Saturday, October 22, 2011

Got published in Rediff.com

I had sent my recipe Paan petha for diwali festival on rediff.comand here it got published along with three more recipes.Super excited right now .. :)

http://www.rediff.com/getahead/slide-show/slide-show-1-specials-festive-recipes-paan-petha-kaju-katli-and-more/20111021.htm

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Paan Petha- an exotic sweet from city of Taj

Agra is the place where I have spent my favorite time mostly i.e. summer vacations. Yes, This city is where my grand-parents used to live ,where my parents grew up and got married.They shifted to Rajasthan because of work constraints but we always found our selves well connected to this city in fact in love with this city. I got chance to do graduation from here which was the golden time I had in my whole education life.These four years not only I molded myself in a logical & analytical person through my degree but also got chance to develop satisfy my taste buds with some new tastes.
Agra is famous for Taj Mahal (one of Seven Wonders of the World) everyone knows but what makes it stand out of the crowd is -its Crowd! Yeah I love this city n I belong to it but still it gives me goose bumps when it comes to its irregular traffic and crowd.
But as Burger king says "Taste is King" I can go again n again to visit its famous eating joints like for chaat at Saudagar line Sadar, Bhagat Halwai, Panchi Petha Store, Deviram's etc..But I miss a typical yet exotic sweet from there-Pan Petha. I can hardly find this sweet in other parts of India or abroad. 
So here is the nostalgic recipe which I got from authentic Halwais (sweet makers) in Agra and picture courtesy Panchhi petha Store.

 
But first some trivia on Petha:
Petha (Hindi: पेठा pronounced [ˈpeːʈʰaː]) is a translucent soft candy from North India. Usually in the shape of rectangular or cylindrical pieces, it is made from the Ash gourd vegetable (also known as winter melon or white pumpkin, or simply petha in Hindi and Urdu).

Paan Petha are thin Petha slices with pistachio sandesh.
So for filling we need to make Bengali sweet Sandesh with fresh chenna.
Ingredients for sandesh:
1 1/4 cups chenna (how to make chenna at home)
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons pistachios, finely chopped,
a few saffron strands
1/4 teaspoon cardamom (elaichi) powder

Method:
Knead the chenna till it is as smooth as possible. Add the sugar to it. Put this mixture into a shallow vessel stirring constantly over low heat and avoid over heating as If it does over heat, it will become grainy and fat will separate. The mixture will first turn liquidy and then start thickening. When the mixture becomes a creamy thick paste/very soft dough consistency then stir in cardamom powder,saffron strands and pistachios.

For wrapping it up:

Ingredients:
1 kg of Ash Gourd/White Pumpkin
small peice of Alum
700 gms 3 1/2 cups of Sugar
Water for boiling gaurd.
Cloves for garnishing

Method:
Peel the pumpkin and remove the seeds and soft fibers. Cut it into 4'x4', thick slices. Prick well with a fork, all over.
Soak these slices in water with small alum(fitkari) pieces it for 2 hours. Then rinse the slices with fresh water thoroughly.
Now boil the water and cook the ashgourd slices with lid On for 4-5 mins or till it changes its color to transparent.
Don't let it cook completely.Drain the water now.
Take another pan with sugar and add slices in to it.Keep it aside for half an hour.
Slices will leave water and get mixed with sugar.So there will be enough of water for making sugar syrup out of it.
Heat this pan on low heat and let the sugar dissolve completely and cook slices on medium heat afterwards.
Remove it from syrup before getting dry.Now it is ready for wrapping the sandesh filling.
Now divide the filling into equal parts and shape each portion into even sized balls.
Place one portion of the filling on a petha slice.
Fold it along the sides to form a triangle and stud it with a clove.

Note:
To slice the petha, use a sharp wafer slicer.
Always use cow’s milk for making chenna as it has a low fat content.

Home made Paneer-Indian cheese

Paneer, Chenna or Indian cheese is very important part of Indian cuisine.

It can be used as cubes in various spicy curries or in crumbled form for Bengali sweets like rasgulla, sandesh , Kalakand which are all time favorite desserts in India.

So here is the recipe for fresh home made paneer for those who like to make it fresh at home and for those who don't have access to this simple yet important ingredient in their part of world.



