Friday, October 13, 2017

Recipe : Nandini style Andhra Chilli Chicken

For our entire friend circle, Nandini in Bangalore is iconic for its Andhra Chilli Chicken served with Andhra Chicken Biryani. The biryani itself is quite mild, but the chilli chicken is absolute dynamite.

Thanks to a friend on one of the many facebook groups that I follow, I finally found a recipe that works brilliantly. All thanks to Rashmi Shenoy who shared her recipe on Konkani Amchi Food.
When I told my sister that I had found a recipe that was perfect, her first reaction was "Oh, so you won't be needing my courier services anymore!" Yes! That is how much we love this combination! When we lived anywhere else in India, this was what we would ask friends and family who were visiting from Bangalore to bring for us. The chilli chicken freezes well and can be reheated as you like.

I have made a few changes to Rashmi's recipe to adjust for flavours that I don't like (I don't use ajinomoto). She doesn't have a blog of her own, but you can see the original recipe from her, here.

This is a super spicy  recipe, so do not attempt unless you have a high spice tolerance.

Warning :
Better if you can keep your kitchen windows open and kitchen door closed.

Keep a box of tissues on hand. I think I used up about 20 before I was done cooking.

Do not, I repeat, DO NOT TOUCH your eyes while cooking!

I don't think, I've ever posted a warning before posting a recipe before.

Ingredients :
1kg Chicken with bones (curry cut is best, I found the legs and thighs too large for the flavours to permeate)
30-40 Green chillies - grind into coarse paste (yes, thirty to forty)
10-12 Green chillies slit or whole
2 tbsp Vinegar
1 tsp Soya sauce
1 tbsp lemon
Salt to taste
3-4 tbsp Cornflour
3-4 tbsp Water to make the cornflour paste.
2 tbsp Oil
2 tbsp Ghee

Tip : you can use garlic (10 cloves)& ginger 1" pieces while grinding green chillies.
I did it and enjoyed the flavour

Marinate the chicken with soya sauce, lemon juice & 1/2 tsp salt for 30 minutes.
Coarsely grind the green chillies (and ginger and garlic if using)

Heat a deep pan (for 1kg chicken, take a pan that can hold 2 kgs).
Add oil& ghee.
Once the ghee melts, add the whole / slit green chillies and fry for a minute till it turns white on the outside.
Now add the green chilli paste & fry well.
Protect your nose and eyes.

Once the oil separates from the sides, add the marinated chicken & fry for sometime.
Add a little water and let it cook for 20 minutes on low heat.
Adjust salt to taste.

Add the cornflour paste & vinegar.

The Andhra Chilli chicken is ready to be served with Nandini style Andhra chicken Biryani and Onion Raita

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Recipe : Nandini style Andhra Chicken Biryani

For our entire friend circle, Nandini in Bangalore is iconic for its Andhra Chilli Chicken served with Andhra Chicken Biryani. The biryani itself is quite mild, but the chilli chicken is absolute dynamite.

For those of us who moved away from the city, this was the holy grail of recipes that we have been searching for. We have all tried many versions and failed dismally, with spouses shaking their heads and saying "it just isn't there".

Well, it finally "is there" Thanks to a friend on one of the many facebook groups that I follow, I finally found a recipe that works brilliantly. All thanks to Rashmi Shenoy who shared her recipe on Konkani Amchi Food.

When I told my sister that I had found a recipe that was perfect, her first reaction was "Oh, so you won't be needing my courier services anymore!" Yes! That is how much we love this combination! When we lived anywhere else in India, this was what we would ask friends and family who were visiting from Bangalore to bring for us.

I have made a few changes to Rashmi's recipe to adjust for flavours that I don't like (star anise instead of mace, a little less ghee and I added eggs). She doesn't have a blog of her own, but you can see the original recipe from her, here.

The biryani itself is quite mild, so no worries on spice levels in this half of the recipe.

Ingredients :
1/2 kg chicken (smaller pieces better - curry cut)
1/2 cup Yogurt
3 small Onions sliced
6-7 Green chillies
4 Cloves
2" Cinnamon stick 2 x 1"
4 Cardamom 4
1 star anise / biryani flower
2 Bay leaves
1/2 tsp Pepper powder
1/2 cup Coriander leaves
1/2 cup Mint leaves (no stalks)
4 -5 cups Basmati rice (washed & soaked in water)
3-4 eggs hard boiled and skinned.
Salt to taste
2-3 tbsp Ghee

Heat ghee in presssure cooker, add the whole spices.
When they sputter, add sliced onions and let it turn golden brown .
Then add green chillies, coriander & mint leaves and fry for 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken pieces to this and cook for 5-6 minutes till chicken changes colour on the outside to white.

