Showing posts with label main course. Show all posts
Showing posts with label main course. Show all posts

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chicken and Chorizo Paella


Spain is an amazing country to visit. Beautiful weather, spicy food and lovely people. I went there couple of years ago and you can read about it here and here but for now let me tell you about the food I miss most from Spain. We went to Valencia first and I guess its not possible to go there and not have paella. I loved it then and I still love it. I have tried paella in other places as well but it was nothing like having it in a small village in Valencia. The other thing I miss is the chorizo. However now a days you do get chorizo and Iberico ham in the supermarkets but the selection I saw in a market place in Valencia is incredible.

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There is so much you can do with the endless types of ham and chorizo you will find in the market place. I made some tapas with the salami wrapped in grilled courgette and pan fried thinly sliced chorizo with bread fried in same oil or olive oil.


I never attempt to make paella at home until recently I got a paella pan and a spice mix specially made for paella. I never imagined that making Paella will be this easy. One thing to remember is the rice to stock ratio should be 1 to 3. No need to cover the pan while the rice is cooking.Try it, its delicious.



Paella rice : 1 cup

Boiling water 3 cups

Paella spice mix 1/2 sachet (Use chicken stock if you don’t get this)

Pinch of Saffron

Chicken thighs 6

Chorizo sausages 2

Chopped onion 1 medium size

Handful of frozen peas

Salt to taste



Start with placing the paella pan on medium heat and slicing the chorizo to roughly 1 cm disks. I prefer to take the skin off the sausages but its up to you. I didn't add any oil to the pan as the chorizo will release enough flavoured oil, which will be enough to cook the rest of the dish. So when you see the chorizo pieces are releasing oil and slightly browned then add the chicken pieces to it and coat them well in the oil. Keep an eye on the heat so that it doesn't burn the meat but at the same time it gets browned. Add the onion and continue to fry. Cook for 15- 20 minutes or until the chicken is at least half cooked.


*The cooking time will vary if you use small pieces of chicken or chicken breast.


Wash and dry the paella rice and make the stock with the spice mix and the 3 cups of paella spice mix or the chicken stock. Add the saffron in to the water as well.  When the chicken is almost half cooked add the rice and the peas and give the whole thing a good mix. Fry the rice for a minute and then add the stock in to the pan. Make sure all the elements in the pan is almost covered by the stock. Now cook it on high flame for 7-8 minutes then simmer the heat and cook it for further 10-12 minutes until all the stock is completely absorbed by the rice.


One quick test is to take a fork and check the centre of the pan if there are no liquid left on the bottom of the pan then the dish is ready. Check for seasoning and the serve hot. You can decorate with  lemon wedges but I didn’t have any at home. So I went without it. It was delicious. Try it and you will know what I am talking about.


Thursday, June 28, 2012

A simple Bengali meal


We got some haddock the other day and from past experience I think the best way of cooking haddock is making fish cakes, if you are not deep frying it for fish and chips. I do love deep fried food but the rest of my family detests it. So I tried making it healthy. I made these hot and spicy bite size fish cakes, which is served with rice, “dal sedho” (boiled red lentils) and “bati posto” (spicy white poppy seed paste).



For dal sedho (boiled red lentils) all you need to do is wash and boil red lentils in salted water for 20-25 minutes or until fully cooked. You need to add in enough water so they don’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Once the lentils are cooked, in a separate pan make the “tarka”. Heat 2-3 tbsp of mustard oil (or you can use any cooking oil if you cant get hold of it!), whole red chilli broken into 2/3 pieces and 1 tsp of whole cumin seeds. Fry for a minute or two or until you get the chilli, crispy almost burnt, remove from fire and pour over the boiled dal. Check for seasoning and serve it with hot boiled rice. You can also add some roughly chopped red onions.


Posto is a typical Bengali dish. In-fact Bengalis can be divided in to two groups on this. Ones who love any preparation of posto and the others who secretly like having it but would love to tease the other group who openly loves posto.



