Matt Preston’s Chicken Schnitzel

I have written here earlier about Masterchef Australia being one of my top favorite food shows on TV. This is only the second time I am attempting a dish from the show. This one is by food critic and judge Matt Preston during a masterclass in Season 9 of the show. While he made a host of other dishes along with this schnitzel including sweet potato chips and a mayonnaise, I decided to tread cautiously and chose to make only one item. This schnitzel is so simple and easy to make and fairly healthy, given that it is baked. While I have made minor changes to the original version (you can find the recipe here), I am stoked with how it turned out! With a wedge of lemon and a cold drink, this dish is good to go 🙂 Happy fourth of July!

Ingredients:

Chicken Breast – 700 gms
Butter – 5 tbsp
Dried Thyme – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli flakes – 1/4 tsp
Whole Wheat Bread crumbs – 1 cup
Grated parmesan cheese – 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius
  • Prepare at least two baking trays, lining them with aluminium foil
  • Place the butter in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water and allow to melt; once melted, turn off gas
  • Meanwhile, place the chicken breast in between parchment paper and flatten it out using a mallet or a rolling pin
  • Cut into strips and keep aside
  • In a flat-bottomed dish, combine the bread crumbs, cheese, thyme and chilli flakes
  • Place the chicken strips in the melted butter and coat them well
  • Remove the strips, shaking off excess butter and place them in the crumb mixture
  • Toss the chicken pieces ensuring they are coated completely in crumb
  • Place the chicken in the prepared trays
  • Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, flipping the pieces mid-way through the cook
  • Serve hot on a bed of salad with a ranch or mayonnaise dressing

Summer Corn Salad

A friend of mine brought this salad to a potluck lunch last year and it is one of the best things I have eaten. Simple but packed full of flavor! It’s also versatile enough to play around with the ingredients. Toss in some cooked rajma or pasta. You can add some chaat masala or coriander-chilli chutney for an Indian twist. You can even throw in some shredded chicken. My friend recommends the use of black salt in this salad. I didn’t have any, so I ended up using regular salt. It’s a good salad to prepare ahead and perfect on a hot summer day. Thank you, V, for bringing this to school 🙂

Ingredients

Corn – 4 cobs
Bell pepper – 1/2
Spring Onions – 1/2 cup, chopped
Tomato – 1/2
Potato – 1/2, boiled
Lime – 1/2
Salt to taste
Black pepper to taste
Yogurt – 3 tbsp
Garlic – 3 cloves
Tortilla Chips – 1 cup, crushed

Method

  • Place the corn in a pressure cooker with water. Cook for one whistle. Once pressure releases, remove the corn and slice length-wise such that you get the kernels.
  • Add chopped bell peppers, tomato and potato
  • Add spring onions (all of the white part and some of the green)
  • Refrigerate this mix

Assembling

  • Just before serving, add salt and black pepper to taste
  • Mince the garlic cloves and add to the yoghurt. Add this dressing to the salad
  • Squeeze the juice of half a lime
  • Toss in crushed chips 

Akki Roti with Methi / Rice Flour Roti with Fenugreek Leaves

Akki Roti is a breakfast staple in Karnataka, and being from Bangalore myself, this is one of my favorite breakfast/dinner items. This is an easy and quick to prepare dish and requires very simple and basic ingredients. I have used Methi leaves in this version to make it more nutritious. Grated carrots are also used commonly. Again, this is one of those recipes where keeping the base ingredients the same, you can play with different add-ons like different types of greens or nuts. Any type of chutney goes well with Akki Roti but some tangy and spicy tomato chutney sure tastes great with it!

