Saturday, April 21, 2007

Steam Cooked Caramel Pudding

Delicious caramel pudding
Pudding Devil :)
After pudding is cooled and refrigerated
Straight from the steam cooker
Pudding cooking in the steam cooker
Double boiling set up
Custard and Caramel to be mixed
Caramel coated vessel
Coating caramel on the vessel
Hi I made this recently and it turned out good. Its yummy and easy to make and a good recipe which doesnt require an oven. It was mine and my mom's first venture in cooking pudding. We didnt have an oven so this was what we used to do. Use our pressure cooker for cooking pudding.
Ingredients:
---------------
For the custard
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanila extract
For the caramel

4 tablespoons of sugar
Method
========
  1. Prepare the caramel by heating the sugar in a vessel until it turns out to a golden brown liquid. Be careful not to turn it black as this makes the caramel very bitter. And be very careful while making caramel as it is very hot and it can splash on your face if it comes in contact with water.
  2. Pour this caramel into the very dry pudding vessel (which fits in a pressure cooker or steam cooker, it can be a stainless steel or any other vessel which you use for cooking on stove, but make sure it fits in the steam cooker or pressure cooker as shown above picture). Coat it uniformly on the sides
  3. Prepare custard my blending all the custard items well
  4. Add it to the pudding vessel
  5. Place this vessel in the steam cooker
  6. Fill water carefully from the sides of the cooker till the level of pudding in the pudding vessel
  7. Cover the cooker and steam it for 30 minutes.
  8. Take out the vessel and cool it in refrigerator for 2 hours
  9. Serve it with fresh fruit or ice cream.

Hope you enjoy it !







Torttosa


This is the name I gave to this crazy snack I made yesterday. I thought of this name as its made of chappati, and when made tastes like samosa. So the name Tortilla + Samosa = Torttosa. Its easy, just stuff some vegetable curry into a tortilla (or chappatthi), in that case the name becomes chapposa ;)) and deep fry it. I know you must be thinking I have completly lost my mind. Yes, after tries of making some corn potato kabab, became unsuccessful, I wanted to use up the remaining potato curry. So this is what I came up with. I am posting the pics above. You might also see the unsuccessful corn potato kababs. Just ignore them. Look at Tortosa :)

Cheesy Potato Bonda

Cheesy Potato Bonda ready!
Frying the bonda
Batter to be used for making the Bonda
Making balls out of the cooked ingredients and cheese
Mixing cheese with the rest of the ingredients
Hi I prepared Potato Bonda (Batata Vada) with a very small twist. Added mozarella cheese (fat free brand) after mixing the remaining ingredients. Hope you too enjoy it. Add more cheese if you want a very cheesy taste. In konkani potato is called "kook", and so this dish is called "kookkache bonda". You may refer my snack section for the recipe for potato bonda which I had posted in my archives.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Lemon Tofu Pudding Cake

After cooling in refrigerator for 2 hours



The finished product from oven
Before going in the oven
Preparing the crust When I posted the bread pudding recipe, my vegetarian friend told me though it looked good, and tasty, she could not prepare it as it contained egg. It was then it struck me that I had not prepared an eggless pudding or cake. It was also the same time we had purchased tofu (lite silk tofu) . Tofu is often used as a protein substitute for meat, and other items . I got the idea to prepare tofu pudding cake when I saw in internet that tofu can be substituted for egg. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
-------------
For the crust:

2 cups sweet biscuit crumbs
1/4 cup maple syrup or 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Filling

1 packet silken tofu (1 lb)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons all purpose flour or cornstarch
2 tablespoons soy milk or just plain milk

