Monday, August 29, 2011

Summery Saffron Drink

For the last 15 days, we have been enjoying food like never before, and it is becoming quite visible on my waistline ;-). My in-laws are visiting, and my mother in law and I have been busy cooking a wide variety of dishes - I am learning to cook loads of traditional dishes from her. And, of course my recipe collection is increasing :-) She taught me some traditional Rajasthani sweet dishes, pickles, appetizers etc etc etc. 


This here is also a recipe I have just learnt from her. It's a very refreshing, rich and summery drink. Can be made in a jiffy and has a shelf-life of 6 months (only in the theoretical case that you manage not to finish it off before then!) Saffron is my favourite spice, and for me, any dish /drink/dessert with saffron is more than welcome. I love saffron. Infact, my mom always teases me that if I had my way, I would make a curry with just saffron in it.



This drink tastes good with soda, sparkling water, plain water as well as with a shot of Wodka. I served it with a few crushed sprigs of mountain mint / Calamint (an intense variety of mint) and it was really refreshing. Of course, normal mint is just as good.



Ingredients

6 cups - sugar
2 cups - water
1 gram - saffron strands
3/4 th tsp - rose water
mountain mint/ calamint to garnish 

Method
  1. Put the sugar and the water in a big vessel and cook on high flame, stirring continously. Remove the sugar dirt, if any, with the help of a spoon. Bring the sugar syrup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and cook further for appx 2 mins. Remove from the heat.
  2. Let it cool slightly for around 5 minutes.
  3. Grind the saffron with the rose water lightly with a mortar and pestle.
  4. Put the saffron mix in the sugar syrup. Cover the vessel for 10 minutes.
  5. Store in glass jars when completely cool.
Tip

If you notice sugar crystals in the sugar syrup, first transfer the non crystallised part into another glass jar and than add a little hot water to the remaining syrup. Let it cool completely before storing in a glass jar.


Enjoy!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Gatte ki Sabji (Traditional Rajasthani Curry)

After seeing my last post “Mozzarella Sage Ice Cream”, one of my cousins called me up and said, " I don't like Mozzarella!" and before I could say something, she added, "Can’t you post something simple and traditional next time?" "Okkk", I said, and thought "What that suppose to mean?" and then, after our regular this and that, here and there chat, she said, "And, please no more avocado recipes"  


I took a deep long breath and thought and thought and then went through my drafts and chanced upon this curry recipe. This is a traditional Rajasthani curry (though not the simplest one!) and is one of my favourites. This recipe is by my lovely mom :-) and has a lot of memories attached to it. Without going into all of them, I’ll just share one little secret. My hubby who generally eats everything under the sun, was somehow not too fond of this curry since his childhood – even though his mom was famous for it. When I made this curry for the very first time, my hungry hubby came to the dining table and saw this curry and said "Oh, you made gatta today", he said, he would just have one bite of gatta, because I made it, otherwise he is not too fond of it. I said, "Don't, if you don't like it", he repeated, "I'll have a bite" with a smile on his face. He had his first bite and I had mine, he had his second and third, while I was still on my first bite (i'm a slow eater) and soon the curry was over. And believe me when I say this, that I did not get much of that curry that day :-) From that day onwards, we have a convert at home :-)

Go ahead and make this curry, I promise you will not be dissapointed. And, I hope my cousin is not dissapointed in me :-)

Ingredients

100 grams - gram flour (besan)
1/2 tsp - salt
1/2 tsp - red chilli powder
1/8 tsp - garam masala powder
1 1/2 tbsp - oil
1/2 tsp - kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
yogurt to knead the dough

For the gravy

2 1/2 tbsp + 1/2 tbsp - sunflower oil/ghee
1/4 tsp - fennel seeds (saunf)
1/8 tsp - nigella seeds (kalonji)
a generous pinch of hing (asafoetida)
1 - bayleaf
3 tbsp - low fat yogurt
1/4 tsp - red chilli powder (more or less)
1/2 tsp - turmeric powder (haldi)
1/2 tsp - dried mango powder (aamchur)
1 tsp - coriander powder (dhaniya powder)
a generous pinch of garam masala
salt to taste
1/4 tsp - dried fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi) + to garnish

