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Tag Archives: chicken recipes

The Yogic Kitchen – Jody Vassallo (+ a Recipe for Marinated Chicken with Coconut Lime dressing)

I am a firm believer in the philosophy that ‘Food is Medicine.’

In fact if you talk to me about regular ailments, I am more likely to advise you on dietary and lifestyle changes than go visit a doctor. I am not at all taking away the importance of medical science but I tend to gravitate towards eating right and practicing natural medicine and holistic healing generally.

The Yogic Kitchen by Jody Vassallo (HQ Non Fiction, $39.99) corroborates with this philosophy completely.

Jody is a food writer, stylist, yoga teacher and Ayurvedic health coach. I have personally followed her work for a while and she has published and authored several books for Marie Claire, Hachette Livre etc….

The Yogic Kitchen offers us an insight into understanding our body through the Ayurvedic principles of Vata, Pitta and Kapha. Even though I have heard much about these principles, I admit that I didn’t have a proper understanding of it till now.

The Yogic Kitchen – Jody Vassallo (+ a Recipe for Marinated Chicken with Coconut Lime dressing) - thespiceadventuress.com

Based on Ayurvedic principles, the book explores the philosophy of ‘food is medicine’ at a much deeper and scientific level. This is not a regular cookbook filled with just recipes and amazing photographs.

The book starts with an introduction to Ayurveda; a brief history followed by the scientific principles that form the foundation of this ancient science. According to Ayurveda, the five elements of earth, fire, water, air and space exist inside out bodies as much as outside. These exist in varying degrees and in turn make up the three doshas – Vata, Pitta and Kapha. And these doshas are used to represent our unique body constitution.

So the first thing is to identify which is your dosha.

The book provides an extensive classification of the three doshas based on which you can find out which one do you identify with most. Sometimes you could be a mix of two or even all the three doshas. I found out that I am mostly Vata but with a small percentage of Pitta thrown in.

From yoga to Ayurveda, Jody also explains how she embarked on this journey and the positive changes it has bought about to her health and overall life. Often we tend to forget that our mind and bodies are intertwined and the food we eat has the power to affect not just our physical but our mental self too.

The Yogic Kitchen also provides extensive information on how to balance the doshas, food that are compatible for each dosha, foods and habits to avoid that can cause imbalance etc….

The recipes outlined in the book are also divided into three based on the doshas and also based on the seasons as this is an important factor that affects our bodies. Apart from these, there are also recipes that are suitable for all types of doshas and also foods that are best for a detoxification/cleanse diet.

Jody also outlines a variety of herbal teas and medicated milks suitable for the different doshas, spices and herbs that are integral to Ayurvedic cooking. There is also an extensive list of food types that are suitable and not suitable for each dosha provided based on which you can regulate your daily diet.

What I liked best about the recipes outlined in The Yogic Kitchen is the fact that there’s nothing exotic but easy everyday cooking, perhaps with a different mindset. And I also liked the fact that there are options for breakfast, lunch, dinner and desserts.

There’s often a misconception that recipes that focus on Ayurvedic philosophies should be Indian cuisine based but that’s not too true at all. Ayurveda is a science, which can be implemented in all kinds of cooking.

One of the recipes that I tried from this book is the Marinated chicken with Coconut Lime dressing.

The Yogic Kitchen – Jody Vassallo (+ a Recipe for Marinated Chicken with Coconut Lime dressing) - thespiceadventuress.com

The Yogic Kitchen – Jody Vassallo (+ a Recipe for Marinated Chicken with Coconut Lime dressing) - thespiceadventuress.com

The two things that stood out in this recipe are the simplicity and ease of making the dish and the coconut lime dressing. That dressing is just mind-blowing spectacular and some days, I have been making just that for my salads.

It’s a perfect dinner dish for the whole family and one I can prep for ahead of time which means after a work day, dinner is ready with minimal effort and fuss without sacrificing at all on the health or delicious quotient.

I have tweaked the recipe slightly to suit individual preferences, which you should too especially based on the amount of chicken that you would use. While drumsticks are used in this recipe and provides maximum flavour, other cuts of chicken would be good too provided it’s on the bone. And instead of coconut sugar used in the original recipe, I used jaggery since that was available.

