February 28, 2011

Butterscotch Chip Cookies Recipe

Butterscotch Chip Cookies - Although I have made chocolate chip cookies a few times, its intereting that they've never shown up on the site before. But these butterscotch chip cookies were too good not to share. 

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Chunky, fudgy, gooey, yum!

butterscotch chip cookies recipe

Nestle butterscotch chips are not always available in Singapore. I once saw a bag in Cold Storage in Bugis but it was overpriced and the expiry date was in another month so I didn't get it. Then, Sala sent me an awesome goodie bag and there were butterscotch chips in that!

butterscotch chip cookies recipe

The cookie dough comes together in a jiffy and this is really a no-fail, easy recipe. 

Butterscotch Chip Cookies
Adapted from Cooks.com
Makes ~16 cookies

Ingredients:
1/4 cup regular white sugar (see note below)
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter at room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
1.5 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
A generous pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)
3/4 cup butterscotch chips

How I Made It:

1. Preheat oven to 350F/180C. 

2. In a bowl, combine sugars with the softened butter until smooth and creamy. Add vanilla and the egg and beat well until well combined.

3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt well with a fork. Add this to the wet mixture and combine well. Then add the butterscotch chips. The dough will be thick. Make sure you distribute the chips as well as possible.

4. Line a baking tray with parchment paper or a baking sheet. Use an ice cream scoop to drop the cookie dough on the baking tray. If you don't have an ice cream scoop, use 2 spoons, one to scoop up the dough and the other to smoothen it a bit and lower it on to the baking tray.

5. Bake for about 15 minutes until the top turns a light golden brown.

butterscotch chip cookies recipe

Note: Even though I reduced the amount of sugar and chips from the original recipe drastically, the cookies we still quite sweet. We couldn't have more than one at a time and that's just not done. So you can reduce the amount of sugar if you want it to accompany coffee/tea/milk. 

February 25, 2011

Aloo Bhindi | Aloo Bhindi Masala (Dry) Recipe | Bhindi Recipes

This Aloo Bhindi is a dry curry with Okra and Potatoes and some Indian spices. Bhindi or Okra is not really a favourite due to a few reasons. I have cooked with it quite a bit though simply because it's so easy to get here and quite fresh. However, a dry curry with bhindi and aloo (okra potato dry curry) is a fabulous idea and here's why:

Fact: Okra is slimy
Another fact: Potatoes are delicious
Fact 3: When delicious and slimy get together, it creates a pretty great dish.

If you want a bhindi recipe with more gravy, try the okra stew, or the dahi bhindi masala which is delicious with roti. 

aloo okra sukhi subzi recipe

When I go to the nearby supermarket, I run out of vegetables to buy. There are about 5 rows of green leafy vegetables which I can't bother with over weeknights, and there are the usual suspects like beans and carrot and broccoli and capsicum. I just have to reach for the okra packet on those nights. 

Cooking okra with aloo into a dry sabzi is a great idea especially for non-okra lovers. You can serve this aloo bhindi with rotis or rice.

Aloo Bhindi Dry Curry Recipe (Aloo Bhindi Recipe)
Adapted from: Sailus Food
Serves 2

INGREDIENTS:
1 potato, cut into small cubes
10 okra, cut into 1/2" discs
1 tbsp tamarind water (add a small piece of tamarind to 1 tbsp water. Extract juice, discard pulp)
1 tbsp oil
1/4 tsp mustard seeds
A generous pinch of hing / asafoetida / perungaayam
1/2 tsp jeera / cumin seeds
1-2 tsp dhania / malli / coriander powder
1/2 tsp red chilli powder (adjust to taste)
1/2 tsp garam masala or curry powder (whatever you have in hand)
A pinch of ginger powder (optional)
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
A few curry leaves
Salt to taste

INSTRUCTIONS:

1. Heat oil and add mustard seeds. When they pop, add the rest of the ingredients below in the order given.

2. Once the masalas have been fried for about a minute, add the cut vegetables and the tamarind water. Mix well until all the ingredients are well incorporated.

3. Cook covered, stirring frequently, until the potatoes are tender and the okra is cooked, non-slimy, and has learnt a thing or two from the potatoes. 

aloo okra sukhi subzi recipe

Serve hot with steamed rice and gravy of choice. Here are more dry vegetarian side dishes for roti and rice.

