Wednesday, December 17, 2014

No Bake Coconut Souffle with Pomegranate Jelly

Yum
 


Twinkling stars and decked up trees, the red nosed Rudolph and jolly old Santa, festive wreaths and shiny angels, joy and hope, reds whites and greens; it's so difficult to contain the excitement that Christmas brings along. 




 And equally enticing is all the food that happens during the holiday season. 'Tis the time for cakes, cookies, rolls, pies, roasts, loaves, gravies and so much more. To add to your long list of recipes to try out this festive season is this recipe for a no bake coconut souffle with pomegranate jelly. Believe me when I say that this is one smashing dessert you can whip up with minimal effort.



The recipe for this souffle appeared in the Pachakam magazine. It was served on a base of cooked pineapple. While the souffle was great, I felt the pineapple base was a bit too sweet. I paired it with pomegranate jelly instead, and the end result was quite good (though I say so myself). 



Recipe

For the coconut souffle
(Closely adapted from Pachakam magazine)
1 egg white
1 tin condensed milk (400 grams)
1 tin coconut milk (400 ml)
3 teaspoons powdered gelatine
1/4 cup cold water
Juice of one lemon

Method:

Spinkle gelatine into 1/4 cup cold water. Leave for a few minutes to hydrate and swell up.

Beat the egg white in a clean, dry bowl till stiff.
Melt gelatine in a double boiler. Beat together condesed milk, coconut milk, melted gelatin and lemon juice. Mix with egg white. Pour into individual containers or a large pudding mould. Refrigerate till set or for atleast two hours.

For the pomegranate jelly

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon powdered gelatine
1/4 cup cold water
1 1/2 cup pomegranate juice
A pinch red color (optional)

Sprinkle gelatine into 1/4 cup cold water and let it bloom.

Bring 1/2 cup water to boil. Mix in sugar and stir till it dissolves. Remove from heat and add gelatine mixture to the hot sugar solution. Stir till the gelatine melts. Add juice along with color and let the mixture cool down a bit. 

Spoon the pomegranate mixture onto the set coconut souffle. Let it set again in the refrigerator.

Decorate with stars before serving.




Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Schezwan Chicken Noodles

Yum


Kaala Vaalu pokumbol ariyam enthinennu. Likewise, when you see the recipe for sichuan sauce on a blog, you can be sure that another schezwan recipe that uses this sauce is on its way soon.

And I chose to share the recipe for Schezwan noodles which is a wildly popular dish of the Indo Chinese cuisine. The recipe I have for you today uses a lot of vegetables, chicken (which can be replaced with tofu or mushrooms for vegetarians) and my hot and garlicky sichuan sauce that will make your taste buds go gaga.










To make the schezwan chicken noodles, I used the following ingredients:

200 gram hakka noodles (dried)
1 cup carrot, julienned
2 cups capsicum, julienned
1 egg
1/2 cup spring onion greens, chopped into 1" pieces
1/2 cup shallots, each chopped into 4
1 cup chicken strips
2 tablespoons sesame oil
To Taste, salt and pepper

For sauce:

3 tablespoons schezwan sauce (Recipe here) or add as per taste
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons water
1 chicken stock cube, powdered
1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 tsp cornflour

Method:

Cook the noodles according to package instructions till al dente, drain well and keep aside.

Whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce.

Heat a few drops of oil in a pan. Pour in seasoned, beaten egg and swirl the pan. Once the omelette has set, roll it up and cut into strips. Keep aside.

Pour remaining oil into pan, and stir fry chicken and shallots until chicken is cooked. Season. Toss in carrot and cook for a couple of minutes making sure the carrots retain a bit of bite. Similarly, stir fry the capsicum along with the carrots, followed by the spring onion greens.

Take off heat and add the sauce, omelette strips and cooked noodles. Toss gently for a couple of minutes over low heat.

Serve hot.



Enjoy!



Thursday, November 27, 2014

Schezwan Sauce

Yum





I saw some videos of the Kiss of Love and my first thought was that these people needed to refine their technique somehow. The kisses looked nothing like the Hollywood kinds that make you weak in the knees. They weren't even as tasteful as an Emraan Hashmi kissing episode. Instead they made you avert your eyes till the voice of the news reader assured you that it was safe to look.
 

