Thursday, June 23, 2011

Peach Bread

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Immortalized by folklore's, traditions and signature dishes (like the Peach Melba), the peach is a perfect summer food. Every year this time when I come across numerous vendors on the roadside with their huge piles of peaches and other fruits, I long to take this tasty treat home and use it one way or another.
It's quite another story that I need to really wrestle with my elder son who loves to have peaches raw and ends up finishing them before I get a chance to use them in a souffle or cake. The thing with Peaches is that you cannot refrigerate them as they lose their sweetness (personal experience - may be wrong) and the Delhi heat blast spoils them if kept out for long. So a quick approach is vital especially with the shelf life as well as my elder ones love for them.
Last week I thought of baking a peach bread. I still haven't got to used to the name though. It has a different ring and it may take time to get used to the name, but I loved the taste - it was a welcome difference to the usual banana bread and the variations I have tried with it.
As the summer progresses, I am expecting more and more juicier ones to flood the market and cannot wait to have my hands on them.
The Peach bread was a big hit in the household and the orders have started to flood in. My parents go on their vacation day after and I need to bake them some peach bread for their journey. I travel with wife and kids next week to Naldehra for a week's getaway and am contemplating taking some peach bread with me for the journey. It is a good eight hour drive from Delhi to reach Naldehra which is some 20 odd kilometers away from Simla and apart from wife and kids, I have my good college buddy Abhineet and his wife and daughter for company, so with 3 absolutely noisy kids in the car, some tasty peach bread will go a long way in not only providing good taste but the necessary energy to drive their moms crazy with their antics.

Peach Bread


Peaches, cut into dices - 2 Cups (around 3 peaches should do)
Peaches, pureed - 1/2 Cup ( Around 2 Peaches should do)
Biscuit Crumbs (Marie or other digestive ones) - 1/2 Cup
All Purpose Flour - 2.5 Cups
Baking Powder - 2 Tsp
Baking Soda - 1 Tsp
Cinnamon - 1/2 Tsp
Raisins - 20-30
Salt - 1/2 Tsp
Yogurt, hung - 1/2 Cup
Soft Butter - 1/4 Cup
Eggs- 3
Sugar - 1 Cup
Vanilla Essence - 1 Tsp
1. Mix the diced peaches with 1/4 cup of sugar and let it soak for atleast 30 minutes.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients, except the sugar, in a large bowl.
3. In a separate bowl combine butter & hung yogurt. Whisk till well blended. Add in the 3/4 cup sugar and whisk till the mixture is smooth and creamy.
4. Slowly add in the eggs, one at a time. Beat each egg completely before adding the next one.
5. Add in the pureed peaches and whisk well to combine.

6. Add in the raisins and diced peaches (soaked in 1/4 cup sugar) . Mix together.
7. Add in the flour mixture and gently stir to combine.
8. Pour into a loaf pan. Place in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees Celsius and bake for 60 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
9. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
10. Remove from the loaf pan and cool on a wire rack. Cut and serve the slices.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Badami Murg Masala (Chicken Curry in Almond Sauce)

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After a subtly flavored and delicious cashew based chicken curry from down south, it was time for its northern cousin, the almond to make its presence known in a little spicy but rich North Indian gravy.
The almond is native to the Mediterranean region of the middle east and is extensively used globally in various cuisines lending itself to some tasty starters, delicious curries and mouth watering desserts.
Almonds have also been a part of the folklore, with gifting of five almonds during weddings represents health, wealth, long life, fertility and happiness. Then there is a Greek legend around this that young man called Demophon, who fell in love with a Tracian princess, Phyllis. Before the marriage ceremony Demophon is informed that his father has died in Athens and he must return for the funeral. He promises to come back by a certain day but does not return until three months have passed by. By this time Phyllis is sure that she will never see her lover, Demophon again and hangs herself. The Gods, touched by her love, transform her into an almond tree. The desperate Demophon goes to the almond tree and offers a sacrifice to the tree, declaring his undying love. In response to his gesture, the almond tree blossoms. Therefore the almond came to symbolize impetuous youth and immortal love.
Atleast in India, the common folk believe that eating almonds increases brain power. So it is not uncommon for people to remark to others (especially kids not doing too well in studies) to have almonds soaked overnight.
Now coming back to this recipe. You can try this variations. If you do not add tomatoes then this will become a Qorma (Korma). One can also add paste of roasted grated coconut to the dish and if you have time on your hands, try covering the dish during the later stages and sealing it with some dough to do a Dum.

