Tag Archives: #Burp&Belch

They called it Whiskey Chicken

Fresh from a victorious BBQ at a close friend’s house-warming party, I am feeling rather chuffed at how wonderful the BBQ marination has turned out to be. In hind-sight, that statement is rather far from modesty. But allow me that excitement since my experiment went off really well.

There were 2 of us responsible for all the marination and menu for the BBQ Grill Party. Need to add in that the other friend is a brilliant cook who can cook up a dream. The 2 of us were responsible for the palettes of 6.

Sharing the recipe of the nicely drunk chicken chunks in this mildly tempered marinade:

1/2 cup orange juice

1/2 cup soy sauce

3 cloves of garlic; finely chopped

2 large pegs of whiskey

Mix all of them together. I had 2 whole chicken that I de-boned and dunked in the 1 inch cubes in it overnight.

Skewer the pieces on well soaked wooden skewers or replace them with metal ones.

Put them on the grill for about 5-6 minutes; depending on how well you are stoking the heat.

Eat! Close your eyes! Eat some more! Repeat!

Tip: strain out the garlic pieces and reduce the marinade with a handsome dollop of honey and use as a glaze to serve with the meat.

I do not have a single photo since we were too busy stoking the fire, balancing the skewers and handling drinks! Cheers!

Advertisements

Hint Of Salt

I think I had my first cheesecake on my honeymoon. As far back as I can go in time, I think that was when I sunk my teeth into the softest cheesecake possible. Yes, it was then. I had just married my girlfriend and we were honeymoon-ing in Malaysia. This restaurant was on Bukit Bintang in Kuala Lumpur that served award-winning cheesecakes. I do not remember the name and Google didn’t throw up anything that could ring a bell.

Pic courtesy: http://coombs.info/baking/2010/03/recipe/new-york-style-cheesecake-gluten-free/
Pic courtesy: http://coombs.info/baking/2010/03/recipe/new-york-style-cheesecake-gluten-free/

I didn’t care much for cheesecakes. My wife, however, was quite the enthusiast. As I manoeuvred my knife into the cloud-soft marble cheesecake, I was completely unprepared for the experience  that would erupt in my mouth. Soft, creamy, like a welcome wintry duck-feather quilt, rich, satin-smooth, like clouds, the even sweetness spreading like a sheet of rain, crumbly biscuit bed adding the crunch and then – no, it cannot be – a hint of salt!!!

My exterior was calm. I didn’t want my wife to think that I didn’t know they used a hint of salt in cheesecake. I felt like a late-bloomer. I was thinking of all the moments in life where I might have given that impression. As my tongue swirled like honey dripping from a honey-sceptre, I couldn’t get over the fact that there was salt in a sweet dish!

We ‘umm’-ed and coo-ed. Said good things about the cheesecake. The missus decided to ask for another one with a different flavour. I thought it opportune to mention the salt. And so, like somebody who knew cheesecake from history, I mentioned the salt.

Wife with incredulity, “You didn’t know?”

Me, sheepishly, “No, no, I did, just mentioning how beautifully it has been incorporated.” (I suck at lying!)

Wife just smiled.

I didn’t ask her why she smiled. I don’t want to. Keeps the magic in the marriage alive!

Grilled Za’atar Chicken on Sweet Spud Mash

So, before I forget the password to my food blog, I decide to post the last 2 memorable meals that I rustled up. This one is “Zaatar Grilled Chicken on a bed of Sweet Potato Mash”.

Ever since I have started grilling, I realise that the meats remain the constant. The variable (read accompaniments) need to be varied timely to keep any recipe alive. This is just my rusted a-mathematical brain trying to postulate a theorem. If you want to skip this bit (and not know me) then scroll down to the recipe directly.

Grilled Zaatar Chicken on Sweet Spuds
Grilled Zaatar Chicken on Sweet Spuds

For the grilled chicken:

1 breast of chicken

2 teaspoons of za’atar

Salt to taste

Pepper to your liking

Olive oil to cover both sides of the chicken

 

For the mashed potatoes:

2 medium-sized sweet potato

1 small regular potato

100 ml of single cream

1/2 teaspoon oregano

1 knob of butter

Salt and pepper

Peel the potatoes and set them to boil. I usually cut them up into quarters to ensure even and quicker cooking. While the spuds are bubbling away, prepare the chicken.

