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Thalassery Mutton Dum Biryani!

Hello, my lovelies!!!! I am baaaaaack!!!! Ok, I do need to apologize for the extremely long hiatus...and no, I am not going to make any exc...

Friday, July 10, 2015

Coconut Basbousa!

It's the weekend, yaaay!!!! I have so much to look forward to...my bestie is coming from Abu Dhabi to see me...and I am soooper excited!!! The wheels in my head are already running on what to make for her....:) But anyway, I digress...

We are slowly approaching the close of the holy month of Ramadan, but I do not think that Ramadan would be complete, or for that matter my dear friends would never forgive me if I did not post this recipe...after all, it is a classic!


Basbousa is a traditional Middle Eastern dish,  made of semolina, soaked in a special sugar syrup and like I said earlier, extremely popular during Iftars...and Suhours too! The most popular one of the lot, I think, is the almond basbousa, but I've opted for another equally favorite version...the coconut one. Super easy to make, and in fact, it takes all of 30 minutes! So, let's get started shall we?

INGREDIENTS


  • 1 tin condensed milk (I used Nestle)
  • 1/2 cup ghee, softened at roo m temperature
  • 2 cups semolina (rava)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut 
  • 1 cup water (Warm water would be preferred)
  • 1 tablespoon tahina sauce
  • Grated coconut- For garnish
  • Dry raisins- For garnish (optional)
For the Syrup
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 1/2cups sugar

RECIPE
  • In a bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the tahina sauce.
  • Layer a tablespoon of tahina sauce at the bottom of a baking dish.
  • To this add the coconut mixture and level it out with the back of a spoon.
  • Bake this in an oven, pre heated at 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes or till the top turns out golden brown.
  • Ensure that the basbousa cools completely before cutting into slices.
I got a total of 16 slices depending on the sizes that you cut them into. Do try it out and let me know how it turns out!



Till next time, take care and God Bless!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Chicken Noodle Biriyani!

Hello darlings!! I have some news to share... I recently started at a new job! It is special, considering that I have been with the same company for 10 years now! I did get emotional when I left, I have to be honest, but then again, change never did any one any harm :)

This dish that I present to you today is something different too. We've had chicken, we've had noodles, and we have had biriyani (most of us any way!), but what happens when you combine the 3 of them together?


I glanced upon this dish by chance, and considering that all my muslim friends out there are looking for different varieties of dishes to break their fast with, I thought I should give this a try! So Safreena, Sherin, Natha, Safeera, Meera aunty and any more people I have missed, this is all for u guys!! Ramadan Kareem once again!!

INGREDIENTS   


  • Chicken- 1 kilo- cut into small pieces
  • Noodles- 2 packets (I used Koko, considering all the controversy surrounding Maggi at the moment!)
  • Chicken stock- 1/2 cup (I used 2 Maggi chicken cubes)
  • Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chilly powder- 1 tablespoon
  • Coriander powder- 1 1/2 tablespoon
  • Black pepper powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Curd- 5 tablespoons
  • Ginger garlic paste- 2 teaspoons
  • Onion- 2 medium, sliced thinly
  • Water- 1 cup boiling (enough to boil the chicken)
  • Ghee- 2-3 tablespoons (You can alternatively use olive oil/vegetable oil for a healthier option)
  • Bay leaves- 2
  • Cloves- 2
  • Cardamom seeds- 2
  • Coriander leaves- garnish

  • METHOD

  • Boil the chicken with salt and turmeric powder till it cooks through. This should take 20-25 minutes on a medium flame.Once boiled, let it cool and shred the chicken into fine pieces.
  • Cook the noodles separately and drain out the excess water using a colander. This should take 5 minutes (follow the instructions on the packet).
  • In a separate saucepan, heat the ghee, and to this, add the bay leaves, cloves and cardamom. Fry for few seconds.
  • Add the ginger garlic paste followed by the onions and fry till they turn golden brown. Add a little salt at this stage to speed up the process.
  • Mix the coriander, chilly and pepper powders in the curd and add this to the sauce pan. Reduce the flame at this stage and saute till it starts bubbling. This should take a few seconds. Add more salt at this stage.
  • Add the shredded chicken at this stage and combine. Close the pan for about 5 minutes. 
  • Finally add the noodles and mix together till everything gets combined thoroughly. 
  • Switch off the flame and garnish with coriander leaves.


Now,wasn't that simple? This is the perfect dish to make when you have unexpected guests or simply want to break your fast with something different! Do try it out and let me know how it turns out.

