Butter Chicken

Ok, so this isn’t a dish you should be making often. This is my first attempt at making Butter Chicken and it turned out pretty decent! While this isn’t something I order at a restaurant (because I prefer spicy food), I enjoyed trying my hand at it. This recipe is from my sister who in turn got it from her friend back when they were in college together. I’ve made slight variations to the original recipe like the use of unsalted butter instead of salted. It’s great for a special occasion or when you have guests and goes well with steaming hot ghee rice.

Butter Chicken

Ingredients:

For the marinade:
Chicken – 500 gms
Yoghurt – 1 cup
Salt 
Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Black pepper powder – 1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Garam Masala – 2 tsp

For the gravy:
Tomatoes – 6
Unsalted butter – 50 gms
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tbsp
Cashewnuts – 1/3 cup
Chilli powder – 1/4 tsp
Milk – 1.25 cups
Cream – 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Tandoori Masala – 1 tsp
Green chillies – 1
Sugar – 1/4 tsp
Bay leaf – 1
Salt to taste

Method:

Marinating the chicken:

  • Mix all the marinade ingredients together with the chicken and allow to rest for at least 2 hours in the fridge

Making the gravy:

  • Grind the tomatoes to a fairly fine paste
  • Soak the cashewnuts in hot water and allow to sit for about 15 minutes before grinding to a smooth paste 
  • Heat a wok and melt the butter
  • Add the bay leaf and stir
  • Add ginger-garlic paste and fry till the liquid evaporates
  • Add the ground tomatoes  and cool till it turns very dry and the fat separates
  • Add the cashewnut paste
  • Add chilli powder and fry till the fat separates
  • Switch off the stove and then add the milk and a cup of water to get a gravy
  • Turn on the heat again and bring to a boil
  • Cover the wok and simmer for about 7 minutes
  • Once again, remove from heat and stir in the 3/4 cup of cream
  • Add garam masala, tandoori masala, sugar and salt
  • Add the chicken and cook on a low flame till it becomes tender
  • Garnish with 2 tbsp of cream and green chillies

Note:
– I didn’t use store-bought tandoori masala but instead made my own following this recipe; I left out ground ginger, ground garlic, nutmeg and paprika since I did not have these ingredients
– Adjust the amount of milk and cream in this recipe depending on how rich you want it to be and how much gravy you would like
– You can also add tandoori color to the marinade which I left out since I didn’t have any

Baked Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken is probably a favorite of everyone but we end up ordering them at restaurants more often than trying it out at home. You don’t need a Tandoor to make this dish and can be easily prepared in an oven. The preparation itself doesn’t take too long except for the marination time and you just have to let the oven do it’s job. The best part of this recipe is the homemade Tandoori masala which just adds it’s own flair to this dish, plus it does not call for the bright orange/red food color that I am totally not a fan of. Try this and you will never think about ordering it from any restarurant or joint. Goes well with any type of biryani. Check out the recipe for egg biryani.

Baked Tandoori Chicken

Ingredients:

Chicken drumsticks – 6
Yogurt – 2 tbsp
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri chilly powder – 3/4 tsp
Lemon juice – 1 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Oil – 4 tsp

Salt – to taste

For the Tandoori masala powder:
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Cloves – 3
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Black peppercorns – 8
Coriander seeds – 1/2 tsp
Green cardamom – 2
Fennel seeds/ saunf – 1/2 tsp

Method:

  • Dry roast the Tandoori masala ingredients and grind them into a fine powder
  • Make 2-3 small slits on the chicken so that they will soak up the marinade well
  • In a bowl, mix together yogurt, ginger-garlic paste, turmeric, chilly powder, tandoori masala powder, lemon juice and salt
  • Place the chicken in the bowl and coat them well with the marinade
  • Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4-6 hours
  • Pre-heat the oven to 450°F
  • Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil and grease the foil with oil
  • Place the chicken in the pan making sure there is some space between each of them as shown belowBaked Tandoori Chicken 2
  • Drizzle oil over the chicken
  • Cook for about 40 minutes turning the chicken half way through the baking process. Add more oil if necessary
  • Then, turn on the broiler and cook for another 5 minutes. This will give the chicken a nice crispy and lightly charred skin
  • Serve with your favorite biryani

IMG_4879

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

Easy Chicken Curry

Easy Chicken Curry

Ingredients:

For the masala:
Oil
Cinnamon – 2-inch piece
Cloves – 6
Cardamom – 6
Onion – 2

For the curry:
Bayleaf – 2
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Chicken – 900 gms approx.
Tomatoes – 2
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Water – 1/2 cup approx.
Oil
Kasoori Methi – 1 tsp

Method:

Making the masala:

  • Heat oil in a large pan or wok
  • Add cinnamon, cloves and cardamom and fry for about 30 seconds
  • Add roughly chopped onions and fry till it begins to turn brown
  • Remove from heat and set aside to cool
  • Grind to a paste (without adding water)