Ideally “bati-posto” is done in a pressure cooker, but I tried making it on hob. For this you need 100 gm or so poppy seeds (you can find these seeds in the Indian shop near spices section). Dry grind them in a coffee grinder. Add water to it and make it a smooth paste. Keep it loose. Now add and mix some finely chopped green chillies, red onions, salt and 2-3 tbsp of mustard oil to it and then start cooking it on the hob. Stir continuously so that it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan. When the water from the posto is almost gone, take it off the hob and serve with rice.



This fish cakes are very spicy and you can have them just like that or with main meals. For this I boiled the 2 fillets of haddock in water for 10-15 minutes and boiled 2 medium sized potatoes separately till they are fully cooked. Mash the fish and potatoes together (make sure there are no fish bones left in the mash). Add red chilli powder, cumin powder, coriander powder and aamchur powder, ginger-garlic paste, 1 tsp each.  Next add salt, fresh chopped coriander, green chillies, pea nuts, all as per your taste. Mix every thing together and then make small cakes out of the mixture. Cover them well with breadcrumbs and shallow fry them in oil. Serve with rice.



Sunday, June 3, 2012

3/30 Photo a day- On your plate


This is my favourite prompt of the lot. Although FatMumSlim has given the option of interpreting the meaning literally or it could be your to-do list. I decided to go with the literal meaning due to obvious reasons. I have seen many pasta clicks like this before and always wanted to take one. Never happened until recently. The dish is meat-ball spaghetti in tomato sauce and one of my favourites too.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Hot Chilli Pasta–Easy Meals


Hello everyone!

Coming back to blogging after a long time. I was so busy during last couple of months that blogging had taken a back seat in my to-do list. I am not free yet and not sure I will ever going to be but I hope to get a little bit of time for blogging in future and be more regular here. For those of who don't know, we have been blessed with a baby boy last month. Since then he is been and will remain the centre of our world for the years to come. It’s an amazing experience. I hardly get time now a days because of obvious reasons. 


This is something I made when I used to be alone and didn't want to spend a lot of time in kitchen for a decent looking plate of food. Now I am making it because I have very limited time. either way this works for me all the time.



Handful of pasta I choose Spaghetti but you can have any thing you like

Enough boiling water to cook the pasta


4 tbsp Oilive oil (or more if you like)

2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)

1 whole fresh chilli finely chopped (preferably red)

1-2 tsp of dried flaked red chilli

Handful of freshly chopped parsley

2 tbsp lightly toasted pine nuts

1 tbsp of lime juice

Handful of grated cheese (optional)



Cook the pasta in salted boiling water as per the instruction on the packet. Once the pasta is cooked drain the cooking water and set the cooked pasta aside. While the pasta was getting cooked, in a separate pan dry roast the pine nuts and keep it separately. Heat the olive oil in the same pan and add the dried flaked red chilli in to it. Fry for a minute or less and then add the fresh chilli and garlic in to the chilli flavoured oil and cook for a minute. Add salt, lime juice and the chopped parsley to the pan and mix well. Now add the cooked pasta in to the pan and mix the whole thing together. Serve hot with some cheese on top and your choice of wine or any other drink you prefer.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Payesh and Bengali Misty Pulao


Bengalis are known for their sweet obsession, especially people from West Bengal. Apparently we are accused of adding sugar to every dish that we cook. I am sure that’s not true but I think for most dishes salt and sugar balances the taste of the dish rather than using only salt. Rice is an integral part of many cuisines but in India, it has meaning more than just food. We use rice grain in pujas, festivals, wedding or any auspicious occasion rituals . The list is countless. Hence its only obvious we will have countless cooked rice dishes as well.


We recently had a small celebration at home and my mother prepared the two rice dishes that I love the  most. For special occasion like this and special rice dishes which are so close to my heart I use the best rice I trust and that is Tilda Pure Basmati Rice.  The first one is the Bengali Misty Pulao and the other one is Payesh (Rice pudding). The first one we have at the beginning of our meal and the second one we have at the end of the meal.

