Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chicken Malai Kabab

Who doesn't like chicken malai kabab??? If you are a carnivore, you have to try these kababs. 'Malai ' means creamy so these kababs are spicy, soft and utterly creamy. If you end up with  leftover kababs ( that is a Big if),  wrap them in a fluffy Kawan parantha, throw in some chopped onions and green chutney...viola !....delish meal all set.

Most Peshawari recipes use raw papaya or yogurt as a tenderizer. A tenderizer breaks down the meat, cuts down grilling time and gives the kababs its unique 'melt-in-your-mouth' texture. I use an unseasoned tenderizer ( available in Publix spice aisle) because it acts quickly and lets me control the salt amount.  Regardless of the type of tenderizer you choose,  I would suggest that you do not skip the tenderizer in this recipe because you need the meat to be buttery soft.

The other important point to note is to eliminate water at every step. Ingredients should be fairly dry for the marinade to stick to the meat throughout the cooking process. This is true for all kababs including grilled paneer. Stay tuned for grilled paneer recipe ....

2 large boneless chicken breast
1 tbsp pepper powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tsp tenderizer ( or follow directions on the container)
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste ( squeeze out the water)
1 cup of cilantro leaves
4 green chillies ( adjust per taste)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp coriander seeds
2 sprigs of mint leaves
1tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp cream cheese
melted butter for basting
chat masala
lemon wedges
Salt to taste
Sliced onions and green peppers optional

1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Wash and pat dry the chicken breasts. Cut into similar size chunks for even cooking. In a bowl mix chicken chunks, salt, pepper powder, tenderizer, garam masala and ginger garlic paste. Set aside for 15 minutes.
3) In a mortar, pound together cilantro leaves, mint, cumin seeds, coriander seeds and chillies to a coarse paste. Do not add water.
4) To the above paste add cream cheese and sour cream( discard the whey/water content). Add in the marinated chicken pieces. Let it sit for 15 minutes. If using yogurt/ papaya, marinate for  4-5 hours.
5) Skewer the chicken pieces and brush with melted butter. In a casserole dish layer onions and green peppers. For easy clean-up, line the casserole dish with aluminium foil before layering the veggies. Hang the skewers in between the two sides of the casserole dish such that the yummy drippings from the kababs will be caught by the layer of veggies as it cooks.
6) Grill for 10 minutes. Remove, baste with butter. Turn and grill the other side for 5 more minutes. Cooking time depends on the size of the chunks.
7) Remove from the skewers carefully, sprinkle with chat masala and lemon juice. Enjoy..!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Ukadiche Modak- Ganpati Bappa Morya

 I first experimented with  ukadiche modak  when I was pregnant. I insanely craved for these soft, sweet and steamed dumplings. Having never made modak before and having heard enough horror stories about making these yummy treats, I was skeptical about my success. After much thinking, my cravings won !!! And there I was with a big batch of Ukad and  sweetened coconut filing. Long story short, that day I feasted on  a plateful of  little balls that did not look like conventional modak at all but the taste was heavenly, I tell you.  Moral of the story,  yes the shape is difficult to master but don't let it deter you. Give it a try. Ofcourse, never forget the magic of  a good mould. Note to myself, get a modak mould on my next trip from India

Modaks are usually eaten during Ganesh Chaturthi, however there is no rule not to make these delightful parcels to celebrate your special day.

Here is my mom's recipe :

Ukad ( White dumpling cover)
1 cup of rice flour
1 cup of water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ghee

2 cups of grated coconut ( frozen)
1 cup of grated jaggery
1 tsp roasted poppy seeds
1/2 tsp rice flour
1 tsp ghee
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
chopped almonds, cashew nuts and raisins optional
pinch of salt

To make the filing:
In a microwave safe glass bowl, mix grated coconut and jaggery. Heat at high for 3 minutes. The jaggery will start to melt. Add all the other ingredients and microwave for another 3 minutes until the mixture is dry and smells amazing. Set aside to cool

To make  Ukad:
 Bring water to boil. Add salt and ghee. Slowly add rice flour and stir.  Sprinkle some water, cover and let the dough steam for a minute. Empty the dough on a plate and while warm ( take care not to burn yourself) knead until the dough becomes soft and pliable. Cover with a damp towel.

To assemble the dumplings:
1) Here is a simple trick, break out a small amount of dough and place it between two plastic sheets. The dough is so soft that if you place a flat bottom plate with enough pressure, the dough rolls out into even thickness. This is much easier than the traditional way to  shape the dough with your fingers.

2) Grease your palms well. Hold the rolled out dough in the cup of your hand. Spoon 3/4 tsp of the filing in the dough cup. Oil your fingers. Pinch folds on the side. Bring all the pleats together to close the opening with a peak.

3) Steam the dumplings for 15 minutes. I used an Idli steamer but you can use a pressure cooker without weights or a bamboo steamer.

 How to eat  Modak: Yeah...like you need instructions for that ..!!!