Leftover greens in the fridge make for great curry bases. In this case I had a bunch of palak that were on the verge of wilting on their own. So I added some methi and coriander to the mix and cooked some chicken in it. It was perfectly light and delicious. As summer crawls back into our lives, food must also get lighter. Heavy masala based curries gives me the sweats and keeping Sunday lunches light is my main goal this summer. Even the spices I used were mostly pepper, coriander, cumin and fenugreek seeds. Helps cool off the body. No wonder these spices are a huge part of Mangalorean cuisine.
I’ve made Thai curry plenty times before and more often it’s been the red kind. I don’t have a reason why I never made the green one. But it’s never too late. Sunday lunch it was. In the red curry, Kashmiri chillies give it the colour and in yellow, it’s turmeric. For the green one, it’s green chillies, coriander and lemon leaves. Of course, I made the paste at home. Besides these three ingredients, there’s lemongrass, ginger (or galangal), garlic, cumin and shallots. It’s fragrant and delicious. You can alter the number of chillies according to how spicy you want it. I went a little low on these.
Another chicken curry. This one’s easy too. It’s always an easy curry for me when it’s got freshly ground spices and coconut milk. Trust me, I’d rather take 2 mins to grind the spices than sit and chop heaps of onions and tomatoes for the curry base. Marinate the chicken in chilli powder, yoghurt and ginger garlic paste overnight. Next afternoon, cook it with some sliced onions (not one kilo or something, I promise), ground spice paste and coconut milk. Simple. Great with rice, of course. And if you’re on a low carb sort of diet, swap the mustard oil for coconut or olive, skip the onions and up the coconut milk. Have it like stew.
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!
You want to eat healthy while at work but how do you do it when the cafeteria lunch is less than appetizing? Order in, then. With a growing client base, salad and juice places are delivering super healthy lunches to offices. But spending 300 bucks (rupees, of course) upwards on salads everyday gives my wallet an acid reflux. Packing lunch to work sounds like a lot of work. Is it really a lot of work? I’ve started packing my own salad lunches to work and here’s how I keep it simple and stress free and inexpensive.
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.
Every weekend, Sunday in particular, I try and cook different kinds of curries with chicken or mutton mostly. Some recipes call for elaborate processes and I’m rarely drawn to such. That’s why I put together a few ingredients myself and make a curry base that goes well with meat. This time I did it with green chilly. A simple paste of the chillies, whole black pepper, coconut, cumin and coriander make for good curry base. All you need to do is chop some onions and mix it in with the chicken and let it all cook together.
This should ideally be named cleaned-out-my-fridge-salad. It consists of leftovers from my chilli basil chicken stir-fry and my sweet chilli pineapple sauce. I had some old broccoli, sweet corn and basil. Throw in an apple and lettuce, and you have a great lunch. That’s the great thing about leftovers, just a couple of tweaks and bring it all together with a dressing and you’ve recycled your pantry stock quite well.
Sometimes you don’t want to spend even 20 minutes in the kitchen. But all you’re thinking is about a bowl of food that’s comforting and delicious. Something to pick your mood up, something to put a smile on your face and something to help you through the rest of the evening. This chilli basil chicken stir-fry is definitely that something. With a light chilli kick and freshness of basil, it sure will perk you up in no time. You know what the best part is, though? It can be done is less than 15 mins with 2-3 mins of prepping.
Butter chicken is probably India’s favourite dish. It sure is the most ordered one in restaurants across the country. There’s something so delicious about tandoor cooked chicken and smooth and creamy tomato sauce laced with fresh cream. Of course, you can’t forget the butter here. It’s used in the cooking as well as a garnish. How dare one use just oil or ghee?! It’s sacrilegious, for the love of food! Alright, enough drama. I’ve had butter chicken at most restaurants in Bangalore and here in Delhi/Gurgaon. And the best butter chicken according to me was had at Downtown pub, Gurgaon. Yep. A pub. Silky smooth gravy and superbly cooked chicken. Not sweet like I’ve found plenty others to be and not bland either.