Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chicken Stroganoff - My lightened up version

I first had Beef Stroganoff on my first date with my future husband. I don't remember which was more memorable; the Stroganoff or "the date"! I guess the Stroganoff, since I don't remember much of "the date", except for the fact they the guy eventually became the "HUSBAND". So something must have gone right.

Coming back to the Beef Stroganoff, it remained one of my favorite dish to order and post marriage we had it at least once a month. With my increasing health issues, eating out became infrequent and the Stroganoff became a pleasant nostalgic memory. Of late, I again started craving for that rich gravy and the tender and almost melt-in-the-mouth beef. Its been nearly 3 yrs that I have given up eating beef, any red meat for that matter, so I tried to find a suitable Stroganoff recipe using chicken. Now a traditional Beef Stroganoff is a rich gravy of onion and mushrooms, white wine, beef stock, heavy cream and the beef is slow-cooked in that gravy, till its tender and melt-in-the-mouth. Finally its finished off with a huge dollop of sour cream and hand-full of fresh parsley. Ans its a whooping 410 calorie, a cup!

And then there  is my Chicken Stroganoff recipe, whose calorie count, I am not aware of. But definitely a lot lighter than its beefy counterpart.

Lets start by prepping the chicken. Cut the boneless, skinless pieces of chicken into bite size pieces and season it with salt, pepper and paprika or Kashmiri chili powder. Coat each piece with all purpose flour liberally and then shake off the excess. Next slice the onions finely and the mushrooms slightly thickly. I used white button mushrooms. But you can use the brown Portobello mushrooms too.

Next, heat 1 tbsp of oil in a non-stick skillet on medium heat and sear the chicken pieces until golden brown on both sides. It takes approximately 5 minutes per batch. 

In the same pan, add the remaining oil and saute the garlic, onions and mushroom till soft. Around 3 minutes.

Now deglaze the pan with half a cup of white wine and half cup of chicken stock. I used Pinot Grigio. Add the Worcestershire sauce and the salt and pepper to taste and a healthy pinch of Nutmeg powder, and let it simmer for a minute. A traditional stroganoff recipe does not use any spices. The beef imparts is robust flavor. Since I'm using chicken, I added a pinch the nutmeg to liven it up a little. If you think otherwise, please avoid the nutmeg.

Tip in the browned pieces of chicken back to the gravy and let it simmer for sometime. The flour from the chicken will help to thicken the gravy. Now its time to add some heavy cream! So we take one-fourth cup of milk and add 2 tsp of whole wheat flour (atta) and mix well. Now add it to the gravy. If there are lumps in the milk-atta mix, strain the mix,before adding. In a a minute, you'll see the gravy thickens and gets a creamy consistency.

Finally, finish it off with a dollop of sour cream! I made my sour cream using 1/4 cup of thick Fat-Free Greek Yogurt and ½ tsp of all purpose flour. The flour prevents the curd from cuddling and gives the gravy its glossy sheen.

Chicken Stroganoff is usually searves on a bed of egg noodles and garnished with finely chopped parsley. But to give it even healthier twist, I served it over a bed of brown rice and garnished with scallions greens instead of parsley. And I wish I had chopped the scallion green little more finely.....

What I used:
Chicken Thighs - 1 lb (skinless and boneless and cut into bite size pieces)
Flour - ½ cup for dusting
Kashmiri Red Chili Powder or Paprika - 1 tsp
Button or Portobello Mushroom - 1 8oz box or 1½ cup sliced
Sweet Onion  - 1 medium sliced
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely minced
White Wine - ½ cup
Chicken Stock - ½ cup
Worcestershire Sauce - 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder - ½ tsp
Milk - ¼ cup
Whole Wheat flour - 2 tsp
Fat-free Greek Yogurt - ¼ cup
Olive Oil - 2 tbsp divided

Sea salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper

What I did:
1. Season the bite sized pieces of chicken with salt, pepper and chili powder/ paprika. Dust them liberally with flour.
2. Finely slice the onions and the mushrooms.
3. Heat a nonstick skillet on medium heat and add 1 tbsp of olive oil and brown the meat on both sides.
4. Deglaze the pan with ½ cup of white wine and ½ cup chicken stock and add the Worcestershire Sauce, salt and pepper and the Nutmeg powder and let it simmer for a minute.
5. Add the chicken pieces and let it simmer for sometime.
6. Add the milk-atta mix and cook for a minute.
7. Finish off the gravy with a dollop of fat-free greek yogurt mixed with ½ tsp of flour.

