Thursday, July 29, 2010

Espresso Panna Cotta

I bought heavy cream for some recipe and as the supermarket didn't have a small pack I ended up buying the quarter sized pack .I needed only one cup for the cooking and had 3 cups of heavy cream left, so I searched for a recipe that can use the remaining heavy cream and came upon this recipe from Giada of Everyday Italian.This is my variation of that recipe.We liked this so much, I think the next time I am  going to buy heavy cream will be to make just this.
1/2 cup whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored powdered gelatin
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
21/2  teaspoons instant espresso powder
1/4 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Whipped cream
Place the milk in a heavy, small saucepan. Sprinkle the gelatin over and let stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. Stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves, but the milk does not boil, about 2 minutes. Add the cream, espresso powder, sugar, and salt. Stir over low heat, until the sugar dissolves, about 3 more minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour the cream mixture into 2 martini glasses or whatever dish you plan to serve this in, dividing equally. Cover and refrigerate, stirring every 20 minutes during the first hour or you can place a cling film in contact with the top layer so that Panna Cotta won't form a skin when set. Chill until set, at least 6 hours and up to 2 days.

When ready to serve,remove the cling film and garnish it with some whipped cream  you can also sprinkle chocolate shavings over each panna cotta and serve

Monday, July 26, 2010

Elegant Masala

All of us has some dish or other we started with our culinary journey, and this is that one dish that I cooked all by myself first time ever. I think I was in the 6th grade at that time and came upon this recipe in a Women's Era magazine.This had only a few ingredients and tasted quite different from my mom's usual curries that everyone loved it. So I saved the recipe and used to make it often but  lately I had forgotten all about it.Yesterday my daughter was asking me when was the first time I made a dish completely all by myself and what was it. It is then I remembered all about this one and cooked it for dinner. It tasted good - just the way I remembered  it to be. So here is my first dish.
Serves 3
Eggs-3 -4
Ginger-garlic paste-2 Tbs
Curry leaves - few
Turmeric Powder -1/2 Tsp
Chilli Powder -1 and 1/2 Tbs
Make omelets without adding salt , cut into small pieces and set aside. Heat  2 tablespoons of oil and add the chopped onions and saute them till they turn light brown. Now add ginger garlic paste ,tomatoes and curry leaves and cook them for 2  minutes .To this add the chilli powder ,turmeric powder,salt and saute them for a minute .Add a cup of water and cook for 5 to 8 minutes.When the water reduces to half  of the initial amount add the egg pieces and cook on low heat until the egg pieces are coated with masala.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


Appam ,Kallappam,Palappam or Hoppers, are a type of food in Kerala and Sri Lankan cuisine.  It is eaten most frequently for breakfast or dinner.Appam looks like a pan cake and is made of rice flour.Its usually eaten with a spicy curry,but my daughter even likes to have it with sugared coconut milk.


Rice Flour – 2 cups
Semolina – 1/3rd cup
Medium coconut milk – 1/2 cup
Thick coconut milk – 1 cup
Yeast – 1/2 teaspoon
Sugar – 2 teaspoon
Salt-1/4 tsp
Water – 3 cups


Add 2 cups of water to semolina and cook. Cook until it looks like porridge.Take 2 cups of rice flour and add  3 cups of water and coconut milk. Add the cooked semolina and mix well.You can do the mixing in a mixie Add the yeast and sugar mix and mix well.Keep it for fermenting it may take from 1 hr to 8 hours depending on the yeast and temperature.If its cold switch on the oven light and leave the batter there. After 3 hrs or when the batter has doubled  mix the batter well and add the thick coconut milk little by little. Add salt and sugar to taste. Heat Appachatti or a pan and  pour 1/4 cup of batter into it and rotate the appachatti and cover and cook for about 2 minutes in medium heat. Once the middle portion is cooked, remove the cover and cook for another 30 seconds uncovered .Remove from fire and serve with stew or curry of your choice.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Cinnamony Apples

Haven't we all heard the saying ,an apple a day keeps the doctor away.Then why wait ! Make this and you wouldn't be sorry .This is a yummy gooey apple dessert that can be had with ice cream ,whipped cream or even with your pancakes.Those of you who have a husband,wife or a child who is a doctor keep yourself away from this as too many apples may keep them away from you.:)
2 medium-large  tart apples, cored, peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoon lemon juice (only needed if the apples are not tart)
1/2 cup water, divided
3 Tablespoons sugar
1 Tablespoon raisins
1/2 Tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
dash ground nutmeg
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
Ice cream  optional
1. In medium-sized saucepan, heat fruit, 1/4 cup water,lemon juice, sugar, raisins, butter, cinnamon, and nutmeg, stirring occasionally, until boiling. Boil just  until fruit is tender.
2. In small bowl, whisk together cornstarch and 1/4 cup water until smooth. Add to fruit mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, and cook for 1-2 minutes, until thickened.
3. Serve warm fruit mixture with ice cream or whipped cream if desired

