Friday, August 29, 2008

Masala Chicken Wings

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So chicken wings are in vogue these days... at least in my household. After the buffalo style variation the last time, I did not want to give it up and here I am with another variation. This one is much drier and unlike the fried kind which I posted last time, this one is grilled.

Masala Chicken Wings


Chicken Wings - 10
Onion, roughly chopped - 1 cup
Scallions, roughly chopped - 2/3 Cup
Garlic - 3 Cloves
Nutmeg, grated - 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon - 1" Piece
Black Peppercorns - 10
Red Chili Powder - 1/2 Tsp
Cloves - 5-6
Dried Thyme - 1/2 Tsp
Green Chillies, chopped - 2
Tabasco Sauce - 8 drops
Soy Sauce - 2 Tblsp
Oil - 3/4 Cup
Lemon Juice - 1 Tsp
Salt - To Taste


1. Take all the ingredients except the chicken wings and puree them together in the food processor.
2. Marinate the chicken wings with this mixture. (Rather than spooning the marinade over the chicken wings, rub it into the wings and spoon the remaining over).
3. Keep the marinated chicken wings aside, covered and chilled, for 30 minutes.
4. Heat your grill. Arrange the chicken wings on the grill and grill for 30 minutes or till done.
5. Keep turning from time to time to avoid uneven cooking.
6. Serve Hot.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Chicken Wings

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I remember my first visit to the US and how I enjoyed eating Buffalo wings. The icing on the cake however was an episode revolving around one of my team leads who was accompanying me on the visit. We usually went out to eat together and when I ordered Buffalo wings, he always gave me a weird look and never ate them (he was a chicken eater though). It's on our return back to India, that he walked up to me one day and stated that he was puzzled, as to how come Buffaloes had wings and how come they were so small. The incident still makes me smile when I think of it or while having wings.
One super place for good beer and wings has to be the Winking Lizard in Cleveland. It was my regular haunt during my stay in Cleveland. They also have a world tour of beers ( 100 beers from around the world) and I took part in the challenge for 2004. Unfortunately I could only finish 80 of them and we had to shift back to India.
So let me clear the whole issue about what are buffalo wings ? Buffalo wings are chicken wings sections (and drummettes too) that deep fried and coated with a margarine and hot sauce. They get their name from the city of Buffalo, New York where they originated from. They are different versions to its origins, some involve the anchor bar where Teressa Bellisimo is credited for coming up with these when her son came late night unannounced with a lot of his friends. One version again credits her for coming up with these for her catholic guests who were buying a lot of drinks around midnight on a Friday.
I made it to the Anchor Bar in Buffalo when me and my better half were en route to Niagara Falls from Cleveland. I ended up buying a few bottles of their hot sauce for wings ( though I have a prejudice towards using Frank's Hot Sauce).
This particular recipe is my own concoction and is a regular at my place for beer parties.

Chicken Wings


Chicken Wings - 10
Soy Sauce - 2 Tsp
Red Chili Powder ( or Paprika) - 1/2 Tsp ( You can reduce to 1/4 if you do not want them spicy)
Salt - To taste
Minced Garlic - 1 Tsp
Butter - 1/4 Cup
Hot Sauce - 1/4 Cup ( I love Frank's)
Oil For Deep Frying

1. Marinate the chicken with Soy Sauce, salt, minced garlic and red chili Powder.
2. Heat enough Oil in a deep fryer or a wok to cover the wings entirely.
3. Heat a saucepan and add in Butter and Hot Sauce. Stir until butter has melted and the mixture is well blended. Remove from heat.
4. Fry the wings in the oil for 10 minutes or till they are done.
5. Remove from heat, and place them in a bowl.
6. Add in the sauce and stir together to mix evenly.
7. Serve hot with a dip and celery sticks.
Note : If you want them to taste as they do in restaurants, then omit the Soy Sauce and add in Flour. Coat the chicken wings and keep in a chiller for 30 minutes.

