Archive for May, 2010

The title must be confusing, isn’t it? Well, this dish was born out of confusion. Being a Capricorn, I take pride in organizing my work efficiently, plan things well ahead of time and try my best to stick to the plan. Every day I plan what I am going to cook the next day (sometimes even next week) and make calculations in my mind as to what ingredients I need and whether I have them at home, if not I buy them on the way back home from the local grocery store. There are times when I give my mind a break and feel myself very relaxed. Today was one such day when I didn’t know what to cook. I had got 4 chicken leg pieces in my freezer which as you may guess had a purpose to be there. I had “planned” to prepare Chicken leg roast during the weekend. As per my plan, I would marinate it on Friday or Saturday night. (See I make flexible plans too.) But I was in a mood to break rules after all rules are meant to be broken. My heart hummed ‘Kal Ho Na Ho’ and there I was all set to prepare Leg Roast then and there. But hey hold on, panic! panic! panic! My heart sobbed “Yeh kya hua! Kaise Hua! Kab hua! Kyun Hua!” There was no hint of ginger or garlic in my entire chicken. My heart hooted “Chale Chalo…Chale Chalo” I was suddenly very determined to have those chicken legs no matter what. While I quickly scanned my pantry to PLAN instantaneously my next action, I saw a packet of Thai Red Curry Paste that I had bought on a whim some time back and it was lying there reassuring me – “Tu chal…. Main aayi”. I tasted the paste and found it sour. The instructions called for using coconut milk and palm sugar in the curry. Well that was hint enough for me to add something sweet to balance the flavours. I began thinking at a different level to add very unusual ingredients. I came up with Sweet Chilli sauce and Demerara sugar. I added curd to give body to the roast. Talking about unusual ingredients, I added some fresh sprigs of curry leaves too.
Prior to marriage, Sindhu (my sis) and I used to experiment in the kitchen and my dad would encourage us with kind words – “Don’t worry about the results of your experiments, girls. No matter how it turns out there is always someone who would eat it without blurting out a single word”. For all those who thought the guinea pig was my dad, you are wrong. He referred to our pet dog!
This recipe was an experiment of the sorts and if you are curious to know how this turned out, scroll down to the last pic in this post.

Chicken Legs – 4
Onion – 1 medium sizes, finely chopped (optional)
Curry leaves – 8-10
Oil – 2 tbsp

For Marination:
Thai Red Curry Paste – 1 packet
Sweet Chilli Sauce – 2 tbsps
Demerara Sugar – 1 tbsp (You could use ordinary sugar too I guess or smiply omit it)
Curd – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste


1. Marinate the chicken leg pieces with the ingredients called for in the ‘For marination’ section. Leave it aside for 30 mins, the more the better.

2. Heat oil in a pan, add chopped onions and curry leaves. Saute till onions turn light golden brown. Strain and remove them from the oil.

3. In the same oil, add the marinated chicken legs and leave it on a low flame covered. Stir occassionally.

4. Once the chicken pieces are cooked, increase the flame and cook without lid till there is no water in the pan and the entire masala is sticking on to the legs. Add the caramlized onions and combine.

5. Serve hot as a starter/appetizer.

This dish had a very unique taste which I had never ever tasted before. Felt good to be the originator of this recipe. If anyone of you tries it out, do let me know. I would be very glad to hear from you. Kids could nibble on the legs easily coz it was not spicy at all.

Chicken Manchurian

I’ve been working in night shifts continuously for the last couple of months. Initial days had taken my health on a toll. I would pop in Saridon after Saridon every alternate day due to lack of sleep. Mondays and Tuesdays would be kinda OK. With Wednesday’s onset I would drag myself hard to reach Saturday. There were days when I had no interest to cook whatsoever but then simply HAD to. The outcome from my kitchen those days had to tolerate the tied eyebrows, wrinkled noses, disgusting looks and forced consumption for the sake of survival. Abbas, being in Bangalore, would come to Chennai on alternate weekends. His visits earned me nasty comments which were not unfair (honestly) considering the kind of fare I was presenting them with. When Ma finally declared one day that ‘Seema, you have forgotten how to cook. You would soon need to hire a cook!’, that hit the ego of the cook in me. Since that day, even though I was strained and drained after coming home in the morning, I would put my 100% in cooking to earn compliments as before. When my sincere efforts didn’t bear fruits, I assigned myslef to Root Cause Analysis. Root Cause of the disaster was these spice powders I had recently bought which would spoil anything and everything that I cooked. When I filled my masala dabbas with new masalas, I was Sooo back in the game! Well, why am I discussing all this instead of talking about Chicken Manchurian???. That’s because this is the first dish that brought me my first compliment after that phase. All thanks to Sailu for the marvellous recipe. Abbas told me after having this that it was even better than any other restaurant’s version that he had ever had! The recipe is simply foolproof. I have cooked this several times after that and it has turned out great everytime Yipppeee.

