Cook Royally: Subz Dum Biryani

Halogen OvenFestivals in India are a time for meeting and greeting, which invariably means a lot of guests. That in turn translates into ‘lunches’ and ‘dinners’. And there is nothing like sharing a meal of home-cooked exotic Subz Dum Biryani.

Brimming with flavours, spices and assorted vegetables the Subz Dum Biryani makes for a delicious full-filling meal. Its unique flavor, aroma and taste are derived from its namesake cooking technique – ‘Dum’ meaning ‘slow cooking’. But count not the seconds, minutes and hours of toil for the technologically advanced Usha Halogen Oven will help you cook this prized recipe in a blink without compromising on its uniqueness.

The right way to cook this dish is to place the ingredients inside a earthen pot and seal it tight with dough to prevent the steam from escaping, which allows the spices to give the rice an enchanting mouthwatering aroma and flavor, reminiscent of royal Mughal Kitchens.  But in absence of time and in lieu of an entourage of chefs from the royal kitchen, the Usha Halogen Oven is the perfect kitchen appliance to cook it easily at home. Its unique enclosed shape ensures that steam is trapped inside it, infusing the various flavours into your Briyani. While the aforementioned technological innovation doesn’t only do this fast, but does it with a simple touch of button retaining not just the aroma and falvour but also the nutrients present in the vegetables – making it the perfect Subz Dum Biryani.

Ingredients: (Serves 4)

Rice

  • 1½ cups basmati rice
  • 4-5 chhoti illaichi (green cardamom),
  • 2 tej patta (bay leaves), 5-6 laung (cloves)
  • 4 tsp salt, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 10 cups water

 Vegetables

  • 2 thin carrots – cut into cubes, 20 french beans – cut into 1″ pieces
  • ½ of a small cauliflower – cut into very small florets (1 cup)
  • 2 onions – chopped
  • 3 tsp ginger-garlic paste
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder, 1 tsp salt

 Mix together nicely

  • 1 cup curd
  • 1 tbsp mint – chopped finely, 1 tbsp coriander – chopped finely
  • 1-2 drops kewra essence, ¾ tsp salt
  • Crushed spices together
  • ½ tsp shah jeera (black cumin), seeds of 2 moti illaichi, 1 dalchini, 2-3 blades javetri (mace)
  • Other ingredients
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee and 2 tbsp oil
  • 2 onions – sliced and deep fried, a few mint leaves
  • A few strands kesar – soaked in 1 tsp hot water
  • 2 tbsp melted ghee
  • To seal
  • Aluminium foil and dough

Method:

  1. Wash rice several times. Strain. Let it be in the strainer for 30 minutes. (do not soak).
  2. Boil rice in 10 cups water with all ingredients till rice is a little chewy and not fully soft. Strain. Now spread rice in a big tray on a cloth. Remove whole spices from the cooked rice and discard them. Mix 1 cup cooked rice with kesar to colour the grains. Now mix this coloured rice with the white rice.
  3. Heat 2 tbsp ghee and 2 tbsp oil. Add chopped onions to the pan, stir till golden.
  4. Add half of the crushed spices. Stir for 30 seconds on low heat. Add 3 tsp ginger-garlic paste. Mix. Add red chilli powder. Add salt. Add vegetables and bhuno for 2 minutes. Cook covered on low heat till vegetables turn crisp tender. Do not overcook.
  5. Remove from fire. Let it cool down. Add the curd, stirring continuously. Mix well.
  6. To assemble the biryani, take a handi. Grease it. Spread ½ of the rice in the dish. Spread vegetables along with curd over the rice. Spread remaining rice. Sprinkle remaining crushed spices and 2 tbsp of melted ghee over the rice. Sprinkle some mint and crispy fried onions. Cover with foil.
  7.  Seal foil with atta dough. Put the dish/handi on low rack in the halogen oven. Press speed up mode and set at 120°C for 20 minutes. Press start and give dum to biryani. Serve hot.

Health, Wealth & Rasgullas!

A few years back a study conducted by Consumer Voice, a NGO supported by the ministry of Consumer Affairs, found Canned Rasgullas to be a Health Hazard. Times of India ran an article stating “If you think canned Rasgullas are a better option than khoya-based sweets this Diwali, think again.” (http://goo.gl/sieNZZ)Rasgulla

This Diwali keep your family healthy by making your own Rasgullas easily with the Usha Electronic Pressure Cooker (EPC), which is also engineered to preserve essential nutrients in your food. If you think this is going to be a hassle, think again, because the Usha EPC is efficient, fast and saves time leaving you with hours and hours to have fun and join in the festivities. The EPC’s electronically controlled precision cooking system and variable food cooking options will also allow you to cook various other festive dishes with ease. Talk about having your Rasgulla and eating it too!

