Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dal Makhani (Creamy Black Lentils)

Dal Makhani is a traditional North Indian signature dish that is not only high in protein but is also very delicious. This particular black dal (Lentil) along with kidney beans is cooked on low flame & cream and/or butter is added to it for the lovely creamy texture. This dal is usually served with Tandoori Roti, Naan (types of indian breads) and even rice. This is the one of the most popular dishes ordered in Indian restaurants.

I made this today for lunch and we all enjoyed it with tandoori roti, salad and pickle. And ofcourse, there had to be a dessert after the meal. So I made all time favorite- Gulab Jamun. (Click to see the recipe)

All in all- a hearty meal. I am sure you will agree with me after looking at the pictures.

The whole spices that are added to the dal gives lovely aroma and taste. Cinnamon sticks, green cardamom, black cardamom, bay leaves are those wonderful, aromatic spices. Now you can imagine how delicious your lunch or dinner going to be when you prepare this dish.

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)

1 cup black lentils (called whole urad dal)
1/4 cup red kidney beans (soaked for 2-3 hours in water)
6 cups water
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp butter
3 tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1 medium onion
2 tomatoes
2 green chillies
1 tbsp chopped ginger
1-2 cloves chopped garlic
1 no. black cardamom
2 nos green cardamom
2 small sticks of cinnamon
1-2 small bay leaves
pinch of asafoetida
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp garam masala
salt and red chilli powder- to taste
1 tbsp of cream - for garnish
few coriander leaves- for garnish

1. Pressure cook dal and kidney beans with salt, black cardamom, green cardamom and cinnamon sticks for about 20 minutes on medium low flame. When you open the lid, check to make sure the kidney beans are soft and tender. If they are not, cook on low flame until they are done. You can add more water at this time depending on the amount of water left in the dal.
2. Add the heavy cream to the dal and let it cook on low flame while stirring in between.
3. In a food chopper, finely chop onions, tomatoes, green chillies and garlic cloves together.
4. In a pan, heat 3 tbsp of ghee, add asafoetida and cumin seeds. When cumin seeds starts to change the color, add the bay leaves and ginger. Stir for 10-15 seconds and add the chopped onion tomato mixture.
5. Cook the onion tomatoes mixture for about 8-10 minutes and then add all the dry spices (salt, red chilli powder, coriander powder and garam masala). You can add a tbsp of water if the mixture is dry. Let the mixture cook while stirring until the ghee starts to leave from the sides. Switch off the gas.
6. Add the prepared mixture to the dal and mix well. Let dal cook for another 10-12 minutes on low flame. The dal when done should have a thick creamy texture.
7. Add the butter in the end and mix well.

Garnish with cream and coriander leaves right before serving. Serve hot with Roti, Naan, Parantha or Rice.

Enjoy! :)

And yess....Don't forget to send your entries for the ongoing "Spring Event: with a $35 giveaway!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sugar Glazed Doughnuts

Firstly I want to remind you all of the on-going $35 giveaway event at my blog which is there until 15th March. So get creative and submit some of your nice entries soon. I look forward to review and enjoy all your recipes. 

Now coming to today's post......Sugar Glazed Doughnuts!! I know, I know...u would think so much calories...right? But it's alright once in a while! You can't say "NO" to a doughnut! Can you? I certainly can't. These super soft doughnuts, covered with glazed sugar just melts in your mouth as you bite. My father-in-law likes doughnuts and I decided to gives these a try and surprise him with these home-made doughnuts during tea-time in the evening. Everyone loved and enjoyed the doughnuts and that leaves me excited and happy :)

I didn't know that making doughnuts at home were so easy. I looked up 2-3 websites and liked one video at youtube about the doughnuts recipe. I tweaked the recipe just a little bit and made these. Now we don't need to go to Dunkin Doughnuts anymore, we can make better doughnuts right here at our home and so can you with this super easy recipe.


