Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Chocolate dipped Strawberries

A treat for all occasions !!
Chocolate dipped Strawberries

Though not very famous in India, chocolate dipped strawberries are very popular in US. They are a perfect gift for any occasion. The ones that i have shown are simple ones made using white chocolate. You may use dark chocolate or combination of both.

Fresh Strawberries
White Chocolate or any other chocolate you like.

Wash and dry the strawberries, making sure the berries are fully dry as water will not allow the chocolate to set on the berry.
Melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
For melting methods, please check my post on how to melt chocolate.

Dip the strawberry in the white chocolate, holding onto the stem of the strawberry. Alternatively, you can also use toothpicks. Insert the toothpick vertically starting from the stem. Give it a quick little twist and then place on a piece of wax paper or butter paper. Allow them to set at room temperature for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, place them in refrigerator for 15 minutes. Now they are ready to be enjoyed. Best eaten the day they are made.
You can use any type of chocolate you wish, you may also use chocolate chips in place of chocolate bars. I used Bakers Corner Almond Bark. 

You can also coat cookies, apples, bananas and orange slices similar way. But nothing beats dipped strawberries. Do try, impress your loved ones and don't forget to let me know how it turned out.

How to melt Chocolate?

Melting chocolate can be accomplished in a microwave or in a double boiler. There are a few fundamental guidelines to successfully melting chocolate: 
  • Make sure the chocolate is chopped into uniform pieces to ensure even melting. Never try to melt large bars or big blocks of chocolate. 
  • Melt the chocolate slowly over low heat. Chocolate is very delicate and can become lumpy or grainy if overheated. 
  • Stir the chocolate frequently with a spatula.
  • Chocolate retains its shape when melted, so the only way to know if it is truly melted is to stir it.
  • Avoid all contact with water! Chocolate will seize and become unworkable if it comes into contact with even a few droplets of water. Make sure your bowls, workstation, and spatulas are completely dry.

Melting Chocolate in the Microwave

The microwave is a great tool for melting chocolate. If used properly, it can melt chocolate more quickly than a double boiler with minimal effort and mess. If you have overheated your chocolate, immediately pour it into a cool bowl add chunks of unmelted chocolate, and stir continuously. It is preferable to melt your chocolate on a low (50%) power setting, to avoid scorching or burning it. If your microwave does not have this option, heat the chocolate in shorter intervals and stir between each interval. 
It is very difficult to determine exact microwaving times, as it can vary depending on microwave wattage, quantity of chocolate, and even the cocoa butter content of the chocolate.
Run the microwave intervals of 20 seconds, stirring in between every interval and rotating the bowl if necessary. Finish heating when most, but not all, of the chocolate is melted. Stir the chocolate continuously until it is completely melted. 

Melting Chocolate With a Double Boiler

The traditional method of melting chocolate is to use a  double boiler. A double boiler is a set of pans consisting of a saucepan that holds hot water, and a bowl that fits securely over the saucepan. Chocolate is placed in the top bowl. 

Begin by filling the saucepan with water.  Water should be enough to provide heat, but it should not touch the bottom of the top bowl in which chocolate is placed. Heat the saucepan over low heat until it just begins to simmer,  place the chocolate bowl over the water. If you are melting large amounts of chocolate, begin with 1/3 of your final quantity and melt in batches, waiting until the chocolate in the bowl is melted before adding more unmelted chunks. Once the chocolate begins to melt stir it gently with a spatula. When almost all of the chocolate is melted, take the top bowl from the saucepan and place it on the counter. Stir continuously until it is shiny, smooth, and completely melted.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Eggplant Curry or Baigan Curry

Eggplant Curry or Baigan Curry
This recipe is for eggplant lovers.

Eggplant - 3 -4 medium sized
Tomato puree - 1 cup
Curd or yogurt - 1/2 cup
Green pepper (shimla mirch)
Oil - as required
Green chili - chopped to taste
Ginger - grated to taste
Mustard seeds  - 1/2 tsp
Ajwain seeds- 1/2 tsp
Dry Red chilli - 2
Red chili powder
Turmeric powder
Garam Masala - 2 tsp
Salt - to taste
Corriander leaves - to garnish

The recipe is very simple yet great taste is guaranteed. Take the eggplants and cut them into half inch pieces. Put them into a bowl. Add salt to taste, 1 tsp red chili powder and 1/2 tsp turmeric powder. Mix them well and set aside for 30 mins.

Meanwhile cut tomatoes and make a puree. Cut green pepper into half inch pieces.

After 30 mins, take oil in a pan and shallow fry the blanched eggplants. Place fried pieces onto an absorbent paper and set aside.

For gravy, take a pan & add two tablespoons of oil. You can use the oil left after shallow frying the eggplants. Add mustard seeds and ajwain seeds.  Once the seeds start crackling add dry red chilli. Add ginger and chopped green chillis and saute for a minute. Then add green pepper and mix well. (Those who eat onions can add chopped onions at this time. Saute them well until they start changing colour.) Add tomato puree and let it cook. Once oil starts separating, add red chilli powder, turmeric powder and half of the garam masala. add salt for the portion of gravy. Mix well. Add fried eggplants and yogurt. Mix well. Add water to get desired thickness of the curry. Add remaining half of the garam masala and allow the curry to cook for 5 mins at medium heat.  Add coriander leaves and serve hot with bread, naan, paratha or rice.

Try it & do let me know how it turns out. :)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Carrot Halwa or Gajar Halwa

Gajar Halwa
The first thing that comes in mind on reading gajar halwa are the hassles of peeling and grating carrots and its long and difficult procedure. But the below recipe is quick and hassle free.

Baby Carrots  - 1 lb
Milk - 2 cups
Sugar - 1/4th cup
Cardamon powder - 1 tsp
Raisins - few
Ghee - 1 tsp
Mixed Almonds & Cashew nuts- to decorate

Using baby carrots will eliminate the need of peeling and grating carrots with hands.

First, wash the baby carrots put them in a food processor and grind them until fine. Heat ghee in a thick bottomed pan, add grated carrots and saute for 5 mins. Add cardamom powder and saute for a minute. Cardamom powder will start giving its smell. After that add milk. Milk should cover the carrot mixture.

Add raisins. Stir and cook for five minutes. Add sugar and mix well. You may also add 1 tablespoon of condensed milk. If you are adding sweetened condensed milk then, taste it before adding sugar. Adding condensed milk gives a nice texture to the halwa. Cook until milk evaporates and carrots are cooked. Stir occasionally just to ensure that carrots do not stick to  the bottom.

You can see in the image above, milk has evaporated. Add chopped almonds and cashew nuts. Mix well. Serve hot or at room temperature. Its all your wish. You can see how well and yummy it turned out to be :) your comments and suggestions are welcome.. :)

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Welcome !!

Hello friends,
With my blog here I bring in varieties of vegetarian recipes from almost all cuisines of the world. Another characteristic of my recipes would be that they would be quick and easy. This is done keeping in mind bachelors living away from family. Food is a major concerns for bachelors staying alone. They try to eat something which is quick and easy but at the same time tasty. Cooking food after an entire tiring day.. uff... and eating out always does not seem to be a very good option.

So we will see here some recipes which are quick and easy without much hassles and surely mouthwatering and tasty.