14 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Orange Marmalade Cake

Come winter's and I would regret not being able to bake. Not anymore!!! :D

This season also takes me down memory lane. Christmas holiday's would mean a trip to Kolkatta to my grannies and along with that eating tons of oranges till one day it dawned upon my aunt that we can bake an orange cake! That's when my romance with orange in the cake started.

Now that I have my own Oven; this Christmas I have attempted my first take at baking a slight variation from that of my aunt's version...I baked an Orange Marmalade Cake! Since it also happens to be my sister's birthday and I have a reasonably good oven I needed not further convincing...

Ingredients:
For the cake base:
Orange Juice- 1/4th cup (I used fresh orange juice for my cake)
Grated Orange- 2 teaspoon
Orange Marmalade- 1/2 cup
Maida (refined flour)- 2 1/2 cups
Baking Powder- 2 1/2 teaspoons
Butter- 150 grams
Sugar- 3/4th cup
Egg- 3, separated
Milk- 1/2 cup

For the orange icing:
Grated Orange rind- 2 teaspoons
Orange Juice- 2 tablespoons
Butter- 60 grams
Powdered Sugar- 1/2 cup

Method:

Pre-heat the oven at 150 C for 15 minutes. Simultaneously grease and line a 8" square cake tin.

Sift the flour and baking powder together. Cream the butter, orange rind, sugar and egg yolks in a small bowl with an electric mixer or with whisk until the mixture is light and fluffy.Stir in the marmalade. Fold in the sifted flour alternately with the milk and orange juice.

Beat the egg white until they form firm peaks and fold gently into the cake mixture. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35 minutes.

Let the cake stand in the baking dish till it cools slightly. Once cooler run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it from the mould. Invert the cake onto a wire rack and allow it to coll thoroughly. It should take about a couple of hours for the cake to cool completely.

To make the orange icing, cream the butter and orange rind in a bowl. Gradually beat in the sifted powder sugar and orange juice. Spread the icing over the cooled cake. Decorate as you wish! :)

Blooming on Bainbridge: Tarragon Chicken Velvet Soup

I have begun following this very talented ladies blog and I must say that she is FANTABULOUS!

Sharing a post which I thought is amazing because of the correct use of words and visuals. Check it out...

Blooming on Bainbridge: Tarragon Chicken Velvet Soup: "{I love using recipe cards that I wrote years ago!} Remember that soup? You know! The SOUP I was making after I got a 'talking to'! The soup..."

13 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Baked Mushroom Macaroni



Another winter evening in Mumbai and thanks to all that excitement around the 'nip in the air' syndrome; my family gets a chance to feast yet again! Macaroni n cheese has always been a continental fav but this variation seems to be a bit more healthy.

Ingredients:
Macaroni- 2 cups (cooked as per packet instruction)

For the vegetable layer:
Onion- 1/2 cup (1 large sized), chopped
Capsicum (red, yellow, green)- 1 cup (1 small sized of each), chopped
Tomatoes- 1 cup (2 medium sized), chopped
Button Mushrooms- 1 cup, sliced
Oregano- 2 tablespoons
Sliced Olives- 2 tablespoons
Butter- 2 tablespoons
Salt- 1 teaspoon OR as per taste
Pepper- 1 teaspoon

For the mushroom sauce:
Mushroom soup powder- 1/4th cup (readily available in the market. I used Knorr)
Water- 1 1/2 cups

Other ingredients:
Mozzarella cheese- 1/4th cup, grated
Butter- 1/2 teaspoon to grease the baking dish
Sliced black olives- 1 teaspoon to garnish the bake

Method:

Preparing the vegetable layer.
Heat the butter in a non stick pan, add the onions and sautee till they turn translucent.
Now add the capsicum, mushrooms and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes.
Add the oregano, olives, salt and pepper. Cook for 1/2 a minute and set aside.

Preparing for the bake:









Arrange the macaroni as the base layer in a greased baking dish.
Spread the vegetables and layer this on top of the macaroni covering all of it. Now pour the mushroom sauce on top.
Sprinkle the cheese on the bake and set aside.
Pre-heat the oven at 200 C for 5 minutes. Now place the baking dish on the middle grill and bake for 12 minutes.
Garnish with the remaining olives and serve hot with garlic bread or just like that!

12 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Vegetarians Delight Pizza

A chilly Sunday morning, a new oven waiting to be inaugurated and a hungry toddler….yes it is Pizza time at home for us!


While I did take a shortcut by using a ready Pizza base (from the market) I’d advise otherwise; if you really have time and patience to bake it yourself I am confident it will taste even better. Will try it from scratch next time but here’s what I did this morning.



Ingredients:

Pizza Base- 8” base
Tomato Puree- 50ml
Green Bell Pepper- 1, de-seeded and sliced into rings
Mushrooms- 6, thinly sliced lengthwise
Beans- 5 stalks, thinly sliced
Carrots- ½, thinly sliced
Spring onion- only the leaves, finely chopped about 3 tablespoons
Black Olives- 2 tablespoons of sliced pieces
Mixed Herbs- 1 tsp
Oregano- 1 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp
Parmesan Cheese- 50mg, grated
Cheddar Cheese- 250mg, grated

Method:

Pre-heat the oven at 250 C on the grill mode for 10 minutes.
Set-up the pizza base; begin by layering the base with tomato puree. Arrange the vegetables on the puree.
Sprinkle the herbs, salt and pepper on top of the arranged veggies.
Mix the 2 types of cheese together and spread it evenly on the veggies.
Garnish with black olives on the toppings.
Place the pizza on a greased and dusted baking/cooking tray in the center rack position.
Change the oven function to broil (only top heating). Broil at 250 C for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and serve hot with choice of sauces (Tabasco, Tomato, etc.) and hot chocolate.

09 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Paneer methi butter masala

This is one dish which is ordered out so many times that I have lost count until recently when Satrupa (Food for Thought!) shared the secret to this amazing dish.


