20 October 2016

Chinese Toffee Banana

I happened to watch this recipe on some food channel. It seemed so easy and yummy that I immediately set about doing it. Lucky I had all the ingredients in hand.

Serves 6

Ingredients

  • 2 bananas, cut into thick diagonal slices
  • 50 grams self raising flour (Use 1 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/4 tsp salt with 1 cup flour for homemade self raising flour)
  • 25 grams corn starch + some for dusting
  • 90 ml water
  • 1 tsp oil
  • Oil for deep frying
  • 120 grams sugar
  • Black and white sesame seeds for sprinkling


Preparation
  • Mix self raising flour, corn starch and water into a smooth batter. Add a tsp of oil and mix it well. (The oil is supposed to make it puffy.)
  • Heat oil in a deep pan
  • Dust the banana slices in corn starch, dip them in the batter and cook them in the hot oil in batches until crisp and golden brown.
  • In a heavy pan, add the sugar over medium heat and keep stirring it till it just forms a caramel (just as it turns brown). Switch off immediately and remove from the stove.
  • Toss the fried banana slices one after the other to coat them completely in the caramel and drop them immediately into a large bowl of ice water. This will set the caramel. 
  • Almost immediately, drain them and sprinkle with black and white sesame seeds.
  • Serve hot immediately or with ice cream.
Note
It is very important to coat the bananas immediately in the caramel before the caramel hardens.

12 October 2016

Greek Omelette

While browsing for different omelette recipes, I came across this recipe with gyro meat. That's when I started looking out for gyro meat recipes and tried it successfully. With gyro meat in hand, I was then able to make this delicious omelette for dinner. Recipe from http://www.shugarysweets.com/2014/04/greek-omelettes

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Salt to taste
  • 8 gyro meat slices
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 1/2 cup diced red pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Homemade Tzatziki sauce for serving (Recipe here: https://forthetastebud.blogspot.in/2016/10/gyro-meat.html)
Preparation
  • Pan fry the gyro meat slices on both sides until crisp.
  • Beat eggs with water and salt.
  • Heat 1 tbsp butter in a non stick skillet. Pour 1/4 of the beaten egg into the skillet. Cover and cook on medium heat. When the egg is almost cooked and still moist, add 2 tbsp feta cheese, red peppers and 2 slices of gyro meat in the middle. Flip one side over the filling and the other side over this and cook for another 30 seconds. Slide onto plate.
  • Top with homemade Tzatziki sauce and serve hot.

Gyro Meat

I happened to chance on this Greek dish while browsing for a Greek omelette. It looked very yummy and delicious. So I looked at a couple of Gyro meat recipes and used the ingredients from one and the procedure from another and got a very yummilicious gyro meat to serve with pita bread and tzatziki sauce. Recipe from https://manfuelblog.com/2015/08/23/easy-homemade-gyro-meat-recipe/ and http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/gyro-meat-with-tzatziki-sauce-recipe.html

Makes about 30 to 35 slices

Ingredients
  • 450 grams lamb mince
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
Preparation
  • Mix the lamb mince with salt, pepper and oregano. Form it into a tight ball, cover and refrigerate for at least one hour. (I refrigerated it for about three hours.)
  • Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  • Process the onion in a blender for 30 seconds and turn it out into a cheese cloth to remove all the juices.
  • Put it back in the blender along with the garlic and the refrigerated mince. Process it to a fine paste.
  • Line a rectangular baking dish with aluminium foil and place the mixture into it. Form it into a rectangular loaf, making sure it is uniformly flat.
  • Bake in the oven for about 60 minutes or until the internal temperature reads about 165 to 170 degrees Celsius.
  • Remove all the excess fat and place it in the cooling rack with a brick covered in silver foil over it for 10 minutes. (I baked in the convection of my microwave oven so I left it in the oven for 10 minutes with the brick over it.)
  • Slice it thinly and pan fry it over the stove top until browned and crisp on one side to get the crispy effect in gyro meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie.
  • Make a sandwich with about 3 or 4 slices of gyro meat, slices of onion, tomatoes and tzatziki sauce inside pita bread or on top of it as desired and serve. (Recipe for homemade pita bread tzatziki given below.)
  • Alternatively, you could serve gyro meat with only the tzatziki sauce.
Recipe for Tzatziki Sauce
Ingredients
  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (I found them in Nilgiris Supermarket in Chennai). Alternatively, you could use hung yogurt instead. (Yogurt hung in a cheese for at least 7 to 8 hours)
  • 1/2 English cucumber
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice or to taste
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup fresh or frozen dill (I used 3 tbsp dried dill)

Preparation
  • Dice the cucumber thinly and strain the juices in a cheesecloth.
  • In a bowl, combine the strained cucumber, yogurt, lemon juice, pressed garlic, dill, salt and pepper.
  • Refrigerate and serve.

