Category Archives: Fusion

Til-Gul Babka Jewish Indian bread

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Nothing is more appetizing than the smell of freshly made bread. Be it the fresh roti that is made right on the stove top or a loaf of bread baked in the oven.. it calls everyone to the kitchen and around the dining table. I am not much of a baker, I do bake cakes occasionally but it does not come to me naturally. I feel cakes are way easier than the breads, when you start baking breads, you are going closer to the science than art.

After MasterChef, one of the goals has been to bake more often and since my family is not too much into the cakes, and I like to challenge myself, I am planning to bake more breads and try new techniques.

January is one of my favorite months. This is the month of resolutions, new beginnings and many more things. One of the things is Hurda, its my most favorite thing on this face earth, and this is the time we celebrate Sankranti. This is the only festival in Maharashtra that is based on a Solar/Gregorian calendar, rest of them are all lunar calendar based. Sankranti is celebrated on the 14th of Jan, and other parts of India celebrate this festival with different names, Pongal in southern India, Bihu in Eastern India, Uttarayan in Western India and Lohri in Northern India.  The common theme is great food and happiness and most of the  sweets  are made from Sesame seeds and Jaggery. Both these foods create ‘heat’ in the body and hence eaten during this winter season.

Going back to my baking breads, as you know, I love combining flavors. I had seen this sesame bread recipe on pintrest and that is also my source of inspiration today.So I decided to make this bread which is fit for the Sankrant and something new. Here it comes;

Til Gul Babka

 

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I know right, it sounds crazy but tasted yummy, if you are into sweet breads, you might want to give it a try. This recipe is quite versatile and can be easily made into a savory bread as well, all you have to change is the filling and you are good to go.

I had read about this technique of ‘Tangzhong‘ and decided to try using it with this bread. I think it definitely helped keep the bread very moist. Tangzhong is a a Japanese technique, it makes for a very sticky dough that is very tricky to handle, but thats what makes for the very soft final product.

Tangzhong is nothing else but a paste made with flour and water, you cook it to almost a roux like consistency. You cool it and mix it in the dough.It sounds so simple and it is, but let me tell you, it created incredibly soft almost pillowy bread.

I think I am so in love this technique that I think I will end up using in everything I bake. 🙂

Back to the recipe

Ingredients

Tangzhong

  • 50 g  Flour
  • 1 cup milk

Bread dough

  • 350 g Bread Flour ( about 3 cups)
  • 1/2 salt
  • 65 g sugar ( about 1/4 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup warm Milk
  • 2 tsp Yeast
  • About 1 cup Tangzhong
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Filling

  • 1/2 cup Crushed Jaggery ( you can use dark brown sugar if you can not find jaggery)
  • 1/3 cup roasted peanut
  • 4 tbsp roasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 tsp cardamom powder
  • 2 tbsp molasses
  • 4-5 Tbsp ghee ( or softened unsalted butter)

Method

Making Tangzhong

  • Mix in the water and flour to form a good slurry
  • Cook it on low flame till it thickens. It should be a little less thick that a mashed potatoes. One way to check is if you stop stirring, does the mixture stays in circles and you can see the bottom of the pan
  • Take it off the heat, cover with a plastic wrap, making sure it touches the surface of the paste. This will ensure that no crust forms
  • Cool the Tangzhong to use later

Making the filling

  • Grind all the ingredients except the ghee and molasses
  • Mix the powder in ghee and molasses to make a paste

Making the dough

  • Warm up the milk and add the yeast. Leave it aside for 10-15 mins for it to foam up
  • Until then mix, Flour, Salt, sugar, sesame seeds
  • Add an egg and mix
  • Now add the yeast and milk mixture and mix for 30 secs
  • Add the tangzhong that is cooled
  • Now knead the dough in the stand mixer for 10-15 mins
  • Keep adding softened butter while the mixer is running
  • The dough will be a very wet dough, don’t worry. If the dough sticks to the bottom of the bowl, don’t worry
  • Take a greased bowl and transfer the dough.Let the dough roof for at least 2 hours.
  • I like to proof my dough in the fridge, so I can use it when I am ready
  • The dough should double in size

Assembling it together

  • Punch and deflate the dough
  • Roll it into a reactangle
  • Spread the filling evenly