There is a slight nip in the air in Mumbai and since we had gaajar halwa for dinner I thought let me try my hand at making it. Am I proud to say that the dinner was a BIG hit? Nooooo!!!! It was a lip smacking dinner!

In my excitement to celebrate this moment I thought I should post it as a part of my Christmas series. It is a very popular dish in India and is a favorite 'order out' menu option. So here you go, make it at home and relish with your dear one's.

Ingredients:

Paneer- 250 grams, cubed into 1inch pieces
Onions- 3 large, chopped into small pieces
Tomatoes- 4 large, chopped into small pieces
Ginger- 1 inch, chopped into small pieces (should make about 2 tsp)
Garlic- 6 pods, chopped into small pieces (should make about 2 tsp)
Green chillies- 3, chopped into small pieces
Butter- 1tbsp for masala and another 1 tbsp for finishing touches
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Cumin powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
Chilli Powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric Powder- 2/3rd tsp
Kasuri Methi- one handful
OR
Fresh Methi Leaves- 2 cups (approximately leaves from 1/2 bunch of methi gathi)
Sugar- 1 1/2 tsp
Salt- 2 tsp



Method:
In a non stick pan drop 1 tbsp of butter. Allow it to heat and slightly brown.
Add the cumin seeds and let it splutter. To this add the ginger and garlic and saute for a minute. Add the chopped onions and fry this till the onion turn brown.
Now add the tomatoes, salt, chili powder, chillies, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder and cook this for a couple of minutes with the lid on the pan.
You will notice that the sides release oil. At this point add 1/4th cup of water and allow the masala to simmer for about 5 minutes.
Switch off the heat and allow for the mixture to cool. Once ready puree this in the blender to form a paste.
In the same pan add the remaining butter and let it heat. Add the masala puree, paneer, sugar and the kasuri methi OR fresh methi leaves.
Allow for this to cook for a couple of minutes.

Serve hot with roti, salad and some tangy vegetarian sabzi.

07 December, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Apple stuffed chicken breasts

Preparing for a christmas eve party and stuffed chicken is a must on the list. Had eaten this dish at a friends and am planning to make it for our little do. Thought I should share it with you...

Ingredients:

4 boneless chicken breasts
3 slices bacon, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 scallions, finely chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped
Pepper to taste
Salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil

Method:
  • Cut a small pocket into the thickest part of each chicken breast and set aside.
  • Fry bacon until crisp. Drain on a paper towel.
  • Add garlic and scallions to the bacon drippings; saute slightly. Add apple, pepper, salt and thyme and return the bacon bits to pan. Heat thoroughly. Remove from heat and cool.
  • When mixture is cool, add cheese and stuff into chicken breast.
  • Brown chicken on both sides in a very hot fry pan with olive oil.
  • When brown on both sides, place in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees F for 15 to 20 minutes or until chicken is done.

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- 8 important ornamets for Christmas and it's significance

Digressing a bit from the topic of food I wanted to share the answer to a long awaited query reeling in my head which seems to be sorted now (maybe)...


8 important ornaments for Christmas and it's significance, a click on this link will open the answers! Let me know if you know another story... Would love to deepen my knowledge on the same!

30 November, 2010

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Noodle with peanut sauce

And now that we have an appropriate drink for our lil one's here is an easy noodle preparation which is an instant hit with these lil beings!

Ingredients:
Olive Oil- 1 tablespoon
Garlic- 1 clove, peeled and crushed
Spring Onions- 4, finely chopped
Orange bell pepper- 1, de-seeded and thinly chopped
Snow peas- 100 gms, thinly sliced
Coconut cream- 100ml
Vegetable stock- 200ml
Crunchy peanut butter- 4 tablespoons
Juice of 1/2 lime
Freshly ground black pepper
Egg noodles- 1 packet (250gms)
Sesame seeds- 1 tablespoon, toasted

Method:
Boil noodles as per the packet instruction. Drain and set aside.
Heat oil in a heavy based saucepan. Fry the garlic and spring onions for a minute. To this add the orange bell pepper and snow peas. Cook for another minute.
Mix the coconut cream and vegetable stock. Add the peanut butter to it and simmer this for 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
Stir in the lime juice as well as the freshly ground pepper.
Add the noodles to the peanut butter sauce and mix in well. Garnish this with the toasted sesame.

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Carrot and pineapple smoothie

So since it is the festival of children here is a cool drink one can serve during a party. Works really well with my lil 2 year old and works for me as it is completely healthy!

Ingredients:
Fresh Pineapple- 100 gms, peeled
Carrot juice- 100 ml (fresh if possible)
Banana- 1/2, chopped
Ginger- 1 teaspoon, peeled and grated

Method:
Cut pineapple into chunks.
Put all the ingredients in the food processor or hand blender and whisk until smooth.
Garnish with the ginger and keep the cold at bay!

PS: if you think your lil one's gonna fret with the pieces of ginger, just add it into the blender instead.

Makes 2 toddler portions OR 1 adult portion.

You can serve this drink while you make yours!

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Chilli Chicken

Another one of those indulgent dishes. Goes very well with the drinks as well as the weather!

Ingredients:
  • 500 -600 gms Boneless Chicken
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tbsp Corn Flour/Corn Starch
  • 5-6 Chopped Green Chilies
  • 2 Green Onion Chopped
  • 1 tsp Garlic Paste
  • 4 capsicums, de-seeded and diced into 1inch cubes
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp White Pepper Powder
  • 1 tsp Sugar
  • A pinch of ajinomoto
  • 2 cups chicken Broth/ Water
  • 1 tbsp Oil
  • Oil to fry
Method:

Cut the boneless chicken pieces into1 " cubes.


Take 1tbsp. Soy sauce, 1tbsp. corn flour, salt, egg in a bowl and marinate chicken pieces in the the mixture for about 10-15 minutes.

Heat oil and deep fry the marinated chicken pieces till golden brown.

