Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Perfected Chicken 'Booby' Kababs on a Stove Flame!!!

The greatest food challenge is undoubtedly in making perfectly cooked yet, moist chicken boobies!! It’s the most difficult thing to achieve. A kitchen challenge I say!! So when I was given this food wish, I jumped the gun immediately.

Chicken is a temperamental bird. Doused as the healthiest protein with the right amount of fat, fibre and protein, it takes the pride to its heart. A minute longer on heat and it will turn tasteless as a piece of cardboard. A minute less and its inedible and unhygienic. So it is very important to get it to the right temperature at the right time. And it isn’t an easy task!!

So here I am jotting down a few pointers to tackle this tasty bird, my way! If you find them helpful in any way, let us know in a comment below. If you don’t find it helpful, comment anyways as we love to hear what you say!!
  • I urge my readers to always buy fresh cut chicken, rather than the frozen ones. I have nothing against freezing the bird, but the poultry-frozen chicken is almost always treated first, something we should avoid exposure to regularly. Instead, buy fresh birds and freeze it at your own pace. This way it will work out cheaper and you have full authority on the shapes and sizes of each piece.
  • Chicken boobies and chicken legs require different temperatures to cook in. Hence to enjoy this magnificent bird fully, cook these 2 cuts separately. I get my butcher to skim off the boneless skinless chicken boob off the bones. The bones can be cooked together with the legs in a curry, while the boneless chicken can be made into these superb kababs.
  • Stay away from organ meats in chicken. Though it’s not as cholesterol laden as red meat, it’s still less healthy or tasty compared to the meaty parts.
  • And lastly, when storing or freezing chicken, DONOT ever salt the pieces. Salt pulls out the water from the meat, making the meat harder. 1 to 2 hrs before preparing, salt it well and that is all the salt marinating chicken needs.

Now to the perfect chicken kabab on gas flame:


1 whole piece of chicken breast (boneless, skinless)

For Marinade:
4 tbsp thick curd
3-4 cloves of garlic crushed
½ tsp ginger crushed
¼ tsp Kashmiri mirch powder (paprika)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
¼ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp coriander powder
1 tbsp mustard oil

For Grilling:
1 iron skillet (tawa)
A pair of tongs
2 tbsp mustard oil

The technique is very important. So play around with all ingredients but be very particular about the technique.

Mix all ingredients for marinating and marinade the whole chicken breast overnight.  As an optional step, take a sharp fork and pierce through the meat for the marinade to seep in.
An hour before the preparation, take it out of the refrigerator and mix in salt thoroughly on the chicken pieces. Let it rest and come to room temperature, before cooking.

Once it stops feeling cold on touch, get an iron tawa ready and hot on the stove.
A thumb rule to follow, always oil the meat, not the skillet; when grilling. So smear on some mustard oil on both sides of the breast.

The next logical step, oiled chicken breast on hot iron tawa!! On high flame cook till it stops sizzling considerably.
Another thumb rule- be brave and don’t fiddle with the cooking chicken breast. Let it sit in the exact spot and reach the lovely brown caramelization we want and seek. Don’t touch or try to turn it over at this stage as it would start breaking off and sticking to the pan.   

Once the sizzling is lessened, put it on medium heat and cook covered for 3-4 minutes.
Now slowly, but firmly, remove the piece and let the other side sizzle and cook. If your chicken refuses to budge from its place, let it remain on the skillet for another minute. Do not, and I repeat do not ever try to push it off the tawa forcefully. It might not have cooked and hence it is sticking. Once it’s properly cooked, it will come off easily.

Repeat the same step for the next side and wait for the caramelization.

As an additional step u can brush over some of the marinade on the cooked side and return the side on the tawa to cook off the raw chicken from the marinade.

Altogether, the whole breast will take about 10 minutes to cook right. It’s very important that the chicken breasts are kept whole. This way, chances of over cooking it is minimised. Though it’s quite easy to understand when the chicken is cooked, yet for a first timer, there is an easy test to guage the doneness. Pierce the chicken in the middle and check the colour. If its white, its done.

Remove from heat and let it rest for 5 minutes.

Now to the most interesting step; take a pair of tongs and hold the chicken directly on the flame. this will give a wonderful charred effect to the kabab, something we all love and adore. 
It’s the most essential step in getting the perfect kabab. Let it stand on the flame for a couple of minutes, turning half way through.
Once charred, let it rest for 10 minutes or so. Slice the meat up and serve with fresh cut salad and mint coriander chutney. YUM YUM!!


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

No Butter, No Flour, No Egg and Yet a Cake!!

A friend made a food wish, an eggless cake please!! A simple request from a perfect hostess living in England; I had to take it up. She said, any eggless cake I had, never tastes as good. I agree; the fluffy airy texture of a beaten egg in a cake is what cakes are famous for. Can you substitute it? I think not!! And hence I suggest lets create a cake where there is no substitution involved!! So here is a classic goan recipe of a semolina based cake. The feel, aroma and texture, all of it is different. And hence, without substituting anything in any of your favourite recipe, you get a wonderful dessert for that ‘jain’ guest, who is about to visit!!

Now before you delve into the making of this cake, let me give you a bit of a heads up. Semolina/durum wheat is by nature heavier than flour. So obviously to make it softer, desserty kinds, you can either put in an astronomical amount oil/butter or, take out some time to soak these grains. Semolina porridge is an example of the first technique while this recipe is an example of the second. So, no oil, no flour and no eggs involved!!


3 Ripe bananas (big) or as I used, 9 of the mini ones
1 cup semolina (wheat sooji/rava)
1 tsp Sodium-bi-carbonate (baking soda)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp Cardamom powder
2 cups Coconut milk
1/2 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Cashew nuts
A pinch of salt


Dry roast semolina over low heat in a wok until aroma wafts off. Then soak that rava in coconut milk for 2 hours.

Meanwhile mash the bananas well and add soda, salt, sugar and cardamom powder to it. Let it sit out so that the sugar gets a bit of time to loosen up.

After 2 hrs, mix all of them together and put in the cashews.

Oil the cake mould and pour in the mixture. You can decorate with cashews on top. As the cake doesn’t have anything which will fluff it, the nuts on top will show and get roasted beautifully in the oven.

Preheat the oven and bake for around 40-45 mins at 220 degrees c or until a knife put in centre comes out clean. The cake will be a little difficult to bake as the stubborn rava does take a little more time to cook than your usual cake. Remember to always check for doneness, right at the centre. Once done, let it cool.

Decoration tip: slice off the cake from the middle a spread over a big dollop of strawberry crush or any other fruit crush. It tastes best when served cold!!



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