Shaping the bread

  • Take the rolled log and cut it along the length with a sharp knife
  • Twist the two parts together to form a braid keeping the cut side up
  • Take a bread loaf pan that is greased and lined with a parchment paper
  • Add the dough in it and let it rest for at least 60 mins

Baking

  • Heat the oven at 350 F
  • Brush the dough with egg wash and bake for 25-30 mins in a 350F

Note:

  1. This dough was a little more than a standard bread loaf can handle, so I removed about 1/3 cup dough before shaping it
  2. If you can not find molasses, you can substitute with honey

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Star Anise Panna cotta with Khubani

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This is where my Master Chef  journey began. A very close friend really pushed me to sign up for Master Chef Auditions. The auditions were on Saturday and Friday evening at 7:00 PM I had not idea what I would bring for the auditions. I decided to make this recipe which has been my family favorite. I walked into the auditions with the Panna cotta and heart beating fast.

Star Anise Panna cotta

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 Panncotta is an italian word that translates to ‘ Cooked Cream’. It is such an easy to make dish and yet it is very easily customizable. You can change flavors, pair it with different things and the best part, it looks super fancy.
I tried quite a few recipes till I settled on this one.  It tastes just like the panna cotta served at Italian restaurants. I like to serve it with fruits or even chocolate sauce, or stewed fruits.
Today I have flavored it with one of my favorite spices, Star Anise & served with stewed apricots. In Hyderabad ( India) there is a sweet, Khubani ka Meetha, and my inspiration for  today’s dessert comes from that.

Panna Cotta

Ingredients

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  • 1/2cup  milk
  • 1 (.25 ounce) envelope unflavored gelatin ( I used Knox powder today)
  • 2 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 6-8 Star anise
  • 5-6 Whole black pepper

Method

  1. Blooming the gelatin: Pour milk into a small bowl, and stir in the gelatin powder. Set aside.This will help gelatin absorb the milk and mix well
  2. Pound the spices in a mortar and pestle. Keep them coarse
  3. In a saucepan, stir together the heavy cream and sugar, and set over medium heat until it is lukewarm, and set it aside for 1 hour or so. Longer the better.
  4. Setting aside the cream helps the flavors of spices seep into the cream beautifully.
  5. Bring to a full boil, don’t let it over flow. Pour the gelatin and milk into the cream, stirring until completely dissolved.
  6. Cook for one minute, stir so the gelatin does not form a lump.
  7. Remove from heat, strain and pour into  individual ramekin dishes.
  8. Cool the ramekins uncovered at room temperature.
  9. When cool, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, ideally  overnight before serving.

Stewed Apricots

Ingredients

  • 10-12 Dried Apricot
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 2-3 Star anise
  • 2-3Whole black pepper
  • 1/2 cup water

Method

  • Chop the apricots fine
  • Add sugar, water, spices and apricots in a small sauce pan
  • On a low flame cook till the apricots are softened and the water gets nice and syrupy.
  • Remove the spices before serving

 

Pistachio Rose caramel

Will Update the recipe soon.

To serve

Demold the pannacotta and serve with the stewed apricot. I also love to use candied Pistachio while serving.

 

Pistachio tart with Rose-orange blossom custard

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We as a family just love food, we are one of those who live to eat. We love trying food at new places,trying different cuisines. We try to find small hole in wall places and prefer those over big chain restaurant. One such favorite of ours is a kabab place,’Isfahan kabob’ not too far from where we live. Last time when we were there, we enjoyed our dinner ( as usual clean plates), but all of us were craving for desserts. Isfahan, does not carry any desserts but there is a small cafe, Haleh bakery ,nearby that has just the best desserts you can think of. It is a persian place which carries great treats with some unique flavors. We can not ever decide which one of those is our favorite, there are just too many amazing ones to chose from. It has a cute little courtyard where you can sit and enjoy fragrant persian tea with these delectable pastries.

At work we celebrate ‘pi-day’ and every year I make traditional pie. This year decided to make something new and that is how this recipe came about.

Today’s recipe takes the inspiration from one of the cookies we ate at Haleh, I don’t remember the name but it is a buttery soft cookie flavored with cardamom, dates and other yummy things.I just love the those flavors come together so I decide to try something today that has those flavors.This is a very easy recipe but needs patience, but I think it is worth it. 

