Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Tekaka


These buns are called tekaka in Swedish, meaning tea-time buns. They are a cross between flatbread and buns, sweet and fluffy, so fluffy that they melt in your mouth while you eat them. Everyone in my family loves these buns. We love tekaka so much we fight over the last one. :) It is that good. We typically buy tekaka at the local store-cum-bakery nearby because it is more convenient but for Christmas I decided to make these for breakfast.

Yesterday morning, I woke up to read that I had received an "Inspirational Award" by Sonali at OnlyFishRecipes. I was and still am ecstatic about it. It's such a nice way to wrap up this year and my 3 months of blogging adventures. Thank you Sonali for the award. The awardee is suppose to answer 8 questions as well, and I have answered them down below, please scroll down if you are interested in reading them. The awardee is also supposed to pass down the award to fellow bloggers and I have listed the names and blogs of people I would like to pass on this award to.

Ingredients:
50 g compressed yeast
2 cups water
100 g butter
1 tsp of salt
10 tbs caster sugar
5 1/2-6 cups all-purpose flour

Method:
Heat the water to 37 C (fingerwarm) in a pan. In a separate pan, melt the butter at low heat. Measure the flour, add sugar and salt and mix. Put aside. Crumble the yeast in a large bowl. Pour the finger-warm water over it. Mix and dissolve any large yeast chunks with your hand. Add the butter and mix. Add the flour. Mix with a wooden spoon till everything comes together. Place the dough, on a floured surface. Knead and work it for about 10 minutes. Place it back in the bowl and let it rest, covered with a cloth, for 35 minutes. Do not let it rest for more than 35 minutes because the yeast thrives on sugar and if you let the dough yeast for more than 35 minutes the first time (you have to let them rest again after shaping them), the tekaka may not turn out sweet at all.

Knead the dough lightly and press out the trapped air in the buns. You can either roll out the flour and knife out flat-bread like buns or divide the dough into equal portions/balls and then flatten them out. Stick the buns with a fork, all the way down. Let them rest for 10 minutes. Bake them in the middle part of a preheated oven at 200 C (400 F) until they get a nice colour. Let them cool covered in a cloth and keep them in an airtight container. Now, more about the award. :)


My congratulations to you, Sonali, and thanks a bunch for passing on this award to me. I would like to pass on this "Inspirational Award" to the following bloggers:

Amy of FoodCorner
Mahi of Mahi's Kitchen
Reva of Kaarasaaram
Sangeetha of Spicy Treats
Sudha of Wit, wok & wisdom

Egg toast

For me this makes for a quick, scrumptious breakfast. I like soft white bread, but you could make these toasts with a fibre-rich bread varieties as well.

Ingredients:
5-6 slices of white bread/loaf
2 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
Salted butter

Method:
In a pan, melt some salted butter. Beat eggs in a soup plate, add some salt and whisk. Take a slice of loaf and dip it in the beaten eggs. Coat both sides of the loaf with the egg mixture. Place the egg in the heated pan and "toast" both sides. The butter has a tendency to turn brown, so adjust the heat as required. I slightly press the bread against the pan with a spatula to make sure it gets toasted properly. Toast both sides until golden brown. Serve warm and crispy with butter, cheese, maple syrup, marmalade and/or fresh fruits!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cranachan

I had a lot of mascarpone and heavy cream left that were nearing expiry date. Not having the heart to throw them away, I decided to make cranachan with the leftover mascarpone and cream. Cranachan is a Scottish dessert that is also enjoyed as an evening snack by some. I saw it for the first time in a food magazine sometime back and wondered about it origins. 

Cranachan is also known as Cream Crowdie. This dessert celebrates the oatmeal, which is served roasted. Cranachan is traditionally eaten around harvest time in rural Scotland but is now a very common dessert, not only in Scotland, but also in other countries. In modern times, cranachan is known to include roasted oatmeal, whipped cream, honey, fresh raspberries and a little whiskey. As I read, in earlier recipes, crowdie cheese was used instead of cream and other earlier recipes don't contain whiskey and the raspberries are also considered optional. Since there are no fresh raspberries available around this time of the year, I used frozen raspberries, and I omitted the whiskey. Also, since I used frozen raspberries I mixed half of the cream with the raspberries. It was very refreshing and tasted like a crumbly raspberry pie.

