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Sunday, 24 November 2013

" Whipping up a batch of home made ice cream at home is never that easy without an ice cream maker. And its such a long process, I mean you gotta separate the yolks, boil the milk, make the custard try not to curdle it and the many times you will have to churn the ice cream!!! Blah! Blah! Blah! "

Wait...Not until you try this recipe! This is my first batch of home made ice cream and I have to confess, I never thought it was gonna be that easy. Or I would say "therapeutic"! 

Ok, so there are two ways in making an ice cream. One, the French Style and the other is The American Ice Cream also called Philadelphia Style Ice Cream. The Difference is that French Style Ice creams are made with eggs as their base so its thick, silkier and forms less or Zero ice crystals. Whereas it's American Cousin is made with just sugar, milk and cream making them a little-bit-lighter. 

After debating over French and the American, I finally decided to do it the French way. I have adapted the recipe STRAWBERRY SWIRL VANILLA ICE CREAM a.k.a Miss PINK CHEEKS (as I like to call it) from Food Wanderings. The post may look long, the process may look long but trust me...the entire making was an absolute ease. And I must tell you about the ice cream. One word...No More Store bought!!! Well that's four words actually, oopsie! It was THE perfect scoop of ice cream I have ever had. I didn't taste the egg at all, the texture was so smooth and silky, and ice crystals? What Ice Crystals??? 

Can you see the specks of Vanilla Bean?
This recipe is a definite keeper. 

Below are some great tips for home made ice cream by Shuli Madnick from Food Wanderings so make sure you click on the picture for those tips and tricks. 

Tip 1:

Picture Courtesy: Shuli Madnick from Food Wanderings

Tip 2:

Picture Courtesy: Shuli Madnick from Food Wanderings
Makes Approx 2 ltrs 
You Will Need:

500 ml of Whole Milk (I used a 3% Fat, but Nothing Less Than That)
400 ml of Whipping Cream (A Medium Fat Fresh Cream Will also Work Just Fine)
6 Egg Yolks
1 Vanilla Pod
A Cup of Caster Sugar
2 tsp of Vanilla Extract (Optional)

For Strawberry Purée:

1 1/2 Cups of Strawberries
3 - 4 tbsp of Caster Sugar

The Cooking:

Making the Strawberry Purée:

Cut the stems off the strawberries and thickly slice. Place in a bowl and sprinkle over the sugar. Mix well and let it sit in the fridge. Mix the strawberries few times till the sugar is dissolved. Blend it in a food processor and store in an air tight container in the fridge until needed. The purée can be smooth or a little chunky, however you like them. You can even make this a couple of days before.

Making the Vanilla Ice Cream Base:

Step 1:

Separate the eggs yolks and add the sugar. With an electric hand mixer, whisk the yolks and sugar together till its pale and fluffy.

Step 2:

Making the Crème Anglaise:

Split the vanilla pod and with the back of your knife scrap off the vanilla bean. In a heavy bottom sauce pan, pour the milk and mix in the vanilla bean and stick in the pods too. Stir the milk over medium low heat till the milk just begins to boil.

Take off heat and pour a ladle of milk into the egg and start whisking immediately. Pour in couple of more ladles of milk into the yolk mixture and keep whisking. This process is called TEMPERING. Its nothing but increasing the temperature of the eggs so that it won't curdle when you add it to the milk.

Now pour the tempered yolk mixture into the milk and place over low heat. With a heat proof spatula or a wooden spoon stir the custard constantly until it thickens. Make sure you reach all the way to the bottom of the sauce pan. This will take about 5 - 7 mins. To know when the custard is done, run your finger along the back of the wooden spoon or the spatula. If the path where your finger has travelled stays intact then its DONE. If it drips down and merges, let it cook for few more mins. This custard is called Crème Anglaise, a dessert on its own.

The Crème Anglaise must be cooled immediately. The fastest way to do it is to place the sauce pan over an ice bath and gently stir till the custard is completely cooled. Pass the custard through a fine sieve, just in case you have cooked the yolks. But there shouldn't be any, keep that in mind.

Step 3:

Pour the whipping cream into a bowl and with a electric hand mixer whip till it forms SOFT PEAKS. 

Step 4:

Now gently whisk the cream into the custard till everything is fully incorporated. And that's the Basic Vanilla ice cream made. Let this chill for few hours or overnight.

Step 5: Churn!!! 

