Thursday, December 29, 2011

Chai Kulfi

My hubby loves a warm cuppa milky tea spiced with cinnamon and cloves and cardamom. And I love the Indian version of ice cream which is kulfi. I saw this recipe on the food network site the other day that combines these two into a hugely delicious, silky smooth Chai flavored Kulfi. I tweaked it a wee bit to make it perfect. I hope you'll enjoy it as much we did.

Chai Kulfi

3/4 cup evaporated milk
2-3 tea bags
1/3 cup condensed milk (add in 1 more tablespoon if you like your Kulfi very sweet)
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Gather all the ingredients together .

I've used 2 tea bags. For a stronger tea flavor add in one more.

Heat the evaporated milk. And once it starts simmering snip the tops off the tea bags and empty contents into the pot. Turn off the heat after a few minutes and cover up the pot so that the tea can steep for about 0 minutes. 

Strain the tea and let it cool down a little. Add in the condensed milk and the cardamom powder.

Whip up the cream till you get soft peaks. This just means that you want the liquid cream to firm up but not so much that it gets chunky. If it whips up to much it gets a little harder to blend it in. 

Afterwards, add in the evaporated milk, tea, condensed milk mixture a little at a time to the whipped cream and mix gently till it's blended together nicely. Don't forget to get the popsicle tray ready in the meanwhile. 

Pour in the mixture, leaving a little space at the top as the Kulfi will expand a little when frozen.

Freeze over night or for however long it takes for the Kulfi to freeze. When you want to eat it take out of the freezer and run hot water over the bottom of the popsicle maker for 30 seconds and try to wiggle the popsicle stick out. if it doesn't work run hot water for 30 more seconds and try again. 

The kulfi should come out beautifully. Enjoy. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Thai Green Curry

This is going to be another one of my pictorial endeavors. This is time it's Thai green curry. Will be posting the amounts soon. For now, gawk and enjoy.;)

How much you use is up to you. Can use more veggies if you want. Just make sure to gather all the ingredients together as the process goes pretty fast.

I have used lime leaves, red bell pepper, snow peas, baby corn, bamboo shoots and chinese long eggplants. Add carrots if you like.

Heat oil in a wok.

Add green curry paste and lime leaves. You want to fry these for about a minute so that the flavor of the lime leaves and the curry paste can come out and make beautiful chemistry in your wok.

Now add coconut cream. When you open an unshaken can of coconut milk the cream rises to the top. You just want to take the cream off gently and stir fry it for a few minutes. Don't get rid of the watery coconut milk though. That we shall use later.

I added the cream a little at a time.

Now add in your thinly sliced boneless chicken breast meat.

Keep stirring.

Now add baby corn and bamboo shoots.

Closely followed by eggplants.

And bell pepper. Use any color you like.

Give a quick stir to mix everything together.

Now add the coconut milk. Told you, we'd add it later.

Quick stir again.

Now add fish sauce.

Cover it up to let everything cook.

And snow peas. The snow peas cook really fast. So the trick is to add it when you are nearing the end. Afterwards add handfuls of Thai basil leaves. 

And serve the green curry in a vessel of your choice. 

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Cream cheese pudding

Ok. So the recipe isn't actually for pudding. It's a step-by-step photo guide to making flans. But, in Bangladesh, the words "flan" is never used, although..there isn't a single home where it isn't made, cherished and devoured. Out of respect for the fond memories, I'll keep using the word pudding instead of flan throughout this post. Bear with me. :p
Pudding in Bangladesh is usually made with sugar, milk and eggs. Here, I've added cream cheese to the egg, milk mixture which takes it closer to a cheesecake, but without the added calories. This is a simple twist on a classic take and really, really easy to make. 

Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

3/4 cups sugar
1 can evaporated milk
1 can sweetened condensed milk
8 ounces cream cheese (low fat is fine)
5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

First, pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Now put sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium low heat. It won't be long before the sugar starts boiling.
Be patient, it'll seem like forever (more like 5-8 minutes..) but the sugar will caramelize to a nice golden color. This is the only tricky step to making a caramel pudding. Once the sugar turns golden remove the pot from the   stove as the residual heat will continue to cook the sugar some more and you don't want burnt sugar. That's just wrong. 

Working quickly but carefully pour the golden caramel into a 9 inch cake pan. The sugar is very very very hot at this stage and will burn if it comes into contact with skin.

After pouring the caramel, soak the pot in warm water. This makes for an easier clean up afterwards.
Now onto the next stage...Gather all the ingredients. Make sure the cream cheese is at room temperature, that way it'll mix easily with the other ingredients.

And blend...

Pour into the cake pan with caramel already in it.

Bake in a water bath. This just means that you put the cake pan in a bigger dish and pour boiling water that'll come upto about 1/3rd to 1/2 of the pan. Don't go over board with the water as you don't want any to get into your pudding mixture.

Insert a clean knife into the pudding after 1 hour and 15 minutes. If the knife comes out clean your caramel pudding is ready. If the pudding still seems liquidy give it 10 more minutes and check again. You do not, I repeat, do not want to overcook the pudding. There's nothing worse than a hard, rubbery pudding. Take it from someone who knows. When you take out the pudding it should wiggle a little when you shake it.

