Sunday, February 22, 2015

Chicken Kati Roll (Indian Street Roll)

Kati rolls are a very popular Indian street food and there's a reason why.

You are going to want to stuff your face with these rolls. Two of them barely cut it for me. Whoever thought of combining spicy and flavorful chicken, zesty lime, cilantro chutney, and homemade chapati to make a roll is a genius. 

The great thing about these rolls is the ease of making it and even better, how easy it is to eat them! Rolls are the best thing that happened to moms. I'm quite used to not eating now until my baby has eaten. Feeding a baby is like being in Tae Kwon Do sparring match - with a pretty strong opponent. You get a few spin kicks in (spoonfuls of food actually in the mouth) until you're met with blocks (mouth closed tight) and low roundhouse kicks (when baby swats at your spoon). The match is over usually when the bowl ends up upside down on the floor. 

During all this sparring, I can barely eat my own meal. By the time this hour long match is over, the meal time has progressed way into brunch or linner time. So you can see why rolls would be such a blessing. They're a no mess, no fuss meal that I can easily eat while baby blocks my kicks. At the end of the match, we both win!

Definitely give these rolls a try as a weeknight meal or a quick, make ahead lunch. Good luck in the kitchen!

Chicken Kati Roll
(Makes 8 rolls)

1 1/2 lbs chicken breast, washed and cut into very small pieces
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 tbsp oil
1 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
3 roma tomatos, diced
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chaat masala
1 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 green bell pepper, chopped

Heat oil in a large pan (with lid). Add onions and sauté until light golden. Add garlic and ginger paste and fry for 1-2 minutes until aromatic. 

Add tomatoes and cook for 5-7 minutes or until the tomatoes have fully softened and the oil starts to separate from the mixture. Add all the rest of the ingredients, except the chicken breast and bell pepper, and stir until well combined. 

Immediately after, add the chicken breast and stir fry on medium-high heat until the color of the chicken changes. Cover and allow the chicken to cook on low heat. 

Once the chicken is fully cooked, add in the bell pepper and stir. Turn the heat to high while constantly stirring to avoid burning until any excess liquid is gone. This mixture is meant to be dry.

1 cup chapati flour
1/2 cup all purpose flour
3/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp oil
1 cup of water 

Mix the flours and salt. Add oil and mix until full combined. Then add water 1 tablespoon at a time just until the mixture comes together. You do not want it to be too wet! Then knead the dough for 2-3 minutes and form a smooth ball of dough. Rub some extra oil on it and leave it covered to rest for 15 minutes. 

When you're ready to use it, knead the dough for another minute. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces and form each into a ball. Flatten it out into a circle and roll out into a thin large roti. Generously dust your surface and rolling pin with flour to prevent sticking. 

Heat a medium pan on medium heat until fully heated. Drop a roti on one side for 30 seconds, until small bubbles appear on top and the roti changes color. 

Flip and press down with a spatula while turning for a minute. Flip one more time and cook or another minute or until fully cooked. A little bit of oil on the pan will result in a delicious roti.

Garnish and Assembly
a handful of cilantro, chopped
half of a lime
1/4-1/2 onion, thinly sliced
green chutney (either cilantro or mint)

When you are ready to assemble the rolls, heat up the precooked chicken mixture. Stir in cilantro, onion, and lime juice. 

Spread 1 tsp (or more or less to taste) of chutney onto the roti. Add 1/8th of the filling across the center of the roll and tightly roll the wrap. Wrap it in foil to keep warm. 


Monday, February 16, 2015

Top 5 Foods to Try in New York City! (and tips to travel with a baby)

New York City! The city that never sleeps... except when you have a baby. 

A couple months ago, S, Baby and I vacationed in NYC. I had been debating about whether or not to share pictures and finally decided, why the heck not! As you all know, I'm a major foodie. So more than half of our trip was planned around trying out places to eat. There are so many food trends in NYC that were calling my name - including cronuts, frozen hot chocolate, and street cart food! So today I'll be sharing my top 5 favorites from the foods I tried in NYC, as well as some tips I have learned for successful traveling with a baby. 

