Macque Choux – Spicy Sweet Corn Side Dish

Macque Choux (pronounced Moch Shoo) is a corn dish sautéed with vegetables straight from Louisiana, USA. It is said to be invented by the Cajun tribe of the state and so macque choux is also sometimes understood to be a blend of corn with cajun spices.

Corn straight off the cob can be used in this dish. Some people use creamed corn also giving the dish a pureed look. I had a bag of frozen sweet corn sitting in the freezer and HD asked to make “something nice” out of it sometime so I landed with this dish. It is really easy and as long as you don’t overcook the corn, it turns out as a great side accompaniment to your meal.

Preparation Time – 10 mins

Servings – 4

Ingredients

250 gms sweetcorn (frozen and thawed)

1 green bell pepper (seeded and chopped)

1 large onion (sliced)

1 tomato (diced)

1 tblsp ginger (chopped finely)

1 tblsp garlic (chopped finely)

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tsp vegetable oil

2 tblsp green coriander leaves (chopped finely)

For the dressing

½ tsp sugar

2 tbsp vinegar

1 tsp mustard sauce

1 tsp green chilli sauce

1 tsp red garlic chilli sauce (optional)

Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onions till light pink in color. Saute the bell pepper, ginger and garlic in it. Add sweetcorn, sprinkle a little water on it and cover the pan for 2-3 mins while leaving the gas on sim to allow sweetcorn to become tender. Remove the cover and let the corn cook for another 2-3 mins. Make sure the corn does not get overcooked or it will become too dry for taste.

Mix the dressing ingredients in a bowl. Transfer sweetcorn mixture to this bowl. Add salt and pepper and mix thoroughly. Garnish with tomatoes and coriander leaves. Serve hot.

My First Eggless Cake – Baked in Cooker

This recipe for eggless cake has been submitted to “Foodie Event: Royal Foodie Joust” for the month of May hosted by Leftover Queen under the theme of “Red, Green and White” ingredients.

Yesterday was MIL’s (mother-in-law’s) birthday and as I have said again and again, I belong to a Marwari family. So let alone anything remotely related to non-veg, even eggs don’t go. I tried to explain to her that today the eggs are made artificially and no matter whether you put them under the bulb or hold them close under your jacket for warmth, a chick is not going to hatch out of it in a million years. No matter what I said, it is hard to break a life long habit so I had to let it go. But a birthday is a birthday and what is a birthday if there is no cake to cut? HD (hubby dear) searched for an eggless cake but could get his hands on tiny brownies only at such a short notice. So I scoured the web for an eggless cake recipe, modified it to suit my needs and prepared a surprise yesterday for her.

First modification I did was to add a little bit of milk along with water (the recipe mentioned only water to bring the batter to a pouring consistency). Second, I added sugar soaked cherries, chopped finely, to substitute for tutt – frutti. Third and the most dramatic one, I added a swirl of colors to the cake. See, I do not have any icing experience and I was a little bit scared to experiment too much with the cake, it being my first eggless version and to be presented before my MIL on her birthday. In short, to avoid spoiling the cake, I simply added three colors (red, yellow, green) to the batter and gave it one single swirl with the spoon before pouring the batter into the baking dish. And prayed.

The cake turned out to be a motley of colors. Everyone at dinner kept asking how did I make it look like that and when I brought out my phone camera (not a very good version being a VGA) to take a pic for my blog, there were immediately two others madly clicking away for a best shot. Needless to say, it was immensely flattering and gratifying. Tarla Dalal has said that a cake’s presentation is as important as its texture. Thankfully, the cake turned out soft and spongy and sweet as well as attractive and made my evening as much as my MIL’s.

Happy Birthday Mummyji

Happy Birthday Mummyji

Preparation Time – 45 mins

Servings – 12

Ingredients

1 cup maida (all-purpose flour)

½ can condensed milk (I used Nestle Milkmaid)

¼ cup ghee (unsalted butter)

1 tsp vanilla essence

2 tblsp baking powder

½ cup milk

Edible food colors (red, green, yellow)

Candied cherries (Tutti-frutti optional)

My first swirly-wirly tutti-frutti eggless cake with a cherry flower on top

My first swirly-wirly cherry filled eggless cake with a cherry flower on top

Sieve flour with baking powder. Mix condensed milk and butter with it and roll it. Add milk to make the batter thin. Slowly add water spoonful by spoonful to achieve pouring consistency. Mix the cherries and vanilla essence. Put three teaspoonfuls of the coloring on the batter and give it one single swirl with the rolling pin. Heat the pressure cooker for 5 mins. Grease and dust the baking dish. Pour the batter in it and place the baking dish in the cooker. Keep the cooker on low flame (sim).

