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Chicken, Seafood & Meat

Cajun Chicken Salad

Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad

Summertime!! Like many of you, summer is my family’s favorite season! It means more road-trips, hiking, picnics and a ton of fresh, delicious and colorful salads. My husband and I have a salad for lunch almost everyday. Since we both prefer chicken as our protein, we get creative with seasonings, mix-ins and salad dressings to avoid monotony. Cajun Chicken Salad is one of our most loved salad.

Cajun Chicken Salad:

I start with grilling Cajun spice rubbed chicken, to toast those earthy spices. I use a cabbage spring mix for this salad, which provides a nice cool contrast to the Cajun seasoning. But, you can use any lettuce mix you like. I add toasted almond chips, which provide a nice crunch, and strawberries, which compliment and balance this salad with their sweetness. The chicken is so moist and flavorful that I don’t even use a salad dressing most of the time. But when I do, I like to have an Apple Cider-Honey Mustard Vinaigrette with it. This salad is perfect for any weather really, and the best part is, it’s Low-carb

Grilled Cajun Chicken Salad

Cajun Spice Blend:

Cajun Cuisine, which is best known for it’s spicy and earthy flavor tones, is a regional cuisine from the southern part of Louisiana. The first time I had Cajun chicken was in New Orleans, the real deal. I fell in love immediately. It was more than a decade ago, my husband was attending a conference there and I tagged along. I visited the flea market at the famous French market, where I bought my first Cajun Spice blend. I was so eager to try it, that the first thing I did when we returned home was to grill some chicken and shrimp using this spice blend. It was UNBELIEVABLY good. Based on the ingredients on that spice pack, I started putting together my own blend.

The spice mix that I put together, tasted authentic and most of all, I was able to adjust the heat level in the mix. When I make a new batch, I store it in an air-tight container, and keep it in my spice drawer, away from heat and light.

When I make it from scratch, here’s what I use:

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Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Tandoori Chicken recipe is probably one of the most flavorful and popular recipes from the Indian subcontinent. In this recipe, I marinate the chicken in yogurt, lemon juice, aromatics and bold Indian spices. Then, I grill it to a perfect crispy golden brown. The result is tender, juicy and a to-die-for flavor! If you’ve never tried it before, just trust me on this and go for it!Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Tandoori Chicken Recipe:

Skinless chicken is the traditional choice in this recipe. Start by making a marinade including yogurt, fresh ground ginger, garlic, garam masala, red chili powder and fresh lemon juice. Marinate the chicken anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight. Thread it on to skewers and grill it. Most restaurants grill it in a high-heat clay-oven called Tandoor (tun-dur). Tandoor is typically heated with charcoals. That is what gives the chicken a slightly smoky flavor. But, since most of us don’t have a clay oven in our backyards, an oven broiler, or an outdoor grill can achieve a similar flavor!

Tandoori Chicken Recipe

Tandoori Chicken in Instant Pot (pressure cooker):

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Thai Massaman Curry

Thai Massaman CurryThai food is always on repeat menu in my home, especially on weeknights. It is quick and super easy to make, delicious and very easily customizable to our palette. Thai Massaman Curry, or, Thai Masaman Curry, is one of the milder curries in Thai cuisine, which is perfect when you’re making this for kids.  I love the flavor combination in this curry. It’s a nice blend of sweet and spicy and the coconut milk adds a touch of creaminess to the curry. I finish this dish with a light squeeze of lime and it ties all the flavors together really well.

Easy and Perfect for Weeknights:

Thai Massaman Curry, or any other Thai curry, is one of the easy dinners that I make during weeknights. Like most of you, during weeknights, I don’t have enough time to make this curry paste from scratch, so I combine store-bought curry paste with coconut milk, add protein and a ton of veggies, cook it on the stove-top for 10-12 minutes, or a quick 5 minutes in my Instant Pot , and it’s done! Thai Massaman CurryI like using Maesri brand for curry pastes. I find the taste of this brand to be the most authentic. My local favorite Thai restaurant also uses Maesri pre-made curry pastes to make their curries:-)

