Cooking | Thai Chicken Mince, Broccoli & Pepper Salad {Larb Gai} #glutenfree #healthy #comfortfood

“Food is a central activity of mankind and one of the single most significant trademarks of a culture.”
Mark Kurlansky

Thai Chicken Mince Salad | Larb Gai Thai Chicken Mince, Broccoli & Pepper Salad … bursting with fresh, summery flavour, it’s good warm and chilled too. People often ask me if I cook? Obvious question I guess when you see the blogs name with posts to match! However, I do cook. Everyday, and most meals are home made. Loads of chicken with loads of fresh herbs  … that’s our summer! Curries, salads, crispy filets, fajitas, quesadillas, fingers, sliders, wraps, burgers …Cooking chickenThe other day I saw a Thai Chicken Mince Salad drop into my inbox from Bee @ Rasa Malaysia. I didn’t get as far as seeing the recipe then, but the Lap Kai or Thai Chicken Mince Salad stayed in my head. One of those niggling things that you make you reach for pots and pans rather urgently.

herbs and peppersI had everything on hand and a basic recipe in my head. It’s a really simple recipe, inspired by a recipe from the Simple Thai Food Cookbook by talented Leela at She Simmers. The salad came together in a matter of minutes. It’s a great gluten free, low carb option for summer. I returned later to check the recipe on Rasa Malaysia aa knew mine would be radically different! It was.Thai Chicken Mince Salad Larb Gai This was my version of Larb Gai. It was different since Thai cooking uses a lot of galangal but my heart belongs to garlic. I also don’t like fish sauce so it doesn’t figure in my cooking. Larb Gai is often served with sticky rice, or roasted rice powder as in Leela’s recipe. I added some almond meal to soak up extra juices since that was what I had on hand!

Thai Chicken Mince Salad Larb GaiThe marriage of flavours and textures is nice. Sweet, spicy, fresh, exciting. Above all, easy to stir up. Don’t forget to add the roasted rice or almond meal… the nuttiness is addictive. Serve as soon as you stir it up  … in crisp lettuce leaves or with a crisp salad on the side. The ‘now almost off to college teen‘ loved it cold too!

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Baking | Smoked Indian Chicken Curry / Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh … giveaway to end 2013

“People close to me called me ‘Curry in a Hurry.’
I was moving through life at 100 miles an hour trying to further my career and be a great mom and make everyone happy.”
Ann Curry

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka MurghSmoked Indian Chicken Curry / Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh … a simple slow cooked baked Indian chicken curry that makes life on the table seem somewhat easier. I normally cook curries on the stove top. This time was different, and it worked out quite well. Smoking it added a delicious dimension!

Chicken KormacurryI haven’t posted a curry for ages even though I cook them often, including chicken and lamb korma. I’ve recently done a ‘butterless‘ butter chicken and the feedback was great. Mr PAB even commented saying it was better than buttery butter chicken!! At the time I took no pictures as it was still ‘work in progress‘…

Nirlep Anodized CookwareNirlep contacted me and asked if I would like to review any of their products. With a range as varied as Premium Steel Casseroles to a simple sandwich pan, I left it to them. All I asked for was something I could maybe pop into the oven, since I know they do a stove top range. Not that I don’t cook stove top {read I DO ALL THE TIME}, but the baking blog needed a connect!

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh They sent me a beautiful hard anodized handi, so I grabbed a chicken and set to work. The curry is simple as can be. It’s a simple overnight marination which tenderises the chicken. I cook it on the bone, but you can go boneless too if you like. This time I added green chutney to the marinade, some caramelised onions too. Experiment as you like because you never know what will hit the sweet spot!

Caramelised onionsAs all Indian cooking, this curry works on beautiful ‘andaaz‘, eye balling as it is better known. A bit of this, a dash of that, a few green chillies for flavour, maybe a couple of beautiful red ones too. Mix it all in and marinade straight in the pot, and then throw into a low oven the next day. An hour and a half later, you have CURRY, a nice thick wrapped one!!

Smoked Indian Chicken Curry , Dhungaar-e-Dum ka Murgh OR … heat a little clarified butter in the handi / pan {OK you can use oil}, caramelise some finely sliced onions, pick out the chicken pieces from the marinade and cook over high heat to seal the juices and get the pieces beautifully browned. Add the rest of the marinade, give it a quick gentle stir, seal tightly … into the oven again! Of course you could also cook over a very gentle stove top.