Ingredients:
1 liter cow’s milk
2 tblspn vinegar or lemon juice or 250 gm Yoghurt
This will make 1 1/4 cup Paneer(curdled milk)

Method:
Bring the milk to a boil in a heavy bottomed pan, stirring continuously.

After the first boil add vinegar and stir the milk gently.

Instead of vinegar you can also use Yoghurt which will accelerate the curdling and also adds to fat content to make rich Paneer.

The milk will start to curdle and the whey gets separated and leave for two minutes till it get separated completely. Turn off the heat now.

Set the muslin cloth on the sieve (if you don't have muslin cloth then soup sieve can be used directly),pour the curdled milk onto it.

Fold the cloth and squeeze the Paneer lightly about 3 to 4 times so that most of the whey gets drained out.

Remove the Paneer from cloth and now its ready to use for sweets like rasgulla , kalakand etc

To use it in Indian gravies like matar paneer, palak paneer , paneer tikka or a rice dish , you will need Paneer in form of blocks.

So knead the paneer well with bare hands or food processor. This will help Paneer to hold itself together much better.

Wrap this Paneer in a cloth and press it under some heavy weight for few hours in refrigerator.Then cut it into cubes of same size.

Paneer made at home is softer, tastier and unadulterated as compared to the one which we get in markets.

Note:

Medium fat content Cow's milk is always better because if you take high fat content milk the Panner will be more creamy and will be difficult to get into the blocks. But if you take low fat content milk then you will get very less amount of Paneer out of the milk.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Eggless Chocolate cake

This Eggless Chocolate cake was dedicated to my friend's third wedding anniversary. I did not frost this cake with cream because of some transportation issues so I tried simple stencil technique here. I had cut a stencil on a paper and then used powdered sugar and grated coconut to decorate it.




Ingredients:

200gms all purpose flour or maida
1 tin or 400gm sweetened condensed milk
50 gm (1/4 cup) good quality cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda/ sodium bicarbonate
150 gm unsalted butter/ghee melted
2 tsp good quality vanilla extract
150 ml water/soda

Method:
Preparation for baking :
Preheat the oven at 180º C/ 350 F, 10 mins before baking. 
Grease your cake-baking pan with butter/oil. Sprinkle a 8 inches round pan with 1 tbsp of cocoa powder. Tap pans gently to make sure that powder spreads over the pan uniformly. 
Remove the excess cocoa and Set pans aside till ready to use.

Making the batter:

Beat softened butter and condensed milk in one direction till it turns creamy and uniform (I used my blender to beat). Now add vanilla essence to this and mix well.
Sieve together flour, baking powder, cocoa and soda bicarbonate in a bowl and repeat this process at least three times to ensure they mixed properly. Keep aside.
Start folding flour mixture and soda water to the butter mixture, alternatively, starting and ending with the flour.
Repeat the process till the flour and soda water is used completely(or you can check that correct consistency of batter is achieved). 
Folding means to slowly turn dry ingredients into the wet in a circular inward to outward motion. Do not beat or mix vigorously. The main purpose of folding is to allow more air into the mixture which you get from soda.
Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake at 150 degrees C for 60 minutes in the preheated oven. 
After 45 minutes start checking cake by inserting a toothpick or knife in the middle of cake, if it comes out clean then remove it from oven otherwise let it bake for few more minutes.
Once the cake is out of oven let it cool for 20 mins on the counter top. Don't make efforts to cool it under fan or so otherwise it will turn dry.
Loosen the sides of cake using a knife and then invert cake onto a plate or cooling rack. Now wrap this warm cake in a plastic wrap which will keep it moist.
If you want to frost your cake wait for cake to cool down completely and frost it with cream or simply place a stencil and decorate it with powdered sugar or cocoa or coconut.

In Microwave:
We can bake(basically cook) this cake in microwave also and that too in few minutes like 5 minutes. But the only difference will be the texture and the color of the cake. It will not turn brown and no hard crust on the top but taste will be exactly the same.
What you need to do is to just put the same cake batter in a greased microwave bowl (say glass bowl)and then cook for 5 minutes or until cake gets set with power setting set to high power i.e. 100%.
Check it out every 2 mins and if the cake looks still wet go ahead with another 30 seconds.The timing is subjected to your microwave settings.
Let the cake cool down for 15 mins and then you can invert it and follow the same rules above.
Remember that when I am saying microwave it! then I mean microwave cooking which we use for reheating or defrosting not the convection mode/grill which we use for baking or grilling.

