Considering brownies are one of my all time favorite desserts I thought its about time that I shared a brownie recipe on here. Something that I love to do is take regular recipes and mix them up with different ingredients to create something completely different. And thats exactly what this recipe is. Brownies are so versatile that you have room to be creative and experimental. And to be honest, mixing up and experimenting is what makes good eats. The exact recipe for these brownies can be found here. But basically the recipe has 3 parts:

1. a brownie batter

2. broken pieces of Oreos

3. cream cheese frosting.

Mix the Oreo cookies into the brownie batter then spread in a greased baking dish. Dollop some of the frosting on the batter and swirl with a knife to create a marble effect. Bake for about 22-24 minutes.

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Chicken 65

February 21, 2011

A name is important not only for people but for food as well. Deviled eggs, mud pie, babaganoush, gooseberries, ratatouille…just a few of the many interesting food names we encounter in our lives. I am always fascinated with how a dish is given it’s name because it plays a huge role in the overall appeal. However, there are several dishes we eat which have unusual names and yet we rarely stop to think about it… maybe because we are just as strange and weird as the food we eat  :-)

Chicken 65 is an Indian dish which is particularly interesting because no one really knows where this name originated from. However, there are many theories:

  1. it was the year it was introduced
  2. its the number of days it took to prepare the marinade, but obviously after 65 days chicken will become …inedible!
  3. its the age of the chicken (65 days old)
  4. its the number of chicken pieces in the dish, but maybe cutting a chicken in 65 pieces would make it more like ground chicken than anything else.
  5. because India has so many chicken dishes, each dish is given a number instead of a name.

I don’t know how many other theories there are but those are the ones that I have heard the most. I’ll confess, I always thought it was because there were 65 ingredients in the dish …until I discovered that would be insane. But whatever it may be, this is an awesome dish. Originally it is pretty spicy and very red in color. However you can always control the spiciness to your taste.

There are two parts in making this dish. The first part is deep frying the chicken and the second part is combining it with the gravy. Both of which are listed in detail below, please use the spice measurements as a guideline as your taste may be less or more spicy than mine. Enjoy!

Chicken 65 Recipe:

To marinate the chicken-

  • 2 lbs boneless chicken cut into pieces
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons garlic and ginger paste
  • salt as per taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 1 egg
  • handful of chopped cilantro
  • red pepper flakes as per taste

For the gravy-

  • a bunch of curry leaves
  • 3-4 slit green chilies
  • 3 cups of yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 teaspoons cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoons coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon red color powder
  • salt

Oil for frying*

First, mix the chicken with ginger and garlic paste, salt, and pepper. Marinate for an hour.

Next, add the flour, corn starch, egg, cilantro and pepper flakes to the chicken and mix very well so that all the chicken pieces are coated.

Drop the chicken pieces into heated oil, and deep fry until golden brown. Keep the friend chicken aside.

In a bowl, mix together the: yogurt, chili powder, garam masala, cumin, coriander, turmeric, red color, and salt to make a thick paste.

In a wok heat up a few tablespoons of oil and fry the curry leaves for 2 minutes. Then, add the yogurt paste. Cook for a few minutes stirring frequently. Add the cooked chicken pieces and mix well. Keep cooking until all of the sauce has been absorbed by the chicken. Add the green chilies and serve.

Chocolate Blancmange

January 14, 2011

simplicity conquers yet again

Sometimes the most basic recipes turn out the absolute best. The ones that don’t have very many ingredients or complicated techniques. As far as desserts are concerned, they can be quite complex and time consuming. However, every now and then I get a recipe for something really simple to make that tastes amazing. If you have ever wanted a recipe for a quick dessert using whatever ingredients you have at home then you may be interested in trying out a ‘blancmange.’

I never heard of a ‘blancmange’ before my sister in law told me about it. It basically is a very thick pudding type dessert which needs to be placed in a mold and chilled much like jello. You can add any  flavoring you want, but apparently the most common flavor is almond. Similar desserts include Panna Cotta or Bavarian Cream.

We decided to make blancmange with my sister in laws recipe which had chocolate flavoring and it turned out very decadent. The texture was very smooth like pudding and is best when eaten very cold. What I discovered when learning how to make this: it takes no time at all, and is a perfect “go to” recipe when in need of an easy dessert. In fact, it’s amazingly simple, see for yourself:

Chocolate Blancmange Recipe:

  • 4 cups of milk (1 litre)
  • 4-5 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 2 cups of sugar (more or less to taste)
  • 1 cup corn starch
  • 2 cup walnuts (you can use cashews or almonds instead)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • coarsely chopped chocolate cream cookies (such as oreos with chocolate cream)
  • chocolate bar for garnish (optional)
  • carmel sauce for garnish (optional)

Heat 4 cups of milk in a small pot until boiling. Next, add the sugar and half of the walnuts and stir well; do a taste check of the milk to see if it is sweet enough, add sugar accordingly.

In a small bowl mix the cocoa powder and cornstarch with water until it becomes a liquidy paste; add this to the milk mixture while whisking continuously. Cook until it becomes very thick then turn off the heat and mix in the butter.

