Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Paneer/Cottage Cheese Crescents

Paneer / Cottage Cheese Crescents, .a few days ago while pouring milk to boil ....I accidently poured one packet of curd instead of milk into the pan.....two packets of milk plus one packet of curd....all this happened in the morning rush hour...

and when my loud oh! nooooo! exclamations came from the kitchen hubby dear looked into the matter....when he heard what happened....you should have seen his face....all smiles.....because he loves paneer more than anything else.....my mom-in-law used to say that as a young boy...whenever she makes paneer and leave it to set.....Homey used to sneak and have his full of raw paneer....by the time she comes to cook dinner....there will be only the cloth without the paneer!!!. So you can imagine his happiness when I told him that I poured curd accidently into the milk...I could see the twinkle in his eyes....when I started to turn them into paneer.

Now both my kids don't like paneer....so when I saw these at Roxana's space I had thought it will be an excellent idea to make my kids have paneer.....and they did love it....thanks Roxana for sharing this lovely recipe.

I got this much paneer from 1 litre milk and 1/2 litre curd.

Paneer/cottage cheese: About 200 g.
Lukewarm water/milk: 1 cup.
Sugar: 1/2 tbsp.
Instant yeast: 2 tsp.
Olive oil/melted butter: 2 tbsp.
Plain flour: 4 cups.
Salt: 1/2 tsp.

For garnishing: Half beaten egg, chopped coriander leaves or dried herbs, and little garam masala to sprinkle (instead of egg you can also brush with melted butter).

1. I put the paneer into my mixer jar along with the lukewarm water, yeast, oil, salt, sugar and gave it a nice blend. Pour this into the flour.

2. I mixed it with my hand to make it into a smooth dough and let the dough sit for about 1-11/2 hours or until it doubles its size....cover it with a wet cloth. In two steps the dough is ready!!!

3. It doubled up.

4. I divided the dough into two and roll out into a circle. Cut each circle into 8 triangles.

5. Roll it with your finger tips into crescents.

5. Place them on a baking sheets. Leave again to rest at room temperature for 30 min.

6. Meanwhile preheat the oven, just before baking give them an egg wash and sprinkle some chopped coriander leaves and garam masala (or any dry herbs like Roxana did). I wanted to make it Indianised so I opted for coriander leaves/Cilantro and garam masala for the flavour......the result was YUM!!

7. Bake them until golden.

Enjoy with just about anything!!!


Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolatechip Shortbread | How To Make Shortbread Cookies

Chocolatechip Shortbread The best thing about shortbread is that it takes less time to make compared to making cookies.....(no rolling the dough into a cookie)....cream butter and sugar... add flour...... press into a pan and bake it....yes, thats it!!!...this is one of my kids favorite shortbread ..... and the easiest!!. I love the chocolatechips on top....It gives enough chocolatey flavour....though Nidhi likes to top it with chocolate sauce....either way it is yummy!!!

I came across this while surfing the net and thought I will share it...it is a brief history of shortbread cookies.........."They started in Scotland way back when cooking, compared to today's standards, was crude.                                         Of course they have evolved over time to what we know today. The original shortbread cookie recipe probably included oat flour but when the English adopted it they substituted wheat flour. In Tudor England oats were considered animal food. Traditional shortbread is baked in a round and then cut into wedges.
The story has it that the ancient Scots baked shortbread in the winter months and put cuts in the shortbread rounds to represent the suns rays. I suppose this was some sort of ritual to persuade the sun to return and do away with the cold winter. The wintertime tradition holds on though because shortbread cookie recipes are among the most popular Christmas time cookie recipes".

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite recipe book "Everyday chocolate" published by Parragon Books and the actual recipe calls for golden caster sugar....I used powdered sugar instead.

Recipe Source: Everyday chocolate (Parragon Books)
Butter: 115 g/4oz (plus extra for greasing).
Powdered sugar: 55 g/2 oz.
Plain flour: 115 g/4oz.
Cornflour: 55 g/2 oz
Chocolate chips: 40g/ 1 1/2 oz .(I used more to get more chocolate in each bite!!).

