Bringing Imagination to your Cooking…!!!

Dairy

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Food for thought..! Ever wondered how some dishes/recipes were named.. !?! I’m sure every cuisine has some very interesting names.. Since my interaction has been the most with Indian food … Indian food  does have some real bizarre names like – pasanda, navratan, jalfrezi, tikka, ragda patties etc.. whoever came up with such fancy names.. hats off! Now come the other boring names, probably named by someone who was simply caught up on a day like this where he could not just come up with anything fancy…I’m talking about the use of names like masala, fry, curry, kadai, handi, tandoori etc. The name of this dish sounds familiar huh… just like Aloo Shimla Mirchi.. I know! But I couldn’t come up with a more innovative name…! I kept racking my brains over it.. Not one of my very innovative days when it comes to naming dishes I suppose & of course not for K as well..! I asked K to try the dish & give this dish a name.. he came up with this tacky name…! I smiled & asked him if it’s all he could come up with.. he replied “I’m hungry, right now this is what I can come up with!”. I did not want to bug him more.. so I just stuck with naming it this way.. !!!

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

I had a huge stash of Paneer in my fridge which I had completely forgotten about… Thanks to my 3 year twin nephews who were fighting for more Paneer on their plate during our Skype Video chat, I decided I’ll cook K a paneer dish for dinner!

With all the shows on TLC I watch.. K is always drooling on the Bacon, the numerous cheese’s, pink salmon, Ham & cheese, fish & chips, .. the list goes on..! You place paneer in front of K along with some roti’s, he is happy..! K’s vegetarian happy meal formula in Indian food has to have some Paneer…!

This dish is again something I just made up on the go.. ! It tangy, sweet & sour and mildly hot… with some lovely flavour & crunch added by the green peppers/capsicum/Shimla mirchi.

Shimla Mirchi & coriander if you were wondering what were those things in the background which were out of focus…

This is one of the first time I tried to shoot pictures this way.. not too much on the background, a less busy picture.. Just a little bored with my usual style of photography. Hope you guys find these pictures appealing..! Change is the only constant isn’t it??!

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3 ) Preparation Time: 30 mins
Paneer – 175 gms, cubed
Onions – 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Bay leaves – 1/2 of a medium-sized leaf, roughly torn into 2-3 pieces
Dried red chilli’s – 2, medium spicy variety, each roughly torn into 2-3 pieces
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Turmeric – a pinch
Tamarind – 1/2 of a marble-sized ball, without seeds, soak in 1/4 warm cup water & keep aside
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Capsicum – 1 medium-sized, de-seeded and cubed
Coriander – 2 sprigs, finely chopped to garnish
Cashews – 5, soaked in 1/4 cup milk for at least 30 mins, make a paste of the cashews with the milk
Tip: Skip the Cashews if you wanna go skinny with this dish
Cooking oil – 1.5 tbsp
Salt to taste

For the fresh paste:
Tomato – 1 medium-sized, roughly chopped
Coriander – 10-12 sprigs with the stems
Green chilli’s – 1, roughly chopped
Garlic – 8 plump cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
Ginger – 1 small piece,roughly chopped
Cardamom – 3 whole
Cinnamon – 1 inch piece

Method:
Heat oil in a kadai/deep bottom fry pan. Once the oil heats up, set heat to medium. Throw in the bay leaves bits & let them sizzle. In about 30 seconds, throw in the cumin seeds & let them sizzle, do not let them turn black. Add the finely chopped onion & add some salt to help fry them quicker. Let them turn translucent.

Meanwhile, grind all the ingredients mentioned for a paste except the tomatoes. Once the rest of the ingredients have turned into a rough paste, add the tomatoes & blend to as smooth a paste as possible. Add a bit of water if required.

Squeeze the juice out of the soaking tamarind & throw the pulp away, reserving all the water.

When the onion begins to turn a light brown, add the roughly torn dried red chilli’s, mix it around. Next add the freshly ground paste along with 1 cup water. Simmer. When the sauce thickens throw in the turmeric & coriander powder. Mix it around. Let it fry for a couple of minutes. Now throw in the sugar, tamarind juice & give the sauce a good mix.

Note: Do not let the sauce burn, reduce heat & add a little water if it is too dry.

When all the raw flavours fade away add the cashew paste if you wish to add & throw in the capsicum & fry till the capsicum cooks in to a way you like it, I like a bit crunch in them so I cook them halfway.

Note: If you need some gravy in this dish, add about 1/2 cup of water before you add the capsicum. Else you can let all the water evaporate & make this a dry dish.

Lastly add the paneer cubes, mix well so that the sauce coats the paneer. Cook the paneer till tender. 

Garnishing:
Garnish with some chopped coriander.

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot as an accompaniment with hot Indian breads.

Paneer Shimla Mirchi…

Else you can make them into rolls. Add a couple of spoons of the sabji with some freshly chopped onions, coloured peppers and make yourself a roll or a wrap. 🙂 This sounds perfect if you have just enough leftovers right?


Spiced Mango Pancakes….

Spiced Mango Pancakes..

Mangoes..!