So let’s get to the recipe for Marinated Chicken with Coconut Lime dressing.

The Yogic Kitchen – Jody Vassallo (+ a Recipe for Marinated Chicken with Coconut Lime dressing)

Ingredients:

  1. 1 kg chicken drumsticks
  2. 1 tsp turmeric powder
  3. 3 garlic cloves; grated
  4. 170ml coconut yoghurt
  5. 2 tsp sweet paprika
  6. 1 tsp coriander powder
  7. 1 tsp cumin powder
  8. 1 tsp garam masala
  9. Salt, to season
  10. 1 small red onion; grated
  11. Juice of ½ lemon

Coconut lime dressing:

  1. 2 tbsp freshly grated coconut (desiccated may be used too)
  2. Zest and juice of 1 lime
  3. 1 tsp crushed jaggery (or coconut sugar)
  4. 1 small red chilli; finely chopped
  5. 2 tbsp coriander leaves; finely chopped
  6. 3 tbsp coconut oil
  7. 1 tbsp water

Method:

  1. In a bowl, add the coconut yoghurt; grate the garlic, onion and add all the spice powders. Add the lemon juice and season with salt. Mix well and marinate the chicken drumsticks in this; refrigerate for at least 4 hours, overnight is preferable.
  2. Bring the chicken drumsticks to room temperature at least 30 min before cooking.
  3. Preheat the oven (fan forced) to 200°C
  4. Line an oven proof tray with baking paper; place the drumsticks in the tray. Retain the remaining yoghurt mixture.
  5. Cook the drumsticks for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through. Turning occasionally and rush with the remaining yoghurt mixture everytime the chicken is turned.
  6. Meanwhile combine all the ingredients for the coconut lime dressing in a bowl; taste and adjust seasoning.
  7. Serve the chicken drumsticks warm topped with the coconut lime dressing.

The Yogic Kitchen – Jody Vassallo (+ a Recipe for Marinated Chicken with Coconut Lime dressing)

 

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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

 

 

 

Southern Fried Chicken with Paprika Wedges

Fried chicken – The ultimate global comfort food!

I remember vividly of a childhood eating my fair share of KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken, is there anyone who doesn’t know it!). It was the only form of fast food that was welcome in our house simply for the fact that fried chicken was the only thing that my dad would eat outside South Indian cuisine.

Without going into the debate of health and junk food, I did enjoy the flavours of KFC, at least till I learnt to make a decent version of fried chicken myself. What can get more comforting than biting into a crispy chicken leg that eventually melts in your mouth. And accompany it with fries and ketchup…..greasy but good for the soul!

As my cooking skills strengthened and so did my knowledge of oven cooking, I learnt of ways to achieve a similar texture and flavour of fried chicken without actually deep frying. The fries got replaced with wedges and the store bought mayo slowly gave way to homemade aioli.

And of all the different varieties and styles of fried chicken, this Southern version staunchly remains my favourite just because it has liberal amounts of my favourite ingredient in it….spices.

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Southern fried chicken is another comfort food offering that originated in the US. The chicken pieces are tenderized by marinating in buttermilk and then coated with flour mixed with spices like cayenne pepper. But today, I am adding more crunch to the coating in the form of crushed cornflakes and Panko breadcrumbs. And we have not just cayenne for the chilli kick, but smoked paprika and Indian red chilli powder because I like it hot!

If you have an oven, then ditch the fryers and skillets; spray some oil and oven bake at high temperatures to get the same crispy exterior and your stomach will thank you for it. We also have paprika wedges instead of classic fries to accompany this Southern fried chicken. Homemade mayo and barbeque sauce complete this comfort food package making my weekend a delicious affair.

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Why don’t you make yours delicious too?

Ingredients:

For the chicken:

1. 1 kg chicken; broken into 6 pieces
2. 2 cups buttermilk
3. 3 tbsp barbeque sauce
4. 2 cups crushed cornflakes
5. 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs (use ordinary crumbs if you do not have Panko)
6. 3 tbsp wheat flour
7. 1 tbsp smoked paprika
8. 1 tsp red chilli powder
9. 1 tsp cayenne pepper
10. 2 tsp onion powder
11. ½ tsp garlic powder
12. Salt, to season
13. Freshly milled black pepper, to season
14. Vegetable oil

Note – Adjust the spices to suit your heat preference.

