Friday, 18 June 2010

lemon curd cheese cake

About the food:

This is a classic lemon cheesecake, with the sweetness of cheese and the sourness of the lemon, deliciously mingled together. I got this recipe from a cheesecakes recipe book published by the Women's weekly book series. My husband gifted that to me last week, and the book is absolutely fantastic. I liked this cake instantly, and thought I would give him a surprise when he comes back home today. But a point of concern, the cake is little too big for a family sized 3, counting my 4 yrs kid: its full of cheesy wickedness...not for someone trying to diet! I think I have to invite friends over tomorrow.

Preparation time: 45mins
cooking time: 1hr


250gm digestive biscuits
125 gm melted butter

750gm cream cheese, room temperature
2 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
1/2 cup caster sugar
3 eggs

Lemon curd:
45gm butter
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 egg
1 tbsp finely grated lemon rind
2 tbsp lemon juice

1. Crush the biscuits to a fine powder in a food processor/ grinder. Mix the butter with it, and press it evenly on the base and sides of a spring form cake tin. The spring form tin, whose base can be detached from the sides, is very convenient to get the shape of the cake.Keep it the freeze to set for 30 mins.

2.The filling:
Put the cheese, butter, lemon rinds and sugar in a bowl and mix them with a hand processor until it is smooth. Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

3. Pre-heat oven. Put the filling into the cake base and bake for 1 hr at 140-150 deg C.

4.The curd:
Mix the butter, egg, sugar, lemon rind and the juice in a heat proof bowl. boil water in a small pan, and put the heat proof bowl on top of it, covering it entirely, so no steam can escape. Take care the base of the bowl does not touch water.Stir the mixture over simmering water on a low flame for about 20 mins, or until a smooth thick paste is formed. Set aside and let it cool.

5.Take the cake out from the oven. It should be firm to touch. Let it cool. Pour over the lemon curd evenly on top, take it out of the spring form tin, and chill for about 3 hrs.

Monday, 7 June 2010

Crepe with chicken filling

About the food:

I got this recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's ' The ultimate curry bible'. As I read, I was immediately drawn to it, as I saw it as a fusion between the French crepes and the Indian curry style filling. In India, we do have a similar version of the food: the mughlai paratha, which is the street corner best seller; but here in this food, its character is so very different and unique. The mughlai parathas are very crisp, but the crepes are succulently soft and melts in the mouth. This gives the dish an delicious uniqueness.

Preparing the dish is fairly easy, the only tricky part is in folding them. But with patience and a little practise, this could be overcomed.This could be served as an excellent snack or as a light meal.

Preparation time: 30mins
Cooking time: 1 1/2 hrs.

Ingredients: (makes 6-8)

The filling:
450 gms chicken, boneless and minced
3 cardamom
3 cloves
1/2 inches cinnamom stick
2 bayleaves
1 tbsp cumin powder
1 tbsp coriander powder
2-3 green chillies, de-seeded and finely chopped
1 big onion
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
salt to taste
1 pinch turmeric powder
1 bunch of coriander leaves, chopped
vegetable oil

The crepes:
250 ml milk
190 gm white flour
salt to taste
2 eggs

The batter:
2 eggs
1 cup breadcrumbs

The sauce:
3 big tomatoes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 inches ginger, finely chopped
1 onion, finely chopped
salt and pepper


1. The filling:
Heat oil in a pan. Add the cardamom, cinnamon, cloves and bayleaves and let them crackle. Add the onions and fry a little. Add the tomatoes and mix well. After 2 mins, add the chicken and mix it well. Add the garlic, ginger, salt, turmeric powder,cumin powder, coriander powder and the chillies. Carry on cooking over a medium flame, stirring and taking care the food does not stick to the pan base, covering intermittently. Sprinkle some water, if the food becomes very dry. Continue to cook for about 30 mins, or until the oil separates out. Sprinkle with the coriander leaves. Reserve and let it cool.

2. The crepes:
Mix the flour, eggs, milk and salt in a mixing bowl. Whisk with a hand blender until it is soft and fluffy.

Heat 1/2 tbsp butter a flat non-stick pan. With a deep spoon, pour 1-2 spoonful of the batter at the centre of the pan. Quickly, tilt the pan to spread the batter to form a circle. Fry for 1 mins. Flip the crepe and fry for another minute. Take it out in a plate and cover. Make all the crepes in the same manner. Put a greased paper in between the crepes, otherwise they might stick together.

3.The sauce:
Heat oil in a pan. Add the onions and fry a little. Add the garlic and the ginger. Fry for 2 mins. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper. Cover and cook for about 20 mins over a low flame or until the tomatoes has melted and has formed a thick sauce.

4.The final stage: Shallow frying
Take one crepe and put 2 tbsp of the filling at the centre of it. Break 2 eggs in a big bowl and whisk them. With a brush, grease the sides of the crepe with the eggs and fold them over the filling, pressing gently, and make a square shape.

Put the breadcrumbs in a plate, to form a layer. Carefully dip the above crepe in the egg, and then place it in a plate of breadcrumbs, carefully coating it. Flip it to cover all the sides.

Heat 1/2 cup oil in a flat pan. Carefully fry the crepe, one side at a time; flip over and fry the other side.

