Friday, October 29, 2010

The Season for Braising

As the colder weather approaches, there is something very comforting about a dish that has been cooking for hours, infusing your home with the inviting aromas of wonderful things to come. Granted, it seems like a luxury to have hours to spend on such an endeavour, except on weekends, but in reality, with a braise the effort is all at the front end — in the preparation. Once it's in the oven you can carry on doing other things, and the wonders of the braise takes over. The results are meltingly tender! Many chefs become reverential when discussing the transformative effects of braising meat.

Essentially, braising relies on heat, time and moisture to break down the connective tissue of meat, which is why it makes it an ideal way to cook tougher inexpensive cuts of meat, like pot roasts, rumps, shanks and ribs. Most braises follow the same basic steps: The meat is first seared to brown its surface and enhance the flavour. Second, an acidic element like tomatoes or wine is added to the pot, often with stock. Third, the pot is then covered and left to simmer until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender and amazingly flavourful. A successful braise intermingles the flavours of the foods being cooked with the braising liquid, dissolving the collagen in the meat to gelatin. The gelatin enriches and adds body to the liquid, which produces an enormously flavourful sauce. 

One of our favourite recipes in the colder months, when we all crave warmer richer meals, is Braised Oxtail. It's not a particularly handsome cut of meat, but what it lacks in looks, it makes up for in taste. North Americans aren't as fond of oxtail as Europeans, but if you enjoy a meaty, gelatinous braise of flavourful beef, this is the dish for you. Served with a generous portion of the flavourful sauce and a dollop of mashed potatoes, it's no wonder it's one of our faves. 

Braised Oxtail Stew

2 oxtail, cut into 2" pieces
3/4 cups flour
3 tbsp olive oil
3 cups beef stock
1 cup red wine
1 cup tomato juice
3 tbsp tomato paste
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs (or 1tsp dried)
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1 tsp salt
1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2 cups yellow onions, coarsely chopped
1 cup celery, diced
1 cup carrots, cut into 1/8" rounds
chopped parsley for garnish

  1. Pat dry oxtails and dredge in flour until thoroughly coated. 
  2. Heat oil in large oven proof cooking pot, and brown the oxtails well in several batches, setting each batch aside until all are browned; return all oxtails to pot.
  3. Add stock, wine, tomato juice and tomato paste. Stir in garlic, bay leaves, thyme, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Add vegetables, immersing them well in the liquid.
  4. Set the pot over medium heat. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until oxtails are ver tender. Taste and correct seasoning. Skim fat from the sauce. Serve the oxtails in a warm serving dish with some of the sauce on top, and garnish with some parsley.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The World's Best Rice Pudding

My favourite Rice Pudding in the world is one that I was served at Heatherton House, a girl's school I attended, when our family lived in England in the 1970's. Normally, school food is abysmal, and some of the food combinations at Heatherton House were rather odd, but they did do a few things really well. One being their Rice Pudding, which they baked until it achieved a wonderful golden film on top. The rice was plump and perfect, having absorbing most of the vanilla scented aromatic potion — the result being rich, buttery, sweet and oh so creamy. I tried all kinds of recipes trying to reproduce the magical pudding I recalled from my youth, and finally found it with James Barber, The Urban Peasant, who was one of Canada's first home grown and beloved TV Chefs. Sadly, he died just a few years ago, but his recipes and spirit live on.

"Cooking is the simplest way of saying I love you."
- JAMES BARBER 1923-2007 

James Barber's Baked Rice Pudding

2/3 cup Arborio Rice
4 cups whole milk, or cream
6 tbsp white sugar
6 tbsp butter
Zest of 2 lemons
1 tsp cinamon
1 tbsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 250°. Mix the rice, milk (or cream), sugar, butter, vanilla and lemon together in a bowl and then pour mixture into a greased 2-quart baking dish. Bake for 2 hours, until golden brown on top. Sprinkle with some cinnamon and serve piping hot!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The Devilishly Divine Pink Panther

