Ravioli – Stuffed Pasta

Ravioli_Header

Well, finally comes the post that I had been longing to write for our blog – The quintessential spinach and cheese ravioli without eggs. Ravioli is Italian stuffed pasta which is made by pressing interesting fillings between the thin pasta dough layers, creating a pillow like casing! The fluffy delicate pasta pillows can be served along with any kind of pasta sauce or can even be sauteed in just butter & herbs!
I clearly remember tasting Ravioli for the first time at the famous The Big Chill Cafe at New Delhi, India. Spinach Ravioli in creamy Parmesan Sauce is item 121 on Big Chill’s endless menu! The restaurant has a number associated with every dish.  People, like me, who are a regular there, just order by the number associated with their favorite dish. Believe me, I really look forward to go there in a large group to be able to taste something other than what I always order, as I can’t do without having my 121(or 124) and 196! 🙂
The idea of stuffing the pasta really intrigued me and I tried this recipe thrice, two times with just a handful of dough to be sure that it doesn’t give a raw or chewy pasta taste but once I was convinced, I cooked it as a complete meal!

The Pasta Dough

Pasta  dough traditionally is made using eggs but we tried the eggless version and it tasted just as right. The taste of the final product really depends on kind of  olive oil and cheese you use. The more authentic Italian they are, the better your Ravioli would come out.

Ingredients:  
Dough
White flour 1 cup
Semolina ( very fine) 1 tbsp (optional, it helps in binding the dough better)
Olive Oil – 1 tbsp
Pinch of salt
Luke Warm Water- To knead
 
Method:
1. Mix flour, semolina and salt in a  large mixing bowl, making a well in the center. [The semolina we used was more fine than granulated sugar]
2. Add oil in the well and slowly keep adding water while mixing it using a fork, incorporating only a little flour mixture at a time so it mixes smoothly and evenly. Patience pays here, the more patient you are in this step the better the dough will turn out.
3. Once it gets a little stiff dough consistency, continue kneading by hand for about 10 minutes. You may grease your hand a little to avoid dough sticking to it.
4. Let it stand for a 25-30 mins covered with a wet towel.
5. Knead the dough couple times until it is smooth and just a little sticky.

The Filling

Ingredients:
Raw Spinach leaves – 200 grams  Filling_Ravioli
Garlic – one fat clove (minced)
Pine Nuts or Walnuts- handful (chopped)
Butter – 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Ricotta Cheese – 50 gms ( you may use Cream cheese if you do not find Ricotta,  it should be softened at room temperature) 
Pepper and Nutmeg Powder – a pinch each ( seasoning)
 
Method:
1. Put water to boil in a deep pan, add spinach leaves. Boil for 2-3 mins, strain. Finely chop the boiled spinach, once it cools down.
2.In a saute pan, add butter, garlic, nuts and let them lightly roast.  Add chopped spinach , salt and let the water evaporate. Turn off the heat and let it cool down. 
3. In a mixing bowl, add the cooled mixture from Step 2 along with Cheese (softened at room temperature) and fold in lightly. Add Pepper and Nutmeg Powder to season the filling and refrigerate till you roll out the pasta dough. ( at least 15 mins)
 
Stuffing the Ravioli

Here comes the most interesting (and the trickiest) part.  Traditionally, thin pasta sheets are rolled out using the pasta machine that ensures that the sheets are evenly thin and smooth. But, at 156, Hungerlane, we aim to create recipes with commonly available tools. 🙂 So, the good ol’ rolling pin ( belan) comes in handy.  You just need a large plain surface to roll long pasta sheets to save yourself from the trouble of rolling the dough individually for every Ravioli you make.

Directions:
1. I dusted some flour on my clean table top and started rolling the dough as thin as possible. You may divide the dough into smaller portions to manage the space.
2.Cut long and broad strips of dough using knife, you may use ruler if you wish to be very precise ( Frankly, I am not that patient!)
3. Put small portions of filling roughly 3 inches apart near one edge of the rectangular sheet.  Fold the other end of the rectangular sheet over and firmly press using your fingers to shape the pasta crescents. You may brush milk to seal the edges and cut the pillows.

