Wednesday, 11 January 2017

Weekly Food Chart

I need some structure, which comes with planning, in my life. In the absence of which, I run like a headless chicken and start and end my day with a grumpy mood.

I love cooking (well you would guess so because I have a food blog) but I hate the stress of everyday planning, grocery shopping, cutting, chopping and myriad other tasks it brings along with it. To bring a bit of structure and to do away with a bit of unnecessary stress, I have now started planning my weekly meals.

I spent quite some time getting to the first one but all the background work now pays off week over week. The first food chart may look like a lot of work because you have so many things to consider but once you are past the hurdle of THE FIRST ONE, you are almost sorted. All you would need is to change or rotate dishes usually made in your house or from among the thousand pins you may have saved while endlessly browsing through recipes online on Pineterest and various such sites.


I get jitters these days at the thought of searching for recipes because there is so much information and options that it not only spoils you for choice but also makes you confused, stressed and teary eyed. I have never been able to come out of the vicious cycle of searching/browsing through recipes online because one invariably drifts looking at various food photos and colorful videos. Food has become entertainment of sorts and a thing to kill time!

Ironical because in spite of the information overload I am still super stressed on a daily basis for meal ideas and what to cook. And it's not just me, I hear this all the time from friends and family.
So coming back to the food chart, I feel it makes your life a bit easier, a bit less stressful and a bit uncomplicated. With the weekly food chart, I get to plan a balanced meal for myself and my family, get to make a list for a run to the super market once a week.

This is THE FIRST food chart which I have been following and although we have drifted on a couple of occasions from the chart but still this brings so much more sanity to my otherwise chaotic life!

I feel we must have a basic driving meal plan which has dishes which are our family tradition of sorts, are nutritious and help us maintain our gut flora (this was explained to me by my daughters pediatrician when she mentioned the importance of giving the child the same food as we eat).You can always leave room for new experiments once or twice a week.

I believe that this food chart should give you a good starting point. I suggest, you make your weekly meal plan NOW. All you need to do is to start listing the dishes you generally prepare at home to make a database of sorts. You can pick/rotate recipes from this database and keep adding newer recipes to your database.

This chart is very specific to my household but this is a sample food chart meant to give you an idea and to get you going. Do let me know if you feel this will work for you and if not then why? If you think it is too much work for you, ping me and I will help you make the first one!

Happy Planning!






Monday, 19 January 2015

Chicken Stroganoff With a side of Panini Bread


Chicken and mushrooms are like a match made in heaven. I love to pair these two hero ingredients and today I did just that in my Chicken Stroganoff recipe here.

I have ordered chicken Stroganoff in restaurants many a times as it’s one of my all-time favorite dishes to try when outside. So when I bought mushrooms and chicken at a super market the other day, I thought of making just that.

It is usually paired with parsley rice but I served it with a side of toasted Panini bread and a fresh salad to complete the meal. Sour cream is one of the main ingredients in Chicken Strognoff but since it’s not available in all super markets I have used cream and curd combination which works perfectly well as well.

This is a must try for people who are looking to enjoy a fine dining experience at home without 
having to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.
Hope you like the recipe! Happy Cooking!

Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves: 2-3

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast boneless fillets – 250 gms
  • Onion, finely chopped – 1 Medium
  • Garlic cloves, crushed - 2
  • Mushrooms, sliced – 100 gms
  • Paprika powder – 1 tsp
  • White pepper powder – 1 tsp
  • Worcestershire sauce – 1 tbsp (If unavailable, replace with Mustard Sauce)
  • Dried Thyme – 1 tsp (optional)
  • Refined Flour – 2 tsp
  •  Water – 1 cup
  • Cream – 1/2 cup
  • Curd – 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil – 3 tbsp
  • Butter – 1 tbsp