Monday, August 25, 2008

5 Must See Recipes For The Week

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It's been a breezy week and before I have known it, the week has gone by. Cooked up some nice wings on the weekend and managed to play golf on Sunday, which is an achievement, considering the last 4 weekends that have been lost to laziness and rain.
The food blog world has been exploding with newer blogs getting added and some interesting recipes finding their way into the cyberspace. Though what pains me the most is the fact that I still run into a lot of the normal fare and I still struggle to find some experimentation. I should not really be pointing fingers when this very blog also dishes out regular fare most of the time. This week's selection features mostly classics, one of which I like immensely since I first tried it 10 years back.
1. Ratatouille - Yes! you heard it right. It was the name of a very famous animated movie of recent times. It's a French stewed vegetable dish that originated in Nice. It's full name is ratatouille nicoise. It's a perfect summertime dish, though I prefer to make it anytime. Also, I tend to use much more courgettes than aubergines. It's simple to make and is a good and tasty lunch option.
2. Red Curry Chicken with Vegetables - A much more thicker version of the traditional thai dish. Also it uses more vegetables than you'll find in any other red curry chicken preparation. More spoonful for every spoon is the moral of this recipe.
3. Zucchini and Squash Frittata - For beginners Frittata is an Italian Omelet. I love Frittata's and love to try them out whenever I can. I totally agree with Lydia and would recommend finishing under a broiler or salamander rather than flipping it on stovetop, but the more adventurous can still try it out. For the meat lovers, try adding a few chunks of ham to the mix.
4. Cinnamon Muffins with Pineapple and Mascarpone - I salute the creativity in this recipe. Stuffing pineapple and mascarpone is a great idea and maybe adding chocolate will add more sin quotient to this healthy treat.
5. Pesto Chicken Sandwich with Caramelized Onions and Havarti - Great idea for sunday dinner. The kids will surely love it. The pesto chicken is a fantastic idea and adds a new dimension to the meal.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Of Punches and Cups

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Over the last few weeks I have surrendered to the fact that I am not going to get any time for pursuing anything due to my hectic schedules. Golf has suffered (haven't played for 4 weeks now), this blog has suffered (my posts have gone down) and so has my appetite for watching movies (Can you believe I still haven't seen the new Batman flick).
Therefore this resolve to fight it out and take out time to do what I enjoy doing the most ...I'll play a round of golf this weekend, make up for my posts by cooking 4-5 dishes over the weekend while I'm at home and see atleast 2 movies.
The highlight though has been the Olympics. I loved the Gold the Abhinav got and the out of the blue bronze in wrestling. But the star for me personally have been the three Pugilists who have really paved the way to make it an upcoming sport in India. Strangely did anyone notice that all the medals that we picked up were in Individual disciplines ( now is teamwork disappearing) and also in Sports that can be associated with violence ( Shooting, Wrestling, Boxing). I loved watching Akhil and Vijinder box their way to the hearts of so many Indians. They really packed a punch or two in their bouts.
Now talking about punches of the gastronomical kind - the punch is a term used loosely for mixed drinks that contain lot of fruit juice and traditionally served in Punch Bowls. Interestingly, the punch has an indian connection as the word is supposedly a derivation of the word Panj meaning Five. In olden days, the panj was an arrack based drink made with 5 ingredients and found its way to the English shores through the British East India Company and then gradually to the rest of Europe. Other stories abound about it being a derivation from the Puncheon which was a cask from which the punch bowl was made. Rum is the most popular base for Punches, though you have punches made with Brandy and wine too.
Cups though are a type of Punch are generally lower in alcohol as compared to the regular punch. The Pimms Cup is the most popular of cups. The Pimms No. 1 which is required to make the Pimms cup is a gin based beverage made with dry gin, spices, liqueur and fruit juices. It is named so because it was created by James Pimm, an English Bar Owner. it became so famous that he started mass producing it in bottles. It is supposed to be a secret recipe and has a low alcohol content. Talking of Pimms, though you have Pimms No. 1 easily available, try the Pimms No. 3 (Now available as a winter version seasonally). I love the Pimms No. 3 and find it amazing during the cold winter season. The winter version is brandy based and infused with spices and orange peel. The Pimms Cup is the traditional drink of Wimbledon. The recipe for Pimms Cup is as follows:

