Hosting Friday Fiesta: Murgh Kofta Curry

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It’s Friday!!! It is grey, it is gloomy and there is not a spot of sunshine, but I will take it anyway :D

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And this is a very special Friday too… I am co-hosting Friday Fiesta today!! Hooray, hooray, hooray… What is Friday Fiesta, you ask?

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Why, it’s only THE MOST FUN VIRTUAL WEEKLY PARTY EVER!!! If I was better at poetry, I would insert a rhyme or two here, but I’m not gonna torture you with that today :D

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The hostess with the most-est Angie, The Novice Gardener (ha! she is anything but!!) has made this virtual potluck into a warm, inviting soiree, which explodes with fabulous flavors and clever creations each week.

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And the party goers are nice and friendly, they don’t bite, promise! If you are new to blogging or even looking to make wonderful, encouraging, supportive friends, come and join us at this week’s fiesta.

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And guess what? Prudy is gonna be my co-host today!! Do you know Prudy? Well you should! Take a look at her awesome blog and try not to drool all over the keyboard :D

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Head on over to Angie’s now! What are you waiting for? Oh right, what am I bringing along today? Can’t come empty-handed to the fab fiesta, can I?

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I am bringing something that to me celebrates the best part about blogging. Collaborating and learning from other bloggers :) A few weeks ago, Anjana (another awesome Friday Fiesta buddy) posted her droolicious Chicken Meatball Curry. I finally managed to pull my eyes away from the screen and stopped salivating, but I knew I had to make this gorgeous curry soon!

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Imagine soft, succulent, flavorful little meatballs in a fragrant, lightly spiced, velvety tomato gravy… The meatballs themselves make fabulous appetizers (don’t ask how I know!).

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I ended up making it two times in one week, with a few teensy changes. It really was THAT GOOD!! The first time I made it was for my friends, an Italian and a Swede, who had come to dinner. The Italian in particular sweats at the slightest amount of heat, but he quite enjoyed this wonderful, mellow curry.

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The second time was for my husband’s birthday feast. You know, the one where we ended the meal with this luscious White Chocolate Mousse :D

Well, here’s the recipe for this fabulous Curry. See you at Angie’s soon!

Murgh Kofta Curry

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: Approx. 1.5 hours
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the chicken meatballs or kofta:
400 grams minced Chicken
1 Egg
1/2 of a small Onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons Ginger and Garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon Kasuri Methi (dried fenugreek leaves, you can also use Cilantro leaves instead)
1 teaspoon Garam Masala powder
1 teaspoon Salt
1 large Potato boiled and grated
Oil – for brushing

For the curry:
3 tablespoons Oil
Whole spices – 1 inch cinnamon stick, 3 cloves, 2 cardamom pods, 1 dried bay leaf
1 large Onion, ground to a paste
1 tablespoon Ginger and Garlic paste
400 ml Tomato Passata (you can also use pureed tomatoes instead,, I just love the color and smoothness passata imparts)
A small bunch Cilantro, chopped
1/2 teaspoon Turmeric powder
1 teaspoon Red chili powder
2 teaspoons Coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon Garam masala powder
1/4 cup Yogurt, lightly whipped
2 cups Water
Salt – as per taste

Directions:

Kofta:
In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients for kofta and mix well. Cover and let it sit in the refrigerator while you pre-heat the oven.
Pre-heat the oven to 400 F / 200 C and line a baking sheet with foil. Lightly brush the foil with oil.
Make small balls with the kofta mixture and place on the baking sheet.
You should get 20-25 balls, depending on how you roll them.
Make them slightly flattened at the top so that they cook evenly in the oven.
Brush the tops of each meatball lightly with oil.
Bake for 20-25 minutes or till done.
Remove and cool the kofta balls while you prepare the sauce/curry.
The meatballs can be prepared one or two days in advance and refrigerated.
Alternately, the kofta can be deep-fried in hot oil.

