Sunday, December 1, 2013

My mama's fried chicken


My kids still have a vivid memory of their visits to their grandma's house in India in their childhood where they enjoyed her mouth watering fried chicken which she loved to serve them. And now whenever they visit me they want to eat their Nani's (grandma) special chicken. Therefore I carry her tradition. It is a simple recipe, but I believe her magic potion was love which she poured into it that made the difference and kicked it up a notch. 
Here's the recipe!

Ingredients:

Chicken - 1 whole
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbs
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder(deghi/kashmiri mirch)- 2 tsp
Vegetable oil - 2 cups to fry
Lemon juice - from 1/2 a lemon or 1 lime.
Salt to taste.

Method:  

1. Remove the skin, cut the whole chicken into 12 pieces, clean wash and drain them.

2. Rub the chicken pieces with salt and lemon/lime juice and leave aside for 15 minutes.

3. Mix together freshly ground ginger garlic paste, turmeric & red chilly powder and rub the chicken with it. 

4. Steam it on medium heat for a few minutes till it turns opaque or is half cooked. It will be a bit soupy at the bottom. Do not throw away this soup. Remove from the stove. Leave aside to cool. 

5. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan or dutch oven and on medium high fry all the chicken pieces till golden brown and crisp. Do not over fry as they would become hard like charcoal.  Drain on paper towels.     
                                                                                                                                 
6. Now throw in all the fried chicken pieces in the sauce, spoon in a teaspoon or two of hot oil to the sauce then toss and turn over to coat them evenly. Enjoy with rice and salad.

Maamoul fillings

Maamoul fillings:

The filling inside the mamoul is what breathes life into it. The outer soft velvety texture of the cookie combined with the crunchy, nutty, sweet and fragrant filling inside kicks it up a notch and one bite of it is enough to place you in the seventh heaven! That is why I love the fillings with nuts - either almonds or walnuts or pistachios or mixed nuts.  Pistachio mamouls are my husband's favourite and mine too.

As for the fillings with dates, I would recommend using finely chopped dates or home made date paste (made with good dates) instead of the store bought one which is mostly stale and is gritty.

One more important ingredient is the orange blossom water. It enhances the taste of the mamoul with its intoxicating fragrance. You cannot do without it. I would say you cannot call it a mamoul if there was no orange blossom water in it.

Using honey and icing sugar with the nuts gives it a crunchy texture.

You may also use different variations such as choc chips, sweetened dried coconut etc..





















Ingredients:
Nuts (Pistachios/Almonds/Walnuts/mixed nuts - 1 cup
Icing sugar - 1/4 cup
Honey - 2 tbs
Orange blossom water - 1 tbs

Method:
1. Put the nuts in a zip lock bag. Take a pestle or a hammer and pound the nuts coarsely.

2. Transfer them to a bowl. Add a major portion of the icing sugar, saving just a little to dust later.

3. Add orange blosssom water. Mix well with a fork.

4. Drizzle the honey and mix well again.

5. Dust a little more icing sugar from what you saved earlier.

6. Make small rounds of them and keep it ready for stuffing the mamouls.
















7. For the dates filling, chop finely or grind the dates. Add orange blossom water, dust with a little icing sugar, mix well and use this for stuffing the maamouls. For the complete maamoul recipe click here.

  

Sunday, November 3, 2013

White Methi Chicken

The aroma that emanates when fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves are sautéed in ghee or oil is tantalazing! Methi added to any vegetable or meat gives a very good flavour to the dish. I wanted to make white chicken with yoghurt and no onions and flavour it with methi. The result was amazing.

Here's the recipe!

Ingredients:
Chicken whole - 1
Methi (fenugreek) leaves - 1/4 cup
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Dried red chillies - 2-4
Green chillies whole - 2 - 4
White chilli powder - 1/2 tsp
Dhania powder - 1 tsp
Yoghurt - 1 cup
Garlic paste - 2 tsp
Salt to taste
Lemon juice - juice of 1/2 a lime
Corn flour - 1 tsp
Half and half - 1/4 cup or use Coconut milk
Ghee - 1 tbs
Vegetable oil - 1 tbsp.