RollnStuff

Being a hopeless romantic, I used my heart-shaped cookie cutter to make heart-shaped Ravioli. This makes for a romantic valentines day or anniversary meal.  Dust the Ravioli with Flour as they rest so they don’t stick to the platter or  with each other.
4.  Put Ravioli in salted boiling water for less a minute and a half and strain ( Note:  The fresh pasta takes very less time to cook than the dry pasta so ensure that you do not over-boil your ravioli. Also, this step should be done right before you wish to serve the Ravioli) 

HeartRavioliBoilRavioli

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Serving Suggestion: You may either saute’ the ravioli in butter and herbs ( sage , oregano etc.) and serve them as it is  or choose your favorite pasta sauce to accompany it. I generally like the cream cheese sauce, but this time I used the Arabiatta sauce. Tomatoes , garlic, fresh basil and onions tossed in olive oil,  and ground into a thick paste ! Add salt, pepper and your seasonings, to make this easy breezy pasta sauce. 
Serve, the Ravioli hot. The crunch from the nuts would be a great surprise when you bite into the delicate ravioli pillows with cream and spinach gently melting in your mouth! 🙂 

Ravioli_Hungerlane

 The Spinach and Cheese is one of the most yet delicious filling in any savory Ravioli.  You can just sprinkle some Parmesan Cheese on  the top of your Ravioli and serve it piping hot!
SideView_Ravioli
 Well, my post to the savory Ravioli ends here, I really hope you like it.  But, along with this post, we would like to introduce our first guest blogger Nitya who is not only an avid foodie and a brilliant cook but also a very dear friend.  Nitya wrote to us with a little sweet variation to the traditional Ravioli Recipe. We have not tried it as yet, but the recipe sounds brilliant!  She gave her pear ravioli pockets a very unconventional and cute shape ( I call it pear shape! :)) . So, here goes Nitya’s Recipe:
Nitya_hungerlane_1
  We would really like to Thank Nitya to take out time and write to us!  In a way, she completed this post by giving a sweet variation to our otherwise savory Ravioli post! 
 
We really hope this encourages other foodies to share back with us! 
 
Keep cooking, eating and sharing!
Cheers,
 
Rashi
 
 
Categories: Eggless, Entree, Italian, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Restaurant Review : Arz Lebanon

This valentines, my husband treated me with a trip to Dubai for a reunion with our common friends. 4 days of Fun, Friends and Food…. Good times… 🙂

After a long day of work & travel, when we finally reached Dubai, we were really looking forward to a great first meal.  Our friends staying in Dubai – Gautam and Udita suggested this as the first place we should try for authentic Lebanese food – ‘Arz Lebonon’.

Arz Lebonon_156hungerlane

The Restaurant!

We were all really excited looking at the menu with all its unfamiliar dishes. Gautam and Udi ordered us a banquet that covered pretty much the best of Lebanese cuisine and some of Arz Lebanon’s most popular dishes. While the starters came, I took some time to go around the restaurant. It was lunch time and the restaurant was full with people from different nationalities enjoying a great family meal. The restaurant offers 2 seating options – inside the restaurant or open air seating outside. We preferred outside as we had landed in a good weather season 🙂 The restaurant is ideally located, right off the main road, close to the beach and offers parking space right outside the restaurant.

The Menu!

The Menu was interesting and long with something to offer for everyone – those of us who wanted to try some authentic Lebanese food and also for those of us who didn’t want to step out of our comfort zones and order a club sandwich or a spaghetti bolognese. The best part about the menu was that there were plenty of vegetarian options for our vegan friends.

The Food!

We started with Tabbouleh, Fattoush and Hummus served with Pita bread. How fun are these names! Our excitement rose as the salads hit our table and we dived straight in. Toubbouleh looked like our basic kuchumber salad with a refreshing dressing of olive oil, lime and some Lebanese herbs. It tasted great with pita bread. I was personally more interested in Fattoush with its pomegranate molasses and sumac spice mix and boy was I happy to try it! The sweet and sour dressing was just perfect. The hummus to my surprise was quite different and slightly on the tangier end. But hummus is hummus. You cannot not like it :). What I did however not like so much were the soups. We had ordered for a noodle soup and chicken soup and there were just ok.. I wouldn’t recommend the soups if you are in to try something exotic.

We also ordered for some fresh juices to complement a bright sunny afternoon. The juices were natural and refreshing, especially the lime juice with mint that you see in the picture. It was heavenly.

arz lebanon_starter_156hungerlane

As if this was not enough, we ordered for a second round of starters comprising of Falafalsgrilled chicken and lamb skewers and my utmost favorite Zaatar Manakeesh or Thyme Pizzettas. Manakeesh is kind of a Lebonese pizza with a topping of dried thyme, toasted sessemme seeds and sumac powder.  I would highly recommend it, maybe because I love everything that is remotely Italian 🙂

Anyways, bunch of exotic stuff later, my friends wanted to try something familiar, so we ordered a vegetarian pizza, steak in mushroom sauce and chicken biryani… Italian,  American and Indian in a Lebanese restaurant. What a great example of globalization! Going by the quality of food served before, we were sure that it would be equally good and so it was.

We were too full for desserts so skipped that bit. There was plenty on offer though. They have a separate dessert counter with yummy looking cup cakes, cheesecakes, chocolates to choose from and it’s quick popular too. Would recommend some space in the tummy left for this course of the meal 🙂

Lebanese_156hungerlane

The Service:

Unlike the food, the service was a bit slow which could be attributed to the packed up restaurant. However, the gentleman in charge of our table apologized humbly and ensured that we get the food we had ordered as quickly as possible.

