Thursday, March 27, 2014

Recipe : Cafe Style Iced Cold Coffee

We are in the middle of moving houses (within Ahmedabad itself), hence my frequency of cooking and posting has reduced drastically. I have spread out the actual moving itself across 10 days, so I'm quite exhausted at the end of the evening and land up at some coffee shop or the other for a nice chilled coffee.

However, today I was too tired to even walk into a coffee shop, and I had milk and ice cream in the fridge to be finished off before I set the fridge to defrost (prior to moving it). So after a nice hot bath, I just made myself a glass of cold coffee, more indulgent than the way I normally make it, but definitely less calorific than the cafe versions.

Ingredients :
3/4 glass milk
1 scoop vanilla ice cream
1-2 tbsp of your favourite instant coffee powder (I used 2tbsp Bru, because I wanted a strong Coffee)
Sugar or flavoured syrup to taste

Add the milk, coffee powder and sugar/syrup into a liquidiser / blender.
Give it a good whiz until well blended. (5-15 seconds on lowest speed)
You will find a really frothy coffee, when you open the cover.
Now, add the ice cream and blend for another 5-15 seconds.
When you open the cover this time, you will notice that there is less froth on top of the blended coffee.
Pour into a nice tall glass and curl up with a good book.

Kim's Tips: 
Monin has a nice variety of flavoured sugar syrups, that go well with iced coffees and milkshakes. I like to keep a couple of the tiny bottles on hand in hazelnut, caramel, Irish Creme flavours.
Using the syrup in cold drinks, saves me the hassle of powdering sugar or keeping an extra box of powdered/icing sugar on hand.
Syrup doesn't clump in humid weather.
The flavoured syrups, enhance the drink

While you can use coffee decoction for making cold coffee, the water in the decoction will result in a thinner cold coffee. So the taste will be good, but the creaminess will be less. You can compensate a bit, by decreasing the milk and increasing the ice cream quantities.

If you don't want to use a blender / mixi, you can use those coffee/milkshake shakers (like cocktail shakers) First mix about 5-6 tbsps of milk with the coffee powder and sugar. When they have dissolved well, add the rest of the milk and the ice cream.
The ice cream will not blend completely, so you may get a bit of a coffee float instead which is also equally yummy.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Recipe : Instant Mango Pickle (Vegan) - Tamilian Green Mango Curry

This is a recipe that a Malyali friend told me about ages ago. I end up making it almost every summer (multiple times) as soon as green mangoes are available in the market.

Edited on 27 Mar 13 to add:
Once I posted this recipe, I was told by 2 different Tamilian friends (with absolutely no connection to each other) that this is a summer staple at their home and its called Mango curry.

The trick to making this pickle that is instant (no sunning, brining etc required) is to choose green mangoes that have the right amount of tartness for you. If they aren't sour enough, add some vinegar or lime juice to the mix, but its best to get sour mangoes.

You can make this in as high or low a quantity as you feel like. I make quarter to half kilo at a time and refrigerate it for the week. Longer than that, and it tends to soften and lose its crunchiness.

Ingredients :
250 gms of chopped green mango (if the seeds in the type of green mango you are using are very large, then use more)
1/2 tsp mustard
1/2 tsp jeera (cumin)
sprig of curry leaves
1 tsp of coconut / sunflower / mustard oil (whatever you prefer)
salt to taste
chilli powder to taste (I use around 2-4 tsps depending on the sour spicy balance I want)

Heat the oil in a pan.
Add the mustard and jeera.
When it splutters, add the curry leaves and chilli powder.
Turn off the flame, and add the mango pieces.
Stir well and add salt to taste.
Stir well again and keep aside for awhile to let the mango absorb the flavours.
If the pickle isn't sour enough for you, add lime juice or vinegar.

Serve at room temperature with your meal.
It goes best with curd rice on a hot summer afternoon.

You can refrigerate the leftovers and serve slightly chilled whenever you want a spicy side with your meal.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Recipe : Assamese Style Pork Fry

Delicacy in Guwahati was my favourite Assamese restaurant for simple home style food. Their pork fry and pork patot diya (baked in banana leaves) were my favourite items on the menu.

