Saturday, June 29, 2013

Homemade Ricotta Cheese


Whole Milk - 1 Gallon
Heavy Cream - 1 cup
Butter milk - 1 pint (2 cups)
Salt - to taste

Cheese cloth
Large pot


  1. Place a colander lined with 4 layers of cheese cloth on a large pot to collect the whey.
  2. Combine milk, cream and butter milk in a large pot.  Gently boil the milk on medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
  3. Once the milk reaches to 175-180 degree F, it will start to curdle and separate. 
  4. Remove from heat.  Strain the cheese with a slotted spoon into the cheese cloth lined colander.
  5. Let it sit for 20 minutes.  If you want your ricotta cheese to be moist, you can remove it at this point and add salt and herbs.  I used crushed red pepper, black pepper, dried oregano, dried basil and little salt to taste.  This is great for spreading.
  6. If it is for baking strain for longer time.

With herbs
Don't throw the collected whey.  Here are some of the ways to use the healthy whey.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Baked Yeast Donuts ~ We Knead to Bake # 6

This month's We Knead to bake challenge by Aparna:

Baked Yeast Doughnuts

1/4 cup superfine sugar
1 cup warm milk (45C/115F)
3/4 tbsp instant yeast (or 1 tbsp active dry yeast)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/2 to 3 1/2 cups cake flour (or all-purpose flour) divided, plus more for kneading
100gm (7 TBSP) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes 
Rose syrup glazed
For the topping:
75 to 100gm butter, melted
1 cup superfine sugar + 2 tablespoons cinnamon (more or less, depending on your taste), mixed together
Chocolate glaze: 
3 TBSP Cocoa
2 TBSP melted butter 
1 cup powdered sugar
3 TBSP warm water
1/2 tsp vanilla
Add all the ingredients.  Stir until well mixed and smooth.  Add more water if needed.
Vanilla glaze:
Chocolate glazed
 1 cup Powdered sugar 
2- 3 TBSP milk
2 tsp vanilla
Add vanilla to the powdered sugar.  Add milk 1 TBSP at a time.  Mix well.  Add more milk to get a desired consistency.
Rose syrup glaze:
1 cup powdered sugar
2 TBSP rose syrup ( I used the syrup used to make rose milk) available in Indian grocery stores
jam to fill your doughnuts


  • Using a processor to knead helps but you can do this by hand.
  • Put the sugar, milk, yeast, salt and vanilla in the processor bowl and pulse to mix well. Add the cake flour and 1 cup of all-purpose flour and process, adding a little more of the flour as necessary till the dough is thick and pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
  • Now add the butter pieces one at a time and process till there no large chunks of butter are left in the bottom of the bowl. Now add a little more flour until your have a soft, pliable and elastic dough that is moist but not overly sticky.
  • Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead gently until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. Shape the dough into a ball and place in a lightly greased large mixing bowl., turning it to coat well. Cover with a damp towel and let it rise till double in volume. This should take about an hour. 
  • Punch down the dough and roll out to a thickness of 1/2" thickness. Cut out doughnuts using a doughnut cutter or whatever you have on hand to cut out 3” diameter with 1” diameter holes. If you’re making doughnuts to fill with jam, then do not cut out the holes. Place the doughnuts and the holes on parchment lined or lightly greased baking sheets, leaving at least 1” space between them.
  • Re-roll the scraps and cut out more doughnuts. I used the last left over scraps of dough by pinching of bits, rolling them into balls and baking them too.  
  • Let them rise for about 20 minutes or till almost double in size and then bake them at 200C (400F) for about 5 to 10 minutes till they’re done and golden brown. Do not over bake them.
  • This recipe makes about 12 to 14 doughnuts and holes.
  • Take them out of the oven and immediately brush them with the melted butter and then dip them into the cinnamon sugar mixture. If filling the doughnuts with jam, let them cool.
  • Put the jam into a piping bag with a writing nozzle/ tip and press into the doughnut from the side and gently press out the jam into the doughnut till it starts oozing out. Jam doughnuts do not need too much jam to fill them.
  • If glazing your doughnuts, let them cool completely and then dip one side of the doughnut in the glaze of your choice and let it set.
  • For the powdered munchkins, dip the baked munchkins in melted butter and roll them in powdered sugar.

