Thursday, February 26, 2015

Recipe : Paleo Butter Chicken.

Let me just start off by saying that this is a healthy dish. Oh, and it has no Butter in it. Allow me to explain.

As I've been constantly pointing out in my previous posts, fats are not bad for our body. In fact, fats are essential for fat loss. There are good fats and bad fats. Healthier fats like Ghee, Cheese, Olive Oil, even organic Butter are actually good for us if we learn to eat smarter. As per Dr. Asif Khan, my nutrition and workout mentor, "fats if used in a good way will increase your HDL levels, also known as the good cholesterol, while decreasing LDL that's the bad cholesterol as well as triglycerides". So, the next time someone asks you to stop eating cheese just because it contains fat, you can ask them to shove it. (Pardon my language, but if you are subjected to statements like those I'm assuming you'd be as frustrated as I get)

This is not the traditional butter chicken, but tastes like one, definitely. I have used Ghee and Coconut Milk in my recipe (don't worry it does not taste like a Coconut overload at all), both organic, and since its Paleo it also calls for free range Chicken, but you can also make this with the normal chicken available at the market. This sLITE change I've made in my life has put me on a new road altogether, and boy am I enjoying the journey! Thank you for, bringing this side out in me, Tata Salt Lite!

Paleo Butter Chicken
Serves 3-4
Takes 1 hour
Adapted from


For the marinade:

500 gm Chicken (I used chicken on the bone. You can also use boneless thighs)
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1 tsp Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Dhania Jeera powder (coriander-cumin)
1 tbsp Lemon Juice

For the Curry:

1 tbsp Organic Ghee
2 large Onions, finely chopped.
250 gm Tomatoes, Puréed. You can also use canned tomatoes like I did.
1 tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder
1 tsp Dhania Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala Powder
1/2 to 3/4 can of Full fat Coconut milk. (400 to 500 ml if you're making it at home)
A pinch of Kasuri Methi
Tata Salt LITE, to taste.

For tempering (tadka):

1/2 tbsp Organic Ghee
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tsp Kashmiri Red Chili Powder


Mix all the ingredients for marination and keep them refrigerated for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, heat up a pan with Ghee, on medium high. Add in the Onions and fry them on a medium to medium low flame, until dark brown. This will take about 15 minutes on a  medium low flame.

Add in the ginger garlic paste and give it a stir. Add in the Chili powder, dhania powder and Garam masala, turn the flame to low and let the masalas bloom for a minute.

Add the marinated Chicken and toss to incorporate. Pour the tomato purée, and cook for 15 minutes with the pan half covered.

Keep the flame on low, add in the Coconut Milk and Kasuri Methi. Season with Salt, remember to adjust the salt content if you're using canned tomatoes and also remember that there is already salt in the Chicken that's marinated. Let it go for a few more minutes on simmer, about 3 minutes.

In another small pan, heat up the ghee for tempering. Add in the garlic and fry till it starts turning golden. Turn the flame off and add the Kashmiri Red Chili powder. Swirl it all together and pour over your ready Paleo Butter Chicken.

Garnish with Coriander leaves and a drizzle of Coconut Milk. Enjoy!

Note: you can also serve this with Paneer instead of Chicken. That would make a pretty nice Paneer Makhni! No need for Marination in that case, just add normal fresh Paneer.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Cheat Day! Food Review: New menu at Pizza Express, Mumbai.

I went through a phase when I was a teenager, when I wasn't even overweight, to follow every possible fad diet there was - most popularly the General Motors diet. I deprived myself of everything I felt like eating, but when I got tired of repeating the "diet" I would EAT. Like really, eat anything and every thing in sight. All we did those days was follow these stupid diets and the most workout we got in was a short walk in the park. I wish I wished it didn't happen, but I am thankful now, coz I learned my lesson the hard way.

The story is different now. Every week I treat myself with a Cheat day. It helps me stick to my eating habits even better. Besides, the system gets a much needed break, you don't get tired of your routine, and with all your plans that you follow all week, cheat days serve as the best way to reward yourself. I used to couple my cheat days with rest days earlier. But since I lift comparatively heavier weights at the gym, I now eat healthy on my rest day (I admit I drift a little bit, but that's okay) and save the hardcore cheating on my meals for the day I lift heavy weights. Last month I celebrated Cheat Day with a tasting for the new menu at Pizza Express, Veera Desai, Mumbai.

Pizza Express, BKC. Picture credits: Google Images
Pizza Express is one of the few places in Mumbai, where I have had an excellent time every single time I visit, review or no review. Thanks to my good friend Reema, I swear by their Bosco Salad and when we're working together near a Pizza Express, sharing a Bosco is almost mandatory for us. When Pizza Express invited for tasting of their new menu, I was ecstatic! Here are the items that I tried.