1. Grease a 9-inch loose based fluted tart tin and keep aside.Cream butter and sugar.

2. Sift flour and cornflour into this and make it into a smooth dough.

3. Press it with your fingertips into the greased tart tin.

4. Prick with fork all over.

5. Sprinkle chocolate chips generously on top and press them lightly into the surface. Bake until cooked but not browned about 20-30 min. Mark into 8 portions with a knife...cool in the tin for 10 min, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve it with hot milk!!!



Friday, February 18, 2011

Classic Peanut Butter Cookies......step-by-step.

Remember that cookie book which I got from the roadside vendor and from which I made whole wheat chocolate chip cookies ...well that cookie book is indeed a treasure house of cookies....this peanut butter cookie is a traditional recipe and I made it last week.....peanut butter cookies are instantly recognizable by their criss cross marks (made by the tines of fork). This one is easy to make and not much effort if using an egg beater.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spinach/Palak Parathas.

This week was rather hectic...kids not well...Homey on tour.....and before I knew it was Thursday!!! .....I had made palak paratha a few days ago...I love making parathas with greens...kids love them in their lunch box...today its methi paratha in their lunch box.....the best part is that you can saute the greens and keep in fridge for 2 or 3 days...I usually do this and mix them with wheat flour in the morning ...usually for kids lunch box.


Friday, February 11, 2011

Steamed coconut filled rice balls/kozhukattai...Arusuvai Season 2

Kozhukattai is a traditional snack of South India...amma used to prepare it as an after soon snack.....It is one of the healthiest snack with rice flour, jaggery, coconut. Hot water is poured into the rice powder, salt, and mixed with a spoon. When it is warm enough to handle, roll into small balls and put a tsp of scarped coconut and jaggery mix into it and again roll it into a ball and steam it.

Rice flour: 2 cup.(easily available in Indian Stores).
Water: 1 1/2 cups-2 cups.
Salt: 1/2 tsp.
Grated coconut: 1/2-1 cup.
Palm jaggery/jaggery: Grated or crushed, about 1/2 cup.
1 or 2 drops of oil to grease your hand.
Cardamom: 1 or 2, crushed.

1. Mix coconut, jaggery, cardamom and keep aside.

2. Boil water with salt in a pan...add 1 or 2 drops of oil...when it is boiled and pour it little by little over the rice flour mixing with a spoon and make it into a soft dough...the water is just enough to make it into a dough.

2. Allow it to cool and while still warm knead it with your hand into a soft dough.Soft rice dough is ready to use.

3. Make small balls with the dough and put a tsp of the coconut mix in the middle and close the dough and shape it back into a ball.

4. Put the coconut filled balls or kozhukattai in the steamer for 10 to 15 on low flame.

5. Steamed kozhukattai or rice balls are ready to serve.

Enjoy the surprise sweetness of the jaggery and coconut with the flavor of Cardamom when you bite into it.


Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Browned Butter Brownies....step-by-step method.

The moment I saw these brownies here I had to forget about the healthy resolution that I made a couple of weeks back.....I mean I was practically living chocolate-less for more than 20 days....and I needed a reward for enduring 20 loooooong chocolate-less days.

Also, I saw a newspaper article about cocoa powder, I quote, " Chocoholics, you can now gorge on your favorite treat without a sense of guilt, for scientists have claimed that it's actually healthier than many fruit. Not only that, but chocolate is being heralded as the latest "super food" by the scientist who carried out a study. They have proved that it is packed with more healthy plant compounds and antioxidants gram-for gram than fruit juice and provides far more nutrition than food experts previously thought. This is based on a comparison of cocoa powder with powders made from fruit"....yay!!! that's good news for all the chocoholics...(so indulge in chocolate guilt free!!)

Also, Valentines day is just around the corner and I had this huge craving to have something chocolatey...no nuts or anything just pure chocolatey.......I came across a brownie recipe from  Bon App├ętit by Alice Medrich I love brownies....but most recipe calls for cooking chocolate which is very expensive here .....when I read the recipe I found it was made with cocoa powder and melted browned butter....well that looked really appealing to me....that means no need to bring butter to room temp....just take it from fridge and melt them...wow....again the recipe called for walnuts.....which are also very expensive here...and my kids and walnuts do not get along.....they wanted chocolate in every crumb no interference from walnuts or cashewnuts...so I omited them......I made it exactly as the recipe says (I doubled the measurement because I wanted FAT brownies and not thin ones....and guys no need to powder the sugar....just dump them into the melted butter along with the cocoa......

