Sunday, December 14, 2014

Making Sushi, My Way!

Simple, Elegant and Very Comforting - Sushi is a canvas for creativity!
Sushi is definitely one of my top 10 favourite things to eat. Till now, I was widely fascinated by it's presentation, flavours and simplicity. I mean, it's all Rice, Nori and Veggies and one could really play so much by ingredients / colours and flavours. There's so much fuss about Sushi rice (cook it this way, do this, do that!) and Rolling it that I honestly kept myself away from making it for a long long time. Something inside me told me to break out of my comfort zone and try it - and turns out, this is probably one of the easiest, non-fussy foods you can make!!


Seriously, if you can make Tea - you can make Sushi! I got it right the first time - no practice, no fuss! I highly recommend everyone (who loves Sushi) to go ahead and make it - it's fun, super-cheap to do it at your home and you can always customise it just the way YOU want! Do check my 1st rolling attempt in video below!



Ingredients:
  • Nori (or Yaki Nori - which is roasted seaweed sheet)
  • Sushi Rice (or any short-grain rice)
  • Assorted Vegetables cut into strips - Cucumbers, Carrots, Peppers, Avocado, Chilly (I used fiery hot red ones!)
  • Cream Cheese - optional, but highly recommended
  • Toasted Sesame Seeds
  • Accompaniments: Wasabi Paste, Pickled Ginger (Fresh Ginger + Lime juice marinated for 30 mins), Dark Soy Sauce.

Recipe:
  • Cooking Sushi rice is very easy. All you need to do is cook rice normally, and then once cooked add seasoned rice vinegar (3-4 table spoons of vinegar + 1tsp sugar + 1/2tsp salt) and mix gently into the rice, while folding it. Allow the rice to cool down by spreading it on a flat surface and then keep in a bowl with wet towel on it to ensure rice is not dry.
  • Assembling Sushi is very simple - simply lay down the Nori (shiny side down and rough side facing you) on a Sushi rolling mat, and spread rice on Nori (about 1/2 cup of rice is enough). Ensure an even spread of rice which is not too much. Sprinkle Sesame Seeds and then layer your favourite vegetables on it. Try to be very colourful and innovative here. I even added some cream cheese to it to make it decadent. The Indian in me couldn't help but add beautiful strips of Benares-red-chilly! In the end, all the flavours really came together very well and tasted incredible!
  • Roll the Sushi and then gently cut it using a sharp knife, while cleaning knife after every cut to ensure smooth and even cuts.
  • Serve with Soy, Pickled Ginger and Wasabi - itadakimasu!
Ps: This is a jain recipe! You're welcome!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Grapemary - Grapefruit & Rosemary Spritzer!

Cheers! Isn't that music to ears? Often when we all party, probably the teetotalers are the ones sulking around. Here's a recipe to cheer all of those up! A simple, delicious and stylish drink - Grapemary.
I love Grapefruit for it's versatile citrusy and mild-bitter flavour. What compliments it best is the subtle hints of Rosemary and together they sum up into an unbelievable potion. Let's get started!

Grapemary

Ingredients (for 2 portions):
  • 1/2 Grapefruit - look out for something on ripe side
  • 3-5 sprigs of fresh Rosemary (you can use dried if fresh is not available)
  • 1/2 cup of Sugar
  • Sparkling Water - Definitely, Perrier. If not, then settle for Soda.
  • Ice
Easy, Versatile and Stylish - A Drink To Make and Serve!

Recipe:
  • Start by making a Rosemary-infused simple syrup. Bring to boil 1/2 cup of water and 1/2 cup of sugar and add 2 sprigs of Rosemary and gently simmer it for 5-7 minutes. Turn the heat off, let the syrup cool down. Strain the syrup and discard the wilted Rosemary sprigs. Set it aside, and let it completely cool down. Do not refrigerate the syrup, ever.
  • Squeeze the juice of 1/2 a Grapefruit (we're looking at about 90ml per serving, so adjust appropriately). Set the juice aside.
  • Add 90ml Grapefruit juice, 30ml of Rosemary-infused syrup over some ice to a handy-dandy shaker and shake it off for a good 15 seconds.
  • For assembly, take a nice Glass (isn't that what makes everything come alive?!). Add ice and pour the drink carefully.
  • Top off with a nice splash of Sparkling water and stir / garnish with a fresh beautiful sprig for Rosemary for a stylish end!
  • Smile. Wink. Sip. Cheers!
Tip: If you're the boozy types, 30ml 45ml of Vodka is all you need to perfectly unwind :)

Note: Measurements are not for bartenders. Go ahead and adjust to your taste.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Makhane Ki Kheer - Puffed Lotus Seeds Pudding!

I recently discovered Makhane Ki Kheer via news - our beloved PM, Mr. Modi, loves it so much so that it was served to the Chinese President Xi Jinping during his recent visit to India! Well, if it's NaMo's choice - there has to be something special right? Indeed it is.

Makhane Ki Kheer is a very versatile, easy and nutritious dessert which is often served in Gujarat and Rajasthan during Navratras and Fasting Festivals. It's wholesome, very simple and takes no more than 15 minutes to make with bare minimum ingredients which are available in every pantry. Let's get started!!

