Eggless fresh mango cheesecake


I was inspired for this desert by Dazzling Kitchen ,but felt it needed some tweaking to suit our family taste. I loved the idea of using Agar Agar as a binder and thickened yogurt instead of sour cream, it offered a very good contrast to the sweetness of the fresh,sweet mango puree. The original glaze was made of fresh, pureed mangoes, I used some mango preserves I found in the Asian market and simply warmed it with a little water to thin,tasted great.1 nine-inch spring form pan is the ideal size for this light, airy cheesecake.It is fresh and flavorful,perfect for those hot summer days.

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

CRUST

1 nine-inch springform pan

1  1/2 cups crushed digestive cookies, crushed

1/2 cup (1 stick unsalted, melted and cooled)

Combine crumbs and cooled melted butter. Press evenly into base of springform pan. Refrigerate for at least half and hour while you prepare the cheese cake filling.

FILLING

1 cup superfine sugar

1  1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt ( I used low-fat, still tasted great )

1 eight ounce pack room temperature cream cheese ( regular or low-fat )

1  1/2 cups water

3 tablespoons powdered Agar Agar

1 cup Fresh mango puree ( About 2 mangoes)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

Boil water and cook agar agar according to package details. Set aside.

Using a stand mixer fitted with a paddle beat the cream cheese with the Greek yogurt , while slowly adding the sugar. Beat just till combined.

Combine the mango puree with the salt,vanilla,and agar agar solution. Pour into the beaten cream cheese combination , just to combine. Scrape the bowl from bottom to top to combine well.

Pour onto cold crust. Tap on a solid surface to ensure there are no air bubbles . Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 8 hours.

Serve

Thai Crying Tiger Chicken


Today was our first really warm rainfree day of the season,so, of course, we had to grill . I had a super busy day and needed something with big impact and little effort,this was perfect. The Thais love their red-hot chilis,so, naturally the milder the sweeter the title. The hotter the sauce you prepare the more the tiger “roars”. So weeping tiger to crying tiger to howling tiger .My family enjoys medium heat ,so this is perfect. I serve this along with a fragrant coconut jasmine rice and some simple green beans  and cucumber…perfect for a summer day !

Serves 4

Photograph by Ashish Mahtani

1  1/2 lbs skinless boneless chicken filets

1/4 cup thin soy sauce

1 tablespoon Fish sauce

1/4 tsp white pepper powder

6 Kaffir lime leaves,shredded

Wash and dry the chicken filets. Place in a non reactive container and pour on the rest of the ingredients. Cover and allow to marinade for at least 1 hour . Grill over charcoal till done.

Dipping sauce

4 cloves garlic,grated

2 tablespoons or more of  chili paste or 15 red Thai chilis , pounded to a paste

Juice of 1 lime

1/8 cup fish sauce

1 to 2 tablespoons palm sugar

1/2  teaspoon ground coriander seed

1/4 tsp ground white pepper

Combine and serve alongside grilled chicken

Pinchitos Morunos ( small spicy Moorish Kebabs)


Tonight we decided to have family Tapas night for dinner . Pinchitos are Spain’s answer to the kebab,typically made with lamb or pork,but turkey or chicken could work too. Pinchito spice powder is sold on the internet, but a mild curry powder with the addition of Spanish paprika and a few other herbs and spices and you have a close replica. We included Patatas Bravas, Spanish garlic shrimp and cilantro rice, Spain right here in my kitchen !!!

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 lb lean pork,cut into small cubes

2 garlic cloves,finely chopped

2 tsp salt

1 tsp mild curry powder or Pinchito spice mixture

1/2 tsp ground coriander

1 tsp Spanish paprika

1/4 tsp dried thyme

Freshly ground black pepper

3 tbsp olive oil

1 tbps lemon juice

Bamboo skewers, soaked for half an hour.

Crush the garlic with the salt and work in the rest of the ingredients except the pork. Place pork in a non reactive dish and rub on the spice mixture . Cover and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours.

Skewer the meat onto the soaked skewers and place on hot grill,cook till done . Serve

Cilantro lime rice


This rice is so delicious,whether eaten in combination as a side dish or frankly on its own. My son loves this rice wrapped in a Burrito and I like this to accompany my Tapas, your choice,but it is delicious and very versatile to have around.

1 tbps good Spanish olive oil

1 cup long grain rice ( I used Basmati )

1  1/2 cups vegetable stock

salt to taste

4 tbps finely chopped fresh cilantro

Juice of one lime

1 to 2 serrano chilis, sliced lengthwise

2 cloves garlic,finely chopped

1 Bay leaf

Heat oil,stir in garlic and chilis, stir briefly.

Stir in rice and salt. Toss to coat each grain well. Pour in stock and bay leaf . Allow rice to cook and come to a full rolling boil,stirring occasionally.

Lowe heat and cover till all the liquid is absorbed. Off heat and allow rice to sit, covered for 10 minutes.

Remove lid and pour in lime juice and cilantro,stir gently. Serve.