Pistachio Tart with rose & orange blossom custard  

Ingredients

Tart

1 1/2  cup  unsalted pistachios

1 cup  almonds

1 egg white

1/4 cup sugar

1 pinch of salt

1/2 stick melted unsalted butter

1/8 tsp ground cardamom

Custard/filling

1 1/2  milk plus couple of tbsp

7 egg yolks

7 tbsp cornstarch

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 tbsp orange blossom water

2 tbsp rose jam

Method

Pre heat the oven to 400F

In a food processor pulse pistachios and almonds separately, making sure that it does not turn into a paste. the texture should look something like couscous.


Mix the powdered nuts with the melted butter, sugar, salt and egg white. Mix it till it comes together.
Add the mixture to a 9inch  tart pan and spread it evenly.

    Bake for 12 mins and add a 1-2 min if needed after checking. I baked this shell for 15 mins and I think it turned out a little darker than I would have liked. So watch after 10 minutes of baking.

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Let the shell cool completely.

While the shell is cooling, let us prepare the custard.

Heat the 1 1/2 cup of milk on low heat, make sure you turn it off as soon as you see bubbles. If your milk is too hot, you will have a scramble instead of a custard.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a steel pot. Mix the cornstarch in a couple of tbsp of cold milk to make a slurry. Add that to the egg yolk mixture.

Take the heated milk and add to the egg mixture in a constant stream, whisking continuously. This is super critical since this will ensure that you will have a smooth, velvety texture for your custard.

Cook the custard till it feels like a pudding and not thin.

Strain it in a steel bowl. This step will ensure that if there are any lumps, they are left out.

Now cover the bowl with a plastic wrap. Make sure that the plastic goes all the way to the surface of the custard, this will ensure that there is no crust formed as the custard cools.

img_5083img_5084Cool it in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours.

Take it out and mix the orange blossom water. Depending on the brand and your taste, you can add more or less.

Spread the rose petal jam ( Gulkand) at the bottom. Fill the cooled shell with the custard. I buy Gulkand from the Indian store. Not only does it taste great but also has cooling properties to it, which is why in summer in India and in Persia, people eat desserts flavored with Gulkand.

 Let it set in the fridge for sometime.

You can serve it like this but I decided to top it with some apple roses. I have seen these apple roses popping up on the instagram, pinterest and I have been wanting to try and make them.

If you plan to top them with the apple roses, make sure the custard is thick enough for the apple roses to stay upright.

Apple roses

I feel that knives are super essential in a kitchen and can not only make the job easier but also makes the food look pretty. I have a set of ‘Saber knives’ that I bought from Costco a while ago. I got a cute little knife sharpener as a gift and with that I have been able to maintain the edge.

For making these roses you can either use a mandolin or take a sharp knife and slice the apples paper thin. I did half and half. I started with the knife but ran out of patience and switched to mandolin. Mandolin is another great tool to have. It not only makes the cuts looks pretty but they are also uniform, which makes them cook even too. I love my mandolin especially when I make things like scalloped potatoes.

As soon as you slice them, add them to a bowl of warm water with some lemon juice. The warm water will make them pliable and the lemon will keep them from turning brown.
Roll one slice to form a center and then continue wrapping each slice like a petal to form a flower. I grated some beets and used the juice to color some of the flowers, you can also use red food coloring if you would like.

Some people heat up the apple slices in the microwave to make them soft, which can make them easily pliable, but I feel it also makes them lose the taste and possibly discolor.

I will post a video for making the flowers soon.

Now arrange the flowers in the custard as you go along. You can use combination of apples so the different skin colors add a nice variation.

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Indian Pickled chicken in lettuce cups

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My first take on Saransh Goila’s recipe, ‘Achari Tikka Bread cones’  turned out yummy, everyone loved it. I made it for dinner and paired it with a soup and it was a hit. That night I had my friend over for dinner and he is sort of doing a Paleo diet, so I decided to make a variation for him that was not as carb heavy.

This has all the flavor of the original minus the bread. I kept the croutons on the side so he could add a few if he wanted.  I loved how pretty it looked.  I also made a vegetarian version with ‘Paneer’ for a vegetarian friend and that turned out yummy as well.

