Sweet Sour & Spicy Coke-Cola Chicken with black bean coriander garlic rice

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Being a bunch of hyperactive people that we are, the small but lively group from Assam in Bahrain, do get together quite often to, observe festivals of our motherland with fervour, attend and participate in events, go shopping, watch movies or simply talk and eat or eat and talk endlessly. We talk on all kinds of possible or impossible subjects under the sun and if you attempt to make sense of all of them, you are venturing into uncertain territories. Good luck!

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In one such recent eat and gossip meet at one of our friend’s place, as usual we were at our animated best and the discussion veered towards eating healthy. Assuming the position of master of good food and moral high ground, I was talking about someone who I know of having this unhealthy habit of drinking coke with lunch and dinner, all the while happily sipping on to my soft drink based cocktail; so much for an irony. As if that was not enough, a silly question was hurled at me by someone asking how can, one have coke with rice, I mean how can someone sane can possibly mix coke with rice and eat. Indeed, how, how?? Everyone burst out into a loud laughter and had good fun at her expense for saying that in the heat of that moment or what I said in Assamese being lost in translation, but I have to try hard to forgive myself for not only thinking about a dish on that crazy idea but executing it too.

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The very next day bought some chicken thighs and tried making out this crazy dish. My housekeeping lady said I’ve gone mad trying to execute a crazy idea. Later once the chicken was ready everyone just couldn’t stop asking for second and third serving.

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While I was busy preparing for this crazy dish my girls were too busy making their Father’s day cards and goodies. This was a perfect platter for the Father’s Day!!

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Stay tuned for the vegtarian version for this recipe.

 

INGREDIENTS (For sweet sour and spicy coca-cola chicken)

  • 1 kilo chicken thighs or wings
  • 1 big coca-cola can
  •  1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp tabasco sauce
  • 1 tbsp corn starch
  • 2-3 pods chopped garlic
  • Salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp oil

DIRECTION for coca-cola chicken

  1. Pre heat the oven high at 240 degrees.
  2. Take the chicken pieces in a large bowl. Pour some oil, and season with some salt, pepper, and chili powder. Now arrange the pieces in the baking tray lined with silver foil, and put into the oven for about 45 minutes or until crisp and golden brown.

To make the sauce

  1. In a large bowl take the cola, brown sugar, pepper powder, chili powder, tomato paste, soy sauce, corn starch, chopped garlic, tabasco sauce. Combine all the ingredients well .
  2. Pour the prepared sauce mix in to a sauce pan over medium heat. Once the sauce starts boiling lower the heat. At this point add salt and lemon juice. let it simmer for a couple of minutes stirring occasionally until the sauce thickens.
  3. By now the chicken should be ready. Once done remove from oven. Carefully with a thong remove the each pieces and dip it into the sauce and place it in another baking tray lined with a foil. Once all the pieces are done put the tray of sauce coated chicken back into the oven for another 10 minutes for that perfect glaze.
  4. You can server as an appetizer or accompanied with some delicious black bean cilantro rice.

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INGREDIENTS for black beans coriander garlic rice

  • 4 cups cooked rice( I used basmati rice)
  • 1 small onion
  • 2 pods garlic
  • Half a large bunch of coriander leaves
  • 2 cups cooked black beans but not over cooked and mushy( one can also use kidney beans or rajma)
  •  Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp oil

DIRECTION for black beans coriander garlic rice

  1. In an electric chopper chop the onion, garlic and coriander leaves.
  2. Heat a large size pan or a wok over a medium heat with some oil. Once the oil is hot enough add the chopped onion, garlic and coriander mix. Saute it for 2-3 minutes or until the raw smell of the onion and garlic is gone. Now add the cooked black beans, season it with salt and stir for a minute. Finally add the cooked rice gradually and combine well until the flavor of coriander beans has been evenly mixed with the rice. Serve hot

Sophisticated Chicken Kofta curry

 

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It is been almost 2 months now back from the always larger than life vacation in Assam( India) and a series of back to back tripping delicacies. People who are close to me is aware of the fact that how much I am into fitness and eating healthy. The season of rich curries were over and I tried to avoid cooking them for some time. After a  good 60 days my daughters started demanding something nice( their version of nice means rich food like biryanis, buttered curries, yumminess loaded with cheese and fries etc). Weekends i pamper them, acting like a gennie, whatever they wish to have, they rub the lamp, make a wish, and i make their wish come true.

