Do-Pyaza: Tale of Two Onions or is it ?? !! When I had first heard the name of Chicken Do-Pyaza, in my childhood, I was certain that this particular dry Chicken dish was made only with two onions.The Chicken was juicy and succulent in a somewhat dry gravy with caramelised slivered onions, which had the inherent heat of black pepper. A somewhat popular joint in Central Kolkata in the 1980s used to serve up the best of Do-Pyaza, and I still drool, when my mind travels back to those tasty food memories. Do-Pyaza was not one of those dishes which Mom usually made at home, which only meant that we would only savor it when we went out dining to that particular Central Kolkata joint. My misconceptions, about how this dish was concocted, grew on with me.Till about a few years back, when I was invited to a dinner at a colleague's place, I knew how wrong I had been all these years It was not exactly TWO onions which made the somewhat dry gravy, but it was the fact that onions were added TWICE in the cooking process. And that was enough inspiration for me to give a try at making Do Pyaza at home the very next weekend. My room mate had approved it with a beaming smile, and I knew I had done justice to my memories of this chicken goodness.That was then, and now a few years down the line, with loads of improvements,Do Pyaza is totally up my alley now.  
After doing my groceries, a few days back, the bag of onions gave me the idea, to re-create Do-Pyaza. While this is a preparation which can be done with any proteins, I usually stick to Chicken. Old habits die hard, after all. I used the bone-in pieces as they tend to be tastier in gravies. While the highlight of this recipe is Onions, the drawback of this recipe(according to some) also relates to Onions.The amount of onions one needs to chop in making Do-Pyaza. No wonder, my cousin never makes this at home, given her apathy towards chopping onions. For me, the case is a bit different. I have a thing for Red Onions, and usually stick to it, while cooking Indian food. Its like an unspoken bond between red onions and Indian recipes. The same can never be said about the white or the yellow onions, which are definitely much sweeter. My only problem is that,Onions become like spinach when they hit the oil,in terms of wilting. Maybe this is my misconception, or maybe not.So one has to add a bit more, when they reduce in volume greatly.So load up on Red Onions, your choice of protein and some dry spices and serve up Do-Pyaza.  


Onions, onions and more onions: 

Red Onion: 3 large: Cut in slivers
Chicken: 1 whole, cut into medium sized pieces. 
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Garlic paste: 1tbsp
Coriander Powder: 1tbsp
Black Pepper Powder: 1tsp
Black Pepper whole: around 10
Red Chili Powder: 1/2 tsp(adjust according to heat preferences)
Yogurt: 1/2cup: beaten 
Canola Oil: 5-6 tbsp 

Marinate the chicken in the beaten yogurt for at least an hour. 

In a large pan, add around 3tbsp of oil, and add half the onion slivers. Fry them till they turn translucent. 

Once the colour of the onions start to change, add in the minced chilies and ginger-garlic. Fry them a bit, till you get the aroma of the spices, but they dont get burnt. 

Add in the marinated chicken, the dry spices and black peppercorns, and mix everything very well. 
Cook uncovered for around 5 minutes or so, on medium high heat, stirring frequently. 

Meanwhile fry the rest of the onion slivers in another pan and drain them on paper towels. Cover and cook the chicken till it  is almost 3/4th done. Then add in the fried onions and mix well. The Do-Pyaza connect !!! 

Cover and cook till the chicken is done and the gravy has almost dried up. Serve with rotis or steamed rice. 

Enjoy !!!! 

The Boys Met The Grill

Who doesn't like Grilling and who doesn't like Bobby Flay ! Given the fact that I am such a huge fan of both,my mind would probably mumble, not many. No wonder that I still watch the re-runs of  'Boy meets Grill' every Summer. And which Girl does not like a Boy Who Loves to Grill ?? !!! So when the local boys tried to be like Bobby for a day, it was a day of  feasting for sure. Just think of a protein, and before you even suggest it, you see, that its already hit the grill. Now that's what a proper day off from the kitchen, should always be like !!! The boys had been planning this Grilling Session for quite a long time, but the Weather Gods had been playing hooky.A cold wave, sudden thunderstorms, too many postponed dates, ultimately led to a not too warm Saturday,where it was all about Grilling. The reservations at a local park were finally finalized, albeit a few months late.

