Monday, May 11, 2015

New York-Style Cheesecake

Here is the last one of the three recipes that I promised couple of weeks back. Today I am going to present how to make New York style Cheese Cake. You must be wondering why I am making so many different kinds of desserts/cakes off late and probably because my family loves them. Not really. None of my son or husband is a huge fan of dessert or cake. But they are very popular among my friend circle and so whenever there is a party, I love to prepare a special cake for them. This particular one was made for a friend who loves cheesecake. But surely I like taking pictures of each one and then sharing with you in this blog.

Cheesecake is one of the most cherished desserts around the world. There are many different cheesecake recipes. The ingredients are what make one cheesecake different from another. It can have one or more layers. Many believes that the cheesecake was originated from New York. It’s the place that put its own spin on the taste of cheesecakes. You can decorate or flavor your cheesecake many ways but New York cheesecake is the pure, unadulterated cheesecake.  It is served with only the cake and no fruit or chocolate is served on the top. 

New York Cheesecakes has three layers. The first layer is graham cracker crumb crust, topped with a cream cheese filling. Then comes a layer of lightly sweetened sour cream.  Sour cream makes the cheesecake most resilient to freezing. The typical New York cheesecake is rich and has a dense, smooth and creamy consistency. The recipe is adopted from Joy of Baking. 

Recipe of New York Style Cheesecake : for a 9 inch round cake. 

Ingredients :

for the Crust :

Graham Crust : 2 cups 
Granulated white sugar : 2 tablespoons 
Butter or Margarine : 1/2 cup

For the Filling :

Cream cheese : ( full fat ) I used philadelphia cream cheese, 32 oz 
Granulated white sugar : 1 cup
All purpose flour : 3 tablespoons 
Large eggs : 5 
Heavy whipping cream : 1/3 cup 
Lemon zest : 1 tablespoon 
Vanilla essence : 1/2 teaspoon 

For the Topping :

Sour Cream : 1 cup 
Granulated white sugar : 2 tablespoons 
Vanilla extract : 1/2 teaspoon 

Method :

1. Grease a 9 inch springform pan with nonstick spray. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (170 C ) . Place the rack in the center of oven. 

2. In a bowl, add graham cracker crumbs, sugar and melted butter and mix it. Now press the mixture evenly over the bottom and about 1 inch up the sides of the springform pan. Cover and refrigerate it until the filling is ready.

3. Take a mixing bowl, add cream cheese ( at room temperature ), sugar and all purpose flour beat on medium speed until smooth. ( Don't over beat ). 

4. Add the eggs, one at a time and beat well after each addition. Add the whipping cream, lemon zest, vanilla extract and beat until incorporated. 

5. Remove the springform pan from the refrigerator and pour the filling. Place the pan on a larger baking pan and place it in the oven. 

6. Bake the cake for 15 minutes and then lower the oven temperature to 250 degrees F ( 120 C ). Continue to bake for another 70 to 90 minutes or until it is set. ( the center of the cheesecake may look a little wet and wobbly. Remove from oven and put it on a wire rack. 

7. Take a small bowl, add sour cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Mix it well. Spread the mixture over the warm cake. Again place the cake to oven and bake for about 15 minutes. 

8. Remove from oven and when the cheese cake is still warm, carefully run a knife around the edge of the cake. 

9. Let it cool completely then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate it over night. Serve with fresh fruit or fruit sauce. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Mango Avocado Salsa

I am re-posting the recipe of Mango Avocado Salsa from the archives. The old post was with pan-seared Salmon. 

Salsa is a Spanish term for sauce, a typical hot sauce of Mexican cuisine generally used as a dip. There are many types of Salsa. Mango Avocado Salsa is sweet and sour sauce made of fresh mango, avocado, red pepper, red onion, cilantro and lime juice. It goes well with grilled fish or chicken.

