Monday, December 31, 2012

New Year's Eve Rice

Sweet And Sour Chicken Rice
It is the last day of the 2012, a wonderful year and time to ring in the new. We have always made it a point to eat together and go to church for the midnight service and come back and toast the New Year with fruit cake and wine. This year, the special dish of the evening is Sweet and Sour Chicken Rice, a one pot meal and a great way to end the year.

The Recipe:
2 cups cooked basmathi rice, prepare and keep earlier; oil for frying; 1 cup vermicelli, deep fried , drained and kept ready for use.. 
500 gms boneless chicken, cubed and marinated for 20 minutes in salt and pepper; 1 tbsp rice wine or sherry; 2 tbsp cornflour; 1 tbsp sesame seed oil.
For the sauce: Mix together 225 ml water; 40 ml white vinegar; 180 ml tomato ketchup; 60 ml tomato chilli sauce; 125 ml brown sugar (more or less according to your taste); 60 ml light soy sauce; 20 ml sesame seed oil; 60 ml Worchestershire sauce; and 4 tbsp cornflour. Keep aside.
1 carrot sliced into thick rounds; a few cabbage leaves; 1 large onion quartered and taken apart in layers; 1 tbsp ginger garlic, minced; oil for frying.
Deep fry the chicken in smoking hot oil until golden brown all over. Drain and keep warm.
Heat a wok and add 2 tbsp oil. Stir fry the ginger garlic till fragrant. Add the carrots and stir fry for 2 minutes. Throw in the onions and cabbage leaves and stir fry for 30 seconds. Add the chicken and pour in the mixed sauce, lower flame to medium heat and keep stirring till it bubbles. Remove from flame. Now arrange rice and vermicelli in serving dish in layers reserving some vermicelli for the top. Pour the sauce over and serve immediately with love and a grateful heart.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Twelfth Recipe For Christmas

Steamboat- The Pièce de résistance

Recipe No 12: 
Chinese Food is a great favourite for family celebrations and festivals because although it takes a while to prepare, the result is always a healthy, delicious option that leaves one feeling satisfied and smug at having pulled off another culinary feat. The Steamboat is the best option for special occasions as the ingredientsc can be prepared the day before and the guests have fun choosing their food at the table, cooking it themselves and eating it immediately. The Steamboat is a unique experience and more so when it is for the first time. This tantalising Chinese meal, with an array of ingredients and flavours remains a firm favourite to this day.
2 litre Stock: This is the basic requirement and you can make it any which way you like- from scratch or with soup cubes and other seasoning like I did. Some celery, minced ginger, 2 cloves minced garlic, a few slices tomato, chilli flakes, 2 chicken soup cubes, some sliced carrots and thick stems of any greens. Bring to the boil on the gas stove and then transfer to the Steamboat as you will save a lot of time.
Dipping Sauces:  Soy Sauce :Slice Chillies and soak overnight in a mixture of light soy sauce and vinegar to taste;
Red Chilli Sauce : Blend to a rough consistency 5 red, dried chillies, a small piece of ginger, 2 cloves garlic, 1 tsp sesame seed oil and salt to taste. Personally we don’t feel the need for dipping sauces as the Steamboat on its own is absolutely delicious.
100gms Plain Noodles; 100 gms Glass Noodles; 200gms Sliced Chicken Breast ;200gms Boneless Fish Fillet, cut into four pieces; Beef Fillet (Optional), sliced ; 20 Prawns, deveined, tails intact; 50 gms Corn Kernels; Carrots Sliced; 50gms Cabbage ,Shredded; A Bunch Of Greens, wahed and cut into 1” pieces; Soft Bean Curd, sliced ; 2 Bean Curd Sheets (If Available), broken; Fried Bean Curd Puffs- soak in hot water to remove excess oil and drain before using .
And Of Course the all Important Steam Boat. I used an electric One, but there are other options.
Marinade For Seafood: 1 tsp sesame oil, 1 tbsp cornflour; salt & pepper to taste; 1 tbsp red wine or sherry. If you don’t have red wine use apple cider vinegar. When marinading prawns add 1 tsp brown sugar. Marinade overnight.
Marinade For Meats: 1 tsp sesame oil; 1 tbsp cornflour; 1 tbsp rice wine- optional (can use apple cider vinegar); salt & pepper to taste. Marinade overnight.
Place the Steamboat in the middle of the table and arrange all the other ingredients around it. Keep your spoons, forks, strainers, tongs and ladles at the ready. Switch on the Steamboat and once the stock starts simmering, start adding the ingredients of your choice to the stock, dish it out and start eating your gourmet meal. Keep replenishing the stock as required. (I keep a kettle of water simmering on the gas stove). Dip the food in the sauces if you like. This is a fantastic way to break the ice and by the time the feast is over, everyone is friends for life. I remember the first time I had Steamboat and it made a lasting impression on me.
Wishing everyone a Joyous Christmas and may you be blessed with peace, health and happiness always.

