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Monday, 16 December 2013

POUND CAKES are the yummiest cakes in this whole world, there is no other cake for me to beat this Devil. The Butter : Sugar : Flour ratio in a pound cake is equal thus resulting in a rich, moist, buttery cake ( definitely not for you weight watchers our there & those preferring light cakes) and they are just yummm! And you know what? These are even more irresistible the next day, yeah sure to bring on the fight for that last crumb. Its the first time I tried adding soft drinks to a cake batter and batter was so aerated and fluffy (try not eating the cake batter, you will want some to be BAKED!!! But I have to admit that was one delicious batter!) 


Now, I know my rainbow is all painted with wrong colours ;) It's time am going on my "Maternity" break (yes, the Stork has been circling my house for quite sometime now and its sure to make a stop pretty soon :) So I have been on my feet all week tidying my house and emptying my pantry since there won't be much cooking to do for sometime! And there it was, my 8 Wilton Gel Food Colours (definitely not rainbow colours) sitting unopened! Since I did have a cake baking in my Things To Do Before The Baby Comes List, I planned on making my hubby's-long-time-requested not-so-Rainbow Cake. Rainbow cake is best done with a White Cake since the colours show well, but I already made a White Cupcake and I wanted something to make my palate go BOOM!!! Hence the RAINBOW POUND CAKE


I was little concerned about the gel food colour reacting funny with the acidity in the batter. So I went on asking some expert opinions and found it was totally safe to mix food gel colours in a acidity batter. So if you doubt the same Do Not Worry, the cake does not give any weird after taste or the batter does not react funny. 


This Pound Cake is a must you try. So go ahead and do it as a rainbow or just Plain old Pound cake! 

You Will Need:


For the Pound Cake:

3 Sticks / 340g of Unsalted Butter, Softened
3 Cups of Plain Flour
3 Cups of Superfine Sugar
5 Large Egg
2 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
A Cup / 240 ml of Sprite / 7Up, Room Temperature 

Other Ingredients:

Gel Food Colour (I used Wilton)

The Baking:

Cream the butter till soft and fluffy. Then add sugar a cup at a time and beat till the sugar is well incorporated and the batter is fluffy. Then beat in one egg at time making sure to fully incorporate each egg after each addition. 

Pour in the vanilla extract and mix well. Sift in the flour a cup at a time and mix briefly after each addition. Now pour in the sprite and beat on low speed till everything is well combined. 

Divide the mixture into any many portions as you wish, depending on the number of colours you are planning to do. I did five colours. 

Line / grease a baking tin, round, bundt, loaf tin anything you have (I used a loaf tin) and pour in the cake batter, in desired pattern. Checkout the post on Not MarthaExperiments in Rainbow Cake, she has some cool stuffs on that perfect rainbow swirls in each slice. Bake in a preheated oven till the cake is completely cooked i.e, until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool in the tin for an hour or so before you invert it onto a wire rack. Let it cool on the wire rack for another hour or so before you start slicing it. Hot cakes are so fragile, they will crumble. 

Baking Temperature: 180 Degree Celsius 
Baking Time: Approx 60 mins
Cooling Time: 2 - 3 hrs

Important Pointers:
  • Check my Tips for Cake Baking post for basic tips & tricks on cake baking! 
  • Pound cakes take a long time to bake and the top does brown. So don't panic if you find the top is browning too fast too soon. Simply cover with a foil and continue baking.

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Recipe Adapted from The Pioneer Woman!

Happy Baking!





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Monday, 9 December 2013

INIPPU KUZHI PANIYARAM is my absolute favourite. These spongy little heavens make great appetizer or breakfast. But for me they are to go for at any time of the day or night. Sweet and crisp on the outside and so spongy on the inside. 

I always make them using Appam Batter. Whereas many make these with Idly / Dosa Batter, but I have never tried and I don't have the intention to do so :P I prefer the taste of Appam to idly! 


