Sunday, May 31, 2009

Mango Ice-cream

This light creamy ice-cream is deceptively easy to make. It uses no ice cream maker and yet you get a lovely soft creamy texture. There is something special about the king of fruits… sweet-scented and aromatic, it imparts a luscious creamy texture to this heavenly dessert. Serve it with chocolate shavings or chips as chocolate and mango are flavors that complement each other beautifully.

You need to plan ahead before you start with this recipe. If you start during the morning, you can have this ice cream as a dessert after your dinner.

This post is my contribution to the Mango Mela, an event hosted by Srivalli of Cooking for all Seasons.

Recipe adapted from

Serves 4.

Here are the ingredients that are required for this delicious ice cream..
1½ cups ripe alphonso mangoes, around 2, peeled and chopped
2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
½ can sweetened condensed milk, 200 gms
2 cups full fat milk
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Blend the mangoes with the sugar into a purée in a liquidiser.

Combine the condensed milk, milk, puréed mangoes, lemon juice and mix well.

Pour the mixture in a shallow freezer proof plastic container. Cover and freeze till slushy, for about 2 hours.

Pour the mixture into a deep vessel and blend using a hand mixer, or you can even use a whisk, but thats going to take lot of your time. Blend till it is smooth and creamy.

Transfer the blended mixture back to the plastic shallow container. Cover and freeze again till slushy and follow this step one more time and you're done.
Cover and freeze till it is firm. Shift it into the refrigerator 45 minutes before you serve.

Scoop and serve.

The lemon juice is added to enhance the flavour of the mangoes. If you find that the mangoes you're using are a little sharp,
Do not add the lemon juice.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Daring Bakers: Apple Strudel

Daring Bakers May 2009 - Apple Strudel

The May Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Linda of make life sweeter! and Courtney of Coco Cooks. They chose Apple Strudel from the recipe book Kaffeehaus: Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague by Rick Rodgers.

This recipe has been chosen for its technique of making the strudel dough. Its simply easy to go buy a phyllo dough and stuff it with your stuffing and bake it. But making your own strudel dough is a challenge in this months Daring Bakers challenge. The dough needs to be paper thin to get a flaky, layered finished strudel.

Preparation time
Total: 2 hours 15 minutes – 3 hours 30 minutes

15-20 min to make dough
30-90 min to let dough rest/to prepare the filling
20-30 min to roll out and stretch dough
10 min to fill and roll dough
30 min to bake
30 min to cool

Apple strudel from “Kaffeehaus – Exquisite Desserts from the Classic Cafés of Vienna, Budapest and Prague” by Rick Rodgers

Strudel dough

The ingredients required for the strudel dough are..

1 1/3 cups (200 g) unbleached flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
7 tablespoons (105 ml) water, plus more if needed
2 tablespoons (30 ml) vegetable oil, plus additional for coating the dough
1/2 teaspoon cider vinegar

1. Combine the flour and salt in a stand-mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix the water, oil and vinegar in a measuring cup. Add the water/oil mixture to the flour with the mixer on low speed. You will get a soft dough. Make sure it is not too dry, add a little more water if necessary.
Take the dough out of the mixer. Change to the dough hook. Put the dough ball back in the mixer. Let the dough knead on medium until you get a soft dough ball with a somewhat rough surface.

2. Take the dough out of the mixer and continue kneading by hand on an unfloured work surface. Knead for about 2 minutes. Pick up the dough and throw it down hard onto your working surface occasionally.
Shape the dough into a ball and transfer it to a plate. Oil the top of the dough ball lightly. Cover the ball tightly with plastic wrap. Allow to stand for 30-90 minutes (longer is better).

3. It would be best if you have a work area that you can walk around on all sides like a 36 inch (90 cm) round table or a work surface of 23 x 38 inches (60 x 100 cm). Cover your working area with table cloth, dust it with flour and rub it into the fabric. Put your dough ball in the middle and roll it out as much as you can.
Pick the dough up by holding it by an edge. This way the weight of the dough and gravity can help stretching it as it hangs. Using the back of your hands to gently stretch and pull the dough. You can use your forearms to support it.

