Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Orange (Kinnow) Marmalade

Yes I made Marmalade.

To be frank, its not long back when I didn't even know what marmalade is. Let alone I would imagine making it. But I was planning to make the traditional Christmas Cake this time. The recipe for the cake needed marmalade. I got excited and scared. First of all, I read in detail about the major differences between marmalade and jam. What happened next is part of history now and this post is a proof of it.

I don't usually go out buying things if I can make them myself. Even if I am time or ingredient pressurized. I didn't had oranges but I had something very similar from the citrus fruit family. I had kinnows. It looks very similar to orange. It has a lot of seeds in it so it is not that easy to eat it. My sister and brother in law had bought kilos of it over the weekend and I utilized about a kilo out of them. The traditional orange marmalade uses seville orange which is a much bitter tasting orange and hence is used in making marmalade. Seville Oranges are also preferred for making marmalades as their seeds have high pectin content (pectin helps in setting up the jam). I reduced the amount of sugar in the recipe to balance the bitterness of the much sweeter kinnows.

I made so much marmalade that it filled 1 big and 2 smaller jars. Smaller jars would make good gifts for my friends whom I am about to visit. :)

What is the basic difference between marmalade and jam? While making marmalade, the peel is also added and cooked. The peel adds to the bitterness of the fruit preserve.

Making marmalade is not a lot of hard work. But yes, it does require you to follow a series of steps and takes a few hours to cook. Believe me, its all worth the effort. ;)

Orange Marmalade
Recipe Adapted from: TheWednesdayChef

1. 1 kg Kinnows ( You can use a different version of orange and adjust the sugar accordingly)
2. 900 g sugar
3. 2 litre water

Steps to make the marmalade:

1. Wash the oranges. Remove the peel by making cuts on the peel which divides it into four.
2. Chop the peel. I chopped it to a width of 2-3 mm that is neither too thick nor too thin. You can chop as per your liking.
3. Put the peel in a cast iron pot.
4. Squeeze the juice out of the peeled fruit in the pot. Carefully remove the seeds and keep them aside.
5. Chop the flesh from which juice has been squeezed out and add to the pot.
6. Take a muslin cloth and place the seeds in it. Tie the mouth of the cloth and put it in the skillet.
7. Add water.
8. Cover and bring the mixture to a boil. Let it simmer on medium heat till the peel becomes soft and translucent. It took the mixture around an hour to reach that point.
9. Let the mixture rest overnight. ( I covered it and left it on the gas)
10. Remove the cloth from the mixture while squeezing the juice out of the cloth back in the skillet (make sure the mouth of the cloth remains tied up).  The seeds were cooked with the mixture as they contain pectin which helps in setting up of jams or marmalades.
11. Bring the marmalade to boil. Add the sugar and stir well while still on boil.
12. Cook on medium flame while stirring occasionally for about 30 minutes to an hour or till the marmalade reaches the point where it can set.  To check for the setting point, place a few plates in the freezer. At an interval of 5-7 minutes (after the initial 30 minutes), place some of the marmalade on the plate taken out from the freezer. If the marmalade is runny, keep cooking. If it sticks and is wrinkly, the marmalade is done. Wrinkly means, if you push the marmalade with your finger, wrinkles appears on its surface.
13. Keep some air tight jars well washed and dried up. As soon as the marmalade is cooked, pour it in the jars and seal well.
14. Let the marmalade jars rest overnight.

Enjoy the marmalade. Use it in desserts or spread on toasts. ;)

Soon enough I am going to post a recipe of Christmas Cake which uses it. :)

Wholewheat Pita with Baba Ghanoush, Yogurt Cucumber dip and Spinach & Corn Kebabs

I wanted to make pitas for dinner. It was too late to soak the chickpeas for hummus and falafel. But there were other things that I could manage within the given time. I made wholewheat pita, homemade tahini, baba ghanoush, yoghurt cucumber dip and spinach & corn kebabs.

It was a wholesome and healthy meal. It was the kind of lebanese mezze I always imagined serving up. Everything tasted delicious and the combination of all the flavors and cool/hot components went amazingly well together.

Most of the pitas puffed up and a few did not. I didn't care as all of them tasted delicious. :)

I am posting recipes for all the different components of the platter separately so it is easier for everyone.

The recipe of the pita involves making sponge and dough separately.

Whole Wheat Pita
Recipe Source: Wildyeastblog
Makes 8 pita breads

Ingredients for the sponge:
1. 225 g whole wheat flour
2. 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
3. 280 g lukewarm water

Ingredients for the Doughs:
1. Sponge made above
2. 1.5 tsp salt
3. 1.5 tsp olive oil
4. 185 g whole wheat flour

Steps to make the sponge:
1. Activate the yeast in half of the lukewarm water i.e. 140 ml. (Dissolve a pinch of sugar in the water and then dissolve the yeast. Keep aside for 10 minutes or till there is formation of foam on the top)
2. Combine all the ingredients of the sponge together. Keep aside the covered sponge for an hour.

Steps to make the dough:
1. Add salt and oil to the sponge and mix well.
2. Add flour and mix well. The dough would be very sticky.
3. Flour a work surface and transfer the dough to it using a spatula.
4. Start kneading the dough. Add little more water and flour as per the requirement.
    If the dough is too sticky add some water. Knead. If it is still sticky add some flour.
    I had to knead for about 15 minutes to bring on the smoothness in the dough.
5. Place the dough in a bowl and cover it. Keep aside for 1.5 hrs or until double in size.

Steps to make the Pita bread:
1. Take out the dough and knead for a few minutes to degas it.
2. Divide the dough into 8 balls of equal size.
3. Roll out the dough in a circular shape with a diameter of around 7-8 inches. The thickness will be of around 2 mm. Leave them on the work surface covered for 10 minutes.
4. Preheat your oven to 230 degree Celsius with the baking stone inside it. I didn't had a baking stone so used the baking tray instead by turning it upside down.
5. Place a parchment paper on the baking tray. Sprinkle a little flour on the paper.
6. Bake the pita by placing it on the parchment paper for around 4 minutes. They will puff up. If they don't puff still take them out.
    I brushed one pita with water and it also helped in puffing up the pita.
7. Keep baking and serve hot.

Baba Ghanoush
Recipe adapted from: Baba Ghanoush
Makes about a cup full

Ingredients for Baba Ghanoush:
1. 1 medium sized egg plant
2. 1 finely chopped garlic clove
3. 2 tbsp tahini (sesame paste, make a paste of toasted white sesame seeds and olive oil. The paste should be thick yet pourable)
4. juice of half lemon
5. salt to taste
for garnish:
6. 2-3 tbsp olive oil
7. fine chopped coriander leaves

Steps to prepare the Baba Ghanoush:
1. Poke the eggplant with a fork. Roast it well.
2. Once the eggplant cools down a bit, remove the brown skin.
3. Mash and mix the eggplant well with other ingredients. Don't make it too smooth.
4. While serving pour the olive oil and the chopped coriander on top.

