A few months back, Meena at Elephants and The Coconut Trees asked me to do a Guest Post, and I jumped at the chance... of course, I also knew I'd be able to twist her arm into doing one for me too (which was HUGE motivation). I don't know how we first fell into each other's cyber lives, whether Meena found me or I found her - but here we are...
Meena's food and photography is authentic and appealing on so many levels. There's something artful in her photography that makes each recipe an event, her gentle musings add to the atmosphere and the recipes themselves will make you wish she was your best friend, lived next door and was always inviting you over to dinner.
I shall stop rambling on about how wonderful she is, and let you see for yourselves... over to you (and the simply GAWJUS recipe you've created... I just want to drop my face into the bowl and inhale!!!), Meena...
I feel so honored to do a guest post for such a popular blog. A space where I cannot decide which is my favorite recipe. Everything you cook looks so drool worthy. How do you do make it so appealing always! Thank you so much for the opportunity Abbe.
Hello lovely readers, I am Meena the owner of the blog - elephants and the coconut trees. I am from India, currently living in California United States with my husband and daughter. Needless to say I am a complete foodie ready to try any new dish (drawback of not being a picky eater :)). of late my family thinks I eat, drink and breathe recipes :). Growing up, our family gatherings were always centered around feasts. By feast I mean 24 -30 dishes served in small portions in different courses on a plantain leaf including 2-3 really runny desserts. It requires a lot of skill to see that not even a morsel goes out of the flat leaf :). Only after marriage I started to really cook it was a struggle in the initial days... I must say it took a lot of perseverance in perfecting Indian cooking where masalas, texture and consistency play a crucial role and determine the pass or fail of a dish.
What/who inspired you to become a good cook?
I guess moving to the U.S, lack of easy access to my native food and too much browsing :) staring at good food all the time all led to better cooking.
Do your family love your food or do they have different tastes?
My herd loves what I cook when it is super spicy, non vegetarian or baked stuff but Indian vegetarian is a big no no for my daughter.
Why do you blog about food? Do you enjoy it? Does it fit into your life or do you have to make time for it?
We have lived most of the time away from our country so my daughter has no idea what is usually cooked in our homes so I began this blog just for her sake.Some day when she takes up serious cooking she will at least know the name of the dishes :) or identify by the pic is my hope. I do enjoy blogging and spend some time taking pictures. The blog does fit into my life because I cook dishes we love to have and never to feed the blog.
Do you eat out or do you prefer to cook at home? If you do eat out, where is your favourite place to go for a meal?
Never miss a chance to eat out. Oh Red Lobster! now the waitresses almost know us personally :)
What food could you not live without?
Rice and yogurt.
What food do you hate and why?
Oats ...I just don't like the slimy texture in porridge. I find it hard to swallow in dry preparations.
What is your "must have" piece of kitchen equipment that you couldn't do without?
Coffee grinder, it works like a charm when it comes to Indian masalas.
What piece of kitchen equipment would you love to have?
Abbe. ..don't ask me, the wish list is endless :)
What's your favourite recipe that isn't your own?
Savory Layered Cake (similar to a layered meat pie)
What are your five favourite recipes that are your own?
Purple Potato Salad with Grapefruit Vinaigrette (seen in the pic below)
I hope you like my recipe (below), I can't wait to hear from you lovely people out there.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Shahi Chicken Korma Recipe
Shahi (Royal) Chicken Korma is a famous dish from the Mughlai Cuisine. The Mughlai dishes are very rich with aromatic spices, nuts, dry fruits. The gravies are mildly spicy and usually nut based or cream based. I have used cream based here.Marinating the chicken with the spices is the key to a good korma. So marinate the chicken and powder the masala the previous day (using homemade masala brings all the flavor to the dish). Then next day u just need to make the gravy and cook the chicken thats all. The recipe is very forgiving so you can play around with the spices a little bit. So here is my take on the extremely easy recipe.
Chicken thighs- 6 pieces( cut into 4)
Chili powder-1 tsp +1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp (or to taste)
Marinate the chicken pieces and keep aside for 40 minutes-1 hr or refrigerate overnight
Onion - 1 1/2 sliced finely
Tomato paste- 1 1/2 tbsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Green chili -1
Heat 2- 3 tsp of cooking oil in a pan and saute onions, ginger garlic paste and green chili till transparent then add tomato paste and 1/2 glass water let it simmer till all the water dries up.Do it on low flame. When cool grind to paste.
Dry roasting: ( Masala Powder) (If you prefer milder version use only as required)
Coriander seeds- 11/2 tsp
poppy seeds- 1 tsp
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp
Cumin -1/4 tsp
Whole red chili- 1
Cinnamon- 1 small piece
Heat an empty pan on very low flame and dry roast the masalas in it. When the poppy and coriander begins to slightly change color remove, cool then powder it.
NOTE: Dry roasting of masala is done to warm up all the aromas in the spices.Do not add any oil to do this step.
Heavy cream/ fresh cream -1/3 cup
Coriander leaves- head of 6-7 strands chopped
1.When everything is ready dump the chicken ,onion paste and the masala powder into the pressure cooker, mix and cook on lowest flame for first 10 minutes loosely covered. Let it simmer for another 20 minutes adding 1 glass water (enough to cover and cook).Finally raise the heat and allow 1 whistle to come(optional).I do this as I like the meat really tender.
2. Let the pressure come down when u open the pressure cooker add 1/3 cup fresh cream and sprinkle with coriander leaves.Serve hot.
Serving suggestion - Goes well with plain cooked Basmathi rice, chapattis or any flat bread u like.Serve a raita / Salad along with it.
NOTE: If you are using a regular pot for cooking then cook on a low flame until the chicken is cooked well and the gravy has reduced enough.
Annnnnd it's ME again - Thankyou soooo much, Meena for this absolutely stunning recipe. I will most definitely be giving this a go at the earliest opportunity. If any of you would like to follow Meena at Elephants and The Coconut Trees, she has all the usual social media buttons at her website. I hope you've all enjoyed this as much as I have!