So without any further delay, lets get on to the recipe.
Garlic & Paprika Chicken
Recipe from: Jo Cooks
6 chicken drumsticks
1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves garlic, grated
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp red chilly flakes (optional or to taste)
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
Wash and pat the chicken drumsticks dry. Season with salt and pepper.
In a small skillet or saucepan, heat the oil over medium heat.
Add the garlic, smoked paprika, chilly flakes and oregano to the oil and cook for 1 minute. Do not burn the garlic.
Pour this marinade over the chicken drumsticks and mix well making sure that the chicken is evenly coated with the spices.
Place the drumsticks in a single layer in a baking dish and bake for about 40 minutes or till the chicken legs have cooked through.
I served this up with some lemon orzo with asparagus.
This is a 2-part meal idea. Part one is all about the lemon orzo with asparagus. All I will say about part 2 is YUM. That’s the next post. You should definitely come back for that one. Its a new favourite for me. This lemon orzo is a combination of some of my favourite things – pasta, asparagus and lemon. I love the vibrant colours and beautiful flavours. This is something you can serve up with a nice Sunday / holiday roast or as a side dish for your next lunch / dinner party. I can also see this working really well at your next backyard barbie (BBQ). Try it out and you’ll be glad to have something so simple but so delicious to add to your recipe box.
I have tried to shop for Orzo before, but have never been able to find any. I did the next best thing and bought Risoni instead. From what I understand they are very similar except for a slight difference in the size. One is made to resemble an unprocessed grain or barley and the other rice. You could use either. I should have just titled this Lemon Risoni I guess, but I’ll leave it as is, for now. I substituted the parsley with some fresh cilantro as thats all I had. Also, the next time I make these, I might either cut down or leave out the lemon zest. I love lemon zest in certain things but this time we personally found it too strong a flavour.
Lemon Orzo with Asparagus
Adapted from: Jo Cooks
Yields: 4 portions
1 bunch asparagus (about 1/2 lb or thereabouts)
1 cup chicken stock (use vegetable stock for a vegetarian version)
1- 1 and 1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
A pinch of turmeric powder
1 cup dry uncooked pasta (orzo or risoni)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
For the dressing –
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
3 cloves garlic, minced / grated
Salt, to taste
Freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
To cook the asparagus –
Trim the asparagus and lay the spears in a shallow dish (a baking tray works best), pour enough boiling water over it to cover it.
Season with a little salt, to taste.
Cover with some cling film or another tight fitting lid and leave aside to till the water is just warm to the touch. (You can cook your pasta and prepare your dressing in the meanwhile.)
Drain out the water and cut the spears into about 2 inch long pieces.
For the dressing –
In a bowl, place the zest and juice, garlic, salt and pepper.
Add the oil and whisk till it emulsifies a little into a nice dressing. Set aside.
For the pasta –
In a large pot, bring the stock and water to a boil.
Add the salt and turmeric and bring back to a boil.
Add the pasta to the pot and cook till the pasta is done. (I like to leave it a little al dente.)
Drain the pasta.
Place the hot pasta in a large bowl with the asparagus and cilantro.
Whisk the dressing a little, if needed and add to the bowl.
Top with a little butter. (This is optional.)
So, if you are looking to add a little variety to your routine Indian meals, try this out. A lot of folks make the pooris using fresh methi / fenugreek. I didn’t have access to any, so I replaced it with some Kasuri Methi / dried fenugreek leaves. These are readily available in any Indian grocery store and keep well for months. I served this up with some Aloo bhaji, or mildly spiced Indian curried potatoes. You can find the recipe for that here. If you’d like to try the basic poori recipe, the plain one, you can find it here. If you’re a noob at cooking Indian food the potato stir fry is a good place to start. It is nothing more than a quick stir fry and if I can make it, anyone can 🙂 So don’t let the thought of cooking Indian food scare you. Give these recipes a try and you’ll be hooked.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 heaped tbsp natural, unflavoured yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tbsp Kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
Oil, for deep frying
Mix the whole wheat flour, all purpose flour and salt in a large bowl.
Place the kasuri methi in your palms and rub a little to release their flavour. Sprinkle over the flour.
Tip in the turmeric powder and mix everything together.
Add the yogurt and stir through.
Gradually add a little water and knead to a soft, pliable dough.
Add the water gradually as you don’t want to end up with a sticky dough. If the dough turns out too sticky, sprinkle a little flour over and knead it in and you should be good to go.
Cover with a damp cloth and let it rest for about half an hour.
Heat the oil for deep frying over medium heat.
(To test the oil, drop a tiny pea sized ball of the dough carefully into the oil. It should sizzle and rise to the top fairly quickly. If this happens, your oil is at the right temperature. If it browns straightaway, your oil is too hot. Take it off the heat for a while and then start frying. If it just sinks to the bottom without any sizzle, your oil is not hot enough.)
Make small walnut size portions and roll to form a disc. Do not roll out too thin. (According to my mum, they need to be a little on the thicker side to puff up. I simply follow that and get brilliant results each time.)
Deep fry as you’re rolling them out. Don’t stack the raw discs before frying.
When golden brown, drain on absorbent kitchen paper.
So back to this paratha. This paratha is easier to make than the Gobhi Paratha, because of the filling. This filling has lesser moisture and so is so much easier to roll. I was happy with that. I love the little green peeking through the paratha with the finished product. Try it out and see what you think of it.
Green Peas Parathas
Recipe from: Show Me the Curry
Yields approx. 9-10
For the dough –
2 cups wholewheat flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbsp olive oil / ghee
Mix the flour and the salt well.
Drizzle the olive oil and mix through.
Bind with a little water at a time to form a soft pliable dough. The dough should not be sticky.
