Jun 30, 2010

Garlic- mustard chicken with a 'sharp edge'


Wasabi and Mustard. Feeling the welcome sting at the back of your head? 

Thats's the selling point of today's recipe. You know, I love mustard. In the United states, I feel however, that the sharp quality of mustard is somewhat compromised. Initially I thought it was just me being used to a sharper quality of mustard in India. But then I vistited Corsica a couple of years back I noticed they use the same sharp mustard I was so used to in India. Infact the mustard that I had on my trip was not even gourmet. Just satches that come with your burgers. It was incredible.

So when I returned I kept using mustard that I could buy from Asian groceries. Till of course I figured out a way of making my own version of it, using regular store bought ingredients. Wasabi. Mixing a bit of wasabi with yellow or brown mustard makes all the difference.

This recipe is one which illustrates the fantasticness of that combination. It is simple to make. And gives off an exotic flavor but touching taste points we associate with the comfort of sour cream and mustard-- in a healthy way :)

So here we go. Garlic-mustard chicken-- one with a sharf edge :)

Ingredients:

2 lb of chicken. You can also use turkey. I would perefr to have bone in, skinless. But do whatever you  find. Or for vegetarian option you can use Tofu cubes, fried or grilled.
2 tbsf mustard seed. This will complement the mustard that we are going to put in the marinade. But feel free to opt out of it.
1 bay leaf.
1/2 a cup of cilantro for garnish. Optional. Tip: you can also use the stems. Has tons of flavor. And looks cute too

For the marinade

1/2 a cup of yoghurt. For more density,you can use sour cream too. 
6-7 cloves of garlic crushed. Go low on the garlic if you feel this is overwhelming
3-4 tbsf of mustard. Yellow or brown.
1/2 tbsf of wasabi paste. Opt out of it, if you don't like sharp quality in your mustard.
A pinch of turmeric for color. optional

Instead of using a combination of wasabi and yellow mustard, you can use mustard powder from the spice aisle (slightly more expensive) or from an Indian grocery. The latter two have the sharp quality I am talking about.

1/2 to 3/4 cup of hot water.
Salt and pepper for seasoning
2 tbsf oil.Any is good.

All you do is marinade and cook!

Well, really all there is to it is marinading. Mix all ingredients of marinade. Marinate your chicken/tofu very well in the marinade and let sit for at least 10 mins. Longer the better. In a deep skillet, heat oil and pop the bayleaf and mustard seeds. Wait for a few seconds for the aroma. Carefully add the chicken peices, spread them all over the skillet and let them be. Be careful about any oil squirts, something you can expect because of water in the marinade hitting the hot oil. Wait for a couple of minutes to allow nice caramelization of the chicken on one side. After you see the caramelization, start moving the pieces to cook evenly on all surfaces. ~ 5-7 minutes. Mix in some hot water into the container where you marinaded te chicken. Whisk together the water with left over marinade and slowly pour that down in the skilet. Deglaze with the liquid. Season with salt and water. Cover and cook stirring intermittently for 20 minutes on low heat. Add extra water if you see things sticking to the bottom.  When chicken is done,take it off the stove and garnish with cilantro. 

Serve with some jasmine rice or good quality Pita bread. Some lettuce on the side is good too :)

Comfort food with some sharpness and an exotic twist--- in a tbsf oil :) or a couple in this case 





Happy eating and healthy living!




Jun 28, 2010

Scallop Tangerine..A guest post all the way from Florida :)


He is a scientist and a chef with an eye for 'healthy culinary experimentation'. She is scientist with a knack for photography. Together they form a lethal duo. This post is combination of his culinary prowess and her photography skills :)

It is with great pleasure, I present to you today a long time freind-- the incredible chef, 'C B', all the way from Florida. And he brings to us-- tangerines of course :)
  

