Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Cheesecake Thumbprints

Baking is an art that intrigues me. I keep getting Baking books from library to try out stuff, but would most of the time end up looking at the pictures and returning them; sometimes because I feel they are time consuming and at times because I may not have all the ingredients on hand. This time I had 'Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook' from library and me and my son were flipping the pages. We came across the recipe for Cheesecake Thumbprint cookies and my son was wanting to make it. He is 4 and enjoys watching me cook and giving me a helping hand. So I finally decided to try this one out and am happy that I did.

Makes around 15-16 cookies
Cream Cheese- 2 ounce
Sugar- 1/4 cup
Sour Cream- 3/4 tsp
Vanilla Essence- 3 drops
Salt- 1/8 tsp + half a pinch
Butter- 1 stick (1/2 cup) at room temperature
Egg yolk- 1 large
All Purpose flour/Maida- 1 cup

1. In a bowl, beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer at a medium speed for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
2. Add 1/8 cup of sugar and half a pinch of salt and blend until smooth for 3 minutes.
3. To the cream cheese mixture, add half of the egg yolk, sour cream and vanilla and beat until smooth.
4. Refrigerate the cream cheese mixture for about 30 minutes.
5. In the mean time, beat the butter and remaining sugar with an electric mixer at a medium speed for 2 minutes. I used salted butter.
6. Add remaining salt (not needed, if using salted butter), egg yolk and beat to combine. If using Salted butter, add 2 tbsp of sugar in addition to the 1/8 cup of sugar.
7. Sift the flour into the butter mixture slowly with the mixture on low speed.
8. Once the ingredients are mixed well, use your hands to make the dough into ball shape.
9. Preheat the oven at 350 degree F.
10. Line a baking tray with a parchment paper.
11. Shape Level tablespoons of dough into balls and place on the prepared baking sheets about an inch apart.
12. Using your thumb or a spoon, make an indentation  in the center of each ball.

13. Bake for 10 minutes and remove from oven and make indentations again with a spoon, as the dough may have raised a bit.
14. Bake again for 7-9 minutes until the edges of the cookies begin to turn golden brown. Turn off the oven.
15. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.
16. Once cooled, fill the center of each cookie with around a teaspoon full of cream cheese filling, mounding it slightly.
17. Preheat the oven again at 350 degree and bake the cookies again for 7-8 minutes, until the filling is firm.
18. Cool the cookies in a wire rack completely and refrigerate in an air tight container for at least 4 hours before serving.

Your cheesecake thumbprint cookies are ready! The cookies are best if they are refrigerated overnight. Allow them to sit at room temperature for at least 20 minutes before serving.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Pepper Chicken Roast

Pepper Chicken Roast is a quick recipe with a delicious outcome. The recipe is from my MIL and is one of her specials. The taste of pepper together with the tanginess of lemon juice gives this dish a kind of unique taste. So for people who are looking out for a different chicken recipe, this is definitely worth a try.

Onion- 1 (around 3/4 lb) (Sliced)
Ginger Garlic Paste- 4 tbsp 
Green Chilly- 2 (chopped)
Tomato- 1 (around 1/4 lb) (Cut into small cubes)
Capsicum- 1 (around 1/4 lb) (Cut into small cubes)
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp 
Chilly Powder- 1 tsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tsp
Fennel Powder- 1/2 tsp
Pepper Powder- 1 1/2 tsp (according to your spice level)
Lemon Juice- 2 tbsp
Salt- to taste
Chicken- 1 1/4 lbs (Cut into small pieces)
Oil- 4 tbsp

1. In a bowl, mix all the above ingredients together except oil and mix well.

2. Keep the bowl with all the ingredients mixed well to marinate for at least 30 minutes.
3. Heat oil in a non-stick pan. I used Coconut oil as it gives a unique flavor to the dish.
4. Pick the Chicken alone from the mixed ingredients kept for marination.
5. Shallow fry the chicken in the heated oil until it is slight brown in color.