The secret to a crisp outside is FAT, oil or ghee / clarified butter (ghee gives such a wonderful aroma and taste to these). The More the better, well I tend to go overboard with the ghee usually ;)


I also make "healthy version" of these for my husband cutting down on grease completely. But Grease makes everything taste better!!! Don't you think so? 


Now I can't really say how much appam batter I use to make these. The first two days after the fermentation of the appam batter are for making Appams only. On the third day I make these paniyarams with leftover appam batter. So I can't really tell you the proportion of batter to jaggery, sorry! Use the entire batch of appam batter or leftover batter and add jaggery as required. More sweet more jaggery or less sweet less. Am on the Sweeter side btw! 

You Will Need:

Approx. 4 Cups of Appam Batter 
Approx. 1/2 Cup of Jaggery, Crumbled 
A tbsp of Water
3 - 4 tbsp of Grated Coconut (Optional, I Don't Like to Add)
1/4 tsp of Cardamom Powder
Ghee / Oil as Required

The Cooking:

In a heavy bottom sauce pan place the jaggery and water over low heat. Let it melt and come to a gently bubble. Then strain the jaggery directly into the Appam Batter.

Note:
  • The water will prevent the jaggery from burning. 
  • Do not add excess water to the batter. Once you add the jaggery the batter will thin out. 
  • Strain the jaggery to get rid of any impurities.  
Start to mix the jaggery into the batter immediately. DO NOT worry if you fine threads or streaks of jaggery that refuse to mix in. Just mix till everything is incorporated, the threads will melt away later. 

Add the cardamom powder and grated coconut. 

Heat a Paniyaram griddle on high. Spoon in ghee / oil (as much as you want) remember the more the better ;) Once its hot gently spoon in the paniyaram batter all the way to the top. Turn the heat down and cover with lid. Once you see the sides are cooked and small bubbles begin to appear on top, gently turn them over with a spoon. 

Note:
  • Cooking with lid on will help the paniyaram to raise a little and cook thoroughly in the inside. So remember, LID ON! 
No need to cover now. Let them cook for a min and scoop them off on to a serving plate. Its a MUST you eat them straight off the griddle. Never mind about burning your tongue, these are worth it! 


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Happy Cooking! 



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Saturday, 7 December 2013

APPAM is a popular South Indian food, specially in the states of Tamil Nadu and Kerala. They are also a staple in Sri Lanka commonly known as Hoppers. There are so many varieties of Appam; Vella Appam (Plain Appam), Egg Appam, Palappam, Neyyappam. The ones I make frequently are Vella Appam and Sweet Appam. 




There are many ways in preparing the batter too. I learnt this method from my mom and its how its prepared in most regions of Tamil Nadu though in Kerala the preparation method is different using coconut milk, grated coconut and rice (Am yet to try this method). The batter is very easy to prepare unlike Idly / Dosa Batter. There is no trick, it just needs to be ground to a smooth batter. And the appams are light and crisp at the edges with soft fluffy center. These are my absolute favourite. 






Makes Approx. 20 Appams

You Will Need:

1 Cup of Idly Rice or Par Boiled Rice (I use idly rice)
1 Cup of Raw Rice
1/4th Cup of Urad Dal
A tbsp of Fenugreek Seeds
Coarse Salt to Taste
Approx. 2 Cups of Water for Grinding
Baking Soda

The Cooking:

Step 1:
Soak both the rice, urad dal and fenugreek seeds together overnight or at least 3 hrs.

Step 2:
Drain the water and place all the soaked ingredients in the wet grinder.  Run the grinder and once the rice is little coarsely ground start adding the water little by little.

Step 3:
Now what we are looking for is a smooth batter, this will take approx. 30 - 35 mins.

Step 4:
Once done transfer the batter to a large bowl and add salt. Mix the batter throughly using your hands. Our body temperature helps in kick-starting the fermentation process.