---“An ‘amateur’ is generally considered a person attached to a particular pursuit, study, or science, without pay and often without formal training.” - this definition aptly describes my stature in the culinary world. By profession (if one can call this is a profession) I am a chemist and so I mix chemicals. My culinary creations are actually ‘experiments’ …only in this case I mix spices, herbs, spirits, and condiments to create something which would satiate a curious mind and also might satisfy some taste buds. When  JW  invited me to contribute a guest post for her blog, I agreed readily--- so here I am writing out a recipe, which is my creation to the best of my knowledge. If any of you have seen this exact recipe anywhere else then “any resemblance to preexisting recipe is purely coincidental and this fellow does not bear the responsibility of plagiarism” :) :)
I am a big fan of seafood and have been experimenting with different kinds of seafood for a long time. Since there are a lot of shrimp recipes floating all over the web so thought of trying something new and  hence “Scallop” - an excellent source of vitamins, omega 3 fatty acids and lots of other goodies.

Scallop Tangerine

Ingredients:

½ pounds sea scallops
½ large red onion
2 cloves of garlic
2 green chillies
1 orange (I generally use Tangerine variety but any other kind will work equally well)
2 tbs canola oil
¼ cup vodka
1 scallion

Directions:

Cut the red onions into very thin slices, mince the garlic, and split the green chillies length wise. Once these are done, pat dry the scallops. On a non-stick pan heat 2 tbs of  canola oil. Lightly fry the scallops (approx. 2-3 mins) and make sure not to over-fry them. Remove the scallops from the pan and set aside. Add the onions and sauté over medium heat for 3-5 mins, so that onions are softened but not burned. Add the minced garlic for ½ -1 min and add the light fried scallops back into the pan. Add some orange zest and orange juice onto the pan (before you squeeze the orange save 1-2 slices of this orange for garnishing). Let it simmer for 2-3 mins and then add the vodka (the magic potion). Stir intermittently for another 3-4 mins and when the ‘spirit starts to evaporate’ its time to get it off the heat. Serve it on a flat dish and garnish with a slice of orange and chopped scallions.



-----


I am not sure about you guys...but a tangerine recipe from the land of tangarines looks great and ready to eat....I am trying this one tonight. Thanks CB!

Happy eating and healthy living


Photograph: Courtesy Pinki Mondol

Jun 27, 2010

A French dinner. Cheering the greats..of food and soccer


With the French team eliminated from the world cup it does not seem a nice time to develope a craving for French food. Does it?

Speaking of world cup, I haven't heard big talk about that little event going on in South Africa, in the foodie community! And I was under the impression that soccer and food were like brothers in arms! Anyways, I a big big soccer fan. And I am not going to tell anyone which teams I am rooting for-- I don't want any enemies here and I know from experience soccer support can get pretty volatile :)
So while, Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Ghana, USA and the likes of these team fight for the big prize, it seems fair to me that I can still crave food from a few countries, who have been legends in the game, although this particular world cup has been a bit topsy turvy for them :) After all, the loveliness of French and Italian food is difficult to bypass simply because of soccer :)

I mentioned a few weeks ago about having themed dinner night every week. I have had Turkish, Hungarian, Italian, Malaysian. Soccer or no soccer, tonight had to be a French dinner. Because today's French dinner was not inspired by soccer, but by a wonderful blogger who posted a mouthwatering french recipe.  Sasha of for the love of food. The blog features some of the simplest and most flavorful, easy to execute, recipes of Jacques Pepin . If you haven't checked it out yet, you absolutely must! You will crave french food, whoever you are, whichever team you are rooting for, or for that matter if you are not into sports at all! That's the best part of Jacques's blog and French food :)

So here is today's French dinner-- my very first one too--Coq au vin (a form of seared and poached rooster) with wild herb rice, baguette and a glass of good red. A foot note about how I made this one. Its about soccer and food, so substitutions were in order :) :) I increased the poultry seasoning (made from thyme, sage, rosemary and oregano), reduced the amount of red wine by half, substituted vodka for cognac ( you see I love vodka and hate cognac, so I had the former),  did not have the mushrooms and so increased the amount of carrots. I fear, I may have taken off some of the frenchness of the recipe. But then food is about taste and enjoyment...right? The dish tasted heavenly.

