Pandit style Rogan Josh served with Homemade Naan

naan & josh 1

Sunday is when I like to cook for my family. A well deserved lunch followed by a nap, well, sometimes. Instead of eating a ¬†heavy cream or fat based rogan josh in a restaurant, I chose to cook some at home and relish it with some homemade naan. Ah, sounds blissful doesn’t it?! ūüėČ

I stumbled upon this  Pandit style recipe from a Kashmiri chef, who also owns a restaurant in Australia. One look at the recipe and I knew I got what I was looking for :). This recipe is so easy and sure a winner! However, I encourage you to save some for the next day to relish it MORE!

Ingredients for Pandit style Rogan Josh

Adapted from “Thoughts from Ajoy”

1kg mutton (with bone), cut into desired size

2tbs  vegetable oil

1-inch cinnamon stick

2‚Äď4 whole black cardamoms

4‚Äď6 whole green cardamoms

6‚Äď8 cloves

1tsp peppercorns

1tsp fennel seeds

1tsp ground asafoetida

1¬Ĺ tsp dry ginger powder

salt, to taste

1¬Ĺ tbs Kashmiri chillies, ground

2 cups whole-milk yoghurt, beaten

Ground Marinade

¬Ĺ tsp cinnamon
¬Ĺ tsp green cardamoms
¬Ĺ tsp ¬†black cardamoms
¬ľ tsp ¬†cloves
¬Ĺ tsp ¬†black peppercorn
¬Ĺ tsp ¬†fennel seeds
¬Ĺ tsp ¬†Kashmiri chillies

  • Marinate mutton with all the ground spices and¬†set aside for about 15-30 minutes.
  • In a heavy-based saucepan heat the vegetable oil and ¬†add cinnamon and black and green¬†cardamoms.
  • Then add the cloves and peppercorns and increase heat.
  • Add the fennel seeds and marinated meat and mix. Cook until meat is caramelised.
  • Add the asafoetida and the ground ginger and cook for 1 minute.
  • Add salt and¬†the Kashmiri chillies and fold into the meat.
  • Finally, fold the yoghurt into pan till it thoroughly coats the¬†meat.
  • Cover the pan and cook for about 1 hour, or until the¬†meat is cooked and the rogan (red oil) comes to the¬†surface.¬†Serve hot with naan or steamed Basmati rice. Serves 4.

I adapted the recipe for homemade naan using only yeast form here. I used the skillet or tawa method. Naan is best when had hot, otherwise it may go hard or rubbery. You could also substitute the refined flour with wheat or any gluten free flour.

naan & josh 2

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Desi style chicken & winning a cookbook by master chef New Zealand winner

Nadia & me

I  visited Taste of Mumbai yesterday, an international event which takes place in other parts of the world and for the first time it is happening in Mumbai. The spread of international or fusion food is something to experience. I had some sushi and some Spanish nibbles, which were really good. However, I did miss the real Mumbai taste of pav bhajji or keema pav or maybe even desi chicken. Kalyan of finely chopped also had similar thoughts.

The highlight for me at the event was meeting and winning (through a twitter contest organized by taste of Mumbai & HTCafe) Nadia¬† Lim’s (winner of master chef New Zealand, second series) cookbook, Nadia’s Kitchen. The book not only focuses on eating healthy but also seasonal eating and the recipes in the book has been beautifully showcased.

If you have read my earlier post about free range chicken and how/why I like my chicken free range. The free range chicken works really well for Indian style curry. Try this recipe once to taste the difference between a broiler and a free range. You can also watch my recipe video shared at the end of this post ūüôā

desi chicken


400g of chicken marinated overnight in curd, chilli powder, salt and turmeric powder

