Poha Idlis

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Poha are rice flakes of the thick variety (easily available in Indian stores). Idli rava is rice grits. Traditionally, idlis i.e. steamed rice cakes are a combination of idli rava and urad dal (black gram). Introducing poha in this preparation yields softer idlis.

As I was running out if time, I didn’t keep the batter to ferment (needs at least 8 hours), so opted to steam them after making the batter. To give airiness to these idlis, I added the fruit salt just before steaming.

Ingredients:

1 cup thick poha (rice flakes)
1 cup idli rava (rice grits)
1/4 tsp methi seeds
3 tbsp split urad Dal (skinless black gram)
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Eno (fruit) salt

Method:

Wash poha 2-3 times. Combine idli rava, methi seeds, and urad dal. Wash these 2-3 times.

Mix poha with idli rava mixture and soak overnight in 4 cups of water.

In the morning, strain the mixture. Blend it with 1 cup water till smooth puree is obtained. (Divide in two batches for easy blending).

Add salt to taste.

Keep idli moulds ready. Grease the plates well with oil.

Keep a steamer with enough water to heat. Once water starts to boil, add the Eno to the batter. Give it a quick whisk without overworking the batter.

Ladle the batter in the moulds and place the idli stand in the steamer.

Steam for 10 minutes or till idlis are soft to touch without the batter being wet or soggy.

Remove the idlis from the mould by using a blunt knife. Serve them hot/warm with your choice of condiments.

Note: The batter can be fermented. In that case there is no need for addition of Eno. Just keep the batter after blending it in a warm place for 8 hours.

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Chicken & Veggies Hand Pies

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Ingredients:

1 recipe all Butter Pie Crust (link pasted below)
3-4 boneless chicken breasts
2-3 minced garlic cloves
1 large carrot, cored and diced finely
1 stalk celery diced finely
1 small onion chopped finely
1/2 cup green peas, frozen and thawed
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup full cream
1/4 cup pepper jack cheese
1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp Italian mixed herbs
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
2 tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup stock

Method:

Heat oil in a saucepan. Keep flame medium low. Add garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. Sauté till the onions wilt.
Add chicken and stir fry. Once chicken changes color, add the carrots. Cover the pan with lid and cook till carrots soften.
Add peas, cover pan with lid, and cook further for another couple of minutes.
Add stock, cream cheese, cream, and cheese. Mix well till cream cheese is well blended.
Add all the seasonings. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and simmer for 2-3 minutes or till sauce is is bubbling. Switch off gas.
Cool this mixture and use it as stuffing for Hand Pies.

For All Butter Pie Crust, follow this link

https://thefoodiedoodler.wordpress.com/2019/02/16/all-butter-pie-crust/

 

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All Butter Pie Crust

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Ingredients:

1-3/4 cup + 2 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
12 tbsp very cold unsalted butter
3-4 tbsp ice cold water
1 tsp Apple cider vinegar (optional)

Method:

Combine flour, cornstarch, salt, and sugar in a large bowl.

Mix Apple cider vinegar with ice cold water.

Cut butter in small cubes and mix with the flour. With finger, gently rub flour with butter. The mixture should resemble breadcrumbs. Make sure all the butter is covered with flour. Work quickly as the butter may soften.

Add water tablespoon at a time and bring it together to form a dough. If there is still dry flour remaining, add tbsp (s) of ice cold water (avoid adding excess water as the dough binds due to the butter).

Knead it 4-5 times (avoid overworking the dough) and then wrap the dough in a cling film. Refrigerate it for an hour.

Remove from refrigerator and keep it on the counter for 10 minutes before rolling it out.

Lightly dust the workstation/kitchen platform with flour and roll the dough either as a single pie or cut the dough with cookie cutter for individual pies.

For Hand Pies, place stuffing on one individual piece, apply egg wash/water, place another piece over it, seal edges with a fork. Pierce the top randomly to let out steam while baking. Preheat oven to 400 deg f. Bake the pies for 25-30 minutes flipping them halfway through baking time.

