Friday, May 29, 2015

Moroccan chicken burger

Harissa chicken burger
These burgers are packed with aromatic flavors of fresh ginger and mint, earthy smokiness of roasted cumin, and spicy heat of harissa, the Moroccan condiment.  Instead of buns use rustic Persian style flat bread to experience a party in your mouth. The two condiments - yogurt tahini sauce and roasted red pepper sauce really complement the harissa flavor. Serve with a side of fries or salad drizzled with the two condiments.

Harissa chicken burger
Ingredients: (for 4 burgers)
1 lb mince chicken
1 tsp  grated ginger
1/2 tsp roasted crushed cumin
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
2 tbsp sun dried tomatoes(soaked and chopped fine)
1/2 tsp dry mint
Handful fresh coriander, chopped fine
2 tbsp Harissa chili paste (recipe here)
Salt to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and divide into four equal parts. 
  2. Shape into round patties. 
  3. Place in a single layer and cover. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour before cooking. 
  4. Grill for 7-8 minutes per side till cooked through and golden on both sides. 
  5. For a Vegetarian option substitute mince chicken with paneer, tofu or boiled potato or a combination of these. I have also tried boiled soy granules mixed with boiled potato. Just keep the flavoring same. You can pan fry or grill these. Comes out great.
To serve
Rectangular Persian flat bread
Red onion rings
Tomato slices
Cucumber slices
Lettuce
Black olives
Yogurt tahini sauce (recipe below)
Roasted red pepper sauce (recipe below)
  1. Cut the flat bread into 5 X 5 inch squares.
  2. To serve toast the flat bread slices.
  3. Spread a teaspoon of red pepper sauce and place lettuce on it.
  4. Top with the cucumber slices followed by sliced tomatoes and onion rings. 
  5. Place the grilled chicken patty on the onion rings.
  6. Drizzle yogurt tahini sauce generously and top with some olives.

Tahini yogurt sauce
Ingredients:
4 tbsp tahini (white sesame paste)
4 tbsp plain yogurt
2 large clove garlic grated
2 tbsp lemon juice
salt to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients and add a few teaspoon of water to get the desired drizzle consistency. 
  2. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Roasted red pepper sauce
Ingredients:
1 red pepper roasted (or 1/2 cup chopped jarred roasted red peppers)
1-2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp tahini,
1 garlic clove, minced
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon roasted ground cumin
Salt to taste
  1. Roast the peppers on an open gas flame, turning them frequently with tongs until all sides are charred black, about 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Or quarter the peppers and place them on a baking sheet. Roast at 425 F for 45 minutes turning halfway till they start to char. 
  3. Cool, peel and remove seeds and stem. Chop roughly.
  4. Process in a food processor along with all other ingredients till smooth. Check seasoning. Refrigerate for half an hour before serving to let flavors blend.



You might also like these burgers


Indian Style burger


Greek lamb burger




Chicken slider


Jerk Chicken burger


Fish burger


Meatball sub


Thai chicken burger



Friday, May 22, 2015

Chicken Souvlaki

Tonight's Dinner (Greek fare)
Chicken shish kababs
Greek salad
Garlic potatoes
Wine pairing: fruity red such as Beaujolais 
or 
crisp medium bodied white such as Sauvignon Blanc

Chicken Souvlaki platter
Souvlaki are Greek kababs made of tender cuts of pork, lamb or chicken. These gorgeous kababs are marinated in fresh quality ingredients. Olive oil, lime juice, mint and a bunch of herbs and spices give a punch of authentic Greek flavors. Serve it along side potatoes or Greek pilaf and salad topped with olives, sprinkled with feta cheese and a small dish of Tzatziki for a great BBQ experience.

You can cook the kababs in a BBQ or a griddle pan. If you are using wooden skewers don't forget to soak them in water for 30 minutes to prevent them from burning. Make a good quantity of Greek seasoning (recipe here) beforehand, as this will be used for all the recipes in this platter. Bon Appétit or should I say Καλό ταξίδι.

