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Saturday, January 21, 2012

Chocolate Covered Strawberries


International Egg less Desserts Special
Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Fresh Strawberries- 1 Dozen
Dark Chocolate/Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips- 1 Cup

Method:
Wash the Strawberries; Drain & Pat dry on a Paper Towel so that they are completely dry
Keep the Chocolate in a Microwave Safe Bowl & Keep it for 2 Minutes on high till it turns as a Creamy Dip
If not put it back in the Microwave for another 30 Seconds till Done
Dip One Strawberry at a time into the Chocolate Dip in a Circular motion 2 times, Lift & Twist to Coat the Dripping Chocolate back to the Strawberry
Place this Piece on a Tray Layered with Aluminum Foil
Finish Dipping the Rest of the Strawberries & keep them in the Refrigerator for about 30 Minutes to an Hour till the Chocolate Coats on the Strawberries



Tips:
Avoid addition of Milk or using Milk Chocolate for this Recipe
Traditionally a Double Boiler is used to Melt the Chocolate

Variations:

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Sugarfree Mocha & Prune Cheesecake

International Desserts Special 

Sugarfree Mocha & Prune Cheesecake
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

For Pie Crust:
Biscuits- 100 Grams, Crushed into Crumble consistency
Butter- 100 Grams, Freshly Melted
Whole California Prunes- 100 Grams

For Cheesecake Filling:
Cream Cheese- 250 grams
Sugarfree Natura- 2 Tbsp.
Cornstarch- 10 Grams
Egg- 1
Double Cream- 40 Ml.
Coffee Decoction- 1/2 Tbsp.

Method:
In a Bowl, Mix the Biscuits with Butter
Put this in a Round Cheesecake Tin, press it evenly

For Cheesecake Filling:
In a Bowl, Mix Cheese, Natura & Whip into a Soft Paste
Then add Cornstarch & Mix Continuously
Next add Egg & Gently Mix
Add Cream & Mix Continuously
Add the Coffee Decoction Triple Espresso & Mix Continuously

Layer the Prunes on the Biscuit Crumble
Pour the Filling on top of Prunes
Bake at 160 Degrees C for 35-40 Minutes
Cool, Cut into Wedges & Serve!



Tips:
Condensed Milk like Milkmaid is a substitute for Vegetarians instead of Eggs


Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Potato Stuffed Tangy Bun Sandwich (Dabeli)

Indian Vegetarian Snacks Special
Gujarati Cuisine
Potato Stuffed Tangy Bun Sandwich (Dabeli)
Serves 4

Ingredients:
Potatoes- 4, Boiled
Onion- 1, Finely Chopped
Garam Masala- 1-1/2 Tsp.
Degi Mirch- 1 Tbsp.
Chaat Masala-1 Tsp.
Salt-To Taste
Sugar- 1 Tsp.
Water- For the Spice Mix
Olive Pomace Oil-1 Tbsp.

For Lehsun Chutney:
Garlic Cloves- 1 Cup
Degi Mirch- 1 Tbsp.
Lemon Juice- 1/2 No. 
Salt- To Taste
Water-

For Date Tamarind Chutney:
Dry Dates-  Cup
Tamarind (Imli)-
Jaggery-
Red Chilli Powder-
Salt-
Water-

Dabeli Buns-
Nylon Sev-
Pomegranate Seeds-

Method:
Mix the Dry Masalas (Garam Masala, Degi Mirch, Chaat Masala, Salt & Sugar) in Little Water & Keep Aside
Mash the Potatoes with Hands/Potato Masher to a Smooth Mix
Collect the Mixture in the Bowl & Keep Aside
Heat Oil in a Pan
Add the Masalas & Saute till a Boil Comes
Cook the Potatoes in the Masala Mixture & Saute
Remove from Heat & Keep Aside

For Garlic Chutney:
Blend Garlic Cloves, Degi Mirch, Lemon Juice  into a Fine Paste by sprinkling Water if needed



For Date Tamarind Chutney:
Blend Tamarind Puree & Soaked Dates into a Fine Paste
Heat a Non Stick Pan
Add the Date-Tamarind Paste & Stir
Add Jaggery, Red Chilli Powder, Salt & Water
Stir Continuously till the Paste thickens with a Chutney Consistency


Cut the Buns in Half but Leave the Backside Sealed
Spread the Garlic Chutney on one side of the Bun, then Add a layer of Potato Filling the Centre, next Spread a Layer of the Date-Tamarind Chutney on the other side of the Bun 


Add a Dash of Onions, Ribbon Sev, Anar Dana inside the Dabeli Bun  & Serve with Mint Chutney!