Ingredients: (Servers 10 -12 persons) keep-calm-and-eat-rasgulla

  • 1 liter toned milk, 2 tbsp white vinegar
  • 2 tsp flour (Maida)
  • 2 pinches baking powder

Syrup

  • 1¼ cups sugar, 3 cups water

Method:

  1. Boil the milk. Add vinegar and immediately switch off the gas. Add 1 liter bottle of water to cool the chhena. Strain. Put tap water immediately. Spread the chhena on the kitchen cloth for about 5-10 minutes.
  2. Mash the chenna with the palm till smooth. Add maida and baking powder and mix very well.
  3. Put water and sugar in the Usha Electric Pressure Cooker. Set the knob at mark 3. Cook without covering. Wait till the syrup comes to boil.
  4. Make small balls of the chhena mix and put them in the sugar syrup and cover the lid. Pressure cook till knob turns to keep warm mode. Switch off the USHA EPC and wait for the pressure to drop by itself.
  5. Remove Rasagullas with the syrup from the cooker and transfer to a bowl and refrigerate. Serve chilled.

And get ready for healthy snacking!

Gulab Jamun: Celebration for Your Mouth

gulab-jamunIndian sweets with their colours, shapes and taste are simply mind-boggling. For every geometric shape you can conceive, taste a sweet tooth can yearn or a colour under heaven there is an Indian sweet. Among them stands tall – rather round like the Sun, the ‘Gulab Jamun.’ A sweet born of Indo-Persian culture, even its name sounds delicious. The moment you enunciate the two soft words ‘Gulab Jamun’ your mouth feels like a celebration.  The former derived from rose-scented cardamom syrup in which it is soaked and the latter named after an indigenous plum-shaped Indian fruit.

Such deliciousness shouldn’t be restricted to anyone, especially during the festive season. But health issues do play spoil sport making this king of sweets a no-go area due to the sheer amount of oil used in its preparation. However, you can put such worries aside with the USHA Deep Fryer, which uses the least amount of oil to cook your favourite dessert in a healthy way.  For food purists who love to see their food getting cooked, the USHA Deep Fryer also comes with a Detachable lid with viewing window enabling you to view your Gulab Jamuns sizzle into round balls of Goodness.

So without further ado, we present the recipe of celebration:

Ingredients (Makes 10 pieces)20120928052106

  • 1 cup skimmed milk powder
  • 2½ tbsp maida
  • ¼ tsp mitha soda
  • ¼ cup cream
  • 1 tsp milk to knead the dough
  • Oil/ghee for deep frying
  • 10-20 mitha daana (prasaad goli)

Sugar syrup

  • ¼ tsp cardamom powder
  • 3 cups water
  • 2½ cups sugar

Method

  1. For the sugar syrup, boil water and sugar. Keep boiling for 2 minutes on medium flame to get a sticky syrup but no thread. Add cardamom powder and keep aside to cool to room temperature. Gulab Jamuns should not be put in hot syrup.
  2. Sift milk powder, maida and soda in a small paraat or flat plate. Add cream and mix well. Mix the mixture. If the dough appears hard, add 1 tsp milk and mix again.
  3. Divide mixture into 12 balls. Roll each ball carefully into a smooth round ball. If the balls have cracks, add a little more milk to the dough and mix lightly to a smooth dough. Stuff a mitha daana in each ball and roll again.
  4. Set Usha Deep Fryer to 150°C and fry 5-6 pieces till golden brown for 10-11 minutes.
  5. Once the balls have turned dark brown take out from the oil and put into the syrup which should be at room temperature.
  6. Fry the remaining balls and keep all Gulab Jamuns to soak in the syrup for 2 hours.

USHA DEEP FRYER DEMO VIDEO: Includes Loads of Other Recipes too!!

Garam Masala – The Bhadralok Way

Ever wondered why your ethnic dishes do not quite taste and smell ethnic though you followed the ethnic recipe (handed down by your grandmother or extensively researched over the internet) to the letter? The answer comes from an unexpected source – from Einstein’s very own mouth: “God lies in the Details.” And when it comes to Indian cuisine the detail would very much read as ‘Masala’

Just like Dal, different parts of India follow different methods while preparing Garam Masala. With Durga Puja just around the corner, we thought it would be apt to begin with the recipe for Bengali Garam Masala. The flavored and aromatic Bengali version can be used for marinating fish, chicken and mutton. It can also be used in vegetables and curries in the end for that extra punch and aroma.