Step 5:
Cover with a lit (not air - tight) and let it ferment. Unlike the Idly / Dosa Batter which almost doubles, the appam batter will raise just little. Fermentation tine differers from the temperature where you live. Fermentation process in hot regions takes place faster compared to cold places. So once the batter has fermented, give a quick mix and store refrigerated until needed.

Making the Appam:

The batter will be thick after its fermented. So place required batter in a bowl and thin the batter to a smooth pouring consistency. You can add coconut milk / coconut water or just water to thin the batter. Add 1/2 tsp of baking powder and mix well. The remaining batter should be kept refrigerated until needed. 

Note:
Its best to thin batter as and when you need it. Don't thin the whole batch at the same time. 

Heat the non - stick Appam kadai on high. Dap a tissue or a small piece of cloth with little oil and rub all over the kadai. This spreads a very thin layer of oil over the kadai. When you add oil to the kadai it will not spread evenly and they just gather in a place and prevents the batter from spreading evenly.

Once the kadai is hot, Spoon in a ladle of batter and swirl the kadai to help the batter spread evening over the kadai. Keep the heat low and cook the appam covered till the edges are golden brown and the center is cooked. Once done take off the appam from the kadai and serve immediately.

When you spoon in the next ladle of batter, rub the kadai with oil only if required. Since its non - stick it will not be required to rub oil for every single appam.

Serve these crisp soft appams with Coconut Milk, Chicken Kurma, classic Kerala style kadala curry or simply with milk and sugar (just the way my husband likes it)!

IMPORTANT POINTERS:
  • If you don't find time to grind the batter and you have already soaked the rice and urad dal, then drain the water completely and refrigerate till needed. DO NOT leave it soaking, it will get spoiled. 

Happy Cooking!






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Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Punjabi food is one of my favourite, Its hot and so flavourful. This PUNJABI DUM ALOO is one such flavourful dish. This semi - dry curry just packs in all the flavours from the freshly ground spices. Its spicy, little sweet and tangy at the same time. Very easy and quick to make...          
            



Serves 3

You Will Need:

12 Baby Potatoes, Boiled
A Cup of Thick Fresh Yogurt
1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
1 Bay Leaf
1/2 tsp of Hing
Tsp of Red Chilli Powder
Tbsp of Ginger Garlic Paste
Tbsp of Coriander Seeds
1/2 tsp of Cumin Powder
1/2 Tsp of Fennel Powder
3 Green Cardamom Pods
5 Cloves
8 Cashew Nuts
1/2 Tbsp of Kasuri Methi, Crushed
Tsp of Sugar
Salt to Taste
5 tbsp Vegetable Oil / Butter
Coriander Leaves to garnish
The Cooking:

Step 1:
Shallow fry the boiled baby potatoes till it turns a light golden brown colour. You can also deep fry if you wish. Remove from the pan and let it sit on a kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.


Step 2:
In a mixer grinder or with a mortar and pestle, grind the coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, cashews and cardamom to a fine powder. 

Step 3:
Heat oil in a kadai and crackle the bay leaf and hing. Now saute the finely chopped onion till they become translucent. Then add the ginger garlic paste and saute on medium heat for couple of mins. 

Step 4:
Now add the ground spice powder and cook for couple of mins. Meanwhile whisk the yogurt and slowly add the yogurt to the gravy on low heat. Add chilli powder. Keep the heat low and cook for 2 - 3 mins stirring continuously till oil starts to separate. 

Step 5:
Add the potatoes, kasuri methi, sugar and salt and continue cooking on low heat for few more mins.

Step 6:
Pour in 3/4th cup of water and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer and Cook covered for few mins until you reach the desired consistency. Turn off heat and transfer to a serving bowl immediately. 
Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve hot with any of your favourite roti or Naan

IMPORTANT POINTERS:
  • Use fresh thick curd / yogurt, NEVER SOUR. 
  • Keep the heat low through out cooking, since its yogurt it may split. 

