Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Guacamole

I am in love with Avoooooooocadohhh. Yes I love this yummy buttery fruit or is it a vegetable? Hmm I don't care about that except it's yummy. Here's a quick look at my Guac and the recipe follows.
Guacamole

Ingredients
1 Avocado
1 Small Tomato (If it is big then use half)
1 Small Onion (Red or white doesn't matter. If you have a jumbo one even a quarter is usually enough)
0.5 Lime
1 Jalapeno Pepper
Cilantro  a few sprigs
Salt to taste
Black Pepper

Implements / Utensils
Mixing Bowl / Fork

Method
1. Half the avocado and remove the pit. Now scoop out the avocado flesh into the mixing bowl. Using a fork roughly mash the avocado to a slightly chunky consistency.
2. Chop the onion, tomato and jalapeno pepper very fine.
3. Mix this to the avocado, finely chop cilantro on top, add salt, grind some fresh pepper, squeeze lime juice and finally blend all this using a fork.
4. Voila your guacamole is ready. Go ahead grab those tortilla chips and enjoy

Note:
Sometimes I like to add the pickled jalapeno instead of the fresh one. I also add red crushed flakes if the jalapeno pepper is not too hot.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Eggless Cake Sampler and a First Birthday Cake

One of my colleagues wanted to celebrate his son's first birthday with a birthday party and wanted an Eggless Cake. He and his wife wanted to know if I knew of any place where he could get an eggless cake. Now I didn't know a place but I thought why not try my hand at it. I made a sampler of mini cakes for them to try and if they liked it, I could bake the final cake based on their selection. Here are the pics of the sampler and the final cake. I will post the recipes in my next post.


Final Cake:


Everyone enjoyed the cake including the birthday boy and I enjoyed making it.

Waran-waro Phulko / Satpuro Phulko / Layered Paratha

Waran-waro phulko literally means layered chapati is something we Sindhi's make typically with Chole or any of the non vegetarian dishes. It is pretty heavy and can be used to soak up gravies very nicely. Very similar in appearance to Kerala Parotta the main difference being the Sindhi version uses whole wheat flour and ghee (clarified butter) instead of oil. So here we go straight to the recipe and pics ..yes I have step by step pics for this one ;)


Ingredients
1 Cup Whole Wheat flour + additional for dusting
1 tsp salt * Optional
1 tsp roasted cumin and pepper powder * Optional
1 tsp ghee
0.5 Cup water to knead the dough (more or less depending on the wheat flour quality)
6 Tbsp Melted Ghee

Implements / Utensils
1Mixing Bowl
Tava  / Griddle
Rolling Pin and plate

Method
1. In a mixing bowl, add flour, salt, cumin and pepper powder and add little water. Mix to form bread crumb like texture of the dough, little by little add water and knead dough to a stiff consistency like chapati flour.
2. Apply ghee to the dough and set aside for ten minutes.
3. Tear apart a small piece of dough and flatten it, roll it in dry flour.

4. Now roll it to the size of a big puri.

5. Make a hole in the center of the roti as shown here.

6. Apply melted ghee all around the outer circle and dust it with dry flour.

 7. Now start making the inner whole bigger and roll it into a coil till it almost resembles a rope. see pics below
8. Now make a tear at one end of the coil and start rolling the coil sideways.
9. Now roll this out in the shape of a chapati. You will be able to see a circular pattern once rolled, put it on a medium hot tava.

10. Flip over and let cook till brown spots appear. Once similarly done on both sides apply ghee and flip both sides. Make it crisp or leave like a punjabi parantha or leave it like a normal phulka.



11. Serve hot with your favourite curry or simply enjoy with your favourite pickle

Alternatively, this can also be made by dividing the dough into very small marble sized pieces, rolling each piece to the size of a large cookie and layering 7 such into a thicker cookie by adding little ghee and flour on each layer before topping with another cookie sized chapati. Roll this seven layered cookie into a bigger chappati. This will give flakier layers. Since seven of these are traditionally used, it is called Sat-puro Phulko.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Coconut Shrimp Poppers with Chili Mango Cream - From Pinch My Salt

I am regular reader / admirer of Nicole from Pinch My Salt. As soon as I read her review post for Coconut Shrimp Poppers with Chili Mango Cream I had it marked for a trial. Luckily for me, one of our close family friends came for a sleepover and wanted to have fish for dinner.