To great nations who have entertained us for the longest period in soccer and food history and here's wishing them better luck next time, in the former :) 





Happy eating and healthy living!




Jun 23, 2010

Sandwich-- Traditionally Indian!


Think you know about sandwiches and all possible variations?  You might just be wrong on that one :)

I have an avid follower. Infact, one of the very few people who actually gets to sample dishes I make. My sister. An avid foodie who loves to loves to try new things but also is more comfortable with known food tastes. Over the last week she has been asking me if I knew of an interesting 'sandwich filling' recipe. I got to stop here and take a step back. 

Sandwich filling??
I mean, we all know of food which requires fiillings. Turkeys, whole chicken, patties, rolls...the list goes on. But Sandwich is not one among them. 

In India, however, it is. You 'fill up' your sandwiches-- you layer one bread with a lovely filling and top it with another bread, butter up both sides and put it in a sandwich holder. That's what a regular sandwich would mean in India. Rarely would you find meat slices-onion-lettuce-tomato-mayo-mustard drill in a sandwich. As a kid I never almost had sandwiches as I know it no. And if you wanted one, you would prolly have to go to a fancy sandwich joint! Its true. 

So sandwich was never a casual affair in our family. It was always a special dinner thing. The filling would be delicious- ground fish or lamb with raisins and cinnamons and bayleaves and a ton of spices. Usually we had it with some sort of heavy lentil soup, leaning towards the sweet end of the pallete, followed by a tomato 'chutney'. You see, even now when I make sandwiches I stick to this general idea. Minus the grease and the complication of a sandwich holder. And when I get asked for a recipe, I fumble a bit. Cos, there is a zillion different way I make these fillings. You give me an ingredient I can turn it into a lovely sandwich filling. 

Anyway, to get back to my sister's request, here is a recipe that I have made a few days back. A traditional Indian sandwich-- a gourmet one at that :)-  filled up with a mediterranean twist!

lets get right into it 

Ingredients:

1lb of ground meat. I use super lean turkey or chicken. But this will be great with any ground meat.

1 bunch of green onion. Chopped up. 
3-4 cloves of garlic. Chopped. You can reduce the amount according to your taste preferance
1 Jalapeno. Take the seeds off and chop the rest.

1.5 tbsf ground cumin. 
1 tsp of allspice. Whole is better.
1 bay leaf
1 tbsf olive oil

A cup of chopped cilantro or Parsley 

salt and pepper to taste

All you do is saute!

Heat oil in a skillet.When oil is hot, add the ground meat. wait for at least a few minutes before moving it. You get a nice caramelization when you let the meat heat this way. Break up the meat with your spatula or watever it is that you are using to cook. Cook till its done. About 5 minutes. Add the all spice, garlic, cumin, bayleaf, jalapeno and green onion. Stir together to mix things up. About 2 mins. Season with salt and pepper and mix in the cilnatro/ parsley. Turn off heat and take the bay leaf out.

You have a terrific filling! smoky and spicy and flavors going riot. You can use it as a filling for your sandwich. Or even as a pizza topping or even over a spinach-onion salad! Its so multi faceted that you can almost invent ways to use this filling. You can even wrap it in a burrito. Would be delish :)

But what I would do is, layer it on top of a slice of wheat bread and cover it with another bread, which has a nice hummus spread over it-- lunch just got better and with such traditional Indian stroke to it




With green onion



With Kale, and Carrots

Happy eating and healthy living!






Jun 18, 2010

A fake out of the chinese take out


Now, is there anyone who does not have the rather 'regular' craving for the 'ocasional chinese take out'? 

I am yet to meet that mysterious person. And I rather not meet that person (so if any of you do not like it, this won't be a good time to raise your hand :) :)), because then it would really throw me off my understanding of why I think we crave chinese take out. And incidentally, that is what today's post is all about. 

