Archive for July, 2010

Doughnuts for a 5 year old Foodie

5 yr old foodie: Mama, can you make Doughnuts?

Me: Doughnuts?

5 yr old foodie: They are round like Medu Vada, with a hole in the centre. But they are not spicy they are sweet. (satisfied that he knows more than his mama)

Me: Is it?

5 yr old foodie: Yes and you have to pour lotso’ black colored sauce over it.

Me: Where did you see the doughnuts (since they are not a very common bakery item here)

5 yr old foodie: Saw it on the T.V. So can you make them?

Me: I am not sure. Don’t know the recipe

5 yr old foodie: Why don’t you checkup on your laptop, you are searching recipes all the time!

With a non stop follow up for the next 2-3 days he was successful in persuading me to make Doughnuts.

I found a very simple and easy recipe in Tarla Dalal’s ‘The Chocolate Cookbook’

I made the doughnuts as per the recipe and topped them with powdered sugar and Hershey’s Chocolate syrup

The 5 yr old foodie did total justice to all my efforts and all the Doughnuts disappeared in no time! (He is already asking when I can make the next batch! 🙂 )

 Here’s the recipe:

Source: ‘The Chocolate Cookbook’ by Tarla Dalal

 1 Cup Plain Flour

10 grams fresh yeast crumbled

½ cup milk

3 tbsp Sugar

½ tsp Vanilla essence

1 tbsp butter, softened

(Add ½ tsp salt if using unsalted butter)

Oil for deep frying

 Powdered Sugar and

Chocolate Sauce/syrup for serving

 Mix the Flour, yeast, sugar and essence in a mixing bowl. Gradually add the milk and knead into a soft dough. (Add the milk carefully and adjust the quantity so that the dough doesn’t get too soft)

Add the butter and knead it again for 2-3 minutes

Cover the dough with a wet kitchen towel and allow it to proof till it doubles in size. (~15-20 mins)

Press the dough lightly to remove the air

Roll out the dough into a sheet of 6 mm. (1/4″) thickness

Cut out circles with a cookie cutter (~3” diameter) and using a small cookie cutter cutn out the centre portion of each circle to make a hole in the centre.

Roll out the leftover dough and repeat above steps.

Cover with a wet kitchen towel till the doughnuts double in volume again (~ 5 – 10 mins.) (I placed the doughnuts on a butter paper and then left them to double up so that they were easy to lift)

Heat oil in a wok .

Carefully insert each doughnut in the oil and fry on medium heat till golden brown.

Drain on some adsorbent paper.

Place on a serving plate and dust with powdered sugar.

Drizzle Chocolate sauce/ melted Chocolate over the Doughnuts and serve.

July 22, 2010 at 2:16 pm 16 comments

A walk in the clouds…

July 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm 12 comments

Comfort food-Poha(beaten rice) spiced with Methkut

I was feeling a bit under the weather for the past few days. The wet rainy days did not help to lift up my spirits. Elaborate cooking took a back seat and it was time for some quick easy meals.

Poha (beaten rice) is a must-have ingredient for all Maharashtrian pantries. It is a regular item on the ‘essential items’ in the monthly grocery list. Poha is a handy ingredient when you have unexpected guest, you are pressed for time, need a quick meal or when you want some comfort food!

The modest Poha is dressed up here with a few spices and a classic Methkut powder to make one of the most delightful comfort foods for me.

The recipe is quite forgiving and does not need any pre-planning. Day-to-day ingredients are used and it can be made at the last minute.

The key ingredient used to flavor this Spicy Poha is a Methkut. Methkut is a classic powder made from a few dals and spices and is used in most Maharashtrian households to flavour soft cooked rice; again a comfort food and one with lot of childhood memories.

I used readymade Methkut powder but you can find recipes here and here.

This spiced Poha makes a great tea time snack along with a cup of spiced Chai or a glass of freshly brewed filter coffee.

Here’s the recipe:

2 cups Thin poha (beaten rice)

2-3 tbsp Methkut powder

3-4 tsp coconut water /buttermilk/milk or just plain water

Pinch of sugar

Salt to taste

For the tadka (tempering):

A handful of peanuts

A handful of roasted Chana dal (Dalia)

4-5 dry Red chillies cut  into pieces

4-5 curry leaves torn into pieces

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumene seeds

½ tsp turmeric powder

~2-3 tbsp oil 

For the garnish:

Lime Juice

Fresh coriander leaves 

Method:

Sprinkle coconut water/buttermilk/milk or just plain water on the poha and mix to make it a little moist.

Add the methkut, salt and sugar and mix nicely to coat the poha. (Adjust the amount of Methkut to your taste).Keep it aside.

Heat oil in a small pan.

Add the mustard seeds and once they splutter add the cumene seeds followed by the peanuts.

Fry the peanuts well and then add the roasted chana dal.

Add in the turmeric powder, Red chilles and curry leaves.

Add this tadka\tempering to the poha and mix nicely.

Keep covered for a ~ 5 minutes for all the flavours to mingle.

Garnish with lime juice and coriander leaves.

Variation: If you cannot find Methkut you can use the Chutney podi which is normally served with dosa.