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This kofta curry has saved me in many occasions, once when Biman’s colleagues made sudden plan to come home for lunch and  I was informed quite late in the morning, no time go for groceries etc. Moreover my fridge happened to be empty that day with a very few ingredients lying inside. Minced chicken is one of such ingredient that is usually present in my fridge, in order to make some tit-bits for my girls whenever necessary. This kofta curry is so quick to prepare and comes out so delicious as good as a rich chicken kofta curry, but quite a healthy one compared to the richer curries.

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Succulent chicken koftas immersed in not so rich yet a deliciously flavorful curry of yogurt, coconut milk and a dash of fresh cream, mint leaves, coriander and the Indian spices  gives the perfect aroma to it. I love to serve it with some fresh made naans( indian flat bread) and aromatic saffron rice.

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INGREDIENTS

For making Koftas

  • 300 gms minced chicken
  • 1 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp green chutney( coriander& mint)
  • 1 tsp garam masala powder
  • chopped coriander leaves
  • 1/2 red chili powder
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 pinch of turmeric powder
  • 2 tbsp oil for frying

For the curry

  • 2 medium onions chopped
  • 2 pod of garlic chopped
  • 1-2 chopped green chilies
  • whole spices( 3-4 cloves, 2-3 cardamom, a small cinnamon stick)
  • 1 large tomato chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tbsp fresh coconut or 1 tbsp coconut milk
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds for tempering
  • 1-2 tbsp beaten yogurt
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 1/2 tsp garam masala powder
  • 1 -2 tsp kasoori methi( dry fenugreek leaves)
  • salt as per taste
  • chopped mint leaves and coriander leaves for garnish
  • 1 tsp of fresh cream( optional)
  • 1 tbsp oil

DIRECTION

  1. Mix all the ingredients for kofta and form small ball size kofta

Heat oil in a pan and shallow fry the kofta all                sides till light golden brown, just about a minute or two.

3.

For the curry, in the same pan heat oil, add the whole spices, then onions, ginger and garlic and sauté for few minutes. Now add the tomatoes, the masalas, fry until the tomato is cooked and rawness of the masala is gone. Finally add the grated coconut or coconut milk. Season with salt, give it a stir and keep it aside.

4.

Grind the masala in a blender into a fine paste.

5.

Heat oil in another pan, add some jeera( cumin seeds) and let it crackle. Now pour the prepared paste into the pan.

Then add the beatened yogurt and Garamond masala. Now add the required water, give a quick simmer. Lastly add the koftas into the curry, chopped coriander and mint. Cover and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.

Turn off the heat and add some kasoori methi and a dash of cream. Give a gentle  garnish with chopped coriander leaves.

 

TUNISIAN CHICKEN TAGINE

 

 

_DSC0229Manisha:  La classe est pas intéressant sans toi. Je manque  votre classe.

Amal: C’est trés gentil de ta part

Amal: Let me know if you all need any help with your lesson

Manisha: Yes we do have doubts and need your help

Amal: If you wish we can have sessions in my home.

Manisha: Ce sera parfait

And that’s how this interesting new way of learning French language and Tunisian food began. We used to sit together for hours discussing my lessons and talking about food, Tunisian and other cultures and about fashion a lot. Amal too is an enthusiastic cook, she loves trying out different cuisines. She being a Tunisian, not only cooked delicious Tunisian food but also many other different cusines. Thus, i got this opportunity to learn new cuisine along with french language.

My session at her place would always start with a cup of tunisian tea or a coffee of her style or turkish coffee, with something yummy to munch that she had cooked and had saved some for me too try out. More than being my French teacher, she is a lady with a golden heart, a great motivator and a fun-loving person. This had indeed made learning more fun.

