Friday, July 25, 2014

Steamed Chicken Momos: A Healthy Anytime Snack!

(Adapted from Veg Recipes of India: Steamed Veg Momos)

This week I am posting a favorite street snack: steamed momos. Momos are basically steamed dumplings stuffed with a lightly spiced filling.

The filling can be both vegetarian or non-vegetarian. On our recent trip to Darjeeling, we ate momos galore. I was even planning to lug home a momo-steamer all the way from Kurseong but the hubby knocked some sense into my head. He promised that he would buy one for me in Kolkata.
But the momo bug had bit me and I started hunting around for the perfect, easy recipe. Voila! found just the one in my fave blog Veg Recipes of India. You can find the recipe here.

Here is the recipe, my way:

Ingredients:

Makes about 8 momos

For the momo base:
All purpose flour/Maida: 1 cup
White Oil: 2 tablespoon
Water to knead the dough
For the filling:
Minced chicken: 320 grams (vegetarians can use grated paneer and sweet corn)
Onions: 2 medium (chopped fine)
Ginger (chopped): 1/2 tsp
Garlic (chopped): 1 tsp
Spring onions (chopped fine): 2 tablespoon (optional)
Oil: 1 and a half tsp
Salt to taste
Pepper(crushed): 1/4th tsp
Sugar: a pinch
Vinegar: 1/2 tsp
Soya sauce: 1/2 tsp
For the chilli-garlic sauce:
Dried red chilli: 5-6
Garlic: 6 cloves
Tomato ketchup: 3 tablespoon
Salt: to taste

Process:

1. First knead the dough. Add enough water so that the dough is smooth and pliable but not sticky. Set aside for 30 minutes, covered with a wet cloth.
2. Chop all the ingredients for the filling.
3. Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions and fry for a minute. Next, add the ginger and garlic. Fry for another minute. 
4. Add the chicken mince. (Vegetarian options are grated paneer and sweet corn.)

5. Add salt, sugar, pepper, vinegar, and soy sauce. Stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Add about 1/4th cup water and cook covered at medium heat.


6. Take off the gas and set aside to cool.

7. Now take the dough and divide it into 8 equal pieces.

8. Sprinkle a little maida on the work surface. Roll one roundel of dough into a roti. The thickness of the roti should not be too thick, neither too thin. If the dough is too thin, then it will tear when filled with stuffing.

9. Place one tablespoon of the dough in the center of the roti.
10. Smear the ends of the roti with water. Fold the roti into half.

11. Pinch the edges of the seam like a gujiya. To make it look good I pressed the edges with a fork. This step is optional. Mold the rest of the dough ball into momos. Cover with a damp towel to prevent drying.

12. Now its time to steam the momos. Since I don't have a momo steamer, I used my idli steamer. Pour two cups of water into the steamer and let the water come to a boil.
13. Place a perforated vessel inside the steamer. I used my rice strainer. Grease the perforated vessel and place the momos in that. Cover with the lid and steam for 7 minutes.


14. Remove from the steamer.

15. To prepare the chilli-garlic sauce, de-seed the chillies to remove the hotness quotient. Immerse the chillies in hot water for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, discard the water and grind the chillies and garlic to a fine paste. Add tomato ketchup to the paste. Add more salt if required.

Enjoy steaming hot momos with fiery chilli-garlic sauce.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Restaurant Review: Southern Aminia

This week I am posting a restaurant review. Last week, it was my hubby's birthday, so my parents decided to celebrate his birthday in advance by treating us to a Biryani lunch.

We were planning to visit Arsalan, when the birthday boy suggested we try out Southern Aminia. I was under a wrong impression that this is solely a take away joint. I was pleasantly surprised to find a cozy restaurant on the second floor.

The restaurant is situated close to Golpark and is quite easy to locate.

The interiors are done up with comfy sofas and wrought-iron furniture. The d├ęcor gives a cheerful feel.

 
Southern Aminia
57, Ballygunge Gardens, Gol Park, Kolkata.   
Pocket pinch for two: INR 400-450
 
 
The menu is quite reasonably priced. You can order the ususal favorites, namely biryani and Chicken/Mutton Chaap. Also a number of kebabs and side dishes.
 
The menu card
To our disappointment, we could not order the Aminia Special chicken dish. They said the this dish can be ordered only in their New Market outlet (near the Elite movie theatre).
 
I went in for the Mutton Biryani (INR 140)...my eternal favorite!
 
Mutton Biryani
My parents decided to share a plate of Chicken Awadhi Biryani (INR 255).
 
check the beautiful...Chicken Awadhi Biryani!
 
My little S, settled for Tandoori rotis (INR 10/piece) and a plate of Chicken Rezala (INR 120).
 
Hubby man ordered for Tandoori rotis with a plate of aromatic Mutton Tawa Chaap (INR 150).
 
