The 4 Cs

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In continuation with the Brownie post where i dedicated the dish to my daughter, I couldn’t leave my son behind He deserved a dedication too.

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My son brought out the strangest cravings while he was in my tummy. Never a coffee drinker, I had some manic coffee cravings while in Hyderabad. I used to consult with a doctor at Rainbow Hospital and bang opposite was this supermarket cum coffee shop. Every visit to the doc had to end at the coffee shop and these visits were more often then they should have been. No wonder that I have a super hyper monkey to deal with.
The cocktail is dedicated to my son Nirvair and its a blend of vodka, cream, chocolate, caramel and of course coffee.

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30 ml vodka
2 tbsp liquid coffee (espresso shot will do too)
2 tbsp cream
1 tbsp Monin caramel mix
1 tbsp sugar syrup
Hershey chocolate syrup

1) Blend the cream and coffee to a smooth mix. 
2) In a shaker put all the ingredients except the chocolate syrup with 2 cubes of ice. Shake well.
3) Drizzle the chocolate syrup in a glass and pour the cocktail into it. 
4) Dust some coffee powder on top.

Dark chocolate & dried cranberry brownies with infused ice-cream

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Today’s food experiment starts in reverse gear. Had some leftover balsamic strawberries and started the planning process from there. Google baba to the rescue. Finally zeroed in on an ice cream topping. But wasn’t too happy keeping it simple. So added sugar and cooked the strawberries out. Then blended it with vanilla ice cream in the mixer. Added some fresh chopped strawberries and baileys just for kicks. Put it in the freezer overnight. The next dilemma was what to serve it with. Was keen on a simple sponge cake then a story came to mind. The best love story of all. So finally settled on a chocolate brownie. Now it’s time to tell u all about the inspiration behind this.IMG_7437
When I was pregnant with my first child, as any pregnant lady will agree sometimes we have huge cravings and the hubby can’t say no. I lived in Jodhpur then and in my last trimester all I wanted was ice cream and chocolates. My poor hubby a health freak, would ensure the fridge was stuffed with chocolates and ice creams. We used to order kilos of homemade chocolates from a lady there and since there weren’t too many options, there were tubs of Kwality strawberry sundae at hand. Would happily gorge on them at all odd hours. Dedicated to my gorgeous daughter Inaya – balsamic strawberries blended with baileys infused vanilla icecream sandwiched between dark chocolate and dried cranberry brownies. A drizzle of salted caramel sauce to finish it off.

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Dark Brownies with dried cranberries

Dark Chocolate/ Compound- 220 gm
Butter- 110 gm
Eggs- 3
Brown Sugar- 210 gm
Flour- 80 gm
Cocoa powder- 10 gm
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Choco chips- 2 tbsp 
1/4 cup dried cranberries 

1) Melt the butter and chocolate together. Cool to room temp. 
2) Add the sugar to the chocolate mix and whisk. 
3) Add the eggs, one by one, whisking between each addition. 
4) Add the vanilla and give another quick whisk. 
5) Fold the flour in two increments. Do not over-mix. Fold in 1/4 cup dried cranberries
6) Pour into an oven-proof dish lined with butter paper, leaving a little bit of overhang on all sides, just enough to be able to pull the baked layer from the dish. Smoothen the top with a spatula. 
7) Sprinkle the choco chips over the surface. 
8) Bake in a pre-heated oven at 180 C for 35-40 minutes. 
9) The tops should be firm and a toothpick inserted in the centre should come away with just a little stickiness. 
10) Leave it in the oven for a few more minutes. Cool. 
11) Holding firmly to both sides, tug the paper free from the baking dish and place on a flat surface. Cut into bars.
Recipe – saloni sharma

Infused Ice-cream 

1) Heat 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar, 1/2 cup sugar and 15 diced strawberries. Dash of lime

2) when blended well and strawberries have emitted juice. Shut gas and cool

3) soften 500 gms vanilla icecream

4) blend the strawberries and icecream in a mixer

6) dice 5-6 fresh strawberries and add it with 2-3 tbsp of Bailey in the ice cream mix. 

7) pour in a container and freeze overnight.

