As someone who loves a good meal, cooking one, came to me as a natural passion. I belong to a family where meal times consisted of not just food, but also noisy conversation centered around the events of the day and discussing the menu for the next. (ah yes, we are a greedy lot! )

For the most part of my life so far, my contribution in the kitchen was assisting mom and my duties were limited, to chopping veggies and laying the table. Then along came the great Indian wedding, and I was suddenly the queen of my very own kingdom. My curiosity about this magical world, coupled with an enthusiastic sous-chef (my husband, Vineet), led me to take on the challenge of preparing meals on a daily basis, and not succumbing to the convenience of hiring a cook.

This blog is a product of my experiments with food (not all are life threatening :D) for my fellow culinary enthusiasts - especially the newly weds and hungry bachelors and is dedicated to the women who've inspired me in the kitchen;
Aji (s),Ma and Nigella Lawson.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cornflakes Chiwda

About 4 weekends ago, I went over-board and bought a BIG box of Cornflakes, since they were on a offer of some sort. We weren't exactly getting around to finishing them before they went stale in the killer humidity that Singapore has, so I decided to put them to better use as a weekend treat for ourselves and some friends. I know, I know... this isn't exactly in perfect alignment with my resolution to have a 'healthy' weekend and all that... but doesn't one deserve a treat sometimes if one has been good?? :) Made with just about 3 tbsp of Olive oil for about 4-1/2 cups of Cornflakes, this isn't all that bad after all :)

4-1/2 cups Cornflakes
1/2 cup plain Peanuts
1/4 cup roasted Gram seeds (futaane)
1/4 cup golden Raisins
2 green Chillies, chopped into 1/2" pieces
6-7 Curry leaves (kadipatta)
For tempering:
3-4 tbsp Olive oil
1 tbsp Mustard seeds (rai)
1 tbsp Cumin seeds (jeera)
1 tsp Turmeric powder
1 large pinch Asafoetida (heeng)
1 tsp Red Chilli powder
Salt & Sugar, to taste

1.) Heat a large pressure cooker over a medium flame. Dry roast the cornflakes till they're nice and crispy. About 8-10 mins. Keep turning the cornflakes slowly using a wooden spoon to keep them from browning. Transfer to a large bowl/plate and let them cool.
2.) In the same pressure cooker, add half the quantity of oil. Once its hot, fry the peanuts till they're nicely browned. Remove from the oil using a slotted spoon, and transfer onto a plate to cool.
3.) Add the remaining oil. Allow it to heat and add the Mustard seeds. Allow them to start sputtering and add the Cumin seeds & pinch of Asafoetida. Add the roasted gram seeds and fry for a few minutes till they're lightly browned.
4.) Add the Raisins + Turmeric powder + red Chilli powder + chopped Green chillies & + Curry leaves. Continue to stir to keep the mixture from burning.
5.) Add the Cornflakes followed by the fried Peanuts. Add the Salt & Sugar. Stir gently to coat the cornflakes nicely in the tempering. Switch off the flame and allow the Chiwda to cool before you pounce on it :) Eat up!

Tomato-Olive-Shrimp Salad

Although our food habits in general border on healthy, Vineet and I occasionally get into the mood to go super healthy. On days like these,we fill up on Salads & fresh fruit, refrain from alcoholic beverages of any kind and actively indulge ourselves in the outdoors. Saturday, was one such day. We stepped out for a walk to discover Punggol beach, some 3.5 kms from our home, and came back with cheeks flushed, and our hearts happy. But ofcourse an evening like that HAD to end on an equally refreshing and healthy note, so we made a Olive-Shrimp-Tomato salad, munched on Vegetable crudites and Hummus and washed it all down with a chilled Watermelon-mint & lemon Spritzer :) This recipe is quantified to Serve 02 persons.

12-15 Prawns, medium sized, shelled ( I used pre-cooked frozen prawns)
2 Tomatoes, deseeded & cubed
8-10 pitted Kalamata Olives, halved
1 small bunch Coriander, chopped
2 tbsp Extra virgin Olive oil
1 tbsp Black peppercorns, cracked
1/2 Lime, to squirt
Salt, to taste

1.)  De-frost the frozen prawns under running water. Drain and set aside.
2.) Toss the tomatoes, olives and coriander together. Add the prawns.
3.) Drizzle the olive oil over the salad. Add the cracked black peppercorns, a pinch of salt & a squirt of lime juice. Toss gently to ensure that the prawns are coated well in the dressing.
4.) Chill in the refrigerator for upto 3 hours before serving.

