Last Sunday I made tacos at home. It was like a cool dinner table, with so many sauces and stuffing, salad option. My girls were so happy and they made their own combos. We had a great time, and I wonder, why I haven’t shared a Taco recipe yet with you here. Anyways, sharing it now, and its a very interesting healthy recipe. Hope you like it
Tacos is a fried corn flatbread, and as it comes out of the frier, it is shaped into a U, quite similar to, how we shape papad at home. I wanted to skip the deep frier, so opted for my oven. You can choose to go with either deep frying or baking, the dough and the ingredients will remain same.
I am gonna take you through the recipe, ingredients, the whole making process. As well as some interesting facts as we proceed further in the recipe.
You can make a choice between baking or deep frying when you make tacos at home. It can be a healthy alternative to bread in sandwich wraps, make a great pizza base to top with cheese and veggies and are ideal for dipping into salsa or guacamole.
There are some interesting taco sauces and a classic taco spice mix for you here. All homemade and made easy.
Tacos/tortilla/Quesadilla/Burrito, all these are quite similar. They are all flat cornbreads, call them cousins …
There are so many types of Mexican flatbreads where corn and wheat are the two main flours used for the base. When I searched on google, the names were endless. Some of them we are familiar with and some of them, I can’t pronounce even. It’s like a big family with almost same bread base, but different serving styles. Little confusing but interesting.
Tortilla: A flat round bread made out of cornmeal and flour.
Taco: it’s a taco, served soft and deep fried also.
Burrito: it’s a really big tortilla, served folded with a whole lot of stuffing +rice and now we have Burrito bowl too.
Quesadilla: it’s two tortillas filled with cheese and some stuffing, and grilled. Great with salsa.
Gringa: it’s a really big taco with cheese and is made using white flour tortillas.
Sincronazada: it’s two tacos smashed together with cheese. Call them tortilla base sandwich. They are then grilled or even lightly fried until the cheese melts and the tortillas become crispy, cut into halves or wedges and served, usually with salsa, guacamole on the top.
Enchilada: it’s a stuffed and rolled, soft taco smothered in spicy chilli sauce.
Enmolada: it’s a rolled corn tortilla, stuffed with meat/ vegetables or beans and cheese smothered in mole sauce
Taco Sudado: it’s a steamed taco.
Flauta: it’s a deep-fried version. A tortilla that is rolled around a filling of meat and cheese and then fried.
Chimichanga: this is like a big deep-fried burrito. A tortilla which is filled with rice, cheese, beans, dried meat, marinated meat, folded into a rectangle package and deep fried.
When it comes to stuffing ideas for tacos any filling meat or vegetarian can be added to the taco shell. Diced onion, radish slices, grilled onion, pulses, grilled or roasted peppers, cauliflower, tofu, paneer, mushrooms, ahh the options are endless.
A) Roasted cauliflower, seasoned lentils and creamy chipotle sauce combine to make a delicious taco!
B) Cooked lentils/ pulses that are seasoned with onions, garlic, tomato paste, cumin and chilli powder. Top all that off with a drizzle of spicy, creamy chipotle sauce and some fresh herb, and you have one tasty taco.
C) Something like a Szechuan tofu/ panner with some salad and sauce will make an interesting combo.
D) Roasting sweet potatoes with cumin, paprika, and coriander. Tossed together with black beans, corn, tiny bit of honey, and lime, these sweet and spicy tacos are just amazing.
E) The tofu cubes marinated and then baked, which creates a hard crust and chewy centre, mingled with some caramelised onions and garlic base sauce, and of course fresh coriander.
f) How about amazing BBQ jackfruit, along with some fresh salad filled in a crispy taco shell.
Making taco shells at home is not a difficult task. First step is to knead the dough then roll in to small rounds as shown in the images. You can very well deep fry them or bake them. Deep frying will add more taste to the tacos and of course more calories too.
The thinner you roll out the taco, tastier it will be. And will also take less time in the oven. Use a sharp edge bowl to cut a clean circle from the rolled out taco dough, for even looking taco shells
Though, baking and giving the classic U shape to tacos while they are getting crispier in the oven was a challenge. I somehow managed with few ideas to do the job.
The images here will show you some ideas, how when baking you can give tacos their typical U share. You can also give a try to taco cup, super easy to make.
Yes, the only thing, here to care about when baking is to keep the oven temperature 120* C and keep rotating the tacos from time to time when baking for even colour.
Sieve the maize flour and maida together in a deep bowl.
Add the oil, carom seeds, turmeric powder, red chilli powder and salt and knead into a semi-stiff dough using enough warm water.
Divide the dough into equal portions. Roll out a portion into a 100 mm. (4”) diameter circle using little plain flour for rolling and prick it with a fork at regular intervals.
To deep fry: Heat the oil in a deep non-stick kadhai and deep-fry it till it turns light brown in colour from both the sides.
Once it turns light brown, immediately shape it into a shell (‘u’ shape) using a pair of tongs and a frying ladle and continue deep-frying while holding the shell till it turns golden brown in colour from both the sides. Drain it on an absorbent paper.
To bake: Preheat the oven to 120* C and As shown in images adjust the rolled out taco shells in the wire rack. it will take almost 20 minutes. You will need to change the sides during the baking time for even colour.
Allow it to cool completely, store in an air-tight container and use as required.
Cake rusk is one of the oldest treats and has stayed in my life for a very long time now. There was always a jar of Rusk at home and even at grandmom’s home. Evening milk with one rusk was a standard snack that mom gave me and my brother. So many times mom would measure the ingredients and sent it to the bakery across our home for baking. He would charge a little less, then his usual price and mom would be satisfied with having good ingredients gone in.