To my knowledge TAGINE, which is a slow cooked dish mostly with lamb is a Moroccan delicacy, until i met Amal and got to know that there are different kinds of tagine preparation.  Tagine is a popular and local dish of Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, North Africa.

Tunisian tagine is very different from Moroccan tagine. This is an egg based dish into which , chunks of liver, chicken , lamb, veggies or even only veggies are added. Seasoned with some fresh herbs and spices; cheese, beans and bread crumbs are used to give a nice texture to the dish. Unlike the usual Moroccan tagine which stew based, this is meal on its own or more like ” Italian frittata”.  

INGREDIENTS

  • 300 gm chicken breast cut into small chunks
  • 1 medium potato cut into small cubes
  • 2 tbsp of chopped carrots
  • 1 medium onion roughly diced
  • 1 tbsp chopped garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp chopped parsley( chopped coriander can also be used substituting parsley)
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano and thyme
  • 1 tsp paprika or harissa( optional)
  • 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  •  4-5 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 cup mix of cheddar and mozzarella cheese
  • Salt as per taste
  • parmesan cheese for garnish 

DIRECTION

  1. Pre heat the oven in 180c -200c.
  2. Heat olive oil in a pan and saute the onion and garlic for a minute or two, then add the chicken, potatoes and carrots and cook over medium heat for another few mins until lightly golden and cooked through, season it with some salt, pepper and oregano. Turn off the heat and keep it aside.
  3. In a large bowl take four whole eggs, add baking powder, the seasoning and whisk until eggs are well combined. 
  4. Add the fried chicken, veggies, bread crumbs, cheese( keep little aside for garnish), parsley, paprika. Mix all properly, then transfer into a greased baking dish and bake it for 30 minutes approx in a preheated oven at 180c.
  5. Once the top layer of the tagine turns golden, check it with a fork, if it comes out clean that means your tagine is done. Take it out and allow it to cool slightly. Now cut it into squares and serve with some nice green salads.  

PERI PERI CHICKEN

NANDOS STYLE PERI PERI CHICKEN

What do mean by Peri Peri ??? I would say ” Explosion of flavors”. This recipe is for all the Nando lovers. Peri-Peri means African Bird”s Eye Chili. I love the spiciness of this Portuguese cuisine after Indian cusine. The flamed grilled chicken salivates your whole mouth, the sauce with lemon, chili, garlic, herbs gives an instant kick to your tongue. The spicyness comes from the use of the bird eye chilies. One can go for a suicidal heat too, just by increasing the number of chilies. God i don’t want to die so soon! I want to relish more and more food.

FF9 

NANDOS STYLE PERI PERI CHICKEN

INGREDIENTS

  • Chicken whole legs 4

 For the Peri Peri sauce

  • Red chilies 2 or birds eye chilies 3-4(according to the hotness desired)
  • Lemon juice 1
  • Garlic 3
  • Thyme 1 table spoon
  • Oregano 1 tbsp.
  • Paparika powder 1 -2 tsp
  • 1 tsp black pepper powder
  • 2-3 tbsp. Red wine Vinegar or Dark vinegar
  • Olive oil ½ cups
  • Salt as per taste

DIRECTION

For sauce

  • Just blend all the above ingredients to a smooth paste. You can store the sauce by refrigerating.

For the Peri Peri Chicken

  • Pre heat your oven at 200 degree Celsius
  • Marinate the chicken with the peri peri prepared sauce  for 2-3 hours at least or overnight would be the best
  • Put your marinated chicken in an aluminum foiled baking dish, into the oven at 200 degree Celsius for 30-40 mins or until done.
  • Serve it hot with potato wedges and grilled veggies

Traditional Chicken Curry

TRADITIONAL CHICKEN CURRY

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 “I am tired mummy!”, “I wana eat some rice, chicken and yogurt, please….”. This is one regular dialogue of Ayona (Annie) as soon as she gets down from her school bus. And my regular dialogue is “sure darling!” She is just 4…. A naughty, bubbly and a very demanding girl with full of energy. A hardcore non-vegetarian too, who would always want fish or meat or even eggs on her plate. On the contrary Inakshi (Renee) a 10 year old, quiet, soft spoken, less demanding girl. I keep guessing her moods and desires by her action. Though she prefer chicken more than fish and loves cottage cheese (paneer), but I really cannot predict that she will eat every time I serve her favourite dishes. That’s how she is. Oh I have to juggle all the time satisfying and keeping them happy. Quite a task!

