The thought of eating steaming rice mixed with thick, chili hued masala from the curry fills me with as much joy as that of a kid waiting upon a bowl of macaroni & cheese. In our house, a weekday suddenly turns exciting when its egg curry for dinner. It is not an immensely difficult meal to prepare and trust me it spoils your taste buds given how quick it is ready to serve. I use my basic masala recipe with a few whole spices added in.
The husband can live on eggs and for me, particularly at this time of the year when the evenings are colder, diving into a thick tomato gravy with redolent of kasuri methi and warm tones of ginger is enough to drive me hungry out of turn.
In India, egg curry is an immensely popular dish. Usually, hard-boiled eggs are thrown in the home specific curry recipe and served as a protein side to the meals. The recipe varies from home to home as well as region to region. The north indians mostly prepare it in a tomato – onion base while the south indian version is done with coconut & curry leaves.Few regions use a mustard paste base and fry up the lightly hard-boiled eggs before dunking them in the sauce.It is commonly served as a side to flatbreads or plain rice.
My mum always used to add fresh peas to the gravy but the husband prefers potatoes so I started making it that way. If you get a chance, fresh peas, sweet and tender beautifully balance the heat of the spices but potatoes taste quite delicious and comforting too.You can use just eggs too depending on how you like it. The gravy is very flavorful with normal day-to-day spices used in and comes together quickly while the eggs boil.
Ingredients (Serves 2-3)
1 generous pinch turmeric powder
1 medium potato, peeled and cut into halves or quarters
3-4 tbsp mustard oil (substitute with canola/grapeseed oil)
1 green cardamom, cracked open
1/4″ cinnamon stick
1/2 cup finely chopped onions
1 small garlic, finely chopped
1/2 tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger (adjust quantity to taste)
1 cup tomatoes, finely chopped (slight sour variety)
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/8 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp amchoor (dry mango powder)
1/2 cup water (or more depending on desired consistency)
1/2 tsp kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves, skip if you do not have)
Fresh cilantro to garnish – as much as you want
Hard Boil the eggs. I use this recipe to get perfectly hard -boiled eggs.
Peel the eggs, slit (but not all the way through) them using a sharp knife and rub them with a generous pinch of turmeric powder and let sit.
In a heavy bottomed pot, add the oil and heat on medium – high till you see faint ripples on the oil surface.If using mustard oil, you will need to heat it a little longer till to do away the raw smell.Reduce heat to medium. Add the cardamom and cinnamon stick and let crackle for 10-120 seconds. Add the finely chopped onions next and cook them till golden brown. About 6-8 minutes.
Next, add the garlic & ginger and cook for 1-2 minutes till you start smelling a nice aroma.Reduce the heat to low and add the tomatoes next along with coriander,turmeric,chilli,garam masala & amchoor powder. Start to cook this masala on low heat. After about 3-4 minutes add the potatoes, cover and cook the masala till you see the oil separating on the sides of the pan. About 8-10 minutes. In between, if you see masala sticking to the bottom of pan, add some water. .This slow cooking is very important to develop flavors and color of the paste, do not rush.Allow the masala to reduce till it acquires beautiful reddish to brown color and the potatoes are 90% done.
Add the turmeric rubbed eggs to the pot, sprinkle the kasuri methi, add more water (if you want a thinner gravy),cover and let cook for another 5-7 minutes. Put off the stove and let sit at least 2 hours before serving.
When I posted the pictures of these noodles on Instagram, a few of you asked for the recipe. Well,to be true these are such a casual thing in my kitchen on days when I am a lazy ass to cook that I never cared to put together a recipe. There is hardly any fixed way I make these noodles because in real, I toss them together with any kind of vegetables, protein or spice mix I can lay my hands on from the refrigerator or kitchen cabinets. However, they always leave us wanting for more. I always end up telling myself to-make-a-larger- batch-next-time.The leftovers are better than freshly made,something so typical with asian flavors. I don’t even remember how and when these became a regular in our kitchen, but now they are usually a mid-week dinner and lunch the following day. For the last few of times I am noticing that our little girl is reaching out for a couple of strings so I make a chili and soy sauce free version for her. Looks like these are slowly lining up to be a family favorite.
