Monthly Archives: July 2015

Grilled Harissa shrimps

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I love spicy food. When I go the farmers market, I am always looking for the spiciest chili. So in summer when we get the fresh red thai chili in the market, I make at least a couple of batches of Harissa. It can perk up any dish pretty quickly.

I like to make these shrimps using Harissa, the dish comes together very quickly and can be served as a main dish or a salad.

Shrimps don’t need a lot of marination so this dish can be made in 20 minutes.


Although Harissa is Tunisian I feel that the Mediterranean flavors compliment it well. So I decide to bring those along.I also brought in some more Mediterranean flavors with a quick salad. I took some yellow and Red cherry tomatoes, chopped Persian cucumbers and mix them with fresh chopped mint and topped with feta cheese.

Here is the recipe.

Ingredients

  • 20 large shrimps
  • 1 large clove of garlic crushed
  • 1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 tbsp Harissa
  • 1 tbsp oil

Method

Mix all the ingredients except to form a paste. Now add shrimps and mix well. Make sure all the shrimps are coated evenly with the paste.

Let them marinate for 20 mins or so.

Pomegranate molasses not only provides the sweetness to balance the heat from Harissa but also add a tangy flavor & color to the shrimps.


Grill on a grill plate or bbq. Brush the shrimps with some oil of needed to prevent them from sticking to the grill.

I like to thread some tomatoes or large zucchini pieces along with the shrimps, I feel it adds a Pop of color and texture.


You can serve the shrimps as a side with brown rice and some grilled fruit. Today I grilled some nectarines, the sweetness of the grilled fruit complimented the spice of harissa.

You can mix them with a lot of chopped herbs like basil and cilantro and serve as an appetizer.  I love making this version in summer when the herbs are in abundance in the market.

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I use Harissa in many dishes, like Pumpkin Shrimp curry, or Cheddar Muffins. Enjoy!

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Simple Buttermilk Spinach curry

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As you learn more and more about Indian cuisine, you will notice that not only every region has its own cuisine and delicacies but also different food is made at different occasions.t is believed that different food bring in different qualities to your body and mind.For e.g. whenever there is a religious occasion, typically food is cooked without onion and garlic.

Yesterday was one such special day, it is believed that Lord Vishnu the creator goes to sleep on this day. A lot of Indians keep a fast on this day.

Today I decided to make a meal which had no onion or garlic. My kids love Indian food, so decided to make their favorites.

This particular curry is very typical of a brahmin household. In brahmin cuisine, you will see heavy usage of milk products along with ginger and Cumin. This recipe can be made with any of the greens except Fenugreek, I feel that it tastes way too bitter.

Ingredients

2 cups of cleaned washed and chopped Spinach leaves

1/4 cup raw peanuts

2 tbsp Chana daal

1 cup Buttermilk ( If you don’t have buttermilk you can use Yogurt blended with some water)

2 tsp Besan ( Chick pea flour)

1 green chili, split in two pieces

1 clove of Garlic ( optional)

1 pinch of Asafoetida

1/2 tsp Jeera ( Cumin Seeds)

1 pinch of Sugar

Salt to taste

Oil or Ghee for tempering

Method

Soak the peanuts and Chana daal in water for 30-40 mins. Add some salt and set aside.

In a pressure cooker add some water. In a steel pot add the chopped spinach with 2 tbsp of water and the bowl with soaked peanuts and daal.

Pressure cook for 2 whistles.

When the cooker is cooled down, take out the spinach and mash with a ladle or your hand.


Mix in the cooked Peanuts and Chana Daal.


In a separate bowl, mix the buttermilk with the chickpea flour, sugar and salt. Make sure there are no lumps of chickpea flour. Add water if needed to make a mixture that is like a thin smoothie.

Add this mixture to the spinach mixture.
Now you can make it two ways. You can make Tadka ( tempering) in a pot and add the spinach mixture and cook. Or, cook the spinach mixture and then temper it later. Both work great.

First method:

Heat oil or ghee in a sauce pan. When the oil is hot, add the cumin seeds and saute for 10 sec. Add green chilies, and chopped garlic( if using). If you add garlic, leave out the Asafoetida.

Saute till the Garlic is a little browned.


Add the Spinach mixture and cook on a really low flame, stirring frequently. Cooking on a low flame ensure that the buttermilk does not curdle and allows the Chickpea flour to cook completely.

