Mains

Mughlai Chicken

Mughlai Chicken

156hungerlane_Mughlai Chicken

 

 In a recent office potluck, one of my colleagues had made ‘Mughlai Chicken’. It was really delicious and I was after her for the recipe for a long time. That is when she told me that she has used a very simple recipe that she found in a cookbook shared by her mom-in-law.  

It was a book called ‘The Art of Cooking’ compiled by the housewives of Kuwait. I was so fond of the recipe that I spent 45 mins in front of the printer, scanning each and every page of the book. So when my brother was in town recently, I had the perfect occasion and reason to cook Mughlai Chicken.

As I went through the book, I realized, all housewives are good at one thing – simplifying complicated recipes to simple solutiins that they can use in their daily family cooking 🙂 This was valid for each and every recipe, I found in this book.

You can’t find this book online unless you are in Kuwait. Hence, as I try different recipes from the book, I will continue to share them with you.

For now, enjoy this Mughlai Chicken with your family!

156hungerlane_chicken ingtredients

Method:

  1. Heat oil in a vessel and add bay leaf and broken cardamom.
  2. Add onion and stir fry till light brown
  3. Add ginger and garlic paste and sauté
  4. Add chicken pieces and stir fry on high flame till the water evaporates
  5. Mix yogurt with cashew paste, chilli powder, salt and garam masala.
  6. Add the curd mixture to the chicken, stir fry till the oil leaves the masala.
  7. Cover and cook till done
  8. Add cream and coriander leaves. Mix well and keep on low flame for a minute.
  9. Serve hot!

156hungerlane_kadhai chicken_recipe steps

Enjoy this quick recipe of curry in a hurry!

Cheers,

Nupur

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Categories: Indian, Mains | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Grilled Avocado Sandwich

heading

There is a sudden oversupply of avocados in the Singapore Market .  I remember having a tough time in selecting the best from the little basket of raw avocados, pay S$2 for each I picked and wait for over 3-4 days for them to naturally ripen ; Now you see big caskets of  ripened Hass variety of these butter-fruits imported directly from America and thanks to their profusion, they now cost just  S$ 2.75 for 3!!  ( Please don’t judge me!)  Singapore food market relies completely on imports, so prices are decided by the supply. ( I even remember paying S$3.6 /kg for my Indian tomatoes 😐 )

Anyway, I love avocados for its distinct texture & health benefits and now I had an encouraging reason to take them to my kitchen! 🙂 While I was happily choosing my dark spotty Alligator Pear ( that’s what they are called for obvious reasons ) , my brain was churning ideas to effectively use them. As I trotted  further, I entered supermarket’s in-house bakery section and that is when a loaf of herb Focaccia caught my eye. The sound of “Avocado & herb Focaccia Sandwich” sounded both fresh and delicious! So here it goes:

Quick Ingredients:

  • Focaccia Loaf
  • Lettuce
  • 1.5 cups of Guacamole
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • Tomatoes
  • Butter/Olive oil ( to lightly grease the bread)

Avocado Sandwich

I started by making fresh tangy guacamole dip, using the same recipe that we shared with you in our express Mexican platter.  To quickly reiterate I used pulp from 2 medium ripe avocados, one medium onion, one medium tomato, few green chilies ( instead of jalapeno peppers ) , loads of cilantro,  salt and lime to taste.

Guacamole

It takes 5 mins to mins to assemble the sandwich once the guacamole spread is ready ( which in itself is a very quick process).

Avocado Sandwich

Whether to have this sandwich grilled or just raw is completely an individual choice. I like to grill it to make this preparation more interesting. When grilled, the focaccia gets a li’l crisp and adds a new dimension to the otherwise gooey filling of guacamole, tomatoes and cheese.  I lightly brushed the bread with butter spread so it doesn’t become too dry. Olive oil can also be a healthy substitute.

Avocado Sandwich

All set to be Grilled in the oven

Just give it 5 mins in the oven. Alternately, you may choose to toss it on grill pan over a gas stove just enough to make the bread crisp.  You may serve this with extra guacamole and lemon wedge.

The freshness of ingredients is the highlight of this sandwich. Cilantro, chili and Lime add zing to this nutritious meal while cheese and avocado add to the creamy texture.  I made this sandwich for quick breakfast. Its simple, healthy and heavenly!

Avocado Grill

Replacing just a couple of  ingredients, this recipe can be made suitable for our vegan friends. Olive Oil, Vegan Bread and Vegan Cheese are the ingredients that could be incorporated.

To all our working/ bachelor/lazy  friends, who have been requesting us to share some fast and easy health recipes, this quick fix is for you! We hope you’d enjoy it.

Have a munchy weekend!

Ciao!

Team 156, Hungerlane

Categories: Breads, Breakfast, Mains | Tags: , , , , , | 6 Comments

The Quintessential Apple Pie

A rainy evening in Singapore, I sat curled up on the favorite spot of our studio – the couch by the wall sized window that paints lush green Apple Piegardens, wide skies and high-rise buildings together in a single view! (Apart from the kitchen, this is where I spend most of my time ..well, that is when I am at home! 😉 ) Coming back, it was a rainy evening,  I felt as snug as a bug in a rug lying on my couch , sipping hot coffee and watching a chick flick – “Waitress”. With a rating of  7.1 on IMDb, for all those who are interested, Waitress is a comedy drama about life and dreams of a woman who works at a pie diner.

What appealed me the most about the movie? The frames that captures interesting pies that protagonist Keri Russell bakes in her head depending on her state of mind. She even names them accordingly – “I hate my husband Pie” or “All in love Pie”! It does sound a li’l silly but subtly it did make me realize that more often than not, even the menu in my kitchen decided by my temperament . ( Does that happen you as well?)

Somewhere, somehow, while watching the movie, the image of the primmed and trimmed criss-cross pie got stuck in my head.  I started wondering that I had tasted it so many times at different places before but why didn’t I try it till now? Is it too difficult? Does it require special tools? Are the ingredients too hard to fetch? Can it be made without eggs? The questions were endless but needed to be answered!

