Monday, April 23, 2012

Methi Murgh

Methi Murgh

Through out the warmer part of the year, everyday after school he would have us help him out in the garden. Papa would work hard and set up a kitchen garden, by the house every year. Would work up the soil, go buy some new seeds and plants, pull out the older seeds saved from last year and sow them neatly under the soil. Tomatoes big and small, lauki (botte gaurd), squashes of several variety, onion, potatoes, karela (bitter gourd), eggplants and many more. He would have me and my brother help him out, water the plants, pick weeds and make sure Polley, our pet dog doesn't make that garden her personal bathroom.

In the garden

There were parts of that chore that I liked, like throwing dirt and sneaking in small worms inside of my brother's shirt but then there were some that I hated. I would rather be watching MTv or chatting with my friends over the phone than talking to the plants at that age. But it was a chore and I had to do it!

Fenugreek Chicken

I would ask Papa why he even bothers to work so hard over those vegetable plants which gave us produce barely enough to feed us a few meals through out the season. Why to sweat so much over those 14 little okras when mummy could buy a kilo for a rupee. He would smile and in his heavy deep voice would reply, "that's because I love you!". I never understood that answer and that expression of love.

Fenugreek leaves from the garden.

But now after 20 years when I reap the first crop of methi (fenugreek) leaves off of my kitchen garden. A garden that I prepped up following each step Papa followed 20 years back and parts of which were a "chore" back then. When I carefully wash the dirt off of each leaf, chop them make and religiously brown each methi paratha on the skillet smothering some homemade ghee on it and secretly hoping that the picky eater in the family would like it. And when my daughter finishes it up in minutes and asks for a second helping, I know exactly what he meant back then. Now I understand how something as simple as working to provide a good wholesome meal can show your immense love for a person. I am not sure if my daughter realizes this expression of love yet but I am sure in another 20 years she will and hopefully will spread the same.

Tomatoes from the backyard

After a long few busy weeks and no blogging at all something like this of a realization could only have brought me back to the blogging world again. I am glad to be back and to be able to speak with you again. Hope you are keeping well, I am too. Today sharing with you a recipe for Methi Chicken, (chicken cooked with fresh fenugreek leaves). Its one of my dad's recipes which I absolutely love and is so simple to make. As long as you have fenugreek leaves and some chicken you will not have to run to the grocery store, I promise you that. And for those who are not familiar with fenugreek, here's a little info. So enjoy, till I see you again!

Methi Murgh  
Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds chicken (I used cut whole chicken, with bones but you can use any part and adjust the cooking time accordingly.
1 1/2 cup fresh fenugreek leaves, chopped (1 cup fenugreek leaves for 1 lb of chicken)
1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds (omit if not available)
1 tablespoon ginger (grated)
1 tablespoon garlic (grated) or use 2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste, though fresh tastes better.
2-3 thai green chili (slit from middle)
1 1/2 tablespoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 cup tomato
1 tablespoon ghee (optional)
2 tablespoon cooking oil
Salt to taste

Method:

Wash the chicken thoroughly. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, mix together ginger, garlic, turmeric, fenugreek seeds, coriander powder, chili and salt. Add chicken. Rub everything well together. Cover and let it marinate for atleast 2 hours or better overnight.
Heat ghee and oil in a heavy bottom pan with a cover. Add chicken. Saute the chicken and cook it under medium heat until its cooked half way through.
Add fenugreek leaves. Mix well, cover and cook on medium heat until the chicken is cooked. Stir occasionally, scraping the sides if they stick.
Towards the last 5 minutes add tomato. Adjust salt if required and upto 1/2 cup water if the curry is too thick. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, on a medium high heat.
Once the tomatoes melt and the chicken is cooked and slightly browned on the sides, its ready to eat.
Serve hot with Naan, Roti or simple pulav 

Friday, April 20, 2012

Indian Simmer Loves- The Spice Spoon

Its been quite an experience this past few months. Life couldn't be crazier (or so do I think!) with the day packed with a never ending list of "things" needed to be done. Trying to juggle work, family and my sanity together. I do not say that I am doing a good job with it or have reached the goal, but I am getting there. Hopefully life will get back to normal soon and I will get to do things that I haven't been able to do in months, like sleeping or sitting and wondering what to do next? And I could not thank you enough for your support and my friends who always have my back. One such dear friend I am featuring today as a part of Indian Simmer Loves is Shayma Saadat, the beautiful face behind lovely blog The Spice Spoon. If you want to read some good writing and some nostalgic stories which would take you back to your childhood and relive those forgotten moments, then you should read Shayma's food blog. I for one am a great fan of her as a person and food writer. I am proud that she agreed to be a part of this series on my blog today. Please welcome Shayma Saadat!

chicken sliders image4

Tell us about yourself and what you would say is your food philosophy?
I am a Pakistani-Afghan with Irani ancestry. I was born in Lahore, Pakistan and grew up in Pakistan, the US, Nigeria, Kenya, Bangladesh and the UK. I lived and worked in Rome, Italy for several years after which my husband and I, true to our nomadic expat lifestyle, made Toronto, Canada our new home.
My cookery style is reminiscent of the comfort food I grew up eating in my home- clove and cumin fragranced basmati pilafs; slow-braised spicy mutton stews, laced with ginger and garlic; and cardamom-infused milky rice puddings. The dishes I prepare are a reflection of my heritage; the food prepared by the women in my family.

