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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?


Greens marinated Chicken-Curry with a Goan twist to it…


“Its been a while..” hmmmm… while I think what to write next.. & I kept staring at “Its been a while”… it reminded me of the number by the band – Staind..! nothing to do with the mood of the song.. it’s just the name of the song!

Sadly…I have no pictures for this post.. but let me tell you.. Take my word for it.. give this recipe a shot over this weekend.. & I’m sure it will make your tummy feel good…real good..!! 😀 Now moving on to why there are no pics for this post… its a no brainer.. it is simple.. “It is HOT!!!” rather boiling here in Bangalore.. n when I’m done with cooking, all I want to do is head for a quick shower..! The evening showers of rain do make the days hotter..! I will get down to clicking pictures as soon as I get a chance to cook this again..!

After my fortnight long vacation in Mumbai.. the Bombay sandwiches, vada pav, sheekh kebab’s, the chicken rolls, the fish curry’s Pav bhaji etc. all that food hangs on back to me on my body like memories from the trip!..A bad simile huh??? Yup I’m the fattest ever..! Now that i’m back… my lunch is usually a large bowl of salads with some skinny dressing. A bowl of sprouts for a snack… a cup of green tea & cereals for breakfast… no more paratha’s or dosa’s for me till I shed some weight!.. Only boiled meat/fish… Dieting alone doesn’t help.. does it??? So, I have started exercising as well.. Hope to get back into shape soon.. Poor K also eats almost what I eat.. 😦 I knew K was craving for some good chicken curry, he was not going to tell me that since he was helping me keep up with my diet.. I thought I’d make him something that has greens..since he makes quite a fuss to eat spinach most times, I schemingly disguised & marinated the meat with a paste made of greens. When you see the curry you wouldn’t know it has greens.. A good way to make your family eat some greens I must say :D. 

My head was going to burst thinking of a name to call this curry, this is something that just made its way into my mind.. The ingredients just blended so well that I knew I had to post it with the stupidest name that I come up with.. Since I have used vinegar in this curry and vinegar is abundant in the Goan cuisine.. I decided to call this the “Greens marinated Chicken curry with a Goan twist”… 😀

Ingredients: (Serves 3-4)            Preparation Time: 30 mins (Marination time not included)
Chicken – 500 gms, curry cut, skinless, washed & drained; You can use 400 gms of boneless chicken cut into chunks/strips.

For the Chicken Marinade:
Palak/Spinach – a small bunch, washed & drained
Garlic – 5-6 plump cloves, peeled & roughly chopped
Coriander leaves – 5-6 sprigs, washed & drained
Mint leaves – 10 – 12 medium-sized leaves
Cashews – 4-5 whole, soaked in about 50ml water
Freshly crushed black peppercorns – 1/4 tsp
Vinegar – 1 tsp
Salt to taste

For the curry:
Mace – 1/4 of a whole flower
Cloves – 4 whole
Cinnamon – 1/2 inch piece
Bay leaf – 1 small leaf roughly torn
Green Cardamom – 4 small, roughly crushed
Onion – 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Tomatoes – 2, medium-sized, finely chopped
Ginger – 1 inch piece, finely minced
Sugar – 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder – a pinch
Coriander powder – 1.5 tsp
Cumin powder – 3/4 tsp
Red Chilli powder – 1/2 – 3/4 tsp
Freshly crushed black peppercorns – 1/4 tsp
Vinegar – 1 – 1.5 tsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Ghee/Clarified butter – 1.tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Make a fine paste using all the ingredients mentioned for the marinade. Liberally coat the washed chicken pieces with the freshly made marinade of greens. Let the chicken marinate for at least 40 mins covered in the refrigerator.

