Sunday, 29 May 2011

Aloo paratha & a giveaway (flaky Indian bread stuffed with potatoes)

My blog turns two today and boy am I proud. I still remember the first blog post I did. We had just moved to London from Nottingham and I was every bit apprehensive. In Nottingham, for one whole year, I never really did any major cooking. Trust me when I say this, but we would have tried out all the possible ready meals from the supermarkets, switching between the five that were near our apartment. We were staying right in the heart of the city, which meant restaurants and bars and pubs were aplenty and food was the least of our problems.

Came to London and the scene changed. Staying in Central London was out of question and so I was left with no other option but to start cooking. It was torturous initially. I mean I just couldn't handle  everyday-cooking, and packing Ro lunch cos he didn't have a cafeteria at work, altogether was pretty stressful. That's when I discovered the world of blogs and decided to keep a journal so I could fall back on them instead of spending ages googling for recipes (I still end up doing so sometimes, but its reduced a lot). This food blog of mine has been of great help. When everyone holds their old recipe books or moms recipe books close to their heart saying they cant do without it, I feel the same about this food blog of mine. Its not a joke when Ro says out loud to fellow strangers that we would be doomed if we didn't have internet connection and I would not have a clue how to cook. Its sad, but true...I would be lost.

But hey, from a pathetic looking beans mezhukupuratti to aloo paratha...the journey has been fun, not to mention the wonderful blogger friends I have acquired along the way. You guys rock.
Now coming to the recipe, this is probably the first ever Indian bread recipe I'd be posting out here. Its no surprise for most you when I say I suck at the whole consistency-kneading-rolling procedure most Indian breads require, and I still buy frozen chapathis. I decided to get over my fear and tackled it one at a pretty lil Kenwood Chef does the whole kneading bit beautifully, the consistency, I follow recipes that give me exact water-flour ratios and that way its quite difficult to screw up and the rolling out bit, well even if its the 'map of the world' that I started off with, I have now managed to keep it at an oval or oblong shape..much closer to a circle if you ask me.. I'm getting there peeps, I'm getting there. Although I don't think I'll ever be making chapathis on a regular basis, when I crave  the occasional paneer paratha, bhatura or poori, I wouldn't be stuck.

So, do you guys remember a friend of mine Rashida, who made the Pav Bhaji?? Well as I'd mentioned before, her aloo parathas were gorgeous and I asked her if she could come over one day and show me how to make the whole thing. She agreed and so on a warm Thursday afternoon we set about making aloo parathas from scratch. She showed me how to do the whole process, which also gave me the opportunity to take step-by-step pics. I tried to grasp whatever I could and wrote down the recipe as accurately as possible. So here you go, my first ever paratha recipe:
Makes about 20 odd parathas
For the paratha dough:
Whole wheat flour (atta)- 2 1/2 cups (I used Pillsbury)
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Water- 250 ml (give or take 1 or 2 tbsp)
Oil- 2 tbsp
Salt- to taste

For the stuffing
Potatoes- 6 large potatoes
Onions- 2 medium, finely chopped
Coriander leaves- 3 tbsp, finely chopped
Mint leaves- 1 tbsp, finely chopped (optional)
Green chillies- 2, finely chopped (or to taste)
Ginger garlic paste- 2 1/2 tbsp
Black salt- 1 heap tsp (optional)
Cumin seeds- 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1 heaped tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 1/2 heaped tsp
Cumin powder- 1 tsp heaped
Chaat masala- 1 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1/2 tsp (optional)
Salt- to taste

Flour- to dust
Oil- to cook
Place the potatoes in a pressure cooker half filled with water and cook for about 5 to 6 whistles on medium heat. They should be cooked just enough to grate, not to mash. So about 6 whistles should be fine, but if you find that the potatoes haven't been cooked, put it back on the fire and pressure cook for another 4 to 5 whistles.

In the mean time, get the dough going.
Place all the ingredients for the dough in a free standing mixer with the hook attachment and knead well till you get the desired consistency, more soft and elastic, but not sticky. If you don't have a mixer, then flour the work top and knead well using your hands, for about five minutes or till the dough doesn't stick any more.
Wet a kitchen towel and keep the dough covered for at least 15 to 20 minutes.

