Friday, May 29, 2009

Fast & Easy Mughlai Dinner - Any Takers?

No, I haven't disappeared but have been trying to settle into the new place and it has been surprisingly easy... sometimes things just seem to fall into place or it could be the mom-effect (my mom was down to help me settle down and things seemed surprisingly easy)!

I had my first dinner party last week and it turned out pretty well... actually pretty good coz I didn't take pics of the food before the party (yeah, same excuse - no time - baby needed attention et al) and I don't have much left to take pics of! The menu was very North Indian and routine if I may add, Dal Makhani (Maa ki Dal), Paneer Makhani and a regular and easy chicken dish of mine which I have no name for! The dessert which was supposed to be Mango Mouse with Vanilla mango swirl Ice-cream didn't turn out right... but I shall get it right by the time I put up pics :)!

Before starting out on any Indian recipes I ensure my fridge has the 'bhuna hua pyaaz ka masala' in stock. This onion-ginger-garlic paste makes life easy and cooking a breeze. I have mentioned the recipe of this somewhere in my blog earlier - it's just a paste made of about 500gm onions, a couple of cloves of garlic and same amount of grated ginger - I then saute it on low heat with very little oil till it turns a brownish black in color.

The dal and paneer were absolute rip-off's from my mom's recipe and since she was visiting I managed to sneak in and see all the extra things that make her food more yummier than mine!!!!

So this blog is dedicated to my mom and her recipes...

This is my mom's recipe for Dal Makhani and it was an instant hit.


1.5 cups of black whole urad dal with 2-3tbsp of rajma (washed and soaked overnight).
1 medium onion - thinly sliced
4 medium sized boiled and pureed tomatoes
2-3 cloves of garlic diced
2-3 whole kashmiri red chilli
1/2 cup of curd
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup cream

For the tempering

1 small onion finely diced
1-2 tbsp kasoori methi
2 boiled and tomatoes pureed
1 tsp red chilli powder
a pinch of hing

Boil the soaked dal with the garlic, kashmiri red chilli, salt (as per taste) and onions in a pressure cooker and give it at least 1 whistle on high gas and leave it on sim for at least 15 mins. Wait for the cooker to cool - then open and add the pureed tomatoes and curd and put it back in the cooker for about 15-20 mins. When you open the dal now it should be pasty and the water level should be less and you should not be able to see the onions or tomatoes etc any longer.

Prepare the tempering:

In a bit of oil add the hing, red chilli, kassori methi and onions. Once the onions are absolutely soft add the tomatoe puree and cook till it well cooked. Add this to the dal and leave it on sim to boil.

Now add the milk and let it boil. Add the cream to the hot dal and mix. Do not boil after this else the cream will separate. This recipe turned out to be finger licking good.... and it was a relief coz Dal Makhani always sounds sooo tedious but this quick recipe can do wonders to your dinner menu.

Paneer Makhani
5-6tbsp ground kajus (cashew nuts)
2-3 washed, boiled and pureed tomatoes
1tbsp of my onion paste
300gms paneer (cottage cheese)
cream if required
basic masalas - any chicken curry masala, chilli powder, turmeric powder, salt to taste

This recipe is sooo easy that you can sleep walk through it and instantly uplifts your dinner table... In a little oil add the onion paste and tomatoe puree and saute till tomatoes are cooked thoroughly. Add all the masalas to this... about 1tsp red chilli powder, a pinch of turmeric and a good heaping of any chicken curry masala. Now add the ground cashews and saute for 2-3 minutes till the masala becomes thick and pasty. Add water to make a medium consistency curry. Add paneer pieces and stir and your Paneer Makhani is ready :)! Yeah, it's that easy.

My mom's TIP: She marinates the paneer in a bit of yogurt and any good chicken masala (for as little as 10 mins) and sautes it till the water left by the paneer is dry and then adds it to the gravy! This instanly lifts the taste of the dish :)!

I have been meaning to post the recipes since last week but haven't go the opportunity to... pictures to follow soon :)!

