Sausage Jambalaya

 

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Jambalaya !! Does that name ring a bell? If it does not ,then do not worry .Just note it down as an incredibly easy to make  one pot  recipe ,that will save  your  precious energy on a weekday and rather  impress  your guests if cooked as part of a dinner party menu.Jambalaya is a French word that literally means ‘jumbled’. This is a rice dish with a great mix of strong flavor and textures.I got to taste this wonderful rice dish at a friend’s place.I was so impressed ,that soon I had to try out my own take on the recipe.Jambalaya  is a Creole dish of Spanish and French influence and is very similar to the Spanish paella.Meat  in the form of chicken or pork sausage are the common ingredients for

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the traditional  non vegetarian take on the dish,but I believe dodging out on the meaty ingredients won’t do this incredibly spicy and flavorsome dish much harm. Nutrella or tofu can be wonderful vegetarian  substitutes for this dish . The ‘holy trinity’ of this dish are bell peppers,onion and celery.Red,yellow,green and pink! I am a sucker for natural color in food.I believe if the food looks naturally beautiful,half the battle is over.I cooked and created a stock

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of the vegetables and sausage,added the raw rice and then let it cook in those flavors till done.I added the seasonings and the tomato puree towards the end ,to give it a nice sour-spicy effect,but you are free to add it while cooking the vegetables and the meat.The best part of the dish is that it’s extremely versatile,so you are free to choose and  swap your protein,chicken, prawns,sausage,tofu and so on or even customize the heat in the dish according to your taste buds.Feel free to put your own stamp!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil or sunflower oil
  • 1 onion,diced
  • 3 ribs celery,chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper,cored and diced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper,cored and diced
  • 1 green bell pepper,cored and diced
  • 1-2 green chili or jalapeno peppers,seeded and finely chopped (depending on taste)
  • 5 cloves garlic,mined
  • 2 lb pork sausage ,sliced in rounds
  • 80 gm pureed tomato
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4th teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • salt,to taste
  • 1 and 1/2 cup rice of your choice
  • 3 cups stock or warm water
  • 2 table spoon of spice mix of a teaspoon each of ground black pepper,red pepper flakes,dried oregano,cumin powder powder,coriander,dried thyme,paprika powder- all crushed and mixed together
  • a handful of parsley,finely chopped (optional)

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Method:

  • Heat 3 tablespoon oil in a large deep vessel at medium heat.
  • Add bay leaf and  minced garlic,saute for a while.
  • Add onion, bell pepper and celery.Cook stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft.
  • Add the sausage slices,combine with the vegetables by stirring .
  • When the sausage changes color to,add the rice.
  • Add the spice mix and the pureed tomato.Give it a good stirring to mix and combine all the ingredients well.
  • Add the stock or water,reduce heat to medium.Cover it , let it simmer and cook for about 20-25 minutes or until the rice is well cooked,stirring  in between to avoid sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  • Check and adjust the seasonings
  • When the extra moisture has evaporated  you can add your choice of a hot sauce if you prefer to have really spicy and hot Jambalaya.
  • Remove from heat and garnish it with chopped parsley.
  • Serve hot and enjoy!
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Murgh Reshmi Kebab / Chicken Reshmi Kebab

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Summer is here and so is the barbecue season in my part of the world.While it may be  scorching and sweltering in summer heat in some parts of the world,the British Summer is rather pleasant with average temperature of 15 degree Celsius ,with occasional bouts of rain to cool down.

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The roads are lined with summer flowers, swaying to gentle summer breeze.We are making most of the season as long as it lasts,travelling to the countryside ,the lake lands and  having barbecues at our place. Grilled meat in different form in accompaniment with salads is our absolute favorite.

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Last weekend while the weather was at it’s best,I decided to make some Chicken Reshmi Kebabs.As the name suggests,literal translation of it means silken chicken kebabs.The indirect heat from the tandoor or oven cooks the meat very slowly retaining all the moisture.

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Children can also enjoy this kebab as it is really mild in taste and very  low on spice content . The perfect balance of the marination make the tender meat even more juicy,succulent ,moist and as smooth as silk. Whoever,came up with the name ,gave it the name that it truly deserves. They are delicate morsels of yum!Indeed!Serve the kebabs with Mint -Coriander Chutney,salad  and hot naan breads for a complete meal or serve them on their own as starter to the main course.