K loves mangoes…. Just the way I love crabs.. :D. You give him a couple of mangoes & I won’t feel his presence around.. He gets lost in his own world.. We suddenly have loads of Mangoes at home.. Thanks to a friends farmhouse & K’s cousin who brought us some from a friends orchard. All seem to be ripening at the same time almost… !! Such lovely sweet mangoes cannot go a waste can they??!? Had to come up with ways to eat them in as many ways as possible..!

Spiced Mango Pancakes..

Instead of the usual milkshake or cut fruit with muesli or corn flakes, Pancakes seemed to be good alternative.. Been a while since we had pancakes for breakfast..! So ended up fixing some mango pancakes for breakfast..! K’s face lit up with the very sound of mango pancakes.. He loves bacon & pancakes for breakfast the American way :D.. Every time I read this combo on a menu card, I always found I quite strange, until I tried in & really liked it, a shame that I had not given this wonderful combo a shot earlier..!! Sigh..! I used the salted butter to make-do with the saltiness from the Bacon..

Yes, I know I’m on a diet & watching my calorie intake..!!! I try to make one good meal for K so that he does not have to suffer due to my diet. They smelled so heavenly that I just could not say no to them.. Just indulged in one small pancake & had my cup of green tea with it.. ! I just know how my mind tempts me, by giving me these awesome creative ideas about food just when I should not be thinking about such indulgent food..! 

Mangoes..!

You see mangoes everywhere in the market. Even alphonso’s have gotten cheaper now, a carton/dozen for just 300/- which is a steal compared to buying them for 900/- for a dozen in the beginning of the season. Look at the yellow-golden pancakes screaming out at you from the pictures…! Don’t you think this recipe is worth giving a shot??!??

Ingredients: (Serves 2)       Preparation Time: 20 mins
Mango pulp – from one medium-sized mango, use any sweet variety of mango
Flour – 3/4 cup
Castor sugar – 2 tbsp, use more if the mango isn’t sweet enough
Ground Cinnamon – 1/4 tsp + more to drizzle
Salt – 1/8 tsp
Baking powder – 1 tsp
Egg – 1
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Milk – 3/4 cup
Salted butter – 1 tbsp for frying
Mango cubes to serve

Method:
Sift Flour, salt & baking powder together into a measuring mug. I usually use a mug since it is easier to pour the batter on to the frypan. Add the sugar & give the ingredients a good whisk. If you like to you can add about 1/4 tsp of cinnamon here to the dry ingredients as well. I like cinnamon a lot, so I added cinnamon while preparing the batter as well. 🙂 You can skip adding cinnamon here if you find it very overpowering.

Puree the mango pulp along with 1/2 cup of the milk, so that it is easier to puree the mango pulp. Now add the cooking oil & the egg & whisk well. If the wet ingredients seem to be too thick adjust by adding 1/4 cup of remaining milk, till a smooth runny consistency is achieved. (Remember haven’t added the dry ingredients yet so it is going to get thicker). Add the wet ingredients to the dry & fold till the dry ingredients are incorporated well. Make sure the batter is just the right consistency.

Midway...

Heat your non-stick pancake pan. Set heat to low. Grease the pan with some salted butter & allow it to melt. Pour enough batter required to make a pancake on to the pan. Add some butter around the pancake & cover the pan & let the pancake cook for a couple of minutes. Remember do not increase the heat from low. Open the lid, the top of the pancake should have also cooked, else cover & cook for another minute. Do not let the underside burn. Spread some butter on top, turn the pancake upside down for about a minute. Take the pancake off heat.

Garnishing:
Garnish with some fresh-cut mango pulp cubes with a sprinkle of ground cinnamon. I did not have any fresh whipped cream with me.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve the pancakes with the garnish mentioned along with some fresh whipped cream if you have some. 🙂 Else you can serve this with some syrup & crispy bacon the American way..!!! Or serve it with some Vanilla ice-cream as a dessert.. :))

Spiced Mango Pancakes..

 

Dig in.. indulge!  We can all die another day.. 🙂


Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

A simple dish, yet so flavourful. This is something I have been meaning to post from a long time. Baby potatoes are a favourite in our kitchen. They have a very distinct sweet flavour & they are just so silky smooth in this curry… A definite must try for all potato & Indian curry lovers. So easy to prepare but, the time taken is a wee longer compared to other curry’s, but then if you are looking for a good curry then you better not complain. Try it out once & it will frequent your kitchen very often then on.

Indulging in a curry with some cashews as the base is not a sin..! Every once in a while you do need to pamper yourself with a rich curry. Look at the brighter side – there is no butter, cream or cheese.. its healthier since you are adding some curd/yogurt. But please don’t go skinny on the yogurt too, else you are going to destroy the dish.

