Monday, 3 June 2013

EGGLESS CINNAMON CAKE



Ingredients:

All purpose flour- 1 and a half cups

Baking powder- 1 tspn

Baking soda- 1 tspn

Powdered sugar- 3/4 cups

Cinnamon powder- 1 tbspn

Dry ginger powder- 1 tbspn

Plain yogurt/ thick curd- 3/4 cups

Cold milk- 1/4 cup

Butter- 1/2 cup(at room temperature)

A pinch of salt



Method:

Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees.

Place all the dry ingredients in a bowl and mix uniformly with a spatula or sieve the dry ingredients twice.

Add the butter and mix well with the spatula or hand mixer.

At this stage add the yogurt and milk and beat at medium speed. Make sure not to over beat as it would stop the action of baking soda.

Grease the baking tray and place the cake mix.

Bake at 180 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes or until set.




Tuesday, 21 May 2013

HERBED BUTTERMILK SCONES-EGGLESS




Ingredients:

All purpose flour- 2 1/4 cups

Baking powder- 1 tspn

Baking soda- 1 tspn

Butter- 50 gms

Buttermilk- 1 cup(1/2 cup of thick curd or plain yogurt whipped with 1/2 cup of water)

Rosemary- 1 tbspn

Chopped garlic- 1 tbspn

Salt to taste

Milk to glaze- 1 tbspn


Method:

Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees.

Sieve the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt twice.





Add the garlic and rosemary and mix well. Slowly add the butter followed by buttermilk little by little to the flour mix and prepare the dough. Let the dough sit for 15 minutes.

Roll the dough to half an inch thickness on a flat surface. With the help of the cookie cutter cut out the dough to uniform sized cookie shape(kind of).


Grease the baking tray and place the cut out pieces of dough to be baked at 180 degrees for 20 minutes until brown and done.

Monday, 13 May 2013

SPICY AND CREAMY PUMPKIN SOUP


Ingredients: (serves 4)

Diced pumpkin- 500 gms

Chopped onion- 1 large

Garlic cloves- 2

Ginger- 2 inches long stem

Green chillies- 2 no's

Almonds- 1 tbspn (chopped)

Sun flower seeds- 1 tbspn

Butter- 1 tbspn

Turmeric powder- a pinch

Fresh whipping cream- 2 tbspn

Water- 3 cups


Salt to taste


Method:

Heat the sauce pan and melt the butter. Add the onion, ginger, garlic and chillies to the molten butter and saute for less than a minute. Reduce the fire, add the nuts and stir.

Add the diced pumpkin to the pan. Add salt and turmeric powder. Add the water and let the pumpkin cook for 10 to 15 minutes until done with the lid covered. Remember not to overcook the pumpkin.

Switch off the fire and mash the pumpkin mixture to a smooth puree with the whipping cream.

Serve hot with bun, garlic bread.


Friday, 10 May 2013

SPLIT BLACK GRAM GRAVY


Split bengal gram usually called "uzhunthu" in my Tamil language is a great energy booster I look upon when ever I feel weak, tired or suffering from body aches after a strenous week of exercise routine and a Mom's, wife's job. Well my mom prepares "uzhunthan soru" wherein this black gram is cooked with rice and consumed with some vegetable/ mutton gravy. Another great option is "vadai" which is made of polished black gram batter deep fried in oil.

I like this one somehow because I am very glad that I have skipped the rice part and the loads of oil in the vadai. This is a one pot dish and I prepared this in the pressure cooker. It is a good combo with roti, chapati, rice or any flat bread. Here in the pic I have served it with "spinach adai" which is a South Indian crepe made of the batter of little  rice, split bengal gram and pigeon peas(lentil). Ground paste of any green is added to the batter with some spices to prepare this. It can be simply called as the" rice and lentil crepe".

This gravy is almost like"Dal makhani" where the black gram is cooked with red beans without any potatoes.


To make it more interesting for my boys I have added potatoes so that they finish it without any of their long questions. Let's check on how to do this?





