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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Peas Pulao

Basumati Rice - 2 cups 
Green Peas - 1 cup
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tspns
Cloves- 4
Green Cardamoms-4
Cinnamon sticks - 1 inch
Turmeric - 1 tspn
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tspn
Onions - 1 slightly large 
Green chillies - 4 small
Tomato - 1 med size
Yoghurt - 1/2 a cup
Fresh Mint - a few leaves
Cilantro - 1/4 cup chopped
Vegetable/Canola Oil- 1/4 cup

Wash and soak the rice in water for at least 1/2 an hr.  Heat the oil, add sliced onion and fry till golden brown. Add the ginger garlic paste, turmeric, red chilly powder followed by chopped tomato, whole green chillies and yoghurt. Stir and mix till it turns into a nice masala paste. Add the green peas (fresh or frozen) and let it simmer for a while. Then add the soaked rice, and gently turn over from all sides till it mixes well with the masala. Now add 4 cups of water, 2 tspns salt, chopped cilantro and a few mint leaves. Close the pot with a lid and cook on high heat till the water starts boiling.Turn the heat to medium and cook till the water gets absorbed. Give it a stir and put it on simmer for 5 mins. The Peas Pulao is ready to be served. Enjoy the Peas Pulao with Mint chutney, Raita and roasted chicken. 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Stuffed pineapple cake

This is another recipe circulating amongst our relatives in Canada. We make this quite often especially when we invite someone over. The cake has a soft and light texture and the fruit stuffing with cool whip is so refreshing that you cannot stop eating it. Though the recipe calls for using crushed canned pineapple and juice from it, I prefer using fresh fruits and fresh pineapple juice. I don't like the metallic taste of the canned fruits at all.  Moreover it is so unhealthy. 

I decided to post this recipe at the request of one of my friends who enjoys my cooking and is especially very fond of this cake because its taste some how reminds her of the indian bakery cakes which she adored as a child.

Eggs - 2
Sugar - 1 Cup
Vanilla - 1 tspn
Flour - 1 Cup
Baking powder - 1 tspn
Salt - ½ tspn
Milk - ½ Cup
Butter- 1 tblspn
Crushed pineapple - 1 cup or subsitute for 1 crushed pineapple can 
Pineapple juice - 1 cup fresh juice or from the can. 
Fresh ripe strawberries - 1 cup
Kiwi, strawberries and pineapple, mango, peaches or any other fruit to decorate.

 MethodPreheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Beat the eggs, add sugar gradually, add vanilla essence. Mix the dry ingredients and stir it into the egg mixture. Heat the milk and butter and add to the batter and stir well. Grease a 9 X9 inch pan, dust with flour and pour the cake batter in it. 
 Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 mins.
Let the cake cool for 1 hr then cut the cake into two equal halves. Do it carefully either with the help of a sowing thread or a knife. Pour the pineapple juice generously and evenly on the insides of the cake and let there not be any dry areas here and there. Leave for sometime - 10 mins. 

 Spread the cool whip icing or whipping cream on the cake.
Make a stuffing with chopped strawberries and crushed pineapple and close the cake after putting the stuffing. Make a stuffing with chopped strawberries and crushed pineapple and close the cake after putting the stuffing.
 Spread the whipping cream or cool whip icing on all over the cake - on the top and sides. Decorate with Strawberries, pineapple, peach, mango or kiwi slices. 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Roast Chicken Zafrani

This is a traditional recipe that has been circulating in our family ever since we came to Canada. It is chicken  roast indian style with no vegetables and is very flavourful and tasty. The chicken just comes off the bone and is very juicy and flavourful. It is enjoyed with naan, biryani rice or any kind of rice. It is the technique of baking the chicken that makes the chicken soft and juicy. It has to be first marinated for atleast 2 hrs then baked in a covered roasting pan at a low temperature then uncovered and roasted in the oven for another 20 - 30 mins (setting on convection roast) till it is nicely roasted on all sides.

Whole Chicken - 1
Ginger garlic paste- 1 tblspn
Cloves -5-6
Saffron - 1/8th of a tspn
Almonds - 1/4 cup ground
Dhania powder - 1tspn
Red chilly powder - 1tspn
Turmeric powder - 1/2 a tspn
Vegetable Oil - 1 tblspn
Lemon juice - 2 tblspns

Grind the ginger & garlic to a fine paste and get all the dry ground and whole spices ready.

Clean and wash the chicken, drain and towel dry. Heat a small frying pan with oil. Add the cloves, immediately followed by ginger garlic paste, turmeric, dhania and red chilly powder, then ground almonds stirring well after each addition. Cook the masalas till you get an aroma. Remove and let it cool down for sometime.

Take a pinch of saffron crush it to a fine powder with a mortar & pestle, add a few drops of water to it and pour it in the marinade after it cools down. This is to retain the saffron flavour.

