Friday, 30 January, 2009

Quick and Easy Chocolate Cake

An easy and quick to make Chocolate cake using sweetened concentrated milk, soft and spongy, excellent with a cup of black coffee.

200g black chocolate
100g butter
3 eggs
200g sweetened concentrated milk
60g all purpose flour (sifted)
2 tsp baking powder

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C.

Grease a round baking tray ( I used a 26cm diameter mold) with butter and dust with flour.

Break the chocolate into small chips. Cut the butter into small cubes.

Melt the chocolate and the butter in a microwave or classically in a bain-marie until a smooth and homogeneous mixture is obtained.

In another bowl, whip the eggs until you get a foamy beige mixture; add the sweetened concentrated milk and continue whipping.

When it has been well incorporated, add the melted chocolate mixture and whip everything.

Add the sifted flour along with the baking powder and mix it all thoroughly.

Pour it all in the greased baking tray and bake for about 10 to 15 minutes.

Transfer it to a wire rack when warm and let it cool.

Happy Tea time!

Vadava Thuvayal (Vadavam Chutney)

½ of a whole fresh coconut cut into small pieces
3 tbsp vadavam
4 cups coriander leaves ( washed and chopped roughly)
1 lime size tamarind (seedless)
6 red chilies (or more according to taste)
4 tbsp sesame oil ( more if necessary)
1 tsp sugar
Salt to taste

Fry in a tbsp of oil the coconut slices until brown.
Fry likewise separately the red chilies, vadavam and the coriander leaves in a tbsp of oil per ingredient.
Let everything cool down completely.
Grind all the above to a coarse paste along with the sugar, salt and the tamarind.(Note: If you need the thuvayal a liitle more moist, then add some more oil when you grind).
This thuvayal goes well with all vegetarian rice varieties like Lemon Rice, Curd Rice, Kattu Sore but also with Dosai/Idli


Idli is one of the most nutritious and popular breakfast dish in South India, which seems to exist ever since the 18th century. The richness and the diversity of India’s culture opens out to innumerable Indian Breakfast dishes like Dosai, Aappam, Idiaappam, Puttu, Pongal, Vadai, Poori, Chapati, Upma, Uthaappam, Sojji, Curd rice, Kichdi in South India and the uncountable varieties from the other states of our rich mother India like Aloo Poha, Besan Ki Roti, Gobhi Paratha, Roti, Pav Usal, Pyaz Ki Kachori, Sabudana Kichdi, Thepla and so on.....and these are only the Breakfast items....

As a South Indian, I naturally love to eat these rice and lentils based idlis, not only for breakfast but also for a light dinner (accompanied with some Meat/Fish curries),here below with Pork Vindaloo as they are not only delicious but also nourishing and easily digestible because of the fermentation process. They are traditionally accompanied by Sambhar (rich lentils based vegetable curry), Coconut chutney (simply and naturally coconut) and tamarind based chutneys of different varieties.
Though the grinding and the preparation might be a little fastidious, it is easier to cook once the batter has been grinded in the right proportion and it can be refrigerated very well for few days.

1 cup raw rice
2 cup parboiled rice
1 cup split skinless Black gram dhal
Salt to taste

Wash both the rice together in water. Drain and then add enough water to immerse the rice completely. Let it soak for about 5 to 6 hours.

Soak the black gram dhal separately for the same lapse of time.

Remove the black gram from the water and grind to a smooth and fluffy batter by adding very little water in a wet grinder for about half an hour or until you get the smooth consistency. Set it aside.

Grind likewise the soaked rice and stir together both the mixtures along with the salt (which is very important for the fermentation).

Keep this mixture in a wide and big vessel (as the batter rises up after fermentation) in a warm place overnight or until the batter triples it’s original volume.

After the fermentation, pour the batter in idli molds and pressure cook without the weight for about 20 minutes.

Serve hot with any curries/chutneys/ pickles.
Below with Vadava Thuvayal(Vadavam Chutney)Dosai, Idli, Idli Podi, Sambhar, Vadava Thuvayal
Note: the batter can be refrigerated until re used. The consistency of the batter for idlis should be neither too thin nor too thick. The same batter can be used to make dosai by thinning it a little with water. Though in India the fermentation is very easy and quick, here, it is a big problem because of the chlorinated water and the iodized salt which destroy the wild yeast necessary for the fermentation. Try to use non-iodized salts like (Rock salt) and try adding a tbsp of fenugreek seeds along with the black gram dhal, which contains the wild yeast for easy fermentation.
For people who don’t have wet grinders, you can do the same with a mixture of Rice flour (Cream of Rice) and Urad Flour (Black gram flour) readily available in the markets.

Thursday, 29 January, 2009

Fried Chicken Kebabs

As soon as I saw the picture of the recipe in a magazine called “Vie Pratique Gourmand”, I wanted to try it for yesterday’s dinner. All of us at home love to eat grilled or skewed meats simply with some hot rice with just a little bit soy on top. So, naturally, I went in and all of them loved it, except one, me (always searching for the perfect taste).

The recipe is fine and I’ll definitely do it once again for a meal and also when I want to do some aperitifs, BUT, I prefer making slight modifications to the recipe (see at the end of the post)See Here
I like the meat juicier in the inside and crunchy at the outside, and I’d prefer grilling instead of pan-frying. And moreover, I planned to do it in smaller sizes, but I ended up with giant size kebabs which tasted good but I don’t know, it looks somewhat bizarrely sexy....yeah it is, for me anyway!!!!

Ingredients: (for 6)
600g boneless and skinless chicken
Butter for frying
Sweet and sour sauce
Japanese Sweet soy sauce

For the Marinade:
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
2 shallots
1 garlic pod
2 eggs
50g breadcrumbs
Salt & Pepper (as needed)

Mince the chicken. Peel and mince the shallots and the garlic.
In a bowl, add the above along with the rest of the marinade ingredients and mix everything well. Rectify the taste if necessary.
Take a lemon size amount of the above mixture and flatten it around each skewer. (It can be done easily with wet hands). Do the same for the rest of the ingredients and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Heat the butter on medium flame, in a non-stick pan, and fry for about 10 minutes until golden brown on all sides, by turning them gently with a slotted spoon.
Drizzle some sweet soy sauce on top and serve at once with some hot rice along with the sweet and sour sauce.

The variation I prefer:

Preheat the oven to 190°C.
Add 2 tbsp more of the sesame oil to the above ingredients and mix all the ingredients as they are except the eggs and the bread crumbs.
Flatten them around the skewers and refrigerate.
Beat the eggs, dip each kebab in the beaten eggs, roll it over the breadcrumbs and grill at 190°C for about 20 - 30 minutes or until done.

Drizzle with the sweet soy sauce, sprinkle some roasted sesame seeds and serve hot. Mmmm…, that’s much better!

Note: Chicken can be substituted by veal, mutton and pork (juicier than any other meat) or turkey.

Tuesday, 27 January, 2009

Shrimp Vermicelli Salad

This is something perfect for a light, balanced lunch, as it contains very little oil, a good amount of starch in the vermicelli, the fiber and the vitamins necessary for the body in the vegetables and fruit, a good source of protein in the Shrimps, which are low in calories and saturated fats (which tend to boost the cholesterol level in the body) unlike most of the meats which are not only rich in proteins but which tend to be very high in calories and the saturated fats. What else do we need?
I find it soft and crunchy at the same time, sweet and sour, refreshing and stomach-filling, and moreover easy, light and simple to make.

