Popeye Pie

Popeye Pie
Most of my generation moms grew up watching Popeye – The Sailor and so were introduced to spinach very early and would not mind consuming it since Popeye did so and he could manage getting over any trouble. Sadly, our kids don’t know Popeye as he is taken over by the likes of Chotta Bheem and Doraemon, such a pity!
Anyways, leaving aside the entertainment quality woes, what is more worrisome is how to feed Spinach to kids? Spinach – the higly recommended vegetable for kids and which, ironically, kids hate the most 🙂

Well, Nabeel is no different and the question hounded me for quite some time now. I know most moms resort to the convenient Palak Paneer recipe but it hardly works. Nabeel loves paneer and so he would look forward to the Palak Paneer being made but when it was time to eat, putting his fine fishing skills to use the paneer was picked out of the green gravy, wiped onto the roti and bitten into. Duh! The palak was right there in his plate staring at me.

I wasn’t giving up so easily and tried a couple of other Spinach recipes which failed too. Finally, what came to my rescue was this super easy Spinach Pie Recipe which I have named Popeye Pie. The intention in naming it so it to familiarize Nabeel with the forgotten Popeye – his mom’s first hero (wink wink) and the famous Spinach stories.

Spinach Pie

So, the said pie is any mom’s dream food for her child. It is loaded with vegetables apart from spinach, can be made without much preparation, has good carb’s to keep the energy flowing and can also be enjoyed cold thus making it an ideal lunch box recipe.
Be creative, add and subtract vegetables as per your kid’s preference. Vegetarians, the chicken can be omitted without affecting the taste so you can try this recipe too. Replace the chicken with paneer, soy chunks or any other chunky ingredient you prefer (some more pasta maybe). To make the dish more cheesy, have a grated cheese layer between the spinach and potato layer. Again, if you do not prefer giving bread to the child then use rotis instead; however, the top layer won’t be as crunchy with the replacement.

Enough of reading let’s get to some cooking, shall we?

Popeye Pie Recipe

Ingredients

For the Spinach sauce
1 cup wilted Spinach
3 tablespoon plain cheese spread
1 tablespoon milk
1 medium green chilli

For the crust
4 bread slices
1 tablespoon peeled garlic cloves
2 teaspoon chilli flakes
Salt to taste

Other Ingredients
1/4th cup small pasta, uncooked
150 grams boneless chicken breast
1/4th cup corn
1/4th cup diced capsicum
1 medium boiled and peeled potato
Butter for cooking
Mixed herbs as per taste
Salt as per taste

Method
Step 1 – Blend all the ingredients for the Spinach sauce together, cover and keep aside.

Spinach Sauce
Step 2 – Grind all the ingredients for the crust to a coarse mixture as shown in the picture. Cover and keep aside.

Bread Layer
Step 3 – Boil enough water to cook the pasta. Once cooked, drain, refresh and keep aside. Use only small shaped pasta to match with the vegetable size. I used the one pictured below. You can use big pasta like penne or fusilli and cut it once it’s cooked.

Small Pasta
Step 4 – Dice the chicken breast and cook it in a non-stick pan with 1 tablespoon butter, salt and mixed herbs. Remove the chicken and keep aside.
Step 5 – In the same pan sauté the remaining vegetables, except potato.
Step 6 – In a clean bowl mix the corn, capsicum, chicken, pasta and the spinach sauce together. Season the mixture with salt and herbs, if required.

Layering the Popeye Pie

Step 7 – Take the baking dish, and layer the spinach and vegetable mixture.
Step 8 – Thickly slice the potato and layer. If adding extra cheese, then do so between the spinach and potato layer.
Step 9 – Top with the bread mixture and put small dollops of butter on the bread layer.

Step 10 – Bake the Popeye Pie in a hot oven for 10 minutes or till the crust forms.
Serve hot or cold.

Spinach & Pasta Pie

Hope this works for you too. Do you have a special Spinach recipe that your kids adore? Then please share it in comments.

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Till then, Love Being a Mommy!

Butter Chicken

I have never done a main course recipe on my blog till date and today that shall change! Presenting, the ever popular Indian main course Butter Chicken from BAM’s kitchen. We just had a long weekend and I had to make something to pamper Nabeel’s taste buds. Nabeel LOVES chicken and with some boneless chicken handy I decided to treat him (and the others too 🙂 ) to some Homemade Murg Makhani aka Butter Chicken.
The recipe I am sharing is not 100% authentic its has a few of my touches here and there…the reason being, ONE – I did not have few of the ingredients that an authentic recipe calls for and TWO – I can never follow a recipe as it is, without tweaking the recipe there is no joy.

Murg Makhani
So what was tweaked? I did not have fresh cream instead I decided to make the gravy using cashew nuts and onions which would impart the same richness as cream to the dish. I also omitted the Tandoori masala in the marination and cooked the chicken in a pan instead of the tandoor or the oven. Kasuri methi was not added due to non-availability thus I used coriander for the garnish. Yellow Butter replaces White Butter and Garam masala was omitted too since I usually avoid it in most recipes. The dish appears orangish instead of the usual red due to the fresh tomato puree added in place of readymade puree.
Also note that I did not prepare for the recipe in advance, I had clean cut boneless chicken ready and was wondering what to cook, Butter chicken came to my mind and the dish was prepared all in all 40 minutes flat. No overnight marination, no Tandoor flavour and no kasuri methi, yet the dish was as good as any Butter Chicken made by following the traditional recipe. Try it to believe it! Here goes the recipe…

Chicken Makhanwala

Butter Chicken Recipe / Makhani Chicken / Chicken Makhanwala
The recipe is enough for 4 people

Ingredients
For the marination
500 grams Boneless Chicken, cubed
Salt, as required
1 tsp red chilli powder
2 pinches of red food colour
½ tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
¼ cup Fresh curds/ yogurt, whisked

For the gravy
2 medium tomatoes
1 small onion
½ tablespoon Ginger Garlic Paste
2 tablespoons cashew nuts, soaked in water for 15minutes

Other Ingredients
Lots of Butter – its butter chicken after all 
Fresh coriander leaves
Some cashew nuts for garnish

Step 1 – Rub salt, red chilli powder and red food colour on chicken. Keep aside for 10 minutes.
Step 2 – Add ginger garlic paste and yogurt to the chicken. Mix well and let it sit for another 15 minutes.

Butter Chicken Marination

Marinated Butter Chicken

Step 3 – Meanwhile, boil 2 cups of water and add the whole tomatoes to it. Remove them in 5 minutes and cool. Peel the tomatoes and grind them to a smooth puree
Step 4 – Grind the onions, ginger garlic paste and cashew nuts to a fine paste using minimal water.
Step 5 – Heat a non-stick pan with lots of butter and cook chicken pieces in it along with the marination. Once cooked, keep aside.

Cooked Butter Chicken

Chicken being cooked in a pan

Step 6 – Simultaneously, in another pan / kadhai / wok heat butter, add the cashew paste and cook till the paste comes together and leaves butter from the sides.
Step 7 – Add the tomato puree to the cashew gravy and cook till all come together.
Step 8 – Finally add the cooked chicken pieces, mix well. Add some water to adjust the consistency of the gravy and simmer for 10 minutes.

Butter Chicken RecipeServe hot Butter Chicken topped with melted butter, chopped coriander leaves and some cashew nuts. The dish is best eaten with off the griddle rotis and parathas. Enjoy!

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Till then, love Being a Mommy!