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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Manaqish bi'l Za'tar


A very popular and delicious flatbread from the mideast.
Wonderful for lunch or something to snack on. I was able to find all the herbs I needed to make this from Penzeys Spices in Seattle. I absolutely love the selection of spices that they have!

(prep time 2 hours)
(bake time 3 mins per flatbread)
(serves 6-8)
Topping

Za'tar 4 Tbs 
(this spice blend usually contains sesame seeds, marjoram, thyme and sumac)
Olive oil 6-8 Tbs  

Sumac 1 tsp *optional - Za'tar contains sumac but I like to add a little extra 

Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl and set aside.

Dough

All purpose flour 2 cups + some for dusting
Olive oil 2 Tbs
Whole milk 3 Tbs
Sugar 1 Tbs
Salt 1/2 Tbs
Active dry yeast 1 tsp
Warm water 2/3 cup

Combine all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well.
Add the oil and rub it in.
Now pour in the water and knead to make a dough.
I use my hands so it take me about 8-10 mins, I am sure in a food processor it will be quicker.
Transfer the dough in a lightly greased bowl and lightly cover it with saran wrap.
Let this sit in a warm dry place.
In about 2-3 hours the dough will be double in size.
Punch it down and sprinkle some extra flour, 2-3 tablespoons, and knead for another 2-3 mins.
Divide the dough into 8 parts.
Roll them into 7" round.
Spread some Za'tar on each round and bake until cooked.

How to bake

I have a pizza stone that I love to bake on.
Both the stone and the oven needs to be super hot to be effective.
So I start by setting the stone on the second shelf of the oven and then I pre-heat the oven to the highest setting, 550 degrees in my case.
I turn the oven off and turn on the broiler on high and let the stone sit under it for 10 mins.
Now I am ready to bake on it.
Before you start, turn the broiler to the low setting.
Slide out the shelf and place the bread on top of it, I like to use a paddle for this.
The bread will be cooked in 3 mins but keep an eye on it.
Use tongs or the paddle to remove the cooked bread from the stone.

Hope you like.








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Friday, December 16, 2011

Tamagoyaki

 卵焼き

Behold - Tamagoyaki
A Japanese rolled omelet.
I learned how to make it from this video.
The ingredients were in the subtitles and I guesstimated the amount.
I got the pan from Daiso for about $2. It was smallish, roughly 6" by 4",  and I was skeptical on how well it would work but it was able to handle 3 eggs okay, although something bigger would have been much better.

Ingredients

Eggs 3 Large
Mirin 1 Tbs
Light soy sauce 2 Tbs
Dashi 1/4 cup
(I got dashi in powdered form and I added about a tsp of it to 1/4 boiling water and then let it cool down)
Pinch of salt
I also added 1/2 plain white sugar
Oil for brushing

Method

Just mix everything together in a large bowl.
I didn't pass the eggs through a sieve like in the video.
I took about 3 Tbs worth of the egg mixture and spread it over the hot pan.
Once the egg was slightly set I rolled it and then added more batter.
Kept doing that until I ran out of the batter.
Occasionally I would have to hold the pan away from the heat because it would get too hot.
And as the rolled eggs started to build up I had very little pan space left so it helped to lift up the cooked eggs a bit and let the uncooked eggs get beneath.
Here is a little video of me making it.
Definitely takes some getting used to.
It was tricky folding it, specially as the roll got fatter probably because the pan was too small.
I hope to get better at it and maybe for next time I will divide the batter and make 2 rolls :-)

video



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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Somali Sambusa



(prep time 20 mins)
(cook time 10 mins)
(makes about 15 sambusas)
Ingredients

Ground lamb 1 Lbs
Garlic 2 tsp (minced fine)
Serrano chili 1 large (chopped fine) *optional
Flat leaf Italian parsley 1 cup chopped
Green onions (chopped) 1/3 cup
Ground cinnamon 1/2 tsp
Ground cardamom 1/8 tsp
Ground nutmeg 1/4 tsp
Coarse black pepper 1/4 tsp
Ground cloves 1/8 tsp
Sumac 1/2 tsp
Olive oil 3 Tbs
Canola oil for deep frying

I used samosa wrappers from KG Pastry for wrapping these. This wrapper is different from the Indian samosa wrap. I was able to buy it only at Halal Meats (the tiny store inside the plaza next to Apna Bazar in Bellevue)

NOTE:
I also folded a few of these in wonton wrappers and I have to say there is a difference.The wonton wrappers were much thicker than the samosa wrappers. And after frying the wontons seemed harder and the samosa wrappers seemed very delicate and more flaky.

TIP: If you'd rather bake these instead of deep frying phyllo dough might work great. However using phyllo might not save you calories because lots of butter goes between the layers unless you used a low cal spray.

