Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Childhood memories are made up of people and food. This sandwich takes many of us back to birthday parties, picnics and movies. At times simple things like this can simply never be forgotten. 
And so I share my version of a sandwich that many of my aunts used to make for us. Its always appreciated even if it doesnot hold the same affection or sentiment to those who get to eat it in my kitchen!


Chicken Salad in a brioche bun



12 brioche buns

1 1/2 kg of roasted or poached chicken chopped finely
1 cup mayonnaise or as needed
1 tsp mustard
2 tbsp sweet gherkin relish
freshly cracked black pepper to taste
pinch of sugar

Mix everything well ensuring the mixture is moist.
Fill the brioche buns generously
Serve fresh


Tips

The buns should be milk buns or brioche that has a tinge of sweetness and are wonderfully soft.
The mixture can be made and kept for up to 48 hours covered in the refrigerator. It cannot be frozen.
Use your favourite mayonnaise.
Taste for salt and pepper
If you wish to prepare the chicken at home you can poach the chicken in herbs, salt whole pepper,cloves and an onion, carrot and celery

For Parsi Food recipes click on The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.



Friday, 5 January 2018

Masala ni Daar ~ Spiced Lentils


Masala Ni Daar ~ Spiced Lentils


Comfort food at its best. This is the simplest of dishes enjoyed by millions of people all over the Subcontinent inclusive of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.  Full of protien, ginger, garlic and aromatic spices. Served with warm rotli, karak ~ crisp bread or naan it is often the main course for a family meal. 



My personal favourite, lentil






Serves 16

Pot of  Spices/Masala


1tbsp oil


In a food grinder blend till smooth to make the masala
2 tsp garlic paste
1 tsp ginger paste
8 large dry red kashmiri chillies or 2 1/2 tsp chillie powder
4 green chillies
1 tsp cumin powder
1 tsp garam masala  
2 generous tsp dhansak masala ( read note below)
2 tsp of jaggery
1 cup fried onions
3 chopped tomatoes
1 tsp tamarind paste
 1 cup fresh coriander leaves
 6 fresh  mint leaves

In a pot heat a tbsp of oil add the masala mixture and fry it on a low flame stirring all the time. When done, you will see tiny droplets of oil release from the sides of the pan at the edges. Do not keep the flame on high. Keep stirring it. And remove from fire after 3 minutes.
Keep aside.

Pot of Lentils



In a large pot boil together

3 cups Toor/tuar lentil; washed
1 cup of red masoor lentil; washed
If these are soaked for an hour or two it will cook very quickly.
1 tsp turmeric
1 1/2 tsp salt
8 to 10 cups water

Add 190gm/6 oz of salted butter to the pot half way through the cooking.


Cook the dar/lentils for about an hour and add mix the spices/masalo prepared. Mix well and bring to a boil. Cover, simmer and cook for another 30 minutes or until it is cooked through and the liquid has evaporated.
Taste for the salt, spices and the jaggery. Check for the consistency and serve.

Tips

The chillies in this recipe are for an average mild Lentil/Dar. Add chillies and chillie powder according to your taste.

Toor or Tuar is also called  split pigeon peas. They are golden in colour. They are oily or plain. I use the plain variety as it is easier to digest. You can use a combination of lentils like red masoor, yellow mung, tuar/toor and channa. 

Taste for khatu~mithu~thiku (sour~sweet~spicy) before serving and adjust the flavours. Add lemon juice if necessary.

Tarko an optional step to finish it off.

You have the option of doing a tarko before serving which is simply heating a tablespoon of ghee or oil and adding a few round red chillies, a handful of curry leaves, a tsp of mustard seeds and poruing this over the ready to serve dar/lentil just before serving. It only takes a few seconds to cook in hot oil, and work quickly or it will burn.
You may also add slivers of fresh garlic if you enjoy it.
For more Parsi recipes click to order
The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Dhansak No Masalo.
There is controversy about what some of the mixed blends of spices are called. Growing up the black-karo dhana jeera no masalo is what we bought ready from a specialist store, still available in Karachi at the Empress Market.