When the chicken has marinated, chop & prep all the rest of the ingredients. Heat oil & clarified butter together in a kadai/deep bottom fry pan. When hot add the dry spices – mace, cloves, cinnamon, bay leaf, green cardamom. Maintain heat at medium. Let the spices let out their flavour into the oil for a minute or two. Add the chopped onions & throw in a pinch of salt to help fry the onions quicker. Fry till the onions turns translucent. Add the ginger in & fry for a couple of minutes. Now add all the spice powders – turmeric, coriander , cumin, red chilli powder. Mix well & let them fry for a couple of minutes. Next add the chopped tomatoes & toss them around till they begin to loosen up. By now the raw flavours of the spice powders should begin to fade away. Add the vinegar, mix. Add the sugar, I love to add some sugar in some curry’s because it just takes the flavours to another level.Throw in the marinated chicken pieces along with any left over marinade. Mix well. Add a cup of water, salt to taste, mix well. When the water begins to bubble add the crushed black peppercorns, mix well & simmer. Let the chicken cook & absorb all the flavours.

Note: You don’t need to add water if you want to make this a dry dish.

Check on the dish once in every 5 minutes. Add more water if required. Once the chicken is tender, turn off the heat.

Garnishing: (Optional)
Garnish with chopped coriander if you wish to.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with bread, steamed rice, chapati’s, roti’s idli’s; basically anything that you can gobble a good chicken curry with. 😀

I did indulge in a bit of the curry with a slice of bread..! Couldn’t stop my nose from sending signals to my brain about wanting the curry. My brain just gave up when the signals kept bombarding it! hehehhe… ! An extra 10 minutes of exercise hmmmph.. !   

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Karuveppilai/kadipatta/curry leaves chicken……Winters setting in… Cloudy Chicken soup with Thai flavours., Chicken Stew – Kerala Style , Chicken Puli Munchi/Chicken in Tangy Hot curry- Mangalorean style etc.


My take on the famous Lahsun/Garlic Chutney – Maharashtrian style

Lahsun/Garlic Chutney...

Being married to a Bangalorean, rather an Iyengar from Karnataka implies that your pantry will never run short of coconuts. You may wonder what the possible connection is. No, Iyengar’s don’t own coconut farms :P, they keep distributing coconuts for every Puja/Wedding/function they conduct. When you are just two in the house & you have surplus supply of coconuts, you most certainly end up with Copra or dried coconut (When the water content inside the coconut dries away leaving behind a dry shrunk coconut called Copra).Extract oil out of it like my grandmother did or use it up in making chutney pudi or rather the chutney powder as it is popularly known. The ingredients are mostly similar to a normal wet chutney that we prepare as an accompaniment to most South Indian breakfast dishes, just that instead of freshly grated coconut, we use dry coconut. The use of dried coconut helps in preserving this chutney for a longer time when compared to the staple wet chutney prepared.

Lahsun/Garlic Chutney...

My grandmother made yummy curry leaf chutney pudi, once my stash of this chutney powder gets done with I’ll make some of that too :). As many who follow my blog already know that I’m a sucker for garlic, I couldn’t think further than my all time favourite Lahsun (Garlic in Hindi) or Garlic Chutney. This is a staple in most Maharashtrian houses. If you are a street food lover & you have had a chance to eat the all time favourite Maharashtrian Vada Pav then you would have definitely tasted this chutney with it. Yes, this is the very famous Lahsun ki chutney that is served with Vada Pav. Who does not love a couple of Vada Pav as a snack. Friends from Bombay a.k.a Mumbai tell me that even at 3 am you will be able to pick up some Vada pav for a snack. A super loved street food from the streets of Mumbai is Vada Pav, followed by Pav Bhaji. If you were looking for that very chutney recipe which is served with Vada Pav then look no further :), you have found the right recipe.

This chutney has a shelf life of about 15 days if stored as is but, you can make it last longer by drying the chutney in the sun so that any moisture from some of the ingredients used dries away. But its a simple recipe. So I suggest you follow the measures I have mentioned below & prepare more when you have used up this batch :). If you prepare in large batches the peanuts used in this chutney may turn rancid & you may have to throw it all away ..

My take on the famous Lahsun/Garlic Chutney - Maharashtrian style

Eat this chutney with – Chapati’s, add it in butter sandwiches, with Vada Pav of course, spread it on the dosa while preparing Masala dosa, add s spoon of ghee/clarified butter to a tbsp of the chutney powder & eat it with some hot idli’s. Well I can snack on this chutney.. don’t need anything to go with it.

