Tuesday, April 7, 2020

Vaangi Bath which can also be called as Brinjal (Egg Plant) Pulao was first introduced to me by a good old friend Aravind Swami (no not the actor) during my initial stint at the Portland short term boys "hostel". Brinjal was not necessarily my favourite vegetable to consume then, but with Vaangi Bath it turned around in my taste buds. This is one of the top contributions from the Kannadiga food specialities. Am sure there are plenty of ready made store mixes for the masala (MTR being my favourite), it definitely adds flavour when made fresh at home. So here it comes ladies and gentlemen.... 

Ingredients

Masala

  1. Kashmiri red chilli - 3 or 4
  2. Urad dal - 2 teaspoons
  3. Chana dal - 2 teaspoons
  4. Methi / Fenugreek seeds - 1/2 tea spoon
  5. Coriander seeds - 2 tablespoons
  6. Poppy seeds / khas khas - 1 teaspoon
  7. Cinnamon stick - 1 inch
  8. Green Cardamom / Elaichi - 3 or 4
  9. Cloves - 4 or 5
  10. Desicated coconut - 2 table spoons
  11. Roasted peanuts - 2 table spoons
Vangi Bath
  1. Steamed (pressure cooked) rice - Basmati / Sona masoori - 2 cups (before steaming)
  2. Brinjal / Egg plant - 500 gms (diced in 1 inch cubes)
  3. Onion - 1 (thinly sliced)
  4. Red chillies - 3 or 4
  5. Turmeric powder - 1/2 tea spoon
  6. Kashmiri chilli powder - 1 tablespoon
  7. Vangi bath Masala - 2 - 3 tablespoons
  8. Tamarind water - 1/4  to 1/2 cup
  9. Curry leaves - 1 or 2 twigs
  10. Mustard seeds - 1 teaspoon
  11. Vegetable based oil - 4-5 table spoons 
  12. Ghee - 1 table spoon

Method
  1. Dry roast the ingredients of the masala - preferably one at a time. If you are running out of patience feel free to do all of them but keep the poppy seeds, peanuts  and coconut to the end.
  2. Let it cool down to room temperature and grind it to a smooth powder.
  3. Heat a large kadai add some generous (4-5 table spoons) of any vegetable oil.
  4. When hot temper it with mustard seeds until they crackle.
  5. Add the red chillies with curry leaves and saute for a few seconds.
  6. Add the sliced onions and saute until translucent.
  7. Add the tamarind water and bring the mixture to a boil.
  8. Add the diced egg plant along with turmeric and salt to taste and saute until the egg plants have become soft.
  9. Add the powdered Vangi bath masala. Exercise caution if you are not a big fan of spicy food.
  10. Mix well until oil separates. 
  11. Taste the mixture for spicyness and salt. It should be just be just a saltier than what your taste buds would like.
  12. Mix the steam rice well so that the mixture is blended evenly.
  13. Finally add the ghee and mix it well.
Serve hot.

Enjoy!!

C

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Mutton Chops
















Mutton - a meat that I had avoided for a very long time for whatever reasons. I was not a big fan of the gamy flavour. However I got to understand recently that if done well you can camouflage the flavour with the right spices. These days we started making it more frequently for it's iron content apparently good for the ladies in the family. So here's a recipe for a semi-gravy type chops which is a huge hit at home.

Ingredients

Mutton Masala

  1. Coriander - 2 table spoons
  2. Cumin Seeds - 1 tea spoon
  3. Fennel Seeds - 1 tea spoon
  4. Cinnamon sticks - 2
  5. Cloves - 6
  6. Bay leaf - 1
  7. Red chillies - 4
  8. Small star anise - 1
  9. Poppy seeds - 1 table spoon


Chops

  1. Diced Mutton with bone - 1kg
  2. Diced Onions - 2
  3. Garlic - 2 cloves
  4. Shallots - 3
  5. Tomato (small) - 2
  6. Ginger/Garlic paste - 2 table spoon
  7. Cumin seeds  - 1 tea spoon
  8. Fennel seeds - 1 tea spoon
  9. Coriander leaves
  10. Curry leaves
  11. Red Chilli powder - to taste
  12. Black pepper powder
  13. Lemon juice - 1 table spoon
  14. Turmeric powder - 1 pinch
  15. Green chillies - 2
  16. Mustard seeds
  17. Coriander powder - 2 tea spoons


Method
  1. Pressure cook the mutton with turmeric, salt and 2 cloves of garlic for about 7 or 8 whistles.
  2. While it is being pressure cooked, dry roast the ingredients of the masala and let it to cool down.
  3. Saute mustard seeds, fennel and cumin seeds.
  4. Saute onions and green chillies until onions turn translucent.
  5. Add tomatoes and saute until oil separates.
  6. While you wait for the saute to complete grind the roasted masala to a fine powder.
  7. Add ginger garlic and saute until oil separates.
  8. Add coriander powder and the masala and mix well.
  9. Filter the mutton from the pressure cooker and add the pieces.
  10. Use the water used from the pressure cooker to the consistency needed. 
  11. Add salt to taste.
  12. Saute for about 15 minutes.
  13. Add lemon juice and pepper powder and mix well.
  14. Garnish with coriander leaves and curry leaves and serve hot.
Enjoy
C

