Saturday, 31 July 2021

Absolutely flavourful rice

Basmati rice- 2 cups
Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
Cardamom- 4 pods
Cinnamon- 2, 1 inch sticks
Cloves- 4
Cumin seeds- 1 tsp
Garlic- 1 heaped tbsp, finely chopped
Coconut milk- 2 1/4 cups
Chicken stock- 2 cups*
Salt- to taste
Fried onions- to garnish

Wash and soak the basmati rice for about 20 minutes.
Heat coconut oil in a heavy bottom pan and throw in the whole spices.
Once they sizzle and becomes fragrant add the garlic and saute on medium heat till they become a bit brown.
Drain the rice and add to the mix, sauteing well and making sure it doesnt stick to the bottom.
Increase heat to high and pour in the coconut milk and chicken stock.
Give a good mix, check salt and add if required.
Once it comes to a boil, reduce heat to low and close the pan with a well fitting lid.
Cook for about 12 minutes or till the rice is well done.
Keep closed for about 10 minutes after which fluff the rice, garnish with friend onions and serve warm.

Notes:*I used 2 Knorr chicken stock cubes diluted in 2 cups of hot water.
You know how long your rice would take to cook, so cook accordingly.
Add a lemongrass along with the stock and it gives a different flavour.
The rice is incredibly flavourful and so simple to make.

Friday, 30 April 2021

Cardamom cake with crackly almonds and sugar

Recipe adapted from here
Butter- to grease the cake tin
Caster sugar- around 2 tbsp
Almond flakes-  1/2 cup

Caster sugar- 264 gms
Eggs- 4 large
Plain flour- 160 gms
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Cardamom seeds- 1/2 tbsp (powdered)
Butter- 150 gms, melted
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp

Preheat oven to 170c (fan assisted) and grease a 9 inch pan using the butter. Make sure you generously do this.
Also line the base of the pan with grease proof paper.
Put the 2 tbsp sugar into the cake pan and swirl around/shake/tap to coat the side and base of the pan, as evenly as possible. Leave the remaining sugar if any at the base of the pan.
Cover the bottom of the pan with almond flakes. keep aside.
In a bowl whisk together the caster sugar and eggs using a hand held blender or in a free standing mixer., till it becomes pale and double in volume. This step is important so dont skimp it. It took me around 6 minutes.
Slowly fold in the flour and salt without deflating the batter.
Pour in melted butter, vanilla extract and cardamom powder and give a good mix, again without deflating the batter too much. The melted butter may go right to the bottom, so do scrape well and fold.
Pour slowly into the prepared cake tin, give a good tap on the counter and put into the oven.
Bake for about 45 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean (original recipe said to bake at 35 minutes, but it just wasnt done, so mine took about 45 minutes. Start checking at 35 minutes and keep increasing just 5 minutes at a time.)
Remove from oven and leave on the counter.
After five minutes run a knife around the sides of the pan and invert onto a cooling rack (i inverted it directly on to a serving plate)
Peel off the grease proof paper slowly, while the cake is still warm and leave to cool completely before cutting.

Monday, 4 January 2021

Beef mappas

Recipe adapted from here
To pressure cook
Beef- 500gms (cut into medium cubes)
Freshly ground coarse pepper- 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Crushed garlic- 1 heaped tsp
Crushed ginger- 1 heaped tsp
Green chilli- 2, slit
Shallots- 12 small, roughly chopped
Vinegar- 1 tsp
Water- 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste

For the curry
Coconut oil- 2 tbsp
Cinnamon- 1 inch stick
Cardamom- 3 pods
Cloves- 3 pods
Onion- 2 big, finely chopped
Crushed ginger- 2 tsp
Crushed garlic- 1 1/2 tsp
Green chilli- 1, slit
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Turmeric powder- 1/4 tsp
Coriander powder- 2 tsp
Freshly ground black pepper- 2 scant tsps
Garam masala- 1 tsp
Meat masala- 1/2 tsp (optional)
Tomato- 2 small, finely chopped
Potato- 1 large peeled and cut into largish cubes
Thin coconut milk- 2 1/4 cups
Fennel seed powder- 1 tsp + enough to sprinkle
Thick coconut milk- 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste

To temper
Coconut oil- 1 tsp
Mustard seeds- 1/2 tsp
Shallots- 3 to 4 small ones, roughly chopped
Dried red chilli- 1 large, broken in half
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Mix together all the ingredients to pressure cook and cook till the beef is done. 
I cook on high heat till the steam comes and only then put the weight. Wait for one whistle, and then i reduce heat to medium low and cook for about 15 minutes. 
Once the time is up, remove from heat and wait for the steam to die on its own and then open the lid.

