Sunday, July 28, 2013

Hummus, Chicken and Paneer Skewers & Shahi Tukra

I made a middle-eastern lunch today for some friends. This is what the menu looked like:

Pita bread and homemade hummus for the appetizer, accompanied by a shiraz.

Chicken hariyali kabab and vegetarian kabab skewers, cucumber raita and saffron rice.

And my favorite shahi tukra for dessert. Love it!

Some changes I made to the recipes...


Followed Ina Garten's recipe linked above for the most part.
Out of sheer laziness, I did not roast the sesame seeds for the tahini. Nor did I make the tahini beforehand. I just added everything together in the blender and the result was great. Though the amount of lemon juice in the recipe would make it too sour IMHO so I reduced it. I substituted the hot sauce with red chilly flakes and garnished with red chilly flakes and a splash of olive oil.
I'd make hummus at home again. It is easy to make and cheaper than store-bought hummus.


I always found making chicken kababs for a party daunting, mainly because the chicken can get really dry in the oven in the process of reheating to serve them warm or trying to char them a bit for that great flavor. But a friend recently enlightened me on the magic of brining chicken. And boy, have I become a fan!
I thought kababs are a great candidate for brining to work its magic. So I tried that today and the result was fabulous. Brining gives you a lot more margin for error, so that 5 more minutes in the oven to reheat the kababs won't dry them out. They stay nice 'n juicy. One drawback is that they released a LOT of water which I had to throw out twice.

To brine the chicken, add 1/4 cup salt and  a tbsp of sugar to 5 cups of water and stir until it is dissolved completely. Then place the whole chicken breasts in the water so that they are fully submerged and refrigerate them for an hour. If needed, increase the amount of water and salt while maintaining their ratio until the chicken is submerged.
After that I followed the ecurry recipe linked above. The recipe is great. Such a nice change from the usual tandoori kabab.

The ideal time for cooking these kababs in the oven would be:
400 deg F for 15 mins, flip them over halfway. Then broil for 7-8 mins at 500 deg F.

Shahi Tukra:

Do not try to make this healthy by using whole wheat bread. It tastes much better with white bread.

Anyway, I didn't have ghee so I just spread butter on both sides of the slices and roasted them in a pan. Then mixed sweetened condensed milk with 2% milk, heated it until it reduced a bit, added saffron and cardamom and poured on top of the browned slices of bread. Turned out to be pretty good. Next time I'll try using unsweetened evaporated milk because I'd like a thicker sauce and want to be able to control the sweetness.