Potato and optional aubergine – it’s not really a curry, but it kind of is.

I have a new recipe! Actually, it’s a recipe that was requested by the lovely Monksfist. His request was something utilising potatoes, so here it is!

Now, I tried to take a picture of ALL the ingredients needed first, but I forgot the spices for the aubergine. Below is nearly everything you need for this recipe. As always, I’ll list ingredients and measurements as I go through it.

Firstly, you will have to cube 4 medium sized potatoes to the size of a garlic clove. What is that, 1 inch? Maybe, here’s a picture:

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Okay, so maybe not the exact same size, but you know what I mean. When you have cubed all four potatoes, put them in a bowl until it nearly overflows and set them aside:

The aubergine in this recipe is completely optional. I put it in because I had it, but you don’t have to. If you don’t want to put it in, then skip this step. If you have a big aubergine, like I did, then only use half of it. If your aubergine is small, you can use the whole thing. Slice the aubergine into 2 inch thin strips. Remember, the aubergine will shrivel up slightly when it’s cooked, so don’t slice it too thin. Once you have done this, set this aside as well:

Now, in a wok (or something that looks like a wok), you’re going to fry the potatoes very lightly in sunflower oil, on a medium-low flame. You shouldn’t fry it until it’s brown, but fry it a little bit so it retains its firmness. I did this step in level-layered batches, to make sure all the cubes of potatoes had equal amounts of fun splashing around in the oil. Those party goers… Also, I lowered the potatoes into the oil using a spoon. I’m notoriously known for burning myself with oil:

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Whilst the potatoes are having fun frying, season the aubergines with a little bit of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/2 teaspoon of red chilli powder. Only if you want the aubergines in it. If you don’t, then this step is pointless and now that aubergine you’ve seasoned will have to be used. I tricked you! Maybe…

The potatoes should be fried until they are firm, not until they are brown. They can be brown on the edges, but not everywhere. Take them out and let them sit on a kitchen towel:

In the same oil used for the potatoes, fry the aubergines until they’re brown. Very brown, like me! Whilst they are frying, slice 1 onion, until you cry a bucket of tears:

Now, reducing the amount of oil in the wok to about 2 tablespoons, add 1/2 teaspoon of mustard seeds, 3/4 teaspoon of cumin seeds, 5 dried red chillies (optional/you can change the amount), a little stick of cinnamon and 2 stalks of curry leaves. WARNING: curry leaves pop violently when you fry them, as if you’ve shown them all the bad things they have done in their past and they want to take out full revenge on you. Be careful! Stir this for about 10 seconds and then add the sliced onion. Fry until the onions brown a little. In this time, chop 4 green chillies diagonally (amount can be changed) and slice six cloves of garlic. Yes, I said six. Trust me on this:

Tip: To get rid of that garlic smell from your hands, wash it with a lemon or rub your hands on a stainless steel spoon. You can come back and thank me. When the onions turn brown, add the garlic, stir, then add the green chillies and stir again:

Now, you can add the spices! Add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon of red chilli powder and salt to your taste. I adjusted the salt a few times. Once added, stir everything well until all the ingredients are well coated with the spices:

Add about 1/3 of a tin of chopped tomatoes. I don’t know if it’s me, but in the picture I took below, the tomatoes look pink. It wasn’t pink in real life, I guess it’s just the lighting. If it was pink, I’d be very worried. But it wasn’t! Or was it… Mix the tomatoes in well, then add 3 tablespoons of water and mix again until everything is well incorporated:

Make sure the spices are cooked out and it’s not too sharp in the mixture. This should take about 5 minutes of simmering. Keep an eye on it. Once the 5 minutes are up, add the potatoes and stir well. Add the juice of 1/2 a lime and cover it with a lid, so the water can reduce. Keep the flame low and cook until the potatoes are soft and cooked through:

When the potatoes are cooked through and the water is reduced out, the dish is done! Add the aubergines, as a garnish, and voila:

Hope you guys enjoy this, it really does taste bombsauce! If you have any recipe requests, send them to ninjaeatsfood@gmail.com and I’ll get back to you 🙂

Don’t dream about dinosaurs balancing potatoes on their heads. They can’t and it upsets them a lot. This dream happened. Okay, bye!

