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Old 11th February 2012, 20:10   #616
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How to make juicy chicken breasts? I tried it a few times and it turned out very hard crusted coming out of the oven/MW. I marinate them in some masala for at least one hour before grilling/baking.
To get juicy chicken breast you have to cook it just the right amount
- Marinate the breast using either salt + curd + garlic paste + ginger paste or salt + lime juice/vinegar + garlic + ginger paste, for at least two hours.
- Either sear the breast in hot oil, or cover the breast in foil
- use medium heat and roast the chicken for 20 minutes. To test if it is done check with a pin. If it goes in easily it is done.

Properly done chicken breasts should be just about done. If over cooked, then they become hard. Ideally the breasts should be firm but juicy. At times if you are saddled with an old bird, no amount of skill will get you that juicy piece, so be careful while buying the chicken!

If you use a gas oven, then after a few tries you will get the time right. One good thing about gas/electric ovens is that the times are pretty repeatable.

On the other hand with microwave, you have to factor in the power and the weight. I use half power - 400 instead of 800 for twenty minutes with 1/2 kg chicken, and then keep cooking for 5 minutes at a time till it is done. Believe me each batch of chicken takes different time as the cooking depends on the age, moisture content and the type of feed the chicken had.
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Old 12th February 2012, 20:29   #617
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- use medium heat and roast the chicken for 20 minutes. To test if it is done check with a pin. If it goes in easily it is done.
What kind of temperature would be ideal for an electric oven ? I use about 250 C ( max on the oven ) and sometimes feel that it's a bit dry on the outside even after basting it. Should I reduce the temperature and increase the time ?
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Old 12th February 2012, 22:07   #618
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... and sometimes feel that it's a bit dry on the outside even after basting it. Should I reduce the temperature and increase the time ?
Aye, reduce temperature to 200C and bake for 20 minutes (boneless breasts).
If you wrap the chicken in aluminium foil it will stay ultra moist and the foil will collect the juices, which can be poured over the pieces while plating.
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Old 12th February 2012, 22:17   #619
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It is an over-the-counter remedy that has a reputation for lowering "bad" blood cholesterol levels (LDL) in individuals. It can be classified as either an herbal remedy or a dietary supplement. Red rice contains monacolins, which are naturally occurring statins. These statins are known to limit cholesterol synthesis.
And they have the same side effects that statins have on some people. Muscle pain, liver damage etc.
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Old 13th February 2012, 09:11   #620
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What kind of temperature would be ideal for an electric oven ? I use about 250 C ( max on the oven ) and sometimes feel that it's a bit dry on the outside even after basting it. Should I reduce the temperature and increase the time ?
I gas oven I cook at the minimum, so it would be about 150 degrees for electric. In cooking it is the time taken that matters, you adjust the heat so that
- The meat is cooked thoroughly inside
- The outer layers are not burnt

In short thicker the pieces, more the time and lower the heat. Conversely with thin pieces you can up the heat and reduce the time. With time you will get an idea of the temparature/time trade off, till then keep on experimenting.
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Old 13th February 2012, 14:38   #621
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Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
... If you wrap the chicken in aluminium foil it will stay ultra moist ...
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Originally Posted by Aroy View Post
... it would be about 150 degrees for electric. ...
The main problem that would result in either method is the rather unappetizing pale surface, which immediately results in a subconscious rebellion: pale = pheeka, not associated with non-veg in most parts of India.

While it is perfectly acceptable for western palate (ever tried roast chicken with sweet cranberry sauce? Eugh!!!), for most Indians the surface caramelization / bit of charring is what creates the visual appeal. May be an Indian prejudice, but without that one always feels something is missing. Tandoori chicken can definitely do without that deep red color (food coloring in 99.999% of cases, something that was originally a rich color from Kashmiri chillies), but without that no one will relish it as tandoori chicken.
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Old 13th February 2012, 18:55   #622
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The main problem that would result in either method is the rather unappetizing pale surface, which immediately results in a subconscious rebellion: pale = pheeka, not associated with non-veg in most parts of India.
....
I quite agree!
And that is what I had posted for him earlier:
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Originally Posted by anupmathur View Post
'Brining' does wonders.
Soak the chicken in a litre of water with two tablespoonfuls of salt and about as much sugar, for two hours. Then wash under a running tap and sear both sides well in a very hot, dry non-stick frying pan.
Apply your seasonings and wrap in aluminium foil. Cook for a max of 20 minutes in a 200C oven.
Should turn out perfect!
The pan used for searing can then be used to make a wonderful sauce with the 'fond' and a few herbs and spices!
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Old 14th February 2012, 09:56   #623
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The main problem that would result in either method is the rather unappetizing pale surface, which immediately results in a subconscious rebellion: pale = pheeka, not associated with non-veg in most parts of India.

While it is perfectly acceptable for western palate (ever tried roast chicken with sweet cranberry sauce? Eugh!!!), for most Indians the surface caramelization / bit of charring is what creates the visual appeal. May be an Indian prejudice, but without that one always feels something is missing. Tandoori chicken can definitely do without that deep red color (food coloring in 99.999% of cases, something that was originally a rich color from Kashmiri chillies), but without that no one will relish it as tandoori chicken.
What you do is to cook in two steps, as I do.

