Archive for December, 2009

Sweet Endings…

Yay…raced to the finishing line; 7 recipes on 7 consecutive days! That’s something for a blog which has seen a lull for a very long time!

Some more demanding priorities had forced me to neglect My Foodcourt for a long time. I wanted to get back here and Nupur’s call made me jump at the opportunity. The only hurdle was that, I was on the move for the first 2-3 days, but Auto scheduling posts took care of that.

Nupur’s enthusiasm is infectious and it was impossible for me to ignore her invitation. Thanks Nupur for instigating activity on My Foodcourt and for the lovely ’round-ups’ for all the past 6 days! 

The Marathon and the year will end on a sweet note : Peanut Butter Bites

This quick and simple recipe is from Tarla Dalal’s ‘The Chocolate Cookbook’. Me and my little one had a great time making these chocolate bites.

The choco bites have turned out a bit messy looking and not the perfect shape as I would have liked them to be, but with a 4 ½ old year helping me and kept busy I was least bothered about the appearance! These are absolutely delicious chocolaty bites; don’t go by the looks!

Peanut Butter Bites recipe:

125 gms dark chocolate (or light or white)

 For the filling:

1 cup peanut butter

1/3 cups icing sugar

¼ cups Cocoa powder

 Mix the filling ingredients together.

Roll out into small lemon sized balls. (Refrigerate if required)

Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Take care to see that the base of the bowl is not in contact with the water in the double boiler.

Once the chocolate starts melting, stir continuously till the chocolate melts completely and resembles a smooth sauce

Remove from the double boiler.

Cool the chocolate to room temperature stirring continuously, so that the chocolate cools evenly and no lumps remain.

Coat the peanut butter balls with the chocolate on all sides and place on a cookie tray with butter paper.

I decorated the bites with some colored sprinkles, though the recipe does not say so.

Refrigerate till the chocolate hardens.

Wish You all a very Happy New year ! See you in the New year…..

December 31, 2009 at 3:01 pm 9 comments

Lasooni Methi

Lasooni Methi-a treat for garlic lovers & Methi (fenugreek) lovers. I first had it at one of our favorite local restaurants. Every time we dine there now we ask for Lasooni Methi with gravy (In India most of the curries will have a gravy and without gravy versions, including some Chinese dishes).

Fresh Methi leaves cooked in more onion-less tomato gravy and topped with generous amounts of chopped garlic ! My version of Lasooni Methi has more amount of Methi: less gravy; as against the restaurant version of more gravy: less methi.

Here’s how I made it:

 1 bunch Methi (fenugreek) cleaned, washed and chopped. (Add the tender stalks if you like)

2 large onions chopped

10-12 garlic cloves peeled and chopped

~ 2tbsp tomato puree

½ tsp Garam Masala

½-1 tsp Red chilli powder

¼ tsp sugar (or just a pinch)

½ tsp Cumin seeds

Salt to taste

~5-6 tsp Oil for the

1 tsp Ghee(clarified butter/optional)

Blanch the Methi leaves for ~ 4-5 minutes in as little water as possible along with some salt. Drain and keep aside. Don’t discard the water; it can be used for making rasam or soups.

Heat 1 tsp oil in a wok/ pan. Add ~ 2-3 chopped garlic cloves  and sauté till the onion turns a light brown color.

Cool and grind in a blender to a smooth paste (add 1-2 tsp water if required)

(to save time:alternatively you can directly grind the onion and garlic in the blender to a fine paste without first sautéing and then fry it in oil)

Heat 2-3 tsp oil +1 tsp ghee in the same wok. Add cumin seeds and add the onion paste. Fry well till the paste turns brown (~ 7-8 minutes)

Add the spice; red chilli powder, garam masala, turmeric powder and fry for 1 minute more.

Add the tomato puree. Cook for 1-2 minutes.

Add the blanched methi leaves.

Mix well. Add salt and pinch of sugar and mix again.

Add ~3/4th cup water and cook for 2 minutes more or till gravy turns to a slightly thick consistency.

Remove from stove top.

In a small pan heat remaining oil. Add the remaining chopped garlic and fry till light brown. (If you like spicy food you can add chopped green chillies to the oil too)

Add the fried garlic along with the oil to the Methi gravy.

Serve hot with Naan or Tandoori Roti.

Note 1This recipe demands a generous amount of oil for the tadka and tempering compared to my usual 2 tsp oil; but once in a while I don’t mind pleasing the palate . You can reduce the amount of oil used.

Note 2: For a rich gravy you can also add 2-3 cashenuts to the onions and then grind.

December 30, 2009 at 2:02 pm 15 comments

Tandoori Platter

Tandoori-the name itself triggers the taste buds for most of the people. The combination of different aromatic spices with the raw smoked vegetables is sure to tempt even fussy eaters! These are wonderful party starters (if you have the patience) or cocktail snacks.

