Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken - yummmmmmmm
I am sure everyone who is a lover of paneer and chicken would have never missed out on the butter paneer or the butter chicken meal with paratha.
It is a dish that you will find in every Indian restaurant menu. Its buttery, tangy, spicy and just yummy.
I have enjoyed amazing butter chicken at 'Urban Tadka' in Andheri in Mumbai, India - ofcorse this was almost seven years ago.
After moving to the US - we never liked the butter chicken served at the restaurants here. It seemed to be only a creamy curry with red color in it and with dry pieces of tandoori chicken which seemed bland.
Alas - had to try and make this stuff at home to enjoy the flavors.
This has been a regular at our home with paneer, chicken and even with mix veggies.


Marinade for chicken
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs or chicken breasts - cut into 1 inch pieces
1/4 cup sour cream OR hung curd
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoon garlic paste
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon tandoori masala
1 teaspo0n salt

For Gravy
1 inch cinnamon stick
2 green cardamoms
2 cloves
5 peppercorns
small piece of mace
3 large tomatoes
1 medium onion
7 ti 8 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger - juilined
1/4 cup buter
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon tandoori masala
1 tablespoon kasuri methi (crushed)
salt to taste
chopped cilantro for garnishing


For tandoori chicken/chicken tikka
In a big bowl add tandoori masala, curry powder, ginger paste, garlic paste, sour cream and salt and mix well. Massage this mixtures onto the chicken pieces with your hands so that all the chicken is evenly covered in the tandoori masala. Cover and put aside for at least an hour (overnight is ideal).
Put them on a skewer and cook them in an oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for about 15 to 20 minutes. you get nice cooked chicken tikka. Take them out of the skewer and let them sit covered.

For the Gravy
In a karahi add 1/8 cup of butter. When it melts add the cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns, cardamom, mace and let it saute and emit a nice fragrance - be careful not to burn the spices. Take them out in a plate. In the same oil, add chopped garlic and chopped onions and fry/saute till they get a nice golden brown color. Add the kasuri methi and mix well till all the onion pieces are coated with kasuri methi. Now add the chopped tomatoes and mix well. Cover and let it cook for 10 minutes till the tomatoes get all mushy. Now add tandoori masala and salt to taste and let this mixture cool.
Once the masala mixture has cooled down - add the sauted spices and this mixture into a blender and mix to form a smooth paste. No need to add water as the tomatoes will be liquidy enough.
In the same karahi, add the balance 1/8 cup butter. When it gets hot, add the juliened ginger and saute for about 20 seconds. Now add the tomato and spice paste and mix well. Cover and let it simmer for about 5 minutes. Now add the cooked chicken and mix well. Add the heavy cream and check salt. Garnish with cilantro and serve with hot nans, rotis or rice.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Gatte ki Sabzi (gram flour dumplings in a yogurt sauce)

I still remember the first time I had seen this dish - it was on a TV documentary about a decade ago about 'Palace on Wheels' - yup, the luxury train launched by Indian Railways for tourism in Rajasthan. This dish was prepared to be served to passengers on the train - and the chef was kind enough to show us the preparation of this dish. The besan dumplings in the yogurt sauce looked yummy.
Well, I had forgotten all about this dish after that TV show - untill, my birthday lunch at 'Rajdhani' the restaurant at 'Inorbit Mall'. Had this stuff there and remembered 'Palace on wheels'.......... that reminds me............. Gotta take a trip on 'Palace on Wheels' - its one of the things on my bucket list 
My husband is not a huge fan of yogurt based curries. However, I do force him to eat this stuff by bribing him with a nice chicken or fish dish for the next meal - evil me!!! However, he did like this dish and enjoyed the gatte more then the curry.
Tried to recollect the recipe that I saw on the TV documentary and recreate it in my kitchen. 