Recipe of  with Mango Avocado Salsa: Serves 4


Mango - 1/3 cup peeled and diced
Avocado - half of a large avocado, peeled and diced
Red onion - 2 tbsp finely chopped
Red bell pepper - 2 tbsp chopped
Cilantro - 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Lime juice - fresh, 1 tbsp
sea salt - 1/4 tsp
Hot chili garlic sauce - 1/2 to 1 tsp

Method :

Mango Avocado Salsa : Mix mango, avocado, red bell pepper, red onion, cilantro, lime juice, chili garlic sauce and sea salt in a medium bowl. Gently crush it with a fork to release the juices and set aside. Salsa is ready, you can store salsa in the refrigerator for couple of hours, until ready to serve.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Chicken Kabiraji Cutlet ( Chicken Cutlet Covered with Egg )

Today I will share a very popular non-vegetarian snack called Chicken Kabiraji Cutlet. My Bengali friends must be licking their lips after hearing this name. People who have been brought up in Kolkata are so familiar with street food and must be feeling nostalgic. 

They may have many sweet old memory of enjoying this snack with their friends or family on the roadside of Kolkata. It’s very common scene in Kolkata’s college canteens that a group of friends chat for hours with only a cup of tea/coffee and a Kabiraji.

Chicken Kabiraji is another form of cutlets that is made of minced chicken mixed together with some spices and herbs. The dough is thinly spread out, dipped in egg and coated with breadcrumbs. Then it is fried with an abundance of eggs. To make an egg nest, a pinch of salt and an egg mixed with a teaspoon of water is dropped on top of the frying cutlet 

The word Kabiraji Cutlet has come from the Bengali pronunciation of a "Coverage or Cover with egg" Cutlet.  Like other chop cutlets, this recipe too is the result of British influence on the Bengali cuisine

Recipe Of Chicken Kabiraji Cutlet : For  5 Cutlets

Ingredients :

Minced or Ground Chicken : 500 g
Onion : finely Chopped, one big
Green chilies : chopped, 1 tablespoon
Cilantro : chopped, 1 tablespoon
Garlic : minced, 1 tablespoon
Ginger : grated, 1 and 1/2 teaspoon
Salt :
Freshly ground black pepper : 1/2 teaspoon
Garam Masala : 1 teaspoon
Oil : for deep frying
Bread crumbs : 2 cups or as needed 

Egg : 4
Salt : 
Cornflour : 2 teaspoon 
Black pepper : 1/2 teaspoon 
Water : 2 tablespoons 

Method :

1. Take a mixing bowl, add minced chicken, finely chopped onion, ginger, garlic, green chillis, chopped cilantro, salt, black pepper and garam masala. Mix it well. Cover the bowl and refrigerate it for one hour. 

2. Mix one more time using your hand and divide it into 5 to 6 equal portions. First make it a ball, then flatten the ball and give them cutlet shape. ( It will look like flat oval shape )

3, In a big bowl, beat the eggs with salt, pepper, cornflour and water. 

4. Now dip each cutlet into the beaten egg and then coat with breadcrumbs. 

5. Deep fry the cutlet one by one into hot oil until the both sides are golden brown.

6. For the egg nest, when the cutlet is still in the oil, keep the flame high and carefully sprinkle the remaining egg batter until it covers the whole surface of the oil. Fold or wrap the fried cutlets in the egg nest. 

7. Remove it from hot oil and  place it on a paper towel to drain excess oil. serve hot with some ketchup and a salad ( sliced cucumber and onion) .

*** you can follow this video to learn how to make the egg-cover.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Fish Kofta Curry ( Fish dumplings simmered in a rich creamy sauce )

Though I have been cooking for some recipes in last few weeks and clicked pictures of my next three posts, just didn't get time to write and edit the post. First my entire family became sick due to seasonal flue and then got busy with some social activities. Since we have a nice friend circle here, every weekend is booked for a party at some friend’s house. 

Anyway, since I am back to routine now, promise that I will soon post three yummy recipes.  Last week I made Fish Kofta curry in one potluck party and the dish was appreciated by everybody. So I thought of posting this recipe here to my readers. If I don’t write it down soon after making the dish, I forget the details of the process. So it helps me too in future if I document it in the blog so that it becomes easier when I try the same recipe one year later.