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Ingredients 

Boneless chicken cubes  500 gm,cut into small cubes

Salt to taste

White pepper,to taste (optional)

Unsalted butter for brushing on top

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For marination..

2 tablespoon Ginger -Garlic paste

1 table spoon Lime juice

4 Green chili , finely chopped

A handful of coriander leaves and mint leaves

2 tablespoon Greek yogurt or hung curd

2 tablespoon Fresh Cream

3 tablespoon cashew nut- almond paste(10 of each approximately)

4 tablespoon Cornflour/Cornstarch

Salt to taste

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Method

  • Pat the chicken with paper towels to remove extra moisture.
  • In a bowl mix together chicken with salt and white pepper and set aside.
  • Then prepare the first marination taking together ginger garlic paste,finally chopped green chilies ,chopped coriander leaves and mint leaves,as well as lemon juice.
  • Rub the chicken thoroughly with the mixture,and let it marinate in the fridge,well covered for 2-3 hours or preferably overnight .
  • Remove the chicken from refrigerator an hour before cooking to bring it to the room temperature.
  • Soak the almonds in hot water for 10 minutes so that the skin loosen.Thereafter press each one between your thumb and index finger so that the skin splits and can be removed easily.
  • Marinate the chicken with rest of the ingredients.
  • Thread  the chicken pieces into the skewers,if using bamboo sticks as skewers make sure to immerse the sticks in water for half an hour to avoid burning.
  • Place the skewered chicken in a foil lined baking tray.
  • Brush the chicken  generously with melted unsalted  butter.
  • Preheat the oven to 180 degree Celsius in grill mode.
  • Grill  the chicken for 7-8 minutes,remove the chicken and flip over.
  • Keep checking in between, and brush with melted butter whenever necessary.
  • Grill for about 20-30 minutes or until the chicken is done.
  • Once done remove from the chicken cubes from the skewers.
  • Serve hot with Mint chutney

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Recipe for Mint Yogurt Chutney..

1/3 cup  yogurt

A handful of mint leaves and coriander leaves

A green chili,finely chopped

1 tablespoon roasted cumin powder

1 tablespoon chaat masala

1 teaspoon black salt

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon dry mango powder

 

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Method :

  • Take the yogurt in a bowl,beat it with a whisk or spoon till smooth.
  • Mix the spice powders and salt with the yogurt.
  • Grind the coriander leaves,mint leaves and green chili with little water.
  • Mix the freshly  ground green chutney with the yogurt.
  • Blend the ingredients  till they are well combined.
  • Serve the mint chutney with Chicken Reshmi Kebab or any other tandoori snack .

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Related posts :

Kaju Murgi /Cashew Chicken

One-pot Skillet Sausage Pasta

”One-pot” meals  are probably the best ever discoveries in the history of weeknight  dinners.Fast,filling with minimum washing up to do.Just a few handy ingredients,a chopping board ,a knife, a skillet and a spatula is all that you require.And  if you are just like me , and prefer minimum effort for maximum result,quick dinners on weeknights with just a skillet for washing in the sink  then this is the perfect recipe for you.

There’s something so satisfying about chucking all the ingredients into one-pot and leaving them to meld into something uber-delicious,full of flavor and yet within 400 calories!!

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We love sausages,be it chicken ,pork or a humble vegetarian version.So  sometime I put them in pasta,sometime in rice or simply fried to the accompaniment  of our favorite salad, or some rustic garlic bread. In short they are my key to quick fancy mid-week meals.In this recipe I have used the spicy smoked variety,which perfectly paired with other flavors and textures in the recipe.

The procedure of this recipe is fairly easy.Saute your favorite sausage with some garlic and onion .Then add your choice of vegetables,pasta,chicken broth(or water) and seasons.Add some cheese from the top and you are good to go!! Cooking time is less than 15 minutes!!

