Sunday, March 31, 2013

Punjabi Samosa -Stepwise pictures - Blogging marathon # 27

     Today is day 1 of blogging marathon.And I am going to post dishes made for several occasions for the next 8 days.The occasions can be ,wedding,birthday,kitty party or anything.Today I am posting Punjabi samosa recipe. Samosas are prepared for any party .Birthday parties will not complete without these cuties.Though I have tried several recipes for these samosas,  Chef Harpal Singh's recipe was very apt for the filling. This post is dedicated to my friend Pooja,who is in India.The reason for my samosa preparation is she. She prepared and gave me a very tasty tamarind - Dates chutney along with these cute plates to convery her love to me, when she started to India for good.So prepared these samosas and displayed with the tamarind chutney on her lovely plates.
Check out the Blogging Marathon page for the other Blogging Marathoners doing BM#27

Ingredients :
For the outer cover:
1.All purpose flour          -         2 1/2 cup
2.Ajwain  (omam)           -          1/2 tsp
3. water                            -          as required
4.Oil                                 -           4 tbsp. or ghee
5.Salt                                -           1/4 tsp

For the filling:
1.Boiled potatoes             -            4 (medium)
1.a. Onion                         -             1/2 (optional )
2.Grated ginger                -             1 tsp
3.Cumin seeds                  -             1/2 tsp
4.Turmeric powder           -              1/4 tsp
5.Curry powder                 -               1 tsp
6.Garam masala pwdr       -              1/2 tsp
7.Chaat masala                  -             1/2 tsp
8.Coriander seeds              -              1 tsp
9.Salt                                 -              to taste
10.Oil                                 -             2 tbsp.
11.Cilantro                         -             for garnishing
12.Peas                               -             1/2 cup
13.Fried cashews                -             1 tbsp

 Preparing the dough:
* Take a mixing bowl,add flour salt and ajwain seeds.Mix it well.Add oil to the flour and crumble the dough.Slowly add luke warm water to the flour and form a medium textured dough,that is,it should be non sticky yet firm dough. .It should not be too firm or too soft dough. If it is too firm ,then the samosas will become hard.If it so soft,then the samosa may get torned and sticky while rolling the dough.Let the dough rest for atleast 20 minutes .Cover the dough with a damp cloth.

Preparing the filling:
* While the dough is resting, prepare the filling.Take a pan,add oil splutter with cumin seeds ,now add the chopped ginger and stir it.(If you want to add chopped onion,then you can add them now)
Give it a toss and add turmeric  pwdr ,curry powder,garam masala pwdr ,chaat masala pwdr and toss it.Now add the boiled and mashed potatoes,peas into the pan.

* When the raw smell of the masala ,gets vanishes,add salt to the potatoes.Simultanouesly,take another pan,dry roast the coriander seeds ,till golden brown.Crush them and add it directly to the
potato mixture. We can also add some roasted cashews to the micture .Mix it well.This step is very much essential in getting restaurant style samosa filling.
Rest the filling,till it is cooled off.

Assembling the samosa:
* Take the dough and divide into equal sized balls.They should be like big lemon sized dough.Because ,we are going to make two samosa out of one single dough. Divide the filling with respective to the number of samosas ,we are going to make.

* Take a rolling pin,roll the dough into oblong shaped rotis.The thickness should be tmedium ,approximately 1/2 inch.Divide the roti into two .equal sized triangles.Wet the the triangle with water in all the sides .

Take a spoon full of filling and place it in the middle. Start from the wide side of the samosa,fold towards inside.Take the other end and press it against the first one.

* Now,we would have got a cone .Slightly,press the filling inside the cone.Now our cone is stuffed with the filling very well.Fold the back of the samosa as shown in the picture.This acts like a back bone to the samosa and makes it sit ,without falling.

Now seal the edges ,by pressing them.Trim the unwanted edges of the samosa,using a sharp knife.Adjust the shape of the samosa.Make these samosa ready and cover them with a damp cloth,if not the samosas will become hard and dry.