Given a choice, I'd most likely have a Hendrick's Gin Martini at cocktail hour: light on the vermouth, two olives. Then there are times when it's good to shake things up a bit. My whole family met for dinner at Le Petit Castor a few months ago. They have an impressive list of cocktails, but one tipple stands out — their signature cocktail, The Pink Panther. At almost double the price of their other cocktails, and a warning that one is all you should consider having, it caught my attention. It also caught my father's attention, because he would be paying the bill. "Twenty dollars for a cocktail!" I guess it was a little impulsive, but what the heck. You only live once. Unfortunately for our pocket book, it was delicious! Deceptively light and fruity tasting with the combination of prosecco and orange juice, The Pink Panther tastes quite innocent, even healthy, but it does sneak up on you in a very quiet unassuming manner — not like Kato in the Pink Panther films! Unfortunately, because it is so good, every time I go back to Le Petit Castor, I have to order it. Such is life.

The Pink Panther
(one serving)

1 oz Gin
1 oz Triple Sec
1 tsp Grenadine
Fresh orange juice

Combine the gin, triple sec, orange juice and grenadine in a large wine glass. Add ice and top up with Prosecco. Add more grenadine if you like it more pink.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Heavenly Steak Diane

One of my favourite recipes to make when special friends are coming for dinner is Steak Diane. The luscious cognac cream sauce with grilled mushrooms is absolutely gorgeous and served over a perfectly cooked filet mignon, it's pure heaven. You can make the sauce slightly ahead of time and keep it warm while you enjoy a cocktail and nibble with your guests! I can't take credit for this amazing dish — I pilfered it from Morton's Steak Bible — a great cookbook for all of us carnivores!

Morton's Beef Filet Diane

Serves 4

4 thick slices of white bread
14 tbsp unsalted butter
4 tbsp garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine
1/2 cup Cognac
1 1/2 cups veal demi-glace*
2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp tomato paste
1 1/3 cups whipping cream
20 oz cremini mushrooms, stemmed and sliced about 3/16" thick
4 filet mignons, each at least 1 1/4" thick
Salt and pepper
Chopped fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

  1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  2. Lay the bread slices on a work surface and using a water glass, cut out four 3" rounds. Transfer to a baking sheet and and bake, turning once, about 5-7 minutes until the croutons are lightly golden and crisp. Cool on wire rack.
  3. In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tbsp of butter. Add the garlic and cook, stirring frequently 2-3 minutes, or until softened. Add the wine and the Cognac, raise the heat to medium-high and simmer uncovered for 8-10 minutes, or until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the demi-glace, mustard, Worcestershire sauce and tomato paste, and stir to combine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and then add the cream. Return the sauce to a boil and reduce the sauce, whisking often, for about 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken to a creamy consistency and deepen to a wonderful auburn colour.
  4. In a large sauté pan, melt the remaining 12 tbsp of butter over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté about 5 minutes until the mushrooms begin to release their moisture and start to soften.
  5. Stir the sauce into the mushrooms and heat over a low heat until gently simmering. Let the sauce continue to simmer over low heat 12-15 minutes, until it's reduced and slightly thickened. Cover and keep warm over very low heat until ready to serve.
  6. Remove the steaks from the fridge and let them rest at room temperature 30-60 minutes. Season lightly with salt and pepper.
  7. Preheat broiler or set oven to 425°. Cook steaks 5-6 minutes per side for rare, 6-7 minutes per side for medium-rare, or until the desired degree of doneness.
  8. To serve, place a filet on top of each crouton. Ladle some of the sauce over the steaks and garnish with chopped parsley. Serve the remaining sauce on the side.
* I get veal demi-glace from Whitehouse Meats in the St Lawrence Market.

COOK'S NOTE: I serve this dish with roast potatoes and little ramekins of my spinach gratin — which you can find in my cookbook, The Everyday Gourmet

Monday, October 25, 2010

Tagliolini al Limone

Why is it that the best pasta sauces have the simplest ingredients? This is one of them. It's absolutely delicious and couldn't be simpler. Lovely, light, luscious, and creamy, it's an addictive lemony treat. A quintessential summer dish from the Amalfi coast in the Campania region of southern Italy (where they grow exquisite lemons), Tagliolini al Limone is like sunshine on a plate. Perfect on it's own, or with grilled seafood, it was so good that I ordered every time we ate at a small restaurant in Rome, followed by a fabulous plate of grilled langoustine. Ah, la dolce vita.