February 22, 2011

Strawberry Milkshake Recipe-How to make Strawberry Milkshake

I suck at two things - taking a decent picture of drinks, and taking pictures with a dark background. So when your (husband's) aunt does these two super well and posts pictures on Facebook, you do what any self-respecting food blogger does - flick the picture, add your watermark, ask her the recipe, and post it on your blog!

Geetha Perima is an expert at cooking and made and shared this delicious Strawberry Milkshake. I love all sorts of milkshake, especially with strawberry (and vanilla milkshake, for some strange reason).

strawberry milkshake recipe

Of course, it may be a good idea to ask her first! 

I have posted two recipes of Geetha Perima's before. The Instant Sambar Powder Mix recipe which was the answer to many a mothers' quest for a sambar powder to send their sons/daughters going off to a foreign land. You should check it out, its brilliant!

The other recipe I got from her and tried it myself (instead of shamelessly taking pictures of what she made or worse, flicking it from her FB page) - the amazing Palak Khichdi

Now on to her Strawberry Milkshake Recipe. Thanks for the patient answers to all the 11 questions I had on a recipe that uses 3 ingredients, perima. 

To serve 2, you need: 

7-8 fresh strawberries
2 cups whole milk
Sugar to taste

To prepare: blend the strawberries with the milk and sugar until frothy and well incorporated. You can adjust the number of strawberries depending on their size. On an average, you need 3-4 for each cup of milk. 

Garnish with sliced strawberries and serve cold. Yumville!

This strawberry milkshake goes to Pari's Veggie/Fruit a Month, this month featuring Strawberries - an event conceptualized by Mharo Rajasthan.

February 21, 2011

Aloo Paratha - Punjabi Aloo Paratha Recipe, Step by Step

Punjabi aloo paratha. A flat, filled Indian bread or paratha that is served for breakfast or as a street food in India during all times of the day. I have posted Aloo Paratha before. But since then, I'd like to believe that I have perfected my technique to dish out a very decent aloo paratha, especially for a South Indian!

aloo paratha step by step recipe

Potatoes have the property to inherently make aloo parathas soft so that makes our job that much easier. Although I struggled to make the perfect aloo parathas when I started cooking, I realised with practise it's really a piece of cake paratha!

For more paratha recipes, check out gobi paratha, tawa nan, paneer paratha, and methi thepla recipe.

Aloo Paratha (Punjabi Aloo Paratha) Recipe
Makes 8

Ingredients:

For Dough:-
2 cups atta / whole wheat flour
Just over 1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt (or to taste)
A few drops of oil

For Aloo Filling:-
2 medium sized potatoes
1 tsp red chilli powder
1/2 tsp jeera / cumin powder
1/4 tsp ajwain / omam / carom seeds
1/2 tsp chaat masala (or garam masala)
1/2 tsp salt
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped fine

Instructions:

1. Make the dough first. (I use my Kitchenaid now for making chapati dough and its a breeze, will share details in a later post). Mix the atta and salt well together. Add a few drops of oil and mix with fingertips. Add water little at a time and keep kneading into a soft dough. Knead for 3-4 mins and coat with some more oil (don't overdo the oil bit, very few drops will do). Set aside while making the filling.

aloo paratha step by step recipe

2. Boil and grate the potatoes. I used to mash them but that leaves small lumps here and there making it harder to roll out the aloo parathas smoothly. Grating is a better method to ensure a smooth filling. 

aloo paratha step by step recipe

3. Mix all ingredients for the filling together, making sure they are well incorporated.

The spices you add to the filling also make a large difference to the taste of your aloo parathas. There are tons of different versions here. Since I visited TH's aunt in Mumbai and watched her Marathi maid make aloo parathas (in awe, I must add!), I use her recipe for the aloo filling.


aloo paratha step by step recipe

4. Divide the dough into 8 equal parts and roll into smooth balls. Do the same with the filling. I like to make the size of the filling slightly smaller than the dough balls but you can make them into equal sizes if you wish.

aloo paratha step by step recipe

5. Flour the surface you are going to use to roll the parathas. Take one dough ball, place it on the floured surface and flatten with fingertips into a small round. I find that doing this with my fingertips makes it easier to get the surface equally thick than rolling with a rolling pin.

