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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Crème Brûlée Ice Cream





Sometimes new recipes are born out of necessity. In this case, the need was to use up a big bowl of unused egg yolks. In some baking process, I had to use only the white part of the eggs and so extra egg yolks were left over. So I started searching on the net about how to make use of the almost dozen egg yolks left in my fridge. Then I came across this interesting recipe of Cream Brulee Ice Cream, a custard-flavored ice cream based on the timeless French dessert. 




It’s been a month I posted the picture of this Ice Cream. Then a couple of my friends requested for the recipe and finally today, I got some time to write down the recipe. Making a creme Brulee ice cream is not complicated and you need only four or five ingredients. Only tricky thing is to make it smooth silk like custard. This is no-churn ice cream, meaning that you don't need any ice cream maker either. Once the custard is done, there are two ways to add the burnt sugar. If you have a kitchen torch, add sugar over the frozen ice cream and caramelize the sugar using the torch. As I had no torch, I ended up caramelizing sugar separately and pouring it onto a lined baking sheet and broke the hard caramel into small pieces.  Then I sprinkled it over the top of the ice cream before serving.








On the top crunchy caramelized sugar and underneath the rich creamy ice cream. Wow, it's totally worth every single scoop. Enjoy the summer with this home-made version of Cream Brulee Ice Cream.




Recipe of Creme Brulee Ice Cream: serves 3

Ingredients:

Egg yolks: 5 
Sugar: little less than half cup
Heavy Cream: 1 cup
Whole Milk: 1/2 cup
Pure Vanilla extract: 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract) 

For topping:

Sugar: 3/4 cup 
Cold water: 2 tablespoons 

Method:

1. Whisk egg yolk in a bowl until smooth. Add sugar to it mix it well until thick. 

2. In a saucepan, pour the whole milk. Slowly bring up to the boiling point. But don't boil it. Pour the milk into the mixture of egg yolk and sugar. 

3. Pour the mixture back into the saucepan. Heat gently, stirring until the custard thickens. But don't bring to the boil. It will curdle. When you see the thin layer is forming on the back of the spoon remove it from the heat. 

4. Let it cool down. Now stir in the cream. Add the vanilla extract. 

5. Transfer the custard to a chilled bowl and refrigerate the mix for overnight. 

6. Now remove it from the refrigerator and whisk the mixture again. 

7. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container and freeze it until firms about 4 hours or overnight. 

For the crunchy caramelized topping:

Place the sugar and water into a saucepan over a medium heat. Stir it continuously until it brings to the boil. Once the mixture turns golden brown. Pour slowly on a prepared baking tray lined with foil. Leave it to cool. Once it comes at the room temperature break up into small pieces. Sprinkle over the top of the ice cream and serve. 








Monday, April 24, 2017

Lemon Chiffon Cake





I am a bit obsessed with the flavor of lemon, probably because of its smell of freshness. Recently when I received a bag full of lemon from a friend, I wanted to bake something that would be full of zesty flavors. Lemon Chiffon Cake is exactly the same one that I wanted to create. I baked this cake at the start of this month and the first one came out so pretty and delicious that I had to bake one more Lemon Chiffon Cake within a week. 


Today I will share the recipe of this Cake, a crowd pleaser for every occasion. It’s an impressive dessert that doesn’t need any fancy frosting, but you can do it with a light glaze or a dusting of powdered sugar if you want to dress it up. The recipe below is for lemon chiffon cake, but you can easily use orange or another citrus fruit. You can even make a vanilla cake if you prefer, by replacing the citrus zest.



Chiffon cakes are one of the most beautiful cakes I have ever seen. They are very light and fluffy, perfect for our tea-time snacks. They are lighter than a buttery pound cake and moister than a sponge cake. The light texture of this cake comes mainly from beaten egg whites. Instead of butter, the vegetable oil is added to a batter, that gives its high rise and light texture.


