Sesame-Orange Grilled Chicken

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Helos everyone! Here I am, back in the kitchen, happy to be cooking again! Today I present a unique recipe – Crispy Orange Grilled Chicken. It essentially is nothing but grilled chicken breasts, but cooked with some crazy marination and sides. We had some chicken breasts in the fridge and I was not enthu enough to dice them and prepare Chinese Schezwan Stir-Fry, and hence looked up on the internet for something new. And this is what I came across!

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You would need:

  • ½ kg (boneless) chicken breasts (2 to 3, depending on their size)
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil (I mixed groundnut oil and olive oil)
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup sesame seeds
  • ½ cup toasted breadcrumbs OR rusk OR biscuits OR bread-sticks
  • 1 full orange/mandarin
  • ½ cup orange marmalade (yes, you’ve read it right!)

For the sides, you would need:

  • 8-10 baby potatoes OR 2 regular sized potatoes
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 tomato
  • Few drops of oil
  • Dash of salt and black pepper
  1. Defrost your chicken if you purchased frozen chicken, and wash it well with water. Pat dry with paper napkins.
  2. If the breasts are thicker than 1cm each, cut each breast along the thickness into two thin breast slices. Make 3-4 cuts on each of the chicken breasts.
  3. In a wide bowl, grate about 1 tablespoon zest from the orange and add the marmalade to it.
  4. Add the soy sauce, oil, red chilly flakes, salt and black pepper to it and mix well.
  5. Place the chicken breasts and turn a few times to coat them well. Let this sit for a while (30 minutes is enough, but at least 15 minutes if you can’t wait).
  6. Saute the sesame till they become crisp and turn brown. Watch out while you roast them, they can get burnt very easily.
  7. Crush the rusk/biscuits/breadsticks into fine powder and mix in the toasted sesame seeds.
  8. Set your oven to pre heat to 200 C / 400 F. If you are using a microwave oven in the grill/convection mode, use the higher of the two racks.
  9. In the meanwhile, set the potatoes and carrot in a pressure cooker, or boil them till soft. Peel the carrots before boiling and the potatoes after boiling!
  10. Take out the marinated breast pieces one by one and dip them in the crushed rusk+sesame; turn to coat both sides. Place them on the rack and then into the oven.
  11. Dipping the marinated chicken in rusk+sesame not only stops the marinade from dripping, but also makes a crispy grilled chicken.
  12. Grill for 10 minutes, remove, flip the pieces and put them back in the oven for another 10 minutes.
  13. While the chicken is getting grilled, cut the tomato into 4 pieces and stir fry a little bit on a pan in a few drops of oil.
  14. Toss the boiled vegetables and the tomato slices in a pinch of salt and pepper.
  15. Set the sides on your plate and add in some orange slices.
  16. Serve the chicken straight out of the oven, along with the sides and enjoy with a tall glass of coke :)

Difficulty: Low
Inflation: Moderate
Calories: Low to moderate
Eat when: Dinner
Yumminess Factor: You may just love to dip that chicken in some mustard sauce and put between a sliced burger bun!

Buon Appetito!

I just love cooking fresh fruits and adding them in as main ingredients in regular food :) Actually, I just love fruits!

Wanna make some caffè latte at home?

I have waited long enough to put this recipe on my blog, and I guess this is the perfect time! Though I am extremely sensitive to any forms of caffeine, I know a lot of people who love to have coffee at night and then also have a wonderful sleep! But I really love coffee. In fact, I have a huge The Oatmeal poster at home that gives some cool coffee facts.

So we all love coffee, don’t we? And we Indians, like ours with milk – yeah a little extra won’t hurt! The recipe that I am sharing with you today, is one of the simplest recipes to make a frothy yet not so milky (for the calorie conscious) latte, that tastes yummy too!

There are a few recipes on the internet that need beating sugar with instant coffee granules and a spoon of warm water endlessly, and then add milk. Let me tell you honestly, that method is not foolproof and does not work in all circumstances. For example, it won’t work if you use an espresso made from filtered coffee instead of using instant coffee granules; it also won’t work if (like me) you use milk creamer and not fresh milk. On top of that, at the end of the whole process your hand would be paining quite a bit. IMG_20120930_150245Just in case you still prefer to use dairy powder, make milk with it first, and then follow the recipe.

For this recipe, you would need a simple device known as the French Press. This device is actually used to brew coffee with beans. However, we would use it to foam milk! So let us get into the recipe -

You would need:

