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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Nutella Pudding...with creamy Hazelnut spread and biscuits

On the occassion of UAE’s 39th  national day, 4 days public holiday was announced (clubbing together the islamic new year). This was reason enough for an itchy feet and before you could even blink people had  packed their bags and flocked to Muscat for a holiday retreat. Naturally Muscatians drove in the opposite direction! Took the kids for an  early morning play at the beach, visited the spectacular musical fountain display at the foot of the world’s tallest tower –Burj Khalifa....all of us were brimming with joy throughout.
 Holidays are synonymous with good food and nothing like home-made food.  Prepared prawns with capsicum in coconut sauce and it turned out yummy. Also grilled, chicken in the gas oven-my first attempt at oven grilling. There are a lot more recipes on the card, hope to share only the best ones!
My kids just go bonkers over Nutella-hazelnut spread and always enjoy a generous amount of it on their bread. Sometimes they even have it straight from the bottle! This pudding comes to me from a facebook group ‘friends cooky’s’.  Nutella is the pioneer in Hazelnut spread, however if this brand is not available in your city you may try any other local hazelnut spread.
It’s really simple and success is guaranteed at first attempt.

Ingredients:
Hazelnut spread (Nutella) - 200 gm
Whipping cream (Dream whip) - 1 sachet
Nestle/Puck cream - 2 tins
Caramel powder - 1 sachet
Marie biscuits or any other arrowroot biscuit - 1 packet
Milk - 1/4 cup (to dip the biscuits)

Method:
Dip the biscuits in milk and lay in a large pudding dish as the first layer. Dip only slightly as we need it crunchy in the pudding.
In a juice mixer, beat together Nestle cream (1 tin) , Whipping Cream and Caramel powder. (This is the same caramel powder that is used for making instant caramel custard pudding.) You’ll now get a yellowish creamy mixture.
Pour this mixture over the layered biscuits and again layer the biscuits as before.
Refrigerate for 1/2 an hour.
Blend the remaining Nestle cream and hazelnut spread in the same blender and spread it evenly over the 2nd layer of biscuits. Garnish with almonds and refrigerate until chilled.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dream Whip Fruit Pudding


The waiting period was over and Eid arrived! The day began sweetly, with  Sheer-korma(will share the recipe soon) followed by Biryani and loads of fun with family. I had prepared this sweet dish for the occasion and it’s just delish!  A must try!

Ingredients:
White Bread – 5 slices
Mixed fruits can – 1large tin (drain out the syrup)
Sugar syrup- 1cup sugar boiled in 1 cup water
For blending:
Whipping cream powder(dream whip)- 2 sachet
Condensed Milk- ½ tin
Puck cream- 1 small tin
Milk- measured in the same cream tin
Gelatin- 1tsp
Sugar-1tsp

 Method:
Cut off edges of bread and slice them into 4 pieces. Melt the sugar in water by boiling it for 2-3mins. Allow it to cool.  Dip the bread slices in sugar syrup. The syrup is just to sweeten the bread , and it should not be thick.(alternatively you can place the slices in the dish and drizzle the syrup over it, so that the bread isn’t too soggy). Place the bread slices on the bottom of a large glass serving dish (in a single layer). Spread the mixed fruits over this.
With an electric blender, blend together- whipping cream, condensed milk, cream, gelatin, milk and sugar. Pour this mix evenly over the fruits. Garnish with cherries, pistachio and almond flakes.
Refrigerate for 3-4hrs or until cold and set.
Optional- You may also add few dry fruits like fig, dates, cashew nuts etc. over the fruits. But this pudding tastes good even without it!


Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Butter cake


 
Baking is one of the simplest methods of cooking. However, if not done in the right manner can turn out to be a nightmare. It's always essential to pre-measure all your ingredients and have them ready just before you start off.  
Thanks to my colleague Jezmy from Maldives for inspiring me with her baked treats! Muffins, cookies, cakes…week  after week…don’t think anyone can beat that! I’ll definitely share her recipes one day.
I got this basic butter cake recipe whilst net-surfing and it turned out delectable!  A must try!
 
