Friday, July 29, 2011

Seekh Kebabs (Minced Lamb Kebabs) on a bed of Vege Rice

Tonight's Menu
Minced Lamb kebabs (Seekh kebabs) 
Vegetable Rice 
Wine Pairing: Unwooded Chardonnay, Merlot, Pinot Noir

Seekh Kebabs on a bed of Veggie rice and mint chutney

Seekh Kebab means minced meat marinated in spices and grilled on skewers (or seekh as termed in Hindi). These succulent kebabs are cooked in clay ovens or tandoors and in Indian cuisine served as an appetizer with red onion rings, mint chutney and small pieces of naan.

A Persian word, kebab's origin may lie at the time of low supply of cooking fuel making it difficult to cook big pieces of meat. Historical accounts credit medieval Persian soldiers for the invention of kebabs as they would skewer small chunks of meat onto their swords before cooking them in open flame. There is evidence of kebabs served to the royal families in India even before the Mughal rule, as far back as the 1300. With time recipes have evolved and perfected, but our love affair with kebabs is as strong as ever.

Minced Lamb kebabs

Seekh Kebabs
Important points to remember about seekh kebabs:
  1. Moisture should be at its minimum. So pat the meat dry, use only thick part of yogurt and squeeze moisture out of ginger garlic paste before mixing it. 
  2. For soft tender succulent kebabs you need extra fat. So never use lean meat for making this dish.
Ingredients: (Serves 4)
1 1/2 lbs minced lamb (or chicken)
2 tsp ginger garlic paste
2 tsp lemon juice
5-10 green chilies chopped fine
handful fresh coriander chopped fine
2 tsp cashew nut powder
1 tbsp yogurt
1/4 tsp green cardamom powder
pinch nutmeg
1/2 tsp each cumin and coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
red chili powder to taste
salt to taste
2 tbsp butter
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl except butter and knead well till it forms a sticky paste. if you own a mincer the run the mixture thru it twice.
  2. Cover the kebab mixture and refrigerate for an hour. this helps shape the kebabs better.
  3. Use pre soaked wooden skewers. Using moist hands rotate the skewer gently with one hand while pressing the meat with fingers on to the skewers with the other till it completely circles it. 
  4. Baste the kebabs with butter and BBQ on medium heat for about 8-10 minutes turning occasionally and basting with butter on all sides.
  5. Serve hot sprinkled with lime juice or accompanied by mint chutney.

Microwave vegetable Rice
Microwave vegetable Rice
Ingredients: (Serves 4)

1 cup long grain white rice
2 cups assorted vegetables peas, beans, carrots, etc (I use frozen mixed vegetables)
2 cups water
salt to taste
2 tsp butter
  1. Wash the rice and rinse till water runs clear. 
  2. Use a large microwave safe bowl, deep enough to accommodate boiling water without overflowing.
  3. Mix all ingredients in this bowl and stir.
  4. Microwave on high for 15-18 minutes (time can vary depending on the M/Wave), stirring once after 8 minutes.
  5. Remove from the M/Wave and cover and let stand for 5 minutes before fluffing with fork.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Bar-be-Que everything

  Tonight's Menu
Malai Chicken Tikka (Skewered chicken kebabs) 
Vegetable kebabs 
Crisp Garlic Bread
Grilled Pineapple
Wine Pairing: Unwooded Sauvignon Blanc, Muscat, Pinot Gris

BBQ Everything

This BBQ chicken kebab literally melts in the mouth. The creaminess of the yogurt and cream is delicately complemented by aromatic spices such as green cardamom powder and nutmeg. These give that uhhhmmm!!! reaction almost every time.
Traditionally it is served over a bed of cumin rice or with naan alongside a mixed salad. Tonight however I decided to grill everything accompanying the main dish. Use any combination of veges you desire and skewer them too. Use chicken breast for this recipe and make sure you soak the wooden skewers in water for 30 minutes before cooking to prevent them from burning.
After marinating and prepping the chicken and vegetables for cooking I took them out to the backyard for my photography session and my girls literally salivated at the sight of raw food. They stopped playing their Wii and followed me out. The power of bar-be-cue.

Malai Chicken Tikka

Malai Chicken Tikka
Ingredients: (serves 4)

Marinated skewered chicken kebabs ready to BBQ

6 chicken breast boneless skinless (I used chicken thighs here)
2 tbsp thick plain yogurt
1 tsp heavy cream (optional)
1 tsp oil
salt to taste
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 T cashewnut paste
2 green chilies crushed
1/2 tsp black pepper powder
1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
pinch nutmeg
  1. Dry the chicken breast thoroughly. Cut them into bite size pieces about an inch. 
  2. Mix all the other ingredients in a bowl and make sure the yogurt is thick without much water or use hung yogurt. Marinate the chicken in this marinade for a minimum of two hours in the fridge. 
  3. Thread the chicken pieces in the wooden skewers and grill them in the BBQ on medium heat for about 10 minutes. baste with oil or butter and then turn over the kebabs. grill for a further 10 minutes. remove from heat. 
  4. If cooking in the oven, keep the oven at 400 F on grill mode. Place the skewers on baking sheet and place them in the topmost shelf. Grill for 10-12 minutes, baste and turn, grill for a further 5-7 minutes.
Veggie Kababs