Recipe of Lemon Chiffon Cake: (makes 12 servings)

Ingredients:
Large Eggs: 7, separated
All-purpose flour: 2 cups
Sugar: 1 and 1/2 cups
Baking powder: 3 teaspoons
Salt: 1 teaspoon 
Canola oil / white oil: 1/2 cup 
Water: 3/4 cup
Grated Lemon peel: 5 teaspoons
Vanilla extract; 2 teaspoons
Cream of tartar: 1/2 teaspoon 

Method:

1. Preheat the oven 325 degrees F or 160 degrees C.

2. Separate egg whites in a large bowl, let it rest for 30 minutes at room temperature.
Sift flour, baking powder and salt together. 

3. In a small bowl whisk the egg yolks. Add oil and lemon peel and vanilla extract to it. Mix it well until smooth. 

4. Add the yolk mixture to the flour mixture. Beat it well until well combined.

5. Now add cream of tartar to the egg whites. Beat it on medium speed until stiff peaks form. 
Gradually fold the egg whites into the batter, one-fourth at a time. 

6. Spoon the batter into an ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake on lowest oven rack for about 50 to 55 minutes or until top springs back when it is touched. 

7. Remove it from oven and cool completely. Run a knife around the sides and center tube of pan. Place the cake on a serving plate. 

(The recipe is adapted from Taste of Home)





Friday, March 31, 2017

Macher Chop (Bengali Fish Croquettes / Fish Cutlets)




Off late I have been really enjoying Instagram, the other social networking platform, mainly for pictures. I have been actively sharing photos and videos about what’s happening in my kitchen. The good thing about this change is that I have started using my camera more frequently. After spending more time with photography, I am getting my blogging mojo back!  Last week when I invited some of the friends over dinner I made some Fish croquettes and while I was making those, shared the photos on my Instagram story. Some of my followers-friends made a request to post the recipe of Fish Croquette on the blog.





Croquette is a small deep fried food that generally contains mashed potatoes, ground meat, fish or vegetables as stuffing. In today’s recipe that I am sharing, I have used fish filling. To make Croquettes, first, you have to prepare the filling and dip the filling in egg wash. Then roll in bread crumbs and finally deep fry them in hot oil. The Croquette is mainly oval shaped. Once fried, they become quite crispy on the outside but remains soft inside. It’s very tempting as an appetizer or a party snack, commonly served with tomato ketchup. You can also serve with your choice of dip and with onion rings and some salads. 




 Earlier I have shared a couple of similar recipes like Dimer Devil, Fish Fry, Chicken Kabiraji and the Baked version of Fish Cutlets. There are lots of Cutlets/croquettes items available in Bengali cuisine. Each variety has a distinctive taste and texture. This culture came in Bengali cooking mainly from the kitchen of old British Clubs in Kolkata.






Recipe of Macher Chop ( Fish Croquettes / Fish Cutlets ) for 10 to 12 pieces 

Ingredients:


Fish fillet or boneless fish: 1 lb / 500 g
Onion: a big one, finely chopped 
Ginger paste or grated ginger: 1 teaspoon
Garlic paste or minced garlic: 1 tablespoon
Tomato: a small one chopped 
Green chilies: chopped, one teaspoon or as per your tolerance
Coriander powder: 1 teaspoon 
Red chili powder: 1/2 teaspoon
Potato: 1 or 2 medium sized, boiled 
Coriander leaves: half cup ( optional ) 
Raisins: 1 tablespoon ( optional )
Green Cardamoms: 2 
Cinnamon stick: 1 inch
Cloves: 2 
Salt: to taste
Egg: 1 
Breadcrumbs: 1 cup 

Oil: 3 tablespoons and for deep frying 


Method:

1. Boil or bake the fish until it is cooked.  Take a big pan, add 2-3 tablespoon oil to it and heat it up. Once the oil is hot, add cardamoms, cinnamon stick, cloves to it. Once they are fragrant, discard them from oil.

2. Add the chopped onion to the pan, saute it till it changes the color to light brown, add ginger and garlic. Stir it, cook until the raw smell goes off. Add the chopped tomato to the pan, sprinkle some salt. Cook it till the tomato becomes soft and smashed. 

3. Add coriander powder, red chili powder, and green chilies. Stir to mix it, till oil starts separating from the sides of the pan.

