January 31, 2013

Navratan Korma


Ingredients:

Onion - 1 no (coarsely chopped)
Ginger - 1 inch piece (coarsely chopped)
Potato - 1 big (cut in cubes)
Carrot - 1 (cut in cubes)
Beans - 7-8 nos
Green chilly - 3 nos (slit lengthwise)
Broccoli/Cauliflower - 5 florets
Garlic - 4 cloves (coarsely chopped)
Bay leaf - 2 nos
Cinnamon stick - 1 inch piece
Coriander powder - 1½ tbsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Cream/Milk - ½ cup (adjust as per taste)
Coriander leaves - chopped (to garnish)
Salt
Oil
Water

Instructions:
  • Pour oil on a hot pan.
  • Add chopped onions and garlic sauté when it turns transparent.
  • Grind the sautéed onions and garlic mixture in a blender into a smooth paste by adding water.
  • Pour oil on the same pan. Add bay leaf and cinnamon stick and fry for a minute.
  • Add the onion ginger paste, coriander powder, cumin powder and fry for few minutes.
  • Add the chopped vegetables except broccoli/cauliflower, green chilly, garlic cloves, salt, water; cover and cook till veggies turn soft. Add the florets and cook till it turns crunchy.
  • Add cream/milk as per your taste. Let it boil for few minutes.
  • Switch off the flame, add garam masala and garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves.
Note:

Use any veggies of your choice; may include peas, capsicum, paneer cubes etc.
Substitute milk instead of cream for healthy alternative :)

January 25, 2013

Eggless Chocolate Cake with Chocolate frosting

I've baked this chocolate cake for my friend Bini & Jayesh. It's their wedding anniversary and was a surprise for the chocolate cake lovers.


This is really simple. It doesn't need an electric whisk; just a whisk/spoon for mixing up. This is the first time I've baked chocolate cake as Sathya is not fond of chocolates in cakes/desserts and always avoid any recipes which has cocoa/chocolate content.

Recipe Source: JoyofBaking

Ingredients:

All purpose flour - 1½ cups
Sugar - 1 cup
Cocoa powder - ¼ cup
Baking powder - 1 tsp
Baking soda - ¾ tsp
Salt - ¼ tsp
Melted Butter -1/3 cup (75 grams)
Warm water - 1 cup (240 ml)
Lemon juice or Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Vanilla extract - 1 tsp

Instructions:
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C/ 350 F.
  • Lightly grease the cake pan with melted butter.
  • Sift the dry ingredients (all purpose flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt ); add sugar. Whisk all ingredients together with a whisk/spoon.
  • Add melted butter, warm water, lemon juice and vanilla extract to the dry ingredients and whisk until well combined.
  • Pour the batter to the cake pan and bake it for 30 minutes until the cake springs back when lightly touched at the centre or a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and place the cake on a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Frosting:-

Ingredients:

Semi-sweet chocolate - ½ cup (chopped)
Thickened cream - ¼ cup (cream contains 35% fat)
Butter - ½ tbsp

Instructions:
  • Place the chopped chocolate, cream, and butter in a heatproof bowl.
  • Place over a saucepan of simmering water and melt until smooth. 
  • Remove from heat and let stand at room temperature until it is of thick consistency. 
  • Transfer the cake to the cake pan so that when you pour the frosting over the cooled cake, it doesn't drizzle over.
  •  Let stand until frosting has thickened.
Notes:
  • I poured only half of the cake batter to the cake pan and the remaining poured into 6 cupcake moulds.
  • I've used the above mentioned quantity for making frosting as I used only of the batter to make a cake.
  • Double the frosting quantity if using the whole of the batter onto the cake pan.

January 20, 2013

Stuffed Brinjal Shallow Fry



I believe even not such hard core fans of brinjal will love this as it is stuffed, shallow fried and has got a very crispy outer layer. This wonderfully pairs with just plain rice and yoghurt. I tasted this first time from my Lalitamaami and she makes the best brinjal stuffed fry. Though I can't recollect the exact ingredients she used for the stuffing, I've made a similar one.

