Chine roast chicken

As the name suggests, this is a recipe having slight chinese origins, with a touch of indonesia in the form of chillie sambal. A very simple recipe to make and of course eat😊. It looks very pretty when served . Serve this roast chicken as a starter.

This recipe has been with me for years, and we make it ever so often. The original recipe calls for pork, but we prefer the chicken version. Pls use tender chicken fillets or boneless chicken thigh. The process calls for boiling the chicken with some spices. Very simple to put together. I would like to mention that vegetarians can use thick slabs of tofu or paneer.

Ingredients

250 gms boneless chicken fillet

1 tbsp light soya sauce

1 tbsp oyster sauce

1 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper powder

1 tbsp sesame oil

1 tsp sweet soya sauce( kecap manis) or honey

1 small beetroot peeled and sliced

( to impart the red colour )

6 red chillies

4 pods of garlic

4 cloves

1 inch pc of cinnamon

Lime juice and red chillie sauce.

Method

In a pan, add 3/4 cup of water, and add chicken, salt, pepper, sugar, cloves, cinnamon, soya sauce, oyster sauce, sweet soya sauce, vinegar, sesame oil , beetroot, garlic pods and whole chillies.

Bring to a boil and simmer till the water evaporates .

At this point if you feel the colour of the chicken is a bit pale, as that depends on the beetroot. You can add a few drops of red colour.

Discard the cloves cinnamon, and beetroot.

Remove the chillies and garlic, grind coarsely in a pestle and mortar. Add little chillie sauce and juice of one lime….this is your sambal dip.( I have used kaffir limes for a lovely fragrance.)

Finally, roast the chicken on a open flame to caramalize it…just few mins is enough.

I have used a steel mesh with a piece of foil and a few drops of oil.

To serve, cut the chicken , into slices at a slant to show the red and white contrast…

Enjoy with the spicy sambal dip.

Fusion Indian caramel flan

Caramel, the name itself will get you imagining a beautiful golden river of sugar . Endless are the desserts which have caramel incorporated into them. Its a world wide favourite. Be it the salted caramel icecream or the luscious flans. Not to forget the alpenliebe caramel candy or the carmello cadbury chocolate both my favourites. Call this a flan, or a caramel custard , or a pudding, this dessert is always drool worthy.
Today’s recipe is my version of the caramel flan with a indian twist to it.

I have added cardamon and saffron with rose essence highlighting the pudding.
Recalling childhood days when we did not own an oven. Mummy made this pudding by steaming it . Of course she did not call it a flan, instead named it as bedhe ji pudding( egg pudding). And she always used cardamom as a flavoring . I never tried making this delicious pudding, only because either my mom or my sister always made this on my trips to India. This custard is also very popular in Parsi cuisine, called the lagna nu custard, normally served during weddings. The Parsi variation is more richly made. One of the best caramel custard pudding,I have ever eaten would be at the Dorabjee and sons Restaurant which is situated at dastur meher road , Pune. You can find the best authentic Parsi food here.
In recent years I have tried many receipes to get a good caramel flan, and this method is top rated in my diary.This flan be made by either baking it in an oven using a water bath, or by steaming it directly in a steamer.
Do try this recipe and relish it cold.

Ingredients
3 cups of full fat milk
200 ml condensed milk
3/4 cup sugar
4 eggs( at room temperature)
1/2 tsp saffrons strands soaked in a little hot water
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/4 tsp rose essence

Method
1. Boil milk and condensed milk together with the cardamom powder. Once it boils, shut the flame and keep aside. Cool completely.
2. To make the caramel, put 3/4 cup of sugar and 1/4 cup of water in a pan and heat on high heat untill sugar melts and starts browning .At this point lower the heat and allow the sugar to turn to a beautiful golden brown liquid. Try not to stir in between. Transfer this caramel to either one big oven proof dish or divide it into 2 dishes. Allow the caramel to cool.
3. Beat 4 eggs lightly and add to the cool milk mixture. Mix well and strain this mixture.
4. Add the saffron liquid and rose essence to the milk and egg mixture.
5. Pour into the caramelized bowls , cover the bowls with aluminium foil .
Bake in a preheated oven at 170 degrees celcius for 60 mins.
Cool completely before transferring to the fridge..

Overturn the caramel onto a serving platter at the time of serving.

