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Friday, December 30, 2011

Chicken Dum Biriyani & Good Bye 2011 !!

Though Christmas is over,I had this recipe which is yet to be posted.We had some of our friends as guest at our place on Christmas.I made a banquet lunch for them and the highlight was this flavorful biriyani.Coming to the recipe details,I had mentioned in my palappam post about my friend,Saleena.She is the real inspiration behind the aromatic biriyani.I had it once or twice at her place and the real tasty biriyani I ever had.It took me few trials before I could accomplish the same taste of the biriyani as per her detailed instructions step by step and now that I have gained the confidence to prepare it flavorful and yummy.I really thank her for this yummy biriyani recipe.We have now re named it as"Saleena's biriyani",hi hi..Though there are many ways to do chicken biriyani but I liked this and so thought to share with you all.This can be done in three stages,a little time taking effort but worth the taste !!



Ingredients
To cook rice
basmati rice 2 cups
ghee 2 tbsp
pineapple 1/4 chopped very small
pineapple essence 2 drops
rose water 2 drops
cinnamon 1"sticks
cloves 3-4
pepper corn 5
bay leaves
salt
water 3 cups

To cook chicken
chicken 2 lbs (preferably thighs)
onion 1.5 sliced
tomato 1.5 chopped
ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
chilly powder 3/4 tsp
coriander powder 1 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
garam masala 1/2 tsp
nutmeg powder 1/3 tsp
cinnamon  1/2 "stick
fennel seeds a pinch
cloves 3-4

cilantro 5 sprigs
mint leaves 2 sprigs
yogurt/curd 1tbsp
oil 2 tbsp
salt

To garnish
onion 1 sliced
cashews 1/5 cup
raisins  1/5 cup
cilantro 2 sprigs chopped
mint leaves 1 sprig chopped
ghee 1 tsp


Method 
To Cook Rice-
-Wash and soak the basmati rice for 15-20 minutes.
-Heat water in a vessel and add salt to it.Add in the cinnamon,cloves,bay leaves,pepper corn,pineapple essence,rose water.Let the water come to boil .
-In the mean time,place a large wok/kadai.Heat the ghee and saute the rice for 5 minutes till its coated.
-Add the boiling water mix into it along with chopped pineapple and mint leaves.
-Place the heat on medium flame and cover with a lid.Let it cook till the water dries up.

To Cook Chicken-
-Wash and clean the chicken ,cut into medium sized pieces.Drain the water and marinate with chilly powder,turmeric powder,salt for a minimum half an hour or overnight too.
-Heat oil in a pan and fry the cinnamon,cloves ,fennel seeds and bay leaves.
-Saute onions till translucent and add ginger garlic paste ,stir till the raw smell disappears.
-Add the chopped tomatoes and the spice powders.
-Add in the chicken.Mix and cover,cook till 15 minutes.(Don't add water)
-Uncover the lid and cook for another 10 minutes till the gravy thickens ,add the yogurt and cook till the chicken is done.
-Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves.

To Assemble-
-Pre heat oven to 350 degrees F/ 180 degrees C.
-Take a baking tray ,add in the first layer with chicken and gravy.Then add the cooked rice.alternately layer till you finish with rice .
-Press down the rice and Seal the tray with aluminium foil in all sides so that steam may not escape.
-Bake at 350 degrees F for 15 -20 minutes.
OR
-You can do this on stove as well.Place a thick bottomed vessel and layer the chicken and rice in it.Cover with a lid and seal the sides with maida or wheat flour so that air doesn't escape through.Cook for 20- 25 minutes on low flame.

To Garnish-
-Fry the cashews and raisins in the ghee.Keep aside.
-Add in the onions and fry till golden brown and add in few chopped cilantro and mint leaves.
-Add this to the tray on top just before serving.Mix the layers just before serving and Serve hot with raitha!!!

