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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Fruit Cake

IMG_3142One of my friends invited me to her home for Christmas and I planned to bake a cake for everyone. I generally make Christmas cake by soaking dry fruits in Rum. Since there were a few kids around I decided to make the cake alcohol free. Also this recipe doesn't need you to soak the dry fruits in advance and therefore doesn’t need prior planning. Bake it, when you need it!

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 cup roughly chopped dry fruits (plum, black raisins, apricot, cherries, orange zest, almonds)
  • 250 ml. of orange juice
  • 250 ml. apple juice
  • 3 tsp. rum flavor
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 and 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 100 gm. butter at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. spice powder ( 1 tiny piece of cinnamon, 2 cloves and 1tiny piece nutmeg ground to a fine powder)

Procedure

In a sauce pan mix half of orange and apple juice and stir well. Add chopped dry fruit mixture to it and simmer them in a low flame till all the juices are dried up. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool. Now add 1tsp. of rum flavor to it and mix well.

Take out two table-spoons of fruit mixture and smear them with a spoon of dry all purpose flour.

In a separate bowl sift  all dry ingredients ( flour, baking powder and spice powder) together.

Now in a big mixing bowl cream butter with sugar till fluffy. Now add egg one by one and continue to beat until completely integrated. Pour the rest of the apple juice and 1 tsp. rum flavor to it and mix once again. Now add dry flour and dry fruit mixture to this batter and gently fold into it.

Grease a 10 inch nonstick loaf pan and spoon the cake mixture. Sprinkle the dry fruits that you have separated out on top.

Bake it for an hour in a preheated oven at 375F.

Remove cake from oven and place on cooling rack. In a cup mix rest of the orange juice with 1 tsp. rum flavor. Baste the top with this mixture and allow to cool completely before you turn it over. 

Store the cake in an airtight container or eat fresh.

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Monday, December 23, 2013

Chicken Manchurian (Hyderabad Style)

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Old Hyderabad is littered with small bakeries that along with cakes and biscuits serve this mind blowingly spicy, yet yummy Chicken and Gobi “manchuri” (as they call it). I am sure they have nothing to do with real manchurian or the similar named region in China.

One of the places we used to visit was in Ameerpet close to Jayadurga furnishing which was one of my favorite hang outs. They were served in small plastic cups and a toothpick to pick them up. I have tried to recreate them to help combat the freezing weather here. The only difference is I have refrained from using food colors (which unfortunately is copiously used in Hyderabad).

Ingredients

  • 1lb. boneless chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 tbsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp. Kashmiri red chili powder
  • 1 tbsp. red chili powder
  • 2 tbsp. lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp. all purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp. rice flour
  • Salt
  • 1 large onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 green bell pepper thinly sliced
  • 1 tbsp. minced garlic
  • 3 tbsp. green chilies finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • Few curry leaves
  • 1 tsp. corn starch
  • Oil

Procedure

In a mixing bowl mix chicken pieces with ginger garlic paste, chili powder, lemon juice and salt. Marinade the mixture for half an hour. Now sprinkle all purpose flour and rice flour on it and mix well.

Heat oil for deep frying in a pan and add chicken pieces into it. Fry till they turn crispy. Remove and drain them on a paper towel.

In a frying pan take two tbsp. oil and heat it up. Add minced garlic. fry on low heat for a minute and then add onion and bell pepper slices to it. Fry them on high heat  for a minute or two. Don’t over cook them as we want their crispy texture.

Now to this add fried chicken pieces and toss them well with fried onion and bell pepper. if required sprinkle salt now. Mix once again.

Dissolve corn starch into 2tbsp. water and sprinkle over the chicken mixture. Immediately remove the pan from heat. Add chopped green chilies, cilantro and curry leaves over it and toss them really well.

Serve them in small cups and enjoy. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Tandoori Chicken Stuffed Potato Bun

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This year winter is very different here in Pacific Northwest. It’s super cold and barely getting above freezing for weeks at a time, rainfall has been less than 50% of normal. The dry freeze is not being kind to my tropical being. However, nothing can be done against the weather, other than off course making something warm, yummy and feast on it. I made something “hatke”, a fusion of Indian tandoori chicken and western potato bun. Hope you like it my dear readers.

Ingredients For Stuffing

  • 2 cups boneless chicken cut into tiny pieces
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. ginger garlic paste
  • 1 tsp. chicken tandoori masala
  • 1 tsp. gram masala powder
  • 1 tsp. finely chopped cilantro
  • salt
  • Oil
     

Ingredients For Bun

  • 1 pkg. active yeast
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 1 cup boiled and mashed potato
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 and 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 egg for brushing 

Procedure

In a pan heat 2-3 tbsp. oil. Add chopped onion and fry it turns golden brown.

Add chicken pieces along with ginger garlic paste and salt. Sauté till the raw smell goes away.

Sprinkle chicken tandoori masala powder and garam masala powder and keep stirring on low heat till oil separates out. By this time chicken will be cooked. Sprinkle chopped cilantro and remove fro heat.

In a cup dissolve yeast in warm water and stir well.(The water should be around 40 C. Its better to use a food thermometer. If you don’t have try to feel it. You should be able to comfortably dip your finger in it till 10 count.) Keep them aside for five minutes.

In another mixing bowl mix milk with honey, butter and salt. Pour yeast water to it and stir well. Add flour and mashed potato to it. Mix well with a spatula till it forms a dough. Knead ten minutes. Apply oil over the entire surface and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let it rest for an hour in a warm place till it doubles its volume. I keep it inside my oven with the oven light on.

After one hour when the dough rises up punch it gently and divide it into equal 10 – 12 portions.

Make round ball with each of the portions. Flatten each ball and stuff it with 2tbsp. of chicken mixture. Cover the stuffing and again give it a round shape. Repeat this process with the rest of the balls.

Preheat oven at 375F.

Arrange the stuffed balls on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Beat the egg and brush the top surface of each bun with this egg wash. This will give the buns a rich golden color. sprinkle some chopped cilantro on it.

Bake it for 12 – 15 minutes or until they get a nice golden color. Take them out of the oven and brush them with butter to give a nice glossy look.

Tandoori Chicken Stuffed Potato bun is ready to be served.

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Sunday, December 8, 2013

Vanilla Cookie

IMG_0819DrawingRoom-4

One of our dear friends gave us a customized “Basu families Jar of yumminess” as a present. It now occupies the central position of our drawing room. Unfortunately it sometimes disappoints the little ones as it remains empty. I thought of rectifying it for the holidays by filling them with simple Vanilla Cookies.

Ingredients

  • 1and 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 100gms. unsalted butter
  • 100gms. powdered sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 10 – 15 almonds and pistachio roughly chopped

Procedure

Heat oven to 375 F. In a mixing bowl the butter at room temperature and sugar. Cream it with a electric mixture. Add egg, vanilla extract and continue beating.

Fold the mixture in refined flour and mix well. Scrape the sides when required.

IMG_0817Put the mixture in a piping bag fitted with your favorite nozzle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and pipe out cookies on it. Sprinkle chopped almond and pistachio.

You can give them a shape of your choice by using your hand as well.

Bake for 15 – 20 minutes. Remove from oven and cool it off. Store it in an airtight jar.

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