Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicken Noodles Recipe



Chicken Noodles is one of the most favored Chinese dishes and its so easy to make restaurant style chicken noodles at home. And the benefits are lots of chicken in the noodles, much healthier, and tastes a zillion times better.

Have you tried chicken noodles from a restaurant or takeway.....well, when I recently bought one for   my son, I was astonished at the the measly chicken pieces....(just could count to about 4 in one serving! ha!) and the tons of oil...or you could say slithered in oil and apart from the cost (Rs 195) the feeling of wanting to drink more water....after the meal, was so empowering that I wondered at the amount of synthetic flavorings added into it. Frankly nothing beats homemade version....so much healthier and tastier and lots n lots of chicken pieces in it....kids need the protein ha!

Noodles are kids favorite and I am sure adults would also favor it. The best part is that it is so easy to make noodles at home. I like to throw in a bit of veggies to my chicken noodles....and its always what is available in the refrigerator...the more the veggies...the more the merrier. I like green onions or spring onions in my noodles...and that does not mean you have to have them to make noodles. You can clearly substitute with onions though spring onions bring in a nice flavor to the noodles.

 Garlic does give out flavor, so do not skip them and cooking chicken with soy sauce and bit of pepper powder....makes the chicken so flavorful....each chicken bite is juicy and saucy...with right amount of pepper heat.

A reader friend through facebook requested Chicken Noodles and when I made one for my son, I thought of taking step by step pictures. Bindhu Xavier this is for you :)


Tips:
After straining the noodles, run tap water over it....so that the remaining starch is washed out.
You can also add in a tsp of oil and toss it...so that it stays slithery! I mean non-sticky.
 I like to keep aside a tablespoon of chicken stock (remember we cook the chicken, so lastly keep a little stock) as sprinkling this lastly on the noodles...gives out a very nice flavor....and no need to use any artificial chicken stock cubes etc.
You can throw in scrambled eggs, but I did not use here....since I wanted the noodles to be All Chicken! Though if you are an eggetarian, you can check out my egg noodles recipe and for shrimp lovers, check out my spicy shrimp noodles.
I had some leftover and which I duly filled in dosa for Nidhi.

Author: Nisa Homey.
Cooking Time: 15-20 min.
Serves: 2
Ingredients:
 Noodles: 1 packet, cook as per instructions on the back of the cover. Keep it aside.
Chicken: Bone-in about 150 gm, (cook with 1 tsp of soy sauce and half tsp of pepper and little water).
Garlic cloves: 6 to 7, sliced.
Soy sauce: 1 tsp.
Ching's Red chilly sauce: 1 tsp.
Ching's All in one sauce: 1 tsp
Pepper powder: 1 tsp.
Spring onions: 2 tbsp chopped (white part) OR subs with shallots or half onion.
Spring onions: 2 tbsp chopped (green part) to sprinkle on top.
Carrot: 1, sliced thinly.
Capsicum: 1/4,sliced thinly.
Oil: 2 to 3 tbsp.
Salt to taste (keep in mind that all the sauces have high salt content).

Method:
Cook noodles as per instruction on the pack....keep it aside.
First lets cook the chicken and get it ready (oh! pls excuse my worn out kadai)
Add the chicken into a pan or kadai with little water, 1 tsp soy sauce, 1/2 tsp pepper, and salt. Cover and cook until the chicken is cooked...if you like you can keep 1 tbsp of the chicken stock water....to sprinkle on the noodles. Once it cools down...shred them into large chunks....or according to your preference.

While the chicken is getting ready, lets get the veggies on the floor!
Grab your scallions or green onions or spring onions or whatever you call them...chop out the white part.

And the green part.

And the carrot, capsicum, and garlic.

Meantime, chicken should be cooked and cooled down....shred them and keep aside.

Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan or wok or kadai. Add in half the garlic (sliced) Remember the heat is on high and we should be really fast...so get everything near you...even the sauces.