Three days of research and googlearning later,  I realized that the ingredients and tools needed for the Apple Pie were as simple as they could be. In-fact almost everything required was available in my kitchen shelves and yes, the flaky pastry crust as required for the pie could be made without using any eggs… Whoa, I was inspired and as ready as ever! What are we waiting for?

So, here’s to my first Pie with the criss cross or lattice top and  I would like to call it ” Pie-Oh-My”!

Here is the list of  Simple Ingredients that I used:Apple Pie

Flour – 2 cups
Butter – 125 gms
Baking powder – 3/4th tsp
Apples – 3 medium (you may choose any kind or can
even mix different varieties of apples)
Spices ( Cinnamon Powder+ Nutmeg Powder) – 1 tsp
Sugar ( preferably brown and ground)-  3/4th of a cup  ( or adjust to taste)
Lemon juice – 1 tsp 
Corn Starch – 1 and 1/2 tsp
Ice Cold Water –  a little over 2 cups
 
 
 
The Process:

Frankly, from the very beginning, I could not wait to start arranging the lattice dough strips on the pie, but clearly, that wouldn’t have been possible till I completed the two main steps – To begin with, knead the pastry dough and then marinate the apples, both of which require some time and patience.

 CRUST of the PIE:

1. Cut 100 gms of butter in small cubes and put it to chill in the freezer for at-least 15 mins soaked in 2 cups ice-cold water.

2. Sift 2 cups of flour and add 2 tbsp ground sugar and 1 tsp baking powder together

3. Now , add hardened butter cubes and start cutting them through the dry flour mixture using forks . The idea is to have grainy butter pieces coated well with the flour mixture,  if it’s too hot in your kitchen and you feel that the butter getting too soft , refrigerate it for sometime and/or move to a aircon cooled room. Do whatever it takes to get a grainy dough. ( It is the coarse butter granules between in the dough that make the Pie Crust flaky!)

4. Once you reach that stage, bind the dough using ice-cold water. Put half tsp at a time. The idea is to use as little water as possible, so that the resultant dough is firm and non-smooth. ( Refer to the picture below) Try not to use too much of hands/pressure in the dough kneading process or the butter would melt due to the body heat through your palms.

“A pie dough comes together exactly like a biscuit only there is very, very little liquid and no leavening involved. Other than that, the same rules apply. My best advice: handle the dough as little as possible. “     -Alton Brown 

5. Cover the dough in cling kitchen wrap and put it to refrigerate in the freezer for about 20-25 mins ( ensuring any softened butter gets firm before the rolling process).

Pie Dough

MARINATE the APPLES:

1. Peel and de-seed the apples and cut them into thin and small bite sizes.

2. Sprinkle the cinnamon and nutmeg powder, remaining sugar and 1 tsp of lemon juice. Toss Gently and let them sit for over 15 mins.

3. Transfer the apples into a sieve resting over an empty bowl for about 30-45 mins. The bowl will collect the juice from the softened apples.

4. Mix the corn starch over the collected juice and thicken it in the microwave for about 15 secs, mix it back to the apples.

5. The  softened apple filling is ready to be poured into the pastry crust.

Apple _Marinate

 ROLL out:

The crust might get a little hard when you remove it from the refrigerator but as you start lightly kneading it, it would get easy to manage. The dough should ideally be firm and elastic ; you have to use it before the butter gets too soft and  consequently  makes the dough sticky. 

1. Divide the dough into two parts and by the time you are rolling one, keep the other back in the fridge

2. Take a clean flat surface and lightly flour it. Roll out the dough into circle of a size bigger than your pie baking mould,  this measurement makes pie of size 8″ diameter.

3. Care should be taken that the pie crust doesn’t stick/break, if it is becoming unmanageable then you can roll out the dough by placing it in between sheets of cling wraps, by doing so it can be easily transferred to the baking dish.

4.  Lightly grease the baking dish with butter and dust some flour.

5. Roll  the flattened pie on the rolling-pin and roll it out on the baking dish; Firmly press it while sticking the pastry dough neatly to the sides of the bakeware

6. Roll out the other remaining  dough from the fridge and cut it into thin stripes – approx width of 3/4 th inches

Apple Pie Hungerlane

 ARRANGING the LATTICE TOP:

Finally comes the most interesting and creative part of the whole process, the pie top arrangement. You can make pie open-faced, with a full top, or half-open like a lattice top. We used the lattice top crust as it not only looks pretty but also  provides heat insulation to the fruit and does not let them become too caramelized. For big pies , the double crust ( top and bottom) works better as it gives every piece a perfect wedge shape and the filling remains neatly sealed in.

Steps to weave your Lattice Pie:

1.   Being excited and impetuous, I took the shortest way started by arranging the strips parallely at a small distance from each other in one direction. ( Needless to say, the longest strip should cut through the center and ends of all the strips should reach till the edge of the pie crust)

2.  Next, I started arranging another set of strips, perpendicular to the previous arrangement starting from one end. The only difference was this time I put one strip  at a time and I alternately put it over and under the existing arrangement, creating a criss cross weave.

 3.  Cut the excess strip ends hanging from the sides after leaving some margin. Now tuck the strip ends neatly into the edge of the bottom crust.

4. You can now create a crimping effect on the edges by using your thumb and index fingers. If you are using a crimped pie plate, you will have to just press the edges firmly on to the crimped circumference.

Just like that you are done!

Tip! If the process above  took sometime and you feel the butter of the crust might have got softened.  Refrigerate the pie  for 10 mins before baking.

Pie_arrangement

BAKING  the PIE

1. Brush the crust with a little butter and/or milk mixture to get a brown glaze. Put it into preheated oven at 250 degrees C for over 1 hour.

2. Since I have an oven with double rod options, I let the base cook on the bottom rod for over 30 mins before putting on the top ( and consequently both) rod on. This ensures that the pie doesn’t over brown. ( If you do not have that option, you may choose to put an aluminium foil around the edge of the pie to keep it from turning too brown and remove it towards the last 15 mins. )

3.  The apple filling bubbles up and the liquid might ooze out of the pie during baking, to avoid spoiling your oven’s surface, keep a tray or a flat plate below the pie bakeware. Keep an eye on your pie, checking  in between while letting it cook slowly.

