Tag: chicken

April SRC: Cooking from “I Was Born to Cook”

I have been busy the past few days and it’s going to be like that for the next few days as well. This is also the reason why there have been no Office Thursdays for a while and I missed last week’s GMT.

I’ll try to blog as often as I can but if I go missing in between it’s because my in-laws are here and I will be busy catching up with them. Also, unlike with V, where I can tell him to wait for food while I photograph stuff, I doubt I’ll be able to do that now.

Fortunately, I was able to make and photograph my SRC assignment few days back, and able to schedule my post while V’s parents were getting over their jet lag.

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Chilli Chicken Bread Pizza

Off lately, I have been very lazy with blogging and especially with GMTs.

Its not that I had nothing Indian to post yesterday. I had plenty to post. It’s just that the whole of yesterday I spent cuddled in the bed with my book.

I recently found out about Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.

I got the book from my friend on Friday, but could only start the book on Tuesday. And that’s why I wasn’t able to post anything yesterday. The book had me hooked and I just could not put it down! Not even for blogging.

Yes, that happens!

If you haven’t read the books, you should now!

Seriously, get it!

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Chicken Khada Masala

India hosted its first Grand Prix last week at the Buddh International Circuit. I wish I had the opportunity to witness it but some other things had to be tended to. Not only did India offer Formula One a racing circuit rivaling the best in the world but it did so with its typical Indian warmth.

This is what Sebastian Vettel, the winner of India’s inaugral Grand Prix, had to say about his experience in India:

If you keep your eyes open I think you are able to learn a lot from the way people handle things here. It is a big country, a lot of people.. But they get along and are happy..even though people don’t have a lot here, in a way they are much richer than a lot of people back in Europe.

So true. And when the warmth of the people isn’t enough, the food and the culture of India will surely make you feel richer than usual.

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Guest Post by Fancy That, Fancy This

The past few days have been really busy. I have been busy packing, busy with last minute measures to lose weight while clearing up the refrigerator, and getting things in order before leaving for my vacation to India! I’ll be gone for almost 3 months (I know!How cool is that!).

I have three packed months ahead- October I’ll be spending time with V’s family. V’s mom has planned a trip to a national park while we are there, plus October is the month of festivals in India. November- three friends of mine are getting married- so I’ll be busy dancing, eating and catching up with my college and hostel friends while attending three different marriage celebrations. In December, I, along with my family will be busy welcoming a new member into the family 🙂 ( fyi i am still NOT pregnant)!

So while I’ ll be busy doing ALL this I thought I would ask a few fellow bloggers to help me out and keep this blog going during my absence. Though I have tried to schedule a few posts of mine for the weeks to come, there will be a couple of guests posts by some very talented bloggers.

Today, I am glad to have Ameena from Fancy That..Fancy This for the second guest post on the Novice Housewife (check out the first here)

I got introduced to Ameena’s website fairly recently, but once hooked I have read every post of hers! I’m always laughing by the time I finish her posts. I love her blog and am glad that she agreed to do this guest post.

Before I hand over to her, one last thing as I finish this post on my Mac, the draft of which was partially written on my iPhone, all I have to say ‘Stay hungry, Stay Foolish’. RIP Steve Jobs.

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Chicken Enchiladas

September is every couch potato’s dream month- season and series premiere galore time!

The last two weeks have seen a season premiere everyday. It has also seen me running up and down the house with a gleam in my eye, shouting ‘XYZ show is premiering today‘.

Of course, I will not mention that I am dancing in all Glee-like performances while exclaiming that.
Nope, I won’t.

Ahmm..Moving on.

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GMT: Chicken do-piaza with a Twist!

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Indonesian Ginger Chicken

It’s India’s Independence Day and though I would have liked to post something Indian today, its also the reveal date for the Secret Recipe Club. And true to the Indian personality, I’ll give more importance to another country than ours. And I don’t mean it in a mocking way. I think that’s something about Indians, a testimony seen in their past: they have always welcomed foreigners, their ideas and their culture with open hearts, absorbing it in with our own. This has resulted in a great influence in every aspect of the Indian life- most predominantly our food. And that’s what makes India so unique.