 

Here is the second method:

Cook the spinach mixture in a pot.

bhaji without phodni

Make the tempering in a ladle. I use the iron one. I love it since it has a long handle and does not get hot, and it helps me get some extra iron in my diet.

phodni

Add the tempering ( oil mixture) to the cooked Spinach mixture

bhaji with Phodni

Add chopped cilantro and serve.

If you want to serve it with rice, you can make it a bit thinner. If you want to serve it with Roti/bread, you can make it a bit thicker.

I love eating it even on its own. It tastes great hot or cold.

Tonight I served it with whole wheat roti( Indian bread), sautéd Tondli and home made cultured butter.

Indian Pickled chicken in lettuce cups

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My first take on Saransh Goila’s recipe, ‘Achari Tikka Bread cones’  turned out yummy, everyone loved it. I made it for dinner and paired it with a soup and it was a hit. That night I had my friend over for dinner and he is sort of doing a Paleo diet, so I decided to make a variation for him that was not as carb heavy.

This has all the flavor of the original minus the bread. I kept the croutons on the side so he could add a few if he wanted.  I loved how pretty it looked.  I also made a vegetarian version with ‘Paneer’ for a vegetarian friend and that turned out yummy as well.

Achari Chicken lettuce cup with garlic crouton

Achari Chicken lettuce cup with garlic crouton


Ingredients:
3/4  lb  Boneless Chicken
2 ½ tablespoons Achari Masala ( I used ready made Indian pickle masala)
100 grams Hung Curd
1 tablespoon refined flour
2 tablespoons Mustard Oil
2 Thick bread slices, cubed
2 tbsp butter melted
1 clove of garlic crushed

Chopped carrots, cilantro, green bell pepper

Bean sprouts
Endive leaves separated

Method:

Chicken:

Heat Mustard Oil to a smoking point & then add Achari Masala to it. Cook the spice mix nicely. Take it off heat, let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Add this spice mix into hung curd. Mix nicely.

Cut cubes of chicken & marinade it with the pickled curd marinade for minimum 60 mins.

Now cook the chicken on medium flame, add refined flour and cook for 8-10 mins. Once cooked evenly, keep it aside.

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Croutons

Preheat the oven at 325 F


Toast the bread cubes in the oven till they are crisp.
Take them out and pour the garlic butter and toss them well. Bake them again for 5-6 mins to get them golden brown.

Mix with chicken with the croutons, chopped carrot, sprouts, and cilantro.

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Now, take the endive leaves and fill them up with the mixture. And serve.

Achari Chicken lettuce cup with garlic crouton

Achari Chicken lettuce cup with garlic crouton

Achari Chicken Tikka cones

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Chicken pickled with Indian spices is used as a prime ingredient in making an Open Canape.

You read in my previous post that there was a challenge/ healthy competition on a facebook group, where a very famous chef  Saransh Goila has shared some of his amazing recipes, and the members of the group are trying to recreate those. The second recipe was Achari Chicken Tikka Canape.

I thought it was genius..I love the pickle flavor and to combine that with a crispy buttery toast, and topped with crunchy sprouts. I could totally see myself making this quite often as an appetizer in summer.

Back to the competition, we were supposed to follow the recipe but it was ok to put a twist on it. So I decided to make it three ways. The chicken was the same, but I varied the bread used and also presented it in three different ways.

Variation 1- Bread Cones

Achari Chicken in garlic bread cone 1

Achari Chicken in garlic bread cone

Ingredients


300 grams Chicken
2 ½ tablespoons Achari Masala ( I used a ready made masala)
100 grams Hung Curd
20 grams Bean Sprouts
1/4 cup shredded cabbage
1 tablespoon refined flour
2 tablespoons Mustard Oil

1 can of crescent roll dough

1 tsp soft butter mixed with some crushed garlic

few thick papers

Few aluminium foil

Method:

Chicken:

Heat Mustard Oil to a smoking point & then add Achari Masala to it. Cook the spice mix nicely. Take it off heat, let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Add this spice mix into hung curd. Mix nicely.

Cut cubes of chicken & marinade it with the pickled curd marinade for minimum 60 mins.


Now cook the chicken on medium flame, add refined flour and cook for 8-10 mins. Once cooked evenly, keep it aside.

Mix with shredded cabbage and set aside.

Bread cone

While the chicken is marinating, you can start the preparation for the bread cones.