Garnish with sliced almonds and pistas.

* For the water bath baking, I put the flan dishes in a baking tray and poured hot water into the tray , to come upto 1/4 level of the dishes.
Using this method, the flan does not dry up and retains its moisture.

Sindhi Aisi bhaji/sabji (spinach and Ridge gourd)

Todays Delicious recipe is in memory of my dear mother in law, who made this particular version of spinach and turaiya, whenever I had given birth to my children. Supposedly very good for lactating mothers. She made sure I ate this sabji every second day for 40 days after child birth. It had to be turaiya every day, either mixed with spinach or made plain with only cardamom, which we sindhis call as phote bhugun turiyuoon And to be frank I loved eating both these variations. She sometimes served it with plain chappatis and sometimes with mitho lolo( sweet flat bread).The only thing that she omitted was chillies. Aisi, otherwise would mean only spinach cooked plain with out the addition of any other vegetables. But, this version of mummy is really very tasty..😊

The way this sabji is cooked is almost like the famous sindhi saibhaji, but the addition of turaiya gives it super silky texture. We cook it in the pressure cooker and mash it towards the end till everything is one beautiful green smooth sabji. Adding garlic once while cooking and once as a tadka just enhances the taste.

Spinach was not my favourite vegetable when we were growing up, but as an adult it definately has a special place in my list of favourite vegetables. I remember my mother making tikkis out of left over saibhaji, just by adding boiled potatoes after drying out the sai bhaji as much as possible by cooking it further. She always panfried the tikkis which were yummy… A close cousin to the hara bhara tikkis which we relish at Indian restaurants.

Do try this simple recipe and serve with any simple pulav or phulkas.

Ingredients

350 gms peeled and chopped turaiya/ ridge gourd

150 gms chopped spinach

1 big onion finely chopped

2 tomatoes sliced

4 green chillies finely chopped

2 tbsps chopped garlic

1 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tsp corriander powder

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp methi seeds

1/2 tsp hing..asafoetida

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

Salt to taste

3 tbsps oil

Method..

Heat 2 tbsps oil in a pressure cooker and add methi seeds, cumin and hing. Saute till fragrant.

Add chopped onion and saute till golden brown.

Add 1 tbsp of garlic, ginger and green chillies.

Add tomatoes, corriander powder, turmeric, salt

When tomatoes are pulpy, add chopped turaiya and cook till the turaiya start letting out water.

Add the chopped spinach and 1/4 cup of water.

Close the cooker and cook for 3 to 4 whistles.

Open the lid, and churn with a wooden hand churner( mandiro) or an electric whisk.

Lastly heat 1 tbsp oil in a small pan, add 1 tbsp chopped garlic and fry till pale golden. Add this tadka to the sabji…mix well and serve.

The complete Sindhi meal with Basar jo pulav, ( onion pulav) sookha aloo( potatoes with dry spices) Boondi raita, some fryums and onion carrot achar.

Dakshin paneer do pyaaza

Regional flavours of India are truely amazing. The same type of dish will taste differently in every state of India. The secret lies in the spices of course. Each state and sometimes even cities have some favourite spice which is dominant in most dishes. Todays recipe is the do pyaaza. Almost every indian is familiar with this dish where onion is used in 2 forms, a ground paste of onions as well as sliced onions. In todays recipe, I have used whole shallots ( also called sambhar onions) as well as sliced onions. The Dakshin or southern twist is in the simple masala made dominantly with udad dal also known as black lentils. Udad dal rules southern India where its use in almost all idli and dosa preparation is extensive. Using Paneer in this dish gives it a north Indian twist.

Growing up in Pune, my knowledge of south Indian food was limited to dosa, idli and medu wada. Going to Priya restaurant for these treats was often, and something to look forward to. The fragrance of food as you entered this small and cozy restaurant on main street was mouth watering . Of course, the waiters would always direct us to go upstairs where it was for families and ladies only.

My interest in cooking led me to try out different dishes from all over India, leaving a medly of recipes in my cookbook. Spices in the south use udad dal which is roasted slowly and powdered with red chillies and asafoetida, peppercorns etc. Aside from the mainstays,South India also has a huge variety of delicious vegetatarian and non vegetarian food.

Todays recipe is based on chettinad style of cooking. Please do try this simple dish and serve with chappaties or adai rotis made with rice flour.

