Ria's Collection: 2018

Saturday, December 1, 2018

MEEN POLLICHATHU WITH VINDALOO MASALA

Meen Pollichathu (1)
Ilove fish and my family loves it too! I try to cook with fish as often as I can. It's almost always as a Meen Vevichathu or Meen Varuthathu. I've been making Fish Moilee quite a few times over the last few weeks along with homemade bread. There's something so comforting in that combination. This Meen Pollichathu is a made with a twist from the traditional one.
Meen Pollichathu (6)
When I posted a photo of this dish on Instagram, I received a lot of questions regarding where to buy banana leaves here. I buy it from Oriental stores and I've seen it at Malayali store around Onam. We rarely shop at our Malayali store. These leaves come frozen in small trays. I find them very handy. Just pull out how much you need and the rest can stay in the freezer. The leaf is limp because it's frozen so we can use it without taming it over fire.
Meen Pollichathu final
Meen Pollichathu is best made with Karimeen.Even though we get them here in frozen form, I rarely buy it. The last time I bought it was when Appa & Amma came here for Christmas last year. Amma made a Karimeen Mappas with it and it was delicious!! This recipe uses a slightly different masala and uses sambar tamarind instead of Kudampuli. It's a very quick dish to make, just like most fish recipes and has a charm to it because it's wrapped and served in banana leaf.
MEEN POLLICHATHU WITH VINDALOO MASALA
Meen Pollichathu (6)
Ingredients:
400 grams cleaned fish
2 sprigs curry leaves
3/4 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon vinegar*
1 cup sliced pearl onions
4 tablespoon oil

Grind together:
1 tablespoon Kashmiri red chili powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
4-5 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon tamarind pulp (homemade)
8 pearl onions

Method: Heat 3 tbsp oil and crackle mustard seeds and curry leaves. Saute the ground ingredients, till the oil separates. Add the shallots, stir well and pour the vinegar and salt. Add the fish and move it gently to coat the pieces with masala.

In an oil paper or banana leaf *, arrange the fish with its masala. Pour the remaining 1 tbsp oil over it and fold into a neat parcel /parcels. Put the parcels into a dish and bake at 400 F till the outside is golden for about 30 minutes. Once it's baked, take it out, open the parcel and serve hot !

* Use your own judgement here because we are already using tamarind pulp.
*If you are using fresh banana leaves, you will have to tame it over fire. 'Vaati edukukka'.
*You can cook this on the stovetop as well. Cook on medium flame for 8-10 mins flipping once in between till the leaves are a bit brown.
Mrs. B.F.Varghese's cookbooks are a very common sight in most Malayali households in Kerala.I have them too and I found this recipe from one of them. It's name intrigued me at first and then when I remembered the frozen banana leaves that I had been hoarding for a while, I decided to make use of it. Ian gave me the biggest thumbs up ever and said that the fish is very good! Jobin said the same too! I used Tilapia filets for making these and hence the tiny packages. The recipe was meant for one piece of fish. This is a very good twist to traditional Meen Pollichathu. Do give it a try sometime during this festive season!

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE DOUGHNUTS

Doughnuts (3)
Doughnuts are one of the most satisfying things to make for me. That's the yeast magic. The dough grows in front of your eyes and when fried, grows even more into these puffy,cloud like rings! These particular doughnuts are baked. Baked doughnuts have been in trend for a long time now. Their texture is not like a raised / yeasted doughnut. It's more or less like a cake but a bit  denser. But that shouldn't keep you away from trying these goodies. They are different from a cake. It doesn't feel like you just poured a cake batter into a doughnut pan. It is different.
Doughnuts (4)
Ian has been asking me for something chocolate-y for a few days now. He gives me subtle hints every now and then and Zara is catching up on that as well. She loves to imitate her older brother! I usually bake things in the afternoon when Zara is napping so that it's ready by the time she wakes up,which is  around the same time that Ian gets back home from school. Then it's non-stop play & eating time. So I get mentally prepared for that before it's 4 o'clock!
Doughnuts (5)
The very second he gets into our mud room, he kind of makes a guess as what I would have made for him as an after school snack. He did not know that I had bought the doughnut pan so he was super excited to see what I had in store for him. Whenever I need a new recipe, I always go to one of my favourite sources and this time, it was no different.