Preheat the oven at 350 F.

Make a cone with a thick paper and cover it entirely with an aluminum foil.


Spray with a cooking spray.

Take the crescent roll dough out and cut in 1 inch strip. Wrap around the aluminum cone. Bake for 9-10 mins.


The cones won’t be completely baked, take them out of the oven and take out the foil cone.

Now brush them inside and out with garlic butter and sprinkle with panch phoran.

Bake for a few more minutes.


Fill up with the chicken mixture and top with some sprouts.

Achari Chicken in garlic bread cone-close up

Achari Chicken in garlic bread cone

Ingredients:
300 grams Chicken
2 ½ tablespoons Achari Masala
100 grams Hung Curd
20 grams Bean Sprouts
1 pcs. Iceberg Lettuce
50 grams Butter
30 grams Peeled Garlic
6 pcs. Bread buns
1 tablespoon refined flour
2 tablespoons Mustard Oil

Method:
Heat Mustard Oil to a smoking point & then add Achari Masala to it. Cook the spice mix nicely. Take it off heat, let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Add this spice mix into hung curd. Mix nicely.

Cut cubes of chicken & marinade it with the pickled curd marinade for minimum 60 mins.

Shred the lettuce & store it in chilled water.

Now cook the chicken on medium flame, add refined flour and cook for 8-10 mins. Once cooked evenly, keep it aside.

Add chopped garlic to softened butter. Now spread this butter on half sliced buns.

Toast these buns on a non stick pan or in the oven.

Assemble the canapé – Take the toasted bread. Place lettuce leaves on it. Add the pickled Chicken on the top.

Garnish with sprouts & serve.

Saffron Crostini with Beet Halwa

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These days there are so many cooking channels, blogs, cook books, pinterest, instagram…you name it. There are many ways to get new recipes and learn about new cuisines. I am part of a couple of facebook groups and learn a lot from there. One such groups is Sikandalous Cuisine. The admin does an amazing job of bring together like minded people who love to make and eat good but most of all they all love to share what they know. I love that part. There are some chefs on that group that are super talented, have worked in Five star restaurants and even have books published. It is very inspiring to see them share their knowledge with so much humility. One such chef is Saransh Goila, he recently published an amazing book and shared some of the recipes from this book on this facebook group. This dish is am amazing combination of taste, colors and textures. Today’s recipe is Saransh Goila’s recipe. This sounds and is a little time consuming, but I think when you taste the end product, you will think it was worth the effort. Also, I like the fact that you can prep ahead and make the rabdi & halwa. The day you want to serve it, quickly make the toasts and you are ready to impress the guests.

Saffron Toast with Beet Halwa

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Beetroot Halwa

500 grams Beetroot, peeled and grated 3 cups milk ½ cup condensed milk 2 tablespoons ghee (Clarified butter) 1/2 tsp cardamom (elaichi) powder 4 drops rose water / essence Rabdi 2 cups of whole milk 10 strands Saffron 3 teaspoons milk Toast 10 pcs. Bread slices 2 tablespoons Ghee/Clarified Butter 2 tablespoons Sugar Method: Beetroot Halwa: Heat 1 tbsp ghee in a pan, Add the beetroot to the pan and saute on medium flame for 8 – 10 minutes. Once it is tender, add the hot milk and keep stirring till it reduces and becomes thick. Add the condensed milk, 1 tbsp ghee and cardamom powder and mix well. When the halwa is cooked and becomes thick, add the rose water and mix well and keep aside. Rabdi: Now in 3tsp warm milk mix saffron strands.. After 5 minutes add Rabdi to this saffron milk and simmer for 2 mins. Rabdi will get a beautiful saffron colour.  Toast: Cut bread slices into bite sized round/ square shapes. I used a flower shape cookie cutter. Heat 2 tbsp ghee in a pan and add 2 tbsp sugar to it. Once it’s hot and sugar starts to melt. Start cooking the bread slices until they’re golden brown from both sides.  This is exactly what I do when I make another yummy Hyderabadi Dessert ‘Shahi Tukda or Double Ka Meetha’ Assemble the dessert, spread saffron rabdi on toast, place beetroot halwa on top of it and serve. IMG_0248 I also made a variation by rolling the bread slice and cutting it in circles. I stacked them with rabdi and halwa. There is no doubt that you need patience to make the rabdi and the halwa, but the taste is surely worth it. IMG_0250