Category Archives: Picnic Food

Italian Rice Salad with Tuna, Vegetables and Cheese

At the buffet served after the OIB graduation ceremony held at the CIV tonight – I was there to help with the aperitif and the buffet – there was a delicious rice salad which was contributed by the mum of a student in the Italian section.

Here’s the recipe, as I remember it, which she told me as we served the crowd so I hope I’ve got the details right !

Italian Rice Salad

Cooked and cooled rice (from a region in Italy, if I understood her right, near the one that arborio rice come from) tossed with canned tuna (with the oil), olives, capers, very finely sliced raw carrots(or they may have been very lightly steamed), tomatoes (optional) and small pieces of provolone cheese. Though I forgot to ask if she had used any herbs, I don’t think there was any  seasoning in the salad other than salt.

I am going to try this soon as it would make such a simple, fresh and delicious summer meal though I’ll have to figure out first what the rice variety she’d used might be.  I wonder if it is Carnaroli?  The name she used sounded sort of like that from what I remember and when I google Arborio, I find many references to the Carnaroli rice variety as a great base for risottos and salads – indeed for the former it appears to be a better choice than Arborio.

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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths, Salads

Chicken Pulav(2)

This recipe is quite similar to the other one I’ve used a couple of times to make chicken pulav for the boulangerie. The chief difference is that this one requires tomatoes, while that other recipe calls for lemon juice.

I did without an ingredient that the original recipe – which is from Chef Sanjeev Kapoor’s “Khazana of Indian Recipes” – requires  and that’s chicken stock.

I suspect that would add a great deal to the taste but never having got the hang of how to make stock, I made this pulav yesterday with water instead.  Fortunately it passed muster with both Patrick the boulanger – I will be making this for him next Tuesday – and Maria, our guest last night at dinner.

Maria’s daughter was away this week on the same school trip as Indira and since her husband is traveling on work, we asked her to eat with us yesterday.

Dinner was this chicken pulav, rasedar aloo tamatar, salad with mesclun, red bell pepper,corn and asparagus and multi-cereal baguette. I planned the meal this way because I wanted to suggest the first two dishes to Patrick for next week, along with some carrot salad. Luckily he liked both and Maria appeared to enjoy her dinner too so that turned out okay !

Here’s my adaptation –

Chicken Pulav

2 cups of Basmati rice

500 gms of boneless chicken, cut in to small chunks

3 teaspoons each of ginger and garlic paste

1/2 a teaspoon of Kashmiri chili powder



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Filed under Easy One Pot Cooking, Picnic Food, Rice-Pulavs,Biryanis,Baaths

Rava Idlis

This is another of Pooja’s recipes, adapted a little by me.

Maybe I ought to start paying her a royalty for all these inspirations !

Thanks to this one, the girls loved their gouter today and I am looking forward to having the idlis for dinner tonight, with sambhar.

In the background – Ruhin’s artwork, from a year or so ago, which Boudi creatively transformed in to a set of place mats for us.

Rava Idlis

1 cup of suji/semolina/rava, slightly roasted

1 and a 1/2 cups of smooth yogurt

1 large carrot, finely grated

1 or 2 tablespoons of cashew nuts, sliced in half

5-6 curry leaves, finely chopped

1/2 a teaspoon of mustard seeds

2 teaspoons of sunflower oil

salt to taste

1 teaspoon of Eno fruit salt

Mix the yogurt in to the rava, adding a little water – about 1/2 to 1/3 of a small cup – if the batter seems too thick.

Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a small frying pan, then add the mustard seeds. When these start to pop, add the curry leaves, fry for a few seconds and then pour this mixture in to the rava batter. Now mix in the rest of the ingredients and stir thoroughly.

Lightly oil the idli mold, pour about 2 tablespoons of batter in each section and steam the idlis till done. This will take about 15 minutes.

Take the idlis out with a butter knife.

The top of some of the idlis was a little damp still when I took them out of their molds but the moisture dried up in a few minutes.