Method:
1. Clean, wash and cut the chicken into 12 pieces at the joints. Drain, towel dry the chicken pieces and keep them aside. Wash and dry the methi leaves and keep them aside.

2. Mix together 1/2 cup yoghurt, garlic paste, dhania powder, white chilli powder and vegetable oil. Rub the chicken with salt and lemon juice and leave for 10 mins. Then marinate the chicken with this marinade for about 2 hours.

3. Heat the ghee in a sauce pan. Add the dried red chillies and cumin seeds.

4. As soon as the cumin seeds crackle add the methi leaves and roast them on medium heat. This releases an aroma and the methi leaves turn dark green and crispy.


5. Add the marinated chicken to the pan. Roast the chicken well in the ghee till it is golden.


6. Whisk the remaining yoghurt well to dissolve any lumps and then add it to the chicken. Add the green chillies and mix well.


7. Add a glass of water, adjust the flavouring, add salt if necessary. Lower the heat and simmer till the chicken is tender and juicy.


8. Whisk the corn flour in one tbsp. water and add it to the chicken to thicken the gravy slightly.


9. Add half and half or coconut milk. I added half and half. I will try with coconut milk next time. It   should be good too.

10. Simmer for 2 - 4 minutes. Remove from the stove and serve hot with boiled or fried rice. Enjoy!





Sagudana kheer (Porridge)

This is a quick dessert I made after watching the Junior master chef India  (06th October, 2013 episode). Master chef Vikas Khanna makes this kheer (porridge) with sugar cane juice and flavors it with mint and rose petals. But I gave a twist to the recipe by making the kheer with coconut milk scented with fresh rose petals and sweetened with cane sugar.
The kheer was just delicious! The coconut flavour combined with the scent of fresh roses was heavenly. We couldn't stop eating.

 Here's the recipe!


Ingredients: 
Sagodana pearls- 1/2 cup
Cane sugar cubes - 2 inch square or sweeten as per taste
Coconut Milk - 1 cup
Rose petals - Fresh petals from one rose
Nuts - Almonds, pistachios etc (optional)

Method:
1. Soak the sagodana in 1 cup of water for at least an hour.
2. Dissolve the cane sugar cubes in the coconut milk and bring it to a boil.
3. Drain the soaked sagodana and add to the boiling milk.
4. Add a few rose petals.
5. Keep stirring till the sagodana pearls turn transparent and the milk is absorbed.
6. Turn down the heat and serve warm.
7. You may garnish with some strands of saffron and chopped nuts.

Tips:
1. Add honey or maple syrup instead of .cane sugar for a different flavour.
2. Add the sagudana to the coconut milk only after it boils.
3. Use a large saucepan instead of a small one, otherwise the sagudana would turn soggy.



Monday, September 23, 2013

Bottle gourd (Kaddu/Lauki) Barfi


As a child I loved the kaddu (bottle gourd) ki mithai (as we called it) that my mom used to make. She would first cook it in the pan on the stove and then bake it in a huge silver plated brass pie plate with a heavy lid. As we had no gas or electric oven she used her primitive baking technique of placing it over a layer of burning coals and then adding another layer of burning coals on the lid. It was amazing to watch her bake using this technique whenever she made traditional sweets or indian pies and cookies like baked halwa pooris, nan khatai etc. 

I made this recipe based on estimates by tasting as my mom used to do, but I kept a tab on what and how much I was adding each time. My mom would dissolve the saffron in milk and add it to the mixture while cooking. But I decided to use it more as a garnish. I also added pistachios to complement the green color of the bottle gourd. The result was fabulous!  The intense sweet milky taste combined with the juicy and chewy texture of the gourd kicked up a notch. Indeed, it did taste like my mom's kaddu ki mithai that I used to enjoy. 