You know the thing about noodles – thin or thick, whole wheat or buckwheat, stringy or tubular, hand pulled or knife cut, I have hardly met anyone who doesnt like these little carb packs. There is no denying the versatility with which they marry vegetables, meat, seafood and soak up any kind of sauce you toss them with.Most of the time you will find me mixing them with a tomato based sauce loaded with spices which is a typical example of the kind you will find on indian streets.
I kept it really simple and quick in this one. It hardly takes 15-20 minutes for the dish to come together.The garlic and fresh green chillies are the star flavors here and a touch of garam masala rounds it up with a spicy note. Sometime I add shredded roasted chicken or sautéed shrimp but mostly quick scrambled eggs. You could serve this alongside gobi manchurian and chicken in hot sauce or just as it is.
4 scallion stalks (green & white part chopped separately)
1.5 cups shredded vegetables (I used cabbage, carrots, green/red bell pepper)
3 tbsp sunflower oil (Use any neutral oil)
1.5 tsp dark soy sauce
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1-2 tsp white vinegar (adjust to taste)
Salt to taste
For the Eggs
1 teaspoon oil
Salt & black pepper to taste
1 tsp fresh cilantro, very finely chopped
Cook the noodles as per package instructions. Drain, wash with cold water and rub thoroughly with both & 1 tsp regular and sesame oils and set aside.
While the noodles are cooking, you can prep the vegetables and chop the onions.Also using your mortar & pestle coarsely grind the garlic. Slit and half the green chilies or finely chop them depending on the heat level you prefer.. You could seed them if you like.
Beat the eggs thoroughly and add the salt, pepper and cilantro.In a small pan, heat up 1 tsp oil and on very low flame, cook the eggs stirring continuously. The eggs should be cooked such that they are not loose or runny.Set aside in a small bowl.
In a wok, heat up the oil to medium high. Take off the heat,add the garlic and slit green chilies.Cook for 20-30 seconds till you smell a nice aroma (this is important) and see blisters on chili skin and they crackle. Take care not to burn the garlic.
Return the wok to the stove and add the sliced onions and white parts of the scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes on medium high till the onions begin to soften but do not brown. Add the vegetables to the wok and a pinch of salt. Saute for another 2-3 minutes till the vegetables are lightly coated in oil and soften a bit.
Next,reduce the heat to very low, add the noodles to the wok along with green parts of scallions, soy sauce, garam masala and black pepper. Toss well so that the noodles are coated well. Check the salt and adjust. Let cook for 1-2 minutes till the noodles are just warmed through. Put the stove off. Add the vinegar and the cooked eggs.
Toss well and let sit for 20-30 minutes if possible else serve right away.
For someone like me who is not a big fan of chocolate,baking with fruits is one of the most favorite things.It gives a perfect opportunity to experiment recipes with fruits & relish the results.Baking with fruits always overwhelms me, the way the flesh, natural oils and sweetness transform inside the oven is intriguing.Take for example an apple, the texture before and after baking is completely different and good in its own way..while the fresh one is juicy & crunchy, baked is dense & succulent.
Me and P adore fruits & try to include them as much as possible meals.With temperatures already soaring in Vegas,fruit based recipes are absolutely delightful.I saw really gorgeous stone fruits at the grocery store a week back.There is something about pink/plum/red colors – they catch my eye from far away and seem to call my name.I rushed towards them.There lay boxes of fleshy,bright-colored peaches, nectarines & apricots in front of my eyes,each trying to catch my attention.Helpless at being able to choose, I bought all of them – all in the name of health foods! Gnawing my teeth into fleshy stone fruit is super exciting.The rush of juices between the teeth & the texture from the flesh add a refreshing dimension to my dull, lazy days.Eating fruits heals me psychologically, it’s comforting to feel the intake of antioxidants the most natural way possible.
Our tastes in fruits match to the extent that we LOVE them but differ in the kind of fruit.While he is a tropical fruit fiend, I swear by berries & stone fruits.The moment,I picked up the first apricot,Oh what a pink blushing beauty it was outside.I pitted it knew that I had to make something to showcase inside-oozing with juices, accurately tart & with golden-colored flesh, just waiting to be baked!