The concept of Koftas were introduced to Indian cuisine many years back during the Muslim rules. Koftas are commonly made with meat and are very popular in Persian or Middle Eastern cuisine. In the simplest form, koftas consist of balls that are made of minced or ground meatmixed with spices and herbs. There are different variations of Kofta curry. Though it started with meat, later it was customized with fish and vegetables. As expected, Bengalis made the fish version popular. 

In Fish Kofta curry, ground fish is spiced, rolled into ball shape and then either deep fried or baked or grilled. Then they are cooked in different kinds of sauces with spices and herbs. Even though the process looks bit complex, it is worth every minute you spend making it. When served with steamed rice or Pulao, it becomes a classic dish, elegant and rich enough to be savored at any occasions; be it a mingle of friends, a birthday celebration, an anniversary or a wedding. 

Recipe of Fish Kofta Curry ( Macher Kofta ) : Fish Dumplings simmered in a Rich Creamy Sauce , Serves 10 people or for 20 koftas 

Ingredients :

For koftas :

Boneless, White Fish fillet ( swai or tilapia ) : 2 lbs or around 1 kg 
Big potato : 1 , boiled 
Onion : one, finely chopped 
Ginger : 1 teaspoon 
Minced Ginger : 1 teaspoon 
Garlic paste: 1 teaspoon
Green chilies, chopped : 1 tablespoon 
Salt : 
Fresh Cilantro, chopped : 1 handful 

Oil : for deep-frying 

For the Sauce :
Oil  : 4 to 5 tablespoons 
Black Cardamom : 1 
Green Cardamom : 3
Cinnamon stick : 1.5 inch 
Cloves : 3 
Methi / Fenugreek seeds : 1 teaspoon 
Ginger paste : 1 tablespoon 
Garlic paste : 1 tablespoon 
Fresh Tomato puree : 3 cups 
Red chili powder : 1/2 teaspoon or to taste 
Kashmiri Red chili powder : 1 tablespoon
Cashew nuts : 2 tablespoon, (1 tablespoon paste )
Kasoori Methi (dried fenugreek leaves ) : 1 teaspoon 
Sugar : 1/2 tablespoon or to taste 
Salt :
Milk : 1 cup 
Heavy Cream : 1/2 cup ( optional ) 

Method :

1. Wash the fish fillets and pat dry with paper towels. Take a big microwave proof bowl, add the fish and cook it in the microwave, until it is cooked. If you don't want to use microwave, can use stove top. Add fish fillets in a big pan, add little water and let it cook, until it is done. 

2. Once fish fillets are cooked, set it aside and let it come to the room temperature. 

3. Mashed the fish fillets, add chopped onions, ginger paste, garlic paste, minced ginger, chopped green chili peppers and chopped cilantro. Add salt and the boiled potato. Mix it nicely and make a tight but smooth mixture. Divide it into 20 portions and roll them into balls.

4. Deep fry the fish balls very carefully in small batches over high heat till the color changes to golden brown. Take it off from the oil and place on a paper towel to absorb the excess oil. Fish ball or Fish dumplingis ready, set it aside. ( Don't forget to taste it, they are yummy! You can serve these fried balls as an appetizer too )  

5. Take a big thick bottomed pan, add the oil and heat it up. Add black cardamom, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon, and 1/2 tsp of sugar. Saute for a couple of minutes or until they get aromatic and the sugar melts and changes the color.

6. Add the fenugreek seeds, once they sizzle add ginger-garlic paste. Saute until the color gets brown and the raw smell goes off.

7. Add  red chili powders and keep stirring till oil starts to separate from the spice. Add the tomato puree and salt. Cook the mixture over medium heat until it becomes thick and oil again starts separating from the all sides of the pan.  

8.  Add the cashew paste. Mix it well and add 1 cup of milk. Add kasoori methi and sugar.  Add the fresh cream ( it is optional, if you want to avoid the cream, add milk) , mix it well. Cover the pan and simmer it over low flame for 10 to 15 minutes.

