Saturday, March 31, 2012

Gajar (Carrot) Halwa

I like using baby carrots for this recipe because they're already peeled and since they're so small, can be cut in half before grating in the food processor. It's much easier than dealing with big carrots.

Serves: 6
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 30 minutes


1 pkg. baby carrots, cut in half
1 cup golden raisins
1 cup milk
1/2 tsp. saffron, crushed
1 pkg. Gits Kulfi Mix
Sugar to taste
1/4 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. ghee
Chopped almonds

  1. Process carrots in food processor.
  2. Over medium high heat, cook carrots, salt and raisins with milk until very little milk remains.
  3. Add saffron, Kulfi Mix, stir and taste for sweetness.  Add sugar according to taste.
  4. Cook the halwa until sugar dissolves and liquid evaporates.
  5. Stir in the ghee, garnish with almonds and serve either hot or chilled.
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Cutlets in Tomato Gravy - Turkey or Chicken Burgers

Cutlets in Tomato Gravy

The besan or chickpea flour in this recipe is used as a binding agent.  If that is not available, it can be replaced with 1/2 cup bread crumbs or 1/2 cup all-purpose flour.

Cutlets or Burgers

1 lb. ground chicken or turkey or roasted turkey breast
½ cup water
3 tsp. ginger and garlic paste
1 chopped onion
4 green chillies, chopped
2 Tbsp. chopped coriander leaves
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. pepper
1 beaten egg
½ cup besan (chickpea flour)
Pam olive oil spray or 1 Tbsp. vegetable oil

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Put ground chicken, onions, green chillies, salt and water in a pan over high heat. 
  3. After water evaporates, remove from heat & add rest of ingredients except oil. 
  4. Mix and set aside for 1-2 hours.
  5. Grease a cookie sheet with oil.
  6. Make 10 cutlets from the mixture, place on cookie sheet and bake at 400°F for 10 minutes on each side.  

Tomato Gravy

2 lb. ripe tomatoes, chopped or 6 oz. can Hunt’s tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 small onion, chopped
3 green chillies, chopped
1 tsp. chilli powder
small piece of ginger, chopped
1 tsp. flour
1 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. vinegar
Salt to taste

  1. Put tomatoes, water, onion, ginger, green chillies and salt in a pan and place on high heat.
  2. When tomatoes are cooked, process in a blender.  
  3. Heat oil, add flour and chili powder and stir.
  4. Cool slightly, add tomato juice and bring to a boil.
  5. Add vinegar, sugar and salt to taste.
  6. Spoon sauce over cutlets and serve.
I started with 1 lb. leftover roasted turkey breast
Chopped into bite-sized pieces
Processed in the food processor
 with a variety of ingredients and formed into patties

Baked at 400F for 10 minutes on each side

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Nepali Alu Dum

Nepali Alu Dum

1 lb. baby potatoes
1 Tbsp. chilli paste, or to taste
1 Tbsp. ginger paste
½ tsp. Kalonji/Kalo Jeera
½ tsp. turmeric powder
½ tsp. red chilli powder, or to taste
2 tsp. Kashmiri Mirch or paprika
1 large onion, chopped
Chopped cilantro (optional)


  1. Cut potatoes in half; boil for 15 minutes and drain, reserving water.
  2. Heat oil in a pan and fry kalonji till the seeds sputter.
  3. Add chopped onion and fry until onions turn translucent.  Do not brown the onions.
  4. Stir in chilli paste, salt, turmeric, chilli powder & paprika and stir-fry for a minute on low flame.
  5. Add ginger paste and some of the reserved water, bring to a boil and add potato.
  6. Add more of the reserved water, depending on how much gravy is desired and cook until potatoes are fork-tender.
  7. Garnish with cilantro, if desired, and serve.

To cut back on the heat, I made my own chilli paste using 2 red peppers and 2 fresh red (Thai) chillies.  First deseed and quarter the red peppers.  Blanch in boiling water for 2 minutes and leave in hot water for 2 minutes.  Drain, remove the skin and puree along with the 2 fresh chillies.  I also substituted paprika for the chilli powder.

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Friday, March 30, 2012

Caramel Custard

Caramel Custard or Flan
This is the easiest method I know for making caramel custard, also known as flan in Spanish or crème brûlèe in French. The texture of this pudding is firm and smooth and it tastes heavenly! 

