June 28, 2012

Kozhikode Chicken Biriyani

Kozhikode Biriyani is known by several other names like Malabar Biriyani, Thalassery Biriyani etc. It is probably because this Biriyani uses a variety of spices all of which are grown in Kerala itself and very easily available. Have you ever noticed that no matter how many people make biriyani, it is different in every house and every restaurant! This is more my mother's recipe but is still different when she and I make it. This is definitely my go to Biriyani recipe. It is truly deli-sh with a combination of Papad, Raita, pickle and most importantly, Date Chutney. Try this recipe for a taste of Kerala! 
You will need:
Jeera Rice or Basmathi Rice - 6 cups
Water - 9 cups
Cinnamon - 3 sticks
Cloves - 5
Cardamom - 5
Bay Leaf - 2
Ghee - 2 tbsp

Cook the above together. I use a rice cooker for this. The rice will only be semi- cooked but that is what we want.

Garam Masala Mix
Cinnamon - 2 inch piece
Cloves - 5
Cardamom - 5
Nutmeg powder - 1/4 tsp
Fennel Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Cumin Seeds - 1/2 tsp
Ajwain - 1/4 tsp
Salt to taste

Dry roast the above and grind to a fine powder.

Rest of the ingredients required
Chicken  pieces - 1 kg
Chili powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 1 tsp
Big Onions sliced very thin - 5
Tomato chopped - 4 medium sized
Ginger grated - 3 inch piece
Garlic chopped fine - 1 bulb
Green chilli chopped - 5
Coriander leaves chopped - a small bunch
Mint leaves - a small bunch
Lime Juice - 2 tbsp
Cashew nuts - 20
Raisins - 20
Saffron - a few strands
Milk - 2 tbsp
Salt to taste
Ghee - 4 tbsp
Water - 2 cups

Prep Work
Sprinkle a teaspoon of salt to the finely sliced onions and squeeze well to remove all the water from it. Deep fry the onions to a nice brown crisp texture. Make sure you do not burn the onions especially at the last stages of frying. Keep aside.
Fry the cashew nuts and raisins. Keep aside.
Soak the saffron in the milk. Keep aside.
For the Chicken Kurma
Heat 4 tbsp of ghee and sauté the chopped tomatoes in it.
Add the ginger, garlic, chopped green chillies, coriander powder, chili powder and sauté well until the tomatoes are cooked well.
Add the chicken pieces with the water and salt. Close the lid and cook on low heat for about 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
Now add the lemon juice, half the fried onions, the garam masala powder mentioned above, mint leaves and the coriander leaves. Cook for another 5 minutes. You should have sufficient gravy for the Kurma else add water accordingly.

Assemble and Dum
Pour some ghee at the bottom of a large flat bottomed kadai.
Put half of the Chicken Kurma and top it with half the cooked rice.
Sprinkle half the soaked saffron with the milk along with a little ghee on top the rice.
Repeat the steps finishing with the rice, more ghee and saffron milk.
Press firmly with a flat spoon.
Close the lid of the vessel with some dough and seal well.
Keep the vessel on top of an iron tawa and heat the biriyani on low heat for about 10 minutes. This is called Dum.
Remove the sealed lid. Do not mix. Transfer to a serving plate carefully.
Garnish with the fried cashew nuts, raisins and the remaining fried onions.

June 26, 2012

Marshmallow Chocolate Pudding

This indulgent pudding made with melted chocolate and marshmallows will definitely make you feel like a child all over again. When I saw this recipe on television, I could not wait to try it out.This is probably the most easiest dessert in my recipe book that I plan to get children to make it for their parents at the next cook out. I would definitely add this decadent creamy pudding to the next birthday party because adults and children love it equally. Serve it with some chocolate wafers and more whipped cream by the side to make it all the more mouth watering .
You will need:
Marshmallows - 150 gms
Chopped Dark Chocolate - 250 gms
Butter - 2 tbsp
Fresh Cream - 270 gms ( Keep this in the freezer for about 20 minutes in the bowl that you are it whipping in)
Sugar - 2 tbsp

Melt the chocolate and marshmallows together with butter over a double boiler until very smooth and silky. Be careful not to spill any water into the mixture.
Whip the cream on high speed with the sugar until stiff peaks form.
Whisk the melted marshmallow mixture into the cream until smooth and well combined. Do not whisk too much.
Pour into your serving glasses and chill until set.
Garnish with some mint leaves, chocolate wafers and some more whipped cream if required. I did not have chocolate wafers therefore used milk chocolate biscuit sticks.
It is that easy as A,B and C :) !

