Sunday, December 3, 2017

Spicy chicken bell pepper fusilli with cheddar cheese

Is it strange that when I sit to write a commissioned work, I tend to drift and focus on something else๐Ÿ˜“? 

That's what is happening now. Maybe it's panic or maybe it's just the apprehension of "what if the client doesn't like my work" or "why am I not getting an idea to write" and sometimes even, "I am so bored of writing the same thing again and again. Lemme think of something new..."... and the list goes on. Maybe all people involved in writing face this or may be not. I honestly never bothered to find out. 

At least this situation worked to get me to finally do something with this post - that has been pending for far longer than it should have.

This bell pepper fusilli turned out so good when I made it that it was hard to resist the urge to gulp it down even before the photoshoot was complete.

Here's how I went about it ๐Ÿ˜€.

What I used:
  1. Fusilli boiled in water with salt: 4 cups
  2. Salt: as per need
  3. Butter: 2 tablespoons
  4. Vegetable oil: 1 teaspoon
  5. Diced onion: 1
  6. Garlic: 3 cloves
  7. Ginger paste: 2 teaspoons
  8. Garam masala: 2 teaspoons
  9. Meat masala: 3 tablespoons
  10. Chopped green or red chillies: 1-2
  11. Minced chicken: 2 cups
  12. Chopped parsley: 2 tablespoons
  13. Cubed bell pepper: 1 medium-sized
  14. Grated cheddar cheese: 3 tablespoons
How I made it:
  1. In a wok or skillet, melt the butter on low flame with a teaspoon of vegetable oil.
  2. Add the garlic and then ginger paste.
  3. Next goes in the onions and chillies. Also add some salt.
  4. When the onions turn translucent, add the meat and garam masalas. 
  5. Once they have cooked, add the minced chicken. Mix well and cook till the chicken is fully done and the chicken stock has evaporated. This might take a while if cooking with pan closed.
  6. Once chicken is done, add the bell pepper and parsley. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes till the bell pepper softens.
  7. Then add the fusilli and toss the contents well so that the fusilli absorbs the taste of the chicken mix. 
  8. Add the cheddar on top and keep aside for 10 minutes before serving.

This was a really quick-to-make dish and trust me, it finishes as fast as you make it.
It's true.. best things come in small packages ๐Ÿ˜‡.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Semiya/vermicelli payasam

Anyone who has lived in Kerala for a while would know the simplicity and elegance of the semiya payasam. The soft toasted semiya/vermicelli in a pool of milk makes this one of the few milk dishes that I just adore ๐Ÿ˜‹.

That's not all. It's simple to prepare as well ๐Ÿ˜‰. 

On those days when one needs a quick dessert, semiya payasam it is ๐Ÿ˜‹.

What I used:
  1. Semiya/vermicelli toasted till brown in ghee: 2 cups
  2. Milk: 1/2 liter
  3. Water: 1 cup
  4. Sugar: as per need
  5. Boiled sago pearls (optional): 3 tablespoons
  6. Cardamom: 5 pods
  7. Cashews, dried grapes and almonds toasted in ghee: as per need

    How I made it:
    1. In a thick-bottomed pan, heat the milk with water, sugar and cardamom. You can adjust the sweetness with the amount of sugar.
    2. When the milk starts to boil, reduce the flame and add the toasted semiya/vermicelli.
    3. Boil till the semiya/vermicelli starts to soften. This takes about 20 minutes or so.
    4. Then add the dry fruits, mix the contents well and keep the pan covered. The semiya/vermicelli will cook further in the warmth of the hot milk.
    5. Keep aside for 20 min before serving.

    This traditional dessert tastes just as good when served chilled ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹. Enjoy!

    Wednesday, August 30, 2017

    Rava/semolina dosa

    It was a friend of mine who is an air hostess (a very health conscious girl who closely monitors her health stats) who introduced me to the rava dosa. 

    It was at a time when I was constantly thriving on takeouts due to various reasons and she was totally into home-made food. One evening, when all we had was rava and my valuable opinion was to dial a takeaway, she said "There is rava, salt and water in the kitchen. Let's make rava dosa". And I liked it and it was easy to make. This, till date, is my instant breakfast option on my famine-stricken days.

    Over the umpteen times that I made this dosa in various combinations, I have a few varieties that I particularly liked. Here is one ๐Ÿ˜€. 

    What I used:
    1. Rava/semolina: 1 cup
    2. Wheat flour (optional): 1/2 cup
    3. Salt: to taste
    4. Chopped coriander leaves: 2 tablespoons
    5. Chopped onions: 2 tablespoons
    6. Water: enough to make a smooth batter
    7. Oil: to glaze the pan
    How I made it:
    1. Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl and make a loose batter, with dosa batter consistency - smooth enough to flatten on a pan, yet not too thick.
    2. Heat a flat pan or tawa on high flame.
    3. When the pan is hot, glaze it with a few drops of oil and spread a ladle of the batter evenly in any desired shape. When the batter has moderately solidified, turn the dosa on its other side to evenly cook both sides. Ideally both sides should brown a bit.

    Once that's done, it's the beginning of a smooth breakfast or any other light meal ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹. It's one's choice whether to have it by itself or as a combo with some delicious curries or chutneys. 

    Friday, June 2, 2017

    Pepper chicken fry


    At times, the little things are what makes any day a BIG DAY!

