honey sage turmeric wings

honey sage and turmeric wings

I stepped out of my shell this past week and did a lot of things, I would never have thought I would do. I wore shorts on a very chilly evening in winter (more on that later this week) and I tried my hand at making chicken wings. For someone that does not watch a lot of sports, it's a little ironic that I'm hosting people over for the game and making a game menu staple!

sage chicken wing prep

The people in my life that love watching sports, love their wings a lot. So I was a little nervous when I decided to skip the traditional barbecue seasonings and do some flavor swapping and above everything else volunteer to make a batch for the upcoming viewing party. I had my reliable taste-tester taste (a reliable and known sports and wing aficionado) everything as soon as the first super hot batch popped out of the oven. I anxiously waited while the chicken was sampled and boy, was I thrilled as I heard "these are pretty darn delicious and there's a bite to it !". I felt like I had just won the Super Bowl of Wings. On a separate and unrelated note, chopping fresh sage is simply amazing, the fragrance is refreshing and comforting and adds the perfect aromatic touch to the kitchen in winter.

A little cooking note here, tempura flour gives these guys a nice crispy texture but all-purpose flour will work well too.

honey sage turmeric chicken wings

Let's just say these honey caramelized sage crusted crispy pieces of chicken are clearly going to be served at game and non-game related events at our home!

honey sage turmeric wings

honey sage turmeric wings

yields: 6-8 servings

ingredients

5 lbs chicken wings, drumettes and flats separated
4 tablespoons fresh sage leaves, thinly chopped
1 tablespoon turmeric 
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon dried red chili flakes
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons teaspoon tempura flour or all-purpose flour
a little extra freshly cut sage leaves and limes for garnish

1. Pat the chicken pieces with a clean paper towel and place in a mixing bowl.
2. Add the rest of the ingredients to the chicken except the olive oil and tempura flour. Mix well and cover the bowl with cling film. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours before cooking.
3. Place a wire rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Brush the olive oil on the parchment paper. 
4. Sprinkle the tempura flour over the marinated chicken and mix evenly. Evenly place the individual chicken pieces on each baking sheet, leaving about 3/4 of an inch space between each piece. Cook one baking sheet at a time. Bake for 35-40 minutes, halfway through flip each chicken piece with a pair of heat proof tongs. The wings are cooked when the chicken is cooked completely and the skin is blistered and crispy. Repeat with the second baking sheet. Serve hot immediately, garnished with a little extra sage and wedges of freshly cut limes and hot sauce of your choice.


Note: You can make these hotter by adding more chili.

easy south indian chicken curry

south indian chicken curry and paratha

A while back, I shared a Goan chicken curry recipe with you this time I have another curry recipe that I am very fond of, you will notice some similar and some new ingredients that make this chicken dish so different from the previous. Curries are fascinating because there are so many different varieties based on geography and within those there are even more variations based on the differences in the amount of spices and ingredients that different households use.

cloves

Making curry at home is akin to the way in which people prepare chili, you improve your recipe with time, add or leave out ingredients to suit your taste buds, make mental notes on what you would do different the next time. Over time, I've simplified the recipe and streamlined some of the prep work to make it easier for me to cook this on a weekday, if my cravings are going to get the better of me. I've also lightened the recipe quite a bit by cutting back on the unnecessary fat without compromising on the taste and quality of this delicious curry.

turmeric jar

Whenever, I cook chicken, I prefer to use chicken that's still attached to the bone and I trim off any visible fat and skin. Chicken that still has the bones gives a much more flavorful stew and soup and the meat gets to be much more tender and tastier. Except for the ground garam masala spice mix, I've used whole spices in this recipe, you can remove them before serving but I prefer to leave them in. I feel that leaving the whole spices intact in the curry showcases some of the ingredients and could perhaps even make for an interesting conversation at the table. I like to serve this curry with rice or any type of Indian flat bread like rotis or parathas and even with South Indian dosas and idlis.

