Friday, November 13, 2015

Hara Bhara Chicken

The weekend is here, finally! And after all the Diwali madness, it is time for some comfort food. Now don't get me wrong. As far as food goes, it is all comfort to me! But right now I feel like some warm brothy chicken with a no fuss attitude and tankards of taste. Light on the masala and heavy on flavour. The kind of soul chicken that you can dip a  couple of slice of bread in (if you are me), or drown your rice in (if you are hubby). The kind of Chicken, that on a nippy November evening reminds you of a warm fireplace and home. Oh, and the kind of chicken that does not require me spending hours chopping, frying, cleaning!
Now this chicken doesn't look the lurid green required of a hara bhara, but there are some greens in there I promise!

Chicken                      1 kg
Coriander                    1 bunch
Green Chillies             7
Cloves                         4
Black Cardamom        3
Ginger                         1 inch
Garlic                          5 cloves
Mustard oil                 4 tablespoons 
Curds                          2 cups
Kasuri Methi              1/4 cup
Water                          350 ml

Method: Grind together the coriander, cloves, ginger, garlic, cardamom and chillies. Heat oil in a deep pan and add the ground masala. Once the masala browns, and the fat separates, add the curds. Cook for five minutes. Add the chicken and salt. Stir till all the pieces are well coated. Add the water. Reduce the flame to sim. Cover and cook till done. Stir in the kasuri methi. And you are done! Simple, isn't it? 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Date and Nut Balls

My parents are not traditional. This is a shocker in a country like India. As a result I grew up quite oblivious to the varied customs, rituals and festivities that colour the Hindu calendar. The only exception was Diwali. Every year the house would be lit up with pretty fairly lights and traditional clay diyas would make also make an appearance. The highlight undoubtedly were the array of goodies mum would conjure. A week prior to Diwali she would painstakingly spend hours making sweets and savouries. These included mathri, chakli, namkeen paras, gujiyas and gulab jamuns. She would then decorate a plate with these goodies, add a pretty diya or candle and gift one to each of our neighbours.
When I got married, this was the only tradition I brought with me. Though store bought sweets and attractive edible hampers are now the norm, I still prefer making atleast one sweet and savoury at home. They may not be the traditional ones, but they are made with just as much love.
This year though, I wanted to combine the traditional and the healthy. With a little munchkin added to our crazy bunch, I had to ensure the sweets were not just delicious but also healthy. No more empty calories! When I came across Sonal Chowdhury's Bliss Ball in Good Housekeeping, I knew I had found just the thing. I have tweaked and adapted the recipe a little but these are still nutritious nuggets from heaven! Utterly blissful!!

Dates                                1 cup
Broken Cashews              1 cup
Almond powder               2 tablespoons
Dessicated Coconut         1/2 cup

Soak the dates in hot water for 15 minutes. Run the cashews in the mixie for a coarse powder. De-seed the dates and drain the water. Mix the cashews and dates and run them in the mixie together till they form a sticky paste. Turn into a bowl and mix in the almond powder. With wet palms, form into small balls. Roll the balls in dessicated coconut. Store in the refrigerator and serve with a joyous cheer of Happy Diwali!!

Note: The original recipe called for 2 tbsp of cocoa powder but i substituted that with almonds for a kid friendly treat. However, you may choose the chocolate for a twist on taste!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Spicy Crunch

I have a confession. Every evening my husband sneaks out and cheats. I can't blame him really. I would too if I had the time. Its an affair that began as kids, and now no matter how much he tries, he always does give in to the temptation. He does feel guilty. Cheating on my cooking that way. But I object more on the grounds that he is cheating on his health. Alas! The allure of street food is a slutty siren you can't ignore!
So in the spirit of good health, I decided to recreate the street food magic in my home kitchen. It may don healthier clothes and svelter calories, but it still packs a mighty punch. The recipe below is a twist on the tangy, fiery, pungent Mudi.
Mudi is made of puffed rice like it's cousin Bhel. But unlike the Bombay and Delhi sweet- tangy bhel, the Mudi of the east is a tangy, pungent mix of puffed rice, spices, nuts and mustard oil. In my version, the puffed rice is replaced by cornflakes. Well, because I had a lot of boxes in my pantry! No compromise in taste though. After all, hubby dear has stopped sneaking out now!

Cornflakes                         3 cups
Mustard Oil                        8 tablespoons
Roasted Peanuts                 1/2 cup
Sprouted Kala Chana         1/2 cup
Onion                                 1, finely chopped
Green chillies                     4, finely chopped
Red Chilli Powder             1/2 tsp
Chaat Masala                     6 teaspoons
Coriander                           3 teaspoons, chopped

 Heat the oil in a wok. Add the cornflakes and fry stirring continuously till just golden around the edges. Take off the heat. Add the rest of the ingredients. Adjust the seasoning as per your taste, Garnish with coriander, and serve!