Once the potatoes have been cooked, cool and peel them.
Grate them into a large mixing bowl. That way you make sure you don't have any lumps (very imp.)
Add the remaining items from the stuffing and mix well to combine evenly.
Make large  balls out of  the stuffing and place on a baking tray. Keep aside
Knead the dough one final time and make lime size balls out of it. Keep it ready.
Flour a wooden board. Take one dough ball, flatten it a bit, dip it in some flour and roll it out to a size big enough to wrap the potato stuffing. Make sure you keep the centre part a bit intact (refer pic below).
Flatten the centre part a bit, not too much, and then place the huge potato ball in the centre.
Wrap the potato ball with the dough and gather and pinch the top.
Flatten this ball, sprinkle some more flour on top and roll it out into a disc (approx. 6 inches in diameter), not too thick.
Continue this process with the remaining dough and potato balls as and when you are ready to cook.
Place a tawa on medium- high heat and once hot, place one rolled out paratha on it. Brush with some oil lightly.
You will start seeing light brown spots on the upper side at that point, flip the paratha over and oil the other side.
Continue this process till the paratha doesn't look raw any more. It should take about 2 to 3 minutes per paratha.
Place in a hot case or a pre heated oven (on low) till you finish cooking the remaining parathas.
Serve hot with some thick yoghurt and pickle of your choice.
Notes: You can also mash the potatoes, but make sure there are no hard lumps present.
I froze the paratha except for a few I was going to use the very same day. If you want to freeze it, do not oil them, instead pre cook them on medium heat for a few minutes on each side, cool on a cooling rack and store in the freezer. To remove them easily, place foil paper or baking paper in between each paratha. When you are ready to cook it, heat the tawa and follow the procedure as mentioned above, adding oil at this point.
Thin out your parathas as per your choice, If you want it thick, you might not want to roll it out into a larger circle.
These are perfect for freezing and on a day you are lazy to cook, just heat up these lil darlings and have it with yoghurt and pickle (which I'm sure most of the households would have at any time). Its a meal on its own.
Now to show my appreciation to all my lovely readers, I am giving away 3 basic recipe books. It covers soups, mains (using leftovers) and desserts and in my opinion is all I need to whip up an awesome 3 course meal. There are some interesting, but basic recipes which you can whip up in no time. 
The Soups book has some easy, every day soups as well as some exotic stuff, but still doesn't use fancy schmancy ingredients. Its all stuff you get at the local grocery store.
The Leftovers book (one of my personal favourites) covers anything from breads and pasta to dairy and fruit. We all have leftover stuff in our fridge at some point or the other. Turn open this book and let the ideas pour in.
Desserts (the best part of a meal, I think) have all those crumbles and pies and ice creams and jellies and just looking at the pics make me wanna keep this for myself :)
All you need to do is leave a comment and tell me which course of a meal you enjoy the most. Is it a soup or starter or drinks or desserts or whatever it is you like or await at the dining table. Or if you don't want to tell me that, its fine, just leave a comment :)
I will randomly choose a winner and will ship the books over to any part of the world (oh yeah I'm being very generous here).
Just make sure you leave your email id, or any sort of contact detail if you're not a blogger, so i can hunt you down and get the address etc. If the winner doesn't reply within 2 days, I will have to select another winner.
So comment away peeps, the giveaway closes on 5th June. 

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Strawberry Lassi (smoothie)

I cant believe I'm actually posting a recipe for a lassi, when I don't even like it that much. I'm not a big fan of smoothies and breakfast drinks...I don't even like fruity milk shakes for that matter, except the occasional mango lassi I share with Ro when we head to any Indian restaurant. 

Picked up strawberries thinking I'd make strawberry cupcakes and then changed my mind since it was too much work. I am also not craving any cake now, because I bought the awesomest banana loaf from Respect Organics and cant stop eating it. So, so, so moist, I cant stop at one slice. I can easily finish off the entire loaf but I'm struggling not to. (In my defence, its a really tiny loaf OK!)
I made the lassi thinking I'd force it down Ro's throat, but even the non-fussy Ro didn't want it. So I had to force it down my throat and it was actually not that bad. I added loads of sugar and it did come close to my taste. I still had one glass left, but after rotting in the fridge for a day, I threw it out :(

I have to STOP making things I don't like, or things that have failed to come out well. Like the chiffon cake, for example,..I made it again yesterday and it was a disaster. Losing 3 eggs was sad, not to mention half a cup of honey and the other ingredients...sigh! 
The strawberry lassi recipe is a no-brain recipe and why am I blogging it still..because I woke up this morn, completely enthu to write a post only to realize I didn't have anything interesting. Since I couldn't let my enthu-ness fizzle out, here's a brainless post from my end, with very lethargic pictures.

