Monday, June 29, 2015

Frozen Plum Yogurt

 Frozen Plum Yogurt 





One of the ingredients I miss in the Indian market during the summers are berries. As it is India does not grow too many berries and we get out share of strawberries during the winters. The truth is there is an abundance of fruits we get here during the summers but somehow I always crave a tart fruit during the summers especially to be used for frozen desserts etc etc.

Anyway the rains came in, the humidity rose and along came the season for plums. So when I got this season's first batch of plums it turned out a bit more tart than expected and while at first I did not know what to do with them I suddenly had an idea and it resulted in a creamy tart frozen yogurt.

I adapted BBc food's recipe for Plum preserve and made some frozen yogurt

You might be left with some extra plum sauce which you can use later on




Please note that the  amount of sugar I have used is a bit on the lesser side so feel free to use more sugar

For the Plum Preserve

450gm Plums
170gm sugar
200ml water
2 inch cinnamon stick
A few drops of lemon juice

For the frozen yogurt :-

400gm yogurt which is made into hung curd
100ml dairy cream


Tie the yogurt in a cheesecloth or muslin cloth and let the water drain away for 2 hours to create hung curd.

In the meantime make your plum preserve. Stone the plums and chop them. After chopping them they would roughly weigh 400gm or so.

Bring the water and sugar to a boil and boil for 1 minute and add the chopped plums , cinnamon stick and lemon juice and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the scum. Let it cool down.

Chill the cream in a large bowl. Once the hung curd is made whip it with the chilled cream and then add 1 cup of the plum preserve and fold it in.

Cup used holds 250ml liquid.

Freeze for 2 hours to 3 hours until just set and scoop out and serve immediately. Do not over freeze it else it becomes rock hard and you end up with scoops of frozen yogurt with a little bit of ice crystal in them.

The end result was perfect for me , mostly tart with a hint of sweetness. If you want it to be sweeter make some syrup of single thread consistency and add the syrup which you must cool before adding to the yogurt and cream when whipping it.




                          

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Buns and More at Flurys

Buns and More at Flurys 





Imagine sipping some Darjeeling tea while looking at rain drenched Park Street as the world goes by and in between the sips from Kolkata's favourite tea you take a bite into some fresh soft buns. And not just any simple bun but a Kiwi bun topped with some thick coconut icing. That is exactly what Flury's is offering from the 20th of June till the 5th of July  by hosting a festivals dedicated to buns. Well not only is there the famous Boston bun with the coconut icing but if you are more of a coffee person there is the lovely papparoti, a Mexican bun which is perfect with some strong freshly brewed coffee. I highly recommend Flurys classic Viennese coffee.




If its savoury food which is what makes you happy instead of some sweet indulgence there is the Karachi Bun Kebab with soft , melt in the mouth lamb mince in-between two spiced buns. The mint chutney gives it that tangy spicy edge.





If spicy food is not what you are particularly find of I suggest that you try the Chicago Hot Dog   'with everything' . Pork sausage, lamb chili with Cheddar pickles etc all come together to create a delicious filling hot dog with some in house made fries.

I liked the sorpotel with that extra tangy edge which reminded me of the Sorpotel I have had in Mumbai's New Martin Hotel a tiny place which makes some amazing Goan food run by a kind Goan gentleman.

I am especially hoping that Flurys includes some of these delightful buns in their regular menu but I highly recommend this festival to all bun lovers. There is a wide range of buns to select from at Rs55 per bun and Rs330  for batch of half a dozen.

Actor  Arjun Chakrabarti  and his lovely wife Neelanjana Chakrabarti a jewelry designer and tarot card reader were part of this delightful festival.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Baked Mango Yogurt

Baked Mango Yogurt 






I might be a bit late but I have not forgotten our ongoing event 'Summer time Love' which I am hosting with Pritha from Guilt Free.

The only problem was that I was bloating up with the sugar laden delights. So I decided to give this project a healthy angle from my side.

I wanted something creamy baked but without added sugar or honey and finally came up with this version of baked Mango yogurt where all the sweetness you get is from the mango pulp. A bit on the lighter note this is perfect for a weekday sweet craving.


What you need to make 6 small servings :-

400gm yogurt which you shall make into hung curd
5 tbsp homemade reduced milk (I harp on homemade because the condensed milk you get from a pack is loaded with sugar defeating the purpose of retaining the healthy angle to this recipe)
530gm mango smooth mango pulp (Made from 1 kilogram mangoes)

Make hung curd from 400gm curd  by tying it in a muslin cloth and letting the water drain out for 4 hours. Now whisk the mango pulp, hung curd and reduced milk to create as smooth a mixture as possible. Divide this mixture into 6 small ramekins or 3 large ones.

Preheat oven to 160C heating both elements 'rods' and bake for 10 minutes and then reduce temperature to 120C and bake for another 10 minutes. let it cool down chill and serve.




Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani

Butter Chicken / Murgh Makhani 





I had been craving some good Butter Masala Chicken for quite a while now. In fact some 2 weeks back I even ordered a plate from one of the best yet obscure dhabas in Kolkata which makes a wonderful Dal Makhani as good as the one I have had in rural Punjab Haryana border. While the dal had made me extremely happy somehow the butter chicken aka murgh makhani seemed to fall a bit short to my expectations.

To be fair I have mostly had the Paneer butter masala when in and around the region of Delhi where it seems Butter chicken aka Murgh Makhani was created more than half a century ago by Moti Mahal Deluxe Hotel at Daryaganj.



Last year I had followed harpal Singh Sokhi's recipe for the Makhani gravy which is the base for both the vegetarian and non vegetarian variant and the result was truly magnificent. With copious amount of butter, the tangy taste from the tomato based gravy with the flavouring from spices and ginger garlic paste it blew me away and it led to my husband quickly eating his share so that he could have eaten a bit of my share as well. It actually made me quite happy.

Back in 2007 right out of school I was learning to make a lot of new dishes and I had tried the butter chicken masala but since our oven was broken at that time I used the chicken normally after frying it and so I can assure you that the tandoori chicken makes a whole lot of difference.

To be fair the entire process is not difficult at all. A little bit of patience is needed what with the time for marination and the grilling of the tandoori chicken but the end result is magnificent.

I understand if you have just moved into a new house or are yet to buy an oven then of course you have no other option but to use the gas stove for the chicken before it is cooked in the gravy. In that case pan roast it . I don't recommend this wholeheartedly but then again originally the tandoori chicken is made in a clay tandoor 'Clay Oven' so there you go.

Be warned that copious amount of butter has been used in the recipe and its meant to be that buttery. This is supposed to be for those are days of indulgence hence a bit of extra buttering is welcome. I was gifted this fabulous cookbook from the house of moti mahal by Pritha and I read their recipe for butter chicken but did not like the use of onion so ultimately I derived one on my own which uses their recipe and Harpal Singh Sokhi's recipe.

What I particularly liked was that the book used chicken with bones. I personally feel when cooking Indian gravies chicken with bones work much better than boneless chicken and then I was assured by many on social media that originally it was cooked with bones but not with the skin on mind you.

Serves 3 to 4

You need tandoori chicken : Recipe Here : Tandoori Chicken


For the gravy you need 560gm tomatoes (firm and ripe)
1 heaped tsp ginger paste
1 heaped tsp garlic paste
85gm to 100gm softened butter
100ml to 120ml full dairy cream
Salt as per taste
1 tsp tandoori masala / garam masala made with green cardamom, black cardamom, bay leaf, black peppercorn and cinnamon
1 tbsp Kashmiri red chili powder

Once the tandoori chicken has been made start with the gravy.

Melt 1 tbsp butter and add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 1 minute and add chopped tomatoes and saute stirring continuously for 3  minutes to 5 minutes on medium flame and add 3/4th of the remaining butter. Now lower the heat and simmer till the oil separates and the cream , tandoori masala or garam masala , some salt and mix well and cook on low heat till its bubbling away. Joint the chicken (cut it up into medium sized pieces using a butcher's knife) and add this to the gravy , cover and cook for 4 minutes and then Mix well , add the remaining butter and serve with hot butter chapati or tandoori roti. Enjoy

Tips :-


  1. If using salted butter go easy on the salt in the gravy 
  2. In case you are not using the oven for the tandoori chicken . Marinate it as instructed and then heat a bit of ghee or mustard oil in a shallow flat pan and add the chicken and cook on low heat covered for 6 minutes per side. Then one the pan increase heat and cook for 2 minutes per side. Let it rest for 5 minutes and cut it into pieces. 




Thursday, June 25, 2015

Mango Custard

Mango Custard 





Summers in India are synonymous with Mangoes. This sweet smelling and delicious tasting fruit is loved by most people in India.

Since we are celebrating Summer time love even though monsoons have arrived I could not but include some recipes with mangoes. The last batches are fluying off quickly from the markets and so I am presenting this  delicious Mango Custard which was loved by everyone who had tasted it.

I usually follow the recipe from a reliable source but there are these occasions when I try and make something based on what I know. This was one such recipe. Its more or less easy and this custard must be served chilled.



190ml cream anglaise. Recipe is given here : Creme Anglaise.
Pulp from a mango weighing 350gm  (Weight of the entire mango)
175gm mango cubed


Prepare your creme anglaise and let it cool down. Now take the pulp out from your mango and blend it and whisk it with the creme anglaise and cubed mangoes . Pour it in serving glasses or ramekins and chill well. Serve it and enjoy it.



Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Mangochi Kadhi

Mangochi Kadhi





The first time I had Mangochi Kadi was at an event at one of the hotels in my city. I absolutely loved it. For those who do not know, Kadhi is a yogurt based curry which is made in many parts of India and varies as per the region. For me I adore the one from Punjab, thick spicy and luscious.

The one I had at the hotel was celebrating food from Delhi and since the chef is from Uttar Pradesh, a northern state of India the food was heavily influenced by food from the state. I loved the spread and this particular dish stuck with me. Firstly the yogurt based gravy is tangy with a hint of spice and the soft spongy lentil fritters soak up all the goodness of the yogurt based gravy and it is a sheer delight to have this with some Basmati rice or a variant of rice of your choice.

