28 November 2011

Pork and Pumpkin Curry

My mom completed 60 years this month and it is indeed a blessing to have God fearing parents and also have your parents still hearty and healthy. My mom is a quiet and patient person and she loves...loves her kitchen garden. She has 'green fingers' and so anything she plants be it flowers or vegetables almost always turn out nice and healthy. 

Surprisingly though, she is not a good cook and she predictably preferred gardening to cooking :) and so her dishes were pretty much wishy-washy most times ;). But Of course there were some dishes that she makes really well, one of that is Pumpkin Curry. We siblings love pumpkin curry, especially when it is paired with beef or pork.

Today's recipe is my interpretation of my mom's recipe. I would suggest that you do not substitute the mustard oil because the oil gives a distinct flavor to the dish, and Of course the addition of pork enhanced the magic of this dish. Enjoy it with hot steaming rice. Cheers to all the pumpkin lovers!

Pork - 500 gms with bones, cubed
Pumpkin - 500 gms, cubed
Garlic - 5-6 cloves, crushed
Onions - Two big, diced
Ginger - 1 Tbsp, crushed and diced
Dried Bay leaves - 2 big or 3 small
Green Chillies - 3 slit length wise
Red Chilli powder - 2 Tsp
Turmeric powder - 2 Tsp
Coriander powder - 1 Tsp
Garam Masala - 1 Tsp
Peanut or Sesame Oil - 2-3 Tbsp
Mustard Oil - 5 - 6 Tbsp
Water - 450 Ml
Salt to taste

Heat the mustard oil in a casserole or wok, brown the pork pieces and keep aside.
Clean the casserole and heat the mustard oil in it and add the bay leaves and garlic and saute till the garlic is fragrant
Now add the ginger and green chillies and saute further till the chillies are a little shriveled up
Put the pumpkin in and sprinkle some salt and fry for 3 - 4 minutes, then add the browned pork in and give it a good stir
Add the garam masala, turmeric powder, chilli powder and coriander powder and mix it up really well ensuring that the meat and pumpkin is well coated with the spices
Put the lid on and cook for about 5 minutes after which give it another good stir and add the water
When the water comes to a rolling boil, turn down the flame to simmer and cook until the meat is tender and the pumpkin soft and mushy

Mom's tip to selecting the pumpkin is to look for the ones with the broad stalks and yes these ones really do have better flavor. Please Enjoy!

25 November 2011

Fried Finger Bread

The feel of winter is in the air, here in Hyderabad. If you're outside the heat still burns your skin, but if you're inside the house, your toes get eerily cold you just wanna curl up inside the comfort of your warm bed :). Today's post is one of missing home and reliving some of the taste from my childhood, when life was truly carefree and 5 rupees was still a lot of money :).

I got hold of this recipe from my dear friend Naro and have been meaning to make it but kept postponing it because it is a deep fried delight. But with the winter air throwing up memories of home and the good ole days...i just had to make it :).

I grew up enjoying this fried bread in one of the tea stall back in my home town. They use to serve it fried like a puffed up ball. Fresh out of the pan, it use to be absolutely irresistible. I used to make sure that my mom brought this back with her whenever she go to the market :).

2 1/2 Cup - All Purpose Flour
1/2 Cup - Oil
1/4 Cup - Milk
1/2 Cup - Sugar
3 Tsp - Baking Powder
1 Tsp - Baking Soda
Veg oil for deep frying

This recipe is a very versatile one. The same recipe can be used for making fried doughnut, back at home we call it Naga Doughnut and this is something we loved making as kids on Christmas Eve staying up till 12 O'Clock to be gifted to friends and families on Christmas morning :).

  • Sieve the flour, baking soda and baking powder and keep aside
  • Beat the sugar, oil and milk using a hand mixer till the sugar is dissolved
  • Add the eggs one at a time and give it a good whisk
  • Heat the oil for deep frying with the flame on medium-low
  • Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour the wet mixture into it  and start combining it with your hand
  • The dough will be sticky, so add flour a Tbsp at a time and work on the dough till it stops sticking on your hand
  • Take the dough the size of a Tbsp and roll it out to a long cylindrical
  • Curve into a U shape and taking one end of the U, place it atop the other repeating till the ends are joined looking like a braid
  • Fry the fingers and keep tossing it so that all the sides are cooked
  • Fry it till it is nicely browned, lil' crusty outside but nice and cakey inside

My kiddo liked it, t'was his breakfast :). I'll definitely be making this again on Christmas Eve and keep it as a  Christmas tradition for this family ;).