The Kiss of Love was supposed to be a protest against moral policing, sparked by a string of violent incidents perpetrated by Kerala's very own custodians of morality. I have no idea how saying 1, 2, 3 and springing into kissing action, in public, is supposed to safeguard your right to catch the late night movie with friends of the opposite sex, exchange teddy bears on Valentine's Day, wait for a bus all by yourself especially if you are a woman etc without being afraid of getting beaten up by an angry mob. And my doubts grew stronger as I watched two women kiss (each other) passionately, one eye on the camera. I realized the protest probably meant different things to different people. Like coming out of the broom cupboard (or is it closet?) for the gay couple, an exciting new experience for couples tired of doing it behind bushes, great ratings for news channels, an unexpected source of pleasure for all our countrymen witnessing it and a reason for everyone to make a lot of noise. The real issue of moral policing seems to be forgotten as the protest has become all about whether to kiss or not to kiss. On the plus side, everyone is now aware that consensual public kissing is our birthright.


 
And that's how it is in our great country. Nothing is ever what it's supposed to be. There is no love in the Kiss of Love, the whole world is interested in what you do and wear, and coming to my recipe of the day, did you know there are no Sichuan pepper corns in the Sichuan sauce we get here? We can't live without our weekly dose of the Sichuan noodles and Schezwan chicken stir fry from the local Ching Choo restaurant. But most of the time, the sauce added to these dishes doesn't have the core ingredient of Szechwan cuisine - the reddish Sichuan pepper corns. That's not to say it isn't tasty. It is hot and garlicky and so good that you need to have a small batch of it in stock for whenever a Schezwan craving strikes!


 
To make the Schezwan sauce (Indian style), you will need

25 dried red chilies
4 tablespoons finely chopped garlic
1 tsp finely chopped ginger
2 tablespoon finely chopped shallots
¼ cup water
2 tsp sugar
½ to ¾ tsp salt
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
4 tablespoons sesame seed oil

Remove stalks and soak the dried red chilies in hot water for half an hour. Drain and grind well. Heat oil in a wok over high flame. Add ginger and garlic and fry over medium flame for a minute or so till fragrant. Sauté shallots till they turn translucent. Add red chili paste and water and sauté till oil separates. Add water to adjust consistency. Mix in sugar, salt, vinegar and soy sauce and balance flavors as per taste.


Note: Use Kashmiri dried chilies for vibrant color and lesser heat.




PS: If you are planning to take part in the Kiss of Love event in Bangalore, I have one word of advice. Keep away from the schezwan sauce unless you want to blow away your partner - literally. It’s got loads of garlic.

PSS: I am all for individual freedom. Hope you have fun!



PSSS: I wish the moral police would focus their abundant energy on child rapists in the country. Go get them!





Bye!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Potato Chops (Vegetarian)

Yum
 
If I stand outside a married couple's window, I might get lucky. OK, that made me sound like Palakan, the peeping tom in my village who struck fear and disgust in the hearts of many young women, and who also served as a boxing bag to many young men. But I don't belong to the same genre as him, I assure you. Having nursed a burning desire for a high end phone for sometime now, I am simply hoping to catch an iPhone that a frustrated wife throws out because she feels the phone gets more attention than she does.
 


 
Do you think I am exaggerating? Listen to some excerpts from conversations with friends:

"Truly, I tell you. Technology is the enemy of marriage." (Seriously, a friend said this!)

"I gave him an ultimatum. Either me or the phone. Guess what he chose."

"WhatsApp kandu pidichavanne kitiyaal, avante thala manda adichu pottikaam." (I'll break the skull of whoever founded Whatsapp.)

"I decided to give him the silent treatment. And you know what, he didn't even notice."

   

 

 
His idea of babysitting is dumping the kids before the TV while he plays a game online. He bursts out laughing every now and then looking at that wretched thing in his hand but he doesn't bother to share the joke with her. He is engrossed in it even at the dining table where he pays no attention to what she has cooked but dutifully likes the food experiments of random strangers on FB. He doesn't take her out even to the grocery store because, 'di, I'll buy everything online for you on big basket'. She finds out what's happening in his life by going through his messages and status updates while he is asleep.

