Sunday, January 31, 2010

Creme Caramel

For a hot afternoon, there's nothing like the caramelly smoothness of this custard to do you some good. I baked this in the morning before I left for church and then refrigerated it so that we can enjoy a cold dessert right for the afternoon! And by evening the rest of the cream caramel was wasted away because the plate just dropped from the fridge..all over the floor....shattered. Call it a major slip of fingers. But we still had dessert looking at the brighter side of the story....

For the caramel:
Sugar - 1/4 cup

For the custard
Eggs - 3medium
Sugar - 1/4cup
A pinch of salt
Milk - 1 1/2 cups
Vanilla Essence - 1tsp

Grease 4 ramekins (I didn't have ramekins instead used an oven proof dish for my custard). Heat the sugar until it becomes a brown caramel and pour this into the prepared dish/ ramekins. Using a beater beat the eggs  and sugar till lemon colored. Add the milk, vanilla and combine well and pour into the dish/ ramekin. Pour hot water into a pan and immerse the baking dish / ramekin and bake in a preheated oven at 150C for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Allow to cool and then refrigerate. Loosen the custard from the mould/ dish and invert just before serving.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Toddler Snack - Banana Fritters aka Ethakappam

Who doesn't like the these fritters. It's a dish that is popular in every Keralite household. Crispy crunchy on the outside and yet soft and sweet on the inside...

Plantains - 3 ripe cut lengthwise and then halved
Flour - 1cup
Sugar - 2tbs
Salt a pinch
Soda bi carb - a pinch
Oil for frying.

Make the batter with all the ingredients. The consistency shouldn't be too watery, yet thick, Dip the bananas and deep fry in hot oil till golden brown and serve hot

Monday, January 25, 2010

Papaya Surprise

Again its me and the fruit vendor this time, I eye them and they give me the looks that spell 'do you want something, make up your mind'. I just ended up picking up this nice orangey pink papaya. Blitzed the whole thing into the blender with some cold milk and consumed it all!!
Am sending this across to Madhuri for her event 'Serve me some - Juices, Shakes and Smoothies'

Ripe Papaya - 500gms
Cold Milk - 1 cup
Sugar - only if required ( I used just about a 1tbs for the extra sweetness)
Chocolate Powder to sprinkle

Peel and dice the papaya and chuck it all into a blender, pour the milk and add sugar and blitz away. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of chocolate powder.

Chicken in Spicy Coconut Curry and Awards

Who can resist an appam and chicken curry combination....I mean atleast my husband and I totally love the duet, you serve it to us morning, noon and night we would never ever complain. Also, today is the day I can rejoice, and be glad at the fact my blogger friends have passed me on these awards - I am on cloud nine ladies....

Chicken - 1kg cut into medium pieces
Coriander Powder -2tbs
Chilly Pwder - 1tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4tsp
Garam masala - 1/2tsp
Garlic paste - 1tsp
Onions - 2 medium finely sliced
Mustard seeds  - 1tsp
Curry leaves - 2 sprigs
Potatoes - 2 peeled, boiled and quartered.
Peas - 1/4cup
Green chillies - 2 finely chopped
Ginger - 1tsp julienned
Coconut milk - 2cups (1/2 cup thick and 1 1/2 cup light)
Lemon juice - 1tsp
Salt to taste

Mix the masala powders and garlic paste and make it into a thick paste along with water. Heat oil into a large pan, splutter the mustard seeds and and then fry the curry leaves. Saute the onions, green chilly and ginger till nice and tender and then fry the masala for about three minutes. Pour in the light coconut milk, lemon juice and salt and bring to a boil. Then add the chicken and simmer for about 25minutes. When the chicken is almost done, add the potatoes, peas and thick coconut milk and simmer for about 5minutes. Do not allow the curry to boil. Serve hot with appams.

Once again thankyou Sarah Naveen from Vaazhayila and Maria from Maria's Menu for the awards. I'd like pass these on to TinaFaiza Ali, Latha Biju, Divya Kudua, and Padhu.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Sponge Layer Cake

While me and my little one went on an adventure trip in search of cream cheese, my husband waited for us till we were done at a bookstore and bought me a book with some nice cake recipes. In return for what he got me, I baked the very first recipe that he liked as per the first photo in the book. And did I achieve the same...? I indeed least I think I did..

