A weblog of the food journey of a whimsical foodie, showcasing seasonal, regional and sustainable Indian Cooking. The food capers of a suburban working mom, with two kids, a foodie cat and a gardener husband. Speaking of regional flavors, check out my award winning cookbook, The Bengali Five Spice Chronicles.
After a bunch of trial and error, I am excited to be able to bring you a batch of air-fryer fries that I can stand behind. They are gently crisp outside and soft and creamy inside. Maybe just a little short of the deep fried version, but really pretty good dunked in ketchup. They are great plain with a hint of salt, and of course perfect with my favorite combination of rosemary and garlic.
The tip that I adopt with a little modification, is the concept of slightly par cooking the potatoes before air-frying them. It is taken from the idea described here. The short video at the end of the post will show you a little visually what I am talking about. The quick plunge helps you with the softer creamy inside which allowing the outside to get nice and crisp.
A few tips to note and remember,
The type of potato does matter in my opinion, I will suggest that you stick to Yukon Golds.
Make sure your water is boiling when you do the plunge.
Drain the potatoes thoroughly, excess water will defeat the purpose.
Salt and season after the cooking.
A couple of seasoning ideas, not that plain with a hint of salt is a bad thing.
Fresh Minced Rosemary and Garlic salt as featured in this recipe.
Chat Masala and Fine Chili Powder
These fries need to be eaten right away. Not that it is ever a problem in my house. I have been using the Mealthy CrispLid for my air frying, you can use what ever air-fryer you want. By, the way my rosemary has grown out nicely, so you will see it making the rounds on this space soon. The summer has been a good one so far, lot of nice sunny weekends.
The Bengali table is filled with lush seductive desserts. Bhapa Doi or Steamed Yogurt Custard is a summer favorite. Adding fruit to it is not unheard of, in India the preferred fruit is Mango. The mango version, tastes pretty amazing. So, I tried this today using my favorite local summer fruit – raspberries. I love raspberries so much my husband has a handful of raspberry bushes in our yard. Thus today Bhapa Doi or the 3 Ingredient Raspberry Cheesecake is born.
This cheesecake is steamed and therefore a perfect match for the Instant Pot or the Mealthy Multipot or any other electric pressure cooker of your choice. Once chilled, it is amazing how close to a real cheesecake it tastes like. I keep this crust less, gluten-free and very close to its Bengali roots.
Ashley at My Heart Beets, gets credit for making the concept of this yogurt cheesecake famous. However, once chilled this dense and rich steamed yogurt does indeed taste like cheesecake. Raspberries have this rich deep jam like taste once cooked, making them one of my favorite summer fruits. I have a recipe for raspberry kulfi in Spices and Seasons, and today I give you this cheesecake or Bhapa Doi.
My recipe is not overly sweet, it is lighter on the condensed milk. The raspberries help cut the sweetness too. This gave my doi or yogurt a somewhat softer texture. Made it just a little bit harder to un-mold. I used smaller ramekins for this, which is really how we do Bhapa Doi. If you use a spring form pan, I do not think you will have any problem with the unmolding.
Bhapa in Bengali means steamed and Doi is yogurt, hence Bhapa Doi.
Despite the slightly fuzzy un-molding, my first thought looking at my creation was a sonnet.
Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day? Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
I realize that this might be a little crazy, when I start saying sonnets to my food. However try making this simple treat and you will understand what the fuss is about.
A couple of things to remember,
You will need to use strained whole milk yogurt or store made Greek Yogurt. Make sure that you are using whole milk yogurt.
Allow the dessert to chill thoroughly before serving. It is very easy to make but you do need to plan the chilling time.
Raspberries are fragile, so use them quickly.
This can be made with any other fruit, such as mango or strawberries.
This Masala Fried Chicken is the state of our household today. This masala fried chicken is an adaptation of the fried chicken found in the southern state of Kerala. I have simplified the recipe a little. And lightened it up a lot!
I made this using the Mealthy CrispLid. This new compact air fryer is so much fun! I have a new e-book featuring my exploits. It is a short stack, but does have a fun assortment of recipes. Masala as we know is spice, and yes, this fried chicken includes a lot of flavorful spices. Enough to tantalize all your taste buds. If you are not squeamish about frying, this can be shallow or deep fried as well.
It is soaked in buttermilk and herbs overnight making this quite exceptionally flavorful. I have tinkered with the recipe a few times to get this to where I want it. I started with a typical buttermilk brine and flour dredging. That works but I then wanted some more spice action. So I welcome ginger, garlic, and cayenne into the game.
