Thursday, December 29, 2011

Joy of Cookie- ing!!


Recipe: Oats and Raisin Cookies


I am back again with more baked stuffs…. and this time I have decided to please my cookie lover husband with some nice crunchy and chewy oatmeal cookies.



 During my early days in Bahrain, on one of my grocery visits I had mistakenly bought old fashioned oats and didn’t realise it until I took it out to make some porridge for my daughter.
I had never tried it before and was dismayed to learn that my girl didn’t enjoy it at all. It was during that time that I got to read this recipe for oatmeal cookies on the newspaper. It talked about using old fashioned rolled oats and I was only more than delighted to try it out.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Double Chocolate Treat


Recipe: Chocolate Cupcakes with Chocolate Ganache


I continue to be on a baking spree and its cupcakes again J
I like making cupcakes because they take very little time to bake and are easy to stash away too.
And this time I have decided to bake our all time favourite… chocolate cupcakes!! 
I am not sure from where I got the recipe for this one, but I have been making them for quite some time now and it gives wonderfully soft and moist cakes.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Experiments with stuffing Potatoes !!!


Recipe: Potato ball with Meat Mince and
               Potato ball with Pasta




Few months back we had been invited to a friends place for dinner and there we were served these very interesting and tasty appetizers made by filling out mashed potatoes with grated coconut and mint. I had wanted to try them out ever since but with my vacation trip to India (which followed immediately after this particular visit) I had forgotten completely about it.

But a couple of days back an item on the menu card of a restaurant reminded me of this forgotten goody. What I saw looked really mouth watering….. Balls rolled out of mashed potatoes, filled with creamy, cheesy pasta.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A Velvety Christmas Treat


Recipe:  Velvet Muffins with Whipped Cream Frosting


This is something that I had wanted to make for a real long time but had been prolonging for no particular reason. But with Christmas fast approaching, I guess there was no better time to try out these really velvety muffins.

Trust me; these muffins are for its softness….. They just seem to melt in your mouth.



I stumbled upon this great recipe in ‘Joy of baking’ and was wonderstruck by the beauty of it. The original recipe uses liquid red food colour giving the cake a beautiful scarlet colour.
Looked very Christmassy!!
But I haven’t used any food colour as I have a slight phobia towards artificial colouring.
It has a lovely flavour too with a mild chocolate taste which comes from a single table spoon of cocoa.
It’s quite simple to make and the output is a surprisingly soft and fluffy bunch of muffins.
The original recipe uses cream cheese frosting, but I wanted to use something that was much lighter on the tummy and hence settled for whipped cream.

Monday, December 19, 2011

A Cocoa Attack!!



Recipe: Chocolate Cookies with Roasted Nuts and Hot Cocoa



Christmas is just round the corner, winter is getting colder and windy by the day and of course the New Year fever is fast catching up too…. What better reasons do I need to do some baking!!
Though I love baking and absolutely need no reasons to do so, I haven’t been doing much of it for some time.
I guess lethargy was getting the better of me…. But not any more. How could anybody miss out on this season??!!
As I pulled up my sleeves and got ready to do some baking, I realised that I had to make one of the most taunting decisions….. Cookies or cakes!!
Cookies were my husband’s favourite and cake my daughter’s. 


You can imagine the kind of fix I was in!!
It was as I was trying to decide that I realised that it had been ages since I had baked some cookies. In fact I couldn’t remember the last time I did….
So the decision was made, it was going to be our all time favourite, chocolate cookies with some crunchy nuts.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pasta Mania



Recipe: Pasta in Mixed Sauce




I am especially proud to present this dish because I can say that I managed to gather the recipe for this one, all by myself.
No, I don’t mean to claim that I discovered it…. Of course not, But I figured out the ingredients through mere observation and imagination and also managed to get the closest to the real flavour. J




Pasta is relatively new to my favourites list.  Precisely speaking, it walked into my life almost 2 and half years back, when we moved to Bahrain.
Though I have had pastas a couple of times in India, it had been a disastrous experience. In fact we decided that pasta was just not our cup of tea!!
It was during our initial days in Bahrain that we began to notice this particular pasta place, which was always queued up with customers. There was not a day when there wasn’t at least a small queue in front of their counter.
So what’s so special with this pasta we wondered …. And yes the dish smelled and looked inviting too.
Finally, we decided to give pasta one last shot… we ordered for a chicken pasta with mixed sauce and settled down for our adventurous meal J
As the first spoonful of the cheesy, tangy, soft pasta went into my mouth, I realised that this one was here to stay!!!!
What surprised me more than ever was that, my ever so fussy daughter was gobbling up morsels of pasta and all the veggies that went with it, in absolute joy.  So, obviously, I had to make it…

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Mushrooms in a Wok


Recipe: Kadai Mushroom- Pan grilled Mushrooms cooked in Tomato purée, cream and spices (Adapted from Moti Mahal’s Tandoori Trail)





I am sure most of us are familiar with Moti Mahal, the famous Tandoori place with their famous Tandoori chicken, their very own original butter chicken and of course the popular Dal Makhani… but what most of us don’t know is the fact that these were all  creations of a man who actually internationalized Indian cuisine and gave it a place on the International gourmet chart.
 And that man is none other than Kundan Lal Gujaral. 
The book Tandoori Trail is a recipe book written by Monish Gujaral, grandson of the legendary Kundan Lal Gujaral, as a tribute to his grand dad. It has awesome recipes begotten right from the horse’s mouth.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Garlic, Cheese and Bread


Recipe:  Garlic Bread with Cheese




I love bread, I love cheese, I love butter so it’s not surprising that I love garlic bread, especially the ones lusciously covered with melted mozzarella cheese!!


