Aug 31, 2012

Chicken Panini with herb bread

Best way to use leftover chicken!

Last week we friends ordered 2 biryanis from a hyderabadi restaurant close to our place. 
The biryani was yummy, but it was enough to serve atleast 4!  So obviously some of that went in the freezer, and this ‘some’ included much rice and a big thigh piece of chicken. The next day I came back home early from work and kept the water for tea. I found myself craving for a snack, as it was too early for dinner but I was feeling really famished!  I was thinking about making a veg sandwich. I opened the vegetable box and found the herb bread I bought 2 days back. (I really need to stop impulsive buying - Half the time I simply forget what I bought!) Now, what better way to use good bread than to make a sandwich of it. But why to use the veggies when I had some leftover chicken? I took the chicken out & thawed it (2 min on full power in microwave). Chicken in biryanis are usually very differently spiced than chicken for sandwiches. They can be used in rolls or wraps, but for a sandwich I tweaked the chicken a bit. Let’s see how I made a yummy Panini that day and used 2 of the few ingredients-waiting in the queue in my fridge!

Serves: 1-2 depending on how hungry you are!
Chicken pieces 1 thigh/breast/with bone or boneless/any leftover cooked chicken
Soya sauce - 2 tsp
½ sliced Onion
Garlic – 1 clove
Spicy tomato sauce – 1 spoonful
Salt and pepper – To taste
Mayonnaise – 1 tbsp
Mustard sauce – 2 tsp (optional)
Grated Cheese or cheese slice (optional)
Butter – To toast the bread
Oil – 2 tsp

  • De-bone the cooked chicken if required.
  • Make small pieces of the chicken or separate it with hands to make it into thick shreds.
  • Heat the oil in a small non stick pan.
  • Add chopped garlic clove and sliced onions.
  • Heat it on medium flame till onions turn golden brown.
  • Add the chicken pieces, soya sauce, and tomato sauce.
  • Just sauté for 2-3 mins so that the chicken heats up, absorbs all the flavors and gets moist. Turn off the stove and keep onions aside.
  • Now slice the bread from the middle and spread butter on both sides.
  • Toast in a pan on both sides.
  • Now put cheese on one bread slice if you like. On the other slice first spread mustard and then some mayonnaise. Don’t completely blend these two. Their tastes should stand out.
  • Put the chicken pieces with onions on other bread slice.
  • Top with the other bread slice and the Panini is ready. Slice it in half and serve with ketchup.

You can also add tomato and cucumber slices to the sandwich to make it a complete meal.
Chef’s Tip: Try to use either the butter on bread or the cheese only instead of both as otherwise it can get very high in calories. It can be made with any chicken leftovers, but if it’s some Chinese style chicken, then you can skip the mayo and increase the soya sauce according to the chicken quantity.
Variations: Vegetarians can try doing the same with any Paneer/Cauliflowers leftovers!

Aug 29, 2012

Bruschetta – Pizza on the Bread

Bruschetta – Pizza on the Bread

Italian bruschetta has a long storied history dating back to at least the 15th century in the Tuscany, Umbria and Lazio regions of Italy. 
What originally began as a way for olive producers to test their oils with lightly toasted bread flashed on an open fire has evolved into a mainstay in almost every North American Italian restaurant. The word bruschetta is Italian for “to roast over coals”. It refers to the toasted bread and not the toppings. Unfortunately, supermarkets’ packaging for prepared tomato toppings are often labeled as bruschetta, taking away from the original meaning of toasted bread. Authentic Italian bruschetta is prepared using a brustolina grill. The brustolina grill is a flat bottom grill with holes in it that fits on top of an open flame, such as a gas burner. The heat comes from the bottom unlike the North American broiler which heats from the top. The brustolina is also widely used in Italy for cooking polenta and vegetables.

