Now that everyone is back in school and fall projects are underway, the need for quick and easy recipe is at a peak. I designed my Indian-Style Grilled Chicken recipe to be just that.

Indian-Style Grilled Chicken

Indian-Style Grilled Chicken marinated in a special mix of Indian spices then grilled to perfection in this easy to make Indian recipe.

I love to serve chicken during the week because it is easy to cook without much fuss. Using boneless chicken breasts make it even easier because they cook evenly without those end pieces overcooking while the center is still raw. To make it even easier, wrap the chicken between two pieces of wax paper or plastic and pound it with a meat mallet, if you have one, or with your fist (as I do) to make the overall pieces have a consistent thickness.

I start making this recipe by combining garam masala, cumin, red chile powder, turmeric and other spices with minced garlic, ginger and yogurt. After mixing it together well, transfer it to a zip top bag. Add the chicken pieces and coat them evenly with the marinade by squeezing the bag. Refrigerate.

I let the chicken marinate for 3 to 4 hours before grilling it. I tend to cook the chicken indoors on my grill pan to save time running back and forth to the outdoor grill. The chicken can be placed in the marinade in the morning then cooked in the evening to facilitate dinner prep.

The cooked Indian-Style Grilled Chicken can be served whole or sliced. Since the chicken breasts in my local grocery are so large and serve two people comfortably, I slice them before serving.

Any leftover Indian-Style Grilled Chicken is delicious for lunch the next day on top of a salad or as a sandwich. Enjoy!

When I was planning the recipe for Masala Chicken with Mushroom Sauce, I knew I wanted a simple sautéed chicken breast with a brown butter sauce. Brown butter sauce is one of the easiest to make. It is always successful without any problems. When I started to make the sauce for this recipe, I realized that I had a lovely selection of fresh mushrooms that I knew would add the substance the sauce needed to stand up to an Indian masala, or spice mix, that I had created for the chicken. I used two of my favorite mushrooms, cremini and shitakes, for their different textures and shapes. I sliced them and added them to the skillet with a bit of chopped shallots, garlic and butter. To this I added a dry white wine which I allowed toand intensify in flavor followed by more butter. Ahh, what a glorious combination. My brown butter sauce became a buttery mushroom sauce.

Masala Chicken with Mushroom Sauce

Masala Chicken with Mushroom Sauce is an delicious, easy to make sautéed chicken recipe served with a butter sauce flavored with wild mushrooms.

Since I seem to be discussing the sauce before the chicken, let me regress to the main ingredient in this recipe. Over the years, I have learned that it is easier to cook chicken if all the pieces are the same size and same thickness. To do this I use my meat mallet and pound them so they are a bit thinner and all the same thickness. This is good therapy after a stressful day and no one is harmed in the process. Take care not to get too aggressive with the pounding; getting too forceful can cause the chicken to tear and have unattractive holes in it. After the chicken is pounded I feel the pieces look larger so everyone will think they are getting more food. Only I know the truth!

To flavor the chicken, I make a masala with ground spices. Authentic Indian cooks would use whole spices, roast them over a fire or in a hot skillet, and then grind them to a powder for the richest flavor. I wanted to make this a quick and easy recipe so I opted for ground spices. I use so much spice in my house, I think they are fresh.

Once the masala is mixed, I sprinkle it generously on both sides of the chicken. The masala has enough character to stand up to the sauce so feel free to use it liberally. After a few minutes of allowing the chicken to rest with the spices, they are sautéed in a large skillet until golden brown.

When the chicken is done, I remove the pieces from the skillet so I start working on the last step of preparing the mushroom sauce.

This Masala Chicken with Mushroom Sauce recipe is easy to make for a perfect weeknight dinner. Add some vegetables and rice for a complete meal.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Chicken can be served in so many ways. Whole, cubed, baked, fried, covered in sauce, spiced. On and on the list of chicken recipes goes. To take a slightly different approach to chicken, I decided to stuff them. Using the large chicken breasts that I usually don’t buy because they are way too big for me to eat at one sitting, I flattened them and filled them with a rice and vegetable stuffing that has been seasoned in the Indian style.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Stuffed with a blend of basmati rice, lentils, cashews and spices, and topped with Lemon-Chile Butter Sauce, these Stuffed Chicken Breasts are delicious.

