Saturday, 25 August 2007

Holiday in Swiss

Hello All.... I am off for a holiday in Swiss... and will be back next week.. with loads to share!!!
Till then bbye!!! And Happy Blogging!!!

Tuesday, 21 August 2007

Lychee Panacotta with Coconut and Ginger!!

What is Pana cotta?
Pana cotta actually is an Italian dessert made with a cream as a key ingredient, hence the translation of the words which mean "cooked cream." Although not all recipes for panna cotta actually require cooked cream, the traditional recipe makes a light, smooth, eggless custard, flavored with caramel, vanilla or cinnamon.

panacotta2
Lychee Panna cotta with Mango Puree



This version is a little different, which includes Lychees, Coconut cream and Ginger!!!

Ingredients:
Cream : 200 ml
SemiWhipped cream : 200 ml
Coconut Cream : 100 ml
Sugar : 50 gms
Lychees : 100 gms, pureed
Ginger : 1 tsp, grated
Vanilla essence : few drops
Gelatin : 6 leaves

Method:
  1. Soak Gelatin in cold water to soften and keep aside.
  2. Take cream, coconut cream, sugar, ginger in a heavy saucepan and bring to light simmer, just till boiling for 10 mins.
  3. Remove from heat and add the Lychee puree and vanilla.
  4. Squeeze the excess water out of the gelatin and stir into the hot cream.
  5. Allow the cream to cool completely.
  6. Fold in the semi whipped cream and pour the mixture into moulds.
  7. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate till fully set.
  8. Serve with Mango Syrup and chopped lychees... errr... mine was actually Mango puree :)
  9. To serve, carefully pass a knife through the edges of the mould, and place the mould in warm water for few mins and then invert on to the serving plate.

panacotta1
Lychee Panna cotta Served with Mango Puree



And the Verdict:
Utterly delicious.. what more can it be when two exotic fruits come together?

Food Event:
This is my entry for the Lychee - AFAM event being hosted by Sig of Live To Eat.

Sunday, 19 August 2007

Kadai Paneer and My First Blog awards!!!

I love paneer in any dish. Paneer... the word itself reminds me of all the mouthwatering exotic dishes like Palak Paneer, Paneer Butter Masala, Paneer Burji, Paneer Jalfrizi and finally but not the least Kadai Paneer...
Today I tried to make paneer at home, and was surprised to see that it is very easy and hassel free process... I was excited at the success of my first experiment with homemade paneer...

paneer
Homemade Paneer


Homemade Paneer:
  1. Bring 1 and half liter of whole milk to boil, in a heavy bottomed pan, stirring occasionally to ensure that it does not burn or form skin.
  2. When it just starts boiling, add 3 tbsp of fresh lime juice.
  3. The milk solids start curdling, and cheese separates from whey. If the two are not split completely add two more tablespoons of lime juice.
  4. Strain the mixture through a cheese cloth/ muslin cloth.
  5. Place the cheese cloth bundle on a flat surface. Fold the cloth into a nice round shape, and place a heavy object like a clean brick or a big flat bottomed pan filled with water. This will press down the cheese.
  6. Leave it for a hour or two, and then store the block of cheese in refrigerator. This remains fresh for about 1 week.
Kadai Paneer:

kadaipaneer1
Kadai Paneer


Ingredients:
Paneer Cubes : 1 cup
Capisicum : 2, diced
Tomatoes : 2, de-seeded and diced
Tomato puree : 1 cup
Onions : 2, pureed
Ginger Garlic paste : 1 Tbsp
Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
Cumin powder : 1 tsp
Coriander powder : 1 tsp
Garam Masala : 1 tsp
Red Chili powder : 2 tsp, adjust acc to taste
Salt, to taste
Fresh cream : 2 Tbsp, optional
Kasoori Methi : 1 tsp
Oil : 3 Tbsp
Water : 100 ml

ingredientspaneer
From Left, Capsicum, Tomato and Paneer


Method:
  1. Fry paneer cubes in little oil and keep aside.
  2. Heat oil in a pan, and add onion paste. Fry till the raw smell disappears.
  3. Add ginger garlic paste and fry for few more mins.
  4. Then add turmeric powder, red chili, cumin and coriander powder. Stir.
  5. Add in tomato puree and salt. Add water. Cover and bring to boil.
  6. Add capsicum and tomato, and cook covered for 5 mins.
  7. Add garam masala, cook till the veggies are done.
  8. Finally add paneer cubes and cook for 5 more mins.
  9. Add kasoori methi and fresh cream.
  10. Serve hot with Rotis or naans.

kadaipaneer2
Kadai Paneer with Rotis



And the Verdict:
J ended up licking his fingers.. so need not say more :)

