Friday, November 29, 2013

Chicken Munchurian - Restaurant style - Step by step

Chicken munchurian is a very famous Chinese dish, where chicken is fried and dumped into a spicy sauce. Adding chicken broth , brings out a restaurant flavor to the sauce. We can easily prepare chicken broth at home, refer my notes for making chicken broth . Chicken munchurian is served with fried rice . My all time favourite chicken.

For marination:
1.Boneless chicken         -         1 lb
2.egg                               -          1
3.Pepper pwdr                -          1/2 tbsp
4.Corn flour                    -          1/2 tsp
For the gravy:
1.Chicken broth              -          1 cup
2.Onion                           -           1/2 (thinly sliced)
3.Red capsicum              -           1/2 (sliced)
4.Green capsicum           -           1/2 (sliced)
5.Ginger                          -           1/2 inch (chopped)
6.Garlic                           -            2 to 3 pods (chopped)
7.Green chillies               -            2 (chopped)
8.Soy sauce                      -           1 tbsp.
9.Corn flour                     -            1/4 tsp
10.Salt                              -            as required
11.Oil                               -            as needed
12.Chilli sauce                 -            1 tbsp.
13.Spring onions             -            few
Wash the chicken very well. pat dry it  using a kitchen towel. Take a mixing bowl, add egg and whisk it.Now add pepper pwdr, little salt, corn flour and mix it. Now dump in the washed chicken and mix it. Let it rest for 1/2 an hour or overnight. Slowly fry the chicken in oil, till they are cooked well ,but not crispy. Strain the fried chicken on a kitchen towel.

* Slice the veges as in the picture and keep it ready. Take a wok ,add oil. Now we are going to cook it in high flame. This way, the veges doesn't cook fully and retain its shape. One more reason , it gives a smoky flavor to the chicken. Now throw the sliced onion, ginger ,green chillies and garlic pieces into the wok. Fry them a bit. Now add the sliced red and green capsicum and give it a stir. The veges has to be bit crisp.At this point, if you want, we can add a pinch of ajinomotto to the wok. It enhances the flavor.

* Add the soy sauce, chilli sauce and give it a quick mix.  Now pour the chicken broth and let it blend with the veges. Take a tbsp. of chicken broth and mix it with corn flour and keep it ready.When it comes to a boil, add the corn flour mixture. Now the gravy will start to thicken. at this point, add the fried chicken and mix. Adjust salt to taste.Turn off the stove and garnish with spring onion pieces. Serve it with fried rice, noodles or naans. The consistency of the chicken munchurian can be altered according to our wish. If you want, thin runny gravy, then add less corn flour. If you want thicker gravy, then increase the corn flour .

* Adding chicken broth brings out the real restaurant flavor to the dish.We can prepare the chicken broth at home.Just throw some pieces of chicken with bones, half onion (cubed), some peepr corns, 1/2 inch ginger, ,stems of coriander leaves and add water. Pressure cook in medium flame for 2 whistles. Your broth is ready. Just strain the broth and discard all the other ingredients. We can store the broth for atleast 4 days in fridge.
* Don't over cook the veges then , they will become mushy.
* Don't cook the chicken to crisp.
* Check the amount of corn flour , because, it may thicken the gravy a lot. If you want to make it thin, add some more broth and bring it to boil.
* To make it spicy, we can also add some chilli flakes.


Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Eggless Butterfree Avacado Chocolate Chip Muffins - A guest post by Priya Suresh

             Priya Suresh is one of the top bloggers in the blog sphere. She blogs at "Priya's Versatile Recipes". Check her site for innovative recipes. She has been blogging since 2008. Her blog has more than 2500 recipes. She is one talented blogger, where you can see many innovative recipes. You can see all the millets used in her blog. in different form. No one can imagine, using rajma in murukku. But she did that.Besides these, she is a humble, down to earth person. Whenever we ask her doubts, you will get the reply within no time.She promptly comments everyone, beside her busy schedule. She can easily mingle with all in the blogsphere. She is a very active person in the blogsphere. When I asked her for a guest post, she accepted it immediately. To my surprise, she gave me the recipe and pictures, within a week. Love you Priya Suresh. Now lets hear, what Priya Suresh says about her recipe.
    Avocado in muffins, thats seriously very interesting. Actually i have already baked bread with them but never a cake or muffins with it. This time i tried my hands with avocado in muffins.Avocado are excellent source of healthy fats as much as like egg,butter.. So they are excellent in baking as fat replacer, simply replace the fats like oil,butter,shortening with mashed avocado flesh.

