Archive for April, 2015

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What came first – Chicken or Egg? A million dollar question? But who cares as long as we are getting the delicious recipes out of it. The middle east cuisine is one of my favorite and I love it very much. The love for Shawarma, Hummus, Falafel, Tahini, Pita, Baklava gets me drooling. The word Shawarma comes from the Turkish word Cevirme which means to rotate. The process of cooking Shawarma involves shaving off the meat stack with a large knife (an electric knife or a small circular saw), dropping to a circular tray below to be retrieved. The recipe I have tried is an easy version of Shawarma style of cooking by grilling the chicken. Its easy and takes ~ 30 minutes of total cooking time (10 minutes for assembling ingredients and marinating & 20 minutes for cooking). The marination time of course depends on you. The more time you leave chicken for marination, the tastier and juicier the dish will be. The cooking can be done either by grilling or broiling in the oven and hence it can feed lot of people at the same time during parties. The chicken can be served with Pita bread as a wrap or sandwich or can be served with flavored rice and salad. Most of the spice used here can be easily found in your pantry especially an Indian pantry like cumin seeds, coriander, paprika or red chilli powder. So what are you waiting for? Gather all your ingredients and try this for a hearty dinner. I am sure you will make again and again.

Ingredients :-

For Marinade:-

Greek Yogurt/Hung Curd 1/2 cup
Cumin Powder 1 teaspoon
Coriander Powder 1 teaspoon
All spice/ Chicken Masala 1 tablespoon
Garlic paste 1  tablespoon
Paprika 1 teaspoon
Red Chilli Powder to taste
Salt to taste
Olive oil 1 tablespoon
Lemon Juice 1 tablespoon

For Shawarma Wrap:-

Chicken Thighs
1 pound
Green Bell Pepper, Sliced
1/4 cup
Cucumber, Sliced
1/4 cup
Onion, Sliced 1/4 cup
Tomatoes, Sliced
1/4 cup
 Yogurt Sauce, Recipe below
2-3 tablespoon for each Pita
Hummus 2-3 tablespoon
Pita Bread
2-3
Salt to taste

For Yogurt Sauce:-

Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup
Lemon Juice
1 tablespoon
Olive Oil 1 tablespoon
Garlic, Finely Chopped
1 clove
Parsley, Finely Chopped
1 tablespoon
Cilantro/Coriander Leaves, Finely Chopped 1 tablespoon
Black Pepper Powder
1/4 teaspoon
Salt to taste

Method :-

  • Combine all the ingredients mentioned under Marinade section in a big bowl.
  • Wash and pat dry the chicken with tissue paper.
  • Cut long stripes out of it.
  • Now add the chicken stripes in the marinade bowl and give it a good mix.
  • Refrigerate the chicken at least for 1 hr or for whole night.
  • Now grill the chicken on a grill pan or on griller if you have any. You can also bake it in oven for 15-20 minutes at 350 degree Fahrenheit and then broil it on both sides for 3-5 minutes depending on your oven heat.
  • Meanwhile combine all the ingredients under Yogurt sauce and give it a good mix. Refrigerate it until use.
  • Now warm the pita bread on pan for 2-3 minutes.
  • Cut the pita bread into half.Now you can see pockets of it
  • Spread the yogurt sauce in the pockets of pita bread.
  • Arrange the sliced vegetables into it and then add chicken strips.
  • Enjoy it with side of hummus.

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Notes :-

  • You can use chicken breast instead of thighs.
  • It can also be made beforehand for a large number of people. You just have to warm it in oven before serving.
  • You don’t need any oil for grilling as marinade already had oil in it and chicken thighs has its own natural fat.
  • If you don’t like the raw taste of onion and bell pepper you can saute or grill it.

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Its more than one year since my last post and I simply cant believe how fast time flies. The year 2014 was so much busy as I delivered a cute baby boy who is now one year old. The whole year was really exciting, overwhelming and a roller coaster ride for me. But now as everything has started settling down I restarted to experiment with my love “the food”. All through this time, I did experiment new recipes, took pictures but unfortunately did not get enough time to write the blog. The little one was of course keeping me very busy all the time. I think all the mothers out there can understand what it means to be a MOM. Really Hats Off to all Mothers in this world! Its the most purest and dedicated job in this world. Now coming back to my recipe – I thought of sharing something I really enjoy these days – Baking. I used to make sure to celebrate monthly birthdays of my little one and tried different types of cup cakes on each occasion. Some of them were clicked and some of them were missed. Today I want to share Egg-less Black Forest Cake which I made for his 6th month and 1 year birthdays. I am in love with this cake as its super moist and very light. Black Forest Cake as famous in the US and as Black Forest Gateau in the UK is  a German dessert name Schwarzenegger Kirsch Iorte. It consist of several layers of chocolate cake with whipped cream and cherries in between each layers. Now enough of chatter lets get back to recipe.