Notes:
-Time to bake and to cool depends on the amount of batter you have poured in the pan.If it is more time will be more if it is less than cake will be ready in less time.
-While cooling, once the cake is warm you can wrap it in a plastic wrap to keep it moist and fresh.
-The cake cracks sometimes because of the uneven heating which can be minimize by not opening the oven frequently while baking and always put the pan in the middle of oven for even baking.
-Always do stencil work 15-20 minutes before you want to serve if doing it with sugar as it can get 
absorbed quickly.
-Use exact amount of ingredients to get better result.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Tips n Tricks


Extract Lemon Juice to the fullest:
First poke the skin of the lemon with a fork, being careful not to poke all the way through the skin to the flesh.
Place the lemon(s) in the microwave on high for 20 to 30 seconds.
Or
Lemons can also be warmed by placing them in a bowl and pouring boiling water over them. Allow them to sit in the hot water for 30 seconds.   
After the lemons have been warmed, roll them on a solid surface using the palm of your hand. Roll until you feel the flesh softening.Now when you cut and squeeze you can get more juice as compared to normal way.

Difference between Baking Powder and Baking Soda:
Baking Powder -A combination of baking soda, an acid and a moisture absorber, which together form a leavening agent. Just the right amount of acid is added to the baking soda so that when the baking powder is added to moist ingredients, there is a reaction that releases carbon dioxide bubbles. This reaction is what makes the batter or dough rise.

Baking Soda -An ingredient used as a leavening agent. When it is mixed with an acidic ingredient and then comes in contact with liquid ingredients, a chemical reaction occurs. The chemical reaction releases carbon dioxide gas and causes the rising action in dough or batter. Some of the acidic ingredients that cause the reaction with baking soda are vinegar, lemon juice, orange juice, buttermilk, sour milk, sour cream, honey, chocolate and molasses. The chemical reaction begins as soon as the liquid is added, so the dough or batter should be baked as soon as possible after it has been mixed. If too much time passes before baking, the gases can escape and the product will not rise properly when baked.

Baking Soda have good shelf life but baking powder can become less effective with time.To determine if baking powder is still active add 1 teaspoon to 1/3 cup of hot water. If it bubbles vigorously, it's still active and will give good baking result.

-To avoid stickiness in Rice Add a few drops of lemon juice to the rice while cooking, you will find that the grains of rice will remain separate.

-To get really soft chapatis, the trick lies in the kneading. The more you knead, the smoother the dough becomes and the smoother the dough is, the softer the Chapatis. Another secret to soft Chapatis is using fresh yoghurt or milk instead of water, to make the dough! When you're done kneading the dough and it is smooth, wet your hand with water and run it all over the surface of the ball of dough. Cover with a damp cloth and set aside for half an hour before using.

-If you misfired with the seasoning (and we all do that sometime!) and your curry is saltier than you like, don't throw it out. All you need to do is peel and cut a large potato in half and add it to your curry. It will absorb the extra salt!
-If you make your own ginger, garlic and fresh chilli pastes at home, ensure a longer life by adding a tablespoon of hot vegetable/ canola/ sunflower cooking oil to them and mixing well. Refrigerate and use as required.
-Cooking cabbage can be a smelly affair! Its strong odor permeates the home and stays for long after the cooking is done! To avoid this problem, add a bay leaf to cabbage while cooking it. Not only will this drastically reduce any odors, it will also enhance the flavor of the dish.

Something other than cooking:
-Store your bed linens inside the matching pillowcase! Put the set of sheets right inside a case and store it on a shelf. That way you know what color sheets are there and you’ll have the whole set ready to go.
-Remove tarnish from copper and brass cookware. Squeeze ketchup onto a cloth and rub it on pots and pans. They should go back to their coppery color in minutes. Rinse with warm water and dry with a towel.
(real simple.com)


-Cover the blemish on skin with a dab of honey and place a band-aid over it. Honey kills the bacteria, keeps the skin sterile, and speeds healing. Works overnight. (www.breakthechain.org)
-If you have a stubborn zipper, you can just lightly rub a candle along the teeth on both sides. Then pull your zipper back and a forth a few times and it should be working better!(realsimple.com)

Note:
All tips are taken from Internet from various websites.If you have one do share with me so that I can update it time to time. :)

Lobiya curry(Black eyed beans)

Lobiya or black eyed beans are full of protiens.This dry Lobia Curry is an easy recipe to prepare when in hurry or when there are no vegetables on hand. This is not only a healthy and nutritious dish but can be put together in no time.
 