Chicken shish kababs
Chicken shish kababs
Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
10 boneless skinless chicken thighs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp Greek seasoning
Salt to taste
  1. Cut chicken into bite sized pieces. Mix all the ingredients and marinate chicken pieces for 3-4 hours. Longer the better. 
  2. Thread the skewers through the marinated chicken pieces. 
  3. Grill them on high for 10-12 minutes, turning occasionally till cooked through and evenly charred on all sides. 
  4. Sprinkle with extra lime juice if desired and serve with all the fixins. Tzatziki is a must.
Greek Salad

Greek Salad
Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
Lettuce
English cucumber
Tomatoes
Red onion
Olives
Feta cheese
Dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 cloves garlic, grated
1 1/2 tbsp Greek seasoning
Salt to taste
1/4 tsp sugar
  1. Tear lettuce into small pieces, cut large chunks of tomatoes and cucumbers and slice red onion into rings. Put all these in a large bowl. 
  2. Whisk together all ingredients for the dressing and toss into the above bowl. Cover and refrigerate to let the flavors blend(30 minutes). 
  3. To serve spoon a large helping on the serving plate and top with kalamata olives and some crumbled feta cheese. Mmmm mmm good.
Garlic Potatoes

Garlic Potatoes
Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
4-5 large potatoes
2 cloves garlic, grated
2 tbsp Greek seasoning
1-2 tbsp olive oil
1-2 tbsp lime juice
salt to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan, and add crushed garlic. Cook till light pink. 
  2. Add all other ingredients and a sprinkle a palm full of water. 
  3. Mix thoroughly, simmer and cover. 
  4. Cook for 10-15 minutes checking frequently to prevent it from burning till potatoes are cooked through. 
  5. Serve hot with a sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Greek Lamb burgers

Greek lamb burger

This awesome burger is made with minced lamb infused with a concoction of herbs and spices and then grilled to perfection. Served on a bun with mixed greens, fresh tomato slices, red onion rings, kalamata olives, sprinkled with feta cheese and drizzled with tzatziki sauce - all the Greek flavors in one package. Burger never tasted better. Serve it with fries or fresh Greek salad for a complete meal. A MUST try this BBQ season.

Lamb Burgers
Ingredients: (for 4 burgers)

1 lb mince mutton
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 red onion, chopped fine
1 tbsp feta cheese
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp lime zest
1/2 tsp dry mint
Handful fresh coriander, chopped fine
1 tsp red pepper flakes (adjust as per your spice quotient)
2 walnuts, crushed roughly
2 tbsp Greek seasoning (recipe here)
Salt to taste
  1. Mix all the ingredients together and divide into four equal parts. 
  2. Shape into round patties. 
  3. Place in a single layer and cover. Refrigerate for 1/2 hour before cooking. 
  4. Grill for 7-8 minutes per side till cooked through and golden on both sides. 
  5. For a Vegetarian option substitute mince lamb with paneer, tofu or boiled potato or a combination of these. I have also tried boiled soy granules mixed with boiled potato. Just keep the flavoring same. You can pan fry or grill these. Comes out great.

To serve
4 burger buns (I used rustic kaiser buns)
Red onion rings
Tomato slices
Mixed greens(spinach, arugula, etc)
Kalamata olives
Feta cheese
Tzatziki sauce(recipe here)
  1. To serve warm the bun and place the leafy greens at the bottom. 
  2. Top with the lamb burger followed by sliced tomatoes and onion rings. 
  3. Drizzle tzatziki generously and sprinkle with feta. 
  4. Top with some olives and enjoy your feast. Burger never tasted sooo good.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Greek seasoning

Greek seasoning

Greek Seasoning is a blend of a few herbs and spices. A versatile herb mix to have at hand during the BBQ season. I prefer not to add salt in any spice mix, this way you can control the amount of salt you want in the dish.
Ingredients: (makes about 3 1/2 tbsp)
1 tsp basil
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp each onion and garlic powder
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp mint
1/3 tsp each cinnamon and nutmeg
  • Mix all the above together and store in an air tight container.


You can use this seasoning in the following ways-

Souvlaki and gyros- Use it as a dry rub marinade for grilled chicken, fish or pork. Click here for recipe of chicken souvlaki.








