Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Peach Cobbler Muffins

These muffins was baked a couple of weeks ago, and its name was what caught my attention in the first place, Peach Cobbler Muffins. I love peaches, but unfortunately, the prices of peaches here are way too expensive for me to indulge in a bake. So I always used canned peaches, and it works every time. It definitely worked out great with these muffins. These muffins are downright delicious!

Though the recipe calls for turbinado sugar to be sprinkled over the muffins before baking, I use some brown sugar instead for only six of the muffins, leaving the rest plain.

With some brown sugar sprinkled over the top.

Plain, without any sugar over the top. With or without the sugar, they are both so good!

These muffins are really moist, soft, and tender. The whole recipe with 12 muffins only contained 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil. I replaced the buttermilk with a  mixture of yoghurt and milk, which contributes to the moistness and softness of these muffins. The leftovers are great frozen. Simply wrap in aluminium foil and reheat in the oven for a few minutes before eating, they will be all soft once again.

I'm sharing this with :

Peach Cobbler Muffins
(recipe source : Cooking Channel, courtesy from The Back In The Day Bakery Cookbook, Cheryl Day and Griffith Day)
Makes 12 muffins
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder, preferably aluminium-free
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup granulated sugar (I use 2/3 cups)
1 cup buttermilk (I use a mixture of 2/3 cup homemade yoghurt + 1/3 cup milk)
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large egg
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
1-1/2 cups peeled, cubed (1/2-inch cubes) fresh or unthawed frozen peaches (I used canned peaches)
Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
  1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly spray 12 large muffin cups with vegetable oil spray or line them with paper muffin cups.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and granulated sugar
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, oil, egg, vanilla and almond extract. Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Gently fold in the peaches, using as few strokes as possible, be careful not to overmix.
  4. With a large ice cream scoop or spoon, scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them approximately two-thirds full. Sprinkle the tops with turbinado sugar.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the muffins are golden brown. The tops should be firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin should come out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.
  6. Turn the muffins out of the pan and enjoy warm or at room temperature. The muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Masala Chai : IHCC

"Indian Tea Party", is our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's recipes. I immediately thought of Chai Tea, which I have always wanted to try. And what better time than to serve this for our tea party at IHCC, virtually! 

The spices for the Masala Chai Tea, cardamom pods, whole cloves, cinnamon stick and black tea. Of course some milk and sugar. The spices are boiled and left to simmer for 10 minutes to infuse their flavours, the the milk and sugar are added in and bring to boil once again. Lastly stir in the black tea leaves, turn off the heat and leave to infuse for a couple of minutes. Strain into warm cups and enjoy.

Very nice! So fragrant and wonderfully spiced with just the right amount of spices! I can smell the wonderful fragrance of the cardamom first, then the cinnamon and the cloves. The black tea leaves are one of my favourites,  a gift from my neighbour during one of their holiday tours to Turkey. Love it, I have been enjoying it alone for my afternoons and now there's not much left! The black tea is a little mild, so I added in another 1 teaspoon, as I love a stronger tea, adjust to your liking.

I will definitely make this again and again to enjoy for my afternoon tea. A cup of this warm spiced tea would be perfect when I'm browsing thru my cookbooks, relax and enjoy both the tea and the book! 


To see my friends at IHCC tea-time party dish, you may visit them here. If you would like to join us in our cooking journey with Madhur Jaffrey, you may get the full details at IHCC's Welcome! page.

Masala Chai
(adapted from : Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking, source from New Chai Ideas)
1-1/2 cups water
1 inch stick of cinnamon
8 cardamom pods
8 whole cloves
2/3 cup milk
6 tsp sugar (or to taste)
3 teaspoons any unperfumed loose black tea

Put water in saucepan. Add the cinnamon, cardamom and cloves and bring to a boil. Cover, turn heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the milk and sugar and bring to a simmer again. Throw in the tea leaves, cover, and turn off the heat. After 2 minutes, strain the tea into two cups and serve immediately.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Blueberry Crumb Cake

I made this cake months ago when I was slowly clearing my pantry and freezer. It was shocking to see all the ingredients that I've accumulated! I bet I'm not the only one!! Come on! Maybe your list is longer than mine! hahaha! Seriously, I actually did a "stock-take" on my pantry (yes, I did!), and goodness, all the ingredients that I've accumulated, no wonder my big fridge seems so small!  Hahaha!  There are bits and pieces of nuts, dried fruits, chocolate chips, bars and others, and I have dozens of egg whites sitting in my freezer which I have always plan to use for something or other, but have yet to make that move! My mission is to clear my pantry, the problem is, I'll just try my very best not to add on more stuffs!!!

