Chicken Pulao Recipe

Ingredients

(Serves 4)

1kg chicken on the bone, skinless and cut to medium pieces

250gms basmati rice

525mls water or stock

3 tbsp sunflower oil

1 heaped tsp cumin seeds

6 cloves

½ tsp black pepper

2” cinnamon stick

2 black cardamom pods

2 large white onions thinly sliced

2 green chillies slit lengthwise

5 garlic cloves

1” ginger

1 heaped tsp coriander powder

Salt to taste

20gms freshly chopped coriander

Juice of 1/2 a lime

Method

  1. In a blender add the garlic and ginger with a splash of water and make a smooth paste. Set aside.
    In a heavy bottom sauce pan heat the oil. Add the whole spices letting them sizzle and infuse their flavours for 30 seconds. Now add the white onions and fry on a low heat for 30-35 mins. They will soften and start to colour. Make sure to stir every few minutes making sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. The quantity of onions for this dish is quite a lot so give it time to fry and retain a light brown colour.
  2. At this stage increase the heat to medium, add the green chillies and fry for a few seconds followed by the ginger and garlic paste. Fry for 2 minutes until the raw flavours from the paste cook through.
  3. Now add the chicken pieces along with the coriander powder stir well making sure the spices coat the chicken pieces sealing through for 8-10minutes. Add salt and continue to fry the chicken. Add half the water quantity and bring to a boil simmering with a lid on for 10 minutes. Stir half way through the cooking process. The chicken will nearly be done by this time.
  4. Now add the rice, little fresh coriander and the remaining water. Bring to a boil; simmer for 18-20 minutes until all the liquid has been absorbed and the chicken & rice are tender.
  5. Add the remaining coriander at this stage. Cover the pulao and turn the heat off. Leave to rest for 10minutes to let the rice cool slightly before serving. Serve with some lime juice, salad and raita

The 3 Perfect Snacks For Lunchtime Entertaining

So, you have guests over but it’s midday. You are not having a dinner party so much as a gathering for something. Maybe it’s to watch sports, to meet old friends that you plan on keeping for dinner. Maybe you’re meeting your boss from work to go over some plans for your future role. It could be for any reason, but whatever it is, having the best entertaining snacks is important to the mood and ambiance. Planning for dinner parties isn’t easy but it’s not tough either, as there are a colossal amount of options. But if your guests have arrived at lunchtime, what kind of snacks should you present to them? Anything but cheese and tomato sandwiches and you’re good.

A Mediterranean classic

If there is one culture on this planet that is known for making the best lunchtime snacks, it’s the Mediterranean culture. This laid back, sunny climate is full of excellent recipes of food that tastes great but doesn’t fill you up completely to the point you want to take a nap.

  • Flatbread specials: Buy some high-quality wholemeal flatbread. Toasting the flatbreads will get them to open up naturally. Pour some chili olive oil into them and allow the oil to soak into the bread. Then, serve half slices of flatbread with Morrocan hummus, aubergine dip, spicy tzatziki sauce and perhaps a topping of chili cherry tomatoes, sprinkled with basil, oregano and Italian baby red chili.
  • Italian crown: One of the most-loved snack recipes is focaccia. It’s a thick bread that can be surface-stuffed with herbs and spices. Using a traditional olive focaccia bread, you can stuff fennel and black olives into the craters. Sprinkle some sea salt and paprika for an extra hit.

A German delight

Although the pretzel really achieved it’s true fame in America, in Germany it’s still one of the most popular snacks to date. It’s incredibly versatile as you can eat it as a dessert, for breakfast, and for lunch. These gourmet soft pretzels are some of the best in the world. After over 200 reviews from verified customers, they have a 5-star rating. These pretzel buns and sticks and rings can be sprinkled with a number of ingredients to maximize flavor. You have a chili-lime salt option, truffle salt, rosemary lemon salt and a blended spice pack. As you may know, you can also eat pretzels with certain dips such as garlic cheddar, honey mustard and chocolate hazelnut whip.

A full fat treat

British cuisine is world-renowned for having some of the best snacks in the culinary realm. If you want something that is fattening, sweet and unashamedly indulgent, then go with a classic raspberry cream scone. This is fresh dairy cream and concentrated raspberry jam in the middle of a buttery crumbling scone. You can make this recipe at home with just a few ingredients but you can find this at almost any British bakery near you.

When you have someone important over for lunch, you need to be creative and seek to impress them. These three snacks are gourmet yet they don’t fill you up until you feel tired and sleepy, which is great for long hours of conversation.

