Categories
Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Strawberry-Ricotta Mousse

 

 

What I need:

  • 1 cup fresh strawberries, roughly chopped + more for topping
  • 1 tsp fresh lemon juice [optional if you have tart strawberries]
  • 2-3 leaves fresh mint leaves + more for garnish
  • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp unflavored granulated gelatin
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk ricotta cheese

How I did it:

  • Pulse the chopped strawberries along with lemon and mint leaves in the processor.Transfer to a bowl, tip in the gelatin and whisk well.Set aside.
  • In a medium bowl, beat the cream to thick peakes.This is important coz once you add the crushed strawberry mix,the mixture will loosen out a bit.
  • In another large bowl, beat the ricotta cheese and sugar together until smooth.
  • Gently fold in the whipped cream with the ricotta cheese along with crushed strawberry mix.
  • Transfer the mousse to serving bowls and refrigerate for at least 3 hours to set.
  • Before serving top with chopped strawberries and more whipped cream and few mint leaves.Serve cold.

Enjoy!

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Categories
Baking Desserts Easy Recipes Vegetarian

Strawberry-Nutella Thumbprint Cookies

Update 05/31/2011

This recipe was featured on 100 ways to use Strawberries at Endless Simmer.

Update 05/14/2011

Another reader successfully tried this recipe.See here.The blog is in a non-english language so I could not read it but the picture says it all.Thank you LILLA!

Update: 03/05/2011

These cookies were tried by 3 people I know of who came back and told me about their experience.I m linking them here and here. One of the bakers, Mindy commented on the post herself that they turned out good for her. But for Rachelle, it didnt work out fine.I am adding these feedbacks to help those people who want to try out this recipe.Thanks everyone.Your suggestions are always welcome.

 

 

 

What I need: [Makes 22 cookies of the size shown][updated]

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter [softened]
  • 7 tbsp granulated white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder [use aluminium free]
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp thick crushed fresh strawberry mix [homemade by crushing  strawberries with 1 tsp of milk [if required]+2 drops of red food color] [the quantity of strawberry mix will vary depending upon the consistency,please be judgemental]
  • Nutella [for filling]

How I did it:

  • Sift the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl.Set aside.
  • In another bowl, cream the softened butter and sugar using a hand-held mixer for about 4 minutes.
  • Add the vanilla extract and crushed strawberry to the bowl and combine well with the butter mixture using a whisk.
  • Fold in the flour mixture with the butter mixture gently to form a dough.The dough will be soft and a little sticky but not loose.Do not over mix. You might need to oil your hands and bring the dough together.
  • Once combined, cover the dough with a plastic cling film and refrigerate for 1 hour.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F/175 C.
  • Line your cookie sheet with a parchment paper.

  • Take out the refrigerated dough,lightly oil your palms and make small balls with it.Put the balls on the cookies sheet and press down slightly to flatten out.

  • With the help of your thumb or back of a tea-spoon make a small hole in the middle of the cookies where u ll fill the nutella after baking.
  • If at this point you feel that the butter in the cookies is melting, refrigerate again for about 15 minutes.

  • Bake the cookies in the oven for about 8-12 minutes or untill the bottom starts turning brown. Mine took 10 minutes exact.Do not bake them beyond 12 mins.These will continue to cook after you take them out of the oven.
  • Take out the cookie sheet from the oven and using the teaspoon again press out the hole in the cookies.You will not be able to do this after the cookies have cooled.
  • Once the cookies have cooled, fill in the nutella in the little holes in the cookies.
  • Serve with cold milk.

I have adjusted these from a basic recipe here .Notes:

  • The consistency of strawberry mix is of real importance.Make a thick, almost paste like mix in your processor/blender.If some bits remain, it does not matter but the mix should not be runny or watery.
  • The color of cookies/dough can differ depending on how red your strawberries are.I chopped off the white portions and used red part only.
  • I made my cookies less sweet because with nutella filling they could be very overwhelming.
  • The dough can be slightly difficult to work with,but refrigerate and it will be manageable.
  • Since every oven is different, the time of baking may vary from appliance to appliance.
  • You can fill in the cookies with any jam or melted chocolate chips too.