Though we are not big fan of brinjals, I love only this stuffed fry; but very hard to make Sathya to consume the brinjals. He hates all versions of brinjals. Phew.. In spite of all this trouble, I could make him eat just one.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Lalitamaami

Ingredients:

Small Brinjals - 10
Dry whole Kashmiri chilli - 6 (If using dry red hot chilli, use 3-4)
Channa dal - 2 tbsp
Urad dal - 1 tbsp
Coriander seeds - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - ¾ tbsp
Fenugreek seeds - 4 nos
Garlic cloves - 3 nos (finely sliced)
Curry leaf
Asafoetida - a pinch
Water
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Kashmiri Red chilli powder - a pinch
Oil
Salt

Instructions:
  • Pour a tablespoon of oil to hot sauce pan. Then add dry whole red chilli and roast for 2 minutes.
  • Add channa dal and roast until it turns golden brown.
  • Add urad dal, coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, sliced garlic cloves, curry leaves, salt and dry roast till it turns brown in color.
  • Add a dash of asafoetida after switching off the flame.
  • When cooled, grind the spices in a blender without adding water.
  • Once grounded, add drops of water until you can attain a consistency (make a perfect ball of grounded mixture). Check for salt.
  • Slice open the brinjals as shown below.

  • Stuff the grounded mixture inside the slits and tightly close.
  • Pour couple of tablespoons of oil in deep pan for shallow frying the brinjals.
  • When oil is hot enough, add a pinch of salt and stir well.
  • Place the stuffed brinjals in the oil. Sprinkle turmeric powder and kashmiri red chilli powder on the skin of brinjals.
  • Turn the brinjals so that it cook on all sides. Drizzle oil on the brinjals for a crispy skin.

January 19, 2013

Pav Bhaji


The first thing that come to mind seeing the hot buns is make Pav Bhaji. Oh, how I miss the Pav Bhaji served at a very small stall in Jaya Nagar, Bangalore where our gals gang used to eat out once in a week.

My Home-made Pav is all set and ready. Just make the Bhaji.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Sanjeev Kapoor with my slight variations

Ingredients:

Onion - 1 (finely chopped)
Green chilli - 2 nos (chopped)
Ginger - 1 inch piece (grated)
Garlic - 4-5 cloves (grated)
Tomatoes - 2 big
Potatoes - 2 nos
Carrot - 1 no
Peas - ¼ cup
Cauliflower - 4 florets (grated)
Capsicum - ¼ cup (finely chopped)
Pav Bhaji masala powder - 4 - 5 tsp (as per taste)
Coriander powder  - 1 tbsp
Cumin powder - 1 and ½ tsp
Fennel powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tsp
Coriander leaves - to garnish
Kasthuri Methi - handful
Asafoetida - a dash
Oil - 2 tbsp
Butter - loads
Water
Salt
Chopped onions, coriander leaves, lemon juice - final garnish over served Bhaji

Instructions:
  • Boil and mash potatoes, carrot and peas with salt.
  • Heat oil and butter. Add finely chopped onion and green chillies. Sauté till translucent.
  • Add grated ginger and garlic and sauté till raw smell goes.
  • Add pav bhaji masala powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and fennel powder and sauté for few minutes.
  • Add chopped tomatoes, grated cauliflower, chopped capsicum and sauté till it turns soft.
  • Add mashed potato, carrot and peas.
  • Add water, salt and let the masala mixture boil for sometime.
  • Check for taste and adjust spices, add a dash of asafoetida accordingly to get that street Bhaji effect.
  • Switch off the flame, add a stick of butter and garnish with chopped coriander leaves and Kasthuri Methi.
  • Heat a pan, add butter. Slice the pav/bun in half and shallow fry in butter on both sides.
  • Serve the bun with steam hot Bhaji. Top it with chopped onions, chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice.

Home-made Buns/Pav


It's messy but quite fun to play with the bread dough :) I meant the kneading part. Just have a clean kitchen counter top and a scraper. Scraper will ease the kneading a bit.

