Cook's Hideout: September 2008

September 29, 2008

Party with Fruit Cream

Last weekend we had a party for my son’s birthday. We ordered Indo-Chinese food from Moghul catering and it was very good. I would highly recommend this place to anyone looking for decent Indian food in New Jersey area. Good service and I especially liked their party tray packing; there is little or no scope for spillage.

This is what we ordered (no pics.. sorry):
Appetizer: Paneer chutney Pakodas
Main Course: Vegetable Fried Rice & Chili Garlic Noodles
Side Dish: Vegetable Manchurian

I wanted a dish with tofu, so I made Penang Curry from Jugalbandi.
For desserts, I made Instant Rasmalai, Fruit cream and of course the cake.

My rasmalai was a jugalbandi was recipes from here and here. I squeezed the rasgullas Jugalbandi style; for the milk part, I used 1 15 oz. can condensed milk, 10 oz. of evaporated milk and about ½ cup whole milk. They were just sooooo delicious. I can have these everyday.

Fruit cream was my sister’s colleagues’ recipe and it was a bit hit with the guests. There were a lot of recipe requests for this one and I was expecting I would be asked for the rasmalai recipe. Well.. here’s the recipe:

Whip Cream – 1 tub (a.k.a Cool Whip; found in the refrigerated section of your grocery store)
Sour Cream – ½ of 16 oz. container
Powdered Sugar – 2-3 tbsp (or to taste)
Fruits – Canned Mandarin oranges, pineapple chunks, mango, pears etc

  • Using a hand blender, blend whip cream, sour cream and sugar until well combined; takes about 2-3 minutes.
  • Drain the fruits and fold them into the cream to make “Fruit Cream”. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
You can most definitely use fresh fruits, but if using bananas or apples, make sure there are no leftovers, or it will turn brown/black. Mandarin oranges are a must according to my sister’s colleague. This is the quickest dessert ever, it may not be one of the healthiest one, but it is worth indulging on once in a while.

September 26, 2008

Quinoa Broccoli Curry

This recipe is a very poor adaptation of Cauliflower-Quinoa curry from Vegetarian Times magazine. I didn’t have cauliflower on hand and didn’t want to use peas since the dish was too green already. I also didn’t have too much time to make it, so this is my super quickie version. Quinoa helps thicken the curry and also substitutes rice in this dish.

Cooked Quinoa – 2 cups, cooked according to package directions (I had some leftover in the fridge)
Broccoli – 1 large head, chopped into florets
Curry powder – 3 tbsp (I used MTR brand Madras Curry powder)
Yogurt – 2 tbsp
Fennel Seeds – ¼ tsp
Cumin Seeds – ¼ tsp
Salt and Chili powder – to taste

  • In a large sauté pan, heat 2 tbsp oil on medium heat, add the seeds and sauté for 30 seconds.
  • Add the curry powder and keep stirring for another 30 seconds.
  • Add 1 cup water (or vegetable broth); cover and bring to a boil.
  • Add broccoli florets; cover and bring to a boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 4 minutes or until fork tender.
  • In a small bowl, whisk yogurt with the broth and stir in with broccoli. Add the quinoa, salt and chili powder. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until water is completely evaporated.
Serve hot or at room temperature. Very healthy and nutritious.

This is my entry to this month's JFI - Whole Grains being hosted by talented Suganya @ Tasty Palettes. (JFI is the brain child of Indira @ Mahanandi)

On a separate note, my recipe Eggplant and Chickpea Tagine got mentioned here. Pretty cool huh!!! Thanks a lot Nandini for sending me the link and informing me about it.

September 21, 2008

Cupcakes for My Little One.

My little fella will turn One in an hour (its 11:00PM now). This past year has been a blur of events with lot of laughs, cries, kisses and hugs. Wish you many many Happy Returns of the Day D.

These are the cupcakes I made for the kids in his daycare.. vanilla and chocolate. I also made carrot cupcakes for the 3 of us at home, but they were total disaster. I have no clue what went wrong. So we are going to buy a small cake to cut at home..

September 19, 2008

Vegetable Vindaloo in Slow Cooker

The latest addition to my bursting at the seam kitchen cabinet/ counter is a Hamilton Beach Slow cooker. I borrowed this Vegetarian slow cooker cookbook from the library to get a better understanding of what and how to cook in a slow cooker. I decided to make vegetable vindaloo as my first dish in the slow cooker.

