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BEAUTY

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FOOD
FOOD

CHICKEN TIKKA: KEBAB KHRONICLES

There are days when I miss my Dilwalon ki Delhi, and there are days I miss Kebabs.When the two cravings come together, well, we all know what's the menu that day. Kebabs on winter nights, are one of the best treats possible. Add to that some hot rotis, some hari chutney(mint and coriander relish), and life seems pretty good.Delhi and Kebabs are like the inseparable Siamese twins.Whenever the gang decided to party at home, we ordered Kebabs. If it was the birthday party of a colleague, we knew Kebabs would be on the way, before the birthday boy/girl signed out for the day from office.Night shifts always meant a trip to Jama Masjid, and  digging into meaty goodness, as the Editors worked on our stories for the morning bulletins.It was all about digging into meaty goodness together.Kebabs and Camaraderie come hand in hand.    

Kansas City has quite a problem when it comes to ordering North Indian non vegetarian staples.With an exception of a restaurant, which goes by the name of KEBABESH, most of the Indian restaurants out here, cook North Indian food with a steady dose of Curry leaves and other South Indian spices.For hard core Kebab lovers like myself, thats almost like committing harakiri. Hence the Middle Eastern joints become a better alternative when one craves for Kebabs and Biriyanis, and is not in a mood to don the chef's hat. 
While talking to Ma, a few days back, she reminded me of the joint right near my apartment in South Delhi, which served hot kebabs till the wee hours of the morning. Aptly named 'Kebab Corner,' it was an oasis for overworked broadcast journalists, who had made Delhi their home.It was the very reference of the succulent chunks of meat on a skewer, from the lanes of Delhi, that led to the kebab party a few days back. One could not go wrong with some Chicken Kebabs, some hummus(as I had run out the ingredients of hari chutney), Margaritas,Keema Mutter and Hot Rotis. Add friends to that, and it was an evening to remember. 

CHICKEN TIKKA : 

Ingredients: 
Skinless Chicken Tenderloin(Boneless Chicken/Chicken Breast): 1 lb 
Ginger-Garlic paste: 2 tbsp
Yogurt: 1 1/2 cups
Salt: To taste
Canola Oil: 2 tbsp
Tandoori Masala: 3 tbsp
Cooking Spray ( Can also use Canola Oil) 

Bamboo Skewers: around 10- 12

Bell Pepper/ Capsicum: 2 (optional)
Onion: 1 (optional)
Button Mushrooms: I small pack(optional)
Tomatoes: 3 medium sized ones (optional)

Lemon Juice: for garnish
Chaat Masala: for garnish
Coriander Leaves: chopped: for garnish 

Procedure: 
 First cube the tenderloin into 1 1/2 inch to 2 inch pieces. Keep them aside. 
In a large bowl, mix together yogurt, ginger garlic paste, salt to taste, tandoori masala and about 3 tbsp of Canola Oil. I used Swad's Tandoori Masala, but you can use any packaged Tandoori Masala that you might have at home. Whisk it very well together. 
Dunk the cubed Chicken pieces into this yogurt mixture and mix well, so that every piece is coated well. Marinate the chicken overnight, in a refrigerator. If you are in a hurry, marinate it at least for two hours. 

Soak the bamboo skewers for around 2 hours,so that they soak up water, and do not get burnt away while the kebabs are cooking. Cube the onion, bell pepper, tomatoes into 2 inch pieces. Keep aside. Preheat the oven to around 350F. You can also use a grill. 

Put the marinated chicken onto the skewers, alternating with onion, bell pepper, tomatoes and button mushrooms. If you do not have any of these, do not worry, as you can just add the marinated chicken pieces on the skewers as well. Leave a few inches of the skewer free, both at the lower end and at the upper end. Line two baking dishes with cooking spray or canola oil and place the skewers one beside the other, making sure that they are not super crowded. Spray some oil over the skewers as well. 


