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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chocolate Truffles


I made some dark chocolate truffles for my sweetie a few days back. Some how I had leftover ganache in my fridge, usually I would just take a spoon to it, but this time around I thought I'd be classy and make some candy instead.

(makes 8 pieces)
(prep time 30 mins + additional time for cooling, shaping and dipping)
Chocolate Ganache

First you will need to make the chocolate ganache, and then you will need to let it set in the fridge overnight.

Heavy cream 1/2 cup (use 36%)
Your favorite dark chocolate 5 oz (chopped up into small bits)
Butter 1 Tbs
Flavors like brandy, or any other liqueur  1 Tbs (optional) 

Milk chocolate 4 oz (to be used later for dipping the truffles in)
You will also need a small piece of Styrofoam (explained later)

Method

Keep the chocolate bits in a large bowl and set aside.
In a heavy based pot bring the cream to a gentle simmer over medium high heat.
Pour half of the cream onto the bits of chocolate and mix well.
Then pour the rest of the cream, mix and combine very well.
Stir in the butter and flavours.
The chocolate should have completely melted and you should have a chocolaty smooth and shiny mixture in front of you that's difficult not to lick!
Let this mixture sit in the fridge for 6 hours or over night.

The next day you will be able to scoop it out with a spoon, and you should be able to shape them. They are very delicate and melt quickly in your palms so you need to work quickly and gently.

Dust some cocoa powder on your hands, this prevents the ganache from sticking to your hands too much, scoop out a tablespoon worth of ganache in your hands, carefully roll it into a small ball and place it back in the fridge. This is your basic truffle, you can roll this in cocoa powder, ground nuts, coconut flakes etc and you are set.

However I wanted it to have a hard outer shell similar to the truffles that you get from fancy chocolate stores.
That means you need to dip it in tempered chocolate.
You can make tempered chocolate from scratch but I cheat a bit and melt a regular chocolate bar on a double boiler and let it sit till it cools down completely and reaches room temp. The chocolate stays melted for a long time at room temperature. I used about 4 oz of milk chocolate for this.

I also like to freeze the ganache for 45 mins before dipping it in the chocolate.
Half way through freezing time take the ganache out and re-shape it into round balls, and stick a toothpick in it. Re-shaping it gives it a rounder shape (no flat bottoms), the toothpick makes it easier to dip them in chocolate and later you can stick it in some Styrofoam till the chocolate fully hardens, again this prevents flat bottoms.

Now all you gotta do is dip the truffles in melted chocolate and let it rest in the fridge until the chocolate hardens. Place them in candy liners and ta da you're done! I drizzled some melted white chocolate on top, made a little gift box and gave these to my honey :-)

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Caramel Candy

I love it when it snows but I can't believe how awful it got on the streets yesterday! Hope everybody made it home safely last night.
Since most of us are stuck indoors, why not make a batch of homemade caramel candy? I think they make great gifts!


This was surprisingly very easy to make and came out perfectly soft and chewy. I found the instructions here and simply halved the amount of ingredients. This was a really good post about the the whole procedure, great pictures as well! I have listed the method here for convenience.

(makes over 1 lbs of candy)
(cook time 20-30 mins + extra time for cutting and wrapping)
Ingredients

Unsalted butter 1/2 cup
Light corn syrup 1/2 cup
Sweetened condensed milk 1/2 of a 14 oz can
Brown sugar 1 cup and 2 Tbs
Vanilla 1/2 tsp


Method

Note: This is easier if you have a candy thermometer. I don't have have one, so I would test for the right temperature by dropping a small amount of caramel into an ice cold glass of water. I checked after every 5-8 mins. And when the caramel gathered at the bottom of the glass formed a firm ball in my fingers, I knew it was done.

Melt butter in a heavy base pan and add sugar to it.
Cook until sugar is dissolved over medium high heat... about a minute
Add corn syrup and condensed milk, stir and combine well.
Continue to cook over med high heat and stir often.
Cook until caramel reaches the firm ball stage. It took me a little over 20 minutes.
Add the vanilla or any other flavors at this point.
Pour this carefully in a buttered dish.
Allow to cool over night.
Sprinkle with sea-salt if you'd like, cut into desired shape and wrap.
I used kitchen shears to cut these, that explains the weird cut lines along the caramel :-)


I don't know if you can tell, but my caramel had tiny dark brown specks in it. That happened because I didn't stir the caramel often enough during cooking and it got dark at the bottom. So stir stir stir and then stir some more.