You need a doughnut pan to bake these goodies. They are easily available online. I found mine at a store nearby. The only thing you need to be mindful while making these doughnuts are that the pans should be filled only to it's three-fourth capacity, so that when the doughnuts rise in the oven, it wouldn't end up being a big huge blob without the hole in the middle. But, if that happens, don't worry, you can easily use a spoon to dig out the extras.No matter how you make it, it's a delicious one!
CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE DOUGHNUTS
Doughnuts (1) Makes 12

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
2/3 cup cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon instant coffee powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
2 large eggs
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons vinegar
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter

Chocolate icing:
1 cup chocolate chips
4 tablespoons milk

Method: Preheat the oven to 350 F and lightly oil your doughnut pans.
Doughnuts : In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients from flour through chocolate chips. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, vinegar. It might look curdled and that's okay. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients along with the melted butter and stir until it's all combined.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pans. Fill them only three-fourths full and bake for 12-15 minutes or till a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Once removed from the oven, let it be in the pan for 30 seconds,then invert the pan onto a cooling rack. The doughnuts will fall off easily. Let it cool completely.

Chocolate Icing: Combine chocolate chips and milk in a microwave safe bowl and heat it till the milk starts to steam and bubble. Mix it well till the icing is smooth. Dip the cooled doughnuts in it and set them icing side up on a rack /plate till the icing sets. If you want to sprinkle the top with something, do so before the icing sets. 
The kids gobbled up a couple as soon as I was done baking them and before glazing it. The glaze is super easy to make, a light ganache. It sets well and you can stack the doughnuts after the glaze has set, about 30 minutes. I recently bought some sprinkles in X'mas colours because we all know that the most wonderful time of the year is just around the corner! So I couldn't help sprinkle some over these beautiful doughnuts. These make beautiful gifts too!

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

THE BEST WHOLEWHEAT PANCAKES with video!

pancake 2
Iam not a person who can make the exact same thing over and over and over again in one week's time. But these pancakes...they were really so good that we had so many repeats in one week. We even had them for breakfast today! We love pancakes as a family,with or without syrup. But I used to restrict myself from making it often because the recipe I've used earlier was made with all purpose flour. I didn't want to start our day eating a whole bunch of refined flour along with syrup.
pancake 3
So when I came across Lindsay's recipe, I was excited to try. Like I said before, there has been no looking back since. Last night as Jobin was editing the video, Ian overheard it and quickly asked me with shining eyes what I was planning for breakfast tomorrow. I knew what he wanted by just looking into those eyes! So I told him I will let him make it and he did. He loves to help me in the kitchen and as he was mixing up the batter, he told me that he is learning all this so that he can make his own pancakes when he grows up!
pancake 1 (2)
I mean, that has been my secret motive in involving the kids with kitchen activities and it looks like it has been going in the right direction! Anyway, these pancakes were gobbled up in no time, as always. Like I have mentioned in the video, you can serve it with maple syrup & butter, honey, any fruit compotes or even our good old nadan 'paani'.

THE BEST WHOLEWHEAT PANCAKES
pancake 3Makes 6-8

Ingredients:
1 egg
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons oil
3/4 cup buttermilk *
1 teaspoon vanilla
Scant 1 cup whole wheat flour /atta
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon water

Method: In a bowl, whisk together the egg and brown sugar till combines, about 10-15 seconds. Add the oil and whisk to combine. Add the buttermilk & vanilla and whisk. Add the flour, baking powder, salt and mix until it's combined. Few lumps are okay. Add the water and whisk gently to combine.
Heat a nonstick pan on medium heat and pour 1/3 cup worth of batter. Flip the pancakes when the edges are opaque and bubbles appear on the surface. Cook the other side for 30 second. Transfer them to a plate and serve with syrup and fruits!

* To make buttermilk at home, take 3/4 cup of milk in a cup and add 2 teaspoon of white vinegar to it. Stir it and let it sit for 5 minutes. Use as needed.
pancake5
Yesterday while I was watching Food Network Ian came up to me asked me when will I come on 'real' TV. He really enjoys watching my videos on YouTube and gives me subtle hints once in a while when he feels like eating those things. We film it after the kids go to bed. So Ian is very excited to taste the food in the morning and see the video after it's edited. Zara came running to me last evening saying that she heard me in Appa's computer! The way she put it across was very funny! My video editing time is quite entertaining for us!
So if you were looking for a Wholewheat Pancake recipe that uses 100% Wholewheat flour, this one is for you. It is an excellent recipe and makes super light fluffy pancakes that tastes equally good.I hope you enjoy making these pancakes as much as we do!