1. Cupcakes and Banana Pudding at Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery is a sweet little shop on the Avenue of the Americas that is famous for its banana pudding and other delicious treats. The banana pudding was fluffy with the right amount of sweetness and the banana flavor was not overwhelming - just perfect. The cupcakes are also to die for, moist and fluffy. Yum!

2. Yeast Donuts at Doughnut Plant

You have to try donuts from Doughnut Plant! They have an amazing selection of yeast and cake donuts, filled and plain. Their flavors are unique and the square filled yeast donuts have the right amount of jam for each bite - not too much and not too little. The creme brûlée donut (small one in the top left picture) is their most popular - sticky and sweet with a creme filling. My hot chocolate was served with a pattern on top, I almost didn't drink it because it looked so good! 

3. Frozen Hot Chocolate at Serendipity 3

Serendipity 3 is a quirky little restaurant with wacky decor and long waits. Though this frozen hot chocolate (dessert/drink) is overpriced, it was definitely worth the hype and money... but just one time. Delicious for sure, I would recommend it for first timers and tourists that want a NY experience - like me! But in all honesty, the drink is a glorified chocolate milk shake that I would only pay $9.00 per person for once.

4. Chicken and Rice Combo at The Halal Guys

The Halal Guys food cart is insanely popular in NYC. They have 4 locations and from the moment they open, their lines - made up of a diverse crowd, I was pleased to notice - are incredibly long. My favorite item from the food cart has to be the chicken and rice combo. Topped with a sharp white sauce and spicy hot sauce, the dish is the perfect lunch on the go. Unfortunately I don't have pictures of the dish to share, but you must try it next time you visit.

5. Kati Rolls at Biryani Cart

Kati rolls are a popular Indian street food consisting of kabob meat rolled in parathas with a variety of toppings. The chicken kati roll at the Biryani Cart really hits the spot. It's spicy, flavorful, and absolutely delicious. We ordered chicken biryani as well, since that is where the cart gets its name from. Both were delicious and we were once again, pleasantly surprised by the diverse crowd waiting to get "chicken tikka masala" or "kati rolls" or "biryani." 

I hope you guys can give these foods a try if you ever visit NYC. 

Now, as promised, I'll share some tips on how to travel with a baby. Because this was also our first time vacationing with Baby, S and I were pretty nervous on how it would go. Baby was 10 months old when we went to NYC. It was his third trip flying but his first time touring (in the past we flew to visit his grandparents). Thanks to a couple tips and tricks, we think it went pretty well! 

1) Plan your trip the way you want it, but center it around baby. You're taking baby out of his element, so try to keep at least a few things as regular as possible. Baby took 2 naps at the time, so we planned to come back to our hotel 2 times in the day so he could nap. During that time, we would plan our next routes, eat, or just spend quality time together as he snoozed. Continue the rest of the day by trying to accommodate as much of baby's routine as you can in it.

2) Pack light before your flight! You can always buy all of baby's necessities, such as food, diapers, and wipes from wherever you are headed. But always make sure you leave your hotel with one or two of everything baby could possibly need, especially if you're going to be traveling far from your hotel. This includes things like baby food, a change of clothes, diapers, toys, etc. One night, while we waited in a 2 hour line to get into the Empire State Building, Baby didn't like the food pouch we brought for him. It was his dinner time so he had to eat but he refused. We didn't have an extra one to try but thankfully, the hotel was nearby so hubby ran and got a different one while we waited. What a drama!

3) Keep a few new toys handy to distract baby with while you're flying or at any rough times.

4) Remember, it's okay to bend some rules when you're traveling. Usually, I make all of baby's food at home but for the trip, I had to buy everything. This was really hard for me but I realized that it was impossible for me to make his food or somehow store, warm up, and travel with all his precooked food. But in the end, it all worked out.

