30.4.09

Chiffon Cake - by Bi Sheng

Bi Sheng & Stephanie:


Chiffon Cake:

Chiffon Cake:

My friend Sheng is from China, she is doing her PH.D at the University of Mississippi in English! She is an active member of Cook! Eat! Share! the International club...that I attend to! So last week we had an Event, India Table(Yeah, yeah you guys guessed it right, I cooked). During the heavy work load...grocery shopping's, cooking for 50 people, maintaining the atmosphere to Restaurant standards and last minute hiccups(like deep fryer doesn't work)...its a real challenge to run the whole episode(will detail about the event later, anyway)!!!

So coming to the point...Sheng brought us this cake, to feed the members! How thoughtful, so kind of her. And even during that busy schedule I didn't fail to notice...that the cake was impeccable...so moist, smooth, tasteee!! Everyone felt the same way...she went to next level of translating the recipe written in Mandarin Chinese to English for us, so sweet, right!

I really enjoyed her cake, but failed to take a snap! By chance we have this one picture...taken by her, though she is not very satisfied with it(the picture is kind of blurred), I guess for we food bloggers, its the recipe & taste are important factors here(not just the picture always, right)!!!

Here is her recipe, in her exact words:

CHIFFON CAKE RECIPE:

Ingredients:

·5 eggs 90g sugar ·70g milk ·70g vegetable oil ·90g cake flour (sift before measuring)
·1/2tsp salt ·1/2tsp vanilla ·1/2tsp baking powder ·1/2tsp cream of tartar


Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350F.

2. Separate egg whites and egg yolks.
Be Careful. They have to be completely separated, especially the egg whites. Put them in very clean bowls (avoid water and oil), just like this:

3. Make the egg yolk mixture.
In a separate bowl, combine milk and vegetable oil. Beat until well blended.
Slowly add the cake flour, baking powder and vanilla, blend well.
Add 1/2 egg yolks, blend well, add the rest of the egg yolks, blend, until it look like this:

3. Make the egg white mixture.
Beat egg whites using hand mixer on low speed. When it looks like this, add 1/3 sugar, cream of tartar and salt.

Add another 1/3 sugar when it looks like this:

Add the rest of the sugar, continue beating. The mixture will start to become foamy. First it will look like this when you hold the hand mixer:

Gradually, the peak will become stiff. When you see the peak like this, stop mixing.

This part usually takes 5-6 minutes. Avoid over-beating. If you continue to beat, the mixture will get too stiff. You don’t want your egg whites look like this:

4. Mix the egg whites and egg yolks.
With a rubber spatula, add 1/3 egg white mixture into the egg yolk mixture. Gently but swiftly mix them together, using “fold and cut” motion (do not stir!).
Add the above mixture back to the egg white mixture. Use the same motion, until it becomes very smooth.
Your final mixture will look like this:

5. Start baking!
Pour the mixture into an ungreased 10-inch pan.
Bake about 15 minutes.
Test with toothpick. Cake is done when toothpick comes out clean.


6. You can decorate the cake by using whipped butter, whipped cream, jam, or fruits, whatever you like. Make sure the cake is cold when you start to do this.

28.4.09

Brussel's Sprouts Fry



Brussels Sprouts Masala Varuval:

Never been a big fan of this Brussels Sprouts. Though it resembles much like cabbage(mini cabbage)...the taste never compelled me to have more. I tried various versions before...from korma to curry, nothing appealed. Gave a final try with all my favourite strong spices...whoo that was a hit!!! This is the recipe...

Ingredients:

Brussels sprouts 1/4 kilo
Salt
Turmeric 1 pinch
Chili powder 1/4 spoon
Olive oil few spoons.

Spices to be toasted and powdered:

Cloves 3
Cinnamon 1 stick
Fennel seeds 1 spoon
Cardamom 3
Peppercorns 1 spoon
Cumin 1 spoon
Coriander seeds 2 spoons
Red chilies 5

To be fried in oil and Wet-Ground to Paste:

Onion 1
Garlic 2-4
Ginger 1"-2"
Tomato 1 small.