Ingredients:

Split black gram- 1 cup(washed and soaked in water for 1 hour)

Potatoes-  2 cups(cleaned and diced)

Onion- 1 tbspn (finely chopped)

Tomatoes- 2 (finely chopped)

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tspn

Garam masala- 1 tspn

Turmeric powder- 1 tspn

Chilly powder/ Paprika- 1 tspn

Coriander/ curry powder- 1 tspn

Water- 2 to 3 cups(depending on how thick or runny you want the gravy to be)

Fresh cream- 1 tbspn

Oil- 1 tbspn

Salt to taste

Cilantro- 1 tspn (finely chopped to garnish)


Method:

Heat the pressure cooker and add the oil.

Add the ginger- garlic paste followed by the onions. When the onions get browned add the tomatoes(wait until they turn soft)followed by the black gram.

Add all the spices at this point and stir well. Add the potatoes now followed by salt.

Mix all the ingredients well again. Close the pressure cooker and cook with 2 whistles.

When the cooker is all set to open gently mash and mix the gravy with a ladle to help the black gram blend well with the potatoes. Add the fresh cream, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve hot.


Note: You can also opt to cook the potatoes separately and later add it on to the black gram gravy depending on the variety of potatoes you have at home. This is just to avoid the potatoes from getting overcooked or under cooked.







Thursday, 9 May 2013

RED VELVET SPAGHETTI


It is the season of red velvet cakes everywhere in Nairobi.Java house, Dormans have included this cake in their desserts list. You get attracted by the colour for sure but the loads of food colour that goes in is really not good. This time  I wanted a red velvet spaghetti (but definitely naturally). I got the same effect with the simple beetroot pesto I prepared. I made the pesto with roasted beets and some left over sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

This beet pesto has all the usual ingredients of a pesto except the spicy green chillies which I wanted it there. Nutty, spicy, healthy and above all colourful. To add some more veges, the roasted French beans was a very good combination.





Ingredients:(serves 4)

For the pesto:

Beetroot- 1

Garlic clove- 1

Spicy green chillies- 2

Sun flower and pumpkin seeds- 1 tbspn each

Lemon juice- 1 tbspn

Olive oil- 2 tbspn

Salt to taste

Spaghetti:

Cooked spaghetti- 4 cups

French beans- 7 no's (cut into 1 inch length)

Olive oil- 1 tspn

Salt to taste


Method:

Beet pesto:

Roast all the ingredients except the lemon juice in a frying pan with olive oil under low fire for around 3 to 5 minutes until the smell of the beet disappears. Let it cool. Grind the roasted ingredients with lemon juice to a coarse paste. You can also add more olive oil to make the pesto more yummier and smooth.

Adding more olive oil helps the pesto to blend well with the spaghetti. Olive oil is very good for your health and so you need not worry about adding more.



about to be ground


As the pesto is ready now, roast the beans in the oil with little salt and keep it aside. Now mix the pesto with the spaghetti uniformly with a spaghetti spoon taking care not to break them.

Gently toss in the roasted beans and serve with egg plant caviar or 

JALAPENOS AND ITALIAN PEPPER IN OLIVE OIL.


Friday, 3 May 2013

KENYAN MUKIMO AND NDENGU


This dish is a simple one from the "Kikuyu" tribe of Kenya. The name "Mukimo"  meaning "mash". Mashed potatoes with the Kenyan greens "terere" and peas. Kikuyu's cook mukimo with "fresh green pumpkin leaves" and maize in it. Initially sounded weird to me."what? pumpkin leaves????". Later when I tried I just loved it. If you have got pumpkin leaves in your garden just add some chopped leaves in the place of terere in this recipe.


"Ndengu" is again a side dish made of "green grams". Usually mukimo is eaten with "Githeri"- made of red beans, maize and carrots like a stew. I like ndengu a lot and found it to be a very good go with mukimo. This dish is the secret of the strength of Kenyans. In this junky food world, this dish is really super quick and consists of very low fat hence very healthy. Quiet filling , and helps you to stay warm on a cold day.





Ingredients:(serves 2)

Mukimo:

Potatoes- 250 gms(diced)

Terere- 1 small bunch(washed and finely chopped)

Green peas- 1/2 cup

Water- 2 cups

Salt to taste



Terere green


Ndengu:

Cooked green grams- 1 cup

Chopped onion- 1 tbspn

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tbspn

Chopped tomato- 1

Garam masala/ pilau masala- 1 tspn

Salt to taste

Oil- 1 tbspn

Chopped cilantro leaves to garnish


Method:



Mukimo:

To prepare the mukimo, place all the ingredients except the terere in a sauce pan and cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the potatoes and peas are well mashed. Add the terere at this stage and stir. Cook for another 2 to 4 minutes and turn off the fire.

You can very well replace the terere with kale or any other green. To have a creamy taste you can also add some fresh cream.



Ndengu:

Heat the pan and add the oil. Add the onions and when it turns brown add the ginger- garlic paste. At this stage add the tomato, salt and pilau masala and give a gentle stir.


Add the cooked green grams when the tomatoes turn soft and add 1/2 cup water and mix well. Wait until you get a boil and turn off the fire. Garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with Mukimo. For a creamy taste you can also add 1/4 cup of coconut milk.







Thursday, 25 April 2013

EGGLESS BANANA ROCK MUFFINS

Rock muffins comes very handy throughout the long week. You can bake it and store for almost a week. The dryness in the muffin helps you to store it for a longer period. This is a perfect choice for my kids who return starved out of energy from school. To moisten the muffins I prepare chocolate sauce along with the muffins and store or drizzle some strawberry syrup on it. Vanilla or chocolate glaze is also a great choice.




Ingredients:

All purpose flour- 3 cups

Mashed bananas- 2 no's

Baking powder- 2 tspn

Baking soda- 1/2 tspn

Vegetable cooking oil- 1/4 cup

Greek yogurt/ thick curd- 1/2 cup

Cinnamon powder- 1 tspn

Vanilla essence- 1 tspn

Salt- a pinch


For brushing:

Molten butter- 2 tbspn

Brown sugar- 1/2 cup

Cinnamon powder- 1/2 tspn


Method:

Pre heat the oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes.

Place the flour in a bowl and mix the baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon powder to it. Uniformly mix all the dry ingredients by sieving 2 to 3 times with a sieve.

Now add the mashed bananas, oil, vanilla essence and yogurt to the dry ingredients and uniformly mix all the ingredients with a hand mixer or a spatula. Now the dough is ready and let it sit for 15 minutes.





In the mean while grease the muffin tray with the molten butter and sprinkle the brown sugar in the cups which would provide a coating on the muffins.






Fill half of each muffin cup with the dough and brush the dough on top with butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon powder, remaining brown sugar on top.



Note: Do not overload the muffin cup with batter or dough whenever  you bake a muffin to get a domed top and  avoid a flat one. Always fill half of the muffin cup for better results.





Bake at 180 degrees for 20 to 30 minute or until done.






KENYAN GITHERI AND MAIZE MEAL TACOS

Maize meal tacos and githeri was really a good combo. For the first time I felt very glad about what I have tried in this recipe. Just like that I tried to prepare the tortillas with maize meal which is used to prepare "UGALI" a local Kenyan dish. "Masa harina"- Mexican pre cooked white corn flour and the maize meal are almost the same in texture and smell except one thing that binding the maize meal was bit difficult than the pre cooked corn meal. At last my experiments were fruitful.

Above all Kenyan githeri was a great combination with avocado and mango salsa. "Githeri" is prepared with red beans, carrot,maize and potatoes in Kenya like a stew often served with piping hot ugali. I have added sukuma leaves with githeri and prepared it like a thick filling.





Ingredients:

Maize meal Tortillas:

Maize meal-1 cup

All purpose flour- 1 cup

Warm water- 1/2 cup

Salt to taste


Method:


Place the maize meal and APF in a bowl.















