Tuesday, May 21, 2019

Chocolate Lava Cake

While I have heard of chocolate lava cake many times, the first time we actually had one was as a dessert in room service at Crowne Plaza in Canberra few years ago. Since that incident Nandha always wanted to stay in a hotel that has lava cake for dessert. Needless to say we were disappointed in quite a few of our other hotel stays since not many had it in their menu. So as always with my culinary experiments when I can't find something to eat - make them. So here's an attempt at simple pure chocolate lava cake. There could be other versions of this coming up in future. 

Ingredients

  1. Dark chocolate chips or melts - 200 gms
  2. Butter - 200 gms + 50 gms 
  3. Eggs - 5 (3 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks)
  4. Sugar - 1/4 cup
  5. Salt - 1/2 tea spoon
  6. Plain flour - 4 table spoons
  7. Vanilla essence - 2 tea spoons
  8. Cocoa powder - for dusting cup
  9. Powdered sugar - optional for dusting
  10. Vanilla ice cream - optional as accompaniment 
Method

  1. Chop up the 200 gms of butter into small cubes.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together on a glass / ceramic bowl over boiling water until you get a smooth silky ganache.
  3. Set it aside to cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large bowl crack open 3 whole eggs and 2 egg yolks and beat them for a few minutes.
  5. Add the sugar, salt and blend them well using a blender until you get a pale yellow custardy texture.
  6. Add the vanilla essence and blend it well.
  7. Once the chocolate ganache has cooled down (gives you an excuse to have a quick lick) blend it slowly with the egg and sugar mixture pouring maybe about a cup at a time.
  8. Add the flour and slowly blend it in without any lumps. Do not use an electric mixer for this step. The batter is now ready.
  9. Now would be a good time to pre-heat the oven to 150 deg C.
  10. Coat the inside of the ramekins (or any oven proof ceramic bowls) with butter generously until every part of it is covered.
  11. Dust the inside with the cocoa powder so that a thin layer of cocoa layer is formed. Make sure you tap and remove any excess cocoa. Note - your kitchen could and will get messy - just clean it up. ;)
  12. Pour the batter into the ramekins for about a quarter of the cup. Add a chocolate melt or a few chips and cover them up with some more batter until you fill about half the ramekin. Repeat the same on all ramekins until you have the batter left. I used one with 4 inches x 2 inches depth and got enough batter for 4 ramekins.
  13. Bake the batter in ramekins on an oven tray for about 10 minutes. Some tips:
    • It is not ready yet if you take it out and shake the tray and the batter wiggles.
    • It is ready when you see some other crust solid with a few holes formed.
  14. Once baked remove the tray and set it aside to cool for a few minutes.
  15. Place a plate over the ramekin and tilt it upside down. If everything goes well the ramekins should come out clear and smooth. Some tips:
    • If you let it cool down for too long the butter will solidify and make the cake stick to the ramekin. If that happens microwave it for about 5-6 seconds to warm it up.
    • Make sure you don't microwave for too long or you will see the lava bursting up prematurely.
  16. Dust the top with powdered sugar.
  17. Cut open and slice to see the chocolate lava oozing out. 
  18. Serve warm along with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


Happy Baking!!

C

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Schezwan Chilli Baby Corn

Schezwan sauce is such a versatile sauce that can be used to make a variety of dishes.  You can find the recipe for the sauce here. The 1st in those series in Schezwan baby corn. This works very well as a starter / appetiser/ entree / side dish - whatever you like to call. :) You can of course adapt this to make many dishes to replace the baby corn with any bite sized chunky food item - such as paneer, mushrooms, cauliflower (for the veggies) or chicken, prawn or fish. You can also prepare noodles and fried rice - which will be coming up shortly. This is definitely not for those who can't consume spicy food.