Making Kadhi is easy but needs some amount of patience on the cook's part. Ever since I learnt this tip from celebrity chef Harpal Singh Sokhi's videos my Kadhi has never ever split again.

And then there is the small tip on how you can get the softest spongiest pakoda (lentil fritters)

It was only when I was soaking the pulse that I realized my grandmother makes a similar dish though not yogurt based where she soaks pulse and blends it but makes koftas out of them which are not deep fried but rather grilled on a tawa on the stove top and used in a curry changing the texture of the lentil dumplings.

I did not follow a particular recipe but did take tips from here and there. In fact I have been wanting to make this Kadhi for almost a month now but got around to doing so after Ruchi from Foodfellas4U posted her recipe but then again she made a tomato based gravy and since I find the  tomatoes available during the summers and monsoons in India to be a bit bland I made Kadhi the yogurt based gravy.

For this recipe you do have to plan a bit ahead. You have to soak the pulse overnight or for a good 8 hours or so.


Serves 3 to 4

Cup used holds 210ml liquid

1 cup split moong pulse
2 green chili
1/4th tsp ginger paste

200gm yogurt
500ml to 600ml water
3 cloves
7 to 8 whole peppercorn
2 large dried red chili
Pinch of hing / asafoetida
Salt as per taste
1 large bay leaf
1 heaped tsp cumin powder
1 heaped tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chili powder

Mustard oil for frying the lentil fritters
1 tsp ghee
Pinch of turmeric
Finely chopped cilantro or coriander leaves for garnishing


Wash the pulse till the water runs clear. Now soak the pulse overnight or for 8 hours.

Drain the pulse and blend it with 2 green chilies , a pinch of salt and 1/4th tsp ginger paste till you get a fluffy smooth mixture. Do not add any water. This pulse mixture will be thinner than the pulse mixture made with soaked Urad pulse. Take this pulse mixture in a separate bowl. Do not wash the blender.

Blend 200gm yogurt in the same blender in which you have blend the pulse. The little bit of pulse mixture which is stuck to the blender when blend with the yogurt helps in thickening the Kadhi. Normally some gram flour is mixed with yogurt when making Kadhi but here that will not be required.

Now take the yogurt in a bowl. Add 500ml to 600ml water bit by bit and whisk it well. Add salt and turmeric and whisk well.

Heat oil and make little fritters from the pulse mixture. Kep a bowl filled with water near you. You have to keep adjusting the flame from medium to high to low. Ideally when you are putting the batter in the oil it should be hot and and then lower it to medium or low. It takes a bit of time and practice to master this technique. Once a batch is browned but not burnt. To prevent burning you need to keep adjusting the heat. So once the fritters are fried put them in the bowl of water. This way a lot of oil is soaked by the water so that your fritters are less oily in the end. I learnt this tip of soaking the fritters in water from Ruchi's blog.

Once all the fitters are fried pour excess oil in another bowl and reserve it to be used once again but make sure this oil is not used after the second time. Now take 1 tsp mustard oil and 1 tsp ghee and heat it and asafoetida, cloves, whole peppercorn, dried red chili and bay leaf  and fry it for a few seconds. Make sure you do not char them and then add the yogurt mixture, cumin powder, red chili powder, coriander powder and a bit of extra turmeric . Now is where you need a bit of hard work. Keep stirring the pot constantly on medium to low heat till it comes to a bowl. It takes time and it can be a bit frustrating but this is the only way to ensure your Kadhi is velvety smooth.

Once it comes to a boil gently squeeze the fritters but ensuring that you do not break them and add it to the pot where the Kadhi is simmering and simmer for 7 minutes to 10 minutes and rest for 2 minutes. Garnish with finely chopped coriander /cilantro leaves. Serve with hot rice.

Tips


  1. When making the fritters you have to keep adjusting the heat from high to medium. When you add the batter to the oil it should be hot else the fritters become hard and then adjust heat to medium to prevent burning.
  2. It is extremely important to keep stirring the pot constantly after adding the yogurt mixture to ensure the Kadhi remains velvety smooth. 






Monday, June 22, 2015

Mango Sorbet

Mango Sorbet 






The season for mangoes is coming to an end. My favourite variant , Gulab Khas had already bid adieu some time back and the only other variant which I am getting here in Kolkata is the 'Langa'. I love variants of mango with a sweet and tangy taste.





Most people in India love mangoes and consider mangoes to be the King of all fruits. I personally love them but I do love other fruits as well.

My mother particularly adored them and since she is very choosy I was quite happy with the dish even though I found it a little bit on the higher side of the sweetness meter but the tangy taste from lemon balanced it out .



 I followed the recipe to almost a tee from Larousse Gastronomique and the result was  outstanding with almost no ice crystals at all. It was  the sugar syrup which prevents ice crystals and along with the lemon juice made it a perfectly refreshing delicacy. So even without a sorbetiere or ice-cream maker this recipe gave me smooth velvety sorbet.

