Kavitha's Pepper Chicken

Posted by Food Auntie On Wednesday, February 10, 2010 0 comments

Pepper Chicken
Cut chicken into large chunks. We used 7 big cups of chicken
7 teaspoons olive oil
2 large onions – Sliced thin
Cinnamon Sticks – 1 stick, 1 ½ inches broken up
Whole Cloves – ½ teaspoon
Fennel – ½ teaspoon
2 large jalapeno peppers, cut in thin strips
Garlic and Ginger Paste – to make the paste, use about 7 ½ cloves & 1 tablespoon of ginger (1 square inch of ginger). Put it all in the blender, add a little water. Make paste (think texture like hummus) editor's note: You can buy this pre-made at most Asian grocery stores.
2 teaspoons turmeric
2 tablespoons crushed black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

Heat olive oil in large saute pan

First add cinnamon, and let it change colors
Add cloves and fennel
Then add onions, then peppers
On high heat, wait for onions to be light brown.
Add chicken
Add about 3 tablespoons of garlic and ginger paste (about tablespoon for every 2 cups of chicken)
Add turmeric powder and crushed black pepper

Mix (Carefully)

Add salt

Cover and turn heat down to medium
Cook about 10-15 minutes (covered)
Stir occasionally
May need to add 1 tablespoon more of pepper about 10 minutes in for darker color
Turn up heat to high because trying to get the water out. (If you want the gravy, that’s okay too)
Each piece of chicken should be coated. Keep stirring until it is that way
Cook another 10-15 minutes on high until water evaporates
You can tell by the smell that there is a right amount of salt and cinnamon and pepper. It smells peppery with cinnamon and the perfect amount of salt
When it is done cooking, it will be a gravy consistency

Kavitha's Chicken Pulav

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Kavitha's huge smile and bubbly personality drew me to her immediately.  That, and the fact that she, like me, loves (I mean, loves) cupcakes.  Below is her recipe for chicken pulav.

A few years ago my girlfriends and I went to my mom's house and she taught us how to cook a bunch of my favorites (while we made her measure everything instead of the usual "pinch of that, a spoon of this").  Here's my mom's recipe for chicken biriyani/pulav. -Kavitha

Chicken Pulav
1 ¾ cup of basmati rice (1 ½ coffee mugs of rice is equal)
4 cups of chicken cut into small cubes (because you are putting chicken in rice, you can use more or less)

Rinse the rice

Prepare to grind in blender, to make a paste:
6 cloves of garlic
1 square inch of ginger. Take the skin out.
2 hot jalapenos
A little onion – about 1 cup of onion cut
A little cilantro – ½ cup

Can add water to grind if need to for blender, then grind. It will be a bright green color (it looks similar to pesto)

Get a pot that will hold about 5 quarts
Hear 6 tablespoons of oil in pot on high

When oil is hot – add cinnamon, fennel, cloves, and onions:
Cinnamon stick – about 1 ½ inches long. Break up stick.
1 teaspoon of cloves
½ teaspoon of fennel seeds
½ large onion cut

When onion is brown, add the paste to the pot

Add 1 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 1/2 teaspoon salt

When the gravy becomes thick (it has probably been on the stove for about 10 minutes on high heat), add the chicken
Let chicken cook for about 10 minutes, and then add the rice and stir

Add 2 ½ cups of water

After about 5 minutes, lower the heat to simmer, and cover (if an oven-safe pot, put entire pot in the oven at 300 degrees)

15 minutes later, stir chicken and rice so that the other half of the chicken is on the bottom of the pot

Migs' Chicken Adobo

Posted by Food Auntie On Saturday, February 6, 2010 2 comments


Mike, Miguel, Miggie, Migs - a.k.a. the heart of our D.C. urban family. I met Migs in the summer of 2003 and immediately fell in love with his sweet nature and easy smile.  Besides being the guy who's always willing to help you move, paint your house, or drive your car to New York, he's an amazing singer and excellent cook.  I got to enjoy both his musical and culinary prowess when he invited a friend and I to dinner at his place a couple of years back.

When we arrived, Miggie had the place decked out.  He had unearthed his best dishes, put out cloth napkins, and lit candles.  And oh, the smells that wafted out of his kitchen!  

"Oh, that's just adobo."   

Just adobo?  Oh honey, no.  This was the adobo.  One bite in and I was hooked.  The chicken was the right balance of salty and sweet and was cooked to tender perfection.  It really, honestly, truly did melt in my mouth.  Served with white rice, it was an explosion of goodness that I have never forgotten.

After dinner, Miggie played the piano and we sang old soft rock hits (my favorite).  We looked at high school prom pictures and laughed until our sides hurt.  When it was time to leave, being the good Filipino boy he is, Miggie offered us his leftovers.   You know that I jumped all over that adobo. 

Chicken Adobo
1 cup of water
1 cup of soy sauce
1.5 cups of apple cider vinegar
4 bay leaves
2 tablespoons of blackcorn pepper (whole ungrinded)
pinch of salt
2 cloves of garlic
1 onion sliced
2 tablespoons of honey
8-10 pieces of uncooked chicken (thawed)

In a pot, mix all of the ingredients except for the chicken and bring to a low boil.  When the adobo sauce starts boiling, add the chicken, and boil on medium heat for about 1 hour. Add honey. Cover the pot with a lid.

