Thursday, 31 December 2015

Bhappa Doi ( Baked Yogurt ) with Spiced Orange Syrup

Bhappa Doi-Baked Yogurt with Spiced Orange Syrup - A traditional Bengali dessert with a twist, in this recipe baked yogurt is served with an exotic spiced orange syrup! The good thing about this dessert is that it can be made ahead. 

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

Vegan Oven Baked Butternut Squash, Spinach and Coconut Biryani #richbriyani #indianricedish #vegan

Me and my sonny boy love rice, but do not favour Biryani, where my daughter and husband  love flavoured rice and Biryani too! Every now and then request comes from them and steaming hot Biryanis comes out straight from my kitchen, but for me and sonny boy needs something else along with Biryani to fill our tummy.

It's not that because Biryanis are rich and laden with calories, but we find Biryani a bit hard to swallow. I find Biryani rice too dry for my liking, almost my chest starts to hurt, however I haven't stopped making Biryani for daughter and husband as they both love it !

I have been making various kind of  Biryanis with vegetables, potatoes and  Paneer, sometimes with with koftas too. It kind of gets boring too as always 3-4 kind of same vegetable I have been using like cauliflower, carrots, capsicum and green beans.

This Christmas holiday as usual daughter asked for Biryani and obviously husband second that idea, and we prepared Butternut Squash, Spinach and Coconut Biryani, okay it's not authentic and traditional way I prepared, also we added totally different kind of vegetables, as I love to celebrate those veg and fruits while they are in season. Also added coconut milk, so this Biryani is totally vegan and coconut milk gives the rice in this dish a yummy creamy flavour and texture, for me it was much better to swallow each and every grain!

Although Butternut Squash, Spinch and Coconut Biryani was prepared with different method and different vegetables, still the flavours of the Biryani were magnificent. It was rich, aromatic and tasteful. Whole spices, vegetables, coconut milk blend really well and the entire mix was a great treat for all of us, actually daughter kept having consecutively over a few days!

You will need :-

  • 500 g good quality Basmati rice washed, soaked and drained for 20 minutes.
  • 250 g butternut squash or pumpkin - peeled, deseeded and chopped 
  • 250 g baby spinach
  • 1x400 ml coconut milk
  • 2 large onion ( 1 thinly chopped and 1 make in paste )
  • 5-6 cloves garlic paste
  • 1 tbsp. ginger paste
  • 2 tbsp. whole spice ( cloves, cinnamon, bayleaves, black cardamom, green cardamom. star anise, shahi jeera )
  • 3 tbsp. oil
  • 2 tbsp. red chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. garam masala
  • 1 tbsp. kitchen king masala
  •  1 tsp. nutmeg, black pepper and cardamom powder ( optional )
  • 3 tbsp. almond and poppy seeds paste 
  • 1/2 tsp. saffron threads
  • 5-6 tbsp. whole almonds or cashews 
  • 50 g raisins 
  • 1 tbsp. kewra water
  • 1 tbsp. fried onion
  • Fresh leaves of mint
  • Salt to taste
Method :-
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6. ( 200C )
In a large saucepan heat oil, add all the whole spices, once they crackle add thinly spiced onion.
Gently cook the onion and spices for 3-4 minutes, then add onion paste.
Continuously keep cooking for 2-3 minutes and add garlic and ginger paste.
sauté this mixture for another 1-2 minutes, add red chilli powder, garam masala, kitchen king masala and nutmeg, black pepper and cardamom powder.
Add almond and poppy seeds paste and salt.
Add butternut squash and spinach, mix well.
Add 3-4 tbsp. water.
Cook the mixture for 1-2 minute.
Turn off the heat and add kewra water.
Mix the saffron, coconut milk and 1/4 cup water.
Bring it to the boil and leave it aside.
Spoon half of the vegetable mixture into a  oven proof dish, skillet or casserole.
Top with the half of the rice and sprinkle almonds, raisins and fried onion.
Repeat with another layer of the remaining vegetables, the rest of the rice and almonds and raisins.
Now carefully pour coconut milk and saffron mixture over the rice and vegetables.
Cover tightly with foil and bake for 40 minutes until the rice has absorbed all the liquid and is tender.
Garnish Biryani with fresh mint leaves and fried onion.
Serve steamy and piping hot Biryani with fried papad, dollop of yogurt and Cranberry, orange and mango chutney with Indian Tadka.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Cranberry, Orange and Mango Sauce or Chutney with Indian Tadka ! #christmasmenu #christmasdinner #christmasfun #snow #cranberrysauce #indiantadka #jcookingodyssey

The glory and beauty of this wonderful season is something we all can share together. JCO wishes their readers   a very Merry Christmas !

