Monday, March 30, 2015

Home Made Butterscotch Sauce - Step by Step

        Butterscotch sauce is made up of brown sugar ,butter and cream. Brown sugar is caramlised and added to the heavy cream. Butterscotch sauce is poured over a cake or ice cream. I was about to prepare a butterscotch cake,so prepared this sauce. I prepared by combining brown sugar and butter together. It was good, but the sauce was not deep in colour. So I prepared it for the second time.This time, I caramalised the brown sugar first and then added the butter to the pan. The method yielded a dark sauce ,but be very carefull, not to blacken the sauce a lot. If not the sauce will turn bitter.Adding salt will balance the bitterness,but it will not cover fully.Enjoy this creamy sauce on top of your cakes or icecrems.
Preparation Time : 5 mins
Cooking Time : 10 mins
Yield : 3 1/2 cup

1.Brown Sugar - 2 cups
2.Butter - 1 cup (16 tbsp)
3.Heavy Cream - 2 cups
4.Vanilla Essence - 1/2 tsp
5.Salt - a pinch

*  Take a pan, heat it. The pan ahs to be bit hot. This way, the caramel is made without any delay.
* Add the brown sugar to the pan. Let it melt in the pan. The brown sugar,will change colour from light brown to dark brown. You can stop the process of caramelisation,at whatever colour you want.
* But the longer, the brown sugar is caramalised, the bitter it can change. So take care not to blacken the brown sugar. 
* Now add the cubed butter to the pan and let it melt. The butter should combine with brown sugar. Alternatively, we can combine,brown sugar,butter together and melt it. But the colour of the caramel will not be deeper compared to this method.
* Turn the flame to medium low. Now add the heavy cream to the pan. I didn't have half cup of heavy cream. So I replaced, with 1/4 cup of heavy cream,1/4 cup of full fat milk . But if you are going to use plain milk, the sauce will take some time to thicken. Add salt to the sauce.
* Make sure, the sauce is thickened. The sauce will thicken,after it is cooled ,so stop the cooking process, till you have reached the right consistancy. After it is cooled, add the vanilla essence to the sauce.

* Once it is cooled, pour the sauce to a small clean bottle. Store it in refrigerator. When you want, bring it to room temperature. We can heat the sauce, to make it thinner.

* While melting the brown sugar, take care not to blacken the sugar. If not the brown sugar will taste bitter.
* Adding heavy cream to the brown sugar, will thicken the sauce.
* Adding bit salt ,will enhance the sweetness to the butterscotch sauce.
* Stop the cooking process, when the sauce is still thin,because it will thicken after the sauce is cooled.
* While serving, bring the butterscotch sauce and heat it to make it thin.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Banana Stem with Moong Dal - வாழைத்தண்டு கூட்டு - Step By Step

Banana stem has abundant of fibre in it. It helps our body to get rid of stones.I was always longing for it ,from the day I landed in US. But I didn't get any. After coming to "East Coast", found this vege   in the Indian grocery store. No time to think, just grabbed the vege and prepared the kootu according to my mom's recipe. It came out very well. The tricky part here, is the banana stem has lot of unwanted fibre in it. We have to remove them completely. So try to move a stick inside the bowl,where banana stem has kept. The moving motion will help the stick toe remove the fibre from the banana stem. Try toinclude this vegetable, atleast twice a month for our body to get sanitised.

Try my other kootu varieties 

Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking time :15 mins
Serves : 4

1.Banana Stem - 2 cups (chopped)
2.Moong dal - 1 cup
3.Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp
4.Sambar powder - 1 tsp
5.Cilantro - to garmish
6.Water - as needed

To temper :
1.Onion - 1/2 chopped
2.Tomato -1
3.Green chillies - 2
4.Garlic pods - 3 (optional)
5.Oil - 2 tsp
6.Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
7.Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp
8.Salt - to taste

* Wash and peel off the outer skin of the stem. We are left with edible stem of the banana. This banana stem has more unwanted fibre. So try to remove the fibre, if not it will not cook properly.While chopping the banana stem, try to remove the black parts.

* Chop the stem finely. Drop them immediately into the water , if not it will change colour. Take a skewers or a stick and move it, around the bowl . When we lift the stick, the fibre would have stick to the stick. Continue this step, till all the unwanted fibre is removed from the banana stem. Always ,do this step ,for the banana stem to  cook properly. 

