Cranberry and Black Raisin Dark Chocolate Brownies

It was a quiet weekend. So I made a batch of brownies. February is here but still the sun sets early. Winter isn’t going away anytime soon. This batch had a flaky surface due to a little more butter I used this time.

DSCN7022 - Copy

Cranberry and Black Raisin Dark Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter: 1/2 cup

Granulated sugar: 3/4 cup, powdered

Large egg: 1(at room temperature)

Canola oil: 1 tbsp

Almond extract: 1 tsp

70% cocoa containing dark chocolate bar: 2 squares,approx. 1.5 inches,chopped into chunks

All-purpose flour: 1 cup

Cocoa powder: 1/2 cup

Baking soda: 1/2 tsp

Dried cranberries: 1/2 cup

Dried black raisins: 1/4 cup, deseeded

Salt: 1/2 tsp

DSCN7020 - Copy - Copy

Method:

Take a mixing bowl add melted butter,sugar and mix with a hand blender.Add the almond extract and oil to it and mix well.To this add the egg ( well beaten beforehand ) and your wet mixture is ready.Now in a separate bowl sift the flour and to it add the cocoa powder,baking soda and salt.To the wet mixture add a little amount of the dry mix and blend until all of the dry mix is incorporated in the wet mix. While mixing add the dried cranberries and black raisins.

On a chopping board chop the dark chocolate and add the pieces in the batter.Mix well.Pour the batter into a greased square baking tin.Put it in a pre-heated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 160 degree C. Once you prick the brownie with a needle ( I use an old knitting needle ) and it comes out clean without any batter it is done.Take out the baking tin and let the brownie cool.Cut into squares. I served it with fresh strawberries.

This recipe yields 9 brownies.

DSCN7022 - Copy - Copy

Holy Shit ! Chicken Fried Rice

I am back after a long hiatus. Spent the better part of last year reading quite a lot and cooking too but never had much time to blog. Fried rice inspired by Kylie Kwong’s recipe.

DSCN7001

Holy Shit ! Chicken Fried Rice

Ingredients:

Cooked short  grained rice : 2 cups ( Preferably one day old )

Carrot : 1, chopped finely

Green bell pepper : 1, medium chopped finely

Red cabbage : 1/2 , small sized chopped finely

Yellow bell pepper : 1, medium chopped finely

Onion: 1/2, chopped finely

Garlic : 6 cloves, chopped finely

Ginger : 1/2 inch, chopped finely

Red and green chili: 1 each, chopped

Chicken : 1/2 cup, diced into bite sized

Egg: 1

Oil: For frying

Salt

Cracked black pepper

Soy sauce : 1 tsp

Rice wine vinegar : 2 tsp

Method: 

In a hot wok heat some oil and when it begins to shimmer on the surface crack the egg and put it in the wok. Scramble it and cook it till the eggs are done. Cut the fried egg in smaller pieces and set it aside from the wok. Clean the wok and add some more oil. To this add the garlic,ginger and onion. Saute for two minutes until the onion turns translucent. To this add the chicken pieces and fry at medium heat. When the chicken is beginning to change its color and harden you know it is done.

Next add all the vegetables to it and stir fry. Add soy sauce and vinegar and season well. Increase the flame to high and fry until the carrots are cooked but firm. Add the fried eggs and chicken to the mix and stir.  Add the cooked rice to it and cook for three more minutes.

Serve with Tso’s chicken or orange chicken. But you can just finish it up without a side dish. It is that good !

DSCN7007 - Copy

Mouth-Numbing Fried Chicken

Chilli. Lots and lots of chilli. And fried chicken. Unadulterated fried chicken. Calories and heat and lip-smacking flavors in every bite of it is what I give you all today in the post.

CAUTION: Heat barometer readings extremely high.Though nothing to lose having chillies once in a while in its full galore.

So presenting the Asian-inspired no-nonsense fried chicken of this Sunday.Did I mention it has been raining all day today?

DSCN4578 - Copy

Mouth-Numbing Fried Chicken

Ingredients:

Chicken : 10 bite-sized pieces

Cornflour: 2 tbsp

Black pepper: 2 tsp,powder

Red chilli flakes: 3 tsp

Dark soy sauce: 1 tsp

Hoisin sauce: 2 tsp

Rice vinegar: 2 tsp

Salt

Fresh red chilli: 1/2,sliced,for garnishing

Canola oil: 3 tbsp,for frying

DSCN4565

Method:

Take the chicken pieces in a bowl and add cornflour,salt,black pepper,red chilli flakes,soy sauce,hoisin sauce and vinegar.Mix well so as to cover all the pieces with the marinade well.Ensure that your hands are safe from the chilli heat.I do it with my bare hands but you can use kitchen gloves for this.Cover the bowl and leave it for 30 minutes.

After the chicken has been marinated take a skillet and pour oil in it.Keep the heat on medium and meanwhile in a small plate take some cornflour,black pepper powder and red chilli flakes and mix well.Take each marinated chicken piece and roll it in the dry cornflour mix to coat well and then fry it in oil.Put all the pieces in hot oil at once.Fry each side for 3 minutes and take them out when they are rich golden-red in color with crisp skin.Drain the excess oil off the fried chicken on kitchen tissue.Serve in a bowl with sliced red chillis.

DSCN4575 - Copy

I served it with sweet and sour green mango chutney.I definitely recommend this as the sweet and sour tang of the chutney amalgamates the fiery red chilli flavors of the chicken.

Happy weekend everyone!

DSCN4570 - Copy

Kung Pao Noodles

Who would have thought peanuts and chicken would become one of the most famous take-out stars of Chinese-American culinary fusions and Kung Pao rules for that matter. The authentic Sichuan Kung Pao Chicken (宫保鸡丁) or Gong Bao Ji Ding made with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns has been heavily improvised (modernized would be the correct term here) by adding vegetables,sweet sauces,other condiments,nuts etc. catering to tastes of different people from different countries.

I made my own version of Kung Pao noodles sans chicken.The power of peanuts and Sichuan peppercorns.

DSCN4447

Kung Pao Noodles

Ingredients:

Hokkien noodles: 1 cup,uncooked

Canola oil: 2 tbsp

Dark soy sauce: 1 tsp

Light soy sauce: 1/2 tbsp

Green onion: 1 medium,sliced

Green bell pepper: 1 medium, julienned

Dried red chillis: 2,halved

Fresh ginger: 1/2 inch, julienned

Garlic : 2 cloves,chopped finely

Scallion: 1 stalk,chopped

Sugar: 1/2 tsp

Black vinegar: 1 tsp

Peanuts: 2 tbsp(I used plain peanuts,but you can always used roasted)

Salt (adjust the salt keeping in mind the soy sauces you are adding)

DSCN4448

Method:

Boil the noodles in a pot of water as per packet instructions,drain and keep them aside .For the sauce mix both the soy sauces,sugar,salt and vinegar and whisk until the sugar is dissolved. In a wok put one tablespoon of oil and add the red chillies to it.When they start to give away the aroma take out the chillies and put it on a kitchen tissue to soak the excess oil.To the hot wok add the rest of the oil and to it add the ginger,garlic,onion and bell pepper.Stir fry until they are tender yet crunchy.To this add the boiled noodles and mix well.Add the sauce and fried red chillies to it and stir well.When the sauce coats the noodles add the peanuts and mix.The sauce should coat the peanuts and noodles evenly. Take out the noodles from the wok and divide in serving bowls.Sprinkle scallions and peanuts on top and serve hot.

I like eggs with almost everything.So I had a crisp fried egg as a side with the fiery noodles.

CHILLI ALERT: Try not to crush the red chillies while cooking.

DSCN4450 - Copy DSCN4448 - Copy (2)

 

Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Baking has been an area I have been wary about since a long time.Specially the measurements.Conversion of ounces to grams and cups to milliliters.It is hard,challenging but fruitful if you keep pushing yourself to perfection.There will be glitches and successes too.But a smart cook starts with small steps.Smaller incentives boosting your confidence.

