August 21, 2015

Chicken Spaghetti with Lemon Butter Sauce

"With enough butter anything is good...."
-Julia Child
A short story I have written a while back.... 
Tactile Sensation
Her old aching limbs needed earnestly a fresh air walk. She locked the door and went out to relax in the fresh breeze for a while. She had a small shaded trail guarded by big green trees in her apartment complex, which she felt the only treasure remained in this concrete world. The air was no fresher to inhale, but still the trees worked as the catalysts to strain out the pollution and spread the freshness in the area. Burden of thoughts leaned down her head and her eyes aimlessly followed the path and suddenly got stuck on a feather. A feather with a colour of yellow and black and the length might be a palm long. She knew this bird, but didn’t know its name. She often saw it from her kitchen window, humming in the trees, flying from one branch to the other. Her heart suddenly felt with joy and the 9 year old child jumped out of her and picked up the feather in no time. Her life within a fraction of moment dated 50 years back when she was a desperate feather collector and was awarded the first prize in her school project for her feather collection. She rested her body on a lonely bench on the side of the trail and felt her pounding heart, which was though little bit exhausted with the brisk walk, much more excited about getting a suddenly found treasure. Her wrinkled and trembling fingers touched the soft surface of the feather. The delicate and smoothness of the feather just injected a weird kind of sensation in her whole body and it went straight and hit her heart. She felt a different kind of happiness and relaxation. A different kind of excitement started to run through her blood. She was holding the feather with the utmost care she could give it to. She didn’t want to distort the shape of the feather or any of its barbs. Her aged limbs were trying to gather all the power to give it the full comfort. The touch sensation of the feather infused new life in her senescent body. Again, it took her to the moment when she first held her daughter in her arms. The little bundle of joy made her whole life blessed. Though she was young enough at that time, her hands were trembling too then. Her heart was beating fast with a fear that might be her touch would hurt her little soft baby. Today she was feeling the same first time motherhood experience after so many years just after touching the feather. Her heart swelled with happiness and the joy flooded down her cheeks just alike what she felt that moment when she first had her baby in her arms. The two ages suddenly commixed with a new age and all her burdened soul, her burdened age energised with a new light of power to live life. She touched the feather in her cheek and closed her eyes, she felt like touching her newborn baby. She sensed the same joy and ecstasy. Her charged body headed towards home. Now her hands or limbs were not trembling nor were her limbs aching any more. She went straight to her room and grabbed for a secure place to keep the feather. The mere feather was not a mere feather to her anymore. It’s the source of power to live and sense the precious moments once again. Her excitement could not wait for a moment to share about her treasure and the tactile sensation with her husband, who would be back any moment from his job and her grown up married daughter who calls every day at night.

Now let us move to the recipe:
{Yields 3- 4 adults}
Spaghetti - a bunch that a fist can hold
Boneless Chicken - 200 grm
Garlic - 1 tbspn (chopped)
Butter - 3 tbspn heaped ( or less - See notes)
Lemon Juice - 2 tbspn
Salt, Sugar and black pepper as per taste
Spring onion (finely chopped) - 1/4 cup
1.  Boil the Spaghetti with salt till it's tender. Strain the excess water and reserve. 
2. Heat the butter in non-stick pan. Add garlic and cook till it is light brown. Add lemon juice ad give a quick stir.
3. Add the boneless chicken cut in cubes and saute for a while. Add salt, sugar and pepper as per your taste. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes.
4. Add the spaghetti. Fold nicely with with chicken. Cook for a couple of minutes more and then add the chopped spring onion and serve.
I made this dish when I was expecting my second daughter. I was craving for only butter and lemon. I could eat chicken only if it was cooked with lots of butter, drizzle with lemon juice or cream. So when you will make this dish adjust the butter portion with olive oil (If you want to avoid too much butter). But to be honest the taste of the dish actually lies in the amount of butter gets used as Julia Child has said - "With enough butter, anything is good..."
PS. It is a simple adaptation of Lemon Butter sauce inspired from many recipes based on it.