 IngredientsBengali Garam Masala

  • 4 dried whole red chilly
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds (til)
  • 2 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 2 tbsp white peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp cloves (laung)
  • 2 cinnamon stick (dalchini)
  • 10 small green cardamom (elaichi)
  • 1 tbsp cumin seeds (jeera)
  • 1 tbsp coriander seeds (dhaniya)
  • 3 bay leaves (tej pata)
  • 1 tbsp ginger

Method

  1. Roast all ingredients in a dry pan (except ginger) over a low heat.
  2. When the spices give out their aroma, allow it to cool.
  3. Using your Usha Grinder, grind the ingredients finely, while adding ginger. (Mustard oil can be added to make a paste. This paste can be used as a marinade.)
  4. Store it in air tight container in a cool dark place.

To get that perfect taste and aroma remember the portion used is as important as the ingredient itself. For the former closely follow the recipe at hand and as for the latter using the Usha Mixer Grinder will make your work a lot easier. The new Usha Mixer Grinder (MG 3473) adds a revolutionary new dimension to the art of food preparation with its Vortex Pulsar Technology (VPT). VPT disperses high energy with super turbo rotations to help achieve the perfect texture, colour and aroma for your Masalas and Chutneys. While, the Mixer Grinder’s 2 Fin Coconut Blade has been specially designed with sharp and robust blades to help you achieve the desired outcome smoothly.

USHA Mixer Grinder with Vortex Pulsar Technology

USHA Mixer Grinder with Vortex Pulsar Technology

Kitchen Vastushastra Explained

The USHA Kitchen

The USHA Kitchen

Lately there has been a resurgence in ancient Indian philosophy from a very scientific point of view. Take for instance the myth of Dashaavatar where the 10 incarnations of Lord Vishnu can be viewed within an evolution perspective, as Homo Sapiens moved from Matsya (the fish), Kurma (the amphibious tortoise), through Narshima (half man-half beast),  Rama (the ideal Man) and finally to Kalki (the destroyer of beings – resembling Darwin’s struggle for ‘survival of the fittest’). Similarly Vastushastra or the ancient Hindu doctrine of temple architecture is today being used more and more to plan out living spaces. A huge treatise in itself, of which we will only discuss the kitchen in this post. However, even as we take our first baby steps into the world of Kitchen Vastushastra let me warn you that things have changed – people live differently today. And with new lifestyles old ways innovate with style. So switch on to a New Life With USHA. 

USHA COOKTOPS: Vastu dictates the cooking stove to be at South-East

USHA COOKTOPS: Vastu dictates the cooking stove to be at South-East

Let’s begin with the most basic kitchen appliance, the Cooking Stove / Cooktop. Vastu dictates that it should be at the South-East and shouldn’t be too close to the wall. The former is simple space logic, having a stove at the South-East allows people to store both kitchen utensils and grocery/ingredients along the South and West for easy access. As the ancient laws also dictate that storage units for essential commodities like grains, pulses spices and other non-perishable commodities should be stocked along the South or the West direction. Regions where sunlight wasn’t really necessary – as most ancient kitchens windows were in the East, giving the previous farming communities early access to sunlight.

USHA HOODS, enable you to place your cooktop at any distance from the walls

USHA HOODS, enable you to place your cooktop at any distance from the walls

As for the latter reason of avoiding stoves too close to the walls was because during those days most homes were built with combustible materials; and people were just being cautious.However, today with the emergence of Hoods and new building materials this rule has almost become redundant in most urban homes.

USHA WATER DISPENSER: Store water towards the North East

USHA WATER DISPENSER: Store water towards the North East

The ancient Treatise also instructed people to build their kitchen sinks and store their Drinking water towards the North-East of the Kitchen, this was to ensure that the early morning rays killed the germs thereby keeping the water purified. Similarly fruits and other perishable materials were stored by the water for the very same reasons, which today could be replaced as a place for our Juicers.

USHA JUICERS: Keeping fruits by the window if not inside a Fridge makes sense

USHA JUICERS: Keeping fruits by the window if not inside a Fridge makes sense

Other Cooking Utensils were to be stored next to or near the cooking stove for convenience, in ancient times it could have meant pots and pans, as they were frequently used. For us it would mean our Ovens and Fryers, which would help us to keep a lookout on things – if we happen to be cooking more than a single dish at a time using various different appliances.

