Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Bhindi ki bhujya (Oakra) - Basics III

Even as a child, one of my most favorite vegetables was Bhindi (okra, lady fingers). My mom would make this really quick version with lots of sliced onion and tomato, sautéed with the bhindi and just a few spices. It was delicious and when I was old enough to cook, it was one of the things I often made.

So before I give you the recipe, let me back track and explain the title of this post. Bhindi ki Bhujya, bhindi is okra and bhujya is an Urdu term used to describe any sautéed vegetables. So be it allu (potato), baingan (eggplant), gobi (cauliflower), etc. they can all be made in to bhujya's. If you remember in one of my first posts on cooking basics I explained how sabzi's (vegetables) are made in to "bhujya" or added to meat and form "saalan" (curry's/gravy). I also explained what bhagaar is and how it works as either a base or garnish. You will need these tips make this recipe...

You will need:
1 medium onion sliced
1 tbsp zeera (cumin seeds)
2 to 3 sabuth laal mirch (dried whole red chili)
1 tsp garlic paste
1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon or lime
1 to 2 Roma tomatoes diced
salt (to taste)
1 bag frozen (cut) bhindi or about 4 cups chopped fresh bhindi

In a large skillet, prepare your bhagaar... heat some oil then add the zeera and laal mirch. Wait till the zeera starts to get some color and add in the onion. Over high heat sauté until the onion starts to get translucent. Add in the garlic paste, bhindi, salt and lemon/lime. Sauté for a few minutes until all of the ingredients are mixed well. Add in the tomatoes, stir and cover. Lower the heat to medium or medium low and let cook until the tomato starts dissolving. Turn/stir the bhindi a few times during the process to ensure even cooking. Once the tomatoes have dissolved, uncover and sauté until there is no water/liquid remaining. There should be some juice in the vegetables (onion, bhindi, etc) but the mix should be fairly dry. But be careful! Do not overcook and dry out your vegetables...

That's it! Simple and quick :) Hope you'll enjoy this bhujya as much as I do... it’s very nutritious and tastes good too. Happy cooking!!!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Chicken Bake with a Stroganoff like sauce

Not too long ago, I pinched a nerve in my neck. This was just after a very busy few weeks where I hardly had the chance to cook. We must have ate out 10 of the 15 days and here again was another reason for me not to cook! A couple days later I decided enough was enough and the groceries needed to be salvaged quickly, unfortunately not all survived this long hiatus...

I had some chicken breast sitting in the freezer and some mushrooms that were just barely surviving. I decided I needed to whip up something that involved the least amount of stirring and effort, thus was born this Chicken Bake recipe. Here is what I did:

1+ lb chicken breast (boneless)
1 small package mushrooms sliced (any kind will do fine)
1/2 can of sweet corn
crushed garlic (to taste)
salt (to taste)
Worcestershire sauce (to taste)
~ 1 cup chicken stock
~2tbsp butter
1/3 cup chopped onion (I used the frozen one, it works fine)
3 to 4tbsp sour cream
1tsp parsley flakes

In a large saute pan add the butter. Once melted add in the chopped onion. When the onion is cooking (reaching transparency) add the garlic, salt and Worcestershire sauce. Then add the mushrooms, stir and cover. Let this cook for 5 to 7 min until the mushrooms are wilted and there is very little/if any liquid remaining. Add the olive oil, corn, chicken stock, sour cream and parsley; mix well and cover. Once the liquid starts to boil, reduce heat and simmer for about 7 minutes. The contents should be a thick stew type consistency (not too dry, nor too watery), if you need you can add a little flour to thicken up your sauce.

Empty the contents into a glass or porcelain casserole dish. Use the same skillet to cook your chicken breast. Slice in half, thus reducing the thickness of a normal chicken breast piece. Salt and flour each piece, then place in heated skillet with a dash of olive oil. Cook on each side for about 5 or 6 min on medium high heat. Remove the chicken from the skillet and place in the casserole dish with the sauce. Add some more chicken stock if your sauce looks a little dry, cover the chicken with the sauce and then place in the oven (uncovered). Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit for 5 min out of the oven before plating.

I served this with a Mushroom and Garlic couscous but you can serve it with plain rice, mixed vegetables, garlic bread...whatever you have available and meets your fancy! And look, I remembered to take pictures this time!!!

Hope you enjoyed this post and will try making a chicken bake of your own! Please share your recipe or alterations with me if you do. As always...Happy Cooking!