Showing posts from December, 2015

Orange Chicken with Orange Bell pepper Fried Rice!

Every time I walk past a Chinese Fast Food Joint in a mall, the vendors would usually call out and offer free tasting bites of Orange Chicken. I had never tasted a version of Orange Chicken in India or Malaysia so i assumed its a local favorite in North America. Finally i discovered this food craze was created by Panda Express and Orange Chicken is one of their signature meals.

I love the fruity flavors orange imparts to chicken. The closest resemblance we enjoy in India is sweet and sour chicken made with pineapple juice and tomato ketchup. I decided to try this orange chicken at home and found plenty of resources online. Its a very simple recipe which i have adapted to make egg free, corn free and gluten free.

Serves : 3-4 people


1 1/2 lb small boneless of chicken1/2 teaspoon garlic powder1/2 teaspoon onion powder1 tablespoon yogurtsalt and pepper

Orange Sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice1 1/2 tablespoon rice wine vi…

Chocolate Pudding at Christmas!

The old style chocolate pudding seems to have lost its glory in the today's world of decadent desserts. But this easy to make at home dessert has many childhood moments tagged with it. My mom never baked but apart from the usual Indian desserts/mithai she would occasionally make chocolate pudding, caramel custard, jello and fruit custard/salad. 

So yesterday when my daughter asked me to make chocolate pudding for Christmas, it was like life had come back a full circle. So many memories came flooding by. Visiting my neighbors place for an annual Christmas feast used to be the highlight of the day. How I miss the Christmas Plum Cake, kulkuls, guava cheese and those savory flower shaped fritters(don't remember what they were called).

Mom made puddings from prepackaged mixes but I had to google few recipes to find allergen free ways. This recipe has been adapted to be made gluten free, egg free and corn free.

Makes : 4 - 6  dessert cups

3 cups milk  (I used 2%)1/4 tapoica…

Paneer Bhurji / Cottage Cheese Scramble

Bhurji or Scramble is a favorite and convenient method for roadside vendors in Mumbai, India. They have huge flat iron pans heating away on coal stoves. With amazing speeds they chop away all the vegetables directly into the pan. Then toss handful of spices and saute them on high heat. The speed and skill with which they cook and the synchronized noise of the banging of the metal spatula on the pan is a spectacle by itself. They serve these spiced concoctions with freshly baked bread for an easy and satisfying snack/meal. The vendors usually make it with eggs but today i made a similar recipe with paneer /cottage cheese. You can also try it with tofu.

Bhurji is a very forgiving way of cooking. You can swap the vegetables or spices to change the flavor of the dish. Paneer bhurji can be rolled into a breakfast burrito or as a snack as a sandwich filling or make it the star of your meal paired with bread or rice and dal.

Serves: 4-5

350 gms Paneer /Cottage cheese, grated
1 small …

Healthy dessert: Dried Figs Chocolate Fudge!

Figs/ Anjeer are very expensive fruits in India. Imagine my joy when i found a packet of these for just a couple of dollars at my local Walmart. These dried figs were from Greece and without any additives added to them.  The figs were light brown in color as opposed to the black figs i was used to seeing. On reaching home, i opened the packet and tried one. They were soft and chewy and sweet. My daughter did have half of one but i realized its going to be harder to get her to eat more. I had to find a better way for her to enjoy them. 

I chanced upon this recipe and was delighted that it had chocolate in it. Now my daughter is a chocoholic. I always tease her that she would even eat a shoe if dipped in chocolate. She corrected me saying that she would only lick the chocolate off the shoe. LOL!

This is an easy and quick recipe and can be made ahead of time. I served it to my guests and they all loved it, including the kids.

Serves: 12 - 15 pieces

Ingredients: 20 Dried figs/anjeer (I used G…

Chicken in Mint Curry!

Mint/ Pudina  is a refreshing herb used very often in Indian cuisine. Its the most preferred herb during hot summer months to make refreshing drinks, chutneys or yogurt based raitas. Mint pairs well with vegetable and meat recipes too. Lamb/Goat meat and mint compliment each other in biryanis and kababs.