I start making Stuffed Chicken Breasts by opening up the breasts with a long horizontal cut then flattening them with a kitchen mallet. This step, called butterflying in the industry, is a lot of fun and a stress reliever.

The stuffing is a healthy blend of basmati rice, brown lentils and cashews, all of which are common Indian cuisine ingredients. They are added to a base of seasoned oil in which shallots, garlic and green chile are fried. A bit of chopped spinach is added at the last step to provide color and enhance texture. In my opinion, this stuffing could be served alone.

I place a generous amount of the stuffing inside the flattened chicken then roll them up like burritos. To keep them together during the cooking process, I tie them up with a string. They are browned in a skillet then baked until done.

To bring the dish together, I prepare a Lemon-Chile Butter Sauce that I drizzle over the Stuffed Chicken Breasts just before serving them. It is lightly seasoned with red chile powder for flavor, not for heat.

The Stuffed Chicken Breasts can be served whole or they can be sliced into medallions. Slices, in my mind, make a more elegant presentation as well as allow for better portion control. Serve them as you prefer with the Lemon-Chile Butter melting down the sides. This is a delicious recipe!

Everyone needs a delicious recipe for roast chicken that they can pull out and make when family or friends come over for a meal. There are several variations of recipes that all produce tasty chicken with crispy skin that are full of flavor and beautiful on the table. The primary differences are oven temperature, cooking time and seasonings.

Roast Spiced Chicken

Roast Spiced Chicken is a delicious Indian recipe for a whole chicken that is subtly seasoned with exotic spices and roasted to perfection.

I like this recipe for roast chicken because the meat has a rich savory flavor that stands up to any side dish. The spices that make up the masala that is used to coat the entire outside of the chicken, and the lemon, garlic, onion and fenugreek leaves that are placed on the inside, flavor the meat perfectly.

The steps to prepare this roast chicken are essentially the same as one would find in any recipe. The masala which is made with garam masala, coriander, cumin, red chile powder, fenugreek leaves and turmeric make this recipe special. It is mixed with a bit of oil before it is spread over the skin of the chicken. If you have time you can let the spices infuse the skin before roasting but this is not required. As usually happens in my kitchen, I run short of time so I roast the bird as soon as it is ready.

After I fill the chest cavity, I skip the process of trussing the bird. Instead I simply loop a piece of string around one leg, loop it around both legs then add one more loop around the second leg. I tie the string in a bow to make it easier to remove later.

As the chicken roasts, the kitchen is filled with an enticing aroma. After an hour in the oven, the outside of the bird turns a rich crispy brown color due to the spices.

Roast Spiced Chicken

Roast Spiced Chicken presents heavenly aromas right out of the oven.

Once the chicken is removed from the oven and has cooled for a sufficient amount of time, it can be sliced and placed on a platter or cut into quarters based on your preference. This recipe is so easy to make but it will be a welcome addition to any meal. Serve with any starch and vegetables on the side. I like to serve it with my Barley Pulav recipe which I will feature next week.

Now that fall is here, hot and spicy soups are back on the menu. I have started the season with my Mulligatawny Soup with Chicken and Ramen Noodles. The soup is spicy hot due to its origin. Mine is as well. The word mulligatawny came from the Tamil word milagu-tannir which means pepper water. (Milagu means pepper, and tanni means water.)

Mulligatawny Soup

Mulligatawny Soup with Chicken and Ramen Noodles

Mulligatawny Soup was originally an Anglo-Indian recipe made with a thin broth, spices and onion. It traveled to England during the British rule of India and was modified to add chicken or lamb to accommodate the European dietary preferences. Specific ingredients differ based on the cook’s preferences.

Some recipes incorporate leftover rice. I have added Japanese ramen noodles because I have loved eating these long wiggly noodles since I was in college and starting out on my own. Ramen noodles are normally eaten in broth or soup with a few vegetables. They are made with wheat, like other noodles, but have a special alkaline mineral in the water that makes them stand up better than other wheat noodles.