Here's the recipe: 

Ingredients:
Bottle gourd    - 1 cup  after squeezing out the water
Khoya            - 350 gms (dried milk)
Ghee               - 2 tbs
Sugar               - 1 1/2 - 2 cups
Milk                 - 2 tbs 
Saffron             - a pinch
Pistachios         - 2 tbs
Green liquid food coloring - a few drops

Method: 
1. Peel the bottle gourd cut off the stem, trim the bottom and cut it into two halves vertically.
2. Scoop out the pulp and seeds in the center with a teaspoon and discard them.
3. Grate the gourd finely, squeeze out the juice by hanging it in a cheese cloth overnight or for a few hours. 
4. Melt 2 tbs ghee in a non-stick sauce pan on medium heat and lightly fry the grated gourd till it turns translucent. 
5. Add 1 1/2 cups sugar, mix well. 
6. Grind the khoya to a fine powder and add to the pan. Add 2 tbs milk, green food coloring and mix well. Add more sugar if needed according to how much sweeter you want it.
7. Cook on low or medium low heat only while stirring continuously. 
8. Allow the gourd mixture to thicken and when it starts leaving the sides of the pan, remove and put it in a baking dish greased with ghee at the bottom as well as on all the sides. 

9. Sprinkle the saffron threads and halved pistachios on top, cover with tin foil and bake in an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees fahrenheit for 20-25 mins or till lightly golden at the bottom. 
10. Remove from the oven, allow it to cool down, then chill it in the refrigerator, cut into diamond shapes and serve chilled. The bottle gourd burfi is ready to enjoy. 

Tips: 
1. Cook very gently with patience on low and medium low heat only.
2. Take care not to over brown or burn the grated gourd shreds while cooking or baking. 


Thursday, September 12, 2013

Paneer Pepper Melange


This is a quick and simple paneer dish very easy to make but so tasty to eat! 




Ingredients: 
Paneer - cut into small cubes (1/2 of 340gm pack)
Red bell pepper - 1
Green bell peppers - 1
Tomato - 1 medium size
Green chillies - 2 small 
Cilantro for garnish
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Dried red chillies - 2 medium size
Fresh garlic clove - 1 chopped
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Black Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs
Salt to taste

Method: 
1. Heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil in a non-stick saucepan. 
2. Add dried red chillies, cumin seeds, followed by chopped garlic. 
3. Stir in diced green and red bell peppers and fry them for 2 mins. 
4. Throw in the diced tomato, give it a good stir and quickly add the paneer cubes and green chillies.
5. Sprinkle salt, pepper and blend in all the masalas (coriander, cumin, turmeric and red chilly powders) with the paneer.
6. Turn over gently and cook till the paneer pieces are well coated with the masala and are soft and golden. 
7. Sprinkle garam masala powder, mix well, garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with chappatis, paranatas or puris. 



Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Minty Kebabs



My failed attempts to make kebabs like the ones we used to enjoy at the Kareem's restaurant in Old Delhi left me frustrated. I still dream about their taste - so flavourful, juicy and spicy too.

My kebabs were always dry no matter what I did and when I tried to make them moist they would crumble and fall while they were being grilled. I always used extra lean meat to keep them healthy. But my husband would argue and justify saying: "It is the fat that keeps the kebabs moist. All the restaurants use some fat in their kebabs and all that fat drips off when you grill them", which took me a while to digest. Anyway, I decided to try them out with medium beef at his request, thinking, I am not going to make them often. Well I have an alternative for healthy eaters:  you could try my koubideh which are made with extra lean ground beef.

