Chicken Vindaloo ( Replace chicken with tofu for vegetarian version)


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As much as I love cooking, I am very much intimidated by recipes that call for 25 ingredients and 30 steps 🙂 I have been cooking long enough to understand that good food can also be simple food. But there are exceptions to every rule. Chicken Vindaloo is one such recipe, involves more steps than normal, but completely worth all the efforts. A staple in Indian restaurants’ lunch buffet, this curry with chicken and potatoes is quite spicy. Its not the kind of heat that makes you reach for water after the first bite, but with all the different layers of spices, you will definietly start to sweat before your are done eating 🙂  I don’t mind spending an hour in the kitchen for this, because this could be the only thing I cook for the whole day. Make chicken vindaloo and steam some rice… lunch and dinner are taken care of (with no complaints :))  (The flavor profile closely matches with  chicken chettinad).

  • Step 1 (Making the spice blend)

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  1. black mustard seeds –  2 tsp
  2. cumin – 2 tsp
  3. black pepper – 1.5 tsp
  4. cardamom seeds – 2 cardamom (remove the pod)
  5. fenugreek – 1 tsp
  6. cinnamon –  three sticks (about an inch each)

(These quantiies are for 1.5 lbs of chicken)

  • Heat 1/2 tsp of oil in a pan and fry the spices. Add the mustard seeds first and the fenugreek at the very end. Image
  • Allow them to cool down for a bit and pulse them in a spice blender.

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  • To this add :
  1. 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  2. 2 tsp of red chilli powder
  3. 1 tsp salt
  4. 3 tsp of brown sugar

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  • Mix everything with 2 tbsp of vingear. Image

This concludes the making of the vindaloo spice blend.

  • Step 2 (Making the onion paste)

Chop 2 medium size onions. Image

  • In a big pot add 2 tbsp of oil and saute the onions. Image
  • The onions have to caramelize and turn brown. This will take approximately 8 – 10 mins in medium heat. Image
  • Cool them down and grind to a thick paste. The paste has to be brown in color, if not , the onions have not caramelized enough and that will definitely affect the taste of the gravy. Image
  • Step 3 (Marinating the chicken)

Clean and cut the chicken into cubes (preferably boneless). Marinate the chicken with the spice blend (step 1) and the onion paste(step 2) and set aside for at least 30 minutes.  Image

  • Step 4 (Making the Vindaloo Gravy)

The rest is quite easy. To make the gravy you will need :

  1. Medium tomatoes – 2
  2. Cilantro – a generous bunch
  3. Curry leaves – few
  4. Ginger garlic paste – 1 tbspImage
  • You will also need 1 large or two medium potatoes. Peel and cut into big cubes and leave them in water until needed.Image
  • In a big pot, add 2 tbsp of oil, and fry the ginger garlic paste.Image
  • Add the tomatoes, cilantro and curry leaves. Sprinkle salt to sweat the tomatoes.Image
  • When the tomatoes soften, add the marinated chicken.Image
  • Add the potatoes.Image
  • Cover and cook. There is no need to add water.Image
  • Usually the restaurant vindaloos are more like thin curries.  But I prefer a thick gravy. Remove from heat when the chicken is completely cooked and your preferred consistency is reached.Image
  • For thicker gravy, cook until oil separates.Image

This goes extremely well with rice or naan. It is a flavor packed dish, so just this and rice makes a sumptuous meal.

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Gobi (cauliflower) Sliders


Happy Independence Day to everyone celebrating ! Here is a 100% vegetarian/vegan burger recipe using cauliflower. This is a very simple recipe,  packed with flavors and texture.

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  • Cut the cauliflower into big chunks and then grate them.

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  • Just cauliflower is enough, but I just plucked some fresh beans, so I am going to throw them in too. Also I am going to grate a medium potato for texture.

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  • Also chop 1 medium size onion, 1 green chilli and a few mint leaves. You can use herb of your choice.