Method:
==========


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the crust ingredients
  3. Mix until the crumbs are moistened.
  4. Prepare a baking pan by spraying the bottom and sides with nonstick oil spray, or by oiling with a paper towel.
  5. Add crumb mixture into the baking pan and spread it and press it evenly on the bottom.
  6. Bake the crust for 5 mintues, then remove it from the oven and set it aside to cool while you prepare the filling.
  7. Blend all the filling ingredients in a blender until smooth.
  8. Pour filling into the baking pan over the cooled crust. Sprinkle some ground peanuts and saffron if you wish.
  9. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the cheesecake from the oven and allow it to cool.
  10. Place the cooled pudding cake in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours until it is thoroughly chilled and firm. Make sure you cover the baking pan with an aluminium foil or ensure it is properly covered as tofu has tendency to absorb all the flavors in the fridge.
  11. After 2 hours slide the blade of the knife along the edge of the cooled pudding cake to ensure that it will separate from the pan. Place a flat plate on the baking pan and invert the baking pan carefully but fast.
  12. Keep a plate on the baking pan and invert the pan .

When I made this today for the first time, it didnt retain the shape as it had cracks. I hope you enjoy it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Bread pudding







I was eager to make this dish as I had a lot of left over whole wheat bread at home. Moreover, me and pudding go a long way back, when I was in my initial days of venturing in kitchen with mom. In fact those days my major interest was to cook something which my mom had not cooked, so that I can claim that I am the one who cooked it first :)) those crazy days, but my mom was also very happy about it as she always liked me around the kitchen. In fact we both used to prepare caramel pudding in our pressure cooker as we did not have an oven. The pudding used to come out good, except for its shape when I used to invert it on a plate. But the taste was too good. It tasted just like restaurant made ones. My brother who is a hard to please food critic :) [i hope he doesn't mind me writing this :) ].......used to love this pudding when I make, so I used to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment those days as I was the one who made it first at home. .....in fact my mom made sure that it stayed that way as she purposely wanted me to make it whenever I was at home, it was like "my daughters cooking makes me happy" sort of thing :) .......
Coming back to bread pudding, I in fact found this recipe in one of my favorite blogs and decided to go with the recipe , except that I made it in my steam cooker and the time for cooking was 30 minutes.
Here is the recipe link:


Only thing I noticed was though my knife test for firmness of the pudding came out clean, after 30 minutes, I cooled it in refrigerator for another half hour, it still was not firm in the centre when I cut the pudding in half. So according to me, I guess the cooking time in pressure cooker or steam cooker should be around 1 hour.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Valval

Valval ready:)
Ingredients used in valval

Valval in konkani is referred to "stew". I always remember our temple festival in kerala, especially the feast which would have valval, chonne ghassi, ambat, thoy, mango or lemon pickle, pappad, rasam, rice....and some other items too....mmmm my mouth is just watering when I even think about it. Valval is usually prepared with coconut milk, potato, mande (konkani word) ( dont know by what name it is called in english) , green chilli . I hope you enjoy making this recipe because I enjoyed having the dish along with hot steamed rice and cabbage ukkeri. Here is the recipe:

I used the readymade coconut milk available in the stores for making valval and the vegetables used were only potato and onion along with green chilli, but its more than enough to enjoy a meal :)

Ingredients:

Potato: 1 cut in round slices
Coconut milk: 1 whole can
Onion: 1 cut lengthwise
Green chillie: 4-5 slit in middle
Mustard seeds: 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds: 3 teaspoons
Curry leaves: 4 or 5
Tamarind pulp or small piece of tamarind ball soaked in warm water: 4 tablespoons
Salt
Oil
Water: enough to just cover the potato slices while cooking
Asafoetida (as per taste)
Method:
  • In a pan heat 3 tablespoons of oil, and add mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, and green chilli. Wait for the mustard seed to splutter.
  • Add the onions and saute until its raw flavor is gone
  • Then add water (just have an estimate of how much is needed to just cover the potato slices which are not yet added) Maybe 2 cups
  • Cover the vessel and turn the heat to high.
  • Wait until the water boils. Then add the potato slices and cover again until the water boils again.
  • Then add the tamarind pulp and stir uniformly. Cover vessel and bring it to a boil again.
  • This time add coconut milk, and salt and stir uniformly , cover the vessel and lower the heat to medium.
  • Let it cook for 2 more minutes
  • Turn off heat. Add hing (asafoetida) and stir uniformly again. Cover the vessel for sustaining the flavor and aroma.
  • Serve it along with rice, or idiyappam

