Sunday, 31 May 2015

Rasmalai in Nolen Gur (Date Palm Jaggery) Syrup

Once you achieve the Rasgulla breakthrough, all other derivables seem like a cake walk! With friends now coming over to learn the procedure and a few others who never forget to mention the soft and cottony Rasgullas they had at my place, I am quite enjoying my Rasgulla fame in Singapore. These Rasmalais were in fact too good to be true. So soft and cottony, drenched in a milk syrup sweetened with Nolen Gur or date palm jaggery (famous in Bengal), I prepared these for my Hubby's colleagues from India. I love sweets and learning to make these were the best thing I ever did!! 😆😆
Ingredients (Makes 16)
For the chenna 
2 ltr low fat milk (I use Farmhouse in Singapore)
2 tbsp vinegar 

For the first sugar syrup
2 1/2 cup water
1 cup sugar

For the ras or milk syrup
1 ltr full cream milk
1/4-1/3 cup nolen gur/date palm jaggert as per your taste (you can substitute this with regular sugar as per your taste)
1 tsp cardamom powder (if not using jaggery)
A pinch of kesar (if not using Jaggery)

For the chenna balls
Boil milk in a deep bottom pan and bring to a boil. 
Now add the vinegar and reduce the flame to minimum for a minute and switch it off. The milk will start churning and the chenna will start separating from the whey. 
Now drain the whey and wash the chenna a couple of times with clean drinking water and either tie in a muslin cloth and put a weight to drain for 5 minutes or use a paneer maker. 

After draining the liquid for 10-15 minutes, take the chenna in a bowl or plate wide enough to knead and start kneading. 

Make sure the chenna is crumbly and grainy and not pasty in texture. 
Start kneading using your fingers and the heel of your palm and knead till the mixture starts releasing the fat and your fingers feel oily. 
Meanwhile, heat the sugar and water for the syrup until sugar is dissolved. Make discs from the chenna and make them smooth. Lower the heat to medium and add the discs. Cover and let them double for 12-15 minutes. 
I used a smaller vessel else the discs had more capacity to double. Now take a bowl of clean drinking water and place one disc in the water. If it sinks, they ate cooked and time for the next step. 
Let the discs remain in the drinking water for about 30 minutes while you prepare the ras or milk syrup. 
Heat the milk and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame and thicken the milk until it reduces to half. Add the jaggery/sugar as per your taste and let it dissolve. If ysing sugar, add the saffron/kesar and cardamom powder. You may do this ras one day in advance or even in the beginning of the process which makes it easier. If prepared in advance, bring the milk syrup to slightly warm.

 Gently squeeze out the water from the discs and place in the milk syrup. When it  is cool enough transfer to a serving bowl and chill before serving. 

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Spicy Tuna Fish in Vietnamese Rice Paper Wraps

I bought this packet of Rice paper wraps quite some time back but making it got delayed for some reason or the other. Yesterday when I invited my friend's Mom, who is visiting her these days, for high tea, I was quite confused whether to make some puffs (which are also lying in my freezer waiting to be used) or some fritters or simply buy something from the market. Just then I recalled that I have something new and interesting to serve. New ideas always excite me and I jumped on the idea. In no time, I quickly prepared the filling and started preparing the wraps. The best part is you can prepare these wraps quite ahead of time and they are absolutely stunning to present as a starter or a snack. I have used tuna fish as the filling here. You can use whatever your taste buds guide you to!! My guests loved it and I was a happy host. 
For the filling 
1 can tuna fish flakes in light oil drained 
1 medium onion
1 large tomato 
1 tbsp chopped garlic 
1/2 carrot finely grated 
1/2 tsp dried basil 
1/2 tsp parsley
1 tsp cajun spice
Salt and pepper to taste 
2 tbsp spring onion greens plus more for garnish 
2 tbsp fresh coriander or parsley 
1 tbsp oil
For the wraps
4-5 vietnamese rice paper sheets
Water kept in a wide bowl or plate

Heat oil in a pan. Add the garlic and sauté till light brown. Add the chopped onion and fry till translucent. Next tip in the tomatoes and grated carrots and stir. Fry till the tomatoes are mushy and the carrots soften. Now add the drained tuna fish flakes and stir well. Add all the spices and salt and stir till well combined. Add the spring onions and fresh coriander and stir. When oil starts separating from the sides, stir and remove from heat. Let it cool completely before you start making the wraps. 
For assembling the wraps, take a wide plate with raised edges and fill it with water. Wipe and clean the work table or kitchen counter. Take a rice paper and gently dip into the plate of water and swirl on all sides until the rice paper is soft enough to handle but not too wet. 
Place the softened rice sheet on the slab and place a spoonful of the filling on one side of the rice sheet. 
Now start wrapping it as shown in the pictures below. 

