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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.. 🙂


Lemon-Coriander Hummus….

Lemon-Coriander Hummus...

Hummus is a very popular dip in the Middle Eastern countries made from cooked chickpeas. This essentially needs a sesame seed paste known as Tahini. There are loads of flavoured hummus available in the market. It is a super healthy dip, made of fresh/boiled ingredients with loads of olive oil.

Lemon-Coriander Hummus......

Those of you who saw the recipe I posted yesterday would know that the Hummus recipe was coming up next. I made some homemade Tahini, as ready-made Tahini paste is hard to come by easily in India. You may find it is some exclusive stores in certain cities. Such exclusive stores which stock up of world foods is not close to the place I live, in Bangalore. Anyways it is a pretty simple recipe. One does not really need to go hunting for store-bought Tahini. It is ready in a jiffy. Check here for the – Tahini Recipe.

Ingredients for the hummus....

Now once you have Tahini ready, all you need is a can of chickpeas or you can soak a cup of chickpeas overnight & cook it till tender. The rest of the ingredients are pretty easy to find too. A small bunch of fresh coriander, juice of lemons, a few cloves of garlic, some coriander powder, extra virgin olive oil and some salt to taste… that is it.. blend them all together & your done..

Hummus is traditionally served with flatbread such as Pita or as a part of meze. It is also served as an accompaniment to falafel. You can also eat hummus with some tortilla chips & salsa, instead of the guacamole/sour cream on the side.

Lemon-Coriander Hummus...

I always used to pick flavoured hummus tubs like – Jalapeño hummus, Thai sweet chilli hummus, Red pepper hummus etc. from stores when living in the UK & eat them with crudités or with tortilla chips. You can even eat it as it is.. Both K &I love hummus as it is, it’s really really tasty & does not actually need an accompaniment with it, just dig in & I guarantee that you will lick your fingers clean..! 

Ingredients: (Serves 3)         Preparation Time: 10 mins

Ingredients for the hummus....
Chickpea’s – 1.5 cups
Note: You can pre-cooked canned chickpeas, washed & drained. Else you can also soak 3/4 cup of chickpea’s overnight, throw away the water used to soak the chickpea & cook it in fresh water till tender, drain away the water and use it for this recipe.
Coriander – 1 small bunch washed & roughly chopped, reserve some chopped leaves to garnish
Note: Let the stalks be, they add a lovely flavour
Garlic cloves – 3, peeled & roughly chopped
Tahini – 1 tbsp
Coriander powder – 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice – 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed juice
Extra virgin Olive oil – 3-4 tbsp or use as per required
Salt to taste

Method:
Throw in all the ingredients into a blender jar. Blend until smooth. If the hummus is dry, add some more olive oil. This is a pretty thick, shiny/glossy dip, very flavourful too. The Tahini adds a nutty feel & the lemon-coriander add its tangy bit & freshness…!

Garnishing:
Transfer to a serving bowl. Garnish with some olive oil & some chopped cilantro.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve it as a dip with some falafel & pita bread or with some tortilla chips or with crudités.

Lemon-Coriander Hummus...

 

 


Tahini… the nutty Middle Eastern dip/condiment.. !

Tahini/Tahina...

Tahini..

As most of you would know Tahini is widely used in Turkish, Greek and Middle eastern cuisines. Tahini is paste made of ground sesame seeds, which is served on its own as it as or it can used to make loads of other yummy dishes like – Hummus, Baba Ghanoush etc. Tahini is also known as Tahina is some regions.

Hummus always keeps playing on my mind.. but to make a good bowl of Hummus I can’t do without some Tahini. I finally got down to making some Tahini. As you know from my previous post I’m trying to eat healthy, exercise & get back into shape & lose those extra kilo’s from my vacation in Mumbai. Mumbai is truly a foodies paradise for sure..! Been filling myself up with Salads, boiled veggies, sprouts etc. A perfect dish at this time would be none other than a bowl of hummus with some crudités’. I will post the a yummy & fresh flavoured – lemon & coriander hummus soon, so as you have a recipe at hand once you make the Tahini. 🙂

Tahini..