I tested to see if it was done a couple of times. Hence the marks on the surface. But the pudding will be flipped and will look pristine and no one will be able to tell.

Once the pudding cools down run a knife along the edges. Then place a flat plate on top of the baking dish and flip it over in one single motion. The pudding should fall right out. This takes a little practice. But, hey, even if it breaks it'll still taste great.

Chill for at least 4 hours to over night. Slice off a piece and enjoy.
 Didn't I tell you it was gonna be easy. :)

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Thai Flavored Whole Fish

I absolutely LOVE cooking whole fish. Although I mostly make fish curries, sometimes it feels good to have something a little different. The fish here is deep fried and then cooked using Thai ingredients that provides for an amazingly light yet flavorful sauce.     

I've used croaker for this recipe but feel free to use any white fish of your choice like tilapia or snapper. 


Prep time: 10 min
Cook time: 30 min

Juice of 1 lime
Rice flour (Use corn starch or regular flour if you don't have rice flour on hand)
1 cup oil for deep frying

1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon Sriracha (thai chili sauce)
1 tablespoon sweet chili sauce
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1/2 teaspoon dark soy sauce (dark soy sauce is a sweeter, thicker version of regular soy sauce) (optional)
2 green chillies (don't slit the chillies if like your food less spicy )
1/4 cup water 
1/2 cup basil leaves 

Clean the fish really well and pat dry with a paper towel. Put 2-3 deep gashes into each of the sides of the fish at an angle. Make sure the gashes are at least an inch apart from each other or the fish will break when frying. Now rub the juice of one lime and salt (according to taste) on the fish and leave it to marinate for 10 minutes. Don't forget to rub some juice on the insides as well. 

 After marinating, sprinkle enough rice flour to gently coat the fish, shake off excess flour and deep fry till the fish is cooked completely. A perfectly fried fish will have crispy skin and the slashes will open up.

One great tip about frying fish- never flip the fish too early otherwise it will stick to the pan and break. Give each side 3-5 minutes before flipping over gently. 

Dry the fish on paper towel after you've fried it and heat up 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan large enough to hold the fish. Put all the other ingredients except for the basil and cook for 2/3 minutes. Add a small amount of water (about 1/4 cup) if the sauce starts to stick to the pot. Stir constantly while the sauce is cooking and taste test to see if it needs more salt. Now, add the fish and cook uncovered for 5 minutes on each side. 

The fish will soak up all the lovely flavors of the sauce within a few minutes and a few minutes before taking it off the heat add Thai basil. Regular basil works fine too but the subtle aroma of Thai basil enhances the flavor so much more that it's worth getting some. 

This fish is best served warm with enough rice to mop up all that delicious sauce.

As always.. ENJOY!! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Beef Patties

I've started dental school last week. :)
Things aren't crazy busy yet but it's getting there.God knows when I might be able to post again. Before I take a short break I wanted to post a recipe one of my dear friends (you know who you are!!) has been asking for. This is one of those dishes very close to my heart. "Google" it you'll find Jamaican beef patties everywhere but not the Bengali kind. The kind of beef patties I grew up with were made with a spicy mince meat filling inside a puff pastry crust. The meat is cooked first with different spices, made into triangular shaped patties, and then baked for 20 minutes. Once made, the unbaked ones can be stored in the freezer for 3-4 weeks but in my house they rarely last that long. Without further ado, here's the recipe.

Beef Patties 

Makes 25-27

Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 20 min
Bake time: 20 min

Minced Meat(Keema in Bengali)- 1 lb
Oil- 2 tablespoons
Medium sized onion- 1
Green chili- 4
Ground pepper- 1/2 teaspoon
Soy sauce- 2 tablespoons
oyster sauce- 2 tablespoons
Ginger paste- 2 tablespoons
Garlic paste- 3 tablespoons
Cumin powder- 1/2 teaspoon
Salt- 1/4 teaspoon
Corn flour- 1 tablespoon
Store bought puff pastry sheets

To make the filling slice a medium onion into thin half moon shaped slices.

 Fry in oil till they are translucent and barely start to get color.

Then add the minced meat and all the other ingredients except for the corn starch and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes, till the meat is cooked completely.

Add the corn starch 3-5 minutes before taking the pot off the heat and make sure to cool the filling first before making patties. Adding the corn starch will ensure that the filling sticks together as opposed to crumbling apart.

Now that the filling's ready, it's time to take out the pastry.

I use Pepperidge Farm puff pastry sheets when I'm making this. Each box has two sheets and from each sheet you get 18 patties. So for a pound of meat, I use one and a half boxes which makes 27 patties.

First thaw the sheets according to package directions and open up the folds. I usually do one sheet at a time. Lay it flat on a surface and cut into 9 pieces following the folds.

Place about 1 tablespoon of the cooked minced meat mixture on each square.

Seal the edges really well forming little triangles.

Here's another random shot of a few more right before they head to the oven.

Bake at 425 degrees F for 20-25 minutes till they get a vibrant golden color. Pick your favorite condiment and enjoy!! :)