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!

I wasn’t planning on making Sevai Pulav this week but I was cleaning out and organizing my pantry and found a bag of dried rice noodles. I must have forgotten that I had bought them and I was so glad I found them. Suddenly the idea of sevai and vegetables sounded like a great combination for dinner.

Sevai Pulav

Rice Noodle Pulav, or Sevai Pulav, is an easy to make, delicious and healthy vegetarian meal that is full of Indian spice flavor.

Sevai is dish made with rice noodles that is steamed and gently fried in oil wth mustard seeds. I it a very simple dish that is an excellent alternative to plain rice. I published my recipe for Sevai in 2014 and followed up with a post in which I described how to make rice noodles at home. Making them at home is a lot of fun and is a great family project for a rainy day.

Sevai Pulav is based on my Vegetable Pulav which can be found in my first cookbook, Kachi’s Kitchen. The first step in this recipe is to blanch the vegetables. I use plenty of cauliflower, carrots and green beans in my recipe but peas and asparagus would be good additions as well. My recipe uses more vegetables than a standard pulav recipe because I like the idea of a one pot meal where the whole meal is served out of one pot.

The essence of this recipe comes from the seasonings that include garam masala, cumin and turmeric which are fried in oil flavored with cardamom, cumin, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaf. In this, garlic, ginger, onion and a green chile are fried. When they tender, I add tomato paste and water to create a light sauce for the cooked noodles. After everything is mixed together, I let the dish simmer for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend.

Sevai Pulav

Sevai Pulav is delicious for lunch or an easy weeknight dinner.

The Sevai Pulav is topped with fried cashews and sprigs of cilantro. This dish is served as an entrée so it is served with raita, pickle and pappadams.

Risotto Cakes are a variation on the original recipe for risotto which originated in Italy as a creamy rice dish that is cooked in broth and mozzarella cheese. It is made with a starchy short grain rice, usually Arborio, that makes it sticky when cooked. Traditionally risotto was served as a main dish but can be served on the side of a main entrée. Many different ingredients can be added to it. I like adding mushrooms and onions to keep it simple while other recipes include meat, fish, lentils and even wine.

Bahala Bath is a South Indian recipe in which rice is cooked with milk which turns into a thick substantial dish that is usually served during the Pongal festival. It can be compared to risotto with the subtle spices and creamy texture.

Spiced Risotto Cakes

Spiced Risotto Cakes are a fusion of Indian spices and creamy risotto.

These Spiced Risotto Cakes make a beautiful presentation and are delicious to eat. The recipe starts by preparing the seasonings that can be added as the risotto cooks. I use traditional Indian ingredients, including: cumin, shallots, garlic, ginger, green chile and saffron. The secret ingredient in all Indian rice recipes is the use of saffron which adds a rich, fresh scent and bold yellow color.

While the seasonings cook, I prepare the rice by boiling it with chicken stock. When tender, I mix it with the seasonings, cheese, lemon zest and chives. I transfer the mixture into oiled ramekins and bake them in the oven until they turn golden brown on top.

The Risotto Cakes can be served in the ramekins or removed and placed on individual plates. As an alternative, a large ramekin can be used and all of the risotto will be cooked as a large cake. To serve the large risotto cake, simply cut into pie-shaped wedges.

Risotto Cakes are so easy to make but are a tasty alternative to rice or potatoes. Enjoy!

While preparing dinner the other day, I wanted to include a simple rice dish that was light and was not bursting with intense flavor. Instead of making plain rice, either boiled or sautéed in butter, I just wanted to add the refreshing flavor and vibrant color of fresh herbs.

I simply boiled the rice with a few dry spices. When it was tender I mixed in the herbs. I selected some of my favorites: dill, parsley, cilantro and chives. Sliced fresh green onions provide flavor as well. To garnish Rice with Fresh Herbs, I topped it with a few gold toasted cashews to complement the white and green.

Rice with Fresh Herbs

Rice with Fresh Herbs is an easy recipe with the fresh flavor of parsley, cilantro, chive, green onion and spices to create a simple side dish to accompany any meal.

Add Rice with Fresh Herbs to your repertoire for a quick side dish. It pairs well with any entrée and all side dishes.

While trying to use all of my fresh sweet corn that my friends in Iowa sent to me, I was inspired to incorporate it into biryani, a traditional Indian rice dish that is enhanced with the essence of several spices, layered with vegetables and cooked in a closed pot to bring the flavors together. I envisioned this recipe to have kernels of corn mixed in the vegetables and spices as they placed between layers of spiced rice, and then topped with small pieces of corn on the cob to complement the primary ingredient in this recipe, corn.