400g Rice Vermicelli
500g big Prawns (I had only some shrimps)
400g Bean sprouts
400g carrots
1 Grapefruit
Coriander leaves and mint leaves for garnish
For the seasoning:
4 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp soya sauce
5 tbsp lime juice
1 tbsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp sugar
2 Chilies cut into tiny circles (optional)
2 tbsp sesame oil

Cook the vermicelli according to the instructions ( cook for about 5 - 7 minutes in salted boiling water and rinse with cold water) Drain well.
Cook the Prawns/Shrimps in the boiling water and drain.
Peel and chop the carrots lengthwise in juliennes. Wash the bean sprouts and drain.
Extract the pulp from the grapefruit and cut them into small quarters.
Clean and chop the coriander and mint leaves.
Prepare the seasoning sauce with all the ingredients under seasoning. Correct if necessary according to taste.
Put all the ingredients except the vermicelli in a big bowl and mix everything together.
Serve in individual bowls, the vermicelli first, followed by the mixed ingredients;
Top with the fresh herbs and serve it along with the seasoning sauce for further addition according to the needs.

Note: Hesitate not to combine other ingredients like cucumber, spring onions, boiled shredded chicken, beef, Pork, hearts of palm, roasted peanuts or sesame seeds, lettuce leaves according to your tastes.

Monday, 26 January, 2009

Happy Republic Day to all Indians around the Globe!!

59 years have passed since the constitution of India came into force and when India became a truly sovereign country on the 26th January 1950…, one of the most important days in Indian history, the day Mahatma Gandhi and many other freedom fighters realized their dreams.

In spite of the cultural diversity and unfortunately the different difficulties faced by our country, I am proud to believe in the strength, unity, hard work, simplicity and the patriotism of our people to overcome the drawbacks of our country and to bring the whole country up in force.

It's my India and my Pride.

Happy Republic Day to all Indians out there!

Chocolate Profiteroles

The Choux pastry called “Pâte à choux” which is much easier to make compared to the other classical pastries is the base of this popular French dessert.
The scrumptious taste of the light, crunchy and airy choux pastry filled with a wickedly rich and good quality vanilla ice cream with the gorgeous rich hot chocolate sauce topping makes this highly caloric but a heavenly rich treat to be made on special occasions for special people.

Ingredients: (for 4)
For the Choux pastry:
125g all purpose flour
100g butter
4 eggs
1 tsp sugar
A pinch of salt

For the filling:
4 portions of good quality vanilla ice cream

For the chocolate sauce:
125g good quality dark chocolate
30g butter
2 tbsp milk

The Choux Pastry
Preheat the oven to 180° C.
Combine 250ml of water with the sugar, the salt and the butter in a small casserole.
Heat the mixture just until the butter melts and as soon as it comes to boil, remove from the heat and add all the flour at once while stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon or a whisk until the mixture becomes smooth.
Heat it once again on medium flame by stirring continuously until the mixture leaves the sides of the vessel clean. It takes less than a minute to do this.
Remove from the fire and add the eggs one by one by beating thoroughly after each addition.

Line a baking sheet with a parchment paper, spoon small amounts of the mixture, around the size of a walnut (they double the size in the oven) onto the baking tray, by leaving enough space in between each one of them.
Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. They should be puffed and golden and should resist to the pressure of a finger when pressed.
Remove from the oven allow them to cool completely.

The chocolate sauce:

Break the chocolate into small pieces and heat them on low flame along with the butter and the milk. Stir with a wooden spoon to make them smooth without any lumps.


Split the choux pastry horizontally (the upper part, into two by leaving a little bit to hold the cap of the pastry.
Fill up the hollow part of the inner part with the ice cream, close and drizzle the hot chocolate sauce on top of the pastries. Enjoy!

Note: The Profiteroles are classically filled with vanilla ice cream but it can be very well replaced by any other flavors like coffee, baileys or nutty butter brittle which would be nothing but a pure delight.

Mussels in saffron cream sauce

Ever since I tasted this preparation for the first time,it has become my favorite and only way of preparing the mussels. It always gathers a big success at home , which all of us love to eat, especially my teddies, not only because of the yummy preparation of their darling mother (It’s me, yeah, me) but also because it’s so easy for them to finish ( no dragging at the table, no saying “Maman, je ne veux plus…” “Papa, j’ ai trop mangé” etc) and because they find it interesting to eat with their hands and also for the French fries which accompany the dish.

Cheap and nutritious, about 55 calories per 100g mussels they are a great source of protein, vitamin B12, calcium, zinc, iron and metabolism-boosting selenium, and are so easy to cook yet absolutely succulent when cooked in a rich and unctuous sauce flavored with white wine, fresh herbs, cream and saffron resulting in a delicious seafood treat, which always makes us come back to the pot for more.

Hope you'll enjoy this dish with your family as much as we do.

4 kg Mussels (Count 4kg for 6 persons) (We are 4 at home, I used 4kg, there was not a single mussel left in the pot at the end of the meal, so… reduce or increase according to your needs)
1 bouquet garni
(If you don’t have then place 1 bay leaf, 3 sprigs of thyme, 4 large parsley leaves with the stalks and 10 cm celery stalk with leaves, on a 10 cm sized green leek. Cover with another piece of green leek. Tie securely with a string, leaving a length of string attached so that the bouquet garni can be easily removed after cooking).
150g fresh cream
750 ml dry white wine
75 g butter
2 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp powdered saffron strands
¼ tsp Pepper
A handful each of fresh coriander and basil leaves
5 egg yolks ( optional)
80 ml cognac (optional)


Clean properly the mussels (Scrub with a stiff brush, then pull off / remove the beards . Place the mussels in very cold water and rub the shells together to remove any remaining debris. Rinse in several changes of cold water. Discard any mussels that stay open, cracked shells.)
Put them all in a big casserole along with the bouquet garni and the wine.
Cook closed on high flame until all the mussels are wide open.
Remove and strain through a muslin lined colander and separate the soup from the mussels and reserve.
Peel and chop the onions and the shallots very finely.
In a pan, add the butter, the onions and the shallots and gently soften the onions, add the reserved soup and reduce it on low flame, for about 30 minutes. Add the curry powder, the saffron and the whipped cream while whipping continuously. Add the mussels and all the fresh chopped herbs and cook for another 3 minutes on very low flame without letting the sauce boil.

Serve it piping hot, as soon as it is done, in individual bowls with some French fries.

Best with a White Côtes de Blaye or a Bougogne Aligoté. Bon Apétit!

Note: Whipping 5 egg yolks and 80ml of cognac along with the fresh cream and adding to the reduced sauce adds more richness to this sauce.

Sunday, 25 January, 2009

Lemonade Award

An award passed to me by dear blogger friends Vibaas, Malar Gandhi and Sanghi thank you so much, I feel proud to receive it from bloggers like you.

