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Monday, February 27, 2012

Corn Vegetable Pulao

One of an important point I learnt during my course of cooking is always to think how to make dishes more tastier without excessive time or effort.  As the name suggests the main ingredient is corn which is complimented with healthy veggies like Carrots and French Beans. At the end of the meal, the dish looks simply superb and once you taste it, you would feel satisfied as this takes little time to make. So, even simple meals can be tasty and tempting which is proved by this rice. We had this with palak chicken (coming up :-).

2 cups Bastmati Rice
1 cup Corn kernels
1/4 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped French beans
2 Black cardamoms
2 Green cardamoms
1 " Cinnamon stick
4-5 Black pepper corns
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1/2 tbsp Cumin seeds, roasted and grounded to powder
4 tbsp Ghee
Salt to taste
4 cups Water

Wash and soak basmati rice for 30 minutes. Drain and keep it aside.Heat ghee in a kadhai, add whole spices and stir until the spices leaves aroma. Add the vegetables and fry till they are half done. Add the rice, turmeric powder and fry for 2-3 minutes. Add 4 cups of warm water, season with salt,  mix well. Boil on high flame then reduce the heat, cover and cook for 12-15 minutes. Check if the rice is cooked and the moisture is gone by gently stir the rice in a way that the bottom layer comes up. Now sprinkle the cumin powder over rice and miix well. Serve piping hot corn pulao with raita of your choice.

read more.. "Corn Vegetable Pulao"

Friday, February 24, 2012

Festival of Culinary Celebration With Kingfisher Explocity Restaurant Week

The veil was lifted on 20th Feb 2012 with much fanfare for the most awaited Kingfisher Explocity Bangalore Restaurant Week. Bangalore being a foodie's paradise showcase the city's Top 16 chefs who were competing to win the prestigious title. The event was held at the Leela Palace. The event was organized by Kingfisher in association with Explocity. 
Winner: Sundeep Biswas from Istas

The 10 day gourmet affair will start from 24th Feb will continue till 4th March. To add to the glitter of the night, celebrity Chefs Karen Anand, Abhijit Saha and five of the most renowned bloggers and food critics of Bangalore were present to encourage the participants and judge their creations. Also the atmosphere was charged up by the presence of food lovers and connoisseurs of the city. They were glued to the two large LCD Tvs where the performance of chefs were being telecast. To keep them in good spirits, a steady supply of mouthwatering appetizers and drinks were provided. So,while witnessing the craftsmanship of cooking, the crowd were cheering for their respective favorites.

Winner of Asthetic award: Chef Jitu from The Park
The way this event has unfolded, it can be safely predict that this event is going to be talk of the town. The Kingfisher Explocity 2012 would be a very handy manual for all the foodies whoever is interested to savour mouthwatering variety of dishes. So foodies lets go for it amongst more than 100 restaurants ( Khansama, Tasty Tangles to name a few)  are giving great discount with the best of the cuisines from all over the world.

Abhijit Saha, Karen Anand, Ramji, Samar Singh

read more.. "Festival of Culinary Celebration With Kingfisher Explocity Restaurant Week"

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Restaurant Style Malai Kofta Curry

There is a long circulating myth that vegetarian dishes can not be lavish as much as non veg ones. However, when I retrospect with all the paneer dishes that I had, the best possible preparation that comes in my mind is not the conventional type paneer curry ( palak, mutter etc.) but malai kofta which is an unusual preparation which requires your patience and preservation. 

This dish is one of the most popular, rich and delicious ordered Mughlai preparation in restaurants. A lavish dish which is served in restaurants or in homes where delicacy is the key word while serving it to the friends and families. Hope you enjoy my preparation like my friends did on pot luck party.

200 gms Paneer (cottage cheese)
2 Bread slices
2 Potatoes, boiled
6 tsp All purpose flour
1/2 tsp Garam masala
1/2 tsp Salt

*For Filling:
Collect the cream (malai) of the milk in a bowl for the last 3-4 days.
Fistful of cashews and raisins
2 tsp chopped Coriander leaves
Mix the filling ingredients and keep in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

For Gravy:
3 Onion
3 Tomatoes
2 tbsp Curd
1 " Ginger
3-4 Green chillies
2 tsp Poppy seeds (soaked in warm water for 1/2 hour)
5-6 Cashews
1 tsp Red chilly powder
1 tsp Coriander powder
1 tsp Garam masala
4 tbsp fresh Cream
1 tsp Salt

Grate the boiled potatoes and mash well with paneer. Moisten the dry bread and squeeze the extra water out and add salt, flour, garam masala into the paneer bowl. Mix well and make round balls. 

