Sunday, December 22, 2013

Methi Pak

A friend of mine just had a baby, and this year, the winter seems to be pretty harsh, so I wanted to make something that's good for her. I found this recipe for Methi Pak, which has pretty much most of the ingredients you can think of for winter-time goodness. There were a few variations in proportions by the same person, but these types of recipes are anyways guidelines, and you can adapt them to your taste.  I tried to make a version closest to the video:

For a change, I'm writing down the proportions. The final recipe worked out fine, and made about 50-60 pieces.

1 litre Amul Ghee (one container)

2 lbs Magas no Besan ( ~ 8 cups. The original recipe called for Laadu besan, but this worked fine)
1 cup Urad daal flour
1 cup Coarse Wheat flour (Laadu no lot)
1 cup Shingoda no lot (water chestnut flour)

10 oz pitted dates (1 container), very finely chopped
1/2 cup dry coconut powder
1 cup mix of almond powder + cashew nut powder

1 cup Fried Gond powder (optional. I tried to make it, but for some reason, my gond didn't pop at all, so I skipped it). 

6 Tbsp Methi powder (It could have taken 8 for a slightly stronger flavor)
6 Tbsp Ginger powder (Soonth)
2 Tbsp Ganthoda powder 
2 Tbsp Katlu (Batrisu, Vasanu)
1 Tbsp Cardamom powder

3 cups sugar

Garnish: 1 cup mix of almond powder + pistachios powder + cardamom

Method: Apply ghee or oil to two thalis/baking tray and set aside. Heat ghee (start with about 1/2 of the container, and add more as needed) in a heavy bottom pan, and add the besan. Roast on a medium flame till it's light golden brown, and feels lighter (takes about half an hour or so). Preferably, use a steel spatula for roasting. Take the besan out in a big pot or a bowl (that would be used for mixing everything in the end). In the same pan, heat more ghee, and add coarse wheat flour. After roasting for a few minutes, add urad daal flour and shingoda flour, and roast till they are all well done, and light (takes about 15 minutes or so). Add this to the big pot with roasted besan. Now, in the same pan, add some more ghee, and add chopped dates and coconut powder (this will prevent the date pieces from sticking to one another). Roast for a couple of minutes (don't over cook dates, otherwise they become hard). Add cashew nuts + almond flour mixture, and continue roasting for a few more minutes. Add this to the big pot as well. Now add all the dry spices (no need to roast them. Roasting methi makes it more bitter, so just add it directly, unless you really like the bitter taste). Once the mixture cools slightly (by now, most of it should be), add the sugar and mix everything well. Transfer to the two trays. Apply a bit of ghee to the bottom of a steel vatti, and use it to press and smooth out the pak well. Now sprinkle the almond, pistachio, and cardamom powder mixture evenly and press slightly. You can also use chopped nuts (I was lazy), or only cardamom for garnish. Let it sit for about an hour or two, till the mixture sets slightly. Using a sharp knife, make cuts of the shape of your choice. Let it sit for another 4-5 hours (I let it sit overnight), and then again more cuts with the knife (this makes the pieces come out nice and firm). Take the pieces out and store in an air-tight container. This lasts a while at room temperature, and one piece in the morning keeps you going all day (that's what the recipe says...we'll find out).

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Lime Pickle

10 limes + make small pieces. In a big steel container with a tight lid. Put it into a pressure cooker and let it go for 12-15 whistles, till you smell the limes. Let it stay overnight without disturbing. Next morning. 1/3 of the cup salt + about 1 kg sugar. Add some red chillis. For 2 or 3 days keep stirring.

Gulab Jamun - Guest Post

One of my friend's mom suggested this recipe. It's on my list of things to try out.

3 packs frozen Khoa (~400 gms. each). 1 pack Swad Paneer (~400 gms) + 250 gm. Barik Rawa (the finext Rawa). Process everything in the food processor. Set it aside for about half an hour. Then Make small oblong shapes. ~ 1 1/2 kg sugar + water. Make a syrup that barely stays on a spoon. Add some line juice + Gulkand. Fry the jamuns, and add to the syrup. Remove.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Blue Cheese Walnut Crackers

Super easy to put together, feel fancy, and taste delicious.

