Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Whole Chicken Bake

Thanksgiving is a big festival that is celebrated in this part of the globe with grandeur in terms of food. It has traditionally been a time to express thanks and gratitude to a long list of people for the well being including Mother Nature for the lovely harvest each year. The impressive feast offers a full-size spread starting from the big bird Turkey to mashed potatoes to cranberry sauce to the green bean casserole finishing with a warm pumpkin pie. Thanksgiving has gained popularity over time even with us folks who were not familiar with it and we now look at it as another occasion to share joy and good food with friends and family. Though we didn’t get deep in making the big feast, we have used this mood to experiment in making a Desi- American style Whole Chicken Bake with Focassia bread stuffing.


Whole chicken (cleaned & marinated): 1


Turmeric powder: 1 1/2 teaspoon
Chilli Powder: 3-4 teaspoons
Chicken Masala: 2-3 teaspoons
Garam Masala: 1 teaspoon
Garlic powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon
Cumin powder: 1 teaspoon
Coriander leaves (finely chopped): 2 tablespoons
Mint leaves (finely chopped): 2 tablespoons
Ginger garlic paste: 2 teaspoons
Lemon juice: 1 1/2 tablespoons
Fresh Thyme leaves (shredded): 1 teaspoon
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Oil: 1/4 cup

Stuffing (Optional)

Celery sticks (finely cubed): 1 1/2 tablespoons
Focassia bread (cubed): 1/4 cup
chicken broth: 2-3 tablespoon (just enough to keep the stuffing moist)
Green chillies (Slit): 2-3
Garlic (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Egg (beaten): 1
Cheese (Grated): 1 teaspoon
Thyme leaves: a pinch
Pepper to taste

For garnish saute the following

Butter or Olive oil to saute
Baby potatoes: 1/4 cup
Carrots (sliced): 1/4 cup
Pearl Onions/Shallots (whole): 1/4 cup
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Thyme leaves: a pinch

* We have used Pathak brand's spicy ginger garlic paste.
* Also we used chilli garlic sauce in the marinade to step up the spice level to our liking.
* We have used store bought focassia bread slices for stuffing.

Clean and remove the skin and fat of the chicken without doing much damage to its shape. Rinse the inside cavity thoroughly after removing the inner parts. Pat it dry. Make slight cuts on the thighs and breasts to ensure the masala seeps in well. Mix all the dry powders of the marinade with some oil and lemon juice. Add the chopped coriander, mint and thyme leaves. Adjust the salt and spice. Smear the chicken inside and out generously with this marinade. It is best to keep it refrigerated overnight or else 3.4 hours is also good enough.

Preheat oven to 400° F. Slightly toast the chopped focassia bread in the oven for about 10 minutes. Take it out from the oven and keep aside. Heat some olive oil or butter in a pan. Saute the chopped garlic and slit green chilies. Add onions and celery and saute well. sprinkle salt, pepper, thyme and stir well. Add this mixture into the toasted bread pieces and mix well. While the pan is hot pour the beaten egg to make a scramble. Add grated cheese, the egg scramble into the bread mixture. Add chicken stock to keep the stuffing moist.

Trussing is a procedure done to retain the shape of the whole chicken as it bakes. Here is the video that will help you understand the process. If you are stuffing the chicken, first fill the stuffing before you truss. Make sure not to keep the stuffing too packed giving enough room for the inside to cook.

Raise oven temperature to 450° F. Take a deep baking dish pour 1 can of chicken stock into this. Keep the baking tray over it and place the chicken and bake until meat is all cooked. Make sure to flip sides after 35-40 minutes. When you are flipping you can brush some more oil if you think the chicken is looking dry. If you are using the cooking thermometer, you know the chicken is done when the temperature reaches around 175-180° F in the thighs and breasts.

We served this baked chicken on a bed of sauteed baby potatoes, carrots and shallots. You can also serve this on a bed of lettuce. Cut the chicken and enjoy it hot with any side of your liking.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sweet Corn Chicken Soup

Kick start your Indo-Chinese dinner night with this comforting sweet corn chicken soup. The sweet corn kernels and spicy green chillies cooked in a chicken broth do a balancing act with flavors to make this soup a favorite among all age groups.


Creamed style corn (can) :1
Chicken stock: 2 Cups
Chicken (shredded) : 1/3 cup
Egg: 1
Green chillies (cut up): 4-5
Ginger (chopped): 1 teaspoon
Corn starch: 2 teaspoons
Soy sauce: 1 teaspoon
White vinegar: 2 teaspoons
Chilli garlic sauce: to taste
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

* For vegetarians, you could the skip the shredded chicken and make the soup in vegetable broth.

Begin with diluting the corn starch in some chicken stock and keep aside. Empty the corn into a large pot. Pour in the chicken stock and add the chopped ginger, green chillies and shredded chicken and mix well. Start to boil. Add the diluted cornstarch. Stir continuously so that it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan. Add the chilli garlic sauce, soy sauce, vinegar and mix well. Now beat up an egg and pour into this boiling pot. The egg will disintegrate into stretchy white pieces. Keep stirring. Adjust the salt and spice levels. You could add more chilli garlic sauce if you need.