Now in a separate wok / kadhai heat 1 tbsp. oil and add garlic paste and green chilies as well as the capsicum and sauté for few seconds.

Add 2 cups of chicken broth or water. Bring to boil and add sugar, pepper powder, salt , ajinomoto and remaining Soy sauce.

Add fried chicken pieces to it and cook for few minutes.

Dissolve the remaining corn flour in 1/2 cup water and add to the curry stirring constantly to avoid lumps.

Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Serve Chinese chili chicken hot garnished with chopped green onion tops.

This dish is awesome with almost all kinds of drinks. Goes very well with Red Wine too...

Countdown to the Indian Christmas- Chicken 65

Christmas is so much fun for one and all. A month filled with loads of entertaining and getting entertained. In honour of the same I will blog on various dishes that can be served throughout this month for all our guests!

Chicken 65...well what can I say about it! An all time favorite entree during a drinking binge. Can be served as a side dish for a main course too...A totally Indian preparation that is famous in the South, especially in Andhra. Check it out! :D

Oh! For some fun insights on the dish, click here...

Ingredients:
  • Chicken- 1 kg boneless, skinless thighs
  • Corn Flour- 2 teaspoons
  • Flour - 2 teaspoons
  • Egg- 1
  • Ginger paste- 1½ teaspoons
  • Garlic paste- 1½ teaspoons
  • Red Chili powder- 2 teaspoons
  • Green Chilies - 12 nos.
  • Yogurt- 2 cups
  • All spice powder (cloves, cinnamon, cardamom) - 1 teaspoon
  • Food Color (Red)- 4 drops
  • Onion for garnishing
  • Lime juice- 3 teaspoons.
  • Salt to taste
  • Curry Leaves- 10 to 15 fresh leaves
  • Vegetable Oil for frying

 
Method:
  • Mix corn flour, all purpose flour, egg, ginger garlic paste, chili powder and salt to thick batter. Add water if required.
  • Add chicken pieces to the batter and marinate for an hour.
  • Deep fry the marinated chicken pieces till they turn golden.
  • Heat 4 tsp oil in a sauce pan and add slit chillies, curry leaves, yogurt, garam masala, red color, little salt and the fried chicken pieces.
  • Fry for 4-5 minutes and remove from heat.
  • Add lime juice, mix well and garnish with onions
Goes extremely well with a chilled mug of beer... :D

Spicy crab meat soup

A soup I love having at all times!

Ingredients:
  • Crabmeat- 1/2 kg meat, cooked and flaked with cartilage removed
  • Water- 2 cups
  • Chicken broth- 3/4th litre 
  • Tomatoes- 6 medium size, diced 
  • Celery- 3/4 cup, chopped
  • Onion- 3/4 cup, diced
  • Small red chillies- 3, finely chopped 
  • 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • Corn- 1 cup
  • Peas- 1 cup
  • Salt- as per taste
 
Method:

In a soup pot or sauce pan, add water, broth, tomatoes, celery, onion, sea-food seasoning and lemon-pepper seasoning.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes.
Add corn and peas and simmer an additional 10 minutes.
Add crabmeat and red chillies, then simmer until hot, approximately a couple of minutes.

Serve hot with a choice of chilly vinegar or soy sauce.

 

 

 

 

Gaajar ka halwaa

With winter setting in this is a favorite sweet dish relished by my family. Beginning of December marks the comeback of the sweet red carrots from Mahabaleshwar (a hill station about 200 kms from Mumbai). Here is a quick and easy recipe.

Ingredients:
Carrots: About 7 medium sized, peeled and grated
Milk- 1/2 cup
Mawa (a type of Indian cheese)- 1 cup (50gms), grated ( Reference of "how to make Mawa at home", click here.)
Ghee (clarified butter)- 2 tablespoons
Sugar- 7 tablespoons
Cardamom Powder- 1 teaspoon
Cashew nuts- 7 to 10 broken into pieces
Almonds- 7 to 10, blanched, peeled and cut into thin strips

Method:
  • On a high flame heat the ghee in a pressure cooker. Add the grated carrot into the ghee and cook for about 5 minutes or till the moisture evaporates completely. Keep stirring continuously.
  • Add the milk and sugar. Stir for a minute and put on the lid. Allow this to cook till 4 whistles are released. Switch off the flame and allow to cool.
  • Remove the lid from the cooker. Place it back onto a medium high flame.
  • Now add the mawa and stir the mixture till the mawa mixes in completely. Allow it to cook for another 4 minutes or until the moisture evaporates completely. Keep stirring occasionally.
  • Add the cardamom powder, cashews and almond. Stir and cook for a minute.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve piping hot OR with vanilla ice cream OR with Gulab Jamun...

26 November, 2010

Shim (hyacinth beans) tometor torkari

Just back from a 16 day vacation at Kolkatta. My taste buds are still recovering from the excess and yummy flavours of Bengal. As a token of affection my family packed a whole lot of local vegetables and sweets so that I don't miss them once I am back...and it is true! I am cooking at least one dish a day and with the slightest excuse of cant remember what next goes into the veggies' follows a 30 minutes call...!!! :D

Here's what I cooked for lunch this afternoon...

Ingredients:
Shim (Hyacinth beans)- 250 grams, deveined and kept whole
Tomatoes- 3 medium sized, cut into 1 inch cubes
Jeera Seeds- 1 teaspoon
Haldi Powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt- 1 1/2 teaspoon
Cooking Oil- 1 tablespoon

Method:
Heat oil in a pressure cooker. When hot drop the jeera seeds and wait for them to crackle. Reduce the flame to medium and add the tomatoes.

Cook the tomatoes for a couple of minutes with the lid on (please use the lid without the pressure during this stage of cooking). Remove the lid and add the haldi and salt. Mix the ingredients together.

Now add the shim and mix thoroughly. Ensure the flame is set to medium and put the lid on with the pressure. Let this cook till the first pressure is released. Switch off.

