Bindya Bedi’s chicken curry

Adapted from The Age and read at NewsELA

  • 1 kilogram chicken thighs 

Ingredients for the marinade:

  • 2 tablespoons of ginger garlic paste 
  • 1 squeeze of lime 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • 1 tbsp ghee

Ingredients for the curry:

  • 1/4 cup of neutral oil (coconut oil or ghee, my pref)
  • 4 medium-sized brown onions, peeled and roughly chopped 
  • 10 cloves of garlic, peeled 
  • 2 cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely diced 
  • 1 to 2 green chillies (we used 1 Jalapeño chili pepper)
  • 1 tablespoon of cumin seeds 
  • 2 bay leaves 
  • 1/2 cinnamon stick 
  • 4 to 5 cardamom pods 
  • 8 to 10 peppercorns 
  • 4 to 5 cloves
  • 4 tomatoes, or 1/2 a cup of tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder 
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder 
  • 2 tablespoons ground coriander 
  • 1 teaspoon ground garam masala 
  • Salt, to taste 
  • cilantro, to garnish

Directions:

  1. In a large glass bowl, marinate the chicken thighs in the ginger garlic paste, lime juice and salt. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, use a mortar and pestle (or food processor?) to grind the onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies to a paste and set aside.
  2. Heat the oil in a heavy-bottomed pan and add the cumin seeds. Roughly pound all of the whole spices (bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamom, peppercorns and cloves) and add to the oil. Once they start to make popping sounds, add the onion paste. Heat over a low flame, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a golden-brown paste and the oil starts to separate. 
  3. Next, add the tomatoes, salt to taste, turmeric, red chili powder, and ground coriander. Cook until the tomatoes just start to form a paste. Add the chicken, garam masala and 1/2 cup of water. Bring the curry to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and continue to cook over a medium heat.
  4. After 20 to 25 minutes, uncover the pan and cook for another 15 to 20 minutes until the water evaporates and the curry starts to thicken. Once the curry is ready, switch the flame off.
  5. Serve with your choice of naan or basmati rice and top with fresh cilantro leaves, if desired.

I read this in a NewsELA article, which I subscribed to as a science teacher. They offer loads of readable current news, including in science and health and social justice. Some changes from the original recipe: we used organic coconut oil, although I would have been equally happy with ghee. We speeded things up with using a garlic press and grater for the ginger for the marinade paste, and added a coconut oil to keep the chickens moist. I ran out of whole cloves, so I added some black mustard seed for appearances. And rather than the mortar and pestle method for the onion-garlic-ginger-chili mixture, we used a smoothie blender. We did use the mortar and pestle to grind the whole spices though! Make sure you turn on your ventilation — these are some powerful aromas when you start frying!

***Marinade reminder: we mixed ACID (lime) + SALT + OIL (ghee) + HERBS/SEASONINGS/SUGAR (ginger / garlic) + TIME (30 minutes).***

~Jessica

Cinnamon granola

Adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cup cashews
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup flax seed (can be grounded)
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • 6 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp. cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oats, nuts, coconut, brown sugar, etc.).
  3. In a separate bowl, combine wet ingredients (maple syrup, oil, and salt).
  4. Combine both mixtures and pour onto 2 sheet pans. Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes to achieve an even color.
  5. Remove from oven and cool.

I find the granola is done when it all feels dry as you stir it, and doesn’t clump together all sticky-like. I still don’t have a baking sheet, but this time I tried baking the granola in two separate dishes to cook faster. The maple syrup was a souvenir I picked while visiting my friend Francesca in Montreal. It’s some good stuff, and came in a can! Last but not least, Jesse’s tip: don’t spill.

