Sara Dhanani

Archive for the ‘Week night meals’ Category

Panda Bear chicken

In Favorite Recipes, Meat & Poultry, Week night meals on June 25, 2014 at 7:41 pm

To please my four year old’s orange chicken obsession (from Panda Express nonetheless), I came up with a easy spinoff recipe. It is pre preschooler approved!


Chicken thighs
Panko bread crumbs
Oil to fry

For the sauce:
1 tablespoon of orange zest
2 table spoons orange juice
2 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice cooking wine
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon oil
2-3 cloves of garlic chopped

Cut the chicken into 2-3 inch pieces. Coat with Panko and fry in oil till golden brown. Drain on a paper towel and keep aside.

Orange sauce: heat oil and sauté the garlic lightly. Add the chicken. Mix the rest of the sauce ingredients and pour over the chicken. Cook for a few minutes till the sauce coats the chicken.

Almost guilt free!


Chicken Tikka Masala

In Curries, Favorite Recipes, Meat & Poultry, Week night meals on November 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Chicken Tikka Masala. This is a super easy, full of short cuts and cheats version inspired by a wonderful recipe by Grace Parisi. It is absolutely loved by my pre-schooler, she will lick the plate clean!  I use ready made tandoori chicken masala (dry spice rub which I found at our local whole foods). This is a staple in our freezer too since it freezes so well.


Chicken Marinade:
2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs
3 tablespoons tandoori chicken masala
1 cup plain yogurt
Oil for broiling (1-2 tablespoons)
One table spoon ginger garlic paste
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (less or more!)
1 heaped teaspoon tandoori chicken masala
1 large onion, finely chopped1 1/2 tablespoons garam masala
One 35-ounce jarred peeled and chopped tomatoes, finely chopped, juices reserved
One tablespoon sugar
1 cup heavy cream

In a large bowl, combine the yogurt, two tablespoons of tandoori chicken masala and set aside.Using a sharp knife, make a few shallow slashes in each piece of chicken. Add the chicken to the marinade, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat the broiler (HI) and position a rack about 8 inches from the heat. Remove the chicken from the marinade; scrape off as much of the marinade as possible and then sprinkle a little more tandoori chicken masala on the side up. Season the chicken with salt, a little oil and place on a baking sheet. Broil the chicken, turn it over and sprinkle tandoori chicken masala on the other side and broil till cooked and slightly charred. Transfer to a cutting board and cut it into 2-inch pieces.

To make the masala heat 1-2 tablespoons of  oil. Add the onion, garlic and ginger paste and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until translucent and fragrant,about 5-7 minutes. Add the garam masala, cumin, coriander powder, cayenne, cardamom and tandoori chicken masala frying, for 1 – 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes with their juices and the sugar and salt to season. Cover and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 10-15 minutes. Take it off the heat and blend with a hand blender until fairly smooth. Return to heat and add the cream,cooking over low heat till combined. Stir in the chicken; simmer gently for 10 minutes and serve with basmati rice or naan.

I always make extra tandoori chicken for chicken tikka pizza, sandwiches, rolls….


Club Sandwiches

In Appetizers, Favorite Recipes, Week night meals on June 9, 2013 at 1:33 am

Club Sandwiches

These delightful sandwiches are sure to be enjoyed at any tea party or as a light lunch.


Boiled chicken (use 3-4 pieces of bone in chicken)
pinch of cayenne pepper
Black pepper
Cheddar Cheese – thinly sliced
White bread with edges cut off


Boil chicken, once cooked through and cooled, remove meat from bone. Pulse the chicken with a tablespoon or 2 of mayo and a pinch of cayenne pepper, such that it is incorporated and the meat is shredded. Add salt and a dash of black pepper. Apply mayo to one side of the bread (you will need 3 slices per sandwich. Put the chicken mixture on one slice of bread, top with lettuce and a second layer of bread. Apply mayo on this layer and then add cheddar and tomato and finish with the 3rd slice of bread. Cut into 4. You will need a toothpick to hold it together!

Chicken Corn Soup

In Favorite Recipes, Meat & Poultry, Week night meals on October 23, 2012 at 10:11 pm


Chicken corn soup is perfect for those sniffly dreary cold evenings or when your toddler only wants soup!

