Lucknowi Chicken Korma

Lucknowi cuisine has a unique identity and character of its own, just like the city of Nawabs where it was born. Lucknow was under rule of the Mughal Empire during the 16th century. The bawarchis or chefs of the Shahi kitchen were trained to cook an elaborate fair comprising high levels of dexterity and finesse. It was a meal fit for the kings.
The food was cooked on Dum, which means, on a low flame and this technique is used in the Lucknowi kitchens even today.
Korma is one of the famous dishes cooked using the dum technique. It’s a typical Mughal dish and its roots can be traced back to the 16th century as well. The edginess of Korma comes from the perfect blend of spices and dum style of cooking which incorporates the flavours perfectly into the meat.

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients:
Chicken breast – 500 gms
3 medium size onions – pureed
2 green chilies+ 1 inch ginger + 3 cloves garlic + few coriander leaves – marinating the chicken
1 tsp lime juice
1 bay leaf
3 cardamom pods
4 cloves
A piece of cinammon
2 tsps Kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp poppy seeds
2 tbsps cashewnuts
2 tbsps dessicated coconut
Ghee for frying
Salt for seasoning

Method:
1. Grind the marination ingredients into fine paste. Apply to the chicken along with lime juice and salt and let it sit aside.
2. Puree the onions.
3. Blitz poppy seeds, cashew-nuts and desiccated coconut into fine paste.
4. Heat ghee in a heavy bottom pan. Add the whole spices – bay leaf, cardamom, cinnamon and cloves. Fry on low till aromatic.
5. Spoon in the pureed onions and fry till the water in the puree evaporates.
6. Add chili powder, turmeric powder and fry on low for a bit.
6. Slowly tumble in the marinated chicken and add the ground cashew-nut paste.
7. Stir well so the chicken is covered thoroughly in the mixture.
8. Check for seasoning. Add salt if needed.
9. Lid on and simmer on low till the chicken is cooked and tender.
10. Garnish with raisins, chopped cashews and serve hot with Parathas, lime wedges and slices of onions.

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Flemish Beef and Beer Stew

It’s amazing how the places you visit just once, leave an indelible mark on you. From my last trip to Belgium, I packed a little bit of Bruges back home. Did you know Bruges is the chocolate capital of the world? Beer, comic books and fries are the first loves of a true-bred Belgian. And they go crazy over Mussels and…fries.
But, what you must try out as a first timer, is their Beef and Beer Stew. Accompanied with of course…the F R I E S 🙂
I was itching to try it out at home, and so I did. This of course, is a Googled recipe, but with a little twist of my own.
It poured last evening…thunderstorms, lightning and all. There couldn’t be a better way to keep warm and cooped up at home.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: Around 3 hours
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
1 kg stew beef (shoulder meat preferable)
2 large onions, roughly sliced
500 ml of dark beer
2 tbsp dark brown sugar
2 cloves
1 clove of garlic, minced
The recipe said 2 laurel leaves. I couldn’t find them in the supermarket. So I added 2 bay leaves.
3-4 sprigs of rosemary
2-3 sprigs of thyme
1 tsp of flour to thicken the gravy
A splash of balsamic vinegar
3 tbsps olive oil
2 tbsps butter
Salt & pepper for seasoning

Method:
1. Take a small piece of cheese cloth and tie the rosemary, thyme & cloves in it. You’ll want to be able to remove it from the stew easily later on. If you don’t have one, that’s okay too. Picking out the sprigs later, isn’t that big of a deal.

2. Cut the meat in roughly 1-inch or bite-size cubes. Season with salt and pepper and leave aside.

3. In a large non-stick pan, heat the olive oil and brown the meat over medium heat. It’s best to do this in batches, as you don’t want to overcrowd the meat. Overcrowding means the meat won’t brown, it’ll rather steam and you don’t want this. You want a nice crispy brown edge on each piece of meat. Set each batch of meat aside. Don’t be alarmed by the brownish ‘crud’ that forms on the bottom of your pan, and definitely don’t try to get rid of it… This is where a lot of the flavor forms.

4. When all meat is browned, turn up the heat a bit and pour a splash or two of the beer in the pan. Save the rest for later. Scrape the bottom of your pan to loosen the browned bits the meat formed.

5. When most of the bits are loosened and starting to dissolve in the beer, add butter, sliced onions and minced garlic, and continue to cook on medium until the onions are translucent.

6. Add the remainder of the beer, browned beef, cheese cloth with herbs and the sugar, and cook over low heat for 2-3 hours until the beef is fork-tender. Add a teaspoon of flour to thicken the gravy.

7. Keep the lid off of your pot. Once you have reached the desired thickness of the sauce, only then place the lid on the pot.

8. When the stew is ready, remove the cheese cloth wrapped herbs and bay leaves, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and stir.

9. Serve hot with sides of hash browns, french fries, buttery potato mash or baked potato wedges. Potato is such a versatile veggie, no.

Chettinad Prawn Curry

Chettinad, a region in Tamil Nadu state of South India, is synonymous with hyper-spicy and aromatic food laced with well-balanced flavors. If there’s any cuisine that celebrates spices with utmost devotion, it’s this cuisine. The fiery flavors come largely from the use of red chilies and black peppers. Variety of spices are roasted and freshly ground, which adds to the sharpness of any dish.
Chettinad cuisine isn’t for the faint-hearted or rather, faint-gutted. You either have a really strong gut or a really close loo. Because the flavors are so lip-smacking, you are bound to keep going for seconds.