Enjoy! Have a nice weekend everyone.

Sending these to Culinary Smackdown Battle-Cookies

Categories
Beverages Breakfast Brunch Easy Recipes Side Dishes Stir-fry Vegetarian

Indian Spiced Peas(Chuki Matar)& Masala Chai

 

 

 

 

Spiced Peas/Chuki Matar

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fresh/frozen peas
  • 3/4 cup sliced onions
  • 3 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 2 green chillies. thinly cut (adjust to taste)
  • 1.5 tsp cumin seeds
  • 3/4 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 3-4tbsp olive oil
  • Salt to taste
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh lemon juice [adjust to taste ]

How I did it:

  • In a pan, heat up the oil on medium heat.
  • Once heated, temper the oil with cumin seeds and wait for them to crackle.
  • Add the sliced onions to the pan and let the onions saute till transculent.Dont brown them.
  • Next, add the chopped green chilies and ginger julians and cook for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add the peas, red chilli powder, cover the lid and let the peas steam till they are cooked but not mushy.
  • Once tender, open the lid,add salt and garam masala and stir fry on high heat for 5-7 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and add the fresh lime juice and serve warm with masala chai

Masala Chai

Ingredients

  • 1 tea bag per cup (or 1 tsp of black tea leaves/cup)
  • 1 tsp grated ginger
  • 1-2 fresh tulsi leaves [holy basil leaves if available] NOTE:Holy basil is totally different from Thai or Italian basil.
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ cup of warm milk
  • ¼ tsp chai masala powder
  • sugar to taste

Masala/Spice Mix  [Makes 1 cup masala]

  • 1/4 cup cinnamon sticks, broken into small pieces
  • 2 tbsp cloves
  • 1/4 cups whole black peppercorns
  • 1/4 cups green cardamom
  • 4 twig mace, broken into small pieces
  • 1/2 piece nutmeg, grated
  • 1/2 tablespoon fennel seeds

How I did it

  • Fine grind all the ingredients under the head “Masala/Spice Mix”.Store this spice mix in an air tight container in a dry place.This lasts for 2-3 years.
  • To make the masala chai:In a saucepan, add the water along with ginger and tulsi leaves[if using] and let come to a boil.After 2-3 minutes, add tea bag or tea leaves. Let  brew for 2-3 minutes.Next, add “masala” and milk and let it again come to a boil.Reduce the heat to a low simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes.Strain and serve with sugar (or sweetener).

Enjoy!

 

Categories
Appetizers/Snacks Easy Recipes Indo Chinese Non vegetarian Side Dishes Stir-fry

Chilli Chicken

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochineseAll of you who grew in India in the 80’s would swear to eat or crave this chicken dish every other day.Atleast I did! The best about this dish is that the recipe is so quick that it can make its way to your tummy within minutes.The other day when I felt ultra lethargic,I made a quick chilli chicken & steamed rice.

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochinese

When I say CHILLI chicken,I mean lots and lots of chillies..of all kinds…whole red chillies, black pepper and red chilli powder..Okay dont be scared..this is not some deadly chicken preparation..it is just a really hot chicken recipe.Succulent pieces of chicken in a spicy sauce with onions and dry red chillies.If they say, heaven exists on earth,a bowl of chilli chicken personifies it in some crude distant form! Though I never actually asked Mom the recipe,and only saw her making it while chatting beside the stove,I still prepare it recounting those times and the lingering tastes from childhood.I normally refrain from deep-frying the chicken pieces and settle for shallow frying.A handful of red or green capsicum tastes very good, but P is not a great fan, so though I didn’t use it I m noting down!

