February 28, 2009

Cauliflower soup

Soup is a mainstay for me on busy nights - I can prepare it in advance and just leave it on the stove for us to dole out as needed. While trying to figure out what kind of soup to make, I spied a head of cauliflower in the refrigerator that I was afraid might go bad, so I decided on a cauliflower soup of some sort.
This quick and warming cauliflower soup recipe uses the starch in onions and cauliflower to make a creamy soup from puréed vegetables and low-fat milk. It makes a gentle start to a heavier meal, or serve it with crusty bread for a light dinner.
Ingredients:
  1. 2 Tbsp. butter, plus 2 Tbsp. for optional garnish
  2. 2 onion, roughly chopped
  3. 1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste
  4. 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  5. 1 head cauliflower, chopped
  6. 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  7. 1/2 tsp. freshly ground white pepper
  8. 2 cups low-fat milk
  9. 2 Tbsp. finely chopped parsley, optional

Preparation:

  • In a large pot over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp. butter. Add onions and salt. Cook, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat so onions are cooking but not browning, until onions look starchy and a bit creamy, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
  • Add cauliflower, stir to combine, cover and cook 3 minutes. Add broth, bring to a boil, reduce heat to maintain a steady simmer and cook until cauliflower is tender to the bite, about 10 minutes.
  • Purée soup with a hand-held blender. Or, whirl in batches in a blender or food processor until smooth (place a kitchen towel over blender to prevent potential burns).
    Stir in pepper.
  • Add milk and cook over medium-low heat until hot. Meanwhile, melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and stir in parsley. Serve soup hot, with a swirl of parsley butter, if you like.

Serve this hot with cheese for additional flavour.

February 27, 2009

Saunf chicken


There are certain recipes which always remain our favorites and we can never be tired of cooking them over and over again. One such favorite recipe that I cook often and is enjoyed by my family and friends is the sombu chicken curry. This chicken curry recipe is not a fancy one, very simple, straightforward and quick to make.

Sombu is the only seasoning used, which enriches the flavour, aroma & taste of this dish. This is one of my comfort chicken dish especially during my weekdays menu.

Ingredients :

  1. Chicken - 500gms
  2. 2 medium sized Onion
  3. 1 medium sized Tomato
  4. 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
  5. 1/2 tsp Turmeric powder
  6. 2 tsp Chilly powder
  7. 1 tsp Corriander powder
  8. Saunf (Fennel seeds) - 2 tsp
  9. Oil- 2 tbsp
  10. Salt to taste
  11. Corriander leaves

Directions to cook :

  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan, fry onions till golden brown.

  • Add ginger garlic paste & tomato and cook till all the ingredients are well blended.

  • Grind the onion tomato mixture & keep aside.

  • Heat oil in a frying pan, add the saunf & when it just start to brown, add the onion paste & stir well.

  • Add the chicken pieces & stir well.

  • Add the chilly powder, corriander powder & salt and cook till the chicken pieces are tender.

Garnish it with corriander leaves.

A tasty saunf chicken is ready in a matter of minutes. We have this with chapattis & goes better with rice as well :)

February 26, 2009

Rich Fruit cake


I tried my hand at a fruit cake a few weeks back. The traditional kind you know, with a chockfull of nuts and fruits… very heavy and dense. This was the cake that you get at Christmas and weddings…and conventionally soaked in a strong liquor like brandy or rum. But I didn't soak the dry fruits in the liquor instead, I added 2 tbsp of rum to bring the taste as rich as soaked. I suggest to cover the cake after 1/2 hr of baking with foil to prevent them from overbrowning.

The smells that engulfed the house when it was baking was really yummy…so warm and heady, what will all the spices that went into the batter. And it was quite a fuss-free recipe too.
.
Ingredients :
  1. 240 gms - All purpose four (plus 10 gms for dusting the pan)
  2. 1 tsp baking powder
  3. 2 tbsp Rum (or) Brandy
  4. 250 gms butter
  5. 230 gms brown sugar
  6. Lightly beaten eggs - 4 nos
  7. 2 cups toasted walnuts, coarsely chopped
  8. Raisins - 160 gms
  9. Currants - 160 gms
  10. Cherries - 60 gms
  11. Chopped pineapple - 1 cup (I used canned pinneapple)
  12. Chopped dates - 1/2 cup
  13. Almonds - 60 gms (plus 1/4 cup for topping)
  14. 1 tsp nutmeg powder
  15. 1/2 tsp cloves grounded
  16. 1 tsp cinnamom powder
  17. 1/2 tsp ginger powder

Directions to bake :

  • Preheat oven to 150 degrees C. Grease two 9x5 inch loaf pans, line with the parchment paper and greasing the top parchment paper layer.

