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Tonkatsu Chicken, Mooli Fried Rice, Egg Salad

We’re trying to adhere to a certain meal protocol on weekdays, with a break on weekends. As per that protocol, there was to be no direct sugar or dairy, and this is what we made.

Each of our bowls had a portion of very crisp Tonkatsu chicken, sliced into pieces, atop some fried rice made with onions and mooli / radish leaves, accompanied by a dollop of creamy egg salad. I forgot to include the Tonkatsu sauce in the picture, which is really a variation of BBQ sauce at our place.

Tonkatsu Chicken

The chicken was made using Panko, flour and seasoned, beaten eggs. Panko refers to Japanese style bread crumbs that are chunkier than normal bread crumbs and result in crisper, coarser outcomes. Take some flour, some beaten eggs seasoned well with salt and pepper and anything else you like, and some panko. Keeping all three in plates is a good idea for easier coating.

I used chicken tenders for this. You could use sliced breast or tenders, whatever is available. Tenders are the pectoralis minor muscles which are located under the breast meat, on both sides of the breastbone.

Heat some oil to medium. Remember to keep the heat at medium as the panko browns really fast. If you’re using breast meat, slice it about 1 – 1.5 centimeters thick and 2 – 2.5 centimeters wide. If you want to use bigger pieces, adjust your oil temperature and cooking time accordingly, as we’d like the pieces to be golden brown when they exit the oil and cooked on the inside as well.

The process is simple. Coat the chicken in the flour first. This ensures a nice, even coating of the egg. Then dip the floured chicken in the egg, then place it atop the panko and coat well, and put it back into egg, then back into the panko, and then into the oil. So that’s flour, egg, panko, egg, panko, fry. Each time you’re out of the egg and panko, drip/shake off the excess egg and crumbs.

Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden brown then remove onto paper kitchen towels. Might be a good idea to slice the first one and confirm its fully cooked so you can confidently do the rest.

Serve with BBQ or Tonkatsu sauce drizzled over.

Mooli Fried Rice

I hate wasting mooli leaves and try to use them in different ways. We also love soy sauce and garlic at home, so that’s what this dish used as well as a dollop of Chua Hah Seng sweet chili paste.

A good soy sauce is a thing of beauty, far removed from the thick, dark crap sold by most Indian brands. We use different soy sauces at home – light, dark and one somewhere in between. Locally brewed ones are the nicest though brands like Kikkoman are delights too. I used Woh Hup Light Soy Sauce for this rice.

For the fried rice, I fried some onions in a little oil, then sliced garlic, then a few finely chopped green chilies, threw in finely chopped radish / mooli greens, added a bit of salt and let the mixture dry out a bit before adding the chili paste and mixing it well. Then came some rice (we cooked the rice a little while earlier, spread it on a plate, cooled it and then broke it up with our fingers), mixed the lot with some soy sauce and the rice was ready.

Egg Salad

For the egg salad, we hard boiled a few eggs, sliced them open and separated the yolks. The whites were chopped coarsely and set aside. The yolks were mashed with a little garlic infused olive oil and when smooth, blended with mustard sauce, mayonnaise, salt, pepper and a bit of milk to make it a little more fluid. A squeeze of lemon goes well, and so does a tablespoon or so of finely chopped raw onions. I also served pickled jalapenos on it, which made for a nice contrast.

And that’s that. This was a satisfying meal that all of us took second helpings for. :)

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Recipes

Aromatic Chicken Keema

We’re eating a lot of chicken these days and need to figure out more ways of cooking the bird. We made this aromatic chicken keema using whatever we had at hand.

