Monday, October 3, 2016

Roasted Chicken and Vegetables Recipe

My ultimate dinner solution is one pot, and it rocks further if I don't have to lift a ladle for it, literally! I got inspired with this recipe I saw online, where you just bake your root vegetables, and chicken thighs together, and you have a complete dinner in 50 minutes!!

You know how baked potatoes, sweet potatoes, and carrots taste so divine? Imagine some sweet and caramelised onion and garlic. They give an amazing flavour to the whole ensemble. Also, pumpkin works well too, definitely a must-have ingredient in my next roast.

I had some chicken thighs, skin on, yes it works best with the skin on. The crackle you get, and the amount of juice or rather fat is just so favourful for the whole dish. I mixed the chicken with largely cut onion, garlic, potatoes, sweet potatoes and carrot. Then I seasoned with with balsamic vinegar, mixed dried herbs, salt, pepper and olive oil and let it marinate for 30 minutes. You can skip this part if you want. 

Bake this combo in a preheated oven at 220C for 50 minutes and you are done.

And there is one kid in my house that request for pizza, so I made a quick version with tortilla, pasta sauce, lotsa cheese and *drumrolls* baked sweet potatoes!! Total hit! He eats it with folded ala quesadilla... whatever rocks his boat.

In the meantime we were happy with the generously roasted chicken and vegetables. At first the whole pot seemed like over-crowded, but once its baked, it just reduces in size so much, and then you tell yourself you should have put more vegetables. And why not, definitely the next time I would!

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Birthdays And Memories

NanaG just celebrated his birthday with Daksh, accompanied by minion-grandkids!

With that many assistants, we could have lighted all of NanaG's birthday candles, they could blow it together, without NanaG losing breath.

I had to post this here, the boys in their new clothes for another night of entertainment at Club Med!

Our short vacations in the colder lands - cineplexes! #KabaliDaa

Mummy was feeling generous and she got them the rug with roads and such. It was a hit, they finally had a spot to arrange all their hot wheel toys, and then Jeev started bringing in his animals, saying, the people love animals so they'd like to have some. Needless to say, the duo fought soon after because the animal were crowding the streets.

National Day celebration, duo-cultural boys!

He said 'Amma look, I am a walking and talking house'

Engaging in water paiting with cousin Daksh.

Brotherly play, before the fight breaks out. 

The boys during their religious attempts, doing the haavan with the rest.

Who could resist a horse ride? Only Jeev, he was practically begging us not to put him on the horse, despite being the animal lover.

Last but not least, this boy has come a long way, from being toothless, to growing his first teeth, and now, its time to extract the teeth to make way for the new ones. And next year he will be donning the primary school uniform. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jeev And The Club 2016

Yes, both Sanju and Jeev love to go clubbing. They have loads of fun playing, eating, swimming, and more playing and lots of freeflow drinking at the club. It this the Club Med Cherating. Not just them, but us parents too, have loads of fun playing, eating, swimming and freeflow drinking. I think you get the gist by now.

Its two months now, we were at the Club Med Cherating (yet again!) celebrating this year's achievements, and Jeev's 5th birthday, in which, this time, he promised he will be join the Mini Club activities and come back with many many fun things done and learnt. Our last trip there was exactly a year ago.

Kids had tonnes of activities lined up at Mini Club, which also included a talent show, where they joined the other kids to perform for us parents. Other than that, it was lots of singing, dancing, playing in the sand and the pool. Complete memories and experience for them.

Someone made sand Ninja Turtle for the kids while we soaked in the beach water, jellyfish sighting, and staying far enough not to be stung.

While the kids were with friends at the Mini Club, we parents, just did absolutely nothing, soaking in the Zen infinity pool. Ah, bliss!

Also eating.

And drinking.

And Selfie-ing, which we do very very rarely.

The ultimate finale was surprising Jeev with his cake! But I think he kinda expected it after all the holiday hoo-haa. You know how it is.

The best part about Club Med is they have endless activities, or you just chill doing nothing, but eating and drinking. And at night, you dress up and join the night entertainment that keeps the whole family happy!

Needless to say, we all got back tanned from the holiday, rejuvenated, and already planning for the next Club Med getaway!

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Rava Uttapam and Coconut Coriander Chutney Recipe

You know the moment at the supermarket, you suddenly see an item and quickly grab it, thinking yes I will make it some day. And then you just wait for the some day to arrive. Monday comes, then Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and poof Sunday! The some day, never arrives. Ok, bad joke, I admit.