A typical dish from the Northern state of India – Punjab. You can’t say no to Punjabi curry’s can you?? A very staple recipe from a Punjabi family’s house. You will find loads of recipe’s for this dish over the internet. This is the way I make it at home. Being a friday post, hope this gives you an opportunity to try this dish out over the weekend. A true delight & you will never order this at an Indian restaurant again, since you will master this at home with this recipe. 😀
Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4) Preparation Time: 45 mins
Baby potatoes – 22-25, washed
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Green Cardamom – 2 cloves
Cashews – 10-12 whole
Cloves – 3-4 whole
Bay leaves – 1 medium-sized leaf, torn into 3-4 pieces
Cumin seeds – 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds – 1 tbsp
Asafoetida – 2 pinches
Ginger – 1 inch piece, roughly chopped
Garlic – 5-6 cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
Onion – 1 large, roughly chopped
Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
Red chilli powder/Dried Kashmiri Chilli’s – 1 tsp/4-5; Alter according to your palate as the spices used will also make the dish hot
Fresh curd/Natural yogurt – 3/4 cup
Kasuri Methi/Dried Fenugreek leaves – 1 tbsp, crushed between your palms
Sugar – 1 tsp
Coriander leaves (Optional) – 1-2 sprigs, finely chopped
Cooking oil – 1/2 tsp + 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Take a small fry pan & dry roast the spices – cloves, cumin, coriander seeds, cinnamon along with the cashews. If you have Kashmiri chilli’s add them too (i.e. if you plan to use dried chilli’s instead of the store-bought powder). Maintain heat at medium. Do not burn the spices. Roast them till the aroma of all the roasting spices fills up your nose & they begin to slightly change in colour. Turn the heat off. Keep aside to cool.

Bring about a litre of water to a boil in a pressure cooker. Add generous amount of salt to the water for the baby potatoes to absorb some. Add the washed baby potatoes. When the water begins to bubble, cover with the lid & cook for 10 minutes with the cooker weight on, at medium heat. Turn off the heat & let the cooker cool. It is perfectly fine if the cooker does not blow its whistle at all.

Meanwhile, when the potatoes are cooking away, transfer the dry roasted spices & cashews to a blender jar & powder them to a fine powder. Keep it aside.

If the pressure is off the pressure cooker, open it transfer the baby potatoes to a bowl of cold water. Notice that the potatoes are not completely cooked & they are still firm. Now peel their skin away. Next pierce the potatoes with a fork in 2-3 places so as to help them absorb the flavours from the gravy.

Heat 1 tsp oil in deep bottom non stick fry pan. When the oil is hot a pinch of asafoetida & let it sizzle for a couple of seconds. Turn heat to low & throw in the baby potatoes. Slowly cook them on all sides till they turn golden brown.

Fry the baby potatoes till golden brown..

Probably will take you 12-15 minutes on low heat. While the potatoes are frying away, keeping a close eye on them, mince the roughly chopped onions, garlic & ginger using a mini chopper or food processor.

Take out the golden brown potatoes from the frying pan & transfer them to a kitchen paper to drain away the excess oil.

In the same fry pan add 1 tbsp of oil. Maintain heat at medium. Once the oil heats up, throw in a pinch of asafoetida, let it sizzle for a couple of seconds. Next add the torn bay leaf, fry for about 30-40 seconds till its aroma fills up the air around. Now add the minced onion-ginger-garlic paste. Add some salt to help the onions turn translucent quicker & mix well. When the onion is cooking to turn translucent, beat the curd/natural yogurt to remove any lumps.

Once the onion turns translucent add the turmeric & the freshly ground spice paste & mix well. Add the red chilli powder if you did not use whole dried red chilli’s while preparing the fresh spice powder.Let the mixture cook for a couple of minutes. Now add the beaten curd/yogurt to the frying pan along with the sugar. Mix well. Turn the heat to low.

Once the mixture begins to bubble, throw in the golden baby potatoes along with the crushed kasuri methi. Add about 300 ml water, add salt to taste & give it a good mix. Cover with a lid & cook on low heat for 10-12 minutes, till all the raw flavours fade away & the excess water has evaporated leaving behind a gravy with the consistency you need. Originally this dish is served with a thick gravy sticking to the potatoes.

Note: Be around & check once midway so that the gravy does not begin to burn from the bottom. If you cannot be around, heat a heavy pancake pan/tava & transfer the frying pan with the potatoes over the tava & cook on low heat for 15 minutes or till the desired consistency is achieved.

Garnishing:
Garnish with finely chopped coriander leaves if required. You can opt not to as the gravy already has an awesome flavour from the Kasuri Methi.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with Roti’s/Chapati’s/Naan or your favourite Indian breads. This also is a good accompaniment for Vegetable Pilaf/Jeera/Peas Pilaf.

Dum-Aloo truly sinful baby potatoes in a spicy onion-cashew gravy….

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Meen Varatharachathu… another fish delicacy from Kerala..!Makai Malai Palak/Sweetcorn in a creamy spinach sauce..Kumbh Mutter Masala with a Shahi twist to it..! etc.


Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds……

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds..

Experimenting should be my middle name, Oh well, that’s a lame one, don’t we all experiment with food?? Yes, of course we do. Now what made me experiment with strawberries & yogurt?? What could one possibly do when one ends up with half a litre of sourish yogurt & sour strawberries..? 😦 I did not have enough strawberries to make jam out of it, then again I would need to use the yogurt in another recipe. I was looking to do something with both together. I don’t like to throw away food, you would know that about me if you have been following my posts. If the food is still edible, why throw it away? If the person who had ended up with curdled milk had not experimented then we would have never known what cheese was all about. 🙂 Enough of my lectures, I don’t want to bore you.

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds...