Ingredients:

Rice flour – 1.5 cups plus extra for dusting
Methi/ Fenugreek leaves – 2 cups
Onion, finely chopped – 2/3 cup
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 4 tbsp
Green chillies, finely chopped – 2
Grated coconut – 4 tbsp
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – for pan frying

Method:

  • Wash the Methi leaves well and chop them finely
  • In a mixing bowl, take all the ingredients (except oil) and mix well

  • Add water gradually and knead into a soft dough

  • Divide the dough into equal sized portions
  • Take a sheet of parchment or wax paper and apply few drops of oil
  • Place the dough on the paper and press with your fingers. Do not use rolling pin
  • Use more oil or dust with extra flour if it gets sticky
  • Spread the dough into a nice circular roti

  • Heat a tawa/griddle and apply 1/4 tsp oil
  • Once the griddle is nice and hot, transfer the roti. For easy transfer, flip the parchment paper with the roti on the pan and slowly peel off the paper and re-use for next roti. If you are using wax paper, be quick in removing it as it is not as heat resistant as the parchment paper
  • Cook the roti well on both sides, about 2-3 minutes on each side until it starts browning slightly. Use extra oil if needed

  • Transfer to a plate and repeat with remaining rotis
  • Serve with your choice of chutney

Quinoa Chickpea Salad with Cilantro Lime Dressing

I have learnt a few different ways of preparing quinoa and feel that it goes so well with chickpeas. In fact, sometimes when I make Chole Masala, I have it with plain cooked quinoa instead of rice, which also is a better choice if you want to avoid rice for dinner. This salad is healthy but at the same time filling. I have used carrots for some sweetness but you can add other vegetables and/or greens and make it more nutritious!

Ingredients:

Quinoa – 1 cup
Vegetable broth – 3 cups
Chickpeas, cooked – 1.5 cups (see note below)
Carrot, grated – 1 cup
Cilantro – 7 to 8 stalks
Garlic – 2 cloves
Ginger, grated – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Green chili pepper – 1/2
Olive oil – 2 to 3 tbsp
Salt – to taste
Juice of half a lime/lemon

Yield: 2 servings

Method:

  • Wash the quinoa well
  • In a pan, add the quinoa and vegetable broth. Cook covered, on medium heat for 15 -20 mins
  • Reduce the heat to low when most of the liquid is absorbed. Once cooked, you can fluff it with the help of a fork and allow it to cool a bit
  • To prepare the cilantro dressing, in a mixer or food processor, take cilantro, garlic, ginger, green chili pepper, salt and lemon juice and pulse a few times until coarsely ground
  • Now, with the mixer on, keep adding olive oil until the mixture emulsifies. You can also add the oil and beat with a whisk instead of using the mixer. Note that the quantity used here serves 2. You can also prepare more and refrigerate it for about a week

  • In a big mixing bowl, add the quinoa, chickpeas, grated carrot and the dressing and toss well
  • Serve warm or chilled

Note: Soak chickpeas in water for 8 hours or overnight and pressure cooker on medium heat for 2-3 whistles. You can substitute the vegetable broth with chicken broth or just water. Using the broth will give some added flavor.

Whole Wheat Pizza with Vegetables

I love love love pizza! It’s one of those decadent dishes that instantly improves my mood. As a kid, I remember buying those white pizza bases from the neighborhood grocery store and cooking them on the tava with our favorite toppings. But I’ve been meaning to try making the base at home using whole wheat flour and finally got around to it. The idea of making your own pizza dough can be quite intimidating but it’s really not that different from making chapathi dough. The only difference is the addition of yeast and waiting a few hours for it to rise. While the entire process is a tad time-consuming, the effort is well worth it. Topped with my homemade tomato sauce, vegetables of your choice and lots of cheese, this pizza makes me very happy! And hope it does the same to you!