I've been craving that pork fry so much since I left Guwahati, and neither of my North East recipe books (Penguins - The Essential North East Cookbook and Ambrosia from the Assamese Kitchen) seemed to have the recipe that I was looking for. So I requested my friend Sanjukta, who is Assamese if she knew a recipe for this dish. Sanjukta currently writes a Food Column for G Plus - a weekly news magazine in Guwahati.

She gave me a simple straightforward recipe, that I used as a starting point for my pork fry.
"Marinate pork in crushed ginger and garlic, salt, pepper and some red chill powder. Now take the marinated pork in a wok and cook on low flame for over an hour. Keep stirring from time to time to avoid burning of the meat Now once it's done, chop onions and fry it it little oil in high flame. Add some haldi if u want. Add some chopped green chillies and stirring add the cooked pork into it. Add some more salt if required. Fry for some more time until done"

My recipe follows. I used 20 green chillies and didn't find it as spicy as I remember, so I added another 10 towards the end. If you don't like your food spicy, you can ignore the green chillies completely or lower the quantity.

2 kg pork cubes - about 1" size (I used a mix of 1 kg ribs and 1 kg boneless to get a good ratio of meat and fat, but any curry cut should be fine)
4 tbsp ginger garlic paste (freshly pounded is a better option, but packaged will do)
2 tbsp garlic paste
2 tbsp pepper

1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp chilli powder
1.5 tbsp salt
1 tbsp mustard oil
2 large onions (roughly chopped)
2 medium potatoes (chopped same size as pork cubes)
1 tbsp turmeric (haldi) powder
30 green chillies (slit - optional or adjust to taste)

Method :
Marinate pork in ginger garlic paste, garlic paste, pepper, vinegar, chilli powder and salt at least for an hour. Overnight or longer is a better option.

Heat the oil in a large pan or wok (the more surface area, the better)

Put the fat pieces in the pan (not the meat, so the fat cooks for longer and starts to break down)
Once the fat starts to break down, add the onions and potatoes and let the potatoes fry a bit in the fat.

Add turmeric, half the green chillies and mix well.

Then, add the meat and fry on a low flame till well cooked.

When almost done, add the other half of the green chillies.

Dry it completely and let the meat crisp up a bit.
Serve hot with rice and dhal.

Kim's Note:
If there is any meat leftover, reheat it with some water, it will form a thick curry and garnish with coriander leaves and serve with rice or rotis.

Served here with Kabuli Channa Pulao and Raita

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Recipe : Manglorean Style Rajma / Vegetable Stew (Vegan)

I had a couple of friends coming over for dinner and I was planning to make dosas (the thick variety that are eaten with coconut milk curries). However quite a few of them were vegetarian and since we hardly eat potatoes in this house anymore, I was wondering how to make a vegetarian coconut milk curry. (the standard Manglorean way to convert a meat curry into a vegetarian one, is to make it with potatoes or eggs)

Then, I remembered my friend Anju in Cairo, (who is from Kerala) had once made this lovely stew with rajma. Drawing on that as inspiration, I followed the Manglorean recipe for mutton stew but substituted the meat with rajma. Then I decided it needed some fresh veggies too and added a chopped carrot and a potato (stews need at least one potato to help thicken them up a bit). I was quite happy with the result.

This recipe results in a mild stew. If you want stronger flavours, double the ginger, chillies and stew powder.

2 cups of rajma (kidney beans) - 1/2kg if you buy the pre-cooked variety
pinch of jeera
pinch of heeng (asafoetida)
pinch of methi seeds

1 tsp oil (coconut or any neutral oil)
2" cinnamon
6 green chillies slit in two
1" ginger julienned
8-10 curry leaves washed and wiped dry
1 medium onion chopped
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 large carrot chopped large
1 potato boiled (you can pressure cook it with the rajma to save time) and chopped large
1 tbsp Manglorean stew powder (you can use pepper powder, if you can't make any stew powder)
 200 ml Coconut milk (thick)

Soak the rajma overnight (8 hours) and pressure cook in enough water to cover it, till done with a pinch of heeng, methi and jeera (to help cut down the gassy effects of rajma).
Drain the water and set aside the cooked rajma (unlike other dried lentils and beans, the water in which rajma is pressure cooked, is not used in cooking, discard it)

In a large pan, heat the oil.
Season with cinnamon, ginger, green chillies and curry leaves till the leaves crisp up a bit.
Add onion, fry till translucent.
Add ginger garlic paste and mix well for a minute.