* Heat oil in a wide pan.Let the oil be medium hot.We can check the consistency,by dropping a pinch of dough into the dough.It should wait for a second and should come up ,with sizzling sound.This is the right consistency.Now drop the samosas in batches and fry them slowly for atleast 6 to 7 minutes
or until the samosas are golden brown.Don't fry the samosas in hot oil,then the samosas will get cooked just outside and the inner side will be still un cooked.Drain the excess oil,by placing the samosas in paper towels.Serve them with green chutney,tamarind chutney or ketch up.The recipe for tamarind chutney is here. The alteration ,we can do here is,just add some chopped dates and cook the sauce .The recipe for green chutney is here 

Friday, March 29, 2013

Brocolli Stir Fry

          Brocolli has so many health benefits.It is rich in iron.I have never tried brocolli before. When my friend Geetha and I were speaking on the phone day,she was telling about this simple stir fry .Wanted to try brocolli stir fry.So bought these florets from Walmart.It tasted just like cauli flower.The garlic pods enhance the flavor of brocolli.From then on,started to try brocolli.
1.Brocolli florets           -            1 cup
2. Red Chillies               -              4 to 5
3.Garlic pods                  -           3 to 4
4.Mustard seeds             -            1/4 tsp
5.Urad dal                      -                1/4 tsp
6.Curry leaves                -           a spring
7.Salt to taste
8.Olive oil                      -               a tbsp.
* Wash and cut the broccoli into florets.
* Crush garlic pods and keep it aside.
* Take a pan,add oil ,temper with mustard seeds,urad dal and curry leaves.
* Now add crushed garlic pods and red chillies.
* Now add washed brocolli  florets .
* Saute the florets in medium flame ,till they reduce in volume.It should be cooked fully.
* Sprinkle salt to the florets and turn it off.
* I prefer not to add water to brocolli. But if you want,go ahead and sprinkle some water.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Trip to Canyon lake / A trip to break all the inner stress

           Monday morning alarm wakes us all at 6 am. Ashwath crying for milk bottle,Rohith rushing to take a bath, H hurrying up to take him to school and me preparing  breakfast. Again feeding Ashwath his break fast, cooking lunch, running to pick Rohith from school this is around 11 am. Giving Ashwath a bath, feeding lunch to kids, making Rohith to do his home work, in between attending calls from friends,washing utensils and cloths, preparaing tea, cooking dinner, feeding the kids, making them to sleep ,cleaning and cutting veges for the next day. At last,when  we look up the clock ,its almost 11 pm. Some days,blog work will occupy me fully for atleast  an hour .This is our routine for all 5 days.When Rohith got spring break,  H broke the rules , sprung into action and announced a surprise vacation. At first I didn't believe,and thought it was a joke. But he was keep on stressing it. One fine evening, he came home and said,he has applied leave for 2 days. That was a shock, as it happened only couple of times in my life, H coming forward and applying leave.
                  When I was telling Saras about this, She said ok. We together grabbed  Priya for this vacation. Tuesday ,we started searching for condos, where we can stay together and relax for a while. After leafing through all the spots, we ended up at " Canyon Lake Park",bcoz many condos were booked very well in advance. So our condo was booked on Wednesday after noon and the trip was declared officially .We have to start from Irving on Thursday morning. Hurriedly packed our things, took cooking utensils, provisions and veges. In midst of these hassles ,we decided that this trip should have minimum of activities and maximum of relaxation. Ultimately - A soul cleansing trip.
Day 1 :
                            We packed, Rotis, Tomato  thokku, Thakkali kuruma, idlies for breakfast and puliyodharai, potato roast for lunch. It was a 5 hour long trip .In between, we had a breakfast break after 2 hours .While nearing "Canyon Lake Park", Saras bought some farm fresh veges from a grocery shop. That was the one among few shops in that area. We have to travel for atleast half an hour to grab some things .It was a remote place located amidst forest.There were not so many attractions near this place. But it was perfect for a quite vacation, with minimum activities and maximum relaxation.
   The condo had a master bedroom ,kids bedroom and 2 futons .Our three families got accomdated in these arrangements.The full furnished kitchen was very helpful. Every condo had a barbeque and there was a common dining area with 3 to 4 barbeques also.When we reached the condo ,lunch was served with some chicken strips. Evening we made tea together and ,went out for sightseeing at the lake.  
Day 2 :
       Next day,dawned beautifully.I went out and took some pictures of the condo.The weather was chill, with lovely breeze. Before kids getting up, had a quite walk in the lawn. Six kids enjoyed thoroughly. Pongal and sambhar were prepared for breakfast. It was a team work, when one cooks food,other two will be washing the utensils or helping with the veges. We took turns in everything. This was the most beautiful phase. It appeared as living in India to me.
 After finishing breakfast, we started to a pond for fishing. It was a very small pond and the beauty about this pond is,we can catch our own fish and weigh it and then pay for it.A worker there,cleans the catfish.