1 tbs oil

4-5 curry leaves

¬Ĺ tsp of mustard seeds

1 tsp kachampuli/tamarind/kokum

Salt to taste
fresh coriander leaves & grated coconut for garnish
 for masala/gravy
1 tsp of oil
1 tbsp of mixed spices ‚Äď cumin, pepper and cloves
20g coriander seeds
1‚Äď2 inch piece of ginger, cut roughly
4-5 garlic cloves
1 medium sized onion cut roughly
1 medium sized tomato cut roughly
100g of grated coconut
1 inch cinnamon stick/ cinnamon powder
4-5 dried red chillies


  • Add 1 tsp of oil. Add 1 tbsp of mixed spices ‚Äď cumin, pepper, cloves, coriander seeds and dried chillies.Roast the spices.
  • Add the onions. Toss them around until translucent. Add ginger,¬† garlic and tomatoes. Do not overcook the ingredients.
  • Add the grated coconut. Toss the ingredients around and add cinnamon powder. Turn off the gas and allow the mixture to cool for 15-20 mins.
  • Blend the mixture into a fine paste.
  • Add oil into a pan. Add mustard seeds and curry leaves.
  • Add the prepared masala and some water to to lighten the gravy.
  • Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer on a medium flame for 20-25 mins.
  • When you see a layer of oil on top of the masala, it means that the masala is ready.
  • Add the chicken,¬† salt and mix well.
  • Let the chicken cook on a medium flame for 20-25 mins with the lid on.
  • When chicken is cooked, add 1 tsp of kachampuli/ tamaring pulp/ kokam or any other souring agent
  • Cook for another 2-3 mins and garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or chapatti. Serves 4.

Grilled chicken with warm peanut butter sauce

grilled chicken 3

I love grilled chicken in any form, plain or marinated. One of my favourite ways to eat chicken breast. Those striking lines looks so gorgeous. The best part about grilling is that you have to do very little prep to make your dish delicious and bask in the glory of your guests going ga ga over it!

Here is one such recipe which is not only easy but uses a different twist of ingredients. A warm peanut butter sauce is what makes this dish so worth while! Inspired by Thai. I’ve added ingredients which were easily available from my home garden like lemon grass and basil.

What makes this dish extra special is that I’ve plated it in a hand painted plate made by a dear friend of mine. You can find more such lovely hand painted stuff on her facebook page.

grilled chicken 2

pic 454


200gms boneless chicken breast

1tbs chopped lemon grass

4-5 kaffir leaves

1/2tsp chopped ginger

1/2tsp chopped garlic

1/2 cup peanut butter (I used i2cook’s organic peanut butter)

3-4 chopped Thai red chillies

1tsp tamarind paste

salt & pepper to taste

some oil for grilling (used a mix of vegetable & toasted sesame oil)

finely chopped basil for garnish

some fresh salad to serve (I served mine with sunflower leaves & cherry tomatoes)


  • Cut the chicken pieces into desired size and pat dry.
  • Blend the peanut butter, kaffir leaves, lemon grass, ginger, garlic, red chillies and tamarind paste with some water into a smooth paste.
  • Add the prepared paste, salt and pepper to the chicken. Refrigerate for an hour or overnight.
  • Grill the chicken pieces on both sides until cooked.
  • Make the sauce by bringing¬† the paste with a little water to a light boil. Take care not to make it runny and should have a sauce like consistency.
  • Plate the grilled chicken topped with some warm peanut butter sauce, garnished with some chopped basil.
  • Serve hot with some salad to add some crunch. Serves 2.

grilled chicken 1

Some more peanut butter recipes.

Weekend lunch – Prawn & Mung Pilaf

I like to cook during weekends. It helps me rejuvenate and slow down my pace by self indulging in what I love doing.  The aromatic flavours blending in my kitchen is like a therapy to my soul.

Indian cooking, if managed well without over dosing of spices can be quite an indulgence. Pulav/ Pilaf is more like a special comfort food in Indian homes. It is usually made when one wants to eat something special or is bored of the same old mundane menu. Every household will have a special massala or spice mix that they use in this special rice preparation. I on the other hand, use  only whole spice mix instead of  commonly used powdered mix. I always like to flavour my pulav with heaps of fresh mint leaves which is cooked along with rice, meat/fish or veggies.

