Almond Cake

This recipe is from a baking book I love – William-Sonoma “Essentials of baking”. Made some changes as I didn’t like the taste of the store-bought almond paste/extract etc.  This is a very tasty, soft cake that most people will love. 🙂

Dry Ingredients:
1 cup cake flour (I buy Pillsbury Softasilk Enriched Cake Flour Bleached. Available at grocery stores baking section)
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For Mixture:
1 cup raw almond with skin (Soak this in warm water for at least 2 hours. Sometimes I just soak it overnight and that is ok.)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup (8oz) unsalted butter. (Keep it at room temperature for an hour or more so that it softens)
6 large eggs, at room temperature.
1 tsp vanilla extract

For decoration (Optional):
1-2 tsp Confectioners sugar for dusting at the end.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Butter and flour a 11-inch bundt pan, and Set aside.
Mix the flour, baking powder and salt on a plate/foil, and Set aside.

Slip/Peel almond skin. If it is hard to peel, soak some more time in warm water. Grind almond to make a paste. I add a little bit of milk(2% or whole milk), to make it easier to grind. We need a thick paste. So, be careful while adding milk.

For mixing ingredients, you can use a food processor, a standing mixer or a hand-held mixer. These days I use the kitchen-aid stand mixer and love it.

Add almond paste, sugar and butter to the mixer bowl. Beat on medium-high speed until the mixture is light and creamy (abt 5 mts). Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each egg is added. The mixture will look curdled. Add vanilla and beat for some more time.

Add one-half of the dry ingredients to the bowl with mixture and using a rubber spatula, fold in gently until all the flour is mixed in and no lumps are seen.
Add the remaining dry ingredients and very gently fold it in until the batter is smooth and no lumps are seen. You can also turn the bowl while folding to make the movement slow and gentle. The cake will be tough if you fold the mixture too fast.

Spread the batter in the buttered/floured bundt pan.

Bake the cake until a toothpick inserted comes out clean, about 40-45 mts.
Watch the cake closely towards the end so that it won’t overbake.

Let the cake cool for 10 mts on a wire rack or something where the bottom is exposed for cooling evenly. Place a plate above the pan, and invert them together. Tap gently on the top and slowly lift off the pan. If you buttered, floured the pan, and cooled the cake properly, the cake should come off easily from the pan to the plate. Let the cake cool completely on the plate.

Once the cake cools, put the confectioner’s sugar on a strainer/sieve (I use the Indian tea strainer), and dust on top of the cake. This is just for decoration and is optional.

After enjoying it, leftover can be stored covered outside for up to 3 days, and in the fridge after that for many more days.

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Priti’s Chick-Fil-A Style Spicy Chicken patty

patty

4 boneless, skinless chicken breast.     (Wash and pat it dry. Slice horizontally to make the piece thinner. I usually cut the breast narrow end out, like a triangle and save for another dish. That way I can get 8 nice round/square-ish patty cut. Pound chicken gently with the flat side of a meat tenderizer until about 1/2 inch thick all around.)

Kaiser rolls for burger – 8

 

 

Make a marinade by mixing ingredients below :
1/2 cup pickle juice (sour dill is my favorite. Buy a pickle bottle, and use the juice)
1/2 tsp sugar
Chilly powder – 1 tsp
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/4 teaspoon celery salt (sometimes I made without this, as I didn’t have them, and it was ok)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Marinate chicken in the above marinade and keep in the fridge for at least an hour or two.

Drain excess marinade from the chicken, and keep aside.

For coating:
Make a mixture for coating patties with all purpose flour,  garlic powder,  celery salt, oregano,  red chili powder-1 tsp, and salt.
Keep another plate with buttermilk for coating. (you can also use yogurt with little water mixed)

Dip the chicken patties in the flour mixture, and coat it evenly.
Then dip in buttermilk, and then dip again in the flour mixture.

Heat the oil in a skillet (1/2 inch deep)
Fry each cutlet for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through.
Blot on paper and serve on toasted kaiser rolls. I add pepper jack cheese, lettuce, tomato and sriracha mayo sauce to the sandwich.
(You can also freeze the patties, and reheat in a skillet for later use.)