Passionate About BakingI have a few idea for the handi. A Basque Lamb Stew, kaali dal, stir fried veggies, Thai green curry, kadhi … all in the pipeline. Maybe a little ambitious but pot bread too. It’s quite cold {read freezing} here these days, so as soon as the weather lets up, it’ll be time to bake bread. Have to keep the yeast monsters happy!

What I love about the Nirlep Ebony Handi / anodized pot…

  • Good quality, feel good pot with a snug lid
  • The handles don’t get hot
  • Heavy duty
  • Convenient ergonomic design which is ideal for sauteing, cooking, heat distribution
  • That it goes from the stove into the oven, and back with ease
  • That you can serve right out of it, fuss free!
  • Easy clean up

So tell me dear readers, what would you make if you had a pot / handi like this? Nirlep will be happy to giveaway a similar pot to a reader of my blog. Additionally, I will add a cookbook from one of my favourite Indian authors and chef Vikas Khanna. He’s a large-hearted, fun, talented guy who is passionate about what he does. I love ‘My Great India Cookbook‘ {one of his 3 cookbooks ranked #1 in India by Gourmand World Cookbook Award 2013}. I figured you might love it too, so I am including it in the giveaway. The giveaway is open to anyone who has an Indian postal address and loves to cook/bake of course!! {Entries close on the 15th Jan 2014}


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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


Baking | Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake … & a Broccoli salad #comfortfood

“From morning till night, sounds drift from the kitchen, most of them familiar and comforting. On days when warmth is the most important need of the human heart, the kitchen is the place you can find it; it dries the wet sock, it cools the hot little brain.”
E.B.White

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake … this was one of those meals made on the trot, rummaging through the fridge, cleaning out whatever I could use. Then came the daughters’ call to her brother,  “Whatever she is making smells REALLY good“. One fork dug deep in later, “Man, this is GOOD! Wow!”

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake It turned out to be an indulgent, comforting meal in a bowl for days like we are experiencing. Cold Cold Cold. Temperatures nearly dipping into the freezer, 1-2° C range, no central heating, hands as cold as ice. Cooking feels good, stirring a pot over a warm fire quite comforting. Chopping is ugh; then again, there needs to be a means to the end I guess. The upside? Loads of fresh winter vegetables. L O A D S!

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake I’ve made the most of mushrooms, bell peppers and broccoli this season. Mushrooms are dicey though as the older teen cannot stand them, so I need to sneak them in. This time they hid under some lovely garlic butter and olive oil, then disappeared deep into Worcestershire sauce! Life does get so delicious sometimes….

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake This was one of those times in the kitchen when I felt like The Pioneer Woman or then the Domestic Goddess. Every pat of  butter, every dribble of cream seemed justified in this incessantly cold weather. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful the kitchen smelt … warm, garlicky, buttery and oh-so-comforting! Sometimes that little bit of extra fat makes life so much more worthwhile.

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake 7The mushrooms were kept veggie company with bell peppers and garlic greens. I love the added flavour garlic greens lend to a dish. Mushrooms and Worcestershire sauce also make for great pairing. I didn’t know that but tasting en-route endorsed it. For that matter rosemary, buttah and chicken make for great bedfellows too.

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake The creamy chicken was meant to be served over pasta, but the kids woke up really late. That meant a late lunch so I figured I could bake it altogether briefly. It’s wonderful how the creamy sauce got into every little crevice of the pasta. A quick grating of mozzarella and a handsome dash of smoked paprika {from Juberfam & Mittal; excellent stuff} made us all sing out loud.

Juberfam & Mittal gourmet products  This is a good one bowl meal, warming, filling, indulgent with some oven roasted potato wedges on the side. Oh, and a warm broccoli salad too. Crisp, full of flavour and really nice. Thankfully, broccoli has ended the battle of the greens with the kids! They know 6-7 florets are ‘mandatory‘; now quite enjoy it. I am yet to win the battle of the cauliflower!

Broccoli SaladThe salad plate is a classic white one from Urban Dazzle. It’s reasonably priced and one that I really really like. Aesthetically designed, slightly tilted and handy to have on hand, it beautifully doubled up as a cake platter on my recent Tea Rose Fondant Cake.

Tea Rose Fondant Cake It’s got a nice rounded base which tends to hold any extra dressing juices. Keeps the salad from getting soggy.

Broccoli Salad The tilt towards the front gives it a good feel. I served a cold potato buttermilk salad in it a few days ago. That is one of our favourites and a great way to enjoy spuds! YUM!

Cold potato salad

Before I go on to the recipe, I’d like to thank Turmeric n Spice for having me over in her series “Inspiration form the Blogging Community“. I truly enjoyed being there.

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Also find me on The Rabid Baker, The Times of India


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