Heat a large pan over medium heat and add the coconut oil
Throw in the whole spices and once they become fragrant add the onions, crushed ginger, garlic, curry leaves and green chilli. Cook till the raw smell disappears and the onions turn a light golden brown.
Add all the spice powders and give a good mix. Cook this for about a minute or two.
Mix in the chopped tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy. You can cover and cook to speed up this process.
In goes the potato, give a good mix so the masala coats the potatoes.
Pour in the cooked beef along with all the stock and stir it all together.
Pour in the thin coconut milk and cook covered for about 12 to 15 minutes till the potatoes are cooked and the curry comes to a light boil.
Check for salt and add more if required and also don't forget to stir in between.
Once it comes to a boil mix in the fennel seed powder.
Cook without the lid for another 5 or 6 minutes, for the gravy to thicken.
Finally, add the thick coconut milk and heat through. It shouldn't come to a boil after you've added the thick coconut milk.
Sprinkle a little fennel powder on top, close with a lid and remove from heat.

To temper (I do this just before serving, after I've heated up the curry), heat coconut oil in a small pan and add mustard seeds.
Once they splutter, add the dried red chilli, shallots and curry leaves and cook till the shallots turn golden brown.
Pour over the curry and leave covered for a few minutes after which you can stir well and serve with bread of choice.
Its ridiculously tasty with appam, idiapppam and bread.

Notes: When buying beef make sure you buy it was a bit of fat, trust me it makes a world of a difference.
I thought the pepper flavour was a bit over powering, so next time id reduce it to about 1 1/2 tsp in the curry.
Its a really thick, delicious curry which tastes much better the next day. 

Thursday, 26 November 2020

Chicken sandwich

Makes 4 loaded paninis or about 10 bread sandwiches
Boneless chicken- 500gms, cut into medium pieces (I've used breasts here, you can use thighs as well, but make sure you remove all the fat)
Pepper powder- 3/4th tsp
Salt- to taste

Mayonnaise- 4 to 5 tbsp
Bell pepper- 1 small, chopped into small cubes
Spring onions- 2, finely chopped
Seasoning of choice- 1/2 tsp (optional. I've used everything but the bagel seasoning here, but Italian herbs work great as well)

Bread slices- 20 (you can remove the crust if you prefer. I usually keep it on)

Season the boneless chicken with salt and pepper and cook covered in a frying pan over medium heat.
The chicken will ooze out enough water, but if not add a tbsp or so to aid the cooking.
Open the lid in between and give a good stir. 
Once the water has oozed out, cook without lid till the chicken is done and all the water has evaporated.

Once cool, transfer to a big bowl and shred the chicken using a fork, or if you have a food processor pulse a few times, just to shred the chicken. Make sure you dont make it paste like.
Add the mayo, bell pepper, spring onions and seasoning and mix till well combined.
Check for salt and add more if required.
The mix should be moist and not dry, so add mayo as  required.

Fill the bread slices generously with the filling and serve at room temp.
Notes: I've used the exact same filling as canape fillings on top of sliced cucumber and in vol-au-vent cases.
Ive also used it as a chicken salad along with lettuce, tomatoes and olives.
Add a green chilli or two while you chop up the chicken and it will add a hit of spice.
Replace spring onions with finely chopped red onions for a different taste.

Thursday, 19 November 2020

Bachelors chicken curry

Recipe adapted from here
Chicken- 800gms, with bone, cut into medium pieces
Onion- 1 medium, finely chopped
Tomato- 1 medium, finely chopped
Green chillies-2, slit
Curry leaves- a sprig
Ginger- 1 heaped tbsp
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1 tbsp
Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Coconut oil- 1 tbsp

Thin coconut milk- 1 1/2 cups
Thick coconut milk- 1/2 cup
Garam masala- 3/4th tsp
Pepper powder- 3/4th tsp (freshly ground)
Coriander leaves- 3 tbsp, roughly chopped

To temper
Coconut oil- 1 tbsp
Dried red chillies- 2, broken in half
Curry leaves- 1 sprig
Shallots- 3 to 4, roughly chopped
Garlic- 2 large pods, finely chopped
Meat masala- 1 tsp

Mix together the first set of ingredients- chicken, all the way through to coconut oil- in a heavy bottom pan. Use your hands to nicely massage all those ingredients on to the chicken pieces.
Add the thin coconut milk and place on medium heat and cook with the lid on for about 25 to 30 minutes or till the chicken is cooked.
After about half an hour, the curry would be boiling away and the chicken cooked.
Add the thick coconut milk and cook with the lid open till the curry thickens and oil starts surfacing around the edges.
At this stage, add the garam masala, pepper powder and coriander leaves. 
Check salt and add more if necessary and give a good stir and switch off the heat.

In a separate pan, heat the coconut oil and add all the ingredients to temper.
On medium heat, keep stirring till the shallots and garlic turns a light golden brown.
Pour over the chicken curry, cover with a lid and keep aside for 15 minutes for the flavours to infuse
When ready to serve, give a good stir and enjoy with idiappam, chapathi, appam or even rice.

Notes: When i started off i wasn't very sure about the recipe because there was no sauteing the onions and masala, but instead everything was just boiled together. i hate seeing pieces of onions floating in a curry. But it soon comes together once you add the thick coconut milk and the watery curry reduces to a thicker gravy. 
The trick here is to let the curry thicken properly and have the chicken pieces coated in the curry.
Make sure you use good quality coconut milk. I used the Maggi coconut milk powder.
The meat masala in the tempering is purely optional but it makes such a difference.
I renamed the curry Bachelors chicken curry because, really it cant get easier than this. Other than chopping up a few ingredients, there is not much work. Just dump everything into a pot and cook. Perfect for those after work quick dinners.
Original recipe asked for potatoes, but i ditched it. Feel free to add it at around 20 minutes into the cooking time.
Works great with beef I'm sure. I will try that soon.