Oatmeal crumble:
125 g butter
3 tbs honey (preferably Scottish heather)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup jumbo porridge oats (or regular oats)
5 tbs caster sugar
2 tbs hazelnuts (optional)

Cream:
1 cup fresh cream (fat 35-40%)
3/4 cup mascarpone (adjust)
1/3 cup icing sugar
1 cup defrosted raspberries

Method:
Begin by making the crumbly oatmeal. Melt the butter and mix in the honey and allow to cool for a while. In a separate bowl, add and mi flour, oats, roughly chopped hazelnuts and sugar. Add the butter to the dry ingredients and crumble with your fingers until all the flour is well coated with the butter and honey mixture. Spread out the oatmeal mixture on a baking sheet and bake for about 15-20 minutes, until crispy, in the middle part of a preheated oven at around 175 C (350 F) degrees. It has a tendency to get burned fast so don't be away from the kitchen for long. Take it out and allow to cool.

Whip the fresh cream and the mascarpone until smooth. Add the icing sugar and mix some more. Take half the amount of the cream mixture and place it in another bowl and with the help of a handmixer, mix in the raspberries. To assemble the cranachan, spoon in some raspberry cream in the bottom of a glass bowl, followed by a layer of cream and a layer of crumbled oats. Repeat 2-3 times, depending on your bowl size, saving the final layer of oats to scatter over before serving with a dusting of icing sugar or fresh raspberries.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cabbage curry

1/2 cabbage
1 onion
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin
3-4 green chilis
1 tsp curry powder (optional)
Salt to taste
Curry leaves
Oil

Slice the cabbage finely. Chop onion and green chilis finely. Heat a few tablespoons of oil, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Then add cumin, onion, curry leaves and chilis and fry for a while. Then add the cabbage, followed by the curry powder. Mix well. Cook the curry with the lid on for about 10 minutes. Do open the lid and stir 2 or 3 times in between. At this stage they would have become soft and moist. Season the curry with salt and taste. Cook the curry for another 5-10 minutes with the lid on. Serve warm with rice.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Mixture (Mixer)

Mixture or "mixer" as I have been fondly calling it since childhood :) is a very popular snack in Sri Lanka and India. In our family, we prepare mixture with fried chickpeas, yellow lentils, dry-roasted cashews, salty peanuts and gram murukku. Making mixture is a time consuming process that requires copious amounts of oil but this snack has a long "expiry" date and is usually enjoyed by everyone in the household. It has been ages since we made this but with the upcoming festive season, it was about time we made this protein-packed snack.
Mixture:
2 cups chickpeas
2 cups yellow lentils
1 cup salty peanuts
20 pieces cashew nuts
4-5 springs of dry curry leaves
500 ml coconut oil for deep frying
Salt and ground chili powder to taste

Murukku:
2 cups gram flour (ground yellow lentil flour)
1 cup all purpose flour or rice flour
1/2 tsp ground ajwain
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2-3 tsp ground chili powder
Salt to taste
Hot water

Step 1: Soak the chickpeas and the yellow lentils for 10-12 hours. Wash them again and drain from excess water. In a large pan heat the oil. Deep fry the yellow lentils. Deep-fry them in 2-3 batches. When you place them in the oil they will sink to the bottom. Once they are properly fried, they will start to float to top (see pictures). It will take about 10 minutes to deep fry them. Take some out and taste. They should be medium crunchy (they will get more crunchy once you have taken them out). Place them on tissue paper to drain the excess oil. Add salt and ground chili powder and mix while the lentils are still warm. Taste and adjust spices.


Step 2: Drain the chickpeas from water. This is very important as some of the chickpeas tend to "explode" and fly off in different directions while you deep-fry them. Place the chickpeas in a spoon and put them in the oil. Don't stay or sit close-by because one or two chickpeas always tend fly out in different directions. Deep-fry the chickpeas for about 15 minutes in 2-3 batches. Taste the chickpeas. They should be crunchy. Take them out and place them on a tissue paper. Add salt and ground chili powder while the chickpeas are still warm and mix with a spoon. Taste and adjust spices.


Step 3: To make the murukku, mix both flour types in a bowl. Add salt, turmeric, ground chili powder and dry roasted, ground ajwain and mix. Heat some water. Pour a small quantity of the water in the flour och wait for 3 minutes and then mix with a spoon and repeat this process until you get the same batter texture as seen below. 


Stuff an idiyappam/murukku maker with this batter and press it into the oil (see picture below). You'll have to repeat this process many a times till you finish the batter. Fry the murukku on both sides until golden brown. Take it out and place it on a tissue paper.


Step 4: Crush the murukku. Mix the deep-fried chickpeas, yellow lentils and the murukku in a large bowl. Dry roast some cashews and add them to the mixture. You can use store-bought salted peanuts or you can dry roast raw peanuts (I used a combination of both) and add them to the mixture. Lastly, add fried curry leaves and mix. Taste and adjust spices, if needed. Good luck! 

