Sunday, December 25, 2011

X'mas Fruit Cake

I had decided to make a fruit cake this year long back and got home most of the raw materials required. I was looking for a tried and tested recipe coz it was my first time and I needed a morale booster so that I can continue the tradition year after year. Ria's recipe of Betty Mammas fuit cake seemed like worth trying. Coz so far her recipes have always won me accolades. I also saw many readers commenting on this post saying how this recipe was a great hit at their household. This recipe yielded me 2 square cakes. One was divided among Abbas's and my office colleagues and they were liked by all. The other cake got neatly packed in a layer of aluminium foil and then in a cling film and got carried all the way to Gurgaon by train. It was yet again liked by all. So folks, this recipe is a keeper, specially because of the fruit soaking duration which could be as less as overnight.

To soak the fruits:
Dry fruits – 650g (I used raisins, tart cherries,candied ginger, orange peel & tutti-frutti)
Jam – 2 tsbp(I used Kissan Mango Jam)
Orange juice – ½ cup
Granulated /powdered sugar – 6 tbsp
Rum/brandy – 5 tsp
Lime/lemon juice – 1 tbsp
Vanilla extract – 1 tbsp
Cloves – 12 nos, powdered
Cinnamon - 1"stick, powdered
Nutmeg - 1, powdered

Mix everything together to soak and leave aside, covered atleast for a day/overnight. If you are soaking it for more than 3 days, leave it covered in the fridge.

For the cake:
Unsalted butter – 250g
Sugar – 300g, powdered (I used Demerara sugar)*
Eggs – 5 nos, separated
Granulated sugar – 5 tbsp
Aall purpose flour - 200g
Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp
Cashewnuts - 100 g
Milk - 3/4 c
Semolina/Rava - 50g

Granulated sugar to caramelize - 1 1/2 c
Hot water - 3/4 c

To caramelise sugar*: Take a heavy bottomed sauce pan & add the sugar. Keep it over medium to high heat and let it caramelise to almost black in colour.As soon as it reaches that colour, switch off the stove ,step back and pour the hot water little by little stirring all the way. This is caramel syrup and this is what that decides the colour of the cake.

Preparing the cake tin: Line the bottom and sides of 2 8" round cake tins with parchment/butter paper. Please don't skip this step or else the sides of the cake will turn hard after the long baking time.

For the cake batter:
1. Beat together the egg whites & 6 tbsp granulated sugar till glossy and stiff.
2. Cream butter and sugar together till pale and fluffy. 

3. Add in the egg yolks one at a time and beat well after each addition.
4. Add in the soaked dry fruits and beat it just to mix it well. Add in the flour, baking powder and rava/semolina. Beat well to mix everything together. 
5. Add milk and caramel syrup.Beat it just so that everything is mixed in well. Fold in the beaten egg whites.
6. Pour the cake batter into prepared tins.

To bake:
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F for 10 mins and position the rack in the centre of the oven.
2. Bake the cake for 1 hour 45 minutes. If you see that the top is browning faster, place a loose sheet of aluminium foil over the cake tins.
3. Make sure you start checking the doneness after 1 hour, because each oven is different.

* Note:
The changes that I made to the recipe:
1. I used Demerara sugar instead of powdered sugar.
2. I caramelized sugar till almost black in colour but when I tasted it, I thought it was bitter and was scared to add it to the batter. So I made caramelized sugar all over again and this time only till it attained a pale brown colour. That’s why my cake’s colour is not that dark but the taste was awesome.
3. I skipped adding rum on top of the cake but it is still so moist even after it got packed and travelled long distance.


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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Orange Yoghurt Cake

Can't believe that a month passed by since last month's Sweet Punch. I woke up only when fellow bloggers began posting their recipes. I didn't want to miss this month's challenge and hence, a late entry yet again.

This recipe is a breeze to make. Just dump all the ingredients into a mixing bowl. Mix well and pour into the prepared baking tin and pop into the oven. It's as easy as that. Only addition I made is the addition of chocolate chips. The resulting cake is 'oh so delicious' just like Suma says in her post about it. The cake was moist and absolutely melting in the mouth. I guess this is the first time I am baking with a fruit. Lemme straight away go to the recipe.

