Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Spiced New Year Chicken

Mixed Spice Chicken
This is a recipe worthy of a celebration and deserves to be on any festive menu.  My late mum in law was a great cook and gave me her sister's recipe book nearly three decades ago.  Although it was tattered and the pages falling apart, I was able to salvage many of the recipes from it and thinking about it makes my mouth water.  Those were recipes of a bygone era and hardly anyone makes them today.  This is one which has becomne a family favourite and it could become yours too.

Wishing all my friends and family a Prosperous & Delicious 2015.  May you reach for the stars and achieve all your dreams.

The Recipe:

1 large chicken ( 2 kgs), skinned, jointed, washed and drained; 2 large onions, sliced fine; 2 tbsp oilive oil for cooking.

Masala:  5 cardamoms; 5 cloves; 1 1/2 tsp aniseed (saunf):  Roast in a pan and cool.  Add 2 tsp chilli powder or more to taste; 1/2 tsp turmeric powder; 1 inch piece ginger, sliced; 12 flakes garlic, cut small; salt to taste and grind to a smooth paste with 1/4 cup vinegar.  Marinade the chicken in this mixture overnight in your refrigerator.  Next day, bring to room temperature and keep ready for cooking.

Heat the olive oil in a large non stick pan and stir fry the onions to a beautiful golden brown on a medium flame.  Add the chicken aand gently cook until brown all over.  If there is any marinade remaining add it to the chicken.  Cover and cook for 10 minutes checking frequently to ensure it does not get caught at the bottom.  A little water (1/4 cup) may be added for additional gravy.  Test to see whether chicken is cooked and remove from fire.  Serve hot with Jeera Rice or any of the recipes you find on my blog.  This is one of those recipes that you fall in love with and crave for again and again.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Lemon Garlic Pepper Fish

Baked Fish Fillet
I have been hosting dinners for various friends and family this December and tried out some very intriguing recipes.  One of them was a lemony baked fish that was unbelievably flavoursome and extremely enjoyable.  This recipe can be made in large quantities and the bonus is that it gets ready in 10 minutes flat.  You could bake it after your guests arrive and set the timer for the right moment.

The Recipe:

500 gms boneless fish fillet; rind and juice of 1 lemon or large lime; 1 tsp fresh pepper powder; 1 tsp crushed garlic; salt to taste; 2 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese for garnish and a few coriander leaves to taste.

Wash, drain and cube the fish.  Pat dry with kitchen towels.  Marinade overnight in the lemon juice, rind, salt, pepper and garlic mixture in the refrigerator.  Next day bring to room temperature and bake at 220 C in a preheated oven for 10 minutes.  Take it out of the oven and sprinkle the cheese all over.  It will melt within a minute.  Scatter the coriander leaves on top and serve hot as a main course or with crispy garlic bread.  This dish has a lot of  soupy gravy that is very gratifying.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A Magical Christmas Menu

Chicken Ghee Roast
 Christmas will always be Christmas!  No matter what happens to you or where ever you may be this is the time for family, friends, fun, food- lots of it and celebrating the birth of a baby boy who changed the history of the world. "Unto us a child is born, King of all creation, Came He to the world forlorn, The Lord of every nation!"

I always plan my Christmas Menu in advance and have lots of food and everybody's favourites are included in the list.  This year I chose to make Chicken Ghee Roast, a traditional Mangalorean delicacy which is indeed a magical recipe- simple and absolutely delicious.  Chicken Ghee Roast is a favourite in my home town and can be made with any recipe as long as it is cooked in ghee.  I can almost smell it now and I am drooling as I contemplate this special dish.

The Recipe:

1 large chicken ( about 2 kgs), remove skin, joint, wash & drain;

Masala :  1 tbsp masala powder of your choice; 2 tbsp curds; 1 tbsp ginger -garlic paste; salt to taste and 3 tbsp ghee for frying.

Marinade the chicken overnight in the above masala (except the ghee) the refrigerator.  Next day, bring to room temperature and cook for 5 minutes in a covered non stick pan without water.  There is enough water in the chicken to allow it to cook.  Remove the cover and let the water evaporate on a medium flame.   Add the ghee, gently stirring so all the pieces are coated and the gravy begins to thicken.  When the chicken is thick and brown throw in some chopped spring onions.  Remove from fire and cover and keep.  Serve with all the accompaniments as below.

