Friday, August 29, 2014

Elai Ada

Elai ada is made as an offering on Uthradam  and Thiruvonam day to Lord Vamana and the King Mahabali. Today being Atham, the beginning of Onam festivites  and also being Ganesh Chaturthi, I made this delicacy as an offering to Lord Ganesha. Elai ada can be made with rice flour also. The method for making it with rice flour is the same as that of making the Modak covering posted earlier. The method posted today uses ground rice, I find Ada made this way softer and tastier.

Recipe Adapted from: Ammupatti's thought
Fresh grated coconut: 2 cups
Jaggery: 1 and 1/2 cups
Cardamom powder:1/2 tsp
Raw rice: 1 cup
Parboiled rice: 1 cup
Vegetable oil: 1 tbsp
Banana leaves- I used 9 pieces ( 8x8 inch pieces)
Salt: a pinch

Soak the rice for 5 hours and grind to a thick smooth paste. Add the salt . It should be of spreading consistency. Add the oil to this paste and mix well.

Make a syrup using the jaggery. Now strain this syrup and add the coconut to it this. Keep stirring and cooking until all the water is absorbed.  At this stage add the ghee and stir till  the contents leave the side of the pan. Remove from fire and add cardamom powder.

Trim off the tough side of the leaf, run the leaf quickly over a flame to soften it and make it more pliable. When it changes from dull to shiny, it is soft enough.

Now take each leaf, spread a ladle full of rice flour as a thin layer. Now, spread 2 tbsp of prepared filling on top of this layer, but covering only about ¾th of the layer. Fold the banana leaf into half, place it in a steamer. Repeat for all the leaves, and steam for 25-30 minutes. When it is done, the Ada should not stick to the leaf when opened.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Devil’s Food Layer Cake

Today Aishwarya turned thirteen and to celebrate her officially turning a teen I made this cake. This cake was super chocolatey,and so delicious. Add to that the decoration part is super easy. This tastes awesome with  a big glass of milk to go with it . If you are a chocolate fan or need a mood booster do try this out. The cake sure made me feel better, even after realizing that I was now the parent of a teenager.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful daughter! It's hard to believe that you are 13 already, I am so proud of you.  Love you to the moon and back
Recipe source: Williams Sonoma
 For the cake:
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. fine sea salt
2 cups granulated sugar
10 Tbs. (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups buttermilk

For the chocolate frosting:
3 3/4 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
8 Tbs. (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream /Sour cream , or as needed

Maraschino cherries  as needed
Pirouette cookies
To make the cake, preheat an oven to 350°F. Lightly butter two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out the excess.

In a small heatproof bowl, whisk together the boiling water and cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool completely.

In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the granulated sugar and butter on medium-high speed until the mixture is light in color and texture, about 3 minutes. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then beat in the vanilla and the cooled cocoa mixture.

Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk and beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat until smooth, stopping the mixer occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and smooth the tops.

Bake the cakes until they begin to pull away from the sides of the pans, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer the pans to wire racks and let cool for 15 minutes. Run a knife around the inside of each pan to release the cake. Invert the pans onto the racks, lift off the pans and peel the parchment paper off the cakes. Turn the cakes right side up and let cool completely.

Meanwhile, make the chocolate frosting: In a bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder. Using the mixer, beat in the butter on low speed until it is crumbly. Beat in the vanilla, then gradually beat in enough of the cream/ sour cream to make a spreadable frosting.

Place 1 cake layer, bottom side up, on a cake plate. Using an icing spatula, spread the top of the layer with a generous 1/2 cup of the frosting. Place the second layer, top side down, on top of the first layer. Frost the top and then the sides with the remaining frosting. I decorated the top with cherries and around the cake with pirouette cookies Slice the cake into thick wedges and serve. 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Thin crust Pizza

Friday nights are pizza nights at our home. We love to have variety, so we always try different versions like thin crust /thick crust as well as different toppings. Mostly this thin crust is the base when I make thin crust pizza. The toppings are typically based on what we feel like having that day or what I have in my pantry.
Recipe source: Tammy's Recipes
Crust Ingredients:
1 cup warm water (110 degrees)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 to 2.5 cups bread flour (or all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons active dry yeast

Sauce Ingredients:
1/3 cup Light or Fat Free Italian salad dressing
2-3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of black pepper
or you can just use pizza sauce of your choice

3-4 cups (12-16 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup Sun Dried tomatoes
1/2 to 3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/3 cup diced onions, optional
1 cup (or one small handful) fresh baby spinach leaves
1 medium-large Roma tomato, diced
Crushed red pepper, for serving (optional)
Parmesan cheese, for serving (optional)

 To make pizza crust, combine warm water and salt in a mixing bowl. Add about 2 cups of the flour, along with the yeast, and stir until a sticky dough forms. Add more flour as needed, and knead dough with clean hands until a soft, elastic dough forms. Knead for 5 minutes or so.
 Liberally butter a 16-inch round pizza pan. With clean buttery hands, spread and press the dough into the pan to form a pizza crust.

 Mix sauce ingredients together and spread over the dough. Sprinkle toppings on.  The toppings are listed  in the order  that is preferred to add them (sun dried tomatoes can get too dark if they're added last; the spinach shrinks substantially as it cooks and will look like a lot less in the end!).

If you like a thinner crust, pre-heat oven and bake immediately. If you prefer a slightly thicker/fluffier crust, allow pizza to rest for 15-20 minutes before baking.

 Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees. Bake pizza for 10-12 minutes, until the crust is browned on bottom and the toppings are hot and bubbly.

If  using a thinner, non-stick pizza pan, bake it on the top oven rack. For a heavier/thicker stainless steel pan, use the bottom oven rack to ensure that the crust gets fully cooked.
 Remove pizza from oven; cut into slices after about 5 minutes. Serve with crushed red pepper and Parmesan cheese if desired.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Spicy Orange Tofu

For the vegetarians who are looking for a veggie version of spicy orange chicken, here is a good recipe you can use. Though you can buy the sauce for this in some stores, it isn't that difficult to put together the sauce yourself as most of the ingredients would be there in almost any kitchen or can be acquired easily. I know you would all agree when I say home made is always better than store-bought. So why wait? Go try this tomorrow. This goes well with fried-rice or with Indian breads like chapati.

Ingredients for Sauce
1 cup chicken broth/veggie broth
1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 teaspoon Sriracha, or more, to taste; can be substituted with chilli paste
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
To make the marinade, whisk together chicken broth, orange juice, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, orange zest, Sriracha, ginger and white pepper in a large bowl. In a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil and stir in 2 tablespoons cornstarch combined with 2 tablespoons water. Cook, stirring frequently, until thickened about 1-2 minutes; keep warm.

Rest of the ingredients:
1 block firm tofu, pressed
For cooking:
2 Tbsp canola oil
4-6 cups fresh or frozen veggies (carrots, broccoli, onion, peppers, spinach, summer squash, bok choy, etc.)
To press tofu, place block of tofu on cookie sheet, cover with foil, and weigh it down with a heavy pan (I use a large cast iron skillet). Let press for about 1/2 hour, and add a few more pounds of weight - cans of beans or veggies work great. Let press for at least another 1/2 hour. This will drastically improve the  texture of your  tofu. Cut tofu into small (1/4 in) cubes,  heat a wok or large frying pan with 2 Tbsp canola oil. Add tofu -and cook over high heat until lightly browned tofu. Add veggies as desired ,cook, stirring often, until veggies are just cooked through. Stir in the sauce. Serve with rice or noodles. Makes 3-5 servings
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