Final Rating:

All in all – here is my final rating:

Location and Seating: 8 | Menu: 8 | Food: 8 | Service: 7 = Aggregate score of 7.75

Top Favorites : Fatoosh, Manakeesh and Lime juice with mint

Do share your views of the restaurant if you have been there or ever go there. Let us know if you ordered anything else that you would highly recommend.

Here is where you can find Arz Lebanon:

Ground Floor, Delphine Building, Marina Promenade, Dubai Marina, DubaiLandmark: Behind Jumeirah Beach Residence Zip Code: 22399
City of Dubai
Phone: +971 4 4221994

Cheers,

Nupur

Categories: Mains, Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

No bake – Strawberry Cheesecake!

156hungerlane_cheesecake

Valentine’s Day is around the corner, our first valentines after the wedding and like any other wife, I wanted to make something out of the ordinary for my husband. My mind immediately went to the strawberry cheese cake that Shishir was raving about from his last potluck at office. I was kind of jealous because after coming home from work, he was talking more about the cheesecake and not so much about the brownies I had so painstakingly prepared for him and his team :(. So I decided to make Strawberry cheese cake and get my husband’s attention and praise back to where it belongs 😛

We are off for a holiday this valentines, so thought of spending the weekend prior to that cooking together 🙂 The best part about this cake is that It is a NO BAKE cake, so you actually taste it at every step and enjoy every moment!

156hungerlane_cheesecake_Ingredients

Start by making the base. It will be ideal to have a detachable ring mould for a cheesecake. Don’t have it? I didn’t :P, so I used the regular mould lined with aluminium foil. It will be easy to de-mould that ways! Put the base in the refrigerator to set for 30 mins and start with the actual cake 🙂

156hungerlane_cheesecake_base

For the cake batter, whisk the cream until thick and add the mascarpone cheese to it.

Whisk well to mix it up and then add condensed milk. Start by adding 1/4th of the tin and later add more according to taste. Now add 4 tablespoons of strawberry jam and 1tsp of vanilla essence. In our case, Shishir picked up a small pichkoo pack and the whole pack worked just fine! Now add 1 lemon to the mixture. Lemon is a natural thickening agent and you will see the mixture thicken very quickly as soon as you add the lemon to it and that’s it!156hungerlane_Cheesecake_batter

Put the cake mix into your mould and leave it to set in the refrigerator for 4 – 5 hours to set. You can also leave it overnight. Once set, take the cake tin out of the fridge and remove the aluminium foil. Smoothen the sides with a knife or spatula. Garnish with Strawberry and share!

156hungerlane_cheesecake_cakemixIt has always been our effort to prepare sumptuous meals for you guys for each occasion. But it was this recipe where I realized that it doesn’t matter when you cook these dishes, any day could be Valentine’s day! Just to share my example – I had de-moulded the cake and left for some work. I hadn’t clicked any pics yet but my adorable husband couldn’t wait for me to come back! He was so hungry that he ate almost half the cake before I returned! The good thing he did was that he didn’t confront me directly but left a post it on the plate in the fridge saying ‘Sorry’ …. So cute! How could I not forgive him :). But sorry guys, you don’t see the full cake here… the second half is resting happily in his tummy!

156hungerlane_cheesecake_love

Have you had such a food moment of love? Share it with us.. I can assure you that this recipe works on husbands and can guarantee a great Valentine’s day!

Love,

Nupur

Categories: Desserts | 6 Comments

Eggless Double Chocolate Cookies

DoubleChocolate Cookie Banner

I sincerely believe that there should not be just one day to celebrate Love but the hype that is created around February 14th makes it really hard for me to treat it as just another day! Suddenly, red and pink roses pop out of nowhere, reserving a table even at your regular lunch/dinner place either becomes impossible or it comes with a big cover charge or both! The radio station starts playing all romantic numbers, the pizza company doesn’t guarantee on-time delivery.. In fact, look at us, even we had to succumb to the pressure of having a special menu just to keep ourselves in the context!  🙂

Valentine’s Day , sadly, has not been included in the Holiday Calendar as yet ! Those who are still in school/ college make sure that they step out of their homes on pretext of attending “the most important class/ quiz” but for those who have to attend office,unfortunately, there are not many excuses possible to take leave from their bosses.. Ask us why? Because  those who are “apparently” single, do not wish to give their bosses any food for thought, and those who are legally committed do not want to sound cheesy or distracted!

This is the last weekend before February the 14th, since most of us would be working on that day, we thought we might share a recipe that gives you an opportunity to prepare a surprise for you loved one, well in advance. Something that you can store and can relish any time. Something that every one likes like ummmmmmmmmmm… Cookies! We have posted Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe earlier, but this one is a little variation since it does not use eggs. We are making Double Chocolate Cookies that uses both Cocoa and Choco Chips!

