Tea is incomplete without a tasty snack. Whether you want to enjoy evening tea with your soul mate alone by the bedroom window or with crazy bunch of friends, a good coffee/tea with a yet tasty snack is always welcomed by millions. Let’s enjoy something from the land of Australia today. Vegemite and cheese scrolls are all delicious and delight and brings smile even if the budget is tight. Agree or not? The best part of this snack is that it can be popped into office lunch boxes or enjoyed over and again with high tea. Moreover I am very fond of crazy snacks recipes. Let’s try the following delight.
Australian Vegemite and Cheese Scrolls
250 ml Milk,
Salt to taste,
Pepper to taste,
Vegemite to taste,
250 grams Self Raising Flour,
30 grams chopped cold Butter,
55 grams grated Swiss Cheese.
1. Preheat the oven to 200 D.C. Grease with butter, a medium sized baking tray.
2. Add flour, butter and seasonings in a food processor blend until it resembles fresh breadcrumbs.
3. Now add milk. Mix until combined. Tip the dough out on a slightly floured bench top. Roll into a 30 x 45 cm rectangle.
4. Spread Vegemite and top with grated cheese generously . Roll into a log. Cut into 2 cm slices. Place onto a greased oven tray.
5. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden. Serve warm or at room temperature with hot tea or coffee.
Hey pals! How are you doing? Hope you have enjoyed my vegetarian recipe, Dal Makhni (Black Lentils, Red Kidney Beans and Indian Spices Gravy). India is not only popular because of it’s vegetarian recipes but non-vegetarian delights equally rule over the heart of millions. I am preparing Chicken Dopiaza today, wherein Hindi language “Do” means two and “piaza” means onion. Nevertheless Chicken Dopiaza is all about the rich chicken gravy with prominent flavors of onions. Not only this but “Lamb Dopiaza” is one of the most demanded curries in Indian homes and restaurants. I have used Garam Masala (Indian Powdered Ready-made Spices) here. It is available on general stores pretty easily. I also have a remedy for it if it isn’t available.
Garam masala is powdered mixture of black peppercorns, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and mace, black and green cardamom pods, bay leaf and cumin seeds. Hence you can prepare it easily at home to enjoy real flavors of any spicy Indian recipe. I have already kept a bottle at my home, you don’t require grinding these ingredients each time. Just like Dal Makhni, this recipe is best paired with Naan (oven baked flatbread), lacha parantha (multi-layered fried North Indian flatbread) or steamed rice, if you are a rice eater just like me. I also like pairing it with Dry Fruit Fried Riceor Kashmiri Pulao. You must try this recipe also, rice lovers are gonna love it, I can bet. Let’s add some more colors and spice on the India’s Independence day with “Chicken Dopiaza”.
4 diced Onions,
1 teaspoon Salt,
8 Chicken Thighs,
2 chopped Tomatoes,
4 tablespoons Yoghurt,
3 chopped Garlic Cloves,
½ tablespoon Chilli Powder,
1 tablespoon of Mustard Oil,
1 teaspoon ground Turmeric,
½ tablespoon Garam Masala,
1 tablespoon Coriander Seeds,
1 1/2 tablespoons grated Ginger,
1 tablespoon Cumin Seeds Powder.
Blend onions, ginger and garlic. Set aside. Take a pan and heat oil. Put in the sliced onions and fry until golden brown. Remove the onions and set aside.
Remove pan from the heat. Add the blended onion paste. Place the pan back on heat. Keep stirring the paste for 3 minutes, till it turns golden brown.
Add coriander, cumin, turmeric plus chilli powder. Stir well. Add in two tablespoon of yogurt. Mix well. Add chicken. Stir for a minute. Let chicken be well coated with the spicy mixture in the pan.
Add in tomatoes and salt. Stir thoroughly. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Sprinkle over garam masala and fried onions. Cook till the chicken is completely cooked.
15 August plays very important role for Indians. Overthrowing colonial British rule led to India’s tryst with destiny, which was a major speech delivered by Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of India. Independence day is also celebrated in New York and other major cities in US. It is observed that more than 50,000 Indians showcase and enjoy the colors of their cultural extravaganza in New York City wherein dance performances are among the highlights of the programme. The atmosphere is nevertheless charged with vibrancy and festive spirit of Indian culture. If such is the spirit of Indians in US, imagine the celebration throughout India.