1 kilogram mangoes which is peeled and gives 530gm mango puree (I used the Langda variety of amngoes)
250ml sugar (Make a syrup with 330gm sugar and 500ml water. Simmer it till it  reaches 106 Centigrade and comes down to 250ml of sugar syrup. Takes 10 minutes 15 minutes or so)
Juice from 1 big lemon


Make the syrup and add a bit of lemon juice which prevents crystallization of the syrup. The recipe is particularly easy. Peel the mangoes and de-seed them and then blend the pulp and then strain it. Mix it with the syrup and juice of lemon and whisk well. Freeze it and scoop out delicious balls of mango sorbet.




Please note that I did not keep track of the exact amount of time it took me to make the syrup. I used a candy thermometer and when it reached 106 C and was bubbling away I switched it off but its definitely for 10minutes and a bit more. 

Celebrating the Month of Ramadan with Haleem at Shiraz Golden restaurant

Celebrating the Month of Ramadan with Haleem 

at Shiraz Golden restaurant 






There are certain cuisines which you spontaneously associate with a city and when I think of Kolkata one of the first cuisines which comes to my mind even before I can think of Bengali cuisine is the Kolkatan Mughlai cuisine. It perhaps started a good century and a half ago when Wajid Ali Shah settled here and gave the city one if most valuable gem , the talented chefs from his kitchen and their legacy continues with delightful restaurants such as Shiraz Golden Restaurant at Park Street.

When someone mentions 'Haleem' it takes me right back to my childhood days when my father would get some haleem before coming back from his chamber. We would always enjoy it with some kebabs alone since my father would always say that it is heavy enough to be taken on its own.

I am sure most Kolkattans will have their own nostalgic memories  with this comforting dish. I for one cannot think of the holy month of Ramadan without a warm comforting bowl of haleem topped with some Birista (golden fried onions) and a bit of lemon juice.

In Kolkata when it comes to Mughlai food Shiraz is one of the oldest names to reckon with. Though their Biryani was what they were once famous for and is still extremely popular their assorted kebabs and gravy dishes are equally delicious.

One look at the glass counter in the restaurant through which you can see rows of kebabs hanging on skewers ready to be served to customers and you can literally feat your eyes and bask in the delightful aroma but till Eid they have the famous dish on offer which is only part of this season of Ramadan till Eid. What more there is much more to look out for.

Haleem as we know it in Kolkata is a warm mixture of pulses grains and meat which is slow cooked for a long period and flavoured with spices and clarified butter it is a delight in every spoonful.

Mr.Ishtiaque Ahmed told us that the secret is not only in the blend of pulses, cereals meat and spices but in the process of cooking. Shiraz's haleem is made extra special with the overnight slow cooking . If you know a bit about slow cooking you would know how good it tastes when certain dishes are slow cooked and I can tell you that their traditional haleem is exquisite. A bit on the spicier side this one is a lovely accompaniment to the rains in Kolkata. warm , spicy and rich its a meal in itself and you do not need anything else to go with it.

Shiraz has tried to give a few options to their customer's as well by introducing a few variants some of which were part of last year's Ramzan special as well.

So there is the lesser spicy Afgani haleem with melt in the mouth meatballs, Hyderabadi haleem, Irani haleem which includes more meat than the traditional haleem served in Kolkata and there is also the Shahi Gohst haleem.

When I asked Mr.Ahmed if there was any connection between these names and their country of origin he proudly says they are all in house creations by their talented chefs.

Do not miss the Haleem Festival at Shiraz which is on till this year's Eid. And I might be a bit biased about this since it reminds me of my years of growing up but do pack some kebabs as well.



Sunday, June 21, 2015

Lemon Tea Granita

Lemon Tea Granita 






The only 2 things which freshens me up after a long tiring day is either a combined workout of yoga pilate stretch or some granita and sometimes both. India might officially have 3 months of summer but the rainy season is equally bad. On days it rains in Calcutta the weather seems tolerable but there is this humid heat which though not quite as oppressive as it is during the peak of summers it still is quite uncomfortable. To be honest I personally enjoy these even during the winters when the temperature does not go down beyond 15 C or a maximum of 12 C. This is one of the reasons why we that is Guilt Free and I are conducting this event at the onset of the rainy season and are calling ti our Summer Time Love.



Anyway I love Lemon Iced tea . It is refreshing and delightful and so when I came across Larousse Gastronomique's recipe for  Tea Sorbet I knew I had to make it. To b fair since I do not own a sorbetiere and the recipe does not include sugar syrup (which prevents ice crystals from forming) I ended up with ice crystals in my sorbet and quickly turned it into a granita and it was loved by one and all. I added lemon because I love the flavour of lemon iced tea.



The best part is that anyone and absolutely anyone can make it unless they are young enough to not use the gas stove to boil water for the tea.