Yogurt Cucumber Dip
Recipe source: Cucumber Dip

Ingredients for the yogurt cucumber dip:
1. 1 medium cucumber
2. 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted
3. 350 gram thick yogurt
4. 1 garlic clove, minced well
5. fine chopped mint or coriander
6. a pinch of red chilly powder
7. salt to taste

Steps to prepare the yogurt cucumber dip:
1. Peel the cucumber and remove the seeds. Chop the cucumber.
2. Stir the yogurt till it become smooth.
3. Add all the ingredients to the yogurt.
4. Keep in the fridge till required.

Spinach & Corn Kebabs
Makes 8-10 kebabs

Ingredients for Spinach & Corn Kebabs:
1. 1 medium size fine chopped red onion
2. handful of boiled corn kernels
3. half of a spinach bunch, chopped very finely
4. 1 finely chopped green chilli
5. 3-4 tbsp corn flour (or as per the binding needs)
6. 1/2 tsp red chilly powder
7. 1/4 tsp garam masala
8. 1/4 tsp dry mango powder
9. oil to fry
10. salt to taste
11. Add water only if required ( spinach has good amount of water content)

Steps to prepare the kebabs:
1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Prepare around 8-10 balls out of the mixture.
3. Heat oil in a wok and deep fry the kebabs until golden brown.

Steps to assemble the pita:
1. Cut the pita open.
2. Place one or two kebabs in it.
3. Fill the pita pocket with baba ghanoush and cucumber dip as per your liking.

All the components, standalone and together, turned out to be amazing. I didn't miss falafel at all. ;)

Go ahead and make this wholesome healthy meal of wholewheat pita and the other various components in this lebanese mezze.

Happy Holidays :)

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Chicken Biryani

I don't think there is anyone who eats chicken and doesn't love chicken biryani.

I love it. I specially fell in love with it when I was working at an Italian restaurant. Well you would be thinking, biryani and Italian, what kind of a combination is that?

All the chefs in the kitchen were Indian and a few were from Nepal. Everyday, the dinner for the people working in the kitchen and service area was made by a Chef assigned for the same purpose. Though the dinner used to be mainly some lentil and rice with a dry vegetable or gravy. Who loves eating that everyday? Well, certainly I did not. I worked with Chef Surendra in the appetizer section. He hailed from South India. At the end of the day we sometimes made something exciting for us just to eat well and end the day happily. Chef Surendra used to make everything so perfect. And he was so humble and so easy going. He always made me learn new things and treated me so well. We three used to have dinner together everyday, I, Surendra Chef and Xavier Chef. Xavier Chef worked in the main section. Now I am not in touch with them but I had a conversation with Xavier chef just a few days ago. Whenever I eat or make chicken I remember those days and the tips of cooking chicken which Surendra Chef used to give me. He was amazing at making all kinds of chicken, prawns and actually everything. Whenever I would see him making something for dinner I would get happy imagining that it would end up on my plate. He always shared. He is a very nice man and I hope to get in touch with him soon. I had not planned but I think this post is kind of a thank you to him. I thank him for his kind nature, humble behavior, patience, ever green smile and simplicity. God make such people in fewer numbers now. I will always remember him. He may not even know that I do but yes I will always remember him.

Oh my god! I am getting so nostalgic. Amazing time it was. It happens with me all the time. Whenever I am cooking or I am in the kitchen I forget about outside things. I am involved, engaged and happy. Nothing bothers me anymore. So in the restaurant as well it was so very different. I never used to think about anything else while working in the kitchen. I just worked, served food and tried to improve.

Chef Surendra, this post and this chicken biryani is dedicated to you. You were my first mentor and I thank you for everything.

This chicken biryani is my own creation and has a special touch of the green cilantro chutney that I have been eating and making since I am like 8-9 years old. I don't eat food with chutney, instead I eat chutney with food. How so very obsessed I am!

I am providing the recipe here for this chutney/sauce which will last you for days though I just used a few table spoons of it for the marinade. But don't worry its a keeper. If you don't like it spicy then you may reduce the number of green chilies. I don't use any red chilly in the chutney. Store and save the chutney in the fridge. You can eat it with sandwiches, chapati, rice and so on.....

Chicken Biryani
Serves 3-4


For the Marinade:
1. 2 chicken legs
2. 4 tbsp cilantro chutney  (recipe below)
3. 1 tbsp tandoor masala (I used store bought, I am about to post a recipe of home made tandoor masala very soon so hold on)
4. 2 tbsp ginger paste
5. 2 tbsp garlic paste

For the Cilantro Chutney:
1. half a bunch of coriander
2. 1 red Onion
3. lime juice - from half lemon (or as per taste)
4. 7-8 green chilies (as per taste and also depends on the bitterness of the chili)
5. 6-7 garlic cloves
6. 2 tbsp ginger paste
7. salt to taste
8. 2-3 tbsp water

For the rice:
1. 300 g basmati rice
2. 2 bayleaves
3. 5 - 6 black peppercorn
4. 3 cloves
5. 3 star anise
6. 4 small pieces of cardamom stick
7. salt to taste
8. 750 ml water

For the gravy:
1. 2 medium size red onion
2. 3 tomatoes
3. 2 green chilly
4. 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
5. 1/2 tsp cumin powder
6. 1/2 tsp garam masala
7. 1/ 2 tsp red chilly powder
8. 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
9. 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
10. 3-4 tbsp olive oil
11. salt to taste

Also keep a handful of chopped coriander for garnish.

First prepare the chutney and then marinate the chicken. While the chicken is cooking you can do the rest of the preparation i.e. cook rice and make the gravy.

Steps to prepare the green cilantro chutney:
1. Wash and clean the ingredients
2. Coarsely chop and grind in a mixture.

Steps to marinate and cook chicken:
1. Mix the ingredients for the marinade together.
2. Make cuts on the chicken legs and cover properly with the marinade.
3. Keep the marinade for an hour in the fridge.
4. Preheat the oven to 200 degree Celsius.
5. Cook the chicken for 20 minutes. It will get golden brownish in color. If the chicken is well cooked, it will fall off the bone very easily.

Steps to prepare the rice:
1. Soak the rice and whole spices for 5-10 minutes in salt and water.
2. Cover and cook the rice till the water disappears. Rice shall be partially cooked.

Steps to prepare the gravy:
1. Saute the onion in oil.
2. Add ginger paste & garlic paste.
3. Take out some of the onion for garnishing the biryani.
4. Add the coriander, cumin, turmeric, red chilli powder and salt to the onion.
5. Add the tomatoes & green chilly and cook them properly.
6. Add cooked chicken and garam masala.
7. Cook for 2-3 minutes.

Steps to assemble the biryani:
1. Lay a layer of rice in a steam pressure cooker or any utensil with a flat base.
2. Lay a layer of the gravy.
3. Lay another layer of rice.
4. Lay another layer of gravy.
5. Garnish with chopped coriander and the onion.
6. Add 50 ml of water.
7. Cook for 5 minutes. Add more water if required.

Serve hot.