My easy-peasy chicken recipe to follow soon too...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

More Mangoes... I just can't have enough of them!

I am in the process of moving houses and haven't had the time to really sit and blog... but I have been trying to use up everything in my fridge and somehow I always seem to find enough mangoes to use in my desserts!

These are pictures of Mango Mousse with a very nice n' crunchy coconut cookie base... The mango mousse was made with hung curd and whipped cream.... will post the recipe soon. Also, since I didn't have Alphono's I've used this mango called Sindoori (shown in picture) - it has a sweet and sour flavor to it so the amount of sugar has to be a bit more than if I had used nice sweet mangoes!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Mango Shrikhand

Having been on a self indulging spree for the last 14 months, I have decided to take stock of my life and gradually start steering myself to my pre-pregnancy days and follow a healthier lifestyle. Blogging has been taking a toll on my waist and not having time to hit the gym is just adding ‘fat’ to the fire! So I decided to start thinking of healthy desserts from today (last night I tried making a molten chocolate cake and couldn’t find enough tiny ramekins to bake it in and made one disaster of a big cake – but the ‘Eton Mess’ tasted soo good – I ended up eating it all – 350gm of dark chocolate, butter n sugar n all – yumm!).

Growing up in Bombay (Maharashtra) and surrounded by loads of Gujarati and Maharashtrian friends I have been lucky enough to savour a variety of cuisines. One of my favorite childhood memories is of eating cool and creamy home-made Shrikhand on hot sweaty days. Shrikhand is made in many flavours – cardamom, saffron and nowadays in any fruit you wish flavor. You also get Amul Shrikhand off the counter isn’t as yummy and healthy as home-made Shrikhand.

Shrikhand is a very versatile ‘food’. Any good Gujarati restaurant serves it as an accompaniment to be in their Thali’s. It can be eaten as is for dessert or in dinner with paranthas or poori. When I was younger and not very calorie conscious I used to really enjoy “shrikhand-poori” but now I can only see the health benefits in this dish. Shrikhand is made of strained yogurt, flavored with ‘elaichi’ and ‘kesar’ and can be sweetened with fresh fruits…. Easy to whip up at home – it is my all time favorite comfort food for the summer months.

The health benefits of yogurt itself have been known for centuries… so this dessert is a no brainer… go ahead and try it out!

Puree of 1 mango - Alphonso preferred but any sweet mango will do.
400gm yogurt - hung for about an hour
1 tbsp castor sugar (you can adjust the sweetness by adding more sugar... I kinda like the slightly sour taste of the yogurt and mango combination and also less sugar equals less calories)
1/4 tsp cardamom powder

Combine the yogurt, sugar, cardamom powder and puree all together till the combination is creamy and smooth. Don't whip since the yogurt can become smoothie like in texture and you want this to be slightly thick. Leave in fridge for an hour to set.

Mine is in the fridge setting itself right now... will add pics as soon as it comes out and if we don't devour it before that!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Very Easy Thai Green Curry

This is an excellent recipe to put together at the last minute if you have people visiting or you are in the mood for spicy curry n rice combo and don’t want to have regular routine food. I was totally done eating the regular 'dal, roti, subzi' combo and put this dish together in literally 30 minutes including the chopping of vegetables et al. I made this with chicken and whatever veggies I had in the fridge but I am going to give you the recipe for what I usually put in my Thai Green Curry.
400gm boneless chicken – cut into bite sized pieces
1 medium capsicum – thinly sliced (red, green or yellow)
1 medium onion – thinly sliced
1 small packet mushrooms – thinly sliced
200gm broccoli - florets cut into bite sized pieces
2-3 tbsp green curry paste (I used to make the paste from scratch but gone are those days...)
1 can Chaokoh coconut milk
2 tsp ginger-garlic paste
I added some peas and califlower to to my curry – other veggies that go well with this are babycorn and water chestnut but feel free to experiment.
Take 2tsp oil of your choice and add ginger-garlic paste and saute for a couple of minutes. Add onions and saute till pink. Then add all the other veggies, half the curry paste and a bit of the coconut milk (enough to soak the veggies) and simmer – my family likes the beggies to absorb the taste of the coconut milk. You can cook them less if you want thtem crunchy. Then add the chicken and remaining coconut milk and green curry paste. Add salt to taste and simmer for about 15 mins – make sure chicken is cooked thoroughly. Served with plain white rice or jasmine rice! This is a super easy and super fast recipe and never fails me :). You can always extra green paste to make it spicier and give it an added zing!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Mango Cream Cake - Part III (Recipe)

