Saturday, June 8, 2013

THE SWEETEST HONEY BUN

Introducing the sweeeeetest addition to our family.  No recipe for this one though ! :)
Just took the liberty of posting on behalf on Smitha. It's a baby girl btw.

Cheers
Vinit

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Karimeen Varuthathu / Fried Pearlspot using Hudson Canola Oil





Last month I received an email request to review a product on my blog. I agreed . And so, last week, I received a 1 litre bottle of canola oil for a sampling program from Hudson Canola oil, a brand recently launched in India. As canola oil is a neutral flavored oil, it suits all cuisines including Indian cooking.


  

So this week I thought I'll use this oil and review the product and tell you guys what I think about it. The recipe I thought of for this trial round was a simple one . Karimeen fry . I used  the Canola oil as a medium for frying my karimeen or pearlspot.
 



The oil has a high smoke point and is ideal for frying and sauteing. Moreover, the neutral flavor of the oil helps the canola oil stay in the background of the dish rather than dominate in the forefront like most oils. This makes the oil a must-ingredient in the kitchens of those who are into global cuisine. Fortunately, I loved the outcome of cooking with this oil and my verdict would be that I really liked the product received.

 Ingredients: (Serves 4)
  • Cleaned Pearlspot - 4
  • Chili powder - 3 tspns
  • Turmeric powder- 1/2 tspn.
  • Salt - To taste
  • Canola oil - 5 tbspns.
  • Lemon, onions, cucumber and oranges- to garnish
Directions:
  • Mix chili powder, turmeric powder and salt in a small bowl. Marinate the fish with the mixed spices and let rest for 30-45 mins.
  •  Heat canola oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
  • Fry the fish for about  8-9 mins. on each side.
  • Serve hot with a spritz of lemon and sliced onions. (I served it with a slice of orange and cucumber too.)

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Friday, February 1, 2013

Breakfast Granola

 
  






Granola is a healthy breakfast option. It is a whole food with nuts and oats.  It can be had with milk or yogurt.

It has good cholesterol and is good for the heart. But, most of the granola available on store shelves have high content of sweetners and sugar syrups added to it which makes it high in calories content. So, if you have the ingredients to make it at home, it is truly worth it.

 Some recipes call for adding a lot more sugar in the recipe. I have cut down on the amount of sugar I have used in it.





Ingredients:
  • Quick cooking oats - 4 cups 
  • Slivered almonds - 3/4 cup 
  • Chopped walnuts - 1/2 cup 
  • Chopped cashew - 1/4 cup 
  • Chopped pistachios - 1/4 cup 
  • Peanuts - 1/2 cup 
  • Wheat bran - 1/4 cup
  •  Dried cranberries- 1/4 cup
  • Chopped dried figs - 1/4 cup 
  • Chopped dates - 3/4 cup 
  • Golden raisins - 1/2 cup 
  • Sesame seeds - 1/4 cup 
  • Flax seeds - 1/4 cup 
  • Ground cinnamon - 1 tspn
  • Dark brown sugar - 1/4 cup
  • Water - 1/4 cup 
  • Salt = 1/4 tspn
Directions:
  •  Preheat oven to 120°C
  • In a large bowl mix oats and nuts
  • Combine water, sugar and cinnamon and salt.
  • Coat the  oat-nut mixture with sugar mixture and bake for 15 mins. 
  • In the mean time, dry roast sesame seeds and flax seeds on a pan for 2 mins.
  • When the oat mixture has finished baking, remove from oven and add the flax seeds, sesame seeds and the wheat bran. Cool mixture completely.
  • Finally, toss in the dried fruits and mix well. 
  • Serve with milk or yogurt. 


Friday, December 28, 2012

Cashew brown sugar cookies




Happy New Year to one and all. May the year ahead bring you all  health, wealth and happiness. Happy 2013 again.

