Chicken 65 Recipe

A really long time ago, my parents and I used to go to this South Indian restaurant called Pavani.  It’s since shut down, but I fell in love with a dish called “Ginger Chicken”.  It’s an appetizer that goes well with an ice cold beer.  It was SO good, and I thought I’d never have it again.  Then a place called Biryani Pot opened up in Houston and they had a dish called Chicken 65 that was the same exact thing.  This is a popular South Indian dish that I’m sure you’ll love!

The name is unique and I tracked down the real story behind it.  There was a military canteen in the South of India that served this dish.  The whole menu was in Tamil so the military men who didn’t know the language would order by the number on the menu.  This particular dish was #65, and so it became Chicken 65.

My version of it tastes exactly like the one at the restaurant.  You can imagine my excitement when I took the first bite of this.  It’s such an easy recipe too!

Here’s what you need:Ingredients

Fried Chicken

2 lbs. chicken thigh meat, cubed or in strips.

1 egg

2 Tbsp Corn starch

Salt and pepper to taste

Sauce:

1 medium onion chopped

4 cloves of garlic chopped

2 small green chilies chopped

1/2 cup fresh curry leaves

2 tbsp garlic ginger paste (equal amounts of each, blended to a paste)

1/2 tbsp cumin/coriander powder

1/2 tbsp turmeric

1/2 tbsp red chili powder

2 tbsp Chili Garlic Sauce (Sriracha – in the jar where you can see the seeds)

optional 1/4 tsp red food coloring.

So first you want to prepare the chicken.  I use thigh meat because it’s always juicier and more flavorful.  Beat the egg and pour it over the chicken.  Sprinkle it with the corn starch and salt and pepper.  Mix it until it’s all coated.

Chicken 65

Fry the chicken.  I chose to shallow fry it, but you can deep fry it as well.  Whatever your preference.  Once all the chicken is fully cooked, set it aside.

Chicken 65

Now you want to make the sauce.  Heat up a couple of tablespoons of vegetable oil and add in the onion.  Stir in the chopped garlic, green chilies, and curry leaves.  Mix around until the onions have softened and browned.

Chicken 65

Add in the turmeric, red chili powder, and cumin coriander.  Mix well.  Then add in the chili garlic sauce and the garlic ginger paste.  Mix around.  At this point you could add in the red food coloring.  I choose not to.

Chicken 65

Now the sauce is done so add back the chicken and mix until it’s coated well.  If your sauce is too liquidy just cook it down until it’s dry.  Unless you prefer it like that.

Chicken 65

You could top with some cilantro.  I would keep some yogurt nearby, it’s a hot dish!  But SO SO good.

Chicken 65

Let me know how yours turns out!

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Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese

This is seriously, the best grilled cheese I’ve ever made.  And I make a pretty good grilled cheese.  I made two at first, and as we sit down to eat Jayesh takes a bite, pauses and smiles at me.  As he finishes his sandwich he whispers to me, “Are you going to make more?”  That is a success!  Of course I made more!

 

This sandwich is packed with flavor and so easy to make.  

Here’s what you need:

Bread

Jalapenos

Cooked bacon (skip this to make it vegetarian!)

Cream Cheese

Shredded mozzarella

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Emeril’s Original Essence Seasoning

 

First set your oven to broil and put your jalapenos on a baking sheet and roast them.  Flip them and keep an eye on them.  You want them nicely charred on every side.  They should be cooked through as well.  Once they are done immediately put them in a ziplock bag.  They’ll be easier to peel.  I always skip this step, I don’t really mind the skins.  Most of it will flake away when you chop them up.  So once you’re done with that, chop them up.  Remove the seeds if you like, but we leave them in because we love the heat!

Next mix your cream cheese and shredded cheese together.  Just eyeball it.  You want the consistency spreadable but pretty full of shredded cheese so it will melt throughout the sandwich.  I sprinkled in garlic powder, pepper, and Emeril’s original essence.  Again I just eyeballed this, tasting it along the way until it was flavorful.