  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, nutmeg powder, cinnamom powder, cloves powder,ginger powder & rum.

  • Toss all the nuts (except 1/4 cup almonds) in 10 gms of flour & combine it with the above.

  • Cream butter and sugar together till creamy.

  • Add in eggs one at a time, beat well after each addition to prevent curdling.

  • Toss the 1/4 cup almonds in the flour & keep aside.

  • Finally fold everything together gently & pour the batter into the baking pan & just before smoothening the top, add the almonds tossed in flour & then level the top with the spatula.

  • Bake at 150 degree C for 2 to 2 1/2 hrs. But after 2 hrs check if a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean without any crumbles, it shows the cake is ready.

For best flavor, wrap and store in refrigerator for 24 hours before serving.

February 23, 2009

Microwave Chocolate Pudding


Nothing hits the spot better on a cold, rainy day than this creamy, rich, homemade pudding. I love this recipe! Being a chocoholic I make it often. It is so fast and easy, even a child can make it. It really looked more time consuming than it was.

I make it right in the bowl. I'm going to eat it from. It is good both warm and cold, but most times I can't wait for it to cool. For a different taste, use mint flavored chocolate chips.

It will be perfect when topped with some whipped cream, the pudding was oh so yummy and so smooth...

Ingredients :

  1. 1 cup sugar
  2. 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  3. 3 tbsp cornstarch
  4. 1/4 tsp salt
  5. 2 1/4 cup milk
  6. 2 tbsp butter
  7. 1 tsp vanilla

Directions :

  • Combine sugar, cocoa, cornstarch and salt in medium size mixing bowl.

  • Gradually stir in milk. Microwave on high for 6 minutes, stirring once during cooking time.

  • Stir in butter and vanilla.

  • Pour into individual serving dishes. Cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate.

Enjoy this cool chocolate pudding with kids !!! YUM :)


February 19, 2009

Chicken Manchurian (Microwave version)


Ask me my favourite cuisine & without missing my beat, I would say its"Chinese". So, what I had been my fav all these years was "Indo-chinese" which are immensely popular with indians. Indo chinese is a combination of chinese spices in indian cooking.

Chicken manchurian served best with fried rice & naan. Microwave version makes this dish easy, healthy & less time consuming toooo.

Ingredients :
  1. Boneless chicken - 350 gms
  2. Oil - 2 tbsp
  3. Garlic (finely chopped) - 5 pods
  4. Ginger (finely chopped) - 2 inch pc
  5. Onion - 1 no
  6. Green chilly - 4 nos
  7. Tomato sauce - 1/2 tbsp
  8. Soy sauce - 2 tbsp
  9. Black pepper - 1 tsp
  10. White vinegar - 1 1/2 tsp
  11. Ajinomoto - 1/2 tsp
  12. Cornflour - 3 tsp
  13. Water - 3 tbsp
  14. Spring onions
  15. Corriander leaves
  16. Salt to taste


Method :

  • In a microwave proof dish, combine chicken, oil, finely chopped ginger, garlic, onion, green chillies & salt & microwave high for 10 mins.

  • Remove & add tomato sauce, soy sauce, black pepper, white vinegar, ajinimoto and mix it - Microwave high for 5 more mins.

  • Meanwhile dissolve cornflour with water. Add them into the chicken after 5 mins & microwave it for further 2 mins.


Garnish it with spring onions & corriander leaves.

February 18, 2009

Sugar Free Chocolate Chip Cookies


"Cookie with a cup of tea" isn't the best combo for tea time. First time I baked cookies, adding sugar substitute to make it light (planning to become slim !!!). This cookies r equally tasty & diabetic friendly sweet. Better options for weight watchers as well !!!

Ingredients:

  1. 3/4 Cup Butter or Margarine
  2. 1 1/2 Cup Sugar Substitute
  3. 1 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  4. 2 Eggs
  5. 3 Cups All Purpose Flour
  6. 1 Tsp Baking Soda
  7. 2 Cups Sugar Free Chocolate Chips or Dietic Chocolate, Diced

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees

  • In a large bowl cream butter, sugar substitute, and vanilla

  • Add eggs and beat well.

  • Blend flour and baking soda into creamed mixture.

