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Cooking for one – Chicken curry in a hurry

April 29, 2015
Ah... Chicken curry

Ah… Chicken curry

The humble chicken curry. Chicken curry Hyderabadi style. Chicken curry Bohri style. Chicken curry Mangalorean style. Chicken curry Konkani style. Chicken curry Goan style (Chicken Xacuti?). Chicken curry Punjabi style (Butter chickennnn!!). Chicken curry Kashmiri style (3 types). (Let’s go international now…) Chicken curry American style. Chicken curry Canadian style. Chicken curry Czech Republic style. Chicken curry à la France. The varieties are endless! And I’ve had them all… and more. Forgetting one though…  Chicken curry… SABERA style ;D

There are many recipes I have created in my little apartment kitchen over the years, that have the unmistakable SABERA stamp on it. The unmistakable Sabera stamp means it is a recipe that is simple, yet layered with many interesting, opposing, yet complimentary flavors. Easy to make, yet conveniently also easy to adapt to my changing moods, preferences, and um… grocery availability in the fridge, or lack thereof. Also, QUICK. This last piece is very important.

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I’ll tell you why. Cooking for one (myself) is a true art form. I’m being sarcastic. But truly, for me it’s something I’ve taught myself over the years. My schedule, like so many of us, is very hectic and investing too much time in the kitchen to cook a meal is a luxury I no longer have. More importantly, one must also keep some time aside to do the dishes ( 😦 ), which is why total time invested in the kitchen must be planned to be at a minimum. Hence, the need for a quick recipe, that also doesn’t fail to tingle not just the tastebuds, but also the home-longingness senses.

SO! Today I’m going to share my super duper easy peasy chicken-curry-in-a-hurry recipe. And when I say hurry, I MEAN it. This recipe takes under 30 mins! Yes! No gimmicks!

Many recipes online offer simple chicken curry recipes, but mine uses fresher spices, simpler ingredients, and packs a punch of flavor without the excessive salt, cream or fat that common recipes online have. The result is a creamy, tangy, spicy and aromatic curry that you can lap up with rice or with Roti! So, here goes! This recipe makes enough for 1 person, for 2 meals (or 1 meal, 2 persons? You pick!)

You will need:

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp cooking olive oil
  • 1/4 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 1 cup plain yogurt – if using greek yogurt, use 1/2 cup and dilute with 1/2 cup water. It helps to use slightly sour yogurt.
  • 1/2 tsp grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1 tbsp coriander seed powder
  • 1/2 tbsp chili powder, or to taste
  • 1 tsp whole cumin seeds, lightly toasted, and pounded in a mortar and pestle (this brings out the flavor of the cumin seeds!)
  • a handful of chopped fresh cilantro
Toasted cumin seeds sent from India with love :D

Toasted cumin seeds sent from India with love 😀

Method:

  • In a bowl, mix the cubed chicken, yogurt, grated ginger, and garam masala
  • In a medium sized cooking pan, heat 1 tbsp of cooking olive oil
  • Chop the onion and garlic in the mean time
  • When the oil is heated, add the onion and garlic, and sautée on medium heat until softened and lightly caramelized
  • Add the yogurt and chicken mixture in the pan and mix well

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  • Once mixed well, add all the other spices – chili powder, coriander powder, cumin seeds and salt. Mix well again, cover the lid on the pan and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat
  • Check to see if the chicken is cooked. Turn off heat, add the chopped cilantro, mix well and let the curry sit in the pan with the lid on for about 5 more minutes.

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  • Serve fresh with hot Rotis, or rice!

Juicing to nourish and cleanse

March 22, 2015
August 2014 with Divya and Madhu - Two people that have been huge catalysts in my personal change journey

August 2014 with Divya and Madhu – Two people that have been huge catalysts in my personal change journey

Hello folks! How was the weekend? Hectic and productive, or lazy and relaxing? Or something in between? Either way, I hope you feel energized to tackle a brand new, glorious week!

