Archive for June, 2011

A Melt-in-Mouth Wonder

Who doesn’t love caramel custard!!! I love it and I haven’t met a single soul who does not. I have been wanting to make this for a very long time. I just have never actually made it though it’s a really simple to make dish and heavenly at the same time. To add to it I bought these ramekins at World Market the other day and was dying to use it. What better dish to break in the ramekins with – caramel custard / pudding.

Amit and I were watching the eight create channel on TV the other day and the chef was preparing the caramel custard / pudding. The name of the cook is Andreas Viestad. He was making Scandinavian Creme Caramel. It looked perfect and he seemed to really enjoy the creme caramel he had made. I tried to remember the ingredients and directions but then that was a few days back. And so I had to engage in a long and time-consuming internet search. And yes I was definitely successful, why else would I be posting this recipe right… So here’s the recipe for an awesome yet simple caramel custard / caramel pudding / creme caramel. It serves two and takes about 40 – 60 minutes.


Ingredients:

  1. 1/4 cup sugar
  2. few drops of lemon juice
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 1/2 vanilla bean
  5. 1/2 cup milk
  6. 1/2 cup heavy cream

Directions:

  • Place the sugar in a sauce pan with a few drops of  lemon juice and heat it on a slow flame until it makes a rich caramel syrup.
  • Once the caramel is a rich golden color, pour it in the ramekins quickly before the syrup stiffens and swirl the ramekins till the mold is covered with a layer of the caramel.
  • Heat the milk and cream in another saucepan. Make sure that you do not bring this to a boil. You just need it warm.
  • Split the vanilla bean and scrape the seeds.  Add both the seeds and the bean to the milk/cream.
  • While the milk and cream are getting warm, beat the eggs with a fork or whisk. You do not want to use an electric beater.
  • Strain the milk / cream mixture into the eggs slowly.
  • Add the leftover caramel into the mixture.
  • Bake in water bath at 300 deg F for 40 minutes or until the custard is set in the middle, covered with foil.
  • Chill the ramekins and unmold the pudding.
  • Use a knife to help unmold the pudding.

We had this both when it had just cooled and when it was chilled and it was delicious either way. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did. And thank you for reading the post.

Shilpa

Advertisements
A lip-smacking, mouth-watering delight!

Chicken Makhani, this is one dish I always thought is for the restaurant. Not one to be recreated at home as it’s almost impossible to get the right mix of ingredients or I missed something. So I never actually got down to trying the recipe. Then the other day I went to Fresh and Easy on the way back home from work and picked up some never frozen chicken breasts. I really wanted to make something very Indian with some yummy curry. So I decided to challenge myself to the elusive perfect chicken makhani or the famous butter chicken. I browsed through a zillion recipes online and based on what I saw I came up with my own recipe. One which I hoped would be THE PERFECT BUTTER CHICKEN / CHICKEN MAKHANI.  This recipe serves 2. And takes about 45 minutes to make if you multitask making the curry and the chicken. The curry itself takes about 30 minutes to prepare and the chicken about 30 minutes in the oven. You will need to marinate the chicken for a minimum of 2 hours or overnight if time permits.

Ingredients:

  1. 2 medium sized chicken breasts (8-10 large chicken pieces)
  2. 2 tbsp cream
  3. 2 tbsp butter
  4. 1/4 tsp nutmeg powder
  5. 4-5 green cardamoms
  6. 4 tomatoes (chopped into large chunks)
  7. 1 inch piece of ginger (julienned)
  8. 2 green chilis (de-seeded and chopped fine)
  9. 2 cloves garlic (chopped)
  10. 1/2 – 3/4 tsp red chili powder
  11. 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  12. 2 tbsp oil
  13. salt to taste

For the marinade:

  1. 1/2 cup yogurt
  2. 2 tbsp cream
  3. 1/2 tsp black pepper powder
  4. 2 tsp red chili powder
  5. 2 tsp cumin powder
  6. 1 tsp coriander powder
  7. 1/4 tsp garam masala
  8. 1/2 tsp dried fenugreek leaves
  9. 1/4 tsp turmeric powder
  10. salt to taste