This is a very simple yet yummy raita. Will be ready in a jiffy. Just pick up some sour strawberries, a few basil leaves, 1 cup of sour yogurt (Do not worry if you do not have sour yogurt, use just natural yogurt). Any chilli of your choice to spice it up, honey to balance the sourness & some toasted sesame seeds for garnishing. A blend of fresh flavours.. best served chilled.

A rare day today for Keli Paan, rare because it has been ages since I did two posts on the blog. It is february & all my recent posts have been had loads of red in the ingredients or the photos.. :D. But I’m not that sorts who believes in celebrating one day for love..!

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds...

Ingredients: (Serves 2)     Preparation Time: 5 mins
Yogurt – Sour preferably, else Natural is fine, I used homemade
Strawberries – 4-5 medium-sized
Honey – 1 tbsp to balance or kill the sourness
Fresh Red chilli – 1, medium-spicy, slit, de-seeded
Basil leaves – 3, roughly torn
Sesame seeds – 1/2 tsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Toast the sesame seeds in a small fry pan and keep aside. Wash & hull the strawberries.
Add the yogurt to a blender & blend it well to make it smooth. If you are adventurous like me add the chilli along with the basil & blend it again till the chilli’s & basil get minced. Next add the strawberries & blend just for about 10 seconds. I wanted small pieces of strawberries to chew on in the raita.

Tip: If you do not wish to blend the strawberries then, you can chop them finely & add.

Add some salt to season & add the chilli if you have not blended it earlier with the yogurt like I did.

I made 2 batches of these today, with 2 different types of chilli’s. One version with dried red chilli’s & another version with a small piece of minced scotch bonnet chilli’s. The first version was not hot, whereas the one with the Scotch bonnet chilli’s was hot. So you can choose what type of chilli you want to use. Go ahead with some freshly ground peppercorns if you wish to or a pinch of ground red chilli powder/paprika/cayenne pepper powder.

Note: If you are making this for your kids, you can add just a pinch of the chilli & a wee bit more honey.

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds..

Garnishing:
Garnish with the toasted sesame seeds just before you serve for that nutty crunch in the raita.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve as a side with any Pilaf or biryani.

Strawberry-Basil Raita with toasted sesame seeds..

Or eat it just as is for a snack just like I did.. 😀 On a day like today, this was perfect to beat the heat off..! 


Spaghetti Butter Garlic Prawns….

Spaghetti Butter Garlic Prawns....

You know how cleaning up prawns is… I was so caught up with half a kilo of prawn cleaning today that I completely lost track of time,hunger began to creep in, had no lunch ready, a glance at the wall clock, it read thirty past two. K was home, I had to put together a quick lunch. I took a frantic look around my kitchen (my morning plans of preparing some basa fish curry would not hold good for now) & my eyes fell on small pile of garlic, since I bake a lot these days, we never run out of butter at home. My mind went racing & I literally put 2 & 2 together. 😉 Craving for some butter garlic prawns instantly began :D. I chided myself!I was late, I did not have any time for starters & then get into cooking a main course. Sigh!

Spaghetti Butter Garlic Prawns....

If I want to eat something, I will not rest till I have had it. I put on my thinking cap. The next thought that hit my mind was Pasta! I stock up a lot of pasta as well ;). It for sure will be yummy, no second thoughts when it comes to butter, garlic, prawns & spaghetti together!! That is wee story that gave life to this recipe :). K digs Pasta & prawns, it knew he will thoroughly enjoy this recipe.

Spaghetti Butter Garlic Shrimps...

This recipe does not have a sauce, it is more of a creamy buttery garlicky glaze to the spaghetti when ready. Do I see lip smacks?? 😉 Well I sure did make your lip smack, come on admit it. 🙂 This super quick & yummy recipe is a keeper for sure. You can wow your guests the next time you have a brunch or a lunch party at home.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)   Preparation Time: 15 – 20 mins
Prawns – 14 medium-sized prawns, tail on, cleaned (de-veined) & drained
Spaghetti – 150 gms
Garlic – 8-10 medium-sized cloves, finely chopped
Butter – 1 tbsp, use salted/unsalted, your choice
Fresh cream – 1.5 tbsp
Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs, finely chopped
Crushed black pepper – 1 tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp (To cook the spaghetti)
Salt to taste

Method:
Bring pot of water to a boil. Add enough salt to the water. Add the cooking oil. Cook till al dante or as per the instructions on the pack.

While the spaghetti is around 3-4 minutes into cooking, melt butter in a saucepan. Add the finely chopped garlic, lower heat to medium. Let the garlic flavour induce into the butter. Do not let the garlic change colour. Add the prawns after a minute. Sprinkle some salt to taste (Remember the spaghetti is already cooking in salty water, if you have used salted butter then add accordingly).

Once the prawns turn white on both sides, add the cream & mix well. Throw in 1/4 tsp of the freshly ground black pepper. Meanwhile, check on the spaghetti. Drain, reserve about 4-5 tbsp of the pasta water (For use just in case the pasta dries up). Throw in the cooke spaghetti. Mix well till the butter & cream sauce just glazes the spaghetti. Turn off the heat.

Garnishing:
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves & 1/2 tsp of crushed black pepper.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve with the leftover black pepper & wedges of lime, if you want to add a citrus twist.

