29 April 2014

Sweet (Tamarind) Chutney

In my recipe for Green Chutney I had mentioned a sweet Tamarind-based chutney as well that is usually served with Indian snacks. Here's the recipe for it......

                                                       SWEET (TAMARIND) CHUTNEY

Ingredients :

De-seeded dates
Tamarind paste - 2 to 3 tbsps
Jaggery - 1/2 cup (You can reduce this if you don't want it too sweet)
Red Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
Jeera (Cumin seeds) powder - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Method :

1. Combine chopped dates, tamarind paste and jaggery and pressure cook along with 1 cup water, up to 2 to 3 whistles. Alternately, you can also use a saucepan and cook till dates become soft. Let cool.

2. Blend to a smooth paste. Strain this into a bowl to remove any lumps and/or impurities.

3. Add water to adjust consistency as required and mix well. Now add the chilli powder, jeera powder, pinch salt and mix again.
Serve as desired. 

Green Chutney

Most Indian savouries, especially in North India are served with two chutneys - a sweet one made of Tamarind and Dates, and a green one made of Mint and coriander leaves.

This recipe is a typical method for the green chutney, which goes very well with Samosas, Kachoris and other chaat preparations. Here goes......

                                                                  GREEN CHUTNEY

Ingredients :

Mint leaves - 2 cups
Coriander leaves - 1 cup
Green chillies - 3 to 4
Ginger - 1/2 inch piece
Juice of 1/2 a lemon / 1/2 inch piece of tamarind
Salt to taste

Method :

1. Wash and chop the mint and coriander leaves roughly, i.e, not too fine as we will be blending them anyway.

2. Add them to a blender along with all the other ingredients. The idea behind using lemon juice OR tamarind is to cut down the sharp flavour of mint and green chillies and yet enhance the overall taste.

3. Transfer to a bowl and serve. Alternatively, you can also preserve the chutney in the refrigerator for up to 10 days, for use with sandwiches or simply any snack you fancy!!!

Instant Carrot Pickle

India is a country famous for many of its signature pickles, the popular varieties being Mango, Lime and Vegetable. During my early life in Delhi, I had the wonderful privilege of eating at the famous shops - Punjab Sweet Shop and Roshan Di Kulfi in Karol Bagh. Their Chole Bhature was out of this world, and am sure is still the case!!! But this recipe I am about to share is about the simple and instant carrot pickle they would serve with the Chole Bhature and would compliment the main dish wonderfully.
Typically most North Indian pickles use Mustard Oil; I have used sesame oil which is an equally good preservative.
This pickle is very quick and easy to make; I am listing below two methods to prepare the pickle; one uses green chillies and the other red chilli powder. Rest assured, both turn out fantastic :)

                                                     INSTANT CARROT PICKLE


Ingredients :

Tender Carrots - 7 to 8
Green chillies - 2
Sesame Oil - 1 tbsp
Yellow Mustard - 1 tsp
lemon Juice - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - a pinch
Salt - 1 tsp

Method :

1. Cut the carrots into 1 inch long sticks. Slit the green chillies lengthwise

2. Add the two to a mixing bowl. Add the lemon juice, turmeric powder and salt and check for taste.

3. Heat oil and add the mustard seeds. When they crackle, pour over the pickle and mix well. Let rest for 1/2 hour and serve.
This pickle can last out for 2 to 3 days when refreigerated.




Tender Carrots - 7 to 8
Fenugreek (Methi) Seeds - 1/4 tsp
Oil - 1 tbsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Mustard Seeds - 1 tsp
Asafoetida powder (Hing) - a pinch
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp

Method :

1. Cut the carrots as in the first method. Add to a mixing bowl.

2. Heat a pan and dry roast the fenugreek seeds. Cool slightly and grind to a coarse powder

3. Heat oil in another pan, add the mustard seeds, ground fenugreek powder, asafoetida powder, turmeric powder and chilli powder.

4. Pour this tempering over the carrots and mix well. Add salt to taste and let rest for 1/2 hour before serving. Lemon juice can be added for little tanginess as well.
Shelf life, when refrigerated is 2 to 3 days.

28 April 2014

Apple Crumble Tart

The word 'Tart' brings into view deliciously sinful fruit tarts, ready to be cut and devoured. It's typically a pastry base baked along with a filling, usually fruit and/or custard.

