Monday, 30 September 2013

Jhat Pat Chicken Korma

Jhatpat Chicken Korma Recipe

This recipe is for those days when i am very busy. I am sure it happens to all of you..Raising Day practices..Ladies' Meet practices...family welfare....etc..etc..At times you don't know which side is north. My family and I have survived on Maggi for many days. Of course the kids will be happy to eat Maggi all the time but we start feeling guilty. This recipe doesn't take much time and you can have a simple but tasty meal at hand in a jiffy. Chicken korma of course is an elaborate dish and calls for a number of ingredients. However this jhatpat version tastes as good.

Chicken Korma

Ingredients
500 gm chicken
1/2 cup hung curd
6-7 cashews made into a paste
1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 large onion, minced
1 tej patta
2 cloves
1" dalchini
little bit of javitri

Method
If i have a busy morning I prepare the marinade first thing in the morning when I am getting my son ready for school. Mix together chicken, curd, cashew paste, ginger garlic, minced onion and some salt. If you don't have time to drain the curd you can simply use whatever you have handy. Cover with a cling wrap and put it in the fridge. 
The dish takes about 15 minutes to cook. Heat oil and add the khada masala. Fry the chicken pieces on high for about a minute, lower heat, cover and cook for 15 minutes. That is all it takes and you have a tasty meal at hand before your kids and hubby arrives. 

Loukoumades

Loukoumades


Sounds interesting, right! It is! Simply put it is a Greek variation of our gulabjamun. Though not as sweet because it doesn't have khoya nor is it dipped in sugar syrup. It's batter is more akin to that of a doughnut. In fact these are a variation of fried doughnuts. I decided to try them and found them to be quite nice especially because I am not fond of things that are too sweet. I would definitely recommend you try this at home albeit a small batch because it is an acquired taste.

Loukoumades

Ingredients
10 gm dry yeast
120 ml warm water
50 ml warm milk
30 gm white sugar
Pinch of salt
35 gm softened butter
2 small eggs
250 gm flour
60 ml honey
60 ml water
Pinch of cinnamon powder

Method
First is the yeast test.
That has always been my waterloo. Yeast is supposed to foam and froth but mine just sits placidly mocking me. It happened this time too (no surprise)……but I didn’t give up. The second batch turned out fine!!!
Mix yeast in warm water and let sit till it forms a froth. (sighhhh!!!!)

see for yourself...one is frothy and the other is flat....!!



Dissolve the sugar and salt in the milk. Add the yeast mix to the milk.
In a separate dish beat the butter. Add eggs one at a time.
Now alternately add flour and milk mixture. I do not tip in the milk mixture all at one go. In fact yopu don’t have to use up all the milk mix. Use only as much as required. Adding small batches of flour I keep an eye on the consistency of the batter. It should just start holding its shape together. It will not be a stiff dough like gulabjamun dough. It will resemble a sticky, gooey glop…if you get what I mean.

Cover it with a wet cloth and let it stand in a warm corner for about 30 minutes till it doubles in size.
Meanwhile mix honey and water and boil for few minutes to get syrup. It will not be thick like a chashni. It will be watery so that you can drizzle them over the Loukoumades.
The recipe I used recommended that I make balls of the dough using wet hands. Let me tell you wet hands will not work. I ended up with the dough plastered all over my hands and my temper a few notches high. What will work is that you liberally coat your hands in oil…..and I do mean liberally. Then the dough will not stick and you will be able to make small balls easily. Deep fry them on low heat so that they are cooked through and through.
I decided to cut them in half so that the honey syrup soaks through properly. You can simply drizzle them with honey syrup if you want the aesthetic beauty of a round ball. Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon on top. 

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Red Velvet Cake



                                                            Red velvet cake


I have always been fascinated by the deep red color of the Red Velvet Cake. Combined with the white satin icing it presents a delightful picture. I have combined the cake with a whip cream icing. The recipe is very easy to make and  I recommend that you should absolutely try it out.