My recipe starts by tempering the oil with garlic, ginger and many different spices. I add julienned carrots, chopped onion, sliced leeks and fresh peas as well as chicken breast pieces that have been cut into tiny pieces. The broth is thickened with a small amount of roasted chickpea flower, besan, which gives the soup a creamy look. It also adds high quality protein to the soup. After the soup has had time to simmer, I add the ramen noodles and lime juice.

Mulligatawny Soup is a great option for a week night dinner. It is full of flavor and very satisfying. Serve freshly fried pappads on the side. My husband likes to crunch his into bits then put them into his soup!

A perfect recipe for cooking on a chilly day when the family is at home and you have time to spend the time to roast a whole chicken with vegetables to serve for dinner. Everything is roasted together to save time and cleanup.

In this recipe I make Fenugreek Pesto, obviously with fresh fenugreek leaves that I picked up at my local Indian grocery store. Whole spices and raw cashews are roasted in a hot pan to bring out their flavor. These are combined in a food processor with the fenugreek and a bit of fresh spinach, garlic and olive oil and ground to a paste. This is so easy to do.

Fenugreek Pesto Chicken with Vegetables

Roasted chicken and vegetables coated in pesto made with fenugreek and Indian spices makes a delicious savory dinner fit for any occasion.

I use this Fenugreek Pesto recipe only when I will be cooking it. In my opinion, the raw flavor of this pesto is too strong to eat as is. I will provide another version of Fenugreek Pesto in which I cook the fenugreek leaves before grinding them into pesto.

Once the pesto is made, I slather both the chicken, inside and out, and the vegetables with it.  The chicken and vegetables are then placed in  a roasting pan. The pan is then placed in a preheated oven and roasted until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is done.

Arrange the Fenugreek Pesto Roasted Chicken and Vegetables on a serving platter. The chicken can be cut into pieces or sliced before serving it so that people can take their own pieces.

Everyone loves a robust pasta dinner that is loaded with flavor and a variety of textures and colors. Nothing is better for a family dinner than my homemade Chicken Ravioli  with Spicy Béchamel Sauce recipe. Making the pasta is easy to do but it does take some time to form the dough, roll it out, cut, fill and seal each individual dumpling. It is a fun project that the whole family can enjoy. My daughter helped me make the raviolis and we were finished in no time at all.

Chicken Ravioli Red Bechamel Sauce

Chicken Ravioli Red Bechamel Sauce

In this recipe I fill my ravioli with a tasty blend of freshly ground chicken, vegetables and spices. The ravioli are boiled and topped with a delicious spicy tomato Béchamel sauce. I selected this sauce to complement the flavor of the pasta and chicken. Since the filling is subtly flavored by the vegetables and spices, I wanted to pair it with a delicate sauce that would not overpower it but enhance it.

My Béchamel sauce is made with a roux, a mixture of flour and butter, into which hot milk is slowly whisked to create a thick and creamy sauce. The recipe for this sauce originated in Tuscany about 400 years ago and traveled to France where it became one of the five fundamental sauces in French cuisine. It is the mother sauce of many different sauces including the popular Mornay sauce into which Gruyère cheese has been melted. Another variation is Soubise sauce that is enhanced with sautéed onions. Soubise sauce became the inspiration for my Spiced Béchamel sauce. I add tomato paste for its vibrant color and flavor as well as an array of Indian spices for a rich, round flavor.

Combining the chicken ravioli with this spiced sauce creates a delightful meal with an entirely new and unique set of flavors. Try this recipe for special meal or with your family for a fun afternoon. Enjoy!

This month is turning out to be very busy. With my new cookbook almost ready to go to the publisher, travel and family life, I haven’t had much time to create new recipes. Since my husband is visiting family in India, I decided to make a Malabar Omelet for dinner.

A Malabar Omelet is incredibly easy to make and is full of flavor. The egg mixture is lightly seasoned with cumin, black pepper and salt. Into the egg I simply add chopped tomato, shallot, green chile and cilantro. As the vegetables cook, their flavors combine into a rich filling for the eggs.

Malabar Omelet

Malabar Omelet

This recipe can be served at any meal with a salad or rice for a light meal. It can be cut into pieces and served at dinner with other dishes on the side. It is a very flexible recipe for any night of the week.