The Eleventh Recipe For Christmas

                                                         Recipe No 11: Fruit Punch
Fruit Punch is a great starter and breaks the ice especially when the guests experiment with various flavours and come up with something new every time.
1 litre Apricot Nectar; 1 litre Apple Juice; 1 litre Orange Juice; 1 litre Grapefruit Juice; 1 litre Peach Juice; ¼ cup each red and green cherries, chopped; ¼ cup tuitti fruiti; orange segments and finely minced apple; ice cubes and mint leaves.
Mix all ingredients together and serve with love.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Tenth Recipe For Christmas

Orange Christmas Tarts

This has to be the easiest recipe ever and most suitable for large parties. It can be made in a jiffy, tastes good and serves 50 (provided every guest has just one).
Recipe No 10: Orange Yoghurt Tarts
50 ready made tart cases; 250 gms cream cheese; ¼ cup thick curds; zest of ½ an orange; 2 tbsp fresh orange juice; ¼ cup sugar; a few candied papaya pieces or candied fruit of your choice.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar and curds until smooth. Gently fold in the zest and orange juice. Drop 1 tsp into each tart case. Place a piece of candied fruit in the centre of each tart. Refrigerate and serve when guests are ready for their dessert.A guaranteed hit with everyone.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Ninth Recipe For Christmas

Apricot Siena Cake
This is a chewy, sticky combination of bread and cake. It smells heavenly and tastes divine.  It is said to have originated in Siena, Italy and is also known as Panforte. My first attempt at making it was a total disaster. That was years ago. With a little bit of improvising I managed to get an eatable cake, this year.

Recipe No 9:  Siena Cake
100  gms nuts; 100gms candied pineapple, chopped; 100 gms dried Apricots, chopped; 50 gms candied orange peel; 2/3 cups flour; 2 level tbsp dark cocoa powder; 1 tsp mixed spice; 50 gms dark Cadbury’s chocolate; 1/3 cup sugar; ½ cup honey: 2 tbsp icing sugar to dredge cake with once done.
Mix the nuts, pineapple, apricots candied peel, cocoa and flour together in a deep mixing bowl. Heat the sugar and honey together in a saucepan until the sugar dissolves and it begins to boil. Lower flame and simmer 5 minutes. Add the dark chocolate and stir until it has completely melted. Cool 5 minutes and pour over the mixture in the bowl. Mix well. Pour into round 9" pan, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake in preheated oven at 150 C for 35 minutes or till done (when skewer inserted in centre comes out clean). Cool, cut into wedges and roll in powdered sugar. This cake can be stored for months (unless it’s eaten up by appreciative family members and others). Slice into wedges and dredge with icing sugar. To store, wrap in plastic paper or foil when completely cool and keep in a dry place.

The Eighth Recipe For Christmas

                                                          Addictive Nuts
Who does not love to munch on cashew nuts.? It is a favourite with all ages and especially at Christmas when one does not need an excuse to indulge. In our house there is always a tussle between those with sweet tooths and those without. Try both these quick to ,make nuts and store them in your memory of addictive flavours.

Recipe No 8:  Christmas Munchies

Pepper Chilli Nuts For The Have Nots
1/2 kg cashewnuts; 1 tbsp olive oil; ½ tsp salt; ¼ tsp pepper; ¼ tsp chilli powder; ¼ tsp jeera powder
Heat the olive oil and stir fry cashewnuts on a medium flame until evenly brown. Drain on kitchen paper and add salt, pepper, chilli and jeera powders. Adjust to taste. Cool completely and store in air tight containers.Supposed to last for a month but will get over much earlier.
Honey Coated Crispy Nuts For The Sweet Tooths  This is a Chinese favourite and I fell victim to it when I had it for the first time 17 years ago.
1 cup almonds; 1 cup cashew nuts; 1 tsp white sesame seeds,toasted
Line a tray with baking paper and spread 1 cup each of almonds and cashew nuts. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 degree C for 12-15 minutes, stirring once or twice in between. Remove from baking sheet and cool. Heat a pan, add 1 ½ tbsp olive oil, 3 tbsp of water, 3 tbsp sugar and 3 tbsp honey. Stir until the mixture begins to bubble.
Simmer 2 minutes. Add 2 tbsp sugar, ½ tsp mixed spices, 1/2 tsp salt and mix well. Add the nuts and sesame seeds and cook for 3-4 minutes or till the liquid is completely absorbed and the nuts shiny. Turn off heat. Transfer to the baking sheet, cool and separate the nuts with a fork. Store in an air tight container. Serve as a starter or as an in between snack.

Monday, December 17, 2012

The Seventh Recipe For Christmas

                                                           Apricot Fruit Cake 

Dried apricots have always been a tradition in our household for Christmas and I always have something with apricots every Christmas. This year, I experimented with various fruitcakes and used Dried Apricot Puree instead of burnt sugar. The result…enticing and a rich aroma pervades our house.

Recipe No 7: Christmas Fruit Cake

200 gms each of flour, sugar, tuitti fruitti, black currants, sultanas, cherries and preserved pumpkin and nuts; 5 eggs, 250 gms butter, 1 tsp. mixed spice powder, 50 gms candied peel, ½ tsp baking powder, 2 tsp vanilla; 2 tbsp whiskey (optional); ½ cup dried apricot puree Dec 
Chop fruits. Sieve flour and baking powder into large bowl. Add rest of the ingredients and stir till smooth and glossy. Bake at 150 C  for 45 minutes or till skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.

The Sixth Recipe For Christmas

                                             Incredible Sooji (Eurasian) Cake
When I first came to Malaysia I used to wonder why everyone I met raved about the sooji cake. Popular amongst the Eurasian community, every family guarded their recipes fiercely. I had the opportunity to eat a slice at a friend’s house and experimented and came up with my own. Once I had mastered it, I realised it was one of the best cakes ever. Dark yellow, moist , rich and buttery, full of almonds and made with butter and egg yolks, this is a cake fit for a king.

Recipe No 6:  Sooji Almond Cake

175 gms butter, 125 gms caster sugar; 125 gms sooji; 30 gms flour; 
50 gms crystallized melon, chopped; 11/2 tsp candied orange peel, chopped; 60 gms almond nibs; 7 egg yolks; 1/4 tsp mixed spice; 1 tsp vanilla essence; 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1 tbsp brandy.