And then some cracked black pepper. Actually a lot of cracked black pepper. The black pepper is added to the crust. I like the texture. This does give the crust a few black spots here and there. If you do not like the sound of these crisp and grainy bites of spice explosion grind the black pepper finely. If you are on the fence try the coarsely ground black pepper.
So then I make the crust healthier by adding powdered oatmeal. Well, the good news is that the oatmeal does more that just make the recipe healthy, it adds a nice dose of crunch to the chicken. Currently polling high the family polling ratings. Once coated, this takes about 18 minutes to cook. I have tried the same thing with fish, works like a charm, but with a shorter cooking time.
As I cooked these, I reflected on today’s spectacle in Washington, DC. A sharp contrast to the calm mood in my home. In fact, the excesses, the brashness is so different from anything we believe in. I sometimes wonder if this is a cultural thing. For me, I am happy with eating good food and watching out local fireworks. It is also fun, to look at little kids in the neighborhood finding their share of sparklers. That and splashing around the kiddie pool.
So these can be enjoyed as sandwiches. The can be enjoyed as finger food. As she says here, once you fry the chicken the ball is in your court.
A healthier take on classic Indian Masala Fried Chicken.
For the Chicken
1 and 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 inch piece peeled ginger
2 cloves garlic
2 green Serrano chilies
1 teaspoon salt or to taste
1/4 cup cilantro leaves
For the coating
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup rice flour (see notes)
1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
1 teaspoon salt to taste
Oil for drizzling
Cut the thighs into halves, trim any extra fat and if needed pound to flatten the pieces a little.
Set in a mixing bowl.
Place the buttermilk, ginger, garlic, chilies, salt and cilantro leaves in a food processor and blender until smooth. There will be a tiny amount of texture which is OK.
Pour over the chicken, cover and marinate for a few hours or overnight.
In a food processor add the rolled oats and peppercorns and process until the oats are finely processed. Mix in the rice flour and the all purpose flour.
Dredge the chicken pieces in this mixture until well coated and dry to touch. Shake any excess flour dry.
Place in your air fryer basket. If using the CrispLid like me, place the trivet in the steel pressure cooker insert. Place the stainless steel air fryer basket over the trivet. Place the chicken pieces in a single layer. I did this in two batches.
Drizzle with oil.
Cook at 450 degrees for 8 minutes and turn and cook for another 8 minutes. Remove and cook with the second batch.
Serve with your favorite dipping sauce.
1. To keep this recipe gluten-free you can swap the all-purpose flour with rice flour.
2. If you do not have rice flour you can use all all purpose flour.
3. For a richer taste, drizzle with coconut oil.
Just like people have staycations, the order of the day today a stay at home picnic. Now it is not a good summer picnic without some good sides and salads. I made this pretty, light and flavorful salad – Grape Tomato, Green Bean and Purple Basil Salad. This year along with the usual stuff in our yard, I am trying my hand at growing a handful of things. Mostly herbs – but for a black thumbed person this is huge.
There are four varieties of basil happening now – and my favorite so far is this purple basil. You will be gradually introduced to members of my plant family as they grow up. For anyone interested the purple basil grows easily, it just needs a lot of water to keep it happy. However, when well watered it responds by growing and showing off its gorgeous large leaves. And the fragrance. ..
It is a quite fourth in our house. Did the Kensico Dam fireworks yesterday. One of those household rituals. Aadi is getting ready to start camp on Monday. The kids have cooked up a bunch of fun things this summer. Enough to to keep themselves entertained and out of trouble.
Intoxicating and heady. I add the leaves at the end for this simple salad. The result is an intense and floral finish. I so want to take tomorrow off. I want to be at home before camp starts for the youger one. Curring the day in the middle will probably be my compromise. This salad thrilled the home crew. Enough for them to nominate it as a contender for the Thanksgiving table. Something not taken lightly in this house.
I made some air-fried chicken, I will share the recipe next. Also, made a batch of fresh paneer. I am playing with visions of making some kind of popcorn paneer.
This salad get some simple flavor from Dijon mustard, garlic, tahini and maple syrup. It is rounded off with olive oil and basil. Simple, balanced, and flavorful. Pure happiness!
