Thursday, June 30, 2011

Nutty Croissants

What do you do when you have to visit a friend and have no energy to make something  to take and don't think you could stop by a store to pick up something. You come up with a quick and easy recipe, sometimes necessity forces you to make something new that you have never tried before. That's exactly what happened to me last week, I was wondering what I would do, I found a package of croissant in my refrigerator which was meant to be for my breakfast and my neurons were immediately spiking with an idea, so here is what I did. 

What you need :
1 pack-croissant dough
2 table spoon butter
 for filling:
1 tablespoon bread crumbs
4 walnuts
5 cashew nuts
4 almonds
20 raisins
dash of cinnamon powder
1 tablespoon sugar

How its made:
Make a course powder of all the filling ingredients, add 1 table spoon of melted butter, mix well and set it aside. Open up the croissant pack, take each individual triangle spread the filling and roll the croissant. Do this with the rest, normally these packs make 8 croissants. Set in a tray, brush melted butter on top sprinkle some crystal sugar and place a silvered almond and bake in a preheated oven at 375 F for 11-13 minutes or as per the package instructions.

Serve warm or cool it. If you have to serve later just warm it up lightly in microwave. There you go, a nutty delight to enjoy in few minutes. Its slightly crispy on the outside, soft and than hits the nutty flavors and sweetness......

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Stuffed Brinjal

Brinjals or eggplant are not something that I really like, but once in a while I do cook brinjals, that too if I am able to get some fresh ones in Indian store. This recipe of stuffed brinjal is from my mom and I just love this combination of peanuts and onions in the masala with the tanginess of tamarind. I guess she learned this recipe from her friends from Dharwad. Normally they don't make this variety of stuffed brinjal in the Mysore region.
Anyway, wherever its origin is, it is a nice combo to have with akki (rice) roti or jowar roti.

What you need:
4 small sized brinjals/ eggplant
1/4 cup peanuts
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1/4 cup grated coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped red onions
1 teaspoon red chilly powder
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoon tamarind paste
2 tablespoon copped cilantro leaves
salt to taste
1/4 cup oil

How its made :
Dry roast the peanuts and sesame seeds seperately and grind it into course powder. To this powder add chilly powder, turmeric powder, salt, onions, cilantro and finally the tamarind paste, mix well and set aside.
Wash the brinjals, pat it dry, cut of the stem part and make a  slit in the form of plus such that the brinjals are divided into four parts but still held at the bottom. Fill the stuffing in between the slits and set aside. Heat oil in a pan,add the stuffed brinjals and the remaining stuffing masala and let it cook in the oil. Keep flipping the brinjals often or else it will burn on one side. If required drizzle some oil over it while cooking, this will help the masala inside the brinjal cook well. When almost done sprinkle some water, close the lid and lower the heat. The brinjals will get cooked in the steam generated.  Serve hot with rice/ jowar roti. or as a side dish with rice and dal.

Some people grind the masala into a fine paste for stuffing. For a less oil version you can start off with 1 tablespoon of oil, add brinjals and later add water and steam it. I personally like with more oil. The peanut masala tends to get crispier with frying in oil and goes well with the mushy brinjals.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Wawa Melon aka Water Melon Granita

Let's kick start the summer with some refreshing water melon granita. Remember your childhood days licking ice ka gola, this is just a similar version of it.  I am sure kids would love it and the elders too. Its so refreshing and easy to make, All you do is blend, freeze, rake and eat's fun and you need few basic ingredients.
Wondering about the new name for a common water melon, well that's my little one's version and I got used to calling it by that name now. Water in her baby language is 'wawa'.

This is my entry to serve it- chilled, hosted by Oh Taste n See.

