Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Of Jalapenos........... and Jalapeno Cheese Pops





Just saw these green beauties at the farmer's market last week.Couldn't resist bringing them home.
These chillies were fat and round and very different from the dark green chillies that we get in north indian markets.So,I asked the vendor...what are these....He answered Pakoda mirchi...that means the chillies which you can stuff and batter fry...Basically they are not very hot but are full of flavor.Good !!

I thought these are so similar to jalapenoes......yes they look like close cousins.And I am using them just like jalapenoes eversince..and they continue to make me happy ...with the jalapeno cheese pops and also as a homemede pizza topping.Plus now they are looking nice in jar and will continue the joys in 2010 also.
I have presereved them in vinegar ,sugar and salt.

Jalapeno Cheese pops

Ingredients:
100 gms Mozzarella cheese- grated
1/2 cup cheddar cheese- grated
1/2 cup Jalapeno peppers- chopped
2 tbsp all purpose flour (maida)
Bread crumbs to coat
Salt and pepper to taste
Oil for frying.

Method:

Mix together cheeses, Jalapeno peppers, some salt and pepper.

Prepare small balls from the mixture.(you can also spread the mixture in a tray ,Freeze and cut in desired shape -squares rectangles etc.) Freeze for 20 minutes at least.

Mix flour, salt, pepper with some water to prepare batter of pouring consistency.
Spread some bread crumbs onto a plate. (you may freeze the pops once again at this stage in a airtight bag or container)

Dip the balls into the batter and then roll them into the bread crumbs to coat all around and fry in oil until golden.

Serve hot with sour cream and tomato ketchup.

TIP:
Instead of using chopped Jalapeno, you can slice them into two halves and fill them with Mozzarella or cream cheese, then coat them with the batter and deep fry.
For variations you can also add chopped olives and fried bacon bits etc to add on to the zing.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Ashwin’s Borek


Dear All,
Today was the first time I heard about Borek....Monika and Ashwin(foodies to the core with a high flying career in architecture) from Muscat.when I saw this pic...couldn't resist asking for the recipe....and my dear Brother In law obliged me...thanks Ashwin.thanks a lot.here is the recipe....in his words.
"Its a Mediterranean Lebanese dish
But i tweaked it a good bit, especially with butter
They add too much butter150 gm!!!"

Ingredients

400 gms of all-purpose flour
250gms curd
100gms butter melted
3 large white eggs
Suasage/ pepperoni / or any other prepared, cured meat to your taste
Rock salt-to taste
lemon pepper-to taste
Oregano –a pinch
Carom seeds/ajwain/bishops weed-a pinch

Method
1. Take all-purpose flour in a bowl, add water to make smooth batter
2. Take another bowl add 250gms curd,3 large white eggs, include yolks and whites and add melted 100gms butter
3. Nicely mix these three ingredients to form a homogenous mixture
4. Now, take a baking tray size to suit quantity and depth of your oven
5. And take a tissue, wipe the container with which u melted the butter and apply grease to the base and sides of the tray(That’s a very nice Tip…No wastage and optimum utilization of resources .Hats off Chef Ashwin)
6. Next, Pour the flour batter evenly onto the tray.
7. Add suasage or any other prepared, cured meat cut into bite sized pieces and spread them evenly over the batter surface in the tray
8. Add rock salt/ lemon pepper to taste. Sprinkle evenly
9. Now slowly pour the Curd and Butter mixture to cover the top of this arrangement, again evenly
10. Now put the tray in a pre-heated 250 deg Celcius oven, for half an hour or till the top becomes golden brown and the test fork comes out clean.
11. And serve warm
12. Garnish with coriander, and add Ketchup on side with fresh cut veggies like cucumber and tomatoes
VOILA! Borek is ready! Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Lal Maas


Hi all,this week I m posting Lal Maas recipe.The ones who have tasted this Rajasthani hot spicy curry will know the relevance of 30 chillies and one cup ghee.
Do not fret...you may remove the ghee after cooking from top and use it later as roghan in other dishes.But once in a while you can indulge in some ghee and chillies...once in a while people!!!
Also this curry will take care of any winter infections...a good substitute for the chicken soup for colds.Read somewhere that spicy curries keep H1N1 at bay:-)

Lal Maas

Serves : 4 Time : 80 mins.

