Cooking | Butter Chicken & Punjabi Chole … The Chakle India Cookbook {a book review}

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece.”
John Ruskin

Butter Chicken {Pan fried version}It’s a delicious book on Indian cooking. An almost impish face smiles back at you from the cover, the earnest cook, with a twinkle in his eyes. It’s Aditya Bal the Indian model turned chef stirring up some magic. ‘The Chakhle India‘ Cookbook is based on the most popular food show Indian TV. From the book I offer a quintessential Indian curry – Butter Chicken {Pan fried version}, and a chickpea dish – Punjabi Chole.The Chakle India CookbookI looked at the book with initial skepticism as I don’t follow too many TV cookery shows. Took it along when I went to pick up the older teen from detention! {Yes that happens too as she didn’t submit a project in time. She had completed it but forgot to submit it!}! I love the lessons school can teach that we can’t! Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookGot there 30 minutes early armed with the book; it was the most fruitful 30 minutes I’ve spent of late. It was an instant connect! He seemed warm, real, ‘talked’ to with you, a peoples person, had a wonderful rapport and was entertaining. Explains why he runs the most popular food show!Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookFood is good when it is real, when stories are woven around it, when you know where they are coming from and what influences the style … a face behind the name makes it even better! Not so long ago we met Shamita, Ms India Universe, at the Four Seasons Wine Tasting event and marveled at how grounded she was. More recently we got ‘up close and personal‘ with one of India’s top chefs Saby at the Olive Bar & Kitchenanother fabulous person!Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India Cookbook Haven’t met Aditya but already feel like I know him a li’l bit. He talks fondly of growing up in Kashmir {I love Kashmir and it is on my list of places to revisit but with the hub}. I have beautiful memories of Srinagar which we visited as kids; Aditya stirred those up beautifully.Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookThe author lived an idyllic life in Srinagar, the culinary side reflected by Wazwan, potlucks, Sunday roasts reminiscent of his maternal grandmothers cooking; then had an unfortunate displacement from the state he loved due to civil unrest. He modeled for a few years and eventually found his calling in food. The book is packed with recipes from different corners of India, reflected in the title Chakle India {literally translates into Taste India}…Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookI love the simple explanations, the ‘deglazing’ of the pan now and then, asking you to check the balance of flavours, taking in the magic of Indian spices. Other “foodies” like Chantal Royer do a great job at analyzing some of the traditional Indian spices from her travels.  For all you meat lovers there, there is plenty of ‘meaty goodness’ that he tempts you to try. I made butter chicken from his book when I got home.
Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookWhy Butter Chicken? Because it is one of India’s most popular dishes, the kids love it, I haven’t made a ‘butter’ laden butter chicken in ages, it was the weekend, there was no electricity and the recipe was a pan fried version, it uses fresh tomatoes which are in abundance … more simply, because I wanted to!Butter Chicken {Pan fried version} from The Chakle India CookbookIt’s a good, homey, comforting recipe … a nice balance of flavours, not like the original butter chicken as that uses oven baked tandoori chicken, but finger licking good nevertheless. The son asked for it 2 days in a row! I make a low fat version often, yet to be blogged, but for now this version is for you!Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookThere are plenty of vegetarian recipes too. I reached for the book a second time as I had chickpeas soaking for a salad for the dieting diva. Made the Punjabi Cholas and they were fabulous! Loved the astoefitida {hing} in them, and also loved that it didn’t use commercial chana masala. I served them with boiled rice but they would taste great with flatbread too, or just as a snack.Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookNice to see a book with seemingly more emphasis on the meaty dishes, yet one that offers a liberal dose of vegetarian main course and snacks. The dessert section is SWEET! I have my eye on a mango kheer which I find rather intriguing and haven’t heard of before! Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookPick up the book and you’ll find it easy to cook from it. The ingredients are simple pantry staples and the methods aren’t cumbersome. Some recipes do appear long with many ingredients and instructions … a little complicated but really aren’t. The only downside, if ever so slightly there is one, is the pictures. I like my food photographs to show the dish from a short distance to get a better idea of the dish. Most frames are shot really close up, though there are plenty of them. Chola Masala from The Chakle India CookbookThe book is a delicious take on homey, comforting and make-able Indian cuisine, food from the heart, flavours that speak for themselves and the energy to make you want to cook! It’s a good addition to my ever growing collection of cookbooks.