Note: For golden crust, beat egg yolk with tbsp of water and with the help of a pastry brush, apply it over the pie (for vegetarian option, brush with milk/cream/butter).

Silky Sweet Potato Pie

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Ingredients for pie dough:

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter chilled
1/2 cup chilled buttermilk

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Give it a whisk.

Cut the butter in 1/2-3/4″ cubes. Add these to the flour. Rub the butter with the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make sure all the butter is covered with the flour.

Make a well in the center of the flour. Add 1/4 cup buttermilk in it. With the help of a fork, start scraping the flour into the buttermilk. Incorporate the remaining buttermilk little by little into the flour. Gather the flour and bring it together to form a ball. Knead it about 10 times only. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Roll out the dough as big as possible maintaining a thickness of about 1/2-3/4″.

Fold the dough in quarters and place the dough with pointed tip in the center of a pie dish. Open the dough and make sure it covers the entire dish. Let the extra bits of dough flow over the rim. If dough is extra, use it to make decorative patterns.

Press down the dough gently on the pie dish and the sides too to get rid of any air bubbles. With a pair of shearing kitchen scissors, cut out the extra dough hanging but let it cover the rim. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Remove the dish from the fridge and place the filling into the pie making sure it’s evenly spread.

Ingredients for sweet potato custard:

3 medium sized sweet potatoes
3 large eggs
3/4 cup full cream/heavy whipping cream
3-1/4 cup milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice (or cinnamon powder with dash of nutmeg powder)
1 cup sugar

Method:

Steam or boil sweet potatoes till tender. (Roast them if preferred). Mash them till smooth texture is obtained.

Bring milk, cream, and sugar to a boil. Simmer on low heat till it thickens.

Whisk eggs. Add milk laddleful (to prevent curdling) at a time till all is used up. Strain if lumps are seen.

Add vanilla extract, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Whisk well.

Combine the sweet potatoes mash with the milk custard. Stir well.

Preheat oven to 350 deg F.

Pour the custard in prepared pie dish.

Bake in oven about 45-50 minutes or until toothpick when inserted comes out clean.

Anda Masala (Eggs in Spicy Gravy)

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Ingredients:

For onion-coconut paste:
1 small onion chopped
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 tsp oil
Water as required

Dry roast onions till wilted. Add tsp of oil and keep browning them.

Add 1/4 cup dessicated coconut.

Stir well till nicely browned. Cool and blend in mixture with little water to a smooth paste.

For egg fry:

8 boiled eggs
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder
Dash of salt

Prick 8 boiled eggs all over the sides of the eggs.

Heat oil in another pan. Add turmeric powder, red chilli powder, and dash of salt. Stir well.

Place the eggs in the pan and stir fry to coat all masala onto the eggs. Fry eggs till slightly crisp.

For Masala:
3-4 tbsp oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2″ cinnamon sticks
1 black cardamom
3 cloves
6 black peppercorns
2 large finely chopped onions
1 heaped tsp ginger-garlic paste
3 large tomatoes
1 green chili
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp red chilli powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 cups hot water
Salt to taste
2-3 tsp chopped coriander leaves

Method:

Heat oil in a deep wok. Add cumin seeds, cinnamon stick, black cardamom, cloves, and black peppercorns. Give it a quick stir.

Once cumin seeds turn brown, add finely chopped onions. Saute them till lightly golden in color.

Add ginger-garlic paste with little water and saute till raw smell of ginger-garlic disappears.

Add puree of tomatoes that is blended with green chili, turmeric powder, red chilli powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, and salt to taste. Stir to mix it well.

Once oil is released, add onion-coconut paste. Stir to blend well.

Add water to make thick gravy. Cook on low heat. Bring it to a simmer.

Add the boiled eggs to the gravy and mix them well.