Happy Cooking!











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Sunday, 24 November 2013

" Whipping up a batch of home made ice cream at home is never that easy without an ice cream maker. And its such a long process, I mean you gotta separate the yolks, boil the milk, make the custard try not to curdle it and the many times you will have to churn the ice cream!!! Blah! Blah! Blah! "

Wait...Not until you try this recipe! This is my first batch of home made ice cream and I have to confess, I never thought it was gonna be that easy. Or I would say "therapeutic"! 


Ok, so there are two ways in making an ice cream. One, the French Style and the other is The American Ice Cream also called Philadelphia Style Ice Cream. The Difference is that French Style Ice creams are made with eggs as their base so its thick, silkier and forms less or Zero ice crystals. Whereas it's American Cousin is made with just sugar, milk and cream making them a little-bit-lighter. 



After debating over French and the American, I finally decided to do it the French way. I have adapted the recipe STRAWBERRY SWIRL VANILLA ICE CREAM a.k.a Miss PINK CHEEKS (as I like to call it) from Food Wanderings. The post may look long, the process may look long but trust me...the entire making was an absolute ease. And I must tell you about the ice cream. One word...No More Store bought!!! Well that's four words actually, oopsie! It was THE perfect scoop of ice cream I have ever had. I didn't taste the egg at all, the texture was so smooth and silky, and ice crystals? What Ice Crystals??? 

Can you see the specks of Vanilla Bean?
This recipe is a definite keeper. 


Below are some great tips for home made ice cream by Shuli Madnick from Food Wanderings so make sure you click on the picture for those tips and tricks. 

Tip 1:

Picture Courtesy: Shuli Madnick from Food Wanderings

Tip 2:

Picture Courtesy: Shuli Madnick from Food Wanderings
Makes Approx 2 ltrs 
You Will Need:


500 ml of Whole Milk (I used a 3% Fat, but Nothing Less Than That)
400 ml of Whipping Cream (A Medium Fat Fresh Cream Will also Work Just Fine)
6 Egg Yolks
1 Vanilla Pod
A Cup of Caster Sugar
2 tsp of Vanilla Extract (Optional)

For Strawberry Purée:

1 1/2 Cups of Strawberries
3 - 4 tbsp of Caster Sugar

The Cooking:

Making the Strawberry Purée:


Cut the stems off the strawberries and thickly slice. Place in a bowl and sprinkle over the sugar. Mix well and let it sit in the fridge. Mix the strawberries few times till the sugar is dissolved. Blend it in a food processor and store in an air tight container in the fridge until needed. The purée can be smooth or a little chunky, however you like them. You can even make this a couple of days before.


Making the Vanilla Ice Cream Base:

Step 1:

Separate the eggs yolks and add the sugar. With an electric hand mixer, whisk the yolks and sugar together till its pale and fluffy.


Step 2:

Making the Crème Anglaise:


Split the vanilla pod and with the back of your knife scrap off the vanilla bean. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, pour the milk and mix in the vanilla bean and stick in the pods too. Stir the milk over medium low heat till the milk just begins to boil.

Take off heat and pour a ladle of milk into the egg and start whisking immediately. Pour in couple of more ladles of milk into the yolk mixture and keep whisking. This process is called TEMPERING. Its nothing but increasing the temperature of the eggs so that it won't curdle when you add it to the milk.

Now pour the tempered yolk mixture into the milk and place over low heat. With a heat proof spatula or a wooden spoon stir the custard constantly until it thickens. Make sure you reach all the way to the bottom of the sauce pan. This will take about 5 - 7 mins. To know when the custard is done, run your finger along the back of the wooden spoon or the spatula. If the path where your finger has travelled stays intact then its DONE. If it drips down and merges, let it cook for few more mins. This custard is called Crème Anglaise, a dessert on its own.