I buy the curry paste from Amazon, or my local asian supermarket. My pantry is always stocked with one of these curry pastes, coconut milk and a can of baby corn. It makes life much easier for times when you don’t feel like doing take-out, but still want to eat something delicious. I combine the curry paste with coconut milk, add the baby corn, plus about a cup of any frozen veggies I have on hand, and dinner comes together with minimum effort! Continue Reading…

Thai Red Curry Soup

Thai Red Curry SoupHearty, healthy, rich and creamy, Thai Red Curry Soup is perhaps one of my favorites meals to make when I’m in the mood for something sweet and spicy. This delicious and nutritious soup is filled with protein, has tons of veggies and the creamy yum coconut milk gives it a smooth and velvety texture . A squeeze of lime towards the end, cuts through that richness and balances this soup really well. I make quite a few variations of this soup. I switch the proteins and make it with chicken or shrimp, and a vegetarian version with Extra Firm Tofu.

Thai Red Curry Soup is quick and easy to make, and it’s just perfect for weeknights:

Thai Red Curry SoupThai recipes come together in a flash, especially when I use a store-bought curry paste. I’m all about making things from scratch, but when I found out that my local favorite Thai restaurant uses these pre-made curry pastes, I just had to try them. There are many brands for Thai curry paste in the stores, and I’ve tried a fair share of them. I found Maesri brand to be the most authentic in terms of flavors and consistency. I always keep these curry pastes and a can of coconut milk in my pantry. That makes weeknight dinners a breeze. I put together some fresh or frozen chicken, fresh peppers and broccoli, mix the curry paste with coconut milk, add it all to the Instant Pot (or any pressure cooker), pressure cook it for 5 minutes, and dinner is on the table in under 30 minutes!

Make it vegetarian and customize it:

Thai Red Curry SoupIt is extremely easy to customize this soup to your liking. I switch up the proteins and veggies all the time.

To make this soup vegetarian, simply add firm tofu or Paneer (Indian cottage cheese), instead of chicken! Since tofu/paneer is already cooked, add it after pressure cooking the soup, along with the assorted veggies. This way it doesn’t get overcooked and still absorbs the wonderful flavors of the soup.

I love the crunch and flavor of assorted vegetables in Thai Red Curry Soup. I like to add sliced bell-peppers, onions, baby corn and zucchini, but you can add pretty much any kind of vegetables you like. In this recipe, I add the veggies after the pressure cooking process so they retain a nice crunch and stay fresh.  Even frozen vegetables work great in this soup. Simply add them after the pressure cooking process and cook for a few minutes on sauté till they thaw and absorb the soup flavors. You can garnish it with cilantro, Thai basil or even mint. I like to have this soup as-is, but if you love to pair Thai recipes with rice, you can serve this with some white or Brown jasmine rice.

Healthier Carb Option:

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Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe (Instant Pot/Oven/Skillet)

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe, garam masala kitchenJamaican Jerk Chicken was probably one of the first recipes that I cooked with my husband when we were newly married! It was an adaptation of one of Bobby Flay’s recipe. I remember, I made the spice rub from scratch, marinated the meat overnight, and we grilled it on a charcoal grill.  It was juicy, spicy, sweet and simply amazing!

Traditional Marinade: In the traditional recipe for Jamaican Jerk Chicken, a wet marinade is prepared with fresh thyme, scotch bonnet pepper, ginger, garlic, spring onions, oil, soy sauce, orange juice, red wine vinegar, brown sugar and a unique spice-rub that includes cinnamon, cloves, all-spice, nutmeg, black pepper and salt. Everything is blended together in a food processor and the chicken is marinated in it for 30 mins-12 hours.  Whenever I have time, I like to make this marinade from scratch, but on busy days, I love to take a shortcut and use a dry pre-mixed Caribbean Jerk Seasoning. I combine a few tablespoons of the pre-mix with orange juice, soy sauce, olive oil, red wine vinegar and brown sugar, and marinade is done.