Achari Chicken lettuce cup with garlic crouton

Achari Chicken lettuce cup with garlic crouton


Ingredients:
3/4  lb  Boneless Chicken
2 ½ tablespoons Achari Masala ( I used ready made Indian pickle masala)
100 grams Hung Curd
1 tablespoon refined flour
2 tablespoons Mustard Oil
2 Thick bread slices, cubed
2 tbsp butter melted
1 clove of garlic crushed

Chopped carrots, cilantro, green bell pepper

Bean sprouts
Endive leaves separated

Method:

Chicken:

Heat Mustard Oil to a smoking point & then add Achari Masala to it. Cook the spice mix nicely. Take it off heat, let it cool down for 10 minutes.

Add this spice mix into hung curd. Mix nicely.

Cut cubes of chicken & marinade it with the pickled curd marinade for minimum 60 mins.

Now cook the chicken on medium flame, add refined flour and cook for 8-10 mins. Once cooked evenly, keep it aside.

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Croutons

Preheat the oven at 325 F


Toast the bread cubes in the oven till they are crisp.
Take them out and pour the garlic butter and toss them well. Bake them again for 5-6 mins to get them golden brown.

Mix with chicken with the croutons, chopped carrot, sprouts, and cilantro.

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Now, take the endive leaves and fill them up with the mixture. And serve.

Achari Chicken lettuce cup with garlic crouton

Achari Chicken lettuce cup with garlic crouton

Mexican risotto…wholy Smokes !

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I love making dinners based on a theme, love bringing all the elements of the meal together. Sometimes the common thread can be a cuisine, an ingredient, season or sometimes it can be a cooking technique. Tonight’s meal was Smoking hot.

I love the smoky flavor in dishes, be it a spice like a smoked paprika, smoky pepper like chipotle, smoked gouda, hickory smoked meats or smoking a cooked dish using a traditional ‘Dhuri’ technique from India. I just learnt that the Dhuni technique is used very extensively in a Dham cooking. I make this condiment with Walnut Chutney, a recipe from the northern indian Kashmiri cuisine, where I use a hot coal & ghee to create the smoke to flavor the dish.

Going back to my dinner theme tonight, so if you have not already guessed, the theme was ‘smoking’. I made this Barley Risotto with a mexican twist, Shrimps in tomato based sauce & Corn salad. Each dish had a ‘smoky’ element to it. Today I am sharing the recipe for the risotto. The smoky flavors come from the roasted poblanos and smoked paprika.

As I mentioned, my family is trying to eat only whole grains and use as little processed food as possible. So I try to make different grains every day, rotating between brown rice,quinoa, bulgur, wild rice, farro, whole wheat & barley. Today it was barley’s turn. So I decided to make this dish, I think it tasted like the risotto, and since I incorporated the mexican flavors, I called it Mexican risotto. Barley is a very commonly eaten in many parts of the world. It is known for many good things including calming your stomach down. My grandmom used to give us barley water when we went a little crazy eating garbanzo beans. 🙂

Ingredients

1 cup of Barley

1/2 white onion finely chopped

1 garlic chopped

2 Poblano peppers

1 tbsp Cilantro chopped

1/2 cup cream

1/4 cup white wine ( optional)

1/2 tbsp Smoked Paprika

1/2 tsp cumin powder

1 tbsp oil

 
Method

Pressure cook barley with a little bit of salt & 2 1/2 cups of water. I like to cook it in a little more water so it cooks and has extra starchy liquid, this makes the dish creamy with little amount of cream. 
Roast the poblanos until charred. Keep them covered in a bowl and when cooled peel and chop.

Heat oil, saute onions & garlic. When lightly browned, add the chopped poblano and paprika. Now add the wine if using and cook for 2-3 mins.

Add the barley along with the cooking liquid and mix through. Adjust the salt.

Add the cream and heat it through.

Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve.

Sometimes I add chorizo to make it a one pot meal. I saute the chorizo, when cooked remove it on a plate. In the rendered fat, saute the onions etc and follow the rest of the steps.

Thandai  leches cake 

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I love deserts especially when they involve dairy :). So when I first ate ‘ Trés Leche Cake’, I fell in love with it. All this while I had eaten cakes that were that were like a pound cake so I could not get over the fact that this cake was so moist and yummy.

Usually I try to make something special for my close friends’s birthdays. This very good friend celebrates her birthday in April which is also the time when Indian celebrate ‘Holi’ , the festival of colors.