Method
  1. Mix together the besan, salt, red chilli powder, garam masala and kasuri methi in a bowl. Add the oil and rub with the fingertips until it resembles fine bread crunbs. Add yogurt spoon by spoon and make a hard dough. 
  2. Divide the dough into 4 parts and roll out into cylinders.
  3. Boil 4-5 cups of water in a deep pan.
  4. Add the cylinders (rolled out gatte) to the boiling water and boil for approx 15 - 20 minutes or until you see small white spots on the gatta.
  5. Drain and let the gatta cool before cutting them into small pieces. Do not discard the boiled gatta water. 
  6. Mix together the yogurt, red chilli powder, haldi powder, aamchur, dhaniya powder, garam masala powder, salt and kasuri methi in a bowl and keep aside.
  7. Heat 2 1/2 tbsp of oil in a pan and saute the gatte for a few minutes and remove from the heat.
  8. Heat 1/2 tbsp of oil in a pan, add the saunf and kalonji. When the seeds start to crackle, add the hing and bayleaf. Add the yogurt mix and cook on a medium heat, stirring continously. When it starts to boil, add the gatte and cook again for a couple of minutes.
  9. Add the reserved gatta water to correct the consistency of the gravy and cook for 3-4 minutes on low heat. 
  10. Garnish with dried fenugreek leaves and serve hot with phulka (indian bread) and kadhi or even with Daal bati

Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Mozzarella Sage Ice Cream

What does one do when one has a lot of recipes lying in the drafts? Well, one tries to post them, one after another, and, that's exactly my plan :-)


This recipe's idea was born to my dear hubby after eating some really nice mozzarella cheese in Milan, Italy, and he told me about it very excitedly. I thought for a second and said, "huh!!! Mozzarella Icecream???" To which came the prompt reply, "Yes, why not? I think you should give it a try." I silently repeated these two words "Mozzarella Icecream" in my mind and was trying to somehow assemble the ingredients and also made a rough version of it in my mind. (though I was a little apprehensive - I thought it will either be a big hit or a major disaster)


My next step was to share my thoughts with my hubby, who immediately said, "When are you making it?" and hence this recipe was born.

Together with the roasted almonds( recipe taken from Angiesrecipe) and the distinctive taste of sage, it was indeed something quite unique and amazing.. And, I must say, both me and my hubby were more than pleased with the outcome. So, if you want to try out something experimental...just go for this one :-)



Ingredients

125 grams - buffalo mozzarella
100 grams - mascarpone
10 pcs - sage leaves, finely chopped
2 tbsp - honey
1/4 cup - low fat milk
a pinch of salt

For the roasted almonds

150 grams - almonds
1 tsp - olive oil
1 tbsp - water
1 tbsp - honey
1/8 tsp - salt
1/4 tsp - cinnamon powder
25 grams - sugar

Method
  1. Place mozzarella, mascarpone, sage leaves, salt, honey and milk in a food processor and process till smooth.
  2. Transfer to a plastic container, cover and freeze till half set.
  3. Place the half set ice cream in the food processor and process till smooth. Transfer to the plastic container and freeze again till half set. Repeat one more time.
  4. Now fill the processed ice cream in small heart shaped silicon moulds (I got 5 of them) and  put the moulds in the plastic container, cover the lid and let it set completely.
  5. Unmould the ice cream atleast 10-15 minutes before serving. Garnish with sage leaves and roasted cinnamon almonds.
Roasted Cinnamon Almonds
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C.
  2. Place the almonds in a single layer in a lined baking tray and bake for 10-15 minutes or until slightly brown. (don't forget to stir the almonds a couple of times in between)
  3. Mix the sugar, salt and cinnamon powder in a bowl and keep aside. 
  4. Mix the honey, oil and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Add in the roasted almonds and cook stirring constantly until all the liquid has been absorbed. 
  5. Transfer the almonds to a bowl, add the sugar mix and toss until they are evenly coated. 
  6. Spread the almonds on a parchment paper. When cool, store at toom temperature in an air tight container. 

Enjoy!

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