Cooking methods: Oven/Skillet/Grill/Instant Pot: I have cooked Jerk Chicken in the oven, in a skillet, on an outdoor grill, and now, in my electric pressure cooker, Instant Pot. It takes about 15-20 minutes to grill it on the stove, outdoor grill or under the broiler (oven). With an Instant Pot, it takes about 30 minutes, BUT, that’s hands-free time. You don’t have to monitor it, or flip it half way through, you just dump it in and walk away for the next 30 minutes. However, after cooking it in the pressure cooker, I do like to do an optional extra step which takes another couple of minutes. I heat a grill pan on medium-high heat, and then sear the cooked chicken for 30 secs-1 minute on one side, to get the nice grill marks on the chicken. By doing that, the sugars in the marinade caramelize and create a nice char on the chicken, that tastes heavenly and looks phenomenal.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken Recipe, garam masala kitchenServing suggestion: Jamaican Jerk Chicken goes really well with a simple mango salsa, or my favorite, Kale & Mango Slaw with Chickpeas. The crunchy slaw and the ripe and juicy mangoes compliment the sweet and spicy chicken really well. Click on the following link to get the recipe of this spring-time favorite, Kale & Mango Slaw.

 

Here’s how easy it is to put  Jamaican Jerk Chicken together:

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Easy Instant Pot Chicken Wonton Soup (Pressure Cooker & Stove-Top Recipe)

Easy Instant Pot Chicken Wonton SoupChicken Wonton Soup is perhaps one of the most ordered soups at a Chinese restaurant.  Wontons are soft bite-size dumplings that are stuffed with meat or vegetables, and aromatics like ginger, garlic and spring onions. They are then cooked in a clear, flavorful chicken or vegetable broth. I love this soup, and have found an easier way to enjoy it at home, on a weeknight too. Sharing my recipe for a real easy Instant Pot Chicken Wonton Soup.

Easy Instant Pot Chicken Wonton SoupI love simple and easy meals like this, that are so comforting at the end of a long day.When I have time, I love to make homemade wontons for this soup using ground chicken, spring onions, aromatics and seasoning. But, for weeknights and crazy times, this soup is real easy to put together using my favorite store-bought frozen wontons, Chicken Cilantro Mini Wontons from Trader Joe’s. This soup will work equally well with your favorite brand of dumplings too.

Easy-Peasy:

All you have to do is add all ingredients, except wontons and greens, in the Instant Pot, pressure cook for 2 minutes, release pressure, add wontons and greens, and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Done!  And dinner is served in 20 minutes.

Easy Instant Pot Chicken Wonton SoupMake it Vegetarian:

It is extremely easy to make this soup vegetarian by switching just two ingredients. Switch the chicken broth with vegetable broth and buy your favorite flavor of vegetable dumplings. I personally like the Thai Vegetable Gyoza dumplings from Trader Joe’s. I combine that with their low-sodium vegetable broth.

Stove-Top Method:

Heat a large stockpot on medium-high heat. Add all ingredients EXCEPT wontons and greens. Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 6-8 mins. Open lid. Add wontons and cook till they float on top, takes about 2-4 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add greens and stir well. Let them soften in the soup for a few minutes. Serve warm!

Check out more INSTANT POT SOUP RECIPES here!

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Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice (with Dairy-Free option)

Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice

Tender and juicy chicken, cooked in a creamy-buttery tomato sauce, served with Saffron flavored Basmati Rice. Try this recipe for Easy Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice, and, enjoy a restaurant style Indian treat, right in the comfort of your home!

Butter Chicken or Murgh Makhani (literally means ‘buttery chicken’), is an authentic Punjabi dish that was created in the 1950s. It was created in a super popular restaurant in New Delhi called ‘Moti Mahal Delux’. The founder and chef of the restaurant decided to use left-over Tandoori Chicken (Indian-Spiced Grilled Chicken), in a rich and buttery tomato gravy. Little did he know, that he was creating one of the most popular curry dishes from the Indian subcontinent.

Traditionally, the chicken is marinated and grilled before adding to the tomato-cream sauce. But in this recipe, I have skipped that step and made it a Pour-and-Start recipe, with the same incredible taste. The key is using a smaller and thinner cut of boneless skinless chicken, and, adding extra garam masala to compensate for the flavors lost due to skipping marination.  This recipe is my weeknight-friendly, super quick and easy variation that’ll leave you amazed.

Click here to see some of my other POUR-and-START recipes.

Dairy-Free/Lactose-free & Gluten Free:

This recipe can be made dairy-free by substituting the heavy cream with full-fat coconut milk. It’s as easy as that. There is no other substitution required. And, this recipe is Gluten-free, which makes it perfect for entertaining as well.

