Thursday, May 27, 2010

Gulab Jamuns - How to make perfect ones.

Sift the floor in a sieve (Most important). While you are sifting, 3 cups water in a covered vessel.

Measure 2 cups of floor and half cup water. (tip, do it in two batches of 1 cup each, for fresher dough)
Knead well, dampen surface with a little water, and cover. Leave aside for 15 mins.

When water reaches boil, add 4.5 cups of sugar (3:2 sugar:water), Mix well.
 Leave the mixture on the stove on warm, for the rest of the process.
Grind seeds from 6 cardomoms to fine powder, with a little sugar. Mix this into the syrup

Pour adequate oil in vessel, and keep on stove on low.

Keep oil in an open container near you. 
Apply a generous coat of oil on both palms
Take marble sized bits of dough, and roll well between your palms to form smooth balls with no cracks.( making the balls correctly is crucial for the jamuns not to crack).
Line them on a plate
Once you have enough to cover 1/2 to 3/4 of the cooking surface in the vessel, stop
Test the heat of the oil by dropping just one dough ball. 
Wait till it fries completely, and turns evenly brown on the outside. Move the ball around with your frying spoon, for even coverage.
You can try once more with another dough ball, so that you can adjust the heat to optimum.

Once fried, take the jamuns out, place them on a tissue for a minute, and drop them into the warm syrup (placing on tissue is not essential, but helps get rid of excess oil.

Drop the rest of the batch into the oil, careful not to let it splatter, and keep moving them around with the spoon (or the top will remain raw) till they brown evenly.

Drain oil, drop in syrup.

Switch off stove, make the next batch with 1 cup jamun floor, 1/4 cup water, and continue (this makes sure batter does not dry off while waiting for the first batch to fry).

Tip: can use milk instead of water.

The picture is of one of my initial batches of Jamun. They all split open evenly, that they looked like pacmans :-)

Friday, April 30, 2010

Eating healthy at Mexican restaurants

Once in a while you go to Mexican restaurants.

The food is tasty, but very, I repeat, very fattening.

I have compiled the best tips from the net to have a healthy meal at a Mexican restaurant.  It’s a bit long, though I’ve shortened it as much as I can.

A soft taco is baked and a crunchy one is fried, so order a soft taco instead of a crunchy one

Use a teaspoon of salsa as a salad dressing or on tacos rather than the accompanying dips.

Skip refried beans; they could be fried in bacon fat or lard. Order non-refried beans, if they are available.

Ask for corn or whole wheat tortillas

Healthy dishes are:"chicken fajitas, bean burritos, a sautéed chicken dish with peppers and onions (hold the cheese!), or a soft taco".

You might be able to order brown rice, wheat tortillas n marinated veggies depending on the restaurant.

Some restaurants replace the sides that come with meals with a salad if you ask.

The sides alone (rice n beans, guacamole, and sour cream) contain 
Two thirds of a day's total fat allowed.

When ordering a salad as an entree, skip the crunchy taco bowl and order it on a plate instead, as the taco bowl is deep fried.

Healthy options include chicken fajitas, and also:
Grilled fish or chicken with tomatillo sauce or any non-cream sauce,
Jacamar salad with light vinaigrette

Have the pico de gallo (tomatoes and onions with hot peppers) that comes free with many dishes. If it doesn't, ask for some.

And the best - by far - are the fajitas . . . at least those of the chicken (and probably shrimp and vegetable) variety.

"Chicken fajitas are the only main dish we looked at that had less than 30 percent of calories from fat, not to mention just five percent of calories from saturated fat.”

The page also recommends the Macheesmo chain of hotels in Portland and Seatle for healthy Mexican dishes.

Healthier choices
Grilled chicken soft taco
Black beans
Shrimp ensalada
Grilled “fresco” style steak burrito
Veggie and bean burrito
Limiting sour cream or cheese

Avoid tortilla chips, they're full of fat. 

Avoid fried foods. These foods include tacos, chimichangas, etc. You can substitute for soft tacos, and baked quesadillas.

Mexican food tends to have big portions. You might like to cut the portions in half and put in a to go box.

Mexican desserts tend to be fried and topped with honey. Avoid these desserts. Try to find an alternative, instead of fried desserts get fruits.

Check out it lets you design your dish at Chipotle and tells you the calorie content.

I usually go with the fajitas too. 2 tortillas and lots of veggies and salsa - no rice (high cal and they always give you like 4 servings), no refried beans (generally made with lard), little guac and a smearing of sour cream. I usually get 3-4 meals out of one restaurant-sized serving. 

Ask for some unfried corn tortillas to eat with the salsa instead of fried tortilla chips.

Watch your cheese intake. Order fajitas instead of the higher calorie enchiladas

The majority of Mexican dessert choices are rich in fats and sugars, so avoid them and have an ice-cream on the way home.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What I made this week.

Well, I made lots of items, but did not take pics..I'll be posting the recipe links here.

Vegetable cutlet:

This turned out amazing. I made a slight change at the end, I fried on a dosa pan rather than deep frying it. Less oily, but still tasty.

Monday, November 2, 2009

What works for me

Ever tried sauteing vegetables, after you sprinkle salt?
The salt brings out the water from the vegetables, helping you stir fry the vegetables faster, and they taste great too!

Ever noticed...

That the last puri you fry puffs up so much rounder than all the previous ones?
I read somewhere that deep frying creates "detergents" in the oil, which help to better fry the next few batches.

Basically, wait till the oil is hot enough, then fry a very small batch (of anything), this helps the next few batches to fry better.

I'm going to test if re-using oil would have the same effect.

Continental fiesta

My brother is coming to visit us this week.

He loves continental food, so I'm going to try my hand at Italian dishes!

I'll be updating the recipes and pictures when I do.