He doesn't even pretend to listen to her anymore because the phone has created for him a whole new private world of which she isn't a part.




Of course, some ladies have caught up and have gone online with their partners. So, she takes a pic of her famous fish curry and posts it from her kitchen. The picture travels all over the net and beep, is on his mobile phone in the living room. Looks delicious, he comments. She replies with a smiley face. And not just him, a whole lot of other people like it too. Guess the internet does bring everyone closer together!

So for all you ladies who are simply bored and looking for something fun to do and post about, I have just the right recipe. These potato chops are mashed potato with spices and chilies, coated in gram flour batter and deep fried to spicy deliciousness. Reduce the kick in it and even the kids are going to love it.



Potato Chops Recipe
Adapted from Vanitha (Lekshmi Nair Recipe)

You will need:

2 large potatoes, cooked and mashed with hands or a fork
2 green chilies, finely chopped (or as per tolerance)
1 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon garam masala powder
To taste, salt
Oil, to deep fry

For the besan coating
1 cup gram flour (besan)
1/2 to 3/4 cup water
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
3/4 teaspoon red chili powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 

Method:

Mix together the mashed potato, green chilies, ginger, turmeric powder and garam masala. Adjust seasoning. Shape into rounds about 5 cm in diameter and 1 cm thick.

For the coating, mix together gram flour, turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and slowly whisk in water to form a smooth batter. The batter should be a little thick but have pouring consistency.

Heat oil in a wok over medium high. Dip each potato ball into the batter and drop carefully into the hot oil. Fry till golden brown. Remove with slotted spoon and serve hot.

I served the potato chops with this cooling yoghurt and tamarind dip. It tastes great with tomato sauce or this coriander chutney as well.

Yoghurt and Tamarind Dip

Mix together half cup of yoghurt with a scant tablespoon of tamarind syrup, scant teaspoon of sugar and salt to taste.

Notes
~ I cooked the potatoes in a pressure cooker. Two whistles should be enough. 
~ Do not use a potato ricer to mash the potatoes.
~ Use the cooked potatoes on the same or the next day itself to make chops.
~ Add in finely chopped herbs of choice for extra flavour.

Enjoy! 



Monday, November 3, 2014

Chocolate Mousse Layer Cake

Yum

My friend Crl told me recently that November was upon us and it was almost time to soak raisins in rum (for Christmas cake). And that statement plus all the wonderful baking happening on Rachel Allen's Cake Diaries made me want to bake a cake more than anything else ever did! 

 

Determined to make something spectacular, I made this four layer chocolate cake with a rich, decadent chocolate mousse frosting. The cake itself tastes like an extra chocolatey and fabulous version of chocolate cakes made from ready mixes. But the dark chocolate frosting is what makes this cake truly, deeply divine. For those of you who love chocolate, this is just the thing you need.


And while a four layer cake may sound intimidating, this cake was quite easy to make. And I say this inspite of the fact that since I have only one 23 cm tin,  I had to measure out the ingredients for one cake, whip up the batter, bake it, wait for it to cool before removing it from its tin, and repeat the entire process for the next cake. And I also didn't use an oven for baking but made it on my stove like I had baked this tea cake!



Ingredients:

For the cake: 

100 g butter, plus extra for greasing cake tin
8 eggs 
300 g caster sugar 
200 g plain flour, plus extra for dusting cake tin
75 g cocoa powder 
3 tsp baking powder 
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the dark chocolate mousse 

275 g dark chocolate 
6 eggs, separated 
175 g butter, softened 
3 tbsp rum

Recipe

Chocolate cake

Butter two 23 cm cake tins. Sprinkle over some plain flour and tap off excess. Line the bottom of the tins with cut out parchment paper.

Melt butter over low heat and set aside to cool down.

Choose two large vessels with lids into which the cake tins can fit snugly. Once the cake tin is in, you should be able to cover the vessels. I used a large aluminum pot for this.

