Saturday, 16 January 2010

Queen Of Puddings

Hi all,

Here’s another recipe for a yummy treat- tested, tasted and loved. It was during one of our new home hunt that we visited my friend ‘P’s place. When we went there she told me she has some guests arriving next day and she was planning to make Biriyani and for the dessert ‘Queen of Puddings’. I have come across this recipe in couple of my recipe books and dint appeal me when I skimmed through them. But my friend ‘P’ told me that the pudding tasted so yummy and it is a crowd pleaser. She has prepared it for many of her guests and all had liked it and had even taken the recipe from her. So I thought I would dust up the recipe from the drafts and give it a shot. I had called her up few times to get the recipe, but couldn’t get her through. So after referring the nets and books, I finally ended up in the recipe mentioned here. Well the recipe is almost like hers, but I have added the lemon rind in the milk which I noticed on some recipes.

I thought the dessert was quite a light one, using less butter. The amount of sugar can be adjusted per your taste and the one given here is as per my family’s requirement. The dessert has three layers with the softly whipped light snowy meringue on the top that very well complimented with the sweet and slightly chewy stewed pineapple underneath and the soft bread pudding base. The addition of lemon rind in the bread pudding gave the dessert a burst of zesty and citrusy aroma. The flavours - vanilla, lemon and pineapple were all very well distributed and the dessert was full of flavour!

Well, I guess the classic version of the Queen of puddings is made of Strawberry Jam or Raspberry Jam in the middle layer instead of the stewed pineapple. I dint have Jam in hand, so substituted with the pineapple. If you are using jam instead of Pineapple, Warm few tablespoon of Jam in a saucepan until it becomes soft and spreadable and spread it on top of the bread pudding base, as thick as you like it to be. You may also use drained cherries from the can for a much sophisticated look. You may also try stewing berries like strawberries, raspberries etc with little sugar until soft and spoon them over the bread. These are just suggestions. We very much liked the pineapple version and I guess I would be sticking to this recipe rather than using jam. You may also try using your own versions of fruits, but I guess tropical fruits or summer berry fruits should work with the best for this recipe.

Queen of Puddings
Serves 6

1 ¼ cup (125 gm) finely chopped bread (tightly packed)
2 cups (500mls) milk, whole or semi skimmed
½ tsp vanilla essence
1 lemon’s rind
2 Tbs butter
3 large eggs separated
1*520gm can Pineapple chunks finely chopped (1 1/2 cups), (320g drained weight)
4 Tbs + 4 Tbs + 4Tbs finely granulated sugar (Grind sugar if it has larger crystals)
4 Tbs pineapple juice from the can OR water if using fresh pineapple


1. Chop the bread into very small pieces, tip them into a bowl and keep aside.

2. Add milk, butter and grated lemon rind into a sauce pan and bring to simmering point until the butter completely melts, but don’t boil.

3. Mix in vanilla and add it the chopped bread pieces. Let it stand for 20-30 minutes or until the bread has really soaked up in milk, has become soft and plumb. Mash the bread using a fork or just whisk for 2 minutes with a balloon whisk just to mash the bread.

4. Pre- heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

5. Meanwhile add 4 Tbs of sugar to egg yolks and lightly beat for couple of minutes until pale. Add this to the bread mixture and mix well.

6. Pour this bread mixture in a 1.3 litre oven proof dish or any pie dish. Place this dish in another large vessel or tray or baking dish and fill the larger vessel halfway with hot water (Bain Marie/water bath). Wearing oven mitts, place the whole tray in the middle rack of the oven. Bake the pudding till it sets in the center and stops wobbling, for about 20-30 minutes. (Mine took 26 minutes)

7. While the pudding is in the oven, add the chopped pineapple in a saucepan along with 4 Tbs of sugar and the pineapple juice or water and cook till pineapple is soft and there is no moisture left. Mash it fork roughly and let it cool. Spread this over the baked bread pudding evenly.

8. For preparing the meringue (pronounced as ‘meraang’), in a squeaky clean bowl (make sure it is free of grease), Add the egg whites and using an electric whisk (egg beater), whip until it holds stiff peaks. Add little sugar at a time (1 Tbs at a time and total of 4 Tbsp), and continue beating until the mixture is stiff and glossy as you see in the picture.

9. Spoon the mixture on top of the pineapple and spread it evenly. If you want to form spikes as in picture, slightly depress the back of spoon into the meringue and lift it. It should form low peaks. Don’t lift it too high or the peaks will burn before the rest gets cooked. You may also pipe out the meringue using piping bag to get an even better pattern.

