Monday 27 October 2014

Yakhni Pulao-Amma's recipe

Amma's recipes have always been a hit in our amateur kitchen. 
When I got married to Vishal, I had absolutely no knowledge or interest in cooking. My only experiments were in the oven where I would occasionally bake my Mum's cake recipe. The one that I love to call Comfort cake because that is one recipe I love to fall to which always yields the best and the most yummiest cake. 
Coming back to my non-cooking days, (you see I always get carried away when it comes to Baking) I was presented a handwritten register by my very sweet Amma (mother-in-law) who wrote down some selected recipes. That register has some simple and easy recipes which comes out exceedingly well. Amma had written a note of encouragement for me where she asked me to enjoy cooking and not be afraid of it as cooking is no rocket science. These lines have lived with me through all these years and encourage me to experiment and enjoy cooking/baking. 
Amma has such a treasure of simple, tried and tested recipes that often me and Vishal call her up for suggestions. Her simple instructions and easy to follow steps yield a winner recipe each time. So when we received a call from Zee Khana Khazana, Ab har koi chef, we simply called up Amma and asked her for a recipe with rice. Yakhni Pulao was thus experimented in our kitchen which, if I may say so, was lip smacking good in our maiden attempt.
We did enjoy 3-4 attempts of the recipe before we had to appear for the show and each time relished this simple and such flavourful dish.
Yakhni is basically a word for the flavourful stock that is prepared from meat which is then used to cook the rice. The usage of fennel seeds which is predominant in Kashmiri cuisine brings out an aromatic and delicious dish. The tender meat pieces along with the stock enriched rice makes a beautiful and delicious pair. 

Ingredients - Equal amount of rice and mutton is to be used.
  • 500gms of Mutton (preferably chest portions having little fat or from front raan or combination of both)
  • 500 gms of rice (Basmati rice)
  • 1 inch ginger
  • 7 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbsp coriander seeds
  • 3 tbsp of fennel seeds
  • Onion 4 Medium 1 Finely diced and three sliced (to fry and garnish)
  • Mint Leaves (to garnish)
  • Ghee 4 tbsp
  • Dalchini 1” (Cinnamon stick)
  • Bay leaf (Tez patta) 2 medium size
  • 5 green cardamoms
  • Zeera 1 tsp
  • 2 whole dry red chilies
  • Salt to taste


Wash mutton pieces well.
Soak rice in water for about half an hour.
In a pan fry the sliced onions and keep it aside on a paper napkin (to be used to garnish at the end)
In a pressure cooker take water little over 1 liter and put mutton pieces in. Put salt to taste (about 2-3tbsp)
Roughly crush and break garlic and ginger using a knife
Run Coriander seeds and fennel seeds in a mixer for three to four seconds to roughly break the seeds and release the flavor.
Mix the crushed Ginger & Garlic with the roughly blended coriander and fennel seeds and tie them in a muslin cloth.
Place the muslin cloth in the pressure cooker with mutton.
After one whistle over high flame simmer and let it cook for another 10-12 min.
Strain and retain the water.
Remove the muslin cloth.
In another pressure cooker put 4 tbsp of ghee and heat.
Put the combined Zeera, Bay Leaf, Daalchini, green cardamoms, dry red chilies for few seconds till they release their flavor.
Put finely diced onions and stir till the onions just about caramelizes.
Put in the mutton cooked in the pressure cooker earlier and mix gently for a couple of minutes.
Put in the rice which was soaked in water.
Gently fold the rice and the mutton pieces together.
Pour in the retained liquid from the pressure cooker cooked with mutton earlier. Ensure that the stock liquid is twice as much as the rice quantity.
Close the lid and after the first whistle simmer and cook for 5 minutes.
Let the pressure cooker rest till the remaining steam escapes in due time.
Serve in a dish of your choice and garnish with fried onions and mint leaves.