Blackeyed bean curry / Lobiya dry



Ingredients:
1 cup black eyed beans(dry or canned)/Lobia/Chowli/chawli
3-4 green chillies
1/4 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A pinch asafoetida
Salt to taste
1 tsp  lemon extract
1 tblspn Oil
Cilantro leaves.

Method:
    If you have pressure cooker then we can start immediately otherwise beans needs to be soaked overnight at least.
Boil the beans using sufficient water in pressure cooker(take two whistle on simmer heat).
Separate the water completely from the cooked beans. Allow to cool.
Take a heavy bottom pan. Heat oil and prepare the seasoning with mustard,  cumin seeds,asafoetida,green chillies.
    Add the dry spices and cooked beans to the pan and stir gently.Add salt to this and mix gently without breaking the beans as they can be mushy.
Finally squeeze the lemon and garnish with cilantro leaves.
Serve hot with rotis/chapatis.

Note:
-For gravy version of black eyes beans, add grated garlic, onion to the oil and sauté until the onion turns golden/ transparent then add tomato puree and cook till oil seperates from the paste.Rest procedure is same.

Kalakand( Ricotta cheese cake Indian version)

This year Rakshabhandan was not so happy-happy festival for us for some reasons. But as they say life moves on,no matter what!
Well I prepared kalakand using sweetened condensed milk and paneer as these were available in my kitchen and was the easiest n fastest option to go for.





This recipe I had taken from Nestle Milkmaid website and made little variation.
I added little milk instead of milk powder.

Ingredients:
1 tin (400g) Sweetened Condensed Milk
1 cup milk   
500 g Paneer (Indian cottage cheese)/ricotta cheese
3-4, powdered Cardamom (Elaichi)
few strand Kesar(saffron)
Dry fruits like pistachio,almonds and cashew nuts.

Method        
Mash paneer coarsely and mix in milk little by little and condensed milk.
Heat the mixture in a thick bottom pan. Cook on medium heat with constant stirring till the mixture becomes thick and starts leaving the sides of the pan.
Remove from the fire and spread onto a greased plate.
Sprinkle elaichi powder & sprinkle kesar soaked in milk & top with pistachio ,almonds and cashew nuts.
Cool and cut into squares or diamond shape.

Note:
-Good, soft Kalakand has some whey water seperating from it, when it spread on the tray.Most of it gets absorbed as the Kalakand cools.
-This recipe makes 3/4 kg.
-This sweet can be stored for 2-3 days if refrigerated. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Zucchini ki kofta curry(Zucchini dumplings in gravy)

Zucchini name itself makes me feel full already. Its not that I never liked it but after my daughter's birth that was the only option for me to have in my meals as sometimes it  was treated as ridge gourd or sometimes as bottle gourd. Poor me after those times I avoided this vegetable in my kitchen but Alas! in Sweden this is a most easily available veggie so It made a way in my kitchen one fine day. And now since I am quite committed to my taste buds so decided to prepare kofta curry out of it i.e. Zucchini dumplings in gravy.
It tasted good and finally I was able to give a makeover to usual bland looking curry into a tempting dish.



