Summer time is mango time!

With the summer upon us, we look forward to icy coolers, sunny beaches and deliciously cooling food. But summer is also an exciting time to get cooking. It’s the time to relish the season’s best offering: mangoes!

Mangoes stir up memories from childhood, from getting our hands dirty trying to eat the pulp, to chilled aam pannas waiting in the fridge. But our palettes have come a long way since then and so has the humble king of fruits. As we experiment more and more, we discover just how versatile the mango can be. Working its sweet, tangy flavor and pulpy texture can be incredibly exciting both for sweet tooth’s and savory lovers. From chutneys and dips, to cheesecakes and ice creams; the mango does it all. So we thought that while you enjoy your mangoes this season, we brought you are some ideas that we absolutely love.

Before we get down to the cooking, we would hate to know that the fear of calories is keeping you from getting all that mangoes have to offer. Not only do they have great taste, they also have numerous health benefits and deserve to be a part of your regular diet.

Here’s why mangoes are good for you:

  • They boost skin health and making it clearer
  • Loaded with Vitamin A, they contribute towards maintaining better eye health
  • Over time, they help improve digestion
  • They protect from heat and fight against heatstroke
  • They are full of essentials vitamins and minerals which boost the immune system
  • They are also known to help lower bad cholesterol

Here are some of my all-time favorite recipes.

MANGO SALSA

mango-salsa-horiz-a-1600
http://www.simplyrecipes.com

You need:

  • 1 mango, peeled and cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup peeled, de-seeded cucumber, cut into small cubes
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno
  • ¼ cup red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp lime juice
  • Finely chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp tabasco sauce
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

Once everything is ready and chopped, mix it together and serve. You can eat it with chips, as a bruschetta topping or with savory tarts.
HOME STYLE MANGO ICE CREAM

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You need:

  • 1 cup fresh mango (blended to pulpy consistency)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup fresh cream
  • 1 cup milk powder
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Method:

Put everything together in a blender (make in two batches if the blender size is small), and blend till a creamy mixture is formed. Freeze for 4-5 hours and give it a swirl after every hour to maintain the creaminess and avoid ice-y lumps.

NO BAKE MANGO CHEESECAKE

White-Chocolate-Cheesecake-Glasses-540x440
http://www.phily.com.au

You need:

  • 1 cup cream cheese
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup fresh mango pulp
  • 1 packet of digestive biscuits
  • 3-4 tbsp melted butter

Method:

Whisk together the cream cheese, milk, half of the mango puree and sugar. Set it in the refrigerator until it becomes a little firm. Place the biscuits inside a zip lock and crush them into a fine powder by beating the packet with a rolling pin. Mix melted butter (add more if required) and spread the biscuit base in whichever container you want to serve the cheesecake in.

Once the cream cheese mix is cool and firm, scoop it over the biscuit base and spread using a spoon. Top with the remaining fresh mango pulp and serve chilled.

MANGO LASSI

dc2354ef-5b24-45af-afb8-6b4b9718a650
http://www.next.yoplait.com

You need:

  • 2 cups fresh chopped mangoes
  • 2 cups fresh thick yogurt
  • 2 tbsp cream
  • 4 tbsp sugar or honey
  • Mint leaves for garnish

Method:

Puree the mangoes with cream and sugar/honey.  Now add the yogurt and blend till a nice consistency is formed. Add some ice cubes and blend till everything has mixed well together. Pour into glasses, top with mint leaves and serve chilled.

MANGO PARFAIT

Mango-Yogurt-Parfait-3-
http://www.cookandbemerry.com

You need:

  • 2 medium ripe mangoes
  • 200g thick yogurt
  • 3 tbsp muesli/granola
  • 5-6 tbsp of chopped mangoes

In a glass, add a spoonful of the mango puree and top it with yogurt. Now add another layer of mango puree followed by chopped mangoes. Refrigerate your parfait till its set and top with granola/muesli just before serving.

We hope that we were able to give you more creative and tasty ways to enjoy your mangoes!

Written for the official blog at Innerchef.
http://blog.innerchef.com/summer-time-is-mango-time/
Thank You

Home-style egg biryani!