Kofta curry:
In a large, wide pan, heat the oil. Add the bay leaf, cinnamon stick and coarsely ground cloves and cardamom.
When they sputter and turn aromatic, add the onions and saute till they turn golden brown.
Now add the ginger-garlic paste and saute till the raw smell is gone.
Add the masala powders and saute on a low flame for a minute, taking care they don’t burn.
Add the passata. Cook till the mixture is thickened and the oil starts to separate at the sides.
Now add some cilantro leaves (reserving a few for the final garnish) and mix well.
Turn the heat all the way down and slowly stream in the yogurt, stirring all the while. (If you do this on high heat, the yogurt may curdle.)
Add water and slowly bring to a boil on medium heat. Cook this gravy for 5-10 minutes or till it is thickened and season with salt.
Add the prepared kofta balls and simmer for 5 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves and serve hot with rice or rotis.

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Celebrate Fall’s Bounty: Applesauce Oatmeal Bundt Cake with Caramel Drizzle and Brazil Nuts

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I love this little jingle that the munchkin and I sing these days:

All the leaves are falling down,
Orange, yellow, red and brown
Falling softly as they do,
Over me and over you…

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The leaves sure are changing color and it is getting a bit chilly (3 degrees this morning!!). The weather is a bit all over the place. A sunny warm day followed by a totally cloudy one!

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Perfect opportunity to post this recipe with photos I took on a bright sunny day about 2 weeks ago. It’s a cake made with my homemade Applesauce and Oatmeal.

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It is quite a delicious cake and yet it is light and bread-like enough to have for breakfast. The oatmeal gives it a sturdy (but not dry), nutty texture, which I really enjoyed.

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To make it just a little naughty, I topped it with a caramel drizzle made with condensed milk.

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And a final touch: toasted Brazil Nuts… The spices in the cake also make it a wonderful treat for cool weather.

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Totally delicious and while my husband was away, the munchkin and I did enjoy quite a few slices of this cake for breakfast :) Healthy, filling yet scrumptuous!

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This cake can stay for about a week at room temperature if stored in an air-tight container, and it still remains quite moist. So it’s perfect to make on a weekend and enjoy all week long.

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Here’s the recipe.

Applesauce Oatmeal Bundt Cake with Caramel Drizzle and Brazil Nuts

  • Servings: 12
  • Time: Approx. 2 hours
  • Print

Ingredients:

For the Cake:
2 1/2 cups All purpose Flour
2 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground Allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
1 cup Brown Sugar
3 large Eggs
2/3 cup Butter, melted and cooled
1/4 cup Honey
1 cup Applesauce
2 cups rolled Oatmeal

For the Topping:
200 ml Sweetened Condensed Milk
1/4 cup Brown Sugar, packed
1 tablespoon Butter
10-12 Brazil Nuts, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Preheat oven to 180 C. Lightly grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg.
In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs until well-combined. Whisk in melted butter and honey until smooth.
Stir in half of the flour mixture, followed by the applesauce.
Add remaining flour mixture, along with the oatmeal, and stir just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain.
Pour into prepared pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Allow cake to rest in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

When the cake has cooled, make the topping.
Lightly toast the chopped Brazil nuts and keep aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine condensed milk and brown sugar.
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking frequently.
Reduce heat, and simmer for 8 minutes, whisking frequently.
Remove from heat and whisk in the butter.
Drizzle over the cooled cake.
Top with the toasted Brazil nuts.

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Sweets for My Sweet: White Chocolate Mousse

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So last Saturday was the husband’s birthday. He was however sunning himself (that’s at least how I see it!) in Bombay, far away from us…

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He came back home on Sunday after 2 weeks in India and to celebrate the end of my period of single parenthood, I decided to welcome him back with a bit of a feast :)

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A lip-smacking curry with the usual accompaniments: peas pulao, raita and roti, and then the pièce de résistance… this heavenly, completely decadent White Chocolate Mousse.

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He is crazy about white chocolate, so I wanted this to be a real surprise. I made it the day before and it was chilling in the fridge.

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I added a bunch of different toppings: freeze-dried raspberries, chopped pistachios…

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Coffee-flavored, coffee-bean shaped chocolate chips, cherries in syrup…

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I told the munchkin it was a secret surprise for Dada and that she shouldn’t mention it. But of course, as soon as we sit down for lunch, she gets all excited and blurts out, ‘Dada, we made mousse for your birthdayyyy!!!’