It does not require being a weekend or a holiday to make and serve something delicious. Being a mother I can very well understand the food moods of my girls, especially my little Ayona (Annie). Serving a healthy and balanced meal is of sole importance to me, but adjusting with their likes and demands is challenging sometimes, especially when there is a time constrain.

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Picky eaters though, this particular dish is something which both relish and clean out their plates. It is kind of a relief for me as I am done just by making one dish which makes both happy. Love to see the smiles on their faces while eating and asking for extra servings, that otherwise rarely happens.

This is a very basic and simple chicken curry, very easy to prepare, with just the regular ingredients available in the pantry. A quick, hassle free and a win win dish any time.

Preparation time 10min       Cook time 20min       Total time 30min       

INGREDIENTS

  • Chicken 1kilo
  • Onions 2 medium finely chopped
  • Ginger garlic paste 1 tea spoon
  • Green chilies chopped or sliced 2(can be altered with your taste)
  • Potatoes 2 medium cut into two halves
  • Bay leaf 2
  • Whole spices (cinnamon 1 stick, 2-3 cloves, 2-3 pod of cardamom)
  • Cumin powder 1 teaspoon
  • Coriander powder 1 teaspoon
  • Kashmiri chilli powder 1 teaspoon
  • Turmeric powder1/2 teaspoon
  • Garam masala 1 teaspoon
  • Salt according to taste
  • Cooking oil 2-3 tablespoons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Chopped coriander for garnish

METHOD

  1. Heat oil in a deep bottom pan. Add the sugar, but don’t let it burn
  2. Fry the potatoes with little salt until golden and keep it aside.
  3. Add the whole spices then, add the onions, ginger- garlic paste and fry for a minute
  4. Add the spices, cumin, coriander and the chilli powder.
  5. Combine all well and cook it for few min on low to medium heat for few mins
  6. Now add in the chicken and fry well for about 5mins on low to medium heat, adding little water from time to time to avoid sticking to the pan.
  7. Once the oil starts separating, Add salt stir in well, cover with the lid and let it cook until the chicken is done.
  8. Add the Garam masala, give a final boil and garnish with chopped fresh coriander.

 Relish this simplicious chicken curry with roti, bread or steam rice. Bon Appetite 😊

CHICKEN MACHBOOS

The holy month of Ramadan for this year is almost on us. Very recently I was talking about Ramadan with an Arabic sales lady in a super market. This casual talk became a half hour affair 😅. I was engrossed listening to her, how excited she was, preparing for the upcoming Ramadan. The cooking and eating meals before sunrise, arrangements, preparation, stocking of prepared stuff and the pantry etc.

Fasting during Ramadan is intended to educate, and instill humility and patience within oneself. It also reminds the haves of the suffering of the have nots, who may rarely get to eat well. Ramadan is a time of worship, reading the Holy Qur’an, charitable acts, and the purification of one’s nature. According to Islam, the thawab (rewards) of fasting are many, but in this month they are believed to be multiplied. Hence, these and for many more reasons it is called the Holy Month.