Saturday, 24 January, 2009

Crescent Biscuits

It’s a recipe from Christine’s Christhummm, that reminded me of those Nilaa Biscuits (Moon Biscuits, and that’s how I called it) that I loved to eat in my childhood days. I remember seeing them in some bakeries in Pondicherry in the name of “Venna Biscuit” (Ghee Biscuit). I suppose we get it even these days, I am not sure….. Any way, this has become one of my favorite recipes to be treasured, and that gourmets like me have to try, to do and re do for their loved ones.
These moon shaped biscuits are so spongy soft and fluffy but at the same time the almonds add a slight crunchy texture to these simple and easy-to-make biscuits.
If ever you wish to try these, all that I can suggest is to just make more than you think you will eat, because I am certain that there’ll be second and third servings of these soft, melting and powdery biscuits. Needless to say that my teddies and Hum Hum love to have them for tea time.
Ingredients: (quantity for about 25 biscuits it depends on the size you make, I did them in giant sizes for 4 gourmets)
150 g all purpose flour
8 g baking powder
63 g granulated sugar
2 egg yolks at room temperature (I added one more for a smoother and velvety texture) Vegetarians can substitute an egg by 3 ½ Tbsp of whole milk, but I can’t guarantee the same finish, as the top surface of the cookies tend to crack and they don’t come out smooth if no yolks are added.
100g butter cut into small cubes
63g skinned and powdered almonds

Preheat the oven to 170°C (Th.4 or 5)
Mix everything together and knead to form a soft and smooth dough. It took me about 10 minutes (Using a machine can shorten and facilitate the process) to get it done.
Take about 2 tbsps of the dough and shape it to form a crescent or any other form you prefer and place it on a greased or lined baking tray. Repeat the same for the rest of the dough and let room in between each biscuits to allow them to spread.
Bake for about 10 minutes. We’re going to take care not to break them as they are still very fragile, when we remove from the oven. Let it cool down completely and then dust them in a mixture of 30g vanilla sugar and 60g icing sugar to give them a neat finish.

Pork Vindaloo

1 kg pork meat
15 red chilies
150 ml vinegar
6 garlic pods
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds
1 or 2 tbsp chilly powder
2 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp turmeric powder
Whole spices (2 cinnamon sticks, 5 pepper corns, 5 cloves)
2 big onions
3 big tomatoes
2 tbsp oil
Coriander leaves for garnishing

Wash and cut the pork meat into small cubes. Dry it out with a clean kitchen towel to absorb the water from the meat.
In a pan, dry roast the cumin and the fenugreek seeds.
Grind to a fine paste, the red chilies, garlic pods, cumin and fenugreek seeds along with some salt and vinegar. (I’ve marked 150 ml of vinegar, but the quantity can be reduced according to taste)

Apply the above paste to the meat pieces, mix well and refrigerate overnight.

Chop the onions and the tomatoes roughly and blend them separately to paste.

Heat oil in a vessel, add the whole spices and let them splutter. Add the blended onions and fry until slightly brown, add the pasted tomatoes and fry it until water bubbles out of the sauce, add the marinated meat mixture and fry on high flame for about 5 minutes, check out the salt and adjust the hotness of the sauce, reduce the flame to medium low, and cook closed for about half an hour.
Peeled and cubed potatoes can also be added to the sauce, then add them 15 minutes before the end of the cooking.
Garnish with fresh coriander leaves (I didn’t have at the moment)
This sauce goes well with plain rice or any Indian flat bread and it tastes even better when kept for the next day.

Thursday, 22 January, 2009

Tomato/Peanut Chutney

Peanuts contain fat, so they are of course caloric but did you know that they are also highly rich in vitamins and essential minerals?

They contain at least 13 different types of vitamins that include Vitamin A, B, C and E and 26 essential minerals like calcium, iron, zinc, boron, etc. which act an important role in the good functioning and the development of the brain.

The five main nutrients which are required by the body to maintain and repair the tissues are energy, protein, phosphorous, thiamin and niacin. These five nutrients are found in good quantity in the peanuts.

The combination of nutty flavor of the roasted peanuts with the sour tomatoes makes this a rich, simple, easy and spicy relish.
1 cup Peanuts
5 tbsp oil
5 garlic cloves
2 Red chilies
5 big tomatoes
¼ tbsp fenugreek seeds
1 tbsp cumin seeds
5 green chilies (reduce the quantity according to taste)
½ a handful of tamarind

Shell and fry the peanuts in a tbsp of oil on medium flame.
Chop the tomatoes, split the green chilies and deseed them.
Add a quarter cup of hot water to the tamarind, let it rest for 15 minutes. Extract the thick tamarind pulp and reserve.
Heat the remaining oil in a vessel; splutter the red chilies, cumin and the fenugreek seeds, add the garlic cloves and the green chilies followed by the tomatoes and salt. Fry for about 10 minutes or until the tomatoes become mushy. Add the tamarind extract and let it boil for a minute. Remove and cool it down completely.
Grind the peanuts along with the above mixture to a fine paste and serve.

Note: This chutney can also be tempered with some spluttered mustard seeds, black gram dhal, channa dhal, curry leaves and a dash of asafetida.

This chutney goes well with Dosai, Idli or Chapati.
I've served with chapati and Keerai Chutney.Sending this to Ramya's Mane Adige for the "Chutney/Dip Mania event".

Methi Parotta

Fenugreek is a plant considered as one of nature’s precious gifts to mankind and grown in India, China and in many Middle Eastern countries, since ancient times, for its leaves and its seeds. They are used for both nutritional and medicinal values.

The fenugreek leaf otherwise called Methi leaf is usually found fresh or in a dried form (Kasthuri methi). It has a good dietary fiber and is rich in calcium, iron, and vitamins A and C.

The leaf is used in many vegetable dishes, in the Indian flat breads and is known for its digestive property, whereas the seeds are used in very small quantities because of it’s bitter taste in curry powders, pickles, chutneys, vegetable dishes and dhals not only as a spice but also for many medicinal purposes like for healing diarrhea, cough, loss of appetite, diabetes.
I’ve been searching for the authentic method for preparing the famous Methi parottas until I came across Alka’s (not my daughter but Sindhirasoi’s Alka) recipe here. It came out pretty good and I guess that even Hum Hum and my teddies, who tend to be a little bit fussy whenever there is 100% vegetarian food on the table, liked it as there were no more parottas left in the bowl at the end of the dinner.

Whole Wheat flour 5 cups (for 4 persons)
1 cup fresh Methi leaves (I used ½ cup Kasturi methi (dry fenugreek leaves, as I didn’t have fresh ones)
1 cup coriander leaves (I substituted with 1 cup chopped shallots as I didn’t have enough coriander leaves)
250 ml yoghurt
3 Green chilies
1 tsp Ginger garlic paste
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp oil
4 tbsp ghee for brushing the top of the parottas
Salt (as necessary)

Mix in a bowl, the wheat flour, turmeric powder and sugar;

Grind coarsely (without adding water) the methi leaves along with the coriander leaves (in my case the shallots) and the green chilies. Add this mixture to the flour.

Whip slightly the yoghurt, add approximately 2 cups of water and salt and add it to the flour little by little to form a soft dough (like the chapati dough).