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When my husband opened the refrigerator and saw the mousse, his face lit up like a little kid’s on Christmas morning :)

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And he ate it making mmmmm… sounds, slowly savoring each spoonful and said it was the best dessert ever!

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So, if you are a white chocolate lover, you can’t not make this mousse. It is the most ridiculously creamy, light, luscious mousse you will ever eat. It tastes like white chocolate and whipped cream had a baby, a very delicious, gorgeous baby.

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And I am bringing this baby to this week’s Friday Fiesta, where awesome co-hosts Selma and Elaine are joining Angie today. It should fit right in with the fabulous things that everyone brings to this rocking party :) See you there!

Here’s the recipe.

White Chocolate Mousse

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 30 minutes + chilling time
  • Print

Ingredients:

1-1/2 tablespoons Water
1 teaspoon unflavored Gelatin
4 large Egg Yolks
¼ cup Sugar
A pinch of Salt
2 tablespoons plus 1-1/4 cups Heavy Cream, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted Butter, room temperature
200 grams White Chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons confectioner’s Sugar

Directions:

Put the water in a small bowl and sprinkle over the gelatin. Allow the gelatin to stand until it’s softened, about 5 minutes.
In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the egg yolks, sugar and salt with 2 tablespoons of the heavy cream (set the remaining 1-1/4 cups aside to use later).
Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until custard thickens (taking care not to let it boil), about 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the gelatin and butter.
Allow to cool to room temperature.
Place the chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the chocolate in 30 seconds intervals.
Stir and microwave for 30 seconds more. Stir. Repeat as needed, being careful to not burn the chocolate, until almost all the chocolate is melted. The residual heat will melt the remaining bits. You can also melt the chocolate in a double boiler.
Let the chocolate cool slightly.
In a medium bowl with a hand-held mixer, beat the remaining cream with the confectioner’s sugar until medium-stiff peaks form.
Fold in the custard and the melted chocolate until incorporated.
Cover and chill for several hours.
Serve cold, by itself, or topped with raspberries or other accompaniments suggested in this post.

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Delicious Childhood Memories: Mangalorean Goli Baje (A Guest Post for Pretty Poly Math)

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Certain foods have the capacity to invoke strong sentiments, don’t they? Do you have a dish that immediately conjures up memories of your childhood?

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When Hetal from Pretty Poly Math contacted me abut doing a guest post, I was pretty excited. First, Hetal has a lovely blog where she cooks up some really awesome food. Need proof? Check out her Chocolate Chai Mini Bundt Cakes! Stuff that Chai dreams are made of :D   Second, I was really excited  by the theme she suggested: favorite Indian childhood food! Isn’t that a wonderful theme?

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The first thing that popped to my mind when I thought about my favorite childhood dish were Goli Baje! Those crispy, fluffy, pillowy fritters that my mom used to make…

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Goli Baje are a Mangalorean specialty. Mangalore is a coastal town in the south Indian state of Karnataka. It is famous for its cuisine, especially the fiery, tangy and absolutely mouth-watering seafood curries.

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My family is Mangalorean, so the cuisine is one I have grown up with. Goli Baje was a favorite tea-time snack on weekends. ‘Goli’ means round and ‘Baje’ is just local lingo for bhajiya or fritters. So these are simply round fritters.

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Not that they turn out specially round, but the taste, oh the taste… you have to try it to believe how such simple ingredients come together to form the perfect alchemic balance :D The spicy green chili, the subtle hint of ginger, the bits of coconut, all ensconced in the crispiest of exteriors…Mmmm…

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I remember eating them piping hot, almost burning my mouth in the process, followed by a few gulps of hot Bournvita or malted milk! Served with Coconut Chutney, these simple fritters made tea-time so very special :) It is also a hidden gem; not many people outside the Mangalorean community are familiar with this wonderful snack at all.

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If you have been following my blog for a while, you know I dislike deep-frying and try baked versions of traditionally deep-fried food. Well, Goli Baje is an exception. The kind of wicked-crispiness that you get from these fritters would be impossible to replicate in a baked version.

