DATE, NUT AND ORANGE LOAF

DATE NUT AND ORANGE LOAF

DATE NUT AND ORANGE LOAF

Ingredients

The addition of orange zest and wholewheat flour gives this loaf a beautiful texture and a deep rich flavour. I use Thoory or Zahidi dates because they are smooth with few fibers and excellent for baking but the more commonly found Medjool is also good.

Serves 12

1 cup brown dates such as Thoory or Zahibi or Medjool, pitted and finely chopped

1 cup water

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup white sugar

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/4 cups maida or all-purpose flour

1/4 cup wholewheat flour

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon orange extract

1 teaspoon orange zest (orange peel only no white pith)

1.25 cups chopped skinned and lightly toasted walnuts

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and prepare middle rack.

Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and sprinkle all sides lightly with maida or all purpose flour. Smack the pan on the counter to remove any excess flour. Reserve pan.

In a saucepan over medium heat, bring dates and water to a boil.

Meanwhile cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or using an electric beater until fluffy.

Add orange extract, orange zest and nutmeg and beat again until fluffy

Add the egg and beat until well incorporated.

Remove dates from heat and stir in baking soda. Let cool for 10 minutes.

Add both the flour and nuts to the batter and beat until well incorporated.

Add the dates and soda and whisk again until evenly distributed.

Pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 50 to 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let cool in pan for 25 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

Serve at room temperature and keep covered and refrigerated in humid weather.

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STICKY DATE, PECAN AND CINNAMON LATTICED TURNOVERS

STICJY DATE, PECAN AND CINNAMON LATTICED TURNOVERS

STICJY DATE, PECAN AND CINNAMON LATTICED TURNOVERS

Ingredients

FOR 16 TURNOVERS

1 KG PATE BRISEE OR SHORT CRUST PASTRY (SEE RECIPE HERE)

1 CUP FINELY CHOPPED DATES (MEDJOOL)

PINCH SALT

1/2 CUP DATE SYRUP OR GOLDEN HONEY

1 TEASPOON GROUND CINNAMON

1/2 CUP PEELED AND LIGHTLY TOASTED PECANS OR SKINNED WALNUTS IN VERY SMALL PIECES

1/2 CUP OF LIGHTLY WARMED HONEY OR DATE SYRUP

ICING SUGAR FOR DUSTING (OPTIONAL)

Instructions

Combine the dates, salt, honey or date syrup, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of water in a small saucepan and cook on low heat for 10 minutes stirring to prevent burning. Once the mixture is soft and sticky but dry switch off the flame and cool completely. Stir in the walnuts or pecans only when you are ready to fill the turnovers.

Preheat oven to 350F.

Dust a large clean dry surface with maida or all purpose flour. Roll out the pastry into an even 12 inch square. Slice lengthwise into 4 inch strips using a sharp knife or pastry cutter. Then cut horizontally into 4 equal strips to form 16 squares.

Lightly and without cutting through the dough score each square lightly across the middle to form a triangle.

Use a small cookie cutter or your choice- heart or flower shaped, round or star shaped no more than a 1/5 inch round and puncture holes into one part of the triangle for each square. Remove the little bits of dough to reveal a latticed flap.

Fill the center of the non perforated triangle with about 1.5 teaspoons of date and walnut pecan filling. Spread the filling about carefully so it fills the corners of the triangle. Flip the perforated dough over the filling and press down the sides gently to seal. Use a fork to press down on both sides and seal the pastry triangle.

Bake on a non-stick sheet tray for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

Cool 15 minutes and brush lightly with honey. Let rest 10 minutes

Dust with powdered sugar if desired just before serving.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/sticky-date-pecan-and-cinnamon-latticed-turnovers/

GYMKHANA MEATBALLS IN SAUCE WITH SPAGHETTI

MUMBAI MEATBALL IN SAUCE WITH SPAGHETTI

MUMBAI MEATBALL IN SAUCE WITH SPAGHETTI

Ingredients

THIS RECIPE FOR SPAGHETTI AND MEATBALLS IS COMMONLY SERVED IN OLD WORLD COLONIAL GYMKHANAS IN INDIA. I ATE THIS AT THE BOMBAY GYMKHANA AND LOVED IT. A DEEP RICH SAUCE THATS A CROSS BETWEEN A MIRE POIX AND A MARINARA, IT USES WORCHESTERSHIRE SAUCE- AN INGREDIENT COMMONLY USED IN PARSI AND ANGLO-INDIAN DISHES.