 

Spaghetti Butter Garlic Prawns...

Accompany this with a glass of wine that you like :).

We enjoyed this a lot. Do drop your comments if you happen to try this recipe. 🙂

 


Potato & Mushroom Pie…..

Potato & Mushroom Pie...

This is the first post after I got back to India. Sorry, been busy catching up with friends/family & unpacking.. Unpacking can get as exhaustive as packing for sure.. It feels good being back & not wearing layers of clothes to keep warm. Glasgow has already begun having subzero temperatures. The ironic part is that its getting difficult to keep the single layer of clothing on here in India.. 😛 Supposed to be winters now in Bangalore but it does not feel even one bit like it. Though the evenings do get a bit nice & chilly; that for sure is a blessing in disguise.

These are some of the few last things I prepared & clicked in between all the mess around the room & all the packing before we left for India. Yes, even the packing did not let me get away from the kitchen, also I was on a try to use up most of the groceries at home rather than waste them away.

Potato & Mushroom Pie...

I had bought a few cookbooks from M&S during our shopping. The moment I has seen this recipe while skimming through the book I knew it had to be on my list of must try because it was so simple & the flavours seemed to be so lovely. I instantly knew K would love it. The poor hubby has been doing all the lifting of heavy suitcases & me bugging him to make space for my photography in between all the mess in the house. I also had the task of keeping him at bay with a few slaps on his hands while he wanted a bite of the food before I was done clicking.. !!!

Ingredients: (Serves ) Preparation Time: mins
Potatoes – 500gms, sliced into 1/2 cm thick pieces, Par-boiled. I used the roast potato variety
Mushroom – 150 gms, sliced
Chives – 1 tsp, dried
Rosemary – 1/2 tsp, dried
Double Cream – 150-200 ml
Garlic – 2-3 cloves, finely chopped
Butter – a small piece to grease the baking dish
Paprika/Cayenne Pepper/Black pepper powder (optional) – a tsp, to serve
Salt to taste

Method: (Serves 2) Preparation Time: 60+ mins
Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees.

Grease a medium-sized baking dish with some butter, if you want to go healthy use some olive oil instead. Place a layer of parboiled potatoes on the bottom.

Place the drained par-boiled potatoes on the greased baking dish..

Place the sliced mushrooms to fill the gaps between the potatoes. Sprinkle some garlic around.

Place the sliced mushrooms in the gaps between the potatoes..

Next pour some of the double cream evenly over the layer of mushrooms & potatoes. Sprinkle some chives & rosemary evenly. Sprinkle some salt as well.

Repeat this process till you finish up the ingredients. Make sure the top layer is of potatoes & reserve some cream to pour over in the end. Sprinkle some chives too.

Sprinkle some chives over the cream..

Place in the centre of the pre-heated oven & cook till the top layer turns golden brown. Around 35 – 40 minutes. If you like the potatoes crispy then cook for another 10 minutes till the desired results are obtained.

Just out of the oven..

Garnishing: (Optional)
Garnish with some paprika/cayenne pepper/black pepper or any other kind of chilli you like to add some spice on the top.

How  to dig in?
Cut in desired portions & serve hot.

Potato & Mushroom Pie...

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – The Versatile Aloo/Potato Bhaji – South Indian styleAdraki Aloo Gobi/Gingery Potato & CauliflowerPepper chicken in cream and basil with roast potatoesGrilled Filled Capsicum etc.


Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

Back in Bangalore.. during the early 2000’s there was a bakery chain called “Sweet Chariot”,that was where I had tasted quiche’s for the first time. Since I’m a savoury food freak.. I loved it.. the cheese, the pepper & baked veggies with the crispy base.. bliss for sure.. !!! By saying “there was” I don’t mean to say the chain is closed, still exists for sure.. but now there are so many options when it comes to food in Bangalore.. Bangalore is so Cosmo when it comes to food and beer.. You will be truly amazed at the variety now. Since I landed here in Glasgow, about 1 year 8 months.. my friends keep talking about their new favourite haunts & the yummy food that’s been making these new places a big hit..!!

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

While I was thinking about being back in Bangalore & the places that I missed eating, I remembered my fav quiche place.. & from then on I have been looking to buy a nice flan tin.. so over the last weekend when I went out, I bought myself a tin to bake a flan.. 🙂

This is a super easy & tasty recipe. Its from a treasured book of mine from M&S. The book it filled with easy peasy pies, tarts & flans.. This flan has wonderful flavours.. & its so cheesy that it will surely be a heavenly trip for your taste buds..!