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Salted Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

1.5 cups granulated sugar

1/3 cup water

4 tbsp butter, cubed and room temperature

1/2 cup heavy cream, room temperature

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

 

  1. Add water and granulated sugar into a pan. Heat it over medium-high.
  2. RESIST any attempt to stir with a spatula or wooden spoon while sugar melts. Let it do its thing. It’ll bubble vigorously but DON’T be tempted to stick a wooden spoon to STIR. DON’T DO IT. You’d only risk a huge clump of mess! Crystalized sugar, no bueno.
  3. Instead, swirl the pan once or twice to evenly melt sugar and caramelize. Do not over-do it.
  4. Once sugar caramelizes into a nice dark amber shade, remove pan from heat and carefully drizzle in cubes of softened butter and cream. With a wooden spoon, continue whisking even though it looks like everything would bubble over, but trust me, it will settle. Just continue whisking, carefully and AVOID BURNS.
  5. DO NOT STICK YOUR FINGERS IN FOR TASTE. You will be awarded with 3rd degree burns. No joke.
  6. Once caramel is pourable, whisk in sea salt and vanilla extract. Store salted caramel sauce in airtight jars for up to a week.

Recipe – Kiran Tarun

Sakkarai Pongal

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I recently joined a group of amazingly talented chefs #chefsacrossboundaries where we challenge each other to learn, grow and share our culinary knowledge. This month the theme was regional recipes and the uber talented Sujatha Arun gave me her recipe of Sakkarai Pongal to attempt.

The recipe is relatively easy and the finished dish is amazingly flavoursome. My daughter insisted that I send her a box during her lunch break. She came home sad as all her friends gobbled it up before she could eat it. So promised her to send more the next day. If the kids approve, then you know you have a winner on your hands

Sakkarai Pongal is generally prepared in temples as an offering to the deity, as a thanksgiving. It is one of the delicacies made to celebrate the Pongal festival. A little more about its namesake festival.

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Pongal is a harvest festival celebrated in Tamil Nadu. The festival is a way of giving thanks to nature and takes its name from the Tamil word meaning “to boil”. This is traditionally also the month of weddings. In a largely agricultural community – the riches gained from a good harvest form the economic basis for expensive family occasions like weddings.

(excerpts from www.pongalfestival.org)

Some legendary stories are also associated with Pongal festival celebrations. The two most popular legends of Pongal are stories related to Lord Shiva and Lord Indra.

According to a legend, once Shiva asked his bull, Basava, to go to the earth and ask the mortals to have an oil massage and bath every day and to eat once a month. Inadvertently, Basava announced that everyone should eat daily and have an oil bath once a month. This mistake enraged Shiva who then cursed Basava, banishing him to live on the earth forever. He would have to plough the fields and help people produce more food. Thus the association of this day with cattle.

Another legend of Lord Indra and Lord Krishna also led to Pongal celebrations. It is said when Lord Krishna were in his childhood, he decided to teach a lesson to Lord Indra who became arrogant after becoming the king of all deities. Lord Krishna asked all the cowherds to stop worshiping Lord Indra. This angered Lord Indra and sent forth his clouds for thunder-storms and 3 days continuous rains. Lord Krishna lifted Mount Govardhan to save all the humans. Later, Lord Indra realized his mistake and divine power of Krishna.

Pongal Celebrations
According to Hindu mythology, this is when the day of the gods begins, after a six-month long night. The festival is spread over three days and is the most important and most fervently-celebrated harvest festival of South India. A special puja is performed on the first day of Pongal before the cutting of the paddy. Farmers worship the sun and the earth by anointing their ploughs and sickles with sandal wood paste. It is with these consecrated tools that the newly-harvested rice is cut.

Each of the three days are marked by different festivities. The first day, Bhogi Pongal, is a day for the family. Surya Pongal, the second day, is dedicated to the worship of Surya, the Sun God. Boiled milk and jaggery is offered to the Sun God. The third day of Pongal, Mattu Pongal, is for worship of the cattle known as Mattu. Cattle are bathed, their horns polished and painted in bright colors, and garlands of flowers placed around their necks. The Pongal that has been offered to the Gods is then given to cattle and birds to eat.

