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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Strawberry Jam Recipe | Pectin Free Jam


Making strawberry jam from the scratch is perhaps one of the most rewarding life skills when you have strawberries in abundance. My process is Pectin free and I use fewer ingredients and no preservatives at all. Pectin is used as a thickening agent in jams. But  I just thicken my batch of jam by cooking it a bit longer. As you know all fruits contain pectin so it will help in jelling.


 I add lemon juice, cinnamon stick to it that certainly helps to fill the pectin quota and a hint of cinnamon adds a lovely twist to an old favorite. Both are subtle in the final product, yet they add a fruity fragrant in this preservative free strawberry jam ! So if you love strawberries, do give this a try !

Ingredients:
1.5 cups of Strawberry
1/2 cup Sugar (depending upon the sweetness of strawberries adjust it)
A very small stick of Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Lemon Zest
1 tsp Lemon juice

Other Items we will be needing:
Small jars for storing the jam
Potato masher
A small plate to test the consistency of the jam at the end (Keep this plate in the freezer section few hours before you start making strawberry jam)

Method:

Wash and hull berries, discard any rotten ones. Cut them into medium sized pieces and mix with sugar. Keep this aside for an hour (this step is done to draw out their natural juices). 


Next, place them in a wide thick bottom pan along with lemon zest, lemon juice and cinnamon stick. 

Mash berries with a potato masher and in between skip the foam as it is boiling. Bring strawberries to a boil and reduce to simmer. 

Keep stirring the mixture for next 15-20 minutes to avoid it getting stick to the bottom.



 Now comes the part where it needs to pass the chilled plate test. Take out the small plate from the freezer and place a drop of jam onto the plate and let it rest for 30 seconds. Tip plate to one side, jam should be a soft  mass that moves slightly. 
Not there yet.....

And if it is runny and thin then put the pan back on heat, boil the jam for another 2-3 minutes before testing the jam again.
perfect texture...

Remove jam from heat and allow it to cool a bit before transferring jams to sterilized jars. Seal and store in the fridge for upto two weeks.


They are too yummy not to eat right away ! Well I always make it in small batches and goes fast !
read more.. "Strawberry Jam Recipe | Pectin Free Jam"

Monday, December 14, 2015

Steamed Chicken Dumplings | Edible Kadam Phool


During the past week or two due to flood there were many times when we as a family used to huddle together and talk about our everything under the sun. Thanks to none of the distractions like Phones, TV or Internet not being available. Chennai was drowning ! And help poured in only after national news declared Chennai as a disaster zone.


 This is when we realized that how we should utilize every moment positively while being together. One of such conversations was about my  70 year old father who even after retirement is fit as a fiddle. Even now as soon as the clock strikes 2 pm my Dad could  be seen sitting in front of television to watch cookery show in a local TV channel. Such is the enthusiasm to learn new dishes even at this age post retirement. And whenever there is something special on show he notes down the ingredients and recipe for me. Later he passes on the information to me. This Kadom phool look-a-like dumpling is one such dish ! The kadam flowers have large and attractive globular heads which made it easy for me to add in generous amount of fillings inside. So here is my new recipe after a hiatus of more than 2 months..

Ingredients:
250 gms boneless Chicken
1 big Onion, finely chopped
2-3 Green chilies, finely chopped
1 tsp grated Ginger
1 tsp minced Garlic
Salt to taste
1 cup Basmati rice
1 tsp Garam masala
To be served with Coriander leaves and red chili sauce

Method:
First of all soak the rice for 30 minutes and drain off excess water. Spread the rice on a muslin cloth. Keep aside.
 Run the minced chicken in a grinder to make a smooth paste. When it is half done, stop the grinder and add green chilies along with the chicken paste. Grind it for one more minute. Transfer it to a mixing bowl, add ginger, onion, garlic, garam masala, salt and mix well. Divide the mixture into 10-12 round balls. 

Grease your palms with little oil and take a small ball of chicken mixture and roll them in rice. Pour water in a pressure cooker, oil the idly stand and place the chicken balls coated with rice on it and place it inside the cooker. 

