Thursday, August 9, 2018

Pineapple Yogurt Popsicles




Lately my daughter is interested in cooking and she teams up her brothers and makes cookies, smoothies etc.  She was asking for their favorite orange creamsicles and I didn't have cream with me to make it.  Instead I just mixed up few ingredients I had handy and it turned out to be a batch of delicious and creamy popsicles.  This recipe is so easy that even you can have your kids make it.



Last few weeks were really hot and we hit the temperature in the 90's most of the day.  I always buy pineapple during summer as they taste better and sweeter during summer.  My only problem with pineapple is cutting it.  It sits on my kitchen counter for many days till it is overripen.  I feel too lazy to cut big fruits like pineapple, cantaloupe etc.  But this time, the weather was so hot and I had to make something easy to cool us down.  It’s a perfect treat for the sunny days.  My kids were inpatient and wanted to try the Popsicle the same day.  By evening my daughter sneaked into the freezer and ate one.  I would recommend freezing the popsicles overnight to have them set properly.

Ingredients
2 cups - Ripe pine apple cut into chunks
1 cup - Greek style or strained thick yogurt
sugar as needed


Directions:
  • Blend Pineapple and yogurt.  Add sugar if necessary.
  • Pour into popsicle mold and insert the sticks.
  • Freeze it for minimum of 8 hrs or overnight.
  • Enjoy the delicious and creamy 3 ingredients pineapple popsicles.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Chicken 65




I am back again with the hope that I can blog frequently.  Our church was preparing for the last 3 to 4 months to put together our inaugural food festival and finally the event was conducted couple of weeks ago.  Being novice in that area we had to do lots of research and put some ground breaking efforts to project ourselves in the community.  The combined efforts put together by every individuals contributed to a stronger team which resulted in the miraculous success of the India Food Fair.  We are hoping to conduct the food festival annually after experiencing the success.


We had food vendors on our event who were mainly restaurants selling Indian food and snacks.  Chicken 65 was a popular dish in the event.  So I thought I will post Chicken 65 as my come back dish.  I seldom make this chicken dish as it involves deep frying. But it tastes so amazing that you are bound to make it more often once tried.  This is served as an appetizer in restaurants, but my kids love this with fried rice. 


There are many stories tied to the name of this dish which you can find on internet, so I am not going to go over it.  No matter what the story is, I can assure you that this is a very delicious chicken snack that is prepared by deep frying well marinated chicken and then coating it with a Chili sauce made out of Kashmiri Chilies to impart the nice red color.  You can skip the sauce if needed to reduce the spice level, but the fried Chicken tossed in the roasted curry leaves and Chili garlic sauce takes this dish to another level.  I usually lower down the spice level to medium for my kids and I use the homemade roasted Chili garlic sauce to bring up a nice roasted garlic flavor to the dish.  Do adjust the spice level to fit your palate.  Hope you will try this and let me know the outcome.

Ingredients
2 lbs - chicken breast
1 tsp - kashmiri chili powder
1/2 tsp - turmeric powder
1/2 tsp - pepper powder
1/2 tsp - coriander powder
1/2 tsp - cumin powder
1/2 tsp - garam masala
1 tsp - ginger garlic paste
2 tsp - corn starch
1 tsp - rice flour
2 tbsp - strained thick yogurt like Greek yogurt
1 tsp - lemon juice
salt to taste
Oil to fry

Sauce
1 - 3 tsp - Chili garlic sauce (refer notes)
1/4 tsp - kashmiri chili powder
1/4 tsp - cumin powder
3 sprigs - fresh curry leaves
2 - green chili splits
1 tbsp - oil
1/4 cup - water
1/4 cup - Cilantro leaves to garnish

Directions:
  • Cut the chicken breast into bite size pieces and soak it in 2 tbsp of  buttermilk, 1 tsp of salt and 2 cups of water for 30 minutes.
  • Wash off the chicken and drain into a bowl.
  • Mix all the powders and salt together and check for your spice level; adjust if needed.  Add this mix plus 2 tbsp of yogurt and 1 tsp of lemon juice to the drained chicken and mix well.  
  • Keep the marinated chicken in the refrigerator for 1 hr or overnite.
  • Heat a wok or non-stick pan with oil and fry the chicken on medium heat in batches till the chicken is cooked inside and crisp outside.  Drain the chicken on paper towel to remove excess oil.
  • Heat a non stick pan and add 1 tbsp of oil.  Fry the curry leaves and green chili splits first, then add the chili powder and cumin powder and cook on low flame for 30 seconds.  Now add the Chili garlic sauce and mix well.  Add the water and let the mix cook for 1 minute on low flame.  The sauce will be thick.
  • Add the fried chicken pieces and toss it in the sauce.
  • Garnish with cilantro and onion rings if preferred.  Serve them hot with cumin rice or simply as an appetizer.
Notes:
  • Soaking the chicken in buttermilk water will help to tenderize the chicken, so that it will remain soft inside when fried.
  • I make my own Chili garlic sauce which I feel tastes better than the store bought.  
  • Restaurants use red color in this dish to give the extra red color, but I am not using it in my recipe.  You can add it to the chicken when marinating it.
  • The rice flour used in this recipe will give the extra crunch to the chicken.
  • You can add regular chili sauce to this recipe, but the Chili garlic sauce gives a better flavor to this dish.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Vanilla Yogurt With Berry Compote Topping


