Friday, February 27, 2009

Achari Chicken Tikka

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It's been a jet setting year so far ...I mean I have traveled more in the last 2 months than I have in 2007 & 2008 combined. Going by the writing on the wall, it's only going to increase. One thing that travel surely does is expose you to different cuisines. You miss cooking, but your palate gets more global and you gather new dishes to cook in your kitchen arsenal. Last to Last week I was in Goa, and though we were all busy on company off site, the food was out of the world. I took time to visit all the restaurants in the Hotel we stayed in and the Goan restaurant blew me away.
I managed to sweet talk the chef in parting with a few recipes and even take a video of them. Sadly, the video is in bits and resting with colleagues who, since we have come back, are either on a vacation or out sick. More on that in the posts to follow.
The recipe featured here was tried when my direct reports had dropped in for a friday night bash a few weeks ago. The night was wild as it is always when guys get together and there is booze flowing like water. Don't read too much into it and do not let your imagination run wild. It was nothing like a freaked out bachelors party. Wild, as in, everyone was relaxed and speaking their mind out.
Achari Chicken Tikka Ingredients:
Chicken, Boneless, cut into 1" dices - 200 gm
Ginger garlic paste - 2 Tblsp
Onion Paste - 2 Tblsp
Lemon Juice - 2 Tblsp
Red Chili Powder - 1 Tsp
Yogurt, whisked - 1 Cup
Green Chili, finely chopped - 1
Mustard Oil - 3 Tblsp
Black Salt - 1 Tsp
Salt -To Taste

Achari Masala
Fennel (Saunf) - 2 Tsp
Corriander Seeds - 2 Tsp
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi Dana) - 1 Tsp
Black Cumin Seeds (Shah Zeera) - 2 Tsp
Onion Seeds (Kalonji) - 1 Tsp
Mustard Seeds (Rai) - 1 Tsp

1.Roast the achari masala ingredients slightly. Cool and powder coarsley in a grinder or with a pestle.
2. Make a marinade by whisking yogurt, mustard oil, red chili powder,ginger-garlic paste, onion paste, lemon juice, chopped green chillies, black salt, salt and the powdered achari masala.
3. Marinate the chicken dices in this mixture and leave aside in a cool place for an hour.
4.Pre-heat oven.
5. Skewer the marinated chicken dices and roast in the oven.
6. Rotate the skewers as much as possible. This will ensure even cooking at all sides.
7. Baste with oil frequently. This prevents chicken from drying and makes it more juicy.
8. Serve hot with onion rings and lemon wedges.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Shrimp & Calamari Masala

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The last week has been really a grueling week for me. I was traveling across Europe on business and was running in and out of meetings and then on different flights. In all, we did about 3 countries in 6 days. Apart from the work bit which I enjoy even when I'm not traveling, the exposure to different foods is a big wow for me and I seldom lose any opportunity to try out new types of dishes on offer. This time, the first thing I did when I hit London, was to grab my tub of Ben & Jerry's Phish Food and eat the whole tub by myself (No wonder everyone is saying I have put on a few extra pounds). But apart from the junk food bit, I enjoyed trying out new meats and some of my accomplishments (yes! that's what I call it) was eating Reindeer meat (it was heavenly) in Helsinki and Snails ( they taste just as good ...though I'll prefer the reindeer meat any day...I haven't tasted meat more juicy) in Paris.

I had a free evening on one of the days and I decided to drop in a visit to my old friends Beena and Raj, and while at their house, I decided to cook up something. Beena had graciously offered to prepare the meal for all of us, but I guess I just wanted to show off my culinary skills. See, I wasn't exactly known in college for my culinary skills. It was an art I mastered later at Welcomgroup came from spending 16 hour workdays in the Hotel Kitchen and having the added luxury of having the corporate training kitchen next to your residential flat. During College days it was more of wine & beverages and my skills behind the bar. Those were the days ...with dreams of moving to France and working as a Vigneron in a vineyard ( which by the way everyone, including my folks, thought was a BAD idea). This time in Paris, I said to myself, wish I had taken that step afterall. The culinary heritage of the country just blew me away. Dining at the restaurants was an experience in itself. My next few posts will have a review on them so you can catch up on it later.

This particular recipe is nothing out of the blue and is more South Indianish in its taste and make-up.

Shrimp & Calamari Masala


Shrimps - 200 gm

Calamari - 200 gm

Onions, finely sliced - 1

Garlic, minced - 5 cloves

Garlic, minced - 1 Tblsp

Tomato, roughly chopped - 2

Curry Powder - 1 Tsp

Red Chili Powder - 1 Tsp

Bay Leaves - 1

Peppercorns - 1 Tsp

Black Cardamom - 1

Cloves - 3-4

Asafoetida (Hing) - A Pinch

Turmeric powder - 1/2 Tsp

Cumin powder - 1 Tsp

Curry Leaves - 6-7

Coconut, grated - 3 Tblsp

Green Chillies, finely chopped - 1

Tamarind concentrate - 1 Tsp

Salt - To Taste

Oil - 2 Tblsp


1. Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan.

2. Add in the bay leaves, black cardamom, cloves and peppercorns. When they start crackling, add in the sliced onions.

3. As the onions turn translucent add in the ginger and garlic. Fry for 3 minutes.

4. Add in the red chili powder, turmeric powder, curry powder, cumin powder, Asafoetida. Fry for 2 more minutes.

5. Add in the chopped green chillies and grated coconut. Mix well and cook for 2 minutes.

6. Add the tamarind concentrate and half a cup of water. Mix well. Add in the curry leaves.

7. Cook till gravy turns to thicken. Add in the shrimp. Cook for a minute and add in the calamari. Cook for 3-4 minutes or till they are done.

8. Adjust the seasonings and serve hot garnished with chopped cilantro.

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