Ingredients
250gms unsalted butter (preferrably Amul )
200gm sugar (powdered)
4 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
200gm self raising flour, sifted with ½ tsp salt
4 tbsp fresh  milk

Method
Grease and line a cake tin with greaseproof paper. Preheat oven to 170C .
Cream butter and sugar (with an electric egg beater) until light and creamy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until mixture is light and fluffy.
Add vanilla essence.
Fold in sifted flour (only self-raising flour to be used)gradually to the prepared mix.
Finally stir in milk. Mix until well combined.
Pour mixture into prepared tin.
Level out mixture at the sides but allow a shallow well in the center. This is to enable the cake to level up evenly during baking.
Bake in the middle rack of preheated oven for 55-60 minutes or until cooked through when tested with a skewer.
The buttery aroma is also an indication that it’s done.

Cheese Tikki



Apologies for the 4 month long silence or rather summer break.…had forced myself into aestivation ;-)…and hope to elude any sort of winter hibernation J
Had been to Kerala for Ramadan followed by Eid and yes it was a memorable vacation indeed! Tried lots and lots of new recipes, specially for Iftaar  and just can’t wait till I share them. Without much ado let’s head off…
To start with here’s presenting …Cheese tikki!! It’s something the kids will love and so would the grown-ups.  It’s one of the most simplest snacks & doesn’t require any exotic  ingredients.
Bon Appetit!!
 This is how it appears before and after coating....


Ingredients:
Cream cheese triangles-8 triangles
White Bread -8slices
Onion- 1 large- chopped finely
Tomato- 1 large- chopped finely
Green chilly-1-cut finely
Coriander leaves-1bunch-chopped finely
Juice of 1 lemon
Pepper powder-1tsp
Salt to taste

For coating:
2cups of Bread crumbs mixed with ½ cup of sesame seeds.
1egg- beaten

Method:
Shred the bread slices into small bits and place them in a large bowl.  Now add the chopped onion, tomato, green chilly & coriander leaves. Add the cheese once it’s soft, and blend all of these ingredients with your hand. You may add 2-3tsp of milk to moisten this.  Add lemon juice, pepper powder, salt and continue  to mix well until a smooth dough has been formed.  If the dough is too sticky you may add 1 or 2 extra slices of bread.
Now divide them into small equal number of balls. Shape them in the form of small fingers and keep aside.
For frying:
Dip the rolls in egg , next roll them in the bread crumbs until all sides have been coated well.
Deep fry on medium heat  till crispy and golden brown.
Serve hot with tomato ketchup.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Chaat Sandwich


Chaats are very popular fast food in Northwest India. They are typically sold on roadsides and also available at restaurants. Count me amongst those who devour chaats with relish!
Afrah’s friends pleaded for a potato-snack party for her bday and it didn’t take me a minute to decide on Batata-wada. So what would be next …Punjabi samosa! But then nothing unique about it. My toing and froing stopped when I recollected this Hyderabi chaat sandwhich which my sis had prepared for her school snack festival. I remember Anusha preparing around 50-60 of this with her friend Nikitha and turning mom’s kitchen into a mess! Albeit it sold like hotcakes..or should I say hotsandwiches! Still remember seeing a huge crowd at their stall! So here I am to share this chaat with you, which I doubt you’ll find at Bombay Chowpatty or any chaat stalls!


Ingredients:
Bread – 6 slices cut into triangles.
Potato- 3 large
Onion- 2 large chopped into tiny pieces
Tomato- 1 large chopped into tiny pieces
Raw mango (optional)- 1 cut into tiny pieces
Red chilly powder- 1 tsp
Lime juice- 1 tsp
Garam masala powder- ¼ tsp
Coriander leaves- ½ cup
Fine Sev – 1 Cup
Tomato sauce

Sweet Red chutney(meetha chutney): Soak 1 small lemon size tamarind in 1 cup water for 1hour or you may microwave it for 30secs to make it soft. Cut 5-6 seedless dates into small pieces. Squish the tamarind with your fingers to extract all the pulp. Discard the fibre and seeds. Add the thick tamarind liquid to the dates. Add ¼ tsp chilli pdr, ¼ tsp cumin pdr, salt and grind to a smooth watery paste. Keep it aside for garnish.(you may need to adjust the quantity of tamarind and dates depending on the size).