 The medium ground beef did do the trick and my kebabs did turn out well this time and did not fall off when I grilled them. Not only this, the Shaan's Chapli Kebab spices combined with fresh mint and cilantro enhanced their flavour.  I rarely use store bought spice mixes in my cooking except for a few selected dishes like Haleem, Nihari and Chapli kebabs as it turns out easy instead of an elaborate preparation.  The chapli kebab spices have whole coriander, cumin and garam masala spices in them with white flour. So I decided to grind them fine. Then I added the fresh mint and cilantro.  And I was very happy with the end result. They turned out not only juicy and flavourful but were very close to the ones we ate at Kareem's restaurant in Old Delhi.

My family loved them so much. I forgot all about the fat and enjoyed every bite of them.

Here's the recipe!

Ingredients:
Medium ground beef - 350gms
Shaan's Chapli kebab Masala - 1/2 pack
Cilantro - 1/2 cup
Mint - 1/4 cup
Vegetable oil - 1 tbs
Veg oil for basting - 1tbs
 Flat metal skewers

Method:
1. Rinse the ground beef quickly in running water in a strainer without making it soggy. Let it drain a bit so that it is not watery. You don't need to rinse it if the beef was washed before grinding.

2. Take half of the Shaan's chapli kebab masala from the pack, place it in a dry grinder and grind it fine.

3. Wash the fresh mint and cilantro and towel dry them, then add to the grinder and grind them all together.


4. Mix together the ground beef, the ground masala and one teaspoon of vegetable oil.

5. Brush the skewers with oil as this makes it easier to slide off the kebab when it is done. With clean wet hands take a golf size ball of the prepared ground beef and wrap it around the skewer till it holds together. Clean and wet your hands again and shape it into a nice, long, smooth and round sausage then with your index and middle finger mimicking scissors pinch the kebab from one end to the other alongside to form ridges. Smoothen the edges.

6. Repeat the steps for all of them. Leave enough room on either side of the skewers so as to rest them on the grill.
























7. Set your oven to broil on high (or 550 degrees fahrenheit).

8. Take an old cookie sheet and cover it with tin foil. Place the skewers on the cookie sheet. Then place it under the grill in the top position of the oven.

9. Broil for 3 mins on each side. Do not over cook as they would harden. When you see them turning golden brown turn over and cook for another 3 mins till they are just done. Keep some tin foil ready. Remove them from the oven. Discard the fat/oil drippings. Wait for sometime till they cool off a bit. Slide them off with your hands (wearing clean oven proof gloves) into the tin foil and wrap them up immediately.  This helps in retaining the moisture and heat till you serve them. You have to be very careful and use oven gloves while handling the skewers as they are very hot.

10. Serve them hot with rumali roti (thin flat bread like a hand kerchief) or naan and yoghurt mint chutney which you can make by grinding together 1/2cup each of fresh mint and cilantro, 1 small green chilly, 1/2 an inch ginger, salt and pepper. Then add this to 1/2 a cup of whisked sour yoghurt.

11. You can spread the yoghurt chutney on the Naan or rumali roti, place a long kebab inside, top with sliced red onions sprinkled with lemon juice and chaat masala, roll it into a wrap and enjoy!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Maamoul Cookies

Maamouls are what I would call, cookies from Heaven!! They melt in the mouth and make you feel like you are in the seventh heaven. These little goodies, packed with rich nuts, scented with orange blossom water and sweetened with honey are so addicting that you would never want to stop eating them.



























Here's the recipe.

Ingredients:
White flour - 4 cups - 6 cups
Unsalted butter - 1lb chilled
Sugar - 1/2 cup
Salt - 1/4 tsp
Chilled water - 1/4 cup
Orange blossom water - 2 tbs
Maamoul mold

Method:
1. Cut the chilled butter into cubes.

2. Place the flour, salt and sugar in the food processor and pulse 2 or 3 times.

3. Add the butter and pulse again  3 or 4 times, till the mixture resembles coarse bread crumbs.

4. At this stage add the orange blossom water followed by chilled water little by little with each pulse till it forms into a soft dough. Squeeze the dough to check. It should  be soft but not sticky.

