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Recreating Deliciousness

Chicken with curry leaves

It’s very often that your family often complains about the regular boring chicken curry you make but when a beautiful soothing green gravy is served to them they are sure to relish it! This recipe not only looks beautiful but it’s a great way to serve your family the goodness of curry leaves. You can also try the Cilantro Chicken recipe which is equally good and packed with health benefits. Curry leaves or Kadi Patta or Narasingha Paat in Assamese is one of the common seasoning ingredients that is added to almost every dish to enhance its taste and flavour in South India but it has limited use in the North and Eastern part of India. I used to earlier use it only while preparation Sambhar or for seasoning regular daal. While my Mother in Law prepares a very aromatic curry with Lentil dumplings or else make pakoda’s/ fritters. I have added this beautiful ingredient to make a chicken curry which is delicious and equally has a lot of health benefits for toddlers as well as adults! Curry leaves lower your blood sugar levels by affecting the insulin activity as it’s often recommended to add curry leaves to all your meals or have one or two leaves on empty stomach daily. Curry leaves is also known for its ability to control anemia, protect you from liver and heart disease, improve digestion, relieve in diarrhoea, reduce side effects of Chemotherapy, clear nose and chest congestion apart from its numerous benefits to your skin and hair. Adding this magic ingredient to your diet thus becomes important. If you have a fussy toddler like mine at home or a picky husband then this chicken curry is a saviour. Try it out and do let me know how it turned out by leaving your comments below!

Preparation Time : 30 minutes

Serves : 4-6 persons

Ingredients :

Chicken : 500 grams (cut into small pieces, you can use both boneless or with bone)

Curry leaves : 10-15 strands or 1 cup

Refined / Olive oil : 6 tablespoons

Ginger paste : 2 tablespoons

Garlic paste : 3 tablespoons

Onion : 1 large sliced

Onion paste : 1/2 cup  (about 2-3 onions)

Water as required

Salt as per taste

Turmeric powder : 1/4 teaspoon

Green Chili : 2 (optional, if you are cooking for toddlers)

Garam Masala powder : 1 tablespoon

Black pepper powder : 1 teaspoon  (or according to your taste) (optional, if you are cooking for toddlers)

Method:

In a grinder, make a smooth paste of curry leaves by adding a little water. Keep aside. Dont worry if the colour of the paste turns into dark blackish green.

Heat rest oil in a pan, add the ginger, garlic, onion paste and sauté till golden brown on medium heat. Add in the sliced onions, turmeric powder, Garam Masala powder, salt, green chillies and saute until the mixture starts leaving oil. This will take about 4-5 minutes.

Add the chicken and sauté for 5 minutes. Cover and cook for 5 minutes on medium flame. Now add the curry leave paste, freshly grounded black pepper powder and water as required for the gravy. Cook covered till the chicken is fully done.

Garnish with fresh curry leaves. Serve hot with rice or appam.

Chicken Clear Soup

Whenever we are out for Lunch or Dinner with my Sister in Law’s family, the first thing she would order is Chicken Clear soup till the rest course is finalised. And then when the soups arrives, I rather find it surprising when I see my Sister in Law, her 4 year old daughter and her husband relishing the soup! Like Clear Soup really!!! Surprised to the fact that me, my husband and ofcourse my toddler joining the team are not very big fan of soup especially when it comes to clear soups! So I always find it a bit sceptical when I see people enjoying their bowl of hot clear soup!