Diabetic Platter: 
Chicken Strognoff might not be you everyday dinner idea, but on days you want to eat something special, without thinking too much about your fasting sugar the next day, this is your go to recipe. Brown rice gives you the fiber you require and you get the lean protein from the chicken. A spring mix salad on the side and you are happy person.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Pairing Spaghetti with Tandoori Chicken

I had no intentions of blogging about this recipe and hence there are no step-by-step pics. But after having it, I was compelled to do so.

Now, for some Rapid Fire Questions:

Q: What do you do when you have 6 pieces of Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks leftover, from your son's Birthday Party?
A:  You stash  them in a Ziploc bag and throw them in the remotest corner of the freezer, well hidden behind tubs of ice creams.

Q: What do you do, when the Ziploc bag resurfaces after 10 days, because the ice cream tubs has vanished?
A: You stare hard at the bag in disbelief and then do a Google Search "How to use leftover Tandoori Chicken" and get broadly three options: a. Make Tandoori Chicken Sandwich; b. Make the yummiest Butter Chicken; c. Make a Tandoori Chicken Salad

I chose Option B. Not by choice, by compulsion. My pantry had no bread. The last pieces were devoured with coffee for breakfast. And the only greens in my fridge were a few sprigs of Coriander Leaves and Parsley. And I also ran out of the quintessential ingredient for Butter Chicken - Butter!

All said and done, dinner had to be made and quickly. Sam would be in anytime. 

So I took my Korai (Kadai/ Wok) and added exactly 2 tbsp of oil. (Yes! I measure my oil. I am diabetic and that's what my dietitian had suggested, which I religiously follow.)

While the oil heats up, I shred the tandoori chicken drumsticks in to bite sized pieces.

I added 2 cardamoms, 1 small stick of cinnamon, 4 cloves and 1 bay-leaf and let it sizzle a bit.

Then I added 1 finely chopped onions, 4 cloved of minces garlic and around 1 inch piece of ginger grated. I let it fry, covered fora minute or so, till the raw smell was gone.

Next I added salt, 1 tsp of chili powder, 1tsp of coriander powder and 2 heaped tbsp of Tomato Paste. I sprinkles some water to avoid scorching of the masala. I cooked the masala, till it was a gorgeously red thick paste.

Now I take it of the flame and gently mix in some beaten yogurt, around 1/2 cup or so.

Heat is back but gentle, I tip in the shredded tandoori chicken and a cup and a half of water.

I let the gravy come to a gentle boil and then simmer it for 3-4 minutes.

The Butter Chicken is near completion. To do some justice to its name, I added a teaspoon of "I can't believe it's not Butter" to the gravy. A teaspoon of Garam Masala and a generous pinch of Kasoori Methi dressed up the gravy. And then Sam knocked the door. Perfect timing I say. He peeped in the kitchen and the following conversation followed:

Sam: Smells good. Ki baniyecho? (What did you cook)
Me: Butter Chicken
Sam: Good. Sathe ki Porota banachho? (Are you making Parathas to go with it?)
I stared hard.
Sam: Ok. Roti will do.
I stared harder.
Sam: Tahole ki bhaat diye Butter Chicken khabo! (Do you expect me to have Butter Chicken with rice!)
Me: Change koro and haat mukh dhuye aasho (Change your clothes and freshen up)

Having Butter Chicken with Rice is not a crime, but Sam has few mental blocks. He can never have North Indian styles dishes with rice. Butter Chicken, Dal Makhni, Palak Paneer, Punjabi Chole has to be had with roti, Paratha or Naan.

So while Sam freshened up, I boiled some Whole Wheat Spaghetti and tossed it with my Butter Chicken, topped it with some chopped parsley and some grated Parmesan Cheese.

Sam was shocked to see his dinner plate and screamed, "Eta Ki!!" (What is this??)
"Puran Singh meets Mario Batali", I coolly replied.
"Well Done", Sam said as he polished off his platter.