Tuesday, 22 September 2020

Pineapple Chicken .... recipe for a quick, light and tangy chicken cooked with pineapples

It has been a beautiful morning. 
After the deluge of two days, back to back, it is all warm, sunny and bright all around. 
Just when we thought monsoon is over, it started to rain in earnest again. 
Humid, suffocating days vanished and gave way to torrential rains. Huge pellets of water drops, shooting down like arrows, with a roar and the dark sky rumbled ceaselessly. 
It turned hazy and gray all around and the distant buildings and trees were lost to the vision. 
The trees stood still, accepting the beating of rain. Drinking in quietly. 
The leaves however were happy, shiny and all bright and quivering under the pure water. 

The dry earth drank  to its fill. The little stream by our house started to run again .... dark muddy water happily gurgling and rushing forth with white froth lacing. 
The birds did not come to my balcony for a drink. I could see them sitting on the branches .... near their  nests. The crows and the eagles were soaked through and looked different. 
The Bulbuls were restless and did come out to prance around for a while before diving back into the thickets. The sparrows are nowhere around too. 

Today, everybody was back on my balcony. 
Chirping, cawing and even screeching out to me ... demanding their share of biscuits and my breakfast. 
The water bowl was full with the fresh rainwater ... I did not change it. 
B had cleaned the balcony of all dirt and mud from the plant pots yesterday, as I stood in the rain to soak in the coolness, after I finished with the chores. ( Yes yes, I have already written about this on my instagram post ) . 
So it was good to spend the morning in the balcony. 

I have a  chair in the small space to our balcony and often sit there to take in some fresh breeze, in between my work.
Today, that breeze seemed so fresh, heavy with the damp smell of rains and of freshly beaten green, that it took me back to my Dadu's house back home. 
I could smell the water laden, cooling breeze coming from across the huge pond, carrying with it the smell of damp grass and leaves, along with the fragrance of the flowers of the old Jamrul tree. 

I could see Thamma sitting at the khirki duar ( one of the side entrances to the house ), with her back to me, looking out at the pond and its dark, calm waters that had a very light ripple on the surface, made by the breeze. Her long hair, only slightly white, spread all over her back. Once in a while, she would run her fingers through them .... to help them dry sooner. 

And I realise, that with time, I am slowly turning into my Thamma. 
As I sit in my chair, loving the breeze on me, looking out to the small forest and the stream, I realise this is my khirki duar.
My little door to the world I love to look at. 
And am grateful for that. 
You see, I have always wanted to be like Thamma. 

Coming back, I had cooked this beautiful, quick dish of chicken with pineapple, a few weeks back. 
I loved it so much that I wanted to make a post here .... for my own self to come back to the recipe when I needed to. 

*  I had marinated the chicken pieces before freezing them ... which helped it to cook faster I guess. 
If you are making it fresh, then do keep it marinated for at least an hour. 

* I had some leftover rice, so added it for the carb content and make a full meal. 
You may or may not. 


To marinate

Chicken pieces - cut into bite sized pieces ( I use the thigh pieces) 
Grated ginger
Grated garlic
Vinegar - a little
Soy sauce 

Mix everything together and keep aside for an hour. 

Other ingredients

Pineapple pieces
Onion cut into cubes
Chopped green chillies 
Chopped ginger
Red chilli flakes 
Crushed black pepper 

How to

Heat oil in a pan. 

Add  the pineapple pieces and toss well. 
Sprinkle some red chilli flakes on them and keep aside. 

Now add the chicken pieces on high heat and sear them well. 
Toss, cover and cook till they are done. 
Remember not to overcook. 

Now raise heat, add the rest of the ingredients and toss well. 
If using rice, add now. 

Add the pineapple pieces.
Mix everything together. 

Serve hot.  


Eat healthy. Eat to your fill. 
And stay safe.

Here is a little reminder about the giveaway I am doing.
Hop over to know the details.



Wednesday, 16 September 2020

Those Delicious Letters .... a beautiful book by Bongmom Sandeepa and a Giveaway

After the resounding success of her first book, Sandeepa , or Bongmom, as she is best known , is back with her second book. 
And this time it is a novel. 