Monday, November 19, 2018

THE BEST POORI

Poori 4
Did that title make you think about how can there ever be a perfect recipe for a simple thing like Poori? Well then you should try this recipe. I've been making Poori's this way for a couple of years now. It's that recipe which gives you those perfectly puffed up Poori's every.single.time. It's that recipe that will give you perfectly puffed up Poori's that do not deflate by the time you are done frying the whole batch and even when it's brought to the table. It's that recipe that will leave you wondering about it's magic. Plus, it makes very tasty Poori's too! It's just perfect.
Poori
Last Saturday, I felt the need to make something Indian for breakfast. We've been eating a lot of bread /pancakes / eggs over the past few Saturday's because it's always busy. We are rarely home over the weekends because Jobin & I love doing everything together from grocery shopping to going to the Mall with the kids. There are weekends where we don't get past beyond two stores but then, when it's done together, it makes it fun!
Poori 3
I had no intention of posting this recipe here because when I am making breakfast, it's utter chaos at home. Four burners are on, food is in the microwave and there are 4 growling hungry bellies ready to eat anything at that very moment. So I usually give the kids their milk and send them to play for a bit to give myself some quiet time to focus on what I am doing. I am a person who needs to have her peace while cooking because it's one of my most favourite things to do and I like to do it in peace.
So while frying the poori's, the kids were quietly playing in our informal living room and I got sometime to think about how beautiful the puffed up poori's were looking. Then all of a sudden it occurred to me that I should share it with you so that you can enjoy it as much as we do! So I grabbed my camera and took some photographs.This recipe comes from Anushruti, one of my good food blogger friends whom I've known for almost a decade!
THE BEST POORI
Poori
Ingredients:
1 cup whole wheat flour /atta
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup semolina
1 tablespoon besan
2 tablespoons oil, heated
2 teaspoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2- 3/4 cup milk or water

Oil for deep frying

Method:
In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add the warm oil to it and rub it into the flour. Add milk or water and knead for 5-6 minutes to form a  stiff dough. Keep the dough aside, covered, for 30 minutes. After the resting time, knead the dough briefly and then divide the dough into small balls and roll it out using an oiled rolling pin.*

Heat oil to 360 F or till it is very hot but not smoking. Fry the poori's one at a time, holding it down with a slotted spoon till it puffs up and then flip it over and fry the second side for 5 seconds or until golden. Drain the fried poori's on paper towels and transfer them to a large serving plate.
Enjoy with a curry of your choice or even as is! It's delicious!

*You really don't need to use flour for rolling out poori's. Either use an oiled rolling pin or dip the bottom of the dough balls in some oil and roll it out.
* If you put the fried poori's side by side instead of stacking them up, they will hold up their shape for a really long time!

You cannot imagine how many kisses I got from Ian for making these Poori's! Zara was very vocal that morning. She kept saying that it was so tasty! Jobin is the biggest Poori fan that I know of, so I don't have to specifically tell you how well he enjoyed the breakfast. He would have enjoyed it even more if I had served it with Chicken curry on a Friday night but all I could make was our good old Bhaji that morning. Nevertheless, it was wiped clean. Both poori and the curry!

This recipe is GOLD! Make it and share! Good food and good recipes are meant for sharing!

Friday, November 16, 2018

ENGLISH SCONES

Scones 1
This is definitely a trip down the memory lane for me. These were the stuffs my childhood dreams were made of! All of you who have read Enid Blyton books and literally drooled over the food that were mentioned,will understand what I am talking about. This was during the pre-internet era. There was no online shopping either. So when I read about it, all I could so was to imagine the taste of her stale Rock Buns, Fresh Lemonade made with left over homemade jam from the larder and all those sardine sandwiches that were packed in their picnic baskets along with the bottles of chilled ginger beer!
Scones
Of all the places, Kannur was not the right place to find even a tin of sardines! Whenever Appan would travel, he would come back with goodies for us. So once, when we was travelling to Bangalore, I asked him if he could bring back some bottles of ginger beer and sardine sandwiches for me. He promptly took the help of Rosily chechy, my cousin in Bangalore to hunt for the items I had mentioned. In those days, Nilgiris was the gourmet store in Bangalore. If Nilgiris didn't have it, no one else would. Sadly for me, Nilgiris didn't carry ginger beer nor the sardine sandwiches.
Scones 2
Mamma, my paternal Grandmother did once tell me that she used to drink Ginger Beer in Malaysia and I was so intrigued to hear more about it. She told me it was a tasty drink! So many years passed by and one day while flipping through Mamma's cookbooks, I chanced upon a 'Dropped Scone' recipe. I immediately made it but sadly,it didn't taste all that exciting. Atleast not as exciting as the Enid Blyton's scones.
Scones 6
It was only after I moved to the US that I ever had my very first sip of Ginger Beer/Ginger Ale. I couldn't contain my excitement when I first spotted it after ALL these years!! It still is one of my favourite beverages till date.  I baked my first set of scones about 8.5 years ago and it's been one of mine as well as my family's personal favourite thing to eat! Scones make a regular appearance at our dining table and it's never failed to please anyone who has had a chance to eat it.
Scones 4

