Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Brazilian Brigadeiros

My husband's office group had their annual picnic. The highlight of this year's picnic was to be the "Dessert Competition Event". My husband was nominated as one of the judges for the entry but he really wanted me to participate in the event, even if not to compete then as just an honorary entry. I agreed to participate then came the big question of what to make. There were to be roughly a 100 to 120 crowd expected. This was not a mandate from the event organizers but hubby dear wanted me to make something that would atleast cater to 50-60 people.
My dear friend R came to my rescue with three suggestions, Chocolate Truffles, Black Bottom Cupcakes and /or Brigadeiros. I had never heard of either Black Bottom Cupcakes or Brigadeiros so I got curious. After seeing the ingredient list for Black Bottom Cupcakes, I just earmarked the recipe for future and decided to move onto Brigadeiros. And oh la la they caught my fancy. I saw, I made and I won the third prize and no my husband did not score my entry so I won based on other two votes :)

Ingredients (adapted slightly from http://leitesculinaria.com/32758/recipes-brigadeiros.html)
2 Cans Condensed Milk
4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter
2Tbsp Cocoa Powder
60 gms Bittersweet Chocolate Bar
60 gms Milk Chocolate Bar
2 tsp Light Corn Syrup * Optional - I had it I used it :)
1 Cup Chocolate Sprinkles

Heavy Bottomed Non-stick pan
Wooden Spatula
Mini Baking Cups

Method (followed the video from streetsmartbrazil.com)
1. In a heavy bottomed pan on low-med heat, heat butter, add condensed milk, light corn syrup and bring to a boil stirring.
2. Mix cocoa powder with a little water to dissolve cocoa powder, then add this to the milk mixture. Add the chocolate pieces and go on stirring ...
3. Still more stirring ...almost 40-45 mins maybe more and yes my arms hurt afterwards.
4. The trick to know when it is ready is to part the dough with the spatula, if it takes a while to come back and merge together it is ready. Street Smart Brazil has nicely demonstrated this with a video on you tube.
5. Spread the contents onto a flat plate or a wide pan and set aside to cool in the fridge for 30 mins.
6. To make the balls, spread a little butter on your fingers and palm, with a small spoon pick some brigadeiro mix and roll it into a ball, now roll this ball in chocolate sprinkles and keep them in individual cups. This whole recipe makes about 85 of them.
7. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to make them firmer and enjoy.

As a variation, I toasted a few hazelnuts, coated them with Nutella and left them to set in the freezer. Then I rolled the brigadeiro dough flat, added the hazelnut wrapped it and rolled it in the sprinkles. Yummy !!!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Palak Raita / Spinach and Yogurt Dip

Palak Raita is one of my favourites. It's also very easy to make. Most of the times I manage to keep a handful of spinach leaves aside from the whole bag before making it for dinner and then a couple of days later I make this Palak Raita.

Handful of Spinach leaves
1 Small Onion
1" piece Ginger chopped fine
1  clove Garlic minced fine
2-3 Green Chillies chopped fine
1 tsp Oil
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tsp Roasted Cumin and Pepper powder
1&1/2 Cup Dahi /Plain Yogurt

1. Blanch spinach by putting it in a pan of boiling water and letting it cook for 3-4 minutes. Strain the spinach and immerse in cold water so that it retains its green colour.
2. Chop onion into fine cubes, chop spinach roughly.

3. In a pan, heat a teaspoon of oil, add cumin seeds for tempering. Once cumin sizzles add onion, ginger, garlic and green chillies and cook till onion is translucent.
4. To this add spinach, salt, jeera-miri powder and saute for a couple of minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside to cool. If you add the hot mixture to the curd, your curd will become very sour.

Warning: If you are a spinach lover like me, at this point you will be tempted to eat this just like that ;)

5. In the meantime, beat the curd, add salt. Now add the cooled down spinach masala, garnish as desired and put your raita in the refrigerator to chill. .
Serve Chilled


This post has been sitting in my drafts since June. I had not taken the pictures of Rajma then and did not want to post this recipe without the pics. So without much ado I will head straight to the recipe this time.

1 Cup Rajma /Kidney Beans rinsed and soaked overnight
1&1/2 Large Red Onion * These are easily equivalent to 3-4 Med. Indian Onions
3-4 Tomatoes Pureed
2" piece Ginger
5-6 Garlic Cloves
4-5 Green Chillies
2-3Tej Patta / Bay Leaves
1    Elaichi / Green Cardamom
1    Black Cardamom
1" piece Cinnamon
3-4 Black Peppercorns
1 tsp Corriander Powder
1 tsp Red Chilli Powder * Optional
1 tsp Roasted Cumin and Pepper powder
1&1/2 tsp Garam Masala powder
pinch of Turmeric
1 tsp Kasuri Methi
1 tsp Dried Mint * You can use 8 to 10 finely chopped fresh mint leaves instead
1 Tbsp Oil
Salt to taste