Fresh strawberries- 1/2 a pound (227gms), cleaned, hulled and halved
Sugar- 1/4 cup or as per taste
Honey- 2 tbsp (I loved how sweet it was)
Cold strawberry yoghurt- 1 cup (use plain yoghurt as substitute)
Salt- a pinch (optional)
Puree the strawberries along with the sugar, honey and salt using an immersion blender.
Add the yoghurt and give it one more whizz, just to mix it all in.
Pour into individual glasses and top with a strawberry. I got about 3 medium size glasses full.
Notes: Add milk instead of yoghurt if you don't want it too thick
I read somewhere that a pinch of cardamom will give it a nice flavour. Go on improvise.
Use ice cubes if you yoghurt isn't cold enough

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Potato bhajias (fritters)

I think this is probably the second recipe I would be posting from a recipe book taken from the library, the first being Amritsari dal, again from a Madhur Jaffrey book. For some strange reason, both the libraries in my Borough seem to have a lot of Madhur Jaffrey Books. I'm wondering its because most of her recipes cater to the locals, or so I think!

The book I have with me now, Simple Indian Cookery, has a bunch of neat recipes, but most of which I think are nothing great, just average and a little bland considering they are curry recipes. The potato bhajias, along with a flaky flat bread with cumin seeds were the only two recipes I thought were worth noticing.
These bhajias are pretty simple and straightforward and I wouldn't have given it a go if it wasn't for the cold, windy weather we experienced a couple of days back. It was so sunny and bright the first half of the week and then suddenly it became very unpleasant. 

I was craving some banana fritters and Ro wanted English scones. Too bad  that I was the one with the upper hand in the kitchen and he had no idea how to make scones. But with no bananas at hand, I was left with the option of something savoury. These potato bhajias served the purpose...I mean it was deep fried, it was hot and paired with a cuppa it was bliss.

Potatoes- 2 large, well scrubbed and peeled 
Besan/ Chickpea flour- 100 gms
Soda powder- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Chilli/ Cayenne powder- 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder- 1/2 tsp
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Salt- to taste
Water- about 100-150ml
Vegetable oil- for deep frying
Sift together all the dry ingredients and the cumin seeds.
Pour in the water bit by bit stirring as you go, to make a smooth batter.
Cut the peeled potatoes into rounds, about 1/4 inch thick and drop into the batter.
Stir to coat them well.
Heat the oil in a kadai or deep frying pan. test to see if batter is hot by dropping a wee bit of batter into the oil and it should fizzle to the top immediately.
Take as many potato pieces as will fit in a single layer and scatter them evenly in hot oil.
Fry, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown in colour on either sides.
remove them with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen towels.
repeat the process till you are done with the entire batch.
Serve hot with some chutney. I did an array of dips like a tamarind chutney, a mustard relish and chilli ketchup.
Notes: The potatoes need not be peeled. I just did it by accident :)
Try the same with courgettes or even brinjal/ eggplant

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Mocha-walnut marbled loaf cake

