McCormick Schwartz Flavour Challenge – Tawa Chicken Frankie Roll

In 2014, global flavour leader McCormick, parent company of leading herbs and spices brand Schwartz, is celebrating its 125th anniversary. The yearlong celebration kicks off with the launch of the 125th Anniversary Edition of the Flavour Forecast (a new, annual prediction of what ‘flavours’ will be most popular in the cooking world) and the Flavour of Together programme, with the goal of connecting people around the world as they share 1.25 million stories about the special role food and flavour plays in our lives through.

To inspire people to share their flavour stories and tell the blogger community about Flavour Forecast, McCormick challenged me and a few other lucky bloggers  to come up with a new recipe that is based on the Flavour Forecast trends :

1. Chillies Obsession: Food lovers everywhere are seeking out their next big chilli thrill.

2. Modern Masala: Indian food is finally having its moment, breaking free of its traditional confines with modern interpretations.

3. Clever Compact Cooking: Proving that big flavours can come from small spaces, cooks in urban kitchens are making the most of what’s available.

4. Mexican World Tour: Mexican flavours are making their way around the globe, with people everywhere discovering new aspects of this bright, casual cuisine.

5. Charmed by Brazil: The world’s attraction to Brazilian cuisine is heating up, thanks to its seductive mix of global and native influences.

I decide to take up Modern Masala as a flavour trend. Coming from India , using a complex mix of spices as part of our daily diet has always been a part of my life. The  beautiful large open fruit n vegetable  markets even in major cities are a visual treat and there is a lot of passion involved in say getting the right type of chilli powder. So I think my recipe is an amalgamation of these  two big flavour trends together – Chillies Obsession and Modern Masala and of course because I manage all my culinary experiments in my tiny urban kitchen which is the size of a postage stamp I am sure my recipe also covers the theme Clever Compact Cooking!

My most vivid memory of spices being sold loose is of this huge wholesale and retail market in an area called Parel , Mumbai in India.There are many tiny shops and vendors which hand carts with huge piles of spices , bright red chillies in jute sacks and mini yellow mountains of turmeric and ever imaginable spice being sold in the open.Of course with our modern industries being so well developed we always used masalas out of a packet but the sheer variety available locally in any small town in India is mind boggling.

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In London I trudge to my local Indian shop and bulk buy the packets and secretly wish I could get an unlimited supply of aai’s home made garam masala and red chilli powder where she carefully selects 2 types of chillies with varying degrees of heat and roasts them in a kadhai after they have been dried in the blistering hot afternoon sun! Then she takes it to a local mill where it is ground and packed into a large ceramic jar and then stored at home.

I have made a simplified version of Tibbs Frankie using boneless mutton and a variety of Schwartz spices which were sent to me.You could safely say that this fella ”Frankie” is a distant cousin of the Fajita and the Kathi Roll.How this Frankie came into being is also a very interesting story which I shall share in a few lines here.

”The year 1967 Mr. Amarjit Tibb on returning back from England had a stopover in Beirut. During his brief stop there he stumbled upon a very ingenious Lebanese preparation, which was a pita bread wrap, with a variety of stuffing’s, this fascinated him. Upon his return the idea still lingered on and he kept innovating it to suit the Indian palate, after a year of research along with his wife they hit upon the perfect concoction. This Indianised wrap was soon tried among friends and family and after testing brilliantly it hit the markets. That was a new era to the term fast food in Mumbai, it caught on like fire in the Jungle, people accepted it and kept asking for more.Now came the problem of naming the product, again a number of brainstorming became the order of the day till a unanimous decision on the name was taken i.e. Frankie”

This explosion of flavours in a handy easy to eat roll which was given a  modern food truck makeover is a gastronomic delight and is available in a large variety of stuffings both veg and non-veg.I have rather fond memories of my college days and spending my pocket money which was always in short supply on these spicy, tasty rolls with a bunch of friends giggling away and then gathering any loose change we had left amongst us to buy a bottle or two of some fizzy cola to quench our thirst. Alert : have been suddenly been hit by a huge wave of nostalgia 🙂

I have created what is my version of a tawa chicken roll (tawa meaning pan in Hindi), the original Tibbs frankie filling is a tangy spicy  taste which they attribute to a secret ”Frankie Masala” – humm , well I think I got pretty close 😉 – evil laugh follows 🙂  You can go crazy and creative with the fillings and use this recipe idea to use up meat from your sunday roast, try various different veg and non veg patties with meat and masalas rolled into boiled potato casing and shallow fried. Great way to use a lot of colorful veggies and create a stir fry filling too – the possibilities are endless.

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Image Courtesy :Hindustan Times

Serves: 2 (with 2 rolls each and leftover filling)

Preparation Time for roll:5 mins

Preparation & Cooking Time for the ”TAWA Chicken filling”:30 mins

Preparation & Cooking Time for the chutney:10 mins

Ingredients – ”Tawa Chicken” Filling:

  • 500 gms chicken breast
  • Schwartz Asafoetida – a tiny pinch
  • 2 heaped tsp Schwartz garam masala
  • Schwartz Onion salt as per taste
  • 1/2 tsp Schwartz Garlic Minced
  • 2 heaped tsp Schwartz Coriander Ground
  • 1 heaped tsp Schwartz Cumin Ground
  • Schwartz Red Chilli powder as per taste
  • Ginger fresh – about the size of your thumb
  • 2 medium sized red onions finely chopped
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 2 large juicy tomatoes chopped very fine
  • 1 large green chilli split lengthwise
  • 1 red pepper slit lengthwise
  • 3 large tablespoons of cooking oil