~Jessica

Baked chicken shawarma and rice

Adapted from Recipe Tin Eats

Ingredients:

Spice Rub

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (optional — I will omit next time)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice (from 1 lemon)
  • 5 chicken thigh fillets, bone in, skin on (~ 2 lbs / 1 kg)
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion , finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 1/2 cups long grain rice, uncooked (I used Jasmine)
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (or water)
  • 2 cups water
  • 3/4 – 1 tsp salt
  • Black pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp cardamon powder
  • 2 cinnamon sticks (or 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder)
  • 400g (14oz) can chickpeas , drained
  • Yoghurt (plain)
  • Cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
  2. Mix the spice rub ingredients together in a small bowl. Slather onto the chicken, covering both sides. Marinate for at least 1 hour (up to 24 hours).
  3. During this time, we prepped the rest of the ingredients. Mince the garlic, dice the onion, fancy up the yogurt garnish with lemon + garlic + salt + pepper, etc.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the chicken, skin side down, and cook for 5 minutes on each side, or until light golden brown.
  5. Add garlic and onion. Cook for 2 minutes until translucent.
  6. Add rice and stir so the grains are coated in oil and become a bit translucent.
  7. Add remaining ingredients. Place the chicken on top – it should be half submerged with the skin above the surface. Pour in the juices from the plate as well.
  8. Bring to simmer, then place a lid on (or cover with foil) and transfer to oven.
  9. Bake for 35 minutes, then remove the lid and bake for a further 10 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven. Let it rest for 5 minutes.
  11. Remove chicken from the rice and mix the rice quickly (to distribute flavor).
  12. Serve, garnished with cilantro and plain yoghurt.

This popped up because I was looking for a one skillet pan, to try my new Dutch oven my sister had recommended! I recommend omitting the cayenne / red pepper flakes unless you really really like spicy. The other spices already added so much variety and aroma.. Jesse really liked this one — so much that he went and made it for his family ASAP. Highly recommend!

~Jessica

Oatmeal chocolate chip cookies

Adapted from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup (130 g) flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temp.
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temp.
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3.5 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 1 bag Ghiradelli dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt) together. Just the flour, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt– you’ll add the oats later.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients (butter, sugars, eggs, molasses, vanilla) together.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients.
  4. Add the oats and chocolate chips. The dough will be thick and sticky.
  5. Chill the cookie dough. We did way more than 45 minutes in the refrigerator, which helps prevent the cookies from overspreading.
  6. Scoop cookie dough balls. About 3 Tablespoons of dough per cookie– yes, these are LARGE!
  7. Bake at 350°F for 13-14 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges are set and the centers still look soft.
  8. Remove from the oven and allow cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
  9. Enjoy!

These were so good — just the right amount of chewy, and really awesome texture from the extra oats. I’ve long been an oatmeal raisin fan, but I was open to Jesse’s chocolate substitution, and they were quite the hit with his apartment. He skipped the molasses and used less sugar. Everyone was a fan of the bittersweet 60% cacao baking chips.

~Jessica

Indian chai masala

Adapted from LMU München. This chai Serves 2.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup milk (I used ⅔ cup of half and half)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 Black tea bags (looseleaf preferable)
  • 5 cardamom pods
  • Cloves (didn’t have, grated some cinnamon stick instead)
  • sugar, to taste

Directions:

In a saucepan, heat 1 cup milk and 1 cup water on low heat, together with 5 cardamom pods and a few cloves. Then, add a black tea (best looseleaf is Indian or African) and cook over medium heat until the color is a caramel-brown. Add sugar to taste, bring to a boil again, and enjoy on a rainy day with savory pastries!

Fun Fact: “In many Indo-Aryan languages, chai or cha is the word for tea. This comes from the Persian چای chay, which originated from the Chinese word for tea 茶 chá.” (Wikipedia) Hearing about masala chai in grad school, I always thought it peculiar how similar the word sounded to the Mandarin word. If I really wanted to up my game, masala chai is “traditionally prepared as a decoction of green cardamom pods, cinnamon sticks, ground cloves, ground ginger, and black peppercorn together with black tea leaves” (Wiki).

~Jessica

Glühwein

Simmering!

According to Austria.info

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 medium orange
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup turbinado or granulated sugar
  • 20 whole cloves
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 (750-milliliter) bottle dry red wine
  • Rum (optional)

Directions:

  1. Stick the cloves into the orange. Put all ingredients in a pot and bring it close to boil. DO NOT BOIL.
  2. For additional taste cut 2 oranges in to bite size pieces and add to the wine.
  3. Let simmer.
  4. Remove clove, cinnamon stick before serving it into lightly pre-warmed glasses.
  5. Decorate glasses with a slice of orange.
  6. Enjoy and drink responsibly.

