Apple Cake for the Monthly Mingle

We dont eat very healthy at home…What? YOU KNEW????? Is it that obvious????
Well, I dont wanna hear the answer to that one, so Im just gonna get to the point…
The point being that although fruits are NOT a regular part of our diet, we do consume it in its most unhealthy avatar- desserts! Yes I LOVE fruit desserts- You’ve probably seen the Apple Cheesecake, the Mango Upside down , the Pineapple Cake and various others I have already raved about.

This APPLE CAKE is another deliciously fruity cake I had bookmarked eons ago…
source:smitten kitchen

6 apples cored and chopped into chunks
1 tablespoon cinnamon
5 tablespoons sugar
2 3/4 cups flour, sifted
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
1 cup walnuts, chopped (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a pan and keep aside. Toss the apples with the cinnamon and the 5 tbsp sugar and set aside.
Stir together flour, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, whisk together oil, orange juice, sugar and vanilla. Mix wet ingredients into the dry ones, then add eggs, one at a time. Mix to blend all the ingredients.

Pour half of batter into prepared pan. Spread half of apples over it. Pour the remaining batter over the apples and arrange the remaining apples on top. Bake for about 1 1/2 hours, or until a tester comes out clean.

This one goes to Monthly Mingle whose theme this month is Fruit in Baking this month. Monthly Mingle is the brainchild of the wonderful Meeta from What’s For Lunch, Honey and hosted this month by my fav blogger Deeba of Passionate About Baking!

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I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti


I usually love books that have recipes in them…though I must confess that the ‘love’ stems from only the very few I’ve actually read.
Giulia Melucci’s I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti. was however a disappointment as far as good story go, though it fares as a fantastic source of recipes….

Daughter of Italian immigrants , Giulia is a journalist who has had her heart broken umpteen times but never had an empty stomach (”I can count on my breasts the number of times I have missed a meal”) She strongly believes that the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but in her case it never proves true.
The book is basically about her numerous failed romances and how her boyfriends lead her not to the altar but to the kitchen.
If you are looking for a strong storyline dont bother reading the book…. Melucci , towards the end comes across as so desperate ..I mean I couldnt even relate to her. She was ready to date ANYONE young and old alike…drunks, druggies, cartoonists, writers.she loves and loses them all…Can one really get so desperate….she really lost me there….Also she clearly has food-emotion issues.She seduces men one meal at a time.

But here’s what I did like..it seemed brutally honest..a very brave book for her. There are also some nostalgic parts about her family and past which I thought were well written. But the best part about the book are the recipes(although most are ‘adapted’ from various sources.Yet all simple no-frill recipes originally written.

Parts of the book are originally funny …especially the titles of the recipes such as No Nookie Gnocchi”, “Pear Cake For Friends With Benefits,“Ineffectual Eggplant Parmigiana” (“Serves the two of you plus the three people you wish were there to keep the conversation going”)and the F***You Cakes -they totally cracked me up:)

Read it for the recipes , if not for much else!

Varo

Its no secret that I LOVE to bake; but did u know that I can barely make a decent cuppa tea. I usually throw my hands up at the mere mention of regular cooking- NOT because I dont enjoy it but because It almost never turns out the way its supposed to be:(

Which is why I was mighty thrilled to make the desi praline- VARO.

Many of us South Indians have had a version called Chikki. My love for these nutty sweets were stroked after my father in law started bringing home some everyday for my sis-in-law and me , almost everyday after his morning walks. Crunchy, sweet and nutty…this is without doubt a lovely sweet!

Thank you Alka for a great recipe..you can find the original recipe here.and thank you Srivalli for the Indian Cooking Challange that lets me learn new things.

Varo – Sindhi Sweet Treat (Diwali Special)
Ingredients:

Assorted Nuts (I used Almonds, Pistachios and Cashew nuts) – 1 Cup
Poppy Seeds / Khus Khus – 2 tbsp
Cardamoms – 4 -5
Sugar – 1 Cup
Ghee Clarified Butter – 1 tbsp

Method:

Slice all mixed nuts into medium sized pieces. Powder the Cardamom seeds.

Grease a flat plate or the back of a plate.

In a heavy bottomed pan, add ghee and sugar. On low heat melt the sugar without stirring too much until it turns light and then a deep brown shade. Working fast add in the nuts, poppy seeds and the cardamoms. Mix until the nuts are well coated(just a couple of seconds) and transfer the mixture to the prepared plate. Flatten using a rolling pin.
Let cool and harden.

Cut into pieces using a knife..it might be a bit hard to break but u can use the rolling pin to hammer in the knife..

Doughnuts!

The October 2010 Daring Bakers challenge was hosted by Lori of Butter Me Up. Lori chose to challenge DBers to make doughnuts. She used several sources for her recipes including Alton Brown, Nancy Silverton, Kate Neumann and Epicurio
I was so busy all month with other tasks I had decided I wouldn’t be a part of this months challenge. But yesterday I did have some time to myself , thanks mainly to my parents who are visiting. Obviously the fact that my kids and I absolutely love doughnuts did help convince me to make em!!! And am so glad I did!

I halved the Alton Brown Yeast recipe so finally got just about 8 doughnuts and it was a mad scramble to polish them off. As Aparna had suggested on the forum, I reduced the egg and the yeast and contrary to my fears and pervious experiences the dough was extremely manageable. Boy! They were delicious. I made a chocolate –praline topping and it was fantastic…thanks Lori for a great challenge!

Yeast Doughnuts:
Preparation time:Hands on prep time – 25 minutesRising time – 1.5 hours totalCooking time – 12 minutes
Yield: 20 to 25 doughnuts & 20 to 25 doughnut holes, depending on size

Ingredients
Milk 3/4 cup
Butter 35 grams
Active Dry Yeast 1 teaspoon
Warm Water 40ml (95°F to 105°F / 35°C to 41°C)
Eggs,small 1
White Granulated Sugar 1/8th cup,25 grams
Nutmeg, grated 1/2 tsp.
Purpose Flour 2 1/3 cup + extra for dusting surface
Canola Oil DEPENDS on size of vessel you are frying in – you want THREE (3) inches of oil (can substitute any flavorless oil used for frying)

Directions:
Place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over medium heat just until warm enough to melt the shortening. (Make sure the shortening is melted so that it incorporates well into the batter.)
Place the shortening in a bowl and pour warmed milk over. Set aside.

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the warm water and let dissolve for 5 minutes. It should get foamy. After 5 minutes, pour the yeast mixture into the large bowl of a stand mixer and add the milk and shortening mixture, first making sure the milk and shortening mixture has cooled to lukewarm.

Add the eggs, sugar, salt, nutmeg, and half of the flour. Using the paddle attachment of your mixer (if you have one), combine the ingredients on low speed until flour is incorporated and then turn the speed up to medium and beat until well combined.
Add the remaining flour, combining on low speed at first, and then increase the speed to medium and beat well.

