Friday, May 31, 2013

Cedar plank salmon

Tonight's Menu
Cedar plank salmon with mustard glaze
Rosemary grilled baby potatoes
Grilled asparagus
Wine pairing: Chardonnay, Pinot noir

Mustard salmon grilled on a cedar plank
If you have never experienced the delectable flavor of cedar planked salmon then this is a must try recipe for you this summer. Salmon cooks in its own moist juices, infused with the sweet smokiness of the cedar plank. Cooking on cedar planks is not restricted to fish, you can use other types of meat as well. Serve right off the plank and the conversation is sure to revolve around the concept of cooking on cedar planks.
Some thoughts on safety. Always exercise caution when using this technique of cooking. The plank can catch fire on the edges. Have a spray water bottle handy for any flare ups. Also make sure the plank is completely extinguished before discarding it.

Cedar plank salmon
Ingredients: (serves 4)

4 boneless salmon fillets
1 tsp garlic butter
3 tbsp grainy mustard
cracked black pepper
salt to taste
1 cedar plank
  1. Pre-heat your BBQ to medium high.
  2. Soak the cedar plank in water for 2 hours and then drain. Very lightly spray with oil.
  3. Rinse salmon fillets under cold water and then pat dry. Generously season the fillets with salt and pepper on both sides.
  4. Mix together softened garlic butter and mustard. Spread this all around the fish.
  5. Place the salmon skin side down on the prepared cedar plank. Place the plank on the hot grill. Cover the grill and cook till fish cooks through and reaches an internal temperature of 135 F. This will take about 20-30 minutes. Keep a spray water bottle handy for any flare ups.
  6. Transfer the plank carefully on a serving platter and serve right off the plank.

Grilled asparagus with olive oil, sea salt and coarse black pepper
Grilled asparagus
Ingredients: (serves 4)

1 lb asparagus
olive oil
cracked black pepper
salt to taste
  1. Trim the asparagus spears at the end. Reserve these ends for soup. 
  2. Drizzle olive oil on the spears. Season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Place on the pre-heated grill. Cook turning occasionally till slightly charred and tender. 

Rosemary grilled baby potatoes
Rosemary baby potatoes
Ingredients: (serves 4
1 lb baby red potatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp dry rosemary
cracked black pepper
coarse salt to taste
  1. Clean and scrub the potatoes with skin on. Place in a microwave safe dish with a little water. 
  2. Microwave till about half done. 
  3. Drain, drizzle olive oil and sprinkle with palm rubbed rosemary, salt and black pepper. 
  4. Cook on a pre-heated grill for about 15-20 minutes till tender. Turn occasionally to get even browning on all sides.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Quinoa, zucchini, walnut quick bread

This recipe comes from Mairlyn Smith's "The vegetarians complete quinoa cookbook". I have altered the recipe a bit to suit our taste. This delicious quick bread makes for a healthy breakfast or a hearty accompaniment with soup. Recipe calls for several ingredients, but is super easy to make. Give it a try.

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup quinoa flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1 egg
1/4 cup buttermilk (see note below)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 cup zucchini, peel on, coarsely grated
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (see note below)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (or pecans)
  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 9 X 5 inch loaf pan and keep aside.
  • In a large bowl combine the first 6 dry ingredients.
  • In another bowl whisk together egg, buttermilk, applesauce and sugar. Fold in zucchini, cooked quinoa and walnuts.
  • Pour the zucchini mixture into the dry mixture and stir well until combined.
  • Put this batter into the prepared loaf pan and bake in the oven for 45 - 50 minutes till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  • Cool on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing the loaf from the pan. Cool it completely before slicing.
  • If you don't have buttermilk use 1/4 cup milk mixed with 1 tsp vinegar.
  • To get 3/4 cup cooked quinoa, combine 1/4 cup quinoa in 1/2 cup water.  Bring to boil, simmer and cover for 15 minutes till grains are translucent and all liquid has been absorbed.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Paneer kulcha with handi matar

Tonight's Menu
Handi Matar (dry yellow peas)
Paneer Kulcha
Tomato Onion Salsa
Paneer kulcha with handi matar

All Delhites have at some point or other indulged in this delish almost fat free spread. Remember the handi matar wala, with the copper handi full of dry yellow peas smoking hot and an assortment of sides - onion tomato salsa, green chillies, lemon slices served with baked kulchas.

