Friday, November 27, 2015

Friday Food for the Soul: Yummy Achari-Kadhai Chicken.

The past month has been really busy and the coming month is going to be busier...
the blog is neglected and so is my freelance work, but hey-my only brother getting married is a BIG deal, right? So please excuse my absence from the virtual world, and do send the newlyweds some of your love and bestwishes!
Till then I hope you enjoy this quick chicken dish that I tried a while back, which left me licking my fingers!

This is a semi-dry chicken dish with not much gravy, but whatever gravy there is, is absolutely lip-smacking delicious with the tang of lemon and the smoky-achari flavor of kalonji.


1 full chicken, trimmed and cut into pieces (about 700-800 gms)
refined oil- 5 tbsp
2 onions- sliced thinly
onion seeds (kalonji)-1/2 tsp
coriander powder- 1 tsp
red chilli powder- 1/2 tsp
turmeric- 1/2 tsp
ginger and garlic paste- 1 tbsp
salt- 1 tsp
dried methi leaves- 1 tsp
curry leaves- 5-6 leaves
1 large capsicum, cored, deseeded and cubed
Lemon juice- 1 tbsp
fresh cream- 1 tbsp

1- Heat oil in a kadhai and add the onions, saute for a minute.
2- Once the onions become transluscent, add the kalonji seeds and curry leaves- saute for another minute.
3- Lower the heat and add the the ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, chilli powder, and coriander powder....stir so it becomes fragrant but doesn't stick to the bottom of the kadhai. 
4- Add the chicken and salt and stir fry on low heat for 10-15 minutes.
5- Now add the capsicum, mix and cook for another 5 minutes
6- Squeeze in the lemon juice and add the methi leaves, and cook till the chicken is tender.
7- Garnish with fresh cream and serve piping hot with naan or tandoori roti.

For pinning on Pinterest!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

November 2015 Desktop Calendar.

Been missing in action coz of some family commitments, hence the delay in putting up my Desktop Calendar for you.
But here is a quick sketch for you and your desktop...

hope you like it!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wednesday Watercolor: a tribute to the graceful saree

I am back with my #100 Saree make 100 saree illustrations and glorify the graceful garment.
here is my 7/100 illustration...
I know I am going real slow but I am getting there!! :-)

Saturday, October 3, 2015

October 2015 Desktop Calendar...

I am swamped with projects and the kids exams, and irritable and demanding clients....
hence the neglect of my blog and long disappearing acts!
But no matter what, I couldn't just let go of my promised Desktop Calendar.
This time I wanted to do a watercolor and that also of my favourite animal....
Tiger Tiger, burning bright...
in the forest of the night... :)
This watercolor is inspired by a photograph taken by a dear friend, a naturalist and a passionate lover of animals...
Ratna Singh... this one's for you!
for a high resolution image to save for yr desktop, pls click on the photo and save as desktop image.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Eid Mubarak with Friday Food for the soul: Bakre ka Saalan (Mutton Gravy)

Today's Bakra-Eid is not a very joyous one... lost an excellent young officer in the station a day back..
Everyone is still coming to terms with that, esp with his wife expecting thier first child...
May God rest his soul and give strength to the family to bear this irreparable loss.

......and while we were still reeling with shock, we heard about the terrible, terrible tragedy during the Haj stampede.
May Allah grant those poor souls maghfirat....
And so we are not really throwing a party this Eid, no barbeque or anything...
just simple sewai and a bowl of home-made mutton saalan...
On this sombre note I am giving the recipe for an extremely simple to make, but absolutely delicious Mutton dish..
A lot of my friends have requested this recipe since last year, and as I hadn't managed to take a decent picture of it...I couldn't put it up earlier....
So this time I thought why not post this easy to make, aromatic Mutton Saalan or gravy.
mind you, its not qorma which is a more rich dish with kaaju and coconut paste and curd etc...
This dish has got simple ingredients and gets ready in a jiffy!
And this mutton saalan is a staple in our Muslim homes, to be had with simple rotis and tastes delicious with rice!