Pimms Cup

60 ml Pimms No. 1 Cup
180 ml Ginger Ale
60 ml Lemon soda
1 Cucumber Spear

1. Add ice in a hi-ball glass.
2. Add Pimms No. 1, then Ginger ale and finally soda.
3. Stir well and garnish with the cucumber spear.
4. Serve.

if you do not have lemon soda. Just squeeze juice of 1 lemon into the glass. You can also use 7-up instead. Both will do.

Other Pimms products besides the popular No. 1 are as follows:

Pimms No. 1 Cup- Gin based
Pimms No. 2 Cup- Whisky Based
Pimms No. 3 Cup - Brandy Based
Pimms No. 4 Cup - Rum Based
Pimms No. 5 Cup - Rye Based
Pimms No .6 Cup - Vodka Based

No.2, 4 & 5 have been phased out. No. 3 is phased out but sold as Winter edition with certain more additions. No. 6 is available in limited quantities.

Coming to Punches, the Planter's Punch is a common summer drink made with Rum. Though there are other punches that exist, Planter's punch has been extremely popular. There is infact a rhyme as to how it is made. It goes like this,
This recipe I give to thee,
Dear brother in the heat,
Take two sour of lime,
To one and half of sweet,
Of Old jamaica pour three strong
And add four parts of weak.
Then mix and drink. I do no wrong -
I know whereof I speak.
It has also been declared the 'King of rum drinks' .
My recipe is a little different from the rest, in both the way the ingredients have been used and the way it has been built ( floating rum instead of mixing it).

Planter's Punch

Ingredients :
Dark Rum - 60 Ml
Orange Juice - 60 Ml
Pineapple Juice - 60 Ml
Lemon Juice - 15 ml
Grenadine - 1 Tsp

1. Combine the juices in a shaker with ice and shake well.
2. Strain in a tall chilled glass.
3. Sink grenadine. Just pour it in and it will sink down to the bottom.
4. Using a spoon, float the rum on top.
5. garnish with a cherry or an orange slice and serve.

Monday, August 18, 2008

5 Must See Recipes For The Week

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My weekdays are really becoming extremely busy and I do not have much time to squeeze out. There are so many recipes that I have tried out but haven't found the time to post. There are many more that I have checked out on other blogs, and I cannot get around to try them. Thankfully I tried out the BBQ chicken 'Bama style last weekend and it turned out real yummy.
This week has again got an amazing collection. Must say bloggers around the world are getting more and more adventurous.
1. Stuffed Baby Eggplant - Though Red Bell Pepper is mentioned as optional, I would make it mandatory. Really makes the dish more appealing. An easy to make dish and blends the varied ingredients well. I would also add in some crushed black pepper or paprika for the extra bite.
2. Citrus Fish with Bell Pepper Couscous - If its from Rachel Ray, it has to be good. I have followed her programs regularly and am more than impressed. I have tried citrus fish before (my own version) and it turned out good. An absolute stunner for a hot afternoon. Add some vodka to the marinade.
3. Pickled Mushrooms - Easy to make side dish. I would rather try it out as a filling for a wrap.
4. Spicy Szechuan Green Beans - I have never taken to green beans, but this recipe makes me want to try it out. Just the right blend of ingredients and the marriage of shrimp, beef and greens makes it a winner.
5. Dutch Baby Pancakes with Vanilla Apricot Sauce - I have never made baby pancakes, and going by the photos, they look absolutely delicious. I will try them out with Peaches and probably even strawberries.

