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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Palak Paneer


When I think of something gourmet in vegetarian dishes, the first to pop in my head is paneer.  So if there is some party/get-together at home and I need to make some special vegetarian dish, I always make something in paneer. It is for Thaara's 3rd birthday party, I  tried making Palak paneer for the first time and every one loved it. Palak paneer needs no introduction at all. So going straight to the recipe.


What are the ingredients needed?

Frozen spinach, 2 cups
Paneer, 250 gms
Tomatoes, 2 nos.
Oil, 2 tbs
Bay leaf, 1 no
Cloves, 3 nos
Cinnamon, 1 small stick
Onions(Large), 1 no.
Ginger garlic paste, 1 tsp
Cumin powder, 1 tsp
Chilli powder, 1 tsp
Coriander powder, 2 tsp
Garam masala powder, 1 tsp
Turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp
Kasuri methi, 1 Tbs
Salt to taste



How it is made?
  1. Dice the paneer into cubes and fry them till they are lightly browned and set them aside.
  2. Blanch and puree the tomatoes and set them aside.
  3. Microwave the spinach for 5 minutes and puree them.
  4. Heat oil in a pan, add bay leaves, cloves and cinnamon, fry them for a minute or two and add the chopped onions and saute them till they turn translucent.
  5. Add the ginger garlic paste, add cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and turmeric powder. Then add the pureed tomatoes and let it cook for 3-4 minutes.
  6. Then add the pureed spinach, salt to taste,mix well and simmer for another 3-4 minutes.
  7. Now add the paneer cubes and cook them covered for another 4-5 minutes, now add the kasuri methi leaves, mix them well and cook them for a minute or two and turn off the heat.
  8. Serve them with rotis or rice.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Chicken Kuzhambu Recipe - Chettinad style

Today's recipe is Chicken Gravy made in Chettinad style. My Hubby loves chettinad style non vegetarian dishes a lot. When I was browsing through the recipes, came across lot of different recipes. This may not be the most authentic recipe,but with simplifying the process and trying to replicate the taste, I ended up with this one.  It tasted finger licking delicious. 


What are the ingredients needed?

To marinate
Chicken - 1.5 lbs
Yogurt- 2 tbs
Salt, (just right enough for chicken)
Turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp
Chilli powder, 1/2 tsp

To grind
Coconut, 1/4 cup
Large Red Onion, 1 no.
Fennel seeds, 1 tsp
Black Peppercorn, 1.5 tsp
Cumin seeds, 1 tsp
Cloves, 3 nos
Cinnamon stick, 1 small
Ginger, 1 " piece
Garlic, 5 cloves
Poppy seeds, 1 tsp
Dry red chillies, 2 nos.

Other ingredients
Oil, 2 Tbs
Large onion (chopped), 1 no.
Green chillies (slit), 2 nos.
Curry leaves, 2 sprigs
Garlic, 6-7 cloves
Tomatoes(diced), 2 nos.
Turmeric powder, 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder, 2 tsp
Salt, to taste
Cilantro, to garnish




How it is made?
  1. Clean the chicken and marinate it with the ingredients listed for minimum of an hour.
  2. Grind all the ingredients listed under it, to a fine paste.
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add the chopped onions, garlic , green chillies and curry leaves and saute till the onions turn translucent.
  4. Then add the chopped tomatoes, turmeric powder, coriander powder and cook till the tomatoes turn mushy.
  5. Then add the ground paste and cook in low flame till the raw smell is gone.
  6. Now add the cleaned chicken, salt to taste and add water and let it simmer in low flame for 15- 20 minutes till oil separates.
  7. Switch off the stove and garnish with cilantro and serve.
Note:
  • Traditionally, they use pearl onions (chinna vengayam),but I replaced it with regular red onions. 
  • If you want this to be cooked quickly, you can pressure cook them till it whistles then turn the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes. Then when the pressure releases, check the consistency and if it is little watery to your liking simmer for some more time and it is ready.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Cauliflower Kurma | Side dish for Chappathi

Today's recipe is Cauliflower Kurma. It is prepared in Chettinad style and it can be served  as a side dish to chappathi. 

Cauliflower Kurma for Chappathi

Recipe Source: Chettinad Recipes

What are the ingredients needed?

