13 November 2018

Whole Orange Cake -- Sicilian Orange Cake

Winter is here, peeps! The days are shorter, nights colder, the morning air crisp and cool, and the winter skin is dying from dryness. But no worries! Oranges from Nagpur are here aplenty to resurrect the withering skin and soul. My home town, Tamenglong district, is know for its juicy oranges within the Manipur state. We even celebrate a state level Orange Festival in the month of December. I'm crazy over oranges in the fall/winter season as much as I go bonkers over mango in summer. I enjoy baking with oranges, and I'm always in the look out for cake recipes that uses a whole orange. I've found the perfect, most moist, most orangy recipe ever in today's Sicilian Orange Cake. I bumped upon this recipe here. It so happen that the original source and I share the same first name. I guess I'm just meant to bake this cake and eat it too!😋😎


About the photo, somebody had a bite off it before I could get a decent picture of the whole cake😞 It sure is a delightful cake, this one -- soft, sweet, and tangy. The wonderful part is that it's such an easy, no fuss cake. The first time around, I followed the recipe to a T and found the sugar too overpowering. So, for today's recipe I reduced the sugar quantity both in the cake and the glaze -- it was just perfect!


Also, I used Kinnow orange for the cake and the Nagpur orange for the glaze. While this cake pairs well with chai, I enjoy it best with cho cham/green tea/ lal chai. Care for some orange cake? Let's bake!!


Ingredients
1/3 Cup - Curd/ Yogurt
1/3 Cup - Butter, softened
3 Large Eggs
1 3/4 Cup - Flour
2 1/2 Tsp - Baking Powder
1 Cup - Sugar
1 large Kinnow Orange, washed and cut into pieces (with the rind, minus the seeds)

Glaze
Juice of one Nagpur orange
1/4 Cup - Sugar

Instructions
Preheat oven to 175 degree C

In a food processor, process the whole orange until it is almost pureed.

Prepare an 8" making pan, springform pan, preferably. Oil or butter the baking pan, best to line the bottom if you're using regular pan. Keep aside.

Place the sugar and eggs in a large bowl and beat with a mixer until it double in size.

Sift the flour with the baking powder and add to the wet mixture a little at a time along with the softened butter. Continue to mix until completely blended, then stir in the curd.

Now, add the pureed orange to the cake mixture and stir until evenly combined, then put the batter into the prepared tin.

Bake for 40 minutes (depending on your oven), or until the center of the cake is firm and a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Make sure the cake is done before removing from the oven. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, then remove the side of the springform pan. If you're using a regular pan, make sure the bottom of the cake is cool to your touch before removing, else the cake will tear at the bottom.

Prepare the glaze by melting the sugar in the orange juice and allow to simmer for a few minutes, just until the liquid has a syrupy consistency. Brush over the top of the cake and allow to cool completely. Then cut a big piece, close your eyes, and dream of orange heaven. Enzoy!!!

30 October 2018

Wai Wai with Bacon and King Chili ~ Memories of hostel life

Why Wai Wai? Because this thing was a life saver during those hostel days when hostel food had the power to send you into a deep and dark depression. And guess what? My relationship with this packet isn't over yet -- in fact, the love for it has been passed on to the next generation. The son loves it too! For days when you're too tired, too lazy, too uninspired to cook something, anything...wai wai continues to be a life saver.


I have so many fond memories of enjoying wai wai in hostel with my girlfriends -- stealing vegetables from the hostel pantry, bully/beg the cook to boil some hot water, pleading with him not to inform the Mess Manager😅 We've had wai wai in various ways; some really delicious, some utterly disgusting if one were to recreate it now😆 With this thoughts come the realization that I'm not in touch with many of them now. Girls with whom I have had many food memories. Isn't this the magic of  food? A certain taste, a certain aroma, and it jog ones memory afresh.


So today I'm rounding off my last post for the month of October with this simple dish (my favorite way of enjoying a bowl of wai wai these days) reminiscing about the past. Do you also have interesting memories associated with wai wai? Or, a favorite wai wai recipe?

Ingredients
1 packet - Wai Wai
1 - Raja Chili
3-4 - Bacon strips
1 Tbsp - Coriander or Spring onion

Method
Cook the noddles as per your preference. I love soupy, so I normally add water till the entire noodles is submerged.

As you wait for the the water to heat up, take a pan and brown the bacon on both sides. Make sure you don't crisp it up too much -- control the heat so that it's hot enough just to brown the bacon and remove some oil from the fat. Keep aside.

