Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Panjiri Rolls



"Shaam ki chai (evening tea), is actually an indoor picnic for the Indians." - Joy Clarkson

This is so true! I can recall the typical Indian teas we had at home . There'd be: hot samosas or pakoras (in Rajasthan it was often hot kachoris!), and failing any of these savouries there'd be sandwiches, and a sweet thing like hot jalebis, or cake/pastries/biscuits or anything that took our fancy. And "just in case, you know," (actually I never knew) a bowl of namkeen would be also placed on the table. In India, there are a whole lot of snacky things to choose from to make tea time a picnic.

We really gorge... I can't do any of that now! Every time I have an Indian 'Tea'... I have to skip dinner and also down a glass of fizzy Eno! 'Tea,' these days for me, is just a sobriquet for a cup of hot water infused with a bit of ginger, and a drizzle of honey or azucar rubia, to give it that lovely colour and "fool" me into thinking it's tea!! I do have a 'real' cup of ginger tea with breakfast, though! And occasionally, once in a blue moon, when I'm quite cold literally & figuratively, I do indulge myself with tea (actually)!

Anyway, enough of that. Here's something I did with leftover panjiri - I made Panjiri Rolls! Sounds so good...yes? Actually, it is just a gujiya in another shape...Poof! I deflated my own balloon.
To get the recipe of the Panjiri and the Gujiya dough click here - Keeper Gujiyas

Here are the pictures to get you going:






Deep fry





Enjoy hot, crisp Panjiri Rolls with a cup of tea! And Namkeen..... :)

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Crunchy Brittle




"The better I eat, the better I look. The better I look, the better I feel. The better I feel, the better I look. The better I look, the better I eat. I could get used to this cycle!"


Munching a bit of something mid-day or at tea is something we have to do at our home. I usually have yogurt or a fruit as a mid-day snack. But it gets quite repetitive sometimes and a change is always welcome. One of the many things we make to break the monotony of our mid-day and tea time snacks is this crunchy brittle. It is such a versatile snack. It can be adapted to taste and preference of ingredients, and also can be made as a lose crunchy to spoon into your mouth or a brittle. What's more, the ingredients are the kind one usually has in the pantry...at least in our pantry, but anyway easy to get stuff. So here we go---The brittle is my daughter-in-law's recipe.

NOTE: You will find "shakar" in the list of ingredients. This isn't sugar but a loose form of gur/jaggery (that's the best I can explain it) It is not to be confused with "bhura khand" which is also similar but slightly lighter in colour and has a different texture slightly different flavour.

This is what we get here. In India it's a bit darker in colour.


Ingredients
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup sunflower seeds
2 tsps sesame (optional)
(options to the seeds - 1/2 cup pistachios, 1/2 cup cashewnuts, 1/2 cup peanuts (skinless)
2 tbsps ghee or olive oil (ghee is definitely better)
1/4 tsp cumin pwdr
1-1/4 cup shakar
1/2 cup miel de palma (palm honey)
1/2 cup maple syrup (optional) but I suggest it as a good choice to combine.
A pinch of salt


What to do
Grease a tray or a pie dish. keep aside.
Dry roast the seeds separately.
Heat the ghee, lower flame to minimum (sim)
Add cumin, 1 cup shakar and syrup, palm honey. Mix it continuously.
When it starts to bubble at the outer edge, add the seeds/nuts and continue to stir, to mix the seeds/nuts well with the shakar mix. If you think it needs more shakar add the 1/4 cup as well.
When it becomes sort of heavy, remove and spread in the greased tray.
Leave to cool. Then lift from tray and break into pieces.

Notes:
If you want it soft and separate, to spoon like a chewdra, add a bit more ghee and syrup and instead of 1 cup shakar add 3/4 cup shakar. And you could also add some murmura (dry roasted like the seeds)


Murmura added to the seeds is delicious and crunchy too!

Do not use bee honey as it is thicker and may not give the best result in consistency and flavour. Palm honey is lighter and thinner and the same consistency as maple syrup so both work well together.