Has weather man has dampen your mood ? As you might have guessed by now what I am talking talking about. Yep, the chance of there being a white Christmas in 2015 are very slim. chances of  snow on Christmas day are pretty much zero, but mercury won't reach zero ! It's odd we are having quite mild temperatures during December, well let's leave this debate for the weatherman !

Who doesn't love snow, but when you have too much, snow causes a hell of a nightmare, so I am more than happy to not to meet snow yet. After all whether it snows on Christmas or not should not matter too much, as Christmas spirit is all about caring and sharing, while we all relaxing in our home with loved ones, whether overindulging on mince pies and hot cocoa , excitingly opening presents or simply celebrating the biggest day of the year with joy , there are millions who celebrate the spirit of the season in different way .

People are working for public service like police, nurses, doctors, or fighting for our country, for them things don't stop happening just because it's Christmas ! They don't celebrate Christmas in traditional way and not everyone is sitting round a turkey. So let's celebrate Christmas, and keep all those in our prayers and celebrate Christmas sensibly and salute them for their hard work.

Now there is less than 24 hours left for the Christmas day, we have already set the menu. We are going to have a vegetarian Christmas Dinner, since last year our daughter has taken charge in preparing whole menu herself, this year going to be same as well. It will be various kind of nut roast, all the trimmings, spuds, cranberry sauce and delicious yule log and oh yes some mean mince pies with cream and custard too :P

Recently I read somewhere that Turkey and cranberry sauce definitely came over from America. We always used to buy ready made cranberry sauce until past couple of years, since we started getting fresh cranberries I have made couple of variety of sauce and pickle, last year I prepared Cranberry  and Fresh Turmeric pickle and traditional sauce for christmas day. Because I have ( matter of bad habit ) played with the recipe and tried out new flavours to the traditional Cranberry sauce. Obviously being an Indian origin love to add spices and Indian tadka is my favourite thing to do :)

This Cranberry, Orange and mango sauce perfectly goes with any Indian meal . Also this chutney transforms an ordinary cheese and biscuit snack into something special too. we had with Nut Roast Biryani. !

You will need :-

  • 250 g fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 small cooking apple peeled and chopped
  • 1 orange ( zest and juiced )
  • 100 g sugar
  • 50 g mango chutney
  • 1 tsp. red chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp. dry ginger powder
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. kalonji ( onion seeds )
  • small bark of cinnamon 
Method :-
Place cooking apple, orange juice , sugar, cinnamon and zest in a sauce pan.
Heat on a mediunm heat until sugar dissolves.
Now add cranberries and cook everyhting about 8-10 minutes.
Add chilli powder and ginger and cook further for one minute.
In a small saucepan, heat oil and add kalonji.
Once kalonji crackle pour mixture over the sauce.
Mix well and let it cool.
Serve and enjoy !

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Eggless Saffron Clementine and Mixed Spice Buns #Christmastreat #Christmasbreakfast #yummy #christmasaroma

There is not long to go now until Christmas ! As the day is approaching , the excitement is building up amongst  the family members no matter what age, the child like thrills are evident !

I hope you have made visits to your local supermarkets with big long scribbled shopping grocery list, must be there are a few ingredients on the list which are hard to pronounce.  Can't blame anyone, as we all have desire to create something complex, elegant and delicious on Christmas for our family ! I did mine yesterday, spent almost two hours in the supermarket and now fully prepared for  Peeling, Chopping, stuffing, roasting, boiling, flaming and baking - Christmas can feel like the ultimate taste of the kitchen !

We are a good bunch of foodies and love to cook and that means the kitchen is the hub in the home. Especially this time of the year, copious festive dishes are flowing from the kitchen. It could be variety of mains, lunches or breakfasts and everything obviously baking up a storm in the kitchen, because many moments of togetherness happen around food !

