Saturday, December 24, 2011

Yummy Hakka Noodles

Indian Vegetarian Street Food Special 
Indo-Chinese Fusion Cuisine
Yummy Hakka Noodles
Serves 2

Ching’s Secret Vegetarian Hakka Noodles- 1 Pack
Onions- 2 Medium, Finely Sliced
Spring Onions- 4-6, Finely Sliced
French Beans- 6-8, Finely Sliced & Parboiled
Carrots- 1 Medium, Finely Sliced & Parboiled
Green Bell Peppers- 1 Medium, Finely Sliced
Cabbage- ¼ Cup, Finely Shredded
Ching’s Secret Dark Soy Sauce- 1 Tbsp.
Ching’s Secret Green Chilli Sauce- 2 Tbsp.
Ching’s Secret Red Chilli Sauce– 1 Tbsp.

Ching’s Secret Vinegar- 1 Tbsp.
Black Pepper Powder- ½ Tsp.
Salt- To Taste
Spring Onions- 1 Tbsp. To Garnish

In a Deep Bottom Pot, Boil the Water
Add Noodles into Water & as soon as they are Semi Cooked Drain
Add 1 Tbsp. Oil into Noodles, Mix well with Hands & Keep Aside
In a Non Stick Wok, heat Olive Oil on High Flame
Add Onions, Spring Onions, Cabbage & Sauté
Add Green Bell Peppers, French Beans, Carrots & Sauté
Add Dark Soy Sauce, Green Chilli Sauce, Red Chilli Sauce and Mix Well
Add the Noodles & Mix Well with 2 Mixing Spoons Gently so that the Noddles stay intact
Serve Hot Garnished with Spring Onion!

Can add Boiled Green Moong Sprouts, Fresh/Frozen Green Peas, Fresh/Frozen Sweet Corn as well

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Christmas Plum Pudding

Winter, Christmas & New Year- Festive Season Baking Special
Original Christmas Plum Pudding
Serves 4-6

1st Stage Ingredients:
Star Anise- 2 No’s
Cinnamon Sticks- 1 Inch
Prunes- 1 Cup, Finely Chopped
Cranberries- 1 Cup, Finely Chopped
Fruit Peels (Sweet Lime, Oranges) - 100 Grams
Cherries- 1 Cup, Finely Chopped
Pure Vanilla Essence- 1 Tsp.
Dark Rum- 1 Cup
Brandy- 1 Cup
Fruit Juice (Apple/Orange/Grape Juice) - 2 Cup
Raisins (Kismis)- 2 Cup

2nd Stage Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour- 2 Cup
Baking Powder- 1 Tsp.
Nutmeg Powder (Kuta Jaiphal)- ½ Tsp.
All Spice Powder (Kebab Cheeni)- ¼ Tsp.
Cinnamon Powder (Kuti Dalchini)- ½ Tsp.

3rd Stage Ingredients:
Butter- 1 Cup
Brown Sugar- 1 Cup
Pure Vanilla Extract - 1 Tsp.
Eggs- 6 Nos.
Silver Foil/Parchment Paper/Baking Paper- To Cover
Water- As Needed For Water Bath
Amul Fresh Cream- 2 Big Cups
Sugar- 4 Tbsp.
Saffron- 1 Tsp.
Brandy- 60 Ml.

1st Stage Method:
In a Bowl, Add Star Anise, Cinnamon Sticks, Prunes, Cranberries, Fruit Peels, Cherries, Vanilla Essence, Dark Rum, Brandy and Mix Well
Fruits especially Raisins Absorb most of the Alcohol
Mix the Fruits in Clockwise, Anti Clockwise and Clockwise direction. Mix & Turn the Spoon in 3 Times Total
Cover and keep the Mix refrigerated for at least 3 days

2nd Stage Method:
This is the Step to Mix in All the Dry Ingredients
So at First we start with All Purpose Flour in a Sieve and Mix in the Powdered Spices. Gently Sieve all and Keep Aside

3rd Stage Method:
Now would be the time to Whisk in the Butter & Brown Sugar to a Liquid Consistency
Mix in the Dry Ingredients, Carefully Fold Only in 1 direction
Mix in the Soaked Fruits-Spice Mix & Fold Well
The Batter Consistency should be a Wet & Sticky like a Cake Batter which would be Crucial as the Pudding can Either be Steamed in a Steamer or Make a Water Bath and Put it in the Oven
Grease the Cup with Melted Butter, Pour the Plum Batter with a Spoon and Settle the Batter down by Gently Patting down on Hands  
Cover the Cup with a Silver Foil/Parchment Paper/Baking Paper

For a Water Bath:
Add Water in 2 Aluminium Baking Vessel (Cover it just less than an Inch)
Preheat the Oven at about 150 Degree C
Put the Pudding Cups in it and let them Steam in the Water Bath in the Oven till 1 Hour

For Saffron Cream Sauce:
In a Pan Boil Cream, Sugar, Saffron and Brandy on a Low Flame till about 2-3 Minutes till it becomes a Thick Sauce-like Consistency
Keep the Sauce Aside

Check the Pudding, When done Invert it on a Serving Plate and Top it with Saffron Cream Sauce
Serve it Warm with Lots of Love just like All Our Christmas Wishes!!