The Crème Anglaise must be cooled immediately. The fastest way to do it is to place the sauce pan over an ice bath and gently stir till the custard is completely cooled. Pass the custard through a fine sieve, just in case you have cooked the yolks. But there shouldn't be any, keep that in mind.

Step 3:

Pour the whipping cream into a bowl and with a electric hand mixer whip till it forms SOFT PEAKS. 


Step 4:

Now gently whisk the cream into the custard till everything is fully incorporated. And that's the Basic Vanilla ice cream made. Let this chill for few hours or overnight.


Step 5: Churn!!! 

Churning Using An Ice Cream Maker:

If you have an ice - cream maker, churn the chilled ice cream according to the manufacture's direction.

Don't Have an Ice Cream Maker?

If you don't have an ice cream maker (I Don't), once the ice cream base has been frozen for an hour or two process them in a food processor / stand mixer / electric hand mixer / a whisk. Freeze the ice cream for the second time for an hour or two and repeat the process. Freeze the ice for the third time and again repeat the process for the third time and freeze until before serving. And that's how you do it without an ice cream maker.

Note: I churned only a couple of time, yet it was unbelievably creamy!!!

Step 6: 

Making the Strawberry Swirl Vanilla Ice Cream:

The ice cream must be in a scoop-able soft serve consistency.  Place couple of scoops of ice cream in a storage container and pour a thin layer of strawberry purée. Top off with few more scoops of ice cream and continue the layering process till all the ice cream is layered up. With a knife gently swirl the ice cream layers. Freeze the ice cream for at least 4 hrs or until serving.

Allow the ice cream to thaw for few mins before serving. Dip ice cream scooper in cold or lukewarm water before scooping for a clean scoop.

Important Pointers:
  • Tempering the yolks before making the custard is very important and a must. Untempered yolks will curdle when added to the hot milk. 
  • You can also boil the milk and cream together. But whisking the cream till soft peaks and then adding it to the custard makes the ice cream more silkier and softer. 
  • Store the ice cream in an air tight container or tightly cover the top of the ice cream with foil. When frozen unwrapped the ice cream will pick up weird flavours from your freezer.

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Happy Scooping!!!



















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Wednesday, 20 November 2013

You give me a jug of this and I can drink it all day long, its such a favourite of mine! GAJAR KI KHEER or Carrot Kheer is such a delicious and easy to make Indian dessert. Its not only considered as a dessert. In fact, this kheer is good health drink too! Yep I just said a dessert is good for your health, now isn't that a good news?! 

The two main ingredients to make this kheer are carrots and milk. Am a fussy vegetable eater. There are only very few vegetables I like and I always insist them being prepared in a particular way. Carrots are one among them. I hate Carrots...either its raw or cooked! There is only two forms of carrots I love, one is Carrot Halwa and the other is this kheer. The water in which the carrots are cooked and its pulp everything goes into the kheer, so all the nutrients are kept intact. Milk is good source of calcium. And don't forget the nuts in the kheer, are all good for you. Now, isn't that kheer healthy? Gosh, of course not when you are on a diet!!! Go have your raw veggies and fruits, this is not for you! But pregnant women and fussy kids like me (well once I was a kid ;) can have this kheer in abundant. This dessert packed with all the essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, calcium and protein. 

My mom always adds saara paruppu / Chirongi Nuts, its her favourite. But I always filter the nuts through a sieve and just have plain kheer :D You can prepare this kheer beforehand and keep this chilled in fridge for couple of days.

Serves 4

You Will Need:


Approx. 1/2 kg of Carrot
A litre of Milk
1 1/2 Cups Sugar Approx. More or Less According to Your Liking
6 Cashew Nuts
4 Almonds, Not Blanched
3 Cardamom Pods / 1/2 tsp of Cardamom Powder
Few Saffron Strands, Optional
1/2 Cup of Chirongi Nuts / Saara Paruppu (Optional, Though I have not used it)

The Cooking:

Wash and peel the skin off the carrots and roughly chop them. In a pressure cooker place the chopped carrots and add a cup of water or till the carrots are almost submerged. Cook till one sound and take off heat. The carrots must be completely cooked. Once cooled, transfer the carrots along with the water to a blender and blend till smooth. Keep this aside.