aloo paratha step by step recipe

6. Place a filling ball in the centre of the flattened dough ball.

aloo paratha step by step recipe

7. Gather the dough ball around the filling, sealing it gently on top.

aloo paratha step by step recipe

8. Make it into a momo-like ball, making sure that the dough covers the filling ball completely.

aloo paratha step by step recipe

9. You can pinch off the extra bit of dough on top. I sometimes just flatten it against the top and continue.

aloo paratha step by step recipe

10. Again, using your fingertips, gently press the filled dough ball into a small circle, making sure the thickness is equal on all sides.

In case you are wondering, there was no tripod used in any of the pics. I clicked with my left hand. The things food blogging teaches you -  mind-boggling!

aloo paratha step by step recipe

11. Then use your rolling pin to flatten it out to as thick or thin as you want. I keep it slightly thicker than chapatis. And before you ask, I still can't make a perfectly round chapati / paratha, so help me God. Oh, you weren't going to ask..

Ok moving on.

aloo paratha step by step recipe

12. Transfer rolled paratha to a hot griddle. Make sure you tap out the excess flour used in rolling. I didn't take enough for this paratha so ignore the excessive white patches.

aloo paratha step by step recipe

13. Cook until both sides are golden brown. When done, brush with some ghee / butter or oil and transfer to a plate. I use my olive oil spray while making chapatis / parathas. You can spray on the oil at the end and it creates zero mess. Of course if you want to use ghee, then the mess doesn't matter, only the flavour does!

aloo paratha step by step recipe

That's it! Serve aloo paratha hot with a pat of butter on top, some curd and pickles.

February 17, 2011

Super Quick Cauliflower / Gobi Biryani Recipe

Yes, I totally made this recipe up. There's no such thing as a Cauliflower Biriyani. No, you are right, cauliflower does get added on to vegetable biriyani occasionally there's no biriyani that's exclusively dedicated to cauliflower.

gobi biryani recipe

I am also going to say this up front before you read through the whole recipe and get disappointed. You need Biryani Masala to make this recipe. Its not one of those grind-your-spices-fresh type of recipe because that would make this a non super quick dish, and today we are all about super quick.

Its also a prerequisite to like cauliflower inorder to enjoy this dish.

gobi biryani recipe

Gobi Biryani / Cauliflower Biryani Recipe
Serves 3

Ingredients:
1.5 cups basmati rice (or any long-grained rice)
1 large onion + 2 green chillies, ground to a paste
1 large tomato, pureed
A handful of green peas (fresh or frozen)
1 medium sized cauliflower, washed and cut into florets (around 4 cups)
1 tbsp ghee (or oil)
Fresh chopped coriander leaves for garnish (optional)

The Masala
1/2 tsp jeera / cumin
1 tsp dhania / coriander powder
A pinch of turmeric
1 tsp ginger garlic paste
1 heaping tbsp of biryani masala
Salt to taste

How to make Gobi Biryani:

1. Cook the basmati rice in 5 cups of boiling, slightly salted water until cooked but still firm. Set aside.

2. Heat the ghee in a pan and add the onion-green chilly paste. You can also slice the onions and chillies and add it that way but I felt like grinding it so I did. Fry the onion paste for about 2 mins. It will start losing moisture and get thicker.

3. At this stage, add all the masala ingredients in the order given. Fry well for about a minute till it starts smelling gooood.

4. Add the tomato puree, peas and cut cauliflower florets. Give it a good mix and cook closed on low fire until the cauliflower is cooked soft, yet retains its shape (about 5-7 mins). You can sprinkle some water if you feel the mixture is getting too dry.

5. Once done, check salt and then mix in the cooked rice gently until well combined. Garnish with chopped coriander leaves and serve with any raita and papad.


The preparation time for this biriyani is significantly less because you are not pounding any masala last minute. Depending on what biriyani masala you use, you will get a distinct flavour each time - I love that variety!

February 15, 2011

Moist Carrot Cake Recipe - Classic Carrot Cake Recipe

I never really gave carrot cakes much thought until I came to Singapore. Cedele bakery in Singapore kind of opened my eyes to them with their really good carrot cakes with tons of walnuts in them. For the longest time, I really believed that they had the best carrot cake in Singapore!

