28 Nov

Dry Dum Aloo | Bengali Style

Dry Dum Aloo | Bengali Style

Having a bag full of small (new) potatoes always make me think of dum aloo.

I have made dum aloo plenty of times but it is one dish which I constantly like to try a new version. Out of all the versions I have tried so far, I love this one.

Dry Dum Aloo | Bengali Style

Dry Dum Aloo | Bengali Style

I am not very active or clued on Twitter all the time but yes it has its uses. I posted on my TL asking chefs to recommend a dum aloo recipe. Talented Mallika Basu of Quick Indian Cooking promptly referred a recipe on her blog of  ‘aloor daum – a bengal style dum aloo‘.

For me any Bengali cooking is full of poppy seeds & sugar. I was pleasantly surprised to note that this recipe doesn’t call for any of the two. I was sold. I made it and loved it.

So when I was hosting a potluck party for V’s friend, decided to throw in a side dish of dum aloo along with my dal makhani.

Dry Dum Aloo | Bengali Style

Dry Dum Aloo | Bengali Style

I added steps of soaking the potatoes in salted water for few hours and frying them before adding to the gravy.

If you are like V and don’t like to eat potato skins, I recommend using big potatoes, peeling them and cubing them instead of small (new) potatoes.

It is really nice with awesome tangy taste due to curd. I absolutely love this recipe.

Dry Dum Aloo | Bengali Style

Dry Dum Aloo | Bengali Style

Wonderfully tangy and tasty Bengali style dum aloo.

  • 1 kilogram small, new potatoes
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped fine
  • 1 inch ginger, chopped or grated (or 2 teaspoon ginger paste)
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
  • 1 teaspoon chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon asafoetida
  • 1 teaspoon garam masala
  • 2 tablespoon thick curd
  • salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil or ghee
  • oil for frying (optional)
  1. Wash the potatoes clean thoroughly. Prick holes all over the potatoes using a fork. Place them in salted water for 2-3 hours. This allows the salted water to reach the inside of the potatoes and impart flavour. Drain and dry the potatoes using a towel.
  2. In a wok heat oil for frying and gently fry all potatoes till golden brown.
  3. In a pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and add the asafoetida.
  4. As it sizzles, add the tomatoes, the ginger and all spices except garam masala. Stir for five minutes until the tomatoes break down and the spices give out a subtle aroma.
  5. Add the curd and stir vigorously for another five minutes so it is well incorporated with the spices. It usually avoids the gravy from curdling too. I usually use a whisk here as it makes vigorous mixing easier.
  6. Stir in the potatoes, coating the gravy well into them. Add salt.
  7. Now add a cup of hot water, cover the pan. Allow the potatoes to cook and the curry to dry up. Stir the gravy well every few minutes to avoid sticking to the bottom and even cooking.
  8. Test the doneness by inserting a fork gently into the potatoes. If it passes with little or no resistance, the potatoes are done. Gravy would also be dry by then.
  9. Mix in the garam masala and adjust for salt. Serve hot with naan or parantha.
  • Preparation time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 45 minuutes
  • Total time: 1 hour

Sending this delicious dum aloo to Let’s Cook with Yoghurt

24 Nov

How To – Clarified Butter | Ghee – Revisiting Through the Lens Series – 13

How To - Clarified Butter | Ghee - Revisiting Through the Lens Series - 13

If you compare my original images posted with the recipe 3 years ago, you would know why I need to revisit this particular post.

How To - Clarified Butter | Ghee - Revisiting Through the Lens Series - 13

How To – Clarified Butter | Ghee – Revisiting Through the Lens Series – 13

The How To is quite simple and difficult at the same time. The most important thing is to let the temperature around you govern the temperature of water. Peak summers like in Delhi, need cold water with ice-cubes also sometimes and chilly winters would need warm to hot water.

How To - Clarified Butter | Ghee - Revisiting Through the Lens Series - 13

How To – Clarified Butter | Ghee – Revisiting Through the Lens Series – 13

But in a moderate climate like Pune,  I usually use room temperature water only, with very occasionally using cold or lukewarm water.

How To - Clarified Butter | Ghee - Revisiting Through the Lens Series - 13

How To – Clarified Butter | Ghee – Revisiting Through the Lens Series – 13

For detailed step-by-step Tutorial, check here.

There is no bigger pleasure than liberally smearing your Indian flatbread with home-made ghee. I have come across few clarified butter bakes too and would soon be trying them out.

