Remember my recent trip to the hills? Yes, Saattal it was. I brought back a bunch of jams. One of them was an apricot jam. Turns out, it’s my favourite. But how long will I just spread it over bread? That’s why I used it instead of honey for my sweet and spicy chilli sauce. This one’s a 3-ingredient sauce – chillies, garlic and apricot jam. Since there aren’t any other ingredients to give it volume, I used a lot of chillies. Don’t be alarmed, they were all deseeded. Except 2-3 I guess, for the heat.
This khichdi is my go to weeknight dinner when I’m lazy or when I don’t feel like cooking an elaborate meal. It can be cooked under 20 mins and you don’t even have to be around in the kitchen for longer than half the time. I use mixed dal here because I get a little of everything – green, masoor, tur, among others. At most big supermarket you’ll find large tubs of mixed dal sold by weight. I usually get heaps from there whenever I can. To this rather plain Jane khichdi I add a tempering of mustard oil and curry leaves. Mustard oil gives it the kick it needs and curry leaves, well I just love me some crispy curry leaves!
Many people ask what they can do with paneer besides dunking it in lots of gravy. I’m not a fan of it but I picked up a packet from the shop on a whim. All I did was cut it into thick strips, roll it around some spice mix and roast them on a hot greased pan while the khichdi was cooling off in the pressure cooker. Voila! You have a side dish to go with your khichdi without it being deep fried or heavily salty.
Yield: 2 servings
Cooking time: 20 mins
Mixed dal/dal of your choice – 1/2 cup washed and drained
Rice – 3/4 cup rice washed and drained
Turmeric – 2 tsp
Mustard oil – 1 tbsp
Curry leaves – from 2 sprigs at least
Salt to taste
For roast paneer:
Paneer – 100 gm (or as much as you need) sliced or cubed
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Salt – 1/2 tsp
Bring 3 and 1/2 cups of water to boil and tip the dal and rice in it.
Add turmeric and salt.
Cover and let it cook on high heat till the first whistle is let out.
Now lower the heat and let it cook for 10 minutes.
After 10 mins, take it off the heat and let the pressure drop on its own. In the meanwhile make the paneer dish.
Heat oil/ghee in a nonstick pan.
Toss the paneer pieces in the spice mix and place in the hot oil to roast.
Let it get nice and toasty, say for around a min on each side. Keep aside.
Heat mustard oil and throw in the curry leaves. Let them splutter and crackle before you turn the heat off.
Tumble this tempering on the khichdi and you’re done!
Recipe for chicken stew with ginger
I’m leaving for Bangalore in two days and it was time to empty out the perishables in the fridge. That included – marinated chicken, open pack of coconut milk, ginger and coriander leaves. I didn’t have enough ingredients for a curry, but I sure have enough for a stew. This one turned out pretty good. Fragrant with ginger and turmeric and fresh with the coriander, this took me 10 mins to whip up at the end of the day for dinner.
Boneless chicken – 1 breast cut into cubes
Coconut milk – 100 ml (I had half an open pack)
Turmeric powder – Almost 1 tsp
Ginger – 2 inch piece sliced
Paprika/chilli powder, salt, ginger garlic paste – 1 tsp each to marinate the chicken in
Coriander leaves – handful chopped
Olive oil – 1 tbsp
Optional – chopped vegetables like bell peppers, mushrooms, broccoli and the likes
Heat the oil in a pan and saute chicken in it for 3-4 minutes.
Add ginger and a splash of water (about half a glass) and let the chicken cook for another 3 minutes on low flame.
Add coconut milk, turmeric, any vegetables you have and salt.
Cook for another 2 minutes or till the chicken is done and tender. It shouldn’t take long since the pieces are small.
Take off heat and garnish with coriander leaves.
Note: You can add cumin seeds or any other spices you’d like while the chicken cooks.
The best thing about my colleague is that he orders a lot of salads. And I get to taste most of them. Yesterday he got a sweet potato and chicken salad. I wanted to replicate it at home, but I thought of something even better. Replace sweet potato with mango. I figured I’ll make the chicken a tad spicy and pan grill it, and make a balsamic chilli vinaigrette to bring it all together.
Ingredients: Boneless chicken breast - 1 cut into cubes Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp Chicken masala/Paneer tikka/any other mixed spice powder or even just garam masala powder - 1 tbsp (I used paneer tikka masala powder) Salt to taste (Marinate the chicken in the above ingredients while you prep the rest of the salad) Salad greens - As much as you'd like. I got half a bowl of lettuce and basil. Red/green/yellow bell pepper - 1 cut into cubes Mango - 1 cut into cubes Dressing: Balsamic vinegar - 2 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil - 2 tsp Paprika/chilli powder - 1/2 tsp Honey - 1/2 tsp
Method: In a hot pan with a tbsp of olive oil, grill the chicken pieces till they're nice and brown. Charred would be even better! Keep aside. Tear up salad greens and place them in a bowl. Tip the mango, bell pepper and chicken on the greens. Whisk the ingredients for the vinaigrette and pour over salad. Done!