Easy Peasy Pizza.

It has been a while since I baked as the oven has been out of order. What better way to test it after repairs than make some tasty homemade pizza?

I have already shared the pizza base recipe here. But this time I changed up the pizza sauce to a no tomato one that is just as, if not more, tasty than my usual one.

As always, I usually make one with meat and the other with veggies, and mozzarella was my cheese of choice. Topping one was goat meat aka chevon, which I had slowly cooked with only garlic, ginger, salt and black pepper. Second topping was grilled eggplant that I had marinated with Jamaican jerk seasoning paste. Hot and spicy!

Let’s get started.

I made a tasty sauce with some roasted vegetables – Beetroot, carrot, onion, garlic, and green pepper. Take one medium beetroot, apply a bit of olive oil. Wrap the beetroot in foil tightly and roast at 200°C for 30 minutes or so till soft. Let cool, peel and chop.

Sprinkle the other veggies with some olive sail, salt, freshly ground pepper and a teaspoon of ground mixed spices blend. You can peel the garlic after roasting.

Roast them for half the time. ( 20 minutes). Let cool a bit and blend with 2 tbsp water to make a tasty pizza sauce.

It smells and tastes really good.

On to the toppings.

By now your dough is risen well. Punch and knead a bit before dividing and shaping into 2 medium pizzas. Spread on a baking sheet with some corn flour poured on it so the pizza doesn’t stick.

Apply a bit of olive oil on the pizza bases, then the roasted vegetable pizza sauce, a bit of cheese, the toppings then the rest of the cheese. I used grated mozzarella.

Bake for 15- 20 minutes at 200°C.

Mind you the pizza crusts are quite thick.

Tasty and cheesy.

Both pizzas were really delicious! The eggplant has a kick of the hot and spicy jerk seasoning, that blends well with the sweetness of the pizza sauce that balances with the cheese taste. The goat aka chevon pizza is fragrant, the meat is tender and melts in well with the cheese and sauce too. The roasted vegetable sauce is really tasty too. The beetroot brightens it up and adds sweetness, and the other roasted vegetables though caramelised balance the sweetness well, and the mixed spices help deepen this unique flavour. It is also a great option if you do not want tomatoes and a fun way to get those veggies in your kiddies tummies right?

Next time you want to indulge in some thick crust homemade pizza, why not try this out? It is not hard to make, is colourful, delicious, filling and definitely different from what you are used to.

Tasty Chicken and Peanut Stew.

This is one of my favorite chicken recipes. It comes a close second after my chicken in lemon and garlic that I have already posted here on the blog. Check it out too.

I love cooking this chicken in peanut butter for my loved ones. It is hearty, delicious and easy to make.

Let’s get started right away:-

Our ingredients are 1 kg of skinned chicken cut into pieces, one large chopped onion, 1 large chopped tomato, some tomato paste, 1 tbsp ginger garlic and turmeric paste, Freshly ground black pepper and salt, 2 tbsp smooth peanut butter, 2 cups water, a small pinch of sugar. 1tbsp of cooking oil.

Method:-

Clean and chop your chicken into pieces. Sprinkle salt and some freshly ground black pepper on it and mix well.
Add the peanut butter to a bowl and add one cup of water and mix well till the butter is dissolved. Set aside.

Heat your wide heavy based sauce pan and add the cooking oil. Once hot, add the chicken pieces and sear till brown but don’t let it cook yet. Once brown set aside.

Add your onion to the same pot and cook till soft. Add the ginger garlic and turmeric mixture and let cook for a while.

Next add the tomatoes and paste. Let cook down into a paste / sauce. Once the tomatoes are soft and cooked through, add the chicken pieces. Mix well.

Add the peanut butter you had dissolved with the remaining water. Mix, lower heat. Cover the pan and let simmer on low heat for 25-30 minutes until chicken is cooked though. Boneless chicken will obviously take a shorter time to cook.

The sauce will thicken so keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn. If it’s too thick you can add some water as it simmers.

Once ready check seasoning then serve. It goes well with rice and vegetables.

Very flavorful.

I usually determine how much seasoning to use depending on the peanut butter, so it is important to use a good quality. If it’s too salty or sugary it will affect the taste of the sauce, that’s why I prefer checking the seasoning at the end.

Rice, chicken peanut stew and steamed vegetables.

Try it and enjoy!

Weekend Cuisine: Beef Mince Biriyani.

Biriani is a popular dish that is great when entertaining or when you want to treat your family to a delicious dinner or lunch. There are so many variations of this dish; I have never come across two people who make it the same way. But it is fun to keep trying different recipes as the flavours are so amazing!

What is biriani? It is basically a lovely ‘casserole’ of marinated and spiced meat, braised, then layered with spicy, flavoured, buttery rice, then you let them finish cooking over very low heat or in the oven and voila! You can use different meats and vegetables. I like making beetroot biriani for the kids lunchboxes; I will share the recipe soon, and mutton or chicken biri for special family dinners.

I woke up craving biri the other day, but the only meat I had on hand was beef mince; I didn’t let it deter me though, so let’s get started!

Ingredients:-

  • 2 cups Basmati rice, cleaned and soaked.
  • Whole spices for the rice; bay leaves, cardamom, black pepper, one star anise, cinnamon and cloves
  • 500 g beef mince
  • About 4 tbsp ghee
  • I bunch mint
  • 1 bunch coriander (blend half the coriander and mint leaves and ginger garlic paste )
  • 1 cup natural yoghurt
  • 4 grated tomatoes
  • 4 onions, chopped and deep fried, you can use this recipe
  • three onions sliced
  • 2 tablespoons ginger garlic paste
  • Ground spices for the meat sauce; turmeric, ground coriander, garam masala
  • Optional; some rose water and food color. But if you can, please try them to get that restaurant quality aroma to the food. I didn’t have saffron, so used a teeny weeny bit of food colour.
  • 4 hard boiled eggs (optional) I didn’t use any here though.
  • Green chilli – I did not use any cause of the kids
The ingredients.

