Cilantro chicken/Chicken hara dhaniya

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Having bought too much cilantro/ hara dhaniya (which I really love), I decided to use it to make chicken. Cilantro leaves are also known as Coriander leaves in India and are widely used in Indian cooking for garnishing and in chutney.   Cilantro chicken is prepared with chicken pieces delicately cooked combined with the freshly ground mixture of cilantro leaves, curry leaves and green chilies.  This tastes great with hot roti or naan.

What you need:

500 grams chicken

10 Cashew nuts

1 bunch cilantro(hara dhaniya) leaves

8-10 curry leaves

3/4 cup yogurt

1 tbsp garlic ginger paste

2-3 finely chopped green chilli

2 tbsp oil

salt to taste

1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp coriander seeds 

1 tsp cumin seeds

How to make:

  1.  Take cilantro (hara dhaniya), curry leaves and green chillies and blend to a fine paste in a blender.
  2. Take coriander seeds and roughly grind them.
  3. In a pan take some oil and heat it.  Add the cumin seeds.  Once they start spluttering, add the ground coriander seeds.  Give it a stir and then add the ginger garlic paste.
  4. Make a paste of the cashew nuts with a little water.  Add 1 1/2 tsp of this paste to the pan. Also add the haldi powder and mix really well.
  5. Now add the cilantro (hara dhaniya) mixture to the oil and stir very well.Cook on medium heat till the oil starts separating(about 5 mins).  Add salt.

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6.  Now throw in the chicken and stir well.  Add 1/2 cup of yogurt.  Cover and cook on low heat for 10-15 mins.till the chicken is tender.IMG_3785 Uncover and cook for another 5 mins so that the gravy is of thicker consistency. Enjoy with roti/nan!

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Rava Fried Fish

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With the children coming home for the winter break, I wanted to try out rava fried fish.  Rava which is also known as sooji or semolina, is used for coating the fish .  It is quite awesome as it gives a nice crunch to the fish and doesn’t become wimpy very soon.   The fish turned out delicious with a nice tangy and spicy flavor.  Needless to say the kids enjoyed it!

What you need:

1/2 cup Rava(semolina)   

Basa fish 3 fillets
   
1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste 
   
1 tsp Red chili powder 
   
2 lemons quartered
   
1/2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp chat masala

2 tbsp oil

Salt to taste

1 onion cut int0 rounds

How to make:

  1.  In a bowl, take ginger garlic paste, chili powder, salt and 1 tsp oil and mix well.  Coat  the fish fillets (cut into smaller pieces) well with the paste.

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2.  Heat the remaining oil in a non stick pan.  Roll each fish piece in rava and shallow fry all of them.

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3.  Drizzle some chat masala and lemon juice on the fish fillets and serve hot with some sliced onions and chutney.    Enjoy!

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Spinach and mushroom soup

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Cold winter evenings call for hot and hearty soups with a side good nutrition thrown in!   I had some spinach and mushrooms which are good for soups separately on their own.  I decided to experiment and combine both.  The result was a yummy soup which was loved by the whole family! Makes about 4 servings.

What you need:

1.5-2 cups chopped spinach

1 medium chopped onion

1 tsp ginger finely chopped

2-3 gloves garlic chopped

200 gm mushrooms sliced

1 1/2 cups milk

2 cups water

1 tbsp cream

1 tbsp butter

1 tbsp wholewheat flour 

salt to taste

fresh ground black pepper

1 tsp coriander leaves finely chopped

How to make:

  1.  Boil spinach in a little water, along with chopped onion and ginger (you can also do this in a microwave) till the spinach leaves are soft.  Cool and then grind in a blender.  Keep aside.
  2. In a pan, add butter and melt.  Now saute the chopped garlic till it begins to boil.  Now throw in the sliced mushrooms and stir till the mushrooms start to release water.
  3. Add the flour and saute for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add the black pepper and saute for half a minute.  Then add the spinach mixture and stir well.
  5. Add the water followed by milk.  Mix well and add the salt.  Keep on low heat and let the soup simmer till it starts to thicken. (about 5 mins)
  6. Add the cream and the coriander leaves and stir well.
  7. Serve hot.  Enjoy!

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Fish in Mustard Gravy

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I love the flavor of mustard and that is what is used in this Bengali inspired fish recipe.  This dish is deliciously spicy and  healthy and  goes well with both steamed rice and roti .  The aroma of mustard in every bite gives this dish a unique flavor.

What you need:

500 gm fish fillets

1/2 tsp nigella (kalonji) seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1  tsp turmeric powder

2 medium onions finely chopped

2 medium tomatoes pureed

1 tsp ginger garlic paste

1/2 tsp chilli powder

2 green chillis slit

3 tbsp mustard oil

1 cup water

Salt to taste

To grind

2 tsp yellow mustard seeds

2 tbsp sesame seeds

How to make:

  1.  Rub the fish fillets with 1/2 tsp turmeric powder and  1 tsp salt. keep aside for half an hour.img_8870
  2. Take some mustard oil in a pan and heat .  Now shallow fry the fish and remove.
  3. In the same pan add the nigella seeds and cumin seeds.  Once they splutter, add chopped onions and the ginger garlic paste. Also throw in the powdered mustard seeds and poppy seeds.   Stir well  till the mixture starts turning brown.img_8871
  4.  Now add the tomato puree along with the red chilli powder and  turmeric powder.  Stir well and cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat. Add the fish fillets gently to the pan now and let the masala coat the fish well.  
  5. Add a cup of water and salt to the mixture.  Once the gravy starts bubbling, lower the heat and cook till the gravy thickens.
  6.  Garnish with coriander leaves and green chillis  and serve hot with rice or roti.  Enjoy!