Why I think we crave chinese take out!

There is only one reason. The tangy, salty, hot, spicy, sweet taste of soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and garlic bumped up by either your Hoisin, Kung pao sauce or any of those lovely smelling sauces. But bottom line is the mixture I have highlighted. That is what becons us.  The aroma as you open the white boxes is from that concoction. That is the singular source of feeling good on a day which has not gone excatly nice and cosy. Or on a day which has gone so great that its time for celebration :)

When we are craving Chinese take out, we are not really looking for authentic chinese. We are looking for that 'chinese' taste which makes us feel so good. And for minimal price! By the way I do think that it is difficult, if not impossible to get authentic chinese from a take out joint :) 

Now, I have often mentioned my addiction to Indo-chinese-- an Indian version of Chinese food. And how difficult it is to get one in this country. And how, miraculously, I have this small chinese take out right across where I live, which makes chinese food, which is much like what I love in Indo-chinese. And I did not mention that I crave this chinese take-out more than I like to admit.

The only thing which stops me is the oil and the grease that usually goes into food made in this joint and for that matter, in any chinese take out joint. I work out, I eat healthy and I am not really willing to put all that hard earned reward down a soup--even when that soup is an excellent comfort food.

But I can never really ever think of giving up chinese food !! It will be pure sacrilage.

So... voila! This is where blogging comes in handy. I have blogger friends who make such excellent mouth watering Asian food,  which are healthy and at the same time retaining all those flavors of a chinese take out, which we love... and yet tastes so much better--- more like the ' real deal'.

So I devised this recipe. More like a method to get easy asian food, combining all the flavors I crave in a chinese take out, in a healthy way and with  a gourmet touch (courtesy my blogger frens who make such incredible Asian food- chinese, Malayasian, korean, vietnamese, Thai). And you know what? I get asked for this recipe over and over again. It sort of touches the taste buds smack in those places we so associate with the goodness and comfort of a chinese take out.

So without much ado...here is a 'fake out' of the original 'chinese take out' :)


Ingredients:

1-1.5 lbs Chicken: Use any varaity. I have used drumsticks and skinless bonelss too. They are all good. Just  ensure if you are using bonelss chicken, to chop them to bite size pieces. Does for really easy cooking
1 big onion. Finely chopped. The fine chopping goes well with the sauce
4-5 cloves of garlic. Grated or finely chopped
1 Jalapeno. Remove the seeds and chop finely
1 big bell pepper. Finely chopped
Scallions or green onions. Chopped finely

3-4 tbsf of Soy sauce.
2-3 tbsf Vinegar. Any vinegar is good
1/2 tsp of red chilli flakes
1.5 tbsf ground cumin. This is the indo-chinese component
2 tbsf flour
1 tsp of corn flour. Mix well with water
2 tbsf of any other sauce: I have used Hoisin sauce, oyster sauce. Either or both go really well with this. You can also easily use kung pao or all those sauces that you see in the asian isle in your grocery section.

1 tbsf of sesame oil. You can really also use veg or corn oil. See, 1 tbsf. That's good. Right?
Salt and black pepper for seasoning

Cilantro for garnishing. Optional but use it for the elusive Indo-chinese touch!

Method:

There is a method. I told you :)

Marinate your chicken in 1 tbsf soy sauce, 1 tbsf vinegar, chili flakes, cumin and flour. Season slightly with salt and pepper. Leave for 10 mins. Meanwhile in a skillet, heat your sole tbsf oil. When hot, drop the onion. Spread it out, but let it caramelize a bit. About 2 mins before moving it. Best way of getting your colored onion in little oil. When onion is done, add the marinated chicken and saute for a good 5 -6 minutes. Add the garlic, rest of the soy sauce, vinegar, 'other sauce', and mix well. Add in the corn flour. Season with salt and pepper Remember you have already done it. So go easy on this one. Reduce heat and let simmer with occasional stirring. When almost done, add the jalapeno, bell pepper and scallions/ green onions. Let everything marry for 2-3 mins. 
Take off the heat and garnish with cilantro.