Flatten each ball and fill the center of the ball with the cream filling*. Make sure that you seal the edges and deep fry the koftas on medium heat till golden in colour. Place them on paper towel to soak excess oil. Keep aside.

To make the gravy you need to first boil the onions in a bowl of water for 12 minutes, drain out the water and then puree in a mixer. Keep aside. Do the same with the tomatoes also and boil till the skin looks loose and will come off easilyLet them cool a bit then put it in the blender or food processor to puree them. Keep aside. Heat oil in a pan and fry onion puree till light brown. In between make a paste of ginger, green chillies,.cashews and poppy seeds with 1 or 2 tsp water. Add this paste to the pan and fry till it leaves oil. Sprinkle red chilly powder, salt, coriander powder and keep stirring. Add tomato puree and fry till the oil leaves from the side of the pan. Add curd at this point and stirring continuously, pour 2 1/2 cups of water, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes on low flame. Season with garam masala, coriander leaves and cream. Add koftas just before serving otherwise koftas will soak all the gravy. Serve with Nan / Peas Pulao or with chapati.

Look at the fresh cream in the center ;-)

read more.. "Restaurant Style Malai Kofta Curry"

Friday, February 17, 2012

Palong Sager Ghanto (Spinach With Vegetables)

During my childhood, Mom used to nag a lot "tora saag sobji kobe khete shikhbi?" (When will you start eating green leafy vegetables?)
And now a days when I insist my son to eat leafy vegetables, I can very well understand my mom's concern while going through the same vicious cycle. This spinach with vegetables combination is served at along with the mid-day meal. With minimum spices this is a very healthy dish. We use Panch phoron in this saag, which is prominent mixture of 5 spices largely used in Bengali dishes

3 bunches of Spinach
1 Red carrot
2-3 small Brinjals
1 Radish
6-7 Cauliflower florets
6-7 Beans
1/4 cup Yellow pumpkin
2-3 Green chillies
1/2 tsp Turmeric power
1/2 tsp Panch Phoron
1 tsp Sugar
Salt to taste
Mustard Oil

Cut, wash and dice/ trim all the vegetables. In a large vessel take spinach and soak it for 5 minutes before you rinse (to get rid of the grit this step is must). Do this several times until the water is clear. You may remove the hard stalks. 
Heat oil in a pan till it reaches smoking point, then reduce the heat and add panch phoron, silted green chilles. Once the panch phoron releases its aroma add all the vegetables, salt, turmeric, mix well and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach, sugar, cover and simmer for another 5-6 minutes. Turn off the heat and this saag is ready t be served with gorom bhaat (steamed rice) and dal. 

read more.. "Palong Sager Ghanto (Spinach With Vegetables)"

Monday, February 13, 2012

Fried Ice-Cream : A Valentine's Delight

Sometimes during your course of life you come across such type of food which stays in your memory forever. They are so unique in their looks and taste that you are surprised just by the look of it. Also, you think what an ingenious inventor could have thought about such a wonderful tasting and unique looking preparation which refuses to leave your memory. I know many of you must be thinking that I have lost my mind to come up with an weird ice-cream dish that too fried ! One such preparation is called as Fried Ice Cream which I had 15 years back at my Aunt's wedding in Delhi.  After 2 trials I could achieve the same result.

 The taste was so delicious and lingering that it seems that I still feel that I have tasted it only yesterday. The key point in this dessert is that it is fried from outside with the help of a special coating and must be consumed without any delay in order to enjoy the crispiness of the coating as well as the chill of the ice cream together.

These are crusty outside and inside chilled vanilla ice-cream is awating for you. The process is little time taking as it needs to coat well before dipping in hot oil. Trust me friends, you would love the taste of it. 

5 Vanilla ice-cream scoops
1/2 cup All purpose flour
1/4 cup Desiccated coconut
1/4 cup Bread crumbs
2 tsp Vanilla essence
1 tsp Cinnamon powder
1 1/2 cups crushed Corn flakes
1 egg, beaten
Oil for deep frying

Take a baking tray, lined with waxed paper and put it in freezer section before you want to start the procedure. Since we are going to deal with ice-cream which melts very fast you have to be very quick. So with one swift lightning fast move, place 5 ice-cream scoops on the chilled baking tray and keep in freezer for minimum an hour. 