Whole Wheat Pizza with Vegetables

Ingredients:

For the pizza dough:

Warm Water – 1 cup
Sugar – 1 tbsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Active Dry Yeast – 1 envelope (2.25 tsp)
Whole Wheat Flour/Atta – 2.75 cups
Parmesan Cheese – 1/4 cup (optional)
Salt to taste

Toppings:

Tomato Sauce – 2.5 to 3 cups (you can find recipe here)
Mozzarella Cheese – 2 cups
Bell Peppers – 2
Onion – 1
Chilli Flakes – 2 tsp (optional)

Method:

Making pizza dough:

  • In warm water, add sugar, oil and yeast; set this aside

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • In a wide bowl, combine the flour, salt and cheese

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • To this, slowly add the water mixture and form a dough; the dough must not be too soft or hard but firm

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • Wrap the bowl with cling film and set aside in a cool place for at least 2 to 3 hours till it increases in size

Whole Wheat Pizza

Assembling the pizza:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit or 215 degrees Celsius
  • Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with oil 
  • Divide the risen dough into 4 portions (you can either make 4 small pizzas or 2 large ones)
  • Take the first portion and roll out as thinly as possible (I don’t pay much heed to shape and focus on making it thin instead)

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • Transfer to the prepared baking tray
  • Using a fork, prick the rolled out dough (This is to prevent the dough from puffing up)

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • Spread the tomato sauce all over the dough (use a little more than half cup for each of the 4 small pizzas)

Marinara Sauce/Tomato Sauce on Pizza

  • Add sliced onions and bell peppers (about 1/4 cup each for every pizza)
  • Sprinkle mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup for each of the 4 pizzas)
  • Sprinkle a teaspoon of chilli flakes if using

Whole Wheat Pizza

  • Bake for 20 minutes till the edges begin to brown and the cheese melts
  • Serve hot!

Whole Wheat Pizza

Note:
– I have adapted the pizza dough recipe from here
– I used active dry yeast. You can even use instant yeast in which case you can make the pizza immediately
– I used a red and green bell pepper and had some leftovers. You could use just one if you like
– I have refrigerated leftover dough for about 3 days and it has been usable. You could try for longer if you like
– While spreading tomato sauce on the base, I like to cover the edges as well as I don’t like them getting crusty
– Other toppings you can use include baby corn, mushrooms, chicken, paneer, fresh basil or even just cheese
– I used home-made tomato sauce. You can use the store-bought kind as well

Cabbage Paratha

This is a healthy and easy to make recipe for breakfast or dinner. The taste of these parathas reminds me of my Mom’s Cabbage Puttu due to the use of similar ingredients. This is a really good way to use leftover cabbage.

Cabbage paratha

Ingredients:

Wheat flour – 1 cup
Besan/ Chickpea flour – 3 tbsp
Grated cabbage – 1 cup, tightly packed
Green chillies, minced – 2
Coriander leaves, finely chopped – 2 tbsp
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp
Dhania powder – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 1/2 tsp plus, for cooking

Method:

  • Remove any excess moisture from the cabbage ensuring it is dry. Also see note below.
  • In a bowl, mix all the ingredients except the oil 

Cabbage paratha 1

  • Add water as needed and knead into a firm dough. Add 1/2 tsp oil to get a smooth dough

Cabbage paratha 3

  • Divide into 6 to 8 equal portions
  • Roll each of them into thin circles (6 to 8 inches diameter)
  • Heat a tawa/griddle and place the paratha 
  • Flip a couple of times and when it starts changing color, apply 1/2 tsp oil and cook well on both sides
  • Serve hot with yogurt or your favorite pickle

Note: It is very important that you make the parathas as soon as you prepare the dough. In other words, make the dough only when you are ready to cook them. If left sitting, the cabbage will release water and the dough will become moist and sticky and will lose its firmness.

Green Gram/Moong Bean Curry

This is yet another recipe from my sister. The only difference between her version and mine is that I make it like a curry while she makes it dry. I prefer it slightly watered down simply because I can have just a bowl of these lentils like soup for dinner. It’s hearty and healthy and so easy to make! You can even have it with roti or white rice.