Method

Start by heating some oil in a frying pan.
Add the garlic and cook for about 30 to 45 seconds.
Add the beef, chilies and all the seasonings.
Cook until beef is done about 10-12 mins and make sure to break any lumps of meat with the back of a spatula.
Mix in the green onion and the parsley.
Allow this mixture to come to room temperature before you can start wrapping them.
I wished that the wrappers should have been atleast 12 inches long but the ones I had were only 8.5 inches.
So I wet the edges with some water and glued two wrappers together to make one long one.
Take about 2 Tbs of the mixture and wrap them in triangles.
Here is the video I learned from, however I just used plain 'ol water to seal the sambusa ends and not a paste like in the video.
Deep fry for 6 mins or until golden brown.
Super delish!

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Scones, blackberry jam and clotted cream


I had been stuck on the idea of clotted cream for the past few days. It's a mildly sweet, spreadable thick cream, somewhat of a cross between unsalted butter and heavy cream. I had it with homemade scones and jam for breakfast but this meal is usually enjoyed in the afternoon with a cup of tea as a part of the famous cream tea which is very popular all across the UK.

It's next to impossible to get your hands on fresh clotted cream here in the US. The closest thing is a processed version (found in a tiny jar in the picnic food section of Cost Plus World Market) or Double Devon Cream (can be bought at Cost Plus World Market, Wholefoods and the The British Pantry). However I really wanted to taste the real deal and me being somewhat of a food nerd and after being told that the idea "sounds jolly good" I decided to make it in my tiny kitchen :-)  

Thanks to Google my hunt for raw unpasteurised cream was surprisingly short. I was able to locate a depot in Bellevue and all I had to do was make a call and collect it on Thursday morning. It's hard to describe the feeling I felt when I was holding a pint of raw cream from Jersey cows in my hands :-) A pint of cream took me over eight hours and I got about a third cup worth of clotted cream. The process for making this is very similar to making malai probably because clotted cream IS malai. However there is a HUGE difference in taste and texture between the two maybe because clotted cream is made from a better quality of milk or cream. 

The method is simple. Just pour the cream in a wide skillet, cover and cook on very low heat for several hours until a thick crust forms on the top. That yellowy, oily crust is clotted cream. Scrape it off and collect it in a small bowl. I found this recipe for clotted cream which makes it in an oven. However I made it on the simmer setting on my electric stovetop and scrapped off the crust every hour or so. The crust will form several times. In the end I had very little cream left in my skillet, I couldn't let it simmer further without making it stick to the skillet.

During my search for a recipe I found that people usually compare the taste of clotted cream with mascarpone, ricotta, heavy whipped cream or some mix of these ingredients. And after tasting it, it is my very humble opinion that clotted cream is also comparable to softened khoya - Milk solids made from evaporating milk, an ingredient very commonly used in Indian/Pakistani desserts and can be easily bought from an Indian grocery store.

Scones

I followed a recipe from America's Test Kitchen, a version of it can be found here.
However I never used any currants or dried fruit and cut the recipe in half.
For the sake of completion I have copied the recipe below with the quantities that I used.
Dreamy Cream Scones
America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
1 cup (5 ounces) unbleached all-purpose
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 tablespoons chilled, unsalted butter, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
1/2 cup heavy cream

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425°F.
2. Place flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in large bowl or work bowl of food processor fitted with steel blade. Whisk together or pulse six times.
3. If making by hand, use two knives, a pastry blender or your fingertips and quickly cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse meal, with a few slightly larger butter lumps. Stir in currants. If using food processor, remove cover and distribute butter evenly over dry ingredients. Cover and pulse 12 times, each pulse lasting 1 second. Transfer dough to large bowl.
4. Stir in heavy cream with a rubber spatula or fork until dough begins to form, about 30 seconds.
5. Transfer dough and all dry, floury bits to countertop and knead dough by hand just until it comes together into a rough, sticky ball, 5 to 10 seconds. Form scones by either a) pressing the dough into an 8-inch cake pan, then turning the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, cutting the dough into 8 wedges with either a knife or bench scraper (the book’s suggestion) or b) patting the dough onto a lightly floured work surface into a 3/4-inch thick circle, cutting pieces with a biscuit cutter, and pressing remaining scraps back into another piece (what I did) and cutting until dough has been used up. (Be warned if you use this latter method, the scones that are made from the remaining scraps will be much lumpier and less pretty, but taste fine. As in, I understand why they suggested the first method.)
6. Place rounds or wedges on ungreased baking sheet and bake until scone tops are light brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Blackberry Jam

Blackberries - Frozen 1 lbs
Sugar - 2 1/2 cups
Juice of half a lime
Apple peels and cores for natural pectin (I had saved some from a pie I had made a few days earlier)

Combine all the ingredients in a large pot.
Turn on the heat and allow the berries to welt.
Cook for about 5 mins and pass the fruit through a seive to remove seeds and apple peels.
Add the seedless fruit back into the washed pot and continue to cook for another 15 mins on medium high heat or until the mixture is reduced to 1/3 cup.
Pour into a clean jar and seal.
Finish within a week.








