Saturday, December 17, 2016

Daal Paratha: Husband approved recipe..but without the measurements!

Dough: About a cup and a quarter of whole wheat flour + salt +about a teaspoon of oil. Make a fairly soft dough, and set aside.
Filling: About a cup and a half of yellow moong daal, wash, and add almost double water (maybe a bit less) + salt + turmeric + a few drops of oil. Cook fora bout 4 whistles. Let cool. Add a little more salt, red chilli powder, aamchur + in a spice grinder, add anaar daana + whole dhania + a few black peppers + a very very small pinch of ajwain + dried mint. Grind the masala and add to the daal. Add finely chopped cilantro. Mix properly.
Make stuff paratha and saute with ghee.


Thursday, December 15, 2016

Tomato-Yoghurt gravy

I might have accidentally unlocked the secret to Ritu ki Rasoi's Aloo recipe. I made this papad sabzi, but the gravy tasted a lot like the potato sabzi I love. I'll try it next time.

Here's the original recipe:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jWE_HryWVMk

Oil + Ghee + jeera + hing + haldi + Kasoori Methi (this might be the secret) +fresh grated ginger + finely chopped green chillies + tomato sauce + paprika + red chillies + coriander powder. Saute fora  few minutes. Add water. Brung regular yoghurt to room temperature, make it smooth and add water. Now slowly add it to the gravy while stirring continuously. Add chopped cilantro. Bring to a quick boil, still stirring and add papad or potato or pretty much anything else. Cover, and simmer. 

Monday, December 12, 2016

Snow Day Chilli with Cheddar Biscuits

Perfect for those days when your heart refuses to believe that winter is here...even though you're snowed in..

I used instant pot, but any slow cooker would work. clean and soak 1 ancho chilli in warm water. blend into a smooth paste. Heat some oil, add 1 tsp whole cumin seeds, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 big white onion, diced, 1/2 big green pepper, diced, and saute for a few mins. Add 2 cans of black beans (with some of the cooking liquids), 1 can of diced tomatoes, 1 can of hominy corn (optional), about half a cup of frozen corn, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp paprika, 2 tbsp coriander powder, 1 tsp roaster cumin powder, 1 tsp sugar, and kosher salt to taste. Add some water and put on slow cook for about four hours. Serve warm, topped with a bit of cheddar, sour cream, spring onion and cilantro.

Biscuits: half cup A.P. Flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat flour + salt + pepper + 1 tbsp baking powder. Stir with a fork. Add 2-3 tbsp cold butter, diced, and work into the flour with the fork. Add a handful of cheddar, about 1/2 cup of greek yoghurt +1/4 cup of milk. Mix lightly, and drop spoonfuls on a greased bake sheet. Press lightly and add some more grated cheddar on top. Bake in 375 degrees oven for about 20-25 mins. 

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Diwali Snacks

A lot of these recipes were made after watching and reading lots of other recipes. I'll try to link to some of them.

Shankarpali (or shakkarpara)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8hqufRC0MWo

In a pan, heat 1 part sugar + 1 part water + 1/2 part ghee (Original recipe calls for one part). Add a pinch of salt. Bring everything to a boil and cool it. Add as much Maida as will fit into it, to make a hard dough. Immediately start preparing the shankarpali. Roll out into a thick disc. Cut into small diamonds with a crinkle cutter. Deep fry on low to medium heat in oil.

Farsi Puri
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h985cGEAk0I

I pretty much did this one based on my own instincts. Mix maida, salt, ajwain, red chilli powder, a little haldi (could have skipped), lots of crushed black pepper, ghee with muthi padtu mon. Make a medium to hard dough with water. Set aside. Knead and roll into a large disk. Use a cookie cutter to cut into small puris. Dock with a fork and deep fry on low (the oil should be hot when you add the puris, but then fry low and slow to make it crispy).

Chakli
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9ODquJkM7iM

I actually used my mom's recipe. Rice flour + handful of besan (this is my addition) + salt + roasted crushed cumin + good amount of sesame seeds + red chilli powder + soft butter + yoghurt + water to make a soft dough. Make chaklis on the aluminium chaklo (or an invferted plate). Pick up with a spatula (trick I learned from the video) and fry in oil on medium.