My daughter is also a cheese garlic bread fan and each time we visit a pizza place she ends up stuffing herself with garlic bread (and of course I follow suit J) and almost always we end up packing half the pizza back home which is then breakfast or lunch the next day.

One such day when I gave a slice of pizza to my daughter for lunch she pushed it back to me and demanded the small pizza instead (my daughter thinks garlic bread is small pizza!!). When all my attempts to pacify her failed, I had to fake a garlic bread for her… I simply sprinkled some mozzarella cheese and oregano on a piece of buttered bun and popped it into the microwave. Though I managed to satisfy her then, it didn’t exactly taste like real garlic bread.


Until then it never occurred to me that this little delight could actually be made at home, but now, I just had to!!!
When I discovered the ingredients to make garlic bread I felt silly about not thinking about it earlier. All I needed was some bread, garlic, and butter and yes, cheese…

Let’s go for the recipe



CHEESE GARLIC BREAD

Ingredients

French bread or Italian bread – 1 loaf
Butter – 2 tbsp
Garlic – 2 cloves crushed or made into paste
Parsley – a handful finely chopped
Mozzarella cheese grated – 1 cup
Oregano – to season (optional)
Salt – to taste

Preparation

Mix butter, garlic, parsley and salt to make a paste.
Slice your French loaf into oval shaped discs. Do not detach the slices so that they don’t come off loose.
Now spread the garlic- butter paste on each slice, any remaining paste can be spread out on top of the loaf. Wrap the loaf in aluminium foil and pop it into your oven. Cook for 10 mins.
If you are doing a barbeque, just drop the aluminium wrapped loaf into the hot charcoal and take it off after 2 -3 mins. Garlic bread is a perfect accompaniment with sizzling barbeque.
Cooking in aluminium foil makes your loaf very soft. Once done, you may remove your loaf from the aluminium foil and the separate the slices.
It’s wonderful to eat this as such. And the aroma is undefinable……
But to make our garlic bread cheesy you will have to resist that temptation!!!!

Now sprinkle mozzarella cheese on each slice and season with oregano and then put it back into your oven and heat until the cheese melts.


Enjoy this cheesy garlic bread piping hot….   

  








Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Roast of All Roasts



Recipe: Prawn Roast




Prawns… something I cant keep my hands off….Irresistible!! No words to describe the taste and flavour. It has been my all time favourite and shall always be I guess.
Nevertheless, I have always had a taboo towards the prawn dishes we get at the restaurants… I usually keep away from them. I guess it’s a phobia I developed because of my dad… well, he’s a clean freak, you see and never trust restaurants especially when it comes to sea food and in particular prawns.
So prawns were a delicacy confined to home kitchen. Not that it mattered at all as I had a master chef for a mom J
Come prawns season and its festival time for me…. there’s always a packet of prawns stashed away in our freezer and every other day my dad returns from office with a bag of prawns and then I love my dad more than ever ;)
My mom cooks all kinds of dishes with prawns but the one that is completely irresistible is prawn roast.
I miss it the moment I polish off my plate!!
Just don’t seem to get enough of it…..
So this weekend when my husband bought some prawns home, I could think of nothing but prawn roast.
Of course, it’s not for any of the health freaks out there, but anything for a bite into that lovely white meat, don’t you think so!!!



Here goes the recipe.


PRAWN ROAST

Ingredients

Prawns – 1 kg, cleaned and de-veined
Onions – 2 big ones, finely sliced
Ginger – ½ inch, julienned
Gamboges (kudam puli) – 1
Green chillies slit - 2
Curry leaves - a handful
Coconut chipped into thin, small pieces – 4 tbsp
Chilly power – 2 tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Fennel seed powder – ¾ tsp
Pepper – ½ tsp (optional)
Oil (preferably coconut oil)- 4 tbsp

Preparation

Put the cleaned prawns, turmeric powder, 1 tsp chilly powder, gamboges and a few curry leaves into clay pot or any pot of choice and cook covered on a medium flame for about 2-3 mins and then cook uncovered till all the water evaporates and the prawns are cooked well.
Meanwhile, heat a pan and pour 4 tbsp of oil, put in the julienned ginger and sauté for few seconds, put in the chipped coconuts and continue sautéing for a couple of mins. Now add the sliced onions, slit green chillies and the curry leaves and stir on till the onion turns light brown and crisp. Now put in all the spices (remaining 1 tsp chilly powder, coriander powder, fennel powder and pepper powder). Sauté till the raw smell is off but be careful not to burn the spices.
Now remove the gamboges from the cooked prawns and put the prawns into the onion-chilly-ginger-coconut mixture and stir till the prawns are nice and dry and roast to perfection.