Add in the white part of the spring onions, stir and after 30 seconds add in the carrots...stir.

Add in the capsicum and any other veggies you are adding (like green peas, corn, beans etc)
Add in the all in one sauce, 1 tsp.

Add half tsp pepper powder (you have to be really fast when cooking Chinese...remember the heat is high and we are stir frying.

Stir, toss which ever you know best.

Add in 1 tsp soya sauce, stir.

Remove from pan.

 Into the same pan, add in the other half of the garlic....stir for a few seconds.

 Add in the chicken pieces, stir well.

 Add in 1 tsp of red chilly sauce and stir well.....stir / toss.

Add in the cooked noodles.

 And the veggies...stir/toss....mix well.

 Lastly sprinkle green onions....switch of the fire.

 Serve immediately and enjoy!!
See I told you homemade is the best and easy peasy!!

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Monday, April 14, 2014

Kerala Olan Recipe



Olan is one of the simplest dish of Kerala and always finds its place in traditional Kerala sadhya (feast). I have never had a sadhya without olan....and this Vishu, try this at home.

Happy Vishu to all my wonderful readers!! I hope you will have a wonderful time with family and friends.

Kanikonna or konna puvu or golden showers is my favorite flower...it is synonymous with Vishu, I love gazing at the flower bloomed tree and it does look like golden shower from heaven.

Olan is made with kumblanga (ash gourd), van payar (cow peas), and coconut milk .....a drizzle of coconut oil and a sprig of curry leaves...a very light and refreshing dish...perfect for Vishu.


Author: Nisa Homey.
Cooking Time: 10=15 min
Serves: 3

Ingredients:
 Ash gourd (kumblanga): 300 gm, chopped
Cooked Cowpeas (Van payar):  1/4 cup.
Green Chilies: 3 to 4, slit.
Thin Coconut Milk: 1 cup.
Thick Coconut Milk: 1/2 cup.
Curry Leaves: 1 Sprig.
Coconut Oil: 1 tsp.
Salt To Taste.

Method:
Add the chopped ash gourd and slit green chilies into a kadai or pan.
 
Add in the cooked cowpeas and salt.

Pour one cup thin coconut milk.....and switch on the fire....cover and allow the gourd to cook until tender....the thin coconut milk will be reduced by half.

 Add in the coconut milk...

And once it starts to boil...drizzle coconut oil and sprinkle curry leaves...switch off fire.

Serve with warm rice.
Enjoy!!

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Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pachadi / Vellarikka Pachadi (Kerala Vishu Special)



Vellarikka pachadi is a yogurt and coconut based refreshing dish of Kerala and perfect for summer as vellarikka a..k.a cucumbers has a cooling effect.

With Vishu just round the corner the urge to make pachadi was overwhelming for me. It all started when my neighbor, Shini gave me a bowl of hot vellarikka pachadi and that made me yearn for more and I had to make some to satisfy that craving!

It is one of the easiest and simplest curry from Kerala and a must for Onam and other festivals...a must for traditional Kerala Sadhya. Pachadi can be made with beetroot, mango, pineapple, carrot, tomato.

Pachadi is best to have with hot steaming rice, though it is a common everyday curry, I am sharing this particularly for the novice cook. It is best not to boil it for long once yogurt/curd and coconut paste is added.

Fresh Curry leaves and coconut oil plays an important role in this authentic dish.


Author: Nisa Homey
Cooking Time: 10-15 min
Serves: 2-3.

Ingredients:
Cucumber: One small, cut into small cubes (mine weighed about 400 gms).
Water: 1/2 to 3/4 cup.
Curd/yogurt: 1/4 cup.
Salt to taste: I used about 1 1/2 tsp.

To Grind:
Coconut, grated: 1 cup.
Mustard Seeds: A big fat pinch.
Fenugreek Seeds: A big fat pinch.
Jeera: A big fat pinch.
Ginger: 1/4 inch piece.
Green Chillies: 2 or according to your tolerance level.
Curry Leaves: One sprig.