I anxiously waited for the dough to rise and shaped them up. The aroma of freshly baked buns surrounded my home. I'm using these buns as Pavs for Pav Bhaji and the remaining buns will be used for breakfast, Buns with butter or jam.

Recipe Source: Adapted from YummyOyummy

Ingredients:

All purpose flour - 2 cups + 1 cup
Yeast -  2 ¼ tsp 
Sugar - 2 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Warm Water - 2 tbsp
Warm milk - 1 cup
Butter - 4 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Egg - 1 whole (slightly beat the egg)
Egg white - 1 

Instructions:
  • Dissolve yeast and 1 tbsp of sugar in warm water. Hot water kill the yeast. Make sure water is just warm enough. Keep it aside for few minutes until it froths and rises.
  • Meanwhile use 1 tbsp of butter to grease a bowl to keep the kneaded dough to rise.
  • Add salt, 2 tbsp of sugar, 4 tbsp of butter, 1 whole egg slightly beaten and milk to 2 cups of all purpose flour. Mix together with a spatula until well combined.
  • Transfer the contents to kitchen counter top. Add the remaining cup of flour and knead for 15-20 minutes. Use a scraper to ease the kneading.
  • After kneading for 20 minutes, transfer the dough to the greased bowl. Cover with a cling film and wait for 2-3 hours until the dough rise.
  • Once the dough has risen, remove the cling film and knead for 2 mins.
  • Roll the dough into small balls and place on a baking tray. Wait for 30 minutes as the rolled balls will again rise.
  • Pre-heat oven to 180 C/350 F for 10 minutes.
  • Beat egg white with few drops of water to make egg wash.
  • Brush egg wash on top of the rolled buns and place the buns in the oven.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top of the buns are slightly brown in color.
  • When buns are baked and out from the oven, take a cube of butter and spread butter on top to get a glazing effect.

January 18, 2013

Lemon Roast Chicken


Just 4 ingredients and your marinade is ready. I wouldn't say this is a proper Indian version of roast; slight variation. A wonderful accompaniment with Garlic Bread. Yes, we tried this combo and is just great.

Recipe Source: Me me

Ingredients:

Chicken pieces
Lemon juice - half of a lemon
Dry red chilli flakes - 2 tbsp (adjust accordingly)
Coriander powder - 1 and 1/2 tbsp
Garlic cloves  - 4 nos (skin on)
Oil - 2 tbsp
Salt

Instructions:
  • Use kitchen tissue to pat and dry the chicken pieces. Slit the chicken pieces so that marinate penetrates well inside.
  • Crush the garlic cloves with their skin on with the back of knife.
  • Mix dry chilli flakes, coriander powder, lemon juice, oil, crushed garlic cloves, salt and marinate chicken pieces for 4 hours.
  • Pre-heat oven to 220 degree Celsius. Use aluminium foil to line the baking tray and spray oil.
  • Place the marinated chicken on the foil and lightly spray on top.
  • Flip the chicken pieces when the top part is cooked. This might take 30-40 minutes depending on your oven.
  • Let the other side gets roasted well enough. A golden brown colour forms on the skin top.Another 15-20 minutes on the oven.
  • Check for doneness using a fork. Make a slit on the thigh and check to see the juice runs clear. If the juices have any pinking colouring, the chicken is not done.
  • Roast any veggies of your choice along with this Lemon roast chicken.

Chicken Soup

This soup is made from home-made Chicken stock.


Recipe Source: My Simple soup

Ingredients:

Chicken stock/any stock/water - 5 cups
Boneless chicken - 200gm (cut in strips)
Corn flour - 2 tbsp
Egg - 1 no
Black Pepper powder
Salt
Spring Onions, Cherry Tomatoes - to garnish

Instructions:

  • Pour the stock on a stock pot. Add the chicken pieces and allow it to boil.
  • Let the chicken pieces get cooked. Add pepper powder and check for salt.
  • Use half a cup of the stock to dilute the corn flour and mix well. Add the diluted corn flour back to the stock.
  • Meanwhile beat the egg. Stir the soup and add beaten egg in a thin stream to the soup. 
  • Add pepper powder and stir well.
  • Switch off the flame and serve it immediately.
  • Garnish with spring onions and coarsely sliced cherry tomatoes.