So easy and sooooo yummy!!!
You may team it up with steaming rice, appam, parata etc.





Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A Double delight

Recipe: Chocolate Mousse with Strawberry Frozen Yoghurt







Most of the time when we have guests over for lunch or dinner, I end up being too busy with deciding on the starters and Main courses that I eventually overlook the desserts. Finally, the usual scenario before the guests arrive would be me yelling to my husband to run to the nearest grocery to buy some chocolate or strawberry ice cream (that’s the usual favourite with our friends).
So this weekend when we invited some of our friends over for dinner, the first thing I set my mind on was on desserts. This time I was going to make it different.
I love chocolate-strawberry combinations, so I decided that I would make something that would have the best of both the flavours.
And this was what I got….
I made some chocolate mousse and topped it up with some yummy strawberry frozen yogurt.
The combination was quite a mouthful!!


Let’s look at the recipe.

CHOCOLATE MOUSSE WITH STRAWBERRY FROZEN YOGURT

Chocolate mousse

Ingredients

Cooking chocolate (bitter-sweet or semi-sweet) – 120 gms
Unsalted butter – 2 tbsp
Eggs – 2 large separated
Sugar – 4 tbsp (divided)
Vanilla extract – ½ tsp
Whipping cream – ½ cup
Cream of tartar – 1/8 tsp (optional)

Preparation

In a medium-sized stainless steel bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter. Remove from heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes. Then whisk in the two egg yolks. Refrigerate this while you whip the egg whites and whipping cream.
In another bowl whip the two egg whites using an electric mixer or hand mixer with the cream of tartar until foamy. Gradually add two tablespoons of sugar and continue to beat until stiff peaks form, yet the whites are still glossy and not dry. Set aside.
In another bowl, whip the heavy cream, remaining two tablespoons sugar, and vanilla extract until soft peaks form.  
Remove the chocolate mixture from the refrigerator, and then fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, gently but thoroughly. Fold in the whipped cream as well.
Spoon in the mixture into individual serving bowls, cover and refrigerate until time to serve. This quantity can go into almost six serving bowls.


Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

Ingredients
Yogurt – 3 cups
Strawberry essence – 1 ½ tsp
Sugar – ¾ to 1 cup
Gelatine – 2 tsp
Warm water - 3tbsp to melt the gelatine
Fresh strawberry chopped or mashed slightly – 4 or 5

Preparation

Completely dissolve gelatine in warm water and keep aside
Blend together yogurt, strawberry essence and sugar in a blender and pour into a freezer proof bowl.
Stir in the dissolved gelatine and chopped (or mashed) strawberry pieces and mix well.
Keep your freezer temperature to coldest and place the bowl into the freezer. After an hour, whisk the mixture to break the ice crystals. Repeat this 3 or 4 times after every hour. Now freeze your yogurt for 4-5 hours or overnight.
Your lovely strawberry yogurt is ready!!!

Keep outside for around 10 mins before serving to making the scooping easier.






Assembly

Assemble your dessert just before serving.
Take the individually set chocolate mousse bowls and place a scoop of strawberry yogurt on it and garnish with some copped strawberry if desired.

Take one big scoop of the chocolate mousse and frozen yogurt and enjoy!!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Veg or Non- Veg That’s the Question?!


Recipe: Soya chunk Cutlet






My husband is a hard core non vegetarian. Though a sport with any non- veg item, it was a near to impossible task to get him to open his mouth to an unfamiliar vegetarian item. So I was quite sceptical when I wanted to make some Soya chunk curry. It was one of my favourites but the thought of getting my husband to tread on unfamiliar grounds was daunting.
 I had to get him to eat it without making him realise the ingredient and at the same time impress him with the taste… any flaw meant that Soya chunks stayed out of my house for ever!!! I was also in my initials days of cooking and had not yet learned to experiment J
It was during one of those days that I was talking to my mom and she mentioned that she made this cutlet with soya chunks and fooled everyone at my home to believe that it was beef!!!!   
Bingo!!!! That’s it…. That’s exactly what I am going to do… cutlets… why didn’t I ever think of that….




So that evening I had some soya chunk cutlets ready and served it with dinner…. I couldn’t help giggling when I saw my husband gobbling it up with absolutely no questions being asked. When I revealed to him, what he had just had he wouldn’t believe that he had eaten something purely vegetarian. And to my joy he said, if this is how soya is going to taste then he’s ready to make soya a regular item at home… yippee!!!
Seriously, soya cutlets really don’t taste vegetarian…. Just try them!!



Now for the recipe.