Chevdo
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iuetmjAUi4I

I liked her style of draining out the oil.
Add a big handful of thick poha in really hot oil. Fry for a few seconds (do not brown), and drain into another stainless steel strainer. Once it's drained properly, transfer to another bowl. I took about a total of two cups of poha. Also fry 1 cup of peanuts and 1 cup of daliya. I know mom used to also use sliced coconut. Add salt, red chilli powder, haldi, sugar and crushed citric acid. Cool before storing.  

Peda
 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hO-ckJnROrk

This was a bit tricky. Knowing when to add sugar is the key. Most recipes says wait till the khoya cools, which is true, but not completely, otherwise, sugar won't melt.

In a microwave, heat crumbled khoya in one minute bursts for 2-3 minutes. Add saffron soaked in milk and microwave for one more minute. Let it cool. Add sugar and cardamom, knead and form into pedas. Garnish with pista.

Of course, there were also  frozen cholafali and mathia.

Friday, November 4, 2016

Fried Balls of Awesomeness..or Potato Paneer Balls

This is actually a classic recipe...but it really just works...don't worry about it being fried and stuff..it really is worth it...Which is why my friend, K gave it this name.....This makes around 40 or so pieces.

Cover:
Boil and peel about 6 big russet potatoes. Rice it with a potato ricer (this bit takes a bit of time, but do it while the potatoes are still warm). Add salt, juice of about one lime, a handful of chopped cilantro and about half a cup of corn starch. Mix well and set aside.

Filling:
Grate one small pack of paneer (maybe around 200gm?) using a medium grater. Add finely chopped green chillies (about 2), fresh ginger (about one inch piece), a big handful of finely chopped cilantro, about half a bunch of finely chopped mint, a big handful of finely chopped cashews and golden raisins. Also add salt, and a big pinch of garam masala.Mix everything.

To assemble in advance:
Prepare two cookie sheets or trays (this is just for easy assembling). Wrap them with plastic wrap. Now, with a small ice cream scoop, drop about 12 potato balls on the cookie sheet. Wet your hands, and then just press each one flat. With the same scoop, drop the paneer filling in the center of each potato disk. Now, prepare the balls by covering the filling completely. Of course, this is just a system to make it go faster. Basically, you just want paneer stuffed potato balls. Keep the prepared balls on another sheet, cover them with another plastic wrap properly and store in the fridge. This can be done a day or two in advanced or frozen for later.

Coating:
mix some AP flour, salt and water to create a medium thick paste. Dip each ball in the paste, and roll in Panko breadcrumbs.

Deep fry on medium flame till golden brown. Serve with chutneys of choice.


Saturday, October 22, 2016

Potato Pierogis

This is for one of those days when you need serious carb comfort..it seems like a lot of work, but if you don't care for perfection, and only want something to hit the spot, just work quickly, and as long as there's enough craving/motivation, the results will be worth the effort...

One cup of flour + salt + (in a well) 1 tsp oil + 1 egg + water. Start with mix the wet ingredients in the well and then continue mixing until a soft dough is formed. Add water as needed. I also snuck in just a little bit of whole wheat flour. Knead, cover and set aside.

For the stuffing, peel and dice about 3-4 medium russet potatoes. In a pot, cover the potatoes + 1 big clove of garlic and salt with water, and bring to boil. lower the heat a bit and let the potatoes cook.

While the potatoes are cooking, roll the dough into a big roti. With a small cookie cutter, start cutting into small disks, and set on a baking tray dusted with flour. Keep covered with a kitchen towel.

Once the potatoes are ready (can be pierced with w knife), drain them out, mash with a masher, add salt, pepper, a handful (about half cup) of shredded cheddar cheese, a small knob of butter (actually small), and some chopped parsley. Remove the filling (possibly in the same bowl in which you made the dough is fine).

Now, bring some salted water in the same pot. With a small scoop, add the mashed potatoes on half of the disks. Cover each with another disk, and press edges to close. Seal with a fork. Once the water is boiling, add 5-6 pierogis to the pot, and boil till they float to the top (about 3-4 mins).

Once you add the pierogis to the water, heat another shallow fry skillet, and add another small knob of butter. Add the cooked pierogis, a little bit of chopped parsley, and cook on only one side on medium flame until they turn slightly crispy. Serve warm, while the next batch cooks.

They are so....satisfying! 


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Paneer Frankie

This cool new food site (actually, Facebook page) called Your Food Lab had this recipe, which inspired this frankie...super yum...reminded me of home...

