From my cookbook collection: Chicken Jalfrezi

Happy Birthday Bryan (The Official Taste Tester here at The Cook’s Sister)! Today, I’m going to celebrate his birthday by sharing links back to some of his favourite foods that I’ve blogged about and share a new recipe that he was very fond of. Check out some of Bryan’s favourites:

As you can probably tell, he really likes Southwest inspired foods and flavours. But… today I’m going to share a recipe from an Indian food cook book that I received as a birthday gift from my best friend a few years ago.

The book is Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6 from Parragon Books). Why do I love this book? All of the recipes are formatted to fit on one page. There are beautiful pictures of the dish on the 2-page fold. The directions are broken down to be simple and clear. And best of all, everything I’ve made from this book has bee delicious, tasting just as good as the Indian food at our local restaurants (sometimes the recipes are a variation of what we’re used to, but always fantastic). I’ve made the Tandoori chicken, butter chicken, and now, the chicken jalfrezi.

This book has sat on my shelf for a while. I’ve read through and bookmarked recipes of my favourite dishes at restaurants when I first got it. I’ve thought about giving a few things a try, always dismissing it for one reason or another. It looks too time consuming, I don’t have time to marinate the meat, or I don’t want the apartment to smell like curry for a week were a few of my excuses. So, about a month ago, I finally cracked the cookbook, leafed through the recipes I had bookmarked, and decided on one that I would make.

Afterwards, I contacted the publisher to see if I could share the recipe with you (and, as I’m sure you’ve already guessed, they said yes!). And so the cooking began. I’m not very familiar with cooking Indian food, so I made a  trip to the grocery store and stuck mostly to the original recipe. I added some yellow pepper for colour and used fresh grape tomatoes instead of canned tomatoes. The result? A yummy chicken jalfrezi!

This recipe is about a medium-spicy dish. If you want to turn up the heat,  add more tumeric, cumin, coriander, chili powder, and garam masala. Similarly, use less of these ingredients if you want the dish to be more mild.

Do you stick to a recipe when making new dishes? Or do you feel comfortable making substitutions?

Chicken Jalfrezi

Recipe from Cooking School: Indian (ISBN 978-1-4075-6263-6, http://www.parragon.com), posted with permission from the publisher

Ingredients

  • 1 pound /9 ounces /500 grams skinless, boneless chicken thighs (or breasts) – approximate cost $4.50
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.50
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.75
  • 2 teaspoons garlic paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons ginger paste – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2 teaspoon tumeric – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon chili powder – approximate cost $0.10
  • 5 1/2 ounces / 150 grams canned chopped tomatoes – approximate cost $1.10
  • 2/3 cup warm water
  • 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 small or 1/2 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 small or 1/2 large green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch / 2.5 centimeter pieces – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala – approximate cost $0.10
  • Indian (naan) bread or cooked basmati rice to serve – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Cut the chicken into  1-inch / 2.5 centimeter cubes and put in a nonmetallic bowl. Add the lemon juice and half the salt and rub well into the chicken. Cover and let marinate in the refrigerator for about 20 minutes.
  2. Heat 4 tablespoons of the oil in a medium, heavy-bottom saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring frequently, for 8-9 minutes, until lightly browned. Add the garlic paste and ginger paste and cook, stirring for 3 minutes. Add the tumeric, cumin, coriander, and chili powder and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the oil seperates from the spice paste.
  3. Add the marinated chicken, increase the heat slightly, and cook, stirring, until it changes colour. Add the warm water and bring to a boil, Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes.
  4. Heat the remaining oil in a small saucepan or skillet over low heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until browned. Add the bell peppers, increase the heat to medium, and stir-fry for 2 minutes, the, stir in the garam masala. Fold the bell pepper mixture into the curry. Remove from the heat, and serve immediately with Indian bread or cooked basmati rice.

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.80 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Roasted Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Peppers with Thyme

Sunday, Dad decided to come home from the lake early, so I decided to go home for a family dinner (despite that there were already plans for all of us to get together the next day for Nana’s birthday). Because the plans were a bit last minute, dinner consisted of leftover shepherd’s pie that I had made earlier in the week, a few roasted vegetables, and pumpkin pie that dad picked up on his way home.

As usual, I made too much food. I find it hard to plan dinner for six. However, leftovers are always welcome, they get packed into lunches for the next day. And we usually sneak a treat or two to the dogs (they got a taste of Shepherd’s pie – Rascal loved it, Rebel picked out the carrots).