Tahini has an awesome nutty flavour… While I made tahini, K got to work & added some powdered sugar to the food processor jar & licked the rest of the paste sticking to the jar. That made me think that tahini with some sugar would surely taste good with some bread just like peanut butter :D.

Tahini..

This is a no jazz recipe. You need to lightly toast the white sesame seeds so that the heavenly aroma of these seeds come out. Toasting can be done in an oven or simply on a skillet on the stove, grind the seeds with some extra virgin olive oil & salt to a paste. Consistency is totally up to you. Some like it thick & some like it a little runny. Add more olive oil if you want it a little more runny. Our goal is to make a thick yet pourable paste.

Ingredients: Makes about 4-5 tbsp of Tahini             Preparation Time: 15/25 mins
White sesame seeds – 1/2 cup
Olive oil – 2 tbsp
Salt to taste

Ingredients..

Method:
Oven Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F/180 degree C. Spread the sesame seeds evenly on a baking tray. Toast the seeds for 5 minutes & then take the tray out & re spread them so that they toast even. Return to the oven for another 4-5 minutes. Take out the tray, cool the seeds & blend in a food processor along with olive oil & some salt to taste.

Skillet method:
Heat a skillet on low heat. Add the sesame seeds & toast the seeds by constantly tossing them around so that they don’t burn for 5 – 6 minutes. I wanted a rich nutty flavour. So I toasted them for about 8 minutes. Hence my tahini looks a darker brown in colour compared to the usual light coloured tahini.
Yes, that is it.. your done. 🙂

Serving Suggestions:

Tahini/Tahina...
Now, go ahead spread it on a slice of bread with some honey, sugar or use it as a savoury dip by mixing some lemon juice, crushed garlic & some herbs. Or make some Hummus just like I did & dug some crudités into it.. 😀

If you like this recipe, then you may also like –


Ambuli/Raw Mango Pachhodi or rather an instant raw mango pickle…

Ambuli Pachhodi...

All that I can remember when I eat this is secretly stashing my lunch-bag packed for school with some raw mangoes that fell from our Mango tree during the season. We had two lovely, huge Mango trees at home. “HAD” Sad but true, one very close to the gate & it fell one nasty stormy night blocking the road in front of out house & we lost electricity as it brought down the electricity pole along with it. We had to sit in darkness for almost for a couple of days till the power lines were restored. Sadly the other one had to be cut down 4-5 yrs after the first one fell because of old age.

Ambuli/Raw Mango Pachhodi or rather an instant raw mango pickle

I went to school with a bunch of other kids on an auto-rickshaw. Singing, eating & chattering all the way. Was so much of fun. We were a bunch belonging to different classes. I lived like 10 km away from school. But thoroughly enjoyed jumping into the auto rickshaw & having a ball. 🙂 Yes, coming back to my stash of raw mangoes in the lunch bag, as few of my classmates went home for lunch I would hand it over to them & ask them to mix it up with the required ingredients to prepare this or just ask them to chop it up into wedges & pack some salt & red chilli powder & pack it back to class. Afternoon sessions were then fun… the box with the raw mangoes & the masala were passed around carefully during class & we would devour all of it till we licked our fingers clean. I was allowed to eat this only once in a while as an overdose can make you sick.. Oh such fun days those were, first the secret picking from the ground since mum wouldn’t approve eating too much of it, she would let me carry some approvingly maybe once a fortnight, but then the girls in class would demand for some almost every couple of days :)).

Ambuli/Raw Mango Pachhodi...