To Season:
Coconut Oil: 1 1/2 tsp.
Whole Red Chillies: 3 to 4, broken.
Mustard Seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Curry leaves: 1 Sprig.
Shallots/Button Onion: 6-7, sliced.

Method:
The cucumber (Vellarika) I used.
 
Into a pan, kadai, or clay pot (manchatti). Dunk in the chopped cucumber, add water and salt. Allow it to boil and cover and cook until done.

While it is cooking, lets get the coconut paste ready, add the coconut scrapings into your small grinder (chutney bowl) and top it with mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, jeera, green chilly, ginger, and curry leaves. And grind it to a paste with a little water.

Add this and the curd to the cooked cucumber, put the fire on low and give it a nice stir....check salt.

For the seasonings.

Heat another pan or kadai, add coconut oil, mustard seeds, red chilly, curry leaves, and shallots (allow the shallots to start to brown), stir and pour this into the curry. Mix and switch off the fire.

Serve with hot rice!
Also, try this chickpea and yogurt salad!

Notes : Do not let the curry to boil for long once curd and coconut is added.

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Monday, April 07, 2014

Easy Mango Mousse



Mango Mousse is so easy and quick to make and a perfect dessert to whip up. What I love about summer is MANGOES!! What 'bout you??

This mango mousse is really quick to make, no cooking involved, no eggs, no agar agar, no gelatine....3-ingredient mango mouse!!Plus its vegetarian!

My son had a really bad sinus infection and when I got some mangoes, I could not resist myself from not making mango icecream, but then with a really bad sinus around the house, ice creams were out!! when I saw a tin of condensed milk in the pantry.....and mangoes....and a cup of plain yogurt/curd....I knew I had to whip it up....and dear Lord, this was heaven!! I mean tropical heaven!! just the right chill for the kid with the bad sinus (ha).


Can you believe, that condensed milk, yogurt, and fresh mangoes.....gave birth to this luscious, smooth, satiny mousse...with all the goodness of fresh mangoes and yogurt!! What I love about these kinds of easy desserts are the speed at which we can whip it up...it took just 30 seconds for me to whip it up.....and they were poured into the container and set off to chill in the fridge...ya, that easy!! 

Now, I love working with fresh mangoes, yes, you guessed right! I can sneak a slice or two...Mangoes are that irresistible for me :)

Author: Nisa Homey.
Cooking Time: Nil
Preparation time: 5 to 10 min.
Ingredients:
Fresh Mango Slices: 1 cup heaped, 300 gms (I used 3 large mangoes)
Condensed Milk: 1 tin.
Curd/Plain yogurt: 1 packet (400 ml)

Method:
Three ingredients needed for the mousse.



 Put everything in the blender.

And blend for 30 seconds...The End!! :)

Pour into a container or individual serving dish, and refrigerate for30 to 40 min.

Notes:
I served with a sprinkle of saffron, you can top with mango slices or a nice dollop of fresh cream.
A word, about the options of chilling the mouse, I poured the blended mango mousse into a container to chill, and scooped out to individual bowls for serving. You can also pour into individual bowls, glasses, mason jars, cups, etc and it will stay perfect and you do not have the trouble of scooping it out or any mess associated with it. I think, for parties individual serving would be better!

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Friday, April 04, 2014

Palak Paneer Recipe



Palak Paneer is undoubtedly one of the most popular paneer recipes, palak a.k.a spinach is pureed and blended into the curry and cottage cheese a.k.a paneer is added to the spinach gravy.....making it healthy and full of protein.

Lent, is the period ... I cook paneer mostly as we abstain from meat and fish until Easter. Palak paneer is frequently made at home and, again the thought of posting it here, did not cross my mind until a reader asked for Lent Friendly Vegetarian Recipes.