5. Pound the nuts coarsely. You can use different fillings with mixed nuts (almonds, pistachios and walnuts) or just pistachios or just almonds in combination with honey/icing sugar and orange blossom water. You can also use just date paste mixed with orange blossom water. Or dates and mixed nuts with orange blossom water. For the maamoul fillings recipe click here.

6. Make small round balls of the dough. Make slightly bigger balls of the filling. You can use different moulds for different fillings.

7. Make a depression in the small rounds of the dough then shape them like a bowl by swirling around with your fingers . Place the ball of the filling in the bowl, close the circle over the filling and smoothen it like a ball. Please note that there should be a considerably thin layer of dough around the filling (not so thin that the filling comes out on baking and not so thick that there's hardly any filling inside). Keep a paper towel handy to wipe your hands each time you touch the filling otherwise the dough would get discolored with your sticky fingers and it would be hard to give shape.





8. Roll the filled rounds in the flour, dust the mold too with a little flour then overturn it and tap to shake off the excess flour.

9. Place the filled maamoul in the selected shape in the maamoul mold and press it with your palm.

10. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

11. Now tap the mold on the edge of the cookie sheet so that the maamoul stuck in the mould falls off on to the cookie sheet. Repeat with the rest of the maamouls.

12. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit. Bake the maamouls for around 10 -12 minutes till the base of the maamoul is lightly golden brown. After 12 mins take a flat thin spatula and lift the base of a maamoul to see if it is done. Switch off the oven and leave them inside for 3-4 minutes.  Remove when they look firm at the top and lightly golden brown at the base.



13. Cool on wire wrack for one hour. Dust them with icing sugar after they cool down completely and enjoy.

Tips: 

Do not store these cookies in the fridge. Store them in a cool dry place in an air tight container or cookie jar. They stay fresh outside for 2 - 4 weeks. You may freeze them if you want to store for longer periods of time. But bring them to room temperature before serving them.







Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Murmuree Bhindi

I was kind of inspired by Master Chef India when I made this dish. I wanted to make it healthy so instead of deep frying the bhindi as they do, I stir fried it using besan flour to keep it crispy and it turned out well as I had anticipated it.



Ingredients:
Ladies fingers or Okra - 1lb
Peanuts crushed - 2 tbs
Curry leaves - a few
Dried red chillies - 2
Garlic finely chopped - 2 medium sized cloves
Onions sliced - 1 medium
Dhania powder - 1 tsp
Cumin powder - 1/2 tsp
Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
Besan powder (chickpea flour) - 1 tbs
Salt to taste
Lemon juice - 1 tsp to sprinkle.
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs

Method:
1 Cut the Bhindi/Okra  lengthwise into thin slivers after rinsing and wiping it dry,
2. Heat the vegetable oil in a sauce pan on medium heat, Add dried red chillies, mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle add the fried onions, chopped green chillies(optional) and curry leaves.
3. When the onions start sweating a little add the cut up bhindi, stir fry a bit with the onions, then add the besan powder and all the spice powders listed in the ingredients including the fresh chopped garlic.
4. Stir fry the bhindi in the masala on medium heat till it turns nice and crisy.  Sprinkle some lemon juice, then add the crushed or pounded peanuts, adjust the salt, give it a stir, then add chopped cilantro and serve with rice or chappatis. Enjoy

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Braided pastry logs


My sister-in-law is a great cook. During my visit to Montreal to see her, I got to taste her pastry puffs. She made them into squares with ground beef and red pepper filling. They were so delicious that I enjoyed every bite of them!  I loved the texture of the pastry dough so much that I got this recipe from her to share with you all.

I gave a twist to this recipe by shaping the puffs in the form of a braided log. This not only gave a unique look but also kept the filling moist. And this time I used my own indian style filling which also enhanced the taste of the pastry well. You could in fact use any filling of your choice. And shape the pastry in your own way. Here's the recipe!