Living in the North America has its perks and getting fresh supplies of every ingredient is one of them. On a recent grocery trip, I found a bunch of fresh mint in the middle of winter. I wanted to use it to brighten up my lunch and made a very simple mint based Chicken curry. Its ease of preparation and distinct taste will have you making it very often.

1 1/2 lb of chicken thigh and legs pieces
1 large red onion, chopped
1 stick of cinnamon
2 green cardamom pods
3 cloves
1 tsp meat masala /garam masala
salt to taste
1 tsp sugar
juice of 1/2 lime
1 tbsp oil

Make the green masala/paste:
1/4 cup red onion, chopped
1/2 inch piece ginger, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
2 -3 green chilies
1/4 cup m…

Restaurant Review: Sanjeev Kapoor's Khazana

Wow! Sanjeev Kapoor opened his first restaurant in North America, right here in Brampton, Canada. I have been watching his cooking shows all my life. Had to visit and experience his food for real.

Sanjeev Kapoor is the first celebrity chef from India. He started a TV show Khana Khazana, which is the longest running show of its kind in Asia. In 2011 he also launched FOOD FOOD channel, first of its kind in India, dedicated to food. He has many restaurants in India and Middle east. He has been an entrepreneur and most recognized Indian face on the food scene. Couple of years back, Racheal Ray had also aired an episode with him.

My husband surprised me with an anniversary treat there. He had made a reservation for 7 pm on a Thursday night. That's an early dinner by way of Indian Standards. We reached on time and were greeted by a host who promptly showed us to our table.

Ambiance and Decor:
The Ambiance is contemporary as with any fine dining restaurant. But no effort was made to create a…

Mint Rajma - Kidney beans in a chunky sauce!

Rajma/ Kidney beans curry is a popular Punjabi recipe, usually made at home rather than served at restaurants . Its a hearty rustic meal when paired with white rice. I like the sauce to be the chunky so i don't puree the onion tomato curry base. Today i tried adding some mint leaves for extra flavor. These beans are little heavy to digest. The ginger aids in the digestion process so don't skimp on it. I like to add the julienne ginger for texture but my daughter doesn't like getting it in her mouth. So i grated half of it and julienne the other half. Use as per your preference.

I always have dried kidney beans on hand. With a little planning, i wash and soak them in water overnight and then pressure cook till done. If you are in hurry, soaking them in hot water for 2 hours also softens them enough to cook. You can use canned beans for convenience.

1 cup of boiled kidney beans with water
1 red onion, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
1 inch ginger, 1/2 grated and 1/2 julienn…

Healthy Palak Paneer: Cottage Cheese cubes in Spinach sauce!

Cottage Cheese cubes in Spinach sauce is a Punjabi recipe popularly knows as Palak Paneer - A restaurant favorite which i make at home very often. Its my daughter's favorite way of eating spinach. The goodness of spinach and cottage cheese makes it a very healthy combination. The restaurant kind has oodles of cream added to it. I mimic the same texture and taste with beaten yogurt. It adds a nice creaminess and tang to the sauce minus the calories. Also i don't prefer making paste of onions, ginger or garlic. I just chop and saute all of them together and then puree. It taste better and its way faster bringing this meal together. Enjoy it with your favorite flat bread or flavored rice or even added to pasta.

1/2  medium red onion, chopped
5-6 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 inch ginger grated
1 large tomato, chopped
1 large bunch of spinach leaves, washed thoroughly
340 gms of paneer/cottage cheese (std size available in Indian grocery stores)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 - 2 gree…

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Pumpkin Brownies!

8th December was supposedly Brownie Day. Who makes up "these days" anyways. Social media was bursting with brownie recipes and pictures. After drooling on the awesome photos all day i had to get up and bake some myself. The current trend seem to be paring chocolate with pumpkin. I had never tried that combination so when i found the apt recipe, it was time to crank up the oven. This a gluten free, vegan and nut free recipe. I adapted to make it corn free as well.

The brownies need to be cooled and refrigerated to be enjoyed fully.

