Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Spicy Almond Chicken

Spicy Almond Chicken

Today's recipe is a spicy almond chicken. I wanted to try a chicken dish with almond paste. But this recipe is really quick and a simple stir fry. I used sliced toasted  almonds and it gives a nutty tasty crunch to the chicken. It is a spicy chicken can be served along with rice.

Chicken- 1 lb
Garlic- 5-6 pods
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Chilly powder or Cayenne pepper- 11/3 tsp
(or according to your spice tolerance)
Almond paste- 2 tbs
Tomato paste- 2 tbs
Pepper powder- a pinch
Garam masala- 3/4 tsp
Whole red chilly- 2
Sliced almonds- 1/3 cup
Chopped coriander- a hand full
Salt according to taste
Oil- 2-3 tbs

Clean and cut chicken into small pieces (use boneless chicken). Marinate chicken for half an hour with salt,turmeric, and pepper powder.
Heat oil in a pan and toast sliced almonds till slight golden,drain  and set aside (or spread the sliced almonds on a baking and toast in the oven). In the same oil add dry red chilly and saute for a minute followed by minced garlic. Saute for a few seconds and add the marinated chicken and stir fry for two to three minutes. Add chilly powder, almond paste and tomato paste and fry for one more minute till it coats well.Cover and cook for two or three minutes. Sprinkle a few drops if you feel it is sticking to the bottom. Add the toasted almonds,garam masala and sprinkle chopped coriander. Stir fry in high for one more minute. Serve this lemon wedges along with any flavored rice.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Oatmeal Banana Quick Bread

Oatmeal Banana Bread

Oatmeal and banana loaf is healthy low fat breakfast. Oatmeal gives the bread and nice and bananas makes it moist. I tried making banana bread before but found the texture was a little sticky over moist  bread. But this time when I combined oatmeal,  got it perfect.I added a crumble topping because my kid loves this a little sweet and nutty. The recipe source is from here.Made a little alteration to the original recipe  by increasing the amount of oats and it worked. It is a filling and healthy breakfast

All purpose flour- 1 1/2 cup
Old fashioned oats- 1 1/2 cup
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Baking soda- 3/4 tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Sugar- 4 tbs
Vegetable oil- 1/3 cup
( You can also substitute it with 1/2 stick butter)
Orange zest- of one orange
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp

For the topping (optional)
Walnuts- chopped- 1/2 cup
Light brown sugar- 1/3 cup
Cinnamon- 1/2 tsp

Pre heat oven to 375 degree F and grease and prepare loaf tin.
In a bowl mix together flour, oats, baking powder,baking soda and salt and set aside.
Lightly toast nuts and chop it.Mix with sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
Whisk egg and sugar till it is thick and pale. Add mashed banana,vegetable oil,orange zest  and vanilla extract and mix.
Note : make sure the bananas are really ripe and mash it nicely. If you are using frozen bananas allow it to come to room temperature before adding to the batter
Now add the dry ingredients and gently fold. If you feel that it is a thick batter adjust consistency by add juice of one orange or 1/3 cup of milk.
Pour into prepared loaf tin. Sprinkle the nut and brown sugar mix and bake for 35- 40 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow thin to cool in the pan/loaf tin for 10 minutes. Run a knife around the edges to loosen the loaf. Allow it to cool down completely before slicing.
Note:I used the regular loaf pan for this. You can divide the batter to make two small loafs. You can also freeze this for later use by tightly wrapping in cling foil.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Monday, September 16, 2013

CrouKronuts/Kronuts-Baking Partners Challenge- 15


Baking partners challenge for this month is a very interesting recipe.  Swathi suggested CrouKronut / Kronut a home made version of the newest and most popular pasty sensation. It was created by Dominique Ansel bakery owner in New York. If you want to know more about this pasty check Cronut 101 and you can see the original in all its glory. It is an innovative hybrid pastry,half croissant and half doughnut. Definitely these beauties are rich in calories as they are fried and then filled with pasty cream and glaze. But will you be tempted to try this at least once in a life time :). I do not know whether it is available hear in Ohio, so I too decided to try the home made version.

This pastry recipe is unique and trying to make it was a great learning experience for me. I have never tried making laminated dough or puff pastry. Laminated dough consists of alternative layers of dough with thin sheets of butter. There are different types of laminated dough from puff pasty to croissant dough and brioche. The richer the dough the more tender and flakier the result. The croissant dough is a flavorful yeast dough similar to the bread dough but laminated and enriched with butter. I tried the recipe suggested by Swathi. I also referred to Sherry Yard and Julie Child's cook book on how to make laminated dough.You can search Julia Child's Youtube video on how to make Croissants.