Eggless_Pie_hungerlane

Serve: Let the Pie sit for around 1-2 hours on the cooling rack, before you serve it…Believe me, it would be definitely worth the wait!

Pie_Crust

I took few shots while waiting for it to  cool down. These are few of the many.  Hope these encourage you to try one for yourself!

Pie_side

Pie_Edge

Eggless Apple Pie

Well, I hope you loved the “Pie – oh -my!”  It might be a little  long drawn and time-consuming process but it uses simple ingredients and is worth every effort you put in! Well if you don’t  trust me on this, let me give another try as I close this post and convince you by quoting a small except from a poem written by a famous American writer :

“But I, when I undress me
Each night, upon my knees
Will ask the Lord to bless me
With apple-pie and cheese!”

                                                                – Eugene Field

Let us know if have any questions relating to this recipe, &  if you do try it, please share the pics with us at 156hungerlane@gmail.com.

Cheers,

Rashi

Categories: Mains | Tags: , , , , | 19 Comments

Project Femina: Journey to a Milestone

Most of you have been asking us about how all of this really happened…Here is the full scoop to our cover story.

Well, it all started in January this year, when our dear friend, Divya Yadav (who is also the owner of a  fabulous website called “Miss Enchanted”) shared with us a tweet from Femina that read – “Food blog? or No blog? Tweet us your blog’s url / Send your recipes to thefeminawoman@gmail.com. You could feature in Femina #MyAceRecipe”. ( Thanks a lot Divya , for bringing in this opportunity)

Stage 1: Submitting our blog!

At this point, we had no clue that the editors at Femina were coming out with a crowd-sourced issue, but even an opportunity to share our blog with a brand name as big as Femina was hard-to miss. So a week later (blame it on our habit to procrastinate) , we shared a short write-up along with our story, our blog and links to few of our popular recipes with them. To be honest with you all, considering the popularity of the magazine and the number of recipes they would have received, we weren’t counting our chickens early. But we were confident that if it was a contest, our little creativity and passion as showcased through the blog, would take us at least to the top 20.

Stage 2: Great News! We are selected 🙂

Then came February, more than three weeks had passed since we wrote to the magazine and we had conveniently forgotten about it. Actually,Valentine’s day’s special menu at 156, Hungerlane kept us too occupied to follow-up . Shortly after Valentine’s day, we both reached home after our respective globe-trotting trips, checked our mail and whoa! Sitting patiently in our inbox was a congratulatory email from Femina sharing the big news! We had made it to the top 6 and had been selected to feature in Femina’s April edition! It was  already February 18th, so things needed to move quickly from there.

Femina

Brief to the Recipe Section

We signed a contract and sent 4 of our original recipes for the editors to choose from. They chose our  “Homemade Pesto Pizza with Oven Dried Tomatoes” recipe and just like that, we were on board! Next, we were scheduled to attend a meeting with the editors and fellow writers. Wow…. “Editors Meeting and all”… things had started to get exciting! Everyone selected was invited to Femina’s Mumbai office. For people like us, who were not from Mumbai, arrangement for an online hangout session was made.

We had a  hangout session on 25th February and were really excited to meet the editor and other authors of the prospective articles in the magazine. Believe us, both of us were equally happy to see each other, as we haven’t met in person since this blog has started. All recent skype sessions have always been about 156Hungerlane, but this one was different. It was  huge!

Femina

Hangout Credits in the Magazine, Img Source: Pg 192, Femina, Apr 17, 2013

Coming back,  it was in this meeting that we got to know more about the issue. It was Femina’s first crowd sourced issue through which it mobilized avid women readers from across the length and breadth of the nation, encouraging them to write for the magazine. The hangout session marked the first meet and greet platform for all those who had made it to this stage. It was a delight to be in room full of happy faces, all excited and eager for events to unfold. We were given an outline of the “made by you” issue. There were prospects of some interesting articles featuring the women of today and how they have used social media to build a career for themselves. This discussion made us look forward to reading articles written by fellow authors as well.

We were able to find the video of  the hangout session in one of interesting articles written about Made by You. The link is here!

Next few days saw quick email exchanges.  We were asked to mail our pictures to be posted along with the recipe. It was a mammoth task to select the best! ( We both had a skype session for this too :P). Our pictures were coming along with our recipe, so,we had to ensure that we looked at least as fresh as our Pizza 😛

Stage 3: The legendary Photoshoot!

As we were thinking about refining our recipe and sharing our story with the readers, we were hit with a bigger news! Femina decided to feature all the guest authors on its COVER PAGE!! Whoaaa… It took both of us some time to register what had happened and that’s not all.. we could see a photo shoot on the way as we were given photo specifications, one of them being- to  dress in white and blue.

Next couple of days were exciting for us and stressful for our husbands as they had to help us find the best white top for this photo-shoot and also be the men behind the camera ensuring that we look thin and pretty in the pictures they click! 🙂 Considering how picky women can be, this was a tough task!  (We’d like to take this moment to Thank our respective husbands for being so patient and kind towards us, here & otherwise! ;))

So, hundreds of photographs and multiple rounds of selection and rejections later, we finally picked our top 3 and sent them to the editor. Now we were most excited as we had sent all the material we could and had to patiently wait for the launch. Since everyone in our families had helped in selecting the photographs, they were thrilled too!

Stage 4: Femina is out.. On stands NOW! (You can find the recipe on pg175)

Femina

Cover Focus

So over the past few weeks, we have had some sleepless nights in anticipation and excitement of reaching out to a far wider audience.. and it finally happened ! Femina’s first ever crowd sourced issue was published and it featured our very own blog, – 156, Hungerlane.

A bigger moment was to see our photographs make it to FEMINA’s COVER PAGE! In less than a year, this is a big achievement for us and it wouldn’t have been possible without the support and encouragement we got from all of you!

Femina

Cover Page, Femina Edition Apr 17, 2013 | Image Source: Femina Facebook page

Femina

Image Source: Page 175, Femina Issue, April 17, 2013

We would like to thank our readers, our families, friends and most importantly,our spouses for supporting us, encouraging us and making us look beautiful as we stand tall on the cover page of a magazine that is loved by every  Indian woman. Here’s a big thanks to Femina!

