Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sambusak- Samosa Saudi Style

"A samosa is a stuffed pastry  and a popular snack in South,SouthEast,Central & SouthWest Asia,the Arab Peninsula, throughout the Mediterranean(Greece), the Horn of Africa,Norht & South Africa. It generally consists of a fried or baked triangular, semi-lunar or tetrahedral pastry shell with a savory filling, which may include spiced potatoes, onions, peas, coriander, and lentils, or ground beef or chicken. The size and shape of a samosa as well as the consistency of the pastry used can vary considerably, although it is mostly triangular" - Wikipedia.

Basically in Middle East or Persian Gulf countries like Saudi, Samosa is deep fried  snack stuffed with minced meat and is known as samboosak or sambusak or sambusaj  or even sambousak.Though the term samosa originated from Persian sanbosag, the indian samosa is different from the saudi cousin in that the saudi samboosak can be  made with yeast. or in the middle east,you can make samosa as we do in India -pastry dough without leavening agents or  using simple yeasted bread dough or adding baking powder instead of yeast and even baking instead of frying. I have found a simple recipe for saudi samboosak from Saudi embassy magazine here and have adapted to get dozen plus mini sambusaks.

All Purpose Flour : 2 cups
Vegetable/Corn Oil: 4 tbsp
Instant Yeast: 3/4 tsp
Fennel Seeds,Poppy Seeds: 1/4 -1/2 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp or as per taste
Water: 5+tbsp

Oil: for Deep Frying.

Onion:1 medium size finely chopped
Capsicum: green : 1 small : finely choppped
Mushroom: 10-12 cleaned and finely chopped
Cumin Powder
Pepper:fresh ground as per taste
Paprika/Chilli powder: a pinch (optional)

Heat oil in a pan,add finely chopped/grated onions and cook till transparent.Then add finely chopped capsicum and mushroom along with salt and the spice powders and let it cook till done.Keep aside.You can use as many vegetables as you want along with your choice of spice powders.Traditionally lamb /mutton /minced meat is used as a filling and I simply replaced the original recipe's meat portion with mushrooms which I had.Chickpeas also make a hearty replacement for meat and so does the soy chunks.

In a big bowl, mix together flour,salt ,yeast and fennel +poppy seeds.If interested slightly roast and crush the seeds before adding to the flour.Make a well in the flour mix and add in oil and mix well till it resembles bread crumbs.You can add in more oil if needed. Add in water in tablespoons and knead to form a smooth dough.Place the dough in an oiled container and let it rise for an hour or until doubled in  size.

Now you lightly punch down the dough and roll it out into a thin circle on a lightly floured  surface.Make sure it is a bit thin than you would go for a normal samosa as it puffs up during frying.Using cookie cutters or your choice of weapon,cut into circles.You can choose any shape or size though circular is traditional. I went for 3" cookie cutter.

Normally for Indian samosas,we pinch small pieces of the dough and then roll out into thin circles and stuff them.But i prefer the above given method but  you can follow whichever you are used to /expert in.I also referenced this website/ video where sambusak recipe was demostrated.

Put 2-3tsps of filling in the centre of the circle.Fold the dough over the filling to form a half circle or half moon.

Press the edges together to seal and crimp the edges decoratively with the tines of a fork or whatever way you like. :).

Deep fry in hot oil till golden brown on both sides.Make sure the oil is on medium-low heat. On putting the pieces in oil,you can see them floating up to the surface.They have crispy shell and will puff up a bit as it has yeast.Drain on paper towels and serve with your choice of dip/sauce.

Notes: I am not an expert samosa maker. I just make the dough without adding oil and sometimes adding semolina flour and most of the time,I am left with soft soggy samosas.Also small bubbles can be seen on my samosas.The first time I tried the original recipe for sambusak,I did not add any oil at all and ended up with similar sambusaks.Not that they are inedible.They are tasty and excellent but that crispiness usually  associated with samosa was not there.A little bit of research and I found that you need to add suffiecient oil to the flour while making making the dough and this gives you crispy shells.Also the oil for frying need to be in medium -low heat else over heat may cause the bubbles to appear in the sambusaks and the insides may  not be properly cooked.