Priti’s Quick, Easy and Tasty Rasamalai

rasamalai

Ingredients:

  1. 2 cans of Haldiram’s Rasagula (white sponge-like balls)
  2. Half & Half milk – one quart
  3. Sugar – 3/4 cup
  4. Powdered Cardamom – few pinches
  5. Saffron – few threads
  6. Ground nuts – Almonds, pistachios, and few cashews  (Ratio 5:8:3. You can make a powder of this and store as well for future use. A nice addition to kids cereal etc. This recipe needs about two tablespoons of this nut powder)

Preparation: Boil milk in a pan. Allow it to boil for some time (about 15mts. Stir so that milk won’t stick to the bottom). Add ground nuts, cardamom, and saffron.  Stir for few more minutes.

Take rasagula balls out from the can and squeeze all water out with the hand from balls. Add the squeezed sponge-like balls to the milk. Let it all boil, and when the bubbles start showing, switch off the stove after 2-3mts. Allow it to cool. After 30mts add sugar. Adding sugar early will make it watery. Enjoy!!!

Note: Priti sent me these pictures while sharing the recipe. At the end, you can see a baby bowl which she is saving for me…. 🙂 🙂 yummmmm. Thank you!!!

Chicken Manchurian by Priti

chicken_manch

Step 1:

Chicken Breast – 3 pounds (About 5 breast pieces)
White Wine Vinegar – 2 tbsp
Water – 2 tbsp
salt – 1 tsp
sugar – 1 tsp

If you are using chicken breast, slice it thin before cutting pieces. I prefer method showed in this video for the medallion and then using a hammer on it.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5nF-Zsvqp8M   Method is shown from 1:10 – 2:40 in this video. Medallions can be further cut into smaller 1-inch pieces for the Manchurian.

Mix vinegar, water, salt and sugar to the cut chicken pieces and mix well. Refrigerate for two hours.

Step 2:

Refrigerated chicken from Step 1  (Don’t throw the liquid away from chicken)
Ginger Garlic paste – from 1.5 inch piece of ginger and 10 garlic pods
Green Chilli – 5  (Or to your taste)
Salt
MSG – 2-3 pinches (Optional)
Freshly crushed black pepper – 2 tsp
Corn flour – 3 tbsp
All purpose flour – 2tbsp
Rice flour – 1 tbsp

Mix all ingredients in Step2 together. If the liquid is not enough to make a good coat of flour on chicken, add some more water. If flour coating is not good enough, add some more corn flour. You need a thin coat of flour on chicken.. so that chicken pieces will be somewhat crispy when fried in next step.

Marinate this for 15 minutes.

Step 3:

Deep fry marinated chicken pieces. Priti recommended double fry method where you do a half fry first time, take pieces out from oil, drain it on a paper towel. Then fry again after 10 minutes or so. (Explained Here). Again lay it on a paper towel to get any excess oil out.

If you have any marinade left from the chicken (from step2), save it as we can use this for gravy.

Step 4:

Chopped Red onion – 1 big (2 cups)
Chopped Celery – 1 cup
Chopped Green & Red Bell Pepper (Capsicum) – 2 cups (If Red pepper is not available, you can just use Green bell pepper)
Jalapenos – 2-3 (to your taste. Can substitute with green chilies)
Red pepper flakes (Crushed red chili pepper) – 1-2tsp (to your taste)
Leftover Marinade from Step 3.
Teriyaki Sauce – 2 tbsp (add more if taste needs it later)
Sauce – 3 tbsp
Salt & MSG
Sugar – pinch
Crushed Black pepper – 1 tsp (to your taste)
Chilli powder (to your taste)
Corn flour
Chopped Green onion & 1 tbsp Sesame seeds  (for garnishing)

Note: Onion, celery, and pepper can be chopped into small square pieces.

Saute onion, celery, and peppers in oil with some salt. Once it softens, add marinade. Mix well.

Add fried chicken to it and Mix well for 2-3 mts.

Add teriyaki, soy sauce, salt and MSG (optional), sugar, black pepper, chili powder and mix well. Mix 2 tsp of corn flour to a half cup of cold water, and add to the chicken mix, and mix well. (If you like to have more liquid, you can double or triple the cornflour/water mix).  At this point, I usually taste it and add more sauces, if it needs some more flavor. Once the flavors blend in, you can switch off the stove, and garnish with chopped green onions and sesame seeds.

Enjoy!!!

Yummy Baked Salmon

This recipe came out great: http://allrecipes.com/recipe/21176/baked-dijon-salmon/

I didn’t have Pecans. So, I used Crushed walnuts, and Almond meal. Also sprinked some shredded parmesan cheese during last two minutes of baking.

This tasted much better next day, when all the flavors soaked in. So, may be I can make it couple of hours or a day before, and refrigerate.

