Monday, August 03, 2015

Moist Double Chocolate Chip Muffins


I was looking for a recipe for moist Double Chocolate Chip Muffins when I stumbled upon this gem of a recipe. One quick look at the ingredients and I was sold! Bookmarked it, made a mental note of the ingredients and went about my daily chores. We were going on a road trip on the following Friday to Holland, Michigan to be a part of their tulip festival. And I was going to bake this Strawberry Quick Bread with Lemon Glaze and these chocolate chip muffins along with us to munch on!

I was done packing way ahead of time. Bags were packed, snacks were packed, fridge stocked with the perishables and it was just Tuesday and we weren't leaving until the following Friday! I was gloating, well just a wee bit! With packing, cleaning (I like to leave my home in a spic and span condition as I absolutely dislike coming back from a vacation to a messy apartment) and Strawberry Quick Bread with Lemon Glaze done, I started out to make the Moist Double Chocolate Chip Muffins Thursday late afternoon. But as luck would have it, the page I wanted to follow the recipe from just refused to open. Frustrated, I started looking for other recipes, but I could not find anything that I loved! That is when I found Brighteyed Baker's Facebook page and messaged her! Alexandra (of Brighteyed Baker) not only did message back saying that it was a server issue that will get fixed within a couple of hours, she was kind enough to send me a screen shot of her recipe once her site was up!
Oh, I did I tell you.. I totally fell in love with that speckled egg! So much so that it lay untouched in my fridge for good two months. Then one day the husband threw it away (cue heartbreak!!).

 
Ingredients: (yield about 12)
  • All Purpose Flour - 2 Cups + 1 tbsp (scant)
  • Cocoa Powder - 1 Cup
  • Baking Powder - 2 1/2 tsp
  • Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Instant Coffee granules - 1/4 tsp (optional)
  • Granulated Sugar - 1 1/4 Cups
  • Oil - 1/2 Cup (I used Canola)
  • Eggs - 2 whole + 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • Sour Cream - 1 1/2 Cups
  • Vanilla Extract - 1 tbsp
  • Chocolate Chips - 2/3 Cups + 2 tbs to sprinkle on top of the muffins
  • Baking Chocolate Bar - Chopped into small chunks

Preheat oven to 375 F. Line a standard muffin tin with cupcake liners.
In a largish bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, instant coffee granules and salt. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs on medium speed while adding cupful of sugar till light and fluffy. Scrape the bowl using a rubber spatula as and when required. Add the oil and beat till it is all mixed together. Now beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract till everything is mixed together nicely.
Slowly add the dry ingredients and fold in gently. Be careful not to overbeat. Once incorporated, gently fold in the chocolate chips and chunks.

Spoon in dollops of batter into the prepped muffin tin. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips on top of the batter and press down lightly.
Bake for 10 minutes at 375 F and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 F and bake for another 6 to 8 minutes. (Baking time may vary slightly - start checking after 15 minutes). Insert a toothpick in the middle of a muffin - if it comes out clean, the muffins are done. Let the muffins cool a little in the muffin tin before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.
The muffins will stay fresh in an airtight container for 3 days, at least and for 7 days if refrigerated.

Original recipe here!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Vegetable Chop: Bangali'r Cha'r saathey Ta

Bengali's chop is very different from the rest of world's chop. While chop essentially means a cut of meat to the rest of the world, to us it is a deep fried ball of all things yum which goes perfectly with our late afternoon or evening cup of tea, especially during the rain-soaked monsoon months or chilly winter months.
It is amazing how a quick shower can refresh everything around you. Nature is at its vibrant best during the monsoon months. And it is just as amazing how just a cup of tea along with your cookie/biscuit/snack makes the verdant evenings all the more perfect.
When I was growing up, Moori (puffed rice) along Telebhaja (any thing deep-fried) bought from the Telebhaja shop down the street would be a popular thing to serve at least couple of days a week with the evening tea. Now that we are more health conscious, we tend to shy away from deep fried stuff and only indulge once in a while. 
How I have made these veggie chops may not be the traditional way of making it, but it sure is easy and works for us. I usually use whatever vegetables I have on hand. Cauliflower can be used in place of potatoes and it adds a wonderful taste and crunch as well. Very soon I will try out the baked version, till then we will give in to these deep fried rare treats!




