Friday, 22 August 2014

Mithu Dahi/ Sweet Yogurt

Mithu Dahi/Sweet Yogurt

Yogurt or dahi, is made from milk and the bit of actual yogurt. This in principle is similar to the sourdough bread which needs a starter to prepare. 

I recall my grandmother who made a fresh bowl every morning, removing a spoonful or two to before serving for the next days preparation, for eating dahi with lunch was a routine and not an option. This reserved yogurt is referred to as the 'jum-un' or the binder.

Healthy for the stomach lining and the gut, yogurt cools down the spices added to Indian cuisine. If anyone is wondering if it is rather strange to include a sweet yogurt with lunch, it is best to think of it as a mouth cleanser. Similar to a sorbet served between the courses of haute` cuisine at a very chi chi French restaurant!!




Sev and Mithu Dahi




Sweet Dahi/Mithu Dahi

10 cups whole milk 1 cup sugar
1 cup curd/dahi

Mix the milk and sugar. Bring them to a boil, stirring it along to quickly melt the sugar. Lower the heat and gently simmer it till it reduces to 8 cups. Remove it from the fire and cool it till tepid warm. Add a pinch of salt. Start heating your oven to reach 300F/150C degrees. 

Switch it off now.
Apply 1/2 cup of ready curd all over the dish, (you wish to use to serve it in), and add another 1/2 cup of curd into the milk, mix well. Gently add all of the warm milk into the bowl. Cover the yogurt with a lid or lightly, do not seal it. Place into the already heated oven which is preheated and shut off. The oven should not be ON at this stage. This should set in 2 1/2 hours. Let it jiggle but not runny. Remove from oven, allow to cool completely before refrigerating.

Tips
It is best to use whole milk for a rich flavour.

If your yogurt is a tinge sour it is the starter yogurt that has to be changed. The fresher the "jumun" the more perfect the result.

The perfect dahi should be spoonable without breaking but not thick like mousse. The more you boil down the milk the creamier and heavy it will be.

Optionally add a few drops of vanilla essence to while the milk is cooling down.

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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Dhun Dar nay Patio( lentils, rice and curry)

Dhun Dar nay Machi Patio
Golden Lentils and Fish Patia

The basic meal of a typical Parsi household on any festive occasion is a trio of rice, lentil and thick curry called Patio; pronounced Pa-tea-O and not a patio. 
It was combined to make it simple, quick and yet special. Healthy, ageless and timeless it continues to be the staple option of menu on any given birthday, navroze or new year globally. Many serve it at a Navjote, Jashan or any auspicious day.
I have shared my family recipe of a delightful fish patio with drumsticks, sekta ni singh. You may omit the drumsticks and enjoy it just as a fish patio.
Optionally there is a choice of a prawn patio or jhinga no patio if you preferhttp://www.nilouferskitchen.com/2014/04/prawn-patia-jhinga-no-patio.html

The Parsi Patio/Patia is a choice of fish or prawn/shrimp and not of any poultry or meats. However a vegetarian version is made up of eggplants and also from the pumpkin or kohru/kadu. A perfect balance of sweet, sour and spice makes it just right. 






The Dar/Lentils
8 ozs  tuar dal/pigeon peas( not oily)
8 ozs red split  masoor dal
¾ tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
4 oz salted butter

Wash  the lentils and place in a stock pot with 4 cups of water. Add the turmeric and salt to it. Bring to a boil and cook the dal on a medium fire for 40 minutes. The water can be topped if necessary. Add the butter and pulse the lentils to a thick but liquid mash.

The Fish Patia
3 tbsp oil
2 large onions finely chopped
¾ th cup of dried dessicated coconut ground to a paste
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground garlic
2 finely chopped green chillies
2 whole green chillies
1 tsp red chillie powder
1 ½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric powder
¾ cup tomato pureed
2 large tomatoes cut into 3 pieces each
2 raw green mangoes peeled and finely chopped or ground
¾ th cup of fresh coriander leaves finely chopped
10 scraped drumsticks cut into 4 inch pieces
1 ½ tsp salt
1 tbsp jaggery
½ kilo of fresh firm fish like salmon,surmai or cod, haddock or halibut

Heat the oil and fry the onions till golden brown, add the ground  coconut turning all the time till the coconut is very light pink. Immediately add in the ginger garlic and cook for a minute. Add to this the chillies, cumin, turmeric,salt. Cook for a minute and add the tomatoes and the mangoes as well as the coriander leaves.Finally the drumsticks. Add 3 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and cook for about 1 hour on a medium flame. Check the drumsticks are cooked through and then add  the jaggery mixing well. Finally add the 0 fish for the last 15 minutes. Cook till just done.
The patia should be thickish, spicy and slightly sweet and sour. Add more jaggery or  lemon juice if required.