Add yogurt now with a little salt and mix well.
Use a wooden spoon, so you aren't breaking things up.

Drain & add the soaked rice, mix well and fry for a minute or two.
Add the boiled eggs.

Add hot water to the rice. (Rashmi advises using 1:1.5 ratio of rice: water, I eyeball it)
Check seasoning salt and pepper.

I cooked it in the pressure cooker, same as I would for any biryani. (this is a trick & measure of time and heat dependent on each pressure cooker and the kind of heating that you use.)

Rashmi says :
Trick here is to close the pressure cooker lid and not to put the whistle. Once the steam is out, place a steel glass on the nozzle and simmer the flame and cook for 15 minutes.

If you are using normal (not boiling water, same process but cook for 20 minutes.

Once done, carefully open the lid and mix the rice slowly.

This goes perfectly well with Andhra chilli chicken recipe

Optional garnish with coriander leaves and crisply fried sliced onions. As you can see in the first picture, I also served an onion raita on the side with the Andhra Chilli Chicken.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Recipe : Baked Corn on the Cob

Now, this may seem like a really easy recipe, so why have I turned it into a blog post?

Well, I absolutely love corn that is grilled on coals or a flame that is served all round India on the streets during the rainy season. When I had a gas stove in India, it was easy to roast corn on the flames. But that's not the case with the induction counter tops here. Also in our tiny London apartment, I don't have the option of Barbecueing it either and pressure cooker or boiling it, just doesn't give it the same flavour and texture as grilling or roasting it. So I thought that if I can char brinjal/aubergine in the oven, why not try it with the corn?

This is what worked for me.

Some freshly grilled corn on the cob (in the oven) even on a rainy day.

These went into a pre heated fan oven at 180C (for regular ovens 190C) for 30 minutes with the skins on.

If you just pop it in a regular oven with everything on, its much easier to clean after it's cooked and keeps all the moisture trapped inside. It doesn't give you the charred effect though.

If you want a charred effect, then you need to clean it up after baking and pop it under the grill for a few minutes after cooking.

Peeled and drizzled with a lemon juice + chilli powder + salt dressing. So, so good!

Friday, May 12, 2017

Recipe : Purple Sprouting Broccoli Salad

A couple of weeks ago, I was at a book launch for Thomasina Miers latest cookbook - "Home Cook", where she served us a lovely sprouting broccoli on sourdough toast.

When we visited Osterley Park, I found some fresh purple sprouting broccoli at the farmers stand and I had to buy them and cook them immediately.

This salad is inspired by Thomasina Miers recipe from her cookbook, with my own twist on it.

1 bunch purple sprouting broccoli (will work with regular broccoli too)
1 handful shelled & halved walnuts
1-6 cloves of garlic finely sliced (depending on how much you like garlic, I used 6)
1/2 tsp olive oil (to fry, not extra virgin)
lemon juice to taste
pomegranate molasses to taste (balsamic vinegar will work as a substitute)
chilli oil to taste (or any other flavoured oil)
cheese to garnish (optional) - goats cheese or anything creamy combines beautifully

Lightly roast the walnuts in a pan and keep aside.
Warm the olive oil in the pan, and add the sliced garlic.
As the garlic begins to brown, add the broccoli.
When cooked to your satisfaction (I like it crunchy without the raw smell), take it off the heat.
Toss with the toasted walnuts.

Put it in a serving bowl.
Drizzle lightly with lemon juice, pomegranate molasses and chilli oil.
Garnish with cheese if you like.

Eat as is or on toasted bread.

If the broccoli isn't tender, halve the mature stems away from the heads and cook those first before adding the broccoli heads, so that everything is evenly cooked.

Thomasina Miers at the Book Discussion:

The Broccoli on Sourdough Bread that she served (pardon the terrible picture, but it was difficult to get a good shot in the crowd)

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Recipe : Indian Style Spicy Scotch Eggs - Nargisi Kofta

Scotch Eggs are a great way of using up leftover mince and they are very yummy too. I don't have any post-frying pictures, as they disappeared so quickly!

These ones were made with leftover low fat pork mince

I made this minced meat recipe of mine without the tomatoes or the peas. But you can use any recipe you like.

Take the leftover mince and potatoes and grind it in the food processor (add water if it isn't grinding & then later slow cook on a low flame to dry it out to the right consistency)

Add fresh coriander leaves and fresh chilli chopped.

You can fry these as it is for cutlets.
Deep fry them as meat balls and use in your favourite pasta sauce or Indian curry.

But to make Nargisi Koftas:

Boil eggs, cool, peel and dry completely before encasing it in the mince.