We may not be present there but we can definitely taste popular delicacy of India and cheers for Indians. So let’s prepare Dal Makhni or Daal Makhni. To add onto this, I am very fond of Indian recipes. Hope you have tried Traditional Rajasthani red meat recipe. Dal Makhni is a spicy and heavy vegetarian recipe prepared of black lentil, red kidney beans, butter, heavy cream and lots of Indian spices. It is best paired with Naan (oven baked flatbread), lacha parantha (multi-layered fried North Indian flatbread) or plain boiled rice, if you are a rice eater just like me.
Dal Makhni (Black Lentils, Red Kidney Beans and Indian Spices Gravy)
4 cups Water,
Salt as required,
1 chopped Onion,
2 chopped Tomatoes,
6 cloves minced Garlic,
1 tablespoon Salted Butter,
1 teaspoon Cumin Powder,
½ teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
½ teaspoon Red Chili Powder,
3 tablespoons Full Fat Cream,
1 tablespoon shredded Ginger,
½ cup Red Kidney Beans (Rajma),
1 cup Whole Black Gram (Urad dal),
3 tablespoons Clarified butter (Ghee),
1 tablespoon Garam Masala (Indian Powdered Ready-made Spices).
Soak whole black lentils and red kidney beans overnight. Take a pressure cooker. Add all the ingredients with water.
Pressure cook with 15 whistles. Let the cooker cool. Check if the lentils are cooked. Check by mashing them up with spoon. They must easily mash.
If not cooked thoroughly, again pressure cook for 3 whistles more with 2 cups of water. Now again open the cooker, after cooling. Let the dal simmer in the cooker for 15 minutes. By this time, you achieve smooth and creamy consistency.
Add one tablespoon of cream if desired. Simmer for 5 minutes more. Add on salted butter while serving.
Hey pals! What’s up? Hope you enjoyed my sugar feast, Baklava for Id-ul-Fitr. Here I come with a special dinner recipe called Chicken Korma. Korma is a Muglai specialty. DYK it is AKA (also known as) qorma, kormaa, khorma or kurma. Meat braised in extra spicy sauce and mixed with yogurt, cream and nuts, makes the family dinner table really tempting with this exotic treat. The recipe can be best paired with Naan or Kashmiri Rice. There are many more recipes related to this special occasion like Mutton Biryani, which is definitely an ace and the one I have already shared with you. Other delights include:-
A much awaited Muslim festival is here. DYK that Eid is known by different names in different countries? It is known as Ramazan Bayram which means Ramadan Feast or Seker Bayram meaning Sugar Feast in Turkey. People chiefly enjoy the dessert called “Baklava”, which is also our recipe for this auspicious occasion. Elder people are kissed on their right hand denoting special regards and respect for them. In Philippines, which is basically a Christian country, Eid is considered as a national holiday and is known as Wakas ng Ramadan.
In Indonesia, Eid-ul-Fitr is called Idul Fitri or Lebaran. Muslims pay visit to the resting place of their dear ones and pray so that their souls can rest in peace. Muslims in Africa also celebrate Eid with great pomp and show, feasting throughout Ramazan with their family, friends and ofcourse delectable food such as Mutton Biryani. Now I’m hungry 😛 . Baklava is a popular dessert of Middle East. It is basically a sweet and rich pastry made up of layers of filo. It is stuffed with chopped nuts. It is assembled or held together by honey or sugar syrup. So without any waste of time, let’s start the sugar feast with a sugar dessert. Here we go!
¾ cup Water,
½ cup Honey,
2 sticks Butter,
1 cup granulated Sugar,
4 cups chopped Walnuts,
16 oz thawed Phyllo Dough,
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice,
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.
2 tablespoons chopped Walnuts for garnishing,
2 tablespoons chopped Pistachios for garnishing.
Thaw baklava as per package directions. Refrigerate overnight. Place it on the kitchen slab for 1 hour before you start preparing the recipe.
Trim phyllo dough for fitting the baking dish. You can trim one stack at a time. Then cover it with a damp towel to keep it from drying out. Moist bottom and sides of dish with melted butter.
Prepare honey sauce now. In a saucepan, add ½ cup honey, 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons lemon juice and ¾ cup water. Bring it to boil over medium-high heat. Stir occasionally for 5 minutes. Let it cool.