Ingredients:
For dumplings:
1/2 kg or 6-7 small Zucchini grated
1 cup gram flour or besan
oil for deep frying dumplings
1/2 tsp salt

For gravy:
2 tomatoes pureed
1 cup yoghurt
1-2 green chillies
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp dry coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
a pinch of asafoetida
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp amchur powder(dry mango powder)
1 tblspn oil
Cilantro leaves for garnishing

Method:
Squeeze zucchini by hands to remove excess water from it and add salt to it.
Now add gram flour and mix it thoroughly to get a thick paste kind of consistency.
Add water if paste is more like a dough.
Heat oil in a deep pan on high heat and start dropping the paste with help of a spoon once the oil is hot enough.Fry these dumplings on medium heat until it turns golden brown.
Take them out on a tissue paper so that it will soak the excess oil.
now for gravy,heat the oil in a pan and add cumin seeds, asafoetida, green chillies.Let it splutter and then add tomatoes puree followed by all powdered spices - coriander, cumin, red chilli powder, 1 tsp garam masala, turmeric and cook with lid on till the oil begins to separate from it.
Add yoghurt to this gravy and mix it properly to get consistent texture.Keep stirring till it get blend with masala and season with salt to taste.
Add 1/2 cup water to the gravy as dumplings will soak some water and later gravy will be too dry to eat.
Gently add the dumplings now and add garam masala and amchur powder.
Let it cook for few more minutes with lid on.
Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot with rice or chapati.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Indian Chickpeas curry(Chole masala)

Finally the recipe is here for much awaited and yummlicious dish -Chole masala or punjabi chole.
I prepared this curry for potluck which was hosted by one of our friend.It turned out so well that everybody asked me to pen down this recipe.
So here it goes.

Ingredinets:
2 cups chick peas or kabuli chana (soaked overnight in water)
1 medium sized chopped red onion

2 tomatoes
3-4 cloves of garlic(the big ones not the Indian garlic)
1 inch ginger
3 green chillies
1 stick of cinnamon(optional)
1 whole big cardamom(optional)
2-3 cloves,
2 tsp chana masala(Everest, MDH, MTR etc. will do)
1/2 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. coriander powder
1 tsp. red chilli powder
1/4 tsp. turmeric powder
1/2 tsp. cumin seeds
salt to taste
3 tbsp oil

a pinch asafoetida 
1 tsp Lemon juice
Cilantro leaves(for garnish)


Method:
Soak the chickpeas overnight in warm water in a big bowl as it will turn double in size. .
Add salt to it and pressure cook for 15-20 mins until 2-3 whistles on medium heat. Turn off the heat and let it cool on the stove.
or 
You can use canned chick peas as they are already boiled and ready to use.
In that case use two tin of chick peas atleast.
For gravy:
Make puree of tomatoes with garlic, ginger and green chillies.
Heat oil in a deep pan and add cumin seeds, asafoetida, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom and let it splutter.
Now add chopped onion to the oil and fry it till it turns golden/pink in color.
Add the tomato garlic puree to this pan and add chilli powder, chana masala, coriander powder, turmeric powder and cook it on low heat with the lid on till the oil seperates from the mixture.
Add salt and chickpeas to this gravy and let it cook more for around 5-10 mins with lid ON on low heat.
Once it is done add lemon juice and garam masala.
Garnish with sliced onions and cilantro leaves and serve hot with poori, bhatura,rice or naan bread.
For best results make it a night before you want to have it so that chick peas soak the masala properly and taste divine.


Note:
-If you don't have dry spices like cinnamon ,cardamom you can simply skip them as adding garam masala and chana masala will serve the purpose too. 
-For getting dark color as we see in restaurants, you can put tea bags while pressure cooking the chickpeas.
-If you find difficulty with boiling chickpeas then you can add a pinch of baking soda i.e. soda bicarbonate while boiling it in pressure cooker.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Svensk Cheezopedia!

Ode To Cheese,
Which Makes Us Smile,
When Camera's go Clack.
Ode To Cheese,
Which make us taste,
The greatest of flavors, the wackiest of whack.
Ode To Cheese,
Blue, Gorgonzola,
American and Cheddar.
Ode To Cheese,
Beja and Feta,
In all types of weather.
Ode To Cheese,
For those on a diet,
or trying to get fatter.
Ode To Cheese,
with crackers and wine,
with grapes can flatter.
Ode To Cheese,
when you're sad and happy,
Cheese just fits.
Ode To Cheese,
Mountains and Mountains,
or bits and bits.
Ode to the Cheese,
To appreciate, eat,
and take pictures! :-)




Vegeterian cheese in Sweden/ vegetarisk ost i Sverige

No ..no.. this blog is still dedicated to recipes not the poems but yeah I came to know something about cheese in Sweden so thought of sharing as it can be useful for few like us- The Vegetarians in Sweden.

