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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche with baby Potatoes

Another classic French recipe from the Smoking Tava, Quiche is an open faced pastry-crust (shortcrust pastry) filled with savory custard and meat or vegetable filling. In this recipe I have used Spinach, mushroom and baby potatoes but you can go wild with your imagination and make your own filling. This is my first attempt and I'm quite impressed with the outcome.
Shortcrust pastry-
All purpose flour (Maida) - 200 gms
Butter - 100 gms, chilled, cut into cubes
Egg - 1 medium sized, beaten
Pinch of salt

Baby potatoes - 4-5, peeled and boiled until just done
Button mushroom - 150 gms, sliced
Spinach - 200 gms, large leaves with stalks removed.
Eggs - 4 medium sized
Double cream - 250 ml
Dried chives - 1 tsp
Chilly powder or Cayenne pepper - ½ tsp
Black pepper powder - 1 tsp
Nutmeg powder - a pinch
Parmesan cheese - 25 gms, grated
Olive oil (cooking) - 2 tbsp
Lemon juice - from ½ lemon
Salt to taste

For the shortcrust pastry, add flour, butter and salt into a food processor and run it briefly. Add half of the egg and run it again. Add more egg, just enough to make the mixture moist and to bring it together. On a flat work surface, make a ball out of the mixture and then flatten it until its around 1 cm thick. Wrap it in a cling film and place it in the refrigerator for around 30 mins. Pre-heat oven to 180º C. The pastry needs to be blind baked first before we can add in the filling. Line a 9 inch tart tin with the pastry and then with a layer of foil or butter paper. Fill with baking beans or dry pulses/rice (so that the edges of the pastry are held together and does not fall in). Bake in the oven for about 20 mins or till the pastry is just dry. Take out the foil/butter paper, brush the inside of the pastry with the leftover egg. Place it back into the oven for another 5 minutes. Once done take it out and let it cool.

Now prep the filling - Put spinach leaves in boiling water, just as the leaves turn slightly dark and still green, take it off and immediately put in cold water. Squeez excess water and shred the spinach leaves into small bits using your hands.
Heat a pan, add olive oil. Now add the mushrooms, let it sweat out all the water, add ¼ of the black pepper and salt. Saute till all the water has been evaporated. Now sprinkle some lemon juice. Take it off the flame and let it cool down completely.
In a bowl, beat 4 eggs, add cream, chilly powder, black pepper, dried chives, parmesan cheese, nutmeg. Nicely blend the mixture. Add spinach to the cream mixture. Slice the boiled potatoes around ½ cm thick. Spread the potato slices on the pastry almost covering the bottom. Evenly spread the mushroom. Now spoon in the creamy spinach mixture until the pastry is about 95% filled (the mixture may rise further because of the eggs). Bake in the oven @ 180º C for about 40 minutes until its golden brown and is just set in the center. Remove from the oven, allow it cool for around 10 minutes.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Pav Bhaji - Indian Street Food

I have lived in Mumbai for almost 23 years of my life and like any other Mumbaikar am a total sucker for Vada Pav, Misal Pav, Ussal Pav, Dhabeli, and Pav Bhaji. I have had tried several recipes for making pav (bread, also known as laadi paav) bhaji (healthy vegetable mash with aromatic spices), but none of them have come this close to match the flavours and aroma of a busy Mumbai street "Pav Bhaji Thelawala" (hawker selling Pav Bhaji on a cart, typically outside railway stations, parks or right on the beach). I have done some improvisation here to make the recipe as authentic and flavourful as possible. Hope you like the recipe as much as I loved cooking.
Tomato - 800 gms, chopped
Coriander leaves - ½ cup, chopped
Ginger garlic paste - 2 tbsp
Kashmiri chilly powder - 2 ½ tsp
Green chilly - 4-5, roughly chopped
Potato - 300 gms, boiled, peeled and roughly mashed
Green peas - ½ cup, if frozen, thaw. If dried peas, soak overnight to re-hydrate
Capsicum - 2 medium sized, de-seeded and roughly cut
Cauliflower - 200 gms, grated
Kasuri methi (Dried fenugreek leaves) - 1 tbsp, crushed on palm of your hands
Pav bhaji masala - 1 tbsp
Butter - 175 gms
Turmeric powder - ½ tsp
Asafoetida powder (Hing) - ¼ tsp
Onion - 1 large, chopped
Lemon juice - from 1 medium sized
Salt to taste
Lemon for garnishing
Water for cooking vegetable
Laadi pav
Butter for toasting pav