Well, with this recipe I believe I have started loving soups owing to its health benefits and ease of cooking! Not always though! This bowl of steaming hot soup can be served before lunch or dinner…winter and rainy evenings are a perfect match! Well for soup lovers like my Sister in Law it’s a anytime dig on recipe! Try out my version of the classic chicken clear soup recipe and I’m sure you are surely gonna enjoy!
Preparation Time : 20 minutes

Serves : 4-5 persons

Ingredients :

Chicken : 250 grams

Bay leaf / Tejpatta :  1

Cinnamon / Dalchini : 1 stick

Cardamom / Elaichi  :  2

Cloves / Laung  : 3-4

Whole Pepper corns / Kali mirch sabut :  1 teaspoon

Coriander / Dhania seeds : 1 teaspoon

Ginger Garlic paste / Adrakh Lasun paste : 1 tablespoon

Onion : 1 large

Green chillies : 2-3 (optional)

Carrot :  1 medium (optional)

Cabbage : 1 cup  (optional)

Salt as per taste

Water as required

Fresh Coriander / Dhania patta : 1 small bunch

Lemon juice :  2 tablespoons

Refined / Olive oil : 1 tablespoon

Method :

In a pressure cooker heat oil. Add in the bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, cloves, pepper corns, coriander seeds, ginger, garlic, green chillies, onions, carrot, cabbage, salt, chicken and 3 cups water. Saute for 2-3 minutes till the onion caramelises and then pressure cook for 5-6 whistles. Turn off the heat and let the pressure subside.

Now remove the meat from the chicken pieces using a fork and your hand. Be careful as the chicken pieces will be hot. Put the boneless or shredded chicken in a bowl and keep aside.
Strain rest of the soup using a strainer and again put it back in the cooker. Add in the boneless chicken bits. Turn on the heat and boil for the strained soup for another 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat. Add in the chopped  coriander and lemon juice.Mix well.

Serve hot in a soup bowl. Relish as an appetizer or serve with brown bread, roti or steamed rice to relish as a full meal!

Glazed Cherries

We very often use preserved or canned cherries for topping our desserts but the tangy sweet taste of fresh cherries elevates your preparation to a completely different level. However, sometimes when you are preparing fresh fruit or black forest cakes etc you can use this glazed cherries recipe to give your cake a delightful topping. I came up with this recipe as the sweetened cherries are too sweet and does not lend a rustic look to the dish. Whereas the canned cherries are difficultto store for a long time even though you refrigerate them as they become stale within 2-3 days. My recipe on glazed cherries is easy and can be stored for about 15 days in the refrigerator and used. However the actual taste of the cherries are not lost as the cherries are not stewed. Cherries are currently abundantly available in the market! Grab some and give it a try! Do leave your valuable comments in the comments section below.

Cake topped with Glazed Cherries

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Makes : 30-40 glazed cherries

Ingredients :

Sugar : 1 cup

Mixed fruit / Orange / Pineapple Juice : 100 ml

Fresh organic cherries : 30-40  (Do not remove the seeds and stems as it accentuates the presentation)

Cherry essence : 3-5 drops  (optional)

Method :

Wash the cherries slowly under running water and let it sit on a kitchen towel to dry completely.

Fresh organic cherries

In a microwave safe bowl, take the sugar and juice and microwave on HIGH for a minute. You will see that the mixture will start bubbling and the sugar will start dissolving. Microwave on HIGH for another minute.

Alternatively you can use a non stick pan and bring the sugar and juice mixture to a boil without mixing. This should take about 3-4 minutes.

Take out the bowl and strain the mixture using a strainer to do away with any dirt from the sugar. Add a few drops of cherry essence in case you are using it during this stage. While still hot put the cherries one by one and microwave on HIGH for another minute or heat on the gas stove in the same non stick pan for a minute ot two. Dont over do as we don’t want to cook the cherries. Turn off the heat or the microwave and let the cherries rest in the prepared syrup until completely cool.

Cherries resting in syrup

Store in a glass jar or even a bowl covered with clin film until use. Use these cherries to top your cakes or desserts like mousse, ice-cream, pancakes, muffins, brownies, crepes or even use them in fruit salads. You can even simply have it from the jar as it is! Try out this recipe and I’m sure you are going to love the vibrant colour of the glazed cherries!

Whipping Cream

Whipping cream is a star ingredient especially for desserts! Whether for frosting your cakes, topping your coffee, icecream, smooties or for serving with your crepes and pancakes, a dollop of whipping cream makes it all so special! But it took me quite a while to master the task! I’m sharing my perfect whipping cream recipe! Try it out and do let me know how it turns out by leaving your comments below! It’s a full proof tried and tasted recipe! You will essentially need a hand or stand blender! Beating with hand is far impossible for me to get the perfect texture! Give it a go!