I love to cook something on a Friday night. Despite, often winding down a workweek and usually fitting in some of my grocery runs. It just is my way of saying “Fry Yay!”. Anticipating that today is a hot one I made this chicken curry. This is a soupy delicate creation, heady with fennel, mint and lime. Patla Morgir Jhol is a light and soupy chicken curry that you will find on Bengali tables in summer. Not all spices are made the same, some spices are warming and then there are others like this fennel and poppy seeds that are cooling. A creation like this during summer is actually served with room temperature rice to further brace and combat the heat. The best part is, that all of this comes together with just about 10 minutes of active time.
A combination of a small food processor and the instant pot helps with this. The instant pot adds a little darkness to the color of the gravy, but renders fork tender chicken in about 20 minutes. So, dinner was a happy and breezy meal. I add a mixture of small potatoes and turnips to the gravy. I also sometimes scrape in a carrot or two.
You can even skip the potatoes altogether. Essentially, up to you. This is a simple homey chicken curry that is yours to make your own. I am sharing with you my version, the mint in particular is my summer favorite. We have so much in the yard, so I naturally put it to good use. And, what can be more refreshing that good fresh summer’s mint. I served this with perfectly done brown rice.
Honestly you can enjoy a good bowl of this on its own, maybe with some crusty bread to dunk into the soupy delicate gracy. I do not have much going on for the holiday week. I am toying with the idea of taking the fifth of to make it a nice long weekend.
Now onto the recipe. Just as a note, this works very well as a vegetarian options with cubes of paneer. Dishes like this help me bring the nostalgia of Indian summer to my table.
I talked about the cookbook Healthy South Indian Cooking here. Several of the recipes are from the Chettinaad region of Southern India, a region of India I am partial to. I have a recipe for Chettinaad Chicken Biryani and another curry in Instant Indian. This week I adapted a chicken curry recipe for the Instant Pot.
In fact, I actually made this Chicken Kulambu in my Mealthy Multipot as well. A soulful and spicy dish, a little goes a long way.
Redolent with fragrant spices, this is a great curry for a cooler evening, you know the rainy kind. Of course, if you are like me, ever so often you will make room for a soulful curry in summer as well. My variations to the original recipe is to simplify the spice list, add curry leaves and a splash of coconut milk. After all, everything tastes better with a splash of coconut milk. At least I think so. I am fighting time tonight, I want to pack in my beauty 8 hours of sleep. Much needed to brace for tomorrow.
Overall, I have been having so much fun with the Mealthy CrispLid, so much fun playing and air frying my favorite fried recipes. Yes, my next post will be on my newest air fried success. Ideally a deeply seasoned curry like this is great with simple steamed rice or even chapatis. I had some chard rice on hand, so that is what we enjoyed it with. The best part of course is that I had Instant pot yogurt on the side. This summer we have been going through the yogurt like it is going out of fashion. Thank goodness, I make it at home these days.
And, I forgot, the highlight of my day is actually the fact that my son recieved a perfect 100 in his Biology regents. His reward – a handful of coffee M&M’s today. He is holding out for some more stuff from me later in the week. Yes, all food related. No guesses for the way to his heart.
A few days away can be amazing! If you have been following me on instagram, you will realize that I have been out of the home kitchen. Sure, I cooked up a storm of sorts before I left, and then today I cooked up a bowl of gorgeous comforting lentils. These tempered lentils or Paruppu are from the new cookbook – A Feast of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj. If you remember, I was introduced to Sri Lankan cooking by Rice and Curry. Mary Anne’s cookbook brought home the same evocative rich flavors straight to my home table.
I made a few tweaks and added some carrots to the lentils. However, the coconut adds a nice comforting richness to these soft red lentils making the dish great for a wholesome meal. This particular recipe will make a large batch, making it perfect for an add on for your next party. And, I made an instant pot version! You knew that was coming, didn’t you?
Onto the book, it is my favorite kind of cookbook, filled with home recipes, nostalgia, and comfort cooking at its best. There are over a 100 recipes.
106 to be precise covering appetizers, main dishes – meat, fish, eggs and vegetables, condiments, and desserts. I am working through the book, trying and bookmarking recipes as I go along. I love the authors chatty style and little personal anecdotes. It is just what makes a book special.
A soft comforting rendition of red lentils via Sri Lanka. This can be done stove top or in the instant pot.
