Friday, April 30, 2010

karkala cake

This bowl of goodness is neither a pudding or a cake but is called as both all over Mangalore and Karkala. What's in a name, anyway?
I've been dreaming of relishing this ever since my last visit to India. Incidentally this has been the new 'sweet' dish as an addition to the wedding's breakfast eats taking the place of good old Ksheera/sheera. Karkala cake a new dish?  OK, maybe not new to those living in India, but it is to me who missed out on a whole decade of weddings and other religious occasions back home.

The recipe was found in an almost neglected and as a scrap piece of shabbily written recipe with more scribbles  covering the rest of the paper around it. As excited as I was to find the hidden treasure, I was  also skeptical of the mood I was in while I took down the recipe. Now I was really hoping  I  had paid attention,  as the writing didn't look as neat as it would on my good mood days. Yikes! You know what I mean! ;)

Either way, I was on a quest to make it till I get this right! 
Glad I did, because it turned out heavenly....yeah yeah, bit heavy for just a mush of Yumm'ness but, my friends along with me are  the one's that relished this and gave a positive review so you just have to take my word for it!    Trust me!
 So here goes the real part you've been waiting for...
recipe courtesy - Raj maam ( a wedding cook who makes amchi food finger licking good) 

2 cups ground whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
2.5 cups water(warm)
1 cup ghee (yes, u read it right!)
1/4 cup chopped cashew
1/4 cup golden raisins
1/2 tsp cardamom powder

Roast wheat flour in ghee till light brownish on a slow to medium flame stirring constantly. The unmistakable aroma of roasted wheat flour is hard to miss. (I usually add 1 whole cashew in the beginning and when the cashew turns brown I know the roasting is done)

Now add all cashew and raisins. Roast for another 2 minutes. At this stage cashew browns real quick.Add the sugar while stirring constantly.

Add the warm water and cardamom. Stir till the whole mixture comes into a ball & leaves the sides of the pan without sticking(which is pretty quick).Done!
See, it was easy after all.
Serve warm.

This dish went to Uma's Poovathingal's house for the Haldi-kukkum prasadam on occasion of Laxmi pooja.
G's note: there is no way you could mess up this dessert. I can take pride in vouching for this fail proof recipe. I'm not going to take credit to the recipe but I assure you that this is a life saver for last minute get-together. I certainly hope that my friends will relish and indulge in this heavenly dessert, guilt free with me.

The most favourite part of making this (apart from taste testing, of course!) was the cleanup of the kadai..absolutely clean, like it was never used... now there is absolutely no excuse or reason to not make this, is there?!
In closing, this wasn't as hard as I thought it would be!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

key lime pie

5 TBS butter, melted
1-1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1can (14-ounce) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup Key lime juice
2 tsp grated lime zest
2 egg yolks

2 eggs, separated, use only whites of 2 eggs
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/4 cup sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

For the crust, combine ingredients and pat down into a 9-inch pie pan. Bake for 5 to 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the condensed milk, lime juice, and 1 teaspoon zest; blend in the egg yolks. Pour the filling into the crust.

For the meringue, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in the sugar and remaining teaspoon zest until the mixture is stiff. Spread the meringue over the filling; spread it to touch the edge of the crust all around. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, or until the meringue is golden brown.

Cilantro hummus

I went hummus crazy a few yrs ago when I tried Mediterranean sandwich at Panera for the first time. Panera needs no introduction for bread loves all over the east coast. The sandwich had nothing fancy to it but whatever simple staple they use, it is pretty awesome in itself.
Coming back to hummus, I ordered this separately at Panera's just to speculate & get to the bottom of " what really makes this so great!". A few tries to perfect this led to an amazing sense of pride of actually bringing the taste close to the original. Check it out to believe it!
Pic coming soon...

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas drained ( to cut down on sodium)
2 jalapeno, finely minced
2 pinches, red pepper flakes
juice of one lime
1/2 bunch cilantro chopped
2 tbs tahini ( sesame oil)
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
1/2 small garlic clove

Process the chickpeas, cilantro and garlic until well blended and smooth. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Transfer into a serving bowl, make a well and drizzle lightly with olive oil. Serve with pita chips or a spread to subs and sandwiches.