Actually we noticed it when we checked the ingredients of cheese which we bought from supermarket ICA (which we are doing from the very first day when we stepped in Stockholm). Apart from other major ingredients there was written "löpe" which means Rennet.

Some trivia on rennet-

Rennet is a complex of enzymes produced in any mammalian stomach to digest the mother's milk, and is often used in the production of cheese. Rennet contains many enzymes, including a proteolytic enzyme (protease) that coagulates the milk, causing it to separate into solids (curds) and liquid (whey). The active enzyme in rennet is called chymosin or rennin (EC 3.4.23.4) but there are also other important enzymes in it, e.g., pepsin and lipase. But there are non-animal sources for rennet that are suitable for vegetarian consumption.

Sweden still makes cheese using animal rennet and also routinely includes gelatin in yoghurt when in whole world, for years, ordinary supermarket cheese is all made with non-animal rennet (and that with only 30% 'registered' vegetarians out of the vast population).

So after doing all this research I found that not only we have to throw this packet away and avoid so-called 'vegetarian' dishes on outlets which contain cheese but also need to find out an alternative if we want to have it at home.



I found that cheese coming from UK mostly contains vegetable rennet or there are very few vegetarian cheese brands in Sweden which you can find in ICA and Hemköp.

- Ekeby cheese made with vegetable rennet.

- A prepacked cheddar cheese from UK in several types: farmhouse/vintage/mild etc from hemköp. (Not sure of it as I haven't tried it.)

- ICA's own brand light cheese is veggie.(Tried n Tasted)

-Vastan 10% ecologisk is also vegetarian cheese.(Tried n Tasted)

-Hushållsost Ekologisk is another brand.


- Milbona's Gouda Cheese from Lidl

 ValleySpire's  mature Cheddar cheese from Lidl.

Try this too-
http://www.naturensskafferi.se/category/produkter/ekologisk-dessertost/

Look for vegetabilisk koagulant or vegetabiliskt ystenzym or something related to vegetarian löpe or enzymes in ingredients. Only 'Löpe' can be ambiguous as we don't know whether it is from animal extract or vegetarian one!

I have also discovered that the green key hole symbol doesn't necessarily mean vegetarian. It is applied to all products (including both ICAs own and national brands) meeting relevant health criteria.



Update:With the course of time, I have found many vegetarian varities now in LIDL like ValleySpire's Mature cheddar cheese, milbona's Gouda hårdost. These are made of microbial rennet not animal one.

Hope my findings will be of some help to my vegetarian friends especially in Sweden n Norway and for others, its always good to have some free ka gyaan ... say cheese!! :-)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Matar Paneer with a twist!

Sometimes when you are too scared to experiment with dishes, it turns out to be so good and different. It happened to me when I tried to alter a routine matar paneer(Indian cottage cheese with peas in tomato gravy) to something which I never did. I used peas puree instead of putting it as whole! ..Yes and believe me it was worth trying!

Ingredients:
2 cups Green peas fresh or Frozen
200 gms Paneer cubes (Indian cottage cheese)
1 inch Ginger piece
2 cloves garlic
2 green chilies
2 medium sized tomato.
2 cloves (laung)
2 Bay leaves (tez patta) optional
1/2 tsp. Cumin seeds
1/4 tsp.turmeric power
1/2 tsp Red chili powder
1 tsp. Coriander powder
1/2 tsp. Garam masala powder
Salt (as per taste)
2 tblspn Oil
Chopped Cilantro /Coriander leaves
1 pinch asafoetida 

Method:
Boil or thaw peas in microwave or on stove for few mintues until they turn tender.
Cool it down and blend with tomatoes,green chillies,garlic and ginger.Keep this paste aside.

Now heat oil in a deep pan and add cumin seeds,cloves, asafoetida(hing) and allow them to splutter.
Add all dry spices except garam masala followed by peas paste while cooking it on medium heat.
Let it cook with the lid on for 7-8 minutes or until oil seperates from the gravy.

Now add Paneer cubes to this gravy and leave it on low heat for few more minutes so that paneer absorbs the gravy.Be gentle while adding paneer to the gravy as vigorous mixing can make it mushy.
Add garam masala ,garnish with cilantro and serve hot with Roti or naan.

