Thursday, April 30, 2015

Creamy Corn Soup - Step by step

       Soups and salads ,has become part of my family now a days.Whenever, I run out of ideas, soups come handy.It has less calories compared to other greasy food. The key ingredient is broth. Never try to prepare soup without broth. The soup will not taste good,without broth.Yesterday, I prepared this soup along with some moist grilled chicken. It went very well.We can also add some chopped carrots,beans and peas. Add the corn flour accoring to the consistancy you want.Adjust the spice level according to your taste.I have still more soups in the to do list. Egg drop soup ,is one among them. Will try to psot it next week.

Check the other soup recipes here 

Preparation time : 5 mins
Cooking time : 10 mins
Serves : 4

1.Sweet Corn - 1 cup
2.Ginger - 2 tbsp ( finely chopped)
3.Garlic - 2 tbsp ( finely chopped)
4.Spring onions - hand full (chopped)
5.Chicken / Vegetable broth - 2 cups
6.Water - 1 cup
7.Pepper power - to taste
8.Corn flour - 1 tsp
9.Salt - to taste
10.Sesame oil - 1 tsp


* Take all the ingredients for soup. We can either use chicken broth or vegetable broth. Even you can make the broth at home. Just throw some cilantro stems,carrot,onion,pepper corns,garlic to a cooker and add water. Pressure cook for atleast 3 whistles. Strain the water and use.Chop the white part of the spring onion and keep it separately.

* Take a pan, add oil and saute chopped ginger and garlic pods. When it is sautee, add the white part of the spring onion and stir. 

* Now pour the chicken broth and bring it to boil. Since I had less broth I used water. 

*If you want, you can skip water completely and use broth alone. Broth will give good taste to the soup.
* Now ad the sweet corn and cook. The sweet corn will cook within 3 minutes.

* Remove 3/4 of the corn and belnd it in a blender. Give it a mix. The mixture should be fine.

* Pass the grinded corn through a sieve. This will make sure that the soup has a smooth texture.
*Take corn flour in a cup and mix it with water. Now pour the corn starch mixture to the soup and mix. If you think, that your soup is thin,add more corn flour mixture to the soup.If it becomes thick, add some more broth to make it thin.
* Adjust salt and pepper powder to your taste.At last garnish with choppe spring onions.

Serve the soup hot with some garlic toast!!!

* Always use broth to make any soup. It gives unique taste to the soup.
* Use amount of corn flour accoring to your wish.
* We can also use little carrots, beans and peas to the soup. They have to be chopped finely.
*While blending the corn, make sure it grins finely.
* We can also add milk or heavy cream at the end to give a creamy texture.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Chicken sheek Kabab - A healthy starter - Step by Step

          Kababs are usualy grilled in skewers either on a charcoal grill or in a oven. The grilling will make the meat tender and moist. Lamb or mutton minced meat is popularly used in sheek kabab. I have already prepared veg sheek kabab. Wanted to try with meat this time. I shallow fried the kababs in a pan. But we can also grill the kababs in the oven. While grilling it in the oven soak the skewers in water for atleast 10 mins. Then shape the minced meat around the skewers and bake them along with the skewers. Prepared these simple and healthy kababs , for a lunch party . Guests enjoyed these kababs. Try these simple kababs and share the pictures with me.

                                       Check my vegetable Sheek Kabab recipe here.

PreparationTime : 15 mins
Marinating Time : 20 mins
Cooking time : 10 mins
Yield: 16 approx

To Roast and grind:
1.Fennel seeds - 1 tsp
2.Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
3.Cumin seeds - 1/2 tsp

For the kabab:
1.Boneless Chicken - 1lb
2.Onion - 1/2
3.Green Chillies - 3
4.Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
5.Pepper Powder - 1 tsp
6.Garam Masala powder - 1/2 tsp
7.Cilantro - handfull
8. Chaat Powder - 1/2 tsp
9.Salt - to taste
10.Corn flour - 1 tbsp
11.Oil - to grease
12.Lemon juice - 2 tbsp

* Wash the chicken. Dry the chicken on top f the paper towel.Take the dried chicken in a blender and mince it.The minced chicken should not be minced 100% . 25 % of the chicken should be coarse . This is up to you. 

