Archive for August, 2011

An awesome weekend Breakfast / Brunch

This is a recipe Amit loves so much that he time and again requests for it. But generally I make it for breakfast so I did not find the time to actually get the pictures. Last night I got the request once again, last night. And since I had the time, I managed to click some pictures this time. And therefore managed to post the recipe. I modified the recipe just a teeny-weeny bit from the recipe posted by Meeta at http://www.whatsforlunchhoney.net/2010/12/chocolate-and-pistachio-french-toast.html.

This is a very quick recipe. Takes about 10 minutes of prep time and depending on how long you would like to soak the bread in the eggs, it takes another 3-5 minutes per french toast.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 slices of bread
  2. 8 tbsp of chocolate spread (4 squares of milk chocolate + Hershey’s chocolate syrup)
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/2 cup milk
  5. 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  6. pinch of nutmeg
  7. pinch of salt
  8. 2 tsp butter
  9. icing sugar

Directions:

  • Spread the chocolate spread on slice of bread and place another slice on top of it.
  • Beat the eggs and milk together with the spices.
  • Soak the sandwiched bread slices in the egg mixture.
  • Heat a pan and melt the butter in it. Now place the sandwiched bread slices in the pan and cook it for about 2 minutes on each side or till the french toast is cooked.
  • Sprinkle some icing sugar on the french toast. Serve the french toast plain or with some warm maple syrup.

Hope you enjoy this as much as we do. It’s an easy recipe and is very quick to make too. You can make these and place them in a warm oven till they are ready to be served.

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In love with fish…

As a kid I wasn’t a fish lover. But I think I start loving it more and more as I grew older and realized that it’s a tastier and healthier option. And now it’s even more easier with all the fillets readily available. Ond day I hope to live some place where, I can go to the market and get fresh fish, till then I will make do with the freshest fish I can find here in AZ. So last night was a fish dinner night. I wanted to make something quick and easy.

On another note, Amit and I were going to get some coffee the other day on Mill Avenue (it’s the street on which our lab is located). There is this quaint little book store on this otherwise, restaurant / bar / pub filled street. It’s a really nice bookstore, I think owned by an old couple who are also very nice. They have tons of books on every conceivable topic and some that I bet you won’t find elsewhere. And they have a large gray cat who sits around watching all the people who come into the store.

So while browsing through the books, I saw this Martha Stewart book on sale. I glanced through it and since I do not have any of her books, I thought why not. I am sure I can get atleast a couple of recipes that I can tweek to my liking in here. She had a recipe for a roasted salmon with herbed stuffing. I did not have salmon, for that matter I did not want to but a whole fish to make the dish. So I decided to tweek it to make it a roasted swai with rolled / filled herb filling. And I must say, I was very happy with the final dish. It was as intended very easy to make and took about 15-20 minutes of preparation time and then about 15-20 minutes in the oven. So technically I was busy cooking it for only 15-20 mins, the oven was the one cooking after that. The herbed filling is sufficient for about 3 large Swai fillets.

Ingredients:

  1. 3 Swai fillets
  2. 2 tsps olive oil
  3. 1 red onion (thinly sliced)
  4. 2 carrots (grated)
  5. 1 bunch of green onions (chopped)
  6. 5-6 small cloves garlic (chopped)
  7. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
  8. 1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
  9. 1 cup chopped coriander
  10. 5-6 basil leaves
  11. 1 sprig tarragon
  12. 1 teaspoon coriander powder
  13. some oil to brush the baking dish
  14. kitchen string
  15. 1/2 teaspoon butter

For seasoning the fish fillet

  1. 1 teaspoon red chilli powder
  2. salt to taste
  3. ginger powder
  4. coriander powder

Directions:

  • Heat the olive oil and add the cumin and fennel seeds when the oil is hot.
  • Next add the red onions and fry till they soften and start turning pink.
  • Now add the garlic and fry a few more minutes till the raw smell of garlic is gone.
  • Next add the carrots and green onions and cook for a few minutes till the carrots have softened.
  • Finally add all the herbs except the tarragon.
  • Preheat the oven to 500F.
  • Now place a fillet on a large plate and season one side with the red chilli powder, salt, ginger powder and coriander powder. You may add as much or as little of these spices. I added about 1/2 teaspoon red chilli powder, 1 tsp coriander pwd, 1/2 teaspoon ginger powder and salt to taste.
  • Next spread the filling on the wider end  of the fillet to about three fourths of the way down to the narrower end.
  • Start rolling the fillet from the wider end to the narrower end and tie it up with the kitchen string.
  • Now place the tied up fillets on a baking dish brushed with some oil.
  • Place the tarragon sprigs on the rolled fillet and place in the oven.
  • Turn the rolled fillet over after about 10 minutes and let it cook for another 5 mins. Keep a careful eye on the fish so that you do not overcook it.
  • At the very end, pull out the baking dish from the oven and brush the top with some of the butter and place it under the broiler for a couple of mins so that it browns slightly.
  • Serve with some greens and it makes a meal in itself.