USHA FRYER: Appliances located close will help you watch-over your dishes

USHA FRYER: Appliances located close will help you watch-over your dishes

That’s some science titbits behind the glorious art of Vastu, but as we had mentioned earlier, times have changed and with our modern USHA appliances you can place anything, anywhere as you like; as long as you add logic and a little style to it.

USHA HALOGEN OVEN: Happy Cooking!

USHA HALOGEN OVEN: Happy Cooking!

Thinking of rearranging your kitchen? Go ahead and Play with USHA kitchen appliances – Jaw-dropping both in style and the delicious recipes they can cook up.

To Explore More Appliances Click Here

The Tradition of Fish & Chips

Fish and ChipsCod Fellas, Cod Father, Frydays, Frying Squad and Plaice to be, are names of a few Fish & Chips outlets in Great Britain. The British have a colourful tradition of giving quirky names to their Fish & Chips outlets. Almost considered to be their national dish, it can be traced back to the 1860’s. Before that though Brits did eat Fish and Chips they were never consumed together. The idea to pair them into a single dish was a brilliant one – and even found its way into classic English literature, the most famous being in a Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens.

An apt course for parties, supper or a quick lunch the Fish and Chips are not as unhealthy as you think; unlike other fried dishes, an average portion of fish, chips and peas contains only 7.3% fat.

Ingredients :(Serves 4 persons)

  1. 500 gm fish fillet (boneless) – cut into 8 rectangular pieces
  2. ½ cup flour (maida)
  3. 1 tbsp lemon juice
  4. ½ tsp salt, ½ tsp pepper
  5.  ¼ tsp pepper, ¼ tsp salt

BatterUsha Fryer

  1. 2 eggs, 6 tbsp flour (maida)
  2. 1 tbsp oil
  3. 2 pinches baking powder
  4. 2 pinches salt n pepper
  5. 1 tsp lemon juice

To serve

Method

  • Wash the fish fillet and pat dry on a kitchen towel.
  • Marinate the fillet with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Keep aside for 10-15 minutes.
  • Mix all ingredients of the batter to get a thick coating batter. Rest for 10-15 minutes.
  • Spread some flour in a plate. Dredge the fish fillet in the flour thoroughly.
  • Leave it on the flour till you are ready to serve.
  • Dip the fish fillet in batter.
  • Set the Usha Deep Fryer knob at 170C and wait till the red light turn green.
  • Deep fry fish pieces for 4 minutes till cooked through and golden.

And that’s how you cook this legendary English dish. Try it as a welcome break from your Butter Chickens and Machar Jhol.

Garlic Bread For All Seasons

The beauty of Garlic Bread is that it can be eaten with just about anything. It can be a part of a very outlandish gourmet four course meal, munched simply with a Coke and pizza or just on its own. Originating in the South of France it has not only invaded our meals and Dates but also our vocabulary – the British Comedian Peter Kay’s line, “Garlic Bread, it’s the future, I’ve tasted it” was voted the greatest one-liner in TV comedy history in 2007.

The great thing about Garlic Bread is that everybody loves it from kids and adults to bums and gourmet connoisseurs. Better still you can serve it anytime, anywhere – after-school meal for kids, Evening Snacks, Supper, High Tea, Picnic and so on and so forth. Here is a simple way to make them using the Usha Halogen Oven.

Ingredients Garlic bread Halogen oven usha

  1. 1 garlic bread loaf
  2. 50 gm butter
  3. 100 gm mozzarella cheese – grated
  4. 50 gm cheddar cheese – grated
  5. 2 tbsp olive oil
  6. 1 tbsp garlic paste
  7. 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  8. ½ tsp oregano
  9. ½ tsp black pepper
  10. 2 pinches of salt

Method:

  • Cut loaf into ½’ thick slices.
  • Put butter and all other ingredients in a bowl. Beat with an electric mixer till smooth.
  • Place bread slices on the high rack in the oven. Press the pizza button and set time to 3 minutes. Let temp be 210°C.
  • Press start and bake for 3 minutes.
  • Take out the baked bread from the oven and spread cheese mixture on the untoasted side of the bread.
  • Put bread back in the oven and again bake on pizza mode (210°C) for 3 minutes or till golden.

A quick snack or a Gourmet side dish, the choice is yours.

A Chef Speaks: Kunal Kapur

As school children we loved our Show and Tell sessions, now watch Masterchef Kunal Kapur do the same as he discusses ingredients, his life and experiences as one of the best chefs in the country.