Ingredients: (Serves 12 – 15)             Preparation Time: 30 mins
Garlic – 12-14 medium-sized cloves, peeled
Dried red chilli’s – 5 whole medium spicy variety, stalk off
Sesame Seeds – 1 tbsp
Raw groundnuts – 1.5 tbsp
Coriander seeds – 1-1.5 tbsp,use 1.5 if you like your chutney with extra coriander flavour
Red Chilli powder – 1 tsp (For the colour, use more if you want the chutney to be hot)
Grated Copra/ Dried coconut – 1 cup
Tamarind – 1/2 of a marble shaped ball, Throw away any seeds present
Odourless Cooking oil – 1/2 tsp, I used rice bran oil
Salt to taste

Method:
All you need is a deep bottom fry pan & a mixer apart from the ingredients mentioned of course. You may use a non-stick fry pan if you have else an aluminium kadai is just fine.

Heat the cooking oil in the fry pan. Set heat to low once the oil heats up. Throw in 10 of the garlic cloves & reserve the rest. Fry the garlic till it begins to turn a slightly golden. Take them off heat & transfer to a plate or the mixer jar. Let it cool. My twist to the chutney is not to oil roast all the garlic cloves & add a few raw ones to enhance the flavour & make the chutney powder more fragrant.

Note: If you do not like the chutney to have a strong garlic flavour then oil roast all the cloves.
Now return the fry pan to heat. Maintain heat at low & fry the dried red chilli’s till they turn plump. Do not let them turn black. Keep tossing them continuously. Take them off heat & transfer to the plate or the mixer jar & allow it to cool.

Next add 1 tbsp of coriander seeds & return the pan to low heat & fry the seeds till you can begin to change colour & the aroma of the seeds fills the air. Again toss them around continuously because you don’t want them to burn. Transfer to the plate or the mixer jar & let it cool.

Similarly fry the sesame seeds till they begin to change colour & start popping. Transfer to the plate or the mixer jar & let it cool.

Lastly fry the grated Copra/dry coconut till it starts to change in colour. Do not let it burn. Toss it around continuously. Take off the kadai from heat and let the roasted Copra cool down to room temperature.

Once all the roasted ingredients have cooled down to room temperature, transfer them to the mixer jar & add the tamarind piece along with red chilli powder, the leftover garlic cloves & some salt to taste. Blend all the ingredients into a coarse powder, or finer if you like it that way.

Check for salt & adjust if required.

Lahsun/Garlic Chutney - Maharashtrian style

Note: Since we add some tamarind & a few raw garlic cloves while we blend, the chutney powder will have some small lumps, I transfer the chutney powder to a tray and dry it under the sun for a good hour or so. This helps to remove the moisture & helps preserve the chutney powder longer. If you plan to do the same then, keep mixing the chutney powder so that it helps in even drying.

Once ready, transfer the chutney powder to an air-tight container & enjoy while it lasts.

Serving Suggestions:
Get your bread, alu bonda ready & serve this chutney with this famous Indian burger – Vada Pav.

Lahsun/Garlic Chutney...

Else, serve with just about anything that you like. I have mentioned a few accompaniments in the beginning of this post.

 


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.


Celebration Post – Super moist, Venetian Carrot Cake

Super Moist Venetian Carrot Cake...

Yippie Yay! this is my 200th recipe post on Keli Paan and I am so glad that my plans to post a something baked succeeded. Yes, I have been planing this post for a while now. The plan was to indulge & celebrate with a good cake.. It’s such a wonderful feeling writing this post.. Feels like it was just the other day..! Now, I am at the 200th post.. when I now look at few or rather many of my vintage posts, I feel what was I thinking ???.. the photographs are atrocious..!! There is no concept..! It made me think, if I should let them stay or re-do them.. What do you guys think?? Do leave a comment.. I would love to know your thoughts! I’m not claiming I have turned into a master at photography.. I’m still learning the art of food styling… The posts help me see the transition my blog has gone through. I do see I have gotten better from the time I have started.. 🙂

Super Moist Venetian Carrot Cake....