Ingredients:
  • Potato - 1 big, boiled and mashed (I used russet potato and nuked it in the microwave for 5 minutes in its jacket)
  • Onion - 1 red, medium sized, finely chopped
  • Green Bell Pepper - 1, small, finely chopped
  • Carrot & Peas - 1 1/2 Cups (I used frozen that I steamed for 5 minutes in the microwave. and squeezed out excess water. You can use your choice of veggies. 
  • Cilantro - 1/2 Cup, finely chopped
  • Garlic - 2 fat cloves, minced
  • Ginger - 1 tsp, grated
  • Green Chili - 2 or more (depending on your heat preference), finely minced. 
  • Oil - 1 tbsp for cooking + enough for deep frying
  • Salt to taste
  • Garam Masala - 1 tsp, powdered (1 inch cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 3 green cardamoms)
  • Cumin Powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 3/4 tsp
  • Chat Masala - 2 tsp
  • Corn flour - 3 tbsp
  • Enough water to make a slightly runny (pouring consistency paste) of cornflour
  • Bread crumb - 4 tbsp + 3/4 Cup (for dredging)
Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottomed pan or kadai and fry the onions, minced garlic, grated ginger and bell pepper till the onions turn translucent. Add remaining veggies and fry till there is no moisture remaining. Sprinkle the masalas (Garam Masala, Cumin Powder, Coriander Powder, Chat Masala) along with the salt and minced green chilies. Cook for a few minutes and then fold in the mashed potatoes. Fry, stirring constantly and using your wooden spoon to mash the peas a little. Once everything comes together, add the finely chopped cilantro and 4 tbsp of bread crumbs and mix well. Take the mixture off the heat and let it cool. 
While the mixture is cooling, make a paste of cornflour and water. The consistency should be such it forms a layer when the veggie balls are dunked in it. This will help the bread crumbs to stick to it. 
Make equal sized balls with the veggie mix and shape it into your desired shape. I like to flatten mine a little using the palms of my hand. Dunk the balls in the cornflour mix and dredge each in the bread crumbs. I used Italian bread crumbs which adds a little extra flavor. Whenever I am using plain bread crumbs, I like to season it with little salt and freshly crushed black pepper. 
Arrange on a plate or tray and let them hang out in the fridge till you are ready to fry them. 
Now heat enough oil in a wok or deep bottomed pan to deep fry the balls.



I am sending this recipe to Kolkata Food Bloggers Monsoon event 


Monday, July 20, 2015

Uchchhe Begun Sobji: Bittergourd & Eggplant Stir-fry

Recipe #3: Ma Baba's home cooking. 

Bengali cuisine is perhaps the only Indian cuisine that practices the multi-course meal tradition. First comes the bitter or 'teto' which is a palate cleanser and it will most definitely end on a sweet note. However, nowadays the more health conscious bongs shy away from 'sesh paatey mishti' (to end the meal with something sweet) and settle with homemade yogurt with a pinch of sugar and salt. Many will argue that it is nothing less than 'doodh er saadh ghol ey metano' - a harsh compromise! 
Since my Baba is diabetic, a lot of things that is on the menu at my parents' place will not have potatoes. I have included potatoes in this as I just love aloo! 


  • Bitter Gourd - 1 Cup, thinly sliced (also known as Karela/Bitter Melon)
  • Potato - 1/2 Cup, cut into small cubes
  • Eggplant or Brinjal - 1 Cup, cut into slightly bigger cubes than the potatoes
  • Paanch Phoron - 3/4 tsp (See Notes)
  • Green Chili - 1, slit
  • Mustard Oil - 1 tbsp 
  • Salt to taste
  • Couple of pinches of turmeric

Heat the mustard oil in a deep bottomed non-stick frying pan. Temper it with the Paanch Phoron and slit green chili. Once the Paanch Phoron starts spluttering, add the sliced bitter gourd and cubed potatoes. Fry for few minutes till the potatoes start turning slightly golden brown. Now add the eggplant pieces. Cook, stirring often till the eggplant pieces start to soften. Add a little water along with salt and turmeric. Cover and cook till done.

Enjoy!


Notes: A special mix of 5 spices that we Bengalis call 'Paanch Phoron' is used in this dish for tempering. Typically, Paanch Phoron will include Fenugreek Seeds (Methi), Nigella Seeds (Kalo Jeera), Fennel Seeds (Mouri), Cumin Seeds (Jeera) and Wild Celery Seeds (Radhuni) in equal parts. 'Radhuni' is rarely available outside West Bengal, so celery seeds or black mustard seeds are also used as the 5th spice. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bhaja Moong Dal

Recipe #2: Ma Baba's home cooking




This is a step that I would always skip... roasting my petite yellow lentils! But trust me, it is totally worth it. Roasting prior to boiling the lentils add a depth of flavor and aroma! 
  • Petite Yellow Lentil or Moong Dal - 1/2 Cup
  • Mustard Oil - 1 tsp
  • Dry Red Chili - 1
  • Bay leaf - 1 big or 2 small
  • Cumin Seeds - 3/4 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • A pinch or two of turmeric
  • Enough water to pressure cook the Daal
Dry roast the lentils on low heat till the aroma of the lightly toasted lentils hit you. Wash thoroughly. In a pressure cooker, cook the daal along with salt and turmeric to your desired level of mushiness. Some like to see the little grains, while I like it totally mashed. Keep aside. 
Heat 1 tsp of mustard oil in a deep bottom pan and temper it with cumin seeds, dry red chili and bay leaves. Once the cumin seeds start doing their little dance, add the cooked daal to it. Stir well. Bring it to a boil and take it off the heat.

Serve with steaming white rice. 


Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Stir-fried Okra - Dhyarosh er sobji

Recipe #1: Ma Baba's home cooking

Now that my parents are here, I will be making and sharing a lot of recipes that is a day to day staple in my parents' house. Since my father is diabetic (and on medication), his diet mostly dictates the menu but my Ma will sneak in a favorite or two of hers. This Okra stir fry or simply Dhyarosh er sobji is one of my father's favorite veggie recipe to eat with roti. You can totally omit the onions and make a 'pure veg' version as well. I love the version that has potatoes as well!