What you Need:
3 cups seedless watermelon cubes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon sugar ( add according to the sweetness of the water melon)

How its Made:
Blend all the ingredients in a blender. Pour into a shallow freezer safe bowl and freeze for about 30 minutes, uncovered. Using a fork rake the crystals that are formed and refreeze for another 30 minutes. Rake the crystals again and freeze overnight or for 3- 4 hours. I left it in the freezer overnight and next day just used a fork to mix it and got beautiful crystals. For serving, use pre-chilled glasses, layer water melon balls and top it with watermelon granita, or just go the natural way use watermelon rind as bowls. The darker the color of the watermelon the prettier your granita would look. The water melon I used was pale red which makes the crystals look whiter, but it was very sweet.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

A father is always making his baby into a little woman. And when she is a woman he turns her back again. ~Enid Bagnold

Happy father's day to all dad's.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Saunf Chicken Fry

This is yet another quick chicken fry recipe, I just made up with whatever ingredients I felt like adding. I had some boneless chicken pieces and wanted to make something pretty quick by the time my dal would be done. (you need to multitask when you have little one nagging you to play with her). So here is my jhatpat saunf chicken fry.

What You need:
250 gms - boneless chicken breast
1 tablespoon saunf( fennel seeds)
1 small dried red chilly
1 tablespoon dessicated coconut
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder/ or 1 garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon lemon juice
few curry leaves
salt to taste
1 tablespoon oil

How its made:
Clean and cut the chicken into small bite size cubes. Dry roast saunf, chilly, curry leaves and coconut. Cool and grind to a course powder. Mix the powder, lemon juice, turmeric powder and salt with the chicken and let it marinate for 10 minutes (Longer you marinate it will taste better, but I wanted to get done quickly). Heat oil in a shallow frying pan, add the marinated chicken and cook till done. Serve with rice and dal.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Rice Appam

This is a simple dosa variety. It doesn't contain urad dal like the traditional dosa. Instead of it, cooked rice is used. What I really like about it is, its crispy on one side and very soft on the other, so you get two different texture.

What You need:
2 cups long grain rice
1/2 cup cooked white rice
1/2 teaspoon fenugreek seeds

How it's made:
Soak the raw rice, cooked rice and  fenugreek seeds in water for 3-4 hours. Grind to fine batter, Add salt and let it ferment overnight. In winter fermentation is a problem and it may take longer. 
Once well fermented heat a skillet or dosa pan, spread the batter like a traditional dosa. Cover it and let it cook on medium heat for few minutes, until the top layer is cooked and the bottom layer gets a nice golden color. Don't turn and cook  again. This has to be cooked on one side only. Spread ghee or butter and serve hot.

Potato in Green Masala

My mom makes different variety of gojju (thick gravy). This recipe of potato gojju in green masala is one of them. I love this specially with dosa. Since I typically don't like eating dosa or idli with just chutni, mom always made some sort of gojju for me. As I have mentioned before most of my mom's recipe needs grinding. So lets get started with ingredients needed for grinding.

What you need:

for grinding:
1/4 cup- coconut (either dry or fresh)
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 green chillies
2-3 pods of garlic
1/2 inch ginger
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 cloves
1/4 inch cinnamon
3-4 stalks of Cilantro

Rest of the ingredients needed:
4 medium sized Potatoes
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
2 teaspoon oil
salt to taste

How it's made:
Grind all the spices mentioned in the list above with some water to make a smooth paste. Fresh coconut gives more gravy consistency, while using dry coconut makes the masala thick and may end up adhering more on the potatoes. Either way it tastes good.
In a pan heat oil, add mustard, once it splutters, add the potatoes and the ground paste, salt, water as needed and cook till done.
The gravy is very spicy , adjust the amount of black pepper and green chillies to your taste. Serve with dosa. It tastes best with rice appam and you can have it with bread too. I just love the rich green color of the dish and it made with potatoes, what better reason you need.
Mom made this on some festivals days too as this doesn't contain onions and she wouldn't use garlic. (she follows a strict no garlic or onions cooking on all festival days).

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Shrimp Biryani

I normally make Biryani on Sunday's these days. Me and my little one like biryani unlike my hubby. But he has no choice now, if I make he has to eat, as we females dominate in the house these days :). I normally make fish or chicken biryani, but last week wanted to try out shrimp. So here is a my version of shrimp biryani. I normally make biryani with store bought biryani masala (makes it easier) but sometimes when I have time and patience like to try with whole spices.

