Monday, January 16, 2017

Apple Pie Cake (with a crunchy cinnamon sugar topping)

Apple pie is one of those American Desserts that makes you go 'yes please!'. I have always loved apple pie with the flaky crust and the gooey apple cinnamon filling. Well, I had no patience to make the pie crust and I wanted to have an apple pie. What is the next best thing to do? Yes, you try and make a cake that tastes like the apple pie.
While I was looking for pie crust recipes - I had stumbled upon this cake recipe. Something that had been on my mind but never got to the oven. I took inspiration from this recipe at 'Pinch of Yum'
I tweaked the recipe a bit in terms of the sugar I used (used a little less than mentioned) and the amount of apples I used too (used a bit more - just because I did not want to munch on raw apples). I also had an orange sitting on my table, so used the zest and the juice. Was not my intention to change the recipe......... lets just say.....it happened.
We loved the cake. It tasted good warm and cold. And we had it with a side of vanilla ice-cream on one occasion too.



Ingredients

1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups All Purpose Flour
2 cups chopped apples
1 teaspoon allspice powder
1 teaspoon orange zest
4 tablespoons orange juice
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Method

Preheat the oven to 325 F and grease a 9X13 pan. 
Cut the apples into small pieces and add the orange juice to it (this will prevent it from browning). Sieve the flour, allspice powder, baking powder and baking soda together and keep aside. In a bowl, mix the brown sugar, oil, buttermilk and egg. No need to beat the mixture. To this add the vanilla extract and the orange zest and mix well. To this add the dry flour mixture and incorporate the mixture well. Add the chopped apples and incorporate everything well. I used a spatula to do this. Pour the batter into the 9X13 pan and spread it evenly using the spatula. 
Mix together the butter, cinnamon powder and sugar. Using your fingers spread this mixture on top of the batter very evenly. Pop it into the oven.
The recipe said bake for 45 minutes. Insert a toothpick and check for doneness. If it comes out clean, your cake is baked, if not, you need to bake for another 5 to 10 minutes. 
At 45 minutes my cake was still very raw. So, I had to bake for another 10 to 15 minutes. 
Remove from oven and cool a bit. Slice and serve warm with vanilla ice-cream or just like that. 

Friday, January 13, 2017

Saagwala Chicken (Chicken in Spinach Gravy) in InstantPot

Writing here after a very very long time. Its not like I don't want to cook or I do not wish to write. I somehow do not get that undisturbed time to sit and write a blogpost. Towards the end of the day, all I want to do is snuggle in the cozy blanket and just snooze away. I guess, that's what the cold winters do to you............. they make you lazy and also 'fat'.
My InstantPot had been doing a good job in my kitchen. I do not use it everyday. Well, there are a few things that I like to cook on the good old stove or sometimes its just the oven or the airfryer that is made use of. But, I can say that all these appliances are used pretty regularly in 'mera kitchen'
Today was a very crazy day. Lil Miss A had a holiday at school and so we woke up a bit late and then it was fun and games till I got a message from a friend about going out to lunch. Mr. A was working from home and he needs his lunch too. I had to leave home in 45 minutes and had to get ready and get the bub ready too and had to make lunch arrangements for the hubster. The InstantPot came to my rescue. There was spinach, tomatoes, chicken and spices....... and that how this curry came about. 


Ingredients

2 pounds chicken - I used boneless skinless chicken thighs and breasts - cut into bite size pieces
4 medium tomatoes
10 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger piece
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 green cardamoms
1 black cardamom
3 cloves
1/2 inch cinnamon
2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 big onion or 2 medium ones - thinly sliced
5 cups spinach - I used baby spinach
2 tablespoons oil
salt to taste


Method

Grind the tomatoes, garlic, fennel, cumin, cardamom, black cardamom, cloves, cinnamon, chilli powder, ginger, turmeric and black pepper to a fine paste, You do not need to add water as the tomatoes help with their liquid. Make a puree of the spinach. Add a little water just to aid the puree process.
Put the InstantPot in saute mode. Add the oil. Once it heats up, add the sliced onions and a little salt. Fry the onions till they turn a golden color. Now add the ground paste and mix well. Keep stirring occasionally untill the oil starts to leave the sides. Add the chicken pieces and the spinach puree and mix well. Add 1/2 cup water. Cancel saute function. Cover the lid of the InstantPot with the vent on sealing. Manual for 10 minutes on high pressure. Let the InstantPot do its magic. Let the pressure release naturally.
Open the lid and check if the chicken is cooked. Mine was done well. If not, just put it on saute mode for another 5 minutes.
Serve with steamed rice, chapatis or naan


Monday, October 3, 2016

Mutton Curry (InstantPot)


It has been some time since we cooked mutton (goat meat) curry at home. The halal store being a bit away from home is the main reason. However, Lil Miss A has started taking Kathak lessons and the halal store is 5 minutes away from where her classes are conducted. Well, thats how we got mutton after a long time and we could not wait to savor the curry.
I always wanted to use the instant pot to cook goat meat and I got my wish too.
Of Course Mr. A wanted to have ladi-pav with the curry - so, made that along with some khachumbar (Indian Salad). It was an amazing meal.