Ingredients:
  • 1/2 tbsp mustard oil
  • 3/4 tsp paanch phoron
  • Green chili, slit
  • 1 small onion sliced
  • 1 small tomato chopped
  • 4 cups okra, washed well and cut at a diagonal
  • Water - 1 to 1/2 cups, just enough to cover the okra
  • Salt to taste
  • a pinch of turmeric
Heat mustard oil in a pan on medium high heat, and temper with the five-spice mix or Panch Phoron (see notes). Once the seeds start spluttering, add the sliced onions and slit green chili. Fry till the onions caramelize. Now add the chopped tomatoes and cook till they disintegrate. Throw in the okra and fry till they turn into a darker green. Add salt and turmeric and toss to coat. Cook for a couple of minutes and add enough water to just cover the okra pieces. Cover and cook on low flame till the okra softens. 

Serve with Roti or Rice. 

Notes: A special mix of 5 spices that we Bengalis call 'Paanch Phoron' is used in this dish for tempering. Typically, Paanch Phoron will include Fenugreek Seeds (Methi), Nigella Seeds (Kalo Jeera), Fennel Seeds (Mouri), Cumin Seeds (Jeera) and Wild Celery Seeds (Radhuni) in equal parts. 'Radhuni' is rarely available outside West Bengal, so celery seeds or black mustard seeds are also used as the 5th spice. 

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Paranthe Wali Gali presented by Durbari, Swissotel

To most, just like Paranthe Wali Gali, Durbari needs no introduction. For the uninitiated, Paranthe Wali Gali is the ongoing festival at Durbari (Indian specialty restaurant of Swissotel, Kolkata) which celebrates the parathas and spirit of the famous Paranthe Wali Gali of Old Delhi (Chandni Chowk area) which roughly translates into a lane dedicated to selling Indian fried Flat Bread or everyone's favorite Paranthe/Paratha/Porota. 

The festival is going on from the 20th of June 2015 till the 28th of June 2015, regular restaurant hours at the City Center 2 location. 
Each beautiful presented platter can be easily shared by 2 people, if you are planning to try out just one flavor (not recommended) or by 4 people if planning to try out more than one flavor (highly recommended).
Prices range from Rs 325 to Rs 425, depending on the flavor. There are 12 vegetarian options and 4 non-vegetarian options (yes, I counted)
Address: Swissotel,City Centre New Town, Action Area 2 D, Plot No.11/5, Action Area IID, Newtown, Kolkata, West Bengal 700052

Paranthe Wali Gali presented by Durbari, Swissotel


Armed with a chilled glass of Sweet Lime Soda and the appetite already whetted by an assortment of papads and refreshing dips (the burnt garlic dip was highly recommended) we embarked on the journey to sample a slice of  Paranthe Wali Gali right in the heart of Kolkata.

The menu boasts of an enviable selection of Parathas (Indian fried Flat Bread) with flavors influenced by different cuisines of India. All the parathas are served with Aloo Bhaji, Pickle, Curd and Laccha onion. The Malabari paratha is served with a side vegetable stew.


Malabari Paratha with a side of Vegetable Stew - this one was the star, hands down! The flaky paratha with a subtle hint of coconut paired with the vegetable stew cooked in coconut milk blew everyone's mind! It was so good that even KFB team member, Amrita who is not particularly fond of coconut, was floored.


Chicken Tikka and Cheese Paratha
served with a side of cooling yogurt and a spicy aloo bhaji. This spicy flat bread is a meal in itself and we joked about and agreed that it is the perfect paratha to go with a chilled glass of beer on a rain - soaked evening.
 


Warqi Paratha
- This is a Lucknowi specialty. The in-house chef takes great care to painstakingly create this soft and flaky layered masterpiece He also added the dough has to be hand kneaded. These would go perfectly with a side of kebabs. 


Soya Paratha - Don't be fooled by the minced soya filling - it can totally give its non-vegetarian counterparts a run for their money. 


Mughlai Paratha
- How can one have a Paratha Festival and not feature this Kolkata specialty. While this needs no introduction, it is needless to say that the flavors capture the essence of this very favorite Kolkata street food.

The parathas were very filling with hardly any trace of oil. I was full after the third taste and could barely manage to tuck in the last one. But our hosts insisted they we try out their "Goodbye Mango" buffet spread as well. When we politely refused, they convinced us to try out their desserts at least! Now, how could we say no! Chef Sanjay, their in-house pastry chef came over personally to have a chat with us. The mango phirni definitely deserves a special mention.



Since this was my first and perhaps the last time in many months that I get to visit Durbari (I fly back to the US in a couple of weeks), they specially treated me to their one-of-a-kind specialties - Daal Durbari & Paan (Betel Leaf) Ice-cream topped with Gulkand. Both tasted out of this world Their kind and thoughtful gesture shall be treasured forever!




We talked about upcoming events and Chef Sanjay, very enthusiastically told out about the new ice-cream flavors he was experimenting on! Team KFB spent a splendid afternoon amidst fun discussions and lip-smacking paranthes and desserts, but most importantly in the amazing company of gracious hosts Enakshi and Ashish and their very jovial pastry chef, Chef Sanjay.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Eggplant (Brinjal) Fry with Curry Leaves


Subtle flavors of curry leaves always spell South Indian cuisine for me. This is a very fragrant and extremely flavorful dish which is surprisingly easy to make. 

My love affair with curry leaves started very early on. When I was about 7 or 8 years old, we used to rent a place in one of the newer parts of Kolkata. We shared a common wall with the elderly owners of a local newspaper - they stayed and published from their home which was on a huge lot and were full of shady trees and flowering plants. The curry leaves plant and hibiscus plants crossed the boundaries of the brick wall and stooped over onto our side and the neighbors insisted that those two plants were as much ours as theirs. Such kind souls. That was how I was introduced to this fragrant herb. I cannot remember if my Ma used the curry leaves in her cooking, but I remember plucking a leaf or two, crushing them lightly between my palms and going on sniffing for as long as I could on while basking in the warm winter sun. 