Churning Using An Ice Cream Maker:

If you have an ice - cream maker, churn the chilled ice cream according to the manufacture's direction.

Don't Have an Ice Cream Maker?

If you don't have an ice cream maker (I Don't), once the ice cream base has been frozen for an hour or two process them in a food processor / stand mixer / electric hand mixer / a whisk. Freeze the ice cream for the second time for an hour or two and repeat the process. Freeze the ice for the third time and again repeat the process for the third time and freeze until before serving. And that's how you do it without an ice cream maker.

Note: I churned only a couple of time, yet it was unbelievably creamy!!!

Step 6: 

Making the Strawberry Swirl Vanilla Ice Cream:

The ice cream must be in a scoop-able soft serve consistency.  Place couple of scoops of ice cream in a storage container and pour a thin layer of strawberry purée. Top off with few more scoops of ice cream and continue the layering process till all the ice cream is layered up. With a knife gently swirl the ice cream layers. Freeze the ice cream for at least 4 hrs or until serving.

Allow the ice cream to thaw for few mins before serving. Dip ice cream scooper in cold or lukewarm water before scooping for a clean scoop.

Important Pointers:
  • Tempering the yolks before making the custard is very important and a must. Untempered yolks will curdle when added to the hot milk. 
  • You can also boil the milk and cream together. But whisking the cream till soft peaks and then adding it to the custard makes the ice cream more silkier and softer. 
  • Store the ice cream in an air tight container or tightly cover the top of the ice cream with foil. When frozen unwrapped the ice cream will pick up weird flavours from your freezer.

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Happy Scooping!!!


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

You give me a jug of this and I can drink it all day long, its such a favourite of mine! GAJAR KI KHEER or Carrot Kheer is such a delicious and easy to make Indian dessert. Its not only considered as a dessert. In fact, this kheer is good health drink too! Yep I just said a dessert is good for your health, now isn't that a good news?! 

The two main ingredients to make this kheer are carrots and milk. Am a fussy vegetable eater. There are only very few vegetables I like and I always insist them being prepared in a particular way. Carrots are one among them. I hate Carrots...either its raw or cooked! There is only two forms of carrots I love, one is Carrot Halwa and the other is this kheer. The water in which the carrots are cooked and its pulp everything goes into the kheer, so all the nutrients are kept intact. Milk is good source of calcium. And don't forget the nuts in the kheer, are all good for you. Now, isn't that kheer healthy? Gosh, of course not when you are on a diet!!! Go have your raw veggies and fruits, this is not for you! But pregnant women and fussy kids like me (well once I was a kid ;) can have this kheer in abundant. This dessert packed with all the essential vitamins, minerals, fibre, calcium and protein. 

My mom always adds saara paruppu / Chirongi Nuts, its her favourite. But I always filter the nuts through a sieve and just have plain kheer :D You can prepare this kheer beforehand and keep this chilled in fridge for couple of days.

Serves 4

You Will Need:

Approx. 1/2 kg of Carrot
A litre of Milk
1 1/2 Cups Sugar Approx. More or Less According to Your Liking
6 Cashew Nuts
4 Almonds, Not Blanched
3 Cardamom Pods / 1/2 tsp of Cardamom Powder
Few Saffron Strands, Optional
1/2 Cup of Chirongi Nuts / Saara Paruppu (Optional, Though I have not used it)

The Cooking:

Wash and peel the skin off the carrots and roughly chop them. In a pressure cooker place the chopped carrots and add a cup of water or till the carrots are almost submerged. Cook till one sound and take off heat. The carrots must be completely cooked. Once cooled, transfer the carrots along with the water to a blender and blend till smooth. Keep this aside.

In a mixer, grind together the cashew nuts, almonds and cardamom pods to a fine powder.

Gently boil the milk and add the puréed carrot. Whisk till everything is fully incorporated. Now add the sugar, cashew powder, saara paruppu and saffron strands. Bring it to a gentle boil and cook for couple of mins or till the kheer reaches the required consistency. If the kheer is too thick add little milk / water to thin it out.

Best served Chilled! 

  • You can also gently fry the saara paruppu in a tbsp of ghee till light brown and then add it to the kheer. 

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Happy Cooking!


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Vatha Kuzhambu is a South Indian Classic. Its a tangy and spicy curry that is traditionally prepared with Dry Manathakkali Vathal or Sundaikai Vathal. But since am a fan of neither, I have prepared KATHIRIKAI VATHA KUZHAMBU. I love the South Indian Thali that is served at hotels. Their vatha kuzhambu is just amazing. 

