Tag: milk

For lunch: Spicy Garlic Mushroom Soup

V loves Indian food. He prefers it to all other cuisines. And unlike me, he is not too experimental with his food. Give him dal chawal (a rice and lentil Indian dish) 365 days of the year (366, in case its a leap year), he will be a satisfied customer.

So, when I decide to make something that would be defined “experimental” in his dictionary, I have to do a lot of planning. I have to mentally prepare him for it so that he is not caught by surprise. And if its a vegetable he doesn’t like, my task is made that much more difficult.

Now, V is not particularly crazy about mushrooms.

And if V is not particularly crazy about something, that thing will not get anywhere near him.

I, on the other hand, love mushrooms. And, alas, me being ‘the quintessential Indian wife’ (barf!) that I am, mushrooms don’t feature on our grocery list.

Well, 9 out of ten times they don’t.

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Garam Masala Tuesdays: Dal Makhani

A week back, on this day- Tuesday, I started a new thing on the blogGaram Masala Tuesdays or as someone I know put it GMT (I tell you, these things are not intentional- they just happen 🙂 !). This Tuesday its my second post for Garam Masala Tuesday and even though I have been in no mood of cooking- it has been a 2 1/2 months long break from cooking– but I had to post something today. How can I start something a week back and not live up to the promise!

Since I had to post, and there were no two ways about it, I thought I would make something that would not require too much effort. And, something that I knew V had eaten rarely in the last 2 1/2 months. And something I love quite dearly. So it had to be Dal Makhani.

Dal Makhani is the quintessential Punjabi dish (Punjab is a state in the northern part of India). Dal means lentils and makhani means buttery; so, literally translated dal makhani reads “buttery lentils”. Dal Makhani, butter naan and butter chicken are staple to Punjabi food- the above three and rajma chawal are always top of every Punjabi’s favorite food list.

Dal makhani is a rich, creamy lentil dish that is traditionally cooked on a low simmer for hours in a pureed tomato and butter gravy. Traditionally, the dal was cooked by leaving overnight on burning charcoal. It is also called Maa ki Dal. Though Maa means mother in Hindi,  Maa is also the name given to whole unskinned black lentils and hence the name for the dish.

If you notice, the common thing to most Punjabi dishes is, yes, you guessed it- butter. Ah, butter- utterly butterly delicious butter! Being a north Indian and a hard core Punjabi, now you know the reason behind my affinity to butter and the reason for my tendency to put on weight. Well, tradition is a tough thing to break from and when tradition comes in the form of butter, you know the battle is lost!

There are lot of different versions of this dish but I like this one as its easy and the results are always great. Plus, there is no chopping involved in the recipe I use (that is exactly why I chose to make it today). And requires very little time in the kitchen. It does take 2 hours for the whole preparation but you are not required to be in the kitchen the whole time.  This dish is great even the next day- so feel free to make a day before you plan to serve it. The dish is great both with rice and with Indian flatbreads like chappati/roti or naan.

Note: Some time back I had posted another lentil recipe. It is one of V’s recipe and IT IS GOOOOOD! Do check it out!

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MILK LOAF & A LOOK AT “GOD’S OWN COUNTRY” KERALA

I have been MIA yet again, missed Easter celebrations too (hope y’all had a great Easter day). These disappearing acts are all thanks to traveling but now my close-to-three-months long India vacation is over and hopefully, jet lag permitting I should be more regular with my posts!

After a very, very long plane journey from Kerala to Phoenix, and then a four hour drive to our town, I am finally at home, back to V- back to married life, back to keeping the home clean, doing the dishes, washing clothes (though the excuse of jetlag is keeping me from doing any of that)!

