Roasted Cauliflower in White Gravy (Indian Style)

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Well! Cauliflower…hmmm…not the most liked vegetable (at least in my case 😄) but looking at the health benefits of it with so many vitamins and minerals, it’s made at least once a week in my house.

This is the first time I tried cauliflower in roasted form for an Indian style gravy. The outcome…simply deliciouszzzzz!!!

Ingredients:

For Marinade—
1 head cauliflower
4 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red chili flakes
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

For. Gravy—
1 onion sliced
3 green chilies chopped/sliced
4-5 cloves garlic sliced
1/2″ ginger julienned
1 tsp red chili flakes
2 tbsp almond/cashew powder
1/2 tsp fennel powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1/2 tsp cumin powder
4 tbsp thick yogurt
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup full cream
1 tsp kasoori methi powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp olive oil

Tempering—
1 bayleaf
1/2 tsp kalonji (onion seeds)
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp fennel seeds

Method:

For Cauliflower Roast–
Preheat oven to 400 Deg F (200 Deg C).
Wash cauliflower thoroughly in salted water. Drain water thoroughly and pat dry cauliflower with kitchen napkins.
Cut cauliflower in thick slices (steaks).
Marinate cauliflower steaks with the ingredients mentioned under marinade for 15 minutes at least.
Line baking tray with oven proof parchment paper. Arrange cauliflower steaks on the tray including any loose florets.
Bake in oven for 20-25 minutes flipping the cauliflower midway through baking time.
Remove tray from oven and keep cauliflower aside.

For Gravy—
Heat oil in nonstick pan.
Add onions and green chilies and sauté till onions are translucent.
Add ginger and garlic slices and cook till they soften and raw smell evaporates.
Switch off gas and cool the mixture thoroughly.
Blend onions with yogurt, milk, and all the remaining spices till smooth purée is formed.
Heat pan again and add little oil. Add the tempering to hot oil and let it splutter.
Add the purée and stir constantly to prevent sticking to the pan.
Add water, red chili flakes, kasoori methi powder, and almond powder. Bring it to a simmer.
Add salt and pepper taste along with cream. Simmer for couple of minutes.
Ladle gravy in serving dish. Arrange cauliflower over the gravy and serve hot with roti/rice.

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Methi Matar Malai

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Methi (fenugreek) is a popular green leafy vegetable in India with a slightly bitter aftertaste. This dish is from Northern part of India, namely, Punjab. The medicinal properties of fenugreek (seeds as well as leaves) are plenty.

Methi here is combined with green peas in a rich creamy nutty sauce and that makes the dish dense. Because of the cream, it’s mild in flavor as far as spice is concerned.

Ingredients:

Serves: 3

1 bunch methi leaves only (fenugreek)
1/2 bowl parboiled green peas
1 sliced onion
2 green chilies
4 garlic cloves sliced
1/2″ ginger sliced
1/4 cashews
2 tbsp almond powder
1 cup milk
1/4 cup cream
1/2 tsp Garam masala powder
1/2 tsp fennel seed powder (saunf)
1/2 tsp green chili paste
2 pinches cinnamon powder
2 cloves
3 green cardamoms
Salt to taste
Kasoori methi powder for garnish

Method:

Wash methi leaves thoroughly to remove grit. Chop them and apply salt to them and leave aside for 30 minutes. After that, wash the leaves and drain the water. Squeeze out excess water.
Heat oil in nonstick pan. Add methi leaves and peas and stir fry till methi is cooked. Switch off gas.
Heat another pan. Add cinnamon and cloves. Add onions, green chilies, ginger and garlic. Cook till onions are lightly colored. Add cashews and almonds. Add little water and cook till cashews soften. Cool and grind to a paste along with milk.
Switch on gas and keep the pan with vegetables on it. Add the paste to vegetables. Add cream, green chili paste, garam masala powder, fennel seed powder, cinnamon powder, and salt to taste. Cook on low heat till the sauce is bubbling.
Garnish with kasoori methi powder and serve with naan/roti.

Mixed Berries Raisins & Pecans Swirl Bread

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Ingredients:

For Dough–
3-1/2 cups bread flour/all purpose flour
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/4 cup olive oil
1-1/8 cup warm water

For Stuffing–
4 tbsp softened butter
2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/4 cup superfine granulated sugar
1 cup mixed berries (dried cranberries, dried cherries) and raisins
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine butter, sugar and cinnamon powder together and keep aside.

