Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Spinach Rice/Palak Rice with Green Chicken Curry

Spinach (Palak) Rice and Green Chicken Curry (6-7 people depending on their appetites)

If you fancy the Recipe below and find it too tedious to try and want to place an order instead, please drop me a comment below with your mobile number and I will call you. That's only if you live in Dubai :)

I recently bought some Spinach, trying to eat healthy ;). Usually I prepare Aloo Palak which is basically Spinach and Potatoes sautéed in powdered spices. Since the spinach welts and a big bunch ends up to almost nothing I thought of doing something different like adding it to Rice to sort of make it like Pulav.

Of all the vegetables my hubby eats (and it is so difficult to get him to eat any) Spinach is my safest option.

Make this for your loved one’s lunch box or for a dinner party. Either way you are bound to impress.

You may need something to accompany the Rice like either Yoghurt Raita or just plain Yoghurt or Pickle. I decided to go with green Chicken curry for substance.

So for the Rice you will need 2 cups of Basmati Rice soaked in water. Soak it for about an hour or so. You also need - 

1.       2 bunches of Spinach
2.       Half a bunch of Coriander Leaves (Dhaniya)
3.       Few Mint Leaves (Pudina)
4.       4-5 Cloves of Garlic
5.       2 inch piece of Ginger
6.       1 Green Chilli (you can remove the seeds for less heat)

Blend the above ingredients with a little water to form a paste. We are now going to cook this paste for which you will need –

7.       2 tbsp of Vegetable Oil
8.       4-5 Black Peppercorns
9.       ½ tsp of whole Cumin seeds (Jeera)
10.    2 Cloves
11.    1 Bay Leaf
12.    1 tsp of Red Chilli Powder
13.    1 tsp Coriander Powder (Dhaniya)
14.    ½ tsp Turmeric Powder (Haldi)
15.    1 medium Red Onion
16.    1 small Tomato
17.    Salt

Heat up 2 tbsp of Oil in a wide deep non-stick vessel. The reason why I specify wide is so that the Rice has space to breathe. I am not sure if it’s true but I have just formed this opinion upon numerous tries, sometimes ending up with sticky rice and no one likes to eat sticky Pulav.

Add the Peppercorns, Cumin, Cloves, Bay Leaf, Chilli Powder, Coriander Powder and Turmeric Powder and fry for a minute to release the flavour from the spices. Add the onion and Tomato and fry for another minute. Add the Spinach paste and fry for a good 5 minutes.

Add the soaked rice along with 4 cups of water and salt and cook on a slow flame until the rice is cooked. Avoid stirring the rice; you can fluff it with a fork if you like.

There you have it - delicious Spinach or Palak Rice.

Green Chicken

The chicken is a little easier. You take 1 whole chicken cut into parts and marinate it with a green Masala (see below). Once marinated for about an hour or so, fry the chicken in a vessel (not a frying pan as it may be too shallow) for a few minutes until the Masala is cooked and then add about 2 cups of water if you want some gravy. Let it simmer for about an hour until the chicken is cooked.

If you do not want gravy then you can just cook the chicken without adding any water on a slow flame for about an hour until the chicken is done.

Don’t forget to add salt.

To make the Masala, blend all the below ingredients to make a thick smooth paste.

1 Onion
1 cup grated fresh Coconut
1-2 bunch(es) of Coriander Leaves (Dhaniya)
Few Mint Leaves (Pudina)
1 Green Chilli
4-5 Cloves of Garlic
1 inch piece of Ginger
3-4 Black Peppercorns
1 inch stick of Cinnamon
2-3 Cloves
A splash of Soya Sauce

That’s all for today folks!

Happy Cooking!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Recipe for Chicken Stew with Appams (Indian Pancakes)

Hi guys – I am blogging after a while as ... well I have no excuse, I have just been lazy!

Yesterday I tried my hand at Chicken stew with Appam (pancakes made with Rice and Coconut). Now this is essentially a South-Indian meal so I won’t say my recipe is perfect but it is safe to say that it is delicious. And I also must admit that I did browse through various recipes before trying this one out just to get an idea of the ingredients involved.  

The recipe below is good for 4 people. If you are cooking for more people, then you could just double the quantity of the ingredients.

