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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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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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!


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Thursday, September 22, 2011

Vote for me!

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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!


Homemade strawberry jam- our last jar

Last evening we opened another small jar of my homemade strawberry jam. Our last jar for this year.
Will have to wait till next spring until we pick more fresh berries.

How I do it!

Puree 2pounds fresh starwberry (4cups)
To this I add 4 cups sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
-boil for about 10mins.
Cool n bottle.

Iam told and now know, it helps to seal the bottles.But for now, this works for us. I make small batches all through summer!

There's something about making your own food. Jam or otherwise!
'E' vouches it tastes better too!
The sweetheart that she is , obviously it is overstating.
But who am I kidding? I cook to please, but my 3 fav people.
E, R n G.

So right now Iam feeling a lot of Rachael Ray-Paula Dean-Martha Stewart mojo!

So looks like its back to the grocery aisle for our favourite Smuckers Strawberry Jelly.
Bon Appetit.

'Mexican rice' as we do it in our kitchen.

This has gone down in the Hegde kitchen archive as an all time favourite.
I obviously being the ahem! 'food maker' (cook/chef/mom) have earmarked it in my own mental archive as one of a 'last minute go-to recipe' !
A favorite in my books also cause it goes well with any Mexican side (but ofcourse!) and (also) any stir fry.

What I use to make it with are,
12 ounces tomatoes, very ripe and cored
1 medium white onion
3 medium -minced.
2 cups long grain white rice
1/3 cup canola oil
4 minced garlic cloves
2 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, minced
1 lime

How I make it is,
Puree together the tomatoes n onion.
Wash the rice n fry in oil until slightly brown/fragrant. Add puree + broth+ jalapeƱos +garlic+ salt-cook!
Garnish with cilantro n serve with lime slices.

So ' Bon appetit ' friends or as they say it in Spanish ' iBuen apetito'.

Sanna Polo....Spicy Cabbage-Onion dosa.

I remember this was not exactly my favourite growing up! But then lot of stuff that comes easy isnt! right?
Once we figure, we have to dole out (literally) the stuff ourselves (read that as no mother to cajole us into eating)+ feed a spouse who is equally nostalgic for home food, is when we appreciate the value/taste of good food.

Sanna polo thus goes down in our kitchen as a delicacy.
We ALL love it!
Riya included.

1/2 cup tor daal +1/2 cup rice - soak for atleast 2-3 hrs.
6 roasted red chillies
4 TBs grated coconut
1/2tspn tamarind paste
1 cup cabbage finely shredded.
1 cup onion finely chopped.
salt to taste.
Corianer leaves-chopped
Oil /Pam to fry/roast.

Grind together the dal+rice along with the coconut+chillies.Try to use as LITTLE water as possible to make a rather dry enough paste.To this add salt+tamarind paste.Mix.Add cabbage+_onion+coriander leaves and make a batter.
Heat Tawa/girdle, and put out small size pancakes/dosas with a spoon and flatten out as needed.Add oil/spray Pam as needed and fry both sides unitl crisp.

Can be served with rice as a side, with tea as a snack or like we do in our house every which way! Bon appetite.

Sphagetti Squash Salad....

Hmmm... I had never tried this squash before.It was well...'Phoren' to me and very much like Iam, I try and stick to the familiar! Now my Psychiatric friend might want to analyse that and make her own blog!

Ahem! Anyways.I bought this squash while at Kroger, well ...for want of a better squash! But ofcourse! Why not? Decided the adventurous part of my brain!
So there I was in my kitchen, looking at a decently big sized melon like squash!

Thats when I remembered the pumpkin salad I had made of an original butternut squash recipe! Well if squash=pumpkin then well pumpkin=squash...u get the drift?

So it started.

1/2 of a Spaghetti squash.
1/4 of a red onion - finely chopped.
3 tbs roasted peanuts - chopped.
5tbs plain yogurt.
3 green chillies -chopped.
1 tspn cumin.
1 tspn oil.
Optional - pomogranate seeds to garnish.

