No-Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken. Something everyone orders on their visit to an Indian restaurant. Why not make it at home? Without butter!

Ingredients:

Chicken – 1 kg
Oil – 3-4 tbsp
Chopped Onions – 1 cup
Tomato paste – 4-5 tbsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 heaped tsp
Turmeric powder – 0.5 tsp
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Eastern Chicken Masala – 3 tbsp
Yoghurt – 1 cup
Fresh Cream – 0.5 cup
Lemon squeeze – 1 tbsp
Vinegar – 0.5 tsp
Salt to taste

Step 1: Heat some oil in a pan to saute the onions until translucent.

Step 2: Then add the tomato paste and ginger-garlic paste and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Step 3: Now add the chopped chicken, yoghurt, turmeric powder, chilli powder and chicken masala powder and mix well. Cover with a lid and leave it to cook for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Stir in the cream, lemon juice and vinegar. Let it cook for a few more minutes until done. Add salt to taste.

Garnish with a little bit of cream.

Note:

  • You could use any trusted brand of Chicken Masala Powder.

Chicken Hakka Noodles

Find some left-over chicken curry that you don’t want to throw away? Shred the chicken and use it in this Chinese-ish dish with Indian flavors.

Ingredients:
Serves: 3

Chinese Noodles – 2 cups
Oil – 4 tbsp
Chopped Onions – 1 cup
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Carrot – 1 (grated)
Broccoli –  a handful
Capsicum –  1 (thinly sliced)
Spring Onion – 1 (chopped)
Shredded Chicken – 1 cup
Soy Sauce – 0.5 cup
Pepper – 1 tbsp

Step 1: Cook the noodles as per packet instructions. Once done, leave it to strain and make sure you pour some cold water over it to avoid further cooking.

Step 2: Add some oil in a wok, and let it heat up. Once its really hot, drop in the onions, and saute until translucent. Stir in the ginger-garlic paste.

Step 3: In a bowl, take a handful of washed broccoli and microwave for 30 seconds. This is a quick way to get the steamed effect. Add the broccoli, carrots & capsicum and cook until they soften.

Step 4: Now its time to add in the spring onions, the shredded chicken, cooked noodles and the soy sauce. You could sprinkle some pepper powder if you like it spicy. Mix well.

Grab a fork, and enjoy while hot.

 Note:

  • You could add your own choice of veggies.
  • Add more chicken or more veggies. Its totally up to you.
  • Chinese noodles may also be substituted with spaghetti.

1-hour Chicken Biriyani

Got an hour to spare? Why not make some Chicken Biriyani? 

Whenever I think of making some biriyani, I go like … “Noooo! That’s going to take so much time.”, and I just drop the plan. But this time, I thought of something that could make it seem easier and make me feel like I didn’t have to do much work.  I prepared the rice a day ahead.

I woke up this morning, and the thought of making biriyani for lunch didn’t feel like a lot of work, at least in my head.

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice – 2 cups
Chicken – 1 kg
Oil – 4 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Chopped Onions – 2 cups + 0.5 cup
Green chillies – 3
Ginger-Garlic Paste – 1 heaped tsp
Tomatoes – 2
Yoghurt – 1 cup
Chopped Mint & Coriander leaves – 1 cup
‘Eastern’ Biriyani Masala – 1/4 cup
‘Eastern’ Chicken Masala – 1/4 cup
Salt to taste

Step 1: In a pan, add 4 tbsp of oil and heat. Add the onions (2 cups) and saute until translucent.

Step 2: Now add the chopped green chillies and the ginger-garlic paste. After a minute or two, stir in the tomatoes. Cover with a lid and let them cook.

Step 3: Once the tomatoes are done, toss in the chicken along with the biriyani masala, chicken masala, yoghurt, and the mint-and-coriander leaves. Give it a good stir, and leave the chicken to cook in this masala for 15 minutes, or until done.

For the Raita:
Ingredients:

Chopped Onions – 0.5 cup
Cucumbers – 2
Green chillies – 3
Yoghurt – 1 cup
Salt to taste

Grab a bowl, and mix all the ingredients together.


In a serving tray, layer the rice and chicken.

While layering, you could choose to sprinkle some yellow food coloring powder that has been diluted in milk, or some rose water.

To 1 tbsp oil, add 0.5 cup chopped onions and saute on low flame in a separate pan, until golden brown.This can be spread out on top.

Serve with Raita, and a pickle of your choice.