Many friends have asked me about my recent juicing habit, why I do it, benefits, and most importantly, RECIPES!

Before I share 2 of my fave juice concoctions, I want to give a special shoutout to the Bollywood Dance scene Twin Cities and a hobby I have been nurturing for the last year or so – Bollywood dancing! Over a year ago, I went to this Bollywood dance class here in Minneapolis on a Thursday evening purely on a whim, and since then, have met some incredibly talented, amazing people, many of whom are now close friends. Since then, the Bollywood Dance scene Twin Cities has become a dominant Bollywood dance center in Minneapolis-St.Paul, and they even put up the VERY FIRST Bollywood-themed play at the Minnesota Fringe Festival in 2014. I had the privilege to act and dance in this play last year and had an absolute blast!

Can you spot me? 😉

I never really saw myself as an actress or dancer but Divya Maiya – one of Bollywood Dance Scene’s lead choreographers convinced me to act and dance. What started as a side project in the summer, bloomed into something that was helping me see myself in a completely different way. I could see that over time I had fewer inhibitions; I was less self-conscious after multiple sessions of practice in front of a critical audience. Being around an accepting, fun, goofy group also helped me embrace that aspect of my personality – something that I always felt awkward showing or being comfortable with. I cannot emphasize how crucial this group, and specifically Divya and her talented husband Madhu have been in helping me through this journey of self discovery and learning.

PS. In case you want to watch the play, view it here! It’s under an hour and I promise you will have a lot of laughs watching!

My juicing appliances – The Breville Juice Fountain Compact juicer, and my Juiceman Citrus juicer.

So, JUICING!

First off, I should say that I am not obsessive about juicing nor do I do extreme ‘cleanses’ that involve only drinking juice for days. I have found that these extreme techniques don’t work on my body and doing things in moderation help me the most. Currently, I drink a glass of juice about 2-3 times a week, as a snack.

Since I’ve begun juicing, I feel that my skin has cleared up, so less acne, my digestion has been easier, and I have fewer hunger pangs at odd times of the day and night. The days that I drink a glass of juice, I also feel energized and less sluggish in the afternoon hours.

You must wonder what appliances I invested in. I did a little research and learned that Breville had the best offering in juicers that juiced vegetables as well as several fruits. Their lowest priced product – The Breville Juice fountain compact juicer – was affordable (under $100 from Amazon on Black Friday), and sturdy. I already had a citrus juicer that I bought for a pretty affordable price online, so adding the Breville helped me get started with juices that combined vegetable and citrus juices.

Energising Carrot, Orange and Ginger juice

Energizing Carrot, Orange and Ginger juice

Let’s talk recipes! Instead of following what I got online, and to make juicing count for me, I started by figuring out what my body needed the most. I have always had low iron, and typically have a Vitamin D and C deficiency in the dark, long winter months in MN. So I knew I needed to find juices with high iron, Vitamin D and C. The following are 2 recipes I currently follow. Be sure to use organic vegetables as much as you can, and wash thoroughly before juicing. Please also be sure to check if you have allergies to any vegetables or raw food.

Carrot, Orange and Ginger juice

This recipe is super simple. To make juice for 1 person, you need about 2 large carrots, 1-2 oranges, and a 1 inch piece of ginger, peeled. Extract the citrus juice with a citrus juicer. Juice the carrot and ginger in a vegetable juice. Combine the 2 juices and drink immediately.

Beet, Kale, Apple, Ginger, Lemon juice

Beet, Kale, Apple, Ginger and lemon juice

I really like this juice because it has Kale, a vegetable a don’t eat much of in its normal form, and Beets, which are full of Iron. For 1 glass of juice, I use 2 carrots, 2 large leaves of kale, 1 apple, and a 1-inch piece of ginger. I wash all the veggies and apple, peel the ginger and juice it in the Breville. I then add a squeeze of 1/4 of the lemon. Lemon helps Iron absorption from green leafy vegetables. You could use spinach if you find Kale to be too bitter.