Then we moved. Many years passed. I got married and moved to the husband's ancestral home. They have a couple of huge trees and many potted plants. Some of the pots were huge! They even had a very old bathtub which they had transformed into a planter and beautiful marigolds  added splashes of bright colors. Among them was a curry plant! 

I knew the husband for 6 years before we got married (yup, I was still in high school and he had just started college when we first started dating) and it was only post our wedding I got to know that he did not like the flavors of curry leaves. I would see him avoiding food that would have curry leaves in it, like dhokla. It wasn't until last year when I had made Dhokla at home and saw him gobbling it up, that I realized his dislike for curry leaves can be attributed to a very ill-made dish using curry leaves when he was growing up! 

Ever since I have been making dishes using curry leaves now and then, and he has never complained about the flavor.

Apparently, he doesn't like eggplants as well, unless it is Begoon Bhaja (Fried Brinjal, I make a baked version nowadays). I think, his feelings towards curry leaves and eggplants changed completely after he tasted this dish. 

Ingredients:
  • Eggplant - 2 lbs or roughly 4 cups, cubed
  • Onions - 1 big, roughly chopped
  • Tomato - 1 big, chopped 
  • Garlic - 3 or 4 fat cloves
  • Curry leaves - 1 sprig
  • Cilantro - a handful, finely chopped
  • Dried Red Chili - 2 (or more depending on heat preference)
  • Chana Daal - 5 tbsp
  • Coriander seeds - 2 tbsp
  • Cumin Seed - 1 tbsp
  • Oil - 2 tbsp + 3 tbsp
  • Turmeric - 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a pan on medium heat. Once the oil is hot, temper with chana daal & red chili. Once it started sizzling, add coriander seeds and cumin seeds and fry till they start spluttering. Reduce the heat to low and add the onions, tomato, garlic, curry leaves and fry till fragrant. Transfer the cooked spice mixture to a mixer and blend till everything turns into a coarse paste.
Now cube the eggplants and sprinkle salt & turmeric on it. Leave it for 10-15 minutes. 
Re-heat the pan with 3 tbsp of oil and start frying the cubed eggplants in it. Sprinkle some more salt on it and fry for few minutes, tossing and turning with a spatula till the oil coats all the pieces. Slowly pour in the Masala paste onto it and toss to coat. Cook till the raw smell of the masala is gone and the eggplant pieces starts getting mushy. Cover and cook on low flame till the eggplant pieces are cooked through. If required splash a little water. Lastly, scatter the chopped cilantro leaves and give it one final toss. 

Serve hot with rice or roti. 

This recipe is inspired by VahChef's Eggplant Fry and modified with helpful tips from my friend (and also a blogger) PeeGee.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Strawberry Quick Bread with Lemon Glaze


Last 2 weekends were pretty eventful! First a weekend trip to Holland, MI where Tulip time celebrations were in full swing. The entire city was dotted with resplendent tulips! There were Dutch performers and a parade, music and yum food. Even though rain played a spoil-sport, it couldn't dampen our spirits amid so much vibrant beauty!
Then our very good friends came to visit us - it was three days straight of eating junk food, drinking, chatting non-stop, watching goofy videos on YouTube and laughing till our stomachs hurt!




Windmill Island
Windmill Gardens

Ingredients: 
  • All Purpose Flour - 2 Cups + 1 tbsp (for coating the strawberries)
  • Sugar - 3/4 Cup
  • Brown Sugar - 1/4 Cup, packed
  • Baking Soda - 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/2 tsp
  • Cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
  • Vanilla Extract - 2 tsp
  • Egg - 1 large, at room temperature
  • Oil - 1/3 Cup
  • Buttermilk - 1 Cup (see notes)
  • Strawberries - 2 Cups, washed, dried, hulled and roughly chopped
For the lemon glaze, whisk together 1/2 Cup icing sugar and 1 1/2 tbsp (or more if you prefer intense lemony flavor) lemon juice till combined. Drizzle on the cooled down cake. 

Since I used a 8 inch loaf pan instead of a 9 inch one which the recipe called for, I scooped out the extra batter into a greased and floured mini bundt pan. The bake time was considerably less for the batter in the mini bundt pan - around 30 minutes. For the 8 inch pan - 55 minutes cook time. 

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease the pan(s) with butter and dust it with some floor. Shake off the excess flour and set aside. 
In a large-ish bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, beat the egg and sugars together till incorporated. Whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla extract and oil. Do not overmix. Slowly mix the dry ingredients with the wet ingredients and gently mix everything together. Lastly, gently fold in the chopped strawberries which have been tossed in flour. 
Bake for 50 or 60 minutes till done. Best way to check if it is done is to insert a toothpick in the middle of the bread. If there are no crumbs sticking to it, it is done! Cool completely on a wire rack and drizzle with the lemon glaze. Slice using a sharp serrated knife to your preferred thickness. Enjoy with a cup of hot beverage or a cool drink! Store leftovers in an airtight container. After the first three days I stuck the container in the fridge and it stayed good for 7 days. 