The main issue with chicken keema is that it can get a bit dry if even mildly overcooked. If you experience this with your keema, try this method of keeping minced chicken moist.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken keema, 500gm
  • Onion, medium, one, chopped
  • Garlic, 4 large cloves, chopped
  • Tomato puree, 1 tbsp
  • Meat masala, 1 tbsp
  • Chili powder, 2 tsp
  • Salt, 1 tsp
  • Haldi, 2 tsp
  • Kewra water, 3 tbsp
  • Lemons, 2, juiced
  • Kasoori methi, 5gm/2 large pinches
  • Fat to cook

Method:

  1. Mildly brown the onions and garlic in hot oil/fat
  2. As that’s happening, mix the meat masala, chili powder, salt and haldi together with the tomato puree and a little water to form a paste. Add the paste to the pan and cook on medium till the fat separates from the mixture.
  3. Add the chicken keema, mix well (or it’ll clump up) and cook on medium, covered for about 7 – 10 minutes or until cooked.
  4. Add the kewra water, kasoori methi and lemon juice. Mix well and turn off the heat.
  5. Serve hot.

Notes:

  • Adjust chili and salt per taste
  • Good kewra water (screwpine essence) is necessary for the aroma.
  • A pinch of sugar might be nice.
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Recipes

Chicken Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

We do like meatballs in tomato sauce at home, and make these every so often, though it’s usually with a red meat. This time I only had chicken available, and tried adding pork fat to make the meatballs juicier. I don’t think it really made much difference and will probably not add it next time.

We ate handmade noodles with this. I just make a dough of APF/maida, water and egg, using an egg for every 100gm dough, estimating about 150gm per person. The dough is rolled out to about 1/2 – 1mm thickness, allowed to dry for a few minutes, then sliced into flat fettuccine-like noodles, tossed in a little flour, and cooked for a minute or so in simmering, salted hot water.

Ingredients

  • for the Meatballs
    • Chicken, minced, 500gm
    • Basil leaves, 20gm / handful
    • Mint leaves, 20gm / handful
    • Whole wheat flour, 15gm / 1 tbsp
    • Aubergine, diced, 75gm / half medium
    • Bell pepper, 50gm
    • Green chillies, 4, finely chopped
    • Pork fat, 30gm, grated from frozen
    • 2 eggs, beaten
    • Salt to taste
  • for the Tomato Sauce
    • Tomatoes, 1 kg, fresh, pureed
    • Basil leaves, 20gm / handful
    • Black pepper, freshly cracked, 1 tbsp
    • Garlic, 6 large cloves, finely chopped
    • Onions, 1 large, finely chopped
    • Olive oil, 2 tbsp

Method

  1. Mix all the ingredients for the meatballs. Shape into balls with wet hands, or with a spoon and deep fry on medium heat until golden brown on the outside. Drain and reserve. They may no be fully cooked, so check before eating one if you’re tempted.
  2. Heat some olive oil and first fry the garlic, then the onions, then the ground pepper and basil leaves, giving each one about a minute in the hot oil.
  3. Add the tomato puree, simmer for 20 minutes, covered. If its thicker than you like, add a little stock or water.
  4. Add the meatballs, simmer for 10 minutes, covered.
  5. Simmer for another 10 minutes, uncovered.
  6. Adjust seasoning. Serve on noodles.

Notes

  • These go well with a dry red wine.
  • Add chopped green chilies to the onions if you want an extra chili hit.
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Recipes

Chicken, Aubergine, Carrots

We ate this for dinner last night, and I had a completely different idea of how I wanted this dish to turn out. As it so happened, Indu wanted rotis with dinner and that didn’t really work for what I had in mind.

This dish has a thick, very delicious gravy, and the veggies within become quite soft and juicy. I love whole garlic, even though they don’t add a great deal of their flavour to the gravy or the dish as a whole.