Bengali Misty Pulao:



2 cups of Tilda Basmati rice washed, drained and dried

1 Bay leave

3-4 cloves

3-4 green cardamom

1 2” cinnamon stick

2-3 tbsp Ghee

few raisins and cashew nuts


2 tbsp suger

1/2 cup of peas, finely chopped carrots and capsicum (you can use frozen mixed veg, that reduces a lot of effort)

4 cups of boiling water



Heat the ghee in a  deep bottomed pan (you need a pan with a lid) and fry the cashew nuts and raisins in it first. Once they are lightly golden brown, remove them from the pan and add the whole spices for frying. About a minute later you start to get the aroma of the spices and ghee, add the rice into the pan and continue to fry. Keep the heat in medium and stir so that nothing gets burnt. In a separate pan fry the vegs with little salt. When the rice begins to change the colour add the fried vegs, raisins and cashew nuts and mix well. Now add the water. Add exactly double the amount of rice you use, no less no more. give it a good stir and the salt and sugar into it. Now cover the pan with a lid, keep the heat in medium and let it cook for next 10 minutes without any disturbance. If you are using a glass lid you will be able to see the rice absorbing all the moisture and becoming fluffy. Turn off the heat and let it rest for 2-3 minutes, then use a fork to lightly stir the rice to make it even fluffier. Bengali misty pulao is ready to serve. You can serve it with any meat or veg dish or even just like that.




1/2 cup of Tilda Pure Basmati Rice (Washed and drained)

Boiling water

1 litter full fat milk

200 ml of double cream

200 gms of sugar or if you can get some date jaggery than that will be great

Handful of cashew nuts and raisins


1 bay leave

2-3 green cardamom



Boil the milk in a pan with the bay leave and the green cardamoms over medium heat. Be careful that the milk should not spill out or get burnt at the bottom. To prevent this keep stirring the milk time to time. Melt and mix the ghee into the washed rice and when the milk begins to boil add the rice into it slowly. Keep stirring. Add the sugar/jaggery into the milk an rice mixture and keep cooking over medium to low heat. After about 6-7 minutes you will notice the milk has reduced and the rice is almost cooked, now add the double cream and check for the sweetness of the payesh. If required add more sugar. Now add the raisins and the cashew nuts and continue to cook with stirring occasionally. Cook for another 5 minutes or till the rice is done and then take it off the heat and let it rest. Serve it hot or cold, I personally prefer cold.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Gourmet Pizza – Domino’s Pizza Review


Another delicious treat from Domino’s. If you are a pizza lover you have got to try Domino’s Gourmet Pizza. If you are not a pizza lover, then also I would suggest to give it a try as this might change your opinion. There are three options to choose from. Firenzi (Pepperoni), Florentine (Veg) and Rustica (chicken). Check out there full range of delicious pizzas here.


We recently tried the large Firenzi Pizza, thin and crispy base with Pepperoni and double Jalepeno peppers topping (ummm..spicy and hot). You can choose reduced fat cheese but we went for the default, deliciously fresh Mozzarella cheese. The sauce base they used is also very special, made with sundried tomatoes and garlic. Absolutely delicious.


One large pizza was more than enough for two of us. In fact we couldn’t finish it in one go and had to take some rest before we attacked it again. The pepperoni was little spicy too and along with the Jalepeno peppers, it was haven. Thank you Domino’s for another delicious hot and spicy pizza.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sweet Pasta for Kids – Garofalo’s Pasta


I know pasta usually are made as savoury dish but when it comes to kids you need to think differently. Kids loves sweets especially colourful sweet in different funny shapes. They also love chocolates. So when I found out about Garofalo’s Pasta Competition, I thought of doing a different pasta preparation than usual savoury or meat pasta. Hence I decided to do a sweet pasta. I asked for samples and when I received them from Garofalo, it made me smile. The shapes of the pasta were so cute that any child would have lots of fun eating this pasta. They are in shape of little stars, moons, dolls and cars. So very adorable.