Zaatar robed chicken breast
Za’atar robed chicken breast

Beat it lightly with a mallet to get it to even thickness. Then apply salt and pepper to both sides. Then add about 1 to 2 teaspoons of fresh za’atar to one side. Add a small drizzle of olive oil and let the chicken rest.

Check on the potatoes. They should almost be done. Run a knife to see if they are softening up. Once they do, drain the water, transfer the spuds to a bowl and start mashing them up. Throw in a knob of butter and a hint of oregano. Mash them further. Use all the force you think you have when you watch The Dark Knight wrestling Bane. Add in the cream and mix it all together. Add salt and pepper. And now for the dreaded part of checking on your cooking prowess – taste a bit of the mash. Good? Great! Leave it for the time being.

Get your skillet out and have it nice and hot and carefully place in your chicken. Grill both sides. You’d notice that the za’atar side darkens up. Do not fume. It is only crusting up and becoming more flavourful.

Crunchy Grilled Zaatar Chicken
Crunchy Grilled Za’atar Chicken

Once done, rest the chicken. Slice them up and serve on a generous bed of creamy mashed sweet spuds.

What I loved most is how the za’atar revealed all its flavours while on the grill. You will love the prominent sesame crunch to the grilled chicken.

Enjoy!

On my #Burp&Belch meter, I’d give it 3 and 1/2 burps (out of 5)!

Pasta Disasta!

Pastas are a favourite at home, so much so that my almost 2 year-old loves to squish them! This recipe that I am about to share is a disaster averted, or maybe so I think. At the outset, I invite severe criticism and genteel suggestions from chefs, epicures and foodies alike.

Favourite Pasta-time
Favourite Pasta-time

I picked up a bottle of tomato-basil pesto. And so dinner was buck wheat pasta with sautéed mushrooms and bell peppers in tomato – basil pesto.

I set to my task at hand. Wear apron. Put on some music. Didn’t have wine at home, so had to make-do with some juice. And then, put some salted water to boil. In another pan, heated some olive oil, added some crushed garlic and started  sautéing some white mushrooms. Just as they started softening up, tossed in the diced bell peppers and gave it a good stir.

Put in the buck wheat pasta into the boiling water. Buck wheat pasta cooks faster than durum wheat pasta. So keep a check on how long you boil. It usually gets done in about 7 minutes. Drain. Cool off in ice water.

Meanwhile, the mushrooms were getting along well with the bell peppers and were ready to be downed in the pesto sauce. I opened the bottle and realised (my folly) that the bottle I picked up was not tomato-basil pesto but tomato garlic relish. It was too late to react to my shopping-shelf folly! And so I whooped the contents into the pan and gave it a nice stir. Topped on some seasoning of salt and pepper and a dash of oregano and tried to bring it all together. Then I added the pasta to the pot and tossed it all together so most of the pasta got coated.

I plated my dreaded pasta dinner, placed some green olives and heaped up a generous shaving of parmesan cheese.

My wife is perhaps the most non-fussy eater on earth. She tucked into her plate of dinner like a boarding student takes to home food. When I asked her how it tasted, she said it was just about ok.

I wiped the sweat of my brow. Took a big forkful in. Had it not been for the mushrooms and bell peppers, it would have been the biggest pasta disaster.

On my #Burp&Belch meter, I’d give 2 burps to it (out of 5)!

Of Burps and Belches

A lot has been philosophised on burping and belching. Some have postulated on why it is better than their nether cousin. In fact, I noticed a cultural connection about this natural phenomenon in the movie Ben Hur when Ben-Hur had to burp to show courtesy to his host.

In the far East, in China and Japan, it is considered table manners to burp to show how excellent the food was. Not sure if this is what is done in fine dine restaurants there.

Such is the case in a few European and sub-Saharan countries, as well. Burping is a sign of satisfaction. You had your food, and you loved it as well.

In India, burping is as natural as monsoons. You may burp before or after your meal and nobody would really care. Unless your burp sounds like the creaking of an un-oiled iron gate, you are welcome to belch all you want.

There was another aspect to burping when I first held my little one and had to pat him to get him to burp. As a first-time father, I didn’t know what a ‘baby burp’ sounded like, so I did take help from the nurse at hand. Gosh, and the sound that came from my little one tickled me no end. I would wait for him to finish feeding so I could help him burp!

