Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Traditional Rajasthani Red Meat Recipe

Hello friends! What’s up? My tenants are Indian. The couple is very lively, social, they relish American food and vice-versa. They had to attend their relative’s wedding in India and invited me too. I did not want to miss this chance, so I packed my bags along with them. The trip was for a week. The marriage ceremony  was in Rajasthan. Luckily I got an opportunity to attend the Desert festival of Jaisalmer as well. Rajasthan is a tourist place. The rich culture and heritage is well portrayed by the royal palaces, serene lakes, golden desert full of camels, ornaments, traditional clothes, food and ofcourse the people out there.
I would definitely love to share the flavors of India with you. The first recipe is red meat called Laal Maans in Hindi. Laal means red and maans means meat. This is an extra spicy mutton curry, that is prepared in curd and hot spices chiefly red chillies. I thoroughly enjoyed the traditional recipes of Rajasthan on the wedding. Best served with rice or Bajra roti/puri (Millet Tortillas), this is an excellent dinner or lunch recipe for all. There’s a lot more to share especially the experience of desert festival, so stay tuned.
4 Cloves,
7 oz. Curd,
Salt To Taste,
2 Lbs. Mutton,
2 Bay Leaves,
7 oz. Cooking Oil,
2 oz. Garlic Paste,
2 oz. Ginger Paste,
4 Cardamom Black,
14 oz. Tomato Paste,
1/3 teaspoon Turmeric,
2 teaspoons Coriander,
2 Lbs. chopped Onions,
10 crushed Black Peppers,
2 teaspoons Red Chili Powder.
Preparation Method:-
  1. Take a wok and add cooking oil. When hot, add chopped onions and fry them until golden brown.
  2. Add the garlic and ginger paste. Cook for 15 minutes. Add mutton and let it cook for another 35 minutes.
  3. Now add bay leaves, black pepper, chili powder, black cardamom, turmeric powder and beaten curd. Add salt to taste.
  4. Cook until the spices are well cooked and mixed. Add tomato paste. Cook on low for 30 minutes.
  5. When ready, remove the meat from the fire. Garnish with coriander leaves just as shown. Serve hot!
Happy Eating!

Monday, 23 February 2015

Cheers with Grilled Orange Cocktail for The Battle of the Oranges

Do you know the stories behind the Battle of the Oranges? As per the legend, this festival was started because of the anger of oppressed ones against the ruling class. History says, “he” was someone from the Royal family who was exercising his right to have fun with a commoner. Well, this commoner called “Violetta” knew what sort of fun, this was. Her mother must have advised her to behave properly, but mother was not convincing enough. As he approached her, behind closed doors, she decapitated him. He was the last one to use that right. Since then, people of Ivrea, Italy have been throwing oranges. There are two groups, one represents the Royal family on the cart and other the commoners. 

The commoners throw oranges at cart with people portraying as the Royal family, taking out their anger on them. The concept of throwing oranges has a different story too. Violetta might have had skin issues like acne or dry skin. Royal guy must have been honest with her and told her the truth. Being honest with a woman on her beauty cost him his head. She made sure that in future no more heads are decapitated at the cost of skin issues. Since then, oranges are being thrown. Orange reduces wrinkles, acne, dark circles under eye and make hair softer and dandruff free. I love cocktail recipes. So let’s dance with Roasted Orange Cocktail on the orangey day.

1 Orange,
Few Ice Cubes,
2 Ounces Rye Whiskey,
Dash of Orange Bitters,
Preparation Method:-
1. Preheat your oven to 350 D.C. Halve the oranges and roast it for 30 minutes on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Run the broiler for last 5 minutes.
2. In a glass, combine juice from the roasted orange halves, whiskey, orange bitters and ice. Cover and shake for 10 seconds.
3. Strain in a glass over ice cubes. Garnish with grilled orange slice.
Let the fun begin!

Friday, 20 February 2015

Enjoy Vietnamese New Year with Coconut Pork Curry

Did you know that Tet is the common term for the Vietnamese New Year? It is held on the first day of first month according to the Lunar calendar. Tet marks respect and remembrance for Vietnamese. People celebrate New Year with their dear ones. Tet calls for celebration during the agricultural year. Tet is a party time similar to Christmas and New Year. People invite their close friends and relatives for dinner, decorate their houses with  branches of peach blossom, kumquat tree and colorful flowers. Everything is decked up in yellow and red color as it denotes good luck.
There are lot of goodies prepared on this day. These include banh tet, pickled onions, boiled chicken, mung bean pudding, Vietnamese sausage, red sticky rice, thit heo kho etc. Thit heo kho is recipe consisting of pork and eggs in coconut juice. Coconut water is the clear liquid inside the coconut. It helps in losing weight, gives glow to our skin, reduces effect of hangover, facilitates digestion, boosts hydration and reduces blood pressure. Moreover pork is good for you, full of life-preserving nutrients and vitamins. It's combination with coconut water and hot spices is superb. I would love to pair it up with traditional sticky rice. This recipe is a breakdown of New Year food staples right from Asian cultures.
4 star anise,
375 ml water,
60 ml fish sauce,
½ chopped onion,
750 ml coconut juice,
60 ml light soy sauce,
1 kg pork belly cubes,
2 chopped garlic cloves,
2 chopped spring onions,
2 tablespoons brown sugar,
4 chopped French shallots,
1 tablespoon vegetable oil,
Green onion for garnishing,
8 hard-boiled and peeled eggs,   
1½ tablespoons dark soy sauce,
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper.
Preparation Method:-
  1. Combine shallots, spring onion, pork, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauces, pepper, sugar and star anise in a bowl. Stir to coat the pork. Marinate in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat and add the onion. Fry until golden then remove the pork from the marinade and add to the pan. Seal over high heat.
  3. Add the marinade, coconut juice and water. Bring to the boil and skim off any scum that rises to the surface. Gently simmer for 1 hour, skimming occasionally.
  4. Add the eggs and simmer for a further hour. Garnish with coriander and serve with jasmine rice.
Happy New Year!