Directions:

  • Cut the chicken into large chunks.
  • Marinate the chicken in the marinade for atleast a couple of hours.
  • Roast the chicken in the oven till cooked throughly.
  • Heat half the oil and butter. Once hot add the green cardamoms and nutmeg.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes after about 15 seconds.
  • Once the tomatoes are cooked thoroughly and mushy set it aside to cool.
  • Once the tomatoes are cooled grind it to a fine paste and strain it to remove any large chunks.
  • Next heat the rest of the oil and butter and add the garlic, ginger and green chilies to the hot oil.
  • Once they have browned add the strained tomato paste.
  • Let this mixture cook for about 2-3 minutes then add the red chili powder and salt.
  • Bring to a simmer and add the cooked chicken to the tomato gravy.
  • Bring to a simmer and add the dried fenugreek leaves and honey.
  • Mix the butter chicken thoroughly and add the cream and let the butter chicken come to a slow simmer.
  • Remove from heat and serve with naan, paratha or any other form of bread.

One of the main problems when I have made anything close to butter chicken in the past has been the color of the dish. It was never orange enough. But well this time it was perfect and no added colors. Secondly, though I had to add some butter and cream, I did not have to add cups of it to make it delicious. So when I served it Amit was speechless. In his own words – “This is the best butter chicken I have ever had!!!”. The gravy is mindblowing and if you follow my recipe to the tee, I guarantee you with the same great results. And the gravy is versatile enough to either add chicken, paneer or mixed vegetables to it. Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did and thanks for reading…

Shilpa

Summer’s here and so is the June Daring Cook’s Challenge!!

I was driving to work the other day and the weather forecast was being read on the radio. And this is what they said – “Cooler temperatures today, with a high of 106F”. That’s when I knew summer in Phoenix has arrived. So when the daring cooks challenge for June was announced, it fit in perfectly with the rising summer temperatures. A healthy potato salad!!! I have never been a fan of the mayonnaise laden potato salads that are so common. So I decided to create my version of a potato salad, healthy and fresh!!!

Jami Sorrento was our June Daring Cooks hostess and she chose to challenge us to celebrate the humble spud by making a delicious and healthy potato salad. The Daring Cooks Potato Salad Challenge was sponsored by the nice people at the United States Potato Board, who awarded prizes to the top 3 most creative and healthy potato salads. A medium-size (5.3 ounce) potato has 110 calories, no fat, no cholesterol, no sodium and includes nearly half your daily value of vitamin C and has more potassium than a banana!

I chose to make a potato and chicken sausage salad with a lime-garlic-basil dressing. The chicken sausage is optional, I added it in because I found these interesting jalapeno-mango chicken sausages, which I thought would go well with the potato salad. And they added an awesome twist to the potato salad. This recipe serves 2 and takes about 1/2 hour to make (most of the time is spent in roasting the potatoes).

Ingredients:

  1. 20-25 small red potatoes (halved with skin)
  2. 1 jalapeno-mango chicken sausage (sliced and cooked)
  3. 1/2 cup chopped green onions (only the green part)
  4. salt to taste
  5. 1/4-1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  6. 2 tbsp olive oil

For the dressing

  1. 1/8 cup olive oil
  2. 1/4 cup lime juice
  3. 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  4. 1/4 tsp black pepper
  5. salt to taste
  6. 2 cloves chopped roasted garlic
  7. 1/4 – 1/2 tsp red chili flakes

Directions:

  • Mix the potatoes with the olive oil, salt and black pepper.
  • Roast it in the oven till the potatoes are cooked through.
  • Mix the cooked chicken sausages, potatoes and green onions.
  • Mix all the ingredients under ‘For the dressing’ in a grinder.
  • Mix the dressing with the salad and serve it warm.

I promise, you will love it. The dressing adds a fresh zing to the potato salad. And the sausage is completely optional. I loved it though as the sausage added an interesting twist to the potato salad.