Burgers - Use it in burger meat. Click here for recipe of Greek lamb burgers






Stir fry spice - Use it in stir fried potatoes as a spice. Click here for complete recipe. Use it also as a spice for any grilled vegetable.





Salad dressing - Blend with red wine vinegar and salt, whisk in olive oil to get the perfect Greek dressing for your salad. Top with olives and feta. Here is the recipe.


    Friday, May 8, 2015

    Vegetable Vindaloo

    Aloo baigan in Vindaloo masala


    Keeping up with the theme of the vindaloo spice paste, here is a another lip smacking vegan and vegetarian version. Use this recipe with any vegetable you want. I chose eggplant for their meaty texture.

    Ingredients: (serves 4)
    7-8 small Indian eggplants
    2 potatoes
    2-3 tbsp Vindaloo paste (Recipe)
    2 tbsp oil
    1 small red onions
    4 cloves garlic
    Thumb size piece ginger
    2 tomatoes
    Salt to taste
    Fresh coriander to garnish
    1. Quarter the eggplants and peel and slice potatoes in the same shape as the eggplants.
    2. Prep other ingredients. Chop the red onions fine, grate or crush the ginger and garlic, puree the tomatoes.
    3. Heat oil in a large pan and add the onions. Fry stirring often till they start to turn golden.
    4. Now add the crushed ginger and garlic and cook till the raw smell of garlic goes away. Add the crushed tomatoes. 
    5. Cook till the tomatoes are fried well and the mixture starts to leave oil at the sides. 
    6. Add the  vindaloo paste and mix well. You can add some salt to taste. 
    7. Add the cubed eggplants and potatoes and mix gently to incorporate the flavors into them. Stir for a minute or two. 
    8. Add 1/2-3/4  cup of water and mix. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 5-10 minutes till the potatoes and eggplant is tender and cooked through. 
    9. Assess the quantity of water in the dish and adjust it as per your desired consistency. Boil off if too liquid, add some more if too dry. I make it fairly dry as I like to pair this dish with roti. If you want to serve rice with it then add more liquid.
    10. Remove from heat and sprinkle fresh coriander. Serve hot with roti for a deliciously satisfying meal.

    Thursday, May 7, 2015

    Tofu Vindaloo

    Tofu Vindaloo
    Keeping up with the theme of the vindaloo spice paste, here is a lip smacking vegan and vegetarian version. You can also follow this recipe to make paneer vindaloo. Pairs well with both white steamed rice and roti.

    Ingredients: (serves 4)
    900 gm extra firm tofu
    2 tbsp oil to fry tofu
    3-4 tbsp Vindaloo paste (Recipe)
    2 tbsp oil
    2 small red onions
    4 cloves garlic
    Thumb size piece ginger
    2 tomatoes
    Salt to taste
    Fresh coriander to garnish
    1. Press the tofu between a clean dish towel to remove any water. Cut tofu into small bite sized cubes. Heat oil in a flat non stick pan on medium heat and pan sear the tofu cubes till lightly golden on all sides. keep aside.   
    2. Prep other ingredients. Chop the red onions fine, grate or crush the ginger and garlic, puree the tomatoes.
    3. Heat oil in a large pan and add the onions. Fry stirring often till they start to turn golden.
    4. Now add the crushed ginger and garlic and cook till the raw smell of garlic goes away. Add the crushed tomatoes. 
    5. Cook till the tomatoes are fried well and the mixture starts to leave oil at the sides. 
    6. Add the  vindaloo paste and mix well. You can add some salt at this point. 
    7. Add the fried tofu cubes and mix gently to incorporate the flavors into them. Stir for a minute or two. 
    8. Add 1/2  cup of water and mix. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 3-4 minutes till the everything blends. 
    9. Assess the quantity of water in the dish and adjust it as per your desired consistency. Boil off if too liquid, add some more if too dry.
    10. Remove from heat and sprinkle fresh coriander. Serve hot with white steamed rice for a deliciously satisfying meal.

