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Am an open book.. a big time foodie.. an aspiring chef... who has a thirst for knowledge.. loves traveling...loves making friends.. is passionate about writing...wants to capture life through photography...is a loud mouth..a chatterbox...a self proclaimed Bohemian..and the world is my oyster !!!!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Chicken Vindaloo



Ingredients:

1 ½ lb chicken thighs (cut into cubes)
1 cup diced onions
4-5 whole red chilies
6-7 cloves of garlic
1 inch ginger
¼ cup white wine vinegar (add more if you like)
For dry spice mix:
1 teaspoon cloves
3-4 whole cardamoms
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1/2 tablespoon peppercorns
1 tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 1/2 teaspoons mustard seeds
2 cups diced potatoes (optional)
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt

Method:

1) Soak whole chilies, garlic cloves and ginger in the white wine vinegar for about half an hour. Grind and make a paste of it.
2) Marinate chicken in the chili paste and let it sit in a refrigerator for at least an hour.
3) For the dry spice: mix cloves, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric and peppercorn. Grind them in a spice or coffee grinder. Set aside.
4) Heat oil in a thick bottom pan, add mustard seeds.
5) Once they start to pop, add onions and fry them in oil until they turn light golden brown.
6) Add marinated chicken with all the juices and stir fry for a few minutes.
7) Add dry spices along with salt, mix it all together and cover the pan with a lid.
8) Let it simmer and cook until the chicken is done and curry is thick (stirring in between from time to time).
9) Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve hot with rice or your choice of bread.


Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lahori Murgh Cholay




Ingredients
  • 1/2 kilo of Chicken
  • 2 cups of Chick Peas/Garbanzo Beans  (soaked overnight and pressure cooked) (or canned)
  • 1 medium Onion (chopped)
  • 2 medium Tomatoes (chopped)
  • 2 Green Chillies
  • 1 bunch of Fresh Coriander Leaves (chopped)
  • Salt (to taste)
  • 1 tsp. of Red Chilli Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. of Turmeric Powder
  • 1/4 tsp. of garam masala
  • 1 tsp. of Ginger Paste
  • 1 tsp. of Garlic Paste
  • 3 tbsp. of Cooking Oil

Method

 In a pot fry half of the total onion amount in oil until golden brown. Add garlic, ginger, salt, red chili powder and haldi. Fry for a minute or so. Then add chicken and chopped tomatoes. Add a little amount of water. And cover on medium heat and let cook.

When the meat is tender add the chick peas. Cook for 3-4 more minutes. Mash the chick peas slightly to create gravy. Add garam masala , green chillies, coriander leaves on top. Fry the remainder of the onions in a little oil until crispy and brown and add the onions and oil to the chicken and chick peas.


Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Kit Kat Cake




For the Cake ( Courtesy Ruchira Hoon)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
142 gms (10 tablespoons) of butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
60 gms bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 cup buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 cup boiling water
120 gms semisweet,  finely chopped, or 2/3 cup store-bought mini chocolate chips


GETTING READY:

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 8-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

TO MAKE THE CAKE:

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate. When it is fully incorporated, add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. At this point, the batter will be thick, like frosting. Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water, which will thin the batter considerably. Switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with the rubber spatula.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Don't worry if the tops have a few small cracks. Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then run a knife around the sides of the cakes, unmold them and peel off the paper liners. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. (The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.)

When you are ready to fill and frost the cake, inspect the layers. If the cakes have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them.


For the pastry cream 

2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 sugar
3 tablespoon cornstarch, sifted
200 grams bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 ½ tablespoon butter, cut into bits, at room temperature


Bring the milk to a boil in small saucepan or in a microwave oven.

Meanwhile, in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the yolks together with the sugar, cornstarch, salt until thick and well blended. Whisking without stop, drizzle in about ¼ cup of the hot milk-this will temper, or warm, the yolks-then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly, and thoroughly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil-still whisking-for 1 to 2 minutes, then pull the pan from the heat.

Whisk in the vanilla melted chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk in the bits of butter, stirring until the butter is fully incorporated and the custard is smooth and silky. Scrape the cream into a bowl. You can press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the custard to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the pastry cream until cold or, if you want to cool the custard quickly-put the bowl with the pastry cream into a larger bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the custard occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.
 


Or if you do not want too much chocolate, try Vanilla butter cream frosting instead

1 1/2 pounds sweet butter, soft
3 cups sifted powdered sugar
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 pinch salt

In an electric mixing bowl place the soft butter and beat it on a low speed while adding powdered sugar. When all the sugar is mixed in, turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add in the vanilla and salt and let the mixer beat for 5 to 7 minutes on a medium speed.