Add salt to the flour and mix uniformly. Slowly add the warm water by sprinkling and prepare a smooth dough. Allow it to rest for 30 minutes.





Make uniform sized balls and place it in between 2 pieces of clingfilm sheets. As the dough is bit sticky and the tortillas has to be prepared like a thin sheet, using a cling film would easen the process.





Roll the ball with the rolling pin on the cling film sheet gently and press the dough.








Shape the tortillas with a  round lid.











Cook the tortillas under medium fire.





Press the tortillas with a kitchen towel gently to puff it up. Cook  until the tortillas turn slightly brown on both the sides by frequently turning.



Place the tortillas in a kitchen towel to keep it warm and avoid getting dried up and be moist.

Note: Maize meal tortillas gets hardened very quickly, so try to keep it most or cook the tortillas when you are about to serve the food.


Githeri:

Red beans- 2 cups

Carrots-2(diced)

Potatoes- 1 cup(diced)

Sukuma leaves- 1 bunch(washed and finely chopped)

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tspn

Onion- 1 (finely chopped)

Thick tomato paste- 1 tbspn


Turmeric powder- 1tspn

Garam masala- 1tspn

Oil-1 tbspn

Salt to taste


Cilantro leaves to garnish

Method:

Heat the pan and add the oil. Add the ginger- garlic paste followed by the onions. When the onions turn brown add the carrots and potatoes. Add salt and cook them. When done add the cooked red beans.

Mix well and add the chopped sukuma leaves to the beans and add all the spices. Add the tomato paste, give a stir and lower the flame. Cook for another 3 minutes. Garnish with cilantro leaves.




sukuma wiki  leaaves


To garnish:

Avocado- 1 (sliced)


Cilantro leaves


Mango salsa:

Ripe mango- 1 (finely chopped)

Onion- 1 tbspn(finely chopped)

Tomatoes- 2(finely chopped)

Lemon juice- 1/2 tspn

Cilantro leaves- 1 tspn(finely chopped)

Salt to taste


Mix all the ingredients uniformly to serve with githeri.


Tacos:

To prepare the tacos, take the tortillas and place it in your palm. Add  little of the githeri mixture in the center of the tortilla followed by a slice of avocado.




Place around a tablespoon of mango salsa, cilantro leaves on top of the avocado slice and serve.

























Wednesday, 24 April 2013

SOUTH INDIAN FISH CURRY/ MEEN KUZHAMBU

This Fish curry has more similarities to the Swahili fish curry. With lots of coconut, onion and tomatoes the taste is absolutely awesome. The creamy texture would drool saliva from your mouth. Piping hot rice is a perfect combination with this fish curry. Popularly known as "MEEN KUZHAMBU" meaning "Fish curry" is very popular in the coastal parts of South India from where I come. Very easy to cook on a sunday if you have the right ingredients.







Ingredients:(serves 6)

King fish- 500 gms

Fenugreek seeds- 1/2 tspn

Mustard seeds- 1 tbspn

Cumin seeds- 1 tbspn

Curry leaves- 2 sprigs

Green chillies- 3 no's

Chopped onion- 2

Chopped tomato- 3

Coriander powder/ curry powder- 2 tbspn

Ground coconut paste/ coconut milk- 1 cup

Tamarind pulp-  lemon sized tamarind soaked in 1 cup of water and taken as pulp

Water- 2 cups

Oil- 2 tbspn

Salt to taste





To marinate the fish:

Chilly powder/ paprika- 1 tspn

Turmeric powder-1 tspn

Salt

























Method:

Heat the pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and allow it to splutter. Reduce the fire add the fenugreek seeds and allow it turn slightly brown. At this stage add the cumin seeds followed by green chillies, curry leaves. Stir for a second and add the onions now.


When the onions turn brown add the tomatoes and at this stage add the salt, turmeric, chilly powder and curry powder and mix well. When the tomatoes turn soft add the tamarind pulp and bring it to a boil.



When the curry is boiling add the coconut paste to the curry and add the water. My mother use to grind the coconut, cumin seeds and chillies together and add it at this stage which adds more taste.


When the curry boils add the fish slices. For better taste cut the big slices into 4 pieces. Reduce the fire and cook the fish for approximately 3 to 5 minutes. Do not over boil to avoid the fish slices from becoming soft and mixing up with the curry.



Serve with piping hot rice and shallots. A great tip to enjoy this recipe is to cook the curry a day before you would want to relish. Cook and store and on the day you want to have it just reheat and enjoy. The taste improves after a day as the masala seeps in the fish very well.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

RESTAURANT STYLE MUTTON SEEKH KEBAB

Raining! Raining! and Raining!...........It's a blessing as well as a drawback for me. To wake up early in the morning has become a big challenge for me. Apart from the hustle and bustle of dropping and picking kids from school,  power issues. Power cuts has become a true headache. Even with the heavy rains there is shortage of water supply....ok. A week of no power and 5 days of no water situation in my house last week.  Obviously cooking came to a stand still. So far  this week is going on good, and hopefully the whole week too.Now let's forget all of  these issues and try something yummy today.






Ingredients:


Minced mutton- 250 gms

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tspn

Chilly powder- 1 tspn

Garam masala- 1 tspn

Turmeric powder- a pinch

Finely chopped onion- 1 tbspn

Coriander and mint leaves- 1 tbspn (very finely chopped)

Nutmeg powder- one pinch

Fennel seed powder- one pinch

Corn flour- 1 tspn

lemon juice- few drops


Salt to taste


Red, yellow, green peppers and onion sliced to one inch size to grill with the kebabs.


Method:


Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix uniformly. If you are washing the mutton mince make sure you remove all the excess water completely as this would cause problems in shaping the kebabs.





Shape the kebabs in the skewers with the peppers and onion as shown in the picture below.




Grill under medium fire by turning on both the sides taking care not to burn the kebabs. Drizzle little oil on both the sides and cook until done.



Serve with salad, lemon wedges and chutneys of your choice.



If you are super lazy to cook this yummy kebabs,  place your order for"Mutton seekh kebab" with www.hellofood.co.ke and enjoy it during the rainy days in Nairobi.

With this weather you  wouldn't even think of going out and eat. To drive and that too in this traffic. Errrhh! it is better to stay home and just place an order through "hellofood" in just 3 steps.

Choose the area, restaurant and order and they deliver your food at your doorsteps. That's simply amazing. Do not worry if you do not have your restaurant listed there. Just send a request like I did and they would contact them and get your food delivered. I have just sent a request to add my restaurant.

In case of any queries, online chat is also available. There are sometimes we would feel like taking  a break from cooking and that too by the time I realise, that I do not wanna cook anything it would be 8 p.m, and then to get ready, get out of the house with kids.........it's really tiring.

I like the services they offer especially for the busy people of Nairobi. The concept is really new and very helpful for people like my husband who hates going out unless and until we 3(me and my kids) push him to do so. He would always prefer a take away. After a tiring whole week of work anyone would opt to do so.


So next time you wanna stay home and relish your food after a tiring day just place your orders through"hellofood" and relax.



RED CABBAGE AND BUTTERNUT STIR FRY

This is an Indo-Chines stir fry. Butternut -  a winter squash and the red cabbage helps to keep yourself warm on a cold day. Eating the right vegetable and making use of the vegetables available during the season makes sense.  Butternuts and red cabbage are in season and so make use of it with this yummy stir fry.




Ingredients: (serves 4)

Butternut-1 (chopped into medium sized cubes)

Red cabbage- 2 cups

Onion- 1 tbspn(finely chopped)

Ginger- garlic paste- 1 tspn

Garam masala powder- 1 tspn

Turmeric powder- 1 tspn

Chilly powder-1 tspn

Dark soy sauce- 1 tspn

Sesame oil / any cooking oil- 1 tbspn

Chopped cilantro leaves- to garnish

Salt to taste






Method:


Place the chopped butternut in a pot of boiling water and blanch for 5 minutes(just cooked enough for stir frying). Pour the blanched squash into a colander to drain all the water.


