My version of meat is Jackfruit!

My version of meat is Jackfruit!

I have been trying to clean out my freezer during lock down times with limited supply in the fridge. Guess what I came across- FROZEN JACKFRUIT!!! Jackfruit was something I always enjoyed eating growing up in Kerala, southern part of India and so it made me all nostalgic when I saw it in the freezer. For people unfamilar with this fruit, Jackfruit is an exotic fruit grown in tropical regions of the world. It is native to South India. It is part of the Moraceae plant family, which also includes fig, mulberry and breadfruit.

I was completely clueless as to how to cook this as I wanted my entire family to enjoy a meal out of this exotic fruit. I decided to make a rice dish with this fruit with a lot of flavors and spices. When I tell you guys, this is my new found meat substitute. The reason I say it is because at the end of it, when I savored the dish, cooked jackfruit had such a meaty texture and was so satisfying so this calls for a great substitute for people who want to stay vegetarian and not miss the meat!

Jackfruit is high in fiber and Vitamin C. It has small amounts of antioxidants, minerals and is an excellent source of Potassium as well.

So I hope you try this recipe and let me know what you think:

Ingredients:

Basmati Rice-2 cups

Water- 5 cups

Salt to taste

Bayleaf (2), Cardamom (3), a piece of cinnamon, 1 tsp of Caraway seeds(optional)

For Jackfruit Marinade:

2 Cups yogurt

Salt to taste

Chilli or Cayenne powder 1 tsp

Turmeric powder 1 tsp

Curry powder or Garam Masala powder 1 tsp

Ghee or clarified butter 1 tsp

1/2 tsp Saffron soaked in hot water and 1 tsp milk

fried crispy onions for garnish

cilantro for garnish

cashewnuts for garnish

Preparation:

Cook 2 cups of Basmati rice in 5 cups of water along with bayleaf, cinnamon, cardamom, caraway seeds and keep covered till the rice is cooked almost 3/4 th s. You want the rice to be crispy at this point not completely cooked since we are going to cook the rice towards the end after we mix it with the jackfruit marinade. Keep aside.

Take a pan and make sure you thaw out jackfruit well in advance and pat dry with paper towel to remove any moisture. Saute the jackfruit with any oil. I personally prefer coconut oil so saute in coconut oil with some salt to taste till it turns golden brown. This happens when your flame is under medium to high. Set aside.

Saute’d Jackfruit in marinade

Take a heavy bottom pan under low flame, add 2 cups of yogurt and add salt, chilli powder, turmeric. curry powder and mix well. Toss in the jackfruit and mix well. Now layer the rice on top in batches and mix and once it is completely mixed. Add in the saffron soaked in hotwater and milk on top. Keep covered for about 20 minutes under very low flame. This help in a slow cook process and enables all the flavors to infuse in the rice.

Saffron soaked in hot water and milk

Garnish with cilantro, fried onions and cashewnuts. If you dont have jackfruit, substitute the same with boiled eggs and comes out pretty good as well.

Easy Soft Fluffy Banana Bread Recipe

Easy Soft Fluffy Banana Bread Recipe

I have been making batches and batches of Banana Bread and it disappears in a day or two. Both my kids love banana bread and actually make it while I stand and watch and jump in just when needed.

They have the recipe down to the T now. The key to a successful banana bread is hugely the bananas that go into it. I really like to use the ones that are very ripe and have black spots on them, the ones ready to be tossed. This is such good use of those overripe bananas. Banana bread is so versatile that you may anything to it and improvise. We personally love chocolate chips so we add them in our banana bread but you could add nuts like pecans or walnuts or almonds for crunch, add cocoa powder maybe nutella:) so get creative guys!

A lot of you sent me several messages and requested for a recipe and so by popular demand here goes:

Ingredients:

2 Ripe Bananas blended in a bowl – we like ours smooth so we blend it but if you like chunky banana bread you may just mash with a fork and leave the chunks in there.

1 cup of sugar- any sugar but we use brown sugar

2 cups of AP Flour

2 Eggs beaten well

1 tsp baking soda- rising agent

Few drops of Vanilla syrup

A pinch of salt

1/4 cup Milk

A stick of butter

Chocolate Chips -optional

Preparation:

  • Take a baking pan, and grease all sides well. We use butter to grease the pan as I am not a big fan of any sprays and am old school – good old butter does the trick! You may use one of those non stick spray if you like.
  • Preheat the oven to 350 F for 30-45 minutes depending on your oven capacity. I usually check in at 30 minutes into baking. Secret tip—- I use a fork or something sharp to stick it through the banana bread at 30 minutes into baking and when you pull it out, if it still comes out with dough sticking on , I would leave it in an extra 15 minutes for baking.
  • Take a bowl- measure 2 cups of AP flour, add in 1/2 tsp of baking soda, pinch of salt and mix well.—–DRY INGREDIENTS
  • Take another bowl, melt a stick of butter in microwave and add 1 cup of sugar-whisk well to mix. Add 2 beaten eggs and whisk again. To this add the mashed up/ blended bananas and whisk well for about 5 mins. You may use an electric blender too but I prefer a hand whisk. I get some workout done during quarantine 🙂 Add few drops of vanilla syrup and milk and whisk well again till all the ingredients are mixed well and smooth——-WET INGREDIENTS.
  • Transfer the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients gradually and whisk as this transfer is done to get a smooth even dough.
  • The key to adding the chocolate chips or nuts to make sure it goes evenly in the dough is a FOLDING TECHNIQUE. So as you add a handful of chocolate chips, you immediately fold in the chips using a flat spatula into the dough. Repeat this till you add in all the chocolate chips/ nuts.
  • Now bake at 350F for 30-45 minutes.

Enjoy warm banana bread with a hot cup of coffee or hot chocolate! Yum!

Black Lentil Soup popularly known as “Dal Makhani”

Black Lentil Soup popularly known as “Dal Makhani”

Dal makhani or dal makhni is a dish originating from the northern region of the Indian subcontinent. The primary ingredients are whole black lentil, red kidney beans, butter and cream. This dish is a one pot slow cooked dish which will taste better as you let it cook for longer. In India, we cook this for hours and sometimes overnight in a claypot in charcoal flame to get the perfect smoky well stewed Lentils or Dal.

I have substituted butter and cream with low fat milk and coconut oil. So mine is a healthier version of “Dal Makhani”.

The other ingredients used are ginger, garlic, onions, tomatoes and special bunch of Indian spices used for this dish which is cooked for hours to attain the perfect smoky soupy consistency and taste.

Indian Cottage Cheese in an onion tomato curry popularly known as “Paneer” and the dish- “Paneer bhurji”.

Indian Cottage Cheese in an onion tomato curry popularly known as “Paneer” and the dish- “Paneer bhurji”.

Indian Cottage Cheese or Paneer is a staple in every Indian’s refrigerator. It is hard and so deceptive as you cook them, as you see it melt in the dishes and creamy and so delicious. Here I have a very easy dish made of Paneer for people out there who want to start cooking Indian food!

Ingredients

Onions- 3 medium diced fine

Tomatoes- 4 diced

Bell Pepper- 1- diced small

Grated Indian Cottage Cheese or Paneer-1/2 cup

Garlic- 5 cloves minced

1/2 inch of fresh ginger

Turmeric powder- 1/2 tsp

1 Clove, 1 Cardamom, a small piece of Cinnamon

Oil- any

Salt to taste

Cayenne powder- 1 teaspoon

Curry powder or Garam Masala- 1 teaspoon

Cilantro for garnish

Preparation:

  1. To a pan under medium flame, add a tablespoon oil, add clove, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric powder and toast for a minute. Now add tomatoes and cook covered for about 3/4 min s.
  2. Blend this separately
  3. Take another pan placed under medium flame and add a teaspoon of oil, add ginger, garlic, onions, bell pepper and saute with salt, cayenne powder, curry powder and saute’ for about 5 minutes.
  4. Toss in the blended tomato and mix well.
  5. Add the grated Indian Cottage Cheese or Paneer slowly while mixing in.
  6. Garnish with cilantro.
  7. Serve with Naan Bread or Basmati rice.

My “Egg Curry” that won me my Master Chef Apron

My “Egg Curry” that won me my Master Chef Apron

Back in 2012, when I auditioned for Master Chef Season 3 with Gordon Ramsay- this egg curry recipe won me my Master Chef Apron. After all these years, I decided to share my recipe with everyone:

Ingredients

Onions- 3 medium diced fine

Tomatoes- 4 diced

Eggs- 6 boiled and peeled and chopped in halves

Garlic- 5 cloves minced

1/2 inch of fresh ginger

1 Clove, 1 Cardamom, a small piece of Cinnamon

Oil- any -I prefer coconut or sesame oil for this recipe

Salt to taste

Cayenne powder- 1 teaspoon

Curry powder or Garam Masala- 1 teaspoon

Curry leaves -3/4, Cilantro and mustard seeds-1/2 tsp for garnish

Preparation:

  1. Place a pan under medium flame and add 1 tablespoon oil. In this recipe I use my garnish in the first step
  2. Throw in mustard seeds, curry leaves, clove, cardamom and cinnamon till they splutter. Add in ginger, garlic, onions and mix with salt to taste, cayenne and spices like curry powder/ garam masala.
  3. Add tomatoes and mix well. Keep covered after adding 1/4 cup of water and let it cook until all tomatoes are stewed and release oil.
  4. Now add in the eggs and fold in gently with the onion tomato paste gently and cook for 2 minutes.
  5. Garnish finally with Cilantro.
  6. Serve with warm Naan bread.