Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Barbecued Herbaceous Mushroom

Herbaceous Mushrooms
Mushrooms are one my favorite. Smoked/barbecued/ in salad/stir fry or any form I just love them. But herbaceous mushrooms are absolute winners for me. Delicately flavored with herb and barbecued to tenderness the juicy mushroom with pitta is heavenly combination.

Preparation Time: 10 min.
Cooking time:3-5 minutes for each skewer of mushrooms
Servings: 4 larger servings

Ingredients Required For Making Herbaceous Mushrooms:
  • 500 gm. Button mushrooms
  • 3 Tea spoons Dry Parsley / Basil / Oregano / celery
  • 2 Tea spoon Olive oil
  • 2 Tea spoon Lemon juice
  • Salt to taste
Direction For Making Herbaceous Mushroom:
  • Wash and towel dry the mushrooms.
  • In a bowl take
  • Olive oil
  • Salt
  • Herb of your choice
  • Lemon juice
  • Mix all ingredients by beating with a fork till a homogenous mass is obtained.
  • Coat all mushrooms with the marinade; keep in a bowl and cover.
  • Let the mushrooms marinate for 5-10 min.
Mushrooms marinated in herbs marinade
  • Skewer the mushrooms and place on hot amber. Keep turning the skewer for even and uniform cooking.
Skewered marinated mushrooms
Mushrooms marinated in herbs being Barbecued on ambers
  • Cook for 2-3 min only with constant turning of skewer.
  • Remove the juicy, tender but firm herbaceous mushrooms on a serving plate and serve piping hot with chilled wine.
Herbaceous Mushrooms
  • Mushroom should be salted very gently little excess of salt can spoil the taste completely.
  • Mushrooms should not be left in the marinade for more than 10-15 min. Because the marinade contains salt and mushrooms if left for longer duration will lose water and turn limp.
  • Do not leave the skewer with mushroom for longer duration on coal, neither cook them in advance as reheating or over cooking will make them lose the juices and mushrooms will turn chewy.
  • Do not mix two herbs, make two or more marinade with different herbs and marinate mushrooms in different marinade separately.
Suggested variations:
  • Mixture of salt and pepper powder can be sprinkled just before removing from skewer along with a dash of lemon juice.
  • Salt can be added just before skewering the mushrooms to avoid leeching of juices.
  • Fresh herbs can be taken for marinating mushrooms, but make sure that the herbs are pounded very fine or cut extremely fine not made to paste. Fresh herbs add a totally different dimension to the Herbaceous-Mushrooms.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Apple- Caramel Cake

Apple-Caramel Cake
Cake is one thing that can be had with milk/ coffee/tea for breakfast, as snack and as dessert. Desserts can be made from cake combining them with ice cream/cream/custard etc. Trifle is one of my favorite cake desserts. When cake is made with lots of different fruits it not only adds to the taste but adds the required dietary fibers and nutrients to the cake. Apple cake is very tasty, nutritious cake. I prefer not removing the peeling of apple as they add lots of color to the cake and the vitamins present in the cake are also not lost. As far as possible try to include the peeling of fruits and vegetables to the food to get full nutritional value from them.

Preparation Time: 30 min.
Baking Time: 50 min. (Approx,)
Servings: Makes nearly 1 Kg. Cake(Approx.)

