THE first time I tasted a dish by the name of Cream Chicken was at Chandigarh’s famous ‘Tehal Singh’s Chicken’. It was delicious. That was around a decade ago. In the years that followed I had ‘cream chicken’ at a number of restaurants serving North Indian/Mughlai fares. Not all of them tasted the same, but one thing was common: the colour. They were all white.
When we had a few guests over dinner a couple of weeks back, I decided to cook ‘cream chicken’ — my own way. I was sure it had to look white, so chose my ingredients accordingly — cashew, onions, white pepper, curd/butter milk and, of course, fresh cream.
It looked exactly like what I have been served all these years. And as far as taste is concerned, with all the royal ingredients going into it, there was no chance of anything going wrong.
Here goes the recipe.
Food for Thought: Cream Chicken
Curd/butter milk: 1 cup
Onion: 4 (medium)
Green chillies: 4-5
Ginger-garlic paste: 2 tablespoons
White pepper: 1 teaspoon
Salt: To taste
Mace powder: A little
Kasuri methi: 1 tablespoon
Safron: 2-3 threads soaked in 2 tablespoons of milk
Fresh cream: 100 g
Cashew: 100 g
Butter/ghee: 4 tablespoons
Bay leaf: 1-2
Whole garam masala (cinnmon sticks, cloves, cardamom): 1 teaspoon
Preparation: Marinate chicken with curd/butter milk, salt and white pepper and set aside. Soak cashew in water for 15 minutes and grind it to a smooth paste. Also grind onions and green chillies. Soak kasuri methi in half a cup of water and set aside. Now heat 2 tablespoons of ghee/butter and put the garam masala and bay leaves. Once they splutter, add the onion-green chilli paste and ginger-garlic paste and cook till is dries up a little. Now add the cashew paste and cook till the paste starts leaving the sides of the pan. Before adding salt and turning off the heat, mix in the kasuri methi water and mace powder. Once the mixture has cooled a bit, strain with some water it to have a very fine paste.
Now, heat the remaining ghee/butter in another pan and add the chicken. Fry till the meat is tender and then add the cooked onion-cashew paste and a little more water. Once the chicken is cooked and the gravy reduces and the consistency is to your liking, turn off the heat and add the cream. Sprinkle the saffron-milk and serve the delicious and royally creamy dish hot with naan, parantha, plain rice or pulav.
Last words: Mace powder is optional, though it gives a distinct flavour. If you want to use it and don’t have the powder, which is not easily available in the market, you can use the dry flower. Take just one petal and grind it with the onions.
I MISSED the last episode of The Foodie on Times Now. The host, Kunal Vijayakar, was in Kozhikode (Calicut) this time. The Kerala city is my husband’s hometown and a foodie’s paradise. I go there every year, only to come back a few pounds heavier, you know why.
I like everything you get in the name of food in Kozhikode — from Bombay Hotel or Sagar’s biriyani to Al Bake’s shawarma; Damu ettan’s sharbet to Ganesh juice shop’s coconut juice; the pickled raw mango, pineapple and gooseberry pieces sold by the roadside vendors to Hotel Paragon’s listless delicacies — and cannot honestly place my favourites in any order of preference. I equally love them all, and cannot leave out any during my visits.
Kunal did go to Paragon, I heard. While I don’t know what he ate there, I can definitely never forget the tiger prawns preparation that I had at the restaurant during my last trip. The taste still lingers on my tastebuds and I will surely order it again when I go there next month.
We do not get good tiger prawns in Delhi here, so I recently tried to replicate the dish using smaller prawns. It definitely tasted different from the original, but nevertheless gave me an all-new dish for the collection of my own innovations.
