Sunday, April 25, 2010

Dum Aloo

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The other day I found these gorgeous fingerling potatoes in the supermarket and just picked up thinking that I have to make something out of it. Then they were sitting at a corner in my kitchen hoping to be picked, for days and today was the day. I used them to make Dum Aloo.

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Dum in hindi means pressure and aloo is potatoe so you know Dum Aloo means 'pressure cooked potatoes'.Traditionally food is placed in a pot, usually made of clay, and dough is used to create a tight seal to prevent the steam from escaping. So the food is slowly cooked in its own juices, allowing the herbs and spices to fully infuse into it, while preserving the nutritional elements at the same time.

No we will not be doing that. We will use a pressure cooker thanks to the new technology! but I wanted to tell about that so in case you don't have a pressure cooker you can use your usual cooking pots to make this dish.

Facts: Dum Aloo is a part of Kashmiri cuisine. Kashmiri Pandit cuisine to be precise. Kashmiri Pandit food is also very elaborate, and is an important part of the Pandits' ethnic identity. The food usually uses a lot of yogurt, oils and spices.

Ingredients:

Small potatoes - 1/2 lb ( I used fingerling potatoes but you sure can use small red potatoes)
Paste:
 Onion paste- 1/2 cup
3-4 cloves garlic
1 inch ginger ( peeled)
2 thai green chili (  I prefer green so I used them you definitely can use 1 tsp cayenne pepper or whole red chilli)
Powder:
2 tbsp coriander powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin
5-6 peppercorn
1 tsp cinnamon powder
2 brown cardamoms
2-3 cloves
1 bay leave
& 2-3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup yogurt
2 tbsp milk
& salt to taste

Method:

The first thing you have to do is clean you potatoes and poke a few holes onto them using a tooth pick or a fork. This would help the spices to enter deep into the potatoes. Now if you wish you can peel your potatoes I liked them as is so I didn't bother. Then according to the traditional recipe you're supposed to deep fry your potatoes but I fried them in a pan with lesser oil you gotta watch your waistline! fry them until they're brown from outside.

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Then make a paste of all the ingredients listed under Paste and also keep the powder ready of all the ingredients listed under Powder.

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Heat a thick bottom pan. Add oil and then the paste of onion,ginger, garlic and chilis. Fry them untill it all turns golden brown or I've learnt this from my dad who make the best masala ever that you add salt while frying the masala and fry untill the paste starts leaving oil from the periphery. Then you the Powder of masala that u have prepared. Cook it for a while and then add milk, cook for a few seconds and finally add yogurt. Don't forget to beat the yogurt before adding it to the masala or it will leave lumps.

You Dum Aloo is almost ready. Add the potatoes into the prepared masala. If you feel that the gravy is too thick for you add a little water. Pour the whole preparation into a pressure cooker, seal it tight and cook for another 4-5 mins. Turn the heat off just before you know the whistle is going to set off.
In case you're cooking it in a pot, seal the lid from all around with the help of dough so that the steam doesn't eascape and let it simmer for a while on low heat. This method would take a little longer that the pressure cooker, probably around 15-20 mins.

Serve it with your rice or naan or a simple roti ( working on putting up the recipe for a homemade roti )

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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Baked eggs and green peas...Recipe to rescue!

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Recently someone asked me "If there's one recipe that you can name as a rescue recipe what would that be?" My first reaction was, "That's an easy one" It has to be Baked eggs with green peas
Well! It was my in-laws first visit after our marriage and they were with us for over a month I know! & I was not really an expert as far as cooking was concerned at that time not that I consider myself one yet but hey, I write a blog now! Most of the time we would cook at home as my father-in-law prefers home cooked meals and as usual I would run out of ideas for what to cook now and then my mom-in-law who herself is a pretty decent cook would step in and would come to my rescue. So this recipe is one of her rescue dishes.

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I was so impressed with the recipe not only because it was super fast and easy to make but also because obviously it was delicious and looked 'not really a traditional Indian dish'. So that coming from my traditional Indian mom-in-law was amazing.
Although I gave it a little spin of mine after cooking it several times but it still is my mom-in-law's recipe and still comes to my rescue just like her!