Here is the recipe ( Click here for printable version)

1/4 cup warm water (100 degrees temperature)
1/2 package (1 + 1/8 tsp) active dry yeast
2 cups all purpose flour
1 egg
3/4 cup warm milk (100 degrees temperature)
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp butter or margarine (at room temperature)

For Sugar Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk (use water for transparent glaze)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp softened butter

1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, add 1/4 cup of warm water, 2 tbsp sugar and yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes. The water will become frothy and that ensures that yeast is active.
2. Stir in the lightly beaten egg, butter and warm milk.
3. Add the all purpose flour and knead using the spiral dough hook. Knead until the dough starts to clean the sides of the bowl and is very soft and elastic.
4. Add the dough to a greased bowl, cover and leave for 1 hour or until dough is doubled in bulk.
5. Punch down the dough and roll it to a large rectangle on a floured surface. Using doughnut cutter or cookie cutter or the bottle lids (that's what I used) cut the doughnut rounds and holes (using smaller sauce bottle cover if you are using lids)
6. Collect the scraps, roll it out again and cut more doughnut rounds until all of the dough is used up. I ended up with 14 doughnuts. Leave them again for 30 minutes to puff up.
7. Heat oil in a pan. You need about 1/2 inch of oil not much. Fry doughnuts until light and evenly browned from both sides. Fry all of them and keep on a paper towel to remove excess oil.

For Glaze
1. Put all the ingredients together in a bowl and mix for about 3-4 minutes. It will be smooth and have a shiny glaze.

Now dip doughnuts in the glaze from both sides and keep in a tray. The sugar syrup will settle down in a few minutes. Enjoy the super soft, super delicious and super easy (Too much super? :) ) SUPER doughnuts!! :D

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Announcement- An Event with a $35 Giveaway!

I am so excited that I am going to host my first event in the blogging world. I have participated in a lot of events before and have won two of them with CSN stores gift cards. Have u guys shopped at their stores? They are amazing and have such a vast collection.You can literally buy anything and everything under one roof whether its bakeware, gadgets, small & big appliances to flat panel TV stands. I am enjoying my mixer and panini maker that I bought from their site and plan to shop more. :)

When CSN stores contacted me with an interest to sponsor a giveaway through my blog, I immediately accepted it. Why wouldn't I want to host a giveaway for my dear readers when I know the excitement of winning the same? :)

Instead of urging you all to comment or become my follower ( which I believe you will become if you love my blog), I want you all to get creative, participate in the event. The winner will be chosen based on their creativity in cooking/baking and not by the random number generator.  My inlaws are visiting us here and both of them will be involved in the selection along with my husband.

Since Spring has just kicked in and brought this beautiful weather, I thought how about we chose the theme as "Spring"!!  I am sure we all imagine colors, flowers, beautiful leaves, freshly planted plants and veggies in the garden..right? So all you got to do is put your imagination to work and cook or bake anything that shows that Spring is here.....Bake anything in the color and shape of flower or leaves; anything vibrant, cook any spring favorite dishes, colorful pops to beautiful gorgeous looking desserts to cookies...there are so many things that you can do!

Event rules:

1. 2 entries per person are allowed. Archived entries can be used only if they are reposted with a new date and a link to this event.
2. Link you entry to this page.
3. Use of logo is mandatory.
4. Only vegetarian entries are allowed (eggs are fine)

5. Submit your entries to my email with the following details:

Your Name:
Post title:
Post url:
Image: (size should not be more than 300 pixels)

I will post the roundup and the winner on 16th of March 2011. So get your creative juices together and start cooking/baking :)) Enjoy Spring :)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Valentine Treat- Red Velvet Cake

I hope all of you had a wonderful Valentine's day with your valentine. I had an awesome day. As always my husband made me feel special with different surprises all day and took me for dinner to an exotic restaurant and my gift was special too :)). As I love to read, my husband gifted me this very thoughtful gift, e-reader called Kindle :)

I too tried to make the day special for him. Apart from the gift, I made special lunch for him and also baked the heart shaped red velvet cake for him. He was pleasantly surprised and loved the cake.Cake not only turned out delicious but beautiful too. As the name says, this cake has a dramatic red color which is usually offset by the white cream icing. I did some little decoration with whatever little time I had in hand before my husband could show up for lunch :)

I was going over the recipes from different sites and loved the presentation and recipe at Wilton's site. I followed the recipe as is from there and the results were gorgeous. I recently order the basic cake decorating set from Wilton and tried a couple of designing tips from there.While working with disposable icing bags (in Wilton set) not only the cake but my clothes ate the icing too :D  Hoping to improve with each bake.

