Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Comfort food for Sunday dinner

The hubby had been a little under the weather so I wanted to cook him some special comfort food. I live in the eternal hope that the next time I'm under the weather or pretending to be, the favor will be returned :). So anyway, I made him a simple dinner of Palak Dal, Roast chicken and rice and it was gratifying to see him eat like food was going out of style. Palak dal has a special significance in our house. I use it as a 'make-up-after-fight' tool, a 'sorry-your-day-was-so-bad' support and 'I'm-feeling-too-lazy-to-cook-anything-else' comfort. The first time I ever made a halfway decent meal, Palak dal was on the menu. Since then it has evolved, as food often does, into a taste memory. We reminisce about the time I cooked so bad, batches of food had to thrown out, the first time I got it right, how I made it three days in a row because I was too scared to cook anything else... Sounds like too much talking about what is essentialy a staple in most households, right? But then the staples are what give us the comfort factor.

Palak Dal

1 onion, chopped fine
1 tomato, diced
1 teaspoon ginger paste
1 teaspoong garlic paste
1 cup toovar dal
1 cup of chopped spinach
juice of 1 lemon

For tempering
a pinch of mustard seeds
a pinch of jeera
a pinch of onion seeds
turmeric, hing, dried red chillies

Cook the toovar dal till its soft but not too mushy. Keep aside. Heat the oil and add all the ingredients for tempering. Add the onions and saute till pink. Add ginger-garlic and fry for another minute. Then add the tomato. When the tomato is cooked down, add the chopped spinach and cook till it wilts. Then put in the cooked toovar dal and mix. Add salt to taste and the juice of 1 lemon after you pull it off the heat.

Roast Chicken

2 legs of chicken
1/2 cup thick yogurt
2 teaspoons ginger paste
2 teaspoons garlic paste
2 teaspoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
2 tablespoons of Tandoori chicken powder
2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice
1 tablespoon oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix everything in the marinade together to make a thick, smooth paste. Make some slits in the chicken and rub in the mixture with your fingertips. Ensure even coating and make sure you get the spices inside the slits. Cover and marinate in the fridge for at least two hours. Crank the oven to 450 or as high as it will go and roast for 30 mins. After 30 min, brush with some oil and roast at 350 for another 30 mins. Check for doneness by cutting a small part, if the flesh in no more pink and the juices run clear, its done. Serve hot with kachumar.


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