ZERO Oil Mughlai Style Shahi Chicken Korma

shahi chicken korma

The Mughlai cuisine was perhaps the most marvelous additions to the diverse Indian food styles by the Mughal Empire (15th -18th Century). Quite rich and heavy on the palate, these dishes are most suited for an occasional indulgence rather than as an everyday comfort meal!

…Thank God It’s Friday!

That said, I try to cook as healthily as I can and trust me you will be amazed how tasty this particular dish will be even with ZERO oil in it..

FACT First off, a majority of Indian cooking styles rely on slow cooking using plenty of aromatic and healthy spices, needing only minimal cooking oil/fat. But when the same dishes are recreated in a restaurant, they use of plenty of oil to speed up the cooking process and make it tasty at the same time!

Before getting into anything please read this disclaimer ; for I cook freestyle, what that means is I taste as I go and therefore I suggest you also get into this habit; helps you become a better chef, than blindly following the “proportions” to the dot!

Shahi Curry Paste recipe

  • 1 cup dry roasted salted cashews
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder / cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2″ knob of ginger
  • 1 fresh green chili (optional)
  • A generous pinch of nutmeg powder & cracked black pepper

Grind it all into a fine paste adding just enough water to thicken up the paste. Set aside.

Veggies & Chicken

  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 1 brown onion
  • 500g organic chicken thigh fillets

Alchemy

Cube the veggies and dice the chicken thigh fillets into medium sized pieces. The fat in the thigh fillet is enough to fry the spices in the curry paste during the slow cooking process!

Place your slow/pressure cooker on large flame burner and wait till it almost gets screaming hot. Add in the chicken, the fatty pieces first. Let it start to slowly sizzle allowing the fat to ooze out. Add the veggies, curry paste and just a cup of water. Stir well to combine and close the lid. Move the cooker onto your smallest burner and let it cook for 30-45 minutes on low flame.

Or the absolutely mouth watering aroma will tell you when it’s ready 😉 

Serve with any flat breads of your choice!

shahi chicken

Use this Yummy recipe to make it easier to save & cook this delicious dish. I would love to know your thoughts 🙂

ZERO Oil Mughlai Style Shahi Chicken Korma

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the Shahi curry paste
  • 1 cup dry roasted salted cashews
  • 1 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 1 tsp chilli powder / cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/2" knob of ginger
  • 1 fresh green chili (optional)
  • A generous pinch of nutmeg powder & cracked black pepper
  • Veggies & Chicken
  • 1 red capsicum
  • 1 green capsicum
  • 1 brown onion
  • 500g organic chicken thigh fillets

Instructions

  1. Cube the veggies and dice the chicken thigh fillets into medium sized pieces. The fat in the thigh
  2. fillet is enough to fry the spices in the curry paste during the slow cooking process!
  3. Place your slow/pressure cooker on large flame burner and wait till it almost gets screaming hot.
  4. Add in the chicken, the fatty pieces first.
  5. Let it start to slowly sizzle allowing the fat to ooze out.
  6. Add the veggies, curry paste and just a cup of water.
  7. Stir well to combine and close the lid.
  8. Move the cooker onto your smallest burner and let it cook for 30-45 minutes on low flame.
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Australian Abalone for dinner

Thanks to my friend Hiro, a true insanefoodie, I was introduced to this very special and exotic seafood – Abalone a.k.a marine seas snails

abalones
..taking a moment to snap these at the Cafe where we shared the spoils!

Knowing my fascination for the hard to find delicacies, one day he asked me casually – “Do you like abalone?” I didn’t know what the hell it was, but the minute I found out, I was intrigued. And today he got me a fresh catch of the Black Lipped Abalone! I had a hard time getting it into my kitchen (alive that it was), Dee was a bit horrified that my insanities had gone way too far this time!

Now, one can see abalones either as a large shell fish/oyster or as an eyebrow raising sea snail and join the elite cadre of species like Timon & Pumba and feel special you’ve had a meal that’s extra-ordinary; it’s your choice, really!

