Monday, November 28, 2011

Paneer Butter Masala

Paneer Butter Masala 9

Ingredients (Serves 4 - 5):

Paneer                                     --   1 packet/250mg
Chilly powder                      --   ½ tsp
Coriander powder             --   1 tsp
Garam masala powder   --   ¼ tsp
Dried Kastoori methi leaves (crushed) - ¼ tsp
Tomato sauce                      --   1 tsp
Milk                                          --   1 cup
Cream                                     --   ½ cup + 1 tbsp for garnish
Water                                      --   ½ cup
Butter                                      --   1½ tbsp
Oil                                             --   1 tsp
Onion                                      --   1 chopped finely
Ginger garlic paste           --   1 tsp
Tomato                                  --   2 medium sized - to puree (comes to 1 cup)
Salt                                          --   to taste
Boil 2 cups of water and immerse the tomatoes in it. The skin of the tomatoes breaks up and now you can easily peel it off. Make a puree out of it and keep aside.
Add chilly powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder, dried kasoori methi leaves, tomato sauce and milk into a mixing bowl and whisk until they are well combined.
Paneer Butter Masala 1      Paneer Butter Masala 2
Chop paneer into cubes. Heat a tsp of oil in a pan and fry it until the sides are slightly golden brown. Drain it. I like the non-fried ones and hence do not fry them usually. In that case, just make sure you do not break them in the gravy.
Paneer Butter Masala 7     Paneer Butter Masala 3
Add butter into the same pan. Once the butter is melted, add the ginger garlic paste and saute until the raw smell goes off. Now add the finely chopped onions and fry them until golden brown.
Paneer Butter Masala 4      Paneer Butter Masala 5
Now add the tomato puree and saute until the raw smell goes off and you get a slightly thick gravy. Simmer the flame and add the milk & spices mixture and water. Mix well and keep it for 5 - 6 minutes stirring in-between until the gravy is thick again.
Paneer Butter Masala 6 
Now add the cream little by little. Make sure you stir continuously when you add the cream to prevent it from curdling, even though cream doesn't curdle as quick as milk. You can also replace the cream with whole milk to reduce the fat & calories.
Simmer again until it reaches the required consistency. This should have a semi-thick gravy. Now add the fried paneer cubes and mix well - carefully to make sure that the paneer cubes retain its shape. Switch off the flame and let it remain on the stove for at least 5 min.
Paneer Butter Masala 8
Garnish with cream. You can omit this too, if u want to avoid the extra calories.
Serve hot with rotis or naan.
Paneer Butter Masala 10

Recipe Courtesy : Vahrehvah

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Triangle Cake

I was inspired by Ria to make this wonderful cake.Thank you Ria. It sounded so exciting to read through her post for this triangle cake with vertical layers of chocolate. Mr.AJ being a chocolate fan, I did not have to wait for an occasion to try this out.
Thanks a lot to Peggy Weaver too, who did a very good explanation of how to bring up this design.
Triangle Cake 3
It was fun doing this one. I was planning for days(even though it doesn't require much), looking at the procedure again and again to make sure that I do not go wrong. And since I could not get the continuous appointment of Mr.Time, it took me 5 days to complete the whole cake.
Day 1: Baked the pound cake. Let it cool. Wrapped in foil. Off to Fridge.
Day 2: Prepared the ganache. Placed the cake on the cake board and made 66666 layers out of it. Layered each one with ganache. Into my cake box and back to fridge.
Day 3: Cut the cake diagonally and made it into a triangle. Ohh.. I could see only horizontal layers.. weep.. weep.. weep.. Planned to throw it into the bin. Then decided to finish it anyhow so that I could learn to create the swirls on the cake. Tried to spread the ganache on top.. Ohh.. my ganache was over.. I need more whipping cream & chocolate.. Somebody take me to Wal-Mart. Weep.. weep.. weep..
Day 4: Bought the cream & chocolate. Made ganache and started spreading over. The face side of the triangle was not even because of the browned sides of the cake. Decided to cut a thin layer to make it even. ohhh... wow... my layers.. are vertical :P :P :P. Showed it to AJ and the look he gave me - priceless ;)
Day 5: Photo sessions
Now I know that this one is easy and less prone to mistakes :)
Triangle Cake 4
Ingredients (Serves 10 to 12 Chocolate lovers):
All purpose flour                      --   1½ cup
Baking Powder                         --   2 tsp
Salt                                                 --   ¼ tsp
Butter                                            --   1½ cup
Granulated Sugar                    --   ¾ cup
Large Eggs                                  --   2
Vanilla extract                          --   1 tsp
Sour cream or plain yogurt --   ¼ cup
Milk                                                 --   ½ cup
Heavy cream                           --   1½ cup
Semisweet chocolate           --   375 gms

