Friday, July 29, 2011

Mango Chilli Crumble

I am not a great fan of mangoes. I never miss them. Though of course I have seen people who love them like crazy -my family for example,is very happy during the mango season. My only job is to wash,peel and chop/juice mangoes. I taste them when there are leftover pieces or piece near the seed -which nobody wants :). I have also tried them with rotis and puris,but mostly I like to try is incorporate them in baking and turn into muffins,cakes etc. This is a simple crumble I have made from Sunita's and yes, I too had my fill. Love the combo of chilli flakes and mango.

Mango : chopped 2 cups
Chilli flakes: 1 tsp
Cinnamon Powder: 1/3 tsp 

Wheat Flour: 2 tbsp 
Almonds Powdered: 4 tbsp
Dark brown sugar: 1.5 - 2 tbsp
Vegetable Oil: 1 tbsp

Preheat the oven to 170C. Mix the mangoes chopped with cinnamon and red chilli flakes and divide this among the individual ramekins or baking bowls. 

Mix together all the ingredients for the topping and sprinkle it among the 4 or 3 ramekins as a separate layer. 

Tap a little on the counter and arrange them on a baking sheet and bake for about 20 -30 minutes or until the top is golden and the fruit is bubbly. 

Serve warm as a dessert topped with icecream or cinnamon powder or whatever way you like. I loved it as such.

Warm fruit mixed with the hot/comforting chilli is a perfect dessert for the chilly nights. And this is also perfect for Monthly Mingle : Stone Fruits at Sips & Spoonfuls,an event by Meeta. Mango Lovers, Enjoy the crumble

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Creamy Mushroom Soup

Pictures speak more than words. Sometimes we fall in love with visuals more than the reality that we may refuse to accept the real situations despite it hitting our face. To speak of myself, I fell in love with the pic of a particular brand of mushroom soup which not only looked creamy white,but had fresh parsley in it- at least the pic had. The pic urged me so strongly to buy it and taste it and lo -the soup did not have any parsley. I know ,you may think of me as a nutcase,but that actually urged me to make a soup with parsley in it. The recipe given below is a slight adaptation of the creamy champignon(mushroom) soup seen in an old issue of Uppercrust magazine.

Fresh Button Mushroom: sliced 1.5 cups 

Butter/Olive Oil: 1-2 tbsp
Red Onion: 4 tbsp finely chopped
Grated Potato: 4-6 tbsp
Fresh/Frozen Flat Leaf Parsley: 2 tbsp + chopped

Vegetable Stock:1.5 -2 cups 
Low Fat Cream : 2-4 tbsp

Salt & Pepper: as per taste

Melt butter in a deep pan and saute fine chopped onions till transparent.

Add in sliced mushrooms and saute for another minute or two till they start sweating. Add in the grated potatoes and chopped parsley and mix well and cook for another minute or two till they start to cook.

 Add in the veg stock - I used around 1.5 cups - bring to boil. Reduce to simmer and let it cook for about 20-25 minutes until the ingredients are fully cooked and the liquid reduces to almost half. Remove from heat and stir in creams and salt and pepper. Keep aside.

Cool and then blend to a fine or chunky consistency as you like and also add more stock/water and heat through Adjust the salt and pepper and serve warm with your choice of accompaniment like croutons or bread rolls. I served this with olive oil rolls

A fuss free soup thanks to the ad :). Perfect treat for rainy evenings. The original had thyme instead of parsley,but since I wanted parsley I used it. You can adjust the potatoes with cream and also reduce stock and increase water or whatever way you like. I have not added any water just simple veg stock.You can even add milk instead of water/stock and go for a perfectly white soup.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Olive Oil Rolls

As you know, after knowing more about the olive oil I definitely was urged to use it in day to today cooking and aspire for healthy living.We were actually made to taste -sip,swirl and swish the olive oils to help us know the difference between them -we can't actually as we are not experts :D.  I wanted to see whether the oil holds the same flavour while being used in baking. And I came across this recipe and tried it out. These are small rolls -smaller than seen in the pics and are perfect with soup.As usual I have halved the recipe and got around 5-6 small  or almost mini buns that go perfectly with my soup.