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For the rest of the post and the recipe, head over to Pretty Poly Math :D

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Autummmmm…: Apple Turnovers

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You know the expression, ‘When it rains, it pours!’? Well, that’s how it has been with apples around here. I feel like I am knee-deep in apples…

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Not only has my little apple tree gone berserk, producing more apples than I can pick, my sweet neighbour also brought over a bag of apples from her apple tree!

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So basically, I’ve been making apple-flavored everything! Really, brace yourselves for an onslaught of apple-related posts :D

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Beginning with these easy-peasy, awesome Apple Turnovers! Don’t they look good?

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Based on an Ina Garten recipe, delicious spiced apple filling, with subtle hints of orange, inside layers of flaky puff pastry, these couldn’t be easier. And yet, they are so good!

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And they are not very sweet, so they make a lovely weekend breakfast or treat with your cup of coffee.

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Serve these warm and ease yourselves into autumn with a smile :) I made a large batch of these lovely turnovers. I took some of them over to my neighbour who had so graciously brought over her apples.

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The rest of them, the munchkin and I have been enjoying every evening, after a quick warm up in the microwave. Yummy :)

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And it’s finally Friday! Oh how I have been looking forward to this weekend… it has been a long, tiring week at work and home, since the husband is away in India. But now it’s time to fiesta, yes Angie’s Friday Fiesta! Maybe I’ll see you there?

Here’s the recipe.

Apple Turnovers

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: 40 minutes
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 teaspoon grated Orange Zest
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed Orange Juice
3 tart Apples, such as Empire or Granny Smith
3 tablespoons Dried Cherries (I used Raisins instead)
3 tablespoons Sugar, plus extra to sprinkle on top
1 tablespoon All-purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon ground Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground Nutmeg
Pinch kosher salt
1 package (17.3 ounces, 2 sheets) frozen Puff Pastry, defrosted
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 200 C.
Combine the orange zest and orange juice in a bowl.
Peel, quarter, and core the apples and then cut them in 3/4-inch dice.
Immediately toss the apples with the zest and juice to prevent them from turning brown.
Add the cherries (or raisins), sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Flour a board and lightly roll each sheet of puff pastry to a 12 by 12-inch square.
Cut each sheet into 4 smaller squares and keep chilled until ready to use.
Brush the edges of each square with the egg wash and neatly place about 1/3 cup of the apple mixture on half of the square.
Fold the pastry diagonally over the apple mixture and seal by pressing the edges with a fork.
Transfer to a sheet pan lined with parchment paper.
Brush the top with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar, make 2 small slits, and bake for 20 minutes, until browned and puffed.
Serve warm or at room temperature.

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White Magic: Chicken Rezala

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Do you know how long it’s been since I posted a curry on this blog??

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I’ll tell you: four months!! I mean, I never meant this to be a curry blog, but still… for someone who eats at least one curry a week, I should do better than that!

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So here I am today, with this fabulous recipe: Chicken Rezala! Doesn’t the name sound melodious? Even romantic? Re-za-la…

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Chicken Rezala is a velvety, white chicken curry from West Bengal, India. It was a dish created in the royal kitchens of the Nawabs of Bengal and hence is strongly influenced by the Mughlai cuisine.

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What makes it unusual? Well, first the color: notice the absence of the usual ‘coloring’ spices: turmeric and red chilli powder. They are no where in sight.

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Instead, more subtle spices are used. White pepper powder, cloves, cinnamon, cardamom, mace, nutmeg, along with a dollop of cashew nut and poppy-seed paste.

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These spices are used whole, so they don’t interfere with the pristine whiteness of the curry.

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Very refined, very classy… fit for royalty, did you say? I agree :D

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There are so many layers to this curry. The ingredients of the marinade and the ingredients added during cooking, the whole spices which release their flavors slowly… it is truly magical.

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And yet, it is quite easy to make. It does take a bit of prep, but what good endeavour doesn’t :D At the end of it all, you will have a fabulous curry, which is a joy to dunk some flaky parathas or chapatis in…

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Here’s the recipe (adapted from A Homemaker’s Diary).