Wednesday, 11 November 2020

Chocolate, bread & butter pudding

Recipe adapted from here (serves 6)
White bread- 10 to 11 slices, crusts removed 
Dark chocolate- 50 gms, roughly chopped
Milk chocolate- 100 gms, roughly chopped
Cocoa powder- 2 tbsp (good quality dark one like Green & Blacks)
Butter- 75 gms, cut into cubes
Double cream- 450 ml
Dark rum- 4 tbsp (optional)
Vanilla extract- 1/2 tsp (optional)
Caster sugar- 80 gms
Cinnamon- a generous pinch
Eggs- 3

Slice each of the bread slices diagonally to get 4 triangles. Bread that is a day or two old would be ideal.
Place the dark chocolate, milk chocolate, cocoa powder, butter, cream, rum (if using),  sugar and cinnamon in a heat proof bowl and melt over barely simmer water. Make sure the bowl doesnt touch the water.
Using a spatula, mix well until the chocolate, butter and sugar have completely melted.
Take it off heat, add the vanilla extract, and using a balloon whisk, give the chocolate mix a good beating to emulsify it and bring everything together.
Once slightly cool, add the eggs into the mix, one by one, beating well after each addition. You can also whisk all 3 eggs in a separate bowl and tip into the chocolate as well.
Pour about an inch of chocolate sauce into a rectangle/square oven proof dish.
Arrange a layer of bread triangles over the chocolate in rows, in an overlapping manner.
Pour half of the remaining chocolate sauce over the bread, as evenly as possible, and using a fork, gently press the bread slices down so it gets covered with the sauce.
Place the final layer of bread triangles and pour over all the remaining chocolate sauce, again making sure the bread is properly covered with sauce.
Cover the dish with cling film and place at room temp for 2 hours and then transfer to the refrigerator for a minimum of 24hrs. This step is very important. The more it soaks the better.
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 180C
Remove clingfilm and bake the pudding for 30 to 35 minutes.
The top would be a bit crunchy, while the inside would be gooey.
Leave to stand for about 10 minutes, after which you can scoop into dessert bowl and have with cold custard or pouring cream.

Notes: Original recipe called for 150 gms of dark chocolate. I bought milk chocolate by accident and hence had to compensate with cocoa and reducing the sugar so it wasnt cloyingly sweet. 
If using 150gms of dark chocolate, omit the cocoa and milk chocolate, and increase the caster sugar amount to 110 gms.
This dessert is not overly sweet. It was just perfect for our liking, but if youd like it sweeter then increase the caster sugar amount.
The best part of this pudding is that it can be prepared ahead and when ready to serve can be chucked into the oven to serve warm.
Stays fine covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Dishoom's gunpowder potatoes

Recipe adapted from Dishoom: From Bombay with Love (serves 4 as side to main meal)
Potato- 2 large (around 500 gms)
Oil- to roast the potatoes

To roast and grind
Cumin seeds- 1/2 tsp
Coriander seeds- 1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds- 1/2 tsp

Kebab masala
Kasoori methi- 1 tbsp
Chaat masala- 1 1/2 tsp
Garam masala- 1/4 tsp
Kashmiri chilli powder- 1/4 tsp
Salt- to taste

Butter- 2 to 3 tbsp, melted
Spring onions- 3, finely chopped
Coriander leaves- 1/4 cup, finely chopped
Green chillies- 2, finely chopped
Lime juice- 1 1/2 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Kebab masala-around 2 tsp (i added the entire lot i ground)
Peel and slice the potatoes into medium pieces (they shouldnt be too small) and parboil them.
Drain well.

While the potatoes are getting done, dry roast the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds till fragrant (a couple of minutes) and crush in a pestle and mortar to a coarse powder. 

Make the kebab masala by dry roasting the kasoori methi in a pan for about 4 to 5 minutes on medium heat.
Into a spice grinder add the roasted kasoori methi and all other kabab masala ingredients and grind to a powder. Keep aside.
Turn on the grill in your oven to high and line a baking tray with aluminium foil.
Place the drained potatoes in one layer and generously brush with oil.
Grill for about 5 minutes till the potatoes turn crisp and brown.
Turn them over, brush with oil and repeat for a few more minutes.
Make sure you dont burn them.

Transfer the crushed spices into a large mixing bowl and add the melted butter, spring onions, coriander leaves and green chillies. Mix well.
Add the roasted potatoes into this mix and toss well, making sure you slightly smash some of the potatoes while at it and coating with the masala mix.
Add the lime juice, kebab masala and salt to taste and give one final mix.
Serve as a side to any meats or rice.

Notes: This is a really delicious potato preparation and goes well as a side to bbq meals.
The kabab masala is salty, so adjust the salt in the final dish only after you add it.
You can also use baby potatoes, in fact they would be best