It was my moms birthday yesterday and I actually wanted to post this cake yesterday as well. But some guests arrived unannounced and I was left with very little cake to take pics, and no time to blog. I am one of those people who don't plan in advance, who don't have a pantry stocked with awesome things, a freezer full of cutlets etc. I am the type who wakes up in the morning, heads over to make coffee, only to realize I have no milk or sugar. I drag on my tracks and run to grocery store right across the street and pick up the milk. I come back home and realize I don't have enough sugar as well..yes, story of my life, I am that disorganized. Hell I even get into the bath only to realize I don't have shower gel and have to scream my lungs out to Ro who will have to lend me his (free advice: the key to a happy married life, don't share your bathroom with your husband). He sometimes pretends not to hear too.
Ro keeps asking me to write down a list of things I'm out of, but who's listening? I spend hours at the grocery store contemplating and trying hard to remember what I need back home. I will most certainly not learn my lesson, I'm sure. 
But yesterday, these friends arrived unannounced (which is very very rare, mind you) and I panicked. They called me from the underground station (about 5 minutes from my house) and I said Id pick them up. By some crazy intuition I had decided to bake yesterday and this marble cake was in the oven when they called. There was about 24 minutes more to go and I could have easily kept the oven on and left the house but crazy things like the cake burning and the house catching on fire went through my mind and so, not worrying about the outcome, I turned off the oven leaving the cake inside. I guess that is one big NO in the book of baking, especially cakes.
Took a last look around the apartment to see if it was presentable (by that I mean dumping all the vessels into the dishwasher) and ran to pick them up. Came back home and checked the cake, well suddenly remembered that a cake was still in the oven after some 10 minutes of catching up, and found that it had not sunk or anything. So I turned it on again and waited to unravel the disaster in front of my guests. The problem with having an open kitchen is that you cant hide your mess or your blunders which in my case is in I warned them and took out the cake and cut into it only to realize it was the yummiest, moistest cake evah!

....and served warm, it was such a treat. The kids loved it and kept asking for more. I also (thankfully) had a bag of chocolate covered pretzels which I'd received at their launch party and so served that as well. Unprepared I was, but at the end I managed it..which is what I tell Ro all the time. I may be disorganized and a last minute person, but I always end up with some solution (mostly by fluke). Each time Ro gets bugged with this act of mine, I remind him that he once mentioned how he loved the fact that, 'I keep him on his toes.'
So anyhoo, the reason I rambled on and on was to explain why I didn't have time to blog this recipe yesterday...So here's wishing my mummy dearest a very happy birthday. I'm celebrating it with you, virtually.

Recipe halved from here (originally from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan)
All purpose flour- 145 gms
Ground walnuts- 1/4 cup
Baking powder- 1/2 tsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Unsalted butter- 113 gms + 1 tbsp for chocolate
Dark chocolate- 43 gms (1.5oz)
Coffee- 1/4 cup (1oz)
Instant Espresso powder- 1/2 tsp (I used 1 tsp because I like the coffee taste)
Sugar- 175 gms
Eggs- 2 large
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Whole milk- 1/2 cup
Mix together the flour, ground walnuts, baking powder and salt. Keep aside.
Break the chocolate into lumps and place it in a heat proof bowl along with 1tbsp butter, coffee and espresso powder. Place this bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
Keep the heat on low and once the chocolate and butter has slightly melted, mix well to form a smooth and creamy consistency. Keep aside to cool.
In a free standing mixer with paddle attachment or using a hand mixer, beat together the remaining butter and sugar till you form a lump free mixture. This wont be light and fluffy but should be a thick paste-like consistency.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition with the batter having a smooth and satiny texture.
In goes the vanilla extract.
Now reduce the speed to the lowest and add the flour mix and milk alternatively..starting and ending with the flour. You should have a smooth batter with no flour seen.
Pour a little less than half of this batter into the bowl with the chocolate and thoroughly mix it. Not vigorously.
Butter and dust a loaf pan and alternate spoons full of dark and white batter. I placed the white-chocolate-white as the lowest layer, then the second layer was chocolate-white-chocolate and then topped with a thin layer of white. Continue till about 3/4th full.
Swirl the batter with a butter knife right till the bottom, to get that marble effect.
Place in the centre rack of an oven pre heated at 176C and bake for 55 to 60 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Transfer to a cooling rack and after about 10 minutes unmould. 
Serve with some vanilla ice cream.
Notes: You can use normal instant coffee powder instead of espresso powder
There are various methods of doing the marble pattern. You can do an entire layer of white and then top with the chocolate and then do the swirl as well.
My cake was done in a little less than 45 minutes.

Monday, 16 May 2011

Satay & Sangria a weird combination, I know! But with the grilling season fast approaching I couldn't help but give this a go over the weekend. Sangria is my all time favourite drink and with a never ending supply of wine at home, I kinda whip up this cocktail ever so often.