I sliced the eggs in half before covering with mince, but you can make them whole and slice before serving if you prefer

Dip in beaten egg & coat with rawa/semolina (optional - makes it crispy) and fry on a low flame with a little oil (they can also be deep fried)

I make this with beef, chicken or lean pork mince.

They get gobbled up so quickly.

You can even stuff them in burger buns or pita breads for a more filling meal.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Recipe : Potato & Comte Savoury Tart / Pie

Tesco has a range called #TescoFinest in which they package some of the best food under their own brand name. I had a chance to #TryForLess, some of their cheese from the Tesco Finest Range and I decided to go for a Comte Cheese.

Comte is a French full fat hard cooked cheese made with unpasteurised cow's milk, traditionally made and matured in the Jura region. Since I had never tasted it before, I though this would be a wonderful opportunity.

But once it arrived home, I was stumped - "What should I cook with it?" Fortunately Tesco on Twitter came to the rescue and directed me towards a Potato and comté savoury tart recipe.

The recipe looked interesting enough, but I wanted to add more flavour and a bit of meat to it, so I made a few changes. The original recipe is vegetarian. I added some pancetta for flavour and meatiness, but this recipe can be made without it.

There's a bit of an eggwash used to seal the pastry, but there isn't much liquid in this recipe, so you can skip the egg if you want to turn it completely vegetarian or vegan.

Ingredients :
200g Tesco Lighter ready rolled shortcrust pastry (or make at home)
a little plain flour (maida), for dusting
1 egg yolk, beaten (I added the white while cooking the onions)
500g salad potatoes
100g pancetta
5 ml olive oil
5g butter
6 cloves garlic chopped
2 medium onions, finely sliced
75g Comte, grated
50g Chives or other fresh herb chopped

Line a 7 inch springform fluted tart tin with nonstick baking paper.
Roll the pastry out on a lightly floured surface to 5mm thickness and use it to line tart tin pressing in well all over.
Prick the base all over and chill.

Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water until tender, usually 15-20 minutes.
Drain and allow to cool.

Preheat the oven to 190°C.

Heat a pan and fry the Pancetta in it until it begins to crisp up.
Remove the pancetta and keep aside, but leave the oil in the pan.
Melt the butter and olive oil in the same pan over a moderate heat and add the garlic.
When they begin to crisp/brown a bit, add the onions, sweating with a little salt until soft; 6-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Reduce the heat and let the onions slowly caramelise, stirring occasionally.
Quickly stir in the egg white from the separated egg.
Take the pan off the flame.
Mix in half the chopped chives/herbs

Remove the pastry from the fridge as the onions caramelise and line it with nonstick baking paper and baking beans. Blind bake for 15 minutes until the edges just start to colour.
Remove from the oven and discard the paper and baking beans.
Then return to the oven for 5 minutes to brown the base a little.
Remove from the oven and brush all over with the beaten egg yolk to create a seal.
Leave to cool on a wire rack.
Reduce the oven to 170°C.

Slice the potatoes into even sized discs.

Arrange the onion mixture across the base of the pastry, then arrange the potato discs in concentric, overlapping circles so that they cover the entire surface.

Sprinkle the comté cheese and remaining chives/herbs on top and season well with salt and pepper.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the potatoes have browned a little and the cheese has melted.
Remove and allow to cool in the tin before serving.

Serve slices as is, for a snack or with a side salad for a complete balanced meal.

What I would do differently - When I added the grated cheese pre-baking (I used only about 50 gms) it looked like a lot, but once it melted down, the cheese flavour was very subtle.  I would use a lot more cheese when I try this recipe again. The cheese combines well with the potato.

Disclosure : I received the Comte Cheese through the Tesco Orchard program in exchange for a review

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Eid Mubarak : Recipe : Murg Mussallam

Eid Mubarak to all my friends, especially my companions from mt Egypt & Dubai sojourns.

I've been terribly remiss about blogging, but there's been so much to see and do in London, that the only thing I seem to have the time for, when I turn on my laptop is to book tickets and pay bills. :)

I check facebook on my phone, when I'm one the move and one of the groups that I belong to - "Chef at Large" had many members posting wonderful photos and recipes of Ramadan specialties.

I was really missing my annual trips to the Ramadan Food Markets in India, whether Mohammed Ali Road in Mumbai or Chandni Chowk in Delhi or Charminar in Hyderabad or Juhapura in Ahmedabad and the mouth watering delicacies on offer.