5) Try not to have a very strict schedule or really high expectations for the trip. Especially if this is your first time traveling with baby, you might run into some setbacks along the way. Don't be disappointed and be sure to have lots of fun!

Hope you enjoyed this post! Till next time.

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Sunday, February 8, 2015

Cauliflower Crusted Pizza

Last week, I shared a recipe for a light, vegetarian potato soup. To go with that delicious, hearty soup, I made this cauliflower crusted pizza.

Cauliflower is really an underrated vegetable. It tastes great and can be used in so many different ways! I've seen cauliflower grilled cheese, cauliflower soup, cauliflower fritters, tacos, bites, you name it. My favorite way to use cauliflower by far, has been this cauliflower crusted pizza!

The pizza itself is the perfect combination of soft and bendable like a NY style pizza and crunchy at the crust. YES, it does stay together and doesn't fall apart. It doesn't taste exactly like a traditional pizza. But why should it?! You're replacing white flour with a vegetable! What?!?! I could taste a little cauliflower in the pizza, but hubby couldn't. 

The best part - Baby loved it so much, he gobbled it right up! I love finding new things that Baby enjoys as well. This pizza will definitely be on my 'to make again' list! 

So give it a try and good luck in the kitchen!

Cauliflower Crusted Pizza
adapted from Popsugar

1 small cauliflower
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil
1/2 cup tomato sauce
seasonings to taste (I used italian seasoning, oregano, basil, garlic powder, sat and pepper)
pizza toppings (optional) - olives, green onions, chives, mushrooms, etc.

Preheat oven to 425ºF.

Grate the cauliflower head until you have 2 cups of cauliflower. 

Microwave the grated cauliflower for seven to eight minutes, or until soft and cooked through. Let them cool.

Mix in the egg, 1 cup of mozzarella cheese, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper.

Combine well and spread on a pizza pan lined with parchment paper. 

Brush lightly with olive oil and bake for 10-15 minutes or until light golden.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. Heat up the tomato sauce until lightly bubbling and season to taste with your choice of seasonings. 

Top the pizza crust with the sauce, rest of the cheese, and any additional toppings. Bake until melted and bubbly, 10-15 min. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Light Vegetarian Potato Soup

I've been dying to try potato soup for the longest time. Now that winter is here, I feel like a permanent chill has settled into my bones. And the best way to remedy that is to drink a bowl of hot, comforting soup!

The problem was, every time I looked for a good recipe for potato soup, it always called for bacon and chicken broth. Now I'm okay with eating chicken, but bacon is a big no no! So I was like, why don't I come up with a vegetarian potato soup recipe, for all of us not meat eating people out there who would like a vegetable soup to, for once, mean that it has only vegetables. This version is also light since we don't use heavy cream. Use light cheese and sour cream to get rid of additional calories.

So here it is, a delicious, light, comforting soup that is vegetarian and super easy to make.

Vegetarian Potato Soup
serves 4-6

3 tbs butter
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cup vegetable broth (or chicken stock)
2 cups milk
3-5 potatoes (depending on size), peeled and diced very small
3-4 stacks celery, diced (optional)
3-4 small carrots, diced (optional)
1 cup shredded mexican blend cheese
1/2 cup light sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

toppings- green onions, chives, sour cream, cheese

Heat butter in a large pot over medium-high heat.

Add onion and sauté until soft and translucent or pink, around 5 minutes.

Sprinkle flour on top of the onion and combine. Cook flour for an additional minute.

Stir in the vegetable broth and milk slowly while continually stirring so no lumps form. Add potatoes and other veggies and cook until the mixture comes to a simmer (not boiling!).

Reduce the heat to low, cover, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the potatoes and veggies are soft. Stir in the cheese and sour cream, salt and pepper. Taste for seasoning and serve immediately with desired toppings! Enjoy!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Brunch for the Chocolate Lover

I am married to a chocoholic.

I am not a huge fan of chocolate, not even a big one. I merely like it and only on occasion, too much is just too much.

