Aromatic Tea – A very special tea for reviving tired bones

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What would cheer you up after a long and busy day ?  A cup of tea of course !  A ‘cuppa’, as the British refer to it with such fondness, is a form of therapy, indeed.

Nothing else can compete with this sweet, milky tea with a subtle blend of cinnamon and cardamoms, which could definitely be the  ultimate choice as a comforting beverage in a cold winter evening to revive and relax your tired bones and muscles.

I remember,  my beloved Indian friend, Sonal,  always took the opportunity to brew this tea – with lots of love, of course – whenever I popped into her cosy home, soaking wet on a rainy day or on a gloomy, cold winter afternoon, shivering and tired.

While sipping this tea, you will enjoy the unmistakable aroma  spice up your nostrils.  By adding a slice or two ginger along with a little love into the pan,  will offer you warmth and release the tension in muscles too.

Try this wonderful cuppa with two tea biscuits and feel the difference.   It’ll be magical! Believe me.

For two teas you will need :

  • Tea bags -2
  • Semi / full fat milk – 2 cups
  • Water – 1/2 cup
  • A stick of a cinnamon
  • Two cardamom pods – crushed
  • A slice of ginger
  • 3 – 4 tsp of brown sugar – 2 tsp for each cup

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Let’s brew it :

  • Pour 1/2 cup of water into a pan and boil.
  • Drop two tea bags, cardamom pods, cinnamon and ginger slices.
  • Boil for several minutes until the tea brewed properly.
  • Add the two cups of milk.
  • Add sugar.
  • Increase the flame and boil until milk comes up to the brim of the pan.
  • Immediately, lower the flame and let it brew for about 3 mins.  If you prefer a stronger cup of tea, then brew it further 2 mins.
  • Strain directly onto cups and serve with tea biscuits.
  • Enjoy!

 

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Chinese dumplings – Easy, flavourful best dumplings ever !

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dav

Honestly, our numerous visits to China Town, in Central London, just to taste their authentic dumplings, have always been tantamount to a massive disappointment.

They never lived up to our expectations, especially, when it came to flavours.   I found the outermost layer, very soft and moist but the inner filling was almost flavourless.

So, I started experimenting with dumpling-making for a while and to my delight, it came out with exciting results.  The most interesting fact is that there is no cooking involved in the process of making these.

To prepare the filling, you just need to incorporate all necessary ingredients thoroughly.   Finally, pop all the beautiful dumplings into the steamer and they will come out ready to devour in just five minutes !!

Surely, it became an instant hit with my family and then with my friends.  I even went as far as producing something very much similar to their most popular side dish sea-weed.  Guess what I used in place of  sea-weed?  Well, It’s the humble savoury cabbage or curly cabbage that are available in supermarkets all year round. Have fun shredding it into tiniest of pieces and you will have a lovely heap of greens.  They taste so much alike sea-weed, I even happened to suspect whether Chinese restaurants serve us cabbage too !!

cabbage

How to make restaurant quality sea-weed in actual sense savoury cabbage,  is given at the bottom of my dumplings recipe.

Let’s make dumplings for dinner tonight.  

Dough it.

300 g Plain flour for 300 g minced pork – enough for 30 – 35 moderate size dumplings.

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  • Place 300 g of plain flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle.
  • Pour 1/2 cup boiling water into the well.

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  • Cover and let the steam spread for 3 mins.
  • Open and run a wooden spoon across, mixing flour with water.
  • Now, add more light warm water gradually  and kneed the dough until it won’t stick on your fingers.
  • Bring it to a ball, cover with a cling film and keep aside.

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Let’s get on with the filling now.  

Ingredients needed :

Although, I recommend minced pork as best for this recipe, you can opt for minced chicken or shredded cooked prawns in place of pork.

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 Minced pork / chicken  300 g
 Spring Onion – Class A  1  1/2  bunch
 Dark Soy sauce  4 tbsp
 Blended sesame oil  3 tbsp
 Brown sugar  1/4 tsp
 Ginger – cut into tiny pieces  1 tbsp
 Salt  3 pinches
 Corn flour  4 tbsp
 Rice vinegar  1 tbsp
 Cabbage shredded into tiny pieces (Adding cabbage will stretch the quantity more.  Omit this if you are making for a fewer people.  Only with spring onions, dumplings will have more flavour)  1/2 cup

Lets make : 

Mix it

  • Combine pork mince, soy sauce, spring onions, sessame oil, corn flour, rice vinegar, salt, ginger and sugar.

