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.

Ingredients:
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

Method:
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
Ingredients:
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)

Method:
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.

Ingredients:
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


Method:
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

Method:
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

Method:
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.

Note:
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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