I am sending this as my entry to "Snacks Mela" by cooking cooking4allseasons.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kofta curry

This kofta curry, also called keema kofta curry, is a gravy made with meatballs (kofta). I am not a big fan of meat. I rarely make it and this kofta curry turned out alright. My sister felt that I could have added less coriander in it, but that might be because we are not used to the taste of coriander. We hardly use it in our cooking. Next time I plan to add tomatoes instead of tomato purée. I personally feel it might have lifted the dish more and I also only had 1 tbs of tomato purée left. For a first time, it turned out alright with no major disasters. The meatballs kept their shapes, the curry smelled nice and tasted better on the second day, and with some adjustments next time, hopefully, this dish will be more appreciated around the dinner table.

Kofta:
400-500 g ground or minced mutton
1/2 cup coriander leaves (adjust)
1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp chili powder
Salt to taste

Curry:
1 tbs oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1 onion
2 green chilis
5 garlic cloves
2-3 tsp ginger
1 tbs tomato purée
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 tsp of garam masala (adjust)
1 cinnamon stick
1/2 tsp cardamom powder or pods
4 cups water
2 tbs yoghurt
Salt to taste

Chop the onion finely and dry-roast it in a pan. Chop ginger and garlic. Grind the dry-roasted onion, ginger and garlic into a fine paste. Put aside. Squeeze the mutton to get rid of excess water. Prepare the koftas by mixing together the minced mutton, chopped coriander and ground cumin and chili powder. Make meatballs out of it and put aside.

Heat some oil, add cumin and allow to splutter. Add green chilies, ground ginger-garlic paste and fry on low heat. Then add tomato purée or chopped tomatoes, turmeric and garam masala. Mix well. Increase the heat, add the water and salt and bring it to a boil. Add the cinnamon stick and cardamom powder. Carefully place the koftas in the curry and then lower the heat and don't mix, in case the koftas fall apart. Cook the koftas approximately for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Lastly add the yoghurt and. Taste and adjust spices. Garnish with coriander leaves, if desired, and serve with rice or roti/naan.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Kothu Roti

This is the ubiquitous street food 'kothu roti' recipe. Kothu roti literally means chopped roti, but from what I have observed at the roadside kothu huts, it is usually paratha. There are many different types of kothu rotis. When we make kothu roti at home, we usually make "chicken kothu".

To make the chicken kothu, you need to prepare the chicken curry separately and the roti/paratha separately. These two items are then chopped and fried together with various vegetables and egg. At the kothu huts a heated iron sheet and blades that look like dough scrapers are typically used to make this. We prepare kothu roti in a large pan and it works just fine. 

Roti:
2 1/2 cups flour
Water (as required)
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Oil

Chicken curry:
1 chicken
1 onion
1/2 tsp cumin
3-4 garlic cloves
2-3 green chilis
1 tbs curry powder
2-2 1/2 cups water
Lemon juice to taste
Salt to taste

Stir-fry:
Pinch of mustard seeds
Pinch of cumin
Curry leaves
6 green chili
2 small onions
2 cups cabbage/leeks/spring onion
2 carrots
2 eggs
Salt to taste
In a bowl, add flour and mix flour and salt. Then pour 1 cup of water in small quantities and knead the dough. Add some more water if needed. If you are inexperienced when it comes to kneading doughs this may be a troublesome step for you but don't give up. With some will you can get it together. When you are finished kneading the dough, add some oil and roll the dough in oil. Wrap up the dough in a plastic sheet so that it doesn't get dry and let it rest while you prepare the chicken curry.

First clean and chop the chicken in small sizes. In a large cooking pot, heat some table spoons of oil. Add cumin seeds, chopped onion, garlic and green chili and fry until light brown. Add the chicken chunks, mix and fry. Close the cooking pot with a lid and let it cook for about 10 minutes on medium to high heat, but take the lid off and stir every once in a while until it's half-cooked and has changed colour. Then add the curry powder and mix well. Drizzle the water, salt and let the chicken curry cook for about 30-40 minutes. Add the lemon juice last before taking the chicken curry off the stove. Taste and adjust spices before taking it away from the stove.

Chop the vegetables needed to make the kothu roti. I like cabbage but you could also use leeks or the green part of spring onions depending on your preferences. I would advise to make the kothu roti in 2 batches. Chop all of onion, green chilis, carrots, curry leaves and cabbage at once and then divide into two batches.