Tip:
Mixing Masala in Water helps avoid the Burnt Masalas which may impart Little/No Aroma/Flavours

Variations:
Heat Ghee/Oil, Add all the Dry Masalas to Roast till the Flavours are Released
Keep the Mixture Dry & Use with Potatoes as Needed

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Pasta Carbonara

International Vegetarian Main Course Special
Italian Cuisine
Pasta Carbonara
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Fettuccine Pasta- 200 Grams
Butter- 1 Tbsp.
Fresh Baby Spinach- 10-12 Leaves, Finely Chopped
Onion- 1 No., Finely Chopped
Garlic- 2 Tsp., Finely Chopped
Fresh Cream- 1 Cup
Egg Yolks- 2
Parmesan Cheese- 1/3 Cup, Finely Grated
Sun Kissed Tomatoes- 12-14 No’s, Finely Chopped
Fresh Marjoram- 2 Tbsp., Finely Chopped

Sea Salt- To Season
Black Pepper- To Season, Freshly Cracked
Parmesan Cheese- For Garnish, Extra Finely Grated
Fresh Parsley- 2 Tbsp., Finely Chopped

Method:

In a Non Stick Skillet, Heat Butter on Medium Heat
Add Spinach, Cook till Spinach Wilts (Softens) & Remove Aside

In the Same Pan, Heat Butter
Add Onion, Garlic & Cook till Translucent
Add Tomatoes, Marjoram, Cook for about 5 Minutes, Remove from Heat & Keep Aside


In a Large Saucepan, Cook the Pasta in Boiling Salted Water for 8 to 10 Minutes or until Al Dente
Drain the Pasta, Shake the Excess Water & Put it back into the Pan on Low Flame
In this Pan, Add Fresh Cream, Egg Yolks & Stir on Low Flame
Next Add Parmesan Cheese, Salt & Pepper & Keep Stirring on Low Flame till 2 Minutes
Turn around in the Pan so that the Sauce coats all the Pasta Strands 
Sprinkle Fresh Parsley & Mix Well
Grab the Pasta with the Tongs & Twist the Plate while Plating it

Add the Cooked Baby Spinach & the Onions-Garlic-Tomatoes- Marjoram Mixture
Pour the Extra Sauce on top, Sprinkle Parmesan & Serve Hot!


Tips:
This recipe is an inspiration from one of my Favourite shows, ‘Donna Hay- Fast, Fresh, Simple’!

‘Wilting’ Process is used for Fresh Spinach Leaves here as it needs just some time to Cook so that its color & texture are retained
Can also Add Green Peas, Broccoli, Mushrooms or any other Vegetable of Choice
 
For the Pasta Carbonara, mostly Spaghetti is used but can use Fettuccine, Rigatoni, Bucatini or any thick Pasta
'Al Dente' means Bringing the Pasta to a Firm Yet Cooked state while Boiling, so the Fettuccine in this Recipe should not be too Cooked  nor too Hard

In this Recipe, the Fresh Cream is also called Single Cream with Pouring consistency

Turn around the Sauce & Pasta together gently so that a Velvety Texture forms, so a Set Texture should be avoided
‘Pasta Twirl’ is an interesting technique used to serve the Pasta by increasing its Height & giving it a Pyramid Shape on the Plate through violently shaking it!


Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Aavin Unlimited Ice Cream Parlour @ Chennai


Aavin Unlimited Ice Cream Parlour @ Chennai


One of the Popular Ice Cream Cakes- Half Cassata Roll


Slice of the Cassata Roll


Originally a Sicilian Dessert, Cassata is a Brick shaped Ice Cream with layers of different Flavours of Ice Creams on a Liqueur soaked Sponge Cake


The Indian version of Aavin is little different as the Cassatta has a Base of Sponge Cake with layers of Ice Cream, Vanilla Ice Cream, Strawberry Ice Cream, Fruit Flavoured Coffee Ice Cream, covered with a Layer of Cream & Mixed Nuts



This Cassata Ice Cream can be prepared at home as it can be easily put together about 2 to 3 days in advance and kept Frozen for a Great Evening Dessert!


