July 14, 2014

Chicken in Cashew Nut Sauce

Cashews have always been my favorite ! Raw, roasted, toasted, in food :)  My mom used to hide cashews from me in the top shelves where I could not reach I remember .... Memories !! Recently when deciding to make a new dish,  found this recipe in  an Indian cookbook borrowed from our local library. I can never follow exact instructions aside baking recipes almost every time...Some creativity depending on mood and time brings in a little innovation for better or worse in my food :P This turned out perfect for a weekend indulgence dinner !! Yes, this is a rich dish...

Cashew chicken served on rice

Prep Time : 20 mins
Cooking Time : 30 mins
Serves : 4 -5

Ingredients :
  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 2 cups sliced onions (1 large one)
  • 4 ounces finely ground unsalted cashews ( I used roasted)
  • 1 tsp finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp finely grated garlic
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne
  •  1-2 tbsp unsalted butter
  •  1 lb chicken ( I used thighs with bone )
  • 1/2 cup whole or low fat yogurt whisked and at room temperature
  • salt to taste ( 1-2 tsp)
Method :
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in the medium skillet and fry the onion till well browned. Cool slightly and grind the onion with 1/4 cup of water, cashews,ginger, garlic and cayenne until it forms a smooth thick paste.
  • In a large saucepan, heat another tbsp oil and the butter.
  • Add cashew-onion paste and stir constantly over medium heat , stirring till sauce turns brown. This takes around 7 mins.
  • Thin out the sauce with the 1/2 cup water and stir in salt.
  • Add in chicken and turn to coat well with the sauce.
  • Simmer, covered over low heat for around 30 mins till cooked.
  • Add whisked yogurt .
  • Serve with hot rice or chapati .
Enjoy :)

Ajanta from Walnut Creek

July 7, 2014

Strawberry Mini Cup Cakes

      A recent indulgence in our local farmer's market led to a strawberry overstocked refrigerator at our place.  I decided to try a new recipe to make bite size desserts to bring to a friend's place.
Local Farmers Market 

Though there were unending options available,  I stuck to a very basic and easy recipe and made these mini cupcakes with butter cream frosting and they turned out to be really moist and tender. The mixing method was a little different ; the butter was cut into small pieces and then mixed with other dry ingredients to create a sandy texture. The recipe I found called for vanilla frosting but I added a strawberry to add onto the flavor .

Yields : 24 mini cupcakes
Prep Time : 15 mins for cake ;15 mins for frosting
Bake Time : 25 mins

Ingredients for Strawberry Cupcakes:
Butter cut into small pieces

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 5 tbsp butter, chilled and cut into small pieces
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup strawberry puree (~1 cup whole, fresh berries )

 Method :

  •  Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 24 cup mini muffin tin with paper liners or lightly grease.
  •  In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and pulse to combine. Add cold butter and pulse until it is cut into the flour mixture and no piece larger than a small pea remains.
  • Add in egg and strawberry puree and pulse until batter comes together.
  • Divide batter into prepared muffin cups.
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and tops spring back when lightly pressed.
  • For full size cupcakes, bake for 17-20 minutes.
  • Turn cupcakes out onto a wire rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before frosting.
    Make sure to always cool cakes before frosting
 Ingredients for Strawberry Buttercream frosting:

  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 -2 medium sized strawberries
  • 1 1/2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups confectioners’ sugar
 Method :

  • Beat together butter, milk and vanilla extract until well combined.
  •  Gradually blend in the confectioners’ sugar until buttercream  is thick, fluffy and spreadable.  

Enjoy Baking and sharing !!!

Ajanta from Walnut Creek