Along with so many festive treats, just few days back I baked Saffron, Clementine and Mixed Spice Buns for the breakfast. Few years back ( before I started writing this blog ) I baked Traditional Cinnamon Buns, it was a long due and started thinking about Christmas goodies in like summer time and my phone had a note of pinpoint ideas written down. Lol, but being foodie and blogger I wanted some changes in the recipe.  So used Mixed Spice instead of just Cinnamon, also brought out Christmassy flavours by adding Clementine zest in the dough and filling too, obviously glorious citrus flavours and warm spice creates a perfect Christmas ambiance. And being Indian by origin I never forget to make over or tweak a recipe to make it more Indianized!

We Indians take great pride in cooking with saffron, The worlds's priciest spice, actually costs similar or sometimes more than 24ct. gold. We Indian bloggers love to show off, we elaborately sprinkle on our dishes and post those recipes on our blogs :D

So, In the end this saffron and mixed spices buns were created in my kitchen. I made two type of recipes, Saffron and Mix spice Buns and Clementine and Mix spice Buns. Baking without eggs normally a great challenge for me, somehow with these buns I did not even realize that I am baking anything. Kitchen and entire house was filled with beautiful spiced and citrus-sy scent when they were baking.

Clementine and Mix spice buns, I coated them in Mix spice sugar and for Saffron and Mix Spice Buns I glazed them in saffron glaze. Delicious and decadent homemade spiraled Christmas buns are so soft. Whole family enjoyed both the flavours equally these mouthwatering buns at breakfast.  They were incredibly moreish, fantastic with a cuppa.

You will need :-  Dry mixture for the dough

  • 3 cup strong white bread flour
  • 1 cup wholewheat flour
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 2 tbsp. fast action yeast
  • 4 tbsp. caster sugar

Method :- Dry dough mixture
Mix well everything and make equally two portions in two different bowl.. Leave it aside.

You will need :- wet mixture

  • 6 tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1 cup full fat milk
  • 1/4 cup single cream
  • 2 tbsp. flax seeds powder  or meal
  • 1 tbsp. clementine zest
  • 1/4 tsp. saffron threads 

Method :-
In a pan heat milk and cream, stir butter and flax seeds meal.
Divide into two equal portions.
Take both flour bowl, in one add zest and another saffron.
Pour in the milk mixture in to each bowl and stir well until it forms a soft and sticky dough.
Tip the dough onto lightly oiled surface and knead the dough for 10 minutes. ( I used my food processor with dough hook )
Transfer the both dough into two different lightly oiled bowl and cover with the clean kitchen towel for about 45 to 50 minutes in a warm place or until it doubles in size.

You will need :- Filling 

  • 6 tbsp. butter 
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup golden brown sugar
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 3 tbsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. ground mix spice ( nutmeg, clove, ginger, cardamom and star anise )
  • 1 tbsp. zest of clementine or orange
  • 1/2 tsp. ground saffron
Method :-
Mix all the ingredients except butter, zest and saffron.
Again divide this sugar mixture equally.
In one portion add zest and in another one add saffron.
Mix and leave it aside.

Method :- Assemble the bun
Brush the cavity of a 12 muffin pan with the melted butter. Set aside to rest for 15 minutes.
Coat the cavity with generous amount of sugar, remove the excess sugar by tapping and leave the pan aside.
Tip out the risen dough on a clean and lightly floured surface.
Dust your hands and rolling pin into flour.
Roll it out into rectangle measuring 14"x10"x .
Melt the 6 tbsp. butter and brush across the rolled on both dough.
On zest dough spread zesty sugar mixture evenly and on saffron dough spread saffron sugar mixture evenly.
Starting with the long edge, roll up the dough into long sausage shape. ( both dough )
Gently roll with your hands and stretch up up to 16" .
Cut into even pieces.
Place cut pieces into sugar prepared muffin pan.
Cover the muffin pan with clean kitchen towel and leave it in a warm place for 30 minutes or until buns puffed up.
Mean while pre heat the oven to gas mark 4-5.
Once buns are ready to go in the oven gently brush butter on them and sprinkle some demerara sugar.
Place in the oven and bake for 18-20 minutes or until nice and brown.
Remove from the oven and leave it in the pan for another 10 minutes.
Turn out on the cooling rack and decorate how you want.
I coated some in spiced sugar and some with the glaze.

You will need :- Mix spice sugar
  • 3 tbsp. sugar
  • 1 tbsp. caster sugar
  • 1 tbsp. mixed spice
Method :- Mix everything.

You will need :- Saffron glaze 
  • Pinch ground saffron
  • 2 tsp. cold water
  • 4-6 tbsp. icing sugar
Method :-
Mix everything and leave it aside.