Feel free to share your views & do let us know of Quality Bakeries/Cafe/Restaurants in your area :)

Eggless Ravioli

International Vegetarian Main Course Special
Italian Cuisine
Eggless Ravioli
Serves

Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour (Maida)- 1 Cup, Refined or White Flour can also be used
Semolina (Sooji)-  1 Cup
Tepid/Luke Warm Water- 225 Ml.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 10 Ml.
Salt- a Pinch

For the Filling:
Pumpkin- 250 Grams, Roasted with Salt Pepper & Olive Oil
Potatoes- 2 Medium, Baked/Boiled
Ginger- ½ Tsp., Minced
Chives- 1 Tsp., Finely Chopped
White Bread Crumbs- 1 Tbsp.
Ricotta Cheese- 1 Tbsp.
Mascarpone Cheese- 1 Tbsp.
Parmesan Cheese- 1 Tbsp., Freshly Grated
Thyme Leaves- A Few
Salt & Pepper- To Taste

For Tomato Sauce:
Fresh Roma Tomatoes- 3
Fresh Basil Leaves-3 to 4
Extra Virgin Olive Oil- 2 Tbsp.
Garlic- 2 Cloves, Smashed
Tomato Puree- 2-3 Tbsp.
Salt & Pepper- To Season

Method:
Mix Flour, Sooji, Salt, Olive Oil & Water to form a Semi Stiff Dough
Cover & let it Rest for 30-40 Minutes

For Filling:
Mash Pumpkin & Potatoes
Season it with Salt, Pepper, Chives, Ginger, Breadcrumbs, Ricotta, Mascarpone, & Parmesan Cheese
Mix all together Nicely & Let it Rest in the Fridge for a Few Minutes
Knead the Dough on a Floured Surface& Cut in Half
With Half the Dough, Roll Out till it is about 2 Cms. Thin
Use a Ravioli/Round Cutter to make the Outer Shell
Brush a Little Milk on the Ravioli Shells
Put the Filling in a Piping Bag or use a Spoon to put the Filling in the Pasta
Use Fingers to Fold the Pasta into a Crescent Shape
Make 6 Crescents & Let it Cool in the Refrigerator

For Tomato Sauce:
Blend Tomatoes, Garlic, Basil, Red Chilli Flakes, Olive Oil & Salt into a Thick Paste
Pour the Sauce & Olive Oil in a Saucepan & Cook till Boiling Starts

In a Pot, Put Water & Salt & let it Boil
Add Ravioli in Boiling Salted Water & let it Cook for Few Minutes
Add these Ravioli Gently in the Tomato Sauce  

Serve Hot with Parmesan Cheese, Freshly Cracked Black Pepper & Basil Sprigs!


Tips:
Thanks to ‘Vicky Goes Veg’ for this Wonderful Vegetarian Ravioli, eating Vegetarian has become less  of a burden and more of being creative now :)

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Bottle Gourd Gravy Cooked in Simple Spices (Tariwali Lauki/Lauki Jhol)

Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special 
Madhya Pradesh/Uttar Pradesh Cuisine
Bottle Gourd Gravy Cooked in Simple Spices (Tariwali Lauki/Lauki Jhol)
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Bottle Gourd (Lauki)- 200 Grams, Peeled & Cubed into ½ Inch Pieces

Ripe Roma Tomato- 1 Medium 
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 1 Tbsp.
Hing- a Pinch
Cumin Seeds (Jeera)- 1 Tsp.
Coriander Powder- 2 Tsp.
Red Chilli Powder (Kuti hui Lal Mirch)-  ½ Tsp.
Turmeric Powder (Haldi)- ½ Tsp.

Salt- To Taste
Fresh Coriander Leaves- 2 Tbsp., Finely Chopped

Method:
Wash, Roughly Chop & Puree Tomatoes in a Blender
Mix the Dry Masalas (Turmeric Powder, Red Chilli Powder & Coriander Powder) with some Water & Keep Aside

Heat Oil in a Pressure Pan
Add Jeera & Sauté on Low Flame
Add Lauki & Sauté Well
Add the Dry Masalas (Turmeric Powder, Red Chilli Powder, Coriander Powder & Salt)
Add the Tomato Puree & Mix Well
Add Water, Cover & Pressure Cook for about 1 Whistle
Remove from Heat & Check to see if Lauki is Soft
Garnish with Freshly Chopped Coriander Leaves
Serve Hot with Phulka, Dal Fry, Set Curd & Roasted Papad!