Serve hot with steam rice and daal.
 

28 October, 2010

Dahi curry Iskon style

Sunday feast at Iskon has memories which are beyond words. It used to be a day full of spiritual fun for the family. While my parents participated in bhajans & discourses; my sisters and me would be submerged in learning Raas Lila dances, competing in painting competitions and mindlessly wandering through the little vatika (garden) within the premises...

Here is the recipe of one of my favorites from the feast...a refreshing curry which can be sipped just as is or had with rice... Divine is what I call it!!! :)

Ingredients:
Curd- 2 cups
Water- 1/2 cup
Besan (chick pea wheat)- 2 tablespoons
Green chillies- 2
Ginger- 2 inch
Jaggery- About the size of 2 limes
Salt- As per taste ( 1 1/2 teaspoons)
Hing- A pinch-full
Jeera (cumin seeds)- 1 teaspoon
Rai (mustard seeds)- 1/2 teaspoon
Ghee- 1 tablespoon
Curry Leaves- 8 to 10 nos
Tulsi (basil leaves)- 10-12 nos 

Preparation:

Ginger chilly paste- Wash and peel ginger. Add the ginger and green chillies in a mortar and muddle till it forms a pulpy consistency.

In a large bowl add the curd, ginger chilly paste, besan, salt and jaggery. Mix this thoroughly. You can use the food processor OR mixer for doing the same. I usually use the daal ghotni (special ladle like the egg whisker) for mixing this concoction.

In a wok heat the ghee. When warm add the jeera and rai. Let the seeds splutter and at this point add the hing as well as the curry leaves. Add the basil leaves as well.

Pour the mixture immediately into the wok. Add the water. Bring the curry to a boil. Keep stirring continuously to avoid burning/curdling of the curry.

Once the first boils done remove from heat.

Garnish with a few basil leaves ( you could choose to muddle the leaves a bit, brings out the fragrance of fresh tulsi) and serve with steam rice....

Hare Krisna!!! :)

27 October, 2010

Lao diye kacha moong daal (Bottle gourd in moong daal)

A very famous Bengali daal. Seasonal veggies like carrot OR raddish OR drumstick can be used for this preparation. It is very healthy for kids too.

Ingredients:
Moong daal- 1/2 cup, washed and soaked in water for 20 minutes
Bottle gourd- 250 gms ( I usually like picking up baby bottle gourds for this preparation), peeled and cut into 1inch cubes
Ginger- 2 inch, peeled and grated
Radhuni (ajmod/wild celery seed)- 1 teaspoon OR you can replace with Jeera in case you cant find radhuni
Ghee- 1 tablespoon
Dry Red Chilli- 2 to 3
Dry Red Chilli Powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Turmeric- 1/4th teaspoon
Sugar- 1 teaspoon OR you can add a lime sized portion of jaggery
Salt as per taste (would use about a teaspoon and a half in my case)
Small bunch of corriander leaves, finely chopped.

Preparation:

In a pressure cooker add the daal with 1 1/2 cups of water, the vegetable, grated ginger, turmeric, salt and sugar.

Cook daal in medium flame till the release of 2 whistles. Switch off and set the cooker aside to cool.

Open lid and mix the daal carefully to ensure that the veggies are not mixing in with the daal. They need to be chunk sizes when being served. Taste salt and also mix water at this point in case the concoction looks very thick.

Simmer the flame and place cooker without lid on the stove.

Simultaneously in a small vessel heat the ghee, when warm add the radhuni (OR cummin seeds). When the seeds splutter add the whole red chillies and the red chilli powder. Switch off the flame immediately and carefully add the chaounk to the daal.

Switch off the flame and put the cooker lid. allow to stand for a couple of minutes.

Remove daal in a serving bowl. Add the corriander leaves as a garnish. Serve with steam rice.

26 October, 2010

Niramish Dum Aloo

My growing up days exposed me to a fairly vast culinary spread. This particular dish is very popular with a lot of my Vaishnav friends. Niramish in Bangla refers to vegetarian food without onion and garlic.

Ingredients:

Baby Potatoes: 1/2 kg
Tomato Paste: 1 large tomato pureed in the mixer
Cummin Seeds: 1 tea spoon
Hing (aseoftida): 1 pinch-full
Turmeric: 1/2 tea spoon
Red Chilly Powder: 1/4 tea spoon
Roasted Cummin Seed Powder: 1 tea spoon
Coriander leaves: a small bunch, finely chopped

Preparation:

Pressure cook (or boil) the potatoes (with skin). Let it steam for at least 2 whistles on a medium high flame. Remove from heat, cool, peel the potato skin and set aside.

In a wok heat 3 tablespoons of cooking oil. Shallow fry the potatoes till it gets a red coating on it. Remove from wok and place on a tissue paper so that it soaks the excess oil.

Leave about a tea spoon of oil in the wok (add some if you think that the oil in the wok is not enough). Add the cumin seeds and once it splutters add the hing.

Add the tomato paste and cook on medium high till the water content evaporates and the tomato paste looks thicker. Add turmeric and about 1 teaspoon of salt and continue to cook till the masala releases oil. If you find the masala burning just sprinkle a little water and continue cooking.

Once the oil separates add the red chilly powder, the potatoes and about 1/4th cup of water. Mix the ingredients and let it cook for about a couple of minutes (bring it to a boil) on low flame with a lid placed on the wok. Add salt if required during this stage.

Add the roasted cumin seeds powder and the finely chopped coriander leaves. Switch off the heat.

Serve hot with Pulao OR rice and Toor Daal OR roti's.

04 October, 2010

Missing all you wonderful people! :)

Hello to all my wonderful Blogger friends!

Been a while and I am so longing to connect back with all of you. Have a list of recipies to be loaded. Will share them with you soon...

Cheers...