chicken sliders image5

What led you to start a food blog?
I had just moved to Toronto from Rome and wanted to recreate those dishes which reminded me of my childhood in an attempt to feel rooted in a place I felt lost. Since recipes are passed down through an oral tradition in my part of the world, I decided to put pencil to paper and document the recipes created by the women in my family – from my Afghan, Irani and Pakistani heritage.

chicken sliders image7 What would you say "The Spice Spoon" is all about and please share a recipe that best describes your blog?
My blog, based on heritage cookery, reads like a food memoir. I relate each recipe to a memory- often from my childhood- of loved ones and of the places I have lived in. When I write a vignette, I want my readers to feel that they can relate to it on a nostalgic level. I want it to remind them of the place and time they tasted a dish their mother prepared for them as a child.
Through my stories, I also want people to see my part of the world- Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran through a different optic- with a more human face, rather than in a negative light, as is often depicted in the media.

chicken sliders image10 The recipe I am sharing with you today, Chicken Sliders in the Pakistani Manner with Mint Aïoli, is based on my Ami’s (mother) love for green chilies, ginger and fresh, verdant cilantro. Ami and I often have these kebabs with our afternoon tea, as most Pakistanis like to enjoy something savory during tea time. We dip them in a mint-yoghurt sauce, which inspired me to create a mint aïoli for the sliders.

Chicken Sliders with Mint Aïoli
You will need 8-10 slider rolls
Serves 8-10

Ingredients:
*1 slice whole wheat bread, toasted
*1 pound minced chicken (my butcher uses chicken breast)
* ½ a small onion, sliced very thinly
*1 small thumb ginger, julienned
*2 cups coarsely chopped fresh cilantro, stems and leaves
*2-3 Thai bird chilies, sliced straight into the mixture with kitchen shears
*1 egg
*2 tsp salt
*Any neutral oil (grape seed, for e.g.) for shallow frying
*Large frying pan

Preparation:
*Toast sliced bread till crisp. Allow to cool, then pulverize in a blender or food processor till it transforms into crumbs. Place in large mixing bowl.
*Add minced chicken, onion, ginger, cilantro, chilies, egg, salt and mix to combine. Use a spatula or gloves as the chilies can burn your fingers.
*For a salt-taste test, place frying pan on medium-high heat and add 1 teaspoon oil
*Take ½  a teaspoon of the mixture and drop into the hot oil. Flip on other side till done. Taste for salt. Add more salt to chicken mixture if necessary.
*Apply oil to your hands (or use gloves) and form meat into 2-inch round flat patties, about ½ -inch thick. Set aside on parchment / wax paper.
*Heat ¼ inch of oil in a pan over medium heat. Working in batches, add patties to oil and fry for 60-90 seconds per side or until golden brown and cooked through, adding more oil as needed (you may need to change the oil as it darkens)
*Transfer to a newspaper or paper towels to absorb excess oil


chicken sliders image2 Mint Aïoli   

Ingredients:
*2 fresh egg yolks (or pasteurized yolks)
*1 teaspoon minced garlic
* ½ cup fresh mint
*1½ cups olive oil
*1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
*Sea salt to taste

Preparation:
*In a blender, blitz yolks. garlic and mint till well incorporated
*While the blender is running, add oil in very slowly, in a thin stream
*Add lemon juice
*Add sea salt to taste

Assemble:
You will need olive oil
Slice the slider rolls in half, and brush the insides with olive oil. Place under your broiler till golden. Sandwich chicken kebab between slider roll after you slather it with mint aïoli. Serve with an arugula and cherry tomato salad, dressed with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.
Enjoy with family and friends on a lovely spring afternoon. And if you so please, pop open a bottle of a chilled Italian Falanghina.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Winners- Indian Food Palooza

First of all I am so sorry for this delayed post. As I must have ranted at many other occasions, time is really something I am running short of lately. Its been- all work and no play, kind of a scenario these days. But all this, so that I finish all the boring stuff soon and get back to fun ASAP! So please bear with me and I will be back to you and my blog real soon.

Leaves
Other than this, something that really pushed me off the hook yesterday was this post which I worked on putting up for you guys. I scheduled a timed post so that you can see it on time even if I get busy and can't attend to it. This morning I woke up hoping to see emails from the winners and the other participants but all I found was a no show! Not only was the post not published but it was no where to be found in my drafts. So blogger.com, PLEASE pull your stuff together and step up your game!

Stones in my backyard

Alright, so now that the rant part if over lets get to the good news shall we? When I, Kathy and Barbara were planning this event Indian Food Palooza, we never imagined that you will welcome it with such open arms. You and your recipes proved the event to be a great success and all of us want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You are inspiring me to bring a bigger and grander event next time, so stay tuned!

IMG_7399

Entries to Indian Food Palooza were closed on March 31st and then on April 1st we chose five lucky winners via random.org. The list below in no chronological order and is not on the basis of any merit but purely random. And the winners are...

Madhur Recipe's - Mixed Vegetable Curry in Coconut Milk Sauce- Tropical Traditions Coconut Flour

Kitchen Kemistry- Tangdi Kabab- Tropical Traditions Coconut Flakes

Spices And Aroma- Omelet Kozhambhu- Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil

Sunshine And Smile- Khandvi- Set of Indian Spices from My Spice Sage.

50 Recipes in 2012- Stuffed Eggplant-  J.K. Adams artisan maple cutting board from Creative Culinary

Congratulations you guys! Please contact either me, Kathy or Barbara via email with your postal addresses and then we can go from there.
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