Ingredients
1 kg lamb cut into 1-1.5 “with bone/boneless
30 whole Kashmiri Red chilies
12-14 Chopped garlic
200 grams sliced onions
6 Cardamoms (green)
6 Cardamoms (black)
1 teaspoon roasted Cumin seeds
1 cup Curd
2 tablespoons Coriander powder
1 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 cup Ghee
2 tablespoons Chopped coriander leaves
Salt (As per taste)

Method
Beat the curd in a bowl add red chilies, turmeric powder, coriander powder, roasted cumin seeds and salt. Mix well and keep aside.

Heat ghee in a deep bottomed pan, add the garlic and fry till golden brown. Add cardamoms and sliced onions and cook till the onions turn brown. Add the meat, cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring often. Add the curd mixture and cook till the gravy is completely dry. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Adjust seasoning, cover and simmer till the meat is tender.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve with hot chapatis.

If you wish to reduce chillies do till 70% only and use Kashmiri chillies..as they are rich in color and flavour and are not as hot as Rajasthani chillies.Enjoy with Hot chapatis preferably without ghee;-)

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Lemon Pepper Chicken




An easy quick Chicken recipe for the weekend.Can be an appetiser when cut into smaller pieces or a complete meal on its own.

To serve-4 Persons

Ingredients

4 skinless boneless chicken breasts
2 tbsp clear honey
1 lemon, juice and finely grated zest
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp dijon mustard
A Few Lemon Roundels-To add to the Flavour and eye appeal
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
750g baby salad potatoes or larger ones, halved
Chopped Parsley for Garnish.
steamed broccoli florets, to serve

Method
1. Make 2-3 diagonal superficial cuts on each chicken breast with a sharp knife.
2. Mix the honey, lemon zest and juice, garlic, mustard and black pepper in a bowl.
3. Add the chicken and turn to coat. Leave it to marinate for 30 minutes or preferably overnight.
4. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/.Arrange the potatoes,Lemaon roundels and chicken in a single layer in a shallow-sided roasting tin and pour any excess marinade on top.
5. Roast for 25-30 minutes or until the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked. Serve with broccoli and any pan juices.

PS-Onion Lovers may add roundels of one onion also.

You may adjust the quantity of Pepper and/or lemon juice as per your taste.
Recipe can be made ahead and frozen and reheated for the next meal.

This is great mood elevating recipe due to its citrus flavor.Not really a spicy preparation as per Indian Taste but its not bland too. A Zero oil recipe suitable for Diabetics without Potatoes and Honey-Should be omitted for them:-)The Zingy flavour of lemon and sharpness of pepper makes it irresistable...try it!
Serve with a glass of fruity white wine....enjoii!

ANARKALI BUTTER CHICKEN

Hi All,
Back after a long gap,

Guess What ......I got a an opportunity to taste......dan te dan....ANARKALI BUTTER CHICKEN.

It was a pleasure to receive anarkali butter chicken as part of the selected tasting team in Delhi/NCR.
Opening the packet was a pleasure and I actually felt like royalty when I discovered the very innovative garnish of freshest green coriander and black olives sprinkeled with gold and silver....

I savoured your receipe with homemade lachha paranthas. And with the first bite I was lost in the divine taste of the velvety gravy flavoured with tomatoes,butter and spices .Could also get a hint of saffron with mellow sweetness of honey.The balance of all these ingredients is really tuned to perfection.Not one ingredient overpowered the taste of another...it is like a fine orchestra of different flavors on my palate creating a symphony of that PERFECT BUTTER CHICKEN .The curry is mildly spiced with red,black and green peppers, which makes it appetising and made my palate demand for more after each morsel .

The olives were a pleasant surprise and gelled so well with the gravy and then I thought of Italian Napolitaine sauce and how well the olives go with tomato based sauces....but never thought of them in Indian Butter Chicken.

The chicken pieces are bite sized and succulent.Immediately after the first bite my husband suggested that I should have arranged for some good red wine to compliment such exquisite food.:-)

The only thing I missed was the authentic smokeyness of tandoori chicken.

I just enjoyed the experience and it was a never before meal I had ,but I would like to experience it again...maybe just for some special occasions but definitely again.

Monday, October 12, 2009

After Massakkali.................I am an Anarkali fan


Hi There!

I just loved the song massakkali....but hey I heard/read/searched for the best Butter chicken....found the details for the classiest butter chicken-ANARKALI BUTTER CHICKEN............check out their website www.anaarkali.in

I am impressed ...yes really impressed that somebody had the guts to use ingredients from all over the world to create a yummy butter chicken....and also have the guts to market and sell it at Rs.6000/- for two portions...Hats off to Padma and Bharat-The software professionals turned chef entrepreneurs.