For the wedges:

1. 4 medium potatoes
2. ½ tsp paprika
3. ¼ tsp Italian herbs
4. Salt, to season
5. 2-3 tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

To prepare the chicken:

• Place the chicken pieces in a large bowl, pour the buttermilk and barbeque sauce on top. Season with salt and pepper; keep aside for at least 2 hours or overnight as time permits.
• Preheat the oven to 250°C. Line a tray with baking paper and lightly brush or spray with vegetable oil.
• In a bowl, mix the cornflakes, Panko crumbs, flour, cayenne, red chilli, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder and season with salt and pepper.
• Remove each piece of chicken from the buttermilk and coat with the cornflakes mixture. Press gently so that the crumb adheres to the chicken and place it on the baking tray. Repeat for all pieces. Make sure that you do not crowd the tray; if necessary, prepare in batches or on 2 trays.
• Lightly spray or drizzle the chicken pieces with oil and bake for 10-12 minutes at 250°C. Then decrease the heat to 200°C and bake for another 10-12 minutes. Keep an eye on the chicken and take care it does not burn.
• Flip the chicken pieces over gently, lightly spray or brush with oil and bake again at 200°C for another 15-20 minutes or till done. Check after 10 minutes to see if any pieces are done (the wings may cook faster than the breast pieces) and remove if necessary.

To prepare the wedges:

• Peel the potatoes, cut into wedges (leave the skin on if you wish to) and parboil in salted boiling water for 8 minutes.
• Drain and allow to air dry.
• Preheat the oven to 180°C (fan forced). Line a tray with baking paper.
• In a bowl, mix the potato wedges with paprika, herbs and lightly season with salt (remember you cooked it in salted water). Drizzle a bit of oil and line the wedges on the tray without crowding too much.
• Roast in the oven for 15 minutes turning once in between or till golden brown and done.

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Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi)

The cookbook industry is growing at an exponential rate but truth be told, there are very few cookbooks that excite me, let alone make it a part of my collection.

But the minute I heard of the book, ‘The Bangala Table – Flavours and Recipes from Chettinad’, I knew I had to own this one. Two reasons; the first one being that Chettinad cuisine is one I admire and enjoy tremendously and the second, this one is real with a definitive glimpse and understanding into the food, culture and traditions of the region.

‘The Bangala Table – Flavours and Recipes from Chettinad’ - cookbook time - thespiceadventuress.com

 

For those who aren’t aware, Chettinad cuisine refers to the food of the Chettiars, residents of a small region in Tamil Nadu (a 600 square mile area which lies east of Madurai), southernmost state of India.

I love cookbooks that take me beyond food; it must transport me to the region, get beneath the superficialities and provide a glimpse of the life and culture of the people who eat this food. The Bangala Table is just that; I live and breathe the Chettinad air while I am reading and cooking from this book. A detailed book review will soon follow, so more about the book there.

There are plenty of restaurants serving Chettinad cuisine in India and abroad but very, very few get it right. Just as Indian cuisine is shrouded in the myth that it is spicy and fiery at all times, Chettinad cuisine enjoys its fair share of myths too, especially the ‘spice’ myth. But the truth cannot be far from that.

A delicacy that is famous from the region and that is religiously placed on every Chettinad themed restaurant’s menu is the ‘Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala’ or ‘Milagu Masala Kozhi’ in the native tongue.

Roasting spices - Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi) - thespiceadventuress.com

 

 

Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi) - Chettinad cooking at its best - thespiceadventuress.com

And after relishing the original, I can safely say that most of them get it wrong!

Like its name, this chicken dish is all about the peppercorns; the flavourful little dance that it plays on your taste buds yet imparting only subtle heat aptly balanced by the fennel, cumin, dry chilli and coriander, all infused into the succulent meat of the chicken.

The balance of flavours is the essence of this Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala. It is an easy dish to prepare but give it time to slow cook, which helps to draw out the flavours from the spices and aromatics and infuses into the chicken.

Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi) - Chettinad cooking at its best - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Ingredients:

1. 600 gms chicken, cut into 8 pieces
2. 2 medium ripe, red tomatoes, pureed
3. ¼ cup oil
4. 2 inch cinnamon bark
5. 2 green cardamom pods, lightly crushed
6. 1 ½ medium red onion, finely chopped
7. Salt, to season
8. Wet spice paste:

• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• 2 tsp black peppercorns
• 1 tsp cumin seeds
• 4 dry red chilli (round variety/Gundu Milagu preferred)
• 1 tsp coriander seeds
• ½ tsp turmeric powder
• 4 garlic cloves
• 1 inch ginger

Method:

1. Dry roast the fennel seeds, peppercorns, cumin seeds, dry red chillies and coriander seeds till fragrant; take care not to burn. Remove and cool.
2. Grind to a paste with turmeric powder, garlic and ginger; add a little water, just enough to make the wet paste. Keep aside.
3. Heat oil on high in a large kadai or wok; when the oil is hot enough but not smoking, add the cinnamon, cardamom and chopped onions. On medium heat, sauté the onions till light brown.
4. Add the tomato puree and sauté for another 2 minutes.
5. Add the prepared wet paste and mix well to combine, breaking up the lumps, if any. Saute on low heat for about 12 to 15 minutes till the masala comes together and you notice the oil separating at the sides of the pan. The masala would have considerably darkened by this stage.
6. Add the chicken pieces, season with salt and mix well to combine. Cook on medium heat for 2-3 minutes; then add 1 cup of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to deglaze and mix well so that the masala coats the chicken completely.
7. Bring to boil and then cook on low heat for about 20 minutes covered. Stir occasionally. Add more water only if necessary as chicken releases water of its own.
8. Uncover and continue to cook till the sauce has thickened well and coats the chicken pieces.
9. Serve hot.

Note – Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala pairs well with Indian flat breads but I recommend it with steamed rice, sambar (South Indian lentil stew) and a side of vegetables.

Chicken Chettinad Pepper Masala (Milagu Masala Kozhi) - Chettinad cooking at its best - thespiceadventuress.com

 

Chilli Chicken Bites

Yet again, food has opened my world to a whole new bunch of friends in Melbourne.

I have been part of a growing food group called ‘Chef at Large’ on Facebook for quite a while now. A couple of months ago, a bunch of us belonging to the group and residing in Melbourne decided to meet up for a coffee. And the only thing that we knew about each other – food makes our world go around!

And that friendship has blossomed over the months with regular meet-ups, coffees, pot lucks, family gatherings etc….

Our recent meet was a potluck party at a nearby farm where we had a whale of a time sampling each other’s dishes, rambling, laughing….all the good things of life. Apart from all the food and fun, we had also decided to swap an ingredient each and come up with a recipe featuring the same.

I was given the round, dry red chillies, which are hugely popular in the South Indian region. Also known as ‘Gundu Milagu; these chillies are small and round with bright, shiny, deeply red skin. It is extensively used in the Chettinadu style of cooking apart from being used for tempering traditional Indian dishes like dals, sambar and rasam.

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Chillies are always looked upon as a source of heat and very rarely, as a source of flavour. When used in the right manner and the right quantities, you can enjoy the flavour profile of each chilli without making the dish fiery or hot. Today’s recipe, chilli chicken bites, is an example….

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Chilli chicken is a classic Indian starter but I decided to give it my own twist to make it appealing to all taste buds, especially as a snack for children.

The marinade used is a medley of red chillies, cumin, fenugreek, cloves and coriander along with aromatics like ginger and garlic. The chicken pieces can be marinated and frozen for upto a month which makes this dish a handy one when you have parties or gatherings. You could also freeze this in small portions and use in lunch box recipes like I do. Sandwiches, wraps, snacks…..my son loves the chilli chicken bites in his lunch box.

So, here’s the recipe for chilli chicken bites – a classic example of why you should love chillies!

