March 28, 2016

Making lemon bars with meyer lemons

Making lemon bars

Happy Holi everyone. I hope you enjoyed the festival of colors with something sweet.

Holi kind of sneaked up on me. I was on the phone with my parents when they asked what our plans were for Holi, and of course what was I making for the festival. I sputtered and went on overdrive.

I remembered that my moms kitchen is busy at this time - the gujias my mom would make, along with sandesh or even naroo if fresh coconut was available.

Instead all I had were two bags of meyer lemons that I had greedily picked up on my last grocery trip. I had to make a quick decision and I decided to tackle two problems with one solution. Holi mithai and meyer lemons. I initially thought of a cake with lemon curd but swiftly changed my plans for something simpler.

I settled on lemon bars. I was kind of nervous attempting it just like lemon curd last year. And just like lemon curd, this is easy to make and super delicious.

I followed the Betty Crocker lemon bar recipe substituting lemons with meyer lemons. With meyer lemons the bars weren't as tart, and had a divine floral smell.

March 17, 2016

Kasoori methi chicken -- Mohana's recipe

Kasoori Methi chicken

The best part of blogging has been meeting people. Someone's cousin is in town, would you recommend a good restaurant, or a friend of a friend is visiting over the weekend and contacts us, or connections through relatives or through another blogger.

When Mohana,  Soma's (who blogs at e-Curry) cousin moved to Ann Arbor, I made another friend. When we were at her place for lunch, she had made this kasoori methi chicken.

Usually, my kids are not big fans of curry. When I ask them, they will pour a little curry over rice, minimal I say, and eat the chicken on the side.

That is not what happened with this curry. They asked for multiple helpings and had a proper jhol-bhath (rice soaked in curry). I immediately asked Mohana for the recipe that she graciously shared with visual descriptions of how much of each ingredients.

I have made it since then and even sent it for lunch with the kindergartner.

Thank you Mohana! it is delicious.

I just add some grated ginger to her original recipe and you can decide to omit it out.

(serves 4-5)
2-3 Chicken breast pieces cut in strips
2 1/2 tspoon kasoori methi
1 tspoon garam masala
1/2 can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup whole milk (you can also use 1/4 cup cream instead)
1/2 tspoon grated ginger
1/2 tspoon turmeric powder
1/4 tspoon chilli powder (change it according to your taste)
4 tbspoon oil
salt to taste

Marinate the chicken strips in 1 tspoon kasoori methi, 1/2 tspoon garam masala salt and turmeric and let it sit for a couple of hours.

Now heat a pan with 3 tbspoon oil and brown the chicken strips on each side about 3-4 minutes on each side.

In a saucepan, heat the rest of 1 tbspoon oil. Add 1 tspoon kasoori methi sort of cruch it with your hands over the oil and then add the garam masala. Add the ginger and the crushed tomatoes and let it cook for 3-4 minutes till the chicken is done.

Now add the chicken to the saucepan, lower the heat and add the milk stirring constantly. Add the salt, chilli powder and the rest of the kasoori methi (1/2 tspoon).

Kasoori Methi chicken

Cook on low heat with frequent stirring for another 7-8 minutes or till the chicken is cooked.

Take it off the heat and serve it with some plain rice.

March 04, 2016

Simple tadka mixed dal for vacation

Simple tadka mixed dal
We had received 12 inches of snow and another 4-5 inches was in the forecast. In middle of this huddling down and going about our routine, it was great to pack our bags and head for the sandy beaches and miss the snow in the forecast.

Instead of shoveling, we soaked the sun, played in the pool, collected shells on the beach, watched birds and enjoyed the warm weather of Florida. 

Dolphin spotting

One of the highlights was going on a boat tour to watch the dolphins. We ran into a nursery of dolphins and the mother and the baby regaled us by swimming behind the boat and jumping out every minute or so. It was wonderful. Look how cute they are!

While on these vacations, we try to find a place that has a small kitchen so we can cook one meal in the room instead of eating out and it works out very well with little kids. 

The set up is minimal, few ingredients, I carry a few spices, dal and rice and we buy a few vegetables. 

In these trips, I make a simple tadka dal that we love. I just cook the dal outside (instead of a pressure cooker) and then put a simple tadka at the end. It tastes great with a quick stir fry and some rice.

(serves 4-5)
1/2 cup moong dal
1/2 cup masoor dal
1/4 tspoon turmeric powder
1/2 tspoon cumin powder
salt to taste

For tadka:
1/2 tspoon cumin seeds
1/4 tspoon red chilli powder
1 tspoon oil

Wash the dals together and then boil it with 3- 3.5 cups of water, salt and turmeric and cumin powder. I just stir it every few minutes till the dal is soft to touch, somewhere between 10-15 minutes. 

 Heat the oil in a small vessel and temper it with the cumin seeds. Once it starts sputtering, add the red chilli. Immediately take it off the heat and add it to the dal.
Simple tadka mixed dal

It's ready to be served.


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