Tandoori rotis, Mutton Tawa Chaap, and Chicken Rezala
 
The biryani, I need write nothing about. All those who have had biryani at any outlet of Aminia can vouch for it. Though the Mutton Biryani was a tad bit greasy, I just threw the calories to the wind and tucked in with gusto! The Chicken Rezala was in a delicate white gravy and not all spicy. It is the only dish that my little one will have!!!
 
But the star of the ceremony was the Mutton Tawa Chaap. It was fragrant and the meat was beautifully tender.
 
For dessert we ordered for Mango Phirni, which was the season's selection. The Mango Phirni was delectable, totally melt-in-the mouth! We all loved it. Little S had two phirnis!!
 
 
All in all, it was gala feast for the taste buds. I would highly recommend this outlet for any family outing. This foodie-joint is roomy, the food is good, and the service is prompt! :)



                               

Friday, July 4, 2014

Petit Pains Au Lait (Little Buns of Milk)

(Bread # 17: We Knead to Bake)


The monsoons have hit Kolkata with a vengeance. Its raining torrentially almost every evening. And my little S feels the saddest because she is not able to play in the park. Almost everyday it rains when it time for her to go to the park!!!!

To cheer her up, we (her Dad and I) play all sorts of indoor games with her. When its raining hard outside, we all feel like munching on all sorts of snacks. So pakoras, muri-maakha, chire bhaaja, and other such savories are being made almost every evening. So its crunchy-munchy time, all the time...calories can go for a toss.

This recipe was Bread # 17 at the We Knead to Bake group. I had bookmarked the recipe for a long time but one thing led to another and I never got around to posting the recipe.

Petit pains au lait literally means little buns of milk. These buns or rolls are made up of milk and butter. I mean literally, only milk....no water is added to the dough. As a result, you get a lovely rich consistency and pillowy soft buns. They are relatively easy to make.


 

These buns are designed to make them look very pretty. Take a look at this video to see how to create the pattern. Also, see this video.

I referred to Aparna's detailed recipe that you can view here. I also referred to the original recipe here.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

2/3 cup warm milk (you might need a little more; I used toned milk)
1 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup sugar
1 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup bread flour*(If you don’t have bread flour, put 2/3 tsp vital wheat gluten in your 3/4 cup measure and top up with all-purpose flour. Mix this well.
If you don’t have vital wheat gluten, then just use 3/4 cup all-purpose flour.)
1/4 tsp salt
60gm butter, soft at room temperature ( I used a little more than half of a 100 gram bar of Amul butter)
Extra milk for brushing
Pearl sugar for topping (optional)  (I used normal granulated sugar)
 

Process:

You can knead by hand or use a machine. I used my hand food processor. Put the warm milk, yeast and sugar in the bowl. Pulse a couple of times to mix. Then add all the flour and the salt and run the processor until it looks crumbly. Add the butter and knead until you have a soft, smooth and elastic dough that’s not sticky. Add a little more milk (in teaspoonful at a time), if your dough is dry, until you have the required consistency of dough.

 




Shape the dough into a ball and place it in an oiled bowl, turning it over to coat with oil. Cover loosely and set aside to rise until double in volume. This should take about 1 1/2 hours.

 
 
 


Turn the dough out onto your working surface. You shouldn’t need any flour, but if you feel the need, just lightly dust your palms with it. Deflate the dough gently, and divide it into 10 equal pieces. Let them rest for 15 minutes.

Roll out each piece of dough, one at a time, into a circle about 4” in diameter.
 
Slowly roll up the circle from one end, Swiss roll/ jelly roll style into a cylinder.

 
Pinch the seam closed neatly, and place them on a greased or parchment lined baking sheet with the seam side facing down. Cover loosely and let them rise for an hour or so till almost double in size.
 
Brush them lightly with milk and using a pair of sharp scissors, make diagonal cuts (not too deep) on the top of the rolls. Sprinkle pearl sugar/ granulated sugar.





Pre-heat the oven for 10 minutes at 200C. Bake them at 200C (400F) for about 15 minutes or so until they’re golden brown. Let them cool on a rack. Serve them warm or at room temperature with coffee or chilled flavoured milk, or at breakfast.



This recipe makes 10 Petit Pains au Lait. They’re best eaten the same day, though you could warm them up and serve the next day.
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Eggless Zebra Cake

(Recipe inspired from Eggless Chocolate Cake: Edible Garden)


I just baked a cake quickly in the morning today. It was so easy that I decided to blog about it. This cake looks as good as it tastes. This cake is known as a zebra cake. Don't be turned off by the name. No zebras were harmed in the making of this one! The name is derived from the stripes on this cake.  Similar to the stripes on the body of a zebra.