So the second time on,I tried with the said changes and ended up with much much much (I do not think perfect) better sambusaks or Saudi samosas.(If you did not see me anywhere near your blogs,blame it on sambusaks.) Thus this simple plate goes to AWED:Saudi at Kitchen Samraj,an event by DK.

I am sorry the  pics are not that great but the taste sure is.Do enjoy the sambusaks.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Sharab Al Nana

Normally the word sharab (shahraab') means alcohol in Hindi but this drink -a speciality of Saudi - is non alcoholic and is made from mint and saffron. You can use dried or fresh mint for this.Recipe wise there is nothing much as it is sugar syrup but absolutely loveable coolant.I came to know about it and have used  the recipe from here.Since I do not have much of  a "recipe"  I am adding more pics here :)

Fresh Mint Leaves: 1/4 cup +/- as you like
Saffron: a pinch
Water: 2+/-  glasses/cups/bowls as how you are going to serve
Sugar: as per taste


In a teapot/suitable bowl mix together mint,saffron and sugar.

Boil water in a sauce pan and pour it over the mix in the teapot/bowl.
Now,put the teapot/bowl on the stove and bring to a boil preferably on low heat.I started at high flame,then reduced it to simmer and let it cook for 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat and serve or let it sit for the flavours to steep in.

Serve garnished with fresh mint leaves -warm during teatime or cold adding icecubes which is much preferable to me any season anytime.

This simple minty drink is also going to AWED:KSA at Kitchen Samraj, an event by DK.       
Through the pics  you can see the colour changing to deep yellow-greenish from the saffron and the mint. Enjoy it anytime.I did adding icecubes :)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tumr bel Nargine - Dates with Coconut from KSA

If you feel it is an out of world  dish after reading the name then you are wrong. These are nothing but simple dates cooked and stuffed with almonds and rolled in coconut and served.I was searching for Saudi recipes when I came upon this dish here.I have slightly modified it and  avoided deep frying blanched almonds but simply lightly roasted them.

Dates: 1 cup
Butter: 2  tbsp
Almonds: 10 + blanched,peeled and lightly roasted

Coconut: 1/2 cup +

Deseed and chop the dates into small pieces.Heat a pan and melt butter in it. Add the dates to this and mmix well.Cook on medium-low fire stirring periodically so that the dates are cooked and they start to lose the shape.You can continue cooking till they resemble a paste and  stick to the pan.This is optional and I did not wait till they were completely mashed. Remove from heat and cool.

Meanwhile,blanch almonds for a minute in hotwater and then peel them.You can deepfry these peeled almonds in corn/vegetable oil. I did not and instead simply roasted almonds stovetop using a small pan.

Pinch small pieces of date dough and shape into balls.Traditionally finger shaped rolls are preferred but I went for round ones. Stuff a roasted almond with it,shape it to finish and roll it in coconut -fresh/dessicated - and serve.

This is not much of a recipe and am not even sure whether these can be called desserts as these can be consumed anytime and lets see whether Aparna accepts this as bite size desserts for SHF #69 - Bite Size Desserts, an event by the Domestic Goddess Jennifer.

 Meanwhile this visits AWED: Saudi Arabia at Kitchen Samraj, an event by dear DK.The estimate gives almost 10 date balls depending on how big they are.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Mini Pear Crisps

I had some pears with me and I was searching for a good recipe when I saw these mini crisps in Parents magazine These are simple crisps which are low sugar and are prepared in small individual bowls or rather bake and serve bowls.These being mini are baked for a small amount of time than the normal crisp which is made in a larger dish.But I tried these in the microwave and they came out perfect.

Pears: atleast 2 peeled,cored and cubed

All Purpose Flour: 1 tbsp
Sugar: 1 tbsp
Spice Powders : optional: I used cinnamon,ginger and clove powders

Maple Syrup: just a squeeze

Muesli/Granola : 2-4 tbsp : homemade or storebght: I used homemade muesli
Dates: chopped : few (I did not use)

Mix together the flour,sugar and spice powders if using. Peel,core and cube the pears.To these add the flour mix and mix well so the the pear pieces get coated with it.Arrange/add the pear into the serving bowls which ought to be microwave safe.
Top the pears with a squeeze of maple syrup and sprinkle granola/muesli  and chopped dates on top.

