Tandoori Chicken

I am a big fan of Tandoori chicken. It’s definitely one of my all time favorites! It’s right up next to butter chicken. That’s spoken like a true Punjabi! And I have searched in vain for a restaurant here that serves good Tandoori chicken but have been extremely disappointed. Inspite of the large North Indian population here, I’m yet to find a place that makes tandoori chicken like they make back home in India. This recipe however, makes perhaps the best oven made tandoori chicken you will find in the city. I’m not very modest about my cooking!

Tandoori chicken is said to have originated in erstwhile Punjab, prior to the partition of India and Pakistan. Tandoors go back to way longer though. I remember reading a book (The Twentieth Wife, which by the way is one of my favourites) about Jehangir the Mughal emperor and Noor Jahan. And the book mentioned that tandoors were used to cook food at the Imperial court in Delhi for the emperor. Huh, I am a foodie because I remembered that from the book! So the art or science (whatever you call it) of cooking in a tandoor probably came to India with the Mughals.

History aside, I like the dish because it’s not as rich as most other Indian food. And it has so much flavour! I haven’t met anybody who could resist a plate of this absolutely delicious chicken, orange and crispy – charred on the outside, tender and succulent on the inside. Can you resist this?

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I am drooling already but here’s the recipe for you:

Serves: 3

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. Chicken breasts (Boneless and skinless) – 2 (Each cut in 3 pieces)
  2. Chicken legs (Boneless and skinless) – 4

For the Marinade:

  1. Lemon juice – Juice of about 1/2 a lemon
  2. Salt – 2 teaspoons
  3. Cayenne pepper – 1 teaspoon
  4. Ginger paste – 2 teaspoons
  5. Garlic paste – 2 teaspoons
  6. Yoghurt – 3 tablespoons
  7. Oil – 2 tablespoons
  8. Masala mix – 2 teaspoons (For a milder version add half the mix and save half for later)
  9. Nutmeg – 1/2 teaspoon
  10. Roasted cumin powder – 1/2 tablespoon
  11. Red food color (optional) – A tad bit! (I used the liquid one that I usually use to color cake icing)
  12. Amchur (Dried mango powder) – 1 teaspoon

For the masala mix:

  1. Cloves – 1 teaspoon
  2. Black cardamom – 1
  3. Green cardamom – 1 teaspoon
  4. Coriander seeds – 1 teaspoon
  5. Dried red chillies – 2
  6. Mace – 1/2 teaspoon
  7. Black peppercorn – 1 teaspoon
  8. Carom seeds – 1/2 teaspoon
  9. Cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon
  10. Bay leaves – 1.5

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Instructions:

  1. Make slashes / cuts on the chicken pieces so the marinade can penetrate.
  2. Heat a large pan, add ingredients of the masala mix to the pan and dry roast them for 3 – 4 minutes on low heat. Grind the contents to form a powder.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the ingredients of the marinade, red food coloring and masala mix and rub liberally over the chicken. Let it stand for 3 hours in the fridge
  4. Preheat the oven on broiler set at high for 5 minutes.
  5. Place chicken in the middle rack and let cook for 10 minutes.
  6. After 10 minutes remove tray and flip the chicken pieces on to the other side and place tray on top rack for 7 minutes.
  7. Remove tray and flip chicken pieces. Place tray in the oven on top rack for another 8 minutes. Make sure chicken is cooked through.
  8. Remove the tray and make sure chicken is cooked through.

I used about 700 grams of chicken for the recipe. You could substitute the masala mix with pre made garam masala powder. Although the flavour may not be the same. If you’re not a fan of food coloring use a teaspoon of turmeric instead.

Voilà! Squeeze the juice of a quarter of a lemon, slice up some onions and enjoy your freshly made, hot and delicious tandoori chicken with naan or as is!

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Spinach and Lentil Soup

This recipe was a request from one of my dearest friends. We went to university together back in India. We’ve seen each other through the ups and downs of college life. Many a times I have ended up crashing in her room. We have partied together, stayed up nights studying for exams, eating instant noodles and drinking coffee. The coffee making process used to be a welcome event – a break from the books! And though we haven’t seen each other for 8 years now, I know we’ve still got each other’s back!

This recipe is also a request from a newer friend. I have only known her for a few years now. She is one of the kindest people I know. She’s a mum to a very cute 2 year old. We bond over being mothers of toddlers and food amongst other things. I look forward to many more years of friendship with her!