We loved this fish with the filling and I am definitely gonna make different fillings because there are a multitude of possibilities for that. I will definitely keep you posted on what other fillings I try out. This one makes the entire dish very fresh, the herbs are definitely the main reason for that. Hope you enjoy the dish and thanks for reading.

A lazy Saturday afternoon lunch…

Today was one of the days where we actually woke up kind of early enough to have breakfast. But after some bagels and coffee Amit decided that he needed a late morning, early afternoon nap. So I decided that I would make some eggplant for lunch following the recipe that my Mom used to make at home.

I started making the eggplant and realized that I did not have a key ingredient, tomatoes. So I decided to improvise and make a different gravy. So instead of the onion tomato gravy that I was going to make for the eggplant, I decided to make a coconut onion gravy instead. And I am so glad I did not have tomatoes to make the original recipe; this one is just as good. It takes about 15-20 minutes to make the gravy and depending in how big a frying pan you have, about 5-10 minutes for each batch of eggplant slices. I had to fry the eggplant in about 4 batches so it took me about 30 minutes to be done with the frying, and the gravy was ready in the meanwhile. It takes close to 40-50 mins prepare the dish. It serves about 3 – 4 persons.

Ingredients:

  1. 1 large eggplant
  2. 1 tsp oil
  3. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 1/4 tsp red chili flakes
  5. 1 onion
  6. 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  7. 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  8. 1/2 cup thin coconut milk
  9. 1/2 cup chopped coriander leaves
  10. 1 tsp coriander powder
  11. salt to taste

For frying the eggplant

  1. oil
  2. 2 red chilli powder
  3. 2 tsp ginger powder
  4. 1 1/2 tsp dried mango powder (amchur)
  5. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 1/4 tsp garam masala
  7. salt to taste
  8. 1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Directions:

  • Slice the eggplant into 1/4 inch thick slices.
  • Mix the oil with the ingredients listed under ‘For frying the eggplant’. Brush the eggplant slices on both sides with the oil mixed in with the dried spices.
  • Heat a pan and fry the slices on without any oil. The oil brushed on the slices to saute/fry  it.
  • While the slices are frying you start preparing the gravy.

  • Heat some oil in a pan and add the cumin seeds and red chilli flakes.
  • Once the cumin seeds are browned add the chopped onions and fry it till it is browned slightly.
  • Next add the ginger garlic paste and cook till the raw smell of the ginger garlic paste is gone.
  • Now add the coriander powder and fry till the dry spice is cooked.
  • Next add the thin coconut milk and let it some to a simmer. Now add the chopped coriander leaves.
  • Once the coriander leaves are thoroughly mixed, add the thick coconut milk and salt and bring to a simmer.
  • Once the eggplant slices are all fried, transfer them to a baking dish.
  • Now pour the gravy over the eggplant slices in the baking dish.
  • Place the baking dish in the oven for about 10-20 minutes or till ready to serve.

Amit is my eggplant expert. He is the one who buys and makes eggplants for us at home. But today since he was taking a nap, I decided to make eggplant and he loved it. So it’s Amit certified!!! 🙂 Hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did. Its definitely different from the usual recipes I have made with eggplant before. Thank you for reading this post and have a great rest of the weekend.

In celebration of completing another major step towards my PhD!!!

I know I have been missing from my blog from a very long time. In fact it will be two months on the 22nd of August. But well I guess sometimes you just need to prioritize and you end up giving up the very thing that makes your life less stressful. But I can say one thing about the last two months, I did manage to accomplish two major milestones towards my doctoral degree; first – I submitted my PhD proposal and second – I completed the written part of my comprehensive exam. A couple more steps and I will be pretty close to officially completing my PhD program…

So in celebration of having completed all these milestones, I decided to make some chicken tikka masala tonight. In fact I was to start making it around 6:30 pm but thanks to the dust storm that rolled into Phoenix this evening, I was stuck at school for an hour more than I had planned.The chicken tikka masala essentially has two main ingredients, the gravy/masala and the chicken tikka. This recipe serves 4 persons and takes about an hour to prepare from start to finish if you make the chicken tikka and masala simultaneously.