In a large bowl, beat eggs and sugar together. I used a hand held electric whisk and beat at low and medium speeds alternately for about 8 minutes. The batter should hold a figure of eight in the bowl for a couple of seconds.


  
Put the aluminum pots (or whatever vessels you are using) onto the stove over highest flame. Cover the vessels.

Sift plain flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into the beaten eggs and fold in gently and as quickly as possible so as to not loose too much of the air beaten into the eggs. Pour in the vanilla essence and the melted butter and fold in again, till there is no unincorporated flour.

Divide the batter between the cake tins. Quickly remove the lids of the vessels heating up on the stove and pop the cake tin in quickly. Reduce heat to the lowest, cover and bake for about 35 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean.


Remove cake tins from the vessels and let the cakes cool down for 5-10 minutes in the tins. Then, run a knife along the edges of the tins and ease out the cakes. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Mousse 

I followed the exact method given here.

Assembling the cake

To layer the cake, place it on an inverted plate. Find the centre on the side of the cake, hold a bread knife flat against this point(even a slightly titled knife will cause the layers to be uneven) and divide the cake into two layers with back and forth motions of the bread knife. Repeat the same for the next cake.

Place the bottom half of one of the cakes on the cake stand. Using a spoon or a palette knife, spread over some of the mousse in a layer about 5mm thick, then sandwich with the other half of the cake, placing it cut side down. Again spread over some mousse over the cake, and repeat with remaining layers till the four layers of cake are sandwiched together.

Cover the top and sides of the cake with remaining mousse and smooth it out with a palette knife.

Notes: 

~ The original recipe includes 1/4 tsp of salt in the cake batter. But I skipped it since I was using salted butter. 

~ If using an oven, bake the cake in a preheated oven at 180 C.

~ If you, like me, have only one cake tin and are planning to half the recipe and make one cake after the other, then it would be easier to write down the cake recipe with halved quantities of each ingredient. Especially if you are as careless as I am.

~ In the chocolate mousse, you can substitute dark rum with brandy, whiskey, orange liqueur rum, or 1 tsp vanilla extract as per the original recipe. I added a bit more than the recipe called for just to make sure that the mousse did not taste eggy.


Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

One Pot Sausage Pasta

Yum





There are women (and men) out there who feel that every meal for their family should include, but not be limited to rice, roti, a vegetarian side, a non vegetarian side, a salad, curd rice and a sweet. There are also super people out there who cook a fresh meal every time instead of re heating left overs. In all honesty, I don't aspire to be one of them. Seriously, this is not a case of sour grapes. It is just too taxing and I would rather spend my free time watching people cook five course meals on TV.


This one pot pasta is the kind of meal I would be happy cooking and eating during busy week nights. There is very less cutting and chopping involved, takes only about 25 minutes to be ready from start to finish, and leaves only one pot and a cutting board to be washed up. It has sausages, bacon, melted cheese and tomato. So delicious that everyone is happy.  


You will need

200 grams rotini pasta
200 grams mozzarella cheese, cubed
200 grams sausage, chopped into small rounds
100 grams bacon, diced
4 tablespoons ready made pasta sauce
2 1/4 cup water and two cubes chicken stock (or 2 1/4 cups chicken stock)
1 teaspoon minced garlic
To taste, salt and pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Method:

Heat oil in a large pot. Toss in bacon and fry till crispy. Add garlic and sausage and fry over low heat till sausage browns lightly. Pour in water and powder in the chicken stock cubes, followed by the cheese, pasta sauce and pasta. Mix well, adjust seasoning and bring to boil. Cover and cook over low heat for 15 to 18 minutes.

Serve hot. Thank me later !



Enjoy!


Monday, October 13, 2014

Fish Balls in Soy Sauce

Yum

It was a glorious day. The morning mist had cleared and the sun shone brightly through the thick trees making the placid lake shimmer. Birds twittered melodiously, fawn skipped around and rabbits sniffed the scent laden air. The world was perfect just as god had intended it to be.