Makes 10 serving to 12 serving

Make 1 litre tea (The quality of the tea used affects the end product. Use a good quality leaf tea meant to make good black tea. I used Darjeeling leaf tea. Use a leaf tea of your choice)
200gm sugar (The original recipe asked for 300gm but I usually like the sweetness on the lower side so I reduced it quite a bit)
Juice and zest from 1 large lemon (Grate the zest and then squeeze out the juice)


The recipe is really simple. Make tea, dissolve the sugar in your hot tea making sure it dissolves completely. Add the lemon juice and let cool completely at room temperature. Fill an air tight container preferably rectangular with the prepared lemon tea, add the zest of lemon  and freeze. Try forking the granita once its half frozen. And keep forking every 1 hour.


Just before serving keep it at room temperature for 3 minutes to 4 minutes fork it up well . use an ice cream scoop to scoop out the flavourful granita and serve.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Chocolate Shake (Silky , smooth , chilled and gorgeous)


Chocolate Shake (Silky , smooth and gorgeous) 





 Most of the people I am close to know that I am not normally fond of chocolate shakes. I mean I usually prefer a cold brewed coffee which comes out amazing. Read about how I make it right at home without much hassle but a bit of time Click Here.






Anyway late one night I was suddenly craving some chocolate not just any chocolate but chilled mousse. Usually on any given day my refrigerator would definitely have eggs in them but on that night there were none. The moment I realized I could not have mousse my cravings became more strong. For a moment I thought I should temper some chocolates but then again in my head I wanted a creamy chilled chocolaty taste and I always listen to what I crave very carefully. In my case substituting the craving with something not only fails to take care of it in the end I end up gaining weight because I eat the substitute food and then ultimately satisfy my craving.

I immediately started scourging the refrigerator for other possible alternatives when I found the milk with reduced milk in it. By reduced I mean 3/4th of its original content. I always add reduced milk to my coffee for a rich taste since adding cream is not the healthiest option for a regular beverage.



Anyway I suddenly realized that I love hot chocolate not hot cocoa mind you. The difference is in the cocoa butter. Hot cocoa is basically cocoa powder, milk and sugar and maybe a bit of water . Hot chocolate on the other hand is creamy, silky decadent because you basically melt cooking chocolate and add it to milk for a creamy decadence.

And suddenly I knew what I had to do. I quickly took out a bit of milk and put the rest in the freezer. In the meantime I melted the chocolate and added a little bit of milk and stirred it to create a smooth consistency and slowly added the milk from the freezer and everything went in the blender with a bit of sugar and 1 minute later I was sipping on the best chocolate shake for me. It was completely chocolaty, silky , smooth and gorgeous but needed some improving on.

So the next time I developed it and after 2 tries voila I have my perfect chocolate shake for those rare days of indulgence.

Chilled silky chocolaty do I need to go on and on?

So here is what you need to serve one. And pair it with these gorgeous Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and its sheer indulgence. Usually when I have this I skip an entire meal.

What you need :-

10gm brown sugar
60gm to 70gm dark chocolate (50% or more. I used 70% dark)
500ml milk

Freeze 100ml milk in the ice cube tray. Reduce the rest of the milk to 1/2 of its original quantity.

Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Once completely melted add 50ml milk and create a smooth concoction and slowly add the rest of the milk bit by bit and the sugar and then put it all in a blender and blend away. Chill it extremely well.

Before serving the beverage blend it again with the frozen milk cubes and there you have silky smooth chilled chocolate in a tall glass.

P.S. If you want you can replace half the reduced milk with double dairy cream or single dairy cream.







Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 


 



To me these are the best ever Double Chocolate Chip Cookies ever. Period. They are soft utterly chocolaty since there is an obnoxious amount of chocolate which goes in the recipe and these are those rare treats indeed.

I have always preferred by biscuits to be crisp, crumbly and buttery. I mostly do not like chewy cookies but then one day I had this craving for some Chocolate Chip Cookies soft but crumbly completely chocolaty. The books which I follow for desserts be it the dessert section of Larousse Gastronomique or the book from La Cordon Bleu did not have a recipe for Chocolate Chip cookie and so I searched by favourite sites for a recipe. The ones given on BBC Food's recipes were all good but somehow they did not call out to me to make them and then I came across the Guardian's recipe for Double Chocolate Chip Cookies. It did not even include a photograph but reading through the recipe I knew this was it. The obnoxious amount of chocolate called out to me. 



Here is what I feel about chocolates. I personally feel chocolates should be a rare indulgence especially chocolaty desserts. That takes me to my point as to why I feel they should be rare indulgences. When it comes to desserts where chocolate is the star flavour the quality of the chocolate twill make a whole lot of difference. While I understand it is not always possible to indulge in brands like Callebaut or Lindt if you are in India try Morde but not compound. Compounds have vegetable fat instead of cocoa butter which compromises their quality quite severely. 



Anyway moving on to the recipe I halved it and it gave me 6 gorgeous cookies. I had mistakenly assumed that my father who likes his biscuits crisp buttery would scoff at these but he loved them. My friend said who has tasted quite a few desserts from my kitchen says this is hands down the best one though I personally disagree hahaahaha but then again she loves her chewy chocolaty cookies so there and if you ask me I would say these are the best chocolate chip cookies ever. I was wrong these are Double Chocolate Chip Cookies 



Share this with your child in the kitchen or share it with a lover or with friends over meaningless happy conversations. 