The date was fixed, the menu was all inclusive, and the Boys were ready to take over the Park. 

The dancing flames, had to give way to a steadier glow. Did I hear Hubby mumbling,: "Come on Baby, Light my Fire!" Maybe it was just my hungry stomach leading my brain to Wonderland. Whenever the man hits the grill, its one delicious plate or the other. So my mind, my tummy, my senses were all playing tricks with me. 

So what hit the grill first: Chicken ! But the Poultry talk can wait, for now ! I cannot help, but  get a bit biased  and partial here. The first mention has to be of the star of the show. 

It was no wonder that the first course that Hubby grilled was simply Orgasmic. Now that was not my imagination, and my love struck mind, but the unanimous opinion of the entire party.Had there been more bacon and marinade left, then I am sure, we would have tried to haul up some shrimps from Shawnee Mission Lake itself, and grill some more. 

Bacon Wrapped Shrimp by Debashish !  

Succulent Gulf Shrimps which had been marinated in hubby's special marinade of ginger paste, lemon juice, lemon zest, paprika and cayenne pepper and salt. After an overnight marination, bacon was wrapped around the shrimps and onto the skewers they went. Red bell pepper and red onion completed the party and added a nice texture at every bite. The Shrimp had already become like a Ceviche in the marinade, and magic happened when it hit the grill. As the shrimps started getting a char, the bacon started to caramelise and melt into the shrimp almost. Orgasm it was surely, of the bacon and the shrimp !! No wonder, people polished it off so quick ! 

The man knows what he is doing, and if its the grill, than he knows it a bit better than most others. The second course from my boy was Pork Chops with Red Wine, Garlic and Sea Salt ! 

Every meal gets better with some piggy goodness, doesn't it ! 

The way we had been gorging, we were already full, but there were three more courses left . Not to forget a few trays of Garden Salad and quite a lot of Mashed Potatoes with French Onion Gravy. Well, we had the whole to us, and even half the night. So there was enough time, to savor it all. 

Coming back to the Poultry talk, it was decided that the Tandoori Chicken drum sticks by Subhabrata would be the ones, which would hit the grill first. 

We, Desis, have to have our Tandooris and our Tikkas, if there's a grill around. The drumsticks was juicy, well cooked, and the right desi kick to the barbecue. The mint sauce and the garden salad completed the plate. Before I knew it, I was already reaching for the second drumstick. Well, I hope I did not polish off someone else's portion. 

Next to follow was Filet Mignon by Subhajyoti !  

The fact that dry rubs and barbecue sauces do marry well,when done the right way, was proven by these medium rare filet mignons, wrapped in bacon. It was the perfect blend of Memphis and Kansas City style of barbecue.

Last but not the least, were the Haryali Kebabs By Garbita And Aryadeep! Juicy and tender chicken kebabs marinated in Yoghurt, Mint and Coriander paste, salt and green chili paste. While we(read: the other girls) had steered clear of the grilling chores, she had prepped the kebabs for her boy to grill. Hence could not but help, give her the due credit for the Kebabs ! She did a great job !!

Now all this raving and ranting about such good food, has made me hungry again !! Have to convince the 
boys to meet the grill again soon. 

Bon Appetit !!



As I sit down to pen this post, I scribbled an addition to my weekend grocery list. Get 'IT 'again ! The Mystery Ingredient, which is transforming my kitchen in to Kitchen Stadium for the last few days. It all started off with some Smoked Salmon on crackers for a weekend dinner.But the saga continues in full swing.Omelets, Burgers, and what not !!! So why not some Quesadillas,we thought. Ever since I since I have picked up the large chunk of Gouda, I have been cheating my conscience into ODing myself with cheese. I keep convincing my guilty conscience that I am not just polishing it off with wine, but I am also using it as an ingredient in different dishes. The things we do, to cheat our way through our diets. But all is fair when it comes to such good cheese, isn't it ! Its meant to savored in as many ways possible. Given the fact, I have a partner who feels the same way, just makes it easier for me. The Quesadillas with the desi touch became such a hit, when hubby took them for lunch, the next day, that we are having a Quessadilla Party, this weekend. Everyone wants a slice of  it.Touchdown !!!

