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Monthly Archives: May 2018

Make Yogurt At Home Thicker and Creamier

The store-bought yogurt gets its taste and texture from a number of additives and artificial sugars which may be good to the taste but are a lot less nutritious and even bad for health sometimes. The commonly used additives for thickening are gelatin (glue made from animal bones), pectin (a bio-polymer acid, lab-made ingredient), powdered milk etc. And it is usually loaded with unhealthy sugars and artificial sweeteners that can make things really bad for people who have type 2 diabetes. While real and all-natural yogurt is actually supposed to help with many health issues, this one with the additives does just the opposite.

So, if one wants to take advantage of all the essential nutrients the yogurt can offer, it’s important that it is made at home using the natural method, which is actually quite simple if you know this secret:

The secret to making the thickest and creamy yogurt is making it at home in a pure clay pot! Pure-clay pots are made from the highest quality natural clay (primary clay) that has no contaminants and is made by hands without using ANY additives. These pots are Non-toxic – will make sure nothing leaches into your yogurt and contaminate it, and semi-porous – allow excess water to evaporate making the yogurt thick and creamy, naturally and WITHOUT any additives.

Once you have the pot, the rest is easy:

  1. Heat the milk to just before boiling point (till small bubbles form on the surface). Turn stove off, and open lid and let it cool down for 30 mins or so, till you can put your little finger and hold it there for 5 secs. Now the milk is ready for the culture.
  2. Add yogurt culture.
  3. Set in the oven with the lid on and oven light on.
  4. Let it incubate for 6-8 hours and the yogurt is ready.

Chicken Curry

Nothing makes the use of the fabulous spices from India like a good curry does. While these curries can be made with a bunch of ingredients like seafood, lamb, pork and an amazing variety of veggies – chicken seems to be a the most popular universally and rightly so! It is very hard to go wrong with a chicken curry because these is no hard and fast rule when it comes to making one.

When it comes to curry recipes in India there is no limit. Each state, region and even family has their own unique recipe for it. No matter which part of the country you are in, you can be sure of eating a good chicken curry. Right from the delicious creamy and rich curries of the north, the light and flavorful jhols of the east, and the variety of coconut based chicken curries from the West and South of India – the list is endless.

Chicken curries form the north are rich, thick and more robust as compared to the ones made elsewhere in the country. They are also the ones that popularized curries abroad. The likes of butter chicken and chicken tikka masala use tandoor or grilled chicken in a creamy tomato and butter based thick curry. There are also simpler ones like a dhaba chicken curry or tariwala murgha which don’t have creamy, buttery gravy but are high on flavor from whole spices, onions and tomatoes. Best eaten with crisp roti’s and paranthas, they could easily be the star attraction in an Indian meal.

In the South of India chicken curry is just as popular as it is in the North albeit made with different ingredients. While in the north the curries are made with onions tomato and yogurt in the south Coconut or coconut milk is a regular addition to give body to a good chicken curry. From the coconut and bedagi chilly based masala of Karnataka to the curry leaf and onion base of an Andhra style peppery chicken curry or the cooling coconut milk based curries of Kerala – there is one thing that is common for curries from the south – plenty of flavor. These delicious curries are served with famous South Indian accompaniments like idlis, dosas, appams, iddiappams, Kerala paranthas etc.

A chicken curry from Bengal on the other hand is slightly runnier than in other pockets of the country and is called a jhol. While you might be more familiar with a machcher or fish curry from the east, they do make a delightful chicken curry too – murgir jhol. Eaten with a generous helping of rice, make sure you make this Bengali curry with either mustard oil or jhorna ghee.

In the West, Gujarat and Rajasthan are predominantly vegetarian but Maharashtra makes up for lack of a good chicken curry from the region. The flavorful pandhra or white curry and the fiery tambda rassas from Kolhapur are world famous. Even the Malvan coast boasts of delicious chicken curry served with crisp fried multiflour vadas called vade or rice flour bhakris called amboli.

Basics Cooking, Baking and Grilling

Getting into the habit of using a splatter screen when sauteing or shallow frying will save you a lot of time on your clean-up later. Measuring ingredients and using cooking spray over the sink will keep messes confined to an easy to clean area. Keeping a bottle of soapy water handy make it more likely that cleaning up as you go will become part of your cooking habits. Another tip is to cook more slowly. Be a deliberate in measuring, chopping and wiping between each step. but this is one tip I often don’t follow my own advice, often trying to do to many task at one time.

With Spring just around the corner what better time than to take stock of what is in your pantry. Consolidate and organize and take note what you’re low on. It is also a great time to check those expiration dates and dispose of any that expired. Make a list of items that you can stock in your pantry that will help make a meal quickly without a lot of planning. It is also a good time to add those family favorites.

Now that you have your pantry all organized it is time to turn your attention to the fridge. Don’t be afraid to those bowls way in the back that have been forgotten about for weeks. It is a good time to check those condiments with cookouts just around the corner.

With everything clean and organized and Winter still here comfort food is the way to go. A pot of soup on the stove with grilled cheese sandwiches or a stew in the crockpot is the way to go. With Spring not too far away get those recipes out and start planning for fresh salads and garden vegetables. You will be amazed how time and clean-up will be and the fun of cooking, baking and grilling will not become a hard task but a lot of fun putting love in all the recipes for family and friends.

Sous Vide Technique

The Sous Vide technique is a method of low temperature cooking that was developed in 1974. It is a technique that came about to reduce the shrinkage that occurred when preparing foie gras. With general cooking methods, foods such as chicken, meat and fish tend to shrink tremendously. This technique showed unexpected low shrinkage results of 5% compared to a previous 40% when using generic cooking methods. Since then, it is a method that has been preferred by many chefs.

With this method it retains the vitamins and micro nutrients in the food. In addition, it does not alter the mineral salt fat compositions. Due to the aforementioned, a noticeable improved taste and texture is achieved. Consequently, the Sous Vide technique produces consistent results every time.

With this technique the temperature remains consistent therefore chefs can prepare fish, meat or vegetables as they desire while not worrying about shrinkage or loss of flavour. When the favoured temperature is reached, it can remain constant for hours. This makes it practically impossible to over cook the food. With this technique water is used which means that the heating medium ensures that the temperature is evenly spread throughout the Sous Vide Bath.