Green Gram Curry

Ingredients:

Green Gram – 1 cup
Cinnamon – 1-inch piece
Cloves – 3
Onion – 1
Garlic – 5 cloves
Tomato – 1
Turmeric – a pinch
Chilli powder – 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil
Water
Fresh Coriander – 1/2 cup

Method:

  • Soak the green gram in about 2 cups of water and rest overnight or for at least 6 hours
  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker
  • Add cinnamon and cloves and fry for about a minute
  • Add finely chopped onions and fry till they turn translucent
  • Add finely chopped garlic and fry for a couple minutes
  • Add chopped tomato
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder and coriander powder and fry for a few minutes till the masalas are cooked
  • Drain the green gram and add to the cooker
  • Pour enough water to cover the lentils or as per required consistency and add salt to taste
  • Pressure cook for 3 whistles
  • Once cooked and pressure is released, garnish with fresh coriander

Note: If you prefer a dry consistency, reduce the cooked curry on an open flame; If you feel it’s too dry, add more water and cook on an open flame

Baked Macaroni & Cheese

I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t enjoy a good Mac n Cheese. I sure do! It’s a comforting dish with a rich flavor, ideal for a weeknight supper. I took inspiration for this recipe from the book Foodprints by Priya Bala, a former colleague. You can make this dish even if you don’t have an oven. Just reduce the amount of milk you use and make a thick sauce instead and then combine with the pasta.

This post goes out to my nephew, who enjoys macaroni and cheese, and turned 10 last week!

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

Macaroni Pasta – 200 gms
Butter – 2 tbsp
All-purpose flour/Maida – 2 tbsp
Milk – 400 ml
Cheese – 1/2 cup + 1/4 cup
Red pepper flakes/Chilli flakes – 1 tbsp (optional)
Salt to taste
Bread crumbs – 2 tbsp

Method: 

  • Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit or 230 degrees Celsius
  • Grease a round or square baking dish and set aside
  • To a pot of boiling salted water, add the macaroni and boil for about 8 minutes
  • Drain and transfer to the prepared baking dish
  • In a saucepan, heat the butter
  • Add all-purpose flour and stir on medium flame
  • Pour in the milk and whisk continuously
  • After a couple minutes, add salt to taste and chilli flakes
  • Keep whisking and add half cup of cheese 
  • Take off the heat after 2 minutes and pour over the pasta
  • Sprinkle bread crumbs and quarter cup of cheese
  • Bake for about 20 to 22 minutes till most of the milk is absorbed and pasta is bubbling
  • Serve hot!

Baked Mac and Cheese

Note:
– If you are making this for kids, you can leave out the chilli flakes. Personally, I like a little bit of heat in this dish
– You could use dried herbs like thyme or oregano as well
– I used a mix of cheddar and parmesan cheese. You can use any cheese that melts quickly and isn’t stringy
– You can leave out bread crumbs if you don’t happen to have it. But it does add a bit of crunch to the dish

Beet Burger with Basil Pesto

The inspiration for this recipe was the veggie burger I had at HopDoddy burger bar here in Austin. This place is rated as one of the best burger joints in the country and do try it if you are in Austin. The restaurant version is a black bean burger with cilantro pesto, arugula and goat cheese. I wanted to try something different using beets and came up with this recipe with what I had in my pantry at that moment along with some leftovers (see tip below). You don’t have to worry about it being too sweet plus the basil pesto is an amazing combination with these burgers. Healthy and filled with nutrients, you can prepare the patties well ahead and freeze them and use them as needed. You can also try different toppings and sauces. If you do not have pesto, a slice of pepper-jack or Swiss cheese goes well too.