Pork Satay with perfect peanut sauce


During the warmer spring months my family loves to spend time outdoors for various activities, especially grilling. Pork satay is a family favorite. I get my butcher to slice the meat as super thin as possible,then, once marinated,skewer the meat onto presoaked bamboo skewers and grill on a really hot flame of about 500*F. As you can see the family really loves slightly charred ,crisp satay, but you could easily flip them more frequently and,perhaps lower the heat if you prefer a less charred  satay. This recipe works on all kinds of meat, so do not feel compelled to use pork.

Serves 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

Adapted from Su-Mei-Yu

1 tbsp dry roasted cumin seed,ground

1 tbsp dry roasted coriander seed,ground

1 tsp dry roasted white pepper,ground

1 stalk lemongrass,green parts and hard outer leaves removed, minced

1 tsp turmeric powder

1 tsp sea salt

1 cup fresh unsweetened coconut cream

1  1/2 lbs meat of your choice,sliced super thin,then cut into strips

Bamboo skewers soaked in water

one 6 oz can pineapple juice

Vegetable oil spray

Perfect peanut sauce, for serving (recipe found on http://www.dolcedente.com)

In a medium bowl combine spices,salt,lemongrass and coconut cream,stir to blend. Add meat and stir to coat . Cover well and refrigerate for 1 to 24 hours. Bring to room temperature prior to grilling.

Thread meat onto skewers, place on a platter as you fire up the grill.

Dip each meat skewer into the can of pineapple juice, then spray the meat generously with vegetable spray . Lay the skewers close to one another, to keep the meat moist, on the grill and cook,turning frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes, until well done.

Serve alongside Perfect peanut sauce

Bukhara Grill Tandoori Mushrooms


Grilling is such a great method of cooking that frankly involves the whole family. As a vegetarian I am always looking for fun, tasty ways to prepare food for the grill and ” tandoori” is both flavorful and nutritious, in addition it is very appealing to look at ,so great for entertaining. I love these mushrooms from Bukhara Grill in NYC. They are so quick to prepare as they only require half an hour of marinating and about 8 minutes of grilling.

Adapted from Bukhara Grill , Manhattan

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1  2 inch piece peeled ginger,roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, peeled and roughly chopped

1 tsp salt,more to taste

1 tsp ground cumin

1 tsp red chili powder or hot paprika

1/2 tsp ground cumin

1/2 tsp white pepper

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice, from 2 lemons

2 tbsp vegetable oil

3/4 cup sour cream ( I just used Greek yogurt )

3 tbsp plain yogurt

12 oz cremini ,Portobello or other mushrooms trimmed

Place ginger,garlic,salt,cumin,chili powder,turmeric and white pepper in a food processor . Finely chop, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula . Add the lemon juice and 1 tbsp vegetable oil,and puree. Add the sour cream and yogurt, and pulse processor in short bursts,just to mix. Transfer marinade to a glass,ceramic or stainless steel mixing bowl.

Wipe mushrooms clean with damp paper towels. Stir mushrooms into the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

If using a tandoor,heat it to 500*F. If  using a grill or broiler,heat to high.

Thread mushrooms on bamboo or metal skewers. In tandoor, cook mushrooms until lightly browned on outside, 2 to 3 minutes . baste with 1 tbsp oil and continue cooking until golden brown and tender, 1 to 2 minutes more . if grilling or broiling, cook mushrooms until golden and tender, 3 to 4 minutes a side , 6 to 8 minutes total , basting with oil.

Eggless classic creme caramel


Recently a member of my prayer group was yearning for creme caramel.He too is a lacto vegetarian,meaning no animal products including eggs and gelatin . I created this for him and decided to put up the recipe so he can make it any time he is in the mood .

3 cup flan dish

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

2  1/4 cups half and half

1/4 cup sugar

3 teaspoons custard powder ( I use Bird’s )

1 vanilla bean,scraped

3 tsp Agar Agar powder

1/2 cup sugar for caramelising

Place the 1/2 cup sugar in a heavy bottomed pan on a medium flame till the sugar starts to turn golden . Watch this carefully as it can go from golden to burnt in seconds . Pour into mould and rotate the mould to spread the sugar evenly. Set aside.

Cook the agar agar in 3/4 cup of water until the agar agar dissolves . Boil for 1 minute . Off heat .

Mix custard in 1/2 cup of cold  half and half to dissolve.

Place the balance 1  1/4 cup half and half with the vanilla bean in a heavy bottom pan, stir in the  1/4 cup sugar and stir over medium heat to dissolve sugar . Bring to a boil and stir in the dissolved custard . Cook till the mixture is slightly thicken , about 1 to 2 minutes .

Add the agar agar to the custard , boil and cook for about 2 minutes . Off heat . Allow to cool for 5 minutes, stirring .

Pass through a strainer into the caramel coated mould . Once cool, cover and allow to set for several hours in the refrigerator .

To serve, loosen the sides with a knife and invert onto a serving platter .