Sunday, July 20, 2014

Bread Pudding

I always wondered how this bread pudding tasted - the recipe always made use of stale bread and eggs with milk and spices together baked to a golden brown - served with ice-cream and some kind of sauce....... which was generally a bourbon sauce as bread pudding is a delicacy from the Southern States of America where bourbon and whiskey are loved plenty.
I had tasted this amazing bread pudding at our favorite restaurant "Bubba Gump" and had fallen in love with the bread, nutmeg and cinnamon together with that awesome sauce.
Had been wanting to recreate this dish for a long time - but, never came around to making it. The other day I had baked white bread at home and somehow it was not used up. Home made bread tends to get spoilt in 2 days. Hence had to use it up. That's when the hubby asked me to make this dish.
The recipe is a little bit from here, a little from there. Frankly, its the same recipe if you see it everywhere, just a teaspoon extra of this or a pinch more of that.


7 cups bread - bite size pieces of white bread or baguette
2 tablespoons butter - melted
2 cups milk
2 cups sugar - you can use brown sugar to get that brown color.
1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
1 teaspoon nutmeg powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice powder
4 eggs
1/2 cup black raisins
1/2 cup pecans - chopped


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. On a cookie sheet spread the bread pieces and then cover the bread with the melted butter. Put this cookie sheet int he oven and get the bread a little crisp, say for 10 minutes. In the meantime - in a big mixing bowl take the milk, sugar, spices and eggs and mix well and make it into a custard. Add the raisins and the pecans and then the crisp bread to the mixing bowl and cover the bread with the custard mixture. Take a 13X9 baking dish and grease it. Now add the bread and custard mixture to it. Bake it in 350 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 45 minutes. If the top starts getting brown, just cover it with an aluminum foil and bake for the full 45 minutes.
Serve with vanilla ice-cream and chocolate sauce.

You can just add a bit extra zing to this pudding by soaking the raisins and the pecans in 1/4 cup bourbon for 24 hours (or more) and then use it to make the bread pudding. It will be a slight bit boozy and will have a southern kick to it.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Quick Guacamole (in the food processor)

It was one of those wintry February evenings when we were just too bored and were trying to think of what to do to make it a fun evening - the winter this year was too harsh and most of the times we were stuck inside the home.
So, it was going to be movie time with some chips and store bought salsa. But, then I saw this beautiful avacado that was sitting on my kitchen counter saying so lovingly....... pick me up.
So, we quickly whipped up this guacamole in the mini chopper (the handheld one) and savored it with some corn chips while watching Ice Age.


1 avocado
1/2 red onion
1/2 tomato
1 green chilli (you can add more if you want the heat)
juice of half a lemon
salt to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper (optional)
Chopped cilantro for garnishing (I did not have any cilantro and hence there is no garnish in the pictures)


Cut the avocado, remove the seed and scoop the flesh into a mini chopper. To this add the onion, tomato and green chili, lemon juice, salt & peppers and mix in a pulse motion 5 to 6 times. Garnish with chopped cilantro. Savor with chips
Snack time - guacamole and chips.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Pretzel (Jalapeno & Pepper-jack cheese stuffed) - We Knead to Bake # 8

Bread #8 for the month of August in the year 2013 that we at "We Knead to Bake" were going to bake was hard pretzels.
After moving to the United States - hard pretzels were a delicacy and we used to eat it like the sev gathia (Indian snacks) that you get in India - I distinctly remember the same mention in one hindi movie too ........ sorry cannot recall the name of the movie - but do remember the actor who said it - it was Paresh Rawal.
So when Aparna who pens at My Diverse Kitchen gave us an option to bake soft pretzels if we liked - I said yes to it.
I had a soft pretzel only once at a mall. It was stuffed with cheese and pepperoni and had a nice sprinkle of white crystals of salt on top. I wanted to bake this one. However, could not use pepperoni as we were having guests over and they did not eat pork. So, the idea of the stuffing was some spicy cheese with jalapenos - hence the pepper jack cheese and jalapenos stuffed pretzels came into being in our kitchen.
Loved making these pretzels and stuffing them. We had it with a side of nacho cheese and some marinara sauce.
Again - an awesome bread that we made int eh group - a new learning for me.

I had baked this bread in time for the group - but, due to health reasons I could not write a blogpost and hence it is coming a tad bit late here on my blog. But....... as the saying goes........... its better late than never.