Begin layering the blancmange by pouring half of the chocolate mixture into a greased mold (such as a bundt pan). Then make a layer of the cookies and the remainder of the walnuts. Add the remaining of the chocolate mixture and let the whole thing cool for a little while before putting it in the fridge.

Refrigerate for a few hours but ideally overnight will give you the best result.

Once the blancmange has been chilled take it out of the mold onto a plate and garnish with whatever you like such as shavings of chocolate or a drizzle of carmel sauce.

Make slices as if it were a cake and serve! You will find in the middle a layer of the chocolate cookies and walnuts.

Gobi Manchurian

December 24, 2010

My “Winter Break recipes” officially start today. I finished my last exam on Monday and am determined to use this break to contribute some new recipes to my blog :) With all the exams and papers that I had these past few weeks I was finding no time to cook at all. In fact, the most cooking I did was make a bowl of cereal for breakfast.

I thought I would start off the winter recipes with a tribute to one of the best winter vegetables by far: cauliflower.

There are so many ways to make cauliflower, it’s popular in Indian food as well. A good example is Gobi Manchurian, although it is a mixture of Indian and Chinese cuisine, Gobi Manchurian is a very popular dish in India. In fact, I actually first had tried it when I was in India and liked it so much that I decided to re-make it at home.

I think overall, it’s really easy to make and it’s a great appetizer to have for a party. And of course if you’re a fan of cauliflower then I would definitely recommend trying this recipe.

Gobi Manchurian:

  • 1 Medium cauliflower cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups of flour
  • 2 Tbsp corn flour
  • water (to make paste)
  • salt to taste
  • red chili pepper to taste
  • oil for frying
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 green chili finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons ginger and garlic paste
  • A few tablespoons of soy sauce
  • A few tablespoons of ketchup
  • finely chopped cilantro for garnish

Make a paste out of the flour, corn flour, salt, red chili powder and water. Add enough water so that the paste is still thick enough to stick on to the cauliflower. Dip the cauliflower in the paste and fry in oil until golden brown. Keep aside when finished.

In a separate pan heat some oil and add the onions, garlic ginger, and green chili. Cook for a few minutes then add some soy sauce and ketchup in order to make enough sauce to coat all of the cauliflower. Add salt and chili powder to this as well to your taste.

Once the sauce is finished add in the fried cauliflower and mix well so that everything is coated. Garnish with cilantro and serve!

Martha’s Mac-n-Cheese!

October 18, 2010

It has been insane these past few weeks. Between school, work, home (and the million things in between) it’s been difficult to find time to gather any thoughts to write about. Luckily I’m getting better at managing my time and sorting out my thoughts. This saves you from reading about financial markets and saves me from writing a report for my economics class about a lasagna recipe :-)

Today I would like to share a recipe I tried a while back… some good ol’ macaroni and cheese! I’m not going to tell you that this is the best macaroni and cheese you will ever eat, but I will tell you that it’s pretty darn good. In fact this recipe is probably one of the most popular in the blogging world. If you search for the best mac-and-cheese recipe this one by Martha Stewart is bound to pop up. I had to find out what the hype was all about so I decided to make it and see.

I realized why this recipe is so popular: the sauce. The béchamel sauce of this recipe is what makes this dish “re-heatable”. In other words, you can re-heat this tomorrow and it will still be rich and creamy as when you first ate it. This is very uncommon for typical mac-and-cheese.

Also unlike other mac-and-cheese recipes, this one is not gritty and that is where the cheese plays its role. I never knew this until now but if you use regular cheddar it will cause your mac-and-cheese to be gritty but if you use white cheddar and white cheeses it will have a smoother texture.

However, this recipe is a bit time consuming. You have to make that béchamel sauce (which is basically a flour and milk white sauce) which requires a bit of labor but hey…haven’t you been wanting to make a “béchamel sauce” and be able to impress people with that fancy word?

The recipe itself makes enough for about 12 people so you might want to halve the recipe if you’re not feeding an army.

Macaroni and Cheese Recipe (adapted from Martha Stewart)

  • 6 slices white bread, cut into mini squares
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
  • 4 1/2 cups grated sharp white cheddar
  • 2 cups grated gruyere
  • 1 pound elbow macaroni

Heat the oven to 375 degrees and grease a 3 quart baking dish.

Boil macaroni following the package directions.

Toss the bread pieces with 2 tablespoons of butter and keep aside.

In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, heat milk.

Melt the other 6 tablespoons of butter in a medium saucepan then add flour and cook for 1 minute while stirring.

Whisk the hot milk into the flour mixture and cook until it becomes thick, while whisking.

Take the pan off the heat. Mix in salt, nutmeg, black pepper, cayenne pepper, 3 cups cheddar, and 1 1/2 cups Gruyere

Stir macaroni into the cheese sauce.

Pour the mixture into the greased baking dish. Spread out the remaining 1 1/2 cups cheddar and 1/2 cup Gruyere, also spread out the breadcrumbs over the top.

