Monday, June 30, 2008

Golden tangy chicken with onions and tomato

OK, honest to goodness, I didn't know what to call this dish I cooked up and so the long, flowery name. On Sunday, I cooked chicken for lunch after mom asked me if I could since she was a bit busy with a few forms that needed to be filled asap. I decided to cook it the same way I cooked it while making a sandwich for my brother and myself a couple of weeks back. And so I advanced towards the kitchen :)

What you'll need:

3 chicken breasts, cut into pieces
2 onions
3-4 tomatoes
3-4 TbSp of vinegar
juice from 1 lemon
1/2-3/4 tSp of Turmeric powder
1/2 TbSp of ginger-garlic paste
A little garam masala powder (optional)
salt & pepper to taste

Except for the onions and tomatoes, mix the ingredients with the chicken and allow it to marinate for about 2-3 hours (or more). After marinating it, slice the onions and chop the tomatoes finely. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté the onions and tomatoes in a pan with a little oil until the onions become soft, and then remove from the pan. Add some oil and a little butter in the pan and heat it over medium heat. Once hot, add the marinated chicken pieces into the pan and start cooking (cover when possible). Midway, add the onion and tomato mixture and continue to cook until the chicken is done. In case you want there to be a little gravy, chop a couple of onions and tomatoes more and add to the original chopped mixture. Optionally, if you had some white wine or sherry, you can make an alcohol reduction for the chicken and serve it with that.

Before the chicken is cooked.

After the chicken is cooked.
Sprinkle a little oregano and/or thyme at the end just before serving and voilá! Bon apetit.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Millers 46

#46, Miller's Road, Bangalore. That's the address, and at that spot you'll find Miller's 46. A steak house where you certainly will not find the most annoying cretins of Bangalore - young college kids in the midst of public displays of affection (something almost synonymous with the Coffee Day outlets) or rich, spoiled school kids blowing away their pop's moolah. Millers 46 has a slightly snazzy yet informal look to it which goes perfectly with the kind of food they serve. With just 3 of us left among the guys from the original group of 5 guys and 2 girls from school, we decided to head out to Millers, which would make it the first visit there for all of us. Thanks goodness Mr. VP's brother reserved seats for us, coz otherwise we'd have had to wait for at least a couple of hours, as we later found out (yes, that's how crowded Millers gets).

Once we got in, we noticed that the place had a very Texas look and feel to it (as it was supposed to). The waiters were all dressed in a nifty uniform and were always smiling, or so I thought. Anyway, we ordered a round of mocktails (since we had to drive back home, alcohol was a no-no). While Mr. P and Mr. VP had a southern ginger, with ginger syrup and lime cordial, it was a toothless shark, consisting of lime juice, orange juice, grenadine and ice, for me. Along with the drinks, we ordered a mixed platter (since Mr. P is a vegetarian) which consisted of chicken lollipops, wings, tender fried chicken, mushroom caps (which Mr.P ate before I could take a picture), fries and a lil salad.
Everything on the platter tasted good, except maybe the tender fried chicken could have been a little spicier, given the fact that Millers 46 has a Texan look and feel and the food served is supposed to be with a Texas touch, but nevertheless, it was good.

On to the main course, and I was craving to have a good burger in a long, long time and immediately decided to start off on the Texan steak sandwich, and apart from the fact that it had a slice of Amul cheese in it (I was hoping for bubbling, hot Mozzarella or something), it was really good. I had asked for the steak to be well done and it was still juicy; definitely a must have if you're going in a group.
Mr.P, the vegetarian, teed off with a Mexican potato spud dish with beans and tomato. I'm not a big fan of eating plain potato, so took a spoon of the baked beans and mixed veggies and cheese, and it was good. A little spicy, but not overly fire-in-your-mouth spicy. I just wish there's a substitute for the potato to account for the carbohydrates, but hey, for those who don't mind potato, it's a nice dish.
Mr.VP, the poorest eater amongst the three of us, ordered a brandied cube steak on a bed of rice. The beef was marinated in brandy (duh) and was done pretty well. Well done as Mr.VP asked for, but still juicy and not dry.
Mr.P and I weren't done :) So on to round two. While Mr.P ordered a Veg a la king,
and I ordered a plate of grilled spicy pork sausages. Personally, I'd have preferred to have had the sausages with something other than a pepper sauce, but what the hell, they're trying to be Texan with everything, and since the sausages were good and so was the everything on the plate with it, no complaints.
All in all, an amazing experience. Some people may say that Millers is a little pricey, but hey, when the food is as good as it is, I really don't mind shelling out a little more.

