Friday, October 24, 2008

3 Layered Chocolate Mousse Cake

Servings: 6-8

  • Instant chocolate pudding mix – 1packet (100 gm)
  • Milk – 2 cups, cold
  • Fudge Brownie mix- ½ packet (300 gm)
  • Egg – 1
  • Readymade Whipped cream – 600 gm
  • Strawberry preserve – ½ cup
  • Dark chocolate – for shavings
  • Follow the packet instructions of the Fudge brownie mix, and prepare half the amount of the batter. You are looking for a thin cake, about 1 cm thick.
  • Pour it in a baking dish, that can also be used for serving, and bake for 30-35 min. Let it cool.
  • Once the cake has cooled down, place a sheet of plastic wrap on top and invert the dish on a plate, so that the cake can be removed without breaking.
  • In the same dish, mix in the instant pudding mix with 2 cups of milk, and chill for at least 1 hour. The pudding will harden.
  • Once the pudding is hard enough to hold shape, carefully transfer the brownie cake onto the dish, on top of the pudding, thus creating the second layer.
  • Whip the readymade whipped cream with the fork very gently to soften and then spread it over the cake in dollops. The texture should be rough and lumpy or with soft peeks.
  • Meanwhile in a cup, mix in the strawberry preserve with 3 tbsp of water and microwave it for 30 seconds so that to thin out the preserve and make it syrupy.
  • With a spoon, dredge over this syrup on top of the whipped cream in any pattern you like.
  • With a grater, shave some dark chocolate over the whipped cream for the garnish.
  • Serve the desert chilled.

BBQ Chicken with Green Pepper Sauce

Servings: 4

  • For the chicken:
  • Chicken drumsticks or cut-up pieces – 2.5 lb (1kg), skinless
  • Chili powder – 1 tbsp (you can use less, or skip it totally if you do not prefer the heat)
  • Coriander powder – 1 tsp
  • Cumin powder – 1/2 tbsp
  • Garlic - 1 tbsp, crushed or paste (or garlic powder, whichever you have)
  • Lemon juice – 1 tbsp
  • Honey BBQ Sauce – 3 tbsp (you can also use Smokey BBQ sauce for a Smokey version)
  • Tomato Ketchup – 3 tbsp
  • For the Sauce:
  • Capsicum or Green bell pepper – 1, sliced thinly, lengthwise.
  • Roma or Plum Tomatoes – 3, first cut in half, then sliced lengthwise.
  • Onion – 1 lrg, thinly sliced, lengthwise
  • Sour Cream – ½ cup (you can also use plain yogurt), fat-free can be used for a lighter version.
  • Canned Tomato Sauce – ½ cup (or 3 tbsp tomato paste)
  • Green Chillies – 3- 5, depending on heat preference, thinly sliced.
  • Salt& Pepper- to taste
  • Oil – 2 tbsp
  • Wash and pat-dry the chicken pieces with a paper towel.
  • Mix in all the ingredients for the chicken and marinate for minimum of 2 hours to up to 24 hours, in the refrigerator.
  • On the day of the grilling, take it out of the fridge and let it come to room temperature, at least for 2 hours, before cooking.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F(180° C), spray a baking tray with olive oil spray. Place the chicken pieces on the tray and spray some more oil over the chicken pieces. Save the marinade.
  • Bake for 60 min, turning the pieces every 10 mins. If the chicken seems dry then brush a little of the marinade on them, before each turn.
  • Once the chicken is cooked through, broil (top grill of the oven) the chicken, 5 min on each side, till the chicken turns crispy. ( If your oven does not have a separate grilling section, then just turn on the top heating coil only of your oven to brown and crisp the chicken.) Pay extra attention while broiling. Since the chicken is already cooked through it will burn very quickly if you leave it alone, even for a while.
  • Mean while, in a non-stick saucepan heat the oil, add the onions and capsicum, sauté till they turn translucent.
  • Add the tomatoes and sauté on high heat till the skin of the tomatoes seem to shrink. The heat has to be very high, so that the tomatoes will crisp before getting soggy. Alternatively you can use roasted tomatoes.(if you use pre-roasted tomatoes, then just sauté till the tomatoes are heated through)
  • Reduce the heat, mix a little bit of water in the saved up marinade and pour it in the pan.
  • Add the tomato sauce, green chillies, salt and pepper and simmer on low heat for about 5 min or till the excess water you added evaporates.
  • Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sour cream. Return the pan to heat and simmer for 5 more min till all the flavour comes together.(The pan has to be removed from over the heat while adding the sour cream, so as not to curdle the cream).
  • Once the chicken is done, pour over the sauce before serving.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Stir-fried Tindora with Crushed Mustard Seeds

Tindora is a vegetable which is mostly used in Indian cooking. I came up with this dish when I bought a bunch of Tindora and found out that they don't taste too good if used with too much Indian spices. So I came up with this simple but spicy concoction. However, if you cannot find Tindora, you can use green beans instead for this recipe. Of course, they do not taste the same. Nevertheless, the green beans also make a very tasty dish which can be served alongside some grilled chicken or steak.