How To - Clarified Butter | Ghee - Revisiting Through the Lens Series - 13

How To – Clarified Butter | Ghee – Revisiting Through the Lens Series – 13

Stay tuned.

How To – Clarified Butter | Ghee – Revisiting Through the Lens Series – 13

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 30 minutes

How To – Clarified Butter | Ghee – Revisiting Through the Lens Series – 13

Making your own Clarified Butter or Ghee was never so easy.

Ingredients

  • Full Cream Milk
  • 1 tablespoon Curd
  • Cold Water/ Ice

Instructions

  1. Boil milk. Allow it to cool down. Don’t touch the top layer of milk. Refrigerate it.
  2. After few hours of refrigeration, the top layer will firm into thick cream.
  3. Gently remove the cream & store in a separate bowl.
  4. Repeat this process till you have collected enough quantity of cream. (1 litre boiled milk should give around 250 ml of cream in 7-8 days)
  5. Boil the collected cream & allow it to cool little. When it is cooled just enough for setting of curd, add 2 tsp of curd into it and mix well.
  6. Allow the cream to set just like curd in a warm place. When the cream is set, refrigerate it.
  7. Remove the set cream and churn in a blender.
  8. After few mins, the cream will start separating and you will see butter. Add little water if required to separate.
  9. The butter & milk should be clearly separated.
  10. In a wok, take about 1/2 glass of chilled water or ice & remove the butter & put in it.
  11. Quickly rinse of the butter in this water & pour the water in the buttermilk.
  12. You can garnish [buttermilkhttp://lemoninginger.com/2013/11/25/buttermilk-soaked-paranthas-indian-flatbread-quick-filling-snack-revisiting-lens-series-6/] with seasoning (ghee, cumin seeds, salt, mint leaves) & serve or plain. Use butter as desired.
  13. If you do not wish to use butter for any other use, put this in a wok & allow it to heat.
  14. Slowly, the water content will evaporate leaving behind ghee or clarified butter.
  15. Residue will dry & become elastic & chewy chenna.
  16. Do not allow the chenna to burn or get excessively brown, my mother’s got slightly more brown than desired.
  17. Strain the ghee into the desired container. Allow it to cool completely. Use as desired.

Notes:

source: my mother

Weather/ Temperature determines this process: In chilly winters use hot to room temp water for all steps. In summer, you would need chilled water or ice for separating & washing.

http://lemoninginger.com/2014/11/24/clarified-butter-ghee-revisiting-lens-series-13/

17 Nov

Eggless Choco-Chip Amaranth & Oats Cookies

Eggless Choco-Chip Amaranth & Oats Cookies

I have a news to share. I am now a guest recipe blogger at The Royale and will be developing several recipes for them hopefully, going forward.

Eggless Choco-Chip Amaranth & Oats Cookies

Eggless Choco-Chip Amaranth & Oats Cookies

As my first recipe, I developed Eggless cookies for them using oats & amaranth flour. I have been moving from refined flours to incorporating whole and healthy ingredients in my baking.

Eggless Choco-Chip Amaranth & Oats Cookies

Eggless Choco-Chip Amaranth & Oats Cookies

I haven’t used whole wheat here as I already have made several cookie recipes in past using it, I wanted to play with amaranth & oats this time.

For detailed recipe, continue reading here…

Sending these to Bake Fest # 37, an event originally started by Vardhini.

07 Nov

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

I have been moving away from refined flours onto whole flours and adding some new flour like amaranth in my baking.

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

So it is no surprise that I decided to use one my old recipe here into a whole flour version.

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

I replaced the APF with whole wheat & amaranth flour, replaced refined sugar with brown sugar. I was not sure how the brownie texture will turn out but all my doubts were ill-founded.

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

The brownies were rich, gooey, chewy & decadent. My in-laws couldn’t stop showering praises for it and my kids ate happily.

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

For me all my umpteen baking, trials & error bear fruits when my kids happily eat and ask for more. This is one of those recipes. So, do not fear and whip this up for your family. These Amaranth Brownies are a winner.