I always went for the traditional sangria using red wine whenever I made it at home, but this time I thought of trying out the white sangria or the Sangria Blanca using white wine. The fruits used can be anything, but because of previous not-so-pleasing outcomes, I decided to go all citrussy. I have used apples, peaches, nectarines, blue berries etc. before, but the problem is, after they stay in the liquid for a while, it kinda ferments and the taste sucks. So what I'd suggest is..make them a wee bit before you want to serve, so it can chill for a while in the refrigerator and try and finish it all at one go (oh yes we were super drunk by the end of the meal), so you don't have to drink fermented and slightly horrid tasting sangria later on. And since you'd put so much effort (and alcohol) into it, you don't want to pour it down the drain as well. It works best if you are serving this at a brunch or BBQ party, cos then you have made just enough for everyone to have a glass or two max.
Satay on the other hand is making its way through to my kitchen for the first time. Although I've had them plenty of times at Malaysian and Indonesian restaurants, I have never tried them at home thinking its quite a tedious task. It was at the back of my mind to try it out some time, but wasn't breaking my head over it.

That's when one of Ro's cousins, a brilliant cook from what I hear, passed on a satay recipe which he said he'd perfected while he was in Louisiana for 2 months on work. He had an outdoor grill at his hotel and after playing around with the recipe he finally settled on this one. Good for me I should say, cos I didn't have to waste my time googling for recipes...which incidentally takes more time for me, than making any dish. He was so clear with his recipe that I didn't even harass him with doubts. He even gave substitutes which was great because I would have wasted significant amount of time researching. He's tried to be as close to the authentic as possible and I have tried to stay as close to the recipe as possible.

Ajoy's Satay recipe
Chicken boneless breasts- 2 pounds or approx 900gms to 1 kg
Wooden/ metal skewers- about 10 to 12, soaked in water for at least an hour

Shallots- 1/3 cup finely minced (I kinda chopped it finely)
Minced lemon grass- 1/3 cup (I bought lemon grass paste from the store)
Ginger paste- 1/2 tbsp or 1 to 2 inch ginger piece minced
Garlic- 1/2 tbsp or about 3 cloves, minced
Cumin powder- 3/4 tsp
Coriander powder- 1 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1 tsp
Oyster sauce- 1 1/2 tbsp
Soy sauce- 1 1/2 tbsp
Fish sauce- 1 tbsp
Molasses- 2 1/2 tbsp (I used brown sugar)
Rice vinegar- 2 1/2 tbsp (use tamarind paste mixed with water as substitute)
Cooking oil- 2 tbsp (use peanut oil for a more authentic taste)
Sambal chilli paste- as per taste (I used 1 tsp of red chilli powder). Substitute with paprika or chilli flakes
Wine or sherry- 1 1/2 tbsp (optional)
Salt- add only if needed
Slice the chicken breasts lengthwise, about 1 inch wide. My chicken breasts were really thick, so I placed them on a cling film, wrapped it up and pounded with a mallet to thin it out a bit.
Mix/ blend together all the ingredients under the 'marinade' section.
Mix the meat with the marinade making sure they are all evenly coated. Marinate overnight for best results or at least for 2 to 3 hours.
Thread each marinated strip on to the skewer, leaving about 2 to 3 inches at the top and bottom of the skewer free. I gave the job to Ro to thread the meat so he managed to do about two strips on to one skewer.
Pre-heat the grill for about 10 minutes and line a roasting pan, that can hold the skewer vertically, with a silver foil.
Place the chicken skewers vertically on the roasting pan, so that the skewer edges rest on the pan edges and the juices from the chicken get collected in the pan. You can also just place it on a normal baking pan, but this way its easier to turn them over without a mess.
Cook each side for 4 to 5 minutes, basting them in between if you have left over marinade.
Serve with some peanut sauce (recipe follows).

Dipping sauce:
Chunky peanut butter- 3 tbsp
Thick coconut cream/ milk- 1/2 cup or as required (blend in equal parts with peanut butter to get thick gravy-like consistency
Honey- 1 to 2 tbsp, depending on how sweet you want it to be
Thai green chilli- 1, chopped fine or to taste
Shallots- 2 tbsp, minced
Garlic- 2 tbsp, minced
Salt- to taste

Blend together all the ingredients together and serve with satay and wedges of lime.
Notes: You can use thin cut boneless pork cut against the grain at 1 inch width or even beef skirt steak cut against the grain at the same width. Both need to be pounded to about 1/4 inch thickness.
This is best cooked on a BBQ grill, but I did it in my oven in the grill mode and it turned out fine. I'm thinking an electric grill like a George Foreman would also do the trick. Ajoy also says it can be broiled.
I didn't make the peanut sauce, but since I had the recipe I thought I should post it.

