Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A twist in the chicken ~ Methi Chicken

how to cook methi chicken

I and my husband are obsessed over chicken. Be it smoked, baked, fried, it and we like it. But more than anything I like the spicy chicken with Indian masalas. With other things may be the stomach will be full but the mind is never satisfied!!! My cookery lessons started with dahi chicken and then as I went on I saw that I can bend the rules to get a complete new dish. Add the tomatoes its one dish. Exclude them and that will be some other, add the green paste made of coriander and mint leaves and it will be green chicken, saute the whole thing in butter and it will be something else, add only dahi with poppy seeds and it will be rezala!!! There are so much to explore. So the new dish that I discovered is the Methi Chicken!!! And omg its tasty as hell. With a sweet and tangy taste from the tomatoes and a little bitterness from the methy leaves and the buttery soft gravy made from the yogurt with oil oozing out from the chicken pieces makes it a dish worth eying and then gobbling!!!! He He!!!!
We don't get methi leaves like India. But last month when I went to the Indian Market imagine my excitement when I searched for the methi leaves and there it was.. only one packet waiting to be grabbed by me!!! It was not fresh leaves but dried leaves. But whatever, they were methi and I decided then and there that I have finalized my diner menu and that is the Methi Chicken!!! Turned out be a real show stopper. Serve hot, paired with chapatis or steaming rice and devour in the ultimate rich delicacy.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Kesar Pista Kulfi

how to make Kesar Pista Kulfi

Kolkata is burning under the sizzling ray of the sun now. My friends, and cousins are all so full of complains against the much no-needed show off of the sun!!! This just reminded me what I used to do when I was in Kolkata. I used to dig up every chilled food or dessert or smoothies in the house and not to mention buy and savor lots of ice creams!!! And there was always one dessert come ice cream I used to love is this Kesar Pista Kulfi. There was a sweet shop in Hatibagan where I used to go and eat them. And they came in for just 30bucks!!!  In a glass bowl a big kulfi served with faluda and rose syrup seemed like heaven whenever each bite melted under the tongue and tortured the senses with its exquisite taste and flavor!! So last week I decided to make Kesar Pista Kulfi adjusting the seasoning to make it exactly like the shop made!!! The basic recipe I followed is of Sanjeev Kapoor, but I adjusted according to my preference!!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

My first nude wedges

 Last Sunday we went to Bassam Beach. Its an one hour drive from Abidjan. We started very late. It was almost 9'o clock when we sat in the car to go to Bassam. A lone road straight goes there from Abidjan. At the exit point of the city the road diverges, and one part goes to the airport. Then it diverges again and this time the other part goes to another beach called Asundi.

 The roads are good and along the road there are lots of shops selling handcrafted decorating goods. There were furnitures, wall mats, wooden wall stickers and vases and much more. We could see huts which are a little away from the roads but still visible. There are coconut trees along the road and it makes a beautiful view. A little away from all these there are constructions running to built cottages and buildings. Half done but still but the structures are extremely beautiful and modern.

It was very hot that day but then being a tropical region Abidjan is always very hot unless it rains. My husband enjoyed a lot. He seemed to be like a fish for a time to me. He swam in the swimming pool in the resort in which we checked in.

Then he went to the beach and jumped and swam and played like a 9 year old boy. And after that he came back with a tanned body and face. I laughed almost for 15 minutes looking at his reddened face. After that we had our lunch and came back home.

  In the lunch I ate "Avoca avec Cravette" and it was delicious. Its a starter and this again reminded me that how much delicious a simple food can be with just the combination of some good taste. It need not to be complicated, time consuming but still will look, smell and taste heavenly!!! I have nailed almost much of the recipe and will post here soon.

On our way we went to The Cash Center which has eventually become our grocery store and picked our stuff that we needed for the coming week. There my husband picked up a Canvas Show for himself and this nude wedges for me. I have always loved heels but I don't much like the idea of stiletto. I bought a stiletto for my wedding and then exchanged it with my sisters wedges!!! Lol!!!
But these nude wedges are a steal at the first look!!! I love the color, the bow at the toe and the slight golden lining that just adds a little jazz to it!!! Cute isn't it???

