Winter has arrived in Australia, and people celebrate the season by attending many events like the Sydney Vivid festivals, East Gippsland Winter festivals, etc. However, when some of them have a get-together with friends and family, they don’t know what to cook. Moreover, we all have been in that situation, wherein we excitedly made plans, typically in which we might have to arrange such events in our houses. But due to a lack of preparedness, we often rush at the last minute leading to untold culinary disasters.
Therefore, we bring some recipes for delicious dishes that you can cook and impress your guests during this winter season.
Veg-packed butter chicken
Butter chicken is one of the favourite dishes of Indian households; people often make it on special occasions or when they crave “comfort food’’. However, a veg-packed butter chicken is slightly different from the former as it includes vegetables, hence having an extra healthy quotient.
It would help if you made some preparations the night before or the same day you cooked the meal. First, marinate the chicken with lemon juice, chilli powder and salt, then make a puree of tomatoes and cashews by blending them to a smooth consistency. For the second marination, add fresh yoghurt, ginger-garlic paste, crushed Kasuri methi, oil turmeric and garam masala to the chicken.
Keep the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours; the longer the chicken is marinated, the softer the meat turns out to be and becomes easy to cook; however, if can refrigerate for 30 minutes if you do not have much time. On a flat-based pan (Tawa), add one tablespoon of butter, let it simmer on medium to high flame, and add the chicken. Stir the chicken pieces, don’t let them burn or overcook; set them aside when the chicken turns slightly golden and the moisture has evaporated.
Next, heat butter in the same pan, add cinnamon, cloves, and cardamom and saute for a minute or two; add ginger-garlic paste and green chillies and fry them for 2-3 minutes. Next, add freshly cut vegetables of your choice, like beans, broccoli and cauliflower, and stir them for a few minutes until they are semi-soft. Then, pour the tomato puree, and add one tablespoon of red chilli powder, sugar and salt to taste.
Pour 1 cup of water, stir the mixture and add the cashew paste; let it come to a boil and simmer for another 3 to 5 minutes. Next, add chicken and simmer for 5 to 7 minutes till they become tender. Now, please note that the cooking time varies depending on the tenderness of the meat; if you have marinated it for a few hours, it will not take much longer to cook.
Add garam masala and crushed Kasuri methi into the curry; adjust the consistency of the gravy if it is too thick by adding some warm water. Mix the gravy and let it simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Finally, add chilled cream and take it off the stove or flame, garnish with some freshly cut coriander leaves and serve it with steamed basmati rice or nan bread.
Sweet bean and Kale Shakshuka
If you plan to organise a winter brunch, then Sweet bean and kale shakshuka is the perfect dish, a traditional middle-eastern dish made with eggs and vegetables. First, preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan-forced. Lightly spray a baking dish with olive oil. Cut the sweet potato into 5mm-thick slices. Place enough sweet potato slices, slightly overlapping, in the prepared dish to cover the base. Cut the remaining sweet potato slices in half to create semi-circles and use them to line the sides of the dish. Season and spray lightly with olive oil – Bake for 25 minutes or until golden and tender.
Next, heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Cook the onion and celery, stirring, for 6-7 minutes or until soft. Add the garlic and oregano; cook and stir for 1 minute. Then, add the cannellini beans and tomato and bring them to a boil. Also, remember to reduce the heat to low and simmer, occasionally stirring for 5 minutes or until thick. Next, add the kale and cook for 2 minutes or until it wilts.
Finally, Spoon the bean mixture over the sweet potato base and use a spoon to make four indents. Then, carefully crack one egg into each indentation, return to the oven, and bake for 15 minutes or until egg whites are set but yolks are still runny.
Matar ka nimona
Matar ka nimona is a curry-styled dish from Uttar Pradesh made with fresh green peas and potatoes. Additionally, It is usually prepared in winter; at that time, fresh peas are harvested. Therefore, Matar ka nimona tastes best with fresh green peas. Although, you can use frozen green peas if you cannot get fresh green peas.
First, in a grinder or blender jar, take ½ cup chopped onions, ½ teaspoon chopped ginger, one teaspoon chopped garlic and two green chillies (chopped). Next, blend the ingredients to a semi-fine or smooth paste without adding water. Then, remove the onion paste and keep it aside. Then, in the same grinder jar, add 1 cup of green peas and grind them to a coarse paste; do not add any water while grinding.
Take two tablespoons of mustard oil in a pan and heat it till it begins to smoke; lower the flame and ¾ cup of chopped potato cubes. Begin to saute the potatoes on a low to medium flame; saute till the potatoes become golden. Then in the same pan, add one bay leaf (tej patta), three cloves, and ½ of teaspoon cumin seeds; let the spices crackle in the oil.
Next, add onion paste, mix well and saute the mixture till you see the oil releasing from the sides and the paste becomes lumpy and starts gathering around itself. In the following process, add ½ cup finely chopped tomatoes, mix well and saute the tomatoes till they become soft and mushy. Then, add ¼ teaspoon of turmeric powder – ½ teaspoon of coriander powder and a pinch of asafoetida.
Mix the spice powder well with the onion-tomato mixture, then add the green peas; stir and saute for 2 minutes. Then, add three tablespoons of coriander leaves and mix again; add 1.5 to 2 cups of water, season with salt and mix well. Cover the pan with a lid and simmer till the green peas are soft( this will take 10 to 11 minutes). Also, keep the flame low to medium level; you need to check if the curry requires more water. Finally, serve Matar ka nimona with chapatis or rice.