Voila! your indo-chinese fae out with a gourmet touch. You better be hungry for this one :)



With Oyster sauce



With Hoisin sauce

Happy eating and healthy living!



Jun 14, 2010

Chicken pot kebab-- A print out of an 'out-of-print' cookbook


Old cookbooks. I am addicted to them.

Anybody who enjoys spending any bit if time in the kitchen, other than only-eating, must be enjoying flipping through pages of cookbooks. The ones we have today have such awesome images-- honey drizzled over a juicily blackened chicken leg, a warm moist bread pudding with exactly two dollops of french vanilla dripping perfectly over the edges-- I tell you, just looking at the pictures makes me hungry. 

And I am sure I am not the only one. Right on gang? :) :)

But old cookbooks. That is a different story. No images. And not much details too. And certainly not ones where every recipe is expalined stepwise or even why one must use an ingredient.  The authors of these books, I think, assumes readers are experts in cooking and are only looking for ideas. Which may or may not have been true back then, but is especially bad if today, one is looking for savory quick recipes with some detail or for one who is just starting down this addictive path full of flavors. We could all use some details. please :)

But having put those two caveats in place, I think these old cookbooks are a fantastic!  I love the fact there is no image. Which means that I can imagine anything about the look and smell and taste of a dish (of course that means I would have to know how a cumin and parika mix might smell like :)) and its the imagination which I strive to make. Nothing to set the bar up.  No visual imagery to tell me if I am right-wrong, good- better-horrible. Just me and my interpretation of a concoction. Love it ! 

Also I love how old recipes have that complicated feel to it  and yet simple enough when you can sort of think through which steps to abandon and which steps to hurry up! and which steps you cannot absolutely do without :)

And I got a few of these from my grandmother. Written in local vernacular (bengali in this case) and I can't make heads or tails of the measurements. But I love reading the recipes and then I go ahead, close the book and make these dishes. They turn out brilliant. Flavors go through me that I am fond of but never really tried before. Kind of feels like home, mom and grandmom and the kitchen back in my house in a tiny corner of eastern India.


These are the books !! looks ancient..don't they?

Today's one is a recipe...a very popular one in our household. And amazingly simple to prepare. I had no idea this was so simple :) So here is a tribute to old cookbooks from me in my tiffany's from a few genarations across!

Chicken pot kebab. Don't ask me why its called kebab. It certainly isn't your regular tasting kebab. But is gorgeous :)

Ingredients:

2 lbs of chicken drumsticks. You can use chicken whole breasts too. But certainly do not use boneless skinless. Have those bones intact :)
1.5 big onions.
1 cup of low fat or fat free yoghurt.
5-6 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger. Take the skin off.

half a stick of cinnamon
3-4 cardamom. Reccomended but optional
3-4 cloves
2 bayleaves
1/2 tsp of chilli flakes

2 tsp of sugar
1.5 tbsf oil. 
salt to taste
1/2 cup of hot water. 

All you do is marinade and cook!

Use your blender or food processor to make a marinade of onion, yoghurt, garlic and ginger. Marinade the chicken in the mixture and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and best if you can leave it for 2 hours or more. I did with 1 hour. 
Common guys this is a old cookbook. Time wasn't that relevant!

In a pot, big eanough to hold all the chicken, heat the oil and pop the cinnamon, cardamom,cloves, bayleaf. When the aroma hits you (10-15 secs), put the marinaded chicken in the oil, mix well together. Add the salt, sugar, chilli flakes and hot water. Cover and cook through on low flame. Roughly 20-30 minutes. Stir only occasionally to prevent food from sticking to the bottom of the precious pot.

Serve with Indian bread, regular artisan bread or even jasmine or regular rice. I suggest you can use simple couscous too!

Delightful, very traditional recipe from old cookbooks. I would say this is as simple as it gets :) and healthy too :)


Happy eating and healthy living!