Fish Vindaloo

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Fish Vindaloo is my all time favorite fish curry which is enjoyed with steaming hot rice! Vindaloo’ is a name derived from the Portuguese dish – “Carne de Vinha d’ Alhos (whereCarne means meat, Vinha means wine and alhos means garlic. However this dish was later modified in Mumbai by the substitution of vinegar for the wine and the addition of red Kashmiri chillies.  Vindaloo curry can also be made with pork, chicken and lamb.  This spicy dish which originated in Goa is quite simple to make and delicious to taste.  

What you need:

500 gms fish (I use Basa fillets in India and Tilapia in USA)

1 tin thick Coconut milk

4 tbsp Vindaloo paste (I use Patak’s)

1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp chili powder

1/2 tsp mustard seeds

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/4 tsp turmeric powder

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1/2 tsp coriander powder

2 dry red chillis 

7-8 curry leaves

2 tbsp of chopped cilantro (coriander leaves)

Salt to taste

How to make:

  1.  Wash the fish fillets and pat them dry.  Cut the fillets in smaller pieces (1-2″ pieces).
  2. Marinate the fillets in vindaloo paste and keep aside.

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3.  Heat oil in a pan.  Add the curry leaves,  mustard seeds and cumin seeds to this.  Once the mustard and cumin seeds start spluttering add the whole red chillis.  Now add the ginger garlic paste and stir well.  Saute for 2-3 minutes.

4.  Now add the dry spices of red chilli powder, turmeric powder, cumin and coriander powder to the ginger garlic mix.  Toss well and then add 1 can of coconut milk and 1 cup of water.

5.  Once the curry starts boiling, add the marinated fish pieces to it.  Simmer the curry for about 7 minutes (the fish fillets are cooked within this time).  Garnish with   cilantro/coriander leaves.

6. Enjoy with hot steamed rice!

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Healthy & Delicious Banana Pancakes

 

Nothing quite hits the spot like eating pancakes for breakfast. Recently, I’ve been exercising a lot and didn’t want to undo my  hard work by indulging in my favorite breakfast food. Luckily, I found a solution to my cravings that is much healthier and just as delicious. As a bonus, it requires only a few ingredients and is extremely easy to make.

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What you need:

1 banana

2 eggs

2 tsp cinnamon powder

1 tbsp honey or agave nectar

Fruit (optional)

*Note: This makes about 3 pancakes. You can double the recipe if you want to make more.

How to make:

  1. Cut your banana into slices and place them in a bowl.Use a fork to mash up the pieces as much as you can.
  2. Next, add your eggs, cinnamon and honey. Mix everything until you reach a smooth consistency. 
  3. Using either olive oil or coconut oil,  heat your saucepan on low to medium heat. 
  4. Use a ladle to place the mixture on the saucepan. Keep adding the mixture to the middle to create a bigger pancake. Flip the mixture once one side is done.
  5. Once the pancake is done, serve with fruit and drizzle with honey or maple syrup. You won’t be able to tell the difference! Enjoy 🙂

~ Ria

A journey through Spain – II

Every region in Spain has its  own distinct cuisine and specialties.  Our journey took us through Madrid, Cordoba, Granada, Valencia and Barcelona.  At each stop, we enjoyed some delicious food along with breathtaking scenery and historical sites.

I was amazed at the variety of olives available in Spain….they are versatile, flavorful and nutritious.  They can be cured  with garlic or herbs or they can be stuffed with peppers,anchovy, tuna, bacon!  Yummy!!IMG_2323

In Cordoba, we enjoyed the beautiful architecture of  La Mezquita….this is an amazing fusion of a 16th century mosque with a Catholic Cathedral built right in the center.  I had some of the best food of  our trip in Cordoba, which is also the main producer of Olive Oil in Spain.  Fideua, which is a main course dish made of noodles and cooked in broth,  was so delicious that I was licking my fingers. when it got over!   When I complimented our waiter and asked him how  Fideua was made, he quickly ran inside and got a brand new paella pan as a gift for me.  I was struck by the warmth and hospitality of the locals.

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The best fideua

The best-known Spanish dish, a stew called paella (pie-AY-ah), originated in Valencia.  Valencia was our next stop and we could not wait to sample the Paella there.  Though there are many variations, paella is usually made of a variety of shellfish (such as shrimp, clams, crab, and lobster), chorizo (sausage), vegetables (tomatoes, peas, and asparagus), chicken and/or rabbit, and long-grained rice. Broth, onion, garlic, wine, pimiento (sweet red pepper), and saffron add flavor to the stew.

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Seafood Paella in Valencia

Arros Negre  is a Valencian and Catalan dish made with cuttlefish(or squid) and rice, somewhat similar to seafood paella.  The dish’s dark color comes from squid ink which also enhances its seafood flavor.  Needless to say, once I heard there was squid ink in the dish, I did not go near it!

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Arroz Negre

Valencia apart from its amazing paella, is also the birthplace of Horchata which is a sweet, milky,  nut or grain based beverage. Ria and I loved this refreshing drink , which is very nutritious as well.

Another refreshing drink was my cappuccino with orange rind! It looked so good that I did not want to spoil the perfect way it looked by drinking it! 

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Cappuccino with orange rind

Our final stop in Spain was Barcelona which falls in the Catalan region, and has its own specialties in food.  The mainstay diet here  is typically Mediterranean, with an abundance of fish, legumes, and vegetables, the latter often served simply boiled with a drizzle of olive oil.  Some very exclusive restaurants serving the most gourmet food can be found here.   One of the things we enjoyed here was the cheese fondue with pesto  (Catalan style).

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Cheese fondue with pesto

Finally it was time to fly back and end our memorable trip.  Spain will always hold a special place in my heart for its gastronomic delights!