Note:

Serve with a dash of vinegar and soya sauce according to your taste.

January 17, 2013

Home-made Chicken Stock


It gives me great joy to make anything from scratch and I've now prepared this home-made chicken stock. Batch of stock is now ready and will use it up to make Chicken soup.

I'm a die hard fan of Gordon Ramsay. In spite of his usage of the F word every minute, I like to watch his TV shows :) I remember him making this stock and thought of giving it a try.

Recipe Source: Adapted from Gordon Ramsay

Ingredients:

Chicken carcass - 1 (shown above the chicken carcass part or use chicken bones)
Brown onions - 2 nos
Carrot - 1
Celery stick - 2
Garlic pod - 1
Bay leafy - 2
Crushed Black peppercorns - 1 tbsp
Dried herbs - 1 tsp (or use any fresh herb)
Salt


Instructions:

  • Combine all the ingredients in the stock pot and pour enough cold water.
  • Switch on high flame and let it begin to boil.
  • Once it boils, simmer the flame for maximum 40 minutes.
  • Using a ladle, try to take out the impurities that get formed as a top layer of the stock.
  • Using sieve, pour the mixture and just use the clear stock.
  • The stock can be refrigerated for 2-3 days or can be kept in freezer for later use.

Notes:

As I've used just a single chicken carcass or if using bones of a chicken, there is no need to simmer the stock for long hours. Maximum simmer time would be 40-45 minutes.

January 15, 2013

Instant Channa Biriyani


There is a funny story behind such sort of a biriyani :) My distant relative, Shobechi sells wonderful stuffs like Kalathappam to Varkeys shop and her kalathappam were so famous. We met her during a wedding ceremony and came to know that she had participated in a cooking competition and won first prize. Well, this incident was 15 years ago :D We were anxious to know which recipe made her won. She made biriyani with Black chickpea/Kadala. The judges asked her to name her recipe. She hadn't thought about this and instantly she named it "Kuthira Biriyani". We all laughed hearing this. I have never heard anything like Kuthira biriyani.

Channa Biriyani is inspired from the above story. I tried to make with Chickpea/Kabuli Channa instead of Kadala. This is not an authentic biriyani preparation; just an instant one that can be made in the rush hours as lunch box/dinner menu.

Recipe Source: Mine

Ingredients:

Chickpea - 1/2 cup
Onions - 2 medium (finely sliced)
Green chilli - 2 nos (slit lengthwise)
Ginger paste - 3/4 tsp
Garlic paste - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Tomato - 2 nos (sliced)
Cloves - 3
Cinnamon - 2 (1 inch stick)
Cardamom - 1
Bay leaf - 1
Turmeric powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 and 1/2 tbsp
Cumin powder - 1 tsp
Fennel powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1 tbsp
Coriander leaves - to garnish
Basmati Rice - 1 cup
Oil
Salt

Instructions:

  • Soak chickpea in water overnight and pressure cook chickpea with salt till it is cooked.
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaf.
  • Add sliced onions and sauté until translucent.
  • Then add ginger and garlic paste and sauté till raw smell goes off.
  • Add turmeric and coriander powder and fry for 2-3 minutes. Make sure the powders doesn't get burnt.
  • Add sliced tomatoes and fry till it turns soft.
  • Add cooked chickpea and fry for few minutes.
  • Add fennel powder, garam masala and garnish with coriander leaves.
  • Cook Basmati rice with salt separately and once the rice is bit cooled, add the chickpea mixture with cooked rice.
  • Serve with raita and pickle.

January 11, 2013

Prawns in Creamy Sauce


I tried to make Prawns with a cream base. It tastes good. After all, who doesn't like prawns and that too when soaked in creamy cream.