  • Stir in chocolate chips or diced dietic chocolate.

  • Drop rounded spoonfuls of cookie mixture onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake 12-15 minutes.

Enjoy & eat as much u want & maintain ur weight..


February 12, 2009

Pumpkin chutney/Dip

Spicy pumpkin chutney is a delicious condiment and very easy to make. Spicy pumpkin chutney is a delightful mix of sweet and sour and goes very well with cheese, meats and many people add it to soups and sauces to give them a more interesting flavour.

Sultanas can also be added for additional flavor & this can be stored for a week in a air tight container. Though, I make this chutney occasionally, I serve this as a dip for pappad during snack time. Try this!! it taste different:)

Ingredients :

  1. 1 cup Pumpkin (peeled & diced)
  2. 1 small apple (peeled & diced)
  3. 1 medium sized onion
  4. 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  5. 1 large clove garlic, mashed
  6. 1 tsp Coriander Leaves (chopped)
  7. 1 tsp Lemon Juice
  8. 1/4 tsp Turmeric Powder
  9. 1 tsp Red Chili Powder
  10. 1 tsp mustard seeds
  11. 1 tsp Sugar
  12. Salt to taste
  13. 1 tbsp Oil
  14. 1 tsp nutmeg pwd
Directions :
  • Put pumpkin and apple pieces in a pan. Add enough water to cover the contents. Also add turmeric powder and lemon juice to it and cook until both get soft.
  • Turn off the flame and roughly mash the pieces with a potato masher. Do not make pasty, allow small pieces to remain.
  • Heat oil in the pan, add mustard seeds followed by the onion, ginger & garlic.
  • Now add sugar and resume cooking till sugar gets dissolved.
  • Once excess moisture evaporates, add chili, mashed pumpkin, salt and mix well.
  • Add nutmeg powder & turn off the flame. Let the chutney cool and then add chopped coriander to it.

Pumpkin Chutney is ready to serve.

February 11, 2009

Tiramisu - An Italian Dessert


The first time I had this magnificent dessert was in India. The moment I took my first bite I thought I had found dessert paradise! From then on whenever I was in a restaurant and I saw it on the menu I had to order it. I make this wonderful dessert only during special occasions & surprise pravin by saying "JUST FOR U".

Tiramisu is one of the most widely recognized Italian desserts. In Italian the word for this sweet dessert actually means "pick me up", likely referring to the caffein-laden espresso used to make this delectable treat.

Tiramisu consist of two layers of lady fingers soaked in espresso with the optional addition of liquor and sugar, filled and iced with whipped cream and mascarpone cheese and garnished with the chocolate shavings, which is refrigerated before being served.

I recommend you actually use real espresso in this recipe, as the authentic flavor of the dish only shines through when real Italian ingredients are used. Also, you may find it difficult to find savoiardi (ladyfingers) that adequately soak up the coffee. I suggest looking for an Italian brand cookie (alternatively sponge cakes can be used) . Then get ready to make a "WOW"-ing dessert!

Ingredients :

For the coffee dip :

  1. Espresso coffee 2 cups
  2. 2 tsp sugar
  3. 2 tbsp Marsala wine (Dont use cooking marsala wine)

For the filling :

  1. Eggs 5 Nos
  2. Sugar 1/2 cup
  3. Mascarpone cheese - 500 gms
  4. Heavy whipping cream - 1 cup (230 cc)

For the base :

  1. Ladyfinger biscuits
  2. 10 oz Bitter chocolate (Grated)

How to assemble:

  • Prepare a strong espresso coffee using coffeefilter. Dissolve 2 tsp sugar & 2 tbsp marasala wine in it.

  • Beat the cream & egg whites seperately till stiff. Keep it aside.

  • Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and marsala wine in a large glass bowl until blended. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, but do not allow the bottom of the bowl to touch the water. Whisk the egg mixture over the simmering water until it is thick and creamy, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat.

  • Mash the mascarpone cheese until creamy. Add the egg yolk mixture into the mascarpone cheese and beat to mix very well.

  • Finally fold the cream & egg whites gently into the mascarpone cheese mixture.

  • Dip lady's finger into the cooled coffee on a shallow container (Do not dip too long as the lady's finger turn soggy very quickly).

  • Fill the base of the square tin with 1 layer of lady's finger

  • Pour the mascarpone mixture into the top of the lady's finger (ensure that the lady's finger are fully covered with the mixture)

  • Repeat the above 2 procedures until the tin is full

  • Sprinkle the grated chocolate on the top layer of the tiramisu. (Alternately use cocoa powder)

Refrigerate for at least 6 hours, preferably ovenight.


