Cream and Yogurt Cheese

Summer it is, and verily, yogurt or as we know it curd (dahi) is an intrinsic part of everyone’s daily diet. While there are many ways of consuming curd, most of them fall in the salt category, very few in the sweet or desserts category. And therefore, I resolved to try my hand at this sweet recipe made out of yogurt. This is a no-cook, no-bake recipe but preparation is a little time consuming, in the sense that you have to wait for the cheese to be ready. Well, having said that, here goes:

Serves: 6

Time taken: 2-3 hrs for cheese creation, ~20 min for preparation

Ingredients

Curd: 400 gm (for making cheese)

Low fat curd: 150 gm

Honey, clear: 2 tablespoons

Egg white: 1

Fruit: mango (1 medium, peeled and diced), or strawberry about 200-250 gm (washed, dried, halved or quartered, as the case may be, can also use raspberries, blackberries, etc. Do not use tinned fruit.)

Ramekin dishes: 6 or 1 medium sized bowl

Method:

  1. Take the 400 gm curd and either scoop it into a muslin cloth/bag or a strainer, set aside for 2-3 hrs to let water drain out. Check after an hour has passed and stir gently with a spoon or fork to encourage water to drain out. Once all water has drained out, your cheese is ready. Scoop it out into a bowl. Do not throw away the water, you can use it to either knead dough or in soups or dals (lentils).
  2.  In a bowl, place the cheese, add the 150 gm low fat yogurt, add the honey and mix well for about 2-3 min. Keep aside.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk egg white until stiff, then fold into above mixture
  4. Spoon this mixture either into individual ramekin dishes or into the medium sized bowl
  5. Decorate on top with fruit
  6. Place in refrigerator and chill until required.

This dessert does not use refined sugar and if you were to use low-sugar fruit with it, it could be suitable  for those with sugar issues. The yogurt/curd is cooling. I made this yesterday in the evening; my mom’s reaction: “I can have this everyday, and it is not very sweet but very nice”. The mango I used was not overtly sweet, (I did not use the Dussheri :-) ).

For my friends, Vasudha, Caroline, Ruchi, Ipsita and many others, here you go; up before the weekend :-)

Chicken-Vegetable Tango

I stepped into the kitchen this Diwali weekend and decided to try my hand at a chicken dish. Given that I had no recipe to speak of, this was made purely by instinct, using what I had on hand. Also, I did want vegetables to be part of the dish. Hence…


Cooking time: ~1 hr

Preparation time (excl. Chicken marination): 30 min

Ingredients:

Chicken Legs: 2, cleaned, skinned

Red Chilli Powder: 1/2 tsp

Roasted Cumin seed powder: 1/2 tsp

Black pepper: 1/4 tsp

Salt to taste

Carrots: 4 medium sized, peeled and cut into 1/2″ thick rings

Cauliflower 1 small: cut into bite sized florets

Capsicum: 1 medium sized, quartered, diced into 1″ pieces

Beans, about 10, strung, diced into 1″ pieces

Olives: 8 whole

Jalapeno: 1 small cut into rings

Zest of one orange

Red Wine: 1 cup

Mixed herbs: 1 tsp

Olive Oil: 2 tbsp

Method:

Wash and clean chicken legs, remove skin. Take a knife and make long cuts on the legs on both sides. In a small bowl mix together red chilli powder, roasted cumin seed powder, black pepper and salt. Apply this mixture onto the chicken and rest chicken overnight in the fridge (or for 4 hrs, if using fresh chicken).

Next day remove chicken from fridge, let it sit outside and return to room temperature, in the meantime prepare the vegetables.

Turn oven on, allow to heat for 15-20 min (I have a small gas oven, so I usually heat it up on high)

Heat a pan or work, put 1 tbsp olive and put chicken legs into cook (basically, sear chicken), let it cook on high for about 2min on both sides, reduce heat allow to cook for 2 more min (1 min each side), remove chicken, keep aside. In the same wok, add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil and put vegetables into saute, saute on high flame for about 2mins, stirring all the time, then reduce heat and allow to cook. Add salt to taste into vegetables.

Take a saucepan, pour the 1 cup wine into it, allow to come to boil, reduce heat, allow to simmer/reduce (takes about 3-5 min). Once reduced to desired consistency, add mixed herbs, stir in well, remove from flame, keep aside.

In a baking/oven proof dish, lay out the chicken pieces, cover and surround with vegetables, sprinkle the olives and chopped jalapenos, grate the zest over this, drizzle reduction, put into oven to cook for about 20-25 min. Ensure reduction does not all dry out. If so desired, drizzle one teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil before putting into oven.