Cover the wok with lid and simmer further for 5-7 minutes.

Finally, add chopped coriander leaves and stir again.

Punjabi Pinni Laddu

 

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These laddus are winter specials in North Indian cuisine. They are power packed with healthy ingredients such as ragi (finger millet) flour, gram flour, whole wheat flour, and almond flour, and cooked in clarified butter. Pinni laddu can include different combinations of ingredients, but the most common ones remain the same, viz-a-vis whole wheat flour and gram flour. They can be had post lunch/dinner or included in the lunchbox.

Ingredients:

1 cup whole wheat flour + 1 cup ragi flour (or 2 cups whole wheat flour)
1 cup roasted chana or 1/2 cup sattu flour
1/2 cup sooji
1/2 cup flax seed powder
1 cup ghee + 3 tsp warm ghee
1/4 cup chopped roasted walnuts
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
1 cup powdered jaggery or confectioners sugar

Method:

Heat a heavy bottomed pan. Dry roast sattu flour till aromatic. Stir it continuously. Remove to a bowl and keep aside. (If using roasted chane, grind them to fine powder).

Add nuts to the same pan. Toast on low heat, stirring continuously. Remove to a bowl. Keep aside.

Clean the pan. Add ghee. Let it melt. Add atta and sooji. Stir frequently at intervals on low heat till aromatic.

Add the chana powder or sattu flour as well as flax seed powder. Mix well.

Add the cinnamon powder and cardamom powders. Stir well.

Add the walnuts and jaggery when it’s still warm but not hot. Stir well. Once the jaggery blends in the mixture, switch off the gas.

While the mixture is still warm, give them shape of laddu. If difficulty in binding , add 3 tsp of warm melted ghee.

Cool and refrigerate for longer shelf life.

Boston Cream Donuts

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Ingredients for dough:

4 cups all purpose flour (maida)
2 envelopes rapid rise/instant yeast
1/3 cup sugar
2 tsp salt
3/4 cup warm milk
3/4 cup warm water
3 tbsp unsalted butter melted
2 large eggs
Olive oil to grease

Ingredients for cream filling:

1 tbsp butter
1 cup milk
1 cup full/heavy whipping cream
3 large eggs
1-1/2 tbsp cornstarch
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Ingredients for chocolate topping:

5 oz chocolate morsels (70% cocoa)
2 tbsp butter

Microwave the above ingredients in spurts of 30 seconds till chocolate melts.

Method for the cream:

In a small saucepan, combine butter, milk, and cream. On medium low heat, bring it to a simmer, stirring frequently.
In another bowl, beat eggs and add vanilla extract, cornflour, and sugar. Whisk until it’s pale and forms a steady stream.
Once the milk has come to a simmer, add the milk to eggs laddleful at a time (prevents curdling).
Transfer the mixture to another saucepan and cook it till it thickens, stirring frequently. Strain the mixture if any lumps are seen. Cool the Custard till it’s lukewarm.
Stir the Custard and place cling film on the surface of the Custard to prevent skin forming over it. Refrigerate overnight or at least 2-3 hours before making the dough.

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Method for dough:

In a large bowl, combine 1 cup flour, yeast, sugar, and salt. Give it a quick whisk.
Combine milk and butter. Stir till combined.
Add milk to the flour. Stir with wooden spatula.
Keep adding cupful of flour at a time and keep mixing.
Pour water little at a time while adding the remaining flour.
Now add the eggs and keep mixing. The dough should be wettish, sticky, and shaggy.
Transfer the dough to a clean flour dusted kitchen platform. Knead it for 8-10 minutes till it comes together. Avoid adding any excess flour.
Transfer the dough to a well oiled large bowl. Coat the dough with oil too.
Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen napkin and keep it in a warm place to rise. Let it rest for 1 hour or till doubled in size.
Punch down the dough to release air. Gather it together to form a ball.
Divide the dough into two equal sized portions. Roll the dough in a rectangular shape maintaining a thickness of about 3/4″.
Take a cookie cutter or any shaped mould and cut the dough in required shapes.
Gather the dough bits and roll it out again. Cut with mould. Repeat till no bits are left behind.
Repeat the same with other portion of dough too.
Line a tray with an ovenproof parchment paper. Lay the donuts on the paper. Make sure to keep them spaced. Cover them with kitchen napkin and leave them to rest for 30 minutes.