I had no clue to what kind of fish they would like except for a fact that one of their kids likes Shrimps. So Shrimps were definitely on my menu. I thought the recipe was mild enough for kids. I made these and OMG these poppers were a hit with kids and adults alike. The only teeny tiny bit I did not like was that the Shrimp took in a little too much oil - yes even after I used paper towels to drain off the oil. The dip was swoon worthy.


Adapted with some changes from Nicole's post . Watch Carmell Childs create these tasty poppers in her Real Women of Philadelphia video entry.

Coconut Shrimp Poppers with Chili  Mango Cream
Ingredients for the Chili Mango Cream
4 Oz of whipped Philadelphia Cream Cheese (room temp.)
1 large sweet ripe mango (mine wasn't so sweet)
2 canned pineapple ring
3 – 4 tablespoons Sweet Thai Chili Sauce
a pinch of salt
1 tsp of Crushed Red Pepper flakes

Ingredients for Shrimp Poppers
30 count Extra Large Shrimps ( Raw and De veined)
1/2 Cup Flour (seasoned with salt and pepper)
2 large eggs
2 Oz Philly Cream Cheese (at room temp) * Optional see notes below
1 lemon, zested
1 cup of Panko bread crumbs
1 cup of sweetened flaked coconut
Vegetable Oil for deep frying * Pour this just enough 'coz after all the frying it is unusable again

Method
For the Cream
1. Peel and dice mango into chunks; combine with pineapple ring and cream cheese and puree in mini blender until smooth. In a medium bowl empty the pureed fruit cream, add desired amount of chili sauce, salt, crushed pepper and mix to combine and chill.

2. Rinse and pat dry shrimp. Pour flour in a deep bowl and season with 1/2 tsp salt and a few twist of ground pepper. In a separate deep bowl, combine 2 oz. Philadelphia Cream Cheese, eggs, and lemon zest; mix until incorporated. In a third deep bowl mix together Panko crumbs and coconut.
3. Toss shrimp in flour; shaking off excess, dip in egg, then lightly press and cover entire shrimps in coconut mixture; set aside on large platter.
4. In a deep saucepan, heat oil till ready for deep frying.  Fry shrimp, 4-5 at a time, for 1/2-1 minute or until golden brown.
5. Place on a paper towel-lined plate and immediately sprinkle with sea salt to taste (I forgot to add the salt so it tasted a bit sweet). Serve warm with chili mango Cream.

Notes:
1. I cut down the cream cheese in the chili mango cream as I thought it was a tad bit too much
2. I forgot to add the sea salt after frying but I do think it would have made a difference.
3. I ran out of my egg and cream cheese mixture towards the end, and I then quickly made a little additional but skipped the cream cheese. I couldn't much make out the difference. So really the 2 Oz cream cheese for dipping shrimps is according to me optional.
Enjoy !!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Vegetable Raita / Yogurt with Fresh Vegetables

It's super hot these days. No I am absolutely not complaining, this is much better than being cooped up at home due to snow or worse still sleety rain. But just that the temperature soaring means I start craving for cooling foods. My absolute favorites are dahi (plain yogurt) and chaas (buttermilk).  I love plain dahi but more often than not love transforming it into different raita's thereby adding some flavor and pizzaz to it. So here goes the recipe of super simple and super delicious vegetable raita.

Vegetable Raita
Ingredients
1 Tomato
1/2 English Cucumber or 1 small one
1 small Red Onion
2 Green Chillies
handful of corriander leaves
Salt to taste
2 tsp Roasted Cumin and Black Pepper Powder
1/2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1/2 tsp Sugar *Optional
2 to 2.5 cups Dahi / Plain Yogurt

Implements / Utensils
Mixing Bowl
Whisk

Method
1. Dice all the veges into small cubes.

