Category Archives: Non vegetarian

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous)

‘Busy’ would be too small a word to describe the frenzied state of activity in my life these days.

As many of you would be aware, my parents are here visiting us for a few months. It’s the last couple of weeks so most days seem like an extended holiday. Lots of short trips coupled with shopping expeditions mean I hardly get time to sit down for a blog post though my folders are overflowing with tons of delicious recipes.

So without much talking, I am gonna jump straight to the recipe today – Tandoori Chicken Thighs served with Grilled Veggies and Couscous.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

One of my absolute favourite things to do at the moment is introduce my parents to cuisines from different parts of the world. They are in awe at the kind of food that’s available in Melbourne, the beautiful produce and ingredients from around the globe.

I came up with this dish just to showcase how a simple Indian marinade can be used in a slightly contemporary way but still appealing to their Indian tastebuds.

Tandoori needs no introduction at all; it is a global favourite and has staunchly become the face of Indian cuisine in most countries apart from the curry ofcourse.

Even though most of us might not have a traditional tandoor at home, it’s quite easy to prepare it on a barbecue grill, oven or even on a stove top grill depending on the kind of protein or vegetable that is being cooked.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

I always make the tandoori marinade from scratch. Not a big fan of store bought masalas and moreover, the marinade is super easy to make. Many versions call for the addition of gram flour but I use only yoghurt which I feel imparts more flavour without that doughy taste to the coating.

For this dish, I have used the tandoori marinade for both the chicken thighs as well as the vegetables. While I cooked the thighs on a barbecue grill, I used a regular stove top grill for the veggies. Couscous pairs beautifully with a dish like this; it’s light and fluffy texture is a perfect accompaniment to the chicken and veggies. And a drizzle of the tangy mint coriander chutney completes the dish perfectly.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

(Recipe for the mint coriander chutney can be found here.)

Recipe:

Tandoori marinade:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup thick curd
  • ¼ tsp turmeric powder
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to heat preferences)
  • 1 tsp Kashmiri red chilli powder
  • ½ tsp coriander powder
  • ¼ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp cumin/jeera powder
  • ¼ tsp black salt/kala namak
  • ½ tsp chaat masala
  • ¼ tsp dry ginger powder
  • Salt, to season
  • 2 garlic cloves; grated
  • 1 inch ginger; grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped

Method:

In a bowl, add all the ingredients and whisk well to get a smooth consistency.

For the chicken:

Ingredients:

  1. 5 chicken Maryland/thighs; score lengthwise
  2. 1 cup tandoori marinade
  3. Salt; to season
  4. Vegetable oil, for barbecue

Method:

  • In a bowl, add the required tandoori marinade to the chicken thighs. Season with salt (remember the marinade has salt) and rub the marinade well into the chicken. Keep refrigerated for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight.
  • Bring to room temperature before grilling.
  • Fire up the barbecue and grill the chicken pieces till done.

Grilled vegetables:

Ingredients:

  1. 1 red onion; cut into cubes
  2. 1 red bell pepper; cut into cubes
  3. 1 medium zucchini; cut into cubes
  4. 1 punnet baby corn
  5. 1 small broccoli; florets separated
  6. 1 small fennel bulb; cut into cubes
  7. ½ cup tandoori marinade
  8. Salt, to season
  9. Vegetable oil; for grilling

Method:

  • Place all the vegetables in a bowl, add the marinade and season with salt if necessary. Mix well and keep for at least 1-2 hours.
  • Heat a stove grill to high, brush with oil and grill the veggies in batches. Remember to grill on high to get the char but still keep the crunchy texture.

Couscous:

  1. 2 ½ cups couscous
  2. 2 ½ cups water
  3. Salt; to season

Method:

Add 2 ½ cups boiling water to 2 ½ cups couscous (1:1 ratio), season with salt, cover and keep aside. After 10 minutes, use a fork to lightly fluff up the couscous.

Note – Do check packet instructions as the ratio of water to couscous can sometimes vary.

For garnish:

  • Lemon wedges
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves; finely chopped

To assemble:

  • Place the couscous in the middle of a large platter and arrange the grilled veggies around it. Garnish with half of the coriander leaves
  • Place the chicken thighs on another platter, garnish with coriander leaves. Serve with lemon wedges and mint coriander chutney.

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

Tandoori Chicken Thighs (with Grilled Vegetables and Couscous) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

 

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Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign)

Curry for change!

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Great Australian Curry – an annual fundraising campaign by Opportunity International Australia is back and this is my second year of pledging support for the cause.

(You can view details of the previous campaigns here and here.)

Opportunity International Australia works through a unique system of microfinance, community development, training, local presence, technology and rural outreach programmes in developing countries including India. And the ‘Great Australian Curry’ campaign is a great way by which food lovers like us can contribute in a meaningful manner towards poverty and diminishing its impact.

