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

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

Sopa de fideo

Recipe courtesy of my co-worker, Ms. Carchichabla and the blog Isabel Eats

Ingredients:

  • 2 plum tomatoes, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • small onion, chopped
  • 1 packet Goya Sazón Seasoning with Azafrán
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 6 cups chicken/vegetable broth
  • rosemary, thyme
  • vegetables (e.g. celery, carrots, cauliflower, potato, bell pepper)
  • 8 oz. fideo pasta
  • olive oil
  • black beans, cooked (we used canned)
  • garnish: lime and cilantro, Mexican Queso Fresco and diced avocado. (optional)

Directions:

  1. Cut up two plum tomatoes, 2 garlic cloves, little bit of onion and sautée until soup-like. We also added diced jalapeño pepper (I recommend removing the seeds as much as possible), but you can also add red pepper flakes.
  2. Add a packet of Goya Sazón con Azafrán.
  3. Add 3 – 4 cups of water (or broth) to boil.
  4. Then, put in the veggies — we used celery, carrots, potato, and turnip.
  5. To make the fideo, which is the (bow tie) pasta, you’re going to toast it in a pan in olive oil. Don’t toast it too much or it will burn, just toast it till gets to a tannish-yellow color.
  6. After putting the fideo in the soup along with the veggies, add the beans. (The beans should already have been cooked before!) Add some salt, rosemary, a pinch of thyme.
  7. Let it cook for 15-20 minutes or whenever you feel it’s ready. Taste. Add some salt if necessary. Garnish with cilantro, etc.

It’s a perfect meal for the fall/winter weather. Additional soup ingredients can include vegetables such as bell pepper, onion and garlic, tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken, chili peppers, vegetable oil, salt and pepper. I quite liked my second attempt too, with canned tomatoes!

~Jessica

Jesse’s chili

Ingredients:

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 – 3 jalapeños (depending on spice preference), seeded and cored, chopped. Can substitute serrano or habanero peppers if you like spicy.
  • 1 lb. of grass-fed ground beef (or bison)
  • 1.5 tbsp chili powder
  • 1.5 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp basil
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder (can sub with any unsweetened chocolate)
  • 4 tomatoes on the vine, quartered
  • 1 can of black or red beans, drained
  • 3 oz. (1/2 small can) of tomato paste
  • enough beer (~1/2 can) or red wine (~1 cup) to cover
  • toppings: cilantro, sour cream, Mexican grated cheese, etc.

Directions:

  1. Start a dutch oven on medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onion, chili pepper (jalapeños) until aromatic. Add the garlic and spices, cook for 1 more minute.
  3. Add the beef, stir to break up. Cook until browned, about 3 – 4 minutes.
  4. Add the tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, and the alcohol to the pot. The liquid should just about cover the ingredients.
  5. Turn down the heat to a simmer. Simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour or so. The consistency should thicken, until you have a nice sauce-y chili.
  6. When consistency achieved, serve with cornbread or parboiled rice. Garnish with cilantro, sour cream, and/or grated cheese, as you prefer.

A beer we chose to add was a brown ale made in New Hampshire: Pig’s Ear Brown Ale, made by Woodstock Inn Brewery. It was about an hour west of our Air BnB. The beer pairs well with the chili, but we chose to pair it with a red wine, a nice Smoking Loon Merlot Jesse was familiar from previous experience. This is probably the best chili I’ve ever had, just sayin’.

~Jessica

Zucchini pepper soup

Adapted from Stella Cooks and the spring vegetable puree

perfect with a grilled cheese

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 head of garlic, smashed
  • 1 zucchini, washed and chopped
  • 2 bell pepper, washed and chopped (red is good)
  • 1 bunch of Korean leeks (Hmart)
  • 2 cups of vegetable broth
  • 4 tbsp. tomato paste
  • pinch of salt, cracked pepper, paprika, thyme, oregano, cumin
  • ½ cup of heavy cream

Directions:

  1. In a large pot, warm the butter (or olive oil) over medium heat. Gently saute the garlic for a couple of minutes, then throw in the leeks (or onions if you have) and cook for about 5-7 minutes, or until fragrant and soft, stirring constantly.
  2. Add zucchini and peppers to skillet and saute for about ten minutes, or until they just begin to brown.
  3. Pour the rest of the ingredients (except the dairy) into the soup pot, including the vegetable broth, and heat just to boiling. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover, and allow to cook for about twenty minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Let cool a bit (to avoid heat splashing in the blender). Remove the soup, in batches if necessary, into a blender or large food processor and puree to desired thickness (I usually prefer smooth soups). Return the pureed soup to the pot. Taste. Stir in salt and pepper as desired.
  5. Make sure the soup is well mixed and heated throughout, then ladle out into serving bowls. Sprinkle some scallions or leeks greens on the top, add the cream (milk), and finish with a light dash of paprika. Serve immediately.

I used whole milk instead of heavy cream, but it was delicious before that. I also threw in a handful of pistachios and pancetta to clean out my cupboard (road trip coming up!), but this recipe would have been just as superb without them. I have perfected this soup, and the grilled cheese that complements it. Hooray!

~Jessica

Turkey kofte

Adapted from Jamie Oliver

Kofte Ingredients:

  • 1 large zucchini
  • 2 scallions
  • 1 fresh red chili
  • 50 g. pistachios
  • 3 sprigs cilantro
  • 3 sprigs parsley (omitted)
  • 3 sprigs mint
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 large egg
  • 500 g. ground turkey
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano

Chili sauce ingredients: (I recommend halving this)

  • 4 ripe tomates
  • 2 small onions
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 jalapeno chilies
  • olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. tomate paste
  • 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar

Tahini yogurt:

  • 250 g. Greek yogurt
  • 1 tbsp. tahini
  • 1 squeeze of lemon juice

Turkish pilav:

  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves. garlic
  • 300 g. bulgur wheat
  • 400 ml. hot chicken stock
  • 1 knob of butter
  • 80 g. broken rice vermicelli
  • 100 g. can chickpeas

Directions:

  1. Finely grate the courgette, trim and finely chop the spring onions and green chilli, then chop the pistachios. Pick and finely chop all the fresh herbs.
  2. Toast the cumin seeds in a dry pan until smelling fantastic. Meanwhile, lightly beat the egg.
  3. Mix all the kofte ingredients together in a large bowl, keeping some pistachios back to garnish, then season well.
  4. With wet hands, form 16 kofte, each the size and shape of a small egg. Leave in the fridge to firm up for at least 30 minutes, then thread onto metal skewers, two kofte on each.
  5. Cook the kofte under a grill or over a flame charcoal grill, on high for 12 minutes, until juicy, golden brown and cooked through, turning regularly.
  1. To make the chilli sauce, halve the tomatoes and onions (there’s no need to peel), and bash the unpeeled garlic cloves.
  2. Place the red chillies, tomatoes, onions and garlic on a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and season, then roast for 25 minutes or until soft and slightly blackened.
  3. Allow to cool slightly, then carefully remove and discard the stalks from the chillies, the cores from the tomatoes and the skins from the onions and garlic.
  4. Add to a food processor, along with the sugar, tomato purée and vinegar. Blitz until smooth and add a lug of oil to make it glossy. Pulse again, then season.
  1. For the tahini yoghurt, mix all the ingredients in a bowl and season with a pinch each of sea salt and black pepper.
  1. To make the pilav, peel and finely chop the onion and garlic. Add a lug of oil to a non-stick pan over a medium-low heat, then sweat the onion and garlic for 10 minutes. Add the bulgur and stir to coat.
  2. Pour in the stock, bring it to the boil, then turn down the heat to very low. Cover with a lid and steam the bulgur for 8 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a separate pan, melt the butter and cook the vermicelli until the butter turns golden brown.
  4. After 8 minutes, add it to the bulgur along with the chickpeas – don’t stir at any point, just replace the cloth and lid and let it steam for another 8 minutes.
  5. Turn off the heat and let it stand for 5 minutes – you should end up with a beautifully light and fluffy pilav.