It was Hubby's idea for some Desi style Mexican delights, which led to a tasty start to the week.Who goes wrong when you have such a decadent hunk of Cheese.I know, what you must be thinking. Why such an unusual choice of Cheese for making Quesadillas?! The choice should have been White or Yellow sharp Cheddar. Well,the smoked Gouda we picked up, has become super addictive for us. Hence, the Parm, the Feta, and the Cheddar took a backseat, for the whole of last week.Its a hunk of Smoked Dutch Gouda, which had been aged for 6 months. Not too long, but it has just the right bite, and the right creaminess, when you bite into it over some crackers and some good wine and some olives.It just gets better, when you melt it over some juicy Chorizo burgers or in some Quesadillas. Then you take a bite, you can only close your eyes, and mumble to yourself: Life is good !  

Tandoori Chicken in burgers, have been quite popular on many television shows.Even shredded Tandoori Chicken on Pita bread, for some fusion Gyros,have been raved and ranted about. So when hubby heard of some fusion Quesadillas, he suggested Tandoori Chicken, but with a twist.He marinated some Chicken thighs, in Tandoori Powder, Cayenne Pepper, Salt, and some Olive Oil.No, there was no quintessential Yogurt, in this Tandoori Party. The Olive Oil acted as a binder, making all the spices stick to the meat, as they marinated. Then off they went to the oven ! Midway, during the cooking process, he threw off the cooking liquid, which had accumulated in the baking dish. This prevented the chicken pieces from being soggy. Once the poultry was cooked to perfection, he let it cool down and shredded it, and then I assembled the quesadillas, as he got some good lemonade to go with dinner.Needless to say, the partnership of the Tandoori Chicken and the Smoked Gouda rocked the meal. 


Chicken Thighs or Chicken Breast: 1/2 lb
Onion: 1: cut into slivers
Bell Pepper: 1: cut into slivers
Tandoori Masala: 1 tbsp
Cayenne Pepper: 1 1/2 tsp(adjust according to heat preferences)
Olive Oil: A few tbsp for marination
Gouda Cheese: 1/2 cup: Grated (can also use Cheddar)
Cooking Spray or Canola Oil
Flour Tortillas: 4-6 medium sized ones.
Salt: to taste

Rub the chicken pieces with Olive Oil. Then marinate them in Cayenne Pepper, Salt and Tandoori Masala  for an hour at least.

Pre-heat the oven to 350F. Bake the chicken at 350F for around 25-30 minutes. Make sure to turn the chicken pieces, midway during the cooking process, and discard any cooking liquid which might have accumulated in the pan. Cook them till they are fork tender.

In the meantime, fry the onion and bell pepper slivers in some oil, till the onion slices turn translucent. If you want some extra heat, throw in some jalapeno slices too. Well, I had run out of bell peppers, hence I had to stick to just onion. Drain them on a paper towel and keep aside.

Cool the chicken and then shred them with two forks. Meanwhile, dry roast the tortillas on a skillet and keep aside.

Grate the cheese and keep aside.

For assembling the Quesadillas, take a non stick skillet and spray some cooking spray on it. In case you do not have cooking spray and then just add some vegetable oil or canola oil. Add in one tortilla, and then some chicken.

Some more chicken does not hurt.

Layer it with some fried onion and peppers.

Go generous with the cheese. Do not cringe please !

Top it with another Tortilla as you would do with a normal sandwich. Press the tortilla down a bit, so that the fillings do not tumble down in to the pan.

Turn it over and cook it on the skillet for around a minute.  Take the quesadilla off the flame and keep it in a baking dish. Repeat the same for the other tortillas and assemble the rest of the quesadillas.

Finally bake the Quesadillas in a 350F oven for around 3-4 minutes. The idea is to melt the cheese properly.

Cut in to 4 slices and serve hot.

Bon Appetit !!!