When I was reading about Carrots cakes, I got to know that they came into existence because sweeteners were scarce & expensive during the medieval period. Since carrots & beets contain more sugar than most other vegetables, carrots were preferred. These cakes were huge in the United States in the 1970’s.. it was considered a novelty.. But then it go so popular that it became a standard dessert across the country. In a radio survey conducted in 2011, in the UK rated Carrot cake came out as the favourite & why wouldn’t it be? they are just so wonderful. I have always eaten store-bought cakes. Never tried making one at home.. I had picked up lovely looking fresh juicy carrots from the store yesterday for this.

Super Moist Venetian Carrot Cake....

This recipe is an adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s Venetian Carrot cake recipe. I baked a smaller cake though.The moment I had seen this recipe, I fell in love with it.. No flour, no milk & even them you get such a lovely moist cake.. ! There were all my favourite ingredients.. Pine nuts.. I’m a huge fan of these tiny silky nuts… !!! Fresh carrots, ground almonds, Rum!! yes, this cake has rum.. & sultanas which are cooked in rum.. The fragrance of simmering rum cooking the sultana’s is wonderful.. 🙂 Ground nutmeg adds jus the right flavour to this cake.. it just gets your senses reeling.. Though it might not be the prettiest cake you have seen around.. I always say that something has to look good to make it appealing, specially when it comes to food.. but then here do not go by the looks…! 🙂 I tried to make it look as pretty as possible :).

Notes:
1. I used normal sultana’s ,though the recipe calls for golden sultana’s..
2. The most popular icing on this cake is the cream cheese icing. I did not want a sweet overdose, hence I skipped it.. 🙂
3. I used a silicone cake pan. Use a springform cake tin if you have one.
4. This cake will seem to be shallow. Wont be higher than 2 inches. This cake does not rise like other cakes, you will notice a small rise though.

Ingredients: (Serves 6 )        Preparation Time: 60 mins
Pine nuts – 30g,
Carrots – 2, medium-sized, hand grated, If you’re using a food processor, do not turn it into pulp. It should still have strands.
Dark Rum – 40 ml
Golden Sultana’s – 30g
Golden castor sugar – 80g
Pure Vanilla extract – 1/2 tsp
Olive oil – 50ml + for greasing
Ground almonds – 100g
Nutmeg – 1/8 – 1/4 tsp
Eggs – 1 large/ 2 small
Fresh Lemon zest – 1/4 tsp
Fresh Lemon juice – 1/4 tsp

Method:
Take a small saucepan & soak the sultana’s in the rum before you start.

Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C. Meanwhile, line the base of a cake pan, preferably a springform tin with grease-proof paper. Grease the sides with some olive oil.

Lightly toast the pine nuts on a fry pan without any oil, till they turn golden brown. Keep aside.

Grate the carrots & take out the excess water from them by wrapping them around kitchen towels. Keep aside.

Now bring the saucepan with the rum & sultana’s to a boil over medium heat. Simmer & cook for a couple of minutes.

In a mixing bowl, whisk the sugar & oil. Use a hand mixer/ stand mixer if you have one because you need to mix till they turn creamy & airy. Add the vanilla, eggs, almond meal/powder, nutmeg, grated carrots & the sultana’s along with the rum. Fold all these ingredients in using a spatula.

Note: Nigella does not add the rum which is left behind. I did. So you can choose to do what you please. 🙂

Finally add the lemon zest & juice. Mix.

Transfer the batter into the prepared cake pan. The batter, like I mentioned will seem shallow because it’s not a tall cake. Use a spatula, preferably a silicone spatula to even out the top of the cake. Since I added the left over rum my batter was not as solid, hence I did not need to do that. Sprinkle the toasted Pine nuts around.

Ready to be baked...

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until you see a golden hue on the cake with a slight rise. Check using a toothpick, it may be come out a wee bit sticky, but that’s alright.

Cool the cake on a wire rack.

Baked & Out... cooling on the wire rack...

Let it sit for 10 minutes or so before you spring it out of the tin. Now cool further.

I’m sorry to say I did not get down to clicking more pictures of the preparation process..  was a cloudy day & did not get enough sunlight for good pictures while I was mixing & preparing the batter.. Luckily the sun came out for  a bit when the cake was out of the oven. I must say I got lucky.. 🙂 

Transfer to a serving plate..