OMG this utterly takes two hours. The flavors and textures combined together so amazingly, and we regret nothing once we FINALLY sat down, but if we had known it would take that long, in such a very humid NYC summer… At least you can eat all the leftovers cold, cold, cold. Optimism! The recipe makes way, way too much chile sauce — I would halve that recipe for sure. Everything else was in good proportions.

I used white sugar, and apple cider vinegar instead of the recommended ingredients. I didn’t buy parsley or broken rice vermicelli — although I do like rice vermicelli, but neither of us care for parsley over much. Next time! (Just kidding — or at least not in summer. Ever.) We tried “grilling” the kofte and “oven roasting” the vegetables in a cast iron pan, which took considerably more time than the original recipe called for, and made the kitchen (and my apartment) hot, hot, hot. We even tried making the bulgur pilav in the cast iron, but that was unnecessary, and transferred it back to my ceramic pan later on. The turkey is quite lean, so I would love to try this (or another turkey meatball recipe) with ground pork instead. Fatty pork ftw.

~Jessica

Frijoles charros

Adapted from Isabel Eats and Jessica Gavin

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. dry pinto beans
  • 1.5 tbsp kosher salt
  • 8 cups cold water
  • 1/2 large onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

Directions:

  1. Pour the beans into a large bowl. Pick out and discard any beans that are shriveled or split as well as any small rocks that may have made their way into the bag. Toss any broken dried beans. Add them to a colander and rinse with cold water for 1 to 2 minutes.
  2. Fully cover the beans with water (at least 3 inches over the top of the beans) and salt. Set on the counter to soak for 8 hours or overnight.
  3. Transfer the beans to a large pot or Dutch oven. Add 10 cups of water (and the other seasonings).
  4. Bring beans to a boil, then reduce heat to a low simmer. Cover and cook for 2 to 2 1/2 hours. (I recommend checking them at the 2 hour mark and giving them a taste. They should be tender and fully cooked through, but still a little firm and not mushy. Cook a little longer if they’re not quite done.)
  5. Remove from heat and use them in recipes like refried beans and charro beans, or let cool completely and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

So in the beginning, I wanted to use up these dry pinto bean my grandmother got from her senior center, but in the end, I just cooked this as charro (cowboy) beans. I also had a couple medium potatoes, so I threw those in too, diced. I did not have 2 cans of diced tomatoes — I just added 2 diced tomatoes on the vine. It’s hard to find recipes that don’t use an InstaPot. Thank goodness for ol’ stovetop classic standbys. I had gotten this 2 lb. bag of dry pinto beans a long time ago from my grandmother (from the senior center). I never thought I’d want to go through the effort of cooking with them. Surprise! Summer break! I didn’t have real chicken stock, so I did throw in a few bouillon cubes, which I’m trying to use up anyhow.

~Jessica

Palak paneer (aka saag paneer)

Adapted from Spice Cravings and Kitchen of Debjani

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ghee (ghee / coconut oil blend)
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seed
  • 1/2 inch ginger, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 cup onion (1 medium onion, chopped)
  • 1 green chili (optional: Habanero)
  • 1 tomato, diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala (thought I had it, but it was actually milder Madras curry powder)
  • 2 teaspoon coriander powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kashmiri red chilli powder (I used paprika!)
  • 12 oz. baby spinach (2 boxes of organic)
  • 1 cup water
  • 100 ml. fresh cream
  • 10 oz. paneer, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp. kasuri methi (I couldn’t find)

Directions:

  1. Heat a deep sauce pan on medium high heat.
  2. Add oil and cumin seeds (I used black mustard seeds instead). When the seeds begin to sizzle, add crushed ginger and garlic.  Add sliced onion and green chili, and sauté for a minute. Add the tomato.
  3. Add salt, spices and stir well. Then, add 3/4 cup water, stir, cover the pan and cook for about 5-7 minutes on medium heat.
  4. Open the lid and add 1/2 the baby spinach and stir to wilt, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining spinach and wilt for around 2 minutes. Sauté for another minute. Turn off the heat.
  5. Using a hand blender puree the spinach mix.  Add a little water if needed. Add 1/2 the cream.
  6. Turn the heat back on to medium, add paneer cubes and simmer for 1 min, till paneer cubes become soft. Turn off the heat. Stir in butter and the other 1/2 cream, this adds a silky smooth finish to the sauce, and gives it a gorgeous shine.
  7. Serve hot with cumin basmati rice or naan. Enjoy!

