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!

During the last days of summer, I am finding that I don’t want to prepare a lot of complicated recipes that heat up my kitchen. My family and I want to eat something quick and easy but no one wants to compromise on flavor.

Spicy Shrimp Salad

This delicious shrimp salad recipe is served in a richly spiced dressing. Perfect as a salad or on a naan as a sandwich.

This Spiced Shrimp Salad Recipe uses cooked small or medium-sized shrimp that can easily be eaten in one bite. I mix them in a large bowl with all of the spices, a bit of mayonnaise and some lime juice for the dressing.

This shrimp salad can be served as a sandwich on fresh naans that have been cut in half with a crisp lettuce leaf. It can also be served on top of a plate of fresh lettuce and garnished with lemon wedges.

Enjoy!

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.

Based on my previous post about the usefulness of banana leaves, I thought I would share a delicious Indian recipe for Spiced Halibut Steamed in Banana Leaf. The name in Malayalam, the language of Kerala, is Meen Pollichathu, or Steamed Fish. Creating my own blend of spices for this easy to make recipe, the marinade delicately flavors the fish while it steams in a beautifully wrapped banana leaf package. Since steaming fish takes just a few minutes, this is recipe can be easily prepared during the week. It will impress your guests as well. Serve it simply with steamed rice and a vegetable or two on the side. 

 

Spiced Halibut Steamed in Banana Leaf Indian recipe.

Spiced Halibut Steamed in Banana Leaf Indian recipe.

 

Next week, learn what you can do now so you have banana leaves ready throughout the winter.

 

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Pondicherry (a city in Tamil Nadu, India) cuisine is a fascinating blend of Indian spices and French techniques. I encountered it when I visited the area earlier this year. Since the food was absolutely delicious and unique I decided that featuring a recipe based on Pondicherry cuisine would be a wise decision for my recipe of the month. So, the recipe for August is my version of Pouillabaisse the Pondicherry version of Bouillabaisse.

 

Pondicherry cuisine makes Pouillabaisse a delicious Indian fusion recipe.

Pondicherry cuisine makes Pouillabaisse a delicious Indian fusion recipe.

 

My recipe is a combination of the traditional Bouillabaisse from Marsailles, France and one from Pondicherry. I found the two interestingly similar and different at the same time. In the French version, one creates a rich broth and then adds the seafood before serving. In the Pondicherry version the seasonings and seafood are cooked first before water is added to make the broth. The French version has very few vegetables in the final product whereas many vegetables are added with the seafood. In both cases, they are very delicately and richly seasoned for a delicious meal.

 

I hope you enjoy my recipe for Pondicherry Pouillabaisse.

 

How did Pondicherry cuisine come about?

You might ask how Pondicherry cuisine became fused with French techniques. Since Pondicherry had been conquered by many different nations in its long and colorful history, it is not surprising that some of the dominating cultures remained after the colonists left. Since France ruled for off and on for centuries until Pondicherry became part of India in 1954, it had the opportunity to become deeply engrained.

 

Unfortunately this cuisine is not very well known outside of this city as it has been passed down through generations of local Pondicherry families and restaurants.

 

What makes Pondicherry cuisine unique?

The most distinctive feature is in the sauce. They are prepared in a French way over low heat with herbs as well as Indian spices often using cream. The flavors are well matched and refined in contrast to a traditional curry. Pondicherry cuisine also employs cooking techniques that are not often used in Indian cooking like baking and grilling.

 

Other features include the frequent use of fresh seafood in the recipes due to its location right on the Bay of Bengal. Not only is seafood used but it is used in combination, such as shrimp and fish, to give unique tastes in each bite. Potatoes are found not only in various dishes but are served alone as French fries and mashed potatoes.

 

If you enjoy my recipe for Pouillabaisse, I strongly recommend you purchase The Pondicherry Kitchen by Lourdes Tirouvanziam-Louis in which she documented traditional Pondicherry recipes from her family and others.
 

Don’t forget to try my Pondicherry Pouillabaisse recipe!


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I have been waiting for the temperature to reach a reasonable spring level for weeks. Spring is finally here so I can clean my grill and start cooking outside. The recipe of the month of May, Grilled Chicken Cafreal recipe, is based on a Goan recipe that I have adapted for grilling. This dish originated in a Portuguese colony in Africa that was brought to Goa where it became very popular. It is also popular in my home; it has replaced Chicken Tikka as my daughter’s favorite recipe!

 

Grilled Chicken Cafreal is based on the authentic recipe from Goa India.

Grilled Chicken Cafreal is based on the authentic recipe from Goa India.

 

Grilled Chicken Cafreal is quite easy to make. First the dried spices are roasted and ground to augment their wonderful flavors. Next the marinade is made with handfulls of fresh cilantro, lime juice, ginger and garlic and is applied to chicken. After an hour or two it is simply grilled.  Goan cuisine is based on the presence of three flavors; this recipe features two of them: hot (from the chiles) and sour (from the limes). If ‘hot’ is not a flavor you enjoy, feel free to reduce the number of chiles all the way to one so the heat is eliminated but the flavor remains.