Recipe for Pita bread
Ingredients
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 2 1/2 cups + 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 to 2 tsp olive oil
Preparation
  • Mix the water and yeast together in a bowl and let stand for 5 minutes till completely dissolved. Add 2 1/2 cups flour, salt and oil and mix well to form a shaggy dough.
  • Knead the dough for 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add more flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the hands and the work surface, but use it very sparingly.
  • Coat another bowl with olive oil. Set the dough in this bowl and turn it until completely coated. Cover it with a plastic wrap and allow it to rise and double in about 2 hours time.
  • Gently deflate the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces on a lightly floured work surface. Roll it gently with a floured rolling pin about 8 to 9 inches and a quarter of an inch thick. 
  • Preheat the oven to 215 degrees Celsius. Bake it on a baking tray. The pita will start puffing up after 1 or 2 minutes. They are done when they are fully ballooned. (Pitas won't puff if the oven is not very hot so make sure it is preheated fully)
  • Keep baked pitas covered with a plastic wrap until all are done.

4 October 2016

Cheesy Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

I was looking at some recipes on the internet for some dessert while I happened to chance on this recipe. It looked very yummy and as I had all the ingredients in hand, I started on this right away. I did tweak it a little, though and used barnyard millet instead of rice but it turned out pretty well! http://allrecipes.com/recipe/168914/easy-chicken-and-broccoli-casserole/?internalSource=rr_recipe_a&referringId=219043&referringContentType=recipe&clickId=cardslot%201  

Serves 3

Ingredients
  • 1 cup barnyard millet, cooked (I used this instead of rice given in the recipe)
  • 1 head broccoli, cut into florets
  • 2 cans (300 ml) condensed cream of chicken soup (I used homemade one, recipe given below)
  • 1 1/2 cups cubed, cooked chicken
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp pepper powder
  • 3 tbsp lemon juice 
Homemade Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

Makes an equivalent of 4 cans (about 600 ml)

Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 chicken stock cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • Salt to taste
Preparation
  • Bring water and chicken stock cubes to boil in a saucepan. Stir and add 1/2 cup milk and bring to a boil again.
  • In a mixing bowl, add the seasoning to the remaining 1 cup of milk and whisk thoroughly until a smooth mixture forms.
  • Add this to the broth mixture in the saucepan and stir constantly until the mixture is smooth and thick. Remove from heat and use as required.

Preparation
  • Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil. Add the broccoli florets and cook uncovered until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain in a colander and rinse immediately with cold water to stop the cooking process. Once the broccoli is cold, cut into smaller pieces and place in a mixing bowl.
  • Preheat an oven to 175 degrees C.
  • Stir in the rice, chicken, cheddar cheese, yogurt, almonds, curry powder, garlic powder and lemon juice into the broccoli until evenly mixed. Spoon the mixture into a baking tray.
  • Bake in the preheated until hot and bubbly, about 30 minutes and serve hot.

30 September 2016

Cajun Chicken and Mozzarella, Pizza Style Omelette

I was googling for chicken omelette recipes and found this delicious - looking Cajun dish. I have tweaked the recipe a little to suit the availability of ingredients from https://homemadewithmess.wordpress.com/2013/11/12/cajun-chicken-mozzarella-pizza-style-omelette/

Makes 3 omelettes

Ingredients
For the chicken marinade

  • 150 g chicken mince
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon, I used 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp mustard powder (I bought yellow mustard and powdered it)
For the chicken mixture
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped 
  • 5 mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 red pepper, finely chopped
For the tomato sauce
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 400 g tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste (Pureed and blended)
  • Pinch sugar
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • Olive oil
For the omelette
  • 4 eggs beaten and seasoned with salt and pepper
  • Grated mozzarella cheese as required
Preparation
  • Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients and set it aside for an hour.
  • Heat oil in a pan and cook the garlic till browned and aromatic. Add all other ingredients for the tomato sauce and bring to a boil on high heat. Simmer it for about 20 to 25 minutes or till it thickens.
  • In another pan, heat a little oil and fry the marinated chicken, onion, red pepper and mushrooms till the chicken is cooked and vegetables are soft. Remove to a bowl and set aside.
  • Heat a smaller pan, add a drop of oil and ladle one third of the egg mixture into it. Cover and cook on low heat. Once cooked, remove to a glass plate. 
  • Ladle tomato sauce on it and spread the chicken mix over it. Top it with mozzarella.Bake at 185 degree Celsius till cheese is bubbling and golden, about 7 minutes.
  • Repeat process for the second and third omelette.
  • Serve hot with any sauce or salad of choice.