Started my google search and found this perfect recipe from Good houseKeeping of an apricot cornmeal upside down cake.It has very less quantity of oil.And one of my favorite ingredients to bake with – buttermilk! I was slightly apprehensive because I had never baked with cornmeal what if we don’t like the taste or it doesnt rise much or is dry? It was painful to think about a 8″ cake making its way into the bin.But then, unless I took a leap, I would not have discovered the delight of baking with cornmeal.We totally loved it.It was moist, perfectly sweet & very homey looking.The slight tang from the buttermilk complemented the sweetish tartness of apricots very well.A perfect cake for summertime get togethers. Below goes the recipe:-
For the Strawberry Cupcakes [Makes about 18 cupcakes]
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups white granulated sugar
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 sticks unsalted butter[ at room temperature]
3/4 cup pureed strawberries [frozen/fresh]
4 large egg whites
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup milk
1-2 drops of red/pink food color depending on how pink you want your cupcakes
For the Chocolate Frosting
2.5 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
1 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tbsp of milk or as required to thin out the frosting.
[For the Cupcakes]
Preheat oven to 350 F.Line your cupcakes pan with cases or grease thoroughly.
I like to strain out the pureed strawberries through a sieve once.You can skip this step if you do not want to.
In a medium bowl sift flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the softened butter with the pureed strawberry until mixed.
Add the flour mix to the butter mix and blend until fluffy.The batter will be thick
In another bowl,beat egg whites, milk, vanilla extract and food color until light and fluffy.
Fold in the whisked egg whites into the batter, divided.Keep mixing gently until whole of it is incorporated.D
Using your cookie/ice-cream scoop, fill the cupcake pan about 3/4 full.
Bake 18 – 22 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.Mine took 20 minutes.
Transfer the cupcakes to the rack for cooling.Let cool completely before frosting
Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
On a double boiler, melt the chocolate chips.Mix the vanilla extract and let them cool to room temperature.Cream softened butter and sour cream until well blended.Blend in melted and cooled chocolate chips until smooth.Add confectioner’s sugar and beat well.Add a teaspoon of milk at a time until desired, spreadable consistency is reached.
In a medium bowl, sift flour,baking soda & powder, salt.Set aside
In a larger bowl,cream the butter & sugar thoroughly untill fluffy.To this add the lime juice & vanilla and beat until combined.
To the butter sugar mix, add the flour mix and gently combine with a spatula to bring together into a dough.You might need to add a tbsp or more of milk at this stage if required to make a soft dough.
Divide the dough into 2 small balls.Take a piece of plastic cling film, put the dough balls on it and flatten with palm to make a disc.Wrap the discs with plastic cling film.Repeat the same with 2nd dough ball.Chill both discs for about 30 minutes.
Line your cookie sheet with parchment paper.Avoid using aluminium foil as the extreme heating up will burn the cookies from bottom.
After chilling, take one disc out, unwrap it and place it between two sheets of parchment paper. Initially, you may find it little difficult to roll because of the chilled dough.It will soften as you go along.
Roll the disc using a floured rolling-pin into a sheet about 1/4″ thk.
Using a floured cookie cutter cut the cookies from the rolled dough.
Using a floured thin spatula, transfer the cookies to the lined cookie sheet.Note: Picking up the cookies with fingers will deshape them.
Preheat the oven to 350F
Chill the cut cookies again for 15 minutes.
Once chilled, bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes until the sides start turning brown.
Cool completely on a cooling rack.
Tip in the blueberries, water and sugar to a small sauce pan.Cook it on low heat until the blueberries are soft and mushy.Transfer to a blender.Blend on high to form a puree.Dissolve cornstarch into lemon juice.Transfer the puree to sauce pan again and add cornstarch mix.Cook on very low heat for about 5-8 minutes until you get a thick paste.Cool completely before adding to the cream.
Blueberry Cream Filling:
Make the filling by beating the cream cheese & butter with an electric mixer. Mix in powdered sugar until smooth.Add 2 tbsp of the cooled blueberry paste above to make a smooth mix.
Pipe or spread 1-2 tablespoons of blueberry filling in the center of a cookie. Top with a second cookie and press together until the filling reaches the edges of the cookies.Store in an air tight box for up to 3 days.
Use any kind of berries or fruits to make the filling.The recipe remains the same.
I have mentioned the baking times on my oven.Since all ovens are different, please adjust the times as per your appliance.