Cake frosted with Whipped Cream

Preparation Time : 10 minutes

Makes : 2 cups whipping cream ( Enough to layer and cover a 6 inch cake)

Ingredients : 

Heavy cream : 1 cup

Sugar : 2 tablespoon

Essence : 1 tablespoon  (Vanilla/ Almond/ Rose etc) (optional)

Method : 

Put the bowl (use stainless steel bowl only) and the blender blades in the freezer for about 2 hours before you start whipping your cream as it will control the temperature so that the cream does not melt. Pour heavy cream or whipping cream to the chilled bowl. Mix in the sugar. * See if the cream has already added sugar by reading the label. If sugar is added, do not add extra sugar otherwise the whipped cream will become too sweet. Keep a silicon spatula handy to gather the whipped cream in times! If it’s a hot and humid day then place a bigger bowl with ice cubes and use it as a ice bath for the whipped cream bowl all throughout while whipping. This will keep the cream cool throughly the process.

Slowly start beating the cream at medium speed for 2 minutes. You will see that the cream has started to become thick and frothy. Keep beating without break for another 2-3 minutes. Your cream will almost double in volume and become thick and soft peaks will be formed. If you dont get the desired peaks beat for another one or two minutes. Remember do not over beat otherwise the cream will start leaving the fat.

Check if the whipped cream has the right consistency by turning the bowl upside down. If the whipped cream maintains its soft peak firmly without falling off, it’s  perfect any ready to use!

Gather the cream with a spatula. Put in the refrigerator until you use it!

Flavour : Add your favourite essence to flavour the cream. Add the essence before you start whipping the cream.

Coloring : After the whipped cream is ready, divide it into separate bowls and add the required colours. Mix well with a spatula. Refrigerate until use. Gel colours are the best.

How to use the whipped cream?

After the cream is whipped, store it in the refrigerator until use. You can use it to layer and frost your cake using a palate knife. Clean edges with a bench scraper and make designs using a comb. Use piping bags with design nozzles to decorate your cake.

You can also use the whipping cream for topping your fruit salads, crepes, pancakes, muffins, brownies, mousse, smooties or even coffee!

Important Notes : 

# Use only high fat content cream, whipping cream (30% to 35% milk fat) and heavy cream (about 36% milk fat) otherwise it will not hold the peaks. Refer to the label before buying the cream.

# Store whipping cream in deep freezer. Thaw and use only the amount required. Otherwise it will not be suitable for consumption.

# Store the excess whipped cream in a clean freezer bag and use it upto a week. Do not use unwashed and wet spoons to take out the cream or it may become stale.

# Discard any whipping cream that tastes or smells stale immediately.

# Don’t forget to use freezed bowl and blades to whip the cream.

This is my perfect Whipping cream recipe. I hope this recipe does wonders for you too! Please leave your valuable comments.

Chocolate Ganache

Ganache is basically a French origin term which means luscious glaze made from chocolate and cream. The texture of Ganache you want vary depending on the ratio of chocolate to cream, what type of chocolate is used viz dark, milk or white chocolate, the percentage of cocoa or at what temperature it is used.

Chocolate truffles are often prepared with thick ganache. Thinner consistency of ganache is often used for glazing or in fondues. Medium texture is perfect for frosting cakes. Whipped Ganache turns out to be luscious chocolate mousse.

Though sounds simple but making the perfect gananche to suit your requirment is not a easy task! But eventually with practice you will gain expertise in making the perfect ganache. Here are some of my tried and tested ganache recipes to suit your requirements. Try out the recipes and get back for queries and comments!

Preparation Time : 15 minutes

Makes : A 6 inch cake layered and covered will essentially require about 500 grams of chocolate ganache. You can use this standard and the below given ratios to make the required amount of ganache. I always believe in preparing a little extra! Excess ganache can easily be refrigerated and used within a week. You can use it for topping your crepes, pancakes, brownies and Icecream too!