 Mix together sooji, maida, chopped crystallised melon, candied peel and mixed spices.
Beat yolks with half the sugar till light and fluffy. Cream butter with the rest of the sugar together with vanilla essence. Gently fold in the creamed yolk mixture. Add the mixed dry ingredients and brandy. Mix well. Pour into lined and greased 9 inch cake tin. Bake in preheated oven at 175º C for one hour till golden brown or when skewer inserted in centre of cake comes out clean.
Cool, cut and serve.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Fifth Recipe For Christmas

 Christmas Macaroons
I am always on the prowl for Macaroon Recipes which are absolutely a must for Christmas in our family. This year I made two kinds -  Walnut Macaroons with brown sugar and Coffee Macaroons with cashew nuts, which I know will go down well with the coffee addicts in our family. The Walnut Macaroons are nearly over and the Coffee Macaroons are hidden away.

Walnut Macaroons: 500 gms brown sugar, powdered in mixer with 18 cardamoms (seeds only); 1 ½ cups chopped walnuts; white of 2 medium sized eggs.
Mix the the sugar and nuts together. Add the egg white very slowly until the mixture becomes a dough like mass. Discard remaining egg white. Make into balls and bake 2 inches apart in preheated oven at 175C for 10 minutes or until puffed out and transluscent. Makes 50.

Coffee Macaroons: 500 gms coarse sugar, powdered in mixer with 18 cardamoms (seeds only); 1 ½ cups chopped cashewnuts; white of 2 medium sized eggs; 2 tsp Nescafe dissolved in 2 tbsp hot water.
Mix the the sugar and nuts together. Add thenescafe and mix well. Next add the egg white very slowly until the mixture becomes a dough like mass. Discard remaining egg white. Make into balls and bake 2 inches apart in preheated oven at 175 C for 10 minutes or until puffed out and translucent. Makes 50.

The Fourth Recipe For Christmas

Home Made Ginger Liqueur
Making wines and liqueurs have always been part of our family tradition and I enjoy trying out various recipes and giving it away as gifts to family and friends during Christmas.  This is one I tried years ago very successfully.  Those who like it sweet may increase the sugar and the earlier you make it the smoother it is.
Recipe No 4: Ginger Liqueur
¼ cup grated ginger
750ml vodka (usually one bottle)
1/3 cup filtered water
½ cup white sugar
Grate the ginger and place it in a 2 litre glass container. Add the vodka to the container. Let the container sit in a cool, dark place for two weeks. Strain out the ginger. I did not do this as I like to have the grated ginger in the liqueur for extra flavour.
Then mixthe water and sugar in pan on medium heat until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the sugar water to the glass container, close the lid tightly and give it a shake. Keep in a cool, dark place for at least two more weeks. The longer you leave it, the smoother it gets. Store in a cool place. (I made mine last year). Serve with Ginger Scrumbtious Cake.
I also used it to make my fruit cakes this year.

The Third Recipe For Christmas

Simply Scrumbtious Cake
I tried this out years ago one day when I had run out of flour and had only bread crumbs at home. It turned out great and was a hit with everyone. Make it yourself and surprise your friends and family. You can use nuts or any chopped fruit. I used ginger because I love preserved ginger.

Recipe No 3: Ginger Breadcrumb Cake

3 medium eggs; 1 cup toasted breadcrumbs; 1 cup crystalised ginger, chopped; 3/4 cup sugar.
Cream yolks of eggs and sugar till pale and thick. Add crumbs and ginger.Mix to combine.   Fold in stiffly beaten egg whites. Bake at 175 C for 35 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool and slice. Serve with Ginger Liqueur. This cake does not keep well, so finish it quickly.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

The Second Recipe For Christmas

Mixed Fruit Relish (Buah Buah Acar)
This is a traditional Malaysian recipe and a must for Christmas especially with all the rich food around. It goes well with any kind of cuisine, is sweet tangy and hot and tastes good by itself too. It’s a knock out with any kind of rice and can be made in many different ways. Try out my version and and get addicted to it, like me.

Recipe No 2:  Buah Buah Acar
½ kg mixed fruits (I used pineapple, prunes, cranberries, mango, papaya, cranberries and strips of candied ginger); 4 dried red chillies soaked in 1/8 cup water; 1 tsp chilli powder; ½ cup white vinegar; 1 large onion, chopped; 1 large piece ginger, chopped; 12 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped; 1 star anise; 1 inch piece cinnamon; 4 cloves; salt & sugar to taste; ¼ cup olive oil for frying; 2 cups water.

Grind the onion, soaked chillies with the water, ginger, garlic, spices and chilli powder to a smooth paste. De seed all the fruit and chop into bite sized pieces. Pour the oil into a large pan and heat to smoking point. Lower flame and add the ground mixture stirring all the while and stir fry till thick and oil oozes out. Add the fruits, water, vinegar, salt & sugar and cook till mixture is thick. Cool, bottle and serve during Christmas get togethers.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

The First Recipe For Christmas

Candied Orange Peel

December has always been my favourite month. Growing up in Bangalore we were exposed to a myriad of exciting things to do- carol singing, concerts, presents and of course the excitement of hovering in the kitchen on the pretext of helping our mum, and sampling all the goodies we could. Christmas is a wonderful season of bonhomie and goodwill. It was the time we shared our goodies with all the community and enjoyed different kinds of cakes, sweets & savouries. My favourite Christmas activity has always been singing and one of my favourite songs “The Twelve Days Of Christmas”. Back then we did not really know what it meant, but we mastered the song and entertained many an audience until we left Bangalore for Kuala Lumpur , Malaysia. This year I wish to share 12 recipes for the Twelve Days of Christmas. Have fun, enjoy yourself and may you be doubly blessed.