Until next time…

Cheers,

Rashi & Nupur

Categories: Mains | 1 Comment

Express Mexican Platter

mexican_header

We are back after celebrating the colorful festival of Holi and gorging on equally colorful food menu that we have been sharing with you! Don’t we just love  these festivals, they push us out of our mundane routine while bringing around so much euphoria and enthusiasm.  This time the celebrations were elongated by the long Easter weekend that followed.. Believe me, I have been thinking of sharing this blog post since the Good Friday but lazy mornings followed by eventful evenings have been keeping me away from doing so!  Anyway, finally we are here and to compensate for our absence , we are excited to introduce a whole new dimension to our widespread blog menu – The Tex- Mex Express! The inclination to try Mexican cuisine came when our close friends and fellow bloggers- Neha and Mridul shared with us the recipe to the Guacamole Dip on their blog. While their blog post was enough to plant the idea of trying Mexican cuisine in my head, the recent visit to two interesting Mexican restaurants in Singapore – Cha Cha Cha and Viva Mexico just pushed me further into  trying the extended Tex-Mex platter at home!

Tex-Mex is often used to describe a localized version of Mexican cuisine ( and even uses ingredients that are not generally used in traditional Mexican preparation). So, today, we will share with you the recipe for “quick” Tex-Mex platter using simple, easy to find ingredients!  The items on platter require minimum cooking and use of very little oil…. Hope this makes this post all the more exciting for you! 🙂

So, this is what our platter looks like:

Mex Platter

We tried three famous dips that generally accompany the Mexican mains :
1. Guacamole ( that uses Avocado as the main ingredient)
2. Chunky Salsa ( Fresh dip made of tomato chunks!)
3. Sour Cream 
 
Apart from this we tried the vegetable Quesadillas and baked Nacho Chips!
 
The Dips:
 

1. Guacamole

Guacamole is made by mashing ripe avocados and adding few condiments that make it more interesting. Avocados become smooth and creamy when mashed and are often used to replace butter in vegan preparations!. They have very mild yet unique taste, and therefore care should be taken that condiments added do not overpower its distinct flavor.

Guacamole

Directions:

– Take ripe Avocados (one with dark firm shell but they should yield to pressure when pressed hard), deseed them, scoop out the avocado pulp into a bowl and mash it using a fork. Note- Keep the seed aside and do not throw it away, 😕 we will shortly* tell you why.

– For one Avocado, add 3 tbsp spring onions/ red onions,  1 tbsp minced jalapenos, loads of chopped coriander, half a  lime and kosher salt to taste.  You may use green pepper sauce/tobasco if you do not find jalapenos, also the kosher salt may be replaced by rock salt.

– Some people add tomatoes to the Guacamole, but we are not too happy about the idea, the water from the tomatoes doesn’t quite mix that well with rich, creamy avocado texture! You may chose to top the Guacamole with fresh tomatoes just before serving instead.. its  completely your choice! 🙂

Mix everything well and fold in all the ingredients.  [ Handy Tip-  The Guacamole tends to oxidize and turn brown within sometime. To prevent this, ensure that you scrape off the greenest portion next to the peel, add lime juice right in the beginning and insert the avocado *seed in the guacamole until you are ready to serve it. It is said that the avocado seed prevents the guacamole from turning brown]Guacamole

2. Chunky Salsa

Salsa is Spanish term for “Sauce” and is also a famous Mexican dip. Tomatoes are the main ingredients for Mexican salsa preparation. Nowdays, the prepacked salsa jars are easily available at almost all general stores with variations in the amount of spice/heat. While the prepacked salsa have a thick paste consistency, what we tried was a lot chunkier.. almost like a Salsa Salad!

Salsa Dip

For our Chunky Salsa we need:

Medium Firm Tomatoes – 2
Small Onion-1
Capsicum – 1/3 rd
Jalapenos/Green Chilies- to taste 
Coriander Leaves – one small bunch
Fresh Mint Leaves- handful
Oregano- 1 tsp
Minced Garlic – 1 clove
Big Lime – 1  
Cumin Powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt – to taste
Sugar- if required
 

Directions:

Chop all the ingredients, you don’t have to cut them too fine or the Chunk of our Chunky Salsa would get lost 😉

It is advised to de-seed the jalapenos and green chilies before you mince them , we do not prefer the seeds for two reasons –  they would make it difficult for us to control the heat of the salsa and since they are  thick-difficult-to-chew, they  do not really do justice to this otherwise fresh tender salsa!

Toss all the ingredients well in a large bowl , you may adjust the flavors especially of salt, lime and heat as per your taste. Sometimes, the tomatoes are too sour which we do not really prefer, we add some sugar to balance the sourness of the tomatoes in such case. It’s completely up to you to how you want your salsa – with sugar or without!

Cover the bowl with a cling wrap, and let it refrigerate for at least 30-40 mins.. why? A. Because you would love this dip chilled! B. The salt and lime together make all the ingredients to release their flavors and come together for this lip smacking concoction! The freshness of mint, coriander and oregano gives kick to the palette in every bite! This fresh, raw salsa can be a great accompaniment to endless dishes.. Try it today!

3. Sour Cream

Sour cream is a cream that has been naturally soured by lactic-acid bacteria. It tastes just like it sounds, creamy yet sour. It’s both delicious and fattening at the same time. Sour Cream makes a great accompaniment to fried potato snacks like wedges, Rosti, baked hash etc.  It even goes wonderfully well with Mexican preparations like tortilla chips, enchiladas, burritos. Sour Cream should ideally be added to any preparation after it has been cooked, so sour cream retains its natural creamy texture!

Directions:

Mix half cup of hung plain yogurt (drain all water by hanging in cheesecloth) with half cup of heavy cream [ ideally it should be 3 tablespoons of yogurt for a cup of cream, but I find half-half a little more healthy ;), you may use any proportion according to your preference].  I am sometimes tempted to use it as it is, right after it has been mixed but ideally, you should let it stand (out in the heat) in a glass container for at least 6-8 hours and then refrigerate.  The bacteria from the curd would sour the cream and the fermentation process would make it heavy. Check the appearance. We are looking for white cream and a creamy, smooth consistency with a characteristic tangy smell.

