Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Erachi Puttu



Erachi Puttu

Puttu is Kerala's time-honored breakfast and is a comfort food for every Malayali.This humble steamed breakfast is now becoming a gourmet dish and puttu festivals are very popular in Kerala.There is a whole range of puttu with different flavors to try.This one is a spicy version with a delicious chicken masala filling.You can try different fillings like prawns masala, fish masala,or vegetable masala or sweet fillings like chakka/jack fruit  or caramelized plantains/ ethapazham. A special thanks to my friend Swathi for sending me Puttu podi :)

Ingredients
Puttu Podi/ Rice flour- 1 1/2 cup
Grated coconut- 3/4 cup
salt- 1/3 tsp
Sugar- 3/4 tsp
Water - 1/3- 1/2 cup

For the chicken Masala
Chicken(  minced or finely chopped) 250 grams
Onion- 1 medium
Chopped cashew nuts- 2 tbs (optional)
Finely chopped tomato- 1
Chopped ginger and garlic- 3 tbs
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Coriander powder- 3/4 tsp
Chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder-a pinch
(or according to your taste)
Garam masala- 3/4 tsp
Coriander leaves- a little
Curry leaves- a few
Lemon juice- a few drops
salt to taste



To make the masala
Wash and mince meat or chop into small chunks. Finely chop onions,ginger and garlic and set aside.
Heat oil in a pan and add minced,ginger, garlic,curry leaves and chopped cashew nuts, slightly roast and then add onions and salt and fry till golden brown. Add tomatoes and cook till soft. Next add the coriander powder, turmeric powder and chilly powder and saute till oil separates. Add the minced/chopped meat and stir fry for three to four minutes. Sprinkle two to three tbs of water, cover and cook for two minute or till all the liquid is absorbed and the meat masala is dry. Finally add garam masala, chopped coriander leaves and lemon juice. Allow this to cool.

To make the puttu
Take rice flour in a bowl and rub in coconut using your palm (reserve two to three tbs coconut for later use). Mix sugar and salt.Sprinkle water little by little into the flour and mix well ( it will take around 1/2 cup). The mixture should be course and damp( like wet sand) without lumps. To test whether the moisture has spread evenly press handful of mixture into balls. It should hold together and also easily break off when crumbled.
Take the puttu maker/puttu kutti and fill the bottom layer with grated coconut and  fill 3/4 with the rice coconut mixture and top with chicken masala. Bring one liter of water to boil in the pressure cooker and close the lid.Place the puttu maker on the nozzle and allow it  to steam and cook. Let it steam for around four minutes till you see steam escaping from all sides on the top. This recipe will make three chiratta puttu.Serve warm.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Strawberry Ice Cream



Strawberry Ice Cream

If you love strawberries in desserts here is the perfect way to enjoy it- delicious home made ice cream.This frozen dessert is refreshing and is the best summer treat ever. Earlier I posted a recipe for home made mango ice cream which was the European way of making with a egg custard base. This recipe is an easy with a simple blend of strawberry puree and cream. It has a creamy,smooth texture. Try this,you will surely love it.

Ingredients
Whole milk- 1  cup
Heavy Cream-3 cup ( 1 1/2 pints)
Strawberry Puree- 1 1/3 cup
Chopped strawberry- 1/3 cup
Sugar- 1 cup
Vanilla essence- 1 tsp


Process strawberries along with 1/2 cup of sugar in a food processor or blender until it is very smooth. Strain the puree into a bowl, pressing on pulp in strainer and allow to chill in refrigerator.
Bring milk and cream to a slight boil or till you see bubbles around the pan,switch off and vanilla essence and let it cool for half an hour or room temperature.
Mix in the rest of the cream and sugar and mix till sugar dissolves. Chill this for an hour in the refrigerator.
Once you are ready to make the ice cream, mix the strawberry puree with the cream mixture and pour into ice cream machine along with chopped strawberries. Churn- freeze the mixture in the machine till set or till you attain a desired consistency. It will take about 20-25 minutes. At this stage it will be soft ice cream and you can serve immediately or remove and transfer to freezer until it is firm( for two hours). It will remain in the freezer for more than a week. Enjoy!



Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Speculoos Cookie Sandwiches~ Baking Partners



Speculoos Cookie Sandwiches

Baking partners challenge for this month is cookies.  Swathi suggested that members attempt famous cookies from around the world and four cookies were selected.Dutch Speculoos cookies, Kourabeithes from Greece, Biscotti from Italy and Chinese almond cookies.
It was definitely a hard choice to decide which cookie to bake. But  Speculoos Sandwich cookie looked irresistible. What I found interesting is its spice mix of cinnamon,pepper,ginger,clove and nutmeg and the chocolate cinnamon filling.
Speculoos cookie is also known as Belgian Spice Cookies or Dutch Windmill cookies and in countries outside Europe they are sold as  Biscoff cookies. It is a special occasion cookie  traditionally made to celebrate St Nicholas Feast (Dec 5-6) in countries like Netherland,Belgium and Northern France.It is a spiced thin biscuit with an image or story stamped on it. ( they use a wooden stamp or a rolling pin to imprint images on the biscuits. To read more check here). This is a simple home made version.Thanks Sowmya of Nivedhanam for suggesting this delicious sandwich cookies.




Recipe source:  http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2013/04/speculoos-cookie-sandwiches.html

Ingredients
All-purpose flour- 1 1/2 cup
Egg-1
Butter, cold, cut into 1/2-inch cubes-4 tbs
Granulated sugar- 1/3 cup
Light brown sugar- 3/4 cup
Molasses- 1 tsp
Salt- a pinch
Baking soda- 1/4 tsp
Ground cinnamon- 2 tsp
Ground nutmeg- 1/4 tsp
Ground ginger- 1/2 tsp
Ground cloves- 1/4 tsp
Ground black pepper-1/4 tsp
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp

For Filling:
Unsalted butter, room temperature- 5 tbs
Cocoa powder, sifte-1/3 cup
Powdered sugar- 1 cup
Heavy cream, more or less as needed-1/4 cup
Vanilla extract- 1/2 teaspoon
Ground cinnamon-1/4 teaspoon
salt- a pinch




In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment add butter,sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, and spices and beat on medium speed for 30 to one minute seconds. Make sure it is fully incorporated and the butter is light and fluffy.
Add vanilla and egg and beat on medium speed until combined for another one minute. Add flour and beat on medium speed until all the dry flour has been incorporated.
Press the dough together into a ball and flatten slightly into a disk shape. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Divide the dough into equal four parts. Keep covered to avoid it from drying out.Lightly flour the surface and place each portion into balls and flatten into discs. Using the rolling pin roll the dough out to 1/4-inch thick.
Cut out small cookies with desired shape cutter and arrange on parchment or silicone mat-lined baking sheets, leaving about an inch of space between cookies. You can bake in two batches.(If using a traditional springerle rolling pin or speculaas cookie mold shape and roll and shape accordingly).
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until the cookies just start to darken around the edges. It will get browned up quickly, so keep an eye on it. Let cool on the baking sheet before transfering to a wire rack.
To prepare filling beat butter on medium-high speed until smooth and fluffy and add cocoa powder and beat until incorporated. Add vanilla, salt, and cinnamon.Alternate adding 1/2 cup powdered sugar, followed by 1 tablespoon cream, mixing well after each addition. Repeat with more powdered sugar and cream, then remaining sugar till you attain a light fluffy consistency.
Transfer frosting to a piping bag fitted with a large round tip. Pipe a thin layer and top with a second cookie and press lightly to adhere. Refrigerate for about 30 minutes to allow the frosting to set.


Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Oreo Cookie Cake



Oreo Cookie Cake

My kid is an Oreo cookie fan, so made this cake as a treat for a special occasion. It is chocolaty goodness and  real quick treat if you are in no mood for elaborate cake frosting and decorating. Powder some cookies and sprinkle on top, decorate with a few extra pieces of cookies and you are good to go.The cake is basic chocolate cake and the filling and frosting is creamy soft with the crunch of the chocolaty Oreo cookies.