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Here is Sujatha’s recipe link http://spicesntreats.blogspot.in/2015/01/sakkara-pongal-sweet-pongal-pongal.html

The recipe as I made it, with the ingredients at hand, noted below for easy reference

INGREDIENTS

1/2 cup Raw rice
3 tbsp Split moong dal
3/4 cup dark jaggery
3 tbsp Ghee
1/4 cup Cashews
15 raisins
1 tsp Green Cardamom powder
pinch of Nutmeg powder
pinch of Salt
2 cups Water
1/2 cup Milk

  1. Add a little ghee to a pressure cooker and roast the moong dal until fragrant. Add the rice and roast a little more. Do not brown
  2. Now add water and milk .
  3. Put the lid on the cooker and cook till 4 to 5 whistles.
  4. Once the pressure settles down, open the cooker and mash the rice and dal.
  5. Meanwhile heat another pan and add tsp of ghee and fry the raisins and cashews and set aside.
  6. Now add the jaggery and 1/4 cup water to the pan.
  7. Once the jaggery melts , strain the jaggery syrup of impurities and add it to the same pan .
  8. Add the mashed rice dal mixture and stir well.
  9. Slowly start adding the ghee  and stir well.
  10. Continue to cook for another 5 to 7 minutes and add the cardamom powder,salt and nutmeg powder to this.

Greek Pastellis

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This Sankranti, I knew I wanted to make something for the festival. Asked around in my family and the response everywhere is that we don’t make anything regional specific for Sankranti. Hmmm, change of plan.

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Plan B – decided to focus on Til as that’s the star ingredient during this festival. Looked up – til ladu (scratch that), til chakki (scratch that) revdi (scratch that). Kuch alag banana hai. Started the sesame search and bingo found a recipe that is so Indian in disguise.

Greek pastellis- goodness of Til and Honey with generous sprinkling of pistas, badams and dried rose petals. Not as crunchy as a Chikki, more chewy but still as yum. Happy Sankranti everyone.

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Ingredients:

2 ½ cups of sesame seeds
1 ½ cups of honey
½ cup mix of almond and pistachio slivers and dried rose petals
Rose water

  1. Add the honey to a saucepan and heat over a medium low heat until it starts to bubble.
  2. Add sesame seeds to the pan and mix well to incorporate with the honey. Cook slowly while continually stirring the mixture with a wooden spoon until it achieves a rich golden-brown colour, about 10 minutes or so.
  3. When couple of minutes are left, add the nuts and petal mix and mix it well.
  4. Prepare a silipat or silicon baking sheet by sprinkling it with some rose water and spreading it to cover the working surface.
  5. Pour the hot mixture onto the working surface and spread it with a spatula to a uniform thickness of a ½ inch or so.
  6. Take a sufficiently large piece of parchment paper and cover the outspread pasteli mixture with it, then, use a rolling pin over top of the parchment paper to further thin and spread the mix into a rough rectangle of uniform thickness, about a ¼ inch or so.
  7. Remove the parchment paper, square the edges of the pasteli with a spatula or icing tool and let stand to cool.
  8. Equally divide and cut the outspread pasteli into your preferred shapes
  9. Use a metal spatula to remove the pasteli pieces from the working surface and place the pieces in an airtight container (lined with parchment paper) for storage.
Recipe – Greekgourmand

Spaghetti and Meatballs

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Leftovers are always fun to play with. Last night’s epic burger resulted in some leftover burger patty mix.


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I was keen on making a light vegetable broth with some noodles and meatballs. But was immediately vetoed by the brat pack.

So it’s Spaghetti and meatballs for dinner.

 

MEATBALLS

 

INGREDIENTS

500 gms mutton mince
1 chopped onion 
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 egg
1/4 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp chopped coriander
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp medium peri peri sauce
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp oregano
Salt
Olive oil

1) cook the onions with little olive oil till they are soft and pink. Let them cool. 
2) wash and strain the mince
3) grind in mixer to bind. Don’t make it too pasty
4) put the mince in a big bowl and add all the ingredients including the cooked onions. 
5) mix well and shape into patty. Refrigerate for atleast 1 hr. 
6) heat oil and when it sizzles, put the patty to fry. Lower gas and let it cook. Turn and cook on the other side. About 5-7 mins each on both sides.
(U can cook in an appey pan too, will brown better. )

The sauce

1 large onion, chopped
5 garlic cloves, chopped
10 tomatoes
1 readymade tomato purée pkt
1 tbsp fresh basil
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 tbsp fresh parsley
(U can also use dried herbs)
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp dried oregano
salt 

1) blanch or roast the tomatoes. remove skin and chop or purée as per preference. 
2) in a pan, heat olive oil and add the onions and garlic. Sautée to pink
3) add the tomato, pkt purée, chilli flakes, oregano, salt and if U are adding other dried herbs add it now (fresh herbs will taste better if added towards the end). 
4) cook till tomatoes are soft. Add fresh herbs a minute before u shut the gas.