Another point that I would like is make is on the wrapping material, I tried both cellophane and wax paper. The cellophane obviously has a lot of options in pattern, colors etc but they are a pain to twist and don't hold the shape. Wax paper does a better job and the candies look more homemade.

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Coconut Macaroons

Update:
I recently made this batch (see pics below) without the chocolate coating and without shaping them. I just drop 2 Tbsp worth of the dough on a cookie sheet and baked them for 20 mins.
 
I think they look fantastic this way - partially beacuse I have a better camera now :-) What's not to love about these, very quick and easy and always a crowd pleaser.
 

 
Original post starts here.
 
These are perfection! Nice and chewy in the inside.
I browsed through several recipes and came up with this version.
So cute in chinese takeout boxes, don't you think they make perfect little food gifts?
You won't believe how easy it is to make them.

 
(makes about 18-20 cookies)
(prep time 10 mins)
(bake time 20-25 mins)
Ingredients

Sweetened coconut flakes 14 oz
Dried coconut flakes (unsweetened) 1/3 cup (lightly toasted)
Condensed milk 2/3 cup
All purpose flour 1/4 cup + 1 Tbs
Large egg whites 3
Nice pinch of salt
Dark chocolate bits 1/3 cup

Method

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
Line a cookie sheet with wax paper and rubber some butter over it. Keep aside.
Mix all of the coconut, flour, condensed milk and salt together in a bowl.
In a separate bowl whip the egg whites till they become frothy and form stiff peaks. Takes about 1-2 mins with a hand held mixer.
Fold in the egg whites into the coconut mixture.
Scoop out 2 Tbs worth of the dense and sticky coconut mixture and shape it gently using two spoons.
Place the cookies 1" apart from each other and bake in the oven for 15-20 mins.
After baking for 20 mins I realised that the top of the cookie wasn't toasty enough.
I didn't want to bake them longer and risk over cooking them, so I placed the cookies under the broiler for a a minute or two to get the tops all goldeny brown. You want to keep an eye on the cookies while you are doing this. They can burn quite quickly. It also helps if you rotate the cookie sheet to make sure all the cookies are equally browned.

Remove the cookies from the cookie sheet and peel them off the wax paper, allow to cool completely.
A lot of recipes that I went through made a chocolate ganache for dipping these in, but the ganache remains soft and its hard to keep the cookies together in a box without the ganache rubbing off and making a mess.
So for the second batch of cookies that I made, I just melted some regular dark chocolate and dipped the cookies in that. The chocolate hardened after a bit and I was left with perfect little coconut macaroons.
:-)
Note to myself: Next cookie to try "Macaron"!

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Class pics :-)

Nicole! you did a wonderful job helping mt out yesterday, thanks a bunch :-)
Another class, another day of meeting great people.
Thank you Carolyn for sending me the pics.







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Friday, November 12, 2010

Nargisi Koftay

A royal delicacy!

Ingredients

Finely ground lamb 1 lbs
Hard boiled eggs 4 large
Red onions 1 cup (sliced fine)
Tomatoes 1 cup (chopped fine)
Yogurt 1/3 cup
Green chilies 2-3 med (chopped fine)
Garlic 1 Tbs (minced)
Ginger 1 Tbs (minced)
Black pepper 1 tsp
Cayenne pepper 1 tsp
Coriander 1 1/2 tsp
Garam Masala 1/2 tsp
Salt
Oil for cooking 4-5 Tbs

Spices for the meatballs:
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Red chili flakes 1/2 tsp
Garlic 1 tsp (minced)
Cumin seeds 1/3 tsp
Egg yolk 1
Bread crumbs 1 1/2 tsp
Salt

Method

Heat some oil in a pot.
Add the onions and fry until dark brown.
Add the chilies, garlic and ginger and stir for about 30 secs till the garlic becomes fragrant.
Add the tomatoes, mix well and simmer on med high heat for 4-5 minutes or until the tomatoes are cooked and are soft.
Add the yogurt and blend with a blender to make a smooth gravy.
Add all the spices and keep aside.
Meanwhile, mix all the spices listed under "Spices for the meatballs" in the ground meat.
Wrap the meat around the eggs (the eggs need to be room temp).
In a separate frying pan, heat about 2-3 Tbs of oil and quickly sears the sides of the meatballs to a light brown color. Don't worry about cooking the meat, the meatballs with cook fully in the sauce.
Gently add the browned meatballs into the gravy and cook for 15 mins on med high heat or until the meat is cooked through. Stir once half way.