Green chutney- ingredients: 1 cup mint leaves, ½ cup coriander leaves, ½ onion , 1 tsp lime juice, ½ tsp sugar, 1 green chili. Grind into smooth paste using very little water. Keep aside for garnish.

Method:
Boil and mash the potatoes. Add red chilli pdr, lime juice, garam masal pdr, salt. Mix well into a smooth paste.
Preparing the bread-base: there are 2 ways to do this. 1- Toast the bread slices (hard brown toast)using a little bit of ghee and then coat one side with the potato mix. 2- First coat the potato mix on one side of the slice, spread evenly, press well, then dust cornflour on it and deep fry in oil. Although I’ve used the 2nd method, I would recommend the 1st option as for the 2nd method, it consumes a lot of oil.
Garnish- place the bread slices on the serving dish. Spread 1 tsp tomato sauce. Sprinkle onion pieces, next tomato pieces, mango pieces(very few), drizzle 2-3 tsp red chutney, now add a lot of Sev(as shown in pic), add green chutney and lastly coriander leaves. Serve immediately!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Mango Chicken (Chef's special :-) )



The mere thought of having green mangoes would excite the salivary glands of almost anyone.
The perfect mangoes for mango-chicken are the ones that are just in the ripening stage. Pick the mango which is green yet soft. These, when cut, would appear yellowish within.
You’ll find a varied list of mango chicken recipes on the web-site, but this one’s my very own creation and a hit product of my culinary experiments.

Ingredients:

Chicken – 1 kg, cut into small pieces
Onion-3 large, sliced lengthwise
Grind to paste- ½ inch ginger + 6 pieces garlic+1green chilly
Raw mangoes (green on the outside, soft & yellowish inside) - 2 small
Whole Spices: Cardamom- 3, Cloves- 4, Bay leaf- 1, Cinnamon – 1 small stick (2inch long)
Red Chilly powder- 2 tsp
Turmeric powder- ½ tsp
Curd- 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Cashew nut paste- grind 8 pieces of cashew nut using a little bit of water to form thick paste.
A bunch of Coriander leaves & mango slices for garnish.

Method:

Peel the mangoes. Make puree of 1 mango and keep aside. Cut the other mango into thin slices for garnish.
Heat 2 tsp oil and sauté onion till soft and translucent. Add ginger & garlic paste, sauté. Add all the spices and sauté for 2 mins. Now add the chilly powder and turmeric powder. Sauté well. Next add the chicken pieces and mango paste. Stir well and add the curd & salt. Add ½ glass of water and cook until chicken is done. (Don’t add too much of water as the gravy may turn out too loose). Now stir in the cashew nut paste; add a bunch of finely chopped coriander leaves and cook for a minute(discard the bay leaf). The gravy should now have a thick consistency. Transfer into a serving dish and garnish with few coriander leaves and mango slices.

Serving suggestion- to be served with Paratha or Puri.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Ladies Delight ( an Oriental dessert )



Wonder why this Oriental dish is so-called… perhaps its ease and simplicity delights the women folk??
I would say it should be renamed - ‘Men’s delight’, as my better-half was extremely ‘delighted’ whilst relishing it. I leave the whys and wherefores of this to you…after all ‘what’s in a name’.
I had once seen this recipe stuck on a Nestle’ cream tin but hadn’t tried it, until one of my colleagues brought it to office. Just follow the simple steps and the end result is a scrumptious, mouth-watering dessert and it’s over even before you go for the second piece!
So let’s get our ingredients ready and start off!

All you need:

Sandwich bread-8 slices
Nestle’ cream- 1 small tin
Rosewater- 1 tsp
For Sugar syrup: Boil 1 cup of water with ½ cup sugar for 10mins.(Syrup shouldn’t be thick)
Oil for frying
Pistachio or cashew nut flakes for garnish.