Marinated Skewered veggie kebabs ready to BBQ

Vegetable Kebabs

Ingredients: (serves 4)

Mushrooms whole
Red onions
Green and/or Red peppers
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp garlic paste
salt to taste
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp dry basil
freshly ground black pepper
  1. Keep the mushrooms whole if they are the button mushroom variety, otherwise half them. Cut all other veges into large chunks. 
  2. Mix all ingredients for the marinade and marinate the veges in it. for 1/2 an hour. 
  3. Skewer the veges alternating each type in on skewer. 
  4. Grill on high for 10-12 minutes till desired tenderness or crispness is achieved.

Grilled Pineapple
Grilled Pineapple

Remove the skin from the pineapple and cut 1/4 inch thick slices.
You can marinate them if you desire. Use a honey lemon glaze or a rum glaze. I like to just grill them as is to bring out their natural sweetness and tartness.
Grill on medium for 6-7 minutes per side. Sprinkle with some cinnamon(optional) and serve with a scoop of ice cream.

Mint chutney

Mint chutney

A very versatile condiment that can be used as a spread, marinade or an accompaniment to many Indian appetizers. Made with fresh herbs, it is a no cook dish and is ready in minutes. I always have a small jar of this ready in the refrigerator. If you have mint growing in your garden then you can make a large batch just before winter and freeze it in ice cube tray for easy use during winter.

Mint Chutney

1 cup packed fresh mint washed
1 cup packed fresh coriander washed
5-6 cloves garlic
1/2 inch fresh ginger
1 medium red onion chopped roughly
6-10 green chilies
1 tsp salt
1/3 cup lime juice
  1. In a blender put ginger, garlic, green chilies, onion and salt. 
  2. Add lime juice and start the blender. While its on, add the mint and coriander from top, bit by bit, giving it time to puree before adding more. 
  3. Blend till it becomes a smooth puree. Taste and add more salt and/or lime juice as per taste. 
  4. Store in a glass jar in the fridge. Stays good for about 10 days.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Grilled Salmon with Mango Salsa

Tonight's Menu
Bar-be-Que Salmon 
Mango salsa 
Corn on the cob
Wine Pairing: Riesling, Muscat

“You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients.” – Julia Child
In my books, this is just good food from fresh seasonal ingredients. A colorful flavorful meal, perfect for the BBQ season. 

Sweet creamy corn is available, mangoes are showing up everywhere and there is an abundance of fresh herbs in the kitchen garden. All these plated together is just good food. I have used the simplest of ingredients for flavoring the salmon so as to bring out the real taste of salmon. You can use your favorite marinade. Start by preparing your salsa while the BBQ is preheating. Refrigerate to let the flavors blend together. Grill the corn first as that will take some time. While that's cooking, marinate your fish and keep it ready. The whole meal will be ready in 30 minutes. Enjoy. 

Grilled Salmon
Ingredients: (serves 4) 
4 Salmon fillets
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
salt and cracked pepper to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and marinate the fish for 15 minutes.
  2. Grill for 5 minutes till easy to turn.
  3. Turn and grill the other side for 5 more minutes till done and crisp.
  4. Serve with mango salsa and corn on the cob.

Mango Salsa
Ingredients: (serves 4)

3 mangoes cubed into ½ inch pieces
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
1 Thai chili, finely chopped
Handful fresh coriander , chopped roughly
1 red pepper, chopped into ¼ inch cubes
bunch fresh mint, chopped
Juice of 2 limes
Salt and pepper to taste
Mix everything, cover and chill for an 30 minutes before serving.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Grilled Shrimp Skewers and Asparagus on Wildrice

Tonight's Menu
Bar-be-Que Tiger Shrimp 
Wild rice 
Grilled Asparagus
Wine Pairing: Pinot Noir,Chardonnay

BBQ Tiger Shrimp

Grilled shrimp skewers
Ingredients: (serves 4)

1 1/2 lb jumbo tiger shrimp peeled and de veined, tail intact
3 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp lime zest, grated
2-3 fresh basil leaves finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
salt to taste
cracked black pepper
  1. Soak wooden skewers in water for 4 hours to prevent them from burning in the grill. 
  2. In a bowl whisk all the ingredients together. 
  3. Add shrimp and stir to coat them evenly. 
  4. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and no more than 3 hours. 
  5. Preheat the grill. 
  6. Remove the shrimp from the marinade and skewer them, passing the point of the skewer through both the head and tail end of each shrimp. 
  7. Place the skewers on the grill directly over the fire and cook until they turn pink all over, 2-3 minutes per side, turning the skewers once. 
  8. Serve immediately on a bed of rice with asparagus spears along side. Squeeze lime juice on top if desired. 