Serve this with white boiled rice, the dhun dar lentils, and the fish patia as one dish.

Trivia

The Patia or Patio is also used in reference to a particular kind of pot used as a cooking utensil. It is the actual shape of the vessel  that denotes the name. Wide and flat but with bulging rounded sides is the best way I can describe it. 

The Greek language also refers to a very accomplished woman as a Patia!! It is a girls name which literally translates to highly intelligent and is derived from the word hypatia. Sounds rather interesting?




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Sunday, 10 August 2014

Salted Caramel Ice cream

Salted Caramel Ice cream


The last year has made this particular ice cream more popular than any other. Wherever one turns everything is salted caramel. From  Popcorn to toffee and chocolates. Simply sauces to top waffle or pancake. Home made biscuits and cakes! 
Its a wow for all of us who love the flavour, but can be overly sweet for some no doubt.

On my summer holiday in Boston last year, we had an amazing SCI; ice cream bought from a local store. Since then there has been no turning back and it continues to be my most favourite. I do hope you try this out to enjoy the flavours.

Salted Caramel Ice cream with a topping of dulche de leche


Step 1
In a pan whisk together
4 egg yolks
¾ th  cup sugar
Add to this
1 cup of warm milk

Cook and strain through a fine sieve

Put this on a water bath to cool then and add 4 cups of cream

Step 2
In another pan make the caramel

On a medium high flame melt
1 1/4 cup sugar
Swirl over the heat until beautiful amber coloured.

Remove from the fire and add 1 cup of cream over the caramel; This will splatter so be careful.
Add 2 tsps coarse sea salt
1 tbsp of Tahitian Vanilla
Add the two mixtures together, taste for sweetness and add more cream if desired.
Squeeze the juice of half a fresh lemon or lime
Mix well and chill overnight.

Churn in an ice cream maker and serve while soft.

Tips
Caramel will get from light to dark very quickly. Stop when the golden amber colour is achieved else there will be a burnt flavour to the ice cream. To avoid splattering and getting scalded, use a deep pan for making the caramel. A stainless steel pan is always suggested for making caramel.
Use full cream so it tastes as rich as it is supposed to. Do not question the coarse sea salt or the squeeze of lemon and lime. It is the secret to this recipe.
You can use any good Vanilla available to you but I have chosen Tahitian over the others since it has a good flavour.

If you do not have an ice cream maker, semi freeze the mixture, then beat it with hand beaters, or in your food processor or even in a liquidiser. This will churn it for you and remove any crystals. Re freeze in an airtight box. 

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Thursday, 7 August 2014

Vaal ni Dar


Vaal Ni Dar

These beans are called harvested field beans. They are split and dried.
Once they are cooked they have a creamy, nutty and almost bitter yet not unpleasant taste. Besides a variety of spices it is best complemented when cooked with other ingredients like  coconut, jaggery and raw mango. Vaal is restricted to mainly Parsi, Gujarati and some regional  Indian cooking. It is more of a delicacy than a staple.
Yet, strangely enough it is available in most large cities across the globe.

















Ingredients

2 tbsp oil
3/4th cup coconut shreds finely ground; desiccated coconut
2 cups Vaal dal, washed and soaked for an hour or two
3 fried crushed onion ( about 400gms/1 lb in weight as raw onion)
2 tsp crushed ginger
2 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 cup tomato, pureed
2 green chilli
1 1/2 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 raw peeled mangoes or 1 tsp tamarind paste
3 cups water
2 tbsp jaggery or brown sugar


Method
In a pan heat the oil and add the coconut. Saute` until aromatic and it turns slightly pink.
Add the ginger and garlic all the dry spices and cook for a minute. Add the tomatoes, mangoes and  green chillies and then the  Vaal dal. Top it up with the water and bring it to a boil. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook until done. It will take an hour or more. 
Once it is ready, add the jaggery or sugar to taste and mix it well.

Serve warm with crusty bread or warm chapatis, some side salad and a wedge of lemon.

