Stir Fried Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce

 I’ve been trying to come up with a healthier alternative to fried chinese food. chicken, in my opinion, never tastes as good plain stir-fried as coated in a crisp batter. SO I VOWED TO EXPERIMENT AND CREATE SOMETHING WHOLESOME AND DELICIOUS WITHOUT THE GUILT OF DOWNING A TRUCK LOAD OF CALORIES.

I love hot Chinese food, so I cranked up the heat in this one – it’s more like a desi, Pakistani version. I kept the vegetables to a minimum as this was an experiment. But you can add carrots and cabbage as well. I’m so happy with how amazing this turned out to be. The chicken was stir-fried until golden but it remained tender and succulent inside, the vegetables were kept a bit crunchy to offer texture – coupled with the hot garlicky sauce and served with vegetable rice – this was the perfect meal in itself!

this recipe feeds 10 people

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg boneless chicken, cubed
  • 1 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 heaped tsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp ginger
  • 4 tblsp oil
  • 2 small bell peppers julienne cut
  • 1 large onion julienne cut

For the sauce:

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp Nandos garlic sauce
  • 1 tbsp Nandos hot sauce
  • 2 tbsp Dark soy sauce
  • 4 tbsp Light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp Oyster sauce
  • 4 tbsp vinegar
  • 4 tbsp ketchup
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili flakes
  • 2 tbsp cornflour
  • 1/2 cup water

Islamabad 005Get a large wok and heat up 4 tbsp of oil with the minced garlic and ginger. Add the chicken and cook until sealed. Add salt, black pepper and chili flakes and cook until slightly browned. Set aside.

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Islamabad 007In the same wok, stir fry the onions and bell pepper for a minute making sure the heat is cranked up high.

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Add chicken stock to the same pan and add all the sauce ingredients, except cornflour.

Add the cooked chicken and vegetables. Let this cook for about five minutes  – the sauce should start to look like it will boil. Dissolve cornflour with 2 tsp of water and add this to the wok, mixing thoroughly like a boss. Thicken this to your liking, and tis done! I personally don’t like putting too much cornflour in, you will see from the pictures that the sauce has been kept slightly runny. All the better to eat you with rice, my dear.

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End result! Made for noms!

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hh

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Jalapeno Beef Sliders

Can I boast a little today? I make the best beef burgers. I’ve had a plenty, from all the joints in town and they might have more condiments than I do, but these burgers respect the taste of the meat. The tender beef patty needs to be slowly cooked before being transferred to a soft burger bun with only mayonnaise and mustard to compliment. The jalapenos and cheese provide for the extra flavor construction but they don’t take away the beef’s thunder.

These are loved by the boys in the family, of course. And what more, they’ve started hating the store bought patties now. Be sure to use premium quality beef though, which has a fair amount of fat in it because you want these to cook on their own without absorbing so much oil. Flatten the patty till its a bit beyond your palm because it will decrease in size once it cooks. Bun to Beef ratio should be kept equal otherwise everyone loses their minds. I know I do.

Patties can be made and frozen up till a week. Beef can be substituted for chicken. Served best with fries – this recipe makes up to 12 burgers.

Ingredients for the Beef Patty:

  • 1 Kg Beef mince
  • 3 medium onions, chopped finely
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 4 toasts pulverized into breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Extra things you need:

  • About 12 soft burger buns
  • mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • sliced jalapenos
  • slices of cheddar cheese

Mix all the ingredients of the patty, seasonings and sauces with the beef, making sure to combine everything well. Refrigerate this mixture for half an hour before taking it out and forming palm sized patties. Refrain from keeping them too thick, because the meat will not cook through. Chuck these in the freezer for about 10-20 minutes so that they keep their shape once cooked.

Eid 2015 003Fry the patties in a deep heavy based non-stick pan, browning each side.

Make sure not to bother these too much when they cook – they will tend to break and mess things up.

 

Eid 2015 004Once done, one side of the patty should look like this:

 

 

 

Prepare your buns by slicing them down the middle and spreading a nice generous dollop of mayonnaise and mustard on top.

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Cover with the cooked patty:

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And add the jalapenos and cheese slices:

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Cover the tops and warm the sliders in an oven to melt the cheese and get the party going. (You can skip this if you want to, but I like my buns warm  – and my cheese melted 😛 )

Serve with a side of french fries and lots of ketchup!

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NOMOMNOMNOM 😀

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Spaghetti Bolognese

This is a typical winter dish because its one of those comfort foods that you make a lot of and then binge eat your way through the whole dish by midnight. A hearty meat sauce covers a bed of warm spaghetti with melting cheese on top – so inviting, no living soul can resist second helpings.