Till next time, adios amigos and Ramadan Kareem!

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Devil's chocolate cake!

Let me start of by wishing all my Muslim brothers and sisters Ramadan Kareem! May this holy season be a period of reflection and time for you to be loser to the Almighty, in time to gear up for a wonderful Eid!


I probably should not be tempting anyone at this time...but hey, you could always make this to break your fast! After all that delicious biriyani and lamb chops, you need something sweet, don't you?!?

I actually made this cake to commemorate 2 occasions, one was my cousin's birthday that happened to coincide with the other occasion, my sister in law's wedding anniversary! I had this cake in mind for quite some time, especially after I saw the domestic goddess, our very own Nigella Lawson make it. I knew I had to give it a try...and my efforts did pay off, coz there was nothing left except for a bit of frosting that I happily licked up..he he! The recipe is courtesy Nigella, of course, the only thing I added were some Hershey's balls, just to make it look prettier than it already was :)

This cake is super easy to make, and the batter is very liquidy, but do ot worry about that, coz that's the way it should be. So, let's get this show on the road...it's Devil's food cake, but trust me, the angels would love this one for sure!

INGREDIENTS


  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar (Muscavado sugar)
  • 3/4-1 cup white sugar
  • 8-9 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2-3 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup boiling water
For the Frosting
  • 1/2 cup recently boiled water
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 bar of dark cooking chocolate (I used Hershey's)
Decoration (optional)
  • Hershey's chocolate balls
  • Powdered sugar

METHOD
  • You can make the frosting first, if you want it to be spread thick over your cake, or wait while your cake is baking, so that it can drip on the sides of your cake. I preferred the second one...I just like it that way, and so did my guests :)
  • Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.
  • Start of by making the batter. In a bowl, mix together the cocoa and brown sugar, and to this add the boiling water. As I mentioned earlier, the batter is going to be very watery, but this is the way it should be.
  • In a separate bowl, beat the butter and white sugar till creamy and fluffy. 
  • In a third bowl ,mix together the flour, baking powder and soda. 
  • Add this bit by bit to the second bowl containing the egg sugar mixture. The best way to do this is to add a spoonful of flour, mix, then add 1 egg,mix and then add the remaining flour and finally incorporate everything together. Add the vanilla essence at the end to get rid of the smell of egg.
  • Finally add the cocoa mixture to this and mix thoroughly till you have a brown, gooey chocolaty mix.
  • There is enough batter for 2 layers, so you could either divide the cake between 2 cake tins, or like I did, bake the first cake, and then follow it up with the second one. I had only 1 cake tin at the time.
  • Bake the cake for 20-25 minutes or till a tooth pick inserted through the center comes clean. It took me 25 minutes.
  • Wait till the cake cools completely before unmolding it onto a cake tray.
  • While waiting for the first cake to cool, and baking the second one, you can prepare the frosting, which is super simple.
  • In a saucepan, add all the ingredients for the frosting, except for the chocolate, and boil on a  low flame until everything starts bubbling. This should take around 5 minutes. 
  • Take the pan of the flame and add the chocolate cubes. After 2-3 minutes, mix with a fork till everything incorporates into the mixture. Wait for the mixture to cool completely before you start frosting the cake.
  • To assemble the cake, place the first cake upside down, put some of the frosting on top till it gets covered completely, and place the second cake, right side up, on top of the first. Top off the remaining frosting on the top and sides of the cake, allowing it to dribble at the sides.
  • Top off with Hershey's balls at the sides and some powdered sugar.
And there you have it, devils' food cake, fit for angels to eat !!!


So, how about this to break your fast?? Scrumptious, right. Do check out all the lovely dishes you can try during the holy month...and I shall keep them coming!

Till next time, take care and God bless!


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Fried Salmon in lemon infused cream sauce!

Last Friday, we had a wonderful couple over for lunch. The husband was Indian and the wife French :)...clearly, love has no boundaries! And obviously, the experimenter that I am, I had to make something French...with an Indian touch to it. Luckily for me, the 2 of them were not fussy eaters at all...in fact, they loved spicy food, not too much of it though, but I knew that I had to make something special.


You can never go wrong with salmon. It is the easiest...and the tastiest fish that you can have at the table. I would normally never use the words "elegant" and "fish" in the same sentence, but for me, salmon is somewhat associated to royalty...do not ask me why....or maybe because it's so notoriously expensive! It hardly takes time to cook, but the end result is magical in itself. I just added some cream coz I was in the mood actually...he he! On to the recipe. I am not even going to bother listing out the ingredients coz it's that simple.