SOYA CHUNK CUTLETS

Ingredients

Soya chunks(soak in water for nearly ½ hour and squeez out water completely) –  1 ½ cups chopped coarsely(use a chopper for fine results, if you don’t have one them just use an ordinary grinder, but be careful not to powder them. It should look something like a meat mince)

Potato – 1 medium sized, boiled and mashed
Onion – 1 medium sized chopped finely
Ginger- 1 ½ tsp finely chopped
Green chillies – 2 chopped
Pepper – 1 tsp (as per spice needs)
Garam masala – ¼ tsp
Egg white- 1 slightly whisked
Bread crumbs – 1 cup
Oil – enough for deep frying

This makes nearly 10 – 12 cutlets

Preparation

Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and fry the chopped soya chunks in it for a few mins or until the soya chunks are completely dry and lightly browned.
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan and add chopped ginger and green chillies and sauté till you get rid of the raw smell. Now add the chopped onions and continue sautéing till the onion is transparent.  Once the onions are done, add on the chopped and fried soya chunks and sauté till the mixture is nice and dry. Now season the mixture with pepper and garam masala and switch off the flame.
Once the mixture has completely cooled, put the mashed potatoes and mix well. Now roll out small balls and flatten them out to get oval shaped cutlets. You can make them into any shape you desire.  
Get your whisked egg white and bread crumbs ready. Dip your patties first in the egg whites and then cover them up with bread crumbs.
When all the cutlets are ready, take a deep pan and heat enough oil for deep frying.
Now a rule of thumb….see to it that your oil is really hot before you drop in your cutlet patties… if its not hot enough your cutlets will end up breaking!!

Fry out all your cutlets and enjoy them hot and crispy with some tomato ketchup.
Your kids and husband will never ever guess that they are enjoying something that’s unbelievably vegetarian.
Get ready for an ultimate deception ;)




Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Mom’s Special Fish Curry




I was a very fussy eater as a child and lunch was something I never enjoyed eating because we almost always had rice and curries, something that never really impressed me all through my childhood. Though I did like some of my mom’s vegetarian items, what I dreaded most was ‘Fish’. I completely detested fish curries and just ate very few varieties when fried.  To worsen my plight, fish curries were my dad’s favourite item and my mom kept making it every now and then and the worst part; there was no saying a ‘no’ to any item on the table!!!
All of this changed with 5 years of hostel life…. Everything I detested became close to my heart and it didn’t take much effort at all!!  I remember the days when I used rush home for the weekends after 5 days of starvation and homesickness. Anything my mom made was a treasure be it even bitter gourd. Seriously, I even began enjoying bitter gourd thoran (a traditional Kerala style dry curry). Food never tasted better!!!
It was like rediscovering my mom’s cooking and I began enjoying homemade food more than ever.







Obviously, fish curries too began to taste different for me. I am sure my mom must have had a hearty laugh seeing me gobble down fish curry and rice like some refugee!!  She’s really had a tough time forcing it down my throat when I was a childJ

After marriage this was one of the first items that I learned to prepare well because my husband is a fish lover.
Mom makes fish curries in quite a simple way but the taste is awesome and so here goes the recipe.

FISH CURRY (KERALA STYLE)

Ingredients

Fish any variety- 1 kg cut and cleaned (use vinegar or lime to get the fishy smell off)

Coconut milk – milk from 1 coconut (I prefer using freshly squeezed coconut milk. But you can use the coconut milk powder too. But I recommend the fresh milk as the taste enhancement is incomparable!!) if  you are using coconut milk powder, mix 3 tbsp of powder with ¾ glass water.

Chilly powder- 2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 ¾ tsp
Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
Chillies slit – 3
Ginger crushed- 3 inch long
Curry leaves- a handful
Small onion- 3-4 sliced
Gamboges ( kudam puli) – 2 pieces
Raw mango – 1 small cut into long pieces
Oil

Preparation

Use a clay pot if you have one. This kind of Fish curry tastes best in clay pots, but its okay if you don’t have it, you may use any vessel of choice.
First, pour the coconut milk into a blender, add all the powders (chilly powder, coriander powder and turmeric powder) along with it and blend for a minute or two.
Put the chillies, ginger, gamboges and raw mangoes into the pot and place it on the fire. Now pour the blended coconut milk into the pot and let it boil for around 5 minutes.
Once the coconut milk starts boiling, slowly put the fish pieces one by one into this gravy. Lower the flame, place the lid on the pot and let the fish cook. After around 5 mins remove the lid and continue cooking for another 5 – 10 mins or until the gravy starts getting thick. Do not use a spoon to stir or you may break the fish pieces.
Instead, just lift the vessel and rotate it slowly so that you don’t risk burning the gravy.
Take a small wok and pour around 2 tbsp of oil into it. Once hot, put the sliced onion pieces and fry till golden brown; put the curry leaves along with it.
Once the curry is cooked, take it off the flame and garnish it with the fried onions and curry leaves.
You can enjoy this with hot steaming rice or tapioca. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fried Potatoes




I don’t think there are many people who can resist a plate of crispy French fries dipped in tomato ketchup, they kind of slip uncontrollably from your hands into your mouth, non stop !!!  Well, I am no exception to that either and almost always end up succumbing to my temptations.  But something that always bothered me was the way French fries are made at the food joints…. You know, they are double fried in oil!! That’s the secret behind their taste.
I was not really bothered for myself, but the only way I could get my little girl to eat some potatoes were as fries and I wanted to give it to her in a healthy, home made way!  Let me tell you how….