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Ingredients:

1. 1 kg, chicken thigh (boneless); cut into bite sized pieces
2. 5-6 dry red chilli, soaked in warm water for 15 minutes (it will not be spicy, trust me)
3. 5 garlic cloves
4. 1 inch ginger root, peeled
5. ½ tsp cumin seeds
6. ½ tsp fenugreek seeds
7. 5 cloves
8. 1 tsp coriander seeds
9. Salt, to taste
10. 3-4 cups Panko breadcrumbs, for coating (use ordinary breadcrumbs if you wish to)
11. Vegetable oil, for frying

Pssst….if you live in Australia, then these chillies are available in Indian stores which specifically sell South Indian or Srilankan ingredients.

Method:

1. Wash and drain the chicken pieces well; keep aside.
2. Soak the chillies in warm water for at least 15 minutes.
3. Dry roast cumin, fenugreek, cloves and coriander seeds.
4. Grind the roasted spices and the softened chillies with a bit of water into a paste.
5. Add the paste to the chicken pieces, season with salt and mix well to combine.
6. Marinate for at least 3-4 hours, more if possible. If you want to freeze for later use, do it at this stage.
7. Heat oil in a deep pan to fry the chicken pieces.
8. Coat each chicken piece in the Panko crumbs and fry till golden brown. Drain on a kitchen paper.
9. Serve hot with dip of choice.

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Louisiana Chicken Pasta

I got introduced to pastas very late in life, somewhere in my late-20s but when I did, I was hooked for life.

At that time, the pasta dishes used to be quite rudimentary in the Indian culinary scene. Apart from a handful of five star speciality restaurants, most places sold either pasta in white sauce or red tomato sauce. While it was comforting, there wasn’t much variety to choose from.

I learnt my first basic white sauce recipe from a colleague and I still remember vividly the thrill it gave me when I had mastered it at home. After that, pastas became a pretty common feature in our household especially after my little one was born. Children love pasta, don’t they!

But once I started making pasta dishes at home, I wanted to venture out beyond these two sauces. I started reading and researching more on Italian cuisine and it was a surprise to discover the sheer variety of pasta dishes available.

The real experimentation with pasta recipes happened after arriving in Australia especially with the abundance of ingredients and produce here. I have learnt many classic ones and also experimented and created some wacky ones; you can find it all here.

Today’s pasta dish, Louisiana chicken pasta, is not my creation but one I found on a fellow blogger’s site. Apparently, this is an Americanized version made famous by The Cheesecake Factory. What instantly captured my attention was the versatility of this recipe. You can use the Cajun sauce and come up with other pasta recipes of your own or you can use the fried chicken in many other ways; as a starter, in subs etc….

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Louisiana chicken pasta incorporates all the flavours we enjoy as a family – creamy, luscious, rich sauce with the aroma and flavours of the Cajun seasoning wafting through tossed through perfectly cooked penne and topped with succulent, fried Cajun spiced chicken pieces. And yes, a generous grating of Parmesan to transport you to culinary heaven.

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And before we head over to the recipe, I want to share with all of you that I have been nominated for the Indian Food Blogger Awards under the General Food Blog Category. To proceed to the next step, I need to garner as much as votes as possible. So if you think I deserve this chance, then please visit this page, to vote for me (check my blog name under General food blog category). Thank you.

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Recipe Courtesy – Savory and Sweet Food


Ingredients:

1. Cajun Sauce

• 1 Tbsp butter
• 1 Tbsp olive oil
• 1 small bell pepper, chopped ( you can mix red green and yellow)
• ½ small onion, chopped
• 3 whole garlic cloves, minced
• 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
• 1 ½ cups heavy cream
• 1 ½ tsp Cajun spice or Creole seasoning
• ½ cup low sodium chicken broth
2. 2 Tbsp fresh basil or parsley
3. ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
4. Salt, to season
5. freshly ground black pepper, to season
6. 250g Fusili
7. Chilli flakes (optional), for garnish
8. Chicken

• 300 gm or 2 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into big cubes
• 1 ½ tsp Cajun spice
• ¾ cup breadcrumbs
• 1 Tbsp flour
• ½ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
• ½ cup milk
• 4 Tbsp vegetable oil

Method:

For Cajun Sauce:

• Melt butter and olive oil in large pan over medium heat.
• Add the peppers, and onion to same pan, until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes.
• Add garlic and crushed red pepper to pan and sauté 3 minutes.
• Add cream and chicken stock and mix in the Cajun spice blend.
• Simmer until sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes.
• Add basil and Parmesan cheese to sauce, stirring to incorporate.
• Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to low, and simmer till the sauce thickens.