G's note: this can be stored up to 3 days in the refrigerator.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Jeev kadgi podi

Deep fried to crisp.
Masala- rice flour, chilli powder, hing, salt, water. 5 fav's


 Guacamole is a versatile & simple cool dish that is a quick to put together crowd pleaser. Finally, something that is good to the palette is actually good for you. Avocado ( read as good fat) for heart, onion for blood purification, tomatoes for a healthy glow. All goodness in one!

This side is no-brainer. I like to keep my dish simple & fresh using  avocado's that are firm but gives in whe are pressed gently, just ripe tomatoes, fragrant tender cilantro & crisp jalapenos. This creamy, smooth goodness makes you want to skip the chips & go straight to the dip!

2 large avocados
freshly squeezed lime juice, 1 lime
1/2  red onion, finely minced
1 small ripe tomato, diced
1 jalapeno, seeded & chopped
10 stems cilantro, finely chopped

Seriously, you need directions?!
Chop  avocados into cubes and mash them very slightly with a fork. Combine all the ingredients in a serving bowl and serve along with salsa and tortillas of your choice.

Grilled Asparagus

1 pound asparagus
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp garlic salt
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 400°F.
Remove the tough lower stalks of Asparagus.
( To do so, hold the top end and bottom end of asparagus and bend. The Asparagus should snap easily with a crisp cut. Save the top, discard the bottom)

Place the asparagus in baking sheet, pour olive oil, sprinkle with garlic salt and toss to coat.

Roast for 15minutes, remove from oven, sprinkle the Parmesan cheese over the top and broil for 5 mins on low.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

kesari baath

1 Cup rava
3/4 Cup sugar
3 tbsp ghee
1/4 tsp Cardamom powder
1 tsp Everest milk masala powder
cashew nuts and Raisins
2 Pinches saffron

2-1/2 Cups water

In a large heavy bottomed heat ghee and rava, roast over low heat for about 7 to 8 minutes until you see a change in color and the rava has a roasted aroma.

Add cashew nuts, raisins, milk masala powder, elaichi, sugar and saffron. Roast for few more minutes.

Bring water to a boil. Take rava away from flame and add all the water, stir, cover and let cook on simmer for about 10 mins. At this point all the water must have been evaporated and the ghee would have seperated from the kesari baath. Garnish with more roasted nuts. Serve hot.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


PUFFs , the savoury snack loved by all hag gone through major changes since potatoes are my least favourite vegetable. If potatoes could talk, they would complain of severe neglect & would bear 'identity crisis' at my kitchen. Paneer takes the place making this snack to my liking as well as my family's taste.
 As I'm known to always alter the dishes  my variation can easily substituted with potatoes,  shredded cooked chicken or boiled egg halves More substitutions are cooked black beans with salsa flavours, tandoori chicken ( total yum) & shrimp with  roasted onions & tomatoes. Told you that  I tweak!

Puffs folded in two different way...I like the first pic, the best...looks much fancier. The second one shows the  familiarity; the fond memories of  eating it at the Mangalore bakery.

Puff pastry sheets ( pepperige farm)
Paneer 400 gm, ( 1 a slab)
onions 2, finely chopped
green chillies 6-8 finely chopped
tomatoes 1, finely chopped
cilantro, few stems
red chilli powder 1/2 tsp
turmeric 1/4 tsp
garam masala 1/2 tsp
kitchen king masala 1/2 tsp

Heat oil in a pan, add onions and saute till soft and translucent. Add green chillies and spice powders. Roast for a few minutes before adding paneer crumbles, tomatoes and salt. Cook for about 5 minutes and add cilantro.

Pastry sheets; Have puff pastry sheets come to room temp ( about 40 mins as per package instructions). The box contains 2 sheets. Cut the sheet in 3 and cut it in half again. This yields 12 puffs out of one box.