FRENCH FRIES

Ingredients

Potatoes – cut into thin fingers
Oil
Salt
Water

Preparation

Boil a saucepan of water and put in the potatoes and continue boiling them till they are just cooked. Do not over cook as the potatoes will loose their shape.
Once done, strain out the water completely
Take a pan of oil and heat it till it’s very hot.
Now put in the boiled potatoes and fry till they are golden brown and crispy. Drain out from the oil using a slotted spoon and put the fries onto some tissue paper.
Season the fries with some salt.
Yummy restaurant style French fries ready!! These don’t get soggy like the usual home made ones J



Enjoy !!!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Buns and Rolls



I love breads in any form and shape and I can have them for breakfast, lunch and dinner and never tire of them, ever…
Probably that’s what motivated me into thinking about baking them at home. If I can bake a cake then why not a bun..  Baking breads had also been a childhood fancy, courtesy Enid Blyton books and other fairy tales which often spoke about the aroma of freshly baked breads and buns J . The whole idea always fascinated me.
And Trust me, the books weren’t exaggerating at all !!!!!!!! The aroma is seriously intoxicating…
I was so overjoyed with my baking experience that I decided to do some experiments of my own and the results weren’t bad at all. Know what I did??
I filled them up with chicken!!!!!!

HOME MADE BUN





Ingredients

300g All purpose flour, sifted
120ml Cold milk
1 tsp Instant yeast
1/2tsp Salt
55g Castor sugar
1 egg
30g Butter

Preparation

Add flour, salt, sugar and yeast in a bowl and mix well. Add beaten egg into the Cold milk. Now, slowly add in the egg and milk into the dry ingredients.
If the dough is too wet stop adding the liquid in.
Add butter and continue to knead until dough is formed. It should be of the consistency of chapatti dough
Cover dough with a piece of damp towel until double in bulk.(About 40minutes)
Divide dough into small portions.
You can shape them into small round shapes to make normal buns.




 To make dinner rolls like the ones I have done here, you will have to take 3 small equal portions of dough and make three rope- like shapes of equal length and thickness. Now squeeze these pieces together at one end and plait the remaining part of the rope, like you would plait your hair.. J . When done, squeeze together the lower portions as well. 
Viola!! Your dinner rolls are ready…

Place all of them onto a greased baking tray, cover them with damp towel once again and wait till they double in bulk.
Brush with melted butter and bake in preheated oven at 180C for 8-10minutes or until lightly browned.

Tip
To make the bun look glossy and presentable brush with this special egg wash.

Ingredients

50 ml Honey
50 gm Castor sugar
1 Egg
100 ml Water


CHICKEN BUN




Ingredients

Dough
Chicken- 1 cup boiled and shredded
Onion- 1 medium sized chopped
Ginger – a small piece, finely chopped
Chilly powder- ½ tsp
Pepper- as required
Garam masala – ¼ tsp
Oil

Preparation

Pour oil into a hot pan; add in the chopped onions and ginger and sauté till the onions are translucent. Now add the chilly powder and garam masala and continue sautéing for a few more mins. Add shredded chicken and after sautéing for a couple of mins, switch off the flame and season the mixture with pepper.
Let this cool down completely.




Take a small portion of the dough and flatten it in your palm. Scoop out 2 tbsp of the chicken filling and place it onto the flattened dough. Now cover the entire filling with the dough by shaping it like a small money bag. Seal the filling in completely.
 Once you are done with entire lot place them onto a greased baking tray, cover them with damp towel once again and wait till they double in bulk.
Brush with melted butter and bake in preheated oven at 180C for 8-10minutes or until lightly browned.

So all set to surprise your family at the tea table ;)  







Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Frozen Delight




Frozen yogurts are a favourite with my family, but I never realised it was something that could easily be made at home until I stumbled upon a wonderful recipe posted by my good friend Sarah, who runs a fabulous blog herself. And another reason for joy was that it didn’t require an ice cream maker!!!!
Her recipe inspired me to make one of my own and the result was a delicious, sweet and tangy purple beauty.
And know what gave its colour??  Pomegranate!!