Fold in both the edges from the top and then roll the remaining edge. 
Place the wraps on a plate and repeat with the rest of the filling. Garnish with fresh spring onions and serve with your favourite dip.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Biscuit Chocolate Cupcakes

This month has really been a very slack one in terms of getting orders. With more time at hand, I thought of putting it to good use and trying some new experiments in the kitchen. Today's recipe is a shot in the dark which hit the target very aptly. A crunchy buttery biscuit base with a soft and moist chocolate cake on top and some chocolate chips to finish it off made it quite a bite!! The recipe makes exact 12 cupcakes and are great for a mid-week treat!
150 gms all purpose flour
1 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder (I used extra dark cocoa powder and so used only 1 tbsp)
1 tsp baking powder 
75 gms butter room temperature 
90 gms brown sugar (white is also fine)
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt if using unsalted butter 
1 tsp Vanila extract 
70 ml milk
Chocolate chips to sprinkle 
For the base 
7-10 biscuits (anything that is lying unused in your pantry)
1 tbsp butter melted

Start with the base. Crush the biscuits in a blender and add the melted butter. Grind together to form a wet sand like texture. 
Now fill in the cupcake liners till about 1/4 of the liner and press down the top with a spoon to get a smooth top. Refrigerate while you prepare the batter. 
In a bowl sift together the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Keep aside. 
Cream the butter and the sugar in a separate bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and beat further. Add the vanilla extract and whip. Now add the flour and milk alternately beginning and ending with flour. Whip well till all is incorporated well. 
Pre-heat the oven at 180 degree celcius. 
Now take the chilled cupcake liners out of the refrigerator and add equal spoonfuls of the batter into the liners till about 3/4 full. Place them in a muffin tray and sprinkle the top with chocolate chips, as many as you like. 
Bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Remove from oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. 

Monday, 25 May 2015

No Bake Eggless Chocolate Tart

There is nothing much to write about this post. I made this especially for a little boy who lives in my same building and whom my baby calls her "bhaiyya" and who had been craving for some chocolatey dessert since some days. The initial plan was to make some cupcakes, as that was what he had asked his Mom for, but then I had some chocolate filling in the fridge ready already and which wasn't finding its proper use. So last evening while loitering at the mall, I saw some detachable mini tart pans and knew at once how to use up the filling. The entire assembling took me flat 20 minutes and my dessert was ready in 1 hour, nice and chilled. The kiddo was super happy and I was a satisfied Aunty! 😜
For the base
12-15 biscuits (you can use any non cream biscuits like marie, digestive, crackers, anything that is lying unused in your pantry)
2-3 heaped tbsp butter melted
For the filling 
2 tbsp + 2 tsp water (room temperature)
1 1/2 tsp gelatin/agar agar
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp honey
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa 
1/4 cup heavy cream

Prepare the filling
In a small bowl sprinkle the gelatin/agar agar over the water and let it bloom for 5 minutes. 
In a pan, heat the sugar and water until dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the honey and sifted cocoa powder. Mux well till no lumps remain. Now add the heavy cream and stir and return the pan on fire. Heat the mixture while constantly stirring until small bubbles start appearing on the sides (scalding). You do not neef to bring it to a complete boil. Now remove from heat and cool it slightly by stirring. When it is warm but not hot, stur in the gelatin/agar agar and stir until no lumps remain. 
Now strain the mixture with a fine seive or cheese cloth/muslin cloth and transfer to a glass bowl. Choose a bowl which you can later cover and store in the refrigerator. Cool and bring it to room temperature. Note that you can prepare this filling in advance and store in the refrigerator. When you want to use it, simply heat in the microwave for 30 seconds and stir and bring it to room temperature. 
Prepare the base
Grind the biscuits in a blender/grinder to a fine crumb and pour in the melted butter. Pulse a few more seconds until the mixture resembles wet sand. 
Take 3-4 spoonfuls of the biscuit mixture and spread it on the tart pans and level the top. Fill till about 1/4 height of the tart pans. If you do not have tart pans, you can use individual pudding bowls or any other serving bowl of your choice. Chill in the freezer for 10 minutes. 
Now pour the chocolate filling over the chilled biscuit base and chill in the refrigerator (not freezer) until set (about 1 hour). Garnish with chopped fresh fruits and whipped cream and serve chilled. 

Friday, 22 May 2015

Moradabadi Daal-- A Must Try!!!

