Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Caramel Spiked Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving without a pie or two is not complete. So here is a pie from our home to yours. This year, as always, we made both the pecan pie and the pumpkin pie. Aishwarya made the pecan pie which turned out perfect and I was all the more challenged to make a perfect pumpkin  pie. Luckily for me it turned out perfect and had all my pie tasters asking for more. It was light, smooth and the best part was it was not mushy like most pumpkin pies are. And the addition of caramel takes this pie to a whole new level. Try this out with some whipped cream and caramel sauce, and its even more irresistible. So if you are still in search of that perfect pumpkin pie with a an extra oomph do try this.
Recipe source:Annie's eats
Yield: 1 9-inch pie
1 (9-inch) partially baked pie crust
1 cup sugar, divided
¾ cup heavy cream, warmed
1 tbsp. dark rum (optional)
2 tbsp. butter, cut into 4 pieces
1 cup pumpkin puree
1¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
¾ tsp. ground ginger
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs

To blind-bake a pie crust, preheat the oven to 400˚ F.  Roll pie dough out on a lightly floured surface to a 12-inch disc.  Place it in a 9-inch pie plate, trimming away the excess and creating decorative edges as desired.  Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with the tines of a fork.  Line the crust with a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper and fill with baking beads.  (If you don’t have baking beads, dried beans or rice also work.)  Bake 25 minutes.  Remove the baking beads and foil and bake about 5-10 minutes more, until light golden.  Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. While pie crust is baking take a medium saucepan, spread ½ cup of the sugar out in an even layer over medium-high heat.  Once the sugar begins to melt and change color, gently mix together so that the sugar is evenly melted.  Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has turned a deep amber color (keep a careful eye on it to be sure it doesn’t burn).  Once it has reached the desired color, remove the pan from the heat.  Add in the cream in a slow steady stream down the inside edge of the saucepan, stirring or whisking constantly to incorporate evenly.  (If any lumps remain, return the pan to the burner over medium heat and cook just until melted.)  Continue mixing in the cream in this manner until it has been completely incorporated.  Stir in the butter and the rum and mix just until smooth.  Set aside the caramel and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

In a bowl, combine the pumpkin puree, remaining ½ cup of sugar, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, cloves and vanilla.  Whisk to blend.  Whisk in the eggs one at a time.  Blend in the caramel.  Pour the filling into the partially baked crust.

Place the pie plate on a baking sheet and transfer to the preheated to oven 350 F.  Bake 45-50 minutes, or until the center is just set and the edges are puffed.  Transfer to a wire rack to let cool at least 30 minutes. Serve with freshly whipped cream and caramel sauce as desired.

Aishwarya's 1st  Pecan Pie :-9

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Peanut Chutney

 If you want to include more protein in a typical south Indian diet, this would be an excellent choice of chutney. This goes with idli, dosa or even you can substitute this for peanut butter on your sandwich or toast.
It can also substitute for hummus as dip. It is tangy, spicy and really, really yummy.

Recipe Source: Vahrehvah.com
Peanuts (roasted)-1 &1/2 cups
Garlic -8 cloves
Tamarind juice- 1/2cup
Chilly powder (paprika )-2 tb or to taste
Salt -to taste
Green chilli-2 or to taste
Oil -2tbs
For tempering
Mustard seeds - 1&1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1&1/2 tsp
Urad dhal-3 tbs
Curry leaves- 3 sprigs
Oil- 2tbs
Hing -3/4 tbs

Heat oil in a pan add garlic when garlic starts to slightly turn golden add roasted peanuts, red chilly powder, tamarind juice, salt, and  mix  all together, switch off the flame, put it into the blender along with green chilli and make a paste adding enough water.
For tempering heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds, when mustard seeds start to splutter, add cumin seeds, Urad dhal and roast this till Urad dhal turns golden, add hing, curry leaves.Switch of the stove and let it cool down. Make this  into a coarse powder using  a blender. When ready to serve mix the  tempering mixture with peanut paste.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup (Hot and Sour Soup)

Since the beginning of fall, as the weather becomes colder, it is difficult to have salads as part of our diet.  The solution I thought of was to have more of soups, different varieties of it. One more reason for this fondness for soups in this season is that starting with Diwali, there are a lot many holidays and festivals till the end of the year and it is a time when we all indulge on heavy, calorie rich foods. So it makes sense to have soups for lunch to compensate for that as well.
Tom Yum soup is popular in Thailand and neighboring countries. It is a clear soup, which is spicy and sour and so perfect for the cold weather.