Here we attempt an apple tart using crumbled flour. Where apple goes, cinnamon typically follows, one enhancing the flavour of the other like a match made in heaven!! But just as in a relationship, too much of anything spoils the flavour :) so while using cinnamon more than required can take over the flavour of the ripe apples, using too less will make no difference to the taste....

                                                             Apple Crumble Tart

Ingredients :
For Tart base -
Refined Flour - 150 gms
Chilled Butter - 100 gms
Brown sugar - 50 gms

For Apple filling -
Apples - 3
Butter - 50 gms
Brown sugar - 75 gms
Cinnamon powder - 1 tsp
Bread crumbs - 50 gms
Raisins - 2 tbsps
Crushed walnuts - 1 tbsp

For the Crumble - (one can use coarsely powdered digestive biscuits instead as well)
Flour - 50 gms
Brown Sugar - 50 gms
Butter - 50 gms

Method :

1. Preheat oven at 180 dec C.

2. For the tart base, rub the chilled butter into the flour so it starts feeling crumbly. Do not rub in too hard to avoid butter melting. We do not want a stretchy dough. Add the sugar and assemble into a rough dough. Using your hands, spread this on to a greased tart pan. Refrigerate for an hour.

3. To make the filling, peel and finely chop the apples. Melt butter in a pan, add the apples and stir well. Add other ingredients one by one and mix. Remove from flame and cool slightly.

4. Take out the chilled tart base and spread the apple filling in the centre.

5. Mix together the ingredients for the crumble, or simply use coarsely powdered Digestive biscuits. Sprinkle on top of the apple filling. Bake in the oven at 180 deg for 25-30 mins. Remove and cool for 5-7 minutes on a wire rack. Serve slightly warm.

15 April 2014

Paneer Koftas in Capsicum Makhani

Paneer or Indian cheese is an amazing ingredient which can be suited and adapted for most cuisines. It can be cut into blocks and used for lip-smacking Tikkas or crumbled up for dumplings served in gravy.
Paneer is an excellent source of calcium. I read somewhere that adults above the age of 40, especially women should have a bowl of fresh paneer and boiled peas salad everyday as it is a fantastic supplement of Estrogen.

How to make Paneer :

Milk - 1 ltr
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Boil milk in a heavy-bottom saucepan.
2. As it reaches boiling point, add the juice of a lemon and let the milk curdle.
3. Strain by using a muslin cloth on a strainer. If the recipe uses fresh and/or crumbled paneer, use as is. Else place in a container and refrigerate till set.
Tip : Do not discard the 'whey'; this can be used within the next 2-3 days (refrigerated) and can come in handy for preparing chapati/paratha dough, etc..


Ingredients :

For capsicum makhani gravy : (Or you could simply use 2 packets of Maggi Bhuna Masala - Makhani variant, if available)
Large tomatoes (blanched and peeled) - 3
Capsicum - 1 (diced)
Cloves - 2
Butter - 1 tbsp
Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
Ginger-garlic paste - 2 tsps
Onion - 1 large (ground)
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Garam masala - 1/4 tsp
Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves) -1/2 tsp
Tomato ketchup - 1 tsp
salt to taste
Cream - 3 tbsps

Paneer Koftas :
Crumbled Paneer - 1 cup
Green chillies (chopped) - 2 (1 if large)
Chopped coriander - 2 tbsps
Salt to taste
Maida - 1 tbsp
Cornstarch - 1 tbsp

Other :
Chopped dhaniya - for garnishing

Method :

1. For the koftas or dumplings, blend together Paneer, green chillies, dhaniya and salt. Transfer to a bowl and add the maida and cornstarch. Mix gently and refrigerate for about 30 minutes

2. For the gravy, heat oil or ghee in a pan. sprinkle jeera and let crackle.

3. Add the ginger-garlic paste followed by the onion paste. Cook the two well. Add capsicum and cook for about 5 minutes.

4. Now add the tomato paste, chilli powder, kasuri methi, garam masala, tomato ketchup and fresh cream (in the end) and stir well. Let cook for about 7-8 minutes. Best to cover, so the aroma is retained. Take care to not let the capsicum become too soggy, but should retain some crunchiness. (I must add here that when I opened the lid, the aroma of capsicum cooked in the gravy was simply heavenly!!)