My little daughter has named this a "tiger" cake. According to her, the stripes are yellow and dark brown, just like a tiger's body. :)

It is essentially a very simple cake. I used the eggless chocolate cake recipe from Edible Garden. You can find the recipe here.You just need to make two batters: chocolate and vanilla.

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the chocolate batter:

1 and a 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar
3 tbsp of cocoa powder
1/4 cup of neutral oil
1 cup of cold milk/water
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tbsp of white vineger / apple cider vinegar / lemon juice
A pinch of salt


For the vanilla batter:

1 and a 1/2 cups + 3 tbsp. of all-purpose flour
1 cup of sugar  
1/4 cup of neutral oil
1 cup of cold milk/water
1 tsp of baking soda
1 tsp of vanilla extract 
1/2 tsp orange essence (optional) 
1 tbsp of white vineger / apple cider vinegar / lemon juice
A pinch of salt

Process:

1. Mix all the ingredients for the vanilla batter. Keep it aside. Next mix all the ingredients for a chocolate batter.
chocolate and vanilla batters
 
2. Now grease the cake tin and line it with butter paper (optional).
3. Pour a spoonful of batter in the center of the tin.

4. Now pour a spoonful of chocolate batter in the very center of the vanilla batter.


5. Repeat the same process. Place vanilla and chocolate batter alternatively.


6. Pour the batter alternatively till your batter is used up.

7. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees C for 10 minutes. Place the cake tin in the warm oven. Bake for 40 minutes at 180 degrees C.

8. Take the cake out of the oven. Let it cool down. De-mold when you are able to touch it.


9. Slice and enjoy with chocolate sauce.


 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Savory Pies: A Crunchy Snack!

This week I am posting a recipe, that I had made for my little S's birthday party. These little pies are really tasty and yummy finger foods.



Previously, I had made jam tarts a number of times. But had not tried savory pies or tarts as yet. Actually, I was looking for an easy recipe for a base (or tart shells) for the tarts that was not sweet.

Finally, I got a very easy recipe for short crust pastry base from Nigella Lawson's website. You can find the recipe here.

Once, my pastry base was in place, the stuffing was no challenge at all. I used the pizza sauce that I make at home and some chicken keema curry as the stuffing. Needless to say, the pies were a big hit with the kids.

Most of S's friends asked for a second....even a third helping of the pies. :)

Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

For the pizza sauce:
Tomatoes: 2
Garlic (chopped fine): 4-5 cloves of garlic
Salt: to taste
Sugar: to taste
Crushed black pepper: a pinch
Mixed herbs (rosemary, basil, and thyme): 1/4th teaspoon
Oil (olive oil or any neutral oil): 1 tsp


For the short crust pastry base:
Maida/ all purpose flour: 2 and a half cups
Salt: 1 teaspoon
Butter: 1 cup (chopped into pieces)
Cold water: 8 tablespoons
Oil for greasing the molds


For the stuffing:
Chicken keema curry: 1 small bowl (vegetarians can use paneer bhurji or soya keema curry)
Cheddar cheese (grated): 1/2 cup
Mozzarella cheese: 1/2 cup


Process:


Preparing the tomato pizza sauce:
1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. When the oil is heated, add the chopped garlic and stir till u get a lovely aroma of garlic. Do not over-fry or else the garlic will get burnt.
3. Next add the chopped tomatoes. Stir fry for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add salt and sugar. Cover and let cook on a medium flame. After 2 minutes, remove cover and stir. The tomatoes would have released water and become mushy. If your sauce appears dryish, at this time, you can add 2 tablespoons of tomato ketchup.
5. Once the sauce has thickened, add the mixed herbs and crushed black pepper. Take off the flame and keep aside to cool.

Preparing the short crust pastry base (or tart shell):
1. Before preparing the base, keep the plate u will use for kneading the dough, in the fridge. If you will use a stand mixer, keep the dough hooks and the mixer bowl in the fridge. This is necessary because the vessel that you need to knead dough has to be cold. Also use chilled water to knead the dough.
2. Take the Maida/APF in the chilled plate. Add salt and the cold chopped butter to the flour and mix using you fingers/ pulse on low speed in your stand mixer using the dough hook. The butter should be mixed uniformly with the dry flour uniformly. The flour, at this point, will resemble bread crumbs.
3. Now add chilled water and knead into a firm but soft dough. Wrap the dough ball with cling film and keep it in the fridge for 30 minutes.




In case you want to bake the pies the next day, you can keep the dough stored in the fridge. This dough keeps very well for 3-4 days in the fridge. Whenever you want piping hot pies, just remove the dough from the fridge, keep outside for 10 minutes and then prepare the pies. Voila!

Assembling the pies:
1. Take a small lemon-size ball from the dough. Roll the ball into a roti of about 1/4th inch thickness.



