Here are 5 restorative recipes to ward off the winter chill using the most cutting-edge appliances that make cooking super simple and exciting.
1. Pumpkin and Ginger soup.
One of my childhood favourites is a good ol’ roasted pumpkin and ginger soup. Perfect for if you’ve caught the winter chill or for a quiet dinner at home.
- 1kg pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, cut into 4cm pieces
- 75g ginger, roughly chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 tbs extra virgin olive oil
- 1L (4 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
- 2 tbs finely chopped dill
- 1/3 cup (50g) toasted hazelnuts, chopped
- Preheat oven to 180°C. Place pumpkin, ginger and garlic on a large baking tray and drizzle with oil. Season, then toss to coat. Roast for 30 minutes or until the pumpkin is soft (don’t let the garlic burn).
- Make soups at the touch of a button. The Wonderchef Soup Maker heats, boils, blends and mixes automatically to give you a perfect, tasty and healthy soup every time. I add the pumpkin, ginger and garlic and about 2 cups (500 ml) of stock and just press the button. The soup maker also makes blends, chunky soup, and compotes for young babies hygienically without touching the food by hand. There’s no need to strain the boiled fruits or vegetables separately which makes it very easy to handle. It also helps retain all essential fibres inside the soup making it healthier and tastier.
- Divide soup among 4 bowls, top with mascarpone and serve with dill and nuts.
2. Vegetables and cheese casserole
One of my other all-time favourites is the vegetable and cheese casserole that my mom used to make for Friday night family dinners.
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 (16 ounce) packages frozen broccoli, cauliflower and carrots, thawed and rinsed (see Tip)
- 1 (12 ounce) can evaporated fat-free milk
- ¼ cup finely chopped onion
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- ¾ cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese (3 ounces)
- ½ (8 ounce) package reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufchatel), cut up and softened
- ⅔ cup soft whole-wheat bread crumbs (1 slice)
- 2 tablespoons snipped fresh parsley and/or snipped fresh basil (Optional)
- In the Wonderchef Forza casserole, whisk together evaporated milk, onion, flour, garlic and pepper. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Remove from heat. Add cheddar cheese and cream cheese, whisking until melted and smooth. Food prepared in Forza cast-iron pre- seasoned casserole will give the authentic traditional taste to your cooking. Cast-iron is very strong and sturdy. It will last you a lifetime, indestructible cookware! It is most suitable for slow-cooking since it seals all the moisture for tender and aromatic food.
- Pour cheese mixture evenly over vegetables. Toss gently to coat vegetables with sauce. Sprinkle with bread crumbs. Lightly coat crumbs with additional cooking spray.
- Cook for 40 to 45 minutes or until mixture is bubbly and crumbs are lightly browned. Let it stand for 5 minutes before serving. If desired, sprinkle with parsley and/or basil.
3. Chicken with lemon and capers
- 4 pieces of tender chicken thigh (cooks better than breast)
- 1 small bottle of capers
- 2 italian limes
- Some corn flour
- Chilli flakes
- White wine
- Sprinkle the chicken thigh with some cornflour and chilli flakes.
- On the Forza cast iron pan, melt two small cubes of butter (salted) and sear the chicken thighs in for a few minutes, before placing them aside. Using this pan is super helpful since the cast iron is great for cooking meat slowly and making sure it remains tender. This particular pan is pre-seasoned with cooking vegetable oil as well. It’s commonly known that cast iron is durable, long-lasting cookware.
- On the pan, add capers to the butter and squeeze one Italian lime.
- Squash the capers and let the juice mix into the butter and lemon. Add a splash of white wine and reduce it. To this sauce, add the chicken and cook until tender.
- Serve with spongy, crusty bread.
4. Chicken Biryani
Definitely one of my winter favourites, this one’s sure to be a hit with your family.
- Chicken: I only like to use thighs and drumsticks for chicken biryani because they remain juicy and don’t overcook through the long cooking time. For me, chicken breast is a big no no as it will dry out and will just be rubbery.
- Yogurt: Greek yogurt, plain yogurt or homemade curd/dahi works well. Acts as a tenderiser and add some tanginess to the masala
- Fried Onions: Also called birista. But these days, packaged fried onions are easily available and are a more convenient option. To store a large amount of fried onions, place them in an airtight container and freeze them for later
- Tomato Puree: Used in the marinade for flavour and body
- Ginger Garlic Paste: Simply ground ginger and garlic, I recommend making this at home, but if you are in a hurry, store bought works too
- Whole Spices: Bay leaf, Cloves, Green Cardamom and Saffron (kesar for that distinct orange colour) – these form the flavour base and give biryani that distinct fragrance that wafts up as soon as you open the pot
- Ground Spices: Red Chilli Powder (sub with a mix of paprika and cayenne if living outside India), turmeric powder and garam masala powder
- Herbs: Fresh mint and coriander leaves (cilantro) are essential to making biryani. They add freshness and bring the rice and chicken together
- Fat & Dairy: Both oil and ghee. You can choose to only use ghee but in my opinion, it makes the biryani even richer. But ghee is what was traditionally used to make biryani. You’ll also need a little milk to soak the saffron strands
- Basmati Rice: This is a key ingredient in most biryani recipes, even the ones outside India like the Pakistani biryani and Afghani biryani. Please note that basmati rice is different from long grain rice. Basmati has long grains but also comes with a distinct fragrance and flavour. Look for aged basmati rice that has been aged for at least 1-2 years.
I use the Wonderchef Nutri-Pot to make my biryani. It has 18 pre-set functions, each carefully curated for all your cooking needs. Most recipes are suited for Indian taste buds for both vegetarians and meat lovers. So plug in and get started! Unique locking system of the Nutri- Pot lid locks all the nutrition inside the food thus ensuring healthy meals every time. Specially fabricated anodized aluminum pot is long-lasting, non-reactive and transmits heat evenly to prevent burning of food. Just add the ingredients, press the button and get it going.
5. Dosa with podi and curd
One of my all-time favourites is this simple, super quick recipe that I use the Wonderchef Forza cast iron tawa to make. Food prepared in Forza cast-iron pre- seasoned dosa tawa will give the authentic traditional taste to your cooking. Indian cooking is always packed with flavours and cast-iron helps to enhance those flavors.
- Take pre-mix dosa batter and whip it into a smooth texture with some water.
- Heat the pan and add some pellets of ghee on it.
- Using a round ladle, spread the mixture on the pan and cover it with a glass lid. Let it cook for a few minutes. After that, flip the dosa around and fold it like a french omelet.
- Serve it with podi (gunpowder) with ghee and some curd.