Change to the dough hook attachment of the mixer and beat on medium speed until the dough pulls away from the bowl and becomes smooth, approximately 3 to 4 minutes (for me this only took about two minutes). If you do not have a dough hook/stand mixer – knead until the dough is smooth and not sticky.

Transfer to a well-oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
On a well-floured surface, roll out dough to 3/8-inch (9 mm)thick. (Make sure the surface really is well-floured otherwise your doughnuts will stick to the counter).
Cut out dough using a 2 1/2-inch (65 mm) doughnut cutter or pastry ring or drinking glass and using a 7/8-inch (22 mm) ring for the center whole. Set on floured baking sheet, cover lightly with a tea towel, and let rise for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oil in a deep fryer or Dutch oven to 365 °F/185°C.
Gently place the doughnuts into the oil, 3 to 4 at a time. Cook for 1 minute per side or until golden brown (my doughnuts only took about 30 seconds on each side at this temperature).
Transfer to a cooling rack placed in baking pan. Allow to cool for 15 to 20 minutes prior to glazing, if desired

Topping

Over a low heat, melt 1½oz caster sugar in a saucepan with 1½oz almonds.
Once melted and browning nicely, keep moving it around with a metal spoon until but they get a bit darker for a good flavour
Once cold, crush into a course powder.
Mix it in with melted chocolate ….hmmmmm It will make you MOAN!

A Golden Age by Tahmima Anam

A heart rending tale about a young widow, Rahana Haque, who loses her husband and is forced to deal with life headlong and protect her children when war erupts.

The book begins with the words” Dear Husband, I lost our children today.” And no her children are not dead but rather her children have been snatched from her and given to her brother and sister-in-law , as she is deemed unfit to raise them because she took them out to watch Cleopatra at the movies. Eventually she does get her children back but this event traumatizes her and she spends most of her life fearing for their lives.

Written by Bangladeshi native,Tahmima Anam, this moving debut novel, is set in Dhaka, East Pakistan in the 1970’s, a city simmering at the center of the Bangladeshi war of Independence. I must admit that although Bangladesh is close to home and the 1970 civil war was closely associated to India, I did have to do more reading into the history of the war.

Rehana, the protagonist is willing to go to any lengths to protect her children, Maya and Sohail but finds herself unable to shied her children from being sucked into the war. Before long the entire Haque household as well as neighbors are in one way or another affected by the war.

At the heart of the novel is a mother’s love for her children but also how one’s personal struggles are indivisibly related to the struggles of their nation. I enjoyed reading this book not only because it was a moving story of love,heartbreak, hope and war, but also because I was impressed with Tahmima’s ability to scale the war and all its accompanying horrors down to a level I could relate to.

Swiss Roll Ice Cream- DB July


The July 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Sunita of Sunita’s world – life and food. Sunita challenged everyone to make an ice-cream filled Swiss roll that’s then used to make a bombe with hot fudge. Her recipe is based on an ice cream cake recipe from Taste of Home.

Cake and Ice cream..Now that’s a combination that has the angels carousing in divine happiness..and who are we mere mortals to resist its exquisite pleasure.

To say we were thrilled at the prospect of making this dessert would be an understatement….and the end result did not disappoint. NOT ONE BIT. On the contrary it was a perfect dessert at a party we had a few weeks back that had my guests oohing and aahing like never before.

Taking a picture was another story altogether. Somehow the cake came apart by the time I took pictures so the pics I must admit belie its incredible deliciousness.

I made this dessert over the course of 4 days though it can be done in just a day. The ice creams took longer than I expected…..actually deciding what flavor of ice cream to make took even longer. But finally I chose to make a chocolate chip Ice cream and a caramel ice cream. Both turned out great….but sadly don’t have pictures. Maybe next time. Yes there will be a next time for sure. This one’s a keeper. Thanks Sunita.

Swiss roll ice cream cake

The Swiss rolls-

Ingredients-

6 medium sized eggs
1 C / 225 gms caster sugar /8 oz+ extra for rolling
6 tblsp / 45gms/ 3 oz of all purpose (plain) flour + 5 tblsp/40gm /2.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted together
2 tblsp /30ml / 1 fl oz of boiling water
a little oil for brushing the pans
For the filling-
2C / 500 mls/ 16 fl oz of whipping cream
1 vanilla pod, cut into small pieces of about ½ cm (or 1 tsp vanilla extract)
5 tblsp / 70gms/2.5oz of caster sugar

Method-
1. Pre heat the oven at 200 deg C /400 deg F approximately. Brush the baking pans ( 11 inches by 9 inches ) with a little oil and line with greaseproof baking paper. If you have just one pan, bake one cake and then let the pan cool completely before using it for the next cake.
2. In a large mixing bowl, add the eggs and sugar and beat till very thick; when the beaters are lifted, it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds.
3. it should leave a trail on the surface for at least 10 seconds. Add the flour mixture, in three batches and fold in gently with a spatula. Fold in the water.
4. Divide the mixture among the two baking pans and spread it out evenly, into the corners of the pans.
5. Place a pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 10-12 minutes or till the centre is springy to the touch.
6. Spread a kitchen towel on the counter and sprinkle a little caster sugar over it.
7. Turn the cake on to the towel and peel away the baking paper. Trim any crisp edges.
8. Starting from one of the shorter sides, start to make a roll with the towel going inside. Cool the wrapped roll on a rack, seam side down.

9. Repeat the same for the next cake as well.
10. Grind together the vanilla pieces and sugar in a food processer till nicely mixed together. If you are using vanilla extract, just grind the sugar on its own and then add the sugar and extract to the cream.
11. In a large bowl, add the cream and vanilla-sugar mixture and beat till very thick.
12. Divide the cream mixture between the completely cooled cakes.
13. Open the rolls and spread the cream mixture, making sure it does not go right to the edges (a border of ½ an inch should be fine).
14. Roll the cakes up again, this time without the towel. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill in the fridge till needed, seam side down.

Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
from The Perfect Scoop

1 cup whole milk
3/4 cup sugar
2 cups heavy cream
Pinch of salt
1 vanilla bean, split in half lengthwise
6 large egg yolks
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
5 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate (not chocolate chips), chopped
Warm the milk, sugar, 1 cup of the cream, and salt in a medium saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the warm milk and add the bean as well. Cover, remove from the heat and let steep at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer on top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens an coast the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Put the vanilla bean into the custard, add the vanilla extract, and stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator. When ready to churn, remove the vanilla bean, rinsing and reserving it for another use, and then freeze. Meanwhile, melt the chocolate until there are still small chunks, the residual heat will melt those. Gently add to the vanilla ice cream and mix well and freeze again.