Prawn pilaf is one of my favourite.¬† I sometimes add peas for visual and taste. This time I twisted the recipe a little by adding in some sprouted mung. It didn’t change the taste but it did add some crunch to my dish along with fried onions. Did I tell you that I love fried onions¬† in my pulav. It is not a traditional practice to add fried onions but hey who said you have to follow rules….

Ingredients for prawn & mung pilaf

250gms  long grained rice or basmati rice

250gms medium sized prawns – cleaned, shelled and de-veined

1/2 cup sprouted mung (raw)

1 cup fresh mint leaves – cleaned without any stalks

1 cup finely chopped onions

1/2 cup finely chopped tomatoes

For tempering – 1/2tsp cumin seeds, 1 bay leaf, 4 -6 cloves, 2 cardamon, 1/2inch cinnamon, 2 star anise

2tbs sunflower oil

1tbs ghee

1tbs ginger garlic paste

1/2tsp turmeric powder

1/2tbs  coriander powder

1/2tsp chilli powder

salt to taste

fried onions for garnish

Heat oil/ghee  in a rice (electric) cooker or a pressure cooker. Season with all the dry spices. Add ginger garlic paste, onions and cook until soft. Add tomatoes, prawns, mint and all the powdered spices and mix well. Add 1/2 cup of water and bring it to a light boil. Add rice, water and salt. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and allow it to cook. Turn off the heat after two whistles and allow it to sit for 15 minutes before serving. Transfer into a serving bowl or plate and garnish with some fried onions. Serve hot with raitha and mirchi ka salan. Serves 4.

Crab in butter garlic sauce

Crabs¬†look like aliens, they can look so creepy but the taste is what gets you to like them (at least for me it works that way ;)). I bought some fresh live black crabs on Sunday and wanted to cook them for a lazy day. I’ve never tried my hands with cooking¬†black¬†crab, but having heard that they taste better than the normal white ones, gave me all the courage to buy some (it is also said that the live ones always tend to be¬† fresh¬† for the obvious reasons)

How do you cook a live crab?

It¬† is better to remove the clamps while they are alive, as they will be easier to handle and the crabs won’t end up biting you with their most important weapon¬†(I got the clamps removed by the fisher woman). Better to get them rooted out before than to feel the pain later.

Place the crab/s (either alive or recently killed) in boiling, salted water and cover the pot. There should be enough water so that the crab is completely submerged, plus an additional 4 or 5 inches on top of that. Use about half a¬† cup of salt per gallon of water. Cook for about 15 minutes; 10 to 12 minutes for smaller ones, up to 20 minutes for large ones. I used my hubby’s help to do the picking up of¬†each crab and putting it in the boiling water.

Alternatively¬†(if you¬†are scared like me and don’t have anyone to help)¬†you can put¬†the crab¬†in the freezer for half an hour beforehand so that it moves more slowly and is easier to handle when placing in the pot. Some people also feel this is a more humane method. They say the cold puts them into a dormant state and then they’re not fully conscious when they’re boiled.

How to clean or eat crab?

  1.   To remove the back, hold the base of the crab with one hand and pull the shell away from the body with the other hand.
  2.    Turn the crab over and pull on the triangular-shaped section and lift it away. Turn the crab again and gently scrape away the gills on either side with your thumb or a spoon. Also, throw away the intestine, which runs down the center of the back.
  3. ¬†¬† Most people wash away the “crab butter” (the yellow, mushy stuff in the cavity). But, some consider these organs a delicacy and there are recipes that call for them. So, set them aside if you like.
  4. Twist off the legs.
  5.   Rinse the rest of the body under cold water and break it in half.
  6.   Crack the legs with a mallet.
  7. Dig out the meat with forks or picks or however you can get to it.

