Thursday, December 15, 2011

Spiced apple cider

Winter doesn't come naturally to me. I have fallen in love with the snow and the crispness of the wind. The holidays and all that it brings with it are intoxicating indeed! But deep inside me there is this part that will always remain a tropical baby!
When I had this warm cider for the first time couple years back it felt like a blanket inside of me!
So I tried and tested a spicier version of the same.

Here's what went into it:
4 cups apple juice
2 tbspns brown sugar
1/2 tspn cinnamon powder
2 cloves of cardamom
4 peppercorns
1/2" of fresh ginger
2 cloves

How it was made:
Heat the juice in a pot. Dissolve the sugar and cinnamon into it. Crush the ginger, peppercorns, cloves and cardamom. Add to the mixture and boil. Simmer for 5 mins till fragrant. Remove from heat and sieve. Serve warm.

ps: If you have store bought apple cider use it instead of the juice.Adds an extra bit of zing!
Also I always stock up on powdered cinnamon but I know a stick of cinnamon can be used instead.

From my favourite archive to your table, happy holidays!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Moist , fresh Pumpkin pie. Crustless.

There is one thing I do not like in a pie. Crusts. Mostly I eat around them. Or discard them altogether! I had good fresh pumpkins left over from Halloween! So this recipe choice was a no brainer! Lol.

Here's what went into our pumpkin pie:
21/2 cups of fresh pumpkin purée
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup condensed milk
3 eggs
4 tbsp. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spices

How we made it:
Cook/ steam pumpkin slices, peel and blend to yield 2 1/2 cups purée.
To this add the eggs, milk, sugar and blend some more. Add the salt, flour, spices, vanilla and cinnamon. Blend to make a puffy dough.
Preheat oven to 350f. Bake in greased pie pan for 50 mins.

The pie had no crust but the flour mixed in gave it the needed crunch!

Serve warm with whipped topping.
We tried ours with a serving of vanilla ice-cream.

Ps:I used a handheld electric mixer at low power for all the blending.
I used a regular pumpkin. You can reduce the sugar a little if you use a pie pumpkin or even a butternut squash.
Substitute 1 cup regular milk for 1/2 cup condensed.
If the purée is too watery, let stand and drain the extra water.
You can add an extra pinch of cloves and nutmeg if you feel like!

Turned out very very yummy!
Tell me how yours turns out.

Until then...Bon appetite.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thai Mango Chicken

We love this tropical curry in our house. Its a treat for the palate. Especially if you like tangy, spicy, asian food. I have made this many a times in my kitchen only this time I decided to blog it!


So here is what went into making the Mango Chicken:
2 thigh pieces of chicken cut into strips
1 small mango (ripe but still firm and tangy
2 tbspn vegetable oil
1 cup cococnut milk
1 medium roma tomato-cubed
1 medium red onion sliced thin
1 tbspn ginger-minced
1 tbspn garlic-minced
1 cup red bell pepper sliced
1 tbspn curry powder
1/2 tspn cayenne pepper
1 tspn chilli flakes
Salt to taste

How it was made:
In a pan heat the oil and saute the onions till golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic and saute some more till fragrant.
Add the tomato and cook. Add the chicken and bell pepper and saute more. Add the mango, cover and cook for about 5 mins. To this then add the curry powder, chilli flakes, pepper and salt. Add the coconut milk and simmer till done. Serve hot with fragrant rice or bread.

Ps: You can use 2 tbspn tomato paste instead of the fresh tomato.
I used a combination of red chilli powder, turmeric, cumin powder and coriander powder instead of the curry powder. I use these in my daily cooking but the curry powder is easily available in any grocery store.

Bon Appetite.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Moroccan chicken and Roasted squash with prunes

Had read up this recipe a few days back. Earmarked it as something the Hegdes would love!

For the Moroccan chicken I needed:
2 thigh pieces of chicken (1/2 lb)
1 1/2 Tbspn of minced fresh ginger
2 tspn coriander powder
1 tspn cinnamon powder
2 tbspn olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

To make it:
Pressure cook the chicken , drain and set aside.(The broth went into a soup)
In a pan heat the olive oil and fry the ginger till fragrant.
Shred the chicken into the pan and sear till done. Add the cinnamon with coriander and toss.
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Serve piping hot.
For the roasted Acorn squash with prunes:
1/2 of a small acorn squash seeded and sliced small and thin
2 tbspn prunes pitted and slivered
2 tbspn of garlic - minced
1 cup cabbage- shredded
2 tbspns olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

The way it is done:
Heat oil in a pan and fry the garlic till fragrant. Add the sliced squash and roast till golden brown. Add the cabbage and toss some more. Add the prunes ,salt and pepper
Stir and serve hot.