Once the water come to a rolling boil, you embody Nigella Lawson. Take a kitchen scissor and snip up the bacon and raja chili into the pot. I suggest you use just the skin of the chili and not the seeds. This way you get to enjoy the refreshing taste of the king chili without your tongue and lips going numb.

Continue cooking till the water reduces a tad bit. Turn off heat, chop up any green herbs you have, give it a good mixing, and your yum yum wai wai is ready. Enjoy!!

26 October 2018

Caramelized Gooseberries/Talouthoi/Amla

I love gooseberries. I enjoy having it as is with a pinch of salt, soaked in salt water, sweetened and sun-dried, as a juice....every which way it's made.


This recipe happened by accident. I had some gooseberries with me which were getting spoilt and I wanted to preserve it by soaking the fruits in sugar syrup.


So I dumped the batch into a sauce pan, throw in a cup of sugar and some water. My intention was to let it come to boil, let the sugar dissolve, and keep it aside to cool. Unfortunately, I completely forgot about it as I got carried away with doing other chores. When I came around to it, the sugar had totally caramelized and frothing away, almost turning into toffee.


I quickly took it off heat, poured water over it, and let it cool. Amazingly, what happened was that the ordinary green amla had turned into a brown beauty queen -- sooo good! If you're an amla kind of person that is -- my husband didn't care two hoots about my excitement😏 Also, the longer the gooseberries steeped in the syrup, the better it tasted. Yesssss! Try and see how you like this new way of having Vitamin- C.

Ingredients:
500 grams - Fresh Gooseberries
1 Cup - Sugar
1 Cup + 1/2 Cup - Water

Method:

Put the gooseberries, sugar, and 1 cup water in a saucepan. 

Cook  this mixture in high heat for about 30 minutes until the sugar begins to bubble/frothy.


Once it starts bubbling, turn down heat to simmer until the sugar begin to caramelize or smell burnt and turn brown. By this time, both your gooseberries and your sugar would have turned brown. Take it off  heat and pour the remaining 1/2 cup water into the saucepan, give it a good stirring, and put it back on the stove. Bring it to boil, then turn off heat. Keep covered till it comes to room temperature.

Once cooled, prick the gooseberries and let it steep in the syrup for as long as you can delay the eating😄


Serve your caramelized gooseberries with the syrup, like you would serve rasgulla or gulab jamun etc. You can enjoy this at room temperature or chilled. It's delicious both ways. If you have leftover syrup, raise a toast to yourself and gulp it down. Enjoy!

23 October 2018

Fresh Bamboo Shoots Chutney

It's been months, a year? more like close to two? since my last post. It's been so long that I'd even forgotten how to use the camera 😅 Reasons for my long absence are a plenty. However, all I want to share with you today is my love for fresh bamboo shoots, in chutney form this time around.


I've been meaning to share this recipe for the longest time. However, getting hold of fresh bamboo shoots was imposible (to be pronounced in Spanish😎). Fortunately, mid this year I got to go to my hometown to show off my new baby💃(one of the reasons for MIA) and came back to the city lugging steamed fresh bamboo shoots, which went straight to the freezer. This recipe is very fresh, very yum, you must try it out when you get your hands on some fresh whole bamboo shoots.


Note: Steamed bamboo shoots freeze well for over 4 - 5 months.

Ingredients:
Ngari (Fermented fish) - 3 big ones
Garlic - 7-8 cloves
Fresh Green Chillies - 10
Fresh Raja Mirch - 1
Salt - as per taste
Whole steamed bamboo shoots - 1, shredded and chopped

Method:

If using steamed bamboo shoots that's frozen, defreeze it by pouring hot water over it and letting it sit for a couple of minutes while you get the chutney base.

Roast the ngari over a slotted aluminium spoon or any old metal plate/lid with a perforated surface, keep aside. Now, roast the green chilies and the raja mirchi in the same manner till it's slightly burned on all sides and keep aside.

Once all the ingredients are prepped, first put the ngari, garlic, a little salt and pound it up till well mashed using mortar&pestle.  Then, add the green chilies and king chili, continue pounding till the chilies are broken down and the things are well combined.

Finally, add the shredded and chopped bamboo shoots, give it a through mixing. Voilà! your chutney is ready.

If you need more texture, you can add shredded dried meat, some fish mint root, some stink beans etc. Enjoy!!