For the vegetarian option, you can substitute the chicken with 2 to 3 cups of mixed vegetables of your choice such as peas, carrots, beans, eggplant, sweet potatoes, or squash.

south indian chicken curry

easy south indian chicken curry

yields: 4 to 6 servings

ingredients

2 lb chicken (I used a mix of thighs, breasts, and drumsticks)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, diced (approximately 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 inch cinnamon stick
4 black peppercorns
6 cloves
4 green cardamoms, cracked with pods
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon red chili flakes or ground chili powder
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/4 cup freshly grated coconut
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
400 ml light coconut milk
2 teaspoons cilantro leaves, freshly chopped

1. Remove the skin and trim off any excess fat of the chicken pieces and discard. Wipe the chicken pieces with a clean paper towel and keep aside.
2. In a large thick bottomed stockpot, heat the oil on a medium high flame for 40 seconds until hot. Add the red onion and garlic and saute until the onion becomes translucent.
3. Add the cinnamon, peppercorns, cloves, cardamom, garam masala, chili, and turmeric to the pot and cook for another minute. 
4. Add the chicken to the pot and brown for 4 minutes. Stir in the grated coconut and tomato paste and cook for another 1 minute.  Add the salt and coconut milk and bring the contents to a boil on a high flame, immediately reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and cook the chicken for 50 minutes. Once the chicken is completely cooked, taste the curry and adjust with salt if necessary.
5. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice or bread.

chicken sweet-corn soup

Chicken sweet corn soup

I  miss spring/summer and all the fresh produce that comes with the notes of warmer weather. However, till then I realize that I need to buck-up and work with what comes my way on the East Coast. Of late, I have been craving all sorts of delicious foods from all over the globe. Some new to my palate and others familiar friends to my taste buds. Bombay/Mumbai is a melting pot of several different cultures and even countries, consequently this has led to the fusion and evolution of several different cuisines. One of my personal favorites, is Indo-Chinese food, where Indian flavors and spices come together with some Chinese dishes that make them wonderful and unique. There are a couple of places in NYC that do serve this authentic menu, one of them being Chinese Mirch. The food here is great and worth stopping by.Whenever wet and cold weather strike, I always turn to this soup. Chicken sweet corn soup is a very popular dish in Indo-Chinese restaurants in India and is also one of my favorites. I remember waiting to pick up our takeouts from the restaurant that was a few blocks from our house in Bombay. Watching the chefs,  stir-fry the food in their large woks while they quickly tossed sauces and seasonings into the sizzling hot pans was such a fascinating treat for me. Their hands moved with such finesse and speed that it was literally a magic show of sorts. 

Sweet Corn

Here is my take on the chicken sweet-corn soup that I fondly remember and miss. This recipe works great with left-over shredded chicken (if using left-over chicken, then use 2 cups of cooked shredded chicken) and fresh or frozen sweet-corn. I like to use leeks to flavor the soup because they give a robust flavor to the stock and also brighten the color. If you like this soup a little hotter, then add a few more thai peppers to it. While preparing the leeks, I find it useful to slice them in half lengthwise and then slice them finely. I then rinse them under cold water to remove any sand particles that might be trapped within the spaces of the stem.

Chicken and Leeks

chicken sweet-corn soup

servings:

ingredients

4 tablespoons vegetable oil
4 medium lean chicken breasts
1/2 cup finely sliced leeks
1 cup frozen sweet-corn (fresh corn can also be used)
6 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1/4 cup low-sodium soy  sauce
1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
1 finely chopped thai chili pepper
1 heaped teaspoon cornflour
3 to 4 tablespoons of water
1 large egg, lightly beaten
salt and pepper to taste
a few scallions and/or green thai chili peppers, finely sliced for garnish