This soup is a hearty vegetarian soup filled with the goodness of green vegetables and lentils, easy to cook and perfect for cold wintry nights. As with most of my soup recipes this one is super easy to make and one of my favourite soups. My 14 month eats it and she’s a picky eater so I consider her a great judge of my food! I know that if she’s eating it, it’s good!

Spinach is one of my favourite vegetables and you’ll always find some in my fridge. It’s so full of nutrition. Remember Popeye the sailor man? Spinach was his superfood! It’s low in calories and packed with Iron, Vitamin A and Vitamin C.

Red lentils are a healthy meat substitute for vegans. They’re rich in fiber and contain as much protein as a piece of steak! They are also packed with iron, folate and other minerals.

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Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  1. Spinach – 120 gms
  2. Red split lentils – 1/4 Cup
  3. Carrots – 1 Cup (Chopped)
  4. Onions – 1/4 Medium onion (Chopped)
  5. Garlic – 2 Cloves (Chopped)
  6. Salt – 1 teaspoon
  7. Peppercorn – 1/4 teaspoon
  8. Nutmeg – 1/4 teaspoon
  9. Olive oil – 1 tablespoons
  10. Water – 3.5 Cups

Instructions:

 

  1. Add oil to the pot. Once the oil is hot, add carrots and garlic. Stir for about 3 minutes.
  2. Add the onions and garlic and stir for a few minutes, till the vegetables turn a little soft.
  3. Add lentils and water. Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to the pot and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Once the lentils are cooked, add the spinach to the pot. Cover the pot and simmer for 5 minutes.
  5. Use a hand blender to blend the contents of the pot and simmer for another couple of minutes.
  6. Serve hot with a side of sauted green beans and mushrooms. Stay tuned for that recipe!

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You could also eat it with nice warm crusty bread.

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I hope you enjoy this delicious bowl of soup!

Goat Meat Curry

This recipe is inspired by my mom. Growing up, this used to be the Sunday lunch special, which the family enjoyed together. It is my goto comfort food and food that I like to indulge in. I cook this once in a few months as it is richer than the food we usually like to eat. But there’s nothing like a bowl of delicious meat curry (as I call it), eaten with hot basmati rice or Indian bread (roti) and a small salad of sliced cucumbers and onions seasoned with lemon, salt and pepper. Goat meat when cooked well is extremely succulent and tender and ohh so tasty!

I modified the recipe a little, by adding the red chilli paste. You could skip that if you prefer your curry mild or add more of it if you like it hot. It does add a nice red color to the curry.

I have added potatoes to the curry as that’s how my mum used to cook it. And these potatoes soaked in curry taste absolutely delicious. You should definitely try the curry with them. But you could leave them out.

I’ve used a pressure cooker but you could use a pot instead. If you use a pot, you would need to cook the curry for longer and make sure the meat easily comes of the bone, when done.

I hope you enjoy cooking and eating this as much as I do!

Prep time: 15 minutes 

Cook time: 1.5 hours 

Serves: 6

Ingredients:

1. Goat meat (chops and mixed): 3 pounds (1.3 Kilos)

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2. Onions (sliced): 4 medium

3. Ginger (minced): 2 teaspoons

4. Garlic  (minced): 2 teaspoons

5. Yoghurt – 4 tablespoons

6. Dried whole red chillies – 5 (Grind them to make a paste of them with half cup of water)

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7. Salt – 1.5 teaspoons

8. Coriander powder – 3 teaspoons

9. Turmeric powder – 1.5 teaspoons

10. Nutmeg powder – 1 teaspoon

11. Garam masala powder – 1 teaspoon

12. Cloves – 8

13. Green cardamom pods – 6

14. Black cardamom pods – 3

15. Cinnamon sticks – 2 small ones

16. Cumin – 1 teaspoon

17. Cumin powder – 2 teaspoons

18. Tomato puree – 1 tablespoon

19. Olive oil – 4 tablespoons

20. Potatoes (halved) – 3 medium ones

21. Cilantro (chopped finely) – 1 handful

Instructions:

1. Add oil to the pressure cooker and once it heats up, add whole spices.

2. Once they start crackling, add the garlic. Saute for 20 seconds and add the sliced onions.

3. Saute the onions till they become pink, about 10 minutes.

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4. Add the ginger paste and then add the meat to the cooker.

5. Saute the meat for about 20 minutes on medium heat. Add the red chilli paste, salt and all the ground spices and saute for 20 minutes on low heat.

