Friday, January 6, 2012

Aloo Dum - Spicy potatoes and away for a month

Aloo dum is one of my favourite starters /snacks. In my hometown, Kolkata, it's also a favourite street food, and, of course, I happen to be a big fan of street food.


Normally I do not eat too much chilli. This is, however, one of the few recipes which I love in spite of it's high chilli content. The dish is spicy and tangy and simply mouthwatering. But a word of warning - whenever I eat this, I always keep a bottle of water and some Kleenex handy. The eating ritual is a classic - I take one bite and then a sip of water, and then another bite, then a quick nose wipe with the kleenex, then another bite, and another sip of water - you get the picture, I guess. My face soon turns red and eyes watery, but still I enjoy this as much as anything else. My sis and bro always pull my leg afterward, but it's worth it! My love for this dish overpowers my lack of tolerance for spicy food.


Of course, the original recipe would have one fry the potatoes - but I generally do a baked version.

I love this one, and I hope you like it too!


Ingredients

500 grams - baby potatoes (or if you don't get them, really small potatoes), boiled and peeled
6 tbsp - sunflower oil + to grease the baking tray
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
4 bay leaves
2 tbsp - coriander powder
2 tbsp - tamarind pulp (adjust according to your taste)
2 tsp - salt (or according to taste)

To be coarsely ground together using little water:

60 grams - garlic, peeled and chopped
6 pieces - whole red chillies
2-3 inches of ginger
1 tbsp - cumin seeds

To garnish:
rock salt, lemon juice according to taste and loads of finely chopped coriander leaves 

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C. Grease the baking tray with a little oil. Place the potatoes and mix lightly so that the oil coats the potatoes. 
  2. Place the tray in the center of the preheated oven and bake until slightly golden (alternately you can also fry the potatoes). 
  3. Heat oil in a pan, add the cumin seeds, bay leaves and the coarsely ground paste. Be careful as the paste splutters a lot. 
  4. Saute the paste on a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Add the coriander powder and salt and cook for another 10 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally. 
  5. Add the baked potatoes. Mix lightly, cover the bowl and let it cook for 10 mins, stirring occassionaly. 
  6. Add the tamarind pulp. cover and let cook for another couple of minutes. 
  7. Remove from the heat, but leave the pan covered. To enhance the taste and the flavours, prepare afew hours in advance (previous evening for today, or in the morning for the evening. 
  8. Serve at room temperature, after garnishing with the rock salt, lemon juice and coriander leaves (garnish just before eating!). 

Enjoy the potatoes - while I enjoy a prolonged India trip. Will be away for a month, will be in touch with you again in February.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Welcome 2012- Coffee Chocolate Chequered Cake (eggless)

Wishing all of you a very happy and successful New Year! I hope this year bring loads of love, joy and happiness to your lives.

I welcomed the new year by making this chequered cake. Normally, when I bake a cake for just the 2 of us, I avoid using rich icing, but since this cake was meant not just for us, I took the liberty and used a very (calorie) rich icing.




The cake turned out quite well, in fact, my hubby especially wished for this cake on his birthday. The combination of both the cakes and the espresso-butter icing complemented each other really well. Now that definitely is a good way to start a new year :-)

Ingredients

Coffee Cake

1 cup - whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp - baking powder
1/4 tsp - soda bicarbonate
3 tbsp - sugar
a pinch of salt
100 ml - condensed milk, sweetened
5 tbsp - buttermilk 
5 tbsp - sunflower oil
1 - nespresso chocolate espresso (approx 50 ml), cooled


Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease generously a 21 cm / 8 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, salt, soda bicarbonate, baking powder and sugar.
  3. In another bowl, mix well the condensed milk, oil, buttermilk and espresso.
  4. Make a hole in the center of the flour mix and tip in the liquid ingredients and mix lightly.
  5. Pour the batter in the greased cake pan and place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for approx 25 mins or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Let the cake rest in the pan for a couple of minutes.
  7. Invert the cake and let it cool completely on a wire rack.

Chocolate Cake

1 cup - whole wheat flour

3/4 tsp - baking powder
1/4 tsp - soda bicarbonate
3 tbsp - sugar
4 tbsp - cadburys cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
100 ml - condensed milk, sweetened
5 1/2 tbsp - sunflower oil
7 tbsp - buttermilk

Method
  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C and grease generously a 21 cm / 8 inch round cake pan.
  2. In a bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, salt, soda bicarbonate, baking powder and sugar.
  3. In another bowl, mix well the condensed milk, oil and buttermilk.
  4. Make a hole in the center of the flour mix and tip in the liquid ingredients and mix lightly.
  5. Pour the batter in the greased cake pan and place the pan in the center of the preheated oven and bake for appx 25 mins or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
  6. Let the cake rest in the pan for a couple of minutes.
  7. Invert the cake and let it cool completely on a wire rack.
Espresso Butter Icing

250 grams - unsalted butter at room temperature
1 3/4 cup - sugar
1 tsp - vanilla extract
2 - nespresso chocolate espresso, cooled

Add the butter and vanilla extract to a large bowl. Cream the butter using an electric mixer. Add the sugar and espresso, a little at a time and beat well on medium speed until creamy and light.




Assembling the Cake
  1. Cut out two small circles from each cake. I used a 5 inch and a 2 inch cookie cutter to cut out the circles. So now you have, for each cake, an 8 inch ring, a 5 inch ring and a 2 inch circle.
  2. Brush the sides of the cut out circles and the insides of the cakes with the espresso-butter icing. 
  3. Reassemble the cakes with the cut-out pieces, replacing the middle ring with the piece of the alternate colour - you will now have two cakes with alternate coloured rings. 
  4. Apply the icing on the top of one cake and carefully place the other cake on top.
  5. Cover the sides and the top of the cake with the rest of the icing.
  6. I decorated the cake with some chocolate ganache and dusted the cake with cocoa powder.
Notes
  1. If you have just 1 cake tin then let it cool completely after the first cake before baking the second in it.
  2. Let the cake cool completely before cutting out the circles.
  3. Brushing both the sides and the insides of the circles helps in keeping the pieces together, and more icing is not necessarily bad either.
  4. For leveling the icing on the cake: Dip the knife in hot water for a minute, wipe the knife and carefully use the hot- dried knife to level the icing on the cake. This will enable you to give the icing a smooth and even look. Repeat if required, but always use a hot dry knife.
  5. Both the cakes are supposed to be less risen than normal.

Enjoy!

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