Making the curry:

  • Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and set aside
  • Heat oil in a large pan and add bayleaf
  • Fry for about 30 seconds before adding ginger-garlic paste
  • Turn the heat to a low flame and add chicken pieces, chopped tomatoes, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala, cumin powder, salt to taste and the ground onion paste; mix well
  • Add about half a cup of water and cover the pan with a lid
  • Cook for about 15 minutes till the chicken is tender
  • Remove from heat and add kasoori methi
  • Serve hot with rice or chapathi

Note: – I have used chicken breast in this recipe; it can be substituted with whole chicken
– This recipe is from a Kannada book titled ‘Oggarane Dabbi’

Chicken Curry/Kuzhambu

This chicken curry is a typical Tamilian dish, filled with strong south Indian flavors. It’s my sister’s recipe and her version is still the best-tasting. Whether you are nursing a cold, or want to keep warm, or just crave food that reminds you of home, this dish checks all of those boxes. It’s literally chicken soup for the soul. Enjoy!

Chicken Curry/Kuzhambu

Ingredients:

Marinade:
Chicken – 1 kg
Yoghurt – 3 tbsp
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp

Masala:
Oil
Cloves – 5
Cinnamon – 1-inch piece
Ginger – 3 tbsp
Garlic – 15 cloves
Black Peppercorns – 2 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Dry red chilli – 8
Onion – 1/2

Curry:
Oil
Cloves – 5
Cinnamon – 1-inch piece
Cardamom – 4
Onion – 1, large-sized
Tomatoes – 2
Fresh Coriander – 1/2 cup

Salt to taste
Water – 1.5 cups approx

Method:

Marinade

  • Cut the chicken into bite-size pieces and mix in the turmeric and yoghurt
  • Cover with cling film and keep refrigerated for at least a couple of hours or overnight (If you do not have time, marinate the chicken first and refrigerate until you need to add it to the dish)

Masala

Masala - Chicken Curry/Kuzhambu

  • In a pressure cooker, heat oil
  • Fry cloves and cinnamon for about 30 seconds before adding dry red chillies, chopped ginger and garlic
  • Fry for about half a minute and add coriander seeds and peppercorns
  • Add half an onion and fry till it begins to brown
  • Keep aside to cool 
  • Grind this masala to get a coarse mixture (Add 2 tablespoons of water if required while grinding)

Curry

  • In a pressure cooker, heat oil
  • Add cloves, cinnamon and elaichi
  • Fry for about 30 seconds before adding chopped onions
  • Fry the onions till it begins to turn golden brown
  • Add chopped tomatoes and fry for a couple more minutes
  • Then, add the ground masala and mix well
  • Add the chicken and salt to taste
  • Mix well and add enough water to cover the chicken (Keep in mind that the chicken will also release some water)
  • Pressure cook for 2 whistles
  • Once pressure releases, serve hot with white rice, chapathi or dosai
  • If there is too much water, cook on open flame till it reduces
  • Garnish with fresh coriander

Baked Chicken Breast with Sautéed Spinach

Baked Chicken Breast with Sauteed Spinach

Ingredients:

For the chicken:
Chicken breast – 1.5 kilos
Oil – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Turmeric – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Yoghurt – 2 tbsp

For the spinach:
Baby spinach – 3 cups
Garlic – 2 cloves
Salt to taste
Pepper powder – 1/4 tsp
Oil

Method:

Baked Chicken

  • Cut the chicken breast into 2-3 inch pieces (or as desired) and marinate using oil, salt, turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder and yoghurt
  • Allow this to rest for at least 15 minutes in the refrigerator or overnight if you have the time
  • Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Line a baking tray with aluminium foil and spray with oil
  • Place the pieces of chicken on the tray and bake for 15 minutes till the chicken is done
  • Remove from oven and cover with aluminium foil
  • Let this rest for 10 minutes before serving

Sautéed Spinach

  • While the chicken is resting, heat oil in a pan
  • Add chopped garlic and fry for about 30 seconds on medium heat before adding spinach (you don’t have to chop the spinach)
  • Saute for a couple minutes until the spinach wilts
  • Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately

My Sister’s Chicken Biryani

I have grown up eating my sister’s food and her chicken biryani is to die for! Growing up, my sister was a vegetarian but would always cook non-vegetarian food for us on Sundays. She would eat the rice in the biryani but not the chicken. While she has crossed over today (!), her biryani has become legendary! It’s one of my top requests when I visit her. I’ve tried hard to follow her recipe to a T and after several attempts realized that it will never live up to hers. Nevertheless, my attempts are always an ode to hers. Hope you enjoy it!