4. Break the fish pieces into small chunks with a fork and add it to the pan. Mix it nicely with the spices and keep stirring for 4 to 5 minutes. Add the potato or potatoes, smashed it with a spatula and mix well with fish-spice mixture. ( The potato will work here for binding the mixture. If you think the mixture is still watery or not holding the shape you can add one more potato or a cup of breadcrumbs. )

5. Give some stirs, until the mixture is well combined. Check the seasoning, add salt or chilies if needed. Add coriander leaves and raisins if you are using. Turn off the gas, now filling is ready. 

6. Divide the mixture into 10 to 12 equal balls, give them shape like a cylinder, disk or oval. 

7. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with 2 tablespoons of water. Take a flat dish and spread the breadcrumbs on it. 

8. Take a ball first dip into the egg mixture, then roll it in the breadcrumbs until it gets a nice coat all over it. Do the same process for the rest of the balls. 

9. Now take a deep frying pan, add oil and heat it up. Once the oil is hot, deep fry the balls in two or three batches on medium-high heat till they are evenly golden brown on both sides. 

10. Take out them from oil and place it on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Bengali Fish Croquettes / Macher Chops are ready to serve. Serve hot with Kasundi or tomato ketchup or with your choice of dip and with onion rings and some salads. 





Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake




Today’s pasta dish is one of those meals that I make at least once in a month and every time my 9-years old son would be delighted when he gets the smell. Last Thursday I made Chicken Parmesan Pasta and next day we were planning to dine out. But he didn't want to go out for dinner. We were surprised with his behavior because he always likes to eat in the restaurants. We understood the reason when he started saying that we already have good food at home. He loves pasta so much that he can eat the same meal for several days in a row.





Though this pasta is generally cooked with no ready-made pasta sauce, the recipe is still very simple and doesn’t take longer. When you are feeling lazy or too busy to spend time around your kitchen, but still want to impress your family, this recipe is perfect for those days.




To make this baked pasta, first I cooked a packet of Penne and then tossed it with the freshly made tomato sauce. For the Chicken Parmesan part, I put the chunks of leftover chicken. Then some garden fresh basils and lots of grated Parmesan need to be added. At the end, it turned out to be a really delicious dish. I am not a big fan of Pasta but I ended up eating some extra serving on that day.






  


Recipe of Chicken Parmesan Pasta Bake: Serves 5 

Ingredients:

Chopped Tomatoes: 2 cans, 400g can each
Olive Oil: 2 tablespoons 
Dried Oregano: 1 teaspoon
Sugar: 1 teaspoon
Salt: to taste
Black pepper (crushed): to taste
Chicken: 2 cups (cooked and chopped) 
Pasta: 500g ( I used Penne here ) 
Mozzarella Cheese: 2 cups, grated 
Parmesan Cheese: 1 cup, grated 
Fresh Basil leaves: 1/2 cup 

For Topping: grated mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup


Method:

1. Take a pan, boil water and salt. Add pasta to it and cook as per package direction. Once it is cooked, strain the excess water and set it aside. 

2. Take a sauce pan and add oil to it. Add the chopped tomato to the oil and stir it. Cook it for a couple of minutes on medium heat until tomatoes become soft. Add dried oregano, salt, sugar, and pepper. Stir to combine. 

3. Add the cooked pasta and cooked chicken to the sauce and mix it well. Turn off the gas. Set the pasta aside. 

4. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Layer the pasta with grated cheese and basil leaves in an oven-proof dish. Add the extra mozzarella cheese on the top. 

5. Bake it for about 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese on the top is golden brown. 

6. Remove it from the oven and serve hot. 







Related Recipe:









Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Labra : Bengali Mixed Vegetable



Since I posted the recipe of “bhoger Khichuri” couple of years back, I received many requests from the readers to share the recipe of “Labra”. Labra is a Bengali mixed vegetable dish where different varieties of vegetables are cooked together with minimum spices. It's a very basic and simple Bengali vegetable dish, where the ingredients “Panchforon” (the Bengali five spices) play the magic role behind its deliciousness. On many Bengali Puja occasions, Labra is served during lunch time along with Khichuri.