And Finally The Awards:


The Power of Schmooze Award is for bloggers who “effortlessly weave their way in and out of the blogosphere, leaving friendly trails and smiles, happily making new friends along the way. They don’t limit their visits to only the rich and successful, but spend some time to say hello to new blogs as well. They are the ones who engage others in meaningful conversations, refusing to let it end at a mere hello - all the while fostering a sense of closeness and friendship.“

The Rocking Girl Blogger Award is for bloggers who “are girls or women who blog and who Rock!!!“




I am very glad to say that, we (my blog and me) have been awarded, The Rocking Girl Blogger by Padma of Padma's Kitchen and Archana of Love2EatHate2Cook and a Schoomze Award again by Archana and Laavanya of CookeryCorner !!!!!! Is'nt that nice... it has been only 3 months I have started blogging and receiving these awards, gave me a new inspiration!!!
Thank You Girls!!! And thank you all for all the comments, suggestions and motivation!!!! The main credit goes to my blog readers :)

Now I need to pass on these awards, its OK if you have been already nominated. This is a simple gesture to say that you are loved :)

Cynthia of Tastes Like Home
Viji of Vcusine
SriValli of Cooking 4 All Seasons
Kamini of The Bubbling Cauldron
Meeta of Whats for Lunch Honey
Coffee of The Spice Cafe

Keep up the Spirit and Keep Going girls!!!

Wednesday, 15 August 2007

Happy Independence Day - Tri Colored Halwa

60 years, yes it’s been 60 years since “that” midnight seasoned with aspirations of a million people. India and Indians have come a long way; gone are the days when India was totally depended on the western world for all that’s “cutting-edge”. Today, India is a proud member of the science & technology high table.

soojihalwa1
Tri Colored Sooji Halwa



I would like to celebrate the Independence day with the Tri Color halwa :)

Ingredients:
Sooji : 2 cups
Sugar : 3 cups
Ghee : 1 cup
Water : 5 cups
Salt, a pinch
Green Color, few drops
Orange Color, few drops

Method:
  1. Heat ghee in a wide bottomed pan.
  2. Add Sooji, and fry on low, till it gives a very nice aroma.
  3. Meanwhile keep water for boiling.
  4. Add boiling water to sooji, while mixing well, to avoid lumps.
  5. Keep stirring on medium, till all the water has been absorbed.
  6. Add sugar and salt, and mix well.
  7. Stir till it forms halwa consistency.
  8. Divide the halwa into 3 portions.
  9. Mix orange color in one, and green in an other.
  10. Take a wide plate, and put the halwa mixed with green and even it.
  11. Then put the one without any color and even.
  12. Lastly put the orange one and flatten.
  13. Leave it cool.
  14. Cut into desired pieces and Serve.
soojihalwa2
Tri Colored Sooji Halwa



And the Verdict:
I did not feel like serving as it is, becoz it resembled the national flag.
So I separated the layers and made them as two layered halwa after the photo session :)
Very appealing with different colors and tasty too!!!

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Remembering Forgotten Heroes!!

August 15th 2007, is the 60th independence day being celebrated, by all Indians across the world. At stroke of midnight, on 15 August 1947, India became an independent nation. This was preceded by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru's famous speech titled Tryst with destiny.

“At the stroke of the midnight hour, when the world sleeps, India will awake to life and freedom. A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to the new, when an age ends, and when the soul of a nation, long suppressed, finds utterance..... We end today a period of ill fortune, and India discovers herself again.”

15th August is a National holiday of India. In the capital New Delhi most of the Government Offices are lit up. Flag hoisting ceremonies and cultural programs take place in all the state capitals.

This day, I would like to remember few of the forgotten heroes, the freedom fighters, from all over India, who laid their lives for us, for the free independent India!!

Leaders from Bengal and Northeastern India:
Subhas Chandra Bose :
Affectionately called as Netaji, was one of the most prominent leaders of Indian freedom struggle. Though Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru have garnered much of the credit for successful culmination of Indian freedom struggle, the contribution of Subash Chandra Bose is no less. He has been denied his rightful place in the annals of Indian history. He founded Indian National Army (Azad Hind Fauj) to overthrow British Empire from India and came to acquire legendary status among Indian masses.


Khudiram Bose:Bengali Indian freedom fighter, one of the youngest revolutionaries early in the Indian independence movement. Khudiram and Prafulla Chaki were sent to Muzaffarpur, Bihar to assassinate Kingsford, the Calcutta Presidency Magistrate, and later, magistrate of Muzaffarpur, Bihar. On this Muzaffarpur bombing and other charges of bombings carried out by him, a pretence of trial was carried out for two months, and he was sentenced to death. But the one thing that surprised everyone was that as he was hanged he was still smiling.