As you know I love to put an indian twist on dishes. As I was making this cake around Holi, I thought why not make this cake with  ‘Thandai flavors’!

Thandai is a milk based drink made on Holi. The literal meaning of the word is ‘ a cooler’, something that cools the body. It is perfect for Holi since that is summer time in India. To make Thandai, a paste is made with various spices and almonds etc and then mixed in sweetened milk.  It so served in small clay cups.

So back to my cake. It is a basic sponge cake soaked with goodness of the wonderfully flavored Thandai Milk.  It is actually ‘Quatro Leche Cake’, you will see how.

Ingredients

For the sponge cake

4 eggs at room temperature separated

1 cup granulated sugar

1 1/2 cup all purpose flour

1 tbsp baking powder

Pinch of salt

2 tbsp Thandai Masala ( you can buy it in any store )

1/2 cup whole milk.

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Sift flour with baking powder & salt.

Mix the Thandai Masala with the milk.

Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites for 1min till they start becoming a but frothy.

Add sugar and beat till soft peaks form.

Add one yolk at a time and keep whisking.

Add the flour mixture and milk mixture alternatively.

So it will be something like-

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup flour

1/4 cup milk

1/3 cup flour

 

Take a baking pan and butter and flour it well. It is very important since that will ensure that the cake comes out of the pan in a clean way.

I also put a parchment paper for extra ease.

Now pour the batter in the prepared pan. Make sure the pan in at least 10 inches round or even 9x 13, if you take a smaller pan the cake is too tall and the liquid does not get absorbed very well.

Bake for about 30 mins until the knife comes out clean. 

Let the cake cool on a stand for about 30 mins.

Now the fun part.

Milk goodness mixture

1 14 oz can of condensed milk

1 can of evaporated milk

1 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 – 3/4 cup of ‘ Thandai Syrup’

 

Mix all the liquid ingredients.

Transfer the cake to a deeper dish, large enough to hold the cake and also hold all the liquid volume.

Poke a lot of holes in the cake

Now pour the milk mixture over the cake slowly paying extra attention to the edges.

Keep it in fridge ideally overnight. I feel that it allows the cake to take in all the liquid and develop some harmony.

As you can see the entire amount of liquid is all absorbed.

Frosting

1 cup of heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup of powdered sugar ( optional)

Whip the cream with or without the sugar until soft peaks form.

 

Now the bestest part

Serve yourself a nice big slice. Turn some nice music on.

Sit down and enjoy the cake.

I have made the cake toppers with brown edible clay. Filled it with the milk mixture and topped with the whipping cream.

BIRYANCINIS- Biryani goes to Italy

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I love watching Master Chef India. On that a couple of weeks ago someone had made arancinis with an Indian flavor. I remembered my experiment from two years ago a and thought I would blog it today. 

Here is my post from a couple of years ago. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/euphoric.delights/permalink/616844488354528/

Arancinis are fried rice balls that are stuffed with cheese, originated in Sicily. I ate Arancinis in a famous restaurant in New York. Since then I have been meaning to put Indian tadka on it.

 So here is my attempt of ‘BIRYANCINIS’

  

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Ingredients 

2 cups of rice

3.5 cups of water ( that is how much I use)

2 green cardamom 

2 brown cardamom 

2 inch stick of cinnamon 

1 bay leaf

1/4 tsp black pepper corn

1/4 tsp cloves

Few thread of saffron soaked in 1 tbsp milk

Chopped mint and cilantro

1 egg

Method :

Soak rice in cold water for atleast 45 mins. 

Boil  water with all the whole garam masala like Cinnamon, clove, cardamom, bay leaf.  

Add soaked rice and cook until done. When it is almost ready add saffron. 

After it was cool add chopped cilantro n mint. Add the egg and mix. 

 Stuffing

1/2 onion chopped

1 lb minced chicken 

Chopped mint 

1 green chili chopped fine

Powdered garam masala containing cardamom, shahee jeera,mace powder

1/3 cup shredded pepper jack cheese

1/2 bread crumbs seasoned with dry mint & paprika

Sauté chopped onions till caramelized.

 Add chopped green chili, garam masala powder.Add minced chicken and cook. Add a lot of chopped mint.

 When cooled, add the shredded pepper jack cheese( enough to bind) .

Make balls of the cooked rice with chicken mixture in the centre. 

