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 :)