Easy and Light Chicken Akni

May 19, 2011 § 4 Comments

Akni is my favourite Indian rice dish. It’s so delicious that I was under the impression that its wonderful flavour was directly related to its level of difficulty. I could not have been more wrong.

Dear Akni,

I love that you only require one pot. I love that you only require 1 tablespoon of oil. I love that you are moist, even without the raita. I love that even if  I leave you on the stove for too long, you are still as delicious. I love that I don’t need to cook for three days after preparing you.

Love,

Lilla Sniggel

Akni

2 tblspn oil

1 large onion, chopped finely

  • Heat oil in a wide pot. Braise onions.

 

2 tsp whole cumin

5 cardamom pods, cracked open

7 cloves

2 sticks of cinnamon

12 peppercorns

1 cup of warm water

  • Soak the spices listed above in the water for a few minutes.
  • Add to the pot. Allow to boil for about 5 minutes.

 

1 chicken, cleaned and disjointed

1 tblspn ginger paste

1 tblspn garlic paste

1 tspn salt

2 tspn ground cumin

½ tspn turmeric

  • Add the chicken and spices to the put. Mix well. Allow chicken to cook.

 

2 cups of chopped/grated tomato

3 tspn chilli powder

2 tspn coriander powder

2 tblspn plain yogurt

  • Once chicken is cooked, add the ingredients listed above to the pot. Allow to thicken.

 

3 potatoes, each one cut into 4 equal pieces

2 cups basmati rice

4 cups of boiling water

  • Add the above ingredients to the pot. Cook on high heat and stir often. Once the water has almost depleted, turn down the heat and allow to simmer.
  • Serve with coriander raita (see recipe below).

 

Coriander Raita

500 ml plain yogurt

Green Masala (you will only need about 3 tspn)

  • 1 bunch of coriander leaves (about 4 cups)
  • 4 green chillies
  • 1 tblspn garlic paste
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tblspn lemon juice
  • 1 tblspn olive oil

Liquidise all of the above ingredients. Even though you will only use a few teaspoons for the raita to be served with the akhni, the rest can be refrigerated and used to marinate chicken or in other dishes.

For the raita, mix the yogurt with about 3 tspns of the green masala. Serve with the akhni.

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Feta, Sundried Tomato and Olive Pizza

May 16, 2011 § 4 Comments

Saturday saw my second pizza baking attempt. Saturday also saw my first successful attempt 🙂 I used this recipe from allrecipes.com to make the base:

Amazing Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, dissolve sugar in warm water. Sprinkle yeast over the top, and let stand for about 10 minutes, until foamy.
  2. Stir the olive oil and salt into the yeast mixture, then mix in the whole wheat flour and 1 cup of the all-purpose flour until dough starts to come together. Tip dough out onto a surface floured with the remaining all-purpose flour, and knead until all of the flour has been absorbed, and the ball of dough becomes smooth, about 10 minutes. Place dough in an oiled bowl, and turn to coat the surface. Cover loosely with a towel, and let stand in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
  3. When the dough is doubled, tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and divide into 2 pieces for 2 thin crust, or leave whole to make one thick crust. Form into a tight ball. Let rise for about 45 minutes, until doubled.
  4. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Roll a ball of dough with a rolling pin until it will not stretch any further. Then, drape it over both of your fists, and gently pull the edges outward, while rotating the crust. When the circle has reached the desired size, place on a well oiled pizza pan. Top pizza with your favorite toppings, such as sauce, cheese, meats, or vegetables.
  5. Bake for 16 to 20 minutes (depending on thickness) in the preheated oven, until the crust is crisp and golden at the edges, and cheese is melted on the top

(Source: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/amazing-whole-wheat-pizza-crust/Detail.aspx)

The recipe says that it makes one or two pizza bases. I rolled out four decent sized pizzas. I didn’t manage to roll and stretch the pizzas into neat circles. I was more focussed on making sure that the bases were of equal thickness. I’m glad I was more concerned with stretching and rolling them thin, because the bases were excellent.

For the pizza sauce, I mixed equal quantities of store-bought pesto and tomato paste. I applied a thin layer on each pizza. I then topped the pizzas with mozzarella cheese before the real toppings. I chopped up a few tablespoons of de-pitted olives, sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese for the toppings.

It was really delicious. I froze the other three unbaked, so I will just pop them into the oven when I’m running late with dinner sometime soon. I am looking so forward to it!

 

Yehliu Geopark

May 14, 2011 § 2 Comments

Taiwan has fascinated me with its beauty. I anticipated the hustle and bustle of Taipei city prior to our relocation, but not the natural beauty of its surrounding areas. Last weekend A surprised me with a day trip to Yehliu Geopark. The trip involved an approximately 1 hour bus trip to Jinshan, and then a short walk along the harbour before we reached the park.

Yehliu Geopark is famous for its beautiful coastline, mushroom-like rock formations and sea-trenches. These are consequent of sea erosion and earth movements. I was taken aback by the whole experience. Each rock formation resembled something different, from a calculator to a dragon and to the popular “Queen’s head”. The waters were so beautifully blue and had we been allowed to, we would have dived at the opportunity of experiencing them first hand in the scorching heat. Cracks along the coastline reveal the unique shading of each layer of stone and together they form stunning patterns. I could go on for paragraphs about the harmony amongst sand, stone and sea, but instead, I will allow the pictures to speak for themselves.

Tourists

 

rock formations

 

!!!

Yehliu Geopark is definitely worth the trip for tourists, even if only for an hour or 2. One can take the Kuo Kuang Hao bus headed for Jinshan from Taipei Main Bus station. There is a small market area selling refreshments and local dried fruits, nuts and fish just as you exit the park. I would suggest that you take some water along into the park because there is a lot of walking to do and it can get pretty hot, especially in the summer.

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