6. Add the yoghurt, tomato puree and potatoes and cook for 10 minutes.

7. Add 3 cups of water to the cooker, close the lid and cook on high heat for 5 minutes and low heat for 20 minutes.

8. Wait 30 minutes and make sure you let out all the steam before opening the lid.

9. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with hot basmati rice or Indian bread.

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Goat meat curry with basmati rice

Lipstick Soup

We just got back from a vacation and are getting back to our soup for dinner diet after having indulged in the yummiest food and desserts over the last week. We have definitely put on some holiday weight but whats a good holiday without some great food? Now that we are back however it’s time to try and shed some of the pounds we gained and watch what we eat.

The idea for this soup originated one evening a few months back when my husband came home and told me he had had lipstick soup for lunch. All he could tell me about it was that it had beetroot. The only form I have had beetroot so far is in a salad. I do know that it’s low in fat, full of vitamins and minerals and packed with powerful antioxidants.

This is a super easy recipe with very few ingredients, needs very little prep and is fast to cook. The soup has the prettiest color, a rich magenta true to it’s name.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

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  1. Beetroot – 2 medium ones (Cubed)
  2. Butternut Squash – 1 cup  (Cubed)
  3. Potato – 1 large (Cubed)
  4. Onion – 1/2 medium  (Cubed)
  5. Garlic – 2 cloves
  6. Vegetable broth / chicken broth – 4 cups (Unsalted)
  7. Salt – 1.5 teaspoons
  8. Black peppercorn – 0.5 teaspoon
  9. Fresh thyme – A few sprigs (3-4)
  10. Olive oil – 2 teaspoons

Instructions:

  1. Add the beetroot, potatoes, garlic, onions and squash in a pot with the olive oil and water, and simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes.
  2. Add salt and pepper to the pot, cover the pot and cook for 25 minutes on low heat.
  3. Blend the contents of the pot using a hand blender.
  4. Add a few sprigs of thyme to the pot and simmer for 5 minutes on low heat.
  5. Garnish with a sprig of thyme and serve hot. I added some croutons to my soup and it tasted delicious!

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Zucchini Pesto Pasta

We had a busy Sunday doing chores and running errands. By the evening I was exhausted and didn’t want to spend a lot of time cooking. I love pesto sauce. And a good pasta. So for dinner yesterday, I made a pesto pasta with a twist. I substituted the pasta with zucchini noodles or zoodles, which look like spaghetti, to make the pasta carb free.

A heads-up though, Zucchini  has a high water content – 95%! So serve the salad as soon as it’s ready as the zoodles (zucchini noodles) tend to get soggy.

Zucchini is a low calorie vegetable and can be extremely beneficial in a weight loss diet. It has a lot of other health benefits as well. It is fiber rich and is an excellent source of Vitamin C and a number of other vitamins and minerals. It has a sweet taste when eaten raw. So for my carb free pasta, I used Zucchini noodles. You could use a spiralizer to make the zucchini noodles. If you don’t have one, you could use a vegetable peeler to peel the zucchini lengthwise.

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For my pesto, I used 1 cup basil and 1 cup spinach. Basil is a divine herb. It just adds a wonderful freshness to whatever you add it to. I love it any which way, whether it’s on a pizza, in a sandwich or pasta, salad or even in a drink. It adds a delicious flavour to whatever it’s added to.

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Prep Time: 30 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

For the Pesto sauce:

  1. Basil – 1 cup
  2. Spinach – 1 cup
  3. Pine nuts – 60 gms or 1/4 cup (toasted)
  4. Parmesan cheese – 60 gms or 1/4 cup (Freshly grated)
  5. Olive oil – 1/4 cup
  6. Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  7. Black pepper (ground)- 1/4 teaspoon
  8. Garlic cloves – 2
  9. Lemon – 1/2

For the pasta:

  1. Zucchini noodles – 500 gms
  2. Yellow bell pepper – 1/2 (Julienned)
  3. Shallots – 1 (Julienned)
  4. Cherry tomatoes – 1 cup (Halved)
  5. Black olives  (pitted) – 1/2 cup
  6. Oregano – 1 teaspoon
  7. Salt – 1 teaspoon
  8. Black pepper (ground) – 1/4 teaspoon

Instructions:

  1. Mix basil leaves, garlic cloves and toasted pine nuts and pulse together in a food processor / blend in a blender.
  2. Add Olive oil to the mix and blend till smooth.
  3. Add spinach, parmesan, salt and pepper and blend till the pesto sauce is smooth. Squeeze and add the juice of half a lemon and blend for a few seconds.
  4. In a salad bowl add the pesto to the zucchini noodles and mix well.
  5. Add onions, peppers, olives and tomatoes to the salad bowl and the seasoning – oregano, salt and pepper and mix well so the vegetables are coated with the sauce. Serve chilled!

