A Trip Along the Grand Trunk Road – Part 1 Poussin Penda

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Most of you already know of my love for Indian food (see previous posts here and here).  Any sort at all, from the mildest korma to the more unusual dishes.  I was browsing a charity shop a couple of weeks ago when Big Miss K asked if I had seen this cookery book – she knows where my heart lies you see.  Anyway, it turns out they were selling a whole load of them for 50p each.  Now, I’m still very particular about cookery books in my house and this was the only one I bought from that pile thank goodness, otherwise we may have to get more bookcases.  And I am so pleased I did.  It’s called ‘Food of the Grand Trunk Road’ and must have been a gift for someone originally because it just hasn’t been used – the pages have hardly been turned let alone ending up like most of my spattered books.  These dishes are more unusual, how often do you think about buying a book and then realise you have 10 all which have the same recipes in them already – this is certainly not one of those books.

It took me some time to decide what I was going to make.  Eventually the decision was made, A Rogan Josh (Mr K asked for something spicy), a Poussin Penda and more unsually, and because I currently have a glut of eggs, Aloo Dimer Jhol, an egg curry with potatoes.  I have to say, I have never used eggs in a curry and did follow the recipe to the letter as I was concerned the eggs would fall apart and it would all turn to mush but no, it was amazing.  In fact all of them were delicious.  Mr K loves Indian food but I can have a slightly heavy hand when tipping chillies into a dish, and occasionally he has a look of fear once the heats comes through, only occasionally you understand.  He tells me that although these were hot, they were not ‘blow you head off’ hot, which is a compliment, honestly.  The heat dissipated quickly and you were just left with the full flavour.  I did tell him to drink a Lassi with it but he looked oddly at me and said he would be just fine with beer.  I can only apologise for the photos – by the time I took this it was quite late and we were very hungry – oh, and I might have had a couple of glasses of wine 😉

So the first dish I will tell you about is the Poussin Penda – I will post the others over the next couple of days and hopefully in time for you to give them all a go for an Indian Feast at the weekend.

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Poussin Penda – serves 4 as part of meal – syns per serving 0 (syn if you eat the skin though)

  • 1 Poussin, cut into 4 pieces
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 5 tomatoes, pureed
  • 1 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt

Heat pan and spray with some frylight, add the onion, garlic and cinnamon and cook until the onion is browned.

Add Poussin pieces and fry until skin is lightly browned, then add pureed tomatoes, chilli powder, coriander, turmeric, cumin, garam masala and salt and mix well.

Stir in 1 litre of water, cover and cook poussin on medium heat for about 20 minutes.

After this time, check chicken is cooked through and remove from the sauce, check if sauce is thick enough, if not, reduce down until it is the required consistency, if too thick, add some more water – this is personal taste.  It is THAT easy!

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‘Singing Aida’ Risotto

This is one of my staple meals – although it really irritates me that my 2 eldest children don’t like risotto – after all, it’s delicious and warming and a hug in a bowl. Risotto is made with love, pure and simple. There is no walking away from it. It is probably the only thing I make that I stand over the whole time and unless one of the children’s heads falls off and it is making a mess on the floor off I ain’t moving! I’m such a sympathetic mother, they could be bashing sticks over each others heads but risotto comes first.

I don’t always team risotto up, if you want to make a nice plain risotto (and an Italian once told me you should always be sparing with your risotto ingredients), all you need is a good stock. Luckily that is not a problem. We are religious in freezing meat carcusses and bones and fish bits, and when we have enough the kitchen becomes like a production line. Although we do have the benefit of having a chest freezer so don’t have ‘space’ issues. With I make risotto I ALWAYS make too much, this is not accidental, I am happy to have it as leftovers or make it into Slimming World Arrancini balls (recipe another day).

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Chicken Breast, Parma Ham and Risotto – serves 3 – 0.5 syns if using parmesan as Hex A and syn wine if using it

  • 3 x chicken breasts – whole
  • 3 x parma ham slices – 0.5 syn per slice
  • 1 x onion, finely chopped
  • 1 x garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 x good glug wine if you have it
  • risotto rice
  • Good chicken stock, kept heated in pan
  • Peas
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Rocket

Gently fry onion and garlic until soft but not coloured

Add risotto rice and keep stirring but leave it on the heat until it is ‘singing Aida’ (what a great description)- this takes longer than you think, be brave but do not let it burn.

Add wine and stir until nearly all of wine is evaporated and turn down to a simmer, then start adding warm stock ladle by ladle, only adding another one when the last one has been soaked up by the rice. Mr K insists that you should only stir this clockwise (something to do with not breaking down the rice) but I have to say I have never done this, just be kind to it.

Keep doing the above for a good 20 minutes until all of the stock is used and the rice has a ‘slight bite’. If you have used all of the stock and the rice is still not cooked you can then add water.

Season the chicken breast and wrap the parma ham around it, fry with a little fry light in a pan, turning over halfway through until cooked).

Add the peas to the risotto and cook for further 5 minutes.

Here is a really good tip. Once the risotto is cooked turn off the heat, stir in the parmesan and seasoning, add a little more water so that when you run a spoon across the pan the risotto falls back to make a flat surface, basically so it is not too dry. Put a lid on and leave for 5 minutes – this relaxes the risotto and all of the flavours merge to make a lovely, creamy risotto.

Once the chicken is ready stir the rocket through the risotto (if you wish) and slice the chicken breast and serve sprinkled with a little parmesan.

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