The biryani had an amazing taste and some wonderful flavors. The rice soaked with whole spices had an enriched aroma. The chicken was so well soaked in the marinade. You must have noticed the use of ginger and garlic paste a multiple times. Well, that's how much I love ginger and garlic. ;)

Overall an amazing recipe for chicken biryani. Have fun cooking and eating. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Butter Chicken

Whenever I go to buy groceries it takes me quite sometime. I try to find newer sections with newer ingredients. Obviously I also buy chicken every time. Chicken is something I am a big fan of. There are so many ways to prepare chicken and it hasn't disappointed me yet. I am still putting in efforts to make my brother in law and sister eat chicken. I have been quite successful. They love whatever I make. I have made the empire hotel style chicken (one of the classics of the empire hotel range in bangalore), different versions of marinated chicken, tandoori chicken, chicken curry, chicken biryani and this time I made butter chicken.

My sister and brother in law just loved it. I have never seen them devouring any piece of meat like they devoured these chicken legs. My brother in law and niece ate the residual chicken for lunch the next day and they were one happy pair of father and daughter.

Butter Chicken is a typical punjabi curry which every punjabi loves to eat day and night. I know this through my previous experiences ;). Its their trademark dish and well the way it taste, it should be. Well I would be lying here if I say I don't love it. Though its true that I fell in love with it even more when I made it at home. I had fun making it and then eating it. We had it with tandoori roti.

If you are in love with butter chicken or more so if you are not, then make this. Its a well balanced recipe in terms of sweetness and sourness. The sweetness and smoothness of the cream blended well with the sourness from the yoghurt and lemon. The chicken was well cooked and I was at peace when I tasted it knowing that I have done justice to it.

Butter Chicken
3 chicken legs
Recipe Source: Rias Collection

For marinade:
1. 3 chicken legs  (As I said, I am still in the process of converting my sister and brother in law into hard core non vegetarians. Considering the progress, these quantities would change soon. If you want to make more you can adjust the ingredients accordingly. You can use any part of chicken. Do remember that the marinate should cover the chicken properly and should be enough to be mixed with the gravy as well)
2. 1 tbsp lime juice
3. 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
4. 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
5.  300 grams thick yoghurt
6. 3 - 4 tbsp tomato puree
7. 1 tbsp tandoori masala (You can get a packet of this in any grocery store)
8. 1 tbsp melted butter

For the gravy:
1. 1 tbsp ghee
2. 1/2 tbsp ginger paste
3. 1/2 tbsp garlic paste
4. 1/2 tsp dry fenugreek leaves (kasuri methi)
5. 80 g fresh cream
6. 1-2 green chili (as per taste)
7. 1 chopped tomato
8. salt to taste

Wash the chicken properly. I had kept it in the freezer, so I took it out and defrosted it in the microwave. Now make slits on the chicken legs. Mix the marinade ingredients in a bowl and add the chicken to it. Keep the bowl in the fridge for about 1.5 hours covered with a cling film. The marination works wonder if you give it enough time. So you can keep the marinate for a much longer time, say overnight. Well 1.5 hours just worked wonders for me so no complaints there.

Pre heat the oven at 205 degree Celsius. Take out the chicken from the fridge and spread it on a baking tin. Cook the chicken along with the left over marinade in the oven for 30 minutes or till the juices run clear. While the chicken is in the oven start preparing the gravy. I kept peeking in the oven to see the juices running out of the chicken :)

Heat up the ghee in a wok. Now add ginger paste and garlic paste. Fry for a minute or so. Then add chopped tomatoes and salt. Let this simmer for 10 minutes or until the tomatoes have completely softened up and seem to merge in. Now add the chicken, the left over cooked marinade, green chilli and kasuri methi. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add cream and let it melt properly.

No matter how much I talk about the taste of this chicken, it does not seem to do justice. Make it and tell yourself. :)

Have fun cooking.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia

Yes, I accept. I am on a bread expedition. No, I am not mad. :)

I have made Masala Focaccia and then The Perfect White Loaf. How can I not make another focaccia when the previous one turned out so well! Believe me its not just Mar*****a, bread baking also is addictive (all pun intended).

I always turn to Jamie Oliver if I have to find any full proof recipe. Oh, how much I love him! His food is wholesome, simple and gives warmth. He is trying to do a good deed. He wants people, specially young generation, to eat good and healthy food. He has taken up so many initiatives to achieve that. He has been to schools and colleges just to educate people that a school lunch could be a lot more healthy and nutritious. He has taught the people of UK to prepare their own meals (initiatives like 15 minute meals) and have taught them about healthy food. Another such initiative is a two level course designed specially for students to learn cooking and eat healthy. This recipe is from this course. I wish him good luck and hope he achieves what he is aiming. I share similar views. I feel that if we cook food at home more frequently, we will be having much more healthy meals. I want to encourage all my friends to start cooking at home and start eating a lot more healthy. Cooking and eating at home also brings families together.

Bread making process is a symphony for me. It is a therapeutic and a satisfying process such as writing and poetry. I am myself when I write. I am myself when I am making bread. It brings easiness and comfort to my life. Each creation is close to my heart. Okay, let me not get too poetic. I have another blog for poetry and writing so you guys are safe. :)

So tell me! What's better than fresh home made focaccia drizzled with olive oil? Don't think so much. Nothing. :)

Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia
Adapted from Jamie Oliver Course

1. 500 g all purpose flour + extra for dusting
2. 312 ml water (water should neither be too hot nor cold, I warm up the water in microwave oven for about 25-30 seconds)
3. 3 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
4. 1 tbsp sugar
5. 1 tbsp salt + extra to sprinkle
6. 1/4 to 1/2 tsp black pepper (as per your taste)
7. 7-8 garlic cloves
8. 1 tsp dry rosemary
9. olive oil for greasing and drizzling


As always start with proofing the yeast. Meanwhile you can measure out your ingredients. Proofing means activating the yeast so that it can eat upon carbohydrates and release carbon dioxide which will puff up your bread. To proof the yeast, mix the sugar in about 100 ml water. Sugar is the food for yeast. Now dissolve the yeast in the water by mixing it with a spoon. When it seems to have dissolved or have formed a semi solid paste, keep it aside for 5-10 minutes. If the top of the yeast has foam or bubbly layer, it has activated and is ready to use. If there are no bubbles, keep it for a few more minutes.

Mixing the Ingredients

Now sieve the flour and flour together. Make a well with the flour. Pour half of the water in the well. Now using a fork or your hands bring the flour from the walls of the well inside. It will start to form a spongy mixture. Now add the remaining half of the water in the well and mix well. The dough would have formed a sticky ball by now. You are ready to knead the dough.


Flour the work surface and start kneading the dough. I have explained the importance and details of the kneading process in my previous post, The Perfect White Loaf. Kindly refer to that. I kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes and then took the window pane test. It was perfect.

The First Rise

Grease a bowl with olive oil and place the dough in it. Cover it with a damp tea towel and keep somewhere warm to rise. I kept it inside my oven. Let it rest for about an hour or till the dough gets double in size.

