Sunday, April 24, 2011

Chicken in Chilli-Cilantro Gravy

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Yes,yours truly was the second one to celebrate her birthday last week. But somehow my birthday was overshadowed by the celebrations we had for Aamod. In fact I did not realize it was my birthday. There was none of that "Its my birthday today" feeling either.
But no complaints as I celebrated the day being close to my loved ones and I did have a great day after all. 

And for all you friends who left birthday wishes for me on facebook, email etc. THANK YOU !!  You all know who you are and I am so grateful for being a part of your life and you being a part of mine

 So like I said I do not have any cake for you but a curry, full of fresh flavors, that you can enjoy on a relaxed weekend with family or with friends. Its healthy and flavorful and it wont make you feel guilty.

Chicken in Chilli-Cilantro Gravy
(Adapted from this recipe on eCurry)

For the cilantro chutney :
2 C cilantro (tender stems only) washed and set aside
3 cloves of garlic
3 green chillies
1 tsp cumin seeds
salt to taste
1 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp water

Marinate the chicken with:
2-3 tsp lemon juice
salt to taste
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder

1C chicken breasts cubed
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp crushed red chillies or use dry red chillies
1 tsp crushed black pepper
1 medium onion chopped
1.5 tomato grated or blended in processor
2 tsp thick yogurt
1 tsp ginger paste
6-7 tblsp of olive oil

  • Marinate the chicken overnight or for an hour at least.
  • Blend ingredients for the chutney till smooth.
  • In a kadai heat the oil and add the crushed red chillies , pepper. After a few seconds add the cumin seeds.
  • Once the seeds sizzle add the onion and allow to brown on medium-high heat. Add 1 tsp sugar to this.
  • Add the marinated chicken to this and let it brown . Do not move it for a few minutes at least.
  • You will see the oil leaving the sides. Now toss it around.
  • Add the tomatoes, ginger paste and 3-4 tbsp of chutney.Combine everything very well. Add water to make a thinner gravy.
  • Taste and season with salt.
  • Cover and simmer.Let cook for 10 min till chicken is cooked.
  • After 10min add 2 tbsp of gravy to the yogurt and whisk it till smooth. Add this to the mixture. Lower flame and allow to come to a gentle boil. This allows the oil to resurface.
  • Garnish with slivered ginger.Serve with rotis/rice.

The original recipe calls for 1/4 C coconut milk that I replaced with thick yogurt. But you can surely use it for a more richer gravy. The gravy is itself full of fresh flavors from cilantro,ginger and green chillies.So you can easily use the same gravy for paneer,potato or even eggs. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Aamod

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Yes, you guessed it. Our little one turns two (or "tow-ouuu" as he says) this week. Thank you for the early birthday wishes.

Happy Birthday dear Aamod. We feel blessed to have you amidst us. 

You have taught us what being a parent is all about. We love you to bits son !!

-Suparna and Vijay

Tuesday, April 12, 2011


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Misal  is one of the most popular fast foods in the western region of Maharashtra. The name "Misal" literally translates to a "mixture". And a mixture of all the goods things it is. One serving of Misal includes -A bowl containing a mixture of crispy chivda, spicy farsan and dry potato curry topped with chopped onion,sev,cilantro served with another bowl of spicy sprouts curry. And if this does not fill you up you can certainly have some bread to be dunked in the curry.

Like most indian recipes there are a hundred different recipes for misal. Though this dish can be easily assembled at home its still is one of the restaurant favorites. In Pune (the place I come from) a couple of family owned resturants like Bedekar, Shrikrishma, Shree,Vaidya have been consistently serving misal for the last 50 years.May be more...

Source - here                                                        
Misal invokes so many memories of my hometown - the cold weather, crowded places and fiery curry.

 The joints open for business at around 7AM in the morning. And its a full house by 9 AM or so. The place is small around 10X12ft may be , but the flavor is big and bold. The ambiance is provided by the aroma of spices, shaky chairs and by the guests, chomping down the misal with much appetitie.

On most weekends my sister and I would hop on to a bike to one of the misal joints.Soon we are greeted by the long queues and the aroma of spices sizzling in hot oil. Then after what seemed like a long wait our steel container would be returned with steaming hot curry and a few packets of the mixture."Kanda limbu dila aahe naa ?" (Have you given the chopped onion and the lemon slices)  my sister would confirm..And then we would ride back at full speed.
 Baba (dad in marathi) is a big fan of misal. Its a food very close to his heart.Everyone else too had their own favorites and  strong opinions.
The best part is there is no strict recipe so depending on what you mix you make a new version each time.

Here in US I make my own version that is slightly different than the original recipe. But its sooo good. All my friends have loved it.Which is one reason why I am blogging about it. Hope you like it too.

Enough said, lets move on to the recipe :-

( My family's recipe )

To prepare the misal you need :-

Potato masala ( recipe below)
Matki usal (recipe below)
Amti/Sambar/Dal ( recipe below)
Chivda (recipe here)
2C of farsan ( I use the hot mix brand)
1 red onion finely chopped
a bunch cilantro chopped
lemon slices

Mix 2 parts of chivda to 1 part of potato masal,matki usal and farsan. 
Add a handful of chopped onion and cilantro. Squeeze some lemon over it.
Mix everything nicely. 
Garnish with cilantro,onion,sev and serve immediately with a bowl of steaming hot sambar.

You can use your choice of chivda, farsan and sev. What I have given is a rough proportion for the mixture. Increase or decrease the ingredients depending on how you want it to be.
I would surely advise to mix everything a few minutes before serving as it tends to lose its crunch because of the moisture. The best way to enjoy it is to pour 1/2 a bowl of sambar over the mixture and use the rest for dunking bread. 

For the potato masala :-
1 large red/white potato cooked until soft ( Microwave 3 min after piercing it a few times) ,chopped
1/2 an onion sliced
1/4 tomato chopped
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric
pinch of sugar and squeeze of lemon
1 green chilly chopped
salt and oil as required

In hot oil combine the mustard seeds, turmeric, green chillies and the onion. Saute till the onion is soft. 
Add the potatoes, salt,sugar,lemon juice and tomato. 
Mix and cook covered for 2 min. Add cilantro and set aside.

For the Matki usal :-
1C of moth/,matki sprouted and cooked until soft
(1/2 C of unsprouted moth will yield a cup of sprouted moth. Pressure cook with salt until the whistle is just about to blow  . Else they will be all mushy)
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp chilli powder
salt and oil as required

Over medium heat combine the onion,turmeric and the chilli powder.
When onion is soft add the cooked moth.
Mix and then taste. Add salt if required, since you already added salt while cooking the moth so not much may be required.
Add a bit of water if the mixture becomes too dry. Set aside.

For the Amti ( also called dal or sambhar) :-
1/2 C toor dal pressure cooked with turmeric and hing
1/2 tomato chopped
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp sambhar powder
salt and oil as required

Over medium heat combine the mustard seeds, tomato ,sambhar and chilli powder.
Add the cooked dal and salt. Mix well.
Add water to get a thin consistency.
Get up to a boil and keep warm until ready to serve.

Food that makes everyone happy and gets everyone together.That's what home cooking is all about.

And two very special people will be celebrating their birthday this week. Guess who ??