1. Chop the onions very fine or grate them. Grind ginger, garlic and green chillies to a paste.
2. Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add bay leaves, cinnamon, green and black cardamom and peppercorns.
3. Now add onions and keep stirring occasionally till they start to turn brown and the raw onion smell has gone away.
4. Add the ginger, garlic, green chilli paste and cook for a couple of minutes, before adding tomato puree. Let this mixture cook till the tomato is cooked and the raw smell of tomatoes is not there.
5. Add salt, red chilli powder, cumin-pepper powder, corriander powder, turmeric and garam masala. Mix and let cook for a couple of minutes.
6. Now add Rajma and some water if required, close the lid and let it whistle atleast 4-5 times.
7. Open the cooker after the steam has escaped, add crushed kasuri methi and dried pudina. Also, mash some Rajma with the back of the spoon to thicken the gravy.

8. Transfer to a serving bowl, garnish as desired and serve with Chawal (Rice) or Roti.
Enjoy !!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Yummylicious Dark Chocolate Brownie

I  got hit with a huge craving for chocolate brownie complete with visions of warm chocolate brownie served with vanilla ice-cream. Since I am off eggs for the month of Shravan I had no option but to try and bake an eggless one if I wanted to fulfill my craving. I decided to do just that. Here's what I conjured up

Wet Ingredients
1 Cup Homemade Yogurt (Dahi)
1/4 tsp Vanilla Essence
1/4 Cup Water
1 Tbsp Honey
4 Tbsp Butter Melted

Dry Ingredients
1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Corn Starch
1/4 Cup + 1 heaped Tbsp Baking Cocoa
1/4 Cup 60% Dark Chocolate Chips + some for decoration * I used Ghirardeli
3 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Baking Powder
2 Pkts 1 Cup Instant Coffee Powder ~ approx 1 Tbsp
5-8 Walnuts roughly crushed for decoration

2 Mixing Bowls
Measuring Cups and Spoons
9" Baking Tray

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and dust your cake pan.
2. In one mixing bowl mix together all dry ingredients including chocolate chips.
3. In another bowl, mix together all wet ingredients except honey.
4. Now add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 2 or max 3 additions and mix with a whisk till the flour is mixed thoroughly.
5. Pour batter into prepared cake pan and decorate with crushed walnuts and chocolate chips. Drizzle one tablespoon honey on the walnuts.

6. Bake at 350 F for 25 mins.
7. Remove from oven and let them cool for a few minutes.

8. Cut into pieces and serve.

Next time I would probably use a little more sugar

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Adrakwale Gobhi Matar / Gingery Cauliflower and Peas

Cauliflower is one of my husband's favourite vegetable. He will be more than happy if I make cauliflower for him daily and that too Tamatewari Gobhi ( Cauliflower in Tomato sauce). However, I am not posting that recipe. I am posting here instead a very simple and quick to put together subzi with very limited ingredients. The pre-dominant flavor in this subzi is that of Ginger.

This is the entry that I will be sending to Radhika's blog Tickling Palates for her event "Let's Cook Subzi's". This is the very first time I am participating in a blog event and I am excited. So read on and you will be tempted to recreate this one in your own kitchens.

Adrakwale Gobhi Matar
1 Medium Cauliflower cut into florets
1 Cup Green Peas * Frozen will do although fresh peas taste divine
2" piece Ginger cut into half and then into lengthwise strips
4-5 Green Chillies - slit in the middle
2 tsp Dhania Powder (Dried Corriander Powder)
1 tsp Jeera - Miri Powder(Roasted Cumin and Black Pepper Powder)
1 tsp Haldi (Turmeric)
1/2 tsp Sabut Jeera (Cumin Seeds)
pinch of hing
1 Tbsp Oil
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice **Optional
Corriander / Cilantro leaves for the garnish

Thali (Plate with edges preferably same size as your kadhai)

1. Wash and cut the cauliflower into big florets. I like to separate them by hand. Julienne the ginger, slit green chillies, defrost the green peas.

2. In a kadhai, heat oil add jeera after it sizzles add hing, then add adrak and green chillies. Give it a quick stir and add the cauliflower.
3. Now add salt and haldi and cover the kadhai with the plate filled with water. Leave this for 5-7 mins on medium heat. You will start getting the aroma of cooked cauliflower. Carefully remove the plate and test cauliflower for doneness. At this point, it should have reached the consistency for subzi with just a little bite.
4. Now add green peas, and dhania powder, jeera-miri powder and leave it for 5 minutes till peas get cooked but do not change color.
5. Switch of the heat. Add lemon juice if using. Transfer to serving bowl and garnish with corriander leaves.

6. Enjoy with Chapati, Phulka or any bread.