Caramel Ice Cream (Glace Caramel) Recipe
Adapted from here

Serves 4

Ingredients

70 g sugar
80 ml cream
3 egg yolks
360 ml milk
1 vanilla pod

Method
1. To make the caramel, put 45 g of the sugar in a heavy-based saucepan and heat until it dissolves and starts to caramelize – tip the saucepan from side to side as the sugar cooks to keep the colouring even. Remove from the heat and carefully add the cream (it will splutter). Stir over low heat until the caramel remelts.
2. Whisk the egg yolks and remaining sugar until light and fluffy.
3. Put the milk and vanilla pod in a saucepan and bring just to the boil, then strain over the caramel.
4. Bring back to the boil and pour over the egg yolk mixture, whisking continuously.
5. Pour the custard back into the saucepan and cook, stirring, until it is thick enough to coat the back a wooden spoon.
6. Do not let it boil or the custard will split.
7. Pass through a sieve into a bowl and leave over ice to cool quickly.
8. Churn in an ice-cream maker following the manufacturer’s instruction.
9. Alternatively, pour into a plastic freezer box,cover and freeze.
10. Stir every 30 minutes with a whisk during freezing to break up the ice crystals and give a better texture.
11. Freeze overnight with a layer of clingfilm over the surface and the lid on the container. Keep in the freezer until ready to serve.

The Hot fudge sauce

Preparation time-2 minutes
Cooking time-2 minutes

ngredients-
1 C / 230gms/ 8 oz of caster sugar
3 tblsp / 24gms/1.5 oz of natural unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tblsp /15gms/ 1 oz of cornflour/cornstarch
1 and ½ C /355ml /12 fl oz of water
1 tblsp /14gms/ 1 oz butter
1 tsp/5 ml / .15 fl oz vanilla extract

Method-
1. In a small saucepan, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, cornflour and water.
Place the pan over heat, and stir constantly, till it begins to thicken and is smooth (for about 2 minutes).
Remove from heat and mix in the butter and vanilla. Keep aside to cool .

Assembly

1. Cut the Swiss rolls into 20 equal slices ( approximately 2 cms each ).
2. Cover the bottom and sides of the bowl in which you are going to set the dessert with cling film/plastic wrap. Arrange two slices at the bottom of the pan, with their seam sides facing each other. Arrange the Swiss roll slices up the bowl, with the seam sides facing away from the bottom, to cover the sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till the slices are firm (at least 30 minutes).
3. Soften the chocolate chip ice cream. Take the bowl out of the freezer, remove the cling film cover and add the ice cream on top of the cake slices. Spread it out to cover the bottom and sides of the bowl. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and freeze till firm ( at least 1 hour)
4. Add the fudge sauce over the chocolate chip ice cream, cover and freeze till firm . ( at least an hour)
5. Soften the caramel ice cream and spread it over the fudge sauce. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4-5 hours till completely set.
6. Remove the plastic cover, and place the serving plate on top of the bowl. Turn it upside down and remove the bowl and the plastic lining. If the bowl does not come away easily, wipe the outsides of the bowl with a kitchen towel dampened with hot water. The bowl will come away easily.
7. Keep the cake out of the freezer for at least 10 minutes before slicing.

The Red Book – Meaghan Delahunt


The book is basically about three strangers – an Australian photographer Francois ,Arkay a Scottish alcoholic turned Buddhist monk and a Tibetan refugee, Naga who meet in India and subsequently find their lives entwined by destiny.

Written by Australian born Meaghan Delahunt I picked up the book as I always have a fascination to see India through the eyes of an outsider. I also picked up the book for another reason. The Bhopal gas tragedy and the subsequent suffering of the victims has always saddened and angered me. So I figured this book that was supposedly set against the background of the twentieth anniversary Bhopal tragedy might prove to be an interesting read.

Francois, who is drawn to India after she sees the iconic photographs of the dead baby from the gas tragedy travels to Bhopal to travels to Bhopal to rediscover herself and take photographs that are not clichéd .There she meets and falls in doomed love with Arkay who is vainly battling addiction and memories of abuse as well as develops a close friendship with Naga, whose repressed anger caused by losing his family to the disaster stands in contrast with Arkays impulsive and moody temperament. The Red Book is a book where Francois stores photographs that tell of their time together.

What I liked about the book was the short effectiveness of Delahunt’s prose, and though not much else moved me about the book. Bhopal was just a background, a touching point for the characters. Nothing more. I was also not very impressed by the characterization. The three main characters all sounded the same to me. Like three voices of the same person. In the end while the book is mostly a tale of identity, despair, love and the west and East outlooks, it left me quite unmoved and unimpressed.

Homesick – Eshkol Nevo

Jerusalem born Eshkol Nevo’s first novel Homesick takes place in Castel, a hilltop village between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv and is ostensibly about Nova, a budding Photography student and her psychologist in the making boyfriend Amir. They move into a little apartment separated from their landlords Moshe Zakian and Sima by just a thin wall. Then there is Yutam, the young boy who befriends Amir, even as he deals with the death of his brother in the war in Lebanon and his parents inability to cope with the tragedy. Saddiq is a Palestinian refugee whose family lived in the Zakian home until 1948, and who lives in an unnamed West Bank village but wants to return to his old house and reclaim what is his. Modi is Amir’s friends a wanderlust whose adventure filled life entices Amir , but who finally does pine for home.

This skillfully written book reads like an art move, a beautifully made art movie. Slow paced yet powerful , Nevo develops each of his characters with such detail that I felt I knew them all. Set against the historical backdrop of the Rabin assassination, Nevo manages to weave a terrific tale of friendship,nostalgia and longing. There is nothing very political about the novel yet the bombings, the state of the Israeli Palestinian conflict all give an underlying sense of gloom that pervades the novel. The reader is constantly aware of the state of permanent war that around them and the And more than the political struggles, it is the struggles of the heart that the novel deals with.

While not obviously tragic or sad, a sense of fore brooding hangs over the novel, like a dark cloud. When Noa and Amir first go to view their apartment , by accidentally enter the house of mourning of a family of a young soldier killed in Lebanon.The tension out in the world slowly seeps into the lives of the unmarried young couple as domestic drudgery threatens to pull them apart. Moshe and Simi too face their share of problems. Moshe, a bus driver in his 30s, longs to raise his children in a religious set u plike his older brother unlike his wife Simi who wants a secular upbringing for her children. This leads to friction in their until now peaceful marriage. The friend ship that develops between Yotam and Amir is beautifully etched as is the scene when Yotam’s family leave for Australia to make a new home and start afresh.

In all it is a beautifully scripted novel. But don’t expect it to be an easy , light read. The books narrative was mostly of inner monologue and sometimes moved between characters thoughts so smoothly that I was always on the look out for clues as to whose thoughts they were. A very compelling book and a fantastic first novel.

Twelve Bar Blues

Twelve Bar Blues :The 12-bar blues is (or blues changes are) one of the most popular chord progressions in popular music, including the blues. The blues progression has a distinctive form in lyrics and phrase and chord structure and duration. It is, at its most basic, based on the I-IV-V chords of a key.