I have mentioned that my mother -in-law lived in Nainital for a long time, and paneer dishes was something which was cooked a lot by her, since Homey loves paneer so much, I started making them also. My MIL cooks the spinach leaves in a cooker with little water and puree it along with the water ....I guess for her it was the taste which was important rather than the color of the dish....she also will saute the pureed palak in the masala for a long time....as she says this intensifies the flavor as the water in the puree is evaporated. In those days, she says ghee or butter or dalda (vegetable shortening) is used to make traditional Punjabi dishes...and thus her curries were rich....the first time, I tasted palak paneer soon after our marriage, I thought this curry was yum....but being born and raised in Kerala....I had no clue of what Palak was!! and later I was astonished to know that a green leafy vegetable was transformed into this tasty dish....and thus started my little affair with palak :)

Author: Nisa Homey
Serves: 4.
Cooking Time: 25-30 min.

Ingredients:
Paneer: 250 gms, cubed.
Fresh Palak/Spinach: 1 large bunch, cleaned and without stems.
Onion: 2, chopped finely or minced.
Jeera: 1/2 tsp.
Bay Leaf: 1
Ginger: 1 inch, finely chopped.
Garlic: 6 to 7 cloves, finely chopped.
Tomato: 1, finely chopped or pureed
Kashmiri Chilly Powder: 1 tsp.
Coriander Powder: 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder: 1/4 tsp.
Garam Masala Powder: 1 tsp.
Kasuri Methi: 1 large pinch (dried fenugreek leaves).
Curd/plain yogurt: 2-3 tbsp.
Water or Milk: 1 to 1 1/2 cups.
Refined Oil: 3 tbsp.
Salt: 1 tsp or as needed.

Method:
The star cast :) make sure you remove the think stem of the leaves.

Lets blanch the palak, just bring a pot of water to boil, add salt, add the cleaned spinach leaves in it for 1-2 min, remove and when cooled, puree. OR you can do as my MIL does, just cook the leaves with little water in a pan or pressure cooker and then when cooled grind to a paste....along with the water. Though I have to admit that the first step retain the color of the green leaves.

I minced the onions, ginger and garlic in my food processor....you can do it with a knife too.
Heat a kadai or pan with 3 tbsp oil, add in jeera and the bay leaf.

Add in the minced onion mix into the hot oil, after a minute, simmer the fire and add in salt.

Once the onion starts to brown, add in kashmiri chilly powder, coriander powder, and turmeric powder. Mix all the powders for a min, so that the raw flavor diminishes....remember the fire is on low.

Add in the finely chopped tomato (you can also puree them) and a little water (about 2 tbsp) so that it blends well into the masala....put the heat to medium and mix and stir till oil starts to separate (it took about 3-5 min)....then again simmer the fire.

You can see that the oil has started to come out, at this stage add the pureed palak. I always follow my MIL's advise to saute the pureed palak for 2-3 min in the masala (though doing so, the color tends to change a bit...but the taste is commendable).

Add 2-3 tbsp curd/yogurt or if you like the curry to be little rich add cream. Then add in 1 tsp garam masala and a fat pinch of kasuri methi......and some water or milk to thin out the gravy a bit

Add the cubed paneer, simmer for a minute (if you prefer, you can lightly fry the paneer in oil, but here I did not do that)....serve hot with phulka/Indian flatbread or Tandoori Roti.

Notes:
I blanched the palak leaves in hot water, so as to preserve some colour, and I also sauted them in the masala for 2-3 min (as my MIL sticked to this method for taste), I used refined oil and curd/yogurt instead of cream....to make it as healthy as possible. You can use ghee, dalda, or even butter if you are in the mood for a total indulgence and use thick cream instead of curd/yogurt. I like my gravy to be a bit thick, if you would like to thin it out....you can use milk, water, or cream.
You can garnish with some cream or yogurt swirled or fresh ginger strips; like I have here. 

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