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  • In a pan , heat a tbsp of oil and fry 1 tsp of fennel seeds.

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  • Saute the onions , green chilli, and mint. After the onions become translucent, add a tsp. of ginger garlic paste and fry.

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  • Add the green beans and sprinkle some salt to sweat them.

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  • After a minute add the grated potatoes.

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  • Add the cauliflower at last as they will cook in no time. Add some salt and pepper, cover and cook for two minutes.

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  • Once the cauliflower softens add 3 tsp. of red chilli powder (more or less according to your heat preference)  and 1 tsp of garam masala. You can also add a tsp. of turmeric powder.

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  • Mix everything together and allow to cook for 2 more minutes. Everything will blend together and roll like a ball. Turn off the heat and let it cool down for 5 – 10 minutes. Then squeeze in the juice of 1/2 lemon for some acid.

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  • When the mixture is completely cooled down, shape them into patties. I am using small slider buns , so I made small patties.

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  • Heat oil in a skillet, and place the patties gently. It is okay if the patties don’t perfectly hold together.

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  • After a minute flip the patties gently. Using two spatulas works well. The top and the bottom should crisp, while the middle remains soft and juicy.

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  • Toast the slider buns and place the patties in between. I just topped them with red chilli sauce as the patties themselves are full of flavor. But you can use any condiment  you like.
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The mixture can also be used as a stuffing for parathas or filling for samosas and ravioli. So leftovers are perfectly fine 🙂

Wonton Samosas (Spicy vegetable samosa)


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Here is an easy ‘shortcut’ recipe for the national snack of India. I am a big time samosa fan , right from school days. Hot samosas, freshly delivered to the school tuck shop at 4 p.m. every day..yummmmmm….Along with homeworks, record note books and tests, it was also a daily chore to make sure I had 65 paisa with me to buy samosa 🙂

The fillings are made different in different places. I am a little disappointed that most samosas available these days in the grocery stores and restaurants are the standard potato and peas samosas. While I love any filling, I crave for the spicy and crunchy onion and cabbage filling as we get in my hometown in India.

With rainy evenings forecast  fora week (NJ) , sounds like the perfect time to enjoy these samosas with a hot cup of tea 🙂

  • First step is to make the filling. Slice the onions and cabbage thin and long.

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  • Also dice one potato and two carrots. I have one jalapeno (seeds removed) chopped for an extra kick.

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  • Heat  1 tbsp of oil in a wok and saute the jalapeno.

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  • Now add the potatoes and carrots. Sprinkle some salt and cook for a couple of minutes.

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  • Add the cabbage and onion together. It is very important to have the crunchiness of the onions and cabbage until the very end, so a quick stir fry for a minute is all the cooking that is needed.Image
  • Add 1 tsp. of turmeric powder, 2 tsp of red chilli powder and 1/2 tsp of garam masala. Add more salt if needed.

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  • Mix well and cook for 2 minutes until the raw smell of the powders go away. Remove from heat and allow it to cool for sometime. That makes the filling.

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  • For the outer covering, I am taking a shortcut by using wonton wrappers. I find these in the vegan section of my grocer right next to Tofu.

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  • Mix 2 tbsp of all purpose flour with little water to make a paste which will be used as a glue to seal the samosas.

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  • In the wrapper, place the filling in one half (diagonally). If you place too much filling, the wrapper will rip, and too little filling makes for a tasteless samosa. But I assure you that you will find your happy medium by the time you are making your third samosa 🙂

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  • Apply the flour glue to the two edges and fold the wrapper over. If possible, tuck the edges to secure the filling.

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  • Prepare all samosas like this. If for a party, you can make these a day or two ahead and refrigerate  until you need them. Also you can freeze these  until when needed.

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  • Heat oil in a pan for deep frying and fry the samosas to a golden brown.

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  • The only thing left to do now is, sit by the window and enjoy the crunchy samosa, with hot tea while watching the rain 🙂

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