Thursday, November 24, 2016

Black Forest Sundae

Blogging Marathon #70 Week 3 Day 2
Theme: Shot glass Desserts
Dish: Black Forest Sundae


Taking a cue from the classic Black Forest Cake, this shot glass dessert is all you need to wow your guests for any party!!



Who doesn't like Black Forest cake? Those layers of cream between rich chocolate cake? And the tart cherry jam in between and sweet cherries on top? The combination that was once the most popular is slowly losing ground to the more innovative flavors and modern decorations. However, for the vast majority of people, Black Forest still remains a personal favorite. 

I have had these mini glasses of black forest cake sundae on my mind for a long time. So when Valli chose the theme for this month as shot glass desserts, I simply HAD to make this one. Crumbled chocolate cake interleaved with vanilla ice-cream and freshly made cherry jam, and finally topped with a vanilla cream and cherry. 



This dessert is all you need to wow your guests this holiday season or enforce portion control on your family! Because when it comes to cake, portions go totally haywire. I devised a recipe for a Cake for Two sometime back and now I made this dessert. So much to do just to keep the portion size in check!

Coming to the recipe, I made this one in a jiffy just before I left for my vacation a couple of weeks ago. I made a few of these yummy chocolate cupcakes for a party and had a couple leftover. Plus, I always have vanilla ice-cream and whipping cream in my refrigerator. You never know when you might need something amazing, right? So all that came together and I had these cups ready in no time. Plus, I had the cherry jam I made not long ago. 



Variations

For this recipe I made the cake from scratch for this recipe. However, if you have any store bought chocolate cake, you can use that. I made the layers more or less even but if you like either cake or ice-cream more than the other, you may choose to change the proportions. 

The whipping cream on top is from a can, but it is really easy to whip some cream with vanilla extract and use it too. Plus, I used home-made cherry jam but any store bought works well too. 

Adding the cherry on top is optional but highly recommended. All together this dessert is totally yummy and addictive. It was difficult to stop at one glass the day I made these!!



Ingredients

Chocolate Cake 1 small
Vanilla Ice Cream 2 scoops
Cherry Jam 2-3 tbsp
Whipping Cream as required
Maraschino Cherries a handful



Method

Make the chocolate cake as per this recipe (or this if you prefer your cake eggless). Crumble it and set aside. 

To assemble the dessert, take 2 glasses. Add some cake to the glass, then ice-cream. Add some cherry jam on the other side. Add some chopped cherries and then add another layer of chocolate cake and ice-cream. 

Top with a little whipped cream. Finally add a couple of cherries on top and serve. 






Sunday, November 20, 2016

Rose Falooda Shots

Blogging Marathon #70 Week 3 Day 1
Theme: Shot glass Desserts
Dish: Rose Falooda Shots

Today is day 1 of this week's Blogging Marathon and my theme for this week is desserts in shot glasses. I loved this theme and had so much fun making three tiny desserts for this theme. First up is one of my favorite desserts; falooda just reinvented to make perfect shots.


A blend of milk, rose syrup, vanilla ice cream and other ingredients of choice, this one is an Indian classic. Most restaurants have it on their menu and people of all ages LOVE it. What was once only available in a couple of flavors like kesar and rose has now expanded to all sorts of flavors based on different nuts and fruits. However, the classic Royal Falooda is still served with rose syrup and has not undergone many changes over the years. 

A very famous joint for Falooda in Mumbai is the Crawford Market based Badshah Falooda. They serve their signature faloodas in tall glasses made from thick glass and the quantity is enough for one really hungry soul. Based on that and various other restaurant's flavors a lot of companies now have their own falooda mixes. The mix contains basil seeds, falooda sev, sugar, nuts and tutti frutti. One has to add just milk and ice cream to make the falooda. 


We generally find the sugar content too high for our liking. And nothing beats a glass of chilled falooda made from scratch. As the drink has just a few ingredients and needs a couple of minutes to assemble, we now make it from scratch. The taste is unparalleled and the flavors awesome! 