Unsalted Butter - 3/4cup plus extra for greasing
Castor sugar - 1cup
Eggs - 3
Flour - 1 1/2cups
Baking Powder - 1tsp
Strawberry Jam/ Raspberry Jam - 3tbs
Icing sugar to sprinkle

Grease a 20cm cake pan. Cream the sugar and butter together for 5-6minutes till light pale yellow and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one and beat well after each addition. Sift the flour and baking powder and carefully add it to the creamed butter and sugar.  Fold the flour in using a spatula. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 25-30minutes in a preheated at 325F/ 180C. Test the cake with a skewer and if it comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven and using a spatula loosen the sides of the cake from the edge and turn over to a rack to cool. Leave to cool completely and then halve the cake across. Sandwich the cake with the jam. Sprinkle icing sugar on top and serve.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Brinjal Bake

Not that Brinjal is our favorite vegetable, but after this bake, we have quite acquired the taste for this purple veggie..

Brinjal - 500gms
Potatoes - 500gms
Onions - 3 large finely chopped
Tomatoes - 4 large blanched and pureed
Spring Onions - 2tbs finely chopped
Green chillies - 2 finely chopped
Garlic paste -1tsp
Corn flour - 2tsp dissolved in a little water
White pepper - 1tsp
Soya Sauce - 1tsp
Tomato Chilly Sauce - 3tbs
Butter - 1tbs
Milk - 1/4cup
Sugar - 1tsp
Processed Cheese - 2cubes (Amul)
Salt to taste

Into a pot of boiling water, boil the potatoes till soft. Peel and then mash using milk and butter to get a spreadable consistency. Slice the brinjal into thin roundrels, shallow fry them and keep aside. Into a wok, saute the garlic paste, onions and chillies for 2-3minutes. Also add the sugar while sauteeing the onions. Then add tomato chilly sauce, soya sauce,white pepper powder and tomato puree and bring to a light simmer. Tip in the corn flour mixture and cook for a minute or two. Then add the spring onions, lightly toss them in the sauce. Taste and check for seasoning, add salt only if required.Remove from the flame and keep aside. Into a greased baking dish, firstly layer the potato, then arrange the fried brinjals and then top with tomato sauce. Repeat the layers and lastly grate the processed cheese and bake for 20minutes at 120C.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chiratta Puttu and Egg Roast!!

When your conscious of what you eat, it sometimes gets to you, and this time it did for both me and my husband. We were bored of rotis/ or of any any indian flat bread and my husband says, 'could you make egg roast?'. I liked the idea and instantly thought of Puttu, its a deadly combination of course teamed with bananas or plantains.

Chiratta Puttu

Double Horse Wheat Puttu Powder - 2cups
Grated Cocout - 1 1/2cups
Salt to taste

Into a bowl, empty the puttu powder, add salt to taste and add about 4-5tbs of coconut gratings. With your hand pour water little by little to wet the puttu to get a coarse wet sand like mixture. Keep the puttu mixture aside for about 10minutes. Into the puttu maker, first put a little coconut and then add the mixed puttu powder, when the puttu maker is almost full top the puttu powder with more coconut gratings, close with the lid and place onto the steamer. Use a coconut shell steel replica known as Chiratta Puttu maker and steam the puttu for 7 minutes. Unmould and serve. Below is a picture of the Chiratta Puttu Maker.

Egg Roast

Eggs - 5 hardboiled
Coriander Powder - 2tbs
Chilly Powder - 1tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/4tsp
Cumin Powder - 1/4tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1tsp
Onion - 2 medium finely sliced
Tomatoes - 2 blanched and chopped
Coriander leaves - 2tbs chopped finely
Salt to taste
Sugar to sprinkle

Saute the onions till browned, while sauteing the onions sprinkle a pinch of sugar. Tip in the ginger garlic paste and then saute for a minute, then add all the powders and saute till the fat separation starts to happen add, in the roughly chopped up tomatoes and saute till the tomatoes are well integrated into the masala. Add about quarter of a cup of warm water and let the masala simmer. Once the masala is cooked well add in the chopped coriander leaves and mix well. Make a couple of  knife slashes around the eggs and toss in the eggs into the masala and give the eggs a good mix. Serve hot with puttu.