You can use assorted vegetables like cauliflower, potatoes, yam, fresh green peas with the shells, baby onions or even fruits like pineapple. This is the perfect season for spicy hot Tandoori parties.

My Tandoori platter today has babycorns, mushrooms and Paneer (Indian cottage cheese). I don’t have a Tandoor, so I use a shegri (chulha) – a coal fired stove. You can use the stove top with a griddle or even the oven to grill the vegetables.

 Here’s the recipe for my Tandoori platter:

10-12 Babycorns

10-12 button Mushrooms

10-12 Paneer cubes

For the Marinade:

~ ½ cup thick curd

2 tsp Tandoori Masala

1 tsp Chaat Masala

1 tsp Red chilli powder

¼ tsp turmeric

½ tsp lemon juice

4-5 mint leaves chopped finely (or coriander leaves)

~2-3 tsp oil

Salt to taste

 Whisk the Marinade ingredients together. Adjust the spices to your taste, if required.

Add the Babycorns, Paneer and Mushrooms to the curd mixture.

Mix well so that the curd mixture coats all the pieces evenly.

Keep aside for 30minutes to 1 hr.

Grill on the coal fired stove (using a mesh) or insert into skewers and grill on stove tops or grill in the oven till vegetables are browned or even a little charred (if you like the smoky flavour)

Serve hot direct from the stove top!

Note: Chopped onions sprinkled with salt and red chilli powder and green chutney are good accompaniments with the Tandoori vegetables.

December 29, 2009 at 3:50 pm 6 comments

Celebrating the season with Spicy Masale Bhaat

I am back from a weekend of food and fun in Pune. There is a sudden chill in the weather here; the nippy, foggy mornings making it all the more difficult to get back to work on a Monday morning!

We love this season for the bounty of veggies that it offers. The farmer’s market is flooded with variety of colorful veggies, rarely found during the rest of the year. So, many of my recipes this season, will be celebrating winter vegetables. One such recipe is Masale bhaat. The veggies which go into this spicy Rice are available year round. But they lack the freshness and color that this season offers.

Here’s a spicy Rice (Masale Bhaat) recipe perfect for the weather.

Masale Bhaat; characteristic Maharashtrian Rice cooked with seasonal vegetables and spices. Masale Bhaat is an imperative dish for every festive/wedding meal in Maharashtra. The ivy gourd (Tindora/Tondli) used in this rice is the key ingredient apart from the spices used, to lend its distinctive flavour. Rest of the vegetables can be substituted depending on the availability.

In my home it keeps revisiting like ‘old styles coming back in fashion’ every now and then for dinners with family and friends. You will find plenty of recipes for Masale Bhaat depending on the origin. Here’s how I make it:

 Masale Bhaat Recipe

2 cups Long grained rice washed

10-12 Tindora/Tondli(Ivy Gourd) cut lengthwise

1-2 carrots peeled and cut into chunks

1 small potato washed, peeled and cubed (optional), any other veggies of your choice like peas, cauliflower…

1 tsp Kala Masala,

Salt

4 cups water

Whole spices: 2-3 cloves, 2-3 black peppercorns, 1” stick cinnamon, 1-2 bay leaves

Tadka ingredients: 2 tsp Oil, 1 tsp mustard seeds, ½ tsp turmeric powder

For Garnishing: Freshly grated coconut, chopped coriander and Ghee (clarified butter)

 Heat oil in the pressure cooker (or in a pan if you are using a rice cooker)

Add the mustard seeds and allow them to splutter.

Add the turmeric and the whole spices.

Add the veggies and sauté for 2-3 seconds.

Add the Kala Masal and mix well.

Add the salt and water and bring to a boil.

Pressure cook till the rice is cooked (the grains should be separate after cooking)

Garnish with coconut, coriander and a generous dollop of ghee!

Serve hot.

 

December 28, 2009 at 12:57 pm 23 comments

Pear and Blue Cheese Crostata

I have to confess, I always thought Blue cheese was actually blue till I started blogging and surfing food blogs. I wouldn’t have been adventurous enough to buy a Blue cheese block (for quite a handsome price) if I wasn’t inspired by the fabulous recipes showcased on foodblogs!

I googled for blue cheese recipes to do justice to the price I paid for the exotic (yes here it is exotic) cheese and I found this at The Kitchn amongst many wonderful ones! Pear and Blue cheese crostata!

 Followed the recipe to the last word and was rewarded with a flavorful dessert with the exotic cheese! A bit sharp to taste but this cheese blends well with the other flavors in the crostata. A wonderful celebration for the holidays!

