Sunday, March 27, 2011

Almond Carrot Kheer






With the sun blazing down and summer almost here there's no better way to beat the heat other than with fresh and frothy homemade smoothies, shakes and fruit juices.  ...... humble butter milk we love you too!

Ground almonds cooked in milk flavoured with cardamom along with a touch of saffron, the 'carroty' taste  complimenting the nutty flavour, this kheer serves best any time of the day, and is for sure a perfect nourishing summer drink which you can prepare in less than half an hour!

Almond Carrot Kheer (fills 4 large glasses)

*Fat free milk- 1 litre/ 1000ml
Almonds-large- 35 nos
Carrot- 1 big
Sugar- 10-12 tsps (or as per your taste)
Cardamom seeds, powdered-1/2 tsp or to flavour
Saffron strands- a few

*Fat free milk is preferred as whole milk suppresses the natural taste of almonds. Kheer made with light milk is more comforting too.




Soak almonds in hot water ; just enough to keep them immersed for 30 minutes. Peel off skin one by one and grind to a smoothest paste adding a little milk. Peel the skin of  the carrot, cut into chunks and pressure cook. Cool and grind to a smooth paste. If you have the cooked water, do not worry! Stir in both the pastes into that until blended. If there isn't any left over water, just blend the pastes in half cup of milk reserved from the one litre.
Add sugar to the milk and bring to boil. Reduce the flame and blend in the pastes stirring continuously. Simmer for 5 minutes to let the nuts cook. If you feel the kheer too thick, stir along 1/2 a cup of milk or so to bring to the right consistency. Switch off the flame, stir in cardamom and serve hot topped with saffron strands. The kheer turns thicker while cooling.



I love it chilled, though! It was so soothing and refreshing that I ended up having a whole chilled jug thoroughout the day, skipping meals ;).

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tofu tea Sandwiches with Green Tulsi Tea




Electrolux and Kelly Ripa are proud to support the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund whose mission is to fund research to find a method of early detection and ultimately a cure for Ovarian Cancer. Electrolux has committed to donate $ 750,000 to this worthy cause. Right now on Kelly Confidential, you can select a perfect tea party outfit for Kelly's Tea Party for a Cause. When you do Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.

Foodbuzz and Electrolux are partnering to host a Top 9 Tea Party Takeover on Friday, March 25th. In a Top 9 take over, Foodbuzz has asked their Featured Publishers to construct a post around a theme and then, for one day only, all Top 9 posts reflect that theme! For this they want us to create the perfect tea party recipe.Foodbuzz will also donate $50 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund for everyday tea party recipe created by a Featured Publisher before March 23rd!


Why Tofu Sandwiches with Green Tea?

Tofu- Eating tofu regularly can almost halve a woman's chances of developing ovarian cancer according to the researchers. More here..

Vegetables are rich in bio active compounds with potential cancer-preventive actions and increased consumption reduces the risk of ovarian cancer. Cherry tomatoes, bell pepper, onions, onion greens, cilantro, baby carrots and cucumber are used to make this sandwich. Learn more here..

Green Tulsi Tea- Tulsi (Holy Basil), recognised as India's most sacred herbs originated in the country many thousands of years ago, is known for its rich antioxidant and adaptogenic properties. Also referred to as Holy Basil Tea, this herbal brew's adaptogens guard against and deal with physical, chemical, environmental and emotional factors that produce high levels of stress that compromise physical and mental health. Read more about its benefits here..




Tofu tea Sandwiches (serves 4-6)
  •  8 -10 slices of wheat bread
  •  1 cup of finely minced fresh vegetables and herbs. I used bell pepper, cherry tomatoes baby carrots and cucumber,onions,onion greens and cilantro
  •  4 one inch cubes of Tofu
  • 1 tsp of  dark soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp of white pepper powder
  • A few drops of  lemon juice
  • Salt, to taste



Wash and crumble tofu gently with you finger tips in a bowl and mix in the minced vegetables along with the soy sauce, lemon juice, pepper powder and salt, gently until combined.

