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!

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Butter Chicken!

November 23, 2010



Ahh I missed blogging these past few weeks! But it turns out things are very busy these days. Aside from school, work, and other side projects I have going on we are preparing for my sister in law’s arrival from India in 2 weeks. But, although my brother is hurrying to get everything settled before his flight on Thursday and my mom is in a frantic rush to perfect the house and my dad is rambling on about my mom’s frantic rush; we are all very very excited.

But getting back to the food, I haven’t posted anything in a while and the post for today is dedicated to any reader who has ever tried something at a restaurant and desperately had to recreate it themselves.

I think we have all been there. You go to a restaurant and have a dish that you can not stop thinking about. And eventually…attempt to recreate it. For me this was: butter chicken. I’ve had this dish in so many restaurants in both America and India and up until now I have never made it myself. The funny thing is I find myself doing this more and more when I eat something at a restaurant. I think of the ways that I could recreate that same dish with ingredients I’m familiar with. It’s actually really fun; kind of like solving a puzzle.

The recipe I used was basically this one by Mr. Sanjeev Kapoor. It’s a pretty darn complicated recipe so I tried to adapt it into simpler terms and I think it turned out really good; easy but still holds true to the butter chickeny goodness. Keep in mind you will need to alter the spice amounts to your taste, so think of this as just a guideline. Hope you like it!

Butter Chicken Recipe:

To Marinate the Chicken

  • 2 lbs of chicken (cut into 2 inch cubes)
  • 1 teaspoon red chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic and ginger paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

To Make the Sauce

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic and ginger paste
  • 4 green chilies (chopped)
  • 1-2 teaspoons red chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry fenugreek leaves (methi)
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 small cinnamon stick
  • 28 oz can of tomato puree
  • 1 cup of fresh cream
  • handful of chopped cilantro

 

Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients listed for at least 1 hour.

Once it is done marinating, pan fry the chicken until very golden brown on all sides. Keep aside.

In a medium sauce pan heat butter until melted. Then add garlic/ginger paste and green chilies and cook for a few minutes. Then, add the red chili powder, salt, fenugreek leaves, garam masala, and cinnamon and cook for a few minutes. Next, add the tomato puree and bring to a boil. Finally add in the cream and honey and mix well, let this cook for about 5 minutes. Add the cooked chicken pieces and combine, garnish with cilantro.

Somewhere along the lines we stop chasing after fancy things and realize that we get the most satisfaction and comfort out of the simple pleasures of life: spending time with family, reading a good book and… eating cupcakes.

It’s safe to say that during this time of the year everyone is a bit pumpkin crazy. I went to the store the other day to pick up canned pumpkin for these cupcakes and saw a sign that said “limit 4 cans per day.” Not only that but every coffee shop you turn to you find pumpkin lattes and cappuccinos and pastries. I laughed at first but then realized that I am proudly partaking in this craziness as well because quite frankly pumpkin is darn good.

I found the recipe for these cupcakes from one of my favorite blogs, Annie’s Eats. This cupcake is the ultimate pumpkin goodness, it has the perfect blend of spices that compliment the pumpkin flavor rather than overpowering it. And the cream cheese frosting is so very rich and creamy. It’s honestly one of the best frostings I have ever made. Overall it’s a great cupcake recipe to come back to again and again. Enjoy!

This recipe makes about 24-30 cupcakes.

Pumpkin Cupcakes Recipe (From Annie’s Eats)

  • 2 2/3 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves (I just used allspice)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 15 oz can of pumpkin
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350° and line your cupcake tray with paper liners.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice and salt in a bowl.

In another medium sized bowl mix together the pumpkin, sugar, brown sugar and oil with an electric mixer. Add eggs one at a time and mix well after each one.  With the mixer on low add the sifted flour mixture until combined.

Fill the batter about three-quarters full in the cupcake liners.  Bake for about 18-20 minutes (until a toothpick inserted comes out clean).  Cool completely before you frost (about 10 minutes).

To make the frosting:

  • 8 oz cream cheese
  • 5 tbsp butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 1/2 cups of confectioners sugar

First beat together the butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until smooth this should take a few minutes. Then slowly add in the confectioners sugar until all of it is combined. Beat until the frosting is nice and smooth.

Decorate them however you’d like; I used chocolate sprinkles, walnuts, and crushed heath bar.

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. :)

Cholay (Curried Chickpeas)

August 20, 2010

So, we are in the midst of Ramadan and I would just like to wish any Muslim readers a blessed Ramadan! All kinds of good eats are made during this month, makes me wonder why we don’t eat this food year-round but I guess that is what makes holidays so special: the atmosphere, the traditions, the food.