The dough should be neither too thin nor too thick. While kneading, extra water can be added to the dough if necessary.

Add the oil and knead once again. Cover and let it rest for at least an hour.

Divide the dough into small sized balls.
Roll each one of them to form a medium sized circle, like for a chapati .

Heat a pan and roast it on both sides, and sprinkle a dash of oil while flipping it until small brown spots appear on the surface. Repeat for the rest of the dough.

Serve hot with a chutney, a curry, a pickle or a Raita as served traditionally.

I've served with Tamarind/Onion chutney and Mixed Vegetable Poriyal.

Keerai (Spinach) Chutney

500g spinach
3 green chilies
A lemon size tamarind
¼ tsp turmeric powder

For tempering:
2 tbsp ghee
A sprig of curry leaves
¼ tsp cumin seeds
½ dry red chilies
½ tsp urad dhal
½ tbsp channa dhal
½ tsp mustard seeds
A pinch of asafetida

Soak the tamarind in ½ cup of hot water and extract a thick tamarind juice.

Split the green chilies into two and deseed them.

Cook spinach in the tamarind juice with the green chilies, salt and turmeric powder for about 10 minutes or until done. Let it cool down completely.

Grind the above mixture to a coarse paste. (The mixture shouldn’t be too watery, so, remove any excess liquid from the mixture before grinding it.)

Heat the ghee, brown the dhals and the red chilies and then splutter the cumin, mustard and curry leaves, add the asafetida and pour this on the ground mixture.
Goes well with Chapati or with hot RiceSending this to Ramya's Mane Adige for the "Chutney/Dip Mania event".

Mixed Vegetable Poriyal

250g vegetables (any vegetables of your choice, it can be carrots, beans, cabbage, cauliflower, I used Broccoli, Celery and carrots)
1 big onion
2 green chilies split lengthwise
1 tsp grated ginger
1/2 tsp mustard seeds
½ tsp split gram dhal
½ tsp black gram dhal
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp onion seeds (optional)
1 sprig curry leaves
A pinch of asafetida
½ tsp amchur powder (dried mango powder)
¼ tsp turmeric powder
3 tbsp oil
Coriander leaves for garnishing

Wash and chop the vegetables into small fine pieces and cook them partially in hot salted water for about 7 to 10 minutes (it depends on the vegetables) until done but still firm). Drain and reserve.

Heat oil in a wok, add the dhals and then the mustard seeds, cumin and onion seeds, the curry leaves and let it splutter. Add the onions and the green chilies, fry until slightly brown. Now goes the ginger, fry a little and add the asafetida, the salt, turmeric and then the vegetables.

Stir fry on high flame for about 2 minutes, close and cook for another 6 minutes, sprinkle the amchur powder and the coriander leaves and remove from the flame.

It goes well as a side dish with any Indian flat breads or simply with some plain hot rice.
Here, I've served with Methi Parotta and Tamarind/Onion Chutney.

Note: The tempering can also be done with only the cumin and the onion seeds, i.e. without the mustard seeds and the dhals.

Monday, 19 January, 2009

Moulard Duck breast with apples

2 Moulard duck breasts (500G each)
5 apples (acidic variety like Reinette)
100ml cider
1 tbsp Veal stock
Salt and freshly ground Pepper

Préparation :
Make Criss-cross lines on the skin of the duck breasts and dry fry on a high flame, in a pan, the fatty side first for about 8 minutes and then, leave 3 tbsp of the melted fat and reserve the rest in a bowl. Flip over the meat to the other side and cook for another 3 minutes. (Overcooking the red meat makes it dry and hard).

A full bodied Red wine served at about 16°-18°C like a Corbières (Languedoc Roussillon) or a Chateau de Goëlane/a Pomerol (Bordeaux) or an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon would be a perfect accompaniment for the dish. Bon appétit!

Sunday, 18 January, 2009

Tamarind/Onion Chutney

2 big onions chopped finely
4 garlic cloves chopped lengthwise very finely
5 tbsp oil
½ cup thick tamarind extract
½ tsp or more red chilly powder
1 tsp sugar


Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions until golden brown, add the garlic, salt and chilly powder and fry a little more.

Pour the tamarind extract over the whole thing, add the sugar and cook closed on low heat for about 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens and the oil separates.

This chutney goes well with Chapati or any other Indian flat breads. Here, I've served with Methi Parotta and Mixed Vegetable Poriyal.

The presence of tamarind, salt and oil in this sauce facilitates its conservation for few days. Sending this to Ramya's Mane Adige for the "Chutney/Dip Mania event".

Thursday, 15 January, 2009

Île Flottante au caramel

Île Flottante which literally means "Floating Island" is an easy-to-make, (apart from the cream which is a little bit delicate) elegant and homey dessert. It’s one of the classics in French Desserts, which consists of a floating meringue island on a sea of heavenly rich Crème Anglaise(Vanilla custard cream).

Ingredients: (for 6)
6 eggs
1l milk
1 vanilla bean
1 tsp potato starch
250g sugar (150g+100g)
60g icing sugar
Corn oil for greasing
A pinch of salt

For the Crème Anglaise:
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise into 2 and with a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the pod and put both the pod and the seeds in a deep bottomed vessel containing the milk.
Heat and let it boil for a minute. Reduce the heat and let the vanilla infuse in the milk for about 3 minutes.
In the meantime, we are going to separate the yolks from the white of the 6 eggs. Reserve the whites in the refrigerator until needed. In a bowl, whip the egg yolks and the potato starch, along with 150g sugar
until we get a creamy, smooth and homogeneous mixture.

Remove the vanilla pod from the boiling milk and pour it little by little, on the egg yolk mixture, while stirring continuously with the other hand. We are going to do this very slowly to prevent any coagulation of the eggs.
Pour all of the above mixture into the double bottomed vessel once again
and heat on very low flame while stirring constantly with a spatula. We don’t want to let it boil.
The cream is done when it coats the back of the spatula.
Pour it into a cold container and let it cool down completely. The cream can be done 24h in advance and conserved in the refrigerator.
When completely cool, pour it into individual serving bowls and refrigerate.

For the meringue:
Preheat the oven to 140°C.
Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt and start beating on slow and then on medium speed until you get stiff peaks. Add the icing sugar little by little and continue to beat until it’s over. At this stage, if the bowl containing the whipped eggs is turned upside down, nothing should fall down.

Grease small ramekins with the corn oil and place a big spoon of the whites in each ramekin.
Place all the ramekins in a baking tray filled with water and cook in a bain-marie for about 20- 30 minutes.
The whites will puff up and brown slightly.

Remove each one of them delicately and place one or two on the cooled cream. Refrigerate until serving.
For the caramel:
Put 100g sugar in a thick bottomed vessel and heat on low medium heat until you get a golden brown liquid. Add a tsp of lemon juice to keep the caramel liquid and cool it down slightly.
Drizzle the caramel on top of the meringue
and garnish with roasted almonds and some praline. Bon Appétit!

