Thứ Hai, 30 tháng 5, 2011

Tiramisu for Him! (an eggless recipe)

ubby's birthday is a very special occassion for me; the day he came to this world to be mine. The special day was last week. Like every year I wanted to make something special for him. Something sweet, something he totally loves and something that is exotic enough so it expressed my feelings by way of food. He has a sweet tooth so it had to be sweet. What would be fabulous and romantic at the same time, as I sat there thinking, only one sight kept coming over and over in my head, yes you guessed it, Tiramisu!
Tiramisu literally means 'Pick me up' in Italian. Isn't the name enough, do you need a dessert to sound any more romantic. But thats not all, as you dip into it, you feel the creaminess as you cut through the layers of cream and the soft texture of the coffee soaked lady fingers. It just feels exotic and you cannot resist taking that first bite. Thats when you taste the sweet exotic creaminess combined with the slight bready texture that completely melts in your mouth. Your fork is ready to go again and before you know it your plate it clean and you are wondering 'should I get some more?'
For me the added bonus besides the fact that hubby totally admires this was that this is probably the only the sweet preparation I make that my little princess never says no to when asked it she wanted some. She can have a big piece of it every few hours. The first time I attempted Tiramisu was actually more due to need than want. A few months back, it was my little princess' birthday. I was planning on baking a cake. The oven was not looking its best so I decided I'd put it on the cleaning cycle before baking. Murphy's law at its best - after a couple of hours of 'cleaning' the oven died completely - the repair tech later told me the heat fried the control chip or something, hey I'm no expert on these things but I do know enough to believe that when an oven has a cleaning cycle, it should 'clean' rather then fry itself. Anyways... back to the story, now tasked with making a cake with the minor inconvenience of not having an oven, thus came the idea of making Tiramisu that looked like a cake.
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Fish Cutlet

150 - 200 Grams Seer/Vanjaram Fish.
1 Large Boiled Potato
1 Large Onion (finely chopped)
3 Green Chillies (finely chopped)
Fist Full Mint & Coriander leafs (finely chopped)
1 Tbsp Ginger & Garlic Paste
1 Tbsp Garam Masala or Kitchen King Masala
1/4 Tsp Pepper Powder, Turmeric Powder & Cumin Powder
3 Tbsp Bread Crumbs
1 Egg
1 Tbsp Lime Juice
1 Tsp Pepper Powder
1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
Salt to taste
6 Tbsp Oil

First Step:
  • Heat a heavy bottom pan or wok add 2 cups water bring to boil add lime juice, salt and pepper powder add 1 tsp of oil and fish allow the fish to cook for 5 min.
  • Allow the cooked fish to cool. Drain the excess water remove the skin and bones and reserve the flesh in a bowl.

Second Step:
  • Heat a heavy bottom pan or wok add 2 tbsp oil fry the ginger and garlic paste add finely chopped onion fry till onion turns light pink in color add the dry ingredients garam masala, turmeric powder, cumin powder and the pepper powder fry till the raw flavor is gone.
  • Add the chillies and fry a bit add boiled potato and cooked fish to the onion masala fry add salt as per taste.
  • Add the bread crumbs, coriander and mint mix well and allow to cool.
Third Step:
  • Beat the egg with a pinch of salt.
  • Spread 1/4 cup  bread crumbs on a wide plate set aside.
  • Using a cutlet mould add the fish filling to the mould and creat a cutlet dip in the egg and roll on bread crumbs and set the cutlet aside.
  • Refrigerate the cutlets for 10 to 15 minutes before frying.
Fourth Step:
  • Heat a pan add 1 1/2 tbsp of oil shallow fry the prepared cutlets gently turn the cutlets once it turn golden brown to one side. fry both sides and Serve Hot with ketchup or mint chutney...Enjoy...:)

Demo video in English...Enjoy...:)

