November 30, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

An enchilada is a corn tortilla rolled around a filling and covered with a chili pepper sauce. Enchiladas can be filled with a variety of ingredients, including meat, cheese, beans, potatoes, vegetables, seafood or combinations.

What you need: Serves 2-3
1 cup canola oil
6 corn tortillas
1 cup boneless chicken diced/ substitute it with shrimp, paneer(Indian cheese) or even ground meat
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 cup fresh/frozen corn
1/2 cup fresh diced peppers/capsicum
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cumin powder
1/4 tsp crushed cayenne flakes
1/4 tsp ground pepper
Salt to taste
1 cup grated cheese (mild yellow and jack cheese)
A handful of cilantro     

1 cup enchilada sauce. You can either make home made or have a can of store bought.

For home made, you need:
1 cup cooked or canned tomatoes
3 Tbsp of tomato paste
1 tsp roasted green chiles
2 Tbsp diced onions
1 tsp finely chopped cilantro
1 tsp oil
1 tsp vinegar
1 tsp of sugar
Salt to taste

To make the sauce, saute the onions and green chillies to a brown color, add in the  tomatoes, tomato paste, vinegar, and cilantro, salt to taste and bring to a boil, then slow cook for about 20 minutes. You can dilute it with water if needed.

To make the Enchiladas, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Saute the chopped onion and garlic with a tsp of oil in a pan. Add in the chicken and let cook through. Toss in the corn and peppers. Add in the powders and saute for another 3-5 minutes, set aside.

Use a medium fry pan, add in oil and let it heat up. Add a tortilla to the pan. Cook for 2-3 seconds, turn it over and cook until they are soft, drain it on tissue to get the excess oil off. The process of frying is to make the tortillas soft and flavorful.

Roll each warm tortilla with the chicken filling and a little grated cheese. Spray some cooking oil into an oven safe dish, pour a little sauce on the bottom. Arrange the rolls close to each other with the open side facing the bottom.

Add sauce to the top of the tortillas in the dish. Make sure all are covered with the sauce. If not, add a little water. Cover the whole thing with the rest of the grated cheese. Put the casserole in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese melts.

Garnish with cilantro, and serve warm, enjoy!

Mushroom masala

What you need: Serves 4-5
2 cups mushroom, washed and cut into cubes
1/2 cup french beans
1/2 cup carrots
½ cup of coconut milk (canned/fresh)
½ tsp garam masala powder
1 medium onion chopped
1 medium tomato chopped
2 tsp olive oil
Salt to taste
1/2 tsp red chili powder
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¼ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cilantro seed powder
1 tsp ginger garlic paste

In a thick bottom skillet, on medium-high heat, add 3 tsp olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add the chopped onions and bay leaves. Fry to a golden brown, add in the tomatoes and cook until they are soft on medium heat.

Add the ginger garlic paste, and all the powders. Cook the mixture until the raw smell of the powders disappear, and oil starts to leave the sides of the pan. Add in the mushroom cubes and vegetables. After 5 minutes, add in the coconut and let the curry simmer on low for 5-7 minutes.

Once the mixture forms a uniform curry, the oil will start to separate. It tastes good with chapathi/tortilla, but can also be eaten with rice. Enjoy!

November 27, 2011

Karjikai/Sihikadubu - Sweet fried dumplings

Karjikai/Sihikadubu is a deep fried dumpling that is a common South Indian traditional sweet made during festivals or special occasions. It is crunchy on the outside with a sweet stuffing. The stuffing is made with a combination of coconut, sugar/jaggery and nuts

What you need:
Makes: 15-20 medium sized dumplings
Prep time: 1 hour
2 cups all purpose flour 2 cups
1 cup chirotee rave /Super fine semolina
2 Tbsp hot oil
1/2 cup warm Water to make dough
2 cups or more Oil for deep frying
Karjikai or calzone press

For the stuffing:
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp cardamom powder
2 whole green cardamoms