Oh by the way, this serving plate is a prized new possession now.. 🙂 I had to own it, the instant I saw it….. 🙂 I’m in love with the little pink & red hearts..!! It can just pep up anything you serve on it.. 🙂 That’s how I made this cake look pretty.. !!

Serving Suggestions:
Serve a slice with some cream cheese mixed with some rum & icing sugar on the side if you wish.. 🙂

Super Moist Venetian Carrot Cake...

You can save this cake for 3 days tightly wrapped in cling film & stored in a air-tight container.

If you like this recipe, then you may also like – Summer fruits Compote sandwiched between Sponge cake..Coffee Banana loaf Cake with Coffee ganache frostingDark Chocolate & Mocha Cheesecake with Rum…Plum Cake etc.

 


Mix Veg Couscous Biryani… Episode where the love for Biryani took over the love for Couscous…

Mix- Veg Couscous Biryani...

Couscous is a new-found love of mine.. I have quite a friends hooked on to it as well.. Biryani is another all-time-favourite.. Was wondering from a couple of days how would it taste if I fused these two together… I knew it would be a quick alternative to all the sudden biryani cravings. That’s what I just ended up doing last afternoon when I had this longing to eat some biryani.. (Just a week back I binged on some fish biryani.. Yes, both my kid bro & I can eat biryani for breakfast + lunch + dinner).

The best part is that I have found a perfect biryani powder mix here in the UK. All the while in India I never found something as good as this brand. Its called Shan. I have used their Biryani Masala, Bombay Special Biryani Masala; & both are yummy. They have loads of varieties in their Biryani masala’s. Wonder why I’m making this an endorsement for that brand??? Anyways, use your favourite brand of biryani masala for this dish.

Beauty of this version of the dish is that, unlike the time-consuming traditional biryani, this is ready in 15 mins.. 🙂 Most Couscous packs that you get in the market are the pre-steamed & dried variety. These packs usually instruct you to use 1.5 parts of boiling water or stock to one part of couscous & before you know it, the couscous swells up & is ready to be separated using a fork. Since its made of wheat its a good substitute for rice.

Mix- Veg Couscous Biryani...

The biryani did turn out as yummy as the traditional one, just that it was there was a slight confusion in the brain.. Since it was used to chewing rice when it gets a whiff of biryani & the plate was filled with couscous grains.. So there was a slight mismatch between the sensory organs. But the tummy did feel good.. thats what matters right?

Ingredients: (Serves 2)    Preparation Time: 15 – 20 mins
Couscous – 1 cup, uncooked
Onions – 1 large, finely chopped
Garlic – 4 cloves, finely chopped
Ginger – a small piece
Cashews – 1 tbsp, chopped roughly
Green chilli – 1, slit
Biryani masala – 1.5 tbsp
Tomato – 1 medium-sized, chopped
Finely chopped Fresh Mint+ Coriander leaves – 3 tbsp
1.5 cups of mix-veggies of your choice, I used diced mushrooms, cubed potatoes, green peas & sweetcorn. You can add carrots, beans, cauliflower etc.

Tip: If you are planning to use potatoes, cauliflower, carrots or veggies that require more time to cook than the couscous then keep them in a bowl of boiling water with some salt, remember the bowl should be off heat, close this bowl with a plate; now start preparing the dish, so by the time you reach the stage where you need to add these veggies into the dish, they would have cooked at least halfway.

Yogurt – 1.5 tbsp
Cooking oil – 1 tbsp
Virgin Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Heat a pot, set the heat to medium. When hot add the cooking oil alone & when hot add the green chilli. Sauté it for a couple of seconds so that the oil absorbs the flavour & heat from the chilli. Next throw in the cashews, chopped ginger & garlic. Sauté them or just about 30 seconds. We do not want garlic to change colour. Next add the chopped onions & a pinch of salt. When the onions turn translucent add the biryani masala & mix well. Add 1.5 tbsp of the chopped coriander+mint leaves. Let the masala fry along with the onions for 2-3 minutes.

