Sunday, May 29, 2011

Stuffed Baby Egg Plant Curry or Bharwaan Baingan


These little baby eggplants also known as Brinjals or Baingan (in Hindi) when stuffed with this spicy gravy is a very popular Indian vegetable curry recipe. Various states in India have their own variations with minor twists, but the basic nature or method is the same. Obviously being from North, my recipe is influenced by Rich Punjabi Cuisine. During the prep these baby egg plants are slit and stuffed with a spicy masala and then left to simmer in a rich and spicy curry.



Ingredients: -

  • 6-8 small Eggplants (Baby baingan)
  • 1 Large Onion
  • 1 Tsp Ginger Garlic paste 
  • 1 green chilli finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chickpea flour or besan
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder or amchoor
  • ¼ tsp turmeric/Haldi powder
  • 1 tsp corriander/dhania powder
  • 2-3 tbsp olive/cooking oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds or jeera
  • Salt to taste



Method: -
Wash and split the eggplants into four parts, while keeping them together at the stalk. Keep them aside.

Put all other ingredients except cumin seeds and oil, in a mixer/blender and make a smooth paste.
Fill the split eggplants with half of the paste.


Don't these little beauties look adorable ????

When life gives you Eggplants - Stuff'em !!!!

Heat olive oil in a pan, add cumin seeds and let'em spatter.
Let us start roasting our eggplants in the oil and cover till cooked, ensure that you t
urn the eggplants and cook well from all sides.

Smokkinnnn.......


Once both sides are cooked, put the remaining paste and cook for another 10mins on a low flame to prevent from burning.


Once cooked garnish with cilantro and serve hot with a Roti or Parantha. 

Can you Resist this ???

This dish was a star of our weekend Lunch.
Hope you give it a try & let me know how you liked it, cheers !!!





Thursday, May 26, 2011

Homemade Green Chilli Pickle or Mirchi-Ka-Achar


If you love Indian food, you must love Indian Pickles.

Not many people realize that doing a pickle at home can be easy. Specially if you want to do something from fresh ingredients, don't want to do huge quantities and can consume quick. So here today we are going to plan with two of my favorite things to pickle. Fresh Green Chillies & Ginger. Both when pickled together complement each others the flavors & blend really well to develop an awesome concoction. Depending on how much you can take, be careful (wise ?) in selecting your Green Chilli Peppers. If you cannot tolerate to much heat, select the milder versions, these days supermarkets stock all kind of Chillies.

Another trick is de-seed the chillies before you start.

But the Brave would say that de-seeding changes the game, anyways like any other food/recipe do your own thing.






Ingredients

10 -12 Small Green Chillies
Ginger Root 1 Piece
Lemons 2
Salt 1/2 Tablespoon
Turmeric powder 1/4 Tablespoon

Method

Take the chilies wash them with water & dry using paper towel.
Leave them aside and ensure that they are completely dry. (if you plan well, do this step in the evening & leave the chillies overnight to dry)Peel the ginger root using a peeler & chop finely in to same size julliens.
Ensure glass container we're going to use is washed well with detergent & dried with paper towel.
In a separate glass container squeeze out the lemon juice. 
(Tip : Microwave half cut Lemons for 10-15 sec ,this will make's soft & get the most juice out)
Add salt & turmeric to lemon juice in the glass container, mix well.
At this stage add chillies and ginger to lemon juice mixture and stir again.
Tightly close the glass jar & keep in refrigerator for at least 48 hours.
Your pickle is ready in 2 days, but it is going to be very sharp/hot at this point.
It will take at least 3-4 days for it to become milder.
Shaking the glass jar every day with ensure even spread & absorption of lemon juice.




Lovely Colors, I love these smaller peppers

Dry with paper towel & leave overnight to dry









This goes really well with Lentils & Roti, even Pulao rice.
Try to finish within 2-3 weeks & keep refrigerated.


Have a wonderful Day !

Love, 
Sonia



Monday, May 23, 2011

Coconut Chickpea Bars or Besan ki Burfi

So people, what are your plans for the long weekend. excited and  all prepared for family time ?
Here I am sharing something that will make your weekend "Sweeter"
Recently I have been fascinated with lemon and chocolate bars, both the recipes sound/look great.  So I thought of making an Indian version from chickpea (or Besan) & coconut. The chickpea bars (Burfi as we call these) are soft, rich and full of flavor. These are simple yet healthy to nibble bars, anytime/anywhere  - be it a vacation or for a party and can be made ahead and stored for some days.

Chickpea bars with Coconut

The simple recipe to make fresh and soft Chickpea Bars... !

Ingredients: -
1 cup besan (chickpea flour or gram flour)
1 cup ground sugar
1 cup desiccated coconut
1 cup whole milk
1 cup ghee
1/4 Cup Sliced almonds

1 Tsp Crushed Cardamon




Fresh cardamom pods, almonds and milk creates magic in the bars

Desi ghee (clarified butter) adds to the flavor
Method: -
Collect all the ingredients and keep handy. 
The only tip in making the bars is to keep stirring the flour continuously as it gets burnt quickly. 
Heat ghee & roast besan on low heat till nice aroma develops. Keep stirring the flour continously.