You will need to adjust lime juice if your berries are really tart.
A reader successfully tried this cake.You can see the link here.Thank you so much for trying out.
Tuesday,8th March is our wedding anniversay.I wanted to make something to refresh memories of Pune,a bustling metropolis near Mumbai,India.I couldn’t think of anything else but Mava cake, a unique speciality from Pune/Mumbai bakeries to recapture the moments we spent there.City of Pune has always been special,it is the city from where my career took off with first job and then I met P there for the first time 7 years back.Also referred to as the “Oxford of the East”, Pune is a youthful city with pleasant weather all round the year and attracts a lot of foreign students.I lived in Pune for almost 2 years, and while I was there I got a chance to enjoy the cultural heritage of the city.Due to presence of Osho Ashram ,Pune is a haven for foreign tourists who come here to seek relaxation through meditation and simple, natural living.
The influence of cosmopolitan elements is quite explicit in the city’s culture and lifestyle.Thanks to influx of foreigners, the city has a plethora of world cuisine restaurants and bakeries to choose from. My two favorite bakeries from the city were Kayani Bakery on MG Road and German Bakery in Koregaon Park[den of the Osho Ashram]. A visit to German Bakery and you won’t feel you are in India.I usually frequented there to catch up with friends over Masala Chai.The place has less of a bakery feel but its more like a mini eatery serving some of the best cheese sandwiches, toasts and burgers.One of the highlight was that except for chai they don’t serve any indian food.
Anyhow, since we are talking Mava cakes here, I want to focus on Kayani Bakery, a reminiscent of Irani/Parsi Cafés specializing in some of the best milk cakes and biscuits [cookies].Wiki tells me that these Iranian cafés were first opened by Persian travellers to India in the 19th century.Iranian cafés used to be numerous and popular but competition from modern cafés and fast food restaurants have left them behind.One of the most popular eating places is the 102-year-old Kayani Café, a heritage landmark in south Mumbai.Though I m not sure but I think from the similarities between the setting and menu of both places that Kayani Bakery in Pune is an offshoot of the same legacy.The bakery is very ordinary looking, always packed with people, with crowds thronging to queue up as early as 6 or 7 in the morning to get their daily quota of fresh baked goodies. The bakery opens at 8 and by noon, they are out of most of their stuff.I have had the best and most unusual biscuits [cookies] and cakes of my life here.To name a few, if you get a chance to visit, you should not come back without Shrewsbury biscuits and wine [yes] biscuits.
The mention of Kayani bakery is incomplete without mention of Mava cake.Infact, mava cakes have been their shot to fame.A no-frill, milky cake, made with flour, eggs, butter, sugar, cardamom and mava.Mava or Khoya is nothing but solidified milk, quite comparable to ricotta but less moist.It is used in making most of the indian sweets and desserts. You take one bite of the mava cake and you can discern that unique flavor-dense,scrumptious and milky.It is difficult to describe the luscious mava tingling on your taste buds,the delectable lively aroma of sweet-smelling cardamom complete with a delightful sensation of the dense texture rendered by baked flour and butter.It a feeling you want to prolong.You want to take bite, sit back and enjoy without dunking it down with coffee or tea.Trust me it would be a sacrilege if you want to wash down the cake with a beverage.If you must, couple it with hot milk, it doubles the warmth. Mava cakes from Kayani Bakery are superb, unique, matchless, delicious – the best and freshest milky cake in the world.If you are looking for a fluffy, light cake, this cake is not for you.It is the dense and heavy texture along with exotic taste that leaves you with a full feeling when you eat it.
When I told P abt mava cake, I dont know from where he came up with this idea and suggested a twist with pistachios and saffron.He is totally saffron loving person but in this cake saffron did wonders.It made us feel at home 🙂 However, the authentic version is made with almonds/cashews and cardamom.You can replace these if you feel.I saw a lot of recipes on the internet, but I settled for this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Tartelette.I used her cake recipe with my additions.For the mava, I used my own proportions.Though I stuck to using evaporated milk and cream for making mava as done by Helen, you can use whole milk to make it too.I do it many a times and there is not much of a difference in taste.But working with whole milk will take little more time to make mava.Below goes the recipe:
Ingredients [Makes 3 mini cakes of the size shown]
For the Mava/Khoya [Yield 1 cup ]
2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cup evaporated full fat milk
For the Mini cakes [Makes 3 mini cakes of the size shown]
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder [use aluminium free]
1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
pinch of salt
1/2 cup mava, softened at room temperature
7 tbsp unsalted butter,softened
1 cup white granulated sugar
6 tbsp whole milk
2 tsp saffron threads
1/2 cup fine chopped unsalted pistachios for mixing in cake batter
1/4 cup chopped unsalted pistachios for topping.