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

If your lazy to prepare the pastry at home, go ahead & use a store-bought shortcrust pastry.. 🙂 as easy to please your friends/guests for a sudden party at home.. 🙂

Ingredients: (Serves 4)       Preparation Time: 1 hr 20 mins (Excludes time to chill the pastry)
For the pastry:
Plain flour – 175g + extra for dusting
Cayenne Pepper powder – 1/2 tsp
Butter – 85 gms
Iced water – 2 tbsp
Salt – a pinch

For the Filling:
Cauliflower florets – 100g
Broccoli florets – 100g
Red onion – 1 medium-sized, cut into 8-10 wedges
Butter – 2 tbsp
Plain four – 1 tbsp
Vegetable stock – 6 tbsp
Milk – 125ml
Cheddar Cheese – 85g, grated
Black pepper – 1/2 tsp, freshly ground
Cayenne Pepper powder – 1/4 tsp to garnish
Salt to taste

Method:
To prepare the Pastry:
Sift the flour into a bowl & add salt to the bowl. Add the cayenne pepper powder & mix. (Optional, you can add a tsp of dried thyme if you wish to). Add the butter & cut into the flour, rub in with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the water & mix to a smooth dough. Add more water, only if necessary. Shape into a ball & chill for 30 mins in the refrigerator. Since I have a square flan tin I chilled it in a rectangular shape.

The pastry, chilled & ready to be rolled..

Preheat your oven to 190 degrees. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface. Line a 18cm, 7 inch loose-based flan/tart tin with some grease-proof paper. Now place the rolled pastry on the grease-proof paper & gently press against the sides. Cut off any extra pastry using the sharp sides of the flan tin. Place in the oven & bake for 20 mins.

Transfer the rolled pastry sheet to the tin lined with greaseproof paper..

While the pastry is getting baked, you can work on preparing the filling.

The veggies...

Fill a large saucepan with about a litre of lightly salted water. When the water comes to a boil, throw in the washed cauliflower,broccoli florets & onion.Lower heat & let the veggies cook till tender, about 8-10 mins. Drain & reserve the stock.

Keep an eye on the pastry & take it out when 20 minutes are up. Let it cool.

Note: The pastry may tend to move away from the edges of the tin, that is fine. Do not get worried about it.

For the sauce:
Melt butter in a saucepan, add the flour, mix well. Keep stirring for a minute so that no lumps are formed. Turn off the heat & stir in the milk & stock. Turn the heat back on & bring to a boil, remember to stir constantly. Now add 55g of grated cheddar. Mix, turn off the heat once the cheese melts. Season with salt & crushed black pepper.

The sauce..

Note: Do not prepare the sauce well in advance, it tends to thicken as time passes by. Prepare it only when the tin with the pastry is about 10 minutes into the baking in the oven.

Now spoon the veggies evenly on to the pastry. Pour over the prepared sauce & sprinkle the rest of the grated cheese over the top & bake for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Hmmm… after all the wait… was it worth it?? Yes, of course it was.. 🙂 Look at the colours.. 🙂 truly enticing for sure….  The pastry is so fresh & melts in your mouth.. 🙂

Tip: The one’s who want to add some meat can go ahead & add some ham if you wish to. Add it with the veggies before pouring the sauce.

Just out of the oven....

Garnishing:
Garnish with the cayenne pepper.

Garnish with Cayenne pepper powder before you serve..

Serving Suggestions:
Slice & serve immediately.. I prepared this the day before.. typing out this recipe is making me crave for it again…!! Food blogging is a tough job I must say..!! First you end up eating all that you make, then you crave for more if it’s already history when you type the recipe out…

Cauliflower, Broccoli & Red onion Flan..

Lesson learnt – always type the recipe the day you make it.. that way you can avoid these uncontrollable cravings..!!

Any leftovers can be couriered to me ! You can wrap them up in an airtight container & warm it up in the microwave oven for a minute before you serve. Lasts for 2-3 days. I wish it did in my case.. 😦 sadly it vanished with an hour…! 

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Egg Puffs – A South Indian, Savoury Bakery treatOlive & Basil breadRosemary, Lemon thyme Focaccia.. etc.


Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand.. A Diwali Special post..

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

While I was adding the picture slideshow to the different recipe category pages, I noticed that the dessert section hardly had any entries, I may not be have a sweet tooth but people who follow my blog sure do, why should I deprive them of the sweet adventures! Having said this, does not mean that I don’t know to make some of the Indian sweet dishes.. K loves sweets.. So, I do make some for him.. 🙂

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

Indians love sweets.. & with not even a fortnight left for Diwali I got to post a few sweet dishes before some of my friends begin to ask for some recipes. Since Greek set yogurt is easily available here, thought I should try my hands at making some Shrikhand… Oh, for those who are wondering what Diwali is, it is an Indian festival; called the festival of lights..!! It’s a huge festival celebrated by exchanging sweets, lighting small oil lamps around the house when the sun sets, new clothes, colours & festivities everywhere around.. & not to forget the sky filled with beautiful & colourful firecrackers..!!