Now slowly add milk and freshly crushed cardamoms, while stirring to avoid lumps. 
Add sugar, coconut (keep a few spoons handy for topping up later). 
Cook for about 20 mins on low heat. Keep stirring very frequently. 
Check the sugar and adjust to taste. Sprinkle sliced almonds at this stage.
When the mix stops sticking to the wall of vessel, it is ready to be poured.
Grease a big plate or layer it with parchment paper. Pour mixture and flatten on top with spatula.




Leave it aside for almost 30 mins too cool down & firm up.
Use a sieve to sprinkle grated coconut powder on the top evenly.




Cool and cut into squares or diamonds with a sharp knife. 




These flavorful, soft and sweet bars are ready !




This can stay and taste good for almost a week if refrigerated.




A small bundle of my Besan Burfi & Chickpea Bars, ready to go for vacation.



These are perfectly sweet and soft, ready to eat... !



I've packed up my little bundles for the weekend. 
Hope you guys have an awesome time with family and friends too.... !






Friday, May 20, 2011

Mini Bundt Cakes for Little Guests




This week it was my little one's Birthday ! He couldn't wait for the weekend for his party with grandparents( nana-nani) and friends. So my little Dennis the Menace decided to have a pretend party in his 'Castle of Let's Pretend'. Both me and my husband were excited with his detailed preparation. From  arranging tiny flower pots  to some jigsaw puzzles followed by a fabulous party with a cute idea of doing potluck at home. He asked us that each one of us shall make something special for his party with Diego, Dora, Spongebob, Backyardigans and of course we too. Now we had to make something yummy for his party. His nani made him a tasty platter of aloo-puri and I made him mini bundt cakes for his little friends. Now I was in a fix which glaze I should go for - Tres Leches or Dulce de leche, hence ended up doing both.




The recipe for these mini bundts is pretty simple, Check out the details:

Ingredients:
1 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1/3 cup sour cream
2 tsp vegetable oil

Method:
Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F
Place sugar in a bowl. 
Sift flour, baking soda and baking powder over the sugar and whisk to combine. Set aside.
In a separate bowl whisk milk, vanilla extract, eggs, sour cream and vegetable oil together.
Gently fold flour mixture into liquid mixture until combined.
Pour into bundt cake moulds (grease moulds with vegetable oil before using)


Bake for 15-20 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean.


And our cakes are ready to get dressed.



Dulce de leche is avaiable in the supermarket but incase you want to make it yourself, here is the recipe.


Ingredients for Dulce de leche:
1 can of sweetened condensed milk. (We will cook it in the can) 

Method:
Remove the labels from the cans and wrap them in aluminum foil . Set the can in a slow cooker and completely cover them with water.  Cook on low for ~8 hours depending on how you like your caramel.  If you do it longer you will have it darker. Take the can out & let it cool  and then open and its ready for use. Refrigerate any unused dulce de leche.

Ingredients Tres Leches Glaze:
1/2 cup  low-fat evaporated milk
1/4 cup  low-fat milk
1/4 cup  low-fat sweetened condensed milk
1/2 teaspoon  vanilla extract


Method:
Whisk together all glaze ingredients in small bowl. Set aside for 15 mins & whisk again.
And our glaze is ready to use.

Assembly:
Brush cooled cakes with glaze. 
We will make six Tres leches & six dulce de leche cakes using this method. Allow cake to absorb glaze and continue to repeat a few times, use approx half the amount of each glaze for this purpose. Now, pour approx 2 tablespoons of glaze on top of each cake. 


For a stronger flavor, brush a layer of plastic wrap with the last glaze coating and then tightly wrap the cakes with it and refrigerate them overnight.


My son enjoyed his birthday treat, hope my readers enjoy it too... !!!





Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Picturesque Tuesdays - May 17 '2011

Misty + Mysterious + Mythical = Manhattan



Taken: Hoboken, NJ
Camera : Lumix GF1
Lens : 
Lumix G 20 mm f/1.7 Pancake 




Saturday, May 14, 2011

White Chocolate Matka Kulfi


Kulfi is a very popular milk based dessert from Indian Subcontinent. Kulfi has similarities to ice cream in appearance and taste, but is denser and creamier (Source: Wiki). Unlike ice cream, Kulfi is not whipped, resulting in a solid, dense frozen dessert similar to traditional custard based ice-cream. Thus, it is sometimes considered a distinct category of frozen dairy-based dessert. Due to its density, Kulfi takes a longer time to melt than a regular ice-cream. Most popular flavor for Kulfi is Pistachio & nuts based.

Traditional Pistachio Kulfi served like Ice Cream here.

I like doing my Kulfis in a Matki (Little earthen pots) & this is a regular feature of our summer meals. Freezing the kulfi in an earthen cup (Matki) is the traditional way of doing it, if you don't have these available you can use easily available moulds for Ice pops.

This time I tried a fusion & added white chocolate to my recipe & the result was great. Apart from complimenting the flavor of milk & nuts, White chocolate adds a bite & increases the mouth feel of our wonderful dessert.