For the Chicken stew you will need –

1.        one whole Chicken quite obviously, or Chicken parts if you prefer
2.        4-5 tbsp of Oil (any vegetable oil)
3.        1 tbsp of Coconut Oil (I used Parachute which comes in a blue plastic bottle and is available in most grocery stores eg Carrefour)
4.        a small stick of Cinnamon
5.        2 dried Bay leaves
6.        2 Cardamom pods
7.        5-6 black Peppercorns
8.        1 large chopped red Onion (if you don’t have red even white or yellow Onions will do)
9.        5-6 cloves of chopped Garlic
10.     a little chopped Ginger (about an inch long)
11.     1 tsp red Chilli powder
12.     ½ tsp Turmeric (Haldi) powder
13.     1 tsp Coriander (Dhaniya) powder
14.     1 medium chopped Tomato
15.     1 medium sized tin of Coconut Milk
16.     1 chopped Potato
17.     1 chopped Carrot
18.     1 cup of Water

For the garnishing you will need –

19.     a few curry leaves (Karipatta)
20.     a pinch of dried Fenugreek leaves (Kasuri Methi) (This is optional)
21.     a few Coriander leaves (Dhaniya)
22.     a squeeze of 1 small Lime
23.     Salt (as much or as little as you like)
24.     a pinch of Pepper

Now to make the all important Appam you will need –

25.     1 cup raw rice soaked in a cup of Water (I used Basmati rice but not the very expensive kind)
26.     1 tbsp cooked rice
27.     about 3/4th of a cup of fresh grated Coconut
28.     a pinch of Baking Soda
29.     1 tsp of Salt
30.     2 tsp of Sugar
31.     1-2 cups of water depending upon the consistency achieved
32.     Oil for frying

I know it looks like a tonne of ingredients but trust me it is worth the little bit of effort.

To start with the stew, take a deep dish vessel/pot. Add the vegetable and Coconut Oil. Now add the Cinnamon, Bay Leaves, Cardamom and Peppercorns and fry. After about a minute add the chopped Onion, Garlic and Ginger and stir. Now add the Chilli powder, Turmeric powder and Coriander powder and continue frying for about another minute. Add the chopped Tomato and stir. Let it fry for about another minute so that all the spices are cooked well.  Now add the Chicken pieces and let it brown a bit. Then add the Coconut Milk, a cup of Water, chopped Potato and Carrots and cook on a low flame for about an hour or so until the Chicken is completely cooked.

To garnish add ingredients no. 19-24.

Now let’s move on to the Appam

The Appam batter needs to be mixed a day before so that it ferments a bit.

So one day before soak a cup of raw Rice for a few hours in a cup of Water. Blend the raw Rice with the cooked Rice and Coconut in a Blender with half a cup of Water. Blend it well so that there are no lumps. Now keep this mixture in a container, overnight, in a cool room and let it ferment. Put it in the Refrigerator the next morning.

Take it out of the Refrigerator just when you want to eat them. Add about a cup or two of Water, Salt, Sugar and Baking Soda and give it a good stir. You should aim to achieve a pancake batter like consistency (not too thick and not too thin).

Now to fry the Appam, take a tsp of oil in a non-stick pan, pour a ladle of batter into the pan and fry until you see the edges browning. It should take about 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, if you like you can flip it and fry it for about half a minute on the reverse to ensure it is cooked. Cover the pan to speed up the frying process. And voila you should get a tasty Appam. Continue the process until the batter is over. I didn’t count but I think I got around 9 or 10 Appams.

 I didn’t click any photos so I don’t have anything to show you what it looks like, but to give you a general idea they look very similar to white thin pancakes.

Let me know if you try out the Recipe. I would love to hear what you thought of it. All the ingredients listed above should be available in either Lulu or Carrefour supermarkets.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Xiao Wei Yang - Part 2 (Al Rigga, Dubai)

I have blogged about Xiao Wei Yang before and this is now part 2. Xiao Wei is definitely my favourite hot pot restaurant in Dubai (not that I have eaten at all of them but just saying). Hot Pot is also known as Shabu Shabu which I learnt from Wikipedia means thinly sliced beef boiled in water or stock along with vegetables.

So if you read my earlier blog it explains what the whole concept is and what you should do in such a restaurant etc etc. The earlier blog talks about the joint in International City but this time we tried the one just outside the Salah El Din metro station.

In this post I am just going to add a few pictures and also mention about the spicy prawns which you must order on the side (didn't mange to take a photo). Unfortunately you have will have to put in a little effort in taking off the shells but it's worth it.

