Saturday, August 16, 2014

Chocolate Brownie

Chocolate Brownie

This recipe should have been posted earlier. Given the number of times I have made it, it should have been there for long. But for some reason or the other, we could not picture it well and that’s the only reason for not sharing this immensely popular recipe of chocolate brownie.

If you are in love with baking, then you must have your own choco brownie recipe. I have this one which I have adapted from various sources on net and finally this version evolved. This brownie is very dense with a deep chocolate flavor and a crumbly texture at the top. Though my husband is not very fond of the regular chocolate cake, he could not resist the “oh-so-chocolaty” sensation of this particular brownie. So I can bluntly declare that this brownie will please everyone – chocolate-lover or not! Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream or a dollop of whipped cream and you will win over everyone’s heart!

Chocolate Brownie

The long weekend is coming to an end and I am definitely not loving it. This extra day-off allows me to spend stress-free time with my family; otherwise the regular weekends are so full of the household chores. But sometimes I feel that I also enjoy being a workaholic; be it my official work or my blog, I never feel tired enough to give up. May be this is the key thing that I have inherited from my father who loved being a workaholic and still is till date! I just have a very tiny percentage of his tenacity and capability and hope someday I would be as hard-working as him because I strongly believe there is no short-cut to success other than hard work and honesty towards your ambition. With that note, while I am treating myself with these absolutely delicious choco-brownies, you should also start rewarding yourself for all your achievements, however small it may be!

CHOCOLATE BROWNIE

Makes approximately 16 brownies

Ingredients

  • Semisweet or bittersweet chocolate – 150 gms, chopped
  • Unsalted butter – 113 gms (½ cup/1 stick), cut into pieces
  • Cocoa powder – 15 gms (2 tbsp)
  • Granulated white sugar – 200 gms (1 cup)
  • Pure vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Eggs – 2, large
  • All-purpose flour – 95 gms (¾ cup)
  • Salt – ¼ tsp
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips – 125 gms (¾ cup) (optional)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 180 degrees C (350 degrees F) and place the rack in the center of the oven. 
  • Butter (or spray with a nonstick cooking spray) an 8 inch (20 cm) square pan, and line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
  • Melt the chocolate and butter in a large stainless steel bowl placed over a saucepan of simmering water.
  • Remove from heat and stir in the cocoa powder and sugar. 
  • Next, whisk in the vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. 
  • Finally, stir in the flour, salt and chocolate chips (if using).
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a little batter and a few moist clumps clinging to it. Do not over bake. 
  • Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Serve at room temperature or chilled. These freeze very well.
Chocolate Brownie

Thursday, August 14, 2014

One Pot Chicken Couscous

One pot chicken couscous

This week was quite hectic! But thankfully it was a short one as we have our Independence Day holiday coming up on 15th Aug; I am writing this post on 14th late night which is my usual working time and I am eagerly waiting for this extra break tomorrow!

A short week is always good, don’t you think so? There are so many things you can plan for outside your regular weekend plans and it becomes even better when this extra ‘day-off’ falls on a Friday! This is a great time to go for a weekend trip and rejuvenate your senses which we also would have loved to do; but this time we could not plan anything due to some other engagements. Nevertheless, we will try to make the most of your long weekend!
One pot chicken couscous

But today’s recipe is the one which is perfect for a weeknight meal [and that too a hectic week!] – quick & easy and quite delicious! I guess you guys are also as much in love with couscous as we are. These fluffy grains absorb the flavors beautifully and this one pot chicken couscous is sure to make a mark in your family too! I love this type of dish which saves a lot of time and effort; yet delivers something immensely flavorful! This one came as a savior during my crazy schedule week and helped me have a relaxing time in kitchen. This is what I think smart cooking is – when I am happy cooking it and my family is happy eating it!
One pot chicken couscous

ONE POT CHICKEN COUSCOUS

 Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Olive oil – 1 tbsp
  • Onion – 1, thinly sliced
  • Chicken breasts – 200 gms, diced
  • Fresh root ginger – 2 inch piece
  • Harissa paste – 2 tbsp, plus extra to serve
  • Couscous – 200 gms
  • Hot chicken stock/water – 200 ml
  • Handful coriander, chopped, to serve