I was always fascinated with the aroma of fresh baked items, I still remember those pile of oversized aluminium trays and at the bakery and even the shuttering noise, it made. I never thought of becoming a baker back then.
I have been baking for a very long time, and now I feel there is this need for healthy baking to be a part of our everyday lives. Because if we compare our childhood with the lifestyle kids are following now, these kids are in trouble. We had no junk food, we had so much outdoor play time. There is this immediate need to create good healthy food recipes, with great flavours and of course it should look fantastic too (that is tempting enough for the kidos).
When it comes to baking, I know its very difficult to get them all, because baking is like a science, every ingredient plays an important role in achieving success.
But, we are working on these recipes. Slow but steady growth is there in achieving healthy+tastier results. This whole wheat cake rusk is another healthy option that can be baked at home.
These whole wheat cake rusk turns out really good, gives an amazing crunch sound in every bite, the combination of perfect taste and texture. In a simple statement – I would say its a cake that has been baked twice. So the recipe is super easy, you will not need any fancy equipment or ingredient to make these rusks. I would like to tell you few details on the baking temperature though because we will be baking these rusks twice.
Let’s get to our usual points first then I will take you to the recipe. It is a must try the recipe, and I promise you will bake it over and over.
1. Measure the ingredients accurately and preheat the oven.
2. Keep the ingredients at room temperature, believe me, it’s very easy to handle when the butter is soft (not melted) and egg is easy to mix in.
3. We will just need a big bowl to mix all the ingredients together. We start with the butter. It is important to whisk the butter until smooth and add sugar to it. This is called creaming of butter and sugar together. Mix them well using a wire whisk until pale and smooth.
4. We are using three eggs in this recipe, add them one by one and mix well after every addition.
5. I have also used a tiny bit of yellow food colour to the recipe, it gives the rusk a better look. You can opt for these healthy food colours.
6. There is this spoon full of potato starch in the dry ingredients list along with whole wheat flour(atta). This helps in keeping the crunchiness alive in the rusk for a long time. Corn flour can be a substitute for potato starch if you can’t find it.
7. Once your wet ingredients (butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla, food colour) are all mixed well. Sift in the dry ingredients, (whole wheat flour, potato starch, baking powder). Use a rubber spatula to mix them all well. You might need to add a spoon full of milk or maybe 2 spoons of room temperature milk in the last mixing step.
I added though, because different flours have the different absorbing capacity, depending on the manufacturing and on the storage process. I have used regular ashirwad atta and added two spoons of milk into my cake mix.
8. Once you have a cake batter mix, use a regular baking tray lined with a parchment paper and bake for about 20 to 25 minutes at 170* C. Don’t forget to even out the top part of the batter in the baking tray before baking.
9. Once the cake is done, and if you insert a toothpick in the centre, it comes out clean. Let it cool completely on a wire rack.
10. Now here the tricky part begins, be careful when slicing the baked cake. Its gonna be tender, so I suggest using a serrated knife to do the job. Hold the cake with tender yet firm hands, and slice through it gently. I choose to keep the thickness around 1 cm. when slicing.
I think this should be an ideal thickness for rusk. More thick will make you consume more, small portions are good. And less thicken then this would be risking the process of oven-baking when baking the second time.
11. Once you have sliced the pieces, arrange them on a baking tray and bake again. I suggest, don’t preheat the oven for this step. Keep the tray in the oven and then start the oven at 80*C – 100*C for about 20 minutes.
12. At this stage, we are basically dehydrating the rusk, making it crisp. You will need to flip the sides of the rusk, one by one after every 5 minutes of baking. This results in even colour.
13. if you feel that the rusk is getting darker then the required colour, you can keep a piece of foil paper on the top and keep baking.
14. After about 20 minutes, you might feel that the rusk are not completely done. but as they cool down, they will get crispier.
15. I suggest, keeping the tray in the oven for the cooling time too, with a slight door open.
After a while, you will be proud of the end result.
Preheat your oven to 170*C, 3258*F. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and set aside.
In a bowl beat the butter using a wire whisk and then add sugar and beat very well till pale and smooth. Add eggs one by one and mix well after every addition. Add vanilla essence and a drop of yellow food colour and mix well using the wire whisk. Sift in whole wheat flour baking powder and potato starch. Now use a rubber spatula to mix all the ingredients together.
Pour the prepared batter into parchment lined baking tray. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Check your cake is it ready or not by inserting a toothpick. If the toothpick comes out clean then your cake is ready.
Take it out from the oven and place on wire rack to cool and also cool. After around 15 minutes, take the baked cake out of the baking tray and let it cool completely for next half an hour more.
Use a sharp serrated knife to cut the cake into pieces.
I was kneading the dough and Yati found out, that mommy is making donuts today. There was this instant happiness that ran through her on the very name of Donuts. This is amazing how food tickles our emotions, and it made my girl so happy.
Food is emotional, it makes memories. When I was a girl, I had this fascination with holding the whole donut to myself, and not sharing was the only target in mind.
That was a time, we use to buy donuts, and the excitement was different, now I make them home.
You will be happy to know that, doughnut making is easy and turns out freshest, fluffiest when made at home. It brings a satisfaction + you are careful about the quality of ingredients being used and you can make as many as you want (greedy Pooja). Believe me, a small dough ball can produce so many donuts, when made at home.