The ramekins filled with custard should be placed in a bain marie (ban-mah-REE). This is a fancy term for a hot water bath used in cooking delicate foods like custards, cheesecakes or terrines. The hot water creates a gentle and uniform heat around the ramekins. Find a baking dish with high sides that will hold the six ramekins. A roasting pan or casserole dish works well. First pre-heat the oven, heat 1½ cups of water, pull out one of the oven racks and place the pan on the rack. Pour hot water into the pan, carefully arrange the ramekins in the pan, making sure the water comes only half-way up the sides of the ramekins. Gently push the oven rack back in place, shut the oven door and the puddings are now ready to be baked.

After baking, remove the ramekins from the bain marie and wipe off the water from the bottom and sides of the ramekins. It is best to chill this pudding in the refrigerator overnight but if there's not enough time, allow to chill for at least 3 hours.  

   ½ cup sugar
   ½ cup water
   4 eggs
   1 (14 oz.) can Carnation Evaporated Milk
   1 (10 oz.) can Eagle Condensed Milk
   1 (8 oz.) cup fat-free ½ & ½ or milk
   1 tsp. Vanilla extract
   Raisins (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F.
  2. in a small saucepan, simmer sugar & water until caramelized.
  3. Divide caramel between 6 ramekins and set aside to cool.
  4. Beat eggs and combine with remaining custard ingredients.
  5. Stir thoroughly until mixture is smooth & pour into six prepared ramekins.
  6. Prepare roasting pan as outlined above and place ramekins in it.
  7. Bake at  300°F for an hour until set and center jiggles slightly.
  8. Refrigerate overnight and invert onto dessert plates to serve.
Notes: To darken color of caramel, add 1 tsp. instant coffee to caramel ingredients before simmering.

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Rasgollah Payesh or Rasmalai

This Bengali dessert is delicious and requires only 3 ingredients!  It is made with cheese dumplings that are soaked overnight in sweet cream.

Rasgollah Payesh

1 can Haldiram rasgollahs (15 or more per can)
2 cups whole milk
1 pkg. Gits Kulfi mix

  1. Remove rasgollahs from can, squeezing out all syrup.  Discard syrup.
  2. Place rasgollahs in a serving dish.
  3. Bring milk to a boil.
  4. Add Kulfi mix, stir until dissolved  and allow to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Pour milk over rasgollahs in serving dish and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Savoury Bread Pudding

Savoury Bread Pudding

Serves: 4
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Baking Time: 30 minutes

Pam non-stick cooking spray
4 eggs
½ tsp. salt 
¼ tsp. pepper 
2 cups cubed day-old bread
6 broccoli florets, blanched & chopped
1 small onion, chopped
6 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
6 stalks cilantro, chopped
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter, melted
1 Tbsp. grated cheese

1.Preheat oven to 375°F and spray baking dish with Pam.
2.In a mixing bowl, beat eggs with pepper and 1/8 tsp. salt.
3.In prepared pan, layer ingredients as follows:
   a.1 cup cubed bread, sprinkled with 1/8 tsp. salt
   b.Broccoli, sprinkled with 1/8 tsp. salt
   c.Half the onion, tomatoes, pepper & cilantro
   d.Remaining cubed bread, sprinkled with 1/8 tsp. salt
   e.Remaining onion, tomatoes and pepper
4.Pour beaten eggs over the top, making sure bread cubes are submerged.
5.Pour melted butter over top & set aside for 15 minutes.
6.Bake at 375°F for 15 minutes, turn the pan & bake another 15 minutes.
7.Sprinkle grated cheese over the top.
8.Let stand 5 minutes before serving to allow cheese to melt.

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Vermicelli Upma

Vermicelli Upma

1 cup vermicelli (semia)
3+1 Tbsps. extra-light olive oil
¼ tsp. fenugreek seeds (methi)
¼ tsp. black mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
5-6 curry leaves
1 large onion, chopped
1 tsp. ginger paste or 1” ginger, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 pkg. Bird’s Eye frozen vegetables for soup
2 cups hot water
½ tsp. sugar
Salt to taste
1 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped
1 tsp. ghee

  1. Heat 1 Tbsp. oil in pan over high heat, brown vermicelli and set aside.
  2. Heat remaining oil over high heat.
  3. Fry fenugreek and mustard seeds, bay leaf and curry leaves until the seeds begin to sputter.
  4. Add onions, jalapeno and ginger paste and fry till onions turn translucent.
  5. Add frozen vegetables and stir well.
  6. Add browned vermicelli, stir until combined with vegetables.
  7. Add hot water and sugar to contents in pan, adjust salt to taste and cook until water evaporates.
  8. Garnish with cilantro, dot with ghee and serve.