2. For baking pies. You need small ramekins. I use tin ramekins.


3. Place the base inside the ramekin and press down the sides.



4. Place a teaspoon of pizza sauce on top of the base.

5. Now add a teaspoon full of stuffing (chicken keema curry in my case). Add grated cheeses on top. Add a pinch of oregano on top (optional).

6. Cover the pie with a another piece of the dough rolled like a roti. Press down the sides.



7. Place a small cut on the surface of the piece. This is essential to help release the steam when the pie is cooking.

8. Preheat the oven at 200 degrees C for 10 minutes.

9. Bake the pies for 20 minutes or till the top is slightly golden-brown.

10. Take out of oven. Serve warm. :)










Friday, June 6, 2014

Darjeeling: A Food Journey

This post does not have any recipe, for the simple reason that I was out on a trip to Darjeeling for the past one week. Well, Darjeeling is a well-known hill-station located about 6,730 ft above sea-level. Strangely enough, it was my first trip there though I have been visiting Kolkata once every year since I was a kid!

To reach Darjeeling, we took a train from Sealdah Station to NJP (New Jalpaiguri). Then on, we took a road trip to reach Darjeeling.


Round and round the winding hill road took us first to Kurseong and then to the Darjeeling town. As we were reaching higher elevations, the weather took on a delicious chill. Once, we reached our destination, we crashed on to the bed...so tired we were! My ever-enthusiastic hubby and Dad decided that they would try out the local eatery joint for lunch. The rest of us opted to order pizza because we did not have the mettle to walk on the hilly roads to explore local cuisine.

Next morning, hubby and I decided to explore the food-life of the Darjeeling town. Now, I love baking, so baked goodies are always close to my heart. We visited the famed "Glenary's" that is famous for cakes and bakes. The array of food was...Wow!

The array at Glenary's
The view from this foodie joint is amazing. Sitting at your table, you can get a panoramic view of the hills around you.

The view
We ordered for a Black Forest Pastry and a Chocolate Truffle pastry. The taste was yummmmm! I will let the picture do all the talking.


I have had Black Forest Pastry several times before, but the taste of this pastry was out-of-this-world! The cherries used were fresh, not the tinned variety!

Next day, I was geared up for checking out the local cuisine. After a hectic morning of sight-seeing, we set out to look for a small joint where we can taste the local food. We found such a small joint called "Shang's" near the Mall. Here we ordered for Chicken Thukpa, plain steamed rice, and Chilli Pork. The steaming bowl of Thukpa that was set in front of me was large enough to feed four people! The star attraction of the meal was the Chilli Pork. It was tangy, spicy, and very well-cooked.

Capturing the Chilli Pork before the plate gets polished off!
 The Darjeeling town has that old-time nostalgia. You will be able to feel that British influence in the architecture, food, and even the people. Scattered throughout the city, you will find small cafes, where you will sip coffee, and simple chill out. Time passes slowly and there is no rushing madness of Metro cities.


That night, we decided to haunt Glenary's once again...but this time, the restro-bar of Glenary's. The interiors of the restro-bar are done up nicely with a grandfather clock in the center of the room. The gentry is also nice, even though it is a bar. A cute foreigner couple took some pictures of the both of us. Here we had the famous Roasted Ham with French Fries and a couple of cute hot-dog buns.


The ham was succulent and the gravy was to-die-for. The buns were pillowy-soft!

No trip to Glenary's can be complete without having dessert. We opted for Chocolate Brownies topped with Chocolate Sauce and Ice-cream. The best part was that after having a plate of Roast Ham and two plates of dessert, our pocket pinch was just INR 560!


No description of Darjeeling can be complete without the description of the famous Darjeeling Tea. There are many tea-gardens in and around the town.

In the heart of the Darjeeling Mall, you can find the Golden Tip Tea Bar. The Tea Bar was an entirely new concept for me. The interiors are done up nicely with cane furniture, giving it a very cosy look. Just walk in and order any kind of tea you want!


The Managing Director of this firm is a tea-taster himself. Here, you can enjoy nearly 15-16 varieties of tea. 

The varieties of tea being displayed for tea-tasting
A cup of Orange Pekoe: poetry in a cup!
 In Golden Tip, you get aromatic teas of every variety. My parents opted for lemon tea, which they loved!

We rounded off our food journey with a visit to Keventer's, the historical food joint where a scene from the iconic movie "Kanchanjunga" was shot by the legendary Satyajit Ray.


We were so excited to sit at the very table where Ray shot his scene. This is also the spot where a scene from the movie Barfi was shot! 
Satyajit Ray shooting the iconic scene in Keventer's
The food in Keventer's is legendary...just like the place. This place is so popular that we could not find any table for breakfast in the morning. So, planned to have some lovely coffee with fried sausages and ham in the evening.

Fried sausage and ham
Thus ended our food journey in Darjeeling. When you visit here, don't just limit yourself to momos and Thukpa. Explore the food....you will be delighted!