In a mixer, grind together the cashew nuts, almonds and cardamom pods to a fine powder.

Gently boil the milk and add the puréed carrot. Whisk till everything is fully incorporated. Now add the sugar, cashew powder, saara paruppu and saffron strands. Bring it to a gentle boil and cook for couple of mins or till the kheer reaches the required consistency. If the kheer is too thick add little milk / water to thin it out.

Best served Chilled! 

IMPORTANT POINTERS:
  • You can also gently fry the saara paruppu in a tbsp of ghee till light brown and then add it to the kheer. 

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Happy Cooking!




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Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Vatha Kuzhambu is a South Indian Classic. Its a tangy and spicy curry that is traditionally prepared with Dry Manathakkali Vathal or Sundaikai Vathal. But since am a fan of neither, I have prepared KATHIRIKAI VATHA KUZHAMBU. I love the South Indian Thali that is served at hotels. Their vatha kuzhambu is just amazing. 

I have been searching for a recipe that is close to what is served at the hotels. And finally I found one from Sheena Babu's Kitchen (her recipe link is at the end of post). It was delish!!! So so close to the vatha kuzhambu served at hotels. 


Vatha Kuzhambu is best served with hot rice, Snake Gourd Kootu or any Gourd Kootu, Cabbage Poriyal and Appalams. They also taste yum with Dosa & Idly


Serves 3

You Will Need:

1 Large Eggplant, Cubed
6 -7 Whole Shallots, Peeled 
1 Medium Tomato, Chopped
A tsp of Red Chilli Powder
Lemon Sized Tamarind
Little Jaggery 
1/2 Cup of Gingelly Oil (I used less than this hence I didn't have much oil floating on top)
Salt to Taste

For Vatha Kuzhambu Masala:

1/2 Cup of Grated Coconut
2 tsp of Urad Dal
Tbsp of Coriander Seeds
Tsp of White Poppy Seeds
Tsp of Fenugreek Seeds
6 Dried Red Chillies
Tbsp of Gingelly Oil

For Tempering:

1/2 tsp of Mustard Seeds
3 Dried Red Chillies, broken
Tsp of Hing
Few Curry Leaves

The Cooking:

Soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup of water and extract thick pulp. Keep aside. 

Heat a pan with a tbsp of Gingelly oil and sauté the ingredients for vatha kuzhambu masala. Once the ingredients turn a light brown colour remove and let it cool. Then grind this to a slightly coarse paste.

Heat a kadai and add oil. Crackle mustard seeds, dried chillies, curry leaves and hing. Then add the shallots and sauté till the shallots are soft and translucent. Now add the chopped tomatoes, eggplant and red chilli powder. Sauté on high till the tomatoes become mushy. Now pour in the tamarind and jaggery. Cook this covered for further 5 - 7 mins on low heat. 

Now pour in the vatha kuzhambu masala and salt, stir well. Add a cup to cup & a half water depending on how thick you want the kuzhambu to be and bring the it to boil. Then set the heat on low and cook till the raw flavours of the masala has evaporated and oil starts to separate from the sides and top. The kuzhambu will also thicken lot at this stage. Check for salt, spice and sourness. Take off heat and serve with rice. 

Recipe Adapted from Sheenababu's Kitchen
Happy Cooking!








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Tuesday, 12 November 2013

PALAK KOFTA CURRY is my third post on Palak. Because that's the only spinach I eat and don't be surprised if I post one more palak recipe ;) My previous posts were Palak Paneer and Palak Chicken where the curry is exactly the same. For this Palak Kofta Curry, I have simply taken the curry recipe from the Palak Paneer and the kofta recipe from my Malai Kofta Curry post. So I have not given any recipes or cooking instructions here since I have just brought together two recipes. So you can go back to those older posts for recipe and cooking instructions. 