I must say, that V has kept the house pretty pretty clean. Much cleaner than what I would expect from a guy. Barring the kitchen, I think everything has been pretty much under control. I also got home to flowers (I know- awwww…) and wait for it…..a Macbook! V surprised me with a new laptop for me- an anniversary cum valentine cum his bonus gift :)! (Hmmm….I hope this was not his way of showing how happy he was to have me away for such a long time and the gift was a way to thank me for the peace he had while I was away =/)


Either ways I am a happy girl! And this post comes to you from my new Mac! It is so white that I actually washed my hands before using it.  I am still getting used to the changes. A lot of the Windows OS functions do not work on Mac and I need to figure that out. But its a good thing – that would keep me busy for a while. I need something to keep me occupied. Even though it feels great to be back, I miss home. I miss the hustle bustle in India- the oh so many people- crowded streets, markets- it is just so empty in the US! I am eagerly waiting for my Friday coffee morning now- and catching up with my gang of girls after what seems likes ages.

I am still reeling under my India trip hangover. The last few days in Kerala with my parents were great. I have fallen in love with Kerala food. We had the most amazing prawn curry and king prawns at this resort in Kovalam called Uday Samudara. We had our table right at the beach, which was perfect. The beautiful sea breeze and the noise of the waves splashing made a delicious meal even more special.

I also got a chance to go on a Lion Safari. There is a small national park near Neyyar dam in Kerala where the lions are kept in their natural habitat. We saw two lioness’ and one lion up close from our bus. It was pretty exciting! After that we went to a crocodile farm, but it was sad to see the way the crocodiles were kept in cages. I did notice that crocodiles are pretty lazy reptiles. They just lie around half immersed in water and stay still the whole day. What a life!

But the best part of my Kerala trip, besides the ayurvedic massages, was the trip to the Duke Forest Lodge. Its a 130-acre Rubber plantation and is home to various spice trees and plants including cocoa, vanilla, coffee, cardamom, cloves, pepper, nutmeg. Unfortunately, the vanilla blooming season starts in June so I could not get my hand on any vanilla pods, but the manager told us that in June-July the whole estate smells of Vanilla when the green Vanilla flowers turn black. Its a lovely time to visit the estate.

The manager showed us around the estate, giving us small tidbits now and then.

At the lodge they also grow cacao trees- yes, the trees that give us cocoa, the key ingredient for chocolate, chocolate which is something that most of us can not do without. The Cacao fruit pulp is white and if you suck on them they taste like custard apple. The beans along with the pulp are fermented and then dried, where the pulp trickles off, leaving behind the cocoa beans. The cocoa beans are then shipped off where they are processed to make cocoa powder, cocoa butter, nibs and the likes.

The Lodge is perched in a Rubber plantation. They have about 3000 rubber trees and a good rubber tree gives about 2 bowls of latex sap daily. Each bowl sells for about Rs 80 (roughly $1.50), so it is quite a profitable business for the lodge. The Duke Forest Lodge also is a beautiful place to stay if you plan a trip to Kerala. They have 14-day packages where the stay includes yoga, ayurvedic massages and detoxification meals. They have villas with Jacuzzis and of course, you have the added benefit of being surrounded by spices of all kinds.

And if you are in Kerala, you have to visit the Sri Padmanabhaswamy temple, which is an architectural wonder. There is a dress code there though- the men have to the Kerala Mundu (white Dhoti- piece of white cloth wrapped around the legs), and keep their chest bare.  The women need to be dressed in a sari. Both the dresses are available for hire or to buy near the temple.

Also one should not miss a ride in the backwaters of Allepey-Kovalam, a trip to the tea plantations in Munnar (unfortunately, my Munnar trip did not happen this time) and the Jewish synagogue, the Kathakali performances, the Chinese net in Cochin. And while you are doing all this, do not forget to feast on the local Kerala cuisine- appam and stew, Kerala parantha, prawn curry, fish curry, coconut water– just thinking about it makes my mouth water. As souvenirs pick up spices from the local markets. In Thiruvananthapuram, you could also go to Sarwaa, in Sasthamangalam where handmade products, organic and ayurvedic ware cover a good part of the shop.