Monday, August 11, 2008

5 Must See Recipes For The Week

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It was a nasty weekend. It started pouring on Friday evening and didn't stop till Sunday. What followed in between was total chaos. A lot of areas in the city got waterlogged and flooded. Roads got blocked and almost everyone waited for the rains to stop. Finally yesterday was a relief. No rain, a fleeting glimpse of the sun and life back to normal. One of the reasons I could not post my weekly five in time and was busy ensuring work at office goes on as usual.
This week's selection has been totally exotic. Apart from some usual fare the rest are really out of this world and totally different.
1. Spicy Date Chutney - Sweet, spicy and a little explosion of flavors ...excellent for a dip with some fritters and cheese sticks.
2. Eggplant Parmesan - Easy to make, great to look and wonderful to eat plus light on the stomach. A great accompaniment to some pasta or a nice go-along with a soup meal. If you don't want to top it with pesto try some salsa.
3. Barbecued Chicken 'Bama Style - I love barbecued chicken and this is a very different recipe. Horseradish makes for a great addition. I have 2 bottles lying in my kitchen shelf and now I know what to do with it. Next on the list, also adding a little wasabi and seeing the difference.
4. Guava Sorbet - Sorbets are back in fashion. I wonder why in the first place did they disappear. This is a fantastic recipe for sorbet utilizing sorbets and guess what it does not use an ice-cream maker. I have been seriously thinking of making sorbets but since I do not have an ice-cream maker, I put it off till now..until now. Coco's post should encourage everyone to try making it, and yes! do not let the weather hold you back. Try adding some crushed cloves to it while you are making it.
5. Dampfnudeln - To be honest, I heard the name the first time when I saw this post. What made me more curious was the way it had been described and the photos. It is a great thing to try out and wow! everyone at home. Get creative with the sauces. :)

Addendum - In all the rain related I forgot that this was my 100th post. It feels GREAT to have made a century. This blog has sure come a long way from when it began.

Thursday, August 7, 2008


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I had gone to a resort a short drive away from the city a few weeks back for a business meeting and after the hectic day a few of us decided to stay back and have a few drinks before we headed back home. It was a nice pleasant evening, perfect for a few cocktails and while browsing through the Beverage Menu card I glanced up a few traditional cocktails. We hardly get the see too many of them these days with everybody trying to do a one up on the 0ther with having their own in-house developed specialties.
My earliest memories of the Pinacolada take me to my college days when on the new years eve of 1995, I decided to go to a private jazz party at a club near Flora Fountain organised by a few close friends. I was introduced to the Pinacolada there. I loved the drink and the proof of that lies in the fact that by the time we wrapped up I had finished 9 of those lovely cocktails.
The drink which is the official beverage of Puerto Rico is the spanish translation meaning Strained Pineapple ( Pina - Pineapple, Colada - Strained).


White Rum - 45 Ml
Pineapple Juice - 120 Ml
Coconut Cream - 60 Ml
Crushed Ice - 1 Cup

Garnish - Cherry & Pineapple Slice

1. Pour all the ingredients (including the crushed ice) into a blending jar and blend until smooth.
2. Pour into a tall glass. ( The more unusual the glass the better)
3. Garnish with Cherry and Pineapple slice. ( Also decorate your glass with straw, swizzle stick and drink umbrella ...looks good)
4. Serve chilled ...Cheers !!!

Variations :
As with most cocktails, this one too has its variations.

Chi-Chi : Substitute the Rum with Vodka

Staten Island Ferry : Malibu Rum and Pineapple Juice.

Miami Vice : Strawberry Daiquiri and Pinacolada blended together.

Amaretto Colada - Substitute White Rum with Amaretto.

Berry Colada - Substitute Pineppale Juice with any berry juice.

Pinata Colada ( Or Virgin Pinacolada) : No prizes for guessing White Rum!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Phaldhari Kofta Curry

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Now the banana tree is actually a plant and not a tree. The main stem in reality is a fake stem. having said that, the plant has many uses and almost all its parts are used for something or the other. The leaves are used as plates for serving food in southern India. It is said they increase the appetite and bring out the aroma in the food. The core of the stem is used in curries ( after removing the fibrous part), the underground bulb, the plantain and the fully ripened fruit are all used in dishes. These parts are even supposed to have medicinal properties and are used to cure stomach troubles and aid digestion among other things.
Every week when we visit our grocery store, plantains stare at us begging us to take them and make some exciting dish with them. I have tried in the past to make banana chips, but after several failed attempts and a desperate phone call to my mother-in-law it dawned upon me that these are not variety used to making the chips. So I did the next best thing. I made some koftas with them. I remembered vaguely making a dish with plantains called the phaldhari kofta curry which had koftas made with plantains. This time I tried my own variation of this.

