METHKOOT

Methkoot is a classic semi- dry spice mix from Maharashtra with a long list of ingredients. Methi- refers to dried fenugreek seeds, which is the main flavour of this spice mix and koot in Marathi mean ground or powdered mix.
Methkoot contains no coconut, garlic or onions and is traditionally eaten with steaming hot rice and ghee, with white butter and poles or thalipeet or served as a condiment in a thali.A flavourful combination of roasted lentils, grains and spices you can also mix it into clam fritter batter, Karwari sambhar lentils I also add it to dals, sautéed vegetables, yogurt and even pea and potato pattice while kneading the potatoes.
The ingredients of methkoot must be dry and at room temperature when they are ground. If you must wash your lentils, rice and wheat be sure not to soak them and to drain and dry them throughly before roasting them. I buy my grains commercially packaged is I can avoid washing them.

Methkoot refrigerated can keep for 6-8 months.
Methkoot is said to aid digestion and if an old housewives tale is to be believed boosts the immunity system.

INGREDIENTS FOR APPROX 2 CUPS

GRAINS AND LENTILS
1⁄2 cup raw, milled wheat grains, 1⁄2 cup raw, short or medium-grained rice, washed and completely dried ,2 tsp husked, split Bengal gram or chana dal 2 tsp husked, split moong beans or moong dal 2 tsp husked, split pigeon peas or toover/arhar dal 2 tsp urad dal

SEEDS AND SPICES

1 tsp white sesame seeds, 2 tsp coriander seeds, 2 tsp cumin seeds, 1 tsp fenugreek seeds 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder, 1⁄4 tsp white pepper powder, 6 dried red Byadgi or Kashmiri chillies, stalks and seeds removed

FOR TEMPERING

1 tbsp vegetable oil 1⁄2 tsp mustard seeds 1⁄4 tsp asafoetida powder

TO SEASON

2 tsp salt 1 tsp fine granulated sugar (OR TO TASTE)

METHOD

remove any large fibres from the spices and seeds and any chaff from the grains. If your grains are clean do not wash them. If you do wash them drain immediately and let dry completely before you grind them.
Roast the wheat and rice grains in a dry skillet on medium heat for about 15 minutes, till golden.
Add the dals to the same skillet and roast them on medium heat for 6-8 minutes till golden.
Add the remaining ingredients, except the oil, mustard seeds, asafoetida powder, salt and sugar to the same skillet and roast them on medium heat, till fragrant and golden. Set aside to cool completely.
Grind the cooled grains to a fine powder. This spice mix should not be grainy  so  grind it repeatedly in small batches, then mix the batches up and grind again. A coffee grinder or a specialised spice grinder is suitable.

Put the oil in a small pan on medium heat. When hot, sauté the mustard seeds and asafoetida powder for about 60-75 seconds until fragrant and bubbly.
Cool completely and add the contents of the pan to the powdered mix with the salt and sugar and grind again to a very smooth consistency. The oil will make the mix a little damp but that is fine.
Taste for salt and adjust. The mixture must be slightly salty as it is eaten with plain, unsalted, boiled, white rice. However if you plan to use it as a spice mix you may want to under salt it so you can add salt to your taste.  While we use a small amount of sugar this is not a sweet spice mix so add sugar very carefully, only to heighten the flavours.
Store in a clean, dry airtight container. Refrigerate for up to 6 months.

Tsukejoyu-Sushi Dipping sauce as a salad dressing

While this is a great dipping sauce for sushi, tempura and sashimi I also use it as a marinade and a salad dressing -options are given below.
Ingredients
1 cup mirin (sweet cooking wine)
2 cups shoyu (fermented soy sauce)
4 ounces katsuobushi (dried tuna fish flakes)

Method

Place the mirin in a saucepan over medium heat, add the shoyu and bring it to a gentle boil. Switch off the flame and then add the fish flakes. Let it rest until it reaches room temperature. Whisk it again. Strain the shoyu through a fine strainer. Bottle and refrigerate for up to 6 months. Scan be served chilled from the fridge as well as at room temperature but whisk it before use.

