Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Chilli Chicken Recipe/ Chinese Style


chilli chicken

Chinese Style Chilli Chicken is one of the most sought after dish, and the best thing about this recipe is that it is low calorie......guilt free yummy chilli chicken for you!

Amma got this chilli chicken recipe back in the late 80's when she attended a cookery class, and at that time chilli (chilly) chicken was in rage along with fried rice. Chinese food has already taken in by Indians and restaurants started show casing them....yes!! Chinese food was in!!

I actually wanted to share this recipe before Easter, but then sometimes things do not go the way I plan. Easter weekend was spent lazying with Homey and kids....watching movies and cooking and reading. Homey gifted me a book  by Dr. Brian Weiss "Many lives, Many Masters' and I was so engrossed in that book (with my feet propped up on my favorite fluffy pillow) reading that book changed a whole lot of perspective of life; atleast the way I used to view it...and it definitely made me think a lot...you should try reading it.... incase you make up your mind to read it...I have included the amazon link (this is an affliate link)

Happiness is really rooted in simplicity. The tendency to excessiveness in thought and action diminishes happiness....so this Easter was all about Simplicity!! I took a break from blogging and spent really good time with family and that sort of gave me the positive energy I needed.

Okay, back to the recipe....this chilli or is it chilly?? chicken is so good...I practically grew up on this...and as you might be familiar.. usually for chilli chicken, the chicken is batter fried in oil and devouring each piece literally will make your favorite jeans or salwar tight! Okay, you heard me, you can indulge in my chilli chicken without a thought! as the chicken is not batter fried and the whole curry is made with less oil.....and that calls for guilt free indulgence...yet, have a restaurant feel but minus the synthetic flavorings and artificial food colorings.....and that makes it every bit healthy too.

A word about bone-in-chicken, I like to use them in my curries and always asks my butcher to cut them into small pieces when I plan to make chilli chicken, but if you do not favor, you can use boneless chicken cut into small pieces.

This my favorite chilli chicken and I am sure this will be your favorite too.


Author: Nisa Homey
Recipe Source: Amma.
Cooking time: 15 to 20 min
Serves: 4

Ingredients
Bone-in-Chicken: 750 gms (Cut into small pieces)
Vinegar: 1 tbsp or juice of half medium sized lemon.
Onion: 3, cut into cubes.
Green chilli: 3, sliced.
Garlic: 6 cloves, sliced.
Capsicum: half, cubed.
Kashmiri chilly powder: 2 tsp (I used 2 1/2 tsp).
Tomato sauce: 2 tbsp
Soy sauce: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 1/2 to 1 tsp.
Cornflour: 1 tbsp (mix in about 1/2 to 3/4 cup chicken stock).
Salt: To taste.
Refined Oil: 2 1/2 to 3 tbsp.
Spring onion: 1 tbsp chopped to garnish.

Method:
Put the chicken pieces into a pressure cooker with salt and 1 tbsp vinegar or lemon juice, pressure cook for just 1 whistle and switch off the fire....release the steam.

Open cooker and remove the stock to a bowl or glass. (do not over cook the chicken)

 Cube the onions and capsicum. Slice the green chillies and garlic cloves.

Into a kadai or wok, add in oil, once it heats up add in the sliced garlic cloves.

Then dunk in the cubed onions and green chillies. Stir or toss for a min...add a tsp of salt (the flame is on high)

We do not need the onions to cook through or change colour....just stir fry is what we need...so that a little bit of crunchiness is retained.

Put the flame on low, and remove them to another plate....there will be oil left in the kadai.

Again do the same with cubed capsicum and sprinkle a bit of salt (with the flame high, ofcourse) and then remove it on to a plate.

 Into the same kadai, add in the cooked chicken....with flame on high...stir it for a minute or two, so that it is lightly fried.

Then spread the chicken to the sides, and oil will come up in the middle (including fat from chicken). Add in 2 to 2 1/2 tsp of Kashmiri chilli powder (if using ordinary chilli powder, reduce by half)

Mix the red chilli with a spatula or spoon into the oil in the middle, so that the raw flavor diminishes.

Now mix them all up nicely....so that the chicken is nicely coated with chilli powder. Put the flame on low, otherwise the chilli will start to get burnt and changes color.

Add in 1 tbsp soy sauce...mix well.

Add in 2 tbsp tomato sauce.

Mix well.

Add in the onion-capsicum...toss or mix...whatever you are good at.

Mix 1 tbsp cornflour into the chicken stock...(if stock is very less, can add little water)

Pour this into the chicken (this makes the gravy). Mix well.

The gravy will start to thicken, simmer the fire....add in 1 tsp sugar...or 1/2 tsp if you prefer.

Adjust the gravy according to your preference, I added a little more water....sprinkle chopped green onions or spring onion.
Spicy chilli chicken is so easy to make......so no more takeaways!!
Serve hot!

Notes:
If the gravy becomes thick, when it cools down , you can thin out by adding little warm water.
I would advise to use Kashmiri chilli powder as it will bring out a fiery red color, pls note that I have not used any artificial colorings or flavorings.
You can increase or decrease the sauces by about half a tbsp...according to your taste...though if you feel that you like a bit more sourness, it is best to add in a tad bit of vinegar or lime juice than soy sauce...as adding more soy sauce might make the color dark.

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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chicken Noodles Recipe


chicken noodles

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 :)

chinese chicken noodles

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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