The main crops in Iowa are corn and soybeans. In keeping with the Iowa fresh from the farm theme, I decided to add a few soybeans to the biryani vegetables. They are full of protein and bring a firm texture to the dish as well as the vibrant green color! Perhaps I should call this recipe Iowa Biryani… This recipe is dedicated to my friends and partners in Manning, Iowa who inspired this recipe.

Sweet Corn Biryani

Sweet Corn Biryani ready to serve

The first step in preparing Sweet Corn Biryani is to cook the rice with a few whole spices so it becomes fragrant with the aroma. While the rice cooks, an array of fresh vegetables, including onion, carrots, cauliflower, corn, garlic and ginger are cooked until tender.

Instead of mixing the vegetables and rice together, they are layered in true Indian style in a large dish to form the biryani. Between the layers, warm milk that has been infused with the flavor and color of saffron is drizzled so it is evenly dispersed throughout the biryani.

After the assembly is complete, the lid if placed on the pot and the Sweet Corn Biryani is steamed for a few minutes to allow the flavors to blend and the ingredients to cook fully.

Sweet Corn Biryani

Sweet Corn Biryani

To serve Sweet Corn Biryani, place a generous scoop of it on each plate, along with a piece of corn, and serve with plain yogurt on the side. It can also be served with Onion Raita.

When I was planning what to serve with grilled chicken last week, I wanted to prepare just one side dish that would be easy to make and full of flavor. I had a beautiful bunch of fresh spinach that I thought would go well in a rice dish. This recipe for Rice with Spinach and Caramelized Onions can be prepared in two simultaneous steps.

Rice with Spinach and Caramelized Onions

Rice with Spinach and Caramelized Onions

The first step is boil the rice. While it boils, sliced onions are caramelized in seasoned oil to bring out their sweetness. When they have turned deep brown, the spinach is added and gently sautéed until it wilts. The spinach adds vibrant green color to contrast with the golden onion slices to this recipe as well as a bit of nutritional value. Cooking both the rice and the onions and spinach take less than a half hour each. When the rice is done, it is simply stirred into the pot and the entire recipe comes together. This step takes only a few minutes.

My Rice with Spinach and Caramelized Onions is a perfect accompaniment for any dish. I like it with grilled meats, like steak or chicken. Since it has body and flavor it stands up well to many spicy curries. Enjoy!

I was craving quinoa recently and decided to make a very simple but flavorful recipe that uses ingredients that are in your pantry. I like to include it in my family’s diet because of its healthy properties. It is high in protein and fiber, includes an impressive array of vitamins and minerals as well as being low in gluten. This grain is easy to cook, like rice.

This recipe for Spiced Quinoa with Almonds has three basic steps. First the quinoa is cooked in water that has been seasoned with onion, garlic and cumin seeds. While the quinoa is cooking, I fry a few sliced almonds that will add a nice crunch to the finished dish.

The last step is the most important in the recipe. It is a traditional process in Indian cuisine and can be found in some form in most recipes. Spices are tempered, fried in hot oil, and then poured over the dish. As the tempered spices are added, the hot oil sizzles when it encounters the water in the quinoa. It makes a glorious sizzle! The purpose of tempering spices is to bring out their aroma and flavor when added to the dish. In some recipes, tempered spices are added at the beginning of the cooking process to flavor the cooking oil.

Spiced Quinoa with Almonds

Spiced Quinoa with Almonds

In my Spiced Quinoa with Almonds recipe I use tri-colored quinoa. This is a blend of the three varieties: red, black and white. I use it simply for the color since there is not a difference in flavor between the three that I can detect. The major differences are in the cooking times differ and texture with the white quinoa cooking the fastest and most tender while the black grain takes a few extra minutes to cook and has a crunchier texture. Using a blend of the three gives a variety of texture.

Enjoy!

As my fascination with my new clay pot continues, I wanted to try cooking rice in it. I was tired of measuring the 2:1 ratio of water to rice and boiling it until it was done, more likely scorched and wanted a recipe that would essentially cook itself after I prepared the seasonings.