Close the pressure cooker without vent weight. Steam for about 15 minutes. Allow to cool for 2 minutes and then open the lid. Run a spoon around the chicken balls to remove it from the steam plates. Serve hot with chopped coriander leaves and chili sauce. 

read more.. "Steamed Chicken Dumplings | Edible Kadam Phool"

Monday, November 2, 2015

October Fest @Hard Rock Cafe, Chennai


Who wouldn't like to enjoy good food with great music? Situated at a very busy place, in Phoniex Mall where after  a round of shopping you can enjoy with a group of friends. I have been to Bangalore's Hard Rock Cafe and like there, here too you would get traditional rock music flavour. So when I got an invite for the same I gave it a nod as there I would get to see their October special menu (available till 8th november). You can place yourself in front of the big projector which will entertain you. 

We started with their mocktails which to me was on a sweeter note so I requested them to dilute it with soda. It was served in a manson jar and the food photographer inside me wanted to take it back home ;-) hi hi


My friend had ordered The Hummus Platter and I decided to taste their Carnival Fiesta- Fries as anything with garlic plays music in my ears. Cajun spice dusted crispy chilli garlic dust fries with BBQ spiced hand pulled Chicken & smoked Chicken frank spices, served with tangy Salsa & Cheddar cheese sauce.

"LA Confidential" sounds familiar with a popular American TV series! But it is actually a Double Decker crispy Vegetable patty & crusty potato patty layered with tangy spiced Chipotle Mayo served with smoky dip &chili fries.

Just after that we were served with Mexi Cali Burger whose main part was a Tangy Chili Chicken patty topped with citrus mayo and smokey relish. Accompanied with spicy chili fries. 

Next came Jamican Hotty Submarine a typical Caribbean wholesome meal which is charred grilled smoked chicken frank stuffed subroll topped with Jamaican spiced stir fried veggies with tangy cajun barbecue mayo served with spicy chili fries.

For dessert I had Baked Cheese cake which I found to be just melting inside my mouth and a perfect finale to the excellent culinary experience.

So overall I am convinced that like a true Global brand Hard Rock Cafe,Chennai presents us a awesome combination of good food enjoyed with equally wonderful music. So, would definitely return back with family and friends real soon.      

read more.. "October Fest @Hard Rock Cafe, Chennai"

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Pizza Trail at California Pizza Kitchen (15th Oct- 15th Nov)

   

In my earlier posts I have already written a lot about California Pizza Kitchen's expertise in preparing traditional Pizzas and giving them a certain twist so as to make them unique in front of conventional ones. So without any further ado I would like to go straight to their latest event that is the above mentioned title.
The theme Around the World in Ten Pizzas emphasizes upon the pizzas that we might not have ever tasted earlier. They are customized as per certain countries taste and ingredients. Food lovers can now indulge in ten lip smackingly delicious pizzas  from across the world at one place.
The new menu which showcases pizzas from 10 different countries would be available between 15 October- 15 November 2015 @ California Pizza Kitchen all over India.
Since we are non-vegetarian, all our ordered dishes were the same.

To quench our thirst we ordered 'Malta & Pom', which had Malta oranges, orange juice, pomegranate seeds with a dash of grenadine and a hint of red bull. One can't complain after that !



For appetizers we chose Charmula Fried Fish evenly fried served with lime creme sauce and salad. I liked the crisp coating outside and soft juicy fish.

 Next was Lebanese Grill Chicken, needless to say my son ate most of it. Spicy, tender and nice blend of flavours.


Then we went for the pizzas for which we had arrived. Peri Peri Pizza was a traditional crust pizza  from South Africa. It's base is filled with mushroom peri peri sauce and the topping had bell peppers, black olives, cottage cheese with fresh cilantro. Peri peri sauce has a reputation of  being highly spicy, however I didn't find it as much spicy as expected.

Then we ordered All American Cheese Burger Pizza, which had a wholesome presence of sliced chicken patties and host of freshly sliced veggies with generous amount of cheese.




My vegetarian friend on the other side of the table had ordered Harissa Pizza (kick of garlic marinade sauce with bell peppers, fire roasted chili and cottage cheese) and Frijoles A La Mexicano. Frijoles A La was a crispy crust pizza with spicy bean sauce, red peppers with Mexican chili topped with crispy tortilla chips. Tasted a small portion of the above as I couldn't resist to taste them. 


One can't leave CPK before tasting their desserts be it their trademark Tiramisu and Red Velvet Cake. AS they say desserts don't go to your stomach but straight to your heart. 
read more.. " Pizza Trail at California Pizza Kitchen (15th Oct- 15th Nov) "

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

CouponzGuru Review : Deals, Discounts on your Fingertips

The words like deals, discounts, coupons, saving, sale act like music to  our ears. Who doesn't want to get more value out of his money by the click of a mouse! Few months back I discovered one such site Couponzguru.com which caught my attention and I spent around 1/2 hour exploring the site. At the end I was of the opinion that this is a one stop solution for all online coupons / deals and discounts.