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Ingredients: ( you can change the measurements according to the no. of servings you want, this one serves three)

3 large eggs
2 1/2 cups green peas
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp coriander powder
1-2 thai green chilli
1 tsp curry powder ( optional)
salt to taste

Method:

Preheat the oven upto 350 deg. F

Heat oil in a pan and saute chopped onion and minced green chillis. Then add coriander powder and curry powder and at the same time the green peas. Mix them all together ad cook till they're tender ( I usually use frozen peas so they merely seconds to cook).
Then move it all into a baking dish. Make a little depression in the bed of peas with the help of a spoon, as many as eggs you are using. Now break the eggs into those depressions.Make sure they are just little depressions and not holes so that the egg yolk just sits on it. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and poke a few holes on the foil so the steam can escape out.
Place it into the oven for 25-30 mins. Check it once after 20 mins just in case you need your eggs a little softer than I do.
Serve with your choice of bread.

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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dal Makhani.. Lentils at its perfection!

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You know how some things or some food always remind you of someone. Sometimes because of the story related to it or sometimes probably because of the person's love for it. Well! whenever I have to make urad ki daal ( black lentils) it never fails to remind me of my father-in -law. He loves urad daal so much that my mom-in-law even jokingly says that " He met urad before he met me, so I can't complain".

You should listen to him when he talks about it and tells you how his childhood is connected to that daal. How he would come back from school and as soon as he would step on the street heading to his home he would know that mother has a special treat for him today. His mom would make daal in those old mud pots and it would be sitting on the choola ( traditional Indian stove made of mud) simmering for hours before it reaches that absolute perfection. Every-time he talks about that childhood experience of his you can actually see those feeling in his eyes, and then he would sigh and say " you can't get that taste in today's cooking!".

Its so strange how something as little as a simple daal (lentil) can bring back with it so many memories. Probably this is one of the reasons why I'm always scared to make that daal(lentil) when he's coming for dinner. So today since he was not here I thought of making this preparation made out of urad ki daal Dal Makhani. 
Whenever I do so I always try to create a taste questioning if Papa would like it, so giving it a try one more time.

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Facts: Dal makhani is a treasured staple food, originally from Punjab in North India. This dish is a type of daal(boiled lentils or other dried legume/pulse) eaten in India (in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and the Bhojpuri area of Bihar) and Pakistan. Its high in protein--an important attribute in primarily vegetarian cultures.


Ingredients:
2 cups Urad dal
3/4 cup red kidney beans
1 cup chopped onion
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
1 inch ginger
1 tbsp tomato paste/ 1 cup chopped tomato
2 tbsp coriander powder
1tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
8-10 no. peppercorn
4-5 no. cloves
1-2 no. bay leaves
2 tsp curry powder
2 tbsp olive oil or ghee
1/2 cup heavy cream
2-3 tbsp shaken buttermilk

Method:
Soak the red kidney beans in water overnight or  else atleast for 6-8 hours

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Wash the lentils thoroughly and put it in a pressure cooker. Add water to it about an inch above the level of lentils or maybe around 6 cups. Add turmeric, salt, peppercorn and cloves into it. Turn heat on and boil it on medium heat until they are well cooked.
In a thick bottom pan heat oil. Throw in bay leaves and then chopped onion. Saute onions until its translucent then make a paste of ginger garlic and add it to the onions. Fry it until everything looks golden in color and then add chopped tomato, cayenne pepper and coriander powder into it. Fry until tomato is almost dissolved and then add curry powder and after a minute add heavy cream to it.
When lid of the pressure cooker is ready to be opened add buttermilk into it. Stir well so that lentils are completely mixed into each other and then add the onion masala that has been prepared.
Garnish it with coriander leaves and if you want to take it up a notch just add a dollop of butter into it.
Serve hot with tandoori roti or plain basmati rice.

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Oatmeal Cookies..

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You know how there are some days when you just feel a little low and want something that can lift u up and take away from everything. I was recently having one of those days. I really am not sure why but I was feeling so down and gloomy that even I got bored hanging out with myself!
Now everyone has there own way of rejuvenating themselves.. Some people go to clubs, hang out with friends, watch movies, or some like shopping and so on.. Well! for me it would be running and baking. Of-course not both at the same time! So that's what I did. I went to the gym, jumped on treadmill and ran a couple miles, came back home and did some baking.. Yes I did shower before that!