Tip: To make puttu you could use any ready made Puttu powder available in other leading brands from Nirapara or Double Horse. The types of Puttu Powder available are aplenty. Note that the method to make any puttu remains the same.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Orange Cake in Coffee Icing

I had my Best friend and husband come over after their work, well apart from a cup of chai, I knew I had to treat them to a sweet tooth owing to the fact that they are newly weds. Here's what I had in store for them. I'm also sending this across to Divya for her event 'Show me Your cake'.

Plain Flour - 4oz
Eggs - 3 separated
Castor sugar - 4oz
Butter - 1dsp
Orange juice - 3dsp
Cream of tartar - 1tsp
Soda bicarb - 1/2tsp

Sift the flour with cream of tartar and soda bicarb and keep aside. Whisk the egg whites till stiff. Beat the yolk separately till lemon coloured. Add sugar little by little and beat well. To this add the sifted flour little by little and continue to beat. Boil the orange juice. Place the butter into the boiled orange juice. Once the butter has melted add this to the batter and mix well. Lastly fold in the whisked egg whites to the batter. Pour the batter into a greased pan of  6" x 2" and bake for 35- 40minutes into a preheated oven of 160C

For the Coffee Icing
Instant coffee- 1dsp
Egg white - 1
Water - 4dsp
Icing sugar - 1/2lb

Once the cake has cooled, cut the cake into two equal halves across. Beat egg whites till stiff. Dilute the coffee powder into the water and then add the icing sugar. Add this to the whisked egg whites and whisk. Place this bowl over a vessel of boiling water so that the icing gets steam. Beat the mixture till it gets thick and turns into a nice, light brown creamy texture. Using a spatula spread some of the icing over one half of the cake, cover with the other half and and using a piping bag pipe the remaining icing onto the top half of the cake. You could also decorate the cake with chocolate sprinkles or grated chocolate and serve cold.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fried Fish in Coconut Gravy

This is such a versatile dish that it can be accompanied with anything and is sumptuous down to the last bite.

Seer Fish fillets - 500gms
For the marinade
Chilli Powder - 1tbs
Ginger garlic paste - 1tbs
Coriander Powder - 1tsp
Black pepper Powder-1/2tsp
Turmeric Powder- 1/4tsp
Salt to taste

For the gravy
Ginger garlic paste - 1tbs
Coriander Powder - 2tbs
Turmeric Powder - 1/4tsp
Chilli Powder - 1/2tsp
Onions - 2 thinly sliced
Tomatoes - 1 finely chopped
Curry leaves - a sprig
Coconut milk - 1cup

Combine all the powders to smear onto the fish. Allow the fish to be marinated for an hour. In the meantime heat oil into a pan and saute the onions till transparent, then add the curry leaves and fry for a minute. Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute. Then add the coriander powder, turmeric powder and chilli powder and saute till the masala powders are well combined and the fat separation happens. Then add salt to taste, add the tomatoes and fry till the tomatoes are softened a bit before adding the coconut milk. Bring the gravy to a light simmer. Take it off the flame and keep aside.
Into a another frying heat oil enough to immerse the fish and fry till evenly brown on both sides of the fish. Once the fish is fried, carefully place each fish back into the coconut gravy and put the pan back onto the flame and let the fish simmer for 15minutes. If one desires more coconut milk could be added. Serve with dinner rolls/ bread/ rotis/ parathas/ steamed rice and a fresh salad.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Spinach Thoran

I left my son at school and I was driving by, my eyes stopped at this lady with a large basket selling fresh spinach of all types and colours. I bought three bunches of green spinach and had it cooked in no time. It had been long since we've had some greens at home.