SERVES 6

FOR 24 ONE INCH MEATBALLS

1 kg finely ground chicken, completely drained of water

2 eggs, whisked

3/4 cup toasted breadcrumbs

3 cloves garlic, minced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1⁄2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons olive oil

For the sauce

1 kg tinned peeled chopped tomatoes

1 cup white onion finely chopped

2 tbspns finely chopped garlic

1 tsp finely chopped celery stalk

2 tbsp finely chopped carrots

1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (such as HP)

1 tsp b brown sugar or to taste

3 tbsp olive oil

salt and paprika or red chilli flakes

1/2-3/4 kg package of spaghetti (based on size of portions for 4-6)

Instructions

FOR MEATBALLS

Place ground chicken,eggs, bread crumbs, garlic,oregano, pepper and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl.

Knead mixture together with hand till well combined combined.

Form mixture into 1-inch balls. Cover and refrigerate.

FOR SAUCE

Heat oil in a large skillet on medium flame. Add onions and celery and saute 2 minutes until softened. Add carrots and cook 2 minutes until softened. Add garlic and continue to cook until fragrant. Add all remaining ingredients, 2 cups water stir well and simmer on a medium flame until you have a thick well incorporated sauce. Taste and season with salt, chilli and sugar as required.

Add the meatballs to the hot sauce and lower flame. Cook until meatballs are done.

Serve over spaghetti with a side of Parmesan cheese.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/gymkhana-meatballs-in-sauce-with-spaghetti/

SKEWERED VEGETABLE TIAN

SKEWERED VEGETABLE TIAN

SKEWERED VEGETABLE TIAN

Ingredients

Tian is a vegetable casserole from Provence in France. It consists of several sliced vegetables layered together and baked in an earthen baking dish. In my version I make 'bochettes' or large pieces of vegetables skewered on a bamboo stick and instead of using sliced tomatoes I used a tomato sauce at the bottom of the pan in which, the vegetables cook slowly in the oven. A kind of shashlik meets Tian!

If you don't have an oven you can cook these over the stovetop on a slow flame. Omit the cheese if you are vegetarian and if you want to reduce the amount of oil in the recipe you can just used crushed tinned tomatoes with the addition of some fresh herbs like fresh, crushed thyme or dried basil. This is one of those delicious recipes that you can adapt to your taste.

Serves 8 1/'2 skewer each

1 liter good quality tomato sauce such as Marinara or Arrabiata

1 7 inch yellow zucchini sliced with skin on into 1/2 inch thick rounds

1 7 inch green zucchini sliced with skin into 1/2 inch thick rounds

750 grams Italian eggplant sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds and then halved again with skin

1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper cut into 2 inch squares

2 medium white onions sliced into thick rounds

10 cloves of garlic

500 grams of fresh buffalo mozzarella cut into 1/4 inch thick rounds

4 10 inch bamboo skewers or use smaller skewers for more individual portions

1/2 cup olive oil

1/4 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup shredded Gruyere to garnish (optional)

Instructions

In a large skillet on high heat warm 1 tbsp vegetable and 1 tbsp olive oil.

Fry the eggplants in batches (adding more oil with each batch) until seared on all sides but not fully cooked.

Drain and reserve.

Repeat with all the remaining vegetables- bell peppers, zucchini, onions and garlic cloves.

The vegetables should soften just enough to expedite cooking in the oven but should remain firm enough to skewer and not fall apart when baked.

Cool all the vegetables. Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare middle rack.

Start skewering them, alternating between vegetables and colors but maintain a symmetry. Layer the mozzarella with the drier vegetables like the bell peppers.each 10 inch skewer should have 4 pieces of cheese so if you serve a guest half a skewer they get 2 pieces of cheese and the same vegetables.

Pour 3/4 of the sauce into a 9 by 13 inch baking dish and lay the skewers in the tomato sauce.

Brush the tops of the skewers with some more vegetable oil and they the remaining tomato sauce.

Cover with foil and bake in the middle rack for about 35 minutes. Remove foil and bake again until vegetables are tender and golden.

Top with shredded Gruyere and serve warm.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/skewered-vegetable-tian/

Fresh Mango and Cashew Frangipane Tart

Mango and cashew tart

Mango and cashew tart

Ingredients

Serves 6

TARTS

6 approximately 3 inch round short crust pastry shells

2 mangoes such as Alphonso or Langda peeled and diced

GARNISH

1 cup fresh cream

Icing sugar

Mint leaves

FFRANGIPANE

3/4 cup shelled, unsalted and roasted cashew pieces

1 large egg

2/3 cup castor sugar

2 tbsp butter, softened but not melted

1 tsp maida or all purpose flour

1/4 tsp salt

1 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

Grind the cashews to a chunky consistency with the salt. Beat the butter and sugar to a fluffy consistency by hand using a paddle spoon or use an electric whisk. Add the vanilla and beat again. Add the egg and beat until well mixed. Add the flour and cashews and beat until well incorporated.