4 pieces medium sized crab, cleaned and cooked

2 tbs butter

2 tbs garlic, finely crushed

1 tsp whole wheat flour

1/2 cup milk

1tsp crushed black pepper

salt to taste

Heat butter in a pan and add crushed garlic. Saute them for about a minute and add wheat flour, milk, salt and allow it to boil for 2minutes. Add pepper and the crab pieces and cook them for 5 minutes in the sauce. Serve  hot with some salad, fries and lemon wedges.  Eating crab is a messy affair, so just dig in and enjoy. Serves 2.

Note: I cooked the dish in the afternoon but prefered to eat it for dinner (refrigerate after cooking). Allowing it to sit for couple of hours before eating can really enhance the taste. You can add more garlic if you like (remember the more you add, the better it is). If you don’t like crushed pepper, feel free to use finely powdered black pepper.

Chicken Chop Suey

Taste & Create is a monthly event where blogger are paired with each other and have to create one of their recipes. It was time for me to explore new blog for a different taste…..

NO REASON NEEDED is my partner for this month’s event. I short-listed few recipes below:

Lime Chiffon Dessert
Chicken Chop Suey
Sweet n Sour Pork
Spaghetti Sauce

I don’t like elaborate cooking and found the above easy and quick to cook.
Well they are a good handful pick and confused as always….I asked my husband to pick one for dinner..and the result: Chicken Chop Suey…

The selection was spot on and it turned out to be an absolutely satisfying meal. The flavor was just perfect and very different in comparison to spring onions and garlic that are most commonly used in Indian-Chinese cuisine….

4 skinless boneless chicken breast halves (about 1 pound)
1¬ľ cups chicken broth
2 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp. corn syrup (I used honey)
¬Ĺ tsp. ginger
1 Tbsp. cooking oil
2 cups sliced celery
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups fresh bean sprouts
I added an additional cup of green pepper

Rinse chicken; pat dry. Cut into ¬Ĺ-inch pieces. For sauce, stir together the broth, cornstarch, soy sauce, molasses, and ginger; set aside.
Heat oil in a wok or large skillet over medium-high heat. (Add more oil as necessary during cooking.) Stir-fry the celery and onion in hot oil for 2 minutes. Add fresh bean sprouts, if using, and stir-fry for 1 to 2 minutes more or till celery and onion are crisp-tender. Remove vegetables from wok or skillet.
Add half the chicken to the hot wok. Stir-fry for 3 to 4 minutes or till no longer pink. Remove chicken from wok. Repeat with remaining chicken. Return all chicken and cooked vegetables to the wok; push from the center of the wok. Stir sauce; add to the center of wok. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Add canned bean sprouts, if using. Stir to coat with sauce. Cook and stir about 1 minute more or till heated through.
Serve immediately over noodles or steamed rice.

A must try and will surely make it again. Hope you’re having a great weekend.

Macaroni with sausage n peas

This works great with kids and it’s easy to prepare after a hard day’s work, when you don’t like to spend too much time in the kitchen.If you don’t like sausages, you can use boneless chicken and for veggies you can add mushroom, broccoli or even corn.This is a basic macroni and you are at an advantage to add whatever you like.So go ahead and show off your culinary skills ūüôā

For Macaroni
250gms macaroni
200gms sausages
200gms peas
4 tps garlic
olive oil
chilli flakes (optional)
basil fresh or dried (I used dried basil)
salt to taste

For white sauce
1 tbs butter
1tps flour
1.5 cup milk
cheese (as per your taste)

Cook and drain macaroni and keep it aside.You can cut the sausages as per your desired size. Heat some olive oil in a pan and saute garlic, sausages and peas. Season them with salt (be careful with salt as sausages already have salt in them),pepper,basil and chilli flakes. Once done,mix macroni and keep aside.

Heat butter in a pan and add flour. Pour milk and take care that there are no lumps found (If there are any lumps, take the pan off the stove and mix the mixture briskly until you get a smooth flow). Add some cheese to the boiling sauce and allow it to melt. Viola your sauce is ready.

Mix all the ingredients and serve hot.