Salads are a blessing to busy housewifes and a quick way to get a lot of vegetables and they always feature heavily at all my parties and feasts.  This year I have made  Christmas Candle Salad, called so because the finished dish resembles a candle of sorts.  I have also made Pineapple Pachdi to go with the Yellow Raisin Rice and two varieties of Seven Layered Salad and of course the inevitable cucumber with strawberries and pineapple.  Enjoy your meal with any of the delicious Christmas Goodies like Christmas Cake, Kalkals or Masala Nuts.  A Magical Christmas Menu Indeed.

Christmas Candle Salad
The Recipe:

1 green zucchini, cut into 5 cm pieces; 1 large tomato, cut into slices and wedges (3 should do); 1 small glass; Herbal Aloe Concentrate for dressing; salt to taste.

Arrange the  zucchini and tomatoes on a plate with the glass in the centre.  See photograph.  Arrange the tomato wedges and a few pieces of zucchini in the glass and pour 3 capfuls of Aloe over.  A crunchy, tasty salad that goes well with Chicken Ghee Roast.

Pineapple Pachdi

This is a surprising recipe that I came across in Malaysia and it goes very well with any kind of flavoured rice and meats.  It is also one that we used to eat as kids by the bottle because it was so yummy.  

The Recipe:

1 semi ripe pineapple, skinned and cubed after removing the core.  1 tsp chilli powder; 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste; 1 medium onion, sliced fine; 1 sprig curry leaves; 1/4 cup white vinegar; 1/4 cup brown sugar; a pinch of mustard and salt to taste; 3 tbsp oil for frying.

Heat oil in a non stick pan and add the mustard.  When it crackles, lower the flame, add the curry leaves and onions and stir fry till onions are golden brown.  Stir in the ginger- garlic and cook till it smells good.  Add the chilli powder, salt, sugar, pineapple cubes and the vinegar along with a cup of water.  Stir it well and then lower flame and cover and cook for 10 minutes.  Keep stirring until thick and gooey.  Add more sugar if required.  Cool and bottle.  Store in the refrigerator and erve with any flavoured rice.

                                                    Cucumber Strawberry Salad
This is a wonderful salad that looks good and I always get remarks about the strawberries whenever I serve it as the green and red colours of Christmas show up to a great advantage.  Takes a jiffy to make and can be eaten very fast as you won't be satisfied with one helping alone.

The Recipe:
1 medium cucumber, washed and sliced very thin; 3 strawberries sliced fine; vinegar and salt to taste; 3 strawberries for garnishing.

Marinade the cucunber in the vinegar and salt to taste for 20 minutes.  Drain in a large strainer.  Mix in the sliced strawberries.  Adjust for seasoning and transfer to a glass bowl.  Garnish with remaining strawberies and serve very cold.

Seven Layered Salad
Seven Layered Salad
This has to be one of the most interesting salads I have made.  I read about it a few years ago and have been waiting to try it out.  All you need is your choice of vegetables, fruits and dressing.  The only time you spend is in cutting the vegetables and you'll be more than rewarded for your efforts.  Makes a great centre piece as well.

The Recipe:

Seven Vegetables and fruits of your choice- I used salad leaves, carrots, green and purple cabbage; red and yellow tomatoes, seedless grapes and red apples which I cubed.  Salad dressing of your choice- 1 cup

Arrange the fruits and vegetables in a large glass bowl carefully maintaining a contrast between each layer.  Pour the dressing over and keep overnight in your refrigerator.  Next day arrange some red and yellow tomatoes on top and be as creative as you can.  Make sure you get a good photograph as you want to record your genius for posterity.  Serve cold.

                                                                                      Yellow Raisin Rice

This is another aromatic preparation reserved for festive occasions.  It is very popular and goes well with any kind of meat especially chicken.  As kids we loved to pick out the raisins and leave the rice.  It is one of my favourites and I was pleasantly surprised to see it featured on so many menus when we came to Malaysia many years ago.