The pumpkin layer created a lovely jellylike orange glaze on the dark brown dense chocolatelayer. The contrast in textures was enjoyable. Recipe adapted from here

Servings 12

For the brownie layer
    1/2 cup chocolate chips
    1 cup pumpkin (canned or pureed)
    3/4 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup canola oil
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    3/4 cup gluten-free flour*
    1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
    1 tablespoon tapoica starch
    1 …

Moroccan Goat with Sweet Potatoes and Raisins!

Sunday is usually Goat meat/mutton day. I have exhausted all recipes within the Indian cuisine profiles so now moving on to International shores. Yesterday i tried Moroccan style. Usually the Moroccans use lamb but the recipe worked great with goat meat too. Recipe Courtesy : Gordon Ramsay.

I love trying international flavors but avoid stuffing my pantry with every kind of spice mixes.  It's not cost effective. Also since these recipes are prepared only once a while, the spice blends would lose their flavor over time. I rather buy whole spices and use them as directed in the recipes.

This curry is a fragrant, mild curry with sweet undertones. This recipe uses sweet potatoes and raisins to create the sweetness. Other alternative is to use carrots and apricots. It is meant to be enjoyed with couscous but since its out of reach for us, we scooped up the meat and sauce with gluten free sorghum chapatis/flatbreads.

Makes:Enough to feed 4-5 people

1 1/2 lb goat meat on bones

Gluten Free Vegan Orange Cinnamon Crumble Cake!

Crumble cake! This is something new i discovered and loved it for its simplicity. Plus its was gluten free and i made it vegan by skipping the eggs. Awesome recipe! These cakes can be had for breakfast, tea time or really any time for the day. My daughter loved making it and almost finished eating half of it in a single day. Its not very sweet and the orange and cinnamon add lovely fruity tones to it. The recipe is inspired from Sarah Bakes. I have made many of her recipes and all have been a hit. I love her addition of coconut flavor to most of the baking products. So here it goes...

Makes: 9 servings

1 cup Gluten free flour*1/2 cup sugar1/4 cup coconut oil, at room temperature 1 heaped teaspoon of orange zest 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon1 teaspoon baking powder1/4 teaspoon saltEner G egg replacer for one egg (1 1/2 tsp of the egg replacer mixed into 2 tbsp of water. Beat till frothy)1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice ( roughly used 1 1/2 oranges for this)* For Gluten Free…

Malaysian Fare: Chicken Satay, Chicken Curry, Coconut Rice!

Last Sunday we were fondly remembering our time spent in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The food scene there is an eclectic mix like their population. You could get South Indian food blending in with Chinese delicacies and local Malay (influenced by Indonesian style). Its a hot pot of culture and cuisines. They also have a very popular food stalls culture with everybody eating out at these stalls all through the day. And the amazing part you never get tired of it with the variety of food available. Plus their hygiene is so good that I never fell sick there.

Now in Canada, we visit some good restaurants in Scarborough to reminisce our old days. Today i decided to recreate some of these flavors in my home kitchen. Satay sauce is easy to prepare at home with the pantry staples. I didn't have most of the required ingredients for the curry paste. I always prefer to make my sauces and spice paste at home from scratch. But this one time i made an exception and bought ready made curry paste after…

Chicken Kofta Curry / Chicken Meatballs in sauce!

Meatballs and Spaghetti may be a match made in heaven but Meatballs in curry are not very far behind. Commonly known as Kofta Curry, the meatballs are made up of either minced goat meat or chicken. The koftas have a choice of beingdeep fried or steamed or poached directly into the curry sauce. Fried version is the tastiest for obvious reasons but also the highest in calories and oil consumption. Poached option can be tricky as the koftas could burst open if not handled carefully. Steamed version was not preferred by my family as it doesn't give a nice crisp coat to the koftas. So I figured out a fourth option of pan frying the koftas. This is slow process but gives a nicebrown coat and cooks the koftas well in couple of tablespoons of oil. The koftas tasted great by themselves but had to resist and hide them sothey could make their journey into the curry sauce. Chicken Kofta curry was finally ready and we enjoyed it with homemade Gluten free Naan

Serves: Makes about 20-25 koftas