Chicken pot pie

Chicken pot pie

Do you buy baby potatoes to make Dum Aloo but then make potato varuval out of it? Do you get brinjals intending to make bhaingan bharta but make kathirikkai kuzhambu out of habit? Do you pick up baby corn and cauliflower with a mental picture of a stir fry but drop it in the vegetable kurma instead?  You do? Then I am your best friend. I buy chicken mentally vowing not to make chicken kurma or chicken fry. I see hot and sweet chicken wings, popcorn chicken, chicken satay and all the 1 minute food videos in a slideshow in my mind. But the morning I intend to cook the chicken, I’ve run out of corn flour or I don’t have enough time or the rest of the dishes I am making don’t go with this. I will find a reason to not make popcorn chicken. This was the story of the Chicken pot pie. Pot pie has been on my radar for a few years now. Long before I ever tasted it, I knew I’ll like it. I knew I wanted to make it someday. Last year I tasted pot pie when I visited Boston. I was smitten. I knew I had to make it. I also knew I’ll find a reason to not make it. Last week, I wrote down Chicken pot pie in my weekly menu. I shopped for the ingredients. I had everything I needed. I didn’t make it on Monday. I barely made it to the school van on time. I hobbled across the road, hair brush in my pocket, Hasini’s tie in one hand, lunch bags dangling from my shoulder, holding the kids hands, handing over the tie to hasini’s friend in the bus asking her to help Hasini with it. I don’t remember if I packed dosai or jam sandwich that day. I rolled out, folded, and chilled the puff pastry dough again and again over the week, while yelling at the kids to put away their school bags, just before crashing on to the bed, when I went to get a drink of water at night. The rolling pin and bowl of flour were out all week. I decided I was going to make it on Friday. I woke up early that day. I knew it was a sign. I made it. I must tell you. This chicken pot pie is pure...
Hyderbadi biryani

Hyderabadi Biryani

Yesterday I took the lift in my office. I thought “I’ve exercised today, I deserve a reward”. Today I took the lift. I thought “I didn’t exercise today. A break day has to be a total break.” I am not sure if secretly, deep inside I want to be fat. On the surface I don’t want to be. I also know that I should not say no to Biryani and Lasagna and molaga bajji. Saying no to biryani because I want to fit into an old pair of jeans seems quite shallow. After about two weeks of sincere exercise and painful diet control, I see that I weigh the same. Instead of breaking the weighing scale, I rebel. I don’t exercise for 3 days after that. I add a heaped spoon of sugar to my coffee instead of sugar-free. I make deep fried sweet corn cutlets. I make a rich, decadent, ghee laden Hyderabad biryani. I eat it for lunch and dinner. There, take that. I usually shy away from making the Hyderabadi style biryani because it is too much work. It involves lots of different components and takes the whole morning. But this time, I compressed and downsized the process to my lazy comfort level. There are just 3 components to my version – Marinated & cooked chicken, partially cooked rice with whole spices and fried onions. Just layer these three components and you’re done. Critical to a good hyderabadi biryani is the point to which you cook the rice initially. I would recommend not cooking the rice for more than 4-5 minutes. The partially cooked rice should be firm, not soft. Also important is the amount of liquid in the chicken masala before you do the layering. The chicken masala should be thickish, not runny. If your masala is runny, cook down the masala till it is nice and thick. This Hyderabadi biryani pairs beautifully with a simple raita and boiled eggs. Make a salan if you wish. But this Hyderabadi biryani is magnificent on its own. Rice in lovely ombre shades of yellow and orange dotted with succulent flavour packed chicken make this biryani a great dish to make for parties. This is the kind of biryani that stays in the mind long after you’ve scraped the last ladle from the handi. You can adapt this recipe to make a vegetable hyderabadi biryani or mutton hyderabadi biryani...