Ingredients
4 cups whole milk 
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar 
6 Cardamom Pods
1/4 cup Chopped almonds
1/4 cup Unsalted/Shelled Pistachios chopped 

Little Matki's do the Magic

Method
Crush cardamom pods in a mortar. 
Heat milk and crushed cardamom pods together in a pan; bring to boil, then simmer vigorously until liquid is reduced to 1/3 of original amount. Strain the liquid into a heat-proof bowl filtering to remove cardamon, then stir in the sugar and chocolate chips until melted.
Add the almonds and pistachios to the mix & let it simmer for 10 mins on low heat, then leave to cool.
Pour the Kulfi mix in freezer for at least until firm, stirring every 30mins (should take ~1.5 to 2 hrs to firm up)
Pack the firmed up mixture into each of 5 cups (Matkis), cover tight with Aluminium Foil and tie it with a thread to make sure foil doesn't come off. Let the Matkis freeze for 8 hours and the mix would turn completely solid.


To serve, Leave the Matki cups out for 15-20 min to thaw, 
Sprinkle with some crushed pistachios and almonds and serve in Matki itself.

An inviting bite of Kulfi is all you need this Summer !!!

White Chocolate complements the flavors of caramelized milk really well.
And the nuts add the crunch to our Kulfi.
This can sure be a star of your Dinner Party, Hope you give it a try & let me know how you like it !!!




Friday, May 13, 2011

Little Citrus Palmiers & Spicy Parmesan Swirls

'May there always be Sunshine, May there always be Blue Skies, May there always be Little Hearts to nibble with a cup of Tea.' These cute little biscuits leave you to start your day fresh with a happy note of sweetness. I like both citrus version and spicy cheesy version, perfect to soothe your senses and chalk out the action plan for the day. Couple of weeks back, I was fascinated with this special Palmiers recipe put by 'The Cilantropist' on her blog. The moment I saw the recipe, I wanted to give it a shot. I mustered enuf courage and the required ingredients that very weekend, and here is the outcome of my experimentation with palmiers. The first time I tried this recipe, the palmiers got little burnt, so be careful about the timings in the oven. This is my second attempt and it came out really well. The recipe is simple, baking is little tricky but the baked biscuits are SUMPTUOUS... !


Ingredients for Citrus Palmiers:
Sugar: 1/2 cup
Orange Zest : 1/4 cup
A pinch of Salt
Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry: 1/2 sheet

Puff pastry sheets by Pepperidge Farm and Ingredients for Palmiers

Method for Citrus Palmiers: 
Preheat the oven to 450 F and line the cookie tray with parchment paper.
Defrost the puff pastry.
Prepare Citrus mix by mixing confectioners sugar, orange zest, and salt in a bowl.


Citrus Mix made by mixing Sugar and Orange Zest

Sprinkle some flour on the board and roll out one puff pastry sheet.
Cut it in half using pizza cutter, rolling it thru the middle.
Pour 1/4 cup of the sugar/citrus mix on the puff pastry sheet.
Put another layer of pastry and again pour sugar/citrus mix. and spread it out.



Layering of the Pastry sheets with Citrus Mix

Fold two sides of the sheets halfway towards the middle, then fold them again so the two folds meet exactly in the middle of the sheets.


Again fold one half over the other half, as though you were closing a book.
this will form a stack of dough with 6 layers.  


Folding Pastry Sheets like a Book

Using a sharp knife, thinly slice the sheets and place them cut side up on the prepared baking sheet about 1-inch apart.  

Cutting The Palmiers filled with Citrus Mix

Bake the palmiers in the preheated oven until the sugar gets caramelized fro approx 6-7 minutes.Swiftly remove the palmiers from the oven and flip them over gently with a spatula, and return them to the oven to bake for another 3-5 minutes. Be careful, in handling the palmiers or cookie tray, its really hot. Keep an eye so that sugar doesn't get burnt, quickly transfer the palmiers to cooling rack and enjoy.

Aren't these Little Beauties amazing !!!

Ingredients for Spicy Parmesan Swirls
Grated Parmesan Cheese : 1/2 cup
Red Pepper powder : 1/2 Tsp
A pinch of Salt
Pepperidge Farm Puff Pastry: 1/2 sheet

Our Ingredients for Spicy Parmesan Swirls

Recipe of Spicy Parmesan Swirls
In a bowl, mix Parmesan cheese with paprika and dash of salt. 
Defrost the puff pastry sheets.
Spread the cheese mix evenly on the pastry sheets with a spoon or spatula.



Roll the sheets tightly to make a circular disk.
Cut the sheets into thin strips with a sharp knife.


Rolling the Layered Sheets to make Swirls

Bake the strips on a cookie tray lined with parchment paper for 5 minutes at 450 degrees F.
Flip the swirls swiftly and bake for another 2-3 minutes. 



Let'em cool down for a while & enjoy your parmesan swirls.

Here they are... Ready to go - Enjoy !!!

These Spicy Parmesan Swirls were too addictive. 
I wasn't left with a single swirl to save for later.....just kept munching with a cup of hot Tea.... !!!



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