Red Velvet Cake
Ingredients
 2 ½ cups flour
½ tsp salt
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 cup buttermilk
2 tbsp red color
½ cup unsalted butter
1 ½ cup granulated white sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vinegar

Heat the oven to 180 degree Celsius.


Sieve together flour, salt and cocoa powder. The recipe calls for unsalted butter which I can’t find easily. So I use Amul butter and omit the salt.



 Mix together the buttermilk and red color.

If you don’t have buttermilk readily available you can use half curd and half water. Mix the two well and use instead of buttermilk.




Beat the butter until smooth.

Add the sugar and vanilla essence. Add eggs one at a time. Now add the flour and buutermilk alternately. First add half the flour and then half the buttermilk. Then repeat the same.
Mix together vinegar and baking soda. As soon as it starts foaming add it to the cake batter. This will help the cake become soft and fluffy.
Bake at 180 for about 35-40 minutes. Again, according to your oven temperature you might have to add a little more baking time.


Whip Cream Icing 

120 gm butter
200 gm icing sugar
1/3 cup whipping  cream
1 tsp vanilla

Beat the butter till soft and creamy. Add the sugar a little at a time. Keep your mixer on low speed otherwise you will have sugar flying all over the place. Once all the sugar is incorporated add the vanilla essence and put the mixer on high speed. Keep mixing for about 3-4 minutes till you get a smooth creamy mixture.


Assembling the Cake


Cut the cake into half. You can use a knife or thread. Spoon the icing onto the first layer of the cake.



 Put the next layer 

on top.

Now cover the whole cake with the icing. It will seem like a sloppy job at first but with a little patience and perseverance the icing will hold and the cake will get a smooth finish.








I don't feel like wasting the left over icing. So I add a drop of red color to it and use it for piping designs on the cake. The baby pink color looks delightful.





Friday, 27 September 2013

Phata poster nikla hero

I will give it 2 ½ silly smileys…because it is silly and it made me smile. My intellectual friends will turn up their noses at me and my remark has been met by incredulous glances and a sad shake of head. However in my defense when I go to watch a movie I don’t go with the intention of deconstructing it, analyzing it or dissecting it. I love to read Chacha Chaudhri and Sabu and Asterix and Obelix equally; I love eating plain khichdi and Seafood Pilaf equally. So I loved Madras CafĂ© and Satyagraha …….and I enjoyed Phata Poster Nikla Hero and Chennai Express..(okay not equally!).

There are times when the everyday mundane things get to you; when you are stressed out after a long day of work; when your kids have made you lose your patience once too often….n for such days such movies are a stress buster.
Leave your common sense at home because not many things will make sense here(90% of bollywood movies rarely do). A smart social worker falling for a nakli inspector (maybe its those dimples)..a mom easily believing all the nautanki her son puts up for her benefit (mind you moms are smart)…a Police Commissioner duped into acting out a charade…a super secret CD that the item girl has to give to the hero in the middle of a dance routine with hundreds of drooling eyes on her ( get a room! Literally!). Nope not much makes sense here.

But you know what I liked about the movie? That I didn’t have to put a strain on my grey cells…that kids were rolling down the aisles with laughter. Sometimes it is nice to sit back and enjoy nonsense. It is okay to be silly once in a while, okay to laugh at jokes that make no sense, okay to be child once again.

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Apple Cinnamon Cake

                                                  Apple cinnamon cake

I hate eating apples. However as every army wife knows it is a staple is most army rations. So every week I am laden with apples which just sit on my dining table. It is a pain to see those apples go to waste.

I love trawling through recipes on blogs, food sites, tv shows, magazines..in fact wherever I can. When I open a magazine I first check out the recipes. In one of my searches I came across this wonderful recipe. It included a cream cheese filling. It is difficult to find cream cheese in small cities. So I have omitted the cream cheese filling. This required me to adjust the recipe a bit. The end product however  is awesome.

