Friday, July 25, 2014

Rasmalai –A long post with lots of photos


I am a big big fan of this’’ Out of the world sweet’’….I just lov it….need a clue? Its from The State of Bengal in India...yes you guessed it right….Rasmalai….this soft spongy yellow coloured sweet  soaked in thickened milk is one of my favourite desserts….in fact I can have it any time….at night one or morning four ….







Well I thought making the Rasmalai was a tough tough job…. Especially, at home.



But blogging  introduced me to homemade rasmalai……and my joy knew no bounds….Now I will be making them at home…..???




Well I’ve soaked this post with lots of photos….I know….and the recipe is slightly long….but easy…..well I wanted to include all that I know and read about….



To mention about my notion of rasmalai making being a tough job…It was a plesant surprise to me that I was wrong…It a damn easy recipe….Wanna try?









From: ECurry.com

For the Malai balls


Ingredients

Milk-1 ltr
Lime juice/ vinegar-11/2-2 tsp(diluted with water)
Sugar-1 cup or more
Water-2-21/2 cups or more
All porpose flour to sprinkle(optional)
Cardamom powder-1/4 tsp

Notes
Dust the work surface with some all purpose flour to make kneading and rolling easier on you.
When milk curdles and whey seperates add ice cubes and switch off flame to get soft paneer
If the rasgullas/rasmalai gets stiff and not spongy or puffy.. it may be due to the fact that while the whey separated milk solids harden due to too much acid (vinegar/lime juice) or the split milk solids and whey stayed together for too long after they were split or they were cooked for too long
The syrup should be thin and light. As soon as you see the sugar has dissolved and water has come to a roaring boil, add your first set of the Rasgullas to cook. When the first set is done and you see that the syrup has thickened or reduced in volume, add more water and a little bit of sugar and allow it to come to a roaring boil again before you add another batch of the Rasgullas.
If you are using a pressure cooker only one whistle is required to cook the ras gullas
If using a pot with the lid it will take 12-16 minutes without opening the lid and releasing the steam once during the process.
Remove a batch of rasgullas after they are cooked with some syrup enough to immerse them fully and let them soak .Alternatively some people add it to a bowl of warm water.
You can add a pinch of baking powder to the chenna while kneading.
Best curdling agent is fermented whey.
Rasgullas should not be let to change from white colour to creamy white while cooking for too long.It should change colour while soaking in syrup
Use palm to knead.
Cook in batches as they are soft during initial minutes of cooking. If crowded they will collide and break away
If you leave chenna in open air it will crust and harden and when cooked pevent sugar syrup from going in
Roll 1st set of balls.While they are cooking roll the next set of balls
Some put sugar balls into each chenna ball at the centre and roll it into balls
Some add yellow colour to chenna while kneading.
Method
Pour milk into a heavy bottomed vessel.
When it comes to roaring boil, add lime juice/vinegar little at a time and lower heat.Stir the milk while adding lemon juice/vinegar
When the milk curdles and whey separates stop stirring and switch off the gas.
Remove the pot from the stove and allow the curdled milk to sit for about 8-12 minutes. Do not stir
Place a cheesecloth /cotton cloth on strainer and strain the curdled mixture
Put it under cold running water and give a quick wash.
Wrap and tie the cheese cloth and hang  it up to let it drain for-15-30 minutes(I used my paneer only in the evening when I made it in the morning so I wrapped it in a wet cloth and covered  it in a vessel with a lid till I used it.)
Wring out any extra moisture and let it stay hung again for 2 hrs .It should not have any more whey dripping out but should be soft and moist after 2 hrs.
Remove the chenna and knead with the heal of the palm for 15 minutes or more (I did for 10 minutes) till fat comes out of the chenna and it is not sticky.Knead parts of it away from you towards the outer edge of the board you are using and bringing it back to you and repeating the back and forth motion
Roll it until it has a really smooth surface with no cracks. They should be smooth without holes or lines going across them.
Add sugar to water and let it dissolve completely When it comes to roaring boil add chenna balls.The level of the liquid should be just high enough that the balls completely submerge.
Cover and cook. The balls will puff up in about  10 – 15 minutes. You may uncover and release the steam only once during the cooking process. Do not move around the balls as they are cooking.(mine got done in 5 minutes in high).Some people cook in high some in medium or initially 5 minutes high then medium when cooking with lid closed.
An easy test to see if they are done is to remove one and drop it in a cup of cold water. If it floats, it needs to be further cooked. When they are done the texture should be spongy and should bounce back when held down with the back of a spoon or a finger.
After a couple of sets, the sugar syrup will thicken; add some hot water and some sugar to replenish and bring it back to the original consistency.
For Rasgullas
After all batches are done .Simmer the sugar water mixture .After it thickens little switch off. Pour cold water. Add flavouring-cardamom powder/essence. Add the rasgullas back in. Refrigerate and serve cold.Garnish with nuts while serving.