Bake until golden brown– about 30 minutes. Be sure to cool it before you serve to allow everything to set. Enjoy!

Gajar ka Halwa is a popular Indian dessert made of carrots, milk, sugar and dried fruit. It may be known as a carrot pudding…mainly because wikipedia said so and mainly because there really is no other way to describe “halwa” other than “pudding” even though it is not a pudding… it’s just pretty hard to translate.

Anyway, my mom used to make this dessert throughout our childhood on special occasions and me and my brothers love it, we could hardly wait before it was done and ready to eat. Often times I would “taste check” for my mom because of my impatience :)

Gajar ka Halwa can tend to be a heavy dessert, however throughout the years my mom has modified her recipe to make it lighter and a bit healthier with skim milk, less butter, and omitting ricotta cheese.

When I made this, I decided to add some fall flavors to it (nutmeg and cinnamon) and it turned out really nice. It’s one of those dishes that you can’t stop eating because hey, that is what happened to me so its bound to happen to you (side note: it’s really good when combined with vanilla ice cream.)

So I thought I would share the recipe with any of you who are interested in trying Indian sweets. Keep in mind this makes a whole pot of Halwa (enough for a party of 20 people) so you might want to halve the recipe and it will still be good.

Gajar Ka Halwa Recipe:

  • 5lbs of carrots, peeled and shredded
  • 2 sticks of butter
  • 2 cups of skim milk
  • 4 cardamoms, broken
  • 1/2 cup almond powder
  • 4 cups of sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • pinch of saffron mixed with 3 tablespoons of milk (optional)
  • 1/4 cup of sliced almonds (for garnish)
  • 1/3 cup of regular raisins
  • 1/3 cup of golden raisins

Heat a large pot (such as a soup pot) and melt the butter. Add the shredded carrots and stir. Next add in the cardamom and milk and mix really well; you will need to cook this for 45 minutes stirring occasionally. This is the main cooking process of the halwa where the moisture of the carrots and the milk is absorbed.

Once the carrot is tender and everything has reduced add in the almond powder, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, and saffron mixture and stir well. Finally add in the raisins and mix. Cook for another 15-20 minutes.

Generally served warm with sliced almonds on top for garnish. :)

Goat Cheese Lasagna

September 18, 2010

My mouth is watering just thinking about this. Growing up my parents would make lasagna for dinner every now and then and for me and my brothers it was the best thing in the world. It was exciting for us because we were so used to eating Indian food every day. Don’t get me wrong we love Indian food but as a kid sometimes you want to just fit in and have something for dinner that your friends would have. So lasagna was one of the first “American” dinners that we had and I still love it. Its so cheesy and fattening rich and creamy you can’t help but love it. My dad would make his lasagna with basic ingredients: tomato sauce, ground beef, cottage cheese (instead of ricotta), and mozzarella cheese. For me, this is just fine, I love it the way it is but I wanted to jazz up the recipe a bit and invite new flavors to a classic.

Indian food is about bold flavors, either using a lot of different mild ingredients in a dish to make it more flavorful or one or two strong ingredients. So this is the concept I was going for. Although lasagna is pretty flavorful it doesn’t always stick out. This goat cheese idea came from an Ina Garten recipe. I saw that she had used goat cheese in one of her lasagnas so I adapted that into this recipe.

Goat cheese is tart and creamy and so good if used with the right ingredients. Instead of using too much of a good thing I decided to infuse some ricotta cheese with the goat cheese just so that you could know that the goat cheese was there without it overpowering the whole dish. To that, I added chopped green onions, some salt and pepper, and an egg to bind it all–and there is your magic mixture that makes this dish incredibley delicious.

Lasagna Recipe

  • 9 lasagna noodles, cooked
  • 1 lb cooked ground chicken any way you prefer
  • 280z can of stewed tomatoes
  • 8oz can of tomato paste
  • 15 oz container ricotta cheese
  • 8oz of goat cheese
  • 1 egg
  • 3 or 4 sprigs of green onion (with whites), chopped
  • salt and pepper for seasoning
  • 1 lb mozzarella cheese

1. Cook the ground chicken any way that you prefer, I cooked it with onions, garlic, salt, chili pepper, cumin and cilantro but use any spices that you like–once the meat is cooked add the stewed tomatoes and the tomato paste. Mix well and season to taste.

2. Boil the lasagna noodles half way. Drain, and place in a bowl of water to keep them from sticking.

3. In a medium sized bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, goat cheese, egg, green onions and season with salt and pepper–divide in half (for two layers in the lasagna)

3. Preheat your oven to 375°

4. Take out a lasagna baking dish, I used a 3qt casserole. Begin layering your lasagna: meat sauce, 3 lasagna noodles, meat sauce, mozarella cheese, ricotta cheese mixture, 3 lasagna noodles, meat sauce, mozarella cheese, ricotta cheese mixture, 3 lasagna noodles, meat sauce, mozzarella cheese.

5. Cover with an aluminum foil tent and bake for 45 minutes. Remove and let cool for about an hour or so before serving so that the lasagna sets.

Enjoy :-)