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Friday, November 11, 2011

Apple Pie



Years ago, when I was a student, I used to really enjoy apple pie from a bakery (forgot the name) in Islamabad. It had coconut flakes and raisins mixed in with the apple filling.

I have been feeling very nostalgic lately and decided to make an apple pie similar to the one I used to love. Good 'ol times, how much I miss it all :-(

I used a small 7" pie pan, so three small apples were enough to fill it up. While I was searching for a great recipe I found this picture and thought it looked really nice. So I tried to emulate the look using apple and leaf shaped mini cookie cutters. I also used the recipe on that page as a guide.

(prep time 20 mins if using prepared pie crust)
(bake time 45 mins)
(enough for 4 ppl)
Ingredients

2 Pie crusts or use store bought
3 Apples - small size (granny smith, honey crisp, red delicious)
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 Tbs Heavy cream
2 Tbs Butter (chopped into small pieces)
1 Tbs Flour
1/4 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Nutmeg
1/4 cup Brown sugar
1/8 cup Regular sugar
1/3 cup Coconut flakes-sweetened  *optional
1/3 cup Raisins - I used golden raisins *optional
1 egg - for eggwash




Method

Line the bottom of a buttered and floured pie dish with one of the pie crusts.
Use a knife to cut off the over hang.
Set aside and refrigerate the pie dish.
Peel and core the apples and slice them thinly.
Put the slices in a large bowl and sprinkle some lime juice on them to prevent browning.
Add the sugars, spices, flour, cream, butter, coconut and raisins and combine well.
Pour this mixture into the pie dish and cover with the decorative crust.
I saved a few slices and arranged them in a neat pattern on the top layer. I figured it would look nice because it will show through the cut outs. But now I think it would have looked better had I not done that, specially because some of the apple pieces got really brown. 
Apply some eggwash on top of only the crust and bake in a preheated 450 oven for 15 mins.
Then reduce the temperature to 350 and cook for another 30-45 mins.
I had to cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil to prevent over browning.
I removed the foil in the last 15 mins of baking.
Let this sit for 30 mins at least.
You can eat this warm or at room temperature.
Enjoy.
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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Pecan Pie

Ooey gooey good :-)
This was incredibly delicious... mmm. I made several versions of it and below is what I liked most. I cook the syrups for a while for an extra sticky texture and I also prefer using a prebaked pie crust for a super duper flaky pastry!

(makes one 10" pie)
(prep time 15 mins if using store bought pie dough otherwise and another hour or so)
(cook time 45 mins)
Ingredients

1 Pie crust or use store bought
1/2 cup Maple syrup
1 cup Light corn syrup
1/2 cup Agave nectar
2 Large eggs (At room temperature and lightly beaten)
4 Tbs Butter (Melted)
1 3/4 Cups pecans or use walnuts for a walnut pie
1 tsp Vanilla
1/2 tsp salt


Directions

Pre heat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter and flour a 10"pie dish and refrigerate it for 10-15 mins.
Roll out the pastry and place it inside the pie dish. Poke a few holes all around the inside of the crust with a fork.
Place this in the fridge for 20 mins or so. We want to make sure that the pastry is very cold.
When you are ready to bake the pie crust place a piece of aluminum foil on top of it and use some uncooked dried beans or baking beads to prevent the pastry from puffing up.
Bake for 12-15 mins.
Take out it from the oven, remove the weights and let it cool down to luke warm atleast before you fill it up with the pecan filling.

For the Filling:

Combine the vanilla, salt, agave, maple and corn syrup in a sauce pan.
Cook over medium heat for 5-6 minutes.
Let this cool down to room temp.
Pour in melted butter and mix well and then fold in the eggs.
Add whole pecans .
Pour this mixture into the pie shell.
Bake for 40-45 min in pre-heated 350 degree oven.
Or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
The middle should be slightly wobbly but it will set when cooled.
Let it cool down completely before eating.
Also tastes great super chilled.

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Monday, October 17, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie


A wonderful delicious treat during the winters.
Warms you up inside out.
I love this with some cottage cheese and chopped Italian parsely on the side.

Ingredients

2 Pie Crusts (the bottom crust is blind baked for only the first 10 mins and then cooled)
You can always use store bought pie crusts to save on time.
However the above recipe is the most flakiest ever. Definitely try and make it if you have the time.