Ingredients
Cake flour- 2 1/2 cup
Cocoa-1/2 cup
Sugar- 3/4 cup
Egg-2
Butter- 5 tsp
Baking powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Baking soda- 1/2 tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp

Vanilla essence-  1 1/2 tsp
Buttermilk- 3/4 cup

For the frosting
Cream cheese- 8 oz
Powdered sugar- 1 cup
Salt- a pinch
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Heavy whipping cream 1 1/2 cup
Oreo Cookies- 25


Pre heat oven to 350 degree F and grease and prepare cake tin.
Mix cake flour,baking powder,baking soda and cocoa powder. In a large mixing bowl  beat sugar and butter for three minutes till the butter is light and creamy. Add egg one at a time and beat for another two minutes till the egg is light and pale. Add the dry ingredients,vanilla essence in little additions and alternately add butter milk and fold in till all incorporated. Pour into prepared cake tin and bake for 30 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool a bit in the pan. Run knife around the edge of the pan and invert the cake into a cooling rack.
To make the frosting : In a large bowl beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form and  set aside.
In another bowl beat cream cheese, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Into this gently fold in whipped cream till incorporated and allow to chill. Cut the cake into two slices. Take one third of the frosting in a small bowl. Powder 8-10 cookies and gently fold this into the whipped frosting. Spread this in one layer of the cake and place the second layer on top. Spread the rest of the frosting around the cake and decorate with cookies as you desire.

Sending this to Pramitha's event 

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Spinach Onion Pakoras



Spinach Onion Pakoras

Onion Fitters or pakoda/pakori can be served as an appetizer or perfect snack with a hot cup of tea.  Hear I used a handful of baby spinach to make this crispy and spicy snack. Spinach adds color and more flavor to the pakodas.The flavor of onion pakodas are irresistible and this fitters and a family favorite.

Ingredients
Gram Flour/Beasan- 1 cup
Rice flour- 3 tbs
Baking soda- a pinch
Thinly sliced onions- 2 medium
Spinach chopped- 1 cup
Crushed ginger- 1 small peice
Garlic crushed- 3-4 pods
Green chilly- finely chopped- 1
Turmeric powder-1/3 tsp
Chilly powder- 1/2 tsp
Roasted whole coriander seeds- 1/2 tsp (optional)
( or you can used chopped coriander leaves)
Cashew nuts- a few
Asafotida/hing- a pinch
Oil for frying and salt to taste



 Wash and chop spinach and slice onions as thinly as possible.
Add crushed ginger and garlic to the onions and gently squeeze  the onion and add spinach.
In a bowl mix besan/gram flour, rice flour,baking soda, turmeric, coriander seeds, chilly powder, hing and salt. Add the chopped onion and spinach and cashew nuts
Sprinkle water little by little( Not more than 1/4 cup of water) and mix well till the gram flour starts sticking to the onion.
Heat oil in a pan and drop spoon full or just pinch a little and press with your fingers and drop into the oil. Fry till both sides are golden brown and crispy. ( do not make it too brown as it will continue to brown even after it is drained out of the oil). Drain into paper towels and serve warm with tea.

Sending this to Krithi's event "Dish It out"-Onions and Chillies

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Ethapazham Halwa/Banana Halwa




Ethapazham Halwa

Ethapazham/ Nenthra Pazham/banana halwa  is best when made with nice ripe plantains. It takes a little time to make this halwa,but it is worth the effort. Plantain halwa is very popular in Kerala and you get the best banana halwa is Kozhikode, a city in North Kerala. The Kozhikodan black halwa is most popular along with this banana halwa. It takes a lot of practice and effort to make the most authentic version. The secret behind a perfect halwa is uniform high heat and constant stirring. Traditionally this is made in urali heavy bottom wide vessel  made of thick bell metal. Here I used a cast iron skillet to make halwa.This is a simplified home made version.

Ingredients
Ripe plantains/Nendra pazham- 5 small sized
Sugar- 1 cup
Powdered Jaggery- 1 cup
( or you can use two cups of sugar)
Ghee- 1/3- 1/2 cup
Cardamon powder- 1 tsp
Chopped cashew nuts- 3 tbs

