Happy Friday

I was just sitting here getting ready to eat a bowl of chili when I thought maybe I ought to post something, because, you know, the last time I disappeared for a week or two I didn't actually come back again for more than a year. I've been on a blogcation because we had a guest staying with us, and blog meals take up way too much time we could be spending on other fun things. Plus, my guest is a vegetarian, so cooking her a greasy, meaty, traditional meal from some exotic land wouldn't have actually been very polite. Yeah I know, I could have looked for some vegetarian options ... but I liked the idea of playing in the snow more than sitting down with my laptop looking for recipe ideas.

I will say also that there was a bunch of eating out this week, and I'm kind of scared to get on the scale now.

Anyway, I'll get some real stuff up later this week. See you then!
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Recipes from Maharashtra, India

So I kind of had to squeeze this blog meal in on a weekday, because of various factors including a power outage, a roast beef dinner and my baby boy's 7th birthday. Happily, the meal I chose wasn't terribly complicated, so no one had to go to bed late. Not that late, anyway.

There were just two recipes, much to my older daughter's dismay, since she believes very strongly that no blog meal is complete without desert. And also, she hates curry. So it really wasn't her night.

Here are the two dishes I chose:

Kolhapuri Chicken, which are super spicy drumsticks.

Alu Paratha, a flatbread stuffed with spicy mashed potatoes.

I will admit that I had to actually make two separate versions of each one of these recipes. While my older son (he's now 11) is so macho about spicy food that he says things like, "I can't believe you actually think this is spicy, Mom," even while his face is turning bright red, my other children don't appreciate spicy food at all. So I left out the super spicy chili powder from the drumsticks and excluded the red chili powder from the mashed potatoes. But just to keep it authentic, I did serve the complete recipe, fire and all, to me and Martin.

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Recipes from Maharashtra, India: Kolhapuri Chicken

I have always loved spicy food, so I loved this super-spicy drumstick recipe from Maharashtra. It reminded me of Tandoori chicken, but much less kind. I do suggest if you're going to make it that you
test-drive the primary spicy ingredient before adding it--it's called "Degi Mirch," and it's a special blend of super-spicy Indian chili powder. I thought it was going to be hard to find, but I actually located it in 30 seconds or less on Amazon Prime (here's the link).

If you can get past the mouth on fire thing, this is a tasty recipe. Here's how to make it:

First, you marinade the drumsticks. Take the skin off, mix together the maranade ingredients and then rub all over the chicken. Put it in the fridge and let it sit for 30 minutes or so.

Now you have to mix up a bunch of whole garam masala ingredients: bay leaf, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, star anise and garlic.

Fry the seeds until they start to smell delicious, then add some sliced onion and dry coconut to the pan. Keep stirring until the onions start to brown.

Next, put the onion mix in a blender with some tomatoes and water and pulse to make a paste. Transfer back to the pan and cook in a little oil with the Degi Mirch and garam masala.

Now add the chicken to the pot, mix, cover and cook over medium low for  20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 175 degrees. Now give it to your family and laugh as their faces turn red and they all dive for a glass of water.

Actually as I said, I didn't give my kids the spicy version, at least not deliberately. My super-macho 11-year-old helped himself to some sauce and then sat there sweating while simultaneously complaining that it wasn't spicy enough. Haha, I am so on to you, dude. My husband liked the flavor, spices and all, but of course complained that it wasn't a boneless, skinless chicken breast. You know, the most flavorless cut on the chicken. Sigh. You can't please everyone.

Kolhapuri Chicken

from Madhuras Recipe
Kolhapuri Chicken


  • 1 lb chicken drumsticks

  • For the marinade
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala

  • For the sauce:
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tbsp poppy seeds
  • 2 tbsp garlic, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 green cardamom pods
  • 2 to 3 whole cloves
  • 4 to 5 peppercorns
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 large onion, sliced
  • 1 medium tomato, diced
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3 tbsp dry, shredded coconut (unsweetened)
  • 1 tbsp Degi Mirch powder*
*Degi Mirch is a spicy red Indian chili powder blend. I got mine on Amazon.com