Tips
The Vaal dal is a speciality and can be an acquired taste.
Soaking it helps cook it faster.
Try not to buy dal that is broken into bits or has black spots or holes in it. That is a sure sign of it being very old and bitter.

This recipe is from over 100 years ago, but now there is a Kashmiri chili paste available in jars that can be substituted for the cumin, red chilli and turmeric powders. Use only 1 1/2 tsp of this in total to replace all 3 of the spices. It can be quite delicious yet slightly different.

To make life simpler grind the coconut after freezing it.



For more Parsi old time recipes from my family archives click on
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Monday, 4 August 2014

Fried Fish Silver Pomfret/Paplayt

Fried Fish; Silver Pomfret/Paplayt

Growing up we had fried fish almost every other day and enjoyed it as a side to the main course. But traditionally Paplayt or the Pomfret freshly caught from the Arabian Sea was cut into 3 pieces and fried to be served with Dodhi Chawal, (Marrow and Brown Rice) http://www.nilouferskitchen.com/2014/03/dodhi-ni-buryani.html and the delicious and colourful kuchumbur (chopped salsa style salad) ever so often. Yum, I absolutely loved it and can taste the combination and smell the aromas straight away.








2 Large  Silver Pomfrets cut into three thick slivers
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 tsp red chillie powder
1/2 tsp salt

Wash the fish and  toss in a large bowl. Toss with the spices until it is evenly applied. 
Heat a large skillet with 3 tbsp oil. Once the oil is nice and hot place each piece of fish and cook for 5 minutes on each side. keep the flame on medium once the oil is heated and the fish is placed in. Turn only once and let it cook for another 5 minutes.  Squeeze some fresh lemon juice while warm. Serve immediately.

Tips
The fish must be at room temperature when you start to fry. Otherwise it will not cook evenly and start hardening up due to the shock of the cold and hot.
The oil must be hot before you place the fish in the pan or the skin will come out oily and not crisp.
You can rub the spices on the fish with your hands but your nails will become yellow and your hands may burn!
The flavours that one gets from a fish with bone in can never be compared to a fillet. This fish has to be enjoyed with bones and skin.
In India and perhaps many other parts of the world you get a black pomfret too. The skin is too thick to enjoy but otherwise the same can be applied.
The Arabian Sea and the China Sea is where most of the pomfrets are fished. If anyone from Australia or South America can share with us if Pomfrets are available in there part of the world it would be very interesting to know.
Optionally you can add 1/2 tsp of cumin powder if you like to the spices.


For more Parsi cuisine  recipes click

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Friday, 1 August 2014

Paella



Paella

Paella is a staple of the Spanish world and like every other dish has many variations. 

Legend has it that it was in the coastal beaches of  Valencia on the south-east tip of Spain that this dish originated and so is commonly referred to as Paella Valencia. It is the signature dish of this beautiful region of Spain. With a base of olive oil and white rice, this paella is flavoured with Spanish Saffron lots of green vegetables like beans, peas and herbs, and has meats like rabbit and chicken, seafood including shellfish, escargot clams and mussels are often included. Modern day additions are red pepper, onions and calamari as well as fish and scallop. I like to flavour my paella with paprika and lemon to complete the flavours.
It is such a fun dish to create as you can add what you love and omit any flavours that do not titillate your palate. Made in a quantity, it is best served for a family meal and large get togethers. Throwing a Paella party cooking together can make it an exciting event. Enjoy it with a glass of chilled Sangria. It can be an unforgettable experience for all ages!.

Nicks Paella as part of our celebrations; recipe that follows is my own!






My Seafood Paella


Step 1 
creating the base
In a paellera or flat large skillet pan heat 3 tbsp olive oil. 
Add 1 large diced finely fresh onion, and a generous pinch of sugar. Sauté till soft. 

Cube 4 oz/100gms of any smoked meat like pork butt, loin, sausages like chorizo. Let it sauté  and cook through for 7 minutes. Add any other meat being used at this point to help brown all over and cook through.
Add 4 to 6 garlic cloves – crushed finely. Be careful it does not burn as it cooks very quickly
Add 1 tbsp tomato paste, a few chopped chillies – 3 red, 3 green if you like it a tad spicier, 
Mix well. Now add 1 cup of dry white wine, and about 4 cut up small tomatoes and a handful of herbs like basil, tarragon or parsley.