Note:
-You can try the same gravy with boiled potato cubes instead of paneer. It will be a different taste for sure.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Veggie Quesadillas

This weekend I tried preparing Quesadillas with vegetable stuffing. Quesadillas comes from Mexican cuisine and can be served as a light lunch or breakfast.
The authentic one uses wheat/maize flour tortillas which are easily available in supermarkets all over the world.Here I have changed the recipe a bit by replacing tortillas with fresh soft thin wheat chapatis which I made at home.But the same recipe can be done with tortillas.
This recipe makes 4 Quesadillas.



Ingredients:
4 wheat chapatis or flour tortillas
1 medium sized onion
1/2 cup fresh or frozen corn(thawed)
1 cup grated cheese
1/2 cup green bell peppers chopped
1 cup fresh tomatoes chopped 
Oil/butter for toasting the tortillas
Grounded black pepper  to taste.
salt to taste
Other veggies like mushrooms,beans whatever you like can be added in this recipe.

Method:
Heat oil in a pan, sauté the onions, corn and green bell peppers until slightly tender. Turn off heat. 
Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and set aside.
Heat a tawa/ griddle to medium heat.
Spread about 1-2 tablespoons of the veggies over one half of the tortilla/chapati. Cover this mixture with grated cheese and fold the tortilla/chapati in half.Now brush both sides with little oil/butter and let it toast for few seconds on tawa/pan until cheese melts and tortilla gets lightly crisp.
Keep an eye on heat to avoid over toasting of tortillas.
Cut them in half and serve with salsa, sour cream, and guacamole.

Note:
-Children love this food as it got cheese in it.but If you don't like to add cheese then it will still taste divine.
-For some tangy taste you can add lemon juice in the stuffing and sprinkle some chaat masala on Quesadillas while serving them.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Eggless moist and spongy Pineapple cake

Today I tried to prepare Eggless Pineapple cake which was not only easy to prepare but turned out to be very spongy and moist like I used to get in bakeries back home.
I did not frost this cake because it smelled so good that I didn't have patience to spare my cake for that long. ;)


Ingredients:
250 gms or 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour or maida
1 tin or 400ml sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup/100gm softened butter unsalted
1/4 tsp/ 2 pinch of soda bi carbonate/ baking soda
2 leveled tsp baking powder
3/4 cup/150 ml soda water can unflavored (required to make a flowing consistency of cake batter)
1 tsp pineapple essence or extract
1/4 cup pineapple chunks (cut into smaller pieces) well-drained and coat with a little flour from above
5-6 tsp pineapple juice(I used fresh pineapple chunks which I had crushed)

Method:
Preparation for baking :
Preheat the oven at 180º C/ 350 F, 10 mins before baking. 
Grease your cake-baking pan with butter/oil. Sprinkle the pan with 1 tbsp of all-purpose flour. Tap pans gently to make sure that flour spreads over the pan uniformly. 
Remove the excess flour and Set pans aside till ready to use.

Making the batter:

Beat softened butter and condensed milk in one direction till it turns creamy and uniform (I used my blender to beat).Now add pineapple essence to this and mix well. 
Sieve together flour, baking powder and soda bicarbonate in a bowl and repeat this process at least three times to ensure they mixed properly. Keep aside.
Start folding flour & soda water to the butter mixture, alternatively, starting & ending with the flour.
Repeat the process till the flour & soda water is used completely(or you can check that correct consistency of batter is achieved). 
Folding means to slowly turn dry ingredients into the wet in a circular inward to outward motion. Do not beat or mix vigorously. The main purpose of folding is to allow more air into the mixture which you get from soda. Add pineapple chunks to this batter and mix it little.
Pour batter into the prepared cake pan and bake at 180 degrees C for 30 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven. 
Keep a check on cake by inserting a toothpick or knife in the middle of cake, if it comes out clean then remove it from oven otherwise let it bake for few more minutes.
Once the cake is out of oven let it cool for 20-30 mins on the counter top. Don't make efforts to cool it under fan or so otherwise it will turn dry.
Loosen the sides of cake using a knife and then invert cake onto a plate or cooling rack.
Poke holes with a fork in a few places on the cake and brush a few teaspoons of pineapple juice all over the cake till cake is moist (but not soggy).
If you want to frost your cake wait for cake to cool down completely.
You can use this cake as base for making pineapple pastry which we get in Indian bakeries.