Sadly can't figure out how to link to the FB post (I used to know how to do it..but just can't remember now)...

Frankie cover: Whole wheat flour  (~ 3/4 cup) + AP flour (~3/4 cup) + salt + baking powder (about 1/2 tsp) +water. Whisk. I actually had roti atta from before, which I whisked into water, and added AP flour to prepare maida. The fact that the dough had been in the fridge for a couple of days might have made it extra tasty (mild fermentation). Make large, medium thick dosas on a hot tava with a bit of oil and lightly brown on both sides. Set aside the whole stack.

 Paneer: cube into smallish pieces. Heat some oil, add 1 tsp each ginger and garlic paste + 1 tbsp schezuan   sauce + 1 tbsp tandoor paste (I had something in the fridge..I guess some basic spices and garma masala can be used to substitute it) + 2-3 tbsp hot and sour tomato chilli sauce (it's different!) + 2-3 tbsp of regular ketchup + 1 tsp of chaat masala. Saute for a bit, then add paneer pieces and saute.

Veggies: Heat some oil, add Julianned carrots + sliced onions + sliced peppers + finely shredded cabbage. Saute for a bit quickly + salt.

Onions: very thinly sliced onions + salt + plain vinegar. Set aside.

Other toppings: shredded cheddar cheese, spring onion, cilantro, lime

Assembling: On one frankie cover, sprinkle cheese, spring onion, mix veggies evenly (in that order). Add one or two rows of paneer pieces in the middle. Add spring onion, cilantro, squeeze a bit of lime, and then fold into a burrito. Heat on the tava for a little bit (just to heat the cover, melt the cheese and get the frankie slightly crispy). Slice in the middle on a bias and serve hot.


Friday, August 26, 2016

FacePack

Avocado + egg + olive oil + honey + almond meal

Friday, February 12, 2016

Special Italian Dinner

For my dear husband's birthday. It was a nice candle light dinner, with pictures posted on WhatsApp :-) Got lots of requests for describing the food, so I figured it would be nice to break it down...and admit that it wasn't really as fancy as it seemed...and to make it easier for cousins back home to replicate some of the recipes

