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Monday, August 29, 2016

The Kheer

I've been trying to make myself more comfortable in desserts. After having tried and tested this kheer recipe more than once I'm comfortable enough to share it here. Presenting: sevaiya kheer or paayesh.

Fry about half a cup of broken Indian vermicelli in a spoon of ghee for maybe 3 minutes and set aside. For a decent bowl of kheer, use half a liter of milk and set to boil in a thick bottomed pan. Once it approaches boiling, reduce heat to simmer. Stir occasionally to check for sticking or burning at the bottom. Add cardamom powder and the vermicelli (sevaiya) and continue to cook. When happy with the consistency, add 2 (or more) fat spoons of sugar and some cashews and maybe walnuts, and let simmer for just a few more minutes before taking off the heat. Add a few strands of saffron for flavor, cool and serve!

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Loaded Coin

It's the return of my obsession with appetizers! These make for a great party starter and are so easy to make :)

Mix a bowl of chopped or shredded ham with equal amounts of your choice of grated cheese and chopped jalapeƱos and Cajun seasoning. I was pretty generous with my jalapeƱo quantity, and added about a cup of them to a cup and a half each of cheese and ham. Mix well in the bowl and roll up very tightly in clingwrap plastic to make a giant sausage. Freeze till hardened. Take out, slice, and set up a breading station. Cover slices in flour, then egg wash, then glorious panko breadcrumbs, and deep-fry OR bake till golden-brown!

Monday, August 22, 2016

The Fussy Cookie

Personally, I have never had any issues with wheat, sugar or egg. But there's no reason that those who do can't enjoy a simple chocolate chip cookie! So here's a recipe for a cookie you can eat during a religious fast, or a diet, or if you're vegetarian, or have sugar problems.

Preheat oven to 180C. Mix two cups of almond flour with a pinch of baking soda, a pinch of salt, three spoons of vegetable oil, a drizzle of honey maybe (or skip), a spoon of vanilla extract, a few sprinkles of cinnamon, and 6-7 crushed sugarfree tablets. Add almost a cup of dark chocolate chips and maybe a few pine nuts. The batter might need a half-cup of water depending on how dry it turns out. Mix and roll into about 10 balls. Flatten with the back of a glass and bake for 10 minutes, and let cool for at least another 10. Enjoy crumbly, naturally sweetened, safe-for-all-diets cookies!

Friday, August 19, 2016

The Shakshuka

One-pot recipes never get old. I especially love this Middle-Eastern, typically eaten for breakfast, pan of awesomeness because not only is it easy, it's also great dinner grub for when the fridge is almost empty and you don't really want to make another trip to the grocer's.

Chop half an onion and a bell pepper/capsicum and fry lightly in a drizzle of olive oil in a skillet. Add a spoonful of chopped garlic. Once the onion is transparent, add three large chopped tomatoes and two spoonfuls of tomato paste. Add salt/pepper, a little cumin powder and paprika, and a pinch of sugar. Add a little water if need be to make it saucy. Once the taste is right, carefully crack and empty eggs onto the sauce, place them around the skillet to let them poach individually in the sauce. Now cover the skillet and let the eggs poach and the sauce thicken. Take off the heat; garnish with parsley and serve with toasty dipping bread/roll straight out of the oven!

Monday, August 15, 2016

The Protein Bar

I made my own. These are extremely low-sugar, protein-rich and make for good low-calorie snacks with tea as well; they're diabetic-friendly and really easy to make!

Beat together in a bowl a half-cup of peanut butter (I chose the crunchy kind), three big spoons of honey, two egg whites and a whole egg, two spoons of oil, and two spoons of vanilla extract. If you want to add a little sugar (optional) I'd add about 4-5 spoons. In a separate bowl mix a half-cup of whole-wheat flour, a fat spoon of cinnamon, a pinch of baking soda and a tinier pinch of salt. Add this mixture to the previous peanut butter mixture and fold it in with a spatula. In this yummy mix add two cups of oats, a cup of raisins/currants/dried blueberries/sultanas, a fistful of walnuts and another happy fistful of dark chocolate chips. Spread this mixture evenly in a baking pan and bake for 20 minutes at 180C. When they cool, cut them up into bars. For a tea-time snack I also sprinkled a little cinnamon sugar on top and threw on some rogue dried blueberries and dark chocolate chips. Eat!

Friday, August 12, 2016

The Candied Gooseberry

Amle ka murabba! We grew up eating these after lunch like dessert. Thanks to a friend of mine who I attempted to make these for, here is the candied Indian gooseberry every meal deserves!

Amla, or Indian gooseberry, is easily available in the desi part of the world. In countries like the US and Australia, you'll find them frozen and in packets at your local Indian grocer's. Thaw them, poke them all over with a fork, and soak them in water with a few drops of lime overnight. The next day, wash them and add them to boiling water and let simmer till the fruits become tender and translucent. Take them out and keep the water they were boiled in. Add to it two cups of sugar, a sprinkle of cardamom powder and a spoon of lemon to make a syrup. Let thicken a little before adding the boiled gooseberries and simmering for 5-6 minutes. Take off the heat and cool before storing in an airtight container. I added crushed walnuts to mine because I can. Suck on one of these after lunch and feel the antioxidants seep in!

Monday, August 8, 2016

The Sausage Casserole

One-pot wonders are back! Who has time for anything more on weeknights?

Sausage casserole

Pick your favorite sausage. If it wasn't chorizo for me it'd be a nice cheese kransky. Thickly slice up the chorizo and add to a cold pan with bacon bits, and heat. Once they start crackling, add two chopped shallots, a large diced tomato, some carrots and celery (and any other veggies you might want, like broccoli). Then add some thyme, a spoon of sugar, a little wine (I used red) and some chicken stock. Cover and let simmer and reduce to your favorite consistency. Check for salt and add if needed. Serve over mashed potatoes!

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Laksa

After a weekend or two of food-sins, my husband and I like to wind down with two days of soup for dinner. On one such night I ventured into laksa and it turned out worthy of a post. So here it is.

Laksa paste is something that is readily available in the market, like garam masala or like stock. However, homemade laksa paste can be made by grinding a small red shallot, soaked dry red chillies (6-7), ginger-garlic paste, salt, turmeric, a few macadamia nuts, dried shrimp, a stalk of lemongrass, cumin and coriander, and a little paprika with a small drizzle of oil.

For laksa, pour boiling water over your rice vermicelli noodles and let it sit for 3 minutes before draining. Meanwhile heat a little oil in a pot. Add two fat spoons of laksa paste to it and fry for a minute till your kitchen smells like laksa. Add prawns, chicken and snow peas and fry some more with the paste. Then add two cups of coconut milk and two cups of chicken stock. Simmer, add the noodles, and add salt to taste, until happy with the consistency. Serve hot with bean sprouts and maybe cucumber on top!

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Aglio e Olio

My parents have never been big fans of a lot of creamy sauce all over pasta. Many who wouldn't have it any other way would wonder what that even means. This recipe makes for a quick, easy and reasonably healthy dinner on a weeknight, sans sauce.

Pasta Aglio e Olio

Get your favorite pasta (I went with durum wheat penne) and boil till cooked al dente. Drain and set aside. Meanwhile heat some olive oil and throw in a spoon of freshly chopped garlic, dry red chillies or chilli flakes, and chorizo, plus any veggies you might want to add. Fry till the chorizo is crackling. Add the pasta in and toss. Add a half cup of fresh parsley and toss till wilted. Turn off the heat and add a fistful of parmesan and a little oregano. Toss and serve!