Crudites with Home-made Hummus

So here goes Part-2 of our super-healthy Saturday night dinner :)

Ingredients for Hummus:
1 cup Chickpeas (chole seeds), soaked for 4-6 hours
2 tbsp Extra-virgin Olive oil + 2 tbsp for drizzling
2 tbsp Water
2 tbsp Lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, peeled
2 tsp Cumin powder (jeera)
1 tsp Red Chilli powder

1.) Pressure cook the soaked Chickpeas with 2 cups of water for 2 whistles, till they're cooked and soft but not mashed. Discard the water and allow them to cool.
2.) Put the cooked chickpeas in a blender/mixer along with all the other ingredients.
3.) Whirrr away at the mixer, till its a nice thick paste-like consistency (see photo :)
4.) Serve along with sliced Carrots, Celery & Cucumbers. Eat up!

KP's Sopa Mexicana

So, for this weeks weekly-food-exploration, I was keen to try something different & delicious, yet healthy. I was wondering which part of the world we'd explore on our plates this week, when I remembered a recipe that Krithika (my sister from another mother, and probably the most loyal reader of my blog) had passed on to me a couple of months ago. She ofcourse had access to the most authentic ingredients, and since I could'nt find them here easily (i.e. at the store next-door!) I decided to substitute a few of the ingredients. The result was a healthy, supremely-delicious and filling, one-bowl-meal, that was perfect at the end of a lazy Sunday evening. 
The list of ingredients is a little exhaustive, but trust me, its worth it! Although the original recipe calls for Taco seasoning, I used dried Oregano since I couldn't find any. This version uses boiled chicken, and chicken stock as a base, but can easily be made vegetarian by using vegetable stock instead and enjoyed with some toasted bread. 
Comer bien a mis amigos! :)

200g Boneless Chicken (2 lbs)
2 tbsp Olive oil
1 Large onion, finely chopped
2-3 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
1/4 cup Celery, finely chopped
1/4 cup Carrot, finely chopped
1/2 Green capsicum, finely chopped
1 cup Rajma beans (soaked,cooked)
7-8 Cherry tomatoes, halved
1 Avocado, cubed (1/2" pieces)
4-5 tbsp Oregano flakes
2-3 tsp Black peppercorns, cracked
1-1/2 tsp Red chilli powder 
Salt, to taste
4-5 tbsp Coriander leaves, chopped 
1/2 cup Cheddar cheese, grated

Method, if Using Chicken:
1.) Cut the chicken into curry sized pieces. Put into a microwave-safe container. Pour about 1-1/2 cups of water, and microwave for about 5-6 mins till chicken is cooked. Remove the boiled chicken and set aside to cool. Store the broth (the water) as this will be the base for your soup.
2.) While the chicken boils, Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the chopped Onion & Garlic. Saute till the onion is golden and softens. At this point, add the chopped Celery, Carrots & Capsicum. Cook till soft.
3.) While the contents of the pan are still cooking, shred the chicken pieces using a fork. Add the shredded chicken to the pan and stir to mix well. Add the cooked Rajma beans (black beans) and mix well. 
4.) Add the chicken broth and allow the soup to simmer for a few minutes. Add the chopped Avocado & cherry tomatoes. Add the cracked Black pepper, dried Oregano leaves, Red chilli powder and salt.
5.) Add the chopped Coriander leaves, and let the soup bubble away for a few minutes.
6.) Squeeze the juice of about 1-1/2 limes into the soup. Serve hot garnished with shredded Cheddar cheese. Yum!

To make this Vegetarian:
Leave out step 01. Begin with step 02 and follow through Step 03. Dissolve 1-1/2 cubes of Vegetable stock in 1-1/2 cups of warm water. Add in place of chicken broth in step 04. Proceed with the rest of the recipe as usual.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Greek Lamb Burgers with Tzaziki, Aurugula & Feta

As someone who loves to cook, and being married to someone who is more that willing to be adventurous with food, I have found myself not doing justice to our willingness to try out foods from different parts of the world. So this week, we made a decision. Starting yesterday, we have solemnly promised ourselves to try making atleast ONE meal a week, something we'd never cooked before, and from a part of the world that we have'nt necessarily been to but hope to see someday.