For the chicken:

• Marinate chicken pieces with Cajun seasoning and leave for 30 minutes.
• Mix breadcrumbs, flour, and Parmesan cheese together.
• Place milk in dish for dipping.
• Dip chicken in breadcrumb mixture and then in milk and then back in breadcrumbs.
• Heat oil in a pan, fry the chicken pieces till golden brown and keep aside.


For the final dish:

• Cook the fusili in large pot of boiling salted water and drain.
• Add sauce and toss to coat.
• Place pasta with sauce on plate, sprinkle chilli flakes and top with chicken breast.
• Serve hot and tuck in!

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Stir Fried Chicken with Lime Leaves and Garlic – Guest post for Something is Cooking

Asian stir fries are really simple to prepare, quick and perfect for weekday dinners. Most people tend to overload stir fries with many ingredients which actually detract from the main flavour of the dish. For a good stir fry, you must use only a handful of ingredients and let the flavours shine through.

This chicken stir fry recipe featured in Adam Liaw’s cookbook, Asian after work, is perfect for those rushed weekdays when cooking really becomes a chore. You can even marinate the chicken and freeze it over the weekend which enables you to dish up this stir fry in under 15 minutes.

Stir Fried Chicken with Lime Leaves and Garlic - thespiceadventuress.com

The marinade incorporates classic Asian flavours – salty, sweet and nutty. The crispy texture and the citrusy notes from the lime leaves work well with the smokiness of garlic lifting the flavours of the fried chicken – pair it with a simple vegetable fried rice and you have a true Asian meal in no time at all.

Stir Fried Chicken with Lime Leaves and Garlic - thespiceadventuress.com

Today’s recipe is a guest post for Shalzz of Something’s Cooking. I have known Shalzz for over a year now…and what I like best about her is the joie de vivre she brings to every conversation. An army wife with a career in IT, she has a very balanced approach to life which enables her to touch base with her love for writing and cooking.

Shalzz loves Asian flavours so this one’s for you dear…stir fried chicken with lime leaves and garlic.

Ingredients:

1. 4 boneless chicken thighs, cut into thin strips
2. 8 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3. 10 kaffir lime leaves, veins removed and shredded
Read more

Stir Fried Chicken with Lime Leaves and Garlic - thespiceadventuress.com

Bhuna Murgh (or…Chicken wings marinated with spices and cooked in a rich, dark, aromatic gravy)

Cooking is a form of self-discovery for me. Every time I prepare a dish, even if it is something that I have made innumerable number of times, I try to find a piece of me within the dish, a memory, a friend, a conversation, anything that allows me to form a personal bond with the food I am making.

Over time, this is how I realized that cooking or food is not just a passion I have, it allows me to explore my personality in deeper ways than I thought possible. It allows me to reflect on the goods and bads in me, people and relationships in my life etc… It allows me to cherish what I have and gives me the strength to let go of the negatives. In short, food allows me to experience and understand ‘the real me’.

Ever since the inception of this blog, food has become more than just cooking and eating. It has fuelled my love for travel. Today, I take time to research, read and understand the history behind a dish, the region that a particular food comes from, the cultural practices of the land where the dish originated, the farmers who bring us the food…..in short; I seek the story behind each dish or recipe.

It is the same with today’s dish…Bhuna Murgh.

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The term ‘Bhuna’ refers to a cooking technique in which a medley of spices are roasted and gently fried in oil along with the protein or vegetable and then cooked in its own juices. Traditionally, the technique was used for preparing meats but today, it has extended to all kinds of ingredients. The slow frying of the spices brings out the oils which flavours the whole dish.

There is a small town called Bhuna in the state of Haryana (North India) but not sure if the dish could have originated there. If any of you know more on this, do write and let me know.