We had the above for dinner, with chicken soup ( from the broth) and garlic bread.

I sometimes envy the people who will take the time to gourmet cook meals. For them I want to underline that the original recipe had the squash oven roasted at 350f for 20 mins and then added to the pan with the prunes!

Also while I used the cabbage that I had handy I think the crunchy kale would work very well here too! Actually might try collards or any other greens!

All in all a delicious meal! Truly enjoyed by all 4 of us.

Once again...Thank you for rooting for SousChef

From our table to yours....Bon Appetite.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Cranberry Crumble

One of the many thanksgiving goodies on sale, I could not resist, was a can of cranberry sauce (among others).

I googled to find a variety of recipes.
But like always in our kitchen what works best is, easy,peasy, fast and yummy!

So used this recipe off of the jar label itself!
Added a little here, tweaked a little there to suite our palate.

LOL! Vola!

I needed:
1/2 cup multi purpose flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup butter (can use margarine instead)
1 1/2 cups uncooked rolled oats (quaker instant oats-original flavour)
1 can (14oz) cranberry sauce
Scoops of Vanilla Icecream while serving (optional)

How it was made:
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a big bowl, mix together the flour, sugar and oats. Add the butter and mix again till crumby.
Grease a 8" pan and pour 1/2 of the mix.
Add the cranberry sauce on top. Finish by adding a layer of the remaining flour mix.

Bake for 45mins.

Serve warm with dollops of vanilla icecream.

Sous Chef is on the top 10 of the home management blog list.Thank you for putting it there!

Until next time ....Bon Appetite.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

eating... Sushi.

I may actually start to like this sushi thing, I think.
This past weekend 'G' n I planned a sushi lunch.
I used to be a food conservative. Going with the safe, the familiar.
Then.... I got married to a man who absolutely adores experimenting with his palate and incidentally encourages me to push mine.
But that is a 11 yr old ongoing saga.

Sushi happened to me about 2-3 yrs back at a Thai restaurant. 'G' was familiar with it due to his long ago, long stint, in south east Asia;- Malaysia n Singapore.
For me being a non sea food eater the whole raw fare was a big no-no. The conservative still makes little peeks even after all these years!

But slowly I started pecking at the vegetarian rolls on 'G's plate! Hmmmm... I could do this I thought.
Slowly we found our favourite Asian fusion place ' miyos' offered vegetarian sushi choices. So it went.

Until this weekend, when we planned to do sushi at ' fusion bowl' another of our fav haunts.
'E' has learnt to peck at the veg offering on my plate. 'R' stands firm that the sprinkle roll ( the rice on the roll looks like white sprinkles to her) is 'food not made'( raw food!?).
So while I relished a whole serving of mixed vegetable rolls, 'G' ordered a combo of Boston rolls and California rolls.

'G' ordered a side of squid salad while I relished a salad bowl of sea weed. Yummy!

The vegetable roll had the cucumbers, avocado and asparagus. The Boston roll had salmon, cream cheese with cucumber. The California roll packed in it crab, cucumber and asparagus.

All served with the pungent wasabi and thin sliced fresh ginger!
Have learnt to relish the wasabi, mixed with soya sauce to dip the rolls.

Oh n by the way 'R' n 'E' enjoyed thier own 'made food' with bowls of Misp soup.
And so it goes.In our future I thus see many a happy sushi meals.

Tell me how you do yours.
Until next time, Bon Appetite.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Mango Mousse ...made easy!

This is a truly 'Yum' dessert we have all loved.
True to its name its a mousse you can use as pie filling or on a wafer base.
But at our table we love eating it just like that!
Scoop after scoop!

Heres what went into making mine:
1/4oz Flavorless gelatin ( jello) powder
1/2 cup cold water
1 cup boiling water
1/2 cup sugar

 4oz plain cream cheese
4oz whipped topping ( cool whip)
15oz(1/2 can) mango pulp
1/2 cup sugar

How I make it:

Firstly I make the jello by soaking the 1/4 oz flavorless gelatin powder in 1/2 cup cold water.
To this add 1 cup boiling water and the 1/2 cup sugar.
Mix n refrigerate until jellies.
Yields about 4oz of jelly.

Now for the Mousse:
In a blender add the 4oz of jelly and 4oz plain cream cheese.
To this add the 4oz whipped topping ( cool whip)  with the 15oz(1/2 can) mango pulp and 1/2 cup sugar. Blend well and refrigerate until jelly like.

Serve cold!