I have been fascinated with Greece for a long time now. It features in the top 3 on my list of places I want to travel to before I die. Having never cooked 'Greek' food before, the world was my ocean. I found that Greek cuisine shares a lot in common with food from other parts of the Mediterranean, including extensive use of Olive oil, meat, olives, cheeses and yoghurt. The food is extremely flavorful, with the natural flavors of the ingredients coming through, and a refreshing change from our regular Indian cooking.

So here comes post no.1 on my list of Weekly-food-explorations, a flavorful Minced lamb burger with Greek Tzatziki, Arugula and feta cheese, a combination resulting from mixing three recipes that I shortlisted from Makes 4 generous sized burgers.

'Tzatziki' is a Greek yoghurt sauce that is usually served as an accompaniment and eaten with pita bread. Here it is used as a dressing for the burger. Make this ahead, so you can allow it some time to chill in the refrigerator, while you get on with the burgers.
Ingredients for Tzatziki:
1 cup Yoghurt (hung, strained)
1 medium Cucumber, peeled
6-8 Fresh mint leaves, chopped
2 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp Honey
Salt, Pepper to taste
Method for Tzatziki:
1.) Hang the yoghurt in a clean muslin cloth to drain it of most of its water content.
2.) Peel a cucumber and grate finely. Grate only the outer fleshy part. Discard the seeds or just nibble at them while you cook. Using a strainer, squeeze out as much water as possible from the cucumber.Transfer in to a bowl.
3.) Add the rest of the ingredients and the hung yoghurt and mix well. Chill till its time to assemble the burgers.

Ingredients for Burger patty:
400 g Lamb, minced (kheema)
3 tbsp Bread crumbs
1 medium Onion, finely chopped
4 cloves Garlic, finely chopped
12-15 mint leaves, chopped
2 tbsp Oregano flakes
2 tsp ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Red chilli powder
2 tbsp Milk
Salt & Pepper, to taste.

Method for making the Patties:
1.) Put the chopped onions, breadcrumbs,mint, garlic into a mixer or food processor. Puree in short bursts (on 'pulse' mode) till combined. Transfer into a large mixing bowl.
2.) Add the minced lamb to the bowl. Add the ground Cinnamon, Red chilli powder and splash the milk into the lamb.Rub both hands well with olive oil and knead the pureed mixture into the lamb till well integrated. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.
3.) Divide the lamb mixture into four parts for generous sized patties or six for regular sized patties. Roll them between both palms into balls and flatten into a patty about 3/4" thick. Make all the patties.

 4.) Heat a stove-top grill pan. Brush it with a little olive oil. Once hot, grill the patties till they're nice and browned and cooked through- about 5-6 mins each side. Transfer onto a paper towel to drain.

Ingredients for assembling the Burger:
4 Burger buns / or / Pita breads
1 large Onion, thickly sliced
1 large Tomato, sliced
1 cup fresh Arugula leaves /or/baby Spinach
5-6 tbsp crumbled Feta cheese
1 Bowl Tzatziki sauce, as per recipe below
4 Burger patties, as per recipe below

Method for Assembling the Burger:
Slice the burger buns in half. Spread a little Tzatziki on the lower half. Lay out the baby arugula / or baby spinach leaves. Lay the patty on top, followed by the sliced onions and tomato. Top it off with another dollop of Tzatziki and Arugula leaves. Sprinkle the crumbled Feta and finish with the top half of the bun and insert a toothpick all the way through to hold it all together. Eat up!