Fold it

  • Take out your dough and divide into equal size small balls as the size of a red cherry.   Dust a tray or plate with plain flour and arrange them side by side.  Cover lightly with a cling film.
  • Dust the work surface with plain flour.
  • Take out one ball and flatten it to a round using a rolling pin.
  • Place a spoon full from the meat mixture in the middle.

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  • Bring both sides together and pinch on the pleat making them tightly clasped.

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Steam it

  • Make enough for one round of steaming.  While they are steaming away, make the next batch.
  • Brush oil on the bottom and sides of the steamer and arrange dumplings, leaving a tiny gap from each other.
  • Steam on high flame for 5 – 7 mins.

Chinese dumplings

 

  • You will notice the outer cover is cooked properly and glistering.  Now, take the steamer part out and remove dumplings carefully with a spoon or a tong and place gently on a plate.
  • Serve immediately with dipping sauce and sea-weed.

Recipe for the Soy dipping sauce 

  • 2 tbsp of Dark soy sauce
  • 1/2 tbsp of warm water
  • Chopped coriander leaves
  • Chopped long red chili pieces for a fiery taste. (avoid this when serving kids)

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  • Whisk all together and serve in a separate bowl next to dumplings.

(Chinese chili oil. chili paste or fiery chili and garlic sauce are another options.)

Sea-weed side dish

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  • Simply shred the curly cabbage thinly.
  • Deep fry in batches until crispy. (make sure to take out while they are still green.  frying too long could make the colour brownish)
  • Add brown sugar and salt as per your taste.
  • Your yummy sea-weed is ready in a jiffy !!
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Spinach masala – Inspired by Hydrabadi cuisine

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This is a super-healthy , mouth-watering dish with a silky texture that goes deliciously well with a dome of hot rice, presented in this pretty flowery dish, which came with the full dinner set gifted to me by my dearest friend, Aliya.

By spluttering cumin seeds in hot oil at the beginning,  gives a distinct aroma and flavour to this dish; hence, cumin seeds are a must.  Moreover, adding plenty of onions enhances its moisture and  flavour.  Keeping these two tips in mind, you will fix this delicious dish in a jiffy!

What you need:

 Spinach 1 bag (250 g )
 Onions  2 large
 Tomato  1
Ginger garlic paste  1 1/2 tbsp
 Chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala powder,  turmeric powder , salt 1/2 tsp each
 Oil 2 tbsp
 Mustard and cumin seeds  1/2 tsp each

Let’s make :

  • Splutter mustard seeds and cumin seeds.
  • Add chopped onion and saute until golden.
  • Sprinkle salt.

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  • Add chopped tomato.
  • Add chili powder, turmeric powder, garam masala and coriander powder.
  • Fry until all combined.

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  • Drop the bag of spinach and mix.

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  • Cover and cook for 10 mins, mixing in between.

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  • After all come together fry a bit more, lid open.
  • Adjust salt.

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  • Ready to serve.

spinach

 

 

 

 

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Chocolate finger crackers – A kiddies party treat

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The creation of these attractive chocolate fingers are my little son, Viyath’s idea!

Being very adventurous by nature,  he never misses an opportunity to experimenting.   Having bored with eating the same old chocolate fingers, he dipped them in pretty sprinklers to give them a brand new party look. Having been delighted at it, he  waved a couple of them to me and announced,  ” Mama, I made chocolate finger crackers !” at which point that I instantly thought it was a perfect addition to my blog.

  • First of all, you need to dip one side of chocolate fingers just 10 seconds in hot water for chocolate to melt for a bit.

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  • Then, dip them one by one in colourful sprinklers. ( Throw a lot of sprinklers in to a wine glass which makes easier for you to dip chocolate fingers)

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  • Now, arrange them side by side on a plate and refrigerate for 10 mins.
  • Ready to serve on a plate or placed on a cupcake case.

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