  • A French Press
  • 1/3 cup fresh milk – skimmed milk works just fine (cup size = whatever cup you will eventually be drinking your coffee in)
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar (use more if you want sweeter)
  • 1 teaspoon hazelnut/vanilla syrup (not essence)
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee / espresso or 2 teaspoons instant coffee powder
  1. So start off with heating the milk, in a microwave or over the gas, doesn’t matter really.
  2. If you have warm espresso or brewed coffee, add the sugar and stir once.
    • If you using instant coffee granules, then stir them with the sugar in a few teaspoons of warm milk/water
  3. If you want to add a flavoured syrup (I use Torani’s that I got from the US), add it now to your espresso. 1 teaspoon is enough. Stir and keep aside.
  4. Now put the 1/3 cup milk in the French press, and this is the most important step – slowly pump the milk. This aerates the milk and makes it frothy! Exactly what you want for your latte.
  5. Stop once you see that the milk is spilling over, and pour half of the frothy milk into the cup of espresso. Stir.
  6. Continue pumping the remaining milk for a few times, and then add to the cup.
    • Remember – Frothy milk will rise to approximately 3 times of what you started off with :) and this is from experience, I make it every single day!
  7. Stir one last time giving the pattern the shape you desire!
  8. Now this whole process takes about 5 minutes, and the milk may cool off a little bit. So push the cup inside a microwave and beam it for about 15 seconds. The froth rises even further and quite rapidly! You must keep observing it and if your cup was already filled to the brim, you may have to stop the microwave in just 5-7 seconds.
  9. Sprinkle cinnamon powder or chocolate powder if you wish.
  10. That’s it! You are ready to enjoy or serve!

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Difficulty: Very Low
Inflation: Light
Calories: Low (can be reduced considerably by replacing sugar with sugar-free, in fact you even get sugar-free flavoured syrups)
Drink when: Anytime
Yumminess Factor: Best enjoyed with scones or cookies!

Buon Appetito!

Let us bake some delicious scones!

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So it has been a while since we baked something. This will be my third flour-based recipe to go on the blog after bagels and pancakes. Have you eaten scones before? Those of you who have traveled to Europe, would most probably have eaten it, or at least seen it in coffee shops and bakeries. Scones are basically slightly sweet quick breads, baked using baking powder as the leavening agent and not yeast. They taste closer to a cake than a bread.

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You would need:

  • 2 cup all purpose flour (or refined flour / maida)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter (unmelted, unsalted – if using salted butter, do not use salt)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips or chunks of chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • Fistful of crushed nuts (almonds, hazelnuts – preferably roasted)
  • 2 teaspoon chocolate or cinnamon powder for taste

Baking scones is relatively easy. As warned while making bagels, it would be good to know how to knead dough, or have a person with you who can knead dough.

  1. Mix all dry ingredients first into a bowl. That will mean mixing the flour with sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon / chocolate powder.
  2. Cut the butter into small chunks and add it to the mixture. Blend the mixture into coarse crumbs.
  3. Add in choco chips/nuts and mix.
  4. Mix about 75% of the buttermilk with the vanilla essence and add to the mixture.
  5. Stir until the dough comes together and make sure that you do not overmix. You may need to add more flour or buttermilk to have a proper dough that does not stick and that does not fall apart. Scones-Recipe-2
  6. Move the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times. Not too much, else it may melt the butter and make the dough loose.
  7. Shape it in the form of a thick pizza (1.5 inch) and cut into 8 wedges. You may in fact break the dough into 8 pieces and give them whatever shapes you or your kids want – cat, mickey mouse, square, etc.
  8. Pre-heat your oven to 200 C.
  9. Place the scones on a greased baking sheet and brush the top with very little milk (for the glaze).
  10. You may add a few nuts to the top of the scones and put the tray in the oven.
  11. Bake for about 20 minutes.
  12. Check the colour of the scones and also prick a toothpick inside to check the doneness – it should come out dry. When you open the oven, the kitchen and most probably your house will fill with the sweet aroma of the scones!
    In the picture below, you will see a slightly burnt part. Let me assure you that it isn’t burnt, it just happened that I tried some chocolate syrup over a couple of pieces before baking that gave the burnt look. Anyway, I would not recommend adding the chocolate syrup to the scones before baking.

Scones

Makes about 8 scones, that are good for about 3 people with tea/coffee.

Difficulty: Low
Inflation: Light
Calories: Moderate (can be reduced considerably by replacing sugar with sugar-free)
Eat when: Preferably teatime
Yumminess Factor: Best enjoyed with a cup of latte (I know Italians do not drink latte after meals!)

Bon Appetit!

Food Experiment – Roasted Chicken, Asian style

So let me warn you before we get into the details of how to cook this amazing chicken – This will become an instant favorite with the crowd you invite for dinner!

Honestly, I have been trying to cook chicken properly since early this year, but it is only recently that I have realised a few things that help me cook it better! In contrast to the Crispy Honey Chicken I shared with you earlier, this one is very very simple to make.

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Without any more gyaan, let us get into making Asian style roasted chicken.

