Dum laga ke haisha!

As Indians, we all love when our biryanis and certain authentic curries are done to perfection on dum! Dum is nothing but one of the ways that falls under the ‘slow cooking’ category. A cooking method that is back in vogue and people around the world are readily accepting it. Hyderabadi_Dum_Gosht_Biryani

Any kind of food preparing method that depends on low-heat usage for a long time can fall under the ‘slow cooking’ technique. As already stated, dum in Indian cooking is one of the best examples alongwith others like low-heat ovens, pit cooking, barbecues, etc., that are common worldwide.

So, why slow cooking is back, and that too with a bang!? Lies in the irony of our lives. The faster it became, the more we looked out for solutions that made life fuss-free. Gone are the days when we actually sit and ponder over what we want to eat in our meals (unless of course if it’s a weekend). By the time we reach home, our head doesn’t allow us to put in that extra effort to cook (even if the heart wants us to do that!).

Thus, the conclusion – speed of cooking inversely proportional to the speed of life! It’s as simple as that.

Hence, the idea of slow cooking does best for this fast paced life – take a cooking utensil, throw in the meats/veggies alongwith seasoning and spices and let it simmer on low heat. And by the time you freshen up and get back to eat, voila! You have a complete meal ready – hearty, nutritious and delicious! Plus you saved your time and energy that you can put-in on relishing the final dish! Cool, isn’t it?

Proves absolutely useful for bachelors and spinsters too – the ones who go weak on their knees even with the thought of cooking the simplest of meals! You can almost swear by this method to prep-up some great homemade dishes. What better can the feel be – it saves you from the guilt of feeding on fast-food or restaurant food daily!

Top 5 reasons to ‘slow-cook’

  1. Makes food extremely soft by breaking down the hard connective tissues. So, great for fibrous veggies and tough cuts of meats.

  2. Provides better results as flavours are infused with one another over time. Brings out the best.

  3. To achieve a uniform level of cooking of a huge quantity, without burning or drying.

  4. Want to dissolve your pastas, potatoes or beans into stews? Go for slow-cooking.

  5. Long-cooking times can automatically create a festive atmosphere with food being the centre of attraction. Use the slow-cooking method to create your unique dishes for that special gathering!

But just remember these few cons…

  1. Not a good option for caramelising certain food ingredients.

  2. You cannot expect to get crunchiness on food with this method. For obvious reasons!

  3. If you want to keep those burst of flavours distinct and avoid mixing of them with one another, you definitely shouldn’t be opting for slow cooking.

So, you already gotten yourselves to slow cooking? Well, master it with investing in the right type of gadgets as well – everything from the simple slow cooker, stock pot and casserole to the fancy high-end combi-oven and Sous Vide cookers are available in the market. You just need to decide on your preference, get one of these and use them whenever you plan to slow cook.

As I end, here’s a list of some of my favourite food that is slow cooked. These include not just the non-veg fare like a flavourful Paya Shorba, Dum Murgh, Hyderabadi Dum Gosht Biryani, Dum ki Kaliyan (I put it up on my restaurant, The Yellow Chilli’s menu too!) but even veg dishes like Qaabooli (a traditional Hyderabadi biryani with rice and Bengal gram), Lehsuni Tendli, Tinda Dum Tamatar, Dum Paneer Mitti Handi (done in earthenware to enhance the flavours all the more!), some international stews, one-pot meals, etc.

I would definitely recommend all to try these recipes out, the way they are supposed to be. Just log onto www.sanjeevkapoor.com and get going.

Happy slow cooking!

Popular sauces with Nutralite

Never out of fashion – a good luscious sauce can add plenty of oomph and dress up a dish instantly. We give you our top picks and also tell you how Nutralite makes these jazzier. The best thing about Nutralite is that it would taste just like the normal butter, but at the same time will be much healthier. While other spreads may contain harmful trans fats that increase the levels of cholesterol in the blood, Nutralite is one product that does not contain these fats. You may have loved these sauces till now, but you will love them more now when you’ll know that these are better in all ways.

Butterscotch makes things better

The quintessential ‘butterscotch’ is one of those sauces that has takers from all age groups – kids to mid-aged to old-aged. A simple ice cream gets dressed in the most amazing way when you drizzle a little of this one on top. The authentic recipe will have brown sugar, milk/cream and butter. Replace the brown sugar with normal sugar and you get a variation that’s Caramel. So, this time you make these sauces, substitute the butter with Nutralite and create a healthier version! And then use these as creatively as you can:

  • You might have had chocolate filled with butterscotch. How about some chocolate coated with butterscotch? An exciting reversal!

  • Try coating besan laddoos with butterscotch!

  • The good old Caramel Popcorn is always a favourite too.

  • Finish off a Trifle Pudding with it or pour it on hot Apple Pie, soft Muffins or drizzle it on freshly made cakes. Divine!

  • Sundaes will bask in the glory of butterscotch and you can splash some chocolate syrup too, they are allies!

  • Use the sauce to dress up a mocktail, milkshake or simply pour in spoonfuls in your cup of coffee. You do it once, you do it again and again!