Recipe No 1: Candied Peel
Christmas Cake is a must for this season and there are numerous recipes for it. Every family has their own tried and trusted recipe and so do I.   Candied peel is an absolute must for the traditional Christmas Fruit Cake and I have been making my own for ages.   My Mum & Dad always had bottles of delicious brandied fruits in their kitchen cupboard which we kids would dip into whenever we fancied  ( unknown to them).

Rind of 4 oranges, neatly quartered.
1 cup sugar, 3 tbsp rum or whisky

Place orange rind in a heavy bottomed pan and pour in just enough water to cover it. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 20 minutes or until soft. Stir in the sugar and bring to the boil again. Simmer for 5 minutes. Cool , cover and keep overnight. Next day boil again and simmer for 5 minutes. Repeat the third day. By this time most of the water would have evaporated and the orange peel will be dark and the syrup thick and aromatic. Completely cool and bottle. Pour the rum or whisky on top. Store indefinitely until required.
NB: This can be made earlier and stored. I usually make mine in January during the orange season.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pasta Salad

Salad In A Glass
A few weeks ago, I was asked to contribute a vegetable salad for a gathering of about 30 people.  One of my Breakfast Shake friends suggested a Pasta Salad and was kind enough to give me a basic recipe recommending I use whatever I had in the kitchen.  This then is my culinary masterpiece that was well received and very much appreciated.  

The Recipe :
3 cups mixed vegetables -- I used grated carrots, boiled peas, shredded cabbage and cherry tomatoes; 3 cups mixed fruits like green apple, red apple (cubed), pineapple cubes and grapes, halved; 2 cups of cooked pasta, I used two different types; 1 cup curds; 1/2 cup tomato sauce; 1/2 cup dressing of your choice, I used eggless cole slaw dressing; honey, salt and pepper to taste.

Beat the curds, tomato sauce and dressing to a smooth consistency.  Add the vegetables, fruits and pasta and gently mix together.  Add pepper, salt & honey to taste.  Refrigerate and serve in a glass.  Can be a meal in itself.  Tastes good and looks good.  A great dish for a party!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Capsicum Rings With Cottage Cheese And Egg

Weekend Tales

Some years ago, soon after we moved to Kuala Lumpur our bathroom drain got clogged.  There was water everywhere and so I opened the drain to see what I could do about it.  Guess what I found?  Pieces and pieces of golden paneer arranged neatly in a row.  Talk about being creative, that was Ranita then.  Today, paneer is a much loved item and we all enjoy it whenever we can.

The Recipe

250 gms paneer crumbled; 1/2 tsp chilli powder; 1 tsp somph, powdered; 2 tbsp curds; 1 tbsp gram flour; salt to taste;     2 eggs; 1 medium green capsicum;salt & pepper to taste; tomato sauce for topping; some oil for frying.

Marinade the paneer in the chilli powder, somph, curds, gram flour and salt for  30 minutes.

Cut the ends of  the capsicum and slice the remaining into three thick rings.  Chop the sides and keep for use later.  Beat the eggs with pepper & salt lightly.  Heat a non stick pan, add 1 tbsp oil and when hot put the capsicum rings in and fry gently one side for 2 minutes only. The rings should be firm and crunchy.  Flip over and pour the beaten egg into each of the rings until nearly full.  Cover and cook on medium heat until egg has set.  Gently flip over and brown the egg for a minute or two.  Transfer to plate and keep hot.

Next, add 1 tbsp oil to pan and gently stir fry the paneer till golden brown.  Add the chopped capsicum and fry for a couple of minutes.  Transfer to serving plate.  Arrange the capsicum rings on top and dot with tomato sauce.  Serve with Naan or rice.  It's your call.  Simple and satisfying and leaves you wanting for more!

P.S. Thanks to Elizabeth  Dhanaraj for the luscious Paneer Recipe.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Green Apple Curry


Some months ago we were presented with a whole basket of lovely green apples.  They were sour and had a tang to it.  So I made them into salads, cakes, tarts and what not.  One recipe I found was quite unusual and it caught my fancy.  Made it and the rest is history.  Try out this lip smacking Green Apple Curry and surprise your friends and family.

The Recipe:

4 medium green apples cored and cubed, soak in water with a teaspoon of salt to prevent it from becoming brown; 1 large onion, sliced; 3 flakes garlic, minced; 1 inch piece ginger, minced; 1 dsp curry powder of your choice; 1 tbsp vinegar; mustard and curry leaves for seasoning; 2 dsp olive oil; 1 large tomato, diced; 1/2 tsp sugar to taste. 

Heat oil and add the mustard seeds.  When they crackle add the curry leaves, onions, ginger and garlic.  Stir fry till onions become golden brown on a medium fire.  Add the tomatoes and cook till mushy.  Now add the  curry powder, salt to taste, vinegar and the sugar .  Mix well, add the apples, 1/4 cup water and cover and cook for 5 minutes or until apples are soft but still retaining their shape. Taste and add more sugar if required.  It should be spicy, sweet and sour all at the same time.  If you have achieved that you a cook to reckon with.  Serve hot with curd rice or any Indian bread.  

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Mashed Potato Surprise

An Artistic Endeavour

Edible art was a big item on our daily menu when the girls were growing up.  We have eaten a variety of different shaped chappathis, pooris, cakes, biscuits, salads and more.  Nowadays Edible Art serves to decorate our table on special occasions or weekends and is truly a fantastic way to get children to eat everthing. Today's recipe is the transformation of the simple mashed potato into a centrepiece worth talking about.