Serves 8

4 slices of rustic Wheat Bread/French bread
3 Red & ripe medium sized Tomatoes
3-4 cloves of Garlic
1/4 bunch of Basil
2 tsp vinegar
1 tbsp Extra virgin Olive oil
2 teaspoon Kosher/Sea salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Red chili flakes (to taste)

  • Cut each bread slice into the desired size for per person portion.
  • Toast the slices with a little bit of butter or olive oil.
  • On a cutting board, dice the tomatoes and mince the garlic.
  • Tear up the basil to release its flavor and add this, along with the tomatoes and garlic, to a bowl.
  • Next, add Vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Lightly toss and let it sit for 20 minutes to release some of the flavors and juices.
  • Add chili flakes if you like it spicy.
  • Toss the bruschetta mixture lightly once more and then spread a large spoon full on each bread toast.
  • Serve hot with a garnish of basil leaves.

Chef’s Tip: You may add a pinch of oregano to the tomato mixture and top the toast with grated cheese to make mini pizzas for kids or for a small snack with evening tea!

Variations: You can also add more herbs like mint or coriander for taste; boiled (or canned) beans, cottage cheese and sautéed capsicum can also be added.

Aug 28, 2012

Vegetable Skewers

I am so very fond of cooking, that I was thrilled to find a cooking game on facebook - Chefville!! I got so addicted to that, and in a few minutes I had crossed a few levels and was awarded with this recipe of veg skewers with tomatoes,mushrooms and zucchini. Well, I have not tried it yet, but it's created by a chef at Zynga, so I'm sure it'll taste good. SO here I am, sharing my prize on FB with all of you : ) Enjoy!


1 pounds (450 g) wild mushrooms

2 medium-sized heirloom tomatoes
1 large zucchini
1 large onion
1 large bell peppers
1 medium-sized squash
1/2 cup (120 milliliters) balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup (170 grams) honey or agave
1/2 small bunch Fresh Basil
10 bamboo skewers

  • Soak the skewers for 45 minutes in water. This will prevent them from burning when grilled.
  • Cut vegetables into uniform bite sizes pieces and line them up on the skewers. Arrange vegetables to keep like colors separate. Think rainbows! Keep in mind this can be eaten by hand and doesn’t need a knife and fork.
  • To make the veggie glaze, combine the balsamic vinegar and honey (or agave) and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Let the glaze cool down to room temperature. The glaze will become thicker as it cools down but should still be pourable like honey.
  • While the glaze is still warm, tear up the basil to release its flavor and add it to the glaze.
  • Grill the kebabs on a grill pre-heated to 400-450°F (205 - 230°C). The goal is to get some grilled flavor and color on a couple sides. This should take under a minute on each side
  • Once the kebabs look good, plate them and spoon the veggie glaze over the top of the skewer. The veggie glaze will run down and coat the rest of the kebab naturally. Make sure you get plenty of that great basil on there from the glaze.Season with salt and pepper as required and serve hot.

Creamy Coffee - Hand Beaten Dalgona Coffee

Hand-beaten Coffee 

Can you believe I had this recipe for Dalgona coffee on my blog since August 2012!! 💁Yes since 8 years!! Well, before it started getting called a name :) We simply used to call it the hand beaten coffee. Here's a refresher.
Blenders and mixers make life easier, but what can be done with hand is unmatched! That’s the reason mortar and pestles still sell
J These days we get a lot of products in market from various brands like Nestle and funfoods that make frothy cappuccino, or we can always have a drive to our nearest CCD, Costa coffee, Java or Mocha J What if you can have that taste, that front and that yummy creaminess at home, at almost 1/20th the price J All you need is some strength in your hand to beat the coffee for a few mins. Best way out – ask your husband, boyfriend, friend, or brother to do that work, telling them - “Mehnat ka phal meetha hota hai! – Fruit of labor is sweet!” 