Books, Music.
Music Books.
I love them both.


And Patrick Neate’s Twelve Bar Blues is one such stupendous book that reads like great music.
It is a dazzling gem of a novel deftly moving through three centuries and exploring issues of identity, the quest of the black soul, family and sorrow amidst the background of the early days of jazz.

At the heart of the novel is Lick Holden “the greatest…horn man that was ever lost to history”. His life in Mount Marter Louisiana is recounted in the beginning of the novel as is his stint at the Correctional School for Negro Boys where he learns to play the cornet.We are also introduced to his family including his light skinned sister Sylvie(“who wasn’t no blood relation”).In telling Licks musical journey Neate insinuates lick into the history of jazz and blues in Africa interweaving legend and imagination. Buddy Bolden, Fate Marable, Louis “Dipper” Armstrong, Kid Ory, and King Oliver are all made a part of this stunning tale.

Lick’s search for Slyvie forms a main part of the novel and leads him on a journey to New Orleans. The love story between Lick and Sylvie meanders through tragedy, and lust and guilt , redemption, fate and choice and is interspersed with other equally mesmerizing magical tales. Neate’s genius is undoubtedly in his story telling. His unhurried style takes us on a tour of New Orleans, New York and Africa is a journey that is as realistic as is magical. It was not so much the plot( which was fantastic too) as was his style of writing that left me howling with laughter AND weeping tears of tragic loss..and in ONE page! Pure Genius!

Halfway into the book and almost eighty years later, we also meet Sylvia Di Napoli, a coffee-coloured British prostitute(“retired”) and singer(“unemployed”) who is on a quest to find her roots and the true meaning of her “blackness”….along for the ride is Jim, a white young scrawny big-hearted drifter, tagging along for a “drunken tour of America”.

We also travel back in time to the world of African legends and history and its present day continuation with the hilarious tale of Tongo, an African Chief and Musa his permanently stoned ,sex addict-ish witch doctor.

Neate tales are as fresh as new melody and yet each new story resonates with the older stories to create new meaning.

The brutal truths about the sufferings and violence of the black folk back then is so powerfully drawn up that it pulsates with the details and makes everything and everyone (prostitutes, pimps, thugs, jazz players, magic men) believable.

Reality and dreams, history and myth, physical and metaphysical, past and the future all combine in this fascinating book that has its soul in music.

Rasmalai – ICC

Question : I can eat bucketfuls of this, and yet ask for more…name it!

No….Anything is technically not the right answer..

But Rasmalai is.

I love these milky desserts and thoroughly enjoyed making them for Srivallis ICC.

So here goes a detailed fool proof way to make these Bengali sweets

Ingredients:

Milk – 3 litres (2 litres for making paneer and 1 litre for making Rasa/Milk syrup.)
Vinegar- 3 tbsps
Water-5 cup’s
Sugar- 16 tbsp (8 for Sugar Syrup and 8 for Rasa/Milk Syrup)
Saffron- 8 pieces
Pista-10 finely chopped
Maida flour- 1 tsp
Cardamon-2 (crushed)

Method:


I. Preparation of Whey Water
II. Preparation of Paneer
III. Preparation of Sugar Syrup
IV. Preparation of Milk Syrup/Rasa

Now comes the process in detail..

I. Preparation of Whey Water:

Boil Two Litres of milk and let it cool. Refrigerate the milk for 12 hours. The next day or after 12 hours, remove the thick layer of skin/ paal adai/meegada formed over the milk. Now boil the milk, when the milk boils, add vinegar. wait for a minute or two. the paneer will start floating on top and the whey water will stay on the bottom of the vessel. Now with a muslin or a cotton cloth, filter the paneer and pour 2 cups of water on it, to remove the sourness of vinegar and then tie it well and let it hang on for one hour, till the whey water drops out.

What to do with the Whey Water?

Let the whey water get soured. that is leave it for a time of 1 week to get soured. after that pour it into a bottle and refrigerate it. this soured whey water will be good for one year of time. when you want to make paneer, you can use this whey water instead of vinegar/lemon juice.
(or)
Whey water can be used to prepare chapathi or Roti, which makes them super soft.

II. Preparation of Paneer:
This is an important step.
As we have tied and hanged the paneer in muslin cloth to let out the whey water, wait for atleast an hour and squeeze them very well. well. remove from the cloth and shift to a broad vessel. Now just prepare the paneer, as we knead the dough for chapathi/roti, in the same way knead the paneer, for 5 minutes atleast, till you feel it dont have much moisture content in it. now add a spoon(not more) of maida flour to the paneer and make it as small small ball’s remember the balls will become double in size after putting it and boiling it in sugar syrup. so make a medium size paneer ball’s. with 2 litres of milk you can prepare 12 or 13 paneer ball’s.
You may even use this to make Rasgullas.

III. Preparation of Sugar Syrup:
In a wide-bottomed pressure cooker, add two cups of water and eight table spoons of sugar. let it boil. Now when it boils, add the paneer ball’s one by one on to it. dont afraid of the ball’s getting broken. if you have kneaded the paneer well, it wont get broked. let it get pressure cooked for 10 minutes in slow flame or for 2 whistles.
Now let the steam get out and open the cooker and see the double-sized paneer ball’s. slightly press all the paneer balls to emit the excess sugar syrup.

IV. Preparation of Milk Syrup/Rasa:
Even before you start to prepare the sugar syrup start making milk syrup/rasa side by side. Have one litre of milk in a wide bottomed vessel and let it boil and get reduced into half of the quantity.This might take awhile. Now add eight table spoons of sugar and mix well. add saffron and crushed cardamon to it and mix well. put the paneer ball’s into the rasa/milk syrup. cool it down and refrigerate it.
Serve with chopped pistachios on top.


The recipe was from Lavis blog.

Julie Julia – Blog to Memoir to Movie

You know the kind of person who exasperates you so much you want to give them a GOOD SMACK?
well Julie Powell is exactly that kind of person…
I wanted to shake her till her head fell off….What the fuck..oops..(maybe Julia’s bad language is getting to me…)
But I mean why did she whine so much. She makes whining WHINING, you know what I mean?

Stuck at a dead-end secretarial job,Julia decides to dramatically resurrect her life by taking on a deranged assignment- to cook all 524 recipes in Julia Child’s cookbook in a year’s time- and blog about it.

The rest of the book deals with her culinary journey including sometimes really mordant descriptions of meals made by soaking and boiling calf hooves, extracting bone marrow Putting chicken livers in jelly (from the hooves) and refrigerating it (and then eating it cold),kidneys, brains most of which resulted in her kitchen smelling “like a tannery”.