Tips:
Traditionally Mustard Oil is used 
Keeping the Tomato Skin is optional, so the Puree can be made without the Skin as Well through Blanching
Variations:

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Twice Cooked Potatoes

International Vegetarian Main Course Special
Lebanese Cuisine
Twice Cooked Potatoes
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Potatoes- 2 Big, Boiled with Skin
Sweet Potatoes- 2 Medium, Boiled
Zaatar Spice Powder- a Pinch
Smoked Paprika- a Pinch
Cumin Powder (Jeera)- a Pinch
Organic Black Pepper- 1- ½ Tsp.

Salt & Pepper- To Season the Potatoes
Thyme- 2-3 Sprigs
Rosemary- 2-3 Sprigs
Olive Oil- 1- ½ Tbsp.

For Hummus:
Cooked Black Chana- 1 Cup
Garlic- 1 Clove Bashed
Hung Yoghurt- 1- ½ Tbsp.
Olive Oil- 1 Tbsp.
Tahini Sauce- 1 Tbsp.
Salt- To Taste
Apple Cider Vinegar- 1- ½ Tsp.

Method:
Slice the Potatoes & Sweet Potatoes into Wedges
Arrange them on a Tray, Season with Salt & Pepper
In a Bowl, Mix together the all the Dry Spices (Cumin Powder, Zaatar Spice Powder, Smoked Paprika, Salt & Freshly Cracked Black Pepper), Thyme, Rosemary & Olive Oil
Pour this Marinade over the Potatoes on the Tray & Mix Well
Bake these Potatoes in a Pre Heated Oven at 250 Degrees C for 10 Minutes

For Hummus:
Blend together all the Hummus Ingredients (Black Chana, Garlic, Hung Dahi, Olive Oil, Tahina, Apple Cider Vinegar & Salt) so that it forms a Thick Paste
Garnish with Smoked Paprika, Olive Oil & Cooked Black Chana
Alternative hummus is ready!

So Serve the Hummus Fresh with the Twice Cooked Potatoes  & Lavache (Crispy Bread Sticks) & Place in a Tall Glass!
 
Tips:
Thanks to the show 'Vicky Goes Veg' host Vicky Ratnani for being an Inspiration on this Exotic Dish!


Zataar Spice Powder is a Blend of Few Middle Eastern Spices & is mainly used in Syria and parts of Armenia and Turkey. It contains Oregano, Dried Thyme, Dried Sumac Berries, Dried Hyssop Herb & Sesame.

One of the Major Ingredients in Zataar is Dried Sumac Berries which is made from the Plant Berries of a plant called Rhus Coriaria which grows Wild in Mediterranean  & Middle East Regions. The Brick-Red Fruit is sold either as Whole Berries or Dried & Ground. Sumac has a Sour Acidic taste & it was once used for Soothing the Stomach. Presently, Sumac is mainly used as a Condiment for Sprinkling on Vegetables & Small Dishes on the table

Tahina (Sesame Seed Paste) is a Very Important ingredient in the Hummus and Lebanese Cuisine in general!

For more reference, check out Culinary Expert Padma Lakshmi's Site:
http://www.padmalakshmi.com/forum/thread/global-pantry-zaatar-powder-has-endless-possibilities

Variations:

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Sugarfree Apple Cranberry Crumble

International Eggless Desserts Special
Sugarfree Apple Cranberry Crumble
Serves 3-4

Ingredients:

For Filling:

Butter- 50 Grams
Apples-  2, Washed, Peeled & Cut in Cubes
Cranberries- 100 Grams
Cinnamon Powder- 1/3 Tbsp.
Orange Juice- 1 Tbsp.

For Crumble:
Flour- 50 Grams
Butter-50 Grams
Sugarfree- 25 Grams
Almond Flakes- 50 Grams 
Toasted Oats (optional)

Method:
For Filling:
In a Big Non Stick Pot, Heat Butter, add Apples & Sweat these
Add Cinnamon, Cranberries, Orange Juice, Cook Covered on Low Flame till Half done or about 10 Minutes


For Crumble Mix:
Mix Flour, Butter, Sugarfree with hands to achieve a Bread Crumbs consistency
Add Almonds & Mix

Put the Apple Mix in a Small Baking Cups/Ramekins
Cover the Cup with the Crumble
Put the Cups in a Tray & keep to Bake 170 Degrees for 20-25 Minutes or till the Crust gets Golden
Serve Fresh, Dust with Sugar with Low Fat Cream!