Serve with toasted bread or by itself

Dahi Bade (Vadas/Dumplings, also known as Dahi Bhalle)

I think most visitors to this blog (at least those from India) will most probably heave deep sighs at the above. And since a pix of the dahi vadas is already up and I did promise the recipe would follow, here we go.

Preparation time: 1 hr and more (this is a slightly time consuming recipe, esp since you will need to deep fry the dumplings, overnight soak not taken into account here)

Ingredients:

Urad ki dal  (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urad_%28bean%29): 2 katori/cups; moong dal (see: http://www.foodsubs.com/Lentils.html) 1/3 katori

Ginger: peeled, grated fine/peeled and juiced: 20gm

Hing (Asafoetida): a pinch

Lal mirchi (red chilli powder): 1/2 tsp

Oil for deep frying

Dahi/Curd for serving: 400 gm

Imli (tamarind) ki chutney for the garnish (N number of ways of making this, every house has its own recipe, will put mine up shortly)

Salt (Kala namak): to taste

Bhuna Jeera (Roasted cumin powder): 1 tsp

Fresh Coriander: 1 sprig, washed, cleaned, chopped

Method:

Wash the dal well, twice or thrice, then soak overnight. In the morning, wash again, then put into the grinder jar and grind till smooth (if too thick, spoon in water, adding a cup or a half will lead to batter becoming watery). Once initial grinding is done, add in the grated/juiced ginger, hing, mirchi, run mixer again on high for about 2 min. Turn batter into a bowl, cover and keep aside.

Take a kadhai (or deep, thick bottomed wok), ensure it is absolutely dry, add oil for deep frying and place on flame. Heat the oil on high till it is nice and hot. Take a table spoon or bigger (depending on what size you want the vadas to be), spoon in batter into the hot oil, taking care not to spoon too many in at one go. By this time your oil will be smoking hot, so reduce flame, turn vadas/dumplings over in the oil carefully so as to ensure one side does not get burnt (Use a scooper that has holes in the spoon side so that the oil drains off – hindi mein “poney” kehte hain usko) ladle used for deep frying I prefer my vadas to be light golden in color, you can fry them a darker golden if you so want. Once the vadas are fried to your desired color, scoop out and drain on paper. Try to finish all the batter in one go, keeping it for later would lead to batter turning sour.

Once all vadas are fried, place them in a tray/dish and keep aside.

The above quantity makes approximately about 25+ medium sized vadas/dumplings

Serving preparation:

Say about an hour or two before serving, heat up some water, soak the cooked vadas in it for about 7-10 min. Take out, squeeze the water out and get ready to lay the dish.

Gently whip the set curd, if too thick you may dilute it with a little cold milk, add salt (kala namak to taste), bhuna jeera and lal mirchi.

Would suggest you use a moderately deep serving bowl, layer the bottom with whipped curd and lay out the vadas, spoon some more whipped curd over this, add another layer of vadas and then curd, till all vadas have been covered. Drizzle imli ki chutney on top (you can drizzle between layers also – depends on how much effort you want to undertake) You may want to keep some extra curd at hand since the vadas will absorb all this curd. Sprinkle some bhuna jeera (as per taste and preference) and freshly chopped coriander on top, refrigerate. Serve cold (with extra dahi and imli ki chutney).

Makes for a delicious dish by itself or as a member of the chaat party!

Bharwaan Parwal (pointed gourd)

I happen to take a quick pic when I was sitting down to lunch with mom a couple of days back and as usual posted the pic onto Facebook. Requests for the recipe soon poured in, so here it is:

Ingredients:

Parwal (pointed gourd) <http://www.rabbi-traders.com/bd/images/stories/vegetables/parval.jpg>:  about 6-8 small ones

Salt: to taste

Oil: for cooking

Lal Mirchi (red chilli) powder: 1/2 tsp

Bhuna Jeera (Roasted cumin seed powder): 2 tsp

Haldi (turmeric): 1/2 tsp

Amchoor (dry mango powder): 1/2 tsp

Method:

Wash well and dry the parwal (be sure to select fresh green ones, not too fat for those will be overripe and the seeds will be very big), chop the top and bottoms off, slit lengthwise making sure you don’t cut right through.

Mix the above spices well, (add a drop or two of oil, if wanted), stuff the blended spices into the slits, and clean off excess. Put a shallow-bottomed pan on the flame, add oil, heat. Add the stuffed parwal to the pan, cook on high heat for 2 min, flipping once or twice, reduce heat, cover and allow to cook for 5-7 min or until done. Flip occasionally to ensure they don’t burn on one side. Take off flame, serve with rotis, or as a side vegetable with rice and dal.

A combined pix of bharwaan parwal, dahi vadas and lauki ka kofta coming up. Dahi vada and lauki ka kofta recipes will come up soon.

Tangy Summer Quencher

Slightly modified the pattern of juices today, until now they were very light, made it slightly fuller today.