How To Eat Better In Your Lifetime

Having a good relationship with your food is important, and it starts by looking at what you’re eating right now. It’s never too late to change your attitude when it comes to the relationship with your food. Here are some tips to eat better in your lifetime.

Try New Cuisines

Cuisines are in heavy supply, and sometimes people tend to stick with what they know and there’s others who won’t even go beyond their own cuisine. It’s important to try different flavors and different types of food because there’s so much delicious food to try out there, and it would be criminal for you to restrict the opportunities you can give yourself when it comes to your food. So give yourself the challenge of trying some new cuisines here and there. It can start with the type of food you order in for your weekly delivery like umami foods, for example. You can make a different choice when you go out to eat in terms of what cuisine you pick. Try to give yourself more variety because it helps to make your relationship with food a better one.

Eat In Moderation

Moderation is the key term when it comes to eating better in your lifetime. If you’re not eating in moderation, then the chances are you’re either eating too much or too little. It’s really important to understand what you put into your body and what it does to your health overall. If you’re eating too much, you’re going to end up putting on weight, and that’s going to be adding pressure on your body. Try to keep an eye on how much you’re eating and make better choices with the amount of food you consume on a daily basis.

Have Your Three Meals A Day

Having your three meals a day is important, and it can be easy to skip meals or to eat more because you’ve skipped one. Snacking tends to be one of those things that can allow you to put on weight and to be eating more than your recommended daily allowance. By sticking to the three meals a day rule, you’re much less likely to be snacking. Try to stick to your meal plans and make sure you at least get breakfast in there as that’s the most important meal of the day.

Keep An Eye On Portion Sizes

Portion sizes are something to be cautious about because, again, it’s all about moderation. Think about what size plates you use when putting your food on the plate. You don’t need to eat everything on your plate if you feel full. Try not to overstuff yourself, and if you’re feeling full, simply stop. You can always pack up and save that food for a later point in the day or the following day.

Eating better in your lifetime is important, so make sure you make the right changes for the sake of your health. When you eat better, you feel better, and that can make a huge difference.

Powder In My Glass

I was speaking with my mom about what milk we used while we lived in Kuwait. We left Kuwait back in 1987 when I was turning 11 years old and now 32 years later I remember a heck of a lot of things about my time there but for some reason I had forgotten how we got milk for drinking as it is or with something added. My mom ofcourse easily remembered as she was the person who made it for us. It was Nido.

Nido is a milk substitute powder and milk powder brand manufactured by Nestlé first introduced in 1944. The different varieties include instant dried whole, rather than skimmed or semi-skimmed, milk with Vitamins A & D, and are a good source of calcium. When my dad and mom got married back in 1968 and he moved my mom with him to Kuwait and she was recommended to use Nido for her tea or coffee as milk was difficult to get in Kuwait. When my sis was born and later on me, she relied on Nido for feeding us. I never drank coffee or tea until I turned 13 so Nido was mainly for milk and added some boost or other thinks for it and for morning cornflakes.

It is surprising that I do not remember it but it’s odd to now think of powdered milk as I haven’t had any – we don’t use it home not since we moved back to India and none of our relatives or friends use it – that I know off. I doubt if restaurants use it here either (we have plenty of cows in India).

Butter Chicken Recipe

You can use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or breasts. We prefer dark meat, but go with what you like.
For the chicken marinade:

  • 28 oz (800g) boneless and skinless chicken thighs or breasts cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger (or finely grated)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

For the sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons ghee (or 1 tbs butter + 1 tbs oil)
  • 1 large onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, minced or finely grated
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 14 oz (400 g) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder (adjust to your taste preference)
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt (or to taste)
  • 1 cup of heavy or thickened cream (or evaporated milk to save calories)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kasoori methi (or dried fenugreek leaves)

Instructions

In a bowl, combine chicken with all of the ingredients for the chicken marinade; let marinate for 30 minutes to an hour (or overnight if time allows). Heat oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. When sizzling, add chicken pieces in batches of two or three, making sure not to crowd the pan. Fry until browned for only 3 minutes on each side. Set aside and keep warm. (You will finish cooking the chicken in the sauce.)

Heat butter or ghee in the same pan. Fry the onions until they start to sweat (about 6 minutes) while scraping up any browned bits stuck on the bottom of the pan. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 1 minute until fragrant, then add ground coriander, cumin and garam masala. Let cook for about 20 seconds until fragrant, while stirring occasionally. Add crushed tomatoes, chili powder and salt. Let simmer for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally until sauce thickens and becomes a deep brown red colour. Remove from heat, scoop mixture into a blender and blend until smooth. You may need to add a couple tablespoons of water to help it blend (up to 1/4 cup). Work in batches depending on the size of your blender.