*Roast the fennel seeds,coriander seeds ,cumin seeds and grind them. Finely mince the onion and green chillies. Chop the cilantro finely.Take a mixing bowl, add onion,green chilli,cilantro,ginger garlic paste and all the dry powders . 

* Now add the minced chicken to the bowl. Add salt and lemon juice.  Add cornflour at the end. Mix them well. Leave it aside for 10 to 20 mins or overnight. Divide the mix into equal sized balls. Take a skewer,grease with oil. The cornflour will make the kabab  to have a coating.
* Pat the minced chicken mixtrue around the skewer. Flatten it . The kabab should be thin,for it to cook evenly.Carefully,remove the chicken patty from the skewers .This will make a kabab to have a hole. This hole will ensure the kabab to cook evenly.
* Similarly,prepare the kababs out of the meat mixture.
* Take a pan,add oil , saute the kabab in medium flame.Alternatively, we can bake the chicken kabab in preheated oven.But don't deep fry the kabab. Chicken will trun rubbery.
* Flip the kabab other side. Cook till it reaches golden brown colour. Similarly,shallow fry the kababs in the tawa.
* Once cooked, drizzle lemon juice on top of the kababs and sprinkle chaat masala and serve. Serve it along with green chutney or tamarind chutney.

* The boneless chicken should have little fat ,for the kabab to be moist.
* We can also add some chilli powder, but it will change the colour of the kabab.
* Instead of lemon juice, we can add little soy sauce.
* Instead of ginger garlic paste,we can add minced garlic and ginger.
* If we are going to bake the sheek kabab, soak the skewers in water for atleast 15 mins. Then shape the kababs and bake it along with the skewers.
* Mince the onion and green chillies finely.If not it will come out of the chicken ,while shaping.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Kerala Parotta Recipe - கேரளா பரோட்டா - Step by Step

      Parotta is an Indian flat bread, which is made using maida or all purpose flour. I have tried different recipes for a perfect parotta, but this recipe is a winner in my home. The parottas are soft and flaky.I have a habit of noting down interesting recipes, which come in my life. Like the others,noted down in NDTV food . It is a foolproof recipe. The recipe gives the trick to get flaky parotta. By sprinkling flour on top of the rotis. This the roti non sticky. The dough has to be rested before we roll them.The longer it  rests, the softer it becomes. Since we are adding egg, it has that cream colour, if not it would have been white. Serve parottas with any one of these side dishes.

Preparation time : 10 mins
Resting time : 1 hr
Cooking time : 10 mins
Source : NDTV Food

  • cups Maida + 1/2 cup extra for dusting
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2-3 tsp Sugar
  • 1 Egg 
  • 1 tsp Salt
  •  Oil - to grease, shape and cook with
  • Water - as needed

* Take a mixing bowl, add flour,salt,sugar and mix. Mix the bowl ,let the flour incorporate the salt and sugar.

* Make a well in the centre and drop the egg in the middle. Mix the egg well and let it get crumbled with the flour. Since we are adding egg, the parotta will not be pure white. If you didn't want egg, then skip it and add a fat pinch of baking soda. The baking soda will make the parotta flaky.

* Now pour 1/2 cup of milk and mix . Now add needed water to the dough and make it pilable. Initially, the dough was sticky. Now pour oil over the dough and cover it. Let it sit on the counter for atleast 30 mins. The longer the dough sits, the softer the parotta will be.

* After 30 mins, dust the working area with flour. Start working on the dough for atleast 10 mins and knead it , till the dough becomes soft . The longer you knead the dough, the softer your parotta will be. By now, gluten would have reacted with the dough and when you spread the dough, there will be thin layer formed and then it results in to  a hole. This is called window pane test.

* Divide the dough into 6 equal parts and roll them again into soft and smooth balls. Drizzle oil over the balls.Again cover the dough and let it sit for atleast 10 mins. This resting time,will make the balls to absorb the oil and turn them into soft dough.

* After 10 mins, again knead the dough. ( I know, it sounds crazy to tell you again and again to knead. Because ,kneading will make the parotta soft. Grease the work area with oil. Roll the dough into thin roti. The size doesn't want to be even. It can tear also, don't worry, our motto is to get the roti thin as possible.