Cauliflower, 1 small
Medium size Tomatoes (chopped), 2 nos
Oil, 2 Tbs
Fennel seeds, 1 tsp
Salt, to taste
Turmeric powder, 1/2 tsp
Water, as needed
Cilantro, to garnish

To grind together

Grated coconut, 1/4 cup
Chopped Onion, 1 no.
Cashew nuts, 10 nos
Roasted Bengal gram (pottu kadalai), 1 Tbs
Poppy seeds, 1 tsp
Cardamom, 3 nos
Cloves, 3 nos
Cinnamon, 1 small piece
Garlic, 3 cloves
Green chillies, 2 nos
Red chillies, 2 nos
Coriander seeds, 1 tsp

Cauliflower Kurma , side dish for chappathi

How it is made?
  1. Chop cauliflower into small florets and cook them for about 3-4 minutes till they are half done.
  2. Grind together the ingredients listed under to grind together.
  3. Heat the oil in the skillet, add fennel seeds, once they sputter add chopped tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy.
  4. Then add turmeric powder, ground paste and cook till the raw smell is gone. Then add cauliflower, mix well. 
  5. Add water to get the desired consistency, add required salt and let it simmer for 5-6 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat, garnish with cilantro.
  7. Ready to be served with chappathi.

Side dish for chappathi, cauliflower recipes

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Chocolate Almond Fudge/ Chocolate Badam Burfi

Today I am posting Chocolate Almond Fudge or Chocolate Badam Burfi. This dessert is inspired from two dishes- one from Srivalli's Microwave Chocolate Burfi and the other the recent cake I made Reina de Saba- Chocolate Almond Cake. A little bit of this, a little bit of that, a combination dish is born. So it is chocolate and almond combination again and it is made in microwave, in a jiffy. But of course you have to wait for the fudge/burfi to set, so that you can slice it and enjoy. That is the hardest part. :)
Me and my daughter made this burfi  together. She was telling me, " Amma, I dont need your help, this is so easy, I can do it all by myself".Anyways I cannot leave a 5 yr old to handle this alone. When I left the burfi to set in the refrigerator, she did not have patience to wait, so took her out and when we came back it was set. Sliced them, took some pictures, as usual she helped me and after that  She finished most of the burfis by herself. She loved it. Anyways it is chocolate, it is a wonder only if she doesn't eat it. 


What are the ingredients needed?

Condensed milk, 1 tin (396 gms)
Cocoa Powder, 2 Tbs
Sugar, 2 tsp
Butter, 4 tsp (room temperature)
Pulverised Almonds, 5 Tbs
Toasted almonds(chopped), 3 Tbs
Almond Extract, 1/4 tsp


How it is made?
  1. Mix all the ingredients together such that they are mixed well without any lumps.
  2. Then microwave for 2 minutes.
  3. Take out, mix well and microwave again for 2 minutes.
  4. Again take out and mix well and microwave for another 2 minutes.
  5. Prepare an 8 * 8 square pan by applying butter.
  6. Then pour this mixture into the prepared pan and let it cool.
  7. Once cooled, leave it in refrigerator for another 30 minutes to 1 hour till it sets.
  8. Then slice and enjoy.



Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hot Cocoa


I found this recipe in the back of Hershey cocoa powder container. It is the "Perfect Chocolate'y" Hot Cocoa. It is for the single serving. Of course, the mug has to be big. I really don't understand the combination of hot cocoa and marshmallows but my daughter always wants them together. So if I have to lighten up her mood, bribe her for something this hot cocoa really works very well. But Hubby sure does complain about the sugar in it. So taken in moderation, it is definitely a delight. 


What are the ingredients needed?

Milk, 1 cup
Cocoa powder, 3 Tsp
Sugar, 2 Tbs
Salt, a small pinch
Vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp
Marshmallows (optional)


How it is made?
  1. Mix cocoa powder, sugar and salt. 
  2. Heat the milk in microwave for 1 and 1/2 minutes or until its hot.
  3. Then add 1/4 cup of hot milk to the cocoa mixture, stir well until they are well mixed without any lumps.
  4. Add the rest of the milk, vanilla extract and mix well.
  5. Serve hot as is or serve with marshmallows. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

2 minutes Chocolate Mug Cake

Today's recipe is 2 minutes chocolate mug cake.i.e., the time for mixing it and making it ready is 2 minutes. I found this recipe, even before I started blogging and have been making this mug cake whenever I feel like having cake but not enough patience to bake a whole cake and wait for more than 30 minutes to get that ready. This is easy, takes less time and since everything is mixed in the mug itself, easy for cleaning. I have been wanting to post this recipe here for quite sometime now and finally posting it today. 