Trim the edges of the bread slices and cut into rectangles or squares. Place the tofu vegetable mix as a thick layer over the slice, close with another,  hold using a toothpick inserted, topped with a halved cherry tomato.




Green Tulsi Tea  (makes 4-6 cups)
  •   Handful of Tulsi (holy basil) leaves - I always have the plant in my back yard and plucked fresh green leaves.
  •   A tsp of fresh orange peel
  •   2 tbsps,  Honey
  •   One litre, Water


Wash the tulsi leaves and boil with orange peel in water for a minute. Let it stand for 5 minutes.
Strain, stir in honey and it is ready to be served hot. Can be served cold as well.



Saturday, March 19, 2011

POTW ~ Kitty on the Wall




As a matter of fact, I hate cats! Yes, I do!
 But surprisingly this kitten has become my pet ever since he popped in one fine day at amma's house. He was fed fresh milk, fish, meat, bread and rice whenever he was hungry and he chased and pounced on the mice in return..
He welcomes me with a soft meaow during my occasional visits to amma's and I take care of him until I leave..
While packing my things after the Christmas holidays, 3 months back, my parents were seeing me off and he sat there with his softest continuous meows, with his head hanging down. I almost cried while patting him....my parents too ....

This picture was taken on a sunny afternoon while enjoying his peaceful nap after one of his sumptuous 'fish n rice' lunches.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Mushroom Manchurian




Mushroom Manchurian 016


The confident statement that arises from me while working in any kitchen is that I am an expert in making manchurian dishes. Be it Gobi or Mushrooms, I seldom flaw and perfect it blindfolded :)

 Mushroom Manchurian, dry (To serve 4)

Button mushrooms,15-20 (I used a 200gm packet)

For the batter:

3/4 cup maida
1/4 cup cornflour
A green chilly, crushed or 2 tsps of green chilly sauce or 1/2 tsp red chilly powder
2 shallots/small onions-crushed
A tsp of minced garlic
Salt, to taste
Water, to make a thick batter

Oil- to deep fry

 Final Mix up:

2 tbsp- Oil
A tbsp of ginger + garlic, julienned (or paste)
A green bell pepper- cut into 1/2 inch squares
A big onion - cut into 1/2 inch squares
2 tbsp- dark soy sauce (I used Ching's secret)
1 tbsp- green chilly sauce ( I used Weikfields)
1/2 tsp red chilly powder or 2 red chillies broken into 3 pcs each
1/4 tsp white pepper powder
Salt- to taste (be careful, the sauces contain salt)
Scallions- to garnish


Mushroom Manchurian 008


Method: 

1. Wash and slice the mushrooms thin and long.

2. Prepare the batter with the ingredients listed, thick, which resembles dosa/idly batter, in a wide vessel.

3. Dump the sliced mushrooms into the batter and mix well. Drop small bite sized pieces into hot oil and deep fry until browned, as batches. Keep aside.


4. Now for the mixing up part; in a broad and wide wok, heat 2 tbsp oil and sauté the sliced ginger-garlic,(broken red chillies if you substitute red chilly powder), onion and capsicum in that order and sauté for a couple of minute. The onions and bell pepper should retain its crispiness and do not let them turn brown.They need to be just translucent.

5. Now add the red chilly powder(if you omit red chilly bits), soy and chilly sauces along with white pepper powder in high flame and mix continuously for a few seconds.

I took off the dish from the stove at this stage after adding the fried mushrooms and mixing it up well together allowing the sauces and spices to seep in and did not add any water as I needed the dry version. I served hot garnished with scallions (spring onion greens).

If you prefer a semi dry version;

6. Add ½ cup of water at the end of stage 5 above along with the fried and cooled mushroom chunks.

7. Sauté again for 3-4 minutes to absorb excess water of any and switch off fire when it is semi dry/ saucy consistency has reached. Let the pieces be 'a li'l crisp' and not soggy at this stage.Garnish with scallions and serve hot with Indochinese fried rice or noodles.