Minced Meat and Penne Casserole

There are days like that(fortunately rare), when I don’t like doing anything at all. I just waste the whole day lazily, dragging myself lethargically. Well, day before yesterday was one of those boring days and I had to prepare something for dinner. It took us a lot of time to finish the homeworks that particular day, leaving me very little time to prepare dinner.I would have just skipped dinner if I could but then, what about my hungry teddies and my Hum Hum… I went into the kitchen in the idea of coming out as quickly as possible and this is what I improvised for that night, a very quick, simple and easy dish but very good indeed.

500g minced meat ( I used ½ pork and ½ beef)
100g bacon
2 big onions
1 tsp minced garlic
2 green chilies (deseeded and slit lengthwise)
8 tomatoes
½ cup dry white wine (optional) can be substituted by juice of half a lemon
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp parsley leaves
2 tbsp basil leaves
5 tbsp oil
Pasta as needed (I used Penne)
400g Cheese (any variety which can be melted, I used the Raclette cheese)
Cook the pasta in a big vessel of salted boiling water al dente and reserve.
Chop the onions and the tomatoes very finely.
Clean and chop the fresh herbs.
Heat 5 tbsp oil in a vessel; add the bay leaves followed by the onions and the green chilies. Fry until the onions become translucent. Add the garlic and the bacon and fry for a minute.
Add the minced meat and fry for a while until the meat changes its color.
Add the white wine or the lemon juice.
Add the chopped tomatoes and stir everything together.
Add salt and some freshly ground pepper.
Cook closed for about 10 to 15 minutes on medium heat.
Garnish with fresh herbs.
Preheat the oven to 200°.
Line a baking tray or a baking dish with the pasta, add the sauce and mix well. Top this with the cheese and bake for about 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.
Serve hot.
Goes well with a Chianti / Bourgueil / or a Beaujolais Nouveau.

Monday, 12 January, 2009

Mini Chaussons aux Pommes (Mini French Apple Turnovers)

Chaussons aux pommes is a very popular French butter pastry which is filled with apple compote, usually served for Breakfast but also as a tea time snack. This is something very easy to make and the combination of the rich, butter flavored, impossibly flaky, crunchy pastry with the soft, smooth pureness of the fruit simply divine.
Ingredients: (for 6 mini chaussons)

250g butter puff pastry
1 egg yolk
1 tbsp icing sugar (optional)
4 apples
5 tbsp sugar
1 cinnamon stick / ¼ tsp cinnamon powder
1 cup water
1 Tbsp butter
¾ tsp lemon juice

For the Apple compote (filling):
Peel and cut the apples into small pieces. Sprinkle the lemon juice.
Heat a saucepan; add the apples, the sugar and a cup of water along with the cinnamon. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally until sugar dissolves. Cover; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until apples are very tender for about 15 minutes.
Remove from heat. Gently mash apples with fork or potato masher until mixture is very soft but still chunky. Add the butter and cool down completely. Cover and refrigerate.
For pastry:
Cut out small circles using a pastry cutter.
Place 3/4th tablespoon of the filling in the center of each circle.
Slightly brush / dampen the edges of the pastry with water, cover to form a semi-circular shape and seal it by pressing the edges tightly with the fingertips. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Using a thin, sharp knife, crisscross the surface of each chausson, to allow the steam to escape.
Refrigerate at least for one hour.
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C.
Thin the beaten egg yolk with a drop of water and brush the top of the chaussons.
Place the chaussons on a lined baking tray and bake for about 15 minutes until they begin to color. Sprinkle some icing sugar on top and continue to bake until firm and golden. Remove and cool it down to warm or room temperature before serving.
Note: The Apple compote can be substituted by any other compote (Apple/Strawberry or Apple/Pear or Apple/Chestnut)

Cashew nut Pakoda

This recipe has been inspired from Divya’s Peanut Pakoda
2 cups Cashew nuts
½ cup Gram flour
A pinch of asafetida
Chilly powder (according to taste, 1 tbsp for me)
1 tbsp ghee
Salt to taste
Water as needed
Oil for deep frying

In a bowl, mix together the gram flour, asafetida, salt, chilly powder, and ghee.
Taste and correct salt and chilly.
Combine the above mixture with the cashew nuts.

Add just enough water to coat the cashews and mix well. (Too much water will make the pakodas soggy)
Heat oil in a wok.
Take the cashew nuts and sprinkle carefully a handful of them in the hot oil. (The cashew nuts should not stick to each other, they should fall down separately.)
When they turn crispy and golden brown, remove and spread it on a paper towel.
Cool and conserve in an air-tight container.This recipe participates in Srilekha's EFM Savouries Event.

Saturday, 10 January, 2009

Crème anglaise: (Vanilla Custard Cream)

Many French desserts call for this nice rich and smooth textured sauce that can be served, warm or cold, or as a filling for tarts, cakes, pies, puddings, puffs, éclairs and some fruits.
Ingredients: (for 6)
1 vanilla pod
1l milk
150g sugar
Split the vanilla bean lengthwise into 2 and with a sharp knife, scrape the seeds from the pod and put both the pod and the seeds in a deep bottomed vessel containing the milk. Heat and let it boil for a minute. Reduce the heat and let the vanilla infuse in the milk for about 3 minutes.
In the meantime, we are going to separate the yolks from the white of the 6 eggs. Reserve the whites in the refrigerator until needed. In a bowl, whip the egg yolks and the potato starch, along with 150g sugar until we get a creamy, smooth and homogeneous mixture.
Remove the vanilla pod from the boiling milk and pour it little by little, on the egg yolk mixture, while stirring continuously with the other hand. We are going to do this very slowly to prevent any coagulation of the eggs.
Pour all of the above mixture into the double bottomed vessel once again and heat on very low flame while stirring constantly with a spatula. We don’t want to let it boil.
The cream is done if it coats the surface of the spatula and when there is no more foam.
Pour it into a cold container and let it cool down completely. I used this cream for the Île Flottante

Tuesday, 6 January, 2009

Galette des Rois

In France, we celebrate Epiphany (a religious festival to celebrate the visit of the Magi in Bethlehem, after the birth of Jesus Christ) with a “Galette des Rois”, which means King’s cake, in which a tiny porcelain figurine, called “fève” (which literally means bean, as that was used in ancient times in the galettes) is hidden and which is considered as a kind of a lucky charm. The person who gets the piece of the galette with the trinket becomes the "King/Queen" of the day and is honoured with a paper crown.

Galette des Rois is usually made of puff pastry filled with frangipane ( an almond-flavored filling). My teddies did their proper crowns with their Papa and of course we get the same King and Queen every year…..

500g puff pastry (preferably made with pure butter, as there are some commercial manufacturers who use cheaper fats ) (Even though, I’ve used a store-bought pastry sheet here (lack of time) which is acceptable and convenient to use, I’ll try to upload the recipe for doing it at home very soon, it’s definitely better and more rich than the store-bought ones)
2 tbsp milk
1 egg yolk

For the filling:

3 eggs
100g almonds powdered
70g softened butter cut into small cubes
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp Rum/ Kirsch


In a mixing bowl beat the eggs,
Add the ground almonds followed by the softened butter
And mix in the sugar and cream it until thoroughly mixed.

Mix in the flour and the rum.

Keep it in the refrigerator.

Divide the puff pastry into two even portions. Roll out each portion to form a circle of of about 25 cm in diameter and 4 mm thickness.

