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Thursday, May 30, 2013

Crispy Prawn Pakora /How to Make Prawn Fritters

Crispy prawn pakora is nothing but prawns dipped in a spicy batter of besan. A very tasty appetizer for prawn lovers. Now I am saying this but 12 years back I was allergic to prawns, my husband would roll his eyes over these whenever we used to go to some fish department stores. It was his love for prawns that I had to learn some prawn curry recipes. And now I can see the love for prawns has been passed to my son also but only in pakora form. This pakora version tastes fantastic with some spices and the crunchy layer outside gives that extra zing.

 I had a soft batter version of these prawn pakoras at my friends place this month. Satarupa had made some finger licking dishes for main course but the prawn pakoras as starters were the show stealer. Thanks honey, for another wonderful idea of making prawn pakora.

To Marinate:
1/2 kg medium size Prawn
1/2 Lemon
2 tsp Ginger-Garlic paste
1/2 Turmeric powder
Salt to taste

For the batter:
1/2 cup Besan (gram flour)
2-3 tbsp Rice flour
1 tsp Garam masala
1 tsp Green chilli paste
5-6 Curry leaves finely chopped
Salt to taste
Cold water as required
Oil for frying
1 cup Corn flake roughly crushed

Wash prawns and devein them, place them in a bowl and add all the ingredients under 'marinate'. Keep this aside for 15 minutes. Now make the batter by mixing besan, rice flour, garam masala, chilly paste, curry leaves, salt and mix thoroughly. Add just enough of cold water to make a thick but smooth coat-able batter. Keep the crushed corn flaxes plate next to the stove and dip 2-3 prawns at a time into the batter to coat and then drop them into the corn flaxes mixture. Deep fry prawns on low heat until they turn out golden in color. Repeat the same process to make the remaining prawn pakoras. Serve hot with lemon wedges and chilli garlic sauce.

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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Zebra Cake | How To Make Zebra Cake from Scratch

There is a dialogue in the movie Forrest Gump- “My mama always said life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get.” So true for me now that I am relocating to another city, Chennai to be precise. It was in the cards for a long time and I was mentally preparing myself to relocate there. However, let me assure that I would continue to post new recipes and interact with all you friends ( although not at the same rate till I stabilize). So the last post that I am uploading in Bangalore is Zebra cake. 
The beauty of this cake is that there is no icing required and it looks very attractive. Also it can be preserved in an air tight container for days. So, till the time I start posting new recipes from Chennai, this is Deepa signing off with this wonderful cake .

Recipe Source : From various internet sources I drew the pattern and made it here after 2-3 attempts.
1 1/4 cup All purpose flour
2 Eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup Oil (any vegetable oil)
1/2 Milk
2 tbsp Dark Cocoa powder
1 tsp Baking powder
3/4 cup Sugar
1 tsp of pure Vanilla extract
1/8 tsp Salt

Grease cake tin (8 inch) and dust some flour to the bottom of the pan and the sides too. Invert the pan to remove the extra dust. Pre-heat the Oven to 180 Degree C.
Combine dry ingredients ie. flour, baking powder, salt and set aside. Take a deep mixing bowl and beat sugar and oil together on low speed with a hand mixer. Add milk and combine well. In a separate bowl beat one egg at a time until smooth and fluffy. Add this to oil-sugar liquid batter. Add vanilla extract and combine well. Fold in the dry ingredients (except COCOA) and combine it with wet batter. Now divide the batter into two equal parts and keep in separate bowls. Keep one bowl as it is and add cocoa powder in another. Mix the cocoa batter to remove any lumps. Now there are two options to spread the batter on the pan to make the pattern.
1) You can simply spoon the batter with alternative cake batters.
2) or you can use piping bags for the pattern.

Start by pouring 2 tbsp of vanilla batter in the center of the pan. Immediately pour 2 tbsps of  cocoa batter on top of vanilla mixture. Then without stopping repeat with the vanilla batter in the middle of chocolate batter.

 Remember not to tilt or rotate the batter to spread as it will automatically spread by itself. Continue to alternate between cocoa and vanilla layers till the batter finishes.
just before going into the Oven

Carefully transfer the pan into the Oven and bake for about 40 minutes. Do not open the glass door in between or else it will have some cracks on top. Check with a toothpick, insert Let the cake cool completely on a wire rack and then invert. Sprinkle some confectioner sugar if you want.

read more.. "Zebra Cake | How To Make Zebra Cake from Scratch"

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Aam Shrikhand | How to make Mango Shrikhand

Now that summer is in full swing, it has opened opportunities to counter it with seasonal delicacies not only to beat the heat but also to keep ourselves happy with tasting delicious cuisines. One of the popular desserts of Western India is called as Shrikhand. It's nothing but a homogenised mix of hung curd with a hint of cardamom and saffron. This season I was waiting to get good variety of mangoes so that I can make AamShrikhand. 

My Man loves the mousse like consistency with has sweet-tangy taste. And the preparation is so simple that we have completely stopped buying store bought Shrikhand. It's India's answer to Ice-cream without any icing sugar or vanilla essence being used. Hope you all like it and try preparing it at your convenience.

2 cups Curd or 1 cup Hung curd *(see the notes below)
1 cup Mango pulp
5-6 Sugar
2-3 tbsp Condensed milk
2 tbsp Pistachios
5-6 pods of Cardamom powdered
6-7 strands of Saffron dipped in 1 tbsp warm milk

* To make HUNG  CURD :Place a double layered muslin cloth over a bowl and pour the yogurt into the cloth. 