I have about 2 cups of frozen blueberries left that I wanted to clear, and I made a Blueberry Crumb Cake, recipe taken from Baking From My Home To Yours, by Dorie Greenspan.

When my sisters and their families told me they are coming over to my place, I made this delicious Blueberry Crumb Cake, which I knew that it would get a postive response from my nieces and nephews, as everyone loves blueberries.

This is a winner recipe, yet again, from Dorie! Without doubt, Baking From My Home To Yours is one of my favourite baking book, thanks to my sis, who gave me as a birthday present 2 years ago.

The cake texture is soft and moist, and I reduced the sugar slightly, and it turns out just right, without being overly sweet. The crumbles are wonderful, my nephews keep picking up the crumbs, and they gave thumbs up for this cake.  Juicy blueberries are a delight to bite into. Yum! I only managed to get this one slice for my photograph!

Have some blueberries in your freezer that you wanna clear?  Make this cake, and have that cup of tea ready!

Blueberry Crumb Cake
(source : Baking From My Home To Yours, by Dorie Greenspan)
For the Crumbs :
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup (packed) light brown sugar (I use 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

For the Cake :
1 pint (2 cups) blueberries (preferably fresh, or frozen, not thawed)
2 cups plus 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2/3 cup sugar (I use 1/2 cup)
grated zest of 1/2 lemon or 1/4 orange
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk

Getting Ready :
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch square pan (Pyrex is great for this) and put it on a baking sheet.

To Make The Crumbs :
Put all the ingredients except the nuts in a food processor and pulse just until the mixture forms clumps and curds and holds together when pressed. Scrape the topping into a bowl, stir in the nuts and press a piece of plastic against the surface. Refrigerate until needed. (covered well, the crumb mix can be refrigerated for up to 3 days).

To Make The Cake :
Using your fingertips, toss the blueberries and 2 teaspoons of the flour together in a small bowl just to coat the berries; set aside. Whisk together the remaining 2 cups flour, the baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Working in the bowl of a stand mixer or in another large bowl, rub the sugar and zest together with your fingertips until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the butter and, with the paddle or whisk attachment, or with a hand held mixer, beat the sugar with the butter at medium speed until light, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, beating for about 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla extract. Don't be concerned if the batter looks curdled - it will soon smooth out. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the buttermilk alternately, the flour in 3 parts and the buttermilk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). You will have a thick, creamy batter. With a rubber spatula, gently stir in the berries.
Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and smooth the top gently with the spatula. There's no need to try to get even pieces - these are crumbs, they're supposed to be lumpy and bumpy and every shape and size. Scatter the crumbs over the batter; pressing them down ever so slightly.
Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until the crumbs are golden and a thin knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool just until it is warm or until it reaches room temperature.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bronok (Kuih Sagu)

Kuih Sago is a common kueh that can be found throughout Malaysia. It is made of pearl sago and sugar, boiled till translucent and cooked, cooled in a tray, then cut to desired pieces and rolled in salted fresh grated coconut, preferably served chilled. For flavour and colour, a little rose essence is added in and some red food colouring is added during the cooking process. I have not eaten this in years, and really am unaware that this kuih is called "Bronok" and is a traditional sweet kuih of Terengganu. I have always known it as "Kuih Sagu" and never did thought much about it, except that it is a popular Malay kuih. Since I have a packet of sago pearls in my pantry which have been sitting there for months which was meant for some other dessert, and never got round to make my intended dessert, "Bronok" is a perfect way of using it up, besides, I do not think that my kids have ever eaten this sago kuih. So this is just perfect to introduce to them a little more about our local kuih and dessert.

You got to be patient while cooking this. It takes about 40-45 minutes for the all  the sago pearls to turn translucent. I used up another cup of hot water, I kept on adding hot water to it, a couple of spoons at a time, as it is getting very thick, with lots of white sago still visible. The final texture of this kuih when the cooking is done is, it should be thick, almost a gummy paste, but still able to drop from a spoon without being too thick. I like it slightly soft, if you want a thicker set, let it cook a little longer until very thick, stirring constantly to prevent burning. Scoop the sago mixture to a tray (I use a 8" cake pan),  level it and leave it to set. The recipe does not call for rose essence, but I added that in, as I have always eaten this kuih with the fragrance of rose essence.

I've read that another method of making bronok is by soaking the sago pearls for about 2 hours, then mix with all the other ingredients, followed by steaming until the white sago are translucent and cooked. The sago pearls can be cooked by steaming instead of constantly stirring over low heat for 45 minutes! Well, I only knew this after I have cooked it! 