This meal is inspired by those handi matar meals. Very simple and delicious. You can pair it with store bought kulchas or make your own. This meal only requires a bit of planning to pre-soak the peas and rise the dough.

Handi matar
Handi Matar
Ingredients: (serves 4-5)

2 cups dry yellow peas (matar)
3 cups water
salt to taste
2 tomatoes chopped
1 medium red onion finely chopped
large handful fresh coriander chopped
2-3 green chilies chopped (optional)
lime juice to taste
chaat masala to taste
  1. Soak the peas in water overnight. 
  2. Put peas along with all the water it was soaked in and salt into a pressure cooker. Cook on high till the first whistle. Simmer for 7 minutes (if you keep for more time the peas will become very mushy). 
  3. Take out of heat and let the pressure cooker cool down. 
  4. Meanwhile combine all ingredients for the salsa and keep it ready. 
  5. Open the pressure pan and give peas alight stir. If they are too dry for you then add a little boiling water. 
  6. Serve topped with salsa alongside paneer kulcha. 
Paneer kulcha in the oven ready to turn over

Paneer Kulcha
Ingredients: (makes 10 -12)
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 t salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp oil
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup milk
250 gm Paneer grated
salt to taste
handful fresh coriander chopped
1 inch ginger grated
2-3 green chilies chopped fine
  1. Mix all ingredients for filling and keep aside. 
  2. Take flour in a big bowl and add all the dry stuff. Knead it into a medium soft dough using yogurt and milk. 
  3. Cover and keep in a warm place for minimum 4 hours. 
  4. An hour before serving divide the dough into 12 equal parts. Divide the filling also into 12 equal parts. 
  5. Place the filling in the middle of the dough and lift the edges to bring them to the center to make a sealed pouch. Roll in between your palms to form a ball. Cover with a damp cloth and let rest for 40-50 minutes before cooking. 
  6. Heat oven at the grill setting to the max allowed temperature for your oven. 
  7. Roll each pouch into a 4-5 inch diameter circle. Sprinkle some kalonji (onion seeds) on top or some fresh coriander chopped. Press gently with your hand to stick these onto the kulcha. 
  8. Place 3-4 circles in a non stick cookie sheet and put in the oven. Keep an eye on these as the first side is done in a matter of 4-5 minutes. When you see lightly browned spots on the top turn them over and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from the oven, serve hot as is or with a dollop of butter. 
  9. Potato filling can be used instead of paneer. Just substitute boiled potato for paneer and proceed.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Massaman Chicken curry with Thai green eggplant

Tonight's Menu
Massaman chicken curry
Thai green eggplant stir fry
Steamed rice
Wine Pairing: Riesling or light beer.

The whole combo
For occasions that require cheerful colorful dishes, this multi-ingredient spread is as delicious as it is eye pleasing. Massaman chicken curry with stir-fried baby Thai green eggplants. 
The sweet and sour massaman curry is another one of the popular Thai curries. The distinct characteristic of Massaman curry paste (Prig Gang Mussamun) is that all ingredients are roasted prior to grinding. The aroma that fills your kitchen after roasting and while pounding is just out of this world. The citrusy freshness of lime leaves and lemongrass, the spicy sharpness of the Thai red chilies and the earthy notes of roasted cumin and coriander combine like a symphony. You just drool till dinner is ready. 
Massaman chicken curry
Massaman chicken curry
2 lbs boneless chicken thighs cut into bite-sized pieces
2-5 tbsp massaman curry paste (depending on how hot you want, I used 5)
2 tbsp peanut oil/vegetable oil
1/2 inch galangal (or ginger) chopped fine
1 cup coconut milk
2 tsp Thai fish sauce (or salt to taste)
1/2 tbsp tamarind paste
1 tsp sugar
fresh Thai basil leaves to garnish
  1. Heat wok to high heat and add oil. Add curry paste and stir-fry for 40 seconds to release the aromas.
  2. Add salt or fish sauce, chicken, and galangal, and fry for 3-4 minutes until chicken turns white. 
  3. Add coconut milk along with 1 cup water and simmer for 8-10 minutes till chicken cooks through. Add sugar and tamarind paste. Mix well.
  4. Garnish with basil. Serve over a bed of steamed rice.
Massaman curry paste
4 pods green cardamom
2-inch cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1 tbsp coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
4-6 dried whole red Thai chilies
1 stalk lemongrass chopped
1/3 tsp peppercorns
1/4 tsp nutmeg
2 large red onions chopped
8-10 cloves of garlic chopped
  1. Take two tsp sesame oil and fry onion and garlic on medium till golden brown. Keep aside to cool.
  2. Dry roast all other spices till lightly toasted and fragrant.
  3. Traditionally the pounding is done in a mortar using a lot of muscle. I used my magic bullet (food processor) and it worked great. Take all the dry spices first and process till coarsely ground. Add the roasted onion mixture to this and process till finely ground and fragrant. 
  4. Store in the refrigerator for up to a month and a year in the freezer.