Thứ Sáu, 27 tháng 5, 2011

Curried/Masala Couscous salad

 do love cooking elaborate meals and I do know (most days) I am not lazy at all when it comes to that ~ But then there are days when I don't even feel like lifting my little finger (not happening with an hyper-active toddler). All I would love to do is to snuggle under my blanket and settle down with a good book or just randomly blog hop or just sit on the couch and watch TV. Fixing a meal on such days is such a pain. I am sure most all of you are going in your head 'yeah me too'. This filling and comforting salad is so apt for such a time. The other day, kiddo and I were all by ourselves, daddy was in a two day business conference. We made this super easy delicious couscous salad for lunch and kiddo totally loved it, the result that pleases me the most.
This one is packed with nutrition and is very filling. I love couscous and always have some in my pantry. One of the easiest and very versatile ingredients to work with. I have made it several different ways but this time around I added a some indian spices and the salad ended up being a fabulous fusion meal.
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Thứ Năm, 26 tháng 5, 2011

Ice Cream Cake...My Way

250 ML Vanilla Ice cream or Strawberry flavor Ice cream
150 Grams Vanilla Cake
8 to 10 Oreo Cookies
1/2 Cup Tinned Pineapple 
5 to 6 Tbsp of Pineapple syrup
1 Tbsp Lime juice
Decoration Sprinkles optional
Sweetened Cherry 

The Above mentioned  ingredients is for a full recipe. however i did for single serving  with 1 scoop of ice cream and just a single slice of cake.
Lets Party...
  •  In a bowl add cake as first layer.
  • Crush the oreo cookies.
  • Add lime juice to the pineapple juice.
  • Spread the juice on the cake add the crushes cookies on top of the cake add the pineapple pieces top with ice cream decorate with pineapple pieces and cherry sprinkle with colorful sprinkles and serve right away...Enjoy...:)

You can do layers with this recipe and use any fruit of your choice like mango, grapes and banana.

Recipe Video In English...:)

Thứ Hai, 23 tháng 5, 2011

Tandoori Tikka Chaat

eekend mornings ~ don't we live for them! At least I most definitely do (yes I realize it is Monday and its not fair to remind you all of the weekend which is a good five days away). On weekends, we like to sleep in a little late and then I absolutely do not like waking up and having to think about what to make for breakfast. Our most common routine was to get ready and step out for a leisurely brunch at our favorite Indian restaurant. Of late, we've gotten bored of that routine, especially with a toddler. So, on most days, it is a fruit salad or juice followed by a homemade brunch. This weekend I got up a little early (yes I did :) wanted to make and eat something interesting, not the usual, something totally indulgent. I thought of making Paneer Tikka and then thought some more. I remembered seeing a recipe a while back on Sanjeev Kapoor's website. I remembered it only in its theme. After recalling the flavors, eventually it resulted in combining two of my most favorite things in one, tandoori and chaat - this killer tandoori flavored mixed veg and paneer chaat... no one was complaining :)
This is a must try for those of you who like tandoori and chaat flavors (who doesn't, right?) I can vouch for it, you will not be disappointed. As you bite into the succulent paneer and the peppers, the intense tikka flavors hits you instantly. As you savor it you realize hey wait there's more to this tikka looking dish, it in fact is chaat too. The combination of such distinct flavors make this dish an absolute delight.
Hubby has already asked to make it again ~ music to my ears :)
Unlike most weekends, I went on a cooking spree this time around. Wait for my next post to see what I made after this succulent tikka chaat!

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Thứ Sáu, 20 tháng 5, 2011

Samosa Puffs

uys lets face it making samosa from scratch is a tedious job, one that mostly requires teamwork! Of course I have posted one here and I do make it now and then, but for those unexpected guests or for that terrible samosa craving on a cold rainy day I do follow the easy route with what I call the super market wonder ~ the PUFF PASTRY  (an always present ingredient in my freezer). One thing that we miss here in the US is the luxury of having good Indian food available at any street corner you turn which we used to take so for granted in India. I am sure a few of my readers will identify with that. We used to crave for good samosas and other street food every now and then. Given that it takes a little effort to make your own, I mostly find myself not having the enthu to make it often neither to drive 10 -15 miles every time to the nearest Indian restaurant in the area. Now you probably have had those vegetable puffs (a million times) in possibly each and every single potluck or dinner you have attended so far. This time I wanted to take the same concept and make it a little more presentable and interesting and closer to our beloved Samosa ~ only open faced!
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Thứ Tư, 18 tháng 5, 2011