 

Ingredients :

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 lb smoked spicy pork sausage,sliced (or any other non vegetarian or vegetarian sausage of your choice)

1 cup diced onion

3-4 cloves of garlic,finely chopped

2 cup chicken broth( or warm water)

1  tablespoon red chili flakes

8 oz any dry pasta(  any small variety of your choice)

Salt and pepper,to taste

1/2 cup  shredded Cheddar or Mozzarella Cheese

1/2 cup green peas

1 cup ,green beans

Basil leaves,a few  for garnish

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 Instructions :

  • Add olive oil to the skillet ,over medium high heat.
  • Add onion,saute a bit and add the sliced sausages,cook until light brown.Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds.
  • Add the vegetables(peas and beans), pasta,chicken broth or warm water,seasonings,chili flakes.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil,reduce heat to low and simmer till the pasta is tender and cooked.
  • Turn off the heat and transfer to the serving dish.
  • Sprinkle cheese from the top ,put basil leaves from the top  and serve.
  • Makes about 4 servings.

 

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How To Roast Whole Chicken

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If you are part of the Bong Appetite family you know it by now, I am on an undeclared hibernation mode. Life in general keeping me little busy and bit pre occupied  with few other things which require immediate attention. But that does not mean that Bong Appetite is completely out of my mind. The Facebook page , gets it’s share of my inputs now and then. But yes, I take the blame of not being regular anymore. Hopefully this ”break term” will not be an everlasting one and I will be  back soon  with a bang and a bag full of recipes.

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Winter is here, so my kitchen is buzzing with the oven alarm  quite frequently, with roasts and casserole pots retaining the heat and warmth of the kitchen. It was just another weekend in December.  With temperature going as low as zero degree ,I decided to make our selves a whole chicken roast, that would suit the  cold weather and our palate equally well. The roast dinner, required little bit of preplanning and ground work like bringing the chicken to room temperature, cleaning and preparing it for roasting. Once done I served the chicken with roasted vegetables and a gravy sauce. The outcome was  extremely mouth watering  and aromatic with smells of fresh herbs. The result was definitely worth all the effort put together.

 

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Ingredients for the stuffing

1 onion,peeled and finely chopped

1 tbsp. fresh sage (or any other herb of your choice),finely chopped

White bread crumbs : 80gm

Sunflower oil: 1tbsp

1 egg,beaten

Salt and pepper ,to taste

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Instructions

  • Heat the wok,put the oil,sweat the onions till transluscent  but soft.
  • Add bread crumbs  to the onions,mix it and season it well.
  • Take off the flame, add the egg and combine it well.
  • Roll the mixture into stuffing balls
  • Put the balls in a pre-heated oven at 180 degree Celcius for about 30 minutes,till they change colour to golden brown.
  • Take the balls out of the oven ,let them cool down little bit before stuffing.

 

Tips and tricks for making the perfect crispy roast  chicken

  • Take the chicken out the fridge and keep it outside ,to allow it to come down to the room temperature from chilled  temperature.This will allow the chicken to be evenly cooked and roasted.
  • Remove  the giblets, clean the chicken, rinse thoroughly and pat it dry to remove all the extra moisture.
  • This chicken roast when done in micro oven convection grill mode or  OTG or  conventional oven  will give more or less the same result. However, in each case, the oven needs to be preheated  to the required temperature.
  • However, it is important to note that the cooking time in each oven varies,hence the temperature can be well adjusted  and bit altered according to the oven you are using.
  • Do not drain the juice of the chicken left in the pan, as that is rich in flavour and can be used in  making the gravy sauce.
  • One of the main secret to have a brown  top crispy skin grilled chicken is to start cooking with a dry skin chicken and end up with a dry skin chicken as well.  For this it is important to bring the chicken to room temperature from a chilled state and pat it dry completely with paper towels. This will ensure uniform cooking. It is also necessary to allow sufficient air circulation. Thus using a shallow roasting pan and rack that hold the chicken well above the edge of the pan is important.
  • I started roasting at a bit higher temperature of 220 degrees for the first 45 minutes and then went  down to 180 degrees to   allow  slow cooking. Towards the end I increased the temperature again to allow the top skin to become crispy . I also gave additional 20 minutes for the chicken to seat in the warm enclosed oven after I turned off the oven. This allowed the chicken to retain it’s crackling top by not getting suddenly enclosed to a much cooler temperature outside.
  • The cooking time will also largely depend on the size of the chicken. Larger bird will take more time to cook. It’s  important to keep a constant eye on the chicken when its nearing doneness and not leave it completely unattended.