No Insta Pot here, I’m afraid. We made na’an to go with it! Baking adventures. It was an adventure finding a Pakistani store on the day before Puerto Rican Independence Day, to find frozen paneer. Also since we had less spinach, we added a couple of parboiled potatoes, so… palak aloo paneer! Coming up next: the na’an recipe.

~Jessica

Murgh makhani (Indian butter chicken)

Adapted from Little Spice Jar and Urvashi Pitre

Chicken Marinade Ingredients:

  • 1 (14-ounce) can diced tomatoes (we used tomatoes on the vine)
  • 5 or 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground paprika
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala, divided
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken (breasts or thighs)
  • 4 ounces butter, cut into cubes, or ½ cup coconut oil
  • ½ cup yogurt (original: full-fat coconut milk)
  • ¼ to ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the tandoori masala, ginger, garlic, and yogurt. Whisk until smooth, adjust seasonings to preference. Add the chicken and allow to marinate for at least 20 minutes and ideally for 12-24 hours, covered in the refrigerator. We marinated overnight.
  2. Heat the ghee (we used butter) in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until they turn translucent and start to sweat, about 5-7 minutes — don’t allow the onions to brown! Add ginger and garlic paste and let cook for 30 seconds, stirring so it doesn’t burn. Add the crushed tomatoes along with the chili powder, coriander powder, and cumin powder and continue to cook for 5 minutes, if the mixture starts bubbling rapidly, add about ¼ cup of water and continue to cook.
  3. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in the dutch oven over medium heat. Add the marinated chicken (discard any excess marinade) and cook for about 5-6 minutes, stirring as required to brown all sides.
  4. Add the butter chicken sauce to the pot and heat everything through. Once it starts to bubble, add the cream (we used whole plain yogurt) and garam masala. When the sauce regains a simmer, add the crushed fenugreek leaves (we didn’t have! Darn COVID-19 pandemic). Serve over basmati rice or with naan.

(Hindi: मुर्ग़ मक्खनी) according to Wiki. “The subtle difference between Paneer Butter Masala and Shahi paneer is that more of whole spices are used in Paneer Butter Masala whereas Shahi paneer has a sweeter taste when compared to Paneer Butter Masala.” (Wiki) Pitre’s recipe was even featured in The New Yorker! Jesse cooked this really well, and even set timers and things. We did not have an Instant Pot.

~Jessica

Falafel with tzatziki sauce

Adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook and The Mediterranean Dish

Ingredients (falafel):

  • 2 (15 ounce) cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 12 cup onion, minced
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 teaspoons cumin (can use a bit more if you like)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 dashes cayenne pepper
  • 14 cup fresh parsley, chopped and packed
  • 14 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 13 cup flour
  • oil, for pan frying (we used canola oil)

Ingredients (tzatziki):

  • 3/4 English cucumber, partially peeled (striped) and sliced
  • 3/4 tsp kosher salt, divided
  • 4 – 5 garlic cloves, peeled, finely grated or minced (you can use less if you prefer)
  • 1/2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Arlotta garlic infused Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (I used organic fat free Greek yogurt, but you can use 2% or whole milk Greek yogurt, if you like)
  • 1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients except flour in a large mixing bowl. Hulk smash.
  2. Thoroughly mix flour into the falafel batter with a spoon.
  3. Warm pita bread for serving. Sliced vegetables for serving.

Jesse got the idea for this based on the Moosewood recipe — imagine my surprise when I discovered it’s the same Moosewood as the restaurant in Ithaca, NY!

-Jessica