Jun 7, 2010

A Mexican-Columbian salad : An exercise in absence


Have you ever had a recipe born out of absence of ingredients ?  

I usually do substitutions and that involves using one ingredient over another-- the latter I reject, either because I don't quite like it or its too expensive or its not available or it has high calorie. But that is not the sort of situation that I am talking about today. I am talking about situation involving real absence of ingredients that I had the full intention of using.

Without much ado, let me give you the entire story. 

I love this blog and this blogger. It is Erica of My Columbian recipes. She has the most flavorful and lovely assortment of columbian food on her blog. And best part is it is simple to make and great to look at. So a few days back I saw this incredibely colorful salad on her blog and decided that I absolutely have to do this.  I had all the ingredients it featured. Chicpeas, onion, tomato etc. I am not a big fan of Avocado and so decided that cucumber would be the only substitution I would go for. I surely had cucumber in my pantry. So me...dreaming of this lovely salad on Friday night. This was the friday we just flew by.

On my way home, I quickly drop into the grocery store to get the shrimp. That was the only ingredient I had to get. Or so I thought. Well...not so fast. Turned  out that other than Srimp, tomato, onion and eggs I had  no other ingredient! Not the cucumber and definitely not the chicpeas and beans. The cans which I thought hosted these legumes actually had in them varaities of olives!  Why did I have so many olives??

Am I glad that I did not have chicpeas :) I had two fresh corns. And that changed the salad. A bit mor emexican than I indtended. But so delocious! A simple salad dish born out of absence of ingredients! who says less isn't more?

Ingredients for the salad

Two ears of fresh corn. Clean the skin etc of te corn and with a knife carefully slice away the pods along the length of the corn.  Microwave the corns for a good 1 minute. Just takes of that rawness a bit . You can use frozen ones of course. 
2 tomatoes. Diced
1 medium red or yellow onion. Diced
Half a cup of cilantro
2-3 cloves of garlic. Diced finely.
Half a cup of cooked shrimp. 

The marinade is the same as erica's columbian salad.
Garnish with two boiled eggs, cut into half.

A lovely mexican-columbian salad...to be enjoyed with a glass of wine and peace of mind :)



Happy eating and healthy living


Jun 5, 2010

A guest post from a Bengali girl with a Japanese name :)


You know, although I started appreciating the wonders of my tiffany's (its the kitchen guys!) quite late in my life-- well I won't necessarily call 24 late, but given that I had to wait 24 years to 'discover' its joys, is is quite a bit late-- I have been in association with people are well endowed with culinary skills. I have mentioned my mother and grandmother and likes of them. But of a different generation. At that point, I never thought of the kitchen as a wondorous place.  It was something I associated with what moms, aunts and grandmom's did. Never really me or people my age. I even vowed never to step in a kitchen when I was older. That was a good decade or more so back :) well well well, tell me that  'things change' and I will I nod furiously to that :) :)

But there was one exception. My best freind in school. Her name is MitoshiA bengali girl with a japanese name. The name means frenship in japanese? Am I right?  She started cooking at an age when the rest of us thought that the kitchen was a place you go to when you are hungry.  And to me she was a source of constant surprise. I could never really comprehend how she could ever produce such miraculously fantastic dishes that, I firmly believed was something only mom's could do! I mean didn't she have to deal with the fire, the veggies and worst of all measurements and chicken?? 

Isn't it only natural that I invited her for doing the fisrt ever guest post for me ? With love and affection I present to you all today, the Bengali girl with a japanese name-- Mitoshi--my best freind and the most awesome little cook I know for the longest period of my life.