SuhaelAmrita

11 August, 2010

Mumma's home made chicken stew

I have been down with a bad bout of viral and this chicken stew brings back life into me with every sip I take of it. In my 'not-so-happy' moment thought I'd share a home made remedy for all my dear blogger friends!


Ingredients:
1/2 kg chicken
15 pods of black pepper
5 pods of green cardamom
2 sticks of cinamon
1 tej patta (dry basil leaf)
2 carrots, cut into 2 inch slices
15 beans, cut into 2 inch slices
1 small green papaya cut into 2 inch slices
1 oninon cut into 6 with all florests seperated
1 stalk of celery
4 cloves of garlic, smashed
1 inch ginger, smashed
1 1/2 to 2 tsp salt (as per your taste)
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp oil

I love cooking in my pressure cooker. It's quick and times like this makes life simpler.

Heat the oil on high. Add the garlic. Fry till you can smell the burnt garlic. Add ginger and saute.
Lower the flame to medium high. Add the onion and fry till it begins to loose its color. 
Add the chicken and stir till the color becomes pale.
At this point add the black pepper, cardamom, cinamon and tej patta.
Stir in all the cut vegetables.
Add the salt and sugar. Stir for 1/2 a minute.
Now pour in about 1 litre of water. Drop the celery stalk into the pressure cooker.
Check for the salt. Add if you need more.
Place the lid of the cooker and allow for 2 pressures and switch off.

You can choose to have this as a soup. You could also have it with garlic bread or toast.

If you'd like it to be a little thick, add 1 tbsp cornflour mixed in water into the broth and bring it to a boil. This can be served with rice.

08 August, 2010

Chingdi macher malai curry

Thanks to the inspiration from 'Bong Moms Cookbook' I managed making this dish on Saturday. My guests quiet enjoyed having it, posting it for you too...

Ingredients:
1 kg tiger prawns, cleaned, de-veined and with the tail
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
1 large onion paste
1 large clove of garlic, roughly cut
1 tsp fresh ginger paste
2 Tej Patta
5 green cardamom
5 cloves
2 sticks of cinamon
1 tsp sugar
6 green chillies, slit open mid way.
1 tbsp ghee (optional)
1 tsp freshly ground garam masala (optional)

Preparation:
Clean the prawns thoroughly. Keep the tail of the prawn intact as it adds to the flavour of the curry.
Pat-in the turmeric and salt onto the fish and set aside for 30 minutes.

In a non stick pan add 3 tbsp oil. Once the oil is well heated drop the prawns one by one into batches and shallow fry till they turn golden.
 Once the prawns are fried, in the remaining oil (shuld be about 1 tsp full) drop the crushed garlic. Fry till it changes color and remove it from the oil. 
Then add the tej patta as well as coarsely crushed cinamon, cardamom and clove into the oil. 
Once you smell the fragrance of the masala add the onion and sugar to it. Keep frying till the onion turns brown and oil begins to seperate.
At this point add the ginger paste and cook for about a minute.

Add the coconut milk. Fill the can with 1/3rd water, shake the can and pour the water into the pan. Mix the coconut milk and allow for the first boil to surface.
Add the prawns and salt (about 1 tsp OR as desired) and cook the curry on low flame till the curry begins to thicken (approximately another 4 minutes).
Add the green chillies and allow to simmer for another minute.
Remove from heat and pour out into serving dish.
Add a tbsp of ghee and a tsp of garam masala as garnish.
Serve with hot steamed rice OR peas pullao.

06 August, 2010

Malaysian Chicken Rice

All through my stay in KL this used to be my staple diet. In fact at a point I was cooking it almost every alternate day! Returning to the memoirs of 'Chiken Rice' after nearly half a decade. Hope you guys like it!

Ingredients:
• 1 whole chicken [2½-3 lbs]
• 5-6 stalks fresh scallions
• 6 inch fresh ginger, peeled, cut into thick slices
• 2 tsp soy sauce
• 1 tsp sesame oil
• 2 additional stalks fresh scallions, chopped, for garnish [optional]
• 1 seedless cucumber, peeled, halved and sliced diagonally
• a few sprigs of fresh cilantro, for garnishing
• ½ tsp white peppercorns
• salt

Ingredients for Chicken rice:
• 3 cups long grained rice, washed and drained
• 1 tbsp chopped garlic
• 2 tsp salt
• 2½ tbsp chicken fat or vegetable oil
• 6 cups, or more, chicken broth [from the cooking broth]
• 6 pandan leaves [screwpine leaves] [optional]

Ingredients for Special Chili Dipping Sauce :
• 1 tbsp kaffir lime juice [Substitute: lime or lemon juice]
• 1½-2 tbsp chicken broth [from the cooking broth]
• 2 tsp sugar
• 4 tbsp hot chili sauce
• 4 cloves garlic, finely ground or mashed
• 1 inch ginger, finely ground or grated
• salt

To Prepare Special Chili Dipping Sauce :
• Mix hot chili sauce with lime juice, sugar, garlic, ginger, chicken broth [spooning some of the chicken fat oil] and salt to taste
• Pour chili sauce into small condiment dishes, for each individual serving

To Prepare Chicken :
• Cut off any excess fat, reserve for using to cook rice, wash chicken, drain well, stuff ginger slices and scallions stalks into the cavity of the chicken
• In a large stockpot, add sufficient water [to cover the chicken], white peppercorns and about 2 tbsp salt, bring to a boil
• Submerge the whole chicken, breast-side down in the boiling water, and immediately reducing the heat to a slow poach
• Cover, poach chicken for about 45-50 mins, [check to make sure the water does not 'boil' the chicken]
• When chicken is cooked, remove and plunge immediately into a bath of icy cold water, submerging the chicken for about 10 mins
• Remove chicken from the ice bath, discard ginger slices and scallion stalks from the cavity, drain the chicken well, set aside - meanwhile cook the chicken rice
• When the chicken is cool enough to handle, cut it neatly into serving size pieces [de-bone chicken, if you prefer]