Tagliolini al Limone

Serves 4

1 lb Tagliolini pasta
6 tbsp butter
1/4 cup fresh lemon zest (4 lemons) plus juice of one lemon
1 cup fresh cream
1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus extra for sprinkling
Fresh ground white and black pepper

Bring a large pot of water to boil. In a large sauté pan, bring the butter and cream to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the lemon juice, white pepper and lemon zest, and reduce by about half. Then remove from the heat. Add the pasta to the water and cook al dente. Drain the pasta, add to the lemon butter, and toss to coat over medium heat. Add the cheese and toss a few more seconds. Pour into heated bowls, garnish with some lemon curls and a grinding of black pepper. Serve immediately with some additional cheese.

COOK'S NOTE: Italians tend to cook their pasta less, so it still offers resistance to the 'bite', more than I think we North Americans are used to. I'm guilty of the crime, but I have been trying to cook my pasta less and it makes a real difference. Try it and see, and let me know what you think.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Spaghettini con Frutti di Mare

There is no better pasta dish for seafood lovers than Spaghettini con Frutti di Mare, a pescatorian feast of mixed shellfish gently sauteéd with garlic, wine, homemade tomato sauce and a dash of Pernod. Use only the freshest seafood to make this dish, because the sweet juices they render as they cook are key to the unmistakable flavour and heavenly aroma of this Mediterranean classic. Even Neptune weeps.

Spaghettini con Frutti di Mare

Serves 4

2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
3 cloves garlic, minced
20 mussels, washed and de-bearded
12 small clams, washed
16 shrimp, shelled and deveined
4 large scallops, cut into quarters
2 whole calamari, cleaned, bodies cut into rings; tentacles halved
1/2 cup red wine
1 tsp Pernod
3 cups tomato sauce (preferably homemade, like Mamma Styles)
1 package dried spaghettini or similar
1/4 cup fresh italian parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

  1. Start to boil water in a large pot. 
  2. Place the tomato sauce in a small saucepan, over medium heat, and gently simmer until warmed through. Cover and set aside. 
  3. Heat oil and butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat, and cook garlic until it sizzles. Add scallops and calamari, bodies and heads, and gently sauté until partially cooked, about 3-5 minutes. Add the shrimp and cook until they start turning opaque, about 2 minutes. Stir in the wine, pernod and warmed tomato sauce, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat up to medium-high and cook the sauce, stirring frequently, until it starts to bubble, about 3 minutes. 
  4. In the meantime, add the spaghettini to the boiling water and cook until al dente. 
  5. Once the sauce is bubbling nicely, place each of the mussels and clams hinge side down, then cover and continue to cook until the mussel shells have opened fully, about another 5 minutes. Discard any unopened shells. 
  6. Remove the mussels and clams from the sauce temporarily, setting them aside in a small bowl. Toss the rest of the sauce with the spaghettini. Serve in warmed pasta bowls, dividing the seafood fairly, and arranging the mussels and clams decoratively around the perimeter. Garnish with some chopped parsley, and you're good to go! A bowl for empty shells would be a thoughtful touch, as well as nice glass of Chianti.

COOK'S NOTE: You can also make this recipe as a 'white' sauce by omitting the tomatoes, and using 1 cup of white wine rather than 1/2 cup of red and also adding 1 cup of clam juice. Everything else in the recipe is just the same.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Anchovy Linguine

There are many fabulous pasta recipes, but sometimes we create a sauce at the spur of the moment, based on what we happen to have on hand. This is what happened the other night, and much to my amazement a new creation was born — Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Anchovy Linguine. It was delicious, and way too easy, especially with my secret weapon! The sauce is actually a combination of 2 classic sauces: Broccoli and Anchovy Sauce and Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce. The first, Broccoli and Anchovy, is a classic Italian sauce that sounds odd but would surprise you how tasty it is. The second, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomatoes, is a popular recipe with numerous adaptations, including one of my favourites — Fettuccine Natasha, which includes smoked salmon and caviar!

