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Friday, August 03, 2012

Rich Chocolate Cake with chocolate frosting



Just realized that I hadn’t posted this recipe since Aug. Back from a long summer vacation and now finally decided to do so.Thanks to my sister’s co-sis-in-law Shaheen Fazir for this lip smacking cake recipe! Taste and success at first attempt is guaranteed!!

Click here for the original recipe.

Ingredients:

Sugar - 1 1/2 cup

Egg - 2

Butter - 1/2 cup (melted)or 8 tbsp


Cocoa Powder- 3 heaped tbsp


Yogurt - 1 1/4 cup 


Soda Bicarbonate - 1 1/2 level. tsp


Sunflower/Canola Oil - 1/4 cup


Vanilla Essence - 1 tsp

Salt - a pinch (Don't add salt if the butter is salted)


Maida and/ or Whole Wheat flour- 1 1/2 cup(Mix half and half)
Walnuts/Almonds(optional) -1/2 cup ground to a powder




Preparation:
Sift the flour with the soda and salt (if using) and keep aside.

Beat the eggs slightly and keep aside. Preheat the oven to 350 F or 175 C.

Powder the sugar and beat with the melted butter till the sugar dissolves. 
Touch it to see if there is any granular texture left.

Add the eggs and mix well. 

Add the canola oil, cocoa powder, vanilla essence and yogurt one by one till well mixed.
Use a whisk or a fork while blending. Add the flour slowly, blending it in as you go.Do not add at one go as it makes lumps which would be difficult to mix.

The mix should be smooth textured and then add the ground walnuts. Adding it earlier makes it difficult to figure out if the batter is well mixed in or not. Do not over mix after the flour is added.Prepare a baking pan (8x8 inch or circular pan) with a coating of oil and then sprinkle a dusting of flour on it evenly.
Bake in the middle rack for about 35-45 minutes. It is cooked when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and the whole house smells of cocoa and butter.

For the Chocolate Frosting:
Chocolate frosting takes just a little longer than simple chocolate icing, but it’s well worth the extra time. Fluffy, decadent and utterly delicious! An electric mixer is useful for this recipe.
Ingredients:
120 grams of butter
2 ½ cups of icing sugar
½ cup of cocoa
1/3 cup of milk
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
Method:
Chop the butter, place it in a bowl and cream it using an electric mixer.
Add the cocoa and the icing sugar a little at a time and beat into the butter.
Add the milk and vanilla essence, mix until smooth and light.
Spread the frosting evenly over the cake. Sprinkle grated dark chocolate.




Sunday, January 15, 2012

Chicken ‘n’ cheese Lasagna with Farfalle Pasta


It’s 2012 and I haven’t posted anything new! Need to buckle down this year and share more and more recipes …ok that’s one of my resolutions for the new year which kick-started with a breath-taking sight of the fireworks display from the world’s tallest Burj Khalifa. Thanks to Rabia ammay and Bachikaka for the poolside BBQ….nothing could have been better than that!

Starting the new year with this simple and delicious recipe which was voted as the best evening snack by my little ones. That’s one good thing about my kids...cook something new and that’s the best they’ve ever had:-)

For those who are jittery about baking…this one’s for you. Can be cooked in any non-stick dish over the gas stove!

Ingredients:

Pasta (bow tie/Farfalle)- 2 large cups
Cheddar Cheese – 1 cup (grated)
Oregano – just enough to sprinkle over the top.

For the Chicken layer:
Chicken(boneless) – 4-5 chunks
Olive oil
Onion – 1 large( sliced )
Coriander leaves- chopped finely
Salt+pepper to taste

For the Egg mix:
Egg- 4eggs
Milk – ½ cup
Pepper- 1tbsp
All purpose Flour(maida) – 2 tsp

Method:
Boil Pasta in 8cups (or more) of water. Add salt and 1tbsp of oil in the water. When soft and well- cooked , drain off the water and keep aside.

For the chicken mix:
Boil chicken in salt and pepper and shred it into small pieces .(best option is to use the blender…just one pulse…else, it will turn into a paste)
Sauté onion in 1 tbsp of olive oil, add the shredded chicken and finely chopped coriander leaves. Keep aside.
Egg mix:
Beat eggs with an electric egg beater by adding milk, salt, pepper (1tsp), flour and finely chopped coriander leaves.