    Coming to this muffins, i simply prepared with usual ingredients and went for eggless version. Trust me this muffins came out extremely moist and incredibly delicious. Chocolate chips in this muffins makes this cuties more interesting and addictive.
1+1/2cup All purpose flour
1tsp Baking powder
1/2tsp Baking soda
1/2tsp Salt
1no Avocado (ripen and mashed well)
3/4cup Sugar
3/4cup Yogurt
1tsp Vanilla extract
3/4cup Oil
1/4cup Chocolate chips
Sift the flour,baking powder,baking soda, salt and keep aside.

Blend the mashed avocado with vanilla extract,sugar,yogurt together and take this wet ingredients in a bowl.

Add the oil and whisk well.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Now add gradually the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix gentl, dont overmix the batter.

Gently fold in the chocolate chips.
Spoon this batter into already lined muffin mould tray and bake for 20-25minutes or until a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Let them cool completely.

Enjoy with ur favourite drink.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Spicy Garlic Chutney - பூண்டு சட்னி - Step by step - Tamizhar Samayal Tuesdays

Poondu chutney is prepared using lot of garlic pods and red chillies. It goes well with idli,dosai or chapathi. My mom used to make this for ragi dosai, kambu dosai or cholam dosai. As these tiffins are bland in taste, this chutney compliments it very well.  I prepared this chutney for quinoa dosai. It went very well with it.Linking this to Nalini Suresh's "Tamizhar Samayal Tuesdays" event.  
1.Garlic pods               -        12
2.Red chillies               -        10 - 12 (or according to your taste
3.Tomato                      -        1
4.Cumin seeds              -         1/2 tsp
For tempering:
1.Oil                             -         1 tsp
2.Mustard seeds           -          1/4 tsp
3.Urad dal                    -           1/4 tsp
4.Curry leaves              -           few
* Peel the skin of garlic pods , cut the tomato into cubes.Since , my kids will eat ,I have reduced the amount of  red chillies. But chutney will taste good, if we use more red chillies.  
* Pulse the garlic pods, red chillies and cumin seeds in a blender .Let them be coarsely grinded.
* Now add the cuned tomato pieces. Give it a fine pulse.
* Grind it smoothly to a chutney consistency.
* Take a pan, add oil . when it is hot, add mustard seeds,urad dal and curry leaves. Let mustard seeds splutter.
* Now add the grinded mixture to the pan and cook, till it looses its raw smell. If we add less red chillies than the garlic pods, then the chutney will have a garlicky raw smell. To avoid that, add more red chillies than the garlic pods.
* When the chutney is cooked and changes colour. Raw smell has to go from the chutney .Turn off the stove and cool it.
Serve chutney with dosai, idli, rag idli, or quinoa dosai . We can store in refrigerator for atleast a week.If we want, add a pich of tamarind for a sour taste.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Shahi Tukda / Bread pudding - Step by step - 350 th post

   Today I am posting my 350 th post here. Happy to share this with all my friends. So I prepared this delicious dessert as a part of celebration. Enjoy this dessert to the fullest.
   Shahi tukda is a very famous Indian dessert, where bread slices are fried in ghee, dipped in sugar syrup and served with Rabdi . I know, this dessert has lot of calories, but its ok to have delicious desserts, every now and then .( This is the way I ditch my conscious :)  ).Traditionally, bread slices are deep fried in ghee, but here I have given the low calorie version. That is I have shallow fried the bread slices. I have given the recipe for Rabdi here . When you serve this to your guests, then you will hear many "oos " and "aas". Yes, this royal dessert can win many hearts.
Serves :   8 - 10
1. Bread slices         -         6
2. Rabdi                  -         2 cups
3. Nuts                     -         for garnishing
4.Ghee                     -         1/2 cup
For sugar syrup:
1.Sugar                    -         1/2 cup
2.Water                    -         1/2 cup

For preparing syrup:
* Take sugar and water in a pan. Bring it to boil . Turn the flame to medium low. 
* After 5 to 6 minutes, it will reach one string consistency, that is, when we take the syrup between our thumb and index figure, it should form a string.  Turn off the stove and let it cool for some time.
* Take the bread slices, trim the edges. 
* Cut a bread slice into  4 triangles.

* Take a pan, and add 1/4 cup of ghee into the pan. Heat it for a minute.Now turn the flame to medium, we are going to shallow fry the bread slices in medium flame.
* Shallow fry the bread slices in ghee.

