I had been planning to cook the “chicken puttanesca” in my recipe book for a while. As quoted by one of my friends “it looks very promising!”. The only question “What do I serve along with it?”.. all my Indian friends would understand, as most of us need some form of bread or rice to go with our chicken! So I decided to try my hands at one of my all-time favourites: Mashed potatoes….

 

Recipe 15: Mashed potatoes

Recipe credits: Author of the blog

mashed potatoes

This has to be one of the most indulging forms of food one can have.. and it is very difficult to go wrong with this one.. I mean it has potatoes, potatoes and potatoes mixed with butter and topped with cheese (only a fool can resist this one). Needless to say..  this was the real hit of the evening!!

I researched a bit around this one and read a couple of blogs online but there is no standard recipe so I came up with my own:

 

What you need:

4 big sized potatoes, 4 cubes of grated cheese (approximately half a cup), approx 100 gms of butter, half a cup of milk.

How to make it edible:

Step 1: Boil the potatoes: I usually cut up the potatoes first and then put these in the pressure cooker with enough water to make the potatoes sink in and lock the lid and cook on high flame . After 1 whistle, simmer the flame and wait for 2-3 minutes and remove from flame.

Step 2: Peel off the boiled potatoes (if these are too hot for you, put them under some cold water first) and mash well with a masher.

Step 3: Add the butter and milk and salt and black pepper (to taste) and mash together well to ensure there are no lumps.

At this step.. this is how your potatoes should be looking (no lumps :))

 

Step 4: Put the potatoes in a baking plate and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.

Step 5: Bake in a preheated oven for about 15 minutes at 180 C (this can vary based on how crispy you want your cheese to be, you need to keep a close eye on this one). Its better you conduct this exercise at serving time (this step is optional).

 

Time spent in Kitchen: 30 minutes plus baking time.

Price range of the total cost of all ingredients: INR 150-200

 

Recipe 16: Chicken puttanesca

Recipe credits: Neeta Mehta’s cookbook : 101 international recipes (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/101-international-recipes/id424166669?mt=11)

Chicken puttanesca

 

What you need:

– 250 gm boneless chicken cut into 1″ pieces

– 2 tbsp olive oil

– salt to taste, 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

– 3 tomatoes

– 1 tsp olive oil

– 1 medium onion chopped (1/2 cup)

– 1 tsp crushed garlic, 1 tbsp tomato ketchup

– 4-6 black olives (sliced), 1/2 tbsp chopped green olives

– 1/4 tsp red chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp salt or to taste

– 1 tbsp red wine or water

 

How to make it edible:

1. Blanch tomatoes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCUx9xPZFe8

2. For the sauce, heat 1 tsp oil over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 2 minutes.

3. Add tomatoes, ketchup, olives, salt and red chilli flakes. Mix well.

4. Add the wine and bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and summer covered 15 minutes till thick. Keep sauce aside.

5. Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in another pan. Add the chicken pieces. Add salt and pepper. Stir on medium heat for 2 minutes till it changes color and is no longer pink. Cook, stirring occasionally until chicken is cooked through, about 8-10 minutes.

6. Serve sauce over chicken. Mix gently.

And you are donee!

Somewhere in the midst of cooking the gravy for this chicken you will realise.. “hey! I have made this one many times before”. It is one of those typical onion-tomato gravies that can go well with most things.. pasta, as a base for fried rice, veggies….you name it! See picture below.. and you will know what I am talking about!

I did not deviate much from the recipe but I did go wrong at one place.. I decided to order the chicken instead of picking it up personally from the meat shop and it was not of the best quality so it was a little tough to chew on.

Cooking lesson for next time: Boil the boneless chicken before cooking and ensure that it is cut out from chicken breast (this is the softest part).

 

Personal tweaks: I added some cheese (you know my love for this one), chilli paste and oregano while making the gravy.

 

Time spent in Kitchen: 30 minutes for the gravy and 30 minutes for the main dish.

Price range of the total cost of all ingredients: INR 200

 

Recipe 17: Garlic bread with cheese

Recipe credits: Neeta Mehta’s cookbook : 101 international recipes (https://itunes.apple.com/gb/book/101-international-recipes/id424166669?mt=11)

Garlic bread

Another dish you can not go wrong with!

 

What you need:

– 1 french loaf or any other long loaf of bread

Garlic spread:

– 6 tbsp olive oil or softened butter

– 1/2 cup grated mozarella cheese

– 2-4 crushed flakes of garlic

– a pinch salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp red chilli flakes, 1/2 tsp oregano

 

How to make it toasty:

1. Cut the bread into diagonal slices of 1/2 ” thickness.

2. To prepare the spread, mix all the ingredients in a small bowl

3. Cover all the bread pieces with the spread.

4. To serve, bake in a preheated oven at 200 C for 15 minutes or until the bread turns crisp from the edges and bottom.

And its donee, warm, toasty and garlicy!!

 

Personal tweaks: The recipe in the book is perfect.. I just baked it for less time (5 minutes) as I used regular bread instead of french (that is why my bread does not look as pretty as the one from the picture :p) which has a thinner base.

 

Time spent in Kitchen: 30 minutes including baking time

Price range of the total cost of all ingredients: INR 100-150

 

All this cooking made me super tired.. just a warning if you all are planning on cooking these dishes all on one day .. (like I did)… or maybe I was just having one of those days.. ha! 

Day 9 (March 24, 2013): Mashed potatoes, Chicken puttanesca and classic garlic bread!
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