(Red Lentils) Masoor Dal Tadka

Some recipes are easy as 1 2 3 and some might wonder why I am sharing a simple daal recipe. However, a lot of my friends loveee eating daal and often ask me for an “simple” recipe.

Ingredients: 

  • 1 Cup Masoor Daal (Red Lentils)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 Tomato, roughly diced
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric
  • 1/2 Tsp Chilli Powder

For the Tadka (Tempering):

  • 1 Tbsp Ghee / Clarified butter
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic, Chopped up
  • Half an onion, chopped finely
  • 1 Tsp Asofoetida
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Tsp Mustard Seeds (optional)
  • 2-3 Dry Red Chillies

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To cook the Daal:

  1. Washed the lentils about three to four times to clean any dirt of residue on the grains.
  2. Added 2 cups of water to the daal in the pressure cooker, chopped Tomatoes, Turmeric and Chilli powder.
  3. Pressure cook for 7 to 10 minutes – 2 whistles on high heat and three on low heat.

For the Tempering: 

  1. Heat the Ghee in a small pan and when hot add Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds, Red chillies and let them start to splutter.
  2. Then add the chopped Garlic and Onions; mix and add asofoetida. Sautee until Garlic and Onions are cooked.
  3. Add the tempering to the cooked daal, add Salt to taste and let it simmer on a low heat for about 10 minutes.

Enjoy with hot Rotis or Steamed Rice! 🙂

 

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Gochujang Paste – Flavourful Noodles

For my birthday this year my colleague gifted me a little goodie bag of Korean condiments. This included the best, most fragrant sesame oil and a tub of GOCHUJANG. Gochujang is a condiment paste made out of fermented soy beans, red chilli, brown rice and salt. It’s sweet, savoury, pungent and all things good.  Continue reading

Sesame – Peanut Sauce Udon

There are some days where I am craving only a certain type of food. When asked me “ok so what do you want to eat?” my response is “You know… something that I can go slurp slurp slurp!”  This usually will involve a real feel good endeavour of ordering or cooking something that will be held really close to my mouth with my hands shovelling (as elegantly as that’s possible) saucy, slurpy food.

This is one such recipe; kind of satay-esque, dan dan noodle -esque sauce that’s great over any kind of noodles. Continue reading

Spicy Chicken Spaghetti

Can I cook an authentic Italian meal? Sure, if I tried. Does it come to me naturally? Nope. So here’s a pasta sauce that’s Italian enough and my Indian palate loves it!

Ingredients: (makes enough for two hungry people)

  • Half a medium sized onion chopped
  • 1 Tbs of finely chopped garlic
  • 1 carrot diced into small cubes
  • 250 gms minced chicken
  • 1/2 tsp Oregano
  • 1 tsp Red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp ground Black pepper
  • 1 Tbs Olive oil
  • 1 cup water
  • Cheese of your choice to grate over
  • Salt to taste
  • Cooked spaghetti

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How to COOK:

  1. Heat oil in a pan and add the Onions and garlic into the pan. Sautee for 3 to 4 minutes on medium to low heat.
  2. Add the Red chillies and herbs and mix well, cook for about 2 minutes. Make sure the heat is not on high as you don’t want to scorch the herbs, this will make it lose it’s flavour.
  3. Then come the carrots, add and stir well and sautee until they have a slight brown caramelisation on them.
  4. Add water, stir well and set aside to simmer on a low heat.
  5. In another pan, brown your minced chicken meat and when that’s ready add it to the sauce that’s simmering away.
  6. Let the chicken simmer in the sauce for 5 minutes (add a little water if the consistency is drying out) so that it absorbs the flavours and also adds it’s own! When ready just serve this over some spaghetti and top with grated cheese.

Happy cooking!

 

Kerelan Red Pepper Shrimp Curry

This sweet, subtly spiced curry is perfect for when you don’t have much time to cook dinner but don’t want to resort to the quick n easy pasta. Try this and serve it with some hot steamed rice.

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What you will need:

  • 150 gm Shrimp (Fresh preferred but Frozen is just fine too)
  • Half of a medium sized onion, chopped finely
  • 1 Red Pepper cut into even lenghtwise pieces
  • 1 1/2  inch of Ginger grated
  • 1 big clove or 2 small cloves of Garlic grated
  • 1 tsp Mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp Cumin seeds
  • 3 Dry red chillies
  • 1/4 cup Grated coconut (optional)
  • 1 tsp Asofoetida (skip it if you don’t have it or can’t get your hands on easily)
  • 1/2 tsp Garam Masala powder
  • 2 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 1/3 cup of Coconut Milk
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tbs Vegetable Oil (not olive because it does change the flavour)
  • 1/4 cup water

 

How to cook:

  1. Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan and Mustard, Cumin seeds and Red chillies
  2. Next add the Onion, Ginger and Garlic to the pan and sautee it (turn the heat down a bit if it’s too hot, you don’t want to brown the onions just cook out the acidity). If adding the grated coconut do so now.
  3. Once done sauteeing for about 2 mins add water to soften the onions further and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes .
  4. Then add the turmeric powder and Asofoetida and mix to evenly combine the turmeric with the onions and spice mix.
  5. Add the Garam Masala and sautee on medium heat for another 2 minutes.
  6. Now come the peppers and shrimp, stir so that the shrimp is covered in the spice mix.
  7. Add Coconut Milk and stir so everything is combined, add salt to taste and then let it simmer covered, on low heat for 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

Achari (Pickle) Spice Mix

A dry spice mix you can prepare and store in your pantry. To be used in curries, dry roasts or even tempering.

