Category Archives: Versatile Accompaniments

Jenny’s Spinach Pie

I ate this once last summer at Jenny’s and it was really quite nice.

So earlier today evening, when I happened to be in her kitchen as she made it for guests that she will have at lunch tomorrow, I noted down the quantities of the ingredients as she cooked.

It looked quite simple to put together, so I am going to try and make it some time soon.

Spinach Pie

2 rolls of store-bought pie crust

a kilo of frozen,very very finely chopped spinach

3-4 tablespoons of creme fraiche

a 210 gm bag of Gruyere cheese

salt and pepper to taste

1 large onion, chopped fine

1 egg, lightly whisked

De-frost the spinach and squeeze out all the water.

In a pan, heat a little oil and fry the onion for a while.

In a mixing bowl, combine the spinach, the onion, the seasoning, the cheese and the creme fraiche.

Place one of the pie crusts at the bottom of a pie dish. Fill with the spinach mixture and spread it evenly. Cover with the second pie crust.

Brush the top with the egg and bake at 175degreesC till done.

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Filed under Baked Main Meal Dishes, Easy One Pot Cooking, Quick Meal Ideas, Versatile Accompaniments

Warm Spinach and Fennel Salad

At the same hotel – the Sophia Country Club – where I had the avocado and orange salad, I also had a dish for lunch one afternoon which had a very new and unlikely – to me – combination of finely sliced fennel and spinach leaves.

The vegetables seemed to make up a sort of warm salad that included some kind of seafood.

I had only the vegetables from this dish, however, and the combination was surprisingly good.

I need to figure out now how they’d been cooked together.

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Filed under Quick Meal Ideas, Salads, Versatile Accompaniments

Tomato Chutney-a Desi -and nicer-Ketchup

The boulanger never wants a chutney/sauce to accompany the vadas, tikkis etc. that I make for his customers.  He doesn’t seem to think it is necessary and this is difficult for me to understand, used as I am to eating any finger food with a dip of some kind.

So yesterday, since he was to going to sell summer-inspired platters of salads and finger foods – he asked for both the khamang kakdi and the carrot salad with chicken tikkas, shami kebabs and batata vadas– I decided to give him some complimentary tomato chutney to serve on the side, for him to test the concept again.

This chutney is another bit of nostalgia from my childhood. In the summer months, dinner was often just this chutney and vegetable pulav with yogurt.

I love the flavor that comes from the use of paanchphoran here and of course that it is so easy to make is another plus.

As I made it yesterday, I thought this chutney would be so much nicer to have, with Indian starters such as pakoras and tikkis, than ketchup.

Tomato Chutney

3 large, ripe tomatoes

1 tablespoon of oil

1/4 teaspoon each of mustard seeds, nigella seeds, fennel seeds, cumin seeds and fenugreek seeds

salt and brown sugar to taste

Wash and chop the tomatoes very fine.

In a frying pan, heat the oil, then add the mustard seeds and the nigella seeds. When the mustard seeds start to pop, add the fennel seeds and the cumin seeds. When these start to brown, add the fenugreek seeds, fry for just a couple of seconds and put in the tomatoes.  Add salt and cook the tomatoes till they are completely soft. Add some sugar  (the chutney should be tangy, not too sweet), cook for another minute, then add water and simmer for a few minutes till the water is well-blended and the chutney is a little thick.

This chutney is a great accompaniment with puri and jeera-aloo, too.

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Filed under Dips,Chutneys,Sauces,Spreads, Easy One Pot Cooking, Versatile Accompaniments

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

Mangori – Green Moong Daal Vadas

This is another great dish that I learned to make from Atto.  On our visits to her home in Indore, I used to look forward to eating these – which she made each time – hot and crispy as they came out of the karahi.

These vadas have always been very popular whenever I have made them for get-togethers with friends here so when Pooja suggested I make these for the boulangerie, I thought that a great idea.

And indeed, the boulanger simply loved the mangoris I took for him to taste a couple of days ago.

So this is one of the things I’ll make for next week’s order, along with some vegetable biryani and tandoori chicken.

This recipe is adapted from Atto’s.  I also  add fennel seeds as Pooja does since this adds a wonderful flavor.

Mangoris

1 cup of whole green moong daal (or split/chilka moong)

1/4 teaspoon of fenugreek seeds

1 teaspoon of ginger paste

1 onion , chopped very fine

3 teaspoons of fennel seeds

1 and a 1/2 teaspoons of salt (or to taste)

oil to deep fry

Soak the lentils with the fenugreek seeds in 3 cups of water for at least 12  hours. then drain the water and grind the daal with as little water as possible to a smooth paste. Take this out in to a bowl and mix in the salt, the chopped onion, the fennel seeds and the ginger paste.

Heat about 400-500 ml of  oil in a deep frying pan till it almost reaches smoking point. Drop small portions of the batter – about 1 or 1/12 teaspoons each – to the oil and fry  the vadas till they are brown – they will be need to be darker than a golden brown so as to be well-cooked inside – and crisp.

These are delicious enough by themselves; coconut chutney on the side would be the icing on the cake.

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Filed under Picnic Food, Starters and Snacks, Versatile Accompaniments