Method:

In a wide wok, heat oil. Add the wet-ground paste and then followed by BS. Toss them to all the sides.

Add salt, turmeric, chili powder and the above powdered spices too.

Stir-fry over high heat till tender and the spices aroma turns fragrant and nice.

27.4.09

Birinji Rice - Infused with Lemon Stalk





Coconut Birinji:(Version 2)

Coconut Biriyani, Thengai Biriyani. Thenga Biriyani. Coconut Birinji Rice with Lemon stalk. Coconut Pulav. Thengai Saadham. Lemon Stalk infused Rice dish.

My friend Mercy, who is from Philippines runs an International market...here at Oxford! She used to complain about, how locals never buy vegetables from her and that she will have to cook all the left over eggplants & bitter melons all by herself!! So I told her confidently, that I will take vegetables from her regularly!

She must be a great cook, I suppose! She used to narrate me her recipes for eggplants and pork sometimes...you know, there will be so much of life, when she talks...I guess she puts her heart and soul in cooking!! So stay tuned for Philippine recipes!!

Meanwhile, I bought this lemon stalk from her...had no clue what to do with it though'...had no mood for 'Thai food' either. So, made my regular coconut birinji and simmered lemon stalk in it, guess what...that was the amazing thing, I ever did!! The food turned fabulous, tasteee and what not!!

Ingredients:

Basmati rice 1 cup
Coconut milk 3 cups
Lemon stalk 1 (but used only half of it)
Jalapenos 3 sliced
Garlic 1 whole head peeled
Onion 1 large sliced
Tomato 1 sliced nto wedges
Mint leaves 1 fistful
Fennel seeds 2 spoons
Bay leaves 2
Cloves 5
Cinnamon 1 stick
Cardamom 3 crushed
Ghee/ Clarified butter 1/4 cup.

Method:

In a wide slow cooker, heat oil. Add all the spices plus chilies. Wait till they turn fragrant.

Add garlic, onions, tomatoes, mint and lemon stalk. Add rice and salt. Give a quick stir.

Then add 3 cups of coconut milk, cover and slow cook till tender and nice.

Remove the stalk and then serve as main dish for lunch or dinner with spicy korma.

23.4.09

Alfalfa Fried Rice



Alfalfa Fried Rice:

Science behind the Sprouts: When a seed holds up a tuff cover, packed with high protein and carbohydrate! Upon germination(a crucial period of sudden raise in their active molecules). At the expense of some protein it gets converted into all essential vitamins! Since a germinating plant needs all support for growth(survival of the fittest)...it is boosted with vitamin A, C and B-complex! All challenging the limes, lemons and meat products. Imagine a simple fragile sprouting root+shoot from a seedling has so much capacity!!! That is why it is highly nutritious and most welcomed by vegans and vegetarians to compromise their protein and vitamin need! A cup of raw sprouts has just 10 calories...making us all happy. Eat as much as we want, no worries about gaining weight!!!

One of the studies say they have more chlorophyll content than our fav' greens! Its hard to believe tho'...but it does have some chlorophyll content, we have to agree with that. Since sprouts are rich in phytochemicals, it helps to fight against diseases, improves one's immune system!

As I said at the expense of certain protein it gains more vitamin ratio beyond the point, that one could imagine 200-300%. Same goes to fighting against any outbreaks while germination! Like a mother's milk is extra and excess in all vitamins, for fast growth, possessing disease fighting compounds!!! Similar molecules are found here...they have rich enzyme activity. In this fragile plants,they have found significant amounts of glucosinolates and isothyiocyanates! Which are very important inducers of phase 2 enzyme production that prevents malignant cell growth! The cancer fighting ones!