Cookie Ingredients

Yes, we will use all these unconventional ingredients in our cookies. While jaggery has been used to substitute Brown Sugar ( though we still recommend brown sugar over jaggery),  flax seeds powder have been used to replace eggs. The mix nuts powder that we have used here are ground almonds and cashews. The natural flavor and oils from this nut helps giving the cookies an added crunch! Moving forward:

Cookie Recipe

Our cookie dough became a little sticky since the butter melts in the kneading process. To cope with that, we put the dough in the refrigerator for 20 mins ..the butter hardens and makes the dough manageable. You should also put the left over dough in the fridge in between baking batches.

Cookie Dough

We made big wide rolls of cookie dough for baking. You may choose the size to your liking but keep them at some distance on the baking tray as the dough expands as it bakes. Flatten the dough with your hand if you want crisp thin cookies. Here, we tried making gooey cookies by making thick dough rolls.

Baked Cookies

Cookie with  chocochips!

Tip:

It’s important to carefully transfer the cookies on cooling rack or else they would crumble . Fresh baked cookies are very soft and they  get harder as they cool. If you wish to get cookies in any particular shape this is the best time to get your cookie cutter handy!  Cut the cookies gently using cutter of your desired shape and size right after you take them out of the oven.

Going by the theme, we cut this cookie using heart-shaped cutter and dipped it in molten chocolate! You can write your message using icing cones/ icing pens   ( You may even request your local baker to do this for you 🙂 )

Cookie Heart

These cookies can be decorated in many ways – use candies, gems, icing cones etc. to send your message across. If you are planning to take your relationship to next level and propose, create a small slit in the cookie while it’s still soft to place your proposal ring! We are sure she would be thrilled!  { There is a good possibility of her being more thrilled seeing the cookie ( since you baked it) than the ring! :P}

Cookie Jar

Store the cookies in an airtight container. I especially painted this Cookie Jar to suit the occasion. Yellow is one of Ashim’s favorite colors and even I wanted something bright and happy for my kitchen top!  I painted the steel -rusted-glass jar cap with yellow acrylic color and made some polka dots using my nail paint. The red felt fabric bow helped in balancing the whole arrangement and even looks like a jar knob handle. This is the time when you let your creative juices flow.

Cookie Jar

We hope you enjoy trying this recipe.  We shall soon come up with something savory for your palette.

Till then,

Take care and Happy Weekend 🙂

Rashi

Categories: Breakfast, Desserts, Eggless | 2 Comments

5 minutes Eggless Cake-in-a-Mug!

Cake in a Mug!

“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”
― Charles M. Schulz

Celebrating February, a month of Love and we believe in Love,  in every form! We promised our foodies a Valentine’s Day Menu.. a menu that would help you plan a surprise for your loved one.. your partner, parents, friends or siblings!  We would especially like to dedicate this recipe to our male subscribers, not only because it is easy to make but also because it is quick and uses simple ingredients! We promise it would help you gain those brownie points that you can cash on for the rest of the year!

This recipe is : Without egg, quick and being the first recipe of our Valentine’s Day Series – has Chocolate!  As Jo Brand said “Anything is good if it’ s made of chocolate” and we do not want to take chances on our first recipe of this series, do we? 🙂 156hungerlane_vday

The USP of this recipe is how  quick it is to make, and we do not really want to dilute that by making you lose time in reading between the lines :P. So without any further ado, here is what you need: 

thingsyouneed

Of course, a Cake-in-a-Mug recipe would require a Mug but remember, the more interesting the mug , the better the impact!  Be a little creative! We especially bought this red mug to give you an idea of what we mean!

Choco-chips and Cocoa Powder are the main ingredients! I recently got my hands on Van Houten Chocolate Powder (as in the picture) and I am super happy with the results! You may choose any brand that you have/ like.

And last but not the least, the Heart urges you to pour your heart out in your cooking, especially when its meant for someone dear, believe you me, the results would reflect your feelings completely!

Moving ahead, along with these main items, here’s what you would need:

Recipe

vday_pour

You may add choco-chips while beating the cake batter  or just top few chips on the top before the mug goes in the microwave – we did  BOTH! ( We never have enough of Chocolate, do we?) Irrespective of what the size of the mug is, just fill it to the quarter (or the cake would not cook completely). Don’t be too tempted to cook the cake for too long in the microwave, it dries up a lot faster in convection cooking and can eventually burn. (In my first attempt months ago, I had my cakes on fumes!)PicMonkey Collage

With a little judgement,  this Recipe is really a no fail. It is also ideal for any occasion where you wish to serve individual portions! For now, try it to surprise your Beloved and wish the last few days of these winters a warm chocolatey Goodbye!

Cake Hungerlane

Hope this recipe works wonders for you! We would be back soon with few more interesting recipes in this 8 day countdown to the Valentines Day! Watch this space!