Other Indian chicken recipes on this blog that are worth trying are:

Murg Handi Lazeez
Murg Malaaiwala
Chettinaad Kozhi Kozhambu
Murg Dahi Dhania Korma
Murg Peshawari
Murg Navratan
Murg Patiala
Murg Korma
Butter Chicken
Hyderabadi Anjeer Murgh
Murgh Kairi
Cashew Chicken Curry

Badami Murgh Masala

Chicken Breasts, Boneless, cut into 1-Inch dices - 4
Onions, finely chopped - 3
Onion, finely sliced - 1
Ginger, finely chopped - 3 Tblsp
Garlic, finely chopped - 8 cloves
Fenugreek seeds - 1 tsp
Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
Cloves - 4
Coriander Powder - 1 Tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1 Tsp
Red Chili Powder - 2 Tsp
Garam Masala Powder - 1 Tsp
Green Cardamom -3
Black Cardamom - 1
Yogurt - 1 Cup
Almonds, ground into paste with 1/2 cup water - 20
Tomatoes, chopped - 3
Almonds, blanched and slivered - 8
Salt - To Taste
Black Pepper Powder - 2 Tsp
Lime Juice - 2 Tsp
Kewra - few drops
Oil - For frying and cooking

1. Marinate the chicken pieces with salt, black pepper powder and lime juice for 30 minutes.
2. Fry the onion slices till golden brown. Drain and keep aside.
3. In same oil fry the slivered almond pieces till they start to turn golden. Drain and keep aside.
4. In the same oil, add the chopped onions and fry till they start to turn golden.
5. Add in the ginger and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes.
6. Add in the spices (fenugreek seeds, cumin seeds, cloves, green & black cardamom, turmeric, coriander, red chili and garam masala powder). Fry for 2 more minutes.
7. Add in the tomatoes and cook for 4-5 minutes.
8. Take off the flame and allow to cool. Blend the mixture in a food processor and strain into a clean cooking vessel. Return back to the flame.
9. Add in the chicken pieces and stir well so as to coat the chicken pieces with the mixture.
10. Cook for 15-20 minutes or until chicken pieces are tender.
11. Add in the almond paste and mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes.
12. Add in the beaten yogurt and mix well. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
13. Cook till the gravy has a saucy consistency and adjust seasonings. Add in the crushed fried onion slices and kewra.
14. Pour into a serving dish and garnish with some of the fried onion slices and almond slivers.
15. Serve hot.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Cashew Chicken Curry

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I came across this simple yet "Hatke" (different) chicken recipe sometime back. According to a friend who passed this on, this is a simple subtle chicken dish from down south, Kerala, to be more precise. This creamy, subtly spiced and rich dish is easy to make and as experience taught me, was a big hit with the kids, who despise the usual spicy fare.
The cashew is another example of the all accommodating India. It was not native to India and was bought to India by the Portuguese (from Brazil) in the mid 16th century and is now used extensively in Indian cuisines, lending creaminess to many shahi kormas and who can forget the "Kaju Katli", the sweet preferred by many over the usual barfi and ladoos.
Though I'm sure this curry, without the tempering at the end, will go very well as a pasta sauce too, I'm also seriously contemplating making a pie with this as a filling. But that, is for another post.

Cashew Chicken Curry

Chicken breasts, cut into 1 inch pieces - 6
Salt - 1 Tsp
White Pepper - 1 Tsp
Cashews, soaked for 2 hours and drained - 2 cups
Onions, chopped - 2
Green Chillies, chopped - 2
Garlic - 8 cloves
Ginger, chopped - 3 Tblsp
Green Cardamom - 2
Cloves - 4
Cinnamon Stick - 1 (1 inch)
Yogurt - 1 Cup
Mustard Seeds - 1/2 Tsp
Curry Leaves - 6
Cashewnuts, cut into halves - 6
Red Chillies - 2
Salt - To Taste
Oil - 3 Tblsp

1. Dry roast the Cinnamon stick, cardamom pods and cloves slightly and grind to a powder.
2. Grind the 2 cups of cashews with onions, garlic, ginger and green chillies into a fine paste. Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water before grinding to achieve a pasty consistency.
3. Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt and white pepper. Fry the chicken pieces with 2 Tblsp of oil until seared. Do not brown the chicken pieces as it will change the gravy colour.
4. Lower the heat and add the cashew paste. Stir fry for a couple of minutes till the paste and chicken have combined.
5. Take the skillet off the flame and gradually add the yogurt while stirring continuously. Return to flame and keep stirring to combine. Cook till oil rises to top (3-4 Minutes).
6. Add in the ground spice powder and mix well. Cover with a lid and cook for 10 more minutes on medium flame. Add in water if required.
7. Adjust the seasoning and transfer the sauce and gravy to a serving dish.
8. In a small pan, heat 1 tsp of oil and add in the mustard seeds. As the seeds start to crackle, add in the cashew halves and fry till they start to turn brown. Add the curry leaves and red chillies. remove from flame and pour over the chicken dish. Do not stir to mix.
9. Serve hot with rice, malabari paranthas or appams.

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