1/4 kg boneless chicken, cut into fine pieces
6-7 tbsps spring onion whites
3-4 tbsps spring onion greens
1/2 tbsp chopped garlic (I used garlic paste)
1/2 tbsp chopped ginger (I used ginger paste)
2 tsps soya sauce
1 tbsp chilli sauce
2 tsps vinegar
1 tbsp corn flour + 5 tbsps chicken stock or water (I mixed Maggi’s Chicken Stock podwer in water and microwaved on high for 30 secs)
1/2 tsp brown sugar (I omitted this as I didn’t have at hand)
2 tbsps tomato sauce
1/2 tsp red chilli pwd (preferably Kashmiri)
salt to taste
1 1/2 tbsps sesame oil (I used sunflower oil)
oil for deep frying

For marinade: (marinate chicken with below ingredients for at least 15 mts or 1 hr)
1/4 tsp pepper pwd
1 egg white
salt to taste
1 1/2 tsps ginger-garlic-green chilli paste
1/2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp maida/all purpose flour
2-3 tbsps corn flour
1-2 tbsps of water, if required

1 Heat oil in a heavy bottomed vessel, make small balls of the marinated chicken and carefully drop into the hot oil. Cook on low medium flame and towards the end of the cooking process increase flame to high and deep fry to a golden brown shade. Drain with a slotted spoon and place on absorbent paper. Keep aside.

2 Heat a heavy bottomed vessel, add oil, add the chopped garlic and saute on high flame for about 30 secs. Add the chopped ginger and green chillis and saute for a few more secs. Add the spring onion whites and saute for 3 mts on high flame.

3 Reduce to medium heat and add the brown sugar, soya sauce, tomato ketchup, chilli sauce and vinegar. Combine well and cook for 2 mts. Add 1/4 cup chicken stock or water and cook for a mt. Add the deep fried chicken balls and cook for 4 mts. Adjust salt, if necessary.

4 Add the cornflour water and cook, tossing the contents, for 4-5 mts. You will find that it becomes thick due to cornflour.

5 Add the chopped spring onion greens and combine. Garnish with more spring onion greens. Serve hot as a starter/appetizer.

Eggless Black Forest Cake

I have been working in night shift for the past couple of months. Two of my colleagues Janaki and Deepika would always come to work with one or the other delicious snacks or savouries and share with us during their night shifts. I have always eaten from their tiffin boxes but never took anything to share with them. Deepika is going to get married on 10th of this month and last Friday was her last working day here. I thought it was the last chance for me to make up for all those nights when I relished the snacks she brought. She is a vegetarian, and I wanted to make something special for her to bid her a memorable farewell. What could be better than a Cake? I had seen this Eggless Black Forest Cake recipe in Divya’s blog which was a perfect fit for this occasion. The cake was easy to prepare. For the frosting, I couldn’t find fresh cream in the nearby shops. Hence I used BlueBird’s Instant Whipped cream powder. Unfortunately I added a little more water than called for. Hence the cream had become a bit thinner than required. After assembling the cake I had to immediately get ready and leave for office. And that too in HOT CHENNAI SUN at around 3pm. I felt as if I would melt sooner than the frosting due to my cold feet. After reaching office, I immediately requested the fruit juice stall Bhaiyya to keep it refrigerated for some time and that really saved me.
Well, the cake was very moist and simply melted in mouth. Deepika’s comment was “It was chanceless”. Everybody enjoyed eating the cake. I enjoyed all the compliments more than the cake itself! He he 😀
I have used Blue font to reflect minor changes that I made to the recipe.