It generally includes all the dry ingredients like coriander seeds, cumin, black cumin, black cardamom, bay leaf, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, cloves, black pepper, caraway, mace and more.  I do know a variation of this type of powder is available to buy ready for use in Indian stores under the label of Dhansak Masala.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Almond Soup

Almond Soup

The almond soup was a favourite in our home growing up. The only difference between then and now is access to a very special kind of almond from the kernel of the apricot fruit and not the fruit of the almond tree itself; which is what we buy in North America. Having been requested to share the recipe I prepared it last night and here it is to enjoy as best as we can!

This soup is delicate in flavour and does not need to be doused with milk or cream nor overpowered by seasoning. However if you are looking for bold tastes and any kind of kick; this one is not the one you are after!










Serves 4 to 6 persons

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion
4 stalks of celery
1 small potato
2 stems of parsley
1 bay leaf
3 cup chicken stock
3 oz/85gm blanched, peeled and ground almonds

Salt, pepper and nutmeg to taste

In a pan melt the oil and butter. Add to it roughly chopped onion. Allow it to saute for 5 minutes till it is soft and translucent. Add the celery and potato and cook for another 10 minutes. Add the parsley and bayleaf. Pour in the chicken stock. Bring it to a boil, cover, lower the heat to simmer and allow it to cook for 20 minutes. 
Now add the almonds, mix well and continue cooking for another 20 minutes; covered and on a low flame. Turn off the heat and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. 

Remove the parsley and bay leaf before pulversising.

With an immersion blender pulverise the soup to a creamy thickness. 
Season it with salt. Optionally add black or white pepper and or freshly grated nutmeg to taste

To serve, ladle it into bowls, add a swirl of cream and top with roughly chopped salted roasted almonds and  finley chopped fresh parsley leaf.

Not to take away from the flavours but adding a teaspoon of dry sherry can be delicious for some. 

Tips

The chicken stock is the base and will make a difference. Use your favourite recipe or store bought stock.
This soup can easily be adapted to make it vegetarian or vegan by using a vegetarian stock.
I used store bought ready almond powder/meal which is granular.

The size of my onion and potato were like a large "plum". 
Bay leafs are bitter when crushed.
The soup will turn ''green'' and the flavour will change if the parsley stems are not removed.

For more Parsi Food recipes click The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.


Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Peach and Ricotta Cheesecake

Peach Ricotta Cake

This cake is an easy to prepare cheesecake made up of ricotta. It may not be very smooth and silky but it has wonderful flavours and perfect for a last minute dessert. The base is prepared in a food processor. Baked and topped with the filling that is then baked further. 
Serve it warm or cold it is your own preference.





Serves 10 - 12 persons

9 inch spring form pan, lined with parchment. Butter the pan.
Preheat the oven to 325 F/160C
1 bottle of peaches  1lb/500gm, sliced and drained kept aside

Base

1/2 cup ground almonds
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 large egg

In a food processor using the pulse button bring all of the above together.
Over turn it in your pan and press it down with the back of a spoon evenly.

Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes until the base is baked through. It should be slightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and immediately place the peaches all around in a ring, keeping aside a few to decorate on top.

Filling

8 oz/250 gm  ricotta cheese at room temperature
6 tbsp cream mixed in with a few drops of lemon juice; stir and it will thicken
2 large eggs
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla

In the same food processor ( unwashed works fine ) add the cheese, thickened cream, eggs, sugar and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

Gently pour over the peaches and place in the oven; reducing the temperature to 300F/ 148C. Bake for 30 minutes until just set. The center will have a jiggle while the edges will be golden brown.
Allow it to rest for at least an hour to set.
Decorate with remaining peaches and cool. 

Tips 

Keep the peaches on a paper towel to drain completely this ensures the pastry does not get soggy.
While not all fruits would be suitable for this recipe, plums and pineapple are two best substitutes I have tested. Apricots are also a perfect combination.

Fresh fruit is always recommended. It needs to be blanced, peeled, cooled and sliced before using.

The ricotta may remain granular. If you prefer it "textured" keep it cold before blending it in the processor.