Walking around London during my recent trip I saw many restaurants called Balti House. I have heard about Balti (pronounced Bulti) curries and seen Balti restaurants but had never tasted Balti since my experiences have focused more on South Indian cuisine. This led me to ask what is Balti?

Balti is a spicy curry dish that is prepared with meat or vegetables and it is cooked over high heat in a large, deep stainless steel or cast iron bowl that has two large handle loops. This vessel is called a balti so it is believed that the dish has become synonymous with the pot in which it is cooked. The dish is served at the table in the very hot balti pot in which it was cooked. The word ‘balti’ translates from Hindi and Urdu, the language of Pakistan, to the English word ‘bucket’. This is fitting since the pot is bucket shaped.

Balti is thought to have originated in the Baltistan region of Pakistan but this style of cooking was brought to England in the 1970s and became famous in Birmingham, northwest of London. Since then this style of cooking has taken the U.K. by storm and has become popular in the U.S. Many restaurants specialize in all recipes Balti. They usually called Balti House or Balti Restaurant. It is also found on the menus of most Indian restaurants. Sometimes it is featured in its own section of the menu. Balti curries can be vegetarian or non-veg with meat, chicken, seafood.

Balti Chicken Curry

Chicken Balti Curry made by stir-frying the chicken then added it to a rich curry is made of onions, tomatoes and spices.

Now that I have told you how it is cooked and how it most likely originated, I will share with you how it is made. The curry is made by frying onions and tomatoes with a blend of Indian spices, then puréeing it. The vegetables and meat, if using, are cut into bite-sized pieces then pan-fried over high heat in oil, just like a stir-fry, until done. Finally the curry is added to the pot and everything is simmered together until the flavors develop and everything is cooked through. The curry is thick and a lot of depth to its flavor. It is quite simple to make and is absolutely delicious. This curry is best served with plain rice or your favorite Indian bread.

I have created my own version of Balti Chicken Curry. I hope you try it and like it as much as my family does. Next week, I will share my recipe for Balti Vegetable Curry.

 

My daughter loves Chicken Tikka. Every time we go to an Indian restaurant it is the only dish she orders because she wants to eat healthy, lean food and isn’t a fan of runny curries. Since I make Chicken Tikka Kababs fairly often at home I decided that I needed an easier (and faster) way to make it. This led me to create my own Chicken Tikka Spice Mix so I could shorten the time to create the marinade. I create a double batch of this spice mix, store it in a jar and then scoop out a few spoonfuls when I need to marinate my chicken.

Since the recipe uses ground spices and nothing has to be roasted or fried in a skillet, preparation is quite simple. Only a set of measuring spoons and several fresh spices are required. Here is my recipe:

Chicken Tikka Spice Mix

1 Tbs ground coriander

2 tsp paprika

2 tsp red chile powder

1 Tbs garam masala

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp dried fenugreek leaves, woody stems removed and leaves crushed between your fingers

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp amchoor powder

1/4 tsp ground ajwain

1/4 tsp turmeric

 

Mix all of the ingredients together. Store in an airtight container and use as needed.

Chicken Tikka Spice Mix

Having homemade Chicken Tikka Spice Mix on hand makes dinner preparation easy.

Once you have a batch of Chicken Tikka Spice Mix ready to use, making this easy recipe for Chicken Tikka Kebabs is easy. First I prepare the marinade with yogurt, garlic, ginger and my Spice Mix then add the chicken. This can be done before I leave for the day. To make this process even easier, frozen minced garlic and ginger that are available in my grocery’s freezer section can be used. When I get home after the chicken has marinated all day, I simply thread the chicken onto skewers and grill them. While the chicken cooks, I prepare my Lemon-Cilantro Aioli, a delicious dip to go along with the chicken. Dinner can be on the table in no time at all. Simply serve with a green vegetable and, perhaps, a simple rice dish, if you have the time.

Try this recipe. Your family will thank you for a healthy and easy dinner. Preparing the Chicken Tikka Spice Mix in advance saves time and guess work. Try sprinkling a bit on roasted vegetables. It is delicious!

 

Chicken Tikka

Chicken Tikka Kebabs made with my Chicken Tikka Spice Mix

Try out my Chicken Tikka Kebabs recipe tonight!