This is something that takes me down memory lane.. such warm & fond memories :))) This is easily available in small carts in and around Mangalore & small towns around Mangalore when it is the mango season. It is a very popular snack loved by people from all age groups. Many refer to this recipe as an instant mango pickle. It tastes just like a pickle because it has all the similar flavours other than excess oil & salt.

Ingredients: (Serves 2)        Preparation Time: 5 mins
Raw Mango – Use the variety you like, I always preferred my home-grown variety but now I usually use Totapuri variety.
Tip: Use a variety that isn’t too sour. Raw mangoes which are just beginning to ripen also taste good as they add a lovely sweetness to the sour & the hot recipe.
Asafoetida – a pinch
Red chilli powder – 1/2 tsp, adjust according to you taste
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Sambar powder – 1/2 tsp
Coconut oil – 1 tsp, adds an authentic touch, if you can’t consume coconut oil then add some extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste

Method:
You can grate or finely chop the raw mangoes. Throw away the kernel & the fibrous covering around the kernel. Throw the chopped or grated raw mango into a bowl, add all the spice powders, asafoetida, salt & oil. Give contents of the bowl a good mix. Dig in to the bowl to check & adjust the salt & spice. That is it your done.. 🙂

If you have some patience, cover the bowl & let the raw mango pieces absorb the salt & other flavours.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve as is, as a side or as a snack.

Ambuli Pachhodi...


Steamed Momos/dumplings with an aromatic Veggie filling…

Steamed Momos/dumplings with an aromatic Veggie filling…

Allison from the food blog – Spontaneous Tomato had a post on Nepali momo’s a while back. I’m a sucker for dumplings. I can eat them for breakfast, lunch, snack & dinner. Sigh no one serves dumplings for breakfast in restaurants :(. I have been on the quest to find that perfect recipe to prepare the wrappers for the momo’s at home from a while now. I have tried at least half a dozen recipes out but never could I master the art of preparing the wrappers just like how they are supposed to be. When Allison posted her recipe, I was way too tempted to try it out because her method was different from the way I have ended up making wrappers earlier. The previous recipe’s I tried always left me with thick wrappers, the wrappers themselves filled me up that I did not prefer to eat more than a couple of them.. :(.

I’m sure no one needs an introduction to this dish. If you do, then I have to say Oh My Goodness, you have clearly missed something wonderful all these years of your existence..! Really???….. what were you busy with???? Just like many other quick eats you can grab from street stalls (Pani Puri or other chat’s, sweet corn, Frankie’s, sandwiches etc.), you find small stalls for steamed momo’s in the streets of most popular cities in India. They serve yummy dumplings too. But indulge only if your tummy works well with street food.

It has been in the back of my mind. I even promised Allison that I would give her recipe a try. She has a lovely blog with truckloads of recipe’s. She made a wonderful tomato based dip for her recipe. I opted to create a soy-based sauce for my dumplings. I halved her recipe & made some changes to suit my taste buds. You can check her recipe out at  her blog – recipe link.  I can’t thank her enough for helping me find my prefect dumpling wrapper making method. 🙂 

You will see more pics for this recipe post the next time I make them. For now you have to do with pics clicked via my phone. I just have a couple of pics.

Don’t the dumplings look so glossy & lovely?? Rather, they look perfect don’t they :D. So inviting & they give you a perfect sneak peek into their contents??? You will say so too and never look at ordering a plate of momo’s or dumplings the next time you visit your fav haunt for them & begin trying out other starter options :D. I’ll give myself a pat on my shoulder since I finally mastered it.. :D. The gloss is not from oil.. it just comes out naturally.. Again another shocker.. isn’t it?? these are oil free too.. ! The only draw-back is that they are made of All purpose flour or maida. Oh well.. you can’t have such yummy tasting food without there being a single flaw in it can you…?? Wish wheat could have been a more accommodating flour.. Let us start with our stairway to Heaven.. 😉

Ingredients for the wrappers : (Makes 25 – 30) Preparation Time: 60 mins (Excludes time for the dough resting)
All purpose flour/Maida – 1 + 1 cup,
Hot steaming water – 3/4 cup
Salt – 1/4 tsp

Method:
Take a heat proof mixing bowl. Add 1 cup of the flour to the bowl. Add 1/4 salt & whisk to mix the salt & flour well. Make a well in between & add the hot water. Using a spatula, mix the water & the flour together.