Peel and grate the squash. Microwave on high for about 1min.Add the yogurt and salt.Now mix in the chopped onions and peanuts.Add salt to taste.
For dressing - heat oil and add the cumin and green chillis.Pour over the salad!
Garnish with pomogranate seeds.

It is so yummy we eat it just like this as a snack.Riya is a big fan!

Ps: I use coconut oil for the dressing.Brings in the extra flavour.I also put in as much peanuts as I can and go heavy on the garnish too!

Brocolli Stir-Fry... via Jaya.

Now!If there is one vegetable I have not learnt to love, it is the brocolli or so I told Jaya when we met on a rare chat on facebook (we usually prefer to talk each others ears off on the phone).Anyways, like most food loving amchigeles we usually drift to each others cooking etc etc.She had cooked Brocolli Upkari that day in question.Brocolli Stir-Fry, to be more universally understood.
The recipe sounded too easy to not be tried and I thought maybe just maybe this will make the inedible edible for me!

1 Big Bunch of brocolli with stems.
2 Tbs olive oil
6-7 cloves of garlic finely minced
2-3 Tbs chilli flakes.
Salt to taste.

Wash and finely cut the brocolli.In a pan heat the oil and fry the garlic till golden brown.Add the chilli flakes.To this add the cut brocolli and reduce heat to low.Sprinkle salt.Cover and steam till done!

Ps: Vary the amount of garlic as needed.We love loads of garlic in our steamed vegetables.

Verdict: It was so good Iam now googling 'Brocolli recipes' among other things!

And Jaya this is one more thing to add to my ever growing list of things to be thankful I have you by my side.Love loads always.

Crockpot Chicken with Artichokes and Olives

I used a 5Qt. crockpot for this.Add all the following as required.
Cleaned n cubed 2 pounds boneless-skinless chicken breast halves +
8 ounces sliced fresh mushrooms +
1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes +
8 Oz artichoke hearts +
1 1/2 cup chicken broth +
1/2 cup chopped onion +
1 can sliced black olives +
2 teaspoons curry powder, or to taste +
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed +
1/4 teaspoon salt +
1/4 teaspoon pepper.

Cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours (or LOW 8 hours).Serve with hot cooked rice.

P.s: I have a friend who added a little dry white wine with the chicken broth!
I used my Indian chicken masale for the curry powder.Any spice blend should do according to preference!

apple, coconut, crockpot, dessert, easy., slow cooker

4cups coarsely cut apple (peeled n cored) + 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes+1/3 cup brown sugar + 1/3 cup flour +1/2 cup quick rolled oats +1/2 teaspoon cinnamon +2 tablespoons butter- mix everything in a 1.5qt baking dish / pyrex bowl (that will fit into your cooker).Add a drizzle of butterscotch icecream topping (caramel flavour will work too).Bake on HIGH for 2.5hours.Serve warm with vanilla icecream.

Barley-Vegetable stew/porridge..taking it slow.

Slow cooker bought with great gusto! Now to try it out!
So I added a cup of barley and in went spring onions+ carrots+asparagus+mushrooms+cabbage+3cups water.Seasoned with salt+pepper+all seasoning mix.+2teaspoons butter.Cooked on low for 4hours.
Awesome if you are a soup/porridge kinda person.
Can substitute water with chicken stock/cream of mushroom soup/cream of celery soup.
Can add shredded meat too!

Homemade salsa

Dont know if this is appropriately the first post!
But here it is.

Tomatoes diced.Puree most of it.(Leave some diced to make it chunkier!) +
white vinegar + tabasco sauce (as much or as little) + spring onions (both white n green parts) + coriander leaves/parsley -chopped +ground pepper+ crushed garlic.

optional seasoning with little basil+oregano.

yummy with chips/tortillas/wraps/burritos!