Place one puff pastry disc on a baking tray lined with a baking sheet.
Spoon the almond cream into the centre of the pastry disc, leaving a 5cm gap around the filling.

Insert the figurine if any (I hid 2 ) under the filling.

Wet the the edges of the pastry disc with some water.
Place the other pastry disc over the almond filing and seal the edges together firmly.
Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 200°C.
Brush the galette des rois with the beaten egg yolk. Using a sharp knife pattern and design the art of your choice on the galette.

Bake the galette des rois for about 20 to 25 minutes, until the top becomes golden in color.

Remove from the oven 5 minutes before the end and brush with some milk for the shining look and bake it until the end of cooking time.

It’s excellent with Champagne. My teddies love the sparkling apple juice (Ch…my) with the galette. Cheers!

Shahi Chicken Kurma (Chicken in rich and spicy cashew nut gravy)

Here, the French consume more than six million chickens in all forms over the Christmas season, compared with 2.5 million turkeys, 1.2 million geese and 10 million quails. We simply can’t skip Christmas season without the Poularde and the Capon in the markets. I have used Poularde for this recipe. What is Poularde?

Poularde is a young female hen spayed (a surgical act to remove ovaries) for fattening, while a capon is a castrated rooster. The young hen does not reach sexual maturity and fattened in a particular way. This way the meat is tender and firm and it has a meaty, flavorful and milky white flesh with an important layer of fat and usually weighs about1 to 2.5 Kg. The most famous producers of Poularde and Capon are from the Le Mans and the Bresse regions of France. Information Source :here

Since I had one in my refrigerator, I thought of cooking it in my royal gravy instead of the traditional way of roasting and it came out really good.

1.8 kg Poularde
1 cup cashew nuts
½ cup coconut milk
1 tbsp fennel seeds powder
1 tbsp fennel seeds
4 green chilies
2 big onions
3 tomatoes
1 ½ tbsp ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp chilly powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
Salt as necessary
5 tbsp Oil
Whole spices (2 cinnamon sticks, 2 or 3 Bay leaves, 3 cloves)
Coriander leaves for garnishing

Cut the poularde into pieces (Poor thing but it doesn’t matter), clean and set aside.
Chop the onions and the tomatoes finely.
Slit the green chilies lengthwise and deseed.
Grind the cashew nuts to a fine paste and mix with the coconut milk and the fennel seeds powder.

Heat oil in a pressure cooker, add the whole spices and the whole fennel seeds, and splutter. Add the onions and green chilies and fry until slightly brown and translucent. Add the tomatoes and continue to fry until oil separates. Add the ginger garlic paste, salt and chilly powder and fry a little more. Now add the meat and fry for 2 minutes. Add 2 cups of warm water just to cover the meat. Pressure cook up to 5 whistles. If an ordinary vessel is used, then cook for about one hour on low medium flame.
Open the pressure cooker, reduce the flame and add the cashew nut mixture. Cook for another 5 to 10 minutes. Remove, garnish with fresh coriander leaves and serve.

Excellent with Rotis (Chapati/Parotta/Rice/Naan/Ghee Rice).

PS: Poularde can be replaced by regular chicken. Then, simply skip the pressure cooking and cook normally for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Monday, 5 January, 2009

Beef Curry


1 kg Beef (Flank and short plates)
3 onions
2 tomatoes
1 tbsp Ginger garlic paste
1 tbsp Vadavam
Whole spices (1 or 2 Cinnamon sticks, Bay leaves, 2 cloves)
½ tsp curry powder
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp chilly powder
¼ tsp turmeric powder
Salt as needed
Potatoes (optional)

Chop the onions and the tomatoes very finely.
Peel the potatoes and cut into cubes.
Wash and chop the meat into small pieces.

Heat oil in a double bottomed vessel; splutter the whole spices followed by the vadavam. Add the onions and fry until translucent, add the tomatoes and fry until oil separates. Reduce the flame to medium and add the ginger and garlic paste and fry for another two minutes. Add the curry powder, chilly, turmeric and coriander powders. Continue to stir fry. Add salt and then the meat and stir well to coat the meat.

Increase the flame to maximum, leave it for about 2 minutes and then add about 3 cups of warm water. When it boils, close and reduce the flame to medium low and forget it for atl east an hour or until the meat is cooked.

Add the potatoes just 15 minutes before switching off the curry.

This curry goes well with Rice, Chapati /Parotta/Naan and even with French Breads.


Ingredients: for 12 Naans
1 kg all purpose flour
5 cups yoghurts
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp active yeast (bakery)
Salt to taste (1 1/2 tbsp for me)
10 tablespoons of warm oil
250 ml warm water

In a big bowl, mix the flour with half of the oil .

Make a hole in the middle and add yeast, sugar, salt and yogurt and mix once again. Add water slowly and knead (The dough should be fairly soft and slightly sticky so that Naans comes out soft.) Knead it well to form a soft dough.

Make a big ball, and coat it with oil. Knead it once again while beating the dough on the working surface in order to remove excess air inside the dough.

When the dough is soft, cover the dough with a plastic food wrap and let it stand at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours.

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees C or the maximum for 15 minutes.

Take the dough and divide it into balls in the size of an orange.

Slightly press the ball and flatten it with a rolling pin (Don’t flatten too much) to form a circle or an oval.

Now flatten it by tapping the dough with your hands,one palm to the other, while giving it a slight pressure in the middle and by turning it around. This way, we’ll get a uniform flat dough. If this can’t be done, then just roll the dough with a rolling pin just on one side without adding any flour. The dough should be neither too thin nor too thick. Coat the hands with little oil if necessary.

Place the naan in the middle of the oven and grill for about 5 minutes (might be lesser, it depends on the ovens) at 260°C.

The Naan should puff up gradually and brown on the top.

Brush some Ghee over it & serve hot with any curries.

Almond/Pistachio Kulfi

Kulfi is an easy to make popular Indian frozen dessert, which is made with milk that has been boiled for several hours, flavored in different ways with the richest of the ingredients like Cardamom, Pistachios, Saffron, Almonds, Mango, Coconut and Panneer(Cream).
Unlike other frozen desserts (Ice-creams), the preparation of Kulfi doesn’t require any whipping and it is an egg-free 100% vegetarian ice cream, with all natural ingredients, and which can be done without an ice-cream maker.
It’s so simple and extremely irresistible that I don’t wait until Summer to relish this dense, rich, cardamom-flavored, sweet, creamy textured, pure heavenly goodness. I’ve been hesitating to do this dessert for a long time due to the time it takes to reduce the milk, until I came across Dipali’s beautiful demonstration for making the Kulfi (here) in an easier way, by using the condensed milk. I couldn’t wait any longer to try it out and it came out perfect, it’s a pure delight.

Ingredients: (for 6)

410g condensed milk
360g evaporated milk
200ml Fresh cream
50g powdered almonds
100g powdered pistachios
50g skinned, sliced and roasted almonds
50g pistachios
1 tsp ground cardamom
A tbsp rose water
1 tsp saffron strands
A tsp sugar

Crush the saffron with the sugar using a mortar and a pestle.

In a big bowl, mix together the condensed and the evaporated milks along with the saffron, rose water, cardamom powder and the powdered almonds and pistachios. Fold in the fresh cream and continue to whisk for a while.

