Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Bull’s eye in Coconut Gravy/ Bull’s eye Curry

I love the fact that the seasons here can be clearlyly distinguished by changes in the weather and surroundings rather than looking up the calendar. It’s raining cats and dogs today here and the husband is away for a five day course. I had my mind all set up for a healthy regime; I thought I kick will start my walking routine along the beach and have some solitary time for myself. Then it comes, the rain, the wind and the cold weather that toppled up all my plans. I was stuck at home, thought I will sit and do some blogging and share a recipe that I make again and again.

This egg curry is simple by all means. It uses less ingredients and is quite a mild curry. It is also made slightly in an unusual way where raw eggs are added directly to the gravy and slowly cooked, rather than adding boiled eggs. Eggs are poached in the curry until well cooked and smothered in gravy. I normally serve it along with Nool puttu/idi appam/ string hoppers, bread, Ari dosa etc. You can also add boiled eggs instead and add potatoes and cook it before adding eggs too.

Bull’s eye in coconut Gravy/ Bull’s eye curry
Preparation time 10 minutes
Cooking time 20-30 minutes

5 Eggs
2 Tbsp coconut/vegetable oil
3/4 tsp mustard seeds
2 twigs curry leaves
3-4 green chillies slit lengthwise
2 large onions sliced (2 cups)
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp grated garlic (optional)
½ tsp turmeric
1 large tomato
2 ½ cups thick coconut milk
¼ tsp garam masala

1.Place a medium saucepan on medium heat and add oil. When hot, splutter mustard seeds.

2. Add in curry leaves and green chillies and cook them for few seconds.

3. Throw in the sliced onions, cover and cook till golden.

4. Add in grated ginger and garlic, sauté until the raw smell goes off.

5. Add turmeric powder and sauté for a minute.

6. Lower the heat and pour in the coconut milk and add chopped tomato.

7. When small bubbles started appearing on the sides or the curry starts steaming, break eggs,pour gently onto 5 different spots holding the egg very close to the gravy. Do it gently so that the egg yolk doesn’t break. Cover the pan and cook for 5 minutes on low- medium heat. Do not boil and do not stir once the egg is added as it will scramble up the eggs.

8. Once the eggs are cooked, sprinkle on the garam masala and few curry leaves and gently swirl the pan. Serve with plain bread, appams, idi appams etc.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Panineer Petty (Stuffed Pancakes in Flavoured Syrup)

It is a customary thing at my place to make panineer petty during Eid. It would be a very unusual  snack or dessert for someone who never had it before, but sure to surprise. This is quite a popular Malabar dish mostly made in muslim households during special ocassions. The soft pillowy dessert made of layers of pan cakes and sweet egg filling is served with aromatic sugar syrup. Filling is made of eggs and sugar jewelled with cashews nuts and raisins. It is also flavoured with cardamom, one of my favourite spices and you get the whiff of it throughout. This filling is used in many of Malabar snacks including Unnakkaya, pazham nirachathu etc. 

Literally, panineer means rose water and petty means box. Even though rose water is not commonly used in the recipe, that it what it is called. I am not sure why though. A good panineer petty is made of very thin pancakes.  While making these, it is very important to make very thin pancakes. The thinner, the better they are. So the batter should be quite watery. You may add few table spoons of water or egg to make the batter thin and add little flour if the batter goes too thin. Recipe is just straight forward and very easy, doeant really take any time. Sugar syrup can be made in advance.

Panineer Petty
Serves 6-8

For the egg filling:
6 large eggs
12 tbsp caster/ granulated sugar
¼ cup chopped cashew nuts
¼ cup raisins
6 cardamoms
1 ½ tbsp ghee

For the pancake:
1 cup plain flour
2 eggs
1 ½ cup plus couple of tablespoon more if needed
¼ tsp salt or as requied

For the Syrup:
1 cup caster/granulated sugar
1 cup water
¼ tsp lemon/lime juice
4-5 cardamom pods split open
1 tsp rose water (optional)


For the filling:
1. In a bowl, break in eggs and add in sugar. Using a hand whisk or fork break up the eggs and mix the mixture well.
2. Place a large non stick pan on medium heat, add ghee and add the chopped cashew nuts. Fry them until they start turning golden and then add raisins. Fry them until they puff up.
3. Add in the egg-sugar mixture and keep stirring to scramble the eggs until they are cooked.
4. Pound the cardamom to fine powder and add to the egg mixture. Stir well, take off the heat and keep aside.