Like most of the greens, they too have plant Saponins! Which could lower one's cholesterol! So supports heart related diseases. Saponis are said to promote one's immune system by increasing the activity of fighter cells(the lymphocytes and interferons).Besides they are loaded with antioxidants, you know...prevents cell degeneration process and DNA destruction...making it a good source to bring down aging related symptoms!! All girls wanna go shopping now for sprouts, right!:) Alfalfa sprouts contains great amount of phytoestrogens...which is very essential for female health. It can prevent menopausal symptoms and age-related osteoporosis. It overall provides good heart condition, upon regular consumption.

As any good thing has its own demerits, so does the sprouts...always had a apprehension while handling whether there could be a 'Salmonella' or any deadly bacteria, virus and pathogens! Certain strains of E.coli are very dangerous. When you indent to produce your own sprouts, make sure you clean the seeds properly. If the seeds had any soil, kindly forget the idea. Never try to produce with a stale seeds. Mix only clean(but not boiled or any) room temperature water for sprouting. Sterilize your sprouting aparatus. After 2-3 days...be very content with what you get and refrigerate them immediately. Leaving them over for prolonged period could bring up a musty smelling, uninvited virus/bacteria to your salads!

A spoon of seeds could give you 10-15 spoons of sprouts, absolutely no hard work...doesnt require sunshine, big pot, potling soil, fertilizer...this was how my friend Tulsi Ram lectured before making me to eat 'Mung sprouts' in the Hostel.

Well as usual this is my own invention recipe. I generally eat sprouts raw with lemon juice and salt for break fast. Since it is already rich in protein, vitamins and fibre...thought of making them wholesome, by pairing with white rice. It turned up great! Now it became my favourite meal!

Ingredients:

Cold Cooked Rice(salted n cooked)
Veggies - teeny meeny bits
Scrambled eggs
Chicken cubed/shredded
MSG
Vinegar 1 spoon
Heavy soy sauce 1 spoon
Chili sauce 1 spoon
Alfalafa sprouts 1 handful
Oil as required.

Method:

Heat oil in a skillet, stir-fry chicken an then add veggies and fry real good for 2 minutes. Set aside.

In the same wok, heat little more oil. Fry rice for about 2 minutes...until oil coats up. Now add vinegar, soy and chi sauce...mix them well.

Followed by...add chicken, eggs, veggies and sprouts now. Keep them on heat for less than a minute!

Serve warm to go as a main dish. Lunch or dinner!:)

22.4.09

Yam Lentils Curry




Senai-Kizhangu Masiyal:

Yam-Lentils Curry. Senai Kizhangu Kadaisal/Kadaiyal.

I heard about this dish thro' my maid. She is a great cook. I wanted to keep its authenticity, so used kal-chatti / mann chatti for blending. This gives very earthlty flavour! This goes to Shama's Village Special Event (Grammathu Kaimanam)

Ingredients:

Yam 1/4 kilo
Thoor Dal 1 small cup
Green chilies 6
Garlic 6-7 beads
Onion 1 medium
Tomatoes 1-2
Salt
Turmeric powder 1/4 spoon
Tamarind paste 1/4 spoon
Oil few spons.

For Sesonning:

Thallipu Vadagam 1 spoon
Mustard seeds 1/4 spoon
Cumin seeds 1/4 spoon
Fenugreek 2
Peppercorns 2
Asafoetida 1/4 spoon
Dry red chilies 1
Urad dal 1/4 spoon
Curry leaves few
Sesame oil few spoons.

Method:

Scrape away the thick skin and wsh the veggie. Chop them roughly and leave them in cold water until cooking.

Cook thuvar dal in a pressure cooker till tender. Set aside.

In a wide wok, heat oil. Add chilies, garlic, onion and tomatoes. Fry them real good.

Then followed by veggies. Add salt and turmeric to it.

Add a cup of water and cook them tender.

When they are almost done...add 1/4 of tamarind water.

Remove them from stove(make sure there is not more water). Now coarsely grind them in a mann-chatti/blender. Then add cooked thoor dal and blend once again.

In a seperate pan, heat oil. Add sesonning items. Run this sesonning over the masiyal made above.