White Asparagus Soup with Shrimp

I had these 2 bottles of asparagus from my friends in Denmark sitting on my kitchen shelf for a long, long time.  I finally decided to make soup of them. I looked up some recipes in the internet and then created my own tweaking from a couple of them.

Serves 2 to 3

Ingredients

  • 2 bottles white asparagus
  • 200g shrimp, deshelled and deveined
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter, divided by half
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, divided by half
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 3 cups water
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Preparation
  • Heat half the butter and olive oil in a pan. Add three fourths onion and cook until translucent.
  • Remove and puree along with asparagus and the liquid. Set aside.
  • Heat the remaining butter and olive oil and add the remaining onion and cook until translucent. 
  • Add the garlic and thyme and cook until garlic smells aromatic. 
  • Add the shrimp and saute until shrimp is cooked, about 3 to 5 minutes. 
  • Now add the asparagus and onion puree, the chicken stock cube and water to the pan. Bring to a boil and add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and serve immediately.

10 August 2016

Dhokla

I had tried the instant dhokla recipes and failed miserably. So I decided to do the traditional dhokla with the traditional dhokla batter and it did come out very well! No shortcuts! Quite elaborate and time consuming but worth the wait and energy! Recipe from www.foodviva.com

Makes about 16 pieces

Ingredients
For the batter

  • 1/4 cup gram lentil (chana dal)
  • 1/2 cup rice (I used idli rice)
  • 1/4 cup sour curd
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 3/4 tbsp green chili, ginger, garlic paste
  • 1/8 tsp turmeric
  • Salt, a pinch
  • 1/2 tsp Enos fruit salt
  • 1/2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • Paprika powder, pinch
For tempering
  • 2 tsp oil
  • 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds, optional (actually, better without!)
  • 1/2 tsp white sesame seeds
  • 2 curry leaves
  • 2 to 3 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp chopped coriander, for garnish
Preparation
  • Clean and soak gram lentils and rice for 6 to 8 hours or overnight.
  • Drain and grind to a fine paste with sour curd and water. The batter should not be of idli batter consistency. 
  • Add salt and turmeric, cover and allow to ferment in a warm place for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Grease a container with oil and prepare a steamer with 2 to 3 cups water. (I used the idli cooker)
  • Add oil and green chili, ginger and garlic paste to the batter and mix well. Add Enos fruit salt and mix in one direction for a minute. The batter should be doubled now.
  • Pour it immediately into the greased mould. Sprinkle cumin seeds and red chili powder on the top and steam for about 10 to 15 minutes or till a fork comes out clean if inserted.
  • Allow to cool for a couple of minutes and cut it into squares.
  • Heat oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter, add sesame seeds and stir for 30 seconds. Add curry leaves, remove from flame and add water. Pour immediately over the dhoklas to coat evenly and serve immediately garnished with chopped coriander.

3 August 2016

Indonesian Mango Sago Pudding

This is an authentic Indonesian version of the popular South Asian dessert Mango Sago Pudding. This is much simpler than the Indian version which calls for the elaborate and time consuming reduced milk. Recipe from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLBqESkDVnk

Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 2/3 cup sago
  • 2 cups mango cubes 
  • 1 1/4 cups thick coconut milk
  • Sugar as per taste, optional
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup ripe mango cubes for garnish
Preparation
  • Soak sago in water, about 5 minutes while bringing water to boil in a vessel. After water boils, drain sago and add it to the water. Allow to boil about 15 minutes till it turns translucent. Drain and wash in cold water to avoid sticking together. Drain and refrigerate till use.
  • Blend mango cubes, coconut milk and sugar, if using, in a mixer till smooth. Remove to a mixing bowl.
  • Add sago and refrigerate at least for 2 hours.
  • Serve garnished with mango cubes.

2 August 2016

Mango Sago Pudding

Mango Sago pudding is a South Asian dessert popular in Indonesia, China and Thailand. Recipe from www.sailusfood.com as tweaked in the blog. 