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In a large bowl, pour water in it. Add sugar to it. Sprinkle yeast and stir to mix well and no lumps are seen. Leave aside for 10-15 minutes for yeast to bloom.
Add oil and salt to the mixture. Stir well.
Add 1 cup flour at a time to the mixture and stir with wooden spatula to combine. Repeat the process with the remaining flour till all flour is used up.
Bring dough together and knead well till its soft and elastic (avoid adding any excess flour). Knead well for at least 15 minutes. Apply little oil to the dough to prevent it from drying out and transfer the dough in well greased bowl and cover it with cling film. Leave the dough to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or till doubled in size.
Punch the dough lightly and knead it couple of times gently.
Transfer the dough to a clean kitchen platform dusted with flour.
Roll the dough in a large rectangular shape. Apply the prepared butter all over avoiding the margins. Sprinkle the berries, raisins, and pecans liberally all over.
Start rolling the dough from the longer side of the dough till it resembles a log. Tuck the ends in.
With a sharp edged knife, cut the log along the seam side keeping one end intact. Turn the cut sides facing up and overlap the two sections over each other (like a braid) and seal the two ends pinching them firmly.
Transfer the wreath to a well greased cake pan. Apply melted butter all over the wreath. Cover it with cling film and leave it aside for 30 minutes to rise again.
Preheat oven to 200 Deg C. Bake in oven for 25-30 minutes or till golden brown.
Remove from oven and let it cool down for 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack till warm.
Sprinkle powdered sugar over the wreath (optional).

Buttery Garlic Dinner Rolls

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The perfect rolls I’ve ever made. Soft and fluffy and very light, they were just melt-in-the-mouth rolls. These were over before I could grab another one.

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour (maida) or bread flour
1-1/2 tsp instant or rapid rise yeast
1-1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp fine granulated sugar
1 cup + 2 tbsp warm water
3 tbsp unsalted butter melted (I used clarified butter)
Olive oil to grease

Method:

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir thoroughly with rubber (or wooden/silicon) spatula.
Combine water and butter and add it to the flour. Stir well with the flour for a minute.
Gradually add 1/2 cup flour at a time and mix with spatula till all flour is used up.
Now knead the dough with hands for 2-3 minutes on a clean kitchen surface dusted with flour. The dough should be soft, sticky, and pliable. Do not be tempted to add more flour.
Cover the dough with greased cling film in the same bowl and keep aside for 10 minutes.
Once again knead the dough for at least 10 minutes till smooth and soft. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover with greased cling film.
Keep the dough in a warm place until doubled in size (about 1-1/2 hours).
Punch the dough lightly and gather it to form a round shape.
Divide the dough in 12 (or 16) equal sized balls. Gather all the edges and pinch them together. Roll the ball with your palm to seal the seam gathered together.
Shape accordingly i.e. round for buns or oblong and thinner for breadsticks.
Place them on a baking tray lined with ovenproof parchment sheet with an inch gap between them.
Cover the rolls with greased cling film and set aside for 45 minutes to rise (second rise).
Just before completion of 45 minutes, preheat oven at 375 Deg f for 10 minutes.
Keep an ovenproof bowl with boiling water ready.
Place the tray in the center rack and the bowl with water on the bottom rack.
Bake for 15 minutes or longer (oven temperatures vary so keep a watch on the rolls). Bake till top side becomes light golden in color.
Remove from oven and cool for 5 minutes or longer.
Best eaten when still warm.

For butter garlic spread–
4 tbsp butter softened
2 tbsp finely minced garlic
2 tbsp finely chopped coriander leaves (or 1 tsp dried parsley)
Mix well and spread over the warm rolls. Place the rolls back in the warm rolls to set the spread.

Note—
If rapid rise or instant yeast isn’t available, active dry yeast can be used except it needs to be proofed i.e. Yeast mixed with warm water and sugar and left aside to froth. If frothing has doubled in size then it can be added to the flour. If there is no activity of yeast, discard the mixture and redo with fresh yeast (check the expiration dates).