Wonder World Park:



   Next stop was to the "Wonder World Park" .This park was really a wonder. It has a 105 years old cave. The journey to the cave was not that easy. It had so many steep steps and slippery path. The cave is formed during a very big earth quake in texas. This cave is situated at "San Marcos" county. We were guided by a tour guide. She was very kind to explain everything about the cave.We can see a dividing line ,that separates the roof of the cave throughout. At one point in the cave,the guide turned off all the lights and it was real darkness inside the cave. We cannot see even the person seated next to us,not even their shadow. It's only possible in caves. Beautiful moment. We saw some fossils on the roof.

    After visiting the cave,we went to see some animals in the petting zoo. It had some beautiful peacocks,ostriches,deers.We were then lead into the gift shop,just outside the park.There were so many coloured and natured stones.The stones ,which attracted me was,these magnetic stones.They were attracting each other.We can just make some garlands out of it.It was fun watching these magnetic stones.

                   Here are some cute gift bags and ancient man's mask.They were so realistic.

After coming back,we had some fun at the barbeque.This chicken ,had all the ingredients  in the world (ha ha ) and made into a special drumstick.when I marinated it,the chilli powder was very spicy.We added some pineapple juice,some eggs and marinated it again. At last we got a beautiful chicken drumstick ,cooked inside the aluminium foil on top of the barbeque.It was juicy and tasty.Thanks to Thara and Prem.

After dinner,we were chitchatting for so long .Giggles,laughter and so many stories filled that condo on that night. We were not ready to sleep,but the next day back home journey ,made us to have a nap.

Day 3:

Day 3 was a busy morning. As we have to vacate the condo by 11 am. We were busy cooking,cleaning and making the kids get ready. At 11 am, we were out and started towards Dallas. On our way back, we went to this Glass gallery. It was an amazing sight, where all the show pieces were made out of glass. There were so many different colours and shapes of glasses.


 Luckily, we had the opportunity to view the demo of how glass plates were blowed .At first, the raw material for glass is heated in a high temperature furnace.After every heating,it is rolled on a table to get a good shape. While rolling on the stainless steel table ,colour powder is also mixed.In the second picture, one more layer of glass is heated and rolled.In the third picture, the second layer is melted and poured over the first layer of glass. Now after layering,air blowed through the iron pipe,this makes the material to bulge.

Now one more layer of glass is added to the initial mixture and rolled again.After rolling,it is then blowed to get a good shape.At the last pic,we can see that the object is like a bowl.This picture also has the view of the hot furnace.
In this final picture,the glass bowl like object is blown very big and suddenly the blower cuts it in the centre.Now in the third picture,this bowl is transformed into a beautiful flower like object.At the end,it is again transfoemed into a beautiful plate.Immediately,the plate is cooled in a freezer to make it firm.

This picture shows,the final outcome of glass blowing.One more special about this picture is,glass plates are arranged like U.S.A map.It was really a colourful sight for our eyes.Our trip continued from here after having lunch.

We reached Austin Vinayagar temple in the after noon. Had pooja and darshan at the temple.Then we headed back to our homes ,after having a leisure trip. Hope to go out more leisure trips like this in future.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Dil Pasand / Dil Kush - Tangzhong method of making bread / Bakery style / Baking partner challenge # 8

Dil pasand or dil kush was in my to do list for so long.When Swathi  gave this month challenge, I was enlightened.Tangzhong is a Japanese method of making bread.Here a custard like paste is prepared and added to the bread mixture.This helps us to achieve in getting a soft bread .This recipe also uses just 3 tbsp of butter,but still gets a soft bread.I have also tried sand witch bread using this method.I will post the recipe soon.I have used dessicated coconut for the filling,where you can also use fresh coconut.
Yield :
one 9 inch dil pasand and a small dil pasand.