I have listed the ingredients and the method for a simple Rose falooda. The basic ingredients are milk, rose syrup, ice cream, falooda sev and basil seeds. The remaining ingredients like nuts, rose petals and tutti frutti can be changed as per preference. Add the ones you like and leave out the rest. The result will be yummy falooda shots perfect for any party. The size is perfect for one person and once the ingredients are ready, it takes under 2 minutes to whip up this awesome dessert. 


Ingredients

Milk 2 cups
Basil Seeds 2 tsp
Falooda Sev a handful of strands
Rose Syrup 2 tsp
Vanilla Ice Cream 2 scoops
Tutti Frutti 1 tsp
Mixed nuts 1 tsp
Rose petals a few


Method

In a pan filled with 1 cup boiling water, place the sev. Cook till soft and translucent. Drain the water and set aside the sev. Soak the basil seeds in water till they bloom and become transparent. Drain water and set aside.


In two cutting glasses or shot glasses, add a tsp of rose syrup each. Divide the basil seeds and falooda sev between the glasses. Slowly add the ice cream and top with milk such that the rose syrup does not get disturbed. 


Top with nuts, rose petals and tutti frutti. Serve immediately.





Caramelized Brussel Sprouts in Garlic Butter



We are coming to the end of November and it time to enjoy the winter bounty of fruits and vegetables. Plus, it is time for Thanksgiving and everyone is busy preparing a list of items they will make for the BIG day! Brussel Sprouts are in season and I cannot get enough of the green colored beauties. We love our sprouts in salads, stews and even as part of our Indian curries. Though I have used them quite a bit in the kitchen, this is the first time I am adding them to the blog. That is primarily because I saute them and we quickly finish the platter, having no time to click pictures!


This time as part of the Secret Recipe Club the recipe has finally made it to the blog. For those who do not know about SRC, it is a recipe sharing club. We have a hostess, mine happens to be Sarah, who blogs at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes. She assigns each person a blog from one of the other participants. You have to select a recipe from their blog and post it on the reveal day. 

Today the blog assigned to me is Cook with Sara by Sara. It is a great blog with TONS of recipes. I saw the recipe index on the blog and found a lot of dishes pretty interesting. However, given that Brussel Sprouts are in season and I love to make recipes with them, I chose this one


The ingredients needed for this one are pretty straightforward: Brussel Sprouts, Garlic, butter and salt to taste. However, I added some pine nuts for added crunch. The result was spectacular, partly because of the garlic butter that went into the sprouts and partly because of the crunchy nuts and fresh brussels. I made it for dinner last week and as expected, I could barely finish shooting before we were ready to devour it. The whole recipe takes only 5-7 minutes and no prep time as such. However, the result is perfect and the sprouts are super tempting. 


For those who LOVE garlic, this one is to die for! The strong garlic flavor infused in olive oil and butter gets transferred into the brussel sprouts so well. I used the jumbo cloves from Gilroy and my, the flavors were to die for! If you ever happen to be near the Bay Area, do visit Gilroy. You know you have arrived when the air smells of garlic and you see truckloads being transported almost all the time. They have a strong garlic breed that is perfect for all garlic lovers. Even if you do not have that garlic, the taste will still be great. Do try this quick recipe and do not forget to leave a line at the bottom of the post about how you liked the recipe.


Ingredients

Brussel Sprouts 16-18
Olive Oil 1 tbsp
Butter 1 tbsp
Garlic 3-4 cloves, smashed
Salt and Pepper to taste
Pine Nuts to top


Method

Slice the Brussel Sprouts into two and set aside. In a wide pan heat oil and butter. Add the garlic and saute till crisp and caramelized. Remove the garlic and set aside.

In the same oil butter mixture, add the brussel sprouts cut side down and cook till they are brown on the bottom and can be pierced with a fork. It takes about 10-12 minutes on medium flame. Do not stir them while cooking. 

Season with salt and pepper. Add back the garlic pieces and sprinkle pine nuts. Serve immediately. 