Serves 5

Ingredients
  • 2 cups mango puree
  • 1/2 litre milk
  • 1/2 cup sago, soaked for 1 hour in water
  • 1/2 cup thick coconut milk
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch, mixed in 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar or sugarfree substitute
  • 1/2 cup ripe mango cubes

Preparation
  • Set aside mango puree in the refrigerator.
  • Bring milk to boil in a vessel and simmer till reduced to 3/4 cup. Switch off flame and bring to room temperature.
  • Boil soaked sago in enough water till soft. Switch off flame and drain. Wash in normal water, drain and refrigerate till use.
  • Boil coconut milk in a vessel, add sugar, cardamom and stir. Slowly add cornstarch mixture and stir till thickened.Switch off flame and bring to room temperature.
  • Blend reduced milk, coconut milk mixture and mango puree in a mixer till well combined. 
  • Remove to a mixing bowl and mix the chilled sago thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least an hour.
  • Garnish with mango cubes and serve.

Mango Phirni

Phirni is believed to have come in with the Mughal kings and is a popular sweet dish in North India and Pakistan. Mango Phirni is made by adding mango puree to the basic phirni. Recipe from www.sailusfood.com.

Serves 8

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup Basmati rice, washed and soaked in water for 20 minutes
  • 4 cups milk
  • 8 to 10 almonds, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, peeled and ground to a fine paste
  • 1 cup mango puree
  • 1/3 cup sugar (You could use sugarfree substitutes)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 8 to 10  strands saffron, soaked in warm milk
  • 15 pistachios, chopped for garnish
Preparation
  • Bring milk to a boil in a vessel and simmer until reduced to three fourths.
  • While milk is simmering, grind soaked basmati rice to a fine paste with 1/2 cup simmering milk and set aside.
  • After the milk has reduced, slowly add the ground paste into it and keep stirring constantly till it mixes well and begins to thicken, about 10 to 12 minutes.
  • Add almond paste, sugar, saffron and cardamom powder and stir to form a creamy and smooth mixture without any lumps. Switch off flame and bring to room temperature.
  • Add mango puree and mix till well blended. Refrigerate until serving time.
  • Serve garnished with chopped pistachios.

Mango Shrikhand (Amrakhand)

Mango Shrikhand is made by adding mango puree to the basic, Maharashtrian sweet Shrikhand made with strained yogurt (hung curd) and flovoured with cardamom and saffron. Recipe from www.sailusfood.com.

Serves 3

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups mango puree
  • 2 cups strained yogurt (hung curd)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • Few saffron strands, soaked in warm milk
  • 2 to 3 tbsp powdered sugar (I used sugarfree drops)
  • 8 pistachios, chopped
  • 6 almonds, chopped
  • Ripe mangoes, chopped for garnish

Preparation

  • Place curd in a muslin cloth over a vessel and leave it in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 hours or overnight.
  • In a bowl, add the strained yogurt and mix well till blended. Add the powdered sugar and mix well. Add the mango puree, saffron and cardamom into the mixture till well blended, smooth and creamy. You could also use the mixer to blend them. 
  • Chill for at least a couple of hours and serve garnished with chopped nuts and mangoes. 

Mango Mastani

Mango Mastani, I believe, is a very popular drink in Pune, used to be served by an age old cold drink house to its customers. It was praised for its flovour and was called 'mast' meaning 'lovely' and came to be given the royal name "Mastani' after the famous and beautiful wife of the Marathi general Peshwa Bajirao. Recipe from www.sailusfood.com.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 4 cups mango puree, chilled
  • 3 tbsp sugar or sugarfree drops
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 4 scoops mango ice cream
  • 6 almonds, chopped
  • 8 pistachios, chopped
  • 4 cherries
  • Mango cubes for garnish
Preparation
  • Bring milk to a boil in a vessel and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. Add sugar, allow to dissolve and switch off heat. Refrigerate for a while.
  • Set aside 1/2 cup mango puree and blend the rest with the chilled milk to a smooth consistency.
  • Pour 2 tbsp mango puree in the bottom of each glass and pour the blended thick mango milkshake to about three fourths of the glass. Place a scoop of mango ice cream on the top and garnish with nuts, cherry and mango cubes.

Mango Falooda

Recipe from www.sailusfood.com. Very yummy mango falooda does take some elaborate preparation but is completely worth it while the mango season lasts!