Best of luck to both of you....and waiting for Anaarkali Butter Chicken at Noida.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Navratri Recipes



Hey! I know it is late very late to post navratri recipes now.But want to share two new dishes I created this Navratri.I usually don't bother with too much cooking during fasting,usually raw food for me...but this time was really special..my hubby, who has never fasted in life!!,also expressed his desire to fast during this auspicious time.His aim was to DETOX which we did .I will upload the detox cum navratri diet chart before the next navratri.

Navratri is the perfect time of the year to detox as the weather is about to change.You need to cleanse your body as per the season coming ahead to enjoy the nature's goodness showered during this particular time of the year---read groundnuts,chikkis & gajjaks,Alu-gobhi-mooli parathas(with dollops of butter..yummy),Pinnis ,Besan sheera for breakfast on chilly mornings....OK OK all this is not natural...but inpired by the season's bounty:-).

During the beginning and the end of the diet food tends to be slightly normalish so that the transition from diet food to normal food is smooth.During Navratri ,as per the notions one is supposed to have only one salted meal and that too without grainspulses--oinion-garlic etc etc.I came up with two phalahari(cereal free)complete Indian popular meals:

1.Malai Kofta with Sighara and Mooli Roti----Yes you read it right.Good old malai Kofta in navratri Fasting or should I say Feasting;-)
2. Kadhi Chawal.Yes I can't live without my weekly(Thursday)dose of Spicy Kadhi Pakora wiith hot fluffy rice.

This Time only Pictures...recipes later.Take Care

Monday, September 14, 2009

CARROT RAISIN SALAD


This carrot salad is full of natural goodness from carrots-Vit A and fibre primarily.Lemon jUice adds up for Vit c which also helps in absorbing the Iron from raisins....So it is a yummy multivitamin salad which is great looking and nutritious.


Ingredients:
1.5 Cup Carrots grated
½ cup raisins
1/4 cup chopped walnuts/Almonds

Dressing
½ tbsp honey
1 tsp orange zest (optional)
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice )or orange juice)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil(Optional)
salt and white pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Blend all dressing ingredients together in blender adding olive oil a little at a time at end.
2. Mix carrots with raisins and toss with desired amount of dressing. Stir in nuts.

Enjoy!
Option 1-Sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds on top for extra flavor and nutrition.

Option 2-add some fresh Pineapple/Apple cubes

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Goa Hangover



Hi again!

I am back with a recipe of Goan Fish Curry.The first time I savoured this delicacy was during my first visit to Goa..circa 2000.It was cooked specially for me by none other than Dr. Subodh Kerkar-an artist and hotelier.
It was a great honor to learn the recipe in the authentic way while understanding the finer differences of Goan Hindu and christian cooking. I simply enjoyed it with some plain boiled rice(from Dr.Kerkar's farm).Yummy I can still taste it .

The recipe given below is adapted as per our fast life and availibilty of ingredients in Delhi.(yes I know everything is available in INA market....but how often can you drive all the way and get it????????)
GOAN FISH CURRY
Ingredients:(For -3-4 persons/2 hungry people:-))
500 gms Fish -white pomfret/kingfish or any other white fish(With bone and skin or without bone and skin-your choice-Cut into 2-3 inch pieces)
1 Medium size Onion(chopped)
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp tamarind paste/Kokum
salt to taste
Grind fine with a little water -
5-6 dry red Kashmiri chilies
3-4 cloves garlic
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 Pkt Coconut Milk(I use Dabur)

Apply salt and turmeric to fish and keep aside.

Heat oil in a pan and add chopped onion.Saute till transparent .Add ground paste with a cup of water. Bring to a boil on low heat. Add tamarind paste and season with salt.

Finally add fish pieces, bring to a second boil then simmer for a few minutes. Serve hot with Plain rice and kokum saar or sol kadhi.

This curry also tastes great when reheated for the next meal-just like Dal makhani. It is Kashmiri chillies and coriander that give Goan curries their color and texture.

Basically you need just some grinding and boiling skills to make this delectable curry..
PS:The same recipe can be used to make Goan Prawn Curry-Here you will need to replace Fish with shelled and deveined prawns.(frozen will do-smaller the better)

KOKUM SAAR (Tival)
Kokum saar is served in all Goan homes and restaurants .It is a great appetiser and also balances body heat/acidity.