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Go cheesy

Cheese makes everything better. The mild Cheese Sauce gives you plenty of room to have fun with flavours and spices, but we say keep the seasonings simple and play around with different types of cheese like stringy mozzarella or chunky cheddar! Just get your hands on the Nutralite and create this simple one: melt Nutralite in a pan, add a spoonful of refined flour and sauté for 2-3 minutes. Make sure that it doesn’t turn brown. Add milk, whisk making sure there are no lumps. Add plenty of cheese and mix well. Pass through a sieve to ensure lump free smoothness and use it as a delicious dip. Try a version by adding a hint of saffron and some chillies to it!

Hola! To Healthy Hollandaise

There is no denying the irresistibility of a perfectly made hollandaise sauce. The trick is to whisk the eggs constantly while pouring in a thin stream of butter till both these ingredients together create a luscious hollandaise. And with Nutralite too, you can achieve the same result. Its just going to be nicer and would be perfect with your eggs, poached fish and veggies! You can also use it as a spread for your sandwiches and burgers.

Another version to the Hollandaise would be a rich, aromatic Béarnaise Sauce that will be great with your grilled meats. Similar to the process with just an addition of a flavouring ingredient alongwith crushed peppercorns will give you this smooth sauce. Use Nutralite here as well!

For wine lovers

The simple Beurre blanc is the sauce! Infact, it is so quick to make that this sauce can be done as emergencies! The luxurious sauce made with butter and wine is a great pairing with fish and seafood. Just make sure to use chilled Nutralite while whipping this one up.

10 most expensive ingredients in the world – #10 – Edible Gold (Gold Leaf/Gold Dust)

The goodness of gold!

Finally, we wrap up the list of 10 most expensive ingredients in the world with Edible Gold (Gold Leaf/Dust). A quick recap on the previous ones:

  • Kopi Luwak
  • Matsutake Mushroom
  • Yubari Melon
  • Caviar
  • Truffles
  • Coffin Bay King Oysters
  • Hop Shoots
  • Moose Milk Cheese
  • Saffron

With $15,000 as the estimated price per pound, Edible Gold in the form leaves and dust dates back to the 16th century where it was used by the Italian Dukes and Earls to decorate their risottos. It was also used in medicines by the Alchemists of the 15th century, on fruits in luxurious banquets by the Elizabethans and by the Japanese in their food and sake for centuries.

And you thought gold could only be jewellery?

#10 – Edible Gold (Gold Leaf/Gold Dust)

How is gold edible? As this expensive food is a metal that is ‘biologically inert’ which means it doesn’t get absorbed by the digestive tract as it passes through it. Hence, it becomes pretty much consumable.

Whether you use it as a garnish on dishes or as floating gold flecks in beverages, make sure you select gold that is pure – 22-24 carats is what you should look for. A carat value less than this would mean that the gold is impure and can be harmful for consumption.

While it’s not exactly possible to create a dish completely of edible gold, we bring to you some of the dishes from around the world that use this pricey metal in one or the other way, alongwith other pricey ingredients. Check these out

  1. Le Burger Extravagant priced at $295 in New York’s Serendipity 3 Restaurant.
  2. Douche Burger priced at $666 at 666’s Burger, a New York City based Food Truck.
  3. The Golden Bagel priced at $1,000 in New York’s Westin Hotel.
  4. Billion Dollar Popcorn priced at $1000 per kg at Berco’s Popcorn, Chicago.
  5. The Golden Opulence Sundae priced at $1,000 in New York’s Serendipity 3 Restaurant.
  6. White Truffle and Gold Leaf Pizza priced at $2,400 at Margo’s Pizzeria, Malta.
  7. Lancashire Wagyu and Mushroom Pie priced at $14,260 or $1,781 per slice at The Fence Gate Inn, Lancashire.
  8. Fabergé Chocolate Cake priced at $34,500 at Lindeth Howe Country House Hotel in Windermere, Cumbria.

Wouldn’t you now want to give edible gold a try? Actually, you must as it’s going to be an experience in itself.

So, here we are, done with our list of expensive ingredients in the world. What’s on your list of expensive ingredients? Tell us about it, share your experiences with us. We are waiting to hear from you!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world – #9 – Saffron

It more than makes sense to put the ‘most expensive spice in the world’ at a decent number 5th position in this list after Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom, Yubari Melon and Caviar. Yes, it’s the saffron or zaffran a.k.a kesar in Hindi, which is easily termed as ‘Prada’ in the spice world!

Just to make things clearer, the expense quotient is directly proportional to either complexity to harvest or scarcity. And we give you reasons for this – saffron is prepared by drying the deep-hued stigmas of the crocus sativus flower and it takes 70,000-250,000 of these carefully hand-picked stigmas to make 1 pound! Also, there’s a time when these must be harvested – which should be just before sunrise to 10 am in the morning! Why so? Because if these are left in the plant for long, they will lose their aroma and colour! Too much of a work!