METHOD

  • Wash salmon fillets in a mixture salt and lemon juice to get rid of the smell.
  • Marinate these in a mixture of salt, pepper and lime juice. Leave it for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  • In the mean time, prepare the sauce. I had 4 salmon fillets, so I took half a cup of fresh cream and to this added the juice of 1 lemon, pepper powder (2 teaspoons), garam masala powder (1 teaspoon), basil leaves (1 teaspoon), oregano leaves (1 teaspoon) and salt to taste.
  • Boil this till you get the thickness you desire.
  • Fry the salmon fillets. I used "Lurpak Cooks Range" oil, simply because I'm in love with the product, but salmon releases it's own oil so you can fry as is. Fry this on each side for approx 3-4 minutes on a medium flame till it turns a pale pink and starts flaking. You can alternatively bake or grill.
  • Layer this on a plate, top of with the sauce and garnish with some steamed beans on the side and coriander leaves on the top. Do not bother cutting the beans. Simply put them into boiling water for 15 minutes and use as garnish.

Now was'nt that simple!



Till next time, take care and God bless!



Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Thalassery Mutton Dum Biryani!

Hello, my lovelies!!!! I am baaaaaack!!!! Ok, I do need to apologize for the extremely long hiatus...and no, I am not going to make any excuses, I was just plain lazy! I know that's not a reason, but hey, what's important is that I'm back....and that too with a brand new recipe, guaranteed to tickle your taste buds!

So, tell me..how's everyone been? Here in sunny Dubai, everyone's gearing up for Ramadan...so for all my Muslim friends, Ramadan Kareem in advance! In order to bring in the holy month, I thought I should post something that you can look forward to during Eid....and what better way than some good old fashioned biryani!


There are so many different variants to the biryani, and in fact, I had posted a recipe for my chicken biryani which you can find right Here. But for now, I thought I'd experiment with my favorite meat, mutton, or goat's meet, and this dish is one of the most popular type of biryanis in Kerala. Simple, wholesome, flavorful...and we're only getting started! Let's find out how to make this, shall we....

INGREDIENTS

  • Mutton- washed and cleaned thoroughly, 1 kilo. When washing mutton, use a mixture of salt, lemon juice and turmeric powder to get rid of the smell and give it an overall shine.
For Marination
  • Turmeric powder- 1/2 teaspoon
  • Red chilly powder- 3 tablespoons (depending on the spice requirement, this should give you a medium spicy flavor)
  • Coriander powder- 4 tablespoons 
  • Ginger- finely minced- 1/2 inch stick
  • Garlic- 10 cloves, finely mashed
  • Black pepper powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Yogurt- 1/2 cup
  • Lime juice- 1 lime
  • Salt to taste
For the masala
  • 3 medium sized onions- finely sliced
  • Ginger- 1/2 inch piece
  • Garlic- 4 cloves finely sliced
  • Tomatoes- 2 medium sized, chopped into cubes
  • Garam masala powder- 1 teaspoon
  • Salt to taste
  • Boiling water- 1/4 cup
For the rice
  • 3 cups basmati rice (I used Kohinoor, it has always given me very good results)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Cinnamon stick- 1 broken into half
  • 3 cloves
  • 2 cardamom seeds
For the garnish
  • Cashews- a handful
  • Onions- 2 finely sliced and fried

