Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Something new something fresh - AGAIN

A couple years ago , I started a weekly series on my blog called " Cooking with friends "and brought something new something fresh to you every Wednesday, It was very well received and popular series and so I am back with it yet again:))

As I said back then , "Cooking for family, friends and fun is integral to my blog, this is where I publish stories and recipes around the three.Today I begin, a weekly feature on my blog Cooking with friends. Every Wednesday, I will feature a friend of mine and her wonderful recipe:)). I am very excited and hope you all enjoy reading it as well. "

Today's chef is my friend Mehnaz . We have a lot in common - the alphabet M in our names, our passion for cooking and love of food , our zodiac signs , the biggest year of our lives( we became moms within 2 days of each other, last year), and too many other things to discuss here. shes an absolute sweetheart and I feel lucky to have a person that's so pure of heart, as my friend .You get the drift right ? Every year on Id, biryani, sevaiyaan and kebabs are a must haves at her place -she runs out of food within minutes and I am never surprised.

Mehnaz and I at our combined baby shower last year

Today, I will share another one of her recipes which is finger licking good -Roghan Josh.

the story behind the dish -Roghan josh is an an aromatic lamb dish and is Kashmiri by origin.Originally Rogan josh was brought to Kashmir by the Mughals. Characteristically, by Kashmiri interpretation, the name Roghan josh is derived from the word rogan meaning color and josh meaning either passion or low-moderate heat and the dish classically involves slow cooking at moderate heat for prolonged period of time. Powdered chillies are never used but essentially an extract of grinded chillies devoid of seeds. Kashmiri chillies being mild do impart, at least partially the red color and yet still keep the food mildly hot, but the real color of the dish is attributed to the extract from dried flowers.Classically, garlic paste and paste of a local variety of shallots fried before grinding called prawn locally in Kashmir is typically as essential as is saffron, but a wide array of spices go into the making of this dish.( wikipedia.)

You need:
1 whole chicken, skin removed, cut into pieces.
1/4 cup desi ghee or oil
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced ginger
5-6 finely chopped green chili’s
2 cups finely chopped coriander leaves/hara dhania/Cilantro
6-8 crushed Almonds
6-8 crushed Cashew nuts
1 ¼ Cup hung curd
Few saffron (Kesar/zafran) strands
3-4 drops kewra water
1 teaspoon garam masala powder
1 cup crispy fried onions (crushed)
2-3 teaspoon coriander seeds (roasted and crushed)
Salt to taste

This is how you make it:

Marinate the chicken with hung curd, chopped green chilies, coriander, salt, crushed almonds and cashews. Set it aside for an hour. Heat oil or ghee in a skillet or karahi and sauté ginger garlic paste for 1 minute.Add marinated chicken (only pieces) to it, continue to fry until they turn brown.Add the remaining marinade, cover and cook on medium for 30 to 45min until the oil begins to leave the edges of the pan and gravy starts to get thick and creamy.Mix fried onions (crushed), coriander seeds (roasted and crushed), saffron and Kewra in a separate bowl.Then add the mixture to the gravy, cover and cook on low for 10 minutes. Add water if curry gets too dry.Garnish it with shredded ginger.

You can make Roghan josh with lamb or chicken . And you ask me why it was finger licking good. Look at the picture-enough said ! Serve this delectable Roghan josh with naan or rice.

Roghan Josh

Until next week , stay happy but not hungry. Also, try cooking with your friends - its a lot of fun :)

Pumpkin Cheesecake

"A pumpkin(Pie, cookie or Ice cream) a day, keeps the doctor away"

The Pumpkin mania begins before Halloween. Pumpkin spice for cookies & soups, pumpkin spice lattes at Starbucks , beauteous pumpkins everywhere at doorsteps, stores , offices. After peaking at Halloween this transcends into pumpkin pies and various desserts for Thanksgiving.

Definitely had to make pumpkin something this year - maybe a cheesecake. But before that I needed to know why do we eat pumpkin pies and desserts for Thanksgiving . Here's why, " The pilgrims probably didn't have pumpkin pie per se at the first Thanksgiving because they didn't have an oven to bake the crust in. This squash, which dates back 9,000 years to Mexico, had been cultivated by the Native Americans for centuries, roasted or boiled for survival. The pilgrims might have made stewed pumpkin by filling the shell with a mixture of orange flesh, milk, honey and spices and baking it in ashes, but the first pumpkin pie did not appear until 1670."(courtesy: organic authority.)

Alright then ...with my curiosity satiated, I quickly scrambled for a way to bake my cheesecake. Thanks to Paula Deen, I found just the one . It was scrumptious and made me smile. Oh, the joy of trying wonderful new recipes .

You need :
1 and 3/4 cups graham crackers
3 tbsp light brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 stick melted butter

3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

This is how you make it:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

For crust:In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch spring form pan. Set aside. (Disclaimer : I was strapped for time so did not make the crust, but used a store bought one.)

For filling: Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place in oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.

Make sure to really watch out for the cake otherwise it will get burnt. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream

Pumpkin Cheese Cake

Green bean Salad

So you have seen -warm wild rice salad and garlic mashed potatoes thus far. Today I present before you - Green Bean Salad

A clear family favorite, this recipe pops up without fail during our Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations and on countless days during year. WHY...you ask? Being quite health conscious , I really need to know why I am eating something (a logic I conveniently forget on days when I eat myself into oblivion on holidays). Beans are very good source of fiber ,vitamins , minerals and plant derived micro nutrients (most importantly Iron) and most of all - very low in calories , so guilt free eating. Makes for a happy Moi:)

The crunch of the walnuts , onion coupled with tartness of the Dijon mustard elevate it several levels and take it from the slightly boring , bland bean to a multi dimensional casserole/salad.

