Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chocolate bourbon pecan pie

I love cooking with alcohol, mainly because it requires a fine tuning of alcohol and other ingredients to ensure that the bitterness of the liquor does not hijack the dish. Chocolate and bourbon synergize very well in a pecan pie and I am hoping to start a tradition with this thanksgiving recipe.

1 unbaked pie shell (you can make this yourself by looking up a recipe in any food book/blog)
1 cup pecans (i prefer glazed)
3 tbsp Ghirardelli cocoa powder
1 1/4 cup light corn syrup (1/2 bottle)
2 tsp corn starch
3 eggs
1/3 cup brown sugar
75 ml bourbon  or whisky

Heat the oven to 350F
Beat the eggs with the brown sugar, add in corn syrup and mix it in
Add corn starch and cocoa powder and mix them into the mixture
Add the bourbon and mix it in
Arrange the pecans on the pie shell
Pour the mixture over the pecans (pecans will rise)
Bake for 50-55 mins until the top cracks and the shell is brown

Serve with whipped cream (if you like)

Khichdi na bhajiya

Khichdi is a traditional gujju dish made with rice and split moong in 3:1 ratio boiled in water and salt. It is generally topped off with pure ghee and served with curd and roasted papad.
While, really yummy when hot and fresh, it is not a very interesting left over dish. So what mamma used to do was make bhajiyas with it the next day at tea time. And unless you knew that it was made from left overs, you would never guess.

1 cup khichdi - cold
1 small onion - finely chopped
Coriander - chopped
2 tbsp gram flour (besan atta)
1 slice bread (preferably old)
Masala - chilli powder, turmeric, dhanya powder, garam masala, salt to taste
Dash of lemon juice

Pre heat oven to 400F
Line a baking tray with aluminum foil and spray with oil.
Mush the khichdi with your hand, add in all the ingredients and mix well.
Make small balls of the mix and flatten it in the palm of your hands.
Place it on the prepared baking tray and spray oil over the patties
Bake for about 20  minutes, turning them mid way, until golden brown

Serve with ketchup, green chutney and hot chai!

Smiles :)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Brinjal based extra terrestrial looking curry

So here I go again...doing exactly what I said I would not, which is posting stuff that is not related to the idea I said I was about to post, never mind.
I made a really ugly looking, but sort of tasty vegetable curry made of random veggies at home and I wanted to capture the recipe so that I can repeat the atrocity again and again ... muahahahahhah (evil laughter!)

1 capsicum - orange or red
1 onion - chopped
Frozen veggies - a handful, any kind will do
Egg plant / brinjal - big one (warning - multiple little ones wont work)
Mushrooms - whatever kind you like
EVOO, salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder, garam masala, green chillies, mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, hing, and any other masala that you may have stocked in your pantry and want to get rid of !

Pre heat oven to 350F
Spread a little oil over the egg plant, make a few cuts on it and roast in the oven for about 35 minutes or until soft
Heat the oil in a pan.
Add curry leaves, mustard seeds, cumin seeds and hing and saute until the seeds crackle
Add green chillies and fry for a bit
Add the chopped onion and saute until golden brown
Add chopped capsicum and saute until cooked
Add the frozen veggies and saute until cooked
Add mushrooms and saute for a bit
Scoop out the soft part or the insides of the roasted egg plant and mash it
Add the mashed egg plant insides to the pan and saute, until cooked
Add salt, and all the masala to this mixture, cook for 10 minutes
Add a dash of lemon juice and top with coriander leaves.

There you go! Enjoy!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Lassan na ladva - Garlic ladoos

This is a very old recipe that probably comes from the time when my ancestors lived in villages in Gujarat. It is a very rustic and simple dish that is generally made during winter - when it is cold, because all ingredients are 'hot' for the body. These laddoos are generally eaten with curd and baingan bharta (eggplant).
The lasan/garlic for this dish is not the fully grown garlic that we get in the market. It requires the green shoots of young, freshly grown garlic. Typically, I have not found these ever in a grocery store, so it is best to grow it yourself. Just get some soil in a pot and bury in a few pods of garlic. Give it some water and sunlight and in a few weeks green shoots will sprout out of these pods. Once these shoots are about 10-12 inches tall, they along with the pod underground can be used to make these laddoos.
The laddoos are made using bajra flour. (Bajra = pearl millet, kambu in tamil)
First 'bajra na rotlas' - bajra flat bread /. chappatis are made.

1 cup Bajra flour
Salt to taste
Warm water
Green garlic 5-6 shoots

Mix salt and Bajra flour. Add water, a little at a time and kneed into firm dough. The dough should be soft enough to be pressed into a roti with your hand but firm enough to hold its shape.
Heat a pan.
Take a round ball of the dough and clap it into a flat roti using the palm of your hands. Apply a little water over the roti as you clap it flat to ensure that it does not crack. The roti will be a thick as a naan or a pita bread.
Cook it in the pan over a low flame. Once a side is cooked, turn it over, apply some ghee, cook the other side and flip over to cook a little more.

Let the rotlas cool down a bit. Once they are cool enough to handle crumble them (with hand or in a food processor). Note: make sure the crumbles are small but not powdery.

Chop the green lasan/garlic into fine pieces. Add them to the crumbled rotlas. Add ghee to this mixture - enough to make the mixture soft and such that it can hold together. Roll this mixture into a ball.

Serve the laddoos with curd, roasted papad or baingan bharta in winter.

Contributed by Makhani Family.
Food has always been an integral part of my childhood. Every ocassion in my house was associated with a special dish, so much so, that some dishes could be made only on those certain days. Of course this meant that I was spoilt and pampered, such that I would eat a particular dish only if it was made my mom or granny or that one person known for making it a particular way. Experimenting was unheard of and the men in my family would make a criticizing comment even if one ingredient in the dish changed. All this gave way when I came to the US. Here cooking was putting things together and dicovering for myself which combinations tasted decent and which did not. But now, five years later, I still yearn for that special combination of ingredients that can only produce that one given taste, the one taste that can trigger a remote memory from childhood and that I can associate with a certain ocassion, like 'mag na bhajiya' and 'seero' during rains, or 'lassan na ladva' in december.
When remeniscing about these tastes with friends, I realized that all of us have that craving of mom's food that never goes away, no matter how far or how grown up we are. Being away from home and living in nuclear families where fast food and restaurants are a way of life, I wonder how many of these traditional family recipes will disappear with no one to remember or record them. This is a small attempt to try and capture those recipes that are handed down from generations and that can only be found in 'mom's kitchen'.