If you like the gravy version of the same, add some more water, say 1/2 - 3/4 cup more and make it thick by adding a tspful cornflour while you bring it to boil. Simmer for a few minutes and serve hot. Again, see to it that you add a little extra amounts of the sauces and spices as the water dilutes the final taste of the gravy version.


Mushroom Manchurian 011-1


Plagiarism

While composing the post it reminded me of this site (pls dont click on the link giving them more hits, the screen shot is just below) which lifted my Gobi manchurian picture without permission and advertised in the name of Mushroom manchurian in theirs!! :)

I had mailed them but no response until now nor they removed my picture.
As soon as I post this, I am thinking of mailing them to lift any of the pictures from here as a fresh substitution so that they play fair at least with their customers ;)





Well, these guys, Andhra Corner @ Onetech (pls dont click on the link giving them more hits, the screen shot is just below) has also lifted the same picture and named Gobi Manchurian...(thankfully not fooling their readers with the image part but with editing the recipe a bit). I have yet to write to them but have no hope that they would remove the picture and do some justice.






My original post of Gobi Manchurian which I prepared for Arusuvai Season-1





Coming back to the recipe of Mushroom Munchurian, this seems to be complicated, but believe me, it's simple. Even if the measurements of sauces or ingredients get altered a little, the final outcome will always be great! I love this dry version the best as it has the exact 'restaurant style' taste of crispy mushrooms, with the added traditional blackish hue, soaked in the flavour of the rich dark soy!

Mushroom Manchurian 025

Monday, March 7, 2011

Whole Wheat Almond Eggless Cookies




S imple, crunchy, flavorful and addictively delicious is an understatement for these cookies you see here. Tight hugs to Sweet Punch team for the wonderful choice!

Take my words, bake them and you will never regret munching on this very much 'Indianish' Cookies!

Recipe Source- Manjula's Kitchen

Ingredients (to make 24 cookies)
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder, ground coarsely 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (8 tablespoons or 4oz)
  • About 2 tablespoons of milk or as needed


Method 


  1. Pre heat the oven to 360 degree F.
  2. In a bowl, mix the dry ingredients; flour, sugar, salt, sliced almonds and cardamom powder well.
  3. Next add soft butter and milk to the flour mixture to make dough. Dough should be very soft.
  4. Divide the dough into about 24 equal parts and make them into balls.
  5. Press each ball between your palms lightly; every piece should be about 1/2” in thickness.
  6. Place the dough balls on an ungreased cookie sheet about inch a part.
  7. Bake the cookies for about 18 minutes or until cookies are lightly golden brown.
  8. After they are done remove the cookie sheet from the oven. Let the cookies cool down for two to three minutes before taking them off the cookie sheet.




The pic up is the 2nd batch of cookies baked with a higher temp and deliberately over browned. They were crunchier and tastier :)




            The changes made from the original recipe:-

            1. No added milk.The homemade butter was soft enough and dint call for the milk. On the contrary the dough was sticky and I had to knead in 2 tbsps of wheat flour to make it right.

            2. Used half cup,scant, granulated sugar, which was powdered and kneaded in. Still the cookies were towards the sweeter side. 1/4 cup sugar will be ideal for a cup of heaped flour, coz I prefer my cookies less sweet! (The original recipe calls for fine granulated sugar)
          
             3. The oven temp was set to 210 C (a high temp for anyone but not to my old fashioned conv one :)) and the baking time needed was 15-18 minutes, the edges have browned but the cookies tasted great that way.The original recipe says 180 C for 18 min. So the baking time varies according to the temp and type of oven you use.

            4. I made 36 cookies inspite of the changes and will be baking this again and again and again unlike Manjula who does just once in the video ;)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Ode to my Angel


I still remember the day, brother and me waiting impatiently for amma who finally entered the house with a white bundle, carefully wrapped.
She lay there calm and quiet in amma's warmth. The joyous moment, of welcoming the bundle of joy with soft kisses on the rosy cheeks...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Devil's Food Cake for the Chocoholics!