Love,

Rashi

Categories: Breakfast, Desserts, Eggless | 66 Comments

Restaurant Review: New York Fries

We are back and we are munching… this time its HOT n CRISP FRIES! Yes, we are talking about the thick Julienne-d deep fried potatoes or pomme frites ( as called in France). I think I can take liberty in saying that Fries are enjoyed by all age groups. In fact, Fries today have become one of the first things that toddlers start nibbling on!

You must be wondering why are we talking about something as basic as Fries here! Well, we recently visited a restaurant that serves only Fries with interesting toppings..  New York Fries (NYF)!  

Though the origin of fries is still debatable, most attribute it in France and are therefore often called as French Fries. Then why is this restaurant called New York Fries ? No, it doesn’t even have a franchise in New York yet, in fact not even in America!  Actually, the owners got inspired by the fries they tasted in New York and wanted to let the whole world taste them. They now have outlets in Canada, China, Hong Kong, Macau, Bahrain and few other parts of middle east.

On our recent travel trip, we had a chance to visit the New York Fries outlets in both Hong Kong and Macau. Believe me,  nothing is as satisfying on cold sunny December afternoon as Hot crisp munchies accompanied by a beverage. It was our day to visit the pier at the Stanley ( a peninsular town in southern district of Hong Kong) Apparently, NYF had recently opened its outlet at the Stanley Plaza and we were happy with our serendipitous find!

NYF_Stanley_hungerlane

NYF at Stanley Plaza (Amphitheatre Area)

What’s different?

 At NYF,  fries are made from fresh russet Burbank potatoes, hand cut leaving the potato skin on. The potatoes are then cooked in non hydrogenated, trans fat-free sunflower oil, which is also low in saturated fat and cholesterol free. The Fries are accompanied by brilliant topping options, the poutine being my favorite.  Poutine is NYF’s signature trans fat-free gravy and it’s super delicious.

NYF_Hongkong

Our request for a photo was promptly granted!

The Menu

Though the menu comprises of many interesting variations, the non-vegetarians enjoy more options to choose from Pork , Braised Beef to Butter Chicken. Irrespective of what you order, you have a Toppings Bar open for you to make additions as per your choice. The Topping Bar gives you an array of fresh ingredients to add to your already delicious fries. Apart from fresh chopped tomatoes, jalapeno, olives relish etc., the condiments like vinegar , tabasco and pepper sauces are also available to enhance the flavors  and adjust them according to your taste buds, and yes all the things on this counter are Free of Cost! (Does that ring a bell??)

NYF_Counter_Hungerlane

Counter with Toppings

We ordered the interesting Veggie Works that consists of New York Fries topped with our cheese sauce, real sour cream, and fresh green onions and tomatoes. We topped them further with jalapeno & relish and we were good to go! Every bite was hot and crisp.. with sauces melting in our mouth! The Veggies added to the desired crunch and the flavor..really a hearty snack!

NYF_NewYorkFries

Veggie Works

For all those who have been wondering how heavy or unhealthy these fries could be…Just Relax!  At New York fries, you would know exactly what you are having as the restaurant has consolidated a Nutritional Chart to cover all the items in their menu.  To check the nutritional value of  NYF menu, you may click here – Nutritional Chart !

NYF_MacauThese giant fries were exhibited outside New York Fries Outlet at The Galaxy Macau. They had the same texture and feel of the actual New York Fries.. too bad, they were not edible.  But, if you are looking for delicious, quick and handy meal ( including beverage) options within HK$100 ( INR  700/- ), you should definitely stop by here!

There are many outlets of NYF spread across the world (http://www.newyorkfries.com/locations) but we can vouch for the one that we visited at Stanley, since it provides excellent view and seating options. It is located at:

Shop G08B, Stanley Plaza
23, Carmel Road
Stanley, HK
26633548 
 
Hope you’d  follow our review and share your feedback , till then keep Munching!   
Rashi

PS :  Since NYF has not yet opened in Singapore , we found alternatives like BFF – Best Fries Forever and Everything with Fries.  We shall review these places sometime soon.

Categories: Restaurant Reviews, Sauces | 2 Comments

Rasmalai

Rasmalai

Hello fellow foodies,

Happy New Year!