Let’s go back & rewind few decades back in the Western World, the Expensive Spices especially the Sweet Spices used in this Recipe was affordable just for few Festive Occasions So this Pudding was one of the highly awaited Dishes by the Family & became one of the Signature Christmas Recipes!
All Spice Powder includes a mix of Clove, Cinnamon, Nutmeg & Bayleaf
Prunes are Sweetened Plums just like Raisins are Sweetened Grapes!
For a Non Alcoholic Recipe- The Fruit-Spice Mix can be soaked in Fruit Juice (Apple/Orange/Grape Juice)
Raisins always absorb a lot of the Alcohol so we Add it in the end

Traditionally the Pudding was made 4 or 5 Weeks before Christmas
The Age Old belief is that while making a Plum Pudding, generally people especially every Child in the Home makes a wish & it will be granted. For the same, Mix the Fruits in Clockwise, Anti Clockwise and Clockwise direction again by turning the Ladle in same direction 3 times & don’t forget to Make a Wish!
Always mix your Dry Ingredients first while preparing for a Cake/Pudding
The Butter should always be at Room Temperature
Instead of Brown Sugar, Regular White Sugar can also be used in this Recipe
Folding in one direction is the Most Important, as the Cake/Pudding Rises Very Well this Way!

Another Version of this Yummy Pudding is with the below Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour- ¾ Cup
Salt- A pinch
Bread Crumbs- 3/4 Cup
Butter- 4 Tbsp.
Cinnamon - ½ Tsp., Powdered
Nutmeg- ½ Tsp., Powdered
Mace- 1/2 Tsp., Powdered
Fresh Lemon - ½ Tsp. Rind Grated
Brown Sugar- ½ Cup
Raisins- 1 Cup
Cherries- ¼ Cup
Lemon Peel- ¼ Cup, Finely Chopped
Almonds- ¼ Cup, Blanched, Peeled & Chopped
Carrot- ½ Cup, Peeled & Finely Chopped
Eggs- 3, Lightly Beaten
Orange Juice- ½ Cup
Sherry- 2 Tbsp.

Put the All Purpose Flour in a Sieve with Salt. Gently Sieve both and Keep Aside
Mix Breadcrumbs in with the Flour
Add the Butter in the Flour-Breadcrumb mixture
Add Lemon Rind, Sugar, Powdered Spices. Dried Fruits, Fresh Peel and Nuts
Add Eggs, Carrot and Orange Juice
Add Sherry and let the Mixture to soak Covered Overnight
The Following Day, next Step would be to Transfer the Soaked Pudding Batter into 2 Moulds
Cover with Grease Proof Paper, Foil and Steam in a Double Boiler Continuously for 7 Hours at a Steady Temperature
Check to see if the Pudding is Done
Cover & Keep it Overnight to Cool
Reheat for a Minimum of 2 Hours just before Serving
Optionally can use Golden Sultanas (these are Dried Seedless White Pale Green Grapes) ½ Cup & 2 Tbsp. Of Rum
For Baking, any desired Ceramic/Glass/Aluminum/Silicon mould can be used


English- Saffron
Hindi- Kesar/Zafran
Telugu- Kunkumapuvvu

Courtesy Master Chef India Season 2 & Sanjeev Kapoor’s Unique Recipes, I was reminded by our Loved Ones to Post for Christmas- Different Varieties of Plum Pudding!!

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Mulled Wine!

Winter, Christmas & New Year- Festive Season Mocktail Special
Mulled Wine!

