Handi Cooking – Methi Murgh

We are continuing our handi cooking series with this hit north Indian and Pakistani recipe called Methi Murgh or Fenugreek Chicken. Methi or fenugreek tastes best with fresh fenugreek and the world’s best fenugreek comes from Qasur in Pakistan. The dried fenugreek is now referred to as Kasoori Methi probably as a tribute to the fenugreek from Qasur. Kasoori Methi that is sold in market is not from Qasur though. The dried fenugreek, however, is an adequate replacement for the fresh leaves. Since, we had both fresh and dried fenugreek at our disposal, we happily used both the varieties in our recipe.

The taste of this delicacy was mild yet rich and filled with flavors for which the credit goes to the slow dum cooking. The methi flavor was not overpowering. We were afraid that it might be a little bitter because of fresh methi but soaking it in salted water before using it washed away the bitterness. There are so many recipes of this delicacy in the web but none matches to the way we cooked this. Please watch our video for the recipe of this ultimate chicken preparation.

Ingredients Summary:

Serves – 8; Total Time: 2 hours

Chicken – 2 Kg or 2 and 1/2 lb; Yogurt – 2 cup; Salt – to taste; Ghee – 1 cup; Whole Garam Masala [Green Cardamom – 10; Black Cardamom – 2; Cloves – 10; Cinnamon – 2 inch; Bay Leaf – 2; Mace – 2 pinch]; Onion (chopped) – 600 gm or 1.3 lbs; Garlic (grated) – 60 gm or 2 oz; Ginger (grated) – 60 gm or 2 oz; Green Chili (chopped)- 11 to 12; Turmeric Powder – 1 tsp; Coriander Powder – 2 tsp; Red Chili Powder – 2 tsp; Tomato (chopped) – 300 gm or 11 oz; Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek) – 2 Tbs; Fresh Methi (fenugreek) – 1 cup; Fresh Coriander – 1/2 cup; Ginger (juliennes) – 40 gm or 1.4 oz;

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Indian Chicken Curry / Stew with Potatoes

This is the simplest way to make Indian Chicken Curry. Not too much oil and spices are used moderately. We did not use the regular Garam Masala; instead of the regular Garam Masala we used home-made cinnamon-cardamom powder. Cinnamon-cardamom powder is our traditional  Garam Masala powder recipe that we use in most of our Indian cooking. Do not waste time in making this powder, instead just use any regular  Garam Masala that is easily available off the shelf.

The spices (Cumin powder, Coriander powder, Turmeric Powder and Red Chilli Powder) used in this recipe are the most commonly used spices in Indian cooking. Since we do not like too much sourness in our curries we avoided the tomatoes, though most people use tomato in curries. The variation we did was by using yogurt instead of tomatoes.  Feel free to use tomatoes if you like it a little sour.

Adding the potatoes is optional but they really taste good. Think of it as big potato pieces cooked in chicken favored curry. Mostly we cook this recipe on weekend for lunch and tastes the best with hot steamed rice. Can be served with parathas and chapatis as well.

Please watch our video for the recipe and to see us cook this delightful curry.

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Published in: on May 2, 2010 at 12:15 pm  Comments (10)  
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A Tale of Two Recipes of Masoor Dal

The best benefit we got after starting our blog is that we started to read other people’s blog. One cool blog that we really liked is called OneLifeToEat. The blog writer, Sabera, recently posted a recipe of masoor dal. Just reading her recipe got me salivating. Masoor dal is the mostly eaten dal since our childhood but we never prepared masoor dal anywhere near to her recipe. I saw my grandma cook it everyday, my mom and aunts used to cook it everyday; they still do. We also cook it but not everyday.

Masoor dal we cooked (Recipe by - http://onelifetoeat.com)

So as we read Sabera’s masoor dal recipe, I just got nostalgic as it was part of my everyday meal. The other thing my mom used to cook using masoor dal, though not everyday, was the Masoor Dal Pakodis (fritters). This mostly used to happen on days when the fridge went out of vegetables. Mom used to cook a dal and at least two sides (one vegetable; one fish-being Bengalis) served with rice and rotis. Thats how a standard Indian balanced diet used to be.

Masoor Dal Pakodas with Basmati and Masoor Dal

Anyways, coming back to the masoor dal, by the time we finished reading Sabera’s recipe I was salivating for not only the Dal but also the Masoor Dal Pakodis as well. So we made both of them yesterday. For the masoor dal recipe, please visit Sabera’s post and for the Masoor Dal Pakodis checkout our video. Serve Masoor dal over hot steamed basmati rice with the pakodis. Add some raita and cucumber on the side and you got yourself another 100% vegetarian yummy meal.