What you will need:

  • 1 Tsp Fenugreek seeds
  • 1 1/2 Tsp Fennel seeds
  • 1 Tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 Tsp Onion seeds
  • 3 small dry Red chillies
  • 1 Tsp Cumin seeds

How to Cook:

  1. Dry roast all spices in a pan stirring continuously to avoid burning.
  2. Transfer them to a motar and pestle or blender. I prefer to pound them by hand simply because I enjoy the experience of it. It also preserves more of the flavour as it’s gentler than an electric grinder.
  3. store it in an air tight container or use it; this should store well for upto a week and longer in the fridge!

Achari Stuffed Tava Bhindi

I love a good spice mix and the Achari (pickle) Masala is hands down one of my favourite combinations. It’s spicy, fragrant and sure to transform any vegetable. I went with a Bhindi (Okra) for this but add this mixture to fried potatoes, cauliflower or even paneer.

What you will need:

  • 1 1/2 Tbs Achari Spice mix (see here)
  • 2 Tbs Besan/ Chickpea flour
  • 100 gms Bhindi/ Okra slit lengthwise
  • Salt
  • 2 Tsp Olive oil

How to cook:

  1. Slit the Okra lengthwise and set aside.
  2. In a bowl prepare the “stuffing” by mixing the chickpea flour, Achari Spice mix and salt with oil.
  3. Adjust the consistency of the “stuffing” it should clump together and yet be slightly dry and crumbly. So add 1 Tsp of oil at a time till you reach this consistency.
    Note: If the filling ends up becoming runny just add a little more of the chickpea flour and spice mix in 1:2 ratio.
  4. Fill Okra with this mix and dab a little all around each piece as well.
  5. Heat a non stick pan with a little oil and place the okra on this when the pan is hot.
  6. Let the Okra cook slowly on a medium flame. Cooking it slowly over about 25 mins lets its crisp up on the outside while ensuring the stuffing is fully cooked too.

 

That’s it serve with simple Daal and roti or eat it with Plain rice and tempered yogurt!

 

Happy cooking 🙂

Chilly weather CHILLI PANEER

With the temperatures fluctuating from pleasant 18 degrees to nippy 5 degrees celcius over the past week there has been only one constant. The craving for hot, spicy and comfort food. Indian Chinese food may not seem like the obvious choice for those needs but it is my comfort food.

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Photo: TeachMeHowToCurry

I can confidently trace this back to my childhood where Indian Chinese food was a coveted treat that more often than not had to be earned. For my mum to dial for delivery instead of cooking fresh at home meant two things either I had earned it or she had. I had showed up to work everyday, braved the temperamental temperatures and I surely deserved a satiating serving of chilli food. I refer to this as ‘chilli food’ because every dish in this fusion cuisine has a kick to it.

Now even though my Momma taught me well, I couldn’t dial for delivery in Hong Kong. No place here does good Chindian food let alone offers delivery for it! So, I made my own rendition of Chilli Paneer or however close I could get to it. It’s an easy recipe and is certainly quick; I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I am telling you if you want leftovers you’ll have to plan for it.

 

What you will NEED:

  • 6 Cloves of Garlic
  • 2 Red chillies
  • 1 Tablespoon Soy Sauce
  • 1 Teaspoon Oyster sauce
  • Quarter cup of chopped Red Onion
  • Quarter cup chopped Green Peppers
  • Quater cup chopped Green Spring onions
  • 250 gms Paneer (if using frozen just make sure to defrost it to room temperature)
  • 1 Tbs Olive Oil

 

How to COOK:

  1. Pan fry the paneer until lightly golden brown and set aside.
  2. Crush chillies and garlic together until coarsely crushed.
  3. Heat Oil in large skillet and add the crushed chillies and garlic when hot.
  4. Once lightly golden add the red onions  and paneer; continue to sauté
  5. Add the soy sauce and oyster sauce and stir until mixed well
  6. Now add the green peppers and spring onions and sauté for a few more minutes
  7. Season to taste and ready to serve

 

Happy Cooking 🙂

 

 

 

Butter Chicken – An All Time Favourite

Butter chicken is not just a plate of food. It’s a classic, it’s the centre piece sitting proudly at any Indian family food table and definitely one of the most celebrated dishes of Indian Cuisine.

As I am told it was the owner and chef at Moti Mahal who moved to Delhi during the partition years that perfected this Murgh Makhni recipe giving the nation and Indian food lovers world over, their beloved Butter Chicken. And here is how I make my butter chicken, with a little more heat and a little less sweet.