Roasted Zucchini, Mushrooms, and Peppers with Thyme

Ingredients

  • 1 large spanish onion, diced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.20
  • 800 grams button mushrooms, sliced – approximate cost $3.50
  • 2 zucchinis, sliced – approximate cost $2.00
  • 1 green pepper, sliced – approximate cost $1.00
  • 1 red peppers, sliced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 orange pepper, sliced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 1 yellow pepper, sliced – approximate cost $1.25
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil – approximate cost $0.20
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt – approximate cost $0.10
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme – approximate cost $0.15

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat.
  3. Add the onion pieces and cook until softened.
  4. Add garlic and continue to cook until garlic is fragrant.
  5. Remove from heat and transfer to a large baking pan.
  6. Combine onion mixture, mushrooms, zucchini slices, 1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme in the baking pan.
  7. Mix well.
  8. Bake vegetables for 7 minutes (or until  they begin to soften).
  9. Remove from oven and add the peppers and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon sea salt and 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme.
  10. Mix well.
  11. Turn the oven temperature to broil.
  12. Return the vegetables to the oven.
  13. Cook for another 5-7 minutes (or until the vegetables begin to brown).
  14. Remove from oven.
  15. Serve and enjoy!

Makes 8 servings (approximate cost: $1.52 per serving).

Wednesday Link Parties

Cast Party Wednesday

White Lights on Wednesdays

Spinach salad with beets, yellow peppers, and goat cheese

Bryan’s not fond of beets. I happen to enjoy them. So I was looking for ways that I could enjoy beets but easily leave them out of Bryan’s portion of the meal.

Growing up, we always ate beets boiled and topped with salt and pepper. We didn’t have them often, so I never got tired of eating beets the same way time and time again.

So, when trying to decide a new way to incorporate beets into a meal, I talked to Janne, from Livessence. She had mentioned a while back that she makes a salad with beets (apparently I only remember conversations about food), which sounded like a good idea. However, I didn’t really know where to start. Do you use fresh, cooked, or canned beets? Should I put any spices on them? What kind of salad do they go well in?

With some advice from Janne, I decided to make fancy salads with dinner, one with and the other without beets. The resulting salad was a great way to accommodate both mine and B’s taste preferences!

Spinach salad with beets, yellow peppers, and goat cheese

Ingredients

  • 4 bunches of baby spinach – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 can of beets – approximate cost $1.50
  • 1 yellow pepper – approximate cost $1.50
  • 100 grams of goat cheese with herbs – approximate cost $2.00
  • Balsamic vinegar – approximate cost $0.25

Method

  1. Julienne the beets and yellow pepper.
  2. Crumble the goat cheese pieces.
  3. Divide the baby spinach, beets, yellow peppers, and goat cheese into four bowls.
  4. Drizzle each with balsamic vinegar.
  5. Serve and enjoy!

Makes about 4 servings (approximate cost: $1.69 per serving).

Garlic-y Peppers with Mushrooms and Pork Patties

On New Year’s Eve, I had dinner with friends. It was a lovely meal similar to the one in this title. The menu consisted of peppers, mushrooms (a vegetable I tend to avoid), celery and garlic sautéed in olive oil, ground chicken patties topped with Asiago and parmesan cheeses, and jasmine rice. Aside from some quesadillas a friend served me last summer, this was one of the few times I ate (and enjoyed) mushrooms. The meal was so delightful that I tried it myself at home the next week. Unfortunately, my local grocery store didn’t have ground chicken in stock, so I modified the original to use ground pork.

Garlicky Peppers and Mushrooms

The vegetables, in my opinion, are what make this meal. When the vegetables are sautéed (but still a bit crispy), they are delicious! The first time I made this dish, I overcooked the peppers. Since then, I’ve learned to prepare this part of the meal last to ensure the vegetables are still a bit crisp when served.

Ingredients

  • 3-4 stalks of celery, rinsed and chopped – approximate cost $1.00
  • 2 peppers (green, yellow, or red), julienned – approximate cost $2.00
  • 10 crimini mushrooms, chopped – approximate cost $1.50
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced – approximate cost $0.40
  • Olive oil – approximate cost $0.10
  • Salt to taste – approximate cost $0.05

Method

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  2. Sautéedthe garlic for about a minute.
  3. Add the celery and cook for about 4-5 minutes.
  4. Add the mushrooms and peppers (one green pepper and one red pepper) and cook for 3-4 minutes
  5. Remove from heat and add a dash of salt.

Peppers with mushrooms

Pork Patties

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of ground pork – approximate cost $4.00
  • 1 large egg – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs – approximate cost $0.75
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary – approximate cost $0.10
  • 2 teaspoons Parmesan cheese – approximate cost $0.50
  • 2 teaspoons Romano cheese – approximate cost $0.50

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Combine the pork, egg, some breadcrumbs and the rosemary into a large bowl and mix with your hands until well blended (start with a small amount of breadcrumbs and add more to the mixture as needed).
  3. Form the mixture into patties and set on a plate.
  4. Pan fry the patties until the outsides are browned.
  5. Move to a baking dish.
  6. Top with your choice of cheeses (hard cheeses such as Parmesan, Romano, or Asiago work well). Try using more than one type of cheese if you’re feeling adventurous.
  7. Bake for 10-15 minutes (or until cooked through).

Pork patties with rice

Jasmine Rice

Ingredients

  • 1 cup uncooked Jasmine rice – approximate cost $0.25
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt – approximate cost $0.05
  • 2 cups water

Method

  1. Cook rice according to directions on package.

Serve pork patties and vegetables on a bed of jasmine rice.

Makes 4 servings (approximate cost: $2.86 per serving).

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