 

Since my Grilled Chicken Cafreal recipe is a dry dish (has no curry or sauce) it is delicious with a green salad and summer vegetables like corn on the cob. When I prepared the recipe for the photo, I saved the leftovers for the next day and sliced the cold chicken over a bed of Romaine for a simple but tasty dinner.

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as my family does!

 

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During my trip to India, I had the opportunity to try a chicken curry with fenugreek leaves and absolutely loved it. This herb is very mild and has a flavor similar to that of celery with a delicate texture that subtly enhances the character of a recipe. It is high in nutrition like spinach so it is often found in salads and various curries. Fresh plants and dried leaves are available at most Indian grocery stores at very low prices. Don’t use fenugreek seeds in this recipe, as they are not interchangeable.

 

My Fenugreek Chicken Curry recipe is easy to make and very healthy. The curry is made with vegetables and just a bit of yogurt to make it creamy. The richness comes from a unique technique employed in many Indian recipes – the spices are applied in three different layers to bring out the unique characteristics of the spices when tempered in hot oil, added to a boiling gravy and toasted and sprinkled on at the end. This may sound like a lot of work but it isn’t.

Fenugreek Chicken Curry recipe

Fenugreek Chicken Curry

 

Your family will love this recipe as much as mine does. Leftovers are even better since the spices have extra time to develop. 

 
 
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During my trip to India, I learned that the infamous piri piri chile (also called peri peri, pili pili and bird’s eye chile) that originated in Africa was introduced to the Portuguese and then spread to its colonies, one of which was Goa. These chiles, which look innocuous with their small size of an inch in length, start with a green color and turn red when mature. The heat level of these innocent looking chiles is at the top of the Scoville scale and ranges from 100,000 to 225,000 SHUs (Scoville Heat Units). Its heat is triple that of the Thai chile pepper which is commonly available across the U.S. These chiles are not for the faint of heart or sensitive tastes.

 

Piri piri chiles from Goa, India.

Piri piri chiles from Goa, India.

 

During our visit to a spice plantation in Goa, my husband purchased a few bags of them for me. I am thankful that he did because I cannot find them in grocery stores in the U.S. (They are available online.) I wish he had purchased the whole box of packets because the aroma of the dried piri piri chiles is wonderful. They have a slightly smoky scent like smoked paprika but I can tell with one whiff that they pack a punch. If you cannot find them easily, I would recommend using dried Thai red chiles or Mexican piquin chiles instead.

 

Piri Piri Chile Sauce is a simple staple to make and can be frozen for future use. After grinding the spices, they are fried with onions and then ground. The flavor is adjusted in the last step. It is very easy to make. Based on my research, my sauce is not as hot as an authentic Piri Piri Sauce but that makes it easier to use in recipes. I hope you love its flavor as much as I do.

 

This month’s recipe, Piri Piri Chicken Curry, gets its flavor from my Piri Piri Chile Sauce. Another easy to make recipe, it can be prepared in one pot. Just fry the onions and peppers in a small amount of oil, add the chicken and sauce, and you have dinner ready. It is best served with plain rice or Chapatis. I serve it with both rice and Chapatis with Onion Raita on the side to contrast with the heat of the curry.

 

Piri Piri Chicken Curry is an easy to make Indian recipe.

Piri Piri Chicken Curry is an easy to make Indian recipe.

Enjoy!

 

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In my last post, I shared with you the history and approach to this sophisticated style of Indian cooking. This month’s recipe is Dum Pukht Chicken Biryani, the most elegant of the varieties I have tasted. It is special because spices are added during each step of the cooking process, in the chicken marinade, cooking the rice and the final preparation that come together in the end to deliver an amazingly sophisticated yet subtle meal. 

Chicken Biryani Indian recipe cooked in the Dum Pukht style.

Chicken Biryani Indian recipe cooked in the Dum Pukht style.

With the weather getting cooler, I tend to cook foods that give a warm and inviting feel to the table. This biryani does exactly that. I have enhanced the recipe to make it very simple. Even though it looks like the number of ingredients and steps is long, all I have done it make it really easy and clear to cook this Indian recipe in an efficient way. Serve simply with Onion Raita.

Let me know what you think after you make my Dum Pukht Chicken Biryani recipe!

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After my last Goa-based recipe my husband asked me to come up with an easy version for Pork Vindaloo. He loves the sweet and sour flavors that come through in many of these Indian recipes. I have simplified the procedure but I have not compromised on the spices that make up the vindaloo masala. The result is a rich pork dish that everyone will love.

The Goan Pork Vindaloo recipe originated with Portuguese who had a recipe for cooking meat with wine and spices called Vinha d’Alhos. The Indians, who didn’t have much access to wine, substituted vinegar and added local spices including chiles giving us the popular Indian recipe.

Goan Pork Vindaloo incorporates the sweet and sour flavors in Indian cooking.

Goan Pork Vindaloo incorporates the sweet and sour flavors in Indian cooking.

A popular staple at pubs across London, one can find it on Indian menus worldwide. Pork Vindaloo can be served with rice but it is best with chapatis.

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