Rasmalai in Minutes

One of my friends Sabrina wanted me to send her the recipe for Ras Malai as she wanted to try it out. Ras Malai literally translates to Syrupy Cream, and is a very famous Indian dessert. Ras Malai is basically sugary balls of paneer (fresh Indian cheese) soaked in a think cream flavored with cardamom and nuts. Since making the cheese balls is very time consuming, here is my quick and easy method of making it.

Ingredients

2 cups Milk Powder (any brand, but I prefer Nestle Carnation Dry Milk)
2 Cups Milk (Whole, if possible)
2 Tbsp Pistachios (crushed, can be mixed with almonds)
1 Teaspoon Saffron (approx)
1 Teaspoon cardamom powder
1 Can Haldiram Cham-Cham (or any rasgulla, available at any Indian Store)
Sugar, to taste (add gradually, around  1/4 cup)


Method

In a deep pan, whisk 2 cups of milk and milk powder together.
Add the sugar, crushed nuts, cardamom powder and saffron.
After it comes to a boil, cook the mixture on low heat, stirring occasionally until the mixture thickens a bit. Transfer it to a glass bowl.
On the side, drain the can of Cham-Cham, and squeeze out the sugar syrup out of each piece.
Add the drained Cham-Chams to the  mixture when its still warm (not real hot though).
Transfer to refrigerator once its at room temperature.
Sprinkle 1-2 pinches of crushed nuts for garnish before serving.

Copyright © vafoodster.com   2012

Crème Brulee

Anyone who knows me well knows that Crème Brulee is one of my favorite dessert. Being the holidays, I just had to make some. Crème Brulee is basically a rich custard with a layer of hard caramel. The caramel is formed just before serving. It takes less than 15 minutes to do the prep work, but 3-4 hours of patience before it can be devoured!

Ingredients

1 pint heavy cream (2 cups)
1/2 cup sugar
3 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split



Method

In a medium saucepan,  the heavy cream. Add the vanilla bean and pulp after scraping the vanilla bean into the cream. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring continuously. Remove from heat and set aside for around 10-15 minutes, to that the vanilla flavor can be infused into the cream.

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F

In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1/4th cup sugar together, until they blend. Now slowly add cream to the mixture, whisking at a low speed.  You can spike the custard with 1 tbsp of an orange liqueur like Cointreau, if desired. Pour into 6 -8 small ramekins (mine are 4 ounce). 

 Place the ramekins in a baking pan and carefully pour water into the pan, enough  to come halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until the Crème Brulee is set when gently shaken. Remove the ramekins from the pan and refrigerate them. They would need to be refrigerated  for a at least 2 hours, but can be refrigerated for up to 2-3 days.

To serve, remove Crème Brulee from refrigerator and sprinkle the remaining 1/4 th cup equally and evenly over each ramekin/dish.  Using a kitchen butane torch, melt the sugar until it caramelizes. Allow the dish  to sit for two minutes before serving.
Copyright © vafoodster.com   2012
 

Red Pepper Guacamole

Ingredients

6 ripe avocados, pitted
1 roma tomato, seeded and diced
1 small red onion, diced
1 red pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper or 2 green chilies, seeded and chopped
Juice of 1 lemon (about 2 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, minced
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
½ red chili powder (or cayenne)
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon Salt (or to taste)
Tortilla chips


Method

In a bowl, scoop the pulp of all the avocados and mash it with a large spoon. Add the salt, red chili powder and cumin and mix well. Now gently fold in the rest of the ingredients, garlic, onions, red pepper, jalapenos and cilantro.  Add the lemon juice and transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with tortilla chips or as a side/topper to other Mexican dishes.

Copyright © vafoodster.com   2011

Milk Cake

I was talking to one of my friends yesterday, and she mentioned she was tired of baking cakes and craving some real Indian sweets. With a promise to post an easy recipe by tonight, I ended the conversation with her. Here's my version of the "desi" milk cake... Have Fun Dimple!! 

Ingredients

1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup milk powder (I prefer Nestle Carnation, but anything works)

3/4 Cup Sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (1 stick is around
½ cup)
2 pinches Cardamom powder for flavor
1 pinch Saffron for garnish

Parchment Paper (Wax paper)
A flat glass dish or a small cookie tray.



Method

Microwave and melt the butter. In a glass bowl, mix sugar and milk powder. [Use a big bowl, as batter will rise when cooked]. Add the ricotta cheese and butter and mix well with a spatula (don't use hand mixer), until you get cake batter like consistency. Sprinkle the cardamom powder and mix it in the batter.

Microwave (on high) for 2-3 minutes, and stir the batter. Repeat the process, stirring the batter at the end of every 2-3 minute cycle. Total microwave cooking time should be around 9-10 minutes, or until it is crumbly and a bit browner.