Beet burger

Ingredients:

Whole wheat burger buns – 4
Baby spinach leaves – 1 cup
Basil pesto – 2 tbsp per burger, see recipe here
Onion, finely chopped – 2/3 cup
Garlic, minced – 2 tbsp
Serrano pepper, minced – 1 tbsp
Beets, grated – 2 cups
Potato, boiled and mashed – 1/2 cup
Brown rice, cooked – 1/2 cup
Garam masala – 3/4 tsp
Cilantro, finely chopped – 2 tbsp
Ground black pepper – 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 3 tsp + for grilling the patties
Butter – 1/2 tsp per half bun

Yield: 4 burgers

Method:

  • Heat oil in a pan and add the minced garlic and serrano peppers
  • Add onions and saute well
  • Add the grated beets and saute for about 5 minutes
  • Add garam masala, cilantro, ground black pepper and salt and mix well
  • Continue to saute for few more minutes to ensure that all the moisure is absorbed
  • Add the rice and mashed potato. Mix well and remove from heat
  • Let it cool and transfer it to a food processor and pulse it a few times just to get a coarse mixture as shown below so that it will be easy to shape them into patties

Beet burger mix 2 Beet burger mix Beet burger patties

  • When you are ready to make the burgers, heat oil in a skillet and place the patties. Do not overcrowd them as it will get difficult to flip them
  • Cook the patties on medium heat for about 4-5 minutes on each side. Cook extra 2-3 minutes to get a nice brown crust
  • Do not worry if they break while flipping. Just patch them up and shape them into a patty again. As they continue to cook, they will less likely break
  • Butter the halves of the buns and grill them slightly in the skillet
  • To assemble the burger, place few spinach leaves on one half of the bun, place the patty over it and top it with the pesto and cover with the other half. Serve warm

IMG_5082

Tip: You can substitute the potato and garam masala with leftover Aloo paratha filling. This is also a great way to use up leftover rice.

Fried & Baked Chicken

This is a dish that seemed quite daunting to me when I first wanted to attempt it. But once you have all the ingredients prepared and laid out, it happens quite quickly. There is a bit of multi-tasking involved but it’s quite easy once you figure it out. I borrowed this recipe from Ina Garten’s Chicken Piccata

Fried and Baked Chicken

Serves: 2

Ingredients:

Chicken breast – 450 gms (4 pieces)
Salt to taste
Pepper – 1 tsp
All-purpose flour – 1.5 cups
Egg – 1
Milk/Water – 1 tbsp
Bread crumbs – 1 cup
Grated Parmesan Cheese – 1/4 cup (optional)
Dry thyme – 1/4 tsp (optional)
Butter/Oil – 2 tbsp

Method:

  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit or 200 degrees Celsius
  • Line a baking tray with foil and spray with oil; keep aside
  • Take a wide dish or plate and spread out the all-purpose flour
  • Take another plate and pour a beaten egg mixed with milk
  • In a third plate, spread out a mixture of bread crumbs, cheese and dried thyme
  • Take the first chicken piece and place in between butter paper or cling wrap and beat it out to an even and thin (about 1/2 an inch or so) piece using a rolling pin or meat tenderizer
  • The above step helps ensure the chicken cooks properly and evenly
  • Follow this process with the remaining pieces of chicken
  • Season each piece of chicken with salt and about a 1/4 teaspoon of pepper and set aside
  • Heat a pan (that’s wide enough to hold two pieces of chicken) with a tablespoon of butter
  • Take the first piece of chicken and place in the dish with flour; coat all sides of the chicken evenly and shake off any excess flour
  • Then, place the piece in the egg mixture and coat well
  • Finally, place the chicken in the plate with bread crumbs, cheese and thyme; ensure that all sides are covered
  • Place in the pan on medium to high heat
  • Repeat this process with remaining pieces of chicken
  • Cook the chicken for about 2 minutes on each side before transferring them to the prepared baking tray
  • Bake for about ten minutes and serve hot along with coleslaw, salad or even as a burger!

Note: 
– For the bread crumb mixture, you can even use seasoned crumbs that are available in stores. I used whole wheat bread crumbs. If you do not have thyme, you can use any dry herb or even finely chopped cilantro. You can play around with this mixture by even adding chilli flakes or finely chopped garlic
– I mix milk with the egg because this helps it stick to the floured-chicken; you could use water instead of milk as well
– I used about a 1/2 tablespoon of butter to pan-fry each piece of chicken; you can use vegetable or olive oil instead