And what a beautiful read it makes for!

Two parallel stories woven beautifully together, with regular smatterings of traditional recipes, that are her forte and the real show stoppers.
The story is well plotted and has a beautiful mystery, in the form of a love story from a bygone era,that holds it all together till the end.

Moving through years, seasons and the roller coaster of daily life,
it depicts the determination of a lady who decides to make a name for herself and find an identity of her own.
And in the process, discovers herself.
And the relationships with the people in her life, with a fresh new realisation.
The story is simple, sweet and the characters lovable in their own places.

This book will touch your heart if you are living far away from the city and the home you have grown up in.
If you have loved the food that was cooked in your family and miss it when nostalgia takes over.
If you have experienced homecomings that awash you with warmth and revived memories.
And also if you love to read a book that is simple and yet is captivating at the same time.

Sandeepa is known for her lucid style of writing, with a tempering of humour, that makes her so popular.
And this book, is indeed in one word, delicious.
A must read.

I was thrilled to get a copy from her.
Took a little time to read it.
Because it indeed deserves a slow read.
The undulating story, meandering through different characters, places, relationships, recipes and feelings makes you soak them in and takes you back home.
And makes you sit back, close your eyes and savour in the sweetness of the story. 

Just as I was happy and excited when I got her first book in my hands, I cherish this one too. 
Seeing it sitting with my other favourite authors is a sight I love. 😊

And I want to share that same happiness with all of you, my dear readers,  too. 
So I am giving away one  fresh copy right here .... on my blog. 

To win it, all you have to do is - 

1.  Leave your name and email id in the comments. 
2. Write in for how long have you been following my blog Kitchen e Kichukhonn
3.  Let me know if you prefer single dishes or full meal plates on my blog.  

Your  chance to win  a copy of the very delightful "Those Delicious Letters" is on till 20th of October. 
Give yourself a gift  this festive season ... now!!! 

Those Delicious Letters is  also available on Flipkart , Amazon and Kindle too. 


Thursday, 27 August 2020

Chicken pepper fry

And just like that, the rains are gone. 
We did not get as much rainfall this year as we would have liked to. 
Especially when we are not going out. 
With the whole world and our lives coming to a a standstill, due to the pandemic raging all around us, all we had was the rains outside to look out at. 
Sitting by the window, or standing in the balcony or lounging in the sofa that I drag half way across the room just for the view ..... all we had was the gentle, quiet Pune rains and fog outside. 

The trees have grown a lot over the years and are now almost at our eye level at the seventh floor. 
Their leaves shiny, healthy, glistening in the rain. 
And swaying to the wind. 
The birds go on with their activities. 
And we go on with life. 
Daily, mundane chores. 
The only welcome break was the rains. 
And that too has gone now. Too soon. 

I don't mind  the sun though. 
The mornings are brighter and clearer now. 
And sunnier. 
There is a chill in the air and the feel of autumn is already in the air. 
Ganpati festival is on. 
Listening to the bhajans and aarti songs all around give an air of sanity. 
As if nothing has changed. 
And all is well with the world. 

I made this beautiful, spicy Chicken pepper fry a few days back for lunch. 
It was quick to make and was the perfect finger food for the dark, rainy days. 
The heat of the black pepper warmed the body as well as the cockles of the heart .... just like Ma  has cooked a warm meal and is feeding me  lovingly.

Need : 

Chicken pieces, on the bone (you may use boneless too ) 
Ginger garlic paste
Soy sauce
Vinegar / Lemon juice
Freshly crushed black pepper 
Chopped onions
Chopped garlic 
Chopped green chillies 
Curry leaves 
Salt - to taste
Sugar - to taste
Cooking oil 

How to

Marinate the chicken with vinegar, soy sauce, ginger garlic paste , a little oil and  salt. 
I marinated and froze it. You can keep it for 1 hour. 

Heat oil in a flat pan. 

Let in the chicken pieces one by one. 
Sear them on high heat till the sides turn crisp and brown. 

Lower heat and add the onions, garlic , green chillies and the curry leaves. 
Add salt and the crushed pepper, cover and cook till the chicken is done. 

If you want less spicy, then add the black pepper last, just before removing from heat. 

