Monthly Archives: January 2015

Vegetable Pulao

veg pulaoAny Indian curry deserves a rice combination and if it is with Basmati rice, it would be a perfect pair. With vegetables in it, even better! The flavors going on in this pulao with the whole spices make it a really tasty dish. Easy to make, literally takes 5 minutes to make, the rest is just cooking time. If you have a rice cooker, turn it on and forget about it. It will be ready when you are!

Ingredients

Basmati Rice- 1.5 cups

Vegetable Oil – 2 tbsp

Cumin seeds – 1 tsp

Cardamom – 3

Cloves- 6

Cinnamon Sticks – 1 inch pc

Mixed Vegetables (frozen or fresh) – 1 cup

Frozen green peas – 1/2 cup

Water – 2.5 to 3 cups depending on the instructions on the rice packet.

Salt – to taste

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Method

  • Heat Oil in a pan and add the cumin, cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Fry for a minute.
  • Add the vegetables to it and saute for a minute.
  • Add the washed rice to the pan and mix well for a few seconds.
  • Transfer the rice mixture into a rice cooker, add water, the frozen green peas and salt.Mix well. (Taste the water to know if there is enough salt).
  • Turn on the rice cooker. The pulao should be ready within 20 minutes.
  • You can also cook the rice in a pan using the same method. If so, add  water, peas and salt in the same pan and cook on medium-low heat. Keep an eye on the rice and give it a stir half way through. Turn off the heat when all the water has been absorbed and fluff with a fork.

Kung Pao Chicken

kung paoDo you like Chinese food? I definitely do especially if its homemade. If you have the ingredients at hand, Chinese food is very easy to make at home. Just like, we need to have some basic spices at home to make Indian food, there are some basic sauces that you need to have at home to make Chinese food. The good to have basic sauces are soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, shao hsing cooking wine, hoisin sauce, oyster sauce, sweet chilli sauce, sichuan pepper and sesame oil. These ingredients are sometimes used in other Asian cooking as well. These sauces are readily available in chinese supermarkets like T n T supermarket.

Try making this Kung Pao Chicken at home. You won’t regret it!

Ingredients

For the Marinade

Soy Sauce – 1 tbsp

Chinese rice wine – 1 tbsp

Cornstarch – 1/2 tbsp

Chicken – 1/2 kg

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For the Sauce

Chinese Black Vinegar – 1 tbsp

Soy Sauce – 1 tsp

Hoisin Sauce – 1 tsp

Sesame Oil – 1 tsp

Sugar – 1/2 tbsp

Cornstarch – 1 tsp

Sichuan pepper(ground) – 1/2 tsp

Other Ingredients

Peanut Oil or Vegetable Oil – 2 tbsp

Dried Red Chillies – 10

Green Onions – 1 bunch (slice the white and green parts separately)

Garlic paste – 1 tsp

Ginger paste – 1 tsp

Dry Roasted Peanuts – 1/4 cup

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Method

  • Mix the soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and cornstarch together and then marinate the chicken with it. Keep it aside.

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  • Prepare the sauce by mixing the chinese black vinegar, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sesame oil, sugar, cornstarch and ground sichuan pepper together in a bowl. Make sure that the sugar and cornstarch has dissolved. PS: You can substitute a good quality balsamic vinegar if you do not get the chinese black vinegar.
  • Take a wok or skillet and heat the peanut or vegetable oil on medium high heat. Add the dried red chillies and stir fry till it just begins to turn black in color.
  • Add the marinated chicken to it and stir fry. Close and cook for about 5 minutes.The chicken cooks in the water that it releases. (I like my chicken well cooked and that is why I choose this method but you can optionally stir fry it with the lid open for 2 – 3 minutes which is the original stir fry method.)

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  • Now add the sliced white part of the green onions, ginger and garlic paste. Stir fry for few seconds.
  • Add the sauce and the roasted peanuts and cook for 2 -3 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.

 

  • Garnish with the sliced green onions(the green part).Enjoy!

 

Indian Chicken Phyllo Cups

Image result for phyllo cups with indian fillingThese tasty treats are sure to impress your guests at the first bite. Its perfect for a party, get together or an after school snack for kids. They are two bite sized which makes it perfect for an appetizer or a quick snack.

Do not get alarmed by the number of steps. I am just trying to be as thorough as I can.