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Ingredients – for the Mint and Coriander Chutney:

  • 1 large bunch of fresh coriander
  • 1 small bunch of fresh mint leaves
  • 2 green chillies
  • juice of half a lime
  • salt to taste

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Ingredients – for filling :

  • 1 large red onion chopped lengthwise

Ingredients – for the paratha  coating:

  • 2 small sized eggs
  • salt for seasoning

Method for the Chicken Filling:

  • Heat a saucepan on medium heat and add the oil, when it is hot add the asafoetida, split green chilli and crushed bit if fresh ginger ,saute’ and add the garlic granules, when the garlic begins to give out a strong fried aroma its time to add the finely chopped red onion.
  • Cook the onion till it reduces and turns a delicious brown, then add the coriander and cumin powder and garam masala and mix well.
  • Then add the finely chopped tomato and add very little water and cook for 1 -2 minutes without lid , stirring frequently, so as to ensure the mixture does not stick to the saucepan. Now the spices have been thoroughly cooked along with the onion and tomato to make a thick gravy.
  • Now add the washed and cleaned chicken breasts after cutting them into long lengthwise strips , toss in the red pepper cut into lengthwise strips
  • Cook on a low flame with lid
  • Add onion salt to the mixture, red chilli powder and turmeric

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Method for the Mint and Coriander Chutney:

  • Wash the coriander and mint leaves and spritz them in a food processor with the green chilli chopped – to reduce the heat use 1 chilli de-seeded.Add the salt and lime juice and spritz once again.
  • A smooth thick green paste is the consistency we are after – add some water to adjust the consistency.
  • This chutney stores for upto 10 days in the freezer in a clean ,air tight jar – rarely lasts that much in my house though – love making Bombay sandwich for dinner ummm.

Method for coating the Paratha :

  • Crack the eggs in a bowl and beat with a fork ,add salt to taste
  • Using a plastic brush spread on the surface of a frozen ready to eat  paratha and place the eggy side down on a hot pan coated with some cooking oil.(Paratha – ready to eat Indian bread readily available in the World Food Frozen section)

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How to put the Frankie Roll together:

  • Once the paratha coated with egg has been cooked on both sides on a pan slather it with the mint and coriander chutney and add some red onion chopped lengthwise.
  • Add a generous helping of the chicken filling , roll and wrap one end with some kitchen foil or baking paper .Enjoy hot.
  • Dip into the chutney or tomato ketchup as you munch along.

After I received the samples and wrote up my flavour story, my left hand was operated on (unexpected rescheduling) – a minor but rather errrmmm painful surgery and I walk around most of the time with a sling (promptly remove it as soon as OH leaves home for work hehe) So I had a bit of a panic attack about getting this post up on time,I know I missed the deadline by a few days  😦

But am really grateful to the kind folks up at McCormick  for bearing with me.Also I would like to thank OH for patiently chopping and cutting all the fresh ingredients for me and helping me to click these lovely photographs – what would I do without you? Sighh…

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After I received the samples and wrote up my flavour story, my left hand was operated on (unexpected rescheduling) – a minor but rather errrmmm painful surgery and I walk around most of the time with a sling (promptly remove it as soon as OH leaves home for work hehe) So I had a bit of a panic attack about getting this post up on time and I missed the deadline 😦 But am really grateful to the kind folks up at McCormick  for bearing with me.Also I would like to thank OH for patiently chopping and cutting all the fresh ingredients for me and helping me to click these lovely photographs – what would I do without you? Sighh…

The company has pledged to donate $1 to United Way Worldwide and it’s UK partner Focus on Food, for every story shared on the Schwartz website, Facebook page or other social channels.

Disclaimer: I was sent samples of  Schwartz by McCormick to create a dish and write a review and was also sent a generous voucher to compensate me for the ingredients.I was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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Mushroom Omelette with French Cheese Fromagerie Lincet Chaource

Egg Omelettes are my ultimate delicious start for the day and on weekends if we wake early to have breakfast I like to do a huge omelette with salad ,toast and steaming hot cuppas of Masala Chai. Heaven !

My current favourite addition into a lot of salads,soups and omelettes are chestnut mushrooms so when I was sent the French Cheese Chaource produced by family-owned French dairy Fromagerie Lincet, I decided to make my own recipe for a fluffy, stuffed and thick cheesy egg omelette.

Family-owned French dairy Fromagerie Lincet has been producing cheeses typical of the Champagne and Burgundy regions for five generations. Rich,soft and creamy, the dairy’s Chaource AOP is great in omelettes ,risottos and tarts.Similar in texture to Brie and Camembert, Chaource AOP is creamier, richer and slightly acidic. With no artificial colours or flavours and 100% natural ingredients, it also benefits from PDO status.

