Chicken Breast in a Bag!

chicken in a bag

INGREDIENTS

2-3 Chicken Breasts
2-3 Baby Potatoes
2 Lemons
4 tbs Olive Oil
1 tbs Ginger Paste
1 tsp Fennel seeds, hand pounded (saunf)
2 cloves Garlic
2 tbs Dried Oregano
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Salt

PROCEDURE

  1. Pre-heat the oven to approx. 220°C.
  2. Make a bag placing 2 pieces of tin foil (large enough) on top of each other. Fold three sides and keep one side open.
  3. Flatten the chicken breasts with a mallet.
  4. Pierce the baby potatoes with a fork.
  5. Squeeze the lemon juice and reserve the lemon. Put these in a bowl.
  6. Add olive oil, crushed dried oregano, ginger paste, pounded fennel seeds, garlic, and black pepper to this.
  7. Put the chicken breasts and potatoes. Mix.
  8. Keep this mixture aside for around 45 minutes. (Longer the better!)
  9. Place this mixture in your foil bag. Seal the bag and place carefully on a roasting tray.
  10. Heat in the pre-heated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes.
  11. Remove from the oven. Break open the foil on the table.

Enjoy this simple recipe with pao, garlic bread or lemon rice. Experiment with different herbs like thyme, rosemary and vegetables like spinach, beans, mushrooms. You can also add fresh cream or white wine to the marinade to get delightful variations. Serve with a glass of good white wine.

Kadhai Paneer – A gujju favorite!

For the Kadhai Paste

INGREDIENTS7 tbs Coriander seeds
10 Dried Red chillies
3 tbs Garlic Paste
¼ cup Ginger, chopped
5 Tomatoes, chopped
4 tbs Ghee
1 tbs Dried fenugreek (Kasoori Methi)
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
Salt

PROCEDURE

  1. Dry- grind the coriander seeds and red chillies
  2. Heat the ghee in a kadhai (wok). Fry the garlic pasteon medium flame  till it turns golden brown.
  3. Fry the chopped ginger and coriander seeds- red chillies powder in this for around 45 seconds.
  4. Add the chopped tomatoes and salt. Mix and fry this on medium flame while stirring continuously.
  5. Fry till the ghee separates from the masala.
  6. Add the dried fenugreek (kasoori methi) and garam masala powder. Mix.
  7. Keep aside.

For the Kadhai Paneer

INGREDIENTS

500gms Fresh Cottage Cheese (Paneer), cut into medium size cubes
3 tbs Ghee
1 large Capsicum, deseeded and julienned
3 tsp Coriander seeds
5 Dried Red Chillies
Kadhai Paste (above)
A pinch of dried fenugreek (Kasoori Methi)
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
¼ cup Fresh coriander, chopped

PROCEDURE

  1. Dry grind the coriander seeds and dried red chillies to a fine powder.
  2. Heat the ghee in a kadhai (wok). Stir fry the capsicum on high flame for 30 seconds.
  3.  Add the chopped ginger and coriander-red chillies powder to this and fry on medium flame for around 1 minute.
  4. Add the Kadhai Paste prepared above. Fry till the oil separates from the masala. This should take around 4-5 minutes at the most.
  5. Add the paneer to this and mix gently. Cook while stirring gently for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Sprinkle the dried fenugreek (kasoori methi) and garam masala powder. Adjust the seasoning if required. Mix.
  7. Serve hot garnished with fresh chopped coriander.