POMEGRANATE FROZEN YOGURT

Ingredients

Pomegranate juice- 1 cup (you will have to use approx one big pomegranate and ¼ glass of water to get 1 cup of juice and remember to strain off the seeds)

Yogurt – 2 cups (Remove all the water present. You can also use hung curd, but ensure that it’s not sour)
Sugar – ¾ cup – 1 cup
Gelatine – 2 tsp
Hot water – 3 tbsp to dissolve the gelatine




Preparation

Put all the ingredients except the gelatine into a blender and make a smooth mixture.
Add gelatine to the hot water and stir until completely dissolved. Ensure that the water is very hot or else the gelatine wouldn’t dissolve properly.
Now pour the gelatine into the yogurt mixture and stir well. Transfer this into a freezer safe bowl and place it into your freezer after changing your freezer temperature to coldest.
After an hour, take out the bowl and whisk the mixture. This helps to break the ice crystals. Return the bowl to the freezer.
Repeat this after every hour for about 3 or 4 times.
Now freeze overnight.
Keep your yogurt outside for around 10 mins before serving so that it’s easy to scoop out.



Enjoy!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Pepper, Egg and A Dosa!!


Dosas are a favourite for breakfast at my home and we keep having it almost every alternate day. But having the same old plain dosa or the regular masala dosa can get a little boring at times. I love experimenting with dosas and thats what made me land up with this simple but tasty dosa variety….
There are no fancy ingredients, just eggs, onions and lots of pepper. I teamed this up with onion chutney and the combination was fab!!

One little tip to make crispy and stiff restaurant style roasts which are best suited for masala dosas – do not make your dosa batter too watery, it should be of dropping consistency.

PEPPER-EGG MASALA DOSA AND ONION CHUTNEY


                                                                                      
Pepper- egg masala dosa

Ingredients
(Measurements to make 2 dosas)

Dosa batter
Eggs – 2
Pepper- 1 tsps ( according to your spice requirements)
Onions – 2 medium sized sliced
Green chilli – 2-3 as per your spice requirement
Curry leaves
Oil

Preparation

Break both the eggs into a cup and whisk it till its nice a frothy.
Take a frying pan, pour in 2 tbsp of oil and wait until hot. Now add the onions and green chillies and curry leaves and sauté till the onions are translucent. Once this is done, remove half of the onions from the pan and keep aside. Into the remaining onions pour half of the whisked egg, lower the flame and wait for it to cook.
 If you want your eggs fully cooked, as I prefer it to be, you will have to turn over the egg- onion mixture (Its ok if u break it, coz this is anyways going into the dosa).
You can skip this step if your preference is otherwise. Now lets season the masala with 1/2 tsp of pepper. 

Remember to add pepper only in the end.... this keeps the flavour strong.
While this is happening on your frying pan, heat your dosa pan and make a nice thin and crispy dosa. Pour ghee or oil over your dosa..Yum yum!
Once your dosa is ready place the egg masala onto the centre of the dosa and fold it over.

Viola!!! Your pepper- egg masala dosa is ready…..

Onion Chutney

Ingredients

Onions- 2 large ones sliced
Tomato- 1 medium diced
Garlic- a small piece
Curry leaves- 2-3
Tamarind- a small pinch
Oil (coconut oil is my preference)

Preparation

Heat a pan and pour 1 tsp of oil, put the onions, garlic and the curry leaves into to this and sauté till the onions are translucent, now add the tomatoes and sauté further for 2 or 3 mins. Let this mixture cool down completely before you put it into your blender to make a smooth paste. Before you blend add a pinch of tamarind into the mixture.

Now pour in 1 tbsp of oil into your chutney and mix well. You may now transfer the chutney into a serving dish and enjoy your dosa!! 

The Golden Crunchies




Well, this golden snack definitely doesn't need an introduction, especially to my Keralite friends out there: our very own ‘Kaya Upperi’ (Raw Banana chips). I am sure it’s a favourite amongst all the Malayalees across the globe but it’s a pity to say that hardly anyone makes it at home any more. With the invasion of the packaged varieties across the market we seem to have conveniently forgotten that this was once a home-made savoury. But let me tell you, these packet chips are just a mere shadow of the crispy crunchy home-made ones.
My mom still makes these at home, especially when it’s the Onam and Vishu (these are the 2 major festivals in Kerala) season and also to pack it up for us when we get back to Bahrain, where I live.
As these stock exhausts soon enough I thought I should learn to make them too so that my daughter should be as privileged as I am.

It’s really simple, trust me!!!

KAYA UPPERI (RAW BANANA CHIPS)




Ingredients

Raw bananas (the Kerala variety- Nendara Kaya)- 3-4
Oil ( I use coconut oil)– ½ a litre ( for deep frying)
Salt as per need
Water
 Turmeric – ½ tsp

Preparation

Peel the bananas of their skin. Be careful because the banana skins gives out this sap that can stain your cloths. Once this is done, wash the bananas well.
Take a big vessel of water, mix the turmeric in and drop the peeled bananas into this water. Leave for around 15-20 mins. This prevents the bananas from changing colour and also helps to get its golden colour when done.
Now you may take out the bananas and start slicing them into very thin, circular discs. Try to get them as thin as possible so as to get the final product nice and crispy. It’s best to use a vegetable slicer for this, if you have one.
Once the slicing is done, spread out the discs on a tray and leave it to dry up for 10-15 mins. Less the moisture content, more the crisp…
It’s frying time now… so heat up the oil in a big wok. Once boiling hot, drop in the banana slices and fry them nice, crisp and golden. Meanwhile take salt (as per your requirement) mix it with half a glass of water. Once the chips are almost done, sprinkle the salt water into the oil and stir. You better stand a little away as the oil is going to spit and splutter in fury!!
You may now use a slotted spoon to drain out the chips and place them on tissue paper to dry up the oil further.
Once cooled completely store your chips in an airtight container.