    Wednesday, May 6, 2015

    Chicken Vindaloo

    Chicken Vindaloo


    Vindaloo curry is a staple on the menu of British Pubs and most Indian restaurants in England. Vindaloo is a hot and spicy curried dish available in various incarnations—pork, beef, chicken, lamb, (pork being the standard). The word vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of the popular Portuguese dish carne de vinha d'alhos (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic), which made its way to India (Goa) in the 15th century along with Portuguese explorers (source).

    As the Portuguese—and their culinary contributions—were assimilated into the Goan culture, the Goan influence began to be evident in the vinha d’alho, with the addition of potent chilies and various spices, including ginger, coriander, and cumin. In the absence of the wine-vinegar, the more local ingredient - tangy tamarind, came to the rescue. The current version of the dish reflects its evolution, resulting in a fiery, tangy concoction containing some combination of garlic, chilies, coriander, cumin, onion, tomatoes, ginger, peppercorns and tamarind. Other ingredients that may typically be found in vindaloo masalas include tomatoes, cardamom, mustard seed, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, fenugreek seed, and cloves. Some recipes call for the addition of a small amount of brown sugar, for a touch of sweetness to counterbalance the tartness provided by the vinegar. (source)

    Following recipe is my take on this delectable dish. You will need about 4-5 tablespoons for any dish you make for 4 people. If you prefer less spicy, reduce the amount to 3-4 tbsp in the dish.

    Ingredients: (serves 4-5)
    2 lbs boneless skinless chicken thighs
    5 tbsp Vindaloo paste (Recipe)
    3 tbsp oil
    2 red onions
    5 cloves garlic
    Thumb size piece ginger
    3-4 tomatoes
    Salt to taste
    Fresh coriander to garnish
    1. Cut chicken thighs into 2 by 2 inch pieces, sprinkle a little salt on them and add the vindaloo marinade. Mix using your hands so the vindaloo masala goes in every nook and cranny. Cover and refrigerate. Let the chicken marinate for a minimum of 4 hours.  
    2. Meanwhile prep your other ingredients. Chop the red onions fine, grate or crush the ginger and garlic, puree the tomatoes.
    3. Heat oil in a large pan and add the onions. Fry stirring often till they start to turn golden.
    4. Now add the crushed ginger and garlic and cook till the raw smell of garlic goes away. Add the crushed tomatoes. 
    5. Cook till the tomatoes are fried well and the mixture starts to leave oil at the sides. 
    6. Add the marinated chicken along with all the marinade and mix well. You can add some salt at this point, but bear in mind that the chicken already has some salt. 
    7. Continue to cook the chicken, stirring to sear all sides till the outside of all chicken pieces are no longer pink. 
    8. Add 1/2 to 3/4 cups of water and mix. Bring to boil and simmer covered for 5-7 minutes till the chicken cooks through. 
    9. Assess the quantity of water in the dish and adjust it as per your desired consistency. Boil off if too liquid, add some more if too dry.
    10. Remove from heat and sprinkle fresh corriander. Serve hot with white steamed rice for a deliciously satisfying meal.

    Tuesday, May 5, 2015

    Vindaloo masala

    This recipe adapted from Jamie Oliver

    Vindaloo curry is a staple on the menu of British Pubs and most Indian restaurants in England. Vindaloo is a hot and spicy curried dish available in various incarnations—pork, beef, chicken, lamb, (pork being the standard). The word vindaloo is a garbled pronunciation of the popular Portuguese dish carne de vinha d'alhos (meat marinated in wine-vinegar and garlic), which made its way to India (Goa) in the 15th century along with Portuguese explorers (source). 