Microwave for about 3 minutes at 100% power or until the pears are cooked and the muesli is toasted and the top looks golden brown.Serve warm optionally topped with ice cream or vanilla whipped cream.

Start with 1 and 1/2 minutes first.You can see the pears bubbling and they look reduced and mashed and generally the quantity of fruits in thee bowl will look reduced..No need to completely cook/bake the pears unless you like so.Also my muesli had dryfruits like figs  and apricots so I did not add dates at the top.But the original recipe had it and so you can do it if you like.Also since the muesli was spiced with cinnamon and other spices,I added a little of these powders to the flour and sugar.You can avoid this or even add spices of your choice.Also ifyou like avoid the sugar in the flour mix and then add/squeeze more maple syrup/honey after arranging the friot pieces in the bowl.

The dish was not overly sugary and is very easy to make thanks to the microwave.You can instead also bake it in the oven for 20 minutes at 350F.But microwave is preferable here and especially when guests are there this low sugar or healthy and fruity dish can be whipped up in serving bowls itself and served.Also the time of the dish varies with the size of the bowl as well.Earlier or when I first tried it,I used medium sized bowl and it took just 1 and half minutes for 2 bowls at one go.The second time I used glasses ,okay just like that- and it took 3 minutes.So the cooking/baking time varies depending on the type of dish and also on the wattage of the microwave.

This is my  entry to SHF #69: Bite Size Desserts hosted at Aparna's, an event by Jennifer, the Domestic Goddess.This surely can be finished in 2-3 spoonfuls. The fruity dish also visits MEC: Fruits hosted at Nivedita's,an event by Srivalli. Both of you bear with me.,my pics are not that good.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Curried Corn Salad

This is a simple corn salad where fresh corn is fire roasted and tossed in with bell pepper,onion and tomatoes with a curry powder dressing. The estimates are varying and you can even use this as a chaat or a dip with chips/ potato wafers or whatever way you like.

Fresh corn on the cob: atleast 1
Tomatoes: 1 medium chopped optionally removing the seeds
Green bellpepper: 1/2 cup chopped or 1 small
Red Onion: 1 small chopped.
Cilantro: for garnish

Chilli powder/paprika
Curry powder : as per taste
Lemon Juice: as much as you like

Remove the husks and place the corn on the gasflame directly. Hold the stem and turn it as it gets roasted and turns black.It takes just minutes.

With a sharp knife, remove the nibblets from the roasted corn.

To the roasted nibblets,add chopped tomatoes,onions,bell pepper and little cilantro. Add in the spices,salt and pepper  to the mix and mix well.Top with lemon juice and garnish with more cilantro.

Let it sit for atleast 1 hour for the flavours to mix.Make in the morning,consume at night when it is perfect. Early you make it more flavourful it becomes.

You can adjust the chilli and the curry powders as per taste.If you are a pepper fanatic you can add white  pepper to it as it is less spicy than the black.Use as much lemon juice as you like as corn tastes best with lemon. You can actually mix the spice powders,salt and lemon jucie like a dressing and pour it over the veg mix, rather than adding individual items.Both works fine.

This simple salad goes straight to NCR:Corn hosted at Lisa's .

PS: you can turn this into a chaat by adding chaat masala instead of curry powder.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Herbed Muffin Rolls

These are simple muffin size rolls that I had bookmarked from TasteofHome. The rolls are simple and easy to make and I made them without any changes.Its the way these rolls are made or rather the way the herbs are added to it that attracted me to it.

All Purpose Flour: 10 tbsp
Sugar: 1/4 tsp
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Instant Yeast:  3/4 tsp

Canola Oil: 1 and 1/2 tsp
Warm water: 1/4 cup

Butter: 1 tbsp softened

Garlic: powdered/grated: 3/4 tsp
Parmesan Cheese: 1 tsp
Dried Oregano: 1/4 tsp
Dried Basil: 1/4 tsp

In a bowl,mix together flour,salt and yeast.Make a well and add in oil and water and knead to form a smooth and elastic dough,turning the dough on a lightly floured surface if needed. This takes about 6-8 minutes.
Place in a bowl greased with spray/oil,turning once to coat and llet it sit for about 30 minutes when it doubles.
Grease the muffins cups with softened butter. Mix together garlic powdered /fresh paste along with parmesan cheese,and the spices.sprinkle the muffin cups with a little of the mixture.