500gms mutton 
refined oil-3 tbsp
1 medium size onion chopped thinly
an inch stick of cinnamon, 
3-4 tez pattas or bay leaves
5-6 whole black pepper  
2 badi elaichi or black cardamom
3 tomatoes-chopped
2 medium potatoes, peeled and quartered
3-4 green chillies (slit lengthwise and quartered)
a bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
1 tsp garam masala powder
salt to taste

to be made a paste of:
3 medium onions
ginger-garlic paste 2 tbsp
3 tbsp coriander powder
2 tsp turmeric or haldi
2 tsp kashmiri red chilli powder (for the color, not the heat)
You can take the chilli powder up or down a notch, depending on how spicy you want

1- Wash the mutton well.
2- Grind to paste, the above ingredients- onions, ginger garlic paste, turmeric, coriander powder, chilli powder. Keep aside.
3- Heat oil in a pressure cooker and add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cardamon, black pepper- saute lightly till fragrant.
4- Add the sliced onions and saute till golden.
5- Now its the time for the mutton to be added along with the salt, and cooked for 5 minutes while stirring.
6- Put the paste of the onions and ginger-galic, condiments, etc, into the mutton mixture.
7- Stir well, cooking on medium heat till the water released by the mutton and the paste all dries up.
8- Add 1/2 cup water and then roast the meat again.... Keep roasting,stirring for about 20 minutes on low heat, make sure it doesnt burn, adding water again if it dries up and oil separates. 
9- Add the tomatoes and roast on medium heat again, till the tomatoes all dry up.
10- Pour half a cup of water into the pressure cooker, and mix well.
11- Close the lid of the cooker, give a whistle and then cook on low for another 5 minutes.
12- Once the pressure drops in the cooker, open and check if the meat is nearly done.
13- The meat should be nearly done (not too soft) then you add the potatoes, about a cup of water, half the chopped coriander leaves, slit green chillies and cover and cook on low heat for another 10 minutes.
Or till the potatoes and meat are done... check for the salt and add more if necessary.
14- The saalan or the gravy should be of thin soup consistancy.

Serve hot garnished with chopped coriander leaves with tandoori rotis, fresh salad and rice!

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Tuesday update: Tryst with Thar...

here is a peek into another one thats completed...
wanted to make the Rajasthani man  and the camel a little muted and blending into each other...
while the bright colorful turban stands out...
dunno how much I succeeded, but I kinda like it...
How about you?

the colorful turban and the piercing eyes.... that say a lot without speaking!

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Saturday Art School: How to draw Garfield

Here's my new entry for the popular series of children's tutorials that I had done a while back, but stopped coz I wasn't getting the time.
This time its my favorite lazy cat: Garfield....
I drew a lot of Garfield as a child so I am sure your children will love making him too!
Just follow the easy steps given along with the steps... and you'll not go wrong.

and its done... just color and enjoy!!

Friday, September 11, 2015

Friday Food for the Soul: Honey Chilli Chicken

I absolutely love Chinese.... I mean who doesn't?
And I don't mean the authentic Chinese... that you get in the Asian restaurants (tried a lot of them while in NYC)
I mean the Indo-Chinese variety...
probably because our tastebuds are so used to the explosion of flavours that the milder, truer version doesn't suit our palette.
And I absolutely love this version... almost as much as I loved the yummy General Tso' Chicken (recipe is here) that I make so often!
Its sticky and sweet with a good heat.... and will get you licking your fingers!

TIP: one usually uses boneless chicken for this, but when I make for the family... I just avoid all the frills and fancies and use the whole chicken... bone and all.
Tastes better with bones- and more succulent (doesn't go all dry and chewy on me!)

Ingredients of the Chicken:
1 full chicken (about 1 and 1/2  kgs)
1 tsp ginger and garlic paste
1 tbsp vinegar

1/4 cup plain flour
2 tbsp cornflour
2 tbsp rice flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 egg
refined oil for deep frying

Ingredients for the sauce
1 medium onion chopped into squares
1 green chilli (slit length wise and chopped in half inch pieces)
4 dried whole chilli
3 tbsp chopped garlic
3 tbsp chopped spring onion greens 
1 cup capsicum (cubed into 1 inch pieces)
2 tbsp chilli sauce
3 tbsp tomato sauce
1 tbsp soya sauce
2 tbsp vinegar
3 tbsp honey

1- Marinate the chicken in ginger garlic paste, vinegar and salt and pepper for an hour
2- Mix the cornflour, rice flour and plain flour and season with salt and pepper. Add the egg and mix well.
3- Dunk the marinated chicken (without the marinade)into the flour+egg mixtureso that its well coated.
4- Deep fry the chicken on medium heat till cooked through and golden crispy. Keep aside.
5- Now take 3 tbsp oil from the deep fryer and heat it in a pan, then add the red chillies till they sputter.
6- Add garlic, saute on low heat till fragrant but not brown, then add onions add cook till translucent.
7- Now stir fry the capsicum with the onions (do not overcook to make them soggy)
8- Add all the remaining sauces, honey and vinegar... cook through till bubbly.
9- Add the crispy fried chicken to the sauce... mix on high heat so that its coated through but not soggy.
10- Garnish with the chopped spring onions and serve immediately, accompanied with Hakka Noodles or Fried Rice or just have them as snacks...
They are sweet and spicy, deliciously sticky and finger lickin' good!