Ingredients

  • Chicken, curry cut, 500gm
  • Brinjal, long, 1 medium-large, washed and cut
  • French beans, handful, washed and cut
  • Carrots, 1 large, washed and cut
  • Onions, 2 medium, peeled and sliced fine
  • Garlic, 40 cloves, whole
  • Garlic powder, 2 tsp
  • Chili powder, 2 tsp
  • Coriander powder, 1.5 tsp
  • Kalonji, 1/2 tsp
  • Star anise, 1 piece
  • Cinnamon, 1/2 inch piece
  • Black peppercorns, 1 tsp, ground from whole
  • Laung, 4 – 5 pieces
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil to cook

Method

  1. Marinate chicken with salt, chilli powder and garlic powder for 30 minutes. Drain.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and on high heat, fry the chicken pieces until cooked on the outside. Remove and drain.
  3. In the same pan, on low-medium heat, add all the remaining spices.
  4. Add the onions and garlic; fry till the onions just begin to brown.
  5. Add the chicken, stir well, add the brinjal and carrots; cover and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the beans, and continue to simmer, covered for another 10 minutes, stirring once.
  6. Mix well, so the little gravy there is, covers the chicken and everything else.
  7. Serve hot with rotis.

Notes

  • Increase the spices proportionately if you want more gravy.
  • I used mustard oil to cook
  • You can reduce the amount of garlic cloves if you wish by up to half. If you do, smash the garlic before adding.
  • This recipe results in very soft veggies. If you like them firmer/crisp, reduce cooking time, but remember to put the brinjal in first nonetheless.

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Recipes

Creamy Chicken Shepherd’s Pie

We participated in a potluck this past new year’s eve and my plan was to make a Shepherd’s Pie with minced mutton. As luck would have it, my favourite source for meats was out of minced meat and only minced chicken was available.

Minced chicken, in my experience, is usually quite tasteless, has a rubbery texture, looks pale and watery, and isn’t something I usually like working with, but there appeared to be no other choice, considering I don’t like the hygiene at the local outlet where we live.

I experimented with a slightly different technique of cooking the minced chicken, and it turned out to be quite succulent with an excellent texture that was even better than minced mutton, even if I do say so myself. I’ll leave you to judge when you try this method.

Ingredients:

  • For the chicken
    • Minced chicken, 1 kilo
    • Garlic powder, 2 tbsp
    • Onion powder, 2 tbsp
    • Grind into a fine powder
      • Whole peppercorns, 1 tbsp
      • Star anise, 1 whole piece
    • Salt to taste
  • For the potato topping
    • Potatoes, 1 kilo boiled and peeled
    • Butter, 75 gm
    • Milk, 100 ml
    • Cheese, 50 gm
    • Salt to taste
  • Whole wheat flour, 50 – 75 gm
  • Cooking oil, 3 – 4 tbsp

Method:

  1. Pre Prep
    1. Mix all the spices and salt into the minced chicken and marinate overnight.
    2. Pass the boiled and peeled potatoes through a fine strainer. Heat a little milk, season it and add the butter to the milk. When it’s melted, add the lot to the mashed potatoes and mix well. Reserve.
  2. In a pan, heat some oil, add the whole wheat flour and cook it on medium heat till it’s a deep brown, but take care it doesn’t burn. A sort of roux if you will.
  3. To this mixture, add the minced chicken, and mix well, stirring till the lot is cooked. Takes about 10 minutes.
  4. Pour the cooked minced chicken into a large dish, spreading it across the bottom and top it with potatoes, spreading them across the top. Reserve until it’s time to serve.
  5. When serving
    1. Heat in a microwave for about 6 to 10 minutes to heat the whole dish through.
    2. Pre-heat an oven to the maximum temperature. Turn on the fan if it has one.
    3. Score lines on top of the potatoes with a fork
    4. Brush the top with some melted butter.
    5. Pop it into the oven until the top has browned.
    6. Serve.

Notes:

  1. If you’re not up to passing the potatoes through a strainer/channi, then just mash them with a work. The result isn’t as nice, but it saves time.
  2. Adjust all the seasonings and spices as you wish.
  3. Use fresh garlic and onions if you like.
  4. Use more cheese and butter in the mashed potatoes if you wish.
  5. Serve with a tangy salad and that’s all you’ll need for dinner.
  6. Use any leftover chicken mixture or make it especially if you wish for grilled sandwiches, samosa, pie or open tart filling.
  7. I forgot to score the top with a fork. As you see, it isn’t as nicely browned as it could have been. When you score it, you’ll see faster and better browning.
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Recipes

Gooey Chicken Kathi Roll Filling

We wanted to eat a gooey, rich stuffed chicken roll for dinner, and this is the filling we used.