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And presto! Your pesto pasta is ready to be served. That was cheesy but I had been wanting to say it since I thought of it after I made it yesterday.

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I hope you enjoy the salad!

Chicken and Quinoa Burrito Bowl

Mexican food is one of my favourite cuisines and I love burritos as much as the next person. I used to be a loyal customer of the Mexican fast food chain here, so much so, that they used to give me a VIP discount at this one location, a couple of minutes from my house. This one time I didn’t eat there for about two months because I was traveling. When I went back there, they asked where I’d been because they hadn’t seen me for a while. If they know you that well you eat there too often!

I recently realized however that even a small burrito has over 500 calories. That’s a little less than half of my calorie requirement for a day. I still indulge in the occasional burrito once in a while but gone are the days of me being a VIP customer. I do still crave it and so I came up with this recipe for a burrito bowl.

I chose chicken as the meat because it’s easy to cook and healthy to eat. I chose quinoa as the carb, instead of brown rice. The carbs in Quinoa and brown rice are comparable. However, quinoa not only has a higher content of protein and fiber, but is also a good source of iron and folate, much needed by a lot of women.

This recipe is a one pot meal and is a protein packed delicious meal.

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Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 45 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

  1. Chicken breasts – 2 (Cut in bite sized pieces)
  2. Red bell pepper – 1 (Julienned)
  3. Yellow bell pepper – 1 (Julienned)
  4. Red Onion – 1 Medium (Julienned)
  5. Corn – 1/2 cup (Steamed)
  6. Avocado – 1/2 (Sliced)
  7. Olive oil – 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon
  8. Cilantro – Handful (chopped)

Spices for chicken:

  1. Salt – 1 teaspoon
  2. Garlic powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  3. Cayenne pepper – 1/4 teaspoon
  4. Onion powder – 1 teaspoon
  5. Oregano – 1/2 teaspoon
  6. Crushed black pepper – 1/2 teaspoon

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For the quinoa:

  1. Quinoa – 1 cup
  2. Chicken broth – 2 cups
  3. Black beans – 1 cup (Canned)
  4. Tomato – 1 Medium (Cubed)
  5. Tomato purée – 1 tablespoon
  6. Salt – 1/2 teaspoon
  7. Garlic powder – 1/2 teaspoon
  8. Onion powder – 1/2 teaspoon

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Spices for vegetables:

  1. Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
  2. Crushed black pepper – 1/4 teaspoon

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Instructions:

  1. In a bowl add chicken, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, the spices for chicken mentioned above and mix well.
  2. Heat a pan, add 1/2 tablespoon oil to it. Once the oil becomes hot add the chicken.
  3. Cook the chicken on high to medium heat, for 8 minutes so that it becomes a little crispy on the outside and then on low heat for 4 minutes so it cooks through
  4.  Remove the chicken from the pan and add 1/2 teaspoon oil, followed by the onions and bell peppers.
  5. Add salt and black pepper to the vegetables and saute on high to medium heat for 4 minutes.
  6. Remove the vegetables from the pan (they should be crispy but not raw).
  7. Add 1/2 teaspoon oil to the pan and add the chopped tomatoes. Saute for a couple of minutes on medium heat.
  8. Add the quinoa, tomato puree, black beans, salt and garlic powder and saute for a couple of minutes.
  9. Add chicken broth and put the lid on. Simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.
  10. Once the quinoa is cooked, turn the heat off. Add the vegetables, chicken and corn to the pan.
  11. Garnish with fresh avocado slices and chopped cilantro and serve hot.

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I hope you enjoy cooking and eating my version of a burrito bowl as much as I do.

Green Apple and Butternut Squash Soup

Keeping up with our new year resolution, we had soup for dinner last night. Well, we didn’t entirely follow our resolution, as we skipped the salad and ate the soup with freshly baked slices of french baguette. But this is the longest that I have followed any new year’s resolution so far, even if in part only. So I’m not complaining. Last night’s dinner was a delicious green apple and butternut squash soup with spiced olive oil.