Inspite of being the ultimate masterpiece of god's magnificent creation, Eve wasn't happy. She studied her reflection closely in the lake and worried that some of her beauty was gone. Her face had lost its radiance and she spied some fine lines and wrinkles near her eyes, brown spots on her cheeks and even some sticky chip chip. Her hair had five problems and no solution.  Her skin tone was uneven with her exposed parts a nutty brown and the rest of it a creamy golden. Eve liked uneven colors only on a zebra.
Her underarms were dark and her cheeks burnt with embarrassment at the thought that Adam might have noticed them when she raised her hands to get an apple on a high branch the other day. She would have lived with all of this if only her wardrobe was a bit more interesting. But she used the same leaves everyday and she was as bored of them as the trees in autumn.

Eve was scared that Adam would loose interest in her. True, there were no other women around, but what if god put Adam to sleep once again and fashioned one more woman out of his remaining ribs? Especially since god wasn't very happy with Eve at the moment. He was still sulking about the raucous party that hell had thrown after the forbidden fruit fiasco.

The thought of loosing Adam to an as yet unborn woman gnawed at her soul so much that she decided to take hard and fast action. She sent Adam away to the far side of the forest to fetch some exotic berries. He was reluctant to go because he preferred fishing to foraging. Lazy mutt, sometimes she wondered why she bothered at all. Anyway, Eve shed a few tears and he hurried away just as she knew he would. As soon as he was out of sight, she set to work.

The first step was to revive the romance in her marriage along with her lost glow. She made a mud pack out of the mud from the Ponds near her and applied it on her face and neck. The mud was rich in intelligent pro cell complex and immediately regenerated the dead cells on her skin making her look 10 years younger. Her spots visibly reduced, lines smoothened out and her skin turned 7 shades fairer. Flushed pink with her success (and with all the scrubbing involved in removing the Ponds pack), she proceeded to her hair.

Eve's hair played a very important role in her fond memories with Adam. In the aftermath of eating the forbidden fruit, while Adam and Eve were seeing each other in a completely different light, Eve's beautiful locks mesmerized Adam more than anything else. She remembered how she used her curls to fashion a moustache for Adam. After every argument, they used to tie their hair together to signal a truce and strengthen their bond. Eve wanted to put an end to the hair breakage, dullness and split ends so she could continue her hair games with Adam.  She garniered some fruitis and crushed them into a paste. She hoped that this paste rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, pro keratin, pro v and the rest of it would be the all in one solution she was seeking to all her hair problems. And her wish was granted! Her hair turned long and strong; she had volume, shine and bounce. Yes, she used up some of the berries that Adam had saved for snacking on later but she didn't feel bad about it because she was worth it!   

Eve splashed some licorice extracts, pure aloe vera and witch hazel onto her armpits and cocoa butter on the rest of her body. 

It was time to create her new line of clothes. She decided to start with a piece that was understated yet vibrant, chic yet traditional. As her inspiration was nature, she decided the main fabric would be tree leaves with a few flowers and fruits to adorn them. She toyed with the structure of the garment and experimented with proportions till she had it exactly the way she had envisioned. It had the back cut out, side slits and a flattering silhouette and the color made the brown of her eyes pop.

Pleased with everything so far, she took a bath in the warm springs. She braided flowers into her hair, dabbed honey onto her lips, rubbed juice from crushed rose petals onto her cheeks and slipped into her new dress. She murmured a word of thanks to god for providing her with all the Forest Essentials required to make things beautiful.

Feeling like the most beautiful woman in the world, she waited for Adam to return.

And there he was, huffing and puffing, bag of berries in hand and looking, well, tired. Excited, Eve chirped her welcome, paraded back and forth and asked Adam if he noticed anything different. It took a moment for the question to register, and when it did, Adam took a couple of steps back as if he had been threatened. He looked exactly like a bunny caught in a trap.

Did you redo the cave - again, he gulped. He looked as lost as he did that day when he failed to notice the new grass mat and stone bench cushions.

NO, you wouldn't notice anything about the cave even if there was a herd of elephants in it. I was asking about me. What do you think?