For the ‘’Ras’’ in Rasmalai (for 8 nos)

Ingredients

Milk-500 ml
Sugar-1/8 cup
Condensed milk-3 tbsp
Cardamom powder-1/4 tsp
Nuts(pista,badam)
Saffron-3-4 strands

Method

Take a heavy bottomed vessel and grease with ghee.Add milk and condensed milk.Bring to boil.Then reduce to medium flame.
Mix saffron in 2 tbsp milk and add.Also add sugar.
Keep stirring till milk is thick and reduced to half.
Add cardamom powder and nuts.Add Rasgullas and cook for 5 minutes in medium and take off flame

Refrigerate for future or serve warm.


Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Dum Vegetable Biriyani


My search for the perfect  ultimate vegetable biriyani recipe will never end….But today I pounced on a good good recipe….the moment I saw it I was elated….Being a pure vegetarian my search for a biriyani was totally restricted to a purely vegetarian recipes. I was on the top of the world that I finally found out a near to perfect recipe for a chicken biriyani-a dum version that I could easily convert to an authentic Only Veg version.
But I was under doubt if the recipe for non-veg would work for veg also…But I decided to substitute and go ahead…



Biriyani is said to have been invented in the kitchen of Mughal emperors and means` `fried ‘’or ``roasted’’ in Persian. The spices and condiments used in biryani may include, but are not limited to, ghee, nutmeg, mace, pepper, cloves, cardamom, cinnamon, bayleaves, coriander, mint leaves, ginger, onions, and garlic. The premium varieties include saffron.For a non-vegetarian biryani, the main ingredient that accompanies the spices is the meat—beef, chicken, goat, lamb, fish or shrimp. The dish may be served with dahi chutney or raita, korma, a sour dish of eggplant (brinjal), boiled egg and salad.



The difference between biryani and pulao is that while pulao may be made by cooking the items together, biryani denotes a dish where the rice (plain or fried) is cooked separately from the thick sauce (a greatly reduced curry of meat or vegetables). The curry and the rice are then brought together and layered, resulting in a dish of the contrasting flavours of flavoured rice (which is cooked separate with spices) and intensely flavoured sauce and meat or vegetables. This separation is partly of necessity: the proportion of meat/vegetables to the rice is high enough to make biryani a one-dish meal, and the cooking time of each of the main ingredients is significantly different from each other. In a properly made biryani, the final dish is dry or minimally moist, with the individual rice grains separate, as opposed to a risotto, where the rice is of a creamy consistency. However, many biryani recipes call for the rice to be cooked for three-quarters of the usual time, followed by layering with the meat/vegetable base, and then a final slow-steaming until fully done: this approach allows the flavours to blend somewhat. (Source Wikipedia)

Well my fears were totally baseless because the recipe turned out fine…when I opened the dum seal of the vessel I cooked biriyani in I was envigoured by the intense aroma of the wonder full spices that went into the biriyani. It tasted just as fine. Here‘s the recipe for u-:

Ingredients
Vegetables (1/2 kg) which includes
Carrot-3 medium sized chopped
Potatoes-2 medium sized chopped
French beans-4
Cauliflower florets-1 cup
Tomato-1 medium sized to grind
Other Ingredients
Tomato-I medium to grind
Green chilli-4-6(I used4)
Onion-3 or2 big
Ginger garlic paste-3/4 tsp
Scallions-4to5(I used4)
Coriander leaves-a handful
Mint leaves-a handful
Lemon juice-of 1/2 lemon (optional)
Curd-1/4 cup
Garam masala-1/2 tbsp
Dalda-1/2 cup
Ghee /clarified butter-2 tbsp (first) +3tbsp (second time)
Rice-350 gm
Turmeric powder-1/8 tsp
Saffron- few strands
Kewra essence-2 tsp(optional)
Cashewnuts -6
Almond-4
Milk/coconut milk-1/4 cup or more

Spices (a handful) include-:
Karupatta-11/2 -2
Grambu-3-5
Elakka-3or4
Thakollam-1or 2
Fennel seeds-1/2 tbsp(some use cumin or caraway instead)
For Garnish
Cashew-handful
Kismis-handful
Coriander leaves-little
Mint leaves-little
Pineapple chopped-1 /2 cup
Fried onion- handful

Method
For Masala layer-:
Pressure cook the vegetables other than tomato (1 or 2 whistles)
Make  separate pastes of  following-:
Tomato
Onion
Scallion
Green chilli