If you find the dough sticky, add some more whole wheat flour. If the dough is too dry and difficult to knead, add a little water.
Knead well, roll into a ball, cover with a damp cloth and keep aside while you make the filling.
For the filling – 1 1/2 cup frozen green peas (you could use fresh too), rinsed, thawed and thoroughly drained
2 birdseye chillies, or to taste
1 tbsp garlic minced
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves and stalks, chopped
Salt, to taste
1 tbsp ghee (clarified butter) (alternatively you could use olive oil)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
Into the bowl of a food processor, place the green peas, chillies, garlic, coriander and salt.
Pulse a couple of times. You want a coarse blend and NOT a paste or puree. You want some larger pieces and some smaller bits, much like what you see in the pan in the next picture.
Heat a pan over medium heat and add 1 tbsp ghee.
Add the cumin seeds and let them sputter, being careful to not burn them.
Add the green peas mix.
Stir around and let it cook out for about 2 minutes.
Remove from the pan and let it cool completely.
**Additionally you will need some dry whole wheat flour for dusting your work surface and some ghee to brush over the parathas.
To make the parathas –
Place a thick bottomed pan / tawa on a medium flame and let it heat up.
In the meanwhile, divide the dough and the pea mix into portions.
1) and 2) Dust your work surface with some flour. Roll a ball of dough between your palms to form a smooth ball. Flatten and using a rolling pin roll out to a disc about 6 inches in diameter. While rolling you need to make sure it doesn’t stick to the work surface. Don’t flip the dough over while rolling. (Note that these measures are approx. just to give you an idea of the sizes).
3) Place the disc in the palm of your hand. I am right handed, so I place the little disc on my left palm.
4) Spread a few drops of ghee on it.
5) Place a spoonful on the filling mix in the centre. You don’t want to overfill the parathas or rolling can get messy.
6) Pick up opposite sides of the disc and press together to seal.
7) Gather in the rest of the edges. Press the edges against each other (like a little dumpling) to seal. Then flatten it gently and press the edges down. Here you are trying to roll it into a little ball carefully without smashing it.
8)Dust a little more flour on your work surface, if needed. Place the seam side down and gently start rolling the little ball out.
9) Roll out to about 8 inches wide. Again, you need to make sure it doesn’t stick to the work surface. You can dust with more dry flour if needed. You also don’t want to roll it too thin because the filling will just ooze out.
Place this on a well heated tawa / griddle and roast for a while moving it around till light brown spots appear on one side. Turn over and cook on the other side till light brown spots appear on the other side as well.
To finish off, spoon a few drops of clarified butter on the paratha and spread. Flip over and repeat this on the other side letting it roast for a few seconds after you add the clarified butter to the side.
Serve hot with butter and a mug of hot coffee for a yummy Indian breakfast or brunch option.
This time around, I served this up for dinner with some mildly flavoured yogurt (plain raita) and some sweet mango pickle. (The pickle is called Chunda / Chundo and you should be able to find it in any Indian store.)
These parathas go very well with any Indian style veggies too.
You can leave out the clarified butter if you want an even healthier version, but it does wonders for the taste.
If you have any dough or filling left over, simply refrigerate and use the next day.
You can also make a plain paratha by simply rolling out the dough, spread the ghee, wrap and re-roll and roast it without the filling. This can be served with your favorite jam or cheese or scrambled eggs or an omelette or anything else you’d fancy.
You could serve this up with plain yogurt too.
For the plain raita –
Good quality, unflavoured yogurt
Salt, to taste
Sugar, to taste (I use about 1 tbsp to 1 1/2 cups of yogurt, approx)(This will also depend on how tart the yogurt is. I sometimes use lesser than that)
Red chilli powder
Mix the yogurt, salt and sugar and still thoroughly to incorporate the salt and sugar and beat till you are left with a smooth yogurt.
Place in the serving bowl and lightly spinkle some cumin powder and red chilly powder over.
So back to the butternut pumpkin. This is the second time I’m making a butternut pumpkin soup. The last time it turned out really bland and I wasn’t overly impressed, which is why it hasn’t made an appearance on the blog. This time around, I decided I wanted some bold, punchy flavours so I looked around and took a few ideas from around the web. It turned out this recipe was easy, simple to make and has big, bold flavours. I remember thinking the last time, that a little ginger would make this soup so much better and I was right. This soup just warms the cockles of your heart.
I took the idea of topping it up with blue cheese from a recipe I found online. Please do yourself a favour and add the blue cheese. The blue cheese elevates this soup from being a nice soup to being a fantastic one.
Spiced Butternut Pumpkin Soup
700g butternut pumpkin, peeled and chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp grated ginger
Salt, to taste
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 – 1 tsp red chilly flakes, or to taste (optional)
1/2 tsp chives
2 tbsp olive oil
1 litre boiling water
1/3 cup cream cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Blue cheese, to crumble over
In a large pot, over medium heat, pour the olive oil.
Add the garlic and when it is fragrant, add the onion and and saute over medium heat, till softened and translucent. Add the ginger and continue sauteing.
Once the ginger has released its aromas, add the celery, carrot and pumpkin.
Sprinkle the salt, pepper and red chilly flakes and stir well.
Let the veggies, saute for about five minutes, stirring to make sure it doesn’t burn.
Add one litre of recently boiled water. (You could add cold water too, but that will increase cooking time. Using hot water results in the soup simmering almost immediately.)
Cover and simmer till the veggies are cooked and tender.
When the vegetables are fork tender, take off the heat.
Using an immersion blender, blitz till you are left with a smooth puree. Add the cream cheese and blitz again.
Add the parmesan cheese and chives and stir through.
Serve hot with a little blue cheese crumbled over.