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This year’s campaign was officially launched last month with a spicy cook-off between Stephanie Rice (Triple Olympic gold medallist) and Courtney Ferdinands (Finalist, My Kitchen Rules) on one team and Michael Kasprowicz (former Australian Test Cricketer) and Valerie Ferdinands (Finalist, My Kitchen Rules) on the other team.

It’s a great cause and with curry being a favourite at most Australian homes, it’s so easy to organize a small fundraiser in your home or office. Invite a couple of your friends home for a dinner (plenty of delicious curry recipes on the blog to help you with the cooking) and organize a small fundraiser of your own. Or perhaps arrange a curry potluck in your office where you can pitch in with your colleagues to raise a target amount. Remember that even the smallest amount can go a long way in being a helping hand to those in need.

Robert Dunn, the Opportunity Chief Executive Officer, said that last year the campaign was able to raise $108,000 which was used to help out 1500 families start small businesses and provide a livelihood. ‘We hope to help even more families this year through the generosity of Australians.’

And if cooking is not your thing, you can still make a donation and show support.

For more information about the campaign; visit the fundraising website, Great Australian Curry.

There are also many exciting prizes up for grabs this year to encourage you to start a campaign.

“The first 20 people to set up a fundraiser on Opportunity’s website will receive Rick Stein’s mouth-watering cookbook, ‘India’. The book features a wealth of simple curry recipes that’ll come in handy for your Great Australian Curry events. The colourful cookbook features the best recipes from Rick Stein’s Indian odyssey in search of the perfect curry.

There is also a writing competition and the prize is a signed copy of renowned Sydney Quay chef Peter Gilmore’s cookbook ‘Organum’. Peter’s book delves into the four essential ingredients for the perfect dish “nature, texture, intensity and purity. Just tell us in 25 words or less why taking part in the Great Australian Curry is important to you. Details of this competition are on the Great Australian Curry website.

And while you can find lots of delicious curry inspiration on my blog, here’s another one to get you started…Chettinad style Duck Kurma.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Today’s recipe comes from the Chettinad region in South India, which is famous for its cuisine especially curries.

Kurma is a type of curry preparation that was bought to India by the Mughals. While it has evolved much over the years, the kurma is essentially a rich creamy curry and can be both vegetarian and non vegetarian.

However in the Chettinad region, the kurma is prepared slightly different as the cream gets replaced by coconut which is blended with poppy seeds, cashewnuts and other spices to form a rich and flavourful curry. Personally, it’s this kurma preparation that’s my favourite as I am not too fond of cream based curries.

I have veered away from the usual proteins, opting for duck instead of chicken or lamb as it’s a delicious meat that pairs beautifully with the spices and coconut. And also because we get such high quality duck meat in Australia.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Note – Use any meat of choice or replace with eggs or mixed vegetables/paneer/tofu for a vegetarian option.

Ingredients:

Wet spice paste:

  1. 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  2. 2 tsp fennel seeds
  3. 2 tsp cumin seeds
  4. 3 fresh green chillies; broken in half
  5. 2 tsp white poppy seeds
  6. 10 raw cashewnuts
  7. 7 garlic cloves; crushed
  8. 2 tbsp roasted Bengal gram (split)
  9. 1 ½ inch ginger; crushed
  10. 60gms fresh grated coconut

For the curry:

  1. Whole duck (approximately 1.1kg); cut into curry sized pieces
  2. 3-4 tbsp vegetable oil
  3. 2 inch cinnamon bark
  4. 4 green cardamom
  5. 1 large onion; finely chopped
  6. ½ tsp turmeric powder
  7. 2-3 sprigs curry leaves
  8. 2 large ripe tomatoes; pureed
  9. 2 tsp red chilli powder
  10. Salt, to season

Method:

To prepare the wet spice paste:

  1. Heat oil in a large pan and add the cumin, fennel seeds and green chillies. Then add the poppy seeds, cashews and garlic; sauté for a few seconds.
  2. Next add the Bengal gram, coconut and ginger. Mix well and sauté for a minute or two till the coconut turns a little toasty but not too brown.
  3. Remove from heat and allow to cool thoroughly. Blend with just enough water to get a wet paste.

To make the curry:

  1. Heat the remaining oil in a large wok/kadhai and add the cinnamon and cardamom followed by the onion. Sauté till the onions are softened and turn light brown.
  2. Next add the turmeric powder, chilli powder and curry leaves; mix to combine.
  3. Add the tomato puree and season with salt. Cook on medium heat till the mixture comes together and you can notice oil appearing at the sides of the masala.
  4. Next add the wet spice pasta and mix well to combine. Sauté for about 5-6 minutes on low to medium heat stirring continuously.
  5. Add the duck pieces; mix well and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add 1-2 cups water (depending on how much gravy you prefer) and bring to boil. Turn down the heat and simmer gently till the duck pieces have cooked perfectly and the gravy has thickened. Taste and season with salt if necessary.
  6. Allow to sit for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This duck curry is delicious with hoppers, flatbreads, rice, pita breads etc… I paired it with steamed rice, flat breads, a green salad and my favourite tomato chutney.