Lincet is committed to its founding principles ‘flavour, natural ingredients and tradition, brought together to make good food’; using all-natural ingredients, traditional cheese-making methods  and milk from local farms.Lincet has upheld the tradition of ladle-moulding since its opening and the dairy’s cheese curdling technique is the oldest known for making cheese.Longer than usual (12 hours +), this is what gives Lincet cheeses a melting texture and distinctive slightly acidic, flavour

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Serves :2 Prep Time:5 minutes Cooking Time :5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized eggs
  • 1 small red onion finely chopped
  • 3-4 cherry tomatoes halved
  • 2-3 chestnut mushrooms chopped into bite size bits
  • Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes – if you don’t want heat avoid completely
  • Freshly CRacked Black Pepper
  • A generous portion of Chaource Cheese
  • Some fresh coriander chopped fine to garnish
  • a blog of butter for the pan(2 tsp)

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Method:

  • In a large bowl crack the eggs and add the chopped red onion,mushrooms,cherry tomatoes and chopped coriander and whisk well with a fork.
  • Then season with salt ,red chilli flakes (if you don’t want heat avoid completely) and pepper and whisk again with a fork.
  • Now add the cheese and mix thoroughly and whisk again to get the air circulating and make this omelette really fluffy and thick.
  • On a pan on medium heat melt about 2 tsp of butter and pour the egg and cheese mixture.
  • Cook for about 2-3 on one side and loosen edges with a spatula.
  • To watch the cheese bubble while it cooks is such a delight!

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  • Then with a light hand loosen the omlette with the spatula ensuring it isn’t stuck to the pan or it will break while tossing over.
  • Flip over and cook on the other side for under 2 minutes to get a beautiful light brown golden delicious colour.

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  • Serve hot with fresh cherry tomatoes or iceberg lettuce and warm toast and lots of Earl Grey,English Breakfast or my new fav Chamomile tea 🙂

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What I like about the Fromagerie Lincent Chaource is the goeey soft ,rich taste with woody undertones, it definitely gave a depth of flavour to my omelette and am now going to use the remaining in a risotto for a weeknight dinner.

It is available at:

  • Waitrose, Top Tier Chaource AOP Hugerot 250g, £4.49 Waitrose
  •  Tesco Finest Chaource 250g, £3.00 Tesco
  •  TTD Chaource AOP 250g, £3.30 Sainsbury’s

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Disclaimer: I was sent a sample of  Fromagerie Lincent Chaource to test in my kitchen and was not required to write a positive review and was not compensated monetarily for this post.Like all my previous posts about events and reviews, ALL opinions expressed here are entirely my own.

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2nd Feb'14 Omlette with Cheese Sample

Chicken and Red Lentil Stew – a complete ONE POT meal (Suran & Red Lentil Stew)

There are times when I really want a hearty meal but don’t have the energy to stand and cook an elaborate meal. Its a times like that I turn to One pot meals, served with a warm baguette it is a filling , healthy and easy and quick to meal option which NO compromise on taste whatsoever! Moreover its home made , has flavour and is a satisfying experience to make .

I had been meaning to try and cook a stew using red lentils (masoor – Marathi for red lentil )for some time , they are my most favourite lentils and I am ALWAYS stocked up on a large 2 kilo pack of dried red lentils split and without skin , from my local Indian grocery shop at Tooting called Dadu’s. Also since all the other fresh ingredients were procured from my local LIDL this dish is GREAT value for money too! Am totally in love with the FRESH fruits and vegetable selection at LIDL right now.I bought some bright red long crunchy sweet peppers, a pack of medium hot chillies, fresh chicken breast fillets, a very cute packet of garlic, mixed pack of cauliflower and broccoli florets and a packet of gorgeous looking Shallots.( I have always wondered why the lentils are called RED when clearly they are a  lovely light orange colour !)

I love inventing a recipe as I go along and when I got my vegetable tray out on Sunday morning I had all these lovely vegetables staring at me and I just threw in what I thought would taste good together and VOILA ! A Steaming hot , thick, wholesome and tasty chicken and red lentil broth was born.

I love having some baby potatoes in stock and they are always handy in a stew , besides being quite the self proclaimed ”queen of curries” I always am well stocked on Indian spices so bay leaves and cinnamon sticks aplenty in my kitchen larder – oh yes

Please don’t feel put off by the ingredient list , trust me they marry well together in the taste department and the end result is well worth your time and effort!

The biggest bonus of this stew recipe is that you can create your OWN vegetarian version by replacing the chicken with Quorn or if you don’t for some reason like or have never tried or have no access to Quorn then try replacing the chicken fillets with  Suran/Elephant Foot Yam, it can be chopped into big chunks and it takes up flavours very easily. But with the yam the cooking time drastically will reduce as it can go from just right and chewy to soft, goeey or totally disappear into the stew ! My aai (mum) always used suran as a meat replacement and marinated it well in the spices we would use for chicken or lamb and made a thick gravy dish with it, when I was younger she has managed to fool me many times over thinking it was mutton 🙂 – Aai I miss you and all the food you cook – sigh…. no India trip in sight anytime soon 😦

(Dangerous though it looks the elephant foot yam is very very tasty! )

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Cross Section:

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Above 2 Images Credit here

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Serves:4  Preparation Time: 10 minutes  Cooking time:35 minutes

Ingredients:

  • Red Lentils / Massor Dal -3/4th cup
  • Chicken breast mini fillets – 750gm / Comparable Quorn fillets
  • 5-6 baby potatoes
  • 6 shallots approx 200gm
  • 2 large sweet and crunchy pointed Red Peppers – approx 200gm
  • 2 short medium hot chillies
  • 2-3 bay leaves dry
  • red chilli flakes as per taste
  • sea slat as per taste
  • 1 veg stock pot
  • 3 dried red kashmir chillies
  • 1 large roll of cinnamon
  • 4 tbsp sunflower oil
  • handful of Broccoli and Cauliflower florets
  • 2 large tbsp of tomato puree or half of a large tomato finely chopped
  • Red chilli powder
  • Sugar 2 tsp

Method:

  • Wash and soak the red lentil in water to soften them so they cook more quickly then get on with all the other chopping and cutting prep’s.
  • Chop the shallots lengthwise.
  • In a large stew pot or huge saucepan heat the oil and add the bay leaves,cinnamon stick and dry red kashmiri chillies which I have a very big packet of and am trying to finish , they only add colour and no heat so if you don’t have these you can totally leave them out – no harm done here.
  • Now add red chilli powder and sugar and just when the sugar starts to caramelise add the shallots and shallow fry them till they reduce and begin to turn a lovely brown colour.
  • Now add the 2 large tbsp’s  of tomato puree or half of a large tomato finely chopped and stir till it mixes well with the shallots.
  • Add the roughly chopped long red peppers and baby potatoes and saute’ for 2 minutes.
  • Add the washed chicken fillets/suran (elephant yam), soaked red lentils with the water it was soaked in.
  • Add the washed and roughly chopped Broccoli and Cauliflower florets and now add enough water.
  • I did not measure the water I added but add enough to get a nice thick stew , while the ingredients are cooking together on a low flame ,feel free to top up with more water as the lentils easily soak up as much water as you feed it with. Having said that you don’t want to end up with a watery stew so don’t add more than 3/4th cup at one go.
  • Season with sea salt , I love MALDON SEA SALT which I use and I have a few packets ALWAYS stashed away, great n salads it is!
  • Then sprinkle red chilli flakes and gently place a veg stock cube on top on this lovely pot of goodness bubbling away. I prefer the KNORR veg stock cubes , they have a great bouquet of flavour and are very handy at times when am exhausted and need to quickly cook up something tasty!
  • Stir well, cover with a lid and cook on a medium flame.
  • The red lentil will froth as they cook not to worry simply stir now and then and mix well, don’t allow the stew to get too thick we want enough lovely gravy to slurp this stew and dip the baguette into!

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I was so hungry that I didn’t click any photos of my lovely fresh ingredients but it was a brilliantly sunny day yesterday and after this wholesome stew for lunch we had to really force ourselves to go and get some much needed fresh air at Morden Hall Park – I happily left my smartphone behind so photos to share but suffice to say that it was a gorgeous walk through the huge grounds and we saw many happy families ,happy couples and cute old folks and even happier kids and dogs romping around in the muddy park  fun! And because we were so good we treated ourselves to hot tea and a sandwich at a local Turkish Cafe 😉 hehehe

Am very happy and proud of this new original recipe creation from my experimental kitchen. Next time I make this stew I will smoke the sweet and crunchy long red peppers and peel off the skin , to add a deep smoky flavour to the stew and not have the skin floating around – double whammy I say 🙂

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Am linking this recipe to Made with Love Mondays hosted by Mark at his wonderful  blog called  CookinwLuv

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Egg Curry/Anda Curry/अण्डा कारी from my college days

Egg curry and soft paav or square buns are the most common hostel food that one can make with a saucepan,some eggs and a few basic ingredients.It is hugely popular as a filling,tasty curry and there are as many variations as the imagination, ones budget and availability of ingredients on a particular day will allow 🙂

This version is what I always make and is sort of derivative of what would be made in the North of India.I sometimes like to make it into a coastal flavoured one by adding fresh grated coconut but that’s only if I want to make it posh but that’s very, very rare. After all this is a quick ,save the evening sort of curry!

It’s National Curry Week and it’s wonderful to see how Britain has embraced an Indian food habit and made it, its own over the years, spinning off British Indian versions of popular Indian home cooked curries.

I wanted to start of my posts for National Curry week with this one because of how easy it is to make and a great recipe for students everywhere 🙂

Serves:2

Total Preparation Time :20 Minutes

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs and use the same proportion of 2 eggs per person to scale up (for very hungry fells the more the merrier 😉
  • 2 medium-sized red onion finely chopped
  • 2 medium-sized tomatoes
  • 2 tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp turmeric
  • 1 heaped tsp garam masala
  • 1 heaped tsp cumin powder
  • 1 heaped tsp coriander powder
  • 2 green chillies
  • 1 tsp ginger paste
  • fresh coriander to garnish
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • a pinch of asafoetida
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp olive oil – it’s easier on my conscience , use any oil or butter or ghee in dire straits!

Method:

  1. Boil the eggs in an open saucepan and leave aside to cool
  2. Roast the chopped red onion on a saucepan and spritz it in the mixer with the chopped tomatoes and green chillies.(If you want a coastal touch add 2 tbsp of fresh grated coconut in this mixture and puree it together,ensure to use atleast 3 finely chopped garlic in the pan as they set of the taste of fresh coconut beautifully)
  3. In a saucepan heat the oil and add a pinch of asafoetida,then add the chopped garlic and roast till it’s a light brown ,then add the ginger paste,turmeric,red chilli powder,garam masala,coriander and cumin powders.
  4.  Stir in the onion and tomato puree.
  5. Cook on a low flame for 2 minutes.
  6. Then add some water to make a gravy like consistency and ad the boiled, peeled eggs after cutting them in half, add salt and cook for a further 5 – 6 minutes.
  7. Serve with hot chapartis/naan bread,paav,soft fresh wholemeal bread or with steaming hot boiled white rice – to make the rice taste heavenly drop a blob of butter, the steam trapped in the grains of rice will melt the butter into a golden pool of gooey goodness – pour the egg curry into this and enjoy the best and simple pleasures of curry!

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Looking for a Curry Recipe? You might also like:

Hot and Spicy Lamb chops in Apple sauce

We all crave comfort food and at times the need is so great nothing else will do. Since I have been making variations of  rice dishes in the past few days I didn’t want to do anymore rice but wanted a light yet rich in taste and spicy one pot meal for dinner.