Pour this mixture in individual moulds, cover with a plastic food wrapper and freeze overnight.
Leave at room temperature for about 15 minutes before serving. Remove from the moulds and top with the roasted almonds and pistachios.I caramelized the almonds and the pistachios with a tbsp of sugar to add crunchiness to the topping.

Chicken Tandoori

1 ½ kg Chicken pieces
Salt (1 tsp for me)
1 tsp red chilly powder
1 tsp pepper
4-6 tbsp lemon juice
6-8 tbsp yoghurt
2 tbsp heavy cream
2 tbsp ginger garlic paste
2 tsp tandoori masala
¼ cup of Ghee and oil in equal quantities for basting


Wash and skin the chicken. Make deep incisions on each piece.
Make a paste of salt, red chilly powder, pepper and lemon juice and apply it all over the chicken pieces. Set aside for about 15 minutes.

In the meantime, prepare the marinade by whisking the yoghurt and the heavy cream in a large bowl. Add the ginger garlic paste and the tandoori masala.
Apply this mixture all over the chicken, mix all once again. Cover with a food wrapper and marinate in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 6 hours.

Preheat the oven to 230°C. Cover a baking tray with an aluminum foil. Place the chicken and baste it with the Ghee/oil mixture and grill for approximately 10 minutes on each side by taking care not to over burn the chicken.
Remove and baste it with ghee and serve hot with lemon wedges and spring onions.

If you don’t have the Tandoori masala, you need to dry roast the following ingredients, on medium heat in a pan until a nice aroma replaces the raw smell:

2tsp coriander seeds
1 ½ tsp cumin seeds
Powder them finely with:
¼ tsp Turmeric powder
1 tsp each of dry garlic and ginger powder
1 tsp Amchoor Powder (Dry Mango powder)
1 tsp Red Chilly powder
1 tsp dry Mint powder
¼ tsp garam masala powder
¼ tsp red food color
Store it in an air-tight bottle and use when required.

Fettuccine with Smoked Salmon in cheese sauce

Whenever the meal is simple and quick, but rich, then there is Hum Hum somewhere in the kitchen!!! The following recipe is his creation....absolutely delicious!!

Ingredients: (for 4)
1 packet fresh Fettuccine
300g cheese (any variety which can be melted like Comté, Soft-ripened cheeses like Brie and Camembert (the rind will not melt), Parmigiano-Reggiano, Gouda, Muenster, Monterey Jack)
250 ml fresh cream
2 tbsp chopped parsley leaves
¼ tsp cumin powder
½ tsp nutmeg powder
Pepper, salt
500g smoked salmon
3 tbsp fresh coriander leaves for garnishing

Slice the salmon roughly, lengthwise.
Heat the all the cheese in a skillet and let it melt. Be gentle with the heat.

Stir gently until smooth and flowing. Add the cumin powder and nutmeg powder, salt only if necessary as the cheese always contains enough salt, some freshly ground pepper. Now pour the fresh cream and stir gently.

Cook the Fettuccine al dente in salted boiling water. Filter and serve hot with the cheese sauce and some salmon slices. Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.

A Jurançon or a Gaillac or a Fiefs Vendéens served at about 8-10°C with this dish will definitely make a difference. Bon Appétit!

Saturday, 3 January, 2009

Mutton Briyani

Ingredients: (for 5 cups rice)
1 1/2 kg mutton
5 cups Basmati Rice
6 dry red chilies (deseeded)
2 tbsp garlic pasted
1 ½ tbsp ginger pasted
1 tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
2 tbsp poppy seeds
5 pepper corns
½ tsp garam masala powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
Whole spices (4 Bay leaves, 2 Cinnamon sticks, ¼ tsp black cumin, 3 Cardamom pods, 1 star anise)
6 tbsp oil
6 tbsp Ghee
2 Big red onions
12 whole green chilies deseeded
A handful of chopped coriander leaves
A handful of mint leaves
3 small tomatoes
4 tbsp lemon juice
Few strands Saffron (optional)
1 tsp rose water
A handful of Fried onions, cashew nuts and dry raisins for garnishing.


Soak the Poppy seeds in ½ cup of warm water for about 10 minutes.
Soak the saffron strands in 3 tbsp warm milk and let it dissolve.
Wash the rice until it becomes white.
Make a fine paste of dry red chilies, cumin, fennel seeds, pepper corns, coriander seeds, poppy seeds and half of the deseeded green chilies.
Chop the onions very finely lengthwise.
Deseed the remaining green chilies and slit them lengthwise.
Chop the tomatoes lengthwise very finely.
Wash the mutton and sprinkle some turmeric and mix well.

Now that everything is ready, Heat the oil and the ghee together in a pressure cooker, add the whole spices (Bay leaves, cinnamon sticks.etc.) and splutter, add the onions, add salt and stir fry until slightly brown, add the green chilies and the coriander and mint leaves, fry until a nice aroma of mint comes out.

Add the chopped tomatoes and stir fry until oil separates from the sauce; add the ginger garlic pastes and continue stir frying. Add the mutton and fry for about 3 minutes and then add the pasted mixture along with the garam masala powder. Fry for another 3 minutes. Pressure cook up to 5 whistles or for approximately 20 minutes.

Open and add 8 cups of warm water to the sauce and let it come to boil. Transfer the sauce to a rice cooker with the rice. Add the lemon juice and cook it. When the rice is almost done, sprinkle some saffron milk and the rose water on the top and continue until done.

If a rice cooker is not used, then transfer the sauce and the rice in a double bottomed vessel, cover it air-tightly, place another flat pan below the vessel, forget it for about 30 minutes on low medium flame.

Meanwhile, fry the cashew nuts and dry raisins on medium heat in a little ghee.

Garnish it with crispy fried onions, fried cashew nuts and dry raisins.
Traditionally Briyani is accompanied by a Onion Raita, Tomato Thithipu and an Eggplant Thalippu.

Thakkali Thithipoo (Tomato Sweet for Briyanis)

5 big tomatoes
10 tbsp sugar
A pinch of salt
4 cardamom pods
A tbsp rose water
Ghee fried Cashew nuts and raisins for garnishing

Chop the tomatoes roughly lengthwise. Crush the cardamom pods and extract the cardamom seeds.
In a flat pan, add the tomatoes, the sugar, salt and cardamom seeds and let it boil until mushy. When it becomes thick, add the rose water and let it boil for another minute. Garnish with fried cashew nuts and raisins.

In TamilNadu, this sweet is served as a side dish for Briyanis.

Kathirikkai Thalippu: (Eggplant Thalippu)

1 big Eggplant or 8 small eggplants
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 onion
5 garlic pods
3 green chilies
1 tbsp curry powder
½ tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp salt or as needed
5 tbsp gingelly oil
A sprig curry leaves
½ tsp mustard seeds
1 lemon size tamarind
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tbsp sesame seeds
¼ tsp fenugreek seeds

Wash and chop the egg plants lengthwise. Sprinkle some lemon juice, turmeric powder, salt and curry powder and let it marinate for few minutes.