Ingredients:

  1. 500 grams of boneless cubes of chicken
  2. 2 tbsp oil
  3. ½ tsp Cumin seeds
  4. 1 Bay leaf
  5. 2 Black cardamoms
  6. 3 Green cardamom
  7. 3 Cloves
  8. 1 inch Cinnamon
  9. 3 medium / 2 large Chopped onions
  10. 2 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
  11. 3 chopped Tomatoes
  12. 1 ½ tsp Coriander powder
  13. 1 tbsp Red Chili powder
  14. ¼ tsp Turmeric
  15. Salt to taste
  16. 4 tbsp Cashewnut paste
  17. 1 Tomato (no pulp chopped into large chunks)
  18. 1 Green pepper / Capsicum chopped into large chunks
  19. 1 Onion chopped into large chunks
  20. 2 tbsp Cream
  21. ½ tsp Garam masala
  22. fresh Coriander for garnishing
  23. 1 tbsp lime juice

For the chicken marinade

  1. 1 tsp Ginger paste
  2. 1 tsp Garlic paste
  3. 1 tsp Chili powder
  4. Salt to taste
  5. 1 tbsp Lime juice
  6. 2 tbsp Oil
  7. 1/2 tsp mustard powder
  8. 1/4 tsp carom seeds / ajwain
  9. 2 tbsp Gram flour
  10. 1 cup Yogurt
  11. 1 tsp red Chili powder
  12. 2 tsp Ginger garlic paste
  13. ¼ tsp Turmeric
  14. Salt to taste
  15. ½ tsp Garam masala

Directions:

Chicken Tikka

  • Marinate the chicken in ingredients 1 to 5  under ‘For the chicken marinade’ for 20 minutes.
  • In the meanwhile heat the oil and add the carom seeds. Once the carom seeds start popping, add the gram flour and roast it till it is cooked through. There will be a nutty smell once the gram flour is cooked.
  • Now add this to the yogurt, red chili powder, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, salt and garam masala.
  • After 20 mins add the marinated chicken to the yogurt mixture.
  • Let the chicken marinate for about 2-3 hours. (I did not have 2-3 hrs. I managed to marinate it only for an hour or so)
  • Once the chicken is marinated long enough, oil a baking sheet and pre heat the oven to 425F.
  • Skewer the chicken cubes onto skewers and place the skewers on the baking sheet. The chicken will cook pretty fast, about 15-20 mins. After once side is cooked, turn over the chicken on the skewers. After about 10 mins, turn it over once again. It should be browned slightly on either side.
  • Add the chunks of tomato, green pepper and onions to the leftover marinade.
  • Set the chicken aside. You can start preparing the gravy while the chicken cooks.
  • Once the chicken is cooked, set the oven to the broiler setting and transfer the vegetables on the same baking sheet.
  • Once the vegetables brown remove them from the oven and set them aside.

For the Masala / Gravy

  • Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Once the oil is hot add the cumin seeds, bay leaf, cardamom (black and green), cloves & cinnamon to it. Once the whole spices start imparting their fragrance, add the chopped onions.
  • Brown the onions and add the ginger garlic paste at the very end. Once the ginger garlic paste is also fried add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are completely incorporated with the onions.
  • Next add the coriander powder, red chili powder, turmeric powder and salt. Let the dry spices cook through, it will take just a couple of minutes.
  • Once the dry spices are cooked through add the cashew paste and cook it for a couple of minutes till the oil starts separating from the mixture.
  • At this point add the chicken and mix thoroughly. You may want to add some water to the gravy at this point if it is too thick.
  • Let the gravy simmer for a couple of minutes then add the roasted vegetable chunks to the gravy. Mix the vegetables together and let it simmer for a couples of minutes.
  • Next add the cream, coriander leaves and lime juice to the gravy.
  • The chicken tikka masala is now ready to serve.

We had the chicken tikka masala with some naan and it was brilliant. Now no more craving for restaurant style chicken tikka masala. I can make it at home anytime. Though not too often, it’s not the healthiest of meals after all. But once in a while when you feel like indulging, its perfect. And I followed the recipe from the following link – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gh-SZ1drOMc. One change I made to the recipe was that I roasted the vegetables before added it to the gravy.

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did both making and eating it. And hopefully no more such long breaks from blogging for me. I can definitely say that cooking is my stress buster for sure. Thank you for reading my blog and I hope you enjoy the chicken tikka masala.