I know, I am naming this post as a Valentine recipe on FB and starting it with kids. But the fact is once you have kids, there is no valentine celebration without them. Being alone with Pranav on the day and celebrate our love is just an illusion, I can have now. Lol
You think, that you can’t make donuts at home, then think again. Yes, it’s a little time-consuming process, but you will have to minus the time when the dough is resting for a rise. If you calculate the active time needed to make donuts at home, you will realise its really less work. On the whole a great recipe with yumlicious happy results, and less work.
Here are couple of more recipes for your Valentine celebration
Let’s get the important points first. Then I will take you through the recipe.
1. The donuts are not very sweet, Its soft and pillowy fried rings of dough. And are the perfect canvas for endless variations, I mean fill them up with your favourite jam, chocolate sauce, caramel or even Nutella. Coat them up with cinnamon sugar or sugary glaze and sprinkles.
I had some of them coated with cinnamon sugar, and some glazed and some of them filled. Satisfied every one at home.
2. Know your ingredients- its flour that when kneaded will be little sticky to handle. If you have a machine, go ahead and use or you can knead the dough with hand too. The machine will make the life easier, but this can be done by hand also.
Flour provides structure, I have used simple all purpose flour (maida works just fine). Mix together the flours, sugar, and active dry yeast in a large bowl. Make a well in the centre and pour in the warm milk and butter. Work the milk and the dry ingredients together with your fingers.
Kneading – At this point you can either knead the dough by hand for 10-15 minutes until smooth and elastic or you can put it in your stand mixer and knead with the dough hook for 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.
Rising – When the dough is smooth, elastic and easy to handle, transfer it to a large clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or overnight. The dough should be doubled in size.
Under refrigeration, the dough continues to rise, just much more slowly. This means you can mix the dough up to 12 hours ahead, let it rise slowly overnight, and wake up ready to fry in the AM.
3. If you don’t have a donut cutter just use any shape edge bowl and a bottle cap to cut the size you want. It’s important to make sure the hole in the middle is large enough — if it’s too small, it will “fill in” when the dough hits the fryer. When you cut out circles or regular doughnut shapes, you’re going to end up with scraps. These scraps can be re-rolled
I also like to cut square doughnuts (no scraps!), using just a pizza cutter— 2 inches x 2 inches is a good base size.
4. Using a good quality oil is the key to a non-oily doughnut. Use a flavourless oil like canola oil or vegetable oil.
5. Heat the oil over medium-high, the temperature must be around 190* C. It is very important to maintain the temperature while frying. If the oil is too hot the doughnuts will get too brown and crisp outside, while the inside will not be done. Conversely, if the oil is not hot enough, the doughnut will absorb too much oil and the texture will be soggy and greasy. To check just throw a small piece of the dough in the frier, if it sizzles and rises to the surface you are good to go.
6. If you plan to coat your donuts with sugar- As they are out from the frier, let them drain on a tissue for 30 seconds and immediately toss the donuts into the sugar. If they cool, the sugar will not stick.
7. If you want to apply glaze – Let the donut cool for 3 to 4 minutes, then transfer on the wire rack and pour over the prepared glaze evenly. Remember the thinner glaze will run more than the thicker glaze. The thicker glaze is more precise and holds the place. Sprinkles should be used on the top of the glaze before it sets.
In a large bowl; add the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. In another bowl mix together butter and lukewarm milk. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and add the milk and butter mixture. Knead with your hand to bring all together until you have a ball of dough. You can add a spoon full of flour if necessary. Transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is no longer sticky and is smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a large lightly greased bowl. Cover the dough with a plastic wrap and place it, in a warm place for an hour. Or until the dough is double in size.
Once the dough has doubled in size, transfer the dough onto a lightly floured surface and gently punch the dough to release the air. With a lightly floured rolling-pin, roll the dough to the thickness of 1/2 inch. Using a doughnut cutter; cut the shape.
Place the doughnuts on a lightly floured baking sheet lined with a parchment paper. Cover the doughnuts with a kitchen towel and keep them in a warm place to rise again. This might take 30 to 40 minutes.
In a deep heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the oil for deep-frying. The amount of oil you need depends on the frier you are using. It should be deep enough so that it allows the doughnuts to float on the top. Heat the oil and bring it to the temperature almost 190* C. Carefully place the doughnuts into hot oil. About 2-3 at a time, do not overcrowd. Fry each side till nice golden colour. Each donut bite will take approx. 30 seconds in the oil. Carefully remove the fried doughnuts from the hot oil and place them on a paper towel.
To make the Vanilla Custard – In a saucepan add 2 tablespoons of milk and incorporate cornflour into the milk. Make sure you don’t have any lumps left in. Add in the rest of milk, cream and vanilla. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to boil while stirring continuously.
Once the custard comes to boil, turn the heat to low and add the sugar. Let the custard simmer but keep whisking until the mixture thickens. The custard can very quickly form lumps, so be careful. Once ready, transfer the prepared custard to a bowl and cover with a cling wrap, (place the cling wrap on the top press gently with your fingers; so that it touches the top layer of the prepared custard). This will prevent the skin formation on the top of the custard. Cool the custard completely before filling the donuts.
To make the Glaze – Put the sugar in a bowl and add the milk. Stir until there are no lumps of sugar seen. Stir in the corn syrup and mix well. Then use few drops of food colouring to colour the glaze.
Once the donuts are fried, inject in the prepared vanilla custard making a small hole on the side of each donut bite. You can use a piping bag with a long nozel. Then dip each prepared donut into the food colour icing of your choice and decorate.
Today let’s just make a small recipe for two. A Valentine special red velvet lava cakes for just two. These are the rich, velvety, melt-in-the-mouth tiny cakes you can make, especially when there are no plans made, for fancy dinner out on Valentine’s day.
