A great weeknight dinner. Light and yummy with a good load of protein in it.
Chicken breast, marinated in vinegar, paprika, turmeric and salt. Preferably use a cast iron pan. Heat a little oil and place the chicken on it. Let it cook for about 4 minutes on one side and then flip it over. Use a strong spatula to push it down on the pan. This will ensure a nice char on the sides. When the chicken oozes out clear liquids, its cooked. But to be safe use a thermometer. Remove chicken when the temperature crosses 65C. Let it rest for at least 5 minutes before cutting it up.
Roughly chop spinach leaves and give them a good wash. Saute chopped garlic in butter. Put in the leaves. Push them around the pan for a minute or two. They will quickly start wilting. Every pan has a side that is a little lower than the others. The water being released by the spinach will accumulate there. Push the spinach into the opposite direction. When the water stops accumulating and dries up, the spinach is ready. It will also be a bright green color at this point of time.
Make a bed of spinach, place the chicken on top. A fresh tomato, olives etc are a great add on.
A simple chaat that bursts with flavor and colors. I have used fresh cowpeas but you can also use dry cowpeas. This is another assembly kind of recipe.
Cowpeas: If fresh, put in hot salted water and cook on medium heat till they are done. If dry, then soak overnight and pressure cook for a whistle.
Once the chickpeas are cooked, put them in a colander. Do this when they are still hot. Let the water drain away and the steam dissipate.
Mix this with chopped onion, cucumber, tomato, green chilly, coriander, mint…
Season with salt, pepper, chat masala, dry mango powder i.e. whatever you find and like.
A hit of lemon juice will brighten it a lot more.
If you are wondering why I used fresh cowpeas….I had a bunch sitting in the fridge and forgot all about them. The outer skin had gone quite stale but the beans inside were still fresh. So rather than discard, I salvaged the usable part and made this yummy salad / chaat.
To get it right, just taste it while prepping and balance accordingly.
Grated Paneer. Preferably firm paneer that is cold from the fridge. This will help in grating it. Add chopped onion, green chilly, finely chopped ginger and salt. Knead it. Ensure it is mixed well. This will be a little soggy. So add a tablespoon of rice flour, a tablespoon of maida and a fistfull of dry bread crumbs.
Knead into a smooth soft ball. If needed add a little more dry stuff. But be very judicious in its use.
Shape into balls and keep in the fridge. This will firm them up.
Make a little flour slurry. This is a dilute solution of flour and water. It works like an adhesive. Dip the paneer balls into this and let them get coated with this “glue”.
Dip them in bread crumbs. They will stick to the balls. Deep fry in hot oil.
A simple and easy fish fry using Kanne/ Lady Fish/ Kadanga.
Make a paste with the following: Lemon Juice, chilly powder, turmeric powder, rice flour and salt. Taste it to balance it. It must be a little thicker than dosa batter. Rub it all over the fish and let it marinate for a few minutes.
Sometimes you get a recipe that involves more attention than you can describe in words. This is one such recipe. It needs you to pay attention, so don’t make this when you are in the middle of errands.
500 grams of Fresh Strawberries.
200 grams of Sugar.
A teaspoon of lemon juice.
Chop the strawberries into small pieces. Sprinkle the sugar and leave it aside for 20-30 minutes. There will be a lot of liquid collected in the dish.
Empty all the contents into a sauce pan. Add the lemon juice. This will prevent the sugar from crystalizing.
Cook, alternating between high and low heat. Keep stirring.
In 30 minutes, the jelly – like consistency will be achieved. Let it cool and it will get thicker.
This is absolutely worth making. Do try it sometime.
Leaves…I love them and are a must have in at least a couple of meals every week. This is a simple and easy recipe for fresh Amaranth Leaves.
The best way is to cook them uncovered and not for long. Heat will need to alternate between high and medium. At its simplest, we are going to coax the water out of the leaves and dry it up. When the water coming out from them stops, the dish is ready. This way we have bright green colors and a much superior texture.
Leaves, washed and roughly chopped.
Chipped Green Chilly.
I prefer using cold pressed Sesame oil. But you can use any oil you like. Heat it up and saute the onions, cumin, green chilly and garlic. When the raw smell is gone and the onions turn translucent add the turmeric.
Pile on the green leaves. They will start losing water and rapidly shrink. Sometimes its a good idea to add them in batches. Especially if the pan is not extra large.
Sprinkle salt and mix well. Stir the greens around to let the water settle at the base of the pan. This way it will dry up quicker. When the water coming out reduces and the greens look bright green, add in the freshly grated coconut. MIx well.
Remove from the hot pan to prevent the residual heat from continuing to cook the greens.
This goes great with roti or rice. A simple lunch with some fried yams and curd rice with these greens is “Soul Food”.