Bon Appétit

This recipe is off to the KFB Online event where the featured blogger of the week is Chitrangada who blogs at colorandspices is conducting the event.

August 18, 2015

Kung Pao Chicken

Chili Chicken, Chicken Manchurian, Hakka Noodles, Sweet corn Soup, Hot and Sour soup, and Chicken lolly-pops or Drums of heaven, these were the ultimate dishes which used to comprise the whole Chinese Cuisine for us. My sister and I both die for the Chinese delicacies, make sure as told earlier, for us (To be true, as per our knowledge), mainly Chili Chicken and Hakka Noodles meant all for Chinese cuisine. Whenever we used to visit any Chinese restaurant with our parents, we would order only the items among those. Once for a change we ordered for a new dish called Chicken China Town. We were pretty excited and anxiously waiting to taste a new dish. What we were served, was a dish tasted same like Chicken Manchurian. Only it was covered with an egg poach. Huh, so whether there were 30 odd items listed on the menu of a Chinese restaurant in India, say about 20 years back, the dishes tasted more or less the same. The present scenario has now totally changed. People gained a good knowledge on different cuisine about the varieties and authenticity of the tastes. But at the time of our childhood authentic taste of a cuisine only limited with the high end Restaurants which were not always affordable for us. Spending 250/-INR for a dish was mere a luxury nothing else. So we used to choose our comfort zone where each dish costs 100 to 150/- or less. To be honest once or twice we have visited such places but those Chinese dishes didn't tickle our taste buds for the mildness in the tastes, as we were used to with the dash of Ajinamoto, spicy and full of soy sauce gravy dishes.
It had only opened the whole arena of the versatility of Chinese Cuisine then, when I visited USA. Though not the authentic one, I at least came out from a world where Chilli Chicken and Hakka Noodles were not available. Rather I was introduced with Honey crispy Chicken, Mince Chicken with eggplant, Kung Pao Chicken or Gong Bao Chicken, Hunan Chicken, Wantons, Dumplings, Peking Roasted ducks etc. The variety in taste and flavour in-fixed my mind to What actually Chinese Cuisine is. I was introduced with the varieties of Sauces and spice in the Chinese local stores. The taste of Soy Sauce was so different from the one available in India.  I had never heard about the Sauces like Hoisin sauce or Oyster Sauce. I had never seen so many different varieties of Chili Sauce. The different kind of vinegar and et al. Thankfully now at this age we almost get most the global continental food items in the market. So one can easily delve in luxury to make different types of international dishes at home. Only you have to find out the proper recipe and give a try. Now Kung Pao Chicken is one of the dishes that we love from the traditional Chinese Cuisine. The recipe I have shared is not entirely the authentic one, but a near to it. So enjoy Kung Pao Chicken... 

