The life of a food blogger is a glamorous affair. We get to attend restaurant openings, have a restaurant review every other day and get to talk to and meet culinary experts.
On some days, however, we hit the pause button and take a break. We stay at home, cook ourselves something simple (the love for cooking is where it all began, after all) and unwind with our family and watch a fun movie.
A few nights ago, I did just that. I had been out in the sun all day and returned home with a throbbing headache, a growling stomach and an errand-less evening in front of me. Quickly discarding my pile of delivery and takeout menus, I stepped into the kitchen and surveyed the shelves. I had healthy amounts of all your traditional Indian spices and masala powders thanks to a hamper from Tata Sampann which had spice powders as well as ready-made masala mixes.
The fridge was equally, well stocked, so I decided to go all out and cook up a feast for myself and my family.
I began by pulling out my book of Chinese recipes and choosing an easy chicken recipe as a starter: Chili chicken- a popular Indo-Chinese dish. The recipe calls for chicken, soy sauce, salt and chili powder; I typically use Tata Sampann chili powder. The brand sources its ingredients from the best plantations making the dishes extremely flavourful and wholesome. Rich in capsaicin (it has a minimum guarantee of 40,000 SHU pungency), Tata Sampann chili powder also adds a wonderful heat to any dish; perfect for the spice-loving Indian palate! After adding liberal amounts of chili powder, the dish became a vibrant red. My taste buds were already tickling and craving the red-hot chilli chicken!
I then decided to make a Thai style chicken curry with galangal, kaffir leaves, a dash of Tata Sampann turmeric powder, which was an organic natural shade of yellow – the brand doesn’t use any artificial colouring. Another reason I love using Tata Sampann spices is because they retain natural spice oils. Sometimes, natural spice oils are extracted from spices, transforming them into ‘spent’ spices. However, Tata Sampann ensures that its masalas are made using only ‘un-spent’ spices, making them rich in natural oils, which is evident in the flavour they add to dishes.
After cooking up a big pot of rice to go with it, I thought I should make a vegetarian dish as well. After checking my cupboard again, I found two Tata Sampann ready-made masala packets, which come in five pouch packs ensuring consistent quality and taste, to use for Dal Tadka and Paneer Masala and decided to go all out and make both.
Within fifteen minutes, the kitchen was awash with delicious aromas. The Dal Tadka was a beautiful golden, while the Paneer Masala transformed the paneer gravy into a thick, creamy and rich curry.
I ladled all the dishes into serving bowls and set them on our dining table.
My family had already began hovering about, having been enticed by the delicious aromas that had permeated all corners of the house.
By this time, my mood had considerably improved, thanks to my time in the kitchen, which is my ‘safe place’. As we sat down and enjoyed our meal, my mood grew better and better; the dishes were all met with a bunch of compliments. For me, the highlight was the Paneer Masala – while the paneer was soft and crumbly, the masala itself was truly blissful in terms of texture and taste; we could taste a complex mixture of spice oils which had been retained in the Paneer Masala.
Indeed, the whole meal was exemplary and I went to bed in a brilliant frame of mind. Next time you’re feeling down in the dumps, I suggest you head into your kitchen armed with Tata Sampann Spices and some tasty food recipes. Whip up a few dishes and use the meal to spend some quality time with your family. There’s no better cure for the blues.
P.s Want a recipe for that delicious Chili Chicken? Here’s what I used.
Chili Chicken Recipe
1 1/2 tsp soya sauce
1 tsp chili sauce
1 tbsp Tata Sampann chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
1/2 cup onion, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
2 green chillies, slit and deseeded
1/8 cup spring onion, finely chopped
Spring onions for garnish
250 grams chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 tsp chili sauce
1/4 tsp soya sauce
2 tbsp corn flour
1/2 tsp Tata Sampann chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
Combine the chili sauce, soya sauce, corn flour, Tata Sampann chili powder and salt from the ‘to marinade’ ingredients list together.
Coat the chicken with this mixture and allow the chicken to marinade for two hours.
After two hours, toss the chicken in the corn flour.
Mix in the Tata Sampan chili powder.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the soya sauce, chili sauce, vinegar and salt.
Heat oil and shallow fry the chicken for 2-3 minutes on each side until cooked through.
Remove onto a paper towel to drain excess oil.
Sauté the garlic in two tablespoons of oil for a minute and add the onions, spring onions and green chilies.
Sauté for another minute.
Add the soya sauce, chili sauce, vinegar and salt, mix and reduce the flame to simmer.
Stir for 2 minutes.
Add the fried chicken and sauté on a high flame for two minutes.
Take out of the pan and place in a serving bowl.
Garnish with the spring onions.
Serve and enjoy!
Adapted from Indian Healthy Recipes