 

Well, here it is. My Baked Basmati Rice recipe produces moist, fragrant and flavorful rice. The recipe is based on a traditional rice pilau recipe that is finished in the oven. The first step is to season the oil with spices like cardamom, cinnamon, cumin and cloves then thin strips of onion are caramelized. After the rice and broth are added, the whole pot is placed in the oven where the rice is steamed to perfection with all of the other ingredients. Since it cooks in the oven, it doesn’t need to be tended as closely as rice cooked on a stove.

Basmati rice baked in a clay pot.

Basmati rice baked in a clay pot makes a rich and tasty side to any meal.

 

Try this Baked Basmati Rice recipe at home. It is delicious and so easy to make!

In Kachi’s Kitchen I included a delicious recipe called Chokapu Payar (Malayalam) or Rajma (Hindi) that is a very simple lentil dish that uses delicious small red beans. These beans are about a quarter of the size of their larger cousins that are found on most salad bars and have a firmer texture than the larger ones. They are my favorite beans for cooking and eating.

 

When creating my Red Beans with Vegetables and Brown Rice recipe, I wanted to make a one-dish meal with protein, vegetables, fiber and starch all in one. I added carrots, celery, bell peppers and mushrooms to the cooking process and served it with tasty brown rice. After soaking the beans overnight, I cooked everything simultaneously to save time and, just before serving, mixed the beans and vegetables together to create a delicious main dish.

 

Red Beans with Vegetables and Brown Rice

Red Beans with Vegetables and Brown Rice

 

Each bite of the Red Beans dish has a lot of flavor and variety to make sure everyone leaves the table full. I added tomatoes, onions, carrots, celery and mushrooms to create a colorful dish. The vegetables can be changed to suit your preferences, like swapping the mushrooms for diced red potatoes or pumpkin.

 

For those who like to cook a dish ahead and then reheat it just before serving, this recipe is for you.

Making Indian rice noodles from scratch sounds, at first, like a daunting task. Actually they are easier to make than wheat pasta! Just a few special items are needed in your kitchen: a special press, a steamer, some muscle and some friends.

 

Homemade Indian rice noodles

Homemade Indian rice noodles

 

Equipment

A special press is required to make Indian rice  noodles, whether it is rice, wheat or lentil flour based and it has many different names: sev sancha, sevai press, murukku press, noodle press, shavige press, and, perhaps, many other names. Many different varieties are available. From the original ones with a wooden plunger that is pressed through a brass tube, to the brass or stainless steel ones that use a crank to push the plunger and the modern steel ones with a trigger to push the plunger. I have seen photos of one model that rests on a stand that, I
think, would make the noodle pressing process easier. Most of the various presses come with several discs with different size holes that can be inserted into the tube to make different sizes and shapes of noodles or sev snacks. You cannot go wrong with any of these options.

Ingredients for Indian rice noodles and noodle press.

Ingredients for Indian rice noodles and noodle press.

 

 

I have a simple steel sev noodle mold with a crank. It is inexpensive and is readily available online. I looked at several local Indian grocery stores that carry basic kitchen equipment but could not find one. I quickly gave up and ordered one online from Om India Plaza at Amazon.com. It arrived very quickly and the company was very helpful.

 

The second item that is needed is a steamer, electric or stovetop. I use an electric steamer with removable trays but any method, including a basket in a pan on the stove works just as well.

 

Tips

When making the noodle dough it must be kneaded after the rice flour and hot water have been stirred together. Let it cool a bit first so you can handle the dough easily. It takes a few minutes to get the right consistency of dough. It cannot be too soft or runny and it cannot too tough or hard. If it is very firm like Play Doh, it will not extrude through the press very easily so mix in a bit more hot water so it is flexible. If it is too soft, knead about a tablespoon of rice flour into the dough to make it firmer.

 

Dough and press for Indian rice noodles.

Dough and press for Indian rice noodles.

 

Spray the inside of the press with a bit of oil so the dough does not stick. Take care not to get oil on the outside of the tube as it will be very difficult to hold when you are turning the crank to extrude the noodles.

 

Indian rice noodles ready to be steamed.

Indian rice noodles ready to be steamed.

 

The most important part of making good rice noodles is to have some fun with it. I always make them when my kids are home to help mix and knead the dough. They love to squeeze the dough through the press and make creative piles of noodles. Once the noodles have been steamed, they tend to sample more noodles than they leave for serving at mealtime. I can’t complain because we have so much fun together.

 

Check out my recipes for Sevai and Idiyappam.

 

Visit KachisKitchen.com for Indian recipes and cooking tips.

 

All text and photographic content are property of KachisKitchen.com and are not to be used without permission of the author.