I have been working extra hard lately and recently finished shifting my house over Christmas. It is ceremonious in India to make something sweet when you start something new like in my case, moving to a new house. So I started thinking, what is that one dessert that Shishir and I love to eat and don’t mind paying a premium for. This time it had to be Indian and my heart immediately went towards the ever so popular – Rasmalai 🙂

156hungerlane_Rasmalai

Rasmalai is a milk based dessert that originated in coastal Orissa in India. It bears resemblance to another Indian sweet from Bengal, the Rasagulla. It is composed of 2 words – ‘Ras’ means syrup and Malai means clotted cream. This popular Indian dessert is enjoyed by people of all ages and is popular across the world. The best part about the dish is that it looks extremely difficult to make but is actually super easy :). I remember as I kid, I always wondered how did the halwayi ( dessert chef :)) make these soft spongy sweet small cakes of heaven? All of this changed when I came across this super simple 4 step recipe that left me feeling so stupid about my ignorance all these years 😛

This recipe is from showmethecurry.com and is super simple and works brilliantly. Make this dessert for your new year dinners or lunches.. works equally well for any time of the day 🙂

This recipe serves 4-6 people. Here is all you need

156hungerlane_Ingredients_Rasmalai

 Step 1:Making the Paneer.

Boil Milk in a pan. Dilute the vinegar with 4 tbsp of water and add it to the boiling milk. Add in a slow stream, enough to make the milk curdle. Once it curdles, switch off the stove and drain the water to get Paneer or cottage cheese. If you have a cheese cloth, use that instead of a sieve and leave it hanging for 30-40 mins to remove all the water.

156hungerlane_Rasmalai_step1

Step 2: Making the Malai bit of Rasmalai

Put the rest of the milk (1.2 ltr) for the Ras on a sim flame and leave it to reduce, stirring every now and then. Remove the paneer from the cheese cloth or sieve and churn it in a food processor to make a smooth dough. Churn till the time the paneer starts collecting itself in the form of a dough.  You can also do this by hand but I prefer this shortcut 🙂

Once done, remove the dough and make small balls and flatten them a little. In the pressure cooker, add 5 cups of water, 1 cup of sugar and 2 cardamom pods. Once the water heats and sugar dissolves, add the slightly flattened balls and close to cooker.

Switch off the gas on the first whistle and leave the cooker to cool down for exactly 5 mins. After 5 mins, remove the steam by pouring cold water on the cooker and open the lid. You excitement quotient will rise when you see nice malais floating away to glory 🙂

156hungerlane_Rasmalai_step2

Step 3: Making the Ras or the syrup

Once your milk has reduced to almost half (Don’t overdo this step, we are not looking for rabri :0), add crushed cardamom seeds and sugar to taste. Mix a pinch of saffron with 2 tbsp milk and add to the boiling milk and you’re done!

 156hungerlane_Rasmalai_step 3

Step 4: Assembling the Rasmalai

Squeeze some of the water out of the malai’s you made in step 2 and place them in a bowl. This is required so that when you pour the Ras or syrup over them, they absorb it well. Now add the Ras over the malai’s and garnish with chopped pistachios. Leave it to cool in the refrigerator for a couple of hours and serve…

156hungerlane_Rasmalai_step4

Enjoy this great treat with friends… I can assure you that they will come back for more.. 🙂

A very Happy New Year to all of you again from Rashi and myself!

Love,

Nupur

Categories: Desserts | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Restaurant Review: Chilli Fagara, Hong Kong

Hello Fellow Foodies, hope delicious  festive food is keeping you contended and warm in this winter season.  We too have been travelling and gorging on sumptuous delicacies from around the world. On a recent trip to Hong Kong,  we had lunch at Chilli Fagara– a Szechuan place that had been repeatedly recommended to us by friends and family members as if it was another tourist destination! When so many unrelated people vouch for the same place, you should definitely not miss it. Being an avid foodie, I had instantly added it to my HK places -to-visit- and eat list!

Why the name Chilli Fagara?

chilli fagara

Fagara , as the restaurant points out is a kind of  Szechwan pepper that is so hot that it not just burns but causes numbness.  The menu is broadly constituted into three culinary levels of  heat-  TangMa, and La .

Tang is the mildest and in their dictionary a neutral level spice which is just enough to set things off!
Ma represents burning and is next in line to put your tongue on fire..
La is numbing ,  it numbs your senses while bringing tears in your eyes and making your nose leak! 😛

Getting There:

Chilli Fagara is perfectly located in the SoHo (South of Hollywood Road) district of Hong Kong on the Graham Street.  The Graham Street extends from Queens Road , cuts through the Hollywood Road and ends on the Staunton Street. Chilli Fagara is towards the Staunton Street end of the Graham Street slope. As we walked up to the Graham street we crossed Hong Kong’s oldest continuously operating street market. The street is narrow but it does have stalls on either sides that sells fresh food like seafood, vegetables, meats.  As we “climbed” up, we did question the possibility of any restaurant on that street but soon we crossed an exotic patisserie, which was good enough to get hopes back! The street names were properly marked and that helped us in finding the place. We had to literally run to be able to get to the place before it shut down post lunch hours.(Timings: Open everyday from 11:30 am to 2:30pm and 5pm to 11pm). We called up in advance so they accommodated us even after 2:30 pm and let us place our last order by 3pm.