These burgers turned out absolutely brilliant. I would've preferred to be more authentic and actually stuff these patties and other goodies into a toasted pita bread, but sadly din't find any :( The mint and oregano were delicious together and the splash of milk in the patty made the burgers really juicy, while the bread crumbs helps bind the patty together. Nice. Real nice! :)

Mini Cupcakes with Lemon-Cream cheese frosting

Our friends Ritesh & Archisha are expecting their first baby in a couple of months. I scratched my head, wondering what to get them on their babyshower...Rattles? toys? baby clothes? gift vouchers?....hmmm... none of these seemed like as much fun to me as an edible babyshower gift! As a result of that I spent a rather enjoyable Sunday afternoon, baking a batch of 24 mini-muffins.
The base for these cupcakes comes from my mom's basic cupcake recipe, and for the frosting I referred Rachel Allens lemon cupcakes (found here).
I wanted to try something that wasn't too sweet, but at the same time most definitely qualified as dessert. So I used cream-cheese for the frosting, flavoured with freshly grated lemon zest and lemon juice.
This recipe will yeild 12 normal sized cupcakes or 36 mini cupcakes. I hope Archie enjoyed eating them as much I enjoyed making them :)

Dry Ingredients for Cupcakes:
1 cup All purpose flour (maida)
1/4 tsp Baking powder

Wet Ingredients for Cupcakes:
2 eggs
3/4 cup soft brown Sugar
3/4 cup Unsalted butter (at room temp)
2 tbsp plain Yoghurt
1 tsp Lemon zest
1 tsp Lemon juice

Kitchen Essentials (for complete recipe):
Convection Oven | 3 Piping bags(or ziplock bags)| Hand -held mixer | Mixing bowls | Rubber spatula | Paper muffin cups | muffin tray

Method (for Cupcakes):
1.) Preheat your oven to 180 deg C. Sift the flour and baking powder into a dry bowl and set aside.
2.) Cream the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs one-at-a-time and beat on medium. Once the eggs are creamed into the mixture, add the Yoghurt, lemon juice and lemon zest and beat on high for a few seconds till well integrated.
3.) Add the flour mixture in 3 steps - i.e. add 1/3rd of the flour, then beat on medium for a few seconds till well mixed. Add the next 1/3rd and beat again. For the last addition of flour, beat on slow for a few seconds. Scrape the batter off the mixer blades.
*At this stage, the mixture might look 'curdled', do not worry about it.*

4.) Fill the batter into a piping bag/ ziplock bag. This I discovered, makes filling the tiny paper cups MUCH easier. To make this transfer from bowl to bag quicker with minimal mess, set the bag into a tall-ish glass with the edges folded over as shown in the image on the left. (this image is borrowed from google, since I forgot to take one myself) Scoop the batter into the bag. Remove bag from the glass and squeeze the batter towards a corner. Secure the bag with a rubber band or tape, after removing as much air as possible from the batter. Snip off the tip with a scissor and your bag is ready to use.

5.) Line the muffin tray with the paper cups and pipe the batter into the cups. Bake @ 180 deg C for about 10-12 mins (baking time is for the mini-cupcakes, for regular sized cupcakes, allow about 15-16 mins) till a toothpick/ knife comes out clean.

 6.) Transfer baked cupcakes on to a wire rack and allow them to cool down completely.Meanwhile, get on with the frosting ! :)


Ingredients for Frosting:
50g Cream cheese + 25g Unsalted butter + 75 g Icing sugar + 1 tsp Lemon zest + 1tsp Lemon juice + Food colouring ( I used yellow and grape colours)

Method to make Frosting:
Cream the Butter and Cream cheese together in  a bowl using an electric mixer, till soft and fluffy. Add the icing sugar in stages (or it will fly out of the bowl!) and cream till well mixed.
Add the lemon juice and zest and a dash of food colouring and cream again. Transfer into a piping bag (using the technique described earlier) and Chill for about 20 mins.

Method to Frost the cupcakes:
Since I don't have the appropriate nozzles needed to create a pretty frosting, I proceeded by simply snipping off a small tip from the piping bag. I'm not proud of my artwork (as yet) but am hoping to develop my frosting skills as I go along. But these pictures should come in handy for someone willing to try :)

Pipe the frosting onto the cupcake by creating a spiral as you go along. Sprinkle with coloured edible decorations. Chill for about 20 mins to allow the frosting to set again.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Methaamba ( Raw mango chutney with mustard & fenugreek)

One of the biggest advantages of living in Singapore, is that I get my hands on my favorite fruit almost all year around. Whether is the Jumbo-sized Thai ones, or the sweet-golden Malaysian ones, Mangoes seriously are my absolute favourite! Raw or ripe, mangoes are extremely versatile and delicious. Raw mangoes especially go very well with a host of spices, mustard, fenugreek, cumin, red chillies.... you name it! All these combined to form a fragrant, tangy-chutney 'Methaamba' is one of my childhood obsessions, where I'd end up eating copious amounts of this with warm rotis, bread, and also straight from the jar.
Stored in a airtight jar or bottle, this will keep very well in the refrigerator for about 10-12 days.

