Methi and spinach chicken

One of my favourite recipes from my food bible (Prashad by Inderjit Singh Kalra) is methi (fenugreek) chicken.  I made some a few days ago and added spinach to the recipe which works a treat.  As with every recipe in this book the outcome never seems to fail and the final product is worthy of any top class restaurant.  We had the chicken with brown rice string hoppers but it is a great dish to serve with your favourite Indian bread or rice pilau.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 kg chicken – we used skinless, boneless thighs
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 300 gm chopped onions
  • 3 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 5 tbsp ginger (3 tbsp chopped and 2 tbsp julienned)
  • 6 green chillies chopped (de-seed if you want to reduce spiciness)
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 250 gm chopped tomatoes
  • 150 gm baby spinach
  • 150 gm fresh fenugreek (if using dried fenugreek leaves – sprinkle 2 tbsp towards end of cooking process)
  • 1/4 cup fresh coriander chopped
  • Whole garam masala
    • 5 green cardamom
    • 1 black cardamom
    • 5 cloves
    • 1 stick of cinnamon
    • 1 bay leaf
    • A pinch of mace
  • 1/2 cup of ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Whisk yogurt in a bowl and add chicken, salt, chopped spinach and fenugreek leaves.  Leave this marinade aside for 30 minutes.  Heat ghee in a oven proof pan, add whole garam masala and saute over medium heat until it begins to crackle.  Add onions and saute until golden brown.  Then add chopped garlic, ginger and green chillies, stir for 2 minutes.   Dissolve the turmeric, chilli and coriander powder in 60 ml of water and add to the pan – stir for 30 seconds.   Add the tomatoes and cook(stir often)  till fat leaves the masala, add the marinated chicken along with marinade and about 1 cup of water.   Bring to a boil, cover and simmer until chicken is almost cooked and the fat leaves the masala once again.  Adjust the seasoning.  Sprinkle the ginger and coriander (and dried fenugreek leaves, ‘kasoori methi’ at this point if not using fresh leaves).  Cover with lid.   Mix some wheat flour and water to make a dough and seal the lid with the dough before placing in a 200 degree pre heated oven for 15 minutes.   Remove the seal, stir and serve hot with your favourite Indian bread or rice.

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Dinner party – Sahni family

A good friend once quoted “the best discovery true friends can make is that they can grow separately without growing apart” (you know that feeling when you meet someone after a very long time it and you pick up from where you left off).  This quote has stuck with me for the last 15 odd years and as I meet up with friends from yesteryear the more profound this quote seems.  On Friday night we had the Sahni family over for dinner.  I knew Pawan and Sumatee from my days in Bahrain – they were a second family to me after my sister and brother-in-law moved to Dubai.  When I left Bahrain in 2001 their 2 kids Niharika and Akhil were only 6 years and a year and a half.

Friday night was an opportunity for them to meet my family for the first time as we got reacquainted after 12 odd years.   Niharika and Akhil were a lot older but Pawan and Sumatee hadn’t changed much (time has been a lot kinder to them!! ).  Anna and I thoroughly enjoyed prepping for the dinner and below are a few of the recipes from our dinner party.

Appetisers

  • Falafel & sweet potato balls with sweet chilli sauce (store bought from COSTCO)

Main Course

  • Kadai chicken (recipe from “Prashad” by Jiggs Kalra)
  • Meat belli ram (“”)
  • Dahl makhani (“”)
  • Minted roast potatoes
  • Kachumber salad
  • Jeera pilau
  • Chappathis

Dessert

  • Homemade lactose free strawberry ice cream

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Kadai Chicken

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 kg boneless chicken thighs cut into three pieces
  • 3 ½ tsp garlic paste
  • 1 kg tomatoes chopped
  • 4 green chillies deseeded and chopped
  • 40 gms ginger chopped
  • Small bunch of coriander chopped
  • 5 tsp coriander seeds
  • 8 whole red chillies (dry variety)
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp dried fenugreek (kasoori methi)
  • 7 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Dry grind the coriander seeds and red chillies to a powder and keep aside.  Heat ghee in a pan, add garlic paste and sauté over medium heat until light brown.  Add the dry spices, stir for 30 seconds, add tomatoes, bring to a boil, add green chillies, ¾ of the ginger and a third of the chopped coriander, reduce the heat and simmer for 4-5 minutes.  Then add chicken, bring to a boil, simmer, stirring occasionally until the fat leaves the masala, the gravy becomes thick and the chicken is tender.  Sprinkle garam masala and fenugreek leaves and stir for a couple of minutes.  Adjust the seasoning.  Garnish with remaining ginger and chopped coriander and serve with Indian bread of your choice.