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To make donuts:

Heat enough oil for deep frying in a thick bottomed wok or pan. Once oil is hot enough (not smoking), drop the donuts carefully without overcrowding. Fry for a minute till it’s sufficiently golden in color. Flip and fry till it’s golden in color (may take less than a minute).
Transfer them to a plate covered with paper napkins to drain excess oil.
Once they are cooled, Pierce a hole on the side of donut and pipe the filling inside the hole till it just comes out.
Dip top side of the donut in the melted chocolate and keep them on a wire rack or parchment paper to cool.

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Note:-
Make the Custard before preparing the dough.

Malai Kulfi

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On occasion of the 3rd anniversary of blogging, I have come to share with you our family’s favorite dessert.

Kulfi is an Indian version of icecream, though for the Kulfi, the difference lies in that the milk is reduced to more than half of its quantity to reach a thick consistency. This thickened milk is poured in suitable moulds and frozen for at least 6-8 hours. There are no stabilizers or addictives used in making homemade Kulfi.

Ingredients:

2 lit full fat milk
1 cup full cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp cardamom powder
1/2 cup slivered almonds chopped finely
2 pinches saffron strands

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Method:

Boil the milk and cream. Once boiled, reduce heat to the lowest setting and let it simmer till it thickens. Keep stirring the milk at frequent intervals.
Continue simmering till the milk is reduced to about 1/4 of the original amount.
While it’s simmering, keep scraping the sides of the pot (at intervals) where the cream is stuck. Put it back into the milk.
Add sugar, cardamom powder, and saffron. Stir well. Switch off gas.
Cool the mixture thoroughly. Once cooled, stir the mixture and transfer it to Kulfi moulds or any hollow containers/cups.
Cover the moulds (moulds without sticks) with aluminum foil and freeze for 2 hours. Remove them from the freezer and you can now insert ice-cream sticks in it. Refreeze for at least 6 hours or overnight.
Hold the moulds under hot running water to loosen the Kulfi or keep them immersed for few seconds in hot water. Garnish with almond powder.

Methi Muthiya in Yogurt Gravy

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Ingredients:

3 cups methi (fenugreek) leaves washed and chopped
Half bunch coriander leaves washed and chopped coarsely
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup gram flour (Besan)
1 tbsp green chili-ginger paste
1 tsp red chili powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/2 to 1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp sesame seeds
Salt to taste
1 tbsp olive oil
Enough oil to deep fry

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Method:

Pluck methi leaves only. Wash them thoroughly in running water till water runs clean. Drain well. Chop them fine and rub little salt in them. Leave aside to rest for 10-15 minutes. Then wash off the salt and squeeze out the excess water.
Now mix all the remaining ingredients with the methi. Take about 1-1/2 tsp of the methi mixture and form oval shapes.
Heat oil in a thick bottomed saucepan.
Drop the methi muthiya carefully in the hot oil. Fry them well on medium heat on all sides till golden in color.
Remove them from the pan and place them in a plate covered with paper towels to drain excess oil.

Yogurt Gravy:

Ingredients:
1 large onion finely chopped
1 tsp tomato chopped coarsely
1 tsp tomato paste
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
Dash of hing
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp green chili-coriander leaves paste
1 tsp red chili powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala powder
2 tbsp thick yogurt
1/4 cup cashew tukda (or skinless blanched almonds)
Salt to taste
1 tsp kasoori methi powder
3 tbsp oil
2 cups water (for thinner gravy)

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Method:
Boil in cashews till soft (or microwave).