* Here is the trick for the parotta to get the flaky texture. Grease the roti with oil. Now sprinkle flour on top of the roti. This flour will make the layers to stand non sticky. That is the layers will not stick with each other.That is the trick here. The parotta when cooked, will come out flaky. So don't forget to sprinkle flour on top of the roti. That is the key for a flaky parotta.

* Now fold the roti into a fan like structure. And stretch the fan like structure into thin roll.

* Roll the roti into a circle .Similarly ,prepare all the dough balls into  this kind of disc. Let it rest for 5 mins.

* Heat the tawa, Meanwhile, roll the discs into thin parotta. If our parotta is thick, then it will not cook evenly. So roll the disc into parotta. Now cook the parotta in medium hot tawa. The tawa should not be smoking hot. The parotta has to be cooked in medium flame throughout. 

* Drizzle oil generously. Flip the parotta and cook till it has golden brown spots on the parotta. Once the parotta is cooked completely, take the parotta and crush it with our hands. This will make the parotta soft and flaky. You can see in the picture, the parotta has come out ,while crushing it with my hands.

Serve the parotta with salna. Enjoy this super soft and flaky parotta with your guests. See the below pic, it shows the layers of the parotta .

Problem areas:
* The dough for the parotta has to be kneaded well.If not you will not get soft and smooth parotta.
* Resting the dough will make it absorb the oil and turn into super soft parotta.
* Cook the parotta in medium flame, if not the parotta will not cook evenly.
* While cooking parotta, drizzle oil generously, if not it will not be perfect.
* The egg and milk are star ingredients in the recipe, so try to use them.
* Roll the parotta into thin roti, this is very important.
* Sprinkling flour on the parotta ,while rolling will make the folds non sticky, resulting in flaky parotta.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Tomato Kurma for Idiyappam - Tomato Salna - Step by step

It was 10 days of rain here in Charlotte. It was fully drenched with water .Now it started to sun shine slowly. I started preparing recipes for"Summer Series". Have started with ice cream, kulfi and vathal. I had a friend named P in Irving. She was very good friend of mine. She cooks very good and she hails from Southern part of Tamilnadu. She gave me some ofher favourite recipes. I have noted it down. This kuruma is one of it .This is a creamy side dish for idiyappam. Loved this very much. But I felt it should have been bit thin. This kuruma ,asks for blanching the tomatoes. A unique ingredient is adding ginger along with coconut and cashews. Its something new to me and it worked very good.Try this different kuruma for your idiyappam .

Preparation Time : 15 mins
Cooking time : 15 mins
Serves : 5

To Grind:
1.Coconut pieces - 3
2.Roasted chana dal- 2 tbsp
3.Coriander seeds - 1 tsp
4.Ginger - 1/4 inch
5.Cashews - 4 pieces

For the Salna:
1.Tomatoes - 3 (big)
2.Onion - 2 (big)
3.Green Chillies - 3
4.Sambar Powder - 1 tsp
5.Garam masala - 1/2 tsp
6.Curry Leaves - few
7.Cilantro - few
8.Oil - 2 tbsp
9.Fennel seeds - 1/2 tsp
10.Cinnamon sticks -1/2 inch
11.Salt - as needed
12.Water - as needed


* Boil a pan of water . Turn the stove off. Drop the tomatoes, and cover the pan. The tomatoes would have blanched and the skin would have peeled. Remove the skin and blend it in to a fine puree.
* Take the grinding ingredients coconut,cashews,roasted chana dal,ginger and coriander seeds. Alwaysadd less ginger , it should not dominate the kuruma. Don't add too much roasted chana dal, if not the kurma will become too thick.
* Slice the onion and green chillies. Finely mince the cilantro .
* Take a pan, add oil and temper with fennel seeds,cinnamon and cloves.
* Now, throw the finely chopped onion and slit green chillies. Let them turn translucent.Sprinkle salt to the onion. Add the sambar powder and saute. It will give a good colour to the kuruma. Don't add too much sambar powder, then it will not taste good.

* Now add the tomato puree to the pan. Let the puree blend with the onion. 
*Once the tomatogetsblended with the onion, addthe grinded paste to the pan. Now add desired amount of water to the pan and bringit to boil.
* The kuruma will thicken quickly as it has cashews,coconut and coriander seeds. So adjust the water according to the consistancy you need. I felt, that I should have added more water to the kuruma, because, it thickened .

