Category Archives: Non vegetarian

Tandoori Chicken Burger

It’s that time of the year again when the sun’s shining bright and we welcome the season wholeheartedly with barbecues and backyard parties.

I love spring and summer! No matter how hot it gets, I love this season because it’s all about the outdoor life. The late sunsets and balmy evenings are perfect for outdoor parties. Our new home has a beautiful backyard and deck space so can’t wait to have friends over for some great food and conversations.

And when we speak of barbecues, burgers are a hot favourite especially if you have kids around. I like to make the burgers from scratch as there’s more control of the type and quality of meat and also the flavour and seasonings that go into it.

While I have experimented with pork, lamb and beef burger before, this is the first time with a chicken burger; a recipe I wanted to perfect as a lot of our friends do not eat other meats except chicken. And of course my love for spice blends came to the fore with this one too and hence a ‘Tandoori Chicken Burger’

Tandoori Chicken Burger - thespiceadventuress.com

Now the tandoori masala is a wet marinade which does not really work with a burger. So I made a dry spice blend incorporating many of the spices and herbs that traditionally go into making a tandoori masala. The dry spice blend was added to the chicken mince to flavour and season before being shaped into burger patties.

This dry tandoori blend is a really versatile one. Of course you can add it to yoghurt and make the tandoori marinade for grilling veggies, fish or meats. But I end up using this dry marinade as a seasoning agent for so many dishes including curries. And when it comes to this particular recipe, the flavoured mince can again be used to make meatballs, koftes etc….

Tandoori Chicken Burger - thespiceadventuress.com

Since I wanted to keep the flavours on the traditional side, the accompaniments were tomato chutney, mint coriander chutney, pickled onions along with sliced tomatoes and butter lettuce.

Note – Recipe for mint coriander chutney can be found here.

So let’s get grilling these delicious Tandoori Chicken Burgers….

Ingredients:

Tandoori Spice Blend:

(The excess can be stored in an airtight container; keeps fresh for 3 months)

  1. 2 tsp turmeric powder
  2. 4 tsp red chilli powder
  3. 2 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  4. 2 tsp coriander powder
  5. 2 tsp cumin powder
  6. 2 tsp chaat masala
  7. ½ tsp dried mango powder
  8. 1 tsp dried garlic granules (or use garlic powder)
  9. 1 tsp dried ginger

To prepare, mix all the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. No salt has been added to this spice blend unlike most commercial ones so keep that in mind while using it as a spice rub or marinade.

For the burger patties:

  1. 500gms chicken mince
  2. 1 ½ tbsp tandoori spice blend
  3. 2 tbsp fresh coriander; finely chopped
  4. Salt, to season
  5. Oil, for grilling
  6. 4 Brioche burger buns
  7. Tomato chutney
  8. Mint coriander chutney
  9. Pickled onions
  10. Butter lettuce
  11. ½ Lebanese cucumber; sliced
  12. 1 tomato; sliced

Method:

  1. In a glass bowl, add the chicken mince, tandoori blend, coriander and salt. Mix well to combine and allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  2. Shape into 4 large patties (you may shape into smaller sized patties based on your preference) and keep aside.
  3. Spray oil on a stove top grill (the burgers can be cooked on a barbecue too) and place on medium to high heat. When the grill is really hot, place the burger patties and hold down with the spatula for a few seconds. Repeat for all four.
  4. Flip over after 1-2 minutes and repeat till the burgers are done. Remove and keep aside.
  5. Cut the brioche buns in half and grill.
  6. To assemble, spread tomato chutney on one side and mint coriander chutney on the other side. Place the butter lettuce leaves and then place the burger on top, followed by the tomato slice, cucumber and pickled onions.

Tandoori Chicken Burger - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans

As I had mentioned on my FB page a few days ago, we were crazy busy the whole of last week shifting homes. Things are still a little crazy even now as we are yet to settle down in the new home, in the process of opening out the boxes, arranging, rearranging and all of that jazz.

While the packing part is stressful and not enjoyable at all, I really enjoy the unpacking phase in the new home. I love decorating and doing up my home interiors, so it’s like having a whole new palette to play with.

Since I knew that there is not much cooking that will be happening over the next couple of days, I decided to test and shoot some recipes beforehand (the first time I have actually planned out my work ahead of time). Usually it’s always spontaneous but this year, I have been really working on my time management skills which are great when you have a home based business.

One of the dishes that I had tested out was this delicious Lamb curry with Haricot beans.

Pairing lamb or goat curry with lentils, vegetables etc… are quite common in Indian cuisine. And a great example of that would be Dhansak, a much revered mutton preparation amongst the Parsi Zoroastrian community. A fusion dish that combines elements of Persian cuisine and Gujarati cuisine, Dhansak has come to symbolize the essence of Parsi cuisine.

Not an adaptation, but this lamb curry with haricot beans was definitely inspired by Dhansak; firstly for the lamb and pulses combination and secondly because of the use of Dhansak masala, a really flavourful aromatic spice blend that makes this lamb curry absolutely spectacular.