* Wash the moong dal. Add little turmeric powder and cook for 2 whistles in medium flame. The dal should have cooked 80 % ,not completely.
* Once the dal is cooked, remove the lid and add the chopped banana stem to the pan and let it cook.

* Now add sambar powder to the pan and cook till, the banana stem is cooked completely. The sambar powder should loose its raw smell.

* While the banana stem is cooking, take another pan and add oil. Temper with mustard seeds,cumin seeds and chopped onion and green chillies. Sprinkle little salt to the pan. Let the onion turns translucent.

* Now add chopped tomato to the pan and cook. The tomato should loose its texture.

* Bow add the cooked tempering to the pressure cooker and mix.Adjust salt to the pan and cover. Turn the flame to low.

After 5 mins, turn off the flame and garnish with chopped cilantro.Serve with hot piping rice.

* At the end, we can also add grinded coconut pate for a richer curry.
* My mom used to add just green chillies. But I have added both. So use the mode of spices according to your taste.
* Try to remove the unwanted fibre from the banana stem, if not it will not cook properly.
* We can also prepare this kootu using chana dal or toor dal.
* Kootu goes well as such with white rice or as an accompaniment with kara kuzhambu.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Brinjal Chutney - சுட்ட கத்திரிக்காய் சட்னி - Step by Step - Version 2

   My mom used to prepare smoked brinjal chutney for idli and dosai. Big brinjal is smoked first and mashed, and then it is added to the onion,tomatoe mixture. When I went to India for vacation, asked my mom to prepare this chutney and pictured it. Unfortunately,couldn't take the final picture. So prepared this chutney again today and took the final picture. We can smoke the brinjal in a pre heated oven too. I have tried smoking the brinjal in induction stove too. It smokes great. We can also try to smoke the tomatoes and add it to the chutney, but I have not done that. Instead of green chillies, we can also try to add red chillies.Instead of 2 tomatoes, we can also add 1 tomatoe and little tamarind paste. It will give a sourness to the chutney.
  Check my other variation of smoke eggplant chutney here.

Preparation time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 20 mins
Serves : 4

1.Big Eggplant - 1
2.Small onions - 1 cup
3.Green chillies - 5 to 6
4.Tomatoes - 2
5.Water - as needed
6.Cilantro - as needed
7.Salt - to taste
8.Turmeric powder - 1/4 tsp

To Temper :
1.Oil - 3 tbsp
2.Mustard seeds - 1/2 tsp
3.Urad dal - 1/2 tsp
4.Curry leaves - few


* Slice the small onions into cubes. Slit the green chillies. Wash the brinjal and apply oil on the brinjal. Turn on the flame and roast the brinjal.  Smoke the brinjal evenly on all the sides.The brinjal should get cooked fully.Smoke the brinjal in medium flame,so that the brinjal should cook evenly.
* Heat a pan of water and bring it to boil. Drop the tomatoes into the hot water .Let it sit in the hot water for atleast 10 mins.This way, the tomatoes skin gets out of the toamtoes. Once the tomatoes are blanched, peel the skin of the tomatoes and mash it to form a paste.

* After 5 to 7 mins, the brinjal gets fully cooked.The skin would have come out like this. The brinjal should be fully cooked. The flesh should be soft.

* Peel the skin of the brinjal. The brinjal has to be cooled ,so that the skin will come off.

* Keep everything ready.Mash the brinjal into a fine mixture. The tomatoes are mashed too. 

* Take a pan ,add oil,splutter with mustard seeds,urad dal and curry leaves. Drop the green chillies.  
* Add the chopped pearl onions and saute. Sprinkle salt to the onion, it will turn translucent.

* Now add mashed tomatoes and brinjal mixture to the pan.Use your spatula to mince them well.

* Add enough water to make the chutney like gravy. Cover the pan and cook it in low flame. The mixture would have thickened by now.Adjust salt to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro.

                                             Serve hot with idli or dosai .Goes well with rice too.

* Grease the brinjal with oil completely for the brinjal to smoke properly.
* We can also bake the brinjal in pre heated oven .
* Cook the brinjal ,completely, if not it eill not mash well.
* We can use some chopped garlic pods to flavour the chutney.
* Instead of mashing, we can also pulse the smoked brinjal in blender ,to get smooth paste.
* Adjust the green chillies according to your taste.
* Adjust the amount of water,according to youe consistancy.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Masala Fish Fry - வவ்வால் மீன் வறுவல் - Step by Step

    Fish is a very versatile meat,which can absorb any kind of spices into it.In this fish fry, the masalas are grinded and then marinated.At last, while frying, the onion and spices are caramalised and added at the end. This recipe ,was given to me in hand written form by Abi. This was written in a diary and neatly packed by her.This tastes good,if we add lot of  red chillies. Or we can also substitute red chillies with chilli powder. We can replace lemon juice with tamarind juice.