2.In the mixing bowl, whisk the yogurt. Season with salt, cumin and pepper powder, sugar (if using) and mix well.
3. Add all veges and half of the corriander leaves to the yogurt mix and mix together with a spoon.
4. Clean the sides of the bowl and sprinkle some cumin and pepper powder, some red chilli powder and the remaining corriander

5. Serve Chilled.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani

One of our friends wanted to have butter chicken. She asked me for the recipe and I invited them over for a butter chicken dinner. So tonight we will be having friends over for some yummy butter chicken. I will make some lachha paratha's and some rice having a toss between peas pulao and jeera rice. Both of them love fish so probably a Sindhi Methi Machi (Fish in Fenugreek Gravy) or Sindhi Seyal Machi (Fish in Corriander and Garlic Sauce) or to satisfy my non-fish eating hubby may make Mushroom, Corn and Capsicum  veggie. Yes I am still working on the menu but I can certainly share the recipe for Butter Chicken.

An interesting titbit about the origins of butter chicken is that butter chicken actually came about as an accidental recipe when the cooks at a famous New Delhi restaurant Moti Mahal wanted to use up the unused portions of the tandoori chicken. They deboned the tandoori pieces and cooked them in the tomato gravy with butter. Thus was born Butter Chicken or Chicken Makhanwala.

Butter Chicken 

Ingredients
500 gms Boneless Chicken
For the Marinade
2 inch piece of Ginger
10-15 cloves Garlic
Juice of 1 Lemon
2 tsp Red Chilli Powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Corriander Powder
1 tsp Garam Masala
2 tsp Salt or as per taste
1 tsp Oil
1.5 Cup Plain Yogurt / Dahi

For the Gravy
1/4 Cup Broken Cashews
a pinch of Saffron
2 Tbsp Milk
8-10 Tomatoes
1 inch piece Ginger julienned
1 Bay Leaf
2 Green Cardamom / Elaichi
1 tsp Jaifal & Javitri Powder / Mace & Nutmeg Powder
2-3 Tbsp Kasoori Methi / Dried Fenugreek
4 Tbsp Butter divided
1 Tbsp Honey
Fresh Cream for Garnish

Implements / Utensils
Mixing Bowls
Wok
Strainer
Baking Tray *Optional See Step 4 below

Method
1. Clean and cut chicken into small pieces.
2. Make ginger and garlic paste for the marinade.
3. In a bowl mix lime juice, salt, red chilli powder, turmeric and oil. To this add the cleaned chicken pieces and set aside for 15-20 minutes
4. Soak the cashews in milk with a pinch of saffron and set aside.

3. In another bowl mix together yogurt, garam masala, ginger / garlic paste, garam masala and corriander powder. Add it to the chicken mixture, coat well and leave for 3-4 hours in the refrigerator. I often leave it overnight covered with cling wrap in the refrigerator.

4. In a skillet, heat some butter and fry the chicken pieces on both the sides until cooked. We could also do this in the oven - Heat the oven to 350 F and coat the baking tray with oil or butter, put the chicken pieces and cook for 15 mins or till chicken is cooked through, turning the sides halfway. I like to broil it on very high temperature just before removing the chicken to give it slightly blackened sides.

5. In a wok add some fresh butter, when slightly heated add bay leaf and cardamom pods, then add chopped tomatoes and cook them on medium till pulpy. To this add some salt and red chilli powder. Add garam masala, jaifal javitri powder. Let the mixture cool, then puree it in the blender and strain using a strainer.
  
6. In the wok, heat the remaining butter and add the pureed cashews cook till fragrant taking care not to burn the cashew mix.
7. Now add the pureed tomatoes to the wok, add the crushed fenugreek leaves, julienned ginger and chicken pieces. Set the heat to low and let the mixture cook on slow for 15 minutes, stirring in between.
8.  Add honey mix well. Turn the heat off.
9. Garnish with fresh cream just before serving.
10. Enjoy with Naan / Parathas or Rice :)