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Fusion food. Never complain.

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Lemon rice and salmon sambal. What? Lemon rice is literally that, with dried red chillies and spices. It’s a rice dish from South India. Salmon sambal is not typically made in Malaysia (where the dish is from); you find chicken and shrimp usually. Salmon sambal is a family recipe, made with tomatoes, onions and a particular type of red chilli, and I adore it! No one ever mixes the two together…except me. Student life – students never complain! And why would I complain when I have this deliciousness in front of me?

Recipe: Chicken Lollipops…how unfortunately named.

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stupidchicken.com

*pop* Hello! I finally have a recipe to share with you that I think you’ll like. But it has a weird name…or maybe it’s just me? I think Chicken Lollipops just sounds weird, but it tastes good and that’s all that matters. Personally, if it were up to me, I would have called it Bobble Chicken. Hmm, maybe not.

I’ve tried this recipe twice and it turned out bombsauce on both occasions, so you have to love it. You’ll make me cry, otherwise. Also, I took pictures step-by-step, so you can see exactly what I did and how it turned out at the end. You know, eat with your eyes and whatnot. Oh, before I begin, I’d like to thank my sister and brother-in-law for allowing me to use them as guinea pigs. Muahahaha…ha.

Okay, so here we start. Like my Chicken Hyderabadi Biriyani recipe, I’m going to talk through all the steps required to make this awesomeness. You’ll find out what ingredients are used along the way.

So in this metal bowl thing I have about 11 chicken wings. I recently learnt that this isn’t actually the wing, but it’s the niblet. But here in the UK, everyone calls it the wing. However, some butchers do call it niblets, so double-check. This recipe can accommodate 8-12 wings. Make sure before you start, you wash the chicken with salt. Salt?! Yes, salt. It’s meant to be good and, to be honest, I don’t really know the reason behind it. My family does it, so I do as well. I’m aware of this debate about washing chicken. On the pro side, people say that it’s good to get rid of any unwanted residues that may be on the chicken itself, however people also say washing chicken can cause cross-contamination (bacteria gets around your sink, etc). In my opinion, if you have good kitchen hygiene, there is no reason to not wash chicken. But, if you really don’t like it, you don’t have to. (Yes you do, do it).

The concept of the Chicken “Lollipop” just lies in the way you cut it. The aim is to cut around the thinner end of the wing/niblet, like I have done so below. Make sure you have a sharp knife.

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Once you have cut around the thinner end of the wing/niblet, stand it up so the cut end is at the top. If you try to make it stand up without holding it, you’re a genius. Push the chicken (not the bone…) down towards the fatter end. What you should end up with is something that literally looks like a lollipop, hence its unfortunate name.

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Continue these steps until you have done it to all of your chicken wings/niblets. Now it’s the fun part! (…I live a sad life). Add the following ingredients:

Turmeric – 1/3 of a teaspoon.

Salt – depending on your taste. I have used 1/2 a teaspoon since I washed the chicken with salt already.

Coarse black pepper – a level teaspoonful. If you don’t have coarse black pepper, you can use powdered black pepper. I’d only add 1/2 a teaspoon in this case. I wouldn’t suggest adding white pepper powder.

Cornflour – 1 and a half tablespoonful.

All-purpose flour – 1 level tablespoonful.

Red chilli powder – 1 teaspoonful. You can substitute this with paprika powder, using the same amount. If you’re using Kashmiri chilli powder, use more! Add less if you’re scared.

Ginger and Garlic paste – 1 and a half heaped teaspoonful!

Dark soy sauce – 1 tablespoonful. You can choose to use either light or dark. Dark soy sauce is less saltier than light soy sauce, however it has more of that umami flavour. Also, it’s used to deepen the colour of foods. If you don’t have dark soy sauce, use light. I have heard of all-purpose soy sauce; I’ve never used it myself but I don’t think it’s going to be harmful to this dish. If it is, let me know. I’ll send you an oops card.

Coriander powder – 1 level tablespoonful. This cannot be substituted. No, no exceptions. Coriander powder makes this dish what it is. It’s like taking Jesus out of Christmas. You do remember what Christmas is about, right…?