You would have guessed from all the chatter above & the pictures that Shrikhand is an Indian sweet dish. It is famous in the states of Gujarat & Maharashtra.. It is made from strained yogurt,sweetened with sugar & flavoured with the most famous flavours – cardamom & saffron. Sometimes just with cardamom. It is also available in Pistachio & Mango flavours. It is silky smooth… & filled with loads of calories.. Don’t worry you can’t possibly eat the whole bowl.. it’s too heavy.. So you can’t indulge on loads of it unless you’re a glutton.. 🙂 A version with fresh fruits is also available. It usually chilled before being served.. So you can imagine how heavenly & silky smooth this is.. 🙂

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

In the state of Gujarat this is eaten as an accompaniment with the Indian bread called Puri/Poori’s. Yes, Gujarat is another state obsessed with sweets & closely competes with Bengal.. 🙂 Both these states have a variety of sweets to offer. Now you know which states not to miss if you have a sweet tooth & you happen to visit India.. 🙂

Ingredients: (Serves 6 – 8)       Preparation Time: 20 mins (Excludes time to strain the yogurt & chill the Shrikhand)
Greek yogurt/full fat thick-set yogurt – 2 tubs of a litre each
Muslin Cloth
Sugar – 1 cup or more, based on your taste
Elaichi/Caedmon – 12-14 cloves, de-skinned, seeds coarsely powdered
Kesar/Saffron – a pinch soaked in a tsp of warm milk (love the aroma of saffron in milk & of course the colour is so beautiful) + a pinch to serve (optional)
Powdered almonds/chopped pistachios – 1-2 tbsp (optional, sprinkled just before you serve) (I ran out of powdered almonds so used whole almonds)

Method:
Fold the large piece of muslin cloth into 2, so that is a wee bit thick. Now place the cloth in a large bowl. Make sure there is enough cloth & it comes out of the bowl. Empty one tub of a litre of greek yogurt into the cloth. Do the same with the next one. The excess water will start to trickle out once you lift the cloth with all the loose ends held tightly in your fist. Make sure you have the bowl at the bottom when you do this, to avoid any mess from the dripping water.

Tightly tie the yogurt in the muslin cloth & let this contraption hang as shown.

Yogurt being strained overnight using Muslin cloth..

Make sure you have a bowl to collect all the dripping water. Leave this overnight to get strained completely.

Note: The amount of yogurt left behind after straining solely depends on the thickness of the yogurt used. Hence your servings depends on the amount left behind. Use a good quality yogurt to end up with more servings.

Next day, add the 1 tsp of warm milk to a pinch of Saffron & keep aside. Take the muslin cloth contraption down, open up the cloth as shown & transfer the contents into a clean dry bowl. Add sugar tbsp by tbsp.

Mix well. Taste & stop adding sugar when you reach the desired level of sugar. Now use a sieve & strain the sweetened hung yogurt as shown. This removes any lumps present. The resulting product is so silky that you will love its texture..

Now coarsely powder the cardamom seeds. Add the saffron milk & the powdered cardamom to the strained sweetened yogurt mixture & mix well till well combined. The colour of the Shrikhand changes to a light yellow. If you have added more than a pinch then the colour may be a deep yellow.

Cover the bowl & chill it in the refrigerator.

Garnishing: (optional)
Garnish with some powdered almonds/chopped pistachios & a few strands of saffron before serving.

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

This pic was clicked when I still had some daylight left & also it was before chilling the Srikhand.. 🙂 

Serving Suggestions:
Serve chilled as mentioned earlier with or without the garnishing as a dessert or as an accompaniment with some hot fluffy puri/poori’s. Yummmy…!!

Kesar Elaichi Shrikhand..

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Gaajar Halwa/ Carrot HalwaMadgane – one of the quintessential Konkani Payasam/sweet-dish….Charmure Undo.. A guest post by Manjula.. etc.

 


Shahi Paneer.. Cottage Cheese Curry with a royal touch…

Shahi Paneer..

Thanks to all the love you guys showered upon me for the 200th post.. 🙂 This just makes me wanna get back to my routine of posting a recipe everyday.. but I know it’s not really possible.. We are going on a holiday today.. So I won’t be around for the next few days..

Oh doesn’t this curry just look lovely.. look at the rich colour & texture.. Sure is tempting isn’t it? That is what I thought when Anil made it & I tasted it the first time.. the very look of it blew my mind.. the aroma is totally another thing,.. you will know what I’m talking about if you end up making this 🙂 Anil is a friend of mine. He loves cooking as well. He is more into the Indian cooking & has some lovely recipe’s with his unique touch to it. 

 Shahi Paneer..

In this recipe he uses Paprika for the lovely colour.. The paprika adds its flavours which blend in so well.. so, this ain’t the usual restaurant curry that you get.. I’m so glad he shared this recipe with me. The secret ingredient is the garam masala here. He is a big fan of Badshah Garam Masala. I had never used that brand of until he asked me the secret.. & believe me I have discovered the perfect garam masala & now its my favourite as well. Try using this brand if you can get your hands on it.. 🙂 Naah.. I’m not marketing for them…!

Paneer is K’s favourite & I have never heard him say no to Paneer. Yes, I have caught him stealing pieces of it from my plate many times.. That is how madly in love he is with them..!! So he absolutely loved this recipe.. licked his plate clean..! I don’t blame him at all.. I do the same with some of my favourites…. 😉
Tweak the red chilli powder as per your taste if you’re a mild curry eater.. Or go ahead & use a milder red chilli powder.. What I use is pretty hot..

Shahi Paneer..