Enjoy…but don’t forget to take part in the fundraising too. A little help from us can go a long way to help out another family in need.

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Duck Kurma (Supporting the Great Australian Curry Campaign) - thespiceadventuress.com

Disclaimer – This post was bought to you in association with Opportunity International but all the opinions and musings are mine.

Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus)

Father’s Day came early for us this year!

Though we are not big on celebrating days like this, my job as a food blogger means that often I end up creating a special dish or menu either for the blog or for other websites. So when ‘Stuff Mums Like’ got in touch with me for a Father’s Day recipe, I thought of coming up with a dish that I know Sam would love.

And nothing better to tickle his taste buds than a juicy steak with the works!

Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus) - the ultimate Father's Day recipe - thespiceadventuress.com

This recipe is pretty simple inspite of a long title. It’s delicious, very satisfying and extremely easy to prepare even for a novice cook. All you need is a wee bit of time, patience and loads of love.

Before getting onto this delicious steak recipe, a sneak peek into our Father’s Day gift this year.

When Jord watches reached out to me couple of weeks ago for a media campaign, I was both apprehensive and excited. Surely stepping out of my comfort zone here (but it’s time, literally and figuratively), also it seemed to be the perfect gift to celebrate the man in my life.

Jord specialises in hand crafted, all natural wooden watches. Featured here is ‘Ebony and Iron’ from the Hyde series, a classic and elegant dark wood strap with sapphire crystal glass. Sam has been using it everyday for about a month now, so that I could share an unbiased review with all of you. And he couldn’t be happier! (Though the sizing chart on the website is spot on, we had requested extra links so it was taken to a watch shop to size it perfectly. But that’s just us.)

Ebony and Iron, Hyde series, Jord Watches - the perfect Father's Day gift - thespiceadventuress.com

And the best part…you can now win a $100 gift card towards a Jord watch of your choice. Click here to participate in the contest; ends 08/27/2017 11:59pm. Everyone who participates but did not win will receive a consolation prize of $25 off gift code.

Giveaway open worldwide!

Now let’s get back to the steak.

I used Scotch fillets but you may use any cut; just make sure that the cooking times are adjusted accordingly.

Instead of the classic mash, I opted for the smashed potato salad which is so creamy and delicious but requires only half the effort and time. Hardly any butter, instead it’s buttermilk that lends creaminess to this salad along with a lot of punchy flavours from the red wine vinegar and mustard. And a generous sprinkle of herbs to complete….

Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus) - thespiceadventuress.com

As for the red wine jus, it’s the simplest sauce but one with loads of flavour and meatiness that perfectly complements the steak. I would strongly recommend the use of homemade stock if possible.

And when you have an indulgent dish like this, you need the perfect wine to match – The Barkly Durif 2010 Rutherglen from Campbell Wines . Rich, complex and deeply textured with the taste of intense fruits lingering on your palate, this is one of the best reds I have had in a long time. Great for cellaring too!

Barkly Durif 2010 Rutherglen from Campbell Wines - thespiceadventuress.com

So go on and check out the recipe for Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus) on Stuff Mums Like and a Happy Father’s Day to all the father figures in your life. And if you make this dish, do tag me #thespiceadventuress so that I could see it too.

Ingredients:

(Serves 3)

  1. 3 x 200gm Scotch fillet
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

Get the full recipe here...

Steak (with Smashed Potato Salad, Cherry Tomatoes, Red Wine Jus) - thespiceadventuress.com

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes)

What’s winter without slow cooked lamb shanks!

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

We love lamb shanks and it is always one of our top picks when we dine out during the colder months. But this time, I decided to give it a go at home because all that you need for this delicious dish is time and patience.

The recipe is really simple and as I mentioned, these lamb shanks only need time to get tender, juicy and fall-off-the-bone. So slow cook it on your stovetop or braise in the oven, or perhaps put it all into your slowcooker just before heading out for work. And when you return, you will have the most delicious, indulgent lamb shanks that can be served with couscous and a simple green salad. Feeds a crowd!

And if you are a curry lover, you will be mighty pleased with the flavours of these slow cooked lamb shanks. The addition of garlic, chillies, paprika and tomatoes lend rich earthy undertones that make the dish an ultimate comfort.

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

On the weather front, Melbourne is grappling with the change of seasons. Spring should be here soon but winter does not want to leave us yet. So while some days are warm and sunny, others are bone chilling freezing. So check out the forecast and get these lamb shanks on to enjoy it best before winter fades away….

And do tag me using #thespiceadventuress if you make these slow cooked lamb shanks; it’s always a joy when you share your photographs with me.