Recipe source : BootLeg Cronut
For dough
All purpose Flour- 3.75 cups/510 grams
( I used a combination of bread flour and all purpose flour
2 cups of bread flour and 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour)
Salt- 1 tsp
Sugar- 1/2 cup
Milk- 1/2+ 2 tbs milk
Yeast- 1 packet/2 1/4 tsp
Unsalted butter- 3.5 tbs/50 g

For the butter layer
Unsalted butte- 1  1/4 cup+ 1/2 tbs- 295g/ 2 sticks+ 1/2 stick
Flour- 11/2 tbs

For frying
Canola oil:  2-3 cup
Water: 200 g for brushing on the top
Cinnamon sugar (400g sugar and 100 g cinnamon)

For pastry cream and filling 
Suggested by Reeni of Cinnamon Spice and everything nice
Recipe source:Glazes from King Arthur Flour

Easy Rose flavor Glaze

Confectionery sugar/glazing sugar- 1 1/4 cups
Light corn syrup- 1 tbs
Melted butter- 1 tbs
Milk- 1 tbs
Rose water- 1 tbs
(I used rose water instead of vanilla essence)
Pink color- a few drops

To make the kronuts
This recipe has two components. The yeast dough and a butter block. It involves three stages and to yield best results divide the whole process into three days.  The first day make the dough, second day laminating-putting in the butter block, rolling the dough and folding. Each fold is called a turn and you have to do a total of six turns. The third day is cutting into doughnut shape and frying.

Day 1
Bring 50 grams of butter and eggs to room temperature
Combine the dry ingredients, flour, salt, sugar, instant yeast, in the bowl of a stand mixer.

 If using instant yeast, mix it with the dry ingredients and if using active yeast,mix in luke warm milk and set aside for 5-7 minutes to proof

Heat milk  in microwave 30 seconds and add butter. Allow the butter to melt and mix well. Pour this into the dry mixture along with the eggs
 Mix on low speed for1 minute or until everything is incorporated. Mix on higher speed for another 3-4 minutes. If you kneading with your hand mix till all the dough comes together and then on a working surface knead gently and until you get smooth shiny dough.
Note-Do not work the dough too much, it is best not to have too much elasticity in croissant dough

Roll the dough into a ball. Using a sharp knife cut an X extending half way through the dough. This will expand as the dough relaxes and will aid in rolling later. Cover tightly with clear plastic wrap, making sure it is not in contact with the dough. Allow this to proof to double its size ( keep in a warm area for about 1- 1 1/2 hour).  Cover air tight in plastic wrap or cling wrap and refrigerate over night.

Day 2 Preparing the butter and Laminating

It  is easy to slice butter when it is cold.Cut butter into half lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slabs. Place on a peice of lightly floured parchment paper and then dust the top with flour and then place another parchment paper on top. Using a rolling pin gently bang the butter to smooth it and make it workable.Gently press and flatten and make sure that the pieces adhere to each other and form a compact slab.Trim the edges and make a perfect square. You can smoothen this excess butter on top again using the rolling pin. Form the butter into a six inch square about 1 inch thick.Place in refrigerator to cool for at least 2 hours.
Note-The flour will assist in breaking the butter and will make rolling easier. But do not add too much flour as it will inhibit the dough from puffing

Day 2 continued..
Laminate the dough after two hours

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and lightly dust work surface with flour and also the top of the dough. The dough should feel like firm clay. Using a rolling pin roll out from the center to each corner following the X shape. Roll in one direction, and then turn 180 degree and the roll the other side. Try to keep the center a little more thicker than the edges. The flattened dough will have a diamond shape. Place the square butter block in the center and the fold each corners over the butter like an envelop. Press and pinch the edges to completely seal the dough packet. Dust the work surface and using a rolling pin flatten and roll the dough moving from center to the corner to form a 12x 18 inch rectangle half inch thick.

1st Turn. Turn the dough so that it is horizontal with the longer edge nearest to you. Mark the rectangle into three equal columns. Fold the right third of the rectangle over the center third. Fold the left third over the center third,just like a business letter. This is the first turn.

The second turn is to lock the first turn. Try to do this turn right away, but if the dough is too warm, wrap in film and place in the refrigerator until it cools. Place the rolling pin on an unsealed edge of the dough,gently press down to keep it in place and now repeat with the remaining two sides. Roll over the dough with four or five even strokes. Press the corners again to see it is perfectly locked. Dust off the excess flour,wrap in plastic film and gently press two fingers into the lower right corner to mark the number of turns (this will help you to keep track of the number of turns),refrigerate for 30-40 minutes.
Note: After each turn the dough needs to be chilled and rested to help re-solidify and  the gluten to relax. Also brush off the excess flour with a pasty brush before folding and chilling.