To Prepare Chicken Rice :
• Wash rice till water runs clear, drain well
• Heat wok on high, add the reserved chicken fat, render into an oil to about 2½ tbsp [add vegetable oil if chicken fat oil is insufficient ]
• Add chopped garlic, stir-fry for a few seconds
• Add the raw rice, stir-fry till the rice grains start to look translucent, about 8-10 mins
• Transfer rice to a pot, add 6 cups chicken broth, salt and pandan leaves [*Note: depending on the type of rice, use more or less of the chicken broth]
• Bring to a boil, reduce heat, simmer uncovered, until the chicken broth is absorbed by the rice [small 'bubble' holes start to appear on the rice]
• Reduce heat to very low, cover the rice with a tight-fitting lid, cook for a further 10-12 mins
• Turn off heat, DO NOT open the cover, wait for 10 mins before opening [steam inside will gently finish steaming the rice]
• Fluff up the rice with a fork [If rice is not fully cook, simply add a little chicken broth, cover and steam on very low heat for another 5 mins or so]
• Alternatively, 'fry' the raw rice in a wok until translucent, then transfer into an electric rice cooker and add sufficient chicken broth to cook
• Any leftover chicken broth after making the rice, can be served as a small side soup, garnished with some chopped cilantro
• Line a serving platter with cucumber slices, arrange chicken pieces on top, sprinkle with soy sauce, sesame oil, and garnish with chopped scallions and cilantro sprigs
• Serve Hainan chicken [usually served at room temperature] with chicken rice, side soup - and special chili dipping sauce!

05 August, 2010

Paanch mishali torkari (vegetables in 5 spices)

Hmmm...not too sure how much my non-Bangali friends may like this concoction of vegetables n spices but I would recommend a try. :)

Phoron (tempering):
1 tbsp shorshe/rai/sarso (mustrad) seeds
1 tbsp methi (fenugreek) seeds
1 tbsp saunf (fennel) seeds
1 tbsp radhuni/ajmod (wild celery) seeds 
1 tbsp kalonji (black onion/caraway) seeds

Mix them together and store in an air tight bottle for future use.

Ingredients:
1 cup muli (raddish) cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup kumbro (red pumpkin) cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup begun (brinjal) cut into 1 inch cubes
1 cup bhindi (ladies fingers) cut into 1 inch cubes
1 bunch palak (spinach) OR pui shaak, washed and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tomato cut into 4 pieces
1 tsp oil, can use mustard oil if you like the taste
1 tbsp phoron (tempering)
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 green chillies, split into half

Preparation:
Place the pressure cooker on medium high.
Add the oil, let it warm and add 1 tbsp of the phoron (tempering spices). Let it splutter.
Add the muli (raddish), kumbro (red pumpkin), begun (brinjal) and bhindi (ladies fingers) and fry for a couple of minutes. You will begin to smell the fried fragrance of the vegetables.
Then add the palak (spinach) OR pui shaak and mix it into the vegetables. At this point you can add a teaspoon of sugar and mix it up.
Add turmeric, salt and tomatoes. Mix up the vegetables. Lid the cooker and allow for 1 whistle.
Switch off the heat.
Serve with steamed rice OR khichuri OR roti

03 August, 2010

Bhappa Shorshe Ilish (Mustard Hilsa fish)

Being a Bengali I can't but love this dish. Authentic to East of India I am sure friends from Orissa, Assam & Bengal will drool at the sound of this dish.
Raw hilsa reference.

Ingredients:

1 Ilish (Hilsha) fish, cut into steaks
2 tablespoon mustard (or ground mustard paste)
3 tablespoon white til paste
6 green chilies
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons oil, mustard oil preferred
Salt to taste (approximately 1 tbsp salt)
Few sprigs of coriander leaves for garnish

Method:

Wash the fish well.
In a container mix the mustard paste, til paste, turmeric, 1tbsp of mustard oil and salt.
Bhappa ilish
Rub this paste on the fish steaks and put the fish in a steamer. Add the green chillies slit mid way on the fish. Add a dash of mustard oil (about  a tsp each) on the fish.
I'd use a set of pressure cooker partitions and set them one on top of the other with a lid on the top-most container.
Add about 1/4th cup water in the cooker and let the fish steam over medium heat till about the release of the first pressure.
Switch off. Let the pressure settle. 
Carefully transfer the fish into a serving dish. You could garnish this with a few sprigs of coriander spread over the dish.

Serve with hot steamed rice.

02 August, 2010

Vegeterian Chow Mein

One of my all time favorite dish. I love the taste of Hoisin sauce and the blend of soft noodles with my favorite stir fried veggies makes it a wholesome food. Hope you enjoy making and eating this wonderful dish.

The dish has 3 main parts to it. They are:
Preparing the noodles
Preparing the vegetables
Preparing the sauce

Ingredients:

Noodles:
1½ cups boiled noodles
1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
1 teaspoon sesame (til) oil

Vegetables

½ cup onions, sliced
1 teaspoon ginger, grated
1 teaspoon garlic, chopped
1 teaspoon celery, chopped
¼ cup carrots, cut into thin strips
¼ cup baby corn, cut into 4, lengthwise
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
½ cup bean sprouts
1 teaspoon oil
salt to taste

Sauce:
2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
½ cup water
1 tablespoon cornflour

Preparation:

Mix together the hoisin sauce and the noodles. Keep aside.

For the vegetables, heat the oil over a high flame and sauté the onions, ginger, celery and garlic for a few seconds. Add the carrots, baby corn, mushrooms and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes till the vegetables soften. Add the bean sprouts and sauce and bring to a boil. Keep aside.

Now in a non-stick pan, heat the sesame oil and add the noodles. Arrange evenly on the surface of the pan to make a pancake. Cook till the noodles are golden brown in colour and lightly crisp. Carefully turn the noodles around cook over a slow flame for 3 to 4 minutes and then slide them on a serving plate.