Roll out the roti on a lightly oiled surface. Heat a pan and heat the roti on both sides. Then cut the rotis into small pieces with a knife or a food scissor. In a large pan heat some oil, add mustard seeds and let splutter. Then add cumin. In the same pan, fry onion, curry leaves, and green chilis. Then add the cabbage and stir-fry well. Lastly, add the carrots and salt. Shove the vegetables to the side in the pan or take it out and place it in a plate. Whisk an egg and add some salt in it. Pour the egg in the pan and scramble it. Mix the vegetables and the scrambled egg, add the roti pieces and mix. Then spoon in the chicken curry (chicken chunks as well as curry) and mix. Serve warm!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Mango chutney (mangai pachadi)

I have been wanting to make mango chutney for a long time but it has been very difficult to find raw, sour mangoes in the stores. I found some sour mangoes at the Chinese store, and although expensive, they looked decent enough to serve the purpose. I wanted something tangy to tickle my tastebuds. This actually tastes like a sweet-sour tamarind sauce. Typically, neem flowers are also added, to lend some bitterness, but I have excluded it.


Chutney:
2 raw mangoes
1 cup brown sugar (or jaggery)
1 cup water
1 green chili
Salt to taste

Tempering:
Mustard seeds

Peel the mangoes and cut it in small pieces. In a pan, add water and bring it to a boil. Add the mango slices, slit green chili, and salt. Cook at medium heat. Add the brown sugar after 15 minutes and cook until it looks and gravy-like. In a separate pan, heat some oil, add mustard seeds and allow to splutter. Top the mango chutney with the tempered mustard seeds and serve.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lemonade

I had a craving for lemonade today. In Sri Lanka, you typically prepare lemonade with lime. You just blend fresh lime juice, water and sugar (and sometimes salt) with a spoon and consume it fresh in the hot months. There's nothing like a home-made lemonade. It's so refreshing and you always end up craving for one more glass.

1 large lemon
2 cups water
1/3 cup caster sugar (adjust)

Roll the lemon on the kitchen counter with your palms, to loosen up the lemon cells. Cut it into halves and squeeze the lemon juice. I pressed out the juice with my hands intially and then used a manual juice squeezer to squeeze out as much as possible. Boil the sugar and the water at below medium heat till the sugar dissolves and stir continuously. Add lemon juice and stir. Taste. Add more sugar if needed and stir but don't keep the lemonade on the stove for too long after adding the lemon juice. Let it cool before serving.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mushroom curry



Ingredients:
200-250 g fresh field mushrooms or button mushrooms
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
10 cashew nuts
A pinch of cumin
1 tsp chili powder (optional for more heat)
1 tbs curry powder
3 cups water
1 spring curry leaves
Salt to taste


Method:

I wash the mushrooms under cold water first. Some say you should not wash mushrooms in water. The common guide is to gently rub them with a paper towel or quickly brush them. I personally think it doesn't feel clean without washing them, so I give them a quick cold shower. You can do as you like. 

Slice the mushrooms. Cut the onion and garlic finely. In a large pan, heat some oil and add the cumin, onion and curry leaves. Fry until golden brown. Add chili powder, turmeric, garlic, and curry powder. Mix well. Then add the mushrooms and enough water to allow them to cook. Add salt. Grind the cashews coarsely and add to the curry. You can add more water later, if needed. Cook for about 30 minutes. Mix and taste. Serve hot with rice or anything of your choice!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Lemon pound cake

Pound cake recipes are easy to remember because you use a pound of each ingredient. However, it's quite a dense cake (no baking powder is added) and you can't keep it for long, so I have used half a pound of each ingredient to make mine. Keep the cake in an air-tight container for maximum 3 days.

225 g butter (softened)
225 g caster sugar
4 eggs
225 g flour
1 lemon zest (adjust)
Breadcrumbs

Frosting:
Melted sweet/semi-sweet chocolate (optional)

Beat the butter and sugar until creamy and pale. Add one egg at a time and beat in between adding each egg. Sieve the flour into the batter and mix carefully with a spoon and lastly add the lemon zest and mix again. Brush a loaf tin with butter and add some breadcrumbs or add a greaseproof paper inside the loaf tin. Spoon in the mixture into the tin carefully. It has a tendency to rise in the middle, you can level it out at the sides and leave a small well, if desired. Bake the cake in the lower parts of a preheated oven at 175 C (350 F) for about 50 minutes. Insert a skewer to check if the cake is ready towards the end. The skewer should come out clean.

It smells heavenly (even without the addition of vanilla) and can be enjoyed as it is. I decided to let the cake cool for some time and then coat the cake with some chocolate that I melted over hot water bath, as I used to have a store-bought lemon cake with chocolate frosting as a child which I loved.