Abalones, pronounced for some strange reason as “aba-loney” unlike umm Stallone, can be found in shallow waters close to the bay areas in Melbourne. Abalone fishing is restricted to strict numbers and the Green Lip variety is even banned from fishing given it’s endangered status. So if you can get your hands on any Abalone in general, consider yourself extremely privileged! They sell in the fresh food market, i.e. if you can find them, for $50-$60 a kilo.

Did you know Tasmania alone accounts for 25% of the world’s fished Abalone?

Apparently the New Zealand abalones (päua) grow up to much bigger sizes; pretty scary considering the fact I just held a live one in my hand before scooping out the flesh out of the shell! Should it’s monstrous brethren learn of my whereabouts..I shudder!

Anyhow, to avoid any of this preciousness go to waste, I asked Hiro (being the Masterchef that he is) to give me some tips on cooking the Abalone, which he thought does the best justice to this priced seafood!

Step 1: Scoop the flesh out of the shell using a spoon, your abalone is thereafter officially “dead”, I don’t know what better way to put this across..honestly!

Step 2: Clean the underside (facing the shell) by pulling the guts out

abalone

Step 3: In a screaming hot pan, add some butter and place the abalone, giving 30 secs on each side, so as to not toughen the meat too much.

Step 4: Add some Japanese soy sauce to the pan, and allow to it burn a little to impart some smokiness. Allow the Abalone to cook for half a minute more.

Step 5: Remove from pan, using a sharp knife, slice the Abalone (width wise).

Step 6: Spoon over the soy sauce from the pan & it is ready to be relished!

cooked abalone

Yes, it does smell much like oyster and taste like squid/calamari, but the whole experience and knowing the story behind is satisfying. And for the record, Dee did taste it..Ha!

I look forward to hearing your comments.

Yours truly,

theinsanefoodie

Here’s the quick-look Yummy Recipe to keep or share,

Cooking Australian Abalone for dinner

Ingredients

  • Fresh Black Lip Abalone
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce (Japanese preferred)
  • Butter (1/4 knob)

Instructions

  1. Scoop the flesh out of the shell using a spoon
  2. Clean the underside (facing the shell) by pulling the guts out
  3. In a screaming hot pan, add some butter and place the abalone, giving 30 secs on each side, so
  4. as to not toughen the meat too much.
  5. Add little Japanese soy sauce to the pan, and allow to it burn a little to impart some smokiness.
  6. Allow the Abalone to cook for half a minute more
  7. Remove from pan, using a sharp knife, slice the Abalone (width wise).
  8. Spoon over the soy sauce from the pan & it is ready to be relished!
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cheers,

theinsanefoodie

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Super-tasty Chicken Cacciatore with Sweet Potatoes

cacciatore italian stew

A cacciatore is a traditional Italian “hunter-style” stew made with meat (and veggies) using juicy red tomatoes, garlic and herbs. It packs a ton of flavour and is extremely easy to cook.

While the cacciatore is best prepared using gamey meats like rabbit, here I have tweaked the recipe to make an easy chicken cacciatore which is equally delicious!

When using chicken, only make sure to use chicken thigh fillets on the bone and/or drumsticks, and then this modified recipe will work just fine!

This is my own take on Jamie Oliver’s recipe, but only simpler to make it easier for home-cooks like you & me!

I’ve never really given sweet potatoes a chance before in my diet, but that’s changed tremendously since making this dish. I’m also of the strong opinion that sweet potatoes make better & chunkier wedges too..so swap your spuds for sweet potatoes next time you make tasty wedges with this recipe!

So anyway, here’s what you will need & how you can make your own delicious chicken cacciatore at home.. (click the print button to save this recipe)

Super-tasty Chicken Cacciatore with Sweet Potatoes

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken thigh fillets (on the bone)
  • 2 chicken drumsticks (without skin)
  • 1 medium sweet potato (skin on), cut into 1/2" chunks)
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes, in juice
  • 1 large portobello mushroom, cut into large quarters
  • 1 big handful of fresh Italian basil leaves
  • 1 jalapeno, seeds in (makes the stew extra spicy, go easy on this if you wish)
  • 2 cloves of garlic, crushed
  • 3 dried or fresh bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine (Shiraz or Merlot)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, freshly cracked
  • salt to taste
  • 1 cup water