Insert a toothpick in the cake after half an hour to check if it is done. If the toothpick comes out clean, take out the cake. Cool on a wire rack before serving. The cake should be spongy and spring back on pressing.

Eggless Sponge Cake on FoodistaEggless Sponge Cake

Thalipeeth (Fried pancakes with radish stuffing)

The fact is HD loves thalipeeth. Though it is a Maharashtrian recipe, it has crept into our Marwari kitchens cos we have been living in a small city of Maharashtra for generations now. Everyone has a favorite recipe mom used to make and so when HD mentioned it, I decided to give it a try. Unfortunately, it did not turn out quite as well as expected. This time around, my dear MIL made it and it was perfection and I made sure to make a note of it.

Preparation time – 15 mins

Servings – 6

Ingredients

½ cup gehin-ka-atta (wheat flour)

½ cup besan (gram flour)

½ cup jowar (millet flour)

1 onion, chopped

4-5 radishes, grated

½ tblsp zeera (cumin seeds)

1 tsp haldi (turmeric powder)

1 green chilli, chopped finely

1 tblsp red chilli powder

¼ cup green coriander leaves, chopped finely

Salt to taste

2 tblsp oil

Oil, to fry

Thalipeeth served with tomato ketchup

Thalipeeth served with tomato ketchup

Mix all the ingredients in a plate and make dough. There is no need to add water as the radish juice will be sufficient enough and will give a fine flavor to the thalipeeth. Vary salt and chilli according to taste.

Heat only 4-5 tblsp of oil in a pan. It should be just enough to surround the thalipeeth. Now take a 2 inch ball of dough and make a flat circular shape of it on the palm of your hand. Wet your hand with water if required. Make a small hole in the middle of thalipeeth and put it in the pan. Cover the pan and leave for 2-3 mins. Flip the thalipeeth and again leave it for 2-3 mins. It should turn deep golden in color. Drain the oil on paper/tissue and serve.

Serve thalipeeth with srikhand or curd or tomato ketchup.

Ker Sangri (Side Dish made with Dried Beans)

Ker Sangri is a mainstay of Rajasthani cuisine. It was always part of the festivities in my college, BITS, Pilani and I always relished it though never got to know its name. Now my MIL has re-introduced it in my kitchen and it is here to stay. Ker and Sangri are not exotic vegetables but are wild berries (or beans) that grow independently and abundantly in the vast desert areas of western Rajasthan – Jaisalmer and Barmar.

Ker and sangri were discovered by Rajasthani villagers when a great famine struck them and they had nothing left over to cook and eat. They travelled wild and far in search of food and found ker (small, radish like pods) and sangria (longish beans) flourishing in the punishing sun and harsh conditions. They cooked it in oil and ate it with their bajra (millet) rotis. The ease of drying and storing have made ker sangri a favorite in Marwari kitchen. In fact, it has become a must have dish on wedding menus even today.

Ker Sangri in their dried form

Ker Sangri in their dried form

Ker and sangri are available in the dried form and can be stored for a year at least. The smaller berries of ker are supposed to full of flavor and are therefore more expensive.

Preparation time – 30 mins

Servings – 4

Ingredients

1 cup sangri

2 tblsp ker

2 tblsp oil

¼ tblsp ajwain (carom seeds)

A pinch of hing (asafetida)

2 tblsp dhaniya (coriander powder)

1 ½ tblsp red chilli powder

2 tblsp amchur (dry mango powder)

½ tsp haldi (turmeric powder)

2 tblsp salt

Ker Sagri ka sag gives a typical Marwari feel to the dinner

Ker Sagri ka sag gives a typical Marwari feel to the dinner

Soak ker and sangri separately in water overnight. Drain the water and boil them together till tender. Heat oil in a pan and add ajwain and hing. When the ajwain starts to pop, add ker and sangria along with the rest of the herbs/masalas. Cook for 10-15 mins and add slight water if required. Serve hot.

Ker sangri prepared like this can be used as a side dish or as a pickle. It keeps well for a week.

Mango Kulfi (Ice-Cream)

Kulfi is a popular Indian milk-based ice-cream available in multiple flavors. Unlike Western ice-creams, kulfi is not whipped resulting in a dense solid frozen dessert similar to ice-cream. It also takes a longer time to melt as compared to a normal ice-cream.