6. Remove the chicken from oil. In the same oil add the remaining mixture of onions, ginger garlic paste, tomato, capsicum and the other powders. You could add extra oil, if needed. Keeping the tidbits from frying the chicken in the oil enhances the taste and color of the dish.
7. Once the onion is completely translucent, add the fried chicken and mix well for a minute or two. Adjust the salt, if needed
8. Turn off the stove and close the pan and let it rest for 5 minutes.

The dish is a perfect accompaniment for most of the breads that you can think of as well as for any rice preparation.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Crab Shiitake Puff with Grape Fruit Sauce

How does the name of the recipe sound? It has quite a story behind it. My team decided to do this get-together at one of our colleague's place as a team activity and the idea was to do 'Chopped'. For those who do not know what 'Chopped' is, it is a Food Network Reality show where the chefs are given 3-5 unrelated ingredients and are asked to come up with an Appetizer, Entree and Dessert. So now to what we did, I was asked to prepare an appetizer with Crab Meat, Shiitake Mushroom, Grape Fruit and Bran Cereal. Again unlike the show, we were given the ingredients a week early. The list of ingredients here were stuff I had never even bought before. Deciding what to make was a tough decision and had to try it once before I made it for the competition. I will cut the story short and get into the ingredients and method of making this appetizer.

For the Puff:
Crab Meat- 300 gms (0.7 lbs - used 3 crab legs)
Shiitake Mushroom- 150 gms (0.35 lbs)
Butter- 3 - 4 tbsp
Ginger Paste- 1 1/2 tsp
Garlic Paste- 1 1/2 tsp 
Chilly Powder- 1 tsp (I used very little to make the appetizer mild)
Garam Masala- 3/4 tsp
Egg Whites- 1
Puff Pastry Sheet- 1 Packet
Salt- to taste

1. In a mixer, mince the cooked crab meat.
2. Chop the mushrooms into small slices.
3. In a pan, heat the butter and add Ginger and Garlic paste.
4. After sauting the ginger and garlic for 2-3 minutes, add the Chilly Powder and saute for a minute.
5. Add the chopped mushrooms and saute until the mushroom is cooked.
6. Add the minced crab meat, garam masala and salt and mix everything well for 3-5 minutes.
7. Turn off the stove and let the filling cool.
8. Use the puff pastry sheet to make puffs with the filling into any shape you want.
9. Line a Baking pan with parchment paper and place the puffs in it.
10. Beat the egg whites and brush the egg whites on to the top of the puffs. This is to give a glaze to the puffs.
11. Bake in a preheated oven at 400 degree for 15 minutes and your puffs are ready.

For the Sauce:

Grape Fruit- 6 oz can
Salted Butter- 1 tbsp
Ginger Paste- 1/2 tsp
Sweet Chilly Sauce- 1 1/2 tsp
Chilly Powder- 1/4 tsp 
Brown Sugar- 2 tsp
Salt- 1/4 tsp
Water- 1/2 cup
Corn Starch- 1 tsp
Bran Cereal - 2 tbsp (powdered)

1. In a pan heat the butter and add ginger paste and saute for 2-3 minutes.
2. Grind the grape fruit with the juice (I used the canned version, as I could not get the fresh ones).
3. Add the ground grape fruit to the pan and let it boil.
4. Add the sweet Chilly Sauce, Chilly Powder and Brown Sugar and mix well.
5. Mix Bran Cereal powder in little water and add to the pan.
6. Mix the corn starch in a little water and add to the pan as well. This is to give a glaze to the sauce.
7. Let the sauce thicken and add the salt.

