Dinner, Indian, Poultry

Tamarind Chicken


Years ago, it took three friends to convince a certain Irish man to try Indian food.  Trying to make the distinction between spicy and spiced is always a challenge–till you try it.  Needless to say, the Irish man is now a convert.  He now enjoys Indian food and has a variety of chillis in his pantry.  So the dish that he tried was Tamarind Chicken.  Traditionally a South Indian dish, it has several varieties.  Some are more spicy, some more tangy and creamy.  I did not grow up eating this variety of curry so I created my own version of it.  He liked it.  WIN!  Hope you and your family like it too.


5 chicken breasts, cubed

1 inch of ginger, peeled and cut into chunks

1tbsp of minced garlic (2-3cloves)

2 quartered onions

2 tomatoes

1 jalapeno

1 tsp of mustard seeds

1tsp of fenugreek seeds

1 Bay leaf

3-4 whole cloves

3-4 whole cardamom pods

2 tbsp of tamarind paste, dissolved in 2cups of water

0.4oz of Berbere spice blend (from rawspicebar–refer to image for spice blend)

2 tbsp of canola/vegetable oil

salt to taste

honey/sugar to reduce spicy-ness (optional step)


Blend ginger, garlic, jalapeno, tomato and onions.


Heat oil in a pot, and add the mustard, fenugreek, cloves, cardamon to pot and wait for them to start popping in the hot oil


Then add the onion-tomato paste from the blender.  Then add the berberre spice blend.

Cook then spices, stirring often, till the raw smell has cooked off and it turns a deep red color.


Add the chicken and saute for 5-10 mins

Add the tamarind paste in water

Cook till the sauce thickens, on medium-ow heat for 30 mins

Taste to adjust salt and seasonings.  You might want to add more spice, or if it is too spicy you can add a tbsp of honey or sugar.

Serve hot with Naan or basmati rice.



Bengali, Classics, Comfort food, Fish & Seafood, Indian

My Mother’s Tuna Cakes (Macher Chop)

Bengali style fish cakes, or in this case tuna cakes.  Slightly spicy and nothing like any other fish cake you might have had.  For starters there is no mayo and definitely no old bay seasoning !!! Don’t get me wrong–I love a good crab cake, but this recipe is simple delicious and full of fond memories.  Don’t believe me — I got my very “irish-paleted” boyfriend to love them ! You got to try these !


5 cans of tuna packed in water

1 potato

2 onions

1 jalapeno

1 tbsp of ginger paste

1tbsp of chopped garlic

1 tsp of cinnamon

1 tsp of cardamom

1/2 tsp of cloves

1tsp of sugar

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

4tbsp of olive oil

salt to taste

eggs and breadcrumbs for breading

oil for frying


  • Blend together onions, ginger, garlic and jalapeno
  • Add oil to a pan and then add the drained tuna and the onion paste
  • saute for a while till the paste cooks through and no longer smells raw.
  • Add salt, sugar, cinnamon, cardamom and cloves
  • Saute for another good 10-15mins till the whole mixture turns golden brown (you might need to add more oil if the mixture sticks to the pan)
  • Finally stir in the cilantro and allow the mixture to cool
  • Meanwhile boil the potato till fork tender and allow to cool
  • Mash the potato and mix in with the cooled tuna mixture.  At this point taste the mixture and adjust the seasoning.
  • Form the mixture into burger shaped patties.
  • Dip in egg and then breadcrumb and set aside
  • At this point, you can freeze the cakes or fry them.  If you do freeze them, make sure you thaw them completely before frying.  If they are not thawed, the outside will crisp up super fast and the inside will remain frozen.
  • Heat oil in a skillet/shallow pan and fry the cake till golden on each side about 2mins per side.
  • Serve hot !!!!!!
Appetizers, Classics, Dinner, Indian, Italian, Pastry, Poultry, Sides

International Potluck !

I am very fortunate to work with a great group of people.  Not only are they smart scientists, they are thoughtful and kind friends.  The cherry on the sundae is that we all love FOOD !!! Eating food, talking about food and cooking food !  We will sit around, eat lunch together and make plans for the next meal.  Call us gluttonous, but if that is a sin–it sure tastes great !  To make matters more interesting, we all identify with various regions of the world.  It took us while to get organized but we finally had out Lab International Potluck !



American: Shrimp and grits and apple pie

French Canadian: Meat pies

Sweden: Swedish Meatballs and Sauerkraut

Poland: Kielbasa

Italy: Stuffed Shells

France: Floating Islands

Turkey: Grape Leaves and Figs stuffed with sweet rice and soaked in syrup

Indian: Jhalferezi and saffron rice

Vietnam: Chicken buns

Talk about a feast !!!!

Comfort food, Fish & Seafood, Indian

Spicy Turmeric broiled Tilapia


My super speedy take on a classic Bengali comfort dish.  Its exam time and I need food that reminds me home and my mom’s cooking.  Here it goes, pay close attention because it is so easy you might just miss it !!!!

Pat dry 1lb of fresh tilapia. Season the fish with salt.