Vishal's Keema

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Vishal and I met in college many moons ago when we were both still teenagers.  We would bump into each other as adults - in law school and during first jobs - and have kept sporadically in touch ever since. Below is his recipe for keema, in typical, abbreviated man-style.  :) As you can see from the picture above, many people like to add peas and sometimes cilantro to the dish.

Sautee onions, add ground beef, haldi (turmeric), mirch (green chilis), noon (someone help a sister out!).  Alternatives - include diced tomato or small chopped green bean.

Swapna's Gobi Masala

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Aaloo Gobi (Cauliflower with potato) by rovingI.

This is a super easy dish that works for vegetarians, vegans and even carnivores that may just need a veggie fix! My mom makes this for me every time I visit home so it just makes me think of the cozy feeling when I get to my parent's house.  My mom has super fresh ground spices and vegetables always on hand- I don't. I modified the following recipe so that I can make it within 10 minutes so it includes pre-made and mixed spices that you can just pick up at many grocery stores (i.e. Whole Foods, Central Market, Indian groceries, etc.).  -Swapna

Onion (1/2- 1 whole) diced
Cauliflower (fresh or frozen)- cut
Garam Masala powder (1 teaspoon)
Curry powder (1 teaspoon)
Salt (1/2 teaspoon or to taste)
2-3 tablespoons of oil (olive or canola)
Optional: cilantro to garnish
(can also add peas if you want)

Heat the oil in a pan and add diced onion to fry.  
Throw in garam masala and curry powder and coat fried onions
Add cut cauliflower and mix with with onions and spices until coated and soft
Add water and salt
Let cook for about 5-7 minutes on high heat until water is absorbed
Can cook for slightly longer if you like the curry to be a little firmer and crunchy (I do!).
Optional: can add chopped cilantro and/or peas as well. 
Best served with roti or rice. Enjoy!

Nana's Rice

Posted by Food Auntie On Friday, February 5, 2010 0 comments


My father is from Aleppo, a city in northern Syria.  Aleppan tourism has exploded in the past year, and the world is finally discovering the joys of the city's cuisine.  When my mother and father were first married, they lived with my father's extended family in Dubai.  Under my grandmother's tutelage, Mama learned to cook the deliciousness that is Aleppan cuisine.  One of the dishes my grandmother passed on is rice with meat and spices, topped with pine nuts. 

Many countries in the Arab world have their own spin on this dish.  In fact, I've eaten it often at Lebanese aunties' houses.  I've never known the proper name for it, but I assume it's Riz b'Lahm, which just means "Rice with Meat" in Arabic.  In my house, we called it, "Nana's Rice" because my nana made it. 

Nana's Rice is traditionally made with pine nuts, but I prefer slivered almonds.  The Lebanese aunties I know use butter and and sometimes cumin to flavor the rice, and serve it as an accompaniment to roast chicken.  In my opinion the dish is best enjoyed simply - solo, with salt, pepper, and cinnamon. 

Nana's Rice
1 cup rice
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 lb ground beef
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
slivered almonds

Boil the ground meat in its own juices, separating it with a fork.  When the color changes, drain and keep aside.  Pour the chicken broth, rice, and ground beef into a pot.  Add cinnamon, black pepper and salt.  Bring to a boil and then turn down to medium low.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  In the meantime, fry almonds until brown in a small pot of oil.  Drain on paper towel.  When rice is done fluff with fork.  Mound on a serving platter and scatter almonds on top.  Enjoy!

Pork Indad

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My mother loves to cook, and as a result, I love to eat. My favorite memories of spending time with Mama involve watching her prepare a meal. Sometimes she would let me cut onions and chilis, always warning me not to touch my eye. Bent over the adalo, she would put her whole back into scraping coconut for fish curry.

Mealtime was always a feast at our house. I never knew that other people didn't eat this way until I went to college and watched how others would salivate when I brought back to the dorm bags of cooked food Mama had frozen and kept waiting for me when I visited home.

This food haul would continue through the years. At some point, Mama just started asking me what I wanted to eat, since it was a given she would be cooking for me. I always asked for Pork Indad.

Pork Indad is a Mangalorean and Goan dish. It is a sweet, hot pork curry that tastes so good it will make you want to cry. Mangaloreans eat it at Christmas and other holiday times. At our house, we ate it all the time. The picture above features Indad (the dish at the bottom), as cooked by Mama for Thankgiving 2009.  Below is Mama's recipe, cut and pasted from an email.

Pork Indad

1 pound pork
5 red chillies and 2 green chillies
1/2" ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 medium or 1/1/2 big onions cut into pieces
10 peppercorns
2 cloves and 1/2 inch cinnamon
1 tablespoon full raisins or couple of dates
little tamarind
2 cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon poppy seeds (kuskus)
few mint leaves
1/4 teaspoon turmeric

Grind all the dry ingredients in the coffee grinder. Put the onions in the blender first then put the wet ingredients like, garlic, ginger, green chillies, tamarind, raisins and mint leaves then put the dry ground ingredients. Grind it with vinegar adding little by little, about 3 tablespoons, if needed more liquid add little water (little at a time).

Cut the meat and put a little salt and keep it aside for about half an hour. Fry it in very little oil. In a pot put oil and cut 1/4 of an onion sliced, when it is brown add the masala and fry it on slow fire for a while stirring every now and then. Add about half a teaspoonful sugar. Once it is fried add the masala from the blender and add water to the consistency you want, bring it to a boil and then add the meat and salt, not too much since the meat already has some. Cook until the meat is tender. If you want to add the potatoes you can.

Good luck.

What make coffee grinder did you get? (hopefully Braun)