Once the sago has set, it is cut to desired size and roll each piece in salted grated fresh coconut. Place the rolled sago pieces in a container, keep covered and chill in the refrigerator, until serving time. This is a nice sweet dessert to have, preferably eaten chilled.
Mine is a little on the soft set, so I just use a teaspoon to scoop into pieces and drop it in the grated coconut. 

The family loves it!  It is a nice cooling dessert to have after a meal, where everyone just laze around and enjoy!

I'm submitting this post to "Malaysian Food Fest, Terengganu month hosted by Lena of Frozen Wings"

I'm sharing this too with :
Recipe Box hosted by Bizzy Bakes
Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage
See Ya In The Gumbo hosted by Ms. enPlace

Bronok (Kuih Sagu)
(adapted from "Popular Cakes & Kuih" with some slight changes)
1 cup pearl sago
4 cups water (or more, as needed)
170gm sugar (or to taste)
few drops of red food colouring
1 tsp rose essence
grated coconut from 1 coconut
pinch of salt

  1. Put the sugar and water in a saucepan. Stir over a slow fire until all the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Bring to the boil and add sago, rose essence and red food colouring. Stir constantly for about 40 minutes, until sago is transparent. 
  3. Pour sago into a 8" square baking pan and allow to cool.
  4. Meanwhile, mix the grated coconut with a pinch of salt to taste. Keep covered in refrigerator until serving time.
  5. When sago has completely cooled, cut up into neat pieces and roll each piece in the grated coconut until completely covered.
  6. Chill in the refrigerator before serving.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Royal Chicken Cooked In Yoghurt : IHCC

"Everything's Better with Yoghurt", is our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's recipes. There are so many recipes that I've wanted to try with yoghurt, I could not make up my mind between a fruity yoghurt, a lassi drink, raita, a vegetable or a meat dish! So when my sister came for a night's stay, I finally decided to cook this dish "Royal Chicken Cooked In Yoghurt" for our dinner, along with the Turmeric Rice, and one of MJ's stir-fried cabbage dish. 

This is a delicious dish. Once again, I'm using almonds for the second time in MJ's dish. The recipe calls for slivered almonds, I used the flaked ones instead, just because I took the wrong container. Sultanas are used here, which I doubled the amount, as I love sultanas in dishes and pilaf as well. The interesting thing is, when the sultanas are dropped into the hot oil, in a matter of seconds, they ballooned up like cute little champagne grapes, amazing! And of course, I increased the spices and chilli powder slightly. At first I was afraid that this dish might be too sour with 1 whole cup of yoghurt, but it provides just the right amount of sourness and it was good!  I used my own homemade yoghurt, which I constantly replenish with a new batch, I'm almost never short of yoghurt in my fridge.

Homemade yoghurt

A lovely dish that goes great with the Turmeric Rice. We really like the sultanas, the next time, I'll add a little bit more!  Does it make me feel like "Royalty" when eating this dish? Haha, only if someone cook it for me, and serve me, royalty style, maybe!


To see my friends at IHCC yoghurt dish, you may visit them here. If you would like to join us in our cooking journey with Madhur Jaffrey, you may get the full details at IHCC's Welcome! page.

I'm sharing this with :

Royal Chicken Cooked In Yoghurt
(source from : My Kitchen Table, Madhur Jaffrey)
250ml (1 cup) natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin (I use 1-1/2 tsp)
1 teaspoon ground coriander (I use 2 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon chilli powder, or to taste (I use 1 tsp)
4 tablespoons finely chopped green coriander
1.5kg (3lb) chicken, cut into serving portions
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
8 cardamom pods
6 cloves
5cm (2in) cinnamon stick
3 bay leaves
2-1/2 teaspoons blanched, silvered almonds
2-1/2 tablespoons sultanas (I use about 5 tablespoons)

Step One :
Put the natural yoghurt into a bowl and beat it lightly until it is smooth and creamy. Add half the salt, some black pepper, the ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder and green coriander. Mix and set aside.

Step Two :
Salt and pepper the chicken pieces on both sides using the remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Put the oil in a wide, preferably non-stick pan and set over medium-high heat. When hot, put in the cardamom pods, cloves, cinnamon stick and bay leaves. Stir once and add some of the chicken pieces - only as many as the pan will hold easily in a single layer. Brown on both sides and remove to a large bowl. Brown all the chicken pieces in this way and remove to the bowl.

Step Three :
Put the almonds and sultanas into the same hot oil. Stir quickly. The almonds should turn golden and the sultanas should pump up - which will happen very fast. Now return the chicken and its accumulated juices to the pan. Add the seasoned natural yoghurt. Stir to mix and bring to a simmer. Cover, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice during this period. Remove the cover, turn the heat up a bit and reduce the sauce until it is thick and just clings to the the chicken pieces. Turn the chicken pieces over gently as you do this.