Next add the chopped tomatoes & the veggies (Do not forget any veggies kept in the bowl of boiling water, drain the water & add these as well). Add salt to taste. (Remember that the veggies from the bowl would have absorbed some salt already from the water). Add the yogurt. Mix well. Toss the veggies around for a minute. Now add 1.5 measures of water.

Tip: I usually boil the water in a kettle & keep it ready, rather than adding water at room temperature & waiting for it to come to a boil.

Adjust the seasoning & add the couscous. Simmer, close with a lid & let the couscous absorb the water. Cook the couscous as per your pack instructions. Usually all packs ask you to cook in simmer till all water is absorbed & then turn off the heat & let it stand for 5 minutes before you separate the grains using a fork. This is what I did.

Once done, you separate the grains using a fork. Add the virgin olive oil & mix as couscous tends to get dry.

Garnishing:
Garnish with the rest of the chopped coriander+mint leaves.

Mix- Veg Couscous Biryani...

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with a some salad & raita as accompaniment. For raita recipe’s check out – Spring Onion RaitaTempered Cucumber Raita – South Indian StyleBeetroot Raita etc.

Mix- Veg Couscous Biryani...

Hope you love this as much as K & I did.. 🙂 Would love to read your comments.. Do add your comments when you try this out.. !

If you liked this, you may also like to check – Mix-Veg Couscous Upma…., Special Prawn BiryaniSweetcorn BiryaniMicrowave Peas Pilaf with Spring Onion Raita etc.


Yogurt Filled Strawberry Pots!

Yogurt Filled Strawberry Pots!

I read though Health.com for healthy tips.. While I was browsing through the website last evening.. I noticed this recipe to enjoy Strawberry’s.. I had strawberries in the fridge as it’s the season now.. ! Been feasting on them from the time the season was on.. ! 😀

Fresh Strawberries...

I should say we ate the best strawberries ever when we were driving down to Cornwall last weekend.. there was slow moving traffic for a kilometre or so.. & I saw signboards on the side of the road that said.. “Buy fresh Strawberries handpicked straight from the farm..” & I had to buy some.. & then for another hour or so kept eating them.. 🙂 They were the sweetest strawberries I had ever had..!

Anyway… this recipe can be enjoyed as a side during breakfast or as a dessert after a meal.. Fill the strawberry pots with your favourite yogurt or ice-cream.. sprinkle the top with corn flakes/nuts/raisins or any other topping of your choice & voila there you end up with something that looks pretty & tempting!

Tip: For you diet conscious people.. use fat-free greek yogurt.. flavour like Vanilla, coconut & banana go best.. but feel free to use any flavour you like…. & for those who don’t care about calories use full fat greek yogurt/slightly melted ice cream of your choice… Cool them if you wish to, before you serve them.

Yogurt Filled Strawberry Pots!

For those of you who have trouble making your kids eat fruits.. this maybe a good way.. Make it look pretty, i’m sure they will make their hands dirty! 😀

Try one... :)

Ingredients: (Serves 2)    Preparation Time: 5-10 mins
Strawberries – 200 gms, larger the better, Sweeter the better too.. 🙂
Greek Yogurt/Thick yogurt/Ice-cream – 2 tbsp
Banana – 1/4 of a ripe banana
Tip: If you plan to use plain greek yogurt, you can add a few drops of vanilla essence & mash 1/4 of a banana into it; & stir in some sugar if required. You can add some honey instead of sugar too.
Toppings of your choice; I used some Wheatabix & almond flakes, raisins & cinnamon powder to sprinkle on top.

Method:
Mash up the banana in a bowl. Now add the yogurt to this & mix well.
Tip: To reduce the sugar added, I used very ripe banana’s.

Add sugar/honey if you used plain yogurt. Take each strawberry & de-core each of them carefully, as shown. Make sure you don’t end up puncturing the sides..

For the filling:
Option 1: Fill the strawberry pot with the banana+yogurt mixture. Chill if required.

Option 2: Else fill the pots with melted ice-cream of your choice. Place them in the chiller.

Top the filled strawberries with your choice of toppings… I added some wheat flakes from my pack of breakfast cereals, almond flakes & raisins.. finished it by sprinkling just a wee bit of cinnamon dust.. & we had them along with our breakfast.. 🙂

Yogurt Filled Strawberry Pots!