Recipe adapted from SallysBakingAddicton

I am sending this to Kolkata Food Bloggers ongoing event



Monday, May 18, 2015

Quick Pickled Cucumber-Onion-Dill Summer Salad


Quick Pickled Cucumber-Onion-Dill Summer Salad

May has been a busy month so far! With the husband gone for the better part of the week, weekend trips, house guests and some volunteering work at the 5.5 yo's school thrown in, I have been pretty much on my toes! Amid all the busy-ness, we have been keeping a close eye on our sunny patch of potted and re-potted plants. A daily dose of sunshine, a healthy sprinkle of water and some nutritious plant food has brought about a lot of action - the dill seeds, marigold seeds, zinnia seeds have sprouted nicely while the oregano and parsley are taking a little longer. The re-potted plants are thriving I have used fresh dill leaves to make this salad!
This quick pickled Cucumber-Onion-Dill salad was a breeze to make and tasted wonderful with Chicken Curry & Paratha. And I just about managed to make it in time to send it to Kolkata Food Bloggers event - Summer Splash: Salads.



Ingredients: 
  • Cucumber - 1 large, cubed (or sliced)
  • Red Onion - 3 tbsp, cubed (or 1/2 of a medium onion, sliced)
  • Rice Vinegar - 2 tbsp (or white vinegar)
  • Salt to taste
  • Sugar - 1/2 tsp
  • Freshly cracked pepper - 1/2 tsp
  • Allspice berries - 4 or 5
  • Dill - 1 tbsp, roughly chopped, preferably fresh
In a bowl, whisk together vinegar, salt, sugar, cracked pepper, allspice berries and dill together till the sugar gets dissolved completely. Add the cucumber and onions and toss to coat. Keep it aside for about 45 minutes and let the flavors marry. Serve as an accompaniment. 

I am sending this to KFB's Summer Splash Event




Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Strawberry FroYo - No churn Frozen Yogurt

Strawberry FroYo - No churn Frozen Yogurt


Kolkata Food Bloggers is back with a series of summer special events. This week is dedicated to summer coolers. While it is just about getting warm here, summer heat is on full swing in Kolkata with the temperatures soaring. Chilled or light recipes are perfect for this weather.
The 5.5 yo was so excited to try it that he could hardly wait. He checked with me every 2 minutes if I was done taking photos yet. When I served him a bowlful, he polished it off within minutes. When I asked him if he liked it, he beamed and gave me a thumbs up and asked me if there more for him to eat the next day! I knew right away that this recipe is a keeper.
Those of you have been following me a while would remember that we went blueberry picking last year at a local farm. And of course we went overboard and brought back tons of blueberries - more than we could finish eating while still fresh. So I made quite a few recipes using blueberries. One of those was Blueberry Buttermilk Sorbet or Sherbet without Ice-cream Maker - a very similar recipe but a tad bit more time consuming.

Strawberry FroYo - No churn Frozen Yogurt

I had bookmarked this recipe from Himanshu's blog - thewhiteramekins a few weeks back and this was the perfect opportunity to try it out! I have been following and admiring Himanshu's work on a food photography group and that's how I found his blog - and I am so glad that I did. This one turned out so good!

Strawberry FroYo - No churn Frozen Yogurt

This is a very simple recipe and uses very few ingredients. And best part is that a food processor does the work for you. I just adjusted the quantities a wee bit.

Ingredients:
  • Strawberries - 16 ounces (or about 2 Cups), hulled and cut into halves
  • Greek Yogurt (or hung curd) - 1 1/2 Cups
  • Honey - 1/3 Cup
  • Lemon zest - 3/4 tsp
Place the strawberries on a cookie sheet or a plate in a single layer and freeze overnight. Run the frozen strawberries in a food processor till they get pulverized into itty bitty pieces. Add the remaining ingredients and process till smooth. Transfer the mixture to metal pan - I used my aluminized steel loaf pan - and freeze for 4-5 hours till it sets. Once again I left it in the freezer overnight.
The 5.5 yo absolutely loved it! I usually used to get organic frozen yogurt pops for him from Wholefoods. So next time I am going to use freeze pop molds to make some FroYo ice-pops for him!

Strawberry FroYo - No churn Frozen Yogurt

I am sending this recipe to Kolkata Food Bloggers Summer Splash event



Monday, May 04, 2015

2-minute Eggless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

Disclaimer: Since I am allergic to peanuts, I had to rely on the 5.5 yo & the husband's feedback on the taste & texture. 

2-minute Eggless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mug Cake


Ever since the husband has started traveling for work, Sunday mornings has become essentially family time. After a session of Skype chat with folks back at home, the three of us try to do something together. And it can be a chore too! The 5.5 yo loves dusting the furniture and the occasional cleaning and he absolutely LOVES folding clothes. So the three of us get a lot done! 

Yesterday, we re-potted some plants and sowed a few seeds. Next couple of weeks we will wait with bated breath to see whether the seeds sprout wee saplings. The re-potted plants stand a better chance, I am sure! My thumb is most definitely not green. And I have successfully killed off plants in the past. 

So after a morning of hard work, the man and the boy deserved a treat! I was more than happy to polish off an entire pack of Britannia Nice Biscuits with my cuppa. Talk about guilty pleasures! 

The 5.5 yo is also a  very active child and a picky eater at that. I am always on the lookout for easy to make snack options that are a little calorie rich, especially when I am out of bananas. It turned out to be soft and crumbly. The 5.5 yo loved the addition of chocolate chips to it. It is pretty filling and is perfect for a late afternoon snack with a side of fruits or a cup of milk, before the 5.5 yo heads out to bike or ride his scooter. 