Cream 1/2 stick butter and 4 ounces blue cheese (I had gorgonzola), and 3/4 cup flour, salt and pepper. Add 1/2 tbsp water and combine. Form into a log. I didn't even use an egg wash. The dough was slightly sticky, so I just covered it with chopped walnuts. Covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for about half an hour. Then sliced and baked at 350 for about 20 mins. (I used my toaster oven, and this measurement was just perfect). Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Broccoli, Sweet potato, mushroom bowl

Inspired from here:

I steamed (instead of roasting) 1 big head of broccoli (sliced stems), 2 small white-flesh sweet potatoes (cut in medium size pieces, from H-mart), and 1 head of Meitake Mushrooms (Yum!). For the dressing: I blended 2 tbsp red miso (that's the one I had on hand, original calls for white) + 1 tbsp Almond butter +  rice wine vinegar + toasted sesame oil + olive oil + honey +  fresh ginger + gresh garlic. Blend. Makes fantastic dressing.

Assemble: lettuce + veggies + dressing + toasted sesame seeds. Next time, I'll do it with rice or something. Seriously good stuff. 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Pina Colada

1/2 can cream of coconut (Coco Lopez) + 2 cups fresh pineapple juice + 2 scoops vanilla icecream + a few cubes of ice - blend. Enough Said :-)

Pear Almond Cake

This is a super quick one, and also doesn't need a mixer.

Got inspired from here:

Which pointed to this recipe:

I modified it slightly, and, of course, used Pears instead of Figs. I also used the Trader Joes' almond flour, instead of whole almonds.

Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a tart pan properly.
Mix together 1 cup almond flour, 1/4 cup A.P. flour, 1/4 cup sugar,  1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and a big pinch of salt. Melt 4 tbsp of butter, mix 2 tbsp honey, mix and cool the mixture, 2 extra large eggs, 1/4 cup milk. Mix the wet to dry. Pour the batter in the tart pan. Peel, core and thinly slice thee medium pears (they were fairly firm, and I used a melon baller to core them, which made it super easy).  Arrange the pear slices on top of the batter. Dot it with small cubes of butter (total 1 tbsp), and sprinkle some sugar over the pears (I used turbinado sugar). Bake for about 30-35 mins. Remove from pan and serve warm with vanilla icecream.

Edits: Me and a friend of mine found that the batter is not stiff enough to hold the pears, so here are the tweaks: I used 2 large eggs (instead of extra large), used 1/2 cup A.P. flour, used two pears (slightly bigger) instead of three. Also, I added almond extract (about 1/4 tsp) to the batter, which really enhanced the flavor, and sprinkled thinly sliced almonds on top of the sugar and butter before baking. 

Final version:
Preheat oven to 375F. Butter a tart pan properly.
Mix together 1 cup almond flour, 1/2 cup A.P. flour, 1/4 cup sugar,  1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and a big pinch of salt. Melt 4 tbsp of butter, mix 2 tbsp honey, mix and cool the mixture, 2 large eggs, 1/4 cup milk, 1/4 tsp almond extract. Mix the wet to dry. Pour the batter in the tart pan. Peel, core and thinly slice two medium pears (they were fairly firm, and I used a melon baller to core them, which made it super easy).  Arrange the pear slices on top of the batter. Dot it with small cubes of butter (total 1 tbsp), and sprinkle some sugar over the pears (I used turbinado sugar). Then sprinkle some thinly sliced almonds. Bake for about 30-35 mins. Remove from pan and serve warm with vanilla icecream.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nutella Brownies

I followed the recipe pretty much exactly. The nutella flavor was not too pronounced, but the brownies were great:

Beat 1 cup Nutella, 2 Eggs, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp vanilla. Add 1/2 cup flour, 1/4 tsp salt and  blend. Add a stick of melted butter and bake at 325F for about 35 minutes.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Cupcakes for a crowd

L.'s company is celebrating their success and I wanted to pitch in. So i baked cupcakes. Well, mini cupcakes...a lot of them. Around 100. I did cheat though. I used cake mixes. Duncan hines devil's food and french vanilla. Each pack made about 48 mini cupcakes (with a little batter leftover). After cooling, I used the glaze by Martha Stewart.

I used the proportions here:

And the method here:

  • 2/3 cup heavy cream
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup 
Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Place chocolate and corn syrup in a small bowl. Pour hot cream over chocolate mixture, and stir until smooth.I let it stand at room temperature for a while (in fact, even refrigerated it, since it was a hot day) and then glazed the cupcakes.

One recipe was enough to glaze about 100 cupcakes. Had to double dip the white ones.

I wrote 500 in red, yellow and blue (to show the colors of inc 500) on the chocolate ones and 69 in yellow and blue on the white ones to indicate their rank.

Hope they all like it.