Happy indulging

Thursday 23 October 2014

Eggless Choco lava cupcakes

I have been wanting to try my hands on the eggless version of a cake/cupcake for the longest time but being an egg eater I have never gathered enough courage or reason to try one. I mean after all a cake is meant to have eggs. How can any substitute work as good as eggs. Therefore I have been procrastinating the entire idea again and again.
With my recent jump in baking professionally, I realized the need to experiment with eggless baking.
I personally am not fond of the eggless milkmaid cakes so I jumped upon this eggless chocolate cake recipe which uses vinegar and baking soda to react and make the cake rise. 
With Diwali as an occasion where people like to indulge in eggless bakes, I realized the perfect opportunity and the required push. I decided to go chocolate all the way and made the easy batter which went into the cute mini cupcakes and got baked. All through I had my fingers crossed and had several questions in the head. When I finally saw them rise and baked, I was happy and surprised to see the softness of it. It tasted more clumpy to me as I am not used to eggless cakes but once I filled them with some runny chocolate ganache and dressed them with some whipped chocolate cream, they looked adorable and tasted yum. 
These mini cupcakes were placed on little diyas to match the festivity.
With my Sweet day falling tomorrow, I add this recipe to the list celebrating another month of the endless joy that our daughter brings into our lives. 

Ingredients : Yields 6-7 mini cupcakes
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup sugar, powdered
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp melted butter
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla essence
  • 1/2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
Chocolate Ganache : 
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 2-3 tbsp cream (I used Amul)
Procedure : 
Preheat oven at 180 degree Celsius
In a bowl, mix all purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. 
Make a well in the center and add melted butter, vanilla essence, vinegar. Mix well.
Add boiling water little by little and keep mixing till you get a cake batter like consistency. You might not need the entire quantity of water.
Pour the batter till 3/4 into the cupcake liners and bake for 20 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean
Allow to cool.
With the help of a knife make holes in the cupcake and fill them with chocolate ganache which can be made by melting chocolate on a double boiler and adding cream to it and mixing it well. 

Decorate with some chocolate whipped cream and chocolate rice. 

Wishing all our readers a very Happy and joyous Diwali. May the festival of light bring you luck, prosperity and happiness.

Happy Diwali

Thursday 2 October 2014

Rose sandesh

Its time of the year when Calcutta gets transformed big time and gets illuminated with lights and adorned with beautiful & intricate pandals to worship Ma Durga who descends from heaven on Earth. 
Its the perfect time of the year to see the zest and enthusiasm in the inhabitants of this city irrespective of any religion. I remember as children we would visit pandals from the south of Calcutta to the north often walking for hours together. Eating out is a big part of the Pujas and we would indulge in everything from Biryanis, rolls, chaats to mishti. 
Growing up in Calcutta is perhaps synonymous to having a sweet tooth, at least for me. I have seen my Sikh family gorge on sandesh, rasagullas and mishti doi on most occasions. 
For us Indians, any festival means sweets so for this Puja, I decided to try my hands on some simple Rose sandesh. I wanted to try and achieve an ombre effect and thus the layering in this sandesh. Well, the effect is not prominent and this gives me another chance to experiment on an ombre sandesh. How cool that sounds, right?
Since we have been busy lately with the Zee Khana Khazana episode, I have missed on sharing a recipe for my Sweet day dedicated for my sweetheart and therefore this one gets added there. 

Ingredients : Yields 4 pieces
  • 500 ml cow's milk (or full cream milk)
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice/a pinch of citric acid
  • 2 tbsp powdered sugar (or more as per taste)
  • a drop of red food colour
  • a drop of rose essence 
  • rose petals for garnish
Procedure : 
Take milk in a pan and bring it to a rolling boil. 
Add lemon juice/citric acid and stir in the milk.
The milk will start curdling soon. Switch off the flame and wait till the milk curdles and the whey has separated well. 
Strain this through a muslin cloth into a bowl to collect the chenna. 
Reserve the whey to use in dal, curries or for kneading chapati dough. 
Tie the muslin cloth for the remaining water to drain for about 20-30 minutes.
Take the chenna in a plate and start kneading it with the heel of your palm. Keep spreading it with your palm till it becomes soft and comes together like a dough. This can take about 10 minutes. 
Divide the dough in two parts.
To one add 1 tbsp sugar and mix it well.
Take a plate and spread this part in the shape of a square. 
To the other part add a drop of the red colour and the rose essence and mix well. 
Spread this part on top of the white layer.
Take little water on a finger and spread on top of the pink layer and start arranging the rose petals on top.
Refrigerate for 15-20 minutes for the sandesh to set.
Cut in squares and serve.  

Happy Sandesh indulging


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