It was half past midnight. V and me were getting back home chitchatting happily about the eventful Loyolites' meet. Suddenly I came across a pretty looking box sitting at the back seat of my car.I reached out for my mobile, searched the name Shobhna and queried, "hey, is this box yours? shall I just come across and give it back to you?"

"Don't do it Bharathy, it's for you. Open and enjoy," came the reply.

"I thought she left it behind while getting dropped" I explained to my better half.

Shobhna, one of my dearest pals among V's friends' wives, had come down with Sudhakar, her lively n cheerful hubby for the Loyolites' meet from Kodai.

Back home, I couldn't wait to open the cute box.
Yaaoo!! The Rich Moist Devil's Own Chocolate Cake!!
I squealed in delight! Believe me or not, I found licking my fingers clean after finishing half of it within a minute with a heavy burp, that too after the grand buffet dinner at the college meet.
It was the yummilicious Devil's cake I'd ever had!

I called up Shobhana the next day for the recipe which she explained. The ingredients and the method sounded almost exactly like Nigella's Granma's Devil's Food Cake, except for the slight difference in measurements, addition of coffee powder and the frosting.

I baked the cake thrice ever since and it came out perfectly delicious every time I did!

Try it if you are a chocoholic; you will never fail and ultimately will be baking it again and again!


Devil's Chocolate Cake to serve 6 regular people or 3 chocoholics ;)

Remember, you need 11 major ingredients to make the cake.

All purpose flour- 1 1/2 cups
Granulated sugar- 1 - 1 1/4 cup
Butter, softened- 1/2 cup (you may also use 1/4 cup butter + 1/4 cup oil)
Eggs- 2
Salt- a pinch
Baking powder- 1/4 tsp
Baking soda- 1 tsp
Vanilla essence- 1 tsp
Boiling water- 1 cup
Unsweetened cocoa powder- 1/2 cup ( I used Cadbury's)
Coffee powder- 1/2 tsp 

1. Boil a cup of water in a wide saucepan. Switch off the stove and dissolve coffee and cocoa powders well without any lumps. Keep aside to cool to room temperature.

2. Powder sugar. Sift the dry ingredients 3-4 times. (ie, flour + salt+ baking soda+ baking powder). Keep aside.

3. Position a rack in centre of the oven and pre-heat to 350 F/175 C. Grease and flour, two 8 inch cake pans.

4. In another wide n large bowl, beat butter until fluffy using an electric mixer and gradually add the powdered sugar. Beat in the eggs, one at a time; add the vanilla and beat again until light for a minute or two. Fold in the dry ingredients alternating with the cocoa mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.

5. Divide batter between the prepared pans, smoothing the tops. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the tops spring back when lightly touched and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with just a few crumbs clinging to it ( read it again, and it's not like the usual cake test where the skewer has to come out neat n clean)

6. Do not over bake or the cakes will become dry and will lose that 'touch' of the Devil ;)

7. Cool the pans on a wire rack.Run a knife around the edges to loosen from the pans and turn layers out on the rack, placing one upside down and the other right side up.


For the Easy Chocolate Frosting: (makes 400 gms)

Butter, softened- 200 gms
Confectioners sugar- 150 gms
Unsweetened cocoa powder- 3 tablespoons
Vanilla- 1/2 tsp

Cream butter and sift in sugar and cocoa powder. Add vanilla and mix well until soft and creamy. You may add 3-4 tsps of milk little by little if you find the frosting too thick. Be careful or it may turn out to be runny.

* I never measure when it comes to frosting and the measurements above are approximate. I start with 100 gms/ half cup of butter, add 1/4-1/2 cup of sugar, 2 tbsps cocoa and proceed doing taste tests in between increasing the quantity, slowly. I avoid the addition of vanilla since contented with the 'chocolatey home made butter' flavored frosting.


To Frost the Cake:

1. Brush any loose crumbs from the layers and place one upside down on a serving plate. Spread with some of the frosting. Centre the remaining layer, right side up over the top.

2. Use remaining frosting to coat top and sides making decorative swirls around sides and over the top.

3. Chill to set frosting but return to room temperature before serving.