This recipe should not be considered as a task when baking at home. The equipment and the ingredients, are simple and are easily available. These red velvet cuties are less time consuming too.
It just took me half an hour in total from getting the ingredients together and baking them. There is another plus to this recipe, that the batter for the lava cakes can be prepared before the time and kept.
You can bake them just before they are ready to be served. The baking time needed is just 10 to 12 minutes and these are served hot with or without this gorgeous scoop of ice-cream. This is listed in the absolute indulgence category. So when you want to celebrate look here.
These red velvet lava cakes make scrumptious, impressive desserts without a lot of work and that’s the best part. I might make the same for Pranav, this valentine, as they turned out really delicious, really really handy to make. Today was a batch made for kids, and of course for the blog. And Pranav is travelling, so he got no chance to try these.
When we talk about Lava cake, its one of the easiest recipe to prepare. But can turn out little tricky at times. Especially when it comes to baking time. Don’t worry at all, we are gonna talk about all the do’s and don’ts for making a perfect lava cake at home.
1. Lava cakes come in two forms. The most common are little pudding cakes. They’re the cakes with the centres still molten and oozing—unless you bake them too long.
The second type of lava cake has a chocolate centre instead of a batter centre. The centres are real chocolate and the baking time is not as critical when making these.
Understand that, The outside of a lava cake, is a cross between a cake and a fudgy brownie and the inside is puddling with a gooey runny velvety goodness referred as lava.
2. You can take any chocolate; dark, milk or white chocolate available to you. I have used white chocolate instead of dark chocolate, making them extra red and vibrant. But any chocolate will work just fine with this recipe. Just make sure you pick up a good quality chocolate.
A couple of months back, I had written this article on Chocolate, – Chocolate FAQs – this might be of help for you when choosing your chocolate.
3. These cake are ideally baked in ramekins. I have baked these in mugs, and cupcake trays and even in jars. Whatever you choose, just make sure its oven proof and is safe for baking.
4. Preparing the batter for these red velvet cakes is very easy.
The first step is – You will need to melt chocolate with butter, as it’s a small batch, I suggest using the microwave. Cut the chocolate into tiny bits and melt it with room temperature butter. This should take less than a minute. Use a rubber spatula to mix them both together into a velvet smooth mix. Don’t overdo, or you will siege the chocolate.
The second step — whip up the egg, along with sugar and a tiny bit of vanilla extract. A hand-held electric mixer works great. It will just take 2 minutes of your time. Beat them together till little thick pale mix. Morphy Richards 300-Watt Hand Mixer (White)
For the dry ingredients-
I know they are called red velvet, but the main flavour of the recipe is chocolate. I have mentioned using white chocolate with butter earlier, and now we will also use some good quality cocoa powder in the dry ingredients along with all-purpose flour. Remember to sift all the dry ingredients together, so they mix well. Hershey’s Cocoa Powder, 225g
When you have all three bowls ready, you will need to mix them together and bake.
5. I must mention that the recipe will require lots of food colouring. If you are not very fussy about getting the vibrant red, you can reduce the quantity mentioned in the recipe below.
For the cakes to come out of ramekins without breaking, it is essential that you coat the ramekins with butter first then some castor sugar.
7. Baking time is the most crucial point for making lava cakes. We will bake these at 425*F/218*C.
Place ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes until the sides appear firm– the tops will still look soft.
If baking in a muffin pan, the cakes only take about 8-10 minutes.
Allow to cool for 1 minute, then cover each with an inverted plate and turn over. Use an oven mitt because those ramekins will be hot. The cakes should release easily from the ramekin.
If you used a muffin pan, use a spoon to release the cakes from the pan and place each upside down on plates.
You will know that the lava cake is done-
The edges of the cakes become firm while the centre is jiggly.
A toothpick stuck in the cake a half inch from the edge comes out clean.
Some of the cakes start to rise above the pan with sharp edges protruding. The edges don’t always protrude, but if they do, the cakes are done.
If, after examining the cakes, you decide they are not quite done, you can put them back in the oven for another minute or two.
To make ahead, prepare batter as directed; pour into prepared ramekins or custard cups. Cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Let stand at room temperature 1 hour before baking as directed.
1/3 cup chopped white chocolate
3 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg
3 tbsp all purpose flour
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tbsp red food colouring gel
powdered sugar and some vanilla ice cream to serve
Preheat oven to 425°F, and grease two 6 to 8-ounce ramekins generously with butter. Put a small spoonful of sugar in each cup, then turn the cup sideways and rotate it so that the sugar is coating the butter all around. Dump out any excess sugar. Place the greased cups on a baking sheet or oven-safe dish. Bajaj 20 L Grill Microwave Oven (MTBX 2016, Black)
In a medium microwave-safe bowl, combine the chopped chocolate and butter and heat in the microwave for about 1 minute, stopping and stirring every 30 seconds, until the butter and chocolate are almost melted. Continue to stir, allowing the residual heat to completely melt the chocolate and the mixture is well combined and smooth. If needed, return the bowl to the microwave for a few more seconds, to completely melt the chocolate.
Whisk the egg along with sugar in a large bowl. Stir in the red food colouring and melted chocolate mixture. Sift the cocoa and flour in a small bowl to combine. Add to the batter and stir until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly among the ramekins. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake until the sides of the cake are set but the centres are still soft, 10 to 12 minutes. Let the cakes rest for 2 minutes, then invert them onto dessert plates.
Serve the cakes immediately, dusted with confectioners’ sugar and with ice cream.