Step 2
Wash 2 cups of rice. Add to the pot and pour 4 cups of good chicken stock, lemon juice from 1 lemon, 1 tsp of saffron – dry roasted and crushed. Cook on a high fire until the liquid is almost gone. Taste stock for enough salt and then add 1 tsp of salt to the rice if needed.

Step 3
Prepare the seafood. Wash, pat dry and then lightly salt each piece and sprinkle it with 1 tbsp of Paprika. Squeeze a fresh lemon all over the seafood. 
Layer the top with this assorted seafood
1 lb shrimp
piece of firm fish cut up in squares; use either halibut, salmon or tilapia
12  sea scallops
20 mussels or clams
for colour and presentation add 1 cup of frozen peas and a few fresh basil leaves.

Tuck it all in with a spoon, cover and steam cook on the lowest flame for 20-25 minutes.
Eat immediately.

Tips:

If the chicken stock is saltless, the rice will be tasteless. Add salt to the rice accordingly. 

Use crab legs that are cracked, lobster tails in pieces or even  fresh calamari in rings if you wish. Buy the fresh seafood for best results. 

If you prefer to add  8 small pieces of chicken thighs to this dish omit the fish and scallops. You can also add 6 small pieces of rabbit if you prefer.You must brown the meat in Step 1 with the Chorizo or other meats.

One small red bell pepper, cut into pieces gives it colour texture and flavour if you wish omit the 3 red chillies and one small green capsicum if you wish to omit the  3 green chillies.

Cut  fine green beans can be substituted for green peas.

Saffron is best stored in the fridge. It becomes crisp and you can crush it easily with the back of a teaspoon without having to dry roast it.

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Niloufer's Kitchen:Winter 

Monday, 28 July 2014

Chocolate Mousse

Chocolate Mousse


The yummy French Patisserie by my friend and master chef Eric


Traditionally mousse is light in texture and is thickened with well beaten egg yolks;
A souffle is even lighter, almost air like, as less egg yolks are incorporated and many more egg whites folded in for the cloudy feel of this dessert. Souffles can be savoury too like a cheese pudding.
In this recipe the chocolate mousse is delightfully light because it has some egg white to fold in toward the very end. It is best served in small cups for it to chill and form. You may find that larger quantities and deep bowls of this delicious dessert may stay runny and leave you disappointed as there is no gelatine in the list of ingredients. 
Here I share my recipe with you to fill little chocolate cups of heaven as in the picture's' to help start off a magical feast for your next celebration!



36 pieces of chocolate cups
In a pan mix together 
1/2 cup cocoa
 1 cup cream
1/2 cup sugar
pinch of salt
Stir until thick for 15 minutes on a low flame. It should not boil but reach the boiling point.
In a bowl with an electric beater, beat 4 egg yolks until light fluffy and a pale golden yellow.
With the beater still on, pour in the hot chocolate ganache.
It will thicken the whole mousse and look glossy and shiny. Pour this back into the pan and reheat for 3 minutes on a very low flame.
Optionally add 1 tbsp of rum
Chill over an ice bath for 30 minutes
With clean beaters, beat 2 egg whites adding 2 tablespoons of sugar half way through the process. Beat till they form soft peaks. 
Fold these egg whites into the cooled chocolate mixture until well incorporated. 
Spoon into the  ready chocolate cups and chill.
Decorate and serve cold.



Tips
Use a few drops of the best vanilla essence available if you do not like Rum.
Ensure you use cream and eggs at room temperature
The taste of the mousse depends on the cocoa. Use the best available.
Cream must be full cream also known as whipping cream and not table cream or skimmed.
Do not overbeat the egg whites, they will dry out. Soft and glossy egg whites incorporate well. Check for soft peaks with the tip of a metal spoon or the end of the beater. The beaten egg white should form a trail or peak.


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Friday, 25 July 2014

Light Fluffy Scones

High Tea with Scones, Clotted Cream and Strawberry Jam

Light Fluffy Scones 
In a food processor pulse together 2 cups of flour, 1/4 cup sugar, 2 tsp baking powder+1 tsp baking soda,1 tsp salt, 2ozs/62 gms of salted delicious chilled butter. Tip it all in a bowl and add 2ozs/62 gms more of the chilled butter.

With your finger tips crumble it in very lightly, this gives the entire flour a chance to ‘’air’’ out; make a well and add inside the well little at a time while you take a metal butter knife and keep tipping the flour into the well bringing it all together slowly.

