Jul 29, 2010

Quick and Ultimate Mango Ice Cream

This is a forever favorite Mango Kulfi recipe of mine - but tweaked up a little bit.

I've been making this mango kulfi for many years now for our big parties. I make them and pour them into small individual cups and freeze them. Those little cups are perfect individual portions and my friends and guests always love it. Anyone who has not had these before ask me for the recipe - and the others know the recipe. I hear from them that they do make it often too!

This is usually not diet food - coz there's cream, condensed milk etc. But this time around, I tried to at least get down the fat content by using a couple of low fat or fat free ingredients. And how about when condensed milk is fat free. God bless thy soul who discovered this at the Nestle factory. Every pound that I don't put on my body is thankful to you. So, instead of very rich, this dish is medium rich in terms of calories. But, in terms of taste, it still reigns supreme. Trust me. This will always be a crowd pleaser.

I had invited one of the blog's long time readers Varsha home for dinner. She and her husband are recently married and celebrated their 1st anniversary a few days back. She lives in my neck of the woods. We've been chatting quite frequently and I had invited her to come over sometime. It took me many many weeks..maybe even months to finally call her - all weekends have been crazy busy. Sorry about that Varsha! It was very nice meeting the both of you finally! I asked Varsha what her favorite dishes were so that I can cook those for her - and she of course opted for some of our favorites too - Indian Chinese! So, my whole menu was Indian chinese menu. I do have some posts planned on a couple of dishes I made that day - you'll hopefully see it soon. And of course what a meal without a good dessert. This was the chosen one for the day. And everyone did love it!

Here's what we need - some graham crackers ( any variety is ok), some evaporated milk, mango pulp, condensed milk and whipping cream.

In a food processor, add about 8 -10 squares of graham crackers. To that add 2 tbsp of brown sugar.

Now, add 1 1/2 tbsp of melted butter on top of the crackers and brown sugar.

Give it all a good whirrrr until the crackers crumble completely.

Like this.

I used a loaf pan here. You can use any shaped pan. If you have a bigger group you are making this for, you can double the quantities and use a round cake pan too. I still had a whole lot leftover with these measurements after I filled a loaf pan. This might be enough for almost 2 loaf pans I guess.

Use aluminum foil and line the loaf pan all over and going over the edges to the outsides. Flatten it out so that there are no air pockets at the bottom or sides.

Now, fill the bottom with the graham cracker crust and press down firmly but gently. You can have some up the sides as well.

Once that is ready, cut a fresh mango into small pieces and set aside.

Now, let's get on to the main part - the ice cream. You can make this with a hand held blender too. Pour all of the whipping cream in the mixer bowl.

Whip at medium speeds for a few mins or until you start seeing soft peaks form.

That is a good indicator to stop. The cream is whipped good and you can see that its holding its ground. Atta boy!

Now, add the evaporated milk into the cream and keep beating in low speeds.

Then, add the whole can of condensed milk to the mix.

And then finally, add the mango pulp to the mix and mix well until the mango has combined well and you start seeing a beautiful yellow.

Can you see the yellow showing up now?

Now, gently pour this over the crust base in the loaf pan. Pour halfway and not completely yet. You'll see why..

When that is half poured, add the fresh cut mango pieces in here. You can also add these to the liquid ice cream before pouring. Can you see that I forgot that and I'm trying to make up a story that this is the way to do it? Either way - the mango needs to be in there.

Then, pour the rest of the liquid ice cream. You are done.

Now, freeze this for a few hours until the ice cream sets. Usually about 4-5 hrs is enough for this to set.

I'm sorry I forgot to get pictures of taking it out of the freezer and then inverting it on to a plate. I was busy chatting with my guests - forgot that!

Anyways, once you take it out of the freezer, gently wiggle the foil and you will be able to lift it out easy from the pan. Once out, you can just flip it out on a plate and then gently peel out the foil.

Decorate on top with some more fresh mango slices and some caramelized pistachios - they add a nice bite and add contrast to the softness of the mango.

The graham cracker crust adds wonderful texture to the smoothness of the ice cream. Similar to a cheesecake. But, only upside down!

I'm sorry again - did not click too many pictures - we all just wanted to eat this thing!

There's a slice of the ice cream. Can you see the mango chunks in the middle?

Oh yeah.. I know you love it too..

Enjoy. Peace Out!

Jul 26, 2010

Pineapple Rasam

Pineapple Rasam has always been a favorite rasam at our place. If you've not had this kind of rasam before, its not too late. Make it today. You'll be glad you did.

I'm trying to think of the words to describe how this rasam tastes. I can tell you that its not a sweet pineapple juice version. The first sip you taste - you taste the tomatoes and then the rasam powder spice flavors kick in - in between all this, there is a hint of pineapple that kind of tap dances on your taste buds - moves around fast. Does not stay in a place. Does not fall flat. Then, you taste the tomatoes again followed by the quick taps of the pineapple. And then you bite into a mustard seed. Time for a break. Now, you drink again...there they are - the tomatoes and the pineapples - and then you bite into a pineapple. Its all pineapple now. Sweet. More rasam ...so you drink again..and again...and then you hit the bottom of the cup. You turn it upside down and shake the last drops in your mouth. Its all over now. Smile. You made yourself happy.