Pour oil into a deep frying pan, and set on low/medium heat.
Powder the sugar, cardamom and coconut in a dry grinder, until the cardamom is ground to a fine powder. Set aside.
In a bowl, add in the flour, Semolina and salt together. Pour 2 Tbsp of hot oil from the heating fry pan. Mix the oil carefully to blend into the flour.
Knead the flour into a firm yet pliable dough with warm water. Cover it with a wet tissue or cheese cloth and set aside for 20 minutes. Divide the dough into little lime sized balls.
Roll out each ball into little round flat breads. If they are not round enough, just use a large donut cutter and cut them into little circles. Make sure the diameter of the circles are an inch larger than the circumference of the calzone press.
Place the flat bread on the press, place a spoonful of stuffing in the middle. Dip a finger into cold water, and gently dampen only one half of the edges. Close the press over it to seal the karjikai.

By this time the oil is ready, gently slide a couple of them into the hot oil, and fry them to a golden brown. Drain them out on paper towels and enjoy them when they are luke warm or cold. Dare not pop a hot one into your mouth, it is sure to burn. They can be made and stored for up to 2 weeks. Enjoy!

November 12, 2011

Enticing Egg Pilaf

This is a no mess, all in one pot dish.  Chop the veggies, add the masala and rice and cook on low heat! You may use the crock pot if you like. The key to a great pilaf is slow cooking. You can use it anyway you like, as a grand  holiday breakfast, or for dinner.
What I used: Serves 4/5
Prep time: 30 minutes
4 eggs hard boiled and peeled
2 cups rice
1 cup ripe tomatoes diced
½ cup fresh/frozen peas
1 tsp fresh ginger and garlic chopped
1 cup onions diced
2 tsp cilantro finely chopped
Juice of 1 lime
A stick on fresh mint leaves
1 tsp Whole Garam masala (1/2 inch cinnamon, 2 cardamoms, 4 cloves, 1tsp fennel seeds)
1 tsp red chili powder
¼ tsp turmeric
2 tsp ghee/oil
Salt, to taste.

First, soak the raw rice in cold water. Set aside for 20 minutes. Add ghee into a medium pan. Over medium heat, add the whole garam masala, and fennel seeds.

Stir in whole mint leaves, chopped ginger, garlic, and onions. Once they turn soft, add chopped tomato. Stirring attentively, cook on medium-high till they are soft and pulpy. About 5-7 minutes.

Add in the peas and powders (chili powder, turmeric and salt). Drain the rice and add it in, roast the entire mixture for about 5-7 minutes.

 To this mixture, pour 4 cups of hot water (1/2 cup less if you like your pilaf flaky, ½ cup more if you like it soft and mushy) and bring to a boil on high for 3 minutes.

Add in the lime juice, then, cover the simmering mixture on low heat for the next 10-12 minutes. You can add in the hard boiled eggs now, or later, just before you serve the cooked pilaf. Stir occasionally, very gently. All the liquid will evaporate. Test to see if the rice is cooked. If it is watery, let it stay on low heat for a few more minutes. Turn off the heat. Smear the top of the pilaf with 1tsp ghee just before it is served. Serve hot!

Godhi dosa / Whole Wheat crepes

This is a healthy whole grain dosa that warms your stomach on cold winter nights. It is quick to put together and goes great with any curry or chutney you have lying around in your fridge. 

What I used: Serves 4
Prep time: 15-20 minutes
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup fine chirotee rava/semolina
Warm water 1 cup or more
½ cup yogurt (optional)
½ tsp jeera
Pinch of hing/asafoetida
Salt to taste

Mix all the ingredients to form a fairly runny batter. Let stand for 15 minutes.

Prep a dosa or pancake pan by smearing it with an onion. Cut an onion into half, dip it in oil and smear it on a hot pan just before you pour the batter. This gives you a natural nonstick coating.

Pour the batter with a ladle and gently spread it across the pan in a circular motion. Let it cook to a golden brown. 

Gently turn it over to the other side and let it cook the same way. Serve hot. Enjoy!

November 6, 2011

Drunken Noodles

Well, there is no alcohol in the recipe, but its called so because of how much alcohol you will want to consume to combat the hot spicy flavor of this Chinese/Thai dish.