The large, whole spices are not meant to be eaten.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Stir-Fry Prawns with Ginger, Green Onions and Chinese Wine

Prawns is one of our favourites in my house. We love prawns, any way they are cooked, there would usually be no leftovers, just like this dish that I've cooked for dinner a couple of weeks ago. This is a simple, quick dish, and really delicious eaten with white rice.

Stir-Fry Prawns with Ginger, Green Onions and Wine is one of my family's favourites. The kids would finish most of the prawns, leaving the ginger and green onions behind, I don't mind, I love ginger and green onions, so I would finish it all up, including the pieces of garlic! I like using ginger and green onions in most of my stir-fry dishes. Firstly, they give a really aromatic and delicious tastes to dishes, secondly, I love to eat the pieces of ginger and green onions which has absorbed the taste of the seasoning, and thirdly, I've harvested a big bunch of fresh green onions from my potted garden. :o)

Try out this simple dish, your family would love it, especially the kids! You may use less ginger if you prefer. 

I'm sharing this with :
Recipe Box hosted by Bizzy Bakes

Stir-Fry Prawns with Ginger, Green Onions and Chinese Wine
Marinade together :
500gm prawns (remove head and shell, leaving the tail intact, slit along back and devein)
1 tsp sesame oil
2 tsps corn flour
pinch of salt
pinch of white pepper powder
pinch of sugar

For the sauce :
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/2 tsp chicken stock powder
1/3 cup water
1 tsp corn flour
white pepper powder, to taste
salt, to taste
4 tablespoons Chinese rice wine (Shao Hsing wine)

cooking oil
2-1/2" knob of ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
5-6 garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
1 big bunch of green onions, cut to 1" sections, separate the white and the green parts

  1. Marinate prawns with sesame oil, corn flour, pinch of salt, white pepper powder and sugar. Keep aside for 15 minutes.
  2. For the sauce : Mix well in a bowl, the oyster sauce, chicken stock powder, water, corn flour, white pepper powder, salt and rice wine. Keep aside.
  3. Heat about 2-3 tablespoons cooking oil in a wok or saucepan. Add in the prawns and stir-fry for about 2-3 minutes until prawns turn pink and are cooked through. Scoop out to a plate and keep aside.
  4. In same wok, add some cooking oil if necessary, fry sliced ginger until beginning to  brown and aromatic, add in the sliced garlic and stir until ginger and garlic are light brown. Add in the white part of the green onions, stirring until aromatic. Add in sauce mixture, stir well, and taste, adjust seasoning if necessary. Let the sauce comes to a boil, add in the prawns and the rest of the green onions.
  5. Give a quick stir to fully coat prawns and dish up to a serving plate. Serve hot. Enjoy!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Oatmeal Pumpkin Seed Bread

I made some pumpkin puree last week as I have a couple of recipes which I wanted to make. This lovely bread is one of them. Simple, easy, no kneading, recipe from Artisan Bread In 5 Minutes A Day. My first recipe from this book, and I'm already looking forward to try other recipes!

  • Mix the yeast, salt, water, melted butter and honey in a lidded (not airtight) container. In another large bowl, mix the oatmeal, flour, vital wheat gluten till combine and pour into the yeast mixture. Add in the pumpkin puree and mix until thoroughly combined. I use a wooden spoon.
  • Cover (not airtight) and leave to rise until dough doubles and collapse, about 2 hours. 
  • Almost 2 hours later, the dough has tripled in size, did not show any signs of collapsing as yet. I placed the container in the refrigerator, allowing it to slowly collapse in the fridge.

  • 2 days later, on baking day, the dough has gone down, but still doubled in size. Remove dough, follow instructions below on how to knead in the pumpkin seeds and the dried cranberries. Place in a greased loaf pan 9"x 5", cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
  • Preheat the oven with a broiler tray at the bottom rack. Brush the risen dough with egg wash, place in the preheated oven, quickly pour about 1-2 cups of hot boiling water on the broiler tray and close oven door immediately. Bake the loaf for 45 to 50 minutes until deeply browned and firm.
Note : I have used bread flour to replace the all-purpose flour, and have also added in about 1 tablespoon of vital wheat gluten.

Nice and golden, freshly baked!

This bread has a soft crust, very nice!

The texture is moist and soft, very tasty! Of course, the pumpkin seeds adds a lovely crunch and the dried cranberries, as what the authors says, adds both a sweet element and a tartness that is wonderful with the other flavours.

Very good spread with my homemade plum jam. 