Ingredients
  • 2 cups milk
  • 5 tbsp sugar, can be adjusted as per your taste (I used sugarfree drops)
  • 1 tbsp basil seeds, soaked in about 1/2 cup to 1 cup water for 30 min (Sabja seeds)
  • 1 cup falooda sev (Recipe below)
  • 2 cups mango puree
  • 4 scoops mango ice cream
  • 1 1/2 cups mango cubes
  • 8 to 10 pistachios, chopped
  • 6 to 8 almonds, chopped
  • Cherries for garnish
Falooda Sev

Yield about 1 1/2 cups

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup corn flour
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar (You could also use sugarfree substitutes)
Preparation
  • Grease the press (in picture) and set aside. 
  • In a vessel add a litre of ice cold water and ice cubes and set aside in the refirgerator.
  • In a mixing bowl, add corn flour, 1/2 cup water and sugar and mix well without any lumps.
  • Bring one cup water to boil in a heavy bottomed vessel, reduce flame and slowly add the cornflour mixture. Keep stirring constantly till it thickens and turns transparent and glossy. 
  • Switch off and spoon the mixture into the sev press (Use the mould with thin holes).
  • Remove the ice cold water from the refrigerator and press the hot cornflour mixture through the sev press into it so that the thin strands are completely immersed in the cold water.
  • Refrigerate the sev immersed in cold water till use.
    Mango Falooda
Preparation
  • Bring milk to a boil in a vessel and simmer till it reduces to 1 cup. Add sugar and stir till it dissolves. Switch off and chill till use.
  • Set aside the soaked basil seeds in the refrigerator.
  • Blend mango puree with sugar and refrigerate till use.
  • Chill the falooda sev till use.
  • Chill the serving falooda glasses in the refrigerator for at least half an hour.
  • To assemble falooda, take the chilled glass and add few mango cubes in the bottom followed by 2 tbsp basil seeds. Follow it with 2 heaped tbsp of falooda sev and then 3 tbsp of mango puree. Slowly pour 2 to 3 tbsp of chilled milk. Next layer with few more mango cubes followed by basil seeds, falooda sev, mango puree and chilled milk in the same proportion as before. 
  • Finally place a scoop of mango ice cream on the top and garnish with chopped nuts and cherry. 
  • Serve immediately.

Mango Rabri

I had excess milk in the refrigerator and was looking to make some dessert out of these. I came upon Sailu's food blog www.sailusfood.com with a lot of yummy mango desserts. As the mango season is still on, I began trying them one by one and loved each of the desserts. 

Serves 4 

Ingredients
  • 1 litre milk
  • 1 cup mango puree 
  • 2 tbsp sugar (I used sugarfree drops)
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom
  • 6 to 8 strands saffron, soaked in 2 tbsp warm milk
  • 6 to 8 almonds, chopped
  • 10 to 15 pistachios, chopped
  • 1 cup mango cubes
Preparation
  • Bring milk to boil in a heavy bottomed vessel. Reduce heat and allow to simmer. Keep stirring at regular intervals and keep moving the cream that forms on the top to the sides till the milk is reduced to less than half the quantity. 
  • Add sugar and half of the chopped nuts continue to simmer till the milk is reduced to 1/3 of the original quantity. 
  • Add cardamom and saffron, mix well and switch off. 
  • Allow to come to room temperature and add the mango puree. Mix well till well combined. Remove to a bowl and chill for a couple of hours.
  • Garnish with the remaining nuts and mango cubes and serve.

29 July 2016

Jackfruit Idli (Halasina Hannini Kadubu)

I had some left over jackfruit and was looking for a sweet dish from them. I got this recipe from http://www.smithakalluraya.com/2016/06/jackfruit-idli-halasina-hannina-kadubu.html. I tried it and it came out well. I believe the dish is famous in Coastal Karnataka.

Makes about 8-10 idlis

Ingredients
  • 1 cup raw rice rava (See note)
  •  2 – 2 1/2 cups ripe jackfruit, deseeded and chopped coarsely
  • 1 cup grated coconut
  • 1/2 cup jaggery, add more or less as per your taste
  • 2 – 3 cardamom
  • Salt, a pinch
  • Oil to grease mould



Preparation
  • In a mixer, grind jackfruit and jaggery with little or no water to a coarse paste.
  • Add grated coconut and cardamom and grind everything to a fine paste and add it in a mixing bowl.
  • Add rice rava and salt a little water. Mix well and allow to stand for about 20 minutes. The consistency should be a little thicker than idli batter. 
  • Grease idli moulds with oil and pour the mixture into them.
  • Steam for about 15 minutes. It is done when a toothpick or a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the idlis.
  • Serve hot.
Note
To make rice rava, soak raw rice in water for an hour, drain it on a cloth for an hour or two and dry grind it to a coarse semolina (rava) consistency.