We started with Spiedeni di Pollo, which was essentially Chicken in Pesto served on skewers with Watermelon, Olives, Rocket and Lemon. I think the Pesto lovers will love this one! I didn't hate it either, considering I am not a fan of Pesto. They also served Spiedeni di Gamberro, which had Chili Oil marinated Prawns instead of the Pesto Chicken and I much liked that one!

We also tried the Gambaretti Picante - Prawns served in Passata, and dough sticks were served as an accompaniment. I loved this dish personally, and the dough sticks are the best accompaniment to mop up all that Tomato-ey goodness!

Next was the Watermelon and Goats Cheese Salad. I mentioned above about my loyalty towards the Bosco salad at Pizza Express, but this did not live up to the awesomeness of Bosco. Then again, Bosco is a warm salad while this one is cold. When you do feel like going out on your non cheat day, this salad is perfect with a humongous portion that will leave you feeling satisfied!

Another Salad we tried was the Pollo Affumicato, which was a complete meal in itself. Chicken, lots of leafy greens, Pomegranate seeds and a Balsamic glaze. Whats not to like?

For Pizza, we tried the Cipolla Picante Pizza, which had Jalapeño, Green Chili and Onions as toppings. This one's quite the Zinger! Chili lovers, rejoice! People who can't eat overtly hot and spicy food can stay away from this one. (Try their Padana instead)

We also tried the Pollo Darna Pizza, whose toppings were Grilled Chicken, Smoked Chili Powder, Peppers and Jalapeños in Arabiatta sauce. This one is a Must try! We finished this Pizza even after eating all those starters, it was that good!

I have my favourites at Pizza Express and other than their Bosco, Padana and Calabrese, I think Pizza Express makes one of the best Baked Cheesecakes in Mumbai. That makes it very difficult for me to try their new dessert items, which were gelatos and a Chocolate Mousse, but honestly nothing stood up to the mark except their Raspberry Cheesecake Gelato.

When cheat days are this fun, you look forward to them! :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Recipe: Sweet Potato Chaat

I don't know about you guys, but I am addicted to Chaat. I am guilty of consuming at least 3 plates of pani puri every week. It's like I just can't function without it. It keeps me sane. Yeah, it's that bad.

Meanwhile, I'm also trying to add the Chaat element to wherever it makes sense. My doctor asked me to make the SLITE change from Potato to Sweet Potato (seriously, it is loaded with non guilty carbs that will actually contribute positively towards your health with all those workouts) and I was like, hey, I can make this into a Chaat! The very famous Shakarkandi ki chaat on the streets in New Delhi is not just nostalgic, but very comforting! I made my version at home. You can too! Here's how:

Sweet Potato Chaat
Serves 4
Takes 30 minutes.


500 gm Sweet Potato
A pinch of Tata Salt Lite
A pinch of pepper powder
A pinch of Aamchur powder (dried Mango)
A pinch of Chaat Masala
A pinch of Red Chili Powder
2 tbsp Green Chutney (optional)
1 tbsp Chopped Coriander
A squeeze of Lemon
1 tsp Olive Oil. (Not extra virgin)


Boil the sweet potatoes till tender. Peel and cut them into slices.

Heat up a pan on medium with the oil. Place the slices and cook till slightly brown on both sides.

While the potatoes are browning, mix all the powders together and keep them ready.

Once the potatoes are done, transfer them into a bowl and sprinkle with the powders while they're still hot. Toss to incorporate. Add in a squeeze of lemon. You can also add green chutney (green Chili, mint, coriander, lemon, sugar ground together) to this if you like. I did, and it tasted great! Also add in the chopped coriander for an extra dimension!

Serve warm or cold, tastes great either way! You can also serve this mixed with Yogurt, and can also add Sev as garnish. Yum.

We all have that one food item we cannot do without, right? I'd love to know yours, do let me know in the comments section!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Recipe: Kale Chips!

Kale is the new superfood in the market. Everywhere I go, every article I read, every video I watch, is gaga about Miss Kale. I just had to find out what the fuss was about, so I decided to make me some Kale Chips. But of course, I would not deep fry them. In order to make a SLITE change, I baked them instead, and sprinkled with low sodium Tata salt lite instead of the regular fare, and Oh My God! The possibilities with this recipe are endless! Not only are these chips nutritious, they can be your go-to for those midnight snack cravings, or while watching movies. They aren't crunchy, they're KRRUNNCHYYY (seriously, they make that sound while you eat them).

So what are we waiting for? Let's do this!

Baked Kale Chips
Serves 4 (Or 1. I really can't guarantee)
Takes 20 minutes.


A bunch of Kale, washed, patted completely dry.
Tata Salt Lite, to season.
Pepper, to season.
A drizzle of Olive Oil. (Not Extra Virgin)
Any other seasonings (Chili flakes, brown sugar, sesame, Parmesan cheese, popcorn seasoning etc.)