Great with naan.

:-)
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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Chocolate Tart with Baked Bananas and Caramel

How I turned this.....
Into this!

This dessert was inspired from this recipe, it has great instructions and wonderful pics!
I used the exact recipe for the ganache but I halved the caramel to make room for the bananas.
I made it for some friends of ours and they all liked it very much. I don't get to make desserts very often so this took me a lot of time to prepare.
This makes a 10" tart enough for 8 people easily.

Pie Crust

I used Chef Alton Brown's recipe for the pie crust.
The quantities are very accurate and you get enough dough for the bottom of a 10" pie dish (had a little left over).
Minor changes:
Instead of the lard I used vegetable shortening just because I don't like the sound of lard. I read on several baking blogs that using a combo of butter with lard or shortening makes for a flakier crust rather than going all butter.
It's easier to chop up all the butter and shortening first and then place it the freezer, otherwise it gets too hard to cut and melts while you are using you fingers to handle it!
I placed all the fat in the freezer for at least an hour.
The chilled water, I never used a spritzer, I just added it gradually to the dough one tablespoon at the time.

You will have to blind bake the crust.
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees.
Butter and flour a 10" tart pan or a pie dish.
Roll out the dough and place it inside the dish and press it gently against the sides and bottom of the pan.
Since this is a tart and not a pie you don't have to flute the corners and make a fancy edge just cut the over hang with a knife.
Use a fork to poke holes all over the bottom and sides to keep it from rising up during baking.
Place it in the fridge for another 30 mins.
Use pie weights or dry beans and arrange them inside the dish.
If you are going to use beans, I recommend placing them over a sheet of aluminum so that you can remove them quickly.
Bake for 10 mins in the middle rack, remove the weights and bake for another 15 mins.
Keep aside and allow to cool down.

This is something intereseting that I recently read.
Adding some vodka to the dough makes it super flaky!
So for Alton Browns recipe I would use 2 Tbs water and 2 Tbs vodka.

Sea salt roasted peanuts

You will need about 1/3 cup of roughly chopped peanuts.
These you can buy, like Planters dry roasted peanuts with sea salt.
Or do what I did.
I took some dry roasted unsalted peanuts, tossed them in 1/2 tsp of oil and heated them up quickly on a frying pan and then sprinkled some coarse sea salt over them.
Chop these up and keep aside.

Baked bananas

Bananas 3 large - ripe
Butter 1 tsp
Dark rum or pineapple juice 3 Tbs

Pre heat oven to 345 degrees.
Take a large sheet of aluminum foil and fold up 1" from each side to make a shallow container. It should be large enough so all the bananas can lay snug to each other. Place this aluminum container on a cookie sheet or inside a baking dish.
Peel three ripe bananas and slit them in halves lengthwise.
Rub a small amount of butter on each side of the cut bananas and sprinkle about 3 Tbs of dark rum or some fruit juice over them.
Bake on the middle rack for 15-20 mins or until the bananas feel tender but firm we don't want these to be mushy.
Remove from the baking dish and let them soak in the juices until they cool down completely
Cut into 1" chunks and keep aside for later.

* Inspired from this recipe.

Caramel

Sugar 2/3 cup
Corn Syrup 1 1/2 Tbs
Salt 1/8 tsp
Water 3 Tbs
Butter 3 Tbs
Heavy Cream 3 Tbs

Combine sugar, corn syrup, salt and water in a sauce pan.
Cook over medium high heat until the temp is 365 degrees on a candy thermometer.
I don't have a candy thermometer, but at 365 degrees the caramel is at the hard ball stage.You can check that by dropping a small amount into a glass of very cold water. The syrup will settle to the bottom of the glass and if you scrape that off and roll it between your fingers it should feel very hard.
It took me about 8 minutes to get to that stage.
Whisk in the butter and cream.
You will get a pale yellow and very soft caramel.
Very delicious!
Keep aside and allow this to cool for an hour at least.

* Click here for the original source
 
Chocolate Ganache

VERY IMPORTANT: You can't make the ganache in advance because it will set, therefore make it just when you are ready to pour it.

