Rice Varieties.

Chettinad Mushroom Biriyani with a twist!!!

IMG_6910

There are always people who dont like mushrooms and then there are us – the people who love mushrooms for their taste, texture and versatility. I always have a brown bag of mushrooms ready in  my refrigerator. My all time favorite mushroom dish is the Restaurant Style Mushroom Butter Masala which I love to pair with simple Jeera Pulav or Peas Pulav. But on days when I really feel like eating spicy food, I resort to this Chettinad Mushroom Biriyani  or sometimes the Hyderabadi Biriyani. My sister wanted me to try this from Divya`s post and I readily obliged.It`s a simpler version of the Hyderabadi Biriyani and definitely a lot more forgiving in the prep work, but very very delicious to say the least. I savour this biriyani with simple Cucumber Raita. I made this Biriyani with brown basmati rice and added Seitan instead of soya nuggets for added protien!

INGREDIENTS:

2 Cups Brown Basmati Rice.

1 Pound Mushrooms Cremini/ Bella or White.

2 Onions sliced long and thin.

1/2 Cup Coconut Milk.

1 Packet of Seitan.(optional or you could substitute with Soya Chunks, or Tempeh)

MARINADE:

1/2 Cup Fresh Curd.

2 Tsp Ginger Garlic Paste – Fresh.

1 Tsp Red Chilli  Powder.

1 Tsp Dhania Powder.

1 Tsp Garam Masala Powder.

A pinch of haldi Powder.

1/2 Cup Mint Leaves.

1/2 Cup Cilantro chopped.

WHOLE SPICES FOR SEASONING:

2 Tbsp Ghee/Butter/Oil.

1 Inch Cinnamon.

4 Cloves.

1/2 Tsp Cardamom Powder or 2 Cardamom Pods.

2 Star Anise.

1 Tsp ShahJeera.

1 Tsp Jeera.

PREPARATION:

  • Wash the basmati rice and soak it in 3 cups water for about 30 minutes.
  • In a kadai, add a spoon of oil and shallow fry the onions until they are completely brown. I have a Calphalon Sear Pan so I can sear all the onions without a drop of oil.
  • Now we  work on the marinade – Add the seitan and the mushroom on to a bowl and add all the ingredients under “Marinade” and finally add half of the yummy pan fried onions. Save hte rest for later.
  • Cover the bowl with a cling wrap and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, take a wide mouthed non stick pan and add 2 tbsp of ghee. Now season it with all the ingredients under “Seasonings” and give it a second to fry in the oil.
  • Add the marinated mushroom+Seitan mixture in to the pan and saute on a medium low flame until you see the mushroom getting cooked, sweaty and start shrinking.  This should take about 5-6 minutes.
  • Now add the coconut milk to the pan and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
  • Now add ONLY the rice that has been soaking but SAVE the water in which it was soaked.
  • Ahh you threw it out, never mind, just get fresh 3 cups of water!!!!
  • Add in the required salt and then the 1 Tsp of Garam Masala.
  •  Add the 3 cups of water and cover and cook undisturbed for about 15 minutes or until the grains of rice are cooked fluffy and to perfection.
  • Garnish with fried onions and serve with a side of thick Cucumber Raita.

IMG_6904

Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins. · Kid Friendly Recipes.

Oreo Truffles – 3 Ingredients, 30 Minutes.

IMG_6803

It`s already Feb 14`th and I had a really crazy week, running errands, kids, homework and classes and little did I realise the d-day was already around the corner! When I did a rough pantry check, I was mortified that I had no butter!!! That really gives me a panic attack. One never knows when the drive to bake assumes ginormous proportions and I had to be ready. No butter on Valentine`s eve and there was really no way I could run to the grocers. I had  been wanting to try out any form of chocolate  truffles for a very long time and I remember seeing many blogs with this quick version and what better way than to make them today.  They dont need any butter or eggs and no baking either. Try them out and tell me how they were!!!