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Filed under Breakfast Ideas, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas, Starters and Snacks

Curried Potatoes aka Rasedar Aloo Tamatar

Shri loves this potato curry – he calls it aloo shak, which is probably an Indori name for it since he talks fondly of having eaten this many times in the sarafa bazaar of Indore – with puris and if he had his way this is what I would make each time we have friends over for a meal.

Yesterday, for dinner with Vishal and Shefali’s family, we had this curry with palak puris.  And it was so pleasing to see Twisha and Vayun enjoy the carrot salad I had made to go with the aloo-puri as much as Shri, Indira and Noor do.

Curries Potatoes/Rasedar Aloo Tamatar

600 gms of potatoes (enough for 4-6 people)

300 gms of tomatoes or an equivalent amount of canned tomato pulp (about 6 tablespoons)

4-5 tablespoons of oil

1/4 teaspoon each of the ingredients of paanchphoran – mustard seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds and fenugreek seeds

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder

1/2 or 3/4 teaspoon of coriander powder

1/4 teaspoon of kashmiri red chilli powder (or to taste)

2 small cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine

1 teaspoon of kasoori methi and/or 1/2 a teaspoon of garam masala (optional)

1 large dry red chili (optional), broken in half

salt to taste

fresh, green coriander,chopped fine

Leave the tomatoes in very hot water – freshly boiled – till their skin comes off easily.  Then drain and leave aside to cool.

In the meanwhile cook the potatoes, till they are soft, in a pressure cooker. When the cooker has cooled a bit, open the lid, drain the water, take out the potatoes in a colander and leave aside to dry and cool.

Peel and chop the tomatoes in to very fine pieces.

When the potatoes are cold, peel them and dice them in to small pieces.

In a large frying pan, heat the oil and put in the  red chili, the mustard seeds and the nigella seeds. When the mustard seeds begin to pop, add the fennel seeds, fry for a couple of seconds, then add the garlic and fry for a few seconds till the garlic loses it’s raw look. Now add the cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds and fry for just another couple of seconds else the fenugreek seeds can burn and will develop a bitter taste.

Add the tomatoes next and cook on medium heat till their juice starts to dry up. Then add all the dry spices and fry for a minute or so, till the oil starts to appear on the sides of the mixture. Now stir in the kasoori methi and fry for another few seconds.

Add the potatoes, along with salt. Fry for a few minutes till the potatoes are  well-coated with the tomato mixture.  Then add about 2 cups of water and simmer the curry for a while till the gravy is as thick as you like (add more water if needed). Once way to ensure the curry is well-done is to let it simmer, stirring occasionally, till the surface starts to acquire a rich red color/glaze.

Garnish with green coriander , if you haven’t used kasoori methi.

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Filed under Curries, Everyday Subzis, Picnic Food, Quick Meal Ideas

Mint- and Coriander-flavored Grilled Chicken

This is another recipe adapted from “Tikkas & Kebabs”, one of the “Chef’s Special” series published by Lustre Press in India.

I have wanted to try this one since a long time because of the very clear memory I have of the delicious mint-flavored chicken tikkas I ate once  in a restaurant in Delhi.

The girls loved this dish, when I cooked it for lunch last Wednesday.  When I told the boulanger about it – I wasn’t able to take any for him to taste because the girls and I polished it all off – he seemed to like the idea of it and has agreed to try it one Tuesday soon, instead of the usual tandoori chicken.

10-12 chicken drumsticks

100 grams of yogurt

2 tablespoons of lime juice

1 tablespoon of garlic paste

3-4 teaspoons of ginger paste

1 teaspoon of cummin powder

1 teaspoon of coriander powder

1 teaspoon of garam masala

4 tablespoons of oil

1/4 cup of finely chopped fresh coriander leaves

2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint leaves

4-5 tablespoons of melted butter, for basting the chicken

salt to taste ( two teaspoons or a little less, for this quantity of chicken, works for us)

Mix the ginger and garlic pastes with the salt and lemon juice.

Skin the chicken, make 3-4 incisions on each piece, toss the pieces thoroughly in the lemon juice mixture and  leave them in this marinade for 30 minutes in a large bowl.

