Chicken Masala

When I decided to make Murgh Masala (Chicken Masala) I was pretty excited but also kinda nervous as I was cooking for the family which meant  I was cooking for Dad who fancies himself as a bit of critique when it comes to non vegetarian dishes. Regardless I got to cooking, and to make a long story short, Dad essentially compared my dish to my Mum’s cooking so yeah I was pretty happy to say the least!!!
So yes, do try it out. Let me know how it goes. It’s a nice creamy masala  but without the calories as I use yoghurt instead of cream so you can sneak in the extra chappati or two into your plate. Check it out y’all!

Serves 4-6

What we need:

1 whole chicken, pre portioned and skinned
1 black cardamom
6 whole pepper corns
1  1/2 onions, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
2 tbsp ginger, grated
3 tsp salt
1  tsp garam masala
1 tsp haldi
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tin plum tomatoes
4 potatoes, peeled and cut into 4 (optional)
3 tbsp yoghurt
handful fresh coriander, chopped
4 tbsp olive oil

How we do:

  • Heat the oil in a non stick pot on medium-high heat. Add the cardomom and peppercorns. Once they begin to sizzle, add the onions.
  • Stir constantly for 5-7 minutes. Once they turn a slight golden colour, add the garlic and mix well. Now add the ginger and mix again.
  • Now add all of the dry spices and mix. Add the plum tomatoes at this point and mash well.
  • When the oil separtes from the masala, add the chicken pieces to the masala and stir on high heat for 10 minutes.
  • Within 10 minutes, you will see water forming in the pot. Then add the lid and stir every 2 minutes until the water reduces.
  • Add the peeled potatoes at this point (optional).
  • Add 1 cup of water and cook on low-medium heat for 30 minutes with the lid on, checking and stirring it every 5 minutes.
  • After half an hour, the meat should be soft and tender. At this point add the yoghurt and let it cook for 2 minutes. Turn the heat off. Add the fresh coriander and 1/4 tsp garam masala.
  • Put the lid back on and leave it for 10 minutes
  • BALLE BALLE! You’re done! Best served with hot chappatis or basmati rice.

Spicy Sea Bass Masala

I have never been biggest fan of fish or seafood in general, well apart from deep fried battered cod or haddock with chips but in my head that doesn’t really count. So, when my Mum bought home sea bass last week I was skeptical about trying it. She told me that it would go well with a really spicy masala and rice. I was still dubious towards making it but thought with sea bass being quite mild in flavour and with Madre leading the way, it had to be worth a try..
..I have got to say, I was super surprised and really pleased at how it turned out!  The rich masala and the texture of the fish accompanied by the rice worked really well together. I felt like a true Bengali,  mashing the fish with the rice and eating with my right hand. There’s something about using your hands to eat dishes like this instead of using cutlery that just adds to the enjoyment of eating the meal! Practically speaking, this also helped in the avoidance of consuming the tiny bones. (NB. If you are concerned about the bones, you can ask your fish monger to debone the sea bass fillets).
So all in all, I have to say I think this dish may have been a turning point for me, in regards to my liking of fish..and that’s huge for me!
Regardless, enjoy guys. Let me know how it turns out for you!

Serves 2

What we need:
1 sea bass (skinned and cut into 4 steaks)
2 tbsp plain flour
1 onion finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1″ ginger, grated
1/4 tin plum tomatoes
1 fresh green chilli, finely chopped (you can add more depending on how spicy you like it)
handful fresh corriander
1 tbsp yogurt

Also, have to hand:
chilli powder
turmeric powder (haldi)
garam masala
1 black cardomom, crushed
cumin seeds

How we do:

  • Clean the fish and dry with kitchen towel. Place the flour mixed with  1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp chilli powder, on a plate.
  • Cover each fish steak in the flour mixture. Pat each steak  to remove any excess flour.
  • Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a non stick pan on medium heat. Once hot, add the steak of fish to the pan. When the bottom of the fish turn white, turn the steaks over. Repeat this process for the other side. Remove the fish.
  • In the same pan, add another 2tbsp olive oil. Add the cumin seeds and crushed black cardomom.
  • When they begin to sizzle, add the onions. Once they turn a light golden colour, add the garlic, ginger and green chilli. Now add the 1/4 tsp chilli powder, 1/4 turmeric powder, 1/4 garam masala, 1 1/2 tsp salt and the coriandar.
  • Then add the plum tomatoes and mix well.
  • Cook the masala on medium heat 5 minutes, constantly stirring.
  • You will know that it’s cooked when you see the oil  begin to separate from the masala.
  • Add the sea bass to the masala and add 1/4 cup of water. Simmer for 5 minutes  on medium heat.
  • Add 1 tbsp of yogurt and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Garnish with fresh coriander and serve with rice.
  • BALLE BALLE! You’re done. Enjoy 🙂

Paneer Masala

Paneer is an Indian cottage cheese which is so versatile. It can be baked, grilled, fried, sauteed, bbq’d…you get the point! Although it’s pretty mild in taste, it absorbs spices and flavours really well.Today’s recipe is simple to make and a great vegetarian alternative so check it out:

Serves 4

What we need:

5 tbsp olive oil
1 block of paneer (approx 250g), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
3 tsp salt
1 tbsp grated ginger
3 cloves garlic
1 medium onion
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garam masala
1 green chilli
handful of fresh chopped coriander
1/2 tin plum tomatoes
1/2 cup peas (if frozen, thaw in water and strain)
5-6 mushrooms, quartered

How we do:

  • In a non stick frying pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil. Add 1 tsp cumin seeds. Once they begin sizzle, add the paneer cubes. Now add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp turmeric powder.
  • Lightly fry until paneer turns golden on both sides. Remove from heat.
  • In a food processer, add the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli. Now add 2 tsp salt, 1 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp turmeric, 1tsp garam masala and the coriandor. Process until finely ground.
  • In a pan, heat 4 tbsp oil. Then add the ground up masala. Cook on medium heat until golden brown.
  • Add 1/2 tin plum tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes. Once the oil begins to separate from the masala, add the peas. Then add the mushrooms and the paneer. Mix well.
  • Add water so it is just covering the vegetables and paneer.
  • Cook on high heat until it boils. Check for salt.
  • That’s it you’re done! Balle Balle! Best served with fresh chappati or basmati rice.