Spread the cream cheese mixture on the bread (every slice), top with chopped grilled jalapenos, and put a couple of slices of bacon on top.  

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Heat up your pan with some butter.  Once it’s hot enough, put your sandwich on and grill it until it’s nice and toasted on both sides and the cheese is melted.

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Careful it’s HOT, but SO SO good!

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Enjoy!

Authentic Indian Curry

My husband and I, on many occasions, have shaken our heads at the “curry” powder they sell at stores. Curry isn’t something that is premixed in a bottle. The beauty of “curry” is that it is customized. It becomes a family legacy. You learn the way your mom makes her curry and try to replicate it and 9 times out of 10 it’s different. That’s because it becomes YOUR curry. Then over the years you perfect your curry, learning from errors to create the perfect curry that your kids come home from college for. And the cycle repeats.

My family was mostly vegetarian, we ate chicken on occasion and by occasion I mean it had to be Christmas, or someone important was coming over. When I got to college, I ate a bit more meat and diversified a little, but I hadn’t really gotten into seafood or anything besides chicken and beef. Still it was American style and mostly bland. I ran home to my mom’s food almost every weekend.

When I met Jayesh, I realized just how much I hadn’t experienced food and it’s complexities. He introduced me to flavors that blew my mind. We both really enjoy eating and cooking, most of all cooking together. Together we have perfected our curry and much like a relationship, it took time, it took work, but we got it right.

On our first date Jayesh cooked for me his famous steak and I was thrilled that his steak recipe would be in my life forever. Sounds silly doesn’t it? Probably because you haven’t tried it. Together we explored the Indian spices, we experimented and tried different things, we had many victories in the kitchen. It’s a delicious love story…we fell in love over curry.

Here is how I make a basic authentic Indian curry. You can add any meat to this and it will alter the flavor slightly with the flavor of the meat. But these are the steps you use before you make any curry dish.

There are no measurements because that’s not how Indians do it. It’s always ‘a little of this’ or ‘a palm full of that’ or better yet ‘just wait for the color to change’. It’s fun.

Here what you will need:

Fresh Ingredients:

Onion – this will make up the bulk of the gravy so do as little or lot as you want.

Tomato – I usually use a can of Hot Rotel, but fresh tomatoes are just fine.

Jalapeno – how hot do you want it? I usually use one whole one, but if you don’t want it too spicy use a half.

Ginger – Use equal amounts as garlic

Garlic – I like a lot of garlic, it tastes good, smells good, and it’s great for you. So probably 3-4 big cloves.

“Curry leaves” aka sweet neem leaves aka ‘limbdo’- one full “branch”. About 20 leaves, 10 if they’re really aromatic. These are optional.

Tomato Paste – for thickness and a bit of tart flavor

Dry Ingredients:

Cumin-Coriander powder

Red Chili Powder

Turmeric

Salt – to taste

Peppercorns – 6-7 for a nice kick

Dried Red Chili – one or two depending on how much heat you want.

Mustard seeds – black ones just a couple of pinches.

Cumin Seeds aka ‘jeeru’ – 4-5 pinches

Cinnamon stick – one broken up

Before I get into this recipe, I made this to slow cook chicken. So it’s concentrated curry. I’ll let you know through out the recipe what changes I made. If you’re slow cooking meat like beef, lamb, goat, chicken, do what I did so that there is enough flavor to get into the meat and enough flavor after the meat releases water. Here we go!

Start prepping by chopping up all the fresh ingredients. I like to make things easier so I use a vidalia chopper but you could course chop the onions in a food processor. They just need to be diced up. I use my magic bullet and make a paste out of the ginger, garlic, and jalapeno. If you’re using fresh tomatoes you can throw those into that ginger garlic paste as well. I like the tomato chunks from the rotel so I just pour the can in to the pan, liquid and all.

Heat up some oil and add in cumin seeds, peppercorn, mustard seeds, cinnamon, dried red chilis, and curry leaves. Add the curry leaves after the other ingredients are mostly fried up. The leaves fry faster and will start to burn.