10. Put it back in the oven (No Bain Marie this time) and bake till the top turns slightly golden. I baked it in 180 Degrees here and took me around 15 minutes in my oven. You may reduce it to 150 or 160 degrees and cook for longer.

11. Bring it room temperature and serve it warm or serve it chilled.

1.While using lemons rind, make sure you don’t use the white pith underneath the skin which is very bitter. You may substitute orange rind for lemon.

2.If you find it difficult to place the whole tray of pudding and water, you may place the larger tray in the oven, place the smaller one in, then pour the hot water.

This post also comes with 'Beautiful Blogger Award' from my dear friend faiza ( Thank you faiza for the award. I would like to share this beautiful award with all my beautiful friends.


Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Chilli Fish

Chilli fish is one of my all time favourite food! I had it for the first time from the flight and fell in love with it on the spot. I desperately tried to re-create it few times at home and was a failure. It was then that I came across the chilli fish recipe posted by Varsha of Will-O’- the- wisp ( Well, I just couldn’t resist to try her recipe and that’s it. My experiment has come to an end. To be frank, her recipe was better than the one I had from the flight and was so happy that I found it. Thanks to Varsha for posting such an amazing recipe. I followed her recipe as such and the outcome was just amazing. It had all the heat from the spices and green chillies and sauces and vinegar gave it a slight tang.

I have made this recipe twice ever since. I also tried the same with mushrooms. So, for the vegetarians, you may substitute mushrooms for the fish. They are really good, but personally, I loved the fish better. For some reason I am not a fan of the woody taste of mushrooms. I tried to like it, but I can’t! I only tried the dry version of this recipe. But if you want a gravy, just mix the required amount of corn flour and water as mentioned in the recipe and add it to the dish at the end.
For a note, you may use different fish for this recipe. But make sure the fish is fresh and good especially when it comes to fish like ‘King fish’ (neymeen, Aykoora). They smell very odd when they are kept in the freezer for long time. You may use frozen salmon, haddock etc with no problem, but make sure you use fresh fish when it comes to king fish. I once prepared chilli fish using frozen king fish and the dish turned out to be ‘Uneatable’ because of the nasty smell it had!

Chilli fish as a dry curry can be served as a starter, it is really yummy to munch. It can also be served as accompaniments for rotis, rice, chappathis, noodles etc when you have other curries around. If you are making the gravy version, it will blend well with Fried rice, chilli garlic fried rice, chappathis and even parattas. And you may omit or reduce the green chillies to reduce the heat. I just used 1 of them.

260g Fillet of fish (salmon. Haddock etc)

To marinate:
2 tbsp Plain flour
2 tbsp corn flour
4 tbsp water
½ Tbsp pepper powder
½ tsp Kashmiri chilli powder/paprika
1 tsp minced ginger and garlic
A pinch of salt


Vegetable Oil to deep fry the fish
2-3 tsp sesame oil
2 whole Dried Kashmiri Red Chilli (Piriyan mulaku)
2 large cloves of garlic minced
1” ginger julienned (1 Tbsp)
1 ½ cups onion diced
1-5 green chillies split lengthwise (add more or reduce depending on your spice level)
½ of a capsicum diced
2-3 stalks of spring onion sliced thick
1 Tbsp hot Chilli sauce (I used Maggi)
¾ Tbsp Soy sauce
2 tsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp white vinegar
4 Tbsp water
2 tsp corn flour (Add only if making gravy)
1 cup water (Add only if making gravy)


1.Clean the fish thoroughly and drain on a kitchen towel. Cut them into small cubes, about an inch long. Make them as small as u can manage without breaking them.

2. Marinate the fish using the ingredients under ‘To marinate’ title.

3. Fill a frying pan with 2” height of oil and set the heat to medium. When the oil is hot enough, slowly add in the marinated fish pieces (fish pieces should be fully coated in the marinade) and fry till golden and crisp. You may shallow fry them as well with minimal oil. Drain on kitchen towel.

4. In another pan, heat sesame oil and add the crushed chilli flakes. Sauté for few seconds and throw in the minced garlic, ginger juliennes and diced onions. Cook for some time, sautéing occasionally, until the onion is transparent, slightly soft yet crisp.