Or I have blogged about another version of spicy Poha (Dadpe Pohe) earlier on My Foodcourt here.

 Also see Poha spiced with Tamarind

July 15, 2010 at 2:53 pm 8 comments

Filled Cupcakes for the sweet punch

Mama I’m hungry, I want something to eat” and a list of specifications follows for ’something’, the most prominent being ‘something different’. I am sure every mother hears this dialogue several times a day. Many times my son has specific hunger pangs;’ I am hungry for chocolate or hungry for oranges or raisins or some favorite snack’ Like every mother I find it challenging to come out with ideas to satiate the ever hungry boy!

This month’s Sweet Punch made my life easier at least for a while; ‘Devils food cupcakes with Vanilla cream filling’ to get me through a few hunger pangs for this week. The boy loves chocolate, even though he does not have a sweet tooth, so he was jumping with joy at the mention of Chocolate cupcakes.

 

A Sweet Punch is a monthly baking event started by three lovely girls  Ria, Maria and Divya, to make baking as simple as possible, bringing you a tried and tested recipe every month.’

This month’s punch was chosen by Divya and the recipe is originally from Baking bites. Thanks Divya I am delighted by your choice of recipe- Filled Cupcakes, a first for me.I don’t think I would had attempted the recipe without your instigation.

The recipe makes about 2 dozen cupcakes. I did not fill and frost all the cupcakes, left  few of them as it is. The cupcakes were rich and delicious even without the frosting. The little elf polished off a few even as they were still cooling on the rack.

Here’s the recipe:

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Vanilla Cream filling

Recipe source – Baking Bites

Makes ~ 2 dozen cupcakes

The recipe looks lengthy and consists of three parts:

a)Making the cupcakes

b)Making the filling

c)Making the frosting

Ingredients:

For the Cupcakes:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature (I used salted butter and skipped the addition of salt)

2 cups sugar (I used Vanilla sugar)

3 large eggs

3/4 cup sour cream (low fat or full) –(I used cream mixed with a tsp of homemade yogurt)

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 cups all purpose flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 cup cocoa powder

2-oz(~55 gms) dark chocolate

1 cup water, boiling

 For the Vanilla Cream Filling:

3 tbsp all purpose flour

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 scraped vanilla bean or 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup powdered sugar

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method:

For the Cupcakes:

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and lightly grease two 12-cup muffin tins (I used 4-6 cup muffin pans of different shapes)

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light.

Beat in eggs one at a time, followed by cream and vanilla extract.

In a small bowl, sieve together flour, baking soda and salt.

Add half of flour mixture to the butter mixture, mix nicely and add the rest of the flour mix.

Stir well between each addition and mix until no streaks of flour remain.

Stir the cocoa powder and the dark chocolate into the boiling water

Pour chocolate water into the rest of the batter and stir until uniform.

Evenly distribute batter into prepared baking cups. Bake each tray for 13-15 minutes (it took ~20-22 minutes for me), until a tester comes out clean and the cakes spring back when lightly pressed.

Cool the cupcakes completely and then turn onto a wire rack to remove from the muffin pans.

For the Vanilla butter filling:

Whisk together the flour and milk and cook in a small saucepan over medium heat until thick. This will only take a few minutes.

Stir continuously to prevent the mixture from clumping and do not bring all the way to a boil.

When thickened (consistency will be that of a thin pudding or custard), strain with a mesh strainer into a small bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let cool completely to room temperature.

When the milk mixture is cool, cream the butter and sugar together in a medium bowl until light. Add in the milk/flour mixture and the scraped vanilla bean seeds (or vanilla extract) and beat at high speed with an electric mixer for 7 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip, or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off, and set aside until ready to fill your cupcakes.

For the chocolate butter cream frosting:

Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and beat, with an electric mixer, until frosting is creamy, 3-5 minutes.

Add additional powdered sugar as needed to achieve a thick, but not stiff, frosting that is easy to spread.

Add additional milk, if necessary, to thin the frosting if it gets too thick.

Scrape into a pastry bag fitted with a plain tip or a large ziplock bag with the corner cut off

Assembly:

Take a cooled cupcake and, using a small knife, cut a cone of cake (1-inch across by 1-inch deep) out of the top.

Trim off the pointy end of the cone, leaving a flat circle of cake. Set aside and repeat this process for all the cupcakes.

Take the cream filling and squeeze a tablespoon or so into each cupcake cavity, filling the hole up to the top with filling.

Top off with a flat circle of cake to plug the hole and keep the filling in place.

Pipe out the Chocolate frosting to cover the top of the cupcake.

Top with some vanilla cream if you have any leftover from the filling and some sprinklers.(I topped the boy’s cupcakes with sugar coated marzipan cherries)

Note: I found it difficult to unmold the cupcakes which did not use cupcake liners, while they were still warm. I had to wait for them to completely cool and then remove them from the pan.

I used a piping bag to frost the cupcakes, I found this easier

I used only 1 cup of powdered sugar for the Chocolate frosting, instead of the recommended 2-3cups.