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Spicy Potato Stir Fry

 No matter what I cook or whatever be the menu "daal" is an unavoidable dish in my kitchen. And if I am cooking daal....then there has to be a side dish. I hate repeating dishes. It makes me kind of boring and taste starts being stale. Not everyday...but more often its something new that I try on. Sometimes I make a veggy curry, some times french fries, some days its mashed potato with a very spicy garlic paste. Some days ago I tried this spicy potato fry. As from the name you can understand that its not curry. Its a very dry sir fry and will go very well with daal. It requires a very small amount of oil and spices. But since the spices that I used are itself very much peppered I will advise that start with a small amount and then increase the seasoning according to your taste. And if you don't like it very spicy then you can always reduce the amount of green chilies.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The joy of baking

 When I was a kid I read a chapter in History about the Industrial Revolution in Britain. It lead to the division of labor. There were a lot of advantages in that but it had some disadvantages too. One of them that seemed to be illogical was that it deprived the labor from the joy of creation as he is not the only one who is finishing the work. And it took me to bake one good big chocolate creme cake to understand the meaning of " joy of creation". When I finished the layering and frosting of the cake I felt divine. All the hard work and the painful whisking seemed worthy when I looked at my soft, fluffy chocolate cak ecovered with shiny buttery frosting. I felt like a craftsman who has created something and was finally enjoying the divine feeling from staring at that little piece of work!!!!

For me baking is a lot lot tougher than cooking. It may be because I haven't made pastry ever before. So my first attempt was miserable. I made lots of mistakes. I completely ruined my whipped creme. And in hurry the mixing bowl fell from my hand and turned into pieces ruining my entire dish. Then I tried again and over whipped my creme and made butter out of it. But when I made the cake yesterday...I felt a lot better. I learned from my mistakes. And this is one of the advantages of self teaching method. You get to know your mistakes way before you succeed and you learn to undo them.
The cake I made is a basic chocolate cake. Nothing so fancy about it. This is my mother's recipe that I followed. And for the frosting I followed a video in you tube. Here I made mistakes too. I pour oil more than which was needed which made my cake way softer than its supposed to be and I broke it while getting out of the baking pan. So another thing I learned is that blindly following recipes does not help you in any way. Try to understand the recipe because every ingredient there has their own importance and significance and measurement. If you understand them then you can upgrade them according to your need and that's the way to make your own recipes. Change, experiment and create!!! Its a whole new world and the kitchen is your workshop. Go and reinvent yourself.
So the points that I have to remember the next time I try to make a pastry:

  • Pour oil in installment. That will make me pour the right amount and prevent the cake from being greasy.
  • Don't overwhip the creme. Be careful when it starts to set in.
  • Always use a pastry brush to brush the baking pan with oil. In that way you will not take much oil or butter.
  • Always ground the sugar before pouring it. It will make it more fine and frosting will be easier to make.
So thats it. These are the mistakes that I made and learned from them. What did you learn from your mistakes.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Radish Soup for the evening

 When in doubt I make soups!! They are the easiest to make. Boiling and seasoning. Those are what is the most important here. I know how to boil so what I need is the seasoning!! And it helps to eat a lot of veggies too!! Personally I don't like to eat vegetables at all. I never liked them as a child and I equally hate them even when I am adult. But I know that they are necessary in the diet so I always use a tasty way to eat them. Generally I give all the vegetables into the daal. Be it the lentils,the moog or the uraad daal. Another way of eating them is with soup. I always make soups with chicken stock because that gives the soup a good aroma and taste. Adding chicken depends on the preference.
This week I bought radishes. With some I made the famous Radish Kimchi, thoroughly following Mangchi and then I kept the rest of the radishes aside. When I was wondering that whether they are going to be rotten in the fridge or not I ran out of ideas of making evening snack. So Radish soup it was. I did not add any other veggies because it had to be light. I hate eating heavy dishes in the evening. And as usual I used chicken stock with a little chicken strips. It turned out to be simple and good. You can make it spicy by adding more of the seasonings but I like my soups to be mild and less spicy. I prefer them to be an appetizer rather than being the main dish itself.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sweaty afternoon, stormy evening with a twist of Avocado Smoothie

Abidjan has become smoking hot these days.We can see broad day light even when the clock says its half past 6!! The night sky is not coal black too...its more like a dark navy blue and the scorching heat starts hitting our window pane from nearly 5:45 A.M!! In short..I am totally pis**d off!!! I hate summer and more than anything I hate the heat. So I generally avoid any outing in the noon. But not everyday is going to be as you like ...some times there is a little bend in the road!! But that is another story!!
So yesterday was Sunday and husband hates to go out on Sunday!! Its his off he remains totally off throughout the day. Cuddling under the blanket, dozing off now and then, pampering the cat and watching movies. I watch movies too...and yesterday we were watching the old Spider Man movies and lost the track of time. Then we noticed that it was already evening and the sky has turned black. The atmosphere was becoming a little chilly and suddenly winds started blowing harshly. All the doors and windows of our flat was open and suddenly they all started slamming with horrible sounds. The situation turned a little ghostly for me. And I did not want to spend the time in kitchen alone making food to soothe my hungry stomach, and my husbands too. Yes...I am horrified at just the thought of ghost or spirits!! So what I did was what I could do in 5 minutes. I made this quick Avocado smoothie. Healthy, tasty and comes with full guaranty to quench your sudden urge of food!!!:)