22 November 2011

Homemade Paneer/Cottage Cheese

My toddler has turn on waste mode again..this time it's his milk. Unfortunately for this household, i'm not (at all) a fresh milk person and so the excess milk posted a problem. I would make curd or curd cheese and use it in my baking and curries but there were days when it became all too much and i would be clueless as to what to do with it and so would end up making my tea (grudgingly) with it. 

Then one fine day, not so long ago, i came across the method of making paneer. I banged  my head that day wondering why i had never thought of that before. This is nothing new for a lot of homemakers but for me it was an exciting experience learning 'the basic' and i share this for the benefit of friends and family who may be as clueless as i am :).

I ripped this off Aipi's blog. I think i'm falling in love with her a little more day by day...lol. She has one amazing blog and i suggest you visit and drool (if you haven't), you'll thank me later ;).

All you need is...Milk and Vinegar. Yup! that's all you need. 

To get started, first bring the milk to rolling boil and then turn off the flame. Then add vinegar a table spoon at a time and mix it well. Immediately you will see the whey separating from the milk solids.

Now strain the whey from the milk solids using a colander with a muslin cloth placed atop it.

Wrap it up and put as much weight as you can on top so that the remaining excess water can be drained out. 
I would suggest making it in the morning and letting it drain the whole day and then using it for your dish. You alternately freeze it up in a ziplock bag for use later. 

Psst..psst ..sorry about the poor photographs..lets blame it on the weather.

To make around 450 grams of paneer i used around 2 liters of full cream milk and 4 Tbsp of cider vinegar. The texture of the paneer was as good as the store bought ones and NOW i know why paneer are on the expensive side ;) as oppose to meat :).

Hope you enjoy experimenting as much as i did. Thank you so much Aipi at US Masala for the inspiration :) and the recipe. 

Note: Do not be shocked by the quantity of whey, the good news is that it's great for gravy curries...so no waste and 100% satisfaction :).

12 November 2011

Dutch Apple Cake

Is sending my hubby to buy fruits & vegetables a good decision? Alone??? NOoooooooooooooo!! Sometimes A lot of time it ends up in tragedy. Like this week, he volunteered to pick up Apples while i entertain our kiddo in the car. What is with men and bargaining and selecting things? I had to shout out to him "don't forget to bargain"...bargaining, he did BUT came back (to find out at home later) with well dented Apples :((. I was looking forward to having some crunchy, juicy Apples for dessert and what we had was black spotted, saw dust kinda textured basket of apples. Only one was decent enough to be had in it's truest form...you definitely would have to call the doctor after having the others...no kidding!

I was very disappointed, to say the least but then what was the point of ruing over it rite?? BTW to save his butt hubby told me, "what's the problem, just make apple cake", point to note, he hate cakes with fruits or vegetables, big talk! i know! Anyways, i decided to incorporate some in my cooking and some in my baking. 

Today's cake is inspiration from Rachel Allen's. It was extremely good. The cake is light and the apple with the goodness of honey was truly sensational. I have decided that henceforth, till i find something more fascinating, this is how my apple cakes are gonna be made. Here's the recipe.

1 Cup - Flour
1 Tsp - Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp - Baking Soda
1/2 Cup + 2 Tbsp - Sugar
Pinch - Salt
1/2 Tsp - Cinnamon Powder
1/4 Tsp - Nutmeg Powder
1 Tsp - Vanilla Essence
2 - Large Eggs or 3 Small ones
1/2 Cup - Veg' Oil
2 Tbsp - Whole Milk
1 - Big Apple Sliced!
 Honey to drizzle and serve :)

Preheat Oven at 180 degree C, grease a square baking pan and keep aside
Sieve all the dry ingredients into a bowl
Mix the Oil and 1 cup Sugar and give it a good mixing
Then add the Eggs one at a time, also the vanilla essence and blend it well
Add the dry ingredients into the wet in two or three batch
Add the milk to thin the batter slightly
Transfer the cake batter on to the prepared pan and then arrange the apple slices on top horizontally
Sprinkle the 2 Tbsp of sugar over the apple slices, to caramelize it
Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or till toothpick inserted comes out clean
Let cool for 5 - 10 minutes and then serve the warm cake with honey drizzled over it

A slice of this cake will, am sure, will keep the blues away :) :D. Enjoy!!

