Sunday, July 18, 2010

Ginger Ice Cream (Serves 2)

It's hot!!! and it is a good time for some ice cream, I say! This was an ice cream re-mix that I had prepared some time last year actually, while I was well on my way recovering from surgery.

I think eventually it will be time for me to buy an ice cream making machine, since I have a lot of flavors running in my mind, and these creations are quick fixes that I do with store bought ice cream. It would be more fruitful and frugal to make my own ice cream, and it would be my own creation.

So, all you ginger lovers out there, come enjoy some ginger ice cream. Forgive the photo, it was taken when I didn't know much better. I am improving though :-). Here is the recipe.

1 1/2 cups natural vanilla ice cream
3 inch size flat piece of sweet crystallized ginger (store bought)
1 1/2 tsp filtered pure raw ginger juice
1/8 cup heavy cream

Take the vanilla ice cream out from the freezer and keep it at normal temperature.

Cut 3 inches of flat crystallized ginger into very fine pieces and set them aside. 

Take approximately 2 inches of ginger root and crush it. Squeezing the crushed ginger with your fingers, filter the pure ginger juice through a strainer and set it aside. We need 1 1/2 tsp of ginger juice. 

In a small bowl take 1/8 cup of heavy cream, add the 1 1/2 tsp of ginger juice to it. Just about bring the heavy cream to a boil, so that the rawness of the ginger goes away. Let it cool for a few minutes. 

In a mixing bowl, put 1 1/2 cups of vanilla ice cream, and add the heavy cream ginger juice mix, and the cut crystallized ginger pieces. With a spoon mix everything well together till it forms a smooth texture. 

Pour the ice cream mix back into its original container, and refreeze it. 

Serve it cold as is, or add some more crumbs of crystallized ginger on top if you are the gingery kind :-). Enjoy!

Health Rating: Medium

Monday, July 12, 2010

Mast-O-Khiar (Persian Cucumber and Mint with Yogurt) (Serves 8)

How could I leave this dish that we had served as an accompaniment to biryani during the BBQ cookout we had a couple of months ago?

This is one of my favorite dishes and I always order this when I am at a middle eastern kebab place. I just love the flavor of the mint and the cucumber infused in the yogurt. I added a few additional ingredients as an experiment.

This is an absolutely tasty dish and very soothing for the body, especially during the hot summer months.

It is very similar in preparation to the Indian raita, but a few different ingredients make such a huge difference to the final taste!

3 cups strained yogurt (Greek)
1 garlic clove
1 small bunch Parsley leaves
14 fresh mint leaves
5 small to medium Persian cucumbers
Salt to taste

Skin the cucumbers with a peeler and grate them. Make sure the grater is not very fine. Squeeze and strain off the excess water from the cucumber in a small bowl. Set the grated cucumber aside.

Quickly blend the garlic, parsley leaves, mint leaves along with just enough cucumber juice to help blend the ingredients.

In a large bowl, add the yogurt, grated cucumber, the blended mixture, and salt to taste. Mix everything well until smooth.

Refrigerate and serve cold with pita, bread, as a side dish with rice and gravy, or as is.

Health Rating: High

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Spicy Chicken Vindalho (Serves 4)

I would like to apologize for not posting in a long while, as I have been trying to recover from an herniated disc which hasn’t let me in a position to cook. As a temporary solution I now sit on a chair and cook, as I can’t stay from cooking and don’t want to trouble my wife too much :-)

I got the recipe for this dish while looking on Google, and came upon this Goan food blog called

I used to have a lot of Goan food (very spicy and flavorful with common items being fish, coconut, rice) while in India, and this site appealed to me with its traditional Goan food recipes. So I was curios to take a recipe from here and try it out over the weekend. 
Vindalho or Vindaloo is usually made with pork and malt vinegar. But chicken can also substituted for the pork. I had to make some adjustments to the recipe in terms of the amount of vinegar, and also the oil needed. I also used rice vinegar instead of the malt vinegar. The result nevertheless was outstanding. 

The author was right when he mentioned that this dish reminds you of pickle. Yes, the vinegar and the simple spices make that happen. Let's go straight to the recipe. It is so simple, you can make it even if you are totally wasted! :-) well, almost.

2 lb mixed chicken breast and thighs (boneless)
2 big onions (2 medium sized onions if you are in the US)
2 tbsp paprika powder
1 tbsp cayenne pepper
1 tbsp red chilli powder
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1 inch piece ginger cut small
5 cloves garlic cut small
2 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
8-10 black peppercorns
4-5 cloves
2 inch piece of cinnamon bark
4 tbsp oil
salt to taste

Cut the chicken in to one inch chunky pieces and set aside in a large bowl. Add salt to the chicken and mix well.

In a small bowl add the different chilli powders, 3/8 cup vinegar and mix well. Pour this mixture in a blender. Add the ginger root and garlic (both cut into small pieces), cumin seeds, turmeric powder, and blend everything till it forms a fine paste.

Pour this paste into the chicken pieces and mix everything really well. Refrigerate this overnight preferably, or at least one hour like I did.

Cut the onions into chunks and blend them in the grinder as well. 

In a large pan on medium heat, add the oil. As the oil gets hot, add the chicken and the blended onions, mix well and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of water, 1/8 cup of vinegar, peppercorns, cloves and cinnamon, and let the chicken cook on a low flame for at least an hour until the it is well done. Add more water based on the consistency you need, although I would suggest to keep it on the drier side.

Store in the refrigerator overnight to let the all the flavors mingle together and let the meat absorb the spices. Serve hot with rice, or chapati/fresh Italian bread.


Health Rating: Medium

Substitute Ingredient/s: For vegetarians you can substitute the chicken with chunky starchy vegetables such as potatoes. Adding carrots and celery to the potatoes would give it the flavor of a nice stew.

Also note that you will get a fantastic red color if you use authentic red chillies from Kashmir that the original recipe calls for. They aren’t that spicy, by the way.