Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Penne for my thoughts

Penne Pasta- Chicken Sukka




Cooked Penne Pasta

Chicken Sukka



I made chicken sukka recently and added some coconut milk and Penne Pasta to make it a Italian -Indian dish :) Yeah adding that Pasta makes it all International right? :) Well I was trying to 'Indianize' an Italian by adding the Penne Pasta:)

Ingredients:

Chicken Breasts : 4 to 5 pieces skinless, boneless thighs or breast (you can use with bone also)
Penne Pasta: 3 cups
Ginger: 4 to five thin slices
Garlic: 4 to 5 pods
Green Chilly : 4 to 5 (adjust according to taste) I used the Thai chilly (I removed the seeds before adding to the dish, to make it "eatable" for my hubby :)
Cumin seeds: 3 teaspoons
Onion: 1 chopped finely
Tomato: 2 chopped finely
Coriander leaves: For Garnish
Spices: Cardamom powder (1/4 tsp), Curry powder (1 teaspoon)(I used a sambhar powder given to me by a friend of mine which was absolutely tasty), Coriander powder - (1 tsp) (I used the freshly ground one)
Salt : to taste
Coconut Milk (thick): 1 cup (I make it using the coconut powder. Easier to make 1 cup thick milk that way. You save time and taste is not compromised if you are using a good brand (I use a Thai brand)

Method:

Cook the penne pasta according to instructions on the packet. Cut the chicken pieces to bite size pieces. In a pan, heat oil and add cumin seeds, green chilly, ginger, garlic and curry leaves and saute for a minute. Then add the chicken pieces, salt and on high heat stir the chicken pieces with the tampering until it is cooked slightly. Then add the onion, tomato to the chicken and stir until onion and tomato form a nice soft paste on the chicken. Then add the spices and and stir until chicken is 3/4th cooked. Add little water in between cooking the chicken if chicken pieces stick to the vessel. The water should be completely gone when chicken is 3/4th cooked. Then reduce the fire to medium and add 1 cup thick coconut milk. Stir until milk is fully absorbed by the chicken. Raise the heat in between to aid this. Then lower the heat to minimum, add the penne pasta and stir well to combine everything. Serve it hot or cool , along with vegetable salad or have it just like that :)

Badam (Almond) Katli




This will be my first recipe of this year, so I thought of making a sweet start :) I have never had Badam Katli, but always loved and craved the taste of its more famous cousin - "Kaju Katli" :) You give me this sweet anytime , I relish it as if I have never seen it:) Just gets me hooked to its taste:) . I had it the first time in Bangalore from the 'Kaptik's Mithai Shop" on CMH Road,Indiranagar. The chats that you get there is also too good. The shop name is written in a unique style on the banner which made me read it 'Kartik' the first time I saw and then when I looked closely, it read 'Kaptik'...its like some optical illusion thing i guess:)) .....anyways who cares about the name, its the sweets and savories that they serve. I also adore the sweets from ' Sri Krishna' sweet shop in my hometown Ernakulam. Though it seems such a long time back, memories of my dad purchasing a sweet box from this sweet shop for me when I was returning to Bangalore during my career days just makes it very nostalgic....

I don't know what I was thinking when I purchased Almond powder instead of Cashew powder when I was at this store at Burlington. I wanted to make Kaju Katli and I had purchased Almond powder. So I googled about the "history" of cousin "Badam Katli" :) and I found its similar in preparation to Kaju Katli. So I made it using the following recipe in which I made an approximate measurement of all ingredients keeping in mind that making Rava Kesari and Kaju Katli process is almost same with a slight difference. But the taste and texture came out very well.

Ingredients:

1 cup Almond Powder (if you have whole almonds, chop it, and grind it in a coffee grinder or spice grinder. you may also soak the almonds in water until its tender and then grind the almonds along with 1/4 cup milk to form a smooth paste)

1/4 cup milk (I used soy milk, as I didn't have the regular milk in stock)

1 cup sugar (I used powdered sugar. Granulated sugar can also be used)

1/4 teaspoon Cardamom powder

1 tsp Ghee to avoid the sweet from sticking to the vessel in which it is cooked(Optional)

Method:

Make a paste of almond powder and milk. If you are using whole Almonds, which are soaked, grind it with milk to a smooth paste.

Add this paste along with sugar in a vessel and start the stove to medium heat.

Keep stirring to avoid lumps and sticking. You may add ghee at this point to prevent sticking. Better to use a anodised (or non-stick) vessel to prevent sticking. So you can cut that extra fat from the oil or ghee (though adding a little ghee gives a richer taste. Take care not to add too much as that will take over the taste of Almonds).

Vary the stove temperature between low and medium, while stirring.

It took me around 15 - 20 minutes (time varies according to stove temperature) for the almond - sugar mixture to start leaving the edges and when you stir at this time, you can observe that the coating which gets on the spatula you are using to stir, starts to solidify.

At this point add the cardamom powder, stir well again to combine everything.

Keep a Aluminium foil on a flat surface and apply a light coating of butter. Transfer the Badam Katli to the foil. Just pour it, don't try spreading it, as it usually spreads by itself when its hot. Wait for 1 or 2 minutes till it sets. When you touch it with the base of a spoon you can feel the surface is quiet hard. I used a pizza cutter to cut the Badam Katli to diamond shapes. That was easier than knife ;) The Katli's harden a bit more when cooled. So don't worry if you feel they are not done . Hope you too will like it:)

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