Take Dalda / vanspathi. and melt in a thick bottomed vessel
Add garlic and ginger paste or chopped, green chilli paste, scallions paste, tomato paste, curd, onion paste, turmeric powder and salt to taste. Also add coriander leaves and mint leaves. Stir for 20-30 minutes till colour changes and oil separates
Add boiled vegetables
Add tomato cut into pieces, coriander and mint leaves
Add lime juice (if using) and mix
For Rice layer
Take 6 cups of water.
Add spices and salt and let water bubble
Then add rice and cook till 75percent cooked. Drain water.
Layering
Layer the masala at the bottom of the vessel and the rice on the top.
Sprinkle kwela essence
Soak saffron in little milk.Grind badam (4) and cashew nuts(6). Mix it to milk/coconut milk and pour over layered rice
Pour¼ cup of melted vanaspathi and ghee mix over the layered rice.
Sprinkle kismis,cashewnuts,fried onion,pineapples chopped,coriander and mint leaves
Dum cook with maida seal for 20-30 minutes till maida seal hardens
Remove seal and use a fork to mix the layers so that the masala coats the rice
Serve hot with a raita and korma.
Notes
Changes made from the actual recipe-Actual recipe- Garlic-3, ginger-5, coriander-1 sprig, pudina-2 sprig



Actual recipe with Mutton

Mutton -1 kg

Green chilli-12

Ginger-10

shallots-10

Onion-6

Tomato-1

Curd-1/2 cup

Lemon-1

Garam Masala-1 tbsp

Coriander Leaves-4 sprigs

Mint leaves-4 sprigs

Dalda-1 cup

Ghee-4 tbsp

Turmeric powder-1/4 tsp

Jeera-1 tbsp

Cashew-100 gms

Kismis-50 gms

Garlic-6

Pineapple-150 gm


Cinnamon-3

Cloves-6

Cardamom-6

Star anise-3



Method

Chop onion,ginger,garlic,shallots,coriander leaves,mint leaves,tomatoes. Take ghee and dalda

 in a frying pan.Add chopped vegetables. Saute well.Add garam masala,turmeric powder.Add mutton and curd.Mix well

Cook rice with jeera and spices till half done.Spread on top of sauted vegetables and mutton.

Fry cashewnuts and kismis in ghee and fry some onions till golden brown.Spread on top of rice with mint leaves,coriander leaves and pineapple slices

Cook rice and masala mix in dum using aluminium foil or maida dough













Thursday, January 16, 2014

Butter Naan

 Made Naans at home today…they came out well. Soft, warm and homemade. By the way it’s a really easy recipe….And you don’t need a tandoor …. you can make it on your stove top…..











 Aniket(my sonny) would’ nt even let me take proper snaps as he wanted to eat more…He pointed to the Naans sitting on the table and made a sorry face…So I first made sure his lil tummy was filled with this dinner delight. Aniket , loved it. So did Appu his friend…..Both the kiddos chomped away the naans without the usual storytelling and coaxing, usually a prerequisite to even eat a morsel….These days kids are choosy about what they like and what they don’t…unlike our times…..they want change and mothers like me have to constantly strive to live up to their expetations…




Naan is basically made with yeast leavened dough cooked in a tandoor served hot brushed with butter….Naan is a word that originated from Iran where it is used as an everyday name  for bread.I have used both wheat flour and all purpose flour in the recipe….
I garnished My naans with sesame seeds and fresh chopped coriander leaves. You can use onion seeds/kalonji seeds/Nigella seeds .This may be added while kneading the dough or at the end while garnishing the Naans…..                                                                                                                                                            



Ingredients

All purpose flour-2 cups
Wheat flour-2 cups
Warm milk-1 cup or more
Sugar-2 tsp
Instant yeast/Active dry yeast-2tsp
Salt-2 tsp
Oil-2tbsp
Yogurt-3 tbsp
Baking soda-3/4 tsp
Garnish
Butter for brushing
Nigella seeds/Sesame seeds
Coriander leaves
Method 
Mix sugar ,milk,yeast.Stir and keep aside to rise. Cover the vessel with a lid.
In a bowl take wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking soda and salt.Seive and mix.
Add yeast mixture , oil and yogurt to dough. Knead with hand or a food processor till dough is smooth, pliable and elastic. You may use more milk if required.
Place dough in a lightly oiled bowl .Cover with a lid. Allow to rise to double in size for about 1 hour.
When dough doubles after 1 hour punch it back and knead for 2-3 minutes
Allow to rise again to double in size in a covered vessel.
Divide into balls and roll out  balls into oval  or tear shape which is not too thin.
Sprinkle nigella seeds, sesame seeds and chopped coriander. Use rolling pin to press them onto  the dough
Take a non-stick pan and heat it till hot.It is important that the pan is really hot otherwise the naan will stick to the pan.
Lift the naan and apply water with your palm on the side that is not garnished with seeds and coriander leaves .
Place the  wet side down on pan. Allow Naan to puff  up in places .Now use kitchen tongs to place the garnished side directly over the flame and allow it to be cooked uniformly all over.. Allow it to puff up. Make sure they donot get burnt or charred by using the tongs to move it over the flame rather than holding it to cook a particular area for a long time.