Serve hot . 

The chicken was crisp on the outside and juicy and soft inside. 
The meat  peeled away smoothly .... I guess the marination did the magic. 

I had made some crisp dosa and so paired with them. 
With some beautiful peanut chutney on the side, this was my lunch on a dark, cold rainy day. 
Will go great with laccha parathas too. 

Stay safe folks. Eat well. Eat healthy. 

Friday, 21 August 2020

Samosa / Singara / Spicy, deep fried and sinfully good, savoury pastry

Growing up in a huge joint family has taught me, among other things, the ability to accept everyone as they are, without questions. 

We lived together, in Dadu's house. With its orchards, ponds, four main gates and three smaller ones too. And a big open space where stood a magnificent  mango tree that was uprooted by one of the cyclonic storms that was so common during my childhood. 
And a big patch of garden that bore seasonal vegetables, lovingly tended by the gardener.
And, with uncles and aunts and house helps and cousins.
Yes, it was both a picnic as well as mayhem ... our family was.

And naturally, we always had a lot of relatives around. Every Kakima's paternal side of the family was our family too.
I still remember our excitement when any particular relative was to visit.
That Mama, who was popular with us because  he would actually enact out whatever story he was narrating. 
Or that Dida who did not know any language besides Bengali .... and who we loved to grill with new words, asking her the Bengali equivalent. She naturally came up with wrong words and how we would dissolve into peals of laughter.
Or that Didi, who sang like an angel, and we looked forward to learning a few new songs, whenever she visited, especially Adhunik / modern songs. And a few more gems of Tagore. 
Or that Mashi, who we stayed clear of, because of her quizzes on maths and chemistry. 

I can go on and on. 

The best part of these visits was we got to eat food from outside, .... sometimes .... that was otherwise prohibited for us. 

On any day, during the evening tea, someone would want some ' gorom gorom tele bhaja' / deep fried street food. And as hosts, one of the Kakus would comply. 
Or we would get one of our favourite Didas to ask for them .... and she would happily oblige.
Knowing very well that she would not eat any, at all. 
And we children would get to eat the small sized, crisp singaras, filled with a dry, spicy potato and peas masala that was so hot it burned our mouths when bitten into. 

Those were different from the regular samosas that we get in North India.
But then, the samosa is such a common street food that its filling varies in texture and taste in almost every state of the country. 
Making it create a different memory for every different person growing up eating their local samosa.  

I still remember the samosas we ate during our trip to Ranthambore, Rajasthan. Standing in the middle of the vast highway, in a small shed, stood a man frying hot samosas on a make shift kitchen with the barest of things. We waited till he got them out of the hot oil ..... smoking hot. 
And standing there on the empty highway side, biting into those crisp, spicy, hot little triangles of pure bliss, sipping on cardamom tea and watching the sun go down slowly in the horizon, I felt that was one of the best moments of my life. 

A few days back, once the rains started in earnest here, I was reminiscing about the monsoons back home and how the ponds overflowed and the fishes came up right to our doorsteps,
how we would sit near the bay windows and look out at the big droplets create beautiful patterns on the pond,
how Dadu or Jethu would ask us, one by one , to sing their favourite Rabindra sangeet on the rains, 
how we hurried to shut the wooden windows when sudden gusts of water laden breeze came in .... but would leave just a little gap to be still able to smell the wet air .
And that  was when I remembered this beautiful singara from my hometown. 

I wanted to make it. B was game.
He enjoys these stories and what better than crisp, hot singaras to go with them. 
To his credit and because he is from the kachori and namkeen city of Rajasthan, B is an expert when it comes to actually handling the singara. So I did the cooking and B did the maneuvering part. 
And we made some really good samosas that evening. 

They were so good and the cover was so perfectly crisp that I thought I will document it and  share here. 