For this special day, I have decided to post a special recipe. Hope you enjoy it :)








Ingredients: (Makes 3-1/2 dozen cookies)
  • 1/2 cup softened butter (115 gms) 
  • 1 cup brown sugar (firmly packed)
  •  1/2 cup fine white sugar
  •  1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk 
  • 1/3 cup heavy cream 
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract 
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour 
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder 
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda 
  • 1/4 tspn salt 
  • 2 cups chopped cashew (and more for garnishing) 
 Directions: 
  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). 
  •  Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
  •  In a bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and set aside. 
  • In another large bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. 
  • Add the eggs, beating well, then stir in the cream and vanilla. 
  • Gradually stir the flour mixture into the creamed mixture. 
  •  Fold in chopped cashew pieces. 
  • Drop by rounded spoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets and press down a little. 
  • Place half a cashew on each cookie center (optional) 
  • Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. 
  • Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
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Monday, November 26, 2012

Appam and Stew





Diwali came with much excitement and enthusiasm. The house was cleaned spic and span. There was a sprawling rangoli at my door step and all the diyas glimmering away.  And then, all of a sudden, diwali came to an end with a lot of noise and air pollution.

Right now, we have bright sunny days in Bangalore. But, there is a chill wind indicating the onset of winter.  November is ticking away with only a few days left for everyone to start updating their new year's resolution. Can't believe that 2012 too is coming to a close. Wow! That was fast.  But, I'm looking forward to all the excitement coming up in December with Christmas and New year's and can't wait to try out some new restaurants this the festive season.




Coming to my recipe for today.  Appam and stew is a breakfast dish served in Kerala. It is a high calorie meal, but I or in fact we love it. Some folks like serving appam with milk an d sugar. But, i think that appam is best served with stew.  Click here for stew recipe.



    Ingredients:( Makes 16 appams)
    • Rice flour - 1-1/2 cups
    • Cooked rice - 1 cup
    • Grated coconut - 1 cup
    • Water - 3 cups
    • Coconut milk - 1/4 cup (optional)
    • Yeast - 1/2 tspn
    • Sugar - 2 tspns
    • Salt - to taste
    • Milk - 1/4 cup (optional)


    Directions:
    •  In 1/2 cup of warm water, add yeast and sugar and set aside for 5 mins.
    • Other than salt and milk, grind the rest of the ingredients together. Add proofed yeast mixture and let ferment for 5-6 hours. 
    • Just before making the appams, add salt and milk to the batter.
    • To make appam, pour one ladle of batter in a hot appam pan and rotate the pan so the batter coats the sides of the pan. Cover and let cook for 2-3 mins. And serve hot (Appams are cooked only on one side)
    • I have demonstrated how to make appam with pics.
    • Best served with stew. Click here for stew recipe.




    Photobucket

    Monday, November 5, 2012

    Vanilla Cupcakes

     

    Last weekend started on a boring note. We had no plans to leave the house as  hubby-dear needed to just laze around and relax for a change. Relaxation for him is reading about photography and watching MMA and sports. For me, I had to think of a way to do something nice. So, as usual, I turned to the kitchen to bake. Now, that's what I call relaxation.



    My sister sent me 10 individual  cupcake baking cups. These are so much nicer than the muffin trays because there is more space utilization in the oven. Also, helps me bake just a few, instead of a whole big batch. Loved the idea and had to put these cuties to use. That's when I made my Apple-raisin-walnut muffins (click here for recipe). After that venture, these babies were put away and only now did I think of them again.

    So, my weekend relaxation resulted in vanilla cupcakes. They were moist and delicious and this brought hubby's resting phase to a halt as he got busy.............. really busy, munching on these moist cupcakes..............non stop.
     

    Ingredients: (makes about 12 cupcakes)


    • 1-1/2 cup sifted cake flour
    • 1-1/2 tspn baking powder
    • 1/4 tspn salt
    • 1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 1 cup(s) sugar
    • 2 large eggs, room temperature
    • 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup(s) whole milk
    Directions:
    • Preheat the oven to 180°C or 350°F.
    • Line a cupcake tray or cups with liners.
    • In a bowl, mix together flour, baking powder and salt. 
    • Beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat well for about 5 minutes, scraping the bowl when needed (batter should be nearly white and fluffy). 
    • Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
    • Add vanilla and mix. 
    • Now, alternately, add the flour mixture and milk, starting and ending with flour until just mixed.
    • Divide the batter into the cupcake liners until 2/3 full (I used an ice cream scoop which was the perfect amount to fill 1 cupcake). Bake for 20-25 mins, until a toothpick inserted comes out just clean.
    • Cool for 5-10 minutes on a rack.