This tastes best with beef mince, I wouldn’t recommend using chicken. Slow cooked beef mince is what makes the sauce so hearty and rich, If you are using chicken though and ignoring my wise words – make your own stock making sure that it is rich enough to counter for the lack of depth. Since I used beef, I used store bought stock. I would recommend using a nonstick pan. highly recommend.

Ingredients:

For the sauce:

  • 1 kg Beef mince
  • 8 cloves garlic
  • 6 tbsp oil
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 4 onions, chopped finely
  • 3 heaped tbsp flour
  • 8 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp zeera/cumin
  • 1 liter chicken stock
  • 2 tsp red chilli flakes

Other Ingredients:

  • 1 packet spaghetti – cooked according to instructions
  • Grated cheddar for topping (optional – oh but you know you want)

 

Foodie 010Saute onion and garlic in oil till onion turns pink.

Add the minced beef and fry this on high heat for around five minutes stirring in between.

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Take the pan off the heat and add the flour, put the pan back on heat and turn this to a medium flame. Stir with wooden spoon until the meat is cooked.

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Add the seasonings, tomato puree and the stock. Bring the sauce to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan as you do. Cook for 25 minutes on a low flame till sauce has thickened.

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Foodie 014In a large baking dish, pile a layer of cooked spaghetti and blanket this completely with the meat sauce. Pile on some more sauce. YES. do it.

Top off with some grated cheese and in this goes – to the oven. Bake on moderate heat for 15 minutes until cheese has melted and the sauce has trickled down to meet the pasta.

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Caution: You will feel like this when eating this, so its better if you have a loved one with you. Its going to bring out your emotional side, this sauce. Its what it does.

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OH GOD I WANT TO MAKE THIS AGAIN.

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Batter Fried Chicken Paprika

This is something that i invented from the things that I had on hand and i surprised myself with how amazing this turned out. the chicken remained tender and juicy inside and paprika added a sweet underlying heat, this paired with the crisp, crunchy fried crust totally made me bookmark the recipe for sharing.

As with every other post, this also serves around 9 hungry people – if they are served two fillets each, it can be used as dinner or a snack, works both ways. The chicken is not cooked prior to frying so make sure you buy it fresh and marinate it the same day as you are cooking. This is also very easy to pull of and is sure to please a crowd.

P.S the batter is a family secret which has never seen the light of day until now. *mom is going to kill me for sure*

Ingredients:

For the marinade

  • 20 chicken fillets, skinless.
  • 1 heaped tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp meat tenderizer powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp ginger garlic paste
  • pinch turmeric/haldi
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice

For the Batter

  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 heaped tbsp cornflour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup warm tap water

IMG_5870Hammer all the chicken fillets to submission using a kitchen hammer, flattening each piece so that the thickness of the chicken becomes even.

 

 

Mix all the ingredients of the marinade and coat each piece entirely, making sure that every fillet is rubbed properly. Leave this in the refrigerator for about 4-5 hours, taking it out just prior to frying.IMG_5871

Choose a heavy based wok in which to deep fry the chicken, and fill it up to 1/4 capacity with enough oil to fry 2-3 pieces at a time.

As the oil heats up, mix up the batter ingredients and set aside. The batter should have a slightly runny custard consistency – not too runny. Dip the pieces of chicken one at a time and surrender each piece to the hot oil. Don’t coat all the pieces at one time, your batter will water up and leave you crying in your kitchen and we don’t want that at all.

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You can fry 2-3 pieces at one time, wait for them to achieve a deep golden bubbly crust before taking them out.IMG_5906

 

 

 

Drain the excess oil and serve.

I paired this up with french fries.

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Note: This batter is a killer tempura batter, you can use it for single serve vegetables, prawns, shrimp, anything! Even a mars bar. Oooo must try that. 😛

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Tangy Bhindi Bhujia

I finally learnt this! I love bhindi, coupled with fresh hot roti off the griddle, this is one of my favorite desi lunches to have. So in the happiness of having learnt it, I’m sharing this as the first desi recipe of the blog! Okra or ladyfinger, called bhindi in this part of the world, is a tasty vegetable that can be converted into a tangy chatpatti bhujia very easily with a handful of ingredients!

The bhindi usually emits a goo that puts off a lot of people, but if fried promptly, on high heat – I assure you, it won’t become gooey at all and will result in a very flavorsome, easy to whip up bhujia that you can enjoy as a light lunch throughout the summer! Personally, the addition of imli gives this a whole new tangy dimension! you can omit this if you’re not that fond of imli and can add some achar or pickle for a slight kick.

Ingredients:

  • 1 kg Bhindi, washed and cut
  • 3 large onions, sliced lenghtways
  • 4 tomatoes, sliced lenghtways
  • 4-6 tbsp oil for frying
  • 1 tsp red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp haldi/turmeric powder
  • 1 pinch zeera/cumin
  • 3 small pieces of dry imli

Fry bhindi in 4-5 tbsp of oil, do this in batches, draining and setting the cooked one aside.