2-minute Eggless Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Mug Cake

Ingredients:
  • Peanut Butter - 3 tbsp
  • All Purpose Flour - 3 tbsp
  • Milk - 4 tbsp
  • Sugar - 1 tbsp
  • Baking Powder - 1/4 tsp
  • Chocolate Chip - 1 tbsp (optional)
Whisk all the ingredients except chocolate chips in a big mug till the batter is smooth. Once everything is combined add the chocolate chips and fold them in gently. The batter will be pretty thick. No use the back of a spoon to smooth out the batter a little. 
    Nuke it in the microwave for a minute and then in increments of 15 seconds till it is done. The original recipe said that it will take a minute, but it took me 2 minutes. Depending on the make and power of your microwave, the cooking time will vary. So the safest way is to check at the 1-minute mark and cooking for as long required in increments of 15 seconds. 

    Serve warm. I had drizzled a little chocolate syrup on it too. 

    Recipe inspired from - kirbiecravings


    Saturday, April 18, 2015

    Baked Tofu - Black Bean Burgers

    Baked Tofu - Black Bean Burgers

    Tofu is my new favorite food. I have waited long enough before jumping on the tofu bandwagon. After asking my friend PeeGee (she blogs here) at least a hundred questions about tofu, I finally took athe plunge bought two packages of firm tofu from Wholefoods. Then I let them sit pretty in the fridge till they were dangerously close to the best before date! Once I made some, I was hooked! Now I make tofu at least once a week. 

    First time I had made a veggie stir fry with tofu, fed my friend and got her seal of approval. Since then there has been no looking back. That time as well, I had cut the tofu (after draining off the liquid) into longish cubes and baked it and then added to the stir fry! It was one of those rare occasions when I had totally forgotten to take a pic, even with my phone! 

    This Tofu-Black Bean burger requires a little pre-planning if you are not using canned beans and you have to prep your tofu a little ahead of time. Other than that these are pretty easy to make.  These are pretty versatile too! Add your choice of spices to the tofu-black bean mix and pick your choice of additions to the burger. We ate ours with some tomatoes and cucumber slices - we did not need to add anything else as these were bursting with flavors.

    Ingredients: Yield - about 7 patties
    • Tofu - 14 oz pack, soft or silken
    • Black Beans - 1 Cup, canned or cooked (I soaked a cup overnight in plenty of water and pressure cooked it the next morning - around 3 whistles. Drained the liquid and used it)
    • Onion - 1 small
    • Green Bell Pepper - 1 
    • Garlic cloves - 2 or 3 fat cloves
    • Cilantro - a handful, finely chopped
    • Salt to taste
    • Bread Crumbs - 1 Cup
    • Your favorite spice mix - 1 or 2 tsp, depending on your taste (I skipped this since I used Italian herbs flavored bread crumbs)
    • Burger Buns - we used organic whole-wheat buns from Wholefoods 
    • Additions of your choice - lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, arugula leaves, spinach etc. You can add a slice of cheese and/or a sauce as well if you prefer. 
    Drain as much water as possible from the tofu. I wrap it in a paper towel and weigh it down with a heavy pan for 20 minutes. Then discard the water, wrap it in a fresh paper towel and put the weight back on and leave it for another 20 minutes or so. Drain again and use.

    In a food processor pulse together the cooked black beans, onion, green bell pepper, garlic cloves and salt, till finely minced. 
    Transfer to a bowl. Now crumble in the tofu and add the bread crumbs. Throw in the finely chopped cilantro. Mix everything together. Taste it for seasoning. Add more spices or salt if required.
    Grease a cookie sheet/baking sheet with some oil and place the shaped patties on it. Now stick the cookie sheet in the fridge for 20 minutes. 
    Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the Tofu-Black Bean patties for 30 minutes. Assemble the burgers and serve. 
    If you want you can shallow fry the patties as well. In that case chill the patties a little longer. 

    Baked Tofu - Black Bean Burgers

    Friday, April 17, 2015

    Easy Peasy Rainbow Half Cake

    So the 5 year old turned 5 and a half year old last month! And he had asked for a half-birthday cake! How could I not bake him a cake after he says to me, "Mamma, I love you more than a baby walrus loves his mother!"
    I scoured the net and found this Easy Peasy Half Rainbow Cake. 
    He loves M&Ms (which kid doesn't!), he loves sprinkles and I had a box of pound cake mix sitting pretty in the pantry - so this cake was just perfect! 
    When he saw the cake after coming home, he beamed and asked me why did I make a rainbow cake for him. I found myself saying "...because you are the rainbow of my life!" and both of us laughed and laughed and laughed!

    Easy Peasy Rainbow Half Cake


    Here are some step-by-step photos to show how (easily) I made this!


    Easy Peasy Rainbow Half Cake

    You will need half a cake (of your choice) that is sturdy enough to stand, M&Ms in the colors of rainbow or as many colors you want, butter-cream frosting, some sprinkles and some mini marshmallows. 


     Slather the top with butter-cream frosting and cover it with sprinkles. 