Left: Flour +cinnamon +vanilla essence=Batter, Right: Ice-cream scoops dipped in batter and ready to roll in breadcrumbs
Make a batter of all purpose flour, vanilla essence and cinnamon powder with little water. The consistency should be thick. Dip each ice-cream scoops in this batter and immediately roll in the breadcrumbs. Return to the freezer again for an hour. 
In a big bowl mix desiccated coconut and crushed cornflakes ready. Place the beaten egg next to this. Now take out the flour coated ice-cream scoops and dip in egg batter, then back into the cornflakes mixture. Press hard the corkflakes against the scoops, which eventually will provide thick crust. Try to shape into round balls. And repeat the process for firm outer coat. Return to the freezer for another hour. 
Fry for 30 seconds....
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan, take out the ice-cream scoops from the freezer and dip one ball at a time. Fry for few seconds until the outer crust becomes light brown. 

Remove from oil and place on paper towel to remove excess oil. Serve immediately with chocolate sauce to surprise your loved ones.
Gone in seconds...:-)

read more.. "Fried Ice-Cream : A Valentine's Delight"

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cake

 What better way to express my fondness for chocolates and celebrate today's day as Chocolate Day by preparing Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cake, for which I have summoned all my baking experience with the hope that you would be tempted to try out this recipe once. Even if any of my reader, bake this cake with cranberry toppings and share your feedback with me, I would be motivated enough to try out newer and more exotic preparations for the months to come. Best part about this cake is that it gives an unique taste of Chocolate and Cranberries, which would be very indulging and you can store it in fridge for days. 

                                                Have a memorable Chocolate Day !

3/4 cup Butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups All purpose flour
1/2 cup Cocoa powder
1 cup Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Baking powder
2 tsp Instant Coffee powder -just dissolve with 1/4 cup of hot water
Pinch of Salt

Pre-heat the Oven to 180 Degree Celsius, grease and flour a round pan. Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Keep aside.
Beat the butter and sugar on low speed until light and fluffy. Add vanilla essence, beat on medium speed and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition until combined. Beat in coffee liquid slowly, stir well and fold in the dry ingredients. Pour this mixture into the pan and bake for 40-45 minutes until risen and spongy to the touch. Check by inserting a toothpick in the center, it should come out clean. Cool for 20  minutes and then invert onto rack to cool completely. 

For Cranberry Sauce please click here

Chocolate Butter cream Icing:
3/4 cup Semisweet Chocolate, chopped
1 cup Icing sugar
4 tbsp Butter
1/4 cup Milk
1 tsp Vanilla essence

 Melt the chocolate by double boiler method. Stir once the chocolate starts to melt. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature. Beat butter and sugar until it is combined well with a hand mixer. Place the melted chocolate, milk, salt, vanilla extract and beat on low speed. Then increase mixer speed to medium-high and beat frosting for about 3-5 minutes or until frosting is of spreading consistency. You chocolate spread is ready. 

Assembling The Cake:
Slice the cake horizontally into three parts, apply the cranberry sauce on each layer and frost top with chocolate butter cream icing and sides of cake with a thin layer of frosting. 

And pour the remaining cranberry sauce in the middle of the cake to decorate. Freeze for about 30 minutes and serve.

read more.. "Dark Chocolate Cranberry Cake"

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mini Cream Cheese Cupcakes

Whenever I tell my son that I'm making cupcakes, it works magic each time. Not only he stops all his mischief for my required time, but also does whatever activities I whis him to perform with a smile in his face which reads like "just let me get my hands on these cakes and I will be back to my usual self."
These mini Cream cheese cupcakes has been made soft and fluffy by air being whipped into it. As for this cotton soft cheesecake, it really does live up to it's name, it's so light and melt in mouth. These mini cheese cupcakes were an instant hit with my guests. One of the best cupcakes I have ever had. 

Serves: 12 mini cupcakes, Preparation time: 10 minutes, Baking time: 15-20 mins

For the Bottom Crust:
18 Digestive Biscuits
4 tbsp Butter, room temperature
2 tbsp Sugar
Small pinch of salt

For the Batter:
350 gms Cream cheese, softened
2 Eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated Sugar
1 tsp Vanilla essence

Place digestive biscuits in a ziplock bag and crush with rolling pin to make fine crumbs. Now pour this into a mixing bowl, pour melted butter, sugar and pinch of salt. Now quickly stir with a fork to mix it thoroughly. Place 1 tbsp biscuit crumbs into the bottom of each prepared mini cupcakes. Use the bottom of a small glass to pack crumbs into the bottom of each cupcake liner for a firm set. Bake for 6-7 minutes and let these cool completely before pouring cream cheese batter.