1 1/2 Chicken breasts - medium sized, skinless, boneless (cut into 1" pieces)
1 tsp Garlic (minced fine)
4 Tbs Onion (diced fine)
4 Crimini mushrooms (diced fine)
1 cup Carrots (sliced at a bias about 1/4" thick)
1 cup Celery (sliced at a bias about 1/4" thick)
1 cup Boiled potatoes (cut into 1" cubes)
1/2 cup Frozen Peas *optional
1 can Chicken stock
1 1/4 cup Whole Milk * see note below
1 tsp Thyme (dried)
1 tsp Tarragon (dried)
2/4 tsp Chili flakes *optional
1/4 tsp Pepper
2 Tbs Oil for cooking (I used canola oil)
Salt

For the roux:
3 Tbs flour
3 Tbs butter

For the egg wash:
1 Egg mixed in with 1 Tbs of water.

Method

Before getting started, you will need to blind bake the first pie crust.
See instructions here and here.
The recipe and method are exactly the same.
The only difference is that for the chocolate tart the crust was baked twice. However for this recipe I only baked the crust once for 10 minutes with the weights.

Blanche the carrots and celery by plunging them in boiling water for 2 mins and then plunging them into ice water right afterwards.
When the veggies have cooled down, drain them and set aside for later use.
Heat up some oil in a frying pan and cook the chopped onion until soft.
Add the garlic for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
Now add the mushrooms and cook on a med high heat for about 4-5 mins or until the mushroom are cooked through.
Take out in a bowl and set aside.
Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a skillet and brown the chopped chicken on high heat until they are nice and light brown on the outside.
Season with salt, pepper, thyme, tarragon and chili flakes.
Now add chicken broth and milk to the pan.
Bring it all to a boil, reduce heat and cook the chicken for about 6-8 minutes or until cooked through.
In a separate frying pan melt the butter and add flour to it.
The roux will be used to thicken the broth.
Make sure you use equal parts fat and flour otherwise you might risk lumps in your sauce.
And depending on how you want the color of the sauce to be you can cook your roux till it's white, blonde or brown.
I cooked mine for about 1-2 minutes on med heat for a white roux.
Add this to the broth and stir gently until well combined.
Turn off heat.
Let this cool for about 15 mins and then gently fold in all the veggies.
Carrots, celery, potatoes, mushroom mixture and peas if you are using them.
Allow this to cool further and reach room temperature before pouring it into the blind baked pie shell.
The half baked shell and the cold sauce will ensure that the bottom crust will not turn soggy during baking.
Cover with the second pie crust.
Seal in the crust all around.
I don't like fancy edges on a chicken pie. So I don't bother fluting the edges, I just make sure that it looks neat.
Paint egg wash all over.
Cover the edges of the pie with aluminum foil. This will protect then from browning too quickly.
Make a few vent holes in the center.
Bake for 45 mins in a pre-heated oven at 450 degrees.
Remove the aluminum foil in the last 15 mins of baking.
Let this rest for 20-30 minutes before digging in.
Enjoy.



*I perfer the sauce to be a bit on the runny side, this isn't.
However I adjusted the recipe that I shared above so that it will have more sauce.
But if you perfer less/thicker sauce then take out 1/4 cup of milk and add an additional tablespoon of roux.


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Friday, September 30, 2011

Class today!


Another great class.
Great people great food and lots of fun
Too bad I never got the recipe for "lefzeh"
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Indian Camp Food: Day 1 (Meat lovers lunch)

Cooking in little pouches made of heavy duty aluminum foil is a great way to cook outdoors!
You don't need to carry pots and pans or a grill, you can simply toss the packets on the embers in a fire pit.

The possibilities are numerous. You can be very imaginative with these. I perfer to assemble the pouches on location, but you can of course prepare them with various flavors at home, freeze them and be absolutely hands free on the camp ground. 

I am sharing two types of Indian/Pakistani inspired chicken recipes below.
Before getting started, please read the about the shopping list right here.



Menu
Chicken Dopiaza
Chicken Jalfrezi
Vegetable Pulao

Chicken Dopiaza:

video

I cut up a breast and a half of chicken into approx 1 1/2" pieces.
Mixed in some fresh ground garlic, roughly a tsp, and froze it the night before.
Make sure the meat is thawed completely before you start cooking this.
Lay flat a large sheet of aluminum foil and arrange the chicken meat in a single layer on top of it.
Some fresh slices of onions and green chilies.
Add 2 Tbs of yogurt (optional),  4 Tbs of onion paste and 2 Tbs of tomato chutney.
Sprinkle some oil, salt, pepper, coriander, black cumin (added it later can't see it in the video) and chili flakes on top.