Serves 3 - 4




That's mashed potatoes, chopped cashews, grated or crumbled paneer, garam masala, coriander leaves, cumin powder, salt and plain flour. 



The filling needs to be mixed well by hand. Adding plain flour will hold the filling together when shaping. Alternatively you can add a slice crumbled bread too.


Make balls from the fillings. 


I have dipped the kofta balls in corn flour and water mixture before deep frying. This holds the kofta together when frying and also adds a nice crunch to it.  



Don't they look gorgeous. Once deep fried let them sit on tissue paper to absorb any excess grease. I always make koftas in excess than I actually need. Because some tend to land in my tummy before it goes into the curry ;) 


Drop the koftas in the curry few mins before serving. Serve hot with roti or Naan


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Happy Cooking! 
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Monday, 11 November 2013

BANANA CINNAMON SMOOTHIE is the simplest of all breakfasts on the go. Its healthy, delicious and packed with all nutrients to keep you going. This smoothie is packed with protein, vitamins, folic acid, calcium, dietary fibers and magnesium. Its such a quick fix when you don't have time to grab a bite and this makes a wonderful snack for pregnant women in fighting fatigue. 



I always use frozen banana and cold milk. What this does is it makes the smoothie super super thick!  

You Will Need:

1 Tall Glass of Milk
1 Ripe Banana
Pinch or Two Cinnamon Powder
1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp of Sugar / Honey

The Cooking:

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth and Enjoy!
Happy Cooking!
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Go ahead and comment below how bad the photo looks!!! Somehow I actually never had this recipe in my blogging list and when I made this yesterday, I thought why I shouldn't share this recipe with you. Hence, I had to click the photo in a rumbling stomach. So recipe now and I promise to post a decent pic later :) 

AVASARA MOORE KUZHAMBU.... is nothing but tempered curd and its my most favourite South Indian kuzhambu / curry of all time. This is a quick version with just few ingredients and you don't have to worry if you don't have any vegetables around. It hardly takes 10 mins to make and its just delicious. Serve hot with rice, Urulai Varuval, Vazhakkai Varuval, Chicken Sukka, Fried Soya Chunks or any spicy fries or curry would go well on the side. 

You Will Need:

500g of Thick Curd
1/4 Cup of Water approx. depending on how thick the curd is
Tsp of Turmeric Powder
1 1/2 tsp of Ground Cumin
Salt to Taste
1 Large Onion, Finely Chopped / 10 Shallots, Finely Sliced 
2 Green Chillies, Finely Sliced
Tsp of Finely Chopped Ginger

For Tempering:

2 Tbsp of Oil
1/2 tsp of Mustard Seeds
1/2 Tsp of Cumin Seeds
Tsp of Hing
Couple of Dried Red Chillies, Broken
Few Curry Leaves

The Cooking:

In a bowl whisk together the curd, water, turmeric, ground cumin and salt. You can also use a blender to do this. Once its all well combined with no lumps, keep aside. 

Heat a kadai with oil. Crackle the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, dried red chillies and hing. Then add the chopped onions, green chillies and ginger. Sauté on medium low heat till the onions are just translucent. DO NOT BROWN the onions. Now take the kadai off heat and add the curd and stir. Again back on LOW HEAT and continuously stir the curd till it just heats up, for about 3 mins. 

Once the curd has begun to heat up take off heat and transfer immediately to a serving bowl. 

IMPORTANT POINTERS:


  • Once you add the curd keep the heat low at all time. Too much of heat will split the curd.
  • DO NOT boil the curry.
  • Transfer to serving bowl immediately after its done, because the heat from kadai will keep cooking the curd even after you take off heat. So the curry will split. 
  • Add water to dilute only thick curd. If your curd is already thin, water is not necessary. 