Serve warm to go with your steamed rice.

21.4.09

Award


Sanghi, Priya Sriram and Dhanya Nambirajan has shared this award with me. Thank you girls...I love your blogs too!!:))

16.4.09

Don't Mess with Sufian











Lebanese Breakfast:

Friday Morning Breakfast - Middle East! Bachelor's Elaborate Breakfast, Can you believe this???

Hope you guys remember about the club that I attend to 'The Cook! Eat! Share!' for the Internationals. We are about 40 members from different countries. Its a nice platform to know about one's culture through food!

One of our member from Lebanon, Sufian...completed his studies from Olemiss(The University of Mississippi) and went back to his native for job!! So just before leaving...he decided to host 'Lebanese Breakfast' for the members. So sweet, right! It was cold winter(December)he planned to cook at Sue's (South Korean, member)apartment. Imagine we all met up at her place early in the morning, icy winter...the girl was sleeping like a baby!! Since it was too early and late notice...not many people showed up! When Sufian started to cook...I was really amazed at his culinary skills! Oh guys are smart these days...not just cooking, even in clean ups!!

Sufian fixed us: Jasmine Tea, Sesame-Dill biscuits, Egg Salad, Lebanese bread, Cheese, Pita bread, Authentic Hummus and Tahini.

Criticism: Truly one should applaud his effort...guess he is in early 20s and shares the passion for cooking, kool huh. Oh my my...the hummus was awesome, ultimate in taste. Well balanced in fact...right proportion of yogurts, lemonade, salt and garbanzos. The real twist was...He had arranged the bread pieces has first layer and spread some hummus on top, again layered some bread and then hummus, garnish was kool too. So the bread along with hummus was chewy and yummm!! Tahini was much similar to South Indian Idly podi for me...sesame seeds and olive oil...gave a good aroma. Egg salad, he said...he could'nt find cilantro that early in any stores...so he had to throw parsley instead. Even then it tasted good.

Culture: He said his mommy fix such elaborate breakfast on Friday mornings. Friday is holiday for them (Muslim countries generally have Friday holiday for their mass in the mosque)! He said to take a piece of pita bread and roll them with egg salad and grab a spoonful of hummus and dip them in tahini...and then eat it. Followed by a sip of warm jasmine tea. Aaaah that I call breakfast. Wish my mommy hears this, he he.

14.4.09

Flavoured Yogurt



Berries in Yogurts:

Yogplait. Fruit Yogurts. Berries in Dahi.

Ingredients:

Stawberry
Blue berry
Black berry
Raspberry
Sugar
Plain yogurt

Method:

Combine everything together...serve chilled as dessert, guilt free eating!!

12.4.09

Nargazi Kebab





Nargazi Kebab:

Egg Kebab. Egg-Batata Vada. Potato-Egg Bonda.

After the regular cooking...sometimes I really play in the kitchen with left over ingredients/food stuff. So when there was enough aloo masala and eggs, I thought about this one dish, they call it 'Nargazi Kebab' God only knows the reason!! Where the eggs are covered with potato masala and deep fried! Tastes good with Irani chai during rainy afternoons. After thinking about such stuff, who could possibly resist trying it out immediately! So tried it right away...but instead of deep frying, I prefered pan-frying with olive oil. Although didn't turn golden color or crisp on the outer...the taste was good, moreover didnt leave me guilty!:)

Ingredients:

Potato masala/ poori masala/ Aloo masala
Hard boiled eggs 2
Olive oil for deep frying/pan frying.

Method:

Slice each egg twice, yeah quarter. Then cover each slice with enough potato masala.

Deep fry them till crisp and nice.

Serve warm as a snack.

9.4.09

Drum Chicken







Cornish hen Drummeties:

Rock Cornish Hen - Grilled Wings. Drum Chicken. Chicken Wings. Grilled Chicken Wings. Baked n Broiled Chicken Wings.