When I think about food for the soul, biryani comes to mind.
One theory is that it originates from “birinj”, the Persian word for rice. Another theory is that it derives from “biryan” or “beriyan” (to fry or roast).

Now, it’s important to understand the difference between biryani and pulao.

I can point to these three major ones:

  • Biryani is the primary dish in a meal, while the pulao is usually a secondary accompaniment in a larger meal.
  • In biryani, meat and rice are cooked separately before being layered and cooked together. Pulao is a single-pot dish: meat and rice are simmered in a liquid until the liquid is absorbed.
  • Biryanis have more complex and stronger spices, compared to pulao and have a stronger taste of curried rice due to a greater amount of spices.

Let’s get to it then, here is my recipe for a home style egg biryani:

You need:

5 eggs
1 1/2 cups par boiled basmati rice (half cooked)
3 tbsp ghee
Khada masala (5 green cardamoms, 1″ cinnamon stick, 15 peppercorns, 5 cloves, 1 bay leaf)
2 medium onions finely chopped
2 medium tomato finely chopped (de-seeded)
1 tbsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp red chili powder
1/4  tsp tumeric powder
3 slit green chilies
1/2 cup thick yogurt
1 cup deep fried onions
50-60 fresh mint leaves, hand torn
Fresh corinader leaves
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste
Garnish (A pinch of garam masala, fried onions, fried mint leaves)

Method:

  • Heat 2 tbsps ghee in a non stick handi. Add khada masala and sauté till fragrant.
  • Add onions and sauté till golden. Add tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste and sauté till the tomatoes are pulpy.
  • Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, ginger, green chillies and salt and sauté.
  • Add yogurt, half the fried onion, 25-30 mint leaves, 1 tbsp coriander leaves, lemon juice and eggs. Add ½ cup water and mix well.
  • Spread a layer of rice over the egg curry in the wok and gently mix.
  • Spread the garnish and drizzle the oil from the fried onions all over the rice.
  • Cover and cook on high heat for 5 minutes. Lower the heat and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  • Transfer into a serving bowl and enjoy.

 

 

You a-peel to me! My recipe for a banana-cinnamon cake.

http://www.stylingmyeveryday.com

Cakes aren’t easy to make and every time I’ve tried making them in the past, they have either come out undercooked and gooey or overcooked almost to the consistency of a biscuit (I’m sure you would agree). Haha!

Even before making this banana cake, I attempted baking a vanilla sponge cake and a moist chocolate cake. The vanilla cake tasted a little too sweet and didn’t fluff up as I would’ve liked it to and the only thing that bothered me with the chocolate cake was that it didn’t taste like an oven cake and tasted more like a microwave cake.

Here are the photos:

Vanilla sponge cake
Moist chocolate cake

I guess third time’s the lucky charm! Here is what you need for the banana and cinnamon cake:

  • 4 ripe bananas
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1.5 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

  1. In a large bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.
  2. Add oil, egg, vanilla and sugar. Stir using a rubber spatula to combine.
  3. Add in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
  4. Stir till combined, do not over mix.
  5. Pour the banana cake mixture into an ovenproof dish glazed with oil, flatten out to make an even top.
  6. Bake at 180C or 350F for 30-40 mins till the top is cooked. Instert a knife inside and if it comes out clean, your cake is ready.

Serve warm cake with vanilla bean ice cream or cream cheese mousse with a light drizzle of salted caramel. Enjoy!

Banana cinnamon cake

Hope you have a great time baking. Keep spreading the love!

Graters gonna grate!

My recipe for the perfect dinner: VEGETABLE AU GRATIN!

DicedPotatoesau-Gratin-Jan2013
Image source: columbiacountymag.com

Gratin is a widespread culinary technique in which an ingredient is topped with a browned crust, often using breadcrumbs, grated cheese, egg and/or butter. Gratin originated in French cuisine and is usually prepared in a shallow dish of some kind. A gratin is baked or cooked under an overhead grill or broiler to form a golden crust on top and is traditionally served in its baking dish.

The use of sauces, bechemel and mornay sauce being the most widely used, is common in the preparation of gratinéed vegetable dishes, as well as many other gratin dishes.