Pour the puréed sauce back into the pan. Stir the cream, sugar and crushed kasoori methi (or fenugreek leaves) through the sauce. Add the chicken with juices back into the pan and cook for an additional 8-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through and the sauce is thick and bubbling. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with fresh, hot basmati rice or naan bread.

OPTIONAL: To thin out the sauce, add a couple tablespoons of ghee or butter at the end of cooking, and gently simmer it through. Alternatively, add a small amount of water.

Couchyn Meet With Anil

It has been a very long time. With his work schedule for his new employers and the fact that he is based out Thrissur and has to travel a bit, I haven’t met my buddy Anil in a long, long time. We chatted on Whatsapp a couple of days ago and he called me this morning and said he was coming to town and would I be free to meet him. I sure was and I was planning on going out anyway.

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We met at Couchyn and despite his pleas to go elsewhere I told him that we were here; let’s drink. I finally convinced him and we were hungry – I hadn’t had anything other than a black coffee all day and it was just after 12 pm – so we ordered some French fries and I finally got to have a Bira! I will talk about Bira brand of beers later but it is a first for me. And he ordered a couple Old Monk rums with a Coke.

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We talked and ate a bunch. After the French fries, we had some honey flavoured crispy chicken strips and chilly fish (which was awesome).

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We also ordered an Ammachi’s chicken which was terrible. We sent it back and instead got a cheese omelet each which were yum.

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By 5 pm we left and I went to get some groceries on my way back home and took a nap.

Incredible Ideas That Will Spice Up Your Valentine’s Day Meal!

The 14th of February only means one thing: Valentine’s Day! Rather than seeing it as a corporate holiday, it’s sweeter if you view it as an occasion to show your partner love. And, there’s no better way to do that than to cook a meal with all the trimmings.

Of course, if you’re going to pull out all the stops, it can’t be a boring recipe. The food has to be extra creative to show your loved one how much you care. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be a challenge this Valentine’s with these incredible ideas for a show-stopping meal!

Try A Different Cuisine

On the 14th of February, couples tend to opt for the same cuisines. Whether it’s French or Italian, you’ll probably want to go with something that feels romantic, and these two are the leading contenders. However, there are dozens of cuisines that are perfect for Valentine’s Day treat, and you should try one. You can learn how to cook dried black beans and rustle up a Mexican storm, or maybe you prefer to spice things up with Caribbean jerk? Regardless, putting different ingredients on the plate will instantly take your meal to a new level.

But Practise It

A drawback of trying something new is the fact that you’re inexperienced. You’ve never prepared a Mexican dish before, which means there’s a chance it might not work. The last thing you want to do is ruin your Valentine’s Day dining experience by serving slop. Thankfully, you can push the creative boat out and prepare flavors that will wow and amaze by practising them before the big day. Whenever you get an opportunity, you can cook the meal you want to serve for Valentine’s for other people. By the 14th, it’ll be part of your repertoire.

Keep It Simple

Please don’t try too hard and bite off more than you can chew. Attempting to cook a three-course meal that’s out of your wheelhouse will only increase the chances of something going wrong. Therefore, it’s better to stick to the basics. An excellent tip is to use locally-sourced produce – the freshness will enhance any dish, no matter how straightforward. Alternatively, avoid unnecessary add-ons that only make life difficult. Sure, a cocktail is great, but only if it doesn’t take hours to prepare! Remember that food is the essential part of the day, and it deserves the most attention.

But Don’t Skip Dessert

With that in mind, you should try and serve dessert wherever possible. There are several reasons, including that the final dish gives you a chance to redeem yourself if the worst happens. More importantly, however, is that dessert is the most romantic part of the meal. Giving each other eyes across a table while eating chocolate mousse is not only sexy; it’s an aphrodisiac. In fact, there are lots of dessert ingredients that will get the heart racing, which is another reason not to skip your pudding!

How are you going to prepare a meal that is fit for Valentine’s Day this February?

Chilli Fish Receipe

A delicious, tangy Indo-Chinese fusion dish, Chilli Fish is everything an appetizer or a side dish should be. It is crunchy, tasty, filling and full of aromatic flavours to have your taste buds tantalizing. Serve as an appetizer or a side dish at your next dinner party and the guests will surely be impressed!