Monday, 16 February 2015

Celebrate Chinese New Year with Traditional Almond Cookies

Chinese New Year is here! There is gonna be lots of firework in China, symbolizing the festive spirit. It is believed that Buddha invited all the forest animals to invite him on a particular day. Twelve of them appeared and Buddha named a year after each one of them. New year calls for a huge get together and Chinese food is my all time favorite. People pay a visit to each other's house, share meals, gifts and of course happiness. 
In Chinese culture, red color is considered sacred. It symbolizes fire, which means bad luck is driven away. People wear red color garments, children write short poems on red paper. Children are given luck money in red envelopes. In ancient times, the tribals lit up bamboo stalks. They believed this would drive away the evil spirits and that they can lead a peaceful life. So lets pay a visit to our friend's place with a box of traditional almond cookies.
1 pinch salt,
100 ml corn oil,
1 beaten egg yolk,
150 gm plain flour,
100 gm caster sugar,
100 gm ground almonds,
100 gm blanched almonds,
3/4 teaspoon baking soda,
3/4 teaspoon baking powder.
Preparation Method:-
1. Sieve the flour, caster sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. Add the ground almonds to the flour and sugar mixture.
2. Slowly trickle in the corn oil to this bowl. Blend until a cohesive dough forms. Heat the oven to 180 D.C. Roll the dough into small balls, place almonds above them and press a bit as shown.
3. Place on a baking tray. Make cookies until all the dough is used up. Lightly glaze the top of the cookie balls with the beaten egg yolk.
4. Bake for 20 minutes, or until the cookies become slightly golden. Leave to cool. Enjoy the homemade cookies.
Happy New Year!

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Valentine’s Day Food - Sushi Hearts

The day of love is here! Everyone is undoubtedly planning to surprise their spouse with a token of love and admiration. Hope you enjoyed my Valentine’s day ideas for food. My Aunt Poly recently had an awesome trip to Japan. She had to attend her relative’s wedding. The couple planned to go for a week to utilize their visit to the fullest. I think it's a great idea. Yesterday, they came in for tea and were talking about the yummy Japanese food other than anything else. She loved sushi. It suddenly struck my mind to prepare the same for my loved one, this Valentine's Day. Sushi stands among the most popular Japanese food. Sushi is basically a cold roll of fish and rice. The ingredients and preparation methods varies from place to place. 
Day by day, the popularity of this Japanese food is increasing. This results using the recipe in numerous delectable. Some unique Japanese ingredients have been used in the recipe which are readily available in the stores nearby. Nori seaweed sheet is an edible red seaweed that is popular in East Asia. I have used wasabi paste here. Mix equal amounts of wasabi powder and water to make wasabi paste. Wasabi is a Japanese plant with thick green root tasting like horseradish. Wasabi powder is easily available in the market. I have also used sushi ginger AKA gari. This is nothing but thinly sliced young ginger marinated in a solution of sugar and vinegar. So surprise your love with something unique!
200 grams cooked Rice,
4 Nori Seaweed Sheets,
4 tablespoons Sushi Rice Vinegar,
For Seasoning:-
1 tablespoon Soy Sauce,
1 teaspoon Wasabi Paste,
20 grams Sushi Ginger (Optional).
For Filling:-
2 thinly sliced Avocados,
200 grams Fish Roe Egg,
200 grams Raw Tuna or Salmon,
50 grams Sesame Seeds (optional).
Preparation Method:-
  1. Before you make sushi, prepare the sushi rice that will be used. Just mix cooked rice with 4 tablespoons of sushi rice vinegar.
  2. Slice avocado and fish into long, thin strips. Try keeping the thickness of both ingredients upto 2 cm.
  3. Take a sheet of nori seaweed and cut it in half before spreading cooked rice on it. Flip it over, such that rice is facing down. Place avocado slices and fish on the nori seaweed such that it’s covered.
  4. Take a sushi rolling mat. Compress rolls, so that they are tight and solid. Now push the side of the sushi roll furthest away from you down with the mat so that it starts spreading out.
  5. Our goal is to create a teardrop shape with the sushi roll. This will form one half of the heart piece.
  6. Then carefully peel away the plastic. Press two teardrop pieces together to create one whole heart piece. Serve the finished sushi to your love.
Enjoy the yummzz!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Valentine’s Day Food Ideas