1 1/2 cups of warm liquid  made up of 1 cup buttermilk and 1/2 cup skim/1% milk; this may separate when warmed but does not matter.

It will be sticky and yeasty. Work quickly and spoon 18 scones over two baking trays. These trays should either be sprayed with oil,  lightly buttered or you can use a parchment paper.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees  and bake for 15 minutes. They will be a golden brown. Serve warm.

Tips:

If you like crisp tops, leave them on a wire tray to cool. If you prefer soft tops cover them while cooling. You can freeze them after baking, but defrost thoroughly before reheating for a few minutes. They will remain fresh.  Serve with clotted cream and strawberry jam.

Trivia:

It is said that people from Devon like to smear their jam first and top it with clotted cream. While people from Cornwall, like to put their cream first and add a dollop of jam. Either way it is deliciously yummy with a pot of hot tea.

Try more of my recipes from my e-cookbooks
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Sunday, 20 July 2014

Kumas

Kumas 

A Parsi cake with Persian roots. Made up of semolina, saffron and almonds it gets its moistness from yogurt. It is dense to the palate and simply delicious. Cardamom and nutmeg flavours it and the combination of whole wheat and white flour gives it the texture.

This is my mum's version of it. I proudly share it today with all of you since I have yet to eat a better Kumas anywhere in the world. She has been requested to bake this for weddings, baby showers, Navroze, tea parties and more. Everyone talks about it amongst her family and friends. Try it out for yourself. Eating it with a dollop of fresh cream skimmed from fresh milk gives it a heavenly taste. Try it with a slice of real cheddar cheese if you prefer. Both add a dimension of their own worth sampling.




Prepare a cake tin with butter and flour.
 9 inch X 13 inch rectangle  or 33cms X 49cms
or
10 inch /25.4cms round cake tin which is deep.

Mix thoroughly 
3/4th cup salted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar

Add in  5 eggs at room temperature, one at a time

In a bowl sift together
1 cup wheat flour
1 cup semolina
3/4th cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt

In a cup mix
1 1/2 cup yogurt which has been left out of the fridge for 24 hours
It should be sour and not fresh

Now with the machine beating on a gentle stir, add one third of the dry mix, 1/2 of the yogurt, repeat with the flour the rest of the yogurt and finish it off with the flour.
Allow to stir until smooth.

then add and fold in with a spatula
4 tsp ground cardamom powder
3 tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp crushed saffron
3/4th cup chopped almonds; keep some of it aside for the top

Pour this mixture into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with the chopped almonds. Bake in a pre-heated oven of 350F or 180C degree for upto 1 hour or more until the toothpick comes out clear when tested.

Tips
Saffron is best kept in the refrigerator and can be easily crushed with the back of the spoon as it gets crisp which is an easier method. Alternately, you could boil the strands of saffron in a little warm water and then add it  to the cake.
If you don't have time to sour the yogurt, use 3/4th cup buttermilk and 3/4th cup yogurt to create the sourness. 
The watery part of the yogurt is great for this recipe, do not discard it.
Remember to sift both the flours.It helps make the cake lighter and fluffier and is a very necessary step.
Use coarse semolina and not fine if you can find it.
Almonds are with skin and whole. Roughly chop these leaving 1/3rd of it, more the larger pieces aside for the topping as in the picture.
If you are using a round cake pan it will take an extra 10-15 minutes as it may be deeper than the rectangle one.


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Friday, 4 July 2014

Pear Galette

Pear Galette



This is a wonderful simple dessert. 
Makes 12 Galettes
Sheet of rolled out puff pastry
6 small ripe juicy pears, peeled and cut in half
6 tsp sugar
200gms /7 ozs marzipan cut in 12 equal pieces
1 lemon

Cut 12 equal pieces from the rolled out pastry  
Very gently double up the edges of each up by rolling/folding it in ever so slightly
place one piece of marzipan and flatten it out by pressing it down
Place one half of the pear and gently slide a pointed sharp knife in thin slices. Press it down to fan it out.
Sprinkle with a squeeze of lemon juice and 1/2 tsp of sugar
Place in a baking sheet
Repeat with the rest. 
In a preheated oven of 400F or 200 C bake for 12 to 15 minutes until gently caramelized.
Serve warm with whipped cream, vanilla ice-cream or creme anglaise. 

Tips
Use a Turbinado Sugar, it leaves a crunch and caramelises nicely
Thaw the puff pastry for 24 hours in the refrigerator
Best served when warm