Instructions

  1. Cooking on the gas-burner takes about 15-20 mins, so pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C 15 minutes into cooking..
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large oven-proof skillet (else just transfer contents to a oven-proof dish prior to baking), reduce to low heat setting.
  3. Add bay leaves & garlic; allow it to lightly brown
  4. Add onions, salt and saute until translucent
  5. Add jalapeno & mushrooms and stir to lightly coat in oil
  6. Add the chicken, and chunky sweet potato pieces; allow to cook for 10 minutes on medium heat
  7. To this, add in the tomato can, water & basil leaves and stir until well combined
  8. Add cracked black pepper & red wine to richen the sauce.
  9. Remove from heat and place it into the oven.
  10. Bake for 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are cooked through and the chicken falls off the bone.
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Recently I gave this recipe a trial using turkey shanks instead and it turned out to be killer too! In this case, remember to leave the shanks in the baking oven or pressure cooker for longer (30-45 mins) so that the meat cooks through and falls off the bone.

I look forward to your comments!

cheers,

theinsanefoodie

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Roasted chicken Maryland in beer sauce

Enhancing flavour with beer is something I love to do from time to time. But choosing the right beer is critical. Pick a highly hopped beer and most assuredly you’re in trouble!

Although you may enjoy beers with high hop content, like IPAs, on their own, it necessarily doesn’t translate to an “enjoyable taste” when added in cooking! I learnt this the last time I tried using an Australian Pale Ale (APA) to make a dip – it wasn’t terrible, I agree, but would I make it again, NOPE. It’s just a waste of good APA! Better had on it’s own. Period.

But to keep things simple, rule of the thumb, if a particular food you love goes well with the beer of your choice, use it by all means to pimp up your dish the next time you cook it – but don’t go overboard, for the alcohol might boil off, but the bitterness lingers on!

Anyhow, this time I used a light beer – Tun – it’s the best especially because I also wanted make some beer peanut dip. Check that recipe out by clicking here.

Getting down to making the chicken roast,

  • Firstly, we need to make the rub for the chicken to be browned in. So get some plain flour, smoked paprika, freshly ground pepper, salt and mix them all together in a bowl.
  • Coat the chicken Maryland pieces (with skin) on both sides with the rub and shake off the excess flour.
  • In a thick bottom pan, add some olive oil and brown each side of the chicken.


chicken maryland in beer saucechicken maryland in beer sauce

  • Transfer the chicken portions into a grill pan.
  • {making the beer sauce} While the pan is still on the heat, add a little beer to scrape off the browned bits of chicken skin, rub & fatty juices.
  • Add the rest of the rub to the pan, and slowly stir in the beer.

beer sauce

  • Allow the sauce to thicken and add some BBQ sauce too, to sweeten the flavour a tad.
  • Take the sauce off the heat and pour over the chicken in the grill pan.
  • Break some fresh asparagus sticks in halves and arrange them around the chicken.
  • Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C and place the grill tray on the middle shelf.
  • Allow to bake for 25 minutes and grill for a few minutes to brown off the chicken, and release the fats from the skin. This adds a lot of flavour to the asparagus and makes them heavenly!!

Serve with some delicious home-made potato broccoli mash!

I would love to hear your comments if you happen to try this recipe. To download this recipe, please use the YUM print recipe button (below) & click the share button to notify your friends!

Chicken Maryland roasted in a BBQ beer sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 chicken Maryland portions - with skin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 tbsp smoke paprika
  • 1 tsp cracked fresh pepper
  • salt to taste
  • 150 ml light beer
  • 1 1/2 tbsp of BBQ sauce
  • 1 bunch of asparagus