Note: Remember the water is hot, do not add your hand in.

Once the dough gets lumpy add the other cup of flour. Continue mixing with the spatula. Try to handle the dough with your hand once it has cooled down & it is warm enough to be handled by hand.

Lightly flour your counter & transfer the dough over the floured surface. Knead your dough to a smooth ball. Say, takes about 4-5 minutes. Add flour little by little if required.

Let the dough rest in a clean bowl, cover the bowl with a wet cloth to prevent the dough from drying up. Let the dough rest for at least an hour.

After an hour, make small marble or gooseberry sized balls out of the dough. Lightly flour your counter & roll the small balls into round shaped flat breads. Roll it as thin as possible.

Now fill the centre with your favourite kind of stuffing with minced meat, veggies or a mix of both. I used a veggie mix. Continue reading for my mix-veg filling.

Mix-Veggie filling for Momo’s/Dumplings:
Ingredients: (Fills 25-30 dumplings) Time: 10-15 mins
Cabbage leaves – 4-5 medium-sized leaves
Shallots – 15, peeled Note: Use a medium-sized red onion if you do not have shallots, roughly chop it into cubes.
Garlic – 5 cloves
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Tip: Please do not use store-bought Ginger-Garlic paste as a substitute for fresh ginger & garlic for this recipe. You might as well give up trying this recipe out if you only have store-bought paste with you.
Coriander leaves – 5-6 fresh sprigs, with stalk
Spring onions – 2 whole with the with the greens, peel the onion bulb & roughly chop them
Carrot – 1 medium-sized, peeled & cut into cubes
Green Chilli’s – 2 medium-sized, stalk removed
Mushrooms (optional) – 5-6, washed & drained. I skipped using mushrooms as I did not have any.
Grated Cheddar Cheese (optional) – If you love your dumplings with cheese, go ahead, mix about a cup of grated cheese to your veggie-mix
Salt to taste

For the meat variant: If you wish to add some meat, then leave out the carrot, mushrooms out of the veggie mix & add some pre-cooked mince of your favourite meat to the rest of the ingredients once they are chopped in a food processor.

Method:
Throw all these ingredients mentioned, other than the salt into a food processor & finely chop this ingredients together. Transfer the chopped ingredients into a bowl, season with salt. Check if you want to add a wee bit crushed black pepper.

Note: Do not add salt if you don’t plan to begin making the dumplings right away. The salt releases the water from the veggies & will make it soggy. So, add salt just about 5 minutes before you begin rolling the dough to make small circular dics.

I was not planning to post this recipe this soon on the blog, so I did not click pictures of the making. 😦 I ended up posting some pics clicked via my phone on Instagram & FaceBook & I had requests to post the recipe. So bear with me till I make this dish again for more detailed pics.

Let us continue with adding the filling to the rolled flour discs. Place a 2 tsp or lesser amount of the prepared filling in the centre of the disc. (The quantity of the filling used depends on how big/small a disc you have rolled). Now slowly bring together the edges together just like a money bag or in other traditional momo/dumpling shapes like I have.

Yes, no oil at all. Isn’t that just brilliant. So you can indulge, it is really ok if you gobble up some all-purpose flour covered steamed vegetable goodness.

I used a traditional dumpling steamer. So I did not need to oil it. If you are using a stainless steel steamer, you may need to grease it before you place your momo/dumplings in it to cook.

Being about a litre of water to a boil, simmer & place you steamer or top. Make sure that your steamer does not touch the water. So choose your vessel carefully. Similar to any double boiling method you have used.