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans - thespiceadventuress.com

I have cooked with haricot beans before but always in a vegetarian dish like a stir fry with grated coconut or in combination with other vegetables like potatoes. This is the first time I paired it with lamb and it turned out to be such a great combination.

Haricot beans are also called by other names like Navy beans, Boston beans, pea beans etc… These are small, oval, white coloured beans that have a mild, smooth and creamy flavour when cooked. If you are not too fond of the bigger sized beans, this is a great replacement to make baked beans for breakfast, in stir fries, curries or salads. High in protein and gluten free, haricot beans are definitely a healthy addition to your pantry.

As I mentioned earlier, I used the dhansak masala as the spice blend to make this curry. It’s a really flavourful and aromatic blend that has become another valued addition to my spice collection. Have fun with it and do not restrict to using it in just this curry but as you would use garam masala or any other blend.

So let’s get into the recipe now; and if you do make this recipe, do tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I can see your creations too. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

Dhansak Masala:

  1. 100 g dry coriander seeds
  2. 50 g fenugreek seeds
  3. 50 g mustard seeds
  4. 50 g cumin seeds
  5. 50 g dried bay leaves
  6. 20 gms cardamom
  7. 20 gms cloves
  8. 1 large cinnamon bark

Method:

Dry roast the whole spices on a hot tawa/flat pan till aromatic (take care not to burn). Cool slightly and then blend into a powder. Store in an airtight container.

To make the curry:

Ingredients:

  1. 800gms lamb shank meat (boneless); cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 3-4 tbsp oil
  3. 2 large onions; finely chopped
  4. 1 tsp cumin seeds
  5. 3 medium garlic cloves; grated
  6. 1 inch ginger root; grated
  7. 2 large tomatoes; finely chopped
  8. ¾ ths cup haricot beans (washed and soaked overnight)
  9. 1 tsp Kashmiri chilli powder
  10. 1 tsp coriander powder
  11. 2 tbsp dhansak masala
  12. Salt, to season
  13. ½ cup milk
  14. Fresh coriander leaves; for garnish

Note – Any cut of lamb can be used but boneless is best for a recipe like this.

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a large deep bottom pot.
  2. Add the cumin seeds and allow to splutter and then add the garlic and ginger. Sauté till the rawness has disappeared and then add the onions.
  3. Sauté for 2-3 minutes till the onions have softened and lightly browned at the edges. Then add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are broken down and mushy.
  4. Add the chilli, coriander and dhansak masala; mix well to combine.
  5. Add the haricot beans and lamb pieces. Add 3 cups water, season with salt and mix well.
  6. Bring to boil and then lower heat; cook covered on low heat till the lamb is just about done.
  7. If you prefer more gravy, add more water or if you prefer thicker gravy, increase heat and reduce the gravy.
  8. Finally add milk, mix well and adjust seasoning.
  9. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves
  10. Serve warm.

Note – Adding the milk lends creaminess to the gravy, a much better alternative to adding cream or yoghurt. It is optional and can be skipped.

Lamb Curry with Haricot Beans - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini)

Pan grilled Lamb Cutlets with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini – this was the mains I served for my Christmas in July family dinner.

Potatoes with Smoked Salmon, Capers and Dill - thespiceadventuress.com

If you had already checked out the Potatoes with Smoked Salmon recipe that I posted last month, you would be aware that I had collaborated with ALDI Australia to create a Christmas in July feast. And as I mentioned in the previous post, there was no intention to share the recipes here as it was a social media/photography project. But with so many readers asking for the recipes, I thought of posting it here rather than sending screen shots as this is quite a lengthy one with so many different components.

The best thing about this dish is that each individual component is a dish within itself. The red pepper cashew puree can be paired with any sort of grilled meat, fish or vegetable. The charred broccolini with a hint of spice makes an excellent side and the couscous salad is so hearty and fulfilling that it can be a delicious salad or a light lunch at your next barbecue or summer party.

It’s important that you cook the lamb cutlets right as it’s very easy to overcook these and dry cutlets are not at all nice. Depending on the thickness, 1-2 minutes on each side and then rest for another 5 minutes to get the perfect cutlets. You can also sear for a minute on high heat and then finish off the cooking in the oven. Either way, it’s best medium rare for a juicy, delicious texture.

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini) - thespiceadventuress.com

The roasted red pepper cashew puree is an absolute must try. Believe me; you do need this recipe in your life because it’s so delicious and versatile. It’s a perfect accompaniment to any sort of grilled meat, seafood or veggies but it can also be a great dip. I have used it like a pesto before with pasta and grilled veggies; the result was brilliant.

So let me stop rambling and get on to the recipes as there are quite a few. And enjoy it as a wholesome dish as I served it or make components that you enjoy making the dish truly yours.

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini)

Lamb Cutlets

Ingredients:

  1. 10 lamb cutlets; frenched
  2. 4 tbsp olive oil
  3. ½ tsp freshly milled black pepper
  4. 1 tsp paprika
  5. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Prepare a marinade with the olive oil, salt, pepper and paprika. Place the lamb cutlets in a bowl, pour the marinade over and rub well to coat all the pieces. Keep for at least 30 minutes before cooking.
  2. Heat a pan till smoking hot (I like to use either a grill or a cast iron pan) and place the lamb cutlets (cook in batches). Cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, remove and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Cook all the cutlets in this manner.

Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree

(Adapted from thevintagemixer.com)

Ingredients:

  1. 4 red bell peppers/capsicum (whole)
  2. 3 medium garlic cloves
  3. ½ cup raw, unsalted cashewnuts
  4. Salt, to season
  5. 1 tsp chilli flakes
  6. Extra virgin olive oil
  7. Juice of ½ lemon

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (fan forced)
  2. Line a tray with baking paper and place the peppers inside. Drizzle lightly with olive oil and roast for about 40-45 minutes at 200°C (might vary according to oven) till the skin of the peppers have blackened.
  3. Remove and cover with a cloth for about 5 minutes; this makes it easier to peel off the skin.
  4. Once the peppers have lightly cooled, remove the skin, pith and seeds.
  5. Place in a food processor along with cashewnuts, garlic, chilli flakes, salt, lemon juice and 3 tbsp olive oil. Blitz well and add more olive oil as needed to get a smooth puree.

Note – If you want a really smooth puree, you can strain the sauce but I skipped the step.

Charred Broccolini

Ingredients:

  1. 2 broccolini bunches
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Chilli flakes
  4. 1 small garlic; finely sliced
  5. 1 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Slice each broccolini into 3 pieces (2 stalk pieces + 1 floret)
  2. Heat olive oil in a stove top grill (pan can also be used) and when really hot, add the broccolini stalks and garlic. Cook for a minute on high heat.
  3. Then add the florets, chilli flakes and season with salt.
  4. Toss on high heat for another 30 seconds to 1 minute.
  5. Serve warm

Couscous Salad

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup couscous
  2. 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  3. 1 Lebanese cucumber; finely chopped
  4. 1 medium red onion; finely chopped
  5. 1 tomato; finely chopped
  6. 1 red/yellow bell pepper; finely chopped
  7. ½ cup fresh parsley; finely chopped
  8. 5-6 olives; finely sliced
  9. 50gms feta
  10. Salt, to season
  11. 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  12. Juice of 1 lemon
  13. Freshly milled black pepper

Method:

  1. Cook the couscous as per packet instructions.
  2. To make the dressing, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a small capped container. Shake vigorously and keep aside.
  3. Once the couscous is cooked, use a fork to separate the grains. When cooled, add the remaining ingredients and toss well.
  4. Add the crumbled feta and dressing just before serving (or the salad will go soggy), mix again and serve immediately.

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini) - thespiceadventuress.com

Lamb Cutlets (with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Puree, Couscous Salad and Charred Broccolini) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Asian style Chicken Fried Rice

First of all, a big apology for putting up this post so late. Many of you have been asking the recipe for this Chicken fried rice for a while now and I have been chirping away the phrase, ‘it will soon be on the blog’ to all.

It’s just that too many things have been going on, both personally and professionally. Sitting down to write out the recipe has taken me the longest time. But today I was determined to get the post published so that all of you can try out this absolutely lipsmacking Chicken fried rice.

On the personal front, most of you would be aware of the Kerala flood situation and the trail of destruction and devastation it has left behind. While my own family was affected less, there have been members of the extended family and friends, many of whom had to be evacuated and put up in shelter homes and many others who have lost everything they have including homes, businesses, properties, agricultural land etc….

It’s a difficult time that everyone’s going through back home. Almost the whole of last week was spent in just trying to communicate with family and in many instances, it took us almost 4-5 days just to establish communication with our loved ones. Work was the last thing on my mind so except for some client projects, I hardly updated the blog.

Getting back to today’s dish, this Chicken fried rice is one of the best I have ever made. It’s totally different to the Indo Chinese style or the typical Chinese style that I often make at home. Adapted from a Marion Grasby recipe, this is more of a modern Thai style chicken fried rice.

It’s quite simple to put together but the flavours are incredible and I loved the fact that turmeric is a key ingredient which adds so much depth and flavour to the rice. Another key ingredient is belachan or shrimp paste, adds that umami hit which really comes through in the final dish.

I usually have a menu plan ready by the end of each week for the following one, so whenever there’s fried rice on the menu, I try and prepare the rice a day ago as the texture of one day old rice works best. But don’t fret about it if you can’t find the time; just make sure you prepare the rice first, drain and spread out to cool before going ahead with the remaining dish.

This chicken fried rice is all about the toppings and condiments too. Fried eggs, fresh coriander, cucumbers, fried shallots, sambal oelek all create this wonderful texture and layers of flavour to the final dish. Requires no other side dish to go along, but you can indulge yourself by adding a stir fry to accompany.

So let’s get cooking this Thai inspired chicken fried rice; and if you make it do tag me #thespiceadventuress in your social media posts so that I can see it too. Or leave a comment below; I love hearing from all of you.

