Saturday, March 30, 2013

Canned Tuna and Coconut stir fry



Trying to incorporate healthy foods in our family of three is a challenge I always have fun with. I have been weary to try canned grocery as they are notorious for their sodium content as well as other additives. Some of them though have been a staple in my kitchen after I tried them after much scrutinisation.

I am not a purist when it comes to cooking.I am all for easy to make, semi homemade, quickie cooking too as long as it doesnt make me compromise too much on the taste, nutrition value, and ofcourse the price :-)

After a chat with one of my friends who suggested that I need to have a section on "Bachelor cooking", I decided this is the perfect dish to start this section. I will be posting such dishes from time to time.

Canned Tuna was something I loathed when my better half bought it the first time years ago. As I told you in a previous post, he has this habit of picking up something new whenever he does the grocery shopping.

I was so fascinated reading the label on it where it tells about the omega 3 goodness in the canned tuna. Not to mention, the additional good things that I found after a thorough google search.Apparently canned tuna are one of the best foods that can be stocked during an emergency. But all in vain once I opened the can....since the whiff made me trash the entire can.

Fast forward to present..... I am eager to incorporate seafood into my munchkin's diet, since it's good in terms of nutrition value. I am not good at filleting fish or have the time to clean and cook seafood from scratch. Hence I decided to put the canned tuna to test. I added flavor enhancers and maskers to not make it taste like it came out of a can and I have to say it's now a hit with my boy and his dad :-)

So here is how I made it:

Ingredients:

2 canned tunas (the one in water is best as it has less sodium)

1 medium shallot sliced

2 tablespoons thinly sliced ginger (this gives the flavor boost according to me)

Grated coconut (fresh or thawed): 1/2 cup

Salt

Oil : 2 tablespoons

Spices:

Garam masala: 2 teaspoons divided

Coriander powder: 1 tspn

Cumin powder: 1/2 tspn

Red Chilli powder (according to your tolerance)

Hing (asafoetida) powder : 1/2 teaspoon

Turmeric powder: 1/4 teaspoon





How to make:

Drain the water from the tuna can like this as shown in photo below. It's the most effective way.



Then transfer the tuna into a bowl. Add all the spices and a pinch of salt (not the amount to actually season, just a pinch for the flavors to mix), and grated coconut and mix well with a fork.





In a frying pan or saute pan on medium heat, heat oil, a pinch of salt and hing (i like to flavor my oil with salt before hand since i feel it adds flavor) add shallot, and ginger. Saute until they brown lightly. Then lower heat to medium low, add 1 teaspoon garam masala, stir well say for a minute, then add the tuna mixture. Saute while breaking the mixture so as to mix everything well with the shallot and ginger. Add the remaining 1 teaspoon garam masala, and stir well, check for salt at this point. Keepimg heat at medium low, cover pan and let it cook for a minute.Lower the heat open the cover, stir for 15 seconds. Do a taste test if you are like me (while my boy says "meetth na" meaning not enough salt, even before he tastes anything these days, as he sees me taste testing :-P ). Switch off.





This goes well with a rice and dal combo since it makes a great stir fry with immense flavor of the ginger, tuna, and spices.

Did you like this post? Let me know :-)

Happy Easter !
MK

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easy Coconut Milk Pie (no bake)



Hello dear reader,
How was your past week? If you saw my update post, you will remember why I did not post last week. Well, things are not any better, but I have been evolving each time my baby is going through a growth spurt, it's just that it takes a bit of adjustment, and understanding , that period is the testing part.
Anyways, I am on a mission to lighten my overcrowded pantry, ... At this point I feel if I hoard anymore grocery in there (yes I am a hoarder of grocery, tch tch, not proud of it, but I admit it and vow to not do it again ,...infact I am scared to set foot in a supermarket now thinking I would be tempted to stock up again :-\ ...)....
Keeping that thought in mind, I decided to start with "getting rid of" the readymade pie crust and cans of coconut milk. I got this recipe from internet and with minor substitutions, it's easy peasy :-)
Here is what you need:
1 store bought ready to eat piecrust (I used a granola crust)
Filling:
3 cups coconut milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs beaten (iam guessing it can be made eggless if I add bit more of cornstarch , but I have not tried it)
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sliced almonds for garnish
How I made it:
Mix everything for the filling except coconut flakes and almonds in a medium saucepan.
Keep it on low fire and keep stirring until mixture starts thickening. I had to turn up the heat to medium after sometime since it was taking forever on low. But just make sure that there are no lumps, and the first sign of thickening, you turn it back to low. And keep stirring. Add the flakes at this point, stir. Switch off. Transfer to the pie crust. Chill atleast 5 hours or even overnight. Garnish with sliced almonds and Saffron.





Enjoy :)

MK

Saturday, March 23, 2013

An update.....