Preheat oven to 170C/340F. Grease a cookie sheet or two with a tsp of Olive Oil.

Prep the Kale. We need to tear the Kale into bite sized pieces along the middle thick stem. Discard the thick stem. Please bear in mind that the chips will reduce in size as they bake, so tear accordingly. Transfer the leaves into a bowl.

Drizzle some Olive Oil and massage the Kale. You'll notice it will start to wilt a little. Season with Salt and Pepper, and any other seasoning you like. Massage well. Arrange on the cookie sheet such that the leaves are not overlapping one another. We want them to bake, not steam, and overlapping would make them steam.

Bake in the oven for 10 minutes or until bright green and crispy. Let it stay for a minute on the cookie sheet before you transfer them to your serving bowl. These don't stay very long as they're a crowd pleaser, but if you do intend on storing them, a brown paper bag would be a good bet!

I baked half of them with Salt and Pepper, and the other half with Chili Oil and Brown Sugar and mixed the two. We're having a lot of fun munching on the mixed goodness here at home!


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Motivation: 10 Tips for Beginners who have just joined the gym!

Image Credit: Google Images

It was a very difficult decision for me to switch my blog from a normal food blog to shifting its focus to health and fitness. I have spent close to a year, procrastinating, thinking that making this switch would ruin what I already have, all my beautiful readers may get tired or bored, and honestly it was just another excuse. For a person who finds it easiest to express herself in the form of writing, it was like my life depended on it.

Now that I have finally taken the plunge, I am nothing but overwhelmed and awe-inspired. I am so thankful to each one of you who have been religiously reading my blog, trying my recipes, following my journey on various modes of social media, writing to me, pouring your hearts out and sharing your emotional struggles too. Seriously, I feel humbled. Thank you so, so much. One of you reached out to me and offered tonnes of helpful advice and it helped me a great deal. I am not revealing your identity, but please know that you have been very helpful! Thank you so much :)

Here is a list of 10 tips for beginners who have just joined the gym, written by one of my readers!


What prompts us all to join the Gym ?

We want to get out there in the competitive world, be it our friend circle, our work place, family functions, to stand out in any activity. looking fit & getting noticed for being awesomely built.

1. When you join the gym make a pact with yourself to be regular for
the first three months.

2. You will find many Gym pundits on the gym floor. Some of them may be
your friends, pumping Iron for the past many years. Please don't take
his Gyaan on the Gym floor. Your trainer will lose interest in you.

3. Be honest with your trainer with regards to your goal & the amount
of commitment you are ready to pledge to achieve your goal.

4. Once your body measurements are taken down by your trainer, make a
copy of the same & keep it for your record. Ask your trainer the next
due-date for measurements. (If your gym does not do this, please take your measurements and keep checking every month)

5. Discuss with Your trainer any/all medical injury that you are ailing from.

6. Modify your diet plan. Your body needs those extra quality calories
(proteins , carbs, etc ) to help you meet with your goal. Seek the
assistance of a certified  dietician.

7. Yes, You need motivation at the gym, a training buddy is a good
idea but not only will he have mood swings, different plans on certain
days. No two bodies are the same. So workout alone with a vengeance.
Your pump & burn should be Your best motivator.

8.Train Your core. Ask your trainer about your body type & never
hesitate to ask him questions, if any.

9. Educate yourself on fitness vide the Internet, journals etc

10. Please seek your Doctors go-ahead before you start an exercise regime.



My blog reader Nairutee who also spreads a lot of love over my Instagram feed (<3) added some points in the comments section, updating them here as well! 

I'd like to add a few more points to this -

> Stretch, stretch, stretch! Before and after workouts. One of the most imp elements people usually ignore.

> If you can't go to a gym there are tonnes of other options. Go to your nearest park,start with brisk walking and slowly build to a light jog. Take a jump rope along. Join a zumba / aerobics class. Once you start enjoying the exercise, you might just be motivated to join a gym to take your workouts a notch higher.

> Always.. Always keep a food journal. In this age of smartphones you can easily download a good app where you can log what you eat for getting a basic idea about how much you are eating (or over or under eating). This personally has helped me a lot eat more consciously and make better food choices.

> Workout not just to lose weight but to get fitter and build better flexibility and stamina. The weightloss will definitely happen.

> And last but not the least, don't do it for others - because your mother, husband, boyfriend asked you to. Till the time you do not make it "your own" goal - that you're doing it for yourself because you want to feel fitter and energetic and healthier - it will feel like a burden. So just accept yourself and start working on yourself and let your efforts do the rest of the talking :) 

I think these tips are great! Don't you?

If you have something to share, you can write to me too! My email address is exploreyourkitchen at gmail dot com :) 


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