Easy Food Smith

Posts Tagged / Accompaniment

AMLA CANDY / आमला कैंडी और आमला ‘शहद’ (Indian Gooseberry Candy & Concentrate)

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Although packed with health benefits but astringent, sour and bitter to taste, this fruit does not fit into everyone’s diet. Amla powder, amla juice and amla pickle and murabba (preserve) are some of the few ways that people try and incorporate this powerful superfood in their diet. Not so loved produce but very popular among the healthy conscious, this humble fruit increases immunity, slows down ageing, reduces blood sugar, increases metabolism, purifies blood, helps fight common cold, improves eye sight. Besides many other vitamins and minerals, it contains eight times the Vit C found in your regular orange.

Earlier I had shared my mother-in-law’s Amla Murabba and now I am sharing her amla candy recipe. I had made it last year but could not share it in time. I found it to be an interesting recipe coz she recommends freezing the washed and wiped amla in a ziplock bag for five to six days days before kicking off the procedure to turn it into a candy. I was intrigued when she shared this recipe and after trying it a couple of times, I decided to share it here. It is really simple but takes time to get ready. No, it won’t make a dent on your time or demand any effort from your behalf. It takes time – first, to sit and release its juices into the sugar and then soaking the syrup and second, when it sits in the sun, wearing that coat of sugar syrup, waiting to dry up before being sprinkled and kind of dredged with spices, salt and icing sugar. Lip smackingly good and an extremely healthy way to snack. This is a picture-heavy post since i have tried to incorporate picture of each stage of the process (having missed one pic though)

 

Ingredients

850 gram Amla

350 – 500 grams Granular Sugar (adjust to taste)

1 tsp Kala Namak (Rock Salt), adjust to taste

1½ tsp Jeera Powder (roasted and powdered cumin seeds)

A pinch of Heeng (Asafoetida)

A few tablespoons Powdered Sugar (Icing Sugar)

Method

Wash and dry the amla.

Put them inside a ziplock bag. Flatten them out in a single layer and keep them in the freezer for five to six days, depending on the size of the amla. Remove the amla from the freezer and allow them to sit till they soften. The amla slices will come off easily by scoring or running your knife along the natural segment line of amla. This process should take you 20 minutes approx.

Once this process is over, transfer the pieces to a glass mixing bowl or a non corrosive pot (I used steel pot) and sprinkle the sugar all over it so that the amlas are completely covered by the sugar. Cover with a lid and set aside at a place where no ants can reach. The sugar will take 2 – 3 days to melt (depending on the size of the amla).

After 24 hours, stir the pieces around using a spoon or spatula and again cover & keep aside. After three days, the sugar will completely dissolve and the pieces are ready to be removed from the syrup. Remove excess liquid by passing it through a strainer. Keep them in the strainer for 15 – 20 minutes to ensure that the syrup is well drained. Reserved the syrup.

Lay the pieces in a single layer over a tray (non corrosive) and keep the amla pieces covered by a muslin or cheese cloth (without the cloth touching the pieces) in the sun for approximately two to three days (depending on how strong the sun is) or till the amla is no longer sticky to touch. (Ensure that the pieces are not over exposed to the sun else they dry out and turn hard & chewy)

(I missed clicking this step but will update when I make the next batch)

Once the amla pieces have dried and are no longer sticky, they ready to be dredged with spices and icing sugar. The sun dried pieces will wear a discolored look but that is fine.

Transfer the amla pieces to a clean and dry mixing bowl and sprinkle the ground spices over it. Ensure that each and every slice of the amla is well coated. Next, dust over / sprinkle the icing sugar, using a sieve (to avoid sugar lumps). Use as much as needed. I used just enough to cover them.

Shake the candies inside the bowl to ensure that each and every piece is well coated with the spice mix and icing sugar. Remove the amla candy in an air tight container. The candy should stay well for six months.

And for the liquid that we had reserved, after soaking the amla in sugar, you can turn it into a syrup and store it in a bottle. Use it as a concentrate.

You can swap sugar with jaggery. Use equal weight of both amla and jaggery. You need to follow the same procedure except that while using jaggery you need to layer the jaggery and amla alternately before you leave them for soaking. Also ensure that you grate the jaggery to ensure smooth assimilation and dissolving.

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe.