While burping is considered to be courtesy in many places, it is also taken to be a sign of uncivilised, uncouth mannerism. To burp and not to excuse yourself is perhaps a greater sin! In a very strange way, it is considered unfitting of a woman to show her sign of satisfaction!

Whatever (and however) you enjoy your burp, truth is that a burp is a reminder of your last meal. Make it count! 🙂

#Burp&Belch

……………………………………………………

Hones-TEA-ly Speaking

Tea as it should be!

I am probably writing this out of frustration that has built over the years.

So, let me come straight to the point. Tea and milk are not the best of friends, so be careful while mixing them. If you ask me, they shouldn’t be mixed at all. I will not hark you back to 2007 BBC report about why black tea is better at combating cancer as opposed to tea with milk. Neither will I explain in detail about scientists who feel that tea helps weight loss but the effects gets cancelled if you add milk.

All I am trying to say is that, let us all understand the process of tea making so that we know when to add the milk. Please DO NOT dunk in a tea bag in a cup full of warm milk. You will get a cup of tea stains. Am sure, you would not want to sit through the best part of your evening dipping your tea bag in milky solution, in the faintest hope that one day, it will turn to tea, the way you want it.

Tea is delicate. It needs to be infused well. When you throw in tea leaves or slip in a tea bag, watch how the rich trail of orange and brown tea slowly emanates and starts to colour. Good. Let that flow. See that? Happiness!

So what happens when milk is poured into this? Or let us ask, why doesn’t tea infuse well with milk? The answer lies in the fact that milk is thicker than water. So, the consistency or liquor (or brew, if you please) is not achieved however long you dip, dunk, squeeze, pray, cajole or brow-beat your tea. This amounts to tea-abuse.

I come from the nation of milk-tea drinkers. Add to that a milk-tea colonial history as well. But pardon me as I beg to consume my tea, my way. As opposed to the colourless, tasteless rainwater that is served as tea, I prefer my tea well-brewed, without milk, with a hint of sugar. Thank you.

Chicken a-la TheCalmDev

I have never really blogged about the food I make. I never aimed for having a food blog. I usually try to replicate my mom’s recipes, since she is a superlative cook or I look up stuff on the net and add a dash of me as the recipe progresses on the burner. But since today I made something totally unscripted and by the grace of the gourmet god, it turned out pretty awesome did I decide (read dare) to publish it in my blog.

Chicken a la CalmDev

First of all, I did not have tomatoes at home. No puree either. Too lazy to go out to the grocery to get some, I decided to make chicken without any tomatoes. Here goes:

Chunk up the chicken breasts and marinate them in some fresh curd, with salt and pepper. I prefer the chicken chunks to be bite sized and not bigger.

Chop up 2 medium size onions.

Blanch some almonds. Chop them up roughly.

Use an entire bunch of coriander. Get them all finely chopped. Ah, love the smell of fresh coriander!

Take 3 pods of garlic and finely chop them. Take about an inch of ginger and do the same that you did with the garlic. Keep aside.

Now in a pan, heat up some oil; about 3 tablespoons. I usually work on eye-estimation. Throw in about 4-5 cloves. Remember to take off the heads. When the oil is infused with the cloves, put in a bay leaf. No panic, if you don’t have any at home. Then just do so without it. Throw in a small teaspoon of cummin seeds and see them spluttering. Add in 2 dried red chillies. Let the garlic and ginger say hello. Add in the chopped onions and allow it to introduce itself. Sweat them in the pan. I prefer the onions a little brownish pink, so keep stirring in and use your eyes. Add the almonds. Mix it well. Once done, and you will know that from the wonderful aroma, it is time for the masalas. One teaspoon of fenugreek powder and a half of cumin powder, if you don’t have the seeds. Do not add turmeric. One thing that I do not like about Indian food is the use of turmeric in just about everything. In about a minute, slide in the coriander. Let everything say hello to all else in the pan. And then add in the chicken and the marinade as well. Coat the chicken with the onion bed. Give it about a minute or so. Mix in some water; enough to cover the chicken, just about. A pinch of salt. Remember, you used salt while marinating the chicken, so go easy. Cover your pot and let it slow cook for 30 minutes.

Take off heat. Check gravy consistency. Check chicken if ready.

Spoon over some rice or pulao!

Bon appetit!