Heavy cream 1/2 cup (I used 36% heavy cream)
Bitter chocolate 4 oz (I used a 3.5oz bar of Lindt Excellence 70% cocoa + 1/2 oz of Lindt Milk chocolate)
Butter 1 Tbs

I remember reading somewhere, a long time ago, that ganache should always be made in 2 additions. This ensures a smoother texture and prevents the ganache from separating.

Chop the chocolate into small bits and put half of it in a bowl.
Bring the cream to a soft simmer in a sauce pan over medium high heat.
Pour half of the hot cream into the bowl with chocolate and mix well.
Add the rest of the chocolate and the cream and make sure everything is well combines.
Mix in the butter and your ganache will get a nice sheen.

* Click here for the original source

Assembly

At this point you should have these ready and at room temperature.
Pre baked pie crust
Baked bananas - cut into 1" pieces
Salted peanuts - roughly chopped
Caramel

Arrange the bananas and cover the bottom of the pie.
Sprinkle the peanuts and pour the caramel.
Allow this to cool in the fridge for at least an hour before you can add the ganache.
After an hour pour in the ganache, tap your dish a few times to ensure even distribution and chill the tart in the fridge for a minimum of 4 hours.

Sit back, congratulate yourself for finishing this task, relax and anticipate how it all tastes. Don't forget to let it rest on the counter for 15 mins before eating.
Longest 15 mins ever! :-)


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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tandoori Chicken Drumsticks

Enough marinade for 12 drumsticks.
(Prep time 15 mins + 2 hours marination time)
(Cook time 20 mins)

Ingredients

Chicken legs 12 (skinless)
Greek style yogurt 3 Tbs
Whole Green chilies 3 med
Ginger 2" piece
Garlic 3 Tbs - minced
Turmeric 1 tsp
Coriander powder 1 1/2 tsp
Roasted cumin powder 2/3 tsp
Coarse black pepper 1/2 tsp
Cayenne pepper 2/3 tsp
Garam masala 1/2 tsp
Salt 1tsp

Combine everything (except the chicken of course) in a blender and blend for a few seconds to form a thick paste. This is your marinade.
Make at least 2 cuts across the meaty part of the chicken leg with a sharp knife. The cuts should go all the way till the bone. This step is necessary to ensure that the spices reach all the way inside the meat.
Rub the paste all over the meat and marinade in the fridge for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Arrange the meat on a well lubricated grill and cook for 10 mins on med high flame with the cover on.
After 10 mins flip the meat and grill on the other side for another 10 mins covered. Baste with melted butter from time to time.

Squeeze some fresh lime juice over the chicken before eating!
Goes great with mint raita, plain yogurt or mango chutney.
Good stuff :-)

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Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fennel and Zucchini Salad


Had a friend over for lunch... one of the a  things I made was this Italian inspired salad.

(serves 4)
(prep time 15 mins)
Ingredients

I used a mandoline to slice all the veggies very thin and then julienned them with a knife. You can use a grater that has a slicer side or a food processor with a julienne insert. You can of course minimize slicing time by using matchstick carrots.

Fennel (bulb only) 1 cup (julienned)
Zucchini (un-peeled) 1 cup (julienned)
Baby carrots 1/2 cup (julienned)
Red onions 1/4 cup (julienned)
Red bell pepper 1/3 cup (julienned)

Vinaigrette

Olive oil 6-7 Tbs
Red wine vinegar 2-3 Tbs *Raw foodies use your favorite freshly squeezed citrus
Garlic 1 tsp (minced)
Salt 1/2 tsp
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Chili flakes 1/4 tsp
Chopped golden raisins 1/3 cup *Strict raw diet followers you could  use Vivapura Raw Monukka Raisins or Bob's Red Mill

Combine everything except the raisins in a blender and blend for a few seconds.... It should turn cloudy.
Then gently mix in the chopped golden raisins.
Pour this over the veggies and toss well.
Refrigerate for 30 mins to an hour before eating.

My friend and I had this with desi food... and it was great.
But I will grill a halibut steak to go with this for my hubby tomorrow.
:-)
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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Class today :-)

Another awesome class!