Enjoy it hot!!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Chow chow Fried Rice

Here's quick n easy Indo-Chinese recipe for a fried rice using your left over rice and freshly cut up veggies. Put together anything and everything you like in a wok and stir up this yummy meal. If you were wondering whats with the name, Chow chow was just a random word that came up in our minds to add some Chinese spirit into this meal.


*Cooked Basmati /Sona Masoori Rice: 1 1/2 cup
Carrots (finely sliced) :1/4 cup
Green Beans (finely cut): 1/4 cup
Colored bell peppers (finely sliced): 1/4 cup
Broccoli (Cut): 1/4 cup
Cabbage (finely shredded): 1/4 cup
Green Chilies (slit): 4-5
Ginger (finely sliced): 1 tablespoon
Spring/green Onions: 1 bunch
Shredded Chicken (optional):1/4 cup
Egg: 1
Soy Sauce: 2 teaspoons
White Vinegar: 1 1/2 teaspoons
Red Chili garlic Sauce: 2-3 tablespoons
Oil to stir-fry
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

* Only thing to note while using cooked rice, is that you shouldn't use overcooked rice as the fried rice might get lumpy.
*Choice of vegetables is entirely up to your choice. Celery sticks, Mushrooms and Corn kernels are other things you can further add on.
*If you are adding chicken to this recipe, you will have to fry the shredded chicken pieces and keep aside before proceeding with below procedure.

Heat some oil in wok. Fry the sliced ginger and green chillies. Add all the cut vegetables and stir fry on medium to high heat. Sprinkle salt, add the soy sauce, vinegar and the chilli garlic sauce and mix well. When the vegetables start to cook, add the rice and toss well. Don't wait too long to add the rice as the vegetables might lose their crunch. Add the fried chicken and mix well. Meanwhile slightly beat the egg. Make a little space in the centre of the wok, moving the vegetables and rice to the corners. Pour the beaten egg into the wok and constantly stir until the egg fully cooks. Give everything a final toss. Check the salt and spice levels. Take it off from heat and garnish with freshly cut up green/spring onions .

Enjoy them hot.

Friday, November 6, 2009


Unniappam, one of the best creation from the kerala kitchen is a real sweet indulgence in every bite. A popular snack from the traditional days is now popularly become a festive specialty and a common prasadam at many Ganapati temples. These appams get the round ball like shape from the pan it is made in called the "Unniappam pan/Appakaaram". In short this appam is a perfect bite with a crunch on the outside and a soft center.


Rice flour: 1 cup
Ripe Bananas (mashed): 3/4 cup
Jaggery (melted): 1/2- 3/4 cup
*Jaggery melted can be adjusted according to your sweetness liking.
Aval/Poha/Rice flakes (soaked in water): 1/4 cup
Sesame seeds: 1 table spoon
Coconut cuts: 2 tablespoons
Cardamom pods (powdered): 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee: 1 tablespoon
Oil to fry

* Sesame seeds can be either white or black, depending on its availability. We have used the white ones here.
*Small bananas are a better choice for making unniappams, however if you don't find them you can make them with the regular Chiquita bananas.

Grind together the mashed bananas, rice flour, melted jaggery, soaked aval with enough water to make semi liquidy batter. Please note that it shouldn't get too liquidy or too thick, but at the same time it should be easy to pour out similar to Idli batter.
Meanwhile heat some ghee and fry the coconut cuts until golden. Pour the remaining ghee and the fried coconut cuts into the batter and mix well. Add the cardamom powder and mix thoroughly.

Heat some oil in the Unniappam pan/Appakaaram. Scoop out the batter and pout into the individual pits of the pan. The center of the appams start to rise as they cook. At this time, you can turn it around easily with a fork or a pointed stick. Fry until all sides are uniformly brown. Be careful not to burn them up. Take them out and drain off the excess oil.

*Make sure to have oil in each of the pits at all times while making them. However don't fill oil beyond half of the pit as the oil will tend to seep out.

Enjoy them warm. These unniappams can stay fresh for up to a week if stored in an airtight jar.

Mediterranean lentil soup

With the winter setting in early here at Seattle, we are always looking for comfort foods for dinner time and there is nothing better than a bowl of hot soup. This soup was one such experiment, where we tried to recreate the taste of a lentil soup we once had at a Mediterranean Restaurant. Not only is this soup very quick to make, it is filling and equally refreshing with hints of lemon here and there.


Split moong dal: 1 cup
Tomatoes (cubed): 1
Garlic pods (whole): 2-3
Green chilli (slit): 2-3
Dried dill weed: 1 tablespoon
Olive oil: 2 tablespoons
Lemon juice: 2 tablespoons
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste

* Water can be thrice the quantity of dal. However you can adjust the consistency of the soup from being thick to thin adding more water.

Pressure cook the moong dal, cubed tomatoes garlic pods, green chillies with enough water until the dal is well cooked. Keep stirring so that the dal is completely mushed up. Add salt, a dash of pepper, the dried dill weed and let it boil. Drizzle the heart healthy olive oil into it. Take it off from heat once everything come to a boil. Just before serving squeeze some fresh lemon into it.

Enjoy it hot with a slice of toasted pita bread.


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