These brownies are soft and gooey inside, chewy on the outside, and PERFECTLY moist. The browned butter is the most unique aspect of the recipe......so ready for that chocolate overdose???

Butter: 250 gms.
Sugar: 2 1/2 cups.
Unsweetened cocoa powder: 1 1/2 cups (I used Cadbury's cocoa).
Vanilla extrat: 2 tsp.
Water: 4 teaspoons ( I used around 2/3 cup of water as u can see in the pic the batter was crumbly at first so I added more water to make it creamy).
Salt. 1/2 teaspoon.
Eggs: 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
Flour: 2/3 cup + 2 tablespoons flour

1. Preheat oven. Line a baking tray with foil, leaving a slight overhanging on two sides and grease it.

2. Melt 250 gms of butter in a medium pan, over medium heat, once the butter has melted, continue stirring for 5 minutes until the butter has stopped foaming and begins to turn into light golden brown colour. (Keep close eye on it or else it will get burnt quickly....thats why I could not click that browning butter pic  Remove from heat and add 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 1/2 cup sugar, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 4 tbsp water, and 1/2 tsp salt. Stir until combined. (I added little more water than mentioned in the recipe to make it smooth). Let the mixture cool for 5 min.

3. Meanwhile lightly beat 4 eggs and keep aside.

4. Add the eggs to the mixture whisking continuously as you add them

5. Lastly stir in 2/3 cup flour + 2tbsp flour and beat for 1 or 2 min ( I used my egg beater and like mentioned I added little more water to make the batter smooth and creamy). Pour into the prepared tray and bake.

6. I baked them for 25 min or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached , let it sit on the tray to cool,  lift the brownie carefully using the foil and cut immediately and serve.

Serve with hot milk.

Tip: Can add walnuts or cahewnuts.
I think the next time I will add expresso powder.
Can be make 2 days ahead.


Friday, February 04, 2011

Irumban puli/Averrhoa Bilimbi Pickle......step-by-step.

Most houses in Kerala has atleast one irumban puli tree in the backyard. Kids love to have fresh puli with salt and chilly powder. A visit to a friend's house resulted in picking up the fresh ones (I forgot to take my cam) right from the tree....

Irumban puli is used to make squash, jams, pickles, and in fish curries....my mom even makes a thoran....After coming home I chopped them and sprinkled salt lavishly on top of it and tossed them and added salt till I felt it is right....and since I was a bit lazy to make pickle (I hate peeling garlics!!!) I left it in salt for almost a week....I  tossed or stirred it every day..infact my kids loved having them.....salty!!

Chop the puli into small pieces....thats my pretty puli getting a bit of the evening sun!!!

And this is how it looked after almost one week in salt....you can see the water has oozed out and it is slightly pale....kids loved them.

Irumban puli: 1/2 kg, chopped. (Can also put in salt and make when you get the mood and time like I did)
Garlic: 3 pods, peeled and sliced.
Ginger: 2 or 3 pieces, sliced.
Kashmiri red chilly powder: 3/4 cup.
Vinegar: 1/2 to 1 cup depends upon the sourness of the puli.
Salt: As needed.

For roasting:
Hing/asafoitida: 2 or 3 fat pinch.
Mustard seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp.

For seasoning:
Mustard seeds: 1 tsp.
Fenugreek seeds: 1/2 tsp.
Curry leaves: As needed.
Oil: Gingelly oil(sesame oil): As needed.

1.In a pan dry roast mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, and hing...grind and powder them and keep aside.
2. Heat oil in a kadai and put in mustard seeds, fenugreek seeds, curry leaves and let it splutter. Add the garlic, ginger, curry leaves and fry till the raw smell goes.

3. Simmer the fire and add the red chilly powder fry it till the raw smell goes. Now add 1/2 cup vinegar and let it boil

4. Add the chopped puli or the salted puli into this and add the roasted and grinded masalas and mix well. Let it boil for about a minute or two and switch off fire and bottle.

Pickle/achar is ready....store in bottles.

Enjoy with roti, rice, or just about anything!!!.


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