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Spinach Pizza

Pizza is something my family  loves eating .In our house we don't believe that pizza is an unhealthy food. We  think otherwise, we feel like its a complete meal if combined along with a nice vegetable salad .What else can provide you with your daily carbohydrate,protein,calcium, mineral and vitamins (if you are using vegetable toppings) dose. This is for all the pizza lovers who feel or doesn't feel guilty eating  a pizza,cause this is worth making and worth eating .
Crust Ingredients:
3/4 cup water (110-115 degrees, preferably)
1 teaspoon sugar
2 Tablespoons butter, melted or very softened
2 1/2 cups flour
1 Tablespoon yeast
Other Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon cornmeal (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup cream cheese(I used sun dried tomato flavoured cream cheese)
12 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese or Pepper jack cheese
sliced onions, optional
chopped bell peppers, optional
Fresh spinach few
1/2 cup crumbled paneer or cottage cheese
2 Tablespoons Parmesan cheese
1. If using a bread machine to make pizza dough, put ingredients in bread machine in order listed and set to dough setting.
If making dough by hand, mix water, butter, and sugar in mixing bowl. Add part of the flour and stir. Add the rest of the flour and the yeast, and stir into a dough. Knead for 6-8 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Set dough in bowl and grease the top. Cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise for about 45 minutes.
2. After dough has risen the first time, punch down and knead until air bubbles are removed.
3. Liberally butter a 16-inch round pizza pan, and press dough onto pan. Carefully lift one-half of the crust and fold over (to expose half of the pizza pan). Sprinkle 1/2 Tablespoon cornmeal over pan. Lay crust back in place and repeat on other half, so that there is cornmeal sprinkled between entire layer of crust and pan.
4. Spread the cheese spread. Sprinkle on cheese and any optional toppings desired. Now you can arrange the onions and spinach leaves sprinkle crumbled paneer and Parmesan cheese last.
5. Place pizza in preheated oven ( 400 degrees). Bake for 10 minutes; rotate crust and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes or until top is browned. (Be sure to watch so it doesn't burn; every oven is different!)
6. When pizza is browned, turn off heat and open oven door. Leave pizza in oven until ready to serve. Then remove from oven, cut, and serve.If you like spicy pizzas you can sprinkle some chilli flakes before eating. And if there is leftover pizza, we often put the pieces directly on a cooling rack to cool, which prevents condensation forming between the crust and pan.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Vegetable Cutlets

Cutlets are my all time favorite snack and so is my husband's.The reason behind this may be because both my mom and my MIL makes very tasty cutlets .My recipe is a blend of both of their recipes and this is one that I have followed for the past 10 years without much change, as I haven't found a better one than this.;)
  1. Carrot-1 big
  2. Beetroot-1/2
  3. Beans-6
  4. Potato-2
  5. Green chilli-1
  6. Peppercorns-16
  7. Fennel seeds-1/2 tsp
  8. Turmeric-1/4tsp
  9. Cloves-3
  10. Garlic-5 cloves
  11. Ginger-1" piece
  12. Onion-1
  13. Curry leaves-1 sprig
  14. Salt-to taste
  15. Garam masala powder-1 tsp
  16. Egg-1
  17. Bread crumbs-1 cup
Cut the first 4 ingredients  into 1/4 inch pieces and pressure cook  for 1 and 1/2 minutes after adding 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Drain off any excess water and keep it aside .Grind the ingredients 5 to 11 to a paste. Meanwhile saute onion and curry leaves till onion turns light brown ,then add the ground paste and saute till the raw smell of ginger and garlic turns to a cooked smell .This will take around 2 minutes. Now add the garam masala powder and saute for another minute. Add the drained vegetables and saute till there is no trace of  water. Check for the salt and if needed add more salt. After the vegetable mix cools down, make small balls and then flatten them lightly.Dip the flattened balls in the beaten egg and roll them in the breadcrumbs and shallow fry till they turn golden brown. 

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Devil's Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream filling

There is this bloggers group called "Sweet Punch", started by Ria, Divya and Maria, which conducts monthly baking challenges. I had joined this group as I love making and eating anything sweet. What more an excuse I need to try out new sweet dishes!
This is their second challenge. I somehow missed their first.
Our last month's challenge was to make Devil's Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream filling based on the recipe from  Baking Bites.

This recipe was quit simple, and I didn't have any difficulty following it. The problem, if I can say so, was the vanilla filling, which turned out a little lighter in consistency than expected - this was because I reduced the quantity of the all purpose flour mentioned in the recipe!. But when I kept the filling in the fridge for sometime, it thickened to the desired consistency somewhat.
Another thing that I goofed up was adding sugar the one that we get here in US to the Chocolate Buttercream instead of using confectioner's sugar which I think was called for in the recipe .Though the buttercream turned out a bit grainy we liked it that way.Lucky me.

As per my tasters, my daughter and my husband, this turned out to be one of my best cakes. The cupcakes were soft, moist and delicious and the vanilla filling was a sweet surprise which everyone liked.

