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Thursday, 13 February 2020

Chicken a la King with Butter Egg-Drop Rice



This is a recipe very close to my heart. At the age of 15, this was the first ‘Béchamel sauce’ recipe I attempted. While my mum can barely boil an egg *rolls eyes*, my mums’ sister from another mother, my masi (Jeroo), is an excellent cook. It was under her guidance that I learnt to make the basic Béchamel sauce. For this dish, the basic Béchamel sauce is elevated into a Béchamel Cream Sauce. An important point I need to stress on is, every element of this dish is to be cooked in butter. Please do not bastardize this gem by using alternate mediums. 


Ingredients:

1 kilo chicken, cut into 8 pieces
4-5 celery leaves (optional)
125 grams all purpose flour / maida
125 grams butter
1½ tablespoons butter (to sauté capsicums and mushrooms)
2 green bell peppers / capsicum, deseeded and diced
1 packet button mushrooms (200 grams), quartered
4½ cups chicken stock (240 ml = 1 cup)
200 grams cream (I used Amul)

Ingredients for Butter Egg-drop Rice:

1¼ cups long grain basmati rice, washed (do not soak)
6 tablespoons + 1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs
Salt to taste 

Method:

  1. Boil the chicken pieces in 6 cups of water with celery leaves and salt.
  2. When chicken is cooked, remove from stock and shred it.
  3. Discard celery leaves from the stock. Strain the stock and reserve.



  4. Heat 1 tablespoon butter in a non-stick pan. Sauté the diced green bell pepper, cook till just about done. Do not overcook the bell peppers. Remove the bell peppers from the pan and keep aside.



  5. Add an extra ½ tablespoon butter to the butter remaining in the pan. Add mushrooms, sauté on high heat. Allow the moisture released by the mushrooms to evaporate completely. Sauté for half a minute more. Remove mushrooms into a plate and keep aside.



  6. Remove the cream from the carton, gently smoothen it with a fork or a small whisk. Keep aside.



  7. In a large, heavy bottomed vessel, melt 125 grams butter.


  8. When the butter melts, lower the heat, add all-purpose flour (maida) and sauté continuously till you get a nice toasty aroma (do not burn or brown the flour).



  9. Shut off the flame and take the vessel off the stove.
  10. Gradually add 4½ cups hot chicken broth to the flour, stirring all the time, with a whisk or a wooden spoon, to ensure there are no lumps.



  11. Put the vessel back on the stove, on very low heat; keep stirring, all the while until it thickens. Keep stirring till it heats through and the desired consistency (thickness) is achieved.



  12. Add the smoothened cream and continue stirring on low fire until the cream is well blended into the sauce.



  13. Check seasoning; add salt if needed.
  14. Add the shredded chicken, sautéed mushrooms and green bell peppers; simmer for a minute, or two, and remove from fire.



  15. Serve with buttered egg-drop rice.

     

Method for Butter Egg-drop Rice:

  1. In a small wok melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add eggs, salt to taste and scramble the eggs to a tight, overcooked consistency. You will know the eggs have reached the desired overcooked consistency when you see them go crumbly, like ‘egg-drops’. Keep aside.


  2. In a large thick bottomed vessel melt 6 tablespoons butter.



  3. Add the washed rice.
  4. Add 2½ cups water and cook on high flame until the level of the water reaches the level of the rice. At this point, lower heat, check for seasoning and add salt, if required.
  5. Close the vessel with a lid and continue cooking the rice, on very low flame, until done.
  6. After shutting off the stove, gently, but quickly, fluff up the rice with a fork. Once again, cover with a lid and keep the cooked rice aside for 15 to 20 minutes.



  7. Uncover the vessel after 15-20 minutes and spread out the rice in a large platter. Allow it to cool. Sprinkle the scrambled eggs over the rice and gently, with a fork, mix the rice with the egg-drops. Mix well but carefully so as to ensure the grains of rice do not break (and that is why we allow the rice to cool a bit).