Hey readers, I have been dealing with a cranky toddler, whose new sleep schedule is making me go bananas,... Hence the delay in blogging,... It's taking over my blogging time you know, and I am like a zombie during daytime with groggy eyes, and been very quite except when I have to pressurize my son to doing things like eating, and sleeping....But I am still trying out recipes, and cooking, so it won't take too long alright ? Meanwhile feel free to browse my oldies :-) .... And is there something you want to me blog about in particular with regard to food? Please let me know through the comment section :-)

Ciao !
MK

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Making Ghee (Clarified Butter)



There is something about motherhood that forces you to cook something you would otherwise keep at bay. That "was" Ghee for me. I am not a big fan of butter or ghee, yogurt, milk. But that does not mean I would want the same for my baby, though I can surely empathize with people who have the same dislikes in terms of food as me. But as any mother would do, I too don't sit back and hope he should follow in my footsteps in terms of such things, infact I too coax, trick, and try other ways to make him healthier. I am sure most parents agree with me :-)

Ghee is also popularly known as Clarified butter. It's the liquid that's left after all milk solids that eventually collect at the bottom as sediments turn a golden hue (got that description from a facebook group friend who offered several other tips which I would be sharing here)



The method I used here is not traditional way which I am not that familiar with. Though my mother used to often make it, I used to pinch my nose and stay as far away from the "aroma". I didn't even bother knowing how it was made, let alone get a whiff !

So, though I am still not into ghee, for the sake of my bub, I made this the "easy" way :-) , and that's with store bought unsalted butter.

It's pretty easy , the steps are self explanatory from the pictures I have posted in collage form, but I will describe it for your convenience :-)

Ingredients

4 sticks unsalted butter (need not be at room temperature)

Optional ingredients: (I haven't used these, but got tips from experienced people who advised that it will enhance flavor, fragrance, and shelf life)

Salt (tiny pinch), Drumstick tree leaves, Curry leaves

Note: make sure everything from vessel, spoon, to leaves don't have even minute trace of moisture before starting to make ghee, else ghee will turn bad.

How I made it :

Keep a vessel at medium high and let it heat to vaporise any trace of water. Then lower heat to low (I kept mine between gas setting 1 and 2 the entire time while making ghee)

If you want, cut the butter in chunks for faster melting, and then add it to the vessel. Now wait until the butter melts completely and starts foaming.
You will here crackling sounds which indicates the milk solids in the butter heating up. The foam at this stage will be all over the top. Just wait patiently as this will take a while, (it took almost 20 minutes with very occasional stirring) but eventually it will thin out and you will notice the foam separating. If you use a spoon to slowly separate the foam, you will be able to see the yellow liquid (ghee) floating and the milk solids collected at the bottom. Do not at any stage, rush the cooking by increasing the heat. I learned that the hard way after I burnt the milk solids and it lend a bitter, unpleasant after taste and even smell, the first time I made ghee.

As you can see from the first collage here, the bubbles slowly reduce and the yellow liquid completely separates from the golden colored milk solids collected at the bottom. Wait until most of the foam is gone. It took another 10 minutes for me.



At this point, when you are just about to switch off the flame, add a tiny pinch of salt, the leaves, and then switch off flame. Let the ghee cool just a bit. Then pour it through a filter into a clean, well dry bottle (refer my second collage).



I apologize for the shaky pictures, as I was trying to be smart, clicking pictures with a cranky bub. Wrong move from my part I say :-\ please don't ever do that, I would never do it again, it's like my heart was pounding, but I so wanted to get it over with.

So once you finished straining the ghee, wait for it to cool completely before putting the lid and storing away in a cool place (not in the refrigerator). It will get hard and solidify as it cools, but that's normal.



You may use this ghee to make sweets, or in hot steaming rice , side dishes to enhance the smell, and taste. Also it's found to have medicinal properties that it's been used with ayurvedic medicine. I can personally vouch for that during my childhood days ;-)

Did you like this post? Please let me know your views, so that next time I can write a better one :-) , or if you love it, please tell me that too, you know I just love hearing from you :-) !
MK :-)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Adzuki Beans (Red Chori) dumpling



Hello dear reader :-)
How was your weekend? We had awesome weather here, especially yesterday. Got bub's haircut done two days back. Now he looks all ready for spring :-) ...on a side note: I can't stop kissing his chubby hands :-)



So coming to this recipe, it's something I made up along the way while trying innovative ways to finish a plethora of legumes lying around in my pantry just begging me to pick them up, each time I scavenge there to pick something quicker to cook, such as a can of coconut milk for eg.

So in an effort to do something about it, I soaked these Adzuki beans, as the first step in any legumes cooking, which needs soaking. I was confident I could come up with something as my Mung Bean pancakes were a success.

The next day, I drained and saved the water in which the beans were soaked. Then I grinded coconut first , added the beans next, and ground everything to a smooth batter with not too much water, as the beans itself gives out water while grinding and it does not get clumpy unlike ground rice.