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan and cook the onion for 1-2 minutes just until softened.
  • Add the chicken and fry for 7-10 minutes until cooked through and the onions have turned golden.
  • Grate over the ginger, stir through the Harissa paste to coat everything and cook for 1 minute more.
  • Tip in the couscous, then pour over the stock and stir once.
  • Cover with a lid or tightly cover the pan with foil and leave for about 5 minutes until the couscous has soaked up all the stock and is soft.
  • Fluff up the couscous with a fork and scatter over the coriander to serve. Serve with extra Harissa, if you like.

One pot chicken couscous

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Malai Kofta

Malai Kofta

I don’t know how I missed this recipe in my paneer series! I was going through the folders where all my blog’s pictures are stored and there it struck me that this recipe was badly missed! This is such a popular recipe with Paneer that I don’t think my paneer series would be complete without this. But as they say – it’s better to late than never! Before this recipe fades away from my memory, I must add it to my collection.

That reminds me – this is my 107th post! Really? I mean had I ever thought that I will continue my blog till this point? No! And that’s a very honest and clear ‘NO’! I had no idea what it takes to become a successful blogger when I started my journey and I am yet to learn the full course. But at that time it was just a simple idea to share my simple cooking with the Internet users. I didn’t have the faintest idea how fun and enjoying this whole experience could be! Starting from deciding the dish, doing the preparation, cooking and presenting it nicely to make it as much appetizing as possible to readers and then photographing and selecting/editing the final pictures to publish! This is the whole end-to-end process of a single blog post and trust me every bit of it is utter fun!

Now let me come to this recipe of Malai Kofta. This is a very popular Indian curry which you will find at any restaurant in any corner of India. The preparation takes a bit of time, but totally rewarding at the end. There should be few delicacies best kept for holidays or special occasions and this one is definitely one of them. Don’t you think so?

Malai Kofta

 Serves: 4

Ingredients

For the kofta
  • Paneer/cottage cheese – 200 gms, grated
  • Potatoes – 2, medium, boiled, peeled and grated
  • Red chili powder – ¼ tsp
  • Cornflour – 1 tbsp
  • Garam masala – ½ tsp
  • Milk powder/khoya – ½ tbsp
  • Salt to taste
For the gravy/curry
  • Onion paste – ½ cup
  • Tomato puree – 1 cup
  • Cashew or almond paste – ¼ cup
  • Red chili powder – ¾ tsp
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece
  • Garlic cloves – 4 to 5
  • Garam masala – ¼ tsp
  • Water – 2 cups or more as required
  • Kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves – 1 tsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil for deep frying the koftas
Whole spices
  • Bay leaf - 1
  • Cinnamon – 1 inch piece
  • Black cardamom – 1 or 2
  • Green cardamom – 3 to 4
  • Mace – a pinch
  • Cloves – 3 to 4

Instructions

  • Mix all the ingredients mentioned under kofta, except oil, in a bowl. Mix them well and make a dough.
  • Make medium sized balls from the dough and deep fry the koftas in medium hot oil till they are golden brown. Keep aside.
  • Remove extra oil from the same pan leaving about 2 tablespoons of oil. Add all the whole spices and fry till the oil becomes fragrant.
  • Now add the onion paste and sauté till it turns brown. Make a smooth paste of the ginger and garlic cloves and add it to the frying pan. Fry them till the raw smell evaporates.
  • Add the tomato puree and sauté for 2-3 minutes on medium-high heat. Add the turmeric powder, red chili powder, garam masala powder and cashew or almond paste.
  • Stir to mix well and saute till the oil starts to separate from the spice paste. Add water and stir.
  • Cover and simmer the sauce to bring all the flavors together and the gravy begins to thicken. It takes approximately 11 to 12 minutes on low flame.
  • Towards the end add crushed kasuri methi/dry fenugreek leaves, salt and sugar. Mix well and simmer for 1-2 minutes more.
  • Tip the koftas into the curry if serving immediately or spoon some sauce on the serving plate and then place the koftas over it.
  • Garnish the malai kofta with some cream, grated paneer and coriander leaves. Serve hot with rotis, naan or steamed basmati rice.
Malai Kofta