Makes 6 Cookies 

Recipe source : The Guardian 

225gm chocolate chips (I like mine dark and used 70%) I suggest a minimum 50% dark chocolate 
85gm brown sugar 
1 egg 
42gm all purpose flour 
1/4th tsp baking powder 
25gm butter 


Preheat the oven to 170C for 10 minutes to 15 minutes. While your oven is preheating melt half the chocolate over a double boiler once its melted use a wooden spatula to mix in the butter. Sift the flour with the baking powder. Now whisk the egg and sugar together and add the melted chocolate butter mixture and use your spatula to fold in the flour. Add half of the remaining chocolate chips and mix well and add the rest of the chocolate chips. 

Take a baking sheet not a baking tray and line it with baking paper/ butter paper and evenly distribute the cookie batter to make 6 cookies. 

Bake for  15 minutes to 20 minutes  . I baked them for 20 minutes. Let it cool down on the baking sheet for 5 minutes, carefully transfer them on a rack, cool them down completely and enjoy these delights  by themselves, with a glass of cold chocolate shake, with some hot chocolate, with coffee. Oh well the list is endless . Now go on bake em and enjoy these. 

Tips 


  1. If you like your cookie to be less chewy do not pre-heat the oven when making your cookie dough. Make your cookie dough and evenly distribute it on the baking sheet and refrigerate it for 2 hours and then bake it for 20 minutes. 
  2. If you are using a bar of cooking chocolate chop it well. Since I used chocolate chips I did not have to chop them up. 





Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Chilled Mango Custard Tart


Chilled Mango Custard Tart 






So we are celebrating chilled delights and a few weeks ago I had created a chilled Mango Custard Tart which I had thoroughly enjoyed. The crispy flaky tart shell , the chilled creaminess of homemade Cremem Anglaise aka Thin Custard which is almost set but still in its liquid format with the slices of my favourite variant of mango baked just a bit this was an out and out delight to have.



To be fair the day I made the Creme Anglaise I had found it a tad too sweet for my taste buds but then combined with the sweet tartness of my favourite variant of mango, 'Gulabkhas' it was utterly delightful and I could not believe that I had put together a dessert without the usual help of a cookbook or reliable recipe to follow.



I usually take pride in finding recipes from credible sources and so for most of the recipes I share those are usually tried and tested recipes from a good cookbook or following a world renowned Chef's recipe and as a result it automatically becomes a moment of pride for me if I put together a dessert without following any recipe. Of course the tart shell was inspired from Larousse Gastronomique and its not as if I came up with the idea of a custard tart on my own.

Anyway moving on to the recipe.


Tart shell - Makes 1 , 9 inch tart or 4 to 5 4 inch tarts - I went in for 4 tarts

225 gm all purpose flour
100gm chilled butter
40gm caster sugar
1 egg
2 tbsp ice cold water

1 extra egg whisked well

Click here for Recipe for Creme Anglaise

2 medium sized mangoes weighing 500gm in total

Start with making the shell. Cube the butter and mix it with the flour after sifting it with the sugar to create a breadcrumb like consistency. Quickly add 1  egg and water and quickly  make a dough. Wrap it in cling film and rest it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

After 30 minutes dust your work board with flour, quickly roll out the dough with a heavy rolling pin and line your tart pan pressing it very gently to line it properly and trim the edges. Watch any video on youtube on how to line a tart shell if you have never lined a tart shell. Prick the base with a fork and chill this in the refrigerator not the freezer for 2 hours.

Preheat oven at 180C and bake for 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Use a pastry brush to give a quick brush to the base and sides with the extra whisked egg and bake for 1 minute.  Now let the tart cool down completely.

Tart shell must completely cool down completely before you bake it with the creme anglaise else the base gets soggy and a tart with a soggy bottom is terrible . It takes about 2 hours or more. Once the tart shell has cooled down slice mangoes and make the Creme Anglaise.

Preheat oven at 140C for 10 minutes. Pour the Creme Anglasie in the tart shell , arrange the mangoes on top and bake for 25 minutes. let cool down completely and chill overnight.

Enjoy this delicious chilled tart.



The whole idea here was to serve chilled creme anglaise in tart bowls with the taste of baked mango on top. If you want you can leave out the second step of baking at 140 C and once your tart shell is baked and cool down simply fill the tart with the anglaise and chill it topped with grilled mango slices. I found the idea of baking mango slices separately a bit clumsy and hence went in for the second bake.

Important tips :-


  1. You must let the shell cool down 100% before you fill it with the creme anglaise 
  2. Before chilling the tart make sure that it cools down completely 
  3. The minute long baking of the tart shell with the whisked egg protects it from getting soggy when you bake it the second time. 