Asian style Chicken Fried Rice - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 5 cups cooked medium grained rice
  2. 4 eggs
  3. Vegetable oil; (for frying the eggs and making the rice)
  4. 500 gms chicken thigh (skinless & boneless); thinly sliced
  5. 1 large brown onion; finely sliced
  6. 3 garlic cloves; finely chopped
  7. 1 long red chilli; finely sliced
  8. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  9. 1 ½ tsp shrimp paste
  10. 3 baby bok choy; slice the light green part and tear the leaves coarsely
  11. 3 tbsp soy sauce
  12. 2 tsp kecap manis (sweet soy)
  13. Salt, to season
  14. Fried shallots
  15. 4-5 sprigs fresh coriander leaves
  16. Sambal oelek, to serve
  17. Lebanese cucumber; to serve

Method:

  1. Heat 1/3 cup vegetable oil in a large wok till smoking hot. Add the chicken pieces and season lightly with salt. Cook till the chicken is just about done; remove and keep aside.
  2. In the same wok (add more oil only if necessary), add the onions, garlic, chillies and sauté on medium heat till the onions are softened.
  3. Lower heat and add the shrimp paste and turmeric. Break down the shrimp paste using the back of the ladle and mix well to combine. Cook for about 1 minute till it gets aromatic.
  4. Next add the cooked chicken pieces along with the light green stalks of the bok choy; toss and stir fry for 30 seconds.
  5. Add the cooked rice, soy sauce and kecap manis. Toss well to combine and finally add the bok choy leaves. Mix well and stir fry for about a minute.
  6. Once the rice is done, fry the eggs to your individual preferences.
  7. To serve, place the fried rice in a bow and top with fried egg, cucumbers, coriander, sambal oelek, shallots and kecap manis.
  8. Tuck in!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes)

I am not much of a gadget freak especially when it comes to my kitchen.

Now it’s true that I have a few extra equipments due to the nature of my work (many of which were sent to me for professional reasons) but I am pretty old school and prefer to use only a few basic ones. And instead of buying the latest appliances, I would rather invest in high quality knives and cookware that are better for my family’s long term health and also for the environment.

But having said that, there was one appliance that I have wanted to buy for a long time now; a modern pressure cooker.

If you are from India, you would understand how integral a pressure cooker is to our cooking. I cannot imagine a day without using the PC in some form or the other. After moving to Australia, I became less dependent on the PC as I started experimenting with slow cooking, baking, roasting etc… but the pressure cooker held a very special place in my kitchen.

Once the blog started, many of the pressure cooker recipes would make it here. And one of the constant questions I would get from my non Indian audience is about the Indian pressure cooker and how they can adapt those recipes to suit their modern versions. The Indian PC is an alien appliance to all of them and they find it quite intriguing and exciting.

That’s when I became aware of the fact that what the rest of the world calls PC is quite different in appearance and performance to the Indian version though the basic technology is same. I started researching more about the modern version especially when my Indian one began to give problems and there was no way I could get it repaired here. I don’t travel to India often so the first time, I had to ask my parents to courier a spare part (the courier charges turned out triple the cost of the original part).

And while all this research was going on, I got the biggest surprise when I was sent the Philips Deluxe All-in-One-Cooker for a collaboration. My wish was granted triple fold, because this premium appliance can pressure cook, slow cook, bake, sauté…basically multi cook including making yoghurt!

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

What I love most about this appliance is that it is a multi cooker which means I can use a lot of functions, some of them for the same dish itself. For eg: I can sauté and then pressure cook or sauté and slow cook or do all three if necessary. There is an add ingredient option which means mid way pressure cooking, I can open and add ingredients which is absolutely fantastic. There are pre programmed options for lentils, poultry, rice, beef/lamb etc… which means I don’t need to worry about undercooking or overcooking the dish.

One of my favourite curries to make using the pressure cooker is this simple Chicken drumlette curry with potatoes. It’s a super simple mid week curry that needs very little time especially since drumlettes are used. Just basic spices and aromatics, this is a rustic curry that can be paired with any kind of bread or rice. Any sort of curry tastes better when meat on the bone is used. And drumlettes are super affordable, easy to eat and tastes absolutely delicious when cooked in a curry sauce like this.

Note – This chicken drumlette curry can also be made in a traditional PC or slow cooked on the stovetop.

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 600gms chicken drumlettes (skinless)
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 1 inch cinnamon bark
  4. 3 cloves
  5. 3 green cardamom
  6. ½ tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 red onion; finely chopped
  8. 2 sprigs curry leaves
  9. Masala paste
  • 1 medium red onion; cubed
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes; cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 3-4 fresh coriander leaves (stalks and root included if available)
  1. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  2. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  3. 2 tsp coriander powder
  4. ½ tsp garam masala
  5. Salt, to season
  6. 2 potatoes; cubed
  7. Coriander leaves; for garnish

Method:

  1. Select the Sauté/Sear function for 12 minutes (lid open); add oil and the whole spices (cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and cumin seeds)
  2. As the spices begin to sizzle, add the curry leaves followed by the onions; mix well and sauté for 5 minutes till the onions turn light brown.
  3. Then add the ground masala; mix well and continue to cook for another 3 minutes. There will be some amount of spluttering so stir continuously.
  4. Mix the spice powders (turmeric, red chilli, coriander and garam masala) in 2-3 tbsp water and add this to the masala. Mix well to combine and cook for one minute.
  5. Add the chicken pieces and season with salt. Also add 2 cups water and mix well to combine.
  6. Select the Pressure cooker (poultry) function and close the lid. Set the timing for 15 minutes, pressure at 40.
  7. After 5 minutes, select the add ingredient function. Open the lid once pressure has dropped and add the potatoes. Mix well and add more water if you desire more gravy.
  8. Close lid and continue pressure cooking process for the remaining 10 minutes.
  9. Once cooking is complete, open lid and garnish with coriander leaves.