Serves:  4
Preparation Time - 15 Mins
3 tsp Instant Coffee powder – I suggest ‘Bru’ as Nescafe gets too strong sometimes, but you can use any of your favorite coffees. Increase/decrease the coffee depending on whether you like it mild or strong.
5 spoonfuls of granulated Sugar – Don’t use sugar cubes or powdered sugar or sugar free ( Adjust sugar as you like, I’m assuming minimum 1 spoon per cup)
4 cups Milk
1 spoon Water J

  • Take a small steel cup,glass made of steel or plastic, or a sturdy ceramic mug. (Thin ceramic or bonechina can crack sometimes)
  • Put in the cup the sugar, coffee and water. Please be careful, add ONLY 1 spoon of water.
  • Now with a steel spoon, start mixing and whipping the mixture.
  • You might find the mixture too grainy, but don’t worry as after a few seconds it’ll start getting creamier. This is because sugar also has water inside it and it starts losing water, making the mixture more liquid with time.
  • Keep beating it for total of 10-12 mins or till the sugar dissolves 90% or completely. You’ll notice that the mixture starts to change color from dark brown to very light brown as you go on mixing.
  • Meanwhile, keep the milk to boil.
  • After your mixture is ready, pour 4 cups of milk. Don’t fill them too high.
  • Now take 4 small dessert spoons.
  • Take a spoonful of the mixture with the spoon and just put that spoon in the cup. Just stir only once, and don’t take the spoon out.
  • Creamy Coffee is ready! That’s the fun of this coffee – when you keep stir it later as you drink it, it makes more froth and tastes delicious.
  • Make 4 cups. Sprinkle a little chocolate powder and serve hot with cookies or just like that on a winter evening or a lazy Sunday morning!

Aug 26, 2012

Masala Tea

Masala Tea 

What better way to our day than with a cup of nice hot tea, of course after some exercise.

We all must’ve had tea or chai as we fondly call atleast hundreds of time a year, yet we know so little of different ways of making it. Some know it well, including our dadi nanis and moms too, but people like us who’ve been living in hostels ever since they turned seventeen- wish they knew how to bring a twist to this everyday beverage. This method ( it’s too short and simple to be called a recipe
J ) is especially for the beginners who wanna learn, and for men who wanna know at least how to make a good cup of tea in the absence of their wives J Even my friends from US,UK and other places, where the black tea is the norm, can also try this. I’m sure you all will like it. It is usually made in a batch and can be used over months.

Preparation Time - 15 Mins
For the Masala-Makes a batch you can store
10-12 Elaichi / whole Cardamoms
1 Black Moti Elaichi
2 tsp Saunf/Aniseeds
1-2 Sabut Kali Mirch / whole black pepper
2 tsp Saunth / Ginger root powder (Or plain unseasoned ginger powder)
1 inch stick of cinnamon / Dalchini
For the Tea – Serving 2 cups
Milk 1 ½ cups measure
Water ¾ cup
Tea leaves 2 tsp
Tea Masala made 1 tsp
Sugar- 3 tsp or as per taste
  • Take all the ingredients for the Masala in a spice grinder/Mixer and make a powder. Don’t take the skin off the cardamoms. Masala is ready!
  • Now to make tea, boil ¾ cup of water.
  • Add the tea leaves you like and heat on low flame for 2 mins till the leaves give out their color and aroma.
  • Add 1 tsp of the Masala made above.
  • Let it simmer for 1 min, and then add milk.
  • Bring to a boil, then lower the flame and add sugar.
  • Stir to dissolve the sugar. Increase the flame and turn off the gas when tea starts boiling again.
  • Your Masala tea is ready! Strain the leaves and serve steaming hot with your favorite biscuits or rusks or toast J

Aug 24, 2012

Interesting Fruit Facts

  • Apple is made of 25% air that is why they float.

  • Apples, onions, and potatoes all have the same taste? Try the test: Pinch your nose and take a bite out of each. 
  • Avocado has the highest protein and oil content of all fruits, but most of this is the healthier unsaturated type. 
  • Cabbage is 91% water. 
  • Carrots were originally purple in color, changing in the 17th Century to orange with newer varieties.
  • Celery requires more calories to eat and digest than it contains. 
  • Cherries are a member of the rose family.
  • Corn always has an even number of ears. 
  • Corn makes up about 8% of the weight in a box of corn flakes.
  • Eggplants are actually fruits, and classified botanically as berries.
  • Honey is the only edible food for humans that will never go bad. 
  • Lemons contain more sugar than strawberries.
  • Orange does not rhyme with any other word.
  • Peanuts are legumes and not a tree nut. 
  • Peanuts are one of the ingredients in dynamite. 
  • Pear is a fruit that ripens from the inside out. 
  • Strawberries are the only fruit which has its seeds on its outer skin.