We were rated equally for Taste, Creativity and Presentation and guess what, this dish won the second prize at this competition.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Nadan Mutton Curry

Mutton Curry is an all time favorite of ours and most of our friends. They are certain restaurants that are so popular for Nadan Mutton Curry in Trivandrum that R and his friends always talks about it - Buhari, Vayalil, Paradise, etc to name a few. That was my inspiration to start trying out Mutton Curry. The combination that we usually have for this Mutton Curry is Puttu and Pappadam. This combination just gels so well that I do not have words to explain!

Oil- 3 tbsp
Onion- 1 1/2 (around 500gms)
Small Onion- 10
Green Chilly- 2 (adjust according to your spice level)
Ginger Garlic Paste- 3 tbsp
Tomato- 1 big (around 125 gms)
Turmeric Powder- 1/4 tsp
Chilly Powder- 2 tbsp
Coriander Powder- 1 tbsp
Fennel Powder- 2 tsp
Garam Masala- 1 1/2 tsp
Mutton- 2 lbs
Water- 1/2 cup
Salt- to taste
Curry Leaves- 1 or 2 twigs

1. In a pressure cooker, add the oil and heat it.
2. When the oil is hot, add chopped Onions and sauté until they are transparent.
3. Smash the small onions and green chilly into a coarse paste and add that to the sauted onions, and saute for a few minutes.
4. Add Ginger-Garlic paste to this and sauté for a couple of minutes.
5. Add chopped Tomato and saute for 3-4 minutes.
6. To this add, Turmeric Powder, Coriander Powder, Chilly Powder, Fennel Powder and Garam Masala and sauté it for 2-3 minutes, until the raw smell goes.
7. Now add Mutton to this and mix well to make sure the mutton is coated with the masala.
8. Add Salt, water and close the Pressure Cooker (You could also avoid adding water, if you do not need much gravy).
9. After 4-5 pressure releases, you can turn off the stove.
10. Open the cooker after the pressure is all gone.
11. Garnish with Curry Leaves

Your mutton curry is ready to serve. In addition to Puttu, it also goes well with Ghee Rice, Plain Rice, Chapati, Paratha and anything you can think of :-) You could also do the same preparation with beef or lamb.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Easy Vellayappam / Palappam with Rice Flour

I have already posted a recipe for Appam which calls for grinding soaked rice. I was getting a lot of searches on Easy Appam and Appam with rice flour on my blog's analytics report. This made me look for easy Appam recipes that can be made with rice flour. I came across one in one of my recently acquired cook books from my India trip this time - The Suriani Kitchen by Lathika George. I have made changes to the measurements in the original recipe and also used roasted rice flour since I did not have unroasted flour. Anyways the result was great. The appams turned out to be softer than the one with soaked rice.

Rice Flour- 2 cup
Water- 2 1/2 cup
Cooked Rice- 3/4 cup
Coconut Milk- 1 1/2 cup (thick)
Sugar- 4 tbsp
Salt- 1/2 tsp
Yeast- 1 tbsp
Luke Warm Water- 1/4 cup

1. In a mixer grind the cooked rice with 1/2 a cup of water to a fine paste.
2. Transfer this to a bowl.
3. In the luke warm water add the yeast and let it soak for a few minutes.
4. Now add the Rice Flour, 2 cups of water and coconut milk and blend well. You could use a grinder or a hand mixer.
5. Transfer the rice flour batter along with the cooked rice batter.
6. To this add, sugar, salt and dissolved yeast and mix well.
7. Keep the batter in the oven with the lights turned on. This is for places with cold climate; otherwise you could leave it outside.
8. The batter would be ready, if kept in an oven, in 1 hour. It would ferment and rise. Now adjust the sugar and salt if needed.

You need to use the Appa-Chatti to make appam and follow the below steps.

1. Heat the appa-chatti and smear a little oil.
2. Pour a spoonful of batter and swirl the pan - this leaves the center thick and the sides thinner.
3. Now close the pan and leave it to cook for a minute or two.

The preparation time is really reduced by using the Rice flour. So if you feel like having appam, you don't have to plan a day ahead.
Related Posts with Thumbnails