Monday, June 28, 2010

Green Thai Curry, Coriander Rice and Chocolate Cherry Trifle for Parshad By Vibha

That's Vibha.. She's this really cool mom[of 2, Karan and Tarini] who has an awesome career as a lawyer along with being one of the most amazing people I know. She and Vivekji[her husband] give me some hope that being married may make sense and add value to my life ;)
Had done a birthday cake for her earlier 'Haroun n the Sea of Stories Inspires Vibha's Hoopoe Lemon Cake'.

It was Vibha's turn to make parshad as courts are closed for holidays. Making parshad yourself instead of ordering from a shop calls for a lot of determination and coming together of the whole family as a unit and some times friends aswell depending on the complexity of the dishes selected.

Gunjan had a total field day... There were her 2 favourites 'chips' and 'chocolate' looking dessert.... She was freaking out with the parshad, playing with Poonam aunty's Seahorse keychain and I was freaking out clicking her and the antics she would do after eating chocolate... :)
Vibha's Thai Curry
(The quantities in all recipes aren't water tight as this was done for 300 people. Pl use your discretion where-ever quantities are not mentioned)

Readymade Green Thai Curry Paste [can make it yourself too but advisable to purchase when cooking for 300 helpings from a home kitchen]

Vegetable of your choice chopped:

Currry Paste:
Groudnut oil
Cocunut cream

Red full chillies
Green chillies
Basil leaves
Salt to taste

Dice white small aubergines, broccoli, mushrooms, carrots zucchini n othher vegetables.
Make a paste of onion n galagal n roast it in 2 teasps of groudnut oil.
Add the vegetables, carrots. [Slow softening ones first and the rest n stir fry till crisp but soft].
Add one large spoon of readymade green thai curry paste.
Add red full chillies, green chillies, basil leaves n salt t taste.
Finally add coconut cream or milk and water to desired consistency. [I like it medium thick.]
Simmer fr 5-7 mins.

Vibha's Coriander Rice:
Boil rice.
In a wok heat Peanut Oil.
Add finely chopped garlic n galagal.
Add a little garlic n chilli paste.
Stir fry the rice with lots of finely chopped green coriander.

Vibha's Trifle:
Chocolate Cake - [Store bought as 300 cups were to be made in 2 days.]

Cherry Jam/Preserve -
2 cups of Cherries
half cup sugar
half cup rum

Chocolate Fudge -
2 cups of Dark Cooking Chocolate
1 cup of Milk
1 cup Sugar
half cup Butter
half cup Sugar

For the Cream layer -
half cup of Milk
half cup of Sugar
A pod of Vanilla or half tsp of vanilla extract
500ml of fresh but well refrigerated Heavy Cream
100 ml of cherry jam/preserve[Prepared in this recipe]
2 teaspoons of Gelatin

Cherry Jam/Preserve -
Split cherries in half, pit them and soak em overnite with sugar n dark rum.
After 24 hours,cook it in the juices till it starts becoming a sticky cherry jam/preserve.
Cool to room temperature.

For chocolate fudge -
Take dark chocolate, milk, butter n sugar in a pan. Bring all ingredients to boil and cook on medium fire till it becomes homogeneous.
Cool to room temperature.

For the Cream layer -
In a pan take milk n sugar, and heat it with vanilla till a single boil. Cool the mixture.
Mix cherry jam/preserve, heavy cream and add the cooled milk mix in it.
Soften gelatin by letting it stand mixed for 5 - 10min in a small bowl of water.
Whip the cream alone with an electric mixer, n then whip the whole mix.
After whipping make sure there are no big bubbles are formed while whiping.
Add gelatin and Mix well.

Line the bottom of your setting bowls with a thick slice of dark chocolate cake.
Layer it with the pitted cherries.
Refrigerating for at least 30 mins.
Pour cream mix n top with chocolate fudge n cherries.
Then refrigerate at least fr 4 hrs.
Serve cool.

