Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Chicken Croquettes ( Bengali Style Chicken Chop )

For long time I had a dream to spend a weekend in an ocean side resort and enjoy with my family. Finally my husband gave me a surprise on president’s day long weekend and we went to a resort in a place called Palos Verdes near Los Angeles. After spending those pampering days, when we came back on Monday and we had a get together with some family friends at our residence. This time I cooked some new stuffs and taken photographs but there were no time to write the recipe and share with you. 

Starting this week I am slowly coming back to my old routine and hope would be able to maintain the pace. Today I am going to share a yummy snack, a popular street food of Calcutta and eastern part of India. If you visit the city, you would find hundreds of road-side vendors are selling this kind of snack. The formal name of this dish is Chicken Croquettes, commonly known as Chicken chop or chicken cutlet. The word Croquette has come from the French word "Croquer" that means to crunch.

Croquette is a small deep fried food that usually contains mashed potatoes or ground meet (goat, beef, chicken or turkey), fish, cheese or vegetables as filling. The Croquette is usually shaped like a cylinder, disk or oval shape.First dip the filling in egg wash, roll in bread crumbs and finally deep fry in hot oil. If you want to avoid deep-frying, you can bake them too at oven. The Bengali version can be of different types, both veg and non-veg. Potatoes, mixed vegetables, banana flowers are very commonly used as a filling when it is vegetarian. On the other hand fish (macher chop), minced mutton (mansher Chop) are very popular as non-vegetarian croquettes. Whether it’s veg or non-veg, each variety of croquettes has a distinctive taste and texture. Once they are cooked, become quite crispy on the outside but remains soft inside, very tempting as an appetizer or a party snack. Generally it is served with tomato ketchup or with your choice of dip and with onion rings and some salads. 

Recipe of Chicken Croquettes ( Bengali Style Chicken Chop ) : for 10 pieces 

Ingredients : 

Boneless Chicken breast : 1 lb / 500 g ( boiled and shredded )
Onion : a big one, finely chopped 
Ginger paste : 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste : 1 tablespoon
Tomato : a small one chopped 
Green chilies : as per tolerance (if you want to avoid green chilies, you can use black pepper powder or red chili powder.)
Coriander powder : 1 teaspoon 
Potato : 1 medium sized, boiled 
Green Cardamom : 2 
Cinnamon stick : 1 inch
Cloves : 2 
Salt : 
Egg : 1
Breadcrumbs : 1 cup 
Oil : for deep frying 

Method :

1. Take a big pan, heat it up and add 2-3 tablespoon oil. Once oil is hot, add cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves to it. Once they are fragrant, discard them from oil.

2. Add the chopped onion to the pan, saute it till it changes the color to light brown, add ginger and garlic. Stir it, cook until the raw smell goes off. Add the chopped tomato to the pan, sprinkle some salt. Cook it till the tomato becomes soft and smashed. 

3. Add coriander powder and green chilies. Stir it and mix it, till oil starts separating from the sides of the pan.

4. Add the boiled and shredded chicken. Mix it nicely with the spices and keep stirring for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the potato, smashed it with a spatula and mix well with chicken-spice mixture. 

5. Give some stirs, until the mixture is well combined. Check the seasoning, add salt or chilies if needed. Turn off the gas, now filling is ready. 

6. Divide the mixture into 10 equal balls, give them shape like a cylinder, disk or oval. 

7. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 2 tablespoon of water and on an another flat dish, spread the breadcrumbs. 

8. Take a ball first dip into the egg mixture, then roll it on the breadcrumbs until it gets a nice coat all over it. Do the same process for the rest of the balls. 

9. Now take a deep frying pan, add oil and heat it up. Once oil is ready, deep fry the balls in two batches on medium-high heat until they are evenly golden brown on both sides. 

10. Take out them from oil and place it on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Chicken Croquettes ( Bengali Style Chicken Chop) are ready to serve. Serve hot with tomato ketchup or with your choice of dip and with onion rings and some salads. 

Note :

 If you want to avoid deep frying, you can bake them too. To bake the Chicken Croquette after 8th step, take a baking sheet, grease it with non stick spray. Place the Chicken balls on it and nicely spray with non stick spray. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C, bake them until they are evenly golden brown on both sides. In between check it, turn the other side and again spray lightly with non stick cooking spray. It takes approximately 5 to 7 minutes for each side to be done. To see the baking process in detail you can check this recipe too ( Baked Tuna Cutlet )

The same recipe, you can try with minced goat meat, or beef or lamb. 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Garlic Prawn Pasta

As you might have already guessed from my picture earlier, I'm going to share a pasta dish today. Off late, this has become regular dinner or lunch dish on working days, especially for me and my son. Because it is fast and at the same time, fresh and fabulous. It takes only 10 minutes from chopping board to plate. When you are in busy schedule or too tired but still love to have fresh and home-cooked food, this is the dish for you.

This Angel hair Pasta with garlic and prawns is my personal favorite, as I like prawns and garlic both and pasta is anytime hit in my family. I used angel hair pasta to this recipe, but you can use any kind of pasta or spaghetti as per your choice. This particular recipe is adopted from Donna Hay's Garlic Prawn Pasta. The use of fried egg on the top of the pasta is completely optional. I liked to serve the dish this way and I feel it makes this dish more delicious.

Though original recipe uses fresh prawns, I did with some raw frozen prawns because I wanted to make this real fast. Thaw the frozen prawns. Add your favorite pasta when salted water is boiling and let it cook. In between finely chop or slice some garlic pods and make some peeled lemon zests ready. Cook - stir and mix it up together. A cozy meal is ready to serve. 

The Recipe of Garlic Prawn Pasta : serves 2 

Ingredients :

Angel hair pasta / Thin Spaghetti : 8 oz / 200 g 
Butter : 3 tablespoon 
Olive oil - 1 tablespoon or as per needed 
Garlic : 5-6 cloves, finely chopped or sliced 
Chili flakes : 1 teaspoon or as per your tolerance 
Lemon zest : ( shredded ) 1 tablespoon 
Prawns ( raw )  frozen or fresh, cleaned and peeled : 12 or 1 cup 
Lemon juice : 1 tablespoon 
Salt :
Pepper : if needed 
Parsley leaves : roughly torn, 1/4 cup 
Eggs : 2

Method :

1. Take a large sauce pan, add water and let it boil. Add salt, add pasta and cook the pasta as per package instruction. To avoid sticky pasta add few drops of oil, when it starts boiling. 

2. Clean and peel the prawns. Sprinkle salt on them, coat it well and set it aside.

3. Once pasta is well cooked, drain it and save some of the liquid and set aside. 

4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the butter and oil to the pan. Once butter or oil is ready, add the garlic, chili flakes and the lemon zest and cook about 2 minutes. 

5. Add the prawns and keep stirring. Cook until the prawns are tender and cooked. 

6. Reduce the heat, add the pasta, lemon juice, salt and pepper and torn fresh parsley to the pan. Toss to combine, if the pasta is too dry add some of the saved liquid. 

7. Adjust salt and pepper and serve warm with more fresh parsley, chili flakes and olive oil ( if you wish ) 

To cook the eggs :

Heat butter or oil in a frying pan. Break the egg carefully in to the pan, the yolk should not break. Cook at medium heat until the white is set but yolk is still soft or runny. Sprinkle salt and pepper on the egg. Remove from heat and top pasta with eggs and serve.

Note : The amount of the ingredients are adjustable. Since it is fast and simple, there is hardly need to measure anything.