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I found some nuts and oatmeal sitting in my pantry so I took them out and baked some cookies. Oatmeal Cookies with nuts and raisins.
Cookies were the first thing I ever tried to bake when I started baking & cookies were the first thing which never were on my side. They would never come out perfect. Sometimes it would be too hard, then sometimes too soft. Not to mention how many times they would be burnt to death. But slowly and steadily I came where they would come out the way they were supposed to come.

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That taught me one lesson about baking, specially cakes and cookies. Stick to the ratio! If you try to mess with the measurements then the outcome would never be the one you want.

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So here's my recipe of oatmeal cookies.

Ingredients:
3 cups 1 minute oatmeal
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup pecans
1/2 cups sliced almond
1/2 raisins
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups butter ( Oh! yeah..cookies need butter..)
2 eggs at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt

Method:
First and foremost heat the oven upto 350 deg. F
Nuts usually taste far better if baked a little before eating so we'll do that first. We'll place the nuts ( pecan & almond) into the oven for a few minutes, probably 4-5 mins.
Sift all the dry ingredients together  except the oatmeal, raisins and the toasted nuts. Set it aside.
Now pull out the biggest bowl that you have because we have to mix a lot of things together and you would need one. So in your bowl beat the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar together on medium-high speed until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla.
Mixer still on a low start adding the dry ingredients into the wet, slowly, little by little. If you add them together all at once it would leave lumps behind which we don't want.
Then add toasted nuts, raisins and oatmeal into it.
I made more than 40 cookies out of the mixture so you would need two-three cookie sheets to bake them altogether otherwise you can also wrap the remaining dough into plastic wrap and put it in the refrigerator to save for future use.
Line the sheet pans with parchment paper and use a big spoon or best is using an ice cream scoop to drop equal quantity of dough to generate same size cookies. Put them about an inch apart so that they don't stick to each other when the butter melts on heating and the cookies expand.
Bake them for about 15 mins  until they are lightly brown. Them take them out of the oven and cool on a cooling rack before serving.

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Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Berrylicious Pudding..

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Remember I told you about my trip to the farmer's market last Saturday and had promised that I'll be back with a wonderful recipe which has loads n loads of berries in it. So here I am.

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When I found these fresh berries in the market the other day the first thing that came into my mind was "let's make a pudding out of it".

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Then to my luck I found this wonderful baker the same day who had some beautiful brioche. Hence came this pudding into life which I call Berrylicious Pudding. When you eat it you'll know why I named it so.

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So here's the recipe of super easy and super delicious Berrylicious Pudding.

Ingredients:
1 pint raspberries
1 pint blackberries ( divide it into two parts)
1 pound strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
1 Loaf of brioche.
Whipped cream for topping. I used store bought ready to use whipped cream you can even make one yourself. I was kinda in rush!

Method:
Cut the strawberries into small pieces. Heat a sauce pan. Throw in the strawberries, add about 1/2 cup water and 3/4cups of sugar into it. Bring it to boil or until strawberries are a bit tender.
Now add a pint of raspberries and half pint of blackberries into it. Cover the lid and let it simmer until the berries are tender and mixed into each other.
Turn off the heat and then add the remaining blackberries that you had set aside. These will give the pudding a little bite as they are not dissolves with the rest of the berries.
Then slice the bread and cut corners.
Take a tall baking dish or a bowl, about 5-6 inch tall. Pour in a ladle of sauce first and then place a layer of bread on it. Basically in the end this layered pudding will be turned upside down so the sauce in the bottom will ultimately come at the top so try to put some berries so that they look pretty. Then pour little more sauce over the layer of bread and keep repeating the process. You need to layer it just like tiramisu.
Cover it with a plastic wrap making sure the wrap is touching the top surface of the pudding. Now take a plate a little smaller than the circumference of the bowl and apply a little pressure to it. Put something heavy on top of it, I used a can of coconut milk.
Put it in the refrigerator for at-least 6-8 hours.
Before serving remove all the weights and wrap from the pudding. Take a big plate and flip the pudding over.

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When serving in individual plates top it with whipped cream and some fresh berries if you want. I just couldn't take a picture of the dish after it was being plated, that's how fast it all disappeared. But hopefully will makeup for that by making it all again specially to take a picture and will get lucky to enjoy it again. Hopefully!
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