Steaming momo's...

Prepare just about 4-5 dumplings per batch (Unless you have a steamer that is used to feed giants.. I’m kidding I’m sure you won’t own a steamer enough to feed 4 people at the same time unless you run a restaurant. :D). Never crowd the steamer. We need to let the steam circulate well to help cook the dumplings. Steam each batch for about 8-10 minutes or till the dumplings come off the base of the steamer easily (Use a silicone spatula to turn to check if they are done), usually the top turns translucent letting you see whats filled when they are ready. Again only if you have rolled the discs real thin will the wrapper turn translucent when ready.

Note: 1. Don’t use your hand to pick the dumplings out if the steamer is still on the vessel producing the steam, you may burn yourself. 2. Also keep checking on the water & re-filling it, if all the water evaporates, then the vessel will start imparting a burnt flavour to the momo’s.

Repeat the same process to prepare & steam more dumplings.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with your favourite dip.

Steamed Momos/dumplings with an aromatic Veggie filling…

A friend introduced me to eating my dumplings with soy sauce. I loved that variant so much that I wanted to create a lovely soy based dip to accompany my dumplings. Click the link for my soy-based dip recipe.

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Chicken Frankie RollAloo Tikki Chole Chaat…Chole Chaat…Egg Pakodi ChaatGreek Souvlaki wrap with salad & tzatziki etc.

 


Chilli flavoured rock salt….

Scotch Bonnet Chilli flavoured rock salt.....

I love seasoning my pasta, pizza, focaccia, chips, wedges… yes, I love to season & pep up most continental, finger food with different kinds of flavoured salt or herbs. I end up doing this because I love different flavours in food. Even if it is mac & cheese, I have a few bites just the way it is served, then I begin my experiments by throwing in some herbs or other seasoning ;).

Bird's eye chilli's...

Just like always, I was walking around in the supermarket & my eyes fell on a pack of these lush red chilli’s. I got really excited, in the last 3 months since we got back to India, I had never seen this on the shelves. I instantly told K that I wanted a pack (I had no clue what I was going to do with them). They look a lot like Scotch bonnet chilli’s, but then I have always bought them in packs of mixed colours, so now I’m confused. The packaging says they are Bird’s eye. I posted them as Bird’s eye chilli’s. Then someone pointed out that they seem to be more like ghost chilli’s not bird’s eye. That is when I thought with google available let me research & check, Ghost chilli’s look a tad different, thinner & longer, but similar ridged. The bird’s eye chilli’s are very very narrow, smaller with straight stems. Since they closely resemble Scotch Bonnet Chilli’s I’m going to stick to this.

I completely forgot about them for a day. It’s quite hot during the day these days & the power cuts make it worse. Both K & I are hardly hungry, we just keep fueling ourselves with loads of liquids – water, Ice Tea or fruits like the fresh oranges which are now available in plenty at the market or with slices of watermelon. We both eat very little due to the hot weather. So that gives me time to dedicate time to experiment with some preservable’s like this salt. I even pickled some Jalapeños a couple of days back. 

Bird's eye chilli's...

My posts are slowing down, it’s not that I do not want to blog, it is just that there are so many interesting things happening around Bangalore. I attended a free workshop on kitchen gardening at Lalbagh – the beautiful botanical garden, conducted everyday for a fortnight by the Horticultural department of the Karnataka Government. Such a wonderful gesture educating interested people on growing their own veggies in organic ways, in a small patch of land/terrace garden.

The city had issues with waste disposal around 6 months back. The city generates around 800 tonnes of waste & the villagers living around the disposal site fought back since the enormous amounts of waste being disposed that they were exposed to a lot of air pollution, water & soil contamination & it was getting difficult for them to live & farm around the area. The waste was giving a rich breeding ground for unwanted elements. Street dogs, vultures hovering around etc. So the villagers did not let the BBMP (Bruhut Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike) i.e. the municipal corporation of Bangalore from dumping the waste. The city waste was just left uncollected by them as there was no place to dispose it off. The garden city started stinking with waste overflowing around everywhere.