February 10, 2009

Banana Pudding

Banana Pudding is an old Southern treat. This recipe is the most basic, most easy, probably most well known dessert ever. My version is a quick and easy recipe using instant pudding, sliced bananas, vanilla wafers and whipped topping, although you can certainly use cooked pudding and make your own whipped cream. I often make this for the dinner parties, it’s a light and fun treat that we really enjoy in the summertime.

Ingredients :
  1. 1 large instant vanilla pudding mix
  2. 1 3/4 cups cold milk
  3. 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  4. 4 bananas, sliced
  5. 54 vanilla wafer cookies
  6. 2 cups whipped topping
Directions :

  • In a large glass or ceramic bowl, whisk together pudding mix and milk for about 2 minutes to combine well.
  • Pour in the sweetened condensed milk, and mix it well.
  • To make 6 individual servings, use 9 cookies and 9 slices of banana per serving.
  • For each serving, place one cookie and a banana slice on the bottom of an individual dessert dish. Line the sides with 5 cookies, and then repeat with banana slices.
  • Pour in pudding and top with 3 more cookies and 3 banana slices.
  • Cover and chill for 3 to 4 hours to let the cookies soften.

Garnish with whipped topping just before serving.

February 9, 2009

Aapam & coconut milk

Aapam is one of the dishes I liked better when made by my mom especially during the weekends. When eaten with coconut milk.... Wow! it taste superb....

Aapam has a thick spongy center and a thin dosai-like edge. It is normally made using a special pan "Aappa kadai".

Ingredients :

  1. Raw rice - 1 cup
  2. Parboiled rice - 1 cup
  3. Urad dal - 1/4 cup
  4. Fenugreek seeds - 2 tbsp
  5. Cooked rice - 1 cup
  6. Coconut milk - 1/4 to 1/2 cup
  7. Salt
  8. A pinch of aappa soda (Baking soda – optional)
For coconut milk:
  1. Fresh coconut chunks : 1 cup
  2. Water : 2 cups
  3. Sugar : 1/4 cup
  4. Cardamom : 3
Directions to cook :

Preparing Aapam:
  • Soak the raw rice, idly rice and fenugreek seeds for 5-7 hours.
  • Seperately soak the urad dal for atleast one hr.
  • Grind the rice along with the cooked rice & dal seperately into a smooth paste.
  • Then mix the rice and dal together and add a little salt and allow it to ferment (Just leave it overnight or 8 to 10 hrs should be good to ferment).
  • Add & mix baking soda & 1/4 coconut milk (add the remaining if the batter is thick) in the batter before cooking.
  • Heat a pan (aappa chatti) & pour one ladle of batter into the pan. Hold the two ends of pan and swing it in a circular motion to spread the batter around the pan.
  • Close the lid. Keep it in low heat and leave it for few minutes. Take out the aappam once it becomes golden brown over the round edges and soft at the center.
Preparing coconut milk :

  • Cut & grind the fresh coconut chunks nicely by adding the water in to it.

  • Then filter the pulp either by thin muslin cloth or by using regular filter.

  • Add the cardamom and sugar ( according to your sweet level ) into the coconut milk.
YUMMY! Aapam with coconut milk is ready to serve.

February 8, 2009

Homemade condensed milk


Wanna to try something new ????

Condensed milk are normally used as a toppings to the dessert or added in the sweets for additional flavour & taste or people like me won't let it wait in the refrigerator more than couple of hrs.

This is very easy to make & taste delicious toooo.. Even the kids love to do this. Just mix & shake the 3 main ingredients in a leak proof container preferably tubberware. In a couple of min homemade condensed milk is ready to taste. And sure u all love this !!!!!

Ingredients :
  1. Milk powder - 1 cup
  2. Powdered sugar - 1 cup
  3. Butter - 1/2 tsp
  4. Hot water - 1/4 to 1/2 cup

Directions :

  • In a tupperware container, pour 1/4 cup of hot water & dissolve the butter in it.

  • Add the powdered sugar & close the container lid. Shake it well.

  • Add the milk powder & shake it vigorously to blend to a smooth mixture.

If condensed milk is too thick add the remaining hot water & shake well.

Homemade & fresh condensed milk is ready to serve.