Apple cinnamon cake

Ingredients
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon powder
½ tsp nutmeg
½ tsp salt
3 medium apples, chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
1 ¼ cup oil
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs

Method
Preheat the oven at 180 degrees celcius.
Grease and line a square baking pan. I often run out of baking paper. So I usually raid my husband’s stationary and use an A4 sheet of white paper. Works just as well. In fact it is very important that you line the tin as it makes the cake come out smoothly.

Mix together flour, salt, soda, cinnamon and nutmeg. i use cinnamon and nutmeg powder by Keya. 






Mix the chopped apples with lemon juice and brown sugar.

Blend together oil and sugar. Since you are using granulated sugar the mixture won’t turn light and fluffy. Just use a hand mixer for about 2 minutes.







 Add the eggs one at a time mixing well after each addition.










Add the flour mix and fold in gently using a spatula.
 Drain the apples and add to the mix. 

Here is where I depart from the recipe a bit. Since the original recipe was meant for a cream cheese filling the batter is quite sticky. I don’t like my batter to be so tough.
So I add about 5-6 tbsp of milk to make it more pliable.



Pour the mix in the prepared tin. The baking time required is about 40 minutes. However many people complain that their cake burns at the top. This is because of the thermostat adjustment of your oven. I have found that all ovens do not heat equally. This is partly due to the voltage fluctuations in most army houses. I always set my first timer for 20 minutes. It is usually after the first 20 minutes that the cake top starts to burn. I then cover the top lightly with some aluminum foil and set the timer for another 10-15 minutes. I have found it handy not to completely go by the recipe, set it for 40 odd minutes and end up with a burnt cake. So check as you proceed and the cake will turn out beautiful golden brown.

The smell of baking makes you want to dig into the cake as soon as possible. However let it cool down and then turn it over. Peel off the paper and VOILA!!!











Tuesday, 24 September 2013

easy-to-make-doughnuts


                                  Easy to make doughnuts


So my friend asked me…where is the pie???

I had started this blog as a medium to share my recipes with my friends. I love to eat n I love to cook. But places where I live it is difficult to get the kind of food I crave. So out of necessity I started baking cakes, tarts, quiches etc...n u know what once you get the hang of it its really fun. The initial hesitation lies in thinking will they be as good as the patisserie?? Believe me they will be..with a little patience and a little practice.

My son loves doughnuts. What’s not to love? Those soft, fried rings of sweet chocolaty yumminess…..(drool). But the problem I faced was handling yeast. I have lost count of the times I have sat waiting for the yeast to foam. I have thrown out batches in desperation because if they don’t foam the dough will not rise and it will all be a wasted effort.  So I started off with these really simple cake doughnuts which don’t require yeast.

CAKE DOUGHNUTS

Ingredients
2 ½ cups flour
½ cup white sugar
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
2 tsp nutmeg powder
½ tsp salt
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk (you can use yogurt that has been watered down)
½ cup butter, melted

Procedure
Mix together the dry ingredients i.e. flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg powder and salt. Keep it aside. Mix together the wet ingredients i.e. egg, butter and buttermilk. Add the wet ingredients to the flour mix and knead. Don’t over knead it as you will be knocking out the air.

 Had you used yeast the dough would have been left for an hour or so to rise. However with these cake doughnuts you can continue working.
Roll out the dough into ¾ inch thickness.


Using a doughnut cutter cut out roundels and deep fry them.






Monday, 23 September 2013

     
                         It’s a man’s world where women have no place??????

Saw the video that has gone viral on all social networking sites: Women, it’s your fault.
Loved it!!!!