1. Heat two tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large stockpot on a medium flame. Pat each chicken breast with a clean paper towel to absorb any liquids and then season the breasts with salt and pepper on each side. Add each breast to the hot oil in the stockpot. Cover the pot with a lid. Cook the chicken breasts on each side until the meat is tender. This should take about 20 minutes. Once the chicken is thoroughly cooked, reduce the flame to a low simmer, remove the chicken breasts and keep them on a plate to cool. Drain and collect any liquids from the stockpot and keep side (this can be added back to the soup to give a flavorful stock). When the chicken is cool enough to be handled, shred the meat and keep it covered so it does not dry.
2. In the same stock pot, heat the rest of the oil and add the leeks. Fry the leeks in the oil for about 3 minutes till they soften. 
3. Stir in the corn to the stockpot and cook for another 3 minutes on a medium flame. 
4. Now add the chicken stock and the left-over liquid that was drained from the chicken in step 1. Mix in the shredded chicken, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili pepper. Cook on low heat for 10 minutes.
5. In a small bowl, make a slurry of the corn flour in the water and add it to the soup stirring briskly.
6. Bring the soup to a boil and then with constant stirring add in the beaten egg. The egg proteins will coagulate immediately to form threads.
7. Reduce the flame to a gentle simmer and season with salt and pepper.
8. Serve the soup hot. You can garnish the soup with freshly chopped scallions or some chopped chilies. 

slow-cooker goan chicken coconut curry

Goan Coconut Chicken Curry

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I had a great time spending it with my friends while we ate and drank copious amounts of good food and wine. At about 7 or 8pm, the tryptophan-induced sleep kicked in and we were all extremely tired and sleepy. If I remember correctly, by the time we got home and walked the dog, our eyelids were too heavy and we were so tired to sit up and watch any television. I am thankful that we get Friday off or it would be terrible to go in to work. Still, I am amazed as to how some people have the stamina to go and wait in lines for those insane Black Friday Deals at all the stores the night before. I really don't think I could do that after such a large meal, so more power to those who can and I hope they score great deals.

Garlic and Ginger

After a delicious Thanksgiving dinner and a very busy time cooking, I think most cooks like me would prefer a simple and easy meal with hardly any prep work. This recipe is exactly how I remember my grandmother's chicken curry tasted. I remember this curry when we'd visit her house, she would serve it with rice and a few other accompaniments for lunch, however at night we'd simply eat it with baked bread and sop up the broth. She was never a big fan of eating rice at night as she said it was too heavy to eat before bed time. Simple yet comforting is what this curry is. The curry is infused with delicious coconut milk and a blend of aromatic spices. I've tried to make it simple by skipping out several steps where the spices need to be fried with the onions and removed the oil completely. It's pretty much a leave-it, shut-it, and forget-it kind of recipe. Most Goan curries generally use fresh coconut milk squeezed out from freshly grated coconut to make them hearty and flavorful. I use canned coconut milk since it is easier to find when fresh coconuts are not in season.

Onion, Bay leaves and Chilies

You can use substitute any kind of dried chilies in this recipe but I prefer to use Kashmiri chilies and always keep them on hand. Otherwise, even fresh green or red Thai chilies would be great here. I bumped up the number of tomatoes in this recipe and you can leave the seeds too. Using low-fat coconut milk reduces the amount of saturated fat in the curry keeping it healthy. I also skim of the extra fat that floats to the surface at the end but if you use lean and skinless chicken then you should not end up with too much. I was nervous at first about using a slow cooker for preparing this curry but it turned out to be so easy with minimal work and reminded me so much of my grandmother's curry, that I had to share it with you.

Tomatoes

goan chicken curry

yields: 6 servings

ingredients

4 dried Kashmiri chilies
1 teaspoon cilantro/coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1/2" piece ginger root, peeled and minced fine
2 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
6 chicken drumsticks or thighs, skin removed
2 cups reduced-fat coconut milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
1 medium sized onion (about 1 1/2 to 2 cups chopped)
4 large tomatoes (about 3 cups chopped)
1 teaspoon tamarind paste
salt to taste
cilantro leaves for garnish

1. Heat a skillet on a medium flame and roast the chilies, cilantro seeds, and peppercorns. As soon as you smell the aromatics (this will take less than a minute or two), remove the spices from the pan and grind them in a processor or coffer grinder with the garlic and ginger.
2. Set the slow cooker to the high heat setting and time to 5 hours. Add the ground spices, the chicken, and the rest of the ingredients, except for the salt. Stir the contents once and cover with the cooker with the lid. You can occasionally stir the chicken curry during the cooking process after one hour.
3. After 5 hours, the curry will be done and the chicken will be soft and tender. At this point season with salt according to taste. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with plain rice.

persian khoresht of chicken and herbs


I am still savoring my "high" fueled by the Broadway production of Billy Elliot that we went to see last Sunday evening at the Kennedy Center. If you've seen the movie then you must see the musical. The show had a great cast and the songs and of course dancing were spectacular.Someone is keeping an eye on me while I post this and does not seem too happy without the attention.