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)       Preparation Time: 30 – 40 mins
Paneer – 250 g, cubed
Onions – 4, medium-sized, roughly chopped
Tomatoes – 3, medium-sized, roughly chopped
Garlic – 6, cloves, roughly chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece, roughly chopped
Paprika – 2 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp
Cumin powder – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tsp
Garam Masala powder – 1 tsp
Cashews/Almonds – 15-20, soaked in hot water for over an hour.
Milk – full fat, 1/2 cup
Kasuri Methi – 1 tsp, crushed between the palms of your hand
Cooking oil/butter – 1 tbsp + 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Heat 1 tbsp of oil/butter in a deep bottom fry pan & when hot add the ginger,garlic, onions & tomatoes & set heat to medium. Throw in some salt to help cook them faster. Cook them, do not fry them. When the onions turn translucent, the tomatoes loose their stiffness & turn into pulp, turn the heat off. Set aside & let them cool.

Meanwhile you can peel the skin off the almonds if you opted to use almonds instead of cashews & add them to a blender jar along with the milk & grind them to a smooth paste. Keep aside.

Add the cooked onion,tomato, Ginger & garlic paste to a blender jar & turn it into a smooth paste. Do not add water.

Now, turn the heat back on & add 1 tbsp of oil. Add the ground onion-tomato paste to the oil when hot. Throw in the spice powders one by one. Simmer & cook till the raw flavours fade away & the oil/butter begins to separate. Check seasoning & adjust. Once the raw flavours fade away add the almond/cashew milk paste & mix well. Lower heat.If the curry turns too thick, add some more milk to achieve the required consistency. Add the paneer cubes & cook further for another 5-6 minutes or till the curry begins to bubble. Turn the heat off.

Garnishing:
Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with the crushed kasuri methi. You may also want to add a small cube of butter on top before adding the Kasuri Methi. 🙂

Shahi Paneer served with Jeera Rice...

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with Indian breads of your choice or any rice dish like Jeera rice or peas pulav/pilaf & dig in right away… 🙂

 

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Paneer/Cottage cheese burji with hints of Celery…Paneer/Cottage Cheese Tava Masala…Paneer Enchiladas/Cottage cheese Enchiladas infused with Indian flavoursPaneer Methi Malai Kali Mirch etc.


Creamy Lemon Coriander Soup…

Creamy Lemon Coriander Soup...

The weather is changing, summer is ending… its getting colder…So I was treating myself with strawberries & cream.. some of the last strawberries from the summer here in the UK… there was some cream leftover… Why waste it.????. I so hate wasting food.. so using up that bit of leftover cream was on my mind.. K was lazing around in front of the TV, as it was his day off..

K said he was interested in some soup…he wanted something on the lines of lemon coriander soup.. I thought why not use up that leftover cream & make this soup a little different from the usual soup I make..…

Creamy Lemon Coriander Soup...

I always have fresh coriander leaves at home as it is an integral part of Indian cooking & I love the flavour it adds to food…

I wanted to throw in some veggies too into the soup.. but K hates cooked carrots.. so carrots were out of the question..along with carrots I had picked up some fresh mushrooms, spring onions & a bunch of super fresh coriander leaves from the grocers.. I love mushrooms.. been long since I used mushrooms in my cooking… they always impart a lovely flavour to soups.. so I just couldn’t help but throw in some diced mushrooms into the soup.. Voila this soup was so refreshing & scrumptious.. it was perfect… K & I loved it…

Ingredients: (Serves 2)         Preparation Time: 10 -15 mins
Button mushrooms – 2-3 medium-sized, washed & diced
Spring Onions – 1, finely chopped, separate the onions bits & the greens
Garlic – 1 clove, finely chopped
Lemon juice – 1 tsp freshly squeezed, use more if you like a loads of tangy flavour in your soup..
Chicken stock cube – 1, use veg stock cube if you’re a vegetarian
Coriander leaves – 2 sprigs, finely chop them, do not throw away the tender bits of the stem, finely chop them & keep them aside.
Double Cream – 1.5 tbsp
Olive oil – 1 tsp
Tip: You can use butter instead of olive oil if you wish to.
Black pepper – freshly crushed, use as per your taste
Salt to taste

Some of the ingredients..

Method:
Bring about 400 ml of water to a boil in a kettle & keep aside. While the water is boiling, heat olive oil in a saucepan, set heat to medium. Add the finely chopped garlic & sauté just for a few seconds/till the aroma of garlic fills the area around.. Add one half of the onion part of the spring onions & sauté for a minute. Next add the water. Next add the stock cube, mix well till it dissolves. Let the water bubble for a couple of minutes.

Next add the cream, mix well. Let the water bubble for another couple of minutes. Now throw in the diced mushrooms & the finely chopped tender stems of the coriander leaves. Add the other half of the onions bit of the spring onion. Let the soup bubble for another couple of minutes & let the cream cook.

Add one half of the coriander leaves & let the soup bubble for another minute.

Check & adjust the salt.. Turn off heat. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice & mix.

Garnishing:
Transfer to 2 soup bowls. Garnish with the greens of spring onions & the rest of the coriander leaves.

Creamy Lemon Coriander Soup...

Sprinkle some freshly ground black pepper & serve with a lemon wedge.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot.

Creamy Lemon Coriander Soup...

If you like some garlic bread/croutons by the side go ahead & indulge.. 🙂

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – ,Roasted Zucchini/Courgette Soup…, Soupy days – Spinach Soup with PotatoCoconuty Mushroom Lemongrass soup, Crabstick Soup etc.