Pour the sauce over the noodles and serve hot. In seperate bowls serve chilli vinegar and soya sauce.

Paneer & Vegetable Stir Fry


Dish-2 from my oriental spread was paneer & vegetable stir fry. This was specially made for my vegetarian husband and he quiet loved it. :D

Ingredients:
1 to 2 tbsp vegetable oil (for shallow frying the paneer) & add 1/2 tsp for the final dish
200 gms fresh paneer (cottage cheese). Alternately you can use Tofu.
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp grated ginger
2 onions cut into eights
8-10 florets of broccoli
1 bunch bok choy, trimmed into 1 1/2 inch lengths
1 bunch spinach, trimmed like the bok choy
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced as the same length of the bok choy
1 yellow pepper, seeded and diced as the same length of the bok choy
180 gms baby corn halved
2 tablespoons vegetarian oyster (usually made with mushroom paste) sauce
1 tablespoon light soy sauce

In a wok over medium heat, warm the oil. Working in batches add the paneer and stir fry till golden on all sides. This is an optional step to preparing the dish. I shallow fry when we have friends coming over so that the paneer is taut when cooked. Remove the paneer and set aside on a paper towel so that the excess oils is drained.

Pour about 1/2 tsp oil into the wok and return to medium heat. Add garlic, ginger and onion. Stir fry till softened, about 2-3 minutes.

Add broccoli, baby corn and bell peppers and stir fry for another 3 minutes. Now add bok choy and spinach. Once the vegetables are tender crisp, about 4 minutes; add the paneer, oyster sauce and soy sauce. gently stir fry until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Serve hot with steamed rice.

Chicken in Thai Green Curry

I have always eaten at Thai joints in Mumbai but never attempted making this delicious dish till yesterday. It was good fun experimenting but I was nervous as we had a couple of our friends over for dinner. It turns out that the I managed making this dish quiet well. The secret I guess is the Thai green curry paste which I made from scratch. Hope you like it... :)

Thai Green Curry Paste ingredients:
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 tsp salt
3 inch ginger OR 6 thin strips of galangal, chopped
2 stalks of lemon grass, white part only, peeled and chopped
2 tsp chopped kafir lime zest
1/4th cup finely chopped coriander OR you can also use about 15 cilantro roots, chopped
1/4th cup finely chopped pink shallots (small onions)
2 large cloves of garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp turmeric powder OR you may use 2 tsp of peeled and coarsely chopped fresh turmeric for enhanced flavor.
20 fresh, small green chillies
2 cups of fresh sweet Thai basil leaves

In a small frying pan on a medium heat toast the coriander, cummin seeds and peppercorn separately, stirring constantly, until fragrant, no more than 90 seconds. Immediately grind the toasted spice with salt into fine powder. Add all the other ingredients and grind into a fine paste.
You should have approximately 250 gms of Green Curry Paste which you can use over 3 times. We will need 1/3rd the portion for our curry. You can refrigerate the remaining for future use.

Green Curry Ingredients:
2 cups (500ml) of thick coconut milk
1-2 tbsp of vegetable oil (optional)
1/3rd portion (60gms) of the Green Curry Paste
375 gms boneless chicken breast, thinly sliced
1 cup chopped egg plant
1/4th cup pea egg plant (optional)
1/2 cup button mushroom, halved
2 tbsp palm sugar
2 kaffir lime leaves
1/2 cup fresh sweet basil leaves
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 long green chilli split from the center for garnishing

In a large heavy wok heat 2 1/3 parts of the coconut milk over medium high heat for about 4-5 minutes till you see the milk separate. If you find that the milk's not separating add the oil. Add the green curry paste and stir. Cook till you can smell the fragrance of the paste, should be about 2-3 minutes.

Add chicken and cook until meat is opaque on all sides, about 2-3 minutes more. Keep aside about 2 tbsp coconut milk and add the remaining coconut milk to the wok. Bring to a boil. Now add the palm sugar, eggplant & mushroom and simmer until the vegetables are soft, approximately 5-6 minutes. Tear the kaffir lime leaves and the basil leaves into pieces. Add to the curry. Stir in the fish sauce. Cook for about a minute.

Remove curry from heat. Pour into serving dish. add the 2 tbsp of coconut milk, a handful of fresh basil leaves and the green chilli. Serve with steamed rice.

29 July, 2010

Pabda-macher kolo jeerer jhol (Bengali style fish curry)

This fish curry is an all time favorite. Come monsoons and the fish market floods with Pabda (from the family of catfish) maach across vendors. Very simple and nutritious hope I am able to do justice to the traditional form of cooking of this dish.










Ingredients:
Pabda Maach
  • Pabda Maach: Either 4 (large size) OR 6(medium to small size) fish
  • Oil: 1 Tablespoon mustard(optional) oil OR regular cooking oil 
  • Tomato: 2 large red tomatoes
  • Kolo Jere: 1/2 teaspoon (also known as Onion seed OR kalonjee)
  • Turmeric: 1 teaspoon
  • Salt: 2 teaspoons (as desired)
  • Water: 2 cups
  • Green Chillies: 2 to 3
  • Fresh Corriander leaves: 1/3rd cup, finely chopped 
Preparation:
  1. Clean the fish thoroughly under running water. Ensure that the gills and other parts of the stomatch is removed completely.
  2. Sometimes, especially during monsoons the fish may also have roe (eggs), in such a situation depending on your pallette let the roe be inside the stomatch for cooking. Set aside.
  3. Depending on the size of the fish you may choose to either cook it whole or cut it into half. Usually I like cooking it as a whole. 
  4. Heat oil in the wok. You can begin smelling the mustard oil when it is well heated. Alternately place your palm at a safe heigt to feel the heat rising from the wok.
  5. Drop the kalo jeere into the wok and let it splutter.
  6. Pour the tomato paste and reduce the flame to medium while stiring the mix continuously. Allow the water from the paste to evaporate completely.
  7. Add the turmeric and keep stiring.
  8. in a bit you will notice the mixture begins to seperate the oil at the edge of the wok. When this begins to happen add the salt, stir once more and then add 2 cups of water.
  9. Mix the water and then slowly add the fish into the curry.
  10. Place a lid on the wok and allow the fish to cook on a low flame for approximately 5-10 minutes.
  11. If you wish to make the curry thicker remove the lid after 4 minutes and allow for the fish to cook on high flame for the remaining 5 minutes.
  12. Drop a couple of green chillies slit mid way into the curry while it boils.
  13. Switch off the flame and garnish the fish with the corriander leaves.
  14. Serve with hot rice.