Chili Jam

Chilli Jam

Total Time: 2 hr 15 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 1 hr 0 min
Cook: 1 hr 0 min
Yield: 4 (14-oz.) jars
Level: Easy

Add as much red hot chilies as you can handle. I used more bell peppers because my family can't stand too much heat. 

15-20 red hot chili peppers, halved and seeded
2 yellow bell peppers, halved and seeded
4 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
2 cups apple cider vinegar
3 cups sugar (or to taste)

  1. In a saucepan, combine chili peppers, red bell peppers, and apple cider vinegar.
  2. Cover and cook for about 20 minutes or until the peppers have softened.
  3. Drain and transfer peppers to a blender, puree and strain through a sieve to remove skin.
  4. In a saucepan over medium heat, add pepper puree and sugar.
  5. Stir until sugar has dissolved and cook for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove from heat when the mixture reaches a jam consistency.
  7. Allow to cool and transfer into jars.
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Spaghetti & Meatballs

Spaghetti & Meatballs

Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Inactive Prep: None
Cook: 2 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy


20 frozen Armor meatballs
1 (10-3/4 oz.) can Campbell's Tomato Soup
1 (6 oz.) can Hunts Tomato Sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 tsp. McCormick's Italian Seasoning
1/2 tsp. sugar
3 servings angel hair pasta

  1. Bring 8 cups water to a boil, add salt and cook pasta until al dente.  Drain and set aside.
  2. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except pasta.
  3. Bring meatballs and sauce to a boil; cook for 25 minutes.
  4. Serve pasta with meatballs and sauce.
  5. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese, if desired.
Notes:  For a great meatball recipe visit  Also includes recipes for Chicken and Pork meatballs.

Chilli Chicken

Chili Chicken 

Total Time: 30 minutes
Prep: 10 minutes
Inactive Prep: 10 minutes                                   
Cook: 10 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
Level: Easy


1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs
2 Tbsp. Kraft Ginger Sesame Marinade*
1 tsp. sesame oil
2 jalapeno peppers, cut in rounds (or more to taste)
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 onion, sliced
1/2 pkg. sliced mushrooms
1 green pepper, sliced
1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 bunch green onions for garnish
Salt to taste

  1. Cut chicken into bite-size pieces.
  2. Marinate chicken in ginger sesame marinade and sesame oil for 10 minutes.
  3. Heat vegetable oil over high heat and stir fry jalapeno peppers until they soften slightly.  Set aside.
  4. In same oil, fry onion and garlic until translucent.
  5. Add chicken and stir-fry for 5 minutes, or until no longer pink.
  6. Add mushrooms and green peppers and stir-fry for 3 minutes.
  7. Add sweet chili sauce and reserved jalapeno peppers.
  8. Adjust salt to taste and continue stir-frying for 2 minutes.
  9. Garnish with green onions, cut into inch-long pieces.
  10. Serve over steamed white rice.
* To make your own Sesame Ginger Marinade, combine 2 Tbsp. soya sauce, 1 tsp. dark sesame oil, 1/2 tsp. toasted sesame seeds, 1 tsp. ginger paste, 1/2 tsp. garlic paste, 1 Tbsp. orange juice, 1/2 tsp. sugar and 1 tsp. corn starch.

Quick & Easy Fried Rice With Bacon And Peas

Fried Rice with Bacon & Peas
Left over white/steamed rice, unless cooked at home, usually turns hard and inedible the next day.  I usually freeze the left over rice in Ziploc bags until I'm ready to turn it into fried rice.


2 cups cold cooked white rice (preferably short-grain sticky rice)
1 Tbsp. dark roasted sesame oil
2 tsp. dark soy sauce
3 Tbsp. light soy sauce
4-5 slices bacon
2 Tbsp. vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
1 Tbsp. butter
1 large egg, beaten with salt & pepper
1 cup peas
2-3 stalks green onion, chopped

  1. Remove all lumps from the rice with your fingers.
  2. Pour sesame oil and soy sauces on rice and mix until rice is coated well.  Set aside. 
  3. Fry bacon until crispy.  Remove bacon, crumble and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, heat vegetable oil and saute onion and garlic until translucent.
  5. Add rice and crumbled bacon to pan and toss.
  6. Make a well in the center of the rice and melt butter in well.
  7. Add beaten egg.  When it begins to set, combine it with the rice.
  8. Stir frozen peas into rice and garnish with green onions.
  9. Serve immediately.