Friday, May 28, 2010

School Friends, Memories and Aloo Chaat!

Friends! The word brings a smile on our face :-) What would our lives be without them? Can you remember your first friend, or, your best school friend?

When I started School, I had a group of friends, and we would always be together, we would sit together during the classes, play together, have lunch together and of course study together (but not so often!). Slowly and gradually the group grew bigger, the fun doubled and life and the universe revolved around us. We were happy being with each other...

There are so many fond memories...the silly little fights, quick patch-ups, copying home-work, sharing tiffin. I remember, we used to enjoy each others' tiffin and one of the favourites was this aloo chaat. We used to wait for lunch time at school, and before lunch we always knew who had what in their tiffin - and of course, the aloo chaaat was the first one to be attacked. This was a patent recipe of a friend's mom and we would finish the aloo chaat in a nano second and then crib, "why cant you get more?" :-) The taste of that delicious aloo chaat still lingers on my taste buds.

Today's recipe is dedicated to my long lost friend and her mom...I've tried to make it as good as she did, and hope I came close.



Ingredients

1/3 cup - coriander chutney (I also added some mint leaves to the chutney)
25 gram - jaggery (gud), grated (more or less)
2 tbsp - tamarind pulp (more or less)
5-6 - potatoes medium size, boiled and cut into slices
1/2 tsp - rock salt
2 tbsp - chaat masala
1/4 tsp - red chilli powder
1/2 tsp - cumin powder
salt to taste
coriander leaves to garnish

Method
  1. Add everything in a bowl and mix lightly. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve.


Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Custard Apple Lollies!

Yesterday was the first really warm and sunny spring day of the year. And of course, that means...Ice Cream!

Custard apples are one of my favourite fruit..but the de-seeding is always a nightmare. There is, fortunately, a easier way to remove the seed - especially if you do not mind the pulp really being crushed to a pulp :-) And it becomes even easier if someone else (in this case my husband) takes on the job of deseeding the custard apples.

The recipe is without added sugar, as both the custard apples as well as the condensed milk are sweet. Of course, if you have a very sweet tooth, you may add a bit more.





Ingredients

2 - custard apple, medium size
500 ml - milk
150 ml - sweetened condensed milk

Method
  1. Discard the custard apple skin, and add the pieces in a jar. Adjust the egg beater/ whisk in a hand mixer and beat the custard apple lightly, a couple of times. This will help in  removing the seeds. Discard the seeds and puree the rest.
  2. Boil milk in a heavy bottomed pan, reduce the heat and simmer till it reduces to half of the  original quantity. Let it cool for 5 minutes. Add condensed milk and retransfer to heat and simmer on a reduce heat for 2 - 3 minutes. Let it cool for 3-4 minutes. Add custard apple puree and mix well.
  3. When the mixture cools, keep in the deep freezer to half set.
  4. Process the half set mixture in a food- processor. Fill in any mould/bowl, cover it and return to the freezer and let it freeze overnight.
  5. Unmould and serve. 
Serves  6



The ice cream was so soft and rich, it just melted in the mouth. And it reminded me of another of my favourite Kolkata street food - Kulfi.


I got a lot of queries regarding the source of custard apples in this season. At this time of the year, Spanish and Vietnamese custard apples are available. I got mine from the Viktualienmarkt (in Munich, Germany) - this is a traditional bavarian market for, as the name says, "victuals" and has a number of shops selling exotic fruit and vegetables (as well as exotic meats and fishes and cheeses and other specialities) throughout the year.
Enjoy!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Triple Chocolate Cookies

I hadn't made cookies for a long long time and was longing for something sweet - so what better than not once not twice but three times chocolate? Needless to say, I just fell in love with these cookies, and my husband did too, and so did a neighbor we shared them with.

The white chocolate was especially for my hubby, and the dark especially for me - even though in the end, both of us enjoyed both the white and dark chocolates immensely. Which of course was evident by the fact that the cookies were gone in record time and there was the usual argument as to who ate more :-)

So hope you like them as much as we did!



Ingredients

1 cup - whole wheat flour
4 tbsp - low fat milk
4 tbsp - buttermilk
4 1/2 tbsp - muscovado sugar (more or less)
5 tbsp - sunflower oil
2 tsp - cocoa powder
1/2 tsp - baking powder
50 grams - dark chocolate, rougly chopped
50 grams - white chocolate, roughly chopped
a pinch of salt

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C and line a baking tray.
  2. Place together the flour, white chocolate, dark chocolate, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
  3. In another bowl, mix together the milk, buttermilk, sugar and oil.
  4. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and pour in the liquid mixture. Do not overmix.
  5. Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 15 minutes.
  6. Scoop up 1 tbsp of the mixture and shape into balls. Place them on the lined tray, spread well apart, and flatten them slightly.
  7. Place the tray in the center of the oven and bake for approx 10-12 minutes. Leave to cool in the baking tray for 2-3 minutes, then transfer the cookies to the wire rack to cool completely.


Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tulip fields and Paneer Curry!


After an amazing weekend in Holland travelling around the tulip fields in bloom, I wanted to make something which reflected the mood of the weekend. Both my husband and I are big tulip fans and take the opportunity every couple of years to visit the Netherlands during spring - the tulip growing season.




 The multitude of colours, the fresh air and (luckily this year) lots of sun and good weather made the weekend a perfect one. 




Back home, the red of the tulips kept playing through my mind and I decided on this paneer gravy with a red sauce. The almonds and cashews lend the gravy a rich flavour and balance the sour tomatoes well. The yogurt rounds off the taste perfectly, making the gravy mild and creamy without using cream or butter.

Paneer in tomato-almond-cashew gravy

Ingredients

100 grams - paneer cubes, 
1 tbsp - sunflower oil/ghee
1/2 tsp - cumin seeds
1 - bayleaf
1 - onion medium size, finely chopped
1/2 tsp - garam masala
1 tsp - chaat masala
1/2 tsp - dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
2/3 cup - water 
2 tbsp - yogurt, well beaten
salt to taste
coriander leaves - to garnish

to be ground together in a paste

2 - tomatoes, roughly chopped
2 - green chilli (adjust according to your taste)
2 inch piece - ginger, peeled
2 cloves of - garlic
8 - 10 - almonds, blanched
4-5 - cashew

Method
  1. Heat oil/ghee in a pan, add the cumin seeds and bayleaf. When the seeds splutter, add the onions and saute for 2-3 minutes on a medium heat.
  2. Now add the ground paste and cook for 5-7 minutes on a medium heat, stirring occasionaly. 
  3. Add the garam masala, chaat masala,kasuri methi and water and cook again for 3-4 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Add the yogurt and paneer and mix well.
  5. Cook again for a minute, stirring lightly.
  6. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve hot with  naan bread/rice. (correct the consisitency of the gravy by adding some water, if required)

Enjoy!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Daal Bati


As the spring continues to be cold and rainy, and the sunshine seems to be lost in the clouds, I needed something more hot and yummy to brighten the day up. What better than this favourite from my childhood, which was a regular on cold and rainy days...but beware, this is a calorie bomb, and just does not taste the same without a real lot of ghee.

Daal Bati is one of the most famous Rajasthani dishes - and there are many variations on the ways of making it as well as on fillings - dried fruits, gram flour, cottage cheese, Khoya (milk thickened until it reaches a cheesy consistency - for more details see here) etc.

The two most common ways of making the Bati is a tandoor or boiled and then fried in ghee. Well, I did not have a tandoor available, and the thought of deep frying the baatis in ghee (in addition to the ghee added later) made my hair stand on end, so I went with the third alternative - baking them in the oven. Obviously, the taste and texture varies slightly between the tandoor, fried and baked varieties.

The Daal I normally use for Daal-Bati is a special mix of five lentil sorts - toor, chana, moong, yellow moong and urad. The mixture as well as the spices used lend the Daal a very different and rich flavour.




Ingredients

For the bati

1 1/2 cup - whole wheat flour (atta)
3 tbsp - ghee (clarified butter)
2 tbsp - cream
a pinch of salt
a pinch of sugar
a generous pinch of bicarbonate of soda
milk to knead the dough

Method
  1. Mix together the flour, salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl. Add the ghee and cream into the flour mixture and rub till it resembles bread crumbs.
  2. Make a stiff dough using some milk.
  3. Divide the dough into five portions and shape them into small balls. Press the bati's slightly with the thumb on the top. 
  4. Preheat the oven to 200 degree C
  5. Place the bati's on the lined baking tray and place the tray in the center of the preheated oven and bake for approx 30 minutes or until done. 



For the daal

1/4 cup - split pigeon pea (toor/arhar daal)
1/4 cup - split bengal gram ( chana daal)
1/4 cup - green gram (sabut moong )
1/4 cup - split green gram skinless (moong daal)
2 tbsp - split black gram skinless (urad daal)
3-4 - cloves
3-4 - green cardamom
2 - bayleaves
a generous pinch of asafoetida (hing)
1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp - turmeric powder (haldi)
1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp - red chilli powder (adjust according to your taste)
1/4 tsp + 1/4 tsp - cumin seeds
1/2 tsp -  dried mango powder (amchur)
1/2 tsp - garam masala
1/4 tsp - sugar
1/4 tsp - dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
1 tbsp - ghee 
lemon juice (according to your taste)
salt to taste

Method 
  1. Wash and soak daals in some water for 2-3 hrs. Then drain and boil the daals in 2 1/2 cups of water with salt, haldi, mirchi and cumin seeds and cook until done. 
  2. Heat ghee in a pan. Add hing, cumin seeds, cloves, cardamoms and bayleaves. When cumin seeds start to splutter, add haldi, mirchi and the boiled daal and cook for 7-8 minutes.  Add the amchur, garam masala, sugar, kasuri methi and salt and cook again for a couple of minutes (add water if required)
  3. Add lemon juice and serve hot.