Servings ~ 5 adults



Notes
* The pineapple essence,chopped pineapple,rose water is added for additional flavor.
*The chopped pineapple should not be more as it will lose the spicy flavor and it will be sweet.
*The amount of chicken gravy at the end after cooking should be only 1 cup for 2 cups cooked rice to add in the layers other wise the rice will be mushy.Remove the extra amount of gravy if you have more gravy left before layering.If you don't have the required amount of gravy then add water to reach the 1 cup gravy.
* If you are using maida or wheat flour to seal then knead the dough just like in the consistency for chapathi dough and seal the sides.

Just a last one to tempt you all,

(In the platter,chicken biriyani,beef cutlet,fish fry,pappad and raitha)
Good Bye 2011,Wishing all A Very Happy New Year and A Happy Weekend !!
 Sending this to THE KERALA KITCHEN event hosted by Kaveri @ Palakkad Chamayal




Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Citrus Pudding with Whipped Cream

Hope every one had a blessed Christmas attending church mass and all tired after shopping the last minute gift purchases and visiting friends,relatives exchanging gifts.Kids are the most enjoying groups in this festive season and they are thrilled to welcome the santa.We too had a happy Christmas and some of our friends visited at our place too.Every year I love this particular week of the year not only to celebrate Christmas but also to recollect the whole year activities;good or bad and like everyone waiting eagerly to start off the new year with new resolutions(which are never applied:-))


Anyway,Coming back to Today's recipe -A Citrus Pudding with a touch of whipped cream.When I first started off with the ingredients ,I had some doubts regarding oranges and tangerines.Hope some of you might also have the same so thought to share the notes which I googled and found out.Orange and tangerine are both citrus fruits but they are not the same. Though they are considered to be belonging to the same species, orange and tangerine differ in many aspects like their shape, smell and taste.
Tangerine is smaller than orange. Tangerine is considered to be excellent pocket foods as they come in small shape and easily removed rinds. Tangerine is a variety of Mandarin orange or Citrus reticulata.
Oranges are round citrus fruits much bigger than Tangerine. When talking about the taste, Oranges are sweet and tangerines are less sour or tart than that of oranges.The recipe is simple yet a healthy one richly packed with vitamin C.Try this out for a tangy different flavour !!



Ingredients
orange juice 1 cup
tangerine juice 1 cup
lemon juice 1 cup
unsalted butter 1 tbsp
corn starch 3 tbsp
sugar 3 tbsp
orange rind 1/2 tsp
tangerine rind 1/2 tsp
heavy whipping cream 1/4 cup
salt 1/4 tsp





Method
-Combine sugar and the rinds together in a sauce pan and crush with a wooden spoon.
-Add in the tangerine juice and orange juice.Mix the corn starch in little juice and add to it.Add salt and keep stirring.
-Bring to boil for 2 minutes and until thickened stirring constantly.
-Remove from heat and add the lemon and butter.
-Pour pudding into a bowl and cover the surface with a plastic wrap to avoid formation of thin film.
-Chill in a refrigerator .
-In the meantime ,place cream in a bowl.Beat with  mixer at high speed untill stiff peaks form.Fold half of cream into pudding .
-Serve half of dessert bowl with pudding and 1 tablespoon of whipped cream on top.

Servings 4 dessert bowls

Notes
*You can use bottled juices too,I used the fresh ones.










Also sending this to Valentines day E\vanet hosted by Teenz Yummly Delihghts 







Friday, December 23, 2011

Kerala Plum Cake | Christmas Fruit Cake (Step by Step Pics)

     "WISHING ALL MY READERS & FRIENDS 
                  A MERRY CHRISTMAS''


Christmas is a perfect time for all bakes and cakes hit the most of all.Kerala Plum cake is one recipe is which I always miss after coming to US.I always had my mom's version of cake and liked it the most .But far away from parents and now as a parent ,I felt the necessity of baking this cake now.It was a real sweet one to impress everyone at home to bring back the memories of Kerala.This recipe is the true version of my mom 's recipe as she prepares it for Christmas each year but with slight variation in one or two steps though.The aroma of the cake with all spices is so good that it spreads in the room by the time you finish baking the cake.I prefer this cake the most to all other cake recipes even icing ones.I personally don't like the store brought plum cakes,but this really tastes great !!