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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Zar's Chicken Shawerma

Enjoying the last few days of my vacation back home.
Zarlashta, my adorable teeny tiny bhabhi, made some extremely yummylicious shawermas for us.
A wonderful Mediterranean inspired sandwich consisting of tender pieces of meat wrapped in warm pita bread. I think these would also be great for picnics.
Lets calls these Zawermas :-)


(serves 12)
(prep time 45 mins)
Ingredients

Chicken 2 1/2 lbs (boneless cut into cubes)
Garlic paste 1/2 tsp
Ginger paste 1/2 tsp
Garlic powder 1/4 tsp
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Dried Oregano 1/2 tsp
Dried Rosemary 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice 1 1/2 Tbs
Vinegar 1 Tbs
Worcestershire sauce 1 Tbs
Salt
Oil for cooking 1/4 cup

Heat some oil in a frying pan, season the chicken with all the spices and cook until tender.
Allow the chicken to cool down and then shred into small pieces.

Veggies

Green bell pepper 2 med (sliced into thin strips)
Red onions 1 med (sliced thin)
Carrots 1 large (sliced thin)
Cucumbers 1 large (sliced thin) optional
Pickels 6 med (Sliced length wise) optional
Jalepeno 3-4 Tbs (chopped) optional
Mushrooms 3-4 Tbs (sliced) optional

Add a few drops of vinegar to these.

Mayo Sauce

Mayonnaise 5 Tbs
Garlic paste 1/4 tsp
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Paprika 1/4 tsp
Red chili flakes 1/2 tsp
Lemon juice 2 Tbs
Salt

Mix everything together in a bowl.
You will need 12 gently toasted, medium sized pita breads.
Here is a demo on how to wrap these.
Enjoy :-)

video
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Lunch at Farheen's

My awesome cousin Farheen had me over for lunch at her place, a beautiful house in a land far far away. We set off early morning one fine day and after many moons were welcomed by this wonderful meal....


...followed by this yummy dessert called Firni. A sliky smooth rice porridge set in un-glazed clay pots.
For reasons know only to a few I like calling this dessert fur-ni :-)

(serves 6)
(prep time 1 hour)
Ingredients

Whole milk 4 cups
Rice Powder 2-3 Tbsp
Pistachios and/or almonds (chopped fine) 1/4 cup
Sugar 1/4 cup
Cardamoms pods  4

Method

Blend rice powder with 1/2 cup cold milk and put it aside for at least half an hour.
Boil remaining milk with cardamoms.
Lower heat to medium and slowly pour in the blended rice powder in a steady stream.
Continue to cook on medium heat, stirring all the time, until it begins to thicken should take about 10 mins.
Add sugar and mix in the chopped nuts.
Taste and cool the firni pot in a bowl of water.
Once the firni has cooled down, pour it in a separate bowl or preferably in the special firni pots.
Decorate with some slivered almonds on top, place them in the fridge and chill for at least 5-6 hours.
:-)
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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Fancy Shmancy Breakfast


I made this for my hun a few days back.
Scrambled eggs in a basket made of Parmesan cheese.
Can be great for salads as well.

I will post a video soon about how to make the baskets and some other fun shapes out of Parmesan.
For now read below to see how I did it.

Take a wide non stick frying pan.
While the pan is cold, sprinkle some shredded Parmesan cheese all over the surface. Make sure there aren't any gaps between the shreds of cheese.
I tried to make it more lace like and delicate so I didn't need much cheese. Say for a 13" pan I used less than 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan, just enough to make sure all the shreds were connected.
Turn the heat up to medium.
The cheese will begin to melt and will start to turn brown at the bottom, it took me about 3-4 minutes on my stove. Make sure all the strands of cheese have melted.
You have to be careful about this next step.
All the shreds will melt and bond together to form a single sheet resembling a doily.
You will be able to lift it all up from a single corner with tongs.
Lift it up and drape it over a large inverted glass bowl and let it cool down for a few minutes.
Remove it from the bowl and your basket is done!
This is how mine looked like.


The eggs were simple... whip together,
2 Large eggs
Coarse black pepper
Fresh thyme
Salt

Melt 1 Tbs of unsalted butter in a frying pan and pour in the eggs.
Lift the sides of the eggs as it cooks and allow the uncooked eggs to flow beneath.
Cook until done.
Place gently inside basket.
:-)
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Monday, August 23, 2010

Phad Thai


Sometimes I mess up....