Note:

Traditional PC – The steps remain same but cooking times will change. More water is release when cooking chicken in a traditional PC, so add only 1 cup water.

Stove top – Follow the same steps. After adding the chicken pieces and water to cook in Step 5, bring to boil and then simmer on low heat till the chicken is half done. Then add the potato pieces and cook covered till both the chicken and potatoes are cooked through and tender.

Chicken Drumlette Curry (with potatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively

2018 has been such an exciting year for me on the work front. So many interesting opportunities and collaborations have come my way this year, most of which has pushed me clearly beyond my comfort zone but enabled me to take my food dreams one step further.

And one such exciting opportunity has been this collaboration with Feastively.

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

Feastively specializes in fresh meal boxes that are designed to help you cook a delicious dinner in three easy steps and just 15 minutes. Based on the meal plan and dishes that you choose on a weekly basis, all the prep work is done, packaged and delivered to your home.

Earlier this year, the company got in touch with me to find out if I would be interested in transforming some of my signature recipes from the blog into a fresh meal box format. I was surprised but couldn’t be more excited. This was almost like cooking personally for all of you (nothing could give me greater joy)!

Since I had tried out Feastively meal boxes last year, I was already aware of the quality of their meals. And I was quite impressed with the taste of many of their dishes. But making the decision was still hard because I wanted to be sure that my recipes delivered the same flavour as how I would cook at home, when it gets transformed into a fresh meal box.

But Feastively provided me with the kind of support to enable this and make the project a reality. A lot of testing and tweaking has taken place behind the scenes on their end as well as mine to ensure that each signature dish that is showcased has my stamp of approval and will deliver in terms of freshness, quality and flavour.

And finally the day has arrived; Indian Kheema Masala (Beef Mince with Potatoes, Peas and Rice) is now available through Feastively.

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

One of the most popular recipes on my blog, I am so glad this was the first dish that made it to the meal box. If you were to make this dish from scratch, it will easily take 45 minutes to an hour. But now with the Feastively fresh meal box, all that you need to do is three easy steps and dinner ready in 15 minutes.

The whole spice infused caramelized onion and aromatic base is what takes the longest to cook in an Indian dish like this which has already been prepared for you. All that you need to do is cook the potatoes, peas and beef mince, add it to the mildly spiced sauce followed by yoghurt to get a delicious beef mince masala in no time at all. Serve it with a side of steamed rice for a hearty, flavoursome dinner. A glass of red would just make it perfect.

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

It’s pretty simple to use Feastively. First, you opt for a meal plan based on the size of your family. And then add the recipes from the week’s list to your plan. The recipes are changed on a weekly basis so that there is something new to try and boredom doesn’t kick in from eating the same dishes. The dishes are also spread out across several different cuisines, all of which are Aussie family favourites.

The biggest advantage of using a fresh meal box service like Feastively is not just the amount of time you save but also the fact that it is way healthier than your local fast food or takeaway. There are no preservatives or additives, just fresh and seasonal ingredients prepped and put together for you to reduce cooking time.

While the Indian Kheema Masala is the first one to be launched, there are others being tested which will soon be introduced into the weekly menu. And if you have any dishes or recipes from the blog that you would like to see on Feastively, please do comment below and we will try our best to incorporate it.

So please do try it out and let me know your feedback; it would mean a lot to know what you think about the dish.

My Recipes as Fresh Meal Boxes – a Collaboration with Feastively; thespiceadventuress.com

 

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake

The almost ‘one tray’ bakes and roasts are fast becoming a favourite in our home.

While it’s warm, hearty and comforting during winter, it’s also very easy to put together. That’s why I have been trying a lot of these nowadays. Today’s dish is a sausage and potato bake but with Spanish flavours to add that extra oomph of flavour.

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake - thespiceadventuress.com

This is a very simple dish but a really flavourful one. So it’s important to get sausages that are of top notch quality. Don’t go for the generic supermarket ones, the kind you tend to buy for backyard barbecues. Instead go for the gourmet ones that are prepared from top quality mince and also seasoned well.

For this dish, I chose chorizo since it’s the best for a Spanish style bake.

Instead of a sauce, I went with a sautéed onion bell pepper mixture that was flavoured with paprika, garlic and turmeric as the accompaniment to the sausages and potatoes. Baking it all together in a pan not only makes it easy but increases the overall flavour of the dish.

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake - thespiceadventuress.com

This Spanish style sausage and potato bake can be had as a meal on its own but I added a side of saffron rice and paired it with a nice Tempranillo. Looks fancy but actually a really simple dish.