Do not overcook as it will get dry and crumbly.

If you do not have a springform pan, use a glass pie plate to bake and serve it in. You cannot overturn this cake from an ordinary cake-pan.

For Parsi Food recipes click The Art of Parsi Cooking;reviving an ancient cuisine.


Photo courtesy Farah A


Sunday, 19 November 2017

Savoury Roulade


Roulade

A pillow made of a soft cloud is the best way to describe a beautifully baked fluffy savoury roulade. 
French for a roll, roulades are sweet or savoury and generally filled with soft cheese and served by a delectable delicate sauce. Making sure not to overpower the souffle like texture of this roulade, pick your choice of fillings to balance and compliment rather then take over this delicacy.
Here is a sauce with sundried tomatoes in oilve oil with a herb of your choice. Diced roasted chicken is added to it for protein but tastes just as superb without it.

I urge everyone to try it out as it may read as complicated, but it really is the best feeling when you over turn this light delight and create your own flavours.


A slice of roulade showing the filling of cheddar and peppadew topped with the chicken sundried tomato sauce





Makes 16 slices

Preheat the oven to 325F
Prepare a jelly roll/cookie sheet with parchment paper, buttered and floured


Ingredients

50gm/2 oz butter
4 tbsp flour
1 1/4 cup of milk

1/8 tsp  freshly scraped nutmeg
pinch of salt
1/2 tsp sugar

5 egg yolks, beaten until just smooth

5 egg whites, beaten until stiff peaks ( but not dry)

In a pan melt the butter and add the flour. Stir for a minute and add the milk. Whisking it constantly bring it to a rolling boil.
Remove from the heat. Add the freshly scraped nutmeg, pinch of salt and sugar. Whisk well and add the egg yolks. Stir vigorously to amalgamate into the roux. 

Fold in the egg whites one third at a time, into the roux.

Bake for 28 minutes.
Overturn immediately on a kitchen towel. Roll up into a roulade. Keep aside to cool for 30 minutes before applying the filling.

Filling
Soften 6 oz strong cheddar with 3 oz cream
Add  1/2 cup  finely chopped peppadew peppers.

Slice the roulade and serve it with the 

Sauce

6 oz butter
3 tbsp flour
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup chicken stock
3 tbsp sundried tomatoes in olive oil and herbs
1 cup diced roasted chicken
salt to taste

In a pan melt the butter and add the flour. Mix well and add the milk. Bring it to a boil for a full minute. Lower the heat to simmer, add the cream and the stock. When its incorporated and almost to a boil add the sundried tomatoes in olive oil. Add the diced chicken. Mix well. Taste for salt and add a pinch if needed. 

Tips

Mis en place has never been more important than in this recipe. Ensure your pan is ready, the ingredients measured and the oven perfectly heated before embarking on this delicacy. 

It can be prepared and kept un assembled for up to 24 hours. Do not refrigerate the roulade. Reheating it is not recommended. The roulade can be served at room temperature with the sauce that has been rewarmed and spooned over.

For Parsi Food recipes click on The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo Courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala.



Monday, 13 November 2017

Tarkari ni Curry ~ Vegetable Curry

Vegetarian Curry ~ Tarkari ni curry





A curry is most versatile. It tastes good with a meats, chicken, seafood, vegetables and even simple boiled eggs. One can serve it up with boiled rice, a vegetable palau or lemon or saffron rice depending on what one chooses to add to the curry itself. Left overs of just curry can often be refreshed with an addition of potatoes and eggs. The choices are numerous.
Here is one perfect for vegans and vegetarians with all the flavour needed to make it delicious. 




Curry with vegetables; potatoes, carrots, green beans, green peas.



Serves 6 persons.