Sangria Blanca (serves about 10 to 12 glasses, adapted from here)
Sugar- 1/2 cup
Orange juice- 1 cup
Vodka- 1/2 cup
Brandy- 1/2 cup
Dry white wine- 1 bottle (750ml) I used a Chardonnay 
Lemonade- 350 ml
Lime- 1 half, thinly sliced
Orange- 1half, thinly sliced
Lemon- 1 half, thinly sliced

In a glass pitcher stir together the sugar, orange juice, vodka and brandy till the sugar has dissolved.
Add the white wine and throw in sliced lime, lemon and orange.
Just before serving top with the lemonade and serve cold. Add ice cubes if required.
Notes: You can do a non alcoholic version of this using white grape juice. 
Like I mentioned before, you can throw in apples, peaches, apricots, blue berries, strawberries etc.

Sending the Sangria Blanca to Radhika's Fun n Sun event over at Tickling Palates.

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Toblerone cupcakes

My husband is such a sucker for anything chocolate, it makes me sick. He wont buy anything other than chocolate ice cream, chocolate cake, dark chocolate bars and even chocolate biscuits (????!!!). I on the other hand is slowly getting sick of chocolate. I mean I can have the occasional bite of a dark chocolate bar, but nothing more than that. In fact I'm thinking its a good thing and trying to appreciate it. There used to be a point in time where I had to have a bar of chocolate or something chocolatey after a meal, but now I detest the thought of it. I cant really explain where, when or why I started hating chocolate so much, but I sure seem to be OK with it, considering I have moved on to greener (no not the healthy green) pastures and have replaced my after meal chocolate bars with a nice big bite of the red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting or the date and walnut cake or the plain vanilla cakes (which I'm a sucker for). You see, I have replaced it with something more calorious (I just made up that word).

Ro, although he eats all the useless (exactly his words) desserts I make or buy, says he's being unfaithful to his first love (oh I'm waaaaay below in line, in case you were wondering). A loving wife who's born to make the husband happy will only make chocolate desserts henceforth, but me, as you all might already know, is not that wife and so haven't really made a chocolate cake in like FOREVER. I think my last chocolate cake was this one almost a year back and my last something chocolatey were the Nigella bars which I kinda liked because it had all those crunchy stuff in it and was not that chocolatey.
Ro's been nagging me to make chocolate cakes for so long, but it falls on deaf ears. But a couple of days ago, we decided to go for a walk through the English countryside and since the initial plan was to pack a picnic lunch I decided to bake some cupcakes. Was scouting around for recipes and I stumbled upon this beautiful blog What Katie Ate and the Toblerone muffins caught my eye. Now if there is one chocolate I don't mind once in a while, its Toblerone...the original that too. So I decided to give it a go and I admit I was excited at having baked a choc-something, but it didn't last that long....I screwed it up royally.

I have no idea why, but all the cakes Ive baked recently have been disastrous. This one was sooo easy to follow, but I managed to ruin it. I don't know where I went wrong, but it was dry and the only part that was worth eating was the Toblerone spotted areas. Even Ro, the chocolate addict, was like 'hmm its a bit too dry." I was disappointed and had to chuck the plan of taking it to the picnic. Instead I piled it into an air tight container and kept it thinking Ro might eat it anyway, after all its chocolate.
A couple of days later, it still was there untouched and I was just about to throw it when I decided to take a few pics anyway..and blog it because the recipe is such an easy-to-follow but unique one that I had to keep it...just in case I decide to try it another day. I would like to blame the cocoa powder used, for the colour and for not getting the double choc effect. Next time I'm definitely buying Dutch processed cocoa powder even if its gonna cost an arm and a leg. Considering that I don't use it on a regular basis, I think its alright. So this recipe is not one of my successful ones, but if any one out there decides to try it out, do let me know how it turned out so I can take notes and correct my mistakes.