9 November 2011

Potato Pork Pie

I've been reading up about the English cuisine...and i was surprised to find myself salivating ;). When it comes to dessert, West definitely rules (i am a Rachel Allen and Nigella Lawson fan), BUT when it comes to the main dish on the table, it had to be Asian for me. I need the spices, bland was never grand and so I was very  skeptical of dishes without a bit of chilli in it.

But the last few weeks of reading up on some of the traditional English recipes have so intrigued me that i decided to keep my biases aside and attempt one of the recipe. I initially wanted to attempt Cottage Pie but unfortunately the beef shop was closed and so i had to settle on making this Potato Pork Pie. Beef and Pork being my favorite protein, and so the obvious choice of meat :).

It was so good, i loved it and enjoyed it thoroughly. I am planning to follow up on this recipe using chicken for Hubby's sake. If you love pork and potato and baked meals, this one is for you. Here's the recipe.

Ingredients for the Pork:
500g - Ground Pork
11/2 Cups - Carrot diced
11/4 Cup - Green Peas (i used frozen peas)
2 - Garlic Pods
1 Tsp - Dried Chives
1 Tsp - Dried Rosemary
1 Cup - Chicken Stock
Salt - As per taste
2 1/2 Tbsp - Veg Oil

For Mashed Potato:
300 g - Potato
2 Tbsp - Full Fat Cream
1/2 Tsp - Garlic Salt

Preparing the pork:
  • Heat oil in a wok and fry the onions till lightly browned.
  • Add the carrots and peas and saute for a couple of minutes and then add the ground pork.
  • Saute the vegetable and pork mixture till the meat starts to firm up
  • Add the chives and rosemary and salt and saute for a few more minutes
  • Now add the chicken stock, let me add here that you can use any stock of your choice :), let it come to boil and then turn heat down to simmer and cook till the pork is cooked
  • Tilt the wok so as to drain the excess oil from the meat
Preparing Mashed Potato:
  • Prick the potatoes with a fork and pressure cook the potatoes till tender (around 4-5 whistles)
  • Mash the potatoes with a wooden spoon or fork till there are no lumps
  • Add the cream and garlic salt
  • Preheat oven at 200 degree C when your pork is just about done.
  • Transfer the veg-pork mixture into a baking dish and spread it evenly
  • Layer the top with the mashed potato and bake it in the preheated oven for 20 minutes 

Have it straight out of the oven, garlic bread pairs well. Drain the fat down by having some oranges or sweet lime and  all will be well :). With a recipe like this one i am looking forward to winter....

5 November 2011

Baked Sweet Potato

My better half loves sweet potato fried. I love it steamed. He doesn't like steamed and i don't enjoy it fried. So i stopped buying it since i could never get the potatoes fried to his liking and it's left untouched if it is steamed.

Then recently i decided to goggle and see if i can fish out a recipe which both of us can enjoy. I decided to check out at Group Recipes, which is something like a recipe sharing community :) cool huh!! 

I'd hooked up over there recently and have been inspired to put new twists to everyday cooking. As expected there were a couple of sweet potato recipes. I read up most of the recipes and decided to make my dearest hubby some sweet potato for breakfast.

2 - Big Sweet Potatoes
1/2 + 1/2 Tbsp - Salted Butter

  • Preheat oven at 200 degree C, grease a baking tray with some oil and set aside
  • Clean and chop up the potatoes into square bite size pieces and divide into two batches
  • Heat a frying pan, once hot put half the tablespoon of butter and fry up the first batch of potatoes for 2-3 minutes on each side, repeat the same for second batch of potatoes using the remaining butter
  • Bake the fried sweet potatoes in the preheated oven for 10 minutes
The top will be crisp but soft and neatly cooked inside. Serve it with a glass of orange juice or light red tea with sugar. 

Needless to say...the Man was thrilled :D. Am not sure what's so great about having sweet potatoes for breakfast but i guess he felt the Love. I also enjoyed the potatoes and so this conflicting chapter in now officially closed :) phew!!

It is never the big things BUT little acts of LOVE that sustain and keep a relationship healthy. Happy weekend!