* At last, add garam masala and chopped coriander leaves to the kuruma. Adjust salt to taste. Turn the flame to low and cover the kuruma. Let it sit in low flame for atleast 5 mins. Then turn off.

                  Serve this with idiyappam, idli or dosai. We can serve this with chapathi or roti too.

* Blanching the tomatoes will make sure it blends with the kuruma or salna.
* Adjust the consistancy according to your wish.
* We can also add yogurt or fresh cream to the kuruma for a richer taste.
* Add less ginger, if not it will domiante the flavour of the kuruma.
* While  sauting onion, we can also add some crushed garlic for a good aroma.
* For a less calorie, we can skip cashew too.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chocolate Truffle Cake - Baking Partner's Challenge

For this month's "Baking Partner's"challenge, Swathi gave "Chocolate Truffles with chocolate cake". Initially, I thought to make it as cupcake, but changed my mind and made it into a normal cake. Topped the cake with chocolate truffles.One of my friend gave me thisorchid plant. I wasvery much attracted by its purple colour. Loved it. So used to garnish the cake with the flowers.The purple colour complemented the cake very much.The cake is not like our basic chocolate cake.Its moist but dense like the brownie. This recipe was suggested by Suja of "Kitchen Corner".
Recipe Source :
Death by Chocolate Cakes: An Astonishing Array of Chocolate Enchantments  By  Marcel Desaulniers

For the Truffle :
  • Whipping Cream - 1/2 cup
  • Semi Sweet Chocolate - 8 oz
For the Chocolate Cake:
  • Butter - 5 ounce cut into pieces 2 tsp melted
  • All purpose flour - 2/3 cup
  • Unsweetened cocoa - 1/2 cup
  • Semi sweet baking chocolate - 8 ounce
  • Egg-3 large
  • Egg yolk- 2
  • Granulated sugar- 1/2
  • Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
  • Salt - 1/4 tsp
For Chocolate Ganache:
* Semi Sweet Chocolate - 8 oz
* Whipping Cream - 1 cup


Preparing the Chocolate truffle:
* Take a pan, add the whipping cream. Bring it to boil. Pour the cream to the mixing bowl. Close the lid and mix it properly.Freeze the chocolate mixture, for atleast 15 mins. Take them out, roll them into small balls and dust with cocoa powder.Freeze them ,till we need .

Preparing the Cake :
 Melt the chocolate and butter in double boiler. We can melt the chocolate and butter in microwave. Let the mixture cool . Preheat the oven at 325 degree F.

* Sift the cocoa powder,salt and flour. Mix them well. Try to sieve the dry ingredients, atleast twice, this will incorporate air to the mixture.

* Take eggs in a bowl and whisk it till it is frothy.

 * Now slowly add sugar and mix the egg mixture. The sugar should have dissolved into the egg mixture.

* Slowly dump the melted chocolate mixture to the bowl and beat. The egg should have been incorporated into the chocolate mixture.Now slowly add the dry ingredients to the bowl . Scrape the mixture in equal intervals.

*Butter a 8 inch tin and place  a round parchment into the pan. Butter the parchment too.
* Slowly pour the chocolate mixture to the pan and levelthe mixture using a spoon. Drop the tin 3 times to get rid of the air bubbles.
* Bake the Cake for at least 30 minutes or untill the skewers comes out clean. Place the tin on a wire rack for atleast 10 mins. Loosen the sides of the cake, by running a knife.Now turn the cake upside down and let it cool. The cake is soft and dense. It appears like a mud cake. Torte the cake .

Preparing the ganache:
* Bring the whipping cream to boil and add it to the chocolate chips. Let it sit for 10 mins.Now mix the chocolates, till turns into a silky smooth ganache. Let it sit in the counter for atleast 30 minsor untill it is thick . Now frost the cake using the ganache. Chill the cake. While serving, take the chocolate truffles out of the freezer and top the cake with the truffles.

* Freeze the truffles till we need them.
*  The cake will not rise like our normal cake.ITs kind of mud cake.
* We can melt the chocolates with butter in microwave too.
* Refrigerate the cake ,as it is frosted with ganache.
* We can also keep the truffles in refrigerator. But it will take time to firm.

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