If you are not vegetarian you will be tempted to convert…

I guess the only saving grace is probably her determination to go through with the project…. and Eric, her husband, a paragon of encouragement. He comes across as very sweet and accommodating (she loves Buffy the vampire slayer, for godssake!!!!and he still loves her- If THAT’S not accommodating ..what is?)Its totally another story that she goes on to cheat on him AND write about it!!!

Well I must admit that I did feel a tinge(OK it was waaay more than a tinge) of jealousy about her rise to blogdom fame…. and almost felt inspired to try something OUTSIDE of my comfort zone…

But that aside…..the book just chronicles Julia’s cooking ‘project‘ and how she got lucky because she did the right thing(blogging) at the right time.

Strangely ,although the book revolves around food ,one just doesn’t get the feeling that she really loves food or cooking…its all a big chore to finish what she started.

I haven’t watched the movie so far..I just hope it’s better than the book…..

Tomato Dosa

Why is it that most of us(or is it just me?) run out of breakfast ideas.

Although I like to try out different cuisines I often find the South Indian breakfast cuisine easiest to put together. Agreed the grinding past may be a bit cumbersome , but once you have that out of the way, the next couple of days are tension free….

Take for instance this variety of dosa that I found on Shailaja’s super duper blog.

Its real simple to make, in fact it doesn’t even need fermentation…

Its got great colour( always a good thing when your target group includes children) and is healthy too…
Plus its different from the regular fare…

I served this with podi, but I’m sure any chutneys will do just great.

Tomato Dosa Recipe

Prep & Cooking: 20-30 mts, Soaking: 2-3 hrs

Serves 5-6 persons

Cuisine: South Indian

.
Ingredients:

1 1/4 cup raw rice and 2 tbsps of tur dal, soaked in water for 2-3 hrs

2 tomatoes chopped

2 tbsp grated fresh coconut (optional)

2-3 dried red chillis, de-seed and tear

1-2 tbsp grated jaggery

salt to taste

oil as required

1 Drain and grind smoothly the rice and tur dal with chopped tomatoes, dried red chillies (de-seed), grated fresh coconut, jaggery, coriander leaves, salt and little water to form a dosa-like batter.

2 Heat griddle on high flame till hot, reduce heat, pour a laddle full of dosa batter, spread the batter with the bottom of the ladle evenly making circles to form a dosa and drizzle with some oil along the edges. Cook on medium heat for 1-2 mts and increase to high flame for a few seconds and flip the other side and cook for 20-30 seconds or till done.

3 Serve hot with any podi or chutney of your choice .

This one goes to Tried & Tasted event started by Zlamushka of SpicyKitchen.

This months blog is Sailus food

DB April 2010- Not so Traditonal , Traditional English Pudding

The April 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Esther of The Lilac Kitchen. She challenged everyone to make a traditional British pudding using, if possible, a very traditional British ingredient: suet

yeah..that was the problem, right there.The last word.

Suet. In case you’re wondering, suet is the hard but flaky fat found on the inside of a cow or sheep around the kidneys and that area of the body.

Ewwww I KNOW…not my kinda thing either..

But thankfully Esther allowed for substitution and so I did what I love to do best….no not whining..but using butter.Arent the best things in life made of butter????

Steamed desserts are not new to us in India. Especially for us South Indians. We make a variety of steamed goodies – kozhukutta(rice ball dumplings), vatayappam being just two of many many.

But a steamed pudding was something I’d never tried.


Don’t let the ugly pictures fool you..I mean I know
I know it’s not easy on the eyes–heck, it would be a great contestant in a ugly photo contest but it was real good…and so we couldn’t have cared less.

Sticky toffee and date pudding with candied ginger
Shamelessly copied from here

For the toffee sauce

2 cups (500ml) heavy cream
1/2 cup (120g) demerara sugar (or another dark brown sugar)
2 1/2 tablespoons honey
pinch of salt

For the pudding

6 ounces (180g) pitted dates, snipped or chopped
1 cup (250ml) water
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 cup (40g) candied ginger, chopped
1 1/4 cups (175g) flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons (55g) unsalted butter
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1.Butter an 8 1/2-inch (about 24cm) porcelain soufflé mold, or similar-sized baking dish.

2. To make the toffee sauce by bringing the cream, demerara sugar, honey and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring often to melt the sugar.

3. Lower heat and simmer, stirring constantly for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is thick and coats the spoon. Pour half the sauce into the prepared soufflé mold and place the mold in the freezer, and reserve the other half for serving.

4. To make the pudding, in a medium saucepan, heat the dates and water. Once the water begins to boil, remove from heat and stir in the baking soda. Add the ginger, if using, then set aside, but keep it slightly warm.

5. In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

6. In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat the butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs, then the vanilla.

7. Stir in half of the flour mixture, then the date mixture, then add the remaining flour mixture . The mixture will be a bit liquidy. Add some hot water if required.

8.Pour mixture on to the sauce, cover and steam for 1.5 hours.
The sauce and sponge mixture mix together during cooking.

9. Let cool slightly before serving.

Orbis Terrarum 2010 Challenge- Going Places

I know I keep complaining about my lack of time but this is one challenge I couldn’t stay away from. As most of you know I do love to read and travel….and this project lets me do both ( well, almost) .
Confused?
Don’t be..Its like this-
take eight months to read eight books penned by 8 authors from 8 different countries . Aint it interesting???
….read up more on Bethanys blog here.
While Ive not really come up with a final list of books these are what I have in mind..

1.Trainspotting -Irish Welsh (Scotland)
2. Lolita by Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov ( Russia)
3.Slaughter house five by Kurt Vonnegut American
4. The Handmaid’s Tale by by Margaret Atwood( Canada)
5.The cave by José Saramago ( Portuguese)
6.The Yacoubian Building by Alaa-Al-Aswany ( Egypt)
7.Alone in berlin by Hans Fallada (Germany)
8. ….probably something by Bapsi Sidwa

ICC- April

Its white , wriggly and wonderfully different…
Yes! its that time of the month again when we don our Indian caps and put the kitchenware lying right at the back to good use.

Very good use.

And this month Srivalli mail read Javvarisi/Sago/Sabudhana Murukku as this month’s ICC challenge I was skeptical as this really didn’t look like my cuppa tea..esp with warnings of possible sago explosions:)
but alls well that ends well …and here they are ,my white headed crispy snacks( honestly I’m not even sure if they are supposed to look like this)

Javvarisi/Sago/Sabudhana Murukku

Ingredients

Rice Flour(Arisi Maavu) – 2 cups
Besan flour(Kadalai Maavu) – 1/2 cup
Fried gram flour(Pottukadalai maavu) – 1/2 cup
Sago(Javvarisi) – 1/2 cup
Salt to taste
Curd – 50 gms (1/4 cup)
Chilli powder – 1/2 tsp or as per taste

Special Utensil
Murukku Achu

Directions

In the buttermilk, soak the sago for about two to three hours until it doubles in size and gets translucent. If the sago is not soaked for enough time, it might tend to burst while frying the murukkus.

