Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jeera Rice

The party season is on. Though the Thanksgiving  is over, the party schedule still remains hectic - with both hosting and participating. I have already started planning the dishes for Christmas and New Year. I know a lot of you out there would be like me, who loves planning ahead.
Jeera rice is a rice dish that I always include in most of my lunch or dinner parties. One reason is that this goes well with any of the Indian curry preparations. Another reason is that it is an easy, yet deliciously flavorful rice preparation.
Recipe source: Vah Re Vah
1 cup basmati rice (pre soaked  for 30 minutes)
1tbs butter or ghee
1/4 cup cilantro
2 green chilli
1 tsp jeera (cumin)
1/8 cup mint (optional)
1 pinch saffron (optional)
to taste salt
1 and 1/2 cup water
Heat ghee in a pressure cooker.Add cumin and once they splutter,add green chilli , mint and cilantro and saute for a minute. Add water  and  add presoaked rice along with saffron and salt. Pressure cook this for 5 minutes after steam comes and you put the weight on at low heat. Serve this with raita and curry of your choice.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Creamy Oreo Pie

My aunt  was telling me about their Thanksgiving lunch and she mentioned about the Oreo Pie that they had for dessert. It was made by her daughter - my cousin, Aswathi ; making desserts being one of her many talents. This was the first time I was hearing about an Oreo pie, though I knew about using Oreos to make cheesecakes. On my request she shared the recipe with me - to be shared with all of you.  This is a no-bake recipe, so easy to put together. This can be easily made even by those budding cooks. And the final product is guaranteed to be delicious. 
This can also be made as a single big pie in a 9" pan, in which case the only change you may need to make is to double the ingredients.
Hope you will all enjoy this as we did.
Thank you my dear sis for sharing this wonderful recipe. Looking forward to more such delicious contributions from you.
4-ounce whipped cream/cool whip(about 1 cup)
1/2 package Oreo cookies (about 20 cookies)
1/2 a  package of cream cheese,4-ounce softened
1/6 cup sugar
1/8 cup butter (1/4 stick), melted
4 individual cups/bowls
Crush 12 Oreo cookies in your food processor. (You can also put them in a ziplock bag and smash them).
In a  bowl, mix the crushed Oreos with melted butter. This is the bottom layer (crust). Divide the crust evenly among your 4 cups. Press the cookie crumbs down firmly.
Crush 6 more cookies and set aside.
In your food processor, or with your mixer, combine softened cream cheese with sugar. Mix until light and fluffy.
By hand, mix in whipped cream or cool whip, and the 6 crushed cookies . When everything is mixed well, divide the mixture among the 4 cups.
Crush the remaining cookies, or cut them in half to garnish each cup.
Allow the Oreo Pie Cups to rest in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving celebration without a pie, especially a Pumpkin pie, is incomplete. If you want to get that taste of the home made pie, but is pressed for time with all the Thanksgiving dinner preparations going on, you may resort to a pre-made pie shell and make your own fillings. This will cut the time and effort for making a pie into half.  You can still enjoy a scrumptious semi-home made Pumpkin pie.
Happy Thanksgiving to all.
Two 8-inch pie shells
3 eggs
2 3/4 cups pumpkin puree
1 cup brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/4 cups milk
For serving:
Whipped cream
In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add pumpkin puree, sugar, salt, and spices and mix well. Add cream and milk and beat on low until combined.
Pour filling into pie shells. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Bake pies on middle rack for 15 minutes.
Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees and bake for about 40 minutes longer, until filling is thickened, tops are lightly browned, and/or a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (or mostly clean). If you're making a bigger pie, or an especially deep pie, you will need to increase the baking time. Cool finished pies on a wire rack.
Serve cooled pie with whipped cream on top!
Store leftover pie in the refrigerator.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes 'N Vegetarian Gravy