Pucnh down the dough and divide it into 6 pieces.Take a piece,shape it into a ball,put it into the muffin cup turning once to coat.Cover and let rise until doubled about 30 minutes.

Bake at 400 for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.Remove and cool on a wire rack.Serve warm.

The original recipe suggested baking at 425 for about 10 -15 minutes. but I went for 400F only.I got barely 5 muffin rolls rather than the mentioned 6. May be my rolls were bigger?!.

Anyway they taste best when warm and are cheesy but the can be split opened and served with cheese spread or whatever you like an are also good with soups.The rolls are crusty with softer crumb.You can add more spices than those mentioned and try with different cheeses.I tried with powdered parmesan.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Swedish Style Rice Porridge/Pudding

Rice porridge or puddings are common in almost all the cuisines.Normally we say porridge when it has oats and when rice is cooked in milk we say its pudding .Or simply payasam in South India or kheer in North India. You can even check out the cinnamony porridge that I made Portuguese style here.When I checked out the beautiful blog AmericanWomenDon't get Fat (Interesting Name ) that I am paired with in this months Taste & Create by Nicole,Swedish Rice Porridge was the first thing that I tried out. Being used to payasam/kheer I knew this was almost same and it turned out as hearty as it can be. Only change I made was the use of demerara sugar instead of brown sugar.The entire porridge can be tried in the microwave as well.

Butter: 2 tsp

Rice: 1/4 cup
Water: 3/4 -1 cup (as needed to cook the rice)
Cinnamon Stick: 2 inch

Milk: 1/2 -1 cup
Demerara Sugar: 2 tbsp + a per taste
Apple : chopped : 1 small
Raisins: handful

Vanilla: 1/2 tsp


Melt butter in a heavy pan and add water,rice and cinnamon to it.I added rice first and let the grains coat with butter.The butter will also prevent the rice from burning.Cook till  rice is done and most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add milk,apples,brown sugar/demerara sugar  and raisins and bring to a boil.Reduce and then let it simmer till it thickens and reaches a porridge state.

Remove from heat and remove the cinnamon stick and then stir in vanilla. Serve hot/warm as a breakfast or even a dessert.

It is said that rice porridges are the common breakfast during Christmas eve in Scandinavian Nations.For me this can be a hearty dessert as well.Brunch/Breakfast/Dessert it is hearty and comforting and this one goes off to Taste & Create

Monday, September 13, 2010


How can I leave her very diverse kitchen without trying a bread as she is famous for her breads?Thats right,these buttery rolls are from Aparna of MyDiverseKitchen. These are simple rolls stuffed with butter and perfect for evening/dinner time.Do check the original recipe as I know mine are nowhere near perfection

Whole Wheat Flour: 1 cup
All Purpose Flour: 1 cup
Salt: 1/4 tsp
Instant Yeast: 1 and 1/4 tsp

Veg Oil: 1 tbsp
Honey: 1 tbsp

Warm Water: 1/2 - 1 cup (I needed 1 cup)

Butter: softened: 4 tbsp (I used cilantro Butter)

Butter: melted: 1 tbsp
Milk: 1-2 tbsp
Nigella seeds: for sprinkling

In a bg bowl,mix together the flours,salt and yeast.Make a hole in the centre and add in oil and honey and mix well.Add in 1/2 cup of water first and knead to form a smooth and elastic dough adding as much water as needed.It took me 1 cup almost.

Keep the dough in a well oiled bowl rolling once to coat and cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let it rise until doubled for about 1 hour or so.

Meanwhile soften the butter and keep aside.I used cilantro butter.You can even use herbed cheese spread as well.

Gently punch down the dough and knead for a few minutes.Divide into 6 portions.Take a ball,roll it out into a thick circle,pat a spoon of butter in the centre of the circle leaving the edges free.Fold the circle over itself in half so that it resembles a half moon.Fold again half so that it resembles as triangle.Make sure to seal the edges thoroughly inorder to aoid butter leakae during baking.Mine still leaked :(. Place the dough triangle on a lightly greased baking sheet after tightly pressing the edges.Allow it to rise for another hour and then bake in a preheated oven at 200C for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Take out and immediately brush with melted butter. Or before baking you can brush with milk and sprinkle with nigella seeds instead.I tried both aas you can see from the pics.