Sinfully Spicy - Chilli Chicken #indochinese

Printable Recipe

Ingredients (Serves 2-3)

  • 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into 2″ pieces [even bone in chicken can be used too]
  • 1 tsp corn starch
  • 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1.25 cups sliced red onions [the more onions, the better]
  • 3-4 pods garlic,crushed
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger julians
  • 12-15 whole dry red chillies, broken into 2-3 smaller pieces (adjust to taste, use less quantity or milder variety)
  • 2-3 tbsp dark soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp white vinegar (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp hot & sweet tomato chili sauce (I use this brand)
  • 1.5 tsp – 2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
  • 1/4 cup diced bell peppers
  • 3/4 tsp crushed black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • Few chopped green chillies
  • 3 tbsp + 1 tbsp canola oil

Notes –

  1. The dish taste much better when you deep fry the chicken as opposed to shallow frying it.

Method

  • Pat the chicken pieces dry with a paper towel.Sprinkle the chicken with cornstarch, all-purpose flour, salt and black pepper and combine well.Set aside for 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile in a wide-mouthed pan, heat the 3 tbsp oil to the smoking point.When the oil is hot, tip in the chicken pieces and saute in oil till they become white on the outside and slightly tender.About 3-5 minutes.
  • Remove the chicken pieces and drain on a paper towel.
  • In the same pan, add the 1 tbsp oil and on high heat add the crushed garlic and ginger julians.Saute for 2 minutes and add the sliced onions.Saute the onions till they are soft and translucent but not brown.
  • Next, add the whole red chillies,chicken,soya sauce, hot & sweet tomato chili sauce, salt and red chilli powder to the pan and cook on high heat till the chicken pieces are tender.About 8-10 minutes.Add the diced capsicum now (if using).
  • Once the chicken is cooked, remove from heat and add the vinegar.
  • Transfer to a bowl and garnish with few green chillies.
  • Serve warm with steamed rice or chow mein/hakka noodles.

Enjoy!

Categories
Easy Recipes Indian Curry Side Dishes

Hara Baingan Bharta /Spicy Mashed Roasted Eggplant

This dish formed a quintessential part of the lunch served on Makar Sankrati [an Indian festival] in my grand mother’s house from as long as I can remember.The comfy platter with kaali urad dal khichdi [black lentils with rice],hara baingan ka bharta [roasted eggplant], dahi [yogurt], mooli [parsnips], homemade ghee [clarified butter] and achaar[pickle] are my best kept ways of remembering and celebrating Makar Sankranti till now.

As mentioned before in my previous post,my grandmother’s house has a big vegetable garden. Almost all the winter lunches were served there on a charpai [four legged cot]under the bright winter sun amid the home-grown decor of spinach, methi, cauliflower, garlic, onions,cabbage, radish, carrots etc. I have very fond memories of sitting on the charpai with lunch plate in my hand and picking up fresh leaves of garlic and onions and eating it with the meals. The taste of unwashed, organic stuff was unmatched under the warm rays of sun. I am a survivor of these homemade foods and authentic Indian dishes.A mention of winter lunches still takes me back to my granny’s vegetable garden and the food relished there during all my growing years.

In India,still the sil -batta [type of stone grinder] is used for grinding fresh spices for food, for making the chutneys and for other chores of the kitchens, I saw my mom using sil- batta to grind the herbs for making this dish.Those times were different with machines not being very popular and not widely used,hence the food preparations took more time and effort.You can see images of sil-batta here. Last week,her modern world grand-daughter prepared it in her American kitchen using a blender 🙂 Of course, its difficult to recreate that sil- batta texture even by using a 12 speed blender but I guess that’s what moving and adapting with times is all about!Afterall,its the era of fast and easy food 🙂

Okay coming back to the recipe,this hara baingan bharta was made only once a year on makar sankranti.If you ask me,I do not know why. Maybe because it paired the best with the meal served on that day or maybe its got something to do with nip in the air.Talking. of which , I can really relate to the fact that the best cilantro,mint and other herbs are available in India during winters and since this recipe requires these herbs,may be that’s the reason! I wanted to make this bharta for a long time but was waiting for the temperatures to fall down. As a kid eating these recipes ,I never thought that I would be recreating them some 2000 miles away from home, in a new country, with modern age equipments and serving them to someone who came into my life[aka my husband] much later than I learnt all these things.There are so many times I miss while making all this, the company, the family, the laughs, the warmth, the festivals, home but I guess life takes on its course,for good. I m doing what I am doing right now for some reason! Thts my karmaoh sorry I am deviating … so I should stop now.