Mava making is basically a process involving low heat cooking of whole milk and/or cream till the moisture content of the milk is reduced and it becomes paste like.Once it is cooked for such a long time,the remaining milk solids and fats in the milk take a butterscotch/caramel color.This paste is then poured into moulds and cooled.Once cooled, mava can be cubed using a sharp knife or crumbled with fingers. First important thing to note while making mava at home is that you have to check on the mix quite regularly, scrape it down the sides and prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.Second being that the last few minutes in the process are very important, because the paste can turn into a dry crumble within second so keep a watch. I recommend that if you plan to make this cake, prepare mava a day or two in advance because mava making takes about 1-1.5 hours alone and cooling time is separate.Mava can be refrigerated for up to 4-5 days and frozen for 1-2 months without losing taste and freshness.
Making Mava at home:
In a heavy bottomed, wide-mouthed and preferably non stick pan, pour in both evaporated milk and heavy cream.A non stick pan helps to avoid the milk & cream from getting burnt and sticking to bottom while cooking.Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat.About 10 minutes.Once boiled, reduce the heat to medium on your burner. Cook with continuous stirring for about 15 minutes.The milk mix will start changing color slightly and start to thicken.At ths point,turn the heat to low on your stove and let cook with occasional cooking.The milk will keep on thickening and start turning into a sauce like consistency.Another 20 minutes.You have to stir the mix continuously now and scrape from the sides. At the end of 20 minutes, the mixture starts looking like a smooth caramel colored sauce.In some cases, it can turn grainy too.Continue cooking on low heat for another 10-15 minutes with continuous stirring.Cook down till there is very little moisture left in the mixture and its pasty, smooth and little shiny due to fats in the cream.At this point remove from heat.
What I do is to immediately measure out 1/2 cup paste and pour it into individual bowl.Such pre measured bowl are easy to use anytime.Just run a sharp knife all around the bowl.and unmould.Let the paste in the bowls cool down, cover with cling film and refrigerate. The whole process took me about 1.5 hours with the quantities I have mentioned.
Note: You can also get Mava/khoya at any of the indian stores easily.It can be used to make this cake.You will just need to measure out, soften it a bit in a pot on low heat for 5 minutes and use.
Night before: Let the butter, eggs and mava sit on the kitchen countertop to come to a room temperature.
Preparing before cake making :Preheat the oven to 350F.Grease thoroughly the sides of whatever baking pan, cupcake pan, spring foam pan you are using for making these cakes.
Heat up the milk for 20 seconds in microwave to luke warm.Add saffron strands to the milk and let dissolve.
Mix flour, salt, baking powder, cardamom powder thoroughly and set aside.
Making the cake: In a large mixing bowl, on medium speed beat the butter with softened mava and sugar until creamy and light brown in color.About 3 minutes.
Once creamy , add the eggs, one at a time and beat to combine well.About 2 minutes.
Next add the milk + saffron mixture and blend well on low-speed until a smooth mixture is formed.About 1 minute.
Add the flour mixture all at once to the wet ingredients and beat well on medium speed to make a smooth, creamy batter.About 2 minutes.
Fold in the fine chopped pistachios in the batter.
Divide the cake batter evenly into the pan to leaving some room for rising and top with more chopped pistachios.
Bake in oven for 22-25 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Mine took 24 minutes exact.
Once baked, remove from oven, let sit for 10 minutes to cool and then unmould.
Let cool completely before slicing.
The quality of mava plays and important role in the texture of this cake.Generally, the store bought mava has less oil content so if using one u ll need to adjust the amount of butter so that the cake does not turn dry.I recommend making mava at home to best use the proportions given above.
The cake sits fresh for upto two days unrefrigerated.
Any kind of nuts : almonds, cashews etc can be used in place of pistachios.