The Recipe:

2 large potatoes, boiled and mashed to a smooth consistency; 1 large carrot, boiled and mashed; 2 tbsp milk; 1 tbsp butter; salt & pepper to taste; 1 medium onion, chopped and 1 tsp jeera (cumin)seeds for seasoning; 1 tbsp oil; 20 to 24 multi grain chips or whatever chips you have at hand.

Mix the mashed potat, carrot, salt pepper, butter and milk to a desirable consistency.  For a dip add more milk.  Heat the oil in a nonstick pan and throw in the jeera seeds. When they sputter add the chopped onion and cook on a low fire until glazed.  Add to the mashed potato and mix well.  Turn onto serving plate.  Arrange the chips all aroind so that the entire presentation looks like a large flower.  Serve immediately with Indian breads or eat plain in a bowl as an appetizer.  Goes well with everything and kids just love it with chips.

Tantalising Tiramisu

Easy  Biscuit Pudding

Something went wrong with my computer and was unable to access my blog.  So have not posted the recipes I intended for October.  Am now using Ranita's laptop.  What a relief to be able to do one of my favourite weekly activities.  This recipe is absolutely wonderful and a knock out for parties when you have a lot to do. It was sms'd by a friend a while ago and I saved it for a very special occasion.  Jayanthi Dhanaraj & Kenneth Pichamuthu, this one is for you.

The Recipe

One large beautiful bowl; 17 Marie Biscuits; 250 gms cream cheese; 250 gms whipped cream; caster sugar to taste; 2 dsp Nescafe dissolved in 1/4 cup hot water with 2 tsp sugar added to it; whole almonds for garnish.

Beat the whipped cream, cream cheese and sugar (to taste) together.  Keep aside.  Dip 6 of the biscuits in the Nescafe and place in a layer at the bottom of the bowl.  Pour half of the beaten mixture over and repeat with 6 more biscuits making two layers.  Top with remaining biscuits and garnish with almonds. Drizzle remaining Nescafe over the top.  Keep in refrigerator to set overnight.  Can have as many layers as desired.
Tastes wonderful and looks good too.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

International Flavour

Algerian Chick Peas With Ladies Finger
No matter where you may go or what you eat, it all boils down to food.  People all over the world pretty much eat the same thing dressed up in different ways. And called by different names.  And seasoned with a variety of spices peculiar to the region.  Food is food, no matter what it is called.  Whether we like it or not, we are all  bound together by virtue of the food we eat.  Makes one really sit down and think.  One day while browsing through an Algerian cookbook, I came across familiar ingredients and was very excited because my Mum used to make this regularly for us every Monday with pooris.  The additional ingredient was a vegetable we hated as kids but ate without complaining anyway.  The combination was deadly and I now make it on a regular basis.  Bring out the chef in you with this international flavour of chick peas, ladies finger and spices of your choice, adapted by me to suit our taste buds!

The Recipe

250 gms chick peas, washed and soaked in water over night; 100 gms ladies finger, washed & dried, topped & tailed and cut into 3 pieces each; 1 tbsp home made masala powder (your choice); 1 large onion sliced; 2 flakes garlic minced; 1 inch piece ginger minced; 2 large tomatoes, diced; 1 sprig curry leaves & 2 tbsp oil for seasoning; salt to taste.

Next morning, wash and drain chickpeas again.  Pressure cook with  1 cup water for 20 minutes.  Add more water if you want a gravy.  In a different pan ( I use non stick), heat the oil and add the curry leaves and stir till they begin to crackle.  Throw in the onions, ginger and garlic and stir fry till golden brown.  Add the tomatoes and masala powder and cook on medium heat until the mixture becomes like a thick sauce.  Add the ladies finger and cover and cook for 3 minutes only (they should be crunchy).  Gently stir in the chickpeas and cook till the mixture begins to simmer.  Switch off and serve hot with rice or any kind of bread.  Savour the International Flavour and pass the recipe to your friends.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

A Surprising Combination

Add caption
Pan Fried Chicken With Two Coloured Cabbage And Grapes

Many years ago, I was given a beautifully illustrated recipe book on chicken.  It soon became my favourite book and I have been trying  out various recipes whenever I felt the urge to do so.  One that I really liked was a Surprising Combination of Chicken and Grapes.  If you want to know what it tastes like, try it out and become a fan like me.

The Recipe

1 large chicken breast  boned, washed, drained  and flattened with meat mallet.  2 cloves garlic, crushed ; 1 medium onion, sliced fine; 1/2 tsp black pepper; salt to taste and 2 tbsp olive oil for grilling.

1 cup of mixed green and purple cabbage, shredded; bunch of grapes.

Marinade chicken in salt, crushed garlic and pepper powder  for 15 minutes.  Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in non stick pan and fry onions till brown.  Add the chicken and cook on both sides till brown.  Keep warm.  In another pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil and stir fry cabbage on high heat for a minute.  Add salt & pepper to taste. Transfer to serving plate.  Top with the chicken and add the grapes on the side.  A Surprising Combination that tastes really good.  Serve with hot garlic bread.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

All Time Favourite

Spare Ribs
The computer is finally available and I decided to make the most of it and post a recipe on my neglected blog.  Have been cooking and baking with zest for the past four weeks and literally having a ball with the family.  One of the recipes we cooked was an all time favourite Spare Ribs".  You can never have too much of it.  No matter how much you make it is always just enough.  Here is the recipe for that special Sunday Lunch.

The Recipe

1 kg Spare Ribs, cut into 2 inch pieces.   2 tbsp curry powder; 2 large potatoes, boiled and quartered; salt to taste; 1 tomato and a few coriander leaves for garnish; 2 onions sliced; 1 large tomato diced; 2 tbsp ginger-garlic minced; oil for frying.