Roasted Red Pepper, Tomato and Anchovy Linguine

1 bunch fresh broccoli
3 tbsp olive oil
8 anchovies, chopped fine
1/2 tsp dried red chili flakes
2 cups Pacific Foods Organic Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup*
1 package dried linguine, spaghettini or tagliatelle pasta
1 cup fresh grated parmesan or pecorino
italian parsley or basil for garnish
  1. Detach the broccoli florets from the stalks, discard the stalks, and finely chop the florets. Put the oil in a sauté pan and over medium-high heat, add the florets, anchovies and red chili flakes. Cook, stirring and mashing the florets and anchovies with the back of a wooden spoon, until they are cooked through and dissolve into a paste, about 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Add the roasted red pepper and tomato soup, turn the heat down to medium and stir to combine.
  3. Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Cook according to the directions, then drain in a colander, and return to the pot. Combine the sauce with the cooked pasta and warm through. 
  4. Serve in warmed pasta bowls and garnish with sprig or sprinkle of fresh parsley, and grated cheese on the side. Magnifico!
* My secret weapon — Pacific Foods Organic Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup! It's smooth, luscious and very tasty — organic to boot! Alternatively, you can prepare a homemade sauce, shown below.

Homemade Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Sauce 

2 heads of garlic
1 lb plum tomatoes, halved lengthwise 
1 lb red peppers
3 tbsp cream
2 tsp olive oil
  1. Preheat oven to 375°. Cut off and discard the top quarter of the garlic and wrap the remainder in foil. Arrange the tomatoes, cut side up, on a foil-lined baking pan and sprinkle lightly with salt. Add the whole bell peppers and garlic to the pan and roast together for 1 hour.
  2. Transfer the pepper to a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let stand 1/2 hour. When cool enough to handle, peel the peppers, discarding stem and seeds, and transfer to a food processor and blend with the tomatoes. Unwrap the garlic and squeeze the roasted cloves from the skin into the processor, and purée until smooth. Add cream and mix to combine. This can be made 1 day ahead and chilled, covered. Makes 1 1/2 cups. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

'Saucy' Neapolitan Pasta Puttanesca

Years ago, my friend Deborah and I would get together at my place every other weekend and I'd make Pasta Puttanesca, and we'd watch Masterpiece Theatre. To this day, whenever I make this recipe I think back to those evenings and smile. I don't recall why I kept making the same dish each time, perhaps it was the comfort of a welcome routine, but neither of us complained because it was really good! Pasta Puttanesca is still one of my favourite pasta sauces. 

Robust and salty, it usually consists of pasta, tomatoes, anchovies, black olives, capers and garlic. An italian dish originating in Naples, the name puttanesca came from the Italian word puttana, which means prostitute, so it became known as "whore's pasta" — also because it's hot, spicy, robust and easy to make!

“Whore’s pasta.” Was ever a name so perfectly suited to a dish? It's edgy, spicy, and just the right side of wrong, conjuring up visions of Neapolitan streets and dangerous women in tight dresses".   
—Sophie Dahl

Pasta Puttanesca

1 lb spaghetti, linguine or any other dried pasta
2 450g cans peeled plum tomatoes
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 cup pitted black pitted olives
1/4 drained capers
4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
8 anchovy filets, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup chopped parsley, plus additional for garnish
fresh ground pepper
2 tbsp salt

  1. Drain the tomatoes, cut them into halves and squeeze out as much water as possible. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add the onion, anchovies and red pepper flakes, and cook briefly until the onions are soft and the anchovies have disintegrated, about 10 minutes. Then add the garlic and cook 1 minute more. Add the tomatoes, oregano, olives and capers; season with pepper to taste. Stir and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and simmer very gently with no lid 30-40 minutes, until the sauce has thickened and very little liquid is left. 
  2. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add salt and stir in pasta. Cook until tender but firm. Drain immediately, returning the pasta to the pot, adding some of the sauce and tossing to combine so the noodles are lightly coated.
  3. In warmed serving bowls, serve a portion of the coated pasta and top with puttanesca sauce; garnish with chopped parsley and serve with parmesan or pecorino on the side.