2 Raw Mangoes, peeled and cubed into 1/2" pieces
2 tsp Vegetable / Olive oil
1-1/2 tsp Mustard seeds (rai)
1 tsp Fenugreek seeds (methi-dana)
1 pinch Asafoetida (heeng), powdered
3/4 tsp Red Chilli powder
2-3 tbsp Jaggery, grated, alternatively 2 tbsp Brown/white sugar
Salt, to taste (about 3/4 tsp)

1.) Wash, peel and cube the raw mango into 1/2" pieces. Set aside.
2.) Heat oil in a non-stick pan. Add the mustard seeds and asafoetida powder. Wait for the mustard to start sputtering, and add the fenugreek seeds. Fry for a few seconds till the fenugreek seeds are lightly browned.
3.) Add the raw mango, and red chilli powder and saute for a few minutes till the mango cubes begin to soften. Add the jaggery/ sugar, salt and 1/2 a cup of water. Allow the contents to bubble away till the mango cubes are soft and fully cooked.
4.) At this stage, the liquid in the chutney, should begin to thicken and not be too runny. If the liquid is too thick and sticky, add a little water to adjust the consistency.
5.) Switch off the heat and allow the 'methaamba' to cool. Transfer to an air tight jar and store in the refrigerator.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Mushroom-Sundried Tomato-Carmalised Onion puffs

Whew! What an awesome day! I say this, not only because it was a Sunday, but because I got to spend the afternoon doing my most favorite thing, Baking! :)
I have been curious about frozen puff pastry for a long time now, but had never gotten around to using it. From the packet instructions that I read standing in the shopping aisle, it seemed very easy and totally do-able. So I decided to give it a shot. I created two fillings for the puffs - one Vegetarian, with Mushrooms, caramalised onions, sun-dried tomatoes and fresh basil, and the Non-Vegetarian with Bacon,chicken, mushrooms, seasoned with dried thyme and cracked black pepper.
The results were pretty awesome (if, I may say so myself! :) and I am looking forward to the feedback from friends from work who I intend to feed tomorrow!

Ingredients for Mushroom-Sundried tomato & Caramalised onion puffs: (Makes 6 puffs)

2 tbsp Olive oil
4-5 Button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 medium Onion, thinly sliced
4-5 slices Sundried tomato (from a jar)
3-4 fresh Basil leaves, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp Black pepper, cracked
Salt, as per taste

Method for filling:
1.) Heat oil in a non-stick frying pan. Saute the sliced onions and garlic till the onions are nicely browned.
2.) Add the sliced mushrooms and continue to saute on a medium flame. When the mushrooms are almost cooked, add the chopped fresh basil. Stir for a few minutes, and add the sun-dried tomatoes. Add the cracked pepper. Add salt and mix. Turn off the flame.
Allow the filling to cool to room temperature.

Ingredients for Chicken-Bacon-Mushroom Puffs: (Makes 6-8 puffs)
4-5 Bacon rashers chopped into 1" pieces
100g boneless Chicken, boiled
3-4 Button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tsp dried Thyme
1/2 tsp cracked Pepper

Method for filling:
1.) Heat a frying pan. Saute the bacon pieces till they're nicely browned and crispy. No oil is needed at this stage.Set aside the sauteed bacon on a paper napkin.
2.) Add the oil to the pan. Saute the onions till brown. Then add the mushrooms. Add the cooked chicken and a few tablespoons of water.
3.) Allow all the contents to cook together, so all the flavours mix nicely. Add the dried Thyme and pepper and mix well. No salt is needed in this mixture, as the bacon is pretty salty. Set aside and allow the filling to cool.

1 Pkt ready-to-use frozen Puff pastry
1 Egg, lightly beaten

1.) De-frost the frozen puff pastry (about 45-60 mins). While the pastry defrosts, get on with making the fillings as described above.
2.) Once the pastry is thawed, transfer onto a clean surface to roll. Dust the surface with some plain flour(maida) and dust the pastry dough with flour to keep it from sticking.
3.) Roll out into a sheet about 3-4 mm thick. Cut out a circle (or rectangle, if thats what you like), using a cookie cutter. I used a steel bowl with a sharp ridge for this.