Getting there_Hungerlane

Hong Kong , being high density , tight squeeze city has relatively smaller units. It had been tough for us to find addresses in Hong Kong since the units have very small entrances that make it easier for you to skip numbers! But, this place had glaring hot orange-colored flame designs on its entrance ( aptly encapsulating the theme of Chilli Fagara) that can not easily go unnoticed. So, we were there… Finally!

hungelane_address

The Ambiance

As soon as we entered this place, we were a little taken aback by its size,  it appeared too small and cramped for a ‘Michelin star restaurant’.  We were lucky that the place was nearly empty (only 5 other people other than us) otherwise I am sure it could get a lot louder and chaotic. The ambiance was dim-lit, cozy and was done up with dark wooden furniture.   The bamboo sticks on the ceiling just added to it oriental feel while the chilies and peppers hanging from the walls endorsed the name and the theme of the place. The moment we were seated,  the red napkins were laid out on the table along with chopsticks and dark ceramic bowls.

chillifarg_ambience_hungerlane

The Menu 

Thanks to our Indian faces, as soon as we got comfortable, we were asked if we were vegetarians! We were pleasantly surprised to know that there was a separate green menu for vegetarians. The prices were higher than usual with every dish costing over 130 HKD ( INR 1000 approx) and soups within 70-100 HKD (INR 500-750). We were also reminded that we just have limited time to order (considering we reached a li’l after 2:30pm :(). We initially ordered for Vegetarian Hot and Sour Soup!  We were satisfied by the quantity since we ordered 1X2 portion. The soup bowls came with cute wooden soup spoons that made every sip and  nibble truly Chinese. 

hotnsour_hungerlane_chillifagara

The soup was hot and delicious, but it was only after the few sips that we felt its real heat (spice). Soon, we required those red paper napkins, to wipe our flowing noses. Both , me and Ashim took pleasures in noticing each other’s reactions while enjoying every sip! The after taste was nothing but a burning sensation on our palette, something we were craving for months. The soup was thick and filling.  Next, we ordered a Veg Sichuan Rice. The quantity was a little disappointing for the price.

Rice_hungerlane_chillifagara

Needless to say, that the rice was spicy. It had chunks of red chilies that hits your palette in every bite. Soon, we had to request for water because we had our tongues on FIRE!  The experience was truly HOT AND SPICY, something that we both really needed not only because we both relish overtly Spicy Oriental food but also this is something we do not really get to enjoy in Singapore. We were even told that gloves are provided with the food , eaten by hands so that the spice does not directly come in contact with skin. Being part of our first Anniversary trip, this experience came just at the right time!  If you are  ready to shelve HKD 500-600 (INR 4000) for a meal for two ( without drinks), we would recommend this place to all the foodies who love spicy food and otherwise. Make sure you take out time to visit this place whenever you are in Hong Kong next! Visit: http://www.chillifagara.com/ for details on non-veg food.

There are many websites that vouch for this place. We could capture the picture of just a few of the many endorsements they had.

certificates_hungerlane

Hope this post tantalized your oriental loving taste buds. If not immediately fly to Hong Kong, it at least made you book a table at the local oriental diner or order a spicy bento box. From our end, we would soon try to assuage your hot and spicy appetite with the spicy Vegetarian Tom Yum Soup ( recipe to follow soon)!

 Till then,

Keep yourself warm and binge on good food!

Take Care

Rashi

Categories: Entree, Lifestyle, Mains, Restaurant Reviews | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Eggless Pancakes

Though Pancakes is quintessential American Breakfast, we think there is no particular time or day to have them!  Why?
a. They are easy to make, if you don’t believe us.. just follow try this recipe and you would also agree with us.
b. They offer room for so many variations, you can choose to use choco-chips, fresh fruits, berries or just butter with your pancakes.
c. They are Pancakes! They are simply Delicious, the fresh hot pancakes are so soft that they just melt in your mouth! mmmm..
 
Variations
Pancakes also have many close variations, make them thin and increase their diameter, they will be called Crepes in Europe. Make them thick and  they would be called as Flapjacks in US and Canada. Replace  flour with  Cornmeal and they would become Mexican Hotcakes!  Even the savory Pooda/Cheela or Uttapams from Southern India are kind of  pancakes!
 
Anyway, without losing our focus let’s come back to the conventional Pancakes, cooked completely without eggs! The ingredients are as follows:
The Yogurt acts as a replacement for eggs and is a great leveling agent. The Baking powder is the raising agent. When mixed  with salt, they all work together to raise the cake when subjected to heat. The quantity of sugar can be increased as per taste. Since we would serve it with maple syrup or strawberry sauce, we have tried to make the pancake a little less sweeter. The oil would ensure that the cake binds together and does not become too hard.
At the mixing step you can add little surprises in your pancakes.. Use cinnamon or nutmeg powder, chocochips,  blueberries or even small mango pieces to flavor your pancakes.  It’s really the right time for you to experiment.
 
