Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Pepper-curd chicken

Here is a recipe that I would like to claim to have invented or discovered on my own. One find day, I thought why not put pepper in a regular curd - based chicken curry, and voila! I have been cooking that same dish as my trademark dish since then.

  • 1 kg chicken (serves 3-5 people)
  • 1 large cup of curd (300-500 mg)
  • 3 tsp Pepper powder
  • 4 tsp Meat (mutton) powder
  • 1 tsp Red chilly powder
  • 1.5 tbsp Ginger - garlic paste
  • 5 onions
  • 4 fresh tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil (or butter!)
  • salt

The USP:
  • Being a chicken curry, chances of going wrong are minimal
  • Quite delicious!


Stage 1: Marination
  • Wash the chicken carefully under running water
  • In a large bowl, put the curd, add the ginger-garlic paste, the pepper powder, 1 tsp salt and the red chiily powder. Mix the ingredients well to create the base.
  • Pat dry the chicken pieces and add one-by-one to the marinade. Ensure that the marinade covers every piece well.*
  • Leave in the fridge overnight
Stage 2: Cooking
  • Heat the cooking oil (or butter) in a large vessel
  • Chop the onions and add to the oil once heated**
  • Chop the tomatoes and add to the mix when the onions start turning golden-brown (which indicates that it is at the cusp of getting burnt)**
  • Wait for the mix to become slightly dry, then add the meat masala and 2-3 tsp of salt (to taste)
  • Mix the ingredients well and heat (on low flame) till the mix is very, very dry***
  • Add a cup of water, bring to boil and keep mixing
  • Now add the chicken marinade that you made the previous night and mix well
  • Switch to a low flame, cover the vessel and keep mixing every 5 minutes
  • After about 30 mins, your chicken is ready!****
Possible Additions:
  • Green chillies: If you want the gravy to be really spicy, add 3-4 chopped green chillies with the onion at the beginning of stage 2.
  • Extra spices: I prefer a very spicy curry, so I add very minute quantities (0.5 tsp) of other spices - eg. coriander powder, cumin powder, chicken powder etc. after adding the meat masala

* - ideally, you need to make 2-3 cuts on every chicken piece so that the marinade is absorbed well. I've never done it, so I guess it doesn't impact the taste too much.
** - another option is to create a paste out of the onion and tomatoes (separately) in a mixer.
*** - this is the most crucial step. You want the mix to be dry (so that the powders are well cooked), but do not want to burn it. Use your judgment here, but as long as you're checking every 2-3 minutes, it should be okay.
**** - when exactly you end the cooking is based on your taste. My suggestion would be to eat a small piece of the chicken to figure out if it is cooked enough for your taste

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Yellow Dal Tadka

After starting this blog with rice, the next dish I write about had to be dal. Again, a little upgrade on the basic dal - here's presenting a slightly fancy recipe for the humble dal.

  • 1 cup of dal (lentils)*
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • 2 medium tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 dry red chillis
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

The USP:
  • A (not so) simple dal
  • Quick to make

  • Boil the dal in a pressure cooked with water in a 1:3 ratio (1 unit dal, 3 units water)
  • Wait for 2-3 whistles (more whistles for the bigger dals) and then switch off the stove
  • At this time, chop the onion finely
  • Cut the tomatoes into fine pieces **
  • Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a kadhai/vessel
  • Add the jeera
  • Add the dry red chillis by breaking into two pieces each, such that some of the seeds fall out
  • When the jeera starts popping, add the onions
  • Heat the onion till it turns golden-brown
  • Now add the chopped tomatoes
  • Now heat for a long-ish time till the tomatoes seem soft. Add the puree tomato.
  • Heat till oil starts separating at the corners from the tomato paste ***
  • Now open the pressure cooker and add the dal
  • Mix well and bring the dal to boil
  • Now switch off the stove and serve hot, with rice or roti !
Possible Additions:
  • Garam Masala (cinnamon, cloves etc): Wouldn't recommend unless you've having this with plain rice.
* - wash the dal very well before cooking. I was personally amazed to see the pink dal become yellow in colour after washing. Long story short, there's a lot of stuff on the raw dal you don't want to ingest.

** - I personally prefer to make puree out of one tomato, and chop the other one

*** - I have never been able to master the 'when oil starts separating' trigger. What I do, instead, is to add a little water to the tomatoes and onions and let the water boil. This takes time, also wastes gas; but it ensures that I don't feel raw tomatoes in the dal.

Matar Pulao

I've become so accustomed to pulao/biryani that plain rice is too bland for me. I like having something (peas, burnt onions) to much on which having my rice. Here's presenting a very simple recipe for making matar pulao.


  • 1 - 1.5 cups of rice * (depending on your appetite)
  • 1 cup of matar (peas)
  • 1 tsp jeera (cumin seeds)
  • A (tiny) bit of garam masala (the whole stuff, not the powder) - cloves, cinnamon, cardamom pods
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil

The USP:
  • Very simple to make
  • Can be done in just 1 pressure cooker in 25 mins tops
  • Since everything gets boiled in the end, near-zero chance of going wrong

  • Heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil in the cooker
  • Add the jeera and the garam masala
  • Heat till the jeera starts popping
  • Add the peas and mix well
  • Let this stay for 2-3 mins
  • Add the rice and mix well
  • Add water equal to twice the amount of rice
  • Close the lid of the pressure cooker
  • Heat on full ignition till one whistle
  • Shut down the stove
  • Open the pressure cooker only once the entire pressure inside is gone **

Possible Additions:
  • Soaked Rice: Another possibility is to soak the rice for 20 mins before cooking. This will be more useful when you are making onion or tomato - based pulao (below). I suppose it ensures better absorption.
  • Onions: I like to have burnt onions in my pulao. They also make the pulao brown in colour. To do that, cut 1-2 onions in whatever size you like them. After adding the jeera and garam masala, when the jeera starts popping, add the onions. Fry them till they start getting burnt (they would have turned brown by now). Then add the peas and continue.
  • Tomatoes: Another possible addition is tomatoes. They, obviously, make the pulao red in colour. To do that, make puree out of 1-2 tomatoes and then add to the mix after the jeera starts popping. Cook it for some time till the oil starts separating at the corners. Then add the peas and continue.

* - wash the rice very well before cooking. My experience is that you need to wash it 2-3 times.
** - you can know this if, on raising the cap of the pressure cooker, no steam is seen