In the meanwhile, strain the water in the yogurt by leaving it in a fine sieve for 15-20 minutes.

Mix the rest of the ingredients – except the butter – in the yogurt. Add this mixture to the chicken pieces and coat them well in it. Leave the chicken in this marinade for at least 8-1o hours, turning over the pieces once during this time.

Heat the grill to about 240 degrees Celsius, then place the chicken on a wire rack and grill till done (this takes about 40 minutes in my oven), turning the pieces over a couple of times during this time to make sure they are evenly cooked and basting with butter each time.

I love the mild but distinctive flavor of herbs here.

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Filed under Baked Main Meal Dishes, Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments

Potato-stuffed Bread Rolls

Last night, dinner consisted of exactly the same combination that Ma often made for dinner in the winter when we lived in Bokaro – vegetable soup, with these aloo-filled bread rolls on the side.

Ma never served these rolls on salad leaves, but I guess I felt that a few leaves from the bag of mesclun would stop me from thinking about the significant amount of oil which the bread must have soaked up when I fried the rolls !

I actually made these as a sort of  trial-run, since I wanted to take a couple to the boulangerie.

This is another of Pooja’s suggestions and has been a winner too.

Next week’s order from the boulanger is for these rolls and vegetable korma.

April 13th 2010

I did, as planned, hand over bread rolls and korma for 10 to the boulanger this morning. But I have spent the last few days wondering if  this has really been such a good idea, to introduce the girls to this snack (well alright,my own tendency to over-indulge once the rolls are made has been worrying me too).

The combination of bread and potatoes which is then deep fried is surely not a recipe for good health.  I did substitute white bread with multi-cereal bread but then commercial versions of the latter are not the real deal at all.

Then, in what must surely be a Sign, a news story that  highlights once again the problems with high glycemic index foods – of which potatoes and white bread are common examples -caught my eye first thing this morning.

http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/12/glycemic.diet.heart/?hpt=T2
http://health.usnews.com/health-news/diet-fitness/diabetes/articles/2010/04/12/eating-the-wrong-kind-of-carbohydrates-increases-heart-disease-risk.html

So while I fried a few rolls – which have been hugely popular with the girls – this evening for gouter –  with the leftover potato stuffing, I decided that I am not going to include this particular recipe here.

They’ll just have to call me for this one, if they do remember these rolls when they are older. For my part, I am not going to make these again in a hurry !

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Filed under Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments

Tandoori Chicken

Though what this is , actually, is oven-grilled chicken.

The girls  have always called it “red” chicken after the color of the excellent chicken that Jitender and Neelam always make at their barbeque parties and which Indira so looks forward to eating when we are invited !

The marinade – and therefore the taste of the chicken – I prepare is different from theirs though and is adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor’s recipe in his  “Khazana of Indian Recipes”.

Tandoori Chicken

800 gms of chicken drumsticks

1 or 2 teaspoons of kashmiri chilli powder

4 tablespoons of lime juice

200 gms of yogurt

4-5 teaspoons each of ginger and garlic pastes

3/4 teaspoon of garam masala powder

salt to taste

about 100 ml of melted butter

2-3 limes, cut in to wedges

Skin and wash the chicken, then make cuts in several places on each piece.

In a flat bowl, mix half the lime juice and Kashmiri chilli powder and toss the chicken pieces in this mixture. Keep aside for 30 minutes.

In the meanwhile, leave the yogurt in a very fine sieve – to drain the whey – for 15-20 minutes.

Then mix the yogurt with the rest of the ingredients (except the butter),  toss the chicien pieces in this marinade to coat them well and refrigerate for 6-8 hours.

Pre-heat the grill to 240 degrees C, then place the chicken pieces at the top of the oven and cook till they are done, turning them over a couple of times so that all the sides are cooked evenly. Apply butter lightly with a brush each time on the surface just below the grill.

This dish is best eaten hot from the oven and lime wedges are a must-have accompaniment, for the juice to be squeezed on to each piece as it’s eaten.

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Filed under Baked Main Meal Dishes, Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments