Monday, November 6, 2017

Yoghurt rice(curd rice)



Before I proceed with today's dialogue, I need you to know that it began, complete with pictures, a month and a half ago. Those of you who have followed my recipe writing for the past 5 years know that I possess neither the multitasking skills nor the high diligence of a disciplined food blogger. So this is not much surprise to you...the same song, my anthem on repeat

It is a subject that has been on my mind waiting to get expelled onto screen, in, like, forever. That it has not reached blogger gates until today, is quite the anomaly because it's the dependable 30 minute rice that's, several days of the week, on my table, in my refrigerator, and packed for kid lunches. My keenness in getting it here, no matter how slow spanning it was, should be applauded. Don't you think?

Honestly, I wanted you to eat curd rice in October. Of course, it's November and I know the delay can be as much dismaying to myself as it is to you (I'm right, right?). Though, on the bright side, this is the best example of comfort food and I'm delivering it at the start of a season where we often desire comfort in our food, as well as everywhere else, more than any other time of the year. 

Yoghurt/curd rice, colloquially known, as thayir sadam ( tha-year saah-th-um) originally comes from a part of India that can claim bragging rights for paperiest dosa, the real indigenous lungi dance and a magnificent number of brilliant, technically skilled minds.

Creamy, white and seasoned just enough, it's the onepot meal, which is an entity all to itself, perhaps the stuff legends would beckon for if its versatility hadn't been played down so much. It may often be frowned upon and considered an afterthought of leftover dinner food and curdled milk, and perhaps, not so chic-ish as a thicked-on biriyani. Still, t.sadam can be made with as much love, devotion and foresight to take it from commonplace to regal in a matter of minutes.

Rice that gets all glo'd up before its transcendence is always a prescription for success. Yoghurt crescendos the performance, and despite its volume, turns the end into an incredibly light yet immensely satisfying meal. Where else can you find the dual feast advantage of gratifying tastebuds and cooling your tummy at the same time?

Some say yoghurt rice can find its Western world equivalent (starch+dairy) in macaroni and cheese, but I think the comparison might actually be a disservice (as much as I love the latter), in that the former's sharp tang and addictively savory nature can actually allow you to eat several servings in a single sitting without developing a sudden gluten/ dairy intolerance combined with an upset stomach (then again, this could just be me).

Experiment people. Thayir sadam is wonderful on it's own. But when strategically placed next to a sidecar curry, sadam turns astounding. Try it with beef. Try it with pork. Try it chicken. Try it with lentils and totally vegan

There it is. The gold at the end of the stupendous eats rainbow. And your ticket to scheduling into your routine menu a not-so routine thing at all. 

Wasn't it worth the wait?

 That it keeps well is one key feature of curd rice, even in inferno like temps I sit in. Packed at 5 am in a steel tiffin, it reaches perfect eatability criteria by noon.

 With fish curry, for which I need to give you a recipe. Soon.
Ingredients:
  • oil
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 small onion, chopped fine
  • 1 tsp ginger, minced
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers, diced
  • 1-2  dry red chiles, broken in half
  • 1 tsp masoor dal/orange lentils
  • 1 sprig curry leaves
  • 2 ½ c cooked white rice(I use basmati)
  • salt
  • 2 cups plain lowfat yoghurt
  • ½ cup milk
Directions:
  • Heat oil in a pan. Add mustard leaves, and onions, 
  • Saute onions until light brown and wilted.
  • Stir in ginger, jalapeno, red chiles. Stir to cook through.
  • Add masoor dal and allow to crisp up for about half a minute.
  • Add curry leaves.
  • Turn off heat.
  • Stir in rice and salt.  Combine well.
  • Whip yoghurt and milk together until you get a smooth consistency.
  • Stir yoghurt/milk mixture into seasoned rice thoroughly.
Notes:
  • You can mash the rice and yoghurt with a large spoon or ladle to give it a softer, creamier texture. 
The rice  I make most weeks, a regular feature, with eager leftover potential. The kind that changes a monotonous lunchpacking life.



Past Novembers~

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"And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the Lord, and I will be the glory in her midst.” Zechariah 2:5

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Banana cake with citrus cream cheese frosting

I don't know where to begin after such long hiatuses. Do I reintroduce myself?  Carry on like a month and three weeks did not, no way, go by and take a single script with it? Although, this could be a nonissue since I'm not writing a chapter book. Cooking how-tos in less than 400 words are kind of liberating. You throw your point across and hope at least a few catch. Though, let me tell you, it can be burdensome when my cook-photograph-blog-now list grows to unmanageable proportions, without getting offloaded somewhere. Still, I really do hope you miss our tete-a-tetes. Because I've missed you.

The indefinite search to satiate certain voids  cravings that need to be addressed yesterday, have you troll the web to find answers. In this case, I'm talking snacking dessert. I'd like to say, how wonderful it is to have an uncountable amount of midnightsnacks that aren't just meant for midnight. Goodies in-between meals, sometimes a meal on its own, are energy sources and ultimate mood enhancers. When you know not end from tail, of how your appetite//life will further set pace, and there is nothing more gratifying than a slice or three of cake. I'm telling you, your search should be productive when trying to fix unyielding obsessions. 

Tagged as the "Best Ever", today's banana cake is highlighted with 5 stars and a trail of almost two thousand reviews. Most were boasts, some lengthy essays, of everyone and their mother making BestEver their go-to cake/dessert/potluck recipe.  I was totally intrigued, reviewing these reviews, because it's this breed of testimonial that force you to climb out of hibernation and demand the same results from your own oven.


Like the gamut of banana desserts, it calls for overripe, spotted bananas, which I didn't have. Using the green stemmed/ semiripe/ones I like to eat, was definitely the most genius thing I've ever done(don't hold me to that). It yielded a terrifically different texture, tiny surprise bites inside soft moist crumb. The addition of buttermilk cuts in perfectly to nix any intimidating sweetness.

Moreover, it's exactly this genre of cake that makes cream cheese frosting its default enhancer. Two types of citrus peel jack the icing several notches, adding further freshness to the whole scene. 

Might I add, there isn't a statute of limitations on how you can pretty up this, or any cake, for that matter. And that should never be your excuse for not trying. 
Because we all have an inner pastry chef that's just screaming to come out. Don't we?

(Adapted from Food.com, now GeniusKitchen)
Ingredients:
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cup mashed bananas
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups cream cheese frosting
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 275°F
  • Grease two 9 inch circular cake pans.
  • Stir in the lemon juice with bananas. Keep aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda.
  • In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy,
  • Beat in eggs until mixture is pale and thick.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Gradually add in the flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, combining batter thoroughly.
  • Stir in bananas.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 1 hr to 1hr 15 minutes until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and place on a parchment covered plate directly in freezer for 30 minutes.
  • To frost, take cakes out of freezer and come to room temperature.
  • Frost with cream cheese frosting.
  • Top with walnuts
Cream cheese frosting recipe here. To this, I added 1 tsp orange zest and ½ tsp lemon zest.
To toast walnuts: Spread nuts on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in a 350° preheated oven until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.


Keeps well for up to 3 days, at room temperature. After that, refrigerate. 

2012~Napoleans
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His word. Never returns void~
"Then the Lord replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and not delay." Habakkuk 2:2,3