As one of my friends PB (from the garlic noodles fame) put on as her FB status:

“Can’t imagine what would my life be without jalebi & doodh, butter chicken & garlic naan, being stuck in traffic for hours, cribbing about the infrastructure in this city, alloo tikki in chandini chawk, my 3 am friends spread around this country, my fav city delhi, over the top expression of love among family…list is endless!!would I wish were born elsewhere??…nah…can’t help but feel partiotic!! Independence day is around the corner:)”

I remember when we were in school, 15th August was marked by flag hoisting, patriotic plays and songs being performed by us school children, a thought provoking speech given by the chief guest and then distribution of sweets to all the students and an overall feeling of being a proud Indian citizen!

This day also makes me even more proud of being born and brought up in a defence environment- dad’s an air force fighter pilot, brother a Naval fighter pilot, father-in-law a retired air force officer, grandfather a retired police officer and several others of my family in the defence. I am the kind of person who appreciates the efforts of all these individuals and others who serve the country every day of the year, but on Independence Day seeing others appreciate the sacrifices of such individuals, makes me even more proud of my family and privileged to be part of them. Jai Hind!

Anyway, coming to the secret recipe club (the brain child of Amanda).

This month’s assigned blog was Bizzy Bakes. Chaya’s emphasis here is on what she calls QED – Quick, Easy and Delicious recipes. In her words,

I find cooking and baking to be comforting and I truly enjoy all aspects of the culinary arts including the clean-up.

Chaya also has another blog: My Sweet and Savory that focuses on Chaya’s growth as a cook, and includes a variety of recipes and techniques.

Chaya also features Ina’s Garden a popular biweekly linky, on her blog Bizzy B. Ina’s Garden is a place for “all things Ina”. And being a fellow Ina Garten fan, I had to pick up a recipe from Chaya’s Ina’s garden post. And I found just the recipe, Indonesian Ginger chicken.

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Butter Chicken

I actually look forward to calling people home. Not only does it feel nice to have a a house full of friends and laughter, but it forces me to to clean my house- and no, I am not talking about the “it-would-do” kind of cleaning but the “your-mom-will-give-a-pat-on-your-back” kind of cleaning.

Now, when you call people home or host a party of any sorts, you do expect certain hiccups. You expect it would be too hot to cook. You also expect that you would be out the previous day of the party and get a heat stroke and get a mild migraine because of that. You also expect that the party would fall on that day of the month when women get their stomach cramps and the likes. So you are cooking with a slight migraine, stomach cramps in a hot kitchen. Well, you expect all that and don’t think any of it would cause a big problem. And then you hear a shatter- more specifically you hear glass shattering and that too on your kitchen floor. Ohh..kay… – its a setback but one can get past it- its just a bottle, you can clean that. But then your realize- the bottle had oil. Not only is there glass on the floor but there is oil on the kitchen floor ( and of course you needed that oil for your party!) Now who could anticipate that! You wouldn’t, right! But, I do, thanks to my track record. I have butter fingers and I am very serious when I say that. Ask my friends. Things just slip from my hands and the more I am careful the more likely they are to slip! In fact the degree of the damage I do always depends on the cruciality of the whole situation.

But then when you have a husband like V whats there to worry. He knew I was upset plus he knew I was in all probability to slip on the oil or prick my finger on broken glass (the latter happened and the former almost did), so he opted to mop the floor when my cleaning with the newspaper trick did not work.

Well, thanks to my husband’s helping hands, I was able to get the house clean and ready for the party at home. We had our eclectic International friends for dinner and I made Indian. The menu consisted of butter chicken, dal makhani, mixed vegetable, raita and roti. For dessert, we had mango kulfi and these awesome gluten-free cupcakes that our friend had got for us. I have already posted the recipe for Dal Makhani previously on Garam Masala Tuesdays (GMT). Check it out here. I will be posting the recipe for Mango Kulfi next week. For today’s GMT, I will be talking about Butter chicken.

Originating from the period of the Mughal Empire, Murgh Makhani aka Butter chicken has survived through the ages and continues to grow in popularity due to it’s rich and flavorful gravy. It is said that the modern version of the Butter Chicken recipe was invented by a person working in the kitchen of the original Moti Mahal restaurant in Daryaganj, Delhi, during the 1960s to use up leftover Tandoori Chicken.