Thank you for Anushree for sending me a copy to review. I really enjoyed the book!

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

Baking| No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza… Where Jim Lahey finds What Katie Ate!

No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza This was a pizza waiting to be made and I’m not sure what took me so long to get here. It’s a summer pizza, or maybe spring if that’s the season you are in. Light, crisp airy crust, minimum sauce and happy toppings! I’ve had Jim Laheys No Knead pizza dough bookmarked for ages, and then one day I read a post on What Katie Ate and there she had the most inspirational food flooding her beautiful blog. It was time for No Knead Pizza with Buttermilk Chicken.No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza I’ve read only good stuff about Jim Laheys No Knead Pizza Dough and the temptation was too much a few days ago. How luxurious can a foodie feel if she has a slow rising dough sitting out on the counter, made kneaded stirred together the previous evening. I hopped out of bed and raced to see if had risen… and of course it had!No Knead Buttermilk Chicken PizzaInspiration came from Katies delicious blog. That buttermilk chicken pizza stayed in my head for a few days. After stirring the pizza dough, I dunked the chicken in the buttermilk mustard mix to enjoy a slow overnight marinade. Love make ahead bits of recipes!! No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza The rest happened the next morning. I stirred up a a quick pizza sauce, trying to keep it minimalistic, enough to perk the base and chicken but not too overpowering. Just chicken on top is good if you use a pizza sauce like in Katies recipe, but since I had no sour cream, watercress, walnuts etc, I added some bell peppers and onions  … cheese of course!No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza Nom Nom Nom! Mr PAB declared this was the best one yet, almost like a wood fire pizza we had a while ago, one which has always been the benchmark for comparison. Great thin crisp crust, beautiful blend of flavours, delicious subtle chicken. Did I forget to tell you I pickled some red & green chilies the other day? They went on top as well! Even the ‘now threatening to be quite terrible‘ preteen munched them up as they weren’t too hot!No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza The vegetable vendor had packed me a bag of red and green chilies the other day, knowing how much I love vibrant colours. Got home and looked at my now almost empty bottle of quick pickled cucumbers that I made for the DB Dutch Crunch Bread or Tijgerbrood … the chilies could would go in there.No Knead Buttermilk Chicken Pizza Snipped with my kitchen scissors in a matter of minutes, they were soon submerged in the mix of white vinegar, a dash of sugar and salt. They sat in the fridge and two days later we enjoyed nice tangy peppers. Makes a nice addition to sandwiches and wraps, and a great topping for pizza. Nice and zingy, mildly hot too! I sometimes smash a clove or two of garlic and throw it in!

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

Savoury | Truly Tender Meatballs in a Rich Tomato Sauce … #comfortfood

“Everything you see I owe to spaghetti.”
Sophia Loren

Spaghetti & MeatballsIt’s been a while since I posted something savoury here on PAB. A link  that I followed after posting my #pieformikey led me to the beautiful Food52. There was this huge connect I felt; loved the honest to goodness style of posting. Meandering around with Jennifers voice playing in my head , don’t wait for tomorrow, my eye caught a link to Spaghetti and Meatballs… there was going to be no waiting now!
Spaghetti & Meatballs Delving deeper and deeper I landed up at this tried and tested recipe for Truly Tender Meatballs in Rich Tomato Sauce by lastnightsdinner that promised the best meatballs ever in a rich tomato sauce. I knew I had to make this without wasting another day … the tiresome teen had been begging me to make some for ages. Heed Jennifers advice … do it now!
Spaghetti & Meatballs This has entered my recipe folder as one of the BEST.COMFORT.FOODS.EVER! We are a family that love our food, be it the healthy version of Indian Butter Chicken, Pizza {with Peter Reinharts pizza dough}, Chicken Quark Crossover PastryThai Chicken Satay {not blogged yet but made recently & it was delicious} … Spaghetti & Meatballs… or then this version of spaghetti & meatballs. I’ve made meatballs before but these turned out to be the best to date. I think it was the ricotta in there AND a great recipe!!Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs Tell me dear readers, do you have a favourite bunch of comfort food main meal recipes you reach out for over and over again? Would love you to share the links with me.

 

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



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