In a bowl, mix all the flours together. Heat about 50 gms oil, mix it along with the flour salt and chilli powder. Slowly add the buttermilk soaked sago and knead to make a smooth dough.

In a heavy bottomed vessel, heat oil for deep frying. In the murukku achu, add enough quantity of dough. When the oil gets hot, slowly press the murukku using the achu and deep fry on both sides until it turns golden brown in color.

Cook on medium flame to ensure the muruku is cooked well.

Store in an airtight container.

Two Creations

A friend of mine had asked for a Tanjore painting as soon as she moved in to Goa 2 years back.

I finally finished the painting yesterday..a few days before she leaves for her next posting in Mumbai!

and now I’m tired!

As someone said “Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task.”

But nothing perks me up like baking so here’s something I made from the Deeba’s wonderful blog…

Gâteau à l’Orange

4 oranges
Zest of 1 orange
100 g of softened butter
100 g sugar
150 g flour
3 eggs, separated
11/2 tsp baking powder
1 Tbsp rum
1 Tbsp orange essence (or Cointreau)
1 pinch of salt
Butter (to grease the pan)

Method:
Heat the oven to 170C.
Grease a 6″ cake pan, and line the bottom with parchment
In a bowl, beat the sugar and softened butter together.
Add the yolks one by one to the butter and sugar mixture, taking care to mix each one thoroughly before adding the next one and beat until you obtain a smooth batter.
Add the rum and the orange essence/Cointreau and mix again.
Mix the flour and baking powder together and add it to the batter by “raining it in”. Mix well.
Cut and juice the oranges. Pour half of the resulting juice in the batter, add the zest and mix.
Beat the whites until firm with the pinch of salt. Add them delicately to the batter.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for an hour, checking the coloration from time to time. It will be dark orange when done.

Pour the other half of the juice into the cake while it’s still warm. Take care not to pour it too fast and not to let the cake cool too much before you do so.

Serves 8.

This Cake goes to the ongoing event Bake-off in Champas blog.

Heaven on a Dessert Plate


Although I had decided to give this months DB challenge a go , I did a complete turnaround when I read that 2 of my favourite bloggers were this months hosts…..
Nothing could stop me.
Not the never ending guests we had this month, not the diet I was on, not the painting deadline that was inching so close.
Nothing!!

And I’m so happy I did try this lovely dessert that lives up to its name. It was delicious. Really!
I usually distribute everything I made to near and dear and not so dears..but this one we polished off on our own! I mean actually licked the plates clean!!!!It was excellent!!

I made the dessert over a period of 1 week…made the Savoiardi(Ladyfinger Biscuits) first, then the mascarpone cheese(I can NEVER thank you enough Deeba) and then yummy sauces.
hmmmmm….HEAVEN!!!!!!

TIRAMISU

The February 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Aparna of My Diverse Kitchen and Deeba of Passionate About Baking. They chose Tiramisu as the challenge for the month. Their challenge recipe is based on recipes from The Washington Post, Cordon Bleu at Home and Baking Obsession.

(Recipe source: Carminantonio’s Tiramisu from The Washington Post, July 11 2007 )
This recipe makes 6 servings

Ingredients:
For the zabaglione:

2 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar/50gms
1/4 cup/60ml Marsala wine (or port or coffee)
1/4 teaspoon/ 1.25ml vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest

For the vanilla pastry cream:
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1 tablespoon/8gms all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract
1 large egg yolk
3/4 cup/175ml whole milk

For the whipped cream:
1 cup/235ml chilled heavy cream (we used 25%)
1/4 cup/55gms sugar
1/2 teaspoon/ 2.5ml vanilla extract

To assemble the tiramisu:
2 cups/470ml brewed espresso, warmed
1 teaspoon/5ml rum extract (optional)
1/2 cup/110gms sugar
1/3 cup/75gms mascarpone cheese(see below)
36 savoiardi/ ladyfinger biscuits (see below)
2 tablespoons/30gms unsweetened cocoa powder

Method:
For the zabaglione:
Heat water in a double boiler. If you don’t have a double boiler, place a pot with about an inch of water in it on the stove. Place a heat-proof bowl in the pot making sure the bottom does not touch the water.
In a large mixing bowl (or stainless steel mixing bowl), mix together the egg yolks, sugar, the Marsala (or espresso/ coffee), vanilla extract and lemon zest. Whisk together until the yolks are fully blended and the mixture looks smooth.
Transfer the mixture to the top of a double boiler or place your bowl over the pan/ pot with simmering water. Cook the egg mixture over low heat, stirring constantly, for about 8 minutes or until it resembles thick custard. It may bubble a bit as it reaches that consistency.
Let cool to room temperature and transfer the zabaglione to a bowl. Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the pastry cream:
Mix together the sugar, flour, lemon zest and vanilla extract in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan. To this add the egg yolk and half the milk. Whisk until smooth.
Now place the saucepan over low heat and cook, stirring constantly to prevent the mixture from curdling.
Add the remaining milk a little at a time, still stirring constantly. After about 12 minutes the mixture will be thick, free of lumps and beginning to bubble. (If you have a few lumps, don’t worry. You can push the cream through a fine-mesh strainer.)
Transfer the pastry cream to a bowl and cool to room temperature. Cover with plastic film and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight, until thoroughly chilled.

For the whipped cream:
Combine the cream, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric hand mixer or immersion blender until the mixture holds stiff peaks. Set aside.

To assemble the tiramisu:
Have ready a rectangular serving dish (about 8″ by 8″ should do) or one of your choice.
Mix together the warm espresso, rum extract and sugar in a shallow dish, whisking to mix well. Set aside to cool.
In a large bowl, beat the mascarpone cheese with a spoon to break down the lumps and make it smooth. This will make it easier to fold. Add the prepared and chilled zabaglione and pastry cream, blending until just combined. Gently fold in the whipped cream. Set this cream mixture aside.

Now to start assembling the tiramisu.
Workings quickly, dip 12 of the ladyfingers in the sweetened espresso, about 1 second per side. They should be moist but not soggy. Immediately transfer each ladyfinger to the platter, placing them side by side in a single row.
You may break a lady finger into two, if necessary, to ensure the base of your dish is completely covered.
Spoon one-third of the cream mixture on top of the ladyfingers, then use a rubber spatula or spreading knife to cover the top evenly, all the way to the edges.

Repeat to create 2 more layers, using 12 ladyfingers and the cream mixture for each layer. Clean any spilled cream mixture; cover carefully with plastic wrap and refrigerate the tiramisu overnight.

To serve, carefully remove the plastic wrap and sprinkle the tiramisu with cocoa powder using a fine-mesh strainer or decorate as you please. Cut into individual portions and serve.

