Eggless yogurt Almond coffee cake


My inspiration for this great coffee cake cake from Nita Mehta and ATK , one for the cake the other for the topping . Then I set about trying to figure out how to get more almond flavor in the cake , by switching some of the regular all purpose flour for almond meal . The topping is a mixture of sliced almonds , sugar and orange zest . This is just delicious and you simply cannot imagine the aroma wafting from the oven.

1 nine inch coffee cake

2 cups all purpose flour

1/4 cup almond flour

1  1/2 tsp baking powder

1 cup sugar

1 cup plain yogurt

1 tsp vanilla extract

zest of 1 small orange

TOPPING

1/4 cup sugar

zest of 1 small orange

1/2 sliced almonds

Mix the sugar and zest ,set aside for 2 minutes for the orange oils to release . Stir in the almonds . Divide mixture into 2 . set aside.

Sieve the flour and baking powder together , stir in the almond flour.

Beat sugar and butter till light and fluffy.

Add the yogurt , vanilla , and zest . Mix well .

Fold in the flour and almond mixture lightly so as not to deflate the batter .

pour half the batter into the greased pan. Top with half the almond mixture . Pour over the other half of the batter , smoothing the batter . Top with the balance almond mixture. Tap the pan on the counter top to deflate any air pockets .

Bake in a preheated 350*F oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean . Cool on a rack , remove after 5 minutes . Serve when cool .

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Prawns in Garlic Sauce


Prawns , commonly known as ( Jumbo ) shrimp , are a staple in my freezer . They are a quick , delectable  and easy to cook , making it just great for any weeknight dinner .  This sauce is a cross between Thai and Chinese with some Indian influence , ofcourse , as it comes from famed Indian chef and cookbook author , Nita Mehta. I did add some Sriracha hot sauce to the sauce as my family loves spicy food , I also added 2 tbs of sherry in the very end as a finishing touch to the dish.

Serves 6

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

12 prawns , shelled and deveined , tails intact

Oil for frying

MARINADE

1 egg lightly beaten

1 tsp salt

1/2 -1 tsp sugar

1/2 tsp MSG ( optional )

1 tsp vegetable oil

1/4 tsp ground pepper

1/4 cup cornflour

SAUCE

2 tbs garlic paste ( 10 to 20 flakes of garlic , crushed to a paste )

2 tbs oil

3 tsp soy sauce

2 tbs ketchup

1  1/4 tsp ground white pepper

3/4 tsp salt

2 tbs cornflour mixed with 1/2 cup water

1/4 tsp MSG ( optional )

2 tbs sherry ( optional )

1 tsp sriracha ( optional )

Beat egg lightly with salt , sugar , msg  , oil , pepper and cornflour.

Add prawns to this mixture , stir and leave to marinate for 30 minutes .

Heat plently of oil in wok . Drain off excess marinade from prawns and fry them for 2 to 3 minutes until golden .

Drain well and place on paper towel .

SAUCE

Heat oil and fry garlic on low heat till it starts to change its color.

Add ketchup , pepper , salt and soy sauce . Cook 1 minute .

Add sugar( and msg and sherry)Add water . Bring to a boil and simmer 2 minutes .

Add cornflour slurry , stirring all the time , until the sauce thickens . Remove from heat .

Add the fried prawns and heat through . Serve hot garnished with sliced spring onions.

Szechwan Pork


If you crave spicy hot Asian food , this is it . I have adapted this recipe from Nita Mehta , only because my family loves really spicy food ( I joke my kids were bore with bottles of hot sauce attached to their hips ! ) , and because I chose to use boneless pork , sliced really thin and deep fried till crisp. The original recipe called for pork ribs , cut into squares and boiled to cook , then marinated and deep fried . Both ways work well . I also added sichuan pepper corns for added heat , but this is purely optional .

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

2 lbs pork ribs , cut into 1 inch squares ( I used 1  1/2 lbs boneless pork loin , sliced thin.