Moist Carrot Cake Recipe - Classic Carrot Cake Recipe

Until one day I saw this box in our office pantry labeled "Sample for Google Employees". Inside was an 8" carrot cake with cream cheese frosting that was still cold from the fridge. I took half a slice, brought it back to my desk and forgot about it for the next couple of hours. Big mistake! 

Eventually, when I did end up taking a bite, it was a virtual explosion of taste and texture in my mouth. That is hands down the best carrot cake I have ever tasted! If you are in Singapore and you wouldn't mind a carrot cake changing your life forever, order one from Calendar's. 

Anyway, all this carrot cake overload made me want to bake my own and I was aiming for a moist, dense, yet soft one like they baked at Calendar's. The following recipe worked great!

By the way, you may also be interested in this great banana cake with cream cheese frosting that I love. Or maybe a chocolate fudge cake

Moist Carrot Cake Recipe a la Calendar's Carrot Cake Recipe
Adapted from Recipe Trezor

Ingredients
1 cup all purpose flour / maida
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon (not optional)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice (optional but really adds flavour)
2 eggs
1/2 cup + 2 tbsp vegetable oil (I used veg oil with carotene which explains the deep orange colour of my carrot cake)
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk or buttermilk (I used milk)
1.5 cups peeled, shredded carrots
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

How to make Moist Carrot Cake:

1. Preheat oven to 350F / 180C

2. Butter and flour a cake pan of choice. I used my 8" square baking pan.

2. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, salt and allspice. Set aside.

3. In a large bowl or using your stand-mixer, whish the eggs, oil, both sugars and milk (or buttermilk) until blended. Stir the flour mixture into the egg mixture just until combined. Fold in carrots and walnuts.

4. Transfer to your greased and floured baking tin. Bake about 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Let it cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert onto a rack and let cook completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting

I always use my own eye-balled measurement for frosting. Most of the frosting recipes I come across have too much sugar and since I don't ever pipe on icing to cakes (I prefer the slathering technique), I just follow what I want to put together frosting, tasting as I go.

Ingredients:
Half a block of Philadelphia Cream Cheese (about 125gm) - at room temperature
4 tbsp unsalted butter - at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup icing sugar (taste as you go and stop when its sweet enough)
1 tsp vanilla extract

How I Made It:
In a large bowl, mix cream cheese and butter until smooth. Then add the sugar and vanilla and beat until blended. You can do this by hand or using an electric beater. Spread evenly over the cooled carrot cake and serve immediately. I prefer a thin layer but go with what your heart says!

moist carrot cake recipe

Refrigerate remaining cake for up to 4 days but make sure you bring to room temperature before serving.

You may also like this tutti frutti cake or a lovely apple streusel cake.

February 13, 2011

Mint Chutney - Pudina Coconut Chutney Recipe

Mint chutney is a popular chutney or dip in Indian cuisine that has many variations  It's a great green chutney with serve with Indian snacks. I bought a mint plant the other day and its growing like a wild bush in its small pot. To use up some of the fresh and insanely flavourful leaves, I made a mint coconut chutney to go with wheat dosas

Mint Chutney - Pudina Coconut Chutney Recipe
Yes, they are over-exposed, but too lazy to edit much :D
Its incredibly simple and takes all of 10 mins to whip up. That's my kind of dinner, any day night!

Mint Chutney - Pudina Coconut Chutney Recipe

Mint / Pudina Coconut Chutney
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 cup fresh grated coconut (not desiccated)
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
2 shallots
A tiny piece of ginger
A tiny piece of tamarind
2 green chillies (adjust to taste)
Salt to taste

To make chutney - grind all ingredients with very little water. Serve immediately with dosa, or even rice. This goes really well with the slightly dense and bland wheat dosa.

Mint Chutney - Pudina Coconut Chutney Recipe

All pictures in this post taken in the home made light box for food photography.

February 11, 2011

Sweet Obsession Restaurant, Gurgaon

Sweet Obsession
DLF Shopping Mall, Shop #b 143,
Arjonda Marg, Near New Delhi Public School,
Gurgaon, Delhi – 122001
Phone : 0124-4061615
Average Price : Rs. 500 (per person - yes they are not cheap!)