Had some very dear friends over at our place a few days back and I made them this gloppy, mushy, too sweet and really bad looking pad Thai that everybody claimed tasted just like baingan ka bharta (roasted eggplant curry).
hmmm I wonder how the eggplant I make tastes like ??? :-) LOL


lot of things went wrong.
  • I let the rice noodles soak in the water too long (40 mins), they turned waaaay softer than necessary and broke very easily.
  • I added the eggs after adding the noodles. That just made a big giant blob of everything.
  • The sauce had too much palm sugar.
  • I couldn't get raw shrimp so had to get pre cooked shrimp. I suppose they are OK for cocktails and stuff but for this they got too tough and couldn't absorb any of the flavors from the sauce.
  • Chopped the tofu too small!
Tried making it again and I think It came out much much better. Looks better too :-)
I made this vegetarian without any shrimp however the recipe below includes shrimp.

(serves 2-3)
(prep time 40 mins)
Ingredients

Oil 1/4 cup
Garlic 1 1/2 Tbs (minced fine)
Shallots 2 Tbs (minced fine)
Red Thai chilies 4 Tbs (sliced thin)
Shrimp 6-8 med size (deveined)
Egg 1 large
Tofu 1 cup (cut into 1" cube)
Dried shrimp 2 Tbs (optional)
Pad Thai sauce 1/2 cup
(2/3 cup tamarind pulp + 1/4 cup soy sauce + 2 Tbs fish sauce + 1 Tbs palm sugar cooked over med low heat for 30 mins)
*Rice noodles 3 cups (**soaked in hot water for 10 mins only!)
Garlic chives 2/3 cup (cut into 4" strips)
Bean sprouts 2/3 cup
Spring onions 1/2 cup (cut into 2" strips)
Roasted peanuts 1/4 cup (crushed)
Juice of 1 large lime
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Chili flakes 1/2 tsp

It's important to follow this order

I listed the ingredients in the order they go into the wok.
Please make sure you have everything ready.
Heat up some oil in a wok.
Add the garlic cook for 30 seconds
Add the shallots and chilies cook for a minute.
Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes.
Crack in the egg and let it set for a bit and then scramble it.
Add tofu and stir for another minute.
Add dried shrimp and cook for a few seconds.
Add the pad thai sauce.
Dump the noodles in and mix well.
Add garlic chives, bean sprouts, spring onions, crushed peanuts and stir for no longer than a minute.
Sprinkle some lime juice, coarse pepper and chili flakes.
Combine well.
Done! 

* Rice noodles come in different thicknesses, I used 3mm. They are also called rice sticks and I am pretty sure I saw some fresh ones at Uwajimaya that don't need to be soaked in water.

**Bring a pot full of water to a gentle simmer and turn the heat off. The pot should be wide enough for the noodles to swim around. Soak the noodles for 10 mins only, when you take them out they should be el-dente. Drain well and allow to cool before adding it to the wok.
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Sunday, August 22, 2010

Tostones

One of the yummiest and easiest sides I ever made. Twice fried plantain is very popular in many Latin American countries. We had this with Puerto Rican style green mojo sauce.

(prep time 5 min + cook time 10 min)
(serves 1-2)
How it's done

Unripe (green) Plantain 1 large 
Oil for deep frying
Kosher salt

Peel off the skin of the plantain and slice it into 1" to 1.25" chunks. I got eight pieces from one large plantain.
Heat some oil in a wok and deep fry the plantain pieces for 5 minutes and take them out.
Now you need to flatten them.
Traditionally a tostonera is used. And since I didn't have one I placed each piece between 2 sheets of wax paper and pressed down with the bottom of my palm, then I used the smooth side of a meat mallet and pounded it gently to a 1/4" thickness.
Once all the pieces are flattened, fry them again for another 5 minutes until crisp and golden brown.
Take them out on sheets of paper to absorb extra oil and sprinkle some kosher salt on top.
Tell me this ain't easy.
:-)

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Friday, August 20, 2010

Gai Hor Bai Toey

Thai style chicken wrapped in pandanus leaves. These turned out very tender and juicy, I had some friends over and they all loved it.

You can get frozen pandan leaves from Uwajimaya that are already cut into 6"strips, but I got fresh pandan leaves from Viet Wah on Jackson St. in Seattle. I think that's the only place where you can get them fresh. The leaves were well over 2' long even after I trimmed one inch off from the bottom because it seemed tough. I was able to get four 6" strips from each leaf. For this amount of chicken I needed two packets of pandan leaves for around $1.69 each.