For Preparing Baklava:- Preheat oven to 325 D. F. Grind walnuts in a food processor till finely chopped. Take a bowl and add 4 cups walnuts and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon.
Place 10 phyllo sheets in baking pan one by one. Brush each sheet with butter. Keep phyllo covered with damp towel. Spread ⅕ of walnut mixture over phyllo dough.
Add 5 buttered sheets of phyllo, then layer of nuts. Then add rest 5 sheets. Brush the top with melted butter. Cut pastry into 1½ inches wide strips, in rectangular shape as shown. Bake at 325 D. F for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Remove from oven. Immediately add the cooled syrup uniformly over the hot baklava. Let baklava cool completely. Keep overnight as such so that syrup is fully absorbed.
“Americans fell in love with Chinese food not because of its gastronomic excellence, but because of its affordability and convenience. They preferred the quick and simple dishes of China while shunning its haute cuisine.” I was reading this book Chop Suey, USA: The Story of Chinese Food in Americaand these lines sum up the Chinese food history and its success. Not only here in America, but Chinese Food has been sprinkling its flavors over many countries with its variety and scope for something more. Their food is like a painting, which, though complete and beautiful, gives space to add something more. This is what people around the world have been doing for many years. Every country gives its own touch to the already delicious Chinese food. There are a few factors which give Chinese Food its uniqueness. The Chinese philosophy of utilizing each and every part of the plant or the animal for cooking gives a diverse and new list of recipes.
Divided into many geographical areas, people in China use wheat for noodles and southern China has more seafood in its menu. No wonder, dishes like Cantonese Roast Duckwhich shining reddish brown treat, is a an authentic recipe portraying the real county’s taste. This dish is one of the most popular Chinese dishes. Sesame chickenis another sweet, deep fried chicken dish dressed with vinegar and cornstarch. Ironically native Chinese will not prefer this dish for it’s sweetness I guess. If you are into mellow spices then Sweet and Sour Porkis your Chinese thing. Pan fried chicken with sauce a mix of fruits and spices gives it a sweet and sour taste. Even the health conscious stars in Hollywood devour this. Orange Chicken is again an American Chinese dish which found its way to other countries via tongue. Coated with orange flavored sauce is an ecstasy. Today let’s start with the shining reddish brown Cantonese Roast Duck.
2 teaspoons Salt,
4 tablespoons Honey,
2 kg Oven-ready Duck,
1 tablespoon Rice Vinegar,
1/2 teaspoon Red Food Color (Optional).
For the Stuffing:-
1 tablespoon Oil,
1 tablespoon Caster Sugar,
1 tablespoon Hoisin Sauce,
2 teaspoons Five-spice Powder,
1 tablespoon Yellow Bean Sauce,
2 tablespoons Chinese Rice Wine,
1 teaspoon chopped Ginger Root,
1 tablespoon chopped Spring Onion.
1. Clean the duck. Remove wings and fat inside the vent. Blanch it in boiling water pot for 10 minutes. Dry and rub duck with salt. Tie the neck with string.
2. Now make the stuffing. Heat oil in a pan. Add all the ingredients. Bring to boil. Pour this mixture into cavity of the duck. Sew it properly.
3. take a small bowl and mix in warm water, honey, vinegar and red food coloring. Brush it all over the duck, giving several coatings. Hang the duck up with the head down using an S–shaped hook. Keep as such for 5 hours.
4. For cooking, heat the oven to 400 D.F. Hang the duck head down, on top rack. Keep a tray of boiling water at the bottom of oven. Reduce the heat to 350 D.F after 30 minutes. Take the duck out of oven. Cool for 5 minutes.
Think of a word for those who don’t leave their house. Most of us or I should say almost all of us will go for “Lazy”. But, under different conditions, when a person says “I am not leaving this God Damn House” then that person is known as a “Holdout”. Government or private firms try to woo such people by offering them millions of dollars for their land. That piece of land might not be large enough but crucial enough for that project. Many go for those million dollars but a few become “Holdouts”. One such story is of Deepti Sen living in West Bengal, India. Deepti stayed on rent at our place as she had her project for 6 months (in the year 2011). She became a good friend of mine and has an interesting story associated to her. The girl and her parents were offered huge money for their house in Bengal. Builders wanted that piece of land for a commercial project. However, she was least interested in money and said “No”. This was her 108 year old ancestors farmhouse. She has seen a lot of in this house. This house must be more living for her than other things. In the end, what we cling on to are the memories. They may be good ones or bad ones but once you are over them, they are memories, beyond good and bad.