Honey Mustard grilled chicken and Fried Bamboo rice

When I teeter between eating that last ladle of biryani and finding a dabba, transferring the last of the biryani into the dabba and putting it in the fridge I usually elect to eat it. It is so much simpler. While eating the extra biryani, I imagine myself determinedly jogging round after round the next morning burning away all those extra calories. When (if) I am jogging the next morning, I am panting like a crazy dog halfway through the first round and I stop and walk the rest of the way I imagine myself thoughtfully taking tiny bites off an un-buttered slice of toast. In short my life. Could bamboo rice be the redemption for all the biryani excesses? I doubt. But I gave it a shot anyway. Jagan bought a pack of bamboo rice while on our vacation in Kerala. We bought it in a small souvenir shop in Wayanad. The bamboo rice came in simple plain plastic packing. It was un-branded and un-processed. For the first time in nearly 2 decades, I transferred the rice onto a moram and sat outside in the portico to pick out stones from the rice. The last I saw someone doing this was my ammamma who’d take the rice in a moram and pick out stones and grit from the rice, everyday. I felt all nostalgic, got carried away and spent about half an hour going through the rice. This ain’t the green rice (rice that is infused with bamboo juices) that is popularly called bamboo rice in the west. This is the real deal. Bamboo rice looks almost like wheat. It takes much longer to cook than white rice. It is chewier and has a grassy, nutty undernote. I was sceptical if it’d taste good as fried rice. I was surprised that it actually tasted better in fried rice form.  We grilled the chicken on our barbecue. But you can grill it in your oven too. We loved the combination of hot, sweet and tangy flavours. I served the grilled chicken on the fried bamboo rice. Jagan was smitten with the combination and the kids ate with great gusto. Overall – big success. And to think it was healthy too. I am surprised it went down so well. Prep time: 15 mins (grilled chicken) + 25 mins (fried bamboo rice)Cooking time: 20-30 mins (grilled chicken) + 25 mins (fried bamboo...

Chicken Vindaloo

Chicken Vindaloo was the first thing that came to mind when I thought of Goa although I didn’t taste Vindaloo when I went to Goa a couple of years ago. I did taste a Goan fish curry which was quite remarkable too. This month being the statewise blogging marathon month, I and my fellow blogging marathoners will be posting a dish from each of the Indian states – one state a day. Today it’s Goa. Vindaloo was originally a Portuguese curry made out of pork marinated in wine. We ingenious Indians substituted chicken for pork and vinegar for the wine and included potatoes for good measure. So the Vindaloo of today is very much an Indian curry – hot, spicy and lip-smacking. I am always game for new ways to cook chicken and Chicken Vindaloo sounded just about perfect. I used the recipe from steamykitchen. I found that the curry tastes even better with rice than rotis. You’ll have to start a day early though. The chicken needs to marinate overnight for the Vindaloo. The Vindaloo was quite sour from all that vinegar and I thought it could do with a bit more heat. But a vindaloo is not a vindaloo without the vinegar. So don’t skip the vinegar if you’re making vindaloo. If you do, don’t call it a vindaloo.  Goa is a nice place, I loved their markets. They sell really cute shorts, pretty hats and beautiful coloured glass lamp hangers. I wasn’t as enthusiastic of the beaches as the beaches were crowded and hot (don’t know if it was the wrong time of year) and I’ve experienced enough of hot, crowded beaches right here in Chennai. I really wish I’d tasted more of their local cuisine which is actually my number one agenda when visiting any place. Number 2 is of course shopping. The next time I am in Goa, I am going to have to taste their Vindaloo and Bebinca, no excuses. Prep time: 15 minsMarinating time: OvernightCooking time: 30 minsServes: 5 Ingredients Chicken – 750 gmPotatoes – 2 medium cubedOnions – 2 large chopped fineOil – 2 tbspCumin seeds – ½ tspMustard seeds – ½ tspWater – ½ cupSalt to taste Marinade Vinegar – ¼ cupWhole Red chillies – 15 soaked in the ¼ cup vinegarGarlic cloves – 10Ginger – 3 inch piece chopped roughly Dry spice Mix Cinnamon – 2 inch pieceCloves – 5Cardamom – 3Cumin – ¾ tspMethi/Fenugreek seeds –...