Butter the naans and serve hot with any curry of your choice.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Khaliat Nahal (Honeycomb buns/ Beehive Buns)

I loved these beehive like looking buns....Well I loved the taste tooo....I even went ahead and used the savoury version without filling for a grand Pav Bhaji breakfast this morning....





I was happy my buns came out fine....Since my oven is a small one I had only a small honey comb shaped Khalait Nahal .....Well like how Aparna's blog says Khaliat Nahal means bee hive in arabic as suggested by its appearance.They are baked close to each other in a round pan where they form a honeycomb like pattern.They are usually made sweet with slightly sweetened dough filled with cream cheese.After they are baked they are covered with sugar syrup/ glaze which is typical of many Middle eastern confectionery.



This bread is served for Iftar and its shape lends itself to be torn apart easily to serve oneself.Though they are made sweet usually they can also be made with savoury fillings without glaze....
This recipe makes 18 small buns or you can halve the recipe and make 9-10 buns in a6''or7'' round pan.



Source:My diverse kitchen

Ingredients

Milk-1 cup lukewarm

Instant yeast-11/2 tsp

Sugar-1 tsp

All purpose flour-2 1/2 cups

Sugar-3 tbsp(for sweet bread)

Salt-3/4-1 tsp (for savoury bread)1/4 tsp(sweet bread)

Butter-40 gms

Milk-2 tbsp

White sesame seeds-2 tbsp

For filling

1 cup of filling (approximately) of your choice, either sweet or savoury

Savoury - cream cheese OR crumbled feta cheese OR crumbled paneer/ cottage cheese

Sweet - cream cheese (traditional filling), or any other filing of your choice like chocolate,   dried fruit like dates, apricots or raisins, chopped nuts, chopped fruit , sweetened coconut filling, etc.  

Sugar syrup/glaze

Sugar-3/4 cup

Water-1 cup

Saffron-one pinch

Honey-1 tbsp

Lemon-1 tsp

Method


Make sure your melted butter has cooled down a bit before using it. Put 2 cups of the flour, salt,sugar (if making the sweet bread only) and melted butter in the bowl of your processor. Run a couple of times to mix well.

Combine the milk, sugar and yeast in a small bowl and keep for 5 minutes. Add this to the processor bowl and knead until you have a smooth and elastic dough which is not sticky. Add as much of the remaining 1/2 cup of flour as you /need to get this consistency of bread dough. 


Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a well-oiled bowl, turning it to coat completely with the oil. Cover and let it rise till double in volume, for about an hour.

Turn the dough out onto your work surface. You won’t really need to flour it as the dough is quite manageable as it is. Cut it into 2 halves. With your palms, roll out each half a “rope”  about 9” long. Cut each rope into 1” pieces so you have a total of 18 pieces.


Take each piece and flatten it out a little and place half a teaspoon of filling in the centre. Pull up the sides and wrap the dough around the filling, pinching it closed at the top. Smoothen it into around ball. Place this in a well-greased round 9” cake tin. Repeat with the remaining 17 pieces and the filling. Arrange the filled balls of dough in concentric circles, filling the base of the cake tin.

Cover with a kitchen towel and let it rise for about 30 to 40 minutes. Brush the tops with milk and sprinkle the sesame seeds over this. Don’t use the sesame seeds for sweet bread, only for the savoury one. Bake the buns at 180C (350F) for about 25 minutes, until they’re done and a nice golden brown on top.
Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then on a wire rack.

If you’re making the sweet version, make the sugar syrup/ glaze during the first rise of the dough. For this put the sugar, water and saffron in a small pan and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes until it starts thickening a bit. Take it off the heat and add the honey and the lime/ lemon juice. Mix well and let it cool. Keep aside till needed

When the sweet buns come out of the oven, pour the syrup all over the top of the Honeycomb”.  The bread should be hot and the syrup/ glaze should be cool. If you want your Honeycomb Buns to be less sweet, just brush the syrup/ glaze over the top.Let it sit for a while for the syrup/ glaze to set a bit. Serve them warm with tea/ coffee.