4.) Use a teaspoon and lay out some of the filling in the centre of the circle. Brush some beaten-egg around the edges as shown in the photo.

 5.) Fold one half over the other to form a 'half moon' shape. Pinch the edges together using your thumb and fore finger.

6.) Use a fork to seal the edges. This helps to keep the puff 'closed', to keep the filling from spilling out.

7.) Chill the filled puffs in the fridge while you preheat the oven to 220 deg.C
8.) Lay the filled puffs onto a non-stick baking tray and brush with some of the beaten egg, and bake @ 220 deg. C for 18-20 mins till puffed and golden brown. The beaten egg will add a nice 'glaze' and help the puffs take on a nice colour as they bake.

Enjoy these fresh from the oven. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Reheat by placing in a hot oven for 10-15 mins. Avoid micro-waving as that makes the puff chewy (from previous experience). Enjoy!

Mint-Coriander Chutney

A few bachelor-boy friends of Vineet and mine, have been requesting I post something VERY simple that they can put together as breakfasts on weekdays. Chutney Sandwiches are my breakfast of choice since we bore easily with Cornflakes on a regular basis. These are handy, as you can put them together and just eat them on the way or after you're at work, therefore saving precious time in the mornings.
All one needs are a bunch of ingredients, a mixer/blender and a glass jar. Once made, store the chutney in the refrigerator and it should keep very well for atleast 10-12 days, if it lasts that long.

1 bunch Coriander, leaves seperated
1 small bunch Mint, leaves seperated
2 Green Chillies, chopped into big pieces
2 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1/2" piece Ginger, roughly chopped
1 tsp Cumin seeds (heaped teaspoon)
1 tsp Lime Juice
Salt, as per taste

Method for the 'Chutney':
Wash an roughly chop the coriander and mint leaves. Put into a blender or mixer/food processor along with 3-4 tbsp of water. Do not add the salt and lime juice at this stage. Pulse together till it forms a even paste. Ensure that  everything is nicely pureed. Scrape down the sides of the mixer jar and transfer into a glass jar or bowl. Add the lime juice and Salt and mix well. S
Cover and Store in the fridge.

For Sandwich:
Toast 2 slices of bread. Slather the chutney onto one or both slices. Arrange thinly sliced tomatoes, cucumbers and a slice of cheddar cheese on one side. Cover with the second slice and press slightly. Cut into triangles and Eat!
This along with the watermelon smoothie will make a delicious and substantial breakfast. Enjoy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Watermelon-Strawberry smoothie

Made this, just this morning. Gave me the much needed zap I needed to get my eyes to open. Super simple, nourishing and ultimately refreshing... perfect for the oncoming summer months.

3 cups Watermelon, chopped in cubes
6-8 fresh Strawberries
Juice of 1/4 lime
5-6 fresh Mint leaves (optional)
4-5 Ice cubes
2 tbsp honey (if fruit isn't naturally sweet)
Chop all the fruits into big chunks. Stick everything into a blender and whirrr it till smooth and thick. Drink up!

Missal Pav

"Jeetega bhai jeetega, India jeetega!!" has been pretty much the first sentence that the country has been chanting since the euphoric victory in the semi-finals of the cricket world cup. We got together with friends to support team India, and watch them go through to the finals... and an assal-marathi Missal Pav was our meal of choice, that complemented the heat that the Indo-Pak game generated!!
Missal Pav, is a popular snack native to Mumbai and Pune. It consists of a spicy gravy made with sprouts and boiled potatoes garnished with crispy snacks consisting of fried peanuts, rice flakes and puffed rice, with chopped onions, tomato and coriander. This Mixture is called the "missal" and it is traditionally eaten with 'pav' a soft bread bun.

We polished off the meal with some Vanilla Pound cake- that I baked to celebrate our highly anticipated win, drizzled with home-made blueberry sauce! Yum!