Change the oven setting to BROIL. Place the two trays on the upper rack of the oven. Cook for 10-15 minutes on one side. Then turn the skewers over, spray some oil on the kebabs, and cook again for another 10 minutes or so.The oven in the Broil mode ensures that the kebabs get a char on them. When the kebabs start getting a  char, it means that kebabs are almost cooked. 
Garnish the kebabs with some lemon juice, chaat masala and chopped coriander leaves. I served the kebabs with some garlic hummus and hot rotis. 

With Chicken Tikka on the menu, any meal becomes a party. 

Bon Appetit! 





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Goan Fish Curry

Goa: the name which brings forth images of fun, frolic and not to forget food. Every year end, some friend or the other makes that pilgrimage to Goa, and i get to feast my eyes on everything Goan through their albums. This year end was no different. It was my sis in law's family who shouted out Go Goa though their pictures. Amongst all the frolicking, it was all the sea food and red Goan fish curry which stole my heart. The fish being slathered with the red marinade, was simply awesome. It was truly a feast for the eyes.

So I decided, enough was enough. I cannot torture myself anymore. Hence Goan Fish Curry it was for dinner a few nights back.A quick survey of the refrigerator assured me, as I had a stock of both coconut milk and tamarind paste.I had run out of sea food, so it was some good old sweet water Bong fish, which had to fill in. I decided to add in some potatoes to the gravy, like in Bong fish curries, as it was supposed to a one pot meal for us. My Goan fever was on in full swing.

As we feasted on the Goan fish curry with some steamed basmati rice and  a Hindi flick on in Netflix, it was almost as if we were somewhere along the Konkan coast in India. The only thing missing was some Goan Cashew Fenny.

GOAN FISH CURRY: 


Ingredients:
Fish: 1 lb : cut and cleaned (Feel free to use any white fleshed fish. It works well with Tilapia, Red Snapper, Halibut or any large fresh water fish)
Onion: 1 large
Ginger-garlic paste: 1 1/2 tbsp
Tamarind paste: 2 tbsp
Coconut Milk: 1/2 can
Cumin Powder: 1 tsp
Coriander Powder: 1 tsp
Red Chilli Powder:  1 1/2 tsp
Canola Oil
Salt to taste
Turmeric Powder: 1 tbsp
Potato: 1 large (optional. I had cut it into longish pieces and fried them, and then cooked them in the gravy)

Procedure: 
First prep the fish with some salt and turmeric. Heat oil in a non stick pan. Grind the onion in a blender,and keep aside.

Once the oil is sufficiently hot, shallow fry the fish pieces.
Keep the fried fishes aside. Add the onion paste in the hot oil, in which the fish was fried. Fry it, till it starts changing colour to a light golden. Then add the ginger garlic paste, and fry for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the dry spices and fry for around 2-3 minutes and then add the tamarind paste. Fry for another few minutes till everything is well integrated together.Add a cup of hot water to it to form the gravy and add the fried fish pieces. Add salt and cover and cook for around 7-10 minutes.
Then add the coconut milk and reduce the heat to medium. Cover and cook for around 10 minutes, till the gravy starts thickening.

 The gravy should have reddish colour and should not be runny, and yet not too thick. Check for seasoning and serve with steamed basmati rice.


Bon appetit !





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Nigella's Choco-Chip Muffins

Yes, yes, we all lust for Chocolate and we do lust a wee bit more when the culinary queen Nigella Lawson, whips up some Chocolate delicacies.So it was one of those days, when Hubby was working some extended hours at the workplace. I had already finished prepping two Mochas(Banana Blossoms) and cooking them with some coconut and shrimps, and still had some time in my hands. So I decided to indulge in some lust.And who else to follow when we talk of lust and indulgence: Nigella herself. With exactly 40 minutes to spare, I whipped up some Choco-Chip Muffins, for the super tired techie about to reach home.The tired face broke into a beaming smile when he reached home, and was greeted with the aroma of freshly baked muffins.

 CHOCO-CHIP MUFFINS: 
Makes about 12 muffins
Ingredients: 
Muffin pan lined with paper liners
Granulated Sugar: 3/4 cup
All purpose Flour: 1 3/4 cup
Cocoa Powder: 3 tbsp
Salt: 1 pinch
Vanilla Extract: 1 tbsp
Egg: 1 large
Canola Oil/ vegetable Oil: 1/3 cup
Baking Powder: 2 tbsp
Semi Sweet Choco-Chips: 3/4 cup plus some more for sprinkling on top
Milk: 1 cup

 Procedure: 
Pre-heat the oven to 400F. Line the muffin pan with paper liners.