5. To prepare the koftas. prepare a paste of maida and just enough water to get a thick paste. Make small rounds of the paneer mix, dab some dry flour on your hands if the mix is sticky.

6. Dip the rolls in the maida paste and fry on medium heat till golden brown. Before doing this, always drop a small tester round into the oil to see if it breaks and paneer starts oozing out. If it does, add a little maida to the mixture to get a better binding. Strain the excess oil from the koftas and keep aside.

7. Warm the gravy. On a serving dish place the dumplings or koftas and pour the gravy gently on top. Garnish with chopped coriander.
Serve with chapatis or rice.

13 April 2014

Eggless Banana Cake

I love baking (and trying to bake!!) delicious cakes and cookies for my parents...In my endeavour to look up new and interesting recipes, it's been a constant challenge for me to use alternatives for eggs(especially for my mother) in those recipes and yet get a satisfactory result.
Though the World Wide Web abounds with eggless recipes, I try to use my own measurements and experiment with what works best and not and thus understand the logic behind the ingredient...
The following recipe is one such experiment which came out delightfully soft and tasty. The use of banana, condensed milk and curd make for good binding agents that give the cake a nice texture and structure. Depending on the type and sweetness quotient of the banana you use (also because of condensed milk, which is pre-sweetened), adjust the sugar measurement to avoid over-sweetening.

Eggless Banana Cake

Ingredients :

Maida - 2 cups
Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
Salt - a pinch
Demerara or brown sugar - 3/4 cup (If using white sugar, reduce quantity to 1/2 cup)
Cocoa Powder - 1 tsp
Curd - 1/4 cup
Condensed Milk - 1/4 cup
Softened butter - 1/4 cup
Bananas - 2 (Pureed)
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
Water - 50 ml

For Topping (optional)
Dark Chocolate - 1 cup
Milk or cream - 2 tbsps

Method :

1. Sift together maida, baking powder, Salt and cocoa powder. The sifting process is very important as it opens up the flour.

2. Add the softened butter and sugar to a bowl and whisk well till sugar dissolves. Add condensed milk, vanilla essence and 25 ml water and beat till frothy.

3. Now add the curd and mix lightly with a hand whisk. Gradually add a small measure of the pureed bananas, followed by a cup of the flour mix; continue to add the two alternatively. Fold in with a light hand using a wooden ladle. Make sure to leave no lumps.

4. Preheat over to 200 degrees C. Grease a baking dish and pour the batter into it. Bake for about 30 mins or till the knife comes out clean. Remember to not over-bake as the cake firms up more upon cooling.

5. Meanwhile, prepare the chocolate sauce by heating chocolate in a double boiler along with milk to make it softer. If using cream, add it after the chocolate has melted.

5. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool. Spread the chocolate sauce over the cake and decorate as desired.

Variations : - You can also add crushed walnuts or pecan nuts. raisins and chocolate chips to the batter to make the cake richer. The kitchen is your laboratory, so don't be shy of innovating :))
Suggested serving - warm the cake slightly before serving.

11 April 2014

Peas - Pudina Rotis

Last Sunday my mother fished out a recipe for Peas Bruschetta (can't recall where she got it from now) and we had it for breakfast. The filling was simply out of this world.
However, we ended up with some leftover filling and we promptly deposited it in the refrigerator for future sandwiches.
Last night, to break the monotony of standard rotis, I recalled the filling in the fridge and you know what comes next!! Yep......


Ingredients :

Peas Filling -
Green peas - 1 cup
Pudina/Mint leaves - 10 to 12
Coriander leaves - 1/2 cup (chopped)
Green chilly -1
Grated Cheese - 1/4 cup
Salt and pepper to taste

For Dough -
Wheat flour - 1.5 cups
Salt to taste
Oil - 1 tbsp

Method : 

1. Grind together all the ingredients for the filling in a mixer using very little water. Keep aside

2. In a food processor, or bowl, add the ground mixture, wheat flour, salt, oil and knead a firm dough using sufficient water. Let rest for about 8 to 10 minutes

3. Prepare thick rotis or parathas and cook using ghee / oil on a hot tawa.
Serve as desired.