2 cups red lentils
1 can coconut milk plus 1 can water
1 dried red chili, broken into pieces
a pinch of ground saffron (1 used 1/2 teaspoon turmeric)
1 teaspoon maldive fish (pounded)
2 tablespoons ghee
2 medium onions, finely sliced
6 curry leaves
1 stick of cinnamon
3 strips of lemon rind
salt to taste (about 2 teaspoons)
1 additional cup of water
1 large carrot, peeled and cut into large pieces
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 tablespoon fresh lime juice
Put the lentils in a sauce pan with the coconut milk, chili and saffron (and the maldive fish if using). Fill the can with hot water and add that as well, this will ensure that you don't water any coconut yumminess. Add another cup of water. Add in the carrot (see my additions)
Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until the lentils are soft, about forty-five minutes. If you are doing this in an instant pot, set to 4 minutes of pressure and allow a natural release.
In another saucepan, heat the ghee and (add the mustard seeds, see my additions) and the onions, curry leaves, cinnamon, and lemon rind until the onions are golden brown.
Add in this mixture to the lentils (you can reserve half the onions to garnish). Stir well, add salt to taste and ensure that the lentils have a soft porridge like texture. If you wish sprinkle with lime juice and cilantro (see my additions).
Serve with rice and curries.
Recipe closely adapted from A Feast of Serendib by Mary Anne Mohanraj
Well, maybe I should call this post about Fragrant Golden Rice with Rainbow Chard, turmeric is not curry? Perplexed? Intrigued, well read on and you will find out more. The market seasons has started, I am happy to be out and about. This recipe is born in the Rye Farmer’s Market, conceptualized with the amazing rainbow chard that I picked up from Row by Row farm. A local farm with a story as beautiful as their produce. And now to my constant curry or non curry soapbox.
Not all things yellow is about curry! Turmeric is not curry! Rice is rarely about curry, well it might be served with curry, but cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom are fragrant spices with an assertive identity of their own. I hate hearing the word curry out of context. I just recently heard this once too many times at a recent demonstration. As I say it is as absurd as listening to the description of a complex wine and saying, Oh, you mean red wine?
Imagine the horror and disappointment for the wine maker. Soapbox done, let me proceed to this very comforting, fragrant, and homey dish. Did I say healthy. Adding eggs to this dish, along with the loads of rainbow chard already in the mix, makes this a wholesome one pot meal. Just the kind you need to start your week with. This is done either on the stove top or your instant pot or mealthy mulipot.
I have done it both ways, other than the added advantage of the eggs getting done while the rice cooks in the electric pressure cooker, there is not a huge difference in time. So, as always a little score in effort using the electric pressure cooker. I have planted loads of bits and pieces of things. I promise to show and tell once things are a little bigger.
A hearty one pot meal, featuring seasonal rainbow chard. Done on the stove top or the instant pot.
3 tablespoons oil
2 to 3 tablespoons olive or coconut oil
1 teaspoon whole cumin seeds
1 medium sized red onion, chopped
1 bay leaf
2 black cardamoms
2 green cardamoms
1 large stick (about 4 inches) cinnamon
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup basmati rice
1 and ½ teaspoons salt
2 cups water
2 cups rainbow chard, finely chopped (leaves and tender stems)
4 hard boiled eggs
Fresh Lime Juice to finish
Heat the oil and add in the whole cumin seeds and wait until the seeds begin to sizzle. Add in the onions and saute for about 3 to 5 minutes until the onions wilt and turn golden. If doing this in the instant pot, you can set to saute mode and continue in the inner pot.
Add in the bay leaf, black and green cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric powder and the Basmati rice and salt and stir well. Add in the water. Cover and cook for 18 minutes. If you are doing this in the instant pot, reduce the water by 3/4 cup, so you will use 1 and 1/4 cups of water and set this to rice mode. Do a quick release after 5 minutes.
While the rice is cooking, cut the eggs into half.
Remove the cover stir in the rainbow chard and egg, and leave covered for five minutes. Stir well.
This is an update of my original post, dated February 1. 2012.
This includes an Air Fryer variation – Mealthy CrispLid. You can order your own using my affiliate link here. It suports the site.
It is that time of the year, when I resurrect my chicken wing recipes. This one is always high on my list, something about that Hoisin and Sriracha magic that calls my name. They taste just as good done in the air-fryer and is less fussy.
Now, just because I really do not completely follow Superbowl does not mean, that I cannot cook up a recipe for wings in time for the big game. I can cook it and if you try it, you will agree like me that it is pretty good.
And let me tell you it is easy and not terribly unhealthy. So there! Now you have a super easy Asian Inspired recipe for Hoisin and Scallion Chicken Wings that you can surprise your friends with. Weekends especially Sundays are about something special, today I made it work with these insanely easy and flavorful chicken wings. I had actually assembled them earlier, so all I did was turn on the oven and bake them.