6 Healthy Homemade Yogurt Dips and these dips will go with almost all kinds of snacks. #cleancooking #quickhealthyrecipes
Regular baking and running a baking blog, has filled my life with so much food. I have been asked many times, how much of the food I post on the site, is consumed by me. Truth is I am conscious, I do try to control portion size when indulging. I believe in sharing calories with close friends too… lol … so I keep sending across sweet treats. They share a big part of my life; they can definitely share my calories, and I also get the benefits of useful feedback.
Me being conscious is good, but I do worry about kids. The red velvet cupcakes, I posted last week; my daughter simply refused to share, she wanted to have them all.
I try to make thing healthy for kids most of the times. For example – My kids have forgotten about mayonnaise, ketchup etc. They are in love with yoghurt dip I make regularly at home. For all kinds of snacks, or sandwiches the dipping sauce is always yoghurt based.
Today’s blog is all about different types of yoghurt dips. You can choose any of them, they all work well with almost all kinds of snacks. I don’t want to go ahead and tell you the health benefits of yoghurt. It great for our health, we all know it; until and unless someone is lactose intolerant.
So let’s just quickly get to the recipe. But I must share with you few points:
We don’t need any fancy Greek yoghurt stuff. Your homemade yoghurt works great in all the recipes mentioned below.
Yes, we do need thicker consistency, because its gonna be a dip, not raita. So we are using hung yoghurt. The consistency should be somewhere closer to the image above.
You can use full-fat milk to prepare yoghurt, or the regular milk you use at home should work fine for making the yoghurt. Just make sure you hang it enough to reach the same consistency.
I don’t like to run hung yoghurt in the mixer or in the food processor along with other ingredients for any of the recipes mentioned below. I believe we lose that thickness/consistency. My suggestion is to puree the I ingredients in the mixer grinder; if required or mentioned in the recipe. Then whisk the hung yoghurt using a wire whisk and mix both together.
It is very important that you check the seasoning before serving the dips. You can serve these dips with Cut-up vegetable sticks, cracker, pretzels, potato chips or pita chips.
Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and a pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add a spoonful of water and vinegar, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are browned and caramelized. But make sure you keep the flame low and don’t burn it.
When done cool to the room temperature.
Combine the shallots, yoghurt, cream, chives, salt and pepper in a medium bowl and stir all using a wire whisk. Let it sit in the fridge for 30 minutes to let flavours meld. Serve with potato fries or anything you like for dipping.
Do Ahead: Dip can be made 1 day ahead; cover and chill.
Grate the cucumber and drain out all the excess water, squeezing it between your palms.
Combine the yoghurt, garlic, oil, lemon juice, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the grated cucumber and mint powder to the yoghurt mixture and stir to combine. Serve chilled with the snack of your choice.
TIP: Make sure your grated cucumber is well-drained. If you have time, you can drain it in cheesecloth or a fine mesh sieve overnight.
For best results, combine all of the ingredients except for the cucumber and let it rest overnight in the fridge while your cucumber is draining.
Add the mint powder at the last minute so it doesn’t overwhelm the rest of the flavours.
Whisk garlic, yoghurt, oil, roasted cumin roughly pounded and 1/2 teaspoons sumac in a medium bowl; season with salt.
Spoon sauce onto a platter. Sprinkle with sumac and some cumin powder a drizzle of olive oil on the top.
Notes: What is sumac powder – The sumac bush, native to the Middle East, produces deep red berries, which are dried and ground into coarse powder. It adds tartness to dishes. Ground sumac is a versatile spice with a tangy lemony flavour, although more balanced and less tart than lemon juice. A small sprinkle also adds a beautiful pop of colour to any dish.
1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (more to taste)
2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 cup hung yoghurt whisked
2 tablespoons of sour cream
Freshly ground pepper
Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Fill a bowl with ice water. When the water comes to a boil, add the spinach and blanch for 10 to 20 seconds. Transfer to the ice water, cool for a minute, then drain and squeeze dry. Chop coarsely.
Place the garlic in a mortar and pestle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and mash to a paste (alternatively, finely mince). Combine with the lemon juice and olive oil, and let stand for 10 minutes.
Stir in the yoghurt and sour cream. Combine the chopped spinach with the prepared yoghurt.
Add freshly ground pepper to taste and more salt if desired. Serve with bread, pita, chips or raw vegetables.
Peel and dice the beetroot and cook with little water and a pinch of salt over a medium flame, until tender. Let it cool slightly.Transfer to a food processor. Add the garlic, chile and pulse until blended. Add the olive oil, maple syrup and mix well. Season with salt. Scrape into a wide, shallow bowl. Add the whisked yoghurt and scatter the toasted cashew nuts, goat cheese and scallions on top and serve.
Some more interesting recipe ideas where you can use Yoghurt for healthy cooking:
Make yoghurt pesto- add some pesto to hung yoghurt and mix well. This makes an amazing + healthy dipping sauce.
My elder daughter loves mint powder yoghurt dip and I make it very often at home. just add hung yoghurt with dry mint powder with some basic seasoning, its #cleancooking.
I also make cold pasta salads at home using hung yoghurt instead of mayonnaise.
Give classic Ranch salad dressing or dip, a healthy makeover with this yoghurt-based version. Swap out the cream and replace it with yoghurt. Yoghurt makes this recipe low in calories, while Dijon mustard and spices still add that zesty Ranch flavour you need. Dip raw veggies in the dip, or drizzle over greens for a tasty salad.
My favourite breakfast is to have a yoghurt dip on a toast along with yum oven roasted cherry tomatoes.