For the Gatte

1 cup of Besan /Gram Flour
1/2 cup chopped fresh methi leaves OR 2 teaspoons kasuri methi
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 spoon Dhania Jeera powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon ajwain/carom seeds
1 tablespoon oil
water to knead

For the Curry
2 cups yogurt
4 tablespoons besan/gram flour
1 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon dhania jeera powder
1/2 teaspoon asafoetida/hing
2 tablespoons kasuri methi
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 dried red chilis
2 tablespoons oil
salt to taste
chopped cilantro for garnish


For Gatte

Combine all the ingredients for the gatte - except the water. Mix well allowing the oil to mix evenly, it will look like a crumpled mixture. Now add water 1 teaspoon at a time to knead into a stiff dough which can be handled easily (it should not be sticky).
Divide the dough into 10 equal portions and make into ½ inch diameter smooth rolls. Heat a saucepan with enough water and let it boil. Add the rolls to the boiling water and let it cook. You know the gatte are done when they float to the top of the water.
Strain the water from the gatte and cut it into 1/2 inch pieces.
You can then fry them to a golden brown or spray some oil and put them in an oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit for about 15 minutes to get a nice golden crust. Let them sit aside.

For Curry

Add the besan, turmeric powder, chilli powder, dhania jeera powder, asafoetida and kasuri methi to the curd and whisk well so that there are no lumps. In a karahi add oil. When it gets hot add the mustard seeds and let them splutter, then add the cumin and the fennel seeds and the red chillis and let it fry for about 30 seconds. Add 1/2 cup of water and let it boil well till you can smell the cumin and fennel. Get the heat to a medium and add the yogurt mixture to the tempered water. Let it boil and cook till the gravy leaves oil. If the gravy seems too thick, you can add some water. Add the gatte to this gravy and salt to taste and let it simmer for about 20 minutes. Let the gravy sit for about half hour before serving. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with hot rice or rotis.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Pull Apart Bread - flavored with long hot peppers and cilantro spread - We Knead to Bake # 1

Bread Baking is fun and addictive. Its therapeutic for me. And the beauty is husband and kiddo love the bread baked at home and we cannot seem to get enough of it. We rarely buy bread from the store. Store bought bread means there is something wrong with the oven at home or maybe the baker is sick :)
The aromas, the yeast, the waiting in anticipation for the dough to rise.......... all of these are what make baking bread fun. I have learnt and experimented various breads over the past couple of years. And I am still learning and experimenting.

Today morning I wake up and check Facebook and what do I see.......... loaves and loaves of pull apart breads. I was wondering how is it that everyone I know is baking a pull-apart bread. Well, the answer was in all the blog posts.......... it was for a project We Knead to Bake. I instantly wanted to be a part of this group and joined in the fun.
Aparna who authors at My Diverse Kitchen is the brains behind this project. Each month, Aparna chooses a bread recipe for the group to bake within that month and on the 24th the breads are posted on the various blogs and a link added to her post. I for one have never participated in any blog event or project ever. However, this is one project I would love to be part of and would love to participate.


For the Dough
1/2 cup warm milk
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp active dry yeast
2 3/4 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tablespoons butter, soft at room temperature
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried rosemary - crushed
3/4 cup milk (+ a couple of tbsp to brush over the bread)

For the Filling
1 tablespoon melted butter
3 to 4 tablespoons of long hot pepper and cilantro spread
       recipe for the spread is here
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


You may use a food processor or a stand mixer - but you must knead the dough by hand to enjoy the aroma and to get some therapy too ;)
In a small bowl, dissolve the sugar and the yeast in the 1/2 cup of warm milk. Keep aside for about 5 minutes till the yeast mixture bubbles up. This is called proofing of yeast.
Put 2 3/4 cup of flour, salt, softened butter, crushed rosemary and garlic powder in the food processor and pulse a couple of times to mix. Remove this into a large bowl and add the yeast mixture and the 3/4 cup of warmed milk and knead till you have a soft, smooth and elastic/ pliable dough which is not sticky. Add a little extra flour if your dough is sticking - 1 tablespoon at a time to get the right pliable feel.
Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning the dough to coat it completely with oil. Cover and let it rise for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until almost double in volume.
Dust your work surface lightly with flour. Deflate the dough, shape it into a square and roll the dough out into a larger square that is about 12’ by 12”. Brush the surface of the square with the melted butter. Evenly spread the hot pepper and cilantro spread and sprinkle the grated mozzarella cheese on top. Use a rolling pin to very lightly press the topping into the dough to ensure the topping doesn’t fall off when you are stacking the strips.
Using a pizza cutter, slice the dough from top to bottom into 6 long and even strips – they do not have to be perfect. Lay each strip on top of the next, with the topping facing upwards, until you have a stack of the strips. You can put the 2 strips cut from the sides in the middle of the stack so it looks neater. Using a pastry scraper or a sharp knife, cut straight down through the stack dividing it into 6 equal pieces (6 square stacks).
Grease and lightly flour a 9” by 5" loaf tin. Layer the square slices, cut sides down into the loaf tin
Cover the loaf tin dough with a towel and allow the dough to rise for an hour. Lightly brush some milk over the top of the loaf. Bake the dough at 180C (350F) for about 30 to 40 minutes until it is done and the top is golden brown.