Friday, November 18, 2016

Parsi Thali

Blogging Marathon #70 Week 2 Day 3
Theme: Thali
Dish: Parsi Thali

This is the last Thali in the series for this month. I posted two other Thalis; The Gujarati Thali and Indo-Chinese Thali over the last few days. This one is a little from both those. And yes, this is pretty elaborate compared to the previous two. Hope you enjoy this one!



For the longest time Parsi Community has been a small community in India with their rich culture, heritage and food. Except the Irani Cafes their food never reached the masses. But lately the entire scene has changed. With TONS of Parsi eateries starting all over Mumbai and other cities, now the flavorful cuisine is becoming mainstream! 

From the Paneer Akuri to the Dal and Dhanshak, we now can relish all Parsi dishes at famous restaurants. It is wonderful to see how these places picked the cuisine and made it interesting to serve and enjoy while preserving their culture. If you happen to be the famous Soda Bottle Openerwalla, you will definitely relate to what I am saying! 

Coming to the Thali, I have had a fancy for this cuisine since a while. I posted my mother in law's recipe for Dhanshak and brown rice a few days ago. Picking up from there, here is an elaborate Thali from the Parsi world. The beauty of this one is that it is a Vegetarian Thali.



The general belief is that Parsi food is only non vegetarian. However, it is interesting to note they have TONS of vegetarian recipes that are super amazing. A couple of them I have modified to make vegetarian, but most are originally vegetarian. 

On today's Thali

This platter has everything from farsan (savory starter) and mishtan (sweet dish) to Dal and curries. There is also a dry vegetable, salad and the very famous Parsi drink. All in all, we had food enough for four meals on the day that I made this one!



Paneer Akuri
An awesome combination of shredded paneer with onion, tomato and spices. Served with bread, this one is made from scratch and super delicious. 

Potato Cheese Cutlets
Cutlets made from potato and spices, with a molten cheese centre. These rounds are to die for!

Vegetarian Dhanshak
A medley of mixed vegetables and pulses, this Dhanshak is a vegetarian take on Parsi's signature Dhanshak. Served with toasted bread or caramelized rice this one is super awesome.

Parsi Dal
A very humble dal that is not super spicy but full of flavor. This Parsi dal has caramelized onions on top that make it amazing. 

Baingan Shimla Mirch Salan
I saw this combination on a blog (will post complete recipe and the blog soon) and was blown away. Two favorites; pepper and brinjals in one! I HAD to make this dry vegetable for the Thali.

Rotli
The thin rotis that make a perfect accompaniment for salan, dhanshak and akuri.

Bread
Slices of bread perfectly toasted and served with akuri. The bread can be made from scratch or bought from the store. 

Caramelized Rice
A must-have with dhanshak, this onion based rice is so easy to make and yet so flavorful.

Ravo
The Parsi version of Sheera, this semolina based dessert has become my favorite ever since I made it the first time.

Mawa Cake
What's a Parsi platter without Mawa cake? Cupcakes made with clotted milk, these are super delicious and easy to make. 

Kachumbar
Parsi's signature blend of raw vegetables, salt pepper and vinegar. Try this vinegar based salad with any dish. It tastes just as good!

Ingredients

Cucumber 1 medium, diced
Carrot 1 medium, diced
Onion 1/2 medium, diced
Tomato 1/2 medium, diced
Vinegar 1/2 tsp
Salt and pepper to taste
Cilantro to top

Method

In a bowl mix together the diced vegetables. Add vinegar, salt and pepper. toss well and serve topped with cilantro. You may also add crushed cumin if you like in this kachumbar.

Falooda
Glasses filled with rose syrup, milk, thin falooda sev, basil seeds and ice cream. Oh-my, this was a perfect finish to my Thali!





Hope you all enjoyed the Thali series. Do leave a feedback at the end of the post! And come back for yet another theme with some amazing recipes. 