Recipe Source: Cakes and More
AP Flour - 1 cup
Sugar - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp (I used only 1/2 cup and found the sweetness apt)
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Baking soda - 1/8 tsp
Pinch of salt
Plain whole-milk yogurt - 1/2 cup
Vegetable oil - 1/4 cup
Orange zest - 1 tsp
Orange juice - 1 tbsp (I added juice of one small orange)
Egg - 1 large
Pure vanilla extract - 1/2 tsp
Chocolate Chips - 1 tbsp (Optional)

Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celsius(350 F).
2. Butter an 8-inch round cake pan.
3. Sift flour, sugar, the baking powder, baking soda, salt.
4. Whisk together yogurt, oil, orange zest and juice, egg, and vanilla in a bowl.
5. Fold in the wet mixture into the flour mixture. Pour into pan. Sprinkle choco chips on top evenly. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Dust one table spoon sugar on top of the cake(optional).

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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Kadai Chicken

I always lookout for new chicken curry recipes whenever there are guests coming over. For one, I like to experiment and secondly, to feed my blog. When Deepa of Hamaree Rasoi posted this, I was absolutely drooling over the dish. And she also wrote in that post that she had cooked this dish many times and each time the strike rate was 100%. She has some amazing collection of recipes, takes a lot of effort in presentation and her creativity brings out beautiful pics of the food she cooks. Every time she posts, I just wish if there could be a mechanism to eat right from the monitor. 

Coming to the recipe, I made it when we had 3 guests coming. I made the curry with a kilo of Chicken and there was no leftover, mind you. The bowl was clean. I took the above pic just before they arrived in a hurry and thought I'll click later. That explains how delicious this dish is. Thanks Deepa for sharing your signature recipe.

Chicken - 1/2 kg, cut into medium pieces
Onions - 3 big, ground to paste
Garlic - 3-4 pods
Ginger - 1" piece
Green Chillies - 2-3
Tomatoes - 3, ground to paste
Kasoori Methi - 2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp
Capsicum - 1, diced
Cream - 1/2 cup
Coriander leaves - 1 tbsp
Oil - 3 tbsp

For marination:
Curd - 3/4 cup
Garlic 5-6 pods
Ginger - 1", chopped
Green chillies - 3-4
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam Masala - 1 tsp

1. Wash and pat dry the chicken pieces. Make a paste of ginger, garlic and green chillies with curd. Add all the ingredients called for in the marination. Mix well and keep aside for atleast half an hour.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in kadai and fry marinated chicken till all the curd liquid is soaked up and its crisp on the outside. Keep aside.
3. In the same kadai, add remaining oil and fry onion paste till raw smell disappears. 
4. Add ginger garlic paste and green chillies.
5. Add salt and stir well for another 5 mins.
6. Add tomato paste and fry till it leaves oil. Add red chilli powder, coriander powder and combine.
7. Add chopped capsicum, chicken, kasoori methi and sprinkle garam masala and combine.
8. Add 1/2 cup water if you want gravy. Cover and cook for 10 mins or till chicken is cooked.
9. Add cream, mix well and cook for 2 mins before removing from heat. 
10. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve with flavored rice or Indian bread.

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Thursday, December 8, 2011

Ghaas Mando - A Konkani Sweet Dish

This is a typical Konkani Sweet Dish that gets made during festivities. One of our aunt's mom was an expert in making these. They are the melt in your mouth kind and bite sized. Just pop one into your mouth and experience the bliss. I can never eat just one. I had absolutely forgotten about this sweet until recently I saw it in The India Food Court. The author Prathibha has given a beautiful step by step pictorial for making it. She made it appear so simple, so I had to give it a try... 

For the dough:
Maida - 1 cup
Chiroti Rawa / Fine Suji - 2 tsp
Melted Ghee - 1 tsp
Water - Around 1/2 cup
Salt to taste

Mix all the above ingredients and knead into a firm but pliable dough. Keep it covered for about half an hour.

For the filling:
Thin poha / beaten rice - 2-3 cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Green Cardamom - 8-10

1. Dry roast Poha in a Pan so that it crimples and turns crispy.  Ensure that it does not change its colour. Keep aside
2. Dry roast sugar in a pan till it begins crystallizing. Keep aside. Once cooled, grind together poha, sugar and cardamom into a coarse powder.

Method for assembling the final dish:
1. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
2. Pinch a small ball from the dough and roll it to a thin disc (1mm thickness) 
3. When the oil is hot, just add the disc into it, fry on both sides for not more than 30 secs.
4. Remove it from pan. Add a tsp of the sugar-poha powder.
5. Fold it in a semi circle. Again sprinkle little more powder on it and fold into a triangle.
6. Roll this in the powder once and keep aside.
7. Once the Mandos come to room temperature, they may be preserved in an air tight container.