Wash spare ribs and drain well.  Keep aside.  In the meanwhile heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a heavy bottomed non stick pan and fry onions till golden brown.  Add the minced ginger - garlic and stir fry on medium heat till a nice aroma fills your nostrils.  Add the tomato and cook till dry.  Now add in the curry powder and spare ribs and stir fry till the ribs are well coated.  Add 2 cups water and pressure cook till done and the meat is falling off the bones.  Arrange on a plate, surrounded with boiled potatoes and garnish with the tomato and corriander leaves.  Serve hot with chappathis or rice.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Different Kind

Black Forest Vanilla Cake

This is a cake with an extraordinary taste and liked by everyone.  Got the recipe from Serita who is fast becoming an outstanding baker and watched our friends enjoy it two days ago.  It can be made in a jiffy and always turns out fine.  Hats off to you Serita.  Thank you for taking the time to make the day extra special.

The Recipe

125 gms salted butter; 1 cup caster sugar; 1 1/2 cups flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 2 large eggs; 1 tsp vanilla essence; 2 tbsp home made curds.

For Topping:  1 tin black cherries, drained; 1 cup whipped cream; 3 tbsp grated milk chocolate.

Sieve the flour and baking powder and keep aside.  Cream butter and sugar till fluffy and sugar has dissolved.  Add the vanilla, curds  and eggs, one at a time.   Gently fold in the flour and pour into greased and lined  8 inches round pan.  Bake in preheated oven at 175 C for 45 minutes or until skewer inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool for at least 3 hours.  Un mould on to cake plate or board.  Spread whipped cream on top.  Sprinkle grated chocolate and top with black cherries.  Looks amazing and tastes fabulous.  Happy Birthday Indra.  May you have many more.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Hari Raya Cookies

Grab Me Cookies
Hari Raya Aidilfitri is a celebration that marks the end of the fasting month of Ramzan (Ramadhan).  During Ramzan, Muslims often gather to break the fast at sundown and a range of irreristible food is seen everywhere.  After coming to Malaysia I have had the opportunity to attend many Buka Puasa's (Breaking Of The Fast) and the sheer number of dishes  was a revelation to me.   At the one we attended last month we counted more than 100 mouth watering concoctions.  Being human we could only stare and sample a few.
The malls & stores are full of snacks and  tit bits of every hue and colour and so I decided to make some Grab Me Cookies as gifts for friends celebrating Hari Raya.  These are so delicious that you forget your manners and grab another and another and yet another until the whole plate is empty.  Whenever I make them they get over in one sitting, so plan to make a very large batch.  Everyone  will love them and you'll be the most popular person around.
The Recipe

1/2 cup butter; 150 gms brown choc chips; 1 cup flour; ½ cup brown sugar; ½ cup white sugar; ½ tsp. baking soda; ½ tsp baking powder;50 gms white choc chips; 1 ¼ cup instant oatmeal; 1 tbsp. cornflour mixed in  2 tbsp milk ; ½ tsp vanilla; ¾ cup ( 150 gms ) chopped nuts.
Spread oatmeal on baking tray and toast in oven for 10 minutes or until crisp when rubbed with your fingers.
Cream butter and sugars.  Add cornflour mixture  and vanilla.  Sieve flour with baking powder and soda. Add the flour to mixture and mix well.  Add oatmeal and mix again.  Add chips and thoroughly mix. Lastly stir nuts into the mixture properly.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.  Roll into balls (small balls for small cookies and so on) and place 2 inches apart on baking tray.  Bake in pre heated oven 375 F for 10 minutes (golden brown) or 15 minutes (brown and delicious).  Makes about 5 dozen cookies.   

Selamat Hari Raya !  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Patriotic Menu

Patriotic Starter
National Rice
Tri Coloured Dessert
Hues Of Liberty Pachdi

31 states, 1618 languages,6400 castes, 6 religions ,6 ethnic groups, 29 

major festivals & 1 country! Nothing quite like India.

Had a party to celebrate August 15th and came up with the following Colours Of India-pendence.   

Patriotic Starter

Took a shortcut for this and used vadais from the restaurant downstairs.

8 vadais; 1 carrot grated; few corriander leaves; 1/2 litre home made curds beaten with 1/4 litre water with salt to taste; date honey or tamarind chutney.  I used the date honey a a friend had given me two large bottles.

To assemble:

Place the vadais in a glass serving bowl.  Pour the beaten curds mixture over.  Garnish with grated carrot & corriander leaves.  Refrigerate overnight so the vadais are nice and soft.  Pour some date honey over the top just before serving.  Absolutely delicious.

National Rice:

2 measures rice, washed and drained; 4 measures hot water; 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste; 1 onion sliced; 1 bunch mint leaves, chopped; 2 tbsp olive oil.

For Meat Balls; Mix together 1/4 kg washed and drained mutton mince; 1 onion, minced;  1 tsp ginger garlic minced; 2 green chillies minced; 2 tsp cornflour; salt to taste; a few corriander leaves chopped.  Make into balls and grill on very high heat for 10 minutes turning the meatballs around after five minutes, to cook evenly.

50 gms white cheese

4 large carrots boiled till soft.  Add salt  and mash while warm to a smooth consistency..  Season with olive oil & 1/4 tsp jeera seeds.

To Make The Rice:  Heat olive oil and fry the sliced onions, ginger garlic and mint until your nose twitches in anticipation.  Add the rice and stir fry on medium heat until all the grains are coated and transparent in colour.  Transfer to rice cooker, add the hot water and salt to taste and set timer.  When done arrange the rice in a pyrex dish and stir in half of the diced cheese.  Top with meatballs  and bake at 150 C  for 10 minutes till cheese melts and meatballs become nice and brown.  Garnish with dots of carrot mash and remaining cheese and a sprig of mint.  Serve hot with Hues Of Liberty Pachdi.