Layering:
Take a non-stick dish(25-28cm) and add 2 tbsp of olive oil. Spread half of the cooked pasta as your bottom layer. It should just cover the bottom of the pan ..so don’t make a very thick pasta layer. (Approximately 2-3 pastas over each other..that was just to give you an idea). Next spread half of the chicken mix. Pour half of the egg mix. Sprinkle a generous amount of Cheddar cheese. 
Repeat the above process with the remaining Pasta, followed by chicken mix, egg mix and cheese. 
Finally sprinkle some oregano over the top.

Keep the dish over low flame for 30-40mins or until well cooked.( You may choose to bake it but I haven’t tried that method. …should any of you happen to try please it me know how it turned)

For serving : remove from the dish (same side up), and cut into medium pieces.


 Variations: You may add chopped capsicum /mushroom in the chicken mix.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Banana Kheer (Vayakka Payasam)



Banana kheer is one of my favorite childhood food. In my fondest food memories, I still remember how mom would prepare this in minutes and me and my siblings would devour it in seconds.
This tradition of feeding kids still continues and I can proudly say “yes!!! my kids also love this!” Wonder why there’s always a sense of complacency upon learning that my kids too love what I loved as a kid; probably that’s the fastest way of bridging the generation gap….eventually you tend to connect with them with ease. Don’t know if that’s the case with any other moms.
Talking about the kheer, it has to be prepared only with the Plaintains which are soft and ripened fully. This is a very basic recipe with milk, flour and plaintains, and has lots of opportunities to individualize. So go for it! 

Ingredients:
Milk – 2glassful
All purpose flour (maida)- 3 tsp
Ripe Plaintains ( Kerala banana)- 1(diagonally cut into thin pieces)
Cardamom- 2(slightly crushed)
Sugar- 2tbsp
Pure ghee- 2 tsp
Pinch of salt
Serves: 3-4

Method:
Boil milk. Add Sugar, salt & cardamom. Make a thick paste of maida by adding some water. Now add this into the milk while it’s still boiling (stirring at the same time). The milk would thicken now. Next add the banana pieces and stir for 1-2minutes. Switch off gas and keep covered for 5-10minutes, until the banana pieces have softened completely. Add pure ghee and serve hot. (Its consistency would be that of any other kheer)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Fish Packets (Meen Puffs)


Back in action after a long monsoon vacation in Kerala.
I’d like to share this simple snack which was prepared by mom for Iftaar. Do try as it’s finger lickin' good!
  
Masala (filling):
King fish (preferably)- 3 medium slices( marinate with turmeric and salt)
Onion- 4
Ginger + garlic paste- 1inch + 6  cloves
Green chilly- 2
Curry leaves -few
Coriander leaves: few
Turmeric
Salt
Oil for frying

For the pancake:
Plain flour (Maida) – 300gm
Egg-1
Salt
(makes 15packets)

Method:
Shallow fry the fish, discard any bones and shred into small pieces with a fork.
Take 3tsp oil in a pan and sauté onion.  Add ginger garlic paste, green chilly, curry leaves, coriander leaves & turmeric. Sauté for 5mins until well mixed.
Your filling is ready.
Make a semi liquid batter with Maida, egg, water and salt ( slightly thinner than Dosa mix).
Now pour a ladle of batter in a pan and make a very thin pancake ( apprx 15-20cm diameter). When half cooked, place 1tbsp of masala in the centre.
Immediately fold it from both sides to form a square packet. (it will stick on its own). 

Once all the packets are ready, shallow fry in oil until cooked on both sides.
Dip the fried packets in beaten egg- (mixed with salt and pepper) and slightly fry in the pan with a few teaspoons of oil.
Your Fish packets are ready!

Alternate method for frying, recommended by my sister: Fold the packets lengthwise, dip it in beaten egg and then in bread crumbs and deep fry till golden brown. This will give you a crispier version as compared to the former which is soft. I like it in any form.   

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Spicy Prawns Biryani



No wedding or celebration in Kerala is complete without Biryani and so is any of my weekend. Over these years I’ve explored and prepared a variety of them viz.- Hyderabadi, Sindhi, Arabic etc. and loved all of it! My mom is a specialist in Dum Biryani and I wish to attain her crown some day.