Preparation of the cake:
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter and lightly flour a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder and salt.
In a small bowl whisk the sour cream with the milk, and the vanilla extract.
Beat the butter until smooth. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed.
Triangle Cake 1
With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and sour cream/milk mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour.
Pour into the prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for about 50 - 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Cool completely.
Courtesy: Joy of Baking
Preparation of the ganache:
Roughly chop the chocolate into small pieces and place it in a heat proof bowl. Bring the heavy cream to a boil and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir until combined. Let it cool for 20 - 30 minutes.
You can also prepare the ganache and store in the refrigerator. Lightly heat it to bring it back to the spreadable consistency. If the ganache is too runny, let it cool and if it is too thick, lightly heat it.
Cut the cake into thin horizontal layers. I made it into 6 layers. Spread a dab of ganache between each layers and stick them back. Cut the cake diagonally through the face of the rectangle.Now stick together the top of the top layer and the bottom of the bottom layer with a dab of ganache. For a better understanding visit Peggy's site . This forms a triangle  with vertical lines in front. If your cake is too much browned and if you have some crumbs after cutting the cake into layers, you might not be able to see the vertical lines as me. If you need to even the face of the cake, cut a thin layer and there you see the beautiful vertical lines.
Triangle Cake 2

Cover the cake with the left over ganache. You can decorate it as per your wish. I just made some swirls over it as Ria did. Next time, I am think about decorating it with some icing flowers.
Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream J
Triangle Cake 5

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Varutharacha kallumma kaaya / Mussels in fried coconut gravy:

Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 9
Ingredients (Serves 4 to 5):
Kallummakaaya / Kadukka / Mussels  --    ¼ kg shelled / 50-70 small sized
Potato                                    --   1 medium size
Finely Chopped Onions  --   1 medium size
Ginger                                    --   1 tbsp, chopped finely
Garlic                                     --   1 tbsp, chopped finely
Green chillies                      --   2 - 3, adjust according to your spice level. My chillies were really hot.The spice level mainly depends upon the chillies as we add only a little chilly powder.
Tomato                                 --   1 medium size
Turmeric powder             --   ½ tsp
Coriander seeds                --   1 tbsp (You can also use 1 tbsp coriander powder)
Whole Red Chilly              --   2 - 3  (You can replace this by ½ tsp chilly powder) + 2 for garnishing
Garam Masala powder  --   ½ tsp
Coconut                                --   ¼ of medium size
Mustard seeds                   --   ½ tsp
Curry leaves                       --   2 - 3 springs
Coriander leaves              --   2 - 3 springs
Small onions (Shallots) --   2
Ghee / Oil                            --   1 tbsp
Salt                                         --   to taste
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 8
Preparation of curry:
The mussels I got here from Costco was the small ones with the shell - Around 50 - 60 nos. Roughly clean the shell using a brush and then steam/heat them in a large vessel without the lid on a low flame. DO NOT add water. Water comes out of the mussels. I used a pressure cooker without the lid.
The shells open wide when they are heated. Toss the vessel in-between to ensure that they are evenly heated and open. When all of them are open, switch off the flame and let it cool.
Now you can just pull out the flesh out of the shells. Few of them would have already fallen off. Instead of steaming the mussels, you can also open the shell by running your knife through the wedges and peel of the flesh from it.I usually do this only for big ones. Doing it this way is a pain for small ones.
Pour the water that came out of the mussels into another small bowl and let it rest for a while. The impurities/particles in the water will sediment and now use that water to clean the mussels. DO NOT use plain water as this mussels will lose it sourness if washed.
If you get larger ones devein them.
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 1    Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 2
It would be much easier to get the peeled ones :) Now that the mussels are ready to be cooked, lets go ahead with the curry. There are different ways I prepare this curry.
Step 1:
Fry the shredded coconut with coriander seeds and whole chillies until coconut is brown in colour. Make sure you do this on a low flame and keep saute-ing as we need the coconut to be evenly fried and browned. Also make sure that you do not burn the coconut. Remove it from the stove as soon as it is done as there are chances that the coconut burns in the pan. If using coriander and chilly powders, add them a minute before switching off the flame and mix it well with the coconut. This gives a fried taste to the powders. Let it cool and grind it to a fine paste/liquid form.
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 4     Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 5
Step 2:
Keep the mussels in a heavy bottomed pan. Add the chopped onions, tomatoes, potato, slit green chillies, ginger,garlic, curry leaves, turmeric powder, garam masala powder and salt to the mussels and mix well. Keep aside for 15 - 20 minutes.  OR  Heat oil in a heavy bottomed pan, Saute the onions, slit green chillies, ginger,garlic, curry leaves until the onions are pink and soft. Add the tomatoes and saute until they are squishy. Then add the turmeric powder and garam masala and saute until the raw smell goes off. Add the potatoes and fry for few minutes and then add the mussels.
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 3    Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 6
Step 3:
Cook the mussels on a medium low flame. Add water as required.
Once the mussels & potatoes are 90% cooked, mix the ground coconut and let it boil. Add required amount of water if you need more gravy and let it boil. Add the chopped coriander leaves, switch off the flame and close the pan with the lid. This helps the flavor to induce into the curry.
Splutter the mustard seeds and fry the chopped shallots and red chillies in ghee and garnish the curry. Serve hot with rice.
Varutharacha Kallummakkaya 10

Recipe Courtesy: Amma