Method:

Remove the crust of the bread slices and flatten each of them using a rolling pin. Mix cream and rosewater in a bowl. (you can prepare this without rosewater also). Spread ½ tbsp of cream over the slice and roll it. Use a paste of refined flour ( 3 tsp flour+1 tbsp water) to stick the sides. Press the sides so that the cream does not come out while frying. Deep fry this in hot oil until golden brown. The bread will absorb a lot of oil, but don’t panic. Remove from pan and place on kitchen paper to drain out excess oil. Dip this in the sugar syrup and place on serving dish. If you don’t want it to be too sweet then you may place the fried pieces on the serving dish and drizzle the syrup on it with a spoon. Garnish with crushed pistachio or cashew nut (I’ve used cashew nut).
Serve hot.

My Mummy’s……..LAMB-LEG MASALA (Malabar Channah)

There are 3 ingredients to the good life;learning, earning and yearning. I’d always been yearning to prepare this yummy dish-my mom’s speciality. In Malabar, leg of lamb is the sine qua non for wedding parties. At few places the whole lamb is prepared, wherein the lamb is stuffed with chicken which in turn is stuffed with egg! I’ve tasted a lot of lamb-leg dishes but my mom’s is the best! Had eluded from cooking it, as I assumed it involved a lot of hard work. Stopped my procrastination and decided to go the whole nine yards and bought the lamb shoulder piece. For best results buy a young shoulder piece weighing around 700gms.

Marinade:
Grind to a paste-
garlic-3 cloves
Green chillies-3
Cilantro(coriander leaves)- small bunch
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt
Turmeric powder- 1/2 Tsp

Apply this paste to the leg of lamb and leave for 2 hours( if short of time,30 mins will do)

Sliced onions -4
Tomatoes- 5
Green chillies-4
Cardamom- 5
Cloves-6
Garlic- 15 cloves
Ginger- 1inch
Red chilly powder- 2 spoon
Turmeric- 1 tsp
Cilantro- 1 small bunch
Juice of 1.5 or 2 lemons

Method:
Fry the lamb in some oil and fry on both sides for a little while. Keep aside.
In the same oil add cardamom, cloves,onion and salt. After frying well, add ginger & garlic. Once the raw smell is gone, add red chilly and turmeric powder. Fry for 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. Add 1.5 cups water, juice of 1.5 lemons & cilantro. When this boils, add lamb-leg and pressure cook for 2- 3 whistles on medium flame. Then reduce to low heat for 15 minutes. When cooking in pressure cooker, switch off after 2 whistles and turn over lamb-leg to ensure even cooking, and continue rest of cooking in cooker. When done switch off flame.
Take out the lamb piece and place on serving dish. Reduce the gravy by stirring frequently for 15mins to prevent burning. Once the sauce has thickened, pour over leg. Garnish with cilantro.
This one’s a must try and proud to say that it turned out exactly the same as my mom’s.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Gajar Ka Halwa (Carrot Halwa)


A hectic Friday morning…nothing uncommon or unusual about it. Kids demanding for their pick à la carte. Biryani is still in the cards, so what would be the dessert of the day? Went for my usual Friday grocery purchase and saw these long red North Indian carrots and voilà……Gajar Ka Halwa quickly shot into my nerves! GKH is a classic Indian carrot pudding and one of the simplest too. These juicy red carrots are sweeter than the orange ones and grow during the cooler climates;hence, are available only between Dec-Mar. So just the right time to prepare them. So first it was Besan Sooji ka Halwa and now carrot halwa….there’s a lot more on my chart, few yet to be explored! Supply is equal to demand. With an increasing demand for sweet dish from my better half and little ones, this enterprise shalt continue! InshaAllah!