Cumin powder – 1 teaspoonful.

Egg – 1 medium-sized.

Optional: Sri Lankan curry powder – 1 teaspoon. You can find this at most Sri Lankan/Indian shops. However, I know it’s not widely available and there are certain brands I think are legit and some which are not, so don’t worry if you can’t find this. I tried this recipe with and without Sri Lankan curry powder and it turned out delicious both times. Trust me on this one.

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Once you have all these ingredients in the bowl, mix it nicely. Make sure the chicken is coated well. If your mixture is too dry, add some water. If it’s too wet, don’t worry, it should be OK. If you’re not convinced, add a bit more all-purpose flour.The two pictures below are of the same batch of marinated chicken lollipops – they’re taken in two different lights – in case you freak out because yours doesn’t look the same as mine. Ninja, the unfreaking-out…er. *sigh* don’t judge me.

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Next, wrap it in cling film and leave it in the fridge for a minimum of 20 minutes. Overnight would be ideal. Once it has marinated, fry it in small batches until it is golden brown, with a tinge of red.

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In the picture below, I’ve fried some green chillies, shallots and curry leaves to adorn the dish. You know, make it look nice and stuff. Like chicken makeup.

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There you have it! Chicken Lollipops. If you have a better name for it, let me know!

If you would like to find out more about some of the spices used in this recipe, check out my previous post. Also, if you have any feedback or anything you’d like me to post, send an email to ninjaeatsfood@gmail.com and I will definitely get back to you.

Hope you enjoy! *pop*

Hyderabadi Chicken Biryani – simplified!

Fancy it up with some lemon and mint leaves!

So simple, yet full of flavour!

In the past, making biryani was a big no-no. Why? Because there is so much that usually goes in to it. The Mughal Emperor’s cooks created this dish for their men, as it had the meat, rice and spices that would be expected in a meal, but in one dish. Back then, it probably consisted more of mutton, but chicken was primarily adopted when the dish arrived in India. It is so versatile – you can have anything in it; fish, lamb, prawns, vegetables etc. It is such an underrated, beautiful dish that embodies such aromatic flavour. But nowadays, you can get it for as little as £2.00 a portion. I never had the time to make it properly; mainly because I didn’t have  the appropriate cooking equipment needed.  However, I do not need to! Why? Oh, you ask so many questions! I’ll tell you anyway – the recipe I’m about to tell you is so much more simplified without withdrawing from the flavour of a true biryani! Yes, you can find packet biryani mix out in Asian shops, but that’s not the real deal. This is.

Now, I would usually list the ingredients down first before explaining the method, but I’m not going to this time. I’m going to explain how to cook this deliciousness, together with what is need and how much of it. If I list the ingredients first, you’ll be overwhelmed. But once you see how simple it is, you’ll understand. Trust me on this one!

So, here we go:

First, you need to get a pan of water to the boil. Into this water, you need to add an Indian bouquet garni. What’s this? It’s simple, that’s what it is. All you need is a small cheese cloth/muslin cloth and place 3 black cardamoms, 6 green cardamoms, 10 cloves, pinch of around 7-10 peppercorns, 3 bay leaves and a stick of cinnamon. Tie it up and that is your Indian bouquet garni. Throw this into the water that you’re trying to bring up to a boil and also add 1 teaspoon of caraway seeds and 1 teaspoon of salt  into the water. Not into the bouquet garni.

Next, you need to soak some rice. Now, it is so important to use good quality rice. The rice is going to embody the full flavour of the marinated chicken, spices and herbs so it needs to be top-notch. I tend use some good basmati rice. Soak about 1 and a half cups of basmati rice in anything but hot water, for 20 minutes. Think of this as preparing the rice to capture those flavours!

Now we can marinate the chicken to make it succulent and yum! I normally use a whole chicken and cut it myself, but you might not want to do that yourself. You can find pre-cut chicken virtually anywhere – but make sure it’s with the bone, and not boneless. There is so much flavour to chicken on the bone and it almost has a stock-like effect on the biryani. If you can’t stomach chicken on the bone, you can opt for boneless chicken, but really try to buy it on the bone.