Monday, June 15, 2015

Batter for South Indian Pancakes (Dosa/Idli/Uttapam/Rotte Batter )

Batter for South Indian Pancakes 

(Dosa/Idli/Uttapam/Rotte Batter ) 







When I had posted the recipe for 'Rotte' (A fluffy pancake made crisp on the outside that stays super soft inside ) I had posted the recipe but without any detailed photograph. So when someone from across the world asked me a few questions regarding the batter I remembered my own experience the first time I had made this fermented batter which makes some South Indian dishes of different textures be it the soft fluffy 'Idlis' which are steamed , the crisp pancakes 'Dosa' (I do not know why people refer to them as crepes because they are nothing like the French crepes, at best they can be called pancakes) , Uttapams (Thick pancakes) or 'Rotte' Soft fluffy pancakes with a crisp outside. Well my first experience yielded grainy raw batter in the end which did not ferment properly. After all I am from the east of India but once I understood what to do I have not looked back since gaining my husband's admiration for cooking these dishes like 'any girl from down south' to quote the man who is originally from one of the Southern states of India.

The point is when you have some fermented batter ready in your refrigerator you have little to worry about what to cook. Take for instance today morning. I had a deadline looming over my head and thanks to the batter I had prepared yesterday I quickly made some crisp pancakes 'Dosas' and along with a cup of coffee I was set for the day.

In all from the time of soaking till the time of fermentation it takes about 12 hours to 14 hours and once fermented you can store it in the refrigerator for 3 days at the most. Please note here that since I stay in a tropical country it takes 8 hours to 10 hours for fermentation. For those of you who stay in cold countries you may try fermenting the batter in an oven with the lights on. Just apply the rules you would apply when making bread.

So here goes the recipe which was given to me by my mother-in-law :-

Cups use holds 250ml liquid

1 cup split or whole but husked Urad Pulse or whole husked urad pulse (This pulse is white in colour post husking)
2 cups of parboiled Rice
Roughly 550 ml to 570ml water
2 tsp salt

I have used another recipe in the past which gives very good result as well

In this recipe you use 1:3 Urad pulse : Parboiled Rice

Here is a step by step instruction with photographs for preparing the batter.

Wash the pulse and rice separately and soak them separately for 4 hours to 6 hours.

This is how the pulse looks like
(This is Split Urad Pulse. It is even better if its whole but husked and white in colour)
This is post soaking 

This is how parboiled rice looks like 


Once soaked grind them separately. This part is extremely important since it is your grinding which makes or breaks the batter.

Start with the pulse. Drain it but reserve the water and grind it for 5 minutes and then add 1 tbsp water and grind it for 5 minutes and then add another 80ml water and grind it for 2 minutes.

At the end of which your batter is likely to look like the photograph given below


Keep grinding it till its absolutely fluffy and smooth. In the end it should look like the photograph given below and absolutely smooth to touch.



It still needs more grinding 

You have to stop your mixer grinder and grind it and stop it and grind it to attain this sooth mixture

This is how the pulse batter looks in the end 

Now remove it from the grinder and store it in a deep vessel container

Now comes the part of grinding the rice. This takes more time but be patient.

First drain it , reserve the water and grind it and then add 50ml water and grind it and divide it into 2 portions.

This is how the batter looks like after grinding it with 50ml water


Now add another 150ml water. Add 50ml at a time bit by bit. grind, stop add water , grind till its a soft smooth mixture . It should look like the picture below.


Work with your other half of the rice by adding 200ml of water bit by bit 50ml at a time and grind it to a smooth consistency like the photograph above and then add half the pulse to hald the rice batter and grind for 5 minutes and do it to the other half and then mix it with 2 tsp salt.

Final smooth mixture of rice and pulse 

Now let it ferment for 8 hours to 12 hours or more. In the end the fermented batter looks like the photograph below

Batter post fermentation 

To make the crisp pancakes brush a girdle with oil keeping the heat on low and drop in a ladle spoon of fermented batter in the center wipe the back of the ladle and spread it out in a circular motion and  let it cook on one side for 3 minutes to 4 minutes or till golden and crispy and use a spatula to gently loosen it and brush the surface and flip and cook on low heat for another 2 minutes to 4 minutes and serve with some coconut chutney or tomato chutney.


Dosa 

Chilled Coffee Yogurt Cream Gateau

Chilled Coffee Yogurt Cream Gateau 






So its time for another Event. Well I cannot tell you how good it is to have a partner in crime , well partner in blogging. It keeps me  in the kitchen, all that discussion about food makes me happy and then there is the possibility of co-hosting an event which is so great because when there is an event then you buck up and try and find new dishes to create which I love and there is the possibility of being introduced to so many new dishes or at least new recipes by your co-host.




We are calling this our Summer-time Love Event. So basically for the next one month we shall fill our blogs with chilled desserts and icy delights. While the peak of summer is over in India in my opinion India has a good 8 months of hot humid weather.  Even though the monsoons have come knocking on our doors a scoop of ice-cream can never be a bad idea. It is of course a different story that I personally love having ice-creams in the peak of winters when its a good 10C.

Before I forget to introduce my co-host, its the lovely Pritha from Guilt Free. Do hop on to her blog for some fabulous dishes.