In a small bowl, whisk together 1tsp turmeric, 1tsp of cayenne pepper, 1tbsp of lime juice and 1/2 tbsp of olive oil.


Pour the marinade over the fish and let it sit for 10 mins–while you preheat the broiler to 450F


Sprinkle black cumin seeds and paprika over each fillet and broil till cooked through-about 10mins.


Enjoy with some warm basmati rice !



Classics, Comfort food, Indian, Poultry

Murgh Saagwalla ( Spinach and Chicken Curry)


This is the meal I want on my death bed.  Palak or Saag in Hindi means Spinach and there is a place back home that makes the best Palak Panner (Indian cheese).  This is a traditional North Indian dish and every family has there own variation—like any traditional dish.  My mother has her own take on it (maybe I will try it soon) but this is a recipe from Madhur Jaffery.  It tastes really good—it is a little involved, but is vary flavorful and please don’t be afraid, you can completely control the spice level according to your families’ taste.  So here we go !


1lb of chicken cut into pieces

2 chopped tomatoes

16 oz of drained, chopped, frozen spinach


To Fry:

1 medium onion sliced

To Blend:

2 chopped onions

2” piece of ginger

4 garlic cloves

Seasoning the oil:

2-3 Tbsp of vegetable oil

5 cardamom pods

1 cinnamon stick

Other Spices:

2 tsp coriander

1 tsp cumin

½ tsp cayenne pepper

6 tbsp of plain yogurt

Salt to season.


Heat a 1tbsp of oil in a pot and fry sliced onions till golden and set aside.


In the meantime blend onions, ginger and garlic.

In the same pot where you fried the onion, add the remaining oil and the whole cardamom pods and cinnamon stick.

Add the blended onion mixture and sauté till the raw smell in gone and the paste turns pale brown.

Add cumin, coriander and cayenne and sauté till golden brown.

Next add the yogurt, 1 Tbsp at a time and slowly stir the mixture till all the yogurt is added the sauce come together .


Next add the tomatoes, spinach, chicken.


Season with salt and cover with water and allow to simmer on medium heat for 30 mins till the water evaporates and the sauce thickens.

Serve piping hot with flatbread or basmati rice !





Indian, Poultry, Quick Dinner

Tandoori Tenders


Tandoori Chicken, a classic Indian dish. Morelike Indian BBQ made in a Tandoor. Well this is how you would make it if you don’t have a Tandoor and want to save a few bucks (Take out is just overpriced in my opinion). It is also super quick ! It requires a little planning only because you should marinade the chicken overnight–but other than that, it is about 35 minutes to dinner !


1lb of chicken tenders.

6oz of plain yogurt.

1 Tbsp of the following: chilli powder, onion powder, garlic powder, garam masala

Salt to taste.


Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the chicken tenders.


Marinade overnight

Preheat oven to 350 and meanwhile let the chicken come to room temperature.


Bake for about 25 minutes or till cooked through.

For the last 5-6 minutes, broil on high to get a nice browned top.


Serve warm with choice of veggie or starch !


Badami Murgh ( Almond chicken)

On the occasion of Indian Independence I thought I should make a very special chicken dish.  I lightened up like I try to do with most of my recipes.  I hope you will try this new chicken recipe.  Serve it with Naan or Cumin scented rice.


1lb of chicken (thighs or breast)

Almond milk ( enough to cover the chicken while marinading)

1 Tbsp of turmeric, cumin, coriander,chilli powder

Whole garam masala ( cinnamon sticks, small green cardamom,cloves)

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 tsp of chopped ginger and garlic

A dash of garam masala powder

salt to taste.


Marinade chicken in the first two ingredients overnight.

In a large pot heat a little bit of oil and once warm add the whole garam masala–careful they will pop but that is want you want.

Next add the onion, ginger, garlic and sweat then out with pale and soft.

Add the chicken with all the marinade cook for about 30 mins till the chicken cooks through and the sauce thickens.  If the sauce thicken before the chicken, feel free to add water.  If the sauce starts to stick to the bottom of the pan lower the temperature and a little oil, scrap of the sauce and then add water.

Once the chicken is almost done, season with salt and adjust the spices- you might want to add  more chilli powder, cumin and coriander.

Simmer for another 5-10 min on low heat so that the spices cook into the sauce.

Garnish with a dash of garam masala powder and freshly chopped cilantro.  You could adda some slivered almonds and golden raisins for an extra special touch.

Serve piping hot with warm buttery Naan or Basmati Rice !!!!!

Comfort food, Dinner, Indian

Chicken Belvedere

This is a family recipe which I have actually never had.  So, this is how the story goes.  My great great grandfather was a Bramhin Bengali Doctor living in Calcutta during the heights of the British Rule.  He went away to England, married an English lady, found a preventative medication for Malaria and long story short, minted boat-loads of dough.  He ended up buying property in the poshest part of Calcutta, Alipore.  From the stories that I hear,  Dr. Shirish Biswas purchsed 13 bungalows that extended from Judges Court Road all the way to Belvedere Road–a neighbourhood where only the English Officers and Nobility lived.  So why wax family history on a public forum? Well, I think its cool and also this recipe really shows the influence of British ingredients on our family’s recipe.  My mother had this chicken dish at her aunt’s house and told me the recipe over the phone.  She does not believe in measurements and since I have never had this dish, I had to adjust the ingredients to what I think would taste good.  So here it is, Chicken Belvedere.