The main vegetables that are used in this dish are Pumpkin, potato/ sweet potato, spinach, and eggplants. You can add more seasonal vegetables to it as much as you can. All the vegetables are cooked together until it becomes mishmash and they lose their individual identity and flavor. 



Though the name of this dish doesn’t sound good, it’s really tasty and healthy. Probably one of the very few healthy dishes in Bengali cuisine. Though Labra is associated with Puja, you can serve it on a regular day, especially on a rainy day with Kichuri. Since my hubby is a big fan of this dish, I make it quite frequently at home.   





Recipe of Labra (Bengali Mixed Vegetable)

Ingredients:

Potato / Sweet potato: 1 cup, peeled and cut into cubes
Cauliflower florets: 1 cup
Cabbage: 1 cup, thickly chopped
Carrot: 1 cup, cut lengthwise 
Pumpkin: 1 cup, cut into cubes
Beans: 1/2 cup, cut into 1" pieces
Cauliflower stems: 1 cup (optional), cut lengthwise 
Radish: 1/3 cup, chopped 
Eggplant: 1 cup, cut into big cubes
Spinach: 1 and a half cups, chopped

Oil: 3-4 tablespoons
Dry Red Chilies: 2
Bay leaves: 2 
Panchphoron / Bengali five spices: 1 teaspoon
Ginger paste: 1tablespoon
Turmeric powder: 1/2 teaspoon 
Salt: to taste
Sugar: if needed 

Method:

1. Heat oil in a heavy bottom big pan. Add whole red chilies, bay leaves, and panchphoron. Once it starts to splutter add the vegetables one by one. First, add the hard vegetables like potatoes, then add pumpkin, radish, then cauliflower and cabbage. Then add carrot and beans. Saute the veggies on a medium flame. 

2. Add the ginger paste and turmeric. Mix it well together. Now add the eggplants. Stir it and cook on a medium flame for 2-3 minutes. Add the spinach. 

3. Stir it well and add salt. The vegetable will release lots of water and it will get cooked in its own water. Cover the pan. Stir at a regular interval until the vegetables are well cooked. Open the cover and cook it till the water is absorbed and the veggies are coated with gravy. Check the seasoning. Add more salt if it is needed. Add 2-3 green chilies (optional). If you want, can add sugar 1/2 teaspoon. Turn off the gas and serve hot Labra with Khichuri. 




Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Macher Paturi (Fish in Mustard paste cooked in Banana leaf parcel)



Macher Paturi is one of the favorite fish preparations to any Bengali. Unfortunately, it’s neither commonly available in restaurants nor made at home regularly. So you won’t get many chances to enjoy this dish. For me, the most memorable one is to have Ilish macher Paturi on the menu of my wedding day. Things might have changed in Bengal now, lots of high-end restaurants have come up with all traditional Bengali food. Some of them may be offering Paturi on their menu. The word Paturi came from the Bengali word 'Pata' that means leaves. Macher Paturi / Fish Paturi is a preparation where marinated fish is wrapped in banana leaves and then cooked with low flame.




For last few days, I was so craving for Paturi and so was looking for banana leaves. But here in the USA, finding tender banana leaves is not easy. Though a couple of Indian/Asian stores keep it, but most of the time the leaves are not fresh. Sometimes I get those banana leaves spending several dollars but had to throw them in the trash because of their poor quality. Last week I got some fresh tender banana leaves from one my friend's backyard garden.



In Bengal, generally Hilsha, Bhetki and Chingri (shrimp) are used to cook Paturi. Here I use Swai fillet because the taste of this fish is very close to Bhetki. The fish chunks are first marinated in mustard, coconut paste and drizzled with mustard oil. Then it is wrapped like a parcel in banana leaves and later the fish parcels are cooked in slow flame. Though Paturi is made with fish, but you can try the same recipe with Chicken, that I had posted a couple years back. Even vegetarian people can try the same recipe with vegetables and paneer.