If you liked this recipe; you may also want to check out – Strawberry PancakesFresh Strawberry LassiBanana Cranberry Muffins….Banana Pancakes etc.


Kumbh Mutter Masala with a Shahi twist to it..!

Kumbh Mutter Masala....

Firstly for those who are wondering what Shahi means.. it literally means royal… Dishes with powdered/chopped dry fruits were a favourite of the Indian royals.. So this dish has that touch to it.. Kumbh refers to mushrooms & mutter is green peas.. Now that solves the name of this dish…

Kumbh Mutter Masala... with a Shahi twist...

K was getting ready for work as usual.. I boiled eggs thinking of making some egg curry, then I suddenly remembered that I had a family pack of mushrooms in the fridge.. A friend of mine been asking me to post a dish with mushrooms from a while now,.. So I kept the boiled eggs aside for breakfast & started prepping up to use up the mushrooms & make this curry.

You would love the flavours in this dish… the milk adds a nice texture… spices in the garam masala powder add the aromatic touch.. hot from the green chilli’s added.. & the mushrooms add their own flavour to the dish… (Secret ingredient – Powdered almonds help to thicken the curry up & add the Shahi touch to this dish). If you don’t want to add the secret ingredient.. go ahead & skip it.. It will just be a normal mushroom masala dish with peas in it..

Ingredients: (Serves 2-3)           Preparation Time: 15-20 mins
Closed Cup Mushrooms – 150 gms, washed & diced thick
Tip: Dice the mushrooms about 2-3 minutes before adding them to the curry, else they turn black
Frozen/Fresh Green Peas – 1/2 – 3/4 cup
Red onion – 1 medium-sized, finely chopped
Tomatoes – 2 medium-sized, finely chopped
Garlic cloves – 3, finely minced
Green Chilli’s – 2, finely chopped
Garam Masala powder – 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder – 3/4 tsp
Almond powder – 1 tsp (Secret ingredient)
Milk – 250 ml
Cooking Oil – 2 – 3 tsp
Salt to taste

Method:
Heat oil in a deep bottom fry pan, set heat to medium; when the oil is hot, add the chopped green chilli’s. Fry them for a around a minute. Now add the minced garlic; sauté them for a few seconds.. till the aroma of garlic fills up the room, but don’t let them turn brown, add the chopped onions, fry till they begin to turn translucent. As always add a pinch of salt to help the onions fry quick.

Now add the tomatoes & fry them, next add the garam masala powder & mix well, simmer…let the tomatoes & onions turn to pulp.. this gives time for the raw flavours of the garam masala to disappear as well. After about 2-3 minutes, add the coriander powder. After 4-5 minutes add the milk; mix well, add some salt to taste. Increase heat to medium, let the milk come to a boil, now simmer add almond powder. Next add the diced mushrooms. Mix well.

Add the diced mushrooms..

Remember the mushrooms let out water when they cook. At this point add about half a cup of water if you want more gravy in the resulting curry, else skip adding water. Simmer, when the curry begins to bubble. Close the fry pan with a lid & let the mushrooms cook.

When the mushrooms are halfway done; add the green peas. Check the seasoning in the curry & adjust. Let the curry cook for a further 4-5 minutes till the peas turn soft & you have the desired consistency to the curry. Turn off the heat.

Note: This curry is not meant to be too liquidy.. it’s supposed to be thick as in semi-gravy or as a nice thick curry.

Garnish: (Optional)
Garnish with some cream if you wish to.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with any Indian bread of your choice. Enjoy the yummy flavours..!

Kumbh Mutter Masala.. with a Shahi twist..

If you like this recipe, you may also like – Paneer Methi Malai Kali Mirch, Makai Malai Palak/Sweetcorn in a creamy spinach sauce., Indian Kidney Bean curry/Rajma, Chole/Chickpeas in a tangy spicy Indian sauce etc.

 


Chicken Stew – Kerala Style

Chicken Stew - Kerala Style...