Homemade Granola and Granola Trifle

runchy and nutty, fruity and filling, Granola is my "do not feel guilty after snacking" snack. I keep a big jar of it on the counter at all times for those late afternoon hunger pangs :)
There is no set recipe for granola besides a few basic components that are - rolled grains like oats, nuts and seeds, oil, spices, sweetener. Their homemade version is always the best as they can be easily customized to your personal preference. You can control the amount and type of sugar and oil, add your favorite nuts and choose your own grains. It works even better for those of us who have certain food allergies as you can rest assured of the contents of your snack. Granola has a good shelf life so you can make enough in advance to see you through for a few days or even weeks, not to mention it ends up being a lot cheaper too compared to buying from the store.
I always thought granola would be a bit a little tricky to make. But I soon found to my pleasant surprise they’re really not. It took me under an hour from start to finish, the hardest part being chopping the nuts (which you can simplify by getting the chopped ones from the store :)  Simply mix everything, boil some syrup mix both together in a big bowl and pour them into a baking dish. Done!
I can munch on fistfuls of this fabulous snack but one of my favorite ways to eat this is also as a Trifle. I cannot think of a better way to start the day than with a bowl of fresh fruit and berries and plain greek yogurt topped with homemade granola.
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Thứ Hai, 16 tháng 5, 2011

Zafrani Zarda Pulao with POM!

t gives me great pleasure to let you know that a scout team from POM Wonderful apparently liked my work that I publish through this blog of mine and contacted me the other day. They offered to send me a case of their wonderful juice. The best part, there was no catch. All I had to do was what I already love to do, come up with some recipes; and with a great product like POM it was not too difficult a task.
You guys most likely know about POM. Yes, the deep purple-pink juice in the cute double spherical looking bottle that you can find in the juice aisle of practically every grocery store.
As I sat down searching through my brain for ideas, my first instinct was a spiced juice blend, or ice-cream or the like. I wanted to go with something more original and exotic so I set those ideas aside and stuck to my roots. Hence came the idea of using a POM reduction in an exotic rice. When I asked hubby for his feedback after he had this rice for dinner, he summed it up aptly as a 'Dish fit for Royalty'.
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Thứ Tư, 11 tháng 5, 2011

Orange Dark Chocolate Chip Muffin ~ Eggless

K, so I have no idea what to write. I am sitting here staring at my laptop for the last fifteen minutes and I literally can think of nothing! Lots of vague thoughts ~ but I am trying hard to put the words into a decent meaningful sentence - "writer's block" anyone! 
So lets cut to the chase..for today I have a orange dark chocolate chip muffin for you guys, the combo which I absolutely adore. These are light, fluffy, citrusy, chocolaty and summery. Also, here's some excerpts collected from the glorious world-wide-web for your reading pleasure :)
Did you know the word Muffin either comes from the French word moufflet, meaning a soft bread, or from the German word muffe which is the name for a type of cake. As we all know there are two types of muffins which are famous, English and American. American-style muffins  are like little cakes, consisting essentially of butter, sugar and usually made with baking powder and soda. English muffins, on the other hand, are a cross between a bread and a cake and are are made from a yeast based dough.
So here goes the recipe that has the ability to make you sunny and chirpy..make sure you stock up on these for those times when you want to have cake but would rather eat something light.
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Thứ Hai, 9 tháng 5, 2011