ENGLISH SCONES
Scones 2 Makes about 18-20 scones

Ingredients:
450 grams self raising flour*
2 level teaspoon baking powder
50grams sugar
100 grams butter,softened
2 eggs
a little milk

handful sultanas, if you'd like

Method:
Preheat your oven to 400F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder & sugar. Into that, add the butter and rub it into the flour using your finger tips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Crack the eggs into a measuring jar and pour enough milk to each the 300 ml mark. Which them together.
Pour almost all of the milk-egg mixture into the flour mixture (holding back some, about 2-3 tablespoons worth )and stir using a spoon to form a soft,slightly sticky dough.
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently knead and work in the sultanas. Roll out the dough to a 3/4 inch thickness and cut out as many rounds as you can using a 2 inch fluted cutter. Place them slightly spaced on the prepared tin, brush the tops with the reserved egg - milk mixture and bake for 12-15 minutes.

You can reuse the scraps, just bring them together gently and proceed.

Serve them warm with clotted cream and raspberry / strawberry jam and a pot of tea!

* For every 1 cup of self raising flour I use 1 cup all purpose flour + 1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder + 1/4 teaspoon salt. This recipe requires a lot of leavening agents.

The other day after Ian was dropped off at his Choir practice, we went to a grocery store to kill time. Yes, grocery store is where we kill time! :-) So as I was glancing at the shelves, I came across this lovely little jar of Clotted Cream and I literally jumped up and down like a little girl. I really don't need a lot of things to make me happy, a bottle of clotted cream is plenty!

All 4 of us are hungry around Tea Time so I usually make something special everyday. Since I had Clotted Cream on hand and since we all LOVE scones, I decided to make the ones Mary Berry had made during her 'Country House Secrets' episode. I am a sucker for food, crockery, English countryside along with the beautiful historic homes they have there.
Scones 5
So here's how I ate them. I took a scone, split it in half by gently pulling it apart at it's waist, slathered some clotted cream first on one half and spread some raspberry jam over it, sandwiched the two halves together and took a bite of it with my eyes closed. It was a treat in every possible way! They are delectable! Clotted cream is a thickened cream with a very faint tang. It's lovely and has a custard like consistency. Freshly whipped cream can be the next best alternative. All of us LOVED it and I saw Jobin go back to it many times in the evening!
All of you Enid Blyton lovers, go and make some for yourselves and relive your childhood memories through a plateful of delicious scones!

Monday, November 12, 2018

CARAMEL GLAZED BLONDIES

Caramel Glazed Blondies
There was a time when I would bake desserts after desserts to share with you guys. That was literally the best time because of all the wonderful sweet things I could eat after taking their photographs. That was my reward. Nowadays, I limit my rewards because I know my waistline was enjoying it a bit too much! But on the other hand, our little family has grown from two to a darling four. Those two additions are ready to eat everything I serve them! Ian is going through a phase (or maybe it's his trait!) of thanking me for every little thing I do for him. He even thanks me and kisses my hands and gives me a hug when I serve him food or even a glass of water! Those little gestures make me so happy! So much more happier than the 'reward' I was talking about earlier.
Caramel Glazed Blondies (4)
Ian & Zara have an amazing metabolism that I sometimes wish I had half of theirs! So now that we are a family of 4, the amount of cooking and baking has doubled. It's like never ending! We have a dessert stand at home,where sweet treats appear and disappear at the same time! I love refilling it and now that I have some extra time on my hands, I thought of getting back to sharing it with you all. Zara does her thing and I do my thing. That's how this mother - daughter duo is rolling currently.
Caramel Glazed Blondies (2)
Long time back, when Daring Bakers were actually a thing, I received this book for review from the team. I baked a few recipes from it and did my review and that book sat happily in our library until I opened it again last week. Elinor Klivans is a brilliant cookbook author. Even Nigella has spoken about her in one of her shows. As I was glancing through the recipes from Cookies, Brownies & Bars, I realized that I have a lot of brownie recipes here on the blog but not a blondie's.
Caramel Glazed Blondies (1)
I baked these last Friday as an after-school treat because when Ian is home from school, he is so hungry that he eats about 4-5 times before his bedtime. Having something sweet is anyhow exciting,so I decided to bake it, take pictures and share it here so that you can also try these delicious bars at home!
CARAMEL GLAZED BLONDIES
Caramel Glazed Blondies (4) Makes 25 small bars

Ingredients:
For the Blondies:
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups brown sugar,firmly packed
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

For the caramel glaze:
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup confectioner's sugar

Method:
Blondies:
Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a 9 inch square tin with foil and butter the foil.
Whisk together flour, baking powder & salt in a small bowl and set aside.
In a saucepan, combine butter and brown sugar. Warm over medium heat, stirring often,until melted and smooth. Scrape into a large bow and let it cool slightly.
Add the eggs and vanilla to it and mix using a wooden spoon till it is smooth. Add the flour mixture and stir until just combined. Transfer the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 20-25 mins or until a toothpick inserted comes out with moist crumbs. Let it cool in the tin completely.