While sticking with my theme on personal highs this holiday season, I am still on my Persian food kick. This recipe is for a delicious Persian stew or Khoresht that uses spinach and lemons for the base with a bunch of aromatic herbs that add a fresh and fragrant flavor to the chicken and garbanzo beans. You can substitute any type of beans in this recipe, red kidney beans would be delicious too due their meaty texture. Stews or Khoreshts are so versatile in Persian cuisine and amazingly easy and delicious to prepare. They can  be served with plain rice (especially Basmati) or you can try my previous post on Persian rice with green Lentils, raisins and dates or even  a stack of warm pita breads.


persian khoresht of chicken and herbs

ingredients

4 lean chicken breasts
1 cup chopped red onion
8 cups fresh spinach leaves
2 lemons
1 cup water
2 cups of garbanzo beans soaked overnight in water
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste

Pat the chicken breasts between paper towels. Trim off any excess fat from the chicken and discard. Cube the breasts into 2 inch cubes and keep aside. Heat the oil in a large skillet and saute the onions and garlic till golden brown. Add the chicken cubes and brown on each side. Add all the cinnamon, greens and beans to the skillet. Squeeze the juice from the two lemons and add the water. Bring the broth to a boil and then reduce to the flame to a simmer and cook for about 45 minutes or till the chicken is tender and begins to fall apart. The sauce of the broth will thicken as it cooks. Serve this hot or warm with pita bread, naan or rice.


avgolemono


What a way to start a post, an earthquake in Washington after 67 years! Thankfully, no one was hurt and damage appears to be minimal so far. Since, people started to panic getting home was a challenge with traffic gridlocks everywhere. Work gave us the remainder of the day off and I finally ended up walking home. This is my final post on lemons for now that completes my entire lemon themed lunch. I think I may have found my new favorite soup, Avgolemono, the egg-lemon soup that is so very popular in Greek cuisine. The creamy richness of this lemon soup makes for a wonderful dip for a warm and crusty slice of bread. I made several alterations to this soup, mainly through playing around with the components of my chicken stock. The addition of fennel stalks and leaves to the chicken stock was purely coincidence. Since, I can never figure out what to do with some vegetable parts that I am unable to use in some recipes, I normally freeze them and use them in making stocks. I substituted barley instead of short-grained rice that is usually used to make this soup. 


avgolemono

yield: 6 servings

ingredients

1.5 liters water
1lb lean chicken breast
1 whole red onion halved
4 cloves
4 bay leaves
1 lemon, chopped in half
1 bunch fennel leaves and stalk
6 unpeeled garlic cloves, cut in half
3 eggs separated
1/3 cup barley or short grain rice
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
fresh mint or parsley for garnishing

1. In a large stockpot, add 1.5 liters of water, chicken, onion, cloves, bay leaves, the halved lemon, fennel, and garlic. Add sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to season. Slowly bring the water to boil and then reduce to a simmer. Let it simmer until the chicken is cooked. Remove the chicken and keep aside to cool. Strain the stock completely and discard the solids. 
2. Add the stock back to the stockpot and add the barley/rice to it and let it cook on a reduced flame until the rice is tender. In the meantime, shred the chicken. 
3. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites till they form stiff peaks and then beat in the yolks. Carefully, beat in the lemon juice. 
4. Now temper the eggs with approximately 150ml of the hot stock solution by immediately whisking it into the beaten egg mixture. Now add the entire tempered egg mixture to the stock pot with careful stirring. Make sure the stock is not boiling and is simmering, this will prevent the eggs from coagulating. 
5. Add the chicken and season the soup with salt and pepper as necessary. Serve the soup with fresh lemon slices in individual bowls. Garnish with fresh mint or parsley leaves.


Hopefully, no more calamities or traffic jams for a while or is that too much wishful thinking ?