Salad dressing
Combine half cup Tsukejoyu with 1/4 cup vegetable oil and 2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, 1 tsp toasted white sesame seeds and juice of one lemon, 1/2 tsp or. more ground wasabi paste. Drizzle over cucumber, tomato and lettuce salad.

Noodle salad dressing
Combine 3/4 cup Tsukejoyu with 1/4 cup crunchy peanut butter, 2 tsp finely minced garlic, 1/2 cup finely chopped scallions, 1 tbsp red pepper hot sauce of your choice. Adjust for sweetness with brown sugar and toss with 200 grams of noodle salad.

Marinade
Combine 1 cup Tsukejoyu with 1 tbsp ground ginger root paste, 1/2 tbsp fermented red chilli paste, 1 cup good quality orange juice, 1 teaspoon orange zest and salt to taste. Pour over 750 grams of chicken, fish or pork and marinate overnight. Grill or roast the meat as desired. Thicken the leftover marinade with some corn starch and serve with the cook meat.

BLEU IS NOT BLAH-EASY BLUE CHEESE DRESSING AND HOW TO SELECT A GOOD BLUE CHEESE

BLEU IS NOT BLAH-EASY BLUE CHEESE DRESSING AND HOW TO SELECT A GOOD BLUE CHEESE

BLEU IS NOT BLAH-EASY BLUE CHEESE DRESSING AND HOW TO SELECT A GOOD BLUE CHEESE

Ingredients

Bleu is not Blah

Blue Cheeses and the Blue Cheese dressing

This is a classic blue cheese dressing I make all the time because it is easy and delicious.Literally blitz the ingredients in a mixer and you are done. Blue cheese dressing is an American creation. Litehouse, an American company claims to be the first to have bottled and sold this dressing 60 years ago.

I have as yet to find the original source for the blue cheese dressing recipe. Some say it was Fannie Merritt May in the Boston Cooking School Cookbook first published in 1896. I looked up my 1905 copy and found 2 recipes with Roquefort but they are not blue cheese dressing.

Many folks think of blue cheese as a 'stinky' cheese because it is treated with a mold called Penicullum, which gives it the characteristic blue and white veining and the sharp taste. But not all blue cheese are malodorous. Infact many of the best known blue cheeses such as Danish Blu and Gorgonzola are mild. And there are many Bries, Gruyere and other cheeses for instance the Époisses de Bourgogne and the Ouleout that are far more pungent than most blue cheese I've ever had.

Cheeses with washed rinds that have been treated with alcohol, water, ash even and aged for long periods allow for yeast to grow and can make the product very strong smelling. Often the smell comes from the rind of the cheese, while the edible part inside remains delicately flavored.

So the poor blue cheese gets a bad reputation it doesn't deserve among those who don't like bold flavours.

Blue cheese has Umami and used correctly can really lift the flavour of a dish. So even if you don't enjoy eating it as a cheese, consider it in dishes like pastas, salads, fondues. Don't dismiss it- you could be missing out on something wonderful.

The smelly factor and the price can really vary depending on the kind of blue cheese you use. Blue cheese is made with many different kinds of milk- pasteurised and unpasteurized, (sheep, cow, goat) and can be firm like the Norwegian Gamalost or the English Dorset Vinney, semi-hard like Picón Bejes-Tresviso, semi soft like Danish blue and soft like Oxford Blue and Dovedale.

For this dressing you need a semi soft crumbly cheese, preferably one without a rind like the American made Maytag blu (a personal favourite for eating and cooking) Gorgonzola or Danish Blue are good choices. If you are doing a pasta with blue cheese or a fondue you could consider an even softer cheese like the Bavarian Cambozola that will melt easily into the sauce. For a cheese plate you can pair slightly harder blue cheese like Stilton with pears, apples, quince and honey.

Gorgonzola, considered the oldest of blue cheeses dating back to the 9th century A.D. is Italian and made from cows or goats milk, sometimes both and Roquefort- the King of French cheese is made from ewe's milk. Roquefort is a sharp cheese, Gorgonzola is less so. An aged St Agur or the Spanish Cabrales can be even sharper.

Blue cheeses are produced by many different countries though Roquefort was the first cheese in France in 1925 to receive the Appellation D'Origin, which means it can only be called Roquefort if it is aged in specific caves, the milk comes from a specific breed, even the Pencillum mold known as Roqueforti must come from the caves of the Roquefort sur Soulzon.

For a blue cheese dressing to work it must have just enough blue cheese in it to give it a kick. So depending on the strength of the cheese you use add more or less to your taste. Traditionally blue cheese dressing, an American creation is a thick and creamy dressing.

If you want a lower fat version of this I have a blue cheese vinaigrette recipe in my cookbook #anindiansenseofsalad available in bookshops and online.

Blue cheese dressing is also delicious with buffalo chicken, bacon, apples, pears, honey, quince, chocolate, port, ales, pecans and spinach.

The recipe of the dressing is below. You can find the recipe for the pear and walnut salad here

http://www.taradeshpande.in/pear-walnut-and-…-cheese-dressing/

If you can't find butter lettuce use romaine or iceberg.

TIPS FOR CHOOSING AS BLUE CHEESE

If you want a milder, less sharp sweeter blue, look for a young and preferably without rind blue cheese- though there are always exceptions.

When you first open a blue cheese you get a sharp whiff of ammonia. This can be off-putting but wait 5 minutes, let the cheese breathe and slowly its complex and nutty aromas will emerge.

Blue cheese doesn't freeze well and should be consumed in 7-8 days. If your cheese smells of acetone or is sticky and pink, jettison it tout de suite.

Another great recipe for an entree with blue cheese http://www.taradeshpande.in/pasta-with-gorgo…pears-and-chives/

I'll be posting lots of fun facts about blue cheese on twitter @Tara_Deshpande

Many famous American blue cheeses were actually created in University labs like Maytag in 1941 in Iowa and Clemson blue by the College of South Carolina.

Before Wang discovered penicillin cheese was used in medieval Europe to control gangrene.

FOR 2.5 CUPS OF DRESSING

1 CUP STRAINED YOGURT OR USE GREEK YOGURT (NOT SOUR)

1 CUP BLUE CHEESE SUCH AS MAYTAG BLU OR ROQUEFORT OR A SEMI SOFT ONE OF YOUR CHOICE (RIND REMOVED IF APPLICABLE)

3/4 CUP PLAIN BUTTER MILK

1/2 CUP MAYONNAISE (WITH OR WITHOUT EGG)

3 CLOVES GARLIC

1/2 TEAPSOON GRANULATED OR CASTOR SUGAR

1/2 TEAPSOON GROUND WHITE PEPPER

2 TEAPSOONS LEMON OR LIME JUICE

KITCHEN SALT TO TASTE

TO GARNISH

4 TEASPOONS FINELY CHOPPED SHALLOTS OR WHITE ONION

2 TEASPOONS SHERRY WINE VINEGAR OR USE RED WINE VINEGAR

1/2 CUP SEMI SOFT BLUE CHEESE CRUMBLED

Instructions

COMBINE THE ONIONS AND WHITE VINEGAR AND LET SIT 30 MINUTES IN THE FRIDGE.

BLEND ALL THE INGREDIENTS FOR THE DRESSING IN FOOD PROCESSOR.

MANUALLY STIR IN THE CRUMBLED BLUE CHEESE AND ONIONS WITH A WHISK OR FORK. ADD SALT TO TASTE. ADJUST FOR SUGAR AND VINEGAR.

KEEP COVERED AND REFRIGERATED FOR UPTO 48 HOURS.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/bleu-is-not-blah-easy-blue-cheese-dressing-and-how-to-select-a-good-blue-cheese/

COCHIN HAROSET

COCHIN HAROSET

COCHIN HAROSET

Ingredients

A delicious sweet and spicy chutney thats made during Passover for the seder meal by Cochini Jews in India. Its also lovely with wine cheese and crackers. I eat it with curds and rice too!

MAKES ABOUT 2 CUPS

1.5 TABLESPOONS WHITE SESAME SEEDS PLUS ½ TABLESPOON

175 GRAMS PITTED BROWN DATES

2 TABLESPOONS SWEET WHITE WINE (OPTIONAL, USE WATER OR GRAPE JUICE)

4 TABLESPOONS GOLDEN RAISINS, PIPS REMOVED SOAKED IN A 1/2 CUP OF WATER

1/2 CUP TOASTED WALNUT PIECES

1 CUP PEELED AND FINELY DICE RED APPLES

1.25 TEASPOONS WHOLE CORIANDER SEEDS

2 DRIED RED KASHMIRI CHILLIES STALKS REMOVED ( OR USE TO TASTE)

SALT TO TASTE

Instructions

PUT THE DATES AND A ½ TEASPOON OF SALT INTO A SAUCEPAN.

ADD ¾ CUP WATER AND COOK TO A BOIL UNTIL MOST OF THE WATER HAS EVAPORATED.

MEANWHILE TOAST ¼ TABLESPOON SESAME SEEDS IN A DRY SKILLET ON MEDIUM HEAT UNTIL TOASTY. RESERVE.

TOAST REMAINING SESAME SEEDS, RED CHILLIES IN THE DRY SKILLET UNTIL TOASTY. COOL AND GRIND TO A SMOOTH POWDER.

CHOP HALF THE COOKED DATES. RESERVE.

GRIND THE REMAINING DATES AND GROUND SESAME AND SPICES TO A SMOOTH PUREE.

STIR IN THE WALNUTS, APPLES, RAISINS AND CHOPPED DATES. ADJUST FOR SALT.

GARNISH WITH REMAINING SESAME SEEDS.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/cochin-haroset/

CREAMY AND FLUFFY VEGAN MAYO

CREAMY AND LIGHT VEGAN MAYO

CREAMY AND LIGHT VEGAN MAYO

Ingredients

This recipe produces a fluffy and creamy vegan mayo. I combined two separate recipes with minor adjustments to create this mayo. If you want a simpler version prepare this recipe without the aquafaba, use just the tofu. If you want a soy free mayo try the almond milk mayo.

Vegan mayonnaise has a much shorter shelf life than regular commercial mayo.

You can replace the lime juice with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

For this recipe you will require readymade tinned, cooked chick peas or Kabuli chana. The liquid from these tinned chick peas is called Aquafaba.

Traditional mayo gets its yellow collar from egg yolks. Since vegan mayo doesn't have yolks you can add yellow mustard paste, pinch turmeric (be careful as this is a strong flavour) yellow miso paste and a variety of natural ingredients. I sometimes use natural marigold color when I don't want any flavour.

If you prefer not to use any of these your mayo will have a lighter color.

Makes approx 1 3/4 cups

200 GRAMS SILKEN TOFU DRAINED COMPLETELY

1 CUP REFINED FLAVOR FREE OIL -CANOLA, SAFFLOWER, SOY BEAN, CORN,PEANUT,VEGETABLE, RICE BRAN

1/2 KG (15-16 oz) TIN OF CHICK PEAS (COOKED KABULI CHANA)

1/2 TBSP LIME JUICE

1/2 TSP HABANERO CHILLI SAUCE OR A HOT SAUCE OF YOUR CHOICE OR 1 TEASPOON SPICY MUSTARD PASTE (OPTIONAL)

SALT TO TASTE

Instructions

DRAIN THE CHICK PEAS AND RESERVE THE LIQUID. THIS BEAN LIQUID IS CALLED AQUAFABA. USE THE CHICKPEAS FOR A DIFFERENT RECIPE. YOU WILL NEED 1/4 CUP OF THIS LIQUID FOR THE RECIPE BELOW.

USING AN ELECTRIC HAND WHISK OR STAND MIXER, WHISK 1/4 CUP OF THE AQUAFABA IN A LARGE MIXING BOWL FOR ABOUT 2 MINUTES.

DROP BY DROP ADD 3/4 CUP OF THE OIL AND KEEP WHISKING UNTIL THE MIXTURE BECOMES FLUFFY. IT IS IMPORTANT TO ADD THE OIL SLOWLY. PROCESS WILL TAKE 4 MINUTES OR SO.

RESERVE THIS BEAN AND OIL EMULSION.

IN A FOOD PROCESSER BLEND THE SILKEN TOFU UNTIL SMOOTH AND FREE OF ANY LUMPS. IF NECESSARY RUN THE PUREED TOFU THROUGH A SEIVE.

ADD THE 1/4 CUP REMAINING OIL AND BLEND AGAIN. ADD MUSTARD OR HOT SAUCE AND LIME JUICE AND BLEND AGAIN.

USING AN ELECTRIC WHISK SLOWLY BLEND THIS TOFU MIXTURE INTO THE BEAN LIQUID EMULSIFICATION UNTIL FULLY INCORPORATED.

ADD SALT AND MORE FLAVORINGS TO TASTE.

BOTTLE IN A DRY CONTAINER AND KEEP REFRIGERATED FOR UPTO 3 DAYS.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/creamy-and-fluffy-vegan-mayo/

FRESH PEANUT HUMMUS

BOILED PEANUT HUMMUS- A SOUTHERN AMERICAN DIP

BOILED PEANUT HUMMUS- A SOUTHERN AMERICAN DIP

Ingredients

PEANUT HUMMUS OR DIP IS MADE FROM FRESH, BOILED PEANUTS THAT ARE STILL IN THEIR SHELLS. BOILING THEM MAKES THE SKIN ON THE PEANUTS SOFT AND EDIBLE. PEANUT HUMMUS AND OTHER DISHES MADE FROM BOILED PEANUTS ARE VERY POPULAR IN THE SOUTHERN STATES OF AMERICA WHERE PEANUTS ARE FARMED ON A LARGE SCALE.

IN INDIA WE CONSUME PEANUTS IN VARIOUS FORMS.

PEANUTS IN THEIR BROWN SHELLS ARE CALLED SHENGDANE IN MARATHI AND THE PROCESSED SHELLED AND SKINNED PRODUCT IS CALLED PHUTANE. IN HINDI PEANUT IS CALLED MOONGFALLI.

BOILED PEANUTS ARE VERY POPULAR IN INDIA AND HAVE A DISTINCT FLAVOR THAT DIFFERS FROM A ROASTED PEANUT. PEANUTS ARE BELIEVED TO HAVE BEEN CULTIVATED IN SOUTH AMERICA 3500 YEARS AGO FROM WHERE THEY CAME TO ASIA AND THEN FINALLY FOUND THEIR WAY BACK TO NORTH AMERICA WHERE TODAY FARMED PEANUTS ARE A BILLION DOLLAR BUSINESS.

SERVES 8

250 GRAMS FRESH RAW PEANUTS IN THEIR SHELLS

1 TEASPOON OF CREOLE HOT SAUCE OR A HOT SAUCE OF YOUR CHOICE

3 CLOVES OF GARLIC

1 TBSPNS PEANUT OIL

1/2 TBSPNS TAHINI

SALT TO TOASTE

FOR GARNISH

1 TEASPOON TOASTED BLACK OR WHITE WHITE SESAME SEEDS

Instructions

IMMERSE THE RAW PEANUTS IN THEIR SHELLS IN BOILING WATER FOR 20 MINUTES. DRAIN ONE SHELL AND TEAR IT OPEN. TASTE THE PEANUT TO ENSURE IT IS VERY SOFT. IF NOT CONTINUE TO BOIL THEM. DRAIN ALL THE SHELLS. COOL COMPLETELY. TEAR OPEN THE SHELLS AND DISCARD THEM. RETAIN THE PEANUTS AND THEIR SKINS. ADD THE GARLIC TO THE SHELLED PEANUTS AND BOIL AGAIN IN 2 CUPS OF WATER FOR 15 MINUTES ON LOW HEAT. DRAIN COMPLETELY.

COMBINE THE BOILED PEANUTS AND SKINS AND THE GARLIC WITH ALL REMAINING INGREDIENTS AND GRIND TO A FLUFFY PASTE. YOU CAN GRIND THIS TO A SMOOTH PASTE IF YOU LIKE- I LIKE IT A LITTLE CHUNKY.

ADD SALT AND HOT SAUCE TO TASTE. GARNISH WITH TOASTED SESAME SEEDS.

SERVE WITH THICK CUT CRUDITES LIKE CARROT STICKS, BROCCOLI AND CAULIFLOWER FLORETS, CRACKERS, CHIPS OR PITA WEDGES.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/boiled-peanut-hummus-a-southern-american-dip/

NIGELLA DIP WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND NIGELLA SEEDS

NIGELLA DIP WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND NIGELLA SATIVA SEEDS

NIGELLA DIP WITH CARAMELIZED ONIONS AND NIGELLA SATIVA SEEDS

Ingredients

THIS IS A SIMPLE BUT RICH, DECADENT DIP FLAVORED WITH KALONJI OR NIGELLA SATIVA SEEDS. SERVE IT WITH ALL KINDS OF CHIPS, TOASTED PITA, AS BRUSCHETTA, WITH TOAST AND AS A SANDWICH SPREAD. THE KEY IS TO COOK THE ONIONS VERY SLOWLY UNTIL THEY GET SOFT, SWEET AND TURN A DEEP GOLDEN BROWN.

METHOD

400 GRAMS STRAINED FRESH, PLAIN YOGURT, CHILLED

2 TBSP COLD MAYONNAISE (EGGLESS OR WITH EGG)

200 GRAMS RED ONIONS PEELED, HALVED AND SLICED VERY FINELY INTO RINGS

2 TBSP BUTTER

3 TBSP VEGETABLE OIL

1/2 TEASPOON NIGELLA SATIVA OR KALONJI SEEDS

SALT TO TASTE

GARNISH

1/2 TEASPOON NIGELLA SATIVA/KALONJI SEEDS TOASTED

Instructions

HEAT THE OIL AND BUTTER IN A NON-STICK SAUCEPAN ON LOW HEAT. ADD THE ONIONS AND STIR WELL TO SEPARATE THE RINGS. ADD ONE TEASPOON SALT. COOK SLOWLY STIRRING FROM TIME TO TIME UNTIL ONIONS LOSE ALL THEIR WATER AND REDUCE TO ABOVE 1/3 THEIR ORIGINAL VOLUME.

THIS TAKES A GOOD 25-30 MINUTES SO YOU CAN DO OTHER THINGS WHILE THE ONIONS COOK. ITS ONLY THE LAST 10 MINUTES THAT THE ONIONS BEGIN TO BROWN QUICKLY AND YOU NEED TO BE WATCHFUL.

ADD THE NIGELLA SEEDS AND SAUTE UNTIL ONIONS AND GOLDEN BROWN, STICKY AND CARAMELIZED FOR ANOTHER 7-8 MINUTES. COOL THIS MIXTURE COMPLETELY.

WHISK THE CHILLED STRAINED YOGURT AND MAYO IN A MIXING BOWL. ADD THE COOLED ONIONS AND MIX TO INCORPORATE THOROUGHLY. ADJUST FOR SALT. GARNISH WITH NIGELLA SEEDS. LET SIT AT ROOM TEMPERATURE ABOUT 10 MINUTES BEFORE YOU SERVE IT.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/nigella-dip/

FLAME ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS WITH POMEGRANATE

FLAME ROASTED RED PEPPER HUMMUS WITH POMEGRANATE

FLAME ROASTED RED PEPPER  HUMMUS WITH POMEGRANATE

Ingredients

THIS IS AN EASY DIP FOR A LARGE GROUP. IT ALSO MAKES AN EXCELLENT SANDWICH SPREAD.