Chicken Rezala

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: Approx 2 Hours including marination time
  • Print

Ingredients:

500-600 grams Chicken, cut into large pieces (5-6)
2 medium Onion
1 inch piece Ginger
3-4 large cloves of Garlic
1 cup thick Yogurt
10 Cashew nuts
2 teaspoon Poppy seeds
3-4 Whole Dry Red Chilies
4-5 Cloves
2 Green Cardamom
1 Black Cardamom
2 inch piece Cinnamon
1 Mace
1/2 teaspoon White Pepper powder
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg powder
2 tablespoon Oil
1 tablespoon Ghee
Salt as per taste
1/2 teaspoon Sugar

Directions:

Wash and drain all the water from the chicken.
Peel, chop and grind the onion, ginger and garlic to a very smooth paste.
Soak the cashew and make a smooth paste with poppy seeds.
Beat the yogurt till smooth and add to the chicken, along with the onion+ginger+garlic paste, salt, nutmeg powder and pepper powder.
Mix and keep aside at least for an hour.
Once you are ready to cook heat the oil and ghee in a large pan.
Lightly pound (just one or two strokes for the pods to open and release more aroma) the whole spices and add to the oil.
Let it sizzle and release aroma. Shake off the marinate from the chicken and arrange them on the pan, preferably in single layer.
On medium heat seal the chicken and cook till all sides turn white.
Now pour in all the marinade and mix.
Cook for 8-10 minutes and then add the cashew + poppy seeds paste.
Cook for a minute and pour 3/4 cup warm water. Adjust seasoning and cover pan with a lid.
Let it simmer on low heat till oil starts to float on top and the chicken is cooked through.
Uncover and stir in the sugar. Keep covered till you are ready to serve.
Serve with flat breads or steamed rice.

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Floral Adventures: Lavender Lemon Loaf Cake

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When we first moved into a house with a garden, I promised myself I would plant lavender. It is one of the scents I have absolutely adored since I was a kid.

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Well, it took almost five years, but this spring, we finally planted two varieties of lavender around a little sunken bird-bath in our garden and I have been waiting for the plants to flower ever since.

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The buds began to appear some time in June I think and gave out the most alluring fragrance every time the breeze blew through them.

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They have also been attracting a lot of honeybees and butterflies :)

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Last weekend, I decided it was about time I started cooking with the lavender, as it looked dry enough. So the munchkin and I went and snipped a few stalks, the munchkin happily smelling them and saying ‘Wow! We are making lavender cake!’

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We made this incredible, beautifully fragrant and moist Lavender and Lemon Loaf cake. It’s like summer in your mouth :D

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The yogurt in the cake makes it really moist and the combination of the tart lemon and sweet-smelling lavender is just wonderful.

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I topped it with a simple lemon drizzle and dusted it with icing sugar. Simple, yet beautiful.

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A slice of this loaf with a cup of tea: conjures up tea-time at Downton Abbey to me :P It is also pretty perfect to bring along to the party of the week, Angie’s Friday Fiesta, being co-hosted by Hilda today! Join me, won’t you?

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Here’s the recipe.

Lavender Lemon Loaf Cake

  • Servings: 8
  • Time: Approx 1 Hour
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/4 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 cup Sugar
3 Eggs
3/4 cup 2% Greek Yogurt
1 tablespoon Lemon Juice
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
1 tablespoon dried Lavender Seeds

For the Drizzle:

1/4 cup Icing Sugar
Juice of 1/2 Lemon

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 160 C / 325 F. Grease one 9 x 5 inch loaf pan and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter. Gradually add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 7 minutes.
Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each until fully incorporated.
Slowly add the dry ingredients, alternating with the Greek yogurt, to the creamed butter and sugar and mix just until incorporated.
Add the lemon juice, vanilla extract and lemon zest and beat on low just until blended.
Gently stir in the lavender seeds.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for about 45 minutes until the edges begin to brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.
Cool in the loaf pans for 10-15 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
For the drizzle, take the icing sugar in a bowl and add lemon juice little by little till a pouring consistency is reached. Drizzle over the cooled cake.

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