*Always use a kitchen scale for measuring your Ingredients for baking or frosting requirements.

Cake frosted with White Chocolate Ganache

Thick Ganache

Purpose : Piping rossetes and other decorations in cakes, Making truffles etc.

Measures : Ratio 2 : 1

Ingredients :

Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate or choco chips : 500 grams or 2 cups

Heavy full fat cream : 250 grams or 1 cup

Normal Thin Ganache

Purpose : Can be used as glaze, for fondue, frosting, or for making whipped ganache etc.

Measures : Ratio 1 : 1

Ingredients :

Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate or choco chips : 500 grams or 2 cups

Heavy full fat cream : 500 grams or 2 cups

Light Thin Ganache

Purpose : Can be used to make chocolate mousse or chocolate drip etc.

Measures : Ratio 1 : 2

Ingredients :

Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate or choco chips : 250 grams or 1 cup

Heavy full fat cream : 500 grams or 2 cups

Extra Shiny Glaze :  Add a tablespoon of butter or corn syrup to the above ratios to give the chocolate glaze some extra shine.

Flavour & colouring : You can add vanilla, almond or any other essence to boost the flavour. Liqueurs too can be added in a small amount to add flavouring!  You can add your favourite colour in white chocolate ganache. Divide the ganache in parts, add separate colorings and use!

Steps : 

You can either use a double boiler or a microwave to melt your chocolate and cream! Here I have detailed both the steps :

Ganache using Microwave : 

Chop the chocolate if you are using bars so that it will melt uniformly and place the chocolate in a microwave safe big bowl. Add the cream. Microwave on HIGH for a minute. Bring out and stir well with a spatula. If the chocolate does not melt evenly then again microwave on HIGH for 30 seconds. Bring out and mix well. Depending on the chocolate you have used and the size of the chopped chocolates, the melting time will vary. If you feel the chocolate has not melted then microwave and stir on gaps of 30 seconds for a max of about 2 minutes 30 seconds to get the perfect ganache. Do overheat if your chocolate has started to dissolve evenly in the cream else this can burn the chocolate and result in a bitter grainy texture.

Ganache using double boiler : 

Chop the chocolate if you are using bars so that it will melt uniformly and place the chocolate in bowl.

Add the cream to a bowl and place it in a double boiler and heat it to the point when you see the first sign of movement or bubbles beginning to form. Once you reach this point, remove the cream from heat and pour over the chocolate. Let the cream sit for 2 minutes and then mix well using a spatula. Mix evenly so that there are no lumps. If you feel there are lumps then place it back on the double boiler and mix so that the mixture is lump free. The ganache should be uniform and smooth.

Cake frosted with Dark Chocolate Ganache

How to use the Ganache : 

You can use warm ganache as a fondue and can dip fruits, bread croutons or cake pieces and relish. If you want to use it as a glaze, allow approximately 10 minutes cooling time so that it thickens up slightly. If you want to pipe decorations on a cake, allow it to cool for a few hours or to desired consistency. You can refrigerate the ganache after its slightly cool. However,  take it out about 60 minutes prior to frosting a cake! For perfect whipped ganache, it should be at room temperature.

Once the ganache has reached room temperature, whip it only until soft peaks form. One to two minutes of whipping should be enough. Dont over whip the ganache. Once you have whipped the ganache to soft peaks, allow it to cool in the refrigerator. It should firm up nicely with a smooth texture. Use this ganache to frost your cake!

Please get back to me for any queries!

Kiwi Banana and Mango Smoothie

Placed under the category of exotic fruits, kiwis are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals and works in many ways to give you a nutritional boost. This exotic fruit is loaded with dietary fiber, which helps in the prevention of numerous diseases. Kiwi is best served raw but if you want to offer it to your family in a different way then this recipe can be an ideal heath packed one! 