We love this just like that but can be used as topping over icecream or pies!
Mango pulp can be replaced by any fruit of choice! Thinking strawberries?!

Yummy truly.
Tell me how yours turns out.
Bon Appetite.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Basil chicken

This is a favorite with both 'G' and I . Although in a 'greatest fan' contest, 'G' would win hands down.
The girls relish it with gusto! Especially E who can smell her way to it! 
So as the cook/ chef/ meal maker Iam truly flattered and have put this many a times on our dinner table.

I absolutely love the smell and taste of fresh basil and the texture of the green onions on the palate.

So here's what I use to make it:
250gms chicken
4tbspns olive oil
6-7 garlic cloves finely minced
1 bunch of green/ spring onions- chopped fine
3 long dry red chillies-slit long
3 green chillies - sliced long
3 full tbspns of fresh basil chopped fine
3 tbspns soya sauce.

How I do it:
Pressure cook the chicken. Debone and shred fine.
In a huge sauce pan, heat the olive oil and sauté the garlic till fragrant. Add the chopped onions ( green n white parts) and toss some more. To this add the chillies and the shredded chicken. Fry. When almost done toss in the basil and soya sauce. Sauté and serve warm.

Goes well with any cuisine as a side.
We have tried it with soup and garlic bread.

The broth ( from the pressure cooked chicken) went into the soup.
Fresh basil works best for this recipe. But you can substitute 3 tbspn fresh basil for 1.5 tbspn of dry basil.

Vary the garlic and chillies as much or as little as your palate requests. We love lots of sauted garlic and spicy slit chillies.
Also you can try the more pungent fish sauce instead of the soya sauce for a more signature taste.

So here I pass a favorite from our kitchen to yours. From my table to yours.
Do tell how yours turns out.
Do you have any variations on this?

Enjoy and continue to Vote for me by clicking this link here. Vote for Sous Chef here.
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Voting ends Oct 11th 2011 at 8pm EST.

Thank you and Bon Appetite.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Curry leaves...fresh from my yard

Until next spring this may well be my last batch of fresh curry leaves from my yard. I usually wait till they are a very dark green which usually means they are fully grown. At this stage the leaves are bigger and more opaque. Although in a hurry and when necessary I have plucked some not so fully ready sprigs.

As any cook/foodie from India (or any other south asian country) worth his/her salt will tell you these curry leaves are as necessary in authentic vernacular cooking as eggs in good cakes. Well and then they have eggless cakes!

We use this mainly in dressings where 1 or more tbspns of oil is heated to which 1tspn ( or equivalent) of black/ brown mustard seeds are added. While the seeds splutter the heat is reduced and the leaves ( removed from the stem) are added. This is then poured ( as dressing) onto curries/ stews/ chutneys/dips and dishes.

This basic dressing is varied far and in-between by adding chillies, whole spices, powders and grains. It's even used as an ingredient by itself in authentic dishes.It imparts it's own special signature aroma and taste to the dish.While my more modern friends use the leaves and mostly throw the stem, I have learnt from my mother that the stem can be cut/ crushed and added to the dressing or cooked with the whole main dish.

I found this page on curry leaves at 'wisegeek' very informative from a non- Asian's point of view.

Growing up in south India mostly everyone had a plant or more in their backyard.
My mother still proudly doles out bushels full of sprigs to her more 'cosmopolitan ' (read as- lazy to plant/maintain or dwelling in yard-less apartment) neighbors.
She still tcch tcchs at her baby ( read as- good ol' me) not having these in bountiful!

Yet we make-do. The local Indian groceries do stock them for a price ( ofcourse) when they can n will!
But we have learnt to be self sufficient. My one sapling given by a benevolent friend has now grown into 3 plants in 2 pots.
They grow bigger and better in the ground but the climate here demands that we bring them in for winter! Thus the pots!

So unlike my mom ( and her neighbors) we enjoy our fresh curry leaves from spring to late fall. Until spring doth spring again!

I recently saw this clip on  Hetal's and Anuja's blog that egg shells are very good natural fertilizer to curry leaf plants. So since then all the eggshells cracked in the kitchen have found home in the curry leaf pots!

Do let me kinow if you use these aromatic leaves in your cooking!
Until next time happy cooking!

Continue voting for me. Vote for Sous Chef here.
You can vote once every 24hrs!
Voting ends Oct 11th 2011, 8pm EST.
Thank you and Bon Appetite.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Kale and Mango salad.

Heh Look! This recipe of mine won an award for 'salads' on the ticklish taste buds!

A super healthy and tasty salad would be this!
And its super easy to make too!