Ingredients

Phyllo pastry sheets – 6 sheets

Melted butter – 1/4 cup

Ground chicken or boneless chicken – 1/2 kg

Oil – 3 to 4 tbsp

Onion – 2 (finely chopped)

Ginger – 1 inch pc (finely chopped)

Garlic – 5 cloves (finely chopped)

Tomato – 2 (finely chopped)

Carrot – 1(diced)

Celery – 4 sticks (diced)

Baby bok choy – 1 (finely chopped)

Green bell pepper – 1 (diced)

Cumin Seeds – 1 tsp

Red Chilly Pw – 1 tsp

Turmeric pw – 1/2 tsp

Coriander pw – 1 1/2 tsp

Chat Masala – 2 tsp

Cumin Pw – 1 tsp

Eggs – 3 (optional)

Cilantro/ Coriander leaves – to garnish

Lime – 1/2

Note: You can add vegetables of your choice instead of bok choy and celery. Image result for cook with vinu

Method

  • Heat oil in a pan and fry cumin seeds.

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  • Saute onion, ginger and garlic till golden in color. Image result for cookwithvinu.com
  • Add carrot and celery for 5 minutes till soft.
  • Add tomato and all the spices and mix for couple minutes.
  • Now add the rest of the vegetables and saute well for two minutes. Transfer the contents into a bowl.
  • In the same pan, add 2 tbsp of oil and add the ground chicken to it. (if you have boneless chicken, grind it coarsely in a mixer). Scramble the chicken well in oil. Image result for cookwithvinu.com
  • Once the chicken has changed color from pink to white, add the vegetable mixture to it.
  • Cook on medium high heat till all the moisture has been absorbed well. Add cilantro and juice of half a lime. Mix well and set aside. Image result for cook with vinu
  • Add the eggs to it and scramble well till dry. (This is optional).The filling is ready. Image result for cook with vinu

Make the phyllo cups

  • Prepare a mini muffin pan by lightly greasing it and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Place one sheet of phyllo on your work surface. Using a pastry brush, spread some melted butter onto it.

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  • Place the second sheet on top. Repeat the same for 3 sheets.

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  • Cut the sheets into 4 strips lengthwise and 6 strips breadth-wise making 24 squares.

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  • Place each square into the muffin pan.

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  • Bake for 5 minutes or till golden in color.

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  • Cool the phyllo cups and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.
  • When you are ready to serve, just heat the filling and scoop up a bit into the prepared phyllo cups.

Alternate Pie Method 

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  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Take a round pan and line it with the 6 phyllo sheets.

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  • Add the filling into it.

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  • Cover with the hanging edges of the sheets.

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  • Brush the top with some melted butter.
  • Bake it in the oven till golden in color.

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  • Cut and Serve immediately.

Note: Do not attempt this method, if planning to serve at a later time as the crust will get soggy very fast since the filling is very moist.

 

Bengali Prawns

Image result for cook with vinu fishThis is such a simple Bengali fish dish with very few ingredients but yummy, yummy, yummy!

This recipe was from Rick Stein’s India Cookbook with my own variations to it.

Ingredients    

Prawns – 250 grams

Shallots – 4

Grated Coconut – 1 cup

Coconut milk – 1 cup

Black Mustard Seeds – 1 heaped tbsp.

Green chillies – 3 (cut into long strips)

Turmeric Pw – ½ tsp

Vegetable Oil – 3 to 4 tbsp

Salt – to taste

 

Method

  • Grind the mustard coarsely with 2 – 3 tbsp of water.

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  • Using 2 tbsp of water, coarsely grind the grated coconut.

  • Heat oil in a heavy pan, add the shallots and saute till golden brown in color. (about 3 – 5 minutes)
  • Now add the mustard, turmeric, grated coconut, coconut milk and salt. Mix well. Bring it to a boil and then simmer for 3 – 4 minutes.

 

  • Add the prawns and green chillies. Mix well. Cover and cook till prawns are cooked.
  • Take the lid off and stir fry till there the mixture is dry. Garnish with cilantro leaves.

Garlic Cheese Sticks

20150108_232336These bread sticks are so yummy with its roasted garlic flavor. . Its a must try!! Nothing like homemade cheese sticks.