The steps for cutting the dough and layering them is very well illustrated here

Click to see a collection the various pull-apart breads
created for this project
This bread has also been submitted to YeastSpotting!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Sweet Pongal - with rice, quinoa and moong daal

I love sweet pongal - also called sakkarai pongal or chakkari pongal. The velvety mixture sweetened with jaggery and smelling so yumm of ghee (clarified butter), powdered cardamom and nutmeg. 
I visit the local Balaji Temple near home - they have a canteen inside the temple and the pongal there is just divine. I love the pongal and the boondi laddoos they serve there. 
I had made pongal last year during sankranti and it was a little seet for my liking - I guess the jaggery used was a bit too much.
This year I tried my hand at this sweet treat again during Sankranti. I used rice, moong dal and quinoa along with jaggery and ghee to make this. Turned out pretty well.


1/2 cup quinoa
1/2 cup of rice ( I used a mix of surti kolam and ambemohur)
1 cup moong dhal
1 cup jaggery
1/2 cup milk
41/2 cups water
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
1/4 cup ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 cup broken cashews
1/4 cup raisins
a pinch of edible camphor (optional)


Add 1 teaspoon ghee in a frying pan and to this add the moong dal. Roast it on medium flame till the dal turns a golden color and becomes fragrant. Get it off the flame and add this dal to a pressure cooker/pan. Wash the rice and quinoa together. Drain all the water and add this to the moong dal in the pressure cooker/pan. Add 4 cups of water and let it cook for upto 3 whistles. After the pressure is released mash this mixture with the back of a spoon and let it sit aside.
In a saucepan add the jaggery and 1/2 cup water and let the jaggery completely dissolve. To this add the cardamom powder, nutmeg powder and if you are using edible camphor, add that as well. Sieve this mixture and add it to the rice quinoa and dal mixture in the cooker/pan
In a separate pan, heat 2 tablespoons of ghee and roast cashews to golden and add raisins to it and let them puff up. Add this mixture to the rice, quinoa and dal mixture in the pressure cooker/pan.
Add the milk and the remaining ghee and mix well on medium low heat. Keep stirring all the while. Once the pongal gets a velvety texture and it starts to release steam (kinda like boiling), get it off the heat. Pour it into a serving bowl and serve hot, warm or at room temperature

you can make this pongal by replacing the quinoa with broken wheat, brown rice or rolled oats. You can even skip the white rice and replace it with either quinoa, broken wheat, rolled oats or brown rice altogether.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Mirchicha Thecha / Kharda (Long hot peppers and Cilantro spread)

Kharda or Mirchicha Thecha - Mom used to make this stuff on a regular basis back home. We loved to spread this on toast with some butter or a slice of cheese and it would be yummy breakfast. We also used it as an accompaniment with plain dal and rice or curd and rice instead of pickle. It also serves as a spicy chutney with parathas or chappati.
Mom had made this at our home here too when we had found those super hot long chillies at the local Asian store. My husband loved it so much that it has become a regular stuff at our place now. This stays for over a fortnight in an dry jar inside the refrigerator. 
The other day we had gone to the Indian store to get the regular rice, dal, masalas etc. I found these beautiful green garlic also called as garlic chives and thought of making this kharda using the green garlic instead of the regular garlic and the taste is just different and nice from the regular kharda


15 long hot peppers (chillies) - cut into 1 inch pieces
you can use jalapenos too - bring the count down to 10 if using jalapenos
1 cup green garlic - chopped OR 1/2 cup of normal garlic sliced
1 cup fresh coriander/cilantro - chopped (use the leaves as well as the stalks)
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt (you can add more according to your taste)


In a karahi add the oil and let it heat untill its comes to being smoking hot. Reduce the heat to a medium high and add the chillies, garlic and cilantro and cover. After 2 minutes, open the lid and mix everything well. We want all traces of water to be evaporated from the chillies, garlic and the cilantro - this would take about 15 minutes. Add salt and mix well. Get it off the heat and let it cool.
Add this mixture into a dry blender and blend into a smooth mixture or pulse it to get a chunky mixture - as per your preference.
Store in a dry and airtight glass or plastic jar and refrigerate.