Potatoes – 1 medium, chopped
Carrots – 2 small, thinly sliced
Capsicum – 1 medium, diced
Zucchini – 2 small, sliced into ¼“ pieces
Cauliflower – 2 cups chopped into small florets
Onion – 1 large, chopped
Kidney Beans – 1½ cups cooked or 1 15 oz. can
Tomato Sauce – 8 oz. can

For the Masala paste:
Ginger Garlic paste – 1 tbsp
Ground Coriander – 1 tsp
Ground Cumin – ½ tsp
Turmeric – pinch
White Wine vinegar – 1 tbsp
Oil – 1 tbsp
Chili powder – 1 tsp

  • Blend all the masala paste ingredients into a smooth paste; keep aside.
  • In a medium sauté pan, heat oil and add onions and carrots. Cover and cook till tender about 5 minutes.
  • Add the onions mixture to the slow cooker and start it on Low and cook for 1 minute. Add the masala paste, all the other veggies including the beans, tomato sauce and 1½ cups of warm water. Mix well; season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover and cook on Low for 6 hours (We came back after around 4 hours of cooking and I got a little impatient with slow cooking, so I cranked up to High and cooked for 1 hour.)
Serve with Rice (I made Pudina Rice w/ Peas) or roti.

I thought cauliflower was going to crumble up and potatoes were going to be mushy. But even at the end of 6 hours each veggie held its identity and the curry itself was delicious having simmered for the whole day. I will be posting more slow cooker recipes going forward.

On another note, my son is turning ONE on Monday.. OMG.. I cannot believe this past year flew by so fast. I still think he’s this tiny little bundle that the nurse showed me in OT right after he was born. Now he’s crawling around the house pulling everything he can reach. This is him arranging my books (or pulling down the house??)

I still remember waiting for him in the hospital room waiting to hold him. And now I can’t wait to see his smiling/ giggling face when I pick him from the day care. This is him

I still remember how disappointed I was when the nurse said he looks just like his father (and nothing like me). And now I see a little of both of us in him and also this little human being with his own personality. I wish time just takes it a little easy.. He's already leafing through the books (or ready to tear it apart)

I’m planning to make vanilla and chocolate cupcakes for kids in his daycare and Carrot cupcakes for us at home. Will post pics of the cupcakes soon.

September 11, 2008

Cabbage Curry in a Hurry

I used bagged coleslaw mix for this subzi and it takes about 5 minutes for prepping and 12-15 minutes for cooking. There are some veggies that I don’t enjoy prepping, tindora (dondakaya), methi (fenugreek leaves), cabbage to name a few. They take forever to chop/pluck and the final product is almost miniscule when you compare with the amount of work that went into it. So coleslaw mix is a big blessing in a bag.

Coleslaw mix – 1 lb. bag
Green chilies – 4
Ginger – ½” piece, grated
Grated coconut – ¼ cup
Curry leaves – 6

For tempering:
Chana dal – 1tsp
Urad dal – 1tsp
Red chilies – 2
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp
  • Heat 2tsp oil in a large sauté pan, add the tempering ingredients, once the seeds start spluttering add curry leaves, green chilies, ginger and coleslaw mix. Mix well; cover and cook for 10 minutes on medium flame, stirring occasionally.
  • Add salt and grated coconut; cook uncovered for another 2-3 minutes.
  • Serve with rice or chapathi.

September 08, 2008

Potatoes Go Green

Dill, to me, has a very strong flavor and too much of it really ruins the dish. I made full bunch of dill and potato curry some time ago and it was way too much dill that I didn’t dare to buy it again for a while.
During one of my recent trips to farmer’s market, I saw this beautiful bunch of dill for 99¢ and I wanted to give it a try again. With quarter bunch my MIL made a really tasty green veggie stir fry. With another quarter bunch, I added potato (to stretch the curry a little bit) and it was awesome.

Potatoes – 3 medium, peeled and diced
Spinach – half a bunch, about 3 cups
Methi leaves (fenugreek leaves) – 1 cup
Dill – ¼ cup, chopped fine
Onion – 1 medium, chopped
Ginger+garlic pastes – ½ tsp
Red Chili powder – 1 tsp
Green chilies – 3, chopped fine

For tempering:
Mustard seeds – ½ tsp
Cumin seeds – ½ tsp

  • First microwave the potatoes with little bit of water for 4-5 minutes until they are fork tender.
  • Heat 1 tbsp oil in a pan, add the tempering seeds and after they splutter add onions and green chilies. Sauté onions till soft and starting to brown.
  • Add ginger+garlic paste and potatoes and stir fry on medium high for 2-3 minutes. Add all the green veggies; reduce the heat to medium low, and cook covered for 10-12 minutes. Stir occasionally; add ¼ cup water if the curry starts sticking to the pan.
  • Add salt and red chili powder, mix well and cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Serve with rice or roti.

September 03, 2008

Penang Curry & Parippu Vada

Zlamushka of Burnt Mouth has chosen Jai and Bee's Jugalbandi for this month's Tried and Tested event. Thanks Zlamushka for accepting my late entry.. I made two recipes from Jugalbandi.

  • Penang Curry: Followed the recipe to the T, except that I used red and green peppers instead of yellow pepper. I religiously followed the advise and doubled the recipe for the curry paste and froze it.

  • Parippu Vada: Again followed recipe to the T, except I used curry leaves and coriander leaves as suggested by Bee. Yummy.. yummy.. yummy.. is what I can say.. We had our vada with tomato chutney.


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