SERVES 8 AS A DIP

400 GRAM TINNED COOKED CHICKPEAS FULLY DRAINED (ABOUT ONE CAN)

2 WHOLE RED BELL PEPPERS

1 TEASPOON MINCED GARLIC

1/2 CUP TAHINI

1 TSP RED HOT SAUCE OF YOUR CHOICE

2 TSP LIME JUICE

1 TABLESPOON POMEGRANATE MOLASSES

SALT TO TASTE

GARNISH

1/2 TBSP POMEGRANATE MOLASSES

1 TBSP GARLIC OIL

1/4 CUP SHELLED POMEGRANATES

PINCH CAYENNE PEPPER

Instructions

ROAST THE BELL PEPPERS OVER AN OPEN FLAME USING TONGS UNTIL COMPLETELY CHARRED AND FALL APART SOFT.

COOL THEM, PEEL OFF BLACKENED SKIN, REMOVE SEEDS AND STALK AND PUREE TO A VERY SMOOTH PASTE WITH ALL REMAINING INGREDIENTS.

ADD MORE TAHINI AND A LITTLE WATER IF YOU WANT THE MIXTURE TO BE THINNER. SALT TO TASTE. ADD MORE MOLASSES IF YOU WANT A SWEETER FLAVOR.

POUR INTO A SERVING BOWL. DRIZZLE WITH MOLASSES AND GARLIC OIL. TOP WITH POMEGRANATE SEEDS AND A PINCH OF CAYENNE PEPPER.

SERVE WITH PITA CHIPS, KAND OR SURAN WAFERS EVEN WARM PITA BREAD.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/flame-roasted-red-pepper-hummus-with-pomegranate/

Home-made Ricotta with fresh herbs

Home-made Ricotta with fresh herbs

Home-made Ricotta with fresh herbs

Ingredients

Ricotta is traditionally made from the whey of cow, buffalo and sheep's milk in Italy. Ricotta is processed differently depending on its intended use. Some ricottas are sweeter while others are dried and salted. Ricotta is used for all kinds of Italian dishes both sweet and savory- tarts, salads, pastas,spreads, cheesecake, and bruschetta.

Paneer often compared to ricotta is made from whole-milk and is commercially drained and shaped into a product that can be sliced. Citric juices are used to split milk in India to keep it vegetarian but rennet an animal enzyme, is employed in many parts of Europe.

I use neither. I prefer buttermilk. I think it produces a far smoother and fresh cheese. They key is to use day old buttermilk which is still not sour but just acidic enough to split your milk.

1 liter whole-milk plain

200 ml fresh heavy cream

1/2 liter plain unflavored full fat or reduced one day old buttermilk, cold

For the Ricotta spread

1 cup chopped white bulbs of green onions or scallions

1/4 cup chopped green stalks of the scallions

1 cup finely chopped rocket or arugula leaves

1/2 finely chopped fresh dill or sepu

1 teaspoon zest of lime

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

For the ricotta

Heat the whole-milk and cream in a large saucepan on medium heat. Keep a large bowl and fine sieve handy. When the milk reaches a boil pour 3/4 liter of cold buttermilk into it. Switch off the flame and let it sit 15 minutes. The milk should split.

Switch on the heat again and stir. Boil 2 minutes then turn off flame and slowly strain the contents of the sauce pan into the sieve over a large heat proof bowl.

Return the whey liquid to the fire and boil again. Add remaining buttermilk and boil. Strain one more time over the ricotta in the strainer.

if you wish to boil only once add all the buttermilk to the cream and milk. The leftover whey from the first or second boil is equally delicious though the latter is less fatty. You can make soups and dals like my Three Lentil Buttermilk Curry.

Cover the cheese in the sieve and allow it to drain for 20 minutes. Then refrigerate in the sieve itself over a bowl for 3-4 hours until fully drained and chilled.

Whip using a whisk or with a hand or stand mixer until smooth. Add all the herbs, zest and a teaspoon of salt and pepper. Taste and season with more salt if required.

Spread this dip on crackers, sandwiches and ofcourse bruschetta. This is delicious with the flame roasted bell pepper and garlic bruschetta and tomato bruschetta. Find the recipes for these on my blog.

http://www.taradeshpande.in/home-made-ricotta-with-fresh-herbs/