This is how the dish looked when I cooked it at home

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RECIPE:

You need:

2 cups of boiled mix vegetables (peas, carrots, onions, leeks, celery, beans, cauliflower, mushrooms)
Tip: You can slightly toss the boiled vegetables in butter, garlic, salt and pepper to give the dish a slightly enhanced flavor.
2 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp minced garlic
2 tbsp plain flour (maida)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup cream
1/2 cup grated  cheese for topping (cheddar or mozarella)
1/4 cup fresh bread crumbs for topping

Method:

For the bechemel sauce (white sauce):

Heat butter in a pan and add garlic, saute for 5-10 seconds and add the flour, stir for 2-3 minutes till the raw smell disappears.

Pour 1/4 cup milk and stir well (to avoid lumps). Follow this process till all the milk and cream is dissolved.

Bring to a gentle boil, add salt pepper and nutmeg (if you have it). You sauce is ready.

For the gratin:

Combine the vegetables with the white sauce and coat well. Pour in a baking dish and spread a layer of cheese and breadcrumbs on top.

Bake at 180-200 C for 20 minutes till a brown crust is formed. Serve with warm garlic bread.

 

 

 

Home style spaghetti aglio e olio

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Spaghetti aglio e olio (spaghetti with garlic and oil in Italian) is a traditional Italian pasta dish coming from Naples.

The dish is made by lightly sauteeing minced or pressed garlic in olive oil, sometimes with the addition of dried red chili flakes, and tossing with spaghetti. Finely chopped parsley can also be added as a garnish, along with grated parmesan, although according to some traditional recipes, cheese should not be added.

I prefer to add some vegetables to my spaghetti to make a hearty meal along with garlic bread.

You need:

200g spaghetti
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 cup assorted vegetables (Onion, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms)
2 tbsp minced garlic
Chopped basil and parsley

Method:

Boil the spaghetti,
Bring 1 liter water to boil in a pot and add 1 tsp salt and 1 tbsp olive oil to it. Once it comes to a roaring boil, add the spaghetti and cook for 8-10 minutes on high heat. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water and drain the rest.

In a pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil with garlic and cook till fragrant. Now add the diced onions along with mushrooms and bell peppers and saute till all the water from the mushroom evaporates. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper.

At this point, add the spaghetti along with the pasta water to the pan and toss well. Dress with chopped basil and parsley and serve with crunchy garlic toast.

 

5 steps to a perfect chocolate mousse!

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This recipe is a clear winner amongst all desserts I have ever tried, and it’s simplicity and richness makes me want to include it in my dinner menu’s almost everytime.

STEP 1:

Bring water to boil in a vessel and place another vessel over it (like a double boiler), make sure there is no water in the vessel kep above (water and chocolate are enemies). Add 250g chopped morde dark compound chocolate along with 2 tbsp butter.

STEP 2:

While the chocolate is melting, separate the egg yolks from the whites of 2 eggs. Empty an entire tetra pack of fresh amul cream and whisk it till you get a smooth texture.

STEP 3:

Heat 1/4 cup water in a microwave and 1 tbsp coffee in it (to make an espresso shot) and add it to the fully melted chocolate.

STEP 4:

Pour the egg yolks in the batter and stir to combine well, now add the amul cream and mix.

STEP 5:

Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks and add to the mousse. Pour in a vessel and set in the freezer for 7-8 hours (dot not stir).
Top with biscuit crumbs and fresh fruits like kiwi’s, strawberries, raspberries, orange etc.

You can eat this mousse for 4-5 days after you make it (nothing goes wrong with it) and make sure to let me know how it turned out.

Kiwi Smoothie!

Kiwi Smoothie
Kiwi Smoothie

Kiwi fruit originates from New Zealand and has a lot of health benefits. Before I give out the recipe, here are a few nutritious facts about this beautiful looking fruit:

  • High source of vitamin C
  • Sleep Inducer
  • Good source of dietary fiber
  • Helps in digestion
  • Powerhouse of vitamins and minerals
  • Good for skin

KIWI, BANANA AND CHIA SMOOTHIE:

Kiwi Smoothie
Kiwi Smoothie At Home

You need:

  • 2 whole kiwis
  • 1 banana
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tbs chia seeds (optional)
  • Sugar (as per taste)

Method:

  1. Soak chia seeds in warm water for 5-10 minutes and strain. Keep aside.
  2. Blend everything else together in a blender and fold the chia seeds into the smoothie once it is nicely blended.
  3. Give it a nice whiz by adding 2-3 ice cubes (about 10 seconds).
  4. Pour in a glass and enjoy chilled.