Hues Of Liberty Pachdi

1 cup home made curds beaten with salt to taste; 1 green chilli minced; 1 grated carrot; 1 large onion, minced; few sprigs of mint for garnishing.

Mix the curds, onions and chillies together.  Test for taste.  Place in a shallow glass bowl.  Garnish with grated carrots and sprigs of mint.  The bright colours are a feast for the eyes and may well add to your apetite.

Tri Colour Dessert

Choice Of Three Fruits I used papaya, kiwi fruit and guava (skinned).

Cut and arrange in three sections on a tray.  Decorate with any knick knacks like I did.  Enjoy.

Needless to say we had a blast.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

National Tricolour Salad

Colours Of India

 Living abroad has made me appreciate my country in every way.

"Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls,
Where words come out from the depths of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arm towards perfection;
Where the clear streams of reason has not lost its way in the dreary desert sands of dead habits
Where the mind is led by Thee into ever widening thought and action
Into that heaven of Freedom, my Father, let my country awake. "  Rabindranath Tagore

And so, to celebrate Independence Day 15 August 2012, here is a simple, healthy colourful salad that anyone could make.  Looks good, tastes good and makes your day extra special.

The Recipe:

2 large carrots; 2 medium white radish, 1 large capsicum.

Dipping Sauce:  2 tbsp tomato sauce; 2 tbsp mayonnaise; 4 tbsp curds; 1/2 tsp mustard.  Blend together and keep aside.

Cut one carrot, 1 radish and 1/2 the capsicum  into 2 inch sized pieces and arrange in a goblet.  Grate the second carrot and the radish, dice the remaining capsicum and arrange on plate as in photograph.   Place the goblet in the centre and serve with the sauce.  The bright colours certainly add character to your table.  Happy Independence Day.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Pease Porridge Hot...

Green Peace Salad

This is not a porridge but a salad
that I had some time ago at a party.  It was absolutely scrumptious and reminded me of the old nursery rhyme.  It consisted of green peas, salad leaves of different kinds and very thinly sliced cabbage dipped in hot water and drained.  The dressing was a unique combination of blended paneer, yoghurt and a dash of mayonaisse.  I could have easily finished the whole bowl by myself, but manners prevailed.

The Recipe:  1 large bag of mixed lettuce leaves, seperated according to colour and shredded; 1/2 a cabbage sliced very, very fine; 1 cup green peas, boiled.

For Dressing:  1/4 cup paneer, mashed; 1/4 cup yoghurt; 1/8 cup mayonnaise; sugar, salt & white pepper to taste.  Blend together till creamy and keep aside.

Dip the sliced cabbage for one minute in boiling water, drain and plunge into cold water to retain crispness.  Drain thoroughly.  To assemble place boiled peas at bottom of large, salad bowl.  Surround with different coloured shredded lettuce leaves.  Place the cabbage on top of the peas.  Pour the dressing over.  Mix just before serving and eat as an accompaniment to any meal.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Colour Purple

Jewelled Vegetable Stir Fry

One thing I love in Malaysia is going to the supermarket.  It may seem a mundane thing to do.  The vast array of brightly coloured vegetables is a veritable rainbow of choice and once cooked very enticing and appetising. Purple cabbage adds character to any dish and especially when the colour is retained after cooking.  So try this and watch your kids eyes light up in surprise.

The Recipe:

1/2 a head of purple cabbage, cut into chunks; 1/2 a head of green cabbage, cut into chunks; 2 carrots, cut into slices and halved; 10 French beans cut into three pieces each; 3 flakes garlic minced; 1 inch piece ginger diced; salt & white pepper to taste; 2 tbsp olive oil.

Wash & clean vegetables before stir frying.  Heat olive oil in a non stick pan and  stir fry the ginger garlic until golden brown.  Add the carrots and stir fry for 3 minutes. Next add the French beans and stir fry for 2 minutes only.  Lastly add the purple & green cabbage and stir fry on high heat for 1 minute only.  Add pepper and salt.  Serve hot as an accompaniment to any meal.

NB:  Stir fry all vegetables on high heat, especially the purple cabbage (1 minute only) in order to retain the glorious colour.  Cook it longer and it will become a washed out version of itself.

Happy Eating!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Apple & Carrot Sugarless Cinnamon Cake

One Of A Kind Cake

77th birthdays are a One Of A Kind occasion and deserves the very best.  
Out came all the books and recipes.  Compared everything and came up with A One Of A Kind Cake meant for very special people- read  Gladys Elisha Alias Mummy/Ma/Nana .  It had to please everyone and the result was a moist, sweet and very different Apple & Carrot Cake.  Make it yourself and rate it for fun!

The Recipe:                                                                                  
1 cup wheat flour; 1 tsp baking powder; 1/4 tsp baking soda; 1 tsp cinnamon powder; 125 gms cold butter; 75 gms almonds, powdered; 1 cup grated red apples; 1/2 cup grated carrots; 1/3 cup chopped raisins; grated zest of 1/2 an orange; 4 tbsp fresh orange juice; 2 large eggs.
For Topping:  50gms Almonds, powdered; 2 tbsp honey
Grease and line a 9 inch round pan.  Preheat oven to 180 C.  Sieve wheat flour and baking powder and soda together and place in a large mixing bowl.  Cut in the butter till mixture resembles bread crumbs.  Add the rest of the ingredients one by one and mix until well combined.  Pour into cake pan and bake for forty minutes till done or until skewer inserted in middle comes out clean.  Cool.  Transfer to cake plate.  Spread the honey evenly on top.  Sprinkle almond powder all over evenly.  Decorate with ribbons and other knick knacks.  Insert Happy Birthday Wishes on Cake.  Serve at the right moment and enjoy yourself.   