Look at the vibrant and beautiful red color with layer of delicious butter-cream icing in between. This is the first time I made the butter-cream icing. It turned out smooth and delicious and very easy to work with.

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tbsp cocoa
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp red icing color
1/2 tbsp white vinegar

For Icing
1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter softened
1 tsp clear vanilla extract ( i just used the regular vanilla extract)
3 cups powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp milk (depending on the consistency you prefer, medium or thin)
Makes 3 cups of icing. Extra can be stored in refrigerator for upto 2 weeks.

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degree F. Prepare about greasing a 9 inch round pan.
2. In a bowl, sift together flour, cocoa and salt. Keep aside.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar and vanilla extract until light and fluffy.
4. Add the eggs and red icing color; mix well.
5. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the butter mixture, blending until well blended. Stir baking soda into vinegar and fold into the batter carefully.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting the cake onto cooling rack. Then cool completely.

In a large bowl, cream shortening and butter with the electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, 1 cup at a time, beating well at medium speed. When all sugar has been mixed, icing will appear dry. Add milk, 1 tbsp at a time and beat well until icing is fluffy and creamy. Keep the icing refrigerated until ready to use.

Assembling the Cake
1. Level the cake by scraping the sides and the top. Then cut the cake into half horizontally using a serrated knife.
2. Spread some icing in between and put the two layers together. Cover the cake completely with icing and smooth it out using flat spatula. Decorate as you please using colors of your choice.

Cool the cake in the refrigerator for a while before slicing. Then...Dig in!! :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Walnut-White Chocolate Cappuccino Biscotti

This is my first post this month. We were so tied up all last week with travelling, getting stuck in storm :D and entertaining some friends for the super bowl. While our friends and my DH watched the game, I entertained myself in the kitchen by making appetizers for everyone. I would any day prefer to be cooking/baking than watching football. I know most of u would hate me for saying that, but I just don't get to like this game. :)

Request for biscotti's came from my husband who totally loves having it with his coffee and whenever I bake, I give him a box full to keep in his office drawer which he can munch on while attending some boring conference calls This time I wanted to bake different flavors and decided on cappuccino biscotti and I started getting ingredients together, walnuts and white chocolate chips joined the list with a hint of cinnamon which made these biscotti's taste super delicious.

Do try these flavors and I am sure you are gonna love it. Whether you are someone who likes to nibble on the biscotti's or dunk in the coffee, these perfectly baked cookies are gonna steal your heart.

Here is the recipe (Click here for printable version)

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup sugar
2 tbsp melted butter
2 eggs
2 tbsp milk
2 tbsp + 1 tsp instant coffee/espresso powder
3/4 cup walnuts (chopped and toasted)
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350 degree F. Spread on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Let cool and chop coarsely
2. In a bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, coffee powder and salt.
3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, using the paddle attachment,beat the eggs and vanilla extract until combined (about 30 seconds). Add melted butter, milk and sugar, beat until combined
4. Add the flour mixture and beat until a stiff but sticky dough forms, adding walnuts and chocolate chips halfway through mixing
5. With floured hands, divide the dough in half and shape each half into a 10 x 2 inches log on the greased baking sheet with spacing in between as logs will spread during baking
6.Bake for about 25-30 minutes or until firm to touch. Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes
7.Using a sharp serrated knife, cut the logs into 3/4 inch (2 cm) wide slices
8. Arrange the slices cut side down on the baking sheet and bake for 5-7 minutes on each side. Remove from oven and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Dunk them in your favorite coffee or munch on them as is. They are delicious and make a perfect afternoon snack.

Going directly to Champa's Bake Off.
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