28 July, 2010

Tibetan Veg Thukpa

Good for cold nights and tastes best with yak butter, but good luck finding it anywhere else other than Tibet...


3 TB butter or margarine
1 TB garlic, chopped
1 TB ginger, grated
1/2 cup shallots, diced
1 tsp. kopan masala (refer to bottom of post for Kopan Masala recepie)
1 tsp. roasted chili powder
1 tsp. curry powder
1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 cup potato, small dice
1 cup tomatoes, diced
4 cups vegetable stock
4 oz. fresh wide egg noodles, chopped into 2-3" lengths
1/2 cup chopped spinach
1 TB soy sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Heat butter or margarine in pan and saute ginger, garlic, and onions for 1-2 minutes or until slightly translucent. Add spices and cook for one more minute. Add potatoes, tomatoes, and stock and bring to boil. Add egg noodles and cook for 5 more minutes or until tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted, about one minute. Make sure potatoes are tender, add soy sauce and salt/pepper to taste, and serve.

Kopan Masala:
4 TB coriander seed
4 TB cumin seed
20 cardamom pods, outer husk removed
20 cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tsp. black peppercorns
1/4 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg

Add all spices (except nutmeg) to pan and toast over low heat until aromatic. Be careful not to brown the spices too much, just a slight toasting to release the flavors. Remove spices from pan, add nutmeg, and grind in a spice grinder or coffee mill.

Veg Fried Rice (Chinese Style)

Fried rice should be made with day-old leftover rice whenever possible. The grains are well separated and properly dried to prevent sticky, gummy fried rice. If using leftover rice is not an option, prepare rice as usual, spread out on a cookie sheet or pan, and fan until cooled, separating grains with a rice paddle as much as possible without crushing the rice. Place in refrigerator one hour before using in this recipe.


4 cups leftover cooked rice
2 eggs, beaten (optional)
2 green onions, chopped
1 carrot, small dice
1 onion, small dice
1/4 cup green peas, fresh
1.5 TB soy sauce
1/2 tsp. white pepper
4 TB oil, divided

Add half the oil to pan and scramble eggs over medium heat until firm. Remove from pan and set aside. Heat wok to medium high and add remaining oil. Add green onions, carrot, onion, and peas and stir fry until onion is lightly browned. Add rice and fry for a few minutes, making sure the rice does not stick. Add eggs, soy, pepper, and green onion to the rice and stir. Cook one more minute, remove from heat, and serve.

Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Ingredients



2 unpeeled yellow onions, quartered

Three 1/2-inch-thick slices of fresh ginger, smashed

4 quarts cold water

3 pounds chicken bones or chicken wings

One 3 1/2-pound chicken, quartered

1 tablespoon salt

2 teaspoons sugar

1/4 cup Asian fish sauce

1 pound dried rice noodles

1 scallion, thinly sliced

1 pound mung bean sprouts

1/2 cup torn basil leaves

2 limes, cut into wedges

2 jalapeños, thinly sliced

Asian chili-garlic sauce and hoisin sauce, for serving

Directions

1.Preheat the oven to 400°. Put the onions and ginger on a baking sheet and roast for 30 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned.

2.Fill a large stockpot with the water and bring to a boil. Add the roasted vegetables and the chicken bones, quartered chicken, salt and sugar and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to moderate and simmer until the chicken is cooked, about 30 minutes.

3.Using tongs, transfer the quartered chicken to a plate and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and refrigerate. Return the skin and bones to the stockpot and simmer for 2 hours longer. Strain the chicken broth into a large soup pot and cook over high heat until reduced to 12 cups, about 15 minutes. Stir in the fish sauce.

4.In a large bowl of warm water, soak the noodles until pliable, about 20 minutes.

5.Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil. Drain the noodles, then add them to the saucepan and boil over high heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Drain well. Transfer the noodles to 6 large bowls and sprinkle with the scallion. Add the reserved chicken to the broth and simmer until heated through. Ladle the broth and chicken over the noodles. Serve with the bean sprouts, basil, lime wedges, jalapeños, chili-garlic sauce and hoisin sauce.

19 July, 2010

Addai- Lentil Pancakes

Ingredients


•2 cups rice

•¾ cup toor dal

•¾ cup chana dal

•1tsp of urad dal

•2 red chilies

•¼ tsp asafetida

•10 pearl onions finely chopped

•½ turmeric

•½ tsp ginger

•2 green chilies finely chopped

•Handful of Drumstick leaves ( I replaced with cilantro leaves)

•Few curry leaves

•2 tsp of coconut

•½ tsp fennel seeds

•Salt to taste


Method
•Soak rice, chana dal, toor dal and urad dal for about 2 hrs

•Grind the soaked items coarsely with red chilies, salt, and asafetida. Do not grind to a fine paste

•Transfer the grinded mixture to a vessel and add pearl onions, turmeric, ginger, green chilies, cilantro or drumstick leaves, curry leaves, grated coconut, and fennel seeds. If the consistency is too thick dilute with little water.

•Heat the griddle with oil and apply the oil evenly; take a ladle of mixture and pour in the centre of the griddle and spread evenly like a circle.

•Add ½ tsp oil around the corners for the adai. Once the adai is cooked one side, turn over to the other side and let it get cooked.

•Serve hot with butter or jaggery or coconut chutney
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