I would love to share this delectable Prawns biryani recipe which I’m sure you’ll love. Biryani is generally prepared with lamb or chicken, and very rarely do you get to taste prawns biryani and that too prepared in the ‘dum’ style. The rice is cooked separately and alternative layers of prawns and rice is arranged and cooked on a very low flame for a long time. Do not attempt if you are in a hurry!!
It appears to be a lengthy process, but the work is definitely worth it. Its more on the spicier side, hence you may wish to reduce the no.of chillies to suit your taste buds.

Serves : 6-7
Ingredients:
For the masala:
Prawns – 1kg
Onion – 8(big) thinly sliced (lengthwise)
Tomatoes – 3 (thinly chopped or slightly pureed)
Ginger paste – 2 tbsp
Garlic paste – 3-4 tbsp
Green chilli – 10 nos ( grind into paste )
Coriander leaves – finely chopped
Juice of 5 lemons
Whole garam masala – Cardamom, cinnamon, bay leaf, cloves.
Ghee and Cooking oil.

Masala powders :
Garam masala – 2tbps
Turmeric powder- 2 tsp
Red chilli pdr – 5tsp
Coriander powder- 1 teaspoonful

2 sliced onions – golden fried in ghee for garnish.

Masala preparation:
Marinate prawns with 3tsp red chilli pdr, ¼ tsp turmeric, 3 lime juice, salt & leave for 1hr.
In a non stick dish add 3tbs oil and slightly fry the prawns. Do not overcook the prawns as it’ll get hard.
Remove prawns from pan and add some more oil (1/2cup would be needed). Add 2 cardamom & 3 cloves.
Add 6 sliced onions and sauté. Add ginger garlic paste,green chilli paste & salt.
Saute till the onion has slightly browned and add the masala powders (1/4 tsp turmeric pdr, 2tsp red chilli pdr, 1 large tsp coriander pdr). Saute well for 5mins. Next add the tomato puree and sauté well until the oil separates. Add juice of  3 lemons and finely chopped coriander leaves. Masala is ready for the ‘dum’.

Ghee rice preparation
Long grain basmati – 3 mugs( I use the regular coffee mug).
Wash and soak the rice for 30mins to1hr. Drain out water and leave for 15mins.

In a large non-stick dish add 1 cup ghee. Add whole garam masalas ( 4 cardamom , 3 cloves,1 cinnamon stick, 1 bay leaf), add 2 finely chopped onions(cut lengthwise ).
Saute slightly and don’t let it brown. Add 5 mugs of water. Add ¼ tsp turmeric pdr, juice of 2 lime and salt to taste.
When the water boils, add the rice and stir well. leave lid open for 5mins, stir once again  and then close lid and simmer for 15mins or until the rice is ¾ cooked and the water has completely dried out.
Layering:
Remove half of the prawns masala from the dish and keep aside.
Layer half of the prepared ghee rice over the prawns.
Now add fried onions and sprinkle 1tsp of garam masala.
Spread the remaining prawns masala over the rice and finish with another layer of rice.
garnish with fried onions,1tsp of garam masala and coriander leaves.

Cover and simmer for 30mins on low flame. Switch off flame and keep covered for another 30mins. Open lid and mix the rice and prawns until well combined

Garnish: Sprinkle finely chopped coriander leaves and fried onions.
Serving suggestions: Serve with  Raita , pickles and pappad.
Notes: The essential requirement for a good Biryani is to use good quality fragrant long grained basmati rice




Thursday, May 26, 2011

Oreo Chocolate Truffles



This one’s for all you chocolate lovers…especially dedicated to my better half & kids.
All you need is just 3 ingredients and the combination of the trio is simply magical.
The below recipe makes around 22-24 truffles…I lost count….’cause whilst I was in the counting process they were simultaneously being wolfed down by my kids.
Thanks to Danielle for sharing this award winning recipe on Foodbuzz.

