Pepper Chicken

I’m yet to explore the length and breadth of Tamil cuisine. But Chettinad, is still love. Unlike the usual onion-tomato based curries, this one is onion-pepper based. Its spiciness comes from green chillies and whole pepper. The fragrance of curry leaves when it splutters in hot oil is the perfect start to cooking this dish. I tried my hand at something that would come close to Chettinad style chicken.

Chicken – 1/2 kg
Green chillies – 3 chopped
Mustard seeds – 1 tsp
Curry leaves – fistful
Onion – 1 chopped
Garlic – 3 pods chopped
Lemon juice – 2 tsp

Ingredients for spice mix:
Whole pepper – 4 tsp
Cumin seeds – 2 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tsp
Cloves – 3-4
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch

1. Dry roast all the ingredients for spice mix and grind it to a powder. Keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add mustard seeds and let them pop.
3. Add curry leaves and let them splutter.
4. Now add onions and saute with the green chillies and garlic.
5. Add the spice mix and salt and saute for another 2 mins.
6. Add chicken, mix well and let it cook for 10 mins.
7. Add lemon juice and take off flame.

Best when served with plain dosa.

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Roasted Potato

When you are done with the pop corns and the likes while watching the India Vs Sri Lanka, World Cup Finals 2011, what do you do? Well, we made roast potatoes with a garlic cheese dip. It sure does sound all fancy but this is probably one of the preparations where we have used the least number of ingredients in Purple Cinnamon. If you ask us how we come up with these, I guess ‘necessity is the mother of invention’ is what we have to say. J

All you need is two large potatoes, 5 pods of garlic, 5 large table spoons of cheese spread, Olive oil (sufficient portion to roast thin slices of the potatoes), Salt to taste and some ready-made Italian Seasoning.

In a bowl mix the potato slices with salt, Italian seasoning and drizzle just a little olive oil on it. In the meantime, pour some of that oil into your hot non-stick pan. Now roast both the sides of the potato slices and keep aside. For the dip, all you need to do is roast the chopped garlic and add it to the cheese spread, and mix well. If you prefer a slightly less thick consistency to your dip, please add some water to dilute it J

Garnishing tip: Adding freshly chopped coriander to the dip will give you the perfect zing to this finger food!

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There was this one scene in Julie&Julia, where Julie is in conversation with her husband while cooking dinner. She dices tomatoes, a little later she flips a few baguette slices on the griddle turning them golden brown. Next thing you know, the tomatoes are nesting on the baguette and she’s garnishing them with fresh basil. I must have rewound and gone through the scene like 7 times at one go. It looked absolutely beautiful and it definitely helped that her husband loved it. So many months have gone by and now is when that scene would come to life in my kitchen. Technically in Upasana’s kitchen. Did it exactly how I played it in my head. But of course by now you should know we do bend the rules here and there. So we added a little extra for some zing. Cheese! Straight from Paris.

5 slices


5 slices of baguette (you can use any other kind of bread slices)

2 chopped tomatoes

½ yellow capsicum finely chopped (green or red would also do just fine)

1 basil leaf for each slice

A pinch of fresh thyme for each slice (substitute with dried Italian seasoning)

Grated cheese to top the bruschetta (we used gouda)

1 clove of garlic

1 tbsp olive oil for toasting baguette

Salt and pepper for seasoning


Sauté the finely chopped yellow capsicum and keep aside. Toast baguette in olive oil on both sides. Rub garlic on each slice to infuse the flavor into the baguette. Top it with the chopped tomatoes, approximately 1 tbsp for each slice and the capsicum. Sprinkle a pinch of thyme and season with salt and pepper. Now add basil finely chopped or the whole leaf. Top this off with cheese and serve.

It works really well as an appetizer for a dinner party. Yes, you can show off. I would 😉

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Basil Chicken

Well, there were left over Basil leaves from the margherita pizza so decided come up with something quick and different. As for me, coming up with new dishes is more like a challenge we put on ourselves 🙂 and my inspiration is to cook such stuff would be to be able to put something on the table with the least bit of ingredients involving the least cooking time! So here it is :
250 gms of Boneless chicken
4 tbl spoons of olive oil
2 tbl spoons of regular italian seasonings
One Basil leaf for each piece of chicken
4 tbl spoons of honey
Marinate the meat with the Itaian Seasonings and 2 tbl spoons of oilive oil with a pinch of salt. Keep aside for 20 mins.
Now to a hot pan add 2 tbl spoons of olive oil and grill the chicken on the pan till they turn into that golden brown that we love. Now stick a basil leaf on every chicken piece and delicately glaze it with honey with the help of a cooking brush. Let it cook for 1-2 mins. Season with salt and pepper….and…well enjoy them with some mustard sauce.

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Well there are times, when I dont end up placing an order for anything else but different kinds of Quiches. Pallavi decides to get all the quiches home and prepapre them in diffrent measurements and with varied fillings. What an end to a hard day when I see a chicken cup quiche smiling at me 🙂

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Tandoori chicken

For once we thought we’d go the Indian way with the classic Tandoori chicken. But I wasn’t sure about how close we could get to the real deal. Obvious reason being we’d use the OTG and not the ‘tandoor’. Anyhow, the results were fantastic. Juicy, succulent and tender chicken grilled in the oven to sheer perfection. Minimum use of oil (like ½ tsp per piece) and no food coloring at all, this was a guilt-free pleasure.
½ kg chicken
½ cup curd
2 tsp coriander powder
2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp garam masala powder
2 tsp red chilli powder (alter to achieve desired ‘hotness’)
2 tsp cumin powder
1 large lemon
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
Oil – ½ – 1 tsp per piece
The trick to get all the spices into the chicken and to make it as tender as possible is to marinate the chicken in the above mentioned ingredients for 6 hours or more. We were supposed to serve the chicken for lunch, therefore drenched it the marinade for like an hour or so and went shopping (for groceries). We did get a little carried away and lost track of time. That’s how the chicken sat in the fridge marinating for another 7-8 hours. It was meant to be!
So after the poor bird has had its share of spices forced into it, pre-heat the oven to 200C and let the chicken sit out at room temperature for about 15-20 minutes. Using the grill accessory of the oven, place the chicken pieces of equal sizes gently on the greased grill and pop it into the oven and bake for 30 minutes on each side at 180C, greasing it with 1/2 – 1 tsp oil. After which turn up the heat a notch (225C) and place the grill on the top most level of the oven for about 7-8 minutes. This is just to get a nice char grilled color (if that’s a thing) on the chicken. Take it off and serve immediately with lemon wedges on the side. Tip: Place a tray below the grill in the oven when the chicken is in there, to collect the juices dripping. Else you’d be scrubbing your oven forever!

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