Tag Archives: chicken

Vegetarian for a Day…

While I don’t think I am for cultured meat (which is what the story below is about), the first video there , which shows how they separate those poor little chicks from their shells on a separator tray, makes me think about becoming a vegetarian; or at least that I must never again buy industrially produced chicken

http://blogs.howstuffworks.com/2009/11/18/how-in-vitro-meat-works-creating-meat-without-killing-any-animals/

This reminds me of how Noor declared some months ago that she was going to become vegetarian.

The girls were watching me skin pieces of chicken, before I marinated them in preparation for  tandoori chicken that I was planning to make for dinner guests the next day. The sight of a little bit of blood still visible on the leg pieces seemed to affect Noor enough for her to make this statement.

She actually resisted eating the chicken with the rest of us the next day, and even the day after that I was unable to tempt her with the leftovers.

Since then,  though she has gone back to her meat-eating ways, every once in a while she does state her intention to become a vegetarian one of these days.

Indira’s reaction to the whole thing is more objective/prosaic. She said to me once, when she was 6 or 7 I think, “Well I am sure there are lots of chickens in the world and it’s not as if we are killing all of them !”

Spoken like the meat-lover that she is 🙂

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“Fantastico” Chicken Tikkas

That is how Indira described the taste of the chicken tikkas we had for lunch today.

Ever since I started to try my hand at different tikka recipes some weeks ago, I have been very glad to see that the girls  really love to eat chicken cooked in this form.

Even so  I was surprised by their protests when, in response to Indira’s question last week asking me  if I was going to buy chicken and what kind, as I was leaving for the supermarket for my weekly food shopping last week, I said yes but that maybe this time I’d bring cuts suited to a curry, for a change. Chicken curry and rice has always been such a favored meal for them that I was surprised to see they wanted to eat tikkas yet another time, though it is has been ages since I made chicken curry of any kind.

Well, I must say I am happy to indulge this current preference , since making tikkas is so much easier and quicker than cooking a typical curry.

This is the recipe for the ones I made for lunch today. Noor liked them so much she wanted me to keep the leftover portion for this evening’s gouter, but I told her that might be too early for her stomach for another round of chicken. So they are both looking forward to dinner now 🙂

Chicken Tikkas

300 gms of boneless chicken, cut in to 1 inch pieces

75 ml of yoghurt

1/2 a small onion, grated

1 tsp of ginger paste, or grated ginger

2 small pods of garlic, grated

1/2 tsp of red chilli powder (or a little more, if you like)

3/4 tsp of coriander powder

salt to taste

sunflower oil or butter to baste

Whisk the yoghurt and mix in the onion, the ginger and garlic, the two spices, and the salt. Turn the chicken pieces in this marinade so that they are covered thoroughly in it, then leave in the refrigerator for about 12-24 hours.

Take the chicken out and leave it at room temperature for 10 minutes before grilling.

Pre-heat the grill, for 7-8 minutes, to 24odegreesC . In the meanwhile, take the chicken pieces out, shaking off any excess marinade and put them on skewers, leaving a little space between the pieces. Grill at the top of the oven till well cooked, turning over each skewer at least once and basting all the pieces with a little oil/butter when you turn the skewers.

Squeeze lime juice on to the tikkas before eating.  Sliced onions go well with them too, if you have a taste for these.

These simple tikkas are pretty versatile – they are great finger food and so make an excellent starter; they can be used as fillers for a roti wrap, tossed with a little lime juice flavored salad;  or one could serve them with a salad as a first course.

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Honey and Nutmeg-flavored Chicken Tikkas

I have been thinking for a while that I would like to extend the repertoire of starters I am able to cook, especially of the non-vegetarian kind. I have made the same mangoris, tikkis, and vadas too often now.

I also would love to introduce the girls, gradually, to other kinds of chicken and lamb-based preparations in Indian cuisine that are not the usual curries. At a restaurant in Mumbai some months ago, I noticed that the girls really enjoyed eating reshmi kebabs, and it has been on my mind since then that I should try and make those at home for them, for a change from the usual fare.