Ingredients:
Oreo Cookies- 18 nos
Philadelphia Cream cheese ( or any local product)– 150 gms
Cooking chocolate/Dark chocolate – 200 gms

Method:
Put the cookies (including cream filling) in the food processor and pulse until the cookies are completely crumbled.
Add the cookie crumbs and the cream cheese in a medium bowl. Combine until the mixture is a solid heap of deliciousness.
Scoop out the desired amount and form into balls.

Refrigerate them for 30mins-1hour to add to the firmness. This makes them a bit easier to dunk into the chocolate without losing their shape. Dunk the formed truffles into the chocolate coating and let set on a piece of wax paper, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle chocolate chips or cookie crumbs as desired.

For the chocolate dip: Melt chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave stirring constantly and carefully dip truffles one at a time using a fork,allowing any excess chocolate to drip into the bowl (not letting the choco balls to be damaged). 
Enjoy.....

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Hot & Sweet Mustard Mango ( Kadu Manga )



With summer dawning in, there’s certainly one pleasure and that’s ….mangoes. From juices to pickles there’s a wide range of recipes that can be prepared from this ‘king of fruits’.  I’ve decided to share this yummy yet simple recipe, which is an excellent dish to go along with rice or rotis. As the name suggests it includes sugar, salt and red chili… so you can well imagine what an amazing combo this might be.  
For best results it should be cooked in a mud clay pot.( Cooking in clay pot brings out a different taste and eliminates the hazards associated with non stick dishes). I picked up mine from Kerala and generally use it for traditional cooking.  
Don’t worry if you don’t own one... I’ve suggested an alternative for that.
Please do prepare it and write in your comments.

Ingredients:
Green raw mangoes- 2 nos cut lengthwise with skin.
Red chili powder- 3 tsp
Turmeric powder – ¼ tsp
Fenugreek seeds – ½ tsp
Water – 2cups
Salt & Sugar to taste

Garnish:
Mustard seeds : 2 tsp
Curry leaves – 6-7
Oil- 2tsp

Method:

1-     Take water in a mud clay pot and add red chili powder, turmeric, fenugreek, mango pieces and salt.
2-     Cook until mango has softened and cooked thoroughly. Remove from fire.
3-     The water would have reduced to half by now.
4-     In oil, splutter mustard and curry leaves and pour into the pot. Cover for 30-40mins until the clay pot has absorbed the excess moisture and the watery gravy has thickened.
5-     If you do not own a clay pot you may cook in a heavy bottomed dish; remove the mango pieces once cooked and reduce the gravy by stirring constantly over high flame.
6-     You may wish to add 2 tsp of sugar along with salt during step1. I prefer to add it just before eating.


Serving suggestion: Add sugar and mash it along with the mango pulp and its ready to gormandize.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Shahi Rabri...rich n creamy milk dessert


Rabri is an Indian dessert made by boiling milk on low heat for a long time..almost 2-3hours until it reduces to half the quantity and gets thicker. Time consuming isn’t it? Not any longer..because I’ve found this quick and yummy recipe from the web and its as good as the traditional one. Do try it..you’ll love it!

Ingredients:
Milk powder- 2 cups
Sugar- 1/2 cup
Milk- 2 cups
Condensed milk- 3/4 cup
Cardamom powder-1/2 tsp
Butter-100 gms
Eggs – 2 nos
Bread slices- 2 nos ( remove edges)
Chopped Almonds and pistachios for garnishing

Method:
Blend together bread and eggs in a food processor till both ingredients are well combined.
Heat butter, add the bread mixture into it and stir for 2-3mins. Keep aside.
In a bowl add milk powder, sugar, regular milk and condensed milk. Mix it with a hand beater. Put this mixture in a pan and heat it. Stir it continuously for about 5mins.
Once it starts to boil, add the bread mixture and cardamom pdr and and continue stirring until it starts to get slightly creamy. When the mixture cools, it will get even thicker , so be careful and let it only be ‘slightly’ thick when hot.
Garnish with almonds and pistachios and refrigerate for 2-3hrs(after it cools).

Note: It’s important to stir continuously, else the milk can stick to the pan and burn.

