Indian Chinese Chilli chicken

As the title indicates this chicken can be spicy or very spicy . it contains both fresh green serrano chillis and chilli sauce , so the heat can be varied . it also contains peppers and onions making it ideal to serve with rice as a simple meal or with soup and noodles for a more substantial dinner . Sometimes I like to embellish the dish with cashews or peanuts , however that is not traditional . This dish can be served “dry ” , more like an appetizer with no rice or with “gravy ” , the only difference in the recipe is the addition of more or less chicken stock . Do try it , it is a family favorite .

Serves 4

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

1 lb boneless chicken breast ,sliced into fingers

1 to 2 tbs cornstarch

a pinch salt

1/2 tsp crushed white pepper

1 Tbs dark soy sauce

1 Tbs sherry

1 egg ,beaten.

Oil for deep frying

Combine all ingredients and allow chicken to marinate while oil heats for deep frying .

When oil is hot deep fry chicken in batches just until golden but not over cooked . Drain and set aside while you prepare the sauce.


1 Tbs oil

8 to 10 cloves garlic , minced

2 to 4 sliced serrano chillis

1 large red onion cubed

1 large red bell pepper , cored and cubed

1 tbs dark soy sauce

1 to 2 tbs red chilli sauce

1/2  to 1  1/2 cups chicken sauce

1 tsp cornstarch blended with 1 tbs water to make a slurry

1 tsp vinegar

Heat oil in skillet . Add garlic and stir for a few seconds . Add in green chillis and stirfry afew seconds . Add in onion and stir , add in bell pepper and stir for 30 seconds .

Add in soy sauce and chilli sauce , stir for 20 seconds .pour in chicken stock . Note use between 1/2 cup to 1  1/2 cups depending on how much sauce you want to end up with . Allow to come to the boil . Stir in the cornstarch slurry , stirring continuously .

Add in the fried chicken and stir to coat the chicken with the sauce . Sprinkle in a pinch of salt . Stir . Off heat and stir in the vinegar .

Serve immediately with a bowl of steamed rice.


Sichuan Chilli Potatoes

These Indian Chinese style potatoes are all at once comforting , spicy and delicious . They are a staple in our home , especially when my now , grown up boys , are home to visit . I have also made these with baby corn and mushrooms , it is equally delicious and , I guess more nutritious .

Sanjeev Kapoor

Serves 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

4 to 5 medium sized potatoes , peeled , washed and cut into thick wedges

2 tbs oil  + to fry potatoes

3 tbs cornstarch

1 medium onion , peeled and sliced

5 -6 garlic cloves , finely chopped

1 spring onion , chopped

Dried Red chilis , whole

 8 Sichuan peppers ( optional )

1 tsp   Red Chili paste ( I use Sriracha )

1 tsp soy sauce

1/2 tsp sugar

salt to taste

1 Tbs vinegar

Parboil potato wedges , drain and cool .

Heat oil in a wok , dust the parboiled potatoes with 2 tbs of cornflour and deep fry until golden brown and completely cooked and crisp . Remove and drain.

Blend 1 tbs cornstarch in 1/4 cup water .

Heat 2 tbs oil in a wok , break whole red chilis into 2 and stir fry briefly . Immediately add sichuan peppers , sliced onion , chopped garlic and continue to stir fry.

Stir in the red chili paste blended into a quarter cup of water , soy sauce , sugar and salt . Stir fry briefly . Add fried potatoes and toss to heat through .

Stir in blended cornstarch , toss well to mix and add vinegar . Stir fry for half a minute and serve garnished with chopped spring onion greens .

Mom Leuang Neuang’s Famous Satay

I have no idea who Leuang Neuang is , or who’s mother she is , but , lucky for all she has a fabulous Satay recipe , courtesy of David Thompson . This recipe can be prepared with chicken or pork , both works really well and served with a chilli and shallot sauce or , more traditionally peanut sauce .

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

 David Thompson
6 oz Pork or chicken
1/2 cup coconut cream ( I like Savoy brand)
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tbs condensed milk
1 tbs palm sugar
pinch of white sugar
2 tbs fish sauce
a little Thai whisky – Mekong or Santip or Burbon
12 to 16 bamboo skewers , soaked in water for 1 hour

4 tbs chopped red shallot
pinch of salt
3 tbs ground roasted peanuts
1 tbs coriander seeds , roasted
1 tsp cumin seed , roasted

5 to 6 long chillies , deseeded and rinsed
Pinch of salt
3 red shallots , peeled and chopped
1/2 cup white vinegar
1 to 2 tbs superfine sugar

First make the paste : gradually pound the ingredients together using a pestle and a mortar, adding one by one , until smooth ( I use a mini food processor ).
Cut meat into strips about 2 “x1” .
Mix paste with Coconut cream ,turmeric , condensed milk , both sugars , fish sauce and whisky , and work this marinade into the meat until absorbed . Put aside for a few hours .

Puree chillies and salt with shallots . Season with vinegar and sugar to taste: the sauce should be sweet , sour , hot and salty.
Thread 3 pieces of meat onto each bamboo skewer , pushing down tightly . Repeat until all meat is used . Grill over charcoal, sprinkling the satays with any excess marinade as they cook . Serve with a bowl of sauce on the side.

Chile -Lime Crab salad with Tomato and Avocado

While trying to put together a menu for my son’s upcoming graduation party , I came upon this recipe amongst my many clippings . This is a vibrant , somewhat spicy salad from up and coming chef  Sue Zemanick . It is always a pleasure to prepare something so delicious and easy to make , it is , however important to use good lump crabmeat .