for a real easy recipe of another popular Indo-Chinese dish...
Vegetarian Manchurian (click here)

Or a healthy version of General Tso's Chicken (click here)

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Desktop Calendar for September 2015

Today is Thursday- my favourite day for adding an inspirational quote to my illustration...
and also the 3rd of September 2015...
yet to put up my desktop calendar for all of you...
So I thought why not combine the two :-)
These days I am stuck in a groove of making black and white-bold stroke illustrations, remember my graphic saree illustration that I did a few days back (click here)? or the Independence Day illustration that I did in support of OROP (click here)?
so in continuation with that style is this "happy" illustration calendar for your desktop.
Just right click, save, then set as desktop picture.

and here is the tablet version on popular demand!

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Food for the Soul: Pull-Apart Garlic-Herb Buns.

These is my go to garlic bread/bun/dinner rolls recipe as an accompaniment to my continental (English bakes and gravies) menu.
Its easy to make and sooooo much tastier than the store bought garlic buns or dinner rolls.
Sorry couldn't take a picture of the garlic buns once they were outta this dish...
They just vanished in no time!
but next time I make a batch, I will definitely take better and more organised pictures.

So anyways... here is the recipe:

1 teaspoon dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 tbsp butter-melted
1 tsp salt
3 cups all purpose flour (maida)

For the glazing/topping:
3-4 cloves of garlic- crushed and chopped finely
3 tbsp melted butter
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
(I used chopped fresh tulsi leaves instead of dried basil- about 2 tbsp)
1/2 tsp sugar
a pinch of salt
1/2 tsp dried onion powder (optional- I use mine once in a while coz u don't get them here!!)

1- Combine the yeast, sugar and the warm water, keep aside for 10 minutes.
2- In the meanwhile combine all the ingredients of the topping and keep aside.
3- In a big bowl, take the flour and make a well in the centre.
4- Then add milk+salt +butter  and the now foaming yeast+sugar mixture in the centre.
5- Knead with a dough kneader or with your hands till the mixture comes together and leaves the side of the bowl.
6- Now make a kind of flattish loaf out of the kneaded flour ball.
7- Cut the loaf into small squares.
8- Dip each little square into the butter-topping mixture and arrange them in a pre-greased baking pan (leaving some space between them) Reserve some butter for later basting.
9- Cover with a plastic wrap or a moist cloth and keep in a warm place for it to rise and double up- approximately 1 hour.
10- Once its doubled up, put it in a preheated oven at about 180C and bake for 20-25 minutes till the top is nice and golden.
11- Once they are out of the oven, brush the top with the butter mixture and serve warm.

If you want cheesy Garlic buns....simple-
just sprinkle Parmesan cheese generously over the buns and then bake them!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Another couple of paintings from my series: 'Tryst with Thar"

been busy making some oil paintings for an upcoming exhibition.
here is a small one that is just 12"x 16"
Titled: "raahgir"

another small one: 12"x 16".... titled "Veiled Vibrance"

Friday, August 14, 2015

Happy Independence Day, India.

On the eve of Independence day, with all the tamasha happening on all the channels regarding the OROP, this country needs a gentle reminder....
or like we say in Fauj....Lest we Forget....

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

100 Saree Pact illustration: Sexy Back!!

Am back with my contribution to the trending #100sareepact
this time I go Black and White with a strong graphic feel.
what are sarees without a few sexy blouses?
this one is a classic... long sleeves, deep back with a fine detailing on the edging...
and a just outta-the-shower, untidily pinned up hair and a lovely profile...
Do leave me a comment if you like this interpretation of the classic saree!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Saturday Slurp: "Sunrise Surprise"

Saturdays are for partying...
Good food.
Great company.
Scintillating Music.
and of course pretty drinks!
one special Sunrise Surprise coming up!

Orange Juice
Sprite or any lemon flavored soda
Grenadine Syrup
Ice cubes.

1- Fill each glass halfway with ice
2- Fill 1/3 of the glass with Sprite and remaining with Orange Juice
stir gently to combine.
3- Add a splash of Grenadine syrup and see the shade forming as the heavy syrup flows down to the bottom of the glass... its a nice sunset gradient.
4- Garnish with a cherry or a thinly sliced blood orange wheel (ore a simple orange slice will do) and a pretty umbrella!

Easy Peasy!!

and in case you are interested in another extremely yummy, refreshing, mocktail...
here is a Virgin Mojito for YOU... (click here)

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Wednesday Watercolor...Veggies are good for you!

