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 HudsonCanola
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
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
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.)
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.
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
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.
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)
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)
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
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)
1-1/2cup sifted cake flour
1-1/2tspn baking powder
1/2cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2large eggs, room temperature
1/2teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1/2cup(s) whole milk
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.
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
Fine sugar - 1 tbspn
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.
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.
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.
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
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 :(
Butter – 2 tspns
Oil- 1 tbspn
Onion – 1medium
Bay leaf – 1
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)
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.