He begins with the marvelous spice Asafoetida, locally and more popularly known as Hing. Hing, as we learnt during the talk is actually a gum exuded from the roots of the herb Ferula assa-foetida to keep away animals from eating it – a yet another biological evolution, which like many others landed up in the Human Kitchen!

During the course of this fun trivia he enlightens us about a lot many curious spices and ingredients from the exotic Southeast Asian delicacy Bird’s Nest, which is essentially built with bird saliva to the most expensive Coffee in the whole wide world -Kopi luwak also known as Civet Coffee as it is made from the fermented coffee beans excreted by the Civet, which feeds on coffee plants!

This list of curiosity moves along followed by one after another lesser known facts, almost taking a ‘Ripley’s (rather Kunal’s) Believe it or Not!’ tone, dotted with anecdotes both personal and professional. To know more, watch the video below featuring Kunal Kapur at Usha presents Mountain Echoes 2014.

The Amazing Chocolate Cake

Why Amazing? Because we will be attempting something, which others have never thought about!

Most people find the Rice Cooker a boring old device, using it simply to cook its namesake dish -Rice. However, you will be surprised what the Rice Cooker can do if you get a little creative. Beginning from Chocolate Cakes and Banana Bread to exotic dishes like Cheesy Jalapeno Bread and Black Bean Chilly, your Rice Cooker can make all these and more.

Feeling Adventurous? Good, let’s try our hand at the Chocolate Cake. The only difference between baking a Chocolate Cake in a Rice Cooker as against an Oven is the time required: The Rice Cooker takes way more time, but that is compensated by the original taste of the freshly baked ingredients. Call it a type of Slow Organic Cooking if you like, which is as healthy, as it is tasty. To borrow Carlo Petrini’s words ( founder of the International Slow Food Movement)  “The quest for slowness, which begins as a simple rebellion against the impoverishment of taste in our lives, makes it possible to rediscover taste.”

IngredientsRice Cooker

  1. 135 gm dark chocolate
  2. 95 gm butter
  3. Butter for Coating
  4. 100 gm icing sugar
  5. 2 egg yolks + 2 whole eggs
  6. 35 gm flour

Method

  1. Begin by coating the rice cooker bowl with a layer of butter.
  2. Mix the ingredients properly till they begin to fan
  3. Place the mix in the rice cooker bowl.
  4. Place the bowl in the rice cooker and push the cook button.
  5. Now wait, it could take anything between an hour to two, depending on your Cooker settings.
  6. Insert a toothpick into the cake to check if it is ready. If the toothpick comes out clean and dry, your cake is done
  7. Once cooked flip the bowl upside down onto a flat plate and serve

Now, wasn’t that easy? It took a little longer than the usual Over baked cakes but nonetheless here you are surrounded by the freshly baked aroma of a lovely cake. Take a bite to savor the flavors, and you realize the wait was completely worth it!  Next  we will teach you to cook something yet more exotic with your Rice-Cooker.

French Fries: Taste with Health

Usha Int FreisThere is nothing French about French Fries! To begin with they originate in Belgium and are simply called French Fries because they happen to be deeply fried. During the good old days everything deep fried was supposedly French fried! And therein lies the rub: the word ‘fried’ has a billion unhealthy connotations tied to it. Did you know that the name KFC, was officially adopted in 1991 from Kentucky Fried Chicken, as people got more health conscious? And no company wanted the word ‘fried’ anywhere near their finger licking dishes.

Digressions aside, let’s get back to our yummy French Fries. Let us admit it that no matter how many labels we put on French Fries, kids, you and me will continue to relish them, be it at home or at a fast food joint. The least you can do is, make these fries healthier without compromising on taste. But how do you cook French Fries without the unhealthy frying bit? Well, you do it with very little oil instead of the gazillion liters generally used to fry them. And that’s child’s play if you are using a Usha Halogen Oven, just follow these simple steps:

IngredientsImage

  1. 15-200 gms of Frozen French Fries
  2. Just 1 teaspoon of Oil!!

Equipment:

  • High Rack
  • Steaming Tray

Method:

  1.  In a mixing bowl add frozen French fries, and just a single teaspoon of oil and mix well.
  2. Next place the French fries on an oiled steaming tray
  3. Now place the steaming tray on the high rack
  4. Select speed up on Halogen Oven panel for 4 minutes at 230 degree C. You could add an extra minute to brown them further.

Wait with mouthwatering anticipation! Eat healthy without an ounce of guilt.

For Other Halogen Oven Recipes Click Here