I'm sharing this with :
BYOB, Bake Your Own Bread hosted by Girlichef
Twelve Loaves hosted by Cake Duchess, theme for this month is Nuts, Seeds and Grains
Recipe Box hosted by Bizzy Bakes
Full Plate Thursday hosted by Miz Helen's Country Cottage

Oatmeal Pumpkin Seed Bread
(adapted from "Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day by Jeff Hertzberg and Zoe Francois)
Makes three 1-1/2 pound loaves. The recipe is easily doubled or halved
1 cup fresh or canned "pie" pumpkin puree
2 cups lukewarm water
1-1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 tablespoon Kosher salt (I use 1/3 tablespoons sea salt for half a recipe)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/3 cup honey
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup rye flour
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (I use 2 cups bread flour for half a recipe)
neutral-tasting oil for greasing the pan
1 tablespoon vital wheat gluten (my addition)

Ingredients needed on baking day :
1-1/2 pounds oatmeal pumpkin dough (from above)
1/4 cup hulled, toasted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup dried cranberries
egg wash (one egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)

  1. Mixing and storing the dough : Mix the yeast and salt with the water, melted butter, and honey in a 5-quart bowl, or a lidded (not airtight) food container.
  2. Mix in the oatmeal, pumpkin, and flours (and vital wheat gluten, if using) without kneading, using a spoon, a 14-cup capacity food processor (with dough attachment), or a heavy-duty stand mixer (with dough hook). If you're not using a machine, you may need to use wet hands to incorporate the last bit of flour.
  3. Cover (not airtight), and allow to rest at room temperature until the dough rises and collapses (or flattens on top), approximately 2 hours.
  4. The dough can be used immediately after the initial rise, though it is easier to handle when cold. Refrigerate in a lidded (not airtight) container and use over the next 9 days.
  5. On baking day : lightly grease a 9x4x3-inch nonstick loaf pan. Dust the surface of the refrigerated dough with flour and cut off a 1-1/2 pound (grape-fruit size) piece. Dust the piece with more flour and quickly shape it into a ball by stretching the surface of the dough around to the bottom on all four sides, rotating the ball a quarter-turn as you go.
  6. Flatten the dough with your hands and roll out into a 1/2-inch-thick rectangle. As you roll out the dough, use enough flour to prevent it from sticking to the work surface but not so much as to make the dough dry.
  7. Sprinkle the seeds and cranberries over the dough and roll the dough up to encase them. Fold the dough over again to work the seeds into the dough.
  8. Using a small amount of flour, form the dough into a loaf shape. Place the loaf in the prepared pan and allow to rest and rise 2 hours (or just 40 minutes if you're using fresh, unrefrigerated dough).
  9. Twenty minutes before baking time, preheat the oven to 350F, and place an empty broiler tray on any other shelf that won't interfere with the rising bread. The baking stone is not essential for loaf pan breads; if you omit it the preheat may be as short as 5 minutes.
  10. Just before putting the bread in the oven, brush the loaf with egg wash and place it on a rack near the center of the oven. Pour 1 cup of hot tap water into the broiler tray and quickly close the oven door. Bake the loaf for 45 to 50 minutes, until deeply browned and firm.
  11. Allow to cool before slicing or eating.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tarka Dal And Flaky Flatbreads with Cumin Seeds

Lentil Love, is our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Club (IHCC), where we are currently cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's recipes. Though I cook Indian food every so often, I have seldom used lentils, probably just a couple of times. This week's theme is the perfect time for me to try out other lentil recipes. I decided to cook Tarka Dal along with Flaky Flatbreads with Cumin Seeds to go with the dal curry.

I usually have dal curry at our local Indian restaurants where we sometimes had our weekend breakfast of Indian rotis and dal curry. I once cooked our local version of dal curry with some vegetables added in, and some coconut milk as well. This is a different version out of so many others, and seems so much simpler with just a few ingredients. So I decided to give this a try since I have both lentils in my pantry.

This is really so simple and easy to cook. Both the lentils are boiled together along with the turmeric powder until soft and mushy. Salt is then added in. The spices are sauteed separately (tempering) and then added to the cooked lentils, cover the pot to trap the aromas for a few minutes before serving. I was rather surprised to find that it is quite tasty and smells good. The next time when I cooked this, I'm going to use this as a dal curry base and mix in with some chopped carrots, potatoes, radish and sometimes green beans, as what we usually have over here. It is going to be another version of  delicious pot of dal curry! Of course, dal curry is always great with any Indian breads, and I have made some breads to go along with it.

This flaky flatbread tastes a little like our local Chapati. It is crusty and dry on the outside and soft on the inside. The cumin seeds and fresh coriander gives it a nice aroma. Here I have used a mixture of wholemeal flour and plain flour, an option if you do not have chapati flour, as advised by Madhur Jaffrey.