 

July 7, 2010 at 4:26 pm 20 comments

Monsoon Magic-Minty Dal Vada

Dark clouds, light showers, gentle breeze; spent the most magical weekend lounging in front of the TV with hot spicy food and Ginger Chai.

Our garden now wears a fresh green coat. Flowers bloom and my herb garden is alive again! The Monsoon has brought fresh new life to the surroundings.

This Minty Dal Vada is a rainy day ‘comfort food for the soul’!Mint, Coriander, green chillies, and ginger together lend a delectable flavor to these crunchy Chana Dal (Bengal gram) fritters. The hot spicy Vadas are a perfect tea time snack accompanied by a cup of fresh ginger tea or are great party starters.

Here’s the recipe:(recipe source- my Mother-in-Law)

Minty Dal Vada recipe

3 cups Chana dal soaked in water for 2-3 hrs

1 cup grated fresh coconut

1 bunch mint leaves cleaned, washed and chopped

Few coriander sprigs,

1” piece ginger chopped,

8-10 green chillies chopped (or as spicy as you like)

2 small onions finely chopped

Salt to taste

Oil for deep frying

 Drain the water from the Dal. Spread on a kitchen towel to soak up the moisture.

Coarsely grind the Chana dal with the salt, coconut, mint, coriander, green chillies and ginger. (Do not grind to a fine paste)

Just before frying add the chopped onions and mix well.

Shape lemon sized balls of this mixture to small patties like fritters.

Deep fry on medium heat till golden brown.

Serve hot immediately.No accompaniments necessary!

 Note: As a variation you can substitute the Mint with other herbs like dill.

July 5, 2010 at 5:38 pm 4 comments

No-Bake Cheesecake-this one’s with Wild Blueberries and Cranberries

June was a month of cakes and bakes for me and rightly so since, June is also the Birthday month for A-who is blessed with an eternal sweet tooth! It is surprising to see someone loving sweets to the extent that he does, especially for someone like me who is not at all fond of sweets except maybe chocolates or an occasional ice-cream. (Surprisingly A doesn’t like chocolates! Opposites attract I guess 🙂 )


After we got married I would be amazed to see him eat Kheer or similar Indian sweets for breakfast. I am someone who cannot have even jam on my bread to start the day with; Maybe later in the day but no sweets to start my day !
And I almost envy the fact that even after indulging in so many sweet treats every day he hardly puts on excess weight! I balance for that even without as much as smelling the sweets!


Ok so back to the No-bake Cheesecake. For his birthday I had to make something, as I mentioned earlier, without chocolate in it. With the 6+ hrs. random Power cuts it was only sensible to not bake a cake. I bought some Cream Cheese and dried Blueberries from Mumbai when I went there shopping for my son’s birthday.
A GSE guest from Maine  had gifted us a lovely bottle of Wild Maine Blueberry jam and I had secured it for a long time, to be used for a special occasion. A’s birthday was the perfect occasion and so I made this No-bake Blueberry-Cranberry cheesecake specially for him.

I loved this recipe for the crust where the base of the cheese cake was made using Pecans and Maple syrup, both of which I had.
For the cheese cake filling I adapted this recipe from Epicurious flavoring it with a Cranberry -Blueberry spread.
I made a dried Wild Blueberry – Cranberry compote of sorts, spiced with a little cinnamon for the topping once the cheesecake had set.
The end result was an incredibly zesty cheesecake. The tart cherries complimented the sweetness of the cheesecake fabulously.


Here’s the recipe:
For the Maple Pecan Crust:
~12-15 Digestive biscuits, crushed to crumbs (I used Britannia Nutrichoice)
¼ cup pecans ground
2tbsps Maple syrup
For the filling:
2-8 ounce packets Philadelphia Cream Cheese (I used Kraft’s)
1 cup heavy whipping cream
~1/2 cup sugar (or to taste)
3tbsps Cranberry with Blueberyy fruit spread
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
1/4 cup water
For the Berry compote for topping:
½ cup dried Wild Blueberries
½ cup dried cranberries
~4-5 tbsps Wild Maine Blueberry Jam
A pinch of Cinnamon powder

Method:

For the Base/crust:
Mix the crumbs, Pecan powder and maple syrup.
Cover the bottom of a 9” spring form pan with silver foil (I found that the cheese cake could be removed easily from the base this way)
Press the crumb mixture evenly into the base of the spring-form pan
Refrigerate till you make the filling.
For the filling:
Sprinkle gelatine evenly over the water in a small pan to soften. Keep it for~8-10 minutes
Stir on low heat till the Gelatine dissolves completely. Keep aside.
Blend cream cheese, cream and sugar with a hand blender until smooth
Add the berry spread and blend.
Add the dissolved gelatine and blend well.
Pour the filling over the base crust.
Chill overnight till firm in the centre and sides.
For the berry topping:
Heat the jam in a small saucepan over low flame. Add the dried berries and Cinnamon powder and mix nicely to coat.
Cool and pour over the chilled Cheesecake.
Chill for 1-2 more hrs further.

Run a knife along the sides of the cheese cake. Unlock the spring and gently slide out the pan over the cake.
Slice and serve (optionally with whipped cream)

July 1, 2010 at 2:16 pm 9 comments


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