So we start our Summertime Love with some Mango Lassi by Pritha and here is a chilled Coffee Yogurt Cream Gateau from my end.

A bit about what to expect from my side :-

I firmly believe that my blog is a reflection of the things I love the most. So quite obviously I have used ingredients which I adore.

Coffee flavours :- 


I love coffee and I like mine  strong , full bodied and almost bitter. Give me a strong cup of coffee and I shall be happy. I do not use instant coffee for my coffee as a beverage or for my desserts so you shall find a lot of usage of coffee flavouring. For all my coffee flavouring I use a homemade alcohol based coffee extract.

Fresh Dairy cream and Hung Curd :- 


While we all love creamy desserts using cream for most desserts would mean that I would be 20 pounds heavier by the end of the event. Besides in India we do not get heavy dairy cream and since I do not use Non-dairy cream on principle as a result there will be a lot of Hung curd used in many recipes along with a mixture of Hung curd and dairy cream with 25% fat.

Seasonal Fresh Fruits :-


I love fruits and though I usually like eating them on their own I do like incorporating them in my desserts as well

And then there is much more to expect in the next 1 month where Pritha and I take turns to post the dishes which we have created or are creating for our event.

Creme Anglaise / Custard :- 


I am a huge fan of do it from scratch and I can tell you with a certainty that if you put in a little bit of effort the end result in your kitchen is way better than some packaged stuff which has a long shelf life. With the suage of proper ingredients and a little effort its quite easy and the end result superior. So I have Creme Anglaise in many of my recipes and I already have the recipe of Creme Anglaise up on my blog and once you see how easy it is I bet you won't go back tot he flavourless packaged faux custard.



So let's get on with flagging off this event with a Chilled Coffee Yogurt Cream Gateau

Its creamy, with a strong flavour of coffee and is an absolute indulgence. While I lamented the unavailability of Fresh heavy dairy cream, once I made this I in fact loved it due to the mild tangy taste imparted by the hung curd.


Chilled Coffee Yogurt Cream Gateau :-

Makes 2 servings :-

Sponge base

3 eggs separated
20gm all purpose flour
20gm corn flour
125gm caster sugar

2 tsp Coffee extract for soaking the sponge

200ml single cream (25% fat)
400gm yogurt which is made into hung curd
3 heaped tsp icing sugar
2 tbsp coffee extract

10 almonds to 15 almonds blanched, toasted  and made into flakes for decoration


Start by first chilling your pack of cream. Then move on to making your hung curd. Take 400ml curd and tie it in a muslin cloth and hang it for 5 hours till you get a thick creamy lump. carefully cut your pack of cream and pour the semi solid contents in a large bowl and remove the liquid part. Its a bit difficult but this ensures a creamier consistency for your gateau. In the same bowl in which you have kept your chilled cream add the hung curd and whisk with the icing sugar and coffee extract till you get a creamy consistency and chill this.

Now bake your sponge base.

Line an 8 inch  cake pan with baking paper and use clarified butter to grease the sides.

Sift the cornflour and all purpose flour together.

Now preheat the oven at 180 C for 10 minutes to 15 minutes.

While the oven heats up separate the eggs and whisk the sugar with the egg yolks over a double boiler till it reaches a ribbon stage. Be careful to not let it curdle. Now whisk your egg whites separately with a few drops of lemon juice to stiff peaks. Carefully fold the egg whites with the egg yolk mixture sprinkling the sifted flour and cornflour.

The success of your sponge heavily depends on your expertise in folding the batter. Never ever whisk the egg whites with the egg yolks. Once you whisk the egg whites and egg yolks separately your whisking is done for. After this you need to fold it as mentioned above.

Bake for 15 minutes to 20 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.

While the cake bakes take out the yogurt cream mixture and bring it to room temperature.

Let the cake cool down in the pan for 10 minutes and then take it out and invert it on a cooling rack and wait for 10 minutes before peeling off the baking paper. Now let it cool down completely.

Use a sharp knife to trim the edges to make a rectangle and halve the rectangular sponges . Use a pastry brush to soak the sponges with the coffee extract and use a generous amount of the coffee yogurt cream mixture to sandwich the sponge and then apply the mixture all over to create two petit fours.

Chill it.

Right before serving decorate with almond flakes and voila you have a beautiful chilled dessert waiting for you.





A few notes


  1. I could have used a baking tray to make a square shaped cake but then again my jelly roll pan is of a large size. You can always use a jelly roll pan and this way once I trim the edges I soak them in a bit of coffee extract and after I am done with icing the gateau I leave some for myself as a cook's indulgence. 
  2. I use a lot of coffee extract. This does need a bit of pre-planning but I promise you its worth it. Take 180ml vodka and 4 tsbp coffee beans. Crack the coffee beans and soak the coffee beans with the vodka in a jar with the lid on and keep it in the corner of your cabinet for 1 week. After a week double strain this and voila you have your coffee extract ready. Use it to make vanilla flavoured ice-cream a little more jazzy , boozy and coffee flavoured. I personally use ti extensively for coffee flavoured desserts.