METHOD
  • Marinate the mutton with ingredients under "For Marination" section and set aside for a minimum of 2 hours. You can do this over night but I do not find much difference.
  • In a saucepan, heat a mixture of oil and ghee (I use 2 tablespoons of each, adds more flavor and does not make you feel very heavy). In this, fry the onions until they turn translucent (semi transparent), and they change color. Note that they do not have to be brown. Add salt at this stage to cook the onions faster.
  • Add the tomatoes and fry till they get mashed. At this stage, you can add the water but this is optional. 
  • Finally add the mutton and stir it thoroughly before closing it tightly and cooking for a minium of 35-40 minutes, or until it becomes tender. Once the mutton is cooked, there will be some gravy, so open the vessel and cook for another 10 minutes until the gravy turns thick. Do not evaporate completely since this forms the masala.
  • While the mutton is cooking, start preparing the rice. Wash the rice thoroughly 3 times and soak it for about 15 minutes in 4 cups of water.
  • Drain this water and add this to the pan in which the rice is being cooked. To this, add 4 cups of boiling water, butter, lime juice and the spices.
  • Basmati rice takes a total of 12-15 minutes (max) to cook. Ensure that you always have an eye on the rice so that it does not over cook and get mushy.
  • When the rice is half cooked (check by pressing one rice grain between your fingers. It gets half mashed and half solid), drain the water from the rice and remove the spices.
  • Put one more tablespoon of butter to separate the rice grains and give more flavor.
  • Now, for the dum part. Normally, in order to create the dum, flour mixed with water is used to create a paste and seal the sides of the pan in which the biryani is cooked. Here, I did something different.
  • In a baking dish, spread butter evenly (1-2 tablespoons). Start off by layering a spoon of rice, followed by 2 spoons of mutton masala, and repeat the process till you have rice as the top most layer.
  • Seal this completely with foil paper and set this in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 minutes. Alternatively you could cook this on the burner at a very low flame for 30 minutes. The rice gets cooked through at this stage and merges with the masala. 
  • Time for the garnish, Fry some nuts and onions in 2 tablespoons of ghee until crispy and serve.
Tada, we have some scrumptios "Neetu's style Dum biryani" available!!




Do try it out and let me know your feedback! Till next time, take care and God bless!


Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Fudgy Brownie cupcakes with chocolate chip cookie dough frosting!

I start of with an apology....only because I have been extremely lazy in putting up a new recipe. But, first things first...

Happy New Year!!!

May you have a wonderful, happy and prosperous new year, and may all your dreams and hopes come true!!! More importantly, thank you all for the wonderful response I have been receiving despite me being so irregular in my posts. So, as my New Year gift, I present to you these wonderfully moist brownie cupcakes, made even better with the chocolate chip cookie dough frosting.


I mean, what is not to like...they're brownies, they're cupcakes, and most importantly, they've got chocolate chip cookie frosting!! How could you possibly go wrong?!?
First things first, though. This would not have been possible without Sally from Sally's Baking Addiction, so thank you so much Sally for this wonderful recipe. It's so funny, coz I was actually looking for another recipe (that shall remain a secret for the moment :P), but I ended up with these and I am ever so grateful, so thank you once again, Sally, you truly are a star!

On to the recipe, be prepared to indulge yourself into chocolate heaven!                          

INGREDIENTS


Brownie cupcakes

  • 100 gms dark chocolate (3.5-4 ounces- any brand will do, I used Kit Kat :) )
  • White granulated sugar- 1 1/4 cups
  • All purpose flour- 1 cup
  • Unsalted butter (room temperature)- 1/2 cup
  • 3 eggs (room temperature)
  • Vanilla essence- 2 drops
  • Salt- A pinch
Chocolate chip cookie dough frosting

  • Unsalted butter (room temperature)- 1/2 cup
  • Muscavado or light brown sugar- 3/4 cup
  • All purpose flour- 1 cup +2 tablespoons
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 drops vanilla essence
  • 1 cup chocolate chips (I used Hershey's)
  • Salt- A pinch


METHOD
  • Melt chocolate and butter on the stove. Ensure the flame is low, since chocolate burns easily. Keep stirring with a wooden spoon to speed up the process.
  • Set it aside to cool for a few minutes. Mix in sugar and vanilla essence.
  • Beat the eggs, one at a time until they are completely blended in.
  • Finally, beat the flour and salt, until the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
  • Prepare muffin tins, by spraying cooking oil or brushing it with butter. I've recently discovered the Lurpak's cooking range Cooking Spray and am so in love with the product. Highly recommended!
  • Bake these cupcakes at 180 degrees for about 25- 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center gives you moist crumbs.
  • While they are baking, go ahead and prepare the frosting. Start off by creaming together the butter and sugar.
  • To this, add the vanilla essence followed by the flour and salt till you get a dense dough.
  • Incorporate the milk till it becomes creamy and fluffy.
  • Last, but definitely not the least, add the chocolate chips and stir this in using a wooden spatula. The more you add, the better they taste!
  • Wait till the cupcakes are completely cooled down before frosting them. I just used a spoon, but a butter knife would be even better. Remember, frosting looks best when untidy ;)
And voila, you have the most yummylicious, creamiest cupcakes on the planet! Incidentally, the frosting is so good, you can just eat it like ice cream! These cupcakes taste best when cooled, so keep them in the fridge for atleast half an hour before serving..if you have the patience, that is!!


So do try these cupcakes out and let me know how they turn out. Omce again, wish u all a very Happy and prosperous New Year! Till next time, take care and God bless!


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