Roses are Red,
Violets are Blue,
I've Nothing to Say,
But I love You :)
Happy Valentine’s Day pals! How are you doing? Here I have s’more Valentine’s day ideas for food.
Heart Shape Cutlets(Vegetable/Fish Cutlets) - Fish cutlets are my favorite. Minced fish with garlic, ginger, green chillies and spices of your choice is a great combo. For my vegan friends, vegetable and corn cutlets is a great option. I love pairing cutlet with my favorite Cheese and beer dip. Cutlets with wine is a great combo. You can either deep-fry or simply bake this recipe, if you are a fitness freak. Another method is, shallow fry the fish and then bake it such that the inner portion is fully cooked. Enjoy the hearty treat.
Heart Shape Pizza (Cheese and Pepperoni Pizza) - Enjoy the hot cheese, fresh from oven pizza in juz 15 minutes. What can be a better quick and easy treat than this? All you needa do is spread pizza sauce on pizza crust. Top it with pepperoni, seasoning and Mozzarella cheese. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. If you are crazy about pepperoni, don’t hesitate adding more, as I do. Bake the classic crust for 15 minutes. Don't forget to use pizza base with heart shape.
Mini Heart Pies (Cottage Cheese and Ricotta Cheese Pies) - I have something for my vegetarian pals also. A heart shape cookie cutter makes great mini pies. You just need to roll the dough, cut heart shapes, add in the stuffing of stir-fried spinach, with spices of your choice and ricotta cheese. Incase if you are vegan, add tofu instead of cheese or simply vegan cheese. These can be prepared in advance. You just need to make it more crispy before serving. Enjoy with your favorite dip/sauce.
Happy Valentines Day!

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Gift Strawberry Macaroons on Valentine’s Day

It’s well said, “Love is when the other person's happiness is more important than your own.” I completely agree with this saying. Do you? You can do anything to see your baby smile. Gift your valentine, something that's original, homemade and your creativity. Isn't that a great idea? I'm sure it's gonna win the heart. Nothing would be better than gifting soft, lite pink strawberry macaroons made with your whole heart and soul. The best part is that you can add in any cream filling, keeping in mind the choice of your partner. Hope you liked my crazy Valentine’s Day ideas. For now let’s start with this sweet affair.
4 large egg whites,
1/3 cup caster sugar,
1 1/2 cups icing sugar,
4 teaspoons almond meal,
Food coloring as per choice.
Preparation Method:-
1. Preheat the oven to 150 D.C. Place egg whites and caster sugar in a bowl. Beat with blender until stiff enough to turn the bowl upside down without it falling out. Continue to whip for 2 more minutes.
2. Add gel or powdered food coloring and continue to mix for a further 30 seconds. Sift the almond meal and icing sugar and salt twice, discarding almond lumps.
3. Add the egg white mixture. Pipe onto trays lined with baking paper. Prefer heart shape if you are gifting.
4. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes. Check if one comes off the tray clean, if not bake for a little longer.
5. When cool, taking two, add in the cream of your choice. I prefer strawberry cream. Enjoy!
Happy Valentine’s Day!

Monday, 2 February 2015

Cheers with Valentine’s Day Cocktails

A good date's first impression is as essential as a refreshing cocktail, oozing with love. Whether it is a sit-down dinner date at restaurant, a movie at home, party at bar or more creative ventures, certainly a stimulating cocktail makes the time most memorable. The classic and all-time great cocktails opens way to perfect blend of vodka, champagne, wine etc. These are the drinks that time has refined and enhanced. Happy Valentine’s day to all of you. Hope you enjoyed my last year's collection of Valentine's Day Cocktails also. Juz check what I’ve got for you.
Raspberry Chocolate Kiss Martini - Want a perfect addition to your Valentine's Day celebration? Here I present the perfect blend of Raspberry and Chocolate with a kiss of Martini. The super flavor is made by adding mint-infused simple syrup, chocolate cookies, raspberries, vodka and cranberry juice with loads of ice. All you needa do is fill the mint syrup, place thawed raspberries, add in vodka and cranberry juice and shake it in a shaker. This is the sip of love.
Hot Chocolate Cocktail - Your loved one may still crave for something warm in these chilling. A warm mixed drink of peppermint schnapps, coffee liqueur, and hot chocolate, topped with whipped cream will keep up the spirit of love forever and ever. This is enough to keep you warm in winter especially on the lovestruck day called the Valentine's day. This is a super fun and flirty drink which brings the steaming love to the par. 
Pomegranate-Champagne Punch - Break out the punch bowl with this perfect punch recipe. Celebrate a stress-free affair and serve this favorite, make-ahead date drink with a fizzy and fruity way. All you require is to boil the water and sugar in small saucepan. Simmer for seven minutes. Cool the syrup. Take a punch bowl, add champagne, rum and pomegranate juice to it. To this add prepared sugar syrup. Mix lemon slices, pomegranate seeds and mint leaves. At last add ice. The recipe is super simple and oozing with love.
Enjoy the date!