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Mutton Mince Burger

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A spiced and seasoned mutton mince patty on store-bought wholewheat burger buns. Mustard Mayo, spiced tomato chutney, gherkins, caramelised onions and melted cheese made it so much more flavoursome.

BURGER

Burger Patty

1 kg mutton mince
2 chopped onion
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 big egg
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped coriander
3 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp medium peri peri sauce
1 tbsp red chilli flakes
1 tbsp oregano
Salt
Butter
Cheese slices

1) cook the onions with little olive oil till they are soft and pink. Let them cool.
2) wash and strain the mince
3) grind in mixer to bind. Don’t make it too pasty
4) put the mince in a big bowl and add all the ingredients including the cooked onions.
5) mix well and shape into patty. Refrigerate for atleast 1 hr. Will make 5-6 big patty.
6) heat butter and when it sizzles, put the patty to fry. Lower gas and let it cook. Turn and cook on the other side. About 5-7 mins each on both sides. At the end, place a cheese slice on the patty and shut the gas in 30 sec. The cheese will melt and envelope the burger.

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Spiced tomato chutney

3 big chopped Tomatoes
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 tsp paprika/Chilli powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp jeera powder
Pinch sugar
Salt
Olive oil

1) heat olive oil in the pan, add the ginger garlic paste and fry for 1 minute.
2) add the tomatoes and all the other ingredients. Cook on slow flame for 20-30 mins.
3) once the tomatoes leave oil, mash them till they have a chutney texture.

Mustard Mayo

3 tbsp Mayo
3 tsp whole grain mustard
1/2 lime
Salt

Mix all ingredients well

Caramelised onions

2 sliced onions
1/2 tsp butter
1/2 tsp oil
Salt
Pinch sugar

1) heat oil and butter in a pan on high heat
2) add the onions and mix well
3) lower gas and cook the onion for 10 mins
4) add sugar and salt and let the onions turn a nice amber colour mixing frequently. About 20-25 mins.

Assembling the burger:
Generously apply the Mayo and chutney on the buns. Add lettuce leaves and the gherkins. Add the patty and top with caramelised onions.

Belgavi Kunda

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While on the hunt for regional recipes this Sankranti, I stumbled upon a little gem. Belagavi Kunda.

My roots are from Mangalore and I have been attempting different dishes from my hometown recently. During my research, I have been uncovering some treasures from Karnataka. Read about Belgaum’s Kunda and how famous it was. Strangely had never eaten it. So did some research and managed to find a recipe I could work with.

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There is an interesting story to the discovery of this dish.
‘Gangaram Mithaiwala, whose shop still runs at Shahpur in Belgaum, used to have a mithai maker named Jakku. One day Jakku left the milk boiling and forgot about it. He returned only when the milk had nearly dried up and was reduced to a brown paste. He added some sugar to it, and it tasted lovely. That is how this mithai was born. He named it after his daughter Kunda’

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 Ingredients

2 cups fresh Milk

3/4 cup Sugar

1 tbsp semolina

1 tbsp fresh curds

3 tbsp desi ghee

1 tsp cardamom powder

Chopped dry fruits

1) In a heavy bottomed pan, add a tbsp of ghee. once the ghee is warm, add a tbsp of semolina & saute until it gets slightly changes colour & is aromatic.

2) Add Milk & bring it a boil. once the milk boils, add a tbsp of yogurt & turn off the stove.

3) In another heavy bottomed pan, add sugar & caramelize over low flame. Be careful not to burn the sugar else u will get a bitter taste in the dish. Also do not touch the sugar when it’s is caramelising or it will crystallise. Just swirl the pan.

4) once the sugar gets caramelized, add to the split milk & mix well.

5) Cook on medium flame until the mixture becomes slightly thick & start leaving the sides of the pan. Do keep stirring at regular intervals to avoid the bottom from getting burnt.

6) Turn off the stove, Add cardamom powder & give it a good mix. Garnish with Dry fruits before serving

NOTE:

Kunda gets a little thick on cooling. So you may want to stop cooking when the mixture is still slightly runny. If you find the mixture too thick, add some more milk & cook for a while.