Ingredients for tangzhong :
1.Bread flour -    50gm / 1/3 cup
2.water            -    250ml / 1cup    (could be replaced by milk, or 50/50 water and milk)
Formula of  1 parts of flour with 5 parts of water heat at 65 c/ 150F.

Ingredients of bread:
  1. bread flour    - 350gm / 2½ cups
  2. caster sugar     - 55gm /3tbsp+2tsp
  3. salt                    - 5gm /1tsp
  4.  egg                  -  56gm (equals to 1 large egg) ( If you want eggless, increase amount of milk or add a cooked potato)
  5. milk powder     -  7gm/1tbsp+1tsp (to increase fragrance, optional)
  6. milk                  -   125ml/ ½cup
  7. tangzhong         -   120gm  (use half of the tangzhong you make from above)
  8. instant yeast      -    5 to 6gm/2 tsp
  9.  butter                -    30gm/3tbsp(cut into small pieces, softened at room temperature)
     0. 1 1/2  Cup freshly grated coconut
  1.  ½ cup crushed cashew nut
  2. ½ cup Tooty Fruity
  3. ¼ cup sugar ( increase sugar if you want more)
  4.  1 egg white  or ¼ cup milk
  5. Cardamom pwdr  - a pinch.

Method of making tangzhong:
*    Mix flour in water well without any lumps. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring consistently with a wooden spoon, whisk or spatula to prevent burning and sticking while you cook along the way.
* The mixture becomes thicker and thicker. Once you notice some “lines” appear in the mixture for every stir you make with the spoon. It’s done.  If you want to check the temperature of tangzhong it is 65 C/149 F.Remove from heat.
* Transfer into a clean bowl. Cover with a cling wrap sticking onto the surface of tangzhong to prevent from drying up. Let cool. The tangzhong can be used straight away once it cools down to room temperature.  Just measure out the amount you need. The leftover tangzhong can be stored in fridge up to a few days as long as it doesn't turn grey. If so, you need to discard and cook some more. (Note: The chilled tangzhong should return to room temperature before adding into other ingredients. )      

Method for making the filling:
* Take  a pan,add coconut and saute it ,till we get a nice aroma out of it.Make sure that it doesn't change colour. If we are using freshly grated coconut ,it will take some time to loose its moisture.We can also use dessicated coconut ,instead of fresh coconut .
* Add sugar and give it a stir.Let the sugar melt and combine well with the coconut.If the filling is too dry,then sprinkle some water ,so that the mixture is combined well.At last add cardamom pwdr,crushed cashew nuts and tutty fruity .Let it cool completely.

Method of making bread:
 * Combine all dry ingredients: flour, salt, sugar and instant yeast in a bowl. Make a well in the center. Whisk and combine all wet ingredients: milk, egg and tangzhong, then add into the well of the dry ingredients. Knead until you get a dough shape and gluten has developed, then knead in the butter. Mind you, it’d be quite messy at this stage  Keep kneading until the dough is smooth, not sticky and elastic. To test if the dough is ready, you might stretch the dough. If it forms a thin “membrane”/ window pan test, it’s done. The time of kneading all depends on how hard and fast you knead. * Knead the dough into a ball shape. Place in a greased bowl and cover with a wet towel or cling wrap. Let it proof till it's doubled in size, about 40 minutes (Note: the time will vary and depends on the weather. The best temperature for proofing is 28C/ 80 F.)
 * Transfer to a clean floured surface. Deflate and divide the dough into two equal portions. Knead into ball shapes. Cover with cling wrap, let rest for 15 minutes.
* If you want to make a simple white bread roll without filling you can do that at this time.
* Or if you want make a filling then divide dough into two half, one is slightly higher amount than the other, with one half with more dough  make a 9 inch round and thick of ½ inch and place it in your cake tin, evenly spread your filling on the top.
 * Then make the second half which is less than the first. Make another 9 inch round and cover the filling and seems the sides so that it won’t, comes out while baking
 * Leave it for the 2nd round of proofing, about 40 minutes, or until the dough rises up to 3/4 of the height of the tin inside.
* Brush whisked egg white on surface. Bake in a pre-heated 180C (350F) oven for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and tin. Transfer onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Slice to serve or place in an airtight plastic bag or container once it's thoroughly cooled.

* When placing the filling inside the bread,make sure the seems of the bread are closed properly,if not the filling will come out and the bread will be looking ugly.
* Roll the dough evenly,if not the edges will be too hard to eat.
* The fillings can be altered according toour taste.