Abdul Kalam Azad :
Muslim scholar and a senior political leader of the Indian independence movement. He was one of the most prominent Muslim leaders to support Hindu-Muslim unity, opposing the partition of India on communal lines. Following India's independence, he became the first Minister of Education, Government of India. He is commonly rememberd as Maulana Azad.



Bipin Chandra Pal :

A teacher, journalist, orator, writer and librarian who started the journal , Bipin Chandra famous as was one of the triumvirate of the three Extremist patriots of the Congress's- the "Pal" of "Lal Bal Pal". The trio were responsible for intiating the first popular upsurge against British colonial policy in the 1905 partition of Bengal, much before the advent of Gandhi into Indian poltics. Pal was also the founder of the nationalistic journal Bande Mataram.



Leaders from Punjab and Northwest India:

Lala Lajpat Rai:Indian author and politician who is chiefly remembered as a leader in the Indian fight for freedom from the British Raj. The freedom fighter was popularly known as Punjab Kesari (Lion of the Punjab). He was one of the three most prominent Hindu Nationalist members of the Indian National Congress, who fought for, and gave their lives during the Indian independence movement in the first half of the twentieth century. The other two were Bal Gangadhar Tilak of Maharashtra and Bipin Chandra Pal of Bengal.


Bhagat Singh :

Freedom fighter, considered to be one of the most famous revolutionaries of the Indian independence movement. For this reason, he is often referred to as Shaheed Bhagat Singh. He was hanged for shooting a police officer in response to the killing of veteran social activist Lala Lajpat Rai. His legacy prompted youth in India to begin fighting for Indian independence and also increased the rise of socialism in India.


Sukhdev Thapar :
Sukhdev Thapar was an Indian revolutionary. He is best known as an accomplice of Bhagat Singh and Shivaram Rajguru in the killing of a British police officer in 1928 in order to take revenge for the death of veteran leader Lala Lajpat Rai due to excessive police beating.

Leaders from Gujarat and Maharashtra :
Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel :
Political and social leader of India who played a major role in the country's struggle for independence and guided its integration into a united, independent nation. In India and across the world, he was often addressed as Sardar, which means Chief in many languages of India. He rose to the leadership of the Indian National Congress and was at the forefront of rebellions and political events, organising the party for elections in 1934 and 1937, and promoting the Quit India movement.

Bal Gangadhar Tilak :
Indian nationalist, social reformer and freedom fighter who was the first popular leader of the Indian Independence Movement and is known as "Father of the Indian unrest." Tilak was one of the first and strongest proponents for Swaraj in Indian consciousness, and is considered the father of Hindu nationalism as well. His famous quote, "Swaraj is my birthright, and I shall have it!" is well-remembered in India even today and is very popular. Reverently addressed as Lokmanya, Tilak was a scholar of Indian history, Sanskrit, Hinduism, mathematics and astronomy.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah :
Indian Muslim politician and leader of the All India Muslim League who founded Pakistan and served as its first Governor-General. He is officially known in Pakistan as Quaid-e-Azam and Baba-e-Qaum. His birth and death anniversaries are national holidays in Pakistan.Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress expounding ideas of Hindu-Muslim unity and helping shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact with the Muslim League; he also became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League. Differences with Mohandas Gandhi led Jinnah to quit the Congress and take charge of the Muslim League.

Vinayak Damodar Savarkar :
Indian political leader and freedom fighter, who is credited with developing a Hindu nationalist political ideology he termed as Hindutva. Founding the Free India Society, Savarkar sought to organise fellow Indian students for the goal of independence through revolution:
“We must stop complaining about this British officer or that officer, this law or that law. There would be no end to that. Our movement must not be limited to being against any particular law, but it must be for acquiring the authority to make laws itself. In other words, we want absolute independence.”

Leaders from South India :
C. Rajagopalachari : Known as or Rajaji or C.R., was an Indian lawyer, writer, statesman and a devout Hindu . He was the second Governor-General of independent India. Later he became the Chief Minister of Madras State, and was one of the first recipients of India's highest civilian award Bharat Ratna.Rajaji was known to be a fierce defender of his political ideals, and did not hesitate to contradict his closest aides and friends in public, whenever he sensed a threat to them.
Sarojini Naidu :
Known as Bharatiya Kokila (The Nightingale of India), was a child prodigy, freedom fighter, and poet. Naidu was the first Indian woman to become the President of the Indian National Congress and the first woman to become the governor of a state in India. She joined the Indian independence movement, in the wake of the aftermath of partition of Bengal in 1905. From 1915 to 1918 she lectured all over India on welfare of youth, dignity of labour, women's emancipation and nationalism.

Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan :

Was a philosopher and statesman.One of the foremost scholars of comparative religion and philosophy in his day, he built a bridge between Eastern and Western thought showing each to be comprehensible within the terms of the other. He introduced Western idealism into Indian philosophy and was the first scholar of importance to provide a comprehensive exegesis of India's religious and philosophical literature to English speaking peoples.


V. O. Chidambaram Pillai :

Popularly known by his initials, V.O.C., was an Indian freedom fighter. He was a prominent lawyer, and a trade union leader. He gets credit for launching the first indigenous Indian shipping service between Tuticorin and Colombo with the Swadeshi Steam Navigation Company, competing against British ships. He was an Indian National Congress (INC) member, later charged with sedition by the British government and sentenced to life imprisonment; his barrister license was stripped. He is also known as "Kappalottiya Tamilan" in Tamil.


Leaders from North and Central India:

Chandrasekhar Azad:Indian revolutionary and the mentor of Bhagat Singh. Chandrasekhar Azad is considered one of the most famous Indian revolutionaries. Chandrashekhar said a soldier never relinquishes his weapon. Hence Chandrashekhar died with his weapon in his hand fighting with British. Chandrashekhar Azad was a terror for British police. He was on their hit list and the British police badly wanted to capture him dead or alive. On February 27, 1931 Chandrashekhar Azad met two of his comrades at the Alfred Park Allahabad. He was betrayed by an informer who had informed the British police. The police surrounded the park and ordered Chandrashekhar Azad to surrender. Chandrashekhar Azad fought alone valiantly and killed three policemen. But finding himself surrounded and seeing no route for escape, Chandrashekhar Azad shot himself. Thus he kept his pledge of not being caught alive.

Ashfaqulla Khan :Freedom fighter in Indian independence movement. The British authorities considered him a terrorist because of his active participation in Kakori train robbery. Ashfaqullah Khan was hanged on 19 December 1927. The mausoleum of Ashfaqullah Khan in Shahjahanpur is now a memorial. It has been said by some historians that Ashfaqulla Khan was the first Muslim to be hanged in a conspiracy case. His last message to the nation wrote, "I take pride in the fact that I will be the first and foremost Muslim to embrace death on the gallows for the freedom of my country."


All the above mentioned men are those who laid their lives for our freedom, everyone might have read about them somewhere in books, or known about them in movies.

But I would also like to mention about the heroes and fighters whom we don't know about, because of whom we are now having a peaceful sleep.
All our soldiers at the border. These are Men in Uniform!! I would like every one to salute for their courage and love for their duty.

Thousands of our valiant soldiers laid down their lives as they battled the enemy who tried to infiltrate into Kashmir. Years have passed since the war cries have fallen silent and the entire nation has moved on. What remains are memories of lives cut short, some very young, the sad tales of families of martyred soldiers as they try to deal with bureaucratic red tape in claiming compensation and unspoken, unvoiced fears of ingratitude. For some soldiers who survived the war, there is new anguish as they await elusive promotions or dues.

They died protecting our lives. Spare some time for these brave men….

Lt. Saurabh Kalia : Of 4 JAT Regiment of the Indian Army laid down his life at the young age of 22 for the nation while guarding the frontiers at Kargil. His parents, indeed the Indian Army and nation itself, lost a dedicated, honest and brave son. He was the first officer to detect and inform about Pakistani intrusion. Pakistan captured him and his patrol party of 5 brave men alive on May 15, 1999 from the Indian side of LOC.They were kept in captivity for three weeks and subjected to unprecedented brutal torture; evident from their bodies handed over by Pakistan Army on June 9, 1999. After 22 days of torture, the brave soldiers were ultimately shot dead. However, the Indian soldiers did not break while undergoing all this unimaginable barbarism,which speaks volumes of their patriotism, grit, determination, tenacity and valour - something all of India should be proud of.

Captain Haneef Uddin :
11 Rajputana Rifles, Attacked by intruders and bombarded by artillery, he and his unit, equipped only with small arms,fought to the end. Cutting across the snowy peaks to push for the enemy-held heights, Haneef soldiered on despite artillery bombardment. Outgunned and outnumbered, he and his unit fought to the end.
Nation's third highest wartime gallentry award VIR CHAKRA was awarded to Lt. Hanif-u-din, posthumously on 15th August 1999.

LT. COL. N. VijayaRaghavan :
The brave man of the 15 Kumaon Regiment made the supreme sacrifice of his life on June 25 while leading counter-insurgency operations near Machchal near the LoC. Five militants were killed in the encounter, before one of the militants killed him. Lt.Col.Vijayraghavan had taken part in Operation Bluestar and counter-insurgency operations in Nagaland.