Ingredients

200 gms paneer cut into cubes

15 shallots

1 sliced onion

2 sprigs of curry leaves

1 tbsp tamarind paste

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 th tsp hing/ asafoetida

2 or 3 dry red chillies

15 black peppercorns

1 tbsp split udad dal

Corriander leaves to garnish

Method

1. Dry roast together, udad dal, black peppercorns and dry red chillies. When the dal turns a light golden brown, shut the flame and keep aside to cool. Grind into a fine powder and keep aside.

2. Heat 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add mustard seeds , hing and curry leaves.

3. Now add whole shallots and stir fry on a low flame till the out skin of the shallots starts turning soft and light golden…about 4 to 5 mins.

4. Add the paneer and stir fry further for 5 mins and add sliced onions. Also add the tamarind paste.

5. Add salt to taste and powdered spice mixture. Mix well.

6. Cook further for few mins and add chopped corriander leaves.

Serve hot.

Pahadi aloo sabji

Todays recipe is based on potatoes which are cooked in the hilly regions of north india. I came across this recipe years ago and since then its been marked as a favourite in my diary. Simple to cook and made in a jiffy. Best eaten with a soft phulka, the aromatic flavours of saunf( fennel seeds) just hit your palatte in a burst of tasty goodness. I have used baby potatoes in this dish as I find they hold their shape well after steaming or boiling.

Potatoes in any form are a favourite all over the world and adapt so well to any cuisine. Be it the american hash browns, french fries , mashed potatoes.. or the swiss pototo rosetti..or our own Indian cuisine. From the delicious aloo ka parantha in the north to poshto aloo made with poppy seeds in the east to pao wada in the west upto the aloo sabzi stuffed in crispy dosas in the south.

Memories of the humble potato ruling my mothers kitchen still linger. Sundays normally meant having fried potato tikkis in the evenings for snacks while door darshan played some old bollywood movies on our black and white tv sets. Of course the tikkis were served with slices of white bread and fresh mint chutney. And most often than not this snack was filling enough not to have anything more for dinner. Only to wait eagerly for the jelly and custard which was a favourite dessert at home. Left over uncooked tikkis were sometimes made into aloo toasters. Sandwiched between two slices of bread buttered on the outside to be toasted manually on the gas stove in a quaint sandwich toaster. This served with tomato ketchup was good to go for breakfast. No one was fussy about carbohyderates or calories..life was fun and happy go lucky…simple pleasures of life were the norm….oh those good old days….

Do try this recipe, team it up with sindhi dal makhni or any of your favourite dal.

Ingredients

Pahadi aloo sabji

250 gms baby potatoes boiled, peeled and halved.

( or normal boiled potatoes, peeled and cubed)

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp saunf ( fennel seeds)

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

2 tsps freshly ground saunf powder

2 or 3 dry red chillies broken

1 tbsp chopped ginger

1 tbsp chopped garlic

1 sliced onion

2 tbsp thick tamarind paste

2 tbsp honey

Salt to taste

Chopped corriander leaves

2 tbsps mustard oil

Method

Heat oil in a pan, and add cumin seeds and saunf.

Saute till fragrant.

Add ginger, garlic, dry red chillies and sliced onion

Now add the potatoes and salt

Saute for few mins

Add saunf powder, red chilli powder and turmeric powder

Finally add tamarind paste and honey

Mix well…and serve hot , garnished with chopped corriander leaves and a sprinkle of sesame seeds.

Jhatpat cabbage sabji

One of the most humble and quick cooking vegetable. Cabbage can also be used raw in salads like coleslaw where purple and white cabbage leaves are mixed with mayonaise and carrots…served cold this is an amazing summer salad. Todays recipe is an amazingly quick sabji, have this with phulkas, and a raita. Based on gujrati cooking, I have added crushed peanuts for added crunch, and besan to absorb the water let out when our cabbage is cooking.

Growing up in Pune, I remember my mom making cabbage in sindhi style, which she always served with pan fried boiled eggs. Then it was not my favourite vegetable. I started loving this humble vegetable after I ate coleslaw at a restaurant, when it was served as a side dish with burgers.

Years later, it has found a niche in my kitchen where it is used in stir fries, soups and yes in my Indian cooking also. True to my love of regional indian cooking, this recipe has a permanant place in my cook book. Do try it.