AllPurpose Flour: 1 cup
Warm Water:1/4 cup
Olive oil: I used EVOO : 2 tbsp
Instant Yeast : 3/4 tsp
Salt: 1/2 tsp

Mix together water and yeast and let if foam for around 10 minutes. To this add the oil,and the flour+salt mix and bring together. We can see that the dough easily comes together into a firm non sticky ball. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until it is elastic and form and keep it covered in a warm big lightly oiled bowl where it will double for about 2 hours. The dough will look very moist.

Gently deflate and shape it into small pieces and place on a lightly greased baking sheet and allow it to rise for another 1+ hours. Make sure you cover it with a towel or plastic wrap.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400F/200C and bake for about 18-20 minutes till a nice brown crust can be seen.Start checking from the 15th minute onwards. A nice aroma also permeates the place. Cool completely and serve with soups or as a snack or whatever way you like.

The bread is soft with a slightly hard crust and soft insides and definitely it goes perfect with  the soups and other such accompaniments.The bread is definitely fruity and it was definitely olivy. You can taste the olive oil in these rolls as the author claims in the original.

Slowly the Indian market is opening up towards the olive oil.It may not be an easier change even for myself as I will definitely miss ghee and butter though it is good to be healthy. Step by step we all can find ways to include the olive oil in our day to day cooking. One brand of olive oil from the Consortium of European  Olive oil Association is Colonna brand who is currently looking for partners in Indian market. You can go through their website which has details about their various products and contact addresses.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Beans & Chili Dressing

I haver never tried sweet potato in a salad and have been wanting to do so ever since I tried out roasted sweet potato chili. So I just hit the correct recipe in the NYTimes and so tried out the hot spicy salad with the comfort as well as familiarity of beans and roasted sweet potato. The recipe is very simple and I made simple adaptations as per things I had. 

Sweet Potato :almost 1.5 -2 cups- peeled cubed
Red onion: 1 medium -chopped into bite size pieces
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 2-3 tsp

Pink/Pinto /Any other Beans: 1/2 cup or more
Tomato: 1 medium - chopped,deseeded and depulped
Cilantro: 1 small bunch

Fresh Green Chilly: 1 -2 as per taste and heat required
Garlic: 1 small clove
Lemon juice:  juice of a 1 big lemon or atleast 2 + tbsp
EVOO: 2+ tbsp as required for the dressing
Salt & Pepper: as per taste

Soak beans overnight and cook till done in a pressurecooker. You can use any beans and I used pink beans. Peel and chop the sweet potato into small but almost equal sized pieces. Also chop the onion into bite sized pieces.  Remove the pulp/flesh of the tomato and chop into small pieces. Finely chop the coriander/cilantro.

In a baking sheet toss together the sweet potato and onion cubes with 2-3 tsp of oil (as needed to coat the pieces),season with little salt and pepper and roast in a preheated oven at 400F for 25-30 minutes,turning sides as and when needed. Keep aside.

Meanwhile blend together the small garlic clove, fresh chilly along with lemon juice and olive oil as needed and  salt and pepper. 

In a big bowl, toss together the cooked and drained beans,roasted onion-sweet potato mix,little chopped cilantro and the dressing. Do the taste test and adjust the salt and pepper and garnish with more cilantro.

Serve as a hearty chunky dip with chips or even a a healthy snack.

A quick to make salad with a hot and spicy dressing. You can add roasted red peppers instead of tomato and also go for you own variations like adding mango pieces to reduce the heat and a fruity touch. If needed you can tore up tortillas/rotis into small pieces and mix in with the salad to make a quick lunch with a bowl or curd/sourcream. 

Anyway the salad as such is on way to NCR:Hot Peppers at Lisa's where we can see a HOT roundup this month. Perfect salad and perfect theme for the chilly weather we are having here. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Live it Up with Olive Oil

Did you know EVOO is suitable for deepfrying?

Is olive oil an oil or a fruit juice?