In fact, this rasam was even served at our wedding as a part of the extensive menu. Wish I can have all that kalayana sapadu again. You never get to eat good in your own wedding! LOL!

Many times I like to drink my rasams like soup. And I like it all watery and no lumps and bumps. And this is how I achieve that consistency.

Take a couple of juicy roma tomatoes. Quick chop them into a few pieces and blend them in a blender along with a couple of green chillies. This will be the base.

Pour this into a sauce pan and start the heating process.

Add 1 1/2 tsp of rasam powder, a couple of pinches of hing (asafoetida), salt to taste and a pinch of turmeric. Mix well and boil for about 5-8 mins or until the raw smell of tomatoes go away.

Before you start the rasam process, cook toor daal - about 1/2 cup in a pressure cooker and keep aside.

The tomatoes would probably be thick by now. Go ahead and add some water and keep boiling the rasam.

Now, here's what I do. I even mash up the toor daal in the blender and then add that in here. Like I said, I like a soup consistency without lumps and bumps and pieces of daal to bite into.

Let this cook for about 5-7 mins again. If the rasam gets too thick, add water a little at a time.

Meanwhile, chop up about 1 cup of pineapple pieces and again move to a blender. Also, save a few pieces separately to add to the rasam later.

Blend to a smooth juice.

Now when the daal has cooked nicely, add the pineapple juice in there and let it cook again for a few mins. You can cook until the whole thing thickens.

As it boils, you can see the froth coming up.

At that point, add about 1 tbsp of pineapple pieces. Don't add too much of the fruit - just a few pieces - maybe 1 or 2 for each member in your family. And don't fight over it when you eat.

Now, add enough water so that the rasam reaches the brim on top.

Let this boil and froth one more time. And then switch off the stove.

In a small tadka pan, add a tsp of ghee and when hot, add mustard seeds to splutter. And then add fresh curry leaves and one red chilli. Add on top the rasam. You're done.

Serve hot with rice and a spicy potato fry. You can't go wrong there! 

Now its time to sit back, relax and enjoy the beautiful rasam.

Like I said, you can eat this like soup too!

Enjoy! Peace out!

Jul 23, 2010

Oven Roasted Veggies

Many of you have seen a preview of this in my previous post Quinoa Stuffed Cabbage Rolls.

I served these alongside the cabbage rolls and these were indeed a perfect accompaniment! And it takes just a couple of mins to prepare this super tasting dish and then its just the baking time. I love this combination of root vegetables and being such an easy thing to make - I've started making this quite often too. It takes a lot less oil than if you are pan frying these veggies. And the flavor remains the same or even better.

You can use any combination of root vegetable - parsnips, turnips, radishes, all types of potatoes, carrots, beets, yams - except of course Horse radish - that'll just make it too strong. We'll skip that!

I just used the basic veggies - potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots and added some onions for flavor! I wasn't stocked up on the other veggies and could not wait to make this another day! Maybe the next time, I'll make it with all the root veggies I can get my hands on.

As you see the picutres - you'll realize what an easy dish this is to make. And I'm hoping you'll read this and go into your kitchen, search for all the root veggies you have and start making this. Because you just have to - you have to taste this to believe how good it is!

Chop up a medium onion into big pieces. Add to a wide mixing bowl.

Then, chop some carrots into big chunks and add to the onions.

Now the potatoes - just wash the skin well and cut along with the skin. You don't have to peel them.

Same with the sweet potatoes. Just wash well and chop roughly.

Now, add some fresh chopped basil. You can also add mint or parsley or even cilantro if you don't have basil. Totally up to your taste buds and what's available in the kitchen.

Now add about 1/8 th of a cup or approz about 1 big tbsp of olive oil or your normal cooking oil.

Next, sprinkle some salt to taste.

And some cayenne pepper or red chilli powder for a little spice! I added my Kashmiri red chilli powder - helps with the color too!

Mix everything together well. Now, did that take you all of 3 mins? Its that easy!

Move the veggies to a baking dish.

Cover with foil and bake in a pre heated oven at 375F for about 20 mins. The veggies are actually at the bottom  - the cabbage rolls were on the top. I love multitasking!

But, you will have to take out the pan every 10 mins once and give the veggies a gentle toss. This is to make sure that they cook evenly and besides you also get a chance to pick and taste a bite while its baking! Shhh...trade secrets!

Its about half done here. I took it out to give the veggies a toss. And the center of the potatoes are not done yet - how do I know? Trade secret.

Once you think that they have cooked well, remove the foil on top and broil for about 5 mins. This will help to get a nice crisp top to the veggies. The veggies will be soft and completely full of flavor - that's when you take them out of the oven and serve hot to your hungry family.

You can serve this as a side to your favorite pasta dishes, or even with Indian rotis or rice.

Enjoy! Peace out!