I also wanted to cook a savoury dish with red meat and use apples as an ingredient to enter the recipe competition for the best apple recipe hosted by Gourmandize Uk and Ireland and making a sweet preparation was not what I wanted at all.

Still taking a leaf from the sweet preparations from apple , I think cinnamon and apple go very well with each other. It’s these well paired fellas that can spice up even the most drab foods.

So I decided to get some lean lamb shanks and marinate them overnight in a hot Indian marinade.

I have tried to tone down the amount of spice here so as to cater to taste buds that don’t take kindly to overpowering spices and yes ”heat” in food shouldn’t mask the other subtle flavours should it? But if your palate is used to heat feel free to AMP you the volume 🙂 I have mentioned by how much the heat can go in the ingredient list to stay with acceptable levels of taste.

Serves:2

For the marinade:

  • 1 green chilli hot (2 green chillies if you handle spice well)
  • 1/2 a bunch of coriander
  • salt to taste
  • red chilli  powder 1 heaped tsp (2 -3 heaped tsp if you can handle the heat!)
  • freshly ground black pepper to dust onto the lamp chops

Wash and clean the lamb chops and marinate for atleast 2 hours, preferably overnight with salt,red chilli powder,black pepper freshly ground and a puree of half a bunch of coriander and one green chilli. Smear the chops well and cover the dish with plastic and leave in the fridge overnight for the flavours to really sink into the meat.

For the sauce

  • 2 cinnamon rolls, the light brown tightly curled ones, not the thick bark variety – more on the difference between the two in a different blog post!
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 1 apple sweet
  • half a juicy tomato
  • half a bunch of coriander
  • 1/2 red onion sliced lengthwise
  • 2 bunches of spring onions finely chopped

Method:

  • In a saucepan add 2 large tbsp of sunflower oil or vegetable oil, saute’ the finely chopped spring onions,red onion chopped lengthwise with the bay leaves, cinnamon sticks and cloves till the red onion turns pink and reduces.
  • Now add the half an apple chopped into bite sized chunks.
  • Saute’ on a low flame for about 1 min and then add a puree of half a bunch or coriander,half a tomato and half an apple.
  • Ensure you do not waste any of the purée and scoop out every last precious drop from the mixer by adding water and pour all of this into the saucepan,stir continuously and as it begins to bubble add the marinated lamb chops.
  • The tomato in the puree and the apple in the puree and the bits in the saucepan should all work to now offset the otherwise hot spices – red chilli powder,black pepper and cloves.

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  • Cook on a low flame for 25-30 minutes or until the lamb chops are cooked well,add just enough water to ensure the sauce is not going dry as we want a thick rich gravy and open the lid in between and give the whole thing a stir to ensure it does not go dry or stick to the saucepan.
  • You now have the most tender and well cooked lamb chops with a thick, well flavoured tasty green sauce.I loved biting into the bits of apple now then which had gone soft and yum during the process of cooking , what an absolute delight!

Serve with warm bread, better still smear some butter and top it off with some finely diced bits of garlic ,pop it in a pre-heated for about 5 minutes and it’s just so good to polish off that thick sauce after you have savoured the lamb ummm !

What I love about this dish is that the recipe is 100% original, it was deeply satisfying experimenting with flavours and reaching a successful outcome and because I cooked it for my birthday lunch for hubs n me it was rather special too. The powerful spice was beautifully balanced by the sweet apple and as they cooked with the meat they lent a unique richness of flavour. It is wonderful to see how we can marry polar opposites in flavours and create something unexpectedly delightful – an absolute pleasure for the taste buds.

Now all I need is a whole lot of luck to win the very coveted prize of a Kenwood Stand Mixer!

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Well the contest is now done, though I didn’t win * sad face* am happy I made something yummy and original 🙂

Upma/Uppet (उप्पीट)- a classic Indian breakfast recipe

In Marathi,my mother tongue we call this dish ”Uppit” and in the south of India its called Upma.

It’s a fluffy cooked breakfast made of roasted semolina and spices and can be customized by adding green peas and small carrot bits.I love eating this steaming hot garnished with a generous sprinkling of freshly chopped coriander and some finely grated fresh coconut – umm perfection, can almost feel a strong whaft of the aroma swirl around my nose as I sit here and type the recipe 😉

After Kande Pohe this has to be my number one favourite Indian breakfast option.Agreed there’s a lot of ingredients but there’s a lot of flavour too!

In Matunga area there are many good Udipi restaurants who do upma on their breakfast menu and it’s so good gobbling fresh hot upma and dowing a cuppa or tow of hot filter coffee before getting to work on a busy weekday morning in Mumbai city.It’s very filling and  budget friendly too:) All you need is some time before rushing for the daily commute to ensure you can squeeze yourself into the restaurant and sit on one of the long wooden benches with complete strangers and hope to god you don’t have coriander  stuck in between your front teeth if they smile at you  😉

Ingredients:

  1. 1 cup rava approx 100 grams
  2. 1/2 tsp urid dal
  3. 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  4. A pinch of asafoetida
  5. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  6. 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  7. 1 heaped tsp turmeric powder
  8. 1tsp red chilli powder, actually 1/2 a tsp for the ones who do not like their Indian food too spicy
  9. 1 tsp coriander powder
  10. 1 tsp cumin powder
  11. 2 green chillies chopped fine
  12. 5-6 fresh curry leaves
  13. 2 pods of garlic chopped fine or simply smash them and drop in the saucepan with skin on!
  14. 1/2 red onion finely chopped
  15. 1/4th of a juicy red tomato
  16. Salt as per taste
  17. Fresh coriander to garnish
  18. Fine grated fresh coconut