Ingredients:

Cucumber: 2 small, washed, peeled, diced/cubed

Mango: 1 small unripe, peeled, diced & 1 small just ripened, peeled, diced

Salt (kala namak) to taste

Bhuna Jeera (Roasted Cumin seed powder): a pinch

Honey: 1/4 tsp

Cold water: 1/2 cup

Method:

Combine all the above ingredients, excluding the honey in a juicer/blender, (2 min @ medium speed, 2 @high speed). Strain into tall glass/jug, add honey, stir well. Discard pulp. Put into refrigerator to chill for an hour and/or more.

Serve cold, you can add ice if you wish. The above quantity made about 350 ml.

Cucumber-carrot-mango-mint delite

And in the next edition of juices created for Mom (to ensure hydration and also form her mid-morning energizer) a slightly different one.

Ingredients:

Carrots small: 4, washed, scraped, peeled and diced/cubed

Cucumber: 1 small, washed, scraped, peeled, diced/cubed

Mango unripe: 1 small, peeled and diced

Mint paste: 1 tsp

Salt (i use black salt/kala namak): to taste

Honey/sugar: 1/4th tsp

Method:

In a blender/juicer add all the above, add 1/2 cup cold water, blend/juice (2 min @ medium speed, 2 min @high speed). Strain, pour into jug/tall gas, chill for an hour or so. Serve cold.

The quantity above made for about 300ml

Cucumber-mint-mango lightness

What with mom being unwell and concerns about her hydration quotient being quite high, I have taken recourse to creating light and refreshing summer juices for her. Today,  it was the turn of the cucumber-mint-mango medley. Light, lovely green in color, not too sour (pix comes up tomorrow).

Ingredients:

Cucumber medium sized: 1, washed, peeled and diced/cubed

Mango: 1 small unripe, peeled, sliced

Mint leaves: 5-7, washed (or mint paste: 1tsp)

Curry patta (sweet neem) leaves: 4-5 washed

Salt to taste

Sugar/honey: 1/4 tsp

Cold water: 1/2 cup

Method:

Wash all the above ingredients, peel, dice whatever is required; combine in a mixer or blender jar (if your blender jar has a mesh/pulp filter, use it pls)

Blend/pulp at medium speeds for about 2min, then at high speed for another 2min.  Strain using the blender’s pulp filter or strainer, into a jug or tall glass; place in refrigerator to chill for about an hour. Serve cold. Discard pulp.

The above quantity makes one standard 200 ml serving.

My mom is elderly, so I did not retain the pulp, if desired a little bit of the pulp can be added to bulk the juice up.

Cottage Cheese Mousse (aka Chuha)

I learnt the original recipe from a friend, but it called for the addition of gelatine, not something I am very fond off, so I decided to play around with it and see what the outcome was.  Well, the outcome was as edible as the original recipe, except that this one is a more fluid, smooth, paste/spread-like consistency and not something that needs a knife to cut into like the set gelatine one. And yes, I prefer this one.

Time taken: ~15 min to prepare

About 30 min to chill (preferred serving)

Ingredients:

Low fat cottage cheese aka paneer: 100-150 gm

Jalapenos: 1 big whole

Green olives: about 4-5 small whole

Capsicum: 1 small, diced

Cucumber: 1 small, peeled, diced

Garlic: 4-5 cloves, diced

Green chillies: 1 medium, diced

A dash each of oregano and chilli flakes

Salt/pepper to taste

Extra Virgin olive oil: 1/4 tsp

Method:

Dice/cube the cottage cheese, then mash it, keep aside.

Dice/slice and then blend the jalapenos, olives, capsicum, cucumber, garlic, green chillies. Into this blend add the mashed cottage cheese (you can choose to whisk by hand or use the blender/mixer). Into this blended mixture, add in the salt/pepper -whisk, add in the olive oil, blend/whisk for about less than a minute.

Scoop out either into individual ramekin dishes or main bowl, garnish with shredded celery/mint/coriander. Place into refrigerator to chill for about 30 min.

Serve with toasted bread, cream crackers, khakras, salted biscuits, or enjoy it plain. You can use other vegetables like carrots or tomatoes (if using tomatoes, please remove pulp or the end result will be a little more watery than the consistency shown here).

Stays in the refrigerator for about a week, please use  clean dry cutlery to take out (if it lasts that long). This is my basic recipe, given my mood and contents of my refrigerator this varies. You can, if you wish, spice it up or down. Goes well with most wines, given its cheesy base!

