Thursday, January 23, 2014

Quick Broccoli and Cabbage Rice

Not big fans of Broccoli here. Frankly, I have not been around this vegetable much, so not quite aware of possibilities. At most I have been using it in rice dishes and stir fry vegetables like  Vegetable Jal Frezi. Likewise for cabbage I have only few options that can be served . So I paired both cabbage and broccoli here and it resulted in darn good tasting rice.

This recipe is very quick and adds colorful veggies to otherwise simple carbohydrate. I serve it paired with some kind of beans like Rajma (Red Kidney beans), Black Eyed peas etc. Add whatever vegetables you have in fridge.


Approx 2 cup cooked Rice ( I have used Basmati rice. You can use rice of your choice but take care that it                                                is not overcooked)
1/2 cup small broccoli florets
1/2 cup cabbage shredded or diced in small
1/4 cup carrot diced small
1/4 cup green onion chopped small
2 cloves of garlic grated/finely chopped
1 inch piece of ginger grated/finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon juice
handful of cilantro leaves chopped fine
1 tbsp Olive oil
Salt to taste
Green chili to taste

Heat the olive oil in heavy bottom pan. When its warm add green onion. Saute for a minute and add ginger and garlic. On medium heat keep sauteing for another minute and then add all other veggies. On high flame saute them with continuous stirring till tender.  Lower the heat , add green chili and salt. Add cooked rice. Stir well and cover the pan and let it sit for minute or two. Before serving spritz with generous dose of lemon and cilantro.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tutti frutti fruit cake

Growing up, in India cake was something special. Not that it is not special now but before internet happened, globalization made international food commonplace, things like cake were still foreign item trying to invade Indian desert scene and it has now.  In my school canteen beside the regular samosa , popcorn and likes they sold small cupcakes. They did not have any icing just simple sponge cake in tiny cupcake form with bits of tutti frutti (chopped candied fruits) here and there.Only now I can say that they can be categorized as muffins not cupcake.  I loved it. I still remember, they only costed about 2-3 rupee each (in 1990's) and used to get over pretty quickly.

We eat countless things all through our life. We like many of them but still only few make place in memory so strong that despite the passage of longest time we remember them with same vengeance. In my opinion it is not only the taste but also the context, the story behind that makes them special. For me in this case it was novelty , trying to beat the crowds in school canteen , asking mom for money etc. This cake is truly remembrance of all that and much more.

I bought candied fruit cake mix just before Christmas thinking of baking a traditional fruit cake. But days passed and I could not pull it out . So on new years eve I pulled the sponge cake recipe I wanted to try and decided to add candied fruit mix to it.I made another addition of lemon extract to the original recipe of Smitten Kitchen.  It worked. This was easily one of the best cakes I have baked. Texture was not dense not too airy just perfect and taste took me some 20 years back. This recipe would make perfect sponge cake for being dressed with whipped cream or frosting of choice.

Recipe (Adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

2 cups plus 1 tablespoons cake flour (see notes for substitution)
1 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 cup or 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 tsp lemon extract
1/2 tsp lemon Zest
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buttermilk (see notes for substitution)

1 cup fruit cake mix(tutti frutti/ candied fruit pieces)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Prepare a 9-inch cake pan with butter and flour. I used 8 inch round cake pan and Bakers Joy spray.

Take about 1/2 cup flour and toss the candied fruits/tutti frutti in it. This will prevent them from sinking in the bottom cake. Sift together rest of the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until light colored and fluffy, then beat in vanilla and lemon extract. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating continuously.. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined . Its ok if mixture look curdled.

Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated. Finally very gently add the candied fruits tossed in flour with a spatula.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then tap pan on counter to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack, then cool completely, about 1 hour.


Cake flour makes the cake with lighter crumb. If you do not have cake flour you can use All 
purpose flour and cornstarch.

1 cup AP flour - 2 Tablespoons AP flour + 2 Tablespoons corn starch = 1 cup cake flour. You can find more details here.

I did not have buttermilk. I used yogurt and some water mixed evenly. You can use milk and vinegar/lemon juice also . More about it here.