Our favourite way of eating the daal bati is crushing the batis while still hot into coarse chunks, and adding a generous sprinkling of castor sugar and a very generous dollop of ghee. 


Am off for a long weekend, so will see you on Monday again.

Enjoy!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hot Chocolate

I might have mentioned it once or twice or a thousand times - I am a chocoholic.

And one of the best ways to satisfy the chocolate addiction is in the form of hot chocolate. Thick, rich, dark, piping hot chocolate. mmmmmm...The darker the better, the thicker the better, the richer the better. And I think the use of honey adds a special flavour / aroma to the whole which plain old sugar cannot match. Of course, the dark part depends on your taste, so you can use less dark or milk chocolate as well. My husband sometimes prefers even a white chocolate, but thats somehow not my cuppa tea (to use a mixed metaphor!)

And when its cold and raining outside (as it is now) - there's nothing better to warm me up than a cup of hot chocolate, cooped up warmly in my bed under a thick blanket with a nice book and soft music playing in the background.

I hope you enjoy your hot choc as much as I did mine :-)


Ingredients

100 gram - dark chocolate 80 % 
1 1/2 cup -  hot water
4 tsp - honey (adjust according to your taste)
2 tsp - cream

Method
  1. Melt the chocolate with honey on a double boiler
  2. Add the hot water to the melted chocolate and blend well. Cook for 2-3 minutes, add the cream and cook again for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously.
  3. Serve immediately.
Serves  2



Enjoy!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Cornflake Capers

After tons and tons of unhealthy (but yummy!) food during the vacation, I was yearning for something healthier. And my wardrobe and waistline were challenging me as well. Having already been dubbed a cow by my family for my love of green leaves, I decided to do something different. 

This is a very simple and quick recipe - and healthy as well - the capers are full of vitamins and anti-oxidants, apples are always good and I used organic cornflakes without sugar and salt. If you use "normal" cornflakes, reduce the amount of salt.


Ingredients 

1 - apple, chopped
2 tbsp - capers
1 - cucumber small size, chopped
2 - tomatoes medium size, chopped
2/3 cup - corn, boiled
2 tbsp - coriander leaves, chopped
1 cup - organic cornflakes (without sugar n salt)

For the dressing

2 tbsp - coriander chutney
1 bsp - ginger, peeled and grated
2 tbsp - honey
1/4 tsp - rock salt
4  tsp - lemon juice
a generous pinch of - red chilli flakes (adjust according to your taste)
salt to taste

Method
  1. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Toss in the dressing and serve immediately.


Enjoy and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Royal Toast

Its a great feeling to be back online and into the blogging world after a month's break. Thanks for your messages and love and hope to share a lot of new ideas and recipes with you.

 Am starting with a recipe from my childhood - naturally in a healthier avatar. Have added a tangy fruity flavour to the tradtional recipe, which I thought made it somehow more interesting.

 As the name might suggest, the recipe is pretty "rich" with lots of dried fruit and spices. In the traditional version the toast would be fried in ghee, not baked and would be without the mandarin orange.

 We usually ate it when it was cold and raining - to add a bit of warmth to the day. Munich is facing a pretty cold and delayed spring - so this recipe fits in well. The recipe tastes best fresh and piping hot. And you can also try it without the Rabdi.




Ingredients


4 pieces - white toast bread
1 - mandarin orange
1 tbsp - pistachio, blanched, peeled and thinly sliced


For the rabdi


3 cups - low fat milk
1/4 cup - sugar
1/4 tsp - cardamom powder


For the sugar syrup


1/2 cup - sugar
1/4 cup - water
a pinch of cardamom powder
a few strands of saffron


Method

  1. Peel the mandarin orange and seperate the segments. Peel each segments and remove seeds if any.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180 degree C and line a baking tray.
  3. Cut the brown sides of the bread and place them on the tray. Place the tray in the center of the preheated oven and bake till the breads are slightly brown.
  4. Bring the milk to boil and then cook slowly on a low heat, stirring frequently and let the cream thicken at the edge of the pan.
  5. Add the sugar and stir until the milk is less than quarter the original amount.
  6. In another pan, add all the ingredients of the sugar syrup and cook until sugar dissolves completely.
  7. Dip the baked bread in the sugar syrup and place it on the serving dish. Pour the rabdi on the bread and garnish it with the mandarin oranges and pistachio and serve immediately.



    Enjoy!


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