Who’s up for a classic french toast?

cook-gourmet-180615-2690
CLASSIC FRENCH TOAST

My apologies for publishing this post so late, I was tied up with a menu launch and couldn’t find the time to sit down and pen my recipe.

French toast has undergone many variations over the years and is made differently in various parts of the world, for instance,

The bread may be dipped in milk only, with the egg mixture added afterwards.

The bread may be soaked in various other liquids, such as wine, rosewater, or orange juice, either before or after cooking.

Formerly, the dish was eaten more as a soup than dry.

Local versions:

France

In France, pain perdu may be eaten as a dessert, a breakfast, or an afternoon tea snack.

Hong Kong

Sourced from wikipedia

Hong Kong–style French toast is made by deep-frying sliced bread dipped in beaten egg, served with butter, and topped with golden syrup or sometimes honey. It is typically made as a sandwich, with a sweet filling. It is a typical offering in Hong Kong teahouses.

Spain

Torrija is a similar recipe traditionally prepared in Spain.

torrija-emplatada
Image source: kitchencommunity.wordpress.com

However,  I have curated this recipe mirroring the classic french toast which includes milk and sugar.

You need:

  • 4 slices thick bread (Cut a loaf, preferably)
  • 2 eggs
  • 160ml milk
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon or nutmeg (Optional)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp castor sugar
  • Pinch of salt

Method:

  • Beat together egg, milk, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla.
  • Heat a lightly oiled non stick pan over medium-high heat.
  • Soak each slice of bread in egg mixture, covering both sides.
  • Place in pan, and cook on both sides until golden brown and crispy. 

TIP: Serve with maple syrup, mascarpone cheese, vanilla ice cream and/or fresh kiwi’s,strawberries.

Happy Eating!

First picture shot by: RoSo Photography
Portfolio: rosophotography.com

 

 

Pickling made easy!

We love adding a little zing to our boring, sometimes tasteless food using various kinds of pickles. Whether its a subway or home-cooked Indian meal, a little tang makes the food come to life!

My super-quick and easy pickling technique will help you subside those afternoon/evening cravings.
Pickles can be used in:

  • Sandwiches
  • Salads
  • Lentil curries
  • Wraps and Shawarma rolls
  • Dips

And pretty much in anything you like.

cook-gourmet-180615-2681

ONION AND CUCUMBER PICKLE:

You need:

  • 1 whole cucumber, rings with skin
  • 1 small red onion, slices
  • 60ml vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 75g sugar (normal sugar)

Method:

  • Cut cucumber into thin slices and put into a large bowl, sprinkle with salt and mix well. Leave the cucumber for 10 minutes to absorb the salt then rinse with cold water. Drain off excess liquid in a colander. Return cucumber to the large bowl and add the sliced onions.
  • Combine sugar and vinegar together. Add to cucumber and onion slices and mix well.
  • Pour the mix into a glass bottle or container and refrigerate overnight or for a few hours before serving.

Will last you for a week!

Photo by: RoSo Photography
Portfolio: rosophotography.com

 

 

All you need to know about the “Restaurant Week India” 16-25 September

India’s biggest week has begun in the most happening six cities: Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata and Pune.

I will tell you a little about what this week has to offer (you might be looking to dine out with your friends/family and what’s better than a meal at a five star/stand alone restaurant in some of the poshest areas in the country, at half the a-la-carte rates).