(Whats the difference between pakodas and pakodis?)

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Published in: on April 30, 2010 at 9:56 am  Comments (5)  
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A Vegetarian Meal At Last

Finally, we cooked some vegetarian food. A simple routine Indian meal that cannot be found in any restaurant but only an Indian household. Speaking of restaurants, few staple menu items of Indian restaurants (in India and elsewhere), especially those serving north indian cuisine, are never cooked at home. For example, the naan bread. We do not think any Indian household cooks naan bread at home as part of normal cuisine. They may try making it for putting the new oven to some use but it’s never cooked at home as part of their meals.

At the same time, the food cooked in Indian kitchens as part of routine meals is seldom found in restaurants. The meal we are featuring here is one such meal that cannot be found in restaurants. Its one of those food that a person looks forward to eat upon reaching home after work.

Since we said “meal”, it’s not one recipe we are featuring but two. The first is the “Stir Fried Cabbage” that is cooked in a fusion style of northern and eastern regions of India. From the state of Bengal in east, we used the panch phoron spice mix (Wikipedia has a nice page on it) in the cabbage stir fry. You can also add green peas and diced potatoes in the cabbage stir fry. The peas bring a nice sweetness to the recipe. We though did not add any peas or potatoes in our recipe.

Daal or Lentil is an integral part of Indian meal. So the next feature in our meal is the Mung Dal (yes, the same Mung Daal from Chowder). Mung Daal can be cooked in many ways and we are going to cook them with spinach to get in the added nutrients of a green vegetable.

In both the recipes a little butter or ghee, though optional, can be added in the end to enhance the taste and flavor.

Check out our video for the recipe and to watch us cook them. We are not doing a bad job at all of shooting the videos with a phone camera. Just need a tripod, we guess. 

Both the cabbage and mung daal can be served with rotis, parathas or with rice. Side some cucumber and onion salad along with raita (yogurt sauce with a blend of spices) and no restaurant can beat the satisfaction we get after having such a meal.

(In one of our earlier posts we said vegetarian food sucks. It still does but then eating meat everyday also sucks.)

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How to cook momos

I fell in love with momos in 1993 when I savoured them for the first time at a small eatery in a Tibetan settlement in Kolkata. Both of us just love momos and spare no opportunity to eat them whenever and wherever we get one. In recent years, momos have grown in popularity as a street food in all regions of India.

Momos are dumplings native to Tibet and neighbouring regions of Nepal and Ladakh. Traditionally, in Tibet momos are made with minced yak meat.  So, if you ever happen to travel to Tibet or Ladakh (in India) then dont miss the yak momos.

Outside the Himalayas where you don’t get yak meat just any other meat will do (chicken, turkey, pork, goat meat, sheep meat, beef etc). If you are not meat eater just replace the meat with minced up vegetables (mushroom, carrots, cabbage, tofu or paneer).

Please checkout the video for the way we made it. The super-cool part of the video is watching my wife wrapping up the momos like a pro.

The interesting part of eating momos is the momo sauce. In Tibet, Nepal and India it is made with tomato, chilli pepper and spices. You can find lots of momo sauce recipes on the web by binging them up (love Bing more than Google because few of our posts turn up on the first page of Bing).

In US, we discovered this Chili Garlic sauce from Huy Fong Foods. We created our own momo sauce by mixing it with equal amount of tomato ketchup and it goes so good with the momos that there is no need to make momo sauce from scratch the traditional way.

Another great variation of momos is instead of steaming, just deep fry them golden and they will taste extremely delicious.

(Fried momos picture shown here is a download from web found using Bing search)
 

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Published in: on April 26, 2010 at 7:08 pm  Comments (11)  
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Spicy chicken gizzards stir fry to go with booze

Who must try this:
1. If you are bored of eating chips, dips, nuts etc with your booze.
2. You want to eat and serve something new with your booze that’s easy and quick to make.
3. The moment you see a new recipe you feel inspired to cook it.

And in case, you are none of the above then also please go ahead and cook this recipe because it’s really simple and goes very well as a side with breads.

Chicken gizzards are zero carbs and all protein but beware it has high cholesterol so just do this on your binge days. Interestingly, if you have leftovers (only possible if your guests ditch you), just stuff them between bread slices along with a few slices of cucumber and onion to make a nice sandwich and take it to a picnic for lunch.

Watch out the video for the recipe. The music in the video is my favorite dj remix. Hope you will enjoy it as well.

Please pardon the spelling booboos in the video.

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Published in: on April 24, 2010 at 8:23 pm  Comments (14)  
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Chana Dal ( Dahl / Daal )

Chana Dahl (or Dal / Daal) is a lentil or pulse which is actually black chickpeas skinned out of its outer hull and split in halves.
India being the highest chickpeas producing country in the world, its natural that Chana Dal is one of the mainstay of Indian vegetarian cooking. 