1. In the original recipe, the discs were folded in the oil itself. I tried doing it. But I guess I need more practice and expertise for that. So I did all the folding only after removing the disc from oil.
2. If you are rolling the discs ahead before frying, make sure you don't pile them one on top of the other. Place them separately and covered.

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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Mushroom Suimai / Momo

In my previous post, I shared the recipe of Sichuan Sauce. Here's the recipe for momo. I used mushroom filling for the momos.

For Wanton Wrappers:
Maida - 1/2 cup
Warm water - 1/4 cup

1. Knead maida with warm water to make a firm dough.
2. Roll the dough into a large thin square sheet, about one millimetre think. Cut the sheet into three-inch squares.

For the mushroom filling:
Mushroom - 15-20, cleaned and chopped
Onion - 2 medium sized, finely chopped
Sesame oil - 1 tbsp (I used sunflower oil)
White pepper powder - 1/4 tsp
Soya sauce - 1/2 tsp
Green chillies - 1-2, finely chopped (optional)
Salt - to taste

1. Heat oil in a pan. Saute onions till translucent.
2. Add rest of the ingredients and cook till mushrooms are cooked and extra moisture is evaporated.
3. Divide into 16 equal portions.
4. Place a wanton wrapper on your palm, put a portion of filling on it, gather the edges of the wrapper and pinch firmly together to form a dumpling.
5. Do the same with rest of the wrappers and filling.
6. Steam the dumplings for 8-10 mins or until cooked and translucent. (Since I don't have a Momo steamer, I used my Idli Steamer. But it took about15-20 mins for the momos to cook)
7. Serve hot with Sichuan Sauce.

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Friday, November 25, 2011

Sichuan Sauce

I love love love this sauce... I can have it as a side dish. Back in Kolkata, Momos are one of the popular street foods and they are served along with this sauce. We went out to eat Chinese food and saw the next table being served some Dimsums while our desert arrived. Since then the steamed beauties have been haunting me. Made Mushroom Suimai to go along with Sichuan Sauce. Kids gorged on Suimai by dipping in Tomato Ketchup while Abbas and I drenched our sore throats in Hot Sichuan Sauce. Yummm...

I followed recipe from Sanjeev Kapoor's

Red chillies - 10-12
Oil - 1/2 cup
Garlic cloves - 10, finely chopped
Green chillies - 2, finely chopped
Spring onions - 2, finely chopped
Ginger - 1", grated
Vegetable stock or water - 1/2 cup
Celery Stalk - 2-3", finely chopped (I skipped this)
Tomato Ketchup - 3 tbsp
Salt to taste
Whitw Vinegar - 2 tsp
Spring onion greens - 2 stalks, finely chopped

1. Boil red chillies in a cup of water for 5-7 mins. Drain, cool and grind to a fine paste.
2. Heat oil in a pan, add garlic, green chillies, spring onions and ginger. Saute for one minute. Add red chilli paste and continue to saute for a few more seconds.
3. Add vegetable stock, celery, tomato ketchup and salt to taste and stir well to mix.
4. Add vinegar and spring onion greens. Simmer for one minute and then take the pan off heat.
5. Cool and store preferably in the refrigerator. It will keep for about one month.

PS: Recipe for Momo to follow....

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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Palong Shaager Torkari - Spinach Mishmash with veggies

Kaku and Kakima had invited us for lunch at their place when we were in Kolkata. That was during the first year of my marriage and my first time indulging in an authentic Bengali fare. I simply fell in love with Bong cuisine. All those veggies that I detested earlier suddenly were endearing and I regretted having troubled Amma by being a fussy-picky eater that I was! Abbas teases me saying you were destined to be a Bengali but somehow you were born a Konkani. 

Coming back to Kakima, she addresses me as her 'Choto Meye' (younger daughter) and Abbas as her Jamai. She creates wonders in kitchen. If some dish goes wrong, she analyzes it and provides instant solution that magically changes the taste. She loves to feed and serve and always eats only after she makes sure that everyone has eaten. This dish is one of our favourites and I have never been able to match Kakima's version. Although the recipe is simple and tastes good, we miss Kakima's love in it each time I make it.

