Ria's Collection: October 2014

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


Does this humble,yet hugely popular curry need an introduction? This is like the voice of India.Whichever restaurant you go to here, this is on their menu for sure! I even like the way it sounds.This was never a curry we had at home while growing up. A good Butter Chicken would appear once in a while on the dinner table when Amma was in a mood for a change. But,never a Chicken Tikka Masala.

I like all curries with a thick smooth sauce made with onions and tomatoes. And to go with that, I'd love some Garlic Naan,with some butter slathered over it.
I made this curry a month or two back and this post was in my drafts for the longest time. I don't know why,but,everytime I saw it, I did not feel like posting it here.I am trying my best to stop procrastinating things these days because,once I do that,it never gets done later on. It's a bit difficult at times but,when I am done with it,it feels awesome! There are days when I don't feel like doing anything, but,just sit and watch some movies or catch up on some idiotic reality shows.
Back to the curry.This is really an awesome one! Once you make it,you will feel like a kitchen goddess. Trust me, you will! Your kitchen will smell amazing while it's cooking and your tastebuds will feel pampered when you taste it! None of Mr. Raghavan Iyer's recipes, that I've tried so far, have failed to impress.It's not just me. It's been impressing a lot of our friends too! I paired it with a simple Peas Pulao, that I love making with some red onions, cumin & cilantro. It would pair well with just steamed Basmati rice too! This curry is bursting with flavours and you will wonder why you didn't make it earlier!


You will need some bamboo skewers

For the marinade:
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tablespoons ginger paste
2 tablespoons garlic paste
2 tablespoons finely chopped cilantro leaves
2 teaspoons coriander seeds,ground
1 teaspoon cumin seeds,ground
1 1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 1/2 pound boneless,skinless chicken breasts,cut lengthwise into 1 inch wide strips

For the sauce:
2 tablespoon ghee
1 small red onion,coarsely chopped
1 small red bell pepper,seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 cup diced tomatoes
1/4 heavy cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/4 teaspoon garam masala

2 tablespoon finely chopped cilantro

Method:Soak the bamboo skewers in water for an hour.
Whisk all the ingredients given under the marinade,stir in the chicken and toss thoroughly. Refrigerate covered, for atleast 30 minutes or up to 6 hours.

When you are ready to cook the chicken,make the sauce: Heat the ghee in a small saucepan* over medium -high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, almonds and raisins, and cook, stirring frequently,until the vegetables soften and then acquire honey -brown patches,10-12 minutes.Stir in the tomatoes and scrape the bottom to deglaze it.Pour this chunky sauce into the blender and add the cream,salt,cayenne and garam masala. Puree,scraping the jar as needed,to make a thick,nutty-gritty sauce.Pour the sauce into a medium size saucepan and simmer it over low heat while you grill the chicken.

Grill or broil (on the shelf closest to the heating element) the chicken for 6-8 minutes,turning occassionally,until they juices run clear.Slide the chicken off the skewers into the sauce.Stir to coat well and serve garnished with cilantro!

*Forcing the vegetables into a small pan allows them to sweat a little,creating moisture that prevents burning.

This curry is a bomb! That's all that I have to say :) We enjoyed it to the last bite. The sauce will thicken up as it cools,so feel free to adjust the consistency with some cream,if need be.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014


Potstickers. Can I have a plate of Potstickers? Cheta, Dumplings? These are our usual requests when we eat out. I am a die hard fan of potstickers and I can live on it for the rest of my life. Ian is another one. The minute the server comes by,he would say,'Cheta,Dumplings?'. He doesn't know the difference between a Potsticker & a Dumpling,so prefers to call them Dumplings. A Potsticker is first pan fried on it's flat side and then steam cooked in either chicken broth or water. Whereas a Dumpling is cooked by steaming alone. Simple,right?
We used to buy Pork & Vegetable Potstickers from Trader Joes, Whole Foods etc all this while. Everytime we buy it, I make a mental note to try my hand at it soon. It never happened until we ate some Momos at our local Indian restaurant. Momos are a Tibetian / Nepali version of Dumplings. I've made them many years ago when I was in Kannur and they were my favourite things to eat out in Bangalore.We would go to the Taste Of Tibet on Brigade Road and order so many plates of Momos because we could never get enough of it!
When I researched about the kinds of fillings,I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of them were the same. Some used different sauces to flavour the pork while some stuck to the basics. I preferred sticking to the basic recipe because I knew the ones we've been eating so far didn't taste like it had a blend of sauces. I was right. These potstickers proved to be the best!This recipe called for 64 Wonton wrappers but,if you are using Potsticker wrappers,which is thicker than the Wonton wrappers,you will have to buy an extra packet. There are only 48 Potsticker wrappers in one packet.
This is such an easy thing to make and must be made ahead of time,if you are planning.They are best when frozen,just like how it is when we buy. When I tried cooking them as soon as I made it, it became a bit too soft. I mean,it was good but,it was not the way I had wanted.You need to lay them on a cookie sheet and leave it in the freezer till they are frozen,rock solid. After that, transfer them to a ziptop bag and leave it in the freezer till needed. This works as the best appetizer when you have some visitors at the last minute or,in my case,when me and Ian need something to munch on during tea time.

2 cups green / napa cabbage,chopped very fine
1 teaspoon salt

1/2 pound shrimp,cleaned and finely chopped
1 pound ground pork
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons rice wine /sherry
1 tablespoon chopped green onions
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
64 Potsticker / Wonton wrappers

1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 cup chicken stock / water

Dipping sauce:
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
a small slice of ginger

Method: In a large bowl,toss the cabbage with salt and set aside for 20 mins. Transfer the cabbage to a cheesecloth and squeeze out all the water. You will be amazed to see the amount that will ooze out. Make sure you squeeze the daylights out of it ;)

Mix together all the ingredients from cabbage through garlic,well. You can refrigerate the mixture,covered,at this point,for upto 6 hours. When you are ready,put one teaspoon filling on each wrapper,shape and seal with some water brushed on the edges of the wrapper. You can use a cornstarch slurry too,if you'd like it that way. Place all the shaped dumplings on a cookie sheet and freeze till rock hard. Transfer to a ziptop bag and freeze until needed.

How to cook: In a large saute pan, heat the oil on medium high heat. When it is hot, add the dumplings,flat side down and let it get golden brown on that side,1-2 minutes.Then,lower the heat to medium, add the chicken broth,cover the pan and let it cook for 3-5 minutes or until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Serve hot with the dipping sauce.

For the dipping sauce: Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and serve alongside potstickers.
This was seriously, out of this world good! If you have the patience,make a bigger batch and stash it away in the freezer and you can thank yourself,later,when you enjoy them! Ian was sleeping when I made these and when he woke up and saw them,he went crazy for it! I have made another batch already and they are sitting very pretty in the freezer :) You should try it too!

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