Major Padmaphani Acharya :Hailing from Hastinapur on the city's outskirts, was killed in the Kargil operations. He was hit by enemy shelling. Padmaphani's father Jagannatham, a retired Indian Air Force officer, took the news about his son's death with pride. He said his second son, Captain Padma Sambhav Acharya, is also fighting in Kargil. "I am prepared to sacrifice my other son also for the sake of our motherland," the proud father said.
Nation's second highest wartime gallentry award MAHA VIR CHAKRA was awarded to Major Padmaphani Acharya, posthumously on 15th August 1999.
Capt Amol Kalia :

The recapture of a key position in the Batalik sector, by Capt Amol Kalia and 13 of his men, all of whom died, was one of the bravest acts seen in the Kargil sector in the ongoing operations against Pakistani soldiers and Mujahideen.




Lieutenant Manoj Kumar Pandey:
He was commissioned in the 1/11 Gorkha Rifles of the Indian Army. He forced back the intruders on June 11, 1999 at Batalik Sector in the Kargil war. He led his men to capture the Jubar top which was considered as important due to its strategic location. Quickly sizing up the situation, the young officer led his platoon along a narrow, treacherous ridge that led to the enemy position.Displaying great courage, he surged ahead of his troops and charged at the enemy with a full throated battle cry through a hail of bullets.Although wounded in the shoulder and leg, he pressed on his solitary charge with grim determination, until he closed in on the first bunker. Unmindful of his grievous wounds, he rushed from bunker to bunker urging his men on. Critically bleeding, he collapsed at the final bunker and finally succumbed to his injuries. But by this time he had already captured the bunker with his men.His last words were, "Na Chodnu" (Don't Spare Them).Manoj Kumar Pandey was awarded the Param Vir Chakra, India's highest medal for gallantry, posthumously. His father, Mr. Gopichand Pandey, received the award from the President of India on the 52nd anniversary of Indian independence.

There are many more who are giving their TODAY for our TOMORROW!!! I would like to salute all of them whole heartedly!!!!

I am dedicating this post, to all the soldiers in defense armies. It is because of them we are safe and sound in our homes!

Thank You all for being patient and reading this! It is worth remembering them at least on such occasions like this!

Source : Wikipedia and FreeIndia

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Bulgur Pilaf

What is Bulgur?
Often confused with cracked wheat, bulgur differs in that it has been pre-cooked.
Bulgur holds a place in recipes similar to rice or cous cous but with a higher nutritional value.
This Middle Eastern staple sounds more exotic than it is; bulgur is what's left after wheat kernels have been steamed, dried, and crushed. This cereal grain has been a food staple for years because it offers an inexpensive source of low-fat protein, making it a wonderfully nutritious addition to your low-calorie meal plan.

bulgurpilaf2
Bulgur Pilaf



High in fiber and protein, and low in fat and calories, bulgur is another food that offers bulk and nutrients to fill you up without adding pounds. One thing to keep in mind, a cup of bulgur has fewer calories, less fat, and more than twice the fiber of brown rice.
Often confused with cracked wheat, bulgur differs in that it has been pre-cooked.
Bulgur holds a place in recipes similar to rice or cous cous but with a higher nutritional value.

Bulgur Pilaf:

Ingredients:
Bulugur : 2 cups
Bay leaves : 2
Onions : 1 big, finely sliced
Green Chilies : 5, finely chopped(adjust acc. to your taste buds)
Ginger Garlic paste : 1 Tbsp
Carrots : 2 finely chopped
Potatoes : 2 finely chopped
Green peas : 1 cup, frozen
Tomatoes : 2, finely chopped
Mint leaves : 2 Tbsp, chopped
Coriander Leaves : 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
Garam Masala : 2 tsp
Oil : 2 Tbsp
Water : 3 1/2 cups

Method:
  1. Heat oil in a wide saucepan, add bay leaves, mint leaves, onions and green chilies.
  2. Fry for 2 mins and add ginger garlic paste. Fry till golden brown.
  3. Add carrots, potatoes, garam masala and salt. Fry till half done.
  4. Add tomatoes, and green peas. Fry for 5 mins
  5. Then add the bulgur and water. Adjust salt.
  6. Add coriander leaves and cook covered till done.
  7. Serve hot with Raita.
bulgurpilaf1
Bulgur Pilaf



And the Verdict:
Healthy and Nutritious with lots of fiber.
A comfort meal on a cloudy and lazy evening!

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Ande Ka Funda

Eggs make a valuable contribution to a healthy, balanced diet. They are an excellent source of high quality protein.

