A couple of friends call up on Saturday evening and say they will be coming over for lunch next day.
“What to make?” – you ask your hubby.
“ Keep it simple – just make dal (lentils), sabzi (vegetables) and chicken. And rice/ roti ”
“That should be fine…”
“And what about some snacks to start off with?”
“Well that too……”
You rummage about in your fridge looking for what all is available. You have just come back from your month long vacation and haven’t had much chance to stock up, apart from a quick trip to the nearby “Mother Diary store”! So you find some bhindi (lady finger), tomato, onions, couple of cucumbers and a lonely potato! The freezer has some chicken and a small amount of fish too. It’s too late in the evening and too cold to go out and buy stuff, so you decide to make do with it.
Fish Tikia (FT), Sambar Dal (SD), Chicken Curry (CC), Rice(R) and Salad (S) – the menu is decided.
You soak the dal and rice separately in water and keep the fish/chicken outside for defrosting. Cooking will be in the morning, after the maid has come and washed the utensils/dishes and cut the vegetables.
Next morning, you wake up, have a cup of tea, eat breakfast and start with the newspaper, awaiting the maid. The normal time of 8am is long past……but you wait in the hope she will turn up …… you wait and wait…..finally the clock strikes 10am and you realize you are screwed. The guests will arrive by 11:30 and you have to cook everything in an hour!!
If you ever were in a situation like I was last Sunday, you would totally be able to relate to the panic I felt. “Don’t worry, we will order some food…..”- hubby tried to reason with me. I was almost giving in to the temptation, but then decided against it. It was a challenge and I was prepared to take it! Putting the timer on my watch on, I started.
FT : Wash the fish pieces (250gm of Surmayi – a white fish with almost no bones) and put in a microwave safe vessel.
Add ginger-garlic paste(2 tsp), finely chopped green chillies (2) , a pinch of salt and mix well.
Add some hot water (1/4 cup).
FT : Cut the potato ( 1 big potato or 2 small ones) into 4 pieces each.
FT : Pop the fish vessel and the potatoes into the microwave for 8 min.
All : Chop the onions ( total 10 large onions required for all dishes combined) into medium pieces.
Each bhindi (15-18) is cut into 2 pieces.
Dice the tomatoes (2 medium ones) into medium pieces
Soak some tamarind in a small cup of water.
FT : Fish is soft. Potatoes are not! Fish comes out but potatoes remain inside and microwave is started for another 2 min.
CC : Wash the chicken pieces (8 medium pieces with bone – 600gm) and put in a microwave safe vessel.
Add ginger garlic paste ( 1 1/2 tbsp) , oil ( 2tbsp), chopped onion ( 1 large) , Everest Shahi Biriyani Masala or any chicken curry masala ( 2 tbsp), red chilli powder (1 tbsp), finely chopped green chillies (2-3) , salt and 2 cups of hot water.
CC : Potatoes come out and the chicken vessel goes into the microwave for 12- 15min (the chicken needs to be cooked enough but shouldn’t become too soft)
FT : Take the fish and mash it properly. If it has bones, the bones have to be removed during the mashing.
Mash the potatoes and mix it with the fish.
The fish and the potatoes needs to be mixed well (preferably with hand) so that there are no major lumps.
FT : Take a kadai/frying pan and put it on the stove.
Add oil (2 tbsp).
Put chopped onions (2) and garlic cloves (4-5). Fry for 2-3min till they become soft.
Add the fish-potato mash.
Add red chilli powder (1 tbsp or to taste), salt (to taste) and “aamchur” powder (optional).Mix well and fry for 4-5 min till it’s well cooked and brownish in color.
Add lemon juice (1tbsp or to taste).Mix well and remove from stove.
It should taste spicy and tangy.
CC : Take another kadai/frying pan.
Add oil (3tbsp).
Add chopped onions (5) and fry till they are golden brown. Remove from kadai and keep aside.
CC : The chicken comes out of the microwave.
SD : Take the dal which was soaked overnight (2 cups of tuar dal).
Add salt (1tsp) and hot water (4cups) and put in the microwave for 20min.
CC : In a kadai, add the chicken (along with the water/masala it has in the microwave vessel).If there is too much water, reduce a bit by boiling for 2-3 min.
Add the fried onions.
Add Everest Shahi biriyani masala or any chicken curry masala ( 2 tbsp), red chilli powder (2 tbsp or to taste) , salt (to taste) and cook till the water is totally evaporated.
Chicken curry is ready to be served.
FT : Take the fish mixture and divide into 10 equal portions. With your hand, shape each portion into a short,fat disc.
Beat egg (1) and keep aside.
Take some bread crumbs and put it on a piece of paper. (If you don’t have bread crumbs at home, the easiest way to make it is crushing some biscuits/making a hard toast and crushing it).
Dip each disc in the beaten egg and then roll over the breadcrumbs.
The fish tikia is now ready to be fried, which should be done only at the time of serving 😀
R : Take the rice (3cups),soaked overnight and add hot water to it (4 1/2 cups)
SD : The dal comes out
R: Rice goes in the microwave for 10min.
SD : Take a kadai and heat oil (2tbsp) .
Add chopped onions (2 large ones) and bhindi (15-18 : each cut into 2 pieces). Fry for 2-3 min.
Add diced tomato (2 large) ,sambhar powder (4tbsp) and salt. Fry for 4-5 min, till the bhindi is almost cooked.
Add the boiled dal and mix well.
Add the tamarind water (1 small cup or to taste).
If the dal seems too thick, add a cup of hot water.
Let it boil and then add a pinch of hing. Lower the gas and let it simmer for 5-6min.
In the meantime, heat oil (1tsp) in a frying pan, add some mustard seeds and curry leaves (25-30). Fry it for 1-2 min and add on the dal left for simmering.
S: Cut cucumber and tomato for the salad.
R: The rice is ready
SD : Take the dal off from the stove. Garnish with coriander leaves.
The food is ready to be served 😀