As usual been missing in action becoz of the erratic rains and freak storms and hence no internet!
but I have been working so here is my latest offering for your Wednesday Watercolor:
With Veggies on my mind!
I think they'd look good on your Kitchen or Dining table wall, whaddya say?
I have also been toying with the idea of selling my art prints online but just not being able to decide on the how and where esp with my nomadic existence...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

August 2015 Desktop Calendar: Happiness!

Trying to get my Desktop Calendars out on time...
So here's my way of spreading happiness to you via yr computer!

and here is the much requested tablet/phone version....

just right click+save, set as desktop picture!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Monday Moment with my sketchbook!

There is something mysteriously beautiful about sketching...
sketching with a normal pencil, or a graphite pencil or especially more so with charcoal...
the freedom, the liberation of just letting go...
and blurred...
but very fluid.
here is a peek into my sketchbook.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

First illustrated Recipe on my Blog: Ramadan Special

Been toying with making an illustrated recipe for a long time...
making, discarding and yet making again...
But this one came out just right!
So I thought why not share with you all...
so here's my take on a CUCUMBER COOLER:
Its cooling+healthy+full of alkalising properties to restore yr natural PH and its best to be had on an empty stomach.  (hence Ramadan special)
you can even add a small piece of ginger for added benefits- I am not too fond of ginger so I omitted it.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Honey-Lemon Glazed Roast Chicken with Root Veggies.

Is it just me or do most people who are fasting during Ramadan get obsessed about food?
I spend sooooo much of my valuable time just scrolling through recipes, good food pictures and generally obsessing about what to cook for today's Iftar that is not too oily or too heavy...
Food that won't make you feel bloated after not eating for the whole day...
and this chicken seems to just fit the bill!
Its not too heavy on the masalas so you wont get all burpy after binging on it, its roasted- so very little oil, and served with roasted yummy root vegetables!
Its crispy and mildly sweet+sour on the outside and juicy and succulent on the inside.
It may not be very popular if you and your family are a die-hard fan of Tandoori chicken and all things spicy and robust, but its a nice light, mild alternative once in a while!


1 whole chicken
For the marinade :
3 tbsp olive oil, 
1 n 1/2 tbsp roasted chilli flakes
juice of 2 lemons
2 tbsp soya sauce
3 tbsp white vinegar
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder-(optional)-u can used crushed garlic instead
1/2 tsp onion powder (optional)
4 tbsp honey
salt to taste

To put inside the chicken:
7-8 cloves of garlic-quartered
slices of 1 lemon

Root Vegetables to be baked (all cut the same size):
3 potatoes with skin on, and cut into cubes
2 carrots-cubed
2 onions-cubed
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil
Mix all of the veggies with salt+pepper+oil and keep aside

1- Wash the chicken well, especially the inside cavity. Pat dry, and rub a little salt inside the cavity.
2- Mix all the ingredients of the marinade (you can increase the chilly flakes if you want more heat) except for the honey- just add 1 tbsp. 
Rest of the honey we will be using in the final basting and glazing of the chicken.  
3- Make slits with the knife all over the meaty part of the chicken- the thighs+legs+ breasts.
4- Rub the marinade generously all over the chicken with your hands- getting into all the crevices and cuts. Keep aside rest of the marinade for the basting and glazing while cooking.
5- Leave covered for marination for at least a couple of hours.
6- In the meanwhile generously grease your baking tray- Add the vegetables in it and spread them in a single layer. Set aside for later.
(This vegetable tray I will be putting in the oven at a later stage because chicken cooking time will be more than the vegetables)
 7- Now take the chicken and into the stomach cavity-put the slices of lemon and quartered garlic cloves.
8- Lay the chicken flat on its back on a roasting rack, so the wings go underneath and the breast stays on top. Tie the chicken legs together with a thread as shown in the pictures.
9- Cover the chicken tray loosely with tin foil and then put the roasting rack with the chicken in the oven with a drip tray beneath it.
(Cooking the chicken on a roasting rack allows the heat to circulate all around it for even cooking.)
10- Cook the chicken for 30 minutes at 180C.
11- Now take the chicken out- remove the foil. Generously slather on the remaining marinade in which you have added the remaining honey. make sure to cover both the top and the bottom of the chicken with the glaze.
12- Put the rack back in the oven on the middle rung, and under that (on the lower rung) put the vegetables tray and bake again for 20-30 minutes at 200C.... Keep n eye open on the chicken so that it doesn't burn.
It should be nice and golden with a crispy top!

My chicken was done in just about 20 minutes in the second round, while I roasted the vegetables for another 7 minutes to get them crispy and golden.
Serve the piping hot Chicken and veggies immediately with onion rings dipped in Apple Cider Vinegar and crushed+chopped mint leaves....

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