If Life give you lemons, you can either have Tequila or make some Lemony Shrimp Scampi Pasta. Spring is all about fresh tastes after all.What better way to enjoy Spring, than indulge in some Citrusy goodness.The preparations for last weekend's Barbecue party had been going on in my house.Since the boys had decided to take care of it all, I had not bothered to venture into the kitchen. While I was cleaning up my kitchen the day after, I found among, other things, a bunch of fresh Lemons.As I had run out of Tequila, so I could not take the easier route in using the lemons.Hence thought of whipping up a Spring dinner with some of them. We had been over loading ourselves with cheese for the last few days, so a lemony pasta sauce would be a great alternative.

Lemon Cupcakes are a favorite of mine, but I was thinking in slightly different terms.Operation Lemon was officially on board. Baking had to wait for the weekends.For a weekday evening, I had to think in easier terms.Food Network hosts had been ranting about Spring recipes, hence the inspiration came from there. The inspiration was Melissa d'Arabian's recipe.I knew how to make a basic Shrimp Scampi,but I had to improvise it a little bit.I decided to add in a few tit-bits from Hubby's bacon wrapped shrimp marinade. Lemon zest and lemon juice work wonders, with shrimp. Hubby's lemony ginger bacon wrapped shrimp skewers at the barbecue,were quite a hit with the crowd.Dinner tonight was refreshingly light.And we landed up over eating.So much for portion control and purging the system.

Melissa's recipe had called for a home made shrimp stock,which she had made with some onion slices and the shrimp shells. The shrimps in my freezer were the cleaned variety, so I had to substitute the homemade shrimp stock with some store bought Chicken Stock.Paprika and Ginger amped up the heat in my dish, rather than Melissa's choice of Red Chili flakes.Well, the reviews for her recipe, had been criticised for the very same red chili flakes.Hence it was best to steer clear of it. I decided to add in Ginger, as it always works very well with shrimps. The sweetness of the shrimps is contrasted very well by the pungency of the ginger. I am not much of a parsley fan either, so in came Thyme, as my herb of choice. I used fresh thyme leaves, which I tore off the stems. Cooking with the stems and then discarding the stems, before serving, is not my style of cooking. Despite all these permutations and combinations, it still had the signature shrimp scampi taste. What a lovely weekday dinner ! Very ideal for days, when you do not have much time in your hands.

Melissa d'Arabian's original recipe:

Here is my adaptation of it :
Lemon: 2: Zest and Juice
Spaghetti: 1/2 lb
Shrimp: Cleaned and De-veined: 1/2 lb
Butter: 2 tbsp
Thyme leaves: 1 tsp
Olive Oil: 3 tbsp
Paprika: 1 tsp or more if you want more heat
Ginger paste: 1 tbsp
Garlic paste: 1 tbsp
Salt : To taste
Chicken Stock: 1 cup
Pasta Water: 1/2 cup

Make a mixture of the olive oil, ginger paste, paprika, salt,juice and zest of one lemon, and whisk it well. Marinate the shrimp in this mixture overnight or at least for  a few hours.

Zest and juice the second lemon and keep aside.

In a large non stick pan, add in the prawns without the marinade, and cook them for a few minutes, till they change colour.

Boil the pasta with some salt ,according to package instructions, till they are al dente. Drain it in a colander. Reserve some of the pasta cooking water. Meanwhile, once the shrimps are cooked, keep them in a plate. Add in a tbsp of butter in the same pan.

Once the butter has melted, add in the minced garlic and fry it for around a couple of minutes.

 Add in the zest of the second lemon and mix well.

Add in the rest of the marinade and the thyme and cook it for around 2-3 minutes, stirring infrequently.

Once it starts bubbling mix in the rest of the lemon juice, chicken stock and the pasta water and cook it down, till the sauce reduces by half. Add in another tablespoon of butter. Check for seasoning, as the pasta water and the marinade itself had some salt. Lastly add in the shrimps to the sauce.

Add in the pasta to the sauce and shrimps and mix well.

Garnish with some more thyme, and serve hot. If you feel you have reduced the sauce, a bit too much, thin it down, with some more pasta water. The pasta water is starchy, and helps in binding the sauce to the pasta very well.

Enjoy lemony goodness.

Bon appetit !!