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The mustard seeds will start to pop so be careful. Once that’s happening add in the onions. Stir the onions frequently, and cook until they are translucent.

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Once the onions are translucent, add in the ginger garlic jalapeno paste and stir. Let it cook for just a minute or two.

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Add in the tomatoes if you’re using canned tomatoes.

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Stir and cook for just a minute or two. Then start to add in your dry spices. The trifecta goes in first. I do about equal amounts of red, yellow, and brown. With perhaps a little less of the yellow because it can add too much bitter. The idea is to round out the flavor so you don’t taste too much of anything. I added heaping spoons to this. HEAPING.

Cumin Coriander Powder

Cumin Coriander Powder

Turmeric Powder

Turmeric Powder

Red Chili Powder

Red Chili Powder

I did about two-ish spoons. The color should turn a golden rust color. Add in some salt to taste. At this point you can add Garam Masala if you want and also ground pepper adds a nice heat. The thing with adding flavors…you want to build. I build layers of heat. So I season the oil, sauté jalapeno, add chili powder, and that creates a different kind of spicy than if you just add chili powder at the end. Its tasty and tolerable.

At this point you might notice the curry looks a bit dry.

I add in Swanson’s chicken broth. You could use vegetable broth if you’re vegetarian. It’s better than water which will completely dilute your flavor. I use the low sodium broth so it doesn’t throw off my salt proportions. If you’re slow cooking with this, you want to add a bit more salt than necessary. As you’re tasting it, if it seems like something is missing or it seems kind of bland, try adding a bit of salt. It really opens up the other flavors. Something else I do is add sugar to round out the flavor. It shouldn’t taste sweet though, just enhance.

After broth add in about a tablespoon or so of tomato paste. This will thicken up the gravy and add a tangy flavor. Don’t add too much. Just little by little until the consistency is right. This is the consistency you need if you’re slow cooking:

 

If you’re planning to finish up on the stove go ahead and add the meat in and watch the consistency. The meat will release water so in the end if it’s too watery just simmer until the water cooks off.

The longer you simmer curry the better the flavors get. So if you’re using seafood that cooks pretty fast, let your curry simmer for a while before adding in fish or shrimp.

If you’re using a tough meat like lamb or goat, use a pressure cooker or slow cooker to get the meat tender. I do this with chicken sometimes, but mostly we do chicken on the stovetop.

If you want the meat to be tasty, do not cook it before you add it to the curry.

I didn’t get a picture of the end result, but I used about 3-ish pounds of boneless skinless thigh and it was AMAZING.

Like I said at the start, curry is customized for you. So you can follow my recipe and make modifications. Maybe you don’t like it too spicy, maybe you don’t like the mustardy heat. Just change up the proportions and make your own. Let me know if you have questions!

Mint Mocha Coffee

This morning I got a little creative.  I don’t have pictures, and really no measurements because I eyeballed everything.  I had some Ghirardeli milk chocolate chips and half and half left over from the Red Velvet Trifle that I made so I wanted to use them up.  

I put a pot on low-med heat and put in about 1/2 cup of half and half.  You could use milk or heavy cream whatever you have in your fridge.  I added about a handful or two of the chocolate chips.  I didn’t want the mixture to be too thick or chocolatey so I went easy on it.  You could add as much as you wanted.  If you use milk you might want to add more to thicken up the milk a bit.  If you don’t have chocolate chips you could use Hershey’s Chocolate syrup.  

After the chips were melted I added in a few drops of Peppermint extract.  It smelled SO good!  While this was going on I brewed about 20 oz of coffee in the Keurig.  Currently we have a really strong French Roast so it’s almost like espresso.  

That’s it!  Easy right?  Tasted better than the coffee shop!  The flavor was a lot like peppermint bark which I am currently obsessed with.  It was cold and snowing this morning so this was the perfect warm drink to snuggle up to.  Enjoy!

Hocus Pocus 2013!