Moving on... So I had  bought this roasted suji, or semolina if you please, even known as rava, but I had not idea what to make of it. I could have made kesari, but it is something we get to get during festives. Then I thought of suji halwa, but again, so much of ghee, wonder if my hips would agree. I was toying with the idea of suji cake when I noticed, it won't work with roasted suji.

Luckily I remembered my one time experience having uttapam at this nice vegetarian restaurant in Singapore, like donkey years ago. Its so long that the donkey would have turned 10 years older by now. Somehow it took me a while to even recall back the name of the dish I had, I remembered I ate something so nice, but the name.. ufff it took days and some googling!

I remember it was almost like upma, but not quite it... and later it came right there on the google search for rava breakfast dishes... UTTAPAM! It has this distinct sour flavour, together with sauteed onion, and garlic thing going on, not to mention, some freshness of green chillis. Oh yes, it was just that.

When I searched for the recipes, I found several versions, but the one I liked the most was with yogurt, because, as I recall, it had a nice sour flavour. And the best part about it is, I do not have to ferment the batter a night before. And secondly, I could shower it with several colourful vegetables, and it will just enhance the flavour and goodness of it.

Here goes, my recipe, inspired from the Rava Uttapam Recipe here.

You need: 
For Uttapam:
1 cup rava
1 cup water
1/4 cup yogurt
1/4 tsp baking soda
some salt
Onion, diced
Green and red capsium, diced
Ginger, grated
Curry leaves
Green chilli, chopped
Salt and black pepper
For the Coconut coriander chutney:
A handful of coriander leaves
1 cup of grated coconut
1 green chilli
Mustard seeds
Dried chilli
Curry leaves

1) Mix the rava with water, baking soda and the yogurt. Mix it well, add more water if needed. Keep it aside for 30 minutes. 
2) After 30 mins, mix the onion, capsicum, ginger, chilli and curry leaves into the rava batter. Season with salt and pepper. 
3) Heat a non stick pan, spread good amount of ghee, and scoop one ladle of the batter on, spread it into a round shape. 

4) Let it cook for 5 mins, or till golden at the bottom.  
5) Do a little kungfu, or at least use a spatula to assist you in turning it to the other side. 

6) This much golden colour cooks and rava and ingredients well. Repeat the steps for the remaining batter. 
7) For the chutney, place the coconut, coriander, green chilli, salt, and some 1/2 cup of water in blender. Give it a nice blend and transfer into a dish. 
8) In a pan, heat some oil at low heat. Add the mustard seeds and dried chilli. Once its aromatic, add the curry leaves and after a quick stir turn off the heat. 
9) Pour the tempered spices into the blended mix, and give a stir.

You can also eat uttapam with some curry, as we did. Nevertheless, the tangy and freshly spicy chutney was a big hit, even with Sanju! I will let you in a secret, this chutney, goes awesome mixed with yogurt. Slurppp!!

Here is another feather in my hat, next step would be making sure my uttapams are perfectly round, or as mom says, my husband won't be so pleased.

Happy trying!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Briyani Version Of Nasi Pulut Kuning (Yellow Sticky Rice) In Rice Cooker

Yes, you have guessed it right, it has been pulut (glutionous rice) festival in the house since hubby had bought some good amount of it. I kind of got the push to finally get my hands fragrant experimenting with some different dishes.

I checked out some cooking groups, and surfed online for some nice recipes of making 'Nasi Pulut Kuning'. Mostly were involving the usual coconut milk and turmeric powder for the colour. But it wasn't enough, I knew I wanted more. 

I wanted to make something with slightly bit more flavour, some onion sautee, and maybe some spices. You really can't take the Indian out of me. Everything is about the onion and the sautee and spices baby! The same time I was rather earger to use the rice cooker to make the sticky rice, instead of the slow steaming. Some of the search results I found were promising with tips in using the rice cooker to make it.

Then it was back to the drawing board (aka Google), I tried all kinds of search keys but did not see anyone making briyani version of pulut rice before. I was disappointed for a short while, and then I told myself, I will take the plunge, risk it and see if it works. I did have my spice mixture for my simple briyani after all.

But before I went on, I had a slight doubt. I stopped and asked hubby 'Have you ever eaten nasi pulut kuning before?' I was relieved when he answered No... which meant, even if I screw it up with my briyani version, he would never realise it. And so the plan was on.

So the rule of the thumb was equal amounts of pulut rice with coconut milk plus water, as it tends to absorb less water. And since I soaked it overnight in water, I decided to go less. And I also had my pandan leaves standby.