(Have updated the old post with the latest pictures and step by step clicks,recipe remains the same with a few points )



Ingredients-
Dry Ingredients
all purpose flour(maida) - 2 cups
sugar 1 1/2 cups powdered

baking powder 1 1/2 tsp
baking soda 1/4 tsp

cinnamon - 1/2 tsp
cloves powdered-1/2 tsp
nutmeg 1/2 tsp
salt 1/4 tsp

Wet Ingredients
butter 1 3/4 stick (at room temperature)
eggs 4(yolks & whites separated & at room temperature)
vanilla essence 2 tsp 
milk or reserved wine from soaked dry fruits 2tbsp-4tbsp

To soak fruits
mixed dry fruits 1 1/2 cup (raisins,sultanas,dates,apricot,,dried cranberries,dried cherries,orange peel)
tutti fruity 1/3 cup
cashew nuts 1/3 cup
sliced almonds 1/3 cup
brandy/rum/wine -1/2 cup (I used the home made wine)


To caramelize
sugar 4tbsp(1/2 cup)-8 tbsp(1 cup)
milk/water  1/2 cup






Method-
To Soak fruits-
-Cut all the dry fruits into small pieces and then soak it in a clean dry bottle with wine/ rum/ brandy for minimum 1 day.Stir fruits once in a day or atleast shake the bottle every alternate day.The more you soak the more tastier it is,I usually soak a month before baking.

soaking fruits and nuts

-(This is an optional step)On the day of baking the cake,place the dry fruits in a air tight container in a  pressure cooker /idli mould and steam for 10 minutes.(I used a steel bowl with aluminium foil cover).Cool the fruits completely before mixing to the cake batter.If you are not steaming the fruits,then thaw the chopped dry fruits and nuts before mixing to the cake,reserve the wine if any left overs.

(left pic-steamed fruits n nuts,right pic- tossed with flour)


To Caramelize Sugar-
-Heat 4 tbsp-8tbsp of sugar in a pan(if you wish a darker color then go upto 8tbsp) on medium heat without adding any water or liquid.
-When the sugar starts to dissolve start stirring.Keep stirring till the syrup becomes thick and golden brown in color.
-At this point add half cup of the milk/water and keep stirring till the sugar is dissolved completely with milk and gives a coffee/chocolaty color.
-Put off the flame and cool it down completely before adding to the cake batter.

(left-sugar for caramelize,right- caramelized sugar)


Making the Cake-
-Prepare a cake tin lined with parchment paper and butter the sides of the pan.Pre heat oven to 340 degrees F /170 degrees C.
-Sift the flour twice or thrice with the powdered sugar( reserve half of the amount or add the whole amount of sugar with egg whites,omit adding here),salt,baking powder,baking soda,cinnamon powder,cloves powder,nutmeg powder.Whisk the dry ingredients(all purpose flour,baking powder,baking soda,spice powders and salt) with a hand whisker so that it is uniformly distributed.


-Blend the butter at room temperature till smooth in a bowl.Beat the egg yolks one by one with butter.Add vanilla essence and finally add caramelized sugar.Add the dry flour mix in 3 batches to incorporate well.The batter may look thick,add in 2tbsp milk or reserved wine from soaked dry fruits if required to get the batter right.

(left to right-1.flour mixed with spice powders,salt,baking powder and baking soda 2. flour mixing with butter egg mixture & adding caramelized sugar 3.adding more flour 4.the thick cake batter)

-Toss the steamed fruits in 2 tbsp of flour in another bowl,mix well (helps prevent fruits settling at the  bottom of cake).Add the fruits and nuts to the batter,mix well with a spatula to combine.

mixing fruits and nuts to batter
 
-Beat the egg whites in a grease free bowl with the addition of reserved half of powdered sugar until stiff peaks form(takes 4-5 minutes).Fold in half the egg whites in the batter without much deflating the air gently with a spatula.Add the remaining egg whites and fold in gently until there are no visible white streaks in batter.