Ingredients:

  1. 4 lamb shanks
  2. Salt, to season
  3. Freshly milled black pepper; to season

This recipe was developed, styled and shot for Stuff Mums Like, so find the full recipe here. 

Slow cooked Lamb Shanks (with chilli, garlic and tomatoes) - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots - thespiceadventuress.com

My love affair with pork began only after moving to Australia.

Pork was an almost non-existent meat in my childhood, since I lived in the Middle East. And it only made an occasional appearance when I visited India during holidays. There is a myth that pork is not very popular in India but that’s so far from the truth. Agreed, it’s not the most preferred meat due to several cultural and religious reasons but there are communities where pork is revered and is considered a delicacy. And in Kerala, it’s extremely popular among several Christian communities.

When I moved back to India, pork became a more regular meat in our household because my mom absolutely loves it. But I really didn’t enjoy it at all and would just pick at it. I think it must have been the preparation and also the quality of the meat itself that put me off.

After moving to Australia, the fact that prompted me to buy pork is the disappointing ‘vindaloo’ that is served at most Indian restaurants. I was on a mission to learn how to make a good vindaloo (which I did) and pork ofcourse was the meat of choice.

Australian pork was a revelation. The quality of meat is absolutely amazing and I could not help but fall in love with it. I cook with pork a lot these days, not just in curries or stir fries but also a variety of ways and one of my absolute favourite is steak.

Australian pork - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

I usually cook steaks based on intuition but for pork, I usually follow the 6-2-2 method. You cannot miss the Australian pork ads that run on TV with a catchy tag line like ‘get some pork on your fork’ and that’s where I first got to know about the 6-2-2 cooking method. Basically what it means is cook the steaks for 6 minutes on one side, then 2 minutes on the other and finally rest for another 2 minutes before serving. I have been using this guideline for a while now and it always delivers the best result.

The thickness of the steak is important while using this method. If you like the meat well done, then use 2cm steaks for this method but if you prefer that blush of pink (highly recommended), then get steaks slightly bigger than 2cm.

So here’s the final dish, pork steaks with a simple coriander fennel rub, creamy potato mash, roasted carrots and Madeira reduction. Now let’s get cooking….

Madeira - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots

Recipe for Roasted carrots can be found here.

Ingredients:

For the pork:

  1. 4 pork steaks (approximately 2cm)
  2. 1 tsp coriander seeds
  3. 1 tsp fennel seeds
  4. ½ tsp black peppercorns
  5. Salt, to season
  6. 2-3 tbsp olive oil

For the Madeira reduction:

(adapted from Heston’s Fantastical Feasts)

  1. 85gms shallots; finely chopped
  2. 30gms leek (white and pale parts); sliced
  3. 2 medium garlic cloves; crushed
  4. 1 tsp coriander seeds
  5. 1 dried bay leaf
  6. 375ml Madeira

For the mashed potato:

  1. 500gms potatoes (I used russet but you can use any which lends a creamy texture)
  2. 2 large garlic clove
  3. 5 tbsp unsalted butter
  4. ½ cup milk
  5. 1 tsp dried oregano
  6. Salt, to season
  7. Black pepper, to season
  8. 1 tsp chives; finely chopped
  1. 1 tsp chives; finely chopped

Method:

For the pork:

  1. To prepare the rub, pound the coriander seeds, fennel seeds and black peppercorns using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Add to the pork steaks along with the olive oil and season well with salt. Rub thoroughly on both sides of the steak and keep aside for at least 15 minutes.
  3. Heat a pan to high (you may use a grill) and then reduce to medium high. Place the pork steaks and cook on one side for 6 minutes. Then turn over and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove from pan and rest for another 2 minutes (cover while resting). I do not add more oil to the pan as the steaks are oiled well but you may add if you wish to.

For the Madeira reduction:

Combine all the ingredients in a saucepan and cook on low heat for about 30-40 minutes or till the liquid has almost halved. Strain and keep aside.

For the mashed potato:

  1. Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water till soft.
  2. Add 2 tbsp butter to a small pan along with the garlic; cook on low heat till garlic turns golden. Remove from flame and add the oregano. Keep aside.
  3. In another pan, place the potatoes, milk and remaining butter. Mash and cook on low heat whisking continuously till you get a smooth, creamy mixture.
  4. Season with salt and pepper; remove when desired texture has been achieved. If you want super creamy texture, pass the mashed potatoes through a sieve (I didn’t do this, though).
  5. Add the melted garlic infused butter to the mashed potatoes and stir through; garnish with chopped chives.

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots - thespiceadventuress.com

Pork Steaks with Madeira Reduction, Potato Mash and Roasted Carrots - thespiceadventuress.com

This post has been bought to you in collaboration with Australian Pork and Social Soup. I have been using Australian pork for years so the opinions as well as the recipe are unbiased and entirely mine.

 

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks

Time management has always been a roller coaster ride for me. Some weeks, I am organized, motivated, super productive and all the good stuff but other weeks, it just drowns and overwhelms me completely. And this is not something that has happened post my blogging/self-entrepreneurial journey; it has always been the case.