Spinach - 3 bunches
Onion - 1 large finely chopped
Garlic - 5-6 pods finely chopped
Green chilly - 1 finely chopped
Coconut grated - 3tbs
Salt to taste

Thoroughly wash the spinach in water to get rid of the dirt and sand particles. Finely chop the spinach or to speeden the process, put the leaves into a food processor and process in batches to get them chopped evenly. Saute the chopped onion, garlic and chilly till a fragrant aroma is released. The onions need not be browned at all. Tip in the spinach, add salt to taste. Cover and cook for about 5-7 minutes on low flame. Once the spinach is cooked, tip in the grated coconut, give it a good mix and take the spinach off the flame.

Peanut Butter and Jam the French Way!

Who doesn't love hot toast with peanut butter and jam? That was our Saturday morning breakfast, but peanut butter and jam toast dunked in milk and egg?! See for yourself.

White Bread - 10slices
Milk - 1cup (warm)
Honey -1-2tbs
Peanut butter
Mixed fruit jam/ Raspberry Jam/ Strawberry Jam

Spread peanut butter on one bread slice and on the other jam. Place them together to make a sandwich. Do the same with the remaining bread slices to make 5 sandwiches. Into a shallow dish beat the eggs, milk and honey. Soak each side of the sandwich into the mixture and fry each side till golden brown onto a hot tava/ griddle. Cut them into halves and enjoy with your cup of chai/ coffee.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Egg Fu Yung~Egg Foo Yung

Egg Foo yung is an authentic Chinese dish filled with vegetables, meat or prawns and pan fried. It's easy to cook up, add whatever you have at stock from tofu to crab meat and better you needn't worry about the appearance.

Eggs - 4 separated from yolk
Carrots - 4 thinly julienned
Potato - 2 thinly julienned
Celery - 1dsp chopped
Green Bell Pepper -  diced into small cubes
Onion - 1 large finely chopped
Cooked Chicken/ Mutton/ Prawns - 1/4cup
Soya Sauce - 1tsp
White pepper
Salt to taste

Saute the onions for a minute and then add all the vegetables except celery and saute till the potatoes are cooked. When the vegetables are done add the chopped celery and saute for a minute or two.In the meantime beat the egg whites till stiff, add the yolks, soya sauce pepper and salt only if required and whip well. Add in the cooked vegetables to the egg mixture and mix well. Onto a flat griddle/ tava coat a thin film of olive oil and drop spoonfuls of the egg mixture, flip and cook the other side as well. Serve hot with some steamed jasmine rice.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Raspberry Souffle

If you go by tradition, then it must and rightfully by all means be a cake ~ to be cut for a birthday. So we broke it this year and went in for a dessert to be cut for the husband's birthday, that too I ensured it was one of his favorite flavours.

Digestive biscuits - 200gms
Melted butter - 3oz 
Sugar - 2tbs
Raspberry jelly - 1 big packet
Hot water - 2cups
Sugar - 2tbs
Lemon juice - 1tsp
Whipping cream - 250ml

Powder biscuits along with sugar and butter. Mix well and line the bottom of 9 1/2 "greased spring form pan. And then keep in the fridge.
Dissolve jelly crystals in hot water. Add sugar and lemon juice. Cool and keep in refrigerator till just wobbly. Whip cream  till nice and stiff and then fold into jelly mixture. Pour into biscuit base and allow to set for a couple of hours.

Strawberries or any fruit of choice - 1 box or 1 can 
Gelatin - 11/2 tsp
Juice from the tin - 1cup

Drain the fruits and reserve the juice. Dissolve gelatin into a little hot water and mix with the rest of the juice. Allow to set till the mixture mounts & spoon over the fruits arranged over the dessert. Let it remain in the fridge for a couple of hours before unmoulding.
Alternatively if you are using fresh strawberries then slice them and arrange them on the souffle and glaze the gelatin mixture (gelatin mixed in a little bit of hot water till it is completely dissolved, let it cool before glazing) over the strawberries to let the strawberries set.

Note: I did not find time to put fruits on my dessert, as my souffle took time to set, so I resorted to putting coloured sprinkles randomly for the presentation.