Cabbage ukkeri


Cabbage is a good source of fibre. Its important to have similar veggies for good bowel movement :) ......I have yet to try making different dishes using cabbage, but let me start with the basic cabbage "ukkeri" or cabbage "sabji" . Its easy to make like any other sabji, .....just cut into small pieces and add the tadka (1 teaspoon oil, mustard seeds, green chilli slit in the middle) and then add cabbage after the mustard seeds splutter. Reduce fire. Do not add water as the water content in the cabbage is sufficient to cook the cabbage. Add salt. Lower the fire to medium. Cover the vessel and let it cook until cabbage becomes tender.
My friend ramya said that she adds coconut gratings and lemon juice at the end. I suggest you can also try that as it would impart a different flavor.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

HAPPY VISHU TO ALL OF YOU !!

I am posting the legend and ritual behind celebrating this auspicious day which I found on this link :
http://spirituality.indiatimes.com/articleshow/1734400020.cms

Keralites celebrate their New Year on the first day of the Malayalam month of Medam according to the Kollam calendar. This usually falls on 14 April. A festival of gaiety and renewal, this day is celebrated with great fun in Kerala.

The Kollam era is said to have begun on the day Parashurama, the sixth incarnation of Vishnu, created Kerala by making the waters of the Arabian Sea recede. Parashurama had vowed to exterminate the Kshatriya caste from the face of the earth. In keeping with this oath, he went to war with Rama, who was a Kshatriya.

During the battle, he realised that Rama was none other than the seventh incarnation of Vishnu. He realised that the purpose of his own life had come to an end and decided to spend the rest of his life in meditation. For this, he wanted a place where he could meditate in total peace. The gods granted him a boon according to which, he was to throw his battle axe into the sea and land would rise along the distance it covered. This is how Kerala was created.

Ritual:


The main ritual on this day is Vishukkani and Vishu Kaineettam . It is believed that the first objects which one sees on the morning of Vishu determine the prosperity experienced in the coming year.

As a result, people make it a point to see all the auspicious things as soon as they wake up. This is called Vishukkani . A special ritual arrangement of auspicious articles like rice grains, fresh linen, golden cucumber, betel leaves, arecanut, metal mirror, yellow flowers, a holy text and coins is made in a bell metal vessel called uruli . A bell metal lamp called nilavilakku is lighted near it.

When the day begins, people behold this ritualistic arrangement. A puja is performed and sweets offered to the gods. Older members of the family give kaineettam (token amount of money) to the youngsters, as part of the celebrations. The Kanippoo (flower of cassia) is considered especially auspicious for both the kani and puja on this day.

Hope you all have a vishu filled with happiness and blessing from the lord !!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Palak Paneer







We had some Palak which we had bought last weel from a new Indian store that opened up in our area. And I was as usual very excited about it as I found that the prices were pretty affordable and they had a big store full of Indian groceries :) .......So I decided to make Palak Paneer which my husband loves a lot, and so do I , and so does most of us, right? :) .....The pics must not have come so well, and thats coz I was too impatient to concentrate on the picture quality as the aroma of the Palak Paneer was making me impatient to be long enough behind the camera hehe. Anyways here is the recipe:

Ingredients:
Palak: a small bunch
Paneer: around 20 cubes or more as per your liking
Tomato: 1 nos Diced
Onion: 1 nos cut lengthwise
Garlic: 3 segments
Ginger Garlic paste: 3 teaspoons
Green Chilli: 3 nos minced
Coriander leaves (Cilantro): 4 - 5 strands
Coriander powder: 2 teaspoons
Cumin seeds: 2 teaspoons
Fenugreek seeds: 2 teaspoons
Butter or Oil for sauting
Salt
Pepper (optional)
Method:
  • Grind well the Palak along with garlic, coriander leaves , and a little water (or whey which is the left over water after making Paneer) .
  • Heat a little Butter and saute cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, garlic, green chilli, tomato and onion in the order while adding each these.
  • Add the ginger - garlic paste and saute, then add the coriander powder. Stir until well mixed. If the mixture starts to stick to the bottom, add a little water (say about 1 or 2 tablespoons) and stir again.
  • Add the ground Palak mixture and stir again. Add salt. Stir and keep the fire high. When the mixture starts boiling, add the paneer cubes and stir again. Wait until the mixture boils again.
  • Lower the fire and let it be like that for 2 minutes more. To make a thick gravy, mix a smooth paste of all purpose flour or rice flour mixed in some water.