Original recipe from Home of the lazy dog

What are the ingredients needed?

All-purpose flour, 3 Tbs
Cocoa Powder, 2 tsp
Baking Soda, a pinch
Salt, a pinch
Sugar, 2 Tbs
Vegetable Oil, 2 tsp
Water, 2 Tbs
Vanilla extract, 1/4 tsp
Chocolate syrup, to drizzle on top
Chopped almonds to decorate




How it is made?
  1. Combine flour, cocoa, salt, sugar and baking powder in the mug.
  2. Then add vegetable oil, water and vanilla extract and mix well till they are homogeneous and there are no lumps. 
  3. Then place in microwave and switch it on for 1.5 minutes.
  4. Let it cool, drizzle some chocolate syrup, decorate with some chopped almonds and enjoy.


Note:
  • Alternatively, you can mix in another bowl, transfer to the mug and microwave. If doing in the mug itself, take care to see all the flour is mixed well. 
  • Take care not to microwave for long, then the cake will be dry, settings of each microwave may be different, check yours and adjust the timing accordingly.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Reine de Saba avec Glacage au Chocolat- Queen of Sheba Cake- Chocolate almond cake with Chocolate icing

 Today being the 100th birthday of Julia Child, this cake is a tribute to her. For those who do not know who Julia Child is- She was an American chef, cook book author and a famous television personality who was known to bring french cuisine to the American Public through her cookbooks and television programs. I myself didn't know about Julia before entering the blogging world. 
This week had been pretty hectic for me and I had  to bake the cake at the last moment. Finally baked the cake yesterday. Whatever can go wrong went wrong. First the egg whites, as I was beating they turned watery, had to discard and start all over again. Then when the cake was baked, I had to let it cool away from kids hands, was carrying it, my son screamed and I almost dropped it, in the process of saving broke the cake to two. But anyways covered it with icing. Sliced some almonds to use them for decoration.
All in all, the effort for baking this cake was more than I usually put in, but learnt a lot baking this. Really glad that I baked this cake,as I have never tasted a cake this delicious in my life. The rich chocolate almond combo in this soft spongy cake made me fall in love with it.


What are the ingredients needed?

For the cake:
Semi sweet chocolates, 4 oz/ 4 squares
Rum/coffee, 2 Tbs
Unsalted Butter (room temperature), 1/2 cup/ 1 stick
Granulated Sugar, 2/3 cup + 1 Tbs
Eggs, 3 nos ( whites & Yolk separated)
Salt, a pinch
Lemon Juice, 1/4 tsp (optional)
Pulverized Almonds, 1/3 cup
Almond extract, 1/4 tsp
Cake flour, 1/2 cup

For the chocolate icing
Semi sweet chocolate, 2 oz
Rum/coffee- 2 Tbs
Unsalted butter (room temperature), 5-6Tbs


Chopped almonds, for decoration.



How it is made?

Baking cake:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Grease and flour the 8 inch cake pan and set it aside.
  2. In a pan melt the chocolate with brewed coffee over a large pan of simmering water. 
  3. Cream the butter and sugar for several minutes till the mixture is fluffy and pale white.Then blend in the egg yolks.
  4. With a electric beater, beat the egg whites in a slow speed, add a pinch of salt and lemon juice then increase the speed till soft peaks are formed. Then sprinkle a Tbs of sugar and keep beating till the stiff peaks are formed.
  5. Then with a spatula add the melted chocolate to the butter sugar mixture and blend them in with almond extract and pulverized almonds. Then alternating egg whites and cake flour  fold them in gently till they are fully incorporated. Take care not to over mix them it will deflate the egg whites.
  6. Pour the batter in the prepared cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  7. Cool the cake pan for about 10 minutes and then remove from the pan. 
  8. Let it cool completely before applying the chocolate icing.

To prepare icing
  1. Melt the chocolate with coffee in a small pan over a large pan of simmering water.
  2. Keep a large pan of ice cold water ready.
  3. Once the chocolate is melted, transfer the chocolate pan to  the ice water pan and mix the butter one tbs at a time until they are firm enough to spread. 
To decorate the cake

Evenly spread the icing on the cake and decorate it with chopped almonds.

Slice, serve and enjoy!!