(left to right-1.egg whites at room temp,2.meringue(egg white beaten with powdered sugar,3.folding egg whites,4.batter ready)

-Pour it in to the prepared cake tray and place in oven,bake for 1 1/2 hours - 1 3/4 hours.(mine took 1 hour 20 minutes)

1.poured in cake pan2.baked cake 3.inverted to cool

-Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes and then run a knife through the sides,invert on a wire rack.Leave to cool completely before storing.Tightly wrap in plastic wraps and cover with aluminium foil or leave in ziploc bags or air tight bags.I bake a week ahead and leave at room temperature till Christmas(don't refrigerate).The cake can be brushed with rum/brandy everyday to feed the cake till Christmas,but I generally avoid doing that.(You can microwave the cake for a few seconds before serving just to soften the chilled butter esp if you live in winter affected areas,tastes yum.)


(9" round cake -updated post)




Servings 8" * 8" * 2.2" square cake or 9" * !.7" round cake

NOTES-
* I had used a glass bakeware,please adjust your oven timings accordingly.But please start checking the cake in oven after 1 hour.Don't open the oven before that else the cake will not fluff up well and tend to be hard.Insert a tooth pick in the center and check whether its done.
* If you are using 8 tbsp(1 cup) sugar to caramelize then add 1.5 cups of powdered sugar to the cake.Don't burn the sugar while caramelizing.Be careful not to burn your hands either as it will be very hot and can cause burns.Add in the milk/water at the right time during caramelizing other wise it may get crystallized and tend to become hard.Don't over caramelize the sugar and don't stir with a spoon until the sugar is dissolved else the sugar gets crystallized and hard.Using 4tbsp of sugar yield a lighter color to the cake.
*If caramelized sugar tends to become hard after cooling,then heat it lightly.Cool and add to cake batter.
*The fruits can be soaked months before,it tastes great.I generally soak a month before.
*Store the cake in air tight containers in room temperature.Don't refrigerate.Wrap in foil papers and store in ziplog bags.







Sending this to Valentines Day Event hosted by Teenz @ Teenz Yummly Delights 




Sending this to The Kerala Kitchen event hosted by Kaveri @ Palakkad Chamayal


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Homemade Grape Wine (Kerala) | Pure Grape Wine~My Mom's Recipe (Christmas Delight)

Pure grape wine with a slice of plum cake is the remarkable delight of Kerala Christmas and I miss this so much from my mom.Every year she used to plan it well in advance and there are a variety of snacks ,cakes and wine.I still remember when we were at Bangalore,Dad used to buy baskets of black grapes from the nearby vineyard as it was very cheap out there and we used to enjoy walking in the vineyard and admire those hanging ones on the climbers.Lovely memories and when wine gets ready dad helping mom in straining and pouring it into bottles.We used to carry it to Kerala and gift our relatives too.Last year some how I couldn't preapre wine and the year before that I tried wine with pineapple and ginger too .That is also good will post sometime later as I don't have the clicks.But at the top I rate grape wine as the best among these.This is my second attempt with grape wine.




So,friends sharing this grape wine recipe with you all on Christmas week.I have not added a drop of water to this (strictly followed my mom's steps)and I have got 1.2 litres of wine.You will also surprise yourself looking at it .But this is true..Many recipes call for adding water..am not pretty sure of its long life,this is sure a keeper for years !!!



Ingredients
red /purple seedless or with seeds grapes 1kg (2lbs)
*sugar 3/4kg- 1kg
wheat kernels 1/2 cup
*egg 1 beaten (optional)
cloves 5-6
cinnamon 5-6 small sticks
jadipatri /mace 3-4 small pieces


Method
-Take an earthen ware preferably a bharani or a transparent glass jar with an air tight lid.
-Wash  the grapes after removing the stalks and under running water.
-Slightly crush the grapes with your hands just to open the tip.
-Put them into the cleaned jars with sugar(refer notes) and other ingredients alternating each layer.
-Close the lid tightly and leave in a dark place.
-The jar can be just shaked without opening every 5th day so that the contents are mixed well.
-If you are using egg white ,add this on the 15th day or so that it doesn't get over fermented.
-Open the lid on the 21st day and you see all grape skins float to the top with nothing inside.