Add the cooked and drained rajma and saute for a minute while stirring, so everything blends.

Add the coconut milk and thin it down with some water, stir well, cover and cook till it is bubbling.
Once the stew is bubbling, lower the heat to sim, add the stew powder and cook till rajma has reached your desired level of softness (about 10 minutes), stirring in between if necessary to prevent it from burning.

Now add the carrots and boiled potatoes and simmer for another 5 minutes.

Serve hot with dosas or appams

You can garnish this with fresh chopped coriander of crisp fried ginger juliennes (tempering).

Kim's Note:
If you prefer your carrots well cooked, add them at the same stage as the rajma. We prefer to have them raw to the bite.

If you want a stronger coconut flavour or a thicker stew, double the coconut milk and reduce the water.

If you want stronger flavours, double the ginger, chillies and stew powder.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Recipe : Baked Brie with Caramelised Almonds (Vegetarian)

Brie is a soft French Cheese made from cow's milk. It has a harder rind on the outside which protects a soft cheese on the inside. The flavour is normally mild and not too ripe. A ripened Brie is called a Brie Noir.

Brie can be eaten as it is or baked to make it a little more gooey and runny. The rind is completely edible and best left as is (with a little hole cut out to breathe), if you plan to bake it. the rind will help keep your Brie in shape.

Brie is sold in circular shapes or triangular wedges. The circles work best for this recipe. If all you have access to is the triangular variety, then make sure that it has rind on the sides before baking it, else you'll just end up with an extremely limp quesadilla.

While I have used almonds in my recipe. All nuts work well and so do some fruits like cranberries when baking Brie.

This dish looks very fancy, but its very easy and fast to prepare, if you have all the ingredients in your pantry.

1 small round of Brie (4.5" is the commonly available size in India).
1 tsp butter (salted is fine)
2-3 tbsp brown sugar (it gives better flavour, but if you are out of brown sugar, you can try regular sugar too, just try and brown it when caramelising)
1.5 handfuls of nuts (I used almonds, you can use walnuts or pecans)
pinch of salt (or to taste)
1/2 tsp chilli powder

Special equipment :
Aluminium Foil
Oven proof small round baking dish

Method :
Bring the Brie to room temperature.

In a normal frying pan (preferably non-stick), melt the butter on a low flame.
Add half the sugar, salt, chilli powder and nuts and continue to swirl them around the pan occasionally on a low flame.
When all the ingredients (except the nuts) combine to form a sticky paste, take it off the flame and transfer the nuts onto  the aluminium foil.

Preheat your over to 180C.

Thinly slice off the top rind of the Brie, but leave the sides and bottom intact.
Place it in the oven proof bowl sliced side top.
Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar on the sliced side and then top with the caramelised nuts.
(I sprinkled the remaining nuts around the Brie too)

Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes - until you see the soft cheese bubbling and changing consistency.

Let it rest for a few minutes and then serve hot with sliced Baguettes or crackers.

This can be served as a fancy appetiser, on a cheeseboard or as a snack for 2.

Kim's Notes:
Its important to move the hot caramelised nuts out of the pan and onto the foil to prevent sticking to your pan.

Also, don't move the nuts directly onto the Brie, it will start melting on top and your cooking won't be even.

If like me, you have been taught not to waste any food in the kitchen, then slip the sliced bits under the brie when baking or keep them and use them in any pasta sauce.

Standard Brie Size is 9-15 inches, so double the recipe for a Standard serving of Brie.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Recipe : Pedatha's Iguru Pachchadi - Milky Brinjal Chutney

This recipe is from Jigyasa & Pratibha's Other Book - "Cooking at Home with Pedatha"

Its an interesting variation on the regular Baingan Bharta and goes well with rotis or rice and dhal.
Ingredients :
1 large or 4 small tender brinjals (minimal seeds)
1/2 cup boiled and cooled milk
1 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Tempering :
3/4 tsp dhuli moong dhal (split and husked black gram)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
2-3 green chillies slit
1/2 tsp grated ginger
1 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
6-7 curry leaves

Method :
Coat the brinjal with a little oil and roast directly on flame till skin turns black and starts crancking.

