Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Stuffed Zucchini with yogurt sauce!

I am a non-vegetarian who absolutely adores veggies.I rarely indulge in an all meat meal,if in case I do which  is not quite often, a veggie side dish is a must.Whereas my mystery man is all about meat.A meatless lunch is by default  followed by a full fledged meat dinner.In fact a mere mention of veggy meal sets his expressions to "I-just-visited-my-dentist-look".So,i rarely go public about my veggie meals till its serving time.

Zucchini being one of my favorite veggie.I can have it in any possible way.Its such a versatile one.You can soup it ,cake it,stuff it or simply grill it.Rice stuffed zucchini is my all-time favorite.I can develop an appetite instantly.Just a mere mention of zucchini sets my mouth watering.Though i don’t have any nostalgic zucchini memories from childhood.In-fact, as a child i hatted veggies in general and could not even stand the mention of Zucchini.They were an instant appetite killer.But over the years my taste buds have changed, they have flipped to a healthier side.The perfect indicator of this change is that i have over grown the irrational fear of greens.

Zucchini is insanely good .It is loaded with useful amounts of folate potassium and vitamin A .Half a cup of zucchini also contains 19% of the recommended amount of manganese.It low in calories.

  • Zucchinis 6-8
  • 1 & 1/2 cup short grain 
  • 1 large onion-chopped
  • 4-5 thsp tomato paste
  • 1 & 1/2 Thsp seven spices 
  • 1 thsp dried mint
  • 1thsp grounded cumin
  • 1 thsp black pepper
  • Salt as per taste
  • 6 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup olive oil + 3 thsp
  For the sauce
  • 1 cup yogurt
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 chicken stalk cube 
  • 2 thsp cornflour
  • 1 thsp black pepper freshly grounded
  • Juice of 1 whole lemon.

  1.  Wash zucchinis and cut green caps off. Core each zucchini with a coring knife. Save the insides, set aside.
  2.  Mix rice,garlic,tomato paste,3 thsp olive oil ,onion & all the spices.
  3.  Stuff the rice mixture into the cored zucchinis.Do not fill it till the top leave a little space,as the the rice   will swell up once cooked & we do not want it to pop out.
  4. Make a mixture of 1/2 cup olive oil , juice of  1 lemon & 2 cups water.
  5. In a deep pot place the zucchinis & the mixture.Cover the pot and let it cook on medium heat for 25 minutes.Do not open the lid till thn.
  6. Check after 20-25 mins if the rice is done and the zucchinis are tender turn the heat off.If they are still hard let it cook for another 10 -15 mins.
  7. Once done place the zucchinis on a flat plate & save the stock.
  8. Take out half a cup of stock & add cornflour to it.Beat it to form a creamy mixture. 
  9. In a sauce pan,on medium heat, add the rest of the stock and slowly stir it beaten yogurt.Season with salt & pepper.You can also add a cube of chicken stock for some added flavor.But make sure in that case you do not add salt.
  10. Add egg and keep whisking it till the sauce starts to thicken.(approx 3-5 mins ).Be very careful at this stage if the mixture is not stirred continuously, it will curdle.
  11. Now add the cornflour mixture stirring.As the sauce starts to thicken further,remove it from the heat.
  12. Drizzle the sauce over the zucchinis and they are ready to be serve.
  • The inside pulp can be added to minced meat or rice.Its adds a hint of flavor to plain rice.
  • I used long grain basmati since i was out of short grain rice.Basmati rice is certainly not a good option.they break while mixing.
This post goes to Any one can cook ,Iftar moments hijri 1432, Full Plate Thursday, Savory Sundays & Food palette series black.

This post also goes to Iftar Nights.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Red velvet cake!

I wanted to bake a Red Velvet Cake since ever.Blame  it on my procrastinating behavior ,my efforts somehow got diverted to other mouthwatering attempts. Last week I finally gave in, as it was my dad’s birthday. Hence, without wracking my brain any further, I baked it.

Although the initial thought to hit my mind was of baking a cheese cake for the birthday since, dad is a huge cheese cake fan. Considering the fact that I already experimented with the cheese cup cakes last week. (The recipe will follow shortly) So here I found a good reason to try the red cake recipe now.