Thursday, November 17, 2016

Green Bean Casserole Pizza

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #GiveThanksBeFull #CollectiveBias

Thanksgiving is around the corner and it is time to reinvent the Green Bean Casserole. This lightened pizza made from puff pastry and green bean filling is perfect for any of your Friendsgiving dinner from now until the big day.


The Friendsgiving dinner season is almost here and everyone is getting busy making their menu. Green Bean Casserole is a must-have on the table but it gets pretty boring to keep making it the same way each year. This recipe comes handy when you are in a rush and do not want to spend a lot of time cooking. Using store bought puff pastry, Campbell's® Cream of Mushroom SoupDel Monte® Blue Lake® Cut Green Beans and French’s Crispy Onions; this pizza is super easy to make.


I was jotting down the items to make for this weekend's dinner. On my list was a new version of the Casserole. I stepped into Target to get all the ingredients for the dish. On my list was green beans and mushroom soup. I picked up a can of Campbell's® Cream of Mushroom SoupIt's easy to use Campbell's soups to add your own twist and favorite garnishes to make it special for the family. Plus, I got Del Monte® Blue Lake® Cut Green BeansDel Monte canned vegetables are high quality, delicious and perfect for your holiday table. 




Once you have all the ingredients, making this pizza is super simple. Ready in under 50 minutes with just 10 ingredients, this puff pastry based pizza is sure to impress all your guests. I made just one puff and regretted it deeply. It was so delicious and we were craving another serving almost immediately. What I liked best about this one is that the amount of filling made using one can each of the beans and the soup is perfect for one pizza. So no leftovers and no wastage. Just pop open the cans, make the filling and the pizza. Serve immediately and surprise your guests. I can bet your friends will definitely exclaim: 'Is this made from canned vegetables, I can't believe it!' Enjoy this pizza and have a great Friendsgiving!



Ingredients


Puff Pastry 1 sheet
Campbell's® Cream of Mushroom Soup 1 can 10.5 oz

Del Monte® Blue Lake® Cut Green Beans 14.5 oz
Garlic 2 cloves
Fresh Mushrooms 1 cup
Mozzarella Cheese 1/2 cup
Olive Oil 1 tsp
Salt to taste
French’s Crispy Onions to top





Method

Thaw the puff pastry as per package instructions. Mince the garlic and chop the mushrooms. 

In a pan heat olive oil and add garlic. Once it browns, add the mushrooms and cook for 1-2 minutes. Then add drained Green Beans and mix well. Let it cook for 1-2 minutes. 

Now add the Cream of Mushroom Soup and season with salt. Mix well and let it become thick. It takes about 4-5 minutes to get the right consistency. Turn down the flame and cool.

Preheat oven to 400 F. Roll out the puff pastry and poke it with a fork. Leave out an inch on all four sides to get a nice crust. Pour the green bean mixture and spread it evenly on the pastry sheet. Sprinkle cheese on top. 





Bake for 20-25 minutes, till the cheese has melted and the pastry is light brown in color. Remove, top with French’s Crispy Onions and serve immediately with tomato ketchup.





Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Vegetable Hakka Noodles

An easy to make noodle recipe that is FULL of vegetables, Asian sauces and perfectly cooked noodles. 

Hakka Noodles from the Indo-Chinese cuisine is a noodle recipe for EVERYONE!


Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no extra cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. 

We all LOVE noodles, don't we? Especially the ones that are easy to make and delicious. 

Noodles are such a versatile thing to make. They are loved by people of all ages and can be customized in SO many ways. 

Serve it with a sauce on the side or with an Asian curry and you have a quick but super delicious meal for weeknights! 

What are Hakka Noodles?

Hakka Noodles are a really popular version of noodles in India. They are categorized as Indo-Chinese; a food category only available in India! 

Hakka Noodles is the name of the final dish and also the MOST popular noodle type used to make it.

A mix of Asian flavors and Indian ingredients; these noodles are found in restaurants, banquets, rood side vendors and popular food chains.