Ingredients


1 cup dessicated or freshly scraped coconut
1 whole pod of fresh peeled garlic
1 small onion
1/2 cup fried onions
1/2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp corriander powder
1 1/2 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 1/2 tsp red chillie powder
1/4 cup vinegar
12 curry patta/ leaves
2 green chillies, slit
1 cup water
1/2 cup fresh tomato puree
1 tsp tamarind paste or kokum paste


2 cup of diced fresh vegetables of choice

Grind together the coconut, garlic, onion's', sugar, salt, corriander, cumin, trumeric  and chillie powders with the vinegar.
In a pan heat a tsp of oil and fry the above ground "masala". Once aromatic add the curry leaves, green chillies giving it another stir. Add the water, tomato puree and mix well. Bring it to a boil and cook for 20 minutes. Add the tamarind or kokum paste and allow to boil for a minute. Finally add the vegetables and cook until just done.

Serve with boiled rice or lemon rice and an onion~tomato~cucumber kuchumber.

Tips

Always add the root vegetables earlier then the rest to keep it evenly cooked and not allow it to turn to a mush.

If curry leaves are not available locally, try using 3 fresh or dry kaffir lime leaves.

Adding a squeeze of lemon or lime can replace the kokum or tamarind pastes.


For more delicious recipes from the Parsi Food repertoire click on my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo courtesy Sheriar HIrjikaka

Crackling Peppers

Crackling Peppers

Loving the Padrón pepper (commonly prepared as Tapas in Spain) I went on a hunt for them. Not being successful to find them locally, I settled for these colourful sweet peppers; creating this little sauce beneath to "dip" the cooked peppers in. It seems it was well received and so I share the recipe to be enjoyed by others.


Padrón peppers are grown in the North West of Spain in the region of A Coruña, Galicia, and named after the area of Padrón. They are generally green in colour but can be yellow or red.

Shishito peppers is another delicious alternate. These are very similar and have a wonderful taste to them. You can prepare them exactly the same way. They are also green in colour but can also be with a yellow hue.

A word of caution; while all these peppers are mild and have a touch of sweetness, you may always get one among it that is extremely hot and fiery!





48 peppers

Makes enough for two dishes
Serves 12 persons

1 1/2 cup parmesan cheese

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted and crushed
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of garlic olive oil
touch of balsamic vinegar
Pulverise all together keeping it to a spreadable consistency.
Spread it in two,10 inch flat dishes.

Top it with a ring of 

1 cup Onion Chutney or Onion Jam ~ store bought

 and


48 peppers

Olive oil
Rock salt

Heat a flat skillet. Add olive oil and drop in  1/4th of the peppers. Keeping the flame high, let them crackle and pop, giving the skillet a shake. Once they are blistered all over, cover, lower the heat to medium and allow to soften for 3 minutes at most. 

Remove them on the prepared dish with the dip.
Repeat with the second, third and fourth batch of peppers.
Sprinkle immediately with rock salt.
Serve.

Tips


Keep the peppers washed and dried before frying them.
Nuts like Macadamia, Pine or Walnuts would be a good substitute for the sunflower seeds if you wish.
Adding an extra clove of garlic would be fine if you were using plain olive oil.
I used a fig balsamic which has a natural sweetness.
Padron Peppers can still be used when available. 

For more recipes from the Parsi Food repertoire click on my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.




Photo courtesy Zavare T 

Thursday, 2 November 2017

Eggless Chocolate Cake

Eggless Chocolate Cake

Mentoring and celebrating the 4th anniversary of Niloufer's Kitchen we made a wonderful eggless chocolate sponge. It was light, delectable and moist. 



Moist Chocolate Sponge


Will make two 8 1/2 inch round cakes
Butter and flour the pans
Preheat the oven to 350F

4 oz salted butter
1 cup sugar
6 ozs yogurt
1 tsp vanilla

Dry ingredients
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/2 cup sifted flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder

MIx together to emulsify
1/2 cup cocoa powder
6 ozs warm water


In a pan cream the butter and sugar. Add the yogurt and continue beating. Once light and fluffy add the vanilla. Add one third of the dry ingredients and alternate it with half of the cocoa water mixture. End with the dry ingredients.
Spoon into your prepared pans and bake for 35 minutes until the test skewer comes out clean.

Icing is an option if you wish.

For Parsi Food recipes click on my cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.



Photo courtesy Farah A

Pear Cake

An exclusive from Niloufer's Kitchen.