You want to place this chicken, along with the following ingredients, into a pan that can go on the stove. The pan needs to be large enough to contain all of the biryani in it; you’re going to cook the whole shabang in this pan. Now with this chicken in the pan, you need to add the following. It may seem like a lot, but it’s so worth it! Add in 2 tablespoons of ginger and garlic paste, 1 tablespoon of red chilli powder, salt according to your taste, 1 cup of thick yoghurt, 1 teaspoon of garam masala, 1 teaspoon of green cardamom powder, brown (fried and cooled) onions, 4 teaspoons of ghee, 2 tablespoons of freshly chopped coriander, 10-12 mint leaves and finally (!) 2 broken green chillies. A few things about the ingredients just listed – it is vital that the yoghurt is thick. It makes such a difference to the tenderness of the chicken. The onions – that’s optional, but it makes it yummy. Just fry some onions in any oil (except olive oil) until they are very brown. Drain away any excess oil and let it sit to cool down. All the spice powders can be found in most Asian shops. It also adds to the authenticity! Mix the chicken with the listed ingredients until it is well incorporated. Then add 1 teaspoon of turmeric and the juice of one lemon and mix again. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes.

The rest is easy now.

When the water starts boiling (not rapidly, but starting to), add the rice. Keep stirring the rice once you have added it in so it cooks evenly. We only want the rice to be cooked 3/4 of the way, not fully. If we cook it fully, then the biryani will be mushy and soggy. You can tell when the rice is 3/4 cooked by the way it feels. It almost crumbles in your hand when you try to squeeze it. Just take a few grains and see how it feels. Cooking is all about intuition 😉

Once the rice is 3/4 cooked, layer half of it onto the marinated chicken. Don’t worry too much about the water that sneaks in with the rice, it’ll only add moisture. Just try to get rid of as much as you can. On top of the rice, sprinkle coriander, mint, brown onions, garam masala powder, saffron soaked in milk, a little more ghee and green cardamom powder. Then add the rest of the rice on top. Straining the second batch of rice will probably help. You can throw away the bouquet garni; we’ve stolen all its flavour XD

Now put the pan on a medium flame. The lid needs to create an air-tight effect. If the lid of your chosen pan is a little loose, make a simple flour dough (flour and water) and stretch it around the top of your pan and close the lid tight. This should help build up steam and heat within, to add to the moisture of the biryani.

After about 15 minutes, you should see steam escape from the top. This means it’s ready! Once you see this steam, lower the flame and keep it on for another 5-8 minutes.

Ta da! All done. I know, it seems like a lot. But when you actually get to trying it out for yourself, you’ll see how easy it really is!

Until next time, have an awesomesauce day!

Review – Milan, Birmingham.

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Milan Sweet Centre, in Birmingham UK, positions itself in the middle/end of Soho Road. To be completely honest, I have no idea where Soho Road begins/ends, I’m not from Birmingham (Ima London gurl, init bruv). Forget where it is – there’s Google Maps for that. Let me come down to my experience.

My friend and I didn’t plan to eat here, it was somewhat of a happy coincidence. For some reason, she was vegetarian on that particular day and the only vegetarian place we could find was Milan. From the outside, it doesn’t look like anything fancy. It seemed like a normal shop, selling Indian sweets, street food and casual meals. I say casual because most people in India eat dosas and idlis for breakfast! I instantly saw what I had been craving for in the menu – Pau Bhaji. It’s almost like an Indian ratatouille – made with potatoes, pulses, beans and various spices. It’s served with Pau (buttered burger buns to me and you). One of my best friend’s Mum makes amazing Pau Bhaji, so I was expecting nothing short of that.

I can’t speak on behalf of my friend, however. She could eat a unicorn and say it was the best meal on Earth. But my Pau Bhaji. Oh. Sweet. Mother. Of. Neptune. It was delicious! Perfect amount of food – diced red onions just added that extra mmm. Followed with my Mango Lassi (which I do not usually drink)…A-star!

A humble restaurant, with friendly staff and incredible food at a purse-friendly price! Would I go there again? Not even a question!

Have you been to Milan? What did you think of the food? Comment below with your own reviews!

Until the next time…have an awesomesauce day!