Ingredients for Making Apple Cake:
  • 200 gm. All-purpose flour (Maida)
  • 300 gm Sugar (150+100+50 gm.)
  • 100 Gm. Nutrelite butter/White butter (Chilled)
  • 4 Eggs
  • 1/2Teaspoon Cinnamon powder
  • 50 gm. Kernel of Walnuts cut to pieces
Walnut Pieces
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking powder
  • 1 Teaspoon Eating soda (Soda-bi-carb)
Directions For Making Apple Cake:
Golden Syrup:
  • Make golden syrup from 100 gm. of sugar. 
Thick Golden Syrup
Caramelizing The Walnuts:
  • Heat a thick bottom pan with remaining 50 gm. of sugar on low flame with regular stirring till the color of sugar turns brown (Caramelized).
Sugar being Caramelized for Walnuts
Caramelized Sugar ready to be added to Walnut
  • Switch off the heat and pour this sugar caramel on the cut walnuts.Stir quickly to coat the pieces with caramel. Spread these caramel coated walnuts on a plate and crush to separate the pieces coated with caramel.  
Caramelized sugar sterred with Walnut pieces
  • Some may get crushed to small pieces and some caramel pieces may be without walnut. Do not worry. Keep aside for later use.
Walnut pieces coated with Sugar caramel
Making Batter For Apple Cake:
  • Mix
    • Maida (All-purpose flour)
    • Baking powder
    • Soda-bi-carb
    • Cinnamon powder
  • Sift through a fine sieve four to five times to ensure thorough mixing of the ingredients.
  • Keep the mixture in a dry container for later use.
  • Make fine powder of 150 gm. of sugar,
  • Separate egg yolks from egg white and whisk the egg yolks.
  • Beat egg white to peaky stiffness. When egg white is foamier and fluffy the cake comes out best.
Whisked Egg White
  • Cut chilled butter to small pieces (Cubes) and add sugar powder to it.
  • Whisk till creamy and fluffy.
  • Add egg yolk in small proportions with constant whisking. When all egg yolk is added the mixture should be creamy and light.
Egg yolk-Butter-Sugar Mixture
  • Remove the core with seeds from apples and grate them. The grated apples will turn brown do not worry. Immediately add all of it to the mixture of egg yolk-butter-sugar.
  • Add egg white in small proportions to above mixture and fold with fingers gently.
  • Add golden syrup and mix gently.
  • Add caramel coated walnuts and mix.
  • Batter for the cake is ready.
Batter For Apple-Caramel-Cake
Baking The Cake:
  • Pour the batter in a baking dish and bake for 30 min. at 160oC in a preheated oven.
After 15 min of baking at 160 C
  • Increase the temperature to 180oC and bake for 10-15 minutes.(Approximately)
After 45 min. of baking
  • Keep checking the cake by poking a dry metallic/wooden needle if it comes out without any thing sticking to it then it is ready. Stop baking further and remove from oven.
  • The time for baking may change with the size of eggs (Egg white amount) and type of oven. I have used oven with heating from top and bottom but baking was done using bottom heating only.
  • Cool the baked cake on a rake covering it with thin damp cloth (Muslin cloth).
Cake cooling on the Rake
  • Place a plate on the cooled cake and holding the dish with the cake invert the plate. Tap lightly on sides and bottom of baking dish. Cake will come out easily on the plate. Remove the butter paper gently.
Inverted Apple-Caramel-Cake
  •  Cut to pieces and enjoy delicious Apple Cake with hot cup of tea/coffee.
  • If you have square oven with top and bottom heating then for best result bake the cake using bottom heating only as top heating causes the cake to become hard and black from top with center remaining uncooked.
  • Round oven cooks cakes from sides and bottom thus cake comes out good.
  • Grate and add grated apple to flour just before use.
  • Prepare the cake baking dish before starting to make the batter by either oiling the dish and dusting with flour or lining it with butter paper.
  • Always remove the cake from baking dish when it is at room temperature not warm to ensure cake coming out of dish without breaking.
  • Coat dry fruits with flour to avoid them from settling at the bottom of the cake.
  • Do not beat the batter while mixing the egg white, if done so the air trapped in the egg white will come out and cake will become less fluffy and soft.
  • The Golden syrup should not be too thin this will cause the batter to become thin.
  • Golden syrup can be make and kept in fridge for long time.
Alternate suggestions:
  • Walnuts can be added without coating them with caramel, just coat them with little flour to stop them from settling at the bottom.
  • Walnuts can be roasted before coating with caramel/flour to give wonderful roasted flavor.
  • Almonds can be cut and added along with walnuts.
  • Green cardamom powder can be used instead of cinnamon powder. If cardamom powder is being used then take 1 tea spoon of it rather than 1/2teaspoon.
  • Golden syrup can be stirred not mixed uniformly to give double color to the batter and cake.(Yellow and golden brown) 
  • One medium size apple can be peeled and cut to 1 cm. cube pieces and coated with flour and added to the batter with the nuts.
  • This cake can be made using whole wheat flour/multigrain flour, the color and textutre will change but the nutritional value will increase.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Kumaoni Kaddu Ki Sabji (Kumaoni (Indian) Pumpkin Savory)