Sift the dry ingredients through a fine sieve and mix them well.

In a another bowl, mix the wet ingredients together and whisk them well.



Mix the wet and dry ingredients together and add the choco-chips and whisk everything together.The batter will be quite thick.


Scoop out the batter into the paper lined muffin tin, filling only upto 3/4th of each. Sprinkle some more choco-chips on top.



As Nigella says, bake the muffins in a preheated oven for about 20 minute or until they are dark, risen and springy.

Enjoyyyy !!!


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Christmassy Bar-b-que:Cajun Chicken,Prawn Tikka and Tandoori Chicken

Hope all of u had a happy holiday season. A new year, a fresh new start. Well, not exactly a clean slate, but lots of space left to write on.Lots of great memories to make, and lots of plates to wipe clean. Hopefully this year shall be quite an adventure, in all aspects.  Well, now that I am finally out of the holiday mode, the heart is cribbing for all the holiday fun all the more. So why not let me take a few steps back, and relive Christmas Eve again.

Our California plans got shelved for a mishap.So for the first time, we had no plans, and there was a long holiday staring at us, right in front. So why not head to the 'Show Town of the Midwest,' Branson, in Missouri. The quaint little city, known for its shows and for having the biggest collection of Christmas Lights in the US. So it was Branson on the GPS. Picked a few neighbours, rented a van, booked a log cabin by the lake, and off we went to relax.

Despite driving all the way, Hubby as usual wanted to begin the vacation by cooking for us. Why not?! The grill at the deck of the cabin was waiting just for him.And weren't  we already carrying quite a load of  marinated meat and sea food. So the magician started his magic on the fire.


The December chill, the festive cheer in our hearts, the warmth of the leaping flames, the serenity of the lake in front: it was the perfect start to the holiday season.




Chicken breasts, seasoned with Cajun, Cayenne Pepper and Salt, and lemon juice hit the grill first. The chicken breasts had been cut in half and then scored diagonally so as to evenly cook them, and also for the marinade to sink in better. This was the first course of the chicken, and so had a dry rub going with it, while the second course had been marinating in Tandoori glory since the night before. The aroma of the meat on the flames even brought a stray mongrel around our cabin. The sizzle of the meat, the smokey aromas wafting through our noses, just set the right mood.
Cajun Chicken being grilled to perfection 

It had started to get dark, and the grilling had just about started. There were two more courses to hit the fire. Did I also mention that we had suddenly become super hungry. That is what the lure of good food does to you, I guess.

Once the first course was off the fire, it was decided that we start off eating, while the next few courses met their fate at the grill, under the expert's supervision. Tandoori Chicken always finds a place whenever Desis hit the grill usually. So it was for us as well. Only this time, we also had skewers full of Prawn Tikka to add some more crunch to the plate. The prawns and the Chicken drum sticks were marinated overnight. The marinade included yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, salt, canola oil, Tandoori Masala. I had made some slits to the chicken drumsticks before marinating them, so that the marinade worked better on the meat. After the marinated drumsticks were grilled, it was time for the prawns. In a typical Prawn Tikka style, the prawns were pierced on bamboo skewers, along with slices of bell pepper, red onions and cherry tomatoes. Before being used, the bamboo skewers had been soaked in water, so that they did not get charred when they hit the grill. When served with a dash of lemon juice and some chaat masala, I almost forgot I was not in my homeland.
Tandoori Chicken
 Needless to say, when my Iron Chef takes over kitchen responsibilities, everyone around is a happy soul. The  double course chicken and the seafood were grilled to perfection. The food was so good, that we forgot to photograph half of the things. Well, I have a confession to make in this regard. I was the one who had volunteered to click away while Hubby cooked, and I got too busy eating, and forgot about the DSLR hanging from my neck. But no regrets, as the food was phenomenal.


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