Recipe halved from here
Plain flour- 1 1/2 cups
Cocoa powder- 1 1/2 tbsp
Baking powder- 1/2 tbsp
Brown sugar- 3/4 cups
Butter- 63 grams, melted and cooled
Milk- 3/4 cup
Egg- 1
Toblerone chocolate- 1/2 cup, roughly chopped
Sift together the flour, cocoa and baking powder. Mix well.
Add the brown sugar and stir well, making sure there are no lumps.
Whisk the egg lightly and add to the melted butter along with milk. Mix well.
Add the wet ingredients to the flour-cocoa mix, tip in the chopped chocolate and mix them all together until no traces of flour is seen.
Transfer into cupcake/ muffin cases till 3/4th full and bake in an oven pre heated at 160C for about 16 to 20 minutes.
Cool on a rack and when ready to serve, heat it for a lil while in the microwave, so the chocolate melts a bit (optional).
Notes: I used Cadbury cocoa and probably that's why the colour is not that strong. Use Dutch processed as the original recipe says.
I made cupcakes and so the cooking time was a little less.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Goan prawn curry

OK I spoke too soon about posting a recipe everyday. The days just got incredibly busy with the long weekend and then a trip to Nottingham kinda messed up my 'post a recipe everyday' regime. I also didn't have enough recipes in my draft to post, that being another reason. 

We have been eating out or are being invited over to friends' places and so cooking at home has taken a back seat. I should also mention that pigging out on food has started showing on me which is a very bad sign, especially cos summer is fast approaching and there are no more jackets and sweaters to cover the bulges. 
I actually wanted to post a dessert recipe today since its been ages since I'd posted one here, but I cant seem to find any in my drafts. I haven't been baking or making anything sweet recently, just to go easy on the whole butter, egg intake and then the three times I tried making something cos I had guests over turned out to be big flops and I threw my hands up in the air and decided I had lost my mojo for baking.

Ro claims its cos I am distracted, and says watching 'Gossip Girl' while cooking will not make it any better. But I love watching something while cooking and my lap top is perched on my kitchen counter while I'm at it (which also explains the dal that was stuck under the keyboard). 
I also want to say a very special thank you to all my lovely blogger friends who wrote in with words of consolation. I am so glad I have a bunch of awesome friends out there in the blogosphere. Second...I won the aesthetics category in the DMBLGIT event and Im super kicked about it. All the entries were lovely and I am thoroughly honoured to be one among all the amazing photographs. Look forward to taking part again.

Coming to the recipe, Ro has been working from home the past couple of days and so lunching on left over stuff is no option. I am forced to make something for lunch and dinner and I'm exhausted. Goan prawn curry was one of those dishes which I whipped up in a jiffy and it just goes well with plain rice. It reminds me so much of our honeymoon days in Goa where one whole week we spent lounging around, eating, drinking and partying like there was no tomorrow. I had a Goan fish curry on one of the days, which was so yum, and tried to make the same, but with prawns. Recipe has been adapted from here

To grind:
Dry red chillies- 2
Cumin seeds- 3/4 tsp
Coriander seeds- 1/2 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/4 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp

Prawns- 200 gms, cleaned and deveined
Garlic paste- 1/2 tsp
Ginger paste- 1/2 tsp
White vinegar- 3/4 tsp
Onion- 1 small, thinly sliced
Tomato- 1 small, thinly sliced
Coconut milk- 3/4th cup
Oil- 2 tsp
Salt- to taste
Grind together all the ingredients in the 'to grind' section to a fine powder. 
In another bowl mix the garlic paste, ginger paste, white vinegar and the spice powder mix to form a smooth paste. Keep aside.
Heat oil in a sauce pan and add the onions. Sauté till they become light brown in colour.
Add the spice paste and sauté for a few minutes, till they become nice and fragrant.
In goes the sliced tomatoes. Cook on medium heat till the oil starts resurfacing. Take your time here.
Once the mix becomes nice and mushy, add the prawns and mix well making sure the masala coats the prawns
Add the coconut milk and salt to taste. Give it a stir and bring to a boil.
Simmer for a few more minutes, make sure the prawn is cooked, check for salt and if everything's fine, take it off the heat and serve with some steaming hot rice.
Notes: You can replace prawns with any firm fish fillets
The original recipe asked for green chillies along with the tomato. I avoided that since our spice tolerance level is really low.
The curry tastes even better the next day I felt