The rolls hard slightly hard crust (negligible - I rolled it out thin) with a soft buttery crumb.I am yet to perfect the art of baking them but as of now these are ready to go to T&T:MyDiverseKitchen at SriValli's.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Bamia - Sweet and Sour Okra

Normally I use okra in simple stirfries which are easy to prepare.Okra or "Bamies" as it is known in Mediterranean is a part of several different cuisines and a part of hearty stew and such dishes.But I found a simple and unusual recipe of okra while googling.This is a simple stirfry from Egypt and is sweet and sour or sweet and spicy if properly spiced.It is simple to prepare and I have adapted it from Food Network.

Okra: 8-10 pods
Olive Oil: 1-2 tbsp
Water: 2-3 tbsp

Wash and dry okra in papertowels.Top and tail it and then cut it into bite size pieces.

Heat oil in a thick bottomed pan and add okra pieces and saute for a few minutes.Add salt,honey,pepper and barely 3 tbsp water and cook till the liquid is almost evaporated.Few drops of liquid or rather honey will be there anyway coating the okra pieces.Serve as a side dish or snack as you like.

The dish is sweet from honey and spicy/sourish from pepper.You can increase or decrease each as you like.This is basically a sweet and spicy stirfry and since the pepper also adds a bit of sourness the name is "sweet and sour".Given a chance I would call it "sweet and spicy". Its a nice change from the usual okra stifry or spicy stews.

The dish also is a part of the BSI:Okra menu at Priya's.Do checkout the healthbenefits of okra there.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Potato Peel Pie

When Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Schaffer and Anne Barrows was chosen by BookClub,I never knew that it will be so interesting or engrossing.I had never heard about the book (blame it on my backwardness) and got it only last minute.Once started I could not put it down.The book in the form of letters tells you about Juliet Ashton who receives a letter from Guernsey and then the book takes off from there.It tells you about the World War 2 and how the people in the small island belong to UK were affected by the German occupation and gives us the glimpse of concentration camps and other heinous tactics of Hitler.During a war,no matter who are fighting,it is the common people who are affected the most.The scars left by the attack-physical and mental can change the way a person looks at life and values it.Even normal common things become valuable and each penny is precious.Reading through the book,the we live through the events and understand the value of life and the strength of the people who in their own way lived through the occupation.I am so happy and feel blessed that we are not in warn torn areas.Do spare a moment for those people. Thats the least we can do.

Foodwise,we understand the situation at that time.There was no flour or bread and people used to depend on the root veggies or esp potatoes they grew.Food was very scarce and they had to make do with the available things.As specified in the title potato peel pie is a dish put together by Will Thisbee who was a member of the literary society formed overnight thanks to curfew imposed by Germans.It is a simple recipe which had potato peelings/skin as its crust and beet-potato filling.You can find the recipe here. I made the same recipe but with little/more changes.The recipe is supposed to be from the British Ration cookbook of World War 2.

Potato: 1 almost big
Beet: 1 very small
Melted Butter: 1 tbsp or more as needed
Bread Crumbs: 2 tbsp
Milk: 1 tbsp

Thoroughly wash the potato and thickly skin it to obtain peel.

Grate the peel coarsely.You can also cut it finely.I must say both require patience.Anyway my grated peel came roughly to 2 .5 tbsp.To this I added bread crumbs,salt,pepper and melted butter (1-2 tsp)and mixed to form a crumbly coarse crust.Do the taste taste and add salt/pepper/herbs if needed.This crust I dumped to a greased ramekin and shaped to get this.

Meanwhile cook the potatoes and skinned beet in salted water till forktender.Take out,wash with coldwater to cool and stop cooking.Then grate each into separate bowls.Take half of the potato and layer on top of the crust.Sprinkle optionally with little salt and pepper.This is needed if the potatoes are not properly salted while boiling. In this case after each layer you need to sprinkle salt and pepper.