Method:

  • I usually roast the whole packet of 1 kilo of semolina I buy on a flat pan on a very low flame stirring constantly and then allow it to cool down completely and then store it in tins ready to use when I need to make this dish or the sweet version called Gooda Sheera/ Sooji Halwa which is a popular Maharastrian sweet dish and especially important during festivals as we serve it as Prasad to Lord Ganesh or during Satyanarayan Pooja.
  • In a saucepan add the oil and as it starts to heat, add the asafoetida,mustard cumin seeds and urid dal.The urid dal brown very quickly so stir this around a bit.
  • When the mustard seeds begin to pop add the curry leaves,green chillies and garlic and chopped red onion.
  • When the garlic begins to turn a toasty brown and the onion reduces add the tomato and give this mixture a proper stir.
  • Now add the turmeric,red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder  and salt and mix well
  • Then add double the amount of water as compared to the quantity of rava/semolina,cover the saucepan with a lid and let the water come to a boil.
  • If you wish to add green peas and carrots finely chopped for an extra burst of taste do it just when the water begins to boil and let it cook in the hot water.
  • Now slowly stir in the semolina ensuring that it does not form lumps.
  • Cover the saucepan with a lid and cook on a low flame for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally to prevent lumps forming or the mixture becoming too dry, if it is very lumpy sprinkle water and mix well.

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  • Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander and fresh grated coconut.

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I am just beginning to experiment with photos taken using my new 50mm f1.8 Cannon lens – A’s gift to me for my birthday this, I quite like the steady pattern of gifts starting with my first DSLR on last years birthday.Just need to figure ways to wiggle out other gifts *evil laugh follows* 😉

Spicy Mexican Chicken Wings with Gran Luchito’s New HOT sauce

I was sent this amazing new product from the Gran Luchito Kitchen – their new Salsa sauce and ever since I laid my eyes on it all I wanted to do was make some spicy chicken wings and enjoy them on a summer evening with some chilled beer.

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What I most love about this new HOT sauce from Gran Luchito is that it makes life so easy so if you want to make a quick ,tasty and easy starter dish and really impress your guests or you suddenly decide to take home the entire hungry gang you went for drinks with on a Friday evening(Egad!) this bottle of goodness is a going to be your life saver. It’s very versatile because I can think of so many ways to use this sauce. It’s also a great dip for that bag of tortilla chips which can do the rounds with some chilled beer or wine for your guests, or a lazy brunch on Sunday just make lots of wings to gr around for the family!It’s definitely my new spicy ketchup and will be a perfect pairing with a zillion foods!

Ok, so here’s a quick recipe for the Spicy Mexican Chicken Wings:

Serves: 2 – 3

Cooking Time: 15 minutes marination, on pan 10 – 15 minutes,chopping time 5 minutes.

Ingredients:

  1. Grand Luchito’s HOT Sauce – 5 heaped tbsp
  2. 8 chicken wings
  3. 1/2 medium sized red onion sliced lenghtwise
  4. Half a lemon
  5. Smoked sea salt
  6. 2 large tbsp oil (I used refined sunflower)
  7. Smoked Sea salt
  8. Cumin powder 1 tbsp
  9. An entire garlic with all its pods sliced through.

Method:

If you ask me this is one for the barbecue but since I have no access to one and work off a tiny urban kitchen which is literally a single small platform I love using my pan with grids to get those grid lines on my meat and pretend am in the garden with a nice barbecue going,sighhh, oh yes and my smoked sea salt is my best ally , giving my food that wonderfully smokey aroma -oak smoked it is !

  • Wash the chicken wings and in a bowl and pour about 1/2 a tbsp oil on them,add the smoked sea salt,cumin powder and 2 tbsp of Gran Luchito HOT sauce.Rub well and cover and set aside for about 15 minutes

Marinating the wings in Gran Luchito's HOT sauce

  • On a pan with grids add the oil and allow it to heat till it starts to bubble slightly, add the chopped red onion and saute till it just begins to change colour,carefull to not brown them too much.
  • Now saute two heaped tbsps of the Gran Luchito HOT sauce on the pan.Stir for about a minute and then add the marinated chicken.Place the garlic face down allowing it to turn a delicious brown and release it’s magic kick into the onion and sauce mix and boost the flavour of the chicken.
  • Use tongs to turn when one side is properly browned and juicy but stir the sauce and onion sautee mixture which the chicken is sitting on not allowing it to stick to the pan or burn!
  • It should take about 10 -15 minutes to get to the right crispy and juicy stage for the chicken wings on a medium flame with this pan.(In case you need to do a large batch of chicken wings, scale up the ingredients proportionately and blanch the chicken wings in hot water for 5 – 7 minutes before marinating so that they are semi cooked , this way you can get them in batches on the pan and ready to serve, keep them warm by placing in a baking tray covered in foil – you could even keep bigger batches warm in a pre-heated oven if need be!)

The unique smoky taste of Gran Luchito with the sweetness of pineapple

I hope this product hits the shelves soon!To do this as quickly as possible Gran Luchito has  partnered with Crowd Funding Network We Are The Million to raise some investment and create jobs too.Help Spread the word by reading more about the campaign here.