Christmas Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza

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I’m amazed how great this cookie turned out to be. I was so apprehensive because I’m not a baker and had never baked a cookie this size. This cookie just turned out perfect, soft inside with just the right texture on the outside.

Christmas Sugar Cookie Fruit Pizza

Ingredients:

For Sugar Cookie:
1 Cup unsalted butter
1 Cup granulated white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 egg
2 teaspoons baking powder
3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 Deg F.
In stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter and sugar till smooth (about 3-4 minutes).
Add the extracts and egg. Beat again till it’s a homogeneous mixture.
Combine flour, salt, and baking powder. Whisk well.
Now add flour 1/2 a cup at a time and beat well. Repeat process till all flour is used up.
Gather the dough together and knead with hands till it forms a dough.
Take a spring form baking pan or wide and low cake pan.
Make two sections of the dough. Take one section, flatten it in a disc shape and spread it out with your palms evenly in the cake pan. Make sure the edges look clean.
Bake in the oven for approximately 12-15 minutes or until edges turn slightly brown.
Remove from oven and leave aside to rest for 5 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
4 oz package cream cheese, softened
¼ cup butter, softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Combine the frosting ingredients together and whisk well till no lumps are seen.

To Assemble:
1 Fruit Cocktail/Very Cherry can
Sprinkles for garnish

Place the sugar cookie on a serving dish. Spread the cream cheese frosting evenly on it. Arrange the fruit pieces over the frosting and garnish with sprinkles.
Before serving, cut it in wedges.

 

Stuffed & Fried Jumbo Pasta Shells

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I’m not a pasta fan (incidentally no one likes pasta in my house), but I had these jumbo shells in the pantry (bought coz of some food competition) and wanted to get creative about them. So got onto a hunt on the net and found very uncommon recipes with pasta shells. For my experiment, I decided to opt for the fried version (keeping in my mind Christmas around the corner, these would make great fingerfoods option).

Ingredients:

10 jumbo pasta shells
Oil for deep frying

For Stuffing—
1 small head broccoli diced finely
1 cup shredded baby spinach (or regular)
3 cloves garlic minced finely
1 chicken breast cooked and diced finely
4 tbsp feta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp olive oil

For Alfredo Sauce—
2 tbsp butter
1 cup full cream
1 cup Parmesan cheese finely grated
3/4 cup dehydrated potato flakes
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste

For Outer Cover—
1 beaten egg
Breadcrumbs as required
Semolina/Rawa as required

Method:

For Stuffing—
Heat butter and oil in nonstick pan. Add garlic and stir fry for 30 seconds.
Add broccoli, spinach, and chicken. Stir fry for 5 minutes.
Add feta cheese and sauté.
Add salt and pepper to taste taking care that feta is a salty cheese. Keep aside.

For Alfredo Sauce—
Heat a pot. Add butter. Once it melts, add cream. Cook the sauce till it starts thickening.
Add Parmesan cheese, herb, salt and pepper to taste.
Add potato flakes and mix well. The sauce will get denser.
Mix the prepared stuffing in the sauce and give it a stir to mix thoroughly.

To assemble—
Cook the pasta in lot of salted water for 15 minutes. Drain and run them under cold water.
Heat a deep thick bottomed pot with oil.
Fill the shells with 2 tsp stuffing and close the ends without the stuffing coming out.
Dip the shells in egg and roll in breadcrumbs or Rawa. Deep fry in medium hot oil till golden in color on all sides.
Remove to a plate covered with paper napkins to drain oil.
Serve with any dip of your choice.

Potato Spirals


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Potatoes make a quick bite for those small hunger pangs. I do love to eat at my favorite fast food place, DQ….but gotta control the carbs, eh! Well, it’s okay to eat at least one itsy bitzy bite, right 😊 So how about potato spiral? Eat as many or as less. I halted at one though 😬.

Potato Spirals

Ingredients:

500 kg small potatoes or fingerlings
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 tsp dried dill/thyme leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
Kosher salt to taste
Oil for deep frying
Wooden skewers

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Method:

Soak skewers in water for 30 minutes.
Wash and scrub potatoes (with skin on if preferred) thoroughly.
Combine olive oil with dried herbs, garlic powder, and salt.
Cut small ends off the potatoes. Insert the skewer into the potato making sure it in the center of the potato.
With a sharp paring knife, start cutting the potato keeping the knife at a an angle. They to keep the knife close to the cuts.
Heat oil a deep thick bottomed pot. Deep fry the potatoes without overcrowding them.
Remove them to a plate lined with paper napkins to drain excess oil.
Spread the potato slices gently to avoid breaking them apart.
Brush the potatoes with prepared oil and serve hot with ketchup or any dip of your choice.

