Tuscan Chicken

Tuscan Chicken

3-4 large chicken breasts

2 tbsp plain flour

1 large egg, whisked

3 tbsp olive oil

Seasoning for flour – salt, black pepper, smoked paprika, oregano, thyme, garlic powder

Combine the seasoning with the flour. Drench the chicken breast in the egg and cover with flour mixture. Pan fry to get a golden colour on both sides and then air fry for 15 minutes (dependant on the thickness and size of the chicken breasts used). Alternatively, bake in a preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Chicken after being air fried – ready for the sauce.

For the sauce –

1 onion, sliced

4 cloves garlic, sliced (adjust to taste)

2 roasted red peppers, sliced

1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, sliced

1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced (optional)

1 cup baby spinach

1/2 cup white wine

1 cup chicken stock

2 tbsp tomato puree (paste)

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 tbsp olive oil

Freshly grated parmesan, to your hearts desire! (50gms worked well for us)

Seasoning: Salt, black pepper, oregano (and a little sriracha for those who like a spice kick!)

Using the leftover oil from frying the chicken, add another tbsp of oil and saute the onions and garlic. Add the peppers, tomatoes and the mushrooms followed by the white wine. Stir well and reduce the heat. Add the tomato puree and the chicken stock. As the sauce simmers, add the spinach as well as the seasoning. Stir in the chicken and cook, covered for 10 minutes or bake for 15 minutes in a prehated oven.

The picture above is taken before it went into the oven for the final baking. The sauce thickens and bubbles up beautifully after the last bake.

Serve with spaghetti and some garlic bread for a lovely comforting family meal.

Onion Chilli Paranthas

These turned out super-spicy, so I would advise to adjust the green chillies to your taste and also be recognisant of how hot the green chillies are. The fresh fragrant and tiny ones are the super-spicy ones as opposed to the ones that just look dangerously hot.

Onion chilli parantha

Filling for the parantha – everything needs to be chopped finely so they don’t make holes but just delicately seep through the dough, which gives beautifully caramalised onion bits ands.

1 small red onion

2 green chillies (adjust to taste)

5 spring onions (whites only) I had some leftover from another meal

3 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves I used frozen

2 tbsp kasoori methi (dried fenugreek leaves) optional

Salt, black pepper to taste

1 tbsp coriander powder

1/2 tbsp roasted cumin powder

1 tsp ajwain (carrom seeds)

1/2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)

1 tsp garam masala

Combine all the ingredients and stuff the paranthas the normal way. I made one large round roti and rolled up the ends once the stuffing was in or you can make with two rotis.

Missi roti using Chana dal

Leftover chana dal makes delicious missi rotis the next day, for breakfast or for lunch. Serve them with a knob of butter on top, some creamy natural yogurt and a spicy mango pickle, with a cup of chai to wash it all down with. A traditional and easy breakfast.

Missi rotis using leftover chana dal from the night before

The concept of this is, to knead the dough using the dal without having to add any additional water. However, if the dal is too thick, then you would need to add some water or some yogurt if you want to make it softer. I added water in this one.

Approximately a cup and half of leftover chana dal from the night before – start with us in the mixing bowl and add the following –

1 medium red onion, finely chopped

3-4 green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)

1 tbsp grated ginger

handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

2-3 tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (kasoori methi)

1 tbsp ajwain (carom seeds)

1 tbsp coriander powder

1/2 tbsp garam masala

salt, red chilli powder to taste

1/2 cup chickpea flour (besan)

1 – 1.5 cup wholewheat flour (atta)

Knead into a tight dough using the dal and if necessary add a couple of tbsp of natural yogurt or water to get the dough together. Since there are raw onions in the dough and salt, it will start releasing water, so a tight dough helps. I didn’t add any salt and was able to save the dough overnight in the fridge. With the salt, you should just let it rest for 20 minutes before making the rotis. Use 1 tbsp cooking oil on the dough when it is ready and set aside until ready to use.

To make the missi roti – roll out a parantha size dough ball into a thicker chapatti and cook like a parantha. The dough is too thick to do folds like a parantha, so a flat roti and use a little oil on the tawa to make it. The dough will be dry and will absorb oil and butter like a sponge!

These rotis freeze well – just parcook them (without the oil) and separate them using parchment paper in a freezer bag. Take out a missi roti whenever you want and just heat on the tawa using some oil or ghee. They really are a meal by themselves, and you definitely need the tea to wash them down.

Courgette curry

A simple, easy to cook and delicious vegetable. Once you have the base done, it cooks pretty quickly – it really is worth cooking down the base as detailed below.

2 medium size courgettes, washed and sliced;

1 medium sized onion, finely chopped

1 tsp cumin seeds

2 green chillies, finely chopped

1 tbsp ginger and garlic paste

1/2 cup chopped tomatoes (I used a mix of 8 cherry tomatoes and some passata)

t tbsp tomato puree/paste

2 tbsp oil

1/4 cup water

handful of fresh coriander leaves

1 tbsp kasoori methi

1 tsp turmeric powder, 1 tsp coriander powder, 1/2 tsp garam masala

Heat the oil and add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start sizzling, stir in the onions, ginger garlic and green chillies, Cook till the onions are soft and translucent. Don’t let the onions brown – add the tomatoes and a little water. Bhun on medium heat till the oil separates, and if need be, add a little bit more water and cook it down. The tomatoes have to cook till very very soft, so much that they mush with the back of your spoon and disintegrate in the sauce.

At this point, stir in the masalas and the courgettes. Combine well, making sure the masala coats the courgettes well and cover the pot, reduce the heat. The courgettes don’t need stirring much, or they will turn to mush. Let them cook on low heat, stirring gently once or maybe twice just to mix the masala gravy on them. They will be cooked in 10 minutes. Sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves and some kasoori methi for some fragrance and serve hot.

