Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Grilled Indian Butter Chicken

                                      My Butter Chicken
This is a recipe that I have had for decades and sparingly made because I reserved it for very special occasions.  I felt guilty cooking such rich food and adding to our daily calorie count.  However, after we came to Malaysia, I started grilling meat instead of frying it and experimented with all my recipes until I came up with delicious alternatives.  This is one such and a joy to behold and cook.  The rich, vibrant colour of the gravy makes it a knockout every single time.

The Recipe:

500gms boneless chicken cubes, washed and drained.

Grind  1 tsp chilli powder; 2 tbsp ginger garlic paste; 2 cloves; 2 cardamom pods; 1/2 tsp methi seeds, roasted;  1 tsp vinegar or to taste; salt to taste; juice of 1 lime; 1/2 cup curds. Marinade overnight.

For the Gravy:  500gms tomato puree - tinned or fresh; 50 gms cashew nuts, roasted and powdered; 1/4 tsp pepper powder, freshly crushed; 1/4 tsp chilli powder; 1 tsp brown sugar or more to taste; 1 tbsp butter; 1/2 cup water to mix with the tomato puree.

For the Garnish:  2 tbsp milk powder mixed with 2 tbsp water- should be a thick, pouring consistency; coriander leaves, chopped.

Next day  grill the chicken  in a preheated oven at 250 Celsius for 5 to 7 minutes both sides.  The first side takes longer, so watch the chicken carefully.  When done cover and keep hot.

In the meanwhile make the sauce.  Mix the tomato puree with the water and keep ready for use.  Heat a deep nonstick pan and heat the butter on a medium flame until it melts.  Lower the flame, add the cashew nut powder and stir fry golden brown.  You have to be very quick as the cashew can burn easily.  Pour in the tomato puree, add the salt, chilli powder, pepper powder, sugar and taste to adjust the flavour.   Increase the heat, keep stirring until the gravy is thick and dark red.   Add the chicken, bring to the boil and  remove from the fire.  Transfer to serving dish.  Just before serving garnish with the milk powder  and coriander leaves.  Serve hot with Jeera Rice or any Indian Bread.

NB:  I use fresh, ripe tomatoes for the puree.   Just grind it together and use.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Hot Cross Bun Bread

                                                                     HOT CROSS BUN BREAD

I would love to bottle the aroma that fills the house whenever I bake hot cross buns and save it for special occasions.  If you are like me I am sure, you will feel the same.  Pinterest  has been a source of inspiration and excitement for me.  There are loads of recipes and best of all colourful photographs and step by step tutorials for anything and everything you could dream of.  And so I mix and match and bake and steam and experiment to my heart's delight.

I can't remember how many recipes and sites I went through before I found  http://onionsandpaper.blogspot.co.uk  which gave step by step instructions on how to make a hot cross bun loaf in a bread maker.  What joy!  And since I have a bread machine, I decided to trial bake it yesterday.  The result was phenomenal, the aroma enough to drive me insane and the taste everything one could wish for.  The three of us had it for dinner yesterday with butter and enjoyed every crumb.

The Recipe:

350 ml warm water; 2 tbsp olive oil; 1 1/4  tsp salt; 2 tbsp brown sugar; 520 gm all purpose flour; 1 tsp dry yeast at room temperature; 1 cup of dried fruit- I used my fruit cake mix which I always have soaking in rum for Christmas.

Using a wooden spoon, mix the flour, sugar, salt, oil, yeast and spices together.  Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm water.  Keep mixing until the dough comes together.  Discard the spoon and use your hands to  knead the dough on a lightly floured surface until soft.  Add the fruit and knead to incorporate. Place in a large glass bowl, cover with cling film and keep in a warm place to rise until double in size.  This takes about 30 minutes to 1 hour depending on the warmth of the place you have kept it in.   Punch down the dough (it should spring back) and gently knead again.  Grease a loaf tin and place the dough inside and leave aside to rise again until double in size.  Bake in a preheated oven at 175 C for 40 minutes or until the loaf is nice and brown.  Every oven is different, so there may be a slight variation  in the time it takes to bake.  Remove from oven, cool for 10 minutes or so and serve warm or toasted with butter and jam if you please.

NB:  This took me three hours, so start early.

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