There are a lot of other places to cover in Kerala but these are the ones that I have visited and would recommend.

And since you all have been so patient reading while I have been blabbering non stop, I am posting a recipe too. Its been long since I made a 100% flour recipe and god I miss such breads. Of course whole wheat is healthy and it is tasty, no denying that but its nice to have a no wheat just plain ‘ol flour bread. And this one here hits all the right spots!

This is a bread machine recipe but of course it can be made without one. For making a bread without a machine check this post out.

MILK LOAF

makes 750 gms

Ingredients

  • 50 gm butter, softened, diced
  • 1.5 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp sugar
  • 260 ml liquid milk
  • 400 gms white bread flour
  • 1 tsp yeast

Method

Put ingredients according to your bread maker’s instructions. Set loaf size to 750 gms and use appropriate cycle.

If you do not have a bread maker, you can see this post.

Bailey’s & Dulce de leche Mocha Cookie & Cream Ice Cream

If you are like me, then the mention of cookies, alcohol, and ice cream in the same breath would make your eyes brighten up and your mouth drool! That is if the long name doesn’t scare you away!

The idea behind this crazy sounding name came the other day while I was thinking of  how to incorporate the cookies left from the time I made the Mocha Chocolate chip cookies.

Now, during the visit to my grandparents’ place, somebody had invited us for dinner and I had the most amazingly creamy strawberry ice cream- which was homemade and completely eggless. The aunty told it was a fairly simple eggless recipe with equal proportions of milk, cream and milk powder and she adds strawberry crusher which lends the sweetness and flavour to the ice cream. But, I wanted to add the cookies, so I thought I would replace the strawberry crusher with crumbled cookies.

The Bailey’s was something I remember from one of David Lebovitz “no ice cream machine” ice cream. Just before leaving US for my India vacation I got my copy of Room for Dessert and I remember seeing David’s chocolate and banana ice cream that requires no ice cream maker.

Now the thing is I think I am allergic to banana. I think  so because everytime I eat a banana I get this horrible-horrible pain in my stomach. This allergy was never there before. I experienced it for the first time when I was at some one’s place and had taken my banana bread for them. I ate it at night. The next day I had severe pain. Since we had eaten out I thought it was a result of that. But it remained for quite a few days, because I was still eating bananas. Anyway, our home stock of bananas finished and so did the pain. Still it did not strike me. After few days again the same thing and the same happened when my in-laws were there. The only food that was common all these times was banana. So well, I guess I am allergic to it, which kind of sucks because I love banana bread!

So with these two recipes and a little help to get it all together from  here I set out to make my jacked up mocha cookies, dulce de leche ice cream!

Dulce de leche (pronounced DOOL-say day LAY-chay) is Spanish for “milk candy”. It tastes quite like caramel but with the additional taste of cooked milk. (Technically, dulce de leche is a type of caramel.) It’s often used in liquid form as a sauce for ice cream, cakes, cookies, just about anything that needs a sweet topping. In solid form, it is most often eaten as a tasty candy.

The ice cream turned out more like mocha cake batter ice cream.-probably because of the soggy cookies that I had used. Anyway, that wasn’t a problem. Only problem that I had was that it was melting too soon. Homemade ice creams are generally more soft than store bought- they have the soft serve consistency. But this one was melting way too fast. It is really hot here but still not so much that a ice cream can’t behave itself for a few minutes. I guess it could be the alcohol level that did not allow the ice cream to freeze too much. The person, whose original recipe I used, does not add alcohol and has a very creamy ice cream thanks to the milk powder in the recipe. And since I added alcohol, as well as the milk powder, it might have changed the science behind freezing the ice cream. I, actually like my ice cream melted. So I wasn’t complaining, but my mom likes her ice cream “ice cream consistency” (which she couldn’t get because the tub had been out for quite a while as I was busy clicking some photographs). She loved the taste though.

The melted ice cream did make a darn good adult cookie and cream shake! But next time I would skip the cognac and see how that works.

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