' Dear friends, I have been asked by one of my best childhood friends, (well! she asked me not to say her name)to share a  recipe with you. Cooking is one of my passions and I started cooking at a very young age. My mother is a wonderful cook and my interest in cooking comes from her. Cooking is a good source of relaxation for me. I am a home maker and married since the last two and a half years. My husband is a real foodie so I love to experiment with new kind of recipes. Friends visit often at my home and I love to treat them with new recipes. But at the same time I love making recipes which take less time and also using easily available ingredients. So today I am sharing a recipe with  you all, which is easy to make, and all the ingredients are commonly available. Its called Chicken Rezzala.This is one of my most popular dishes that everyone likes it. The first time I had this was in one of my friends place.Then I tried this at home with a bit of my own idea and everyone appreciated'






 Chicken Rezalla

Ingredients:
2-2.5 lb of chicken cut into medium size pieces,
2 onions grated,
1 tsp ginger paste 
2 tsp garlic paste yoghurt
1 tsp of cashew nut paste
1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp of ground cardamom. If you don't have cardamom powder handy, you can pop a few whole. Or you can skip  it as well. A little less flavor. But guess what, the rest  good as well :)
A pinch of red chilli powder,
2-4 tbsf vegetable oil
Salt  for seasoning
Onion for garnish

Method:
Mix everything in a blender to prepare the marinade. Marinate the chicken in that mixture . Keep refrigerated for 2 hrs. Heat oil in a skillet. Add the marinated chicken, mix well and cover. Cook on low flame until the chicken is fully cooked. About 30 minutes. You can also bake it at 400F for 1 hour. Garnish with onion rings and serve hot with Indian bread.

This is a very tasty chicken entree also and it is really simple to make too. This is the first time that I am sharing my recipe with all of you and I am feeling excited to do this guest post. Hopefully all of you will like the recipe and Thank you (she who should not be named) for inviting me! 





Well well...I don't know about you guys but I tried this dish. It is perfect and tastes incredibly gourmet. Thank you Mitoshi for this one!

Happy eating and healthy living!





Jun 1, 2010

Chicken stew-- one for the lazy holidays



Memorial day is past. And oddly enough I was looking at the calender, longing for 4th of july weekend. And this from a person who does not even hold a regular gruelling 9-5 job and can go or not go to work without anybody asking for an explanation. The perks of being a final year graduate student, I guess :) But even then, there is hardly anything better than an 'official' holiday. Late mornings and lazy days in coffee shops. And with the weather warming up it is indeed the best days to have officially declared holidays.

I don't know about you guys, but I don't like to spend any bit of time in kitchen on lazy holidays. I did mention before that cooking to me is sort of a way to destress. And on holidays, since there is not stress, the very basic need to cook goes away. I love to bake on those days or make light soups. Food that fill up the house with light fragrant aroma. This weekend was one such. I baked a lovely nutty cranberry crumb cake. But before that I made a huge pot of Stew.  Lots of fresh veggies, chicken and tofu..just a bit spiced up.

Trust me...the house smelt of goodness and lightness. Here this is what it looked like. And with this stew ready, it was fun relaxing in the backyard with a book and some green tea.  To me , this is the perfect way to spend a lazy sunny day when you have been officially granted a day off :)





There is nothing much to do, except collect the ingredients

 4 chicken drumsticks. You can also use tons of other veggies ( beans, carrots, beets) to make it a vegie stew.
 extra firm tofu. Cubed. Optional
1 Medium onion. Chopped
2 big tomato. Chopped
1 big bell pepper. Coasrsely chopped
1 Jalapeno. sliced
2 cloves of garlic. Chopped
A bit of ginger: chopped.
1 small potato: cubed very small for quick cooking
Juice of half a lime

A few whole black peppers
2 Bay leaf
1 tbsf coriander powder.
1/2 tsp of corn flour or regular all purpose flour.  Whisk in half a cup of water and use for thickening agent

Salt for seasoning


Put all ingredient, except the Tofu, lemon juice and flour, in a big pot and fill up with water till all the ingredients are submerged.. Cover and heat till everything is done. About 15 minutes. Take the lid off and add the whisked flour and mix well. Let it heat for a couple of more minutes. Turn off the heat and Add a bit of lemon juice.

You have this lovely flavorful simple stew in the kitchen and the day is your's to enjoy

Happy eating and healthy living!