Friday, April 11, 2014

Korean styled chicken noodle soup

 There are some excellent cooks on Youtube who not only just cooks and spreads recipes but also tempts and lures you to the extent that you will crave to prepare those dishes yourself. One of them is Mangchi. She is Korean and cooks some delicious Korean dishes on her channel. And they way she serves them and makes them look delicious that I have no option other than making them at home. I have tried some Kimchi recipes in my kitchen which I saw in her channel. Kimchis are Korean pickles made of vegetables. They mainly contain fish sauce and a large amount of hot chili flakes. They are very good in taste but I don't make them very often. Because its only me who eats hot spicy foods in home. Husband is a real mild eater.
I try to make dinner in a compact one main dish and one side dish and try to make them as less spicy as I can. This sometimes become a real hard task as I love eating chillies in everything. Whereas my husband is just the opposite. So soups make an excellent dinner anytime. So when I saw this chicken soup made with hand torn noodles I knew this one has has to be made.
Korean foods are generally very very little spicy and has a delicious flavor. And you will need some ingredients which are actually inevitable in making Korean dishes. They are fish sauce, sesame oil, sesame seeds and green onion or spring onion and for making a dish spicy mostly they use hot chili flakes and chili paste. The chili paste is a mixture of spicy, tangy, soury and a little salty taste. Making a Korean chili paste is very very complicated so its better to buy it from Asian Store.

The soup is very easy to make as is the seasoned torn chicken strips. And in this process I also learned to make noodles. Which is an yayyyy!!!! But it can always be replaced with market bought noodles as making it requires a lot of time and effort. As you can see from the pictures the soup looked restaurant styled and beautiful. And its needless to say that it was very mild and sooting and at the same time very very tasty.

The soup is served differently from the general soups. First goes the soup then in the middle the noodles, on top of that a little sauted and salted zucchini and on top of that seasoned chicken strips. The main advantage of this kind of serving is that you can taste everything separately as well as together and the flavors does not mix up with each other giving the effect of a complete meal. I prepared steamed egg as a side dish to this one. And both went very well together.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pizza, Chicken Tikka and lots more....

I have had a rough week. First the my husband took away my internet from home to office and then I was not feeling well for a few days. SO i actually had to go the whole week without t.v, without internet. All I did was reading, sleeping actually a lot of sleeping and cooking. I made various chicken dishes and Indian desserts. I made my way half through the book " The Kite Runner" and re-read an old Bengali short stories book by Sanjeet Chatterjee. One day what I actually did was only sleeping. Because we had dinner plans and had left overs for the lunch. So after bathing I slept until lunch then after lunch I slept again and woe up to find out that the diner plan was cancelled because of his work.
His cousin came to Abidjan for work for a week and stayed with us. He was also busy for his work but we always had breakfast, lunch and dinner together and that was the time we had our bengali "adda" filled with topics of politics, games, the upcoming election and of course household nuisance and my stumbling French that I am trying to work out with my maid.
Before he left we thought that we should go out aand have some fun as both of them were busy in their work thoughout the week. So on Sunday we went to Cap Sud and had a good semi break fast semi lunch. Because the time was so odd, it can not be termed as neither break fast nor lunch. There was a Debonair's outlet from which I ordered a spicy chicken pizza with lots of cheese on it and husband got himself a sweet and spicy chicken sub. My brother in law got himself a chicken tikka with french fries. The chicken tikkas were made of thin chicken breasts and had the exact Indian taste, only a little less spicy. But thats good. Of course we don't want to be all teary while munching when we still have a lot of work left!! The Debonair's pizza was a lot different from the Dominos or Pizza Hut pizza that I usually had in India. The bread was thin and very very tasted a lot better and there were a lot of chicken that I  could not find in Indian "branded" pizzas. So fully and finally I am more than just satisfied and happy with Debonair's Pizza. I also tasted the sub but I  have never been very fond of that so I did not eat much. But it was good too. Soft and sweet, sour and a little spicy. Perfect for my husband who does not want anything very chili. So thats it for today. I am going to buy a camera so that I can share with you the pics too. Going to buy this just wait for the picsy posts!! lol!!