Preparation time:15-20 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
A. For marinating prawns:
Prawns, cleaned and deveined – 500 gms (It’s always good to stock your refrigerator with a packet of frozen prawns. Saves a great deal of time.)
Kashmiri chili powder – 2 tsps
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1 tsp

B. Ground spice mix:
Dry red chilies – 3
Black pepper corns – 7
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1 tsp
Cloves – 4
Cardamom – 4
Cinnamon – small piece
Mace – small piece
Fennel seeds – 1/2 tsp
Poppy seeds – 1 tsp

C. For the curry:
2 medium size onions – thinly sliced
2 green chilies – slit
2 medium size tomatoes – finely chopped
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – 1 sprig
Ginger-garlic paste – 11/2 tsp
Kashmiri chili powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Ground spice powder – 2 tsp
Tamarind pulp – 1 tbsp
Oil for frying
Salt as per taste
Water as per desired consistency

Method:
1. Marinate the prawns in chili powder, turmeric powder and salt and let it sit aside.
2. Dry roast all the spices on low flame till aromatic. Be careful not to burn.
3. Set aside to cool and then grind to fine powder.
4.  Heat oil in a heavy bottom. Add mustard seeds and let them splutter.
5. Add curry leaves and fry a bit.
6. Toss in the onions and green chilies and fry till the onions are soft and translucent.
7. Add ginger-garlic paste and fry for a minute or until the raw smell of ginger goes away.
8. Now add the spice powders – kashmiri chili, turmeric, coriander and the ground spice mix. Fry on medium till aromatic.
9. Now add the chopped tomatoes and tamarind pulp and saute till oil starts separating at the sides.
10. Tumble in the prawns and mix well.
11. Lastly, add water as per your desired consistency and check for the seasoning. Add more salt if required.
12. Bring it to boil. Then let it simmer on low for around 5 minutes or until the gravy becomes thick.
13. Garnish with curry leaves and serve hot with steamed rice, appams or neer dosa.

Shakshouka

A staple in the Middle East, Shakshouka is a one-pan wonder of eggs poached in spicy tomato sauce. The traditional recipe calls for eggs along with the other spices. However, you can create your own versions by adding sausages, meat balls, boiled potatoes or even cheese for that matter.
It is usually on the breakfast menus, but can make a wholesome meal as well.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:
6 eggs
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 medium sized onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 green or red peppers, diced
4 large ripe tomatoes, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsps chili powder. Add more if you like it hot.
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp sugar. Just enough to lift the flavors
Salt and pepper for seasoning
Finely chopped coriander for garnishing

Method:
1. Heat oil in a wide-bottomed pan. Add onions and saute until soft and translucent.
2. Add minced garlic and saute till fragrant.
3. Add diced peppers and cook on medium till soft.
4. Add tomatoes and tomato paste. Mix and let it simmer so the tomatoes are soft enough to blend well into rest of the mixture.
5. Add the chili powder, paprika, cumin powder, salt and pepper. Stir and let it simmer till the sauce starts to thicken.
6. Break the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, spacing evenly.
7. Cook till done to your liking, garnish with chopped coriander and serve hot.

How To Make Perfect Scrambled Eggs – 3 ways By Jamie Oliver

Pasta Verduras – Pasta in Veggies, Wine And Tomato Sauce

Every dish has a story to tell. Like my Pasta Verduras. The idea was to rustle up a quick stew for Sunday lunch. Pasta just came waddling around for a stroll. But, glancing at this inviting, aromatic stew bursting with colors, the pasta decided to take a dip. So, that’s that 🙂
It’s a one-pot recipe that’ll make for a quick, hearty lunch and also a comforting dinner.
All you need to do is get chopping 🙂

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes
Serves: 4

Ingredients:
2 red peppers, deseeded and diced
2 yellow peppers, deseeded and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
2 medium size red onions, finely chopped
1 medium aubergine, cut into big chunks
1 medium broccoli, roughly chopped
1 large courgettes, diced
1/2 cup green peas
2 tbsp, garlic, grated. I use lots of it. I’m a huge garlic fan 🙂
1 ripe tomato, roughly chopped
3 ripe tomatoes, pureed
3 tbsp, tomato ketchup or sauce
1/2 cup any red wine. I used Port Wine
400 gm macaroni, penne or spaghetti pasta
A cup of grated parmesan cheese. Save a little for garnishing.
Chopped coriander for garnishing
2 tsp lemon juice
Olive oil for frying
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method:
1. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 5 minutes, or until they are soft and translucent.
2. Toss in all the chopped peppers. Put the lid on and cook on medium, till soft.
3. Now add carrots and courgettes and cook.
4. Once the carrots are soft, add peas, aubergine, tomatoes, broccoli and cook with lid on.
5. Add the tomato puree, sause and the seasoning and cook on medium for another 3-4 of minutes.
6. Lastly add the slosh of wine and lemon juice and stir. Let it simmer on low for 5 minutes. Do the taste test and add more seasoning if needed.
7. Add the grated parmesan, stir and let it cook on low for a minute. Save some of it for plating.
8. Meanwhile, put a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the packet instructions. When cooked, drain in a colander, reserving some of the cooking water.
9. Now pop the pasta and cooking water into the stew, add the chopped coriander and give a good toss.
10. Serve hot with a garnish of coriander, gorgeous long ribbons of grated parmesan and a poached egg mounted on the top, its sun-kissed yolk streaming down.
I like it medium-poached.

Good and nutritious food isn’t always the outcome of lengthy, rigorous cooking. It can also be like that story, short and simple; yet it leaves an indelible effect on you that lasts forever…

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