Grilled Shrimp skewers on Wild Rice and Grilled Asparagus 
Grilled asparagus
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 lb fresh asparagus spears
1 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
  1. Preheat grill on high. 
  2. Coat asparagus with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Grill for 2-3 minutes or to the desired tenderness. 
  4. Serve immediately.
Shrimp Skewers on Wild rice

Wild Rice
Ingredients: (serves 4)
1 cup wild rice
2 1/4 cups water
1 each Yellow and red pepper cut in chunks
a bunch of Green onion chopped
2 small carrots shredded
Fresh coriander chopped
Fresh mint chopped
2 tbsp lime juice or to taste
  1. Put rice and water and salt to taste in a pan and bring to boil. Simmer covered for about 30-40 minutes till rice is cooked and all the water is absorbed. Fluff the rice with fork. Remove from heat. 
  2. In a large pan heat oil and add all the vegetables with some salt. Cook on high stirring constantly for 5 minutes to sweat the vegetables. 
  3. Mix cooked rice with the veges along with herbs and lime juice and toss to combine. Let stand for 10 minutes to blend the flavors.

Friday, July 1, 2011

BBQ Chicken (Tandoori Chicken) with Pineapple salad and Grilled Red Potatoes

Tonight's Menu
BBQ Chicken (Tandoori Chicken)
Pineapple Salad
Grilled Red Potatoes
Wine Pairing: Merlot, Riesling

BBQ Chicken with Pineapple Salad 
Summertime means barbecue time. If you are gassing up your grill this summer here are some ideas. All of the grilling recipes that I will post in the coming weeks will work both at home in your backyard or at a picnic.
While selecting wines for BBQ think "Big - full bodied, low alcohol content and fruity ; Bold - fruity, spicy or peppery after taste with good acidity; and Smooth" (source). 

Enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the food, Happy Summer -- cheers.

Tandoori chicken with pineapple salad

Tandoori Chicken
A fave all over the world this succulent dish was created by Kundan lal Gujral in 1947 as a feature dish for his restaurant 'Moti Mahal' in Delhi, India. An instant hit tandoori chicken contributed significantly in putting India on the World's food map. Chicken is marinated in yogurt and spices and grilled in tandoor (a clay oven fired with wood or charcoal). Its mostly served as an appetizer or a dinner accompaniment along with mint chutney and raw onions.
Ingredients: (serves 4)
8-10 Chicken drumsticks or 4 chicken quarters skinless
salt to taste
1 tbsp lime juice 
1/4 cup plain thick yogurt or hung yogurt
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1-2 tsp Kashmiri mirch (hot chili powder so amount is optional)
2 heaped tbsp Tandoori masala (recipe)
1 tbsp oil
Extra oil or butter for basting
Chaat masala and lime juice to serve
  1. Clean and dry the chicken legs and make 2 diagonal slits on the meaty part. This allows the marinade to permeate inside. Make a mixture of salt and lime juice. Smear this mixture all over the chicken paying special attention to the slits. Keep aside while you prepare the marinade. 
  2. Marinade -- In a large bowl combine yogurt with all other ingredients including oil. Mix well and marinate the chicken in this mixture. Its best to use your hands so that you can work the marinade well all around and inside the slits. Cover and marinate the chicken overnight or a minimum of 6 hours in the fridge. 
  3. Grill in the barbecue -- Preheat your BBQ to 375 F. Place the marinated chicken on the grill. Grill should be hot enough to make a sizzling sound when chicken is placed on it. Close the lid and cook for 15-18 minutes undisturbed. Open the grill and turn the chicken. You can baste it at this point with oil or butter. Cover again for 5-7 minutes. Check to ensure that chicken has cooked fully from inside. Remove from heat. 
  4. Grill in the oven -- preheat your oven on grill at high setting (400-450F) and place the rack on the top position. Prepare a grill pan with aluminum foil and grease the wire mesh on top. The pan underneath will catch all the drippings. Place the chicken on the wire mesh and grill on high undisturbed for 20 minutes. Take out he pan and turn the chicken and cook further for 7-10 minutes till the chicken is fully cooked and sizzling. 
  5. Serve hot with lime juice and a pinch of chaat masala sprinkled on top. 
Pineapple salad

Pineapple Salad
Ingredients: (serves 4)

Pineapple in bite sized chunks
Red pepper chunks
Yellow pepper chunks
Red onion chopped
Handful fresh coriander chopped
Handful fresh mint chopped
Jalapeno peppers chopped
salt to taste
lime juice
Combine all the ingredients together and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving to blend in the flavors. 

Grilled Red Potato

Follow this recipe, just substitute white potato with red potato. Do not peel the skin. Grill in the oven or BBQ.