My step by step recipe:

3 cups of pulut rice soaked overnight in water with turmeric powder and lemon juice
1.5 cups of coconut milk
1 cup of water
some pandan leaves
cumin and coriander powder, cinnamon stick
1 tbsp cooking oil

1) Soak the pulut rice overnight with some turmeric and lemon juice.

2) Strain the water away and set it aside.

3) Turn on the rice cooker with the pot, put 1tbsp of oil and heat it up. Sautee some diced onion.

4) Add the spices: cumin and coriander powder, cinnamon stick. Sautee till fragrant.

5) Add in the pulut rice, and give it a nice stir that its coated with the spices and oil

6) Add in the coconut milk and water. Season with salt and stir well.

7) Cook for 20 minutes or till cooked.

If your rice cooker is anything like mine, then it would keep turning off due to the lack of water. So I kept stirring it every 5 minutes, and to my surprise it was done in less than 20 minutes. Sure the grains are not as perfect as steaming, but it does work!

We had it with chicken rendang and some tempe fried masala style. Yes, masala again.

It has been an achievement of sorts when I was able to recreate something out of my own creativity... Masterchef, are you listening yet?

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Chocolate Molten Lava Cake Recipe

It is someone's special day today, and I wanted to bake a cake for him because 1) I always get nice feedback and compliments for my homemade cakes and 2) it's priceless as far as monetary value is concerned.

As Monday is a working day, I planned it earlier and wanted to bake on Sunday itself. As usual, my little minions (the boys) were more than happy to help. Usually they help me to mix, whisk, stir and in the end, they would lick spatulas and whisks then after.

After our lunch, we got going. I had all ingredients in order. Then I realised, all the 2 to 3 hours of work, kids will not get to eat any cake (because it is going to be saved for the next day). Suddenly I felt bad for them, then it came to me, why not whip out a lil extra for some sweet afternoon treat?!

I am a total fan of Sally's Baking Addiction blog, and I remember seeing a very drool-licious molten cake recipe there, and with all ingredients available, why not? Here is the original recipe however I am not keen on the peanut butter portion. I had my cooking chocolate ready as substitute. Also I reduced the egg yolks, took the risk and I must say I am proud to announce that it turned out all so swell and gooey runny goody!

Here is:

You need:
100 gm cooking chocolate
1/4 cup APF
1/4 cup sugar
6 squares of cooking choc
2 eggs
1/2 cup butter  

Method:1) Melt the butter and 100 gm cooking chocolate together. You can double boil or use the microwave.
2) Mix sugar and APF together, and pour into choc mixture. Give it a nice whisk.  Add 2 eggs and mix well. Sanju had dedicated himself into perfecting this.
3) Pour into 3 ramekins, prop 2 squares of choc in the center of each ramekin.
4) Bake at 220 for 20mins

You can turn it upside down onto a plate, have a scoop of ice cream over and savour it, or just dig into it like we did, gooey runny maddness!

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Longan Herbal Tea Recipe

I've always loved to order 'liang teh' or 'herbal tea' when dining at Chinese restaurants. Love the lightly sweet and honey-like aroma. The kids call it Coke for some reason. Sanju is always quick to grab and finish my cup of nicely iced liang teh, I always make sure I order one for each of us.

Been eager to try the recipe but it is kind of hard to imagine the kind of ingredients or herbs that went into it. In fact it sounded rather alien when I actually learned of it, via FB cooking group, thanks to a fellow group member who was kind enough to explain it via pictures.

Firstly you need Luo Han Guo, which looks like this:

Initially I was so puzzled, like where would I find anything like this? Maybe the traditional Chinese medicine shops, but during my routine trip to the market, I found this lying in front of me, with my other usual stuff, right in my favourite grocery store! How could I miss it? 

Then as the drink suggests, some dried longans, and they look like this:

These, again, were easy to find in my local store as well!

And then, some white/snow fungus:

It goes without saying, this white fungus, and the next rock sugar, were both easily found in my local store. I felt like I had won the lottery or something.

So I rushed home, brought 8cups of water to a boil. Added some pandan leaves.

I washed the ingredients (not the sugar yea) with water. Slightly broke the luo han guo, broke the white fungus into smaller bits and give them a nice soak. Once the water was boiling, in goes the luo han guo, dried longan, white fungus and the rock sugar. It took about 40-50 minutes of boil to get the white fungus and dried longan all nice and soft. Once the heat is off, you can take the luo han guo and pandan leaves out. Chill it before drinking!

As with any food, the hardest part is letting it cool down. It felt like ages. While it was cooling down I got some into my tumbler, put it into the fridge to expedite the process. And soon enough I found myself digging into ice cubes, and gulping down nice chugs of liang teh, that came with longan and white fungus to chew on!