We, however, are going to cook Chana Dal with Chicken Keema (ground meat). Why are we adding chicken in a traditionally vegetarian Dal recipe? Because:
#1. Vegetarian food sucks, at least for us.
#2. Had to use the ground chicken tray lying in the freezer from last 4 days.
#3. Did not want to spend on buying mutton keema (ground goat meat). This tastes even better with goat meat. 

Veggie lovers, please skip adding the meat part and it will be as delightful a recipe to savour with Zeera (Cumin) Rice or Pooris. Those who are trying to lose some pounds, cook this in the evening but eat it with Pooris the next morning for breakfast. Somehow it tastes even yummier the next day and you get the entire day to burn up the calories. As for us, it will be just our regular weekday dinner. 

Hope people will try this recipe it at home. We really enjoyed cooking and eating it. 

Note: 

1. We added a tsp of sugar also in the recipe. Missed to capture that in the video. 

2. Add a whole red chilli along with whole spices. We did not add it to keep it less hot for the kids.

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Published in: on April 23, 2010 at 12:50 am  Comments (2)  
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Penne Pasta with Spinach & Sausage

A couple of weeks back we had to go to the doctor’s. While waiting for our turn my wife was flipping through a magazine that had this recipe. This is a quick and easy pasta recipe and is great for both lunch or dinner. We think it’s also a nice recipe that we can pack in our backpacks while going for short trips. Add a side of salad with it if you like. We had it in dinner with a glass of chilled beer. Pasta, though known to be an Italian food is equally a staple American food. We have not seen any American buffet that does not serve some kind of pasta.

Stir fry some boneless chicken and use it instead of sausage. We used chicken broth for the sauce but  instead the water used for boiling the pasta can also be used. Or, you can boil some veggies like carrots, peas, spinach, broccoli together to make a vegetable stock and then use the same vegetables in the pasta instead of sausage to make a vegetable pasta.

Also, it really doesn’t have to be penne pasta, any type of pasta will taste great. Try to use whole grain or whole wheat pasta though. We added the desi touch by using chilli powder and black pepper  powder which was not mentioned in the original recipe. It was written some parmesan cheese be added in the end but we skipped the cheese as we added too much cream in it. The balsamic vinegar is also optional. Instead, just squeeze in fresh lemon juice of a quarter lemon for the same tangyness.

Just experiment with it and add your own twist.

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Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm  Comments (10)  
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Monday night dinner – Salmon goes desi

It was a great Monday. I was able to leave work precisely at 6.00 PM. Hope the luck continues for rest of the week. As I stepped in the elevator, called my wife to discuss the dinner. By the time the elevator completed its downward journey of twenty-nine floors, the entire plan was ready. We are going to cook “Salmon” in a very authentic mustard and poppy gravy popular in the state of West Bengal and the neighbouring country of Bangladesh. It was decided that I will buy the salmon on my way home from the neighbourhood grocery store. While buying the fish, I took the opportunity to take a picture of the fish galore in front of me.
Salmon is mostly found in pacific ocean, atlantic ocean and the great lakes of America and Canada. So this is kind of fusion recipe of cooking American fish with Indian spices and sauces. Originally, this delicacy is made with HILSA fish found in eastern region of India and Bangladesh. HILSA has a distinct flavor and aroma just like Salmon and is also popular as “King of fishes” in the region. 

 Due to use of both mustard seeds and mustard oil, this delicacy has a distinctive pungency in taste similar to that of wasabi. 

And finally, I am posting this after having dinner. Had dinner while the video was uploading on YouTube. Missed friends and family while eating this delightful delicacy. 

 

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Published in: on April 20, 2010 at 2:50 am  Comments (3)  
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Chicken in Coriander Sauce

We found this recipe on  YouTube posted by vahchef. We did a little variation by adding onion paste in the recipe. Also, we used a little “Bengali Garam Masala” in it. It came out really well. I guess this recipe cannot be categorized under the cuisine of any particular Indian state. The gravy base and the flavors though are essentially Indian.

For all my veggie friends, replace the chicken with Paneer (fresh cottage cheese). I have tried this with Paneer also and it tastes awesome with Parathas.

Again captured this using my phone camera.

Notes:
1. Missed to show the “Bengali Garam Masala” in the video. Added 1 tsp of bengali garam masala before covering the skillet.
2. Bengali Garam Masala: A powder blend of cinnamon and green cardamom taken in equal amount and ground together.

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Published in: on April 19, 2010 at 12:48 am  Leave a Comment  
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