Mix it all well and wrap up snugly in 2 sheets of aluminum.
Cook on a medium grill for 30 to 40 mins turn sides once you are halfway into the cooking time.

Chicken Jalfrezi:

 




Very similar procedure as the chicken dopiaza.
I cut up a breast and a half of chicken into approx 1 1/2" pieces.
Mixed in some fresh ground ginger, roughly a tsp, and froze it the night before.
Lay the chicken on a flat piece of aluminum (shiny side in).
Add about 4 Tbs of chopped tomatoes and green bell peppers.
A few strips of green chilies.
I used 4 heaped Tbs of tomato chutney and 2 Tbs of onion paste.
Sprinkle some oil, salt, pepper, coriander, and chili flakes.
Mixed it all up and wrapper it up snugly.
See video on how to wrap i t up.
Cook for 30-40 mins on a grill, turn sides once in between!

Here is a demo on how I wrapped it all up.
If you are planning to cook this in a fire pit I would probably add a third layer of aluminum sheet to be very safe.

video

Vegetable Pulao:

Add some water (according to package instructions) in an aluminum loaf pan.
I had marked the loaf pan beforehand so I'd know exactly how much water I would need.
Season it with salt, black cumin and mix in the rice.
Cook on a grill alongside the chicken pouches.
Even though the package said 10 mins, It took the same amount of time as the chicken (30 mins)
Mix in the drained canned vegetables once cooked.

video


Finale:
video


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Indian Camp Food:The Preperation

This should be perfect for a weekend camping trip for two people.
I tried to keep the ingredient list as small as possible, with a little planning ahead you won't need to carry a bulky cooler. You can always use fresh vegetables if you can carry it easily. Whenever possible I got stuff that had little or no salt added to it.


Shopping List:
  • Canned mixed vegetables
  • Canned kidney beans
  • Canned potatoes
  • Canned chicken sausage
  • Fresh onion, tomato, bell pepper, 2 green chilies
  • PAM for grilling.
  • Some cooking oil (can't see in the picture)
  • 6 eggs (can't see in the picture)
  • Thin Poha (flattened rice grains)
  • Uncle Ben's 10 min rice.
  • Assorted spices. I am a little nerdy when it comes to spices. I hate using the pre-mixed stuff. So I carried a few of my favorites in a 7 day pill box. Salt (I used kosher salt because it is coarser and won't spill easily out of the box), pepper, black cumin, fenugreek leaves, coriander powder, chili flakes, and nigella seeds.
  • Frozen meat. I froze all the meat the previous night and carried it with me in an insulated bag with a few ice packs. 
  • Tomato chutney*
  • Onion paste** (2 medium sized red onions sliced thin, fried till dark brown and then ground up)
*You can use a jar of pre-made curry paste.
** Use already fried onions that you can get in a bag. You can find this easily in an Indian store, I am sure there is a name for that, but I can't seem to remember it at the moment.

Utensils:
  • Knife
  • Can opener
  • Propane Grill
  • Lighter
  • Tongs
  • Aluminum foil
  • I packed a sieve to drain the liquid from the canned veggies, but realised that you don't really need it.
P.S.
I really really wanted to make these videos while I was out, but I don't think I will get a chance to go camping before the summer ends :-(
So I made them anyways in my backyard just for you guys using only the utensils and ingredients listed above. I am sure you won't have a problem making any of these outdoors!
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Sunday, August 14, 2011

Tomato Chutney


This is fairly easy to make.
Very versatile.

Large Roma tomatoes (chopped) 6
Whole dried red chilies 3-4
Salt 1 tsp
Canola oil  2-3 Tbs
White wine vinegar 1/4 cup
Heat some oil in a pan.
Add the tomatoes, the chilies and the salt all at once.
Cook for 45 min on medium high heat or until the tomatoes are mushy and well cooked.
Add the vinegar and cook for another 5-7 mins.
Blend well and store in a clean glass container.
Done.
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Friday, August 5, 2011

Goat Chops

This marks my 100th post!
Hurray hurray!


Ingredients

Goat chops about 10 pieces
Greek yogurt 1/3 cup
Garlic 2 Tbs (minced)
Ginger 1Tbs (minced)
Serrano chilies 3-4 medium size (cut into chunks)
White wine vinegar 2-3 Tbs
Roasted cumin powder 1 1/2 tsp
Coriander powder 2 tsp
Cardamom powder 1/4 tsp
Fennel seed powder 1/8 tsp
Cayenne pepper 2/3 tsp (adjust according to your preference)
Pepper 1/2 tsp
Garam masala 1/2 tsp
Salt

Method

Combine all the ingredients together minus the salt and rub it over the goat chops.
We don't add salt to the marinade because it will draw out all the moisture from the meat.
Let this sit in the fridge over night or at least 4 hours.
Season with salt just before cooking.
Cook in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes at the level II setting (medium).
Remove the chops from any liquid that is left over from the yogurt.
Add some canola oil in a frying pan and fry the chops for about 1-2 mins per side on medium high heat.
We do this to add a nice brown color to the chops.
Great with plain yogurt and naan.
Enjoy :-)

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Thursday, August 4, 2011

Class today

What a fantastic group of people!
Thanks so much Diane for all your help, you did a fantastic job!
As always had a blast.
Sharing some of the pics.
Cutest couple of the year Max and Oriana :-)



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Thursday, July 14, 2011

Class today

:-)
I love doing this.