Deepti had been to many places, but that farmhouse was always something she looked forward to. The most living thing among the living ones. She said that she won’t leave that house until her death. She was stubborn enough and didn’t leave that house and so is this food for today’s menu – Khichri. That’s a good recipe I learnt from her. Khichri has been in South Asian meals, especially India for centuries and will be there forever. With Eid-ul-Fitar coming ahead also check my recipe Mutton Biryani. For today, let’s try vegetable Khichri, loved by Asians especially Indians. Khichri is served with papad. Papad is a thin and crisp disc shaped Indian and Pakistani food. It is based on seasoned dough which is made up of black gram flour (urad daal flour). It is fried or prepared with heat. Many kinda flours are used for the same eg. lentils, rice, tapioca, chickpeas, potato etc. We get prepared papad in markets of India and Pakistan. All we needa do is fry or heat the discs and serve immediately. It’s chiefly popular in India. Nevertheless other countries enjoy it too. If you ask me why South Asian recipe? It’s because my research for Dragon Boat Race festival showed me a lot of new recipes.
1 Bay Leaf,
2/3 cup Rice,
4 Curry Leaves,
3¼ cups Water,
Salt as required,
1 chopped Onion,
1 small Cinnamon Stick,
1/3 cup Split Yellow Gram,
1/4 teaspoon Cumin Seeds,
2 tablespoons Clarified Butter,
1 cup chopped Mix Vegetables,
1/4 teaspoon Turmeric Powder,
Black Peppercorns as required,
1/2 teaspoon Red Chilli Powder.
Wash and soak rice plus split yellow gram (Chana daal) in water for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, drain and keep aside. Dice mix vegetables (carrots, beans, potatoes). Also use peas.
Heat clarified butter in a deep pan over medium flame. Add 3¼ cups water to boil. When clarified butter is hot enough, add cinnamon, black peppercorn, curry leaves, cumin seeds, cloves and bay leaves. Stir for 40 seconds.
Add chopped onion, saute until it turns golden brown. Add mixed vegetables. Saute for 3 minutes, reducing the heat. Now add soaked rice, daal, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt. Mix well and saute for another 3 minutes.
Add water and cover it with a lid. Simmer for 20 minutes over low flame. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Keep the pan after turning of the flame for 5 minutes to cool a bit. Serve hot.
You can also prepare the recipe in pressure cooker, using 2 whistles such that it is completely cooked. Cool the cooker for 5 minutes after the second whistle.
Garnish with tomato as shown. Serve hot with Papad and Pickle!
Name a festival celebrated by many but with different stories of its evolution? There are a lot of them and this goes on to prove that though we have different stories, we reach the same end or a beginning, may be. However, in China you call it “Duanwu Festival” AKA The Dragon Boat Festival. Chinese have this ancient thing with Dragons – I guess we all do. According to Chinese mythology, Dragons are evolution ancestor of humans and control Water, Rainfall, Hurricanes and Floods. They are the symbol of power, strength and good luck. If we look closely, we realise that every important thing which can affect our lives is either controlled or represented by Dragons- they do matter a lot. Stories behind Dragon Boat Race fest are quite amusing. One story says, “Qu Yuan”, a poet and minister committed suicide by drowning in river due to a disagreement with the King.
His followers searched for him with their boats – hence the Dragon Boat race- and threw rice dumplings – the food of this blog- so that fishes won’t eat Yuan and go for rice instead. Other one says a girl named “Cao E” jumped in river to save her drowning father but both of them drowned instead. So this day is to remember her sacrifice. I see Duanwu as a festival to celebrate and respect sacrifice. On this day people go for the Dragon Boat race(obviously!), wear perfumed medicine bags, MAKE AN EGG STAND at Noon and eat ZONGZI with realgar wine. Even you should try to make an egg stand at noon and get good luck for the next year! All in all people pray for a healthy and happy life. Chinese food is my all time favorite. Since this festival is in June, let’s try Zongzi for a healthier, safer and a ‘Food Full’ year.