Four years in Germany means certain traditions you miss that they just do better. Weihnachts is one, Fastnacht is another. NYC tries to have a Weihnachtsmarkt that recollects the experience, but it’s only a pale shadow reminiscent of it. “Gluhwein” translates to “glow wine”, as I understand it. The three main types of drink I would have in Konstanz:

Glühwein is usually prepared from red wine, heated and spiced with cinnamon sticks, cloves, star anise, citrus, sugar and at times vanilla pods. For children, the non-alcoholic Kinderpunsch is offered on Christmas markets, which is a Punch with similar spices. Another popular variant of Glühwein in Germany is the Feuerzangenbowle. It shares the same recipe, but for this drink a rum-soaked sugarloaf is set on fire and allowed to drip into the wine.” (Wiki)

~Jessica

Green monster smoothie

Adapted from Oh She Glows

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk 
  • 1/2 cup kefir or plain yogurt 
  • 1-2 cup de-stemmed baby spinach 
  • 1 large ripe frozen banana, peeled and chopped into chunks 
  • 3/4 cup blueberries/strawberries 
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds 
  • Pinch of ground cinnamon 
  • 2-4 ice cubes

Directions:

  1. Combine all ingredients in blender.
  2. Serve cold. Feel free to use whatever berries or fruit are in season!

I prefer the flavor of almond milk and whole milk kefir. Make sure you chop the banana before freezing, or it will get messy — peeling a browned slimy peel off freezing cold bananas. Perfect for summer!

~Jessica

Chia seed pudding, part II

IMG_2689Adapted from Wellness Mama retry of this

Ingredients:
2 cups almond-coconut milk
1/2 cup chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder

IMG_2686

sprinkled with a touch of cinnamon

Instructions:
Whisk all ingredients together. Refrigerate overnight. Eat with fresh fruit in the morning.

IMG_2687

pre-almond topped

I wanted to try a chia seed recipe without using yogurt, because I love my yogurt, but I wanted to use up the almond milk before it expires (one week after opening, according to the label).

So I layered 3 spoonfuls of chia pudding with 2 spoonfuls of whole milk plain yogurt. Added chopped strawberries and toasted chopped almonds and a spoonful of jam to finish. This made enough chia pudding for six (small) servings.

IMG_2690

~Jessica

Steel-cut oats oatmeal

IMAG1097Adapted from Alton Brown

Ingredients:
1 tbsp butter
1 cup steel-cut oats
3 cups boiling water
1 cup almond milk
pinch of salt
toppings: ground cinnamon, honey, toasted chopped walnuts, extra milk

Directions:
Melt the butter in a saucepot. Add the oats and toast for a couple of minutes, stirring. Add the boiling water, then reduce heat to low and leave untouched for 25 minutes, simmering. Add the cup of milk and mix to combine, scraping up the bottom if need be. Leave for another 10 minutes. Add the salt; stir. Let rest 5 minutes to thicken. Serve with toppings of your choice. I like to add a little more milk at the end, like a warm porridge cereal.

My favorite packet of Quaker ® Instant Oatmeal is apples and cinnamon, since childhood. So I first started trying this type of oatmeal when I came across a rust-red box of it in the organic cereals section of my local ShopRite back in Jersey City, during my grad school days. Eating healthy and cheaply then was the priority. Now I think of steel-cut oats as being Irish, ever since visiting Ireland. This does take longer to cook than instant oatmeal, but I like the chewy texture and nutty flavor. It’s worth it. Plus, slow food!

~Jessica

One avocado one banana bread

Adapted from Food Network and A Little Yum. Similar to a previous post.

80 g (3/4 cups) all-purpose flour
3 spoonfuls of sugar
pinch of baking soda
pinch of salt
ground cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves (subbed with 5 spice powder)
1/2 avocado, chopped (we used the whole, made for a very moist cake)
1 egg
dash of pure vanilla extract
orange zest (optional — have used apple juice before!)
1 very ripe banana, mashed
2 spoonfuls of honey
100 g (4 tbsp) butter, softened
a couple splashes of milk (optional)

Preheat oven 175 deg C. Mix the dry ingredients together. Whisk the wet ingredients together. Combine the two. Pour into buttered baking dish. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Cool. Slice. Serve.

~Jessica