 

 

Ingredients for the Chicken Roast

10-12 cloves of garlic

3 table spoon olive oil

1 lemon, halved

50 gm. butter

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme

2-3 shallots

salt and pepper,to taste

1 whole chicken of 1.5oo kg ,preferably organic   (rinsed  and patted dry with giblets  removed)

 

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Method

  • Preheat  the oven to 220C.
  • In a food processor ,pulse 6 garlic,1 tbsp. olive oil, salt ,pepper,lemon juice of half a lemon, until they form a coarse paste.
  • Smother  this mixture over chicken and under the  skin, covering the breast and thighs of the chicken.Place half of the paste under the skin,directly on meat of breast and thighs.
  • Spread the entire exterior  surface of the chicken with the remaining paste
  • Season the  chicken with salt and pepper.
  • Add one lemon half and rosemary or thyme sprigs to inside of chicken.
  • Stuff the chicken with the stuffing balls, shallots,remaining garlics and a small butter cube.
  • Rub the chicken well with the remaining butter  and olive oil.
  • Put the chicken in the oven in a roasting pan ,with the chicken loosely covered by a foil. This will allow the chicken to cook in its own moisture.
  • Roast with the foil cover for  about 45 minutes at 220 degree Celsius.
  • After 45 minutes, remove the foil cover and let the chicken roast thoroughly.
  • Occasionally take out the chicken and   brush the chicken  with its own juice with a silicon cooking brush .
  • Let it roast, by reducing the temperature  for another 45 minutes at 180C/320-350F/Gas 3-4 or until the chicken is thoroughly cooked  and piping hot ,with  no pink colour remaining.
  • When almost done, towards the end increase the temperature to 220 degrees .As that will   ensure a crispy brown top. However, keep an   eye on the chicken to avoid it burning.
  • The juices should run clear when the deepest part of the flesh, specially around the  thighs is pierced with a thin skewer.
  • When done, turn off the oven and let the chicken seat in the enclosed warm oven for another 20 minutes.
  • Check for doneness, remove the chicken  from the oven and then carve.
  • Serve the carved chicken with gravy sauce and  roasted vegetables of your choice.

 

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Sauce/Gravy:

2 tbsp. of chicken  juices from the roasting pan

2 shallots

2 sprigs of thyme or rosemary

juice of 1 lemon

1 cup chicken stock

2tbsp butter

 

Method

  •  Sauté shallots in olive oil till translucent.
  • Add the chicken juice from the roasting pan.
  • Add 2 sprigs of thyme or rosemary,juice of lemon.
  • Add chicken stock cubes or reserved  chicken stock.
  • Let the sauce reduce for about 5 minutes,then  stir in the butter.
  • Combine and  mix well.
  • When well incorporated, take it off the stove and serve.
  • Enjoy!!

 

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Stars are born not made and Kaju Murgi/Cashew Chicken

chicken cashew

Quite a few summers  back when life was still carefree and all dreamy with Feminist thoughts in my head  I was working on my Masters of Sociology thesis, the topic  being  an in-depth study on women’s empowerment ,the focus being  Kolkata based women performing artists  -their personal and professional life.Let’s admit we all have immense curiosity about the life of celebrities particularly actresses,to know what lies behind the aura of -camera ,light and action!I got to interview a number of actresses of by gone days and current times as well,but  a few interview touched my heart,specially the ones by noted Bengali actresses Gita Dey and Supriya Chowdhury(popularly known as Benu di ).