Ingredients:

  1. 6 chorizos
  2. 4-5 Kipfler potatoes; cut into wedges
  3. 2 red onion; finely sliced
  4. 2 red bell pepper; pith removed and finely sliced
  5. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
  6. 2 garlic cloves; finely sliced
  7. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  8. 2 ½ tsp smoked paprika
  9. 1 can diced tomatoes
  10. ½ cup kalamata olives
  11. Salt, to season
  12. 2 tbsp flat leaf parsley; finely chopped

Method:

  1. Pre heat the oven to 180°C
  2. Heat olive in a pan and add the onions. Sauté on high heat for 2 minutes and then add the garlic and bell peppers. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes or till the onions and peppers are softened.
  3. Add the turmeric powder and smoked paprika; mix well to combine.
  4. Then add the diced tomatoes and cook on medium heat for about 2 minutes. Season with salt and add the potatoes and sausages to the pan. Mix well to combine so that the sausages and potatoes are coated well with the onion pepper mixture.
  5. Transfer to a baking tray and arrange in such a way that the sausages and potatoes are on top for even cooking.
  6. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove to turn the sausages and continue to bake for another 20-25 minutes till the potatoes are roasted well.
  7. Remove and add the olives and parsley.
  8. Serve warm with saffron rice

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake - thespiceadventuress.com

Spanish style Sausage and Potato Bake - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

 

Mexican Hot Pot

It’s been one of those crazy weeks where nothing goes to plan. There’s no particular rhyme or reason but I couldn’t stick to a routine most of the days which makes me feel overwhelmed and uninspired. And its work that often gets affected and when I mean work, it’s often food, cooking and the associated bits and bobs.

I am not one of those people who say, ‘the kitchen is my happy place; when I am upset or stressed I go into my kitchen and cook to make me feel good again.’ Nope, that’s not me at all. I simply can’t cook or to be honest, detest getting into the kitchen when I am down. When I am feeling low, I can mess up even the most basic of dishes. Most people don’t believe me when I say it but that’s the real honest truth. I can burn water if I am not in the right frame of mind.

Today’s recipe was actually prepared last week. It was developed for a client but all of us loved it so much that I decided to post it here too. Especially since it fits the bill as a winter warmer dish.

The Mexican hot pot is one of those dishes that require a bit of prep but then the whole dish comes together in no time at all. It’s warm, comforting, hearty, delicious and perfect for sharing. And it makes the perfect weeknight meal or weekend indulgence.

Mexican Hot Pot - thespiceadventuress.com

This hot pot is all about the broth that has been infused with Mexican flavours. I used chicken as the protein, but it can easily be substituted with any other meat, fish or even vegetables of your choice. To maximize the flavour of the broth, the onions, tomatoes and bell peppers were roasted and then blitzed. Roasting helps to intensify and draw out flavours, a step that’s totally worth it.

Rice is optional, but I wanted this Mexican hot pot to be a complete meal so rice was part of the bowl. A totally customizable dish, it is best served as different components like the broth with chicken, rice, coriander, lime, avocado crema, tortilla strips, pickled onions, jalapenos etc…. Allow everyone to assemble their own bowls, building up the flavours to their preference.

And before we get onto the recipe, here are some of our all time Mexican favourites;

  1. Mexican Prawn Tacos with Mango Salsa
  2. Chicken Tinga Tacos with Roasted Poblano Salsa
  3. Byron Bay Guacamole
  4. Fish Tacos with Pickled Slaw

Ingredients:

For the hot pot:

  1. 1 large Spanish onion; diced
  2. 1 large red tomato; diced
  3. 2 fresh jalapeno; sliced
  4. 1 large red bell pepper; diced
  5. 2 garlic cloves; peel on
  6. 2 tbsp olive oil
  7. 400 ml crushed tomatoes
  8. 2 litre chicken stock
  9. Salt, to season
  10. 1 tsp smoked paprika
  11. ½ tsp cumin powder
  12. 1 tsp dried oregano
  13. 4 chicken thighs (boneless); finely sliced

Avocado Crema:

  1. 1 ripe avocado
  2. ½ cup plain yoghurt
  3. 1 small garlic clove; grated
  4. Juice of ½ lemon
  5. Salt, to season

Toppings: (adapt to individual preferences)

  1. Steamed white rice
  2. Pickled red onions
  3. Fresh jalapenos; finely sliced
  4. Fresh coriander leaves
  5. Lime wedges
  6. Lebanese cucumber; cut into long strips
  7. Fried tortilla strips (cut 1-2 tortillas lengthwise using a scissors and fry in oil till crisp)

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C.
  2. In a roasting/baking tray, add the diced onions, bell pepper, tomatoes, jalapeno and garlic. Drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and mix well to coat. Roast in the oven for 35-40 minutes till the veggies are lightly roasted and soft. Remove and cool lightly.
  3. Remove the peel of the garlic and add all the roasted veggies to a blender. Add the crushed tomatoes and blend well.
  4. In a large stock, add the blended mixture along with chicken stock. Then add the paprika, cumin and oregano. Taste and season with salt if necessary. Bring to boil and then simmer covered for 15 minutes.
  5. Add the chicken pieces and cook on high heat till the chicken is tender and cooked through. This should take only about 5 minutes as the chicken pieces are finely sliced.
  6. Meanwhile prepare all the toppings.
  7. To make the avocado crema, blend the avocado, yoghurt, garlic, salt and lemon juice till you get a smooth consistency. (Makes an excellent dip with nachos or any other crisps).
  8. To serve, lay out the chicken broth, toppings and avocado cream. Let each person assemble their bowl based on preferences.

