Butter Chicken

 

Here is a recipe that I’ve built after much experimentation. Every time I was cooking my kids would ask for Butter Chicken. This creamy, rich, mildly spicy, mildly sweet and yummy dish was often relegated to dining out and mostly inconsistent taste – every restaurant seemed to have its own recipe. Some recipes were legendary and SECRET. Some were ordinary – too creamy or too sweet. Some were downright awful – sweet, excessively creamy and usually very heavy on the stomach. Many recipe books gave you a recipe that would either take an eternity to cook or would be just terrible. Personally, I’ve found Butter Chicken overrated but nothing that my kids love so much can be overrated. It has to be recreated in my kitchen. And my kids must swear by my recipe! This is one such recipe. It is simple and it works like a dream. Here it is…

Ingredients

Marination
1 kg Chicken (with bone) or 750g Boneless – you choose
4 tbsp Ginger -Garlic paste
3 tbsp Red Chilli powder (vary depending on how spicy you want it)
3 tbsp Coriander powder (Dhaniya powder)
2 tsp Garam Masala powder
1 tsp Sugar (can be reduced)
1 cup Hung Curd or Greek Yoghurt
1-3/4 cups Tomato Puree
1/2 cup Fried Onions
1/2 cup Mint leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Coriander leaves, chopped
1 tbsp Kasuri Methi
Salt, to taste

To cook
3-4 tbsp Butter / Ghee or Oil
2 Cinnamon sticks  (dalchini)
4 Green Cardamoms (Chhoti Elaichi)
1 leaf Mace (Javitri)
1/4 cup Fresh Cream

Procedure

  1. Mix all ingredients for marinade together. Mix well and ideally keep refrigerated for at least 30 mins to 1 hour. Remove from refrigerator at least 20 mins before you begin cooking.
  2. In a deep pan heat the butter/ghee/oil and fry the Cinnamon, Cardamom and Mace for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the marinated chicken. Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer for approximately 20-25 mins until the chicken is done.
  4. Take the pan off the heat and gradually add cream. Mix quickly so that it gets incorporated into the gravy and does not curdle.
  5. Bring the pan back to heat. Simmer for 5 minutes and let the chicken rest for another 5 minutes.
  6. Garnish with ginger juliennes and a little kasuri methi. Serve hot with roti, naan or plain rice.

And thats it!

 

 

 

 

 

Yusuf’s Kate Masale Ka Gosht

 My father-in-laws secret recipe revealed!

This is a recipe that my father-in-law Yusuf Husain has perfected. It is his secret recipe – one which he rarely shares with others! Even if he does share it you can be sure that he will leave out some important detail.   I have ‘cracked’ the recipe after many unsuccessful attempts and after much cajoling. It was cooked last night and everybody loved it. Yusuf saab approved of the preparation and finally welcomed me to the family secret!

Ingredients

1 kg Mutton / Lamb, big pieces
10-12 Medium Onions, thick slices
12 Garlic cloves,  roughly chopped
3 tbsp Ginger, chopped
2 Bay Leaves (tej patta)
5 Black Cardamoms (badi elaichi)
2  Cinnamon Sticks (dalchini)
15 Whole Black Pepper Corns (kali mirch)
12 Whole Dried Red Chillies
Salt, to taste
75 gms Yoghurt, beaten
4-5 tbsp Ghee or Oil

Procedure

  1. Heat ghee/oil in a saucepan. Take approximately half the quantity of onions and sauté until golden brown.
  2. Add mutton, bay leaves, black cardamoms, cinnamon sticks, pepper corns, red chillies and 1.5 tsp salt.
    Sauté on high flame until the meat changes color.
  3. Add garlic and ginger. Sauté for another 5 minutes.
  4. Add the remaining onions. Mix well and sauté for about 1 minute.
  5. Seal the vessel. Cook for approximately 45-50 minutes on low flame. In case you are using a pressure cooker, wait for 3 whistles and then let the meat rest while pressure is totally released from the cooker.
  6. Open the lid and you will see that onions are totally liquefied and the meat has been simmering in the liquefied onions.
  7. On medium heat sauté the meat until most of the liquid has evaporated.
  8. Reduce heat and add yoghurt. Mix well. Cover the vessel once again (not under pressure) and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the meat is totally done.
  9. Let the meat rest for at least 15-20 minute before serving.

This is perhaps one of the most delicate, delicious and wholesome meat recipes I have come across. The cooking of meat in the onion gravy is the key to a successful result.

You can also follow the same recipe for Kate Masale Ka Chicken. With chicken you have to be careful that you do not overcook and that onions, ginger and garlic are chopped into smaller pieces to allow the onion gravy to form faster.

The red chillies and browning of the onions lend this dish its distinct reddish color. Excessive browning will make the dish very dark and some people prefer it that way.  You can add approximately 1 tbsp roasted and roughly pounded coriander seeds after adding the yoghurt. This adds a little extra bite but many people do not enjoy the distinct coriander flavor. Try it or give it a miss, but this is one recipe that you must try!