We had this for our weekend lunch. I'm looking forward to cook the dal curry again with some veggies added in!


To view other delicious lentil meals, please stop by I Heart Cooking Clubs and click on the linky link. 

Tarka Dal
(adapted from "Simple Indian Cookery" by Madhur Jaffrey)
(You may combine the two dals, or use just one of them)
75gm (3oz) yellow split peas (skinned mung dal)
75gm (3oz) split red lentils (masoor dal)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
900ml (1-1/2 pints) water
1 to 1-1/4 teaspoons salt
3 tablespoons olive or groundnut oil
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
2 hot dried red chillies
1 garlic clove, lightly crushed but left whole, then peeled

  1. Put the two dals in a bowl and wash in several changes of water, then drain. Empty the dals into a heavy-based pan and add the turmeric and water. Stir and bring to a boil. Quickly (before the pan can boil over) turn the heat down to low, then partly cover the pan and simmer gently for 40-45 minutes, until the dals are very soft. Stir in the salt, turn off the heat and cover the pan.
  2. Put the oil in a small frying pan and set it over a medium-high heat. When it is very hot, put in the cumin seeds and chillies. As soon as the chillies darken - a matter of seconds - put in the garlic.
  3. When the garlic has browned lightly, lift up the frying pan with one hand and, with the other, take the lid off the dal pan. Pour the contents of the frying pan - oil and spices - over the dal and then put the lid back on for a few minutes to trap the aromas.

Flaky Flarbreads with Cumin Seeds
(adapted from "Simple Indian Cookery" by Madhur Jaffrey)
300gm (11oz) chapati flour (or a half and half mixture of sifted wholemeal flour and plain white flour)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds, lightly crushed in a mortar
2 teaspoons very finely chopped green chillies
2 tablespoons very finely chopped fresh coriander
2 tablespoons olive oil or groundnut oil
250ml (8fl oz) water
1 teaspoon very finely grated fresh root ginger
50-75gm (2-3oz) melted butter or ghee
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Combine the flour, salt, black pepper, cumin seeds, chillies and coriander in a large bowl and drizzle the oil over the top. Rub the oil and seasonings into the flour with your fingers.
  2. Put the water in a cup and stir in the ginger. Slowly add enough water to the flour mixture to make a soft but manageable dough, mixing and kneading as you do so - you will need anything from 175ml to all of the gingery water. Knead the dough - either in the bowl or on a work surface - for about 10 minutes, until smooth.
  3. Put the dough in a bowl and cover with clingfilm or a damp tea-towel. Set aside for 30 minutes, then knead the dough again and divide it into 8 balls. Flatten each ball slightly to make a patty.
  4. Set an Indian tava, cast-iron griddle or cast-iron frying pan on a medium-high heat. Give it time to get very hot. Meanwhile, dust your work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out one dough patty into a cm (6 in) round. Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the melted butter or ghee over the surface and spread it evenly with the back of the teaspoon.
  5. Fold one end of the round over itself in such a way that a third of the round is still uncovered. Then fold the uncovered end over the rest to form a rectangle of sorts. Drizzle 1/2 teaspoon of melted butter or ghee over the rectangle and spread it out with the back of the spoon.
  6. Fold this rectangle over itself in such a way that a third is left exposed. Now fold the third over the rest to make a small square. Roll out this square into a much larger one, about 14-15cm (5-1/2 to 6in) on each side. You may need to dust it with flour now and then.
  7. Lift up the paratha and slap it into the centre of the hot pan. Cook for 30 seconds or until the dough turns white on top and light brown spots appear on the bottom.
  8. Spread 1 teaspoon of melted butter or ghee over the top of the paratha and turn it over. Cook it for another 15 seconds. Turn the paratha 4 more times, every 15 seconds, without adding any more melted butter or ghee. The paratha is done when it has light brown spots, is slightly crisp on the outside and soft (but cooked through) on the inside. Make the remaining parathas in the same way.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Almond Milk Jelly with Mandarin Orange

Almond milk jelly is one dessert that is usually served in Chinese restaurants, usually at the end of a wedding dinner, as a sweet ending to a wonderful meal. The almond jelly are served cold, in iced watery sweetened syrup, sometimes with canned lychees or longans, and is really cold and refreshing. Almond extract are used for the flavour, if you are a fan of anything almonds, than you would like this. You may substitute the almond extract with vanilla extract if you prefer.

I made this over the weekend for our dessert. This version is served with mandarin oranges, but of course, since the season for mandarin oranges is not for a couple of months yet, I used the canned mandarin oranges.  You may use fresh sweet oranges if you prefer. Some freshly squeezed orange juice is drizzled over before serving.