Oranges- 2 Large No's
Lemon & Lime Peel- 1 No.
Castor Sugar- 60 Grams
Whole Cloves- 5 No's
Cinnamon Stick- 1 No.
Star Anise- 3 No's
Fresh Bay Leaves- 3 No's
Whole Vanilla Essence- 1 Tsp.
Red Wine- 1 Bottle

Peel Oranges, Lemon & Lime in Large Thick Pieces and Keep Aside
Put a Deep Bottomed Non Stick Saucepan/Pot on Medium Heat
Add Castor Sugar, Bay Leaves, Vanilla Essence (or Fresh Vanilla Bean), Cloves, Star Anise, Cinnamon Bark, Orange Rind Zest (also skip the Bitter White Part), Orange Juice, Some Red Wine to cover the Ingredients and let it Boil till the Sugar Melts
Again Add another Round of Wine and Simmer for about 4-5 Minutes till all the Alcohol disappears and a Thick Syrupy Texture appears.
Strain & Serve Warm on a Chilly Day with Traditional Italian Dessert Panettone!

Enjoyed throughout Europe (Bosnia & Herzegovina, Britain, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Turkey) with Different Names & Methods of Preparation
Mulled Wine is also called Vin Brulé ("Burned Wine" in Northern Italy!
Wonderful Aroma of the Whole Spices lingers throughout the House when this Festive Drink is prepared
Serve it on a Cold Winter Night, or on a Christmas Get together, New Year’s Eve, this Drink Enjoyed by All!
White Wine can also be used instead of Red Wine 
Interestingly, an Alcohol-Free form of Mulled Wine can be made with Fruit Juice instead of Wine.

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fruit Custard

International Egg less Sweets Special
Fruit Custard
Serves 4 to 6

Apples- 1 Medium
Oranges- 1 Medium
Pears- 1 Medium
Black Grapes- 12 to 15 No’s
Kiwi- 1 Medium
Papaya- ½ Cup
Pomegranate Seeds- ¼ Cup

Milk- 2 Cups
Custard Powder- 3 Tbsp.
Sugar- 3 Tbsp

Dry Fruits (5 Almonds, 5 Pistachios) - To Garnish

Cherries- To Garnish

Soak Almonds Overnight
Drain, Peel & Slice Almonds
In a Bowl, Add 3 Tbsp of Cold Milk with 2 Tbsp of Custard Powder and Mix it properly.
Boil the Remaining Milk
Gradually add the Custard-Milk Mix and Stir continuously.
Add Sugar and Mix Well.
Bring the Custard Mix to a Boil. Keep the Custard aside to Cool

Meanwhile, Wash & Dice Apples & Pears
Wash, Peel and Dice Papaya into Medium size.
Peel the Orange & remove the Skin and Seeds.
Wash, De Seed & Dice Grapes.
Gently Peel the Kiwifruit and Dice into Small Pieces. 
Roast, Cool, De Skin & Slice Pistachios

In the Meantime, as Custard Cools, add the Mixed Fruits
Garnish with Dry Fruits, Cherries and Serve Immediately!


·         Try to use at least 4.5 % Fat Milk for a Creamy & Yummy looking Custard!
·         Can add Bananas as well but make sure that they are Mixed with the Custard just before Serving, as they tend to lose Water easily
·         Diced Apple and Pears should be Soaked in Water to prevent Discoloration.
It is Easy to Remove Pomegranate Seeds Soaked in Water as the Waste particles will float in water and can be discarded easily
Almonds can also be used this way- Microwave in 1/2 Cup Water for Couple of Minutes, Cool & Peel for Quick Usage
Chopped Dates can be added

Keep the Custard to Chill in the Refrigerator.
Garnish with Dry Fruits, Cherries & Serve Chilled!

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Split Green Gram Lentil & Rice Porridge (Moong Dal Khichdi)

Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special
Madhya Pradesh/Punjabi/Uttar Pradesh Cuisine
Split Green Gram Lentil & Rice Porridge (Moong Dal Khichdi)
Quick, Easy and Smart Usage of Available Items at Home!
Serves 4

Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil & Ghee- 1 Tbsp.
Medium Grain Rice (Chawal)- 1 Cup
Split Green Gram Lentil (Yellow Moong Dal)- ½ Cup

Cumin Seeds (Jeera)- 1 Tsp.
Onions- 1 No., Finely Chopped
Ginger- 1 Inch, Crushed & Finely Chopped
Green Chillies- 2, Finely Chopped
Tomatoes- 1, Finely Chopped (Optional)
Fresh Coriander Leaves- 1 Tbsp., Finely Chopped (Optional)

Heat Oil & Ghee in a Pressure Pan
Add Cumin Seeds and Sauté
Add Onions, Ginger, Green Chillies and Sauté
Add Rice, Moong Dal and Mix Well
Add Water, Cover and Pressure cook on Medium High Flame for about 3 Whistles
Turn the Flame off and Serve Hot with Set Curd, Pickle, Papad, and a little extra Ghee on top!
Can add De Stringed, Finely Chopped & Par Boiled French Beans & Carrots
Can add Baby Corn, Spring Onions optionally
This Khichdi would be a Perfect Quick 30 Minutes Recipe