Instructions

  1. For the rub mix the plain flour, smoked paprika, freshly ground pepper and salt all together in a
  2. bowl.
  3. Coat the chicken Maryland pieces on both sides with the rub and shake off the excess flour.
  4. In a thick bottom pan, add some olive oil and brown each side of the chicken.
  5. Transfer the chicken portions into a grill pan.
  6. While the pan is still on the heat, add a little beer to scrape off the browned bits of chicken skin,
  7. rub & fatty juices.
  8. Add the rest of the rub to the pan, and slowly stir in the beer.
  9. Allow the sauce to thicken and add some BBQ sauce too, to sweeten the flavour a tad.
  10. Take the sauce off the heat and pour over the chicken in the grill pan.
  11. Break some fresh asparagus sticks in halves and arrange them around the chicken.
  12. Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C and place the grill tray on the middle shelf.
  13. Allow to bake for 25 minutes and grill for a few minutes to brown off the chicken, and release the
  14. fats from the skin. This adds a lot of flavour to the asparagus and makes them heavenly!!
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cheers

theinsanefoodie

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How to make the perfect white sauce every single time

perfect white sauce

It’s that time of the evening you’re craving for some white sauce pasta, but you can’t be bothered making an elaborate meal; white sauce takes time, not to mention it needs loads of butter, thickened cream and what not..”do I even have this in my kitchen pantry?”, you wonder. “I’d rather eat out..”

NOT SO SOON..

I’m going to tell you a little trick that will help you make the perfect white sauce within minutes. What’s more? NO MORE LUMPS and you will get it right every single time!

The simplicity of this recipe also makes it foolproof. But be warned, this is one of those hack recipes, which is appealing given it’s cost-benefit aspect..pardon my jargon, I had to say that!

Now that’s out of the way, here’s the trick,

In a tumbler, add 200 ml boiling water, a stock cube and 2 heaped tablespoons of white flour. Mix it well dissolve the flour completely. Keep it aside. 

Recipe suggestion – {Creamy Mushroom & Spinach Spaghetti}

mushroom spaghetti

  1. Start by browning some crushed garlic cloves in olive oil. Add to it some mushrooms, season with salt and freshly cracked pepper; allow it to shrink in size.
  2. To this add 1 cup of full cream milk and stir to combine.
  3. Add in your favourite greens – spinach or broccoli florets.
  4. Allow for the veggies to cook for a minute and add in the stock-flour solution!
  5. Stir well until the sauce thickens. That’s it! Add in cooked spaghetti and top it off with grated parmesan cheese and parsley/oregano seasoning (or fresh leaves)!

To download this simple recipe using Yummly,

The quick way to making delicious White Sauce Pasta!

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • For the sauce,
  • 1 cup (250 ml) full-cream milk
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 cup (250 ml) boiling water
  • Salt
  • Cracked pepper
  • Herbs (parsley/oregano) - fresh or dried

Instructions

  1. In a tumbler, add 200 ml boiling water, a stock cube and 2 heaped tablespoons of white flour.
  2. Mix it well dissolve the flour completely. Keep it aside.
  3. So to make some delicious mushroom pasta,
  4. You would first start by browning some crushed garlic cloves in olive oil.
  5. Add to it some mushrooms, season with salt and freshly cracked pepper and allow it to shrink in size.
  6. To this add 1 cup of full cream milk and stir to combine.
  7. Then add in your favourite greens - spinach or broccoli florets.
  8. Allow for the veggies to cook for a minute and add in the stock-flour solution!
  9. Stir well until the sauce thickens.
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Please do leave a comment and share this recipe if it made your cooking a tad simpler!

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Mushroom Marinara sauce

creamy marinara sauce

This is a darn simple yet creative twist on a regular marinara sauce that beautifully compliments meatballs. I make this when I’m bored of making a regular red pasta sauce.

You’ll notice that there are no fancy ingredients or much culinary skills involved in this one, but wait until you taste this sauce before you make a judgement!

Mushroom Marinara Sauce Recipe

Simple & Creamy Mushroom Marinara Sauce

Ingredients

  • 5 medium sized tomatoes cut into medium sized pieces
  • 100g of button mushrooms
  • 1 onion cut into quarters (cubed)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp black pepper powdered
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • A dash of Red wine - sweeter Port preferred