I learnt this half-half process to make sour cream at home from my sister. This method is not just quick and delicious but also less fattening than the sour cream prepared by other means. Make it in advance and store it in a clean container ( for upto 2-3  days) in fridge for quick use.

Baked Nachos

Baked Nachos

Baked Nachos are as fat-free and  simple as they sound. To make these healthy and express Chips at home, just get any ready-made tortilla wraps. You can use the flavored wraps for a little twist in your chips.

I used the Spinach Tortilla wraps to make  these chips more “healthy”.

Directions:

Cut the Tortilla wraps into desired shapes.

Grease the baking tray with little olive oil and spread the tortilla chips on them properly.

Sprinkle little cumin, cayenne pepper and red chili powder and let them bake till they are golden brown. Caution –  In some cases, it’s better to sprinkle the spices after baking to prevent them from turning brown.  You may take a call accordingly.

Just like that you baked yourself these express and healthy Nacho chips that will go deliciously well with the dips mentioned above!

Express Quesadillas

Quesadillas

Quesadillas, as a dish originated in Mexico. The name is derived from combination of  tortilla and the Spanish word for cheese queso. It is made by folding tortillas after   filling  them with any kind of stuffing and cheese.

Directions:

I used the spinach tortillas again for this recipe ( one pack had 8, and I intelligently used all of ’em).

You can really experiment with what filling you wish to make. I used shredded mozzarella cheese along with vegetable filling (made from tomatoes, spinach,capsicum and onions and seasoned with cumin powder, chili powder and tobasco!) I cooked the filling on a hot skillet with very little olive oil to remove the rawness of the ingredients.

Once the filling is ready, sprinkle little olive oil on a flat non stick griddle, put cheese and filling mixture on one-half of the tortilla wrap, fold it and cook on a slow flame from both sides. The cheese would melt and bind the filling inside the wraps well , making it easier for us to gorge on these crisp, cheesy quesadillas! Cut the quesadillas to make them easier to hold. Serve hot and the cheese shall melt right in your mouth! 😀

Quesadillas

If not the entire, I really hope , we at-least got you are tempted to try few of the express tex-mex preparations we shared with you today. Do let us know how did they come out , share back with us through comments below, our Facebook page or even on our mail 156hungerlane@gmail.com

Recently, we have been really looking forward to something exciting that might just happen for Hungerlane ! We can’t wait to share it with you and shall do it you as soon as we receive a confirmation. 🙂

Till then, keep cooking , sharing and of course, gorging on that good-looking delicious food!

Cheers!

Rashi

 
Categories: Breads, Mains | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Holi Special – Palak Paneer with Beetroot Paranthas ( Homemade Cottage Cheese in Spinach Gravy served with Beetroot Bread)

So this new year, I decided to make a resolution to eat healthy and the first thing that came to mind was to add more greens in our diet and what could be more green that spinach, right ? 🙂  It is also the most difficult thing to feed kids and adults alike, my husband being one of them!.

So, I decided to make something Indian where spinach is cooked down and is not in its leafy form – the evergreen, Palak Paneer and to give it a twist of taste and make it more healthy, I served it with Beetroot Paranthas.

This leafy green is an excellent source of vitamin K, vitamin A, magnesium, folate, manganese, iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin B2, potassium, vitamin B6 and dietary fiber… phew!! This recipe is a very popular dish in North India and one that has many variations to it. This one however, is the greenest, healthiest and tastiest of them all… Read on and you will know why.. Here is what you will need.

156hungerlane_palak paneer_ingredients

Palak Paneeer!

Greener!

  • Start by blanching the spinach leaves. In order to blanch them, boil some water in a deep dish and add the spinach leaves. Leave them to boil for 2-3 minutes. Immediately remove them from the heat and drain the water. Refresh the leaves immediately in cold water. This was help you retain their green color. Grind the spinach along with the green chlles  in a blender to form a puree.

156hungerlane_greener

Healthier!

  • Take 2 tbsp oil in a pan. Add cumin seeds and wait till they crackle. Now add all the chopped garlic and sliced onion. This makes this dish really healthy. Garlic promotes the well-being of the heart and immune systems with antioxidant properties and helps maintain healthy blood circulation. One of garlic’s most potent health benefits includes the ability to enhance the body’s immune cell activity.

Tastier!

  • Once the garlic and onions turn lightly brown, add the spices – turmeric, coriander, ginger powder, salt to taste. Saute for another minute, lower the flame and add the curd. If you have ROCK SALT, add that along with the regular salt. It gives great flavour to the dish. Now add the spinach puree and cook for a few minutes. Add the cottage cheese cut in small cubes and serve hot!

156hungerlane_Tastier

You can also add a dash of cream to your spinach gravy to make it rich. Since this was the healthier version, I refrained from adding any!

156hungerlane_Palak Paneer

Beetroot Paranthas!

156hungerlane_Beetroot Paranthas

Note: While making the dough for the Beetroot paranthas, the amount of flour required per beetroot can vary with the size of the beetroot you are using. Adjust the amount of flour accordingly. You don’t necessarily need to follow my measurements, just follow the ingredients 🙂

Try this recipe this holi and treat your guests to a colorful meal 🙂

Enjoy!

Nupur

Categories: Mains | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Restaurant Review : Arz Lebanon

This valentines, my husband treated me with a trip to Dubai for a reunion with our common friends. 4 days of Fun, Friends and Food…. Good times… 🙂

After a long day of work & travel, when we finally reached Dubai, we were really looking forward to a great first meal.  Our friends staying in Dubai – Gautam and Udita suggested this as the first place we should try for authentic Lebanese food – ‘Arz Lebonon’.

Arz Lebonon_156hungerlane

The Restaurant!

We were all really excited looking at the menu with all its unfamiliar dishes. Gautam and Udi ordered us a banquet that covered pretty much the best of Lebanese cuisine and some of Arz Lebanon’s most popular dishes. While the starters came, I took some time to go around the restaurant. It was lunch time and the restaurant was full with people from different nationalities enjoying a great family meal. The restaurant offers 2 seating options – inside the restaurant or open air seating outside. We preferred outside as we had landed in a good weather season 🙂 The restaurant is ideally located, right off the main road, close to the beach and offers parking space right outside the restaurant.