Last week was one of the latter. I have no clue what went wrong but nothing was really getting accomplished. My mind was not in the right space, a wavering mish mash of random thoughts that left me emotionally drained for no reason at all. And soon the writing work was getting piled up which left me all the more frustrated.

Unlike many people who say that cooking is a stress buster, I cannot bring myself to even boil water if I am not in the right mood. But takeaways do not sit too well with me so I had to force myself into the kitchen. Instead of elaborate meals, I opted for no fail recipes that required minimal prep time, one pot meals etc…. and these chicken drumsticks fit perfectly.

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks - thespiceadventuress.com

Fried chicken is an all time comfort food. If crunch is the end result of dunking anything in oil, then it wins my heart…always. And if it’s savoury, then all the better.

So as the name of the dish goes, these are fried chicken drumsticks with some Asian flavours going on. You can use any part of the chicken; I went ahead with drumsticks because it had been a while since we had it. The only difference from any regular fried chicken is the Asian style marinade in which the drumsticks are marinated before going through the flour-egg-flour routine.

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks - thespiceadventuress.com

If you are not a fan of the flour coating, then use breadcrumbs instead. And if you can find Panko, then all the better for the crunch. Remember that you only need a light dusting of the flour or the outer coating can be quite floury and gluggy. And get that oil temperature right before frying the chicken if you need the crunchy deliciousness.

If oven baked is your preference instead of deep frying, then I suggest the breadcrumbs as I feel the texture is better with crumbs than flour.

So there you go; so many options to make these delicious fried chicken drumsticks. And please do tag me #thespiceadventuress if you are posting on any social media; gives me great joy to see your creations.

Sichuan peppercorn salt - thespiceadventuress.com

Sichuan peppercorn salt - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. 8 medium sized chicken drumsticks
  2. 3 tbsp soy sauce
  3. 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar
  4. 2 tsp sesame oil
  5. 2 tbsp sriracha (can be replaced with any chilli sauce)
  6. 3 tsp crushed ginger
  7. ½ tsp crushed Sichuan peppercorns
  8. ½ cup cornflour
  9. ½ cup plain flour
  10. 2 eggs, beaten
  11. Salt, to season
  12. Vegetable oil; for deep frying
  13. Sichuan pepper-salt
  • 2 tbsp Sichuan peppercorns
  • 50gms salt

Method:

  • To prepare the Sichuan salt, toast the peppercorns in a pan (without any oil) on low heat for about 2 minutes. Shake the pan constantly to avoid burning the peppercorns. Remove and allow to cool. In the same pan, lightly heat the salt for about 30-40 seconds and then add to the peppercorns. Using a mortar and pestle (or grinder), crush well to get the Sichuan peppercorn salt. If you prefer a fine powder, you may sieve this but I like to use it a bit coarse.
  • To prepare the marinade for the chicken, mix all the sauces, wine vinegar, sesame oil, ginger and pepper. Add the chicken and mix well; cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or longer if possible. Taste and season with salt only if required.
  • Combine the corn flour with the plain flour in a bowl. Add ½ tsp Sichuan salt to the flour and mix well.
  • Beat the eggs well in another bowl.
  • Remove the excess marinade from the chicken and then coat lightly with the flour mixture. Shake off the excess flour before dipping in the beaten egg. Return back to the flour mixture for another light dusting and keep aside.
  • Heat oil for deep frying and fry the drumsticks in batches till golden brown and crispy. (Remember if the oil is too hot, the outside will brown up quickly without cooking the chicken inside properly).
  • Serve hot with Sichuan pepper salt.

Asian style Fried Chicken Drumsticks - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

 

Moroccan Lamb Chops + Snippets from my Early Easter Party

It was an early Easter party for us this year. Actually totally unplanned; it was meant to be a barbecue party with a few friends which eventually turned out to be sort of an Easter lunch.

Succulent - thespiceadventuress.com

Before we get to the party and the recipes, let me share with you the story of my Weber and how it came into our lives. Way back in 2013, when I had just started blogging, I came across a giveaway hosted by Kikkoman in association with Weber. The prize pack was the new Kikkoman condiments being released that year along with a Weber Q200.

And on a lark I participated (I enter a lot of giveaways guys and its pretty common knowledge amongst my friends) and won!

The prize pack arrived and the interesting bit is that we were living in an apartment at that time where the Weber could not be used. And it stayed in a box for the longest time till we moved homes late last year. So finally the Weber that I got in 2013 was inaugurated in 2016 for a Christmas party. So naturally we are very excited to use it after waiting all these years that every party planned eventually ends up as a barbecue themed one.

There were a few recipes I had scheduled to be developed and photographed for the blog as well as clients and two of these fit in perfectly for the party menu. So the idea of a casual get together turned into an early Easter party. And coupled with other dishes, we soon had a feast on our table.