Dip the balls in beaten egg white( we had only used yolk for the filling), roll in bread crumbs.  Deep fry in oil( next time will try it in appam pan).

Serve with cilantro raita as a dip.

Shrikhand and Sicily

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Today is ‘Gudhi Padwa‘, it is the New Year for us. We believe that today is the day when Lord Brahma began the creation of the world. This day people start new ventures, buy new things even buy new homes. People from Iran also celebrate their new year, Nowruz today. I guess because it is based on Lunar Calendar and we also follow Lunar Calendar in India.

I always find it fascinating that my mother tongue Marathi has so many words from Persian language. It was also interesting to know that the community I belong to, traces some of its genes way back to Iran.  I love learning about such connection and then observing the similarities in foods, rituals etc.

My work took me to Sicily a couple of years ago and needless to say I loved it. I was in Catania which has a very rustic cute downtown. Cobblestone streets, open cafe, small pastry shops- it was amazing. This is where I tried the famous Sicilian Cannoli.

I loved that contrast of Crisp, flaky pastry filled with creamy, fluffy Ricotta cheese with a crunch of chopped pistachios.

Cannoli comes from Siciliy but originated probably from Iran. There is a Iranian Pastry which sounds very similar to Cannoli, ‘ Qanawat’, I thought it was very interesting.

Going back to my new year story, I decided to celebrate Gudhi Padwa and Navroj this year with a desert which is a fusion of  ‘Shrikhand & Qanawat’.

Presenting –

Cannoli filled with Shrikhand

 

Shrikhand 

Ingredients

64 oz yogurt ( I prefer whole milk yogurt for this recipe)

1 1/2 cup sugar

1/2 Tsp salt

1/2 tsp grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp Saffron

Method

Hang the yogurt the night before you plan to make it.  You can keep it outside or in the fridge.

Take the saffron and warm it gently. Crush it and mix with 1 tbsp of milk.

Take the thickened yogurt and mix in sugar, salt, spices and mix well.

Your Shrikhand is ready.

Cannoli Shells

The cannoli shell recipe is based on Mario Batali’s recipe. It is very simple and easy.

Ingredients: 

2 cups  All purpose flour

1 1/2 tbsp cold unsalted butter

1 tbsp sugar

1 egg yolk

1/2 cup white wine

1 egg white optional

Method

Cannoli Shells-

Cut butter in small pieces.

Mix flour & sugar. Take butter and cut into the flour till it resembles grains of sand.

Add egg yolk and mix a little.

Add the wine and mix it very lightly barely till the dough comes together.

Now take a plastic wrap and put the dough in the wrap and keep it in the fridge for an hour.

Making the cannolis

If you check any recipes for cannoli you will see that it needs Cannoli molds. Since I don’t have the molds, I decided to make my own.

My son who also loves cooking had an idea. He went to the hardware store and got a 1″ inch pipe and got it cut in 5″ pieces, and there we had our cannoli molds.

Heat oil in a pan. Make sure there is enough oil that the dough with the pipe is submerged.

Take the dough out is the fridge and knead very lightly. Roll it out very thin.

Use a bowl to cut a circle.

Take the cannoli mold and wrap the rolled out circle around it. Make sure there is some overlap and use water or egg white to seal that overlap in place.

Also, flare out the ends so it is easy to take out the mold after the pastry is cooled.

Fry in the oil till golden brown.   

Let it cool and then take the mold out gently.

You can make the cannoli shells ahead but fill them up when you are ready to serve.

Filling the shells 

Take a pastry bag or a plastic bag and fill with the Shrikhand. Use a big star tip and fill up the shells from either sides.

Take chopped pistachios and dip both ends of the cannoli.

Enjoy your Shrikhand Canoli & Happy New Year!

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Chai spiced cake with lemon grass -ginger tea glaze

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 I love Chai..that actually is an understatement. I can not live without Chai. When I say Chai, I am referring to the typical Indian Chai you get in India, flavored with either cardamon, ginger, lemon grass, sweetened with sugar and of course with milk. So when I had to bring something to work for a Diwali potluck, I thought of sharing my love for Chai with my colleagues.

If you have had a chance to look at my recipes you would notice that I love to combine flavors. I love taking flavors from a cuisine and combining it with a technique that is from a different cuisine. Todays recipe is one such example.