Kerala Chicken Curry

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Kerala cuisine is a must try for novice cook. It’s flavors are mostly dominant with use of coconut in the form of coconut oil, coconut milk, grated coconut, etc. EVen the ladles are made with coconut shell (my mom owns one 😎).

This recipe is made in a very simple fashion where there is no grinding involved (grinding brings out true flavors of any dish especially if using a mortar and pestle). But to simplify the recipe and being short on time, I have used ready to use masala powders (easily available in Asian grocery stores).

Ingredients:

1 lb chicken cut pieces

Marinade for chicken–
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp red chili powder
1 tbsp chicken masala powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Juice of 1/2 lemon

Combine all marinade ingredients and rub into the chicken pieces.

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Gravy–
1/2″ piece cinnamon
2 cloves
2 branches curry leaves
2 slit green chilies
2 dry red chilies
1 cup sliced red/purple onion
2 sliced tomatoes
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1-1/2 tsp red chili powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp black pepper powder
1″ minced ginger
1 tsp fennel powder
1 small piece ginger cut in juliennes
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 can coconut cream
1 cup water (or more depending on the required thickness for gravy)
Salt to taste
3-4 tbsp Olive or coconut oil

Method:

Heat oil in kadhai/clay pot. Add cinnamon, cloves, green chilies, red chilies, 1 branch curry leaves, and onions.
Stir well till onions start turning brown at the edges.
Add ginger, turmeric powder, red chili powder, coriander powder, fennel powder, black pepper powder, and sauté for a minute till raw flavor disappears.
Add the chicken pieces and stir well. Cover with lid and cook chicken till it turns white and oil separates.
Add the tomatoes and cook till they turn mushy.
Add coconut cream and water. Simmer the chicken till it’s cooked thoroughly.
Finally, add ginger juliennes, curry leaves, and lemon juice. Simmer for couple of minutes and switch off gas.
Remove the chicken to a serving bowl or serve as is in the clay pot. Serve with rice/Kerala paratha/Kori Rotti, etc.

Cajun Spiced Panko Chicken

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Ingredients:

4 boneless chicken breasts
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
2 tsp Cajun seasoning
1 tsp red chili powder/paprika
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp Italian seasoning or oregano
1/3 cup garlic herbed Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt if required

Method:

Preheat oven at 350 Deg F.
Trim any fat off the chicken. Wash and drain excess water. Give the chicken breasts grooves if desired.
Lightly toast the breadcrumbs and keep aside.
Combine all the remaining ingredients and whisk well. Adjust any seasoning according to taste.
Rub the marinade on the chicken well. Transfer the chicken on the plate containing the breadcrumbs. Pat the breadcrumbs well onto the chicken.
Line a baking tray with ovenproof parchment paper.
Arrange chicken on the tray and cover them with another parchment sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes covered and further for another 20-30 uncovered or until the chicken is well cooked and browned evenly.
Remove from oven and transfer to wire rack.
Serve them with choice of sides i.e. mashed potatoes/grilled vegetables/wild rice, etc. and gravy.

Crab Cakes

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These little beauties were made from leftover crab curry which I had a day before. I tried to make a fusion of west meeting east which worked wonderfully for these cakes.

Ingredients–
For crab mixture–
1-1/2 cup cooked crab meat
1 small onion chopped finely
1/3 cup mayonnaise
2 finely minced green chilies
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp garam masala powder
3-4 tbsp chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
Salt to taste
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

For outer covering–
2 eggs
1/2 cup maida
Panko breadcrumbs as needed
Salt and pepper to taste

Method–
Mix all ingredients mentioned under crab mixture thoroughly. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Make equal sized small balls of the crab mixture. Flatten them a bit.
Beat eggs and season them with little salt and pepper.
Heat enough oil for shallow frying in a wide nonstick pan. Dip the cakes in flour, then in egg, and roll in breadcrumbs.
Shallow fry the cakes both sides till golden in color.