June 24, 2012

Rice and Chicken Casserole

A friend of mine told me recently that most of my recipes are baked and easy to make. I never realized that eventually anything I make has to end up in the oven and I really love it. I am a very impatient person and love cooking anything that requires little time but is equally tasty too. This dish too is another easy recipe that your family will love. A one pot meal that will cater to everybody's needs at the dinner table! I recommend this to all those busy mom's out there who has to do all the cooking herself, manage the house, kids and rush out the door to meet the never ending demands at office too. This creamy flavorful casserole is my aunt's recipe, so Thank You Vimala Kochamma. I have to mention that my young toddler loved it and had a whole portion by himself too. This recipe serves four people so double the recipe while cooking for a dinner party.

You will need:
Chicken Breasts - 250 gms or 2 cups when cooked and shredded
Mushrooms cubed - 200 gm
Capsicum chopped - 1
Cooked Basmati or any Long Grain Rice - 2 cups
Onion chopped - 1 Large
Basil Leaves - 5 Fresh ones
Ginger grated - 1 inch
Flour - 1/3 cup
Butter - 1/4 cup
Milk - 1 1/2 cups
Chicken stock got from cooking the chicken - 1 1/2 cups
Salt and Pepper - To Taste

Cook the chicken breast with water, salt, pepper, ginger and basil leaves.
Strain the liquid and keep aside 1 1/2 cups of it. This is your Chicken Stock needed in the recipe.
Shred the cooked chicken.
Sauté the chopped capsicum and mushrooms in a dry pan for about 3 minutes. Keep aside. (Keep a few aside for garnish).
In another pan, melt the butter with half a teaspoon of oil (This prevents the butter from burning).
Sauté the chopped onion in the butter until it turns transparent.
Add the plain flour and stir for another 30 seconds.
Remove from fire. Add the milk, chicken stock and the seasoning.
Put it back on the flame stirring all the time with a wire whisk until the mixture thickens to a thick pour-able sauce. Remove from flame.
Add the sautéed mushrooms, capsicum, shredded chicken and the cooked rice and very gently stir everything together.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes at 180C.
Serve hot. Garnish with some chopped and sautéed capsicum and mushrooms.

June 21, 2012

Baked Spaghetti

I love this blog marathon I am suddenly doing. Thanks to that cooking bug which has bitten me quite strongly. Today's lunch specialty was this amazing Baked Spaghetti which left ten souls real happy. My best friend is moving to US and this one was made especially for their family. I love cooking for them so much that it always leaves me feeling that I haven't done my best yet. She and her family has been with us through a lot of ups and down... and now, they are leaving. Will miss you lots Arti and family!!! OK, before I get into any more emotional drama, I better stop and tell you readers more about this bake.

This Spaghetti Bake is almost like a baked Bolognese. It has a sweet yet tangy taste to it. The texture of the smooth spaghetti drenched with the crunchiness of the minced meat is truly gorgeous. The gooey mozzarella adds to the wonderful flavor making it truly delish. Overall, this dish has a variety of texture packed with the most wonderful flavors of Italy.

You will need:
Minced beef - 1 kg
Spaghetti - 400 gms
Mozzarella Cheese - 1 cup
Hot and sweet Tomato sauce - 2 cups
Water - 1 cup
Tomato chopped - 4
Onion chopped - 1 Big
Garlic grated - 4 pods
Basil Leaves - about 5 to 6
Sugar - 1 tbsp
Salt - to taste
Bay leaves - 2
Italian Seasoning - 2 tsp
Keya Garlic Bread seasoning - 1 tsp

Cook and drain the spaghetti as instructed in the package.
Cook the minced meat in a little water for about 20 minutes. I used a pressure cooker for this.
Make the sauce by boiling a mixture of tomato sauce, water, chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, seasonings, sugar and salt. Simmer for about 20 minutes.
Add to the cooked beef  and the basil leaves along with the stock in it and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the sauce is quite thick. Check for salt at this point and add accordingly.
Preheat the oven to 180 C.
Pour a layer of the sauce in a pie dish.
Top it with a layer of spaghetti and finish with the sauce.
Bake for about 20 minutes.
Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for another 10 minutes.
Serve hot with Garlic bread.
This recipe yielded about two dishes of Spaghetti Bake.

