Chicken Pilau Rice

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KITCHEN KIT:
An ovenproof deep casserole pan, a griddle pan, a pestle and mortar or spice grinder

Ingredients Serves 8:
1st batch:
1. 3 tbsp. of gee (use butter or vegetable oil as an alternative)
2. 3 cassia bark approx. 3 inches in length
3. 12 cloves
4. 12 cadamom pods
5. 3 bay leaves

2nd batch:
6. 1 tbsp. garlic, grated (approx. 20g)
7. 2 ½ tbsp. ginger, grated (approx. 70g)

3rd batch:
8. 4 medium size onions, finely chopped (approx. 450g)

4th batch:
9. 1 tsp. coriander seeds (grounded or pounded into a powder)
10. 2 tsp. cumin seeds (grounded or pounded into a powder)
11. 1 tsp. nutmeg, finely grated
12. 1 tsp. chilli flakes (for less heat reduce to ½ tsp.)

5th batch:
13. ½ tsp. salt
14. ½ tsp. ground black pepper
15. 200g chicken breast, cut into bite size chunks

6th batch:
16. 1 tsp. tumeric powder
17. 2 medium size tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
18. 400g tomato chops (tined or if fresh finely chopped)
19. 500ml of water
20. 2 carrots, peeled and sliced

7th batch:
21. 400g basmati rice
22. 15 curry leaves

For garnish:
23. 6 small red bell pepper
24. A handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

For the Chicken Pilau:
1. Pre-heat your oven to 180°C. Place your casserole over a medium heat, add all the ingredients listed on ‘batch 1’ cook for 30 seconds to release the flavours of the spcies.

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2. Add ‘batch 2’ ingredients into the casserole and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add ‘batch 3’ ingredient and cook for 15 minutes until the onions has completely softened, stir constantly to prevent the onions from burning and sticking to the pan.
4. Add ‘ batch 4’ ingredients and stir for 1 minute.
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5. Next, add ‘batch 5’ ingredients and cook for 5 minutes.

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6. Now, add ‘batch 6’ ingredients and lower the heat. Bring it to a gentle simmer and allow simmering for 3 minutes.

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7. Finally, add ‘batch 7’ ingredients, stir the rice and curry leaves well. Cover the casserole pan with a lid and place in the oven to cook for 30 minutes. (If you don’t have an oven, you can also cook this in the stove over a very low heat.)

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For the garnish:
8. 10 minutes before the ‘chicken pilau’ finish cooking in the oven, place your griddle pan on a high heat, add your peppers and grill on all sides until their skin starts to blacken and becomes softer. Place this on top of your cooked ‘chicken pilau’ along with the chopped coriander leaves.

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Serve immediately.

 

Note:
This dish taste as good without the chicken, you can easily replace the chicken with a vegetable of your choice. I also usually serve this dish with my “Aubergine and Cauliflower Spiced Vegetables”. The recipe for this can also be found on this blog:
This dish is easy to prepare and cook. The most time consuming part of making this dish is the chopping of the onions, ginger and garlic but this can easily be avoided if you buy a ready grated garlic, ginger and onions which is available in many Asian super markets across UK in a jar.
Although I always ground my own spices, I appreciate that it can sometimes be too time consuming, if you’re busy and in a hurry you can use ready grounded spices available in little bottles from Waitrose or Sainsbury’s, so you don’t have to pound and ground them yourself.

Tomato and Spinach Dhal

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This dish is inspired from my memories of India,  the exotic spices they use in their everyday cooking add depths of flavours in their vegetarian dishes, making it truly a spectacular dish with fire works of flavours! This is just one of the many dishes I was lucky enough to try during my visit.  In Rajasthan, I remembered trying their famous Panchmel Dhal also known as Panchratna Dhal cooked with 5 different types of Dhal, a dish that is not just flavoursome but also very healthy, a perfect source of protein for vegetarians. If I am successful at finding all these 5 different dhal in England I will certainly try and make it at home. For now I hope you will try this dhal recipe instead and hope you enjoy it.

KITCHEN KIT:
A medium size sauce pan and a frying pan.

