Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Walnut Cake

I have begun my hunt for Advent recipes. Unlike last year, where I was over come with sorrow because of the move, this year I am in high festive spirits and intend to prepare both Indian and German sweets for X'mas.

Imagine my surprise when leafing through the pages of the Good Housekeeping magazine, I found this recipe listed as a traditional Indian Christmas recipe. All the while I thought that the rich plum cake was the Indian traditional  recipe.  Anyway, I didn't bother to do further research on the topic and thought to myself "Well Mr. Walnut cake, I am not gonna wait for X'mas to bake you!! I am gonna bake and we are gonna eat you now!!! :D" Funny that I called a cake Mr. :)

Ingredients :
  • 250g unsalted butter
  • 250g sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 250g flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 300g walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 5 drops vanilla essence
  • 50g walnuts, halved

Method :

  1. Cream butter and sugar till fluffy. Add eggs one at a time and keep creaming.
  2. Sieve together flour and baking powder
  3. Fold chopped walnuts into the flour mixture. Add to the creamed butter and fold in. Add vanilla essence too.
  4. Line 8-inch cake tin with butter paper. Pour in batter. Arrange walnut halves on top(optional). Bake at 180 deg celsius till golden brown. Insert toothpick; if it comes out clean, cake is ready.
  5. You can replace walnuts with mixed nuts, or mixed/dried candied fruit and peels - spike them with some rum or brandy if you like. Line with butter paper when packing.

So, what do you think?  Does this qualify for an X'mas cake without the rum and spice???

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Chilly Chicken

Chilly Chicken.....this dish in itself transports me back to my childhood. Back then, we cousins always looked forward to travelling to Mandya (a small town 50 kms from Mysore). Our mom's elder sister, Aunty Crecy along with our cousins lived there. My aunt is an excellent cook and all of us had our favourite dishes which she would prepare just for us. One of them being chilly chicken!! I remember traveling in the rickety red KSRTC buses(i cannot imagine stepping into one now), a good 8 hour journey and all the way long we would just be talking and imagining digging into aunty's awesome preparation. Too bad I have no shots of us all surrounding the plates, digging into the chunks of soya marinated chicken, putting our parents to shame as though we had arrived from no man's land where there was not a morsel to eat!!!! :D

           Post marriage, hubby and I loved going out to eat. RR Restaurant on Church Street road, Bangalore was one of our favorite places to eat and guess which dish we loved the most......you are right!!! The only difference being the dish was prepared more so to suit the Andhra palette( I think there were more than 15 green chillies involved in the recipe!!!!). With each morsel we had to down a glass of water, but that never stopped us from wanting to eat more, always.....

Over a period of time, I happened to mention to a neighbor of mine about our fondness for the dish, and she said that she had one of the best recipes and that we would indeed love it. Her preparation was easy and quick to make. It also sounded like a combo of both my aunt's and RR preparation. And trust me, to this date it has been a family favorite especially Markie's who wouldn't mind eating it on a daily basis :D

Ingredients :

  1. 1 kg chicken cut into small pieces( I cut mine medium as I had no more patience to cut it further)
  2. 1/2 bunch of spring onions(both bulbs and greens)
  3. 8 green chillies slit( more can be used depending on the level of tolerance to spice) 
  4. 2 inch ginger finely chopped
  5. 3 tblsps soya sauce
  6. 1 tblsp tomato sauce
  7. 1/2 tsp pepper powder
  8. 1 tblsp cornflour dissolved in water
  9. salt to taste
  10. 5 tblsps oil.

Method :
  •  In an Indian kadai or chinese wok, heat the oil.
  • Drop in spring onions, green chillies and ginger and fry on a high flame for about 4-5 minutes.
  • Drop the chicken pieces and continue to fry on a high flame till colour changes. Be careful, not to burn.

  • On frying well, add the soya, tomato sauce and pepper powder. Stir well, till the sauce has completely coated all the chicken pieces. 

  • Cover and cook on a low flame till chicken is tender or well cooked. 
  • Before turning off the heat, add cornflour dissolved in water. Cook on a high flame for a minute or two, stirring continuously till the sauce thickens. 
  • Remove from heat.
  • Serve hot with fried rice or noodles.