(prep time 10 mins + 3 hours for marinade + 6 mins cook time)
(serves 2-3)
Marinade

Coconut milk 1/2 cup
Red Thai chilies 3-4
Ginger 1 1/2 inch piece
Garlic 4-5 cloves
Cilantro small bunch (approx 1/2 cup)
Fish sauce 3 Tbs
Soy sauce 2 Tbs
Rice flour 1 rounded Tbs
Pepper 1 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp

Blend everything until smooth.
This amount will be enough for about 4 chicken thighs (boneless and skinless) cut into 2" pieces.
Marinade the chicken for at least 3 hours in the fridge.
Simply wrap a single piece of meat in a 6" long pandan leaf and secure with a toothpick.
Deep fry for 5-6 mins.
We had this with a Thai sweet and sour sauce.
:-)
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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Class today

Fantastic group of people!
Everyone was good sport and used their fingers to eat the dessert :-)


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Monday, August 16, 2010

Goan fish curry



Wow.... August is surprisingly turning out to be all about south Indian delicacies!

This fish curry is prepared with an oily fish and has lots of coconut in it. Eating with your hands preferably on a banana leaf is highly encouraged :-)

Hubby ji loves fish, me not at all!! Anytime you see a post about seafood is because I made it for solely for him and had a salad for myself (and spent the rest of the day airing out the fish 'aroma?' from the apartment)
Sigh..... love!
:-)

(prep time 40 min)
(serves 2)
Ingredients

Mackerel 1 lbs - cut into large pieces
Desiccated coconut 1/2 cup (un-sweetened)
Coconut milk 2/3 cup
Ginger 1/2 Tbs (chopped fine)
Garlic 1/2 Tbs (chopped fine)
Onion 1/2 cup (sliced thin)
Tomatoes 1/2 cup (cut into small chunks)
Green chilies 1 Tbs (chopped fine)
Juice of 1 large lime
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Cumin 1 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Tamarind pulp 1/4 cup
Black pepper 1 tsp
Salt
Oil for cooking

Method

Season the fish with coriander powder, cumin, turmeric, tamarind pulp, black pepper, salt and lime juice.
Marinade in the fridge for 15 mins.
Heat some oil in a frying pan and brown the onions until dark brown.
Add the tomatoes and cook for another 5 mins or until the tomatoes are soft.
Mix in garlic, ginger and chilies and cook for 2-3 mins.
Blend grated coconut, coconut milk and the fried onion mix into a smooth gravy.
Add the fish to this sauce and cook on med-high heat for another 8-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked.
Don't over stir this.
Small little chunks of fish will fall off and mix with the sauce.
Sprinkle some fresh chopped cilantro over the curry.
Goes well with boiled cumin rice.
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Thursday, August 5, 2010

Rava Idli


I love south Indian food! I am new to the flavors and new to cooking it. The other day I woke up craving Idlis. I made the coconut chutney and Idli Podi. The idlis and rasam were from a pre-mix that I got from Mayuri. Maybe next time I'll make those from scratch.

hmmm... the title for this post is a bit misleading, Oh well :-)

P.S.
I don't have idli molds so I steamed the batter in a large round steamer and used a cookie cutter to make the circular shapes.

P.P.S
Happy birthday bug, I love you so very much!

Coconut Chutney

This makes a lot of chutney, close to 3 cups, you can freeze the leftover easily. The ingredient list seems very daunting but all of the things on it are found very easily at any Indian grocery store.

Start with a fresh medium size mature coconut. Remove the water and keep aside. You will need only the white part of the coconut, peel off the brown skin at the back after removing the coconut from the hard shell. Cut the coconut into small chunks. You should have roughly 2 to 2 1/2 cups of coconut chunks.
Ginger 1" piece
Green chilies 2-3 medium size
Jaggery or Brown sugar 1 tsp
Tamarind pulp 2-3 Tbs
Cilantro leaves 1/4 cup
Channa Dal (split chickpeas without seed coat) 2 Tbs 
Urad/Maash Dal (washed black gram) 2 Tbs
Raw cashew nuts 1 Tbs
Raw Peanuts 1 Tbs
Mustard seeds 2 tsp
Cumin seeds 2 tsp
Curry Leaves 3-4 leaves
Water  (Use coconut water and add enough plain water to get 1 1/2 to 2 cups of liquid )
Salt 2 Tsp

For tempering: (these quantities are for 1 cup of chutney)
Mustard seeds 1 tsp
Cumin seeds 1 tsp
Bay leaf 1 large - broken up in large pieces
Dried red chili 1 large - broken up in large pieces
Asafoetida (Hing) 2/3 tsp
Oil 4 Tbs