Even though thanksgiving is a few days away, we had already had a few "advance" thanksgiving get-togethers from this weekend. Mashed potatoes with gravy is part and parcel of a typical thanksgiving meal. Whenever I gets invited to a traditional thanksgiving meal (even  the advance thanksgiving dinners), I typically offer to make the vegetarian gravy so that the hostess would have one less dish to take care of. For yesterday's get together, I made the mashed potatoes as well. One thing I noticed about this gravy  is that its equally loved by both vegetarians and non vegetarians,so I always make it a point to make enough to meet the demand.  It feels great that something you have made is in so much of demand. After all, the proof of the pudding is in eating!
Usually I make the plain mashed potatoes. But this time around, when I came across this recipe, I thought of trying this out as it sounded different and delicious. And it turned out to be such a crowd pleaser.
Recipe source:Foodnetwork and
3 1/2 pounds russet potatoes
2 tablespoons kosher salt
16 fluid ounces (2 cups) half-and-half
6 cloves garlic, crushed
6 ounces grated Parmesan
Peel and dice potatoes, making sure all are relatively the same size. Place in a large saucepan, add the salt, and cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce heat to maintain a rolling boil. Cook until potatoes fall apart when poked with a fork.
Heat the half-and-half and the garlic in a medium saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and set aside.
Remove the potatoes from the heat and drain off the water. Mash and add the garlic-cream mixture and Parmesan; stir to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes so that mixture thickens and then serve.

Vegetarian Gravy

2 tbsp butter
1 onion, diced
2 tbs flour
4 cloves of garlic
1 tsp to 2 tbs cornstarch( as required for your desired thickness)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 tbsp soy sauce
Heat the butter over medium heat in a large skillet and saute the onion for 2 minutes along with the garlic. Add the flour  and saute for 5 more minutes.
Add the vegetable broth and cornstarch, stirring to mix the cornstarch well. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, stirring frequently to make sure no clumps are formed.
Add  soy sauce and reduce heat. Cook for one more minute, stirring.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Dinner Rolls

If you are on a search for a good dinner roll for this Thanksgiving, this would be a good one to try.
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup slightly warm milk
3 tablespoons melted but not hot butter
1 beaten egg
2 tablespoons sugar
2 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Combine wet ingredients plus the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer using the paddle attachment
Add in flour a cup at a time, still using the paddle attachment
Once fully incorporated, switch the dough hook and knead until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl, approximately 10 minutes. The dough will remain quite sticky, this is normal.
Cover and let dough rest in mixing bowl for an hour
Punch down and turn dough out onto a board or countertop, it will still be somewhat sticky so use some bench flour to help keep everything together
Portion into 12 equal pieces and place onto a half sheet pan (use a SILPAT if you have one). We use a scale, which comes to 2.5oz portions, but if that's too Bill Nye for you just make three equal pieces, cut each of those into two and then each of those into two.
Cover and let rise for another hour, remembering to start pre-heating the oven to 350ยบ halfway through
Bake until lightly browned, about 20 minutes.Once out of the oven cover with kitchen towel for 5 minutes.
(Brush with butter if desired)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Boondi Ladoo

Wishing all my friends a Happy and Blessed Deepavali!
I don't make Boondi Ladoo that often. But when I made it this time, I was wondering why I wasn't making it more frequently. I found it almost as easy as making instant gulab jamuns. All these times when I had some guests over at short notice, I used to go for the instant gulab jamuns. But that does't give the "wow" effect like the boondi ladoos. And the best thing is that these tastes much better than those store bought ones. I would recommend this recipe to those who are a little apprehensive about making laddos. Contrary to what you might have heard, it's no rocket science :)
Chickpea Flour (Besan) – 1 cup
Rice flour - 1tsp
Cooking soda - a pinch
Salt - a pinch
Water – 1/2 cup
Oil – for deep frying
For Syrup:
Sugar – 1 cup
Water – 1/2 cup
Yellow color - 2 drops
Cardamom Powder and cloves – 1/4 tsp
Cashews/Almonds/Pistachio – 1/4 cup, powdered
Cashew - 1/4 cup split
Mix sugar & water, let it boil till it reaches almost a one- string syrup consistensy (a string that breaks after it forms).
At this stage remove the syrup from heat mix in the color and cardamom powder and clove. Keep it aside.
In a mixing bowl, mix chickpea flour, cooking soda, salt and rice flour. Add 1/2 cup water. Mix well until there are no more lumps and keep aside. Start heating oil for deep frying.
Once oil is hot, place a small amount of boondi batter onto a boondi maker or flat ladle with holes and gently tap the sides with a spoon to allow batter droplets to fall into the oil. Don't hold the boondi maker more than 1 1/2 inches above the oil, as this would result in elongated boondi. Fry boondi until light golden,do not fry boondi till crispy as the ladoo won't be soft,. remove them from the oil allowing excess oil to drain off and place them directly into the sugar syrup. Mix the fried boondi into the sugar syrup until they get coated.
Note: Wipe the bottom of the boondi maker clean (each time) before continuing to fry remaining boondi.
Once all the boondi is fried and submerged in the sugar syrup, add the nuts and mix well.
Let boondi soak in the syrup for 10 mins to 15 mins.If  your boondi's are large you can slightly crush a bit with your hand before shaping them into balls.
Do not cool the boondi mixture completely , then it will be hard to shape it.While still warm  take a scoop full of boondi mixtrue into your palm and gently squeeze the mixture between the palm to make a round ball.
Ladoos can be kept at room temperature for 1-2 days but should be kept in the refrigerator for any longer time. They should be served at room temperature.
Makes approx. 15 ladoos.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Easy Rasmalai