Gita Dey and Supriya Chowdhury from a scene in Ritwik Ghatak's Meghe Dhaka Tara

Gita Dey and Supriya Chowdhury from a scene in Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara

We have all been mesmerized by the power packed performances of Gita Dey in films like Meghe Dhaka Tara,Komol Gandhar,Teen Kanya,but really what I saw of her when I met her was bit saddening and unexpected.While I walked through the  dingy alleys of North Calcutta to reach her Manicktala house,disappointment set in.The glamorous and powerful character artist’s (as she addressed herself)  cinematic existence was rather sidelined,and roles reduced to mere guest appearances,but the aura was yet to fade.I greeted her with a pranam and a box of sweets,when I saw her.She talked for hours about

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 how she entered the film world and how she struggled through initially,baring it all,almost.Nothing perturbed her unputdownable spirit then and now,when she was struggling to make both ends meet with a schizophrenic son to look after.The interview lasted for a couple of hours.I was about to get up,rolling my interview notes carefully,when she suddenly stopped me from getting up saying

Gita Dey  from a scene in Ritwik Ghatak's Meghe Dhaka Tara

Gita Dey from another scene in Ritwik Ghatak’s Meghe Dhaka Tara

”bosho,mishti anacchee”(seat,I am getting sweets for you).Been there with her for two hours,and a look at the dilapidated state of the house I fathomed her financial condition quite well.”Dida,I will come some other day for the sweets”,I quipped.Probably she read my mind,”Sohini,I am still  not that much poor that I can’t  treat you with few sweets,specially,when you have brought me a box of  sweet”.I felt a lump in my throat,so just nodded in agreement.True ,as they said stars are born ,not made.She was one of them.

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Another actress,who impressed me was Supriya Chowdhury,also known as Supriya Debi.Supriya charmed many,and earned a huge fan following since the 1950s along with the contemporary  actress Suchitra Sen as the Bengali film leading ladies.Supriya Debi

Source: blog.buzzintown.com

Supriya Debi in Lux Soap Advertisement. Photo Source: blog.buzzintown.com

unlike Gita Dey lived a life in the fast lane,she enjoyed the status of being the real life love interest of the legendary Bengali star-actor Uttam Kumar.She was born on the Chinese border of Burma in  a place called Mytchina.She reminisced  her  childhood days-how she along with her family

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walked for a month and 23 days   to Calcutta,during the World War II .She stated  her modest life experiences made her more grounded. In-spite of her star status she enjoyed doing many of her own day to day activities ,including cooking and she enjoyed every bit of it.Much later,I came across this book written by her-”Benu di’r Rannabanna”(Benudi’s Cooking) where she shared

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anecdotes of her experiences in the film world along with  some of her much loved recipes.In her book  she tells how Bollywood actor Sanjeev Kumar revisited her all the way from Bombay(now Mumbai) just to enjoy delicacies cooked by her.One of the recipes,which she made to treat Sanjeev Kumar  was ”Kaju Chicken

Of the  recipes I tried from her book,this one is my  personal favorite.This rich and creamy Indian chicken dish  goes  well with rice or naan,and bears the potential to be a  showstopper recipe in a dinner party.

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Ingredients

  • Chicken drumsticks : 8 pieces
  • Whole black cardamom powder: 1 tablespoon
  • 3 Onions(large -medium sized), finely sliced
  • Greek Yogurt/ thick hung yogurt: 1/2 cup
  • Red chili powder: 1 tablespoon( adjust  according to taste)
  • Ginger paste : 1 tablespoon
  • Garlic paste : 1 tablespoon
  • Cashew nut ,dry roasted : 50 gm
  • Cream: 50 ml
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar to taste
  • Kewra essence, a drop(optional)
  • Oil,to cook

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  • Wash,clean,pat dry the chicken drumsticks.Rub them with salt and keep aside.Fry the chicken drumsticks  till golden brown.
  • Fry the onion slices ,till  golden brown,keep aside.
  • In a bowl mix yogurt with red chili powder,ginger-garlic paste,sugar and salt to taste.Whisk and mix properly,keep aside.
  • In the remaining oil in the wok,put 1 tablespoon of big whole cardamom powder.Put the yogurt -spice mix in the oil and stir continuously at low flame.
  • Cook till the oil separates.
  • Put the fried  chicken drumsticks and the fried onions ,ones the oil separates from the yogurt-spice mix.Cover and cook at low sim.
  • Add the roasted cashew nut paste ,once the chicken is well cooked.
  • Add cream and kewra essence(if using),and give it a good stir.
  • Put off the flame ,cover the chicken and give it a standing time of 5 minutes on the hob.
  • Serve hot with rice/naan/rumali roti.

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