UPDATE: The icing smudged big time. Turns out the icing I used to write on the cupcake absorbs moisture in the fridge, so it's not a good idea to refrigerate anything decorated with icing writing, and gel colors didn't work since I had a dark glaze.

Potential solutions next time: Use tinted white chocolate (I even bought white chocolate as a backup yesterday..I think that would have totally worked). Or use white chocolate glaze and try gel colors? Not sure. Things to try next time.

Also, this only happened on one set of cup cakes. The two parameters that were different between the two sets were: The ones that dried out longer (the glaze as well as icing) didn't smudge. The ones that did also had a second coat of the glaze, which might not have set thoroughly. Or the icing didn't set before refrigerating. Either ways, was a bit embarrassing. It's ok...will try something again next time.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

One more Paneer Tikka

I took my go-to paneer tikkas to work when the annual summer party was cancelled. Then, it actually happened, so I had to come up with a new version of paneer tikkas to feed the vegetarians, since it was the same crowd. Thanks to Sanjeev Kapoor, this recipe was a supar hit:

Copied from here:

Paneer (cottage cheese),2 inch cubes500 grams
Fresh coriander leaves2 bunches
Fresh mint leaves1 bunch
Green chillies4
Garlic10 cloves
Ginger1 1/2 inch piece
Lemon juice2 teaspoons
Onions,chopped2 medium
Saltto taste
Hung yogurt1 cup
Fresh pomegranate pearls2 tablespoons
Gram flour (besan)4 tablespoons
Kasoori methi powder2 tablespoons
Chaat masala2 teaspoons
Roasted cumin powder2 teaspoons
Garam masala powder2 teaspoons
Mustard oil2 tablespoons + for basting
Onions,2 inch pieces2 medium
Green capsicums,seeded , 2 inch pieces2 medium
Tomatoes,seeded , 2 inch cubes2 medium
For garnishing
Onion ,sliced1 medium
Lemon,cut into wedges2
Grind together green chillies, coriander leaves, mint leaves, garlic, ginger, lemon juice, onion, salt, yogurt and pomegranate pearls into a thick paste using very little water. In a pan roast gram flour for two to three minutes and set aside. Place the paneer in a bowl, add kasoori methi powder, chaat masala, roasted cumin powder, garam masala powder, roasted gram flour and the ground paste and mix well. Add one tablespoon mustard oil and mix well. Marinate the paneer for two hours. Thread the paneer pieces onto skewers alternating with onion, capsicum and tomato pieces. Season the grill stone with oil and heat. Place the skewers on the hot stone and grill for three to four minutes. Baste with oil, turn the skewers and cook for two to three minutes. Serve hot with onion slices and lemon wedges.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Plum Mousse

This was kind of serendipitous. Was trying to use up some plums and this recipe was created.

De-seed some ripe plums. Blend them completely (with the peels, I used magic bullet).  In a small sauce pan, heat the plum pulp with some sugar and cook until the sauce thickens, about 5-10 minutes. Cool and refrigerate until ready to use. This can be used as a dessert sauce with various applications (think ice-cream and pound cake).
Whip some heavy cream, add sugar, vanilla and whip until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the cool sauce and chill the mousse. I liked to keep some streaks of white for a prettier effect.

I also served this with slices of fresh plum and some berries, with a drizzle of the plum sauce. I'm clearly not on a diet!


Drunken Noodles - Sort Of

When I interned at MSR, their cafeteria made these awesome Drunken Noodles. I even had it for my birthday lunch. I've been trying to find a similar one ever since, but just can't find it. The other day I was cooking on a whim and came up with a noodle dish. What I made is not really similar to it, but decent by itself.  The next time I make these, I would try to add some lemongrass, maybe. The hunt for good Drunken Noodle continues..

I used Trader Joes' Dried Egg Pappardelle pasta, and it worked really well. Boil the pasta in salted water as per instructions, but keep them fairly al-dante. In the mean while, in a shallow pan, add some oil, and saute one package sliced porcini mushrooms. Once they're sauted a bit, shift them towards the outside of the pan. Add more oil, and add sliced peppers and onions. I used one white onion, 1 red pepper and 1 green pepper. Saute them and add about 3-4 cloves of thinly sliced garlic and grate some fresh ginger. Mix all the veggies and saute for a few more seconds. Prepare the sauce: Lots of mushroom soy sauce, regular soy sauce, salt (I know sounds like a lot of sodium, but as long as you add it in proportion, it's not so bad), sambal paste (or other chili sauce), just a hint of rice vinegar (cause I ran out), some brown sugar, cornflour and water. Add the sauce to the veggies and cook for a few seconds. Mix the noddles with the veggies. Beat 6 eggs, add a pinch of salt. Oil a flat pan (I clean out the flat pan used to saute veggies and use it to make omelets), and add half the eggs and swirl around to make a big, thin omelet. Once it sets, flip and cook the other side. Remove on a chopping board and slice thinly (to match the width of the pasta). Make one more omelet and repeat. Add to the noodles, and add a big handful of basil, broken in half (do not chop. Thai basil would be better, but I only had the usual Italian sweet one, which was ok). Serve hot. This could actually even be served at a party.   