    As the Portuguese—and their culinary contributions—were assimilated into the Goan culture, the Goan influence began to be evident in the vinha d’alho, with the addition of potent chilies and various spices, including ginger, coriander, and cumin. In the absence of the wine-vinegar, the more local ingredient - tangy tamarind, came to the rescue. The current version of the dish reflects its evolution, resulting in a fiery, tangy concoction containing some combination of garlic, chilies, coriander, cumin, onion, tomatoes, ginger, peppercorns and tamarind. Other ingredients that may typically be found in vindaloo masalas include tomatoes, cardamom, mustard seed, turmeric, paprika, cayenne, fenugreek seed, and cloves. Some recipes call for the addition of a small amount of brown sugar, for a touch of sweetness to counterbalance the tartness provided by the vinegar. (source)

    Following recipe is my take on this delectable masala. You will need about 4-5 tablespoons for any dish you make for 4 people. If you prefer less spicy, reduce the amount to 3-4 tbsp in the dish.   

    Ingredients: (makes about 8-10 tablespoons)
    1 tbsp black peppercorns
    10 whole cloves
    1 tbsp coriander seeds
    1/2 tsp methi seeds
    2 tsp fennel seeds
    4 dried red chillies
    5 cloves garlic
    1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger
    2 Tbsp vegetable oil
    3 Tbsp lemon juice
    2 Tbsp tomato puree
    2 tbsp tamarind paste
    2 fresh hot green chilli peppers
    1 tsp turmeric
    fresh coriander half palm full
    1. Toast the first six dry spices in a dry pan for a few minutes, stirring constantly, until everything becomes fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Cool. 
    2. Put the spices into a spice grinder and process until finely ground. 
    3. Transfer the spices to a small food processor and add the rest of the ingredients. Process until it becomes a smooth paste scraping down the sides as needed. 
    4. Store this curry paste in an airtight glass jar in the refrigerator. It should keep for about a month.
    Dishes to make with Vindaloo masala
    Veggie vindaloo
     
    Tofu Vindaloo  

    Chicken Vindaloo

    Friday, May 1, 2015

    Eggplant parmesan


    Eggplant Parmesan
    A lasagna like layered casserole with tomato herb sauce, cheese and sliced eggplant instead of pasta - Eggplant Parmesan is a true Italian comfort food - cheesy and tomato-ee with the meaty textured slices. A great option for when you are serving an Italian meal and have some vegetarian guests. 
    The main thing to keep in mind here is the handling of the eggplant slices. Salting of eggplant is the key to success as this draws out the excess moisture from the slices before baking and ensures a robust sauce in the finished casserole. You don't want to end up with a watery mushy mess. 
    Also am not a great fan of frying. A vegetable like eggplant absorbs a lot of oil specially when breaded, making it calorie dense (not to forget the mess in the kitchen). So I baked the breaded slices in the oven before layering it with the sauce. 


    Ingredients: 
    2 large eggplants
    Olive oil
    Salt and pepper to taste
    1 egg
    3/4 - 1 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
    3/4 - 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
    1/2 teaspoon each dried oregano and thyme5-6 cups tomato sauce (recipe here)
    1 cups shredded mozzarella
    Extra Parmesan cheese for topping (about 2-3 tbsp)
    1. Cut the eggplants into 1/2 inch thick rounds. Sprinkle them with salt and leave in a colander for 15-20 minutes to sweat. Extract excess water by arranging slices on a clean dish towel and patting dry.
    2. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 425 F. Prepare two baking sheets by brushing with oil. Set these aside. Also grease a large (9 X 13 inch) baking dish for later and set aside.
    3. In a wide bowl whisk egg with a couple teaspoons of water. In another bowl combine equal quantities of breadcrumbs and Parmesan cheese (How much you need will depend on the size of your eggplants - anywhere between 3/4 to 1 cup each). Season with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme.   
    4. Dip eggplant slices in the egg mixture, dripping off excess. Dredge in the breadcrumb mixture and place on thew prepared baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, turn the slices over and bake for another 15 minutes. The slices will turn golden brown and will be cooked through. 
    5. Remove from heat and reduce the oven temp to 375 F.
    6. Spread 2 cups of tomato sauce in the baking dish. Arrange half the eggplant slices over it, cover with more tomato sauce, spread half the shredded mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers of eggplant, then sauce followed by remaining mozzarella, topped with Parmesan.
    7. Bake uncovered at 375 F for 30-35 minutes till sauce is bubbling and cheese has melted. remove from oven, cover with foil and let stand for 10 minutes before digging in.