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 16 brownies

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Rich, gooey, chewy and decadent healthy brownie

Ingredients

  • 3 tablebspoon of water
  • 2 tablebspoon of flaxmeal (flax seed powder)
  • 1 1/4 cups of whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup of amaranth flour
  • ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
  • 7 tablespoon of cocoa powder
  • 100 g of dark chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips)
  • 1 teaspoon of instant espresso powder
  • ¾ teaspoon of salt
  • ¼ cup of Boiling Water
  • 1 1/4 cups of brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoon/ 80 g of butter
  • 1 ½ teaspoon of pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup of walnuts, chopped

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl whisk together the water (3 tablespoon) and flax meal. Let it sit for about 10 minutes till it becomes frothy. This mixture is called flaxseed egg.
  2. Preheat oven to 180 C. Line & grease an 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Allow overhang on all sides for easy lifting of brownies after baking.
  3. Coat the chopped walnuts with little flour to avoid sinking to the bottom.
  4. In a medium bowl whisk together flour and baking soda. Keep aside.
  5. In another medium bowl add the cocoa powder, chocolate, coffee and salt. Add boiling water and mix in the ingredients into a paste using a spoon. Make sure that chocolate pieces are melted.
  6. Add sugar, butter, vanilla extract and flax meal egg into the chocolate mixture until smooth.
  7. Stir in the walnuts if you're using them. Using a wooden spoon, mix in the flour until well combined. The mixture becomes extremely thick and you may need to use your hands to mix. Don't mix the dough with an electric mixer at this point. It will overwork the dough and gluten will form, in turn affecting the texture of the brownies.
  8. Transfer the batter to the baking dish, using a silicone spatula press the thick dough into place.
  9. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool on a wire rack for an hour.
  10. Transfer the brownies to the wire rack by lifting the overhang. Allow them to cool completely before slicing into squares.
  11. Serve with powdered sugar or ice-cream or sauce or eat them off the rack. Enjoy!

Notes:

adapted from here

The trick of perfect brownies lie in 2 things. One is not over-bake them, otherwise they become cake like and not chewy.

Second is too allow them to cool completely (no matter how tempted you are) before slicing. Also use a plastic knife and not a serrated knife. I use the cheap plastic knives which are given with store-bought cakes.

http://lemoninginger.com/2014/11/07/eggless-whole-wheat-amaranth-brownies/

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Eggless Whole Wheat Amaranth Brownies

Sending these to Bake Fest # 37, an event originally started by Vardhini.

04 Nov

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

When 6 months ago I bought my first dslr, lens and processing system, I was sure I wanted to buy a tripod too. But as chance would have it, the vendor didn’t had it. Then I got busy exploring the camera alone with trial and error and more.

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Though I had been using manual function of my compact camera for a long time, the transition to understand dslr was still there. I made trial & error and took lot of practice shots to understand few things.

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

I did speak about joining a food photography critique group here, and how it has been helping me. While it continues to do so, my thirst for knowledge and betterment makes me explore various opportunities to learn more.

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

After a while I realised that I need a tripod to start shooting less hurried and more planned shots. The shooting scene at my place is always chaotic, with little time at hand and styling a dish with holding a camera in one hand became very cumbersome.

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

This made me realise that I need to have both my hands free to start styling and composing better. Along with the desire to work on slow shutter speed and higher ISO.

Eggless Whole Wheat Chocolate Wine Cake

Eggless Whole Wheat Chocolate Wine Cake

Every food portfolio needs to have a pour or frozen shot to show your capabilities and I also desired the same.

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

So came in the tripod. And I must say it has been the best investment I could make. It gave me all the above and much more but like any technology it is easier to get too dependent on it. The laziness creeps in and you don’t seem aware.

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Now I compose my shoot in 10 mins with much relative peace and freedom and able to keep changing the shot I feel satisfied and not worry about the camera angle getting changed.

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

But as I said that laziness will soon set in, so I try to take some hand-held shots after I have done the setting to get more mileage.

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

A wise photographer said, before winding up always take these 2 angles – 45 degree (roughly) and close up of food. I try to keep these words in mind and click these 2 angles over and above the ones I set up for,

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Oh I forgot to tell you which tripod I bought, i didn’t want to invest in cheap one for a short while and then a sturdier one later on as I believe in buying the best keeping in mind my future needs. So I went in for a Manfrotto MK 055X PRO 3 – BH which is a kit with ball head (498 RC2) and a centre column which can turn at 90 degree to give you birds’ eye view or overhead shot.

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

Tripod and Why Do I Need It? | Food Photography

It can hold upto 9 kgs of weight which should take care of my most lenses and need. The usage is very easy and comfortable to use. The locks on the legs are very easy to use while the camera is mounted. I am very satisfied with the product.

Disclaimer: I have not been paid by Manfrotto for this post. I researched and bought this tripod out of my own choice and loving every moment of it. All the above food shots are my fun-trial shots with tripod.