9. Add the Koftas in the sauce in a single layer. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes more. Fish Kofta Curry is ready to serve. Check seasoning, add salt or sugar if needed. Serve immediately with with steamed Rice or Pulav. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Channar Jilipi ( Jalebi made with Indian Cottage Cheese )

Last week was not so great time for Indian cricket lovers. First we lost in the semifinal and then the team we were supporting lost in the final. Only positive thing was that we had great party in one of our friend’s house. I tried a completely different kind of sweet dish this time with some sincere effort. Even my husband was very impressed about how much effort I had to put to make this dish. So today I am going to share with you the recipe of Chhena jalebi/Chhanar jilipi.

While reading about its history, it was interesting to know that this sweet dish is originated from Odisha and not from Bengal. This eastern state of India is known for its desserts made of Chenna. Its popularity has spread beyond coastal Odisha and reached both parts of Bengal. The basic ingredient is cottage cheese or Chhena. Fresh chhena is fully kneaded and rolled up into shapes that make it look more like pretzels. Then they are deep fried and soaked in a sugary syrup. Chhena jalebis are served either hot or chilled.

Though the process of making Channa jalebi is very similar to regular jalebis and Amriti, the regular jalebis are little bigger in size and crunchy. On the other hand, Chhenar Jalebi is very soft and the texture is like melt in mouth. Chhena/Paneer adds an interesting flavour to this type of jalebis. 

This is not so complex recipe but at the same time you need to be bit cautious while making, otherwise it may spoil the taste of this delectable sweet. The whole process takes longer than other common sweet dishes. It was really challenging to roll out the dough and shaping it as it gets cracked often. But it is doable and the final result was awesome. The taste of crispy jalebis oozing with syrup is just fabulous . Frying the jalebis is a also very important step to achieve the inner softness of these sweets. The temperature should be moderate, neither very hot nor very mild.

Recipe of  Channar Jilipi / Paneer Jalebi : For 20 pieces 


For Chhana

Milk : 2 liters
Lime juice - of a big lime and mix it with 1 tbsp water.

Sugar Syrup
Sugar : 2 cups
Water : 4 cups
Cardamom : 4-5 ( crushed)

For the dough
Channa : 2 cups
Khoya : 1 cup
Baking powder : 1 pinch
All purpose flour : 2 tbsp
Cardamom powder : 1/4 tsp
Ghee/ Clarified butter : 1 tbsp

Oil : for deep- frying

Method :

Step 1 - How to make Chhana or Cottage Cheese at home

1. Boil the milk in a pan, stir continuously. Once the milk starts boiling, lower the flame.

2. Pour the lemon juice. Stir the milk. Once the milk starts curdling and changes into chhana (cottage cheese) and greenish water, remove the pan from heat.

3. Leave the chhana / cottage cheese in this condition for 5-7 minutes.

4.  Put it over a soft cotton cloth / or a cheese cloth (if you have any). Let all the water drain away. Now put this cloth with the chhana under cold running water for 2-3 minutes.

5. This will help to remove the smell of lemon.  Hang the chhana along with the cloth on the kitchen tap / faucet for 45 minutes to 1 hr.

6. Now once again, squeeze the cloth if there is any extra water. Try to get rid of as much water as possible but note that the chhana (cottage cheese) should not get too dry.

2nd Step -Making the Sugar Syrup

Mix the sugar and water and heat up till it comes to boiling state. Add the crushed cardamom, lower the gas and let it simmer. 

Final step

1. Smash the Khoya on a flat surface till it becomes smooth.  Smash the Chhana same way once it becomes very smooth and oily.

2. Add the baking powder, flour, cardamom powder and ghee (clarified butter) in the chhana and again knead it.

3. Add the smashed khoya and mix it together with the chhana. Knead it well with your palm till there would be no lump in it and it will become smooth and your palm is oily.

4. Let the dough rest for 10 minutes. Divide the dough into 20 small lemon size balls. Place it on a flat surface and start rolling it with your palm. Try to keep the thickness same. Make a 3 inches long rope. Try to give it a jilipi shape. It gets cracked very often. Repair any breakage by pressing it. The end result should be a smooth round spiral. Repeat the same process for the rest balls. Set it aside. 