Vanilla glazed

Friday, June 21, 2013

Chakli aka Murukku

Rice Flour - 2 cups
Roasted gram / Chana gram flour - 1/2 cup (Pottukadalai  maavu)
Besan / Gram flour - 1/4 cup
Sesame seeds - 2 tsp
Red chili powder - 1 tsp or to taste
Asafetida - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 4 TBSP
Salt - to taste
Oil - fro frying

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the flours, asafetida and salt.  Make a well.
  2. Heat 4 TBSP oil in a small skillet and pour in the well.
  3. Add the sesame seeds and red chili powder in the oil.
  4. Mix the flour with enough water to make a soft dough.
  5. Heat oil in a pan for deep frying.
  6. Place some dough in a lightly oiled chakli / murukku maker with a single star disc attached.
  7. While pressing the chakli maker in a circular motion, make a round shape with the dough on a foil or wax paper.
  8. Once the oil is hot, carefully lift the chaklis and drop it in oil.  
  9. Fry on medium heat, until light golden brown on both sides.
  10. Transfer the chaklis onto a paper towel to drain out excess oil.
  11. Let it cool completely.  Store in a airtight container.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Old Fashion Lemonade

Recipe source: Simply so Good

Sugar - 1 1/2 cups
Lemon Juice - 1 1/2 cups (about 7 large lemons)
Water - 1 1/2 cups
Zest of one lemon
Cold water or Sparkling water
Ice cubes
Fresh mint leaves


  1. In a sauce pan, bring sugar and water to a boil for 5 minutes.  Keep stirring.
  2. Remove from the heat and let it cool slightly.
  3. Add the freshly squeezed lemon juice and the lemon zest to the sugar syrup.  Cool completely.
  4. Pour the lemon syrup into a glass jar.  Cover tightly and store in the refrigerator.  It can be kept for 2 to 3 weeks.

Lemon - Sugar Syrup

How to serve:

Take a tall glass and put some ice cube and crushed mint leaves.
Pour 1/4 cup of lemon syrup and add 3/4 cup of cold water or sparkling water and stir well.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Palak Paneer ~ Creamy Spinach with Cottage Cheese

Spinach - 1 bunch or 16oz (I used organic baby spinach)
Paneer Pieces  - 1 1/2 cups
Onion - 1 large, finely chopped
Tomatoes - 2 medium, finely chopped
Green chillies - 3 or to taste
Ginger - 1 TBSP, grated
Garlic - 3 cloves, grated
Cumin Powder - 1 tsp
Coriander Powder - 2 tsp
Garam Masala - 2 tsp
Turmeric Powder - 1/2 tsp
Black Salt - 1 tsp (optional)
Kasuri Methi / dried fenugreek Leaves - 1 TBSP
Thick Plain Yogurt - 1 cup
Salt - to taste
Oil - 2 TBSP

  1. Prepare a bowl with some ice and water.  Keep it aside.
  2. Boil a pot of water and place the washed spinach in it.  Let it simmer for two minutes.  Drain and immediately place the spinach in ice water to stop the cooking process and to retain the natural color.  
  3. Puree the cooled spinach with green chillies to smooth paste.
  4. Heat oil in skillet or wok.  Add the chopped onion and fry for a minute.  
  5. Add the grated ginger and garlic.  Saute for 2 minutes.
  6. Add cumin and coriander powders and fry for a minute.
  7. Add the chopped tomatoes, crushed kasoori methi and black salt (optional).  Cook until soft.
  8. Add a cup of yogurt.  Mix well and cook until oil separates.
  9. Add the pureed spinach paste and salt.  Mix well.  Cook in low flame for 7 to 8 minutes. 
  10. Meanwhile, Keep the panner pieces in hot water to soften.
  11. Once the spinach is cooked and the drained paneer and garam masala powder to the gravy. Mix gently and bring to a boil.
  12. Transfer into a serving dish and serve hot with naan, roti or steamed basmati rice.