luck dinner, but you’re no great shakes in the kitchen department, don’t despair looking at all those delicious sounding, but horrendously difficult Diwali recipes!
This is the born kitchen disaster’s guide to whip up something the express way – in no time at all. What’s the best part about these recipes? They don’t need precise measurements! So if you can’t tell your dollops from your pinches, you’ll still end up with a great meal.
Stuffed Mushrooms & Peppers
These are a sure fire winner, and will blend in well even with a traditional Diwali dinner, so that the ‘gourmet grub’ you sweated over doesn’t stick out like a sore thumb. You need about two dozen medium sized button mushrooms, (or depending on how many people you’re cooking for). Pull out the stalks vertically so that they leave a clean hollow inside the mushroom. Take grated cheddar cheese, loads of it and stuff the hollowed out mushrooms, packing as tightly as you can, and place them on an oven tray. Sprinkle a few drops of oil (olive or any other) over the whole lot and shove it into a preheated oven. When the mushrooms start to turn brown, you know they’re done!
As for the peppers, you can make multiple kinds of stuffing depending on what you like and how much energy you have. If you have a can of re-fried beans ready, throw them into a sieve, wash and drain them. Add salt, and cheddar cheese (be careful with the salt as the cheddar will already be salted), mix them well together and stuff into the hollowed out peppers. If you do not have canned refried beans, fikar not. You can have an equally tasty stuffing with cheese and diced carrots, or onions, or even cheese, carrots, onions and cooked rice! Give them the same oil-sprinkling and oven-shoving treatment, and when the skin of the peppers starts to brown and wrinkle a little, they’re ready.
Homemade Garlic Bread
Hold it, this is way easier than it sounds! Soften about six to eight table spoons of butter in a bowl (microwaving’s the best way), and grate around eight to ten cloves of garlic into it. Add a teaspoon or two of olive oil. Slather onto one side of the bread slice, use paninis, baguettes and buns split neatly from the middle to add some jazz, place them on an oven tray and cast them into a pre-heated oven, with a little butter on the undersides to keep them from sticking. In about five to ten minutes, when all the butter’s been absorbed and the sides of the bread start turning brown, time to start nibbling on them! For those who have more patience, top the bread with mixed cheese of your choice, say, mozzarella and cheddar, add diced tomatoes, and sprinkle some oregano if you have it, slide them back into the oven for just a couple of minutes till the cheeses start to melt over the tomato. Enjoy your crispy garlic bread with a deliciously gooey cheese top!
Express Garlic Chicken
This one’s for all the microwave fanatics. Melt a few tablespoons of butter in a microwave dish, add finely chopped garlic to it and simmer it in the butter for 2-3 minutes on full power. Load the chicken in the dish, sprinkle salt to taste and turn it well into the melted butter. If you can’t get the butter onto all of the chicken, don’t fret. Just microwave on full power for 15 minutes, that’s when the chicken starts to boil and leave all its juices. Take the dish out, toss it all up, and microwave for another 15-20 minutes. Test if the chicken is done by chewing a chunk – if it’s soft enough, it’s good enough! Or microwave for another 5 more minutes.
If you have rotis left over, this is the perfect way to turn them into desi Mexican fare. You can line the insides of the rotis with anything, be it cheese slices with chicken or ham strips, or cheese with spinach, or cheese with anything under the sun, fold the roti over in half, brush a little oil or melted butter on both sides and put on the grill for 3-4 minutes, and serve them with a ‘Hola! Papi’ to your friends!