Condensed milk-Milkmaid – 400 grams(1 can)
Butter – 125 grams
Maida/Flour – 225 grams
Cocoa powder – 3-4 tablespoons
Baking powder – 1 teaspoon
Baking soda – 1 teaspoon
Aerated cola – 200ml(I used Pepsi)


1. Grease and line an 8’ round baking tin
2. Preheat oven to 150C.
3. Melt butter-Microwave for 1 minute on high.Let it cool.
4. Add milkmaid and beat well.
5. Sift together maida,cocoa powder,baking powder and baking soda.
6. Add maida mix to the milkmaid-butter mixture alternating with cola till maida and cola are finished.
7. Pour into the greased baking tin and bake for 30-40 minutes or till a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
8. Cool on a wire rack.

Ingredients –For the Sugar syrup
Sugar – ½ cup
Water – ½ cup
Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp

In a thick bottom pan,mix the sugar and water and boil till the sugar melts.Keep aside to cool.

Ingredients –For the cream (I used BlueBird’s Insant Whipped Cream powder)
Fresh cream – 300 ml
Powdered sugar – 4-5 tablespoons
Vanilla essence – 1 teaspoon

Keep cream and the beater blades in the freezer for about half an hour.
Add sugar and essence to the chilled cream.
Beat well till the cream is thick and forms soft peaks.
Keep refrigerated till use.

Ingredients for filling and garnish
A cup of cherries chopped fine-I used glazed cherries-reserve a few for garnishing on top.
A bar of milk chocolate – Make chocolate shavings out of the bar and keep refrigerated till use. (I had very less time on hand. So I used store bought Chocolate strands)
Few edible silver beads

For assembling the cake
Cut the cake into 3-4 layers horizontally[I cut it into 3 layers].
Keep one layer of the cake on the serving plate.
Sprinkle 3-4 tablespoons of sugar syrup on it.
Now spread 2-3 tablespoons of whipped cream on top of the cake.
Add the chopped cherries on top.
Repeat with other layers.
Cover the cake completely with whipped cream on all sides and the top.
Level the top and sides with a broad spatula dipped in chilled water.
Decorate the top with chocolate shavings,halved cherries and silver beads.
Keep chilled in the fridge till use.

Before going into the oven.
After baking

                                                  After assembling.
Here I am with a recipe whose main ingredients are those parts of chicken that are shown disdain by some while some simply honor them. Yes I’m talking about the liver and kidney of Chicken. I was always a fan of Chicken liver but never ate kidney. Recently got to taste this out of the world dish prepared by my Bhabi. I could simply guess how delicious it would be when I saw my 4 year old niece coming on frequent rounds to the kitchen blabbering ‘Kocho kochi’ (meaning chicken kidney in bengali) and getting impatient to eat it.
It is really an easy to prepare recipe (which I am always on a hunt) with a handful ingredients that one always has in the kitchen. Its a winner recipe thats not gonna fail you. It can be served hot with any of the Indian breads.
Chicken liver and kidney – 1/2 kg
Onions – 2 medium sized, sliced
Onion – 1 medium sized, ground to a paste
Ginger paste – 1 tbsp
Milk – 1 cup
Vinegar – 1 tsp
Rose water – 1 tsp (optional)
Turmeric powder – 1 tsp
Salt – to taste
Oil – 2 tbsp
To pound:
Cardamom – 2 or 3
Cloves – 5 or 6
Cinnamom – 1″ stick
1. Clean the liver and kidney peices well and drain the water. Cut kidney pieces into 1″ long pieces using scissors. Basically a kidney piece can be cut into 4-6 pieces.
2. Marinate with milk and vinegar for half an hour or atleast a minimum of 30 mins.
3. In a pan heat oil and caramalize the sliced onions and keep aside.
4. In the same oil, add onion and ginger paste. Saute till raw smell goes off.
5. Add the marinated chicken liver and kidney, turmeric powder and salt to this. Cook on medium flame with a lid stirring occasionally. Liver gets cooked very fast. But kidney pieces consume time.
6. While they are being cooked, your kitchen might get filled with a pungent smell which will force you to judge my sanity. Well don’t panic. You may drizzle rose wtaer to avoid the smell at this point of time. The end product will be exclusive of any such smell.
7. Once kidneys are well cooked, add caramalized onions and pound garam masla. Remove the lid and increase the flame till the gravy thickens and achieves your desired consistency.