A big thank-you to Ujjwala, for all her help with the prep needed for missal-pav, that allowed me to enjoy the match with the rest of the gang! :) Dhyani, sorry it took me so long to post this, but hope it helps you through many a weekend treats! :)

Ingredients for Ussal:
1 cup Mataki (brown moong)
3 medium size Boiled Potatoes (peeled & cut into cubes)
3-4 tbsp oil
1 tbsp Red chilli powder
1 tsp Tamarind pulp
Salt &  Sugar as per taste
For Tempering:
3 tbsp Oil + 1 tbsp Mustard Seeds + 1 Pinch Heeng (asafoetida) + 1 tsp Turmeric powder 
Whole Spices to be powdered:
1tsp Jeera + 2 tsp Coriander seeds + 2-3 Cloves+ 2-3black peppercorns + 1/4" Cinnamon stick.
For Gravy:
1/2 cup Onion - chopped
2 tbsp Ginger-Garlic paste

10-15 Mint leaves 
For Serving:
1/2 cup 'Chiwda' snack mix
1/2 cup chopped Onion
1/2 cup chopped Tomato
Coriander for garnishing- chopped
1/2 a Lime for squirting over the mix

Soak the Sprouts in a water in a 1:2 ratio the night before. The seeds will absorb the water and soften. Discard any remaining water and transfer the soaked seeds onto a clean kitchen cloth. Make into a bundle and cover with a bowl. Keep in a warm place in the kitchen for the the sprouts to...well, "sprout". Pressure cook the sprouts with roughly 2 times the amount of water.

1.  Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the mustard seeds, asafoetida and turmeric.
2.  Add the chopped Onions and ginger-garlic paste. Saute till the oil seperates. Add the red chilli powder, powdered whole spices, sugar and salt. Saute for a few minutes.
3.  Add the cooked sprouts and potatoes and about 2 cups of water.
4. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat and simmer for another couple of minutes.

Fill a bowl with the Sprouts gravy. Garnish with a layer of the crispy fried snack mix, chopped onions, tomato and coriander leaves. Squirt with some lime juice and enjoy piping hot with soft bread.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Vanilla Pound Cake with Home-made Blueberry Sauce

My mom has been making a basic pound cake since I was a kid... The intoxicating aroma of melting butter mixing with sugar, flour and vanilla, and the greed with which my brother Rahul and I would watch her sift, whip and fold the ingredients, knowing she was literally creating magic in that mixing bowl, is the kind of stuff that I remember most distinctly from my childhood... And ofcourse, the best part would be, being allowed to lick the batter off the mixing bowl and spoon and making the most obscene 'yummy' noises. :)
A traditional 'Pound cake' refers to a type of cake made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar, hence the name...
To make this cake a little more decadent, I made some blue-berry sauce to drizzle over it...and this made the Indian Victory, even sweeter :)

3 Eggs @ room temperature
3 tbsp Milk @ room temperature
1-1/2 tsp Vanilla extract
185 g Unsalted butter @ room temperature
1-1/2 cups All purpose flour (maida)
3/4 cup Sugar -1/2cup brown+1/4 cup white
1 tsp Baking powder
1/4 tsp Salt

Before you begin, preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Prepare the a 9"x2" cake tin by rubbing the insides with a little butter and dusting with flour.

1. In a mixing bowl, sift the flour and baking powder together. Mix in the salt and set aside.
2. In a seperate bowl, beat the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla extract till soft and fluffy. Add the eggs, one and by and continue to beat slowly till well integrated.
3. Add the dry flour mix into the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined. Increase the speed to 'aerate' the cake.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake @ 180 deg C for about 55-60 minutes, or till cake tester comes out clean.
5. Allow the cake too cool for 8-10 minutes. Run a clean knife around the edges and loosen the cake from the tin. Allow the cake to cool completely before serving.


In a sauce pan, combine:
2 cups Blueberries + 1/3 cup Sugar + 1 tbsp Lemon juice + 1/4 tsp Lemon zest + 1/4 tsp Salt + 1/2 tsp Vanilla extract.

Set the saucepan over a medium flame. As the sugar begins to melt, the berries will begin to pop and cook. Bring the mixture to a boil - about 8-10mins. Stir occasionally to prevent it from boiling over.
Allow the sauce to cool completely. Pour into an airtight bottle, preferably glass and chill for atleast 2-3 hours. The cooling will thicken the consistency of the sauce.

Drizzle generously over cake or ice-cream. Enjoy!