What I put into it:
1/2 a bunch of kale- destemmed and chopped fine
1 half-ripe mango (sweet and tangy to boot)
1 cup roasted walnuts-chopped

For the dressing:
2 tbspns olive oil
2 tbspns lime juice
2 tbspns honey

salt to taste.
How I do did:
In a large salad bowl, mix the mango and kale.
Toss together the dressing on top.
Garnish with the nuts. And add salt to taste.
Refrigerate and serve cold.

You can substitute the walnuts for roasted sun flower seeds, pumpkin seeds or even watermelon seeds.
Would love to try this with spinach or other greens instead of the kale.
Although its tough to beat the kale on the crunch!

Tell me how this turns out for you.

Enjoy and Dont forget to Vote for me by clicking this link here. Vote for Sous Chef here.

You can vote once every 24hrs!
Thank you and Bon Appetite.

Friday, September 30, 2011

super easy Strawberry custard the microwave way!

I remember as a kid my mother would make custard all the time.This was an easy no-egg (she is still a staunch vegetarian) dessert affair for her.She would use unflavoured custard powder and then add a dash of vanilla to it!

For a long time I followed her stove top  recipe experimenting with the various flavoured powders available.Mincing a little here.Garnishing there!

I have this need to try and simplify everything.I prefer a shortcut/an easier method if possible for cooking all!

I love it when my dishes look good but what has always mattered more is how they taste and how fast I can get them done!

So a lot of googling, fellow chef tips and some yucky custard experiments later I have this easy peasy microwave recipe ready.Works everytime!

In a microwave safe bowl mix 2tbspn custard pwd with 3 tbspn sugar.
Add 2 cups milk slowly stirring. Mix .
Microwave on high for 3-4 mins.
Cool refrigerate to set.

Serve with chopped fruits.
Garnish as needed.

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You can vote once every 24hrs!

Thank you and Bon Appetite.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fenugreek (methi) chicken

This has gone down very well the few times I have made it for our table. We have mostly had it with chappathis (Indian bread) but also with white rice.

What I needed to make this:

200gms chicken - cleaned and cut
4 tbspns plain yogurt
1 tspn haldi ( turmeric) powder

To make into paste:
1tbspn oil
2 tspn zeera (cumin)
2 tspn coriander seeds
1 tspn methi ( fenugreek) seeds
1 pinch of cinnamon powder
1 tspn khus khus ( poppy seeds)
1 tbspn badisep /saunf ( fennel seeds)
1 tbspn chilli ( paprika) powder
1 medium red onion
1/2" piece of ginger
1 clove of garlic
1 tomato

For the base:
2 tbspn butter
1/2 of medium onion cut into thin slices
1/2 bunch fenugreek ( methi) leaves-Minced
Salt to taste

How I make it:
Cut the chicken and marinate in the yogurt and turmeric powder for about an hour.

Fry and grind together all the ingredients listed under paste.

In the pan add the butter and fry the sliced onions. To this add the marinated chicken and the ground paste. Add the minced fenugreek leaves and salt to taste. Add water and cook till done.

You can add as much or as less water as required to make a dry curry or a gravy dish as required.
Also sometimes when I have not had fresh fenugreek leaves I have used ' kasoori methi' ( dry methi leaves). Substitute 1/2 bunch for 2.5 tbspn dry leaves.
But the fresh leaves taste best.
Also when in a hurry you skip the marination and just add the chicken , yogurt and turmeric with the paste and cook.

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You can vote once every 24hrs!

Thank you and Bon Appetite.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cold Melon Soup.

We have tried this in variations many times this summer.
The reason I felt like blogging about this was cause I may not make this for some time now as summer seems in a hurry to say good bye this year!

What I loved about this recipe was I could easily replace the watermelon with cantaloupe/honeydew/melon.

So here is what I used to make the soup.

Watermelon 5 slices-peeled.
tbspns lime juice

3 slices of bread made into bite size pieces

1 tbspn olive oil

salt n pepper to taste

For the garnish,

1 slice of watermelon cut into bite size pieces

1 fistful of toasted almonds

Blend the ingredients for the soup.Add the garnish. refrigerate.

serve cold!


Dont forget to Vote for me by clicking this link here.Vote for Sous Chef here.You can vote once every 24hrs!

Thank you and Bon Appetite.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vote for me!

If my recipes have inspired you or irked you. If my blog makes you want to read it, experiment in the kitchen and your life....
Vote for me by clicking this link here. Vote for Sous Chef!

You can vote once every 24hrs!