Serves 4

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Appetizers

I love salmon, so any recipe that features the pink little wonder, gets my attention. Dill is also in my personal pantheon of culinary favourites, so when they come together, only great things can happen. This Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese recipe not only looks impressive, but is easy to make and tastes wonderfully light and refreshing. It's also pretty healthy if you choose the low fat versions of the cream cheese and sour cream. I serve it on cucumber rounds, but you could also serve it on small toasts or piped onto the end of endive spears. Garnish with a sprig of dill or sprinkle of chives and you're done. Cocktails anyone?

Smoked Salmon and Cream Cheese Appetizers

2 cucumbers
8 oz. plain cream cheese
4 oz. sour cream
8 oz. smoked salmon, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
2 tbsp fresh dill, minced
salt and white pepper to taste

Using a vegetable peeler, carve stripes along the outside lengths of the cucumbers leaving every other section intact. Cut off the ends of the cucumber and slice into 3/4" thick rounds. Using a melon baller, scoop out the seeds and inner portion from the top of each cucumber slice, to about 2/3 deep. Set aside. Place the smoked salmon, cream cheese, 1/2 of the sour cream, shallots, dill, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a food processor. Pulse the processor on and off quickly so that the mixture is combined but still firm enough to hold it's shape once piped. Add some more sour cream if you need more moisture. Transfer the mixture to a pastry bag with a medium star tip (#8) and pipe into cucumber rounds. (Alternatively, you could use a plastic sandwich bag and cut off a small corner to pipe the mixture). Garnish each round with a sprig of dill and serve.

Serves 4-6

Monday, October 18, 2010

Richard's Italian Wedding Soup

There are times when we're lucky enough to find ourselves in the right place at the right time. This past weekend we were all treated to our friend Richard's Italian Wedding Soup, and lucky is what we were, because it was delicious. Curious name for a soup though. 

There are many variations of Italian Wedding Soup but the main elements are meatballs, greens, broth and pasta. While the name indicates that the soup may be served at an Italian wedding, it is actually a mistranslation of minestra mariata, which refers to the fact that the flavours of green vegetables and meat go together, or 'marry', well. And here I thought there must be some deep symbolism in the name. But no, sometimes a meatball is just a meatball.

Generous of spirit, Richard was quick to point out that this recipe is from his favourite maven of the kitchen, Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa. So I thank Richard for making such a memorable soup, and Ina, for being his muse. And to our hosts for bringing us all together to celebrate another kind of marriage — good food and good friends. 

Richard's Italian Wedding Soup 
(adapted from Ina Garten's 'Back to Basics' cookbook)

For the meatballs:
3/4 lb ground chicken
1/2 lb chicken sausage, casings removed
2/3 cup fresh white bread crumbs
2 tsp garlic (2 cloves), minced
3 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, chopped
1/4 cup Pecorino Romano cheese, fresh grated
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, fresh grated
3 tbsp milk
1 extra large egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp salt 
1/2 tsp pepper

For the soup:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup yellow onion, minced
1 cup carrots, diced and cut into 1/4" pieces
3/4 cup celery, diced and cut into 1/4" pieces
10 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup tubettini pasta
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
12 oz. baby spinach, washed and trimmed

Preheat the oven to 350°. For the meatballs, place the ground chicken, sausage, bread, garlic, parsley, Pecorino, Parmesan, milk, egg, salt and pepper in a bowl and combine gently with a fork. With a teaspoon, drop 1" meatballs onto a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. You should have about 40 meatballs, and they don't have to be perfectly round. Bake for 30 minutes until they are cooked through and lightly browned. Set aside.

In the meantime, for the soup, heat the olive oil over medium-low heat and in a large heavy-bottomed soup pot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and sauté until softened, 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the chicken stock and wine and bring to a boil. Ad the pasta to the simmering broth and cook 6-8 minutes, until the pasta is tender. Add the fresh dill and then the meatballs to the soup and simmer 1 minute. Taste for salt and pepper. Stir in the fresh spinach and cook 1 minute, until the spinach is just wilted. Ladle into soup bowls and sprinkle each serving with extra grated parmesan, if you wish.

