Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Process Tender Jackfruit

Tender jackfruit is a very great tasty vegetable according to me. But many people do not opt for it since it takes a little bit more time for processing, just like how you need to spend time for plantain flowers. Really it is worth spending five minutes extra time to savor this vegetable.

Preparing this vegetable is very simple. It is a little spiky (but doesn't hurt).


  1. Apply generous amount of sesame oil on the knife blade and in the palm of your hand that you use to hold the jackfruit. This is very useful to prevent your hands and the knife from being sticky.
  2. Hold it and cut it into half. If you want to save the rest, wrap it tightly with glad press-n-seal or any saran wrap and refrigerate.
  3. Take the portion which you intend to cook. Chop into big chunks.
  4. Hold the chunk firm, cut the peel off. 
  5. Repeat with all of the chunks.
  6. If you opt for shredding and then using, chop into manageable size chunks and boil in water. When it is about to be done, add necessary amount salt and let it simmer for a couple more minutes. When cool, shred and use as needed. Just pulse couple of times in your blender and you have it shredded. Boiling and shredding helps you to process a little faster.
    Before boiling
    After Boiling
    Cooked and shredded tender jackfruit
  7. You can further chop it into smaller cubes, boil it and then make curries or gravies. This takes a little bit more time as you need to chop. You can freeze this in freezer ziplocs for upto 3 months.
  8. That's all. Now you have the tender jackfruit ready to cook and relish in your home with your family and friends.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Italian Style Paneer Sticks

This is a must try for paneer lovers!



My daughter loves anything made with paneer. She had been asking me to make paneer sticks similar to mozzarella sticks (she loves it). When we talked about how to make it, she opted for Italian style. I made the marinade in no time. I used pasta sauce, fresh basil pesto, Italian seasoning and black pepper. These would always be there in the pantry and hence was made in a jiffy.  I toasted it in the pan and did not deep fry. We had a perfect snack. It was very tasty, soft, melting in the mouth leaving you to feel like you are in heaven.......Paneerilicious! They were so soft and melting in the mouth that makes you eat a couple more. Totally awesome!



Ingredients:

Paneer (Indian cottage cheese block) - 200g


For the marinade:

Pasta sauce - 1 tbsp
Fresh basil pesto - 1 tsp
Italian seasoning - 1/4 tsp
Ground black pepper - 1/8 tsp
Olive oil - 1 tsp

For coating:

Bread crumbs - 1/3 cup or as required
Ground black pepper - 1/8 tsp
Italian seasoning - 1/8 tsp (optional)


For shallow frying:

Oil - 1/2 to 1 tsp (optional)

Method:

Cut the paneer block into long cubes. 


In a bowl, add all the ingredients for the marinade and mix well.



 Add the paneer pieces, toss well, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.









At the time of making, mix the bread crumbs, pepper and italian seasoning and keep in a large plate. Take each paneer piece and coat with the seasoned bread crumbs on all sides.







Heat a pan or griddle,drizzle a little oil and toast the breaded paneer pieces on all sides on a medium flame. 






Tasty, juicy soft and delicious paneer stcks are ready. Serve immediately.



Notes:
  • I wanted to make this using very little oil and hence I didn't add oil for shallow frying. It was so juicy and perfect. If you want to use oil, use mildly or else deep fry it.
  • Also it was not very spicy (that's why the kids gobbled them fast and were asking for more). If you want a spicy version, feel free to add 1/4 tsp chilli powder or ground black pepper to the marinade mixture.




Monday, April 14, 2014

Rosemalai



Happy Tamil New Year to everyone. The weather is getting hotter each day. Considering the hot weather and New year celebrations, I made rosemalai. Yes, it is rose flavored rasmalai - a perfect and chill dessert for a hot day. I used 1.5% milk to make rasgullas and 2 % for the rabdi. It was yummy.....no ..no say it as perfect indulgence. It had a attractive light pink color and a perfect flavor and aroma of rose (gulab or light pink rose or in tamil Panner Rose) both in the rabdi and in the rasgullas. We love rosemilk (chilled milk flavored with rose syrup) so much in our home that tempted me to try this variation of the traditional world famous bengali sweet Rasmalai. It was so delicious and roselicious that here after I may make this version more often.







Ingredients:

Milk - 1 liter + 3 cups
Sugar - 10 tsp + 1/2 cup
Water - 1 cup
Pistachios - 1 tbsp, chopped
Rose syrup - 2 tsp + 3 tbsp
Cardamom - 1, crushed
Juice of 1 lemon

Method:

For Rabdi:

Boil 3 cups of milk in a heavy bottomed vessel till it reduces to 1.5 cups. Add 10 tsp sugar, cardamom and simmer for a few minutes. Switch off the flame. Cool and add 3 tbsp rose syrup (make sure you add the rose syrup after it is completely cool, else the milk will curdle). Let it chill in the refrigerator.