Spinach - 3 tiny bunches
Potato - 3/4 cup, diced
Pumpkin - 3/4 cup, diced
Brinjal - 3/4 cup, diced
Ridge Gourd - 3/4 cup, diced
Bori - 1/4 cup (optional)
Panch Phoran - 1 tsp
Red chillies - 1 nos, broken into 3-4 peices
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Bhaja Masala powder - 2 tsp (you may substitute with garam masala powder)
Ghee - 1 tsp
Oil - 4 tbsp
Green chillies - 2-3, finely chopped (increase or decrease as suitable)
Sugar - 1/2 tsp
Coriander leaves - a handful, chopped (optional)
Water - 1/2 cup
Salt - to taste

1. Wash spinach leaves thoroughly in atleast 3 changes of water. Finely chop and keep aside. You may use tender stems of spinach by chopping them in 1"long pieces.
2. Heat oil in a pan.Add turmeric and salt. Add cubed potatoes. Saute till potatoes are uniformly roasted and turn golden in colour. Remove from pan and keep aside.
3. Repeat the same procedure for pumpkin, brinjal and boris.
4. In the remaining oil, add panch phoron and red chilli pieces.
5. Once the tempering splutters, add all the sauteed veggies, ridge gourd, boris and spinach leaves and stems. Add salt, sugar, green chillies, coriander leaves, water and combine.
6. Cover and keep on low flame. Stir once in a while. Once all veggies are cooked, increase flame and cook till extra water (if any) evaporates. This dish is neither too dry nor has any gravy.
7. Remove from flame. Sprinkle bhaja masala powder and ghee on top. Cover immediately. Give a brief stir before serving.

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chapathi Noodles

Abbas and I are both rice freaks. So we used to buy meager amount of Wheat Flour which I used for making Puris on weekends. Now that the kids love Chapathis, I end up with a comparatively larger supply of Atta. Mantam love Chapathis. And I never liked making chapathis but for their sake, I have no choice but to oblige. At times, chapathis are left over and no-one wants to eat a re-heated one in the next meal. One such day, I made these Chapathi Noodles inspired by Rak's Kitchen and it was gobbled down in a jiffy.

This is how I made it:

Chapathis - 3
Veegies - 1/2 cup, sliced to thin long juliennes(Carrot, Beans, cabbage, capsium, spring onions)
Onion - 1 medium, sliced
Tomato sauce - 1 tbsp
Soya sauce - 1 tsp
Green chilli sauce - as per taste
Maggi cube - 1
Salt - to taste
Pepper powder - to taste
Scrambled eggs - 2 (optional)
Oil - tbsp

1. Stack chapathis and cut them into quarters. Now cut each stacked quarter into thin long stripes.
2. Heat oil in a pan. Add onions and saute for 2 mins.
3. Now add all the veggies and saute for another 2-3 mins. Add rest of the ingredients, chapathi strips and toss them well so that all sauces and veggies are uniformly mixed with noodles.

Since soya souce, chapathi and tastemaker/cubes have salt in it, be careful while adding extra salt.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Crab Ghee Roast

As I seem to be on a draft-clear-off spree, here's yet another one. I had seen Paneer Ghee Roast on Divya's blog which led me to the recipe source. The author Kudpi Raj and his wife have recreated the flavours of Chicken Ghee Roast of Hotel Anupama. The pics of Prawn Ghee Roast had me drooling and wanting to dive into the plate. The comment section also was flooded with people sharing their success stories with this recipe. I had the urge to make it ASAP and hence substituted prawns with crabs which I had on hand. The outcome was liked by all of us.

Crabs  - 1 Kg, cleaned
Refined vegetable oil - 30 ml (I reduced both oil and ghee quantity, started off by a little and added a bit more as I went by)
Pure Desi Ghee - 30 ml
Chopped Coriander leaves - A handful
Lemon wedges - To garnish

For marinating:
Juice of 1 lemon
Curd - ½ cup
White Pepper powder - 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Salt - to taste

For masala - grind together:
Red long chillies - 30 roasted (I had only 1 variety and used the same)
Red short chillies - 8 roasted
Coriander Seeds - 1 tsp roasted
Cumin Seeds - ½ sp roasted
Fenugreek Seeds - ½ tsp roasted
Garlic flakes - 12-16
Tamarind - Cherry size ball soaked in 2 tbsp water

1. Marinate crabs with ingredients called for in the marinade section.Keep it marinated for 8-24 hrs in the refrigerator.
2. Heat oil in a shallow pan. Roast the marinated crabs till they cook. Drain and keep aside.
4. In the same oil, roast the ground masala till oil leaves the sides and raw smell disappears. Add salt to taste, the marinade and the cooked crabs. Mix well and keep for 2-3 mins on slow fire. Add ghee, mix and cover. When the masala gets thick, transfer to serving dish, garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with lemon wedges.