Maayandi Kudumbathinar Menu | South-Indian Non-vegetarian dishes

I’ve compiled our family favourite non-vegetarian dishes under this Maayandi Kudumbathinar Menu. This menu could be called “En Rasavin Manasile Menu” too. You get the idea right. This menu is not just for Maayaandi’s kudumbam or Raj Kiran. It is for anybody who loves traditional south-Indian non-veg fare – think Thalapakatti, Anjappar, Velu Military. This is home cooked non-veg food at its best and this is nowhere a comprehensive list but it is a great starting point for those who’d like to cook traditional non-veg dishes at home. This is just a very small list of our oft-repeated Sunday dishes. I hope to add much more to this list. So keep watching this space. Chettinad Chicken Biryani This Chettinad Chicken biryani on my blog is the most popular post on my blog. Very close to the restaurant style biryani, this is a real keeper.  Plus it is easy, quick and always turns out well. Chettinad Pepper Chicken Masala The Chettinad pepper chickenmasala is a blockbuster hit at home – spicy, succulent and lip-smacking. It is so popular, I make this very often at home – as often as they telecast Mummy returns/Prince of Persia/Karate Kid on Star Movies.  Meen Kuzhambu This is a bona-fide Tamizh style Meen Kuzhambu in a Mann Chatti – a delectable mix of spicy and tangy with lovely soft flaky fish fillets. Not a 5-star hotel type westernized, stylized, watered down stew. Sura Varuval These pan-fried shark fillets / Varutha Sura are not so common but are even tastier the popular Sura Puttu. You can also read all about Chennai’s fish markets. Varutha Muttai No non-veg meal is complete without the egg. These super-quick fried hard boiled eggs/Varutha Muttai are a tasty addition to any meal. Mutton Kola Urundai Reminiscent of the Velu military hotel urundais, these crisp, fried mutton balls / Mutton Kola urundais are flavour packed and absolutely delicious. Would make great party snacks too. Chicken Curry An extremely versatile chicken curry that can be served along with rice, poori or roti, this is a smooth, spicy onion-tomato based chicken curry. Chicken soup This one is for the little Maayandis at home. Mild and delicately flavoured this south-Indian style chicken soup is great for kids and toddlers and an excellent way to introduce chicken to your kids. Mutton Thengai Araitha Kuzhambu A thick, full bodied muttonkuzhambu that makes a great pair with Kal Dosai,...

Chicken Momo – Steamed Chicken Dumplings

I’ve made momos every-day the past couple of days, they’ve been such a huge hit. I made a small batch of chicken momos as appetizers for the Sarakku party (Booze party) last weekend as I wasn’t sure all of them would like it. But surprise, the chicken momos were gone in a flash and they wanted more. I made a vegetarian version of the momos which went a little slow as most of them were non-vegetarians but the vegetarian momos were good too. These chicken momos are quite easy to make in that there are no complicated techniques and you can’t really go wrong with it unlike a genoise cake that I screwed up pretty spectacularly last weekend. You see, the last few days I’ve been cooking up a storm, mostly good with a few disasters thrown in. I quite enjoyed pleating up the momos into little round bags, but it takes some time. I couldn’t click the momos the day of the party; it was crazy. I made them again the next day by popular demand and managed to photograph them. The chicken filling is super easy to make and is delightfully fresh and flavourful. The freshly minced ginger and garlic add loads of flavour and punch to the chicken. Use fresh ginger (not the hard, dried ones) for maximum flavour. Finish with chopped spring onions to give that Chinese-food touch. I made the filling the previous night and put it in the fridge. It keeps well for 3-4 days. If you have the filling ready, it is that much more quicker to make momos. I am sending these chicken momos to Srivalli’s Blogging Marathon for the theme – “Dallying with Dumplings”. Now you know why I made momos for the party last weekend. Menus will now be centred around the blogging challenges that I take up and my family will have to endure. This time they’re not complaining though. Prep time: 20-30 minsCooking time: 10 minsMakes: 20 Momos Ingredients – For the filling Minced Chicken – 250 gmCabbage – 4 tbsp shredded fine Ginger – 2 tbsp mincedGarlic – 2 tbsp mincedOnion – 1 medium finely choppedSoy sauce – 1-1/2 tspGreen chilli sauce – 2 tspSalt to tasteBlack Pepper powder – 2 tsp (adjust)Spring onions – 2-3 finely chopped (green & white separated)Oil – 2 tbsp Ingredients – For the cover Maida – 1 cupSalt to tasteWater as...