  8. Depending on how you plan to reheat the rice, empty the rice in a vessel (stove top heating) or into a microwave bowl.
  9. Serve with the Chicken a la King sauce.

Chef Notes: 

  1. If you have flavourful chicken stock and shredded chicken (from that stock) in the fridge/freezer, feel free to use it for this recipe. You need not make the stock and shredded chicken from scratch. The main thing to remember is that both, the stock and the chicken, should be devoid of any spicy, peppery flavour.
  2. The Béchamel sauce should be thick (spoon-coating-consistency); not blobby and lumpy. If it’s too thick, feel free to add some extra stock to adjust the consistency.
  3. Do not stir the Béchamel sauce on high heat, unless you are an absolute pro at it because it is sure to turn lumpy. Always, patiently, cook it on very low heat.
  4. In case the Béchamel sauce goes lumpy, use an electric hand blender to smoothen it.
  5. Do not add extra salt until you blend in the cream because the stock used contains salt and the butter used will also contribute to the salt factor. Check seasoning after adding cream and add salt only if needed.
  6. While I hate overcooked scrambled eggs, this recipe demands it hence go all out and overcook them. 😉 If you aren’t a fan of eggs, please go with plain Butter Rice. That, too, works just as beautifully. 
  7. Check the rice for salt only when the water in the rice reduces. Butter is salty which is why we do not add salt right at the start. 
  8. This is a French dish, hence, always made in butter. According to the ‘Bawi’ in me, cooking it in any medium other than butter is sacrilege.
  9. In no Universe am I a professional photographer and food that is white is one of the most difficult to photographs (with regard to lighting). The exposure has to be adjusted or the light messes up the pics big time. I have edited the pics to the best of my ability to show you exactly what the dish looks like in terms of it’s white colour and silken texture. No filters have been used. I will not lie; I struggled a great deal to capture this delicious dish and I do feel I was unable to do it full justice.
  10. You may share the direct blog-link of the recipe/s but do NOT publish my recipes and my photographs on any blogsite or website without my explicit consent or attempt to pass off my recipe/s as your own. You will be held accountable for plagiarism.

    Some more photographs and videos...



Butter, Salt and Eggs





















Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Capsicum Papeto (Capsicum Potato)


 Just a simple vegetarian, no-fuss recipe. No story, no history attached to it. This pairs beautifully with tur dal and masoor dal. You can, of course choose rice or chapati as accompaniment.



Ingredients:

½ kilo capsicum, halved, deseeded and cut into half inch pieces
3 medium sized onions, sliced
2 green chilies, slit and chopped fine
4 large potatoes, peeled, cut into four and then slice (not lengthwise)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
8 -10 curry leaves
1½ teaspoon ginger-garlic paste
1½ teaspoon chili powder (I use MDH Deghi Mirch powder)
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 heaped teaspoon coriander-cumin powder (dhania-jeera powder)
¼ teaspoon garam masala powder
1 teaspoon Parsi Sambhar masala (optional)
Salt to taste
6 to 8 tablespoons oil
A few sprigs of coriander leaves, finely chopped


Method:

1.    Heat oil in a non-stick wok (kadhai), add cumin seeds and curry leaves and allow to splutter.



2.    Add chopped onions and chilies and sauté till onions begin to turn golden.



3.    Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for a few seconds, then add the chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander-cumin powder, garam masala, garam masala powder, Parsi Sambhar masala and salt to taste. Sauté for a few seconds to cook the spices. If needed, add extra oil to cook the spices or feel free to add a tiny splash of water; both work just fine.



4.    Add the sliced potatoes to the onion-spice mix and toss then well to ensure the masala evenly coats the potatoes. Lower the flame, cover the wok and cook until potatoes are half done. (Open the lid and give the potatoes a gentle mix once or twice while they are cooking)



5.    Add capsicum pieces, mix them well, but gently, with the potatoes. Cover and continue cooking on very low flame until potatoes and capsicum are cooked.