What You need:
20 large sized raw shrimp
1 tablespoon ginger- garlic paste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoon red chilly powder
1/2 teaspoon garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

1 large onion - finely sliced
2 green chillies- slit lengthwise
4 cloves
1 inch cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 star anise
1 cardamom pod
2 bay leaf
cilantro leaves
1/4 cup coconut milk
saffron strands ( optional)
3 cups of basmati rice
2 tablespoon oil
salt to taste

How it's Made:
Clean and devein the shrimps. Marinate it for atleast 30 minutes with ginger-garlic paste, lemon juice, chilly powder, turmeric, chilly powder and garam masala.
In a pan heat oil and fry the sliced onions until they turn brown. Add bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, black pepper, star anise and fry till you get a nice aroma ( about 2 minutes). Add the marinated shrimp and mix well and cook for few minutes. Add coconut milk and water if required and cook until the shrimps are done and you get a thick gravy.
Wash and cook basmati rice with salt and one bay leaf, until almost done.
To assemble the biryani I used a loaf tray. (You can layer in any pan and cook on stovetop). Put a layer of rice and than a layer of the shrimp masala, sprinkle some chopped cilantro and put another layer of rice. Cover it with foil and place it in oven preheated to 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes. Once done, remove from oven and invert the pan onto a serving tray. I baked it for two reasons, One wanted to try a nice presentation, and secondly my oven was already turned on for baking something else, so used it. Normally I just layer it in a pan and cook for 10 minutes on the stove.  
I soaked few strands of saffron in warm milk (about 1 tablespoon) and just poured it over the rice. Garnish and serve hot.

While I was trying to get a better background to take the picture, my little one tried to taste the biryani and she scooped out chunks out of it, I tried to manage to put it back together (every thing in the back is gone) and take the picture below. She thinks its fun to play with food while I try to take pictures, and than she poses with a big smile for the shot :).

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Quick Pear Tart

It was saturday afternoon and my little missy was taking a nap. I was bored and didn't want to watch TV or read. So I thought of baking something. I prefer baking while she is not around as she loves to peep into the oven every time I open it. I had some pear wanted to try to make something out of it. I had seen Ina Garten on her show, 'Barefoot Contessa'. demonstrate french apple tart , a few weeks back. I basically adapted this recipe from her, but made changes to my convenience. She made her own pastry, but i didn't have so much time in hand. By the way I wasn't intending to blog about this recipe after the incident I had baking this :),  but than I thought its worth sharing some mishaps at time. Read the entire blog to know............

What You need:
Half Puff pastry sheet
1 Pear
2 tablespoon Apricot spread
2 tablespoon Apple juice
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoon cold butter cubed

How it's made:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut the pear into half length wise and core. You can peel the pear, but I left the peel on. Cut into thin slices(about 1/4inch).Thaw and cut the pastry sheet to desired size. I used half of pastry sheet. Line a cookie tray with baking parchment paper. Place the pastry sheet over it. make some some slits in between with as sharp knife to avoid the pastry sheet from puffing up. Place the cut pear slices overlapping each other on the pastry sheet, You can place it straight like I did or diagonally for a better look. Sprinkle it with sugar and cold butter cubes. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges turn brown.

Meanwhile heat the apricot spread in a saucepan along with apple juice until it forms a nice smooth mixture. Take the baked pastry sheet out of the oven and apply the apricot spread onto the top of the pear and pastry with a pastry brush.
Cut into pieces and serve the tart warm or cool.
It tastes good and I shared a slice of it with my friend, who liked it too. How couldn't it taste good with butter n sugar baked with pear.

Blunders I made - I used wax paper instead of parchment to line the baking sheet, and guess what would have happened, It started smoking and all the smoke alarms went off in the house. It took 30 minutes to silence the alarm with neighbor's help, since I wasn't tall enough to reach the ceiling (even with a ladder ) to silence it. So please any out there who loves experimenting like me never ever use wax paper for baking. Lesson well learned............
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