I have to confess, this recipe is getting out there really as a challenge to myself. For all my professions of seasonal eating, I never get posts up in time for the events. I have lofty ambitions for Valentine’s Day ( who knows, I just might make it this year!). For that matter, also Thankgiving and almost any other event that you can thing about. This weekend I had tried these chicken wings and we all loved them.
The air fried version is a little drier and a little crisper. Do not skip the marinating, it adds a lot of flavor.
The magic ingredient here is hoisin sauce, yes, sticky sweet hoisin the peeking duck kind. Actually I seem to have a bottle of the stuff that I am not quite doing enough with, so you will see some of it show up in various dishes here and there over the next few weeks. I will warn you that this recipe has almost all of the ingredients in the title and they really are super simple.
Chicken Wings with Hoisin, Sriracha and Sesame Seeds
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
A simple sticky and spicy recipe for Asian Inspired Hoisin and Scallion Chicken Wings with a nice dose of ginger.
6 tablespoons hoisin sauce
2 tablespoon sriracha sauce (or any other chili garlic sauce
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1 tablespoon sesame oil
2 pounds of chicken wings
1/2 cup chopped scallions
Sesame Seeds to garnish
In a mixing bowl mix together the hoisin sauce, sriracha sauce, grated ginger and the sesame oil.
Toss the chicken wings in the mixture and marinate for 2 to 3 hours or overnight. I usually place this in a ziplock bag and set aside.
Pre-Heat the oven to 375 degrees and place the wings in a casserole and bake for 20 minutes, until soft and sticky.
Remove from the oven place in a serving dish and toss with the scallions and sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.
Air Fryer/CrispLid Directions
Continue with the recipe until ready to cook. Place the long trivet in the instant pot. Place the trivet in the inner pot. Place the air fryer basket on the trivet and place about 8 to 10 wings on the trivet. This will depend on the size of your wings.
Place the CrispLid over the pot. Cook at 425 degrees for 9 minutes. Turn and cook for another 7 to 8 minutes. Remove from the basket. Garnish with chopped scallions and sesame seeds and serve.
After years of trying to get Crispy Tofu right, I finally nail it using the air fryer. Less oil, less mess and hands off. That pretty much sums up this Soy Maple Garlic Crispy Tofu. Did I say hands off?
This simple creation is my thrill of the day. It is turning out to be one of those outrageously crazy weekends. June plans on keeping me busy, all with school activities wind down. Just the kind of month for simple sure fire dishes like this. This is much approved by my vegetarian daughter. And yes, I loved what my new toy the CrispLid has done for the tofu. If you are in the market for a new CrispLid, do consider using my affiliate link.
Everything comes together in well under 30 minutes. This recipe is vegan, to keep this gluten-free you can use tamari. I tend to use tamari by default, it seems to work just fine for all my recipes. I have not added any cornstarch for my sauce. To have a thicker, clingy sauce a little cornstarch will not hurt. You can use any assortment of vegetables for this.
All said and done, the crispy air fried tofu is very much the star of the dish. I also made another extra block, so I can use it for something else later in the week. So that is a meal planning hack for you. Now, the air frying for each one pound block does take about 17 minutes and is done in two batches. However, once you have the hang of things it just needs a little planning and is done hands off.
I have used baby spinach but broccoli will work well too. Actually so will asparagus. But, then again you get the gist. I do not add anything to the tofu, I feel that it absorbs the flavors much better this way. This sweet and savory sauce is just perfect for a comforting wind down meal.
Note: If you do not have an air fryer, you can pan fry the tofu or bake it.
Cut the tofu into 2 inch by 1/3 inch squares. Place the trivet in the electric pressure cooker insert. Place the air fryer basket on the trivet and place the tofu on he air fryer basket. Place the CrispLid on the pot and cook at 425 degrees for 8 minutes. Turn and cook for another 7 minutes. I did one block in 2 batches.
To make this in the oven, place the tofu on a baking sheet and drizzle with oil. Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes on each side.
In a large skillet heat the oil for about 2 minutes. Add in the ginger and garlic and sauté until golden.
Add in the red pepper flakes if using, add in the tamari, maple syrup and sesame oil. Add in the crisp tofu.
Stir in the spinach leaves and cook until wilted. Add in the cashew nuts. Serve with rice and sprinkle the sesame seeds over the tofu before serving.