Thursday, May 30, 2013

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer
1 bunch of Spinach (Palak), thick stems removed
2 onions, enough to make 1/2 cup paste
2 tomatoes, enough to make 1 cup paste
1/2 tsp dry roasted cumin seeds
1/2 tsp Kashmeri red chili powder, adjust to taste
2-3 green chilies (Stems removed)
1 tbsp oil/ghee/butter
1 inch ginger
4 garlic cloves
1 tsp lemon juice
200 gms Paneer cubes (Cottage-cheese cubes)
1 tbsp fresh cream 
Salt to taste
Wash spinach thoroughly in running water until clean.
Blanch in salted boiling water for two minutes. Refresh in chilled water. Remove excess water.
Grind spinach into a fine paste along with green chilies.
Blend together onion and roasted cumin, keep aside.
Blend together tomato,ginger and garlic.
Heat oil in a pan. Add the onion paste and cook till it turns light brown in colour.
Add the tomato paste  and cook till oil separates.
Add salt and chili powder, cook for another 2-3 mins.
Now add the spinach paste and bring it to a boil. Add water if required.
Add the paneer cubes and mix. Cook on low heat for 2 mins. Remove from heat.
Add lemon juice and stir. Add fresh cream and serve hot. I have not added cream as I wanted a low calorie dish :)
Serve hot Palak Paneer with roti, naan, or chapati.
If you want a rich flavour use butter instead of oil and also add fresh cream to the gravy.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Banana-Coconut Muffins

In Goa my in-laws have a small garden in which they grow vegetables and fruits along with some herbs. My mother-in-law and father-in-law love gardening. This time when I went to Goa they gave me home grown bananas which I carried to Dubai. My hubby ate a couple of them everyday. These bananas were small but tasty. This morning I noticed that the bananas had turned brown so I decided to make use of these to bake Banana Muffins. This recipe serves 12-14 muffins (size as shown in the picture).  
Banana Muffins
1 1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (bananas which have turned brown with age are used for this recipe) 
1/3 cup milk, room temperature
2 eggs, beaten
100 gm salted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (add 1/4 tsp salt to flour mixture if you are using unsalted butter)
3/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F and place the rack at the center of oven.
In a bowl sieve together baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon and flour. Add sugar and coconut, mix to combine all the ingredients.
In a separate bowl combine together eggs, butter, mashed bananas, milk and vanilla essence.
Now lightly fold the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients just until combined to form a thick and chunky batter. Ensure not to over mix or else the muffin will become tough.
Grease a muffin pan with butter or non-stick cooking spray or line it with paper liners.
Spoon the batter into the muffin pan.
Bake for 20-25 mins or until a tooth pick inserted at the center comes out clean. 
Place on a wire rack and let the pan cool. 
Serve warm or at room temperature.
Banana Muffins

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Black Forest Cake

Black Forest Cake
700 ml jar of Morello Cherries in syrup, without seeds
2 tbsp Cherry Brandy or Kirsch or Dark Rum (optional)
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
Ingredients for Chocolate Genoise:
3 tbsp salted butter, melted and cooled to room temperature (if your are using unsalted butter then add 1/4 tsp salt to the flour)
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
Ingredients for Frosting:
500 ml whipping cream, cream that can be whipped to form stiff peaks
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 tbsp granulated white sugar
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C or 350 degrees F and place the rack in the center of oven. Grease a round cake pan and line it with parchment paper.
In a bowl sieve together flour and cocoa powder.
In a heat proof bowl whisk together eggs and sugar. Place this bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk constantly, heat until lukewarm. Constant whisking will avoid cooking of eggs.
Remove from heat and beat the eggs on high speed using an electric hand blender. Beat until it forms a thick batter (the batter will look like whipped cream and it will fall back into the bowl in a ribbon like pattern). Picture of this is given below.
Beat in the vanilla essence.
Sift the flour mixture over the egg mixture in 3 parts. Each time fold the flour mixture gently using a rubber spatula or whisk or a spoon.
Take 3 tbsp of this batter and fold it into the melted butter to lighten it. Now gently fold this in the egg batter.
Pour the batter in the greased cake pan. Gently tap the pan on the kitchen counter top to remove air bubbles.
Bake for about 20-25 mins or until a tooth pick inserted at the center of the cake comes out clean (cake starts to shrink from the sides of pan). Cool on a wire rack before removing the cake from the pan.
Chocolate Genoise
Start to prepare the cherries and frosting till the cake cools completely.

In a mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla essence and sugar. Stir to combine all the ingredients. Refrigerate this along with the hook of the electric hand blender for 30-60 mins. Refrigeration will help in the formation of stiff peaks.
Drain the cherries and reserve the syrup. Place the cherries in a bowl, pour 1 tbsp alcohol, toss and keep aside.
Take 1 cup of cherry syrup in a saucepan, add sugar and heat it until the sugar dissolves. Remove from heat. Stir 1 tbsp of alcohol in the syrup and let it cool.
 Remove the whipped cream mixture and the hooks from the fridge. Beat this mixture until stiff peaks form.
Assemble Cake:
Using a sharp knife cut the cake horizontally into two layers. Turn over the top layer of the cake (top of the cake becomes bottom) and place it on a serving plate.
Brush the cake layer with 1/4 cup cherry syrup. Take sufficient whipped cream and spread it on the moistened Genoise. Place the cherries evenly over the cream.
Brush the cut-side of the second Genoise layer with 1/4 cup cherry syrup. Place cut-side down on top of the cherries, press gently to compact.
Spread the whipped cream on the top and sides of the cake. You can use a pastry bag to pipe rosettes on top of the cake and decorate the top layer with cherries and shaved chocolate. 
Refrigerate for few hours and serve.
You can make your own shaved chocolate with the help of a vegetable peeler. 

Adapted from Stephanie Jaworski's recipe.

Butterscotch Sauce

Butterscotch Sauce
200 ml whipped cream
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (I have used dark brown sugar as that is what I had in my shelf)
2 tsp vanilla essence
50 gm salted butter, cubed
1 tsp honey
In a heavy bottom pan, place all the ingredients. Stir on medium heat until ingredients are well combined.
Increase heat and bring to a boil.
Now lower the heat and cook until the sauce thickens slightly. Stir often. Remember that the sauce will thicken further after cooling so do not over cook. 
Let the sauce cool completely. Store in an air tight container. 
This recipe will make approx 300 grams of sauce.
Drizzle some Butterscotch Sauce on  your favourite Vanilla Ice Cream and enjoy this summer:)