Texture of grapes on 21st day

-Just drain the liquid part with out shaking the bottle much and strain it in a cheese cloth .Don't squeeze the strained contents.
-Pour it in clean bottles and leave undisturbed for another 20 days.
-Pour the clear part of wine/decant  in clean dry bottles and preserve.
-Sweet intoxicating wine is ready to serve.

Servings 1.2 litres of wine without adding any water.


(PS: Please read through the comments section before attempting this recipe to get a fair idea )

NOTES
* Modify the amount of sugar according to the sweetness of grapes.The maximum sugar required is 1kg for 1kg sour grapes.Add only half the sugar in the beginning,gradually increase sugar until the 10th day and check sweetness if you are not sure of the sweetness.
* This wine can be stored in air tight containers for years together.
* If you are using wheat kernels,there is no need to add egg white (my mom never added)as it alone would taste great.Egg white also helps in clearing the wine.
* There should be enough space in the jar after putting the grapes and sugar,otherwise the wine may float out during fermentation.
*Good quality glass jars are required otherwise it may burst in the process of fermentation.
*You can open the jar if you are not comfortable shaking it with lids closed but the flavors might be lost.
* If you don't get the bright color,you can caramalize but I haven't tried it yet.I usually get this color.Add about 3tsp of sugar in a wide pan and wait till it attains golden brown.Keep stirring slowly,not to burn your hands.Add 50ml water through the sides of the pan at the point where you want the caramelisation to stop and stir again.Put off flame,let it cool and add.
* Don't use the sedimented contents by squeezing ,the actual taste of wine will be lost.The sediments can be discarded.
* I have seen many recipes by adding boiled cooled water to it.If you wish that,you may even add 2 liters of boiled,cooled water to it.But I personally tried once,it gives a diluted wine taste.If you're adding water then increase the sugar content accordingly.
* If you feel on 21st day the grape skin don't float leave it again for another 10 days.As the cold climate,quality of grapes,quality of wheat kernels may also affect the maturity of wine.


Sending this to my event - Christmas Delicacy ,The Kerala Kitchen event hosted by Kaveri @ Palakkad chamayal



Monday, December 19, 2011

Easy Eggless Chocolate Cookies (Microwavable 3 mins cooking) & Awards!!

The other day my son dreamt of eating a chocolate cookie in his afternoon nap and woke up crying saying he wants chocolate cookies now.I tried consoling him with the regular cookies but he went on crying and nagging.I immediately searched the browser and found out this interesting recipe,microwaveable and a simple yet easily done..available ingredients.The biggest advantage was the cooking time of 3 mins.I could please with the yummy chocolate cookies.Believe me it came out perfect :-) and all of them vanished in no time.




Ingredients
all purpose flour 1 cup
sugar powdered 1/2 -3/4 cup
baking powder 1/2 tsp
cocoa powder 1 tbsp
butter 1/2 cup
milk 3 tsp(optional)
broken cashews 1/4 cup


Method
Sift the flour and add in the baking powder .Sift the  cocoa and add to it.Melt the butter ,add slowly.Add the powdered sugar and mix.Also add the broken cashews.Add in the milk if required and knead like a chapati dough.Spread this in a microwave safe tray and flatten with a spatula.Reduce the microwave power to 80 % and place the tray in microwave.Microwave for 2 &1/2 minutes.Cool them and cut it into rectangles or squares as desired.Place them 2 inches apart in the tray).Cookies are ready to serve.

Notes
* You can also shape them into balls like the regular cookies however I was short of time :-)



Sending This to Valentines day event hosted by Teenz @ Teenz Yummy Delights


Am happy to announce that I received the Fabulous Blog Award from 2 of my blogger friends,Chandrani @ Cuisine Delights and Faseela@ Good Food Ends with Good Talk.Thank you friends,feeling honoured and happy!!