Then I let the batter sit for a while, after which I added some shredded cabbage and spinach for crunch and taste. Mixed until everything got incorporated. Checked for salt. And made dumplings using the Idli steamer. It was a hit with my dears at home who were after me to make more "illi" (as bub calls it )

Ingredients

Adzuki beans (red chori) : 1 cup
Water to soak beans
Shredded Coconut : 2/3 cup
Cumin seeds: 1 tablespoon
Dry red chilli/chilli powder : as pet your taste
Hing : two teaspoons
Salt

Shredded cabbage/Spinach or both : optional

How I made:

Soak the beans overnight, or until all beans are well soaked. Drain water and reserve.

First grind the coconut, chilli, and cumin along with a few tablespoons of water sufficient enough for the motor to run and grind it to a smooth paste, it's ok if a tiny bit of chunky piece is left, but not too much

Note: It's critical to grind the coconut alone first (not along with beans) to get the soft chewy texture of the dumpling.

Then add the beans and grind well, you may even do it in batches. Just make sure the beans is really ground well, (it's important that the beans are well soaked just for this purpose to get a good ground batter, else be prepared to bite into unsavory stone like bits of not-so-well-soaked beans)

Now add hing, check for salt. Let the batter sit for say just 30 minutes (for getting soft chewy dumplings).

Then add cabbage and spinach.Check for salt. Drop tablespoons full into Idli moulds and steam for 20 minutes. Now, when you open the lid, you might feel the batter is still not cooked, but if the top feels just ever so lightly hard, it's indication to the doneness. This is because, as it cools outside the steamer, it hardens, but not that hard, it gets chewy but still soft and did I forget to say "yummmm" :-)



Have a wonderful week ! :-)
MK

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Shrikhand



I don't know why I never tried making this "sweet"y ;-) before ? Oh I remember now,...a wrong (read "nothing like what it's supposed to taste") one at the right time made me biased against this immensely flavorful , yet open to various modifications to make it a healthy treat without losing it's charm, dessert. The saying "first impression matters" was all true when it came to my view of shrikhand. With an intriguing name, that I came across a magazine during high school, I always wanted to taste it. The only not so appeasing thing to me about it during that time was the main ingredient in it - yogurt that is, you see I am not a big fan of dairy if it does not have any masking flavors, it's the smell and taste that is a turn off, ....my mom had a hard time making me eat ghee/butter/milk during childhood, and the fact that my tastebuds were advanced (probably in today's percentile crazy world, I probably would have measured the 90 th percentile for tastebuds , if there is such a thing as tastebud percentile :-P )....and the above mentioned "wrong thing at right time" scenario didn't do any good. Fast forward to present, when I tasted it just few months back. I was hooked ;-) lol....Thanks to hub's sweet tooth ! To sweeten the deal, bub too loved it :-)


Hence I decided to try it to make it healthier than their sugar rich store bought counterpart. However I did notice that if you skimp too much on the sugar part, it ends up tasting like just plain yogurt, which was not my goal. So I added sugar according to my taste. It might differ from yours, so I am not mentioning the measurement here. In fact I didn't measure anything, and I didn't need to. It's that easy, and versatile, after the initial yogurt processing step.



How I made it:

Shrikhand is a dessert made with hung yogurt. As you can see from the picture, it's the creamy , spreadable yogurt that's left after all water is strained from yogurt.
- I used a cheesecloth, dumped the entire container of yoghurt in the cheesecloth that was positioned carefully atop another vessel so as to avoid any messes.

-Then I carefully gathered up the edges of the cheesecloth and tied one of it's edges around the gathered cloth
- Then I hung it from the tap to put it under pressure just like making paneer.
- I let it strain overnight, but no more as then it will cause the yogurt to turn sour.

It looks like paneer (cottage cheese), but nothing like that otherwise in terms of texture or taste. So once this hung yogurt is obtained, the next step is to whip it well with everything that goes into it...
-I whipped it with some powdered sugar and a bit of granulated sugar, a teaspoon of sour cream if desired, nuts, fresh or canned fruits like mango, pineapple, cherry, saffron, cardamom powder. I also added a generous tablespoon of pure vanilla extract :-) ....like I said you can add your own twist to it.

But don't by any chance ruin this by whipping with a blender or any machine. Your hands would serve the purpose here if you catch my drift.



- Once everything is whipped, refrigerate atleast two hours.

This last step alone, in my opinion, is what causes magic and transforms yogurt to Shrikhand :-) ,....you ask me why? Coz otherwise it tastes like plain flavored yogurt. I was initially disappointed that all my anticipation and efforts went in vain before I refrigerated it. So that's why I am telling you again, "Refrigerate it" :-)

One thing I learned which would better equip me next time : Make more of it ! :-) seriously readers I tell you , this one is a keeper in my make once a week recipe. I can't tell you how glad I was to see my bub having it without spitting out the nuts I added in it. He licked the spoon clean, and to think all those active cultures in the yogurt went inside his tummy made me giddy happy :-)



So did I inspire you enough to give it a try?

Well here is another one ;-) ....



Have a great weekend :-)
MK

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