Then I came across a gorgeous picture by Imbesat of KhanPaan of a succulent Murg Mussallam. I have never eaten this dish before, but I think it was one of the first printed recipes I had seen as part of a food advertisement as a child. I forget which product it was for, but they would advertise in the Femina or Eve's Weekly or Readers Digest alternating 2 recipes. Murg Mussallam and another. This dish always intrigued me, but with all the processes involved and the slightly more expensive ingredients (dry fruits etc), I was subtly discouraged from trying this out by the adults at home.

The picture posted by Imbesat, made me sit up and decide to put in more effort at cooking than a stir fry, or quick grill and I decided to make it on Wednesday, when we had a few friends over for dinner. There's no fun cooking an entire chicken if there aren't enough people to share it with. Imbesat was hugely encouraging and on Wednesday morning, I got myself a whole chicken.

She was very clear about skinning the chicken before cooking and since I am in the UK and whole chickens come with the skin on, I had my first experience of skinning one. It wasn't too tough, I just used the kitchen scissors occasionally to negotiate the tricky bits near the joints.

I made a few adjustments to the original authentic recipe. I don't have access to Khuskhus in this country (poppy seeds and all of that) and I decided to roast it in the oven instead of pan frying and then pressure cooking it.

For the original recipe and Imbesat's gorgeous pictures take a look at the original on her blog - Khan Paan My friend Rhea of Euphorhea was so excited, she cooked it the next day itself.

I had to wait until the 15th, before I got around to cooking it. Make no mistake, this dish does involve a lot of time and effort and shouldn't be rushed. But believe me, the kitchen smells so good and the soft succulent meat is so good, that it is worth the effort.

My Edited Recipe:


For Marination
1 Chicken(whole, skinless, about 1kg)
1tbsp Curd
1tbsp Garlic paste
salt to taste

For the Stuffing
4 Eggs(boiled, fried)
A handful or 2 Mixed Nuts
1 Onion (sliced, fried crisp, crushed)
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste

For the Spice Paste
3 Onions (finely sliced, fried crisp)
2 Onions
1" Ginger
3 pods Garlic- 3 pods
4 cardamom
4 Clove
1" Cinnamon

For Cooking
2 tsp Chilli Powder
1 tsp Pepper Powder
2 Bay leaves- 2
3-4 tsp ghee / Clarified Butter
100gms curd / greek yoghurt
2-3 tbsp oil- 2-3tblspns
salt to taste

Method :
For Marination
Wash & clean the skinned chicken. (I reserved the skin & used it while cooking for extra flavour and a bit of fat, just added it in the end, before the whole dish went into the oven)
Prick with a fork at regular intervals.
Mix the curd, salt and garlic paste and apply all over the chicken - inside & outside
Let it rest for at least 2 hours. (this is critical)

For the Stuffing
Take a large pan and fry the onions required for the stuffing and the spice paste (if you don't have fried onions kept aside - I always fry up large batches and put them in the fridge, so they are always on hand for topping biryanis or using in masalas)

Boil the eggs, cool and peel them.
The boiled eggs then need to be fried (no batter).
Deep frying is recommended, but I just fried them in the same pan.
Try and make sure the eggs are dry, before you start frying them, otherwise the oil will splatter all around your kitchen.
(I used 8 eggs, so there would be one for everyone at the table, those that didn't fit inside were arranged around the chicken)

In the same pan, fry the dry fruits.
Mix the dry fruits, fried onion, sugar, lemon juice & salt and crush lightly.

Stuff this mixture inside the chicken, with the fried eggs (as many as you can fit and seal the opening with an egg)

While Imbesat recommends frying and browning the chicken on all sides, after stuffing it, I fried my chicken in the same pan, before I stuffed it - made it easier for me to maneuver the chicken, without worrying about bits and pieces falling out.

For the Spice Paste
Roughly chop the onions and ginger, before blending them all into a smooth paste - you can use a mixi / food processor.

For Cooking
Heat the oil in the same pan.
Add the spice paste, Red chilli powder, black pepper powder, salt and bay leaves and saute the mixture until the oil begins to separate.

Lightly mix the curd until smooth and add to this spice mixture, stirring it for another 5 minutes.

For Roasting
Preheat the oven to 180C
Place the Fried/Browned chicken in a Roasting Dish.
Pour the Cooked Spice Mix over the chicken, making sure some of it gets underneath too.
Arrange all the extra eggs and skin (if using) around the chicken and make sure that they are also generously coated with the spice paste.

Imbesat added water before cooking the chicken in the pressure Cooker, I did not add any and came up with a slightly thicker gravy - more suitable for bread and rotis than rice.

Roast in the oven for whatever time is appropriate for the size of your bird. I had to roast mine for about an hour and a half.

Serve hot and slice at the table.

PS: I was in a hurry to serve and couldn't take very good pictures of the finished dish, but trust me, it was absolutely delicious.


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