Peas and Scallion Rice

I had peas. I had scallions. And I was awfully bored to cook a detailed meal.
I’m sure, by now I’ve established myself as a super-lazy cook…but, with astute shortcuts to healthy and delicious food 😛
Peas and Scallion RicePreparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 4

2 cups long grain/ basmati rice
A cup of chopped spring onions (scallions)
A cup of frozen / fresh peas
2 cups Vegetable / chicken stock. Normal water will also do
1 cinnamon stick
2 tsps freshly ground black pepper
Oil for frying
Salt to taste

1. Wash and drain the rice. Boil the stock and keep aside
2. Heat oil in a pan, add the scallions and stir
3. Pop in the cinnamon stick and let its flavor release
4. Next, add the rice, peas, salt and pepper and give it a stir
5. Pour in the boiled stock and cook it on a slow flame, lid on
6. Should be done in 10 minutes.

P.S.: Soup cubes are readily available in groceries. Boil the veg/chicken cubes in plain water to make the stock.

They say there are no shortcuts to success. I say, there certainly are a million, when it comes to lazy yet yummy, healthy and comforting meals 🙂

Fifteen Minutes Creamy Mushroom Sauce

Trust me. It is done in fifteen minutes.
Read on…
Creamy Mushroom SaucePreparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
Serves: 3

200 gms button mushrooms, cleaned and cut into quarters. Smaller ones, cut in halves
2 medium-size onions, finely chopped
400 ml light cream/ fresh cream
3 tbsp Oil (or as needed)
1 tsp freshly ground pepper
Salt as per taste

1. Heat oil in a pan and add onions
2. Fry till soft and translucent
3. Toss in the mushrooms and stir
4. Pour in the cream
5. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for couple of minutes till the sauce bubbles away

Isn’t that shamelessly simple! 🙂
The sauce is best friends with a juicy steak. I plated it with my humble Peas and Scallion Rice. Awesome!
Life’s too short to be anything but happy. And such food, is insane happiness…

Exotic Mushroom Fried Rice In Fish And Oyster Sauce

When it comes to cooking, I make every conscious effort to cook my dish that looks and tastes a notch higher than I’d cooked it earlier. My exotic mushroom fried rice is kind of an ode to its otherwise simpler version. Topped with scallions, french beans and peanuts, there’s a lot of crunch happening here.
It’s a disastrously awesome, generously comforting, one big happy dish that not just looks, but tastes a million bucks.
Doesn’t that look exotic!!! 🙂
Exotic Mushroom Fried RicePreparation time: 20 minutes (I’m a slug when it comes to chopping 😛 )
Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Serves: 4

2 cups long grain / jasmine rice. Cook and keep aside.
1 packet mushrooms (about 200 grams)
2 eggs, scrambled
Half a bunch of spring onions or scallions, finely chopped
4-5 tbsps garlic, finely chopped (I love a lot of it)
1 red chili, finely chopped
1 cup chopped french beans
1 tsp aginomoto (optional)
2 tbsps fish sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
3 tbsps soy sauce
Oil for frying
Salt as per taste

1. Heat oil in a pan, add garlic and fry till it’s aromatic.
2. Add mushrooms, aginomoto, salt and the sauces. Stir and cook till the mushrooms are soft but not overcooked.
3. In a seperate pan, scramble eggs.
4. Time to build – tumble in the cooked rice, chili, beans, spring onions and scrambled eggs. Toss /stir in a way everything comes together without hurting the rice.
5. Give it a taste test. Add more salt if needed.
6. Garnish with chopped scallions and red chili.
7. Sprinkle roasted peanuts for that extra nuttiness and crunch.
P.S.: Replace the mushrooms with prawns or chicken. Or just add either or both them as toppings and it’ll taste equally great.
Vegetarians – ditch the eggs, fish and oyster sauce.