Another Restaurant special, liked by all! Chicken Drummeties...interesting name, as they resemble the drum's stick!! This is served as an appetizer in many restaurants in India. I really never thought of fixing it at home...thought it could be time consuming process! But finally made my mind and started saving Cornish hen wings each time. Yeah...I don't like the usual chicken anymore. Cornish game hen in an interesting variation with less fat and gamier meat!! Well, it was easy to flip them up one day and sear the skin from one end and pull them towards the other end! Making it as little drummeties is not a big deal, very easy! Then marinate them in your favourite spices and either grill or bake+broil them!!

Ingredients:

Chicken Wings 12-16
Salt
Ginger-garlic paste 1 spoon
Chili powder 1 spoon
Egg white 1 spoon
Soy sauce 1 spoon
Chili sauce 1 spoon
Corn flour 2-4 spoons
Yogurt 1 spoon
Lemon juice 1 spoon

Method:

Marinate the drum chicken in all the above mentioned items...for a complete 2 hours.

Grill them in a charcoal oven. Or one can bake them in conventional oven and take it to broiling briefly later...to get that charred effect!

Good to go as an appetizers.

7.4.09

Vallarai Keerai Paruppu




Vallarai Keerai Kothu Paruppu:

Centella asiatica is the Botanical name of this creeper! The English common name is 'Asian Penny wort' or 'Penny Wort'. They call this as Brahmi/ Gotu Kola is Hindi. We call it 'Vallarai Keerai' in Tamil. Other names: Bemgsag, Brahma manduki, Brahmanduki, Brahmi, Ondelaga and Gotu Kola.

This is a wild creeper, found near the river banks and wet paddy fields! It creeps to the side wards. The leaves are bit bitter in taste.

Science Behind the Greens: It has two important saponins called 'brahmoside' and 'brahminoside'. Guess folks claim make sense to me...as this is widely used to treat skin disorder(in the village). These two saponis are responsible for rectifying the scars or wrinkles or rashes(sounds nice, right)!! These greens have several phytochemicals like triterpenoids...which has anti-inflammatory property(Wow)! They posses alkaloids, minerals like iron and copper - helps to purify the blood and increase iron absorption(good for anaemic patients)! The most important factor that I am interested in it is...it is composed of lots of amino acids like alanine, threonine, serine, asparate, glutamate, lysine, histidine and alanine. Though I couldn't point out an exact amino acid...that is responsible for improving one's memory power(improve intelligence) but I could pretty much say...all these amino acids have a cumulative effect on one's brain!

Like to give it simple...brain has a severe barrier system, it doesn't just allow any amino acid/chemical to pass through it(unless until it has necessary job). So most of the drugs(98% brain related drugs/even depression pills)doesn't reach the brain cell. They are all gimmicks! Anyways, pharma firms are working on some 'hybrid' pills inorder to smuggle their drug to cross that tuff blood-brain barrier, okay! Well...coming to my point, these amino acids (not just one...more than 5 essential amino acids) have the capacity to cross the blood-brain barrier!! For example 'Serotonin is good for memory power'...but even though we eat lots of serotonin rich diet...it can't travel beyond the blood stream. Research is saying that more than 5 amino acids in the diet help to cross this barriet. But what percentage of each a.a is still not clear to the scientists. They say...genetics/our gene is pre-programmed for intelligence & memory power. Please don't get upset...eat a complete balanced diet, I guess it is also the lifestyle(though Scientist are not conclusive about the percentage)taking a balanced meal could really help!!

Folk's Remedy:

According to folks remedy they are body tonic, strengthens the body, improves one's immune system (to fight against the disease), blood purifier, iron rich (good for anaemic patients), it is said that pharmaceutical companies put them in good use to produce more face creams and stuff! It has some important factors to rectify the early signs of wrinkles! It is strongly recommended to improve one's memory power!

Ingredients:

Asian Penny worts - Leaves 1 bowl - chopped
Chilies 3-6 chopped
Onions 1 bowl(thinly sliced)
Garlic 6 chopped
Tomato 1 large chopped
Lentils(moong dal/thuvar dal)1 cup
Salt
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Olive oil 2 spoons.