Military Diet Review

Food is love. Love is Food. When you love food so much, that you just cannot stick to a healthy diet, but you want to shed some ‘flab’, the Military Diet is your go-to option.

Pizzas, burgers, pastries, chocolates. I love it all. I am not someone who can follow a diet. I always break my decision to eat healthy when I see something better on the plate next to mine. The reason I chose to give this a try is because my day would end with a cup of ice cream. I mean, seriously, what diet lets you eat ice cream?

Ideally, I have to lose 5 kgs to be in the “healthy” zone. With all the people claiming that they lost up to (5 pounds) 2.27 kgs  in 3 days, I thought to give this a try.
 
(I’m listing the food I consumed, along with the minor modifications and substitutions and that are permitted according to the plan.)

I had the diet-plan printed and kept reading it several times to actually believe that all this was diet food.

Preferably, keep a copy by your side while reading the rest of this post, for reference.

DAY 1 

Breakfast: 

1/2 Grapefruit
1 Slice of Bread
2 Tablespoons of Peanut Butter
1 Cup Coffee or Tea

I store my grapefruits in the fridge because I feel they taste even better when cold. Most people don’t have a ‘thing’ for grapefruit, but I absolutely love it. The coffee should be taken without milk or sugar. You could choose to toast your bread or have it as it is. I got rid of the crumbs as I’m not really a big fan.

Lunch: 

1 apple
3 ounces of any kind of meat (the size of a deck of cards)
1 cup of green beans

While my hubby was having lunch, I wasn’t hungry, but I wanted to eat. You know, just for the sake of it. So I pulled out my dinner basket. I basically swapped the items in my lunch and dinner baskets.

I had the apple while he was having lunch, and  the chicken, beans and coffee a while later.
(I baked the chicken and beans with some basic spices and salt)

Dinner
1/2 cup of tuna
1 slice of toast
1/2 banana
1 cup vanilla ice cream
 
That’s actually supposed to be for lunch, but it doesn’t really matter as long as you don’t eat anything off the list.
I sprinkled some salt and pepper over the tuna.

Day 1 went pretty well as the ice cream compensated for everything.

DAY 2:

Breakfast:
1 cup coffee
1 egg
1 slice of bread
1/2 banana
1/2 slice cheddar cheese

Borrowed half the cheddar cheese from lunch.

Dust some salt and pepper over the eggs and you are good to go.


Lunch:
2 sausages
1 cup broccoli
1/2 cup carrots
1/4 cup ice cream
1 plum

Substituted 1/2 banana with 2 plums in the dinner basket. Used 1 plum with half the ice cream from the basket.

Heated the sausages in a non-stick pan with no oil and steamed the veggies for lunch.

When you know you have ice cream waiting for you, you just can’t wait to get hold of it. So why wait till dinner when you are allowed to have your food at any time? Split the treat into two, and treat yourself twice.

Dinner:
1/2  slice cheddar cheese
5 saltine crackers
1/4 cup ice cream
1 plum

Did you notice? The food looks like its smiling at me. I’m pretty happy too.

Done with Day 2. Never knew diet food could taste so good. I don’t even feel like I’m on a diet.

DAY 3:

Breakfast:
1 apple
5 saltine crackers

As you may have noticed, the third day supplies much less calories than the previous days. Bear with it, for the results.

Lunch:

1 slice bread
1 whole egg
1 cup coffee
1 slice cheddar cheese

Coffee wasn’t on the list. But I had some only to suppress my hunger.

Dinner:

1 cup tuna
1/2 banana
1 cup vanilla ice cream

No energy to click pretty pictures. Totally drained. But I can feel it working. Like the fat stored in my body is being used to supply energy.

Review:

Day 1 & Day 2 went really well. I wasn’t even hungry. But Day 3 was exhausting. I felt like I had absolutely no energy, but I decided to push through. It did pay-off. I weighed myself the next morning, and was glad I weighed lesser. I lost only 1.5 kgs, but I feel much lighter and healthier. I had also measured myself before starting this, and I realized I had lost a few inches. I will definitely get back to this after the recommended 4 days off, where I can apparently eat anything I want, but in limited quantities.

P.S. After completing Day 3, I couldn’t control my hunger and decided to break it after 12, because technically, that would be the next day!

@Indian Summer, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

(Eastern) Chicken Curry

While many men avoid entering the kitchen, I am married to a man who steps in quite often. Usually, its just to make some tea, or to grab something to nibble on. But when he’s in a mood, he always surprises me with his culinary skills.