Step 1: Cook the meat at low heat, so that it is soft and succulent

Step 2: Brown the surface. Here you take the meat out of the pan, and put it on a rack. Then turn the heat full on. Within a short time you will get a brown coating, so loved by us. In this step you can use any spice mix you like to coat the meat.
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Old 19th March 2012, 12:54   #624
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Ok so the cooking bug bit me sometime ago and I was able to come up with some tasty low-fat butter chicken (without butter of course) and that's a staple diet for both myself and wife these days.

Thinking that I had now mastered the art of cooking I've ruined about 2-3 kgs of fish in about 5-6 different occassions but haven't been able to cook any properly.

Need some pointers on cooking the Singhara fish (boneless) if somebody can help. The quicker the recipe the better it would be and even more so if lower in fat content & calories.
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Old 19th March 2012, 14:06   #625
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Need some pointers on cooking the Singhara fish (boneless) if somebody can help. The quicker the recipe the better it would be and even more so if lower in fat content & calories.
Here is a zero fat recipe. Unless you love western style cooking this will be too bland for your taste.

. Marinate the fish with lemon juice and salt. You can add red chilly powder to your taste.
. Microwave in a closed dish (I have a corning casserole with a lid), at half power. The time depends on the weight of the fish. You have to experiment starting with less time till you get it just right to your liking, normally you require 2 minutes for about 100g.

If you like it a bit oily add a bit of mustard oil to the marinade. If the fish is fresh a lot of water will be expelled while cooking. You can use it as a curry.
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Old 19th March 2012, 14:18   #626
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Here is a zero fat recipe. Unless you love western style cooking this will be too bland for your taste.
Thanks for the recipe but it would indeed be very bland. By low-fat I didn't mean I wouldn't want to use even half a spoon of olive oil or ghee. Anything where I can stir fry the fish in little oil/ghee?

I'd share what did work one time but failed the rest of the times.
1. Marinade the fish in lemon juice, salt, black pepper for about 20 mins.
2. Fry small cut onions in half a spoon ghee/olive oil until brown.
3. Add some mustard sauce with very little water, saute for like 30 seconds.
4. Add ginger garlic paste, fish and a very little water so that the fish has just the right amount of water to cook in
5. Once the water starts boiling, cover the pan and cook the fish on simmer by adding water 2-3 more times until fish is cooked.

Now this worked the very first time and we enjoyed the fish but I'd still used quite a bit of mustard sauce then. So the next 4-5 times I had just cut down on the mustard sauce and tried to cook the fish by adding water.

One time I even added tofu which made the final cooked dish even worse. Rest of the times the fish chunks broke down by the time it was cooked liked someone had minced it badly.

So I'm looking for a little taste for sure - mustard/ginger garlic or something even with a little oil/ghee thrown in but most importantly I'd want the fish to hold herself together.

EDIT: What I think might have gone wrong? Adding too much water, one time I even added vinegar, overcooking the fish?

Last edited by fine69 : 19th March 2012 at 14:22.
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Old 19th March 2012, 17:39   #627
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Here is a zero fat recipe. ...
Sir, this is catfish - "boaal"!!! IMHO unsuitable for western recipes, if you know what I mean.

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... Need some pointers on cooking the Singhara fish (boneless) if somebody can help. ...
Best would be deep fry. Though one wouldn't associate deep frying with low-cal low-fat, it is possible to do it by pre-coating so that the fish doesn't absorb oil.

* First marinate it in the masala of your choice (some of the readymade dry ones are quite good)
* Heat the oil (anything with a high boiling point, e.g. mustard oil)
* Just before dropping the fish cubes into oil, dredge them in plain maida or cornflower (You could actually use a plastic bag for this - put the fish cubes in, then the flour, and shake till evenly coated)
* Fry the fish cubes in the oil till the surface becomes crisp - usually 3-5 min. Drain any excess oil on a (paper) kitchen towel.

Enjoy with thinly sliced onions and some dhaniya-pudine ki chutney!!!

PS: Precooking the fish cubes like this prevents them from disintegrating when you make a gravy dish. Try the gravy of your choice after this - drop in the fish and cook for a few minutes
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Old 19th March 2012, 17:45   #628
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@DerAlte: That'd indeed make for some delicious fish pakoras and thanks for that but I'm looking at something that we can have on a regular basis. I believe grilling with some ghee would be better, at least the fish would be intact. Will try something on my own on the coming weekend unless someone has a good way of cooking fish without too much fat/oil.
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Old 19th March 2012, 18:10   #629
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* (some of the readymade dry ones are quite good)
Can you please give some example, that is preferably available in Delhi ?
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Old 19th March 2012, 18:56   #630
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Sir, this is catfish - "boaal"!!! IMHO unsuitable for western recipes, if you know what I mean.
Actually fish with fat cook beautifully in the microwave. The fish cooks in its own fat

I have tried all sorts of fish in the MW and all of them come out well, provided you use a bit of oil with the non oily fish and do not over cook them. Fresh fish comes out firm and flaky so that you can literally "peal" the fish layer by layer. I have made fillets to whole fish.

For Hilsa I use mustard oil and salt marinade, with a few slit green chillies added. Makes heavenly curry accompaniment to rice.
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