Buttermilk and Sour cream are the two ingredients, I have been asking you to add into the various recipes constantly. These are the two important ingredients when it comes to baking.
It serves purposes like replacing eggs, makes the cakes soft and also adds a lot to the richer texture. I am a frequent user of these and I am very well aware of the fact that, it gets difficult to find these in the market. So, here in this post, I am sharing these two basic and quick recipes, for you to take reference from, any time needed.
Because there are no artificial thickeners, your homemade sour cream and the buttermilk may be thinner than commercial brands available. I suggest making a small batch as and when required.
Homemade Sour cream recipe
1 cup (240g) heavy cream
2 teaspoon lemon juice (or white vinegar)
¼ cup (60g) milk
In a jar, mix the cream and lemon juice (vinegar) together, then pour in the milk. Screw a lid on tightly and shake well.
Remove the lid and put a clean piece of kitchen paper over the jar and secure it with a rubber band. Make sure to use a breathable cloth (no lids or plastic wrap), as your sour cream will have a more fragrant flavour with exposure to the air.
Leave it on the counter overnight (up to 24 hours) for it to set up. After 24 hours you will notice it gets a little firm and there is some watery part left at the bottom of the jar. Give it a stir and cover it with a jar lid. It is ready to be used in any recipe you wish.
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice or white vinegar
1 Cup (224g) milk (full or low fat)
Pour the milk into a jug. Stir in lemon juice or vinegar into the milk. Stir to combine. Let sit for 15 minutes at room temperature until the milk begins to curdle and becomes acidic.
Use in place of buttermilk in the recipe as it calls for. And if you don’t use it straight away store it in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Long back, when we got married, the first thing I baked for my husband was a red velvet cake for his birthday. It was a very simple cake with no frills attached and he loved it because it was made with love. We still have that love alive, but to confess; anything I bake today for him, I make him wait till I take photographs and I am satisfied with the outcome from the camera. What a crazy wife, I have become in 15 years of marriage. Lol, and he sitting here beside me agrees with that statement.
I have been asked a lot for red velvet bakes, but most of the requests are for the eggless version. Finally, I share with you a recipe, which is unworldly moist, very tender, with a hint of chocolate goodness and is eggless. I was 100% satisfied when the cupcakes came out of the oven. This is a recipe to bookmark if you are into eggless bakes.
Though the baked red velvet cupcakes itself are pretty impressive, when we say cupcake, the frosting plays an important role. The cream cheese frosting is a perfect compliment to the indulgently red velvet cakes underneath. “The frosting is like a cloud from cream cheese heaven”, my daughter says. Incredibly creamy, little tangy, sweet, smooth, and luscious.
This is a pretty simple recipe to follow, you will not need much equipment. The ingredients used are easily available too, most of them you will have in the kitchen. For baking, you will need two bowls one for wet ingredients and other for dry ingredients. Just need to mix them together and bake.
Let’s get to our list of important points first and then we start with the recipe:
1. Cake flour is key to an ultralight red velvet cupcake recipe. , but you and me, both don’t keep cake flour in the kitchen. So, we can make our own cake flour at home.
Add cornstarch to all-purpose flour to make DIY cake flour. Add 2 Tbsp of Cornstarch for every 1 cup of flour. (replacing the tablespoons of flour taken out).
Sift 5-6 times and it’s ready-to-use cake flour.
Cake flour is a low protein flour (about 8%) and has a very fine texture. A lower protein count = fewer gluten forms when you mix it into a batter, thus producing a cake with a fine, soft crumb. In a nutshell, cake flour produces a noticeably lighter cake crumb than all-purpose when making red velvet cupcakes.
2. All red velvet cakes have specific ingredients in common besides cake flour: cocoa powder, vinegar, buttermilk and baking soda; the reaction of the vinegar with the buttermilk helps to pull out the red colour in the cocoa powder.
Buttermilk is a must when it comes to red velvet. It adds lots of moisture to the baked goods, especially when making an eggless version. You really cannot make these red beauties without it.
To make buttermilk home –
Pour 1 cup of milk into a bowl.
Stir in a tablespoon of lemon juice OR vinegar into the bowl with the milk. Let sit for 5 minutes until the milk begins to curdle and becomes acidic. Your buttermilk is ready to be used in any recipe.
In spite of adding buttermilk to the recipe, we will be adding little more of vinegar combined with baking soda to the cupcake batter in the end, just before baking. And don’t get scared with the thought of vinegar in a cake recipe. A touch of vinegar is normal in red velvet desserts– and, you cannot taste it. If you don’t have white vinegar, you can use apple cider vinegar. The vinegar also makes the red… redder.
3. Red Velvet Cupcakes have a mild chocolate flavour that comes from adding just 1 tablespoon of unsweetened cocoa powder to the flour mix. Although it is said, that the reaction between cocoa powder and baking soda gives a red tinge to the cupcake batter. But to make them look gorgeous and vibrant, we need to add lots of liquid red food dye.
4. It doesn’t feel right, but the fact is we will need to use a lot of food colouring for making red velvet. I want to mention here – The amount of red food colouring is up to you. I tested with varying amounts. To get the dark red colour you see here, use one tablespoon of liquid food colouring.
But the closeest red avalible doesn’t make the things look much redder, I have tried that too. The more you add to the recipes, it starts to take an oranges shade. Or you get these reds, which are bright and beautiful Colourmist® Colour Splash (Red),200gm
5. Unlike many of my cupcakes, there’s no creaming involved. Instead, in this recipe, we are using oil and it makes wonderfully moist cupcakes that stays delicious for several days. Just make sure that the oil you use is flavourless and odourless. Vegetable oil or Canola oil any of these will work fine in the recipe.