This is quite a hit with my gujju guests!  Tastes just like the kadhai paneer you get in restaurants (better if I can be immodest!) and despite the gujju preference for this dish I must admit that it is truly delectable. Experiment with other vegetables for kadhai vegetable and also with chicken to get kadhai chicken. Just try it! It goes brilliantly with any hot, fresh bread.kadhai paneer

Dal Chicken (Chicken in a Red Lentil Sauce)

 dal chickenINGREDIENTS

1 kg Chicken, medium pieces, cleaned and washed
¼ cup Yoghurt
1 tbs Oil
2 tbs lemon juice
1-1/2 cup Water
Salt
1 tsp Turmeric powder (Haldi powder)
2 tsp Coriander powder (Dhania powder)
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
½ tsp Cumin seed powder (jeera powder)
½ tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
2 Medium Onions, chopped
2 Medium Potatoes, diced
½ cup Red Lentil (Masoor dal)
2 Medium Tomatoes, chopped
1 tbs Ginger, julienned

  1. Mix the chicken thoroughly with yoghurt, 1 tbs lemon juice, salt, turmeric powder, coriander powder and cumin powder. Marinate for approximately 45 minutes.
  2. In a pressure cooker heat the oil
  3. Fry the cumin seeds for a minute. Add the onions and sauté until golden brown.
  4. Add the marinated chicken and diced potatoes. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Now add the red lentils and chopped tomatoes. Cook on medium flame for a 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add water, bring to a boil. Cover the pressure cooker and lower the flame to low.
  8. Simmer under pressure for 2 whistles. Turn off the burner and let the steam release slowly on its own from the cooker.
  9. After all the steam has been released, open the lid and cook until the chicken is tender and the sauce is completely done. Adjust the salt. Stir continuously while cooking.
  10. Add the remaining lemon juice and mix. Sprinkle julienned ginger before serving.

This is again a light and unique recipe and tastes delightful.  I enjoy this with steamed kolam rice or any unpolished rice.  I am not very fond of the excessively refined basmati rice available in stores.  I also enjoy this mildly spiced dish with a good crisp paratha. Great recipe for those who are on diet and particularly for all those on high protein diets! You could also try this with lamb. Of course cooking times will vary. A tempering (tadka) of ghee, garlic, whole red chillies and a pinch of asafoetida (heeng) can be an interesting addition.

Hansal’s Palak Paneer

Yummy!
Yummy Palak Paneer!

INGREDIENTS

2 large bunches  Spinach (Palak), stems removed
250g Fresh Cottage Cheese (Paneer), chopped into medium cubes
4 tbs Oil
4 tsp Garlic, finely chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp Ginger, finely chopped
4 medium tomatoes, chopped
3 tsp Coriander Powder (Dhania Powder)
2 Green Chillies, deseeded and chopped
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
2 tsp Fresh Cream
Salt

PROCEDURE

  1. Boil 3-4 cups of water. In the boiling water put the spinach for exactly 1 minute.
  2. Strain the hot water and immediately cool the spinach in running cold water.
  3. Make a puree of the blanched spinach using a blender.
  4. Heat 2 tbs oil in pan. Add garlic and fry until golden.
  5. Add the spinach puree and salt. Sauté on medium flame until spinach is nearly cooked.
  6. Heat the remaining oil in another pan. Fry the onions until golden brown.
  7. Add the chopped ginger and fry for about 1 – 2  minutes.
  8. Add the chopped tomatoes, green chillies and coriander powder.  Sauté over medium heat until the oil separates from the masala.
  9. Add the cooked spinach and garlic puree to this. Mix. Add approximately 1 cup of water and bring to a boil.
  10. Mix and cook for 5 minutes on medium flame.
  11. Add the paneer cubes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
  12. Sprinkle the garam masala and mix. Cook for 1 minute.
  13. Remove the pan from heat and mix the fresh cream.
  14. Serve hot.

This is a mildly spiced recipe that is entirely my own. The blanching process is necessary to maintain the fresh green color of the spinach(palak) without adding stupid color. I try to avoid cream and also try to reduce the quantity of oil (if I am dieting!). Although I prefer using fresh and soft cottage cheese (paneer), my father-in-law prefers the cottage cheese (paneer) deep fried. Take your pick!