In Microwave:
We can bake(basically cook) this cake in microwave also and that too in few minutes like 5 minutes. But the only difference will be the texture and the color of the cake. It will not turn brown and no hard crust on the top but taste will be exactly the same.
What you need to do is to just put the same cake batter in a greased microwave bowl (say glass bowl)and then cook for 5 minutes or until cake gets set with power setting set to high power i.e. 100%.
Check it out every 2 mins and if the cake looks still wet go ahead with another 30 seconds.The timing is subjected to your microwave settings.
Let the cake cool down for 15 mins and then you can invert it and follow the same rules above.
Remember that when I am saying microwave it! then I mean microwave cooking which we use for reheating or defrosting not the convection mode/grill which we use for baking or grilling.

Note-
-Time to bake and to cool depends on the amount of batter you have poured in the pan.If it is more time will be more if it is less than cake will be ready in less time.
-pineapple chunks were coated with flour to prevent them from sinking to the bottom of the cake during baking.
-Amount of baking soda should be used cautiously as I had very bad experiences with this ingredient; so I usually avoid using it much as it can spoil the taste of cake. I put more of baking powder(baking powder and baking soda are two different things) and soda water instead of using baking soda.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Spicy Zucchini dry curry with Peanuts

In Sweden we hardly get any vegetable from Indian squash family like turai, tinda, lauki etc..But we do get Zucchini(courgette)which is a summer squash.This squash got more water content than any of the above, so it cooks fast and got fibers in it but no seeds.
I use zucchini in various forms of curries like instead of lauki ke kofte(dumplings) I prepare zucchini ke kofte ,zucchini n tomato curry and Zucchini dry sabji with stint of peanuts.

Ingredients:
4-5  medium sized Zucchini
1-2 greem chillies
1/2 tsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp dry coriander powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
salt to taste
1/4 tsp cumin seeds/jeera
a pinch of asafoetida
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp amchur powder
2 tblspn coarsely grounded and roasted peanuts
1 tblspn oil 

Method:
Wash,peel and cut Zucchini in big pieces.
Heat oil in a deep pan.add cumin seeds and asafoetida and let it splutter.
Now mix all spices except salt in a bowl with 2 tsp water and add it to oil.
Now immediately put zucchini pieces and mix the mixture well until all pieces get covered with the spices.
Cook it for around 15 mins with pan lid on.
Add salt, garam masala ,amchur powder and grounded peanuts and let it cook for another 5-8 mins without lid till zucchini gets cooked and water evaporates.
Serve hot with chapati or parantha.

Note:
Always try to find small Zucchini as big ones might have more fibers which will spoil the texture of curry.
Zucchini as a vegetable cant be kept in refrigerator for long time and it takes lesser time to cook as compared to Indian squash curries.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Corn Fritters goes desi


I don't like corn too much in cooking but I love eating roasted bhutta with lemon n salt  in monsoons.
But since corn is very healthy so I tried this recipe and it was worth trying.
It took me only 30 mins to prepare,cook and eat! :)
Corn Fritters

Ingredients:
1 cup Fresh or Frozen Corn (Makai ke daane)thawed/steamed
1/2 cup green peas
1 medium sized onion finely chopped
1 tsp Green Coriander Leaves finely chopped
2 Green Chili finely Chopped 
1 inch small piece grated ginger
1 tsp chilli powder (optional)
2 tblsp Gram Flour (besan)
1 tblsp dry bread crumbs(if not available you can use 1 tblsp corn starch or araarot)
Salt to taste
Oil to fry

Method:
Combine all the vegetables into a blender to make a coarse mixture. Use the pulse mode so it does not become too mushy. Alternatively you combine all the ingredients with your hand, until the peas and corn are coarsely mashed.
Add all the remaining ingredients and divide the mixture into 10-12 portions and shape as desired, either into balls, or flattened balls.This mixture will be more like soft dough rather than watery.
Heat the oil in deep pan on high flame and deep fry these balls on medium flame until they have turned crisp, golden and have started browning. 
Serve hot with green chutney or tomato ketchup.

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