Coming back to food,in hindi green color is hara ; eggplant is baingan and bharta is a word used for any sort of mash. So this is green colored mashed eggplant …how easy is that!!!Now you need a lot of fresh cilantro/coriander leaves for this dish.If you are not a cilantro person, use parsley but frankly I havent tried it so I can’t comment on how it will taste.Another shining and irreplaceable ingredient is raw mustard oil which gives the bharta a pungent taste.If you find the taste of raw mustard oil very strong , just cook it slightly beforehand but for the authentic flavor, I recommend raw mustard oil, that’s where the actual bharta taste lies! If you want to use olive oil or sesame oil , go ahead and use it and just don’t call it a bharta then…call it a dip or relish ! The whole point is using a slightly pungent and strong flavored oil.Please refrain from using canola or vegetable oil…it will not work in this recipe.Also, I like my bharta on the spicy side so you will have to cut down the green chillies from what I have mentioned in the recipes if you like less hot.The recipe is darn easy with minimal basic ingredients.

What I need :

  • 1 eggplant, big and fat
  • 1.5 cups of  fresh cilantro leaves [about 1 bunch][clean the leaves properly to remove all dirt and grit]
  • 3-5  green chillies [adjust to taste]
  • 1 ” shoot of fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp dry mango powder [anchoor] [can be subsituted with fresh lime juice]
  • 1/2 cup red onions , finely chopped
  • 1-2 tbsp raw mustard oil for drizzle
  • 1 tbsp mustard oil for tempering
  • Salt to taste

How I did it :

Roasting the Eggplant: Do any one of the following

  • In Microwave : Micro the eggplant in a microwave-safe dish for about 7-10 minutes till the eggplant is tender and spongy to touch.
  • In Oven : Preheat your oven at 400 F. Put the eggplant on a cookie sheet or any oven safe dish and bake for about 40-45 minutes.
  • In Broiler : Heat the broiler to 425 F and broil the eggplant till the skin is charred.You will need to rotate the eggplant in between for even cooking on all sides
  • On Stove Top [This is what I do]:Line the dripping pan of your burner with foil or the aluminium foil drip pans available in stores.Roast the eggplant on high flame on all sides till its soft and the skin is charred.

Making the Bharta :

  • Once cooked ,let the eggplant cool a bit. Once cool to handle, peel off  and discard the skin. Transfer the skinless eggplant to a bowl and using a fork or potato masher , just mash the eggplant thoroughly. [please do not use blender]. Set aside
  • In the blender add the cilantro leaves,green chillies, salt , dry mango powder and make a smooth paste with minimal amount of water [if needed].
  • Next, mix this cilantro paste with the mashed roasted eggplant, 2 tbsp of raw mustard oil  and set aside.
  • In a small pan , heat the 1 tbsp oil on high till it starts smoking slightly.
  • For tempering :Once hot enough, add the chopped garlic and ginger and saute for 1-2 minutes till they start browning. Next add the chopped onions and cook till the onions are dark brown in color but not burnt.
  • Just when you are ready to serve,to the mashed eggplant add the tempering and mix well.
  • Serve warm immediately with chapatis or parathas [flatbreads]

Notes:

  1. The taste and flavor of raw mustard oil is really strong, so adjust the amount of mustard oil as per your palate.
  2. To add more texture, you can add raw chopped onions, bell peppers, cucumbers etc to the mash and use it as a dip/relish.

Enjoy!
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