RESTAURANT WEEK:

Restaurant Week is a celebration of the finest culinary experiences at formal fine dining restaurants across India. It showcases three-course prix fixe menus priced at a fraction of a la carte rates.
This allows participating restaurants to showcase their food by selecting dishes representative of their philosophy and diners get to experience restaurants they may have hesitated from trying. More importantly, however, it is a celebration of some of the best restaurants our country has to offer and a time for us to be proud of our culinary landscape.
How to book your table:
List of participating restaurants in Delhi (Visit website to view other city’s restaurants):
  1. A Ta Maison, Sunder Nagar
  2. Artusi Ristorante e Bar, GK2
  3. Baluchi, The Lalit New Delhi
  4. Chi Ni, Dusit Devarana New Delhi*
  5. Dakshin, Sheraton New Delhi Hotel
  6. DEL, Roseate House, New Delhi*
  7. DIVA – The Italian Restaurant, GK 2
  8. Diya, The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Hotel & Residences*
  9. Dum Pukht, ITC Maurya
  10. Eau de Monsoon, Le Méridien New Delhi
  11. Ek Bar, Defence Colony
  12. Guppy by Ai, Lodhi Colony
  13. Kiyan, Dusit Devarana New Delhi
  14. Neung Roi, Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi
  15. Olive Bar & Kitchen, Mehrauli
  16. Pan Asian, Sheraton New Delhi Hotel
  17. Royal China, Nehru Place
  18. Sakura, The Metropolitan Hotel & Spa
  19. The Grill Room, The Lalit New Delhi
  20. Tian, ITC Maurya
  21. Tres, Lodhi Road
  22. Wildfire, Crowne Plaza Today Gurgaon
  23. Yauatcha, Vasant Kunj
  24.  Zanotta, The Leela Ambience Gurgaon Hotel & Residences

Price list:

Lunch: Rs 1100
Dinner: Rs 1300
(Per person excluding applicable taxes and charges)

MY EXPERIENCE AT EAU DE MONSOON, LE MERIDIEN NEW DELHI:
Cuisine: Indian Contemporary
Restaurant timings: LUNCH 12:30pm- 2:45 pm
DINNER 07:00pm- 11:45 pm 

Location: Windsor Place, Connaught Place, New Delhi 

Right from the looks of the water panels around the restaurant, one can tell that they are in for a romantic and calm meal.

Monsoon passion is their take on a mojito with a twist of orange (not passion fruit, as the name suggests) and is quite refreshing, Sweet corn cappuccino shots are like cold soup tasters which leave you wondering what might arrive next!

 ENTREES: 

L-R: Kasundi marinated sole (fish), Raw papaya relish, Masala thepla
Pan seared citrus scallops, Crab cake, Achari cauliflower mash, Byadagi oil

Scallops were beautifully cooked still retaining their rawness and succulent flesh. The achari puree had a little too much salt (personal opinion) that overpowered the taste of cauliflower.

Kasundi sole was cooked perfectly and went very well with the sweet papaya relish and thepla’s.

PALATE CLEANSER:

img_1897

Pineapple-mint sorbet: Wonderfully light, icy and airy. The sorbet came as a palate cleanser to get our taste buds ready for the mains.

MAINS:

 

L to R: Chicken goat cheese and cilantro stuffed, Garam masala potato gallette, Bell pepper makhni
Puff pastry enclosed corn and mushroom bhaji, tomato cous cous, saffron korma jus

The chicken dish for me was fairly ordinary lacking in flavor and taste, the potato gallette did not bring out the flavor of garam masala and ended up getting soggy.
Chicken was cooked well but the overall dish was a let down.

On the other hand, the puff pastry was flaky, buttery, warm and delicious. All the three items complimented each other and the dish as a whole did wonders to my palate. The flavor intensity increased with every bite I took.

THE LITCHI CONSUMME:

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This litchi and pomogrenate consumme was served to us to cut the saltiness from our mains and get our palate ready for dessert. It was served cold and was really well made.

DESSERT:

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Thandai panna cotta, Warm doda, Watermelon and ginger granita

I was particularly excited to try this dessert to see how well the three components go with each other.
Separately, they all tasted good, the granita has a very strong kick of ginger that lingers on your tongue for a while.
The combination of the three just doesn’t work for me. Personally, I would club the doda with the granita and serve the pana cotta with something else.

My overall experience was wonderful right from the ambience and food to the hospitality and service.

FOOD: 4/5
HOSPITALITY: 5/5
MENU: 5/5
SERVICE: 5/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 5/5 (Restaurant week rates)
AMBIANCE: 5/5