4. The dough will become too large to hold. Put it on your work surface. Leave the thicker edge of the dough to hang over the edge of the table. Place your hands underneath the dough and stretch and pull the dough thinner using the backs of your hands. Stretch and pull the dough until it's about 2 feet (60 cm) wide and 3 feet (90 cm) long, it will be tissue-thin by this time. Cut away the thick dough around the edges with scissors. The dough is now ready to be filled.

Apple filling;
2 tablespoons (30 ml) golden rum
3 tablespoons (45 ml) raisins
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (80 g) sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick / 115 g) unsalted butter, melted, divided
1 1/2 cups (350 ml) fresh bread crumbs
strudel dough (recipe below)
1/2 cup (120 ml, about 60 g) coarsely chopped walnuts
2 pounds (900 g) tart cooking apples, peeled, cored and cut into ¼ inch-thick slices (use apples that hold their shape during baking)


1. Mix the rum and raisins in a bowl. Mix the cinnamon and sugar in another bowl.

2. Heat 3 tablespoons of the butter in a large skillet over medium-high. Add the breadcrumbs and cook whilst stirring until golden and toasted. This will take about 3 minutes. Let it cool completely.

3. Put the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C). Line a large baking sheet with baking paper (parchment paper). Make the strudel dough as described below. Spread about 3 tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the dough using your hands (a bristle brush could tear the dough, you could use a special feather pastry brush instead of your hands). Sprinkle the buttered dough with the bread crumbs. Spread the walnuts about 3 inches (8 cm) from the short edge of the dough in a 6-inch-(15cm)-wide strip. Mix the apples with the raisins (including the rum), and the cinnamon sugar. Spread the mixture over the walnuts.

4. Fold the short end of the dough onto the filling. Lift the tablecloth at the short end of the dough so that the strudel rolls onto itself. Transfer the strudel to the prepared baking sheet by lifting it. Curve it into a horseshoe to fit. Tuck the ends under the strudel. Brush the top with the remaining melted butter.

5. Bake the strudel for about 30 minutes or until it is deep golden brown. Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing. Use a serrated knife and serve either warm or at room temperature.

It is best on the day it is baked.

I enjoyed this dessert topped with vanilla honey sauce (just melt few scoops of vanilla ice cream and combine with few teaspoons of honey).


- Ingredients are cheap so we would recommend making a double batch of the dough, that way you can practice the pulling and stretching of the dough with the first batch and if it doesn't come out like it should you can use the second batch to give it another try;
- The tablecloth can be cotton or polyster;
- Before pulling and stretching the dough, remove your jewelry from hands and wrists, and wear short-sleeves;
- To make it easier to pull the dough, you can use your hip to secure the dough against the edge of the table;
- Few small holes in the dough is not a problem as the dough will be rolled, making (most of) the holes invisible.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Zucchini and walnut bread

A quintessential summer vegetable, Zucchini are tender and deliciously mild. Its flavor is so mild it picks up that of whatever you cook it with. It is low in calories and provides a bright green colour, moisture and nutrition to the cooked dish. Zucchini bread along with a glass of cold milk is a great way to start your day. This bread forms a thin soft outer crust and a very soft inner crumb. The presence of walnuts give a crunchy effect with every bite. Its not very sweet. Its a light bread which can be had without any extra accompaniment. This recipe is adapted from the culinary institute of America. Here goes the recipe..

Makes 2 loaves

flour less cooking spray for greasing
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour plus extra for dusting
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves
2 1/2 cups grated unpeeled zucchini
1 cup sugar
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tbsps grated orange zest
1 cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts or pecans


Preheat the oven to 350°F(180°C).

Grease and flour two 8½-inch loaf pans.

Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves into a bowl and set aside.

Combine the zucchini, sugar, eggs, oil, and orange zest in a large bowl and mix by hand until evenly blended.