There is even a song about eggs which goes like this :
Aao Sikhao Tume Ande Ka Funda
Yeh Nahin Pyare Koi Maamule Banda
Is Mein Chhupa Hai Jeevan Ka Fal Safa
TV Pe Bhi Dikhaye Ke Roz Khaao Anda!!!


EggFry2
Egg Curry with Rice



I always use eggs for cooking, when I do not have much time, or when I am tired after a long day and don't want to spend hours in the kitchen. They are so versatile and can be used in cooking in many ways. The egg curry below is one of the fastest and quickest one, if you have hardboiled eggs ready in the fridge.

Tips:
  1. When buying eggs, open the carton to be sure none of the eggs are cracked; discard any that are, they may have bacteria that might contaminate the egg.
  2. Be sure to store the eggs in the original egg carton in the refrigerator. Don’t take them out and put them in the door. Every time the refrigerator door is opened it exposes the egg to the room temperature.
  3. To tell if an egg is hard-cooked or raw, place the egg on its side and spin it evenly on a level surface; if it wobbles, it is raw.
  4. If an egg is accidentally dropped on the floor, sprinkle it heavily with salt for easy clean up.
  5. You cannot hard-cook eggs in a microwave (they'll explode), but if you find after peeling an egg that it is not quite done at the center, pierce it once or twice with a fork, set microwave to medium power and cook the egg for 10 to 20 seconds before checking if it is done.

Egg curry:

Inredients:
Eggs : 5, hardboiled
Onions : 6, finely sliced
Green Chilies : 5, finely chopped
Ginger-Garlic Paste : 1 Tbsp
Red Chili powder : 1 tsp
Garam Masala : 1 Tbsp
Haldi/Turmeric : 1/4 tsp
Salt, to taste
Corriander, for garnish

Method:


0-5 mins:
Slicing of onions and chopping green chilies.
In the mean time, pressure cook rice.

5-10 mins:
Heat oil, in a wide pan, add the ingredients for tadka(jeera and mustard seeds).
Add onions and chilies and haldi.

10-15 mins:
Add ginger garlic paste and fry till golden brown.
Add salt, red chili powder and garam masala.

15-20 mins:
Add the eggs and fry for few more mins.

20-25 mins:
Add chopped corriander, adjust salt and remove from heat.

25-30 mins:
Serve hot with Rice :)

EggFry1
Egg Curry with Rice



And the Verdict:
Simple and easy.
A perfect comforting food after a long tiring day!!

Food Event:
This is my entry for the Summer express Cooking event being hosted by MalluGirl of Malabar Spices.

Tuesday, 7 August 2007

Heavenly Tiramisu

Tiramisu is a traditional Italian dessert, which literally means pick me up (tirami-su). This dessert has many variations, but the constant ingredient, in all the variations is Mascarpone cheese.

I was craving to have it, from the day we were back from our Italy trip last month. And finally gathered up courage to experiment it :)

Tiramisu2
Tiramisu



The basic ingredients of Tiramisu include, eggs, mascarpone cheese, ladyfingers, cream, espresso coffee, liquors like brandy, marsala and rum, a little bit of sugar, and cocoa or shaved chocolate.
Since the basic recipe uses raw eggs, I have made some modifications.
The recipe is adapted from here and here.

Chocolate Tiramisu:

Ingredients:

Cream Filling :
Mascarpone : 250g
Cream Cheese : 250g
Heavy cream : 250g
Bitter chocolate : 150g - coarsely chopped
Sugar : 1/2 cup
Raspberries : 250g, fresh or canned

Soaking Syrup:
Strong brewed coffee : 1 1/2 cups
Granulated white sugar : 2 Tbsp

Base:
Lady finger biscuits : 24

Topping:
Cocoa powder : 2 Tbsp
Raspberries

Method:
  1. Chocolate Cream filling: Heat the cream, remove from heat and add the chocolate.
  2. Let the chocolate melt and let the mixture cool.
  3. Whisk together the mascarpone and cream cheese in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture and mix well.
  4. Keep in refrigerator till further use.
  5. Coffee Soaking Syrup: In a large shallow bowl combine the coffee and sugar. Taste and add more sugar if you like. Set aside.
  6. To Assemble:Have ready the ladyfingers, coffee mixture, and cream filling.
  7. Taking half of the lady finger biscuits, dip each one into the coffee mixture and place the lady fingers in an even layer at the bottom of a rectangular loaf pan or a dish.
  8. Spread half of the cream filling on the lady fingers, then add half of the raspberries over the cream. Repeat with another layer of ladyfingers, over this spread the remaining cream filling.
  9. Cover the Tiramisu with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  10. To Serve: Remove the plastic wrap. Sift cocoa powder over the top of the Tiramisu and decorate with raspberries.