Kumaoni Kaddu ki Sabji

Pumpkin whether it is green or the ripe yellow one both are highly nutritious as it is a good source of vitamin A. In Kumaon Kaddu (pumpkin) is made in many different ways. My grandmother use to rush to her kitchen garden, when we used to land at her place all of a sudden, and make Kaddu with Bhanhga (a Kumauni spice not to be confused with bhang which causes intoxication) andwe used to enjoy it with rice or puri. What a taste!!! Was it the love of my granny or the hunger  I do not know, but the taste is so vividly etched in my taste buds and memory. Not only my son and daughter but their spouses who are not Kumauni also love this preparation of pumpkin. I wish when my grandchildren are born they can also remember my cooking the same way as I do my grandmothers cooking!
Preparation Time:10 min
Cooking Time: 30-40 min
Servings: 8 medium servings
Ingredients Required For Making Uttaranchali Kaddu Ki Sabji:
  • 500 gm. Red (ripe) pumpkin / Green Pumpkin
  • 100 gm. Bhanga (Kumauni spice)
Bhanga Seeds
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 Red whole chilies
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2Teaspoon turmeric powder
  •  1/2Teaspoon mustard seeds
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin seeds
  • 1 Pinch Asafoetida
  • 1/2Teaspoon Jambu (Optional)
  • 5 ml. Mustard oil/Cooking oil
  • 100 ml. Water
Direction For Making Uttaranchali Kaddu Ki Sabji:
  • Remove all seeds and the soft inner portion to which seeds are attached.
  • Wash the pumpkin after removing the seeds and the soft portion to which seeds are attached.
  • Cut the pumpkin (Kaddu) to small pieces.
  • In a cooker take
    • Washed and cut Pumpkin
    • 100 ml. water
    • Salt
    • Turmeric powder
  • Close the lid and cook on high flame till pressure is built in the cooker.
  • Lower the flame and cook for another 10 min.
  • Switch off the gas, and allow the cooker to cool slowly.
  • Take a thick bottom wok and heat it on high flame, when the wok is hot lower the flame.
  • Add the bhanga seeds in the wok and roast the seeds with constant stirring till they become light brown color.
  • Remove the roasted seeds in a bowl and allow them to cool.
  • Grind the roasted seeds when they are cold to a smooth powder.
Roasted and powdered Bhanga
  • Take oil in a thick bottom wok and heat on high flame till smoking hot. 
Mustard oil being heated in the wok
  • Lower the flame and add mustard seeds, the let the seeds splutter for 30 sec.
  • Add cumin seeds, whole red chili and cook for 30. Sec. The cumin seeds will splutter and become light brown and red chilies will become brown in color.
Mustard seeds, Cumin seeds and whole red chilies added to hot oil
  • Add asafoetida and immediately add boiled pumpkin.
Boiled Pumpkin added to the seasoning
  • Add salt if required.
  • Add red chili powder and cook on low flame with regular stirring and mashing. 
Cooking the boiled pumpkin with regular mashing
  • The pieces of boiled pumpkin should get mashed nicely.
Pumpkin pieces mashed and the vegetable getting thick
  • Add the powder of roasted bhanga seeds.
    Roasted and Powdered Bhanga added to  of Green Pumpkin
Roasted and Powdered Bhanga added to Yellow pumpkin
  • Mix nicely and cook for maximum 2 min.
Bhanga mixed and the vegetable being cooked for 2 min. more
  • Add the juice of lemons and mix.
Lemon juice added and gas switched off
  • Switch off the gas.
  • Add grated ginger, cut green chili, and chopped cilantro.
  • Cover and let the flavors of green chili, coriander and ginger soak in the vegetable.
  • This vegetable can be stored in fridge for 10-15 days also.
 Serve hot with Dal-Chawal / Puri
  • Do not remove the peeling from pumpkin because it contains Vitamins.
  • Do not add too much water while boiling the pumpkin as pumpkin itself contains lots of moisture and will lose water while being boiled.
  • The bhanga should be ground to fine powder to get smooth vegetable and maximum flavor and taste of bhanga in the vegetable.
  • One or two roasted red chilies and some salt can be added to roasted bhanga before grinding this ensures that the bhanga is ground to fine powder.
  • Do not take out the lemon juice too much in advance as it will turn bitter; squeeze the lemon just before you have to add the juice to the vegetable.
Suggested Variations:
  • Mustard oil is best for this preparation but if do not wish to use mustard oil then any other cooking oil can be used. Do not take ghee/dalda it will spoil the taste.
  • 2-3 cm piece of jaggery can be added to the vegetable before adding lemon juice.
  • Tamarind pulp can be used instead of lemon juice, but the flavor of lemon add to the taste of this preparation.
  • Jambu added to the Tadka (tempering) gives heavenly flavor to this preparation so if you have it use it along with rest of the ingredients of tadka.