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breast, 2 pieces, diced
  • Mayonnaise, 3 tbsp
  • Garlic powder, 2 tsp
  • Onion powder, 1 tbsp
  • Cornflour, 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala, 1 tsp [optional]
  • Chilli powder, 1/2 tsp [optional]
  • Freshly ground black pepper, 1 tsp [optional]
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying

Method:

  1. Mix all the powders and salt.
  2. Moisten chicken and combine it with the powder mixture.
  3. Shake the pieces of chicken in a sieve to dust off excess powders
  4. Deep fry till golden brown
  5. Remove from oil, let cool and mix with mayonnaise
  6. Use as filling in rolls

Notes:

  • To make the rolls, I used a teaspoon of chilli garlic chutney, a tablespoon of stirred cream and this filling, all rolled into a large paratha.
  • I used homemade honey mustard mayonnaise. You can use whatever you’d like or is available.
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Chicken and Vegetables in Alfredo Sauce

Sometimes, we feel the need to eat rich foods without compromising on flavour in the name of health. I do that too every so often, and dishes like this are the end result – loads of calories packing a bunch of flavours and textures.

You can choose any pasta of your choice to go with this dish. We chose penne and next time, may go with hand-made noodles, which always taste so very good!

chicken and vegetables in alfredo sauce on a bed of penne.

Ingredients:

  • Broccoli, 1 medium sized piece, trimmed and finely chopped
  • Bell pepper, red, 1 medium sized piece, trimmed and finely chopped
  • Mushrooms, button, 1 packet, trimmed and finely chopped
  • Chicken breast, optional, 250gm, finely chopped
  • Garlic, fresh, peeled and finely chopped
  • Garlic, powder, 1 tbsp
  • Italian spice, per taste
  • Chili flakes, per taste
  • Salt, per taste
  • Cream, 200 gm pack
  • Butter, 100 gm pack
  • Cheese of your choice, 100gm, grated

Method:

  1. Melt butter in pan
  2. Saute the garlic first, then the mushrooms and then the chicken
  3. When the chicken is no longer pink anymore, add the bell pepper and broccoli and mix a bit.
  4. Add the cream, mix in all the spices (garlic powder, Italian spice, salt, chili flakes), lower the flame to a simmer.
  5. Cook for 2 – 3 minutes to soften the bell peppers a little.
  6. Stir in the cheese.
  7. Serve hot on a bed of rice or pasta.

Notes:

  • We used Domino’s spice sachets. If you don’t have any of the two, basil+oregano works well. Fresh basil, even better.
  • You can also add onions if you like to the initial mixture
  • You can also add other vegetables like peas, finely chopped cauliflower, blanched spinach among others to increase the nutritional density.

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Recipes

Patiala Fried Chicken

This pan-fried chicken is made using the thighs of the bird, so it’s difficult to overcook, is really moist inside due to the fat present, and quite easy to make.

This chicken has a mild crust from the onion powder and maida and is delicious as a snack or part of an otherwise boring dinner.

I made this for Cherie’s lunch today and she quite liked it and even asked for seconds, which given her current focus on healthy eating and all, is rare. The name is random; I couldn’t think of anything else and thought the title apt.