The Menu:
- Olive Ciabatta (bought from WholeFoods..any nice crusty bread is good) with herb oil (olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, just a very small pinch of fresh herbs - oregano and rosemery)
- Antipasto (it's basically small, tasty bites). At some nice grocery stores, they have a large selection of anti pasto to buy, so I just select mine from there and arrange it on a plate at home. Any small, cured or pickled foods are good. This time I used marinated artichoke hearts with roasted red peppers, garlic and tomatoes poached in olive oil, olives, and pickled sweet peppers stuffed with goat cheese. Some of these are easy to make at home. In a small pan, heat some olive oil, and on a very low heat, poach whole garlic cloves till they become light brown and really soft and sweet. For roasting red bell peppers, keep it on a flame, rotating as you go till it's completely black. Then set it sit covered, and remove the skin. Add some olive oil, and other seasonings of your choice (garlic, herbs, etc). These can also be marinated in balsamic vinegar.
- Arancini: This is an awesome appetizer. I served it with some marinara sauce (store bought, but it's basic tomato pasta sauce). You start with making a good risotto. I made a mushroom one, but any flavor is fine, even plain is fine for this recipe. Heat oil, add finely chopped onions, and saute till translucent. Then add arborio rice, and keep sauteing till it starts turning white. Now add a bit of vinegar (actually you can add wine, but I don't prefer cooking with it). I also added chopped mushrooms at this stage (I also used some nicer ones like fresh Shitake, and dried ones). Now, keep adding vegetable stock, one ladle at a time (this takes time and patience), keep stirring until the rice is cooked (not mushy). Add salt, pepper, and grated permesan cheese. This risotto can make a great Entree by itself. You can flavor it with any vegetables of your choice. Now, let it cool, and take a ball of the rice, stuff it with a small block of mozerella cheese (I used fresh, but any melty cheese would be fine). Then cover the ball with bread crumbs and refrigerate. Fry at the last minute. It's basically cheese stuffed rice balls. How wrong can you get?
- Shaved Fennel, Permesan and Orange Salad: This is a little tricky to replicate, since I haven't seen fresh fennel (the vegetable) in India. In this menu, any nice salad would do. I sliced fresh fennel very thinly using a mandoline (slicer), added orange seprems (segments without skin), and permesan shaved with a vegetable peeler. Added some lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper. That's it.
Here's another great salad to try (I was going to make that one till I saw the fennel at the grocery store)...and is super simple, but super tasty, and can also make a great addition to the antipasto. To some boiled chickpeas, add salt, pepper, olive oil, lemon juice and lots of greated Permesan.Try it and you will crave for more.
- Home made Linguini: The reason why I chose Italian this time, is we bought a pasta maker attachment to our standing mixer. So I had to make fresh pasta. In the past, we've tried rolling it by hand, and it's always been difficult with pasta dough. The machine makes it super easy. The dough had 2 cups of all purpose flour, 3 eggs, a pinch of salt and a dash of olive oil. Make a dough, knead well (also used machine for this), and roll out super thin, and cut in stripes (all machine). I've made pasta without eggs, just with water as well, and it's also ok. The pasta needs to be boiled only for a minute, since it was fresh. Of course, you can use store bought ones and follow the directions. Since the pasta itself is nice and delicate, we made a very simple (but rich) alfredo sauce.  Heat some cream and reduce it a little bit, add some butter (I know), and grated permesan (I know), salt and pepper. Add the boiled pasta, along with some pasta water and serve immediately. By this point, we were getting so full that we had only a small portion, which is how alfredo based recipes are meant to be enjoyed. You can also do the white sauce thing, but actual alfredo is supposed to be this way (I know). Once the fresh pasta is made, the whole thing comes together in about five minutes.
- Balsamic glazed Haricot Vert and Almonds: Haricot Vert is basically a type of green beans. Try to find the most tender ones you can find. Blanch them in salted water (keep them whole). I used some ready to microwave, which was convenient. Now, heat some olive oil, add chopped garlic, saute for a few seconds, then add the beans, and saute for a few more seconds. Add Balsamic vinegar, sliced almonds, salt and pepper, and let it reduce for about a minute or so till the vinegar coats the beans. Serve.
- Tiramisu: Obviously, the star of the show. Also the easiest dessert to put together, once you find the right ingredients. I make mine with eggs, but it can easily be substituted with cream. It also needs this special kind of cookies called ladies fingers, which are crispy and porous. There are recipes online on how to make those at home. You can use some other crunchy, porous biscuits. I also use some alcohol in mine to flavor the Tiramisu (this is my only exception, and it's in small quantities..). I follow this recipe: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/giada-de-laurentiis/tiramisu-recipe.html
Six egg yokes, plus three table spoon sugar, whisk until ribbon consistency. Add coffee, I used some Kaluha this time, and Mascaporne cheese and mix everything till combined. Mix coffee and rum in a flat dish. Now soak the cookies in this, and arrange in the container. Top the layer with the cream, and repeat. Dust on the top with coco powder and some shaved chocolate, and it's done.

Stocking the pantry for making good Italian:
- Extra virgin olive oil. This is clearly a must.
- Balsamic vinegar. This is the sweet, black vinegar, looks like soy sauce. It's available in India
- Real Permesan Cheese. Not the pre-grated, powdered stuff. A good block of cheese will last a very long time in the fridge (since it's a dry cheese), and even though it's expensive, a little would go a long way. I think it's available in speciality stores in Mumbai these days, or ask some one who's traveling. It's worth seeking out.
- Dried herbs. I also have a small window herb garden with fresh versions, but in most cases, dry is fine. Every one knows Oregano and red chilli flakes. It's also nice to have rosemary and thyme.
- Arborio rice. This is a thick, very starchy rice. Used for making risotto. You could substitute it with some other thick rice (the starchier the better..definitely not Basmati).
- Dry Shitake mushrooms. This is a secret weapon that can make a lot of vegetarian dishes give a different dimension (basically, umami flavor). You can grind into a fine powder and add it to stocks, or soups, or reconstitute with hot water and use in dishes. Just a little big makes a big difference. Also has a very long shelf life. They are also supposed to have health benefits.
- Marinated artichoke hearts. These are usually found in jars or cans. Artichoke is an Italian vegetable. The hearts are the inner mot part of the vegetable that's tangy and soft.

So that's it folks. That's the secret to good Italian cooking. Keep it simple. Keep it fresh, and always keep it Semi-homemade (this is copied from a show :-))