So here’s what I had on the menu for the day…

For starters, we had Cajun sausages and grilled corn.

The recipe for Cajun sausages has been there on the blog for the longest time and is a favourite in our home. It’s quick to put together and hence features regularly on our weekend entertaining.

No barbecue would be complete without grilled corn and we had it the classic way, rubbed with butter, lemon and chilli powder (substitute with paprika for less heat).

Cajun sausages, a delicious party starter - thespiceadventuress.com

Grilled corn with butter, lemon and chilli - thespiceadventuress.com

For mains, we had two meat dishes – Moroccan lamb chops and the Middle Eastern style beef kofta platter.

I have been dying to try out Noha’s beef kofta recipe for the longest time and this seemed to be the perfect occasion for it. No adaptations or tweaks; just followed the recipe as such. And yes, good quality beef mince with a bit of fat is highly recommended.

If you aren’t already following her, please do for all the deliciousness she puts up on her space.

Middle Eastern beef kofta platter - thespiceadventuress.com

Coming to Moroccan lamb chops, I had to share it with you guys because it’s simple, tastes awesome and everytime I have made it, it’s been a big hit.

Lamb chops with a bit of fat attached is recommended especially while grilling because it helps keep the meat moist and tender. The marination is simple and is best done a day ahead. I have frenched the lamb chops because it looks nice and pretty that way but you don’t strictly need to.

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Our choice of wine for the day was the Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015, a really balanced wine on the palate with hints of cherries, dark berries and savoury forest floor spice. I loved the fact that the tannins are not overpowering and has a delicate finish, thus pairing beautifully with grilled Moroccan lamb chops.

Yering Station Pinot Noir 2015 - thespiceadventuress.com

Moroccan lamb chops - thespiceadventuress.com

Recipe adapted from Cooking with Alia

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg lamb chops; frenched
  2. ½ cup fresh flat leaf parsley; finely chopped
  3. ½ cup fresh coriander leaves; finely chopped
  4. ½ cup fresh mint leaves; finely chopped
  5. Salt; to season
  6. ½ cup olive oil
  7. 3-4 garlic cloves; grated
  8. 1 tbsp paprika
  9. 1 tsp red chilli powder
  10. 1 tsp cumin seeds; crushed

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix the herbs and spices with olive oil.
  • Add the lamb chops; season with salt and allow to marinate for at least 6 hours, overnight if possible.
  • Grill on high heat on both sides till done.
  • Enjoy!

And finally it was time for dessert. I had created an Easter themed icecream cake as a guest post for Stuff Mums Like. Since it was a warm day, the icecream cake made the perfect dessert to end our happy meal.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

An extremely simple one, this cake consists of three different icecream layers on a base of cookie crumble. Store bought icecreams were used; saves time and great for parties. Choose whichever flavours you prefer and the number of layers too. A totally customizable cake, it’s great for birthday parties too especially if you are hosting one at home for children.

The addition of the chocolate nest and chocolate filled Easter eggs add that special touch of festivity.

So hop over to their website for the full recipe.

Easter themed icecream cake with chocolate nest - thespiceadventuress.com

Chicken Stir fry (with Chilli, Garlic and Coriander)

‘Time Flies’ is an age old adage but the supersonic speed at which the flying is happening in my life currently leaves me so lazy to cook. Too many work and personal assignments that leave me completely drained of time and energy that the everyday meals has become such a chore.

And more often than not, it is not the actual cooking that takes time but rather than the planning of ‘what to cook’! So I decided to pull out my cookbooks (the few that I have) and find inspiration amongst the pages.

Today’s recipe is adapted from ‘The F-Word’!

Chicken Stir fry (with Chilli, Garlic and Coriander) - simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

Yup, you heard it right. This fantabulous book by Mita Kapur is one of my most treasured ones because it is more than just recipes. It is a glimpse into Mita’s food crazed family and her constant juggles as a working mother. The recipes are from around the world with no borders whatsoever and perfectly suit my style of cooking. I have written more about this book here, if you would like to have a read.

And one of my all time favourite recipes from the book are these Malai Kebabs (minced chicken patties with spices, aromatics and cream).

This time, given the time situation, I chose a simple chicken stir fry. Just a handful of ingredients stir fried in a wok topped over rice or noodles; makes an amazing dinner in no time at all.

Chillies are a key ingredient and I have used both Thai red chillies and large green ones. The original recipe has much more heat but with a 7 year old at home, I had to tone down the heat factor. But it depends on what you like; adjust the number of chillies accordingly.

Always use boneless thigh fillets for making stir fries as the meat is much more tender and juicy while the breast meat often tends to go dry. And of course the wok, never undermine the importance of this cooking vessel in getting that perfect stir fry. A good quality wok is a must have in your kitchen!

