Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Oven roasted Achari Baingan

Oven roasted Achari Baingan
I absolutely love aubergine/eggplant/brinjal. Call it by whatever name you like, I love it, period. I have now heard from quite a few people that they dislike this veggie, some do not know what to do with it. For me, there is no limit to what we can make with this beautiful veggie. The varieties I get in this part of teh world do need plenty of seasoning and oil to get good results and there are times when I cannot be bothered waiting for it to cook on the hob. My sister-in-law had mentioned that she had good results roasting eggplants in oven and I often roast the whole large eggplant instead of charring on flame. So I decided to cook them in teh oven for this wonderful achari dish. Achar means pickle and as the spices used in this are typically used for north Indian pickles, it gets the name achari. Fennel seeds are usually added but I skipped it. The dish was super scrummy and for the little effort that I put in to prepare it, the results were plenty-fold better. I used the left over spice powder to prepare a similar dish using green chillies!

1 long brinjal, cut into roundels, about ¼ inch thick (about 2 cups of cut brinjal)
Turmeric powder
½ teaspoon amchur powder
Salt to taste
Cooking oil
½ teaspoon methi seeds
1 teaspoon mustard seeds
½ teaspoon cumin seeds
½ teaspoon sesame seeds
½ teaspoon nigella seeds
½ teaspoon chilly powder

Sprinkle turmeric powder on the cut brinjal (this helps avoid it going black) and rest until oven preheats to 180degC. Drizzle some oil and mix. Cook this in the oven for about 20 minutes, mixing it in between

Roast all seeds and crush to powder

Once the brinjals are done, add the crushed powder, salt, chilly powder and amchur powder, mix and put in oven for about 5-8 minutes

Serve hot with rice or rotis. I used the left over spice powder to fill into some slit green chillies and sautéing them in mustard oil...yum!

Saturday, 20 April 2013

Sweetcorn Halwa

Sweetcorn Halwa
Sometime back I watched a cookery contest on a tamil tv channel. Celebrities from small screen contested for the kitchen superstar title. As it was food related, I quite liked the program, however, I do think it was a miserable effort to emulate the likes of Gordon Ramsay and other celebrity chef hosted contest. Anyway, one contestant had made sweetcorn halwa and received great reviews from the judges. The recipes were not made available so I would normally guess what might have gone into the dish and tried some recipes. This halwa is one such recipe and I knew khoya was one of the key ingredients. My difficulty is that I do not get khoya here and that I cannot really find time to reduce milk to khoya consistency in my kitchen. I did take a good shortcut that I had posted earlier and had no regrets. The halwa came out super doper scrummy and I struggled to stay away from it. The mild flavour of sweet corn, the not entirely smooth consistency and the crunch from the nuts were simply wonderful. This halwa does not need an awful lot of ghee so that is a bonus. I used semi skimmed milk powder to make the khoya and having said all that, at the end of the day, it still is a dessert and I have tried to reduce the guilt as much as I can. Here is the recipe...

2 cups sweet corn (I used frozen)
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoon ghee
Couple of pinches of crushed cardamom and saffron, optional
Slivered nuts for garnish

Grind the sweet corn to powder. I used frozen corn so it was quite easy to powder. If you are using fresh, try to avoid water to grind and make it as fine as possible. Heat some ghee in a kadai or hevay bottom pan and add the ground corn, stir well. Cook until a nice aroma comes (about 3-5 minutes)

Add the sugar and khoya (grated) and literally just add drops of ghee every now and then. 

Keep stirring well and cook until it leaves the sides and comes together as a ball. This should be another 5-10 minutes or so.

Garnish with nuts, serve.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Butterless chocolate chip cookie

Butterless chocolate chip cookie

Some of you are probably wondering why I even bothered trying a butterless chocolate chip cookie and then why post the recipe too. Well, if you are a regular reader of my space, you probably know that I like experimenting and that too when it comes to baking experiments, one can expect plenty of surprises. I tried this recipe without having a clue what the outcome will taste like and I was quite surprised by the results. I will be upfront and warn you that this will not taste anything like the regular chocolate chip cookie but, it is obviously a chocolate chip cookie for the obvious reason that we are adding choco chip. It will taste different but I quite liked the taste from the healthy avocado coming through. I will also warn that it is best eaten fresh and it just loses its texture the very next day. I am not saying you can bid farewell to the regular choco chip cookie and replace that with this good fat cookie but this certainly is worth a try. I am guessing that if you do not like it the first bite, you will acquire a taste for it soon, just give it a chance. 

1 avocado, mashed
1 cup wholewheat flour (next time I would avoid the bran and use sifted flour)
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ cup brown sugar
3 tablespoon coco powder
¼ cup chocolate chip cookies
5 tablespoons milk (may need a few drops more depending on flour)
1 teaspoon vinegar (can use lemon juice instead)
1 tablespoon oil

Beat together the avocado, vinegar and sugar until well combined

Add the flour, baking powder, coco powder and mix. Add the oil and milk so a very thick batter is formed. It will neither be a dough nor quite a batter.

Spoon the batter on greased lined baking tray and flatten with back of a spoon. Leave about an inch between each.

Bake in a preheated oven at 170degC for 12-14 minutes. You can insert a skewer in it and if it comes out clean, its ready
Cool on cooling rack and dig in! This is best eaten fresh from the oven