Enjoy this with rotis, naan or steamed rice. I prefer devouring this recipe without any of these!

Mirchi ka Salan – my style!

Ingredients

10 ‘Bhavnagri’  Green Chillies / Large Green Chillies, sliced or slit lengthwise
1/2 cup Peanuts
1 tsp Sesame seeds (Til)
1 tsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
2 tsp Coriander seeds (Dhania)
1/2 cup Grated coconut
2 Medium Onions, roughly sliced
3 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
2 tsp Tamarind paste
1 cup Yoghurt 
5 tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
Water

Procedure

  1. Roast the sesame seeds, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and peanuts. Keep aside to cool.
  2. Take 1 tbs oil in a pan. Fry the sliced onions until they turn transparent. (Do not let them turn brown). Keep aside to cool.
  3. Blend the fried onions, grated coconut, roasted peanuts, sesame seeds, cumin seeds and coriander seeds to a paste. Add some water (approx 1/4 cup) to make the blending easier.
  4. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Fry the chillies for approx 4-5 minutes on a medium flame. Keep the chillies aside.
  5. In the same pan heat the remaining oil. Fry the blended masala paste with ginger-garlic paste and tamarind paste for approximately 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add the yoghurt to this and mix. Make sure the yoghurt is completely incorporated into the paste.
  7. Add the fried chillies to this. Mix and add 1 cup of water.
  8. Boil for 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and keep the pan covered for 5 minutes.
  9. Serve with paratha or rice.

I love the Bhavnagari chillies for their correct amount of ‘hotness’. You can use any other variety of green chillies. You can also de-seed them to make the chillies milder. The real fun though is in the salan. It is tangy, hot and delicious. Replace the chillies with eggplant and you have Baingan ka salan!

I am not sure about the authenticity of this recipe but I know that it is truly delicious. Try it!

 

Non-Spicy Cabbage Poriyal – Simple, light and vegetarian!

cabbage-2Ingredients

1 Medium Cabbage, chopped
3 tsp Oil
1 tsp Mustard seeds
2 tsp Urad Dal
8-10 Curry Leaves
2 tsp Turmeric powder (Haldi)
Salt, to taste
1/2 Grated coconut
Water

Procedure

  1. Heat the oil. Add the urad dal to this.
  2. When urad dal turns brownish add mustard seeds.
  3. When the mustard seeds begin to sputter add curry leaves and turmeric powder. Fry for 2-3 mins.
  4. Add the cabbage. Mix well.
  5. Add salt and approx 1/2 cup water. Cook without covering until cabbage is fully cooked.
  6. Add grated coconut. Fry for 1 minute. Serve hot.

So simple. That is what I love about this dish. Quick, attractive, delicious, light and great with hot phoolkas. You can sprinkle lemon juice on this before serving.

Since my mother is unable to tolerate spicy food my recipe does not include red chilli powder and coriander powder. You can add these along with turmeric powder. I still prefer the masale-free version.

Broken Wheat Upma

daliya-upmaIngredients

1 cup Broken Wheat (Daliya)
3 tsp Oil
2 Medium Onions, chopped
2 Medium Carrots, chopped
2 Medium Potatoes, chopped
2 Green Chillies, chopped
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
10-12 Curry leaves
2 tsp Chana Dal
2 tsp Urad Dal
1/2 tsp Turmeric powder (Haldi powder)
1/2 cup Yoghurt, beaten
3 cups Water
Salt, to taste

Procedure

  1. Soak and wash the broken wheat thoroughly. Boil around 5 cups of water. Blanche the broken wheat in the boiling water for approximately 5 mins. Drain and keep aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker. Fry the chana dal and urad dal until light brown.
  3. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  4. When they begin to sputter add chopped onions. Cook until the onions turn translucent.
  5. Add the chopped green hillies,  potatoes and carrots. Fry for around 1-2 mins.
  6. Add turmeric powder. Fry for another 2-3 mins.
  7. Add salt. Stir.
  8. Add 3 cups of water. Mix.
  9. Reduce heat. Add the yoghurt and mix well. Add more water if required.
  10. Cover the pressure cooker with a lid. Cook under pressure for 2 whistles.
  11. Allow the steam to escape. Open lid. Adjust the salt. Cook for approx 2 minutes or until excess water dries up.
  12. Garnish with fresh, chopped coriander, nuts. Squeeze half a lemon. Serve hot!

My variation of a great, hearty breakfast. Healthy, tasty and wholesome. You can add green peas if desired. Adding a spoonful of fresh ghee is also yummy!