Frosting:
In a saucepan, combine butter, cream and sugar. Warm over medium heat, stirring constantly, until melted. Increase the heat to medium-high and boil for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Let it cool. Whisk in the confectioner's sugar and spread the glaze over the cooled blondies. Let it set for 30 minutes and then cut into 25 pieces using a hot knife.

Store in an airtight container.

Caramel Glazed Blondies (3)
These bars are extremely moist and mildly sweet given the amount of sugar that's gone into it. Brown sugar makes the baked goods moist, so please use that if you can. They are rich so serve them in smaller portions than you would with brownies. When I ate it, it reminded me of eating a Mysore Pak. Now, that's not how it tastes but the smell of it and even the texture was similar. They went down very well with Jobin, Ian & Zara! I am sure you would love it too!

Monday, November 5, 2018

ORANGE CREAM

Orange Cream
Idon't know about you but I love Oranges! I love them in cakes, cookies, scones, salads...everything! Infact one of the cakes that Jobin baked for my birthday was a spectacular Double Orange Cake with Marble Icing. Last year for Christmas, I baked an Orange & Rum Glazed Fruit Cake which got rave reviews.I've even posted a video on how to make that cake. Then there's my Orange & Raisin Buttermilk SconesPassionfruit & Orange Whoopie Pies, Craisin & Orange Squarecakes, My Fair Lady Pudding with Blackberry & Orange Sauce, Mediterranean Orange Salad. And now this.
Orange Cream 1
This is another dessert that I made very recently and we loved everything about it. I am very picky when it comes to puddings. I honestly cannot stand a firm pudding. Too much gelatin or chinagrass/agar agar  is a big NO for me. They need to be softly set and jiggly. I once judged a dessert competition back in Kannur and most of the desserts that were there were heavy on setting agents and it had a terrible mouth feel.
Orange Cream 3
This one is creamy,smooth and just set. Don't worry when I say 'just set'. You can slice it perfectly and it will sit pretty on the plate. It will glide over your tongue into your belly,it's not something you have to chew and break up like jelly bears! I made this pudding for a get together with our friends but Jobin & I did a taste test and literally polished off half the tray even before we could serve it. It's perfectly sweet and tastes very refreshing which by the way is why I love Citrus!
ORANGE CREAM 
Orange Cream Serves 12-15

Ingredients:
Base:
200 gram marie biscuits, powdered fine
75 grams butter, melted

Custard:
2 egg yolks
4 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tin condensed milk
Juice of 4 navel oranges
Juice of 1 lime

2 teaspoon gelatin dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
2 egg whites
200 ml fresh cream
 Orange segments for garnish

Method:

Base :Mix the ingredients together in a small bowl and press it into a 9x13 inch dish. Bake at 350F for 10 mins. Let it cool completely.

Custard: In a heatproof bowl, beat the yolks and sugar together until well mixed. Add the condensed milk, orange juice & lime juice and mix to combine. Cook over a double boiler, stirring continuously until it forms a fairly thick custard.
Melt the gelatin and pour into the custard. Mix well and let it chill in the fridge till it is half set.

In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites till soft peaks form. Add the fresh cream and beat again till thick. Fold it into the half set custard in two batches carefully without deflating the whites.
Pour the orange cream over the cooled biscuit base and let it set in the fridge covered well with a cling wrap / lid  for 3-4 hours.
Decorate with orange segments, slice and serve!

* I used navel oranges and it gave me close to 1.5 cups orange juice. You can use any oranges because the original recipe did not mention a variety. Navel oranges are my personal favourite.
* The custard was not thick custard like the traditional custard. It will thicken up quite a bit from it's initial stage though and I stopped it there. It took me about 8-10 mins.
*IF your chilled custard sets up fully, don't worry. Just whip it up well using a hand mixer and continue from there. Half set makes it easier to fold in the remaining ingredients.
* The fresh cream / heavy cream we get here has a minimum of 35% fat. If you are going to use a lower fat one, beat the whites and cream separately. Then fold the two together. I did not have any issues in whipping up the egg whites & cream together in one bowl. I do not want your efforts to go waste, so please whip them separately if you are planning on using low fat cream.
* I haven't tried with this non-dairy whipped / whipping cream. If you plan to use it, please know that some of the whipping cream brands are already sweetened.

Orange Cream 4
Put this dessert on your must-make list as soon as you can. You will love it for sure! This one will be doing it's round in our parties for sure. If you cannot find canned mandarin oranges that I've used here for decorating the pudding slices, you can simply segment a navel orange and put that on top. If you are feeling too lazy, just pipe some cream and grate some orange zest over it. If you are feeling too too lazy, serve them plain...it would still taste good! I rarely have canned fruit with me but for once I did and at the right time! That's how they made an appearance here.