I hope you enjoy juicing as much as I do. And if you live in MN near the cities, do give Bollywood Dance Scene – Twin Cities a try! Have great week, folks!

Easy weeknight dinner – Paneer Rolls

March 15, 2015
by
My little photo gallery on my apartment wall

My little photo gallery on my apartment wall

It’s another BEAUTIFUL day here in Minneapolis! We’ve been having a few un-seasonally warm days (hoping this doesn’t jinx it!) and today, when the temps got to as high as 63F, a few friends and I decided to do a little fire and dinner outside. It felt SO wonderful to enjoy the fabulous weather and sunshine!

We were talking about the relationship we have with our parents and one of my friends was telling us how everyone in his family misses his late mother so much. They all feel a deep void in their lives and they miss the love she freely and generously gave to them. He shared that today would have been her birthday.

I’ve had many conversations with this friend about his mother, and today really made me think about how she must have affected her family’s lives. My career has moved to a place where I am working much longer hours because I truly and thoroughly love what I do and want to exceed every expectation I have from myself. But I thought about what my daily life and activities lead up to. Not career-wise. But broadly in my life. Pardon me as I spell out my existential crises 😉 But don’t you wonder whether people will remember you when you leave? How will I be remembered? And who will miss me? What impact am I having on the people who matter? I’m not sure I can say that my influence on any one person today has been sharp enough to warrant a deep longing for me, if I ceased to exist. Perhaps it’s even selfish of me to think this way. We all want to be needed and missed. I don’t know the answers. I do know that now, I’m not sure if I’m doing everything in my power to be the true and best me to the few people who matter in my life. And I’m not sure how to.

Easy, weeknight dinner - Paneer (cottage cheese) and roti (flatbread) rolls.

Easy, weeknight dinner – Paneer (cottage cheese) and roti (flatbread) rolls.

So, last week, when I came home from work and felt accomplished, yet tired after a day of making a difference at least in my work life, 🙂 I realized I had little energy to cook. But I also needed something nutritious. Common story, right? 🙂

I checked the fridge and found a gorgeous hunk of Paneer (Indian cottage cheese) I had picked up from the desi grocery store. I knew I also had some hummus I made the last weekend, and some frozen whole-wheat roti or Indian flat bread.

Marinating Paneer in a few spices, lemon juice and chopped cilantro

Marinating Paneer in a few spices, lemon juice and chopped cilantro

I proceeded to cube the panner in large, slim hunks, and then ‘marinated’ them in 2 different spice mixes, lemon juice, and some chopped cilantro. I grilled them in a little oil in a frying pan. The paneer grills pretty quickly! Once crisp on all sides, I heated up some flatbread, then spread a dollop of hummus, arranged the paneer, rolled up the flatbread, and voila! I had a yummy, high-protein, low-fat, low-sodium, high-on-flavor dinner. Recipe below!

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Easy weeknight dinner – Paneer Rolls (for 2)

Ingredients:

– Low-fat Paneer – 1 slab, from your local Indian grocery store. I love the ‘Swad’ brand

– A handful of chopped cilantro

– 1 tbsp chaat masala (available ready-made as a spice mix)

– 1/2 tbsp Tandoori masala (available ready-made as a spice mix)

– Juice of 1/4 lemon

– 1 tbsp olive oil

– 4 frozen or fresh Indian flatbreads

– 3-4 tbsp Hummus – any flavor of your choice, or my preference – home made

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Method:

– Cut the paneer in 1-inch strips, then halve them if needed

– Place in a bowl with all the other ingredients and mix well

– In a grilling pan or a frying pan, heat the oil. Add the paneer pieces one by one

– Let one side crisp for about 2 minutes on medium heat. Then turn over to let the other side crisp

– Heat the flatbread in the mean time. When cooked, spread a dollop of hummus across in the middle. Place the hot paneer pieces. Roll the flatbread, and eat! You could add a cup of plain greek yogurt, or some grilled veggies on the side of your meal.

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