I have been searching for a recipe that is close to what is served at the hotels. And finally I found one from Sheena Babu's Kitchen (her recipe link is at the end of post). It was delish!!! So so close to the vatha kuzhambu served at hotels. 

Vatha Kuzhambu is best served with hot rice, Snake Gourd Kootu or any Gourd Kootu, Cabbage Poriyal and Appalams. They also taste yum with Dosa & Idly

Serves 3

You Will Need:

1 Large Eggplant, Cubed
6 -7 Whole Shallots, Peeled 
1 Medium Tomato, Chopped
A tsp of Red Chilli Powder
Lemon Sized Tamarind
Little Jaggery 
1/2 Cup of Gingelly Oil (I used less than this hence I didn't have much oil floating on top)
Salt to Taste

For Vatha Kuzhambu Masala:

1/2 Cup of Grated Coconut
2 tsp of Urad Dal
Tbsp of Coriander Seeds
Tsp of White Poppy Seeds
Tsp of Fenugreek Seeds
6 Dried Red Chillies
Tbsp of Gingelly Oil

For Tempering:

1/2 tsp of Mustard Seeds
3 Dried Red Chillies, broken
Tsp of Hing
Few Curry Leaves

The Cooking:

Soak the tamarind in 1/4 cup of water and extract thick pulp. Keep aside. 

Heat a pan with a tbsp of Gingelly oil and sauté the ingredients for vatha kuzhambu masala. Once the ingredients turn a light brown colour remove and let it cool. Then grind this to a slightly coarse paste.

Heat a kadai and add oil. Crackle mustard seeds, dried chillies, curry leaves and hing. Then add the shallots and sauté till the shallots are soft and translucent. Now add the chopped tomatoes, eggplant and red chilli powder. Sauté on high till the tomatoes become mushy. Now pour in the tamarind and jaggery. Cook this covered for further 5 - 7 mins on low heat. 

Now pour in the vatha kuzhambu masala and salt, stir well. Add a cup to cup & a half water depending on how thick you want the kuzhambu to be and bring the it to boil. Then set the heat on low and cook till the raw flavours of the masala has evaporated and oil starts to separate from the sides and top. The kuzhambu will also thicken lot at this stage. Check for salt, spice and sourness. Take off heat and serve with rice. 

Recipe Adapted from Sheenababu's Kitchen
Happy Cooking!


Tuesday, 12 November 2013

PALAK KOFTA CURRY is my third post on Palak. Because that's the only spinach I eat and don't be surprised if I post one more palak recipe ;) My previous posts were Palak Paneer and Palak Chicken where the curry is exactly the same. For this Palak Kofta Curry, I have simply taken the curry recipe from the Palak Paneer and the kofta recipe from my Malai Kofta Curry post. So I have not given any recipes or cooking instructions here since I have just brought together two recipes. So you can go back to those older posts for recipe and cooking instructions. 

Serves 3 - 4

That's mashed potatoes, chopped cashews, grated or crumbled paneer, garam masala, coriander leaves, cumin powder, salt and plain flour. 

The filling needs to be mixed well by hand. Adding plain flour will hold the filling together when shaping. Alternatively you can add a slice crumbled bread too.

Make balls from the fillings. 

I have dipped the kofta balls in corn flour and water mixture before deep frying. This holds the kofta together when frying and also adds a nice crunch to it.  

Don't they look gorgeous. Once deep fried let them sit on tissue paper to absorb any excess grease. I always make koftas in excess than I actually need. Because some tend to land in my tummy before it goes into the curry ;) 

Drop the koftas in the curry few mins before serving. Serve hot with roti or Naan

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Happy Cooking! 

Monday, 11 November 2013

BANANA CINNAMON SMOOTHIE is the simplest of all breakfasts on the go. Its healthy, delicious and packed with all nutrients to keep you going. This smoothie is packed with protein, vitamins, folic acid, calcium, dietary fibers and magnesium. Its such a quick fix when you don't have time to grab a bite and this makes a wonderful snack for pregnant women in fighting fatigue. 

I always use frozen banana and cold milk. What this does is it makes the smoothie super super thick!  

You Will Need:

1 Tall Glass of Milk
1 Ripe Banana
Pinch or Two Cinnamon Powder
1/2 tsp of Vanilla Extract
2 Tbsp of Sugar / Honey

The Cooking:

Add all the ingredients to a blender and blend till smooth and Enjoy!
Happy Cooking!