I have been asked several times by now, "Did you quit blogging?”  I am sure you may have wondered too.  No, I didn't quit blogging.  Lot of things happened in 2017 and I couldn't cope up with other priorities and blogging at the same time.  I surely missed blogging.  I was cooking and experimenting even though I was not post anything. 


I get mixed reviews from my friends and family about the blog.  One of our family friends once told me “I don't really have the time to read all the stories (of course joking), I just need to see the recipe. “ A bunch of my friends were there and we told him, "Oh yeah, there is something called scrolling using a mouse, you can scroll down to the recipe if you don't want to see the rant".  We just teased him that day.  But I know who has the time to read when you are busy.  I always encourage people who are just looking for recipes to just go right to the recipe.  But don't stop visiting my page.... you are my motivation to try something new, take pictures and present it for you.  If you have some leisure time, just go through my ranting.  Hope I made it fair enough for all kind of visitors.  I do visit blogs to just read the stories rather than the recipes.  Some authors are so good to keep the connection with their readers.  They make the stories connect to yours and make you visit their blog again and again.  I always love reading stories connected to food.



Today's recipe is a simple yogurt dessert cup.  I still remember how yogurt was made at my grandparents' house.  We used to stay at our grandparents house during vacation.  My grandparents owned cows.  Big batches of yogurt were made and stored in earthen pot to be used in many dishes.  The traditional way of churning the butter out of the buttermilk needed some skills.  The buttermilk filled earthen pot was placed on a jute ring to keep it steady.  On top goes a wooden lid with a hole in the center with a wooden paddle going down into the butter milk.  The handle of the wooden paddle is then coiled with a jute rope for easy to and fro movement.  The churning of butter is usually done by sitting on step stool to adjust the height.  The pot is secured between the legs and the whisk/churn action with paddle technically happens when the person pulls the coiled rope around the paddle handle back and forth.  Me and my brother gets excited about the whole process and always wanted to try.  My brother was always curious to see if the butter was ready after couple of pulls.  We used to lift up the lid and check inside the pot.  The ladies in the kitchen were extra cautious and used to hold the pot tightly, because they knew that if left unattended we will spill all that pot of goodness.  It takes good amount of time and needed lot of muscles power to make a good amount of butter.  I guess that was the way of a good upper body work out those days.  We used to give up easily and leave the pot in the kitchen and run away.  Those were all fun filled days when we get to do all mischief and get away with it.

This simple vanilla flavored mildly sweet yogurt is best when prepared with whole milk and topped with the the berry compote and some fresh fruits.  I make a batch every week and kids love them as an after school snack or a dessert after dinner.  Please do try this recipe and let me know.
Yields - 4 dessert cups
Ingredients:
2 cups - whole milk 
4 tsp - cane sugar
1/3 tsp - pure vanilla extract
4 tsp - plain yogurt

Berry Compote
1/2 cup - fresh or frozen blueberry & strawberry puree
1 - 2 tsp - cane sugar as per your taste
Topping
Berries of your choice

Directions:
  • Combine berry puree and sugar and bring it a boil in a sauce pan.  Adjust the sugar per taste and turn off the flame.  Set it aside to cool.  Keep it refrigerated once its cold till the yogurt is ready.
  • Boil milk on low to medium heat; turn off the flame and let it cool down to luke warm temperature.
  • Add 4 tsp of sugar, 4 tsp of plain yogurt and 1/3 tsp of vanilla extract and mix well.
  • Pour into small dessert cups of 1/2 cup size.
  • Warm the oven to 180 ° F and turn it off.
  • Place the prepared cups on a baking sheet and keep it in the oven for 4 to 5 hrs with the oven door closed or keep the cups in a dark warm place.
  • The yogurt should be set after 4 - 5 hours.  Take it out and cover the tops with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 1 hr.
  • Before serving, top the chilled yogurt with berry compote and fruits of your choice.
Notes:
  • While boiling milk, make sure you use a low to medium flame and stay next to it.  If unattended, it will rise up and spill.
  • The texture of the yogurt comes out good if you use whole milk.  
  • The longer you keep the yogurt outside, the more sour it can turn into.  So make sure you take it out after 4-5 hours or as soon as it sets.

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