Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A holidays 'Sandesh' ..

I know Im a bit late with the 'Sandesh' but as they say ..yada yada yada..or MY blog and I put stuff up when my mood strikes..meaning rarely these days.. neways,
This Diwali was very low profile in terms of cooking for one reason or the other , but this was something I had seen around and wanted to try my hand at so when the opportunity presented itself i.e. the milk went bad , instead of throwing it off(pardon me ! but I just cant take that smell!!) I heated it up and squeezed some lime into it and voila ! Some instant paneer !!
Squeezed all the water out and kneaded it till all smooth.. added some sugar and heated till it lost that raw feel.. about 5-7 mins..let cool a bit and form small rounds and press on some powdered nuts..and thats your 'Sandesh' - an easy, fresh, light, melt-in-the-mouth Bengali sweet !

Friday, October 16, 2009

Diwali Wishes

May the divine *light* of diwali spread into your Life peace, prosperity, happiness and good health...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Vietnamese Pho

The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

So what is Vietnamese Pho? Well, it’s like the most insanely delicious noodle soup popular in Vietnam. The broth is simmered for hours and hours . Other accompaniments include ribbons of rice noodles, fresh herbs like cilantro or basil, a wedge of lime or lemon, fresh bean sprouts and fresh sliced chilies if desired. I think I had a version of it in a vietnamese restaurant on a recent trip to Vegas and really liked the clean and pure taste of the Pho.

What makes Pho so different than any other type of noodle soup is the spices that go into the simmering broth. Warm spices like coriander, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fresh ginger transform an ordinary broth into a very authentic Vietnamese Pho.

I did make the long version i.e making home made stock albeit the vegetarian version including onion , celery and carrot in olive oil with the spices mentioned above.
Sauteed small pieces of tofu and mushrooms in a little oil and added to the broth. Served with rice noodles,coriander,lime and chilli sauce. A warmth-inducing evening meal !
I didn't try the wantons as we are getting a bit too frequent on desserts around our part of the world.. keeping for a later day..

Monday, October 5, 2009

Another sweet and simple Vaishnav recipe

As I mentioned before, the recipes from the book 'The art of Indian Vegetarian cooking' by Yamuna Devi are very simple but delicious preparations. Being an American she has also incorporated use of many vegetables found here in very unusual combinations ..One such I found was Green Beans and Water-chestnuts and it is so simple but tasty combo that Ive already made it twice and permanently added the water-chestnuts cans in my grocery list..
2.5 cups green beans cut 1 inch long
1 can water chestnuts cubed
1 tbsp cooking oil
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
Add some water and steam the cut green beans for about 10 mins in microwave. Heat the oil and add mustard and cumin seeds till they splatter. Add the beans and remaining spices and stir on high heat for 5 mins. Add the water chestnuts and mix well for 5 mins. Turn off the heat. Serve with hot chapati or accompaniment to dal-rice.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Restaurant style Malai Kofta

Since it was festival ( Dashehra ) time last week, we came up with a special lunch menu:
Hara bhara kebab
Malai kofta
Ajwaini parathas
Fruit custard
Sounds scrumptious..doesn't it ?

My cousin made the delicious Hara bhara kebabs and I'm wondering how I've missed them till now..they seem to be everywhere on the blogging world and definitely go in my list too...future safekeeping :)
For my part, I thought I will use the Gulab Jamun packet that's in my pantry for a while make the kofta..(not an original idea, I had read it around and thought it was a nice concept and would turn out well) and try my hand at Malai kofta aka Rich Dumplings in cream gravy..
1 packet gulab jamun mix
a pinch of salt
water as required
1 potato - boiled,peeled nd mashed
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp garam masala/chat masala
1 tbsp cashew nuts small pieces
pinch of turmeric
salt as per taste

Mix the Gulab Jamun mix with salt and add water to form a firm but pliable dough. Keep aside covered for 5 mins.
Mix all the filling ingredients together. Form small balls (gulab jamun size) and add small filling inside each. Cover with the dough so it wont fly out in frying.
Fry the balls till golden brown and keep aside.

1 large onion ,chopped coarsely
1 medium tomato ,chopped coarsely
5-6 cashew nuts ,chopped coarsely
1 bay leaf
8 whole black peppercorns
3 cloves
2 dried red chillies
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cut ginger
1/2 potato ,mashed
1/2 cup cream or milk
Heat some oil and add all the dry spices and stir. Add cashew nuts and stir for another 30 seconds and add onion. Cook till golden , then add ginger and tomatoes. Let cook till the tomatoes soften. Let it cool and grind into a paste. Heat another tbsp of oil and add the mashed potatoes. Stir around for a minute and add the paste and cream/milk. Add salt to taste and bring to boil. While serving , arrange the koftas in the serving bowl and pour the gravy over it.
I don't mean to brag, but this turned out to very well and got a lot of compliments , one being 'ekdum restaurant style' !!
P.S : Excuse the poor photo, and definitely do not judge the recipe per the photo..try it once! (Awaiting a better photo)

Thursday, October 1, 2009

SnS makes Drizzle cakes..

Sweet and Simple bakes decided to make St Clement's drizzle cake , to enjoy along the lake, the rich and crumbly flakes.. wish I could rhyme more..maybe not :)
Its an English tea cake [love the quaintness of it] seemingly quite common, though I have never heard of it before..the English seems to be the masters of cakes all around!
The original recipe is here but I reproduce here as I made changes to make it eggless and also the measurements, since Im not used to measure in grams anymore.. Actually, I got a bit confused about the egg replacement and all that orange/lemon proportions so I decided I will make the basic eggless sponge that always works for me and just add on the lemon/orange variations to it..
1 cup AP flour
1 cup Whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp milk powder

1 cup fine sugar
Zest of 1 big lemon
1 cup milk
4 oz/1/2 stick butter melted

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Whip up the butter and sugar and add the lemon zest. Add the flour and milk and mix to form cake batter. Pour into a loaf pan and bake @ 375F for 50 mins.

juice of 1 lemon
same amount of orange juice ( I didn't have a fresh orange)
3 tbsp granulated sugar

Simmer both juices till reduced to about 3 tbsp. Let it cool and add sugar. As soon as the cake is out , poke with skewers and pour the 'drizzle' on it.
There is no picture around but it looked like this after pouring and I wasn't sure if my drizzle was too much:

After cooling, it turned out to be just about right..a moist cake with a dense sweet flavor and pockets of orange/lemony bursts in between !
A bit of googling also shows that there are many variations on this 'drizzle' and Im sure to try some more..soon...