Check my other fish recipes

Preparation time : 10 mins
Marinating time : 15 mins
Cooking time : 10 mins
Yield - 10 slices

To grind :
1.Red chillies - 10 
2.Pearl onions - 2
3.Garlic pods - 2
4.Coconut - 1 slice
5.Fennel seeds - 1/2 tbsp
6.Tomato - 1/4
7.Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
8.Salt - to taste
9.Water - as needed

For the fish fry:
1.Pomfret fish slices - 10
2.Grinded paste - 1/2 cup
3.Onion - 1/4 cup (thinly sliced)
4.Pepper corns - 1/2 tsp
5.Cumin seeds-  1/2 tsp
6.Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
7.Lemon juice - 2 tsp
8.Oil - as needed


* Take 10 red chillies,onion,coconut,garlic pods,fennel seeds . Alter the amount of red chillies according to your taste. We can use shredded coconut also.

* Take a blender and grind it into a fine paste.Add water little by little to form a smooth paste.
* Wash the fish slices thoroughly. While washing the fish, apply little turmeric powder and wash, this will take away the smell from the fish. Apply the masala to the fish and keep it aside. Add little lemon juice to the marinade. We can also mariante the fish overnight.
* Take a pan, add oil to the tawa. Sear the fish in medium flame.
* After 5 mins, cover the tawa and cook the fish for 2 more minutes. This will quicken the cooking process.
* Take a mortar and pestle and crush pepper corns,cumin seeds and fennel seeds. Slice the big onion thinly.
* Similarly, cook all the fishes . Once they are cooked, add sliced onion to the pan and sear it along with fish.The onion will caramalise with the fish. Now the flame has to be in sim. If not the fish will turn black.

* Sprinkle the crushed masala powder on top of the fish fry. Let it get coaed with fish well. Once the masala is coated,turn off the stove .By now the onion would have changed colour and caramalized.

                                                           Serve the fish with hot steaming dal rice.

* Always use fresh fish for better taste.
* If we want, we can add little chilli powder.
* Adjust the number of red chillies according to your taste.
* Garnishing the fish with onions at the last gives out a beautifull aroma to the fish. So don't skip it.
* We can keep the marinated fish in fridge overnight.
* Instead of lemon juice, we can add little tamarind water .

Monday, March 16, 2015

Broccoli Pasta - Kid's Lunch Box ideas - Step by step

    Pasta is the most favourite food for kids. I used to introduce vegetables into the pasta,to make it healthier. Broccoli is rich in iron. We can add any cooked vegetables to the pasta. I have prepared white sauce for the pasta. We can also make red sauce for the pasta. You can use fresh basil or dried basil. It will add nice aroma to the pasta.Try this simple broccoli pasta and surprise your kids.
Preparation Time : 10 mins
Cooking Time : 10 mins
Serves : 2

1.Cooked Shell Pasta - 2 cups
2.Broccoli - 1 cup
3.Butter - 2 tbsp
4.Milk -  1/2 cup
5.Maida - 2 tbsp
6.Salt - to taste
7.Pepper powder - to taste
8.Cheese - 1 cup
9.Crushed basil - a fat pinch

* Wash the broccoli florets and saute it in little butter.  Cook the pasta with little oil and salt. Wash the pasta in cold water ,this will make the pasta non sticky. Take a pan, add butter and melt it.We are going to make white sauce and add it to the pasta.
* Now  add maida to the butter and saute it. When the flour turns golden brown, add milk to the pan and bring it to boil.This will make the white sauce thick.Now add cooked pasta to the sauce and mix it. The pasta should mix with the white sauce. At last add the cheese to the pan.
* The cheese should melt into the white sauce. Add salt and pepper powder to the pan.At last add the sauteed broccoli ,reserve some for garnish. Adding sauteed broccoli at the end will give the pasta a unique colour to the pasta.

Add the crushed basil leaves to the pan.Serve it with soup.

* We can add any kind of cooked veges to the pasta.
* Instead of white sauce,we can also make red sauce.
* The pasta has to be cooked till perfect. It should not be mushy for this dish.
* Always adjust spice level according to your taste.
* If you dont have dry basil, we can chopped fresh basil leaves.

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