5. Heat the oil, once it is ready turn off the gas for 1 minute. Turn on again and lower the flame. Fry them in very low temperature till they get dark brown color on both sides. Fry it in small batches. 

6. Once it is fried, immediately transfer them into hot syrup and let it soak for 30 to 40 minutes. Serve hot. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Shami Kebabs : Round Minced Meat Rissoles

Shami Kebab / Shami Tikka is a popular snack in Indian Cuisine. Like many other non-vegetarian dishes, it was introduced to South Asia during Mughal period by Muslim immigrants from the Middle East. It’s made of a richly flavored small patty of minced meat.

Usually lamb / goat / beef meet is used with ground chickpeas and egg that helps to hold it together. This yummy appetizer is normally served with ring onion, lemon and some green chutney of coriander or mint. 

Today I will share the recipe of this tasty appetizer that I made couple of weeks back for a party at my home.  The aroma of the dry spices combined with meat and pulses make this dish very delicious. It not only tastes melt in mouth, it’s healthy too as it’s not fried but slowly cooked on a tawa / skillet. 

Recipe of Shami Kebabs ( I have used chicken here, You can use lamb/ goat meat too ) : serve - 4 to 6 people 

Ingredients :

Chicken / Mutton / Lamb : 500 g
Channa Dal / Split Bengal Gram : 1/2 cup
Onion : 1 medium one, finely chopped
Ginger : 1 tablespoon, grated 
Garlic : 1 and half tablespoon, grated 
Green chillis : two, chopped or as per your tolerance
Red Chili powder : 1 teaspoon 
Garam Masala powder : 1 teaspoon 
Oil : 1-2 tablespoons
Salt : to taste 

Finely chopped onion and cilantro : a handful
Lime juice : few drops 
Butter / Clarified Butter / oil / nonstick oil spray 

Method :

1. Soak the chana Dal (Bengal grams ) in water for 2 to 3 hours. Wash, rinse and then put it in the pressure cooker. Add a cup of water to it, cover the lid on and cook it on medium heat until three whistles come. Let the steam release on its own.

Once it is done, Open the pressure cooker, discard the extra water and keep the cooked dal aside.

2. In the same pressure cooker, add chicken / mutton  and add 1 cup water. Cook it on medium heat until the meat is cooked. ( if you use chicken 2 whistle is enough, if it is mutton then 4 whistles )  Let the steam release on its own. Preserve the chicken stock for other recipe. Discard the bone parts and set the chicken/ mutton aside. 

3. Take a big non-stick pan, add 2 tablespoons of oil and heat it up. When oil is hot, add chopped onions, saute the onion for couple of minutes. Add chopped green chilies. Add grated ginger and garlic, cook it until raw smell goes off. Add cooked chicken or mutton. Give some stirs. Add red chili powder and garam masala powder. Add salt and cooked chana dal . Mix it together. Switch off the gas and let the mixture come to room temperature. 

4. Take a blender, add the mixture to it grind it to a coarse paste. 

5. Transfer it from the blender to a plate. Add finely chopped onion and cilantro. Add lime juice and mix well. Check the seasoning. 

6. Now divide the mixture into equal portions and shape into flat rounds. 

7. Take a nonstick pan, add butter / clarified butter / oil or grease it with non stick spray. Add kebabs and cook until both sides are golden brown color. Serve hot as an appetizer or a snack with ring onions, lemon and some green chutney of coriander or mint or tomato ketchup. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Chocolate & Mousse Layer Cake With Ganache Frosting

Birthdays are great excuses for me to bake cake. In this time of the year, you would definitely find one or two cake recipes on my blog. Two birthdays that are close to my heart come during this time. Two years back Mix and Stir was born around this time and my husband's birthday is also at the beginning of March. When we celebrate any birthday in our family, I generally ask what type of cake they would like to have, even though I know the answer from my son will always be Chocolate.