June 19, 2012

Roghni Naan

Roghni Naan is a traditional Indian bread and is tastier than the regular tandoori naan we eat. I found that more than in India, people in the gulf countries have this naan often. It is quite similar in texture to the ready made pizza base. Crispy yet soft! We had this with Mutton curry and a Garlicky Cheese spread. The combination was very good. This is the first time I attempted a naan and I must say, I gave myself a pat on the back. This recipe yielded about four big naans.

You will need:
Plain Flour - 200 gms
Salt - 1 tsp
Yeast - 2 tsp
Sugar - 2 tsp
Oil - 2 tbsp
Egg - 1
Yoghurt - 2 tbsp
Lukewarm water - 1/2 cup
Sesame Seeds - for sprinkling

Mix the yeast in the lukewarm water with sugar and stir vigorously to activate the yeast. Cover and let it ferment for 5 minutes until it is frothy at the top. If it has not fermented, it means your yeast will not work. Try again with good quality yeast and make sure your water is almost tepid. Not too warm.
Mix together the yeast water, flour, beaten egg, salt, oil and yogurt and knead it to a very soft dough. 
Put the soft dough in an oiled glass or stainless steel bowl. Rub some oil on top of the dough also.
Allow it to rise in a warm place for about 4 hours with the bowl covered with a wet towel.
Once risen, punch it down and divide the dough into four balls.
Preheat the oven to 250 Degrees C for about 20 minutes.
Flatten the balls on a well floured surface. The naan should not be too thin.
Transfer the flattened naan to a greased flat pan. Press down randomly with your finger tips creating small dents.
Brush with oil and sprinkle sesame seeds on it.
Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes until the top has become a nice golden color.
Remove from oven and brush with more oil.
Serve hot from the oven.

June 18, 2012

Mini Lemon Cakes

This lemon cake has a tangy citrusy flavor that comes from the lemon juice and the lemon zest in it. This soft cake is perfect alongside a hot cuppa whilst watching the rain from the balcony. The lemon glaze is what actually enhances the lemon flavor so try not excluding it when you want to make it. My mom is here with me and she somehow makes me want to cook and try new stuff. This cake is just the beginning and I am sure there will be more to come. Try making this cake in a loaf tin instead of these Bundt tins and bake for 45 minutes. It really is good for those high tea parties.

You will need:
Plain Flour - 220 gms
Corn flour - 40 gms
Baking Powder - 2 tsp
Sugar - 200 gms
Eggs - 4
Softened Butter - 230 gms
Zest of one lemon
Lemon Juice - 3 tbsp
For the Glaze:
Icing Sugar - 115 gms
Lemon Juice - 2 to 4 tbsp

Preheat oven to 180 Degrees C.
Grease four mini Bundt cake tins or a 9 x 6 inch loaf tin. 
Sift together the flour, corn flour, and baking powder.
Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs one by one. 
Finally gently add the flour mixture, zest and the lemon juice and beat until smooth and creamy.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tins and smooth the tops.
If using mini cake tins, pour just a little more than half. I made the mistake of pouring too much which made the cake uneven at the top.
Bake for about 40 minutes in the preheated oven. If you find that the top is browning quickly, I strongly recommend you to cover it with a foil for the rest of the baking.
Once done, remove from the tins and prick all over the cake with a skewer.
Pour the glaze over it immediately so that the cake absorbs it well making the cake more lemony.
Leave to cool completely before serving.

June 17, 2012

Happy Birthday Captain with Flour-less Chocolate Cake ! !

Normally, we give the birthday baby a surprise but this year, plates turned. My husband gave me the sweetest surprise by coming home on his birthday. It was such a joy to see our little son excited at seeing his father come home unexpectedly. He is a serious chocoholic and what better treat than to make for him this truly deli-sh and decadent Flour-less Chocolate Cake. I doubled the birthday joy by making a super delicious Pineapple Swiss Roll too.