Baking; Place a sheet, spoon filling in the centre and fold the puffs halfway or have fout corners meet each other in the centre for a fancier looking puffs.Water may be used to glue the edges together. In my case, I didnt need to since the pastry sheets were pliable at room temperature and glued itself pretty well. Place the puff pastries in parchment lined baking tray and coat the puffs with beaten egg whites with a pastry brush. Bake at 400F for 15-18 mins. Serve hot.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Cream cheese frosting

The sweetish tangy icing goes perfect as a frosting for the spice infused carrot cake.

12 oz.( 1 1/2 sticks) full-fat cream cheese, chilled
12 Tbsp ( 1 1/2 sticks) butter, unsalted, room temp
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
6 cups confectioners sugar

In the large bowl of your mixer, using the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until very soft and light for about 5 minutes. Decrease the speed to low and gradually add in the confectioners' sugar, a cup at a time, beating after each addition and finally increase the speed to medium for 5 minutes longer.
The icing is now ready to be spread since it is at room temp. If adding pecans, hold the iced cake by base in one hand and use the other to touch pecan bits to the icing. The cake needs to be chilled before serving.

1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped, lightly toasted
To toast them, put them in a 350 oven on a rimmed baking sheet for 10 to 12 minutes. let them cool on the pan.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Chicken Biryani

The long overdue recipe for G's Biryani recipe is finally here! Biryani lover's rejoice...this dish has been showered with lot of praises, pat on the back and a many many smiles from DH. All thanks to SG for a great masala base....Banne Nawab Hydrabadi chicken biryani

Ingredients for marinade:
Chicken 5 lbs, cut, cleaned, bone intact
yogurt- 1 cup
Biryani masala- Banne Nawab
chilli powder- 1 tsp
ginger paste- 1 tsp
garlic paste- 1tsp
lemon juice- 3 tbsp of juice of one lemon

for layering
Rice, 4 cups, halfway cooked with whole garam masala, ghee and salt
Fried onions, 3 large onions, thinly sliced( I try to make a freshly batch but store brought will do if u r not as picky as me)
boiled eggs, about 8 ( cook in boiled water for exactly 5 mins), peel
cilantro and mint, chopped roughly
saffron- 2 tbsp soaked in 1/2 a cup of warm milk

Part 1, Mix up all spices and chicken, cover, refrigerate and let marination do the work overnight. If pressed for time, 4 hrs is minimum required time for good biryani, but I don't want it just good, I am after the best!

Part2, heat oil in a kadai, fry 3 large onions and set the onion aside to drain on a few paper towel. Remove excess oil from kadai, leaving abt 3 tbsp to roast the chicken. Brown the chiken, a few at a time without overcrowding the pan. The purpose here is to brown the surface to get a caramalised taste, at this point I am not worried about chicken not being cooked. Remove all the roasted chicken and set aside.To the kadai, add about cup of water to deglaze, stir constantly and gently add all the browned chiken. Cover, simmer and cook till done. Open and reduce any leftover liquid from the chicken on high heat.

Part 3, In a a heavy bottomed vessel, boil 6 cups of water, add whole garam masala ( 4 bay leaves,2 cloves, 4 cardamom pods, a couple pieces of cinnamon sticks,star anise, few peppercorns), 4 cups of rice, 4 tbsp ghee and salt. Cover and take off the heat to slow cook. In about 30 minutes all the water will have absorbed and the rice cooked halfway....just the way we want it.
Now, spread the rice on a large platter to cool off a little to prevent cooking further. Spoon the saffron milk at one tsp at a time, in about 6 places to color as well as flavor the rice. Do not mix further. A fork can be used to lightly rake the rice to get different shades of yellow from saffron.

Part 4, In a oven proof casserole/dish, layer in half the rice on the bottom, sprinkle 1/3 of cilantro and mint leaves, layer chicken, fried onion, boiled egg nestled between chicken and some more of cilantro mint leaves. Layer second half of rice, fried onions and cilantro mint leaves to completely cover the chicken. Cover the casserole with aluminium foil and bake.

Part 5 , Heat oven to 250F and place the biryani in the oven for about an hour. This final baking gives the 'DUM' effect, cooks the eggs and rice and the gets the chicken to flavor the dish to perfection.

*G's Note*: I let the chicken biryani sit in the oven for longer until it is time to serve since I do not recommend reheating the dish for obvious reasons while entertaining friends.