Friday, April 20, 2007

Cheddar biscuits:

AP Flour - 1 1/2 cups, plus extra for dusting
Sugar - 1 1/4 tbspn
Baking powder - 3/4 tbspn
Salt - 1/2 tspn
Cold unsalted butter - 4 tbsp (1/2 stick) - diced
Buttermilk - 1/3 cup
Low-fat or whole milk - 1/4 cup, plus extra for brushing

Makes 6 to 7 biscuits

Preheat the oven to 425 degree F

Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt. Cut the butter into the flour until it forms pea-sized pieces.

Add the buttermilk and the milk. Mix well to combine.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to a 1 inch thickness, and fold in half, turn and repeat 3 or 4 times for a final thickness of 1 inch.

Cut the dough into rounds using a 3 inch cutter. Re-roll the remaining dough and cut it again.
If you don't have a cookie cutter, use a drinking glass (just dip the edge in flour) to cut it.

Place the biscuits on a ungreased baking sheet. Brush the tops with little milk amd bake till for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

Recipe Source: Baking at Home with The Culinary Institute of America
Strawberry jam:

Our favorite jam ever. But I don't like it too sweet. All the recipes I read, called for lots of sugar. So, I came up with my own measurements and the result - delicious.

Strawberries - 3 cups - chopped
Sugar - 2.5 cups
Butter - 1 tspn
Pectin - 1/2 packet

Keep a small metal plate in the freezer.

Heat a deep bottomed pan and add butter and strawberries and stir for few minutes.

Slowly add pectin and continue to stir.

Slowly add sugar and stir well.

Cook till the jam comes to a boil.

To check the consistency of the jam, take the cold metal plate from the freezer and spoon a little jam onto it and check the consistency of the jam. If you are satisfied with the consistency, take it off the heat and spoon into sterilized jars. If not, add little more pectin and bring it to a boil for 1 minute.

This makes about 2 - 16 ounce jars.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Spinach Pulav:

From the time I heard about this month JFI, I wanted to do something new and different. After much research, I found my recipe. I'm not a great fan of greens, unlike my husband. But this dish has made me want for more. It is delicious.
Recipe Source: Madhur Jaffrey's Step-by-Step cooking. But I made few changes to suit my family.

Long-grain rice or basmati rice - 1 cup
Fresh Spinach - 3/4 lb (cleaned, washed)
Onions - 2 (medium)
Garam masala - 1 tspn
Cloves - 3

Wash the rice well and soak it in cold water with 1 tspn of salt. Let it soak for 2 hours.

Bring little water to a boil in a pan , blanch spinach just until wilted. Drain and let it cool a bit and press down to remove excess moisture. Save the liquid. Chop the spinach finely.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Chop onions into thin long slices. Heat a pan, add oil, cloves and fry. Add onions and fry till light golden brown. Add the chopped spinach and garam masala and cook for 5 minutes.

Drain the rice and add it to the spinach mixture and add 1 1/2 cups water (use the reserved liquid). Add salt and bring it to aboil. Lower the heat and simmer it for 15 minutes stiring occasionally. By now, all the liquid would have evaporated.

Transfer the rice into an oven proof dish and cover it with foil and cut an 1/2 inch hole in the center so as to let th steam to escape. Place it in the middle of the oven and bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot!

Note: If you have a a flameproof and oven proof casserole, you could cook and bake in the same.

This is my entry for JFI - Going Green with Green Leafy Vegetables hosted by Indira.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Onion chutney:

Onions - 2 medium
Tomato - 1
Red chillies - 4 to 5
Tamarind paste - 1 teaspoon

Chop onions, tomatoes into big chunks. Heat a kadai, add 1 tbspn oil and add red chillies and fry for 2 minutes. Add onions and fry for 6 to 7 minutes. Add tomatoes and fry for another 5 to 6 minutes. Remove
from heat and let it cool. Put this mixture in a mixie or blender, add salt, tamarind paste and grind it coarsely. If you prefer finer chutney, grind it further. Do tadka with oil, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, urad dal, curry leaves and serve with Idli or Dosa.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mysore Pak:

Krishna sweets in Chennai is my favourite. Their "Mysore Pa" is unbelievable. I miss it very much. I happened to come across this recipe in the book "Curried Favors" by Maya Kaimal. It is a bit tiring, but well worth the efforts.
You don't have to feel guilty of eating this ghee-rich sweet, because you would have burned enough calories while making it. So, sit back and enjoy!!!

1 cup - Besan (chickpea) flour, sifted
2 cups - Sugar
3/4 cup - Water
Ghee - prepared from 12 ounces of unsalted butter and kept warm

I divided the ingredients into half and made the recipe and ended up with 25 pieces.

Butter a 9 inch square baking pan.

In a frying pan, Stir the sifted flour over medium heat until it turns light golden brown and keep it aside.

In a heavy pot, combine sugar and water and let it come to a boil until candy thermometer registers 220 degree F (104 degree Celius). When you sample the syrup it should feel quite gummy.

Add half of warm ghee and keep stirring as mixture starts to bubble. Gradually add beasn, stirring constantly with a wire whisk to break up lumps and to prevent burning.
Turn down the heat to medium and continue to stir until the mixture thickens, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add remaining ghee and keep stirring.