Monday, August 11, 2014

Chicken Nuggets Panini

Chicken Sandwich

Finally all the updates of our blog are over! It was quite a tedious task I must say – to change the copyright info, to add the recipes in a tabular format etc. But I am glad we are finally done with it! While doing these updates I was going through my older posts; especially those ones which I published during the very early days. I remember how I used to scratch my head to write down a nice and decent story on the top of my blog! I still do that sometimes even now but things have slightly improved for sure. Those days I used to think hours after hours as in what to write for my Indian style mashed potato recipe but couldn’t produce a single line! So many thoughts used to linger in my mind but I could hardly put them into words!

Now somehow my brain has started processing a bit quicker! Thankfully! But still I need to enhance the skill of story-telling which I see in so many amazing food-bloggers. They are so good in engaging us that I don’t even realize how quickly couple of hours passes by while I browse through them. While I keep on learning from my fellow bloggers, you can savor some crispy and crunchy chicken nuggets Panini which is super easy to make and super tasty to eat! It can also serve as a great lunch-on-the-go! Try it and let me know what you think!

Chicken Nuggets Panini

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Chicken nuggets – 16
  • Mayonnaise/Cream cheese spread – as required
  • Lettuce (Iceberg/Romaine) – 7 to 8 leaves
  • White bread – 8 slices
  • Oil for deep frying

Instructions

  • Deep fry the chicken nuggets. If you are using the frozen nuggets, fry them immediately after taking out from the freezer – no need to thaw them.
  • Once the nuggets are golden brown set them aside on an absorbent kitchen towel.
  • Spread the mayo or cream cheese on one side of each bread slices.
  • To assemble one sandwich, roughly tear the lettuce leaves and place few pieces on one bread slice. Please 4 nuggets as they fit. It will also depend on the size of the bread you are using.
  • Now place few more pieces of lettuce leaves and then cover it with another bread slice with the mayo side down.
  • Place the sandwich on the hot griller and grill them till crisp and golden brown. Make sure to brush some oil or melted butter on the grill plates before placing your sandwich; else it may be difficult to take them out. You can also apply some butter on the outer side of the breads for a richer taste.
  • Out from the grill and enjoy with tomato ketchup or any of your favorite sauce.
Chicken Panini

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Samosa @Home

Samosa

If you are an Indian, you must be in love with Samosa! If you are not an Indian but familiar with this ubiquitous Indian snack then you are definitely a lucky one! Who won’t love this absolutely delicious quick snack which is so cheap in price but so rich in taste! Samosa is one such Indian food which you will find in every nook and corner of India, though the taste might vary slightly due to varied preference of taste in this country of diverse cultures.


The basic ingredient of this triangular shaped 'quick-bite' is nothing but potato. Now there are multiple variations available in the market and your version can also be a special one which is only limited by your imagination! You can use assorted vegetables, minced meat, grated cottage cheese with the seasoning of your choice and there you have your very own customized samosa! Yeah, you are a rock-star! :)

Today I will share my recipe of a traditional samosa which I have learnt from my Mom-in-Law who is an established expert in making samosa! Samosa is so easily available here that people hardly make it at home. But any street food comes with some added benefit when made at home – a much higher hygiene quotient and greater control over the quality of ingredients. It is not at all difficult to make samosa at home but may need some time to prepare. If you keep the stuffing ready in advance, you can quickly fry up a batch of hot samosas to pep up your evening tea!

