Refreshing Salad with Chicken & Avocado

Chicken Avocado Pasta salad in Thousand Island Dressing

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  1. Rotini Pasta- 1 cup
  2. Cubed Chicken Breast- 1 cup
  3. Cubed Avocado- 1 cup
  4. Diced Cucumber- 2 cups
  5. Chopped Romaine Lettuce- 1 cup
  6. Corn Kernels- ½ cup
  7. Thinly Sliced Onions- ¼ cup
  8. Sliced Tomatoes- 1 cup
  9. Sliced black olives- ¼ cup
  10. Thousand Island Dressing- 2 tbsp
  11. Olive oil- 3 tbsp
  12. Salt- as per taste
  13. Pepper- as per taste

Directions

Step One

Boil and cook the pasta in 2-3 cups of water in a vessel on medium heat. Once the pasta is half cooked, add salt and allow the pasta to cook completely. Transfer the cooked pasta to a colander and drain the water. Keep aside to cool.

Step Two

In a separate pan, add 2 tsp of olive oil and cook the cubed chicken breast for about 10- 15 mins on medium heat. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from pan and keep aside to cool.

Step Three

Simultaneously, in a vessel, boil the corn kernels for about 15 mins. Once it is cooked, remove and keep aside to cool.

Step Four

In a big salad bowl, mix the cucumber, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, avocados, olives, cooked corn, cooked chicken and pasta. Drizzle with some olive oil. Season with salt and then, add the Thousand Island dressing. Gently mix the salad.

Enjoy a light refreshing dinner.

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Chicken in buttery masala

Butter Chicken

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  1. Boneless chicken breast- 400 gms
  2. Onion- 1 cup
  3. Tomatoes- 1 cup
  4. Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  5. Cashew nut paste- ½ cup
  6. Chilli powder- 1 tbsp
  7. Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
  8. Garam masala- ½ tsp
  9. Butter- ½ cup
  10. Cream- ½ cup
  11. Water- 1 cup
  12. Oil- 1 tsp
  13. Salt- as per taste

For marination

  1. Ginger garlic paste- 1 tbsp
  2. Chilli powder- 1 tbsp
  3. Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
  4. Curd- 1 tbsp

Directions

Step One

Clean the boneless chicken breast pieces well and cut into small cubes. Pat dry with a kitchen towel. Place the cubes in a bowl. Add ginger garlic paste, chilli powder, turmeric powder, curd and salt. Massage the chicken pieces well. Keep aside for atleast 1 hour.

Step Two

After an hour, place the chicken pieces in a greased baking dish. Drizzle some oil and grill it for about 18 minutes at 200°C. Once grilled, keep it aside.

Step Three

Simultaneously, in a pan, heat some oil and melt 1 tbsp butter on medium heat. Add and brown the chopped onions. Season with salt. Add ginger garlic paste and cook till the raw smell disappears. Then, add Chilli powder, turmeric powder and garam masala. Add the tomatoes and cook till the tomatoes are soft and mushy. Keep aside to cool. Once cool, grind the mixture into a smooth paste.

Step Four

Grind some cashew nuts in 2 tbsp water.  Add this cashew nut paste, along with ½ cup water to the curry. On simmer, allow the mixture to come to a boil.

Step Five

Add the grilled chicken pieces to the curry, along with the remaining butter. Allow the masala to coat the chicken well.

Step Six

Switch off the flame. Once the curry cools down a bit, then add some cream. Garnish with more cream and a dallop of butter.

 

Tip: 1. Garam Masala is basically a mixture of ground spices such as cumin, coriander and cardamom used in Indian cooking. These spices are usually toasted and then ground in order to bring out more flavor and aroma. “Garam” translates into “hot”, however this mixture need not necessarily be hot or spicy. You need not make it. It can be purchased off the shelf at major supermarkets selling Indian spices and food-stuff.

 

Juicy lamb ribs..!

Simple Lamb ribs in BBQ sauce

  • Servings: 1-2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  1. Lamb ribs- 6-8 pieces
  2. BBQ Sauce- 1 cup
  3. Salt- as per taste
  4. Pepper- as per taste
  5. Mashed Potatoes

Directions

Step One

Clean the lamb ribs well and pat dry with a kitchen towel. Season the lamb ribs with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a grilling pan over medium-high heat. Place the ribs carefully in the pan. Sear until the ribs are deep brown on all sides.