Adam looked closely. Your tummy looks kind of round. One look at Eve's face and he knew that wasn't the right answer. No wait. Yours cheeks are red. Did you eat the poisonous berries again? Um, no? Um...I don't quite get it. What is it?

Eve couldn't believe it. How could Adam not notice her radiant face, her luscious hair, the smell on her skin and the little bursts of colour she had thoughtfully added to her look.  Angry and hurt, she retreated into their cave yelling that he was not the intelligent human he claimed to be but just some kind of an improvement on the uncouth apes.

Taking this as the cue for a headache and no night time action, Adam went to the lake to fish.

Eve cried herself to sleep wishing she had a woman in her life who would paint her nails and plait her hair.

Fishing rod in hand and loneliness in heart, Adam wished he had another man in his life with whom he could fish and drink root beer in silence.




There was a recipe for fish balls I posted a long time back. I wondered if this recipe for fish balls in soy sauce would be mistaken for a repetition. But that's not possible, not unless you are the kind of person who doesn't know the difference between Midnight Blue and Prussian Blue, kind of like Adam. :)


Recipe:

Source: Vanitha, most probably
For the Fish Balls:

1 tablespoon vegetable oil + oil to deep fry
2 tablespoons chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped ginger
1/2 tablespoon chopped green chili (or as per tolerance)
1 cup cooked, flaked and deboned fish such as tuna
1/2 cup cooked mashed potato
1 egg (yolk and white separated.
3/4 cup bread crumbs
To taste, salt and pepper

For the Soy Sauce

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 tablespoon chopped onion
2 teaspoons chopped ginger
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 cup fish stock
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 cup cold water
2 teaspoons cornflour
To taste, salt and pepper

Method:

To make the fish balls, heat oil in a pan. Saute onion, ginger and green chili till fragrant.  Mix in cooked fish and mashed potato. Take off heat and let the mixture cool down. Add egg yolk and mix well with fingers. Shape into small balls the size of a lime. Coat with lightly beaten egg white, followed by a dip in bread crumbs. Let the balls firm up in the fridge for half an hour.

Heat oil in a pan to deep fry on a medium flame. Drop in the fish balls and fry till golden brown. Remove with a slotted spoon and keep aside.

For the soy sauce, heat oil in a pan. Add onion, ginger and garlic and saute till onion turns translucent. Add chili powder and saute on a low flame for one more minute. Add fish stock and bring to boil. Add soy sauce. Meanwhile, make a paste of cornflour and water and mix in with the sauce. Boil and add fish balls. Let it cook for five minutes. 

Serve hot.

Note:

~You can make fish stock with the bones and head of the fish.
~You can toast bread to make bread crumbs. Or else use slightly stale bread. I used panko.





Enjoy!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Cheese Samosas

Yum
If we can have Italian origins in the leadership of our democracy, we can also have pizza flavored samosas. There is no rule against it. And you will be surprised at how successful atleast some of these combinations can be.




To make these samosas, you will need:

7 samosa leaves ( 21cm X 7 cm)
100 grams cheddar cheese, grated
100 grams mozzarella cheese, grated
1.5 tablespoon ready made pizza sauce
2 tablespoon finely chopped capsicum 
Plain flour + water, to make a smooth paste
Olive oil, to deep fry

Method:

Mix together cheese, sauce and capsicum.

Cut each samosa leaf into 3 squares of 7cm x 7cm dimension.

Keep all samosa leaves covered except the piece you are working with so that they don't dry out.

Spoon 1 1/2 teaspoon of the cheese mixture onto the centre of the square. Apply plain flour paste along all four edges of the square. Bring all four corners of the square together to enclose the filling. Press edges together to stick them. Don't overwork the leaf or it may tear.

Continue till all the leaves and cheese filling is used up.

Heat oil in a wok on high flame. Once hot, lower the flame to medium. Drop in the samosas one by one without over crowding the pan. (Since they fry quickly, it would be better to use a small wok, and fry 2-3 samosas at a time). Press over lightly with a spatula so that they remain submerged in oil. Remove with slotted spoon when golden brown and transfer to a plate lined with kitchen paper.

Serve your crisp samosas immediately.



Enjoy!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...