Ingredients :-

For Egg less Chocolate Cake :-

All purpose flour 1 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp for dusting
Granulated Sugar 1 cup
Cocoa Powder 1/3 cup
Baking Soda 1 teaspoon
Salt 1/2 teaspoon
Water 1 cup
Oil  1/2 cup
Pure Vanilla Extract 1 teaspoon
Vinegar 1 tablespoon

For Cherry Filling :-

Dark red sweet pitted cherries 1 can
Sugar 1/3 cup
Corn Starch 3 tbsp
Lemon juice 1 tsp
Water 1 1/4 cup

For Sugar Syrup :-

Reserved Cherry Syrup 1 cup
Sugar 1/4 cup
Kirsch or Cherry Brandy 2 tbsp

For Whipped Cream :-

Heavy Whipping Cream 2 cup
Sugar 1 cup
Vanilla Essence 1 tsp
Chocolate Shavings, for decoration 1 cup

Method :-

For Chocolate Cake :-

  • Preheat oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit or 180 degree Celsius.
  • Lightly grease a 9 inch pan with butter and dust it with all purpose flour.
  • Sift All purpose flour and cocoa powder in a wide bowl to remove the lumps.
  • To the same bowl add rest of the dry ingredients i.e sugar, baking soda and salt.
  • In another bowl mix all wet ingredients – water, oil, vanilla extract and vinegar.
  • Now gently fold the wet mixture into dry mixture in batches.
  • Mix it till well blended. Don’t over mix it.
  • Fill the pan with the mixture and bake it in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes.
  • Check the cake by inserting a toothpick in the center and if it comes clean take it out otherwise bake for few more minutes.
  • Let the pan cool for 10 minutes on wire rack.
  • Now remove cake from the pan and let it cool completely on wire rack.

For Cherry Filling :-

  • Drain cherries keeping the liquid reserved for making sugar syrup.
  • Add water to a small pan.
  • Add cherries along with sugar in the same pan and heat it till bubbles come out whisking occasionally 
  • Make slurry of cornstarch by adding 2 tbsp water in a separate bowl.
  • Add this cornstarch slurry to the pan and keep stirring till the cherry mixture thickens.
  • Remove from heat and add lemon juice.
  • Cool completely.

For Sugar Syrup :-

  • Place 1 cup of the reserved cherry syrup in a small saucepan, along with the sugar, and heat until sugar has dissolved.
  • Remove from heat, add 2 tablespoons Kirsch, and let it cool.

For Icing :-

  • In a bowl, add the cream and beat it using mixer/whisk until soft peaks. Now add in the sugar, vanilla essence and then whip until stiff peaks.
  • Peel the chocolate using a peeler to make the shavings. Then refrigerate until use.

For Assembling :-

  • Take the sponge cake and level the top. Now cut the cake into half using a big knife or serrated knife. Transfer the layers to two different plates.
  • Add sugar syrup on top of both the layers so that cake becomes fully moist
  • Place the bottom layer on inverted plate or turn table.
  •  Add cherry pie filling evenly on top. Reserved the rest of cherry filling if left for future use.
  • Add thick layer of whipping cream and spread it evenly on top of cherry filling.
  • Put the other layer of cake on top of whipped cream evenly.
  • Now take a big dollop of cream and place on top..Now spread the cream using a big knife or spatula.
  • After spreading the cream on top, spread some cream in sides using the big knife. You can still see the crumb and cake as icing is very thin. Smooth the icing as best as you can and let it dry. This is crumb coat icing. Put it in the freeze for about 30 minutes.The crumb coat needs to be dry to the touch before you put the final layer of icing on.
  • After the crumb coat dries out take a big dollop of cream for final icing and spread it on top as well as on sides using a big knife or cake spatula.
  • Add the remaining cream in piping bag and decorate the cake on top and sides.
  • Sprinkle chocolate swirls and curls in sides as well as in top..
  • Decorate the top with remaining cherries in the top.
  • Refrigerate minimum for 6 hr or more and Enjoy!

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  • You can use any type of tinned cherry for this cake. Just check out the tartness and accordingly adjust the sugar while making cherry filling.
  • Adding liqueur is optional and you can  avoid it. But the real taste comes with the Kirsch liqueur.
  • You can make the cake beforehand and keep it in fridge for a week. Just remember to wrap it with plastic foil so that it doesn’t get dry.
  • Similarly you can make the sugar syrup, cherry filling beforehand. The cooler the better.
  • Cake tastes best if kept refrigerated for overnight.
  • I have used Kirsch (a clear liquor distilled from tart cherries) for the cake but you can use other liquors too such as Rum.
  • Remember to add vinegar at last while adding all wet ingredients.
  • You can skip making cherry filling and instead add chopped cherries in between the layers.
  • For chocolate shavings and curls you can use store bought or can use homemade. Its very easy to make. I followed below link  http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/tip/making-chocolate-curls-and-shavings.html