Instructions

  1. In a non stick skillet, heat olive oil and add the garlic cloves.
  2. Additionally, one could add chilli flakes if you like the sauce spicier.
  3. Once it’s turned slightly brown, add cubed onions and saute on med flame for a min and lower it. Add mushrooms and saute till they size down.
  4. Add pepper and oregano as your saute.
  5. Add tomatoes and cook until they are tender.
  6. Remove from flame and wait for it to cool.
  7. Add a swig of red wine & the contents from the skillet to a blender
  8. Blend for half a min at Hi speed until the sauce is creamy smooth.
  9. Pour over your cooked meatballs and serve with spaghetti!
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Indian Paan & Kochi’s Must Visit Paan Pitstop

Paan, an after meal Indian mouth freshener/snack is a folded betel leaf with the insides smeared with slaked lime paste, and filled with betel nut shavings, fruits, aromatics and sometimes other insane additions such as sweetened grated coconut, chocolate, dry fruits etc. Paan is one of the few items which is traditional to India as a whole, much like the Indian tea.

Because of the addition of betel nut pieces and calcium hydroxide (slaked lime) paste, it has a mild psychedelic effect although the amount added in a regular paan is quite minimal.

While in some parts of India, paan is chewed as a milder alternative to getting a tobacco fix, non-betel nut variations such as the chocolate paans and exotic fruit & nut sweet paans are had even as a substitute for dessert.

paan shop in Mumbai
Dil Khush Paan Shop in Mumbai serves specialty dry fruit paans

The non-sweetened version of the Indian paan, with betel or Areca nut pieces and slaked lime paste, is also served at weddings after the wedding feast as a mouth freshener. It is something that eases digestion and quite popular especially with the older people.

We have a regular pitstop at Broadway, Kochi, where the sweet paans are to die for. Last time we checked it was selling for around 60 rupees a paan. His sweet paan has raisins, dried fruits and few other secret ingredients which makes it mouth watering!

The location of this paan-wala cannot be ascertained, but if you are in the area during the late hours, he’ll probably be the only one around 😉

theinsanefoodie

Delhi street food in Melbourne’s alleyway

Here you get the same old experience of eating mouthwatering chat from a street vendor anywhere in India although in a slightly upmarket ambience. Although not themed to look a hawker style joint, Delhi Streets does reasonably well in giving you a wholesome Indian experience. While the samosa may not necessarily appeal to all Indian palates, samosa chat is deliciousthanks to the moat of dark chana masala in which the samosas sit. Read my full review on weekend notes.
Delhi streets serves absolutely lip-smacking food that is easy on the wallet. Oh, it’s worth mentioning that this could well be the best Indian joint in the CBD area!

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Goan delicacies at Cafe Basilios

We lunched at Cafe Basilios one of the days we toured Goa back in Feb 2012. As a tourist, the first thing you gotta do is stop acting like one! Sure, you may not speak the local lingo or even understand it. But ask the locals and at least you’ll know where the best local eateries are!

Cafe Basilios is completely off the beaten path. Heck, after 3 years of being there, the cafe doesn’t even have enough reviews to show up on social media! You’ve gotta literally stumble upon it as we did, riding 30 km to Panjim from Ponda on a hot sweaty Goan afternoon.

Hidden away in the myriad streets of Panjim, known only to locals, this restaurant is better known for it’s mouth watering Goan fish curry meals among other Goan delicacies!

After what seemed like a zillion wrong turns and asking around we made it to Cafe Basilios. The restaurant itself is on the 1st floor of an apartment building.

IMG_3234

Weary and excited at the same time, we knew exactly what were after – their Goan Thali! We each got a Kingfisher beer to quench our thirst while we waited for our thalis. Being their bestseller, it came almost immediately after we ordered, steaming hot and smelling delicious!

IMG_3236

The Food & Drink The  standard Goan Thali  comes with 2 fried fish fillets, fish curry gravy (coconut base), rice, squid masala, veggies and hokum for a meagre Rs.100. The quality and quantity is absolutely fantastic for the price.

The Ambience The restaurant has a pretty bland ambience with no theme in particular. It’s all about the food.

Other makes/breaks This place is hard to find for the casual traveler to Goa as it’s not located in a prime tourist spot. Is it worth the effort you ask? YES, absolutely! We loved the adventure of seeking this one out and I look forward to checking-in again next time I’m in Goa!

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Yours,

theinsanefoodie

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