Ayurvedic Texts suggests that our Health exists when the 3 Doshas- Vata (Wind), Pitta (Bile)
and Kapha (Phlegm) of the body stay in harmony. Ayurveda/Naturpathy does have a Cure for most Dosha Imbalances through a Strict Regime which includes proper Diet & Lifestyle, Herbal Preparations, Exercise & Tranquillity Routine like Yoga & Meditation, Ayurvedic Therapies & Panchakarma (for Deep Cleansing Process)
So, as our Mind-Body balance needs rejuvenation, ditch the strict Healthy Food once in a Week and indulge in Some Gorging Yummy Food. Don’t forget to De-Toxify and Calm your System with some Mild Comfort Food and this is where Khichdi helps. This can be had after a Long Tiring day/Stomach Upset/Female Menstrual Days or just a Quick Fix with Leftover Vegetables

Can prepare this Dish in a Non Stick Deep Bottom Pot instead of a Pressure Cooker
If preparing in a Pressure Cooker, just add Vegetables like Chopped French Beans & Carrots with the Rice
For a Complete Meal with Rich Exotic Flavours, and add Ghee in the Beginning and while Serving, Cinnamon Stick, Chopped Potatoes, Whole Red Chillies, Red Chilli Powder, Fennel Seeds Powder (Kuti Saunf), Fenugreek Seeds Powder (Kuti Methi), Garam Masala Powder, and Crushed Dried Fenugreek Leaves (Kasuri Methi)

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :) 

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mast Kalandar @ Chennai

Mast Kalandar at Velachery, Chennai

Saatvik Items like Gobhi & Aloo Parantha, Dal Chawal are available on demand

Hara Bhara Kebabs:

 Aloo Tikki Chat:

Mast Kalandar Mast Maha Thali
22 Items!!

Halka Phulka (HP 3) Thali:
this picture is updated from 17th August 2012 since when I felt the Thali Look, Taste & overall Quality was better than before
This Thali has Salad, 3 Phulkas, Dry Sabzi- Kala Chana, Gravy- Shahi Paneer, Fried Rice, Chana Dal, Gulab Jamun, Chaas

Newly Introduced Navratri Thali

Feel free to share your views & do let us know of any Quality Bakeries/Cafe/Restaurants in your area :)

Black Eyed Peas in a Tomato Based Gravy (Lobia made in Jain/No Onion-Garlic Style)

North Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special
Punjabi/Uttar Pradesh Cuisine
Black Eyed Peas in a Tomato Based Gravy (Lobia made in Jain/No Onion-Garlic Style)
One of our Family's All-Time Favorite!

Black Eyed Peas (Lobia)- 1 Cup, Washed & Soaked Overnight
Tomatoes-3 Medium, ground into a fine Paste
Green Chillies- 3 no’s, Finely Chopped (Slit/Paste)
Ginger- 1 Inch 
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 1 Tbsp.
Cumin Seeds-1 Tsp.
Bay Leaf- 1
Cinnamon- 1 Inch Stick
Cloves- 1 No.
Turmeric Powder (Haldi)- ½ Tsp.
Red Chilli Powder- 1 Tsp.
Coriander Powder- 2 Tsp.
Cumin Powder-  1 Tsp.
Garam Masala- 1 Tsp.
Salt- To Taste
Fresh Coriander Leaves- 2 Tbsp., Finely Chopped

Extra Ingredients (all remain the same like my other Lobia recipe except that this one is Without Onions):
Whole Red Chillies- 3 No’s
Big Black Cardamon Powder- 1/2 Tsp.
Black Pepper Powder- ½ Tsp.
Lemon Juice- 1 Tsp.

Take a mix of 2 Cinnamon sticks, 2 Cloves, 2 Big Black Cardamom and 2 Chopped Green Chillies tied in a Muslin Cloth as a Spice Bag (Potli)
Put this Spice Bag in the Lobia while it boils, remove and keep the Spice Bag aside after Lobia is cooked

Heat Oil in a Pressure Pan/Non Stick Pan on Medium flame
Add Whole Red Chillies, Cumin Seeds and sauté till they crackle
Add Ginger Paste and Sauté till Golden Brown
Add Masalas diluted in water (Turmeric, Red Chilli Powder, Coriander Powder, Salt) and Sauté
Add Tomatoes and Stir Fry (Bhunno) till Oil surfaces in the Gravy
Add Boiled Lobia, bring to boil and Cover to cook on Low Flame
Sprinkle Big Black Cardamon Powder and Black Pepper Powder
Garnish with Fresh Coriander Leaves