This is one of my favourite restaurants in Gurgaon/Delhi. Not that I have lived there long or been to many restaurants around there but back in the day when I used to shuttle a lot between Hyderabad and Gurgaon for work, I invariably went here for a meal during each trip. Suhel has always given me company and this time it was double the fun because we had our spouses other halves partners ermmm you-get-the-picture, along.

Their menu is extremely vegetarian-friendly. In fact, most of the items have one chicken variation and a few vegetarian variations. Amazing for folks like TH who find maximum one or two options in a Singaporean menu.

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Macho Nachos to start off the meal. Yummy nachos with some shredded vegetables, olives, and lots of cheese. Served with sour cream and tomato salsa.

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Veni's grilled chicken with mustard sauce, mashed potatoes and stir fried vegetables. I didn't try this because I was way too full after my main course. The sauce did look delicious though.

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Suhel's Chicken Chimichanga. Didn't try this either but he seemed quite happy with his order. TH ordered Vegetable Chimichanga so it looked exactly same from the outside. I will spare you the picture.

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My Chicken Fajita that comes with flavoured rice, mashed red beans, assorted vegetables and warm tortilla. It was delicious and really a lot of food for one person. I'd suggest buying this to share so that you can also try some of their gorgeous desserts.

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For dessert, some chocolate fudge cake with chocolate sauce and creamy vanilla ice cream. They make their own ice cream and this is the same fudge cake used in their famous Death by Chocolate so its divine. We ordered this because we really didn't have enough room to even share a Death by Chocolate among the four of us.

I had some pictures from an old trip so I am posting those here. We didn't order any of those this time, actually. The quality won't be great because it was taken using my first camera, a Nikon L10.



Now, when a dessert parlour says death my chocolate, they mean a dish with loads of chocolate, chocolate ice cream, pastry, sauce and the works, right. But when Sweet Obsessions says Death by Chocolate, they mean Death.by.Chocolate. It comes in a bowl made of chocolate, with vanilla ice cream and chocolate fudge inside. The fudge is warm and has a heavenly contrast to the cold ice-cream. I did die and go to heaven!


I remember the chocolate truffle pastry tasting delicious too! 

Some other dishes we tried the first few times:
Vegetable Lasagne
Chicken Quesedilla

The food is pretty amazing and the ingredients are very fresh. They had a nice informal ambience initially but have since done some redecorating. Still, the food is the same so it doesn't matter. Definitely drop by if you have some time to kill in Gurgaon and have some space in your stomach. 

February 9, 2011

Indian Street Food from Delhi, Agra, and Jaipur

All taken from the recent trip to Delhi, Agra, Jaipur. 

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The papad seller outside City Palace, Jaipur. They were Rs.10 each and tasted a lot like tapioca papads from Kerala - absolutely delicious. Look at the happy grin on TH's face!

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Freshly roasted peanuts. ~ Outside Dilli Haat, Delhi. 

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Fresh and green! ~ Near India Gate, Delhi. 

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Boiled sweet potatoes, freshly cut star fruit, with a dash of squeezed lime. ~ Near India Gate, Delhi

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Boiled eggs for the hungry ones returning from work. ~ Near Gurgaon railway station

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Breakfast in the Delhi-Agra Shatabdi Express. Brown bread, vegetable cutlets, Amul butter (YUM!), jam, and juice. Coffee/tea was served first with Marie Biscuts. Never knew such service existed in Indian Railways. Thoroughly impressed! 

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Dinner on the Agra-Delhi Shatabdi Express - Panner Butter Masala, Chhole Masala, Vegetable Pulao, Chapati, Dahi and cut carrot-radish salad. Like I said, impressive. Meals are included in the ticket cost - about Rs.400 per person, one way. 

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Mobile Chaat Counter. The Govinda poster was popular. Almost all chaatwallas had it. ~Near India Gate, Delhi

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Freshly cut fruit salad. ~ Near India Gate, Delhi

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Absolutely delicious Matka Kulfi - Rs.15 per piece. ~ Outside City Palace, Jaipur

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Oh meetha paan, how I've missed you. One of the best meetha pans I've ever tasted! ~ Connaught Place, Delhi