6. Cupcakes can be made ahead 1 day in advance, covered, and stored at room temperature. Frosting can also be made 1 day in advance, covered, and stored in the fridge until ready to use. Decorate/assemble cupcakes immediately before serving. Leftover cupcakes keep well covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for 3 days.
7. Baking soda and vinegar, are the ingredients which we will be adding in the last, before pouring the batter into cupcake tray for baking.
Baking soda + vinegar together starts a chemical reaction that helps the cupcakes to rise. It’s a chemical reaction that produces carbon dioxide bubbles and that’s what makes a cake/cupcake fluffy and light. As and when you add these to the batter, quickly give it a mix using a rubber spatula and pour the batter into the cupcake tray and bake.Rolex Non Stick Coated Muffin Tray A06 12 Cavity
Preheat the oven to 180*C. Place the rack in the centre of the oven. Line the cupcake tray with paper cups and set aside.
Mix the dry ingredients properly using a whisk (flour, sugar, baking powder, a pinch of salt, cocoa powder).
In another bowl mix together buttermilk, food colour, oil, warm water, and vanilla. Combine well and set aside.
Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients with your fingers and pour in the wet ingredients. Mix all the ingredients together using a wire whisk till all are incorporated.
Add the vinegar to the baking soda and give it a quick stir. Add vinegar and baking soda mix to the prepared batter and mix using a rubber spatula and pour the batter into the cupcake tray and bake for 20 too. 25 minutes.
Make sure you pour the same quantity of batter into each cupcake cavity. You can use a big spoon or ice cream scooper for appropriate measurement.
When the baking time is about to get over, insert a toothpick in the centre of a cupcake and it comes out clean, the cakes are baked. Transfer the baked cake to a rack and let it cool for about 5- 10 minutes.
When the baked cupcakes are completely cool, use a piping bag with your favourite piping nozzle Taz Nozzle, Set Of 9 Piece to decorate the top of each cupcake the way you want. You can also use various sprinkles available in the market.
The picture below is one of my favourites, I enjoyed the photo shoot and it’s my daughter Nitya holding the baked cake for me to click. I love you sweetheart.
My first introduction to cheese was with Macaroni as a child. Being an Indian, Mac and cheese was a treat for me and was never a comfort food. Even today, I can’t refuse to another serving of Mac and cheese, if its made velvety, and creamy. You might find it silly, but making the perfect Mac and cheese is an art…. almost Every season of Masterchef Australia has an episode dedicated to Mac and cheese.
Though Mac and cheese is not a hard dish to make, it still can fail to perform sometimes. Overcooked, lumps in the sauce or too soft or too thick texture are few common mistakes. The secret of deliciousness is, the perfectly cooked macaroni mixed well with smooth creamy sauce.
There are so many versions, and variations of Mac and cheese out there you can try any of them. From baked Mac and cheese casserole to No-bake version or 2 minutes microwaved Mac and cheese mug.
I quickly want to start with Do’s and don’ts of making perfect Mac was cheese at home because all those points are randomly going in my head right now. Let’s get them listed here:
1. May sound weird but always undercook the macaroni. Cook it one minute less then the package directions, especially if you plan to bake. Cook the pasta in salted water. You must read this post here to know how to cook pasta perfectly. How to Cook Pasta Perfectly
2. Tossing the cooked pasta with butter provides a light coating that helps prevent it to dilates.
3. Always, let the pasta cool before mixing in with the sauce.
4. Mostly white sauce (also known as a roux) is used as a base for the cheesy sauce for Mac and cheese. Chef Gorden Ramsay has use sauteed onion, mushrooms, along with fresh cream combined with cheese for one of his Mac and cheese recipe. Which by the way turns out absolutely delicious.
As I mentioned earlier, there are so many versions and variations of Mac and cheese out there. You must try new and interesting ways once you nail the basic recipe.
5. When making perfect white sauce (roux),
In a medium saucepan heat, the milk with salt until little bubbling or you can heat milk in the microwave to save time.
In another pan, melt the butter until foaming. Remove from heat, add flour, stir well with a whisk or a spoon and return to heat. Paying attention to not over brown it.
Remove from heat. Start adding hot milk and continue stir with a whisk until smooth.
Return to heat and simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon (or a whisk), until sauce comes to a boil, thickens and coats the back of a wooden spoon (about 5 minutes).
Add the grated cheese and stir well.
6. For More creamy flavour increase the quantity of cream and decrease the quantity of milk mentioned in the recipe below. Don’t bother counting the calories.
7. Choose the pasta shape smartly, anything that will hold the sauce or have deep ridges – shell, corkscrew rotini.
8. Considered interesting flavouring – Cayenne pepper, mustard powder, jalapeños, Italian seasoning.
9. Today we are not baking but if you want to go for baked version – Bake your mac and cheese in a more shallow, wider dish if you want more of that crunchy top.
10. You can actually use any cheese you want, just make sure that it’s a melting cheese (e.g. don’t use feta, cream cheese). I meet a French cheesemonger the other day and we had a long conversation on cheese. If you want to know more about cheese, read this Meeting with a Cheese Monger
11. I generally use sharp cheddar for mac and cheese, as I love the flavour. Today, I have added mozzarella along with the cheddar. It melts really well into the sauce, has that nice stretch.
12. Mac and Cheese are best made fresh but if you need to make ahead, this is the best way – Cook pasta and toss in butter, cool. Make cheese sauce per recipe, then cool and transfer to a clean bowl. Cover it with a cling wrap, making sure that the cling wrap is touching the top surface of the sauce in the bowl. Make topping, if any. Store all components separately in the fridge until required. Mix sauce and pasta, before serving.