View me from old school of thought but I still cannot absorb the trend of cupcakes for birthdays. I have a very strong view for birthdays, for me a birthday is so incomplete without a cake. So, all you friends who are planning a birthday surprise, boxes of cupcakes...chuck it! Not a very good idea!! :) .I only like cakes on birthdays.I guess it has something to do with all the claps and blowing the candle and cutting cake drama.

 The striking appearance of this Red Velvet Cake was an instant crowd pleaser. The cake turned out to be one of my family’s favorite. It was such a dramatic looking, red soft mushy and was offset by the white frosting. I will definitely bake it again since, the recipe was simple and gave outstanding results.

But guys don’t wait to keep this for a special occasion, bake it tomorrow for the reason that, it’s good, and sometimes you need to make an ordinary day extraordinary.This cake will do just that. Trust me ;) 


Red velvet cake

  •  2 1/2 cups (250 grams) sifted cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons (15 grams) regular or Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 grams) granulated white sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (240 ml) buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons liquid red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 - 8 ounce (227 grams) cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (115 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

Whipping cream frosting:
  • 1 1/2 (360 ml) cups cold heavy whipping cream (double cream) (35-40% butterfat)
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (55 grams) confectioners' (icing or powdered) sugar, sifted

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and place rack in center of oven. Butter two - 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pans .(i took a heart shaped single pan). Set aside. 
  2. In a mixing bowl sift together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder. Set aside. 
  3. In bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the butter until soft (about 1-2 minutes). Add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy (about 2-3 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the vanilla extract and beat until combined.
  4.  In a measuring cup whisk the buttermilk with the red food coloring. With the mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour mixture and buttermilk to the butter mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour. 
  5. In a small cup combine the vinegar and baking soda. Allow the mixture to fizz and then quickly fold into the cake batter.  
  6. Working quickly, divide the batter  between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. 
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 25 - 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool the cakes in their pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Place a wire rack on top of the cake pan and invert, lifting off the pan. 
  8. Once the cakes have completely cooled, wrap in plastic and place the cake layers in the refrigerator for at least an hour (or overnight). (This is done to make filling and frosting the cakes easier. :)

Cream Cheese Frosting:
  1. In the bowl of your electric mixer, or with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese until smooth. 
  2. Add the vanilla and confectioners sugar and beat until smooth. Using the whisk attachment, whip until the frosting is thick enough to spread.
  3. Add more sugar or cream as needed to get the right consistency. 

Whipped Cream Frosting 
  1. In a large mixing bowl place the whipping cream, vanilla extract, and sugar and stir to combine. 
  2. Cover and chill the bowl and wire whisk in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. When chilled, beat the mixture until stiff peaks form.

Assemble the cake
  1. With a serrated knife, cut each cake layer in half, horizontally. You will now have four cake layers
  2. Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter.
  3. Spread the cake layer with a layer of cream frosting.  Place another layer of cake on top of the frosting and continue to frost and stack the cake layers. 
  4. Frost the top and sides of the cake with whipped cream can garnish the cake with sweetened or unsweetened coconut. 
  • I made in a  heart shaped pan,since i did not have a round pan.and i used the cake crumbs to garnish again i was out of coconut.:)
This recipe is going to Sweet tooth Friday

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fruity Lemonade pops!!

With the soaring mercury levels and Mother Nature turning up the heat to full blast.I longed for something to cool off the steaming weather.
Something icy..Something fruity and totally soothing, the only thought I could gather to stop this craving was a refreshing lemonade pop. This Popsicle is slightly tangy & faintly sweet that is equal to freshness unlimited!. Perfect way to chill my afternoon on a summer day. It has all the goodness of fruits and looks to die for. The interesting fact is you don’t even need a Popsicle mold. Just use normal disposable glasses. I am set to beat the heat with these simple heat proof pops!!

  • Fresh fruits like..strawberries,blue berries,grapes ,kiwi slices
  • Fresh mint leaves
  • Lemonade

  1. Muddle a few mint leaves in lemonade.
  2. Add fruits to the glass fill it half ,you can chop the fruits into big chunks or you can add whole fruits too.Do it the way you  like.
  3. Pour lemonade in the glasses half way and place a stick in the center of the glass.
  4. Cover it with the foil.Freeze it for a minimum of 3 hours.
  5. After its frozen.Dip them in lightly warm water and take them out of the cups.Ready to be served.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Honey Glaze Potatoes !!