The Menu!

The Menu was interesting and long with something to offer for everyone – those of us who wanted to try some authentic Lebanese food and also for those of us who didn’t want to step out of our comfort zones and order a club sandwich or a spaghetti bolognese. The best part about the menu was that there were plenty of vegetarian options for our vegan friends.

The Food!

We started with Tabbouleh, Fattoush and Hummus served with Pita bread. How fun are these names! Our excitement rose as the salads hit our table and we dived straight in. Toubbouleh looked like our basic kuchumber salad with a refreshing dressing of olive oil, lime and some Lebanese herbs. It tasted great with pita bread. I was personally more interested in Fattoush with its pomegranate molasses and sumac spice mix and boy was I happy to try it! The sweet and sour dressing was just perfect. The hummus to my surprise was quite different and slightly on the tangier end. But hummus is hummus. You cannot not like it :). What I did however not like so much were the soups. We had ordered for a noodle soup and chicken soup and there were just ok.. I wouldn’t recommend the soups if you are in to try something exotic.

We also ordered for some fresh juices to complement a bright sunny afternoon. The juices were natural and refreshing, especially the lime juice with mint that you see in the picture. It was heavenly.

arz lebanon_starter_156hungerlane

As if this was not enough, we ordered for a second round of starters comprising of Falafalsgrilled chicken and lamb skewers and my utmost favorite Zaatar Manakeesh or Thyme Pizzettas. Manakeesh is kind of a Lebonese pizza with a topping of dried thyme, toasted sessemme seeds and sumac powder.  I would highly recommend it, maybe because I love everything that is remotely Italian 🙂

Anyways, bunch of exotic stuff later, my friends wanted to try something familiar, so we ordered a vegetarian pizza, steak in mushroom sauce and chicken biryani… Italian,  American and Indian in a Lebanese restaurant. What a great example of globalization! Going by the quality of food served before, we were sure that it would be equally good and so it was.

We were too full for desserts so skipped that bit. There was plenty on offer though. They have a separate dessert counter with yummy looking cup cakes, cheesecakes, chocolates to choose from and it’s quick popular too. Would recommend some space in the tummy left for this course of the meal 🙂

Lebanese_156hungerlane

The Service:

Unlike the food, the service was a bit slow which could be attributed to the packed up restaurant. However, the gentleman in charge of our table apologized humbly and ensured that we get the food we had ordered as quickly as possible.

Final Rating:

All in all – here is my final rating:

Location and Seating: 8 | Menu: 8 | Food: 8 | Service: 7 = Aggregate score of 7.75

Top Favorites : Fatoosh, Manakeesh and Lime juice with mint

Do share your views of the restaurant if you have been there or ever go there. Let us know if you ordered anything else that you would highly recommend.

Here is where you can find Arz Lebanon:

Ground Floor, Delphine Building, Marina Promenade, Dubai Marina, DubaiLandmark: Behind Jumeirah Beach Residence Zip Code: 22399
City of Dubai
Phone: +971 4 4221994

Cheers,

Nupur

Categories: Mains, Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Restaurant Review: Chilli Fagara, Hong Kong

Hello Fellow Foodies, hope delicious  festive food is keeping you contended and warm in this winter season.  We too have been travelling and gorging on sumptuous delicacies from around the world. On a recent trip to Hong Kong,  we had lunch at Chilli Fagara– a Szechuan place that had been repeatedly recommended to us by friends and family members as if it was another tourist destination! When so many unrelated people vouch for the same place, you should definitely not miss it. Being an avid foodie, I had instantly added it to my HK places -to-visit- and eat list!

Why the name Chilli Fagara?

chilli fagara

Fagara , as the restaurant points out is a kind of  Szechwan pepper that is so hot that it not just burns but causes numbness.  The menu is broadly constituted into three culinary levels of  heat-  TangMa, and La .

Tang is the mildest and in their dictionary a neutral level spice which is just enough to set things off!
Ma represents burning and is next in line to put your tongue on fire..
La is numbing ,  it numbs your senses while bringing tears in your eyes and making your nose leak! 😛

Getting There:

Chilli Fagara is perfectly located in the SoHo (South of Hollywood Road) district of Hong Kong on the Graham Street.  The Graham Street extends from Queens Road , cuts through the Hollywood Road and ends on the Staunton Street. Chilli Fagara is towards the Staunton Street end of the Graham Street slope. As we walked up to the Graham street we crossed Hong Kong’s oldest continuously operating street market. The street is narrow but it does have stalls on either sides that sells fresh food like seafood, vegetables, meats.  As we “climbed” up, we did question the possibility of any restaurant on that street but soon we crossed an exotic patisserie, which was good enough to get hopes back! The street names were properly marked and that helped us in finding the place. We had to literally run to be able to get to the place before it shut down post lunch hours.(Timings: Open everyday from 11:30 am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 11pm). We called up in advance so they accommodated us even after 2:30 pm and let us place our last order by 3pm.

Getting there_Hungerlane

Hong Kong , being high density , tight squeeze city has relatively smaller units. It had been tough for us to find addresses in Hong Kong since the units have very small entrances that make it easier for you to skip numbers! But, this place had glaring hot orange-colored flame designs on its entrance ( aptly encapsulating the theme of Chilli Fagara) that can not easily go unnoticed. So, we were there… Finally!

hungelane_address

The Ambiance

As soon as we entered this place, we were a little taken aback by its size,  it appeared too small and cramped for a ‘Michelin star restaurant’.  We were lucky that the place was nearly empty (only 5 other people other than us) otherwise I am sure it could get a lot louder and chaotic. The ambiance was dim-lit, cozy and was done up with dark wooden furniture.   The bamboo sticks on the ceiling just added to it oriental feel while the chilies and peppers hanging from the walls endorsed the name and the theme of the place. The moment we were seated,  the red napkins were laid out on the table along with chopsticks and dark ceramic bowls.

chillifarg_ambience_hungerlane

The Menu 

Thanks to our Indian faces, as soon as we got comfortable, we were asked if we were vegetarians! We were pleasantly surprised to know that there was a separate green menu for vegetarians. The prices were higher than usual with every dish costing over 130 HKD ( INR 1000 approx) and soups within 70-100 HKD (INR 500-750). We were also reminded that we just have limited time to order (considering we reached a li’l after 2:30pm :(). We initially ordered for Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup!  We were satisfied by the quantity since we ordered 1X2 portion. The soup bowls came with cute wooden soup spoons that made every sip and  nibble truly Chinese. 

hotnsour_hungerlane_chillifagara

The soup was hot and delicious, but it was only after the few sips that we felt its real heat (spice). Soon, we required those red paper napkins, to wipe our flowing noses. Both , me and Ashim took pleasures in noticing each other’s reactions while enjoying every sip! The after taste was nothing but a burning sensation on our palette, something we were craving for months. The soup was thick and filling.  Next, we ordered a Veg Sichuan Rice. The quantity was a little disappointing for the price.