Ingredients
  1. Baby corn - 400 gms
  2. Schezwan sauce - 3-4 table spoons
  3. Maida (All purpose flour) - 4 table spoons
  4. Corn flour - 2 table spoons 
  5. Eggs - 2 (for pure vegetarians you can exclude the eggs)
  6. Soya sauce - 3-4 table spoons
  7. Tomato ketchup - 2 table spoons
  8. Sugar - 1 tea spoon
  9. Vinegar - 2-3 table spoons
  10. Minced garlic - 1 bulb
  11. Dice onions - 2-3 table spoons
  12. Kashmiri dried red chillies - 8-10 (you can use normal dried red chillies too)

Method
  1. Depending on the size of your baby corns, you may cut them up into 2 or 3 pieces.
  2. In a wide bowl mix 1 table spoon of the sauce with a pinch of salt and marinade them for about 30 minutes.
  3. Prepare a slightly thick batter with the all purpose flour, corn flour, eggs, 1/2 tea spoon of salt, 1 table spoon of soya sauce and water. Make sure you add water slowly to make sure you don't have a watery batter.
  4. Add the marinated baby corn into the batter and mix well.
  5. In a large wok heat up enough oil (any oil will do) and deep fry the baby corn coated in batter few at a time until it turn slightly brown.
  6. Once done transfer the excess oil to another bowl leaving about 3-4 table spoons of oil in the wok.
  7. In high heat let the wok smoke a bit.
  8. Add the garlic and onions and saute them quickly for about 30 seconds. Make sure you don't burn the garlic.
  9. Add the red chillies, sugar and vinegar and give it a good mix.
  10. Add the deep fried baby corn pieces add tomato sauce and soya sauce. You may add a bit of salt to taste.


Enjoy!!

C

Friday, May 3, 2019

Indo Chinese - Schezwan Chilli Sauce

Every Asian cuisine has an individual flavour of chilli sauce. First of my posts in the sauce series is one such variety - the Indo Chinese version of Schezwan Chilli sauce. As the name denotes this sauce takes inspiration from the Schezwan (also known as Sichuan) province in China where it is known for it spicy cuisine. As in any other Indo Chinese recipe this too has been adapted to Indian taste buds. This is such a versatile sauce that goes as a condiment with other finger food (such as Chicken Lollipop) or as a base sauce to prepare Schezwan noodles or fried rice. Am sure this can be used to make other stir fried dishes as well. So without much further ado...

Ingredients
  1. Kashmiri Chillies - 1 cup
  2. Minced Garlic - 1/2 cup
  3. Minced Ginger - 3 table spoons
  4. Minced celery sticks - 2 table spoons
  5. White vinegar - 2-3 table spoons
  6. Vegetable oil - 1/2 cup
  7. Tomato sauce - 2 table spoons
  8. Sugar - 1 tea spoon
  9. Salt - 1 tea spoon
Method

  1. Soak the chillies in hot water for about 30 minutes.
  2. Chop up the garlic, ginger and celery into tiny mince.
  3. Once soaked blend the chillies into a smooth paste (with the stalks out but the seeds still intact). If you would like your sauce to be less spicy take away some seeds before you blend them.
  4. Heat a wide sauce pan pour the oil and saute the garlic until it slightly turns colour.
  5. Add the ginger and celery and saute for a few minutes until the oil separates.
  6. Add the blended chilli paste and saute in medium to low heat for about 5-10 minutes until water evapourates. Keep stirring while this happens to ensure the sauce doesn't burn.
  7. Close the sauce pan with a lid and let it simmer for another 15 minutes while stirring occasionally.
  8. Remove the lid, add the vinegar, tomato sauce, sugar and salt and simmer it for another 5 minutes. Feel free to play around with these ingredients until you get your preferred taste - something spicy, tangy and just a hint of sweetness.
  9. By now the sauce should be well cooked with oil separating out.
  10. Let it cool to room temperature and store it in an air tight glass bottle. 
This can be refrigerated for at least 2 months or frozen (in a ziploc bag) for many more months.

Enjoy!!

C

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Chicken Lollipops

Chicken Lollipop known by many different names - Chicken Drumstick, Drums of Heaven etc., has been huge hit recently at home while we visit an Indian restaurant nearby. My kids call it "the lollipop restaurant". This is an awesome indo-chinese appetiser (entree) that I tried ages ago and almost forgot about it since not many restaurants outside India served this delicacy. So after a few visits was inspired to recreate it at home. It took a few tries and knowing what part of chicken was best to use. This goes best with Schezwan sauce which will be coming up soon at Chetty's Kitchen.