Award Winning Chili

I followed this recipe and it came out veryyyy goooood……

http://allrecipes.com/recipe/78299/boilermaker-tailgate-chili/

I followed suggestions from reviews and made some changes to the above recipe. Here are the changes made:

1) I used 4-5 hot italian sausages (uncooked) for sausage. Opened them up to get the ground meat inside. Mixed this with ground beef and cooked together as explained in the recipe

2) 4 (15 oz) cans chili beans in sauce, NOT drained.

3) I omitted the celery and tabasco sauce,

4) 1 jalapeno instead of chile peppers,

5) I made fresh bacon with thick cut strips and made pieces from it,

6) 1 cup of beer

7) Instead of using 2 (28oz) cans of diced tomatoes with juice, I used 3 (14 1/2 oz) can of diced tomatoes and 1 (14 1/2 oz) can of diced tomatoes with basil/oregano/garlic.

8) I cooked this in a slow cooker for 8-10 hours. We can refrigerate or freeze it, and reheat as well.

Toppings (optional) – Cheddar cheese shredded, Sour Cream, Green onions chopped, cilantro chopped, jalapenos chopped etc.

Quick and Easy Fish Tacos

Breaded tilapia fillets (I buy Costco ones, heat it up in conventional/toaster oven and cut to small pieces to add to tacos)

Tortillas (fajita size) – I prefer corn tortillas, heated on a pan.

For the cabbage slaw:

3 cups cabbage, shredded
1/2 red onion, finely chopped (skip if you don’t like onion taste)
1 cup carrot, shredded
Handful fresh cilantro, chopped
1 tbsp chopped jalapenos/green chili (more if you want spicy)
1/2 cup tartar sauce.
1/4 cup honey
Juice from 1/2 lime

Heat the cabbage in a microwave for couple of minutes (2-3 mts) for it to just warm up a bit. Raw cabbage won’t agree with my tummy, and this is a way for it to be cooked little bit, still maintaining most of the crispiness.
In a large bowl, combine the cabbage, and all the ingredients for the slaw above.

To assemble the tacos, place couple of pieces of fish on each tortilla and top with the slaw. If desired, garnish with additional cilantro leaves, and/or chopped green chili/jalapeno Serve immediately, and enjoy!

Priti’s Awesome Kali Chicken

Ingredients for marinating chicken

1. Whole cut up chicken (1 chicken) cleaned, washed and drained (you can also wash with vinegar, before washing with water, to make it smell better)
2. Yogurt – Half Cup
3. Make a paste with Garlic (10 cloves), Green chili (3-4), black pepper (10-15), Black Jeera (1/2 tsp)
(You can make this paste and store in fridge for couple of days)
4. Ground black pepper – 1 tsp
5. Ground White pepper – 1 tsp
6. Red whole pepper – 2 or 3
7. Oil – 1 tsp (Olive, Canola, Vegetable oil etc is fine)
8. Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
9. Salt – as needed

Marinate washed and drained Chicken with ingredients above and leave it for an hour. (Sometimes I don’t get this much time, and I just do 15 mts, and still tastes good)

Heat some ghee (about 2 tbsp) in a pan and shallow fry the chicken. You can mix and turn in between for it to cook evenly. Take it out when it starts to brown. I usually see this as the chicken getting almost cooked, and getting firm.. so that it will stay nice and tasty when added to the gravy.

Ingredients for Gravy

Fennel Seeds – 20
Bay leaves – 4 one inch pieces
Cinnamon stick – 4-5 one inch sticks
Chopped yellow onion – 2 cups
Chopped tomatoes – 1 big tomato
Red chili powder – 1 tsp (reduce if you think it is getting more spicy)
Honey – 1 tsp
Garam masala – 1 tsp
Coriander powder – 1 tbsp

Heat a pan with little oil. Put fennel seeds, bay leaves and cinnamon sticks let it be fry.
Then sauté chopped onions till it is slightly brown
Add chopped tomatoes and saute/fry again until it forms a nice sautéed mixture.
Add some salt for this mixture only.
Add red chili powder, Coriander powder and sauté for some more time.
Add prepared chicken to it, and mix well and cook on medium heat until chicken is tender.
Make a nut paste with milk (I used an equal mix of almond (10), walnut(10) and pistachio(10). You can just use cashews if that is easier).
Add the nut paste to chicken.
Stir 2-3 minutes for it to mix well.
Add water for gravy for the consistency you like. I like it little thick like butter chicken etc.
Garnish with 1 tsp honey & gram masala.

Goes well with Ghee rice, Pulav, Chapathi, Nan etc.