* Flip the bread slices over and toast it ,till golden brown.

* Now , with the remaining ghee, shallow fry the remaining bread slices .Traditionally, bread slices are deep fried in ghee. But to decrease the calorie value, I have shallow fried the bread slices.
* Strain the excess ghee on a hand towel.
* Now slowly, dip the fried bread slices in the syrup on both the sides for a minute.
* Arrange the sugar syrup coated bread slices on a plate.

* While we are about to serve shahi tukda for guests, pour the rabdi over the sugar syrup coated bread slices. IF we pour the rabdi so early ,then it will become soggy. Enjoy this royal dessert.


* While dipping the bread in the sugar syrup, the sugar syrup shoul not be hot, if not the bread will become soggy and loose its shape.
* If the sugar syrup does not reach one string consistency, then bread will not hold its shape, while dipping it.
* Rabdi should be semi liquid , if not it will not spread on the bread.
* Since we have sugar in both rabdi and sugar syrup, always check the amount of sweetness we need . If not they may taste too sugary.
* You can cut the bread slices into your desired shapes.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Rabdi - How to make Rabdi at home - Step by step

        Rabdi is a flavorfull and creamy dressing made out of whole milk. This dressing is often served on top of jalebi ,malpua or shahi tukda. Here I have given the traditional method, where milk is cooked on a stove top ,till it reduces in its volume to 1/4 th. Then sugar is added, with corn flour mixture and cardamom pwdr. Mostly rabdi is garnished with fried nuts and raisins. Rabdi can be prepared ahead of time and served chilled. Today I prepared rabdi for shahi tukda, the recipe I am going to post next.  Check for the recipe of Jalebi, Malpua .
1.Whole milk         -       6 cups (approx. 1 1/ 2 litres )
2. Sugar                  -       1/4 cup
3. Corn flour           -       1/4 tsp
4.Cardamom pwdr  -        a pinch
5.Nuts                     -       To garnish
6.Saffron                 -       a pinch

* Take a heavy bottomed pan. I always rely on my pressure pan for its durability and heavy bottom. . Pour milk into the pan . Bring it to boil . Now turn the stove to medium low. The flame is going to be like this for the next one hour. 
* Take two small containers and pour little boiled milk into the containers. To one container, add saffron strands and let it get infused with the milk . To the second container, add corn flour and mix it well, without any lumps.
* After half an hour, milk would have reached this consistency. It would have reduced to half now. Scrape the sides of the pan and bring it to the centre. Mix the milk, now and there.
* Once milk has reduced to 1/4 of its thickness, add sugar and mix.
* Now add the saffron infused milk and mix it together.
* At last add the corn flour - milk mixture. From now on, mix the milk cautiously, as it may sit at the bottom. Add cardamom pwdr now and mix.Once it is thick,turn off the stove and close the pan.
* Garnish the rabdi with fried nuts. Chill the rabdi for atleast half an hour. Serve  jalebi, malpua or shahi tukda on a plate and pour this rabdi on top of it. It tastes heavenly. It tastes best,when chilled.

* The rabdi may become too thich , like a paste, if we add more corn flour. So try to use little or no corn flour. When refrigerating, rabdi may become too thick. So keep that in mind.
* If the rabdi becomes too thick, then add little warm milk and mix it. This will dilute the rabdi , but the taste remains the same. At this point. check for the sweetness. If it is less, then add little sugar.
* If the rabdi is thin and running, then keep the rabdi on the stove and cook ,till it becomes thick.
* We can either add fried nuts or plain nuts.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Home made thick Curd / Yogurt / Dahi - Step by step

    Making thick curd , is a very difficult thing in cold Countries. Because we will not have much heat, for the bacteria to culture the milk. Hence we try to create a warmth inside our oven by turning on the light. Even some people will pre heat the oven for few minutes and turn it off. Then they will place the milk to get cultured. Whole milk will yield thick curd. Her I have given step by step for preparing thick curd. Also I have used the cultured curd ,which is from India. Yes you read it right, one of my friend got it from India. She just prepared curd in India, freeze it. Trasferred it to a container and put it into multiple ziplocs. She sneaked in here :) The taste wise it differs from the curd ,we prepare it here. Because ,we have different bacteria in our homeland. So I always take care not to spoil the curd. Then I will not have curd for culturing again.It is always best to use home made curd.