Ingredients
  1. Chicken wings - at least 4 per person (unless you want a dog fight at home). I bought 16 for the four of us. Make sure you buy the smallest chicken wings possible and the one without the shoulder piece or the winglet.
  2. Corn flour - 1/2 cup
  3. Plain Flour (Maida) - 1 cup (the ratio between Cornflour to Maida should be 1:2 whichever measurement you use)
  4. Egg - 1
  5. Ginger garlic paste - 1 table spoon
  6. Salt - to taste
  7. Lemon juice - 2 tea spoons
  8. Light Soya sauce - 2 table spoons
  9. Kashmiri chilli powder - to taste
  10. Red food colour - 2 pinches (totally optional)

Method

  1. Take a chicken wing and feel out the 2 bones. There will be one thin bone and a thick one. Run a knife around the thin bone, scrape the flesh and remove the bone (by twisting it out).
  2. Run the knife around the remaining bigger bone and scrape the flesh down.
  3. Push the flesh down towards the other end of the bone and roll it up into a ball (loosely). The lollipops are formed now.
  4. In a large bowl mix the ingredients for the marinade - ginger garlic paste, lemon juice, soya sauce, kashmiri chilli and salt.
  5. Marinade the lollipops in the above mix for at least 30 minutes.
  6. While the chicken is being marinated prepare the batter with the egg, corn flour, plain flour, kashmiri chilli powder, salt and food colour. Prepare a fairly thick batter by adding water slowly. 
  7. Heat a deep sauce pan / kadai with vegetable oil. Enough oil to have at least 3 to 4 cms depth. Once hot move the heat to medium / low heat.
  8. Dip the chicken lollipop in the batter and roll it smoothly to maintain the ball shape and immerse them in the hot oil.
  9. Cook on medium heat for about 7 minutes occasionally turning them around.
  10. Drain and serve hot with a spicy Schezwan sauce. You can decorate the bone tips with aluminium foil if you would like.
The result is a crunchy on the outside but juicy on the inside Chicken Lollipop!!

Enjoy!!

C

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Creamy and Spicy Chicken Pasta

It's a common misconception that pasta is typically bland. There is whole range of pasta dishes that can prepared spicy to suit our taste buds. My introduction to pasta was in the form of a masala version of macaroni and cheese that my mom used to prepare. After a few decades I found a version in one of the Italian restaurants (Johnny Carinos to be specific) in USA. A version was posted a while ago (ignore the images though). Since then we have been trying out different spicy variations of pasta. Here is one such recipe inspired by Tasty. So without further ado...

Ingredients
  1. Olive oil - 3 to 4 table spoons
  2. Boneless chicken breast chunks - 600 gms
  3. Mushrooms (I used the brown swiss mushrooms) - 150 gms
  4. Diced Onion - 1
  5. Minced garlic - 1 whole garlic 
  6. Thinly sliced sundried tomatoes - 3 to 4 table spoons
  7. Chicken stock 500 ml
  8. Plain flour (Maida) - 1 tablespoon
  9. Heavy cream 350 ml
  10. Pasta (I used Farfalle any variety other than spaghetti (or noodle like) will work) - 300 gms (1 packet)
  11. Shredded parmesan cheese - 100 g
  12. Cayenne Pepper - to taste as per your spice levels
  13. Black pepper - to taste
  14. Chopped Parsley for garnish

Method

  1. Boil and drain the pasta as per the instructions on the package. Add a pinch of salt.
  2. In a large sauce pan heat the olive oil and saute the diced chicken with a bit of salt and pepper       for about 5 minutes until cooked to about 3/4ths - just until you don't see anything pink. 
  3. Move the chicken out to a separate bowl.
  4. Add some more olive oil and saute the garlic, onions, mushrooms and sundried tomatoes.
  5. Add salt and cayenne pepper to taste. Note that the chicken stock will come with a bit of salt too.
  6. Once the onions are carmelized (brown in colour) add the chicken stock and heavy cream and bring it to boil.
  7. Add the plain flour to thicken the sauce and simmer it for about 5 minutes.
  8. Add the boiled and drained pasta and stir it well.
  9. Add the grated parmesan cheese and stir well.
  10. Garnish with chopped parsley and bit of parmesan cheese and serve hot.