My notes
  1. Since I didn't want to use the rum, used freshly brewed coffee. 
  2. Also I used semi sweet chocolate chips, so used 1/2 cup of it for the cake and 1/4 of it for the icing.
  3. Take 1/2 cup of all purpose flour, take a Table spoon of flour away from it and add a Tablespoon of corn starch, sift them together and use as a substitution for cake flour.
  4. For pulverizing the almonds, just took the whole almonds and powdered them in a food processor. 
  5. To check the done'ness of the cake, the cake will be puffed to the top of the pan, the tooth pick inserted comes out clean. However, the centre of the cake should move slightly when the cake pan is shaken gently.
  6. Tips for beating egg whites:
  • The bowl and the beater used should be clean with no traces of grease or even egg yolks.
  • Eggs should be of room temperature. Chilled egg whites don't mount well. 
  • Lemon juice is used as a stabilizer. Alternatively you can use cream of tartar or vinegar.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Mocha Snack Cake.

 Today's recipe is Mocha snack cake. The cake is rich, soft and doesn't require any icing and they can be just snacked on.


The recipe is adapted from Land O lakes

What are the ingredients needed?

All purpose flour, 1 1/2 cup
Un-sweetened cocoa, 1/4 cup
Baking powder, 1 1/2 tsp
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Freshly brewed coffee, 1 cup
Butter(room temperature), 1/3 cup
Sugar, 3/4 cup
Egg, 1 no
Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
Chocolate syrup/ Powdered sugar


How it is made?
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F and prepare an 8" square pan by greasing and flouring it.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together, add the egg and vanilla and mix them well.
  3. Then combine flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder.
  4. Add this mixture little by little to the butter mixture, alternating with little coffee mixture  till they are all fully incorporated.
  5. Pour the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 25- 30 minutes till the tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Let it cool. Slice and serve.
  6. I served them with chocolate syrup. Or you can just sprinkle some powdered sugar and serve.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Mocha Granita

I absolutely love coffee, but on the contrary my hubby loves tea. Also according to him, coffee is bad for health so he restricts me from having it once a week. One afternoon was watching food network and came across this mocha granita by Melissa d'Arabian and instantly wanted to try this. Coffee and chocolate make a great combo and it is very easy to make and perfect for this weather so there was no stopping. 



What are the ingredients needed?

Freshly brewed coffee, 1 1/2 cups ( room temperature)
Milk, 1/2 cup
Sugar, 1/4 cup
Chocolate syrup, 2 Tbs
Whipped cream topping(optional)


How it is made?
  1. Mix the coffee, milk, sugar and chocolate syrup until they are well combined.
  2. Transfer them in a freezer safe container.
  3. Freeze them till they are firm, stirring every 45 minutes. 
  4. Before serving, scrape it with fork to form crystals.
  5. Scoop the granite into the serving dish of your choice, top it with whipped cream and enjoy.


Friday, August 10, 2012

Honey Tea Bread

I was planning to bake bread, since long, but because of the tight schedule, that was pending. I was browsing for inspiration and came across this Honey tea Bread, made a few changes and baked. It is a quick bread, soft, has got a mild taste of tea and is sweetened with honey. Perfect to serve with Tea or even breakfast.



What are the ingredients needed?

All purpose flour, 2 cup
Baking powder, 2 tsp
Baking Soda, 1/2 tsp
Cinnamon powder, 1/2 tsp
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Strongly brewed tea (black tea), 1/2 cup (at room temperature)
Milk, 1/2 cup
Honey, 1/2 cup
Freshly grated ginger, 3/4 tsp
Oil, 1/4 cup
Egg, 1 no
Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
Dried fruits, 1/4 cup ( I used raisins and cranberries, 50: 50)
Chopped Walnuts, 2 Tbs


How it is made?
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. 
  2. Prepare the loaf pan by greasing and flouring it and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt.
  4. In another bowl combine milk and tea and beat in the egg, honey, vanilla extract and oil.
  5. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and gently mix them.
  6. Finally fold in the dried fruits, nuts and grated ginger till they are fully incorporated.
  7. Pour the batter to the prepared pan and bake for 45- 50 minutes, till the fork inserted in the centre comes out clean.
  8. Remove from the oven, let it cool for 10 minutes and remove from the pan.
  9. Let it cool completely before slicing them. 
  10. Slice, Serve and Enjoy.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Potato Peas Poha | Aval Upma with Potato and Peas

Potato Peas Poha is a simple variation to regular Aval/Poha Upma. Potatoes and Peas are added to make a wholesome and healthy Breakfast. It is so quick and easy to make too. 