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Uttaranchali Sabut Masoor Ki Dal (Whole Lentil broth)

A meal of Rice, Sabut Masoor ki Dal, Palak ki sabji, Sprout Salad and Coriander-Mint Chutney

Uttaranchali Sabut Masoor Dal
Whole pulses and grains carry many nutrients which are lost during splitting the dal and removing the thin colorful layer each dal (Pulse) has. The top layer is rich in vitamin B, Thus each of us should include the whole grains and pulses in our diet. Masoor dal is light brown to dark brownish grey in color from outside and orange in color from inside. Easy to digest very good in taste this dal can be combined with many other split pulses to make a mix pulse savory (Mixed dal). Best combination is Sabut masoor dal with plain boiled rice and some green vegetable and of course coriander – mint chutney which is such an integral part of Kumaoni meal. In Kumaon onion, garlic is not used for seasoning of any dal because many people avoid onion and garlic. I wish to tell something, the reason of which I have not understood till date, is that Masoor dal (Whole/Split), onion, garlic was forbidden for widows in Kumaon along with many other taboos. Why??? Things have changed for good since my generation.

Preparation Time: 5 min.

Cooking Time: 20-25 minutes

Servings: 4 Large Servings

Ingredients Required For Making sabut Masoor dal (Whole Lentil):

  • 150 gm. Whole Lentil (Sabut Masoor dal)
  • 1 teaspoon Cumin Seeds
  • 1 Pinch of Asafoetida
  • 2-3 Whole Red Chilies
  • 5 ml. Ghee
  • 1 Teaspoon Jambu (Optional)
Jambu a Herb of higher region of Himalayas
  • 4-5 Cloves
  • 2 cm. Piece of Cinnamon
  • Salt to taste
  • 1/2Teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 500 ml. Water
Directions For Making Sabut Masoor Dal:

  • Clean and wash the masoor dal nicely.
  • Soak washed dal in ml. water for 30 min.
  • Add
    • Turmeric
    • Cinnamon
    • 2 Cloves
    • Salt
  • Boil the dal and spices mixture till dal is soft to touch. (Dal should get mashed when pressed between fingers). 
Boiled Sabut Masoor
  • Heat ghee in a pan and when the ghee is smoking hot, lower the flame.
  • Add 
    • 2-3 cloves
    • Jeera (Cumin seeds)
    • Whole red chilies
    • Jambu
    • Hing (Asafoetida).
  • Cook for 30 sec. (The jambu and red chilies should become light brown in color. Wonderful aroma will come. Seasoning is ready.
Tadaka (Seasoning) for Sabut Masoor Ki Dal
  • Add the seasoning (Tadaka) to boiled dal and cover the dal.
  • Add water to the dal if the dal is too thick for your liking and give just one boil. 
Uttaranchali Sabut Masoor Ki Dal
  • Serve hot with rice with Palak / methi / lai vegetable as side dish.
Rice, Sabut Masoor ki dal, Palak ki sabji, Sprout Salad and Coriander Mint Chutney
  • Do not boil the dal so much that it dissolves in water. The dal should be visible but soft.
  • Do not add too much water. Watery masoor dal does not taste good.
  • If the dal is soaked and cooked in pressure cooker then it takes 10 min. for the dal to be cooked. In open vessel it takes at least 45 min.
Suggested Variations:

  • Jambu is not available everywhere therefore instead of jambu pinch of oregano can be taken.
  • Though garlic and onion are not used in Kumaon in dal but sabut Masoor tastes great with the seasoning of onion and garlic with predominantly garlic flavor.
  • Cut finely
    • One small onion
    • 8-10 cloves of garlic
    • 1 green chili
    • 2 cm. Piece Ginger
  • Shallow fry onion and garlic in hot ghee till light brown.
  • Add ginger and green chili. Cook for one min.
  • Add boiled dal and cook with stirring till it starts boiling.
  • Remove from heat and serve.


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