IMG_6818

INGREDIENTS:

18 Oreo Cookies.

4 Oz Cream Cheese softened.

4 Oz Chocolate blocks/chips.

PREPARATION:

  • Prep up a baking tray and line  it with parchment paper. Keep aside.
  • In a food processor, pop in the oreo cookies and give them a quick pulse. Add the softened cream cheese and pulse until well combined to form a soft dough.
  • The fat in the cream cheese combines with the butter cream icing in the oreos and the mingling creates pure magic.
  • If you do NOT have  a food processor, simply crumble the oreos in the mixer and then mix in the cream cheese and mix it until the heat from your palms brings them all together.
  • Transfer to a dish and seal with cling wrap. Refrigerate for over an hour.
  • Remove from refrigerator and scoop out balls of oreo cookie dough and smooth them in to balls of the same size. Set them on the parchment paper. Return back to the refrigerator.
  • Take a clean deep vessel and fill it with water. Set the flame on medium low.
  • Now place a dish with the chocolate/chocolate chips over the vessel containing water. This is a double boiler. We dont want to introduce any direct heat on the chocolate and we use the steam from the water to slowly melt the chocolate.

IMG_6758

IMG_6762

  • Stir with a rubber spatula to aid in the uniform melting. When the chocolate is melted its silky smooth and shiny.
  • Using a fork/spoon gently pick up the oreo ball and drop it in to the chocolate.
  • When its coated with the chocolate, spoon it on to the parchment sheet again. Repeat and continue until all the balls are coated.

IMG_6772

  • When the truffles are still wet, sprinkle with toppings of your choice – Nuts/ Sprinkles / Candied Sugar/ Confetti/ Colored Sugar Crystals.
  • Refrigerate until the chocolate hardens.
  • Enjoy decadent Oreo Truffles . Make them as gifts for your valentine!!!
  • IMG_6825
Cakes / Pastries / Cookies/ Bread/Muffins.

Eggless Ghirardelli Chocolate Brownie Bites – It`s been 4 years….

IMG_6308Bite sized brownies are an all time addiction for my older daughter S. She loves chocolate in any form, so unlike me, added to the fact that this gives me an awesome opportunity to try my baking results on her . I had taken a back seat from baking for some time as my little one alwatys wanted to crawl in to the oven. Yes, you did read that right. I was petrified of managing the oven door, the kiddo and the cake, and I decided it was best left to later. Now that she is 3, I think its about time, I came back to what I loved doing before! – Baking. It`s an addiction that never lets you go. Here are these litle bite sized brownies, that I made for my 4`th Bloggiversary last week.

IMG_6285

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup All Purpose Flour.

3/4 Cup Unsweetened Ghirardelli Cocoa Powder.

1/2 Cup Heaped White Sugar.

1/2 Cup Mashed Bananas.

4Tbsp Butter at room temperature.

3 Tbsp Hot Water.

3 Tbsp Milk at room temperature.

A pinch of salt.

1 Tsp Vanilla Essence.

1 Tsp baking Powder.

1/4 Tsp Baking Soda.

5-6 walnuts chopped.

PREPARATION:

  • Measure out the flour and add in the salt, baking powder and baking soda and gently sift it through.
  • This is basically to air out the flour and remove impurities if any.
  • In a mixing bowl add the mashed banana, hot water, sugar, vanilla essence and briskly mix it all in.
  • Melt the butter in the microwave or stove top and add the measured cocoa powder and whisk it well so all the cocoa powder is well incorporated in to the butter.
  • Add this chocolate mixture to the mashed banana mixture and mix them well. If at this stage you find your wet ingredient base to be a little dry, add a few more drops of oil/ milk and loosen it up.
  • Now tip in the flour mix and whisk gently until you get a homogenous dough.