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CHOCOLATE & ORANGE CAKE

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There are umpteen number of reasons why we all are running our respective blogs. It could be for a creative outlet for one’s talent or to creatively utilise excess time on hands. Certain others blog to showcase their cooking and photography skills while for some it is about assembling family recipes and their various successful experiments in the kitchen at one place which is accessible to their family and friends. Whatever the reasons may be, one common thread that binds each one is – sharing. It is all about sharing one’s precious/ favorite recipes and skills with a larger base of people. And that is what the food blogging community is all about. It is a wonderful community where everyone supports, cheers and encourages each other besides motivating and inspiring.

I had never been very regular with my Instagram account earlier but at the behest of a blogger friend, I started posting on a regular basis. And I am so glad that I begun doing that coz I came across some wonderful bloggers and made some amazing friends. It is always nice to know the faces behind the blogs and even more so about what makes them tick.

One such blogger that I came across is Kamini and when she asked me if I would be interested in doing a guest post for her, I was more than happy to oblige. Kamini is a passionate cook/ baker and runs a vegetarian blog by the name Kitchen Therapy (do check out her blog and her delicious recipes). Besides being a Communications Consultant for corporates, this beautiful lady has authored a book – The Morning After. She is a regular contributor to Indian’s largest selling national publication ‘The Times of India’ and its various publications. It is an absolute pleasure being a part of your ‘In your Kitchen’ series, Kamini. 😊 You can follow her here – Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter  and Youtube.

The cake I am sharing is a family favorite; one, that my daughter never seems to get enough of! Do try it in your kitchen and I promise you, it will surely delight you. The only advice I would give here is, use good quality chocolate for this cake.

For Cake

1½ C All purpose Flour (Maida) plus extra for dusting the pan

3 tbsp Cornflour

1¼ tsp Baking Powder

½ tsp Baking Soda

1 C Caster Sugar

¾ C unsalted Butter (room temperature) plus extra for greasing the pan

3 Eggs (mine were 60 grams each)

1/3 C Yogurt

¼ C Orange zest, packed

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

100 grams Chocolate

For Orange Glaze

1½ tbsp. Orange Juice

¾ C Confectioners Sugar (Icing Sugar)

For Chocolate Glaze

100 grams Chocolate

1½ tbsp Milk

1 tbsp Unsalted Butter

 

Grate the chocolate and set aside (I learnt this trick of grating the chocolate from a local baker) I grate the chocolate the night or at least a few hours before I intend to make the cake and keep it refrigerated till ready to use.

Preheat the oven at 170 degrees C.

Rub in the orange zest to the caster sugar, using your hands, and set aside.

Prepare a 9 inch bundt pan by greasing it with butter or oil and dusting it with flour. Remove excess flour and set the pan aside.

Sift together the all purpose flour, cornflour, baking powder and baking soda at least five times. Set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk butter for a minute or till it is smooth and creamy. (I had used handheld mixer)

Add sugar and whisk for another two to three minutes, scrapping the sides occasionally.

Add the eggs, one at a time and beat on medium speed until smooth. Scrap the sides of the bowl with each addition.

Add the vanilla essence and yogurt along with half the flour and fold it in till it just gets incorporated.

Add the rest of the flour and mix it in. Do not over whisk or over mix the batter. You just need to incorporate it.

Gently fold in the grated chocolate and transfer the contents to the prepared bundt pan. Smoothen the top of the batter using a spatula or back of a spoon and then gently tap the pan on the counter top to remove any air pockets. Transfer the pan to the pre-heated oven.

Bake for approximately forty minutes or till a skewer inserted comes out clean.

Remove the pan from the oven and allow the cake to sit in the pan for 10 minutes.

Run a knife gently around the edges of the pan and turn over the cake on to a wire rack. Cool completely before adding glaze.

For Orange Glaze

Whisk together the juice and the sugar (adjust consistency to your liking) and drizzle over the cooled cake.

For Chocolate Glaze

Scrap the chocolate with a knife and heat it over a double boiler along with milk and butter. Do not stir. Once the chocolate has melted, remove it from heat and whisk it well. Allow it to cool before pouring it over the cake.

Slice and serve the cake. Enjoy!

Note – Do not open the oven door for the first 10 – 15 minutes.

Note – Do check after 25 minutes and if the cake browning fast, cover it loosely with foil

Note –  Every oven has its own setting of the thermostat. I advice you adjust the temperature according to the thermostat of your oven.

Note: Feel free to add nuts of your choice to the batter if you wish to.