 Ingredients  :
1.Whole milk        -     1 litre / 4 cups
2.Cultured curd     -     1 tbsp


* Take a microwave safe bowl. Pour the milk into the bowl. The bowl should be big enough, so that it doesn't overflow . I have used whole milk, but you can use 2% or 1% milk. Tastewise they are same, except ,they will have lot of whey. That's it.

* Heat the milk in the microwave for atleast 10 - 15 minutes , or till it boils well.Try to heat the milk on a plate. This will hold the milk, which overflows ,while heating.

* Let the milk get cooled well. If we try to add the cultured milk, now then the milk will curdle immediately. So cool the milk for atleast 15- 20 minutes . Now add the cultured milk and mix it well.
 * Now turn on the oven light. This will create a warmth in the oven .This will help the milk to get cultured well. But this is not necessary in tropical countries, where the milk is cultured on the counter itself ,because of the heat.
 * Milk will be cultured to curd within 5 to 6 hours or overnight. If we culture them longer, then the curd will become sour.Once the milk is cultured into curd, then store it in the fridge . Use it whenever needed.

Notes :
* Similarly, we can heat the milk on the stove and cool it.
* Always reserve some of the curd in a separate container for culturing again.
* Here in U.S, we have milk which has been pasturized already. So I have just heated. But If you don't get pasturised milk, then heat it properly for the bacteria to get killed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Eggless Chocolate and Oats Biscotti - Home baker's Challenge - Step by step

 Biscottis are Italian cookies, which are baked twice to attain the crispness . It is also called as "coffee cookies".This month, Priya Suresh, gave us this challenge. The challenge included savoury and sweet biscottis. First , I thought, I would prepare savoury biscottis. But my chocolate loving son said" Iwant chocolate biscottis". Without , further a due, I went to bake chocolate biscottis. After baking the biscottis, he was so excited and finished the box within 2 days. This is something rare in our home, as I have to feed everything to my boys, except chocolates. After finishing up his biscottis , Rohith said " Mom , when I grow up, I want to learn how to make bisctottis". I asked why ?. He said, "Because I love these cookies and want to make them on my own." I was so happy by his verdict. Have to thank Priya for her recipe. Geared up again to make the cookies . Try these simple , healthy cookies.

1. All purpose flour   -   1+1/4cup
2. Rolled oats             -   1/2cup
3. Cocoa powder        -    1tbsp
4. Melted chocolate    -    1/4cup
5. Chocolate chips      -    2tbsp
6. Powdered Sugar      -   3/4cup
7. Baking powder        -   1tsp
8.Baking soda              -   1/2tsp
9. Butter                       -  1/2cup(room temperature)
10. Vanilla extract       -   1tsp
 11. Salt                        - a pinch       
Take the flour,rolled oats,cocoa powder,baking soda,baking powder,salt in a vessel. I have used instant oats, instead of rolled oats. It works fine.

Meanwhile whisk together the butter,sugar until they turns smooth.

Add vanilla extract to the whisked sugar butter mixture. Whisk it again ,till it is combined.

Take the semi sweet chocolate chips in a microwave safe cup. Melt it ,till it becomes smooth. It took me around 45 sec for this 1/4 cup of chocolate to melt.

Add in the melted chocolate,vanilla extract and give a quick stir.

Now whisk again ,so that the chocolate gets mixed into it. 

Now add all the dry ingredients. With the chocolate chips also.

Use a rubber spatula and mix it well. Now the dough will not be able to combine.
Gradually add milk to form a pliable dough.It took me almost 5 to 6 tsp of milk.
But after baking, it I felt , I should have added much more milk ,to get the biscottis without any cracks. Next time, planned to add more milk. Now transfer the dough to the working area. Form two logs as hown in the picture.
Now transfer the logs to a greased pan. Make sure ,you leave spaces between the logs. Because, while baking, the logs will expamnd in width.
Pre heat the oven for 350 degrees F. Bake the logs for 20 - 25 minutes. Cool the baked log completely. Here is what I was telling about. If you have much cracks, then we will not be able to cut the logs without any crumbs.
Once the logs are cooled, cut them into medium slices .Arrange the cut slices on the pan again. Just bake for 5 more minutes.

Once they are baked for 5 minutes, trun them around and again bake for 5 more minutes. Cool the biscottis on wire rack and store in air tight containers. 
* If you feel the logs are not binded together, then add little more milk.
* If you feel the dough is bit sticky, then add more flour.
* We can also use parchment paper to line the pan. 

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