Blend tomato, tomato paste, yogurt, chili powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder, green chili paste, cashews, and salt in mixie till smooth purée is formed.

Heat oil in saucepan/kadhai. Add mustard seeds. Once they pop, add cumin seeds and hing. Stir. Add ginger-garlic paste and sauté for 30 seconds or till raw smell disappears.

Add onions and cook till lightly browned. Add tomato puree and cook till oil separates.

Add water (add less for thicker gravy). Bring it to a simmer.

Add garam masala powder, kasoori methi powder, and muthiya. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or till oil floats.

Remove to a serving bowl and serve with Khoba roti/plain roti/naan/paratha/rice.

Salted Caramel Apple Pie

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Ingredients:

For Crust:

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour (maida)
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
2 sticks (1/2 lb) unsalted butter chilled
1/2 cup chilled buttermilk

In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt. Give it a whisk.

Cut the butter in 1/2-3/4″ cubes. Add these to the flour. Rub the butter with the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs. Make sure all the butter is covered with the flour.

Make a well in the center of the flour. Add 1/4 cup buttermilk in it. With the help of a fork, start scraping the flour into the buttermilk. Incorporate the remaining buttermilk little by little into the flour. Gather the flour and bring it together to form a ball. Knead it about 10 times only. Wrap the dough in cling film and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

For the filling:

5 apples cored and sliced thinly
3 tbsp cornflour/cornstarch/tapioca flour
1 tbsp lemon zest
Juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt

Combine all the above mentioned ingredients together and refrigerate it till it’s time to fill the pie.

Salted Caramel:

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp almond extract
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup water

Heat large saucepan. Combine water and sugar. Let the sugar dissolve. Stir or swirl till it dissolves.

Add butter and bring it to a boil. Then simmer it till it turns golden brown. After this, stir it for few minutes and then take it off the heat.

Add cream and stir well to mix it well. Add the almond extract and salt and stir again.

Keep it aside to cool. If it hardens before adding to the pie, slightly warm it up to loosen it.

To make and bake the pie:

Egg Wash : Whip up 1 egg with 1 tsp cream

Remove the dough on to the kitchen counter and let it rest for 5 minutes. Divide it in two.

Place one part of dough between two ovenproof parchment papers. Roll out the dough as big as possible maintaining a thickness of about 1/2-3/4″. Return the second part to the refrigerator.

Fold the dough in quarters and place the dough with pointed tip in the center of a pie dish. Open the dough and make sure it covers the entire dish. Let the extra bits of dough flow over the rim.

Press down the dough gently on the pie dish and the sides too to get rid of any air bubbles. With a pair of shearing kitchen scissors, cut out the extra dough hanging but let it cover the rim. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.

Remove the dish from the fridge and place the filling into the pie making sure it’s evenly spread. At the same time, remove the second dough too. Roll the dough as big as the pie dish.

Place the dough over the filling and gently pinch it to seal the edges around the rim of the dish. Make a criss cross in the center of the dough. Apply egg wash. Place the dish in refrigerator for 10-15 minutes.

Remove from the refrigerator and keep it aside for 10-15 minutes, if using a glass pie dish. If not, then it can be baked directly after removing from the refrigerator. Apply egg wash again.

Bake the pie in a preheated oven set at 425 deg F for 20 minutes. Turn down the temperature to 375 deg F and let the pie bake for 60 minutes.

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For decorative pie:
Make shapes from the second dough. Shapes can be a lattice, braids, leaves, flowers, etc.

For lattice shape, cut the dough after rolling it out into thick and thin strips. Place them vertically and alternate thickness next to each other with a slight gap between them. Now fold alternate strips in halves. Place one strip horizontal across and bring back the folded half in place (I.e. Straighten it) and repeat to make a pattern by interweaving the strips.

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