Food from the coastal region & me have always shared a bond… makes me feel at home instantly… food from Kerala is even more special as it brings back fond memories… I had an awesome bunch of roommates/flatmates from Kerala back in Bangalore when I was unmarried. We used to have crazy girl parties.. sometimes with takeaway food to munch & binge on or the times we were all enthusiastic we would get back from work.. cook ourselves.. :)) How I miss those fun times…

This stew is very a dish from Kerala.. & eaten usually for breakfast along with some hot Appams (soft fluffy savoury pancakes made with a batter from fermented rice & coconut). Yes, you can also have them with bread. There is a veg version to this stew. Substitute the chicken with some mix veggies like – carrots, green beans, garden peas & potatoes.

My aunt lives in Kerala & she was supposed to pass on the recipe for this dish. But out of sheer coincidence my school friend Rashmi happened to send this recipe a few days back when we were discussing food… 🙂 It was strange to discuss recipes with girls whom you have had other topics to chatter about when in school.. Made me feel wow.. how years have flown by…

I made some adjustments to the recipe she passed on…added some fennel seeds as I remember this flavour in the stew & some cashew nut powder to make it a little creamier.. 🙂

Making Appams require a special kind of vessel & requires a stove with a gas burner. Unfortunately here I have a hob with hot plates hence cannot make Appams. But yes, I will surely make them when I get a chance. For now I had to make K eat this with bread..

If you want to you can also add carrots to the chicken version along with the potatoes. I ran out of carrots & moreover K does not really like cooked carrots.

Ingredients:  (Serves 4)          Preparation Time (25 – 30 mins)
Chicken – 500 gms, on the bone or boneless, whatever you prefer. I used chicken breast pieces cut into wedge-sized pieces
Potatoes – 2 medium-sized, peeled & cubed
Green chilli’s – 3, slit
Onion – 1 large, thinly sliced
Ginger – a small piece, finely chopped
Garlic – 4-5 cloves, finely chopped
Curry leaves – 2 sprigs, roughly about 15 leaves
Thick coconut milk – 2 cups,fresh tastes the best. Unfortunately I did not have fresh coconuts with me so I used 8 tbsp of coconut milk powder dissolved to make 2 cups of coconut milk.
Cashew paste/powder – 1 tsp
Corn flour – 1 tsp, dissolved in water
Coconut oil – 1.5 tbsp, coconut oil adds the authentic flavour to this dish. If you do not like the flavour added by coconut oil use sunflower oil/olive oil.
Salt to taste

Dry spices:
Cinnamon – 3/4 inch piece
Cloves – 3
cardamom – 3 whole
Fennel seeds – 15 seeds
Whole peppercorns – about 15-20

Method:
Roughly powder all the dry whole spices using a pestle & mortar. Keep this aside.

Heat the coconut oil in a pot. When the oil is hot add the powdered dry spices. Fry for a minute. Next add the green chilli’s & fry it for a minute. Add the curry leaves. Now add the ginger, garlic & sauté for under a minute. Do not let the garlic turn brown. Add the chopped onions & sauté them. Add a pinch of salt to accelerate the onion frying time.

When the onions turn translucent, add the potatoes & toss them around. Next add the chicken pieces. Toss them around for a minute or two. Add one cup of coconut milk, additionally add half a cup of water as well & simmer.

Add the coconut milk & water.. ...

I apologise for this bad picture… My kitchen does not have any natural light & as much as I would love to carry the hot pot out into the living room & click, like I do many times, sometimes I don’t end up doing that. 😦

Add salt to taste. Close the pot with a lid when the stew begins to bubble, close the pot with a lid & the chicken cook. The chicken would also let out some water & there would be enough water to cook the chicken.

Once the potatoes & chicken are almost cooked, say about 80% done, add the cashew powder & the other cup of coconut milk. Let the pot be still at low heat. Check & adjust salt. Let the stew come to a boil again. Once the chicken & potatoes are fully done, turn off the heat.

Garnishing:
Garnish with some additional curry leaves.

Serving Suggestions:
Serve hot with some Appams or bread.

Chicken Stew - Kerala Style...

Enjoy!!

If you like this recipe you may also enjoy – Meen Molee/Boneless fish pieces in a fragrant Kerala style coconut curry, Grilled/Baked fish in Green MasalaCrispy Mussels etc.