3rd Turn. Place the rectangular dough lengthwise on a lightly floured work surface. The open ends should be towards your right and left. Roll again to from another horizontal rectangle. Fold the right third over the center and the left third over that. Cover and refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Repeat the fourth like the first one and fifth turns like the third and refrigerate over night.

3rd Day Frying the kronuts
Make the sixth turn on the third day. Refrigerate for  half an hour.
Lightly dust the work surface with flour and roll out the dough to 1/2 inch thick rectangle sheet. Make sure the dough stays cold, without sticking to the surface. If it starts to stick, place in the refrigerator and roll again when cool.
To punch the kronuts. Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper and geese it . Remove dough from fridge and take two ring molds, or doughnut cutter. The circles will be approximately  3 ½ inch and inner should be 1 ½ inch. When punching make sure that the dough is very cold.

Transfer half of the punched kronuts to the sheet pan, leaving room for kronuts to “poof.”
Brush tops of the Kronut with water and set aside.  Place Kronut holes on the same sheet tray, leaving enough space for them to poof without sticking to each other. Leave in a warm area until they have proofed, about 30 min.Once it is proofed keep it in the refrigerator for 1 hour or in the freezer for 15 minutes before frying.

Frying Kronuts. Heat canola oil in a pot, about 3 inches high. Test oil with a pinch of flour: if flour foams it is ready for deep frying. Turn heat to low and place Kronuts in oil, 1-2 at a time, in order to avoid overcrowding the pot. Turn and flip Kronuts often so that they brown evenly.Once golden brown throughout, test one to see if it is cooked all the way through. Remove and place on paper towels. When it is warm itself  toss with sugar and cinnamon.

 To make the glaze 

To decorate you can use pastry as filling and any type of glaze. I used a rose flavored glaze. Both the white and the pink I used are rose flavored. For the pink I used a few drops of permitted food color. I used the same as filling. You can substitute it with pastry cream
Stir in all the ingredients together, adding extra liquid or confectioners' sugar to adjust the consistency as needed. Yield: about 1/2 cup glaze.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Ethapazham Erisseri

Ethapazham Erisseri

 Wishing all my friends and readers a very happy and prosperous Onam!

Erisseri is an important dish in Kerala Sadhya. Since it is Onam I thought of sharing this recipe. Erisseri is  mildly spicy curry with one or a combination of  vegetables and lentils. It is  seasoned with roasted coconut, fried curry leaves which adds to its unique flavor and taste to the curry. 
This one is made with ripe and slightly sweet plantain. I brought a batch to make banana chips but the skin turned yellow. So I had to abandon the idea of making chips and made this erisseri instead. It has a slight sweetness like the pumpkin erisseri  is a flavorful and quick dish. Try this for Sadhya,you will surely love it.

Plantains/Ethakka- 3 medium
Black eye beans- 3/4 cup
(or you can use red beans/vanpayar)
Shredded Coconut- 3/4 cup+ 1/2 cup
Turmeric- a pinch
Chilly powder- 3/4 tsp
Jeera/cumin -1/3 tsp
Curry leaves
Coconut oil
Dry red chilly-2
mustard seeds- 1/3 tsp
Salt to taste


Soak beans for two hours and pressure cook them and set aside.
Peel off the skin and chop plantain into cubes.Cook with 1/2 cup of water, turmeric, chilly powder and salt.
Note: Use semi ripe plantain. Slightly sweet ones but still firm to touch. If it has become almost ripe try recipes like ethapazham pachadi or  pazham pulisherri
Grind 3/4 cup of shredded coconut  along with cumin  into a paste. Add this to the cooked plantain along with the cooked black eye beans. Allow this to simmer in a medium heat for two- three minutes and switch off the flame.
Heat oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When they splutter add two dry red chilly, curry leaves and  1/2 cup of coconut. Roast this is low flame till it gets browned up and add to the curry and mix well. Serve with rice.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Chakka Vattal/Jackfruit Chips

Chakka Vattal/Jackfruit Chips

Chakka/Jackfruit is a seasonal fruit in Kerala but you can still enjoy this chakka vattal/chips all the year around. Jack fruit is found in every backyard in Kerala and there are lot of recipes with it.The unripe ones are used in curries or fried to make chips and ripe one are enjoyed as it is or preserved as chakka varatti or chakka jam.This chips is made with unripe jack fruit and is a crispy and crunchy snack.It is sometimes served along with banana chips in sadhya. So I am posting this easy chips for Onam. The edible part of this fruit is the yellow sheath around the seeds but when it is unripe it will be white. Try this quick and tasty chips.