 Direction
  1. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a deep sauce pan. Add onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. Now add the garlic and mushrooms. Sauté mushrooms until soft. Add paprika, pepper powder, salt, thyme, and flour and sauté for a minute.
  3. Now add the water and let it come to a boil. Mix curd and cream to make sour cream and add it to the gravy. Let it come to a boil and simmer until the gravy is thickened. Finish with Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Score the chicken breast fillets with a knife for even cooking. In a separate pan, take a tbsp of olive oil and cook chicken breast fillets covered on low heat for about 3-4 minutes or until done. Now remove the water content from the pan (you can add it to the Stroganoff gravy) and sear the chicken on high heat with a tbsp of butter until the chicken browns.
  5. Serve the pan seared chicken topped with stroganoff gravy. I served chicken Stroganoff with a side of Panini bread and a quick Salad.

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Malaysian Laksa!


This recipe is as good as my comeback recipe now after a long break. Why the long break, you ask? I was on a break to tend to my newly born angel, my lovely daughter, Rhea!

Considering I have an infant to take care of, with very limited time in hand, I wanted to quickly stir up a one pot meal for the family. Laksa is one such pot meal which satiates all the senses! It looks appetizing, smells wonderful, and tastes delicious!

This recipe is my version of Laksa which doesn't have some of the traditional ingredients like shrimp paste, etc. I have used minimal toppings for this Laksa, but you can go ahead and use as many ingredients as you like. Some of the usual toppings which people like in their Laksa are shrimps, pineapple chunks, fresh cucumber, fresh red chilies, etc.You can make a vegetarian Laksa as well by omitting the chicken and chicken stock and adding more veggies and vegetable stock.

So what are you waiting for, go ahead and make your own pot of this warm and satisfying noodle soup called Laksa!

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Serves:

Ingredients:

For the Laksa Paste:

  • Lemongrass, coarsely chopped – 2 tbsp
  • Ginger / Galangal, chunks – 2 tbsp
  • Garlic, chopped – 1 tbsp
  • Onion, sliced – 1/2 cup
  • Whole red chili - 1
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tbsp
  • Fresh Coriander with stalks – 2 tbsp
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp

For the Stock:

  • Kaffir lime leaves or Bay leaves – 4-5
  • Capsicum, chopped - 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Spring onion white, chopped - 1/4 cup
  • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Curry powder or all spice powder - 1 tsp
  • Chicken stock / Vegetable stock - 1 cup
  • Shredded Boiled Chicken (optional) - 1/2 cup
  • Coconut milk – 1 cup
  • Tamarind paste - 2 tbsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp

For the Garnish:

  • Rice noodles - 100 gms
  • Sweet Corn, boiled - 1/2 cup
  • Fresh coriander - Small bunch
  • Spring onion green, chopped - 1/4 cup
  • Toasted peanuts, crushed - 1 tbsp

Direction 

  1. In a mixer, grind together Lemongrass, Ginger / Galangal, Garlic, Onion, Whole red chili, Fresh Coriander with stalks, Cumin into a fine paste. Use a little water if the mixture is too dry.
  2. In a large saucepan, add 1 tbsp olive oil, bay leaves (if using). Now, stir in the ground mixture and sauté until oil separates. Add chicken stock or vegetable stock, lime leaves and let it come to a boil. Switch off the gas and strain the mixture for a smooth texture.
  3. Now in a fresh sauce pan, add 1 tbsp of olive oil and sauté white portion of the spring onion and capsicum for a minute. Add turmeric powder and curry powder and sauté until fragrant. Now add the strained mixture again. Add coconut milk, salt and tamarind paste and shredded chicken (I used chicken salami strips for a twist in taste). Simmer for 4-5 minutes. Taste and adjust the seasoning if required.
  4. Place rice noodles in a large bowl. Cover with boiling water for 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Drain and set aside.
  5. For the assembly, take some noodles in a serving bowl (a big soup bowl is ideal for this dish). Ladle over stock mixture. Top with sweet corn, spring onion greens, toasted peanuts for crunch and fresh coriander leaves (you can use any topping of your choice). Serve hot.