100 gms Abalone,
4 salted Egg Yolks,
4 Japanese Conpoy,
600 gms Green Beans,
600 gms Glutinous Rice,
4 Tablespoons Soy Sauce,
280 gms chopped Pork Belly,
1/2 Tablespoon Five-spice Powder,
4 dried round large size Lotus Leaves.
1. Soak rice and green beans for 5 hours. Then drain. Now soak mushrooms and Japanese conpoy for 2 hours. Drain well.
2. Marinate the pork belly with five-spice powder plus soy sauce for 2 hours. Lay down the lotus leaf on table with stem side facing down. Place rice in the centre of the leaf.
3. Add the marinated pork, Japanese conpoy, mushroom, abalone, salted egg yolk and green beans on top of rice. Add glutinous rice until the filling is covered.
4. Carefully wrap four sides of lotus leaf over the filling in a cone shape. Tie tightly with help of a string. Place zongzi in boiling water. Cover and cook for 3 hours. Serve hot!
“And it wasn’t until we were in the lifeboat and rowing away, it wasn’t until then I realized that ship’s going to sink. It hits me there.” This was Eva Hart, remembering an event which took place on the morning of 15th April 1912. Eva Hart was seven when she and her parents boarded the Titanic. I read the Titanic Short Story in Seventh Grade and loved it. Every time I watch Titanic – the movie – and look at Jack sacrificing his life for Rose I cry – I cry a lot by the way. Though Jack and Rose were fictional characters played by Leonardo and Kate Winslet, but the sacrifice was not. A protocol of “women and children first” left a number of men on that sinking ship. Titanic was called the Unsinkable. However the start was not smooth enough as it almost collided with a ship after a few minutes of her maiden voyage. Eva Hart’s mother was reluctant to board the ship because of a few ‘changes’.
A coal strike during that time canceled a lot of ships. However, Titanic managed the fuel supply and went on with the journey. Eva Hart’s family was left with no option but to buy a ticket for Titanic. Though they boarded the ship, Eva Hart’s mother didn’t sleep at night. I don’t know how but she knew something was not right. She was right. The world can never forget the passengers and crew members who went down with the Titanic but we can’t ignore what an awe-inspiring masterpiece Titanic was. Let it be the Grand Staircase or the gym, the squash court and the restaurant. Restaurant comes up with one more important thing- the food Menu. I was looking out for Titanic artifacts and stumbled upon the Food Menu. There is this one thing in the first class menu which sounded awesome – Fillets of Brill. I am very fond of fish recipes. Let’s try this and remember those who sacrificed their life for a life.
Brill in Lobster Sauce
4 Brill Fillets,
Salt as required,
Pepper as required,
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil.
For Lobster Sauce:-
150 ml Brandy,
Salt as required,
100 gms Butter,
285 ml Fish Stock,
150 ml White Wine,
Pepper as required,
2 chopped Shallots,
2 chopped Tomatoes,
150 ml Double Cream,
1 chopped Garlic Clove,
2 tablespoons Olive Oil.
1 Teaspoon of Caviar,
1 Teaspoon Chopped Chervil,
60 gm long chopped Asparagus.
1. Place the lobsters in the freezer. Place it on its back with its claws tied. Hold it firmly by top of its head. Place tip of Chef’s knife on the head just below its mouth.
2. Pierce the lobster’s head downward. Then place knife tip just to the body side of the junction of its tail and thorax and cut through the mid-line. Repeat the same for the second lobster.
3. Put lobsters in salty boiling water. Immediately simmer the heat and cook for 30 minutes.
4. Remove the white meat from the lobster. Chop lobster carcasses into small pieces. Put them in hot saucepan with olive oil. Cook for 4 minutes.
5. Add shallots and garlic. Stir for a minute. Add tomatoes to pan. Simmer for 10 minutes on a medium heat. Pour in the brandy. Flame the alcohol.
6. Once the sauce has settled, pour in white wine. Lower the heat to simmer. Pour in the fish stock/water. Simmer for 30 minutes. Sieve the sauce and return to a plan. Add double cream and bringing back to boil. Take off the heat and set aside.
7. Take another pan and stir-fry asparagus and samphire. Now in another pan, stir-fry the brill until golden brown.
8. For Garnishing, take a deep plate. Add in lobster sauce. On top of it add stir-fried samphire and asparagus. Then add the pan-fried brill. Serve hot!