HOME MADE MASCARPONE CHEESE

Ingredients:
474ml (approx. 500ml)/ 2 cups whipping (36 %) pasteurized (not ultra-pasteurized), preferably organic cream (between 25% to 36% cream will do)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Bring 1 inch of water to a boil in a wide skillet. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the water is barely simmering. Pour the cream into a medium heat-resistant bowl, then place the bowl into the skillet. Heat the cream, stirring often, to 190 F. If you do not have a thermometer, wait until small bubbles keep trying to push up to the surface.
It will take about 15 minutes of delicate heating. Add the lemon juice and continue heating the mixture, stirring gently, until the cream curdles. Do not expect the same action as you see during ricotta cheese making. All that the whipping cream will do is become thicker, like a well-done crème anglaise. It will cover a back of your wooden spoon thickly. You will see just a few clear whey streaks when you stir. Remove the bowl from the water and let cool for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, line a sieve with four layers of dampened cheesecloth and set it over a bowl. Transfer the mixture into the lined sieve. Do not squeeze the cheese in the cheesecloth or press on its surface (be patient, it will firm up after refrigeration time). Once cooled completely, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate (in the sieve) overnight or up to 24 hours.
Keep refrigerated and use within 3 to 4 days.

LADYFINGERS/ SAVOIARDI BISCUITS
(Source: Recipe from Cordon Bleu At Home)
This recipe makes approximately 24 big ladyfingers or 45 small (2 1/2″ to 3″ long) ladyfingers.

Ingredients:
3 eggs, separated
6 tablespoons /75gms granulated sugar
3/4 cup/95gms cake flour, sifted (or 3/4 cup all purpose flour + 2 tbsp corn starch)
6 tablespoons /50gms confectioner’s sugar,

Method:

Preheat your oven to 350 F (175 C) degrees, then lightly brush 2 baking sheets with oil or softened butter and line with parchment paper.
Beat the egg whites using a hand held electric mixer until stiff peaks form. Gradually add granulate sugar and continue beating until the egg whites become stiff again, glossy and smooth.
In a small bowl, beat the egg yolks lightly with a fork and fold them into the meringue, using a wooden spoon. Sift the flour over this mixture and fold gently until just mixed. It is important to fold very gently and not overdo the folding. Otherwise the batter would deflate and lose volume resulting in ladyfingers which are flat and not spongy.
Fit a pastry bag with a plain tip (or just snip the end off; you could also use a Ziploc bag) and fill with the batter. Pipe the batter into 5″ long and 3/4″ wide strips leaving about 1″ space in between the strips.
Sprinkle half the confectioner’s sugar over the ladyfingers and wait for 5 minutes. The sugar will pearl or look wet and glisten. Now sprinkle the remaining sugar. This helps to give the ladyfingers their characteristic crispness.
Hold the parchment paper in place with your thumb and lift one side of the baking sheet and gently tap it on the work surface to remove excess sprinkled sugar.
Bake the ladyfingers for 10 minutes, then rotate the sheets and bake for another 5 minutes or so until the puff up, turn lightly golden brown and are still soft.
Allow them to cool slightly on the sheets for about 5 minutes and then remove the ladyfingers from the baking sheet with a metal spatula while still hot, and cool on a rack.
Store them in an airtight container till required. They should keep for 2 to 3 weeks.

Last Minute Kachori for ICC

Seriously guys, what is it about a family wedding that can throw your life so out of gear.
I went home to Kerala for just 4 days for a cousins wedding. But it was 4 days of pure frenzied madness. I can’t really pinpoint what it was that has me feeling so distraught! Was it the fact that my baby cousin actually got married ( I felt sooo OLD), or was it the awful heat of Cochin coupled with the outrageous amount of jewelry I was made to wear,
or was it the million comments I had to hear about my weight( ranging from aunts asking if I was pregnant; to cousins asking me if I had balloons hidden under my clothes. One man(may he have a thousand sleepless nights….even asked me if the Himalayas have moved to Cochin!
All my excuses of thyroid related weight gain were met with incredulous looks! Anyway I am so glad to be back home in Goa………

Kachori- Fried Indian Snack


Kachori…forgive my poori-like horrible picture (it was taken just an hour before we left) but I must tell you these fried snacks were delicious ( I know what you are thinking…NO I just had a bite..a teeny weeny bite…)My kids LOVED them and I will definitely try them with different fillings sometime later…so here’s the recipe I used…

First make the dough:
Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour/Maida – 2cups
Oil/ Ghee – 1/4cup
Salt – 1/2tsp
Water for kneading

Method:

* Mix the flour and salt, Add the oil/ghee and mix till you get a bread crumbs texture.
* Slowly add water and make a soft dough. Knead well for about 8 minutes.
* Cover and keep aside to rest for atleast half hour.

Special Tips / Notes for the dough:

* Keep the dough covered at all times, if not it will dry up and not puff up when frying. If the dough is made right wet cloth can be used if not just a towel.
* The dough could spring back for many reasons:
* Dough is too cold (If wet cloth is used)
* Dough is not soft enough.
* Not kneaded for enough time.
* Oil is less.
* Not rested enough.

For the onion filling:
Onions – 2 cups
Nigella Seeds (Kalongi) – 2tsp
Fennel seeds (saunf) – 2tsp
Bay leaves – 2
Green chillies – 1 1/2tsp finely chopped
Bengal gram flour (besan) – 2tbsp
Coriander (dhania) powder – 2tsp
Chili powder – 2tsp
Garam masala – 1tsp
Coriander leaves – 3tbsp, finely chopped
Oil – 2 tbsp
Salt – to taste

Method:

* Heat the oil in a pan. Add the nigella seeds, fennel seeds, bay leaves, green chillies and onions and sauté till the onions turn light brown in color.
* Add the gram flour, coriander powder, chilli powder, garam masala and salt and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes.
* Add the chopped coriander and mix well. Remove the bay leaves and discard. Allow the mixture to cool completely.
* Divide into 12 equal portions and keep aside.

Assembling the Kachoris:

* Make a small ball from the dough. Roll out into a 2 inch diameter circle. Or flatten the ball using your fingers having the center thick and sides little thin.
* Place about 1.5 tsp of the filling in the center of the rolled dough.
* Cover the filling with the dough by slowly stretching it over the filling. Seal the ends and remove excess dough. Repeat with all the balls and keep aside for 5 -7 mins.
* Then using your palm, flatten the balls by lightly pressing it, as using the rolling pin will make the filling come out. (See notes below). Keep aside covered. Repeat with the remaining dough.
* Meanwhile heat some oil for deep frying. The oil should not become smoking hot. Test to see if the temperature is right by dropping a tiny ball of dough and see if it is rising slowly to the top.
* Drop the kachoris in batches of 3-4 gently into the oil. It should rise up slowly. If you don’t want to use lot of oil, use just enough for two or three at a time and fry them.
* After it rises up (about 2 minutes), turn it over.
* Cook for about 6 to 10 minutes till the side down gets a golden brown color.
* Turn and cook the other side for another 6 minutes or till its golden brown in color.
* Remove when done, cool and store in airtight container.
* Serve with coriander chutney and tamarind chutney

Special Tips / Notes for making the Kachoris:

* You can fry 3 kachori’s at a time.
* The oil should be at a heat when you drop some dough it should come up slowly, if the dough comes up too fast the oil is too hot, if it does not come up then the oil is cold.
* It will not be crisp if the oil is too hot.