Ingredients

For the dough

All purpose flour – 2.5 cups

Whole wheat bread flour – ¾ to 1 cup

Instant Yeast – 2 ¼ tsp

Warm water – 1 1/3  cup

Olive Oil – 2 tbsp

Sugar – 2 tsp

Salt – 1 tsp

Other Ingredients

Garlic – 1 pod

Cheese (Cheddar or mixed) – 1 cup

Butter – ¼ cup

Parmesan Cheese – ¼ cup (optional)

Method

The garlic butter

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. place the garlic pod in an aluminium foil. Sprinkle with 2 tbsp olive oil.20150108_190123

 

  • Fold the aluminium foil so that the garlic pod can roast inside. Bake for 40 minutes to an hour. Your room will fill up with the lovely aromas of the roasted garlic. 20150108_200928
  • It would be very easy to get the peel off the garlic at this stage as the garlic literally falls of the pod at this stage. Chop or mash up the garlic.
  • Melt the butter and mix it with the mashed roasted garlic. The garlic butter is ready.

The Bread Sticks

  • Sprinkle the yeast in the warm water along with the sugar. Mix it once with a spoon. Let it sit for 5 minutes. This is called ‘proofing’. The water should be warm to touch, not hot (ideally 110 degrees F). If the water is hot, it kills the yeast and if it is not warm enough, it will not activate the yeast. The sugar feeds the yeast. 20150108_185010
  • After 5 minutes, if the yeast was activated well, it should look like this (foamy with bubbles)20150108_185549
  • Take the all purpose flour, whole wheat bread flour and salt in a bowl. 20150108_184429
  • Add olive oil to it. Mix using a dough hook of your mixer. You can also mix it using your hands. 20150108_185300
  • Add the yeast mixture and mix on slow speed till combined. 20150108_185640
  • Then knead for 10 minutes on medium low speed. 20150108_191138
  • The dough should be non sticky and soft.  Sprinkle olive oil in the same bowl and coat the dough with it.Cover with plastic wrap and let it rest for 2 hours. I usually keep the bowl inside the oven with only the light on since the weather is cold here.
  • After couple of hours, it should have risen to double its size. 20150108_220402
  • Now take out the dough to the work surface and punch down the dough. Divide it into 2 and spread it out into 2 rectangles with your hands. 20150108_220946
  • Cut into 7 strips each. Spread the garlic butter and half of the Parmesan cheese on the strips. 20150108_221646
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat the oven to 350 Degrees F.
  • Now hold each strips on its ends and twist it in the opposite direction. Place it on a baking sheet in this manner. Continue the same with every strip. You should be able to get all the strips on my baking sheet. 20150108_222515
  • Bake for 12 minutes. Take the baking sheet out of the oven.
  • Now spread the cheese and rest of the Parmesan cheese on top and bake it again for 12 – 14 minutes till its golden brown in color. 20150108_232336
  • Enjoy these yummy cheese sticks warm.

 

Chettinad Chicken Curry

20150108_211705This is one of my favorite recipes. It can be a bit time consuming compared to the other curry recipes but its well worth the effort.

Note: This dish is medium spicy. Please reduce or add more red chilly powder/cayenne pepper powder according to taste. You can also optionally de-seed the dry red chilies to reduce the heat of the dish.

Ingredients

Chicken – ½ kg

Onion – 1(sliced)

Tomato – 1(chopped)

Turmeric pw – ½ tsp

Cayenne pepper pw – ½ tsp

Coriander pw – 1 ½ tsp

Mustard seeds – ½ tsp

Cumin seeds – ½ tsp

Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp

Oil – 2 tbsp

Salt – to taste

Cilantro – few

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To fry and grind

Dried red chillies – 5

Coriander seeds – 2 tsp

Ginger – 1 inch pc

Garlic – 7 cloves

Cinnamon – 2 inch pc

Cardamom – 3

Cloves – 5

Whole black pepper – 1 tsp

Medium unsweetened coconut – 4 tsp

Curry leaves – few

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Method

  • Marinate chicken with turmeric and salt. Keep for five minutes. 20150108_195154
  • Fry the ingredients (To fry and grind ) in 1 tbsp of oil. 20150108_192949
  • Grind well adding a bit of water to a smooth paste. 20150108_193619
  • Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, cumin and fenugreek seeds and fry for a few seconds. 20150108_195436
  • Add the chopped onions and saute till brown in color. 20150108_195519(0)
  • Add tomato and saute till soft. Add coriander pw, turmeric pw and cayenne pepper pw. Saute for 2 minutes till the raw smell of the spices have gone. 20150108_195757
  • Then add the ground masala pasteand mix well for 3 minutes. 20150108_200408
  • Add the marinated chicken and 1 cup of water. Close the lid and cook till the chicken is tender. 20150108_200759
  • Garnish with curry leaves and cilantro. Enjoy with rice or rotis.20150108_211705