Kerala Vegetable Stew

We love having appam with chicken xacuti, mutton curry and egg masala. However, the dish that actually goes along with appam is the amazing and yummy vegetable stew cooked in coconut milk. Its velvety and tasty and the appams just soak up all the coconut milk and you get this divine taste.
Well, I had some leftover appam batter and there was no mutton curry left to lap it up with. Decided to give this vegetable stew a try. It turned out awesome and now this stew is among the other yummies that we are gonna be having at our home with appams 


1 medium onion - thinly sliced
1 inch ginger - julienne
2 medium sized potatoes - cut into 1/2 inch cubes
2 carrots - cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup of peas
1 cup green beans - cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 green chillies - slit lenghtwise
10 to 12 curry leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
2 cardamoms
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coconut oil - or any other oil of your choice
1 can coconut milk (unsweet)
salt to taste


In a saucepan add the coconut oil. When it gets hot add the cloves, cardamom, black pepper and cinnamon and let it simmer on medium flame till they release their aroma. Now add the curry leaves and the green chillies and let it splutter for a few second. Add the sliced onions and the julienne ginger and mix well on medium high heat. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and saute this mixture till the onions become transparent. Now add the potatoes, carrots and green beans along with the turmeric and 1/4 cup of water and let the vegetables cook half way. Bring the heat to medium and add the peas and the coconut milk along with salt to taste and let the mixture boil. When it comes to a boil, bring the heat down to a medium low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. Check if all the veggies are cooked, if not, let the mixture simmer for another 10 minutes.
serve it with appams or even with steamed white rice.

Gul Poli

The very first Hindu festival in January is Sankranti - also called Pongal, Lohri, Bihu and many other names in various regions around India and also in South East Asia. 
For me Sankranti is always associated with sesame seeds and jaggery - called til & gul respectively in Marathi. The aroma of toasted sesame seeds and then those yummy laddoos.
My Mom always made this gul poli on that day - ofcosre along with various other goodies.
I had to make these gul polis this year. I could not call mom to ask for the recipe as it was pretty late in the night for them and I knew they would be asleep. So, I used my sense of smell and taste and tried to use the proportions just like you would for puran poli and made these polis. They did not turn out like the ones made by mom - but, they were still good. 


For the filling
1 cup sesame seeds
1 cup peanuts
1 tablespoon poppy seeds (khuskhus)
2 tablespoons gram flour (besan)
2 cups jaggery
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For Dough
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon oil
water to knead


Toast the sesame seeds on medium flame untill you get a nice roasted aroma. Remove on a plate and let it cool. Now toast the peanuts untill you get a nice toasted aroma. Remove any skin on them and let them cool on a plate. Dry roast the gram flour and the poppy seeds for a couple of minutes - be careful not to burn the gram flour. Grind the peanuts, sesame seeds, gram flour and poppy seeds to a fine powder/paste - no need to add water, the oil from the peanuts and the sesame will give it a pasty texture. Remove it into a mixing bowl and add the jaggery and the cardamom powder and nut met powder and mix well. Make about 10 equal sized balls from this mixture.
Mix wheat flour, all purpose flour and salt to taste. Heat the oil in a pan and add it to the flour mixture and carefully mix the oil with the flour - this can be done with a spoon - be careful as the oil i shot. Now add water - start with half a cup of water and knead the flour into a dough. Add more water if required. Consistency of dough should be soft like a regular chapati dough.  Cover the dough with a damp cloth/kitchen tissue and let it sit for 30 minutes. After it has rested, make 10 equal sized balls of the dough and keep aside.

Take one of flour dough rolls and apply dry wheat flour (so that it does not stick to the rolling pin) and roll out into a round about 2 inches in diameter. Add a part of the stuffing to this rolled dough and bring together all the edges so as to cover the filling. press this lightly so that the stuffing goes to all the ends. Now dip it in the dry wheat flour and roll lightly just like a stuffed paratha/chappati - about 6 inches in diameter. Roast on a skillet on medium heat by adding a bit of ghee - turning it a couple of times. The poli is ready when it had nice golden spots on both sides.
Serve this gul poli warm or cold with or without ghee.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...