Chakka chula/ Fresh fresh surrounding the seeds- 20 no
Turmeric powder- 1/3 tsp
Salt- as needed
Curry leaves- one spring (optional)
Coconut oil for frying- 1 1/2 cup

Cut chakka chula or the jack fruit flesh/bulbs into thin wedges.
Note: The top and the end portion of each bulb will be thicker . You can cut them off and use to make curries. Try to make the slices uniform both in thickness and length.
To this add turmeric powder and toss and keep aside.
Heat oil in a pan. First add the curry leaves and then the sliced jack fruit pieces and fry till golden brown.
Fry in batches in medium heat,do not over crowd the pan.
Drain to paper towels and sprinkle salt on top and toss. You can also mix salt and turmeric with a little water( one or two tsp of water) and sprinkle just before taking out from oil. But be extra care full with the oil. You can take out with all the bubbles subside. Transfer to paper towels and when cool transfer to air tight containers and enjoy!

Note : I have often noticed the double frying method ensures maximum crispiness. Fry till the chips are slight golden and drain out from the oil. Allow it to cool a bit and then fry each batch a second time till it is nice and crispy.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sweet Breakfast Omelet

Sweet Breakfast Omelet

Sweet omelet adds an interesting twist to your regular breakfast omelet and is quite filling on its own. The first time I read about sweet omelet was the Persian sweet omelet with dates. Later I found interesting versions with different fillings like chocolate chip, jam filled sweet omelet and  poached fruit omelet. Earlier I posted a recipe of Malabar Kayapola which is a thick omelet loaded with ghee roasted plantains and nuts. In this recipe I have used dates,nuts and coconut. You can use any nuts of your choice. Try this,hope you will all enjoy :) 

Eggs - 2
Milk or cream- 1 tbs
Sugar or maple syrup- 1 1/2 tsp
Salt- a pinch
Cinnamon- a pinch
Vanilla essence-a few drops
Cashew nuts chopped- 5-6
Almonds chopped- 5-6
Dates chopped- 3 tbs
Coconut shredded- 2-3 tbs
Butter- 1 tsp

Beat egg, cinnamon, sugar,salt, cream/milk and vanilla essence till the egg mixture is thick and bubbly. Heat butter in a pan and when it melts pour the egg mixture and allow the bottom to set and spread the chopped nuts,dates and coconut over the top before it starts thickening. Reduce the heat and cook for two minutes. When one side is golden brown flip over and cook the other side just like regular omelet. Serve with bread or with a little whipped cream as a breakfast dessert.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

Nelikka Achar/Gooseberry Pickle

Nelikka Achar/Gooseberry Pickle

Pickles is a spicy condiments and a must in my house. It is long since I made gooseberry pickle. I could not find fresh ones here so finally decided to make pickle with frozen gooseberry. I know it is crazy and not sure about the shelf life of the pickle. So I am planning to store it in refrigerator and serve it as a todu curry for Onam sadhya. But if you are lucky to get fresh ones try this pickle recipe.It is perfect with curd and rice.

Gooseberry/nelikka- 15 large sized ones
Garlic- 15- 20 pods sliced
Mustard seeds- 1/3 tsp
Chilly powder- 4 tbs
(or according to your spice tolerance)
Fenugreek powder- 1 1/2 tsp
Asafoetida- 3/4 tsp
Salt- to taste
Sugar- 1/2 tsp
Gingerly oil- 1/3 cup
Vinegar- 1/3 cup

Steam gooseberry for about four to five minutes till it becomes soft. If you are using the frozen ones,first defrost and place it on paper towels till all moister is absorbed and then steam.
Cut the goose berry into small pieces and discard the seed.
Heat gingerly oil in a pan and add mustard seeds. When it crackles add the sliced garlic and fry for a minute or till there is a nice aroma. Switch off the flame and after a few seconds add all the spice powders, salt and sugar and mix well. It will bubble and the spices will get slightly roasted. Put it back to stove on low flame and mix in the sliced gooseberry and coat well with the mixture. Check salt at this stage and finally add the vinegar and switch off. When completely cooled store in air tight jars.

Note: You can also make this without steaming the gooseberries.You will not be able to use it immediately. Give more time for the pickle to mature.

Try this
Hope you will all enjoy!

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