Ready to eat :-
Once buns are lightly cooled one by one roll them out in a mixed spice sugar.
Drizzle saffron icing over the buns and let it set for 5 minutes.

Enjoy !!

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Monday, 21 December 2015

Carrot, Daikon and Sesame Salad - Gajar, Mooli and Til Kachumbar #salad #healthy #jcookingodyssey

Salads are not only for summers. Whatever the weather, Salads always get a warm welcome on our table and they get the opportunity to brighten up our meals. We can devour salads at lunch, dinner or sometimes as snacks too. It could be warm or cold, cooked or raw, it could be light and simple or it could be one pot meal salad..and it could be totally leaf free too , in a nut shell we are a salad loving family.

Salad don't have to be green, there are an abundance of ingredients available in our kitchen to make flavoursome , healthy and filling salads. In winter there are plenty of root vegetables available and all year round grains, nuts and seeds make salads more inviting.

Carrot, Daikon and sesame salad is hugely appreciated by family members, especially daughter every visit she makes home, this salad is always there for her. We load this salad on our plates as if it's a main. It's divinely simple to prepare but utterly delicious to eat. The beauty of this salad is that it's colourful with simple ingredients to create a wonderful combination.

Lightly nutty, mildly spiced and lots of fresh lemon juice and finely chopped coriander adds the wow factor, Oh this salad soooooo gorgeous ! We can't imagine a more delicious way to eat Carrot and Daikon. The End !

You will need :-

  • 100 g daikon ( peeled and grated ) I used food processor to get matchstick size 
  • 100 g carrots  ( peeled and grated )
  • 2 tbsp. sesame seeds ( white or black ) I used both
  • 1 tsp. oil
  • 1/4 tsp. mustard and cumin seeds
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cut very mild green chilly ( optional )
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • Handful finely chopped coriander.
Method :-
Sprinkle some salt and cut green chilly on grated daikon and carrots.
Heat oil in a small pan, add mustard and cumin seeds.
Once they crackle add sesame seeds.
Once sesame seeds pops pour everything on salad mixture.
Add lemon juice and mix well.
Sprinkle coriander and serve with any meal or eat on it's own.
Enjoy !

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)

Sunday, 20 December 2015

Tofu, Mango and Coconut Curry #vegan #tofu #curry #mildandtasty #jcookingodyssey

Tofu, Mango and Coconut Curry, it's vegan, creamy and mild, so ticks all of your boxes ! In my last post, I promised my readers a curry recipe, so here goes.

It was tangy, mildly sweet and very light. Each mouth full tasted better than the last and the amazing taste surprised us all. The tofu absorbed the flavours really well.

My daughter made this at uni week or so ago, she saw the recipe in a food magazine that made it with Chicken, so she replaced it with Tofu and added little bit of spices. She liked it so much that she said we all had to eat it once again she is at home.  Also this dish is so easy to prepare, not many ingredients needed and done in a jiffy, so perfect for cooks short on time.

So made just over the weekend for lunch and it was hit with everyone, pleased to see an empty pan within a few minutes.

Note :- You can replace the tofu with Paneer.

You will need :-

  • 1 packet of firm tofu ( 396g)
  • 1 x 230 g spicy mango chutney 
  • 1 x 400 ml tin coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. oil
  • 1 white onion chopped
  • 1 garlic clove crushed
  • 1/2 tsp. red chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp. white pepper powder
  • salt to taste
  • handful of fresh curry leaves
Method :-
Remove tofu from the packaging and drain all the water.
Keep tofu in kitchen paper and put something heavy so all the water comes out. ( for 20-25 minutes )
Cut into large cubes.
Heat one tablespoon oil, add the cut tofu and cook until golden all over. 
Remove from the pan and leave it aside.
In the same pan add onion and saute for 3-4 minutes.
Now stir in crushed garlic and chilli flakes.
After 30 seconds add just half the mango chutney to the pan and mix well.
Add coconut milk, and fried tofu.
Bring it to boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Stir in little more chutney ( we did not ) if needed and add salt.
Mix well.
Heat remaining oil in a small pan, add the curry leaves and fry for 30 seconds or until crisps.
Serve hot curry in a bowl, arrange fried curry leaves on top and sprinkle chilli flakes if you like.
Serve with piping hot plain basmati rice.

Thank you for stopping by and reading this post ! We hope to see you again soon :)