Meat Belli Ram

What do I need to make it?

  • 1.2 kg spring lamb (I used boneless leg of mutton) cubed
  • 600 gms yoghurt whisked
  • 500 gms onions sliced
  • 7 tbsp ginger chopped
  • 5 tbsp garlic chopped
  • 10 green cardamoms
  • 5 cloves
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder (use paprika or cayenne as alternatives)
  • 7 ½ tsp coriander seeds
  • 125 gm ghee (clarified butter)
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Firstly, mix all of the ingredients, except coriander seeds and ghee with yogurt and leave the lamb chunks in this marinade for at least 2 hours.

Heat ghee in a pan, add coriander seeds and sauté over medium heat until the begin to crackle.  Transfer the lamb, along with the marinade and bring to a boil while stirring constantly.  Then cover and simmer, stirring at regular intervals until meat is tender.  Uncover, increase to medium heat and cook until fat leaves the masala.  Adjust the seasoning.  Serve hot with Indian bread of your choice.

Dahl makhani

What do I need to make it?

  • 2/3 cup whole urad dahl
  • 3 tbsp red kidney beans
  • 3 ½ tsp ginger paste
  • 3 ½ tsp garlic paste
  • 120 ml tomato puree
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 120 gm unsalted butter
  • 120 ml single cream
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Wash and soak dahl and beans before pressure cooking (traditional recipe calls for cooking on open flame but I’ve found pressure cooking quicker with little compromise on taste). Once cooked mash the dahl and add remaining ingredients (save 20 gms of butter and cream for later) with some water and cook over low heat for 40 minutes (stir occasionally to ensure the dahl doesn’t stick to the bottom).  Add the remaining butter and cream and cook for ten minutes.  Adjust the seasoning and then serve with either rice or Indian bread of your choice.

Mint roast potatoes

We came across an interesting variety of potatoes we had never seen before and bought it to make this dish.   It is quite seasonal like Jersey potatoes and very tasty.

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 kg anya potatoes (Jersey or new baby potatoes will work too)
  • Pinch of turmeric
  • 1 large onion sliced
  • Grind to a paste
    • 4 cloves of garlic
    • 3-4 green chillies
    • 4-5 Indian button onions
    • ½ inch piece of ginger
    • Small bunch of fresh coriander and mint leaves
    • Small ball of tamarind
    • 1 tsp cumin seeds
    • Pinch of asafoetida
    • 3 tbsp oil
    • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Par boil the potatoes with a pinch of turmeric powder and a dash of salt.  Heat oil in a large pan and add asafoetida and cumin seeds and sauté for 30 seconds.  Add the sliced onions and sauté for another 5 minutes before adding the paste ingredients.   Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes before adding the par boiled potatoes.  Continue to cook on a low heat till potatoes are cooked through and begin to roast a bit.  Serve hot.­

Kachumber salad

What do I need to make it?

  • 1 medium onion sliced
  • 1 carrot chopped
  • 1 tomato chopped
  • 1 celery stick chopped
  • 1 small green pepper chopped
  • Half a cucumber chopped
  • 2 green chillies chopped
  • Juice and rind of a lime
  • Handful mint, coriander and basil leaves chopped
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How much will I make?

Serves 4

How do I make it?

Make sure all the vegetables are chopped in similar size pieces and mix in a bowl with chopped herbs, lime rind/juice and seasoning.   This salad works really well for Indian meals and barbecues with grilled meats.