Ingredients: 

For the Pastry Dough:
White Flour - 3 cups
Eggs - 1
Butter (chilled) - 1/2 cup
Sour cream - 3/4 cup
Baking powder - 1
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Sugar - 1 tbs

For the Beef filling: 
Ground Beef - 1 lb
Onions - 2 (medium size)
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1tsp
Coriander - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Tomato paste - 1 tbs
Green chillies - 1 big or two small ones.
Cilantro - 1/4 cup
Cloves - 4
Green Cardamoms - 4
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs
White flour (just to sprinkle) - 1 tsp

Egg wash 
1 egg white beaten with one tbs milk

Pastry dough:

1. First to make the pastry dough, add baking powder, salt and sugar to the white flour and pulse the food processor one or two times.

2. Cut the chilled butter into small cubes and add to the processor, then pulse again.

3. Now add the beaten egg and sour cream. Combine everything well on low speed.

4. Remove dough and knead it with a little flour if it is too moist. Cover with a damp towel and set aside. 

Ground Beef Filling: 

1. Rinse the ground beef in a sieve. Keep a bowl under it and let it drain a bit.

2. Heat the oil in a sauce pan on medium heat. Fry half the finely sliced onions till soft and slightly golden.

3. Add ginger garlic paste, turmeric, red chilly powder and coriander powder. Mix well.

4. Roast the ground beef with salt in the masala till the water drains and it leaves an aroma. This will take 4-5 mins. Add tomato paste with half a cup water.  Sprinkle a little flour to make it bind. Mix well.

5. Cut the green chillies into small pieces on the cutting board with the remaining onions after sprinkling a little bit of salt. Crush the onions with the green chillies and salt and incorporate everything together with the knife. This makes  the onions sweat a little and also gives a flavour to the filling.
  
6. Add this onion mixture to the ground beef on top. Keep the cloves and cardamoms on one side of the pan. Top with chopped cilantro. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes till the water is absorbed and the filling is moist. Remove from stove.

7.Mix well and leave it to cool. Before using the filling don't forget to remove the cloves and cardamoms.

Method:

1. Roll the pastry dough into a big circle on the pastry board. Divide into 2 semi circles. Roll and shape each into a rectangle around 4"x9". 

2. Mix grated cheddar cheese with the ground beef filling and spread it horizontally on one side of the pastry sheet as seen in the picture.



3. Gently roll the pastry over half way while tucking the filling inside like a log. Make slits at the edge on the other side as in the picture.

4. Brush the edges of the strips with egg wash.

5. Now criss cross the strips on the log and stick them on the opposite side. The egg wash at the ends makes them stick well. Braid in the same fashion till the end of the log.

6. Brush with egg wash and finally to decorate sprinkle with black poppy seeds. Make sure the bottom of the logs is dry. So dust the pastry board with flour before working on the logs. 

7. Transfer the logs to a cookie sheet, greased and dusted with flour.
















8. Bake the logs in an oven preheated at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 20 - 25 mins till golden brown. Cut the braided pastry logs int 3 inch pieces and enjoy!





Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pineapple Kachumbar Salad

"Kachumbar" is a medley of finely chopped fresh raw salad vegetables and is usually served as a side dish. It is made with finely chopped fresh onions, tomatoes, green chillies and cilantro with lemon juice and salt. It is a great condiment with kebabs, samosas, fried chicken, biryani etc.. I changed the traditional "Kachumbar" by adding pineapple and giving it a kick. It was so refreshing and everybody enjoyed it. 

Make this on a hot summer day for lunch as I did, it is so refreshing, that you would just love it!



Ingredients:

 Pineapple(fresh) - 3 or 4 slices
 Onions - 1 medium
 Tomatoes - 1 or 2
 Red bell pepper - 1/2
 Green chilly - 2
 Fresh Cilantro - 1 cup

Dressing:

Juice of half a lemon
Pomegranate syrup - 1 tbs
Chopped ginger - 1/2 a tsp
Salt and Pepper
Olive oil - 1 tbs

Method: 

1. Chop finely 3 or 4 slices of pineapple into very small bits. Peel, wash and finely chop the onions. Wash, deseed the tomatoes and finely chop them with a sharp knife. Finely chop the red bell pepper, 1 green chilly and fresh cilantro.