Tiramisu1
Tiramisu



And the Verdict:
It is rightly said by someone, who described Tiramisu as, "You are experiencing the greatest dessert ecstacy of your life. You are in Heaven, and Heaven is in your mouth."
We enjoyed each and every bit to the last!!!

Food Event:
The theme for the SHF, this month is Regional or Local dish, and as it is also mentioned that the local dish from the recent vacation is also accepted, this is my entry (inspired by the Italy trip last month) for the Sugar High Fridays event being hosted by Johanna of The Passionate Cook.

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Chicken Tikka Masala with Jeera Rice

According to wikipedia ,the origins of chicken tikka masala are disputed. It has been suggested that chicken tikka masala originated from the kitchens of Bangladeshi chefs in the UK. The recipe's age is also unproven, with claims ranging from the 1970s back to the mid-1950s. A widely reported explanation of the origins of the dish is that it was conceived in an Indian restaurant in Glasgow in the late 1960s, when a customer, who found the traditional chicken tikka too dry, asked for some "gravy". The chef improvised a sauce from tomato soup, yogurt and spices.

tikkawithjeera1
Chicken Tikka Masla with Jeera Rice


Chicken tikka masala is now served in restaurants around the globe. It is perhaps in the UK that its popularity is highest, where it is thought to be the country's most popular dish.
British government minister Robin Cook remarked: "Chicken tikka masala is now Britain's true national dish, not only because it is the most popular, but because it is a perfect illustration of the way Britain absorbs and adapts external influences."

This is the recipe adapted from Madhur Jaffrey, which I picked up on net long back.

Chicken Tikka Masala:


chickentikka
Chicken Tikka Masla


Ingredients:
Chicken Tikka:
Chicken cubes : 800 gms, boneless
Ginger paste : 1 tbsp
Garlic paste : 1 tbsp
Red Chili powder : 1 tbsp
Lemon Juice : 1 tbsp
Hung curd : 1 tbsp
Garam Masala : 1 tbsp
Oil : 1 tbsp

Onion Masala:
Onions: 2, meduim sized, roughly chopped
Cashew Nuts : 50 gms
Cloves : 4
Green Cardamom pods : 6
Cinnamon stick : 2 inches
Cumin seeds : 1 tbsp
Corriander powder : 1 tbsp
Red Chili powder : 1 tbsp
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
Salt, to taste
Oil, for frying

Tomato Sauce:
Tomato puree : 500 gms
Tomatoes : 2, chopped
Cloves : 4
Green Cardamom pods : 4
Cinnamon Stick : 2 inches
Mace : 2 pieces
Green Chillies : 8
Black Cardamom : 3
Ginger Paste : 1 tbsp
Garlic Paste : 1 tbsp
Butter : 2 tbsp
Dried Fenugreek leaves : 1 tbsp

To Finish:
Oil : 2 tbsp
Garlic : 1 tbsp, chopped
Cumin seeds : 1/2 tbsp
Garam Masala : 1 tbsp
Dried Fenugreek Leaves : 1/2 tbsp
Heavy Cream : 2 tbsp
Corriander : 1 tbsp, chopped

How I did it:
  1. For Chicken Tikka:
  2. Marinate the chicken peices, with the ingredients under chiken tikka for 2 hrs.
  3. Pre-heat oven to 180C and half cook for 10 to 15 mins and keep aside.
  4. For Onion Masala:
  5. Heat oil in a pan and add cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, cumin.
  6. Let them splutter and add cashews and onions.
  7. Add corriander powder, turmeric, red chili powder and salt.
  8. Fry till done, and keep aside to cool.
  9. Grind it to fine paste.
  10. For Tomato Sauce:
  11. Boil all the ingredients together until the top is glazed.
  12. Cool and Blend to a smooth consistency.
  13. To Finish:
  14. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pan, and add garlic, saute till golden brown.
  15. Add onion paste and fry for few mins, then add tomato sauce and chicken tikka pieces.
  16. Cook covered untill chicken is done.
  17. Add garam masala, fenugreek leaves, and adjust salt.
  18. Garnish with cream and corriander and serve with Jeera Rice.

Jeera Rice:

jeerarice
Jeera Rice



Ingredients:
Rice : 3 cups, uncooked
Cumin seeds : 3 tbsp
Ghee : 3 tbsp
Cashews : a handful
Salt, to taste
Saffron, few strands
Turmeric, a pinch

Method:
  1. Cook 2 cups of rice with 4 cups of water till done.
  2. Cook the remaining 1 cup pf rice with 2 cups of water adding, turmeric and saffron. (for the color and fragnance)
  3. Spread both the cooked rice in a dish.
  4. Heat ghee in a pan, and add cumin seeds and cashews.
  5. Add this mixture to the rice, add salt to taste and mix.
  6. Serve hot.

tikkawithjeera
Chicken Tikka Masala with Jeera Rice



And the Verdict:
Heaven!!!
Just a perfect combination and utterly delicious!!