Pear Cake

Celebrating the blogs 4th anniversary today, the "Test Kitchen" got busy mentoring and teaching this morning.
Here is a Pear and Chocolate Cake that was much appreciated. We also made one without chocolate but included lots of poached pears in it. Brushed lightly with an apple jelly mixed with rum, it was delicious.




Pear and almond cake served with a saffron creme anglaise





Will make two round 8 inch pans, buttered and floured

5 oz salted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
4 eggs at room temperature
1 tsp vanilla

dry ingredients sifted and mixed together in a bowl

1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1/3 cup sifted flour
1 cup grated almonds, blanched and peeled

3 ripe pears, peeled and sliced


Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the Vanilla essence. Now lower the speed or fold gently with your hand, the dry ingredients until just incoporated. Do not over beat. 

Cake #1 
Spoon half of the mixture into one pan and top it with 2 pears that are sliced and bake.

Tips

You can poach the pears if you desire. 
To poach: bring a cup of red wine to a boil. Reduce heat and immerse the pear halves for 3 minutes, turning them over until it turns a pretty pink. Remove, cool and slice for the cake.

Once baked, while still warm, brush the cake with some apple jelly glaze or apricot glaze and a bit of rum to finish it off.

Cake # 2
Fold into the batter
1 peeled diced pear and 2 ozs of chopped dark chocolate. Spoon into the prepared second pan and bake

Bake both at the same time for 35 minutes on 325 degrees.

Tips

Shaving a bit of dark chocolate on the cake  while still warm shows well.

My cookbook The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine 
is available now.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Mushroom and Potato Saalan

An exclusive from Niloufer's Kitchen


Mushroom and Potato Saalan with Green Pepper

Growing up it was rare to find mushrooms in our local market. Not many people enjoyed this strange vegetable which was relatively unknown in our country. With it being introduced to our speciality stores, and learning about its nutritional values, it started being added to our meals slowly. This is a mix of local flavours. A dish where East meets West. The result is quite delicious. Omitting the hot green chillies or reducing the quantity will leave it refreshing but not at all spicy. 


Cubed Mushrooms, potatoes and green pepper in a fragrant yogurt gravy. 






Serves 4 to 6

1 tbsp oil
500 gm mushrooms; cubed
250 gm potatoes, cubed
1 large green pepper, cubed
Optionally add  4 small hot green chillies; slit or chopped

1/4 cup coconut water
1 tsp salt
1 generous tsp cumin
1/2 tsp turmeric
10 curry patta leaves

1 cup yogurt
dash of salt
1 tbsp honey

Pick your favourite flavour to finish off the dish
1 tsp mustard seeds and a handful of fresh corriander
or 
1 tbsp Pesto

In a pan heat the oil.  Add the potatoes and allow them to brown and cook for about 10 minutes. Add the mushrooms and green pepper. Also add the slit green chillies if you are including them. 
Sprinkle it with the salt, cumin, turmeric and curry patta. Give it a good toss and sprinkle the coconut water all over.

Cover the pot and simmer for 10 minutes until everything is cooked. Give it a good shake and remove it from the stove.

Toss in the honey and yogurt, with either the basil pesto or fresh finely chopped corriander a spoonful at a time. 
Return to the fire only to gently reheat. Serve with bread or naan to mop up the delicious gravy.

Tips

While this is an easy to put together dish and the idea is to use your pantry or fridge to make it up.
If you do not have coconut water, use broth or simply water. Use less liquid if you prefer a thicker gravy.
The green pepper of my choice is always the thick long one but you can use a capsicum, red, yellow or orange bell pepper.
I used cremini brown mushrooms as I enjoy the meaty flavours of this bold mushroom. Use your favourite.
If you don't have fresh curry leaves, use kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass or even mint. You find these available dry on supermarket shelves.
If the yogurt is  terribly sour add an extra dash of honey or brown sugar. 
Labneh or Keffir, greek yogurt, creme fraiche or sour cream may be substituted for the yogurt.

For Parsi Food recipes click on The Art of Parsi Cooking; reviving an ancient cuisine.

Photo courtesy Niloufer Mavalvala