2. Take a salad platter. First layer the chopped pineapple, then the chopped tomatoes followed by onions chopped with one green chilly and finally the chopped red bell pepper as shown in the picture. Now arrange the chopped coriander on all the four sides like a border. 

3. Whisk together all the ingredients of the dressing. Pour the dressing all over the salad just before eating. Mix well and enjoy.


Thursday, April 4, 2013

Banana Halwa Cake

Banana halwa cakes


This recipe is my own creation. But I was kind of inspired by chef Sanjeev Kapoor's Banana Halwa recipe.The name itself made me imagine a yummy taste, but when I read the recipe it made me feel heavy. It is no doubt a delicious recipe made with rich ingredients (like khoya, ghee, cashewnuts, sugar etc), but not quite suitable for my kids' taste. First of all they hate indian sweets because they are so sweet and secondly they don't like anything heavy which all indian sweets are. So I decided to make it in my own way. I wanted to use edible gum and flour in combination with the bananas. I couldn't imagine how it would turn out but at the end, nothing went wrong as everything pulled together and the banana halwa cake evolved on its own. Everybody loved it!



Here's the recipe.

Ingredients:
Ripe Bananas- 4
Condensed milk -1 can
White butter- 1/4 +1/8
Durrum wheat flour-1 cup
Edible gum- 1 tbs
Vanilla cream - 1/4 cup
Black Poppy seeds- 1/4 tsp
Almonds - 1/2 cup + 6 for decoration

Method:
1. Melt 1/4 cup butter in a non-stick sauce pan on medium heat. Add the flour and toast until well combined and smooth.

2. Pulse the edible gum with the almonds in a grinder and grind to a fine powder.

3. Add the ground almonds and gum to the toasted flour in the pan and toast the whole mixture well till you get an aroma.

4. Fold in one can of condensed milk and blend well with a spatula so that there are no lumps anywhere.

5. Now grease a cake pan and set aside.

6. Add the remaining 1/8th cup butter to the sauce pan. Mix well. Keep turning the mixture over in the pan and when it starts leaving the sides pour the mixture in the cake pan and then bake in the preheated oven at 350 degrees fahrenheit for 10 mins.

7. Remove and let it cool. Spread vanilla icing on top. Sprinkle some black  poppy seeds and cut into desired shapes.

8. Leave it in the fridge to chill for sometime and enjoy with a cup of tea.

Alternatives:

You can try with white flour instead of durrum wheat flour and use less condensed milk if you want it less sweet. Also try with khoya and brown sugar instead of condensed milk. And substitute almonds with walnuts.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Traditional Samosa Puffs



These samosa puffs are not made from puff pastry dough but from the same dough for samosas. They are layered and shaped like puffs and on frying become crunchy like a samosa. This is a popular recipe running in my husband's family - my mom in law's favorite snack and I love it too.

Here's the recipe.

Ingredients for the dough:
White flour - 4 cups
Vegetable oil - 1/4 cup + 2 tbs
Baking powder - 1/2 a tsp
Salt - 1 tspn
Water as needed

Fillings of your choice: Chicken filling, Shrimp mushroom filling, Lamb/beef filling, potato paneer filling or potato peas filling.
Chicken filling

Chicken/Lamb/beef filling: 
Ingredients:
Chicken breast ground: 1lb
Onions- 1 big + 1 very small.
Ginger garlic paste -1tsp
Green Chillies - 2- 4 small ones (you can omit them if you don't want it spicy or just use one. But they give a good flavour to the filling.  Slitting them and removing the seeds also lessens the heat).
Cilantro - 1 cup
Cloves - 2
Dark Cinnamon bark - 1/2 an inch
Green Cardamoms - 2
Dhania(coriander) powder-1 tsp
Turmeric - 1/2 tsp
Vegetable oil - 2 tbs + 2 - 3 cups for deep frying the samosas.
Beef filling