Method

Most of the ingredients will need to be roasted. Channa dal takes the longest so start with that first.
Pour about 1 Tbs of oil in a frying pan and heat it up.
Add the channa dal and reduce the heat to a low simmer.
Roast the dal for about 10 mins and stir it a few times.
Now add the urad dal and roast for another 5 mins. Stir occasionally.
Add the cashews, peanuts, red chillies, curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and roast for another 6-8 mins. Stir after every minute or two.
Allow the roasted ingredients to cool down.
For this step a hand held immersion blender worked better for me than a regular blender.
Combine all the roasted ingredients with the coconut chunks, tamarind pulp, jaggery, ginger, green chilies, cilantro, salt and water (basically everything).
Blend blend blend until you get a smooth and thick chutney (almost as thick as yogurt).
Cool the chutney in the fridge for about 20-30 mins.

Tempering:
The chutney it almost ready. The step should be done right before serving, so if you are going to freeze the chutney then don't do this now. 

Heat 4 tbs of oil in a frying pan.
Add all the spices listed under "For Tempering" except hing, that should be added in the last 5 seconds.
Fry these on high heat for 30 seconds and pour the hot oil over the chutney. You will hear a loud sizzle, that's good a thing.
Your chutney is ready  :-)

Idli podi
(makes about 2/3 cup of powder)

Channa Dal (split chickpeas without seed coat) 1/4 cup
Urad/Maash Dal (washed black gram) 1/4 cup
Mustard seeds 2 tsp
Coriander seeds 2 tsp
Cumin seeds 2 tsp
Pepper corns 2 tsp
Sesame seeds 1 tsp
Curry Leaves 3-4 leaves
Dried Red chilies 2-3 Large
Asafoetida powder (Hing) 2/3 tsp (this is added in the last 5 seconds)
Garlic powder 1 tsp (optional) (this is added in the last 5 seconds)
Dried tamarind or anar dana (dried pomegranate seeds) 2 tsp (optional)
Oil 2 tbs (use about a tsp at a time)
Salt 1 tsp

All these spices are roasted separately and slowly over low heat and then ground into a fine powder.
Pour 1 teaspoon oil in a heavy base frying pan.
Roast channa dal for 10 mins - keep aside.
Add another teaspoon or oil and roast urad dal for 5-6 mins - keep aside.
Add the rest of the oil and roast all of the spices (minus the hing and garlic powder) for about 3-4 minutes add the hing and garlic powder in the last 5 seconds.
Allow everything to cool.
Grind everything together in a coffee grinder.
Done!

You can eat this with some ghee and idlis!
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Sunday, August 1, 2010

Grilled Pomfret


You won't find this fish in Pike's Place, I got it from Uwajimaya and they also cleaned it for me. My husband loved it with khamiri roti, onions and lime .

(prep time 30 mins)
(serves 2)
Ingredients

Pomfret fish (whole) approx 1 lbs
Greek yogurt 3 Tbs
Red thai chilies 2 (med)
Lime juice 2 Tbs
Carom seeds (Ajwain) 2 tsp
Turmeric 1 tsp
Coarse black pepper 1 tsp
Cumin 1 tsp
Salt

Method 

Make a few cuts across the fish.
Combine all of the spices, lime juice, yogurt and rub the paste liberally over the fish and inside the cuts.
Marinade it in the fridge for 30 mins.
Rub a little oil or butter on both sides. Do this again when you turn the fish.
I baked this in a pre-heated oven for 8 mins at 400 over a rack and then broiled it for 2-3 mins each side on high. This should also be great for grilling outdoors. Make sure to cover the fins and tail of the fish with some aluminum foil before you broil or grill as they blacken quick and catch fire.

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Friday, July 30, 2010

Pasta with Pink Sauce


Made from a lot of pre-made stuff! Prolly not the healthiest or tastiest thing to eat... but hey great for lazy days!

1 part your fav marinara sauce
1/2 part heavy cream
1/4 part chicken broth or vodka
Mix it all together in a heavy base sauce pan, cook for 10-15 minutes over med-high heat.

Great over pasta! Shred Parmesan or Mozzarella cheese on top and maybe some chili flakes.
Done in 15 minutes.

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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Class photos


Just like always had a wonderful time and got a chance to meet great people :-)
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