5. Add bell pepper, spring onion and sauté for a minute. Add the sauces and 4 tbsp of water and mix well till blended.

6. Tip in the battered fish and slit green chillies and mix well until the fish is coated well with the sauces.

7. Add vinegar. Cover and cook on low heat for few minutes until all the flavour is infused and the sauce is all dried up. Chilli Fish prepared this way can be served as starters. If you are serving as gravy for Fried rice or rotis, mix corn flour with water and pour it in the chilli fish. Mix and cook for a while till gravy thicken.

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Creme Caramel

Creme caramel is one of most famous desserts ever. Its simplicity and elegance has made this French dessert so popular that there would be almost none who would have not tasted this dessert. Creme caramel is an egg and milk based dessert served with caramel syrup and has a slight wobbly nature and a silky, satiny texture. If you want to make it slightly firmer and a different texture, you can add 2 Tbs of semolina or Rawa to the custard mixture. Creme caramel was also a regular at our home especially during the Ramadan to gratify sweet cravings. But it was always prepared from the instant shop-bought ready-mix packets which just had to be heated with milk and served. Well, it was all good then, but home-made versions always have its own goodness in them. No preservatives, using of fresh ingredients and so on.

This recipe is adapted from one of the cook books that I got along with my ‘Futura Pressure cooker’. I have tried few recipes in the book and they just were perfect! Since the recipe is taken from that book, I have used the pressure cooking method for Creme caramel here. It was just so easy to make and since I used the pressure cooker, it was hassle free and just so quick.

Apart from the pressure cooker method there are couple of other ways to cook the Creme caramel as well. One is the oven method: For baking the dessert in the oven, Pre-heat the oven to 150 degrees Celsius. Place a large tray in the oven and keep the custard filled mold in the tray. Pour hot water in the pan half way up to the mold. Cook for about an hour or until a knife inserted in the centre comes clean. You can also also cook it in a regualr deep sauce-pan which is almost similar to the pressure cooking method. For this method, cover the custard filled mold tightly with a foil and securely tie it with a twine. Place in a saucepan containing hot boiling water. Close the saucepan tightly and cook for about 45 minutes to 1 hour or until set.

While making caramel, there are few things to be taken into consideration. One important thing is DO NOT STIR the caramel until all the sugar is dissolved. It might take some time to get required colour for the caramel, anywhere from 10-15 minutes depending on the heat used. The caramel turns from a light golden, runny honey colour to deep dark brown colour. And if you heat further you may burn the caramel and end up getting a caramel that tastes very bitter. So take the pan off the flame once the caramel reaches a deep golden colour. Make sure you coat the mold immediately because the caramel may set very quickly causing them to harden.
The mess you see on top is the aftermath of my experiments with the leftover caramel:).
Creme Caramel
Serves 6

For the caramel syrup:

6 - 8 Tbsp granulated sugar
3 Tbs water

For the custard:
2 cups/ ½ litre milk
3 Ex-large Eggs
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 Tbs Semolina (Rava) –optional
4 Tbs (1/4 cup) sugar

To make caramel:

1. In a small, heavy saucepan, conmibe 8 Tbs sugar and 3 Tbs water . Place the pan on low heat and let it sit there until the sugar COMPLETELY dissolves.

2. After all the sugar is melted, increase the heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until the syrup turns a deep golden colour. Dont make it too dark, else it will taste bitter.

3. Remove the pan from heat. Wearing oven mitts, pour caramel into a 1 quart (litre) mold and tip and turn the mold to coat the caramel evenly on sides and bottom. In case if the caramel hardens before you can spread it, place it on low heat until it reaches a consistency that is pourable. Keep it aside.

To make the Custard pudding:
1.Place milk and semolina (if using) in a sauce pan and bring it to scalding point stirring constantly. Allow to cool slightly

2. In a bowl, beat eggs lightly to mix yolks. Add vanilla and 4 Tbs of sugar and stir. Gradually add in the milk stirring it constantly using a balloon whisk.

3. Strain this custard mixture into caramel coated mold. Cover mold tightly with aluminium foil, securely tied with a twine or ribbon.

4. Pour 1 ½ cup water in the cooker. Place the grid in the cooker and place the mold on the grid.

5. Close cooker and bring to full pressure on high heat. Reduce heat and cook for 10- 15 minutes depending on the cooker.

6. Remove the cooker from heat and allow to cool it naturally. Open the cooker, take out the mold (Custard will continue to set as it cools). Allow to cool at room temperature and refrigerate.

7. Run knife all around the set pudding to loosen them from the mold if necessary. Place a large serving dish (big enough to accommodate the caramel sauce) on top of the mold and invert. Shake gently to release. Remove the mold and serve the custard chilled.
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