Thou shalt need …

Red Carrots- 4 cups (grated)
Fresh Milk – 2 cups
Condensed milk – ½ tin
Sugar- 1 cup
Ghee- 3 tsp
Almonds, Cashew, Raisins- few of each.
Cardamom powder- 1 pinch

This is how I prepare it:

Heat ghee in a large, heavy-bottomed, wide pan**. Slightly fry the cashew, almonds and raisins. Once the raisins puff up, add the carrots. (Do not grate the carrots very fine, as they may turn out to be mushy. Use the hand-held grater with bigger holes.) Stir for 2 mins until you notice a change in colour in the carrots. Its time to add the milk now. In roughly around 20mins all the milk will be absorbed. Add the sugar after the carrots are fully cooked. Keep stirring on low flame until the ghee separates. Now add the condensed milk. (I prefer condensed milk as khoya isn’t easily available at all stores). Lastly add cardamom pdr and keep stirring until the halwa turns slightly deep red in colour and is soft and moist but not wet.

Serving tips- place cold halwa in a crystal serving dish and top it with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream. Mmmm…that’s my favorite! Else, simply have it when it’s still warm-garnished with pistachio.


**A wide sized pan is mandatory, so as to speedup the evaporation time of the milk, thus ensuring that the carrots aren’t overcooked.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Pasted Chicken

Please don’t bother to check out any other web-site for this recipe, as this one’s unique in its kind! I’ve given it some variation to suite the taste buds and am sure you’ll love it.
It’s a delicious, quick and easy chicken dish-sans fancy ingredients. Its definitely one of my go-to meal- I almost always have the ingredients on hand! I shall be posting the actual pics of all my recipes in the near future...but please dont wait for them...just start trying the recipes out!

Ingredients:
Chicken (small pieces)– 1kg
Ginger+garlic paste- 3tbsp
Red chilli powder- 2 tbsp
Curry leaves- a handful(10-12nos)
Green chilli- 2 slit lengthwise
Oil for frying- 1 cup
Tomato ketchup- 2 cup
Tomato paste- 3 tbsp
Spring onion- 1 bunch cut into long diagonal pieces
Capsicum- 2 nos (cut into small pieces)
Salt to taste

Method:
Heat oil in a frying pan and add chilli powder and salt*. Add the chicken pieces to this and mix well until all the chicken has been coated equally with the chilli powder. Fry the chicken until reddish brown. Now add the ginger+garlic paste & green chilli and stir for 2mins. Add the tomato paste and ketchup. Toss well and add curry leaves. Keep fryingng on high flame until the ketchup and tomato paste have become sticky and golden. This may roughly take 5-10mins. The chicken should by now have got a reddish appearance. Lastly garnish with spring onion and capsicum and toss for 2mins(don’t overcook as the leaves may change colour).

*heat the oil on low flame at this stage, else the chilli powder may get burnt.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Besan Sooji ka Halwa (a concoction of Semolina(rava) and gram flour)


It took me less than a minute to decide what my first post would be on this blog!When it comes to this semolina halwa, my threesome are of one mind! mmmmmm...the aroma that engulfs the entire house can't stop you from taking a quick tidbit. So without much ado lets head straight for the ingredients.

Ingredients in order of appearance:
Pure Ghee- 1 cup
Besan(Gram Flour)- 1 cup
Sooji(Rava/Semolina)- 1 cup
Milk powder- 1 cup
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 1cup
Cardamom powder- ¼ tsp
Raisins- ½ cup
Few flakes of Almond & Pistachio
Optional- dried coconut(khopra) flakes.

Take a frying pan and heat 1 cup of Ghee(nothing better than RKG). Don’t heat it too much. . Simultaneously in another bowl, prepare the water syrup by boiling water with sugar & cardamom. Add the Gram Flour to the ghee and keep stirring continuously for about 5mins and until you start getting a good aroma. Now its time to add the Semolina and continue stirring. One important note when it comes to cooking Indian sweets is the manner in which they are roasted, kneaded etc., so be watchful about the colour too. You would still find this in a liquid state. Don’t panic! Now add the raisins and almonds and stir. Once the raisins have turned dark, turn off the stove. Add the milk powder and mix well. Now the liquid state will take a powdery form. Place the pan back on the gas and add the water syrup. Continue stirring until the halwa leaves the sides of the pan and the ghee separates from it and the entire texture gets a smooth look.
Spread and flatten this on a glass tray and garnish with pistachio and coconut flakes. Just dive straight into it and relish!