Ingredients:

  • Boneless chicken thighs, 500gm
  • Processed cheese, 2 tbsp
  • Chilli powder, 1 tsp
  • Jeera powder, 1 tsp
  • Garam masala, 1 tsp
  • Onion powder, 2 tbsp
  • Garlic powder, 1 tsp
  • Kasoori methi, 1 big pinch
  • Black pepper, 1 tsp
  • Carrots, finely chopped, 2 tbsp
  • Maida, 2-3 tbsp
  • Eggs, 2, beaten
  • Hing, 1/2 tsp
  • Lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for shallow frying

Method:

  1. Mix the lot and marinate for an hour.
  2. Mix again, ensuring the masala is evenly coated over every piece of chicken.
  3. Shallow fry – about 2 – 3 minutes on each side in a moderately hot pan.
  4. Pat dry, sprinkle with lemon juice,
  5. Serve hot

Notes:

  • If you plan to deep fry, increase the maida and eggs, and ensure the batter covers each piece fully.
  • The cheese can be omitted, unless you’re using breast.
  • A vegetarian version can be made with paneer.
  • The carrots add to the texture of the final product.
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Recipes

Spanish Omelette, Desi Tadka

Every so often, we meet up with missionaries from a certain Christian order and talk about the Holy Bible and related books. These missionaries are all bright young men, usually far from their homes and families, sometimes their countries, in addition to being polite, friendly and excellent company for discussions of this sort. Having been in their position decades ago, if there’s one thing I absolutely love doing, it is cooking for them.

One of these chaps was 19 years old, and had already lived away from his family for a long time, almost all on his own in the big, wide world. Made us reflect on how sheltered a life Cherie (17 yo) is living.

Two of these young men dropped by yesterday, and after we were done with our discussion, all of us trooped into the kitchen where they peppered us with questions (this was our first meeting) while I cooked for our supper. On the menu this evening, was a Spanish omelette, accompanied by coleslaw, buttered toast and Coke.

This recipe serves 6 as a light meal. The dish however is substantial, easy to cook, easy to eat and tastes quite good. It tastes good when cold/room temperate too, and is a good idea for a picnic or to carry on a train journey as the first meal unwrapped. Leftovers can be made into sandwiches, stuffed into pies or other pastry or rolled into wraps among other ideas.

You’ll need:

  • 2 Potatoes, large, diced
  • 2 Onions, large, diced
  • 1/2 Cup Chicken, boneless, chopped
  • 10 Pods Garlic, chopped
  • Handful Coriander, fresh, chopped
  • 2 – 3 Green chillies, finely chopped (optional)
  • 10 Eggs, beaten
  • 1 tsp Peppercorns, pounded
  • For the tadka / tempering
    • 10 leaves, Kadi patta
    • 1 tsp Black mustard seeds
    • 1 tsp Ginger, fresh, finely chopped
  • Cheese, grated (optional)
  • Oil for cooking
  • Salt to taste
  • Non-stick frying pan large enough to hold the lot

To make it:

  1. Immerse the potatoes for about 8 minutes in boiling water, then drain and let dry.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, add the potatoes, stir from time to time, until cooked through.
  3. Add onions, garlic, chicken, black pepper and if using, green chillies too. Saute for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked. Add the chopped coriander. Mix well.
  4. Add the eggs, mix well and let the lot sit there, on a very low flame, covered, until the top is firm-ish.
  5. Flip the entire omelette on to a plate and put it back into the pan, so what was on top, is now at the bottom. Do this a couple of times till the omelette is cooked from within.
  6. If using cheese, place the cheese on top of the omelette and cover it so it cooks.
  7. Flip the omelette onto a platter for serving.
  8. Heat some oil, splutter the mustard seeds, then add the kadi patta and ginger, fry for a bit and pour it on top of your omelette.
  9. Serve hot, with toast and tomato ketchup.

Notes:

  • For step #4, if necessary, keep it the oven with the top element turned on. If you don’t have an oven, heat a roti-tawa really well, and place the tawa atop the pan, not touching the eggs, so its heat will cook the eggs from the top. The same methods can be used to melt the cheese in step #6.
  • If you want a classic omelette, omit the cheese, chillies, chicken and final tadka. Replace the coriander with flat leaf parsley.