Well, we’re done with 2012 and on to 2013.  Looking back I think I’m overall pretty happy with the way the year went.  We learned a lot, laughed a lot, and made some big decisions that turned out to be the best.  I hope everyone had a year worth reflecting on and I wish you the best for 2013.

 

To start the year off right I’ve decided to share with you my recipe for hocus pocus rolls.  Why hocus pocus?  Because they’re MAGIC!  They taste like a cinnamon roll with none of the effort, there’s a disappearing act that is pretty cool, and they are magically DELICIOUS!  Did I have you at cinnamon roll?  I thought so.

Here’s what you need:

roll of crecent rolls

marshmallows – 1 for each roll

melted butter or ghee

cinnamon sugar mix

 

First POP that can of crecent rolls open and lay them out.  Then take a marshmallow coat it in ghee or melted butter and cover with cinnamon sugar.

Hocus Pocus Rolls

 

 

Next you want to place the marshmallow in the center of the roll and roll it up so that the marshmallow is completely sealed in there.  I only made four rolls because we don’t give much sugar to my son so I left the other four plain for him.  Anyway, I left a couple unsealed to show you what happens.  Nice of me, huh? 🙂

Hocus Pocus Rolls

 

Next I brushed some ghee over the top and dusted a little bit of cinnamon sugar on top.  Pop them in the oven for 10-12 minutes or until they’re golden brown.

Hocus Pocus Rolls

 

When they come out, they’ll look totally normal, but the magic is waiting on the inside!

 

Hocus Pocus Rolls

 

As you can see, if you leave them unsealed, they poop all over the place and it’s sticky and hard to unstick.  SO, make sure you seal them up.

 

Here’s what happens when you do it right:

Hocus Pocus RollsAs you can see, there’s no marshmallow in sight.  It’s just cinnamon sugary goodness with “icing”.  SO good.  SO easy.  Try it out!!

 

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

My phone DIED!  So I couldn’t take pictures of this fabulous dish.  Take my word – it looks, smells, tastes amazing.  The best part, it’s EASY!  Here’s what you need:

 

2ish pounds of boneless, skinless Chicken thighs or breasts (I used Thighs)

1 packet of Taco Seasoning (I used chipotle Taco Seasoning)

1 – 16 oz jar of Salsa (I used Old Dutch Restaurant Style Chipotle Salsa)

 

I used Chipotle stuff because my husband really likes that smoky flavor, but you can use pretty much anything you want.

Throw your chicken into the crock pot, coat it with taco seasoning, pour the salsa over it, and set it on low for 6-8 hours or high for 4-6 hours depending on how cold or frozen your chicken is.

I cooked mine for 4 hours on high and it was fresh from the store.  It was SO good, nobody could guess there’s only 2 ingredients in it!  The even better part, with my crazy schedule I never have time to cook so this amount will last us all week.  We’ve had it as tacos and last night I made quesadilla’s.  Let me know what combinations you used and how it turns out!

Easy Peasy Apple Cake!

Not really sure why this post took me a million years to post.  Perhaps my time management skills have taken a vacation as of late.  This is the easiest recipe in my book.  Seriously, you could pay your kid to make it.  So easy.

Here’s what you need:

A couple of apples sliced into thinnish slices.  Enough to cover the bottom of a 9×13 pan.

stick of butter

box of ready made cake mix like Pilsbury, Duncan Hines, or Betty Crocker – vanilla type flavors work best or anything that goes well with apples.

Lay out the apples in the pan

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Cover with dry cake mix

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Pour melted butter over the top

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Bake for 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees

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You won’t believe how incredible this tastes!  It’s great with a scoop of ice cream!  A little tip, check on it while it’s baking, if you see any dry spots just add a little water to that spot.  The moisture from the apples should come through most of it, but sometimes you get a few dry spots.

Let me know what you think!

Come holiday time you can mix together angel food cake mix and apple pie filling from the can, bake for 30 minutes or so at 350 degrees or until the top is brown.