Recipe courtesy – vegetableplatter

Coconut cake with dried rose petals

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Is it tea time? Oh yes it is. And what’s perfect with tea, did u say cake? U got that right. A moist fragrant Coconut cake blended with pistachios and dried rose petals

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The use of freshly grated coconut gave it a wonderful barfi like texture and the rose petals a fragrant aroma.This is one cake that needs be made over and over again. It’s that good.

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INGREDIENTS

1 and 1/4 cup Butter – at room temperature
1 cup Sugar
4 Large Eggs – at room temperature
1 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp Rose Water
1 1/2 cups Flour
3/4 cup powder of Pistachio and dried rose petals 2:1 ratio
1 1/2 Tsp Baking powder
1 cup Yogurt
1 cup freshly grated Coconut

Method

1) Preheat oven to 180 degree C..
2) Grease with butter a 9 inch round baking pan with removable bottom. 3) Fit a piece of round parchment paper on bottom of the pan and grease again and dust the whole pan with flour.
4) In a large mixing bowl beat together butter and sugar until becomes nice and creamy. Add the eggs one by one and continue to beat on medium high. Add vanilla extract and rose water.
5) Add the yogurt and continue to beat on low until well combined.
6) In a medium bowl sift in the flour with the baking powder and salt.
7) Stir in the ground pistachio & rose powder and slowly add to the sugar mixture.
8) With a spatula stir in the coconut.
9) Bake 35 to 40 minutes or until toothpick tester comes out clean. Set aside to cool.

Chicken Rolls

Super easy and a perennial party favourite at my place. Crunchy on the outside and creamy within.

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INGREDIENTS

500 gm chicken with bones,

1 big chopped onion

1 tbsp chopped coriander

4 tbsp butter,

3 tbsp maida,

1/2 cup milk,

3/4 tsp salt,

1/4 tsp red chilli flakes

Coating – 1 egg white, 1/2 cup bread crumbs

1) heat butter and fry chicken till cooked. Cool and shred it fine
2) in a pan, add chopped onion, sauté till soft
3) add coriander and sauté. Add maida and stir on low heat. Remove from fire
4) gradually add milk, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Ensure that the final paste has no lumps
5) put the pan back on the fire and add salt and chilli flakes. Cook till the sauce turns thick and leaves the side. It should look like a slightly wet dough
6) remove from heat, add shredded chicken. Mix well and cool
7) shape the mix into rolls or any shape u want
8) beat the egg, add salt. In a separate plate Sprinkle breadcrumbs
9) coat each roll in egg batter and the roll in bread crumbs. Keep in fridge till serving time
10) deep fry till golden brown on medium heat.

Recipe – Neeta Mehta

Pics – Nidhi S Raj

Mangalorean Chicken Sukka

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My mom is known for her cooking and whenever we have a party at home, the one dish that she has to make 90% of the time is Kori Aajadina or chicken Sukka. Fantastic to dunk ur bread or Dosa in the rich creamy thick coconut gravy. Never fails to delight.

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MOMS SUKKHA CHICKEN – Mangalorean style
20-25 dry red Kashmiri chillies,
3 tbsp dhania seeds
1 tbsp jeera
1/2 tsp methi seeds
6-7 peppercorns
1″ dalchini
1 tsp rye
1 tbsp khus khus
4 Laung
10 flakes garlic
Small ball tamarind
Haldi
3 big onions chopped
1 kg chicken pieces
10 leaves karipata
1 grated coconut
Ghee
1 tbsp butter

1) Roast chillies, dhania, jeera, methi, pepper, dalchini, rye, khus khus and laung . (One by one)
2) Grind the roasted spices with garlic, 1 onion, tamarind and haldi to a fine paste
3) In a vessel cook the chicken with the ground masala paste and some salt. Add very little water to cook the chicken if needed.
4) Dry out the water once the chicken is cooked. If there is excess water then remove some of it. It can be dried later with the tadka
5) Fry ghee, curry pata , 1 chopped onion and coconut.
6) When the coconut gets golden brown, coarse grind it.
7) Add the coconut masala to the chicken. Mix well
8) For the tadka heat ghee and fry 1 onion (if there was any excess water when cooking the chicken dry it out now)
Add this tadka to the chicken
Serve with Pav or neer dosa