What is Olive oil?
Olive oil is extracted by crushing of olives which are fruits of the olive tree and thus olive oil is actually a fruit juice. The olive trees are traditional crop of the Mediterranean basin - which has rainy winters and hot dry summers. The oil or juice of the olives is thus widely used in Mediterranean. 

The olive fruits are small and are plucked /harvest when in the green or purple stage and crushed to a fine paste. The juice /oil extracted from this paste with almost no chemical treatments or high heat/temperature (known as cold pressed) is Extra Virgin Olive Oil or EVOO. After separating the EVOO,from the remianing olive paste we can get other varieties or grades of olive oil like Virgin/Pure/Refined Olive oils, lampant oil or Pomace oil. Lampant oil is used for lighting lamps and other such non edible purposes. Pomace olive oil is the oil obtained from the leftover pomace paste using chemicals and mixed with little EVOO and made edible but very cheap.We usually prefer the full bodied taste of the EVOO.But how is olive oil with Indian cuisine?

Olive Oil and Indian Cuisine
Earlier studies conducted by researchers found that the mediterranean people have high resistance to heart diseases and a good increase in Good Cholestrol. They found this was due to the use of olive oil as an important part of their cuisine.

Several saturated fats(fats that are solid at room temperature)  are part of the rich Indian Heritage. Ghee sort of defines taste and richness for us. Right from infancy we are brought up on a wonderful fat laden diet which continues till we find ourselves suffering from high Cholestrol,clogged arteries,diabetes etc. But then again we continue the same by popping several pills before,between  and after food or try to cut down other things which we think may help us control or medical problem but in fact which are essential for us. To be honest I too love a rich pulaos -rich usually stands for Ghee here- or Ghee fried malpuas topped with thick rabdi. Its surely heaven. How does EVOO help here?

Why EVOO or Olive oil in General?
Have you ever tried Deep frying in olive oil - EVOO to be precise?

Do try as it is much better than your regular cooking oil like soy,safflower,rice bran etc.

EVOO has got high smoking point at about 500F and so it is perfect for deep frying. Usually smoking point is where the oil/fat breaks up into fat molecules giving rise to transfats. A high smoking point  ensures that there are no transfats and makes it perfectly reusable after deep frying. EVOO has high Mono unsaturated fat content which ensures that it is enhances the good cholestrol and reduces the bad cholestrol of the body. 

Normally we are in a dilemma whether to reuse the oil left from cooking,but EVOO solves the problem for us. Also those familiar with deep frying in EVOO or Olive oil in general can vouch for the fact that the dish/fritters absorb less oil - we can see that most of the oil is left behind in the pan  and that the EVOO enhances the taste. 

Ofcourse we try EVOO in salads,sauces,pastas etc but do try for deepfrying. You can understand yourselves the above mentioned facts and also be in good health and am sure you too will be fans of the 'Liquid Gold' as Homer puts it.

Olive it Up Campaign
OliveitUp is a three year campaign financed by European Union, in collaboration with Italy for the promotion of European Olive oils in India. Italy,Greek and Spain are formost in Olive oil productions and Crete in Greece was supposed to be where the Olive crop was harvested first.

Consortium of Guarantee of Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil, which produces the campaign which has recently completed its successful first anniversary, provides an array of activities and workshops and training activities to impart the correct knowledge about the EVOO and also encourage people to use EVOO in the traditional /daily Indian  cooking. 

I have recently been a part of an event organized in the Oberoi, Bangalore along with other Bangalore Food bloggers and also went through the nuances of finding the right oil. We had a tasting session conducted by Michele Labarile, an expert in oils and also a health talk by nutritionist Ishi Khosla who enlightened us on how Indian cuisine can actually benefit from the use of Olive oils especially  EVOO. As per the oil expert, olive oil is not an oil,but a fruit juice as olives are considered fruits.You can get an idea about oil tasting with the expert here You can find more about the campaign in its website Olive it Up.