1 lb of chicken (any cut you prefer) cut into pieces

1 medium onion finely chopped

1 Tbsp of chopped garlic

1 Tbsp of ginger paste

Salt and pepper to taster

1/4 cup Worcestershire Sauce ( this is the British influence)

Salt and pepper to taste.

1/2 Tbsp olive oil


1.Mix all the ingredients (expect oil) and let the chicken marinade for at least 30min, the longer the better.

2.  In a pot, had the chicken with all the marinade and add 1/2 cup water and bring it to a boil.  Now this may sound gross because you are using the marinade in which the raw chicken was sitting,but since you are boiling it–it should be fine.  Make sure you really wash the chicken well and if you prefer organic chicken, even better.

3. Once the chicken is cooked through, and most of the water has reduced, add 1/2 Tbsp of olive oil and fry the chicken till the sauce thickens and chicken is just shy of crispy.

4. Serve hot with an extra turn of freshly cracked black pepper.  Pairs well with plain rice or even on old fashioned toast points.


Dhania Murgh (Chicken in a Cilantro sauce)

Cilantro—an acquired taste.  You will either love it or hate.  It has a very distinct strong flavor and is frequently used in Indian and Mexican cooking.  This is a dish my mother would make on special occasions- like dinner parties and birthdays.  I honestly don’t remember how she made it but I tried to recreate by calling what it tasted like.  I added another special touch that my mother would do to other curries to make them rich and luxuriant. The mystery ingredients are raisins and almonds!  Surprisingly, the sweetness of the raisins and butteriness of the almonds cut through strong taste to cilantro—an overall success, but then again I will leave you all to judge that.



1 lb of boneless, skinless chicken thighs.  (feel free to substitute with breasts if you don’t like thighs—but the dark meat adds more flavor to the sauce)

1tsp of cumin seeds

1tsp of coriander seeds

1 medium onion

Half a bunch of fresh cilantro

2 tsp of chopped ginger

2 tsp of ginger paste

1Tbsp of raisins

1 Tbsp of sliced almonds

1Tbsp olive oil

Chili powder—adjust to personal heat preference.

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Add onion, ginger, garlic, cilantro, raisins and almonds into a blender.  Add a splash of water and puree into a fine paste.



2.  In a non-stick pot heat 1Tbsp of olive oil.  Add cumin and coriander seeds to the hot oil.  Warning, the oil will hiss and spit but stir the seeds quickly and keep an eye on them as they will burn quickly.


3. Once the seeds are toasty and fragrant (a few seconds) add the puree to the pot.

4. Let the sauce simmer for about 10 min to cook out the raw smell and fumes from the onions die down.  If the sauce starts to stick to the pan add a little bit more oil, stir and then add a splash of water.

5. While the sauce is simmering, rub salt and chili powder on the chicken and set aside.

6. Once the sauce is dark in color add the chicken and stir to coat the thighs in the sauce.

7. Add about half a cup of water and let the whole mixture simmer for 15mins on medium-low heat till chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens to desired consistency.  Taste to check salt and spice.  I normally add salt and chili pepper at this stage and let it simmer for a few more minutes.  Then I turn the heat off and let it sit on the stove to cool down.  Refrigerate  the curry heats up beautifully !

8. Serve with grilled flatbread  (naan) or basmati rice.







This versatile fried dumpling can be classified as street food to a gourmet appetizer. Either way it is delicious. The filling can change according to taste but traditionally it is savory and vegetarian. I hope you enjoy this recipie.

For the filling:
• 5-7 medium sized russet potatoes cut into small cubes.
• 1.5 cups of frozen petite peas
• Vegetable oil for cooking.
• 1Tbsp whole cumin seeds.
• 1 inch fresh ginger, grated.
• 1Tbsp turmeric powder
• Salt and Sugar to taste
• Chili Powder according to heat tolerance.
• 0.5 cups of peanuts (optional)

Heat oil in a nonstick pot and once it is warm, add the whole cumin seeds. Next add the potatoes, ginger, salt, chili powder, turmeric, salt and sugar and let the potatoes cook. Once the potatoes are half cooked add the peas.

Keep cooking till all the potatoes are soft and cooked through. Adjust the seasoning accordingly.

For the Dough:
• 1 cup flour
• 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
• 8 Tbsp water
• Dash of salt
Mix all the ingredients and knead the dough. Make small balls about a 1-1.5 inches in diameter. On a lightly floured surface roll them out into very thin ovals and cut them down the middle. Use the cut half to shape into a cone and fill it with the potato mixture. Seal the edge with water.

While you are making the samosas, heat enough oil in a pot for deep frying. Once the oil is hot, allow it to cool down and then start frying the samosas in it—this heating and cooling method quickens the frying process without soaking too much oil. Serve hot!