  1. First pull the skin off the drumsticks. 
  2. Mix together the marinade ingredients and rub all over the drumsticks. Let sit in the fridge for 30 minutes or so.
  3. Now heat up the oil and add all the various seeds and the chopped garlic. Keep stirring until fragrant. 
  4. Add the coconut and onion and keep cooking until the onions starts to brown.
  5. Now transfer the onion mixture to a blender with the chopped tomatoes. Add just enough water to make a paste.
  6. Now heat some more oil and add the paste, along with the  Degi Mirch and garam masala. Cook for 5 minutes or so.
  7. Drop in the chicken pieces and add a little water to make a nice sauce. Cover and cook on medium low for 20 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 175 degrees.
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Recipes from Maharashtra, India: Alu Paratha

So this is a pretty simple flatbread, no yeast or bread machine required. It's just whole wheat flour, water, salt and olive oil. The trick is stuffing it, and then getting the stuffing to stay inside while you roll it flat. It's actually not as hard as it sounds, you just can't have a heavy hand with the rolling pin. Here's how it's done:

First mix up all the dough ingredients, then roll flat. I used a teacup saucer to cut circles out of the dough.

Make sure the dough is pretty thin--think tortilla rather than naan bread.

Now you mix up the filling, and then put a lump of it in the middle of the bread.

Pull up the corners to make a packet, like so:

Then roll flat again. Just be gentle--you want the bread to be pretty flat but you don't want any of the potato filling to come out.

Now brush the tops with some melted ghee. The original recipe said to roast it on tawa, but if you have no idea what that means I think baking is a fine substitute. There were no times given but mine took about 15 minutes--you want it to start browning a little on top, then it's time to take out.

This bread was spicy, but not too spicy--you can certainly adjust the amount of red chili powder you use according to your own personal tastes. For all my kids except the oldest, that meant just not using any chili powder, of course, they still didn't like it because that's how they are. Even though they like flatbread and they like mashed potatoes but oh no, you just can't put the two together. Whatever.

Anyway here is the printable, pinable version:

Alu Paratha

from Simple Indian Recipes
Alu Paratha, flatbread stuffed with spicy potatoes


    For the dough
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 3/4 cup hot water (more if necessary)

  • For the filling
  • 3 to 4 potatoes, peeled, boiled and mashed
  • 2 tsp red chili powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp coriander powder
  • 1/2 tsp mango powder
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Bread crumbs


  1. Mix together the ingredients for the dough and knead.
  2. Now combine all the filling ingredients together.
  3. Roll the dough out into tea saucer sized circles.
  4. Place a lump of filling in the center of each circle, then pull up the edges to form a packet.
  5. Roll the packet out flat, taking care not to expose the filling.
  6. Brush the top of each flatbread with a little melted ghee, then bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes
Approximate time: 30 minutes Serves 6.
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Where is Maharashtra, India?

So on Sunday afternoon I was just getting ready to embark on the next leg of my culinary travels, when there was a clap of thunder, followed by a lightening bolt, followed by a blackout. Well, I have actually been known to cook in the dark because I have a gas stove, but I wouldn't have been able to manage taking photos in the dark,so I elected to postpone my blog meal in favor of Chinese takeout. I can't say that I wasn't secretly a little grateful to have a night off.

Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST), Mumbai, India.
Photo by sandeepachetan.
Anyway this was our week of student conferences, plus all the usual Kung Fu lessons, gymnastics classes etc., and then Martin tells me he's invited people over for roast beef on Saturday, and Sunday is my baby boy's seventh birthday ... so squeezing a blog meal in this week was a challenge. I did it, but not in time to get a recipe post online before next week. So for a start, I'll just tell you where we're going next, and you can look for the actual recipes after the weekend.

This week we're in Maharashtra, India, which based on the recipes Martin actually correctly guessed to be in central India. Leave it to a Brit to be able to pinpoint a whole region of India based entirely on the curry.

Anyway, Maharashtra is on the west side of India, bordering the Arabian Sea. It is the wealthiest state in India, contributing nearly one quarter of the nation's GDP and attracting migrants from all over India who come there in search of a higher standard of living. Its capitol is Mumbai, which is the most populous city in India and the ninth most populous urban agglomeration (which is the area encompassing both a city and the populated areas surrounding it) in the world. Mumbai is also home to the world's largest university (by number of graduates).