Hakka noodles is a mix of noodles with vegetables like carrots, peppers, onions, cabbage and spring onions. Flavored with dark soy sauce and vinegar; these pair really well with all kinds of curries. 

My favorite memories of Hakka Noodles are definitely from the street vendors of Mumbai. They have a super huge wok to make the noodles. Throw in some thin sliced vegetables in hot oil, mix it around and season with spices and sauces. Then add the noodles and toss it to mix everything well. 

The sound of their ladle against the wok and the smell of freshly made noodles is unmatched. They NEVER have to taste their stuff too. It is always amazing and tastes the same each time!


What all you need to make Hakka Noodles?

Noodles- This is the starting point of the recipe. I use either Ching's Secret Hakka Noodles or one from the Asian store. 

The Asian store noodles are a hit or miss but Ching's NEVER disappoints. It is my go-to brand. 

If you cannot find them, pick a kind that is not flat but not as thick as Udon. Something in between would be great.

Vegetables- The recipe can be made with whatever vegetables you have at hand. Peppers, cabbage, carrots and onions are the most popular vegetables to make this. 

The vegetables are sliced super thin and even so they cook quickly on high flame.

Use a julienne peeler for carrots if you like.  

Sauces- Soy sauce and vinegar are needed for this recipe. Most of the times Dark Soy sauce works the best to get the taste and slight brown color. Again for this, Chings' Secret is the brand I prefer. 

Oil- Using a high smoke point oil works for the recipe. The BEST flavor comes from sesame oil or a mix of sesame and vegetable oil. Using a little bit of chili oil works well too.

Do you need MSG in the recipe?

The restaurants that serve Hakka noodles use MSG (ajinomoto) to a great extent. 

This flavoring salt is popular in Indian style Chinese food. However, it is believed to have a ton of harmful effects on the body.

I do not add any MSG in the recipe. If you would like the authentic taste, you can add a pinch along with salt. 


How to make them perfect each time?

  • The MOST important part here is the ensure the noodles are perfect. Cook them as per the packet instructions and make sure they only cook al-dente and do not turn mushy. 

  • Drain the noodles and place them in a wide pan to cool completely. 
  • The noodles are best made in a thick wide pan or wok. The large surface area helps cook all the vegetables at once and fast. Plus, it is easy to mix everything around in a wide pan.
  • Cook the vegetables such that they do not burn and are crunchy. Do not over cook them as they will turn mushy. 
  • Add whatever vegetables you have or like. Broccoli, mushroom, red cabbage, baby corn and even jalapeƱos can be added. 
  • The noodles do stay well for a few hours but taste the best when had fresh. To reheat after some time, simply microwave for 1-2 minutes based on the quantity. 

Serving Suggestions 

The noodles are great with some sauce on the side. 

If you would like an entree to go with it, try one of these: 



Steps

1- Cook the noodles as per the package instructions. Drain and place in a colander. Rinse with cold water and set aside. 

2- Heat sesame oil and vegetable oil in a wide pan or wok on high flame. Add green onion and peppers. 

3- Once they cook a little, add carrots and cook for a minute.


4- Add the cabbage and mix well. Let it cook for another minute.


5- Transfer the cooled noodles to the wok. 

6- Add soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, salt and pepper. 


7- Mix well and cook for a few minutes. Once done, remove and serve with your favorite sauce or curry.


Yield: 4
Author: Smruti
Vegetarian Hakka Noodles

Vegetarian Hakka Noodles

An easy to make noodle recipe that is FULL of vegetables, Asian sauces and perfectly cooked noodles. Hakka Noodles from the Indo-Chinese cuisine is a noodle recipe for EVERYONE!
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 20 MinTotal time: 30 Min

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Cook the noodles as per the package instructions. Drain and place in a colander. Rinse with cold water and set aside.
  2. Heat sesame oil and vegetable oil in a wide pan or wok on high flame. Add green onion and peppers.
  3. Once they cook a little, add carrots and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the cabbage and mix well. Let it cook for another minute.
  5. Transfer the cooled noodles to the wok.
  6. Add soy sauce, vinegar, chili sauce, salt and pepper.
  7. Mix well and cook for a few minutes. Once done, remove and serve with your favorite sauce or curry.