Serves 4

Sue Zemanick

5 Tbs fresh lime juice

2  1/2 Tbs extra -virgin olive oil , ( I use Monini brand , available at speciality food stores )

2  1/2 Tbs vegetable oil

1 Tbs very finely chopped Jalapeno

1 Tbs chopped cilantro , plus cilantro leaves for garnish

1/2 Tbs honey

1/2 tsp minced garlic

salt and freshly ground pepper

1/2 lb lump crabmeat , picked over

1  1/2 Hass avocado , diced ( 1/2 inch)

1/3 cup minced red onion

1 Large heirloom tomato , cut into 4  1/2 inch thick slices

Tortilla chips for serving

In a small bowl combine the lemon juice with the olive oil , vegetable oil , jalapeno, chopped cilantro , honey and garlic . Season the dressing with salt and pepper .

In a small bowl toss the crab with 3 Tbs of the dressing and season with salt and pepper .

In a medium bowl  gently toss the avocado with the red onion and 2 Tbs of the dressing ; season with salt and pepper .

Place a tomato slice on each plate and season with salt . Top with the avocado and the crab and garnish with the cilantro . Drizzle the remaining dressing on top and serve with the tortilla chips .

Mushrooms in Volcanic black pepper sauce

What a great presentation these mushrooms make . i like to serve them as an appetizer with the sauce on the side . The mushrooms ( of your choice , I like baby bellas ) are grilled and just as they are done , brushed with some of the sauce and served . Careful not to brush on the sauce too early as the peppercorns burn very easily.

Adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor

serves 8

1/4 cup black peppercorns , try to use Tillicherry they are most flavorful

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3 medium onions , sliced

30 cloves garlic , sliced

4 one inch pieces ginger , sliced

3/4 cup vegetarian oyster sauce

1 1/2 cups tomato ketchup

1/2 cup plus 2 tbs Rice wine vinegar

5 tsp sugar

3 tbs dark soy sauce

3 1/2 tsp salt

16 medium button mushrooms

1 tbs freshly squeezed lemon juice

Crush the black peppercorns in a spice grinder . Heat oil in a pan , add onions and saute for a minute . Add ginger and garlic and saute for 2 minutes. Add crushed peppercorns and continue to saute for 2 minutes . Add vegetarian oyster sauce and ketchup and mix. Add vinegar , sugar , dark soy sauce and salt and stir. Stir over low flame till sauce is thick enough to lightly coat mushrooms .  Blend in blender till smooth . Set aside.

String the mushrooms on to toothpicks and place them on a preheated grill pan . Sprinkle on lemon juice then salt and continue grilling . Sprinkle some water on the mushrooms and grill until almost done . Lightly brush on some sauce onto the mushrooms , cook for a minute more . Serve hot with the extra sauce on the side .




Stir fried lamb with Lemon -soy vinaigrette, Chinois on main

Chinois on Main in Santa Monica has been around for two decades. The  restaurant is owned by the famed chef Wolfgang Puck and serves fusion Asian with California fresh produce . The lemon soy vinaigrette served with this dish makes an excellent salad dressing , so keep it on hand.

Chinois on Main , Santa Monica

6 appetizer servings

4 shallots , minced

1 red jalapeno pepper with seeds , minced

2 green jalapeno peppers with seeds , minced

5 garlic cloves , minced

1 tbs plus  1 tsp peanut oil

1 1/2 lbs lean ground lamb

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro plus 1/4 cup whole leaves , for garnish

1/4 cup chinese pickled cabbage

1/2 tsp soy sauce

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

18 radicchio leaves

1/4 of a small red onion , sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick

1/4 of a small white onion , sliced crosswise 1/8 inch thick

Lemon soy vinaigrette

In a medium skillet cook the shallots ,red jalapeno , half of the green jalapenos and garlic in 2 tsp of peanut oil , stirring over low  heat until softened , about 5 minutes .Set aside to cool.

In a bowl , combine the cooled vegetable mixture with the ground lamb and mix throughly . Add the chopped coriander , pickled cabbage , soy sauce , salt and pepper .

In a large skillet , cook the lamb mixture in the remaining 2 tsp peanut oil over high heat , stirring well to break up clumps until browned , about 4 minutes . Drain and set aside .

Place 3 radicchio leaves on each plate and fill with lamb mixture . Combine the red onion , white onion , fresh coriander leaves and the remaing green jalapenos ;sprinkle on top of the lamb . Serve drizzled with a few tablespoons of lemon soy vinagrette ;serve the remaing dressing on the side.

Bayona New Orleans Eggplant Caviar

I was thrilled when I came across this recipe from owner and chef Susan Spicer of Bayona New Orleans , located in the French Quarter. The food is always top notch and fresh. I love this unique eggplant appetizer , try it …I am sure you will too !

Bayona New Orleans

Serves 4 to 6

The restaurant serves this smoky salad with tapanade and toasted French bread.

1 large eggplant (1 1/2 lbs)

1/4 cup finely chopped red onion

1 plum tomato , peeled , seeded , and chopped

1/4 tsp minced garlic

2 tbs olive oil

2 tbs fresh lemon juice

2 tbs chopped flat leaf parsley

1 tbs chopped fresh basil

3/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp black pepper

Prick eggplant several times with a fork . Roast eggplant in a dry cast – iron skillet over moderately high heat, turning frequently, until skin is blackened and pulp is completely softened, 40 to 50 minutes.

Transfer eggplant to a cutting board and cool 10 minutes , then peel off skin and coarsely chop pulp ( it’s fine if a few specks of charred skin remain . )

Combine eggplant with remaining ingredients.


You can roast and chop the eggplant 1 day ahead and chill , covered . Bring to room temperature before combining with remaing ingredients.