Serves 6-8

Friday, October 15, 2010

Coriander Mint Chutney

I took a wonderful 10-week Indian cooking class at George Brown College about 10 years ago, with a lovely lady named Beena. She introduced me to Coriander Mint Chutney and it has been a staple in my kitchen ever since. I make it by the litre, and it generally lasts 3-4 months. It's great as a condiment for Chicken Tikka, Paneer Tikka, Corn & Clam Fritters, Samosas — well, anything really! Bright green in colour, it's made with fresh coriander (cilantro), mint, garlic, ginger and most important — green chillies! And lots of them. Made correctly, it'll blow your socks off. I mix it with a little more yoghurt if I serve it to guests. Beena gave me the recipe and I will always be eternally grateful. 

Coriander Mint Chutney

1 bunch fresh coriander, washed leaves only
1 bunch fresh mint, washed leaves only
10-15 green chilies
6 garlic cloves
2" of ginger root
1/2 tsp cumin powder
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp salt
3-4 tbsp plain yoghurt

Using a sharp knife, slice open each green chili pod and discard seeds, then chop the pods. Put all the ingredients, except the yoghurt, in a food processor. Blend until smooth, pushing down if necessary, with a rubber spatula. Once combined, add the yoghurt. Taste and adjust the seasoning according to your taste. Wimps may want more yoghurt. Cover and refrigerate. 

COOK'S NOTE: Use disposable food preparation gloves, or rubber gloves, when slicing the chilies to avoid any skin irritation and burning eyes!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Grilled Chicken Tikka & Paneer Tikka

Just thinking about Chicken Tikka makes my mouth water. One of India's most popular dishes, it originated in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan, and is traditionally made with small pieces of chicken — tikka — which are marinated in spices and yoghurt, then baked in a clay tandoor oven. Paneer Tikka is another favourite of mine. Paneer is a non-melting curd cheese, so when grilled on a skewer, it holds it's shape and being mild, takes on the flavour of the marinade. I use the same marinade recipe for the paneer as the chicken, so it's an easy trick to extend the menu of your next Indian feast.

Chicken Tikka

1 lb chicken thighs, skinless (deboning optional)
1 tbsp fresh ginger, grated
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 tbsp chili powder
2 tbsp lemon juice
1-1/2 cup yoghurt
1 tbsp oil
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
1 tbsp gram flour (chickpea flour)
1 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp salt
3 tbsp melted ghee

Cut boneless chicken thighs into 2" pieces for skewers, or leave whole with bone in for larger serving portions; pat dry. In a large bowl, combine yoghurt, ginger, garlic, cardamom, chili powder, garam masala, oil, gram flour, lemon juice and salt and mix well to form a thick consistency. Add the chicken pieces to the mixture to marinate. Cover and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 4-5 hours.

Grill method:
If using skewers, put 4-5 small pieces of chicken on each one, or use bone-in thighs. Place chicken on a pre-heated grill and cook 8-10 minutes. Turn them over and baste with ghee, cooking an additional 8-10 minutes until evenly cooked with nice grill/char markings. Serve with lemon and lime wedges.

Oven Method:
Pre-heat oven to 400°. Place chicken pieces (skewers or bone-in thighs) on a baking tray and cook 15 minutes. Turn the chicken pieces over and baste with ghee, cooking an additional 15 minutes, until chicken is nicely browned. Serve with lemon and lime wedges.

Paneer Tikka

1 400g block of paneer cheese
1 onion, cut and sliced into 1" pieces
1 red pepper, cut and sliced into 1" pieces
Tikka Marinade (see above)
3 tbsp melted ghee

Cut paneer into 1" cubes. Add the paneer and vegetables to the marinade mixture, cover and refrigerate for 3 hours.

Grill method:
Insert the pieces of paneer and vegetables onto skewers and place on a pre-heated grill and cook 10-15 minutes. Turn the skewers over, basting each time with ghee, until paneer and vegetables are evenly cooked with attractive grill/char markings.

Stovetop Method:
Heat oil in a non stick skillet and fry paneer until fully cooked and nicely browned on all sides, then fry vegetables until cooked through. Serve on a platter and garnish with lemon slices.