Add the sifted dry ingredients to the zucchini mixture. Stir by hand just until the batter is evenly moistened and blended.

Fold in the nuts.

Divided the batter between the prepared loaf pans.

Bake until the edges are browned and starting to pull away from the pan and the bread springs back when lightly pressed with your fingertip, 50-55 minutes.

Remove the loaves from the pans and let cool on wire racks before serving.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Paneer Paratha (Flat indian bread stuffed with Indian Cheese)

Paneer also known as cottage cheese is used in a variety of dishes world over. It forms a part of salads, main course dishes and even desserts in the form of cream cheese. Known as the Indian Cheese, paneer is one of the most versatile ingredients available for cooking.

Women in India make their own paneer by adding curds to milk thus making it curdle. This paneer can then be grated or crumbled and combined with a blend of subtle masala's making it an ideal stuffing for a paratha. Make these delicious parathas for your family or guests and watch them disappear in a jiffy.

Makes 5 parathas

You'll need the following ingredients..

For the dough
3/4 cup All purpose flour (maida)
3/4 cup Whole wheat flour
2 tsp oil(any)
3/4 tsp Salt
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup Water

To be mixed into a stuffing
1 1/2 cups grated paneer (cottage cheese)
2 tbsp coriander leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp finely chopped green chillies
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp dry mango powder (amchur)
Salt to taste

Other ingredients
Whole wheat flour for dusting
Ghee or oil for cooking


For the dough : Combine all the ingredients and knead well into a soft, smooth dough. Divide the dough into 5 equal portions. Keep aside.

How to proceed:
Divide the stuffing into 5 equal portions. Keep aside.

Roll out one portion of the dough into a circle of 3" diameter using whole wheat flour for rolling.

Place one portion of the stuffing in the centre of the circle. Bring together all sides in the center and seal tightly.(refer figure)

Roll out again into a square of 5" using whole wheat flour. Cook on a hot tava(griddle), using a little oil, until both sides are golden brown.

Repeat with the remaining dough and stuffing to make 4 more parathas.

Serve hot with any gravy you like. Try with Palak paneer.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Layered Strawberry Cake

This Strawberry cake is basically a pound cake which is layered with sweet, tangy, juicy and colorful sugared berries and a velvety blend of whipped sweet cream, finished with the same cream and topped with fresh berries. The berry filling and the cream mixture can be used with any Genoise cake or any other plain vanilla cake.

I present this Strawberry cake to Meeta's Monthly Mingle - Spring Cakes!

This recipe is adapted and altered from "Baking With Julia".

The ingredients used for this recipe are:

For the cake
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick (4 ounce),115 gms butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature, whisked to blend
1/2 cup milk, at room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

For the Strawberry filling
1 pint (2 cups) ripe fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 cup sugar (depending on the sweetness of the fruit)

For the cream
1 1/4 cups cold heavy cream
2 tbsps sour cream
2 tbsps sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 deg F(180 deg C). Butter and flour a 7 inch round pan.

For the cake Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together onto a sheet of waxed or parchment paper. Reserve.
Put the butter into the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment(or work with a hand-held mixer) and beat at medium speed until smooth. With the machine running, add the sugar in a steady steam. Stop the machine and scrap down the paddle and the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Continue to beat at medium speed until the mixture is very light and fluffy, about 4 to 5 minutes.
With the mixer still at medium speed, begin to add the eggs in small addition, about a tablespoon at a time. If the mixture becomes watery or shiny, stop adding the eggs and beat at an increased speed just until it smooths out. When the batter has come together again, decrease the speed to medium and continue adding the eggs, scraping down the paddle and sides of the bowl from time to time; it will take 3 to 4 minutes to incorporate the eggs. The mixture is properly combined when it appears white, fluffy, and increased in volume.
Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the flour mixture and the milk alternately--4 additions of flour, 3 of milk-- scraping the paddle and bowl frequently and mixing until the batter is smooth after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix just to blend.