Enjoy!!

C

Monday, April 8, 2019

Andhra Style Ginger Chicken

When it comes to chicken curries each state (probably even districts) seems to come up with a variation that's a specialty to that area. While I don't know which district this came from - ginger chicken curry is definitely a favourite of mine while at one of the "Andhra style" restaurants. As the name denotes this is a chicken curry with a slightly stronger tinge of ginger in it which gives a punch to the curry. I am sure this can also be enjoyed in a semi gravy style simply by reducing the amount of water.

Ingredients

Wet Masala

  1. Red onions - 2 
  2. Shallots - 1/2 cup
  3. Green chillies - 4/5
  4. Garlic - 5/6 cloves
  5. Ginger - 50 gms
Dry Masala
  1. Fennel seeds - 1 table spoon
  2. Cumin - 1 tea spoon
  3. Cardamom seed - 1 tea spoon
  4. Poppy seeds - 1 tea spoon
  5. Cinnamon sticks - 1 or 2
  6. Cloves - 3-4
Other

  1. Chicken with bones - 1 kg
  2. Tomato paste - 2 table spoons
  3. Ginger juliennes - 1 table spoon
  4. Gingelly oil
  5. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tea spoon
  6. Coriander leaves for garnish

Method

  1. Saute the ingredients of the wet masala with a 1 or 2 tablespoon of gingelly oil.
  2. Let it cool down to room temperature and then blend it to a nice paste.
  3. Roast the ingredients of the dry masala. 
  4. Let it cool down to room temperature and grind it to a smooth powder.
  5. Heat a large sauce pan with 4-5 table spoons of gingelly oil.
  6. Saute the wet masala paste and tomato paste for a few minutes until oil separates.
  7. Add the diced up chicken pieces along with the dry masala and mix it up well.
  8. Add 2 cups of water and cook under medium flame for about 20 minutes until chicken cooked well.
  9. Add the ginger juliennes and simmer for a few minutes. 
  10. Serve hot with the crushed coriander leaves as garnish.

Enjoy!!

C

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Prawn Scampi Pasta

Pasta as you probably know comes in different shapes and forms and sauces. I hear I had shared a spicy and creamy version roughly about 8 years ago. This version is not as complicated in terms of ingredients or the process. Of course a more traditional version involves a few more ingredients but I customized this to my preference (in other words what I had in my pantry). A great dish for what they call as a week day dinner fix. Simple, quick and tasty. A more traditional recipe will involve a few more ingredients such as white wine, parsley, Italian herbs etc.,  which I have not used. So without much further ado...


Ingredients

  1. Pasta (500 gms). I used spaghetti but you can use pretty much any type of pasta. Preferably the noodle type ones (spaghetti, linguini, angel hair etc).
  2. Prawns (or Shrimp for in the United States) - 200 gms
  3. Garlic - 10 cloves (finely minced)
  4. Butter - 100 gms
  5. Olive Oil - 2-3 table spoons
  6. Red chilli flakes - to taste
  7. Lemon juice - 2-3 table spoons
  8. Coriander - chopped for garnish (better if you use parsley)
The Method
  1. Cook and drain the pasta as per the package instructions with a teaspoon of salt. Ensure it is not too soft and mushy.
  2. Heat a large wok and melt the butter. Add the olive oil once the butter is melted.
  3. Add the garlic and saute for about a minute without letting it burn. Turn down the heat if needed.
  4. Add the prawns and red chilli flakes and saute until the prawns turn pink. Add salt to taste.
  5. Add the lemon juice and toss it up for about a minute.
  6. Add the cooked pasta and toss it in until the sauce is evenly mixed.
  7. Garnish with chopped coriander (or parsley) leaves and serve.


Happy Cooking!!

C