    Thursday, October 18, 2012

    Creme Brulee



    I'm hard to please when it comes to eating out. I expect food to be really, really tasty at restaurants and anything otherwise is simply unforgivable. We went out to this restaurant called Turquoise in Koramangala. We went to the Italian kitchen floor. I never get too excited before I start my meal as it mostly leads to disappointment.  But, this time, I really loved the food and the ambiance. We had some good veg crostini misti, which is toasted Italian bread with a savory assortment of mushrooms, tomatoes and ricotta cheese.  For main, I had a chicken cappellacci which was a stuffed chicken pasta . The dim-lit environment did not give me an opportunity for good snaps with my point and shoot :( 

    When it came to dessert, I had to have tiramisu and he had creme brulee.   I loved it and so, as you can guess, I had to try creme brulee at home and here is my home-made dessert. Did some research on this dessert and came to know that creme brulee means burnt cream. Origin of creme brulee? Some say it's, English, some say French and some say Spanish. You'll never know.


    The biggest challenge in this recipe was to create that caramel crust on the dessert without a blow torch. But, my oven was good enough for the job and everything turned out great.

    Ingredients (serves 2)

    • 3 egg yolks
    • 4 tablespoons white sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 3/4  cup heavy cream
    • 1/4 cup milk
    For topping:
    • Fine sugar - 1 tbspn 

    Directions


    Directions

    • Preheat oven to 150°C (325° F).  
    • Heat a kettle of water and keep ready.
    • Beat egg yolks, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until thick and creamy.
    • In a saucepan, pour cream and milk  and stir over low heat until it almost comes to boil. Remove from heat immediately. Let rest for 10 mins.
    • Stir cream-milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Beat until combined and it turns a light color. 
    • Pour the liquid into 2 ramekins. Place the ramekins into a large cake pan or roasting pan. Pour enough hot water into the pan to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. 
    •  Bake just until the creme brulee is set, but still trembling in the center, approximately 40-45 minutes. Remove the ramekins from the roasting pan and let cool for a while. Then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight.
    Method for creating a caramel crust:
    • Preheat oven to broil. (250°C or 480°F)
    • Sift some fine sugar evenly over the custard and spread till the edges.  
    • Place ramekins on the highest rack position, right under broiler until sugar melts. (about 2 minutes) Watch carefully in order not to burn.
    • Remove from heat and allow to cool. Refrigerate until custard is set again. 
    Note:
    • It is best to caramelize the crust about an hour before serving the pudding . That way the crust remains crisp and does not get soggy when left for too long in the refrigerator.

    Photobucket

    Friday, October 5, 2012

    Tomato soup




    I had a lot of tomatos in my refrigerator and right away, I knew what to make off it. Tomato soup of course and with the start of the cold season, what's better than some piping hot soup.

    Have I ever mentioned how much I hate packaged soups. They taste horrid. I tried a few brands a few years ago and I have never bought a packet ever since. Some are so gummy from all the corn starch used. Some are too sweet from the abundance sugar added. The worst part is the addition  of Monosodium glutamate or  MSG, also known as the "infamous" Ajinomoto. Ugh! Makes me lose my appetite.

    So, instead of cribbing about bad soup, why not make some good soup at home.



    I use cashew paste as a substitute for corn starch to thicken my soup. The depth of tomato flavor in this soup is very refreshing.

    I would have loved some croutons as a garnish on them as well. But, I had run out of bread :(




    Ingredients:

    • Butter – 2 tspns
    • Oil- 1 tbspn
    • Onion – 1medium
    • Peppercorns –7-8
    • Bay leaf – 1
    • Cloves- 3
    • Garlic – 4 large cloves
    • Carrot – 1/4 of a medium sized carrot
    • Cumin seeds – 1 tspn
    • Chilli powder – 2 tspns
    • Tomatoes – 8 large
    • Water – 2 &1/2 cups
    • Raw cashews - 5 (ground to a smooth paste)
    • Sugar –  1 tspn ( I used brown sugar)
    • Salt - to taste
    • Cracked pepper – to taste
    • Coriander leaves – to garnish
    • Cream – 4 tspns (optional) 

