27 January 2014

Lime Bars made with Oats flour!

I love lemons! Love lemony cakes and bakes even more! I had obsessed over this cake years back and this year round it is these Lemon bars. My friend introduced me to it, and it was love at first bite! I've had my friend make this for me a couple of times but had never bothered to bake it at home.

Last week, i had this major craving for some lemony-buttery goodness. So finally i baked it at home. The first time round, the crust was slightly browned, as the oven temperature too high, and also baked for too long. It was good, but the lime curd had dried a little instead of mouse like consistency it ought to be. The photos of the lime bars are from my second attempt. This time round i wanted to add some semblance of healthy something into it, and so i used part oats flour and also readjusted the oven temperature and baking time. The result as you can see is lush, moist, lemony, buttery, and can i say...healthy goodness, i just cannot get enough of. 

It is a very delicate desert, and me with my heavy hand just could not get a neat slice, so i decided to click them in the tin itself before i gobble up everything. You absolutely must use country eggs to get this intense lemony yellow color. Salivating already?? Ah! When life hands you lemons, i say, make this lemon bars...much better than lemonade i promise! :).

I love it just the way it is, but if you so prefer, you can dust some powdered sugar and just slurp! slurp! away. Enjoy!!

For the Base
1/2 Cup - Plain Flour
1/2 Cup - Oats Flour ( blitz ready to eat oats)
100 gms - Butter, I used regular Amul butter
1/3 Cup - Icing Sugar

Lime Curd
1/2 Cup - Granulated Sugar
1/2 Tsp - Baking Powder
2 - Country Eggs, medium sized, if small, use 3 eggs
1/3 Cup - Lime Juice
Zest of 2 Lime

Preheat oven to 170 centigrade and keep a 7 or 8 inch square ungreased baking pan ready.
Mix the ingredients for the crust, blitz in a food processor, then press it into the square baking dish to form the base and bake it for 20 minutes.
As the base bakes, take the ingredients for the lime curd, blitz it in the same food processor and pour this mixture on top of the hot pre-baked base and bake it further 20 mins.
The lemon bar is done when the top is soft yet firm to the touch.
Cool till the base of the pan is cooled enough to handle and then cut it into squares and serve.

16 January 2014

Rice Gruel with Pork Fat and Dried Gongura leaves/ Napniang Gaan in Rongmei - Happy New Year!!

A wonderful and prosperous New Year wishes to you dear readers of PanCuisine. I hope 2014 is treating you well already. Rice represents fertility and prosperity in most cultures, and so i am kick-starting my first post here with a Rice dish. 

Today's dish is a rice gruel dish called Napniniag Gaan, a typical Rongmei dish that i grew up on, loved by the young and old. The word gruel is somehow associated with poverty, and the reason for that are many i suppose, but this dish is supper rich. The preparation of this dish is similar to the Thai rice gruel, where it differs is the use of fermented lard/pork fat. Fermented lard is the central flavouring agent in most of the vegetable curries among the Rongmei Nagas residing in Tamenglong, my home town.

Since i did not have fermented lard, i used the fat reduction from my pork chops. What i normally do is strain the remaining fat-oil, store it in the fridge, and use it in my vegetable curries. This dish is pure comfort food for me. Rice gruel is for me, what a soup would be for a westerner. It makes me feel closer to my roots, it reminds me of my Grand mom's kitchen, all the heart warming food enjoyed near the hearth with my many cousins. It evokes a lot of happy memories.

The hero of the dish is the dried Gongura leavesGankhiang in Rongmei. There are two varieties of this leaf, differentiated by the flower it produces, red or white. The white flower variety is the one i am using today. The red flower gongura leaves are available in plenty here in Hyderabad, used in varied ways by the locals in their cooking.

Anyway, I added fresh pork fat as well, just because :). When buying pork chops, if the fat is too big, what i do is cut off major chunk of the fat and freeze it for later use. It always come in handy for a dish like this one. This recipe is sufficient for 3-4 people. This is a great way to use up left over rice. as well. This dish is a meal in itself, but most families back at home prefer to have this served with rice, yes rice, and some spicy chutney. You can cook this dish in a pressure cooker or a deep bottomed pot. Here is the recipe.

 2 Cups - Cooked leftover rice (if using raw rice, 2 handful of rice will do)
4 Cups + 3 Cups - Water
1 - Onion
Thumb sized - Fresh Ginger
5 Pods - Garlic
2 Cups - Dried Gankhiang/Gongura
1 Tbsp - Lard
1 Think Chunk - Fresh Pork Fat
1 Tbsp - Bamboo Shoot
4 - Red dried Chillies
1-2 Tsp - Turmeric Powder
Salt - As per taste

It is easiest to cook this in the pressure cooker. Put the rice and 4 cups of water, some salt and bring it to a rolling boil. Let cook for about 5-10 minutes. Take the pressure off, then add the remaining water and the rest of the ingredients, check the salt and spice (chili heat), put the cooker back in the stove and let it cook open for a good 15-20 minutes. Once done, serve it piping hot. Enjoy a warm, rich, gruel goodness!!!