This definitely beats the heat we are facing recently, thanks to El Nino. El no no, drink some luo han guo!

Images courtesy of Google Images

Wajik (Sweet Sticky Rice) Recipe

Sticky rice, or better known as 'pulut rice' is a Malaysian favourite. They make it sweet or savory. With brown sugar, palm sugar, turmeric or with soy sauce. You eat it white, blue, yellow or brown in color. No matter what color, what flavour, sticky rice is always a treat to your tongue.

My earliest introduction to wajik was by someone very close to my heart. It was our very very lovely and helpful neighbour who is a large part of my childhood (in fact, for all of us siblings). And top of kindness, she was the best cook I've known.  She could cook everything Malaysian, and Indian at that. Her wajik was just awesome and has fond memories for me. May God bless her soul, I know she must be looking down to us and being our guardian angel.

Recently when hubby had his business trip to the land of abundant rice, I got him to buy some pulut rice and this was my encouragement to start making and eating my own wajik!

Luckily for me, one of my friend had spammed my FB wall with this wajik recipe, which I longed to try. The thing with my schedule lately, experimenting inthe kitchen is something I don't have luxury of. But this time, I had to fork some time and effort out to savour mine and hubby's tummy!

Here goes:

You need:
500g pulut (soaked 3 hours or overnight)
300g palm sugar or brown sugar
500ml coconut milk
2tbsp sugar
some pandan leaves
some salt

In a sauce pan, bring all the ingredients (except pulut) to a boil. Strain it and remove the leaves. Mix with the washed and strained pulut. Steam for 30 to 40 minutes.

As I was such a noob, I soaked my pulut rice for 2 hours only, and it took longer to cook. In the future, I would prefer to soak it overnight. I did not have palm sugar, so I used brown sugar, and it worked great. The downside is that it does not have the deep brown color as you get with palm sugar. Next in the to-do list is to make out of palm sugar!


Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Holi Aaye Hai!

I just realised its been 2 months since I posted anything... freaking 2 long months?! To cut the void, I am going to post 2 Holi greetings that my daddy dearest created for Holi last week, and it does not get cuter than this!

Oh yes, my dad is a proud NanaG to 3 cheeky boys!

In the meantime, the boys have been doing a good job collecting this transformers figurines. Sure it gets tedious to make sure every small parts are accounted for, but the satisfaction of seeing them learn to transform the robots, is just priceless. 

Recently we were in Vung Tau, Vietnam, and they had the most lovely ensemble of marigold flowers of every types, so full and round like yummy laddus!

I might just share more pictures from our trip... Lets keep this blog going! Then the next time, cheers!

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Cheating Dahi (Yogurt) Vadai

Dahi Vadai are those normal plain vadai simply soaked in a well seasoned and tempered yogurt mixture. Growing up, my mom used to make these in large batches. Large enough for me to chill (the dahi vadai, not me) and savour them daily as I like. Sure I love those plain deep-fried vadai, but when it comes to being soaked in yogurt, it just goes up a notch!

I had a sudden crave for the vadai the other day, and the a sudden lightbulb moment. We have this stall run by this nice Aunty, making fresh and crispy vadais in our neighbourhood, and I asked myself, why not buy her vadai and do the yogurt portion by myself?! And I did just that!

I do remember the yogurt mixture mom used to make, but I just ran by her briefly to ensure I remembered it correctly. The best part, I had a fresh jar of yogurt cultured with fresh milk from the local dairy farm!

And here are I am documenting the steps, in case I forget!

Step 1:
Make a trip to the local vadai stall, buy as much as your stomach can contain. Rush home. Get the kids their snacks. In my case was currypuff. The boys were occupied a while

Step 2:
In a large bowl whisk yogurt with equal amount of water. Season with some salt and roasted cumin powder. Keep it aside

Step 4:
In a small pan, heat up some oil at low fire. Temper some curry leaves, cumin and mustard seeds. Turn off once frangrant.

Step 5:
Mix the tempered items into the yogurt and whisk well.

Step 6:
Place the fresh vadais into a bowl. Pour some warm over over it. And after a few minutes, drain the water. Pick individual vadais and squeeze gently to remove access water. You will notice the vadais would have expanded in size a little bit.

Step 7:
Carefully transfer the vadais into the yogurt mixture, one by one, carefully as not to break it. Make sure it is all soaked. Sprinkle some roasted cumin and paprika on it. Best to serve after 30 minutes or so. 

This method works perfectly if you want to fulfill your cravings without over-eating. And if you have a lovely vadai Aunty nearby!


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