Spread in a greased tray or pie dish. When cool, lift out and break into pieces.

Enjoy a healthy bite...

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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Churma Crisps




"What family would want a daughter-in-law who can run around all day kicking a football but can't make round chapatis?"
(~Mrs Bhamra, Bend It Like Beckham)


I love Mrs Bhamra because she reminds me of my grandma! Except my grandma, being from a much older generation and a small town background wondered what family would want a DIL who could read, write and speak English but couldn't make round pathis! Oh, 'pathis' as she called them are cow dung cakes, mixed with a bit of chopped hay, kneaded (ugh!) with bare hands, and then rolled and patted into cakes which are then slapped onto a wall, like a backyard boundary wall or any available one I guess, and left to dry.

I used to sit and watch her go at it with gusto while my tummy churned and my nose protested. I found it disgusting but sat and talked to her and watched her knead and pat the precious fuel for her chula because it fascinated me too. I was ten, and we had just moved lock, stock and barrel to a one-horse town in the Punjab!

"Learn to make these," she said to me one day.
"Never, Grandma," I said horrified. "Why should I?"
"How will you get a good husband from a good family if you don't learn how to make chapatis, dal, sabzi and pathis?"

Long story short...I took her advice, learned everything she said except the 'pathis.' To compensate, I learned to make excellent chapatis! I also learned how to recycle leftover ones from last night's dinner.


Apart from the Chapati-samosa filled with fresh or leftover veggies or meat, Chapati-pizza, or click here for Chapati Flautas...there's a list of other things among which Churma figures in a big way too...there are all kinds of things one can do to save that chapati from going into a bin. Churma ladoos are one of my favourites as is Churma Crisps. So what we're going to make here today is churma crisps. I have to give the credit to this form of churma to my niece on my in-law's side. The one she used to make didn't have the nuts...that's my addition, as is the desiccated coconut. I do not, however, use coconut when my elder son is around...he can't stand it! To each his own...fortunately, it does not alter the churma in any way by it's absence.



Ingredients

Chapatis.............................................fresh or leftover, as many as are there
Ghee/oil according to number of chapatis. You don't need much, just enough for roasting
Green cardamom.............................whole, as required, abt 4/10 chapatis, thin, small ones
Cloves..............................................as required, abt 5/10 chapatis               "        "
Cinnamon........................................as required, abt 1" pc/10 chapatis         "        "
Cashew nuts....................................as required, chopped
Pistachio.........................................as required, chopped or coarsely powdered
Almond...........................................as required, chopped or powdered
Dessicated coconut (optional)
Sugar..............................................acc to taste, fine grain sugar preferably brown organic





Break the chapatis into bits and blitz in the mixer until they resemble coarse breadcrumbs.
Heat some ghee/oil in a non-stick pan.
Add the cardamom, cloves and cinnamon. Give it a stir.
Now add the chapati crumbs. Stir briskly, so the crumbs get a bit of oil over them.
Lower heat to medium and contunue to cook, stirring constantly.
When the crumbs become a light golden and are crisp, lower heat to a simmer, add the nuts and coconut, stir to mix them into the chapati crisps...10-15 seconds.
Add the sugar. Give it a good stir.
Remove from the stove top and spread on a butter paper, allow to cool.
Munch away on spoonsful of chapati crisps. It's a great snack.

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Monday, November 23, 2015

Omelette Pepper Noodles




"There's no such thing as a 'guilty' treat - It's just a treat! Enjoy a treat every now and again without the guilt."


To come back to the recipe of the day - you'll suffer no guilt at all with this meal. Neither will you go through a hassle...because it's hassle-free, not time-consuming and a great change to an otherwise usual egg noodles meal, not to mention how appealing the dish looks...it titillates the taste buds alright!