Recipe of Macher Paturi(Fish in Mustard paste cooked in Banana leaf parcel) for 10 pieces

Ingredients:

Fish(I have used Swai, you can use any white fish or fish fillets): 5 fillets, cut into two halves
Lemon juice: 2 tablespoons
Salt:
Turmeric powder: 1 teaspoon
Mustard paste: half cup, you can use mustard powder paste too.
Grated coconut paste: 5 tablespoons
Mustard oil: 5 to 6 tablespoons 
Green chilies: 5 to 6 or as per your tolerance 
Banana leaves: cut into 8-inch by 8-inch, 10 pieces for 10 pieces fish fillets 
kitchen twine/cotton thread: as required or you can use toothpicks also. 

Method:

1. Wash the fish pieces and gently pat it dry with paper towels. Add lemon juice and salt to the fish and rub it. Leave it for 15 minutes. 

2. If you are using mustard seeds make a thick paste with 2 green chilies. Or if you are using mustard powder make it a thick paste following package direction. 

3. Make the grated coconut paste ready. Take a bowl, add mustard - green chilies paste, coconut paste, turmeric powder. Whisk it together. 

4. Now add the paste to the marinated fish pieces. Rub it well. Add the mustard oil and mix it nicely. Keep the marinated fish into the refrigerator and let it rest for 4 to 5 hours. 

5. Take out the fish from refrigerator. Heat a pan.Take one banana leaf, brush a little oil on the glossy side. Put it on the pan and slightly roast the leaf. The leaf will become soft and it will help the leaf from cracking.

6. Place a marinated fish piece in the middle of the leaf, add one teaspoon of marinade and half of a slit green chili on the top. Wrap the banana leaves from all sides and make a parcel as you are seeing in the above picture. Tie it properly with the thread. Toothpicks also work to tie it. Follow the same process for the rest of fish pieces. Let it sit for about 15 minutes. 

7. Now add few drops of mustard oil to the pan and heat it up. Place the fish parcels and cover the pan with the lid. 

8. Cook it on medium heat for about 10 minutes each side. Serve hot Fish Paturi with hot steamed rice. Discard the banana leaves and enjoy Paturi. 

You can cook Paturi in the oven too. If you want to do it in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Place the fish parcels on a baking sheet and bake it for 25 to 30 minutes or until it is cooked. 



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Skillet Brownie





Earlier I stopped using my cast iron skillet because of rusty smell but recently I learned from a post on Facebook about how to clean and take care of iron skillet. Two main things you have to remember when you are using cast iron skillet that you have to avoid soaking the pan and don’t leave the pan in the sink. Then just after cleaning make it dry, take a teaspoon of cooking oil and rub it well. It worked like magic, after very minimal effort there is no rust on my pan !! I love making brownies in skillets for another reason too. You don’t need to wait for the brownie to cool down before cutting.  A skillet brownie is made for digging in right away. Please serve warm brownies with a thin stream of hot fudge sauce and topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. It's delicious! If you don't have cast iron pan, the same recipe will work with your baking pan too. 





Recipe of Fudgy Chocolaty Brownie:


  • Ingredients:

  • Unsalted butter: 1/2 cup (1 stick) 
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips: 4 ounces plus 1/2 cup  divided 
  • Unsweetened chocolate: 1 and 1/2 ounces, chopped
  • Eggs: 2 large
  • Pure vanilla extract: 1 and 1/2 teaspoons
  • Granulated sugar: 1/2 cup
  • All-purpose flour: 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon, divided 
  • Baking powder: 1 teaspoon 
  • Salt: a pinch 
Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the skillet or a square baking pan. 

2. Take a large bowl add water to it. Simmer the water. Now take a medium bowl add butter, 4-ounce chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate to it. Place the bowl in the hot water bowl until smooth. Set it aside and let cool for about 10 to 15 minutes. 

3. Take a large bowl, add the eggs, vanilla extract and sugar to it. Stir it well. Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture until it is well combined. 

4. In another bowl, add flour, salt, and baking powder. Mix it well. Add flour mixture to the egg-chocolate mixture. Stir it until combined. 

5. Now take the half cup of chocolate chips and one tablespoon of flour to a bowl. Toss it together. Add the chocolate chips to the brownie batter. Fold them in. 

6. Pour the mixture into a prepared skillet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes until it done. Serve it warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of hot fudge sauce. 

( The recipe is adapted from http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/skillet-brownies/ )