Often a dry dish, it is traditionally prepared in metal pans with lots of stirring involved which really draws out the flavour from the spices. My version is a slightly quicker one more suitable to present day households. I used the Indian pressure cooker to flash cook the chicken till 70% done and then opened it and cooked on slow heat for the gravy to thicken up and coat the pieces well. Alternately, you can use the slow cooking method alone.

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Instead of boneless chicken pieces, I have used chicken wings for this recipe – a cut that is so much more affordable and has a lot more flavour in my opinion.

So here’s the recipe for Bhuna Murgh – chicken wings marinated in a medley of flavourful spices and then cooked in its own juices with a bit of tangy yoghurt and plenty of aromatics; rich, dark and delicious!

Recipe adapted from Bong Kitchens

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Ingredients:

1. Bhuna spice blend:
• 6-7 whole dry red chillies
• 3 tbsp whole coriander seeds
• 6 cloves
• 2 tsp cumin seeds
• 2 black cardamom pods, cracked open
• 1 tsp black peppercorns
• 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
• 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
• 1 inch cinnamon stick

2. 1 kg, chicken wings – trimmed, cleaned and drained
3. Vegetable oil
4. Salt, to season
5. 1 cup red onion, finely chopped
6. 5 garlic cloves, freshly grated
7. 2 inch ginger, freshly grated
8. 2 bay leaves
9. ¾ th cup plain beaten yoghurt
10. Chopped coriander/cilantro leaves, for garnish

Method:

1. To prepare the spice blend, dry roast the whole spices on low heat till you get the aroma (remember, if it smells acrid, it is burnt). Spread on a parchment paper to cool; do not leave the spices in the pan to cool as it continues to roast in the residual heat. Pound in a mortar and pestle or grinder and then add the powdered spices to complete the blend.
2. Clean the chicken wings and pat dry. Take half of the prepared spice blend and add to the wings along with 1 tbsp oil and salt to season. Rub well into the chicken pieces and leave for at least 1 hour or longer if time allows.
3. Mix the remaining spice blend into yoghurt, beat well and keep aside.
4. Place the pressure cooker or a wide, deep pan on medium heat and add 3-4 tbsp oil; brown or sear the chicken wings in batches and keep aside.
5. If necessary, add 1-2 tbsp oil, add the bay leaves and then sauté the chopped onions along with garlic and ginger till light brown.
6. Turn to low heat and add the beaten yoghurt mixed with the spice blend; stir continuously to avoid the curds from splitting and cook on low heat till you notice oil clearing and the mixture turning deeper in colour.
7. Add the chicken wings, season with salt if necessary and cook for 1 whistle. If using a pan, add the wings and cook till 75% done.
8. Open the lid and cook uncovered till the gravy thickens up and coats the chicken pieces well.
9. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
10. Serve hot.

collage

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Braised Chicken with Baby Spinach and Pine Nuts

All those who have been following this season of Masterchef Australia would know that the ‘Marco Pierre White’ week has just ended. Wow! What an experience it was watching the man himself.

Marco is a legend in the culinary world; often referred to as the Godfather of Modern Cuisine. But it was his wisdom, humility and greatness of character that touched me the most. There were many remarkable and wise one-liners or rather life-lessons that he gave the contestants during the entire week, some of which are truly inspiring and also that I have adopted or want to practice in my own personal life.

‘Never hide your tears’ – One of the most important lessons of life that I have picked up in my journey so far. All through my childhood, teens and early 20s, I tried excessively to hide my true feelings and put on a brave front for others’ sake. Even when I was down in the dump, I put on a brave smile and acted as if I am perfectly fine. There are many who called it ‘strength of character’ but I do not believe so. Today, much wiser, I would say it is better to let your family, friends and the larger world know your feelings. You don’t have to be a burden but neither do you have to be perfect. Just be human and let the tears show when it truly flows…

‘When you are down on the ground, stay there as long as you need but never let anyone else pick you up. Get up yourself!’ – If someone had told me this line 5 years back, I would have scoffed and made an excuse saying, it is easy to talk. But today, I totally stand by it. You become stronger when you get up yourself and then you won’t fall back to the ground, at least not for the same reason.