Heat a large pan, throw in tomatoes, potato, green peas, capsicum, green chillies and cauliflower. Add 1 tsp of kashmiri chilly powder, 1 tbsp of ginger garlic paste, turmeric powder, ¼ of the butter. Add little water to cook the veggies on a medium heat. With the help of a masher, keep mashing the vegetables. You can add some water if the mixture gets too dry.
Once the vegetables in the mash are almost unrecognizable, add ½ tbsp of pav bhaji masala, salt to taste and ½ of the chopped coriander leaves. Mix thoroughly, continue to mash them. Once the mixture is totally mashed, lower the heat.
Heat the remaining butter in a pan, lower the flame, add ¾ of the chopped onion, 1 ½ tsp of kashmiri chilly powder, 1 tbsp ginger garlic paste, ½ tbsp of pav bhaji masala, kasuri methi, asafoetida, ¾ of the remaining chopped coriander leaves, lemon juice. Though I have avoided adding color, you can add red food color to the mixture (bhaji on the street shops add color to get the definitive red bhaji). Saute for few seconds and then add this mixture to the vegetable mash. Cook the mash for a minute or two and we are done.
Now, lets assemble. Slit open the batch of 4-5 paav from the middle, in a hot pan, add a butter, pinch of pav bhaji masala, sprinkle a little coriander leaves. Place the pav over the butter mixture and toast them lightly on both sides.
Garnish bhaji with remaining chopped onion and coriander, serve with the toasted buttery pav and a wedge of lemon.
Enjoy the mouthwatering pav bhaji. Please leave your comments, they inspire me to carry on.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Tortilla Wrap

Tortilla wrap with fresh tomato salsa and a mouth watering shredded chicken filling is to die for. My first attempt at making the whole recipe ground up was an absolute winner and my family loved it. I have made the tortilla myself cause I like to keep it very rustic and if you are adventurous too go ahead and give it a try. But if you are unsure you can always get the machine made tortilla (very monotonous) available in stores.
Corn (Maize) flour - 1 ½ cup
All purpose flour (Maida) - 1 ¼ cup
Oil - 4 tbsp
Warm water
Salt to taste

Cucumber - 1 small, peeled and diced
Tomato - 2, de-seeded and diced
Green Chilly - 1, de-seeded and finely chopped
Garlic - 2 cloves, finely chopped
Onion - 1 medium sized, chopped
Lemon juice - from ½ a lemon
Salt to taste

Chicken breast - 300 gms, cut into strips of
Red bell pepper - 1, roughly cut into small pieces
Onion - 1 large, sliced
Garlic - 5 medium sized cloves, pounded
Black pepper powder - 1 ½ tsp
Balsamic vinegar - 1 tbsp
Sugar - a pinch
Oil - 4 tbsp (I used olive oil here)
Salt to taste

Jalapenos - 4 to 5, chopped

Mix all the ingredients except salt. You can add the salt just before you assemble the wraps (Salt will make the veggies shed out its water content and will make your tortilla soggy).

In a bowl, nicely mix corn and the all purpose flour. Add the oil and salt to taste. Add enough water to make a soft dough. Keep it aside for 5 minutes. Make balls out of the dough and then roll it into tortillas of around 9 inches dia. On a hot pan, cook for about a minute on each sides (one thing to take care of is to make sure the tortillas are not over cooked, they tend to become hard). This batch will fetch you 5-6 tortillas.

Add salt and pepper powder to the chicken pieces and let it stay for about 5 minutes or so. Heat oil in a pan, put the chicken. Cook till the chicken is tender. Leave the oil in the pan, take out the chicken. With a knife and fork, roughly shred the chicken pieces. Meanwhile, in the same oil that we cooked the chicken, thrown in the onion. Saute till they turn translucent. Add garlic, cook till the garlic gives off its aroma. Add sugar and salt. Add the bell pepper and saute for about 2 minutes. Now add balsamic vinegar and the shredded chicken. Cook for another minute or so and switch off the heat.
Now to assemble, take the tortilla (re-heat the tortilla on a pan if you feel the tortillas are cold) and spoon in a bit of salsa and the shredded chicken filling as in the picture above. Garnish with some jalapenos and grated cheese on top. Wrap the tortilla and heat on a hot griddle on both sides for cheese to melt and create the fusion of flavours.

Do post your comments and requests.