“Do not be afraid of simplicity. If you have a cold chicken for supper, why cover it with a tasteless white sauce which makes it look like a pretentious dish on the buffet table at some fancy dress ball?”
Have had a busy week, & just when I thought the kids were finally back to school after a 2 month vacation, ‘they’ (the district authorities) decided to extend the vacations! Too hot for all kids to be at school, so we have them home for another week. Phew! On the brighter side of life, we did manage to get a few random showers, which means we might expect respite from the harsh Indian summer pretty soon. These appear to be pre-monsoon showers, & though they give us an overdose of humidity, they keep our hopes raised.
With the kids home again, the thought process & body mechanism involuntarily heads towards the kitchen no matter what. These past 2 months have run me ragged trying to think of how best to serve ‘food with a difference’. Left with few exciting options for dinner as I’ve been through the normal run of dinner table items, I often need the change, more than the kids. I took chicken tenders out for a supposedly light version of Butter Chicken, but chickened out at the thought as it still involves cream & butter. These hot summer days call for lighter fare, so I decided to give the Indian tikka an Italian twist. I made Italian Chicken on sticks & served it with some bread & salad. They were delicious, full of light summer flavour & a hit with the kids. Served them with a hung yogurt-garlic creamy dip, & I was in business again! An artisan bread on the side gave me additional brownie points!! There was also a light salad that I tossed in some reserved marinade. Simple & delicious!!
ITALIAN CHICKEN ON STICKS
750gms chicken thigh tenders, cut into bite size pieces
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest & juice of 2 limes
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
Handful of fresh oregano, finely chopped
2 tsp smoked chipotle paste (optional)
Salt to taste
Whisk together oil , zest, juice of limes, garlic, oregano and salt. Taste and adjust seasonings if required.
Remove 2 tbsp of the marinade for a salad if you like (optional), & whisk in the chipotle paste in the rest.
Soak bamboo sticks in water for 30 minutes,
Marinate the chicken tenders in this for at least an hour, or overnight. Take it out of the fridge half an hour before cooking.
Preheat the oven to 300C.
Thread the tenders on bamboo sticks alternatively with bell peppers & onions.
Cook in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Let drip for a 5 minutes. Grill the tenders on sticks on a heated grill pan, pressing down gently to get the BBQ lines. Serve with a dipping sauce of your choice.
My sis has been visiting from the US so I got my lucky haul of stuff. Have finally laid my hands on books I’ve been waiting to read for ages – Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes & A HomeMade Life. In addition, I got baking tins, tart pans & loads of more exciting stuff, including another Cookie book. FUN!! My dream run continued & sis # 2 had a friend flying in from the US and sent me some more ‘loot’! A fluted cake tin, silicon muffin cups,an oven thermometer … & much more! Now all I need is a little time…A few days ago Meeta @ WFLH tweeted about her day out shopping at Ikea ,& I was terribly envious of the brilliant stuff she got. Ikea’s India plans have been shelved, at least for the time being, & I was quite bummed!! Quite forgot that retail therapy is quite possible anywhere under the sun. While sis #1 has been here, we’ve been out in town, exploring & shopping. Central Delhi is a beautiful place to visit, full of interesting history, architecture… & SHOPS!! It had to be me taking her out shopping, but for some insane reason I ended up shopping more than her. One of my favourite haunts is the Tibetan market on Janpath. The Lonely Planet review sums it up … “Beckoning tourists with its shimmering mirrorwork textiles, colourful shawls, brass Oms, psychedelic T-shirts, dangly earrings and trinkets galore, is this touristy belt running north of the Imperial hotel. It has some good finds if you rummage through the junk. Haggle hard.” It’s a Little Tibet in India.You can easily spend a couple of hours, if not an entire day, wandering around here. While exploring the Tibetan market, we discovered quaint little shops overflowing with bric-a-brac, & one special shop full of the most beautiful pots & pans. A pleasant young man, Tashi Nima, runs his shop, Doma Copper Brass, with a passion. He knows his stuff & his prices are fixed. He has his suppliers, & is known to supply a lot of people with Indian/sub continent bric-a brac. The wares move fast & he sells a mix of old & new culinary items. Everything is handmade. The things aren’t antique, but do date back to the 1910’s etc, & the artwork is entirely intriguing. We spent most of our morning in his shop, & I’m going back soon to explore it some more!
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About me: I am a freelance food writer, recipe developer and photographer. Food is my passion - baking, cooking, developing recipes, making recipes healthier, using fresh seasonal produce and local products, keeping a check on my carbon footprint and being a responsible foodie! I enjoy food styling, food photography, recipe development and product reviews. I express this through my food photographs which I style and the recipes I blog. My strength lies in 'Doing Food From Scratch'; it must taste as good as it looks, and be healthy too. Baking in India, often my biggest challenge is the non-availability of baking ingredients, and this has now become a platform to get creative on. I enjoy cooking immensely as well.