For the pancakes:

1. Make a thin batter by mixing flour,egg, water and salt.
2. Place a small frying pan (6 inch or any size) on low-medium heat. Dip a kitchen towel in oil and rub the pan with it to avoid the batter sticking to the pan.
3. Pour a small ladleful (3 tbsp) of batter into the pan, swirl the pan to spread the batter to the edge. Cook the pancake only one side and then fish it out.
4. Place some egg filling in the centre of the pancake, fold two side of the pancake each over lapping the other and covering the filling and then fold the other two side, pressing gently to make a square shape pillow. Keep aside.
5. Pour another ladleful of batter and cook another pancake in the same manner.
6. Spread little of the filling in the centre on the uncooked side. Place the previously made filled pancake on top of the egg filling with folded side facing downwards.
7. Fold the pancake from both sides, pressing down gentle to stick the pancake on to the pancake underneath. Then fold the other two sides making to make a larger box.
8. Make one more pancake and repeat step 6 and 7. So you get a panineer petty made of three pancakes.
9. Make more panineer petty in similar way. You will get around 6 medium ones. The more layers you make, larger the panineer petty will be. I usually make it with 3-4 pancakes, but it is usually larger.

To make syrup:
Add sugar and water into a pan and bring to boil without stirring. Once it reaches boiling stage, reduce the heat, add lemon juice and simmer for about 8-10 minutes until it reaches medium thick syrup. Add crushed cardamom and rose water if using at the end and stir well.

To serve:
Place each panineer petty on individual serving dish. Make a deep cross onto the panineer petty and pour couple of tablespoons of sugar syrup drenching the panineer petty.

1. Recipe can be halved to make half the quantity.
2. To powder cardamoms to fine powder, heat a frying pan on low-medium heat and throw in the cardamoms. Heat them until they puff up, stirring occasionally to stop burning. Grind them in a coffee grinder or heavy duty grinder.
3. Lemon/lime juice is added to the syrup to stop the syrup from crystallising. Plus, to avoid the sugar from crystallising, don’t stir sugar syrup until all sugar dissolves.
4. This can also be served without sugar syrup as an evening snack.

Monday, 3 September 2012

Strawberry Mousse Gateau

I once read or may be heard from somewhere that our life is just like an inn, where many people come and go; some stay in our memories, some just fades away and some leave behind a strong impression. Last year, on the way back from the hubby’s work, he met a person from Kerala who was on the same train and after talking for a while he said that he lived in the same estate as ours. When I was told about this, I was on cloud nine as it is quite difficult to find any Indian living so close by and that too from Kerala. We soon acquainted ourselves and came to know that they were going to be here only for a year. Myself and the friend had great time, we baked few things together, went for long walks on the beach on regular basis and the kids had fantastic time together. A year went away so fast and they have gone back leaving back some beautiful memories. Every time I drive past their flat, and don’t see their car any more, I just wish if she was still here. Jameela, I miss you and here is the cake you have been asking me for long. 

Summer is almost over but just before it bids adieu, let me share this great recipe with you all. Strawberries are still available in plenty and this is a great way to use them up in a delicious way. This was made many a months ago for our 10th anniversary. I usually bake goodies using strawberries during our anniversary and for the husband’s birthday as he loves strawberries and a white sponge combination. I am not much of a berry person, so this cake didn’t go down well with me but I was told that it tasted great and our friends and the husband loved it. But berry lovers, give it a shot.