So it was a really romantic gesture when I planned this chocolate themed brunch as a surprise for the hubby. ;) He absolutely loved it and I was so excited to share it with ya'll.

Gift this to the chocoholic in your life and I'm sure they'll love it too.

Here's what was on the menu- chocolate crepes served with whipped cream and bananas, chocolate dipped heart strawberries, hot chocolate as drinks, and chocolate "croissants." To balance off the sweet, chocolate-y items, I included two savory items, mini asparagus and mushroom tarts and mini heart shaped tomato tarts.

Brunch for the Chocolate Lover
(Serves 4; or 2 with lots of leftovers)

You can make the crepe batter and dip the chocolate strawberries the night before so there are less things for you to do in the morning. This is the recipe I used to make the crepes. Make sure to half it if its just two of you! Make the crepes morning of while your tarts and pastries are in the oven.

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

To dip the strawberries, wash and dry 10-15 strawberries completely. Melt 1/3 cup of chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli's milk chocolate chips) in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until melted. Line a baking pan with parchment paper to set the dipped strawberries on. Instead of dipping the strawberry once, dip it on each side slightly at an angle to achieve a heart shape. Decorate using sprinkles or melt white chocolate chips and drizzle it across the strawberries. I used a ziploc bag with a snipped corner to make it easy and mess free. Leave it in the fridge to set overnight.

Tarts and Pastries 

These tarts are absolutely delicious! My favorite were the mini tomato tarts. They tasted like little pizzas but were more elegant somehow. And the presentation was fabulous. 

You'll need:
1 box puff pastry, defrosted overnight in the fridge
1-2 roma tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 asparagus bunch 
4-5 baby bella mushrooms, sliced
Swiss or gruyere cheese block
grated Parmesan cheese
fresh basil chiffonade, for topping
1/4-1/2 cup milk chocolate chips 
1 egg beaten
1 tbs olive oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 F.
You will use both puff pastry sheets to make all of the pastries so divide it as you like. I made 5 chocolate pastries, 4 asparagus tarts, and finished off the rest of the puff pastry with 8 tomato hearts. 

Tomato Tarts- 

Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out medium sized hearts from the pastry dough. Brush the dough with olive oil and add grated swiss cheese to the center. Put a slice of tomato on top, and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top it off with a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes or until puffed and golden brown. The tomatoes may slide off as the pastries back so keep an eye on them, you may have to slide them back on halfway through, no worries. Sprinkle some basil chiffonade on before serving.

Asparagus and Mushroom Tarts-

Optional (Leave this step if you don't want mushrooms on your tarts)- Sautee mushrooms in olive oil until fully wilted. Season with salt and pepper and any other seasonings you like.

Cut 4 rectangles of puff pastry dough and use your fingers to flatten and spread it out a little. Using the flat side of a knife, make a groove 1/4 inch along the edges of the tart. This will from the crust. Poke holes in the tart using a fork and brush with beaten egg for an egg wash. Place sliced swiss cheese in a single layer in the center of the tart. Trim asparagus to the size of the tart and line them in a row on the cheese. Arrange sautéed mushrooms on the asparagus. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and Parmesan cheese. Bake for 20-25 min or until golden brown. Serve with basil.

Chocolate "Crossaints"-

Cut equal sized rectangles from the puff pastry dough. With the rectangle in hamburger orientation, place 2 strips of chocolate chips on the third and two third lines. Do not over fill. 

Fold the right side over to the center and lightly press to secure. Fold the left side over to the right side and press to secure. Carefully turn pastry over so seams are on the bottom and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Give it an egg wash and b
ake for 14-16 minutes, until tops of pastries just start to turn golden. Let them cool till just slightly warm before serving.

Make hot cocoa to top it off (or any other chocolate drink, chocolate milk, milkshake).

Don't forget to set the mood with some beautiful roses and a clean home! :) Enjoy and good luck in the kitchen!
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