Monthly Archives: October 2014

Dukkah crusted chicken in coconut oil

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I made Dukkha just because I just loved eating it mixed in olive oil and eaten with a crusty bread but since I made it I have been sort of obsessed with its flavors. So when I needed to make some protein for a dinner to go with my porcini mushroom soup with truffle oil, I decided to use this spice blend.

Today’s recipe is an easy one that you can put together in 10 mins if you have the Dukhah ready.

Dukkah crusted Chicken with coconut oil

 

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Ingredients:

 

2 Boneless skinless organic chicken breast cut in strips

1/2 tsp All Spice powder

1 tsp Smoked paprika

1 tbsp oil

salt to taste

2 small cloves of garlic crushed

8 tbsp of Dukkah blend

 

Method:

Mix the garlic, salt, paprika, oil and all spice in a bowl. Add the chicken pieces and mix well. Let it sit for 5 mins.

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Take the dukkah in a shallow bowl.  Take the chicken pieces one at a time and make sure they are coated well with the mixture. Press down a bit to ensure that the mixture sticks to the chicken pieces.

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Take a pan and add some coconut oil.

Cook the chicken pieces on low flame until done on both sides.

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Serve with a salad or a bowl of hot soup.

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Chai spiced cake with lemon grass -ginger tea glaze

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 I love Chai..that actually is an understatement. I can not live without Chai. When I say Chai, I am referring to the typical Indian Chai you get in India, flavored with either cardamon, ginger, lemon grass, sweetened with sugar and of course with milk. So when I had to bring something to work for a Diwali potluck, I thought of sharing my love for Chai with my colleagues.

If you have had a chance to look at my recipes you would notice that I love to combine flavors. I love taking flavors from a cuisine and combining it with a technique that is from a different cuisine. Todays recipe is one such example.

Here I have combined the Chai masala flavors alogn with Lemongrass ginger tea glaze with the classic cake. The cake is similar to a pound cake, but I have added some yogurt to add some tang.

Chai Masala Cake

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Ingredients:

For Filling/Topping:

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1 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ tsp flour
1/3 c chopped walnuts
2 tsp Chai (tea) Masala
I make my own Chai masala with all the spices ( recipe below)

For  the Batter:

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1 ¼ c flour
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
½ c sugar
2 large eggs
¾ c thick yogurt
½ tsp vanilla
Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350 °F.
Butter the sides and bottom of a loaf pan and lightly dust with flour and remove excess.
 To make the topping/filling:  place butter, brown sugar, flour, walnuts and Chai Masala in a small bowl. Use a fork to mix till it is crumbly and set aside for later.
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Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt).
Cream the butter and sugar together on low speed with a hand blender.
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Add the yogurt and mix it for 10 seconds. Once creamed, break in the eggs into the batter and incorporate well.  Add in the vanilla and mix.
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Add in the sifted dry ingredients and the yogurt alternately in the batter. Beat till it is all done and incorporated well into a smooth batter.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan; tap to level it.
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Sprinkle filling mixture on the batter.
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finish with the remaining batter (tap again to re-level).
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Bake for 40-45 min at 350 F. Insert a toothpick to make sure it is baked.
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Let cake stand for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan; pour over the glaze.
It is totally optional if you want to make the glaze or not, I like it since it brings in the typical elements of Indian Chai
Glaze:
Ingredients:
2 tsp black tea leaves( you can use tea bags if you prefer)
1/2 cup chopped lemon grass
1/4 inch ginger
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup water
Chop the lemon grass and ginger in fine pieces. Add them to the water and boil on low flame till you are left with 1/2 cup water ( may be a little more).
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Strain & add tea leaves, let it seep till you have a nice tea flavor. It may not look pretty but tastes good.
Strain the mixture and discard the tea leaves. You will have lemon grass and ginger infused tea.Cool the tea.
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Mix the powdered sugar with the water and mix well.
 Serve warm or at room temperature.
Chai Masala:
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves
Mix all the ingredients well.

Breakfast( or Lunch) muffins with Quinoa

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It has been crazy last few days, have not had a chance to write a post. This one is from the archives.

It is always challenging to pack something for the kids lunch that is healthy, quick to make, should taste good at room temperature and last but not the least, the kids should like it. This recipe fits the bill in my household. I like it since it is nutritious and quick to make.

So I will be honest that I don’t love quinoa. I know there are many good proteins in quinoa but I can not bring myself to use it as a substitute for rice in any traditional Indian recipes.
I also think that there are many people in the world who don’t have quinoa in their diet and still they have managed to stay healthy.