Monday, June 25, 2012

25th Birthday Lunch

25th Birthday Celebration
Serita's Birthday  Cake
It seems like just yesterday that this cute bundle of joy arrived in our house.  Everything we got was pink as we had decided we wanted a baby girl…the clothes, the cradle, the blanket, the bottle, and so on.  My mother bought me a blue flask saying “what if…”  and I shushed her up.  That baby girl is now 25 years old and a blessing to everyone around her.  Happy Birthday Serita.  Have a great day. Follow your rainbow and may all your dreams come true.
The Recipes:

The Cake:
1 cup butter; 2 cups caster sugar; 3 cups flour; 4 eggs; 2 tsp vanilla essence; 1 tsp baking powder; a little milk if required.
1 cup whipped cream with sugar or 1 cup cream beaten till stiff with sugar to taste.  Keep in the refrigerator.
Sliced peaches, cherries and mint leaves for decoration.
Sieve the flour and baking powder together three times and keep aside.  Beat the sugar and butter together till pale and fluffy.  Stir in the eggs one by one along with the vanilla essence.  Gently fold in the flour a little at a time.  Divide mixture into two and pour into two greased and lined 8 inch round sandwich pans.  Bake in preheated oven at 150 C for  30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean.  Cool overnight.
Next day unmould the cake and spread the whipped cream all over.  Arrange slices of peaches and cherries all over the cake starting from the outside.  Place the mint leaves.  Place the cake back in the freezer until it’s time to cut it.  Serve large slices to all well wishers.
Birthday Salad &  Greek Salad-  Recipe by Asha Elisha
Birthday Salad :
1 bundle asparagus; 100 gm button mushrooms, sliced and stir fried till dry; 25 blueberries; 50 gm white figs, washed & sliced; 1 green pear, washed and cubed.
For Dressing:  Beat together salt & pepper to taste; 1 tbsp mayonnaise & ½ tsp mustard.  Keep aside.
Lettuce leaves for garnish.
Wash and clean asparagus discarding the tough stems.  Immerse in boiling water for 3 to 5 minutes till tender.  Plunge into cold water to retain crispness and drain well. 
Place the asparagus, blueberries, figs, pear and mushrooms in a bowl.  Gently mix together.  Pour the dressing over and transfer to glass bowl.  Chill in the refrigerator till required.  Decorate with a crab made out of an apple.
Greek Salad:
50 gm cherry tomatoes washed and sliced; 50 gm plum tomatoes, washed and cubed; 1 medium cucumber washed, remove seeds and cubed;  25 black olives, cut in half; 5 red radishes, washed and sliced very fine.  Shredded mixed salad leaves.
For The Dressing:  Mix 1 tbsp each of olive oil and red wine; 1 tsp white vinegar; salt & pepper to taste; 1 tsp dried oregano together.  Keep aside.
For The Garnish:  50 gms  crumbled Feta cheese. Decorate with a crab made out of an apple.

Mix the vegetables and salad leaves together with the dressing.  Transfer to serving dish.  Sprinkle the feta cheese on top.  Chill in refrigerator until time to serve.

Grilled  Greek Fish Recipe By Anu Elisha

1 medium pomfret, cleaned washed and drained.  Keep the fish whole with head and tail intact.  Score both sides with a knife and marinade overnight in a mixture of  2 tbsp vodka;  2 tbsp crushed garlic; salt and pepper to taste and juice of 1 large lemon.  Insert slices of lemon under the gills. 
Next day grill in preheated oven at 250 C for 15 minutes each side.  Transfer to serving plate and garnish with lemon slices and parsley.  Squeeze lemon juice over fish before serving.

Grilled Prawns - Recipe By Anu Elisha

Grilled Prawns:
25 tiger prawns, washed, deveined shelled with tails retained for decoration;  3 tbsp teriyaki dressing; 2 tbsp vodka; salt & pepper to taste.
8 wooden skewers; a few cherry tomatoes halved.
Sliced cumbers, haled tomatoes and lettuce leaves for garnish.
Marinade prawns overnight for best results.  Next day skewer threee prawns  and half a tomato on each stick and grill at 250 C for 5 minutes each side.  Serve garnished with sliced cucumber and tiny tomatoes on a bed of lettuce.

Coffee Cream Custard - Recipe By Anu Elisha

Coffee Cream Custard:

½ l milk; 4 eggs; sugar to taste; 1 tbsp Nescafe mixed with 2 tbsp hot milk till dissolved.
¼ l cream beaten with sugar to taste till thick.  Keep in refrigerator till desired.
50 gms toasted whole cashewnuts.
Beat eggs and milk till blended.  Dissolve sugar in milk and add to the  eggs.   Add the coffee and make sure it is well mixed.   Transfer to pan and bake in preheated oven at 200 C for 30 minutes.  Cool and pour whipped cream over the surface.  Refrigerate till set.  Use a fork to draw lines on the cream.  Garnish with the toasted cashewnuts. Serve as a dessert at the end of the meal.  This is a very rich delicious.and creamy creation.

Herbalife Mould Konyakku Jelly

Couldn't resist making this jelly which came out of a packet as we had some moulds with the Herbalife logo which we got some time ago.  Buy a packet of konyakku jelly powder and follow the instructions on the packet.  The finished product is very pleasing to look at.  It is a Japanese favourite and popular with all age groups.  Serve as a dessert or starter or in between.
Happy Birthday Serita.!  Wishing You All The Very Best In Life.