Sunday, May 16, 2010

Prawns Balchaun

My dear hubby has a never ending love for prawns. He can eat them three times a day everyday and in any way you make them (theory not tested). Whenever I ask him what he wants for dinner I don’t even have to wait for his answer as I know what it is going to be. Not that I make him prawns every time he asks for them (who is going to sit and clean the buggers all the time) but I do include it in the menu at least twice a month. At my in laws place and surrounding places back in India they make a paste out of red chilies which is applied to fish which is then fried. This same paste is used for prawns as well and I cook the prawns along with garlic and tomato. Tired of making them the same (although very tasty) way every time I searched the net for a new recipe. I got this recipe on Shilpa’s website (check it out to get some detail on the dish and its origin) and loved it as I love anything with ketchup in it.. hehehe.. I did reduce the number of red chilies when I made it again as the first time I made this I was literally on fire. The vinegar gives it a tangy taste and this is a great dish for any sweet and sour lovers out there. In the original recipe the prawns are fried and then added to the gravy but since I am on a diet (ahem) I just sautéed them in a tablespoon of olive oil. Also, I added more water to it to get gravy since we were having this with rice. Any way you make it is a great dish that can be served with rice or chapattis.

Recipe Source – Aayi’s Recipes

Ingredients - Serves 4

2 cups Prawns (Shelled and De-veined)
1 Tsp Turmeric Powder
For The Paste
10 Peppercorns 10
8 Cloves Garlic
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds
1 Tbsp Coriander Seeds
4 Red chilies
6 Cloves
2 1/2 cm Cinnamon Stick
2 cm Piece of Ginger
For The Gravy
1 Cup Chopped Tomato
1 Cup Chopped Onion
1 Cup Tomato Ketchup
2 Tsp White Vinegar
Salt To Taste
Coriander Leaves For Garnish
1 Tbsp Oil  
  1. Apply turmeric to the cleaned prawns and keep aside.
  2. Grind all the ingredients for the paste with a little water.
  3. Heat 1 Tbsp oil in a pan and shallow fry the prawns till fully cooked. Remove from pan and add the remaining oil to the same pan. Sauté the onions and once transparent add the ground paste and stir to evaporate any water in the paste.
  4. Add the tomatoes and cook till soft.
  5. Add the ketchup, prawns and salt (at this point you can add water if you want more gravy), mix well and cover with a lid.
  6. Let the prawns absorb the flavors for a minute, remove the lid and add the vinegar. Cook for a minute and turn off the heat.
  7. Garnish with coriander.
Happy Eating!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Punjabi Kadhi With Onion Pakoras

Kadhi is one of my favorite vegetarian dishes. It packs a great tangy flavour and I love the fluffy pakoras (deep fried onion dumplings) that are soaked in it. This recipe is from my mom and is so easy to make that you can never go wrong with it. Moreover, it requires only two main ingredients i.e., curds and besan (chickpea flour) which are a staple in every Indian home. The best part about this is that the older your curd is the better the dish will be (great way to use tons of leftover curd). This is because the older the curd the tangier it will be and this gives the dish its true taste. There is another version of this which is the Gujarati Kadhi. It is thinner and has sugar in it but I prefer this version as we are not very fond of sweet curries. The onion pakoras are different from the onion bhajjis that we eat coz here the ratio of flour to onion is different. It is best served with plain white rice the day it is made and the leftovers are great with rotis as it thickens on heating.



For The Curry
400 Gms (2 cups) Yogurt
2 Tbsp Besan (Chickpea Flour)
3 Green Chilies
1 Tbsp Ginger Garlic Paste
1/2 Tsp Turmeric Powder
1 Cup Sliced Onions
Coriander Leaves for Garnish
Salt To Taste
For The Tadka (Tempering)
1 Tsp Mustard Seeds (Rai)
1 Tsp Cumin Seeds (Jeera)
3 Dried Red Chilies
2 Cloves Of Garlic
Few Curry Leaves
4 Tbsp Oil
  1. In the jar of a blender, put all the ingredients for the curry (except the onions) and run for 1 minute till all the ingredients are mixed well. (You can do this in a bowl and beat with a whisk or fork).
  2. Place a wide bottomed pot on medium flame and pour the contents of the blender into it. Add the onions and let it cook on medium flame for 5 minutes. Stir occasionally. The mixture will come to a boil so keep an eye on it. Add 2 cups water and stir. It will keep thickening so add more water if required. Cook till the smell of besan goes away (around 5 minutes). Taste and adjust seasonings. Lower the flame and prepare the tadka.
  3. In a pan, heat the oil and add the mustard and zeera when the oil is ready. Add the garlic, curry leaves and red chilies. When done pour directly over the curry. Remove the curry from the heat. Add the pakoras and garnish with coriander. Let the pakoras soften a bit before serving.
Happy Eating!!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Self Frosting Nutella Cupcakes With A Different Ending

While browsing through some food blogs I came across the name nutella cupcakes and as my curiosity got the better of me searched for the recipe which I got here. As a kid I was a big fan of nutella and would happily chomp down sandwiches made of white bread slapped with a thick layer of this hazelnut delight. When I came to Dubai this was one of the first things I bought but soon realized that it didn't hold the same love for me anymore. Thus, my bottle of nutella was sitting in the fridge waiting for someone to open it and give it the love it deserves. That's where this recipe came in the picture and I had good use for it. The batter is plain ol' vanilla, but very rich. I made mini cupcakes and got a total of 24. Unfortunately for me, my cupcakes got a little over done and the nutella hardened on top. In the end I hacked off the tops with a knife and frosted them (not pictured) with the  Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting that I had leftover from a previous recipe (BTW this frosting refrigerates very well). The cake part was definitely good and if I make these again I will fill the liners half way with the batter, plop a teaspoon of nutella and top again with the batter. The swirling was very difficult as the batter is thick and my nutella was also a bit hard. Overall, I got great reviews for these albeit with the chocolate frosting.

Recipe Source - Baking Bites

Ingredients - Makes 12 Cupcakes
10 Tbsp (140 Gms) Butter, Softened
3/4 Cup White Sugar
3 Eggs
1/2 Tsp Vanilla
1 3/4 Cups Sifted All Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp Salt
2 Tsp Baking Powder
Nutella, approx. 1/3 cup

Preheat oven to 165 C (325F). Line 12 muffin tins with paper liners.
Cream together butter and sugar until light, 2 minutes. Add in eggs one at a time, until fully incorporated. Don’t worry if the batter doesn’t look smooth. Add vanilla. Stir in flour, salt and baking powder until batter is uniform and no flour remains.
Using an ice cream scoop, fill each muffin liner with batter. They should be 3/4 full, if you’re not using a scoop. Top each cake with 1 1/2 tsp Nutella. Swirl Nutella in with a toothpick, making sure to fold a bit of batter up over the nutella.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

Happy Eating!!