Line the glass dish with parchment paper (or a little butter); pour the cooked batter in it and smoothen it. Garnish with saffron. Let it set and cool for 2-3 hours in room temperature. Cut in desired shape/size once set.


Copyright © vafoodster.com   2011

Bruschetta

Ingredients

3 or 4 ripe Roma tomatoes
1 cloves garlic, minced + 1/2 tsp garlic powder (not garlic salt)
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (generally I don't measure)
1/4 teaspoon balsamic vinegar or 2 tbsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (I prefer lemon)
4-5 fresh basil leaves, chopped, plus some dried  basil
Kosher Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Baguette French bread or similar bread   + 1/4 cup olive oil for brushing the bread.



Method

Chop the tomatoes and add the salt, black pepper and toss lightly.
Now add olive oil, minced garlic, garlic powder, dried basil and lemon juice.
Cut the basil leaves into thin ribbons and add it to the tomatoes, mix well with spoon.



Cut the bread into thin slices and brush them with olive oil. Toast the bread lightly, top each with 2 tablespoons of Bruschetta.

Copyright © vafoodster.com   2011

Chicken Manchow Soup

Ingredients

2 Chicken thighs/breasts (boneless, skinless) OR approx 1 cup of cooked chicken pieces.
Chicken Stock  (4-5cups)
4 tbsp Canola Oil or vegetable oil
½ inch cube of ginger, finely grated 
Mixed Bell peppers (Red, Yellow, Orange, Green), ½ of each, chopped into 1x1 cm cubes.
½ a cup of shredded carrots
½ a cup sweet corn
2-3 scallions or green onions, chopped
2 tbsp cilantro leaves, chopped
4 tbsp soy sauce (approx)
2 tbsp vinegar 
2 tbsp hot sauce or chili sauce (Sriracha sauce if available)
3 tbsp Corn Starch
2-3 pinches of black pepper
Salt to taste (be cautious as the soy sauce is very salty)



Method

Boil the chicken in water, add salt and black pepper while boiling. Strain and save the broth, keeping the chicken aside to cool. Once at room temperature, mince it or cut in into 1/2 inch cubes.

In a wok or a deep pan, heat the oil and sauté the mixed bell peppers, grated ginger, cilantro. Add the corn, shredded carrots and stir for a minute.



 Now add the cooked chicken, and gradually add the soy sauce, vinegar, hot sauce and salt (to taste). Sauté for another minute and add the chicken stock, stirring until it comes to a boil. Combine the cornstarch with 5-6 tablespoons of water and add to the boiling soup. Grind some fresh black pepper, keep stirring it until it thickens to the desired consistency. Transfer to soup bowls and garnish with scallions.

Note: For the vegetarian version of this soup,  replace the chicken stock with vegetable broth or plain water if vegetable stock not available.



Inspired by the food available in Chinese vans all over the streets in India.


Copyright © vafoodster.com   2011

Vegetarian Garlic Noodles


Ingredients

2 packets of Hakka or Egg Noodles or 3/4th box of thin spaghetti.
1 clove garlic, minced 
Mixed Bell peppers (Red, Yellow, Orange, Green), ½ of each, julienned
2-3 scallions, chopped
1 carrot, julienned (or ½ a cup of shredded carrots)
5 tbsp sesame oil  (canola oil or vegetable oil works if you don’t have sesame oil)
4 tbsp soy sauce (approx)
2 tbsp chili vinegar   
1 teaspoon of dried chili flakes
Salt to taste
2-3 pinches of black pepper
Method

Cook the noodles by boiling them in water as per the directions on the packaging.  (Add 2 tablespoons of the oil and a few pinches of salt to the boiling water to prevent the noodles from sticking). Drain them and keep aside before you start cooking the veggies.

In a wok, heat the remaining oil and minced garlic, and sauté for a few seconds.
Add the carrots and peppers and sauté for a minute.
Add the scallions, soy sauce, vinegar, chili flakes, black pepper and a few pinches of salt
Now add the noodles and toss them lightly with the veggies.
Take them out in a serving bowl and garnish with some chopped scallions.

Inspired by the food available in Chinese vans all over the streets in India.

Copyright © vafoodster.com   2011

The thought!!

Around 2-3 months ago,  I was looking at all the food related photos I'd taken over the last few months.... and thinking about the requests I had from a lot of  friends  to send them the recipes that go with all those pictures that I'd posted....

That's when I had the epiphany that I had created this blog some years ago and never posted anything "useful" on it... Ended up deleting everything and started from scratch.

Here's starting from scratch!!   My journey.......my experiments... my adventures with food!!