Step Two

Now drizzle the bbq sauce over the ribs and glaze for 5 minutes on medium low heat. Continuously baste the ribs with the bbq sauce and remaining juices.

Step Three

Serve with mashed potatoes and greens of your choice.

Enjoy a relaxed weekend dinner.

 

Eggs, Cheese and Veggies!

“Frittatas” are usually an oven-baked dish, but I discovered that there is an easy way to make Frittatas without having to use my oven. Simply cook it on a pan on medium-low heat with a lid on. This got me excited about making Frittatas, a heavy breakfast dish; and you can easily skip your lunch..!

Easy Pan-Frittata with Cheddar and Veggies

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  1. Egg- 6
  2. Milk- ½ cup
  3. Finely chopped capsicum- ½ cup
  4. Sweet Corn kernels – ½ cup
  5. Finely chopped green chilli- 1 tbsp
  6. Finely chopped spring onion- ½ cup
  7. Grated Cheddar Cheese- ½ cup
  8. Parmesan- ¼ cup
  9. Ground meat- 1 cup
  10. Chilli flakes- 1 tbsp
  11. Salt- as per taste
  12. Pepper- as per taste

Directions

Step One

Cook the ground meat in a skillet over medium heat for about 10 minutes or until it is brown. Season with salt and pepper. When the meat is cooked, remove it from the pan, drain on paper towels to remove excess fat. Set aside the mixture to cool.

Step Two

Simultaneously, in a separate vessel, cook the sweet corn kernels for 15 mins and keep aside.

Step Three

In a glass or ceramic mixing bowl, thoroughly beat the eggs. Add the milk and stir until combined well. Now, season with salt and pepper to taste.

Step Four

Add the cooked meat, chopped capsicum, green chilli, spring onion, sweet corn kernels and chilli flakes into the mixing bowl. Add cheddar and Parmesan cheese and stir the entire mixture well.

Step Five

Pour the entire mixture into a non-stick pan, cover and cook over medium-low heat for about 10 to 15 minutes. The final product would look and feel like a

Slice and Serve. Enjoy a sumptuous and nutritious breakfast.

Tip: 1. Use a fork to check if the egg mixture has cooked.

2. Getting the Frittata out of the pan without breaking it would be a challenge as the weight of the whole dish is considerable. Take a spatula and slowly run it across the edges / circumference of the pan. Use caution and dexterity to slowly slide it into a plate.

 

A south Indian shrimp recipe..!

Mangalorean Prawns Gassi

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Medium
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The south of India is well-known for its natural beauty and for the abundant availability of coconut plantations, especially having long coastlines. Needless to say coconut in its various forms like oil, milk, fresh and dried form is put to excellent use in its cuisine. The Manglorean Prawns Gassi is a recipe from the south of India which encompasses two important aspects of the region – Coconut and Sea-food! Since the months of August and September are the ones when the best shrimps are found here in the Middle East, I decided to make this curry with the best quality Raw materials available for the season.

Ingredients

  1. Prawns (de-veined and shelled)- 500 gms
  2. Cubed Potato- 1 cup
  3. Chopped Onion- 1 medium sized
  4. Coconut milk- ½ cup [1 tbsp of maggi coconut milk powder dissolved in water]
  5. Mustard Seeds- 1 tsp
  6. Oil- 1 tbsp
  7. Water
  8. Salt

For the masala paste:

  1. Coconut- 1 cup
  2. Ginger-garlic paste- 2 tbsp
  3. Onion- ½ cup
  4. Green chilli- 2
  5. Tamarind- small sized ball
  6. Red Chilli powder- 1tsp
  7. Coriander powder- 1 tsp
  8. Turmeric powder- ½ tsp

Directions

Step One

The first step would be to clean the prawns; remove the shell and de-vein them. Wash well for about 7 to 8 times.

Tip: Squeeze some lemon juice on the prawns and keep it aside to reduce the smell. Cleaning prawns calls for caution. For those who are doing this for the first time need to know that de-veining the prawns, removing the shells releases a smell that lingers in your kitchen and hands which you want to avoid. So make sure that you clean well and dispose the waste as soon as possible. 

Step Two

Grind the masala paste using coconut, onion, ginger-garlic paste, green chillies, tamarind, red chilli powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder, with a little water to form a smooth paste. Keep aside.

Step Three

In a medium sized non-stick pot, take a spoon of oil. Once the oil is hot, add the mustard seeds and allow it to splutter on medium heat. Then add the chopped onions and season with salt. Once the onion is golden brown, add the cubed potatoes and saute till it changes color. Add in the ground masala paste and allow it to cook. Simmer till the gravy starts to bubble and thicken.

Step Four

Add the clean prawns and some salt, as per taste. Add ½ cup of water and allow the prawns to cook for about 15 to 20 mins.

Step Five

Reduce the flame and now add ½ cup of coconut milk.

Tip: Coconut milk is likely to curdle/ split on high heat, so keep the flame low.

Step Six

Serve with some Jeera rice or plain rice or appams.

Keep Calm and Eat Meatballs..!!

Chilli Lime Meatballs

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  1. Minced chicken- 500 gms
  2. Spring onion- finely chopped- 1 cup
  3. Green Capsicum- finely chopped- 1 cup
  4. Cilantro- finely chopped-1 cup
  5. Green Chilli- finely chopped- 3 tsp
  6. Garlic powder- ½ tsp
  7. Lemon juice- 3 tsp
  8. Cheddar cheese- 3 tbsp
  9. Salt- as per taste
  10. Extra virgin Olive oil- 1 tbsp

For the Simple Guacamole/ Avocado base:

  1. Avocado- 1
  2. Lemon juice- 2 tsp
  3. Pepper
  4. Salt

Directions

Step One

Finely chop the capsicum, spring onion, cilantro and green chillies. In a mixing bowl, mix minced chicken, spring onion, capsicum, cilantro, garlic powder, cheddar cheese and green chillies. Add the lemon juice and salt, and mix it well

Step Two

Roll small sized balls of the chicken mix and keep it aside. Freeze it for about 15 mins so that the balls are well set.

Step Three

In a medium skillet, heat a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, place the balls carefully into the pan, cover the lid and cook for 15 mins on each side. Keep aside, once the meatballs are cooked.

Step Four

Wash and peel an avocado. Mash it into a pulp. Squeeze 2 tsp of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. The Avocado preparation can be used as an accompaniment. See Tip below.

Tips:

  1. Avocados are generally very bland and need external flavoring like salt. In fact, it needs a generous amount of salt. Add salt to the Avocados after measuring the amount of salt that you have already used in the meatballs and as per taste. This is so that you don’t over or under-utilize salt. 
  2. This is a simple Guacamole, more like mashed avocados. The usual and main ingredients of a Guac are missing in action here as we don’t want to take the attention away from the meatballs and maintain the balance of flavors here. We’ll do a separate post on how to make an Guacamole soon!  🙂

Step Five

Serve it as a starter or convert it into a low carb meal.

Blast of Italian flavour!

Are you craving some baked and bubbly cheese and meat? Here is a quick recipe for some simple Italian food with a spicy twist, using ingredients that are easily available in your kitchen. This low-carb recipe makes for about 10 to 12 Rollatini, happily serving your family a meal or an entrée for a party.  This is a dish that has made quite a few guests go “Wow!”

Italian Rollatini

  • Servings: 4 (12 pieces)
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Ingredients

  1. 1 Egg plant- Thinly sliced, lengthwise
  2. Extra virgin Olive oil- 1 or 2 tbsp
  3. Minced meat (or Italian sausage)- 2 cups
  4. Pickled Jalapeno slices- ½ cup
  5. 1 ½ cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  6. ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  7. 1 cup cream cheese
  8. Parsley- for garnish
  9. Spicy Marinara sauce
  10. Salt
  11. Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Step One

Slice the eggplant lengthwise (quarter inch thickness), to about 10 to 12 slices. Lightly salt the slices and leave it aside for about 10 mins. Remove the excess moisture released from the slices with a tissue paper. Once the eggplant slices are pat dried, brush or spray some olive oil on both sides, season with salt and grill both sides for about 10 mins. Remove the grilled slices and keep it aside to cool.

Step Two

Preheat the oven to 180ºC.

Step Three

In a medium skillet, heat some olive oil to brown the minced meat, for about 5 minutes on medium heat or until it is cooked. In case of using a sausage, use a wooden spoon to break it up as it cooks. Season with salt and pepper. Remove the meat into a bowl. Once it cools, mix in the cream cheese, mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese and some chopped jalapeno.

Step Four

Take a baking dish and create a base using the spicy marinara sauce. Roll up a grilled eggplant slice by placing a heaping tablespoon of the meat and jalapeno filling in the center; repeat the process to form 10 to 12 rolls.  Place the rolls in rows, seam-side down into a baking dish. Put a teaspoon of marinara sauce on each roll. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella and parmesan cheese on the rolls. Place a slice of jalapeno on each roll. Bake for around 20 minutes; until the cheese is bubbly and lightly browned.

Step Five

Garnish with some parsley and serve.

Please Note: The Rollatini is a dish that is slightly on the heavier side. If you are planning this as a part of the menu, then make sure that the other dishes are chosen accordingly.

Preparing this dish can get slightly messy as the egg-plant and cheese need to hold up together.

Egg-plant can be replaced by Zucchini for those of you who are looking for other options.

Make sure that the dish is served and consumed while it is hot. On cooling, the cheese may harden and reduce the “burst-of-flavour” impact that it usually has.

Fishy ..!

August 3- My husband’s birthday.

It was the first time we were together in one place for his birthday, and so, I decided to surprise him with a small family get-together. Amidst all the tension of a successful surprise, happy guests, smiling faces, balloons and a wonderful evening, I managed to COOK. Sure to be a family favorite, I decided to serve Chilli Fish as one of the items on his special day.

Chilli Fish

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: Medium
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Gather round the dining table and feed your family with this fresh, home-cooked dish that serves around four or more. Here is an easy version of this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Fish Cubes – 500 gms
  • Maida (plain flour) – 4 tbsp
  • Cornflour – 4 tbsp
  • Green chilli – 3 or 4
  • Soya sauce – 2tsp
  • Ketchup- 2 tsp
  • Spring onion – 3 tsp
  • Capsicum – 1 small
  • Ginger garlic paste – 3 tsp
  • Red Chilli Powder – 2 tbsp
  • Pepper powder – ½ teaspoon
  • Egg – 1
  • Salt – to taste
  • Water
  • Oil

Directions

  1. Marinate the fish cubes with maida, cornflour, ginger garlic paste, pepper powder, chilli powder, salt & egg.
  2. Keep the marinated mixture for 20-30 mins and thereafter, deep-fry the fish pieces.
  3. In a separate pan, heat some oil.
  4. Add garlic- ginger paste, green chilli, capsicum.
  5. After that add the fish pieces.
  6. Add soya sauce, tomato ketchup & stir. Add some water, if required.
  7. Garnish with spring onions.

Green delight!.. with some chicken!

Summer has kicked in.. What better to have than a refreshing Caesar’s salad. This is again Mr. A’s favorite salad. Since I had no mayonnaise in my kitchen, I managed to find my own variation of the recipe, with Cream Cheese. I was skeptical about this variation but the end result was perfect..!

Chicken Ceasar's Salad

  • Servings: 2
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 medium romaine lettuce
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • Parmesan (to sprinkle)
  • 5 tbsp cream cheese
  • Croutons
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Directions

  1. Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Drizzle some olive oil. Place pan over a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Lay the chicken on the pan and cook for 4 mins on either sides.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, minced garlic, olive oil. Add one or two tbsp water, if the mix is too thick.
  3. Cut lettuce into medium pieces and put in a large bowl. Once the chicken cools, cut it into thin, long slices.
  4. Add most of the dressing and toss the salad. Scatter the croutons, then drizzle with the remaining dressing. Sprinkle the Parmesan on top and serve immediately.

Spicy Couscous and Chicken

In my attempt to have a healthy, nutritious meal with my family, here is a simple one-pot dinner recipe.

  • Servings: 2-3
  • Difficulty: Easy
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Ingredients

  • 900 g diced chicken thighs
  • 1 1/2 cup couscous
  • 2 tbsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tbsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 375ml (1 1/2 cups) boiling water
  • 1 finely chopped capsicum
  • 1 cup chopped mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup diced cabbage
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 1 thin sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh coriander
  • Lemon juice, to taste

Directions

  1. Marinate chicken pieces in the spices, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook till its about half done.
  2. Add onion, garlic, veggies and chicken stock. Cover and cook  for 25 mins until the chicken is tender.
  3. Add the couscous. Stir and cook till the liquid absorbed.
  4. Garnish with coriander leaves.