Ingredients

Noodles (gluten free, integral)..................................as required
Carrots......................................................................as required, julienned
Zucchini.....................................................................as required, chopped/julienned
Spring onions.............................................................as required, chopped diagonally
Garlic.........................................................................as required, chopped fine
Ginger........................................................................little, as required, chopped very fine
Salt acc to taste
EVOO
Soya sauce as required
Chilli sauce acc to taste (optional)

For the omelette

Eggs.........................................................................minimum 5-6 or as required, beaten
Onions (white).........................................................1 small or as required, chopped small
Green chili..............................................................acc to taste
Green pepper.........................................................as required, deseed, remove white pith and cut into 1 cm circles
Milk.........................................................................very little, abt 3-4 tbsps
Cheese.....................................................................grated or slices as required.
Salt acc to taste
Pepper acc to taste




Boil the noodles according to instructions on the packet.
Drain and sprinkle with a bit of EVOO
Heat a wee bit of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a non-stick pan.
Drop in the garlic, ginger and stir for a couple of seconds and add the onions.
When the onions are translucent add the julienned carrots. Continue stirring rapidly on high, add salt.
Then add the zucchini strips/pieces. Continue stirring. Do not cover the pan.
When the juice released by the vegetable has dried add the Soya sauce and the chilli sauce.
It's ready when the liquid has dried. Turn off the heat.
Now drop in the cooked noodles, mix carefully to incorporate the noodles and vegetables.




Add chopped onions, green chili, milk, salt, and pepper to the egg and mix them in with gentle whipping.
Heat some EVOO in a non-stick fry pan. Lower to minimum heat.
Place four circles of green pepper in the pan. Keep a bit of space between the peppers.
After a few seconds, pour the beaten egg mixture into each pepper circle and what's left pour to surround the pepper circles.
Cover with a high domed lid and allow to cook until the egg is set.
Now cut the omelette into four quarters. Turn each quarter, with a flat spoon, over to cook the top side.
If the egg is still too soft allow to cook uncovered for a few seconds. Then turn over.




Allow the top side of the omelette to cook for another 30 seconds on low heat. Then turn over again.
Now add grated cheese, or quartered cheese slices. Place each quarter in the middle of each green capsicum.
Cover with the lid and allow cheese to soften.
While this is getting done, very quickly put the noodles in the serving dish.
Now place each omelette square over the noodles.
Serve hot with desired sauces. Or none at all!
Have a great meal. And don't forget to tell us about it.

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Monday, September 28, 2015

Strawberry Bavarois




The strawberry version is as delicious as the mango one. But I did whip it wrong and so you can see the huge bubble craters...oops! If you are using a hand blender, as I did, remember to keep it low and not near the surface...that tends to froth up big bubbles and you get a moon surface dessert! My oops moment...but it tasted absolutely divine. Instead of a quote I thought I'd share some strawberry facts.


Did you know.......... 

Strawberries are the only fruit that wear their seeds on the outside? A berry could have up to 200 seeds!

Strawberries aren't true berries like blueberries or even grapes. To be uber technical, botanists consider each seed to be its own separate fruit. Whoa! meta.

Strawberries are members of the rose family.

Belgium has a museum dedicated to strawberries. In the gift shop here you can buy everything from strawberry jams to strawberry beer.

Native Americans ate strawberries long before European settlers arrived.

Sex and strawberries? In France, where they're believed to be an aphrodisiac, strawberries are served to newlyweds at traditional wedding breakfasts in the form of a creamy sweet soup.

Strawberries are believed to reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. They are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, B6, K, fibre, folic acid, potassium and amino acids.

Strawberries contain high levels of nitrate. This has been shown to increase blood and oxygen flow to the muscles. Research suggests that people who load up on strawberries before exercising have greater endurance and burn more calories.

To store fresh strawberries, wash them and cut off the stems. However, if you plan to keep them in the refrigerator for a few days, wait until before you eat them to clean them. Rinsing speeds up spoiling.

Green strawberries can be pickled or made into a chutney. Over-ripe ones can be made into a jam.

(~foodrepublic.com)



Ingredients


Evaporated milk (Leche de evaporada)..........................1 tin


This is a sort of thickish milk, unsweetened. I thought evaporated milk
was milk powder. Got to know something different here!