The Herb Seasoning

This step is basically preparing the garlic and rosemary that will go on top of your bread. Punch down the garlic cloves with the back of a knife or anything heavy. Now drizzle olive oil on the garlic and rosemary and sprinkle some salt and pepper to season them. Crush the garlic and rosemary together using your hand so that they blend into each others flavor.


Check if the dough has doubles in size. If yes, it is ready to be punched. Punching the dough will remove the big air holes and will give yeast fresh flour to feed upon. It will add to the texture and flavor of the bread. Punch the dough to push out the air. Knead the dough again for 3-4 minutes.

The Second Rise

Grease a 9x7 inch tin in which you plan to bake the bread. Place the dough in it and using your hands pull out the dough to cover the corners and sides of the pan. Spread the cloves and rosemary on the dough and push them in using your fingers. Poke the bread with your wet fingers to give the bread a simply authentic focaccia texture. Drizzle olive oil on the top of the bread. Remember that a good focaccia has a good amount of olive oil in it. Keep the dough covered with a damp tea towel again for its second rise. Let it rest for about an hour or till it doubles in size.


Preheat your oven to 220 degree Celsius. If you feel the bread has lost the dimply texture because of rising, poke it with wet fingers again. Sprinkle some salt and pepper on the top of it.
Keep it inside the oven for 15-20 minutes or untill it gets a golden crunchy top. It took about 15 minutes for the bread to cook. To check if it is cooked you can also tap the bottom of the bread and see if it sounds hollow.

Cooling and Slicing

After taking the pan out of the oven, take the bread out of the pan immediately so that it does not get soggy. Place it on the steel grill that comes with the oven. If you keep the bottom on a plate or any other surface which does not let air pass through, it will get soggy. Cut the bread in any shape of your liking. I cut it in long slices and had it with olive oil.

The bread was soft and light on the inside and crunchy on the outside.  It had the smoky flavor of garlic and the rosemary was working well with it. This recipe is definitely a keeper. You can replace the garlic and rosemary with herbs of your choice. You can eat it with butter, mayonnaise or any cheese dip. I just love to have it simply with olive oil.

So enjoy baking the bread and then eating it. Hope to bring some more delicious recipes to you.

Submitted for YeastSpotting

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Perfect White Loaf

I have failed at some breads and have succeeded at some. My ciabattas have flattened out on me and my focaccias have made me proud. Now the breads come out well and none of the stages in bread making scares the bazinga out of me. I thought I will make the basic bread which we have been eating since our childhood. That basic bread is the white loaf. 

I have started baking breads very recently, say maybe a month or two. I keep reading about yeast, gluten, kneading, punching and all the components whose knowledge comes in handy while baking a bread. Still I feel there is so much more that I need to learn to perfection the art of making bread.
Yes it is an art to make bread. You start with heaps of white flour and the result is something so rich and full of textures.  The house becomes aromatic. The dough need tender care to take the best shape and texture. The whole bread making process will calm you down and the aromas would take you to another world. Baking bread is not difficult. It just needs certain things to be right without which it will not rise properly or there will be no proper gluten formation. Let me take you through the basic steps here so that you can easily bake your bread and hopefully bake it right. It is a simple recipe. Just follow the steps carefully and stick to the measurements. Enjoy the whole process. Watch the dough rising in the bowl, smell the fresh yeasty aroma and watch the bread baking in the oven which finally give the bread its shape and rise. At the end of this recipe you will have an absolutely beautiful puffed up bread with a fresh yeasty aroma.

The Perfect White Loaf
Recipe Source: Kitchen Kemistry

1. 4 cups (440 g) + extra for dusting all purpose flour (depending on the humidity and temperature you may need lesser or more flour. I required about 20-30 grams more than what the original recipe mentioned. So I ended up using about 460 grams of flour including dusting)
2. 1 1/2 cup (360 ml) water (neither too hot nor cold, I kept the water in microwave for about 25-30 seconds)
3. 2 1/4 ts active dry yeast or 1 3/4 ts instant yeast
4. 1 1/2 tsp salt
5. pinch of sugar
6. Olive oil for greasing


Start with proofing the yeast. If you are using instant yeast you need not do anything. But if you are using active dry yeast you have to proof the yeast. Proofing means activating the yeast so that it can eat upon carbohydrates and release carbon dioxide which will puff up your bread. To proof the yeast, mix a pinch of sugar in warm water. Sugar is the food for yeast. Now dissolve the yeast in the water by mixing it with a spoon. When it seems to have dissolved or have formed a semi solid paste, keep it aside for 5-10 minutes. If the top of the yeast has foam or bubbly layer, it has activated and is ready to use. If there are no bubbles, keep it for a few more minutes.

Mixing the Ingredients

Now sieve the flour and salt together. Take about half of the flour and start adding water to it a table spoon at a time. I mixed the flour using a wooden spatula as I don't have a stand mixer. If you have one, use it. It will ease the process of mixing the ingredients. Keep adding the water (about 1/4 cup at a time) and flour (about half a cup at a time) alternately. Use all the water and add flour as per the requirement. Add extra flour only if required. The dough will be sticky but you would be able to hold it together. Now dust a work surface with flour and transfer the dough to it.


This is the time to start kneading. Kneading is a very important step. Kneading helps in the formation of gluten. Gluten is the protein which is formed when yeast and water are added to flour. When the yeast releases carbon dioxide, it gets trapped within the gluten structures. The smooth gluten strands and the air trapped within them give bread its spongy structure. If the dough is not kneaded properly or is over kneaded the bread will become heavy/dense or too dry. If you are kneading by hand you need not worry about the over kneading. But if you are kneading using a machine just make sure that you don't over knead it. Kneading involves turning, folding and pressing the dough.

Knead the dough for about 10 minutes. To test if the bread is kneaded sufficiently, take the window pane test. Take a part of the dough and stretch it out so that it becomes translucent. If the dough doesn't tear apart it is ready to be kept for rising. Else knead it for a few more minutes and test it again.

The First Rise

Grease a bowl with oil and place the dough in it. Cover the bowl with a lid which gives the dough enough space to rise. Keep the bowl in a warm place. I keep it inside my oven itself. Let the dough sit for 45 minutes or till its double in size. During this time, yeast will eat upon carbohydrates and release carbon di oxide which will get trapped within the strands of gluten. If yeast is not activated the dough won't rise.

To make sure the dough has risen enough, take the rise test. Push your fingers inside the dough upto the second knuckle and if they leave the imprints it is ready to be punched.


Punching the dough will remove the big air holes and will give yeast fresh flour to feed upon. It will add to the texture and flavor of the bread. Punch the dough to push out the air. Knead the dough again for 3-4 minutes.

Rolling and Shaping

Now roll it out. I rolled it out to a thickness of 1 inch.  You have to give a shape to the bread now. Start folding in the dough from one side. Keep rolling it over so that the dough starts taking a shape of a long cylinder. Now grease a 9x4 loaf pan. Fold the two ends of the dough so that it fits in the pan lengthwise. Keep the dough inside the pan with the seem facing down.

The Second Rise

Cover it with a plastic cling film and keep it for its second rise. This second rise will help in the formation of gluten and will give a better texture to the bread. Wait for another 25- 30 minutes or till it doubles in size. Do not let the bread spill out of the pan.


