Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Basbousa

It's been nice to settle in to my regular routine over the last few days. Truth be told, I do miss being on Holiday and being around family and friends. But there is something deeply pacifying about being back home doing my thing.

I haven't baked in ages. Furthermore, its been about three months since I last shared a baked recipe here. I was tossing between cookies, brownies and tea cakes. And while I was looking, I realized that I had this exotic little gem saved in my massive 'must-try' list. And with a name as exotic sounding as Basbousa, I had to. So as soon as the temperature dipped a tiny bit, I decided to turn the oven on. Basbousa is an Egyptian semolina cake drenched in sugar syrup.

This batter comes together really quick and easily. There's no need to break out the heavy equipment, I just used a whisk. So basically you bake the cake, make a sugar syrup and drizzle it over the cake and top with some sliced / slivered (flaked) almonds and coconut chips and that's it. This is a dense tea cake, so don't expect a light sponge. It has a very different flavor profile compared to a basic sponge too. It has a subtle tang from the yogurt and the lemon in the syrup. Dare I say, it is very deliciously different. My husband really liked this cake. And he is someone who loves a good chocolate cake and the occasional sponge cake. This one though, he has asked me to keep track of, so that we can make it again. Imagine my surprise. But then again, it wasn't overly surprising considering how good this cake is. Try it out for yourself.




Basbousa
Recipe from: The Mediterranean Dish

For the cake -
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup natural, unflavored yogurt
2 cups coarse semolina
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup sliced / flaked almonds
1/4 cup sweetened coconut chips or sweetened shredded coconut

For the syrup -
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 cup water
2" cinnamon
1/4 tsp lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 170ÂșC and grease a 9 inch cake tin and keep aside.

Melt the butter and set aside. You can do this in a little saucepan on the stovetop on in a little microwave safe bowl in the microwave. Set this aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the yogurt and sugar.



Now add the semolina, milk and baking powder and mix thoroughly.



Next, stir in the melted butter and whisk well. Let the batter rest for a while (about 5-10 minutes or so) for the semolina to absorb some of the moisture.

Pour the batter into the greased cake tin and bake for about 40-45 minutes.



While the cake is baking, make the sugar syrup. Place the sugar water and cinnamon in a saucepan. Bring to a boil on high heat stirring occasionally, but only till the sugar dissolves. Turn the heat down to low and continue to cook for a few minutes till the syrup thickens. Then take off the heat and stir in the lemon juice.



Set aside to cool and then remove the cinnamon.

When the cake is ready, take it out of the oven and immediately pour the cool syrup on the hot cake.



Leave the cake to cool off completely and let the cake absorb the syrup, at least for an hour.

Just before serving, top the cake with the almond and coconut chips.



Serve.







  

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Goan Meatball Curry

After what seems like ages, I'm finally back. And it's good to be back. I was away for a month and spent Christmas with our family in Mumbai, followed by a mandatory trip to Goa and a short stopover at Panchgani. Those of you that follow me on Instagram would have seen some of my pictures there. Those of you that don't, I would love it if you could join me. I'm on IG as @vaztrisha - Do stop by and say 'Hi'.

I can't wait to share more about the trip with you. However, that wonderful trip ended with an anti-climatic couple of days of jet lag followed by 2 weeks of a cold, stubborn cough and a couple of days of a fever. Am I glad that's over. I hate being unwell mostly, because that means I cannot be up and about cooking and enjoying the simple pleasures of life. But I'm well and truly glad to be back.

One of the first few things I cooked up after getting back on my feet is my beloved Mama's Meatball Curry. I've always loved this curry right from the time I was a little girl. This time when I went to Mumbai, I knew I had to learn this recipe from her. See this is the thing with her recipes, she can whip them up with her eyes closed, but ask her to tell you how she makes it and she may leave out a thing or two, not intentionally of course. So this time around, I got into the kitchen and watched her make it. Yes, I watched her, like a hawk ;)  And I'm happy to report that I got the recipe down and made the curry today and I was really pleased with how it turned out. Ofcourse, nothing can beat the food my Mother makes (even though I follow her recipes to the T, her food always turns out better), but this came pretty close, I tell ya.

This recipe is a little more intricate than most of the recipes I share here, but it is really easy. There are two parts to it - one is making the meatballs and the second is making the curry itself. This curry is full of flavor and goes really well with either plain steamed rice or this fragrant Peas Pulao. If you're not in the mood for rice, it goes well with some Goan bread (Poee) or dinner rolls too.



Goan Meatball Curry

For the Meatballs
1/2 kg beef mince (ground beef)
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1-2 green or red chillies, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
Salt, to taste
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2-1 tsp red chilly powder
1 egg
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce (optional, though it does add good flavor)

Mix all the ingredients together.

Form the meatballs and set aside.


For the curry
1 small onion, finely chopped
6 curry leaves
2 tbsp oil
Salt, to taste
Tamarind, to taste (Soak tamarind in warm water to form a pulp)
Fresh coriander leaves and stalks, finely chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cut into large cubes

Grind to a fine, smooth paste (masala) using a little water -
8 Kashmiri chillies
4 Bedki chillies
3 large cloves garlic
1 tsp cumin seeds
6 cloves
10 black pepper corns
2" cinnamon
1/3 tsp turmeric powder
1 tomato

Heat the oil in a pan and carefully drop the curry leaves in.

Add the onion and saute on a medium high heat till the onions are translucent.

Add the masala and continue sauteeing for a few minutes till the raw smell of the masala goes and the oil starts to seperate.

Add salt, to taste.

Add water to get it to the desired consistency, depending on how thick or thin you'd like the gravy. Keep in mind that the gravy does thicken a little as it cooks. Err on the side of less, you can always add more water as you need.

Gently place the meatballs in the gravy.

Place the potato cubes in the gravy without smashing the meatballs.

Once the gravy comes to a boil, turn the heat to a simmer, cover the pot and let the curry cook.

After about 15 minutes, check to see if done.

Check and add more salt, if needed.

Add tamarind pulp to taste.

Once ready, garnish with some fresh coriander and serve hot.

 Enjoy!!!