Achari Baingan (Eggplant curry with pickle spices)

aingan or eggplant, might not be the favorite of all, but is definitely a favorite of few and in that category comes my dearest hubby... both are thick pals :) He just loves them (I call him eggplantaholic - lol..:)) and can't get enough. He can eat it every single day and in all its forms. Before we got married I didn't detest this vegetable but it was definitely not my favorite. Now, I always try different ways to make eggplant and this was one of the few dishes I made for him after we got married. He was mighty impressed and was hooked big time. Now he ALWAYS makes me buy the baby eggplants from the store and to make this :)
It is basically a tangy and spicy dry curry flavored with traditional indian pickle masalas.  The panch phoran is the secret behind  the unique flavor in this dish as it imparts the awesome achari flavor to the oil when heated and infuses a very distinct aroma and taste to the dish. Panch Phoran is a spice mix used in Eastern Indian cuisine (Bengali cuisine) and is a mix of the five whole spices – nigella seeds, fennel seeds, fenugreek seeds, mustard seeds and cumin seeds all in equal quantities. Panch is Five in hindi and Phoran is Spice seasoning, so it literally means five spice seasoning. This spice mix can be used with any kind of vegetable stir fry/roasted vegetables. Just put them in hot oil till the mustard seeds splutter, so as to release the aroma of the spices. Add any vegetables you want, stir fry, serve. It really is as simple as that. I have already posted Achari Aloo and Achari Paneer so here is the eggplant version.
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Chủ Nhật, 8 tháng 5, 2011

Simple Bhindi/Vendakkai/Okra Fry

1 Kilo Bhindi/Vendakkai/Okra
1 Tbsp Black Pepper Powder
1 Tbsp Red Chilli Powder
1 Pinch Asafoetida
4 1/2 Tbsp Oil
Salt to taste.

Lets Prepare:
  • Wash the okra pat dry and thinly slice into coins.
  • Add 2 tbsp oil to the sliced okra mix well and allow to rest for 10 minutes.

  • Heat a nonstick pan or wok add 2 /12 tbsp oil add the sliced okra and start fry keep stirring constantly on a medium flame you can place the cover but must stir every 3 minutes once.
  • Once the okra is half way done add salt chilli powder and stir well and fry.

  • Once the okra has turned light brown in color and there is no more gum texture left add pepper powder and fry for 2 minutes.
  • Once you see little bit oil to the sides serve hot...Enjoy...:)

Mom prepares this recipe at home always we love it best served with dhal rice or roti...nothing to touch moms cooking  I enjoyed cooking with mom today it was really fun day...Happy Mothers Day to all the moms out there Indiya or west your the best...♥♥♥ 

My video demo for the recipe...Enjoy...:)

Thứ Sáu, 6 tháng 5, 2011

Onion Pakora/Bhajji

old and rainy days… perfect for pakodas or bhajjis (fritters) is what people say. For me each and every day is perfect for some hot crispy pakodas. I am notorious in my family for my love of these fritters. Most people like them hot and crispy, I on the other hand would even eat them ice-cold right out of the refrigerator lol  :D They are easy to make, taste awesome and did I mention they are deep fried which is the best part - what more you want. But like most other things in life the irony is that hubby is not a big fan so I don't make it very often (but whenever I do he says they are the best he has had). Also I know they are not always considered the best things to eat for health reasons because they are deep fried but it is okay to indulge sometimes. When you feel like it, just make yourself some garma-garam pakoras... sit back with your favorite chutneys, a cuppa tea or coffee on the side if you want and enjoy the the crunchy savory goodness of these beauties... and yes, the sound of rain most definitely makes it a whole another experience... seems almost like nirvana!
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Thứ Tư, 4 tháng 5, 2011

Chhena Payesh - USMasala hits 200 !