Suggestion: You may add a few drops rose essence(kewra) if you like the flavour. I excluded that.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Methi Paratha (Fenugreek flatbread)


North Indian stuffed Parathas are one of my favorites. Tried Googling the history of parathas and found that it originated in Punjab and later became popular all over India. I’ve tried almost all of them viz. Aloo(potato) paratha, Methi, Mooli(raddish), Paneer and so on and so forth. Apart from these, Kerala parathas are also very popular. They are quite different from the north Indian ones with a distinct circular, flaky appearance- sans any filling. They are easily available in bulk orders at any Malabar restaurant!(I prepare them at least once in a week).
I’ve decided to add a list of parathas to my blog and to begin with it’s Methi Paratha which is just so easy to make and delicious too. It’s a healthy idea for kid’s tiffin! Fenugreek/Methi is very common in Indian cooking. The leaves have a medicinal value and are slightly bitter. The dried leaves are popularly known as Kasoori Methi and are used to flavor a lot of dishes like Butter chicken, Shahi Paneer, Aloo Gobi etc.

Ingredients:
Wheat flour (Atta)- 3cups
Fenugreek leaves (Methi)- 1 cup (discard stem)
Green chilli – 1 chopped finely
Coriander powder – ½ tsp
Turmeric powder- ¼ tsp
Ginger – ½ tsp paste
Ghee /Olive oil or butter

Method:
Pluck the methi leaves and discard stem. Wash and chop into small pieces.
1-Heat the oil and add ginger paste. Saute for a few seconds. Add methi leaves, green chillies and some salt. Add the coriander powder and stir until the leaves start to wilt. Saute for about 5-6mins only. Let this mixture cool.

2. Add the spiced methi mixture to the flour. Add 1tbsp of ghee/oil (optional). Add enough water and salt to make a soft, pliable dough. Leave it covered for about 30mins-1hr. Divide into equal-sized balls and roll out into thin parathas using dry flour. Cook on a tawa or griddle until both sides are slightly brown. Flip only 2-3times.

3. After removing from fire, pat ghee or butter on both side and keep covered to maintain softness.

Serve them hot with yoghurt (mixed with salt and chat masala or amchur pdr) and any pickle.
Optional: You may add ginger+garlic paste and cumin pdr while preparing the methi mixture.
Some prepare it by directly adding the methi leaves and spices to the flour, but it tastes best with the above method.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pineapple Pachadi....hot & sweet pineapple raitha in creamy coconut & curd


New year is synonymous with resolutions, fresh starts and plans for the year ahead. The most common one I’ve heard of is ... ‘get fit’. Initially people do take it seriously, go for those brisk walks, give up sweets, ice-creams and all those mid-meals ..thus begins the battle of the bulge. However this is only short lived... soon those salads & dry rotis look boring and now that feeling of ‘I deserve something better’ starts to dawn upon you.
I’m not a diet guru but my mantra of eating have always been the Hadith -‘fill only one-third of your stomach with food, one-third with liquid and one-third with air.’   
Having said that, I have no intention of excluding fatty food from my blog...so all you calorie conscious people, please do keep a tab on the intake...eat well, stay healthy.     
I would like to introduce this amazing south Indian dish which I’m sure you’ll love. It’s similar to the North Indian raitha and is also prepared with mango, pumpkin & banana. But the Pineapple version is my favorite.  Do try it!

Ingredients:

Pineapple (canned)- 1 large tin
Chili pdr- 2tsp
Turmeric pdr- 1tsp
Yogurt- 2 cups (or as required)

For Grinding:
Freshly grated coconut- 4-5 tbsp
Cumin seed - 1/2 tsp
Dried red chili - 2 nos

For the garnish:
Mustard seeds-1tsp
Curry leaves- 6-7
Dried red chili- 2-3

Method:

Drain out the syrup from the can & cut pineapple into very small pieces. Cook pineapple pieces with red chili pdr, turmeric & pinch of salt. ( If using fresh pineapple, add 1tsp sugar along with salt to sweeten it). Cook till pineapple is soft.

Grind coconut with cumin seed & dried red chili with 2tbsp water. Add this to the pineapple. Keep stirring for 4-5mins. Switch off the gas and allow to cool.
Lightly beat yogurt till smooth. Add the above mix into the yogurt.
For the garnish- Splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves (few), 2-3 dried red chili. Saute for 5secs and add into the pineapple.
Serve as a side dish with plain rice.