This Flour-less chocolate cake has to be in every chocolate lover's diary. This Fudgy Chocolate rich cake makes a very good dessert served warm with a scoop of Vanilla Ice cream and is wonderful served cold too. It took me so little time to make this but the end result was completely worth it. 

You will need:
Chopped Dark Chocolate - 110 gms
Unsalted Butter - 110 gms
Eggs - 3
Caster Sugar - 80 gms
Cocoa Powder - 45 gms
Vanilla essence - 1 tsp

Preheat oven to 150 Degrees C.
Melt together dark chocolate and butter on a double boiler.
In another mixing bowl, beat together eggs and sugar till the sugar dissolves.
Mix the melted cooled chocolate mixture together with the egg mixture with the help of a spatula and finish off with the cocoa powder.
Line a cake dish of size 10 x 10 and pour mixture in it.
Place it in a bigger bake dish which has water in it and bake it for 45 minutes.
Cool on a wire rack and unmold it.
Pour Chocolate Ganache and chill until set.
Cut into squares and serve warm with a scoop of Vanilla Ice cream.

June 11, 2012

Chocolate Bundt Cake with Ganache Glaze

It is my 50th post and what better than everyone’s favourite – a decadent chocolate cake.  There are not many people who doesn’t like a Chocolate cake so this post is rather special. I was bitten by that baking bug again this morning and really wanted to make something special. I made this for two gorgeous little girls who live next door and whom my little toddler loves. So this one is for them!  This is cake is very soft and chocolaty, just like how a good chocolate cake should be. This one is a keeper and am sure I will be making this again soon.
You will need:
Dark Chocolate chopped – 56 gms
Vegetable oil – 3/4th cup
Egg – 1
Sugar – 1 cup
Vanilla Essence – 1 tsp
Cake Flour – 2 cups
Cocoa Powder – ½ cup
Salt – ¼ tsp
Baking Powder – 2 tbsp
Buttermilk – 1 cup
Strong coffee – 1 cup

Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl in brief intervals till you get a smooth mixture.
Whisk together the oil, sugar, egg, vanilla essence and the cooled melted chocolate until the sugar is dissolved.
Sieve together all the dry ingredients.
Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture alternating with the buttermilk and coffee a little at a time whisking gently until smooth.
Pour into a silicone bundt cake mold or a greased bundt cake tin.
If you are using a silicone mold, make sure you place it on a cookie sheet before lifting it to the oven; else you may end up spilling the mixture.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 40 minutes (silicone mold) or 45 minutes (regular bundt tin) or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Once done, allow the cake to cool completely before removing from the mold.
Pour the Ganache over the cooled cake and let it set slightly before serving.

Chocolate Ganache Glaze:
Dark Chocolate chopped – 80 gms
Cream – 1/3 cup
Corn syrup – ½ tbsp
Butter – ½ tbsp
Put the chopped chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a bowl.
Heat the cream and pour over chocolate. Let it rest for a minute and stir until smooth.

June 10, 2012

Grilled Sesame Chicken with Dauphinoise Potatoes

This beautiful dish happened so randomly just like most of my successful recipes. This chicken is truly scrumptious with the sweet and spicy flavors of the Bbq sauce, basil and chili flakes. The flavors are further enhanced by the nuttiness of the sesame seeds. This is such a wonderful dish to serve with Dauphinoise Potatoes which is a specialty from Dauphine, a region near France, making it a complete meal. This post is therefore a combination of two recipes that marries wonderfully with each other with some toast by the side. Give that mashed potato a break for your next dinner party and try this gratin instead. 

Grilled Sesame Chicken
Chicken - 500 gms (Preferably chicken wings or legs for a more juicy texture)
Bbq Sauce - 4 tbsp
Honey - 2 tbsp
Chili Flakes - 1 tsp
Dry Basil - 1 1/2 tsp
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Sesame seeds - 1 1/2 tbsp

Marinate the chicken with all the ingredients except the sesame seeds for at least 1 hour.
Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Centigrade.
Coat the marinated chicken pieces with the sesame seeds and arrange on a grill sheet.
Bake for exactly 30 minutes and brush with the remaining marinade liquid just before serving (else it will be too dry).
Serve hot with toast and Dauphinoise Potatoes.