My cousin sis-in-law Tanita (Daisy Mummy's daughter-in-law) and I share a lot of recipes with each other and this recipe is something that she had shared with me when I last visited Kothamangalam. She found it in an edition of Vanitha magazine and it was shared by Ms. Roshini George. I don't know if you would ever see this post but if you do, thank you Roshini chechy...we loved it!

So like I always say, if you make it please let me know how you liked it! It motivates me to be more here because when I see your happy notes, it's brightens up my day!

Monday, October 29, 2018

COFFEE GATEAU

Coffee Gateau 1
When I think of a Gateau, I have a vision of a multi-layered freestanding dessert made with cake. This recipe is essentially that but it's set in a pudding dish. I made this when our dear friend Shruti came home about a week ago. She was here on a last minute work trip and when we knew she was here, we brought her home immediately!
Coffee Gateau 3
We bonded over food in 2011 and our friendship has grown so much over the past few years. We were living in two separate buildings when we first met and later ended up in the same building when we bought and moved into our condominium in 2012. We were pregnant at the same time and Kian was born 3 weeks after Ian was born. Our choice of baby names were also very similar! When we were pregnant, we used to meet each other for Tea and Shruti would bake her amazing Scones and bring them over. Our conversations were always around recipes and it still is the same!
Coffee Gateau 2
We both have the same cookbooks and know a lot of people in common that we are literally family now! One of the books we have in common is the Kottayam Ladies Circle cookbook on Snacks & Desserts. This recipe was taken from it. It's basically a Hot Milk Sponge Cake soaked and layered with a coffee-rum buttercream. If I were to describe it's taste, I would say it's a cross between a Tiramisu & Tres Leches Cake. Absolutely moist & boozy! That reminds me, I had shared a recipe for Tiramisu long back. It's extremely good and the best I've eaten till date, just incase you needed a recipe! I've also shared a Tiramisu Cake recipe as well as a Tiramisu No Bake Cheesecake recipe here very many years ago. Okay, I admit I love Tiramisu. :-)

COFFEE GATEAU
Coffee Gateau 3 Serves 15-20

Ingredients:
Hot Milk Sponge Cake 
(double recipe)

Soaking syrup:
1 cup condensed milk
1 cup water
4 tablespoon rum
Juice of 1 lime

Coffee Rum Buttercream:
100 grams butter
1 cup powdered sugar
6 tbsp condensed milk
2 tablespoon dark rum
2 teaspoon instant coffee powder

Homemade Cashew Praline & Chocolate for decoration

Method: Bake the Hot Milk Sponge Cake using this recipe. Double the quantities and bake it in a prepared 9 x 13 inch pan. Let it cool in the tin for 10 mins and after that, turn it out onto a cooling rack and let it cool completely.
Soaking syrup : Mix together all the ingredients and set it aside until needed.
Coffee Rum Buttercream : In a small bowl,dissolve rum & coffee powder together and set aside. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, 1-2 minutes. Add the dissolved coffee-rum solution and condensed milk. Fold just until it's combined. It will look curdled if overmixed.
Assembly: Spilt the sponge cake into two layers horizontally. Place one layer back into the baking dish and pour half the soaking syrup over it evenly and spread half the buttercream over. Covr with the remaining cake and repeat the soaking process followed by the buttercream.Sprinkle some praline & grated chocolate over it, cover and chill it for atleast 4-5 hours before you need it.
This is a phenomenal recipe. It makes a rich and supremely moist dessert. If you don't consume alcohol, you can omit it but that bit of alcohol makes it a little extra special. I love adding alcohol in my desserts because it enhances the taste. This cake will last in the fridge for a good while provided it's kept in an airtight container or else it will dry out. I did not serve this to Ian & Zara since it was boozy. If the booze was cooked out, then it's safe but here, it's as is.
Coffee Gateau
Since the Holiday season is fast approaching, make this for your next party and tell me how you liked it! I really love hearing back from you and thanks to all who have been sending me photos of all that you make from this blog. It's such a lovely sight!You can send the photos via email attachments, Facebook & Instagram!

I must also mention that it's been a year since I started my YouTube channel. I've shared 7 videos so far and my Lazy Daisy Cake was the very first video. I used the same recipe for the cake base here. It makes the best sponge cake. There are more videos coming, we are working on it!