Soak the tamarind in a cup of salted warm water. Squeeze and filter to get the tamarind extract;

Chop the onion very finely and the garlic pods lengthwise.
Slit the green chilies and remove the seeds.

Dry roast in a pan the cumin, fenugreek and sesame seeds until a nice aroma comes out. Powder it and set aside.

Heat oil, splutter mustard seeds and the curry leaves, add the onion, garlic and green chilies and fry until the onions become translucent. Add the eggplant mixture and sprinkle some water if necessary, correct the salt and cook closed until the eggplants become tender.

Open and add the tamarind extract and cook closed on full flame for another few minutes until the sauce becomes thick. Add a tbsp of milk and when a boil comes, add the roasted powder, stir well and remove from the flame.

In TamilNadu, this is served as a side dish for Briyanis.

Vanilla Panna Cotta with Apple compote

Panna Cotta is literally "cooked cream" in Italian. These soft and creamy Italian puddings are so silky-smooth that they slip down beautifully at the end of a meal and specially after a rich main course.
Ingredients: (serves 6)
For the compote:
4 apples
4 tbsp Brown Sugar
2 tbsp lemon juice
Grains of 2 vanilla pods
A dash of cinnamon powder

For the Panna Cotta:
3 gelatin sheets
100 ml milk
500ml whole liquid cream
50g sugar
50g fresh heavy cream

To prepare the compote, we need to peel the apples, cut into four, remove the hard parts (the heart of the apples) and then cut into cubes. Squeeze some lemon juice. Add the cinnamon powder. Powder with the sugar and the grains of one vanilla pod. Cover and let it marinate for some time.

For the Panna cotta,
Soak the gelatin in cold water for five minutes. Remove and squeeze the softened gelatin sheets well to remove the water.
Meanwhile, pour the liquid cream, the other vanilla pod, the sugar and the milk in a vessel and heat on low flame. When you see the first boil, remove at once from the flame and add the softened gelatin sheets and mix well until the gelatin dissolves completely in the above mixture.
Add the heavy cream and whip for a while. Remove the vanilla.
Carefully pour the panna cotta in serving bowls and refrigerate for at least 4 hours until it firms up.
Boil the marinated apples in a vessel and simmer for about 15-20 minutes or a little more if you want it mushy.

Serve the cooled Panna Cotta topped with the warm Apple Compote and decorate as you wish. (I added some roasted almonds to add some crunchiness to the soft Panna Cotta)

Magret de Canard aux mangues et pommes roties (Moulard Duck breast with roasted mangoes and pan fried potatoes)

2 Moulard duck breasts (500G each)
½ cup balsamic vinegar
2 mangoes
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp honey

Peel the mangoes and cut them lengthwise.
Make Criss-cross lines on the skin of the duck breasts and dry fry on a high flame, in a pan for about 3 minutes on each side, the fatty side first and then turning over to fry the other side. (Overcooking the red meat makes it dry and hard).

Remove and set aside.

Melt butter in another frying pan. Fry the mangoes on low heat and simmer with sugar to form a compote. Set aside.

Add honey and the balsamic vinegar in a pan and heat for a while. When it thickens, coat the duck breasts with the sauce and serve at once with the mangoes and some pan fried potatoes.

A full bodied Red wine served at about 16°-18°C like a Corbières (Languedoc Roussillon) or a Pomerol (Bordeaux) or an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon would be a perfect accompaniment for the dish. Bon appétit!

PS Mangoes can be substituted by Pears or Apples and the Balsamic vinegar can be replaced by wine.

Aumonière de Saumon à l’oseille (Crispy Salmon and Sorrel Parcels)

Ingredients: (for 4 gourmets)
4 Brik sheets
4 fresh Salmon Steaks
4 slices of smoked salmon
50 g Sorrel leaves
40g fresh cream
Melted butter

Preheat the oven to 230°.
Cut the fresh salmon into small cubes;
Cut the smoked salmon into long slices.
Chop the Sorrel leaves roughly. Make a sauce with the fresh cream and the sorrel leaves by combining together with some freshly ground pepper.

Spread a Brik sheet and apply some melted butter all over.

Take2 tbsp of fresh salmon and cover it over with a slice of smoked salmon. Place it in the middle of the sheet and spread some sorrel cream sauce to cover the whole thing. (We don’t need the mixture to be too watery; so, the cream can be reduced or increased according to the texture)

Pleat the sheet from all sides and join in the middle, with two toothpicks, to form a kind of bag and cover with an aluminum sheet. Do the same with the rest of the ingredients.

Bake in the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes.

Serve with a Beurre Blanc sauce and of course, if served with a Muscadet or Graves (Bordeaux) or a Sancerre at 8-10°C, it will be perfect.

Hors d’ oeuvres / Appetizers

Ideas for simple, delicious and healthy Hors d’ oeuvres / Appetizers

Chef Hum Hum’s exclusive creations for New Year's Eve

Tropical Delight:

Radish (chopped into fine round pieces)
Prawns (cooked)
Ananas (chopped into small fine cubes)
Garlic cheese
Fresh chives

Combine in a tooth pick a piece of radish, ananas, a prawn and a a dash of garlic cheese and bundle everything with a chive.

Feasty Bites:


Rye Bread (cut into small squares)
Foie Gras
Smoked Salmon
Dry Apricot

Spread some foie gras on the rye bread; combine together in a tooth pick the rye bread, smoked salmon and a dry apricot.

Red Beads:

Cherry tomatoes
Foie gras
Rye bread

Remove the pulp from the tomato and fill up with the foie gras. Combine the rye bread and the filled tomato the bulgy part outside.

Munchy logs:

Baby Carrots (peeled and sliced lengthwise)
Raw Ham (sliced lengthwise)
Feta (cut roughly into cubes)

In a toothpick, combine a log of carrot, some feta and at last tie a knot around the pick with the raw ham.

Cocktail St. Sylvestre

Chef Hum Hum’s special concoction for New Year's Eve.

Ingredients: (serves 1)
40 ml crème de cacao
30 ml White Rum
Crushed ice
A cherry


Mix all the ingredients with a shaker and serve chill with a cherry in the glass.

Friday, 2 January, 2009

Yum Blog Award

My very first award passed to me by Viki Xavier and then followed by my dear friends Malar Gandhi and Nithya Praveen . I feel honoured to receive this award from you dear friends, Thank you very much.

SAUCE BEURRE BLANC (Beurre Blanc Sauce)

Beurre blanc sauce is a rich French sauce made out of a mixture of an acidic liquid ( like vinegar, white wine, lime juice) and fresh butter. This sauce accompanies and gives a rich flavor to Sea food, Poultry, Eggs and Vegetables.

Ingredients:(for 2)
70 ml dry white wine
2 Tbsp finely chopped shallots
80g cold butter, cut into cubes
Salt and white pepper
juice of 1 lemon

In a saucepan, combine white wine, lemon juice and shallots. Boil over medium flame to bring it to half it's original quantity. When it is done, add quickly 2 tbsp of cold water and stir in the butter by whisking continuously. The butter sauce should be boiling and maintained at the same temperature so that we get the sauce right. When it is done, remove off the flame and filter the sauce through a collander. The right consistency is when the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Salt and pepper; Keep it warm until serving. Serve over broiled, poached or baked sea food.