    Easy Peasy Rainbow Half Cake

    Cover the side facing you with butter--cream and chill it in the fridge for 20 minutes.
     Arrange the M&Ms on it. If the sprinkles get onto the butter-cream do not worry about it too much, the M&Ms will cover the imperfections. But if you really want to, use a toothpick to take the sprinkles out. Chill again for 20 minutes and lastly cover the other side with butter-cream if you want to. I just found it easier to do it this way. Spread a little more butter-cream on the bottom and make it stand on the cake board and add few mini marshmallows to emulate clouds in the sky. 
    Now get ready to wow your child!
     Easy Peasy Rainbow Half Cake

    Inspiration from here!



    Tuesday, April 14, 2015

    Strawberry Sandesh

    Strawberry Sandesh

    Sandesh is a very Bengali thing. That and Rosogolla! Many times when I meet someone new from other parts of India and they come to know that I am a food blogger, I will invariably be asked if I can make Rosogolla. Each time I shake my head regretfully and tell them I can't while thinking that it will be considered nothing less than blasphemy if I tell them I do not like Rosogolla that much that I will go through the entire trouble of making them at home. Same goes with Sandesh! Yeah! Yeah! I know what you are thinking - am I Bengali enough! But at least Sandesh is easier to make than Rosogolla, so I decided to take the plunge and make some to usher in the Bengali New Year - Poila Boishakh. Why now, you ask me? Because the 5.5 yo loves Sandesh. And most other sweets from Bengal. And some more!

    I think my aversion towards Sandesh grew from very early on. I was always a picky eater. I always troubled my Ma plenty when it came to eating. And one of the many efforts that she made to make me eat healthy stuff was to mix chhana/chhena/cottage cheese with some sugar and use a Sandesh mould to give it a pretty shape and tell me it was Sandesh. Boom, therein started my love-hate relationship with Sandesh! I love Nolen Gur er Sandesh with all my heart, but nothing else. 

    With time and age (I guess it has to do with the older-wiser thing), my taste and preferences must have evolved. I thoroughly enjoyed these fresh Strawberry flavored pretty pink Sandesh which were not overly strawberry-ish. 

    Ingredients: Yield - 4
    • Whole Milk - 1 liter (about 4 1/4 Cup)
    • Lemon juice - 2 tbsp (add little more if required) plus 1/2 tsp for the strawberry compote.
    • Strawberry - 3/4 Cup, roughly chopped
    • Sugar - 3 tbsp (add more or less depending on the sweetness of strawberries)
    • Water - 2 tbsp
    • Some chopped pistachio for garnishing (optional)
    In a saucepan, bring the milk to a boil. Add the lemon juice. The milk will start curdling immediately - if it doesn't add a little more lemon juice. Give it a few stirs. Once the whey separates, drain it using a cheesecloth or a muslin cloth. Before squeezing out the liquid run it under the tap if you wish to get rid of the lemony smell. Squeeze out as much water as possible. You can hang the chhena in the cheesecloth for about 30 minutes it or weigh it down with something heavy on it for about 10 minutes to drain out the remaining liquid. Once most of the liquid has drained, knead the chhena/chhana/cottage cheese with your palm. Knead it for 6-7 minutes till you start feeling oil on the palm. Keep aside. 

    In a separate saucepan, bring the strawberries, water, sugar and lemon juice to a boil on medium low heat. Using a wooden spoon, start breaking down the fruit as it cooks and the sauce thickens. Cook for about 7 to 8 minutes till most of the liquid has evaporated. Take it off the heat and let it cool down completely. Blitz the cooled down strawberry compote in a blender and puree it. 

    Now fold in the strawberry puree in the chhena gently till fully incorporated. If you see that there is little more moisture in the chhena-strawberry mixture than desired, cook it on low flame for few minutes till the moisture evaporates.  Keep stirring and scraping the whole time. 

    Shape the mixture in your desired shape. I find it easiest to use mini cupcake lines and set them in the muffin tin. Chill for 2-3 hours or till the Sandesh sets. Serve with a smile, and say "Subho Naba Barsha" - that's Happy New Year in Bengali. 



    Monday, April 13, 2015

    Chingri Malaikari: My Ma's recipe

    Chingri Malaikari: My Ma's recipe


    This week at Kolkata Food Bloggers is dedicated to Poila Baishakh or the Bengali New Year. The KFBians have been busy whipping up yummies which will be a part of their Poila Baishakh celebrations with their friends and family.

    It is funny how much the food that you have grown up eating spells 'comfort food'. Be it 'Kalai er Daal' or 'Alu Posto' or plain old 'Alu Chhokka' - nothing is more comforting than Ma's cooking. I was thrilled the first time I recreated one of my Ma's recipes and it turned out exactly the same, well almost. It immediately transported me back to my childhood and  how beautiful it was - the days of long summer vacations filled with laughter and fun-filled winter vacations and with no apparent sense of loss. Like one of my friends rightly said - "Birthdays and getting old are not so bad, except I didn't want any of our family elders to leave us and the little ones to grow up so fast!"