Tip: I made the whipped cream by chilling a clean stainless steel bowl, a whisk, and the cream in the refrigerator or freezer for 10 or 20 minutes. Let them get nice and cold, but don't freeze the cream. (Cream is easier to whip when cold.).Pour the cream, when chilled, in the bowl and start whisking. It will take 3 or 4 minutes to whip a cup of cream. At first bubbles will appear on the surface of the cream, then it will start to become foamy, then volume will begin to build. As volume builds, the cream will pass through several degrees of stiffness. Light and foamy is best for topping cakes and desserts as an accompaniment; stiff and firm is best to use as a cake frosting or to make mousse.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Late Night Party Snacks

It was my Husband's birthday two days back and my brother and me immediately thought of  a plan to make his day special. We invited about 12 of his friends over and decided on a late night gathering at our home. Since all of them confirmed on a late arrival, which is as late as 10.30pm...I could only think of some snacks to keep us all alert and awake for the night. My snack menu for the party comprised of Chiken Tikka Cocktail, Stuffed Eggs, Green chutney and Carrot Sandwiches, Cocktail Sausages, Potato chips with garlic and chilly dip, Mushroom and Potato pie, Warm Orange Tea and Raspberry Souffle.

Chicken Tikka Cocktail

Chicken Tikka - 24 pieces (I ordered this from a local tandoori restaurant and had them home delivered)
Thousand Island Dressing - 1/2cup
Half a Green Bell pepper - diced into cubes

Chop the chiken tikka into small pieces and plop in the thousand island dressing and diced pepper and mix well. Serve immediately. This can be refrigerated and used for a sandwich filling for the next day as well.

Stuffed Eggs

Hardboiled Eggs - 24 halved lengthwise
Cheese spread - 4-5tbs
Mayonnaise - 1/4cup
Tobasco Sauce - a couple of dabs
White pepper - a pinch
Onion - one small finely chopped
Small green pepper - finely chopped (reserve some for garnish)
Prawns  - 200gms (I used frozen prawns)
Lemon juice - 1-2tsp
Salt to taste
Lettuce leaves

Thaw the prawns. Into a pot, pour water enough to cover the prawns and bring the water toa boil. Once the water the starts to boil, put in some pepper and salt to season. Take the prawns out in 2-3minutes, or else the prawns would become rubbery. After they have cooled a bit, chop them up.
Into a another bowl, using a teaspoon scoop out the egg yolks and add the mayonnaise and mix well. Add the tobasco sauce and white pepper and combine well. Then add in the chopped pepper, onion and prawns and combine again. Taste and adjust the seasoning and then add the lemon juice. Fill each egg white with the filling and garnish with a green pepper and arrange the eggs on to a bed of lettuce leaves.

Mushroom and Potato Pie

Mushroom - 250gms
Potato - 5-6 diced into cubes
Carrot - 2-3 diced into cubes
Green chilly - 2 finely chopped
Onion - 2 medium sized finely chopped
Garlic - 3-4pods finely chopped
Hot and sweet tomato sauce - 4-5tbs
Salt to taste

For the Bechamel Sauce
Flour - 4tbs
Milk - 2cups
Butter  - 2tbs
Cheddar Cheese grated - 1/2cup
Nutmeg grated - 1/4 tsp
Pepper - 1/4tsp
Salt to taste

Fry the potatoes and carrot and remove onto absorbent paper. Then saute the garlic, onion and chilly. When the onion becomes transparent, add the Hot and sweet tomato sauce and fry for a minute. Tip in the mushrooms and fry till it becomes nice and soft. Add the fried potatoes and carrot and mix well. Check on the seasoning. Empty into a greased pie dish and top with bechamal sauce and grated cheddar cheese and bake for 35minutes at 120C.

For the roux [White sauce/ Bechamel Sauce]
Into a heavy bottomed saucepan melt the butter, add in the flour and stir continuously till it forms a soft paste and bubbles. Careful not to brown the roux. Mix in the milk and keep stirring till the roux thickens. Add salt to taste, pepper and grated nutmeg and mix well.

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