She gave a clear picture, though in short, what are “Suhoor” and “Iftar”, the two main meals for all people who follow Islam. “Suhoor” is the meal taken very early in the morning just before prayers and sunrise. That early in the morning, one cannot expect a lavish four course meal; but yes, a light, fast and nourishing meal that includes sandwiches, lentil or oats soups, or a filling one-pot dish, fruity desserts. Thereafter people fast until dusk or sunset without even a sip of water. “Iftar” is breaking of fast after sunset (Maghreb). Breaking of fast is usually simple with dates and water and some fruits. After this, the real feast starts with a lavish spread of dishes ranging from salads to whole baked meat dishes, syrupy desserts and fresh fruits and vegetables. To me it sounded like a lavish English brunch, just minus the champagne 😄. But to be honest, fasting is necessary to have a so called “Bhog” (indulgence) of such sumptuous Iftar and Ghabga and your belly needs to be empty for that. She sounded exhausted while explaining. Inhaled and exhaled deeply with a “phew!!” Putting myself in her shoes and just visualizing the whole affair, excited me as if I would  be preparing and displaying a spread for three different meals for family, friends and the loved ones for those days. I know that’s really funny. Finally the store manager had to interrupt our chat. Ah! She also has a tireless tongue just like I do. Talking about common and must have dishes; the list is quite long, but among them Machboos, a traditional Bahraini rice dish that I had been eating at various occasions at various places, interested me most at that moment. Maybe I did not have it for a long time and the craving started to build up. Quickly picked up the necessary ingredients for this rice dish (made either with lamb, chicken, shrimps or vegetables with some lovely blend of spices) that turned out to be one of the dinner menu items for the day. I am excited too for the Iftars and the Ghabgas. Many other Arabic delicacies too will be on my kitchen table this Ramadan.

 

At the first look, it may give you an impression of Biryani, but it is quite different with bursting flavors of Arabic spices. There are two ingredients in particular that sets this dish apart from any Western chicken and rice dishes. Baharat, Arabic for “spice”, is a popular spice blend found in Arab cuisine. Ingredients can vary, but it typically includes black pepper, paprika, cumin, coriander, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg. An intensely flavorful spice blend, Baharat can liven up any dish.

Lumee is another ingredient that is a must if you wish to achieve an authentic flavor in your Middle Eastern cooking. Lumees are limes that are more often called as black lemon or black lime.  Their color can range from tan to black. The concentrated lime flavor is intensely tangy and earthy with an almost smoky quality.

And here is the recipe of this delicious dish, Chicken Machboos.

Preparation time

15 mins      Cook Time: 45 mins     Total Time:1 hourFF5

Ingredients:

  1. Rice 3 cups (any medium grain biryani or basmati rice) soaked for an hour.
  2. Chicken 1 kilo, cut into 4 big pieces with the skin. Traditionally it’s made with chicken skin on. But, personally I like the skin removed.
  3. 2 medium size chopped onions.
  4. 2 medium size chopped tomatoes.
  5. 2 chopped garlic cloves.
  6. 1/2 inch finely chopped ginger.
  7. 3 sliced green chilies.
  8. 2 to 3 table spoon oil.
  9. 2 dried black lemon.
  10. Whole spices (few green cardamoms, a small cinnamon stick, few cloves).
  11. 1/2 table spoon cumin powder, 1/2 table spoon coriander powder, 1/2 table spoon Paparika powder, a pinch of turmeric powder or yellow food color, salt as per taste.
  12. 1 1/2 table spoon Baharat spice mix (readily available, if not, use Garam masala)
  13. 1 table spoon Chana dal (chick pea lentil) just half cooked.
  14. 1 table spoon mixed dry fruits.
  15. 1 table spoon ghee.
  16. 1 table spoon chopped onion and coriander leaves for garnishing.

Method:

  1. Take a wide deep bottom pan and fry onions, ginger & garlic. Sauté for a few mins then add in the tomatoes. Fry well.
  2. Add whole spices, salt, powdered spices/masalas. Fry on medium flame until all well combined.
  3. Add the chicken, black lemon and fry until golden brown, till oil separates.
  4. Add 3 cups of water and simmer the chicken with lid closed for about 10 mins.
  5. Now take out the chicken pieces and add the pre-soaked rice into it. Cover and let the rice cook until 80% done. Keep checking in between. Add a little water if required.
  6. In a separate pan or in a pre heated oven, roast the chicken pieces for around 10 minutes or until golden.
  7. Once the rice is 80% done, add these roasted chicken pieces. Then cover and let it cook for another 10 minutes or until the rice is done.

Garnish:

  1. Drizzle ghee over the dish.
  2. Fry the half cooked Chana dal, dry fruits, 1 table spoon chopped onion and dry fruits. Garnish this mixture over the Machboos and add fresh coriander leaves.