Happy Cooking!







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Saturday, 9 November 2013

I love love KESAR BADAM MILK...This is one drink I just can't get enough. Its not only yummy but real healthy too! Almond / Badam milk is very nutritious. Its a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids. And pregnant women can drink it liberally. 

You Will Need:

A litre of Milk, Full Cream / Tonned 
12 Soaked Almonds, Ground to a Smooth Paste With Little Milk
1/4 tsp of Cardamom Powder
1/2 Cup of Sugar, More or Less According to Your Liking 
Pinch of Saffron Strands / Yellow Food Colour
Chopped Almonds and Pistachios, to Serve. 

The Cooking:

In a heavy bottom saucepan, boil the milk. Then add the ground almond paste and bring it to boil. Turn the flame down and let the almond paste continue to cook on a gently simmer. Probably around 10 mins. Now add the sugar and cardamom powder. Let it simmer again for another 5 - 7 mins. Then add the saffron strands and mix well. Serve Hot or Cold with Chopped Nuts! 
Happy Cooking!

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Friday, 8 November 2013

PALAK PANEER is cottage cheese / paneer in creamy spinach gravy. The name of the dish is derived from the type of spinach that is used in this dish. I have to confess, this is the only way my mom was able to make me eat spinach. This recipe is hers and I follow it just the way she taught me. Its a very simple gravy to make. Except you need to keep few key points while cooking the spinach so that the colour is retained and at the same time the spinach is completely cooked (I hate raw taste of spinach in this gravy!) 

I also make Palak Chicken in the same way. Serve hot with roti or Naan

Serves 4
You Will Need:


200g of Paneer / Cottage Cheese, Cubed
500g of Palak Spinach, washed, stems cut off and roughly chopped
1 Medium Onion, Finelly Chopped
Onion Paste
1 tbsp Crushed Kasuri Methi
1 tsp of Garam Masala 
1 tsp of Cumin Powder
1.5 Cups of Whole / Tonned Milk 
Cream - 2 tbsp (Optional)
Salt to taste
3 - 4 tbsp Butter / Oil

Onion paste:
2 Medium Sized Onion, Diced
6 Cashew Nuts
3 Green Chilli 
5 Garlic Gloves
2 Inch Ginger 

The Cooking

Soak the cubed paneer in milk. That's what my mom does when preparing paneer for any gravy. It keeps the paneer soft. Many fry the paneer but I have always avoided that. Because the paneer tends to harden once the gravy cools. 

Boil a cup of water and blanch the Palak on medium heat for  5 - 7 min. Drain, run under cold water and squeeze excess water from the spinach and blend to a smooth purée. Keep Aside.

Heat little oil on a pan and sauté the onions, chilli, cashew, ginger and garlic till the onions are pink and translucent. Cool completely and grind to a smooth paste.

Now on a hot pan, add ghee / oil / butter and sauté the finely chopped onions till they turn golden brown and soft. Once that's done add the onion paste and kasuri methi. Keep sautéing the onion paste till they turn a golden brown colour and become non sticky., which means the onion will start to lump around and no more stick to the bottom. This would take few mins on high heat. 

Pour in the milk on low heat and stir till well combined. Add salt, cumin powder and garam masala. Add the cubed paneer and bring it to a gentle boil stirring occasionally. Once the gravy has thickened pour in the spinach purée and stir. 


Once the gravy begins to gently bubble, turn off heat and immediately transfer the gravy to a serving dish. 


Important Pointers:
  • Don't blanch the Palak more than 10 min. It will lose its colour.
  • Retain the water strained from the Palak  you can add it while blending the onion paste or you can pour it back in the gravy.
  • When adding kasuri methi crush them between your palms so that they don't hinder when eating. 
  • Palak must be added only in the end. Once added DO NOT cook the Palak for more than a min. It will lose its nice green colour and turn a tint brown. 
Happy Cooking!
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