Lentil Cooked with Yoghurt

lentil in yoghurtINGREDIENTS
500gms Split Lentil (Arhar Dal)
1/4 cup  Hung yoghurt
2 tsp Ginger Juice
4 Cloves (Laung)
5-6 Green Cardamoms (Chhoti Elaichi)
1 stick Cinnamon (Dalchini)
4 tbs Ghee
2 Onions, sliced
1 tbs Lemon juice
1/4 tsp Saffron (kesar), dissolved in milk

PROCEDURE

1. Mix hung yoghurt and ginger juice. Set aside for 15 mins.
2. Grind the cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon to a fine powder. Sieve and keep aside
3. Boil the lentil with salt until almost cooked. Drain
4. Heat ghee in a pan; fry onions till golden brown
5. Remove 1/3rd onions to use later.
6. Add the powdered spices (cloves, green cardamom and cinnamon) and fry for 1 minute
6. Add lentil, yoghurt and ginger juice mixture, 1 cup of water. Cook on low heat
7. When lentil is soft and cooked, add lemon juice, saffron and the reserved onions. Cover
8. Cook on extremely slow heat for approximately 15-20 mins.

Tip : Try the same with red lentil (masoor dal).
Serve hot with pulao or phoolka or any bread. The dish is unique, simple and quite a royal treat!

Nahari Gosht

Delicious lamb dish. Has always been a major hit with guests. Mildly spiced, aromatic and delightfully traditional. Does not require any of the nonsense masalas available in the market.

Nahari Gosht - Never fails.

INGREDIENTS

750gms Leg of Spring Lamb
450gms Lamb chops
125gms Ghee
1-1/2 cups Onions
5 Green Cardamoms (Chhoti Elaichi)
5 Cloves (Laung)
2 Cinnamon sticks (Dalchini)
2 Bay Leaves (Tej patta)
2 tsp Coriander Powder (Dhania powder)
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder (Haldi powder)
Salt
4 tbs Ginger Paste
3 tbs Garlic Paste
150g Yoghurt
2-3 tsp Flour (Atta)
2-3 tsp Gramflour
2 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tsp Mace and Green Cardamom (Jaivitri and Chhoti Elaichi) powder
3-4 drops Vetivier (Kevda)

PROCEDURE

1. Slice half the onions.
2. Chop the remaining half of the onions
3. Whisk the yoghurt in a bowl
4. Clean lamb pieces
5. Heat 100gms Ghee in a  handi, add the sliced onions.
6.  Saute the onions until golden brown
7. Add lamb, chopped onions, cardamom, cloves, cinnamon and bay leaves. The onions will begin to liquify. Saute on high heat until all the liquid has evaporated.
8. Add coriander powder, red chilli powder, turmeric powder and salt. Stir.
9. Immediately add ginger paste and garlic paste. Saute on high heat until fat leaves the masala.
10. Add yoghurt, bring to a boil and reduce to medium heat.
11. Saute for approximately 10-12 minutes. The yoghurt will reduce considerably.
12. Add 3 cups (approx 750 ml) water and bring to a boil.
13. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally. Wait until the lamb is tender. If cooking in a pressure cooker, bring water to boil and cook under pressure for not more than 2 whistles.
14. Remove the pieces of meat from the gravy and keep aside.
15. Take the remaining ghee in a separate handi. Add the flour and gramflour. Saute briskly over low heat, stirring constantly, until light brown.
16. Add the separated gravy to these flours. Mix well, ensuring that there are no lumps.
17. Pass the thick gravy through a strainer into its original handi (clean the handi to ensure a smooth gravy)
18. Add the lamb pieces to the thick gravy. Bring to a boil.
19. Add the garam masala powder, mace and cardamom powder. Stir. Adjust the salt.
20. Add vetvier (kevda), cover and simmer for approximately 15 minutes.
21. Remove to a bowl and serve hot.

I prefer eating this with a nice, fluffy and slightly crisp phoolka. Keeps the meal light and the emphasis remains on the excellent meat!