I adapted this recipe from "Guy Fieri - on the food network" & from "My Diverse Kitchen"


1 1/2 cups warm water, 110 degrees F
2 packages active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
4 cups all-purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup for work surface
2 eggs
2 tablespoons milk
2 cups grated pepper jack cheese
4 jalapenos (seeds and veins removed) - chopped fine
2 tablespoons coarse sea salt


Mix the yeast, sugar and warm water and let it sit for about 15 minutes till it gets nice and frothy - this is to proof the yeast.
You can mix this dough by hand too - however, I used my stand mixer. In a food processor or a stand mixer, using the dough blade combine the flour and the salt. Add one egg and the frothy yeast mixture and mix until the dough comes together.  Do not over mix, you just want the dough to come together.  Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times with your hands.  If dough feels sticky, add a little more flour.  Form the dough into a ball and make 12 equal portions of the dough.
Grate the pepperjack cheese and chop the jalapenos and keep them together on your work surface - I divided them into 12 equal portions each (as we were going to have 12 pretzels)
Roll one portion of the dough into a rectangle shape as shown in the above picture. Add one portion of the pepperjack cheese and jalapeno mixture. Roll the strip into a tube and form into a pretzel shape by looping and crossing the ends over each other, then tuck back onto the loop and pinch to seal.  Transfer to a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.  Repeat with remaining portions.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  In a small bowl, combine remaining egg and milk.  Whisk to combine and set aside.  In another small bowl take the coarse sea salt.  Brush the pretzels liberally with the egg wash, then sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake 18-20 minutes until light golden brown.  Transfer pretzels to a wire rack to cool. Serve with cream cheese and hot coffee.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Moong & Udad Dal Koftas in a Coconut Sauce

I met Anu (Anupama) Rao at a party - her bindaas nature and her totally infectious smile and her jokes were what made us bond as friends that evening. Little did I know that this is the same Anu who writes the beautiful blog Allergy Foodie. I was thrilled and it felt like I had met a celebrity - I guess, I mentioned it to her when we connected on facebook. Needless to say - shes become a friend.
She planned to have a allergy friendly cookout along with 4 food bloggers from around  in the warmth of her kitchen in the evening today  (19 April). Sadly, I am not going to be a part of it, due to health reasons. But, I wanted to make a contribution.
Anu had given each of us a list of what we need to avoid. Here is the list that was provided to us.
  • Wheat (including oats, spelt, barley)
  • Tree nuts (Almond, cashew, pistachios, Brazil nuts, hazel nuts etc.)
  • Peanuts
  • Dairy (Milk, Yogurt, Cheese) 
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Shell Fish
  • Mustard
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chick Peas (Chana daal,  besan etc.)

Well, my thinking cap came out of the closet and I started to think of the ingredients I could use to make something tasty and allergy friendly. After a lot of this and that and again a this and that - I finally came up with the idea of a kofta curry that could be made with whole moong (green gram) and whole udad (black gram) in a rich coconut milk based curry that is infused with fresh ground spices and fresh methi (fenugreek) leaves. I hope this meets the criteria - will wait for a verdict from Anu.


2 medium potatoes - boiled and mashed
1 teaspoon ginger paste
2 teaspoons garlic paste
2 cups finely chopped onions
2 cups chopped  fresh fenugreek leaves (methi)
1 and 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 teaspoons kashmiri chili powder
1/4 teaspoon asafoetida (hing)
1/2 teaspoon brown sugar or grated jaggery
1 can coconut milk
2 cups water
1 tablespoon coconut oil
salt to taste
oil for deep frying the koftas

Soaked in enough water for 12 hours

1/2 cup whole moong (green gram)
1/2 cup whole udad (black gram)

For fresh ground spice mixture

1 teaspoon fennel seeds (saunf)
1 teaspoon cumin seeds (jeera)
2 teaspoons coriander seeds (akha dhania)
2 green cardamoms (elaichi)
5 cloves (lavang)
1/2 inch cinnamon stick (dalchini)
5 kabab chini/nagkesar (cobra saffron)


Dry roast all the spices mentioned in the 'to grind' section and then grind them to a coarse powder, make two parts of it and keep them aside.
Coarsely grind the soaked moong and udad and add in the mashed potatoes and half cup of chopped onions. Then add one portion of the ground spice, 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder, asafoetida and 1/2 teaspoon salt (you can add more or less as per preference or taste). Mix everything well. Heat oil in a karahi for deep frying. When it gets hot - put the flame on a medium and make balls of the dal mixture and fry them till they are nice and crispy on the outside - it should take about 5 to 7 minutes for 6 balls at a time. Drain them on a paper towel and let them sit aside to cool.
In a saucepan, add the coconut oil. When it gets hot, add the remaining chopped onions and fry till they turn a nice golden color. Add the ginger paste and the garlic paste and saute for about a minute till the raw smell goes away. Add the chopped fenugreek leaves and mix well till all the leaves are wilted and give a nice fenugreeky (if such a name exists) smell. Add the 1 teaspoon turmeric powder, chilli powder, the other portion of the spice mixture, salt to taste and mix well. Get the saucepan off the heat and add the coconut milk and stir very well. Add 2 cups of water and mix well. Get the saucepan back on the flame and cover it and let the mixture come to a boil. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat and bring it to a simmer - add the kofta balls to the sauce. Cover and let the sauce and koftas mix and mingle on the simmer for about 10 minutes. Kofta curry is ready.
You can have it with Rice, Rotis (allergy friendly ones) OR as we did it - we served the kofta on a bed of boiled rice noodles ........ my husband called it a very fancy way of eating your 'Dal & Chawal'