Butter chicken is a definite order at restaurants in India and has become quite famous abroad as well, though in a slightly modified version named Chicken Tikka Masala.

Well back in India, restaurants do not serve CTM, at least I have never seen it. I have never read it on any menu card in India, even though chicken tikka is always there under appetizers but no chicken tikka masala. Butter chicken, on the other hand, is a must in every North Indian restaurant.

CTM, primarily is a UK born dish.

Chicken Tikka Masala was apparently invented in Great Britain about the same time as the modern version of butter chicken. There is a popular story that some restaurant owner poured Campbell’s condensed tomato soup on top of Chicken Tikka because a customer demanded gravy. The topic, though, is controversial as some claim it to be originating from street food in India.

CTM became popular when it was declared as British National Dish by Robin Cook (nope, he is not the famous author of Coma, Brain and the likes, but was UK’s foreign secretary). Robin Cook’s Tikka Masala speech states CTM as “a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences.

For long I thought chicken tikka masala is what foreigners called butter chicken. But, after googling I found there are slight differences, though the concept is pretty much similar- grilled chicken in a tomato based curry. The slight differences arise in the preparation of the gravy, the kind of chicken used and the spices added.

Whereas, Butter chicken uses fresh tomatoes, CTM generally uses canned tomato puree. The gravy for butter chicken also is pretty heavy on the butter and cream, while CTM doesnt use butter at all (though I have seen recipes of CTM that do! confused? so am I!) and instead has onions. Another supposed difference lies in the kind of chicken used- one uses tandoori chicken and the other uses chicken tikka (nope, no points for guessing which uses which). Also, CTM always uses boneless chicken (since that’s what the recipe for chicken tikka calls for), whereas butter chicken is best prepared with chicken with bones, though one could use boneless pieces too. Someone also observed the use of thigh pieces or whole chicken in butter chicken, whereas CTM uses breasts pieces. Dried fenugreek leaves play a heavy role in the chicken marination for butter chicken, while they do not feature in the other, instead CTM uses cilantro/coriander in the marination.

I can not confirm the authenticity for these difference, since it is based on my observation of different recipes online and personally I feel that since both are modern recipes, originating in restaurants, the difference is primarily one of nomenclature- a difference that arose because people wanted to get attributed to the origin of the dish. For me, though, the authentic Indian dish will always be butter chicken and that is what we are making for GMT today.

Butter chicken is made by marinating chicken overnight in a yogurt, garlic, ginger paste, pepper, dried fenugreek leaves, cumin and red chilli powder mixture. The chicken is traditionally cooked in a tandoor (how I wish I had one at home), but can also be grilled, or broiled in the oven.

Makhani, the sauce, true to its name is cooked in butter (calories! but so worth it!) and pureed fresh tomatoes with various spices. Kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) which is also added to the dish, lends most to the characteristic flavor of the dish. Cashew paste can also be added, and will make the gravy thicker and richer (translate: yummier).

The recipe that I use is a mix of my mother’s and Nandu’s, our cook in India. My mom gives the recipe a nice smoky twist by cooking the gravy in charcoal smoke. It adds a lot of flavor to the gravy and is pretty easy to do!

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I have been enjoying Delhi food after a long time! Today, I went to Moet’s (a restaurant in Defence Colony, Delhi) and shared a chicken sizzler and roomali roti-kakori kebab combo with my mom-in-law. Kakori kebabs are these extra delicate lamb kebabs that are generally marinated with raw papaya and wrapped around skewers and grilled. Their name comes from a village by the same name near Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh (a state in northern India). The Nawab (ruler) of Kakori village developed these kebabs to address the complaints of the British (who were ruling India at that time) that the meat was very tough. Well, besides railways and introducing us to the English language, I think this is another thing I am grateful to the British for! Thanks to them and their complaints, we get to eat melt in your mouth delicious kebabs!