I call this one the ‘Chuha’ (in Hindi, Chuha means mouse! punning on the word “mousse”)

Cream of Mushroom Soup

A well-loved favorite, both my mom and I love it; pretty easy to make too. The proportions below serve 4

Ingredients:

Button Mushrooms (white ones): 200 gm

Medium sized onion: 1

Garlic: 4-6 cloves

Olive oil: 1/2 tsp

Milk: 1 cup

Water: 2 cups

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

Wash the mushrooms under running water taking care to see that all dirt is rinsed off; set aside for water to drain.

Finely slice the onion; peel and grate the garlic. Returning to the mushrooms, halve and then slice them fine.

Put a saucepan /wok on flame, roast the garlic till light brown, add the finely sliced onions, roast until pink, add the finely sliced mushrooms, sprinkle over this 1/2 tsp olive oil, stir. Cook for about 1 min on high flame, reduce flame continue cooking mushrooms until light brown (about 2 mins). Turn off flame, remove half the quantity. In a blender add removed half, add 1 cup milk (brought to room temperature), blend for 1-2 mins. Return to pan/wok, relight gas, add 2 cups of water, stir gently. Allow to come to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for another 2 mins.

Just before serving add salt and pepper.

Ladle into soup bowls ensuring some of the whole pieces go along (my mom and I prefer it that way; you can opt to blend all of the mushroom-onion-garlic). Garnish with grated cheese, paprika (optional). Serve with toasted bread (garlic or otherwise).

Secret Santa’s Salad

 

The 2010 F&S tree with all Secret Santa packages vying for space

We have a tradition in our company: we celebrate Xmas with a Secret Santa and usually have a office lunch in his honor. This year we opted for a potluck, with every member either contributing a dish or contributing to the common staples (rice, rotis/breads, drinks) pool. I would have turned in the trifle pudding, but given that I was racing against time (year-end deliverable wrapping up) opted for a salad instead.

Ingredients:
Iceberg Lettuce: 350-400 gm
Cucumber: 4 medium sized ones
Tomatoes: 4 firm, medium sized
Onion: one light pink large
Capsicum: 2 medium sized
Carrots (pink): 4
Pickled Olives (16) and Jalapenos (6 whole small) (both drained out)
Paneer (cottage cheese): 300 gm
Black grapes: about 20
1 green chilli, finely sliced

For the dressing:
Extra Virgin Olive oil: 2 tsp
Tomato pulp
Garlic: 4-5 cloves
Rock salt, to taste
Olives (4) Jalapenos (2 whole small)
Orange: 1 medium sized for zest and juice

Method:
Wash all vegetables very well, leave to drain and dry.
Wash the lettuce very well, keep aside 4 whole leaves, shred the rest; peel, slice length-wise and cube cucumber; halve tomato, remove pulp, set aside for dressing, cube tomato (same size as cucumber); halve, de-seed capsicum, slice length-wise, very fine; peel carrots, slice into fine rings. Halve onion, slice very finely. Keep all vegetables separately
Cube paneer; halve and then quarter black grapes, set aside; Slice finely olives and jalapenos

Step 1: In a wide bottomed bowl, put in the sliced capsicum, cucumber, carrots, onion, finely sliced green chilli, drizzle abt 1tsp of olive oil, toss, so that oil coats all. Add about 8 olives and 3 Jalapenos sliced. Toss again. Do not ADD lettuce

Step 2: In another pan/bowl, add in cubed paneer, halved-quartered grapes, 8 olives  and 3 jalapenos finely sliced.

Dressing for the greens:
In a chutney jar or the smallest jar of your blender, place the finely diced garlic, tomato pulp, 4 olives, 2 jalapenos, rock salt to taste, 1/2tsp wine vinegar and 1tsp extra virgin olive oil. Blend into a fine paste. Retain about 1/2tsp for brushing over base lettuce leaves. Add the remainder into the greens of step 1,  and toss well.

Dressing for the paneer:
Take a medium sized orange, wash well, wipe dry, grate the zest lightly,  halve orange and squeeze juice onto paneer-grape-olive-jalapeno mix, sprinkle in the zest, toss well.

Cover both paneer and greens with cling film, cool in refrigerator for 30 mins.

Assembling:
Take another bowl (whichever you want to use to serve the salad); wash, dry. Lay on the bottom the whole lettuce leaves, either spray or brush olive oil onto the leaves, brush the 1/2tsp of dressing, set aside.
Remove greens and paneer-grape combo from refrigerator, toss the shredded lettuce in with the greens, now start layering your salad bowl alternately with greens and paneer. You should end with paneer-grapes on the top-most layer.

Cover, place into refrigerator for not more than 30 mins. Serve Cold. If you feel the top layer seems too dry, mix about 1/4tsp each olive oil, wine vinegar and honey and drizzle just before serving.

 

Red, white and green and healthy

Forgot to take a pic before everyone descended on it, so… :-)

Can be had as is, or with toasted bread.