Method:

For the Filling:
1. Make the chicken mince using a mincer using clean and dry chicken breast cubes cut into cubes. Keep the mince aside.
2. Chop the small onion (1/2 cup). Heat 2 tblspns vegetable oil in  a pan Add whole cinnamon bark, cloves and green cardamoms followed by the chopped onion. Fry till golden brown.
3. Add ginger garlic paste, Kitchen king masala, chopped green chillies and turmeric. Mix and cook well.
4. Add sliced onions chopped green chillies (optional) and cilantro, close the lid. Do not stir or mix.
5. Once the meat is cooked, remove and allow it to cool.
6. Remove all the whole spices (cloves, cinnamon & cardamoms) that were added as you don't want to bite into them when you are eating the samosa puffs. They are only added for flavouring the dish.

For the dough:
1. Take 4 cups of flour, add salt and baking powder. Add 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil and process it in a food processor. Add water little by little through the tube and pulse it again and again till it forms into a soft and pliable dough. It should not stick to your hands. Pulse it more and when it starts to spin it is time to remove it. Cover with a moist tea towel and set aside.



Roll the dough on a pastry board to a 1cm thickness

Cut into strips 3" x 3".  Brush with vegetable oil and dust with flour.

Pile the strips one on top of the other - the dry side on top of the greasy side.

Cut into squares. Roll the squares on both the sides.

Add the filling in the center. Brush the two sides of the triangle with flour paste  flour mixed with water to form a spreadable paste or you can use beaten egg white). Close the triangle by pressing the sides a little away from the edge. This helps in making the edges flaky on frying. 

Fry them in moderately hot oil by gently pushing the oil towards the edges in a rowing motion so that the edges open up a bit and look flaky. Turn over and fry till they turn crispy and golden brown. 


Drain them on paper towels. The Samosa puffs are now ready. Serve them hot with chutney or ketchup. Mint chutney, tamarind chutney and chilli garlic sauce are good accompaniments.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Cranberry sun-dried tomato chutney


Ingredients: 
Fresh Cranberries - 1 pack
Sun-dried tomatoes - 1 cup
Thai red chillies (pricked) - 10
Green chillies (pricked) - 5 (optional)
Dried red chillies - 4 (optional)
Vegetable oil - 1 cup
Cumin seeds- 1 tblspn
Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tblspn
Red chilly powder - 1 tblspn
Brown sugar - 1/2 cup
Juice of one big lemon
Garlic cloves peeled - 6-8
Crushed garlic cloves unpeeled - 2
Vinegar-1 cup
Mustard seeds - 1tspn
Kosher Salt - 1/2 - 1 tblspn or as required.

Method:



1. Wash and drain the cranberries and keep aside.
2. In a bowl mix together sun-dried tomatoes, peeled garlic cloves, thai red chillies and half the vinegar.
3. Dry roast separately the cumin and fenugreek seeds. When they cool down grind them and set aside.
4. Heat 1 cup of oil in a sauce pan. Add mustard seeds and when they crackle add the dried red chillies followed by the 2 crushed unpeeled garlic cloves and pricked green chillies (if left unpricked they burst when put in the hot oil). Then immediately add the cranberries, ground cumin-fenugreek powder and red chilly powder. The whole process has to be done very quickly and carefully without letting any of the ingredients burn.
5. Add to this, the sun-dried tomato mixture from the bowl  followed by the remaining 1/2 a cup vinegar, salt, brown sugar and lemon juice. Give it a good stir and remove from pan.
6. Let it cool down, then fill it in a glass/ceramic jar.

The cranberry sun-dried tomato chutney is now ready to enjoy.