Meanwhile pre heat your oven at 190 degree celsius. Also keep a bowl of water inside the oven. As the water evaporates to form steam, the steam will keep the oven humid enough to slow down the process of cooking the top of the bread and will prevent the crust from hardening up while the bread is still cooking. Now place the loaf pan on the middle level of the oven. Set the timer for about 45 minutes.

Do make sure to check the bread in  between. Somehow in my oven the steam was not getting properly trapped so the top was cooking faster. Hence I covered the top with aluminium foil so that I can give it enough time to bake without getting the top burned. To check if the bread is cooked properly, tap the bottom of the bread. If it sounds hollow it is done. I took the bread out exactly after 45 minutes.

Cooling and Slicing

After taking the pan out take the bread out of the pan immediately so it does not get soggy. Place it on the steel grill that comes with the oven. If you keep the bottom on a plate or any other surface which does not let air pass through, it will get soggy. Let it cool down for about 30 minutes so that the hot air inside the bread settles down. Now cut with a serrated knife to get fine slices. (I am missing my serrated knife hence used the normal knife thus the not so beautifully shaped slices)

This is bread, you can serve it with whatever you feel like. The bread was soft from inside,  like really really soft. We had it with freshly made egg bhurji and it was a meal to remember.

So don't worry about the yeast, kneading or the gluten formation. Take care of the ingredient measurement, smaller details like window pane test, cooking at the right temperature and you would be good to go.

I am on a bread baking spurge. So wait for my next post which is all about Jamie Oliver's garlic and rosemary focaccia.

Have fun baking bread!

Submitted for Yeastspotting

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Masala Focaccia

I love baking bread. There is no other reason for me to make this recipe apart from my ever increasing love for baking breads and then eating them. Finally I am able to overpower the yeast and it has started becoming a friend of mine. Whenever I see the glass of yeast with bubbles over the surface, I start smiling. Or whenever I see that the dough is rising as expected or the bread is rising in the oven or the bubbles in the dough as I roll it out, I am the most happy person on this planet.

Focaccia is one of my favorites. This is a classic focaccia recipe with a masala twist. A very light and delicious bread with a mesmerizing coriander flavor.  It tasted amazing and was over within an hour. I could just manage to take pictures of a small piece of the bread .

Let me take you through the recipe.  

Masala Focaccia
Serves: 4
Adapted from : Tadka Pasta

1. 1 1/4 cup (140 g) all purpose flour
2. 1/2 cup (65 g) whole wheat flour
3. 3/4 cup (180 g) lukewarm water
4. 2 tsp yeast
5. 1/2 tsp granulated sugar
6. 3 tbsp olive oil + olive oil to drizzle
7. 3/4 tsp salt
8. 3 green chilly
9. 2 red onion
10. handful of chopped coriander

First step is proofing the yeast. Dissolve the sugar in the lukewarm water. Make sure that the water is lukewarm, it should neither be cold nor hot to touch. If the water is too cold, yeast won't activate and if the water is too hot, it will kill the yeast. Now dissolve the yeast in it. Keep this mixture aside covered with a towel for 5-7 minutes.

Meanwhile heat a table spoon of oil in a pan. Fry the finely chopped red onion, green chilly and coriander in the oil for a minute or so. Let it sit on the side to cool down.

If the yeast is active (it should have bubbles/foam on the top of it), it is ready to use. Else let it sit for some more time. Sift the flour and salt together. Now put in the sauteed onion and coriander into the flour. Add the yeast to the flour while constantly beating with a wooden spatula. Mix properly till all the ingredients seem to have well blended.

Take a 9x9 or 8x8 baking pan and line it with parchment paper. Now cover the inside of the parchment paper with 2 tablespoon of olive oil. Transfer the dough into the baking pan with the help of a spatula. Using the spatula or wet fingers, spread the dough evenly on the surface of the pan. You will have to spread it out to the edges. Now cover the pan with a towel and keep it in a warm place for an hour or so. Poke the surface of the dough with wet fingers for the classic focaccia and drizzle good amount of olive oil. I drizzled about 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Preheat an oven to 180 degree Celsius and keep the baking pan inside the oven at the middle level.
Bake the bread for about 25 minutes or till it is golden brown.

Take the baking pan out and let the bread cool down for a few minutes. Run a knife around the edges of the bread to make sure it is not stuck to the pan. Take it out and remove the parchment paper. If you have used oil generously it would come out very clean.

Cut and serve hot along with mayonnaise or any cheesy dip.

It was a very light, flavorful, soft and an olivy focaccia. It is a recipe which I will make over and over again. Its a conquest for me in the world of breads and definitely spot on in terms of taste and flavors.

Tandoori Chicken

This recipe is in continuation to the previous recipes I posted for Tandoori Cauliflower and Okhra and Garlic Butter Naan. The whole meal was served together and it was an absolute lip smacking combination.

This tandoori chicken recipe did justice to the chicken and my brother in law and sister who usually don't eat chicken off the bone were fighting for the same bone. That was enough indication for me that this recipe will be a rockstar for many more chickens to come. I think I have given enough background on how obsessively I cooked tandoori items that night in these previous posts. So I will take you to the recipe directly.

Tandoori Chicken
Adapted from : DivyasCulinaryJourney

1. 4 chicken thighs
2. 2 tbsp yoghurt
3. 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste
4. 1/4 tsp cumin powder
5. 1/2 tsp garam masala
6. 3/4 tsp red chilli powder
7. 1/4 tsp turmeric
8. 2 tsp coriander powder
9. juice of half lemon
10. 2 pinch orange food color
11. 2 tsp melted butter
12. olive oil
13. salt to taste

Start off by defrosting the chicken if you are using frozen chicken. To defrost, keep the chicken in microwave for a minute or let the zip locked bag of chicken rest in a bowl filled with cold water. It took me about half an hour to defrost the chicken thighs using the cold water method.
Once the chicken is defrosted, wash it and make slits on it so that the marinade may enter the chicken properly.

Now prepare the marinade. Mix the youghurt, ginger garlic paste, spices, lemon juice and the orange food color in a bowl. Now put the chicken inside this bowl and cover it properly with the marinade. I had extra marinade (about a tablespoon) and I used it to marinate two par boiled potatoes. For par boiling I cooked two potatoes in a cooker for a few minutes. I cut them and poked them with fork. Then marinated them and kept in the fridge for the same time as I kept the chicken, 7-8 hours.

Cover the bowl with a cling film and keep it in the fridge for about 7-8 hours or overnight. The longer is the marination for tandoori chicken, the better is the taste.

Preheat the oven to 220 degree Celsius. Now take a baking tray and cover it with aluminium foil on the inside. Spread about 2 tbsp of olive oil on the baking tray. Olive oil will help in cooking the chicken and will also prevent the chicken from sticking to the foil. Place the chicken thighs on the baking tray and place it in the oven. Cook the chicken on one side for about 20 minutes. Then flip it over and cook for another 15 minutes.
Brush the chicken thighs with the melted butter and broil the chicken for about 3-4 minutes to get the charred affect.