Maharashtra's cuisine can be mild or spicy, though the recipes I chose were notably on the spicy end of the spectrum. Most meals are served with rice and a flatbread such as chapati, and dal (lentils) are often served alongside. Of course, when I cooked my Maharashtrian meal I tried to cram it in on a weekday and I didn't have time to do dal ... and I also didn't have any rice, so it was lacking a bit in authenticity. Of course, I can't complain too much because it would have been a carb fest if I'd added both those elements, and you know I'm trying to stay away from carb fests because I love them and they're bad for me. But in case you want to do it more correctly than I did ... basmati rice and plain dal are easy accompaniments to help round out the meal.

As it was, I chose two recipes--a spicy chicken dish and a chapati stuffed with curried potatoes. It was tasty, but I had to make a no-heat version for my kids and a spicy version for us adults, so it was some extra work. It was good though, and I might make it again but would not be allowed to use drumstricks because my husband hates having to work for his food, haha.

See you in a few days.

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Recipes from Madagascar

So Madagascar was OK. I think it really just suffered from the whole "not enough resources online" problem that a lot of African countries tend to have. I found a scattering of options but nothing that really sounded thrilling, and a lot of it actually sounded like stuff I've already made for other countries.

The main dish I chose, for example, was a coconut chicken. It sounded good because I like coconut chicken--I've had both Indian and Thai versions of it and I'm fairly sure I've done at least one coconut chicken for this blog in the past. I really did want to find something a little bit different, something that wasn't so familiar, but I did not have any luck. So if you are from Madagascar, you know, drop me a comment with your favorite recipe. I am very sure that out there somewhere is a Malagasy recipe that I will find really wowing. It just wasn't this one.

So here you go, all three recipes. Before you eagerly jump into making that dessert, which I'm sure you won't based on the hideous photo, make sure you scroll down all the way so you can read my notes. :)

Malagasy Coconut Chicken.  A pretty basic chicken recipe made with coconut milk, garlic and ginger.

Kabaro au Carry (Curried Beans).  Lima beans cooked in a rich tomato sauce.

Malagasy Cake. Scrambled eggs and bananas. No, I'm not kidding.
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Recipes from Madagascar - Coconut Chicken

So there was nothing wrong with this recipe. It was good--flavorful and easy to make. It just wasn't that different--I've already tried a lot of recipes for chicken in a coconut milk sauce. Most of them have some additional feature besides just coconut milk, like a curry paste or garam masala. This recipe was really just coconut milk. There was some garlic and ginger as well, but other than that it was a little plain.

Malagasy Coconut Chicken
Now, I will say that it's really unfair to criticize international recipes for being plain. Sometimes they are plain just based on necessity--not every country has ready access to spices or even standard ingredients we in the west take for granted, like salt. So there's really nothing wrong with "plain." I would have settled for "different," though. But I can't really complain because as blog recipes go, this one was pretty fast and easy to make. Here's how:

Instead of roasting or pan frying your chicken, you boil it. You just put the whole chicken in a pot of boiling water and cook it until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 175 degrees (note: it's safe to eat at 165, but I find the texture of dark meat to be not quite right until it gets to 175).

When the chicken is done cooking, knock the meat off the bones and set aside. Reserve 2 cups of broth.
Now grate the ginger and garlic:

In a large frying pan (you'll need a large pan because in a minute you're going to be adding a whole chicken to it), heat the oil over a medium flame and add the onions. Cook until translucent, then add the ginger and garlic. Keep cooking until fragrant (one or two minutes). 
Add the chicken to the pan, along with 1 to 2 cups of the chicken broth and the coconut milk. Let simmer for 30 to 40 minutes (you can add a little extra broth if the sauce is too thick). Serve over rice.
And here's the printable, pinnable version:


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1-2 cups reserved chicken broth
  • 1-2 tbsp oil
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4-1/2 cup ginger, grated
  • 1/4 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 15 oz can coconut milk


  1. Fill up a big pot with water and add the whole chicken. Boil until a meat thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the thigh reads 175 degrees F.
  2. Remove the meat from the bones and reserve the broth.
  3. In a large frying pan, heat the oil over a medium flame and add the onions. Saute until the onions are translucent.
  4. Add the garlic and ginger and keep stirring until fragrant.
  5. Now add the chicken, 1 to 2 cups of the broth and the coconut milk. Simmer for between 30 and 40 minutes. You can add a little more broth if the sauce is too thick.
  6. Serve over rice.
Approximate time: . Serves 8.
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