With Diwali around the corner,I thought of posting an easy and delicious dessert.This has been my go to dessert for Diwali potlucks and parties.You can make this a few hours before your party or a day or two before. Personally I like to make mine atleast a day before,as it tastes so much more better with time.
 15 oz ricotta (use a paper towel to absorb as much water as possible)
 1/2 cups sugar
 5-6 cardamom (get the seeds from the pods and powder it with a mortar and pestle)
 a pinch of saffron (optional but adds a lot of flavor)
 1/2 pack of MTR badam drink mix
 500 ml whole milk
 1/2 cup Cream
 Pre-heat oven to 350°C. Drain water from ricotta using paper towel or cheese cloth.  In a baking dish, mix ricotta, sugar, powdered cardamom and saffron together.Or you may line muffin tray with liner and spread an even layer . Spread into an even layer.Bake for about 50 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
When the ricotta has cooled, slice into squares. Mix cream,milk and badam drink mix together simmer this over medium heat for sometime till the milk mix thicken a bit and pour over the baked cheese ,remove the liner if used . Let it soak for at least a few hours but best to leave it overnight. Cover in plastic wrap and store in fridge.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Japanese Curry Rice


A friend of mine asked me if I knew how to make the Japanese Curry. I was taken aback a little - may be due to my ignorance of Japanese cuisine. I told her that the only curry I know of is the Indian curry, but I was curious to know what this is. Then I came across another friend of mine, who shared with me some instant curry sauce as well as the recipe for making this. Once I made this curry with the instant sauce cubes, I wanted to try making it the traditional way, as this was well liked by my family.
As per what I have heard this is a very popular dish in Japan and the instant sauce cubes are the most widely used ones because of its convenience.
for the roux
1 and 1/2 Tbs butter
1/8 C flour
1 Tbs garam masala (or curry powder)
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (add less if you want it mild or more if you want it spicy)
fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tbs tomato paste
1/2 tbs tonkatsu sauce (or worcestershire sauce)

for the curry
2 tsp oil
1 large onions sliced thin
1 package  mushroom (you could also use beef, shrimp,chicken or tofu)
1 carrots cut into chunks
1 sweet potato
1 cup sliced beans
4 C water
2 large yukon gold potatoes cut into large chunks
1/2 C peas
1 tsp kosher salt (use less if you use regular salt)
1 tsp garam masala
1 tbs tomato paste
4 to 6 garlic cloves
Cilantro a few
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium low heat and add the onions along with garlic cloves. Saute the onions until they are turn translucent add the tomato paste and saute for about 2 minutes,now add the curry powder or garam masala saute for another minute. Add potato , sweet potato, salt and add water and simmer.When the potato is half done add the carrots and sliced beans.Cook till you can pass a fork through the carrots and potatoes .
For the roux, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium low heat. Add the flour and garam masala, stirring until you have a thick paste. Add the cayenne pepper and some fresh ground black pepper and incorporate into the roux. Add the ketchup and tonkatsu sauce and combine. Continue to cook until the paste starts crumbling. Remove from heat and set aside until the veggies are ready.
To make the curry, just laddle about 2 cups of liquid into the roux then whisk until it’s smooth. Pour this mixture back into the other pot and gently stir until thickened. Add the peas and  mushroom and heat through.Garnish with cilantro.
Serve over rice or noodles.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Caramelized Apple

Even if you are a big fruit lover I know there would be days, especially cold ones , when you are in no mood to have fruits. Last few days were such days - all wet and cold with frequent showers. So I thought of making this warm and comforting caramel apples which no one would have a problem having despite the weather. I was right and ended up making it twice in the last 3 days
1/2 tablespoon butter
1 tart apple (peeled, cored, sliced)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup apple juice/cider
a pinch of salt
Melt the butter in a pan. Add the apples, sprinkle on the sugar, cinnamon and salt.Add apple juice or liquid of your choice and let it come to a boil. Stir until it reduces to a syrupy consistency.  Once syrupy, remove from heat. Have this with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.
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