Bring the ends together and hang it over a sink for few hours for the excess water to drain. But pressing hard manually will not give the desired effect.  

Take a large bowl and add condensed milk, sugar, mango pulp, cardamom powder and saffron infused milk. Mix together to make a smooth and creamy batter. Make sure there are no lumps and sugar is dissolved. Add hung curd and mix well. 

Pour the shrikhand into serving bowls and garnish with pistachios. Refrigerate it for minimum 2 hours before serving. Your homemade AamShrikhand is ready !!

read more.. "Aam Shrikhand | How to make Mango Shrikhand"

Friday, May 10, 2013

How to Make Palak Pakora | Spinach Fritters

Palak Pakore, a quick fried item that goes really well with a cup of tea. This bhaji has extra crunch because of rice flour and poppy seeds. 

14-16 Palak leaves (Spinach)
1/2 cup Besan (Gramflour)
4 tbsp Rice flour
4 tbsp Poppy seeds
1 tsp Red chilli powder
1 big pinch of Cooking soda
1/4 tsp Carom seeds
1/4 tsp Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Wash the leaves and wipe with tissue paper to remove excess water. Try to use spinach leaves of almost same size. Trim of all but 2 inch of the stem. Make pairs of same size and keep aside. 

In a bowl mix everything except OIL , poppy seeds, palak leaves and water. Now add water little by little to get the thick consistency. Check the salt and make sure the batter is free of any lumps. Heat oil for frying on medium flame. Dip the spinach leaves, coat well from both sides and sprinkle some poppy seeds on both the sides. Fry until golden brown. Remove from oil and strain on paper till the oil drains. Serve hot crispy palak pakoras with green chutney. 

read more.. "How to Make Palak Pakora | Spinach Fritters "

Monday, May 6, 2013

Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta

"Ciao"(Hello)my friends. It's been quite a while that I have posted anything remotely close to Italian Cuisine. So I have tried pasta with basil pesto this sunday and we loved the flavor. The fact that my son likes any kind of noodles, spaghetti or pasta also helps me in motivating :-) Now a days due to peak summer preparing a light meal with minimum spices is the order of the day. 

Let me also mention that I had such type of Pasta in a restaurant in Bangalore called "Sunny's" a couple of years ago and the taste of it was simply awesome. So here is my attempt to make pasta with pesto. 

500 gms Pasta (Spaghetti, Penne, Spiral or your choice)
1 cup fresh Basil
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp Olive oil (out of this keep 1 tbsp oil for pesto)
3 Garlic pods, smashed and peeled
Fresh ground white pepper
1 small Capsicum, diced
1/2 cup shredded Chicken (breast)

Preparation the pasta according to the directions written on the packet with big pinch of salt. Reserve some boiling water for later use, drain and set aside.

Meanwhile make pesto,wash the leaves and roughly chop. In a food processor or blender add leaves, 1 tbsp oil, garlic pods and run the blender for 20 seconds. Scrapping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Now add parmesan cheese and  combine well. Run the blender again for few seconds. Season well with salt and pepper.
Heat a non stick pan and add diced capsicum and chicken pieces and fry on low flame until light brown. Toss in pasta in the pan with pesto and stir to combine. Divide pasta among serving plates and garnish each with a basil leaf and sprinkle some parmesan cheese. Serve warm.
read more.. "Chicken Basil Pesto Pasta"

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Lobongo Lotika : Bengali Sweet

The word Lobongo (Clove) makes me wonder what a wonderful spice it is. It's utility can be judged by the fact that it can be used as a painkiller for toothache. If one is suffering from bad throat then also we look around for these small bullets. I remember during my early years my Mom used to stock the cloves as well as clove oil as home remedy and the best part is unlike allopathic drugs there are no side effects . Mom would always travel  with a small box containing cloves during train journeys as they would add as mouth freshner :-)

Lobongo Lotika  is a traditional Bengali Sweet which has khoya as stuffing  and wrapped like a small parcel then dipped into  thick sugar syrup. Lobongo (clove) is used as a star ingredient here to keep the parcel in place along with imparting its own flavor.

To Make the Outer dough:
1 cup flour
Pinch of baking Soda
1 1/2 tbsp white oil (moyen)
Water to knead the dough
14-15 Cloves

To make the filling:
250 gms Khoya
Pinch of Clove powder
Pinch of Cardamom powder
Pinch of Nutmeg powder

To make the Sugar syrup:
1/2 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Water
2  green Cardamoms

Start with the sugar syrup, pour sugar and water into a bowl and cook on low heat. Add 2 crushed cardamoms into it and boil the syrup till it starts thickening. Two string consistency is good for this kind of sweet.

Mash mawa with hand and make it into a smooth ball. In a heavy bottomed pan heat mawa without any oil for 3-4 minutes. Add all the powders mentioned below filling section. Keep aside to cool. 

In a bowl add flour, baking soda and mix well. Make a well in the center and add oil and water to mix thoroughly. Make a soft dough and cover it for another 10-15 minutes. Divide the dough into 10-12 equal round balls.

Roll the dough like very small pooris(approx 4 inch), place 2 tsp khoya stuffing in the center and wrap the opposite ends to look similar like rectangles and then fold the remaining two ends to make a square wrap. Seal the center by inserting one clove and prepare the rest of the squares.

 Heat oil in a frying pan and slide 3-4 lobongo lotikas and fry on low heat. Flip frequently so that they turn brown evenly on both sides. Remove from pan once they turn light golden and dip them in sugar syrup. Make sure that both the sides are getting drenched in the syrup. Serve at room temperature.  

read more.. "Lobongo Lotika : Bengali Sweet"