Servings: 4

  • Tindora - 1 lb/ 500gms, cut in half, lengthwise.*
  • Onion- 1 large, sliced thinly.
  • Green chillies- 4/5 (depending on heat preference, you can use more or less), sliced in half
  • Whole mustard seeds - 1.5 tsp, coarsely crushed in mortar & pestle
  • Cumin Powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - to taste
  • Wash the tindora, cut the tips, and slice them in half lengthwise.
  • Blanch them in boiling salted water till cooked. Make sure not to overdo it, they should still be green and a slight crispy. Drain and set aside, covered.
  • Heat 2 tblsp of olive oil in a pan. Add the onions, saute till translucent.
  • Add the tindora and the chillies. Add the crushed mustard seeds and the cumin powder and a pinch of salt. Also add couple of tblsp of the blanching water to the pan to cook the spices.
  • Saute for 5-7 min till the water evaporates and the tindora looks shiny and crispy.
  • Serve immediately with rice.**
* If using green beans instead of tindora, do not cut the beans in half. Just cut the tips and keep them whole. You can also use a mixture of green and yellow beans to give the dish a vibrant colour.
**This dish is very sensitive to timing, so do not cook more than required for the current meal, as the left-overs taste pretty dull.

Penne with Bok Choy and Left-over Roast Chicken

I came up with this dish when I had a load of left-over rotisserie chicken(breast fillets specifically, which tends to get dry the following day) that I did not feel like eating as it is. Not wanting to waste the chicken, I wanted to use it in a dish with the least amount of work needed without sacrificing great taste, and the result is this.

Servings: 4

  • Penne Pasta - 1 lb (any type of pasta can be used, I used penne since my hubby loves it)
  • Left-over Roast Chicken Breast Fillet* - 1 big/2 small (1/2 lb), deboned and cut into bite size pieces.
  • Cream Cheese - 1 cup or 1 8oz block (fat-free cheese can also be used for a lighter version)
  • Milk - 1 cup
  • Baby Bok Choy - 1 lb, cleaned and leaves separated, if they are too big then just cut into 2inch long pieces.
  • Italian Parcely - 1/2 cup, chopped
  • Parmesan Cheese - 1/2 cup
  • Salt & pepper
  • Cook the pasta in salted water till al dente.
  • Drain and set aside, storing a cup of the cooking liquid.
  • Heat a little bit oil in a big non-stick pan. Add the bokchoy, saute till translucent but should still be brightly green in colour. You are looking for a crispy texture.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Add the chicken, and saute for about 5 min, till the chicken is heated through.
  • Toss the cooked pasta in with the chicken and bokchoy. Saute for few min.
  • Remove the pan from over the heat, stir in the milk and the cream cheese.
  • Add the the saved pasta cooking liquid, return the pan over the heat.
  • Simmer on low heat for about 5-7 min, until the sauce thickens and gets a sticky consistency, while stirring softly to melt the cheese into the pasta.
  • Turn off the heat and top it with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve warm.**
* You can also substitute the rotisserie chicken with plain cooked (steamed/boiled) chicken. If taking this option, cut the raw chicken breast fillets into bite size pieces. Cook in 1 cup of water with salt and pepper to taste. Drain and cool. Then follow the above steps.
**For decoration purposes, you can alternatively serve the pasta in serving plates first and then top each individual plate with a bit of Parmesan cheese and parsley.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Melon Coolie

Servings : 1 (yields one tall smoothie glass)

  • Vanilla Yogurt - 1/2 cup (can also use plain yogurt), chilled
  • Water Melon cut into cubes - 1 cup, chilled
  • Crushed ice - 1/2 cup
  • Sugar(optional) - to taste, depending on the sweetness of the melons

  • Put everything together in a blender. Blend till smooth. Serve immediately. If you like a thinner consistency, then add a little bit milk (1/4 cup or less) when blending.

Grilled Salmon with Pineapple Salsa

Servings: 4

  • Marinade for Salmon:
  • Salmon- 700gms ( 4 slices)
  • Cumin powder- ½ tsp
  • Coriander powder – ½ tsp
  • Turmeric powder – 1/3 tsp
  • Chili powder – 1 tsp
  • Ketchup – 1 ½ tbsp
  • Dijon mustard – 1 ½ tbsp
  • Lemon juice –1 tsp
  • Chili sauce – 1 tbsp
  • Whole mustard seeds - 1 tsp, coarsely crushed
  • Salt- to taste

  • For Pineapple Salsa:
  • Pineapple- 2 rings, sliced thinly
  • Onion- ½ large, sliced thinly
  • Jalapeno/ Capsicum(1/2) - 1 sliced thinly
  • Cut the Salmon fillet into 1.5 inch thick/wide slices.
  • Mix all the spices and sauce to make the marinade. Marinate the Salmons for minimum of half hour to up to 24 hours.
  • Lift salmon up from the marinade (save the marinade) and put it on a platter, spray some olive oil to coat the Salmons and bake/grill until cooked – 10/15 min. (tip: if baking, then broil the Salmon for the last 2/3 min to give them a charred taste)
  • Meanwhile mix 1/2 cup of water to the marinade and thin it .
  • Spray oil on a non-stick pan and sauté the onions (for the salsa) with some black pepper and salt, till the onions are translucent.
  • Add the pineapples and jalapenos and sauté till soft.
  • Add the marinate to the pan and simmer until thickens and develops a shiny colour.
  • Before serving, pour the gravy over the salmons and serve with rice.