Monday, June 30, 2014

Baingan Bharta - Punjabi Style Eggplant

Even my husband, the eggplant hater, loves this! 


3 medium-sized eggplants (roughly 500gms/ 1 pound)
2 tbsps vegetable/ sunflower/ canola cooking oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 medium-sized onions chopped fine
1 tbsp garlic paste or garlic chopped very fine
1" piece of ginger grated fine
2 green chillies (optional but they give the Bharta a nice kick!)
2 large tomatoes chopped fine
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garam masala 
2 tbsps finely chopped fresh green coriander

Baingan Ka Bharta requires that the eggplant be roasted. This can be done in several different ways:
Roast on a gas cooktop by just placing the eggplant straight on the burner and keeping the flame on low setting. Keep turning and cooking till all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft. A good sign to watch for is that the eggplant seems to 'cave in' on itself!
Grill in your oven grill or on your barbecue grill. Again, keep turning periodically till all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft.
'Roast' in your oven till all the skin on the eggplant is charred and the inner flesh looks really soft.
Once the eggplant is roasted, allow to cool fully and then peel off and discard the charred skin. Once cool, coarsely mash and keep aside for later use.

Now set up a pan on medium heat and add the cooking oil. When hot, add the cumin seeds and cook till the spluttering stops.
Add the onions and fry till soft and translucent.
Add the garlic and the ginger and fry for 1 minute.
Add the tomato and all the powdered spices, including the garam masala. Stir well and cook for 3-5 minutes, stirring often to prevent the spice mix from sticking to the pan. Sprinkle a little water if needed.
Now add the eggplant and mix well. Add the chopped fresh coriander and stir. Cook another minute and turn off the heat.
Serve hot with Chapatis or Rice and your favorite Daal dish.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Chicken Tetrazinni

This is a great family meal. It's inexpensive, and you can use up your leftover chicken and pasta. It's also delicious! Quantities of chicken, pasta, etc, can vary, but you need to make sure that you have, what seems like, more than enough white sauce.  The pasta will continue to absorb the sauce, so be generous with the sauce.

5 servings

2 cups cooked, cubed chicken 
1/2 lb cooked spaghetti, chopped up

White sauce
4 tbl butter
1-2 celery stalks, chopped fine
1/4 of a large onion, chopped fine
1/2 cup carrots, sliced thinly
(1 cup sliced mushrooms)
5 tbl flour
4 cups, chicken stock (add a boullion cube if it's not flavorful enough)
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup milk or cream
1 bay leaf
1/2 tsp thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup fresh bread crumbs
1/2 cup shredded parmigiano reggiano
1/2 cup shredded gruyere ( you can substitute your favorite cheese)
Olive oil or butter to drizzle over

Preheat oven to 350

Make white sauce:  melt butter and saute veg until onion is translucent.  Add flour and cook, stirring for a minute.  Add chicken stock, stirring constantly til it comes to a boil and thickens.  (If your sauce isn't thick enough you can add a tbl of cornstarch to the wine) Add wine, milk or cream and seasonings. Bring back to the boil and turn off. (May be made ahead, covered with pastic wrap directly on sauce, and refrigerated. Reheat before proceeding.)

Add chicken and pasta to sauce and place in greased 9 x 13 casserole dish.  Top with bread crums and cheeses and drizzle with olive oil or dot with butter.  

Bake covered for 20 minutes, uncover and bake another 20 minutes or until bubbly and brown on top.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Tinga de Pollo - Chicken Tinga from Pati Jinich

I made this tonight and served it with tortillas, refried beans, salsa, and salsa verde. Jim loved it and so did I! This would be really easy if you used a rotisserie chicken or leftover roast chicken.

Salsa verde con aguacate (avocado) 
I make this with my stick blender, but you can do it by hand too.
1 avocado, smashed up
Juice from 1/2 lime
Salt and pepper to taste
3 tbl chopped cilantro or to taste
1 chopped serrano or to taste
Enough salsa verde to loosen it up to sauce consistency
Mix all together. Taste and correct seasonings, lime juice, and cilantro

Tinga de pollo
Makes about 5 cups (serves 4-6)

1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion, slivered
2 garlic cloves, chopped
8 Roma tomatoes, or 2 lbs, rinsed (you can sub canned tomatoes)
2 tomatillos, or 1/4 lb, husked and rinsed (sub green salsa)
1/2 teaspoon crumbled dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 1/2 teaspoon sea or kosher salt, or to taste
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper, or more to taste
2 tablespoons sauce from chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
1 whole chipotle chile in adobo sauce, optional
5 cups cooked shredded chicken

To Serve (quantities as desired):
Corn tostadas, or tortillas, store bought or home made
Refried beans
Shredded iceberg lettuce
Queso fresco or cotija, crumbled
Avocado slices or salsa verde con aguacate

Place tomatoes (omit if you are using canned tomatoes) and tomatillos in a medium saucepan, cover with water. Bring it to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes, or until tomatoes and tomatillos are soft, thoroughly cooked and mushy but not falling apart.

Remove tomatoes and tomatillos with a slotted spoon, and place them in the jar of a blender or food processor and process until smooth.
Heat the oil in a large and deep pan over medium heat; once it is hot but not smoking, stir in the onion and cook until soft and translucent, for about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook until the onion and garlic mixture becomes fragrant and lightly browned, about 1 minute.
Pour the tomato/tomatillo sauce on top and add the oregano, marjoram, thyme, salt, black pepper and the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (if you want more heat add an entire chipotle chile in adobo sauce). Let it simmer, stirring now and then, until it seasons and deepens to a deep red color, about 10 to 12 minutes. You may want to partially cover the pan as the sauce will want to jump out onto your burners.
Add the shredded chicken and combine it with the sauce. Let it cook, occasionally stirring, until the chicken has absorbed almost all of the juices and the mixture is moist but not juicy.
To assemble the Tostadas: Spread refried beans on a tostada, add the chicken tinga mixture, top with shredded lettuce, avocado slices, crumbled cheese and, if you want some, cream too. You may also serve with salsa verde on the side.