If this doesn’t make you happy, you, my friend are miserable 🙂

Tender Slow-cooked Chicken Curry

We always tend to rain praises over the tender, melt-in-the-mouth delectable chicken dishes that we so relish in restaurants. Slow cooking is the secret! It’s the perfect way to cook chicken that’s packed with flavor, is far from chewy and just melts in your mouth.
The chicken I bought this time was adequately adiposed 🙂 .This only helped add oodles of flavor to gravy. The spices, coriander, juices from the melting fat… all create an amazing ecosystem for the chicken to cook.
Slow cooked chickenPreparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 1.15 hrs
Serves: 3

Chicken – half kg, cut into medium chunks
4 tbsp Vegetable oil
3 medium-sized onions, finely chopped
1 green / red chili, finely chopped
2 big tomatoes, charred and pureed (charring gives that added flavor). You can also use tinned tomatoes
1 big bunch of coriander, finely chopped along with stems
2 tbsp garlic paste
3 tsps kashmiri chili powder
1 tsp garam masala powder (add more if you like it hot)
2 tsps coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tbsp finely crushed black pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
2 cups water
Salt to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 200 deg.
2. Rub the chicken with pepper powder and lemon juice and leave it aside to marinate.
3. Heat oil in a heavy bottom, oven-friendly pan.
4. Add chopped onions, chili, garlic paste and fry. Sprinkle a pinch of salt to soften.
5. Add chopped coriander and fry till the onions are translucent and the mixture is gravy-ish and aromatic.
6. Add all the spice powders and fry for a minute, till the spices start releasing their aromas.
7. Add the pureed tomatoes and simmer.
8. Lastly add the marinated chicken, salt and water and cook on slow flame for 2-3 minutes.
9. Cover the pan with aluminium foil and leave it in the oven for 55 minutes.
10. Squeeze a bit of lime, garnish with coriander and serve hot with fragrant basmati rice or butter laden parathas.

The aroma that wafts when you lift the foil…aah!!! it’s worth a million bucks!

P.S.: Don’t chuck the coriander stems. Cook them. They are stocked with flavors and the results are magical.
Same with the fat. The juices from the fat add flavor to the gravy and keep chicken moist and tender.

Creamy Potato Gratin

Sometimes, many times, names of the dishes are so ornate and exotic, they just seem out-of-the-world, elusive and very very difficult to make. But really, they are not.
Like this one where potato rules. Originated in France and sounds so fancifully European, but with all the readily available shelf ingredients, it can be easily made back home.
Potato Gratin 1Preparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 45-50 minutes
Serves: 4

1 kg Potatoes
600 ml double cream
4 cloves of garlic
Knob of butter
Salt and Pepper for seasoning

1. Preheat the oven to 190 deg.
2. Rub the baking tray with butter and leave aside.
3. Bruise the garlic cloves, just a bit, so they release their flavors. Don’t pound them.
4. Heat the cream and garlic and let it simmer (don’t boil). Remove from the heat and let the flavors infuse for 10 minutes.
5. Slice the potatoes 2 mm thick with a knife. Mandolin makes the job easier. Skin them if you wish. I prefer them with skin.
6. Now, layer the bottom of the tin with these slices. Season this layer with salt and pepper.
7. Similarly, use up all the slices to form layers, seasoning every layer each time you go.
8. After all the slices have been layered, pour the garlic infused cream on the top and let it run down all the nooks and crannies.
9. Bake for around 50 minutes. You’ll see the surface bubbling away and gorgeously golden.
10. Do the knife test. If, it goes through without resistance, your gratin is done.
Potato Gratin 2Such an intersection of simplicity and flavors! Long live the Potato!!!

Banana Chocochip Muffins

More than I love eating muffins, I love making them. Reason – they are the fruits of, well, totally no labor 😛
My Banana Chocochip muffins are notoriously dark, incredibly moist and ridiculously yum. Love the way the dark shiny inside peeks from the crevices. Banana gives that needed moistness and extra flavor, while the choc-chips just melt in your mouth with every bite.
Banana Chocochip MuffinsPreparation time: 15 minutes
Baking time: 15 – 20 minutes
Makes: 12 muffins

3 ripe or overripe bananas
100 gms chocolate chips. Add more if you wish.
2 large or 3 small eggs
125 ml vegetable oil
100 gms granulated or castor sugar
225 gms plain flour
3 tbsps cocoa powder. sifted
1 tbsp soda bicarb
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and line the muffin tin with cases. (Bake in 2 batches if you have a 6 case tin)
2. Mash the bananas by hand. I leave little lumps. You’ll feel the difference when you eat them.
3. Add the oil.
4. Add the eggs and sugar and mix.
5. In a seperate bowl, mix the dry ingredients – flour, cocoa powder, cinnamon powder, soda bicarb.
6. Now add this mixture, beating gently, to the banana mixture.
7. Spoon the mixture into prepared muffin cases.
8. Bake for 15-20 minutes or till they rise out of their cases and the surface looks cracked.
9. Let them sit in the tin for few minutes before resting them on to the wire rack to cool.