So I decided recently to start trying out the recipes in an interesting little book I have had for years in my kitchen, called “Tikkas and Kebabs”, a compilation of recipes by various chefs at prominent restaurants in India.

The one that I tried this evening caught my eye because of the unusual- to me – ingredients that it uses(honey and nutmeg) and because it looked so easy. The tikkas I made with this recipe turned out really well, and both Indira and I loved them. Noor didn’t seem too keen on the taste though; I guess that was down to the unusual/unaccustomed flavor of nutmeg (she said the chicken had a “funny” smell” !!) though that is precisely what I loved about these tikkas.

I think these would be very nice as a first course, served over a layer of salad leaves (and maybe some grated carrot, or as a starter.

Best of all, this recipe really is amazingly simple. An added bonus is that it needs very little oil.

Honey and Nutmeg-flavored Chicken Tikkas

Chicken breasts(de-boned)/chicken fillets  500gms

Lime juice 4 tbsps

Honey 3-4 tbsps

1/2 tbsp of red chilly powder (I don’t like my food “hot” so I used kashmiri chilli powder; you could use a stronger kind)

Garlic paste  1/2 tsp

pepper powder 1/4 tsp

Nutmeg powder 1/4 tsp

a pinch of red food color (I’d say this is optional- the original recipe lists this but I never use any food color)

salt to taste

Mustard or any other cooking oil to baste 1 to 2 tbsps

Cut the chicken in to 2 inch pieces, and pierce these lightly with a fork. Mix all the other ingredients to prepare a marinade. Toss the chicken pieces in it thoroughly and leave in the refrigerator for 5-6 hours. Then put the pieces on skewers, or line the grill with cooking paper and lay them flat on this, and grill at the top of the oven at 200 degrees C till the pieces are well done.

During the cooking process, baste the chicken with mustard oil (I used sunflower oil since I have no mustard oil at the moment) on each side once.

Do try this one; the honey and lime is a delicious combination with the chicken, and nutmeg adds a superb flavor.

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Methi Chicken


This dish, which I cooked last Saturday when we had friends for dinner, always takes me back almost two decades, to the many wonderful meals I ate at the Pandara road “dhabas” in New Delhi with three very very dear school friends. The pudina paranthas; the different kinds of chicken curries (including methi chicken, although a richer sort) and kebabs that we feasted on… maybe it was the company, maybe it was the conversation (life! boys! books! everything), maybe it was the food. But those meals really stand out in my mind….

Methi Chicken

800 gms of chicken without the skin

200 gms of whisked yoghurt

3 tbsps of kasoori methi(dried fenugreek leaves)

4 large onions, sliced very fine

4-5 tsps of grated garlic

4-5 tsps of grated ginger

4 cloves

3 pods of black cardamom, pressed to split it open

3-4 small sticks of cinnamon

6 black peppercorns

1 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp of kashmiri chilli powder (more if you like ; we eat very mild “hot” food)

6 tbsp sunflower oil

salt to taste

Wash the chicken, pierce each piece with a fork in several places, and marinate it overnight in a mixture of the yoghurt, turmeric, chilli powder, ginger, and garlic.

To cook the chicken the next day, heat the oil in a wide and thick-bottomed pan, add the whole spices, and fry till they begin to crackle and release their aromas. Now add the onions and fry for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of water next, and cook the onions on a fairly high heat till the water dries up. Then add the kasoori methi, add ½ a cup of water, and cook again on high heat till the water dries and continue frying till the mixture is a golden brown. Now add the chicken with its marinade, season it with salt and fry it well (turning the pieces frequently to avoid burning) till the yoghurt dries up. Now add a cup or a little more of boiled water (this will depend on how thick or thin you’d like the curry to be), cover the pan, lower the heat a little, and leave to cook till the chicken is very tender. Do turn the pieces over a couple of times during this time or the masala/the chicken can tend to stick to the bottom of the pan.

This is a delicious, aromatic curry that is best enjoyed with phulkas or paranthas.

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