The first thing you need to do is to cook the almond milk jelly. Water, fresh cream, sugar, agar-agar powder are boiled for about 8 minutes until the sugar dissoves. Here, I have reduced the sugar from the original 1 cup to 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons, which for me, is just right. You may adjust accordingly to your taste. Once the sugar has dissolved, I poured the contents into a 8" square baking pan, remove any bubbles that may appear on top. Leave to cool until it sets, cover and place the tray in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to chill. I placed the mandarin oranges and the orange juice in the refrigerator to chill so that everything is cold and nice when it is time to serve.

To serve, cut the almond milk jelly to cubes and portion to individual serving bowl. Top with some slices of mandarin oranges and drizzle some fresh orange juice over. You may add a teaspoon or two of the syrup from the canned mandarin oranges. 

Serve and enjoy! Cold and refreshing!

I'm sharing this with :

Almond Milk Jelly with Mandarin Orange
(Tropical Desserts, Devagi Sanmugam)
3-1/4 cups (800 ml) water
3/4 cup (185 ml) fresh cream
250gm (1 cup) caster sugar (I use 1/2 cup plus 3 tablespoons)
2 tablespoons agar-agar powder
1/2 teaspoon almond essence
3 mandarin oranges, peeled and segmented (I use canned mandarin oranges)
1 cup (250 ml) chilled orange juice (I use freshly squeezed orange juice)

  1. Place the water, fresh cream, caster sugar and agar-agar powder in a pan and bring to a boil for 8 minutes, stirring constantly until the sugar completely dissolves. Then remove from the heat, add the almond essence and stir to mix well.
  2. Pour the mixture into a 2-cm (3/4-in) high tray and leave it to set. Then slice into small cubes and chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
  3. To serve, portion the almond cubes and orange segments into individual serving bowls. Drizzle a little orange juice over and serve.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Creamy Chicken Korma with Almonds and Stir-Fried Cauliflower with Green Chillies : IHCC

Spice Bazaar, is our theme for this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs (IHCC), where we are cooking from Madhur Jaffrey's recipes. Spices! Love them! I cannot imagine my kitchen without any spices!  I love spices, the wonders of spices, when mixed together in a correct amount, an incredible whole new flavours are created. So for this week's theme,  Spice Bazaar is all about using spices, and I have chose to make Creamy Chicken Korma with Almonds and Stir-Fried Cauliflower with Green Chillies, which I served together with Turmeric Rice, which I made last week.

This is one lovely meal, Turmeric Rice served with Creamy Chicken Korma with Almonds and a vegetable dish, Stir-Fried Cauliflower with Green Chillies.

A delicious korma dish. All the wonderful spices, cardamon pods, cinnamon stick, cloves, ground cumin, ground coriander and garam masala all comes together in one delicious combination. The almonds are pureed together with the garlic and ginger, this is the first time I'm actually using almonds in a curry dish. Though the recipe uses just a little amount of cayenne pepper, about 1/4 teaspoon, I decided to spice it up a little, by substituting it with 1 teaspoon of chilli powder.  It is not at all spicy, I was tempted to add in more of the chilli powder but then my kids will be eating this as well, and also, Korma is usually not a spicy dish. Usually Korma is mild and creamy, and rich with spices. I used double the amount of garam masala, I just love using garam masala in curries, it really gives a wonderful flavours to curries. 

Creamy Chicken Korma with Almonds, one that I would cook again! Everyone was digging in for more gravy! Though it can't be seen from the photo above, there are some gravy actually, and just enough for my gravy-loving family! Note : I'll double up on the spices and ingredients for more gravy the next time!

A simple stir-fried vegetable dish, Stir-Fried Cauliflower with Green Chillies. 

An interesting ingredient here is the usage of 1 teaspoon of raw rice. The raw rice is stired in the hot oil together with some cumin seeds until the rice turns golden. Then the rest of the ingredients are added in (refer recipe below). When this dish was done, I find that it tasted just OK, nothing spectacular. The flavours actually improved about an hour later, when it was time for our meal. It gets tastier! So cook this earlier if you are planning to have it for dinner! We had a fabulous Indian dinner that night, thumbs up from the family!


To see my friends' delicious Spice Bazaar meals, you may visit them here. If you would like to join us, you may get the full details at IHCC's Welcome! page.