Chicken will get a beautiful color and will be all shimmery and shining. Serve hot with onion rings, tomato slices, coriander and cilantro chutney along with garlic naan. This recipe is a keeper guys. You can use any other part of chicken. Just remember that according to the number of pieces used and the size of each piece the requirement of the marination may vary. 

Have fun eating the chicken. :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Tandoori Cauliflower and Okhra

This recipe is in continuation to the previous recipe I posted for garlic butter naan.

I served a tandoori platter with garlic butter naan and cilantro chutney. Tandoori platter consisted of chicken, potato, cauliflower and okhra. This recipe is for the cauliflower and okhra (will post the tandoori chicken and tandoori potato recipe in the following post). Vegetables were crunchy and crisp on the outside and soft on the inside. I marinated the vegetables for about an hour and then grilled them for about 20 minutes. Okhra is an interesting vegetable to be cooked in tandoori style as it takes a very nice flavor and a crunchy texture. You can also marinate other vegetables such as capsicum, aubergine using this marinate and grill them. The grilling time may vary as per the vegetable and the size of the chopped vegetable.

Tandoori Cauliflower and Okhra
Serves 3
Adapted from VegRecipesOfIndia

1/2 medium cauliflower
8 - 10 Okhra

For Marinade:
1 tablespoon ginger garlic paste
1 1⁄2 cups hung curd
1⁄2 teaspoon red chilly powder
2 tablespoons gram flour
2 teaspoons coriander powder
3⁄4 teaspoon garam masala
1⁄2 teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon chaat masala
1⁄2 teaspoon ajwain/carom seeds
1 teaspoon kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt to taste

This recipe needs hung curd. So if you do not have hung curd, place the curd in a sieve and let the water drain out for about half n hour or 45 minutes.

Separate the cauliflower head into smaller florets. Wash the cauliflower and okhra. Let the okhra dry up or soak its water using a paper cloth or towel. Remove the head of the okhra, slit it from the center lengthwise keeping the two parts intact. Boil water with some salt. Add the cauliflower florets to the water and boil for another 3 - 4 minutes. Let the cauliflower sit in hot water for a few minutes and then drain the water.

Roast the gram flour (besan) in a non stick pan for a few minutes. Turn off the gas when the flour turns golden brown in color.

Now place the curd in a bowl. Add all the spices, lemon juice, oil and mix well. Now add the roasted gram flour and mix well to avoid formation of any lumps. Add the okhra and cauliflower florets to the marinade and toss them properly. Keep the marinated vegetables aside for an hour or so covered with a plastic cling film. You can also marinate them overnight in the fridge.

Preheat oven to 220 degree Celsius. Brush your grilling rack with olive oil and place the florets and okhra on it. Place the rack inside the oven on medium level. Let the vegetables grill for 20 minutes approximately. Check if the cauliflower and the okhra is cooked well. The marinate covering of the vegetable will turn golden brown.

Sprinkle some chaat masala on the cauliflower and okhra. Serve with hot garlic butter naan/rumali roti and cilantro chutney.

It was a meal to remember. Add more vegetables if you feel there is extra marinade (the okhra and cauliflower used may vary in size) . The pieces with a thin coating of the marinade tasted better than the ones with a thicker one. But truly the okhra came out as a star flying high along with the chicken ;)

Have fun cooking guys :)

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Garlic Butter Naan

I made a lot of food yesterday. Chicken thighs have been in the freezer for a long time now and were ready to be used. I could hear the chicken calling to me during my sleeps ;). I marinated the thighs to make tandoori chicken and thus the tandoori obsession began. I marinated potatoes, cauliflower, aubergine, capsicum and okhra. Food was worth the effort. It was an amazing tandoori platter (recipe shall follow, till then posting a few pictures) and everyone loved it.

One of the initial thought was, what shall I serve with all this food? Nothing could be better than garlic naan and cilantro chutney.

Hence I made those two as well.

Making garlic naan is easy and the results are delicious. Naan was really amazing, completely flavorful and light. I ate my whole naan with an electric speed. Visuals of the naan puffing up in the oven and the aroma in the kitchen were also a delight to the eyes and nose.

Let me take you through this amazing and simple recipe for garlic naan.

Garlic Butter Naan
Makes 4
Adapted from Rias Collection

1. 2 1/2 cup (275 g) all purpose flour
2. 1 1/4 cup (300 ml)  luke warm water
3. 1 tbsp active dry yeast
4. 1 tbsp granulated sugar
5. 1 tsp salt
6. 3-4 garlic clove
7. butter

First and the foremost step is to activate the yeast. Instant yeast is ready to use but active dry yeast needs to be proofed first.

Proofing the yeast: Add the sugar to the lukewarm water and mix well until dissolve. Make sure that the water is lukewarm and not too hot else it will kill the yeast. Now add the yeast and mix until the yeast starts dissolving and fewer granules of yeast are visible. Keep this jar of water and yeast covered with a cloth in a warm place. I usually keep the jar covered with towel inside the oven. Let it rest for 7-8 minutes.

Meanwhile sieve the flour and salt together. Check the yeast, if it has foam or bubbles on the top, it is active. If not, then let it rest for some more time. When the yeast is ready add the yeast to the flour mixture. I added the water yeast mixture slowly to the flour till it formed a smooth and slightly sticky dough. I stopped a little before putting in the whole water and used about 275 ml water.

Knead the dough for a minute and then keep it aside in a bowl covered with moist towel. Let it sit for half an hour (30 minutes) or till the dough is doubled in size.

When the dough is ready, divide it into four (4) equal parts and turn each of them into balls. Dust the kitchen surface with flour and roll out the dough balls one by one. While rolling out sprinkle chopped garlic over the naan and roll over with pin so that garlic gets stuck in the naan. I made slightly thick naans (about 1/4-1/2 inches thick ) so that they remain soft. Pre heat your oven on broil mode for 10 minutes. Broiling is basically exposing the food to high heat and getting it cooked in a short amount of time. I do not have a broil mode in my oven so I heated the oven at the highest temperature (250 degree Celsius) and then kept the baking tray on the topmost shelf (right under the heating element ).

Take a baking tray, line it with aluminum foil and dust with flour. Keep the baking tray on the topmost level.  Cook one side of the naan for 4-5 minutes or till the point the naan puffs up and starts getting brown spots. This was a very happy moment. I don't have any pictures of it but the naan had puffed up, was getting brown spots all over and was beautiful :). Flip over the naan and broil the second side for 1-2 minutes.

Brush with butter and serve hot. I served it along with the tandoori platter and cilantro chutney. It was a big hit. Beautiful flavors, soft and light.

Go ahead, give it a try. I am sure you won't regret. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Pasta with mushroom and spinach

I was baking bread and felt like making some pasta. My sister's eyes glittered when I said pasta. She is a real foodie and I am lucky to have her around to keep trying all that I make.