Continue stirring as the mixture gets thicker and airier. As you stir, the mixture will start to pull away from the sides of the pan until one point it foams up, expanding to twice its original volume.

Now quickly pour the mixture into the baking pan. It should fall out as a mass without sticking to the pot. Gently jiggle the baking pan to spread the mixture around. After 15 minutes, cut into squares or diamonds and then allow it to cool completely before removing from the pan.

The author has given a Note:
"Timing of removal of mixture from the pan is critical, so watch carefully for signs. If frothing and expansion have not started in the earnets, finished product will have a dense consistency like fudge. If the frothing has passed its peak, product will be too crumbly. It should harden to consistency of shortbread."

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Garam Samosa:
Sweet Potato wedges:

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees F.
Peel,wash and cut sweet potato into 1/2 inch wedges. Cover a baking sheet with alumium foil and spray non-stick cooking spray and transfer the wedges to the sheet.
Add turmeric, chilli powder, salt, cumin powder, oregano (optional) and mix well. Spray little oil and mix well. Bake the wedges for 20 minutes. Stir once or twice.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Pistachio Tuiles:

Before baking:


Tuiles (pronounced Tweel) are crisp, thin cookies and are a perfect accompaniment to icecream, sorbet or can be just eaten. They are pretty easy and fun to make. You can have your kids help you too. You can make any shape you want to. The best part is when they come out of oven and are still warm, they are pliable and you can shape them as you wish.

This recipe makes about 25 to 30 cookies:

AP Flour - 1/3 cup
Confectioners sugar - 3/4 cup
Egg whites - 2 (room temperature)
Unsalted butter - 3 tbspns (melted)
Pistachio nuts - 2 tbspns - chopped
Grated zest of 1 Lemon

Using an electric mixer or a hand mixer, combine flour, sugar, lemon zest and beat at low speed to mix. add egg whites and mix just until smooth (about 30 seconds).
Add melted butter and mix until blended. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for an hour.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spoon a small amount of batter onto a non-stick baking sheet and with the back of the spoon spread it into a thin oval shape (or round or any shape you wish). Form 4 or 5 ovals like this and sprinkle some chopped pistachios. Bake the tuiles for 3 to 5 minutes, until golden brown.

Remove the baking sheet from the oven and using a wooden or metal spatula immediately drape each tuile over a rolling pin, pressing down gently so that it curves, just until set.

Completely cool the tuiles on a wire rack. If you prefer straight tuiles, just remove them from the baking sheet onto the wire rack directly. Repeat the procedure with the remaining batter.
Be sure to cool the baking sheet between batches. Use only non-stick baking sheet, or else it will stick (I tried making few tuiles on an ordinary baking sheet and they never came out!).

Recipe Source: Simply Sensational Desserts by Francois Payard

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

Chicken masala:

Chicken recipes are one of my favorites. The best thing about cooking chicken is we don't need to grind any fancy masala or need any special ingredient. Just throw in a few spices or as many spices and the end result is always mouth-watering. I don't think anyone could go wrong with it.
I have made this dish quite spicy and you may want to adjust accordingly.

Chicken - 1 lb (cut into pieces)
Cumin seeds - 1 tspn
Onions - 1 - chopped
Tomatoes - 1 - chopped
Green chilli - 1 - chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbspns
Coriander powder - 1 tbspn
Chilli powder - 1 tspn
Pepper powder - 1 tspn
Garam masala powder - 1 tspn
Cinnamon powder - 1/2 tspn
Cilantro - for garnish

Heat a pan and add 2 tbspn of oil. Whe it is hot, add cumin seeds and allow them to splutter. Then add onions, ginger garlic paste, green chilli and fry for 5 minutes. In goes coriander powder, chilli powder, turmeric, salt, tomatoes. Fry till tomato is cooked, then add chicken, pepper powder, garam masala and add 1/2 cup water, close the pan with a lid and let it cook. Stir once in a while.
Once the chicken in cooked, add cinnamon powder and fry for 3 or 4 minutes. Remove it from the heat, garish with cilantro and serve hot with roti, pulav or plain hot rice!

I like this curry with a little gravy. But if you prefer it to be dry, just fry it for few more additional minutes, until all the wet gravy is absorbed. Either way, it is easy and tasty.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Clam Chowder

Clams are very good source of Iron and a bowl of this soup is a hearty meal on its own. If you like crab, then give it a try.


Clams - 1 can - minced (I used baby clams)
Potato -1 big - peeled and cubed
Onion - 1 -cut
AP flour - 3 tbspns
Milk - 1/2 cup
Heavy cream - 1/4 cup

  • Open the can, drain all the liquid into a seperate bowl and reserve and wash the clams and keep aside.
  • Heat a deep bottomed pan. Add 1 tbspn butter, 1 tspn oil and saute the onion and potato for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the reserved liquid, salt and pepper and keep a lid and cook until potatoes are tender.
  • Mix the flour with milk and make sure there are no lumps.
  • Once potatoes are cooked, add the milk, heavy cream and the clams.
  • Let the chowder thicken and start to boil - it should take about 4 to 5 minutes. Done.
  • Serve piping hot with some warm garlic bread or french bread.
Go ahead and substitute half and half for heavy cream. You can use whole milk or 1 % or 2% milk.