Samosa

SAMOSA

 MAKES APPROXIMATELY 10

Ingredients

FOR OUTER COATING -
  • All-purpose flour – 200 gms
  • Oil – 4 tbsp or more
  • Salt to taste
  • Water as required
FOR STUFFING
  • Potato – 4, large
  • Cumin seeds – 3 tsp
  • Turmeric powder – ½ tsp
  • Green peas – ½ cup
  • Green chili – 1 (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  • Oil – enough for deep frying

Instructions

  • To make the stuffing, boil the potatoes till soft. Peel them and dice into small pieces. Set aside.
  • Boil the green peas and set aside. If you are using frozen peas, you don’t have to boil them. Just thaw them for 10 minutes before using and keep aside.
  • Dry roast the cumin seed on a hot pan/griddle. Crush them coarsely in a mortar & pestle or spice grinder.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a skillet. When hot, add the diced potatoes and green peas along with turmeric powder. Stir well to mix.
  • If using green chili, then chop it and tip into the pan. Add salt to taste.
  • Add a splash of water if the potatoes tend to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • Now add the roasted cumin seeds powder and mix well. The potatoes and peas must be quite soft and mushy by now.
  • When the stuffing turns completely dry, remove it from fire and set aside.
  • To make the dough for the outer coating, add the oil and salt to the all-purpose flour and mix well. Knead it to soft dough by adding little water at a time. You can use your food processor as well for the kneading. Let the dough rest for 15 minutes before next step.
  • To make the samosas, first divide the dough into 5 to 6 balls. Now take a ball and using your rolling pin, roll it out thinly in round shape.
  • Use a knife or pizza/pastry cutter and cut through the middle of the pastry to make two semi-circles. Take one semi-circle and proceed to next step.
  • Apply water on the straight edge of the semi-circle using a brush or your fingers.
  • Hold the semi-circle in your hand, fold the straight edge, bringing together the watered edges, and seal the watered edges into a triangular pocket or cone. It is now ready to be stuffed.
  • Stuff each cone with couple of spoons of potato-peas mixture and seal the opening by pinching the two ends and applying some water. Make sure there are no cracks; else the stuffing may come out while frying.
  • Once all the samosas are stuffed, deep fry them in hot oil in a deep skillet using vegetable oil.
  • Serve hot with tomato ketchup or green chutney!

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chicken Burger... and a New Beginning


This recipe is real special! Yes, I mean it! You might be thinking what’s so special about a regular chicken burger! Yeah I can totally understand that, but the reason of this regular burger being special is that it marks the beginning of my new blog ‘Flavor Quotient’!

Yeah, if you have visited me before, you might already know that earlier my blog was called ‘Foods… Photos… Etc…’! Finally I took the plunge after fighting with my dilemma for a long time on whether or not I should register my own domain! So here is my blog with a fresh new look and a brand new name! Hope you will like it!

Chicken burger is definitely not something that we generally make at home thanks to the increasing number of burger joints in each and every city. But it’s definitely worth a try as you won’t believe how easy it is! Moreover, the up-side is that you can make your chicken patty as fat as you like! So go ahead and give your favorite local burger joint a miss and I bet you won’t regret!