    Directions: 
    • Heat 1 tspn butter and oil in pressure cooker pan. Add onions,  bay leaf, cloves, pepper corns and garlic. Saute till transparent . 
    • Add cumin, carrots, chilli powder and salt. Add tomatoes and sauté for 2 mins. 
    • Now add water and close pressure cooker . Cook for 3 whistles.
    • Then remove the bay leaf and cloves and discard. Puree the rest of the mixture in a juicer and sieve.
    • Now, on a low heat, add remaining 1 tspn butter in a  pan. Add the cashew paste and saute for a minute. (Cashew paste acts as a thickening agent)
    •  Add the extracted tomato puree. Add sugar . Stir well. for a few mins. till the soup thickens.
    • Add pepper  and salt to taste.
    • Garnish with coriander leaves and cream.

    Friday, September 21, 2012

    Paneer paratta


    I get fresh paneer from a vendor near my home. It's so fresh and has a crumbly texture to it, quite similar to home-made paneer and very unlike the perfect squares of packaged processed paneer that you get on store shelves. I was sure to put it to good use.  Hubby dear said paneer paratta .
    So, paneer paratta it was.




     
    This paratta tastes great by itself. It does not need any heavy gravies to accompany it. The best side-dish would be a light raita or pickles. An easy high protein meal, but paneer has high fat content too :(




     Ingredients for paratta dough: (makes 10)
    • Whole wheat flour - 3 cups
    • Olive oil - 2 tspns
    • Salt - 1tspn
    • Water - as needed
    For filling :
    • Grated or crumbled paneer - 200 gms
    • Onion - 1 medium (finely chopped)
    • Green chilies - 3-4 (finely chopped)
    • Coriander leaves (finely chopped) -  5 tbspns
    • Garam masala - 1 tspn
    • Salt - to taste
    Directions for making dough: 
    • Mix salt and flour.
    • To the flour, add oil and enough water . Knead to a soft, pliable dough.(Knead for about 5-8 mins)
    • Make a ball of the dough, cover and keep aside for 15-20 mins.
    • Divide the dough into 10 equal sized balls.
    For the filling: 
    • Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and mix well. Keep aside.

    Directions for making the stuffed parattas:

    • Flatten and roll out each ball of dough to about 2 inch diameter.
    • Place a tbsp of the filling in the centre. 
    • Cover the filling by gathering the edges and making it into a pouch. 
    • Press and roll out ,using little flour, into a small round parathas. (these 4 steps are portrayed in my collage)
    • Cook the parattas on a hot tava, using little olive oil. Cook on both sides, till brown spots appear.
    • Serve hot.
    Photobucket

    Wednesday, September 12, 2012

    Banana fritters/ Pazham pori



    Today, I'm going to confess my weakness. When we used to travel to Kerala for our vacations, the train journey was what we looked forward to. Not for anything else, but the banana fritters sold at the Shornur and Palghat stations. They are called pazham pori literally meaning banana fry. Oh boy, were they delicious!  
    Hence, here I am, shamelessly admitting to eating unhygienic, Indian railway station food. I confess to still loving them, but, don't eat them at the station anymore, as I prefer homemade.



     
    When I first made these fritters at home, a few years ago, I did a shabby job. (I'm sure that it is all in the game for beginners). When I dipped the sliced bananas in batter and fried them, most of the fritters had extensions, which I used to call hands, legs and fingers and they almost looked like tadpoles. But these days I do a better job and make a batter of better consistency. 



    This snack is made rarely at home, since it involves deep frying. So, this treat is thoroughly enjoyed as it is an occasional one. It is a great tea-time snack and a wonderful comfort food for the  monsoons.



    Ingredients: (Makes 6 fritters)
    • Ripe plaintains (nendran) - 2
    • All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
    • Salt - a pinch
    • Sugar - 1 tspn
    • Turmeric powder - 1/2 tspn
    • Water - 1 cup
    • Oil - for deep frying.
    Directions :
    • Heat oil in a deep pan to a temperature of 375°F.
    • In the mean time, make a batter with the flour, sugar, salt, turmeric and water. Whisk well to avoid lumps.
    • Peel and slice each plantain lengthwise into 3 pieces.
    • Dip each slice in batter separately and deep fry till golden.




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