Rice_hungerlane_chillifagara

Needless to say, that the rice was spicy. It had chunks of red chilies that hits your palette in every bite. Soon, we had to request for water because we had our tongues on FIRE!  The experience was truly HOT AND SPICY, something that we both really needed not only because we both relish overtly Spicy Oriental food but also this is something we do not really get to enjoy in Singapore. We were even told that gloves are provided with the food , eaten by hands so that the spice does not directly come in contact with skin. Being part of our first Anniversary trip, this experience came just at the right time!  If you are  ready to shelve HKD 500-600 (INR 4000) for a meal for two ( without drinks), we would recommend this place to all the foodies who love spicy food and otherwise. Make sure you take out time to visit this place whenever you are in Hong Kong next! Visit: http://www.chillifagara.com/ for details on non-veg food.

There are many websites that vouch for this place. We could capture the picture of just a few of the many endorsements they had.

certificates_hungerlane

Hope this post tantalized your oriental loving taste buds. If not immediately fly to Hong Kong, it at least made you book a table at the local oriental diner or order a spicy bento box. From our end, we would soon try to assuage your hot and spicy appetite with the spicy Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup ( recipe to follow soon)!

 Till then,

Keep yourself warm and binge on good food!

Take Care

Rashi

Categories: Entree, Lifestyle, Mains, Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Thai Curry

With Nupur’s last post, we ticked off the beginning of festivities! At 156 hunger lane ,we hope to be a part of your celebrations in the journey towards welcoming 2013! We are always thinking, discussing and experimenting with recipes that could be an interesting addition to your festive menu.  Be it Diwali or Christmas, card parties or cozy dinners, we want to be involved, be right there for you!

The picture of Pea and Pesto soup reminded me of Thai Green Curry and I wondered why I didn’t share the recipe here till now.  I have tried and tested to work around the original recipe, using authentic ingredients (one positive of being so close to Thailand) as well as their easily available substitutes. I can finally vouch for this vegetarian recipe. It uses no fish sauce and no chicken broth but still comes very close to the vegetarian Thai Curry that I have eaten at my favorite restaurants –  Malaka Spice at  Pune  , Thai High @ Qutub  and  mamagoto at New Delhi.  Authentically, being a non-vegetarian curry, not many vegetarian standards are available to compare. Therefore, there is no right or wrong to this recipe. Use your own judgement and taste, to adjust the amount of spice and sweetness; I am sure you would enjoy it!

 In our kitchen, Thai Curry is cooked at least twice a month, with hubby dearest drooling over its freshness.

The Paste

First Step is to make the paste. Red or Green- the choice is all yours since most of the ingredients are same (and hence, the taste to some extent). Here’s what all we need:

Lemon Grass

Lemon Grass stalks are easily available even in Indian hypermarkets now. You can even look for frozen lemon grass ( its called hari chai ki patti – refer picture). Look for stalks that are fragrant, tightly formed, and have lemony-green color near the bulb. It has lots of layers with a coarse paper-like outer texture, keep peeling it till you reach a softer layer. Cut and remove the thick  bulb near the roots and pound the long green stalk with a heavy object , this helps in releasing the flavor. Chop the stalk into small pieces as by doing this it would be easily able to grind it.

Galangal

Galangal is also called as Siamese Ginger. It is harder than the normal young ginger and therefore, more difficult to cut. It has a unique flavor of its own and is essential in the authentic recipe.  I have tried and used both the options  in my cooking. Considering the ease of availability, I feel ginger will also do the trick. Chop thumb size of whatever you get into thin shreds to help in the grinding process.

Chili

One of the key ingredients and that should be used as per your taste. For red curry paste, the dried kashmiri chilies help in giving the bright red color while for green curry paste, the coriander leaves do the needful. If you want to use more chilies for the color and still wish to reduce the spice , you can de-seed the chilies. Degi Mirch or Kashmiri chili powder is a mild spice that gives more color than spice and is hence recommended. Soak the chilis in warm water so they give a pasty texture on grinding.

 The chilies specially the thai red padi’s I have used here can be very hot! Please wear gloves before you try to split them open for the de-seeding process. I have had experiences when the chili leaves a burning sensation on the skin. But this time,  I almost had my hands on fire! The sensation does not go for hours, at times. Take thorough precautions but if you still end up getting the burning sensation, scrub the affected areawith salt and water. Rub in milk or coconut oil for the balming effect. 

Kaffir Lime and Thai Basil

Lime leaves  and Thai Basil are both dark green aromatic leaves. They both help in providing a distinguishing aroma to the paste. In Singapore, both Kaffir Lime and Thai Basil are easily available at supermarkets and vegetable markets. These might be a little difficult to find in countries other than those in South East Asia.  While Thai Basil can be skipped, Kaffir Lime could be substituted by the lemon peel/rind. Please ensure that you do not peel the rind too deep –  try avoiding peeling the white skin inside or it could be bitter. Peel of half a lime should be enough to substitute the leaves.

Chop and grind all the ingredients  in the smallest jar of your food processor till you get a fine paste ( add water if required).  It is as simple as that.

Storage:    

Make in advance and store it. Once my Paste is ground, you can store it in an air tight container and freeze it up to 6 weeks.  The uncooked paste does not spoil if kept in the freezer. Whenever you wish to make thai curry again, it takes just 15 mins to thaw the paste and your Thai curry could be ready in a jiffy.