To prepare the Cream Cheese Batter: 
Pour cream cheese in a big mixing bowl and beat on low speed for 2 minutes, gradually add sugar and beat for a minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, after each addition. Add vanilla drops and give a nice stir. Pour the cheesecake batter on cupliners, filling each 3/4 full. Pour 1 tbsp Cranberry sauce in between and swirl to spread it out. Bake in the pre-heated Oven (170 Degree Celsius) for 12-15 minutes. When these are set, remove from the pan and cool completely on wire rack. Later you can store them in refrigerator. For Cranberry Sauce:
120 gms Dried Cranberries
Juice of 1 Orange
1 tsp grated Orange rind
1 cup Caster Sugar (adjust according to your taste)
1 cup Water
Process to make the Sauce:
Pour all the ingredients in a pan on low heat with initially just 1/4 sugar. Just bear in mind dried Cranberries are often already sweetened, you can always adjust the sugar level later. Heat gently until the sugar has melted. Cover and simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, until the cranberries have released their juices and the sauce has started to thicken.
User Comments & Tips:
  • Since I used mini cupliners, so kept checking them after 10 minutes. These are basically very soft textured cupcakes so better check once the baking time crosses initial 10 minutes
  • This is very versatile recipe , so feel free to add any sauce of your choice in the center.

read more.. "Mini Cream Cheese Cupcakes"

Friday, February 3, 2012

Crispy Okra With Yogurt / Bhindi Raita

For all of the Foodies, ( Particularly from South Asia) , Raita is no stranger to us. It is a curd based accompaniment of Biriyani or Pulao or even with roti . There are many flavors of Raita namely, jeera ( cumin) , cucumber , potato etc. However the dish which I am about to present today is called as Bhindi ( Okra ) raita. The veggie which forms the central part is Fried Okra.

 Not to mention that I love okra in any form even boiled ! Yes we Bengalis have it as a Bhindi Bhate. In which 4-5 bhindis /okra is boiled in the same water in which the rice is cooked. Thereby drives the name Even in this you can find different variations like Alu Bhate, Kumro Bhate. Will tell you the details in another post.  Will wait for your feedback.

1 cup plain Yogurt
250 gms fresh young Okra (bhindi)
Vegetable oil for frying Okra
Salt to taste

For Seasoning:
2 tsp Chana dal
1 Whole red chilly
1/2 tsp Kashmiri red chilly
1/2 tsp Red chilly powder
1/2 tsp Mustard seeds
1/4 tsp Ginger, finely chopped
Pinch of asafoetida (hing)
Few curry leaves
Few Coriander leaves, finely chopped
Salt to taste

Wash okra and pat dry with paper towel. Cut off the crown and snip of the tail a little bit, slice into 1/2 inch rounds. Heat oil in a large pan and fry okra with little salt and turmeric over medium flame till light brown and crisp. Remove and cool completely.

In a bowl beat yogurt, chilly powder and salt together. Just prior to serving, mix crispy okras with the yogurt and prepare the seasoning. Heat 3 tsp oil in a tadka pan, add chana dal and fry for few seconds, when it starts to turn light golden add whole red chilly and mustard seeds. When the seeds starts to splutter add ginger , kashmiri red powder, hing and curry leaves. Fry for few seconds and pour over yogurt. Serve this immediately with flavoured rice dishes.

read more.. "Crispy Okra With Yogurt / Bhindi Raita"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Nutella Buttercream With Cashew Praline

Don't you love how Nutella just melts in your mouth? I'm yet to meet a person who doesn't love Nutella, I'm hooked to this melt in mouth spread which leaves silky touch after having a spoon. I make this nutella buttercream spread for toppings on cupcakes and they make a great combination with Salty / Masala Biscuits. Feel free to make your own combo. I guarantee that you would be in a blissful state and would crave for more such topping.

1/2 cup Nutella 
1/4 Unsalted butter,room temperature
4 tbsp Milk
1/2 cup Icing sugar

With a hand blender beat butter for few seconds, add nutella, sugar and beat until combined. Add milk and beat again to make a smooth consistency.

For Cashew Praline:

1 tbsp Butter
2 tbsp Cashewnuts 
3 tbsp Sugar

Take a pan and heat. Pour sugar in it, soon it will start melting and turn into golden color. Add nuts and butter to it. Mix well. Now pour onto a butter paper and let it cool down completely. Now crush it into tiny bits. 

Place all the biscuits on a flat, dry surface and spread the Nutella buttercream on each one. Sprinkle Cashew praline over them and viola, it's ready to eat !

read more.. "Nutella Buttercream With Cashew Praline"