First thing you will notice is that the site appears very fast and neatly laid out. Site is clutter free and depending on your requirement you are directed to the promo code and after you copy that you could then go to the vendor's site to avail the deal.


The bottom of the page gives information about CouponzGuru, how do they work, how to use the coupon codes and what kind of coupons they offer.

Various categories that are available in the site are as follows:
  •  Hot Coupons and offers of the day : This has a host of deals which are fresh and happening making them quite attractive.
  •  Mobiles and Electronics 
  •  Fashion Offers
  •  Travel Offers
  •  Food Offers. Being a Foodie myself and always in lookout for great deals in various food portals. So this site has been quite handy for me to buy online new meals without paying for the listed amount. The popular ones like Food Panda, KFC, Dominos, McDonald's and Pizza Hut are on the board. Food Panda as we all know is a discount portal of a number of restaurants in various cities of India. 
As you can see a button "Get This Coupon" next to each and every deal, all you have to do is to click on it.

  • Also all of us are well aware of the restaurant chains like Pizza Hut, Dominos, KFC and McDonalds. Time to time they launch various online deals which are available which are very useful when you have to throw a party for kids and adults alike. 
So  my opinion about the site as a whole are as follows: 

Positives: 

1) As said above, a simple and easy to browse website with all the popular brands neatly placed.
2) The categories of each deal are stacked one after another so that each of them are easy to find.
3) Website provides real time information of all  prevailing deals in India which is regularly updated.
4) Since they have been around since 2011 , in a way they are pioneers in the e commerce.

Opportunities:

1) Ads are a bit distraction.

Overall, I am pretty much satisfied with this website and have become a frequent visitor. Recommend all of you to visit it at least once and use it's services. Surely a good place to look for coupons and deals just a click away !

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored review but the content and opinion is entirely mine which is unbiased. I just shared my experience and thought of sharing it with my readers as online shopping has become a major attraction.

read more.. "CouponzGuru Review : Deals, Discounts on your Fingertips"

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chana Dal Chutney Recipe | Side Dish For Idly / Dosa / Uttapam


Chana Dal chutney is a great fix when you are pressed for time early morning. And all it takes is just less than 10 minutes ! Chana dal tends to get thick so you need to keep the water ratio in mind while grinding. So here is a very quick and easy chutney that goes well with dosa / Idli / Uttapam and even with vadas.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup Roasted Chana dal
A green chilly (according to how hot you want your chutney to taste)
4 tbsp Coconut, grated 
1 tbsp Ginger, chopped
Water to grind the chutney (add little by little till you get your kind of consistency) 
Salt to taste
Sugar to taste

To temper the chutney:
8-9 Curry leaves
1/2 tsp Urad dal
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds (raai)
 A small pinch of Asafetida 
A dry Red chili 
1/2 tbsp Oil


Method:
In a mixer grinder, add roasted chana dal, coconut, green chili, ginger, salt and sugar and add very little water to this mixture grind them to a fine paste. 

Take the lid off and check if you need more water, add little water at a time and grind the mixer once again. I like my chutney to be little coarse but if you like you can grind to fine paste. 

Do check the seasoning and consistency. Keep aside your chutney is ready for tempering ! 

Heat oil in a tadka pan to smoking point and add the dry chili, mustard seeds (let them crackle), urad dal, asafetida in the mentioned order and turn off the gas. Immediately add curry leaves. Add the tempering into the chana dal chuteny and serve it fresh with soft, fluffy idlis or with dosa. I served mine with mixed uttapams.


Tips:

  • While grinding adjust the salt / Chilly according to your taste. My spice quotient is little high so I added 2 chilies.
  • To calm down the spiciness you may add little melted ghee in the chutney.


read more.. "Chana Dal Chutney Recipe | Side Dish For Idly / Dosa / Uttapam"

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fish Kachori | Macher Kachori


Kochuri as we know it in Bengal is another form of stuffed puris. What stands out in favour of it is the stuffing is varied from as per person’s taste. It used to be an essential part in traditional Bengali households till Globalization happened and we are bombarded with breakfast cereals and juices. I still miss the good old days when mom used to pack kochuries of different kinds of stuffing like peas, lentils etc. My Mom's creation 'Fish Kachori' was born out of compulsion to finish the stock of Rohu fish in the freezer section. We were planning to go for our yearly vacation together and needed to clean our fridge before journey. Dad had made Fish Cutlets with half of the 'pur' (pur is nothing but stuffing, it may be veg or non veg) and with remaining pur Ma made this Fish Kachoris

Generally Fish in its own is a dish by itself however when I used up some leftover fishes and stuffed them in the dough, it was as good as any other meals. As far as taste it had the distinct flavor of fish which left a great lingering feeling behind.