Gunjan and Jayanti had a blast with the Trifle pudding and left the rice and curry for the mummies.... But mummies being mummies... They ensure the kids eat the rice and veggies too :)

The rice and curry was flavoured just right... served in amazing quantities for about 300 people. That's a lot of hard work.
The Trifle was presented very well and held it's own right till late in the evening despite the extremely hot weather conditions.
Amazing packaging. Total Thumbs up :)

A BIG thanks to Vibha, Vivekji, Tarini, Amani and Karan for the yummiest parshad.

Mango Cherry Cheesecake and Mango Verrines ~ Mango Mania

Mango... Mango and More Mango.... The KING of fruits....Am a total mango fan.... Guess you can see that even in my Daring Baker Pavlova.. :) The juice, flavor, fragrance and color of Mango... all of it drives me crazy.... The ones I've had every year in all my summer holidays are Dussheri, Chosa, Langra, Alphonso, Banganpalli, Beneshan, Himsagar, Safeda, Totapuri, all from various parts of India.

The important commercial varieties are as : [Source: APEDA]
Andhra Pradesh Banganapalli, Suvarnarekha, Neelum and Totapuri
Bihar Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari, Fazli, Gulabkhas, Kishen Bhog, Himsagar, Zardalu and Langra
Gujarat Kesar, Alphonso, Rajapuri, Jamadar, Totapuri, Neelum, Dashehari and Langra
Haryana Chausa, Dashehari, Langra and Fazli
Himachal Pradesh Chausa, Dashehari and Langra
Karnataka Alphonso, Totapuri, Banganapalli, Pairi, Neelum and Mulgoa
Madhya Pradesh Alphonso, Bombay Green, Dashehari, Fazli, Langra and Neelum
Maharashtra Alphonso, Kesar and Pairi
Punjab Chausa, Dashehari and Malda
Rajasthan Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari and Langra
Tamil Nadu Alphonso, Totapuri, Banganapalli and Neelum
Uttar Pradesh Bombay Green, Chausa, Dashehari and Langra
West Bengal Fazli, Gulabkhas, Himsagar, Kishenbhog, Langra and Bombay Green

These mangoes come all thru the summer in batches...
'Bombay Yellow'
('Bombai')–high quality
('Bombay Green')
(polyembryonic)–a heavy bearer.
('Paheri', 'Pirie', 'Peter', 'Nadusalai', 'grape', 'Raspuri', 'Goha bunder')
'Safdar Pasand'
'Suvarnarekha' ('Sundri')

Early to Mid-Season:
'Langra' 'Rajapuri'

'Alampur Baneshan'–high quality but shy bearer
'Alphonso' ('Badami', 'gundu', 'appas', 'khader')–high quality
('Totapuri', 'collection', 'kili-mukku', abu Samada' in the Sudan)–of highest quality, best keeping, regular bearer, but most susceptible to seed weevil.
('Baneshan', 'chaptai', 'Safeda')–of high quality but shy bearer
'Dusehri' ('Dashehari aman', 'nirali aman', 'kamyab')–high quality
'Gulab Khas'
'Zardalu' 'K.O. 11'

Mid- to Late-Season:
(often bearing an off-season crop)
('Chowsa', 'Chausa', 'Khajri')–high quality
'K.O. 7/5' ('Himayuddin' ´ 'Neelum')

('Fazli malda')–high quality
'Safeda Lucknow'

Often Late:
'Mulgoa'–high quality but a shy bearer
'Neelum' (sometimes twice a year)–somewhat dwarf, of indifferent quality, and anthracnose-susceptible.

A Comfort Food. Mangoes really can make you feel better! Beyond being delicious and rich in vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants, mangoes contain an enzyme with stomach soothing properties similar to papain found in papayas. These comforting enzymes act as a digestive aid and can be held partially responsible for that feeling of contentment we experience during and after our daily mango ritual. Yes, it is quite natural to crave those mangoes!at

Making Cheesecake is the easiest thing done with mangoes, which comes a second to just slicing and eating them :)

Some other cheesecakes I've done with a similar recipe are with Banana and Chocochips, Cappuccino Tiramisu With kahlua, Cappuccino Tiramisu With Irish Bailey's, Orange and Strawberry(not posted yet).
Mango Cheesecake

For The Base:
1/2 packet Glucose Biscuits [abt 100gms]
60 gm Butter [softened, not melted]
20gm grain Sugar
Handful of Cherries halfed [Fresh would be nicer, if not available then use tinned]

For The Cheesecake:
250 ml Cream[whipped]
150gm Hung Curd
100gm Fruit Pulp [I used mango, you can use orange, strawberries or any other fruit you fancy, taste the pulp for tartness and adjust taste with powdered sugar]
40 gms Gelatin [in winter 1 reduce it by 2-3 pinches as it sets just fine]
Few drops of Mango essence
For the base:
Crush the glucose biscuits finely [not to powder]
Bind them together with the softened butter till the mixture is course. [I use the back of a spoon, you could use ure hand if you like]
Place this on the base of the dish in which you want to make the cheesecake and serve.
garnish the base with cherries [I arranged it in a way that all pcs cut would have atleast 1 cherry each]
Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

For the Cheesecake:
Whip the cream to soft peaks.
Mix in the hung curd and whip to a silky consistency.
Add a few drops of mango essence.
Melt half the gelatin in cold water first and then heat on a double boiler.
After it's completely dissolved, pour into the above mixture and mix well.
Take out the Refrigerated base, pour the above mixture into the bowl over the base evenly.
Refrigerate for about an hour.[more in summers till it sets]

Melt rest of the gelatin in cold water first and then heat on a double boiler.
Add the gelatin to fruit pulp and mix well.
Make a layer of this fruit pulp over the set cheesecake layer in the bowl working quickly else the gelatin begins setting.
Garnish with fresh fruit or chocochips.

Mango Verrines:
Use the above 2 mixtures of the cheesecake and fruit to layer alternatively in small shot glasses. You could even use dessert bowls but I love these little single serves.

These yummies were taken to office and we celebrated a small reunion of sorts as Mike was in town. The bowl was licked clean by the boys... Nitin kept eating the fruit layer from the top of he bowl and was whacked by the rest :)
Madhurima took the bowl home to enjoy with her family... [Some of the nicest pics in this ost are taken by her :) see her work at]
Aman had the shot glass single serve...

Sweet levels were just fine and the flavours of Mango and Cheery gave the dessert a fresh feel.... This recipe is such a simple No-Bake recipe that even kids can make it with a little help from the adults during the gelatin part.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chocolate Pavlovas n Mango Mascarpone Mousse - Daring Baker Challenge

The June 2010 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Dawn of Doable and Delicious. Dawn challenged the Daring Bakers’ to make Chocolate Pavlovas and Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse. The challenge recipe is based on a recipe from the book Chocolate Epiphany by Francois Payard.

Pavlova is a meringue-based dessert named after the Russian ballet dancer Ánna Pávlova, colloquially referred to as "pav", it is a cake similar to meringue with a crispy crust and soft, light inner. The dessert is believed to have been created to honour the dancer during or after one of her tours to Australia and New Zealand in the 1920s. Where it was created and the nationality of its creator has been a source of argument between the two nations for many years, but research indicates New Zealand as the source. The dessert is a popular dish and an important part of the national cuisine of both countries, and is frequently served during celebratory or holiday meals such as Christmas lunch. [Souce wikipedia]

Anna Pavlova was considered the greatest ballerina of her time and her visit to New Zealand has been described as "the chief event of 1926." It was said "She does not dance; she soars as though on wings." From this you get the sense that this is a light, airy dessert.

It was again that time of the month ,the posting date deadline of the challenge loomed thick n large, I had not gotten any preparation done.....Had read the recipe many times over on the daring bakers forum n thought, this is just too fantastical to achieve.... Like my friend Snigdha said 'I believe in signs.... signs from God'..... My sign was Nigella's show on TV, where she made the Passion Fruit Pavlova[couldn't get the video of that episode, here's another where she's making a pav] on Friday. I thought to myself, better get to this done on the weekend... Sticking to my determination, on Saturday, I made the Meringue and then went out to meet my college friends for a reunion after some 7 years of leaving college.... not that we don't meet up..... but this one had a lot more friends that the ones we would meet regularly.....
We had loads of Fun at 'Toast' in West Gate Mall, with Suryaveer singing for us our favorite songs and making the evening very lively....

On Sunday, I set about assembling the rest of the pav. The unbearable heat made this a very daunting task as I was workig with cream and eggs. The heat was making everything runny.....

Download printable .pdf file HERE
Recipe 1: Chocolate Meringue (for the chocolate Pavlova):

3 large egg whites
½ cup plus 1 tbsp (110 grams) white granulated sugar
¼ cup (30 grams) confectioner’s (icing) sugar
1/3 cup (30 grams) cocoa powder


1. Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 200º F (95º C) degrees. Line two baking sheets with silpat or parchment and set aside.

2. Put the egg whites in a bowl and whip until soft peaks form. Increase speed to high and gradually add granulated sugar about 1 tbsp at a time until stiff peaks form. (The whites should be firm but moist.)

3. Sift the confectioner’s sugar and cocoa powder over the egg whites and fold the dry ingredients into the white. (This looks like it will not happen. Fold gently and it will eventually come together.)

4. Fill a pastry bag with the meringue. Pipe the meringue into whatever shapes you desire. Alternatively, you could just free form your shapes and level them a bit with the back of a spoon. (Class made rounds, hearts, diamonds and an attempt at a clover was made!)

5. Bake for 2-3 hours until the meringues become dry and crisp. Cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Recipe 2: Chocolate Mascarpone Mousse (for the top of the Pavlova base):

1 ½ cups (355 mls) heavy cream (cream with a milk fat content of between 36 and 40 percent)
grated zest of 1 average sized lemon
9 ounces (255 grams) 72% chocolate, chopped
1 2/3 cups (390 mls) mascarpone (don't forget we made this a few months ago - get the printable .pdf HERE)
pinch of nutmeg
2 tbsp (30 mls) Grand Marnier (or orange juice)


1. Put ½ cup (120 mls) of the heavy cream and the lemon zest in a saucepan over medium high heat. Once warm, add the chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and let sit at room temperature until cool.

2. Place the mascarpone, the remaining cup of cream and nutmeg in a bowl. Whip on low for a minute until the mascarpone is loose. Add the Grand Marnier and whip on medium speed until it holds soft peaks. (DO NOT OVERBEAT AS THE MASCARPONE WILL BREAK.)

3. Mix about ¼ of the mascarpone mixture into the chocolate to lighten. Fold in the remaining mascarpone until well incorporated. Fill a pastry bag with the mousse. Again, you could just free form mousse on top of the pavlova.

Recipe 3: Mascarpone Cream (for drizzling):

1 recipe crème anglaise
½ cup (120 mls) mascarpone
2 tbsp (30 mls) Sambucca (optional)
½ cup (120 mls) heavy cream

1. Prepare the crème anglaise. Slowly whisk in the mascarpone and the Sambucca and let the mixture cool.
2. Put the cream in a bowl and beat with electric mixer until very soft peaks are formed.
3. Fold the cream into the mascarpone mixture.

Recipe 4: Crème Anglaise (a component of the Mascarpone Cream above):

1 cup (235 mls) whole milk
1 cup (235 mls) heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, split or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 large egg yolks
6 tbsp (75 grams) sugar

1. In a bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture turns pale yellow.

2. Combine the milk, cream and vanilla in a saucepan over medium high heat, bringing the mixture to a boil. Take off the heat.

3. Pour about ½ cup of the hot liquid into the yolk mixture, whisking constantly to keep from making scrambled eggs. Pour the yolk mixture into the pan with the remaining cream mixture and put the heat back on medium. Stir constantly with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens enough to lightly coat the back of a wooden spoon. DO NOT OVERCOOK.

4. Remove the mixture from the heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve into a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until the mixture is thoroughly chilled, about 2 hours or overnight.

Pipe the mousse onto the pavlovas and drizzle with the mascarpone cream over the top. Dust with confectioner’s sugar and fresh fruit if desired.

Changes I made:
3 eggs would have been a pav[pun intended :)] bit much :) Made it with 1 egg and scaled the recipe down accordingly.
Added a pinch of 'Crean of Tartar' to the meringue mixture for the crispy texture...
Summer is the season for Kind of Fruits M-A-N-G-O..... just had to flavor the mascarpone with Mango... topped with chocolate.
Instead of making 1 thick pavlova cake... did smaller shapes, hence got this thin crispy meringue.

Crispy meringue... would agreed with it being called a Forgotten dessert[only during cooking] and totally Un-Forgettable dessert while eating..... very yummy :)
Mango n Chocolate together was a nice fusion of flavors...
Crispy meringue + Smooth Mango + Chocolate topping = Will surely make it again....

Thanks for the wonderful challenge Dawn.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

19 Oriental Avenue, Shangri-La - An Awesome Tasting Table

Arpana and Ruchika from The Shangri-La invited me over to a tasting table at 19 Oriental Avenue, Shangri-La saying that Sid of Chef at Large had given them my reference. Would I come... oh yes, I certainly would. Arrived at the hotel and was greeted by ever smiling Arpana and Ruchika. They walked us thru the restaurant, which serves Thai, Chinese and Japanese cuisines and has a separate bar area with two private dining areas with a lovely view.
After being introduced to the other guests on the tasting table, we were served the appetizers Assorted Sushi platter, Assorted Sashimi Platter, Crispy duck roll, Som tam, Crispy mushroom, Honey Chilly sauce, Steamed Pokchoy & Mushroom Dumpling
The Duck Rolls with Hoisin sauce was something I just had to ask for more despite knowing I have a huge meal ahead of me....

This Sashimi [It is raw fish, or shellfish, usually served with wasabi and soya sauce] platter was presented with such style in a large yellow ceramic bowl, that it totally floored me..... The freshness, colour and visual presentation was excellent.

There was Salmon, Squid, Tuna, Octopus, Yellowtail, Scallop, Sea Urchin and much more as part of the platter...

This was dish was one on my favourites on the table.... :) It had Sid and me clicking away. However for full impact you'll have to visit them yourself... I don't think the pictures we took at doing justice to the awesomeness which was on display....

The next course was the Soup, we had Tum Yam ( Chicken/Vegetable) which somehow didn't quite catch my fancy... which however was caught by the bowl it was served in ....

The main course consisted of Lobster Golden Garlic Sauce (Chinese Signature), Seafood Bunkayaki ( Japanese Signature), Steamed Snapper with black bean sauce, Thai Black pepper chicken, Mix vegetable with mushroom and garlic, Mapo tofu Asparagus with garlic, Chilli and nut fried rice, Veg fried noodle.

I couldn't wait to dig in....

My plate was an amalgamation so many flavours that I had to go slow in order to savour all of them......

The lobster arrived and it made Sid n me stop eating to click lots of pictures.....

The Lobster Golden Garlic Sauce (Chinese Signature) was very Delicious...