Aloo mattar (Potatoes and peas)

A simple, comforting dish that most people love. It’s something that’s grown on me over the last few years and I don’t make it as often as I should.

Aloo mattar aka potato and peas

6 medium sized potatoes, peeled and cubed

1.5 cups frozen peas

1 onion, finely chopped

2-3 green chillies, finely chopped (adjust to taste)

1 tbsp ginger paste

1 tsp garlic paste

1 cup chopped tomatoes (1/2 can)

1 tbsp tomato puree

2 tbsp oil

1 tbsp cumin seeds

1 tbsp coriander powder

2 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp garam masala

1/2 tsp red chilli powder

handful of fresh coriander leaves, finely chopped

1 tbsp kasoori methi

Heat oil in a pot, add the cumin seeds. As soon as they start to sizzle, stir in the onions and green chillies. Saute until the onions are soft, translucent and golden in colour. Add the ginger and garlic paste, and continue to saute for a minute before stirring in the chopped tomatoes. Cover the pot and let the tomatoes soften and cook down until the oil separates. You should be able to mash them with the back of your spoon kind of soft.

I use a hand blender and blitz it to a smooth gravy at this point, but that’s optional.

Stir in the spices and cook them for a few seconds before adding the tomato paste. Add the peas and 3-4 cups of water, along with the potatoes. Stir well, cover the pot and let it cook on medium heat until potatoes have cooked through (about 15-20 minutes). Sprinkle the fresh coriander leaves and the kasoori methi. Season with salt and black pepper. Adjust the thickness of gravy to your taste by adding water. If you want it thicker, remove the lid and let the water bubble away.

Let it bubble away for a few more minutes before serving with rice or freshly made chapattis. The leftovers are fabulous the next day for breakfast with fresh paranthas.

Easy garlicky Aubergine curry

This recipe does not follow normal ‘traditional’ cooking methods. I make it this way often, as its easy, convenient and its the way I like it. I don’t add many spices/masalas, and the ones I do add are already roasted so I just sprinkle them on instead of cooking them or roasting them in oil. The heat is from the green chillies, which works well for me.

1 medium size aubergine/eggplant;

2 medium sized onions (preferably red ones);

1 inch piece of ginger, grated;

5-6 cloves of garlic, minced;

2 green chillies, chopped;

2 tbsp cooking oil (I like grapeseed)

1 cup passata sauce or 4/5 medium size tomatoes, finely chopped;

1/4 cup base gravy (optional)

Heat the oil in a wok, add roughly chopped pieces of aubergine and start to stir fry on medium heat. Same time, start slicing the red onions and drop them in with the aubergine. Add the ginger, garlic, green chillies to this. Sprinkle a little salt and cover the wok. Let this cook on medium heat for 10 minutes or so. I have an induction stove, so you may need to adjust the heat levels but idea is that the steam buildup inside cooks it through slowly. I like some of the edges caramelising a little, as it gives it a nice flavour.

Stir and add the tomatoes. Salt, black pepper to taste and I also sprinkle some garam masala, roasted cumin powder, roasted coriander powder and Kashmiri red chilli powder to taste. Once it is combined well, cover and let it cook on low/medium heat for about an hour. Stir from time to time.

Sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves and serve. I always have frozen coriander leaves, so I stir them in before serving. They don’t look so good all wilted on top, as a garnish 😉

To garnish – Heat some ghee and fry some thinly sliced garlic. Add on top before serving.

SLOWCOOKER METHOD: Just put everything all together in the slow cooker and let it cook for 4 hours on high heat. May need to stir it once/twice. Depending on the quantity/size of cooker, I have left it on for 8 hours overnight when making a large batch on low heat, and it was beautiful the next morning. The constant cooking was a bit too aromatic for me and I found it hard to sleep though!

Baingan Bhartha

My recipe for this is a little unconventional, but it turns out stupendously amazing every time! So, grab two plump aubergines – secret is to not buy the heavy ones, as they are just full of heavy seeds. The lighter in weight, the better it is.

Depending on the size of the aubergines, you will need equal parts (in volume) of onions and tomatoes. Yes, that sounds a lot, but it works. Slice the onions and the tomatoes thinly, and set them aside.

Preheat oven to 175C (fan oven). Halve the aubergines lengthwise, make a few slits as you don’t want it to burst in the oven. In these slits, push through some cloves of garlic and halved green chillies. Drizzle a bit of oil and roast these for about 30-40 mins in the oven, turning over once. Purpose is to soften the aubergine through.

Remove from oven and put it into a large bowl, and cover the bowl or cling film it for half an hour as it cools down. The steam from this makes it easier to peel the skin off the aubergine. I like to keep some skin on, as I love the texture and flavour in my bhartha, but that’s totally optional.

In a pan, heat 2 tbsp oil and add 2 tsp of cumin seeds. As soon as they start sizzling, stir in the sliced onions.

Add 2 inch grated fresh ginger

roasted garlic cloves rescued from the aubergine

the roasted aubergine and green chillies

a heaped tbsp coriander powder

salt to taste

black pepper to taste

As soon as the onions start softening a little, stir in the tomatoes as well.

Add a tsp garam masala

Cover the pot (or use the slow cooker) and let it cook for as long as you can on medium/low heat. In the slow cooker, I usually leave on low all night long. Using a potato masher, mash the bhartha and adjust the seasoning as it would vary based on the sweetness of the tomatoes, the aubergine and the onions. Sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves before serving and a little sprinkling of mango powder (amchoor powder).

This can be made and frozen in small containers for upto 3 months.