Notes:

  • Cook the noodles as per the packet instructions and make sure they only cook al-dente and do not turn mushy. 
  • Drain the noodles and place them in a wide pan to cool completely. 
  • The noodles are best made in a thick wide pan or wok. The large surface area helps cook all the vegetables at once and fast. Plus, it is easy to mix everything around in a wide pan.
  • Cook the vegetables such that they do not burn and are crunchy. Do not over cook them as they will turn mushy. 
  • Add whatever vegetables you have or like. Broccoli, mushroom, red cabbage, baby corn and even jalapeƱos can be added. 
  • The noodles do stay well for a few hours but taste the best when had fresh. To reheat after some time, simply microwave for 1-2 minutes based on the quantity. 


Created using The Recipes Generator

Indo-Chinese Thali

Blogging Marathon #70 Week 2 Day 2
Theme: Thali
Dish: Indo-Chinese Thali

The first Thali I posted was the Gujarati Thali. Today, I am posting another Thali. This one happens to be my FAVORITE cuisine! For those who follow the blog, you would definitely know how much I enjoy making Indian Chinese food. And when Valli announced the theme for this BM as Thali, I wanted to include this one for sure.


For the longest time we have all imagined Thali to be JUST Indian food. However, with time many restaurants now have a variety of non-Indian thalis, including Chinese, Thai, Mexican and Mediterranean. Diving into the definition of a Thali, it would be any combination of dishes that come together perfectly and can be served as a complete meal. Generally made up of various elements like carbs, fats and fibre; the elements should have flavors ranging from sweet and salty to spicy and sour. 

When I thought of making an Indo-Chinese Thali, I was fairly confident of the elements I would include to complete the meal. When I finally made it, I was pretty happy with the result. From soup, salad and starters to rice, noodles and curry; this Thali has it all. While there is no bread like other traditional thalis, this one has noodles to make up for it. With that and a few other substitutions like soup for dal, schezwan sauce for pickle and Kimchi for a traditional salad, I managed to make a complete Indo-Chinese meal and we loved it! Hope you all enjoy this one too!


On the Thali today

Kimchi 

A flavorful blend of cabbage leaves with vinegar sweet chilli sauce and spring onions.

Ingredients

Cabbage 1 cup, diced
Schezwan sauce 1 tsp
Vinegar 1 tsp
Soy Sauce 1/4 tsp
Sugar 1/2 tsp
Garlic 1 clove, minced
Salt a pinch
Spring Onions to top

Recipe

In a bowl mix together all the ingredients except cabbage and spring onions. Mix well and add water if needed. Put the diced cabbage in a wide bowl and pour the mixture. Mix well and top with spring onion greens. Store in an airtight bottle till ready to use. 


These amazing parcels are stuffed and steamed. Served with fiery Schezwan sauce, these make perfect appetizers.


Schezwan Potatoes (dry)

Baby potatoes tossed in spicy schezwan sauce and lots of colored peppers, this dish is perfect as an appetizer or even with rice as a side.




Freshly made fiery and super tasty sauce. This schezwan sauce recipe is all you need to complete the Indo-Chinese meal!



Made in under 20 minutes, this soup is apt for an Indo-Chinese meal. While Manchow soup is my personal favorite, this mild soup is perfect to complement the spicy counterparts in the Thali.

Paneer Chilli

Probably the most famous Indo-Chinese main, this gravy based dish made from paneer pieces, peppers and lots of garlic and spice makes a perfect accompaniment to rice and noodles.




While the other elements are spiced on this platter, this bland yet flavorful noodles full of vegetables mellow down the dish a little. 



One of the favorite dishes from the Indo-Chinese menu, this yummy rice tastes amazing with the paneer chilli and schezwan potatoes.


Enjoy this meal and come back for another thali tomorrow!