Ingredients

2 pounds mutton (I ask the butcher to cut it into pieces for curry)
2 TBS yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds
4 cloves
4 green cardamom
1 inch cinnamon
1 piece mace
2 bay leaves
1 black cardamom
3 medium onions (sliced)
3 medium tomatoes (quartered)
1/2 cup grated coconut
10 cloves garlic (smashed)
1 inch ginger piece (cut into pieces)
2 tsp chilli powder (more or less as per spice preference)
4 TBS ghee (you can use oil too - but, ghee gives it an amazing aroma)
salt to taste


Method

Clean the mutton pieces in water untill the water is clear. Add the yogurt and the turmeric and let it marinate for atleast an hour (overnight is best)
Put the Instant Pot in saute mode. When it gets hot, dry roast the fennel seeds, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, green cardamom, black cardamom, bay leaves, cinnamon, mace. Be careful not to burn the spices - this should take just 1 to 2 minutes. Remove carefully onto a plate. Now add the ghee and to this add the garlic and sliced onions. Fry till the onions turn golden brown. Now add the garlic, tomatoes and chilli powder and mix well. Saute till the tomatoes become mushy and oil leaves the sides. Now add the coconut and mix well. Switch off the pot. Let this mixture cool a bit. Once its cool, grind it to a smooth paste along with the dry roasted masalas.
Add the marinated mutton and the ground mixture into the instant pot and mix well. Cover and cook manual for 35 minutes with vent sealed and natural release. Mutton should be cooked to fall off bone consistency. Cooking time will vary depending on the meat. If at 35 minutes its not cooked the way you want it - then cook for another 5 minutes with vent sealed and natural release.
Open the lid, and add salt to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro and serve with pav, chappati, naan or steamed rice.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Dhaba Style Chicken Curry (In the Instantpot)


Ingredients

2 pounds chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs)
2 TBS Yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 medium onions
4 green chilis (you can add more or less as per spice level desired)
10 to 12 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger piece
3 TBS coconut oil (you can use ghee or any other oil too)
salt to taste

For Masala Powder

1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
2 cloves (lavang)
2 green cardamoms (elaichi)
1 tsp black peppercorns (kali mirch)
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
2 tsps coriander seeds (dhania beej)
1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)


Method


Ingredients

2 pounds chicken (I used boneless skinless chicken thighs)
2 TBS Yogurt
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1 teaspoon chili powder
3 medium onions
4 green chilis (you can add more or less as per spice level desired)
10 to 12 garlic cloves
1/2 inch ginger piece
3 TBS coconut oil (you can use ghee or any other oil too)
salt to taste

For Masala Powder

1 inch cinnamon (dalchini)
2 cloves (lavang)
2 green cardamoms (elaichi)
1 tsp black peppercorns (kali mirch)
1 tsp fennel seeds (saunf)
1 tsp cumin seeds (jeera)
1/8 tsp fenugreek seeds (methi dana)
2 tsps coriander seeds (dhania beej)
1/2 tsp carom seeds (ajwain)


Method

Cut the chicken into 2 inch pieces. Marinate in yogurt, 1/2 tsp salt, turmeric and chilli powder for about 1 hour. You can do this overnight too.
Make a powder of the ingredients mentioned in the 'for masala powder' tab and keep aside. I use a coffee grinder for this. I have had this coffee grinder doing my spice grinding for a few years now.
Make a paste of the onions, garlic, ginger and green chilis and keep aside.
In the same grinder make a puree of the tomatoes and keep aside.
In the Instantpot on saute mode, add the oil. When it gets hot, add the onion paste along with half the dry ground masala. Saute till it becomes a nice golden brown color, and keep stirring a few times in the middle. When the onions turn a golden brown, add the tomato puree and mix well. Saute till the oil leaves the gravy on the sides. Add the remaining half of the ground masala and the chicken pieces and mix well. Add 1 cup water. Cover the lid with vent sealed. Manual for 12 minutes and then a quick release. Open the lid, add more if you need a thin gravy. Add salt to taste. Garnish with chopped cilantro/coriander and serve with hot phulkas or steamed rice. We liked this with some sandwich bread too.

Note - This can be cooked on a stovetop too using a saucepan. Everything remains the same - just add the chicken pieces and cover and let it cook for about 20 minutes on medium flame. Check if chicken is cooked, if not then cook for another 5 minutes. Adjust salt and water and serve.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Laziz Chole - (Chickpea Curry)


Ingredients

For Chole
1 cup dried chickpeas
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon eno (baking soda works too)
2 tablespoons ghee (oil can be used too)
1 onion - chopped
2 tomatoes - chopped
10 cloves garlic - chopped
1 inch ginger - chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon nigella seeds (kalonji)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
salt to taste
1 teaspoon chaat masala
Chopped cilantro for garnish
slit green chilis for garnish (Optional)

For Masala Powder (Coarse Powder)
5 kashmiri chilis (add more or less as per spice level wanted)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 bay leaves
2 cloves
2 cardamoms
1/8 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
1/2 inch cinnamon

Method

Soak the dried chickpeas in 5 cups water for 8 to 10 hours. Drain the water and let it sit aside.
Dry roast the ingredients listed in the masala powder section and grind them to a coarse powder.
I used my instantpot to cook these chole. So, on saute mode, add the ghee. Once it gets hot, add the cumin and the nigella seeds. Now add the chopped onions and fry till they turn a golden color. Add the tomatoes and the ginger and garlic. Mix well, till the raw smell goes away, about 5 minutes. To this add turmeric powder and the coarse masala and mix well. Add the soaked chickpeas and 2 cups water. Add salt to taste and the eno salt. Mix well. Close the lid and go to manual setting, high pressure with vent sealed and time it to 20 minutes with a natural release of the pressure. Open the lid. Add more water if you want a little thin gravy. Add chaat masala and give it a good stir.
Garnish with chopped cilantro and slit green chilis and serve with kulcha, naan, chappati, bread or steamed rice.

Note - This can be cooked in a pressure cooker too. Everything is the same. Cook it for 3 whistles and you have chole ready.

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