‘Success comes from arrogance but greatness comes from humility’ – And the line that sums it all. Humility and humbleness – the two traits that makes a person truly great. It is not an easy task, one that I struggle by. But also one that I try to practice every single day because at the end of my time here, I want to be remembered as a good person and not as a successful person.

Well, time to get back to today’s dish – braised chicken with spinach and pine nuts. Classic Meditteranean flavours!

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What I loved most about this dish was the lightness and simplicity. It is an extremely easy dish to prepare and perfect for this season. The chicken pieces are juicy and succulent, the spinach not just adds flavour but increases the health quotient too, the pine nuts a bit of crunch texture and nutty flavour and finally the broth – indulgent, warm, comforting and packed with flavour.

Recipe Courtesy – Adapted from the Coles food magazine

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Ingredients:

1. 1 whole chicken – cut into 10 pieces
2. Olive oil – 2-3 tbsp
3. Red/brown onion – 1, finely sliced
4. Garlic – 3 cloves, crushed
5. Dried chilli flakes – 1 tbsp (I like the heat! But do adjust according to your preference)
6. Ripe red tomatoes – 2, diced
7. Chicken stock – 1 cup (I used homemade but you can use any type)
8. Saffron threads – a pinch
9. Cinnamon – 1 stick
10. Lemon peel – 1 tbsp
11. Baby spinach leaves – 100 gm
12. Pine nuts – 2-3 tbsp
13. Salt – to season

Method:

• Cut the chicken into pieces, wash and drain well.
• Heat oil in a pan and brown the chicken pieces on high heat in batches; keep aside.
• If necessary, add more oil and add the sliced onions to the same pan. Saute till golden brown.
• Add garlic, chilli flakes and stir through for another 30 seconds. Then add the tomatoes and cook till soft and pulpy.
• Add the stock, saffron, cinnamon and lemon peel; then add the chicken pieces and bring to boil. Season with salt if necessary.
• Turn down the heat and simmer for 45 minutes or till the chicken pieces are soft and tender.
• Meanwhile, toast the pine nuts and keep aside. (Take care to keep on low heat as these burn easily).
• Once the chicken is done, add the washed spinach leaves and stir through for another one minute and take off heat.
• Check seasoning and garnish with toasted pine nuts.
• Tuck in!

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Grilled Chicken Wings – a Super Bowl Classic

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Don’t get me wrong – I am not a football enthusiast. In fact, I am not an enthusiast as far as any kind of sports or games go. My idea of a game is still Monopoly!

And if you are like me, go ahead and Google ‘Super bowl’ (psst, I won’t tell anybody)

Having said that, being a part of the food blogosphere, I couldn’t help knowing this entire genre of food that has come to be called ‘Super bowl food’. All kinds of finger food, especially spicy, meaty ones find its place here. And being a hardcore American genre, chicken wings seem to feature right on top of the list.

Now, there can’t be too many recipes for chicken wings right! This is my version – which is as sweet, sticky, spicy and delicious as all the other zillions of recipes out there. I grilled the chicken wings in an oven instead of a barbeque (I still don’t own a barbie!) and so this recipe will help all those who don’t have one either.

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Grilled chicken wings – sweet, spicy, sticky, finger-licking good!

Ingredients:

1. Chicken wings (didn’t chop down into smaller bits) – 1 kg
2. Tomato sauce/passata – 2 tbsp
3. Red chilli sauce – 2 tbsp
4. Soya sauce – 2 tbsp
5. Honey – 2 tbsp
6. Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
7. Salt – to season
8. Ginger paste – 1 tsp
9. Garlic paste – 1 tsp
10. Olive oil – enough to make a gooey marinade.

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Method:

• Make a marinade using ingredients 2-10. Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly. Some like it sweet while others like it spicy.
• Pour the marinade over the chicken wings, rub well all over and keep for as long as you can. Overnight will be great but keep for at least 1 hour.
• Heat oven to 200°C and place wings on the grill. Cook till the wings are done (takes approximately 45 minutes but this varies, so keep checking). Baste the chicken wings with the remaining marinade at least twice during grilling.

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Do you have a favourite chicken wings recipe?

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