A very simple, versatile and nutritious Makhane Ki Kheer!
Ingredients (for 5-6 servings):
  • 250 Grams Makhana (or Puffed Lotus Seeds)
  • 1 Liter Milk
  • 4 Table Spoons of Condensed Milk (Milkmaid / Mithai Mate etc) - we're using this instead of sugar. Go light on sugar.
  • 1 Cup of Freshly Grated Coconut (substitute w/ dried one if fresh isn't handy)
  • 1 Table Spoon of Ghee
  • 1/2 Tea Spoon of Cardamom Powder
  • Slivered Almonds & Raisins to Garnish
Can't believe it just took like 12-15 minutes to get this from thought to plate!
Recipe:
  • Add Ghee to the pan and once it's warm, roast the Makhanas in it for 3-4 minutes until gently crisp (don't brown them).
  • Take them off the flame, and set aside to cool. Put them in a ziploc bag and crush them coarsely with a rolling pin or pestle. Do not powder them.
  • Add milk to the pan and mix the makhanas in milk. Cook for few minutes until makhanas are well incorporated and kheer begins to gradually thicken up.
  • Add freshly grated coconut and stir well. Also add the condensed milk and the cardamom powder and keep stirring frequently.
  • Your kheer should be ready in about 10-12 minutes or until desired consistency is achieved. 
  • Transfer in serving bowls, and garnish with slivered Almonds and Raisins. Serve lukewarm and enjoy this simple, comforting dessert!
Tip: You can also add a touch of coconut milk to make it more rich and creamy. A few drops of rosewater as a fragrant garnish is a good idea too!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Cold Brewed Coffee!

I recently discovered Blue Tokai Roasters and am totally in love with their coffees. They custom roast in small batches and even put your name on packet; isn't it awesome? I highly recommend all their coffees - they're fresh, wholesome and really, really nice.

Serve it black, or serve it with milk - but be sure to ice it well!
I also bought Hario Mizudashi Cold-brew Pot from them. I read a lot about coffees and have been hankering to try the cold-brew ever since my better-half highly recommended it to me. Here it is, and let me tell you - Cold Brewed Coffee is AWESOME!! It's mellow, easy on tongue and I strongly feel it needs no sweetening as the slow, gradual brewing process brings out the best of coffee which is simply magic!

 
Hario equiments are high-quality, beautiful and definitely durable! Enjoy cold-brews in style!
 There's no recipe here, just right measurements and technique. I'll get right to it:

  1. Take 100 grams coffee for 700ml of water (ratio depends upon how strong or light you like your brew but I feel this works well).
  2. Put coffee grounds (fine grounds are must) in the filter, and some water in jug. Slowly pour 100ml (approx) water over grounds and let them get wet.
  3. After 1-2 minutes, slowly begin adding rest water and leave the jug in fridge, overnight, to brew for at least 12 hours.
  4. Once brewed, pour over ice and enjoy. Adding milk is optional but for some reason I like it when I gradually pour milk over this - just for the soothing effect!
  5. Enjoy chilled - Cheers!
Tip: If you don't have the cold brew pot, just put coffee grounds in a muslin and dip in water / jug for same time. Maybe a little messy, but will give you same output.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Affogato - A perfect, quick dessert!

Affogato
Nothing says "pick-me-up" as Affogato does! It's an all time classic Italian dessert (beverage, really) and something even the laziest people can make in a jiffy. There's no recipe to it, only assembly. So here it is:

Scoop, Pour, Serve!
  1. Brew a nice cup of Espresso Coffee.
  2. Take a glass and scoop about 2-ish scoops of fine quality Vanilla Ice Cream.
  3. Pour warm coffee over the icecream (there's something about this that I love!).
  4. Garnish with grated chocolate or coffee beans.
  5. Serve. Sluurp!
Tip: Affogato goes really well with coffee ice-cream. Get innovative with toppings: Baileys and Bitters go well!

    Sunday, July 6, 2014

    Classic Espresso - Brewed using a Moka Pot!

    Coffee - my to-go beverage when I'm looking to perk up my mood or just feeling glad! I love coffee and more so lately. There's something about a good cup of coffee and there's more to it. You can screw up on making coffee in more ways than one. In simple terms, you need primarily good coffee (well roasted, fresh ground), good brewing style (espresso machine / filter coffee maker / moka pot / french press etc) and good water.
    I Love Coffee!
    I was recently introduced to Moka Pot by my better half (he is a terrific coffee aficionado!) and I was pleasantly delighted by the superb coffee it brews time over again! IF you love Coffee - GET A MOKA POT! It's a simple, 3-part tool which essentially helps you brew a stunning Espresso coffee at home, at 1/10th the cost of a high-end Espresso coffee machine! Let me show you how:

    Ingredients (for 2 cups of coffee):
    • Freshly ground coffee - 2 table spoons (to fill your moka pot)
    • Water -- that's it!

    Method:
    • Fill the bottom of your Moka Pot with water, till the pressure valve level.
    • Add fresh ground coffee to the coffee holder - make sure to top off but don't apply pressure.
    • Screw the top firmly, ensure no scope for steam to pass.
    • Put your Moka Pot on stove (or gas, if you will) and watch the magic unfurl. What will happen is that the water will heat up, gradually rising to the coffee grounds and then due to the pressure within, will rise through the tube and eventually what you will have is fresh espresso in the Moka Pot dripping slowly - something about observing this process is magical!
    • Enjoy!

    This is how a Moka Pot works.

    Tip: From here you can pretty much make Cafe Latte, Cappuccino,  Mocha or even simple filter-coffee by just adding milk and sugar.