Meanwhile make slits all over in the chicken - in the thighs, drumsticks, breasts etc. Rub the chicken with salt and lemon juice leave for 15 mins then marinate the chicken with this masala. Leave for atleast 2 hrs. Preheat to oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Put the chicken in a roasting pan add 1/2 a cup of water, tightly close the lid and bake in the oven for 1 hr. After 1 hr change the setting to convection roast & raise the oven temperature to 375 degrees. Roast uncovered for another 20 - 30 mins. Keep basting the chicken every now and then with its own juices so that it remains moist throughout. Remove when nicely roasted. If there are any juices left pour them over the chicken before serving. Serve hot with rice, naan or rumali rotis and enjoy!

Pistachio Almond Choc truffles

Almonds - 1 cup
Pistachios - 1cup
Chocolate chips - 1cup (semi-sweet)
Orange blossom water- 2 tblspns
Fresh whipping cream - 2 tspns

Method:  Pound coarsely 1/4 cup each of the almonds, pistachios and the choc chips separately. Keep this coarsely ground mixture aside. Grind together coarsely the remaining almonds, pistachios and chocolate chips. Add the orange blossom water and fresh whipping cream and mix well with a rubber spatula until moist. Shape into small round balls, roll them in the coarely ground nut mixture and then leave them in the refrigerator to chill and set - at least a couple of hours. Enjoy!

Tapioca Coconut Laddus

Tapioca Laddoos (Pindaloo ke Laddoo) were my grandma's favourite when I was a child. She loved eating these as a snack in the late afternoon. I still remember how she would pop a whole laddo in her mouth and chew it with her gums as she had not a single tooth left to help her in her endeavour. She would still enjoy all the juicy bites and every bit of it. It was more fun watching her eat than eating it myself.

Tapioca - 2 medium size - 5 cups
Coconut (finely grated)- 2 cups
Clic cream (175gm) - 1/2 can
Sugar - 1 cup

Method: Wash and clean the tapioca in running water. Boil them in a big pot of water. When they are done their thick skin would start cracking. Remove, drain and let them cool down first, then grate them coarsely. Add 1 1/2 cups of the grated coconut, sugar and cream to the grated tapioca. Mix everthing well. Make them into laddoos then roll them in the grated coconut and set aside. Put them all one by one in colored baking cups and chill them in the fridge. Enjoy when chilled.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Sweet Potato Focaccia - Peasant Style!

I had left over roasted sweet potato lying in the fridge and I wanted to make good use of it. The thought of making chaat or eating it with sprinkled cinnamon, brown sugar/honey was not appealing. The other day I made flat bread (rotis) out of it and enjoyed eating them all myself. But this time I thought that the kids who are always picky and have canadian taste buds wouldn't like it. So I finally embarked on the idea of trying foccaccia with roasted sweet potato and fresh rosemary. I imagined the taste in my mind - the sweet foccaccia bread with the rosemary flavour combined with fresh vegetable toppings - will definitely be a success! So I tweaked my recipe for regular foccaccia a bit by adding egg and increasing the flour quantity and lo and behold, it worked out very well.

All purpose flour -4- 41/2 cups
Quick rising yeast- 1 tblspn
Lukewarm water - 3/4 cup
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Egg - 1
Sweet potatoes - 1 medium size
Olive oil - 4 tblspns
Green &; red peppers - 1 each
White button mushrooms - 6
Red onions - 1/4 cup sliced
Green / Black olives - optional
Tomatoes - 1 diced
Fresh rosemary herb - 1 small strand (can be substituted with basil/oregano)
Mozzarella/cheddar cheese - optional

Roast the Sweet potatoes in a baking pan at 400 degrees fahrenheit in a preheated oven for 1/2 an hr to 45 mins till they are tender. Poke them with a knife before keeping them in the oven otherwise they burst when overdone and are left in the oven unattended. Peel them when they cool down, mash well and set them aside.

 Take a cup of water and warm it in the microwave for 40 seconds. It should be lukewarm to touch. Add 1 tblspn yeast and 1/2 tspn sugar, mix well and leave it to rise - 5 mins. Meanwhile put 3 cups of flour in  the food processor, add salt and pulse it till it mixes well. Now add the egg, mashed sweet potatoes and pulse again, followed by the yeast solution. Keep pulsing at short intervals till the dough is formed. Now add 1 tblspn olive oil to it and pulse more till the dough starts spinning. This means the dough consistency is reached. The dough starts spinning when it is elastic. we need an elastic kind of dough to get a spongy texture in the foccaccia. At this stage remove the dough from the processor, roll it in the shape of a ball and put it in a greased container, cover it with plastic wrap or a plate and let it rise for 45 mins to 1 hr. Preheat the oven at 400 degrees fahrenheit. When the dough doubles in size, take it and put it on a greased pizza pan without punching or flattening it. Now start working on it from the sides by pressing it with your fingers and spreading it  like a pizza bread. The dough is so spongy that you can dig your fingers into it and make impressions like tiny craters. Sprinkle the remaining olive oil generously so that it fills the little craters.

Dust with dried oregano and basil, then spread all the cut vegetables on top. Press them a bit and bake in the second position in the oven for 15-20 mins till it crisp on the bottom and very lightly golden on top. You may add cheese towards the end. Just wait for the cheese to melt and remove. Cut them into wedges or squares and serve hot. It is very filling and nutritious. Enjoy!