I first marinated the beef mince mince for about thirty minutes with a tbsp of ginger garlic paste, two tsp of natural yoghurt, 1/4 tsp of turmeric, 2 tbsp of coriander mint paste I had blended, a tsp of garam masala, salt and a tbsp of lemon juice. Set aside.

I usually start with the rice. Drain your soaked rice then boil water in a pan with the whole spices, salt to taste and a little bit of oil. Add the rice when the water is at a furious boil.
Do not let the rice cook completely, about six – seven minutes then remove from heat, drain and let cool in a big flat plate or pan, depending on how much rice you have. I used a baking tray and poke holes in the rice (please use a flat spoon or fork gently) to let the moisture escape. Once rice is cooled, you can pick out the whole spices so you don’t have to bite into them later, yikes!
Heat 2 tbsp ghee In the pan, add the sliced onions and cook till almost brown, then add the ginger garlic paste. Mix well. Add the ground spices; 1/4 tsp turmeric, red chilli powder if using and a teaspoon of ground coriander. Mix well then add the tomatoes and mix well. Cover and let the tomatoes cook down.
Add a cup of natural yoghurt and mix well.
Let it cook till the yoghurt splits.
Add the marinated beef mince and mix well.Cover and let it cook for about 20 minutes.
If using milk, once the mince is ready, then add a cup of milk. Mix and switch off heat.

Now we assemble the dish. You can move to an oven proof dish and layer then bake, or use the same pan of big enough, it is up to you.

Mix some little food colour in a teaspoon of rose water, and assemble the other ingredients, the parboiled rice, chopped Dhania and mint, ghee and fried onions.

I used the same pan. I layered the rice on top of the beef mince sauce.
Added the chopped coriander and mint, two remaining tablespoons of ghee, the fried onions and on the top layer, the rose water and food colour in a cross shape. If using boiled eggs, you can add them here too.
My photos are really bad here LOL, but the aroma is amazing. Cover the pan and one VERY LOW heat, let the rice finish cooking undisturbed for about 20 minutes.
Serve and garnish with some coriander leaves. Doesn’t it look lovely?

Obviously, no biriani dish is complete without a nice raita. It is an Indian condiment of natural yogurt and chopped vegetables and spices of choice. It offers a cooling effect as you eat your spicy meal. Best raita in my opinion for this dish is a cucumber mint one. You can make this before you get started on the main dish.

1 cup natural yoghurt, I chopped cucumber (peeled and deseeded), finely chopped mint leave, a tsp of chat masala, salt and black pepper. Mix well and let cool in fridge till ready to serve.
Final plate; Beef mince biriyani and cucumber mint raita. Delicious!

This is a perfect meal to make over the weekend when you are in no hurry. The rice is moist, perfectly cooked and the spices melt together so wonderfully. The fried onions also add a delightful crunch and sweetness, and the rose water a heavenly aroma that will have you salivating before the first bite. Yum!

This is one dish worth trying out!

Weekend Cuisine: Naan bread and Creamy Lentils.

It’s the weekend, the weather is not all that and your favorite Indian restaurant is still closed. Fret not! Here is another comfort food recipe you can try out that will please your taste buds!

I used brown lentils, I like their earthy taste and they go well with many dishes. rice, chapati, naan even potatoes and coconut too. We call them ‘ndengu kamande’ back home. They are loved by many as they are versatile, cheap, easily available and you do not have to spend hours sorting or soaking them as they also cook quite fast.

First, boil your lentils until ready. About 25 minutes on the stove top. I overdid mine a little bit. Do not get distracted people!

Heat 3 tbsp of ghee in a pan, add some cumin seeds, bay leaf and a cinnamon stick, do not let them burn please.
Next add your two grated onions. Once soft, add 1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste, some ground coriander seeds about a tsp, and mix well till the raw smell goes away.

You can now add your ground spices here. Other that usual salt and pepper, I added a teaspoon of dhana jeera powder, 1/4 tsp of ground turmeric, and a tsp of garam masala. Reduce heat and mix well so they do not burn. Add your chopped tomatoes and mix well and cover. Let them cook till a mushy paste. Then add your lentils, some butter, some water to cover and let simmer for an hour on low heat.

Let them cook low and slow. It takes time; that is why it is perfect for weekend cooking.

As the lentils cook, you can get started on your naan bread. I used this recipe from Food Wishes on YouTube.

The kids were quite happy to help in rolling and brushing the butter on the naan.

Because I love potatoes too much, I decided to make some fenugreek potatoes on the side.

Ingredients for the potato side dish.
Peel, chop and boil your potatoes with some salt, and a touch of turmeric and garlic powder.
Heat some oil in a pan, add some cumin seeds, once they sputter, add your finely chopped onion and mix well. Add your now cooled potatoes and mix well. Remember to check on your seasoning.
Add a tbsp of kasuri methi (dry crushed fenugreek leaves) and now ready to serve. I like mine a bit browned. Garnish with the chopped coriander.

Back to our curry, do not neglect it, keep checking to make sure it doesn’t not burn at the bottom. Check on seasoning then add some full cream, or natural yoghurt, about 3 tbsp, fold well and switch off the heat. Garnish with coriander.

Doesn’t it look luscious?

This is one decadent meal that will have you licking your fingers!

Final plate: Creamy lentil curry, garlic naan and fenugreek potatoes.