Method:

Cook lentils with water, salt and a spoon full of oil. Maybe in a pressure cooker, till 3 whistle sounds.

In a wide vessel, heat oil. Add cumin and wait till it crackles.

Now add cumin, chilies, garlic and fry for a minute. Then add onions & tomatoes...saute for few more minutes.

Add greens and cooked lentils to this. Further add salt too. Cover and cook till they are done.

Serve warm in a soup bowl. Its also good to go with plain steamed rice, as well.

3.4.09

Bok Choy & Shrimps Curry




Boy Choy & Shrimps Thanni Kuzhambu:

Sothi Kuzhambu. Iral-Keerai Sothi Kuzhambu. Boy Choy & Shrimps Stew. Shrimps and Greens Stew.

Botanical name of Bok Choi is Brassica chinensis. It comes under cabbage family! This is commonly called as 'Chinese Cabbage'. It initially spread to European countries and America, where Chinese settlements were high! Though I have tasted this several times in various Asian restaurants, never actually dared enough to cook them at home. My brother gave lot of introduction to it...like he said, he make poriyal, kootu etc with bok choy!! So finally, tried it in my own way 'thanni kuzhambu'! To make the greens delectable, I even added few shrimps. One can make it plain and simple, with just greens alone!

Ingredients:

Bok Choy 5-7 leaves - chopped roughly
Shrimps 10-12
Green chilies 3 slitted
Onion 1 grated
Ginger-garlic pate 1 spoon
Tomatoes 1 large chopped
Salt
Turmeric 1 pinch
Chili powder 1/2 spoon
Coconut milk 1 cup
Cinnamon stick 1
Cloves 3
Oil few spoons.

Method:

In a wide wok, heat oil. Add the whole spices and wait till they crackle.

Add chilies, ginger-garlic paste and onion. Fry real good.

Once the raw smell is gone, add tomatoes too. Fry till they wilt.

Add salt turmeric and chili powder. Further add greens, shrimps and 1 cup of coconut milk. Cover and cook till they are done.

Make them in stew consistency...serve to go with roti, chappathi, iddiyappam, appam, dosa or idly.

2.4.09

Lentil's Stuffed Indian Flat Bread




Moong dal Paratha:

Dhall Roti. Dal Roti. Lentil's Chappathi. Lentil's Roti.

When I was studying in New Delhi, my hostel cook...Kamalesh Roy cooked this for breakfast!! Some of you guessed it already, yeah...he fixed it with left over dhall!! According to me he is a gifted cook! A real cook doesn't like to waste food...its their hard work, right!! He turned that leftover into a beautiful menu(mouth watering parathas). I really appreciate his talent! During my stay, I learnt lot of recipes and method of cooking through his food!! Thanks Kamelesh!!!

Today, I prepared the same recipe with freshly prepared lentil's though. As my signature...I retained the lentils bit intact, cooked but intact!! This will give a texture to the roti!! Hope you all will like this!!!

Ingredients:

All purpose flour 2 cups
Flour for dusting
Oil for smearing and toasting the bread.

For Dhall:

Moong dal/ mung dal 1/2 cup
Salt
Green chilies 1 chopped
Onion 1 chopped
Ginger-Garlic paste 1 spoon
Turmeric 1 pinch
Cilantro leaves few chopped
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Oil few spoons.

Method:

In a pressure pan, heat oil. Add cumin, chilies, ginger-garlic and onions. Fry real good.

Add salt, turmeric and lentils to it. Further add 1 cup of water and pressure cook the same.

In a wide bowl, bring flour. Add the above cooked lentil's soup to it. Mix well...bring them into tough dough.

Make equal parts out of it. Roll them into thin chappathis.

Hea the skillet, smear oil. Toast the chappathis on both the sides, till golden color. Enjoy with an accompaniment of curry/korma.