The Curry

Once the Thai curry paste is ready, making the curry is as simple as it can get. Here’s what you need to do:

The amount of curry used in proportion to the Coconut Milk is completely up to your taste and liking. We generally follow the mentioned ratio. You may add vegetables of your choice. Just parboil the vegetables, it would taste better if its crunchier. If you are adding bell peppers , add them raw. They would be perfectly tender when you leave them to simmer in the curry for 10 mins , as indicated in the recipe.

 

Once you have added the vegetables, just let it cook for 10 mins &  your piping hot (literally) curry is ready to serve!

Thai Curry

Serve it hot with Sticky rice or any fragrant rice. ( I have specially bought  aromatic Thai Rice for this cuisine :)).

Be it Red or Green, enjoy the curry HOT and savor the spicy sweet taste!

For those who wanted yellow curry or massaman curry, we still need to try its vegetarian recipes! Stay tuned on this page for more surprises that come your way!

Keep cooking, eating and sharing!

Laew Phop Kan Mai Na Ka!! ( See you again in Thai :P)

Rashi

Categories: Mains, Sauces | Tags: , | 4 Comments

Falafel with Hummus

Every new post on 156, Hungerlane has a story behind it that helps us create and conceptualize of what we talk about here. New cuisines or dishes that we tried somewhere. Some we liked a lot, some a little (Foodies really can’t dislike food :)), some enough to inspire us and try it for ourselves. Tried, over and over again until we felt ready for it to be  posted here! So with this recipe, we wish to give our Italian menu a break…  Introducing a middle eastern platter, often quoted as Lebanese platter served in multi-cuisine restaurants- Falafel with Hummus served with warm Pita bread. We are also including the recipe for Green Tahini sauce that we really loved and couldn’t help sharing!

Seriously, I don’t remember where did I first have Hummus with Pita or Falafel! If  I really rack my brains, earliest I can recall having it in the weekend brunch menu at “Not Just Jazz by the Bay, Pune “,  six years back!  They used to serve Hummus Dip with Lavash ( kinda crisp pita bread). Since then, I have been having it at many places – generally as a part of Lebanese or Mezze Platter.  My friend, (now a better friend & husband) Ashim, used to gorge on hummus and often bought a fresh hummus jar from Defence Bakery along with Lavash!

Post wedding, hubby dearest’s love for the dip and the sudden discovery of fresh pita pockets at a local bakery here in Singapore gave me the motivation to try my very own version of Lebanese platter!

I have tried this recipe many times and now feel ready to share on Hungerlane! So here is a step by step recipe!

FALAFEL

The beans need to be soaked for over 6-8 hours and drained. They are added in the food processor just like this to get a coarse mixture for crackling falafel balls.

Falafels should be fried only when they are about to be served. The hot, crispy falafels with cold salad in pita pockets is a combination worth dying for! But what about the dips and sauces?

As promised, here are two dips that would accompany falafels in our lebanese platter- Hummus and Green Tahini!

DIPS and SAUCES

Note, Hummus uses boiled chickpeas instead of just soaked. Make sure you give the soaked chickpeas 8-9 whistles so they are soft to give us a puree consistency for Hummus. Sesame seeds are an important ingredient that makes both the dips creamy and adds a little oil of its own. Cumin seeds are best used little roasted; fresh and juicy lemon works the best! Here’s how we should proceed:

ASSEMBLING into a PLATTER

Get Pita pockets from your local bakery, its a round bread like a pizza base but once its cut in between it opens up into a pocket. If you cannot find Pita pockets,  go for wraps. Falafel in wraps also taste just as delicious. You can even opt to serve just Falafels as an entree with hummus and salad. Its a good variation to the Hara Bhara kababs we have in Indian Starter menu.

You may choose to go with the salad of your choice:  Fresh Cubed Cucumbers, Cherry Tomatoes, Thin long sliced- Lettuce, Broccoli pockets (steamed) , Cabbage.. be creative! Some people even love to  add boiled red beans and boiled chickpeas.

Once you have decided on your salad and have it along with you, here’s all that you need to do:

1. Warm Pita pockets in microwave for 30 secs or you can bake it a little in your oven (care, they should not get crisp!) 

2. Cut them into half, open a pocket and spread generous amount of hummus spread.

3. Fill it with salad and 2-3 fresh fried falafel ( or as much it can take or you want it to take :))

4. Top it with green Tahini sauce, and serve it in a platter. You may wrap the pita pockets in soft tissues to make it easy to pick up. 

5. Make sure you serve extra Hummus and Tahini.  You never have enough of them. I create a depression in my hummus blob, fill it with olive oil and sprinkle chilli powder, I even serve a slice of fresh lime for the ones who like it more tangy.

Make sure the pita bread is fresh and so is the salad. If kept for too long, this dish can be a little dry on the palette. You can opt to be a little generous with the olive oil ( drizzle it on Pita too, if need be).  Serve it Hot and Fresh.

We hope you would try and love this recipe. It’s something that does not expect you to be standing in front of the gas stove for long! Boiling chickpeas for Hummus and frying falafel are only two activities that would make you turn on the flame! We hope you try this recipe and put your food processor into good use.It even helps us take a break from the monotonous menu!

Restaurant we like:

There are many restaurants that serve Falafel as a part of their menu. But here in Singapore , we found a place in the plush bay level of The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands. The restaurant touts of good health and rightly so, does complete justice to its name.

PITA PAN- Pocket full of Health

It not only enjoys exclusivity of being only place serving  just middle eastern menu in Singapore but also a vegetarian place to top that! ( something  that’s not too common on this part of the world). Needless to say, we are a regular there.  I can’t stop myself from bragging about this place  but I guess this post is becoming too long !  So would save the review for later, till then we might try the whole menu! Still, giving you  a sneak peak of the place , clicked on one of our visits from mobile. You don’t want to miss it on your next visit to Singapore.

We will come with more on this place and may be recipes of other dishes they serve like Shakshuka sometime soon! 🙂

Till then, we hope you  keep cooking and sharing!

Burp!!

Rashi 

Categories: Breads, Entree, Mains, Restaurant Reviews, Sauces | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

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