The pack said boiling the pasta for 12 minutes in water would be sufficient but I had different plans. I wasn’t going to boil in water instead I boiled in milk. I know from personal experience that for some kids it’s difficult to make them drink milk. So this will be a good way to feed them milk. But I had to make the pasta look attractive as well as taste good so here is what I did.



100 gm Garofalo’s Kids Pasta

250ml full fat milk

4 tbsp honey (you can adjust the sweetness according to your kid’s taste)

Handful of chopped mixed nuts

Handful of Pistachio lightly crushed

Handful of dried golden raisins soaked in water 

Handful of chocolate chips

2-3 tsp of multicoloured sugar sprinkles (optional)



In a deep bottom pan heat the milk and bring it to boiling point then add the honey to it and give it a mix. Now add the pasta and let it cook for 12-14 minutes on low heat to prevent milk from overflowing. Keep stirring as you don’t want your milk to be burnt or the pasta to be stuck at the bottom of the pan. Towards the end add the soaked raisins and the chopped nuts and give it a stir cook it for 1-2 minutes more when you see the milk has thicken and the dish has got a creamy texture along with the pasta cooked, take it off the heat and let it cool down. Place it in the fridge for some time then pour the pasta in your kid’s  favourite bowl and add the rest on the ingredients on top of it.


Serve cold. You can serve this as an evening snacks or like a small meal or dessert. I bet kids will love this.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It’s Pizza time –Domino’s

I am a huge pizza lover. A big one! Not only because it tastes great but it saves me from cooking dinner on weekdays (sometimes on weekends too!). It is an ideal meal for lazy cook like me and on top of that when it is from Domino’s then I don’t need to say how good the pizza will taste. So when Domino’s offered me to review their Stuffed Crust Pizza I was very excited and was looking forward to it.DSCP_657

On our way back from office we went straight to the Domino’s  shop and ordered a large, half and half pizza with one half filled with Hot and Spicy and the other half was Tandoori Hot. Couldn’t wait for long! The waiting time was around 10-12 minutes and I saw how they make it from the scratch! In the kitchen she took a fresh piece of dough and started making the pizza base with corn meal. I was amazed to see that she didn’t use any rolling pin to make the base instead she made a perfectly even base just by pressing and circling the raw dough on the surface.


Next she placed a ring of fresh mozzarella cheese circling around the base and turned the edges to cover the cheese to make it stuffed crust. Rest was simple, she topped the base with Domino’s own tomato sauce and rest of the topping with generous helping of fresh mozzarella cheese on top and placed it in the oven.DSCP_663 

You need lot of patience to bring that piping hot freshly made pizza home and photograph it before having a bite. For that I probably deserve another such pizza! But anyway I did all that and then finally when I had the first bite into it, It felt great!


The pizza was very soft with a melt-in-the-mouth texture. The tandoori chicken pieces were well cooked and added the perfect spiciness to the melted cheese and the soft pizza base. All of us agreed that it was a perfect pizza we had in long time. If you want to treat yourself with pizza at any time or just having a party with friends then this is a very good thing to order. They do some awesome meal deals, just go here to find out more about it and enjoy them to the fullest. 

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sorshe Ilish (Hilsha Fish in Mustard Sauce)

Hilsha or as we call it “Ilish Maach” is a hot favourite of most Bengalis. We love fish and among all types of fishes Hilsha is the king in taste. No matter what you make with Ilish maach, its going to taste great! Back home you can get this fish fresh from the market but here in UK we get it in Indian shops, frozen and at least 8-10 months old. I am happy with that. Something is better than nothing. At least I get to eat it once in a while.


Sorshe Ilish is also called Ilish maach er jhal and one of my favourites. Ideally yellow mustard seeds are used to make the paste but I think they are bit difficult to find here. So I used black mustard seeds. The biggest problem with the black mustard paste was a bitter after taste I used to end up with each time I cook it. I have tried different techniques to get rid of the bitter taste but never been that successful. Finally I switched to English mustard which is a great shortcut for me and easily available in the supermarkets.