Ingredients

200 gms finely sliced cabbage

1 finely sliced green paprika

1 boiled, peeled and cubed potato

1 tbsp besan, ( chick pea flour)

1 tsp sugar

1 tsp cumin seeds

1 tsp mustard seeds

1/4 tsp hing

1 tsp chopped garlic

1 tbsp lime juice

2 tbsps mustard oil

Salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

2 tbsps roasted and coarsely crushed peanuts

1 tsp kitchen king or pao bhaji masala

1 sprig curry leaves

Chopped corriander leaves.

Method

Heat oil and add mustard seeds and cumin seeds.

Next add hing, curry leaves and garlic.

Saute well

Add the cabbage, paprika and saute for a minute.

Add the boiled potato, sugar, lime juice, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, pao bhaji masala and stir till cabbage lets out water and becomes limp…about 5 mins. Now add the besan and stir.

Lastly mix in peanuts and chopped corriander leaves.

Serve piping hot with chappatis/ phulkas and a raita.

The cold sandwich cake

The cold sandwich cake

When sandwiches are mentioned everyone has thier own favourites. Sandwiches eaten during our school days in the Seventies , were very basic, as every Indian school going child will remember. Mostly white bread with butter and jam, or if you were lucky cheese and butter.Cheese was a luxury which not everyone had, especially in India. If you were lucky and had relatives staying abroad, then you would recieve small tins of kraft cheese😊. Of course Amul cheese cubes were already around, but were a little out of reach for an average middle class family. Back to sandwiches, my grandfather always had a slice of bread with green corriander and mint chutney as his evening snack. Those were the days when chutney was made using a grinding stone. The aroma of fresh mint and corriander leaves being crushed with green chillies and garlic is till today etched in my memory..

Whoever has lived in Pune, even for a short time will surely know about the Marzorin sandwiches. Soft crustless bread, filled with chicken, eggs, tomato and chutney… I crave these sandwiches even today…and they are a must on all my visits to Pune.

Todays recipe is a mixture of all my childhood memories..

Credit for the chicken pate filling goes to my friend hilda mascarenhas, who writes a wonderful food blog, hildastouchofspice.com. Do visit her food blog .

The cold sandwich cake

Basically you will require 3 types of fillings, and 16 slices of crustless bread

Ingredients..for chicken pate.

1 chicken breast

3 to 4 tbsps mayonaise

1 tbsps mustard paste

1 tsp honey

2 tbsps grated cucumber( helps to keep the filling moist)

Salt, pepper.

1 tbsp chopped celery leaves.

Method…

Boil the chicken in water which has been seasoned with salt and pepper.

Dispose the chicken bones, and put the meat in a food processor along with chopped celery..Pulse it and transfer the shredded chicken to a bowl, and add mayonaise, mustard, honey and cucumber. You should have a moist mixture. Keep aside.

Ingredients for second layer

4 Boiled eggs, sliced.

Sliced tomatoes

Sliced cucumber

Butter

Ingredients for 3rd layer

1/ 4 th cup mayonaise

1/ 2 cup basil leaves

2 green chillies

2 cloves of garlic

Juice of one lime

Salt

4 slices of cheese.

Method…

Blend basil leaves, chillies, garlic, lime and mayonaise together to get a pretty green spread, season with salt and a pinch of sugar.

Other ingredients are, finely sliced radishes, shredded carrot, shredded lettuce leaves, alfalfa sprouts and mayonaise.

Method

Keep 4 slices of bread on a serving platter, in a neat square.

Apply butter thinly, and add the chicken pate, level till all the 4 slices of bread are covered.

Cover with 4 slices of bread, and apply butter lightly, top with sliced tomatoes sliced eggs, and sliced cucumber…season with salt and pepper.

Cover with 4 slices of bread, apply the basil mayonaise and top with 4 slices of cheese in a single layer..

Lastly, top with 4 slices of bread, whose underside is spread with basil mayonaise.

Press down gently, and apply mayonaise all over the sandwich, covering it from all sides.

Gently press shredded lettuce, carrots all over sides and top…decorate with radish slices, cucumber slices, and alfalfa sprouts.

Chill thoroughly, cut into wedges and serve

A beautiful centerpiece is ready for your parties..