February 5, 2009

Chettinad kara kuzhi paniyaram

pani 2

When I say chettinad cuisine, the first dish that strike my mind is the "Kara kuzhi paniyaram". Chettinad dishes are popular for its spicy flavour. Paniyaram can be made either sweet or savory.

kuzhi paniyaram, well-spiced, fried a deep golden brown, and served with sambar and chutney (coconut or a red) is an absolute treat. Succulent and spicy, it’s a great snack — with tea, coffee — or even as a starter, served on a platter, as the prelude to a sophisticated dinner.

Kuzhi paniyaram can be made easily with the leftover idli/dosa mavu by adding little ingredients & it finally looks like a round golf ball in shape. Try this chettinadu special paniyaram & u will love it!!!

Ingredients :
  1. Idli batter(mavu) - 2 cups
  2. Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  3. Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  4. Channa dal - 1 tsp
  5. Onion - 1 no
  6. Small onions- 10 nos
  7. Green chilly - 4 nos
  8. Minced ginger - 1/2 tsp
  9. Carrot grated- 1 tbsp (optional)
  10. Grated coconut -1 tbsp
  11. A pinch of hing
  12. Curry leaves - 1 tbsp
  13. Corrainder leaves - 3 stks
  14. salt to taste
  15. Oil - 5 tbsp
Directions :
  • Finely chop Onion, small onion, Green chili, Curry leaves and Coriander leaves.
  • Fry the grated coconut in a tsp of oil & set aside.
  • Heat Oil in a pan, add Mustard seeds, cumin seeds and Channa dal, fry till Channa dal turns into light brown in color.
  • Add Onion, small onion, Green chili, carrot, ginger, hing and Curry leaves, fry till the Onion becomes light brown color. Allow the fried items to cool.
  • Add these fried items, Salt, grated coconut and Coriander leaves to the Idly batter and mix well.

    pani 1

  • Pour some oil in the paniyaram mould. (in each impression)
  • Once the oil is hot pour the batter in each impression .(3/4 batter in each impression)
  • Allow it to cook for few minutes. Flip it over to cook the other side.
Serve hot kara paniyaram with coconut chutney. Enjoy!!!

February 3, 2009

Sambar Powder


Almost all the southindian menu will be served with sambar as a part. Amma has been regularly making this sambar powder at home. She first dry all the ingredients under sun for couple of hrs & roast fry it in pan. It retains the aroma & freshness when stored in the air tight container for atleast 2 months. I prefer making this in small batches.

Half spoon of sambar powder in egg omlet taste delicious. I try adding a spoon of sambar powder when I make vegetable curry or gravy or even for maggi, which taste different & unique. Sambar powder remains the same, though we make different sambar for idli/dosa or for rice.

Ingredients :

  1. 1 cup corriander seeds
  2. 1/4 cup channa dal
  3. 1/4 cup Toor dal
  4. 1/4 cup urad dal
  5. 1 cup Red chilly
  6. 1 tsp fenugreek seeds (Methi seeds)
  7. 1/4 cup cumin seeds
  8. 1 tsp Pepper corns
  9. Asfoetida - 1/2 tsp
  10. Curry leaves - 1 tbsp
  11. Dry coconut powder - 1 tbsp (optional)
Method :

Dry all the ingredients in the sun for about 2 hours.(optional)

Roast each of the ingredients one by one in a medium low flame, till they turn color slightly. If fresh, pat dry the curry leaves and then roast till brittle. Let cool to room temperature. Mix and grind together in a blender to a powder.

February 2, 2009

Cookie using persimmon pulp


Baking cookies is simple & interesting as well. Trying cookie with new ingredients is quite adventrous. This time I tried baking my cookies using Persimmon fruit to send as an entry for persimmon roundup. Surpringly, it turned out to be a delicious cookie I never baked. We enjoyed this cookie along with tea. Try this & Enjoy!!!

Ingredients :

  1. stick of butter
  2. 2 cups sugar
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 2 cups milk
  5. 1 tsp vanilla
  6. 2 cups all-purpose flour
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 3 tsp baking powder
  9. 1/2 tsp baking soda
  10. 2 cups persimmon pulp
  11. 1 cup nuts
  12. 1 cup raisins
Directions :
  • Sift together flour, baking powder and salt. Add nuts & raisins.

  • Cream butter and sugar.

  • Mix together egg, soda and persimmon pulp. Mix it with cream butter.

  • In a large bowl, mix the dry ingredients, persimmon pulp, vanilla extract & milk. Pour into a greased 9 x 13 baking dish and bake at 350 for 45 minutes.
Enjoy with tea.
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