Make it Vegetarian:

The base sauce that I make this recipe is vegetarian. So, you can easily switch the protein in this dish and make it vegetarian. You can add Paneer (Indian Cottage Cheese), extra-firm Tofu, mushrooms, or, a medley of veggies as well. Check out the recipe for a vegetarian favorite that I make with this sauce,  Paneer Butter Masala, or, Paneer Makhani.

Instant pot paneer butter masala, instant pot paneer makhani

Serving Suggestion:

I love serving this Butter Chicken with Saffron Rice, aromatic and nutty basmati rice cooked in a Saffron infused broth.  Saffron compliments the aromatic and nutty basmati rice and elevates it to an elegant side dish. Another popular pairing with Butter Chicken is Cumin Rice (Zeera Rice). A side of Cucumber Raita really completes this meal. I love how yogurt adds a cooling freshness to this meal, which balances the spices in the Butter Chicken.

Cucumber Yoghurt Dip / Cucumber Raita

Cucumber Yoghurt Dip / Cucumber Raita

Jeera rice , basmati rice flavored with fried cumin seeds

Cumin Rice (Zeera Rice)

POT-in-POT: Cooking Butter Chicken and Saffron Rice in the same pot

In this recipe, I have cooked everything in one-pot, using the pot-in-pot technique in my electrical pressure cooker, Instant Pot. Since chicken and basmati rice have the same cook time (6 minutes on high pressure), it is a great combination to make in one-pot. Watch the video above to see how easy this process is.  Continue Reading…

‘Everything But The Kitchen Sink’ Pasta Sauce (Instant Pot)

Pasta sauce- Garam Masala KitchenThe Everything But The Kitchen Sink Pasta Sauce is exactly what it sounds like, it’s got a ton of veggies, aromatics, meat, cheese and tomatoes! I’ve always got a jar of this chunky, delicious and super healthy sauce in my freezer. I make this sauce to clean up my fridge, when leftovers of veggies and cheese start piling up. It’s a great sauce to make when you’re short on an ingredient or two. You can easily skip the meat and make a vegetarian version of this hearty sauce.

Plenty of veggie choices: The choices are endless with this sauce. You can pretty much add any veggies you have lying around. Here are some that I have used successfully- mushrooms, celery, eggplant, zucchini, squash, carrots, cabbage, onions, garlic, spring onions, leeks, chives, spinach, kale, turnips and peppers.

instant pot pasta sauce, garam masala kitchenPlenty of meat choices: As with veggies, you can add any meat or a combinations of meats that you have on hand. I have tried making this sauce with all kinds of ground meat and sausage, chopped cooked sausage, leftover mortadella,  salami, shredded chicken, bacon and prosciutto.

Choices for Sauce: I typically have a can of crushed or diced tomatoes in my pantry. If I’m using diced, I like to puree it a little with my hand blender before adding to the pot. I also keep a jar of my preferred marinara sauce, which also works great in this sauce. If you have any leftover tomatoes to use, just throw them in there, finely chopped, and they’ll blend in well.

Kid-Friendly: This is a great sauce to sneak in a ton of veggies in a pasta sauce. If your little one is picky about chunks of veggies, pulse each vegetable a few extra times in the food processor, then increase the cook time to 5-6 minutes. The veggies will almost dissolve in the sauce, and no one will ever know 😉

Instant Pot Lasagna Ravioli Lasagna

Ravioli Lasagna

Serving suggestion: I always make a big batch of this sauce. This works great with a simple boiled pasta; makes a great lasagna, as a pizza sauce with some fresh or shredded mozzarella and hand-torn-basil; for meatball sandwiches.

Stove-Top Method: This sauce can be easily cooked in a big stock pot or sauce pot. Follow all steps and cover and cook on medium-heat,  for about 12-15 minutes, stirring every 3-4 minutes. Continue Reading…

Instant Pot Korean Spice Chicken (Pressure Cooker)

Instant Pot Korean Spice ChickenMy family loves Korean food!  Two dishes that we regularly order at a Korean restaurant are Bibimbap, which is a rice bowl with sautéed vegetables, meat and Gochujang (chili pepper paste), and, Bulgogi, which is basically Korean grilled meat, served with rice or lettuce cups. This recipe for Instant Pot Korean Spice Chicken is my weeknight, and pressure cooker friendly combination of the two.