Go ahead , try this and Iam sure you will love it. Thank you to Ellie Krieger (food network) whose recipe this is:)

You need :
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed
2 tablespoons chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
2 tablespoons chopped red onion
2 teaspoons walnut oil or olive oil
1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper

This is how you make it :
Bring a large pot of water with a steamer basket to a boil, add green beans and steam for about 4 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl.
Toast the walnuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat until they become fragrant, about 2 minutes, and then transfer them to a small bowl to cool. Add the parsley and onion to the walnuts and stir to combine.

In another small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar and mustard. Toss the dressing with the green beans, top with the walnut mixture and season with salt and pepper.

Serve warm or at room temperature. Stay healthy and Enjoy

Green Bean Salad

Coming up- Pumpkin cheesecake, butternut squash soup, Cranberry chutney, turkey .

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Garlic mashed potatoes

Hopefully you will try the previous dish and enjoy it . Now, on to the next. How can any Thanksgiving meal be complete without a potatoes or sweet potatoes?

Here's my version of the quintessential mashed potato dish ..... Garlic mashed potatoes

You need :
2 tbsp garlic paste
Olive oil
2 pounds russet potatoes -boiled
Salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
5 tablespoons butter
3/4 cup heavy cream
chopped chives for garnish

This is how you make it :

Boil the russet potatoes and add some salt . Cook until tender and once done , mash them until smooth. Keep them aside. In the meantime , heat butter and cream until butter melts. Add the garlic paste and potatoes and cook well. Season with salt and pepper and garnish with chopped chives. Serve immediately.

These turned out so yummy , enjoy:)

Garlic mashed potatoes

Coming up next - butternut squash soup.

Warm Wild Rice Salad

After waking up from the a food coma and shopping till I drop at Black Friday sales, I am back here to get started with the all recipes from my thanks giving dinner . Are you ready ? So without further ado, lets get started.

Today it is warm wild rice salad. This recipe is from the Food Network, courtesy the Neely's) I tried this for the first time and I assure this will not be the last time. Yummy and so easy to cook , I am glad I decided to include it in this year's thanksgiving menu .

You need :
3 1/2 cups water
2 cups rice (1 cup long-grain wild rice and 1 cup brown rice
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced celery
1/2 cup diced carrots
1/2 red bell pepper
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup slivered almond
3/4 cup frozen peas
1and 1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley leaves (I used corriander leaves)

This is how you make it:

Bring 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil in large saucepan. Add rice and reduce heat to medium. Cook until just tender about 35 to 40 minutes. Fluff with a fork when ready. In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter. Add onions, celery, carrots, peppers, salt and pepper. Saute until softened, about 5 minutes.

In a separate pan over medium-low heat, toast almonds. Stir occasionally until browned. Add peas and red pepper flakes to the vegetables. Add rice to skillet. Mix together and allow to cook for a few minutes. Remove from pan. Add almonds and top with parsley

A very healthy and perfect side dish to the star of the show ...the thanksgiving turkey :))

Warm wild rice salad

Coming up next - Roasted garlic mashed potatoes

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving

May your stuffing be tasty
May your turkey plump,
May your potatoes and gravy
Have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
And your pies take the prize,
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
Stay off your thighs!
~Author Unknown

A very happy thanksgiving to all of you. May you remember this day every year that you have a lot to be thankful for :))
Here's the thanksgiving meal I cooked today - turkey, butternut squashsoup, green beans with walnuts(in mustard dressing), cranberry salsa, warm wild rice salad, roasted garlic ,mashed potatoes and pumpkin cheesecake (recipes follow soon :)

What was your thanksgiving meal like ?

Tuesday, November 01, 2011


Diwali harks the beginning of the the Festival season that goes on nonstop till the end of the year . So excited its here ! With celebrations comes guilt free eating and for me that guilty pleasure would be mithai. I will repent later but for now I have to have all that ooey-gooey sweet delicious-ness.

This year, I wanted to try something new so I went looking for some inspiration. Wait....!!! How about that kesari served at the local south Indian restaurant(which shall remain nameless here) . I skipped past the pineapple and the mango version and decided to stick with just plain kesari for now. Lets see how this turns out and then I shallst get more adventurous.

You need:Sooji/Rava/Semolina -1/2 cup
Sugar-1/2 cup
Water-1 cup
Ghee- 2 tbsp
Saffron- a few strands
Milk-3 tbsp
Chopped dry fruits(raisins, pistachios, almonds)
Cherry- 1 (for garnish)

This is how you make it:
Soak saffron in warm milk.Heat ghee in a pan , roast the dry fruits and keep aside. Now, roast the rava in the pan( in the ghee still left in the pan) for about 6 minutes . Add the saffron milk mixture, water and keep stirring to avoid lump formation. Fold in the sugar and cook . Add the roasted nuts , stir a little bit more and take it off the stove. Garnish with glazed cherry and serve.

I offered this as bhog(oblation) for the Diwali pooja and got glowing reviews from my friends and neighbors as well . I loved that the saffron/kesar imparted a vibrant yellow color to the kesari-so festive!

Kesari - Mission Successful

An offering to Goddess Lakshmi for Diwali

Try it and let me know how your kesari turned out. Happy mithai making.


Hope you had a happy happy Halloween :)

Watch this space as I return with more recipes, reviews ,stories and series ..
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