Food Trivia - Top 10

Food is something we interact with on a daily basis – frequently, in fact. There are many very obscure facts about food that are fascinating and definitely worthy of knowing. So, here is a nice trivia list about food.

10. Coffee
The Fact: The most expensive coffee in the world comes from civet poop
Kopi Luwak are coffee beans that come from Civet (a cat sized mammal) poo. The animals gorge on only the finest ripe berries, and excrete the partially-digested beans, which are then harvested for sale. Kopi Luwak is the most expensive coffee in the world, selling for between $120 and $600 USD per pound, and is sold mainly in Japan and the United States, but it is increasingly becoming available elsewhere. My question is: who the hell discovered that it tasted good?

9. Feast

The Fact: The largest food item on any menu can be roast camel
The camel is stuffed with a sheep’s carcass, which is stuffed with chickens, which are stuffed with fish, which are stuffed with eggs. This feast is sometimes featured in Bedouin weddings.

8. Bugs

The Fact: The FDA allows you to sell bugs and rodent hair for consumption
The FDA allows an average of 30 or more insect fragments, and one or more rodent hairs, per 100 grams of peanut butter. I will certainly think twice before buying my next jar!

7. Soup

The Fact: The first soup was made of hippopotamus
The earliest archeological evidence for the consumption of soup dates back to 6000 BC, and it was hippopotamus soup!

6. Refried Beans
The Fact: Refried beans are only fried once
The reason for this misconception is a translation error. The originals are frijoles refritos which actually means “well fried beans” – not re-fried.

5. Worcestershire Sauce

The Fact: Worcestershire sauce is made from dissolved fish
Worcestershire sauce, the popular English sauce, is made from dissolved anchovies. The anchovies are soaked in vinegar until they have completely melted. The sauce contains the bones and all.

4. Popsicle
The Fact: The Popsicle was invented by an 11 year who kept it secret for 18 years.
The inventor was Frank Epperson who, in 1905, left a mixture of powdered soda and water out on the porch, which contained a stir stick. That night, temperatures in San Francisco reached record low temperature. When he woke the next morning, he discovered that it had frozen to the stir stick, creating a fruit flavored ice treat that he named the epsicle. 18 years later he patented it and called it the Popsicle.

3. Microwaves
The Fact: Microwave cooking was discovered accidentally, when a chocolate bar melted in someone’s pocket

This is very true and very scary – imagine what it was doing to his leg! The fact is, Percy LeBaron Spencer of the Raytheon Company was walking past a radar tube and he noticed that the chocolate bar in his pocket melted. He then tested popcorn in front of the tube (surely turning up the power and standing out of the beam), and it quickly popped all over the room. He is (obviously) known as the inventor of the Microwave oven.

2. Peanuts
The Fact: Dynamite is made with peanuts.
Peanut oil can be processed to produce glycerol, which can be used to make nitroglycerin, one of the constituents of dynamite. Note however, there are other processes that can be used to make dynamite without using peanuts at all.

1. Coconut Water

The Fact: Coconut water can be used (in emergencies) as a substitute for blood plasma.
The reason for this is that coconut water (the water found in coconuts – not to be confused with coconut milk, which comes from the flesh of the coconut) is sterile and has an ideal pH level. Coconut water is liquid endosperm – it surrounds the embryo and provides nutrition.

P.S. Information sourced from Internet.

Thank You for an Exciting Milestone - 1111 Views,11 Followers and Visitors from 11 countries!