Ingredients:

  1. 500gms boneless chicken thigh fillet; cut into bite sized pieces
  2. 3 Thai red chillies; chopped
  3. 3 sprigs fresh coriander leaves (with roots); chopped
  4. 4 garlic cloves
  5. 2 large green chillies
  6. 2-3 tbsp fish sauce
  7. 2-3 tbsp oyster sauce
  8. 4-5 tbsp vegetable oil
  9. Salt; to season

For garnish:

  1. 2 sprigs fresh coriander leaves; chopped
  2. 1 spring onion (leafy part); sliced

Method:

  • Using a mortar and pestle, pound the red chillies, garlic and coriander leaves into a coarse paste; keep aside.
  • Heat 3-4 tbsp oil in the wok and add the chicken pieces. Stir fry the chicken pieces on high heat till 3/4ths done and remove.
  • In the same wok (add a bit more oil if necessary), add the pound chilli mixture and sauté on low heat for about a minute. Add the oyster sauce, fish sauce and whole green chillies; also return the chicken pieces to the wok.
  • Stir fry on medium heat till done; add salt only if necessary.
  • Garnish with coriander leaves and spring onions
  • Serve hot.

 

Chicken Stir fry (with Chilli, Garlic and Coriander) - simple and delicious - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Chicken Fajita Tacos with Minty Cucumber Yoghurt

What a newsworthy month it has been! And while the headlines continue to shock and stir us, the social media is filling up with delicious treats that promise us much joy and hope this festival season.

As I mentioned in my previous post, I have no plans whatsoever for Christmas or New Year; in fact we haven’t thought or discussed about it as a family. There will be some sort of celebration and most likely a quiet one with just a couple of close friends….that’s our style of entertaining.

I have always been picky and choosy about my friends. And while during my teens, that was seen as a disadvantage (my parents used to get a tad bit worried that I walked around lonely with a book in hand most of the time), it eventually turned out to be the biggest strength of my life. My ability to choose just a handful of good people as friends ensured that I was always surrounded by positivity.

And luckily I am married to a person who shares that idealogy though it took him a while to get that. He had a zillion friends only to discover that when life dealt him a series of blows, there was hardly anyone to turn to. So now we have our chosen few, friends who are non-judgemental, accept us the way we are and shares a common thread of mutual respect and understanding not confined by social norms. And I know, plan or not, we will celebrate this holiday season with a couple of them.

While I am getting busy developing, testing and photographing new recipes leading to the festive season, the reality of everyday dinners is always on the horizon. So when Maraya, who is one of the super moms behind the popular blog ‘Stuff Mums Like’ reached out to me for a guest collaboration, I was thrilled.

While there were a zillion ideas buzzing in my head, I zeroed in on tacos….I mean, who doesn’t like tacos. I am sure it’s a fave at every home. And this recipe is bound to be a big hit with the kiddos; my 7 year old adores it. And if there are any leftovers, you can convert it into a wrap or add it to the salad bowl for a delicious lunch the next day.

Chicken Fajita Tacos with Minty Cucumber Yoghurt - simple, easy to make and feeds a crowd - thespiceadventuress.com

Chicken Fajita Tacos with Minty Cucumber Yoghurt - simple, easy to make and feeds a crowd - thespiceadventuress.com

Also, don’t forget to make an extra batch of the fajita seasoning; a very handy blend in your spice cupboard.

Fajita Seasoning - food photography - thespiceadventuress.com

Ingredients:

  1. Mini wheat tortillas
  2. 500gms skinless chicken thighs; cut into thin strips
  3. 1 orange bell pepper; cut into strips

This is a guest post in collaboration with Stuff Mums Like, so kindly head over to their website for the full recipe.

Chicken Fajita Tacos with Minty Cucumber Yoghurt - simple, easy to make and feeds a crowd - thespiceadventuress.com

Chicken Fajita Tacos with Minty Cucumber Yoghurt - simple, easy to make and feeds a crowd - thespiceadventuress.com

Kashmiri Rista……Sandwiched!

If you have travelled through Kashmir or have been lucky enough to eat at a Kashmiri wedding, then you would have definitely come across Rista.

Rista is a famous meatball preparation that holds a prestigious place in the Kashmiri wazwan. For those who don’t know what a wazwan is, it is the elaborate traditional feast of Kashmiri cuisine. A multi course, non-vegetarian meal that has become symbolic of the culture of this magnificent region.

Always made using lamb/goat, Rista is a delicious, aromatic and rich meatball curry with a classic deep red colour from the Kashmiri chillies and saffron – two ingredients that are available everywhere these days yet, must be an integral part of your shopping list when visiting Kashmir.

Rista is a traditional dish and involves a bit of prep work like most traditional dishes. The key components of this dish are the lamb mince itself (though in Kashmir, it is most likely to be goat mince, especially from the leg part), chilli water and shallot paste; it is the unique combination of these ingredients that makes this dish special. The mince is traditionally beaten with a wooden pallet to attain the soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture but that might not really work out in our modern kitchens where a food processor would ‘almost’ do the job.