We also were given a short demo on EVOO and Indian cuisine by Chef Vicky Ratnani who enticed us with his Root and Vegetable Tikkis and spicy,fruit Peach, bell pepper chutney/relish/dip. But more on that later as it is already a big post. I am adding a pic of Vicky's Tikkis for you to drool over and think about the health benefits of EVOO. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Khamang Kakdi- Nutty Cucumber Salad

Usually the cucumber salads/raithas I have seen will be having yogurt in them to make a refreshing side. But this is a nutty and mustardy salad from Maharashtra and I am totally in love with it. It is also known as kakdichi koshimbir (cucumber salad) in Marathi and as usual has several variations like with or without seasoning,with or without yougurt etc. I have adapted mine from Sanjeev Kapoor and it turned out just fine.

Here the cucumber should be of correct ripeness. You peel it unlike the regular salads where it is unpeeled and then check for bitterness by tasting the ends. If  the taste suits you or it is perfectly for the salad then you make this salad. I have used snake melon or the fruity and thin skinned Armenian cucumber which has no bitterness. Still going with the traditions, I have lightly peeled these. Just lightly ran a peeler on the skins and took whatever little skin it gave out. Omit this part if you want.

Armenian Cucumber: 1-2 lightly peeled and chopped
Peanuts: handful, roasted and powdered
Coconut: 1-2 tbsp
Green Chillies: 1-2 as per taste and heat , chopped/slit
Lemon Juice: 1-2 tsp
Sugar: a pinch (optional)
Salt: as per taste
Coriander Leaves: chopped for garnish

Ghee: 1-2 tsp
Mustard: 1/2 -1 tsp
Cumin Seeds: 1/4 -1/2 tsp

Roast and powder a handful of peanuts.

Lightly peel and chop the cucumber into small pieces.You can omit this step if you are going for the armenian ones that I have used.

Mix together in a suitable bowl, chopped cucumbers,slit green chillies,peanut powder,coconut and sugar and salt as per taste.Drizzle lemon juice to this mix,do the taste test and keep aside.

Prepare the tempering,but heating the ghee and adding the mustard and cumin. Let the mustard splutter and cumin seeds sizzle. Remove from heat and pour on the salad saving some for garnish. Mix well and serve garnished with coriander leaves and remaining seasoning .

A simple hearty salad/koshimbir this turned out to be. Yogurt is never missed in this and you can have it a a side or even a snack.The taste was nutty and mustardy with crunchy cucumbers.The roasted peanut powder is called 'dhaanyache kut' (lentil powder). Peanuts are lentil and not nuts though the taste is of nuts -hence the  word 'nutty' in title :). Enjoy the salad.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sweet Feggous Salad

Recently I bought snakemelon or uri or Armenian cucumber. Don't be confused I am referring to yard long cucumber known as Kakri/ Kakdi in Hindi and also called Feggous in Morocco.It is actually a variety of musk melon and related to cucumber. It can be used just as you use the cucumbers in salads and it is easier to digest than the regular common ones and is fruity. You can get more info on it here and here.

I have never tried a sweet cucumber salad before and so I tried out the simple feggous salad  from Morocco- adapted from here. This is meant as a sweeter side for the fiery hot mains,but I ended up eating it as a snack/dessert etc -May be I sweetened it much more!. But whatever it was the sugar with cucumber was hearty and add to it the nutty orange blossom syrup, which is a mood lifter.

Kakri/ Uri/Feggous Cucumber: atleast 1 grated
Sugar: 1-2 tsp as per taste
Salt: a pinch
Orange blossom syrup/Orange Flower water :1-2 tsp
Lemon juice: a big squeeze of lemon

Cut the ends of the cucumber and grate into thin long strands. Depending on the ripeness it may have small seeds which are perfectly digestible. Optionally you can remove them.

Mix with all the other ingredients and adjust the taste. Let it stand for around 10 minutes for the flavours to mingle and then serve. Else chill in the fridge till serving time.

Serve as a starter or a side or snack as it was for me.