Baking the cake Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 55 to 65 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and allow it to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Invert the cake onto a rack, remove the pan, and cool to room temperature.

Preparing the Berries Toss the sliced berries with the sugar in a large bowl and leave them uncovered, at room temperature for at least 2 hours.
Coarsely mash the berries with the tines of the fork and toss them again; let them stand for 1 hour longer. You can do this the day before, but the berries should be refrigerated after they are mashed.

For the cream Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment or a hand held mixer, whip the heavy cream, sour cream, sugar and vanilla together until the mixture forms soft peaks. The cream is the proper consistency when the tracks made by the whisk close slowly and almost disappear. Cover and refrigerate the cream, give it a turn or two by hand with a whisk to bring the mixture together again.

Finishing the cake Using a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion, cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Pace the bottom layer cut side up on a cardboard round and the removable bottom of a tart pan. Lifting the berries from the bowl with a slotted spoon so that most of the liquid drains of, spoon half of the mashed strawberries over the cake layer, then spread a thin layer of the whipped cream over the berries. Top with the middle layer, spoon on the rest of the strawberries, and spread another thin layer of the cream over the berries. Center the top layer over the filling.
Working with a flexible metal icing spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake with whipped cream and decorate as you wish with strawberries or with some icing left out. Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour before serving.

Storing The cake can be refrigerated for several hours before serving. Keep it away from the foods in the refrigerator with strong odors, as cream picks up odors quickly. It would be ideal if you could store this cake in a box.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Gold Bags

Thai cuisine is an interesting confluence of flavors and cooking styles. The ingredients used in this cuisine delicately balance the harmony of the dish. This recipe is one of the hit starter recipe in Thai cuisine. These are named "gold bags" as they look similar to a bag holding gold coins. Gold bags are dainty pouches filled with spicy vegetables. The ingredients and the flavors used for the filling is perfectly balanced and they match perfectly with the wrapper. These serve as a great starter when accompanied with sweet and sour dip. This dip goes great with this recipe. These gold bags can even be tied with a blade of lemon grass to give an authentic Thai look.

Makes 25 to 30 bags

For the wrappers
1 1/2 cups All purpose flour (maida)
1/2 tsp Salt

For the filling
1  tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp chopped coriander leaves
1/2 tsp whole black peppercorns
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes, 3 medium sized 
2 tbsps carrots, grated
2 tbsps roasted peanuts, ground
1 tbsp soya sauce
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp salt

Oil for deep frying

For the wrappers
Sieve the flour and salt together. Add the hot water gradually and make a soft dough. Knead for a while. Cover and keep aside for 30 minutes.

Apply oil on your palm and knead the dough until it becomes smooth and elastic. Roll out thinly on a floured surface, using a rolling pin. To make these gold bags to look and taste better, roll the wrapper dough as thin as you can. Cut the rolled dough into 25 to 30 squares of 75 mm. (3 ").

For the filling
Pound the garlic, coriander leaves and peppercorns in a mortar to form a paste. In a bowl, mix the paste with mashed potatoes, carrots, peanuts, soya sauce, sugar and salt. Mix thoroughly. 

How to proceed:
Place a spring roll sheet on a dry surface.  Spoon a little of the filling mixture in the centre of the wrapper square and gather all 4 corners in the centre to form a pouch. Fluff out gathers to make it look like a money bag.

Deep fry in hot oil till golden brown. Drain and tie with a blade of lemon grass. This gives a very distinctive look.

Serve hot with the sweet and sour dip.

Sweet and Sour Dip

Combine this sweet and tangy dip with any deep-fried starter. It'll add a wonderful taste.

Makes: 1 1/2 cups

100ml. fresh tamarind pulp
200 gms jaggery, crumbled
2 tsp red chilli powder or red chilli flakes
2 tbsps honey
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt


Combine all the ingredients except honey in a pan and simmer till the sauce reduces to half.

Cool and add honey and salt. Mix well

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