Thank you all for visiting my blog and liking and sharing the recipes with your friends. Reaching 1111 views is my first milestone and it warms my heart to see visitors from 12 countries on my webpages! I will keep on posting easy and delicious recipes from my kitchen and the traditional inspired ones from 'Mommy's Kitchen' :) It's been just 2 weeks, so the recipe count is not huge, but it's only a matter of time before I put all the recipes I know and have tried over the years! 

Keep visiting and keep trying new things with the everyday ingredients. Do send in comments and feedback on anything you want me to add on the blog, or about recipes you tried but found something difficult or simply about anything you liked.
Looking forward to that. Till then -
Happy Cooking! 

Aug 23, 2012

Crispy Bhindi

Crispy Bhindi 

A healthier version of chips – OKRA! Yes it’s fried, but it’s less fatty than potato and welcome treat once in a while. You can have this lovely crispy fried Bhindi (Ladyfinger or Okra) as a side dish, or just as an appetizer.

Serves:  2-3
Cooking Time - 15 Mins
Preparation Time – For cutting the Bhindi – Depends on your speed, usually 10-15mins.

Bhindi 100 gms
Cornflour 1 tsp
Besan 2 tsp
Red Chilli Powder 2 tsp
Garam Masala ( or any seasoning you like) – 1 tsp
Dried Coriander powder – 2 tsp
Amchoor – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Oil for frying
Coriander leaves for garnishing

  1. Slice each ladyfinger into half lengthwise.
  2. Then thinly slice that each half, again length wise. So each ladyfinger = 5-6 thin long sliced
  3. Now take all the pieces in a bowl. Add all the spices, salt and Cornflour and Besan.
  4. Toss very gently, so that the pieces of Bhindi don’t break.
  5. Heat the oil in a skillet. Once hot, add the Bhindi in small batches of a handful each time.
  6. Take out on a tissue paper to soak excess oil.
  7. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot!

Aug 22, 2012

Grapple Salad - Modified Greek Salad

Grapple Salad

This is a delicious salad you’ll fall in love with after one try! I gave a twist to standard Greek salad, and whoa – I got this amazing creation as a gift for my heart and my taste buds. Now no more dieting and no more boring bland food for weight watchers - Grapple Salad is here!

It’s called Grapple because it’s my take on Greek salad with a twist of Apple, and it helps you grapple onto a Healthy Lifestyle!

Serves:  2-3
Preparation Time - 15 Mins

1 Cucumber
2 Tomatoes
1 Apple
1 small Red Capsicum
1 tbsp Del Monte Sliced Black Olives
1 tbsp Del Monte Extra Virgin Olive oil
5-6 pieces Del Monte Prunes
100 gm Paneer /Cottage cheese (You can use Feta also. Lactose intolerant people can use Tofu)

For the dressing-
1 tbsp Mustard sauce
1 1/2 tbsp Grape vinegar/ white wine vinegar
1 tsp Honey
Pinch of Sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste 


  • Slice the cucumber in half and cut into small pieces.
  • Cut the Tomato in half. Take out the seeds and chop into big cubes. 1 tomato = 8 pieces
  • Cut the Apple in half and then cut out thin slices.
  • Cut all the prunes into half.
  • Cut the Paneer (or Feta or Tofu) into small cubes.
  • Take out 1 tbsp sliced Black Olives from the jar. Strain to remove any brine.
  • Slice the Capsicum thin.
  • Take a nonstick pan and heat it. Add 1 tsp of Olive oil.
  • Once the pan is hot, put in the Capsicum slices and toss for 2-3 mins only. Don’t make it too soft. Leave in fridge to cool down.
  • Dressing - Take a small bowl and whisk together the Olive oil, Vinegar, Mustard, Honey, Sugar, Salt and Pepper till it mixes well.
  • In a big bowl, add the Cucumber, Olives, Tomato, Prunes, Capsicum, and Apple slices.
  • Pour the dressing into the bowl and toss the salad lightly with 2 spoons to let the dressing coat the veggies evenly. Take care not to break the apples.
  • Put the salad into the salad plates and serve with cut pieces on Paneer on top. 

    Note: You can also serve it with 2 halved slices of bread toast to act as a dieter's complete meal.
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