Sri, needless to say, this is yet another contribution to the curry mela :)

Phaldhari Kofta Curry


For the Koftas:
Plantains - 2
Potato, medium,boiled and mashed - 1
Cheese, grated - 3 Tblsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 Tsp
Corriander Powder - 1 tsp
Fennel Powder - 1 Tsp
Amchur Powder - 1 Tsp
Salt - To Taste
Flour - To coat

For the Curry:
Onion Paste - 1 Cup
Ginger Paste - 1 tsp
Garlic Paste - 1 Tsp
Tomato Paste - 1 Cup
Garam Masala Powder - 1 Tsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 Tsp
Cumin Powder - 1 Tsp
Cashewnuts - 5-6
Poppy Seeds - 2 Tblsp
Melon Seeds - 2 Tblsp
Salt To Taste
Oil - 3 Tblsp
Cream - To garnish


For the Koftas:
1. Skin the plantains and mash well.
2. Mix all the kofta ingredients with the plantains well.
3. Divide into equal portions and form round balls.
4. Coat with flour and deep fry in hot oil till they turn golden brown.
5. Drain and keep aside.

For the Curry:
1. Make a paste with Cashews, poppy seeds and melon seeds with some water.
2. Heat oil in a wok. (Use the same oil used for frying)
3. Fry the onion paste till it starts to turn golden brown. Add in the ginger and garlic paste.
4. Add in the dry masalas. Fry for 2 minutes.
5. Add in the poppy seeds,melon seeds and cashew paste. Mix well and cook for another5 minutes.
6. Add in the tomato paste and salt. Cook on a low flame for 5-10 minutes. Add in water to dilute the gravy.
7. Simmer on low flame for 5 more minutes.
8. Take off the flame and add in the koftas.
9. Garnish with cream and serve hot.

1. Remember to add in the koftas just before serving, else they will turn soggy and break.
2. If you want to, you can stuff a raisin in each kofta.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

5 Must See Recipes For The Week

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I have been under the weather for the past few days and believe you me it's quite a bother. With the monsoons finally arriving ( better late than never) and the weather inviting you to stay outdoors...curbing your instinct to party and roam outside and stay indoors was quite a nuisance. Today also happens to be my fathers birthday. He's in Gurgaon and we had to make do with telephonic greetings and celebrations. Last year we were there to celebrate it with him but could not make it this time. He has been the first guy I have seen cook and I guess it was that exposure that make me take to the ladle and pan with ease. Even today, he wakes up early ( he has always been an early riser) and does the mis-en-place before my mom wakes up. She needless to say hates it because then she has to cook whatever he has done the pre-preparation for. A good way to ensure you eat what you want.
1. Pickled Okra - Good recipe to have your crispy faves all round the year. The dill does impart some great flavor to the okras.
2. Pork Chops - The life of a great bbq party. Neat recipe making it look too simple. The key is to know when they are done. Wish had clubbed the recipe of some applesauce along :)
3. Oregano Olive Chicken - I made some Olive chicken a few months back and loved it. This one goes a step forward and adds capers and oregano to it. The aroma is gonna blow you away and stay in the house for some time making everyone feel hungry.
4. Nigel Slater's 24-Carat Brownie - The photos have started the chocolate craving already. It looks absolutely delicious looking just perfectly moist. I hate dry brownies and sometimes the gooey ones can make a mess. No nuts have been added in ( I love it!). Will suggest adding a little rum to it. Overall, this is a great recipe.
5. Classic Pound Cake - We have always had pound cakes in our kitchen. usually, its the variety that we get from the grocery store or local baker. They make a good treat for kids at home and also a good substitute for your sugar craving, This easy to make recipe sets you to bake your own.

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