Yesterday I decided to make Cholay and it turned out especially good. I love making this dish because it is so easy.  The whole thing is just chicpeas cooked with all kinds of good spices and you make everything in one pot which is my kind of cooking. Everybody makes Cholay differently and has their own variation of spices but nobody makes cholay like my mom. And… nobody will take her recipes and jazz them up except for me :) So here is my adapted version of “mummi’s cholay.”

Cholay Recipe                                                                                                                             serves 8-10 (you can easily reduce the recipe in half)

  • 2 28oz cans of chickpeas, drained
  • 2 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 red onion, chopped (half reserved for garnish)
  • 2 red potatoes, peeled and diced
  • a few tablespoons of olive oil to cook everything
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (more or less to your taste)
  • 1/2 a teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ginger and garlic paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chaat masala (and extra for garnish)
  • 1 teaspoon tamarind paste
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • 1/3 cup of water
  • a handful of cilantro, chopped

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan or wok and fry half of the red onion until golden. Add tomatoes and cook until it becomes like a paste.

To the tomato and onions add ginger and garlic paste, chili powder, turmeric and salt…fry it well until you get a dark red color.

To the mixture, add diced potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes stirring occasionally. This will cook the potatoes about half way. Then add 2 cans of chic peas and stir until incorporated well with everything.

You will need to cook this for a while. Cover the pot with the lid and let everything cook, the potatoes are not fully cooked so this will take time; about 15 minutes. Give everything a big stir every now and then but keep the lid on.

Add the water,  tamarind paste, lemon juice, cumin, chaat masala and last the cilantro– mix well! Check to see if the potatoes are done, if not keep cooking, if they are then turn off the heat.

How I served it: Pour it into a big platter, garnish with the other half of the red onion, a dollop of plain yogurt, and lots of chaat masala.

Ratatouille

August 11, 2010

I never thought I could crave a dish that I have never eaten, nor did I think that I could crave a dish that I saw in an animated movie. But it happened… and I decided to make that dish as a tribute to Remy for being such an adorable little chef. The only thing was, I had to find a good recipe. After I did some hunting I landed on Julia Child’s Ratatouille recipe. And here is what I ended up with:

not too shabby…

Flavor- I like all the vegetables used in this but I honestly had never tried them all together in one dish. So I was a bit skeptical, but the combination of these vegetables blend so well together, it’s no wonder why this dish is so common.

Serving and Moderations– Even though there are several ways to serve Ratatouille… if you pour it on some nice bread with a drizzle of olive oil… it’s awesome. The only moderations I made to the recipe was adding a yellow squash with the zucchini just for the heck of it, but mostly for color. Also, I felt I needed to put some chili powder and cumin to spice it up a bit…and that worked out really well. I put about 1/2 a teaspoon of each.

Multi-Step Process- Julia Child’s version of Ratatouille involves a layering effect which calls for prior cooking of each vegetable before the final layering. This tends to be time consuming when you just want something quick. BUT after making it once, it won’t take as long since you won’t be going back and forth to the recipe making sure everything is correct (or is that just me?)

This “multi-step process” is not the only way to cook Ratatouille. To be honest, when I make this again I would take a shortcut and just combine all the ingredients together in one pot and let it slow cook for a while. That’s the kind of cooking I like. If you haven’t tried this “peasant dish” I think it’s worth it because not only is it healthy, it’s inexpensive and it tastes pretty darn good… comfort food French style perfect for Summer when all this produce is fresh and available.

Thats quite a long title. But seriously these cookies were a complete experiment and ended up being really good. People were asking me for the recipe…so I thought it would be a good idea to blog it.

I was in the experimenting mood the other day and thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if I put all of these ingredients in one cookie…I was amazed (and relieved) when they turned out so well.

Whenever I want to experiment I just take a recipe I already know and substitute a few ingredients to make it a little bit different depending on what I’m going for. So, that’s basically what I did with this cookie. I used a chocolate chip cookie recipe that I have been using for years (from my ancient Betty Crocker’s Cookbook) and replaced the chocolate chips with: white chocolate chips, dried cranberries, walnuts, and some rolled oats. I was going for something chocolatey, sweet, tangy, and crunchy…and thats exactly what I got. These ingredients couldn’t be more perfect for each other. If you’re looking for a new cookie recipe that will be decadent and yummy here it is. I mean c’mon …just look at them.

White Chocolate, Cranberry, Walnut, Oat Cookies                                                      (with help from Betty Crocker):

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup of granulated sugar
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup of rolled oats
  • 1 cup of dried cranberries
  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 1 cup of white chocolate chips

Yield: About 3 dozen cookies (depending on how big you make them.)

Cream the butter and sugar together until well blended. Beat in the eggs and the vanilla extract. Mix in the flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix in the oats, cranberries, nuts, and white chocolate.

Drop cookie dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet using a tablespoon. Be sure to leave 2 inches in between each cookie.

Bake at 350° for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for at least 5 minutes.