Yield – one 9 inch cake

Serves – 12 – 14

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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IDLI w/ KATHIRIKAI GOTHSU / इडली और बैंगन की चट्नी (Steamed Lentil & Rice Cakes with Aubergine Chutney)

STEAMED RICE & LENTIL CAKES WITH SPICY, HOT, SWEET & SOUR AUBERGINE CHUTNEY

During the time when I was holding a corporate job, a colleague of mine brought a chutney that looked like the most unappetising thing I had ever laid my eyes on 😛 “I got this for you. Try this and tell me what you think about it” was all he said. His wife was a fabulous cook and despite the ‘thing’ looking so unappetising, I did not cast a doubt on her cooking skills. Yet, I gingerly picked a spoon and took a little of it and very apprehensively put the contents of the spoon in my mouth. I was knocked off by the taste of what ever I had just tasted. The appearance and the taste were diametrically opposite to each other. I greedily took a couple of spoons and started going gaga over it. Suddenly, he said to me “do you know what it is made of?” I couldn’t care less what it was made of since I loved it and given an opportunity, I would have polished and licked off the entire bowl!! “This is made from brinjal,” he said while rolling with glee and laughter. Eggplant (Brinjal) or what we call baingan, never figured anywhere on my list of palatable vegetables and my colleague knew this all too well. I was shocked by the revelation and could not utter a word for a few seconds. Brinjal could taste this good??!?!?

It was then that I came to realise, that no vegetable or any ingredient for that matter is good or bad in its taste. It all depends on how well it has been treated/ cooked and that brinjal chutney was the evidence to that belief. I thanked him for helping me change my stance about eggplant and since then there has been no looking back. My wonderful colleague even shared the recipe with me that his wife graciously wrote for me. So that is the story behind that hideous looking bowl of chutney in which you see the idlis dunked in happily! This recipe lives up to the hindi idiom of “soorat pe nahi seerat pe jao” (roughly translated to – do not go by appearance instead consider the character)

My colleague was a Tamilian and for long I didn’t know what the native name for this dish was since he simply told me to consider it brinjal khichdi or brinjal chutney and it was meant to be consumed with idlis and dosa. A little search on google told me that it is apparently called vankaya pachadi. However recently I saw someone on Instagram mentioned it as gothsu. Whatever the name, all I can tell you is, it’s really yum.

For this recipe you will need the following ingredients, however, feel free to adjust the amount of ingredients to suit your taste.

For Chutney

175 gram small Baingan (Brinjal/ Eggplant)

½ tsp grated Ginger

3 Green Chilies (mine were small sized & super hot)

1 Tomato (60 grams approx)

1½ C Water

For tempering:

1½ tbsp Oil

½ tsp Mustard Seeds

¼ tsp Cumin Seeds

½ C finely chopped Onions

1 spring Curry Leaves

1 tsp thick Tamarind Pulp (I used readymade)

¼ C Water

Salt to taste

2 tsp Jaggery powder (adjust to taste)

In a sauce pan, add all the ingredients under the chutney category and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and cover the saucepan and let the contents boil for 15 minutes.

Switch off the heat and allow the contents to cool down a little and then blend them in a blender. Set aside.

Add the tamarind pulp to one fourth cup of water and mix it well. Sieve it and set aside.

In a frying pan or a sauce pan, heat oil and add mustard and cumin seeds. Add onions and fry till they turn transluscent. .Add curry leaves and fry till the onions turn begin to turn golden.

Add the blended brinjals to the tempering. Stir for half a minute.

Now add tamarind water and salt. Stir well and allow the contents to cook on a gentle heat to thicken the chutney a little bit (adjust to desired consistency).

Switch off the heat and stir in the jaggery powder. Taste the chutney and adjust seasonings.

 

FOR IDLIS

(RICE & LENTIL FERMENTED CAKES)

1 C Raw Rice (uncooked rice)

¾ C Urad Dal, skinless (Ivory Lentils)

Salt to taste

Pick and wash the rice & dal separately and soak them separately as well for 5 hours

Grind the dal using very little water and set aside.

Grind the rice using little water.

Mix the two together and add salt. Using very little water make a thick batter.

Cover the container. Set it aside at a warm place to ferment for for 6 – 8 hours (depending on the weather conditions) or preferably over night.

Grease the idli moulds with a little oil and pour the batter into the moulds. Add water to your idli steamer (read the user manual) and steam the idlis for 12 – 15 minutes or till a skewer inserted in the idli comes out clean. Remove from the moulds and serve with chutney of your choice.

Note: In case you do not have idli moulds, you can steam the batter in small cake tin or mould and the slice and serve the ‘idlis’.

Note: I had added turmeric to the idli batter and before pouring the batter into the mould, I had added a tempering of mustard seeds, chana dal and a few finely chopped curry leaves.

Yield: Makes 24 Idlis

Thanks for visiting and see you soon again with another exciting recipe!

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