I Finally Found what Im looking for…


Here’s the other recipe I tried out from our Book Club’s January selection Climbing the Mango Tree.
I must admit that this too I found kinda bland…but i upped the spice quotient and it was simple yet delicious.

Chicken Cooked in a Yogurt-Almond Sauce (Murgh Korma)

Serves 4-6

INGREDIENTS

One 2 ½ -inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
4-5 good-sized cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
3 tablespoons blanched, slivered almonds
1 ½ cups plain (nonfat) yogurt
1 ½ teaspoons garam masala (see below for Madhur’s recipe)
1 tablespoon ground coriander
½ – 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
1 ½ teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons peanut or olive oil
2 medium onions, peeled, cut in half lengthwise, then sliced into fine half-rings
Two 2-inch sticks of cinnamon
8 whole cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
3 ¼ pounds chicken, cut into 8 pieces (see headnote)
2 tablespoons golden raisins (sultanas)
3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh cilantro

DIRECTIONS

Put the ginger, garlic and ¼ cup water into a blender. Blend until you have a smooth paste. Add the almonds and another 2 tablespoons water. Blend again until you have a smooth paste.

Put the yogurt in a bowl. Whisk it lightly with a fork or whisk until smooth. Add the garam masala, ground coriander, cayenne and salt. Stir well into mix.

Put the oil into a large, preferably nonstick sauté pan and set it over medium heat. When it is hot, put in the sliced onions. Stir and fry for 10-12 minutes, turning the heat don if necessary, until the onion slices are reddish brown. Remove the onion slices with a slotted spoon, squeezing out as much of the oil as you can with the back of a second spoon, and leaving that oil back in the pan. Spread the onion slices over a paper towel-lined plate.

Put the cinnamon, cardamom and bay leaves into the same pan over medium heat. Stir once or twice. A minute later, put in the chicken pieces, only as many as the pan can hold easily in a single layer. Brown the chicken lightly on both sides, removing them to a bowl when done. Do all the chicken pieces this way. Add the golden raisins. Stir a few times and then add the paste from the blender. Stir and fry for two minutes. Now put the contents of the bowl with the chicken, including all the accumulated juices, the contents of the yogurt bowl and the fried onions. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer, still on medium heat. Cover, turn the heat to low, and cook gently for 25-30 minutes, stirring gently now and then, until the chicken pieces are tender. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve.


To Make Punjabi Garam Masala used in Madhur Jaffrey’s recipe:

Put in a spice grinder
1 tbsp of cardamom seeds
1 tsp of whole black peppercorns
1 tsp of whole black cumin seeds
1 tsp of cloves
1/3 of a nutmeg
2″ stick of cinnamon

Grind finely and store in an air tight jar. This makes about 3 tbsp of Garam Masala

BTW ..WHAT was Lady Gaga wearing at the Grammy’s??????????????????Definitely Out-of-this-world!!!!!

Climbing the Mango Tree

Although my knowledge of the works(on TV or otherwise) of Madhur Jaffery are extremely limited(read zilch), I was extremely excited to read Climbing the Mango Tree, her childhood memoir.

If you look at the book you will know what I mean. It’s a good looking book, if I may say so. I also enjoyed reading this delicious book; full of history, culture,food and beautiful childhood memories.

Although this is not a ‘novel’ as in it has no real story to tell, Madhur keeps us ( well..me, anyway) captivated with her recollection of life in a joint family household( sometimes there were up to 40 members of her family for dinner; Oh the logistics of it all!).
Make that super wealthy joint-family.She invokes beautifully detailed images of the lavish parties they held, the gilded childhood in Delhi mansions and Himalayan hill stations, the family picnics with a retinue of servants ,the summer breaks when the entire household shifted to Shimla, her school life or even of the dry heat of the summer garden

“I loved history in school,” Jaffrey writes in one of the early chapters of Climbing the Mango Trees. And she definitely shows us her love. Early on she discovers the “Red Book,” chronicling the history of her family and so we are given detailed description of the history of her ancestors.

She also infuses history, in the form India’s transition from empire to independence when she recounts the partition, Gandhiji’s assassination, and the resulting violence, riots and massacres. Her family, while Hindu,was progressive enough to have ties with the Muslim culture of northern India, and even embraced many aspects of Muslim culture. Thus her viewpoint makes for interesting reading.

Her graceful prose is however best when she describes…YES , FOOD. Check this out…“venison kebabs laden with cardamom, tiny quails with hints of cinnamon, chickpea shoots stir-fried with green chilies and ginger, and tiny new potatoes browned with flecks of cumin and mango powder”…I mean, Boy!! She can make me hungry.

And as bonus Jaffrey also includes several family recipes for her favorite dishes in Indian cuisine….a treat for the mind and the stomach.

Especially for the stomach.

I have 2 recipes to share with you from this delicious book…one of these I will share today. ( I am still looking for the pics of the other:))


Cauliflower with Cheese
This turned out to be too bland for my tastebuds…but Im sure many of you may like it//.

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds
1½ lb. (8 cups) medium-sized cauliflower florets, cut so each floret has a stem
1¾ cups grated fresh tomatoes
1 piece of fresh ginger, one inch square, peeled and grated to a pulp on the finest part of a grater or Microplane
2 fresh hot green chiles, cut into slim rounds (see Note)
¼ tsp. cayenne pepper
¼ tsp. ground turmeric
1 Tbsp. ground coriander
¾ tsp. salt, or to taste
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 Tbsp. heavy cream
¼ cup coarsely grated sharp Cheddar cheese
Steps

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
2. Pour the oil into a large, preferably nonstick sauté pan over medium-high heat. When it is hot, put in the cumin seeds. Let them sizzle for 10 seconds. Add the cauliflower florets and stir them around for 2 minutes. Add the grated tomatoes, ginger, chiles, cayenne, turmeric, ground coriander, and salt. Stir to mix. Stir and cook for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the tomatoes are almost absorbed and the cauliflower is almost done. Add the cilantro and mix it in.
3. Put the contents of the pan into an ovenproof dish about 8 inches square, add the cream, mix, and sprinkle the cheese over the top. Put in the top third of the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the cheese has melted and developed a few light brown spots. Serve hot.

Notes

Do not use jalapeño or serrano chiles for Indian dishes; they have the wrong texture and flavor. Green bird’s-eye chiles or any long, slim, thin-skinned variety, such as cayenne, are ideal. If you can’t find them, use 1/2 to 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper instead of 1/4 teaspoon.

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