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the Dhal Base:
1.  100g red lentils
2.  500ml vegetable stock
3.  3 medium size tomatoes, deseeded and finely chopped
4.  1 small onion, finely chopped
5.  1 tsp. garam masala
6.  ½ tsp. tumeric
7.  ½ tsp. chili flakes
8.  ½ tsp. fine salt
9.  ½ tsp. ground black pepper

For the Accompanying Vegetables:
10. 1 medium size sweet potato approx 350g. , peeled and cut into small cubes
11.  150g spinach leaves

For the Topping:
12. 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil
13. 1 tsp. or clove of garlic, finely grated
14. 1 dried Kashmiri chili
15. 4 curry leaves
16. ½ tsp. cumin seeds
17. ½ tsp. black mustard seeds
18. 1 cinnamon bark approx. 3 inch in length
19. ½ tsp. coriander powder

For Garnish (Optional):
20. A handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped and or fried onions

For the Dhal Base:
1. In a medium size pan, place all the ‘Dhal Base’ ingredients listed above. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes, on a low heat without covering the pan with a lid.

For the Accompanying Vegetables:
2.  After 10 minutes of simmering time, add the sweet potatoes into your Dhal base and continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes  until the sweet potatoes are cooked. (It is important to ensure that the sweet potatoes are cut into small cubes and of equal size to cook them evenly). Then add the spinach and cooked for just 1 minute.

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For the Topping:
3. On a separate frying pan, heat 2 tbsp. of vegetable oil. Add all the ‘Topping’ ingredients listed above and fry for 2 minutes. Pour this over on top of your Dhal and garnish with some fresh coriander leaves.

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Serve hot with a nice warm naan or chapati. If you’d like to make your own chapati you can find the recipe on this link: Chapati

Chapati

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Chapati is a common staple cuisine in India and Pakistan, this unleavened flat bread ‘Chapati’ as it is called in India which means ‘flattened round bread’ can be found all over India, in restaurants, in cafes, in grand hotels and street hawkers sells them too. This is a lovely bread to have with any dish and if you are as terrible as I am using my hands to eat this bread is a saviour! Not only it is useful for scooping food it taste lovely too. I sometimes have this with hummus and sometimes I even use it as a ‘taco like’ shell for a Mexican food. However you eat, I hope you enjoy it!

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KITCHEN KIT:
A frying pan, a food mixer with a dough hook, a large bowl and a rolling pin

Ingredients Serves 2:
1.  300g  chapati flour or wholemeal flour
2.  100ml cold water
3.  a pinch of fine salt
4.  1 tbsp. of gee or butter (for greasing the bowl and to brush the cooked chpati)
5.  4 tbsp. of plain flour for dusting the work surface and rolling the chapatis

The Chapati:
1. Place the flour and salt in a medium bowl, make a well in the middle and slowly pour in the water while mixing to make a dough.
2. Transfer your dough in floured work surface and knead for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic, alternatively use a food mixer machine with a dough hook and knead for 5 minutes.

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3. Oil a large bowl and transfer your dough, cover with a cling film and leave it to rest for 15 minutes.

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4. Now, divide the dough into 6 small balls (small enough to cover it with both of your hands) and roll out each ball on a well-floured work surface as thin as possible.
5. Heat the frying pan over a medium heat (without any oil or gee), once it is very hot cook each chapati, pressing and turning it every now and then. When it begins to puff up, turn it over to cook the other side for another 30 seconds and remove from heat. The cooking time is around 1-2 minutes on both sides or just when it starts to puff up, it should be golden brown in colour.

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6. When the chapatis are cooked you can brush it lightly with some gee or butter, it will give it a nice shine and a lovely flavour to it too.

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Serve warm.

Chicken Tikka Masala with Spiced Vegetable Rice

Chicken Tikka Masala:
KITCHEN KIT:
A shallow dish for marinade and an oven proof dish.

Ingredients Serves 2:

For the Chicken Marinade:
1.  250g chicken breast, skin removed
2.  120g natural yoghurt
3.  ½ tsp. ginger crushed or grated
4.  ½ tsp. garlic crushed or grated
5.  ¼ tsp. Paprika Powder
6.  ¼ tsp. Cumin Powder
7.  ¼ tsp. Coriander Powder
8.  ¼ tsp. Chilli Powder
9.  ¼ tsp. Garam Masala Powder
10. A pinch of ground black pepper
11. 2 cloves,
12. 2 cardamom pods
13. 1 cassia bark  2inches in length
14. 1 tbsp. vegetable oil

For Roasting:
15. 2 tbsp. butter

Day 1
For the Marinade:
1.  On a shallow dish combine all the marinade ingredients listed above with the chicken, ensuring that the chicken is completely coated all over. Leave to marinade in the fridge for 24 hours.