The Recipe:

1 cup rice, washed and drained; 1 tbsp ghee; 2 tbsp raisins, washed and dried; 1/2 tsp turmeric powder; 1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste; 1 medium onion sliced fine;1 stick cinnamon and a few cloves;  salt to taste and 2 cups hot water.

Heat the ghee in the non stick pan and fry the spices,  onions and ginger-garlic paste to a golden brown on a medium flame.  Add the rice and gently stir fry until all the grains are coated.  Transfer to rice cooker, add salt to taste and hot water and cook until done.  Serve with all the above dishes.

Enjoy  A Magical Christmas  Menu and may each and everyone be blessed!

Dessert:  Macaroons, Cake or kalkals.  Take your pick



Wind up your meal with Cashew nuts &  Hazelnut Liqueur

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Cinnamon Macaroons

Captivating Christmas Goodie
Christmas is here and so is my favourite childhood treat- Macaroons.  The very word conjures up image of delicious smells and melt in the mouth treats made by my Grandma and Mum.  They have passed on their love of food and skill with cooking to us and this is the time I put on my thinking hat and experiment with various spices and recipes and combinations, the results of which are surprisingly good.  This year I added cinnamon for a twist and my house is fragrant and Christmasy and the Macaroons simply Wow!  They are definitely going to be devoured by the handful.

The Recipe:

500 gms sugar, 300 gms cashew kernels or bits, 1 tsp cinnamon powder; a squish of lemon juice; one medium egg white; a pinch of salt
Grind sugar and cinnamon in blender. Place in mixing bowl. Add lemon juice, salt and cashew kernels and mix with spatula. Add egg white a little at the time until the mixture becomes a dough like consistency. Discard unused egg white. If too sticky add more sugar. Break off pieces and place on baking tray 2 inches apart. Preheat oven to 350 F or 200 C. Bake 15 to 20 minutes until done or slightly brown. Remove and cool. Serve as a dessert after dinner or transfer to airtight container. Subsequent batches take less time, so watch macaroons carefully.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Gluten Free Christmas Cake

Gluten Free Christmas Cake

I found this recipe while searching for a cake to bake for someone who has to have a gluten free diet.  Sourced from

As usual I have played around with the recipe and used the ingredients in my kitchen.  Baking is all about being creative and the end result is what matters.  It tastes good and smells good and I hope you enjoy it too.  Merry Christmas.

The Recipe:

450 gms mixed fruit ( I used a combination of mixed fruits that I had soaked last year in whisky)
For flour use the following:  30 gms rice flour; 15 gms cornflour; 15 gms almond meal; 1 tsp cinnamon powder.
80 gms almond nibs; 125 gms soft brown sugar; 125 gms salted butter; rind of 1 lemon; juice of 1 lemon ( I added this because none of us like treacle).
 Preheat oven to 150 C.  Grease and line a 9”  square pan (bottom and all round.  Cut an extra square for the top later on.
If you do not have pre soaked fruits, soak the above fruits overnight in 2 tbsp of alcohol.   Next day add in the lemon rind and juice and almonds.  Mix well and keep aside.
Beat the butter and sugar with a wooden spoon together until pale and fluffy.  Add in the eggs one by one.  If the mixture curdles add  a tsp  of the flour.  Gently fold in the rest of the flour maintaining a flowing consistency with a little water if required (the mixture should not be too stiff).  
Add the fruits and stir to combine.  Do not mix it vigourously as the cake will be very heavy due to loss of air.
Secure a layer of brown paper around the outside of the tin with string, extending 5cm above the tin.
Cover the top of the cake with the extra square and make a hole in the centre to allow the steam to escape.
Bake for 3 ½ - 4 hours. Do not open the oven door until the cake has been cooking for 3 hours or it may collapse.
Read a book or exercise or watch your favourite programme on tv while the cake bakes.  It is a very slow process believe me.  You could even take a nap!
Remove the greaseproof paper, cover and allow the cake to brown for the last half an hour. The cake is cooked when the cake is evenly browned on top, feels firm in the centre and a skewer, inserted into the middle of the cake, comes out clean.
Turn the cake out of the tin and allow to cool in its lining paper on a wire rack.   Store in an air tight container.
NB:  I used foil pans to bake this cake and it has turned out too good to be true.