What you need: Serves 4
3 cups flat rice noodles/or any other regular noodles
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 pound boneless meat(pork/chicken), shredded
1 tsp garlic paste
2 tsp Thai chilies chopped (optional of you like it hot)
2 Tbsp fish sauce
2 Tbsp dark soy sauce
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tomatoes cut into wedges
2 cups vegetables of your choice (broccoli, carrots, colored peppers, onions)
A sprig of fresh basil leaves (optional)
Salt to taste

Cook noodles in boiling hot water over a large pot, until done. Drain and run them over cold running water for a few seconds. Set aside. 

Get oil in a wok over medium-high heat. When it begins to smoke, add the shredded meat, garlic paste and chopped chilies. 

Cook for about 1 minute; add in all the sauces and let the meat cook tender, Toss in the vegetables and sauté on high for another minute. 

Add noodles, tomatoes and toss them about to get the sauces over them. 

Garnish it with basil leaves just before they are served. Enjoy!

November 4, 2011

Halloween Cake Pops

No matter what they are called, cake pops, cake candy or cake balls, they are just delicious and irresistible! They are easier to make than most people think. All you need is a box of cake mix, a can of frosting and your choice of candy melts. I made these for my kids for Halloween, and they loved eating them as much as they loved making them! Now rub your hands and get rolling.

What you need - Makes about 45 pops
1 box of your favorite cake mix, and the other things mentioned on the box to bake the cake.
8 oz of ready frosting or
1/2 cup confectioners sugar, 1 Tbsp warm milk and 1/4 cup butter/cream cheese
Lollipop sticks
Sheet of waxed paper.
Styrofoam bed or thermacol sheet
2 lb chocolate or candy melts of your choice and color

Bake the cake as the instructions say on the box. Cool it completely. You can just leave it in the baked pan. Crumble it with your bare hands (better still, give this to your little kids, they will enjoy it!) until it is in fine crumbs. Add in half of the ready frosting, you may add all of it if you like.

If you have chosen the latter, then in a separate bowl, whip the cream cheese, butter, powdered sugar, and milk together until smooth. Pour into the cake crumbs and mix well yet gently, kneading until you can roll it into a ball. If you think it is not moist, add some more milk. Wrap a plastic wrap around it and let it chill overnight. When it is chill enough, roll them out into uniform balls, one cake box makes about 40-45 pops.

Now melt a handful of candy melts in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds until the liquid is warm and smooth, or use a double boiler in a hot water bath.

Dip one end of the lollipop stick into the melted chocolate/candy and insert it into the rolled balls, just halfway, do this to all the cake balls and freeze them for an hour or two until they harden.

Cover a baking sheet with wax paper. I forgot to get the paper and Styrofoam from the store, and had to improvise.

When the pops are ready to be dipped, melt all the chocolate/candy in a microwave or double boiler. Stir it well to get a smooth consistency.

Dip each ball into the chocolate until covered. You may decorate it with any other toppings if you like. 

Stand them up by sticking them into a Styrofoam bed, if you don’t have it, place it heads down on a plate. Freeze just until the chocolate sets. Enjoy!

November 3, 2011

Gooey Pasta and Pork

What you need: Serves 4
2 lb ground pork/turkey
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tbsp spaghetti sauce or tomato paste
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup peas
2 cups shell pasta
Enough water to cook the pasta
1/4 cup chicken or vegetable broth
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp paprika/chili flakes
1 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp olive oil

Cook the pasta according to the instructions on the box. Cook them and drain them just in time to toss them into the browned meat. 

This dish comes out great in a cast iron skillet or thick bottom pan. On medium heat, add oil, as it begins to smoke, add in the ground meat and dont touch it for about 4-6 minutes or until the bottom side is brown, flip it over and let the other side brown. 

Now toss in the onions and let them brown too. Add in the spaghetti sauce and tomatoes, cook them for a few minutes. 

Add in the chicken broth and peas, when they begin to simmer, add in the drained pasta, and mix well. Add in salt, pepper and paprika flakes. 

Toss them all together and sprinkle the cheese when it is steaming and ready to serve. Enjoy!