Thai green eggplant stir fry
Thai green eggplant

Thai eggplant is small, round with green and white coloring. It is crunchier than other eggplant varieties and can be found in many Asian grocery stores. Tastes great just stir-fried with a little five spice too. 

Sauteed Baby Thai Eggplants 
2 tbsp sesame oil
3-4 cloves garlic chopped fine
1/2 red onion julienne
1/2 inch ginger cut in thin strips 
1 stalk lemon grass finely chopped 
3-4 lime leaves finely chopped
1 lb Thai green eggplants quartered
1 large red pepper cut in thin strips
3-4 green and red Thai chilies
1 tsp coriander powder
salt to taste
  1. Heat sesame oil in a pan. Add onion, ginger, garlic, lemongrass and lime leaves. Stir on high for 30 seconds.
  2. Add eggplant and reduce heat to medium. Cook stirring frequently without lid for 5 minutes.
  3. Add the peppers and chilies, stir in coriander powder and salt to taste. 
  4. Toss well till peppers are tender-crisp and eggplant is done.
  5. Serve hot. 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Rava dhokla

Rawa Sandwich Dhokla
Rava dhokla is a soft, spongy sweet and sour snack made of rava/suji/semolina. Dhokla can be made using many different ingredients such as besan, moong and chana dal, etc. This variation is an instant dhokla without the fermentation process. Sandwich dhokla is just layering dhokla with different chutneys in the each layer. Usually a green chutney and a tomato based chilli sauce can be used. Make sure to steam at medium heat for a soft spongy dhokla.  

Rawa Dhokla (रवाँ ढोकला )
For batter 
1 cup fine suji/ rawa
1 cup plain yogurt
1/3 cup water
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ginger paste
2 green chillies finely chopped
salt to taste
1/2 tsp sugar
For layering
3-4 tbsp shredded coconut
1-2 tbsp green chutney
1-2 tbsp red chili sauce
For tempering (तड़का)
2 tsp oil
Pinch asafoetida
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
lime juice to taste
For garnish
Finely chopped fresh coriander
slit green chilies
  • Mix all ingredients for batter except oil and baking soda to form a smooth mixture. Let it stand for 15 minutes.
  • Meanwhile prepare the steamer by bringing 1-2 cups of water to boil. Grease three dhokla pans or three trays of same shape and size.
  • Add oil and baking soda to the batter and mix lightly. Wait 30 seconds and when you see tiny bubbles, pour the batter into greased trays filling them to their half capacity. Don't keep the batter for a long time after adding baking soda. Steam it.
  • Place these trays in the steamer and steam with lid on for 3 minutes on high flame and 10-12 minutes on medium. 
  • After 10 minutes, insert a toothpick to check. If comes out clean then it is ready. If not, then steam for 2-3 minutes more.
  • Take out the trays from the steamer and cool for 5 minutes.
  • Carefully remove dhokla from one tray. Spread a thin layer of green chutney over it and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Place the second layer, spread red chutney over it and sprinkle with shredded coconut. Place the third dhokla layer on top.
  • Heat oil in a small pan, add asafoetida and mustard seeds, let crackle for 3-4 seconds. Take away from heat and cool a bit. Add lime juice and mix well. Temper (तड़का) evenly all over the layered dhokla. 
  • Cut the layered / sandwich dhokla into triangles (for round trays) or squares(for square trays)
  • Garnish with coriander and slit green chilies.