Just remember to keep beating the mixture when you add milk, it should not get too thin or it would make the cakes thin and sticky.. We don’t want any FUGLYCAKES, do we??  It should be thicker than the cake batter. It’s a good idea to use hand blender to ensure the batter has no lumps and it gets smooth. When my batter gets few bubbles I know I am on the right track!
  
Heat the non stick griddle or frying pan on medium heat and lightly grease it with butter. Put just a ladle full of batter and spread lightly till you get the desired size and thickness. Conventionally pancakes are round in shape but you can be creative and make them in any shape! 
 

Let the cake cook till you see its sides getting golden brown, ideally on a nonstick pan it leaves the sides itself. Cook on both the sides until they are golden brown.  The heat that reaches the pancake varies according to the pan being used, with your fair judgement and few trial & errors,  you would be able to have an idea about how long would it take to cook your pancake perfectly!

Servings:

Serve stacks of your pancakes,  dust them with icing sugar, put a small dollop of butter and loads of fresh fruits of your choice.

Maple Syrups are the most common accompaniment to the Pancakes. You can also make your own syrups like strawberry or chocolate sauce. We are sharing a quick recipe for strawberry sauce. It just requires: 3/4 cup Fresh diced Strawberries, 1/2 cup water and 3 tbsp sugar. Just put them on medium heat and boil it till strawberries get squished and sauce thickens! You can blend the cooled mixture to get smooth sauce but I use it just as it is with soft strawberry pieces.

Make a delicious serving loaded with sauces, fruits & whatever you can think of. While serving kids use ice cream or whipped cream!

Pancakes can be both sweet and savory !  They can be served with even vegetables and cheese!  Infact, there is a restaurant here in Singapore called Strictly Pancakes with a great spread and as the name suggests, each and every item on their menu has pancakes! 

Hope you try this recipe soon and share with us about what variation did you experiment with! ( Try Chocolate or Nutella with fresh bananas and nuts!)

I would like to end  this post with a quote about Love and…. Pancakes! 🙂

“Love is a bicycle with two pancakes for wheels. You may see love as more of an exercise in hard work, but I see it as more of a breakfast on the go.” – Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not for Sale

Ciao!

Rashi

Categories: Breakfast, Desserts, Restaurant Reviews, Sauces | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Soup Series 4: Broccoli Almond Soup

So we are already past mid-November. While people in many parts of the world like Europe and US , are already chilled to the bone and have kick-started their Christmas preparations, in Northern India we are just welcoming the winter season after wrapping up Diwali celebrations!  For the next couple of months more than half of the world would wake up to misty mornings, feel the chill in the air and  might experience haziness from fog all day long! Ahh.. the sweet smell of winters, being stuck in hot and humid weather of Singapore, I can trade anything to experience that winter glory!

Winters are very special to me, for reasons more than one! Some of them being:

– You get to completely change your wardrobe, from summer cottons to thick winter clothing( rather, layers of clothing)

– Grand festivities happen during this time.. Diwali, Christmas, New Year.. In fact, it’s  also the wedding season in India!  O Balle- Balle!  (that reminds me even my anniversary is around the corner! << switch-Thinking what gift to ask for….errr  Switch back>> )

– You eat as much as you want and can hide it under your pullover! 😉 You lose count of number of cups of Hot Chocolate, Tea, Coffee or Soups you gulp down just to keep yourself warm!

We can’t really teach you how to make tea and coffees here( either you are already an expert or have a favorite coffee chain that you are loyal to) , but we sure can get you more of simple soup quickies that would keep you warm in this winter season!

So we hope that with our Broccoli Almond Soup recipe, your quest to try a quick, diet , nutrition and health entree takes a brief halt!

Broccoli is known as miracle food! Apart from being rich in dietary fiber and vitamin C, it is known to contain potent anti- cancer properties. Eating Broccoli in raw form is a growing practice but in this recipe we would boil Broccoli Florets and its stalks! Yes,  we use the soft broccoli stalks too!

Almonds are one of the most nutritious of all nuts. They are low in saturated fats and are  full of many vital nutrients!

Broccoli+ Almond= Good Health & Happy Heart! 

Apart from these obvious ingredients, here’s what more you would need:

Onion and Potatoes give  this soup a little sweet mellow taste,  Milk gives the creamy texture while garlic acts a seasoning ! Celery, if available, can also be used to flavor this soup.  One stalk of celery may be chopped and added while boiling the broccoli stems.

Once you have all that you need, here is a quick recipe that needs to be followed:

If you like your soup little flowy, you can increase the quantity of milk/water or even skip adding the corn starch.

Serve it hot in a soup bowl or coffee mugs!Generously top with roasted almond shavings.. the crunch of almonds compliments the creamy texture of the soup! 

We hope you enjoy this Health Recipe.. Happy Winters!

Stay Warm! 🙂

Rashi

Categories: Entree | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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