Cumin Powder can be used instead of Cumin Seeds
The Whole Spices (Bay Leaf, Cinnamon, Cloves) are optional and can be replaced with just Fresh Garam Masala Powder just before taking the Lobia off the flame 
In this Recipe make a paste of Ginger and Tomatoes separately
Tomato Puree can be used to enhance the Rich Red Colour of the gravy and also in case Roma Tomatoes aren’t available

Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)

Gram Flour Dumplings in Smoked Yoghurt Gravy (Kadhi Pakoda/Karhi Bari)

North Indian Vegetarian Main Course Special
Bihari Cuisine
Gram Flour Dumplings in Smoked Yoghurt Gravy (Kadhi Bari/Pakoda)
Serves 4

For Gram Flour Dumplings (Bari/Pakoda):
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- For Deep Frying
Chickpea/Gram Flour (Besan)- 1- 1/2 Cup
Turmeric Powder (Haldi)- ½ Tsp.
Baking Soda- Pinch

For Gram Flour Gravy (Kadhi):
Yoghurt (Dahi)- 1 Cup
Chickpea/Gram Flour (Besan)- 4 Tbsp.
Water- 3 Cups
Fresh Coriander Leaves- 2 Tbsp., Finely Chopped

For Tempering (Tadka):
Extra Light Olive Oil/Olive Pomace Oil- 2Tsp.
Mustard Seeds (Rai)- ½ Tsp.
Asafoetida (Hing)- Pinch
Cumin Seeds (Jeera)- ½ Tsp.
Caraway/Carom Seeds (Ajwain/Vamu)- a Pinch
Fenugreek Seeds (Methi)- Pinch
Whole Red Chillies- 3-4 No’s , Broken (Depends on the Chilli’s variety)
Turmeric Powder (Haldi)- ½ Tsp.

For Gram Flour Dumplings (Bari/Pakoda)
Sieve Besan and  Gradually mix Water to make a Smooth Batter avoiding Lumps (preferably with Hands/ Whisker)
The Batter should be Semi-Solid and  thicker than Pancake Batter, Keep aside for 10 minutes
Heat Oil in a Deep Skillet (Kadhai) on High Flame; carefully check to see if the Oil is ready to Deep Fry by putting a Drop of the Prepared Batter in the Hot Oil, if the Batter rises on Top of the Oil it means the Oil is ready.
Slowly pour the Batter with a Spoon one Bari at a time, Deep Fry till Reddish Brown, Drain and Keep Aside in a Bowl of Salted Cold Water

For the Gravy (Kadhi):
Beat the Set Curd/Yoghurt with a Whisker/Blender till Smooth
Add 2 Cups of Water, ½ Cup of Besan , Turmeric Powder (Haldi) and Whisk well
Bring the Gram Flour (Besan)- Yoghurt (Kadhi) Mixture to a boil in a Deep Bottom Non Stick Pot.
Keep Stirring the Kadhi till the Raw Smell of Besan disappears, bring Kadhi to a Boil and bring the Mixture to a Thick Gravy Consistency for about 10 Minutes
Add Tomatoes and Mix for about 5 Minutes
Add Dumplings and cook for about 5-7 Minutes covered till Bari gets absorbs in the Gravy
Heat 2 Tsp. Oil in a Pan, Add Tempering Ingredients (Mustard Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Carom Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds (Methi) and Broken Red Chillies) and Fry on Low Flame. As Seeds start to Crackle, add Asafoetida (Hing)
Serve Hot with Steamed Rice!

One of the Techniques of the Bihari Cuisine is ‘Smoking Food’, especially with frying Whole Red Chillies/Chilli Powder in Oil which brings out a nice Smoky Flavour
Traditionally, Mustard Oil is used in Bihari Cuisine which adds to the Smoky Falvor

Some Variations in this Dish can be:
1-      Can add Carom Seeds (Ajwain), Cumin Seeds (Jeera) in the Bari Batter as well
2-      Can add Finely Chopped Onions, Chopped Green Chilies, and Chopped Fenugreek Leaves (Methi) in the Bari Batter
3-      Can Add Cumin Powder (Kuta Jeera), Coriander Powder (Kuta Dhaniya) in the Bari Batter

     P.S: Thanks to Mrs. Alpana Mishra from San Jose California for her rock solid support during my stay in CA, and I would like to dedicate this Recipe to Alpanaji :) 
       Feel free to share your views & do let us know how this one turned out :)