Did you know that one months of uncooked, wet waste generated in your kitchen can be converted easily into compost in 3 months?? It is pretty simple, does not require any elaborate chores. For those without a backyard, one corner of your utility area in your kitchen is just perfect. In my next post, I will pass on details for those interested in preparing your own compost at home & growing your own veggies organically. We live in a flat, I grow some herbs & flowering plants in my balcony in pots. I can grow at least 5-6 veggies, chilli’s, 4-5 herbs in the space I have.

Birds eye chilli's..

Well let us get back to this post. Why did I think of preparing this salt. I have already mentioned that I’m a seasoning freak. If you have been following my blog, you would know that I never use the ready ginger garlic pastes or even pepper powders available in the store. Why use these when you can enhance your meal with ingredients which are easily available & using them fresh just takes you food to a whole new level. I grind & make fresh ginger/garlic paste when required, use a pepper mill or a pestle & mortar to season my food with ground pepper.

Bird's eye chilli's...

Ingredients: (Serves -) Preparation Time: 10 mins
Scotch Bonnet Chilli’s – 2-3, I used 2 medium-sized & one small
Rock salt – 100 – 125 gms, If you need a much milder flavour, use more salt

Method:
Wash the chilli’s & dry them using a kitchen towel & air dry them too for maybe half an hour before you begin, as these chilli’s have crevices that the water stays back. We do not want extra moisture getting into the salt.

Bird's Eye Chilli's...

Look at the colour, isn’t it lovely. These chilli’s are hot!

Slice the chilli’s & de-seed them. Dry the seeds, if you want to try your luck at growing a plant of these chilli’s (I have 😉 let us see if I get lucky.) Bite into a seed if you want to try out how they are. I did the seeds are really hot!

Throw in the slices into a small chopper. Chop them into tiny bits. Each time I opened the chopper to mix the bits that did not end up anywhere near the blade,the zing from the chilli’s just hit me…

Transfer the de-seeded slices into the chopper...

These chilli’s are so colourful & bright that I can hardly stop clicking them. 

Bird's eye chilli's...

Once all the bits are finely done add the salt & spin the chopper 4-5 times else till the colour from the chilli’s gets on to the salt.

Bird's eye chilli's...

P.S: Be cautious, do not use your fingers while handling them, I did since I did not have gloves, damn I had my fingers burning from their heat for an entire day.. :(.

Transfer the salt to a flat board or a large plate & let it dry out completely. Then transfer it to an air tight bottle or a clean & dried mill if you have one.

Serving Suggestions:
Grind the chilli salt over anything you want to add an extra bit of spice to :). Enjoy!

Birds Eye Chilli flavoured rock salt.....

The salt looks lumpy here in the picture because it was just out of the chopper.

A closer look..

This salt will probably be available in the market in small mills, but then, in the cost of that one mill I can prepare 2-3 kilo’s of this salt, all you need is a pack of these chilli’s & a packet of rock salt. It hardly costed me 1/8 the price to make me salt enough to go into 2 similar mills. This should easily last for 6 months or more if you dry it thoroughly before bottling it or storing it away. I also have more than 10 chilli’s left from that pack.. Got to make something that will help me use them up in another interesting way. 😉


Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly….

Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly

Hiya… Happy New Year to all.. !! Hope all of you have had a lovely time with family & friends this holiday season.. I’m guilty for not showing my presence around from a while now.. Back in Bangalore now. I have been getting lazy & feeling lethargic, taking a break from cooking while I was in Mangalore, at my mum’s place & feasting on home food & the other favourites from the eateries around. Spent a few days at my aunt’s place in Calicut, got pampered by her as well.. ;). Had a rendezvous in Goa for a couple of days.. all we did was drink, eat & laze on the beach… Bliss.. I had to carry back some Goan Chorizo or Pork sausages. The owner of place we stayed in was kind enough to sell us some homemade chorizo from the stash he picks up for himself.

Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly...Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly...

All those who love the Mexican style Chorizo will love these. A very tasty recipe this is. Hardly requires any effort & time from you; just add the staple chopped veggies used in most dish, along with some water to the crushed chorizo & you end up with a some hot, spicy, finger-licking accompaniment to go with some warm bread/pao/pav. The only effort required is to find some of these sausages in your city ;). I have found them in stores in Mangalore & friends tell me that it is available in Mumbai as well. Next time you visit Goa, don’t forget to pick some of these sausages on your way back. 🙂

Ingredients: (Serves 3)       Preparation Time: 30-40 mins

Goan Chorizo & other ingredients..
Goan Chorizo – 1 link, approximately 250 gms, shell removed & the meat broken/crushed into bits.
Onion – 1 large, chopped
Tomato – 1 large, chopped
Green chilli’s – 3, finely chopped
Potatoes – 1 medium-sized, cubed
Water – 250 ml
Salt to taste

Method:
To a deep bottom pan, add all the ingredients.

Throw in all the ingredients together...

Toss the ingredients around for a couple of minutes till they all warm up. Next add the glass of water, throw in a pinch of salt.

Add water & a pinch of salt....

Just a pinch since the sausages already have salt content. Simmer when the water begins to bubble; let the meat & potatoes cook. Should take you approximately 30 mins. You will see some oil separate out of the fat when all the water evaporates & leave you a shiny dish.

Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly ready..

Note: If the meat & the potatoes are not cooked & the water has already evaporated, then add some more water.

Tip: If you want the meat potatoes fried a little, cook on high for a couple of minutes, once the water evaporates & the meat & potatoes are cooked. Else if you like some gravy with your chorizo add some extra water when cooking. 

The smoky aroma that builds up around your home is sure to pull in some neighbours.. ! A yummy one pot dish for sure… !!!

Best relished:
Serve hot with some warm bread/pao/pav. Such an awesome, quick recipe, sure to blow your senses away..!!

Goan Chorizo/Pork Sausage Chilly...

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Dukra Maas – as they call it in Mangalore; the best Pork curry ever!!!Sweet & Sour Pork….Pork ChukkaBlanketed Frankfurters…Greek Souvlaki wrap with salad & tzatziki 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.

 


Rosemary, Lemon thyme Focaccia..

Rosemary, Lemon thyme Focaccia..

Hiya.. I was back this monday from my vacation, but was still in the holiday mood so did not get much cooking done. Our trip was wonderful, even though the weather did not really help much we made the most of it. I got my dose of laughter to last me for a while, thanks to our friend Shomu. We visited the Roman Baths, the pretty town of Oxford, Swansea & Cardiff .. 🙂 If you follow me on Instagram you would have seen some of the pictures I posted.

Its getting chillier & its made me laze.. that’s the reason you have not seen a post from me..! I was really craving for some Focaccia last evening. I did the digging bit, found a perfect recipe. Made up my mind to get it done using some wholemeal flour, (guilt from all the calories I gobbled up during the vacation).. But nah.. I just could not get my stubborn butt to move & get the focaccia done & the lazy me kept wishing I had a twin sister who would get it done..! If wishes were horses huh!!

Freshly baked focaccia..

My love for Focaccia developed along with K.Back during the days when we were dating, we used to visit this particular Italian Bistro. They did not have an elaborate menu. They just had a few things to nibble on with your coffee & some salads, Panini’s along with some cakes. We tried focaccia & fell in love with it. I have meaning to bake a similar focaccia we used to eat back there, but then the store did not have aubergine which I very much-needed for it.