You would need:

  • ½ kg chicken drumsticks (4 to 5, depending on their size), OR boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 1 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons oil and a few more drops
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  1. Defrost your chicken if you purchased frozen chicken, and wash it well with water. Pat dry with paper napkins.
  2. Take a wide deep bowl and place the chicken drumsticks in it. If you are using boneless chicken breasts, make sure to cut them open into two thin slices each (the way you would cut open a bun for a burger). Basically you want to ensure that the chicken meat is not more than 2-2.5cm thick**.
  3. Pour the oil over the chicken uniformly and turn the pieces once to coat them properly with oil. The reason why you patted them dry in the first step is because oil tends to float over water; hence in the presence of a layer of water on the chicken, the oil would not come in contact with the chicken**.
  4. Pour the soya sauce over the chicken and add minced or finely chopped garlic uniformly to the marinade.
  5. Sprinkle the black pepper and toss around the chicken pieces in the bowl to mix everything together.
  6. That is it! Cover the bowl (with a lid or use an aluminium foil)** and place it in the refrigerator for 1-2 hours.**
  7. Pre-heat your oven to 210-220 C. Take a baking tray and place aluminium foil over it uniformly (this will basically make your clean up after cooking much faster, and definitely easier). Glaze the aluminium foil evenly with a drop of oil. Place your chicken pieces on the foil and pour the remaining marinade over it. (Throw away the rest of the marinade – never use it again).
  8. Place the baking tray in the oven and let it cook for at least 20 minutes, preferably 25 minutes.
  9. Remove the tray from the oven and keep it aside for another 5-10 minutes. The chicken continues to cook by itself.**
  10. Pick up the chicken, and serve!

Half kilo chicken is enough for two people with decent appetite, when accompanied with salad or mash potatoes, or rice, or nan. A few variations of this recipe are very easily possible. Here are some cool ingredients you can add in Step 5 along with black pepper:
Oregano spice mix, basil leaves, dried fenugreek, red chilly flakes, etc. I would highly recommend to add 1-2 teaspoons of Chicken Tandoori Masala, or Chicken Biryani Masala which will add that amazing tangy Indian Tandoori Chicken taste to it.

Another variation of this recipe leads to tandoori chicken (using hung curd and tandoori chicken masala for marination), though I am yet to try that.

Do note that you must NOT add any salt to the marinade, as soy sauce itself is quite salty, and other ingredients that you add such as the chicken tandoori masala also contain enough salt. You may leave out adding the oil to the marinade completely if you are calorie conscious, and I have observed that the difference in taste or texture does not vary significantly.

Difficulty: Low
Inflation: Moderate
Calories: Moderate
Eat when: Starters for dinner, or main course itself
Yumminess Factor: Best enjoyed dipped in Honey Mustard (2 tablespoons honey mixed with equal proportions of mustard sauce, plus 1 teaspoon mayonnaise)

Buon Appetito!

** Did you note the steps marked with (**)? They are some lifesavers when cooking any chicken recipe. Do not skip!

Would like to thank Anagha (@anadorable) for the original recipe which has been adopted here, and Ashrita (@caramelwings) for her awesome tips to make roasted chicken!

Food Experiment – Fluffy American Pancakes

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So pancakes. I mentioned in my previous blog post that pancakes are my greatest discovery from the 3 trips to the United States. I love eating pancakes. Unfortunately, as with bagels, we do not get them easily in India thanks to some pretty awesome local variations that we very well know as Dosas, Uttappams, or Cheelas (Poodas).

As soon as I had returned from my last trip to the US, I found Betty Crocker Pancake Mix in supermarts in India. For the next two years I used the pancake mix to make pancakes. All I had to do was add some milk, an egg, and cook on the pan! At times the stores would run out of stock and disappoint me and wife. Eating pancakes soaked in maple syrup is serious fun, but it is even more fun to make them at home! Seriously! And it turns out that the ones I made today at home, were the best pancakes I have ever eaten. Even better than those at IHOP or Clarke’s (Chicago)! So without wasting any more time, let us get down to the recipe, shall we?

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour – I used maida, you may use 3:1 proportion of maida and wheat flour for a slightly healthier option
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons oil
  • ¼ cup castor sugar for garnishing

1. Sieve the flour in a bowl, and mix in all the dry ingredients (except the castor sugar) together.

2. Pour the melted butter and milk, and mix the batter.

3. Add a whole egg and beat the batter till you achieve a fluid consistency. Ensure that you do not beat it too much to make it 100% homogeneous.

4. Heat a pan and brush a little oil on it. You need just a drop of oil if you are using a non-stick pan.

5. Pour a dollop of batter in the center of the pan. It will spread evenly to create a disk.

6. Wait till you see bubbles on the top of the pancake. Lift it using a spatula and check that the base has turned light to medium brown. Flip and cook the other side.

7. The other side will first swell giving the pancake its fluffy shape. Lift using a spatula to check the colour of the base, and remove from the pan if it is medium brown.

8. That is it! Go serve it with syrup of your choice, top with fruits or a scoop of fresh cream, or simply sprinkle some castor sugar on top. Use your creativity.

Makes 6 medium sized pancakes that serve 2 people.

This recipe contains moderate amount of calories, however it will become heavy once dipped in any sweet syrup or cream. Infinite variations of the recipe are easily possible. Baking soda, butter and eggs are not a must, but I would not recommend to try this recipe excluding all three of them together. As to why I call this recipe ‘American’ pancakes, the answer is that pancakes are made differently all over the world but specifically like this in the United States.

Difficulty: Low
Inflation: Moderate
Calories: Moderate to heavy
Eat when: Preferably breakfast or lunch or dessert
Yumminess Factor: Best enjoyed soaked in maple syrup topped with berries and sprinkled with castor sugar, or simply topped with vanilla ice cream ;)

Buon Appetito!