Here I have combined the Chai masala flavors alogn with Lemongrass ginger tea glaze with the classic cake. The cake is similar to a pound cake, but I have added some yogurt to add some tang.

Chai Masala Cake

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Ingredients:

For Filling/Topping:

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1 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 ½ tsp flour
1/3 c chopped walnuts
2 tsp Chai (tea) Masala
I make my own Chai masala with all the spices ( recipe below)

For  the Batter:

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1 ¼ c flour
1/8 tsp salt
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
6 Tbsp butter, room temperature
½ c sugar
2 large eggs
¾ c thick yogurt
½ tsp vanilla
Method:
Pre-heat oven to 350 °F.
Butter the sides and bottom of a loaf pan and lightly dust with flour and remove excess.
 To make the topping/filling:  place butter, brown sugar, flour, walnuts and Chai Masala in a small bowl. Use a fork to mix till it is crumbly and set aside for later.
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Sift the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt).
Cream the butter and sugar together on low speed with a hand blender.
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Add the yogurt and mix it for 10 seconds. Once creamed, break in the eggs into the batter and incorporate well.  Add in the vanilla and mix.
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Add in the sifted dry ingredients and the yogurt alternately in the batter. Beat till it is all done and incorporated well into a smooth batter.
Pour half of the batter into the prepared loaf pan; tap to level it.
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Sprinkle filling mixture on the batter.
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finish with the remaining batter (tap again to re-level).
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Bake for 40-45 min at 350 F. Insert a toothpick to make sure it is baked.
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Let cake stand for 10 minutes before removing it from the pan; pour over the glaze.
It is totally optional if you want to make the glaze or not, I like it since it brings in the typical elements of Indian Chai
Glaze:
Ingredients:
2 tsp black tea leaves( you can use tea bags if you prefer)
1/2 cup chopped lemon grass
1/4 inch ginger
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup water
Chop the lemon grass and ginger in fine pieces. Add them to the water and boil on low flame till you are left with 1/2 cup water ( may be a little more).
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Strain & add tea leaves, let it seep till you have a nice tea flavor. It may not look pretty but tastes good.
Strain the mixture and discard the tea leaves. You will have lemon grass and ginger infused tea.Cool the tea.
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Mix the powdered sugar with the water and mix well.
 Serve warm or at room temperature.
Chai Masala:
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground cardamom
½ tsp ground nutmeg
½ tsp ground black pepper
¼ tsp ground cloves
Mix all the ingredients well.

Breakfast( or Lunch) muffins with Quinoa

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It has been crazy last few days, have not had a chance to write a post. This one is from the archives.

It is always challenging to pack something for the kids lunch that is healthy, quick to make, should taste good at room temperature and last but not the least, the kids should like it. This recipe fits the bill in my household. I like it since it is nutritious and quick to make.

So I will be honest that I don’t love quinoa. I know there are many good proteins in quinoa but I can not bring myself to use it as a substitute for rice in any traditional Indian recipes.
I also think that there are many people in the world who don’t have quinoa in their diet and still they have managed to stay healthy.

Having said that I do try to incorporate as many wholesome ingredients in our diet as I can, so this recipe is an effort along those lines.

Healthy eating series- Breakfast muffins with Quinoa

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So I will be honest that I don’t love quinoa. I know there are many good proteins in quinoa but I can not bring myself to use it as a substitute for rice in any traditional Indian recipes.
I also think that there are many people in the world who don’t have quinoa in their diet and still they have managed to stay healthy.

Having said that I do try to incorporate as many wholesome ingredients in our diet as I can, so this recipe is an effort along those lines.

Quinoa Muffins-
4 eggs
1/2 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp pav bhaji masala
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup chopped red bell peppers
1/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/4 cup onions caramelized ( I usually make a big batch and keep it in the fridge)
1 tsp chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped ham( optional)
1/3 cup shredded cheese

Prepare oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with cupcake liners
Spray with oil spray.

Beat eggs well with dry spices & salt. Mix rest of the ingredients.
Pour in the cupcake liners and bake for about 25-30 mins.

I pack this with a garden salad for my kids lunch box.

This recipe makes about 6 muffins.

Note:


I had made similar recipe with lemon rice quinoa with lots of green chillies and peanuts. That tastes good as well.

 

I did not get a chance to take step by step pictures this time, will update the post when I do next time.