Here is the recipe:

Recipe source - Baking Bites

1/2 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream (low fat or full) -
can be substituted with yogurt or cream mixed with a tsp of yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2-oz dark chocolate
1 cup water, boiling

Preheat the oven to 350F and lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins.
In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light.
Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by sour cream and vanilla extract.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda and salt.
Add half of flour mixture to the butter mixture, followed by the sour cream and vanilla extract, followed by the addition of the rest of the flour mix.
Stir well between each addition and mix until no streaks of flour remain.
Stir the cocoa powder and the dark chocolate into the boiling water (easiest in a large measuring cup).
Pour chocolate water into the rest of the batter and stir until uniform.
Evenly distribute batter into prepared baking cups. Bake for 13-15 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed. (It’s fine if you can’t fit both trays into the oven at the same time, just wait until one batch finishes before putting in the second pan)
Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting and filling.

Vanilla Cream FillingChocolate Buttercream Frosting
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat, with an electric mixer, until frosting is creamy, 3-5 minutes. Add additional powdered sugar as needed to achieve a thick, but not stiff, frosting that is easy to spread. Add additional milk, if necessary, to thin the frosting if it gets too thick.
(A photo how-to of the assembly method can be 
found here.) Take a cooled cupcake and, using a small pairing knife, cut a cone of cake (1-inch across by 1-inch deep) out of the top. Trim off the pointy end of the cone, leaving a flat circle of cake. Set aside and repeat this process for all the cupcakes.
Take the cream filling and squeeze a tablespoon or so into each cupcake cavity, filling the hole up to the top with filling. Top off with a flat circle of cake to plug the hole and keep the filling in place.

Using a butter knife or a small offset spatula, frost each cupcake with a layer of chocolate buttercream frosting. Place a dollop of icing in the center of the cupcake (on top of the cut out circle of cake) and spread from the center to the sides of the cupcake.
If you have leftover filling, transfer it to a fresh ziploc bag and cut a very small opening in one corner. Pipe a swirly line down the center of each cupcake.
Store in an airtight container until ready to serve.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chilli Beef

For this 4th of July weekend, we had some guests from India, who requested something non-vegetarian and spicy - as they get in India. We don't cook non-vegetarian dishes now a days, unless we are entertaining somebody. This is originally the recipe for Chilli-chicken that my mom used to make, but I tried it with beef and from the comments I got, it turned out just as good.

Serves 4
Beef - 2 lbs (stew cut preferably)
Green chilli - 90 gms , diced
Onion - 2
Soy sauce - 1/4 cup
Vinegar - 1 dsp
Ginger, garlic - 50 gms each
Salt - to taste
Spring onion - 2

If the beef is uncut, cut it into 1/2'' cubes, apply soy sauce, vinegar and salt and marinate for 15 minutes. Pressure cook the meat (without adding any water), for 15 minutes in low flame after steam comes and you put the weight. Now heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan or kadai and add the ground ginger and garlic.. Add onion and chilli and saute till the onions turn light brown. Add the cooked meat along with any gravy left in the cooker to the pan. Let the gravy dry. In case of less chilli, you can compensate by adding chilli powder. Garnish with spring onions.
Note: Instead of vinegar, you can also use lemon-juice also.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Pea Pulav

This is a simple, wholesome and quick-fix recipe which doesn't look or taste anything like you made it in a few minutes! This goes well with spicy curries or just with some cucumber salad.
Serves 4
Rice - 2 cups (preferably, Basmati or Jasmine rice)
Green peas - 1 1/2 cups (I always use frozen green peas)
Ghee - 2 tbs
Onion - 2 (sliced)
Cardomom - 4
Cloves - 6
Cinnamon - 1'' stick
Salt - to taste
Wash and soak the rice in water for 1/2 an hour. Drain the water. Heat the pressure cooker and add 1 tbs ghee first. Fry the sliced onions till they turn golden brown. Remove the onions and drain them and keep aside. Add the remaining ghee and put the whole spices in the cooker. Now add the rice and saute for a minute. Add the green peas and saute for another minute. Now add 3 cups of water and salt to taste. Close the lid of the pressure cooker and when the steam comes, put the weight on and cook in low flame for 5 minutes.
After you open the lid, stir in the fried onion and you are ready to go!.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Baked Spicy Eggplants

This is a dish my mom used to make, but in her version she used to shallow fry. I thought of a healthier and easier alternative and it turned out just as tasty :-)
Serves 4
1.Egg plant-4
2.Chilli powder-1tsp
4.Salt-1/4 tsp
Cut the eggplant into thin slices (about 5mm thick).Mix the rest of the ingredients with 1 teaspoon water and apply on to the eggplant slices,place the slices on to a greased baking tray and bake it at 350 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn the slices after the first 7 minutes and spray some oil on it before placing it back in the oven.
Take it out after 15 minutes or when you feel it is ready (cooking time may depend on the thickness of the slices and the oven you use)
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