Ingredients:
For Dough-
500 gms All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Salt
3 tbsp Oil or Ghee
1 cup Warm water

For Filling:
5-6 Rui/ Rohu fish or you can use any other boneless fish
2 Onions, finely chopped
4 Green chilies
1 tsp Ginger, chopped
5 Garlic cloves, chopped finely
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp Red Chili powder
Handful of chopped Coriander leaves
Salt to taste


Method:
If you are using fish fillet then skip this boiling part otherwise boil fish pieces with some salt and cook till they are tender. Drain, discard the water and allow it to cool. Remove the bones from the fish and mince the fish.
In a heavy bottomed pan add oil and onion, green chilies, ginger, garlic and fry for a minute. Add minced fish, coriander leaves and stir well. Add all the spices and fry till the mixture becomes dry.Finally taste and adjust the seasonings. Allow the mixture to cool.

Prepare the dough by sieving together the flour and salt. Make a well in between and pour 3 tbsp oil or ghee and water little by little to form a pliable dough. Knead well until soft. Cover and let it rest for 1/2 hour. 

Make small portions of the dough, give them a shape of discs and pour 2 tbps  fish filling in center, gather the sides of the dough and seal firmly. Press the center of the poori so that the filling shouldn't come out. Dust the kitchen counter, flatten it and roll it uniformly. 

Make sure the size of disc is not too big and make sure the filling doesn't spill out. At a time you can fry only one poori. Repeat the same steps for the rest of the day and stuffing.

Deep fry the pooris on high flame initially then turn the heat to low once the poori is fully puffed on one side, flip and fry from both the sides. Drain off excess oil and serve with Alu'r Dom / Dhaniya Chutney / Chutney.

read more.. "Fish Kachori | Macher Kachori"

Friday, September 4, 2015

Chocolate Coconut Truffles Recipe | Insanely Easy Truffle


What can chocolate do to you? Well it made me go nuts and next thing was I was frantically searching for ingredients to make something quickly. I just had to make something chocolaty after being featured in Times Of India's Chennai Times today ! We all need small reasons to be happy and being featured with Chennai's talented bunch of bakers is perfect platform to celebrate. I am not harsh on myself when it comes to diet (Ahem Ahem...) so I'm game for anything with chocolate ! 


Today's Chocolate Coconut Truffles is the result of my instant craving and pretty darn amazing recipe if you have leftover chocolate ganache in your refrigerator. They are INSANELY EASY ! Yes, you got to trust me ! Evil me is eating one after another :-D I just hope my son and hubby gets to eat a few at least.

Ingredients:
200 gms of Semi sweet or bittersweet Chocolate chips ( High Quality, above 60% or higher)
1/2 Heavy cream
1 cup shredded Coconut (unsweetened)
1/2 tsp Coconut extract
 19-20 Nutty chocolate ball candy

Method:
Take a pan, pour heavy cream and bring the cream to a simmer. Don't forget to stir in between and scrape down the sides with a spatula every few minutes. Remove from heat and add chocolate chips and mix until smooth. Add coconut extract and stir well. Ideally you should make this a day ahead and let this chocolate ganache sit for a while in refrigerator. If making immediately then allow to cool and then place in the refrigerator for minimum tow hours. Take out the chocolate ganache bowl add 1/2 cup shredded coconut and mix well.

Roll into 1 1/2" balls and place one nutty chocolate candy in the center, roll between the palm of your hands into lemon size balls and finally roll them in shredded coconut or until they are completely covered. Keep the truffles in the fridge for an hour to chill and serve them after dinner.


Notes:

  • Do leave the truffles outside before consuming as the coconut in it makes the truffles harden inside the fridge. 
  • I personally like my coconut chocolate truffles little soft so I let them sit in normal temperature.  

"Looks out weekend, here I come"


read more.. " Chocolate Coconut Truffles Recipe | Insanely Easy Truffle"