Go ahead and comment below how bad the photo looks!!! Somehow I actually never had this recipe in my blogging list and when I made this yesterday, I thought why I shouldn't share this recipe with you. Hence, I had to click the photo in a rumbling stomach. So recipe now and I promise to post a decent pic later :) 

AVASARA MOORE KUZHAMBU.... is nothing but tempered curd and its my most favourite South Indian kuzhambu / curry of all time. This is a quick version with just few ingredients and you don't have to worry if you don't have any vegetables around. It hardly takes 10 mins to make and its just delicious. Serve hot with rice, Urulai Varuval, Vazhakkai Varuval, Chicken Sukka, Fried Soya Chunks or any spicy fries or curry would go well on the side. 

You Will Need:

500g of Thick Curd
1/4 Cup of Water approx. depending on how thick the curd is
Tsp of Turmeric Powder
1 1/2 tsp of Ground Cumin
Salt to Taste
1 Large Onion, Finely Chopped / 10 Shallots, Finely Sliced 
2 Green Chillies, Finely Sliced
Tsp of Finely Chopped Ginger

For Tempering:

2 Tbsp of Oil
1/2 tsp of Mustard Seeds
1/2 Tsp of Cumin Seeds
Tsp of Hing
Couple of Dried Red Chillies, Broken
Few Curry Leaves

The Cooking:

In a bowl whisk together the curd, water, turmeric, ground cumin and salt. You can also use a blender to do this. Once its all well combined with no lumps, keep aside. 

Heat a kadai with oil. Crackle the mustard seeds, cumin seeds, curry leaves, dried red chillies and hing. Then add the chopped onions, green chillies and ginger. Sauté on medium low heat till the onions are just translucent. DO NOT BROWN the onions. Now take the kadai off heat and add the curd and stir. Again back on LOW HEAT and continuously stir the curd till it just heats up, for about 3 mins. 

Once the curd has begun to heat up take off heat and transfer immediately to a serving bowl. 


  • Once you add the curd keep the heat low at all time. Too much of heat will split the curd.
  • DO NOT boil the curry.
  • Transfer to serving bowl immediately after its done, because the heat from kadai will keep cooking the curd even after you take off heat. So the curry will split. 
  • Add water to dilute only thick curd. If your curd is already thin, water is not necessary. 

Happy Cooking!


Saturday, 9 November 2013

I love love KESAR BADAM MILK...This is one drink I just can't get enough. Its not only yummy but real healthy too! Almond / Badam milk is very nutritious. Its a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and omega 3 fatty acids. And pregnant women can drink it liberally. 

You Will Need:

A litre of Milk, Full Cream / Tonned 
12 Soaked Almonds, Ground to a Smooth Paste With Little Milk
1/4 tsp of Cardamom Powder
1/2 Cup of Sugar, More or Less According to Your Liking 
Pinch of Saffron Strands / Yellow Food Colour
Chopped Almonds and Pistachios, to Serve. 

The Cooking:

In a heavy bottom saucepan, boil the milk. Then add the ground almond paste and bring it to boil. Turn the flame down and let the almond paste continue to cook on a gently simmer. Probably around 10 mins. Now add the sugar and cardamom powder. Let it simmer again for another 5 - 7 mins. Then add the saffron strands and mix well. Serve Hot or Cold with Chopped Nuts! 
Happy Cooking!


Friday, 8 November 2013

PALAK PANEER is cottage cheese / paneer in creamy spinach gravy. The name of the dish is derived from the type of spinach that is used in this dish. I have to confess, this is the only way my mom was able to make me eat spinach. This recipe is hers and I follow it just the way she taught me. Its a very simple gravy to make. Except you need to keep few key points while cooking the spinach so that the colour is retained and at the same time the spinach is completely cooked (I hate raw taste of spinach in this gravy!) 

I also make Palak Chicken in the same way. Serve hot with roti or Naan

Serves 4
You Will Need:

200g of Paneer / Cottage Cheese, Cubed
500g of Palak Spinach, washed, stems cut off and roughly chopped
1 Medium Onion, Finelly Chopped
Onion Paste
1 tbsp Crushed Kasuri Methi
1 tsp of Garam Masala 
1 tsp of Cumin Powder
1.5 Cups of Whole / Tonned Milk 
Cream - 2 tbsp (Optional)
Salt to taste
3 - 4 tbsp Butter / Oil

Onion paste:
2 Medium Sized Onion, Diced
6 Cashew Nuts
3 Green Chilli 
5 Garlic Gloves
2 Inch Ginger 

The Cooking

Soak the cubed paneer in milk. That's what my mom does when preparing paneer for any gravy. It keeps the paneer soft. Many fry the paneer but I have always avoided that. Because the paneer tends to harden once the gravy cools. 