Ingredients
5-6 pieces of kokum
1-2 green chillies, slit
1 large garlic clove
salt and jaggery to taste
finely chopped Coriander leaves to garnish

Soak kokum in 2 cups of hot water for about 15 minutes. Mince garlic and add to strained kokum water .Add pepper if you like. Let it rest for an hour. Season with salt and jaggery. Garnish with finely chopped Coriander leaves at the time of serving.May be served chilled or at room temperature in some nice small Fancy glasses.


SOL KADHI
Just add a cup of coconut milk to Kokum Saar and omit jaggery.

My another favourite from Goa is Chicken Cafreal

A Popularly known as‘Galinha a cafreal’ or ‘Galinha a piri piri’ which came from the Portuguese colony of Mozambique in Africa.The marination resemble the Peri Peri sauce.It is fragrant with the spices and freshness of coriander and mint.

Ingredients

800gm-1Kg Chicken ( Preferrably Legs & Breast/whole chicken may also be used after cleaning the internal organs)
6 number Cloves
8 number Black Pepper Corns
1 tsp Cumin Seeds
1 tbsp Garlic Paste
1 tbsp Ginger Paste
8 number Green Cardamom
6 number Green Chillies
1 tbsp Coriander Seeds
1 cup Green Corriander Leaves (Use the accurate quantity)
1 cup Mint Leaves
4 tbsp Oil
to taste Salt
2 tbsp Vinegar /lime Juice
Peel of 1 Lemon to add to the citrusy flavor
Method
Make incisions on the breast and legs.
Blend all the ingredients except the vinegar and oil in to a fine paste with minimum water.
Apply the paste to the chicken pieces and marinate for 2 - 3 hrs.
Now put the oil in the pan. Cook the chicken until golden brown.
When it is almost done, add vinegar/Lime juice and cook it for a few minutes.

( a zero oil method to Cook it is wrap the chicken with marination)in aluminium foil and roast in the hot oven for 25-30 minutes.Check for doneness and squeeze lemonjuice after removing from oven.
Garmish with onion rings. Serve hot with Tomato and cucumber salad.A popular accompaniment in Goan Restaurants is French Fries.Chicken Cafreal can be a yummy snack for your Cocktail parties and a good non veg accompaniment for a full fledged meal.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Basket exercise for Dinner under 30 minutes




Hi all,
Didn't feel like doing the regular dinner-Roti sabji dal chawal types-just need a break from the regular fare.Didn't even have theme in my mind...I am doing a lot of thai these days......thought about it....NO!!!Chinese No...not again...Then what???

Hey bring out the chef in you...Sonal!Do something new..A basket exercise..-This what I told myself...and didin't feel lazy (read tired after a hectic day)
A basket Exercise is something which I used to do for the Chef Competitions during College...it is fun.You have to bring out a menu ,a creative balanced menu out of the basket of ingredients provided to you...Basket can have anything...you could be lucky or plain unlucky.
Hey I was lucky.I had tomatoes ,French beans ,frozen corn,potatoes and cottage cheese in my basket.Yeah !Great!!
I made Bean and Corn salad,Cottage Cheese Stuffed Tomatoes and crisp potato wedges all under 30 minutes.The result was a yummy healthy dinner.And yes all the recipes original.
Here are the recipes:

All ingredients are for two persons.
Stuffed Tomatoes with Cottage Cheese
Ingredients:
4-5 Medium sized Tomatoes
1.5 Cups fresh cottage cheese(Grated or crumbled with hands-Hands are the best tools:-))
2 Tbsp roasted sesame Seeds
2 Tbsp Chopped Coriander leaves
1 tsp grated ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
Method:

Cut tomatoes into half longitudinally and scoop out the seeds.
Rub a little salt inside the tomato halve .Just enough to salt the tomato flesh,the stuffing has its own salt.arrange them upside down till you preapare the stuffing...so that extra juice may ooze out.
To prepare the stuffing :
Take crumbled/Grated cottage cheese in a bowl.add ginger,coriander ,roasted sesame seeds,salt and pepper.Mix well .Taste for seasoning.
To Assemble:
Upturn the tomato halves and fill the stuffing,making a dome ..a not a very high one above the tomato halves.
Tomatoes are ready to go into the Microwave for 5-6 Minutes an a HIGH setting.You can do it just while you are setting the dinner plates to get hot steamy stuffed tomatoes as your healthy -Zero oil,vegatarian maincourse.
Roasted seasame add a new dimension to the taste combined with ginger.


Crisp Potato Wedges.