Chettinad style Chicken Biryani

This chettinad style chicken biryani comes close to the Thalapakatti style biryani in terms of flavour and taste. The freshly roasted and ground masala powder adds wonderful aroma and beautiful flavour to the biryani. The core of this biryani is this masala powder. It is a heady masala combination which just cannot fail – hot, aromatic and lip-smacking. Red chillies, whole black peppercorns, fennel, cumin, cardamom and cinnamon – you could try using this masala powder for your chicken gravies and kormas and I’ll tell you it is absolutely fantastic. Serve this biryani with chilled raita and boiled eggs for a perfect weekend meal. My husband a very picky eater gave the thumbs up to this biryani and my dad, a very conservative eater (he hates experimentation) finished off the biryani in no time, which all means it really is good. I was worried I had made too much biryani and that I’d have to do the refrigerate-reheat-refrigerate routine the next day but guess what, there was no biryani left over. If every family had to have a family dish (like a family song), biryani would be our family dish. Dosai would also be a strong competitor though. Biryani defines our family – grandiose, masala rich and extra large. Prep time: 15 minsCooking time: 30 minsServes: 6-7 Ingredients Chicken – 1 kiloBasmati rice – 3 – 1/2 cupsCurd/Yogurt – 1 cupOnions – 2 large chopped fineTomatoes -2 large chopped fineGreen chillies – 2 slit lengthwiseRed chilli powder – 1 tbspTurmeric powder – 1 tspFennel seeds/Saunf/Sombu – 1 tbspSeaweed/Kalpaasi – 1/2 tspMarathi moggu – 1Cinnamon – 2 inch pieceCloves – 3Ghee – 3 tbspOil – 4 tbspSalt to taste Dry masala powder Whole dry red chillies (long variety) – 5Whole black pepper corns – 1-1/2 tspFennel seeds/Saunf/Sombu – 1 tspCoriander seeds/Dhania – 2 tspCumin – 1/2 tspGreen Cardamom – 2Cloves -2Cinnamon – 1 inch piece Paste Ginger – 4 inch piece peeledGarlic – 10 clovesCoriander leaves – a handful Marinade Ginger-garlic-coriander paste – 1 tbsp (from above)Curd – 2 tbspTurmeric powder – 1/2 tspRed chilli powder – 1 heaped tbsp.Salt to taste Method 1.      Wash and clean the chicken and cut into fairly large pieces. Marinate the chicken pieces with the ingredients called for under marinade for 20 minutes or more. 2.      Rinse Basmati rice/long grain rice in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak basmati rice in...

Chicken Biryani cooked in Coconut milk

This is yet another biryani variant. Here we cook the rice and marinated chicken in coconut milk and whole spices which yields a delightfully mellow, aromatic biryani and perfectly seasoned, succulent chicken that has soaked up all the wonderful masala. This biryani tastes great with raita, boiled eggs and a hot spicy gravy. I used only half the chilli powder that I’ve specified in the recipe so that my kids don’t find it too hot. But feel free to adjust it as per your taste. Biryani is the firm favourite of the entire family and we make it at-least once in 2 weeks. My kids are so fond of biryani and they’re so familiar with the usual party menus that embarrassingly enough every time we go to a party, my kids loudly demand biryani and that even before the buffet is open. Vegetable biryani or pulav is also biryani to them. Every home has its own biryani recipe and biryani is always made in that way and in no other way. I’d strongly recommend that you try a new biryani recipe every time you make biryani. Really, there are so many ways to make biryani, that you may find a recipe that’s even better than your standard recipe. I can safely say that this won’t be the last variant that I am posting. Preparation time: 20 minsCooking time: 15 minsServes: 5-6 Ingredients Chicken – 1/2 kiloBasmati Rice – 3 cupsCoconut milk – extracted from 1 medium coconut – roughly 2 cupsOnions – 2 large sliced thinlyTomatoes – 2 large choppedCloves – 3Cinnamon – 2 inch pieceStar anise – 1Marathi Moggu – 1 inch pieceGreen Cardamom – 2Fennel seeds – 1 tspKalpaasi/Sea weed – a big pinch, roughly 1/2 tspRed chilli powder – 1 tbspTurmeric – 1/2 tspGaram Masala powder – ½ tsp (optional)Oil – 4 tbspGhee – 4 tbsp + 1 tbspCoriander leaves – a handful chopped for garnishSalt to taste Marinade Ginger – 2 inch pieceGarlic – 6-8 clovesGreen chillies – 3 choppedFennel seeds/Sombu – 1 tspRed chilli powder – 1 tbspTurmeric – 1/2 tspSalt to taste Method 1.      Rinse basmati rice in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak the rinsed rice in water. Set aside. 2.      Wash and clean chicken, cut into big pieces and set aside. 3.      Grind together the ingredients called for under marinade except the spice powders to a smooth paste. Dump...