Loved the satirical take at all these public figures, upholders of law, policy makers etc who have been spewing all kinds of rubbish to get their few seconds of fame. I sometimes wonder don’t these people hear themselves!! Don’t they realize what they are saying!! Or are sound bites more important than common sense and decency!! (Decency! HAH! That’s an outdated concept)

On the day of the judgment of the Nirbhaya case the lawyer was proclaiming that he would not appeal if no more rapes take place anywhere……ever…...at all!! What nonsense is this!! Here is an officer of the court declaring that rapes take place and will continue to do so…....deal with it!! Accept it! For every young girl, woman, mother, and grandmother (yes even they are not safe it seems) out there who shudders at the word ‘rape’ such words are unacceptable.

Don’t wear provocative clothes! Don’t go out at night! Don’t work late! Don’t frequent clubs and discs! Don’t talk back! Don’t look them in the eye! Try to make yourself invisible! Don’t breathe! Don’t exist!

The talibanism of social norms is only for the women whereas the problem lies elsewhere. I am reminded of my college lecturer’s words. She was a young lady who had recently joined the faculty. When her mother stopped her from going out with her friends at night she was very angry. She told her mother, “If you want the girls to be safe don’t stop your daughter, stop your sons. With all sons locked up at night it will be a safer world.” We all laughed then but now it seems so apt. If the boys learn proper values then maybe they might grow up to be sensible men. If they see their mothers and sisters being given due respect at home then maybe they will learn not to objectify women. If they have strong mothers then maybe they will stop considering women ‘the weaker sex’. I know it’s a big ‘if’ and a bigger ‘maybe’….but maybe……………just maybe…………………………………………………………………………………….

Sunday, 22 September 2013

nomad at heart

                                                                   Nomad at heart


If I am asked to think of one moment that is the epitome of my experience as an army wife, I will say it is the time of packing when all the boxes, trunks, crates are strewn around on the lawn. For all my worldly possessions, crystals and furniture, swings and bar are laid out in front of me as I look forward eagerly to the next place. We army wives are nomads at heart, barely settling down in one place and already anticipating the next. Civilians can’t imagine how we can uproot ourselves so easily.
They can’t understand the fun of exploring places one has not even heard the name of. I had never heard of a place called ‘Halflong” and had to rely on Google earth to find the spot. From Delhi to Halflong was a journey from Earth to Uranus. However there I discovered the beauty of North Cachar Hills, met Dimasas, Meiteis, Khukis and Nagas; saw clouds coming down from the mountains and rolling in through my window; travelled on roads that did not exist; saw thirty different shades of green during monsoon; came across a variety of insects that only an entomologist could identify.


From Halflong to Dhrangadhra was a cultural shock; from green trees to the land of stones (literally); from peacocks to wild asses, from waterfalls to salt pans, from bamboo shoot curry to khandavi and dhokla. The first question that popped through my mind as we drove through a dusty, arid barrenness was, “Do people really live here?” I soon grew to love the peace and solitude of Little Kutch.

So when it is time to pack again I sit and look at my boxes. The older ones still have the remnants of my husband’s progression through years. For me they hold a lifetime of memories, of starting a house together, of my son growing up, of togetherness and oh so many things. For my husband they are an excuse to start cribbing (once again) of how our boxes have multiplied from two (of his bachelor days) to 80 (after marriage). But I don’t care because I carry my world in them.

newbie on the scene

wow! i have a blog! my expertise on the internet was confined to checking out Facebook, researching recipes n sending an occasional mail...then my friends encouraged me to start sharing my cake recipes, tips that have been self learnt n all that i can think of..so i thought..why the hell not!!...this is after all the digital world. i should put my digits to task(LOL)..
as i scan through all that i have written i realize my english professor would have a fit if she saw all the sms lingo i have been using..my utter disregard for proper usage of English. HAH!
i do realize of course that not many(if any) people will be reading my blog. but so what.. i belong to an age when computers were not taught at school, were not found in homes, n only few select offices had them with precious few people aware of how to operate it. banging on the keys and thinking oh its like a typewriter...from then to now..handling a smart phone..i have come a long way. so this blog is for me..:)

Banana Walnut Choco Chip Cake

Though I bake everyday, it has been ages since I posted anything new on my blog. Last year saw lots of changes ...