Then layer the beet on top of this.Top the beet layer with the rest of the potato.It looks like..

Then mix together melted butter(whatever remaining or more if you like) and milk and pour this on top of the layers.Sprinkle salt and pepper on top.

Bake in a 200C oven (preheated for 10 minutes) for 10-15 minutes until the edges start to brown.Serve warm.

Ok this is not exactly a pie recipe but the original was very flexible and I also referenced this recipe with flour in the crust when I googled for potato peel pie.You can add your choice of herbs and even cheese and make the same.

The taste? okay,its same as buttery mashed potatoes with breadcrumbs and beets in it.Do try it as its hearty and comfort food.What else do you expect with delectable spuds.They are always comforting and filling but ofcourse fat inducing.Do check out This Book Makes Me A Cook to check the delectable dishes made by others BookClub Members.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Faraali Handvo

Handvo is a Gujarathi dish usually made of different lentils and rice/riceflour along with bottlegourd/lauki and other optional veggies like carrots,cabbage etc.I was more used to dhokla and was pleasantly surprised to know about Handvo which is a savoury baked cake. Unlike the dhokla which is steamed,handvo is baked in a hot oven. Though the  original/traditional preparation takes around 2 days including the soaking and fermenting time,instant mixes and also handvo flour are available. But I found an Farali handvo recipe in an old issue of UpperCrust Gourmet magazine where it is made using buckwheat flour -kuttu ka atta as it is known here and is done under 3 hours!.

Farali recipes are fasting recipes or dishes/snacks consumed during fasting time which usually falls in the month of Shravan or Shraavana.I have heard that in Mumbai and few Northern cities the eateries stock up on the fasting snacks.While fasting few ingredients are to be avoided and traditionally you have to follow certain rituals.You can get an idea of fasting recipes from here.

I hve just jotted down the recipe in UpperCrust and it is supposed to be a part of Farali Thali by a Gujarathi Restaurant (Swathi Snacks?! not sure of the name).I am not sure of the name of the restaurant and have just followed the recipe I have written down.

Buckwheat Flour :3/4 cup
Sour Curd: 1/2 cup
Water :as needed (optional)
Bottle Gourd (Lauki): grated 1/2 cup
Salt: as per Taste
Ginger Chili Paste: 1 tsp +/-

Eno Salt: 1/2 tsp

Veg oil: 2 tsp +/-
Cumin seeds:
Sesame seeds :preferably white though I used mixed.

Combine flour,salt,ginger -green chilli paste,grated lauki together with sour curd together.The batter should be thick but pourable.If too thick you can add little water in tbsps to make it pourable.Lauki/gourd gives off water when mixed with salt.So do not add too much water.I did not add any water at all.

Let it sit for 2 hours for the flavours to blend and the batter to ferment.

After 2 hours,add Eno Fruit Salt and pour into an 8" square baking dish.Before doing this,do the taste test and adjust the salt and the spiciness.Prepare the seasoning by heating oil and adding cumin and sesame.When the seeds splutter and flavours the oil,pour it over the batter in the dish.Make sure you pour the seasoning evenly unlike me!

Bake at 180C for 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.Mine was done in 25 minutes though the recipe suggested 45.Keep an eye on it after 20 minutes.You can see the dish pulling out from the sides/edges of the baking dish and the crust getting brownish.

Cut into squares and serve warm with coriander chutney or any other choice of accompaniments.

The dish tasted spicy and is perfect as an evening snack.It is very  filling as well and you can also add different coloured veggies to it.I had just followed the recipe as written and had added just gourd.Handvo is not that spongy when compared to the dhokla.Or it could be because this one is made with buckwheat.Do check up the few from-scratch recipes of handvo of Tarla Dalal here and also Meera's handvo made with flour.If you have any more information or ideas about handvo please do share here.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Vanilla ButterMilk Cupcakes

To date, I feel that my best cupcakes were Chocolate Sour Cream Cupcakes. These I did using Ener G egg replacer. I remember being very calm while making these.I was about to return to India and I had just bought 2 packets of Ener G and my first few attempts with it were not upto the mark.So I after getting Madhuram's advice and seeing the various use of Ener G in Vaishali's blog,I decided to try it once more.One of the things I tried were the cupcakes.I was almost sure that these would be a flop and add to that the nonavailability of ingredients.I was so calm but blindly trusted Madhuram advice and Vaishali's trial that I felt detached but very happy(I do not remember why?) while making it.And to my surprise they came out perfect. Unbelievable! It is said that foods reflect the moods of the person cooking then in this case it was true.