Since i try to keep a healthy diet,i deprive myself of the fried goodness on daily basis.However,once in while I do loose my cool & get swayed off by the temptatious oily goodness.I indulge and when i do, i make sure that the calories are worthy of my indulgence. 
Honey glazed potatoes is one yummy food which i often indulge in ..its a perfect mix of crispy thick fries covered with sweet tangy chili sauce and those sesame seeds..yumm!!...just add to the flavors.There is something completely addictive and magical about these potatoes.
Ever since i first tasted them I consistently craved for more, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and learn how to make my own.I tried various recipes.I had a rocky road of tons of trial & errors before i finally reached this one.

  • 3 medium potatoes - peeled and quartered
  •  water - to cover potatoes
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 tsp chilli sauce
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1thsp ketchup
  • 2 thsp Sesame seeds
  • 1 cup flour
  1. cut the potatoes longitudinally as in  french fries.Cover it with water and add salt to it.Now microwave it on medium heat for 5-6 minutes or till its half done.take care it should not be very soft and tender.
  2. Drain the fries once done.Leave them aside for 10-15 minutes.
  3. Roll the fries in the flour & sieve the excess flour .
  4. Heat oil in a wok on medium heat or you can even do this in a fryer.Fry potatoes till golden brown.
  5. Once the fries are done drain them on a paper towel.Meanwhile,in another wok add 1 thsp of sesame seeds and saute until toasted.Make a mixture of honey ,ketchup & chili sauce.
  6. Add oil ,wait till it is slightly heated,add the sauce mixture.Tip in the fries.Mix well till all of the fries are coated with the sauces. Dish out.
  7. Garnish with the remaining roasted sesame seeds.
  • You can also add spring onion to the glaze & also use it to garnish.Frozen fries can also be used.

This Recipe goes to the event hosted by Saras's Kitchen ,Signature Recipes.

    Thursday, July 14, 2011

    Recycle Toast ..(Garlic toast)

    Love food..Hate waste!!..I am a big believer of granting my food a second life,particularly to my breads.Leftover food can be revamped into a new dish as long as its good to eat.Any leftovers with a sign of not so good taste and look are an Absolute No-No!and should be discarded immediately .Economic use of all the odds and ends that invariably get leftover from previous meals,  forgotten in the fruit bowl or the stuff hidden back of the fridge,is quite a contribution to the planet.Much of the food we toss ends up in trash bins.From where it reaches landfills and there it is buried under other garbage and contributes to the green house gas.Recycle your food,buy perishable items in small quantities.Use breads before they dry out or get invaded by gross.

     Recycle Toast is sort of a garlic bread..i call it recycle toast as i use my leftover bread..i love to name my food!! :).This recipe results in a golden crunchy crust with cheesy plump topping & of course with a hint of garlic.Its perfect for anytime snack!!


    • leftover baguettes-I had 2!!
    • 1 Tomato-finely chopped
    • 1/2 cup sliced olives
    • olive oil
    • 2 tps oregano
    • 1 cup mozzarella cheese grated
    • 2-3 cloves garlic

    1. Slice baguettes diagonally.
    2. Rub the top side of each piece of the bread with a garlic .You will notice as you rub the garlic the bread will turn a lil shiny.
    3. Top it with chopped tomatoes,olives and finally with cheese.
    4. Drizzle a little oil.
    5. Sprinkle dried oregano.
    6. Bake it for 10 -15 mins at 170 degrees.
    Crispy garlic toasts are ready to be served!! can play around with the toppings...try your creativity!!

    This recipe goes to Quick easy recipes.

      Sunday, July 3, 2011

      Strawberry Pudding

      A perfect end to a simple dinner is a fancy Dessert.By fancy i dont mean a dish which requires hours of preparation.I love quick food.Hours of  grueling in the kitchen , just ain't my can of soda.Here i have an easy Strawberry pudding recipe.This one is not meant to give you a massive sugar rush,which is usually what one expects when talking about puddings.A subtle tinge of sweetness is what we are looking for.The sweetness of the fruit overpowers the pudding .The white-red combo effect would make you wonder- the recipe will take numerous hours and might be painstaking. However, on the contrary  this is quite a versatile recipe.You can use different fruits instead of Strawberries.I have experimented with Mango & Kiwi so far.You can also use rice flour instead of semolina, in case of rice flour,just skip the roasting step.