My Sister's Chicken Biryani

Ingredients:

For marinating the chicken:

Chicken – 900 gms 
Turmeric – 1/2 tsp
Red chilli powder – 1.5 tsp
Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste – 2 tsp
Yoghurt – 4 tbsp

For the Masala:

Oil
Cloves – 3
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Garlic – 12 large cloves
Ginger – 3 tbsp
Green chillies – 7
Dry red chillies – 8
Onion – 1, medium-sized
Fresh Coriander – 1 cup

For the Biryani:

Oil/Ghee – 5 tbsp
Cloves – 5
Cinnamon – 1-inch piece
Cardamom – 3
Bayleaf – 1
Onions – 2, medium-sized
Basmati Rice – 3 cups
Water – 5.5 cups
Salt

Method:

Marinating the Chicken

  • Chop the chicken into bite-size pieces and place them in a bowl
  • Add turmeric, red chilli powder, coriander powder, ginger-garlic paste and yoghurt. Mix well and cover with cling film
  • If you can, allow this to marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 30 minutes

Making the Masala:

Chicken Biryani - Masala

  • Heat oil in a pressure cooker
  • Add cinnamon and cloves and fry for a minute
  • Add chopped ginger and garlic and fry for a couple minutes
  • Add chopped green chillies and dry red chillies
  • Fry for a couple more minutes before adding roughly chopped onions
  • Fry until the onions begin to turn brown
  • Take off heat, and add chopped fresh coriander
  • Mix well and allow this masala to cool
  • Once it’s cooled, grind in a mixer
  • Add about a tablespoon or two of water, though this isn’t necessary
  • The paste need not be smooth

Making the Biryani:

  • Heat ghee or oil in the same cooker you used to make the masala
  • Add cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and bay leaf
  • Fry this for a minute and then add onions
  • Fry the onions till they turn golden brown
  • Add the ground masala and fry for about 2 minutes
  • Add the marinated chicken pieces and salt to taste
  • Fry for about 4 minutes before adding the rice
  • Add water and pressure cook for 2 whistles
  • Serve hot with raita!

Note:
– Cook the biryani in a pressure pan. The cooking is more even and the dish turns out much better
– You can use chicken breast only or pieces with bones too. The latter adds more flavor to the dish
– The ratio of spice is 5 chillies for every cup of rice and then divide the final count between fresh green ones and dry red chillies
– The ratio of water is generally double the quantity of rice. But I usually reduce this by half a cup. I feel it’s perfect that way
– You can use brown basmati rice instead of white. The quantity of water and number of whistles will have to change though

Chicken Biryani

This is one of my favorite recipes that I learnt from my mother-in-law and it is not your typical Chicken Biryani recipe. I have received compliments from everyone I have prepared this dish for and I am sure this will fetch you a lot of praise too! 

IMG_3159

 

Ingredients:

Chicken, boneless – 1 pound
Basmati rice – 2 cups
Onion, finely chopped – 1 cup
Tomato, finely chopped – 1/2 cup
Mint leaves – 1 cup
Bay leaves – 2
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
Cloves – 3
Saunf/Fennel seeds- 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Chilli powder – 2 tsp
Dhania powder – 2 tsp
Turmeric – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp
Ghee – 1 tbsp

To Grind:

Masala #1
Onion, roughly chopped – 2 cups
Coriander leaves, chopped – 1/2 cup
Oil – 2 tbsp

Masala #2
Coconut, cut into 1/2 inch pieces – 1 cup
Green chillies – 3
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Garlic – 5-6 cloves
Corainder leaves, chopped – 3 tbsp

Method:

Masala #1

  • Heat oil in a pan. Add the chopped onions and saute
  • Once the onions turn slightly translucent, add the coriander leaves. Saute for couple more minutes
  • Remove from heat and let it cool
  • Grind to a smooth paste. Add water as necessary (Don’t worry if you end up adding more water. You can adjust the quantity of water when adding the chicken)

Masala #2

  • Grind all ingredients into a smooth paste, adding water as necessary

Main preparation

  • Wash and soak basmati rice
  • Cut the chicken into medium sized chunks
  • In a pressure cooker, add masala #1 and the chicken and saute for 2-3 minutes
  • Add turmeric, chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala and salt
  • Add enough water to cover all the chicken. Pressure cook on medium heat up to 2 whistles
  • Cook for another 5 minutes on low heat and then remove from heat
  • Heat ghee in a deep pot/pan (I prefer non-stick). Drain the rice and add it to the pan
  • Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes and transfer to a bowl
  • In the same pot, heat the oil and add bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves and saunf
  • Add finely chopped onions and saute until they turn golden brown
  • Add masala #2, chopped tomato and mint leaves and saute for 5 minutes
  • Add the cooked chicken and a total of 4 cups of water including any remaining water/sauce from the cooked chicken
  • Add salt. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes. Do not mix while cooking or the rice could get mushy
  • When most of the water is absorbed, turn the heat to low and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Cooking time can vary slightly depending on the size of the pan used
  • Turn off heat and fork the rice
  • Serve with any raita of your choice