I am not at all a Daal person and would prefer to make a curry instead of a daal, given a choice. But after my Lucknowi Daal, I did start loving it but only limited to Lucknowi Daal. Now, there is a new inclusion in my favourite daal list, Moradabadi Daal!! The recipe was shared by Hina Gujral of Fun, Food and Frolic several months back but I somehow never got to make it. I did today and wow! Totally bowled out by the superb taste. If you have nothing to cook or in no mood to cook, you must certainly make this daal. Even if you are in the mood, you must still make this because you are undoubtedly going to fall in love with it!!! Please try this daal.... A humble request!!! Trust me, you won't be disappointed! 
For the daal
1/2 cup moong daal washed and drained 
1/4 tsp heeng/asafoetida 
1/2 tsp turmeric powder 
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste (I finely grated both)
1/2 tbsp tamarind paste/pulp (without seeds)
Salt to taste

For the tadka
1 tbsp ghee/refined oil (the flavor is optimum  with ghee)
1 tsp cumin seeds 
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder 
1 tsp chaat masala powder
1 medium onion finely chopped 
1 medium tomato deseeded and finely chopped 
1-2 green chillies chopped 
1" piece ginger julienned 
3-4 cubes of paneer crumbled
Fresh coriander chopped finely 

Cook the daal with required water in a pressure cooker with all the other ingredients listed under daal until done. I usually add water just until 1" above the level of the daal to avoid spitting by the cooker while cooking. 
Remove from heat and let the pressure release on its own. Open the lid and mash the daal adding any additional hot water to achieve desired consistency. Spoon out the daal in individual serving bowls and keep it ready while you prepare the tadka. 
In a small tadka pan or small wok, heat the ghee and add the cumin seeds. Let them crackle and then add chilli powder and chaat masala powder. Remove from heat immediately and spoonfuls of the tadka into individual bowls. Here the quantity of ghee mentioned was for two servings of the daal. Increase as per your requirement. Now add the chopped onions, chopped tomatoes, chopped chillies, and ginger juliennes into each serving bowl on top of the tadka and crumble some paneer cubes on top. Finish it off with a generous sprinkle of fresh coriander (I love lots of it) and serve hot with rotis/naan/paratha or rice! Enjoy this lip smacking daal and also the compliments!! 


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Murg Khurchan

On my recent India trip, this is one dish that came appearing to me one way or the other. I tasted it first time in my life in a North-Indian restaurant along with my sister and we both enjoyed it thoroughly with some tandoori rotis. Since then, it somehow continued to capture my attention either through in-flight menus or cookery books and websites. I finally told myself that I have to get done with these ghost appearances and chanced upon a recipe by Chef Marut Sikka. It is a vanishing dish and in fact I had never before heard of it until a few weeks back. Khurchan means scraping and traditionally this dish is made on a tawa/griddle but since my tawa is really small, I made it on a frying pan. The taste is superb and is a close cousin of chicken keema, except that you use roasted and shredded chicken here instead of minced. You must try this dish once and help in keeping its fame alive!! For my vegetarian friends, you can easily replace the chicken in this recipe with paneer except that you need not shred it too finely. 
For the masala 

6-8 dried red chilies

1 tbsp coriander seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

Gently roast the above in a pan and then grind to a fine powder in a mixer grinder.

For the Sauce 
1/4 cup ghee 

6-8 cloves of garlic finely grated

4-5 large ripe tomatoes chopped 

Salt to taste

 3-4 green chillies chopped

For the chicken/paneer/ veggies 

1/2 kg chicken/paneer/mixed veggies cut into one inch cubes

6-8 cloves garlic finely grated

2" piece of ginger finely grated

Juice of one lemon

1 tsp red chilli powder

1/2 tsp white pepper powder

Salt to taste

2 tbsp refined oil 

For the assembly 

50 gm butter

 2 onions sliced

 1 green bell pepper deseeded, cut into strips

1 red bell pepper deseeded, cut into strips

1 yellow bell pepper deseeded, cut into strips 

1 tsp garam masala 

1 tbsp kasoori methi roasted and crushed 

1" piece ginger julienned

Fresh coriander leaves chopped for garnish


Keep the dry masala ready as per instructions above. 

Heat the ghee in a pan, add the garlic and saute until light golden brown. Add the powdered masala of chillies, cumin and coriander, stir and immediately add the tomatoes.

Add salt, increase heat and once the mixture comes to a boil, lower the heat and continue to cook the tomatoes until they achieve a sauce-like consistency. Now add the green chilies and cook for another 1-2 minutes, check the seasoning and remove from the fire.

Now start preparing the chicken/paneer/veggies. Mix all the ingredients, except the chicken/paneer/veggies, together and add the chicken/paneer/veggies and marinate for 2-3 hours.

In the case of chicken or any other meat I normally add meat tenderizer or grated raw  papaya (two tablespoons). This acts as a tenderiser for the meat and also gives a gentle sourness. Skewer the chicken/paneer and cook in a tandoor. Alternatively cook in an oven (225°C for 6-10 minutes). The idea here is only to cook the chicken/paneer half way through, yet impart a smoky flavour to it.