Monday, March 11, 2013

Orange Chicken - Flavourfull chicken from Chinese Cuisine / With step wise pictures

   Panda Express is my destination ,to quench my thirst for orange chicken.I am a die hard fan of this chicken.But Panda Express is not that near to our apartment.We have to travel atleast 20 minutes to visit "Panda Express".So whenever we go to that particular mall,We'll grab that chicken to-go. Sometimes,I don't feel like travelllling for 20 minutes to eat my favourite Orange chicken.This made me to find the recipe for making orange chicken.Here is my version of "Orange Chicken".Chicken is marinated in spices,fried and added to the orange sauce.This is a sweet and sour dish.where we get the sweetness from the honey and sour from oranges.So if you feel that the orange is too sweet,then we can alter the amount of honey.If the oranges are too sour,then we can increase the amount of honey.Its purely a balancing act to suit our tastebuds..

For Chicken:
1.Boneless Chicken              -           20 - 25 pieces
2.Egg                                     -          1
3.Pepper pwdr                        -          2 tsp
4.Soy sauce                            -           1 tbsp
5.Salt                                       -           1/2 tsp
6.All purpose flour                  -          1/4 cup
7.Corn flour                             -           1 tsp
8.Oil                                         -           for deep frying

For the sauce:
1.Orange juice                          -          3/4 cup
2.Water                                     -          1/4 cup
3.Soy sauce                               -          2 tsp
4.Corn flour                               -          1 tsp
5.Ginger (crushed)                     -          1/2 tsp
6.Garlic  (crushed)                      -          1/2 tsp
7.Red Chilli flakes                      -          1 tsp
8.Sesame.Oil                                -          1 tsp
9.Brown sugar                              -          1 tbsp
10.Honey                                      -           2 tbsp

* Wash and pat dry the chicken well.Take a mixing bowl,add whisked egg,soy sauce,salt ,pepper pwdr.Now dump in the chicken pieces and coat it well with the marination.Keep this for atleast half an hour.
* Take all purpose flour,corn flour ,1/4 tsp of salt and 1/4 tsp of pepper pwdr and mix well.Now take a piece of marinated chicken,roll it in the flour mixture and coat it.

* Heat oil in a pan ,drop the coated chicken into medium hot oil and fry it till golden brown.

* Don't crowd the pan with more chicken pieces.This will make the cooking process bit slow.So fry them in batches.This will also avoid chicken absorbing more oil.
 * Take the excess oil ,by placing the chicken on a tissue paper.
Preparing the Sauce:
* Extract the juice from the oranges and scrape the zest.Chop garlic and ginger finely.Take water a  tbsp or 2 in a bowl and mix with the corn flour.Mix it without any lumps.

* Take a pan,add sesame oil and slighly saute ginger garlic with chilli flakes.Toss it till it changes coloue slightly..Sesame oil gives a Chinese touch,so don't skip it.If you don't have sesame oil then add olive or canola oil.

* Now add the orange juice,water,and bring it to a boil.Always keep the flame in medium high.

* Now add soy sauce and taste the sauce.Adjust the amount of soy sauce according to your tastebuds.

* Add brown sugar to the sauce.If you don't have brown sugar,then add normal sugar.Simmer the sauce ,and let it cook well.

* Now slowly add the corn flour mixture into the sauce.Now after adding corn flour,the sauce will start to thicken.When the desired consistancy is reached,turn off the stove immediately.If it thickens too much,then dilute it with water to the desired consistancy.

* At last add honey to the sauce.This step is very essential,as it gives sweetness to the chicken.We can also increase the honey level and skip the use of sugar.Or use both.The sweetness can be altered according to our taste.Now we can also add a pinch of salt,to balance the amount of sweetness and sourness.

*Now add the fried chicken to the sauce and mix it.Coat the chicken with the sauce well.

* Let it get cooked with the sauce for 3 to 4 minutes,or untill chicken absorbs the sauce.Now we can add ,ornage zest to the sauce.Don't add too much of orange zest.It may over power the flavour of orange.

*Serve it with fried rice and with a bowl of steamed vegetables.

Sending this entry to "Flavours of Chinese Cuisine",now happening at "Erivum Puliyum" blog

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