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Green Apple and Butternut Squash Soup 

I have made butternut squash soup before and it has the creamiest texture. This time around, I experimented with the ingredients by adding apple instead of carrots that I usually use, to the squash. The apple added a nice tartness to the soup. I also used roasted cumin powder, which added a very nice flavour to the slightly tart creamy soup.

We enjoyed eating it and I hope so will you.

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 50 minutes

Serves: 5

Ingredients:

  1. Green apple (cubed)- 2 cups
  2. Butternut Squash (cubed) – 3 cups
  3. Potato (cubed) – 1 cup
  4. Leek (chopped) – 1.5 cups
  5. Chicken broth (unsalted) – 2 cups (You could also use unsalted vegetable broth)
  6. Water – 2 cups
  7. Butter – 1 tablespoon
  8. Salt – 2.5 teaspoons
  9. Black peppercorn – 0.5 teaspoon
  10. Cumin powder (roast the cumin seeds before grinding) – 1 teaspoon
  11. Nutmeg powder – 1 pinch

For the Garnish:

  1. Chives (chopped) – A handful
  2. Olive oil – 1 tablespoon
  3. Garlic powder – 1 teaspoon
  4. Red chilli flakes – 1 teaspoon
  5. Salt – 0.25 teaspoon

Instructions:

  1. Heat butter in a pot and add the chopped leek. Saute for a couple of minutes
  2. Add the cubed vegetables and saute for 5 minutes
  3. Add salt, cumin powder and peppercorn to the pot
  4. Add chicken broth and water to the vegetables. Cover the pot and let it simmer for 45 minutes
  5. Remove the lid and blend the contents of the pot. Add a pinch of nutmeg powder and simmer for a few minutes

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For the spiced oil:

Mix the olive oil, garlic powder, salt and red chilli flakes in a small bowl to make a spiced oil mixture.

Serve the soup hot and add a spoon of the spiced oil. Add some chopped chives. Enjoy it with some warm bread.

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Carrot and tomato soup

This new year, my husband and I decided to eat healthier. Most weekday evenings, our dinner is usually a soup and a salad. He’s very fond of tomato soup and he would drink a lot of the readymade cup soups available in supermarkets. However, I’m wary of packaged foods for a lot of reasons, mostly because of the hidden sugar content. So I decided to try and make fresh soup instead. I’ve also tried to make the tomato soup healthier by adding other vegetables to it. This soup is easy to make, healthy – one cup equals at least two portions of vegetables in a day. And you would usually find these vegetables in your fridge.

Coincidentally, I had made this soup for one of my closest friends when she was in the hospital after she’d had her baby. She had enjoyed it and had asked me for a recipe later. I didn’t have one for her then because when I usually cook, I cook from approximations. Now I can just send this to her. Here’s the recipe:

Prep time: 10 minutes. Cook time: 1 hour

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

1. Carrots – 2

2. Tomatoes – 2 medium ones

3. Celery stalks – 2

4. Sweet potato – 1/2

5. Garlic – 3 cloves

6. Salt – 1 teaspoon

7. Peppercorn – 1/4 teaspoon

8. Bayleaf – 1

9. Water – 3.5 cups

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Instructions:

1. Chop the vegetables in cubes.

2. Combine in a pot, add water, salt, pepper and bayleaf. Simmer with lid on for an hour.

3. Remove the bayleaf and blend.

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Serve hot with nice crusty bread!

You could garnish the soup with some butter / cream.

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The sweet potato could be substituted with regular potato. In the past, I have also added half of a medium sized onion, to the recipe.

A slice of my life

I am a foodie and I enjoy cooking and love to eat. In fact, I live to eat. I’m also a stay at home mum to a 13 month old. So I usually don’t have the time to cook elaborate meals (unless I am hosting people and / or my husband is watching my little one). Most days though, I don’t have the luxury of time and try to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible, cooking simple yet tasteful meals. Simple cooking leads to easier and faster clean up (which is my least favourite thing to do!). But my darling husband helps out with the clean up most evenings.

That said, for the most part I intend to use this blog to post tasty, easy and fast to cook, healthy recipes. However, being the foodie that I am, I do allow myself to indulge in not so healthy but ohh so yummy meals once in a while, recipes of which I will share as well. We only live once, right?

So this blog is for mums and dads, stay at home or working, or for anyone who is a food lover. Warning to the latter though, there will be a significant amount of whining and ranting about the hard life of a mum!