It is sweeter and crunchy and perfect hearty and a guilt free snack. Loved the orange flower scent which lifts us up.
Now, those who turn their noses away from this sweet salad do not worry, we have a savoury raitha -a traditional one at that - coming up next.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Spaghetti al Sugo Crudo

This is a simple dish of spaghetti tossed with a raw tomato sauce. Usually pasta al sugo means pasta with sauce and crudo stands for raw vegetables which in this case is the common tomato. We can even call it an emergency tomato pesto without nuts,cheese or basil. Mostly we toss in pasta with cooked/uncooked veggies and add a dressing to it to get a pasta salad. Here we go pesto style instead -peel and grind tomatoes into a sauce and toss in hot pasta. I saw this recipe in Nigella Lawson's Forever Summer that I have taken from the library and this is the first recipe I tried out and it did turned out hearty.

Tomato: 2-3 big ripe and juicy
Caster Sugar: few pinches
Salt & Pepper : as per taste
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: 1-2 tbsp
Garlic: 1 small clove minced

Fresh Rosemary: (optional): as much as you like

Spaghetti or choice of Pasta : as needed for 2-3 people

Blanch the tomatoes in hot water for a minute and then peel away the skins. We are not cooking the tomatoes,but removing the peels which is made easier by blanching.

Halve the tomatoes and remove the seeds and coarsely chop them. Sprinkle sugar,salt and pepper  and also mix in minced garlic,chopped fresh rosemary and 1-2 tbsp of EVOO on the tomatoes. Mix everything well almost grinding them to get a chunkier sauce.You can also do this in a blender to get a sauce of your desired consistency.You can in fact remove the garlic clove just before blending if you are not a fan of raw garlic,but I used a very small or rather half a clove and blended it together.

Cook the pasta as per instructions and add the sauce to the hot pasta. You can also add cheese to the  pasta preferably sliced mozzarella or paneer and garnish with herbs or more pepper. Serve war in individual bowl as a comforting meal.

Fuss free pasta this one is. Rosemary is optional and not there in the original recipe. I had fresh rosemary with me and love the tomato -rosemary combination. Very comforting pasta perfect for a rainy night.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Celebrate the Rains with Shiro

Wanna make the most this monsoon? Check out the exciting monsoon spread at Shiro, UB City Mall, Bangalore?

The menu which runs till July 12, 2011 is designed to tantalize your taste buds and introduce you to the exotic Oriental taste especially Japanese, Korean and Thai.

About Shiro...

Started by JSM Corporation, Shiro is a luxury lounge,a premium Oriental restaurant known for its tantalising dishes and a Zen like ambience. Shiro meaning 'Castle' in Japanese and designed in a similar fashion, is one of the premium luxury restaurants in Bangalore.  The palatial landscape offers a perfect setting for a wonderful evening.Do check out the restaurant site at the official site

Monsoon Menu....
The special monsoon menu brings together cuisines from Thailand, Korea, China, Malaysia and other countries of the Orient. Guests can enjoy delectable stir-fried dishes that come with an array of tantalizing flavours like hot, spicy, tangy, pungent and sweet, while soaking in the beauty of Bangalore rains.This is the first time that the restaurant have created a menu using 'stirfries' as a basic theme. The menu incorporates all the elements that provide us the comfort and warmth much needed in monsoon. The hearty menu has several satisfying options for the vegetarian and non vegetarian gourmet. The menu includes .

  1. Tofu Cubes with Spicy Korean Bean Paste
  2. Hung Shao Green Beans
  3. Aubergine stir fried in coconut,basil and chillies
  4. Assorted Veg Stir Fry with Chilli Mustard Sauce
  5. Mushrooms & Babycorn Stir fried with Thai Spices
  6. Potatoes Stir Fried with Chilli Sesame Sauce

Rice & Noodles
  1. Pad Thai - Vegetables/Chicken/ Prawns
  2. Spicy Yaki Soba - Vegetables / Chicken / Prawns
  3. Green Mango & Jasmine rice - Tofu/Pork
  4. Thai Basil fried rice with Chicken
  5. Korean Spiced Fried Rice Vegetables/ Chicken / Prawns