Monday, October 22, 2018

ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, ONION & BROCCOLI CRUSTLESS QUICHE

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rust me when I say that this recipe is going to win hearts! It's easy, healthy and so tasty! Our kids absolutely love it and I make it atleast once a week now. It's very easy to put together and you can use the vegetables that I've used here or you can use whatever you want to. The second time I made it, I added some cooked ham to it and it was even better! I love salty things and I really love ham. The whole quiche literally vanished in seconds.
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Ian is a child who wants to know if he is eating healthy enough. He asks me if it's okay to eat too much fruits & vegetables. I honestly am at loss at times to explain to him that even that could be a danger. So I just tell him the key to good health is to eat every food group in moderation. So when I make this quiche, I tell him that it's a well balanced meal. There's eggs, milk & vegetables in it.
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Quiche in general is a rich dish. There's plenty of cream, milk, eggs & cheese in the filling and then there is butter and flour in the crust. But the choice is left upto you if you really want to follow the recipe as is or make modifications. In my opinion, cream is kind of essential to get that rich mouthfeel for the quiche. If you add all milk, it tastes light and a bit watered down. But that's just me.
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As much as I love the traditional quiche with the crust and all, this one is equally good and extremely fast to put together especially if you can roast the veggies ahead of time. I usually make a big batch and store the remaining in the fridge. Our kids love these roasted vegetables as a snack. Bake the quiche the previous night and let it cool over the countertop. You will have fresh food waiting for you in the morning! That is if you are pressed for time. If not, assemble everything the previous night and put it in the fridge. Preheat your oven and bake it for breakfast. You can slice it right away, no need to wait for it to cool down. Sounds too good to be true, right? It is!
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ROASTED CAULIFLOWER, ONION & BROCCOLI CRUSTLESS QUICHE
My own recipe
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Ingredients:
Roasted vegetables
Half head of a medium cauliflower, separated into florets
One medium head of broccoli, separated into florets
One medium red onion ,sliced
Salt & Pepper
2 tablespoons Olive Oil

Quiche filling:
4 eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon onion powder,optional
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, optional
1 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon dried red chili flakes
a pinch of ground nutmeg
Salt & Pepper

Method:
Roasted Vegetables : Spread the vegetables in a single layer onto a large cookie sheet, sprinkle salt & pepper and olive oil. Toss gently using a tong to mix. You could do this in a bowl too.
Roast the veggies at 400F for 30 mins, turning them once halfway through.
Spread the roasted vegetables in a 10 inch pie plate or a baking dish of similar size.

Quiche filling: Mix all the ingredients together and pour over the vegetables. It will barely cover the vegetables.

Bake at 350F / 180C  for 30- 35 minutes or until lightly golden around the edges and till the centre is set. There should be no liquid present. Do not overbake it, overcooked eggs have a terrible texture. You want the centre to be just set.

Slice and enjoy! You can store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 2-3 days.

To make it ahead : Assemble the quiche and leave it covered in the fridge. Let it come to room temperature as you preheat your oven. Bake as directed.
I haven't used any cheese for the filling and we honestly didn't miss it either. If you want to add some, just sprinkle some over the veggies, like a handful before you pour over the filling. Please feel free to add in chicken/ham/ shrimp etc. I would cook the protein before hand and then add it to the filling, just to be on the safer side. You can sprinkle them over the vegetables before you pour the filling.

We love this amazing quiche and I am already looking forward to the next weekend when I can make it again !

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

THE BEST HYDERABADI CHICKEN BIRIYANI

Hyd Biriyani 1
This is one dish that I have tried a couple of times at home and never seemed to win at it with Jobin. I mean, he eats anything that I serve him and eats it happily without batting an eyelid. What I am trying to say is that,whenever we eat outside and order Chicken Biriyani, we are served the Hyderabadi biriyani style of biriyani. Jobin never agrees to it being anything close to the original and calls them all Yellow Rice & Chicken. Then my question would always be ' Then how is it actually?'. The Hyderabad born and bred husband of mine has tried his best to explain to me about it's taste but for me, that's not enough to recreate it at home.
Hyd Biriyani 6
I have grown up in the Malabar eating the typical Malabari food made by the Malabari's and the amazing Kuttanadan and other South Kerala food made by Amma. I can describe and re-create all those dishes without thinking twice. Having never eaten an authentic Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani (yet!), I was at loss on how to make it or how to improve from what I've made following the recipes from various foodblogs over the years. So gradually, I gave up.  We would rather enjoy my Malabari Chicken Biriyani than experiment upon recipes that didn't quite hit the ball out of the park.
Hyd Biriyani 4
The other day, I was lying on the couch and was planning on what to make for dinner. There was barely anything cooked in the fridge so I thought I'll make Oats for the kids and we both can eat some junk food once they sleep. Then the craving for biriyani kicked in me so badly that Jobin decided we should eat out. 'We will be disappointed as always!', was my reply. So he took the phone from my hand and started searching for biriyani recipes and then found one which looked really good and sounded like the author knew what she was doing. We both were very excited to try it and it was then that we realized that there was no chicken at home and if we were to buy the chicken and come, dinner won't be ready until 10:30 pm and our weekday bedtime is at 8:00 pm. So we ate out that night and bought some chicken on our way back home. I promptly marinated it and went to bed. The marinade smelt amazing so I knew it would end up being good!
Hyd Biriyani 2
But that chicken stayed marinating in the fridge for the next two days. We were barely home after that! So finally, on Saturday night I decided to make it. I fed the kids rice and put them to sleep on the couch as I was cooking. I followed the recipe as is because I did not want it to taste different because of me. Finally the biriyani was ready and our home was filled with it's wonderful aroma!
Hyd Biriyani 6
We took our share and sat on the floor by the sleeping kids. Just then, Zara woke up and even before she opened her eyes she said ,'Amma, enikku biriyani venam!'. Our jaws dropped. All we could do was laugh at it and feed her the biriyani that she woke up for. She had no idea that I was making a biriyani that night but woke up from her deep sleep because of the aroma! She is a big time chicken & a biriyani lover and I am not one bit surprised! Don't let the length of the recipe fool you, there's barely any cooking involved but you will be rewarded with the most amazing Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani in the end!