Recipe Source: My own

Ingredients:

Prawns - 1/2 kg (peeled and de-veined)
Onions - 2 nos (sliced)
Green Chilli - 2 nos (slit lengthwise)
Ginger - 1 tbsp (cut in julienne)
Garlic - 3 cloves (cut in julienne)
Tomato - 1 (chopped)
Cloves -  3 nos
Cinnamon stick - 2 nos (1 inch piece)
Bay leaf - 1
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1 tbsp
Red hot chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tbsp
Cumin Powder - 1 and 1/2 tsp
Fennel Powder - 1 tsp
Curry leaves - 1 sprig
Water - 1 cup
Thickened cream - 1 cup
Oil
Salt

Instructions:

  • Pour oil to the hot pan. Add cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf and roast for a minute.
  • Add onions, slit green chill and sauté till translucent.
  • Add ginger, garlic and sauté till raw smell goes off.
  • Add turmeric powder, kashmiri chilli powder, red hot chilli powder, coriander powder, cumin powder and fennel powder and roast for few minutes.
  • Now add chopped tomatoes and sauté till it turns soft.
  • Add prawns, salt and fry for few minutes.
  • Pour a cup of water, cover and cook the prawns.
  • When prawns is almost cooked, add cream and let it boil.
  • Pour water if needed if you like to have more gravy.
Note:
  • I marinated the prawns overnight with turmeric, kashmiri chilli powder and salt.
  • Substitute cream with coconut milk if not a cream fan :)

January 9, 2013

Tomato Chutney


Learnt this chutney from my aunt, Sita ammama. She too is an awesome cook. During my college/work days, whenever I go home on weekends I make a habit to visit her all the time. It's been like that for all these years. Even during my childhood days, I go along with Achan and he visits her quite frequently. Sita ammamma is my Achan's little sis and takes lot care of her :) I used to wonder seeing her enormous recipe collections; many of her own. One can even publish a recipe book of hers. When she hears that I'm back in Calicut, she keeps my share aside; it can be either snacks, sweets anything and it's always yummy. Hats off to her cooking skills and kaipunnyamm!!

This chutney requires very little coconut as compared to the other traditional chutneys. I prefer this chutney as I've got only a blender and not a mixie here. I find it very hard to make coconut chutney with the blender. It doesn't make a smooth paste and avoid making that. With tomato chutney, my blender does perfect job.


Recipe Source : Sita ammamma

Ingredients:

Onion - 1 no (chopped)
Ginger - 1/2 tsp (chopped)
Garlic - 2 cloves (chopped)
Tomato - 1 no (chopped)
Grated coconut - 2 tbsp
Coriander leaves - 2 sprigs
Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri whole dried red chilli - 2 nos

To Temper:
Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
Whole dried red chilli - 1 no

Instructions:

  • Heat oil in a pan and add urad dal. Fry the urad dal until golden brown in colour.
  • Add whole dried Kashmiri red chilli and sauté till it changes colour.
  • Add chopped onions and sauté till translucent.
  • Add chopped ginger and garlic and sauté till raw smell goes off.
  • Add chopped tomato and sauté till it turns soft.
  • Now add grated coconut and fry for 2 minutes.
  • Before switching off the flame, add the coriander sprigs.
  • When cooled, grind into a smooth paste adding water.
  • Temper by heating oil in the same pan, add mustard seeds and let it crack. Break the dried whole red chilly and fry along with the cracked mustard seeds. Add to chutney.

January 5, 2013

Chicken Curry - A Kerala touch


We started this weekend with a dinner party at our home, invited few of our friends gang staying near Ashfield. This wasn't much a planned party; was all in hurry-burry. I started cooking preparations a bit late; but managed to finish in time.

As a true Malayalee, I preferred to make Kerala cuisines. I prepared Puttu, Vellappam, Rice, Parippu curry, Mutton Pepper fry, Chicken curry. But there was a twist when it came to desserts. Due to time constraint, I decided not to make anything sweet this time. We both had earlier came to an agreement that whenever we have a party, I wasn't supposed to make the routine payasam; but instead to serve our guests with western cuisine desserts. Even before starting this blog, I've made few good desserts and got a thumps up to go for those ones. Then thought about the simplest Pannacotta  and called up Sathya to bring me thickened cream.