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Bottle Gourd Cooked with Potatoes (Lauki Aloo ki Sabzi)

Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special  
Madhya Pradesh/Uttar Pradesh Cuisine
Bottle Gourd  Cooked with Potatoes (Lauki Aloo ki Sabzi)
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Lauki- 200 gm, Cubed
Potatoes- 250 gm, Cubed

Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 1 Tbsp.
Curry Leaves- 6-7  
Green Chilli- 1, Finely Chopped
Asafoetida (Hing)- 1/2 Tsp.

Turmeric Powder- 1 Tsp.
Cumin Seeds- 1 Tsp.
Coriander Powder- 2 Tsp.
Salt- To Taste
Fresh Coriander Leaves- 2 Tbsp., Finely Chopped

Method:
In a Wide Non Stick Pan, Heat Oil
Add Jeera, Hing, Curry Leaves, Green Chilli & Saute till the Seeds Crackle
Add the All the Dry Spices (Turmeric Powder, Coriander Powder) & Mix well
Add Potatoes and Coat all the Pieces well with the Powdered Masalas
Add Lauki, Salt & Toss well
Garnish with Fresh Coriander Leaves



Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Simple Masala Egg Omlette Sandwich (Anda/Kodiguddu Attu)

Indian Eggetarian Breakfast Special
Simple Masala Egg Omlette Sandwich (Anda/Kodiguddu Attu)
Serves 2

Ingredients:
Egg- 4 No’s
Onion- 1 Small, Finely Chopped
Green Chillies- 3 No’s., Finely Chopped
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 1 Tsp.
Cumin Seeds (Jeera)- ¼ Tsp.
Red Chilli Powder- ¼ Tsp.
Salt - ¼ Tsp.
Black Pepper Powder (Freshly crushed) - ¼ Tsp.
Garam Masala- ¼ Tsp.
Fresh Coriander Leaves- 2 Tbsp., Finely Chopped

Rich Multi Grain/Whole Wheat Bread- 4-6 Slices 
Method:
In a Mixing Bowl, Add Onion & Green Chillies
Crack the Eggs in the Bowl & Whisk them till Fluffy
Add Red Chilli Powder, Salt, Black Pepper Powder, Coriander Leaves & Beat well

Heat Oil in Wide Non Stick Skillet (Tawa) on Medium Flame
Add Cumin Seeds & Sauté till Seeds Crackle
Gently Pour the Egg Mixture on the Tawa
Cover & Cook on Both Sides till they turn Fluffy & Light Brown on Low Flame

Serve Hot Wrapped inside 2 Bread Slices with Tomato Ketchup!

 


Tips:

It is Essential to Carefully Whisk the Eggs just enough for the Fluffy Texture
This Omlette also Tastes Great with Rice, Phulka or just by Itself!

Rich Multi Grain/Whole Wheat Bread & Eggs definitely are a great Combo Meal to Kick start the Day!

Variations:
Can Add Finely Chopped Tomatoes as per Taste
For a South Indian Taste, can add ¼ Tsp. Turmeric Powder & Curry Powder instead of ¼ Tsp. Garam Masala in the Whisked Eggs

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Chocolate & Cinnamon Wontons

International Egg less Desserts Special
Chocolate & Cinnamon Wontons

Ingredients:
Dark Chocolate Bar- 
Butter-
Wonton Wrapper-
Brown Cinnamon Powder- 1 Tsp.
Castor Sugar- 2 Tbsp.

Method:
Cut the Individual Squares Pieces out of the Dark Chocolate Bar
Brush the Edges of the Wonton Wrapper with a little bit of Butter on the Edges
Place a Small Square Chocolate Piece on Upper Half of the Wonton Wrapper
Pressing Gently Seal the Edges with Fingers
Place Prepared Wontons on a Non Stick Tray
Brush Wontons with a Layer of Butter
Combine Brown Cinnamon Powder & Castor Sugar Well in a Bowl
Sprinkle on Wontons
Bake in a Preheated Oven at 180degrees C for about 8 Minutes until Golden and Crisp
Serve Warm with Hot Black Coffee!

Tips:
Thanks to Donna Hay's show Fast, Fresh, Simple from where we get the Inspiration for trying out the Unexplored Areas of Culinary Delights!


Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)