On Sunday, I went to this Italian restaurant, Tonino’s that is on Mehrauli-Gurgaon road, and had amazing chicken chops with al dente spaghetti. My mom-in-law ordered a grilled fish which was very nicely cooked and flavored. For dessert we had a chocolate lasagna (I know!)- layered chocolate cake with hot chocolate sauce spread in between each layer and served with vanilla ice cream. Not only was the food good, so was the ambience. The restaurant is like a Tuscany styled villa with a verandah, outdoor seating, and trees all around. At night they put candles everywhere and make it a really romantic place to take your loved one! Alas, I went with my in-laws, which wasn’t bad either but the romantic setting could not be tested!

I remember when I was in Moscow for two years and visited Delhi on a month’s break I had made a list of places/things I wanted to visit/eat. On the list were Khan chacha’s rolls (at Khan market), Nizam’s rolls (at Connought Place), Choor choor naan that you get outside LSR (my under-grad college) and chicken momos either from Sarojini/Dilli Haat, and the oily, greasy chowmein that is popularly known as Indian-chinese! I have already ticked off IIFT dhaba’s paranthas and The Big Chill. The list would be incomplete without mentioning Dal makhani, butter chicken and butter naan.  (Well, butter chicken can also be ticked off since I had it at Saket the other day with my friends) And I also would like to have gol gappas and a better version of aloo-tikki chaat (I had the latter at a wedding but wasn’t too impressed). Yes, I am on a mission!

Anyway, coming back to what I have been cooking. Well, practically nothing! I make tea regularly (if you would consider that cooking! and I know some of us actually do!) but besides the chicken biryani and what I cooked for the party at my parents place- I have not been cooking in India.

So, the other day when my mom-in-law got some chicken legs from Khan market, I thought of making some grilled chicken legs as an accompaniment to a glass of chilled beer. Instead of making plain tandoori chicken I thought of giving the chicken a coriander flavor. Now, I have been experimenting with my in-laws microwave and today gave their grill a try. It took longer than I expected to cook- but once cooked, the chicken was soft and delicious. We were out of lemon, but I’m sure some lemon juice on top would have made an excellent appetizer. And the glass of chilled beer- well it was the icing on the cake!

I had made these yesterday evening and could not take any pictures since the lighting in the house is all yellow and it was not flattering to the dish. I saved two pieces thinking I would make them as an afternoon snack but we were out the whole day. The moment we came back and since there was still some daylight I quickly went to bake/grill the kitchen. But by the time they were ready it was dark outside. Man, the trouble I go through to get a good click. So anyways, I was stuck with another yellow click. A little photoshop helped reduce the yellow but still doesn’t do justice to the dish! Well, when I make it the next time, hopefully I’ll get a good shot!

P.S: This post was written more than a week back, but due to no internet connection for the past few days and the fact that I had been travelling I have not been able to post it till today. Not that anybody cares, or do they???Hmmmm……

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I am an Indian by origin and though I have travelled quite a bit, India is where my heart is. The same goes for my husband, and that is clearly seen in his love for Indian food. Though I am more experimental in food, he is more conservative, with his choices mainly harbouring around Indian food. Pre-marriage, the only cooking I ever did was Italian and continental. So, post marriage I had no clue in the kitchen when it came to Indian food- who needs to enter a kitchen when mom and the oh so plenty restaurants in India served that purpose. Once married and moving to a place where calling the local dhaba for dal makhani and naan was no longer an option, I had to consider the option of cooking Indian. Thus, started the frantic calls to mom asking for recipes for the most basic Indian cuisine and insisting on the minutest details- coz really when it came to Indian I had absolutely no idea! Now 4 months down, Bambi has learnt to walk (translated: I have learnt to cook Indian)! I still can’t cook as good as my mom- she is an awesome cook but yes, I am not that bad either.

So yesterday, my husband, clearly showing more confidence in my culinary skills (woohoo!) asked me very sweetly to make Kadhai chicken. Personally, I haven’t been a big fan of kadhai chicken, always ordering butter chicken in a restaurant over it. But, since my DH has very few demands, I thought it was only fair to fulfill his wish. So I embarked on the search for the perfect recipe. I looked at a few sites, refrained from calling my mom (she needs to know I think of her not only when I need a recipe) and finally combined a few recipes set out at my first attempt at Kadhai Chicken.

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