    This particular day, I was pondering on how to make use of the few chicken pieces hibernating in my freezer when I came up with this recipe. Since I rarely cook chicken and sooo wanted the sweety, spicy, chewy, juicy contentment, I couldn't afford to let this go wrong. So I carefully sorted the ingredients that I felt would bring about the flavors I needed.

    The result led this to being my kudos moment for coming up with a recipe that turned out fine in the first attempt. It came out lovely! A word of caution is that the dish is a tad bit oily. Once in a while, an excess of coconut oil can't be bad, especially for Keralites :D :D

    What I used
    1. Fried chicken pieces (marinated in a mix of chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder): 1/4 kg
      PS: Ensure the chicken pieces are not fried to become hard. Fry till they are medium cooked.
    2. Finely diced (round shape) shallots: 1 cup
    3. Garlic: 5 halved cloves
    4. Salt: to taste
    5. Coconut oil: 1/4 cup
    6. Pepper powder: 2 teaspoons
    7. Curry leaves: 1 sprig
    8. Green chillies: 3
    9. Honey (to be added at the end): 1/4 cup
    How I made it
    1. Heat oil in a pan and saute the shallots with curry leaves, garlic, green chillies and the required amount of salt on medium flame.
    2. When the shallots soften, add the pepper powder. Mix well and after 1 minute, add the already fried chicken pieces.
    3. Mix the contents well. Cook for 5 minutes with the pan covered. Then remove the lid and stir the contents well to get rid of any remaining moisture.
      PS: You can stop at this stage if you like the dish spicy.
    4. For a bit of extra sweetness, turn off the stove and add honey. Mix everything well.
      Now, it's time to get the serving plate :D :D

    That's it!

    It went really well with chappathy and served as a snack by itself with the evening tea :D :D

    Wednesday, December 7, 2016

    Potato omelette

    A humble omelette sans pomp and show. Like the old saying that the best gifts come in little packages.

    Only basic ingredients, yet it serves a fulfilling serving!

    What I used
    1. Oil/butter: 3 tablespoons
    2. Grated onion (1), grated potato (1 cup)
    3. Salt: to taste
    4. Chilli: 1
    5. Curry leaves: few
    6. Beaten eggs: 3
    How I made it
    1. In a frying pan, saute the onion and grated potatoes with some salt, chilli and the curry leaves till the potatoes have cooked.
    2. Spread the contents across the pan and pour the beaten eggs over it.
    3. Once the eggs harden, slide it out onto a plate and turn the omelette the other side up back into the pan, as in a Spanish omelette, to cook the other side.

    This was best served hot, with garlic bread :D :D

    Classic French toast

    I love bread.. just not the regular sliced ones we get in the supermarket!! My kind are the ones that are a bit overbaked with a slight but obvious taste of the overbaked crust. So as a rule, I rarely buy the supermarket sliced breads.

    One can't underestimate the ease with which bread can result in a fast turnaround of breakfast. I first had French toast as a child when my mother made it as a Friday breakfast and I hated it. Was never a fan of fried bread throughout my childhood. When the necessity arises, there is a greater tendency to pacify oneself with the availability deemed as the new "in" thing.

    On one such uncanny day, with an already preset disposition to eggs and the presence of some bread, I decided to make the French toast for breakfast. This was also due to the keen desire to avoid some good bread from going stale. And secretly I don't prefer to waste food for the sake of the starving children across the world.

    So French toast is really easy to make, though I must warn you, it is a bit oily.

    What I used
    1. Butter/oil: enough for shallow frying (around half cup for 4 slices of bread)
    2. Eggs: 2
    3. Sugar: depending on the sweetness needed (I used 3 tablespoons)
    4. Bread: 4 slices
    5. Cinnamon/sugar powder: for sprinkling (optional)
    How I made it
    1. In a bowl, beat the eggs and sugar well and soak each bread slice for about 30 seconds.
    2. Heat the butter/oil in a pan and fry the egg-soaked bread slices till they brown on each side.
    Land the toast on a plate lined with tissue/blotting paper to get rid of the excess oil. Serve with a sprinkle of cinnamon or sugar powder.

    This a perfect breakfast with a hot cup of coffee or cardamom tea :D :D

    Monday, December 5, 2016

    Beef cutlets

    The day I made beef roast was the same day I decided to try the beef cutlets, not because of any particular reason other than the sheer availability of beef. 

    More importantly, it was a treat that I had planned for my friends and colleagues. I made this inspired by the beef cutlets we used to buy from the food court in our office building. The kind of cutlets with more substance than just a heavy filling of potatoes. This was rich and spicy beef cutlets. 4 pm was awaited eagerly so we could rush upstairs to the food court and grab 2 cutlets before it was all over. 

    That's when I decided I must make these yummy cutlets for a treat :D :D

    Since the recipe has a lot to do with the beef roast, I suggest you go though the ingredients and method I have mentioned for the beef roast, then follow the below steps:

    What I used (extra ingredients not mentioned in the recipe for beef roast)
    1. Eggs: 3
    2. Bread crumbs: 2 cups
    3. Oil: for deep frying
    How I made it
    1. To make cutlets, grind the beef roast in a mixer and make small flattened patties. 
    2. Dip each patty in egg wash and coat with bread crumbs. 
    3. Repeat the process of egg wash, bread crumbs once again for really crisp crust.
    4. Deep fry in hot oil to get spicy crispy beef cutlets.

    Beef cutlets and hot coffee is a to-die-for evening snacks.

    But of course, if you can't wait till evening, just make it any time and have it with anything or even better idea, don't wait for a combo, simply munch on it as soon as it off the stove :D :D