Rogan Josh – straight from the valley!

roganjosh

Ingredients

1 kg Mutton, cut into large pieces
1 tbsp Garlic, ground
2-3 large Onions ground into paste
5 tsp Turmeric powder (Haldi)
8 Green cardamoms (Chhoti Elaichi)
8 Cloves (Laung)
5 tsp Kashmiri Red Chilli Powder, mixed with 1 cup water
¾ cup Ghee
2.5 litres Water
a few strands of saffron, mixed in warm water
½ tsp Black Pepper powder (Kali Mirchi Powder)

Procedure

  1. Fry the onion paste in 3 tbsp Ghee/Oil until golden brown. Keep aside
  2. Boil the mutton in water. Keep removing all the scum with a ladle.
  3. Once the water is clean, add salt and ground garlic. Boil until mutton is half cooked.
  4. Remove the mutton pieces from the water and wash in running cold water. Keep aside.
  5. Strain the water through a fine sieve and pour into a fresh pan.
  6. Bring this water to a boil and add meat to it.
  7. Heat the ghee in another pan. Add cloves (laung) to the hot ghee.
  8. When the cloves begin to crackle, sprinkle around 1 tbsp water and immediately cover the pan. (This has to be done very carefully and quickly) . Keep the pan covered.
  9. Now add green cardamoms, clove flavored ghee, turmeric powder and fried onion paste (prepared in step 1) to the mutton.
  10. Mix and bring to a boil. Boil for approx 10-12 mins on high flame.
  11. Now add the kashmiri red chilli mixed in water to this. Mix well. Bring to a boil.
  12. Cover and cook on simmer until the mutton is totally cooked.
  13. Add the saffron and black pepper powder. Mix well. Cover and simmer for 10 mins.
  14. Keep the pan covered and let the mutton rest for approximately 20-30 minutes before serving.

The totally authentic Kashmiri preparation includes the very Kashmiri ingredient mawal (dried cockscomb flower) heated with around 1 cup water. I was unable to find this in the market and hence omitted this. The recipe was a huge success last night. We had our friends Mukul and Shalini over from Delhi. Lots of the excellent Sula Dindori Shiraz and then sumptuous Rogan Josh with simple steamed rice. Wonderful meal that was completed by some amazing gazak that my father-in-law had ‘procured’ from Lucknow. Mazaa aa gaya – kasam se!

Mutton Kolhapuri – nothing subtle about this one!

mutton kolhapuri -3INGREDIENTS

1 kg Mutton, medium sized pieces
3 large Potatoes, cut into large pieces
1 ½ tsp Turmeric powder
2 tbs Ginger-Garlic paste
5 large Tomatoes, chopped
3 large Onions, chopped
½ Coconut, grated
10 pcs Cloves (Laung)
8-10 pcs Whole Red chillies
2 tsp Poppy seeds
2 tsp Fennel seeds (saunf)
2 tsp Coriander seeds
2 tsp Peppercorns
½ cup Oil
Salt, to taste

PROCEDURE

  1. Thoroughly mix salt, turmeric powder and ginger-garlic paste into the meat. Keep aside for at least  45 mins.
  2. Heat 3-4 tbs of oil in a pan. Add the poppy seeds, coriander seeds, fennel seeds and red chillies. Fry until the poppy seeds just begin to turn brown.
  3. Add the chopped onions. Fry until light brown.
  4. Add the grated coconut and fry for about 1 minute.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and fry (bhunno continuously) until the oil begins to separate from the masala.
  6. Cool the masala. Blend to a fine paste. Kolhapuri Masala is now ready.
  7. Heat the remaining oil in a pressure cooker. Add the marinated mutton pieces and potatoes. Fry until they turn brownish.
  8. Add the Kolhapuri Masala prepared above. Mix well. Add approximately 2-3 cups of water. Bring to a boil. Cover.
  9. Cook the mutton under pressure on low heat for around 4-5 whistles (depending on the tenderness of the meat).
  10. Wait for all the pressure to be released, then open the lid.
  11. Add chopped fresh coriander and mix.

 While I enjoy subtle flavors and aromatic cuisines, this Mutton Kolhapuri was a welcome change. There is nothing subtle or gentle about it but it is simply delicious. You can use the Kolhapuri masala for chicken, vegetables  or paneer but I think the robust flavors come out best with red meat. Eat this with the traditional Maharashtrian bread bhakri or the sinful, deep fried wada. As usual I prefer it with my staid, slightly crisp phoolka.

Jowar Bhakri
Jowar Bhakri

Cooked this mutton kolhapuri for my wife last night. I  was showered with a lot of rekindled  love, affection and a much needed foot massage. Maybe it was the poppy seeds! Or the excellent new wine from the Dindori region of Nashik. This region produces some excellent grapes and the wines from here are excellent. Sula Dindori Reserve and Chateau d’Ori are two brands that use grapes from this region. While the Sula Reserve is truly the pick of Indian wines, this new one is also quite good. Cheers!

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

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!