3-4 Chicken pieces with bone
Four cups water
One packet chicken yakhni mix
Half a handful of baby carrots
Half an onion – sliced thinly
One cup canned sweet corn
Four tablespoons corn flour
1/4 cup water
One egg very lightly beaten
salt to taste

1/4 cup white vinegar with diced green chillies
1/4 cup white vinegar with 1 teaspoon red chilli powder

Heat four cups of water with one yakhni packet mixed in, along with chicken, onion and carrots. Bring to boil and cook till chicken is cooked through (approximately 15 – 20 minutes). Sieve through the stock, reserving the stock and chicken and discarding carrots and onion. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, shred the meat and keep aside, discarding the bone.
Using a food processor or blender, gently pulse the sweet corn so that it is smushed, but not mush (a quick 2 or 3 pulses). Add this to the chicken stock and bring to boil. Now dissolve the corn flour into the 1/4 cup of water till a thin paste is made. Add this paste very slowly to the boiling stock and corn while stirring constantly to get to the soupy consistency you like (I only used about half to get the soup consistency I like). Add the chicken. Very slowly add the beaten egg, again stirring constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with chile and vinegar mixture and/or soy sauce.


In Favorite Recipes, Meat & Poultry, Week night meals on September 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm

Chewy noodles mixed with a meat curry, coconut based curry and the best part – the condiments of cilantro, green chillies, crispy noodles, red chilli flakes. I’ve had multiple variations of khousey, with the two curries mixed and cooked together, the coconut curry made with yoghurt (kadhi), but our favorite growing up was the one made at my friend Maria’s house. This is that coveted recipe, tweaked a bit, but in essence the same…. still incredible! The aroma of this khousey recipe brought back days of sitting at our friends house, putting on lipstick because we were sad, first loves, careers, weddings and now our kids playing together. Here’s to my girls! I hope our daughters or sons make this one day and remember their khalas.


Spaghetti – Boil one packet of spaghetti according to instructions given.

Beef Curry


500 grams lean beef – cubed in 2 inch peices

One large onion finely diced

Two large tomatoes finely diced

One tablespoon ginger garlic paste

Two tablespoons ground up green chillies

Two teaspoons cumin powder

One teaspoon chilli powder

One teaspoon cilantro powder

1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

One teaspoon salt or more per taste

A few tablespoons of oil


Heat oil in a pressure cooker and saute onions till translucent. Add the dry spices of cumin, corriander, turmeric, salt and chilli powders. Next add the ginger garlic paste and green chilli paste and fry for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes till the juices mingle together, and then add the beef. Add one cup of water and cover the lid of the pressure cooker and cook on high heat for 15-20 minutes while its whistling. Lower heat, allow the steam to escape and once its safe, uncover the pressure cooker. Cook on medium high heat while stirring intermittently till the oil separates from the masala. This method is called bhuno, which is frying the masala on medium high heat. The curry should have a beautiful glossy brown color.
Alternatively, you could also cook this without the pressure cooker, but it saved me some time so I did. If cooking without pressure cooker, cook with lid on till the meat is tender and then remove lid and bhuno the curry.

Coconut Curry:


Two tablespoons besan (chickpea flour)

One can of unsweetened coconut milk

One teaspoon cumin powder

1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder

salt to taste


In a heavy bottomed saucepan, dry roast the besan. Keep stirring, so as not to burn it. Once you can smell the besan and it has a lightly toasted color, add the coconut milk and the turmeric, cumin powder and salt(maybe even a little red chilli powder if desired). Cook on medium low heat, till it boils and is slightly thick (should coat the back of the spoon).

To serve, you can either mix the two curries together or serve separately with plain boiled spaghetti. Various garnishes can be used – potato chips (mmmm- slims), red chilli flakes, finely chopped corriander, finely cut green chillies or fried noodles – recipe below!

Fried noodles to garnish: Heat oil in a nonstick pan, and fry boiled spaghetti in it till golder brown. crush and use as a garnish.

Assembling the perfect bowl can be challenging, a handful of noodles, a tablespoons of the beef curry (or more), a few tablespoons of the coconut curry with garnishes of green chillies, corriander, red chilli flakes and fried noodles.