December 27, 2009 at 7:00 am 9 comments

Vegetable Kung Pao

I wanted to make Kung Pao ever since I saw it on Deeba’s blog here. Being a vegetarian I skipped the chicken and used the available vegetables for this quick and easy vegetable Kung Pao.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients: 

8-10 button mushrooms sliced

1 large carrot diced

1 small Red cabbage diced

4 spring onions, white bulbs and green tops cut separately into 1/2″ pieces

1 red/yellow bell pepper, chopped

3 Tablespoons soy sauce

1Tablespoons sherry

2 teaspoons cornstarch

2 teaspoons sugar

2 Tablespoons white-wine vinegar

2 teaspoons Asian sesame oil

1/3 cup water

2 Tablespoons cooking oil

3/4 cup cashews

1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes

3-4 garlic cloves, sliced

In a small bowl, combine the sugar, vinegar, sesame oil, water, soy sauce, sherry and cornstarch.

In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over moderately high heat.

Add the cashews and stirring until light brown, about 30 seconds. Remove from the pan.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic & chili flakes. Stir for 2 minutes till fragrant & light pink.

Add the white part of the spring onions, carrot & cabbage and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes.

Add the bell pepper and mushroom and cook for a 1-2 minutes more.

Add the soy sauce mixture and the onion greens and simmer for 1-2 minutes Stir in the cashews.

Serve hot over steamed rice.

December 26, 2009 at 7:00 am 8 comments

Inspirational cookies….

The festive mood inspires even amateur bakers like me! I made a Cookie Bouquet  for a friend’s daughter’s birthday with Deeba’s sugar cookie recipe; A very simple and easy-to-make recipe. Thanks Deeba for the recipe and many others from your blog which inspire me to bake!

I had fun decorating the cookies and making the bouquet.The cookies were decorated with colorful icing recipe from here and sprinkled with colored sugar.

I made a batch of chocolate sugar cookies too to save on my decoration time since I made around 70-80 cookies; just used simple silver dragees for the chocolate cookies.

For the bouquet I inserted wooden skewers as the cookie ‘stems’ into the cookies before baking. After cooling them I wrapped each one with small cellophane bags and sealed them with small red ribbons.I used a cute embroidered pink pen holder for the bouquet base; Inserted some garden sponge to hold the cookie stems. I cut thin strips from a green craft paper to cover the garden sponge.

A little bit of hard work and patience, but in the end worth all the efforts! The cookie bouquet made for a wonderful ‘edible centrepiece’ for the party! 

The baking bug continued and I made these lovely Choco scrolls from The Cooking Ninja. I did not have Hazelnuts when I first made them; used Pistachios instead of hazelnuts. The whole family loved the delectable scrolls, my father even wnet a step ahead and said he thought they were from the bakery! J This time I found some hazelnuts so I used 50-50 hazelnuts and pistas for the dough.(Taste wise both were delicious, but I think the pista scrolls won in the visual department with the lovely light green- brown combination) These scrolls have now become a  favorite in my house and thank you Pamela for this recipe!

This is my first of the 7 posts for the Blog Marathon initiated by Nupur (and also my first Auto-scheduled post since I am traveling upto 27th!) Thanks Nupur for motivating me to post on this  much neglected space!

December 25, 2009 at 7:00 am 12 comments

Vegetable Tagine with Harisa

This is a warm up to the 7-day recipe marathon initiated by Nupur, at One Hot Stove. Just making sure I haven’t forgotten writing posts!  Nupur has provided the much needed push for My Foodcourt and hope to reach the finish line, even though I shall be travelling.

Harisa Seasoning was not a very familiar spice to me till recently. My dear brother picked up some free samples for this from a trade fair in Berlin last month. Some Google research and I was tempted to use it immediately; Hit the bulls eye with this recipe for Vegetable Tagine with Harisa. Loved this recipe since I had all the ingredients that were required (a very rare coincidence!).

All the veggies used for this Tagine are in season now. I did not have the traditional ‘Tagine pot’ but slow cooked it on the stove top for the flavours to mingle and the result was a scrumptious spicy-sweet and tangy stew. Traditionally served with couscous, I served this with rice. As usual I tweaked the recipe a little bit to suit our taste.

Here’s the recipe:

Vegetable Tagine with Harisa

2 onions, sliced

½ tsp ginger-garlic paste

1 tsp sugar

3 tsp Harisa seasoning

a pinch of saffron (optional)

1 tsp cumin seeds (roasted and crushed)

1 cinnamon stick

1 bay leaf

250ml vegetable stock or water

3 ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped

2 large carrots, cut into chunks

2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed

1 red pepper, seeded and cubed

1 yellow pepper, seeded and cubed

2 brinjals, cubed

400g chickpeas soaked overnight and cooked

1 tsp dry red chilli powder or pepper (optional)

Salt

2 tsp Oil

Chopped fresh parsley for garnish

Heat the oil and fry the onion, ginger-garlic and sugar over a low heat until onions begin to caramelise.

Add harissa powder and spices and cook until fragrant.

Add the veggies, season with salt, Cover and simmer for 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.

Garnish with chopped fresh parsley.

Serve hot with couscous or rice.

December 17, 2009 at 4:39 pm 5 comments


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