Note: you might have to specify that you want bowls instead of plates (just easier to slurp all that delicious stock from).

 For all that good stuff that you can see in the photos (excluding the spicy prawns) plus 2 bottles of iced teas we paid a total of AED 160 (good for 2-3 persons).

So I suggest you stop reading this and be on your way to this little heaven of a place.

NB - no prior reservations required.

Thursday, 25 December 2014

Masoor Dal Recipe (Lentils)

Dal is such a common dish in every Indian household. There are many different types of Dal. It is simple, easy to make and a good source of protein. Even though it's simple, it's somehow very satisfying. For my mum, this dish used to be a quick way of getting dinner prepared after a long day at work. Dal, rice and fried fish reminds me of my mum.

So, in this recipe I have used Masoor Dal. Below is what you need -

About a full cup of Brown/Black Masoor Lentils (Dal) (wash this repeatedly until the water runs clear)
2 medium sized Onions chopped
1 medium sized Tomato chopped
1 green Chilli chopped or slit lengthwise (optional)
5-6 cloves of Garlic (chopped)
1 inch piece of Ginger (chopped fine)
Half tsp of red Chilli powder
Half tsp of Turmeric (Haldi) powder
1 tsp of Coriander powder (Dhaniya) (optional)
Fresh Coriander leaves for garnishing

For the Tadka you will require -

1 tsp Ghee and 1 tbsp of oil (clarified butter available at most supermarkets)
1 tsp Cumin seeds (Jeera)
1 tsp Mustard seeds (Rai/Sarson)
3-4 green curry leaves (Kadi Patta)
2-3 dried red chilli (optional)
Pinch of Asfoetida (Hing) (this is good for the tummy and prevents bloating)

Tadka is a method of tempering whole spices in hot oil and then adding them to the Dal to intensify its flavours. There is no hard and fast rule to Tadka. You can also add cloves of Garlic or bits of Ginger if you like. Since I add Ginger and Garlic to the Dal itself I avoid it in the Tadka process.

Take a big deep vessel (I prefer to use a pressure cooker to save time). Pour a little oil in it and let it heat up. Then add the chopped Ginger/Garlic, give it a stir and immediately add the chopped onions, and green chilli. Let the onions fry for a bit and then add the Red Chilli powder, Turmeric powder and Coriander powder. Give it a good stir and then add the chopped tomatoe. Let it all fry for about 5 minutes. Now add the Masoor Dal along with 3 cups of water. Close the lid and let it simmer until the Dal  is soft or almost mushy. If you are using a pressure cooker like I do, then wait for about 5 whistles and then switch the gas off. Let all the steam escape from the pressure cooker and only then open the lid. The Dal should not be too thick and nor should it be too watery. If it is too thick add some more water and if it is too watery then let it simmer some more.

Add the green curry leaves and the dried red chillis (break them into half) on top of the Dal and in the centre of the vessel/pressure cooker. When we do the Tadka we will pour the Tadka right on top of it so that the hot oil automatically releases its flavours. You can also add the curry leaves and red chillis into the Tadka pan but this is just a different way of doing it.

Now for the Tadka. Take a frying pan and add a tsp of Ghee in it and a tbsp of oil. Let it heat up on high flame. Now add the Mustard seeds and wait for them to crackle. Then add the Cumin seeds and a pinch of Asfoetida. Give it a good stir and pour it in the centre of the vessel and right on top of the curry leaves and red chillis. Give the Dal a mix and garnish it with the Coriander leaves.

Serve with a bowl of steamed Rice :)


Thursday, 3 July 2014

Goan hot and sour Squid curry

So this is my version of Goan Squid curry. How authentic Goan it is, I do not know but what I do know is that my hubby is Goan and he says it's Goan so well Goan it is.

Follow the below steps and enjoy this famous Goan curry.

You will need 1 kg squid, cleaned and cut into rings

2-3 pieces of tamarind - soak this in 1/4 cup water for about 10 mins. After 10 mins take out the tamarind pieces and you are left with the water, which you will need later so keep this aside. You can substitute the tamarind water with a tamarind stock cube if available.

Now you need to dry roast (on a pan without any oil) the below whole spices -

1 inch cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp of whole black peppercorns
1/4 tsp of whole cumin (jeera)
1/4 tsp of whole coriander seeds
4 black cloves
10 whole red dried Kashmiri chillies (break off the stems)

Take a blender and add to it the above roasted spices along with -

3 small chopped onions (or 2 big onions)
4 garlic cloves peeled
1/2 tsp of chopped ginger
1/4 tsp of turmeric powder
 1/3 cup vinegar (white or apple cider).