13. Best way to reheat it in the microwave, adding few spoonfuls of milk.
I was lucky to meet a French Cheese Monger here in Mumbai for a cheese tasting session. François Robin the award-winning cheesemonger with his ancestral knowledge to produce a variety of high-quality cheese. From French Camembert to Greek Feta, from the blue cheese to soft and creamy goat cheese, I had quite a cheesy brunch at Indigo Colaba. He along with Mansi demonstrated a very successful pairing with the different varieties of European cheese in traditional Indian recipes.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a die hard cheese fan or a cheese newbie you will end up loving it. If your taste buds don’t agree with strong cheese they will love the milder one or vise versa. The type of milk, its country of origin, the time is taken to age it, cooking concerns, its tasting notes are all things the cheese connoisseur Francois talked about. Here in this post, I am sharing with you most of the conversation in the pointer below. Some interesting facts and some interesting must know:
1. The flavour of your cheese comes from two sources. The age and method by which the cheese was produced and the terroir are both factors in how it tastes. Much like chocolate, wine and coffee, cheese takes its flavour from the air, earth, and water of the region. Percentages of butterfat, lactose, and protein in the milk differ from species to species, which also gives each cheese a unique flavour.
2. Cheese can be made with milk coming from cows, goats and sheep, but also from most other mammals, including camels and lamas.
3. For the utmost in flavour, aroma, and texture, cheeses should always be served at room temperature. Take them out of the refrigerator about an hour before serving.
4. Fresh cheese is the cheese that hasn’t been aged and is quite mild. It typically doesn’t have rinds. Chèvre, feta and even paneer. You can pair them with salads, olives, spinach, watermelon, sun-dried tomatoes and herbs.
5. And it’s perfect to spread on crackers. Fresh cheeses can spoil in a few days without the proper preservatives.
6. Ricotta is a fresh Italian cheese that is made from the whey leftover from sheep, cow, goat or buffalo milk during the production of cheese. The sweet, fluffy cheese has a light consistency.
7. Surface-ripened cheeses are generally goat cheeses, with an ashen, thin, wrinkly rind. The wrap may look distasteful but its inside yields delicious soft creamy goodness
8. Cream cheese is a soft, mild-tasting cheese with high-fat content. Because it is not naturally matured, cream cheese is supposed to be enjoyed fresh, which sets it apart from other soft cheeses.
9. Semi-soft cheese has a higher moisture content compared to harder cheese, and it also tends to have a milder taste.
10. As a general rule, the older and drier a cheese—the longer it’s allowed to ripen and the more whey that’s drained off—the harder and more expensive it is. Hard cheeses tend to have sharper flavours and more pungent aromas.
11. Hard cheeses have a lower moisture content than soft cheeses and are packed into moulds that undergo tons of pressure, and are usually aged longer than soft cheese.
12. Cheese like Limburger and Appenzeller are periodically bathed in or brushed with brine or another solution, including beer and wine, which can create the mold to ripen the cheese from the outside in. This imparts strong, pungent flavours on the rinds of cheeses.
13. Commonly known as Parmesan in the English speaking world, this dense, granular cheese produces a strong fruity, nutty flavour. You need an average of 10 litres of milk to make a kilo of French Camembert de Normandie. You need 17 litres of milk to make a kilo of Italian Parmigiano Reggiano.”
14. The longer a Cheddar ages, the sharper it becomes. Cheddars are excellent melting cheeses but also pair well with sweet fruits, wine, and spiced, nutty dishes.
15. Gouda bears a wax rind. Traditionally red, the addition of herbs or cumin is signified by a green or orange rind. This cheese melts nicely and pairs well with savoury menu items, such as meat, onions, vinegar, and salads.
16. Swiss cheese is a beautiful balance between nutty and sweet. The larger the holes in a wedge of Swiss cheese, the more pronounced the flavour. Fun fact: the holes are sometimes called “eyes,” so when the cheese has little or no “eyes,” it’s called “blind.”
17. Pecorino Romano is a sharper, slightly saltier version of Parmesan. Because of the hard, yet flaky texture of the cheese, it’s perfect for grating. And the sharp, salty flavour of Pecorino Romano makes it great on top of pasta dishes
18. If mold grows on your cheese, just trim it off and the cheese will still be safe to eat.
19. Blue cheeses are produced by injecting special mould into the cheese curd and allowing it to ripen unsealed. The best way to tell if your blue is off is if there is too much blue veining within the cheese. A pink tinge may also indicate that it has gone bad.
20. You can serve blue cheese hot or cold—melted over a perfectly grilled steak or crumbled over a salad full of delicious fruits and vegetables.
21. There are a lot of different types of blue cheese; soft, hard, creamy, crumbly, salty, with or without rinds.
22. The soft-ripening cheeses, such as Brie or Camembert, are aged by introducing a special mould to the outside of the cheese. This process helps to intensify flavour from the outside in, and the inner part of the cheese is often called the paste, due to its soft, spreadable texture
23. Different cheese had different melting properties. For instance, softer, creamier cheeses (Emmental, Cheddar etc.) melt at around 55˚ while harder, drier ones like Parmesan take longer and crumbly feta-like cheeses don’t melt at all.
24. If you go much above a cheese’s melting point its proteins will start to tighten into clumps and squeeze out the fat they contain so that the cheese becomes grainy and oily. So controlling the heat during cooking is particularly important. Cheese should be exposed to heat as little as possible. Kraft Processed Cheddar Cheese, 250g
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