THE BEST HYDERABADI CHICKEN BIRIYANI
Hyd Biriyani 4 Serves 4-5

Ingredients:
Fried Onions:
750 grams onions, sliced very thin
Oil for frying

Biriyani spice mix:
1 cinnamon stick
1 black cardamom
5 green cardamom
5 cloves
1 large bay leaf
1 teaspoon Shahjeera
1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

For Marination:
750 grams bone-in chicken, cut up
2/3 cup thick yogurt
1 1/2 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon Kashmiri red chili powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2-3 green chilies,slit in half

For Rice:
2 cups good quality Basmati rice, washed & drained.
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon olive oil

For Assembly:
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3 tablespoon cilantro, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoon mint leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon saffron (ground & dissolved in 2 tablespoon hot water)
1 tablespoon ghee

Method:
Biriyani Spice Mix : Grind all together to a fine powder using a spice grinder.
Fried Onions : Fry the thinly sliced onions until they are crisp & golden brown in colour.
Marination : Combine all the ingredients given along with 1/3 of the fried onions and biriyani spice mix and leave it covered in the fridge for a minimum of 5 hours. Overnight is best!
Rice: Soak 1/3 cup of rice in water and keep it aside for 30 minutes.
Bring 2 1/4 cups of water to a rolling boil in a rice cooker. Add salt, oil and add the remaining 1 2/3 cups rice. Let it cook until all the water is absorbed.

Meanwhile. Transfer the marinated chicken to a heavy bottomed oven proof dish about 8-9 inches in diameter. If you've used thick curd, there shouldn't be any watery marinade left in the bowl. If there is, please discard it, it will make the rice soggy.
Sprinkle the cilantro, mint ,1/2 tablespoon lemon juice and most of the remaining fried onions over it. Drain the 1/3 cup of basmati rice that was soaking and sprinkle over the chicken. This helps in absorbing the juices from the chicken and gets cooked eventually.

As soon as the rice is done,carefully transfer it over the chicken. Sprinkle the remaining lemon juice, saffron, fried onions and ghee over it. Cover it tight with two layers of foil and place the lid over it. Bake at 375 F for 1 hour.

For stove top : Heat the assembled biriyani at medium high for about 10-15 minutes and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for one hour until the steam builds up.

  • I used storebought fried onions, 2 cups worth. That way it all was all done in the oven, our stove was never used! Eaaaaasy peasy!
  • If you don't own a rice cooker, you can cook it over the stove. It takes about 15 minutes in the rice cooker.
  • The original recipe calls for 2 tablespoon lemon juice while assembling, which I felt was too strong for our liking.
  • The original recipe calls for the biriyani to be baked at 350 F but our chicken was a bit raw even after an hour, so I increased the heat to 375 F and ended up baking for another 40 minutes checking in between. So I guess, 375F would be a better temperature to bake this biriyani.

Hyd Biriyani 5
This recipe really hit the ball out of the park. It's exceptionally good. It's very flavourful and not masked with spices. This recipes is an example of less is more. The flavours of the chicken and rice really shines through.
My advice would be to use a good quality Basmati rice. We get so many brands out here and most of them are pathetic. The rice has no aroma to it, the grains are not long, some of the brands have broken ends for the grains. We buy Royal brand of Basmati and it's been very good!
So officially, I am ending my search for a Hyderabadi Chicken Biriyani recipes because Jobin really enjoyed it and couldn't stop saying 'Wow!'. The kids ate it happily and so did I !

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