  

Ras Malai

I tried this for the first time for my sister-in-law who loves these. Recipe from indianhealthyrecipes.com

Makes 8 ras malai

Ingredients

For Malai/Rabri

  • 3 cups milk 
  • saffron threads, a few
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I used sugarfree drops)
For Chhena/Indian Cottage Cheese
  • 5 cups milk
  • 2 to 3 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
For Sugar Syrup
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of cardamom
For Garnish
  • Almonds, chopped
  • Pistachios. chopped

Preparation
  • Bring 3 cups of milk to a boil in a heavy bottomed vessel on medium flame. Add saffron and keep stirring it often.
  • Add sugar and continue to stir. Keep moving aside the cream that forms on the top. Continue to stir till the milk is reduced to half the quantity. Switch off and set aside.
  • While the malai is being done, bring 5 cups of milk to a boil in another vessel. Add vinegar or lemon juice and keep stirring till the milk curdles completely. Add more vinegar or lemon juice if needed. Switch off and add ice cubes into the vessel.This keeps the chhena soft.
  • Strain it through a muslin cloth and tie up the ends. Squeeze out the excess water and hang it for an hour or 1 1/2 hours. (I kept it hung for about 2 hours)
  • When the water is completely drained, knead the chhena for about 3 minutes. (You can watch how to knead chhena here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N5OATz9GyRQ)
  • Divide it into 8 portions, make balls and flatten them. If the edges crack, smoothen them gently. Set aside.
  • Bring water and sugar to a boil in another vessel. Add cardamom. When the syrup begins to boil rapidly, add the flattened chhena. Cover and cook on moderately high flame for 8 minutes. They would have doubled in size.
  • Take them out one by one, cool and squeeze out the syrup by placing them between 2 spatulas.
  • Add them to the malai or rabri.
  • Add pistachios and almonds and simmer for about 2 minutes to allow the chhena to absorb the milk. 
  • Refrigerate, preferably overnight and serve.

5 June 2016

Cafiroleta - Cuban Coconut Delight

Recipe from tasteofcuba.com, courtesy of the Cocina Cubana Club by Sonia Martinez. Tweaked a little to the availability of ingredients. Please try the recipe and leave your comments!

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients
  • 1 3/4 cups grated coconut, tightly packed
  • 1 3/4 cups corn syrup (Recipe below)
  • 3 egg yolks, slightly beaten
  • 3 tbsp white wine
Corn Syrup
Yield 1 3/4 cups
Ingredients
  • 2 cups white sugar  
  • 6/8 cups (120 ml) water
  • 1/2 tsp cream of tartar (You can substitute with 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar)
  • 1 pinch salt
Preparation
  • Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to a simmer and put cover for 3 minutes to get sugar crystals off the sides of the pan. Uncover and simmer, stirring often, until it reaches the soft ball stage, about 25 minutes. Cool and store in a covered container at room temperature.
  • Syrup should keep for about 2 months.
Before browning

After browning

Served with Homemade Cream Cheese
Preparation
  • Mix grated coconut and corn syrup in a deep saucepan and cook over medium - high heat until it starts to boil. Add the egg yolks and cook for a few minutes. 
  • Add white wine and simmer and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes. Do not stir.
  • Place the mixture in an oven proof dish and broil until brown on top. (I preheated the oven and baked for about 25 minutes on 200 degrees C).
  • Serve hot with or without cream cheese. 
Notes
  1. The dish tasted delicious even without browning.
  2. The original recipe calls for a can of coconut in heavy syrup. As this is not available even in the supermarkets in Chennai, I checked the ingredients of the can and thus settled for grated coconut and corn syrup in the given proportion.

Southern Fried Chicken

Inspired from the menu of The Manhattan Fish Market, Chennai! I was initially wondering what a chicken dish was doing in a seafood joint. But when I wanted to do the Manhattan Fish and Chips for dinner and checked about the availability of cherry snapper (which is actually red snapper - I checked with TMFM!), the fishermen in Chennai happened to be on a strike and cherry snapper was not available. So, I looked at this dish again and found it quite interesting - Country Style Fried Chicken -  with a good old-fashioned Southern taste. And I started hunting for the recipe and found an excellent one - one that can even give KFC a run for their money! It's from food.com by Paula Deen posted by Sharlene W.

