Friday, 8 May 2015

Cilantro or Coriander Rice / Pulav

On days when i just don't feel like cooking an elaborate meal, simple rice recipes come to the rescue. Cilantro rice or coriander rice is one such simple and delicious rice recipe that can be enjoyed for lunch or dinner. There are few variations to this simple rice dish. You can completely skip the spices & veggies or use the spices and make it like we make a normal pulav. Since i love using spices in most of dishes i make, i did the same with this and also added few leftover veggies from my fridge. Served with a simple raita (yogurt with cucumber, tomatoes and chillies), this dish is simple, light and delicious. 

(Serves 2)
1 cup of good quality basmati rice (you can also use regular rice)
1/2 tsp of cumin seeds/shah jeera /jeera 
2 pods of cardamom
1 black cardamom
1 bay leaf
1 inch inch of cinnamon stick
2 - 3 cloves
4 -5 peppercorns
1 carrot thinly sliced
1 cup of chopped cauliflower (washed and drained)
1 medium sized onion thinly sliced
1 1/2 - 2 cups of water 

For the cilantro paste 
2 -3 garlic 
About 1/2 inch of ginger 
1-2 small green chillies (adjust as per your liking)
1 cup tightly packed cilantro (coriander) washed & drained

1) In a blender/mixer blend garlic, ginger chillies and cilantro to make a fine paste. Try to use as little water as possible for making the paste. Keep this aside.

2) Wash the basmati rice in cold water 2- 3 times and soak it in water for 15 - 20 mins.

2) In a non stick pan/saucepan or kadai add oil. When the oil is hot add the cumin seeds/shah jeera and let it splutter. Add the rest of the spices and cook them for few mins until it gives out a nice aroma.

3) Next, add the thinly sliced onions. Cook the onions till they are a little towards golden brown. Now add the chopped veggies and the cilantro paste. Saute for few mins.

4) Drain of the water from the basmati rice and add it to the pan with the rest of the ingredients. Add water and salt to taste. Cover with a lid and let it cook in a low to medium flame for 15 - 20mins.

5) Cook until all the water is absorbed by the rice. Fluff the rice with fork and check for doneness. 

Drizzle a little ghee or clarified butter on top and serve hot with pickles/achar or raita. 

Note: You can use vegetables of your choice like green pepper/capsicum, green peas, french beans or potatoes. Also increase or decrease the spices as per your choice. This recipe is somewhere between mild to medium spicy. 

If you are going to soak the rice for 15 - 20 mins you will only need around 1 1/2 cups of water. And if not add 2 cups of water. 

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Homemade Eggless Chocolate Ice cream

This is the first time ever that i have attempted making an ice cream at home and that too without an ice cream maker. I only went ahead with it as i had some leftover heavy cream and somehow i could not think of making anything else. Also this is an eggless recipe. I do eat eggs its just that i was feeling extra adventurous to try something new. With no ice cream maker at home i just didnt want to mix stuff and freeze it. I really wanted the end product to be as smooth as store bought ice cream. 

And so, i searched and searched the internet and zeroed down on the ice bath method. This method basically replicates the mechanism of an ice cream maker. The basic idea of this method is to breakdown the ice crystals that are formed when you freeze the mixture. Although the end product was not very smooth but it definitely was very very close. And the recipe is something i came up with. It is indeed a keeper. 

As far the picture goes you might be thinking why just one scoop of ice cream rather than 2 or 3? Yaaaa soooo there is a reason behind that. The ice cream came out so good that me & hubby gobbled down almost the entire bowl. Finally when i thought about clicking some pictures only one scoop was left. :D. This is a small recipe so please double the ingredients if you want to make a good size batch.

1/4 cup of granulated sugar 
2 tbsp of unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/2 cup of milk
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
2 tsp of strong brewed coffee ( i used store bought coffee concentrate by trader joes). This is optional but highly recommended as the coffee brings out the flavor of chocolate and makes it more chocolaty. If you don't have one then go ahead and use 1 tsp of vanilla extract instead.
1/4 cup of chocolate chips melted and cooled at room temperature. 


1) Melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, cool it and keep it aside.

2) In a separate saucepan add the sugar, milk, heavy whipping cream and cocoa powder. Mix it and switch off the gas once it starts to boil. At this point the sugar will be melted and the cocoa powder will be nicely combined with the milk. (Please refer the pictures below).

4) Pour a little of the hot milk mixture onto the melted chocolate and combine. Gradually pour in the melted chocolate mixture with the rest of the hot milk mixture. Cover the saucepan with a cling wrap (so that it doesn't form a skin) and let it cool down at room temperature.

5) Once cooled, chill the mixture in the refrigerator for 30- 45 mins.

6) Remove the ice cream mixture from the refrigerator. Prepare an ice bath by putting ice cubes in a big bowl.  You should be able to fit the small bowl (which has the ice cream mixture) in the big bowl such that the ice cubes completely surrounds the small bowl (Please refer the pictures below). 

7) Now with a hand mixer beat the mixture on high speed for 5 - 10 mins. Cover it with cling wrap and keep it in the freezer along with the ice bath for 1 hr. (You can also use a whisk but you may have to whisk it for at least 15 mins....that will be a good workout for your arms. :P)

8) After an hour remove and repeat the same procedure. Beat the mixture on high speed for 10 mins. 
I repeated this procedure 3 times within an interval of 45 mins to 1 hour. 

9) Now when you beat the mixture for the third and the last time, the consistency will be like a soft serve.

10) Finally cover it again with the cling wrap and freeze it (no ice bath needed at the end) overnight or until it is set. Serve chilled with you favorite toppings.

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