After the meal, we thought of going to watch a movie at Sigma Mall, and in spite of having a really heavy dinner (especially Mr.P, who had a lot of potato! fries, spud, a bit in the a la king... phew), we actually sprinted a small stretch on Cunningham Rd towards the mall, only to get there and learn that all the tickets for all the movies that night were sold out. Damn! And then Mr.P said he probably was going to throw up, which wasn't very nice, coz I was afraid that would cause a domino effect: he throws up, then watching him throw Mr.VP throws up and then I follow. Luckily, that wasn't to be, and after hanging around the mall for a while, home sweet home for some snooze.

Food: Very good
$$$: Not as expensive as you'd think
Service: Decent, prompt
Verdict: Best place for steaks (and maybe burgers).

#46, Millers Road, Vasanthnagar, Bangalore. Phone: 41148022, 41131746, 41131740

Friday, June 27, 2008

A Pinxx Saturday afternoon

XX and XY. That's how the rest rooms at Pinxx are marked, and if you weren't too good at bio in school and don't know which chromosome combination is for a guy and which is for a girl, then please ask the bearers or waiters.

Going out for lunch with buddies from the famed 'last bench gang' from college is always fun, and this time was no different, in spite of it being just 3 of us. The buffet at Pinxx is indeed a pretty sight: extremely well laid out multi-cuisine food, with a variety of choices between vegetarian and non-vegetarian food (and if you're not fussy about eating non-veg, awesome!!!). We started with the soups: Chicken Manchow and Cream of Mushroom. I'm on a quest to find the perfect cream of mushroom soup, and took a bowl of it. It was good, but not the best. Moreover, I'm not sure if you're supposed to get as many bits of mushroom and what-not as I did. But don't get me wrong, it tasted very good, I just didn't think the texture was very consistent.

The salads (which I guess double up as appetizers) were ok; the two of us who ate non-veg agreed that the chicken sausage salad was the best, while the mushroom salad was probably the pick of the lot from the 'other side' (I mixed both and they are at the top of my plate). The dahi vada was good (right corner of my plate) and it wasn't soggy and stale (that can be very unpleasant). I also ventured into the main course section and added some vegetarian manchurian balls (left) which tasted good (sometimes this dish can be killed by adding too much soy sauce).

After two rounds of the above items (yes, we're a bit of the gluttonous types, so sue us), time for the main course. Let me start from the 9 o'clock position in the photograph: paneer butter masala (cottage cheese), some spicy dish (I can't recall the name), some more chicken sausage salad, fish something, mutton, chicken, Hakka noodles and vegetarian manchurian. The noodles were the usual, nothing special (it wasn't a special dish, so it was as expected), the fish was nice but the inside felt a little dry (I like the inside of cutlets to be moist or to have soaked in a little bit of the marinade). The mutton was the best among the three non-veg dishes; it was tender, juicy and not too spicy - a holy trinity if you ask me when it comes to any kind of meat. The chicken wasn't something special. It was a typical Mangalorean dish, my parents being Mangalorean, have eaten my heart's content of Mangalorean dishes. Maybe that disqualifies me from passing such a comment, but what the hell, I'm writing this, so it qualifies!

And in round two of the main course, starting from the 12 o'clock position, we have barbequed paneer, paneer butter masala, mutton biryani, and American chilly corn. The chilly corn was very good, the biryani was full of flavour and wasn't dry and the mutton in it was soft and cooked well.
Sadly, the best part of lunch at Pinxx, the desserts, will not be visually showcased here as my camera decided to go on a temporary strike and for some reason, it just didn't click and pictures of the dessert. And believe me, if anything, I would have loved to show the desserts here: strawberry cake, fig tart with mascarpone cheese (the mascarpone tasted heavenly), mango jelly, fresh fruits (mango, papaya and the sweetest watermelon I've ever had), a couple of Indian sweets, a sugar-free tart, and another pastry which I just can't seem to remember now. Phew! The desserts were truly the best part of the meal we had (as it usually is with the last bench gang). Ice creams are served upon request, although now the bearers come and ask you during dessert if you would like to have ice cream, and the credit for that goes almost entirely to me. Let me explain why. The last two times I visited Pinxx, I had filled out the comment card suggesting that ice cream ought to be part of every dessert table, and both times a lady walked up to me and told me that ice cream is served upon request, to which I replied something to the effect of not knowing that ice cream was part of the buffet and it's not fair to expect the customers to ask for what's there and what's not. I mean I would have also asked for some nice lasagna if that were the case. In any case, I guess they don't keep the ice cream out on the table with the other desserts because it could melt and become runny. In fact, when she told me the same thing the second time I visited Pinxx, I remembered that it was the same lady who told me the same thing the last time. Well, from now on, in case you visit Pinxx and at dessert time if you're asked for ice cream, the credit for that goes to moi.