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Aloo Posto

A friend of mine is married to a Bengali. Here's a simple, but classic recipe from her mother-in-law.

Prepare Kaccha: Grind together Khuskhus, green mirchi, sarso oil and salt with a little water. (This kaccha can also be used like chutney). 

Peel and dice potatoes (fairly small).  Heat some oil. Add the diced potatoes, haldi, red chilli powder, posto (kaccha), cover and cook it. Add sarso oil before serving. Garnish with a bit of dhania. 

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Super Hit Corn Salad

Made this for my Birthday and every single person loved it. Super simple but fantastic.

Grill corn on the cob, remove kernels and cool. Add cherry tomatoes cut in half, very thinly sliced red onion, lots of torn basic, several sprigs of fresh thyme, lime juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

S.'s Tikka Masala Recipe

A very dear friend shared this recipe for tikka masala with me that I keep referring back to. Works great for marinating all kinds of stuff. I've added yoghurt to it and marinated Paneer/Tofu and veggies for awesome summer time grilling. Here it is in her words:

Ing :
2 tablespoon coriander powder
2 tablespoon cumin powder
1.5 tablespoon garlic powder
2 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon garam masala
1 tablespoon ginger
2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 tablespoon dried mint
1 teaspoon lemon juice
 1/2 cup Oil (hot)

Mix all the spices and lemon juice and then pour hot oil over the mixer. I guess you can store this paste for quite sometime too..

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Green Smoothie

Ok, I admit this one sound too "healthy" .....but it is actually pretty tasty and filling...Blend together half an avocado, a big handful of baby spinach, 1 tbsp of yoghurt (I had whole milk one on hand), a couple of tbsps of crushed flax seeds, a big dash of honey and about a cup of plain, unsweetened almond milk. Yum. 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Navratna Korma

Fairly quick to make...came out just like the restaurants...

In a pot, heat some water, add chopped green beans, diced carrots and fairly small diced cauliflower, with a pinch of salt and let it boil till the beans are cooked. In a small microwavable bowl, add one roughly chopped medium-big white onion and microwave for a minute or two, till it softens. Add a handful of cashewnut pieces to this bowl (with hot water), let it sit for about 10-15 mins or so, and then grind into a fine paste. Heat some oil in a pan (could use ghee), saute a handful of whole cashews and keep aside. Saute some mushrooms and keep aside. Add some more oil to the pan, add the onion-cashew paste, some ginger and garlic paste and saute for a few minutes. Once the raw onion smell is gone, add the boiled vegetables, along with some of the stock, and let the curry simmer. Add the mushrooms, cashews, some dried cranberries (originally, raisins are used), some salt, sugar, and a pinch of garam masala. Reduce the flame and add beaten yoghurt (I used whole milk), taking care that the curry doesn't separate. Add a dash of cream and let it simmer some more. Add diced apple and canned pineapple, along with a handful of chopped cilantro, mix everything and let it simmer on a very low heat for a couple more minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Corn Bread

Cold, wet, February night....steaming bowl of chilli + cornbread....

There are plenty of variations possible, but I made the simple one, using the cast iron skillet.

  • 4 tablespoons butter, olive oil, lard or bacon drippings
  • 1 1/2 cups medium-grind cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups milk, more if needed
  • 1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Put fat in a 10-inch cast-iron skillet or in an 8-inch square baking pan. Place pan in oven.
  • 2. Meanwhile, combine dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix eggs into milk, then stir this mixture into dry ingredients, combining with a few swift strokes. If mixture seems dry, add another tablespoon or two of milk.
  • 3. When fat and oven are hot, remove skillet or pan from oven, pour batter into it and smooth out top. Return pan to oven. Bake about 30 minutes, until top is lightly browned and sides have pulled away from pan; a toothpick inserted into center will come out clean. Serve hot or warm.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

End of the Mexican Mania...Chile Rellenos

This kind of wrapped up the mexican week....much easier than I imagined...and much better than what you get at many here we go...

