Tofu Masala

Tofu  might seem very similar to Paneer in looks but in no way are they similar. Tofu is a type of food that is formed by coagulating soy milk (which is a type of bean) whereas, Paneer is prepared by curdling milk with food acids such as lemon juice, vinegar. I had written an earlier post on how to make Paneer Masala and this dish is somewhat similar to that. So you could always refer to that or try a mix of this and that receipe.

I am not separating the ingredients list out. Will be explaining as we proceed.

Some ginger and garlic cut into small pieces along with 2 green chillies slit in center.

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2 medium sized onions sliced into small pieces.

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That’s 3 tomatoes sliced into small pieces.

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In a pan, you add oil and put the ginger and garlic.

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To it you add the sliced onions and green chillies and allow it to saute.

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Once saute, add in the tomatoes along with the masala. I have added turmeric powder, chilly powder, garam masala and salt. Mix it well.

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Now to the main ingredient – tofu. Tofu comes like this, unsliced.

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Slice the tofu pieces. I have done it like how I do Paneer pieces but its good to slice it into little more smaller pieces. Smaller pieces will aid in more masala absorption.

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Add a bit of pepper and turmeric in a pan of oil and add the tofu to it and mix well over fire. 

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By this time, the onions and tomatoes and the masala has blended very nicely.

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Add the tofu pieces into the masala mixture.

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Stir well and allow it to cook. Let the masala get thoroughly absorbed into the tofu pieces. There you have it – tofu masala.

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Can be served with poori, roti or naan.

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The angel send from up above…

When I was hurt and drowned in tears
You dried my eyes and made me smile.
When I was down and in total mess
You held me close and wiped my pains.

When I was lost and left all alone
You nurtured me and held me tight.
When I was broke and stooping low
You gave me wings and made me fly.

You are the angel send from up above
To light up my world and cheer me up.
Your love’s a drug I can’t get enough
You leave me craving and wanting more.

Making Crispy French Fries at Home

Who doesn’t like to munch on those Fries offered at KFCs’ or MCDs’ – the ones which are crispy on the outside, fluffy in the center and delicious through and through? The taste lingers on the tongue and makes me crave for more and more. But who can keep on going to KFCs’ or MCDs’ for Fries on a daily basis, isn’t it?

The other day I was trying to make the McCain French Fries at home and I should say it was extra crisp and extra delicious. So this is the pack I bought, it’s a party pack, i.e. 1.25 kg. It is available in 200 g, 420 g, 750 g & 1.25 kg packs. Now I had kept it in freezer. Take it only when you are ready to fry. Do not thaw, even the packet says the same. (Cook from Frozen). Do you know why? Because the frost will soak into the french fries and make them mushy and then your crispy Fries are gone for ever. Another thing to note is, when you are buying, ensure that you buy it in good frozen condition and then you transfer it immediately to a freezer.

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This is the nutritional content mentioned on the pack.

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Now I have taken some fresh oil in a vessel and allowing it to heat. You should make sure the oil is heated enough before you put in the French Fries. Preheat oil(recommended maximum temperature: 175°C). Hot oil does not soak into the fries, because when the oil is hot the food immediately gets a skin on it that prevents the oil from soaking in.

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Looking inside the pack, this is how the Fries look – long and it is crisp to touch too.

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Put a handful into the heated oil. It’s always good to fry in small batches because throwing a large batch in will bring the oil temperature down. You should be hearing the oil sizzle when the Fries touch the oil. Stir once or twice. Do not cover.

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Cook well till it starts turning light golden brown. (Deep fry frozen McCain French Fries for about 3 minutes to a light golden colour.). The room will be filled with Fries aroma.

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Take it out of the oil and allow the Fries to be free of all oil content. You can use a wire rack or wire mesh for the same or even lay them on towels or something absorptive.

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In another vessel, add some salt and/ or pepper.

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Toss your Fries with the pepper-salt mixture and there you have it – extra crisp, extra delicious French Fries – homemade.

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Munch into it straightaway or dip it into some tomato ketchup and enjoy.

Cooking Rice – The perfect way

Cooking rice might seem very easy theoretically but when you do it practically, you are in for a toss if you don’t know how to make rice that’s fluffy and tender. You don’t want your rice to be mushy. This post is applicable for cooking any variant of rice. Earlier I had written a post on making Fried Rice, so this post is applicable there too.

So the first step in making basic, fluffy rice, with each grain distinct and not mushy is soaking and rinsing rice. I usually rinse my rice in a few changes (maybe 4-5) of tap water. Why I do this is, it will remove any dirt and dust present in the rice and also removes loose starch, making the rice less sticky. Soaking also makes the grains less brittle and helps the rice to expand to its maximum length (in case of basmati rice). After that you should drain the rice thoroughly.

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Step two is the cooking method. Rice is cooked in a measured amount of water so that by the time the rice is cooked, all the water has been absorbed (refer my previous post). As the water level drops, trapped steam finishes the cooking. The key to this method is figuring out the correct amount of water. As a general rule, use 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups of water per cup of long-grain white rice, but you may need to experiment a little to find the amount you like best. Brown rices require more water, while shorter-grain rices require less. Keep in mind that more water gives you softer, stickier rice—great for stir-fries. Less water results in firmer rice, a good style for rice salads.

how to cook rice

The other important element is a heavy-based pot (to prevent scorching on the bottom) with a tight-fitting lid that keeps the steam in. If your lid fits loosely, put a clean kitchen cloth between the lid and the pot. In a medium, heavy-bottomed pot with a tight-fitting lid, combine 1-3/4 cups water, the rice, and a bit of butter or oil and salt, if you like. Bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as the water is boiling, lower the heat to a simmer and cover. Cook at a gentle simmer until the water is completely absorbed and the rice is tender, about 12 minutes (it’s okay to lift the lid to make sure the rice is fully cooked and the water is absorbed—just replace the lid quickly).

The third and final step is allowing rice to rest. Remove the pot from the heat and let it sit, undisturbed with the lid on, for at least 5 minutes and for as long as 30 minutes. This lets the moisture redistribute, resulting in a more uniform texture, with the bottom layers as fluffy as the top.Remove the lid, fluff the rice gently with a fork or chopstick, and serve.