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Pasta makes dinner so much simpler. Simply toss cooked pasta into any sauce of your choice, top with any combination of veggies or meat [leftovers work well here] and you have your evening meal under control within minutes. This holds true especially when you are too tired/lazy to cook yourself a proper meal and you’re also too tired/lazy to go out and buy food. Taken from BBC Good Food Everyday Pasta and Noodle Dishes, this cheat’s version of egg noodle pasta can be made as spicy as you like by adjusting the amount of chili to your taste or tolerance level.

SPICY PRAWN EGG NOODLE PASTA

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

1 heaped tablespoon coriander purée

Pinch of crushed dried chilies, to taste

400g can chopped tomatoes with garlic

1 heaped tablespoon tomato purée

1 tablespoon vegetable bouillon powder

Half a 250g pack Chinese egg noodles

400g prawns, peeled and deveined

Method:

  • Heat the oil in a wok or deep frying pan. Toss in the onion, squeeze in the coriander purée.

  • Sprinkle over the crushed chilies to taste. Stir fry for 5 minutes until the onion is softened.

  • Pour in tomatoes and 1 1/2 cans water, add tomato purée and sprinkle over bouillon powder.

  • Season well. Bring to a bubble, stirring, then lower the heat a little and let the sauce simmer.

  • Cook for about 15 minutes until slightly reduced but still sloppy. Break noodles into a bowl.

  • Pour in enough boiling water to cover. Stir and set aside. When sauce is ready, drain noodles.

  • Tip them into the sauce with uncooked prawns. Stir well and heat through for 2 minutes only.

  • Taste for seasoning and add more chilli flakes and a little sugar if you like. Makes 2 servings.

Spicy Prawn Egg Noodle Pasta

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While garam masala is a much used spice blend in most gravies and curries in Indian cuisine, this recipe from My Food Story convincingly adds it to cake batter to give an unusual twist to your classic apple cake. Baked in a pretty Bundt pan, this dense spicy cake is good to serve on a cold winter afternoon and you do not even have to worry about making masala chai to go with it. The browned butter rum sauce is for those who dare to add a bit more sugar and complexity to the winter flavors of this warm and cozy tea time apple bake.

GARAM MASALA APPLE BUNDT CAKE

Ingredients:

For the Apple Bundt Cake

1 cup almond milk

1 teaspoon white vinegar

2 large apples, finely chopped

2 lemons, zested and juiced

2 1/8 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon garam masala powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

3/4 cup light muscovado sugar

1/2 cup mild vegetable oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Brown Butter Sauce

1/4 cup unsalted butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk

Method:

  • In a bowl mix together almond milk and vinegar and set aside. Add lemon juice to chopped apples.
  • Grease a 4 cup Bundt cake pan well, making sure to get the crevices. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees.

  • In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, garam masala, cinnamon, ginger and lemon zest.
  • In another bowl, whisk together almond milk-vinegar mixture, muscovado sugar, oil and vanilla.

  • Pour wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix till combined, then fold in chopped apples.
  • Spread the mixture into the greased Bundt cake pan. Bake for 45-50 minutes until golden brown.

  • A skewer inserted in the middle of the cake will come out clean. While cake is baking, make glaze.
  • Heat butter in a pan till it starts foaming and frothing and will start browning. Remove from heat.

  • Whisk in sugar, vanilla and milk till the mixture is smooth. Set aside until the cake finishes baking.
  • Once the cake is baked, invert it onto a plate or baking sheet. Drizzle the glaze over the warm cake.

Garam Masala Apple Cake

Traditionally eaten on Good Friday, the hot cross bun is a small sweet yeasted bread roll marked with a cross on top. It is usually baked in batches and flavored with spices like cinnamon and cloves as well as mixture of raisins, currants and dried or candied fruit. The cross on top is traditionally piped using a batter made of flour and water but the recipe, from Bon Appétit Magazine, marks the buns with thick sugar paste after baking. The glaze gives an attractive, shiny bakery-style finish. I did not bother with this as I did not have any apricot jam on hand and felt that the buns could do very well without the added stickiness. The sweet aroma of spices and baked bread that wafts through your kitchen as soon as you take them out of the oven really draws one into the mood for Easter celebrations, way more so if you need some extra energy before going on the hunt for chocolate eggs and bunnies. Happy Easter, dear readers!

HOT CROSS BUNS

Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast

2 tablespoons honey or golden syrup

1 cup plus 4 teaspoons whole milk, warmed

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk

1/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

3 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 cup mixed dried fruit

1/2 cup apricot jam, warmed

3/4 cup powdered sugar

Method:

  • Whisk yeast, honey, and 1 cup milk in the bowl of a stand mixer. Let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, butter a large mixing bowl and a 13-inch x 9-inch rectangular baking dish, set them aside.

  • Whisk egg, egg yolk, brown sugar, oil, zests, and vanilla into mixture. Add cinnamon and cardamom.
  • Add 3 1/2 cups flour, beat with dough hook on low speed until mixture starts to form a shaggy dough.

  • Add the salt and beat on medium until dough forms a ball around the hook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Continue beating until dough is smooth and slightly tacky about 5 minutes more. Add 1/2 cup butter.

  • Add butter 1 tablespoon at a time, allowing dough to absorb each piece before adding the next piece.
  • Beat until dough is supple, shiny, and elastic, about 5 minutes. Turn out dough onto a clean surface.

  • Knead to incorporate remaining 2 tablespoons flour till dough is very supple and tacky but not sticky.
  • Transfer to a bowl and cover with plastic. Sit in a warm place until doubled in size, 40 to 50 minutes.

  • Turn dough out onto a clean work surface and pat down to 1/2″ thick. Scatter dried fruit over surface.
  • Roll up into a log, starting at the end nearest you. Divide into 12 equal pieces, a little less than 3½ oz.

  • Roll each piece into a smooth ball and arrange in prepared baking dish, spacing equally in a 4×3 grid.
  • Cover with plastic and let sit in a warm place till they are nearly doubled in size for 30 to 40 minutes.

  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Beat the remaining egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush it over tops of buns.
  • Bake buns until tops and bottoms are deep golden brown, 25 to 35 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan.

  • Brush jam onto warm buns, then let it cool until set. Whisk the powdered sugar and remaining milk.
  • Whisk it until smooth and transfer to a pastry bag or plastic bag. Cut a small opening in one corner.

  • Pipe crosses over each bun. Let sit till icing is set, at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 12 buns.
  • Dough, without fruit, can be made one day ahead. Let rise at room temperature, then cover and chill.

Happy Easter folks!

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PrerrnaMirchi
Mauritius

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