      • 1/2 cup fine semolina  (sooji)
      • 1 tbsp ghee/butter
      • 4 cups evaporated/Whole milk 
      • 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp white granulated sugar.
      • 2 tbsp rose-water (1-2 drops if using rose essence)
      • 1/2 tsp green cardamom powder
      • 1/2 cup chopped pistachios & coconut powder
      • 3 cups chopped strawberries (fresh or frozen)
      • 3 tbsp white granulated sugar


      1. In a bowl add chopped strawberries & 2-thps of sugar leave it for 5 mins and then mash it with a potato masher.thn heat it on medium heat till it starts to thicken.The sauce should not be of running but thick consistency.pour it into the serving glasses or the dish.Leave it to set in a refrigerator
      2. In a pan, on  medium heat,toast the semolina along with ghee till its light golden in color.You will need to continuously stir the flour as it roasts and keep a watch because semolina burns easily.Takes about 5-8 minutes.
      3.  In another thick bottomed pan bring milk to boil ,stir to avoid it burning at the bottom.Add cardamom powder.
      4. Once it starts to boil ,reduce heat to low,add the toasted semolina by continuously whisking for another 4-5 minutes.Whisking is very important as it prevents it from forming lumps.Semolina forms lumps very easily within seconds.It also starts to thicken as the semolina swells up.Keep whisking till its thick and of running consistency.Remove from the heat.
      5. Add sugar,rose water & nuts.Mix notice that the mixture will thin out a little.
      6. Let it cool for a while and then top it over the already cooled strawberry sauce.Cover it with a cling film to avoid forming of skin over it .Refrigerate it for 3-4 hours.
      7. Garnish it with coconut powder & chopped pistachios.Serve.
      • I ran out of pistachios so i used coconut !!


        Friday, July 1, 2011

        White Chick...(Creamy Chicken BBQ)

        There is nothing like a "good excuse" to host a dinner party.Who wouldn't crave for a good time with friends,good food plus a fun weekend. :).But the challenging bit is deciding upon a menu.What to fix?.Chinese..umm..Indian..or Thai...quite a mind boggling job.And if you have friends who are from every part of the world, various cuisines and different taste just acts as icing on the cake . So to ,escape this super-confusion, let me introduce you to my very special White chick recipe.It consists of soft ,moist & creamy boneless chicken chunks.This is what makes this recipe so darn satisfying! Bonus- It also works well with both spice lovers & non-spice lovers.

        • boneless and skinless chicken breasts, approx 310g cut into 2cm pieces
        • 1 tsp lemon juice
        • 1\2 tsp salt
        • 2 tbsp Greek-style natural unsweetened yogurt
        • 30g butter
        • 1 tbsp double cream
        • 1tbsp ginger& garlic  paste
        • 3 green cardamoms, seeds only
        • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
        • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
        • 2 green finger chillies, finely chopped
        • 1 tbsp  vegetable oil
        • 2 tbsp Cheddar cheese, finely grated


        1. Sprinkle lemon juice and salt over the chicken pieces, cover and set aside.
        2. Mix the yogurt, half the butter, the cream, ginger-garlic paste, cardamoms, cumin, nutmeg, chillies, oil, and cheese and blend into a smooth paste. Pour over the chicken, making sure it is all well coated, and marinate the meat for 1 hour, covered, in the refrigerator.
        3. Soak 4 - 6 wooden skewers in cold water for 15 minutes to prevent them burning. 
        4. Skewer the chicken and barbecue, or grill under a preheated grill, for 10 minutes on each side until light brown and cooked through, or simply bake in a preheated 180°C oven for 15 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.
        5. Halfway through cooking, baste with the remaining butter (melted).
        • Keep on checking the oven towards the end since we dont want the meat to dry out.The cooking time may vary in case the chicken is marinated for more than an hour.The meat should be done but moist.