Recipe Source:About.com
1 t. vegetable oil
1 T. minced fresh garlic
2 t. fresh minced ginger (or sliced galangal)
3-4 thai chilies, seeded and finely diced (optional)
6 cups vegetable stock
2 stalks lemongrass, peeled and chopped into 4-inch pieces
2-3 whole kaffir lime leaves
1-2 t.(Thai roasted chili paset read the label to make sure that all ingredients are vegetarian), plus more for garnishing
2 tablespoons oil of nam prik pao(chilli paste)
1 t. sugar
2 T. soy sauce
2 T. fresh lime juice
1 cup fresh shitake or oyster mushrooms, sliced (if these aren't available, substitute crimini or button mushrooms)
1 cup chopped fresh tomato
1 lb. extra-firm tofu, drained and pressed, then chopped in 1" cubes
Fresh cilantro, for garnishing
Cooked noodles or rice, for serving

In a large stock pot, heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic, minced ginger, and thai chilies (if using). Cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, or until the garlic smells fragrant. Add the stock, lemongrass stalks, and kaffir lime leaves. Bring the mixture to a boil, then turn down the heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
 Using a slotted spoon, remove the lemongrass stalks and kaffir lime leaves. Add the hot chili paste along with the chilli paste oil, sugar, soy sauce and fresh lime juice, stirring to combine, and bring the mixture back to a boil. Add the mushrooms  and cook for 2-3 minutes, or until the mushrooms have just slightly wilted. Turn down the heat to a simmer, then add the fresh tomato and extra firm tofu. Simmer for about 3-5 minutes more. Add salt or other spices as desired and serve hot with your favorite cooked noodles or rice. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and an extra few drops of chili paste if desired.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Khaman Dhokla

Till a few years back I believed making Kaman Dhokla was a very difficult task which only a seasoned cook can accomplish. This may be because most of my Gujarati friends depended on their moms or in laws to make these or resorted to instant versions of dhokla, never daring to try it out themselves. A while ago I saw a few recipes online as well as in magazines for making these, but still I didn't try making them as I was still not convinced. Over an year ago Kaveri, one of my blogger friends posted this on her blog and as I have always gotten  good results from trying out  her recipes I thought of giving this a try. I was so happy with the result that I have made this a zillion times since then. This is so easy to put together and tastes better than any other I have tasted.
Recipe Source: Palakkad Chamayal
Chickpea flour/Besan – 1 Cup
Curd – ½ cup
Water – ¼ cup
Green Chilly – 1 or 2
Ginger – 1 inch piece
Lemon Juice – 1 tsp
Oil – ½ tbsp
Sugar – 1 tsp
Turmeric Powder – a pinch
Eno – 1 packet /1 &1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

For tempering
Oil – 2 tsp
Mustard Seeds – 1 tsp
Green chilly – 1 Slit
Asafoetida – 1/8th teaspoon
Fresh Coriander/Cilantro Leaves for garnish

In a blender add  turmeric powder, salt, sugar, green chilly, ginger, oil,water,lemon juice and curd and whip to smooth.  Add chickpea flour and blend once more to form a smooth batter.Transfer this to a bowl
Meanwhile heat a steamer with water for steaming. Add the eno fruit salt to the chickpea flour mixture mix gently and pour immediately into a  greased cake pan or plate. Steam for 7 to 8 minutes,
Remove and allow to cool.
Heat a small  pan with oil. Add mustard seeds, once they crackle add asafoetida powder and the slit green chilly.
Pour this over the steamed dhokla, garnish with fresh coriander leaves.
Cut into desired shapes and serve with chutney of your choice
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