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The bhindi should change its color like so.

 

 

In the same pan, add another tbsp of oil and soften the onions, adding imli in. Once the onion has softened, take some of the imli out ( the seeds are a nuisance to have later, otherwise you can leave this behind even), add the tomatoes.

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Add all the seasonings, mix and add the fried bhindi. Cook this on high heat without using the spoon too much and lower the heat and let this cook for five minutes.

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And we are done! Make a chapati quick and devour this as soon as possible!

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Uff, would you look at that?

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Healthy Chicken Shawarmas with Garlic Sauce

I often make shawarmas at home because they can be whipped up in no time and just require some prep work and the least amount of actual cooking on the stove. This healthy version uses yoghurt in the sauce instead of oodles of mayonnaise that they usually serve you out on the street.

For Marinade:

  • 1/2 kg of chicken – diced into small cubes
  • 1 level tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp tikka masala
  • 1 level tsp flaked red chillies
  • 1 heaped tsp ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tblsps worchestire sauce
  • 3 tblsps soy sauce
  • 1 tblsp mustard

Mix up the marinade and coat the chicken cubes with this gorgeous sauce and let it rest in the fridge for about 3 hours. You can go up to 4- it doesn’t really matter. Take the chicken out and cook in a wok using 2-3 tblsps of oil, you can go healthier if you use olive oil.

When its done, set aside and prep yourself for – some more prep, haha!

I cook the chicken in a very teensy amount of oil – as long as the chicken is marinated well, you won’t run the risk of overcooking it because it will remain juicy and will be very happy to rest in that bed of soft bread and later – your tummy.

The real magic is in the garlic sauce. It’s a secret family recipe passed down through generat- okay just kidding, but it’ll knock your socks off!

For Garlic Sauce:

  • Half a bulb of garlic, separated but not skinned.
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup yoghurt
  • 2 tblsps mayonnaise
  • 1 tblsp chilli garlic sauce

Take the bulb of garlic and separate the petals and throw them in a shallow pan with around 1 tblsp of oil, make sure you don’t peel the skins off because the garlic will roast in it’s own skin and become soft and mellow and lose it’s pungency. Roast it on low heat ensuring that the skins become golden and sheer. Take the petals and cool them before squeezing the soft pulp out. You will then need to mash up the garlic like so:

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Mix this pulp with the rest of the ingredients and there you have it, your very own garlic sauce!

After the sauce and the chicken is done, chop a few of your favorite vegetables to go into the shawarma. I used olives, onions and lettuce but you can go ahead live it up and use jalapenos, cucumbers, tomatoes, and even bell peppers. Chop it so that they can easily fit into the shawarma and can be easily bit into. Julienne is your best bet, here.

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Warm up the shawarma bread on a skillet and then put it on the plate. Coat it with a heaped tbsp of garlic sauce, put some cubes of chicken and top it off with the chopped salad. I used a drizzle of barbeque sauce at the very end for a slight kick, but you can omit that.

That’s it, you’re done!

The-Best-Damn-Pakoray

This recipe is not mine neither do I want to take credit for it, but it has been passed on from my mom and my older sister to me. I was a pretty clueless cook actually, but they’ve helped me along- slowly nudging me to become better and better in the kitchen!

Batter Mix Ingredients:

  • 1 ¼ cup baisan/ chickpea flour
  • 1 tsp heaped salt
  • 3 tsp heaped flaked chillies
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tblsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp zeera/ white cumin
  • 1 tsp methi / dried fenugreek leaves
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp garam masala/allspice
  • 3/4 cup water or more depending on the thickness of the batter

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A batch of this batter makes the crispiest, crunchy golden pakoras that are a treat to have with fresh mint chutney or our local favorite: chili garlic sauce. And you can’t go wrong with this one either.

I’ve tried this batter out with potatoes and bread and aubergine- even cottage cheese, it always yields absolutely delicious results. Try it out this Ramzan or just have it the next time it rains!

Vegetables to add:

  • 1 large potato thinly sliced
  • 2 onions
  • Handful of spinach leaves chopped
  • 8-10 mint leaves chopped

Sift the baisan and add all the dry ingredients to it, mix in water, ensuring that the mix does not get too wet. (when the vegetables are added, they tend to make the batter more watery anyway) Add the vegetables prior to frying and mix until well coated. Heat oil to deep fry the pakoras in a large wok. Fry in batches until golden and drain on paper towels before serving.
I like to sprinkle a crazy amount of chat masala on top before serving, but its completely up to you if you want to, these are delicious even without! You can use this batter for bread to make bread pakoras and other vegetables as well, its amazing with cottage cheese too! Happy frying – and eating of course!