Condensed milk..........................................................1 tin
Jelly/flavored gelatine..................................................1 pkt, strawberry flavor
Strawberry pulp (fresh strawberries)..............................1 cup, slightly heaped
For garnishing, 1-2 strawberries





Saturday, September 26, 2015

Bavarois With Mango





"To be a good cook you have to have a love of the good, a love of hard work, and a love of creating."
(~Julia Child)


She says it like it is...true! For me, cooking is therapeutical. It is also almost like an act of worship. I approach it with reverence, love, devotion, joy, humility, and gratefulness. I confess that I pray that the labour of my hands be blessed every time I enter the kitchen to cook a meal, so those who partake of it may be blessed too! There I said it! Didn't think I'd ever say this to all and sundry and here I am putting it down in writing. At my age I guess one says and does things one never ever wanted to earlier. Gosh! I sound like an eighty-year-old!


Okay, today I have this four-ingredient dessert that's actually light, so easy, a ten-year-old can make it, yet so delicious. It leaves one with so many options to innovate and create something akin to a cheesecake. It's eggless, free of flour, free of corn starch, free from cooking. I know you're agog now to find out more so let's get to it pronto. I couldn't give this recipe without a mention of the person who gave me the recipe - my friend Barbara. Grateful to you girl!


Ingredients

Evaporated milk (leche de evaporada).........................1 tin
Condensed milk.............................................................1 tin
Jelly/flavoured gelatine.................................................1 pkt, lemon flavour
Mango pulp (fresh mango)............................................1 n 1/2 medium size mangos


Keep the tin of evaporated milk in the refrigerator twenty-four hours before required. Not in the freezer, it needs to be cold not frozen.

Bring to a boil, 2 cups of water. Add the contents of the jelly packet and stir briskly to dissolve the jelly crystals. Keep aside.




Whip up the evaporated milk until it is nice and frothy, and almost doubled in quantity.

Add the condensed milk, and blitz twice or thrice to meld the condensed milk and evaporated milk.

When the condensed milk is incorporated well, add the mango pulp and blitz some more to get a smooth, thick liquid.

Now pour in the warm jelly mixture (the jelly should not start to set) and give it a good mix with the mixer.

Pour into a plastic or metal mould. Don't use glass bowls or dishes.

Leave to set in the refrigerator. Not in the freezer!



Make a pulp with half of the mango...or cube/slice it instead...up to you. 

When the bavarois is set, use a flat spoon or spatula to slice and lift out squares or slices. Or you could spoon it out and pour puree around it. It's up to you and your imagination.



Use the puree or cubes to garnish.

Serve with wafers or as it is.


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Thursday, September 24, 2015

Arepas with steamed chicken burgers



"I believe no chef becomes what he becomes without having many people influence him."
(~Jose Andres Puerta)




I totally agree with Senor Jose Andres Puerta. No person who has a passion for cooking and the imagination to boot, whether a trained chef or not, can deny the "influence" of many people on their skills. Personally, my cooking skill, though modest, has been influenced by a number of people. Starting with my mother, my in-law's home cooking, and various other encounters with different styles and flavours in friends' kitchens. Indian kitchens abound with a plethora of recipes from different regions and if one is lucky to have friends from North, South, East and West...well, you've got the best classrooms to learn how to cook. If you are a traveller, not a tourist, and a passionate cook, you have a whole lot more to experiment with.

And, if you have a fertile imagination, there's no limit to the number of ways you can innovate to create new dishes...a little tweak here and there; combining and fusing foods to make something your own. I love it. Gourmet is not what I go for, I just look for good food...it could be the most basic of foods.

Another influence has been restaurants. I hasten to add, I'm not one of those cooks who want to give their families "just like restaurant " kind of food. When we want to eat out we do just that - we go out! What I like is to try and guess the ingredients and technique with which a particular dish has been prepared and then try to make it, using my deductive skills. That's so much fun. I don't cheat...no Googling at all!