Preparation Time : 10 minutes 
Serves : 4 persons  (*4 medium glasses)

Ingredients : 

Kiwi : 4-5, peeled and roughly chopped 

Ripe Mango : 1, roughly chopped 

Banana : 2, sliced

Pineapple / Orange juice : 500ml

Method : 

Add the chopped fruits in a blender and puree them. Add the fruit juice. Blend until the drink is frothy. 

Serve chilled in glasses. * Garnish with a slice of Kiwi and mint. Consume immediately. 

Strawberry Yogurt Smoothie

If you dont love strawberries, you should start now. Not only are they juicy, summery and delicious, they’re a bona fide superfood, too. Nutrient-rich and packed with antioxidants strawberries offer a wide range of health benefits. Prepare this Smootie and let your family enjoy the health benefits they have in store! Strawberry Yogurt Smootie is an all time favourite drink for Summers! This recipe can be prepared in minutes with fresh or frozen strawberries.

Preparation Time : 10 minutes 

Serves : 4 persons  (*4 medium glasses)

Ingredients : 
Strawberry : 1 cup, roughly chopped (*You can use both fresh or frozen, Ripe ones tastes the best)
Plain unsweetened yogurt : 2 cups 

Sugar / Honey/ Sugarfree : As per taste 

Crushed ice : 1 cup  (optional)

Method : 
Add the chopped Strawberries in a blender and puree them. Add the yogurt, honey/ sugar/ Sugarfree and ice. Blend until the ice is crushed and the drink is frothy. 
Serve chilled in glasses. * Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnish with a strawberry and mint. 

Mango Lassi 

Mango Lassi is an ideal filling drink to beat the scorching summer heat! Loved by kids and adults, this drink can also be offered to toddlers! This recipe can be prepared in minutes and served to your family and friends! 

Preparation Time : 10 minutes 

Serves : 4 persons  (*4 medium glasses)

Ingredients : 

Ripe Mango : 3, roughly chopped (*Alphonso, Langda or Dusseri varieties available in India would taste the best)

Plain unsweetened yogurt : 2 cups 

Sugar / Honey/ Sugarfree : As per taste 

Crushed ice : 1 cup  (optional)

Method : 

Add the chopped Mangoes in a blender and puree them. Add the rest of the yogurt, honey/ sugar/ sugarfree and ice. Blend until the ice is crushed and the drink is frothy. 

Serve chilled in glasses. * Top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnish with a slice of Mango and mint. 

Gulkand Flavoured Truffles 

Truffles are one of my favourite on the go dessert! I have experimented with a lot of flavours. White chocolate, Dark chocilate, Coconut, Strawberry are to name a few. However this time to give it a Desi flavour, I have used Gulkand used in Paan which has a distinct aroma and delectable flavor. Try it out and treat your family and friends this Holi!

Preparation Time : 30 minutes

Setting Time : 2 hours

Ingredients:

White Chocolate : 500 grams, chopped

Butter : 50 grams

Pink / Red food coloring : 2 to 3 drops (optional)

Fresh cream : 1 cup

Condensed milk : 2 tablespoons

Gulkand : 4-5 tablespoons

Rosewater : 1 teaspoon (optional)

Dessicated coconut / Icing sugar / Sprinkles to roll the truffles

Method:

In a microwave safe bowl, take the cream and butter. Microwave at HIGH until just boiling for about 1 minute. *You can alternatively use a non stick pan and let the cream and butter come to a boil for about a minute.

Remove from microwave / flame and add the chopped chocolate, food coloring and gulkand. Add the rosewater.  Stir until the mixture until the chocolate has melted.

Microwave / heat for 30 seconds more if you are having trouble melting the chocolate. Mix well.

Place this mixture in the fridge for minimum 2 hours.

Take out from fridge and roll even amounts of mixture into balls of about 1/2 inch. Put back into the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

Now roll these balls in dessicated coconut or icing sugar or sprinkles of your choice.

Place in a small paper cup to lend a complete look. Serve at room temperature  .

* You can store these Truffles in the Refrigerator for 4-5 days and treat your guests!!!

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