There, your Palak paneer is ready!

How to make home made Paneer (Indian Cheese)


These days I was into using more of veggies in my cooking. I was also finding new information about milk products as we had bought fat-free mozarella cheese these days. It was then I remembered about my continuos failed attempts to make Paneer at home. My vegetarian friend Shubha is quiet an inspiration when it comes to vegetarian cooking. I must say I really wanted to try making Paneer coz she happend to mention once that she could make it with great easiness.

So keeping all this in mind, I started searching on the internet whether it is possible to make paneer with fat-free milk or atleast 1% low -fat milk which we had purchased recently after vijay (my hubby) started frowning seeing the skimmed milk section as the tea and coffee was almost becoming tasteless ;)) coz of our diet control. Well, we decided to give ourselves a break, so this time we purchased the 1 % milk which we used to purchase a long time back. Oh, I didnt mention the main point here...what I came to know was, if you do not want to purchase whole milk just for making Paneer , well, you can definitly make paneer with the 1% lowfat (coz I tried it this time) , but you should be satisfied with the amount of Paneer you get out of it , which is around, I got around 20 small cubes [not too small, but atleast its enough to satisfy your palate for a single round of Palak Paneer atleast ;) ] after I cut it into pieces. And this I got from using 3 cups of lowfat milk. I have posted the pic above. Hope you are able to judge by the pic. So let me tell you how I made this with 1% lowfat milk. You people can make it with whole milk if you are a Paneer lover ;)

Ingredients:

Milk (1% low fat milk) : 3 cups
Curd (non-fat), or lemon or vinegar (I used curd) : 3 tablespoons (just smoothen the lumps if you have thick curd before adding it to make paneer

Method:
  • Boil milk. When milk starts boiling, it starts producing bubbles and starts rising up. So be careful not to allow it from spilling outside.
  • When the boiling milk starts rising, remove it from the stove and immedietly add the curd and slowly stir it with the spoon to avoid any lumps.
  • If the milk is not curdling, add a few drops of lemon, and keep stirring.
  • Keep doing this with a slow motion (it took around 10 minutes, not that you have to keep stirring the whole 10 minutes, you can take a small break in between :) ] until the milk which had started to curdle, fully separates into a yellow/green color liquid (which is called whey) and paneer.
  • Now tie a cheesecloth around a vessel. Pour the curdled milk through the cheesecloth slowly.
  • After all the water seeped through the cheesecloth, carefully gather the sides of the cheesecloth and squeeze out the excess water from the Paneer as much as possible.
  • To make this more effective, after squeezing, place the cheesecloth with the Paneer on a flat plate. Keep a heavy thing like a heavy book or something on top of it. Let it remain this way for around 20 - to 30 minutes.
  • Open the cheesecloth and you have a solid flat "home made Paneer" in front of you.
  • Refrigerate (Dont freeze) it for around half and hour to get a stiffer Paneer, so that you can easily cut into cubes.

I did it this way and I loved it. And one more thing, don't waste the whey (the yellow/green liquid left behind after the Paneer is separated). Its rich in protein and is claimed to be called "Comfort Protein" in a commercial ad selling a baby food (I dont remember which ad it is) . I came across that term "Comfort Protein" and found it very interesting and then I noticed that it was written "whey" when they showed the same ad next time. So you can use this liquid for gravy while making dishes like Palak Paneer. Hope you enjoy preparing this famous Indian Cheese to use it in your favorite dishes!

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