Ingredients in Chilli Fish Recipe: Boneless pieces of fish, batter fried and doused in a spicy-tangy sauce made with soy, tomato and chilli sauce along with chillies, ginger and garlic.

250 Gram Fish pieces (Boneless), 1/2 cup Maida, 1/2 cup Corn flour, 1 tsp Baking powder, 2 tsp Soy sauce, 2 tbsp Celery finely chopped, 1 tsp Pepper, Salt, Oil & to garnish Spring onions

For the sauce:
1 tbsp Ginger, chopped, 1 tbsp Garlic, chopped, 1 tbsp Green chilly, chopped, 4 tbsp Soy sauce, 5 tbsp Tomato sauce, 1 tbsp Chilli sauce, 1 tbsp Corn flour

  • 1.Cut the fish into finger pieces.
  • 2.Make a batter with corn flour, maida, baking powder, soy sauce, celery, pepper powder, water and salt.
  • 3.Dip the fish pieces in the batter and fry in oil till golden brown. Transfer fish into a serving plate.
  • Prepare the sauce:
  • 1.Heat oil in a pan.
  • 2.Saute garlic, ginger and green chilly. Add soy sauce, chilly and tomato sauce to it.
  • 3.Finally add corn flour mixed with water to it and stir well. Once it starts to boil, remove form fire.
  • 4.At the time of serving, pour the sauce on top of fried fish pieces and mix well.
  • 5.Garnish with chopped spring onions.

My Hotel Stay Concluded

So I am now back in the apartment that I call home, safely sitting in my bedroom, listening to Eric Clapton songs on Youtube. I’ve had 4 days and 4 nights of relaxation and chilling out. No going out during those 4 days and only showering and shaving on two of those days. I wanted to room service, a few beers and to sleep in as much as my heart desires. I am surprised at how much I have slept during these 4 days. I usually get in 5-6 hours on a work day and maybe 7 on a weekend or a holiday at home. I might sleep more on a sick day. But these 4 days I got in 10-12 hours sleep easily.

My meals – they were priced highly. Ok, let me tell you that I was staying in at the Mercy Hotel in Ravipuram. The room wasn’t great but still good. They hadn’t cleaned it properly. The floor lamp is prominently placed next to the small table, which may have been meant as a dining table but which I was using for my laptop, but their shade is ripped and dirty. There was a dirt stain on the floor near the door and the sheets were of a cheap quality. Atleast the shades were awesome and light cancelling. I also had some problem with their bathroom as water would take it’s own sweet time flowing down the drain. Poor room planning while building.

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I had a few beers. I didn’t watch any tv but was online quite a many hours and watched Youtube videos throughout and blogged a little as you can see. The food was good, not amazing. Among the highlights were a mixed grill (not photographed) and which I could not finish. Not even close. Just way too much food for one person. I ought to get my cousin down there someday and tackle that with some vodkas. Their American chopsuey, pic in a previous post, was pretty good as well. Yesterday afternoon I was in the mood for a chicken biryani and the one they served was pretty good.

Lowlights of the food – their breakfast is a joke. I ordered their Continental breakfast twice but was charged the price 3 times. Their continental breakfast is supposed to be toast, butter, jam, croissant, fruit, coffee/tea, seasonal fruit drink and a Danish pastry with preservatives. Look what I got when I ordered that this morning! Do you see any Danish? How about the croissant? Pineapple chunks, a brownie (what?? For breakfast???), cornflakes, toast with butter and jam. One morning I asked for just an omelet and toast and they charges me the same as this breakfast! Coffee was extra. The first morning I ordered the same breakfast I got eggs, in an omelet, instead of the cornflakes, brownie, juice and pineapple. Coffee was extra! It seems that this below menu is supposed to be for the Mercy Special Breakfast but then again, not complete.

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Otherwise it was a good stay. Due to a cold I couldn’t go and try out their bar even though I badly wanted to. So I switched off the ac and didn’t drink any more beer on the last two days.

Pork Chops, Prawns, Chicken & Beer

The previous weekend I was back with Alza at the Blue Rock Restobar in Olive Downtown. This has become my favourite place to hang out for a few drinks and some good food, as mentioned in my previous post about this place. Probably it is the company

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We ordered shrimp, fried in a tempura batter.

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And some chicken satay with that lovely peanut sauce.

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My fav is the grilled pork chops in bbq sauce. Though they were kinda huge.

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All in all a great afternoon spending it drinking beer and enjoying the good food and company.