Day 2
For Roasting:
2. Pre-heat oven to 200°C. Separate chicken pieces from the marinated liquid. Set marinated liquid aside.
3. In an oven proof dish, combine marinated chicken pieces with 2 tbsp. of butter. Place in the oven to roast for 30 minutes. Basting the chicken with the marinade throughout the roasting time.
4. Remove the chicken from the oven after 30 minutes. Then set the oven to grill at the highest temperature. Return the chicken in the oven to grill for 3-5 minutes. To check if the chicken pieces are cook, insert a knife into the thickest part of the chicken, if the juice that comes out from the chicken is clear, your chicken is cooked.

Serve immediately with naan bread or spiced vegetable rice.
For the Spiced Vegetable Fried Rice: 
KITCHEN KIT:
2 sauce pans and a frying pan.

Ingredients Serves 2:

1.  2 cups of basmati or pilau rice
2.  250 g Cauliflower
3.  100 g snake beans/french beans
4.  2 tbsp. sunflower oil
5.  1 onion, finely chopped

The Spices, sultanas and cashew:
6.  1 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed/pounded
7.  ½ tsp.mustard seeds, crushed/pounded
8.  ½ tsp turmeric powder
9.  1 cinnamon stick
10. 5 cardamom pods
16. 15g sultanas
17. 25g cashew nuts
18. Pinch of salt
19. Pinch of pepper
20. A handful of Coriander leaves, finely chopped

Spiced Vegetable Fried Rice:
1.  Steam rice and set aside. On a separate sauce pan bring salted water to a boil add the cauliflower and cook for 10 minutes, add the snake beans/French beans into the same pan and cook for a further 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2.  On a frying pan over very high heat, add 2 tbsp. of oil. When the oil is very hot add your onions and fry for 2 minutes. Add all the spices above with the sultana and cashew and fry all together for 2 minutes. Add the cooked rice and vegetables into the pan and cook further for 1 minute. Season with salt and pepper and finally garnish some chopped coriander leaves.


Serve immediately.

Rice Pudding with cardamom, rose water and pistachio (Indian Inspired)

Rice Pudding

KITCHEN KIT:
Sauce pan and 4 ramekins or an oven proof dish.

Ingredients Serves 4:

For the pudding
1.  65g basmati rice
2.  500ml full fat milk
3.  300ml coconut milk
4.   4 ½tbsp caster sugar
5.  3 black cardamom pods
6.  ½ tsp rose water

To serve:
7.  2 tbsp Brown Muscavado Sugar
8.  ¼ tsp cinnamon
9.  ¼ tsp ginger powder
10. 5g crushed unsalted pistachio nuts
The Rice Pudding:
1.  Preheat the oven to 150ºC.
2.  Rinse the rice in cold water 3 or 4 times to remove the starch and then drain.
3.  On a saucepan over a medium heat, add rice, milk, coconut milk, caster sugar, cardamom and rose water, bring to the boil.


4.  Lower the heat once it reaches a boiling point and simmer for 10 minutes, gently stirring a few times to avoid the rice from sticking at the bottom of the pan.
5.  Remove from the heat then pour the mixture onto a sieve. Discard the cardamom pods. Transfer the rice pudding mixture in your ovenproof ramekins or ovenproof dish.


6.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour and then leave to rest for at least one hour – this will allow the creamy texture to develop.

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7.  Mix your cinnamon and ginger powder on a bowl. and sprinkle over rice pudding with muscavado sugar. Garnish with crushed pistachio nuts.


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Serve warm.

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Extra Tip:
Rice Pudding Consistency:
If you want a creamier rice pudding baked in the oven for 45-50 minutes instead.
If you would like to achieve a firmer and more dense pudding leave to bake for more than an hour.
The Sugar Sprinkles:
Using  Muscavado sugar (darkest one of all the brown coloured sugar) gives an extra height of flavour to your rice pudding, with its very strong molasses flavour that goes well with the cinnamon and ginger and a sticky consistency that goes well with the rice pudding texture. I therefore prefer Muscavado above all other brown sugar with lesser molasses taste.

The Sweetness:
If you have a very sweet tooth like I do, I recommend stirring the muscavado sugar, cinnamon and ginger powder into the rice pudding and sprinkle more on top. This makes the rice pudding extra sweet and the spices makes it lovely.