Boil a cup of water and blanch the Palak on medium heat for  5 - 7 min. Drain, run under cold water and squeeze excess water from the spinach and blend to a smooth purée. Keep Aside.

Heat little oil on a pan and sauté the onions, chilli, cashew, ginger and garlic till the onions are pink and translucent. Cool completely and grind to a smooth paste.

Now on a hot pan, add ghee / oil / butter and sauté the finely chopped onions till they turn golden brown and soft. Once that's done add the onion paste and kasuri methi. Keep sautéing the onion paste till they turn a golden brown colour and become non sticky., which means the onion will start to lump around and no more stick to the bottom. This would take few mins on high heat. 

Pour in the milk on low heat and stir till well combined. Add salt, cumin powder and garam masala. Add the cubed paneer and bring it to a gentle boil stirring occasionally. Once the gravy has thickened pour in the spinach purée and stir. 

Once the gravy begins to gently bubble, turn off heat and immediately transfer the gravy to a serving dish. 

Important Pointers:
  • Don't blanch the Palak more than 10 min. It will lose its colour.
  • Retain the water strained from the Palak  you can add it while blending the onion paste or you can pour it back in the gravy.
  • When adding kasuri methi crush them between your palms so that they don't hinder when eating. 
  • Palak must be added only in the end. Once added DO NOT cook the Palak for more than a min. It will lose its nice green colour and turn a tint brown. 
Happy Cooking!

MONSTER CHOCOLATE COOKIES...these were my Diwali treat to my family this year, they just loved it :) These cookies were monstrous I tell you, chewy and sooooooooo chocolaty!!! There is no way you can have two in a row, unless you are the Chocolate whisperer. These are just plain ones but of course you can add loads of chocolate chips, white or dark. It's a very easy cookies dough recipe which can be made in no time. 

The secret to a THICK COOKIE is COLD DOUGH. You need to chill this dough for at least 2 hrs and that's mandatory. Moreover this dough is really sticky. Its going to stick to your hands and you can't even think about multitasking. I kept the unbaked batch chilled throughout baking, so that they don't spread too much. So make balls of dough and place it on a lined baking tray and let it chill before you pop it into the oven. If the dough is too soft and sticky to work with then just chill for 30 mins.  And never place the cookie dough too close when baking. They are sure to spread and merge with each other. Give an inch & a half space when placing them and bake in a preheated oven, never cold. 

I actually used demerara sugar, yup in cookies and my cookies were a little crunchy because of the demerara sugar and chewy too. So the type of sugar you use gives different texture to the cookies. Demerara making it crunchy and brown sugar making it soft. The size and thickness of the cookie is also your choice, make them in any size you want.  

Make 16 Large Cookies

You Will Need:

1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter at Room Temperature
1/2 Cup Caster Sugar
1/2 Cup Light / Dark Brown Sugar
1 Whole Egg
1/2 Cup + 2 tbsp Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
A Cup of Plain Flour
A tsp of Baking Soda
A tsp of Vanilla Extract
2 tbsp Milk
Pinch of Salt

The Baking:

Cream the butter and both the sugar together until soft and fluffy for about 5 mins. Add the egg and vanilla and beat for another 2 mins. 

In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder. Now add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients tbsp at a time you don't want a flour storm around you ;) Beat well until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated. It is a very thick dough hence the milk to loosen it up a bit. So pour in the milk and beat one last time before covering it with a cling film and chill for AT-LEAST 2 hrs or overnight. 

Now preheat the oven at 180c. Meanwhile line a baking tray with parchment paper or foil (Shiny Side Up). With an ice cream scoop or with a tbsp, take 2 tbsp of dough and roll it into a ball and place them on the baking tray an inch & a half apart. 

Bake for 12 - 15 mins, it may look undone and very soft but remember it will harden a little once cooled. 
Cool over a wire rack and store them in tight containers and they will stay fresh upto a week. 

Recipe Adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction 

Also check out my old post on Martha Stewart's Tips on Baking Cookies, for tips on for baking No - Fail cookie.  
Happy Baking!



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