I would love to pass it to many but the award is restricted to 5 bloggers and they are-
1.Manju @ Manju's Eating Delights
2.Vidhya @ A Portion to Share
3.Zareena @ My Experiments with Food
4.Christy @ My Kitchen Flavors-Bon Appetit
5.Pushpa @ Taste as You Cook

So,Friends grab these awards and Happy Blogging!!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Savory Tarts (Filling with Spring Onion,Egg & POM)

Though this month is a season for baking but that dosenot completely mean  sweet ones alone,Right?These are perfect savory ones and a very simple and tasty ones as well.The true love for these tarts is that its got the rich hard boiled cut eggs,sweet taste of spring onion and crunchy bites of POM seeds and a cheesy topping!! Isn't it perfect?There are some recipes which have clicked to be a big hit in my family and this one is among them .This recipe is not taken from any websites ,magazines or TV shows;a true experimentation and am very happy that it turned out good and all like it :-)




Ingredients
For crust
puff pastry sheet 1 thawed

for filling
Green onion 10-12 stalks with bulb
onion 1 medium sized
garlic 3 cloves sliced
egg hard boiled 4
chilly powder 1/2 tsp
pepper powder 1/4 tsp
garam masala 1/4 tsp
turmeric powder 1/4 tsp
coriander powder 1/2 tsp
salt
oil 2 tsp

for topping
pomegranate seeds 1/2 cup
shredded cheese 1/3 cup


Method
-Thaw the pastry sheet as per packet instructions and cut into square pieces.(I got 9 pieces from one sheet)
-Wash and chop all veggies keep aside.Peel the hard boiled eggs and cut into small pieces.
-Heat oil in a pan and saute onions till translucent.Add in the garlic and green onions and keep tossing till its cooked.
-Add in all spices as listed and toss till it forms a masala.Put off the flame and mix the cut eggs into the masala.
-Line a muffin tray with oil and place each pieces of pastry sheet in such a way that it remains like a baking cup or a cup liner sticking to the edges.


-Spoon each cup with masala and top it with shredded cheese and Pomegranate seeds.Repeat for all cups.


- Place it in the oven and bake at 400 degrees for 15-16 minutes.
-Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and serve hot!

Servings ~ 9 savory tarts with one sheet



NOTES-
* You can omit the pomegranate seeds if you wish too,but it is still tasty.
* You can replace eggs with paneer or soya for vegan recipe.


Sending this to Bake Fest #2 hosted by Sangee @ Spicy Treats


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Baked Chicken Rolls

Chicken rolls are generally prepared using the spring roll sheets and then deep fried in oil.But these chicken rolls are dipped in egg white and  rolled in bread crumbs like the cutlets.And they are baked!!Isn't this a guilt free snack for non- vegetarians ??The first thing that came to my mind is to use it in place of hot dogs in the buns.This is not a duplicate sausage but can be healthily replaced with buns..So, we enjoyed it that way with a gash of chopped onions ,jalapenos and mustard sauce !!

Check out Baked Chicken Cutlets



Ingredients

Potato 3 medium sized
chicken 200gms cooked and minced
onion 1 medium sized
cilantro 4-5 sprigs
carrot fine grated 1
ginger garlic paste 1 tsp
pepper powder 1/2 tsp
garam masala 1/2 tsp
turmeric powder 1/2 tsp
salt
oil 4-5 tsp
curry leaves chopped small




Method
-Cook the chicken pieces with a little water,salt and pepper powder for 15 minutes.Drain the stock ,cool the pieces and then mince it in a mixer.
-Boil the potatoes in a pressure cooker after adding salt and water for 3 whistles.Release pressure,let it cool and then peel skin.Keep aside.
-Wash and chop all veggies as desired.
-Heat oil in kadai and add the onions,curry leaves.saute till translucent.
-Add in the grated carrots,cilantro and saute for 5 minutes.
-Add the cooked minced chicken.Adjust salt
-Add in the spices,add the boiled mashed potatoes.Put off the flame.


-Let the mix cool and then shape it into rolls ,dip it in egg white and roll in bread crumbs.



-Pre heat oven to 375 degrees .
-Bake at 375 degrees F ,about 15minutes and turn the other side and bake again for 15 minutes.
-Broil the last 3 minutes for a brown appearance.
-Cool on wire rack and Serve it with buns or JLT!!




NOTES
* You can eat it alone as a snack just like the regular chicken rolls or cutlet with ketchup.
* You can use the cooked chicken stock for soups.



Sending this to Bake with your Heart ,CC-Holiday Baking ,