Divide between the 6 tarts and smoothen tops with a spatula.

Bake on a pre-heated oven at 350 for 20 minutes until the frangipane is just golden but still soft.

Cool tarts.

Top with mango and fresh cream. Garnish with icing sugar and mint leaves.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/fresh-mango-and-cashew-frangipane-tart/

Mango and cashew tart

Serves 4
Meal type Dessert
Misc Serve Cold
Region Indian
Before the mango season ends try this show stopper with almost any variety of fresh, ripe mango

Ingredients

  • 200g plain flour
  • 100g cold butter, cubed
  • 25g fine white sugar
  • 1 drop vanilla extract
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  • 100g butter, softened (For the frangipane)
  • 100g fine white sugar
  • 1 Whole egg plus leftover egg white beaten
  • 120g ground plain unroasted, unsalted cashews
  • 65g plain maida flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh ripe mango
  • Cold whipped cream, creme anglaise or chilled vanilla custard
  • Mint leaves to garnish

Directions

For the pastry
Pulse the flour, butter and a pinch of salt in a food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar and pulse again. Add vanilla, yolk and 1-2 tbsp ice-cold water, and pulse until the dough just comes together. Tip out and shape into a disc. Wrap in plastic and chill 10 minutes. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface into a 12-13 inch circle. Gently line your choice of tart pan with the dough, pressing it into the sides gently. Using a fork make holes all over the pastry. Chill for 30 mins.Preheat oven to 325F fan/gas 3 and put in a baking tray to heat.
For the frangipane
Whisk the butter by hand or in a mixer until creamy, then add the sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs, vanilla then stir in the ground cashew and flour .
Spoon the frangipane into the tart case or divide between cases and smoothen. Bake for 35-40 mins until the frangipane is set but moist.
Cool tart on a rack completely. Top with mango, garnish with a mint leaf just before serving accompanied by chilled whipped cream.

Photo Credit Deepa Netto

Author Tara Deshpande

CHINESE HOT AND SOUR SOUP

HOT AND SOUR SOUP

HOT AND SOUR SOUP

Ingredients

"Hot and sour soup" is a Chinese soup said to come from the provinces of Beijing or Sichuan (both in opposite directions) but it is eaten in many versions all over the world. While the name hot would certainly make one associate it with the spicy food of Sichuan, the heat in this soup doesn't come from commonly used red chillies such as Yien Tsin or Chi Chien but from white pepper.

During my time in China I never saw this soup on a menu in any upscale Shanghai or Beijing restaurant but I did eat it at night markets and hot pot restaurants. It varied, some had thinner broths and bigger pieces of meat, some were watery but they were pretty close to the versions I've eaten in the United States and India. The ones that really stood out however were the broths that were particularly fresh and flavourful and not too glutinous and there was enough texture from bits of meat and mushrooms in the soup to make it an enjoyable eating experience.

In Mumbai Lings Pavillion does a good hot and sour but my favourite is available at the Willingdon Club- an old world gymkhana style club in Mahalaxmi. IN NYC I like Sichuan Gourmet in the Garment district and the hot and sour soup at Vanessa's Dumpling House is very good too.

Who makes your favorite?

The Chinese hot and sour soup is usually meat-based and has a thinner broth, the American version has a thicker broth that imitates the American Chinese egg drop soup- the technique of thickening a broth with whisked eggs. The sour comes from Chinese black vinegar a dark, sour Chinkiang or Zhenjiang) vinegar made by fermenting black glutinous rice. This is not available everywhere so use some red balsamic mixed with sharp white vinegar.

Most versions in China had lily buds, wood ear mushrooms, bamboo shoots and pork. Wood ear also known as black fungus and cloud ear mushrooms are available here

https://www.amazon.in/Urban-Platter-Edible-Fungus-Mushrooms/dp/B017P64LY2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1525613177&sr=8-1&keywords=wood+ear+mushroom

Dried day lily are tiger lily buds- tiger lily is a flower used ornamentally in India and comes in bright orange and yellow. If you don't have them omit them entirely. I also soak my mushrooms and day lily buds, in hot broth to extract more flavour from them.

If you use fresh mushrooms, slice finely and then sautée them in a pan to extract the liquid before you add them to the broth.

Jinhua ham a kind of smoked ham is used in the broth along with chicken bones. You can substitute with prosciutto or just a regular smoked ham. Traditionally in India the soup is made entirely with chicken. In India we add bits of carrot, even celery to the soup which I think really adds flavour and texture.