Friday, 3 August 2007

Eastern Delights

The eastern states of India like Bihar, Bengal and Orissa, have a very rich culture. And coming to their cuisine, Rice is dominant over Wheat. Fish is also a favorite of the people of eastern India, apart from these plenty of vegetables are also grown which form a substantial part of Eastern Indian meals.
Steaming and frying are popular methods of cooking and Mustard oil is commonly used for frying and cooking.
The spices used in their cuisine are also markedly different from those used in the other parts of India. They majorly use Mustard seeds and paste and also, as they call, a magic spice mix 'Pancha-phutana'. It is also called as Panch-phoron or Panch-puran in Bengali.

Besara3
Chhatu Besara



In Oriya Besara are kind of dishes which are cooked in Mustard. I got a few recipes from here.

Chhatu Besara (Recipe adapted from here, with some modifications)

Ingredients:

Mushrooms : 400 gms
Potatoes : 3, peeled and diced
Amchur Powder : 1 tsp
Panch-Phutana : 1 Tbsp
Mustard paste : 3 tsp
Turmeric powder : 1/4 tsp
Mustard oil, for frying
Salt, to taste
Water : 100 ml

Panch-phutana:
Mustard seeds
Fennel seeds
Kalongi
Fenugreek seeds
Cumin seeds
Method: Grind all in equal quantities to fine powder, you may add fenugreek seeds in less quantity.
You can know more about this here

Mustard Paste:
Mustard seeds : 3 tsp
Dry Red Chilli : 3
Garlic : 2 cloves
Method: Grind all the ingredients to fine paste using little water.

How I did it:

  1. Make quarters of the mushrooms put them in water with some turmeric powder. Then squeeze the mushrooms from water and keep aside.
  2. Heat 2 tsp oil in a frying pan and fry the squeezed mushrooms in medium flame.
  3. Heat some oil in a separate pan and add punch-phutana, after the spice splutters, add the potatoes.
  4. Add turmeric power and salt, according to taste, and then add the mustard paste.
  5. Add water, and cover the pan and let it cook for about 15 mins, till potatos are done.
  6. Add the fried mushroom and amchur powder. Fry till the water evaporates.
  7. Adjust salt.
  8. Serve hot with Rice or Rotis.

Besara5
Chhatu Besara, with Rotis



And the Verdict:
It was in a different taste, but delicious.
Not spicy, so according to me, it goes better with rotis than rice.

Food Event:
This is my entry for the RCI: Oriya Cuisine event being hosted by Swapna of Swad.

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Vegetable Fried Rice

Talking about Fried Rice, there was a mobile chinese food stall at the end of our street which used to sell, veg and egg noodles and fried rice, manchurian, chilli chicken etc. But the name on the van read "Cheneese Needles and Fast Food".
The food was excellent, and by the time it was 6 in the evening, there used to be a huge crowd.
Once I tried telling him that the spelling on the van was wrong and has to be corrected, and his answer was "Kya farakh padtha hain, Cheneese ho ya Chinese ho? Dhanda tho acha chal raha hain na!" (What is the difference if it is Cheneese or Chinese, when the business is going good)

VegRice
Vegetable Fried Rice



Ingredients:
Long grained rice/ Basmati Rice: 2 cups
Capsicums/Peppers: 1
Beans Finely Chopped: 1/4 cup
Carrot Finely Chopped: 2
Green peas: 1/4 cup
Cabbage Finely Chopped: 1/4 cup
Spring Onions Finely Chopped: 2
Green Chilies Chopped Finely: 2-3
Ginger Chopped Finely: 1 tsp
Garlic Finely Chopped: 1 tsp
Soya Sauce: 2 tbsp
Ajinimoto: 1 tsp
Salt & pepper to taste
Oil: 3 tbsp

How I did it:
  1. Cook Rice, adding little salt to the water.
  2. Heat oil in a wok and add chopped onions, garlic, ginger, green chillies.
  3. Then add all the chopped vegetables and stir fry.
  4. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
  5. Vegetables should be crisp and not overcooked.
  6. Mix salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Add Ajinimoto and soya sauce.
  8. Add the cooked rice and mix well.
  9. Stir-fry for 2-3 minutes and serve hot.
And the verdict:
Simple and easy. The best choice when you do not have much time to cook.
This can also be used as a stuffing, in recipes like Stuffed Capsicum