Spicy Chicken Wings

Pomegranate Chicken Curry using Chobani Yogurt

For my next recipe using Chobani Yogurt, I made a spicy chicken curry  main dish, the curry can be made less spicy as per taste by reducing the quantity of red chilli powder and garam masala used.

I have used Chobani Pomegranate Yogurt as it lends a subtle but noticeable tangy twist on the palate.

Serves: 2

Prep Time: 35 minutes including the chopping and slaving bit

You will need:

  • 4 chicken breast fillets chopped into chunks which are curry pieces, yet not totally bite sized.
  • 2 large tablespoons Chobani Pomegranate yogurt
  • 1 large green chilli chopped into big pieces
  • 1 large red spicy red chilli chopped into big pieces
  • Salt to Taste
  • 1 tsp Turmeric powder
  • 2  heaped tsp red chilli powder
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala
  • A pinch of Pepper powder
  • 2 tbsp tamarind paste
  • 3 small red onions finely chopped
  • 1 heaped tsp fresh ginger garlic paste

Method:

  • Heat a sauce on a medium flame and add 2 large tablespoons of sunflower oil
  • Sautee the chopped onions and the ginger garlic paste till the onion changes colour
  • Then add the chicken pieces and reduce the flame , when the chicken changes colour reduce the flame to the bare minimum and stir in the Pomegranate favoured Chobani yogurt. Do this before the chicken begins to cook to run juices as at that stage the yogurt will not be able to lend it flavours to the cooked meat.
  • Then add in this order the red chilli powder, the chopped red and green chillies, the garam masala and the pepper powder, mix well and stir ,then add enough water for the chicken to cook and to allow for some thick gravy . Add just enough or else much will dilute the whole curry and make it will become one big mess- just in case it does, take a deep breath and add 2 small completely boiled or 1 medium-sized potato mashed well into the curry ,it will soak up the excess water but then one needs to adjust the salt and red chilli proportion as well.
  • Now add the salt and mix well. Adding salt before the rest of the ingredients somehow alters taste to a large extent. Cook the chicken on a low flame with lid on checking occasionally and stirring as well. Yes one needs to fawn over the pot like one would over a pesky but adorable toddler. Humm, well now this should cook fairly quickly, check by jabbing a piece of chicken with a blunt knife.
  • I choose to serve this Pomegranate Chicken with boiled basmati rice cooked with garden fresh green peas.
  • Serve with some red onion by the side and freshly chopped coriander (cilantro) for that fresh and tasty garnish.
  • Serving suggestion – serve with boiled basmati peas pilaf/pulav/poolav lightly flavoured with cinnamon and bay leaves – again made with just a tiny drop of oil to sautee the bay leaf and cumin seeds.So good ummm

Chobani Pomegranate

 

 

 

Pomegranate Chicken - Chobani

Jerk Chicken and Coconut Rice

The first time I ate jerk Chick was at a pop up Caribbean food stall near Haymarket Station, it was served with some tasty rice with red kidney beans and the most deliciously sweet plantain. Ever since I have been waiting to experiment and make this spicy chicken at home. Please resist the temptation of using a jerk sauce out of a bottle, it’s almost a crime because in the recipe I used from the BBC Good Food guide,it makes preparing the marinade a thing of joy. Not only will you learn how each ingredient lends its individual flavour but you van learn how to adjust the ”heat” in this amazing marinade. An advance warning, if you have sensitive skin PLEASE use gloves to marinate the chicken as Scotch Bonnet peppers are PACKED with heat. Ensure you THOROUGHLY wash your hands after you handle these ”hot babies” too! Humm now for the recipe, it’s essentially what was in the original but of course I have added my own touches and I think they make quite an impact 🙂 so read on folks. Prep Time: 45 minutes. Plus overnight marination for chicken in marinade Ingredients for Jerk Chicken:

  • 12 chicken thighs with bone
  • 1 big gralic sliced through the middle to go in the oven
  • 2 lemons halved to go in the baking tray
  • 1 pair of clean gloves if you have sensitive skin – to marinate the chicken

For the Jerk marinade:

  • 4 Garlic Cloves de-skinned
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 bunch fresh spring onion roughly chopped
  • 1 piece ginger size that fits inside your closed fist, washed,skinned and roughly chopped
  • 1 tbsp thyme – I had none so I used 1 tbsp of Mixed Italian herb powder
  • 3 scotch bonnet chillies, de-seeded if you cannot handle very spicy
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp oil – I used sunflower
  • 4 heaped tbsp brown sugar – I used dark muscovado sugar
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice powder
  • Juice of 1 lime

Method

  • Blitz all the ingredients for the marinade in the mixer/food processor/blender and make a thick paste, do not add water as far as possible to ensure a thick puree like grainy paste
  • wash and dekin the chicken thighs and make cuts using a knife
  • Then generously apply the marinade paste all over rubbing into the cuts made to ensure the flavour really seaps into the chicken.
  • Marinate overnight in the fridge.Cover vessel with cling film.
  • Keep about 2 tbsp marinade aside for adding in the baking tray.
  • When you are ready to prepare the chicken pre-heat the oven to 180 – 200 C , I have a fan oven.
  • Prepare the baking tray by greasing with some oil ,place the marinated chicken pieces and surround them with the lime slices and place the garlic halved.
  • Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes or until juices run clear.
  • When the chicken is in the oven start with the rice

Ingredients for the Coconut Rice with Peas:

  • 200g Basmati Rice
  • 400g Coconut Milk can
  • 1 bunch fresh spirng onion finely chopped
  • 2 large sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 2 large cloves of garlic skinned and chopped very fine
  • 1 tbsp ground allspice
  • 200g green peas

Method:

  • Wash the Basmati rice under cold running tap water
  • In a heavy bottomed vessel, add the washed rice and coconut milk, chopped spring onions,thyme,garlic chopped and all spice
  • Add 300ml water ,mix and add salt to season.
  • Cook with lid on a medium flame till water begins to boil
  • Stir with a wooden spatula and then add the green peas
  • Reduce flame and do not cover completely, leave a bit of space for the steam to pass.
  • Cook until done.

