Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Chef Jacob's Chicken and Okra Curry

Chef Jacob is popular in Tamil Nadu(a state in South India) for his hit show in Sun TV. I didn't know about him until a few months ago when MIL asked me to watch his show. What is peculiar about his show??Chef Jacob picks the oddest of places to cook- I have seen him cook at Suicide Point(a treacherous spot where people go to jump off the cliff?? I wonder how it got that name..Hmm),  in a haunted mansion(while the ghosts watch silently), atop a tree branch(monKey business,that!!), in a dinghy(Seriously??!!OMG! What the heck??) etc etc. All in all, he is quite entertaining!! I immensely enjoy watching the show.They show blooper shots at the end where he fell off the tree, nearly fell off from the cliff or how his ingredients got washed away in the water...LoL! Every episode, the location gets whackier and I have to say I started watching his show just to see his antics,where he cooks rather than what he cooks.

Finally decided to give one of his recipes a try. A lovely recipe if you ask me. I never thought of mixing okra and chicken before. Its been always chicken and root veggies and his recipe has given food for thought..Plus the "Pounded Masala" is quite different cause he uses mustard seeds as one of the ingredients-I have only used mustard seeds for seasoning/tempering a curry before.Interesting!

  • 6-7 Chicken Thighs
  • 12-15#s Fresh Okra/ Lady's Finger (Learn how to prepare and remove slime from Okra here)
  • 1 Large Red Onion (Or) 15#s Pearl Onions, peeled and diced
  • 3 Medium Ripe Tomatoes, chopped
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp Ginger-Garlic Paste
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk (Or) Heavy Cream (Or) Whole Milk
  • Olive Oil for Cooking
  • Salt as needed
  • A few Stalks of Cilantro, for Garnishing
For Marinating the Chicken:
  • 2 Tbsp Thick Yogurt
  • 1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
  • 1 Tsp Chili Powder
  • 1 Tbsp Chicken Masala ( I used the brand "Sakthi" from Indian stores)
  • 1/4 Tsp Olive Oil
For the "Pounded Masala":
  • 1 Tbsp Cumin Seeds
  • 3/4 Tbsp Fennel Seeds
  • 1" Small Stick of Cinnamon
  • 2-3 Dry Red Chilies
  • 1 Tbsp Mustard Seeds
  • 4 Cloves
  • 2 Cardamom Pods, Optional
  • Dry fry the ingredients under " Pounded Masala" until the emit a nice aroma, for about 5-7 minutes on a medium low flame. Set aside to cool
  • Skin and Cut the Chicken. Marinate it with all the ingredients under "For Marination". Stick it in the fridge.
  • Clean, dry the Okra. 
  • Dry fry or fry with very little oil to remove the slime. Set aside.
  • In the same pan, add 2-3 Tbsp Olive Oil and fry the diced onions. Add ginger garlic paste to it and fry it along with the onions on a low flame.
  • Using a heavy duty mortar and pestle, pound all the ingredients under "Pounded Masala" to a fine powder.
  • Add it to the browned Onions and Ginge-Garlic mixture in the pan.
  • Drain the marinated chicken completely of moisture and add it to the pan. 
  • Increase the flame and brown the outsides of the chicken. 
  • Add the tomatoes,Sprinkle a little salt and water and lid the pan and reduce the flame to medium.
  • About 10-12 minutes later the chicken should have cooked about 90%. Check for heat and salt. Add more chili powder or pepper powder and salt, if needed.
  • Add the Okra and cook for 7-8 minutes or a little more if you want a mushier Okra.
  • Add the coconut milk/milk/heavy cream and stir. Close the lid and switch off the stove. 
  • A few minutes later it is ready to be served with hot steaming rice. Garnish with Cilantro, if desired.
A few other delicious Chicken Recipes:

Monday, February 13, 2012

Farmer John's "Beet And Chocolate Cake"

Last week I had a get together at a friend's place to give a "send off/farewell" lunch party to another friend who is shifting to North Caroline with his family next week.We all decided to make something and have a potluck style party. I decided to bake this cake and it was such a hit amongst the kids and adults.Initially, I was wary of trying a new recipe and that too for a crowd, even though it was from an amazing and very popular book.All the while I was making this cake,my mom's voice ringing in my ears "Don't experiment when entertaining large crowds". I was crossing my fingers and hoping for a great outcome..Thank goodness the cake didn't give me any trouble by caving in or simply collapsing right out of the oven. Believe me, those things happen to my bakes quite frequently. The Beet and Chocolate cake was pure perfection. I couldn't have asked for a better tasting beet-chocolate concoction.

I woke up at a godforsaken hour and started my preparations for making/baking this cake so I could hit the road around 9AM. Right after it came out of the oven, I didn't even give it a proper cooling time. Packed it and hit the road 30 minutes later than the aforesaid time. Somehow the cake reached the destination in one piece. By the time we all had lunch and finally came to the dessert round, the sun was already beginning to sink into the horizon. That is what I hate most about Winter. Other people may grumble about snow and the biting cold. Not me. But I most certainly will complain about shorter days and lack of sunlight for my photo sessions.   Believe it or not, I had to take at-least 50 shots with different backgrounds with eager/impatient kids(and adults) jumping from behind, wanting a slice of this chocolate-y deliciousness. Finally I let them dig in. And they never would have known there was Beet goop in it if I hadn't told them of-course!

Well, if I were you, I wouldn't restrict this cake to get-together parties alone. As you can see, this cake fits the bill for Valentine's Day Treat too. So go ahead and bake it for your loved one(s). Recipe adapted from Farmer John's Cookbook: The real dirt on Vegetables.

So my dear dear readers, I love you all for coming to my little space. And here is my Valentine's treat for you. *XoXo*

  • 2 Cups Beet Puree, about 4 medium Beets  + 3 to 4 Tbsp Beet Water
  • 4 oz. Ghirardelli Chocolate 100% Cacoa Unsweetened Baking Bar (1 Bar)
  • 8 Tbsp/ 1 Stick Unsalted Butter, room temperature
  • 1-1/2 Cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Pastry Flour ( I didn't have it, so I used 1/2 Cup minus 1 Tbsp All-Purpose Flour)
  • 1/2 + 1/4 Cup Olive Oil or any Vegetable Oil
  • 1-3/4 Cups Granulated Sugar
  • 3 Eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 Tbsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • A pinch of Salt
  • Peel and dice the beets. Pressure Cook/Cook the beets with 4-5 tbsp water. When they are fork tender, transfer them to a plate to cool. Don't discard the water. When they are at room temperature, puree the beets along with 3-4 Tbsp Beet Water.
  • Sift the flour(s) along with the Baking soda in a wide shallow bowl.Sprinkle in the salt and set aside.
  • Finely chop the chocolate. Fill a sauce pan halfway with water. Bring it to a boil. Place the chopped chocolate and 1/4 Cup of Oil on top of the sauce pan. The bottom of this pan shouldn't come into contact with water. 
  • Now reduce the flame to low and melt the chocolate. Remove the melted chocolate pan and set it aside to cool down.

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Combine the eggs, one at a time with butter in an electric mixer.

    • Add the Vanilla Extract, Chocolate to the mixing bowl.
    • Pour the pureed beet and mix along with the egg-butter mixture.
    • Add the flour in batches and mix only till combined.
    • Grease a 10-cup Bundt Pan with butter and dust it with flour. Pour the cake batter into the bundt pan.
    • Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until the toothpick inserted in the middle comes clean. )I baked in the top rack for 45 minutes.
    • Completely cook the cake prior to cutting. Dust with confectioners sugar prior to serving. ( The kids wanted sprinkles on the cake and that is why you are seeing them. :). )

    Other Sweet heart-y num-nums that I posted ages ago::