Chicken with masala sauce

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The other day I was doing some “prep cooking” – you know, preparing the stuff that could be done in advance before having a guest in town. And one of the things was this sauce.

Masala:
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 cups chopped onion
4 cloves minced garlic
1 1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1 1/2 teaspoon curry
1 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 14-ounce can of diced tomatoes
1/2 cup plain, whole-milk yogurt
Heat oil on medium, add onions and saute until lightly golden (about 20 minutes). Add garlic and all the spices. Stir for about a minute. Cool mixture until warm. While mix is cooling, mix the tomatoes and yogurt together and puree until almost smooth. Add the onion-garlic-spice mixture, and again puree until almost smooth.

At this point, the sauce can now be refrigerated for a day or two before using. (This helps develop the flavors.) I left it in the fridge for two days and used it up today. And here’s how to do it…

When ready to prepare…

You can actually use chicken or prawns here. Normally I use prawns, but the guest was not into shellfish and seafood, so I went for chicken.

I cut chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces, cooked them in a separate pan and then transferred them to the pan I prepared for the rest of the process. If using prawns, which cook faster, you can cook them in the same pan as the rest of the process.

Rest of the process:
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Prepared prawns (or cooked chicken)
Half a can coconut milk (about 7 ounces)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup green onions, chopped
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium high. Add the prawns to cook (about 2 minutes). Or add the chicken you have previously cooked. Stir in the coconut milk, cilantro, green onion, lemon juice.

Chicken + coconut milk, lemon + green onions before adding masala

Chicken + coconut milk, lemon + green onions before adding masala

 

Then add the prepared masala sauce described above. Simmer for about 3 to 5 minutes more.

Chicken masala - final product

Chicken masala – final product

Serve with rice (which I like to make with caramelized onions, but that’s just me!).

Last-minute broccoli soup – It was fun but now it’s done

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Okay so never mind it was fun. But now it’s done.

“When you told me that you loved me, I gave my heart to you, and I wondered if there could be any truth in love so new – I was lost in a fool’s paradise, good and lost in a fool’s paradise.”
-Buddy Holly – “Fool’s Paradise

Deal with the hunger and the blah and the sense of foolishness with piles of fresh broccoli!

Throw a bunch of broccoli florets in a roasting pan with some chopped red onions and a bit of olive oil. Roast for about 20 minutes at 170C. Meanwhile boil about two cups of water with one vegetable bouillon cube. Throw in some chopped garlic, a half teaspoon of ground coriander, a teaspoon of curry powder and a dash of garam masala. Let that mixture simmer until the broccoli is ready. When the broccoli is soft and roasted, throw it and the onion into the simmering pan. Let it simmer for about ten minutes.

Blend the soup until smooth and add coconut milk.

It turned out amazingly. As soup goes.

Play with the measurements to get the flavor you like.

Post-Thanksgiving food coma – Pumpkin curry soup

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Normally I make pumpkin curry soup, which is a serious fork in the road from the traditional Thanksgiving dinner road driven by my predecessors. We never had soup in my family, and if we did, it sure as hell would not have been pumpkin. My mom, the primary Thanksgiving cook, hates pumpkin, and I do not recall that my grandmother had any particular affinity for it either. When I decided to start a new tradition of making soup, I wanted something that incorporated pumpkin (one of the most important Thanksgiving ingredients in my opinion) but that was not dull or plain (as so many pumpkin soups can be). I used curry to give it its kick. Generally when I make this soup, I use coconut milk (making the soup vegan), but at Thanksgiving usually dose the soup with a generous few gulps of cream.

Pumpkin curry soup (You can use pureed butternut squash in place of pumpkin here if pumpkin is hard to find… might even be better that way. I did this year just for a change)
3 tablespoons butter or oil
1 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon curry
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
3 cups water
3 bouillon cubes (I use vegetable)
15 ounce can pumpkin (or the “meat” of a baked butternut squash)
1 cup half-and-half or cream (can replace with coconut milk if you want a non-dairy option)
Sour cream garnish

Melt butter in large saucepan over medium high. Add onion and garlic. Cook 3 to 5 minutes til tender. Stir in curry powder, coriander, cayenne. Cook 1 minute. Add water and bouillon. Bring to boil. Reduce to low, cook, stirring constantly for 15 to 20 minutes to develop flavors. Stir in pumpkin. Blend until smooth. At this point, you could cover and refrigerate the soup for a day. This develops the flavors further and of course means you can plan ahead.

When ready to finish and serve, place soup on stovetop and mix in cream (or coconut milk or half and half). Cook 5 minutes or til heated through. Garnish with sour cream if desired.