My taste for pasta has evolved over the years. I earlier used to like red sauce pasta but I don't know since when I started liking white sauce pasta. I have been making pasta for a long time now and each time it feels like I have made something better. It is a simple recipe. The pasta taste delicious and is beautifully balanced. I like the not so dry, creamy, mushroomy and cheesy pasta. Next time I will make fresh pasta at home.

The bread was baking in the oven (will share the recipe once I take it to perfection), mushrooms were sizzling in the pan and pasta was boiling in the boiler. There were so many fragrances in the house that everyone was confused. I was like I don't know why is it smelling so good in here. Obviously I was giggling with happiness. I was a little extra happy cooking pasta and was very engrossed. As usual cooking calmed me and channelized my energy. I can go on blabbering but let me take you through the recipe.

Pasta with mushroom and spinach
Serves 4


1. 250 g tagliatelle
2. 1 1/2 tbsp whole purpose flour
3. 2 cup milk (~ 500 mls )
4. 1 1/2 + 1/2 tbsp butter
5. 7-8 button mushrooms (or as per your cravings for mushroom ;) )
6. 2 plum tomatoes
7. 150-200 g finely chopped spinach
8. 1 slice of a large aubergine
9. 40 g cheese
10. 4 garlic cloves
11. 1 1/2 tbsp + 1 tsp olive oil
12. 1/2 tsp oregano
13. 1/4 tsp black pepper
14. Salt to taste

For the Sauce:
1. Heat up a sauce pan and put 1 1/2 tbsp butter in it.
2. Add flour when the butter has melted.
3. Mix the flour well with the butter and let it cook for about 2 minutes. The butter and flour mixture will have a bright yellow color.
4. Add the milk and keep stirring the sauce. Continuous stirring will ensure that the flour does not form lumps.
5. Cook the sauce for another 4-5 minutes or till it starts thickening up.
6. Now add grated cheese, salt, black pepper, oregano and mix. Turn off the heat.

For Pasta:
1. Boil about 6-7 cups of water. Add salt and 1 tsp olive oil while boiling the water.
2. Add the pasta to the boiling water.
3. Cook the pasta as per the time indicated on the packet as different types of pasta require different cooking time. Tagliatelle requires 4-5 minutes.
4. Now drain the water and keep the pasta aside.

For Veggies:
1. Heat 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil in a wok.
2. Now add the chopped garlic and fry for a minute.
3. Add sliced mushrooms and 1/2 tbsp butter and let the mushrooms sizzle for a minute or two. Mushrooms taste better when they are still crunchy.
4. Now add the sliced aubergine, sliced tomato and spinach to the wok. Add some salt as per your taste and let the vegetables cook for about 2-3 minutes. (I roasted the tomatoes along with the bread in the oven and then chopped them and added them to the vegetables at the end)

Assembling together:
1. Heat up the sauce, add vegetables and mix properly.
2. Now add pasta and cook for a minute on high heat.

Serve hot. Garnish with some cheese shavings if you like.

The pasta was absolutely delicious and creamy. Mushrooms, spinach and aubergine go really well with the pasta. The sauce dries up when it is kept so I would suggest you to prepare the sauce when everything is ready. This is my all time favorite recipe for pasta and it has been running on repeat for a long time.

Have fun making and eating guys.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Utterly Butterly Delicious Chocolate Cake

Hope you all had a great Diwali. It was my sister's birthday yesterday and we all know what comes with a birthday, a wonderful delicious birthday cake. I wanted this birthday to be very special for her as I was with her on this day after a long time. I wanted to make the best cake for her. She had mentioned very clearly that she wanted a chocolate cake. My search for a delicious chocolate cake began days ago and then my eyes rested on this one. It is an amazing chocolate cake. One of the kinds that you want to make over and over again and can't get enough of it. Everybody loved it at home. My sister specially thanked me for making it. All of us were going in for second, third and fourth helpings. It is an easy recipe and produces such mouth watering results.

The cake has two components, one obviously is the cake and the other is the chocolate ganache. The cake was moist to perfection. The silkiness of the ganache worked amazing with the cake. I had a thick layer of the ganache in the middle and around the cake. If you just want a thin layer (which I don't think you will) then pour over the ganache just before serving the cake.

Let me pour out the recipe before I start drooling over for the cake again.

Utterly Butterly Delicious Chocolate Cake
Serves 7-8
Recipe Source: Purplefoodie

For the cake:
1. 125 g flour
2. 30g corn flour
3. 40 g cocoa powder
3. 1/4 tsp baking soda
4. 1/2 tsp baking powder
5. 275 g sugar
6. 115 g butter (I used salted butter so I didn't add any extra salt)
7. 125 g yoghurt
8. 30 ml water
9. 2.5 eggs

For Chocolate Ganache:
1. 375 ml full fat cream (I used Amul Cream)
2. 250 g dark chocolate
3. 30 g butter

Sieve the flour, corn flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder together. In a separate bowl mix the yoghurt and water together. You will need these two mixtures to go in the butter sugar mixture that has to be prepared next. Beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl till they both look well blended. Also the butter will get a little lighter in color. The main concern I have when I am using granulated sugar in desserts is whether I will be able to melt it up completely while I am mixing it. But here when you are beating up the sugar and butter, the sugar won't melt as the proportion of sugar to butter is quite high. Now pour in one egg at a time and beat well. The recipe mentions 2.5 eggs, well to get the .5 part, crack open an egg separately, beat it and pour 25 g of the beaten up egg in the sugar butter mixture. Now put in parts of the flour mixture and parts of the yoghurt alternately into the butter sugar mixture and keep mixing well.

For the cake:
Prepare a 9 inch round cake tin and line it with baking parchment. I just covered the base with the baking parchment as the sides were difficult to cover ( I had a round tin and a rectangular parchment). Baking parchment does not let the cake stick to the tin. Cover the parchment with olive oil so as to avoid sticking of the cake to the baking parchment as well. Pour in the mixture in the cake tin. Preheat the oven to 170 degree celsius and bake the cake for about 35-40 minutes. Use the "toothpick coming out clean method" to check if the cake is well cooked. Once done, take it out and let it cool down. Trying to take out a hot cake from the tin may break the cake.

For the ganache:
Place the chocolate in a bowl. Boil the cream and pour it over the chocolate. Now mix in the chocolate well with the cream. The chocolate will melt slowly and the mixture will start getting a smooth chocolaty milky color. When the chocolate is all well mixed with the cream, put in the butter. Mix the butter well. The ganache is ready and you can cover it and keep it for later use.

Assembling the cake:
Place the cake on a cake board. Cut the risen up part of the cake with a serrated knife. Cut the cake horizontally into two, right from the centre. Now cover the top of the bottom layer of the cake with ganache and leave around one cm around the circumference as the ganache may ooze out when you place the top part of the cake on the bottom layer. Now place the top half of the cake on the bottom half and cover the top with ganache. Keep the cake in the fridge. This will help in setting up the ganache. You have to use the entire ganache over the cake. So after say 30 minutes, take the cake out once again and cover the sides of the cake with ganache. I put another layer of the ganache on top of the cake and kept it in the fridge again to set up perfectly. Here is a tip. To cover the cake beautifully with the ganache and to give it a smooth finish, cover the cake with a thin coating of ganache first and keep it in the fridge. The crumbs will all be locked up with this coating and when you pour over the next layer of ganache it will be smooth and beautiful.