Serves 6

Ingredients
  • 2 lbs ( 900 grams) cut-up chicken
  • Peanut oil for frying

Sauce mixture
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 cup hot sauce (I used Tabasco sauce)

Seasoning blend
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

Dredging mixture
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Preparation

  • For sauce mixture: In a medium-sized bowl, beat the eggs with the water. Add hot sauce and whisk together well. Pour this mixture into a large plastic zip-top bag.
  • For seasoning mixture: In a small bowl, combine salt, freshly ground black pepper and garlic powder.
  • For dredging mixture: In a another bowl, mix flour, baking powder and salt.
  • Heat peanut oil in a large saucepan to 350°F. 
  • Rinse and pat dry chicken pieces with a paper towel.
  • Sprinkle chicken generously on both sides with seasoning mixture.
  • Drop a few chicken pieces of chicken into the bag of sauce mixture and squish around to coat thoroughly.
  • One piece at a time, roll chicken in flour mixture (You can let it rest for a while so that the flour sticks to it) and drop into hot oil. Fry until brown and crisp. Dark meat (legs and thigh) takes longer to cook than white meat (breasts and wings). Check if done by piercing to the bone in the thickest part with a fork. If the juices run clear, it is done.
  • Drain on paper towel and serve hot.




30 May 2016

Cuban Turrones

Recipe from tasteofcuba.com

Ingredients
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup hazelnuts
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 5 egg whites
Preparation
  • Blanch the almonds and remove the skins. Toast the almonds with hazelnuts in a pan. Stir constantly. Remove the peel from hazelnuts. Chop them fine. Beat the egg whites and add to nuts.
  • In the pan, mix the honey and sugar and melt over heat. Add the nut paste, mix and stir constantly for ten minutes and remove from heat.
  • Put in shallow dish lined with rice paper (See notes below). When cold, sprinkle cinnamon on top. Cut into small pieces when set.
Notes
Rice paper can be bought from supermarkets. Alternatively, it can be made at home. Recipe below:
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup rice flour 
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp corn starch
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 to 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp oil
Preparation
  • Mix rice flour and tapioca flour in a bowl. Add in the corn starch and salt. Add 1 tbsp oil and water to mix it to make a thin batter.
  • Heat a pan and add the rest of the oil. Pour batter like a pancake and cover it with a lid for 30 seconds. 
  • Remove cover and put it on a greased cutting board to get the desired shape.

Cuban Arroz con Pollo (Rice and Chicken)

Recipe from tasteofcuba.com courtesy of Cocina Cubana Club

Serves 4 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup (150 grams) rice, washed thoroughly
For the marinade
  • 1/2 chicken, about 800 grams, cut into 6 pieces.
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground white pepper
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar  
For Sofrito and broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small green pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 small yellow pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small tomato, seeded and diced
  • 1 cup water 
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/4 tsp saffron threads
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (blanched and pureed tomato)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
For Garnish
  • 1/2 cup green peas for garnish

Preparation
  • Wash the chicken and blot dry with paper towels. Mix the oregano, cumin, white pepper and vinegar in a large glass bowl. Add the chicken, turning the pieces to cover with the mixture. Let marinate at least 15 minutes.
  • Heat the oil in a large pan. Brown the chicken pieces all over, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a platter and pour out all but 2 tablespoons of the fat.
  • Add the onion, bell peppers and garlic to the oil in the casserole, cook over medium heat until soft but brown, about 1 or 2 minutes. Add the tomato and cook for one more minute. Return the chicken to the casserole with the sofrito and cook for about 1 or 2 more minutes.
  • Add the water, wine and beer, saffron, tomato paste and salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 30 minutes. 
  • Bring chicken mixture to a boil once again, stir in the washed rice, reduce heat, cover and simmer until the rice is tender, about 20 to 25 minutes. If it starts to dry out and rice is still al dente, add more liquid. If it gets too soupy, uncover during the last 10 or 15 minutes of cooking.
  • Just before it is done, stir in half of the peas. Garnish with the rest.
  • Serve immediately.



Cuban Huevos Habaneros - Havana Style Eggs

Recipe is from tasteofcuba.com taken from "Memories of a Cuban Kitchen" by Mary Urrutia Randelman

Serves 3

Ingredients
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 small red bell pepper, finely chopped (Used instead of pimiento in the original recipe)
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup tomatoes, blanched and chopped  
  • 2 tbsp white wine (Used instead of dry sherry)
  • 6 eggs
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • salt and fresh black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley to garnish

Preparation
  • In a medium-size skillet over low heat, heat the oil until it is fragrant, then cook the onion, bell peppers and garlic, stirring, until tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes and white wine, cook until thickened, 15 minutes, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly oil 3 oven-proof dishes and divide the sauce among them. For each dish, break two eggs into a saucer, slide them on top of the tomato mixture, and drizzle with 1 tablespoon melted butter.
  • Bake until the whites are set and the yolks are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parsley. 
  • Place each on a serving plate and serve immediately from the baking dishes. 