Monday, August 6, 2012

Banana Muffins

Every now and then,  when there are over ripe bananas the first thing that comes on my mind is Banana muffin and I have been baking them often. But still I haven't posted them on the blog. So this weekend just for blogging, baked some muffins. The muffins were soft and light, and within few minutes from baking, they were fast disappearing. Courtesy: Hubby and Kids. This shows how much they like them. :)
The recipe is from Joy of Baking and I only change I did from the original recipe is substituting white granulated sugar with light brown sugar. 


What are the ingredients needed?

Over ripe bananas, 2 nos.
All purpose flour, 1 3/4 cup
Light Brown Sugar, 3/4 cup
Baking powder, 1 tsp
Baking soda, 1/4 tsp
Salt, 1/4 tsp
Ground cinnamon, 1 tsp
Eggs, 2 nos
Unsalted Butter(melted and cooled), 1/2 cup
Vanilla extract, 1 tsp


How it is made?
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350  F. 
  2. Prepare the muffin tray by placing the paper liners or alternatively you can grease and flour the pan. 
  3. Mash the over ripe bananas and set them aside.
  4. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt,sugar, baking powder, baking soda and ground cinnamon.
  5. In  another bowl, combine mashed bananas, Melted butter, vanilla extract and to this add the lightly beaten eggs and mix well.
  6. Then add this mixture to the flour mixture and mix well till they are fully incorporated into a homogeneous mixture. Don't over mix them, then the muffins will be rubbery.
  7. Pour the batter to the prepared muffin tin and sprinkle some chopped walnuts on top and bake for 20 - 25 minutes until its done and the tooth pick inserted in the center, comes out clean.



Friday, August 3, 2012

Rasmalai- with Ricotta cheese | Easy to make Ras malai

Today being Rakshabandhan, wanted to make something special for the day. I am too sentimental about this particular festival as it is all about the bond between a brother and sister. Me and my brother share such wonderful bond. But it is more than 4 years since I met him and especially today I missed him a lot. I felt a little better after having video chat with him in the morning. I hope atleast next year, he is with me so that I can tie rakhi in his hand. 
But we have the next generation, sister and brother at home, my kids  and this is their 2nd Rakshabandhan. My daughter was all excited to tie rakhi to her brother. But the little one, if he understood anything, I don't know. It was really nice to see the kids follow all this.
On this special day, would like to wish you all, HAPPY RAKSHABANDHAN!! 


The special dish I chose to make is Rasmalai with ricotta cheese. It was pretty easy to make and tasted very close to the authentic version. This is sure to impress anyone, you serve this dessert.

 

What are the ingredients needed?

Ricotta cheese, 15 oz
Sugar, 3/4 cup
Cardamom, 5 nos.
Whole milk, 2 cups
Condensed milk, 1/2 cup
Saffron, a pinch
Almonds, chopped for garnishing


How it is made?

To make ricotta discs,
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Powder 1/4 cup of sugar and 2 cardamom and mix them with ricotta cheese.
  3. In a muffin pan, equally divide this mixture and bake for 40- 45 minutes until it is set. The tooth pick inserted comes out clean.
  4. Let them cool completely, before removing from the muffin pan.
To make the syrup
  1. In a sauce pan, boil the milk  and add the condensed milk, sugar and simmer in low flame till it reaches the desired consistency.
  2. Powder a tablespoon of sugar with 3 cardamoms. and add to this mixture mix well and add the pinch of saffron and mix well and keep it aside to cool down.
  3. Once it reaches the room temperature add the ricotta pieces and let it soak for at least an hour. 
I prefer to serve it chilled. So left it in the refrigerator until ready to serve. 
Enjoy!!

Notes
  • While powdering the cardamom, remove the outer skin and use only the seeds. The skin doesn't grind well and if you get a bite of that in a dessert, it's definitely a turn off. 
  • If there are any excess water in the ricotta remove them, before starting the process.
  • I used 2 spoonful for each muffin cup and it yielded 12 ricotta balls. 
  • Take care not to burn the ricotta while baking, depending on how much cheese in each pan and the oven the timing varies, so keep a close watch.
  • Let the ricotta discs cool completely before removing from the pan, it will break when it is hot. 
  • Also the syrup has to be in room temperature.