Chicken Burger

CHICKEN BURGER

 Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Chicken breast – 150 gms [2 medium sized pieces will do]
  • Onion – 1, small
  • Garlic powder – ½ tsp [Replace with 2 tsp of garlic paste if you don’t have garlic powder]
  • Paprika powder – 1 tsp
  • Egg – 3
  • Breadcrumbs – 1 cup or more as required
  • Salt to taste
  • Vegetable oil for shallow frying
  • Burger bun – 4
  • Cream cheese spread – as required
  • Lettuce leaves – 8 to 10 leaves
  • Black pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Mince the chicken breasts in a food processor. If you don’t have one, you can choose to buy the minced chicken itself. I always prefer to grind the chicken on my own.
  • Grate the onion and add it to the mince. Add garlic powder, paprika, 1 beaten egg and salt to taste and give it a good mix so that everything combines well.
  • Now add breadcrumbs, 1 spoon at a time and give it a good mix. Add more breadcrumbs until the mince gets to a sticky dough-like texture so that you can easily form a patty.
  • Now beat the remaining 2 eggs, keep it in a medium sized bowl and add a pinch of salt. Spread the breadcrumbs in a plate.
  • Heat oil in a frying pan [You can use a grill pan too if you have one!]. Make 4 to 5 patties from the chicken mince mixture depending on the thickness you like.
  • Dip a patty in the beaten eggs and then lay it on the breadcrumbs. Coat both the sides with breadcrumbs and then place it on the hot frying pan.
  • Fry the patties for 5 to 6 minutes each side on low heat till they turn golden brown.
  • Once done remove the patties from the pan and put on kitchen towel to absorb excel oil.
  • To assemble the burger, first cut the buns into two and toast them lightly on the grill pan or skillet.
  • Now place the bottom portion of the bun on a plate, spread a thick layer of cream cheese spread over it and arrange few torn lettuce leaves.
  • Next place one chicken patty on it, spread another layer of cream cheese and few more pieces of torn lettuce leaves.
  • Now cover the burger with the top half of the bun and insert a satay stick through the middle to fix everything.
  • Serve the delicious chicken burgers with tomato ketchup! Enjoy!
Chicken Burger

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Chili Paneer... {Recipe #5 of Paneer Series}

Chili Paneer

#Worldcup fever is on its top which indispensably has affected our daily routine. We are sleeping way too late since the beginning of this mega event and this will continue till the final game for sure. So I have to adjust my daily schedule according the match schedules however tough it may seem given that our time difference with the host country Brazil is 8 and half hours! But with the building excitement with every match, I can forgive and forget this temporary pain to witness some fantastic plays of our era!

As we enjoy the thrilling moments of the knock-out rounds, I am sharing my final recipe of the cottage cheese series which you can savor while glued to your couch. This is a spicy quick bite perfect for evening snack. This will also be great to serve to a large gathering as you may love to cheer your favorite team with all friends and families. Simply keep the cheese cubes fried before-hand and toss them up in the sauce just before serving. Serve hot and cheers!


CHILI PANEER

 Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • Paneer (Cottage Cheese) – 200 gms, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • Corn flour – 2 tbsp
  • All-purpose flour (Maida) – 2 tbsp
  • Onion – 1, medium, cut in big chunks
  • Green bell pepper – 1, medium, cut lengthwise
  • Garlic cloves – 6 to 8, grated (I use little more garlic since I like its flavor, you can reduce to 2 to 3 cloves)
  • Ginger – 1 inch piece, grated
  • Green chili – 3 to 4, cut lengthwise and deseeded
  • Dark soy sauce – 2 tbsp
  • Tomato ketchup – 2 tbsp
  • Green chili sauce – 2 tbsp
  • Sugar – 1 tsp
  • Oil for deep frying
  • Salt to taste

Instructions

  • Mix the cornflour and plain flour in a bowl with half a teaspoon of salt. Add 3 to 4 tablespoons of water (not all at a time) to make a smooth paste not too thin. It should be thick enough to coat the paneer cubes lightly.
  • Heat enough vegetable oil in a deep frying pan. Dip each cheese cubes into the flour batter and lift up to let the excess batter drain out.
  • Tip them in the hot oil and fry till they are lightly golden brown. Fry the paneer cubes in batches without crowding too many in the pan at a time.
  • Put them on a kitchen towel to absorb excess oil. Set aside.
  • Now heat some oil in a pan. Add grated garlic & ginger, green chilies and onions and stir them for a minute.
  • Tip in the capsicum and stir fry on medium-high heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add tomato ketchup, green chili sauce and soy sauce to the vegetables and mix them well.
  • Add half a cup of water and let it boil for about 2 minute. Add salt keeping in mind that all the sauces are already salty; so go easy on salt. You can taste and adjust anytime later.
  • Now add the fried paneer cubes to it and cook it for another 2 minutes till the cheese cubes are coated all over with the sauce.
  • If you have some spring onion handy, sprinkle the chopped green portions of them to garnish and serve hot. Best enjoyed as a starter or with vegetable fired rice.
Chili Paneer