I start by marinating the chicken with ingredients that I use for making Bulgogi– some Gochujang (Korean chili pepper paste), ginger-garlic, honey, onion and ground or grated pear. The pear tenderizes the meat and provides a subtle sweet flavor, which balances the heat from the Gochujang really well.  Then I pressure cook the meat in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot. Any pressure cooker would work great for this recipe. You can even do this in a skillet on the stove-top. Marinate the meat. Heat a heavy bottom skillet on medium high heat and dump everything in. Cover and cook for 10 minutes, remove lid and cook till chicken is tender and the sauce is thick to your liking.

Serving Suggestion:

My kids like having white rice with Korean Spice Chicken, so, I make it in the same pot using pot-in-pot method. Since white rice and chicken have the same cook time of 6 minutes, it is very easy to turn this into a one-pot meal with just a trivet and an oven safe bowl. Check out the video to see how to make this meal using Pot-in-Pot technique. Here are some PIP recipes.

Low-Carb Variation:

My husband and I like to have it over lettuce cups. The crisp lettuce contrasts really well with the spicy chicken. I have to tell you, that this is one of the tastiest low-carb meals we make at home. The pickled cucumbers really bring the meal together.

Instant Pot Korean Spice Chicken

 

Korean pickled cucumber

 

Korean food is almost incomplete without an assortment of side dishes called Banchan.  I make a few of them at home, including the Spicy Cucumber Salad called Oi Muchim. Persian cucumbers or English cucumbers work great for this dish. The fresh and crunchy cucumbers, marinated in Gochujang, salt, vinegar and sesame oil, are a perfect match for this chicken.  They being this meal together beautifully! Try this recipe and let me know how it works for you by leaving a comment. Continue Reading…

Instant Pot Homestyle Mutton Curry (Goat curry)

This recipe for Mutton Curry or Mutton Masala Curry (goat curry) brings back childhood memories for me. Growing up, even though my mom was the head-chef of the house, Mutton Curry was always my Dad’s speciality. Right from buying the meat, to roasting and grinding fresh spices for it, he would totally own this dish. The result was juicy, tender and delicious mutton, which had simmered in aromatics and a homemade yogurt sauce. To me, this will always be the best homestyle mutton curry recipe!

Mutton is the meat of a younger goat, much like lamb, only healthier and tastier, in my opinion. It is considered a healthier ‘red-meat’ as compared to beef and lamb, due to it’s lower saturated-fat content. The same recipe can be used for regular Goat-meat by increasing cook time to 25-30 minutes, depending on the size and meat-to-bone ratio of the pieces.

Super Easy Recipe: This recipe ends up taking about 40 minutes, from start to finish, but most of it is hands-off cooking time. You marinate the meat with spices and aromatics (onion, ginger, garlic), saute it for a few minutes, add yogurt, pressure cook it, wait for 10-15 minutes before releasing the pressure, and voila, Homestyle Mutton Curry is done! I make this in my programmable pressure cooker, Instant Pot, so all I have to do is push a few buttons and the cooker does the rest. Watch the video on this page to see how easy the process is! That being said, this recipe can be made in any pressure cooker. Just follow the settings for meat and set a 15 minute cook time. For a stove-top pressure cooker like Hawkins, after the first whistle, reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes.

Stove-Top Method: It is possible to make this on the stove-top too, but it would require some baby-sitting. Start with heating a wide bottom pan, like a Dutch Oven/ Casserole or a Nonstick Pasta Pot. Marinate the meat and saute it for a few minutes. Add yogurt and potatoes, stir well, cover it and simmer it on medium heat for 20-25 minutes, or till the meat is tender. You have to keep stirring every 5 minutes or so to prevent the gravy or the meat from sticking to the bottom and burning.

Serving Suggestions: This curry goes very well with Cumin Basmati Rice or Naan (Store-bought works), and a Cucumber raita (Yogurt cucumber dip)
Jeera rice , basmati rice flavored with fried cumin seeds Cucumber Yoghurt Dip / Cucumber Raita

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