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What you will NEED: Marinade for Chicken
-450 Gms skinless boneless chicken thighs or breast
-2 Tbsp Yogurt
-2 Tsp chickpea flour/ gram flour/ Besan
– 4 cloves of garlic
– 1 inch piece of ginger
– 1 green chilli
– 1 tsp paprika or kashmiri chilli powder
– 1 tsp chilli powder (or a little more if you’d like it spicy)
– ½ tsp garam masala
– 1 tsp coriander powder
– Salt to season with

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What you will NEED: Butter Chicken Curry
– 1 ½ Tbsp salted butter
-4 green cardamom pods lightly crushed
– 1 cinnamon stick or 1 Tsp Cinnamon powder
– 4 cloves
– 1 small onion finely chopped (I prefer the red onions in HK as the brown/ white have a high water content and are not intense)
– 1 heaped Tbsp grated ginger
– 2 green chillies slit
– 2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
– ½ Tsp garam masala powder
– 5 Tbsp tomato puree
– 150 Ml double cream
– 2 tbsp honey
– 1 tbsp Kasoori methi/ fenugreek leaf powder
– Salt to season
– Chopped coriander for garnish

HOW TO CURRY:
1. Combine ginger, garlic and chillies with a little oil in a blender and blend to form a smooth paste. Add this paste to pieces of chicken along with yogurt, chickpea flour and all the spices mentioned above for the marinade. Mix well and leave this to marinate for at least an hour to 90 mins. If possible, marinating this overnight intensifies the flavour and gives you a really succulent, melt in your mouth feel to the chicken.

2. Post marination, put the chicken pieces onto a oven safe tray and cook under the grill for upto 20 minutes, turning and basting the chicken every 5 minutes or so.

3. What you should end up with is a tandoori chicken thats cooked, slightly charred and has a lovely smoked flavour from the grilling. Set this aside to add to the curry.

4. For the SAUCE: 
Heat the butter on a heavy bottom skillet (add a dash of vegetable oil to stop the butter from burning) and cook the Cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Then add the chopped onions and sauté these until golden (around 7 mins if you’re cooking on a medium to low flame).

5. Add the grated ginger, green chillies, chilli powder and garam masala and continue to sauté for a 2 – 3 mins. The spice mix should be very fragrant now. Then add the tomato paste and mix well and let the tomato paste/ puree cook through for a few mins.

6. Now add the cream to the mixture while stirring continuously and leave it to simmer on a low heat. If the sauce is too thick at this point or you feel is too little add half a cup of water. Lastly, add the pre cooked/ grilled Tandoori chicken to the sauce and leave it to simmer for atleast 20 mins.

7. Garnish with chopped fresh coriander and serve with Rice, Roti or Naan.

 

Happy Eating 🙂

 

Pastry-less Quiche

Quiche traditionalists, you’re not going to approve of this. However, I am trying to veer away from the traditional quiche though. This is how I like to eat it because it’s lighter and in some ways “healthier” than one with the pastry base and yet echoes the experience of eating a quiche (somewhat).

It’s a good recipe for a busy weeknight or a lazy  Sunday dinner when you really want to use up the measly medley of vegetables leftover from the week. The best part about this? It’s a one pan wonder, start to finish. 🙂

What you will NEED:
– 4 Medium to Large sized Eggs.
– 1 Red Onion
– 3 to 4 cloves of Garlic
– 2 Tbs Plain Flour/ All Purpose Flour
– 3 Tbs Milk (optional)
– 3 Tbs Vegetable  or Chicken stock (optional)
– 1 Cup Grated Cheese ( I used a 50-50 mix of mild and sharp cheddar)
– Mixed blend Italian Seasoning or 1/2 Tsp Oregano & 1/2 Tsp Rosemary.
– Salt and Pepper to season with

What you can ADD:
– 2 Hot & Spicy Johnsonville Pork Sausages
– 1 Head of Brocolli
– Green Beans
Any vegetables you’d like to add, Carrots would be a great addition. I simply went with what I had in my fridge. I recommend that you add vegetables that take around the same time to cook.  Otherwise you end up half of your vegetables overcooked to mush.

How to COOK:
1. Preheat Oven to 180 degrees celcius.
2. Chop the red onions lengthwise and then finely chop the garlic.
3. Chop up the meat/ sausages and vegetables roughly around the same size.
4. Whisk the eggs and half cup of the 1 cup grated cheese, set aside.
5. Heat oil in a stove and oven safe tray pan and add the sausages, onion and garlic to it. Followed by the herbs mentioned above.
6. Once these have browned a bit add the chopped vegetables and sauté them until they have caramelised a bit.
7. At this point you want to mix in the flour and milk / stock and let it cook for a couple mins so you don’t get a raw flour flavour.
8. Add the Egg mixture and make sure it is spread evenly covering all the vegetables. Add the remaining cheese on top and pop it in the over

Happy Eating 🙂