30 August 2014

Cabbage Curry using rendered Pork Fat - Rongmei Naga Curryl!!

Today's recipe is a favorite curry of mine. Cabbage prepared the Rongmei way. Cabbage is such a versatile vegetable and super healthy too! I love it boiled, steamed, as a fresh salad, and the list goes on.  It is no surprise that even my son loves cabbage curry.

In the traditional Rongmei style of cooking this lovely vegetable, we would use 2-3 tablespoons of Ganampui, which is rendered pork fat, fermented near the family hearth. This would be usually added as the Magic ingredient that binds the whole dish together. The intense taste of this melted fat may not be everyone's cup of tea, but once your taste buds are baptized and converted to its unique flavor, there is no looking back.

City life, however, does not allow me the luxury of preserving Ganampui, so the next best option is to simply render fresh pork fat and add a tablespoon or two of flavored pork lard. For me, any excuse to add pork in my dish, is always, a very good excuse!

To those of you who have been experimenting with Naga cuisine, i encourage you to try this non-veggie vegetable dish. And the rest of you guys, staying far away from home, missing home and the hearth, cook this up and feel a little closer to home. Thank you all for stopping by -- Have a great food filled weekend!!

Pork Fat - 250 g
Flavored Lard - 1 Tbsp
Cabbage - 1/2 portion, diced
Onion - 1
Tomatoes - 3-4
Potatoes - 2-3 depending on size, diced
Salt -  As per taste
Red Chilli Powder - 2 Tsp
Garlic - 5-6 cloves
Water - 5-6 Cups

Cut the pork fat into small pieces and keep aside.
Heat a cooking pot, make it super hot, then sear and melt the fat, keep the fat pieces aside.
Add a tablespoon of vegetable oil into the cooking pot and fry the onions, light saute, make sure not to caramelize it, else your entire dish will taste very onion-ie (is this even a word ?;)).
Then, add the cabbage and tomatoes, saute for 2-3 minutes, return the fat pieces to the pot, add salt and chilli powder and mix.
Now, add the potatoes and water, cook covered till the water comes to a rolling boil. Then, smash the garlic pods with the back of your knife and dump it into the curry. Cover and cook till potatoes are cooked.
Once the potatoes are soft, mash some of the pieces to thicken the gravy.
Sprinkle some chopped coriander and this curry is ready to be served with warm rice and a nice chutney. Enjoy!!

4 August 2014

Easy Chocolate Cake - No Fail Recipe!!

It's been a long haul since my last post. Life has taken a drastic turn ever since i got back to working -- full time -- yes! hear! hear! -- after a gap of 5 long years, it's been pretty crazy!!! By God's grace, finally, the family has fallen into some semblance of a routine :D. Anyway, i hope all you lovely people are doing well. I intend to be more regular here at Pan Cuisine going forward, meaning weekend project! :)

On this note, today is all about a date with a very simple chocolate cake. I know i've posted quite a few chocolate recipes, but there's no harm in sharing another one i guess?? In the process of tasting and trying, you increase or reduce the quantity of an ingredient or two and then..voila! you end up with a perfect cake that covers all that you demand out of a cake - light, soft, chocolaty... This cake is just Supa! It is perfect for a tea time treat or to be enjoyed with a nice chilled milk. This will have you going back for more. Also, one perfect cake  to use this as base to make layered cakes.

Oh! please note, using vegetable oil in my cakes is just a matter of preference, you are most welcome to go the butter way, or may be a half of butter and vegetable oil even? Am sure you'll enjoy whatever it is you use! May i suggest though, that you use real vanilla extract instead of the essence which is synthetic and spoil the flavor of the cake. Go ahead and enjoy it with friends and family!

P.S. Keep the remaining cake in an airtight container to contain the moist texture. Happy baking!!

1 1/2 Cups - Plain Flour
1 Tsp - Baking Powder
1 Tsp - Baking Soda
1/2 Cup - Cocoa Powder
1/2 Cup + 2 Tsp - Sugar
2 Tsp - Real Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup - Veg' Oil (Canola or Sunflower)
4 - Eggs
4 Tbsp - Curd, beaten

Preheat oven to 170 degrees centigrade and line a 20 cm baking pan.
Sieve flour, baking powder and soda bicarb and cocoa powder into a bowl and keep aside.
Beat oil, sugar and vanilla till well combined, then add the eggs and whisk till frothy.
Mix the dry and the wet ingredients and blend till well combined, it'll be quite thick at this stage.
Add the beaten curd to the thick cake mixture, whisk till it become a smooth runny batter, now, pour this into the prepared baking pan.
Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes till the tip of a  knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. 
Once done, cool it inside the pan, on a rack for a couple of minutes, turn it out on to a plate, cut and serve it while it's still warm.
Maybe a dollop of vanilla ice cream at the side.... Enjoy!!