The cake was delicious, completely amazing and so chocolaty. You can enjoy it for days and you do not require to keep it in the fridge. This is a must try recipe and trust me once you bake this cake there is no turning back. I am waiting to bake this cake again though I have strict instructions from my niece for the next cake, it has to be a strawberry one.

Have fun baking.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Garlicky Potato Wedges

Potato wedges is a perfect snack and a perfect accompaniment. Even more, when the wedges are baked and not deep fried. There are many ways to bake potatoes. It is the snack that you can keep in the oven and forget for about half n hour till it dawns the golden cover and is ready to give you that crunch. You must have figured out by now that there was no particular reason for me to make them. Potatoes always give such a warm feeling. Also I noticed that we had bought like 2-3 kilos of potatoes and haven't used much. The wedges were delicious, crunchy, soft and flavorful.

I can go on about how amazing they were but first let me take you through this beautiful recipe.

Garlicky Potato Wedges
Serves 3
Recipe Source: Purple Foodie

1. 3 potatoes
2. 6 cloves garlic
3. 1/4 tsp red chilli powder
4. 3/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
5. 5 tbsp olive oil
6. 3 tbsp corn flour
7. 1/2 tsp ginger powder (I used 3/4 tsp grated ginger)
8. 1 1/2 tsp sea salt (I used about 1 tsp normal salt)

Wash the potatoes well. Soak them on a paper towel to remove the moisture. Cut about 8-9 wedges out of each potato. Heat the chopped garlic cloves and the oil together for about a minute. Heating up the garlic and oil together will infuse the oil with the garlic flavor. Now take a tbsp of oil and the garlic out, leaving behind the rest of the oil. Toss the wedges with this 1 tbsp of oil and garlic in a bowl to coat them well. Preheat the oven to 225 degree Celsius. Now bake the potatoes for about 5-6 minute in the oven (I kept them in the same bowl in the oven). The potatoes will start getting translucent around the edges. Now mix the corn flour, salt, black pepper, red chilli powder and ginger together. Sprinkle this mixture over the potatoes to coat them well (turn the potatoes and apply the mixture to the other side as well). Now spread a baking sheet on the baking tray and pour over the rest of the oil on it. Place the potato wedges on this baking sheet. Bake them at the same temperature for about half n hour or by the time till they turn golden brown.

These wedges were so crunchy from outside and soft from inside. The garlic was working really well. The wedges looked nice, smelled nice and tasted nice. I don't think you  need a fourth. So go ahead, bake these wedges and get ready for a dance of flavors & textures inside the mouth.

Have fun :)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Lemon Syrupy cake

Its time to bake some cake. I haven't been able to bake this cake for a while as we had a lot of other sweets at home. Homemade Gulab Jamun was obviously one of them ;). So as soon as the sweet stock went down a little I jumped in the kitchen and turned on my oven. You don't need any excuse to bake a cake, you may need one for not baking it though :).

This was a very soft, moist and lemony preparation. I have been planning to try the sweet and sour combination for a while. Well, my sister loved it and I did too. I ate like two big pieces of it and skipped dinner. Phew!!

Lemony Syrupy cake
Makes 6 big pieces (10x4 inch tin)
Recipe Source: Lemon Syrupy cake

1. 125 g butter
2. 3/4 cup granulated white sugar
3. 2 whole eggs
4. 1 lemon zest
5. 3/4 cup all purpose flour
6. 2 tsp baking powder
7. 4 tbsp milk (direct from refrigerator or at room temperature)
8. 4 tbsp lemon juice (about 1 1/2 medium size lemon)
9. 1/2 cup powdered sugar

Place the butter in a bowl and keep it inside the oven (warm mode) for 30 seconds so that the butter can melt a bit. Now pour in the granulated sugar and whisk the butter and sugar together. Keep whisking till you feel that the sugar has almost melted and the mixture has become fluffy. You may need to keep the bowl in the oven for 30 seconds or so every now and then to heat up the butter a bit. This would help in dissolving the sugar faster. Let the mixture sit for about 2 minutes so that the sugar dissolves properly. I was whisking continuously, eagerly waiting for the sugar to melt. When I rested the mixture for a while (I was actually resting my arm ), I realized the sugar has melted.

Now add the eggs one by one and beat well. Put in the lemon zest. Mix the flour and baking powder in a separate container and pour them in this bowl. Whisk the contents of the bowl till the mixture has taken the form of a fine paste. Now add the milk. Milk would give liquidity to the mixture. I always use milk as a safety weapon when I am in trouble and it has never failed me. So when you are baking a cake or making some brownies and you feel that the batter has thickened up/doesn't look right or the sugar-butter mixture looks overheated, pour in some milk and see the results.

 I baked the cake in an Oven Toaster Grill (otg). Pre heat the otg at 180 degrees. Grease a tin of size about 10x4 inches. Pour the mixture in the tin and keep inside the otg for 10 minutes or till you get a nice golden crispy top. While the cake is cooking make a syrup of the sugar powder and lemon juice in a pan on a low heat. Let it cool. Check the cake if it is done using the usual "toothpick coming out clean" method.  Now when the cake is ready, poke holes all over the cake and pour over the cooled syrup evenly. Let the cake sit for a while.

The wait would be difficult as the whole house will be full of a beautiful lemony and buttery flavor. Actually we started eating the cake right from the tin itself  :-). It was simply wow!! The sweet and sour combination worked out really well for my tastes.

Have fun baking and eating guys. :)

Saturday, October 26, 2013

American Pancakes

My niece wanted pancakes for dinner. Though pancakes are mainly known as a breakfast item but one can eat pancakes anytime. I have been following Jamie Oliver a lot these days. So I looked around and tried one of his versions of pancakes. The result was beautiful and tasty.

American Pancakes
Adapted from Jamie Oliver
Makes 4

1. 1 cup all purpose flour
2. 1 cup whole cream milk
3. 1 whole egg
4. 1 tsp baking powder
5. butter
6. a pinch of salt
7. honey

First whisk the flour, milk, egg, baking powder and the salt in a bowl till it all blends together. Now heat (keep medium heat) a pan or skillet and add some butter to it. Pour about 3 table spoons of the mixture on the heated pan or skillet. Tilt the pan to spread the batter evenly. Let the pancake turn golden brown which will take about 3-4 minutes. Add butter on the top and flip the pancake. Cook till it is golden brown on the other side as well.
Serve hot with honey, maple syrup or chocolate sauce. I served with honey on top and some bananas with chocolate sauce poured over the banana.
Pancakes tasted delicious and they had an eggy aroma with a very smooth texture. I used all purpose flour with baking powder, you can use self raising flour instead of all purpose flour and you won't need the baking powder then.

This recipe is definitely the one which you will always use for making pancakes after you have made them once. I kept the batter for about two days in the fridge and it was fine. The only change that I would bring upon next time is I will make them a little thicker.

Have fun eating pancakes. :)