This recipe is adapted from http://www.inspiredtaste.net. I made a few modifications to suit my taste. The focaccia I baked looks more brownish rather than golden brown because I used plain wholemeal. Go ahead & substitute it with all-purpose flour if you wish.

Ingredients: (Serves 6-8)            Preparation Time: 150 mins
Plain Wholemeal flour – 350 gms
Garlic – 2 cloves, minced
Lemon thyme – 1 tsp, dried, you can use 1 tbsp of fresh thyme if you have it
Rosemary – 1 tsp, dried, again use 1 tbsp if you have fresh rosemary
Active dry yeast – 1 sachet
Honey – 1/2 tsp
Black pepper – 1/4 tsp freshly ground,
Warm water – 230 ml
Plain Olive oil – 110 ml
Salt – 1 tsp

Most of the ingredients..

Method:
In a saucepan, mix the olive oil, rosemary, lemon thyme, black pepper & minced garlic. Heat the oil mixture over low heat for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Make sure the garlic does not change colour. Turn off the heat & let the mixture cool. The aroma is wonderful. The best part about this focaccia is you infuse olive oil with the flavours you want & you do not need to hunt stores for infused olive oil.

Olive oil infused with the herbs..

Just look at the colours.. its tempting already isn’t it? I could not wait for the finished focaccia. What a pity K wasn’t at home.. (Buhahahha – Evil laugh, sometimes its best to try new experiments without him around. Kidding, I just wanted to surprise him).. 

Now in a large bowl, mix the yeast with the honey & water. Stir a couple of times & let it rest for about 5 minutes.

Mix yeast, honey & warm water

Add about 140 gms of flour & half of the cooled olive oil mixture. Mix about 5-6 times, till the flour is moistened. Let this sit for about 5 minutes.

Add olive oil & flour..

Now add rest of the flour & salt. Mix till the dough comes together. Now knead the dough till its smooth. Oil the bowl & place the dough in the bowl & cover with a warm damp cloth & let it be for around an hour. Place the dough in as warm an area so that it helps it to rise.

Pre-heat your oven to 230 degrees C or 450 degrees F. Use half of the remaining olive oil to grease a 9 by 13 inch rimmed baking sheet. I used a slightly larger sheet hence my focaccia is a little flatter than usual.

When an hour is up & the dough has risen well, knead it again a couple of times, then transfer it to the greased baking sheet & flatten it out using your hands. Press down to make impressions on the top using your fingers.

Let it be for another 20 mins so that the dough rises again. Now add the remaining olive oil mixture over the top & spread it around using a pastry brush.

Bake it for 15 – 20 minutes in the centre of the oven or until the top is golden brown. I had a peak after about 5 minutes.. & wow what a sight.. the olive oil was sizzling & I wanted to enter the oven..! 

Note: Since I used a larger pan the dough was spread a little flatter, hence my focaccia was ready in 15 minutes. Also if you use the perfect pan, you can make deeper impressions with your fingers.. Since my bread was flatter I could not. Lesson learnt, next time I need to use the perfect tray.

The aroma is just brilliant. Makes you all warm & you crave for some creamy soup/pasta to go with it. Once done, let it cool on a cooling rack.

Just out of the oven..

Serving Suggestions:
Cut into pieces of the desired size & serve warm. They are yummy as is or they go really well with some Pasta or soup.

Rosemary, Lemon thyme Focaccia..

Tip: If you’re in a mood for a yummy focaccia pizza base, when the focaccia is about 12 minutes in the oven, take it out & top it with your favourite pizza sauce, toppings & cheese & return it to the oven till the cheese is sizzling & your pizza is ready. For a homemade pizza sauce idea check here.

The bread tastes best when warm & out of the oven. If you plan to save some for later, then it lasts for a couple of days in the refrigerator. Else you can toast the day old bread to use them as croutons for a salad or soup.

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Bread rolls with an Indian flavour/Masala bread rolls.. they go perfect with Masala chai..Olive & Basil bread 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.