Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Fried Onions

Fried Onions

 cooking is an art … but when it comes to fried onions …. its a super art !!! You may have read or heard of frying onions till they are golden brown …. sounds easy ..beware its not .. i my self “perfected” this after burning and ruining lots of onions and countless failed attempts.. now that i know how to perfectly brown the onions i thought i should share this with all of the confused souls out like me … so here it goes:
  • Take 2 - 3 kilograms of onions ( onions tend to loose a lot of water and shrink while frying and since its very time consuming process..i prefer to fry a big batch and recommend you to do so).
  • peel the onions and and slice them ,now slicing the onions especially for frying is another art.The rule for for crisp fried onions is…. “ the thinner , the better “ but the secret is consistency ..whatever thickness or should i say thinness you prefer ..all of the sliced onions should be of the same thinness or thickness .... The reason is that when you fry the onions the thin ones will fry and get burnt while the thick ones will be still raw and pale white  .. and that's believe me a culinary disaster ….so make sure the sliced onions are wafer thin and of the same size can achieve this by using slicer or any appliance that could do the slicing.
  • Now that the slicing has been done its time to fry the onions ..Take a large nonstick pan or any heavy bottom pan and add oil ( be generous with the oil , for crisp fried onions .. the onions should be fully submerged in oil)
  • Heat the oil and add all the onions at once … keep stirring and fry them on high heat till they turn translucent and soft.
  • Now reduce flame to low and continue frying them till they start to get a very pleasant reddish brown color or famously known as golden brown.Watch the onions like a hawk at this point and keep stirring all the time since they tend to burn or over fried very easily..and that would ruin whatever dish you are planning to make…
  • Take out the fried onions with a slotted spoon from the oil , spread them on a paper towel and let them cool .
  • Congratulations … You have mastered the fine art of frying the onions ..
Notes :
  • These fried onions can be used for biryani , qourma, mirchi ka salaan or wherever you need the crisp brown onions.
  • Since most of the salaans or curries require fried onion paste .. you can wet grind these fried onions to a paste . i usually freeze the grounded paste into cubes and use accordingly.
  • You can also freeze the whole fried onions as it is in zip lock bags and use it to garnish daal, haleem , biryani etc . for that just defrost the frozen fried onions for about 20 minutes or so.
  • Ladies again whenever you decide to fry onions .. fry them in a large quantity and freeze them .. believe me it will make cooking your favorite dish a breeze without compromising the taste.
  • Since the fried onions leave a brownish residue in the oil … filter the oil and use it as you normally do for everyday cooking .. its even better because this oil will add a nice aroma to your curry that comes from onions being fried in it.
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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Khajour ka Halwa

This halwa is my Abbo Jee’s favorite because it combines two of his fav snacks : bhunay chanay and dates .
The art of making a smooth halwa is not a secret ,so for the smoothest halwa all you need is just“ Elbow Power”.Continuous stirring while cooking the halwa results in the silky texture that melts in your mouth .Apart from the almost killing stirring making halwa is a the word of caution : do not try this at home unless you have extra arms to assist in stirring
This date halwa is very delicious and tasty so enjoy one or two squares at time unless you need extra energy ( which by the way you will be after stirring and stirring for hours )….
what you need :
  • Dates : 500 grams ( weigh after pitting them)
  • Milk ( fresh ) : one cup
  • Kewra Essence : 2 – 3 drops (optional)
  • Cardamom Powder : 1/2 teaspoon
  • Gram flour ( baysen ) : 2.5 cups
  • Sugar : 1/2 cup (optional)
  • Oil : 3/4 - 1 cup
  • Walnuts : 6 tbsp (chopped)
  • Almonds : 6 tbsp (chopped)
  • Pistachio : 6 tbsp (chopped)
How to do it :
  1. Add kewra essence and cardamom powder in the milk.
  2. Warm milk in a nonstick pan . to this add the pitted dates and cook till it becomes soft and mushy.
  3. Let this cool a bit and then blend it to a smooth paste and keep aside.
  4. In another nonstick pan , heat the oil .
  5. Add baysen and roast stirring continuously till baysen turns light brown and gives of a nutty aroma.
  6. To this roasted baysen add the blended dates paste and cook on medium flame for five minutes . Sugar test at this stage , add half cup sugar now if its not sweet enough for you.
  7. Turn the heat to low and cook the halwa continuously stirring till it starts to leave the sides of the pan , no longer sticky and you can see the oil oozing out of it.
  8. Add in half of the chopped dry fruits now and mix well.
  9. Turn off the heat .. stir few times to let the steam escape.
  10. Transfer the halwa to a lightly greased mould of your choice ( preferably a stainless steel thali ).Smooth it out with the back of a spoon .
  11. Let it stand for ten minutes then cut out the diamonds .Sprinkle the rest of the chopped nuts on them.
  12. Serve at room temperature or cold with a generous dollop of cream.
  13. Enjoy.
Notes :
  • You can use vanilla essence instead of Kewra.
  • Use whole cardamom instead of powdered if you don't like the taste.
  • Use 2 cans of Rainbow milk instead of fresh milk for more richer taste.
  • Do not let the halwa unattended even for a minute .. it burns pretty fast.
  • As i have said earlier for the smoothest halwa not stop stirring for a second because you don't  want to end up with  burnt halwa.
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