ES!!! I am writing my 200th post!!! At the risk of sounding cheesy I can not help but say - I cannot believe it. It almost feels like I started only a couple of days ago and only yesterday I was congratulating myself for my 50th. What amazes me even more is that I have been blogging only for just about ten short months. Do your math, with about 20 posts a month, I believe I can safely conclude about myself 'I love to cook'.
Over and above all, I am totally and completely amazed at the response USMasala gets from my readers. You make me feel all warm and fuzzy with all your encouragement, so a big Thank You to you all. My stats tell me how immensely loved my site is. It is very humbling and makes me more passionate about what I love doing. It has been out and out an joy-ride. It is such a great feeling to touch someone's life in anyway - help in a certain way - someone somewhere in some part of the world, an unknown stranger who suddenly becomes a very familiar name and face.
I'm not kidding when I say that food blogging has changed my life in ways I never imagined. The most important thing is it has taught me is that you follow your passion and the everything else will follows. Another big thing is to admire the simplest things in life- a food-photo that comes out well, an experiment that succeeds, a thoughtful comment left on a post. The creativity, thinking, writing, history, everything.
Hubby deserves a special mention. Between tasting my dishes, taking awesome pictures and being my 24 x 7 technical support, he is the one who keeps the show going :) Thanking him would actually diminish the value that he adds to my efforts.
To all my readers - Thank you for being a part of my life and letting me and USMasala be a tiny part of your lives. Love you all!
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Thứ Hai, 2 tháng 5, 2011

Paneer Dhaniya Kulcha / Paneer & Cilantro stuffed flatbread

ulcha is a soft leavened Indian bread with delicious fillings that can be paired with just about any curry or eaten by itself. So if you haven't heard about them or have not tasted them, do not feel bad. I personally think that they are a little bit underrated and overshadowed by their more popular but very close cousin, the Naan. But if you have never had a Kulcha, I do encourage you to give one a try and you will realize for yourself that the difference is worth the special mention. The bread is exceptionally soft and tender when you break it between your fingers and as you take a bite, the savory goodness of the filling together with the softness of the bread, well.. makes you happy :)

So what is the difference between the Kulcha and Naan - here's what I think - Naan uses yeast in its dough while Kulcha uses only baking powder and baking soda. Naans are usually oblong in shape while Kulchas are round. Both are traditionally made in a Tandoor (earthen clay oven) but kulchas can be made on the stove top too. Both can be made in a conventional oven as well. I make my kulchas in the oven as well as on the stove top. It is popular all over India and in different parts of the world. They are generally stuffed with nuts, paneer, potato, khoya etc however the variety of filling one can stuff inside these Indian flatbreads is only limited by your imagination. Creativity is the name of the game – almost anything and everything goes for filling up these.
If you already like kulcha, good for you, or if you are like me you might have just found your new favorite bread.
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Kheema Upma

1 1/2  Cups Rice Vermicelli
250 Grams Kheema/Lamb mince
1 Large Onion ( Finely Chopped)
2 Green Chillies
2 Sprigs Curry leafs
2 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1 Tsp Red Chilly powder
1 Tsp Coriander/ Dhania Powder
1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1/2 Tsp Lime juice
3 Cups Water
3 Cloves
1 Inch  Stick Cinnamon 
2 Pods Cardamom
1 Bay leaf
2 1/2 Tbsp Oil
1 Tbsp Clarified Butter
Salt to taste

Lets Prepare:
  • Heat a pan with 1 1/2 tbsp oil add ginger and garlic paste fry add the mince meat along with the chilly powder, dhania , turmeric and salt fry add very little water and cover allow the meat to cook for 10 to 15 minutes.

  • In a wok dry roast the rice vermicelli and reserve.
  • Boil 3 cups water.
  • In the same wok heat 1 tbsp of oil and clarified butter add all the spices fry a bit add the onions curry leafs and chillies and fry add 1 tsp of ginger garlic paste and fry the onion till transparent add the cooked meat to the onion stir and fry a bit add salt if needed and add the water cover and bring to a boil.
  • Add the rice vermicelli to the boiling water and stir cover and place on medium flame. keep stirring occasionally till the water evaporates and the oil starts to separate add lime juice and garnish with mint and coriander...serve hot with raita or any salad...Enjoy...:)

Kheema Upma Recipe Demo In English...:)