HAPPY SNACKING!!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

An Orange Bake



Though I enjoy cooking as a whole, I always have a soft corner for baking. Though getting a cake from a store is a lot easier, the satisfaction I get from feeding my daughter with a home made cake is immense. And trust me the taste is so completely incomparable too.
I decided to bake one today and thought I would give it a nice citrus and orangey flavour. Oh yes, I have baked an Orange sponge cake and thought I would share it with you.


ORANGE SPONGE CAKE

Ingredients

All purpose flour- 2 ¼ cups
Eggs – 6 large ones
Castor sugar – 1 ½ cups (this is nothing but finely powdered sugar)
Baking powder – 1 tbsp
Salt – ½ tsp
Vegetable oil- ½ cup (do not use coconut oil, olive oil or any oil which gives a flavour. Corn oil or sunflower oil or safflower oil are the best)

Freshly squeezed orange juice – ¾ cup (2-3 Navel oranges can give 1 glass of juice)

Orange zest – 2 tbsp (this is the outer skin of the orange which has all the flavour and the zest. But be careful not to crape out the white layer just beneath the orange skin coz that can give a bitter taste to your cake)

Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
Cream of tartar – ¾ tsp (you can do without this too, but just ensure that your eggs are as fresh as possible)


Preparation

Preheat oven to 180 degree C. Prepare the baking tray, you can either butter it or line it with parchment paper. I usually use parchment paper as its easy to pull out the cake after baking.
Separate the egg yolk and whites and keep aside till room temperature is attained. In a large bowl, wisk the egg whites using an electric beater until frothy, now add the cream of tartar and wisk again until soft peaks are formed. Now add 3 tbsp of castor sugar and continue wisking till stiff peaks form. Keep this aside.

In another mixing bowl combine all the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, sugar and salt). Make a well in the mixture and pour in all the wet ingredients (egg yolks, orange juice, orange zest, vanilla essence and oil).Mix all the ingredients well to make a smooth batter. You can use an electric beater if u wish, but personally I believe in using a wooden spatula to mix manually. I feel Manual mixing enhances the softness of the cake. Probably I am being a little too old fashioned!!

Now pour in the egg whites and carefully fold the egg whites into the mixture until just incorporated. Do not over mix because you may deflate the mixture and hence loose out on the cakes spongy texture….. Now it’s the tasting time!!!! Dip in a finger and give a big smack J  okay perfect!!!!
Alright, now you may pour in the batter to the prepared pan and place it in the preheated oven and bake for 50-55 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
 I use a normal gas oven, and I prefer that to the microwave. If you are using a microwave, place a small bowl of water along with the pan, this will prevent moisture loss and helps keeping the cake soft and moist.

Place the cake on a wire rack to cool. Do not pull out the cake until completely cooled or you might end up ruining it!!!

Happy eating ..






Saturday, November 19, 2011

Chicken Biriyani my Mom’s style


Chicken Biriyani my Mom’s style

Biriyanis are an evergreen favourite at my house and I guess its same in most Indian homes. My husband can have it 24/7 for 365 days a year and yet never get over it. So obviously it’s a joy making it. I have tried different ways of making Biriyanis but my favourite is the way my mom makes. Its one of her masterpieces which I can say with pride that I have mastered close to her perfection. I am particularly attached to this recipe for another reason as well, this was first dish I whipped up for the husband after our marriage, something that made me an instant star with my In-laws as well :) So I thought I’ll start my posts with this lucky charm of mine, a Magical mix of meat and rice and spices!!!


CHICKEN BIRIYANI

Long grained rice (I use basmati rice)- 2.5 glasses/ approx 700 gms
Chicken cleaned and cut into medium sized pieces- 1 kg
Onions medium sized- 7 nos: sliced finely
Small Indian onions – 10 nos: crushed
Ginger – 3inch piece crushed
Garlic – 5-6 cloves crushed (in Bahrain where I live, garlic cloves are really big but if you get small garlic cloves at your place you will have to take almost 10-12 pieces)
Tomatoes – 2 medium ones diced
Green chillies – 2-3 slit (I am a less spice person, but u can add more as per your taste)
Curry leaves – a handful
Coriander leaves – a bunch chopped
Chilli powder- 1 ½ tsp
Coriander powder – 1 ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
Fennel seed powder- 1 tsp
Garam masala powder – 1 tsp
Salt – as per requirement
Oil (I prefer using coconut oil, but any other vegetable oil can be used)
Ghee
Cashew nuts – a handful
Raisins – a handful
Cardamom – 6
Bay leaves – 3
Cinnamon sticks – 3-4

For the marinade
Chilli powder- ½ tsp
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Pepper – ½ tsp
Salt a pinch
Curd – 1 tbsp

Preparation

Step 1:Mix up all the ingredients for the marinade to make a smooth paste and rub it onto the chicken pieces and keep it aside in the refrigerator overnight. This makes your chicken really tender and juicy and yummy!!!