Enough of that, let's get started:

Ingredients

For the Arepas

White maize flour.......................................3 level cups (standard measure)
Butter..........................................................abt 75-80 gms
Cheese (Basiron)........................................abt 75-80 gms, grated, Basiron is a kind of Gouda cheese.
Baking pwdr...............................................1 tsp, level
Salt to taste. Keep in mind the salt in the butter & cheese
Warm water to knead the flour



For the burgers
Chicken mince..........................................500 gms
Onion (white)............................................chopped very fine, 2 n 1/2 tbsps slightly heaped. you could use purple onion instead of white. I prefer white
Garlic.......................................................2-3 cloves, crushed finely in a mortar or minced
Ginger......................................................a 1" by 1" piece finely grated or crushed finely in a mortar
Green coriander.......................................a handful chopped small
Green chilli..............................................acc to taste deseeded and chopped fine
Garam masala.........................................1/2 tsp
Salt to taste
Egg white................................................1 egg
Roasted black gram or bhuna besan....1 tbsp (roasted gram should be without skin. Grind into a fine pwdr., Besan is chickpea flour)
Cabbage leaves....................................as required, abt 7-8


For the sauteed aubergine

Aubergine................................................1 - 2 medium or as req. cut into 1/2 " cubes. Soak in cold water
Onion.......................................................1 medium white onion or as req. cubed into 3/4 " cubes
Garlic.......................................................1-2 cloves chopped fine. Or as many as req. acc to taste. but don't use too much.
EVOO
Coriander pwdr.......................................1 level tsp, or as req.
Pepper.....................................................acc to taste
Salt to taste




Use plain cheese if you want. It's good too. But use Gouda cheese for the flour.







Place in a hot nonstick pan, medium heat. Turn over and brush
with some butter/oil. Allow to roast. Turn over again and brush
butter on the other side. When done (abt 12 -15 min) remove.
Test one to see if it's cooked, cook for a couple mins more if needed.


For the stuffing, if you want only cheesy arepas, use any pizza cheese.


NOTE: If you wish to have plain cheese arepas, this is where you dig in. If you want to have #Arepaburgers, the following instructions will run you through. Happy cooking.



Sauteed aubergine

Heat about 1 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a non-stick pan.
Add the chopped garlic. Stir for a few seconds, add the onion cubes.
Stir. Cook on medium heat, uncovered until the onions become opaque but not limp.
Add the aubergines, but first gently squeeze out excess water.
Mix to meld with the onions, then add the coriander powder. Mix again. Add salt. Cover and cook on medium-low heat, stirring once or twice to keep from burning until the aubergine is cooked and water is dried. If not uncover and allow excess water to evaporate.
Sprinkle pepper, mix. remove from stove.



Steamed Chicken Burgers

Mix all ingredients in the chicken mince. In a steamer, I used a momo steamer, Place some washed and dried cabbage leaves at the bottom. Now, make small burgers/cutlets with the mince, dipping your hands in some water first. Shake off excess water from palms. This is because the mince mixture might be a bit sticky and loose, don't worry, it will get into shape when it starts to cook. Just make sure you get it into a flattened round.

Keep the burgers as big as you'd need for the arrepas.

Heat a nonstick pan and place each burger, not crowding. The pan should be really hot. Turn over the burger when it is seared on one side. The burgers should not cook through, only sear the outside.

Remove and transfer to the steamer.

Place each burger on the cabbage layered floor of the steamer pan.

Heat the water in the boiler pan before adding the steamer pan/pans on top.

Steam for 25 minutes. I have a three tier momo steamer and could make 16-18 burgers in one lot.

When done, remove, stuff into the arrepas along with sauteed onion-garlic-aubergines. Cheese in these burgers is purely optional. I didn't use any. It tastes better with the burger and vegetable...lighter and not complicated with too much of dairy.

Take a big bite of a delightful Steamed Chicken Burger in an Arrepa Bun.

Just look at this pic...it's yummy!


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