IMG_6264

 

  • Preheat the oven to 350F.
  • Grease the bottom of a cake pan or a tray and line with parchment paper.
  • Pour out the chocolate batter on to the tray and smooth well with the end of a spatula.
  • Bake for about 30-35 minutes depending on whether the crust becomes well set and well cooked. If you take out the brownies as soon as they are just baked, they might come out looking like cakes.
  • Cool for about 2 hours at least before you cut them in to little brownie bites! This is important as they take time to cool down and set well. The interiors are soft and a little chewy and the outside is am little thick and crusty.
  • Serve with a dollop of ice cream or hot chocolate sauce.

IMG_6310

 

Salads/ Recipes for the Calorie Conscious. · Snacks & Tiffin Items

Quinoa Upma or is it Khichdi???

IMG_6487

“From the bitterness of disease man learns the sweetness of health.”

It is definitely a boon to stay healthy and live a life of good habits and good values.  The road to good health per se has been a long journey for me with so many learnings about the greatest creation of God – Man! The human body is a very complex structure that has many million functions running at a particular instant and requires all of  them to do so, ever so smoothly for us to be able to take a breath of air. Isnt that really amazing? Of my latest learnings, I am beginning to delve in to the subject that been discussed to death – PROTEIN.  Why do we need protein? Proteins are the building blocks of life.

The body needs protein to repair and maintain itself. The basic structure of protein is a chain of amino acids.

Every cell in the human body contains protein. It is a major part of the skin, muscles, organs, and glands. We need protein in your diet to help your body repair cells and make new ones. Quinoa is a a very rich source of protein needed by the body and is also a complex carbohydrate that digests slowly and does not cause a spike in sugar and insulin levels. I started off making an upma from Quinoa but finished up as a khichdi. It was extremely delicious and very filling!

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup Quinoa.

1 Medium Red Onion or two small onions diced fine.

1/4 Cup Raw/ Roasted Peanuts.

1 Red Chilli.

1 Tsp Salt.

A pinch of turmeric.

Half a lemon`s juice.

2 1/2 Cups Water.

Seasoning:

1 Tbsp Oil.

1 Tsp Mustard Seeds.

1 Tsp Bengal Gram.

4-5 Cashew nuts.

Curry leaves.

2 Tbsp Ginger diced.

1 Green Chilli diced.

PREPARATION:

  • In a large kadai, add the oil and when its hot, add the seasonings  – Bengal Gram, Cashew nuts, ginger, green chillies, and when they are sauted in the oil, add the mustard seeds and the curry leaves. If you add the mustard seeds first, they will burn and it then wouldnt be possible to roast any of the remaining ingredients. 
  • Now add the diced onions and saute for a couple minutes until they turn a dull pinking brown. Now add the measured quinoa in to the pan and saute until it mixes in with the onions.

IMG_6469

  • Add a pinch of turmeric and add in the measured 2 1/2 cups of water.
  • Now add salt and mix it in and on medium flame give it a couple minutes to come to a boil.
  • Now reduce the flame to low and cover and cook the quinoa for about 20 minutes. I am guessing it would be much faster on an LPG stove so keep the flame really low and let it cook.
  • This is almost like allowing rice to cook on a low flame so it doesn’t burn. Quinoa is a nutty tasting gluten free grain that has the ability to fluff up when cooked well. So give it some love.
  • In the mean time take a dry pan and roast the peanuts for about 3-4 minutes until it emits an amazing aroma. Add one red chilli and give it a quick stir. When slightly cooled, transfer to a mixer jar and give it a quick pulse. Set aside.
  • Keep a check to make sure that there is moisture in the pan along with the quinoa. When its almost done squeeze the lemon juice and garnish with the powdered peanut-chilli powder.
  • This is exactly the same one I use in the Sabudhana khichdi which is another amazing dish.
  • Serve hot with Tomato Thokku and enjoy the flavours of nutty quinoa, onions, ginger, lemon and peanut-chilli powder all  in  one bite. Sounds over-powering? no way they all marinate beautifully and give out an indulgent taste!

IMG_6497