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Methi Fried Rice

This post was lying in my draft section for ages and today I finally it is gonna see the light of day! I love greens and always try to include them in our food. Abbas is not fond of greens featuring in a stand alone dish. So I sneak them in curries / pooris / paranthas / rice. This was one such attempt where I made mixed fried rice sprinkled with generous amount of fenugreek leaves.

Off to the recipe:

Basmati rice - 2 cups
Chopped veggies (carrot, beans, capsicum, onions) - 1 cup
Shrimps - 15-20, deshelled, deveined and cleaned (optional)
Shredded chicken pieces - 15-20 (optional)
Eggs - 2 (optional for vegetarians, but I don't like my fried rice w/o eggs)
Fenugreek leaves - 1/2 cup
Soya Sauce - 1 tbsp
Maggi Cube - 1
Pepper powder - to tase
Salt - to taste
Oil - 3 tbsp
White vinegar - 1 tsp
Sugar - 1 tsp

1. Wash and soak rice in sufficient water for 30 mins.
2. Boil 4 cups water in a vessel. Add soaked rice, salt, few drops of oil and vinegar. Let it cook. Keep checking to make sure the rice doesn't get fully cooked. Remove from flame when the rice is 'almost' cooked. Drain the water away. Spread rice on a flat surface. Do not cover it. Keep aside.
3. Stir in 1 tsp each of sugar and salt in about 2 cups of water. Soak the fenugreek leaves in this solution for about 15 mins. Strain the water and tightly squeeze out extra water. Saute the leaves in a tsp of oil for about 2-3 mins. Keep aside.
4. In a pan, heat 1 tsp of oil. Add eggs, salt. Scramble the eggs and keep aside.
5. In the same pan, add 1 tsp of oil, fry chicken pieces and shrimp with some salt. Remove and keep aside till the rice cools down.
6. In the same pan take rest of the oil, add all the veggies.
7. Once the veggies are sauted, add soya sauce, shrimp, chicken, scrambled eggs, chopped mint and coriander leaves and rice. Sprinkle maggi cube powder. Mix well.
8. Check salt at this stage. If less, add a bit more of soya sauce or maggi cube (both are salty and mix well with rice instead of raw salt) and mix.

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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Self Saucing Chocolate Pudding

This blog of mine was absolutely neglected last week. I generally have a set of dishes cooked during weekends which I click and save in my drafts. Whenever I find some time during the week, I publish the drafted dishes. I am not able to locate where I have kept the pics of the recently cooked dishes. I was absolutely busy during the last week due to which I simply cooked the routine dishes without having the energy to experiment or cook something elegant.

Blogosphere was flooding with this Chocolate Pudding that all my fellow sweet punch mates were posting. I missed participating in the last two months and I did not want to miss out this time. I finally made this today and guess what - My daughters asked for the recipe!!! *rolls eyes*

Also, I got to apologize for not commenting on anyone's blogs for sometime now. I hope to catch up soon. Thanks to all those who have been dropping by coz I see my blog's statistics have been consistent although posting had immensely dropped.

This recipe was chosen by Divya. She is a wonderful blogger and an inspiration to me especially in baking. Divya has recently been a victim of plagiarism. I was shocked to see the site which shamelessly copied recipes from her blog verbatim. They did not spare her 'About Me' page as well. Divya has raised a complaint and I really wish the copy-cat blog gets shut down. 

Heading to the recipe now:

Flour - 1 cup
Baking powder - 2 tsp
Cocoa - 2 tsp
Pinch salt (Skip if using salted butter)
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Butter - 2 tbsp, melted
Milk - 1/2 tsp
Egg - 1, beaten
Almonds - 50 gms, chopped

For the topping:
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Cocoa - 3 tbsp
Water - 1cup
Instant Coffee Powder - 1 tsp

1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
2. Sift together flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, salt, and sugar.
3. Stir through butter, milk, egg and almonds until well combined.
4 Spoon batter into 4 ramekins. (I used 5 teacups)
5 Mix together sugar, cocoa powder, coffee powder and sugar. Pour over the tea cups. Do not stir.
6 Bake for 20 minutes.

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