Mexican Hot Pot - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Chicken Meatball Salad

Do you cook with your children?

Not the once in a while ‘school holiday’ cooking but do you involve your kids in your everyday cooking and food related activities?

From a very early age, I made sure that I got Adi interested in food and cooking. Initially it began with taking him to the market where I taught him to identify the different fruits and vegetables. I would encourage him to touch and feel the produce or ask him to pick out some for our shopping basket. In fact, Adi learnt the different colours and his initial 1, 2,3s…. at our local vegetable shop.

As he grew older and learnt to read and write, I made sure he was with me for most of our weekly grocery shopping trips. He learnt more about the different fruits and vegetables, also learning how to pick out fresh produce but at the same time, I encouraged him to pick out wobbly and misshapen ones that are still fresh indirectly teaching him about food wastage.

And now he is my favourite shopping partner. Not just with the veggies but he is also quite well versed at picking out most ingredients at the supermarket, choosing the deli meat every week for his lunch box etc…

I have also consciously involved Adi in household chores from cleaning, arranging his room and toys, helping me out in the kitchen etc… Initially he wouldn’t be interested but now he sees it as a responsibility and he understands that he needs to do his share too.

Now there are so many advantages to this but above all, I wanted him to develop two important life skills – learning to cook so that he is not dependent on anyone for his needs and also helping him understand that the kitchen, cooking, cleaning etc… is not just a woman’s job.

I wouldn’t claim to be a perfect mom (that phrase doesn’t exist!), but consciously incorporating certain rules or principles has made him a largely responsible and flexible child. It has been hard and there were plenty of times when I lost patience especially because I started very early on, when he was about 2 years of age. But I had the belief that it was the right path which will show results after a few years. And it did…

Adi is 9 years old now, a happy boy who enjoys food and not a fussy eater at all. He enjoys doing his chores, has a flexible disposition, responsible and accountable; all those years of gently steering him from behind seems to have had a positive effect so far.

I am not writing this to brag; every child is unique and has both strengths and weaknesses. Adi has his share too. But I write this for the many young parents who struggle either due to lack of knowledge or think that they have time to rectify certain things when the child is older. And food always seems to be an issue, especially getting the child to make healthy food choices as he grows up.

You have to start really young with children that it almost becomes a way of life for them because it’s so hard to change ways later. And we most definitely can’t raise our kids like our parents did because the needs of this generation are way different. Agree there are some traditional values that remain same but largely our lifestyles have changed which means our parenting must too.

Today, we are making one of Adi’s favourite salads – a Chicken Meatball Salad.

Chicken Meatball Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

As I already mentioned, it’s easy to get him to eat veggies and salads are a regular feature at our dinner table. But once in a while, we make this chicken meatball salad which doubles up as his school snack the next day.

Whenever we make this salad, Adi’s job is to help me roll out the meatballs and also preparing the dressing (he loves the shake shake part) and finally tossing it all up.

The meatballs are simple and are great as a snack. So I always double up the quantities and freeze some to have as an after school snack later in the week. And with meatballs, you can do so much….add it to pastas, a curry base or sandwiches.

The salad is a beautiful medley of our favourite veggies and herbs. Use what’s in your refrigerator or the combinations that your children like to eat.

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  1. 500gms chicken mince
  2. 1 slice white bread (soaked in ¼ cup milk)
  3. 2 sprigs rosemary
  4. 1 tbsp fresh parsley; finely chopped
  5. 1 tsp sweet paprika
  6. 1 tsp lemon zest
  7. Salt, to season
  8. Black pepper, to season
  9. Vegetable oil; for shallow frying the meatballs

For the salad:

  1. Salad greens
  2. ½ punnet cherry tomatoes; halved
  3. 1 Lebanese cucumber; diced
  4. 1 yellow bell pepper; diced
  5. A handful of olives
  6. 3 bread slices; to make croutons
  7. 1/2 cup Extra virgin olive oil; for dressing
  8. Regular olive oil; for shallow frying the meatballs
  9. Lemon juice
  10. Salt, to season

Method:

  1. Squeeze out the excess milk from the bread and tear into smaller pieces.
  2. Add this to a large bowl along with the chicken mince, rosemary, parsley, paprika, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Mix well to combine and shape the mixture into even sized meatballs. Keep aside and allow to rest while you assemble the ingredients for the salad.
  3. In a large salad bowl, assemble the salad leaves and veggies.
  4. To prepare the dressing, add the olive oil to a small jar with a tight lid. Add the juice of ½ lemon and a pinch of salt. Shake vigorously to get an emulsion; taste and add more lemon juice if necessary.
  5. Heat olive oil in a large pan and shallow fry the meatballs in batches.
  6. Add the meatballs to the salad; pour the dressing and toss together to combine.
  7. Serve immediately.