The recipe is quite simple, but I admit, it takes a bit of time. I made it along with my friend Jameela and we had great time making it. Prepare the sponge one or two days ahead so that you don’t tire yourself up making it all at once. The recipe is adapated from one of my cake books, but they have used a butter cake instead of the sponge one. To reduce the fat a bit, I chose sponge cake instead of the butter cake.

Strawberry Mousse Gateau
Serves 16

For the Gateau (Sponge cake layer):
1 cup plain flour
1 cup caster sugar
6 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
3 tablespoons vegetable oil/melted butter

For the Strawberry Mousse:
600 g strawberries
2 cups (~500mls) double cream
1 ½ Tbs gelatine
3 tbs water
½ cup sugar (Use less if you want it less sweet)
2 tbsp strawberry jam (optional)
1 tbsp orange rind
Few drops of vanilla essence

For glaze:
½ cup orange juice OR water plus 3 tbsp sugar
2 tsp gelatine

For decoration:
400g strawberries
150 g dark chocolate
Few sprigs of mint


For the gateau:
1.Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celcius. Grease and line a very deep 9 inch loose bottom or spring form pan.

2. In a bowl whisk the eggs sugar on high speed for about 10 minutes until thick and pale and leaves a thick trail when the beaters are lifted. Add in the vanilla essence and beat again until incorporated.

3. Fold in the flour with a metal spoon, being careful not to knock out any air.  Then trickle in the melted butter and continue to fold until everything is well mixed. Note: Do not over mix the batter here as it will knock out air bubbles and result in a hard cake than a soft and fluffy sponge.

4. Pour into the prepared tin. Bake for about 30-35 minutes or when a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Turn the cake on the wire rack, peel the parchment paper and leave to cool completely.

For Mousse filling:

1.Dissolve gelatine in 3 tbsp of water in a small bowl placed in a saucepan of hot water. Add orange rind, mix and reserve.

2. In a blender or processor, puree strawberries with sugar. Add few drops of vanilla essence.

3. Whip cream using an electric whisk until it is thick and holds peak when the whisk is lifted.

4. Quickly stir gelatine mixture into the strawberry mixture, then fold in the cream.

For assembling:

1.Cut the sponge cake in half horizontally and place one half into the greased tin, with sides lined with cling film or baking paper.

2. Pour the mixture into the tin and place the second half of the cake on top.

4. Chill in the refrigerator overnight or until the mousse is set.

5. Once the mousse is completely set, release the cake from the cake tin.

Once the mousse cake is done, make the chocolate lace border.

For the chocolate lace:

1.Cut a baking paper to the size of the cake, measuring height and the circumference.

2. Break chocolate into small pieces and place them in a bowl. Place the bowl on a pan of simmering water, making sure that the water underneath doesn’t come in contact with the bowl on top. Choose a bigger bowl for chocolates, so that it sits on the pan of water. Stir until melted and glossy. Else, melt chocolate in microwave, stirring every few seconds until the chocolate is melted completely.

3. Make  a cone with baking paper, pour the melted chocolate just until halfway up. Fold the top tight and snip the tip. Make patterns or designs of your choice or simply scribble on the baking paper with the melted chocolate and let it sit for a while until the chocolate start setting. The chocolate should be just set and soft enough to wrap around the cake. It should NOT be too set that it breaks or too soft that it stick to your hand once you touch it, but soft enough that it bends without breaking when lifted.

4. Slowly, grab the baking paper, wrap it around the cake, pressing it very gently on the cake and then slowly peel the baking paper off leaving the chocolate lace on the cake.

Once the chocolate lace is done, slice the strawberries into two and arrange it on top of the cake. Brush it generously with the warm glaze and leave it in the fridge until ready to serve.

For the glaze:

1.Mix gelatine in orange juice or water mixed with sugar in a small bowl. Place the bowl in a pan of simmering water and stir once in a while until the gelatine dissolves. Once it is warm, using a pastry brush brush on the strawberries arranged on top. Serve chilled.

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