Few days back I have been there and few of these turned out to be great or in the words of my friend Madhuri they were 'YUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYY.... The pics are also courtesy dear Mads :)
Given below are the few of the dishes presented and make sure you do not miss them this monsoon especially the potatoes with Chilli Sesame Sauce and the Jasmine Rice and Mango with Tofu which turned out to be my personal favourite.
Cantonese Spiced Tofu

Potatoes with  Chili Sesame Sauce

Green Mango, Jasmine Rice with Tofu

The Monsoon menu is till July 11th and make sure you do not miss it. The price ranges from Rs 300/- to Rs 625/-. The ambience is GREAT and the food complements it  perfectly. The stir fry menu is designed especially by Chef Priyank Chauhan and makes sure that you go back fully satisfied.

And Yes, if possible reserve well in advance, the place was full when we visited despite it being a weekday.

At Shiro, there is something for every mood and every sense. Make the most of it ... BTW, the Chocolate Sushi took my breath away.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Caramelized Onion, Rosemary and Tomato Flatizza

This is actually the first recipe that I am trying out from Cajun Chef Emeril Lagasse and totally loved it. While the original from FoodNetwork went for round mini pizzas I went for a single rectangular thin crust one. I have recently started a love affair with fresh rosemary and wanted to try it out in breads. I had a good mind to try the classic rosemary focaccia but this bread caught my attention and it did not disappoint.As usual I have halved the recipe and also made few simple changes as per the ingredients I had with me.

Onion: 1/2-3/4 cup finely chopped
Salt,Sugar& Pepper : a pinch

Instant Yeast: 1.25 tsp
Sugar: 1.5 tsp
Olive Oil: 1 tbsp
Fresh Rosemary: 1 tbsp chopped or as much as you like
Warm Water: 3/4 cup
Salt: 1.5 tsp

All Purpose Flour: 1.5 -2 & 1/4 cups

Tomato: 2-3 big sliced
Salt & Pepper/Red ChilliFlakes: as per taste
Olive Oil: for drizzling

Mozzarella pieces : as per choice

Finely chop the onion and saute them in a deep pan till caramelized adding little salt,sugar and pepper.Keep aside and let it cool.

In a big bowl,mix together yeast,sugar,olive oil, caramelized onions,chopped rosemary,salt and water.Let it sit in a warm place for 10 minutes or until it is bubbly.

Mix in flour 1/2 cup at a time and stir to combine .Continue till a sticky mass is formed. For me almost 1 and 3/4 cup flour were used up at this stage.

 Transfer the dough to a dusted counter and continue kneading adding flour as needed for about 10 minutes until almost smooth  and elastic dough is formed.

Place the dough in a greased/oiled container turning once to get coated and cover with a plastic wrap. Let if sit on a warm area until it is doubled or atleast 2 hours.

Gently transfer the dough on to lightly dusted counter and divide into two balls. Transfer on ball onto a lined/greased baking sheet and gently stretch it out as a rectangle.I patted (rather it got stretched) into rectangle on a counter first and then transferred to the baking sheet,but its better to do this on the sheet itself as it got more stretched while transferring.

Top with tomato slices,season with salt and pepper and drizzle olive oil on top.Rest the dough for about 20 minutes. You can see that it slightly rises again.

Bake in a preheated oven at 400F/ 200C for about 15 minutes when the edges turn brown. 
Take out, top with cheese bits and then return to oven for a few minutes until the cheese start to melt.

Above collage depicts the entire process of the delish flatizza.

Serve cutting into squares as a snack/starter.

This is like a thin crust pizza or a rustic type pizza. It was crispy at the edges where tomatoes were not there,but slightly soft inside. I am not an expert on pizza,but this one should be given a thumbs up.Crispy at the edges and chewy inside ,it was perfect what with the heady aroma of rosemary,onion,tomato and pepper combined.

And it goes straight to BBD#41: Bread with Herbs  at MyDiscoveryofBread, an event by Zorra of Kochtopf as rosemary is the Hero in this one.

Thanks for visiting my Blog

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