Dauphinoise Potatoes
Potato - 500 gms
Fresh Cream - 500 ml
Milk - 1/2 cup
Italian Seasoning - 1 tsp
Salt and Pepper - to taste
Garlic - 4 pods

Peel and cut the potatoes into thin slices.
Grate the garlic pods into the cream.
Mix together the garlicy cream, milk, salt, pepper and the Italian seasoning. 
Mixture the potato slices in the cream mixture and arrange in a pie dish.
Bake in a preheated oven for about 1 hour and 15 minutes at 160 Degrees Centigrade or until the potatoes are well cooked.
Serve hot.

June 8, 2012

Pineapple Meringue Pie

I had an awesome week. Lots of birthdays including mine. My loving husband and friends threw the most wonderful surprise party that left me smiling through the next day too.  It was definitely the best birthday I have ever had especially when my 16 month old sings Happbirdayto uuuuu!!! Good times unfortunately do not last long :( and it is that time of the year when I have to bid goodbyes to some wonderful people in our life. I have been feeling pretty low lately because just like everybody else, I detest goodbyes. I really needed some sugar rush and baking therapy to lift my mood. That is when I was talking to my mom who said she had this awesome dessert at one of the parties back home and said that it is a must try. Taking her word, I grabbed the opportunity to bake this very traditional dessert and sure did wonders to my mood. Except, now I know, creativity is really low when you are in a bad mood hence no mood for good photographs either. However, I will make do what I have now. This very tropical sweet dessert that is truly perfect after a heavy dinner.

You will need :
Sugar - 1 cup or 1 cup Condensed Milk plus 4 tbsp sugar extra
Cornflour - 2 tbsp
Salt - a pinch
Crushed pineapple - 11/2 cups
Eggs separated - 3
Lemon juice - 1 tbsp
Shortcrust Pastry Shell – 1(Optional. The original recipe calls for using the crust but try the dessert without this base like I did. Only thing is, you won’t be able to cut neat slices but can scoop it out instead.)

Combine the condensed milk/ sugar with the crushed pineapple, cornflour and salt. Bring to a boil.
Beat in the egg yolks into the hot pineapple mixture stirring all the time.
Put it back on the heat for another 3 minutes.
Remove from heat and add the lemon juice.
Pour the mixture on top of the pastry shell in the oven proof pie dish.
Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Centrigrade.
For the Meringue, beat the egg whites in a clean bowl until soft peaks form.
Add the remaining 4 tbsp of sugar a little at a time until stiff peaks form.
Spoon the meringue on top of the warm pineapple mixture sealing the edges.
Bake for about 10 to 15 minutes until the top becomes a lovely golden color.
Refrigerate overnight or at least 3 hours before serving.

June 1, 2012

Coorgi Paputtu

Coorgi cuisine is a favorite of mine and it is often cooked at home. This Paputtu recipe from Coorg is a frequent dish in my kitchen and we never ever get tired of it. It is best with Coorgi Chicken or Mutton curry which I have already posted few months back. Paputtu is actually Paal Puttu and means rice cooked in milk. Just like in Kerala, most of the Coorgi dishes are coconut based enhanced by a variety of aromatic spices. Lets also not forget that Coorgis love their non vegetarian cuisine and hunt their own meat most of the time. I love all their dishes, Paputtu being one of our favorite. I have mentioned two methods of cooking Paputtu and I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy it as much as we do.

You will need :
Broken Basmathi Rice - 2 cups
Coconut Milk - 2 cups
Water - 2 cups
Cardamom - 1 tbsp
Fresh grated Coconut - 1 cup
Salt to taste

Traditional Method of cooking:
Soak the broken rice in the water for about half an hour.
Grease a medium sized thali or mold that fits into your steamer.
Add the coconut milk, cardamom, salt along with soaked rice with water to the thali.
Sprinkle the coconut on the top and steam for about 30 minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
Cover with a cloth and cool slightly before cutting into desired shapes/ slices.
This is the best, tried and tested method to cook Paputtu.

Oven method:
Soak the broken rice in the water for about half an hour.
Add the broken rice with the water with the rest of of the ingredients in a oven proof dish. Add another 1/2 cup of water.
Sprinkle with coconut and cover the dish with a aluminum foil.
Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or done.
Cool slightly before cutting it.
This is a new method i tried today. If it becomes a little dry, pour about 1/2 cup of hot water to the cooked Paputtu, cover with the foil and allow it cook in its own steam out of the oven.