Thank you and Bon Appetite.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

easy peasy no-bake Banana pudding

At our kitchen table, the sweet tooth is equally divided.
While daddy and 'R' are hugely partial to everything sweet, 'E' n I lean towards the oily n deep fried.
So it was hugely noted when 'E' approved (and how!) of a mango mousse that was served. So we have made this mousse many a time!
This particular recipe here for the banana pudding caught my eye cause it had a lot of the same cream cheese and whipped topping.Also attractive was the ease with which it could be done.

What I used for it:

4 ounce cream cheese
7 ounce sweetened condensed milk
3 ounce instant vanilla pudding mix
1.5 cups cold milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounce frozen whipped topping- thawed
2 bananas, sliced
3 ounce vanilla wafers

How I did it:

In a large bowl, I beat cream cheese until fluffy. Then beat in condensed milk, pudding mix, cold milk and vanilla until smooth. Fold in 1/2 of the whipped topping.

Line the bottom of a 9x13 inch dish with vanilla wafers.

Arrange sliced bananas evenly over wafers. Spread with pudding mixture. Top with remaining whipped topping. Chill.

This was a hit with girls n 'G'.

Pointers to self:
1. Unlike banana nut muffins, the bananas for this shouldn't be too ripe.Just ripe enough.
2.I used the sugar vanilla wafers and was a huge success taste wise. But was a little tough to serve and cut for the girls.
So maybe next time while lining better idea to cut the wafers.
Or even try the Nila style vanilla wafers.

Also for the umpteenth time, I have to remember to use the biggest bowl possible, as however less the batter a hand mixer will always make a mess.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Roasted corn with coconut-a stir fry

I read a version of this recipe in a magazine and immediately knew this is going to go down oh so well at our table!
Ok I have to confess sometimes I still want to try something cause of how it looks or cause of what goes into it!
But most times it's cause I just love it and cannot wait to eat it!
I try to make my food how we would love to eat it.
Easy, simple, tasty.

I used:
Corn kernels 4 cups
Minced green chillies 5
2 tbspns olive oil
2 tbspns grated coconut
1 tbspn cilantro chopped
1 tbspn lime juice
Salt to taste.

Roast the fresh kernels of corn in olive oil with the green chillies until brown n crisp. Sprinkle the cilantro n coconut. Add a dash of the lime juice n salt to taste.Serve warm.

Serve this as side with almost anything.
We have had it with rice, bread or just plain as a salad with soup.
Works every time!

I remember the first couple times I tried this I had corn on cob which I roasted and removed the kernels of.
I have realized it is easy all round to have a big bag of frozen kernels instead!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Another batch of 'Mango medley'- a salad.

We have made this in our kitchen many a times this summer.
All of us relish this. But it goes hands down as a favorite with 'G' and I.
Very tropical and tangy. And cool as required for summer.

For the salad:
1 mango finely chopped
1 capsicum ( green/red bell pepper) finely chopped
1 carrot grated
1/4 cup minced fresh mint

Ps: The mango need be a half ripe one. A little sweet with a whole lot of tangy.

For the dressing:
3 tbspn orange juice
3 tbspn lime juice
2 tsp sugar
1/4 tspn chili sauceSalt to taste

In a salad bowl mix all the chopped mango, carrot, pepper and mint.
Combine all the dressing together and toss with the salad.

Refrigerate and serve cold.

The best part I love is although we always make this fresh and finish it at one meal, it would work equally wonderful even if made ahead and refrigerated a day in advance.

My maternal grandma who taught me never to eat mangoes ( unripe ones) when having a cold would have pursed her lips in disapproval at a still sneezing Hegde clan eating a cold salad!
But well that thing we said about the hay and the sun n mint and salads.... Well!
Soon there won't be good mangoes OR fresh mint!
So Bon appetite.

Watermelon salad with fresh mint...celebrating the Gamecocks.

Last evening, the Gamecocks were winning against the E.Carolina 'Pirates' .
'E' screamed and did the 'winning jig'.
'R' awoke from her nap long enough to lisp,'don' scleem'.
'G' was pumping his fists while shouting some unbloggable things.
I spooned another mouthful of watermelon and mint salad into my mouth.

The salad (among other things) today was serving us well, as an after dinner, game time snack.

I peeled and Chopped the watermelon (seedless) into cubes.
Added thinly sliced cucumber with, large tbspns of fresh chopped mint.
Garnished with 1tspn olive oil and a dash of lemon.
Salt n pepper to taste.
Served chilled.

Sigh! This might be one of the last times this summer we are finding good seedless watermelons and cucumbers.
Even if we do manage the above, the mint in my kitchen pot is already showing signs of drooping n wilting!

So make hay when the sun shines! And melonsalads when the mint is still fresh.

Watermelons,cucumbers,mint or otherwise....the Gamecocks won!