Kulfi is supposed to be stumbled upon by people living in the Himalayas who learnt the art of frozen food. Noorjehan, the wife of emperor Jehangir (son of the great Mughal King Akbar), is said to have transported great quantities of ice from Himalayas to the palace where it was stored in the underground storage of the royal palaces in Old Delhi. The ice was naturally insulated by the earth and so melted slowly. Noorjehan would serve the ice, crushed or shaved, with fruit pulps and sweetened milk as a unique dessert. However, the advent of modern refrigeration actually popularized this frozen dessert in India.

Mango is an all time favourite flavour that never fails to please. All the goodness of the juicy alphonso mangoes comes together in a sinfully rich and creamy kulfi. In case alphonso is not available, any other variety of mango can also be used. Vary the sugar content based on the sweetness of mango used.

Preparation Time – 20 mins + 2-3 hours for refrigeration

Servings – 8 kulfis

Ingredients

2 ½ cups milk (500 ml)

¼ cup milk powder

½ cup condensed milk (Milkmaid)

¼ cup sugar

1 cup alphonso mango pulp

¼ cup almonds and pistachios

A few strands of saffron

Mango Kulfi

Combine milk, milk powder and condensed milk and bring to a boil. Add sugar and saffron and let it simmer for 10-15 mins till the mixture thickens. Let it cool completely.

Blanche almonds and pistachios. Remove skin and chop coarsely. Mix the mango pulp with the milk. Churn for 15 seconds in a mixer if required. Add the chopped nuts. Pour into individual kulfi moulds and freeze till set. Normally it will take 2-3 hours for the kulfi to set. Unmould and serve.

Tip: Tinned mango can also be use if mango pulp is not available. However, do not add the syrup in the kulfi.     

Amras – Mango Shake the Indian Way

Now that I belong to a Marwari family (post marriage, that is), I am getting to learn a lot of typical Marwari dishes. Marwar is the desert area of India now known as Rajasthan. It has its own cuisine influenced by the extreme variation in climate and the availability of seasonal vegetables. Mango is a much treasured golden fruit among Marwari custom and is used in a variety of dishes. One of them is what we call “Amras” meaning the juice of mango. Being a seasonal dish, it is much sought after.

Preparation Time – 15 mins

Servings – 4 people

Ingredients

2 Mangoes

1 cup milk

2 tblsp sugar (or to taste)

Almonds

 

Yummy amras to add a delicious twist to your meal

Yummy amras to add a delicious twist to your meal

Peel the mangoes and discard the seed while retaining the pulp. Churn the mango pulp with milk and sugar in a mixer grinder. If the mango is too sweet, you can leave off the sugar. Chop the almonds finely and keep aside. Once the amras is ready, chill it for a couple of hours. Just before serving, garnish it with almonds.

Thandai – Rosewater Milk with Nuts

Thandai is a traditional milk-based Indian drink served on the festival of Holi. It is a cooler to the bone that rules the hot North Indian summers as well as acts to tone down the rambunctious frolics of people on this exciting festival of colors. And what a coincidence…..Holi is on 11th March while the Foodbuzz submission for rosewater recipes is on 9th March which makes Thandai the perfect choice to keep ready for the celebrations.

Ingredients

1 cup milk

1½ cups sugar

1½ liters water

1 tbsp rose water

1 tbsp almonds

1 tbsp kharbooj/tarbooj seeds, skinned (commercially available) These are skinned dried seeds of watermelon/cantaloupe used in dried form

½ tbsp khuskhus (poppy seeds)

½ tbsp saunf (aniseed)

½ tsp cardamom powder

1 tsp peppercorns, whole

¼ cup dried or fresh rose petals

Thandai - The ultimate summer cooler

Soak almonds, kharbooj/tarbooj seeds, khuskhus, saunf and peppercorns in 2 cups of water for atleast 2 hours. Grind the ingredients to make a fine paste. Meanwhile, soak sugar in ½ liter water separately and keep aside till sugar dissolves completely. Mix the paste with the remaining water. Strain this mixture through a fine muslin cloth extracting the liquid into the vessel. Press the paste residue with spoon/finger and add little water to extract more. Continue pressing till the paste residue becomes dry and husk like. It can now be discarded.

Take the extracted liquid and add milk, sugared water, cardamom powder and rosewater. Chill for an hour or two. Garnish with rose petals before serving.

Thandai has a shelf life of 2-3 days.