Homemade strawberry ice cream

We recently bought an ice cream maker from Andrew James with a view to make our own at home and to experiment with flavour combinations.  For starters we have followed general guidelines that came with our ice cream maker and so far we have successfully produced two batches – both are lactose free (Anna made a wicked orange marmalade ice cream to inaugurate the ice cream maker).  We can now say that we have definitely been bitten by the “make your own bug” and plan to feature ice cream on the dessert menu for future dinner parties..  The original recipe for this ice cream recommended double cream and caster sugar (no tofu or soya cream).

What do I need to make it?

  • 450 gms strawberry
  • 2 ½ tbsp fruit sugar
  • 275 ml soya cream
  • 75 gm silken tofu
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large meringue nests

How much will I make?

Around 1 litre tub

How do I make it?

Puree the strawberries with the fruit sugar.  Blend half the puree with the vanilla extract, soya cream and tofu.  Break the meringue into mixture till it dissolves and then refrigerate till ready to use.  Once ice cream is done pour in the remaining strawberry puree and swirl into the mixture.  We served the ice cream on a bed of broken meringue and topped it with a summer berry compote and fresh strawberries (our rendition of Eton mess).

Garden fresh – fenugreek leaves with coconut and dhal (methi molagootal)

One of my best friends from school Simeen, who subsists on a largely non vegetarian diet has been hankering for South Indian vegetarian food these days and keeps pestering me for some of my vegetarian recipes.  She lives in Scotland and is an avid follower of our blog.  I have promised her that I would post lots of our family favourites so that she can cook them herself.  This one is for her. Though I have made this with fenugreek leaves from our garden, it can be substituted with any spinach.  fenugreek or methi as it is popularly known is widely available with most Asian green grocers in the UK.

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What do I need to make it?

  • 1 bunch of methi leaves stripped from the stems and washed
  • ¾ cup tuar dhal washed and pressure cooked till soft and mushy
  • A small pinch of ground turmeric
  • 1 cup freshly grated coconut
  • 1 tsp urad dhal
  • 2 to 3 dried red chillies (depends on personal tastes)
  • ½ tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • Few curry leaves
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

Enough to feed four

How do I make it?

Roast the urad dhal and the dried red chillies in a little bit of coconut oil till the urad dhal is golden brown.  Add this to the coconut and cumin seeds a little bit of water and grind to a fine paste.  Set this paste aside.  In a heavy bottomed vessel boil the methi leaves with water, salt and a pinch of ground turmeric.  When the leaves are cooked, add the cooked dhal and the coconut paste.  Mix well and let it come to a boil.  Simmer gently for about ten minutes and adjust seasoning.  Now for the tempering, in a skillet heat the remaining coconut oil and add the mustard seeds.  When the mustard begins to splutter, add the curry leaves and take it off the flame.  Add the tempering to the methi and dhal mixture.  Give it one final stir before taking off the flame.  Serve hot with rice.

Quince Chutney

We came across some lovely quince the other day while shopping in Hayes.  They looked like big golden pears and smelt delicious.  The fragrance was like a cross between the scent of an apple and pear.  We have never eaten quince before,   just heard of quince jelly served as an accompaniment to many meats.  An online search revealed that quince had to be cooked and could not be eaten raw as it would be too sour.  So I decided to make a spicy quince chutney (‘thokku’ in Tamil).

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What do I need to make it?

  • 2 cups finely grated quince
  • 2 tbsp unrefined sugar
  • 2 tbsp untoasted sesame oil (get them at Asian grocers)
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (roasted and powdered)
  • ¼ tsp asafoetida powder
  • 2 tsp dried curry leaves
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Salt to taste

How much will I make?

250 ml – just enough to fill a jam jar.  The chutney keeps well in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.

How do I make it?

Boil the grated quince with about 300 ml of water, salt and the sugar.   Let the quince cook so that the water reduces down completely.  Heat the oil in a pan and add mustard seeds.  When the mustard seeds splutter add the dried curry leaves and turn off the heat.  Add the turmeric powder and chilli powder at this stage (residual heat in the oil should be enough to cook the spices).  Add the boiled quince and mix well.  Add the roasted fenugreek powder and asafoetida to the mixture.  Check the seasoning before adding the apple cider vinegar.  Mix well,  cool the mixture before transferring into jar and refrigerating.

We are going to try Bramley apples next as an interesting alternative (seeing we tend to get apples all year!)