Chicken Meatball Salad - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Chicken Wonton Soup

Anthony Bourdain is no more.

Never in my wildest imagination did I think that this is the way I would pay tribute to him on my blog. I have always wanted to write about Bourdain, his books, travels, shows and the stories of food cultures that he bought into our lives. But somehow I never put those thoughts to paper and now this….

It’s been an incredibly hard one to digest.

I have never been so profoundly distressed about someone’s death, especially someone who has not been a part of my personal or real life. He was not family or a friend, just a celebrity I watched on TV, so I couldn’t even fathom why I experienced that numbing ache, that overwhelming sense of sadness that sits heavy in my chest everytime I think of it.

But the truth is that he was one of those rare souls who had touched my life (and I realise so many others too) at a much deeper level.

Yes, Bourdain was all about the food, travel and culture. At least that’s how I identified with his books and shows initially. All the more, because I have always been an advocate for food…without borders, a belief or philosophy on which my blog has been founded too.

But as I got to read and watch him more, I realised that I connect with him so deeply because of our inherent restless, angry souls. His journey has been so different to mine yet somewhere I felt a sense of ‘this guy gets what I feel’ most of the time.

A restlessness to explore the world through food…..he did it through his travels; I do it through this blog. And sometimes that passion can be a burden too, because you are often misunderstood. I remember reading somewhere that most of his friends couldn’t get his relentless need to talk about food and cultures which made conversations difficult at times. And that’s a feeling I totally relate to; people around who simply can’t get my passion or think I am not doing anything worthwhile with my life.

There’s been much discussion about mental health, depression etc…. in the online world after his death but I am not going to talk about it. Not because I don’t think it’s important; because today I want to remember him again only for his love for travel and respect for food and cultures.

And I know these few lines can never completely convey the respect I have for Bourdain’s work….

Let’s get back to today’s recipe.

Dumplings, dimsims, wontons…we are just crazy about these at home. Steamed, pan fried, deep fried, we love it in all forms. But one of my personal favourites especially during winter is the wonton soup.

Chicken Wonton Soup - thespiceadventuress.com

I order it a lot while eating out at Asian restaurants but this time, I wanted to make it at home. I am not a pro when it comes to shaping wontons so I just followed this video which was really informative.

Not a complicated recipe at all but a tad bit time consuming making the wontons. But it was totally worth it as I made enough to freeze for another comforting weeknight dinner.

Chicken Wonton Soup - thespiceadventuress.com

The broth is light and simple but really flavourful and the only way to get that is to use a really good quality stock, store bought or homemade. I added the long red chillies (less heat), plenty of garlic and ginger along with soy and sesame oil to get a well balanced and moreish broth. I could just drink this broth all day long…..

This chicken wonton soup is like a hug in a bowl. It only takes minutes to prepare the broth and the wontons are boiled in the broth itself. I also added some bok choy at the end to finish off. You can add mushrooms, radish or any vegetables/greens of your choice. I wanted it to be all about the wontons, hence kept it simple.

Chicken Wonton Soup - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe adapted from Fix Feast Flair

Ingredients:

For the wontons:

(Makes 50 wontons; makes extra which is suitable for freezing)

  1. 50 Wonton wrappers
  2. 500 gms chicken mince
  3. 2 spring onions (only bulb); finely chopped
  4. 2 large garlic cloves; grated
  5. 1 ½ tbsp hoisin sauce
  6. ½ tbsp oyster sauce
  7. 1 tbsp sriracha
  8. ½ tsp black pepper powder
  9. Salt, to season

For the broth:

  1. 1 litre chicken stock
  2. 1 large red chilli (less heat variety)
  3. 5 -6 ginger slices
  4. 2 garlic cloves; finely sliced
  5. 2 tbsp soy sauce
  6. ½ tsp sesame oil
  7. ½ tbsp rice wine vinegar
  8. 1 bunch bok choy (ends trimmed and leaves separated)

Method:

To make the wontons:

  1. In a mixing bowl, add the chicken mince, onions, garlic, hoisin, oyster, sriracha, pepper and salt. Mix well to combine and keep aside for 15 minutes.
  2. For making the wontons, check out this video. I made the tortellini shaped ones since it was the easiest and most preferred one for me. To create this, place about 1 ½ tsp chicken mixture in the centre of a wonton wrapper. Wet the tip of your finger in a small bowl of water and run along the edges of one half of the wrapper. Fold the wet edges over to the dry edges to get a triangle shape and press to seal. Next tuck in the two edges towards each other to get the tortellini shape.
  3. Prepare all the wontons and keep stored in an airtight container. The wontons can dry out fast so place in the container as you make each one.
  4. To make the soup broth, add the stock to a large pan. Next add the chillies, sliced ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and rice wine vinegar. Taste and adjust seasonings as necessary. Bring to boil and add the required number of wontons. Cook for 4 minutes; then add the bok choy and cook for one more minute.
  5. Serve immediately.

Note – The broth is best made fresh, but if you intend to store it, then remove the ginger slices before doing so or it could turn slightly bitter on sitting.

Chicken Wonton Soup - thespiceadventuress.com

 

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