Anyway coming to todays or rather (tonight's) post,I had got a mail earlier from Tina regarding Vanilla cupcakes.She had tried the sourcream ones and had asked about the vanilla ones.Thanks Tina and here's a very late post for you.These are the ones I tried from a cookery book and I had replaced the egg with Ener G as usual and well they turned out as good as I wanted.They were perfectly moist and spongy and this time as well I felt like a professional baker despite the frosting going not that well.Also this has made me bookmark a lot of cupcake recipes and you will be finding several coming days.

All Purpose Flour: 1 cup and 2 tbsp
Baking Soda: 1/2 tsp
Baking Powder: 1/2 tsp
Salt: a pinch (avoid if using salted butter)

Butter: softened: 4 tbsp
Sugar: 1/2 cup

Vanilla: 1 tsp

Egg: 1 or Ener G Egg: 1 (1.5 packed tbsp mixed with 2 tbsp of warm water + additional 1-2 tbsp added if needed)

Buttermilk: 8 tbsp well beaten

adapted from Joy of Baking

Cream: 1cup
Vanilla: 1/2 tsp
Powdered/Icing sugar: 2 tsp (reduce to 1 tsp if the puree is too sweet)
Strawberry Puree: 1-2 tbsp

Mix in the dry items of flour,soda and baking powder in a bowl.If using unsalted butter then add a pinch of salt to it.

Beat together butter and sugar until smooth and beat in vanilla and the egg /Ener G egg. On a low speed, beat in the buttermilk.Now the mix will look curdled.

Then beat in the dry mix till well combined.Pour the batter in lined cupcake pans.

Bake in a preheated oven at 180C for 15-20 minutes or till a tester comes clean.Keep an eye after 12 minutes.Mine were done in exactly 15 minutes. 

You can frost the cupcakes with colored sugar crystals/sprinkles or whatever.

Frosting is optional,but my daughter wanted cream and gems and sprinkles and she loves pink.The original was also shown frosted.So I whipped cream until stiff,added vanilla,sugar and strawberry syrup (store bought) and made the frosting.Only the real job on doing it was difficult as I have no patience with such decorations.But I plan to work on it as well.

The cupcakes were moist and spongy and as far as I know the best among the vanilla cupcake recipes I tried.Hope you like it too.As I have said,you can expect few more cupcakes here.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Pasta Puttanesca

Spaghetti puttanesca is a spicy tangy and salty pasta dish.The words which translates literally as 'whore's spaghetti' has spaghetti or any other choice of pasta added to the puttanesca sauce loaded with tomatoes,chilli flakes,garlic and anchovies.The original neopolitan version des not have anchovies though.Anyway I could not use anchovies and so I was very happy to see the vegan recipe for the same in BBCGoodFood. I adapted the recipe but used penne.My pics are of no use as I was in a hurry ,but do try the recipe.

Penne Pasta: 2 cups

Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
Onion: diced : 1 medium
Garlic: 2 cloves
Capers: 2 tbsp
Tomatoes: blanched,peeled and chopped : 2-3 big
Chilli flakes: as per taste (Can use paprika)
Roasted Red Pepper: chopped: 1 medium
Black olive: pitted: 10 +/-

Parmesan: optional : for garnish


Puttanesca Sauce:
Heat oil in a pan and add diced onions. Fry the onions till they are transparent.Add chopped garlic and fry till soft.Add tomatoes,red peppers,capers,and olives along with chilli flakes.You can go for hot paprika as mentioned in the original instead of chilli flakes.I added chilli flakes and a pinch of chilli  powder to get the required kick needed.Let it cook till a sauce consistency is reached.It looks like...

Cook the pasta as per instructions and toss into the sauce.Serve hot optionally garnishing with parmesan.I did not.

The pasta is very tangy and suits a person who loves tomatoes!. You can change the quantity as per taste.

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