Though traditionally this dish would be in a curry format i.e. with semi thick gravy, I decided to give it my own spin.

Kashmiri Meatball Sub with Baby Spinach, Pickled Shallots and Jalapenos – yes, that’s how I transformed the Kashmiri Rista.

Kashmiri Rista - a traditional meatball preparation from Kashmir in a new format - thespiceadventuress.com

I haven’t touched or altered the recipe of making the Rista in any manner and I want to preserve its originality. Only the sauce gets simmered down till it just about coats the meatballs. Shallots are a vital ingredient of Kashmiri cuisine and hence being used in a pickled form to add the sour, salty punch and to cut through the richness. Fresh spinach, tomatoes and cucumbers add a healthy, vibrant freshness and texture to the sandwich…and of course, the jalapenos for that extra kick of heat.

If you do not fancy a subway, you can still follow the recipe and enjoy a delicious and authentic version of Kashmiri Rista. But for those who don’t mind a bit of experimentation in the kitchen, try out my version of the Kashmiri Meatball Sub with Baby Spinach, Pickled Shallots and Jalapenos.

Kashmiri Rista - a traditional meatball preparation from Kashmir in a new format - thespiceadventuress.com

And once again thanks to an amazing friend, Supriya (my expert on Kashmiri cuisine) for teaching me yet another classic from the region. I also learnt the Tabakh Maaz (Kashmiri style Lamb Ribs) and the classic Mutton Roganjosh from her, both of which you need to check out.

Ingredients:

For the Rista:

(Yields 12-13 meatballs)

  1. 500gm lamb mince (with at least 25%fat content)
  2. 1 whole egg
  3. 4 cups water
  4. Salt, to season
  5. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  6. 5-6 tsp kashmiri chilli water
  7. ½ tsp garam masala
  8. 1 ½ tsp shallot paste
  9. 2 tsp saffron water
  10. 2 tsp ghee/clarified butter
  11. ½ tsp shahi jeera/caraway seeds

For the sandwich:

  1. Crusty bread rolls (3 meatballs per sub which makes around 4 subs)
  2. A handful of baby spinach
  3. 2 semi-ripe tomatoes, cut into even discs
  4. 1 cucumber, sliced finely
  5. 1 cup pickled shallots
  6. 2 fresh jalapenos, sliced finely into discs

Notes:

To make Kashmiri chilli water, soak 10-12 dried Kashmiri chillies (stems and seeds removed) in warm water for at least 30 minutes. Grind well with water and sieve to get the vibrant red chilli water. Can be refrigerated upto 2 weeks or store frozen as cubes for upto an year.

To make shallot paste, roast 10 – 12 shallots in a pan with a tbsp of oil till light brown. Grind to a paste with as little water as possible. Excess can be refrigerated and stored for upto a week or frozen and used upto a month.

Method:

  1. To make pickled shallots, slice the onions, add 1 tbsp salt, a pinch of sugar and 1 tbsp vinegar. Keep for at least 10 minutes; mix the shallots by hand and then squeeze out all the liquid from the onions.
  2. To prepare the meatballs, add the lamb mince along with one egg to a food processor (If you are adding fat separately, make sure it is added cold). Season lightly with salt and blend for a minute or two. Wet your hands and remove the mince mixture onto a plate.
  3. Place a pan with 4 cups of water on the stove to boil. Begin to roll the meatballs as the water starts to heat up.
  4. Wet your hands lightly to roll the meatballs easily; add each meatball into the water as soon as you roll it.
  5. As the meatballs begin to cook, you will notice the fat begins to leach out into the water which turns it cloudy (this is an important step). Move the meatballs around in the pan to ensure that it cooks evenly on all sides.
  6. Once the meatballs are looking springy or have begun to rise to the surface (this should happen in 5-6 minutes), add the turmeric powder.
  7. Then add the chilli water (do not get worried about the quantity as this does make the dish spicy) and garam masala.
  8. Next, add the shallot paste followed by saffron water. Taste and season with salt; cook for another 1 minute.
  9. Remove the meatballs carefully into a bowl and continue to cook the sauce to reduce and thicken the consistency. You need just enough sauce to coat the meatballs and also to drizzle a bit in the sandwich. Once this consistency has reached, return the meatballs to the pan, mix and remove from heat.
  10. In another pan, heat ghee and add to the meatballs; cover immediately and keep for 5 minutes.
  11. Meanwhile, assemble the other components of the sandwich.
  12. Place all the different vegetables and meatballs in separate bowls so that each person can make his own sub – a fun way to bring family and friends together.

Even though it might look like a whole lot of steps, this is an easy to make recipe once you have all the ingredients at hand.

Bon Appétit!

Kashmiri Rista - a traditional meatball preparation from Kashmir in a new format - thespiceadventuress.com

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