Cuban Red Snapper a la Santa Barbara

Recipe is from tasteofcuba.com, courtesy "A Taste of Cuba" by Beatriz Llamas

Serves 4

Ingredients
  • 250 grams red snapper fillets
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded fresh coconut
  • 2 tbsp chopped parsley
  • oil for deep frying
For the sauce
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 oz (28 grams) butter
  • 2/3 cup white wine
  • 1 1/4 cups coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon wheat flour
  • Pinch red kesari powder (Used instead of annatto powder in the original recipe)
Preparation

For the sauce

  • Saute the onion in two thirds of the butter for 3-4 minutes on a low heat without allowing it to brown. Add the wine and coconut milk and cook until the liquid is reduced by half. 
  • In a separate pan, fry the teaspoon of flour in the rest of the butter. Add this to the first mixture to thicken the sauce, add the red kesari powder, and cook for 5-7 minutes more on a low heat until all taste of flour is gone. Season with salt and pepper. 
  • Puree the sauce and set aside in a saucepan. The sauce should be light and not too thick.
For the fish fillet 
  • Place the flour in one bowl, the beaten eggs in another and the shredded coconut mixed with the chopped scallion and parsley in a third bowl. 
  • Season the fish fillets with salt, cover each fillet first with the flour, then the egg, and finally the coconut mixture. 
  • Heat the oil in a skillet to about 375 degrees F (oil should sizzle when a drop of batter is put in) and deep fry the fish until golden. Drain the fish on paper towels and serve immediately with the sauce handed separately. 



Cuban Banana Casserole

Recipe from tasteofcuba.com, courtesy Cocina Cubana Club

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • 3 bananas - sliced lengthwise
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, diced in small cubes
  • 1/4 cup raisins
  • 1/4 cup chopped pecans (You can substitute with almonds)
  • 1 tablespoon brandy (I left this out as I didn’t have any!)

Preparation
  • Butter the bottom of  a baking dish heavily and line it with half of the bananas. Sprinkle with brown sugar and dot with butter cubes.
  • Sprinkle with half of the raisins and pecans or almonds. Repeat layers until all ingredients are used. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes. 
  • Let cool for 5 minutes and serve with vanilla ice cream.

29 May 2016

Cuban Garlic Soup (Sopa de Ajo)

Recipe from tasteofcuba.com courtesy Sonia Martinez from Cocina Cubana Club.

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 4 cups of chicken stock
  • 100 grams chicken mince, pressure cooked to one whistle (optional – if using this, you can use the chicken stock from pressure cooking it)
  • 10 to 12 large garlic cloves,  peeled and mashed
  • 1/2 medium onion, sliced thin
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • Salt and freshly ground white peppercorns to taste
  • 1 piece of bread, cubed and toasted per person
  • 1 raw egg per person (optional – I used it)

Cuban Garlic Soup with Chicken Mince (My addition)
Preparation

  • In a large saucepan, saute the mashed garlic and sliced onion slowly in the butter. Don't let the garlic turn brown or it will give a bitter taste. When onions are translucent, switch off and transfer to a blender. Add a small amount of stock and process until onion and garlic mix is all smooth. Return to saucepan and add the rest of the broth and seasonings. 
  • Place the toasted bread cubes in each bowl and break an egg over it. Ladle the soup over the egg and toast and serve with or without the chicken mince. 
Notes
The soup tasted better without the chicken mince!



Cuban Malanga Fritters (Colocasia Fritters)

Recipe from tasteofcuba.com by Pedro Hernandez. The malanga or taro root in Cuba is nothing but our colocasia (சேப்பங்கிழங்கு)

Serves 2

Ingredients
  • 150 grams colocasia
  • 1/2 egg, beaten well
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar




Preparation
  • Wash and peel colocasia and grate it. Mix the rest of the ingredients into the grated colocasia.
  • Heat oil to 375 degrees F (oil should sizzle when batter is dropped in) and drop in by tablespoonful. Fry till golden brown, drain on paper towels and serve hot.

Frituras de Maiz Tierno (Cuban Corn Fritters)

Recipe from tasteofcuba.com courtesy Sonia Martinez from Cocina Cubana Club.

Serves 

Ingredients
  • 1 cup fresh corn kernels, ground to a pulp
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1/2 tsp aniseed, ground or pounded with mortar and pestle
  • 5 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vinegar (added so the fritters do not absorb as much oil)
  • Oil for frying

Preparation
  • Mix all the ingredients. If too liquid, add a small amount of all-purpose flour (I used about 3 tbsp) and mix well. Drop in hot (375° F) oil a tablespoonful at a time and fry till golden brown. Dry on paper towels and serve hot.