Monday, March 30, 2020

Shahi Bhindi Masala

Shahi Bhindi Masala - a slight variation from my usual bhindi masala to make it a bit rich, creamy and restauranty.  I remember how much I hated eating bhindi as a kid - but now with this recipe - I can have them over and over. While many spices go into the mix there's something about cashews and cardamoms that add to the texture and flavour to a curry. During these days of lock down when you can't go out and enjoy a meal from a good restaurant- why not bring the restaurant taste to your kitchen (didn't mean the take away) 😏. 


Ingredients

  1. Bhindi/Okra - 1 kg
  2. Red Onions - 2
  3. Tomatoes - 2
  4. Tomato paste - 1 table spoon
  5. Ginger garlic paste - 1 table spoon
  6. Cumin seeds - 1 table spoon
  7. Kashmiri Chilli - 1 table spoon (or less as per your level of spiciness)
  8. Green Cardamom - 6-7 pods
  9. Kasoori methi - 1 table spoon
  10. Cashews - 7-8
  11. Bay leave - 1 or 2
  12. Cinnamon sticks - 2-3
  13. Garam masala - 2 table spoons
  14. Heavy Cream - 2 table spoons
  15. Milk - 1/2 cup
Method
  1. Slit the bhindi along the slides and cut the head off. 
  2. Heat a large sauce pan / kadai with vegetable oil and sautee the cumin seeds for a few seconds.
  3. Saute the onions until they become translucent. You can add a pinch of salt to quicken the process.
  4. Add the diced up tomatoes and saute until they go soft and mushy.
  5. Add cashews and cardamom and saute for a minute and set aside to cool down.
  6. In the same pan heat about half a cup of oil and shallow fry the okra for about 10 minutes until they brown up on the sides, filter the oil and set aside.
  7. Blend the tomato and onion mixture into a smooth paste.
  8. In the same pan (remove a bit of excess oil) and saute the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks for about 30 seconds until the oil gets fragrant. 
  9. Remove the bay leaves and cinnamon sticks.
  10. Add ginger garlic paste and tomato paste and saute for a few minutes.
  11. Add the blended onion-tomato paste and saute for about 5 minutes.
  12. Add the garam masala and crushed kasoori methi and mix it well.
  13. Add the cream, milk and bit of water to required consistency and bring it to a boil.
  14. Add salt to taste.
  15. Add the shallow fried bhindi and mix it well for about a few minutes.

Enjoy!!

C

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Lamingtons - the quintessential Aussie snack for morning (or afternoon) tea. Blog statistics gave a rather sorry picture that the last "new"post I had in this blog was almost a year ago. While I have been trying a few different things a lot has been happening and couldn't get to post recipes. So here I am again with my next post and I hope I can be a bit more regular here. The Lamingtons - history states that this was actually an accident done by a maid at Lord Lamington's residence in Queensland in the early 1900s. Since then it has made it's way to become an Aussie icon. It's a rather simple dessert to make as well. This was prepared by kids for the most part BTW. :) So without further ado...


Ingredients

  1. Eggs - 4
  2. Sugar - 150 gms
  3. Vanilla essence - 1 tea spoon
  4. Plain flour - 140 gms
  5. Baking powder - 1 tea spoon
  6. Salt - a pinch
  7. Butter - 150 gms
  8. Chocolate chips - 220 gms 
  9. Heavy Cream - 3 table spoons
  10. Desicated coconut - 100 gms

The Method


  1. Pre-heat the oven at 170 deg C.
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar for a good 10-15 minutes until you get a nice pale foamy mix.
  3. Sift through the plain flour, baking powder and salt and mix it up slowly along with the vanilla essence.
  4. Pour the batter in a square pan lined with baking paper. 
  5. Bake the cake at 170 degrees for about 20 minutes. Stop when you can pierce a tooth pick in the middle and it comes out clean and dry.
  6. While the cake is baking boil water in a pan. 
  7. Place a ceramic or glass bowl on top of the pan and add the chocolate, butter and cream.
  8. Keep stirring until you get a smooth ganache.
  9. Set aside and let it cool once you have a smooth ganache.
  10. Once the sponge cake is baked, let is rest in a cooling rack for about 10 minutes.
  11. Strip off the sides of the cake and make an even square (or rectangle) based on the shape of your pan.
  12. Cut them up into size of your preference - maybe about 1.5 inches
  13. Dip the cut up sponge cake in the chocolate ganache and rest them in the wire rack. (Ensure you keep a plate under the wire rack).
  14. Spread the desicated coconut in a plate. 
  15. Coat the ganache coated cake with desicated coconut on all sides.

Fresh Lamgintons are now ready to be relished.


Enjoy!!

C

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