While this is a hot and sour soup, in India some amount of sweetener is added to to it to balance flavours. In Sichuan Jiuniang, also called laozao a sweetened rice wine is often used in desserts and soups. China like India uses many sugarcane products in the form of rock sugar and brown sugar.

SERVES 4

For the Broth: (see note)

500 grams raw chicken bones and leftover such as feet roughly chopped and washed clean

150 grams Jinhua ham or proscuitto or smoked ham chopped

2-inch fresh peeled ginger root, sliced coarsely

5 cloves garlic, smashed but not pureed

6 green onions or scallions, halved

1 6 inch stick of celery coarsely chopped

2 teaspoons cornstarch

1 tablespoon light soy sauce

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

salt to taste

Garnish

4 dried wood-ear mushrooms or use dried shiitake, finely chopped (see notes below instructions)

5 dried day lilies, finely chopped (see notes below instructions) or 2 tbsp very finely chopped celery leaves

1/2 cup very finely minced carrots

100 grams extra firm tofu, cut into small cubes

120 grams trimmed pork shoulder or loin, cut into small cubes or used raw chicken breast

1 large egg, whisked

Jiuniang or laozao (rice wine sweetener) or use brown sugar if required

To Serve

1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground white pepper or to taste

1/4 cup Chinkiang (black) Chinese vinegar or use 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp white vinegar

1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion bulbs or scallions along with an inch of green stalks

1/4 cup fresh coriander or cilantro leaves (thick stalks removed and leaves washed)

Instructions

For the Broth:

Combine all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients by about one inch. Bring to a boil over high heat. Cook for 1 hour, skimming off the scum and fat with a.small sieve from time to time. Reduce until you have 1.25 litres of broth. Pour broth through a fine strainer into a large pot. Discard all the pieces of meat, spices and vegetables.

For the soup:

Remove a cup of boiling broth and soak the dried and sliced mushrooms and lily buds in it for 5 minutes. Add 2 teaspoons cornstarch and mix until dissolved. Add to broth.

Stir in soy sauce and sesame oil. Add carrots and boil broth again and season to taste with salt.

When broth is ready, add sliced wood-ears, lilies, tofu, chicken or pork. Add the celery leaves if you don't have lily buds.Cook 5-6 minutes on a medium heat until meat is cooked. Pour the egg into the broth in a thin steady stream and stir vigorously. Switch off flame. Taste soup for salt and add sweetener if required.

Assembly: Just before serving, rewarm soup if required and stir in white pepper and vinegar. Add sweetener if required. Serve with green onions, coriander leaves and extra vinegar on the side.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/chinese-hot-and-sour-soup/

LIME CUPCAKES WITH LEMON BARLEY FROSTING

CUPCAKES WITH LEMON BARLEY FROSTING

 CUPCAKES WITH LEMON BARLEY FROSTING

Ingredients

Makes 24 standard cupcakes 1.5 inch bottom width

1 cup (2 sticks or 250 grams) of unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing pans

1.75 cups castor or granulated sugar

4 large eggs, at room temperature, whisked lightly

Juice and zest of one lime

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ cups maida or all purpose flour sifted with 2 tsp baking powder

3/4 cup milk at room temperature

FOR FROSTING

ABOUT 360 GRAMS CREAM CHEESE AT ROOM TEMPERATURE

50 GRAMS SALTED BUTTER, SOFTENED

1.5 CUPS CONFECTIONERS SUGAR

1/4 CUP LEMON BARLEY WATER OR USE 3 TBSPNS LIME JUICE AND 1/4 CUP CONFECTIONERS SUGAR

1 TBSP LEMON OR LIME ZEST

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350F OR 175C and prepare middle rack. Line cupcake tray with 2.5 inch high and 1.5 inch wide disposable cupcake liners, also called cake cups.

Beat the sugar and butter in stand mixer on medium speed or use a hand whisk until fluffy and well incorporated.

Add eggs one at a time and whisk until well incorporated. Add lime juice, zest and vanilla and whisk again.

Add flour and baking powder mixture 1/2 cup at a time and beat again until well incorporated.

Add milk a little at a time and continue to beat until well mixed.

Pour into standard size cupcake liners, do not fill over 2 inches in depth.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cupcake comes out clean.

Cool cupcakes completely before frosting.

FOR FROSTING

Whisk all the ingredients for the frosting in a stand mixer or use an electric whisk and beat until fluffy and well combined.

Frost each cupcakes and garnish with edible or sugar paste flowers, toppers, lime zest as per taste.

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