I'm sharing this too with :

Creamy Chicken Korma With Almonds
(adapted from : Simple Indian Cookery by Madhur Jaffrey)
5-6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 inch piece of fresh root ginger, chopped
50gm flaked almonds
5 tablespoons olive oil or groundnut oil
2 bay leaves
8 cardamon pods
4 cloves
1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
1 onion, finely chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (I used 1 tsp chilli powder)
1 tablespoon tomato puree
1.5kg chicken pieces, skinned and cut into serving portions
1-1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons single cream
1/2 tablespoon garam masala (I use 1 tablespoon)
150ml water

  1. Put the garlic, ginger, almonds and 6 tablespoons of water into a blender and blend to a smooth paste. Put the oil in a wide pan and set it over a medium-high heat. When it is very hot, put in the bay leaves, cardamom pods, cloves and cinnamon stick and stir for 10 seconds. Add the onion and cook, stirring, until browned.
  2. Reduce the heat to medium and add the paste from the blender, along with the cumin, coriander and cayenne. Stir for 3-4 minutes, then add the tomato puree and stir for a minute longer.
  3. Add the chicken pieces, salt, cream, garam masala and water. Bring to a simmer, then cover the e pan, turn the heat to low and simmer gently for 25 minutes, until the chicken is done.

Stir-Fried Cauliflower with Green Chillies
(adapted from : Simple Indian Cookery by Madhur Jaffrey)
3 tablespoons olive or groundnut oil
1 teaspoon any raw rice
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
450gm (1lb) cauliflower florets
1-inch piece of fresh root ginger, cut into fine rounds and then into fine slivers
2 hot green chillies, cut into long slivers (do not remove the seeds)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garam masala (I use 3/4 tsp)
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric (I use 1/2 tsp)
freshly ground black pepper

  1. Put the oil into a karhai or wok and set it over a high heat. When it is hot, put in the rice and cumin seeds. Stir for a few seconds, until the rice is golden.
  2. Quickly add the cauliflower florets, ginger and chillies. Stir and fry for 5-7 minutes, until the cauliflower has browned a little.
  3. Add the salt, black pepper, garam masala and turmeric. Stir once and then add 4 tablespoons water. Cover the karhai, reduce the heat to medium and cook for 2 minutes or until the cauliflower is just tender.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

THB : Danish Chocolate Streusel-Swirled Coffee Cake

It's our 10th bake at The Home Bakers (THB) and Anuja from Simple Baking, our host for this bake, has selected Danish Chocolate Streusel-Swirled Coffee Cake, a great pick! Anuja has a wonderful site with lots of delicious bakes! If you have not had the pleasure of knowing Anuja, do stop by Simple Baking to say hi and make a new friend, you will be glad you did!

Danish Chocolate Streusel-Swirled Coffee Cake is one amazing bread, so soft and delicious! After my confusion with cake and bread in my previous bake for Bake-Along, here, once again, I'm calling this a bread instead of cake! 

I made half a recipe and use my stand mixer to mix the ingredients to a soft dough. Remove the dough, place on a working surface and knead until smooth for about 10 minutes, a process which I rather enjoyed doing, as the dough was a pleasure to work with, soft but not sticky. The only changes I made was,  I use bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. 

Place in a greased bowl, turn to coat and cover loosely with greased plastic wrap. Leave to rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1-1/2 hours.

Punch down risen dough and turned out on a lightly floured surface, knead lightly until smooth.

Roll out dough to about 10-by-14-inch rectangle. Spread evenly with the prepared streusel, which are made up of sugar, flour, butter, cocoa powder and cinnamon. Roll up, swiss roll style, seam side down.

I placed two rectangular plastic dough scraper, one on either side, under the dough for easy transfer to the baking tray.

Use a scissors to snip the loaf at 3/4-inch intervals, cutting three-fourths of the way through the dough. 
Starting at one end, pull and twist each cut slice on its side to lie flat on alternate sides, which I barely managed, as there is not much space on my baking tray! It's a big loaf! (Note to self: make smaller or individual rolls next time!)
Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.

Brush with egg whites, sprinkle with flaked almonds and bake until golden brown. The oven is preheated at 350F and reduce to 325F when the dough goes into the oven.

These are so good, especially when eaten warm. I made only half a recipe and it is quite a big loaf! The texture of the bread is really moist and soft. The streusel filling is so yummy and I like the flaked almonds over the top too, a nice crunch with nutty almond fragrance. Overall review : Delicious! This is definitely a keeper!

It stays soft too on the next day, but then I reheated it for a short while as I like to eat it warm, just to enjoy the full softness of the bread and the wonderful smell of the almonds.

Please stop by Anuja from Simple Baking for the full recipe. And to see the rest of the members' bake,  do drop by The Home Bakers (THB).

Welcome to The Home Bakers

THB is currently baking from Coffee Cakes by Lou Seibert Pappas, if you would like to join in and be a member of THB, please email me at kitchenflavours@yahoo.com
Everyone's welcome!!