We were eating with a varied range of people who ran websites, are consultants and food lovers like Sid and me.... It was motley crowd and after a bit the uneasiness disappears and we were chatting like we knew each other for a while... Food really crosses all barriers... :)

The Seafood Bunkayaki ( Japanese Signature) came right at the end...... I really wish it had come before i was so full.... However the fusion Miso-Mayo in it tasted quite unique....

It's presentation was really unique and had us floored....

Meeting the 3 Chefs was a great experience. Must thank them profusely for making us such a scrumptious meal....

The dessert was Green Tea Cheesecake with gari, sticky rice and mango.

The next dessert was a Creme Brulee....

Ruchika n I had a lovely time chatting up... Dining at the 19 Oriental Avenue, Shangri-La was indeed an enjoyable experience..... Would love to go back here again... Thank you for having me over.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sugarfree Cherry Brownies ~ Happy Birthday Radhika

Happy Birthday Radhika :)
Yeah you guessed it... She L-O-V-E-S Coffee... met her while doing my MBA.... She's such a lively person with an amazing sense of humour.

We've had a great time together over the years.....

The 5 of us have been quite a gang.... from left to right in the picture below... Surbhi, Rads, me, Shuchi n Kanika...

We celebrated her birthday at Hard Rock Cafe, while doing something she generally advised against... she says "Don't mix your drinks" yet we all mixed our drinks :)

Radhika's brief to me for the cake/dessert was LOW Sugar, NO Cream, Chocolatey for sure, Fruity [likes Cherries, Apricots n Peaches but not Mangoes]. So I set out to think of what can fit the bill...... 'Sugarfree Cherry Brownies' glazed with Chocolate and Peaches. We cut the brownie cake outside as Hard Rock didn't allow outside food....

These brownies had a comforting feel to them... a welcome break from fruity desserts... finally she could also eat chocolate without feeling very guilty...

Sugarfree Cherry Brownies

100 gms Chocolate
1 cup Flour (minus 1 heaped tsp)
1 heaped tsp Cocoa Powder
3/4 cup Baking Splenda
3/4 cup softened Butter
1 tsp Vanilla Essence
4 Eggs
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
2 table spoons Raspberry Conserve [no added sugar]
1 cup chopped n de-seeded Fresh Cherries + extra for decoration[optional]

1. Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees. Prepare the baking tray by linking with parchment paper {leave some hanging on the sides}
2. In a double boiler{over hot water} melt the chocolate and butter. Mix well till both are melted and incorporated.
3. Cool to slightly higher than room tempertature.
4. Stir in baking splenda and vanilla.
5. Stir in chopped cherries in the above mixture and let them sit for a bit. In the mean time beat the eggs.

6. Add lightly beaten eggs slowly to the above mixture, while mixing.
7. Stir in the sifted flour and salt. mix very lightly till incorporated.
8. Pour mixture evenly in the tray.
9. Garnish with cherries on top.
10. Bake in the pre-heated oven, reducing temperature to 180 degrees.
11. Bake for about 30-40 minutes till skewer come clean {this will not for a flaky crust like normal brownies as there is no sugar for browning.}

Read a helpful tip at about chopped cherries... "When you’re pitting cherries, it’s important that you dunk them into a bowl with sugar, to coat the exposed layer of the cherry. Pitted cherries brown pretty fast, and thought you can’t tell in cakes and pies, you can most certainly notice the brown tinge in a frozen yoghurt."
In my sugarfree brownies, had no such worries but you could find this tip handing while working with most fruits :)

For those of you who can eat sugar, Chocolate Espresso Brownies are some sinfully yummy brownies I made for Shuchi earlier on her birthday. Some of the pictures in this post are taken by Madhurima Sil, a colleague. You can view her collection of pictures at


Radhika says: Thanks for the yummy brownies. They made my birthday so much sweeter! may you always keep coming up with such yummilicious creations that make us feel like we tasted a peiece of heaven :) muuuaahhhhh

Sid Khullar: Delicious! Going to save one for morning coffee. Can't wait to try the ones with real sugar. Thank you.