken and pour excess sauce on top of the chicken and bake the chicken uncovered for 5 minutes on each side or till all the juice dries up but still glossy on top.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions and enjoy while they are warm.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Hot And Sour Asian Soup



Super Bowl weekend went by with lots of cooking, excitement and fun with family.  I had promised to share the good stuff I made that day.  It is awfully cold where we live, so I made some piping hot Spicy Soup to beat the frigid cold on the weekend.  Since I made lots of food on the same day and somehow managed to click few pictures, you will noticed the same mood on each post.




Who doesn't like Chinese food?  I had mentioned earlier our love for Chinese food and about the take out place that is convenient enough for me to skip cooking dinner at times.  I always go for hot and sour soup when I have to pick from a buffet.  We love this soup when accompanied by some hot and Sweet Chicken, which I will post soon.  It's a tempting combo that I could never bypass.  The best part of this recipe is that it takes less than 20 minutes to prepare this soup.  Now I am sure you will definitely give this recipe a try!!!


Serves - 5

Ingredients

5 - mushrooms thinly sliced
1/2 cup - firm tofu drained, pat dried, cut into small cubes
3 tbsp - soy sauce
1 clove - garlic minced
1 tsp - oil

2 tbsp - corn starch
1/4 cup - water
4 cups - Chicken broth
3/4 cup - water
3 tbsp - rice vinegar
1 tbsp - Worcestershire sauce (refer notes)
1 tsp - Sesame oil
1/2 tsp - red chili flakes

2 - eggs beaten
1 - stem green onions/scallions thinly sliced

Directions:
  • In a medium size sauce pan, roast the minced garlic in 1 tsp of oil till golden brown.  Add the sliced mushroom, cubed tofu and soy sauce and cook for 5 minutes or till the moisture is evaporated.
  • Mix 2 tbsp of corn starch with 1/4 cup water and keep it aside.
  • Add 4 cups of Chicken broth, 3/4 cup water and corn starch mixture to the tofu mushroom mix.  Cook till it starts to boil.  Lower the flame.
  • Now add the rice vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, Sesame oil, red chili flakes and simmer for another 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and remove the sauce pan from stove.
  • Add the beaten eggs as a thin stream into the hot soup and using a wooden spoon on the other hand gently make swirly movements in the soup at the same time.
  • Transfer the soup into serving bowls and garnish with sliced green onions and enjoy.
Notes:
  • Worcestershire sauce can be found in most of grocery stores where they carry different Asian sauces.  I got my organic Worcestershire sauce  from Whole Foods Market
  • Get all the ingredients ready before you start cooking.
  • Make sure to turn off the burner and remove the sauce pan from stove while adding the beaten egg.  If the soup is still boiling, the egg will solidify and will not taste the same as it is intended to be.
  • Use low sodium Chicken broth and light soy sauce to cut down the sodium.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Super Easy Buffalo Chicken Dip





Last Sunday was very tiresome for me.  We had to go out in the morning and later in the afternoon I was busy prepping food for the Super Bowl.  By the end of the day I was totally exhausted, but it was fun watching the Super Bowl with family.  The boys in my house were waiting impatiently for the Super Bowl.  They would do any chores without rumbling and complaints.  So with extra caution and covering for each other, boys managed well with their chores & homework and put on their best behavior to avoid any timeouts.  We even told them, if it was Super bowl every day it would have been so nice.  So you can imagine how boys including my hubby were so desperate to watch the game.  For me it’s the time to make some food and enjoy with the family.  I really never paid attention to the game or even tried to understand the game, so it was never interesting for me.  My thoughts about the game are that it’s too brutal, the concussion, the injuries and those fractures, I cannot handle watching it.  But this year my hubby wanted me to know about the game so that I would start liking it.  So I followed the game this time with them and it was really fun watching the game when boys were rooting for Denver and I joined my hubby for Seattle.



It was last December, we had a get together at our friend's house and their daughters were really nice to make kids friendly food for our kids.  They even made a ginger bread house for our kids to play with.  I was really impressed by the Buffalo Chicken Dip they served as the appetizer with chips.  I knew that I had to try it and I made them for Nicole's birthday and it was a crowd pleaser.  It’s best for parties when you have to entertain a crowd.  So here is the Super Easy recipe of the Buffalo Chicken Dip you are definitely going to enjoy!!!



Recipe Adapted from here

Ingredients:

1 pkg. (8 oz.) - softened cream cheese
1/2 cup - Buffalo Wings Sauce (Frank's Redhot Buffalo Wings Sauce) 
1/2 cup - ranch dressing 
2 cups - shredded cooked chicken.
1/2 cup - Shredded Cheddar Cheese 
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Mix all the ingredients in a baking dish.  Bake for 20 minutes or till the dip starts to bubble from the side.
  • Serve with your favorite chips or vegetables.
 Notes:
  • You can use the left over of Rotisserie Chicken or cook chicken with salt and pepper to taste and shred them with a knife.
  • You can assemble the dip and keep refrigerated till ready to bake.  This way the dip will be hot, melty and soft when served.

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