His signature dish is this chicken curry that he makes with the “Eastern Chicken Masala”. Its pretty much a hack, as you don’t have to worry about getting the proportions of each and every spice right. No wonder it always turns out perfect.

Most places here in Riyadh, give us readily cut fresh-chicken, so that’s not a worry for someone like me who doesn’t know how to. My hubby prefers to chop them into tinier pieces than the ones we get from the store.

Ingredients:

Chicken – 1000 gm
Oil – 3 tbsp
Chopped Onions – 2 cup
Chopped Green chillies – 3
Ginger-garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Eastern Chicken Masala – 1 pack (use as needed)
Boiled water – Equal to the amount of gravy you want
Pepper powder – 0.5 tsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves – to granish

Step 1: Heat some oil in a pan. When its heated, saute the onions until almost golden brown.

Step 2: Add the ginger-garlic paste, chopped green chillies, and about 4 tbsp of the chicken masala powder.

Step 3: After a  minute or two, toss in the chicken and let it soak up the masala. Cover with a lid.
 
Step 4: If you like it dry, you can skip adding the water, but if prefer having some gravy, add boiled water and more chicken masala until you get the right flavor. Add salt to taste. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes.

Garnish with coriander leaves.

Serve with pita bread and your favorite drink.

Note:

  • You could go for any trusted brand, instead of Eastern.

Quick & Easy Dal

Most days, I won’t have much time to put something up on a plate for lunch. “Quick & Easy” dishes always come to my rescue.

Thankfully, my Mom-in-law, who lives next door, came over with some marinated fish while I was preparing the dal, so that helped set the menu for the day: Rice, Dal and Fish-fry.

Ingredients:

Serves: 4
Estimated Cooking Time: 20 minutes

 
Ghee – 1 tbsp + 4 tbsp
Cinnamon stick – 1
Dry red chilli (Crushed) – 2
Dal (Lentils) – 1 cup
Water – 4.5 cups
Ginger-Garlic paste – 1 heaped tsp
Garam Masala – 0.5 tsp
Turmeric powder – 2 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Lemon squeeze – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves – To garnish
Chopped Onions – 0.5 cup

Soak the lentils overnight. In the morning, wash and rinse the soaked lentils.
Once you have them soaked, washed and rinsed, you’re all set.

Step 1:  Into a pressure cooker, add 1 tbsp ghee. Once heated, drop the cinnamon stick and crushed chillies. Saute them for a minute.

Step 2: Add the dal, water, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala powder, turmeric powder, cumin powder and the lemon squeeze. Give it a good stir.

Step 3: Pressure cook for about 7-8 whistles.

Step 4 : For the tempering, in a separate pan, to 4 tbsp ghee, add the chopped onions and saute them until golden brown. Stir into the dal and mix well. Add salt to taste, and serve hot.

Garnish with coriander leaves & a dry red chilli.
Rice, Dal & Mom’s fish-fry

Note:

  • I have gone for 7-8 whistles because I prefer them all squished up. You could opt for lesser.
  • Some recommend adding a pinch of asafoetida (hing).

Spicy Sausage Pasta

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Pasta being a staple food of the traditional Italian cuisine, does not make it any less desired in any of the other countries. In fact, pasta is something that is enjoyed in all shapes and sizes, by people of all age groups, worldwide.

My all time favorite is the Spicy Sausage Pasta. This Italian dish seems like it has been created with the Indian taste-buds in mind. Since this is the first meal I learned to cook, I decided to make my first blog post all about it.

Ingredients:
Serves: 2 

Pasta – 1 cup
Olive Oil –  4 tbsp
Onion – 1 (chopped)
Sausages – 4 (chopped)
Tomato Paste – 10 tbsp (135 gm)
Garlic paste – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 3 tsp
Salt – according to taste
Mint & Coriander leaves – 1-2 handful (finely chopped)

Step 1: Boil the pasta as per packet instructions. Remove from flame once cooked, and strain immediately. Pour some cold water over this pasta while straining, to prevent over-cooking.

Step 2: In a non-stick pan, heat some oil. After a  minute or so, add the onions and saute it until translucent.

Step 3: Add chopped sausages into the pan and let it cook partially.

Step 4: Once the sausages are half-done, add-in the tomato paste, garlic paste, and chilli powder. Add salt according to taste. Leave it all to cook for another 2 minutes.

Step 5: Add in the cooked pasta, and mix it all up. Turn off the flame.Toss in some mint and coriander leaves, and serve hot.

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