Heat the pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the onions followed by ginger- garlic paste. Add the blanched butternut and then the red cabbage and mix well. Remember to cook under medium fire. Now add all the spices, salt and the soy sauce and keep stirring continuously for 2 to 3 minutes.


Switch off the fire, garnish with cilantro leaves and serve with hot rice or roti.




Monday, 15 April 2013

VEGETARIAN MANCHOW SOUP

This is absolutely a great soup for this rainy season in Nairobi. It is a clear vegetable soup which really warms you up in the cold evenings. It is a Indo-Chinese style soup and the name "Manchow" comes from the name Manchuria.



Ingredients:(serves 4)

Carrot, cabbage, green peppers or French beans- each 1/2 cup shredded


Onion- 1 (finely chopped)

Garlic and ginger Julienne- 1 tbspn

Dark soy sauce- 1 tspn

Vinegar-1 tspn

Pepper powder- 1 tspn

Chilli sauce- 1 tspn(optional)

Corn flour- 1 tbspn mixed in 2 tbspn of water to a smooth paste

Vegetable stock- 1 litre

Sesame oil/ any cooking oil- 1 tbspn

Salt to taste



Method:

 Heat the pan and add the oil. When the oil is hot add the ginger, garlic followed by onion. When the onion turns brown add all the chopped vegetables and give it a stir.

I have cooked with what I had at home. You can replace French beans in the place of green peppers or just add french beans too.






Now when the vegetables are half cooked add vinegar, soy sauce, chilly sauce, pepper powder, salt and mix uniformly.

I want you to be careful about the salt you add as the vegetable stock you are going to add would also contain salt.

To make 1 litre of vegetable stock I used 2 large onions, 2 large carrots, 3 stalks of celery, 1 whole bulb of garlic, 5 peppercorns, and a bay leaf.

Place all the ingredients in a sauce pan, add salt and let the water to boil.When the water boils lower the flame and let the vegetables cook for exactly 1 hour. Filter the stock and store in the fridge for further use. So anytime you are free you can prepare this and store and later when you want the soup this comes in handy.

Some opt to freeze the stock for longer use.

Pour in the vegetable stock and wait for a boil.  Now add the corn flour paste to the boiling soup. Mix uniformly for less than a minute. When you find the soup to be little thick put off the fire.




Serve hot with any Chinese starters.


Friday, 12 April 2013

SPICY HERBED POTATO WEDGES

It's raining." Black out" in my apartments for the past 4 days. Hakuna stima!(No power).  when it rains you madly crave for something  spicy and yummy, but to me (healthy) it has to be healthy as well. Like me obviously my family, too  craves for potatoes especially my elder son who is a fan of chips.


This potato wedges are a good healthy choice for you and your family as it is pan fried. Go for the pan fried wedges rather than the deep fired potato chips. Of course we are not holy in dieting. At times we do fail but we can try to stay healthy. This potato wedges tastes almost  like the deep fried chips. Try it and tell me.









Parklands round about


It's raining




On James Gichuru road





Ingredients: (serves 4)

Potatoes- 5 (sliced into wedges)

Chopped Garlic - 1 tspn

Thyme- 1 tspn(any herb of your choice)

Paprika/ Chilly powder- 1 tspn

Corn flour- 1 tbspn

Oil- 2 tbspns

Salt to taste



Method:


Heat the pan and add the oil. I prefer a non- stick pan to prepare this wedges as this would consume very little oil and give you a healthy snack. You can also use olive oil for health benefits.






When the oil is hot add the  garlic followed by wedges to the pan and reduce the flame.





Add the corn flour, paprika, salt and thyme to the wedges and mix uniformly.

Close the pan with a lid and cook for 10 minutes. Irish potatoes are the very good choice for this potatoes wedges.


 Cook until done and serve hot during this rainy season.