Blend everything so that you get a smooth red paste (masala) which should be of a thick consistency.

Now take a deep vessel. Add some oil and fry 1 small sliced onion. After 2-3 minutes add the red paste/masala and fry well on a medium flame for about 5 mins. To this add one small chopped tomato and the tamarind water/stock cube and a pinch of sugar to even out the sourness of the tomato and the tamarind.

Now you can add the squid rings and about 2 cups of water (depending on the consistency that you like you can add more or less water). Let the gravy/curry come to a boil and them simmer on a low heat for about 15-20 mins until the squid is cooked.

Umm don't forget to add some salt otherwise it will be curry with no taste!

Garnish with fresh coriander/cilantro leaves and serve with hot steamed rice!

PS - all the above ingredients are available at Lulu/Carrefour supermarkets or any Indian store.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Indian Spicy Red Fish Curry

Now I am not really sure which Indian State this curry belongs to as it's something created out of one of my experiments. Every Indian family has their own version of fish curry. Some like it hot, some sour and some green! Anyhow, this is something I recently tried out and well it wasn't all that bad :)

So here is what you will need for this recipe -

Fish (I prefer Pomfret) - Clean your fish or you can have it cleaned from wherever you buy it. Keep the fish slices aside marinated with a little salt. In Dubai you get some lovely fish at the Deira fish market. If you do not have the patience to go there then you can get some at Lulu or Carrefour.

Take a small ball of tamarind and soak it in half a cup of water. If you do not have tamarind it is ok, you can skip this. You can soak the tamarind for about 10mins after which drain the tamarind water and keep it aside.

Now get ready to make the masala. Take the below ingredients and dry roast them (just put them in a pan on a low flame without any oil) -

4-5 Kashmiri Chillis (Available in Lulu/Carrefour)
1 tsp Coriander seeds
Half tsp Cumin seeds
1 tsp whole black peppercorns
A pinch of Fenugreek seeds

After about 5 mins take them out and put them in a blender. To the blender also add -

1 tsp of Red Chilli powder
Half tsp of Turmeric powder
1 small onion (cut into quarters)
3-4 garlic cloves
1 inch piece of ginger
Half a cup grated coconut (if you do not have fresh coconut, substitute this with 3-4 tsp of Maggi coconut powder)
Tamarind water (or just half a cup of plain water)

Blend all the above ingredients. If the masala is too dry add some water. It should be of a thick paste like consistency. The colour should be a dark orange. If you think it is too pale add some more red chilli powder.

Now slice up another small onion, a small tomato and one small green chilli (skip the green chilli if you do not like it hot). Take a deep vessel, add some oil and wait for it to heat up. Now add a few mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter. Once they start spluttering, add the sliced onion and green chilli and fry them for about 3mins. Once the onions are translucent, almost brown, add the chopped tomato and fry again. Now add the masala paste and fry for a good 5-10 mins on a low flame. Keep stirring to ensure the masala is not burning and all the raw smell of the spices disappear.

Lastly add the fish, add some more water to make it a gravy type consistency and some salt.

Let it boil for a few minutes until the fish is cooked.

Serve with plain white steamed rice.

PS - all the above listed ingredients are available at Lulu/Carrefour supermarkets

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Chimes Restaurant (Al Barsha, Dubai)

Located in Seven Sands Hotel, Al Barsha is a little Chinese/Thai restaurant called Chimes. Serving a variety of interesting dishes like Duck Kuey Teow soup, Singapore Chilli Crab, Peking Duck,Nasi Goreng, this menu has something in it for everyone. We sampled the Tom Yum Talay soup for starters which was not too hot and just rightly spiced.

For the main course we had Singapore Chilli Crab and Thai Style Fried Rice.

The crabs come with plastic aprons so don't be afraid to get messy.

All three dishes were good though I hoped to see more seafood in the soup.

Our friends ordered the Kung Pao Prawns which also looked pretty good and a chicken dish whose name I cannot remember. It had roasted or fried peanuts in it which were yummy if you like peanuts.

The total bill for 5 main course dishes, 1 starter and 1 large bottle of water came up to AED 270. I will definitely be going back there the next time to sample other dishes on their menu like the Peking Duck.

Hope you are having a good weekend!