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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Almond Biscotti

I have been making biscottis quite often these days. These just seemed to me to be a healthier alternative to the cookie and a good snack. The only difficult part is to have enough patience to complete the double baking process. Biscotti is Italian for cookie/biscuit.

Dry ingredients
2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup sliced blanched almonds
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt

Wet ingredients
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence/ pure vanilla extract

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix together. In another bowl break the 3 eggs and whisk them. Add the vanilla essence and mix. Add this egg mixture to the dry ingredients slowly and mix. Once you have added half the egg mixture, add the almonds. The resultant dough is a bit sticky.

Shape the dough into 2 logs approximately 10 x 3 inches long. Bake these two logs at 350° F for about 40 minutes. The logs will be light brown in color. Take these out onto a cooling rack and let it cool down for 10 minutes. Once the logs have cooled down sufficiently to handle, cut these into biscottis to the desired size. Generally about 1 X 3 inches in size. Place these back onto your baking sheet and bake them for about 10-20 minutes in the oven at 350° F.
Let the biscottis cool and enjoy!

Don't overmix the dough. Mix it just enough so that all the ingredients come together. Coat your hands with a little flour to work with the sticky dough to avoid getting your hands messy. The longer you bake the biscotti during the second baking, the harder it will get. Cut the logs into biscottis using a serrated knife to minimize crumbling and resultant crumbs.
These taste great with a cup of milk or coffee.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Instant Rava Dosa

We enjoy South Indian food. I do find it tedious to have to pre-plan if I want to make Dosa though. I came back from work, and decided to make some sambhar. An idea struck and I thought why not try to make some kind of a Dosa. Of course I didn't have the time to soak urid dal and rice. So I decided to use some rice flour instead. To balance the stickiness of the rice, I added rava/sooji. This surprisingly tasted very similar to the authentic rava dosa.

2 cups - Rice Flour
1/2 cup - fine rava/sooji
1/4 cup - yogurt
salt to taste
1-2 green chillies - cut finely to taste
water to make the batter
oil to make the dosa

Mix all the ingredients together except the water and mix. Slowly add water to this mixture till you get a water consistency. It should flow easily when you pour it. Heat a griddle. Add some oil to the griddle once its hot. Pour a ladle of batter and spread it around. Cover the dosa, and let it cook. After cooking it for 2-3 minutes, test to see if the dosa will come off the pan easily. Once it has cooked sufficiently and is golden brown, flip it over. Cook it for another minute or so, add a little oil around the edges of the dosa. Serve with sambhar and chutney.

I generally tilt the pan or the griddle and move it around to spread the batter. This batter has a tendency to be sticky till it is cooked through, so its easier to spread by tilting the pan. The watery batter with the rava added to it creates a net pattern typical of a rava dosa.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Mediterranean Couscous Salad

I love experimenting and trying out new foods. Ever since I saw couscous at my local farmer's market, I have been wanting to try it out. I finally bought all the ingredients and made the salad a couple of weeks ago. It turned out to be delightfully tasty, filling and was definitely a light fare. This is one recipe that I will definitely be making quite often.


For the couscous
2 cups of couscous
4 cups boiling water
salt to taste

For the dressing
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 lemon - juice
1 lemon - zest
parsley - handful, finely chopped
salt to taste
pepper to taste

For the salad
Handful of Kalamata olives - cut vertically along the length and pitted.
1 tbsp capers
5 scallions/green onions - finely chopped - include the onion and the leaf
1 roasted bell pepper - red/orange/yellow - diced into small pieces
Feta cheese to taste
parsley leaves for garnish
Cook the couscous according to package instructions. In the absence of such, use 1:2 (couscous:water) ratio. Boil the water, pour over the couscous, so that it is covered with water, cover the vessel. Let it stand for at least 15 minutes before uncovering. The water will be completely absorbed by the couscous. Add the salt and fluff the couscous with a fork, if there is some water, drain it.

To make the dressing, add all the ingredients listed and whisk them together to form an emulsion.

Add the chopped vegetables, feta cheese to the couscous, pour the dressing (to taste) over this mixture and fluff togehter. Serve and garnish with parsley leaves, feta cheese and an olive

Note that you are adding salt to the couscous as well as the dressing. Feta cheese, olives and capers also have a briny flavor and are quite salty. Adjust quantities to avoid making the dish salty. Use a fork and fluff the coucous while mixing it, so that you don't turn it to mush.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tricolor Chowmein

I have been meaning to put this recipe up for the past couple of weeks. Finally found the time to post it. This is an easy stir fry recipe and a real appetizing option for the busy days when you don't have much time to cook.

1 Onion - sliced finely
1 Carrot - shredded
1/2 Green chillies - finely diced
1 tbsp - oil
2 garlic cloves - finely chopped
1 packet chinese noodles - cooked per the instructions on the packet
salt to taste

Heat the oil in a wok. Add garlic to it, fry it for a minute. Add the chopped chillies and give it a quick fry. Add the onions. Cook the onions for 2-3 minutes. They should look a little transparent, but you dont want it to become soft. Also, make sure that you are cooking on high heat. To this add the shredded carrots. Again stir fry it for a couple of minutes. To this add the noodles and stir fry it. Add salt to your stir fry. Cook the dish for 3-4 minutes and serve. Add soy sauce to your liking and chili sauce if you want to make it spicier.

This is a great dish in itself. You can experiment with different vegetables. Cabbage, scallions, green beans also give it a great taste. You can make this dish with as few or as many veggies you like. A great side to this is scrambled eggs or a simple omlette.

The trick to making a stir fry is to cook the food as quickly as possible. So, keep the heat at a high temperature so that the cooking time is reduced. This keeps the vegetables crispy and also retains the colors of the vegetables.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Grilled Paneer Skewers

This is always a hit at our house. A great appetizer and a main course dish with a side of rice.

For the marinade
2 teaspoons - ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon - corriander powder
to taste - red chilli powder
1/2 cup - yogurt
1/8 teaspoon - turmeric powder
to taste - salt
For the skewers
Paneer cut into cubes. Cut vegetables you want to grill into cubes similar in shape to the paneer.
Suggested veggies - Onions, bell pepper (red, yellow, orange, green). You can also use potatoes. However I would suggest that you cook the potato till it is 3/4th done and then cut into the cubes.

Mix all the marinade ingredients. To this add the vegetables and the paneer to the marinade. Let it marinate for a couple of hours. The more time the better it will taste.
Soak the skewers in water for an hour. Arrange the vegetables and paneer on the skewer and proceed to grill. It takes about 5-7 minutes on each side. Keep moving the skewer to get an even golden color. Take care to not burn the paneer.
Spray some oil on the grill before arranging the skewers on the grill to avoid sticking and breaking of the paneer. Serve as an appetizer or serve with a side of rice pilaf and raita.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My First Post

I enjoy cooking and its a great way to relax and unwind. I am starting this site to share some of my recipes and tips. Hope you enjoy cooking them.