So here is my recipe for the perfect Khasta Shingara / Khasta Samosa 


For the dough

Maida / Apf - 2 cups 
Cooking oil - ½ cup or more, if needed 
Baking soda - one small pinch
Kalonji / nigella seeds - ½ tsp 
Chilled water - enough to knead with 
Salt - to taste 

For the filling

Potatoes - 2, medium, chopped very small 
Green peas - ½ cup
Turmeric powder 
Red chilli powder 
Amchur / dry mango powder 
Chilli flakes 
Black pepper powder
Salt - to taste 
Cooking oil - 1 tsp 

Cooking oil - enough to deep fry 

 How to

To make the dough, knead the maida with the rest of the ingredients, except water for some time. 
When the oil has mixed in well, it should form a lump when held in the fist. 
Now add the chilled water, very little at a time, and knead into a tight dough. 
Do not over knead it.

For the masala, heat oil in a kadahi and let in the chopped potatoes and peas. 
Add the rest of the ingredients and cover and cook till done. 
Remove cover and dry it up completely. 
Remove to an open plate and cool. 

For the samosas
cut out medium sized balls of the dough. 
Roll each one out . Do not roll it too thin. 
Cut in half. 
Pick one half, make a twist and seal the edges with water. 
Scoop in a spoonful of the stuffing mix and seal the ends. 
Set aside. 

Take a heavy kadahi or deep pan .... preferably an iron one. 
Fill it with oil. 
Set it on to heat. When the oil turns lukewarm, let in the samosas
Never heat the oil too much ... it will cause blisters on the samosa cover and will remain raw too. 
Do not over crowd the kadahi

The samosas will slowly float up to the top as they cook. 
Cook them on low heat. 

The perfect khasta samosas are always light in colour and yet perfectly cooked and the cases crisp. 
Dark coloured samosas mean over cooking or ... in the case of shops ... re frying. 

When done, remove with a slotted spoon and place on a paper towel. 

Our samosas turned out to be perfect. 
When I tapped the cover, it was perfectly crisp and tough. 
And when I broke it open, it showed the layers of the casing too! 
Just have a look. 😊

We munched on them, right there in the kitchen, while still frying. 
The rain sang on outside and it was cold and dark. 
But our kitchen was warm.  
And fragrant. 
With memories; and the hot samosas. 

Stay home everyone! 
And stay safe! 

Ps: photos clicked in the dark and low light. 

Monday, 20 April 2020

Lau Khosha Shorshe Narkel diye / Bottle Gourd peels cooked with Mustard paste and Coconut

Hello hello !!
How are you doing?
I am back with a recipe that I have been longing to post.
And nudge my blog awake.

Hope all of you are dealing with the recent pandemic Covid 19 with patience.
And hope that all of you are taking care of yourselves and others too.

I have been posting my daily healthy and light meals on Instagram regularly.
But did not have the mojo to post something here since I do not feel like writing much these days.
The last two years have been a whirlwind for us, with the graph going south all the while.
And hence did not see any reason to be morbid here too.

But when I posted one of my meal plates on insta a few days ago, when I had cooked the simple Lau Khosha / bottle gourd peels with Posto / poppy seeds, I got a lot of dms asking me for the recipe.
And that is when it struck me that I should have it on my blog too.

So decided to make a post today, since I had the chopped peels in the fridge.
But could not find any posto paste in the freezer.
Instead saw some cubes of mustard paste and some grated coconut.

And it struck me ... I can cook a shorshe jhaal with them.
Did a quick search on the internet and did not find any recipe that cooks Lau khosha with Shorshe.
All I saw was the very common Lau khosha bhaja. Or bata / paste.

And quickly set off to cook some.
And quickly make a post.

Need :

Bottle gourd / Lau peels - cut into strips
Potato - cut into strips
Onion - sliced
Kalo jeere / Nigella seeds
Green chillies
Turmeric powder
Red chilli powder
Mustard paste
Freshly grated coconut
Mustard oil

How to :

Heat oil and add the kalo jeere and onions.
Stir and add the potatoes and the peels.

Add turmeric, red chilli powder and salt.
Cover and cook till done.

Add the mustard paste and the grated coconut.
Mix well and cover for some more time.

Add the sugar, stir well.

Serve hot with rice.

That's all.
I'll try to keep posting here as frequently as possible.

Or else you can join me, enjoy my new recipes and keep in touch on Instagram. 
And on my blog's page on Facebook. 
I am more active there right now.

Do take care and stay home.