For the decoration 

40 Kit Kat single sticks (10 x 4 packets)
10 packets of Gems/ M 'n'M
1 long ribbon

To assemble:

Put the first layer of cake at the bottom of your cake tray. Brush it with a mild sugar and cocoa syrup. I added a splash of white chocolate liquor to the mix to give it another layer. 
Add about 1/3 of your pastry cream and layer with the second layer on the top.  Frost the top of the cake with the remaining 2/3 of the pastry cream. You may think it's a bit too little, but trust me, it’s just perfect. Let it dry for 10 minutes. 
Break the Kit Kats in twos or ones, whatever is easier. Stick it to the pastry cream as close you can to each of the sticks. Wrap around with a ribbon at the earliest, so that it retains shape.

Strew the colored candies across the cake. And refrigerate till serving.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Nutrella (Soy Chunks) Pulao/Pilaf



Ingredients:

Basmati rice - cooked (cook two cups of raw rice with adequate salt to taste)
Ghee - 2 tablespoon
Bay leaf - 2
Jeera/Sahi Jeera - 1 tsp
Clove - 5-6
Cardamom - 5-6
Green chilles - 3, slit length wise
Cashew nuts - 10
Raisins - 2-3 tsp
Green peas - 1/2 cup
Soy chunks (Nutrella) - 2 cups, boiled and with all water squeezed
Turmeric powder - 1/4 tea spoon
Red chilli powder - 1/2 teaspoon
Garam Masala - 1/2 teaspoon
Rose water/ kewra water - few sprinkles

Method:

In a wok, add ghee. Once the ghee is hot add the jeera, bayleaf, cloves, cardamom and slit green chillies. Saute till you get a nice aroma. Then add the cashews and saute till it lightly changes color. Then add the raisins. Be careful, you dont want to end up burning the raisins. Then add the green peas, saute till ghee seperates and add the soy chunks. Keep sauteing till soy chunks turn slightly darker and add the turmeric powder, red chilli powder and garam masala and required salt. Add the rice, stir well take off the flame and sprinkle the rose water/kewra water for an amazing aroma.

Serve with delicious onion raita.

Chicken makhni/ Butter Chicken/ Chicken makhan walla



Ingredients:

  1. 2 lbs chicken , washed, patted dry and cut into small pieces – (feel free to use chicken with or without bones, chicken thighs preferably)
  2. 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  3. ¼ tea spoon turmeric powder
  4. 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  5. salt
  6. ghee to sauté
For the sauce/Makhani Masala:
  1. 2.5 inch fresh ginger, made into a paste
  2. 8-10 cloves of garlic, made into a paste
  3. ½  big onion or 1 small onion puree
  4. 2-4 fresh green chili pepper, pureed with the onion
  5. 4 tablespoon melted butter or ghee
  6. 1 teaspoon methi/fenugreek seeds
  7. 3-3.5 cups tomato puree (fresh tomatoes)
  8. 1 tablespoon red chili powder/cayenne pepper/paprika or to taste
  9. 10 almonds, soaked, peeled and made into a paste (optional)
  10. 1 teaspoon garam masala
  11. 2 teaspoons kasuri methi/dried fenugreek leaves, crushed
  12. 1/2 tablespoon sugar
  13. 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoon heavy cream (for healthier version use greek yogurt or ½ & ½ milk)
Method:

Heat butter/ghee or oil in a thick bottomed pan. Add ginger paste and garlic paste, and cook. Then add the slit green chillies and onion paste. Cook for five  to eight minutes; the water from the paste would have evaporated and the paste would have reduced in quantity, add a little salt and sugar to this.

Add tomato puree, red chili powder, and little more salt. Cook at medium heat for about 15 – 20 minutes. The puree will reduce to a thick paste and the oil/ghee will separate from the sides of the pan.

Add 2.5 cups of hot water to the pan (or if you want it less soupy and want the sauce to kind of coat the chicken pieces and have a little bit extra, add less water or simmer for longer time to achieve the pref. consistency as per your taste), add the almond paste (optional) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 minutes; add little more sugar and crushed kasuri methi.

Meanwhile, in another pan, sauté the chicken thigh strips in pure ghee or butter, add the red chilli powder, turmeric and little salt.

Add cooked chicken pieces. Stir well to combine – the chicken will be well coated with the sauce. Cover and simmer for few minutes; Lower the heat and add garam masala and the heavy cream (or ½ & ½ or greek yogurt). Stir in the cream and simmer at low heat for about five more minutes.

Garnish with fresh cilantro and add a splash of cream before serving.