6.    Sprinkle with chopped coriander leaves, give it a stir and remove from fire.
7.    Serve with dal rice or chapatis.


Chef Notes:

1.    Please feel free to adjust the oil content and the chili powder and green chilies to suit your palate. The spice-quantity mentioned will give you a medium spicy dish.
2.    If Parsi Sambhar masala is not available in your pantry, feel free to give it a miss.
3.    This recipe is a simple one and is easy enough for newbies to try and that is precise why I have recommended a non-stick wok as working with that is easier. It ensures the potatoes and capsicum does not stick to the base of the wok and become a mess. Kitchen ‘maharathis’ may, of course use a regular wok. 😊
4.    To add the flavour of coriander leaves, I added dry homemade coriander powder as my finicky mum hates fresh coriander leaves *rolling eyes*
5.    I don’t cook as often as I used to which is why I dry curry leaves and store them in an air-tight bottle and use when needed. If you have fresh curry leaves, please go with that as it will definitely enhance the aroma of the dish. 
6.    You may share the direct blog-link of the recipe/s but do NOT publish my recipes and my photographs on any blogsite or website without my explicit consent or attempt to pass off my recipe/s as your own. You will be held accountable for plagiarism.








Dry Coriander Leaves




Saturday, 1 February 2020

Baked Yogurt


I’d made and clicked this in 2015; I’m posting this in 2020. *sheepish look* How do I remember? A right click on a photograph gives details of each photograph, that’s how. Five years I’ve had this recipe in my food folder. The damn procrastinator in me just wouldn't let go. I’ve finally thrown out the procrastinating bugger (for now). *evil grin*

This recipe was handed down to me by someone years ago and the credit for this recipe goes to that person. For the life of me, I do not recollect the name of the person. I can say, though, it turns out beautifully, each and every time. 

Ingredients:

1 cup hung curd
1 cup condensed milk
1 cup fresh cream
A pinch of saffron strands
Almonds, slivered
Pistachios, slivered

Method:

  1. Lightly roast the saffron for 15 to 20 seconds. Remove from fire. Cover lightly with a muslin cloth and allow it to cool.
  2. Crush the saffron roughly, not too fine.



  3. In a bowl mix together hung curd, condensed milk and fresh cream. Use an electric hand blender (very gently) or a whisk to ensure the mixture is smooth.



  4. Add in the roughly crushed saffron
  5. Preheat the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.
  6. Remove the mixture in an oven-proof dish.
  7. In a large oven tray add water to serve as a double boiler.
  8. Place the oven tray in the preheated oven.



  9. Place the oven-proof dish with the yogurt mix in the water. Bake at 180 degrees centigrade for 6 minutes.
  10. At the 6-minute mark, open the oven door and quickly sprinkle the slivered almonds and pistachios on it.
  11. Shut the oven door and continue baking for 8 to 9 minutes.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow it to cool. It may be served at room temperature or you may refrigerate it and serve it cold.

Chef Notes:

  1. Please use bland yogurt for this recipe. The curd should not be sour or the sweet kind.
  2. Hang the curd to get rid of most of the moisture but do not dry it out completely.
  3. I’ve timed the bake process based on the proportions (I wasn’t given the bake time) it takes anywhere between 12 to 14 minutes to set in the oven (depending on the oven).
  4. Check to see if it has set by inserting a knife into it.
  5. You may sprinkle the slivered nuts midway at the 6-minute bake mark, or you may sprinkle them, as a topping, once the yogurt is fully baked. If you choose to sprinkle them after the yogurt is baked, gently roast the almonds and pistachios before sprinkling them.
  6. You may share the direct blog-link of the recipe/s but do NOT publish my recipes and my photographs on any blog-site or website without my explicit consent or attempt to pass off my recipe/s as your own. You will be held accountable for plagiarism.