Hostel Chicken

A young student on a group I follow in Facebook had a very interesting dilemma. He likes to eat chicken but cooking in the hostel, where he stays is frowned upon. So he boils the chicken. That is a good but very boring thing to do day after day.

So I decided to help him break the rules and enjoy breaking them as well.

You Need:

  • One boneless chicken breast, cut into small pieces.
  • Two small carrots, cut into small pieces.
  • Three large green chilies (Mirchi Bajji), finely diced.
  • One medium potato, cut into half a centimeter thick rings.
  • Butter
  • Pepper powder
  • Two medium¬† sized Ramekins

Combine butter, chicken, carrots, chilies, salt and pepper. Butter the Ramekin. Create a base with potatoes. Pack in the chicken mix. Cover with potatoes. Use cling film to close the top. Note cling film should only over cover the top and under no circumstance touch the base of the ramekin.

Place ramekins in a large pan. Fill water till 1/2 cm less than the top of the ramekin. Cook covered. Bring to a boil on high heat. Reduce heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer for about 20 mins. Switch off and let the ramekins cool before removing.

Enjoy the flavor packed chicken dish with your neighbors none the wiser.

Constructing a Quick and Simple Salad

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Bring together these elements and make it a part of your lunch.

You Need:

  • Base: Shredded cabbage. Cheap and easy to use.
  • Sweetness: Pomegranate seeds. Loaded with goodness.
  • Color and Crunch: Diced Carrots.
  • Spice: Diced red onion.
  • Glue: Any mayonnaise or spread. Used here is 2 tablespoons of Spicy Harissa.
  • Freshness: Basil leaves.
  • Omega 3: Add in some toasted seeds.

That is all we need. Add the ingredients in any quantity you want.

Prawns and Vegetables

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This is a family favorite. Goes very well with both rotis and rice.

You Need:

  • 200 gms of shelled and de-veined prawns.
  • 2 Onions finely chopped.
  • 3 Tomatoes roughly cut up.
  • 3 Medium potatoes cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 1 Large brinjal cut up or 7 to 8 small brinjals slit in the middle.
  • 2 Medium carrots, this is optional.
  • 1 whole green chilly
  • 1 teaspoon of turmeric.
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons of coriander powder
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves.

Heat oil and saute the onions with the green chilly, till translucent. Add turmeric and tomatoes. Season with salt. Cook on medium heat till the tomatoes have completely softened. Mix in the coriander powder.

Add the prawns and cook them for 2-3 minutes. They will start turning white in no time. Add the carrots, potatoes, brinjal and coriander leaves. Mix really well. Everything must get coated with the masala. Sprinkle a little water.

Pressure cook for exactly one whistle. As soon as the whistle starts, reduce heat to low. Switch off the stove after 5 mins.

Open only after the pressure has fully dissipated.

Enjoy a yummy side dish, which carries the flavors of its core ingredients.

The Quick and Easy Meal

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The biggest concern every cook has is that they will forget the dish on the stove and end up with a burnt dish. This is an almost burn proof dish. Minimal work and very less attention needs to be paid.

You need:

  • A small head of cabbage, finely sliced.
  • 2 small carrots, thin slices.
  • 2 medium capsicums, chopped into 5 mm squares.
  • Any dressing. Ueed here is Harrisa.
  • Two whole wheat phulkas.

Lay the capsicum and carrots on the base of a thick pan. Spread the cabbage on top. Cook on low heat for about 10-12 mins. Do not stir. Do not worry. Even if it burns a little, it will only make the dish taste better. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Mix well. Let it cool.

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Once its warm but not hot mix in 2-3 tablespoons of any dressing. You can use mayonnaise, southwest, thousand island or anything. I used Harissa, because I had it at home.

Toast the phulkas on low heat. This will make it crispy. You can also use khakras, tacos, papads or anything crispy. which you can use as a spoon.

Vegetables in Buttery Cheesy Sauce

You need:

  • Sturdy vegetables like beans and carrots. Cut into 1 cm pieces.
  • Butter
  • Maida
  • Milk
  • Pepper
  • Chilly Flakes
  • Mustard Sauce

First cook the vegetables in butter. Use high heat and an open pan. Season while it’s still cooking. Remove and keep aside when the beans are cooked but still firm. Test by eating a piece or two.

The sauce must be cooked on low heat. Do not ever move to anything more than that.

In the same pan melt about two tablespoons of butter. When it starts frothing add the maida. Keep stirring and stirring and stirring. It should NOT burn. When no lumps remain add the milk. It’s very difficult to say how much milk will be needed. Keep adding about 50 ml at a time. Stir it in. There should be no lumps. When the consistency is smooth and feels like a face cream, add the mustard sauce, pepper and chilly flakes. Add these as per taste. Season with salt. This flavor setting will not change. So just add what you like. Drop in two cheese triangles. Let them melt into the sauce.

Add the vegetables into the sauce and mix well. Pour into a baking dish. Let it cook for 30 mins at 180C.

If you are lucky you may get to wait till it fully cools and then take a nice picture. We did not wait that long.

It’s a kid’s favorite.

Dill, Carrots and Mutton

You need:

  • An onion
  • 250 gms of mutton
  • 1 teaspoon of Ginger and garlic paste
  • Turmeric and red chilli powder
  • Carrots
  • Dill leaves

First step is to cook the mutton in a pressure cooker. So saute onions till translucent, add the ginger and garlic paste. When the raw smell is gone add the meat. After the meat turns into a white walker season with salt, turmeric and red chilli order. A cup of water. Pressure cook till it’s done.

Open the cooker add the finely chopped dill leaves and carrots peices. Pressure cook once again for only five mins. Open and reduce the consistency till very less water remains.

The sweetness of carrots with the distinct taste of dill leaves makes this an amazing accompaniment for Rotis.

A Simple Pad Thai

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Heat coconut oil and saute in it a teaspoon of turmeric and a tablespoon of red chilly powder. Add in a lot of whole garlic cloves. Place chicken pieces and cook covered on high heat for 5 mins. Turn the chicken pieces and cook covered on low heat for 10 mins.

Add a whole eggs and stir it fast. The egg must crumble into tiny pieces.

Add chopped carrots and broccoli and cook covered for approximately 10 mins.

Season with salt and add 2 tablespoons of ground up roasted peanuts. Mix well.

Add rice noodles after following the steps given in the box they came in to soften them up. If you don’t have rice noodles, you can add anything else as well. Egg noodles, left over rice or even cooked pasta.

Mix well and squeeze in the juice of a lemon. Cook covered for about 10 mins so they all come together.

For more authentic taste you may want to add a little fish sauce.