MARINADE

2 tsp chopped ginger

3 tbs brown sugar

3 tbs soy sauce

2 tbs sherry

1/2 tsp five spice powder

1 cup oil for deep frying

SZECHWAN SAUCE

3 tbs oil

2 to 3dry red chillies , broken into bits

1 tbs sichuan peppercorns , optional

3 red peppers , chopped into 1/2 inch pieces

2 tsp chopped garlic

2 tsp chopped ginger

2 spring onions

2 tbs sugar

2 tbs sherry

5 tbs ketchup

5 tbs vinegar

Place ribs in a pan , add water, cover and bring to a boil . Cook for 30 minutes . Drain well . ( skip this step and go straight to the marinade and sliced pork if using pork loin ).

Combine marinade ingredients and add pork . Refridgerate for 2 hours .

Heat oil , deep fry pork until golden .drain well , keep aside.

Heat 3 tbs oil in a skillet .Add broken red chillis and sichuan peppercorn ( if using ). Add peppers , ginger , garlic and onion , stirfry on high heat for 1 to 2 minutes . ( the vegetables should still be firm ).

Add sherry , sugar , ketchup and vinegar . Simmer for 5 minutes .

Add pork , stirring to coat . Serve

Chicken in Hot Garlic Sauce


This is a very popular “Indian Chinese ” dish or more popularly known as Hakka Chinese cooking . Several Chinese settlers in India helped create this type of cooking , very popular in India till today . As in all Chinese cooking , the prep is where most of the cooking is concentrated , as , once everything is in place , the cooking goes really fast . Try it , it is a family favorite.

Nita Mehta

Serves 4

Photograph by Rahul Mahtani

1 lb boneless , skinless chicken breast

1 tbs chopped garlic

2 tsp red chilli paste or 1 tsp red chilli powder ( I like to use sriracha )

3 tbs ketchup

3/4 tsp salt , or to taste

1/4 tsp MSG ( optional)

2 cups chicken stock or water

1  1/2 tbs onions , finely chopped

2 tsp spring onions , finely chopped.

MARINADE

1 egg

3/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp MSG

1 tbs cornstarch

1 tbs oil

Cut the chicken breast into even sized pieces.

Marinade the chicken in all the ingredients of the marinade and keep aside.

Heat 4 Tbs oil in a wok and stir fry the chicken 3-4 minutes . Drain and keep aside.

To the oil remaining in the wok, add garlic and chili paste . When garlic changes color, add ketchup .

Add capsicum , onion and spring onion . Stir fry for 1 minute.

Add chicken . Stir fry and add salt , msg , suga ( just a pinch)  and stock or water. Boil . cook on low heat till chicken turns tender.

Dissolve cornstarchin 2 -3 tbs of water and add to the chicken . Thicken the sauce , stirring continously . Finish with vinegar , red chili sauce and soy sauce .

serve hot along with rice or noodles

Eggless Chocolate souffle


Nita Mehta is one of India’s premier cookbook writers. I love this eggless souffle recipe although to be truthful , delicious as it is, it tastes like a combination mousse /souffle. As it is eggless I am thrilled to come this close to a souffle. I have adapted this recipe to suit my taste.

Serves 4-5

2 cups whole milk

5 tablespoons sugar

3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsley

1 tablespoon cornflour

3 tablespoons cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoon coffee powder

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, whipped till fluffy

1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence

1 tsp gelatin

Mix cocoa and cornflour in 1/4 cup milk in a small bowl.

Boil the rest of the milk in a heavy bottomed sauceman. Add the cocoa and cornflour mixture, stirring continuously. Add the chocolate. Cook on low heat for 3-4 minutes till chocolate dissolves.

Add coffee powder and remove from heat.

Dissolve gelatine in a 1/4 cup of water on low heat

Stir gelatine into chocolate mixture. Transfer to a freezer proof dish and freeze briefly.

Remove from freezer and whip till light.

Whip cream with vanilla. Fold into chocolate custard, careful to retain volume.

Pour into a serving dish or individual serving glasses. Refridgerate till set.

Serve with whipped cream and chocolate shavings.