Home-style Chicken Biryani in Pressure cooker

Biryani is synonymous with celebration and today happens to be women’s day. I am posting an easy home style chicken biryani that can be cooked entirely in a pressure cooker. I am dedicating this biryani recipe to all women (Can dedicate songs, films, match victories, awards and what not? Why not biryani recipe?). I am specially dedicating this recipe to all those time-pressed moms and wives who are always in a rush, who have a hundred items on their to do list and another hundred on their mind, who are constantly putting things back in their places, who are badly in need of a pedicure and haven’t really read the newspaper in a long time (shocking, but I haven’t really read the newspaper since sometime in 2009 when my daughter was born – a cursory glance of the headlines doesn’t count). I hope this recipe helps ease biryani making for you. This is a home style biryani, fragrant and spicy with strong ginger tones. The rice turns out beautifully long and perfectly cooked and the chicken is juicy. Two things to keep in mind are the amount of water and the time you cook the biryani. Watch the amount of water you add at the end and use the index-finger thumb-rule (Ha.. but pun not at all intended). Switch off the stove after 10-12 minutes whether or not you hear the whistle. Follow these steps and you won’t go wrong. Happy Women’s Day! Preparation time – 20 minsCooking time – 30 minsServes: 4-6 Ingredients Chicken – 1/4 kgBasmati Rice/Long grain rice – 2-1/2 cupsOnions – 2 chopped fineTomatoes – 2 choppedGinger paste – 3 tbspGreen Chillies – 4 slit lengthwiseCurd/Yogurt – 1 cupFennel seeds/Sombu – 2 tspCardamom – 2Cinnamon – 1 inch stickCloves – 3Marathi Moggu – 1Star anise – 1Bay Leaf – 1Turmeric powder – 1 tspRed chilli powder – 2-3 tbspGaram Masala powder – 1/2 tspSalt to tasteGhee – 3 tbsp + 1 tbspOil – 2 tbspWater Method 1.      Wash and clean the chicken and cut into fairly large pieces. 2.      Rinse Basmati rice/long grain rice in 2-3 changes of water till the water runs clear. Soak basmati rice in water for 1 hour. 3.      In a pressure cooker, pour in 3tbsp oil and 2 tbsp oil and when hot, drop the fennel seeds. Let fry till fragrant. Then throw in the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, Marathi moggu, star anise and bay...

South-Indian style Chicken soup – Kid friendly version

The Chicken soup I am posting today is an ideal introductory chicken dish for toddlers. It is mild, delicately flavoured and easy on little tummies. This dish is super quick and super easy and it can easily be transformed into an adult version with a few extra spices. I usually serve this soup with rice or as a side with idli. My 3 year old likes chomping on the chicken pieces. For my 1 year old, I dump the rice, soup and a few chicken pieces in the mixer and give a quick blitz, a very quick one so that it is a coarse mixture and not pureed all the way. It’s a good alternative to the usual paruppu saadam (rice and dal). I don’t  usually cook separately for my kids, but sometimes I do. I think once in a while, they deserve their own custom-made meal. I think the entire cooking in the house has in general become more kid friendly – we’ve cut down on the chillies, totally eliminated channa dal from all our  tempering (my kids don’t like biting into the dal), we make more Kormas/dal based curries (which are milder) and there is always idli maavu (Idli batter) in the fridge which is so reassuring. Long day, frenetic action for a function the next day, or the day after the frenetic function, kids sick, maid on leave, power shut-down, or even better – power shut-down and no water in the tank – whatever the odds, as long as you have idli maavu, you can manage.   On holiday trips, I remember how grateful we’d be for the puliche idlis (however sour and rubbery) that Taj served at around 100 rupees per idli (Yes 100!). Most hotels don’t serve idli at dinner buffets or even on order. My kids are by now so attuned to “an idli a day, everyday” routine that nothing else would do. They want their idli. No “kid friendly” macaroni and cheese for them. By the way, nothing is kid friendly when served on porcelain plates or in fancy wineglasses. Not a lot of moms on these hotel decision making panels, I think. Preparation time: 10 minsCooking time: 20 minsServes: 2-3 Ingredients Boneless Chicken pieces – 10 small cubesOnion – 1 choppedTomato – 1 choppedGinger – 1/2 an inch pieceGarlic – 5-6 pods peeledCoriander powder – 1-1/2 tspChilli powder – 1/2 tspTurmeric – 1/4 tspBlack pepper...

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