Step 2: Soak rice for about ½ an hr to 1hr. You can do without this step too, but soaking makes the rice really soft and gives a light feeling to this heavy meal .I have tried both ways and I prefer the former.

Step 3: Pour 3-4 tbsp of ghee to a pan and once hot, put ¼ th portion of the sliced onions into this and fry till golden brown .Be careful not it overdo the frying coz it can give a burned taste to your onions. Use a slotted spoon to strain out the onions from the pan. Now put in the cashews and fry till they have turned a nice golden brown, and finally add the raisins and fry these out too. Strain them all out with a slotted spoon and drain out the fat on a tissue paper.

Step 4: Take a deep heavy bottomed vessel or a non stick vessel, pour in 3-4 tbsp of oil, and let it be really hot over the flame. When the oil is hot enough, reduce the flame and add the crushed ginger and garlic and sauté it until it turns a light brown and the lovely aroma starts oozing out of your pan.
 I have always preferred crushes ginger and garlic to the paste form of it because this gives us more of its lovely flavour and has far less water content than the pastes and also it takes lesser time to brown up. Once you get the aroma thrusting up into your nose trills, add 3/4th portion of the remaining sliced onions and all of  the crushed small onions as well, you can increase the flame now. You would be wondering why I have used the small onions along with the convenient bigger ones. Try it, you will never regret…. The flavour enhancement is amazing. The aroma of the coconut oil- small onion combination is just so tantalizing!!!!!!!
Now sauté the onions till they turn almost dark brown. Once this is done, add on the diced tomatoes, slit chillies and curry leaves and keep sautéing till the tomatoes are almost invisible.
Finally its spice time… drop in all the powders one by one (chilli pwdr, coriander pwdr, turmeric pwdr and fennel seed pwdr), remember to reduce the flame when you do this, we don’t want to burn the spices do we!! Add a tbsp of water as well so that you won’t risk burning the spices at all… keep sautéing the mixture till the aroma is unbearably mouth watering and till your whole neighbourhood starts knocking at your door J. Now the whole masala looks like a single brown lump, and oil starts separating from the mixture.
At this point add the marinated chicken and salt (as per your requirement). Slowly cover the entire chicken with the masala, add approx half glass of water and cover your vessel with a lit. Reduce flame and wait for curry to start boiling. Now add the garam masala and give a slight stir. Keep back the lid and cook for 10-15 mins or until the chicken is well cooked, giving occasional stirs. When the chicken curry comes to a semi gravy consistency you may turn of the flame.

Step 5: Drain away water from the soaked rice using a strainer. Take a vessel and pour in about 2tbsps of ghee, once its hot enough add the whole spices ( cardamoms, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks), let it start spluttering, now add the remaining onions to this and sauté till it turns light brown. Now wait….. don’t forget whiff in the lovely fragrance before you go on J
Well well, now you may add the rice into this mix and sauté for about 1 or 2 mins. Yes you heard me right… but remember just 1 or 2 mins. Your rice will turn nice and soft, trust me!!!
Meanwhile boil 4 and half glasses of water (remember to use the same glass you used to measure your rice)
Usually with basmati rice, water should be double the quantity of rice to cook the rice to the right consistency. But here, since we have had our rice soaked and fried, we need comparatively lesser water for the cooking.
Ok, now lets pour this water into your rice and add a pinch of turmeric powder, remember just a pinch, too much of colour can ruin the beauty of your biriyani. Put in some salt as per your need. Reduce the flame, cover up the vessel and wait for about 10-15 mins or until the water has completely evaporated and the rice has been cooked perfectly well. No 2 rice should stick to each other, That’s how perfect Biriyanis are!!.

Step 6: The Assembly and Dum
With the chicken curry done, The rice cooked and the garnishing ready, its time for the finale, the time to do the Dum.
There’s nothing better than an old fashioned grill for this, but if u don’t have one it’s ok to use the microwave as well. When I use the grill I usually use an aluminium vessel and seal up the vessel with chapatti dough. This time I used the microwave, so I have used a microwave safe vessel and covered the vessel with a lid and set the microwave on high for 5 mins.
For the assembly, take a deep bottomed serving dish, place half of the rice as the first layer, then pour in the whole chicken curry and level it up for the second layer and finally complete the sandwich with the remaining rice and then even out the surface. Close the vessel and do the Dum.
Just before serving, garnish your biriyani with the fried onions, cashews, raisins and the chopped coriander leaf.
The Biriyani is now ready for serving……
Serve your dish with some raita and fried papadom (pappad).

Hope you enjoy your meal!!!!