Fire roast poblano peppers (I do it on a grill on a wire rack over the coil). Cover with foil to let it cool and steam. Peel off the skin, make one slit on the side and slowly remove the seeds (keep the stem attached). Try not to wash the peppers with water, since that might make it difficult to coat with the batter. Stuff the peppers with cheese (I used TJ's mexican blend, but could also use queso fresco). Close the pepper and secure with a wooden toothpick.

For the batter, separate 2 eggs, whisk the egg whites till stiff peaks, and fold in the yolks. Add about 3/4 cup of all purpose flour and salt and fold gently. Heat oil. Coat the stuffed peppers with the batter and fry.

For the tomato sauce, heat some oil, add tomato salsa (the one I made earlier this week), saute for a bit, add a small can of tomato sauce, salt and let the sauce cook.

I prefer not to coat the whole pepper with the sauce, but rather just a part of it. I assembled a nice place with rice, refried black beans, pico de gallo and the friend pepper with sauce on top. sprinkle a tiny bit of cheese on top and serve warm.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Eggs in Tomato Sauce..a quick dinner

My mexican saga continues with using some leftover ingredients from the previous meals and turning it into a quick weeknight dinner.

Heat oil in a flat pan. Add about half a diced red onion and saute for a bit. Add a couple of tablespoons of fire-roasted salsa, saute for a bit, and then add one medium sized can of diced tomatoes in juice, one small can of tomato sauce (I usually use no-salt added), a pinch of red chilli flakes, a pinch of dried oregano, and some salt. mix well, cover and simmer for about 15-20 mins till the sauce reduces and cooks. Now, slowly break about five eggs around the pot, making sure the yolks don't break. Sprinkle some sea salt and black pepper over the eggs. Cover and let it cook on gentle heat, till done (about 3-4 minutes). Sprinkle some cheese (not a lot), and cilantro and sping onion on the pot and serve with mexican rice and fried plantains.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The grand finale for 2012

It was not a sophisticated dessert....nor did it use any fancy ingredients....what it was, was a super kid-friendly dessert that will also please the kid in you...I literally resisted to make anything remotely fancy....not even a lemon pound cake...Not that it would not be good, but just that sometimes, very simple ingredients can really bring back childhood'on it was New Year's Eve...we all deserved a little treat....

Trifle Pudding:
Cut pound cake into medium pieces (recipe to follow, or store bought is fine). In a big glass bowl start layering the following: cake pieces, raspberry jam, vanilla custard (recipe to follow), banana slices, strawberry slices, thinly sliced almonds. Repeat for two more layers. Decorate with strawberries and almonds. I didn't have heavy cream at home, but some whipped cream can be added too. The cake can also be drizzled with alcohol...but I tend to stay away from that. That's's really that simple. Let it sit for about half an hour or so in the fridge and it's ready to serve. 

Plain Pound Cake:
It's an Ina Garten Recipe, which I halved (and modified slightly):

Take out 1 stick of unsalted butter and 3 eggs on room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare a 9" cake pan/loaf pan. In a small bowl, mix 1/3 cup of milk + 2 tbsp yoghurt + 1/2 tsp white vinegar + 1/2 tsp vanilla and let it sit for a few minutes. . Cream together a stick of softened butter + 1 cup of suger (it's really important to cream it till it's light and fluffy. Add two eggs and one egg yolk, one at a time and mix thoroughly after each addition. On a parchment paper, mix together  1 1/2 cup of flour, 1/4 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp salt. Add the flour and milk mixture alternately in parts like so: 1/3 flour mixture  + 1/2 milk mixture + 1/3 flour mixture + 1/2 milk mixture + 1/3 flour mixture. Pour the prepared batter in the baking pan and bake for about 60 minutes. Check with a toothpick. 

Usually, trifles use pastry cream, which is thicker, but since I don't use alcohol, it's  ok to use slightly thinner custard, and let the cake soak it all up. The custard recipe comes from an interesting source: 

Chocolate by the Bald Man:
Mix. 2 egg yolks + 2 teaspoons corn starch + 3/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup cold milk. Heat 3 cups of milk, once small bubbles form around the edges, add the egg mixture and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Add vanilla bean paste. 

To make hot chocolate, boil 1 cup milk, add to 6 ounces chocolate + add the custard and serve warm.