Food for Thought: Salt-and-pepper prawns
Medium prawns: 1 kg (Once cleaned and de-veined, it will weigh much less)
Salt: To taste
Pepper powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Whole pepper: 1 tea spoon
Vinegar: 1 tablespoon
Butter: 1 tablespoon
Lemon juice: 2 tablespoons
Preparation: Marinate the prawns with a little salt and the vinegar and set aside for 30 minutes. Now heat butter in a pan and add the whole peppers. Once they splutter, add the prawns and sauté till cooked. Turn off the heat, pour the lemon juice and serve hot.
Last words: The prawns will turn rubbery if you overcook them. They should be crunchy. And yes, reheating is not an option here, or the lemon juice will make it bitter. So make sure you serve and eat it freshly cooked and hot.
I had never heard of a dump cake until I saw this recipe in one of the food websites I visited recently. It was incredibly easy to make, and looked so yummy that I just could not wait to have it on my dining table.
But there was a hurdle. I did not have two of the only four ingredients required.
And by the time I managed to go out and get the stuff, I had forgotten an important part of the recipe – the oven temperature required for the dish. To find that, I had to go back to the Internet, but then I did not remember the website either by then. A frantic search on the web took me to http://www.allrecipes.com and I found what I was looking for.
When I finally made it, the dish was worth all the wait and effort. It was crunchy…and yummy…and fruity…and a beauty!!
Here goes the recipe:
Food for Thought: Pineapple dump cake
Pineapple: 1/2 can (if it’s a 500g can)
Cake mix (non-chocolate flavour): 250g
Butter: 1/4th cup
Cinnamon powder: 1/4th teaspoon
Preparation: Preheat the oven to 190 degrees C. Line pineapple pieces on the bottom of the pan, with half the syrup (if it’s a 500g can). Now cover it with the dry cake mix and press it. Cut butter into small pieces and sprinkle cinnamon powder. Bake for 45 minutes and serve with ice-cream of your choice, though it tastes great without ice-cream too.
Last words: The original recipe had peach instead of pineapple. I personally prefer the taste of pineapple to peaches so used the former, but you can use peach, cherries or any other canned fruit. I really don’t know if this dish can be made with fresh fruit and homemade cake batter. May just try some day and let you know. Please write to me if you do.
THIS is my favourite chicken dish. Inspired from Kerala style of cooking, it is easy to prepare, cooks fast and tastes great. I had picked up the recipe while trying to replicate the yummiest pepper chicken dish cooked ever — by my husband’s aunt in Kerala. Though mine is nowhere near that, it’s not too bad either.
I have cooked this several times while treating guests and also when I am in a mood to eat a chicken that tastes different and less spicy. Here is the recipe.
Food for Thought: Pepper chicken
Chicken: 1 kg
Onions: 4, diced
Chillies: 5-6, slit
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Thin coconut milk (second extract): 1 cup
Thick coconut milk (first extract): 2 tablespoons
Whole black pepper: 1 teaspoon
Curry leaves: 2-3 strands
Salt and pepper powder: To taste
Vegetable oil to cook
Lemon juice: 2 teaspoons
PREPARATION: Marinate chicken pieces with salt and pepper powder and set aside for at least 30 minutes. Heat oil in the pan and put the whole pepper in it. When it splutters, add the onions with salt, turmeric powder and some more pepper powder and fry for 2-3 minutes. Fry the marinated chicken pieces till half cooked before adding the second extract of coconut milk. Cover it and cook till the juice reduces. If you think the chicken is not cooked yet, add some more coconut milk or water. Once the chicken is cooked and the water dries up, add the curry leaves and split green chillies. Turn off the heat and serve after adding lemon juice and the creamy first extract of coconut milk.
Last words: You can use coconut oil for an authentic Kerala taste. For coconut milk, it’s easier to use packed milk powder and cream for you can use instructions on the packet to get the first and second extract consistency. If you are using grated fresh coconut, just strain it with very little water for first extract and repeat the process with more water for second extract. Now, you can always prepare another dish to use the grated coconut you will be left with. Lemon juice can be avoided, but if you want to use it for that tangy taste, be a little careful. If you add lemon while the chicken is cooking, the coconut milk may curdle.