5. Take the crepes out in kitchen tissue to wipe excess oil. Serve hot with the tomato sauce.

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Chicken drumstick kebab

About the food:

Chicken drumstick kebab, or the chicken tegri kebab are very popular throughout India and Pakistan. It could be a fantastic starter, or could be served as snacks with drinks, or even be a main dish when served with Indian breads like paratha and salad.It is easy to make, does not take much effort. The only tedious part is to prepare the masalas, but once you have done it, you can store it in an airtight container, and it keeps for months. Otherwise, if you want a quick fix, you can buy the ready made masalas from any market.I always prefer my own masalas, as I can control the flavour and mix, and also it gives a personal touch to the dish.

Preparation time: 18-24 hrs
cooking time: 45 mins


8 pieces of chicken drumsticks, skinned
4 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 pinch of turmeric powder
3 tbsp ginger paste
2 tbsp garlic paste
6 tbsp plain yogurt
Salad leaf mix
2 onions, cut in rings

Tandoori masala:

8 cloves
8 cinnamon
2 inches cardamom stick
1 tbsp black pepper corns
1 tbsp jeera ( cumin) seeds
1 tbsp dhania (coriander) seeds
2 mace florets
1/2 nutmeg

Chat masala:

1 tbsp cumin seed (jeera)
1/2 tbsp dried mint Leaves (pudina leaves)
1/4th tsp carom (ajwain) seeds
1/4th tsp asafetida (hing) Powder
1 tbsp rock salt (kala namak)
21/2 tbsp dried mango (aam chur) Powder
5 cloves
1 tsp ginger powder
1 tsp cayenne
1/4 tsp tartaric acid
1 tbsp black pepper corns (kalimirchi)
2 tsp salt (namak)


1. Slit both the sides of the chicken drumsticks with a sharp knife to touch the bones.Make sure the flesh do not fall apart. Rub the chicken pieces with the lemon juice and salt and keep it for 30 mins.

2. Tandoori masala:

Dry roast all the ingredients in pan. when they start to smoke, take them out and dry grind in a grinder. Put it in an airtight container.

3. Chat masala:

Dry roast the cumin, coriander, carom, asafetida , black peppercorns and cloves. Dry grind them in a grinder and mix it with other ingredients. Put it in an airtight container.

4. Mix the yogurt, ginger and garlic paste, turmeric powder, 5 tbsp of the tandoori masala.Mix the chicken pieces with this mixture well, cover and marinate for 18-24 hrs.

5. Pre-heat oven. Take a wire rack, and oil it. Arrange the drumsticks on it, and put the rack on a tray to accumulate juices. Put in the oven for about 50mins at 180 deg C, or until the chicken has browned and has been cooked through, turning the pieces once in between. Keep a close watch, as not to burn the pieces, as the cooking time might vary.

6. Arrange the base of a serving tray with the salad leaves. Arrange the chicken pieces on it, squeeze 1 tbsp lemon juice and sprinkle 1 tbsp of chat masala. Garnish with Onion rings and lemon wedges and serve.

Rice pudding (Payesh)

About the food:
This is a traditional Indian dessert. What a birthday cake is to the western world, the rice pudding is to the states in south-east India, specially among the Bengalis. This dish has a special place in the hearts of the Bengalis: I cherish the memories when my mom used to make the payesh, as what it is called in bengali, on my birthdays. Having stayed abroad, I miss this occasion even more and my heart aches to get a bowl of payesh made by my mom on the special day.

I have used govindabhog rice for this dish, but unfortunately I did not find it anywhere in London. So every time I go to India I bring my supplies of rice. When I am out of the stock, I have to rely on my kind friends and relatives flying here from India. So, assuming you might not get this rice, go for the pudding rice which are available in all supermarkets.

Preparing this dish needs much patience and is laborious. One has to constantly stir the milk, making sure it does not stick to the base of pan, burn or spill out of the pan. This means you cannot leave the hob for a moment until it is done. Making a payesh without spilling the milk out of the pan demanding, and I admit, I have never been successful in that! But do not worry, other than this bit, it is fairly easy to make. only the other trick lies in the quantities of rice to milk, and the rice when done, should not be hard and yet not too soft.

Preparation time:10 mins
Cooking time: 1 hrs

Ingredients: serves 5

1 litre whole milk
Two small handful of govindabhog rice or pudding rice
2 bayleaves
5-6 cardamom
1/2 bowl cashew nuts, chopped in small pieces
10-12 pistachhio nuts, chopped in small pieces
5 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp kewra water
1/2 small bowl raisins, washed


1. Pour the milk in a big pan, and bring it boil. Add the bayleaves and the cardamoms. Lower the flame, uncover and keep it simmering. The milk should reduce to less than 1/2 of its original volume. Keep in stirring, so that it does not stick to the base of the pan.

2.Meanwhile, wash and drain the rice. When the milk has been halved, add the rice. Add the raisins, sugar and the kewra water. Keep it on low flame, stirring every now and then, until the rice has been cooked. Be aware that the pudding would thicken when cooled.

3. Add the cashew nuts, and cook for 2-3 minutes.

4. Put it in a serving bowl immediately, as the pudding would thicken and you might not be able to serve without breaking the pudding in pieces. chill in a refrigerator for 2-3 hrs.

5. Garnish with the pistachhio nuts and serve chilled.