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Friday, May 27, 2011

Phở - Vietnamese Noodle Soup

I love Pho!
It's love in a bowl!
You need to love it just as much as I do for us to be friends!

Pho Than Brothers is hands down the best deal in town!
And they are 2 blocks away from me so I can go there anytime I want.
I would never make this at  home... but I had some leftover chicken broth and some rice noodles in the back of my pantry, so I thought why the heck not.
I added some onion slices, rice noodles and shredded chicken to the broth.
Some bean sprout, lime, jalapenos slices and Thai basil on the side.
I prolly could have done a better job at this :-)

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Megha's Paneer

Uff.... I can't count the number of days when I have woken up CRAVING this incredible paneer! For the longest time ever I have always asked Megha to make it for me and then it got a lil embarrassing :-)
This is her recipe that I am sharing.
Trust me you won't regret making this!
Very easy, and extremely flavorful!
This is perhaps the only reason I am glad Samant doesn't eat onions (or so he thinks) :-D


(cook time 20 mins)
(serves 3-4)
Ingredients

Paneer 2 cups (cut into 1" cubes and lightly fried) Homemade tastes best!
Raw cashews 1/4 cup
Raw peanuts 1/4 cup
Sesame seeds 3 Tbs
Whole coriander seeds 1 Tbs
Whole dried chillies 2-3 (adjust to what taste buds like)
Yogurt 1/2 cup
Brown sugar or Jaggery 1 tsp
Turmeric 1/4 tsp
Fenugreek leaves - Kasoori Methi 2 tsp
Water 2-3 Tbs
Salt
Butter 2 Tbs

Method

You will need to roast some of the ingredients.
Place a large frying pan on medium high heat.
Begin with the chillies, peanuts and cashews and roast them for about 2 mins, stir them once or twice.
Add the sesame and coriander seeds and continue to roast for another 3-4 minutes or until all the ingredients are lightly toasted.
Let these cool a bit.
Add yogurt, water and use a blender to blend this into a coarse paste.
Return this to the frying pan and mix in the paneer cubes.
Season with salt, turmeric, sugar and fenugreek leaves.
Simmer on low for 5-8 mins. Stir once in between.
Turn off the heat and melt some butter on top.
Done!
Great with naan.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Pasta With Creamy Lemony Fish Sauce

How gorgeous is this pasta? Each strip is a natural flavor from tomatoes, spinach, different colored bell peppers. I was so excited when I saw these. I decided to make a quick fish sauce to go along with it.


(prep time 20 mins)
(serves 2)
Ingredients

White fish (I used Dover sole, but halibut would be better) 1/2 lbs cut into large chunk
Garlic 1 Tbs (minced)
Juice from 1 large lemon
Chili flakes 1/2 tsp - use more or less if you prefer
Butter 1 Tbs
Cream 1/3 cup (I used 36% fat)
Pepper 1/8 tsp
Parsley leaves 2 Tbs (roughly chopped)
Salt

Method

Melt some butter in a frying pan.
Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
Add the fish and season with lemon juice, salt, pepper and the chili flakes.
Lower heat to medium and cook for 3 mins.
Add the cream and cook until the fish is done. Dover sole cooks really quick, about 3-4 mins.
Turn off heat and sprinkle the parsley leaves on top.
Serve along aside the pasta.


A word about the pasta

Add this pasta to salted boiling water. I also added a little lemon juice to the water to prevent the colors from fading. Boil for 12-14 and drain. Don't ever wash cooked pasta with water, instead pour a tablespoon of olive oil to make it glossy.


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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Guacamole

Try this easy and yummy guacamole recipe for your next party.They taste and look fantastic with blue corn tortilla chips.


(prep time 15 mins)
(serves 3-4)
Ingredients

Hass avocados 2 ripe (cut into 1/2" chunks)
Jalapenos 1/2 Tbs (minced)
Red onions 1 1/2 Tbs (chopped fine)
Green onion 1/2 Tbs (chopped fine)
Fresh juice of 1 large Lime
Cilantro 2 Tbs (roughly chopped)
Garlic 1/4 tsp (finely minced) *optional
Salt

Combine everything together in a bowl.
Use the back of a fork to break some of the larger pieces of avocado but don't over do this, the guacamole should be a bit chunky.