This time I made Chocolate Mousse Cake with Chocolate Ganache for my husband's birthday. This cake was so delicious that just three of us could have finished the entire cake without much effort. Before we dive into the recipe, let me share you a brief description of the cake. This rich chocolate cake stacked between layers of light and soft chocolate mousse, finishes with a look of deep, dark and sweet blanket of chocolate ganache

 There are three different components involved–cake, mousse filling, and ganache. The final layer of the chocolate is the silky ganache that is not so difficult to make. It contains only two ingredients – heavy cream and semi-sweet chocolate chips. When you mix up all three of these divine elements of chocoholic joy into one bite, you create the most delicious chocolate cake that you will ever have in your whole life. I like baking but when it comes to cake decoration, it’s not my comfort zone. I don't have even cake stand or an offset spatula. 

Recipe of Chocolate Mousse Cake with Ganache Frosting 

Ingredients :

For Egg-less Dark Chocolate Cake 

All purpose Flour : 1 cup
Baking powder : 1/2 teaspoon
Baking soda : 1 teaspoon
Unsweetened Cocoa powder : 1/2 cup
Granulated Sugar : 3/4 cup
Oil : 1/2 cup 
Hot Coffee - 1/4 cup ( 1 tsp of coffee in 1/4 cup hot water ) 
Milk : 1/4 cup
Yogurt : 1/4 cup 
Vanilla extract : 1 teaspoon 

For Chocolate Mousse :

Whipping Cream : 1 cup
Semi sweet Chocolate Chips : 1/2 cup
Unsalted Butter : 2 tablespoons 

For Chocolate Ganache : 

Semi sweet chocolate chips : 3 cups 
Whipping Cream : 1 and half cups 

Method :

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F or 170 degree C. Lightly grease an 8-inch round cake pan.

2. In a large mixing bowl, sift the all purpose four, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder and sugar. Mix together, and add the wet ingredients one by one. 

3. Mix all the ingredients, using a wooden spatula or you can use an electric mixer. mix it until all the ingredients are well combined.

4. Divide the mixture into the three parts. Pour the batter ( 1/3 of the batter ) in the prepared pan and spread the batter evenly. 

5. Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake, comes out clean. You can use three different pans, or bake the other two parts like the same way one by one.

6. Let the cake cool down slightly, then remove the cake to a rack and cool completely. Wrap and chill until ready to assemble. 

For Chocolate Mousse :

1. Take a saucepan, add water. Bring about an inch of water to a simmer in the saucepan. 

2. Set chocolate chips in the bottom of a metal or glass bowl, make sure it is heat-proof.  Set the heatproof bowl in the mouth of the pot, make sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir chocolate occasionally as it softens. When the chocolate chips are almost soft, remove bowl from heat. Mix the chocolate nicely, stirring it. 

3.Once the chocolate is melted, set aside to cool slightly.
  1. 4. Whip the heavy cream in the stand mixer using the whisk attachment or using electric mixer. Whip until it thickens and peaks form.
  2. 5. Add the butter and melted chocolate. Whip for another 30 seconds or until the mousse is thick and fully blended. Once it is done, chill it until ready to use. 

For Chocolate Ganache : 

1. Take a heatproof bowl, put the chocolate chips and keep it aside. 

2. Take a saucepan, place cream and butter in it and heat it over medium heat, bring it to a boil. 

3. When it just starts to a boil, immediately pour the boiling cream and butter mixture over the chocolate chips. Let it rest for couple of minutes, then stir until the mixture gets smooth, beat it with a wire whisk till it becomes soft and fluffy.

4. This is the final step, which is to assemble the cake. Once the cakes are completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour. This makes the spreading of the frosting a much easier task as a freshly baked cake is quite fragile and when you try to spread the frosting, there is a tendency for the cake to tear.

5. Cut the top swelling parts off of each cake. Place the first layer of cake on your serving plate. Spread with half of the chocolate mousse. Place the next cake layer on and spread with the remaining mousse. Place the last layer of cake on top and slowly pour the ganache over it to completely cover the top. It will run over the sides of the cake.

6. Decorate with more chocolates, as I did with ferrero rochers and chocolate wafer rolls. 

Note : Any leftover cake can be refrigerated or frozen. Cover with plastic wrap and put it into the freezer or refrigerator.  It stays fresh for couple of days.