Ingredients:
4 Medium sized Potatoes
2 Garlic pods
1 Tbsp Lemon Juice
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
Salt Pepper to taste
Oregano/Mixed herbs/pizza seasoning as per taste

Method
Wash potatoes and prick the with afork.Cook them on Micro High for 6 minutes.Cool and cut intu quarters with peel.
Crush the garlic pods and mix lemon juice,olive oil...looks loke salad dressing...hey sweets it is the salad dressing!
Preheat oven to 270 degrees centigrate.
Arrange poatato quarters on a baking tray lined with aluminium foil.Brush with the salad dressing you will have nearly half of it left...which will be used for salad.....no both the dishes will not have the same flavor.In potatoes the dressin---garlic,lemon juice and oil are cooked whereas in the salad you get the uncooked flavors...which are yum!!!
After brushing them liberally with the dressing.Grill them in the oven till they bake to a crisp golden brown.will take 5-8 minutes .Turn in between, if necessary.

Corn and French Beans Salad
Ingredients:
1 Cup Frozen Corn
A handful of French Beans
Leftover dressing form previous recipe....It can't get simpler that this:-)

Method
Heat a pan with three cups of water.Wash corn and beans separately.Cut beans into bite sized pieces after topping and tailing.
Add salt in boiling water .Put beans in water first Blanch for five minutes.Add corn on top and let it boil for 2-3 minutes.Strain and transfer to a serving bowl.Pour dressing and voila your salad is ready.Serve it warm in winters and cold in summers.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Naani Ma

My Grandma passed away last week. She always made me feel special and was a fountain of love and care. Right from my childhood till last week----that is 33 yrs of my life....I always received unconditional love, care and useful advice from her. I used to meet her once in a year during our summer vacations and spend quality time with her along with a group of cousins during childhood. In retrospect I think I learnt many important lessons in my life from her and there is a part of her in my personality….. am penning them down:
1. Love multiplies manifold when divided amongst many many loved ones. She had six children; with their spouses and children …it actually used to be a houseful especially during our summer vacations. But she used to look after everyone, cook delicious food for us, sort out all our kid fights and tell us stories at night...which were usually based on Indian mythology. We used to look forward for summer vacations and delicious food.............those were the days…..
2. What you wear is important. No second chance to make the first impression.After growing up also she was always a part of my life..taking interest in my life, my friends, my college. She had a great sense of dressing up. She herself wore sarees and suits only and that too nothing flashy but very particular about the material....it was silk, chiffon, chinon, crepe for her and colors were usually pastels. Particularly fond of delicate embroidery and crochet borders.....she herself was very good at handwork. I still have some very beautiful crochet cardigans knitted by her. But she always encouraged her daughters and granddaughters to follow the modern trends. Since I had a small built she used to say I look the best in westerns, specially Jeans and trousers.
3. Your hair is the frame of your face. Another important aspect of grooming for her was hair and its styling. She always made an elegant bun till the time she could manage it herself. She made it a point that we...all cousins had neat and healthy hair...oiling was important. I still remember running away from her while she tried to tie my hair into pigtails in childhood.
4. Be a hostess with the mostest. Serving guests was her forte. Be it two or twenty....Food was always home cooked and served with lot of love with very creative menus. She had migrated from Pakistan (Peshawar) to India during Partition and her cooking had a very clear touch of North West Frontier cooking which I learnt formally during my Hotel Management course and training. Her Garam masala was always Home ground and curries were always finished with cream. And food was slow cooked on Dum for exquisite aroma. I have picked up some great recipes from her and will share them in this blog…
5. Good housekeeping-------------yes she never read the magazine but could have contributed to it if she knew how to read and write English. Her house was spic and span always. And whenever she was visiting our home we made special efforts to clean our cupboards etc...As she would start cleaning it herself if she found them untidy.
6. Look after your clothes. She had well preserved clothes dating from her wedding...pre1945:-)).Lovely parrot green suit which Kajol wore in DDLJ........She wore a similar thing for her wedding. Preserved beautifully till today...when we told her about the similarity...she said indifferently...oh they can't find new styles every year so they circulate the old trends again and again …so look after your clothes.
7. Home remedies are best remedies. She had a solution for stomach ache to hair fall all in her kitchen cupboards. No side effects,effect 100%.
8. Have calcium…lots of it. The Final and most important thing I learnt was always have food rich in Calcium to avoid Osteoporosis. She was bedridden for last five years…yes five years due to osteoporosis. Her vertebras were fused due to being brittle and her movement was restricted. I can imagine her plight being enclosed in room for days at end ………..it must have been a torment for a person who had spent an active life. But she took it all with a smile.
Miss you Nani!!