Jerk Chicken & Coconut Rice with Peas

All though the recipe I followed uses red kidney beans since I was already using them in my Caribbean Sweet Mini Pepper Salad , I choose green peas for my Coconut Rice. I made my own home made replacement for allspice powder too , it’s very easy and I intend to make it fresh each time I need instead of the store bought one, simply because its so quick and fun to make! Actually allspice is a spice by itself but it tastes similar to a mixture of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and pepper. According to an article I found about allspice on About.com: ”Allspice is a spice made from the dried berries of a plant known as Pimenta dioica. A member of the pimento family, allspice is used in Caribbean, Middle Eastern and Latin American cuisines, among others.  The flavor of allspice is similar to . Allspice can be used to flavor desserts as well as savory dishes.  Allspice can be used in ground form or whole. Whole allspice berries are sometimes used in pickling and brining.

Also Known As:

  • Jamaican pepper
  • Newspice ”

My Home made version of all-Spice Powder recipe is as follows:

Ingredients:

  • 1 heaped tbsp Cinnamon powder or if you have a cinnamon stick take one abt the half as tall as your thumb.
  • 1 small tbsp pepper powder
  • 1 heaped tbsp of cloves
  • 1 full nutmeg grated

Method:

  • In a pestle and mortar mix the ingredients and grate the nutmeg into it.
  • Then smash together to makes a grainy powder.
  • Some bits of the clove you may not be able to grind fine, I wouldn’t worry about it unless you want a fine powder then the smallest attachment on your mixer. I have an Indian mixer which I use for my coconut chutneys and it has 3 jars I used the one with 3 blades .Or else just use the pestle and mortar it should work.
  • Store away the remaining home made allspice replacement powder in a tiny air tight container.

A note about the brown sugar vs. dark muscovado sugar

Dark Muscovado sugar is the unrefined form of brown sugar ,its stickier ,heavier,has a longer shelf life than refined sugars and adds a more intense flavour to marinades and since it is stable at high temperatures is great for baking.If you do not have brown sugar its ok to replace it with dark Muscovado sugar. Although as the water content dark muscovado holds is higher one should accordingly taper the use of water in the recipe.

Brown sugar is white sugar and molasses and hence the colour and soft texture. It has the light and dark brown sugar varieties and the lighter it is the milder the flavour.

Muscovado,White & Light Brown Sugar

I am linking this post to the Flavours of the Caribbean event, run by Simply.Food and guest hosted by The Spicy Pear.

Sun Dried Tomato and Chilli Spiced Bread

It’s amazingly sunny this week and my spirits are up so I decided to make some  spiced bread with sun dried tomatoes and chilli, it turned out so yum I want to gobble it all up! This bread is a very filling,wholesome bread and is great for mopping up a thick gravy or having perfectly scrambled eggs with asparagus sprigs a dollop of butter – ah – sounds heavenly, my breakfast tomorrow for sure!

The oil from the sun dried tomatoes and the oil that goes in dough and really adds to the taste. It takes some kneading as I don’t own a bread maker (yet !) and didn’t really want to get into the hassle of trying the dough function on my food processor, still if you do possess one the bread bread dough tools, good for you!Recipe adaptation from here

Considering it was my first ever homemade bread, it turned out really nice, bursting with aroma and rich flavours and am now prepared to move on to well more bread making!

Ingredients:

  • 500 gm strong bread flour
  • 25 gm butter
  • Sun dried tomatoes and chillies about a large spoonfull
  • A sachet yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 280 ml water at room temperature
  • Plain white flour for kneading
  • Oil from the chillies and tomato
  • Oil to grease loaf tin
  • Cling Film

Method:

  • Sift the flour and add the yeast salt and sugar with a wooden spoon.
  • Ensure butter is soft and rub in the butter with your hands till the mix looks like breadcrumbs.
  • Add the finely chopped sun dried tomatoes and chillies and some of the oil and mix well.
  • Now add the water slowly, folding it using a wooden or plastic spatula and then knead to make the dough.Keep kneading till a soft dough forms, fold in some oil and plain flour as and when needed.It will take about 15 minutes, yes I know but its worth it!
  • While kneading use the same process as you would while kneading chapati/roti aata , kneading out from center and then folding sides back into the center.
  • Cover in cling film and coat with some more oil. Leave to rise for about 2 hours in  a warm and dry place.
  • Now remove the cling film and knead the risen dough again at least for 8-10 minutes, you will notice that the dough will loose air and will almost go back to its original size.Its like mini air pockets getting tiny punches with your hands.
  • Repeat the cling film process and leave to rise for 30 minutes in a loaf tin in a warm place.
  • Preheat oven to 210 degrees , I have a fan oven,bake for 25 minutes,to ensure it’s well risen.
  • Cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then on the wire rack.
  • Serve sliced and enjoy with curries as a great alternative to regular wholemeal bread or as I plan to tomorrow with soft, perfectly done runny scrambled eggs, thinly sliced ham and asparagus sauteed in butter!

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