Since I am always short on time - I made the cake out of a cake mix and let it dry on the rack. The cake came out a bit dense and didn't rise much. You can either make a round cake or a square cake for the recipe.

Cake - Any kind of dense cake that is easy to roll - not a crumbly or light cake. I used a Pillsbury Moist Vanilla Cake Mix.

Custard Filling:
Milk - 1 Cup
Custard Powder (Vanilla Flavour) - 1.5 tbsp
Mango Puree - 3-4 tsp
Castor Sugar - 2tbsp

Boil the milk, add the custard powder and sugar and stir till you get a thick consistency. Leave in Fridge to cool. If you are running short on time - put the custard in the freezer but keep a check on it that it doesn't set like a pudding - should be easy to spread like a cheeze spread.
Once the custard is a bit cool add the mango puree and stir.

Cream Filling
Double Cream - 1 Cup
Castor Sugar - 2 tbsp
Mango Puree - 3-4 tsp

Whisk the cream and castor sugar till cream starts holding a slight shape. Add the mango puree and fold. Leave in fridge to chill.

While the filling is cooling - cut the cake into strips. Since I had a round cake - I cut it in circles starting from the outside in such a manner that you can make swiss rolls.
Then I folded the custard filling lightly into the cream filling and spread it on the cake strips. I lined a cake tin with foil. I took the biggest strip - made a swiss roll with the filling and put it in the center of the cake. The rest of the strips I the custard filling on it and wrapped it around the center swiss roll. Whatever filling was left I spread evenly on the remaining cake and put it in the freezer to chill.

After two hours - I put a mixture of finely smashed digestive biscuits mixed with a tablespoon of golden syrup and evenly spread it on the top of the cake and pressed it down with a flat spoon.

After another three hours (it's soo hot in Delhi it took extra time to set. If you are in a cool place you can follow the recipe as is. If you are working in a kitchen or with weather that is not quite cool you can use a bit of delatine so that your filling sets well.)

Double Cream - 1 cup
Icing Sugar - 4 tbsp
Mango Puree - 2-3 tsp

While the cake is setting in the freezer. Whisk the cream and icing sugar till slightly stiff. Fold in the puree and leave in the fridge to cool. Min. amount of time 40 mins.

Once the cake is set - invert it on a plate and remove the foil such that the biscuit layer is at the bottom. Ice the cake and leave in the freezer for another 20 minutes to set.

Put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes before setting so that the filling on the cake doest taste frozen.

I just used a bit of bitter chocolate shavings and small mango pieces to decorate the cake but you can beautify it as you want.

Mango Cream Cake - Part II (Pictures...)

Apr 30, 2009 contd.

8:00pm Cake out of the freezer. Not falling apart yet!!! Yayyyy!!!!

8:30pm Cake all iced and put in the freezer for the final lag.

9:45pm Power cut yet again!!!! But thankfully the cake had set, though by the time I started taking the pictures the icing which was made with cream and sugar had started to melt a bit - I don't know what I did wrong - maybe it hadn't set very well in the 1st place???
10:45pm Cake is Mmmmmmmm!!!! Reviews were awesome!!! And I was very very proud of myself because - this cake was an improvisation from my original recipe and turned out scrumptious -this is an original recipe and it is the 1st ever cake I have iced and decorated in my entire life! I have done a few basic melt the choc. and pour on cake type icings but nothing elaborate...
The pictures are not as great as the cake tasted.... but I had to show you the end result!!!! Recipe to follow soon!