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Haleem (Khichda) in Slow Cooker

I never had haleem in my life - yeah yeah yeah! I never had haleem in my life untill today when we made it at home. I always wanted to make this since we purchased a slow cooker/crockpot. I never got to making it............. blame it on a lot of things.
I saw a post from Shruti (a friend I made on facebook) on her blog about a vegetarian haleem, the recipe is here - and I wanted to cook it and eat it ever since. Finally over the weekend, we went to the halal shop and got some 'mutton' and today on this rainy and cold day we had this yummm stuff for dinner along with some yogurt and cucumber/onion salad. The aroma of the spices, the onions friend in ghee and ofcorse the cooked haleem takes you right to heaven.

It is indeed a very rich preparation with all that ghee (clarified butter) and those pulses/dals and those exotic spices. But, at the same time, it is a complete meal packed with proteins and some carbohydrates too. All this one pot meal needs as an accompaniment is some salad and yogurt.
I did not follow any recipe here. Just added all the dals and the cracked wheat and the mutton along with onions, tomatoes and the likes and slow cooked it for almost 9 hours.
The spice mixture did have a spice that was used by Shruti - its called kabab chini or nagkesar or cobra saffron. I just made the spice mixture as I make it for most of the Indian food that I cook at home.
Since it was cooked in the slow cooker - the effort seemed minimal too.
This can surely be cooked in the pressure cooker too. Ofcorse it will cook faster there  and not take 9 hours like the slow cooker - but then, there is something else about slow cooking which makes it very special.


1 pound mutton (boneless pieces)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 tablespoons yogurt
2 onions - sliced
1 tomato - roughly chopped
11 garlic cloves - grated
1 inch ginger - grated
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
4 teaspoons kashimiri chili powder (more or less as per taste)
4 teaspoons dhaina jeera powder (coriander and cumin powder)
1/4 cup quick oats (I used Quaker oats)
2 teaspoons salt (more or less as per taste)
5 cups water
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup ghee
1 onion - thinly sliced
cilantro for garnish

to grind
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
2 bay leaves
4 green cardamom pods
7 cloves
1 black cardamom
1 inch cinnamon
4 nagkesar/kabab chini
1/2 teaspoon peppercorns

to soak
1/4 cup moong dal (split green gram)
1/4 cup tuvar dal (split pigeon peas)
1/4 cup masoor dal (split red lentils)
1/4 cup chana dal (split chick peas)
1/4 cup udad dal (split black gram)
1/2 cup cracked wheat
1/4 cup quinoa


Marinate the mutton pieces with the yogurt and the turmeric and let it sit for atleast 2 hours - overnight is best.
Wash the ingredients under the 'to soak' heading about 4 times and then add enough water and let them soak for 2 hours.
Dry roast the ingredients under the 'to grid' heading untill a nice aroma comes about. Let it cool and then grind it to a fine powder in a spice grinder.
In a karahi, add the 1/4 cup oil. When it gets hot, add the 2 onions and fry till they get a nice golden brown. Add the ginger and garlic and fry for about 3 to 4 minutes till the raw smell of the garlic disappears.
Get the crockpot/slow cooker started - Put in the onions and the ginger garlic first. Add the mutton pieces next along with the chopped tomatoes. Add the turmeric powder, chilli powder, dhania jeera powder the ground spice mixture. Now add the soaked dals and cracked wheat. Add 5 cups of water and give it a nice mix with a spoon to get all the powders mixed well with the water. Put the crockpot on high for 5 hours and cover it.
After 5 hours, the dal and wheat  will have cooked and the meat will be tender. With a hand mixer/blender, blend the mixture well till you get a nice porridge consistency. If the mixture is very thick, add about half cup of water and mix well. Now add oats and salt and mix it again. Put the crockpot on low this time and cover and cook for 3 to 4 hours.
In the meantime, fry the 1 onion that is thinly sliced in the 1/4 cup of ghee untill it is brown and crispy. Keep it aside.After 3 to 4 hours of slow cooking on low, the haleem is ready. Check it for salt or spice and add according to your liking.
To serve Haleem - take a serving in a bowl, add a teaspoon (you can add more if you like) of the ghee in which the onions were fried, garnish with chopped cilantro and fried onions - serve with a side of salad and yogurt.

This recipe yielded 7 servings of Haleem.

Haleem is essentially made with beef or mutton - but, it can be made with chicken too. You can also make a vegetarian version by adding veggies like carrots, potatoes, beans, bell peppers along with some soy nuggets (nutella).
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