Time to assemble. Traditionally it is to be done on a griddle or tawa. Mine is too small to accommodate all. So used a frying pan. 

Add the butter to the tawa/pan and once it melts, add the half done chicken/paneer/veggies. 

Cook on low heat scraping the griddle, just avoiding the chicken/paneer from sticking or burning, for 2-3 minutes. Add the sliced onions and continue to scrape the griddle, cooking until onions are glossy. Add the bell peppers and keep stirring till slightly soft but have a crunch still. Add the tomato sauce and continue to scrape. Cook for 3-4 minutes.

Add garam masala, kasoori methi and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add julienned ginger and fresh coriander. Stir well and remove from fire. Check the seasoning and serve.

Friday, 8 May 2015

Paneer Jalfrezi

Paneer is such an easy ingredient to cook but it is equally easy to get bored with the regular curries and recipes. A change in the recipe is always refreshing and this recipe is the perfect one to go with rotis/naan/parathas. So easy to prepare and so yummy to eat, try this recipe the next time you are making paneer and rest assured, you won't be disappointed. 
300 gms paneer cubes
1 large onion finely sliced 
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste 
1 green bell pepper cubed (cut the pepper according to the shape of the paneer)
1 large tomato cubed (or 2 small)
3-4 tbsp tomato purée 
1 tsp kalonji/onion seeds 
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp kashmiri chilli powder 
1 tsp coriander powder 
1/2 tsp turmeric powder 
1 tsp kitchen king masala (or garam masala powder)
1/2 tbsp roasted and crushed kasuri methi
1/2 tsp sugar
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves for garnishing 
Oil as required 

Get all the core ingredients ready. 
Heat oil in a pan and fry the paneer cubes till slightly golden. Remove from heat and keep aside. 

Heat oil in a pan and splutter the onion seeds and cumin seeds. Add the onions and fry till translucent. 

Tip in the ginger and garlic pastes and fry till raw smell disappears. 
Add the dry spices except kasuri methi and stir well. 
Next add the tomato purée, tomatoes, and pepper and stir well. Fry till the tomatoes are cooked and the pepper slightly softened. 
Add salt and sugar and tip in the fried paneer chunks. 
Cover and simmer the flame and cook for 5 minutes. Add the crushed kasuri methi and stir. Adjust the seasoning and remove from heat. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve hot with roti/naan/parathas or steamed rice. 

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Lemon Cake with Lemon Sugar Drizzle

Lemon cakes always sounded quite exotic to me and was synonymous with a cup of freshly brewed English Tea and a beachside villa with a stunning view of the sunset. I have had earlier attempts at making this cake but never succeeded until today including the frosting, which was an absolute shot in the dark as I wanted to experiment before my next order. The recipe was shared by a foodie friend after trying it out from and I just picked it up from there and added the frosting to make it more appealing and delicious. Lemon cakes, as easy as they sound, are sometimes quite tricky if you do not have the perfect recipe and rest assured, you can totally rely on this one for the most superbly moist and light lemon pound cake to enjoy your cuppa. So all the lemon lovers out there, do not miss out on this recipe 😋😋
150 gms hung curd/greek yogurt
1/2 cup white fine sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar (you can use all white sugar. I ran out of white but I think next time I will use all brown)
2 large eggs room temperature 
1/2 cup refined oil (I used rice bran oil. You can use any neutral tasting oil you like)
1 1/2 tbsp lemon extract (it is important not to use lemon juice or lemon oil here as the taste and texture might change)
2 tbsp lemon zest (it is a daunting task and the easiest shortcut is to thinly peel the outer lemon cover and grind it to as fine a powder as possible)
1 1/2 cup maida/all purpose flour (I used cake flour)
1/2 tsp salt
tsp baking powder (I used 1 tsp double acting baking powder)

For the frosting 
90 gms icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice 
Few drops of water, if required 

Pre-heat the oven at 175 degree celcius and grease a 8" baking pan and line it with parchment paper. 
Sift the flour, salt, and baking powder and keep aside. 
Beat the sugar, eggs, and greek/hung yogurt till smooth and creamy. Add the oil while still whipping. The mixture should now be getting thicker and creamier. Follow this up with the lemon extract and lemon zest. Finally, add the flour in three batches, mixing well after each addition. Do not overmix though. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes or until done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. 
Remove from the oven and let it cool in the pan for ten minutes and then cool on a wire rack completely. 
Once the cake has cooled down, take the icing sugar and the lemon juice and mix well. The mixture will resemble a thick creamy paste. You can add a few drops of water to it to slightly dilute it (remember, just a few drops!). Drizzle this on top of the cooled cake and let it set. It's okay if some of it drips down the sides. That's the lemon drizzle look!! Serve and enjoy it with your cuppa!