I made Rosewater Pannacotta for dessert just 2 hours before the guests arrived. Poured in individual ramekins for that to set & placed in refrigerator. Dyuti was busy playing and didn't come to the kitchen for the usual rounds. She was not aware what I was doing in there. When I gave her the Pannacotta, she asked me "Amma, who made it?". She was very much surprised when I told her and was telling me "Oh, you made this Amma.. Wow !!" Now isn't that sweet of her. So much innocence in our kids !!

This chicken curry is almost similar to the way all our Mom's make back in Kerala :) I've made slight variations and made it in my style.

Here goes the Kerala Chicken curry recipe. Adding coconut milk is not mandatory as the gravy would get thicken with the onion tomato paste. For the Kerala touch, I would recommend adding coconut milk or just the plain ground coconut paste. Have to say the mutton pepper fry and chicken curry was loved by all by seeing the empty bowls :)

Ingredients:

Chicken - 1 no (large)
Onions - 4 finely sliced (medium)
Tomatoes - 3 sliced
Oil - I used coconut oil
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Red hot chilli powder - 1 tsp
Thin Coconut milk - 1 cup

Chicken Marinade:



Chicken - cut into pieces
Turmeric Powder - 3/4 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 2 tbsp
Green Chillies - 3 (slit lengthwise)
Pepper Powder - 3/4 tsp
Salt - as needed
Chopped Curry leaves - a sprig

Marinate chicken pieces for at least an hour.

Spices to grind to a smooth paste:



Cloves - 4
Cinnamon - 2 (1 inch stick)
Cardamom seeds- 2 pods
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 2 tbsp
Fennel seeds - 2 tsp
Kashmiri Chilli Powder - 1 tsp
Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
Ginger - 1 tbsp
Garlic - 5 cloves
Lemon juice - half of a lemon

Grind the spices along with ginger, garlic and lemon juice to a smooth paste.

Instructions:


  • Heat oil in a pan. Add sliced onions and sauté till translucent.
  • Add sliced tomatoes and sauté till it turns soft.
  • Grind the sautéed onions and tomatoes mixture to a very fine paste.
  • In the same pan, pour some oil and when hot, add the spice, ginger, garlic mixture  paste.
  • Let the raw smell goes off from the mixture and the spice aroma spreads around.
  • Add the onions tomato paste and fry for few minutes.
  • Add half teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 tsp red hot chilli powder and sauté till the raw smell is gone.
  • Add the chicken marinade and fry for 5 minutes.
  • Pour a cup of water and close with a lid. Make sure to stir in between.
  • When chicken is almost cooked, add the thin coconut milk. I made it by grinding half cup frozen grated coconut with water.
  • Let it boil for few minutes and switch off the flame.
  • Temper the gravy by frying chopped onions in coconut oil and then add it in to the gravy.

January 1, 2013

Happy New Year 2013


Wish you all a very Happy New Year !!

I had plans to bake a new year cake, just a casual two tier round cake was in my mind. Then Sathya's friends planned for a get together on new year's eve. I agreed to bring the cake,

Many Thanks to my dear Sathya for suggesting the model of Sydney Harbour Bridge. I was still not sure whether I could accomplish this task. It was my very first attempt with a customized cake :) I started making a plan. As I didn't have the baking moulds of the bridge & pillar, I baked a square and round shaped Butter cake. Then cut the cakes into my desired shapes.





Prepared Buttercream frosting and tinted with mix & matching colours. I was not in a position to click much snaps this time. It took almost 5 hours to cut & decorate the cake. The most time consuming part was the cake decorations. Another extra hour in setting up the ingredients and a hell lot of cleaning the utensils. Ufff.... Oh yes, Sathya helped me decorating the grass.



It was great seeing the kids Dyuti, Thejus & Ahaan waiting patiently till 12 am to blow the candles set on Harbour bridge. Well, the candles resembles the Sydney fireworks ;P