For the Rasgullas:

Boil 1 litre milk, add the lemon juice and simmer it for a couple of minutes. Switch off the flame. The milk will curdle completely. Filter using a cheese cloth, wash the paneer 2 or three times. Squeeze out the water and hang it for 20 to 30 minutes till almost all the water is drained. If it still drips, squeeze repeatedly and hang for some more time. Knead into a smooth and soft ball. Add 2 tsp rose syrup and knead again till it is completely light pink in color. Make into balls of small lemon size and slightly flatten it between your palms.

In a heavy bottomed vessel, Boil 1 cup of water and add 1/2 cup sugar. Let it boil for 3-5 minutes. Add the
prepared rasgullas, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. The rasgullas increase in size, almost double. Let it cool for sometime. Sccop out each one, very carefully draining out the sugar syrup and add it to the chilled rabdi. Top with chopped and tosted pistachios. Refrigerate atleast for 3 -5 hrs before serving. Rosemalai is all ready to be served. Enjoy the heat as well as the Rosemalai!



Notes:

  • The rose flavor was mild and perfect. If you want intense flavor, feel free to add 2 more tsp of the rose syrup in the rabdi.
  • Also you could add a tsp or 2 of gulkhand in the rabdi for extra flavor. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Moong Sprouts Salad for Sri Ram Navami






Every year we celebrate Sri Ram Navami (Birthday of God Rama) with panagam (spiced jaggery water), buttermilk, vadas (crispy fried lentil dumpling) and kosmalli (salad) as nivedhanams. This year for a change I made moong sprouts salad in the place of usual salad. It is very simple to make yet delicious and colorful. When you try this one, I am pretty sure you would agree.





Ingredients:

Moong sprouts - 1/2 cup
Pomegranate arils - 1/3 cup
Pineapple - 1/3 cup, chopped
Coconut - 2 tbsp
Green chilli  - 1 finely chopped
Salt
Juice of half lemon
Cilantro - 1 tbsp, chopped

Method

Wash the sprouts a couple of times and drain the water completely. To this add the fruits, coconut, green chilli, lemon and cilantro. Mix thororughly and a wonderful salad is all ready.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Dill Rice

I made this simple dill rice with peas for dinner. It was very tasty. It is so simple that no one can go wrong. Just throw in dill leaves and rice and in no time tasty meal would be ready. We enjoyed with baby potatoes and yogurt.




Ingredients:

Basmati rice - 11/2 cup
Onion - 1/2 cup, thin sliced
Peas - 2/3 cup
Dill leaves - 1 cup
Green chilli  - 1, slit lengthwise
Cloves - 1
Cardamom - 1
Cinnamon - 1 in. piece
Salt
Water
Oil - 1tsp

Method:

Wash the rice and soak in water for 15 min. Wash the peas and dill leaves. Chop the dill leaves. Heat oil in a pot, add cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and fry for a minute. Next, add the onions, green chilli and cook till translucent. Filter the water from rice, add it and peas to the pot. Add 21/2 cups water, salt and adjust the salt to taste. Cover and simmer for 15 to 20 min. Switch off the flame and let it be covered for another 5 min. That's it! Your meal is ready.


Notes:

Lima beans can be used in place of peas.

Tender Jackfruit Cutlets





Jackfruit is seasonal and now we can see lots of tender ones in the market too. I got a tender one from my uncle's home. When you cook curries and gravies with this, the taste and texture - both are amazing. It takes a little bit time to peel and cut the fruit as well as the tender ones as a sticky white liquid oozes out. Apply generously sesame oil on your hands and knife and continue the process and it is as worth when you taste the fruit or vegetable.

I wanted to make something different with this as I have tasted and still relishing the curry made with this. I love the curry (will post soon) and is my favorite. So for a weekend teatime snack, jackfruit cutlets did fit better and it was truly AMAZING. Very tasty and foodies in my home also had second helpings.



Ingredients:

Tender Jackfruit - 1 cup, cooked and shredded
Potato - 1 cup, cooked fork tender and grated
Onion - 1/4 cup, chopped fine (optional)
Peas - 2 tbsp, fresh or frozen
Bread crumbs - 1/2 cup
Corn flour - 2 tbsp
Cilantro - 2 tsp, chopped
Garam masala - 1/8 tsp
Turmeric - 1/8 tsp
Chilli powder - 1/4 tsp
Salt
Oil for deep frying

Method:
Heat a tsp oil in a pan, saute the onion till golden brown. To this add the shredded jackfruit and potato with salt, chilli powder, garam masala and cilantro. Mix thoroughly. In another bowl, mix cornflour with 1/4 cup water. Keep the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl or tray. Make balls of lemon size, flatten it lightly. Dip it in cornflour mix and then in bread. Repeat the same with all the balls. Heat oil in a pan. When it is hot enough fry the cutlets till golden brown on both the sides. Serve with tomato ketchup or chilli sauce.



Notes:

  • I added just enough potatoes to hold the cutlet together and I didn't want the potato flavor to overpower the jackfruit cutlet. So shaping and flattening is a little tricky but one could manage. 
  • Also, I had to dip in corn flour and bread twice to keep the cutlets in good shape but that worked out very good. 
  • Instead of deep frying, pan frying could also be done for a much healthier version.