When cooked through, scrape off the skin and mask with a fork.

When the pulp has cooled, add milk and mix well.

Heat oil for tempering, addthe dhal, when it turns golden, add mustard.
Turn the flame off and add other tempering ingredients.

Mix the tempering into the pulped brinjal and mix well.

Add salt just before serving, so that the milk doesn't curdle.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Recipe : Ayurvedic Dates Kheer

This is another lovely recipe from Jigyasa & Pratibha's "Sukham Ayu - Cooking at Home with Ayurvedic Insights"

Its made without any sugar or jaggery and is naturally sweetened by the dates. If it isn't sweet enough for you, you can add some jaggery or rock sugar to maintain its Ayurvedic nature.

The book, gives details on why Dates are good for you and which constitutions it works best for. If you are interested in eating right for your body, depending on its constitution, you SHOULD pick up a copy of this Cookbook.

15-20 pitted dates, washed and chopped fine (dried, not fresh)
4 cups cow's milk (for Ayurvedic Reasons, you can use any milk of your choice)
8-10 strands of saffron
1 tsp wheat flour
pinch of nutmeg powder
1/4 tsp cardamom powder
1 tsp cow's ghee

Bring the milk to a boil and allow it to simmer

Take 1 tsp warm milk into a bowl and rub the saffron in it to release its flavours and the milk turns orange. Keep aside.

In a thick bottomed pan, heat ghee, add the dates and saute for 2 minutes on a low flame.
Sprinkle wheat flour over the dates and saute for another minute.

Slowly add the milk, stirring continuously to avoid lumps. Cook on low flame for 7-8 minutes. If you want it sweeter, add some powdered rock sugar. (Jaggery does sometimes curdle hot milk, so if adding jaggery, add strained jaggery syrup after cooling the kheer)

Stir the prepared saffron into the kheer, with nutmeg and cardamom powders. Switch off the flame.

Enjoy a small helping at the end of your meal as a digestive.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Recipe : Spicy Ginger Lemon Soup (Vegan Option too)

This is a lovely, very easy to make Soup from Jigyasa & Pratibha's "Sukham Ayu - Cooking at Home with Ayurvedic Insights"

Its perfect for Winter or the Monsoons, or anytime you just want a quick easy to digest soup for dinner. It doesn't need any stock or pre-preparation, and is is ready in 30 minutes or so.

The Recipe calls for 2 green chillies, but I used 5, because we like our food spicy.

Ingredients :
1/4 cup Split red or green gram (masoor or moong dhal)
2 inch ginger crushed (try and keep it whole, so you can remove the whole piece, rather than straining it)
5 green chillies slit (adjust to spice tolerance)
pinch of turmeric powder (haldi)
powdered rock salt to taste (rock salt is recommended in Ayurveda, but you can use regular salt, if you don't have rock salt)

1 tsp coriander leaves chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice or to taste (I used half a lemon)

To Temper :
1 tsp Cows Ghee (Cow's Ghee is Ayurvedic, to make it vegan, use any neutral oil of your choice)
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
pinch of asafoetida (hing)
7-8 curry leaves

Method :
Wash and pressure cook the gram to a soft consistency. The trick is to use just enough water to cook it, so that the gram can get completely disintegrated (about 4-5 whistles?)

Add ginger, chillies, turmeric powder, salt and 2 cups of water and simmer for 5-7 minutes. Strain and return to flame to simmer . (I just removed the ginger, but let the chillies remain)

In your tempering pan, heat the ghee, pop the mustard. Reduce the flame and add jeera, hing and curry leaves. Pour the tempering over the simmering soup.

Switch off the flame and add lemon juice and coriander leaves. Serve hot.

My husband wanted more substance in his soup, so before adding the tempering, I added a 1/2 cup of quartered cabbage leaves and let it simmer for about a minute before adding the seasoning.


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