Discussing about old classmates, Vishwa jokes (something only we know about) and the whereabouts of other classmates is always a wonderful feeling, and coupled with great food, it makes such meetings truly memorable.

47/1 The Central Park, Dickenson Road, Manipal Centre , Bangalore - 01.

Chicken & mushrooms

After a long time, I set about cooking again (when I say cooking, I mean a proper full fledged dish and not an omelet or Maggie 2 minute noodles). Chicken and mushrooms, the delight of every cook. You ought to never go wrong with these, and I didn't. I don't know what I call this dish, but I think I can safely call it chicken in mushroom sauce.

Mushroom sauce:

1 packet mushrooms
1 large onion
1 tomato
1 celery stem (optional)
Parsley or mint (for fragrance)
1 tbsp butter
2-3 tbsp flour
Milk & water
Salt & pepper to season

Wash a packet full of mushrooms thoroughly and chop them into two or three pieces each. Chop the onion and tomato into 8 pieces. Chop the parsley (needn't be fine) and the celery. Add the butter into a deep container and heat till butter melts. Add all the ingredients and add the mushroom in the end. Sweat them in the heat for a while until the onions and mushrooms are soft. Add some milk (about 300 ml) and continue stirring. After a few minutes, add the flour and continue to stir until the flour completely mixes with the mixture. Add some water (100 ml, depending on how thick you want the sauce, usually milk : water = 3 : 1) . Continue to stir and cook until a nice creamy texture appears. Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool. Once cooled, pour this into a mixie/blender and blend until the mixture has a nice consistency, and there are no solid bits of the mushroom or any other solid ingredient. You could also add a little cream into the mixture before blending it.


Chicken:

4 chicken breasts (boneless)
1 cup curd
1 bunch coriander leaves
1 bunch parsley/mint
1 garlic flake
1-2 green chillies
salt & pepper to season

Chop and mix the coriander, garlic, green chillies and parsley/mint. Season with salt. Add into a grinder/blender and make a fine paste of the mixture. Cut the chicken into cubes and add a little salt. Mix the paste made from the leaves with the chicken, and then add the curd and mix the chicken thoroughly. Allow to marinate for about 2.5-3 hours.

After 3 hours, add the chicken into a deep pan and start to cook. Once the chicken has cooked (after about 6 to 8 minutes, add the mushroom sauce and turn the heat to high for a few minutes. Toss in a hand full of cashew nuts after a couple of minutes, along with a few more chopped and cooked mushrooms (optional). Season with salt if required. Serve it with whatever you like to eat dishes with gravy (usually breads).

This is the mushroom sauce with chicken in it


A vegetarian version has the chicken replaced with cottage cheese and chopped mushrooms in it (pic below). If making the vegetarian version, make sure the mushrooms and cottage cheese cubes being added are already sautéed and cooked previously before adding it to the sauce.


Optionally, instead of adding the chicken into the deep pan and mixing the chicken with the mushroom sauce, you can coat the chicken in the mushroom sauce after mixing it in the curd and coriander paste and after marinating it for 3 hours, you can skewer it on a barbecue and use the mushroom sauce as a dip for the skewered chicken. Bon appetit.

A rainy weekend, a nice chicken sandwich


Saturday was a particularly overcast day and we don't quite expect the weather to be this gloomy here in Bangalore this early in June (this global warming is really screwing up the weather patterns). Indoors, I can think of only 2 interesting things to do: read, or eat, or the best combo, both. I was in the mood for a nice sandwich/sub/burger and didn't want to spend Rs.60 or Rs.70 for it, especially when I could make them for half the cost tasting 5 times better.

Off to the supermarket and I returned with some chicken, cheese and bread. I cut the chicken into long strips (1 inch wide and about 3-4 inches long) and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I then squeezed in the juice from half a lemon and followed it up with 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric (just to give it a golden colour) and kept that aside.

I hate it when restaurants add a raw slice of onion in my burger or sandwich, and so I decided to cut off a few onion rings and caramalize them (for folks who don't know what that is, it's heating the onion on a pan until it's soft and starts browning - i.e the sugar in it caramelizes). This makes the onion soft and doesn't burn your mouth when you bite into it. A few slices of tomato, and a little chopped garlic mixed with butter to apply on the bread and I was almost good to go. I sautéd the chicken on a pan with a little oil and butter until it was just cooked (didn't want to overdo it and lose the lemony flavour) and still tender and juicy. Plop it onto the bread, some cheese (I like it) and sprinkle some oregano, pick up your favourite book...bliss.


You'll have to excuse the picture quality, the camera on my phone isn't very great when the lighting is poor.