This Magazine look I created inspired by my very talented friend Chandrima. Check out her blog Not out of the box for delicious recipes and eye catching food photography.
{Recipe partially adapted from HERE}
Soy Sauce: 1tbspn
Chinese rice wine or dry sherry – 2 tspn (I used rice vinegar)
Cornflour – ½ tbspn
Boneless Chicken – 250 grams (Cut in to cubes)
 Chinese black vinegar or substitute good-quality balsamic vinegar – 1 tspn (I used Balsamic vinegar)
Soy Sauce – 2 tspn
Hoisin sauce – 1 tbspn
Sesame oil – 1 tspn (I didn’t use)
Sugar – 1 tspn
Corn flour – 1 tspn
Ground Sichuan pepper – ½ tspn (See notes - #1)
For the final part:
White oil – 2tbspn + 2 tbspn
Dried red chilies – As per your taste
Spring onion – Finely sliced ¼ cup
Coloured bell pepper  diced -  1 & 1/2 cup
Garlic – finely chopped – 1 tbspn
Fresh ginger – grated 1 tspn
 Dry - roasted Peanuts – ¼ cup
1. Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients written under Marinade. Fold it nicely so that the cornflour gets mixed evenly.
2. Prepare the sauce, combine all the ingredients written under Sauce. Rest for a while so that the sugar gets dissolve.
3. Heat 2 tbspn oil a wok or a Kadai. Pour the chicken and fry for 4 - 5 minutes on high flame. Take them out and reserve in a bowl.
4.  Add the remaining 2 tbspn oil with the excess oil. Add garlic and let it turn light brown. Add the bell peppers and the chicken. Give a good stir on high flame for  2- 3 minutes. Then add the sauce and the dry red chilies (See notes - #2). Cook for 2 to 3 minutes more then add the peanuts. Cook for couple of minutes more. Then take it off the stove sprinkling the spring onions. Serve hot with rice / fried rice / noodles.
1. I didn't have ground Sichuan pepper. So what I did, I cut the dry red chilies in strips and added it.
2. Basically the recipe asks for tempering with the Dry Red chilies. I avoided it because of my kid. If your hot tolerance appreciates a good amount of chilies then go for it. Make sure to put your exhaust fan on high and keep your kids away from the kitchen while tempering the chilies.
3. #Tips : Don't cook the chicken for longer time otherwise it will kill the softness of the chicken and will make it hard and rubbery.

August 14, 2015

Mushroom Baby-corn Muffin

You must have read in my earlier post that preparing lunchbox for my 8 year old girl has become a nightmare for me. The reason, what ever or how much tasty dishes I share in her lunch box it will be surely coming back home only half eaten. I started spending sleepless nights - 6 hrs +2 hours stay away from home with such a little food consumption, must be badly affecting the lil one's health. So  in the evenings I started making myself occupied by giving trials with different snack idea. If the lil one approves then 'BINGO'.. Next day that will go in her tiffin box. The other day I made these little savoury muffins that did tickle my princess's taste bud and to my surprise the next day I found her tiffin box empty. Not only she but her friends loved it so much and now I have to send few extra so that my princess and her friends can have a snack party everyday. So here is recipe of Mushroom Baby-corn Muffin:
{Yeilds - 3-4 muffin (medium size)}
Egg - 2
Flour - 1 tbspn
Mushroom & Baby Corn - 1/2 cup chopped
Onion- 1/2 of one small chopped
Cream Cheese - 1 tbspn (Optional - See Notes)
Pizza Cheese - 1 tbspn (See Notes)
Nutmeg powder- a pinch (See Notes)
Tobasco/ Chili Sauce - 3 to 4 drops or as per taste.
Salt, Sugar & Black Pepper Powder - As per taste
Butter - 1 tspn
1. Whisk two eggs and flour, add a pinch of salt and keep aside.
2. Heat a pan . Add butter, let it melt down then add garlic. Saute for a minute.
3. Add chopped onion. Fry them for a couple of minutes.
4. Add the Mushroom and Baby corn. Fry for 2 minutes more. 
5. Add salt, pepper, sugar and cream cheese.
6. Cook then in a low flame until the cream cheese gets melted and well mixed.
7. Sprinkle the nutmeg powder, mix well.
8. Cool the mixture for a while then add it with the egg mixture. Add the Pizza cheese and Tobasco/ chili sauce too.
9. Now take 3- 4 muffin cups. Pour the mixture evenly in each cup.
10. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 180 degree C.
11. Serve warm with some dips/ sauce.
1. One can mix other vegetables too.
2.  One can add chicken/ bacon or sausages to make it more tasty.
3. To make Nutmeg Powder just take the nutmeg and grate it in a fine grater.
4. I had Britannia Cream cheese at home so used it here. But if it one doesn't have any just increase the cheese portion.
5. Instead of Pizza cheese,  Amul cheese cube can also be used.