Enjoy!




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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Firni

Firni or "thoothiyan" in Urdu, a delicate rice pudding, silky and smooth MmmMMm
Very delicious and sometimes the only reason why I would attend a wedding back home :-) Well... for the paan aswell.... and the biryani too come to think of it!
My god! Isn't the food at weddings just superb?!!


Ingredients

Condensed milk 1 14oz can
Whole milk 2 cups
Cardamom powder 1/8tsp
Rice flour 6 Tbs
Water 1/2 cup
Crushed almonds 2-3 Tbs
Edible silver 2-3 leafs (3"x3" leafs) - optional

Special saucer:

The little saucers that you see in the picture I got from back home, you won't have much luck finding them here.

You can use unglazed terra cotta saucers that are sold in home improvement stores, just be sure they are lead free and food safe. The unglazed saucer will absorb extra moisture from the pudding and adds to the flavor as wells as texture of the product. I saw some at Michael's which I thought were ideal size and depth also saw some at Home Depot. You can get multiple tiny saucers or one large one about 10" diameter and at least 1 1/2" deep for this recipe. Soak the saucer in a tub of water overnight. Pat dry with a kitchen towel before pouring in the hot rice pudding.

You can use a regular 10" pie dish instead :-)
Method

Combine the condensed milk with the whole milk in a heavy base 2 quart pot.
Add the cardamom powder and mix well. Make sure the condensed milk isn't settled at the bottom of the pot because it will burn while boiling the milk.
Bring this condensed milk mixture to a boil. Stir occasionally to prevent the milk from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
In a separate measuring cup combine the rice flour with the water and mix well to remove any lumps. Keep aside. Rice flour settles to the bottom, so you would need to stir again before pouring.
After the milk has come to a full boil, lower the heat so that the milk is gently simmering.
Pour the rice flour and water mixture in a consistent stream and stir continuously.
Cook for 2-3 minutes on low heat while stirring gently. The texture will thicken somewhat like a smoothie.
Pat dry the terra cotta dish with a kitchen towel and pour the rice pudding into the dish.
Allow to set in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight for the terracotta dish. (2-3 hours is enough if using a pie dish)
Once chilled, you can decorate with edible silver leaf and sprinkle some crushed almonds on top.

Enjoy :-)

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Thursday, March 31, 2011

My first Sashimi

A lot of people who know me would know that I don't eat fish. I finally took the plunge with my friend/guide Amanda by my side and had Sashimi which is thinly sliced raw fish, no rice, no seaweed just raw fish! That's hardcore sushi!
It was so delicious, raw fish tastes better than cooked. No fishiness, no stinkiness just fresh fresh fresh goodness! I had salmon, tuna (my fav) and scallops.
Sharing a short/accidental video of my first bite :-)
Here's to new things that are to come!

video




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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Xiao Long Bao - Chinese Soup Dumplings


A few days back I geared up to make Xiaolongbao, a Shanghainese dumpling filled with delicious soup and meat. I decided to make the skins from scratch so it took me an entire afternoon to form these. They came out very tasty but the amount of work that it took has led me to the conclusion that one should always go out for dim sum :-)

This is a recipe for an all chicken dumpling inspired from the ones at Din Tai Fung.


The prep time for the filling and dipping sauce is 10 mins. However pleating them can take a while specially if you are new at it. Cook time is very  little, I needed to steam these (covered) for only 5 mins on high heat and they were done! You can easily make about 75 dumplings about 1" in diameter with this recipe. 

Dough

I pretty much followed this recipe for the dough. I should point out that the first batch I made, I followed the directions exactly but the dough came out too soft, the texture was soggy and all the soup seeped out after steaming it. For the second batch I added some salt and used an extra 1/2 cup of flour to make the dough a tad bit stiffer and I thought that tasted much better.

These measurements worked better for me.
Flour 2 cups
Salt 1/2 tsp
Hot water 1/2 cup
Cold water  2 Tbs

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl.
Add the boiling water and mix it in well.
Add the cold water and knead on a floured surface for about 3-4 mins.
The dough should feel pliable but stiff.
You can use store bought wonton wrappers and save yourself a lot of time.

Broth

Chicken wings 1 1/2 lbs
Water 3 cups
Mushroom stalks 2-3
Ginger slices 6-7
Peppercorns 1/2 tsp
Sichuanese chili 1 - optional
Unflavored gelatin 2 Tbs

Combine all the ingredients together in a large pot and boil for 1-2 hours on medium heat.
Strain the broth to separate the chicken and to remove the bit and chunks.
While the broth is still hot sprinkle 2 tablespoons of unflavored gelatin on the top and mix well.
Allow 5 mins for the gelatin to dissolve completely.
Stir once again and pour into an 8" by 13" baking dish. refrigerate until set about 2-3 hours.
Cut into small chunks.

