Sunday, April 24, 2011

Spicy Corn Tartlets And Three Of My Favourite Things

I love baking. I love taking nice pictures for my blog. And I love corn (particularly the sweet American corn niblets. The kind that come in a tin. Yes I know. They are unhealthy. But I still love them, okay?). But when all three things come together and perfectly for one post ... my day is made.

Eden restaurant in Chennai serves up this awesome spicy corn on toast. It is a great tasting dish but rich. I am sure they are very generous with their cream and butter. This spicy corn recipe is based on that. I made it purely from tasting the one at Eden.

I have to say, at the cost of blowing my own trumpet, it turned out exactly like theirs. Tasted just the same. But instead of serving it up on toast, I made these little tartlets and served it as an appetizer at a recent dinner. They went like hot cakes. I ran out of them even though I made more than five dozen. There were other appetizers too. There were only 8 guests. Enough said.


For the Tarts -

200 grams All Purpose Flour
100 grams ice cold Butter
A pinch Baking Powder

For the Corn filling -

1 tin Corn Niblets
1 tablespoon All Purpose Flour
1 cup Milk
1 tablespoon Butter
1 Onion chopped really finely
2 Green Chillies chopped fine
2 tablespoons Tomato Puree
1/4 cup Cream
Salt to taste


For the tarts:

Sift the baking powder and flour together.

Cut the butter into pieces and mix into the flour using fingertips till it resembles fresh breadcrumbs.

Gather into a dough. If very dry, add ice cold water a teaspoon at a time till a dough is formed. You will not need to much water so be very careful while adding the water.

Press out thinly into the tart moulds. Bake at 180 deg C for about 12-15 minutes till a light golden brown.

For the filling:

Melt butter on a slow flame and add the green chillies and onion.

When well fried, add the flour. Fry well and add milk in a steady stream taking care not to allow lumps to form.

Cook till thickened and a saucy consistency is obtained.

Add the tomato puree and cream and cook well.

Add in the corn niblets.

To serve -

Spoon the filling into the tarts. Serve hot.


Sunday, April 17, 2011

Beetroot Halwa and Dad's Cooking Experiments

My father was your typical working person. Off to work in the morning, back in the evening, cursory look at marks and homework. He was a tremendously hardworking and focussed person for whom nothing was too much work. I wish I had one tenth of his focus and capacity for work. I am sure I would have been a lot better for it. He was an engineer by profession and a pretty good one at that. He never forgot what he learned in college till the last. He remembered formulae, theorems... everything...

But he had a secret love for cooking. He used to love to experiment in the kitchen. But he never looked at cooking from a chefs point of view. His approach was more from an engineer's angle. He would love to tell my mom that for dosas to be perfect, the temperature of the tava should be this and that. Or some other such similar things. But for all his efforts, my mom's experience won each time. She would effortlessly make these yummy foods and he would struggle to get the taste just right.

One his favourite foods to make was Beetroot Halwa. Don't ask me why. I have no idea. This is not a sweet that I have seen commonly on tables. But he liked it, I think. Once I grew up and developed a love for cooking, I realised that I would like to learn this as well and now it has become a firm favourite for me.


2 cups Beetroot grated
2 cups Milk
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Ghee (clarified butter)
1/4 teaspoon Cardamom powdered
1 tablespoon Cashewnuts for garnish
1 tablespoon Raisins


Cook the beetroot in the pressure cooker along with the milk till fully cooked and soft.

Open the pressure cooker and let out the steam.

Add the ghee and fry the halwa for a few more minutes till it starts coming together like a ball. It also develops a glossy look by now.

Add the sugar and cook till it thickens up again.

Fry the raisins and the cashewnuts in a teaspoon of ghee and add to the halwa along with the cardamom powder.

Serve cold or hot.


UPDATE: Thanks Asha for pointing out the error of forgetting the sugar. As you can see now, it has been rectified.