For those days in the middle of the week when you feel like ordering in because you’re too lazy to cook, or want something spicy, this chilli chicken is perfect. I didn’t plan for it. I was going to order in some greasy Chinese on a cold weeknight. But I remembered I had some boneless chicken marinating in the fridge and that I should use it before it goes bad or something. The marinade was just ginger garlic paste and some paprika. Simply pan roast the chicken with onions and capsicum with soy, hoisin or honey, chillies and crushed pepper. It’s alright if you haven’t marinated it as well. Best part – it comes together in under 20 mins!
I love my meat and you can tell by the number of mutton dishes I’ve posted of late. Every other week I like trying out a new kind of mutton dish. More often than not they have been in curry form. This time I tried a roast dish. No, it isn’t where you pop it into the oven to roast. Here roast means cooking the meat out till there’s no more liquid left and you end with a well cooked and dry dish. And like with chicken sukka, this roast goes well with a simple dal and rice.
Coming from Mangalore, most dishes at home was made with coconut. Either curry or a dry dish, they had a coconut base. Chicken sukka is a dry dish made with freshly ground spice paste and lots of freshly grated coconut to finish it off. Once the chicken in cooked, we wait for it most of the liquid to evaporate so it turns dry enough. When there’s still a little left we add the grated coconut and a tempering of fried onions and curry leaves. We often had this with rice and dal.
One of the best things about winter is food in bowls and snuggling up on the couch or in bed watching a movie or read a book. Soups are definitely on top of that list. This beetroot and tomato soup is so good you’ll never order in soup again. Just look at that colour. Ruby red beets roasted in the oven for an hour and pureed with cooked down tomatoes is the base of this sauce. Add some stock – veg or chicken, and you’re good to go.
When there are people coming over you want to have multiple dishes laid out on the table. A few sides, a couple of mains and of course, dessert. Now the mains take up most time. And the starters is something your guests will get a bite of first, so you want to set the tone right with those. This broccoli and bell pepper starter is just right for such an evening. Simple blanch the broccoli and roast the bell pepper on the pan. Drizzle the spicy peanut sauce on them and you’re done!
I’ve recently warmed up to pears and what I usually do is cut them up, squeeze a lemon and chill them in the fridge before eating. There was one large pear sitting in my fridge and I figured I’d bake with it. I’ve always loved how sliced fruit is arranged on top of the cake in absolute symmetry looking nothing short of perfect. No, mine didn’t look like that. But it sure tasted pretty prefect. I have also realized how cream cheese can keep a dry cake moist and not add any of its strong flavour into it. I’ve only used yoghurt previously for the same purpose.
I post most of my meals’ pictures on Instagram regularly (follow me). The picture of my dinner plate recently seemed to delight many people. I was asked the recipe of the bitter gourd dish in it, hence the post. “Kanchala ithnda yenchala unoli” – what my grandmother said (in Tulu) every time I pulled a face after learning it was this dish being made for lunch. Loosely translated – when there’s bitter gourd you can manage getting through a meal. Bitter gourd doesn’t have a good reputation because of its bitterness. But I’m glad to learn there are a number of takers like me who love it. However, I think I like it only the way mum or granny used to make it – sweet and spicy. So there’s bitterness from the vegetable, sweetness comes from jaggery and the heat from chillies. Jaggery is added generously so you actually taste the sweetness. I deseeded the chillies because I prefer its colour to its heat. And mind you, it was still hot.
If I’m going to have a salad, it better fill me up and be delicious at the same time. I’ve made a few salads before and they’ve all turned out great. This one was pretty good too. I’ve got salad greens, chicken roasted with mustard, roasted cherry tomatoes and baby potatoes among other things. I know people say salads are basically throwing a few veggies and meat together with dressing. Well, you can do that but I certainly can’t. I like roasted vegetables and meat in my salads. If it takes time, so be it. I’ll sure make it worth every minute. In this one the roasting of the tomatoes and potatoes takes a while. You can cook the bite sized chicken pieces on a pan quickly though. My favourite part of this salad is the dressing, actually. I absolutely love balsamic vinegar (the good kind) and honey together with some mustard and paprika.
This beetroot salad is yet another ‘makeover for leftovers’ meal. Leftovers are paneer from the night before and the other ingredients like beetroot had to be used before it went bad. I added a pear to it and made a quick dressing to go with the salad. I like beets roasted or cooked. The only way I can have them raw is when they’re in a juice. Coming back to this salad, I roasted beetroot slices in the oven for just 15 mins, sliced up a pear, crumbled paneer on top and drenched it all with the dressing. Easy peasy!
Most people want the food they cooked to be polished off that very meal. But I love it when that doesn’t happen so I have leftovers to work with. Like when I made the chicken and chickpea stew with foxtail millet. The leftovers – chickpeas and foxtail millet – were turned into a bowl of salad for dinner the next night. I also threw in some cherry tomatoes, basil, coriander and even shredded coconut. With a quick dressing with balsamic vinegar, honey, lemon and mustard, dinner was ready in minutes.
1 bowl of salad
10 mins at leisure
Cooked chickpeas – 1 cup
Cooked foxtail millet – 1/2 cup
Shredded coconut – 1/4 cup
Basil, coriander leaves – handful chopped
Cherry tomatoes – 4-5 halved
Cucumber – 1/2 cup chopped
Balsamic vinegar – 2 tbsp
Honey – 1 tsp
Lemon juice – 1/2 lemon
Mustard paste/sauce – 1 tsp
Whisk all the ingredients of the dressing and keep aside.
Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl and pour dressing over it.
Tweak this any way you want. The idea is to use up leftovers along with any scraps from the fridge to make a meal. You could replace the millet with brown rice or any other cooked grains. Or even omit it. You can also add cooked chicken to this salad, and more greens if you have.