Having said that I do try to incorporate as many wholesome ingredients in our diet as I can, so this recipe is an effort along those lines.

Healthy eating series- Breakfast muffins with Quinoa

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So I will be honest that I don’t love quinoa. I know there are many good proteins in quinoa but I can not bring myself to use it as a substitute for rice in any traditional Indian recipes.
I also think that there are many people in the world who don’t have quinoa in their diet and still they have managed to stay healthy.

Having said that I do try to incorporate as many wholesome ingredients in our diet as I can, so this recipe is an effort along those lines.

Quinoa Muffins-
4 eggs
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/4 cup onions caramelized ( I usually make a big batch and keep it in the fridge)
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped ham( optional)
1/3 cup shredded cheese

Prepare oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners
Spray with oil spray.

Beat eggs well with dry spices & salt. Mix rest of the ingredients.
Pour in the cupcake liners and bake for about 25-30 mins.

I pack this with a garden salad for my kids lunch box.

This recipe makes about 6 muffins.

Note:


I had made similar recipe with lemon rice quinoa with lots of green chillies and peanuts. That tastes good as well.

 

I did not get a chance to take step by step pictures this time, will update the post when I do next time.

Strawberry jam- a continuing tradition

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In India jams and pickles are very common. Since the climate is hot and refrigeration was not very commonly available, pickling and preserving was essential to keep food from spoiling. The kind of jams that are made in India are more like fruits in syrup, as opposed to pectin-based jams.

My mom always tried making new things and using new ingredients in her cooking (which is quite hard to do in a small village with no internet access). She has been making jams and marmalades for as long as I can remember. She makes mixed fruit jam, orange marmalade, pineapple jam..you name it. My favorites are the ‘alphonso mango jam’ and ‘strawberry jam’. I can not eat any store bought versions of these two, yes you can say I am a spoilt brat. Strawberries were not readily available until recent years, so I was even more impressed to see my mom quickly figure out a recipe to make jam with it.

Since alphonso mangoes aren’t readily available, I can not make that jam but strawberries are abundant where I live so I make strawberry jam every year. My kids also prefer the homemade jams and marmalades over commercially available jam. The deal is that they have to help me chop the fruit and only then they get the jam. 🙂

My son, who is in college now, packed two bottles to take to his dorm. In his words, “Mom, please don’t make me eat a PBJ with store bought jam”.

So here is my recipe for strawberry jam.  I make some variations as well, which are mentioned below.

STRAWBERRY JAM

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Ingredients:

3 cups of chopped strawberries

1 cup of strawberries chopped and mashed

3 cups of sugar ( you can add more if you like syrupy jam, I prefer mine full of fruit)

2 tbsp lemon juice

25 g Fruit pectin ( you can leave this out but then the jam would be watery)

 

Method:

Chop 2/3 rd of  the strawberries.

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Measure 3 cups full and add to a thick bottomed pot. I like to use stainless steel pot

 

Chop remaining strawberries and crush them with a potato masher. I like doing this since it helps add body to the jam and stops it from making less syrupy.

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Measure 1 cup full and add to the pot.

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Add the fruit pectin. Put the pot on the stove and start cooking the fruit

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Add  lemon juice. The tartness from the lemon juice helps cut through the sweetness.

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Let it come to a rolling boil.

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Add the sugar all at once.

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Let it come to a boil and boil pretty hard for 1 1/2 min. Turn the heat off.

 

If you see scum on top, take it out with a spoon. It is not bad stuff but it just does not look pretty. 🙂

Take the out of freezer and add little bit of jam on the plate. Put it back in the freezer and check after a couple of mins.

If you like the consistency of the jam, you are done. If you think it is a little runny then turn the heat on for a min on low flame.

 

Your jam is ready.

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Storing the jam:

If I am making a small batch, I prefer just filling it up in small bottles and put it in the fridge. It keeps well for atleast 6-8 months.

If I am making a big batch, I do go through the hot water bath canning process to preserve the jam. Here are some tips I got from USDA guidelines about the sterilization of canned products.

http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html

Variations:

I like to make variation in my strawberry jam.

With cardamom: It is an amazing combination, I love the sweet scent of cardamom compliment the strawberries

With Balsamic vinegar: Strawberry and balsamic vinegar is a classic italian combination. I love making this preserve and spoon it over a scoop of Vanilla ice cream.