Dipping Sauce

Black vinegar 1/4 cup
Ginger strips 2 Tbs
Soy sauce 1 Tbs - optional (I like it without the soy sauce)

Combine everything in a dipping bowl.

Filling

Minced chicken meat 1 lbs
Green onions 3 Tbs (chopped fine)
Crimini mushrooms 3 Tbs (chopped fine)
Garlic 1 Tbs (minced)
White vinegar 1 tsp
Soy sauce 1 Tbs
Pepper 1/4 tsp
Chili flakes 1/8 tsp - optional
Salt

Combine everything in a large bowl and keep refrigerated until ready to use.

Pleating

Here is a little video I made that might be helpful. This is my first time making these, I think I did a fairly good job. So proud!

video

video


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Homemade Pasta and Mussels

Meet my fabulous sis and her wonderful hubby.


Their visit to Pike Place Market.



They make it look easy and fun.



Voila!



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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Minty Mango Salsa with Crystallized Ginger

A delicious quick and easy salsa great with fish tacos!


(makes about 2 cups)
(prep time 15 mins)
Ingredients

Mango 1 large (cut into chunks, choose a sweet ripe mango) - you can also use fresh pineapple
Mint leaves 5-6 (cut into thin strips)
Red pepper 2-3 Tbs (chopped fine)
Red onions 1 Tbs (chopped fine)
Green onions 2 Tbs (chopped fine)
Cilantro 1 Tbs (cut into strips) - optional
Jalapeno 1/2 Tbs (minced) - optional
Fresh ginger 1/2 tsp (minced)
Crystallized ginger 1 tsp (minced) *Raw foodists raw crystallized ginger recipe 
Juice of 1 fresh Lime
Salt

Mix everything together.
Allow to refrigerate for a few hours for all the flavors to combine.
Enjoy :-)


Following is not my creation but a great sounding recipe I found on the net.
Posting it here for the sake of completion.
Original source:  http://goneraw.com/account/show/evergreen


Raw Crystallized Ginger
Submitted by evergreen
Servings: 1 cup

Ingredients:
1 cup Medjool dates, about 12 pitted
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
1 organic lemon, zest only
.33 cup date sugar, can be made by dehydrating and grinding dates

 
Preparation:
1. process dates and ginger till smooth.
2. pulse in lemon zest and about 1/4 cup sugar till stiffened.
3. roll into 1”log.
4. wrap in food wrap sprinkled with additional sugar and place in fridge till firm.
5. slice into desired pieces and coat with more sugar.


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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Class today


Just came back from another fabulous class.
I so love doing this and the best part is meeting all the great people!
Thank you Katy for helping me out today :-) I hope you get to go on many more cooking trips!
Juliana... you have such great energy and I wish you all the luck in finding the right gal for your friend :-)
Great meeting Devin and Elaine....  and in case you were curious "Asalam-o-alikum" is how you would say hello in Urdu :-)
Thank you all for coming today and making this day special :-) I hope you learned a lot and happy cooking!
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Friday, February 25, 2011

Vanilla Biscotti

Love Biscotti! A twice baked cookie just meant for dunking in ice cold milk, coffee, cocoa and teas. Since I've never made this before I thought it would be best to start with a basic vanilla no frills version before trying out other more exotic flavors and also because it's 1am and I have to do with what I got in my pantry.
I used this recipe as a guide. I didn't have all the ingredients and I cut the original recipe in half. It took me much longer to dry them out but they turned out great. Can't wait to mess around with more flavors!


How I did it

Flour 1 1/4 cup
Baking powder 1 tsp
Sugar 1/2 cup
Butter 1/2 cup (soft at room temp)
Eggs 2 large (room temp)
Vanilla 1 tsp

Pre-heat oven to 350.
Lightly grease a cookie tray.
Whisk together butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the egg one at a time and continue to whisk until foamy.
Add vanilla and slowly fold in the flour (combined with the baking powder) 2 tablespoon at a time.
You will have a thick sticky dough.
Shape the dough in the form of a flat loaf.
Place the loaf on a cookie sheet and bake for 25 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Cool for 15 min on a wire rack and then cut into slices. I cut my slices 1" thick and the in original recipe it's 1/2" that's why it took me longer to dry them out.
Lower temperature of  oven to 300, place the slices sideways on the cookie sheet and bake for another 25 mins. Turn sides and bake for another 25 mins.

Ta da!
Allow to cool and store in air tight jars.


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