This is a very easy to make recipe if you have all the ingredients handy. Also, if you don’t have Hilsha you can use Herring which tastes similar to Hilsha. 



800 gm Hilsha (cut in to pieces)

2 tbsp of English mustard paste

2 tbsp of white poppy seed paste (We call it posto in Bengali)

1 tsp of nigella seeds

1tsp of turmeric powder

1 tsp red chilly powder

3-4 fresh green chillies

3-4 tbsp Mustard oil




Clean the fish and lightly rub them with little turmeric and salt and keep it separately. In a bowl make a mix of the english mustard, poppy seed paste, turmeric, chilly powder and salt. In a frying pan heat the mustard oil and shallow fry the fish pieces. Remove the pieces from the pan and add the nigella seeds and the green chillies in the remaining oil, fry for a minute then add the mustard-poppy paste to the hot oil. mix it well then add the fish pieces and cover them in the sauce. Cover the pan and cook it for 1-2 minutes and then remove from the heat. Serve with plain boiled rice.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Courgette Paratha

I have this really weird habit of picking up things that I really don't need while shopping. I know it’s a common complaint many men have against their wives, but I think I do it more often than I realize. Especially when I am doing grocery. I end up buying things and then keep thinking what shall I do with them. That is exactly what happened when I last went to the supermarket. I bought 1 kg of Courgettes (2 packets, around 6 of them). Then I forgot about them. I rediscovered them back in my refrigerator three days after I bought them. They were buried under the tomatoes, the green beans, the mushrooms, the green chillies, the coriander etc. etc. Well, now you know how my veg. basket looks like :)


Anyway, when I rescued the courgettes underneath all these vegs, I started to worry that what do I do with them. These are similar to a veg we get in India called “Lauki” in Hindi and “Lau” in Bengali. The typical dish that we make with these are with prawns called “Lau-Chigri” which we had recently. I looked in the internet and guess what I found a recipe in BBC Good Food called “Indian Bread with courgettes and coriander”!! That was unusual!! I didn’t expect that at all!! So I thought of giving it a try and an hour later, there I was serving courgette paratha for dinner. As usual I didn’t follow the recipe word by word and started adding different things and made my own version of it. I must tell you it’s quite difficult to handle the dough when you are using fresh raw veg as it releases lot of water and  becomes a nightmare to get the right dough consistency but the finished product was good. I loved it. Hope you like it too. 



3 Courgettes / 500gms  (pealed and grated using the coarsest side of the greater)

1 tsp cumin seeds (dry roasted and made into dust)

1 tsp red chilli powder

1 tsp garam masala powder

200 gm of plain flour and some extra for rolling the paratha

200 gm of roasted chick peas flour (we call it “Chatu” in Bengali) (you may find this in Indian store or replace with whole meal flour)

3 tbsp rice flour

2 tsp grated root ginger

3 tsp of green chilli paste (optional, I added because I like it)

Oil for frying



Mix all the dry ingredients in a big mixing bowl and then add 2/3 tbsp of oil in the flour mix. Give it a good mix then add rest of the wet ingredients in to it and start kneading. You will not need any water to knead as the grated courgette will release a lot of water. I found this step bit difficult as the dough is very sticky at this point. I put few drops of oil in my palms while kneading the dough, which helps to make the dough not sticking to hand. Continue kneading till you have a smooth dough. Make a log out of the dough and cut it into 12-14 equal portions. One by one take each portions and roll the in your palm to make small flat balls. Dip them in dry flour and set them aside. Dust the rolling plane with flour and start rolling each of the balls to thin parathas. Heat a heavy bottom frying pan and place one paratha and cook until you see little brown spot on the side facing down. Turn it over and cook till you see the brown spots again. Pour a teaspoon full of oil on and around the paratha and cook for 1 minute on both sides or until they are fully cooked. Serve them with your choice of veg or meat curry.


I made simple potato with onion, tomato and cumin slowly cooked on low heat.