 

Paneer Sabji (Paneer with vegetables)

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Ingredients

Onion – 1 ( medium chopped into big chunks)

Tomato – 1 ( chopped into big chunks)

Cayenne pepper pw – ½ tsp to ¾ tsp

Garam masala – ½ tsp

Paneer – 100 grams (cubed)

Cumin seeds/jeera – 1 tsp

Frozen vegetables or frozen green peas – ½ cup

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Method

  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan, add half of cumin seeds and fry slightly.20150106_195635
  • Then add onions and saute till soft. 20150106_195720
  • Add the tomato to it and mix well.
  • Add cayenne pepper pw, garam masala and saute well till soft(around 2 minutes).20150106_195909
  • Turn off the stove and let it cool. Then whip the above mixture in a blender adding a bit of water. 20150106_201315
  • In the same pan heat 1 tsp of oil, fry the rest of the cumin seeds.20150106_201528
  • Add the whipped mixture into it. Add salt, frozen vegetables and paneer to it and cook the mixture for 5 minutes.20150106_201737
  • Add water and mix it to your desired consistency. Better when semi thick.
  • Enjoy with rice or rotis

PS: Paneer can be fried in a little oil and then added to the mixture. I just like it unfried because  it is a healthier and easier version.

 

Easy Chicken 65

Hi everyone,

This chicken 65 is a yummy and super easy to prepare. It is great as an appetizer or a side dish. Once you start nibbling on it, its hard to stop yourself. Try it out and enjoy!

Feel free to post any questions you may have in the comment section and I’ll be happy to reply.

Image result for cookwithvinu.com chicken

Ingredients

Chicken – ½ kg

To Grind

Ginger – 1 inch long piece

Garlic – 5 flakes

Cardamom – 3

Cloves – 6

Cinnamon Stick – 2 inch stick

White poppy seeds – 2 tsp

Red Chilly Pw – ¾ tsp to 1 tsp

Turmeric pw – ¼   tsp

Coriander Pw – 1.5 tsp

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Method

 

  • Grind all the ingredients (except the chicken) to a smooth paste.

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  • Heat oil in a pan, add the ground masala paste and fry on medium – low heat for around five minutes.

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  • The paste should turn darker in color.

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  • Now add the cut up chicken to it, ½ tsp salt and fry for couple minutes.

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  • Add 1 cup of water to the chicken. Mix well.

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  •  Close the lid and cook for 15 -20 minutes till the water start drying up.

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  • Take the lid off and continue frying till the chicken is browned. Enjoy

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Punjabi Chicken Masala.

A must try recipe!!  

Ingredients

To grind

Ginger – 1 inch pc

Garlic – 4 cloves

Cayenne pepper pw – 1 tsp

Turmeric pw – ¼ tsp

Cumin pw – ¼ tsp

Coriander pw – 1 ½ tbsp

Onion – ½

To Grind separately

Raw cashews – 10

Medium dessicated unsweetened coconut – ¼ cup

Other ingredients

Chicken – ½ kg

Ghee – 3 tbsp

Onion – ½ (sliced)

Tomato -1(chopped)

Sugar – 1 ½ tsp

Garam masala – 1 tsp

Method

  1.  In a pan heat ghee and add sugar .
  2. Once it melts and gets brown in colour, add the sliced onions and saute well.
  3. Add the ground masala paste(the first one). Saute well till the raw smell is gone(about 2 minutes).
  4. Add the tomato to it and saute well till soft and mushy.
  5. Add the chicken and salt to it and mix well.
  6. Then add the cashew – coconut paste and mix really well till oil separates from the sides of the pan (about 5 minutes).
  7. Add 2 cups of water and cook till the chicken is tender (around 15 minutes).
  8. Once the chicken is cooked, add garam masala and cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Garnish with cilantro.