Bring one cup of water to a boil. Add powdered jaggery and allow it to dissolve. Strain the impurities and set aside.
Chop ripe plantain/ethapazham into small pieces. If possible peel off the center portion which has black seeds. Heat 2 tbs of ghee in a heavy bottom pan and toast the cashew nuts till golden brown. Remove and  keep aside for later garnish.
In the same pan add the chopped plantains and saute for six to eight minutes. It will change from pale yellow to golden brown.Add the jaggery water and cook till it is mashed up and gets reduced. At this stage add sugar and stir continuously for another 8-10 minutes and in between go on adding the ghee to prevent it from sticking.Add cardamon powder and chopped roasted cashew nuts. The halwa is ready when it leaves the edges of the pan and can be rolled into a ball with the spatula. You can also see ghee separating. The whole process will take around 25- 30 minutes. Take a greased steel plate or tray and spread this mixture evenly (use the back side of a spoon to spread and make it smooth). Allow this to set for three to four hours and then cut into desired shapes.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Persian Saffron Rice



Persian Saffron Rice

Today's post is a special rice dish- Persian crispy crusted rice dish infused with saffron. Butter and saffron adds richness to the rice. Saffron's unique delicate flavor and golden yellow color makes it dish even more inviting.The rice for this dish is only partially cooked just like in biryani and then it is steamed until it is cooked through. The rice develops a light crispy bottom crust (tahdeeg/ Tah dig) along with the potatoes.Decorate the rice with toasted pine nuts or pistachios or fried onions and serve this with any spicy side dish.

Ingredients
Rice-1 1/2 cup
saffron -  1/2 tsp
(I used 0.26 gram sachet)
Butter or ghee- 2tbs
( I used Ghee)
Cloves-3, Cardamon- 1
Potato- 1 (cut into slices)
Onion-1
Toasted pine nut- 2 tbs
(use any nut you like)


Slice onions and fry till crispy and golden brown. Toast pine nuts in low flame for about two minutes and keep aside.
Gently pound the saffron and soak in 3-4 tbs of warm water. Keep it aside till you get the rich color of saffron.
Bring 6 cups of water to a boil. Add salt, cloves and cardamon and the rice. Cook rice till it is 80% cooked. When you press the rice the center should remain under cooked.Drain and keep aside.
Take a cup of cooked rice and mix it with the saffron water . Heat ghee or butter in a deep heavy bottom pan. Place sliced potatoes and then gently Evenly spread the top with spatula and poke one or two hole in the rice to ensure the steam passes evenly through the layers the rice. Cover and cook in high for two minute and then reduce the flame to the lowest and steam this rice for about 30 minute on stove top. Gently invert it on to a plate just like you invert a cake. It will look like an upside down cake with the crispy potatoes showing on the top.Garnish with fried onions and toasted pine nuts and serve.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Chicken Ghee Roast



Chicken Ghee Roast

Chicken ghee roast is inspired by the Mangolarian chicken roast made with clarified butter/ghee. It sounds an exotic chicken dish and definitely tastes delicious with aromatic spices roasted in ghee. The recipe source is Sailus kitchen. Serve this with mildly flavored rice, neer dosa or appam.

Ingredients
To marinate
Chicken- 3/4 kg
Yogurt- 1/2 cup
Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp
Pepper powder- 1/2 tsp
salt

To roast and make a paste
Kashmiri chilly-15
(or according to your spice preference)
Coriander seeds- 2 tbs
Cumin seeds- 1/3 tsp
Fenugreek seeds- 1/3 tsp
Black peppercorns-a few

To saute
Shallots- 4-5 (optional)
Ginger garlic paste- 3 tbs
Ghee- 3 tbs
Tamarind pulp- a small ball
Sugar- 1 tbs
salt to taste
Curry leaves- a few



Cut chicken into small pieces. I used boneless chicken. Marinate with yogurt,turmeric powder,salt and pepper powder and keep aside for an hour or overnight in the refrigerator.
Dry roast the ingredients listed under to roast and grind and make it into a fine paste. Heat 2 tbs of ghee in a pan and roast this ground paste in a low flame till the raw flavor disappears and ghee separates. Keep this roasted paste aside.
Heat the rest of the ghee and add curry leaves and ginger garlic paste and saute for a minute. Now add the marinated chicken and saute for five to six minutes. Cover and cook till the chicken is almost done. Remove the lid and allow the water to reduce.  Add the roasted paste, tamarind pulp, sugar and mix well. Fry till the masala gets well coated with the chicken or adjust according to the consistency you prefer. Serve warm.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

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