    Ingredients: 
    • Shrimps - 14-15 pieces, medium, cleaned, deveined with the tail on
    • Onion - 2 tbsp, grated (fry your onions first and then make a paste if it turns bitter on grating or in the mixer)
    • Garlic - 1 tsp, grated
    • Tomato - 1 tbsp, grated
    • Oil - 1 tbs
    • Cinnamon - 1 inch
    • Cloves - 2
    • Cardamom - 2, split open
    • Bay leaf - 1
    • Paprika or Kashmiri Mirch - 1/2 tsp (optional, for marinating the shrimps)
    • Turmeric - 1/4 for the gravy + 1/2 tsp for marinating the shrimps.
    • Garam Masala - a fat pinch, powdered ((1 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamom pods, 3 cloves - powdered fine using a mortar pestle or spice grinder.) 
    • Coconut Milk (thick) - 3 tbs
    • Water - few tablespoons
    • Salt to taste
    • Sugar - 1/4 tsp
    I followed my Ma's recipe for the better part. The only difference is she that she does not always add grated tomato.  I even made tomato paste my Ma's way - boiled one tomato in water and then chilled it for a minute in ice cold water. The skin will get all wrinkly and come off easily. Then grated it. 

    Chingri Malaikari: My Ma's recipe


    Marinate the shrimps with turmeric, a pinch of paprika, a dash of lemon juice and salt. Set aside for 10-15 minutes. Lightly fry the shrimps till golden brown and keep those aside. I sometimes like to add the uncooked shrimp directly to the gravy and continue cooking for 2-3 minutes before taking it off the heat.
    In a pan heat oil and temper it with whole Garam Masala (cinnamon, cloves and cardamom) and bay leaf. Once the Garam Masala starts sizzling, add the onion and garlic paste and cook till the raw smell is gone. Spoon in the grated tomato carefully (it will splatter) and cook for few minutes till the oil separates. Now add the paprika (if using), turmeric, salt and sugar and cook for another minute of so. Now the coconut milk goes in. Fold it in gently till the cooked masala is nicely incorporated. Stir and cook for a couple of minutes and then add as much water needed to reach the right consistency.
    Once it starts simmering add the shrimps back in. Let the shrimps do their thing for a minute (or three if adding raw shrimps). Sprinkle the powdered Garam Masala and take it off the heat.

    Serve with plain white rice or Mishti Pulao.

    I am sending this Kolkata Food Bloggers' Bengali New Year event 


    Thursday, April 09, 2015

    Whole-wheat oil-free Banana Blueberry Muffins

    Whole-wheat oil-free Banana Blueberry Muffins

    I have been going through one of those phases again, when I preferred spending zero minutes in the kitchen and instead wanted to watch TV all the time.  And I am not even a TV addict, per se. Never have been one! There are a handful of programs that I like to watch, that's about it! But the last few weeks that is all I wanted to do. Watch TV. So of course blogging took a backseat as well. I was drawing a blank every time I sat down to think what my next post would be. I hope I will get back to my usual self soon. There are just too many fresh fruits and fresh veggies in the stores and I should really cook up a storm while those last! 

    I was randomly surfing the net a few days back when I chanced upon this article which said that I can switch out oil with applesauce in muffins. The ratio is 1:1  - say for 1/3 Cup oil, you use 1/3 Cup applesauce. Applesauce is pretty easily available here in the stores. I almost always have a jar of organic unsweetened applesauce on me. I love using it as an egg substitute. But I had totally forgotten to buy more after the last jar got over. And it was so cheerless and damp the whole day yesterday that I did not feel like venturing out just to buy a jar of applesauce. And here I was itching to experiment!
    To add fuel to the urgency I had a perfectly browned banana sitting in the fruit basket. So I set out to make applesauce at home (recipe here) and then experimented with my oil-free muffins. The result was beautifully moist 4 Whole-wheat Banana Blueberry Muffins (for us) and 3 Whole-wheat Banana Chocolate Chip muffins for the 5 and a half year old! 

    Whole-wheat oil-free Banana Blueberry Muffins


    Ingredients: Yield - about 7 
    • Whole-wheat flour - 1 Cup
    • Baking Powder - 1/2 tsp
    • Baking Soda - 3/4 tsp
    • Cinnamon Powder - 1 1/4 tsp
    • Salt - 1/4 tsp
    • Milk - 2 tbsp
    • Egg - 1 (room temperature)
    • Honey - 1/4 Cup
    • Vanilla Extract - 1 1/4 tsp
    • Applesauce - 1/3 (recipe here, or you can use store-bought)
    • Buttermilk - 1/4 Cup
    • Banana - 1, big, mashed
    • Blueberries/Chocolate Chip/Walnuts - 1/3 Cup

    Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and keep aside.

    In a bowl, sift together the whole-wheat flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon powder and salt. In a separate bowl whisk together the applesauce, egg, honey, oil and vanilla extract. Whisk in the buttermilk. You can use store-bought buttermilk or make it at home (notes below). Add the flour mixture to the wet ingredients along with the mashed banana and blueberries (or chocolate chip or walnuts) and fold in until just combined.
    Let the batter rest for 15 minutes. Spoon in the batter into the lined muffin tin. Bake for 15 to 18 minutes - use a toothpick to check for done-ness - it should come out clean. However, depending on your oven, baking time might differ. It might be a good idea to check around the 14-15 minutes mark and then keep checking in increments of 2 minutes. It took me 17 minutes.
    Cool and store in an airtight container. These should stay fresh for 4 days - ours never last that long!

    Whole-wheat oil-free Banana Blueberry Muffins


    Notes: For 1 Cup of Buttermilk - add 2 tbs of vinegar (or lemon juice) to a measuring cup and fill it till you reach the 1 Cup mark. Let it sit undisturbed for at least 15 minutes or till it curdles. 

    Please like us on Facebook!

    Blogger Tips and TricksLatest Tips And TricksBlogger Tricks
    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...