So what can go wrong with chocolate,flour,cocoa and butter.Simple,eh?

This is how it turned out.

DSCN4457 - Copy - Copy

Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Makes about 14 brownies

Ingredients:

Unsalted butter: 1/2 cup

Granulated sugar: 3/4 cup

Large eggs: 2(at room temperature)

Canola oil: 1 tbsp

Vanilla extract: 2 tsp

70% cocoa containing dark chocolate bar: 2 squares,approx. 1.5 inches,chopped into chunks

All-purpose flour: 3/4 cup

Cocoa powder: 1/2 cup

Baking soda: 1/2 tsp

Salt: 1/2 tsp

DSCN4459 DSCN4460 - Copy

Method:

Rule 1:

NEVER EVER USE DRINKING CHOCOLATE IN PLACE OF COCOA POWDER!

Rule 2:

Do not overbake the brownies.They are meant to be chewy and fudgy and not cakey.

Rule 3:

Dark chocolate accompanied with salt makes it sweeter.

Now that the ground rules have been established let us move on to the recipe.Take a mixing bowl add melted butter,sugar and mix with a hand blender.Add vanilla extract and oil to it and mix well.To this add the eggs and your wet mixture is ready.Now in a separate bowl sift the flour and to it add the cocoa powder,baking soda and salt.To the wet mixture add a little amount of the dry mix and blend until all of the dry mix is incorporated in the wet mix.

On a chopping board chop the dark chocolate and add the pieces in the batter.Mix well.Pour the batter into a greased square baking tin.Put it in a pre-heated oven and bake for about 20-25 minutes at 160 degree C.

Do not overbake it.Once you prick the brownie with a needle and it comes out clean without any batter it is done.Take out the baking tin and let the brownie cool.Cut into squares and serve with dollop of vanilla ice cream.

Nikon pics6

 

 

Cucumber Mint Yogurt Dip

It is soaring over forty degrees here in Calcutta.So yogurt is the hero of the season.One of my favorite dips to go along with rice,naan,chapatis or any cereals or crackers.

DSCN4403 - Copy (2) - Copy

 

Cucumber Mint Yogurt Dip

Ingredients:

Homemade yogurt: 1 cup

Cucumber: 1,chopped finely

Tomato: 1/2,chopped finely

Mint leaves: 2 sprigs,chopped finely and made into a paste

Green chilli: 1,finely chopped

Red chilli powder: 1tsp

Black salt: to taste

Method:

In a mixing bowl add the chopped cucumber,tomato,chillis,red chilli powder,salt and mint leaf paste.To this add the yogurt.Mix it all.Adjust the consistency using water.If you want it to be runny to be had with rice add  about two tablespoons of water to the mix.Taste and adjust the seasonings as well.Refrigerate it for about 15 minutes before serving.

 

Cajun Potato Hash with Fried Egg

Veggie hash is becoming one of my favorite breakfast recipes.They are quick and flavorful and can be made with a variety of spice families.Here I use the Cajun seasoning.

DSCN4414 - Copy

Cajun Potato Hash with Fried Egg

Ingredients:

Potato: 1,diced

Cherry tomatoes: 1/2 cup,sliced in halves

Green bell pepper: 1,diced

Egg: 1

Salt

Olive oil: 2 tablespoons

For the Cajun Seasoning:

Paprika: 2 1/2 tbsp

Salt:2 tbsp

Garlic powder: 2 tbsp

Black pepper: 1 tbsp

Onion powder: 1 tbsp

Cayenne pepper: 1 tbsp

Dried oregano: 1 tbsp

Dried thyme: 1 tbsp

DSCN4415 - Copy

DSCN4413 - Copy (2)

DSCN4411 - Copy

Method:

For the cajun seasoning combine all the spices and store it in an airtight container for months.

In a pan heat a tablespoon of oil and toss in the potato,tomato and green bell pepper dices and fry until tender.Add 2 tsp of the cajun seasoning to it and mix well.Transfer the hash on a serving plate.Fry an egg with runny egg and top it over the hash.Season the fried egg.Serve hot.

DSCN4410 - Copy (2)