Saffron

#9 – Saffron

Saffron is expensive! Infact many feel that is pricier than gold because of the amount of labour that goes behind its harvest. Fortunately, one needn’t require large amounts to add that special touch in their dish, as adding too much might make your dish bitter besides being toxic. Some of the best produce comes from Kashmir in India besides Turkey, Iran, Morocco, Spain and Greece.

A culinary delight

The exotic saffron has its use in a variety of dishes, both national and international. Some of the culinary literature also defines its aroma from scent-like, subtle and flowery to earthy, spicy and even medicinal! We give you some trivia about certain cuisines/dishes in which saffron is used in abundance. Read on…

  • Foods like risotto and individual ingredients like potatoes, spinach, eggs, mushrooms and seafood are paired absolutely well with this spice.
  • We all know about the flavourful and aromatic Indian ‘Biryanis’ and mithais seldom of which are prepared without the use of saffron. Other international dishes like Spanish ‘Paella’ and ‘Sopas de Pescado,’ Persian ‘Pilaf,’ Moroccan Chicken and Lamb preps and French ‘Bouillabaisse’ also use it.
  • Quite a few Italian liqueurs and spirits, like ‘Strega Herbal Liqueur’ and ‘Fernet Branca’ use this as an ingredient in their making.

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Best way to use

To use saffron, either infuse a few threads in a cup of hot milk or water and add the coloured liquid towards the end of cooking or crumble the threads and add directly to the pot. Alternatively, dry roast, crumble and then steep the crumbled threads. Unlike other spices, a good pinch will suffice to add flavour and colour in most dishes.

Besides these you can try innovating authentic dishes with a dash of saffron in them. Some of my favourites include Saffron Seafood Bisque, Asparagus with Saffron chilli Cheese Sauce, Kesari Pulao, Kesari Phirni and Orange Caramel Custard with Saffron…the list can just go on and on!

These recipes and a lot more are waiting for you at www.sanjeevkapoor.com. Our YouTube channel sanjeevkapoorkhazana also has a long-list of exciting saffron recipes. Don’t forget to check them out too!

All you need to do now is to go get your pack of saffron (in case you haven’t till now!) and use it the way you want to. Just keep in mind not to overuse! And definitely don’t forget to share your kesar tales and recipes with us. We, as always, will be happy to receive them!

Till we decide on our next top expensive ingredient, do spread the knowledge by sharing and leave your valuable feedback for us!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world – #8 – Moose Milk Cheese

Say cheese!

So what’s our eighth expensive ingredient after Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom, Yubari Melon, Caviar, Truffles, Coffin Bay King Oysters and Hop Shoots? It is Moose Milk Cheese. Brought to you from Bjursholm, in north Sweden, and not any other major cheese producing nations like France! This Swedish cheese is at the high end of high-end. Why? Because it can only be made from the milk of three moose cows named Gullan, Haelga, and Juna. These three cows happily reside at the “Moose House” which is a 59 acre farm and is a part of The Elk House (Älgens Hus) farm in Bjurholm run by Christer and Ulla Johansson. Something as exciting as this can definitely attract visitors too – about 25,000 a year is what the Moose House does!

Talking about the price – the Moose Milk Cheese is outrageously priced at $455 per pound! Would you really want to spend this much on some cheese? Well, we leave that totally on you!

#8 – Moose Milk Cheese

Also known as one of the rarest kinds of cheese, the Moose Milk Cheese’s priciness is a result of many other attributes. It is strenuous, when to milk a single one, it takes somewhere between 30 minutes to 2 hours and each cow would only produce one gallon of milk in one day. Like this wasn’t enough, when the only time that is suitable for milking this trio is between May-September, when they are in heat and are calving. And that’s not all – the milk (containing 12% each of fats and proteins), then undergoes refrigeration and is curdled three times in a year. All this to annually produce 660 pounds of cheese!

And not to forget, the availability ain’t that easy as well. After the Moose House makes these three cheeses, they either reach the posh kitchens of upscale Swedish restaurants/hotels or are available for sampling or buying from the farm’s tasting room! So, now you know where to head for if you want to savour this expensive cheese.

With a sublime flavour, unlike cow’s milk cheese, the Moose Milk Cheese is tasty and healthy. It contains a high quantity of solids and butterfat alongwith good levels of zinc, selenium, aluminium and iron. Probably the reason why nutritionists highly recommend it and the patients of Ivan Susanin Sanitorium in Russia are served. Justifies the price as well!

So, wherever you are on this planet, if you get your hands on some of this exotic cheese or a dish that uses this cheese – do not miss the chance to try it! The entire experience will definitely be priceless!

As we move towards the final two ingredients on this list, let the ‘foodie’ in you share the thrilling stories and recipes that you end-up dishing or eating! We absolutely love receiving them and then reading and trying them in our kitchens!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world – #7 – Hop Shoots

10 most expensive ingredients in the world

So, after Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom, Yubari Melon, Caviar, Truffles and Coffin Bay King Oysters, we present a vegetable that definitely needs a mention. We are talking of the Hop Shoots that look a lot like asparagus and is available for €1,000 a kilo! We really can’t call that cheap, can we?

Why does it cost a bomb? Hop Shoots are rare, growing only in spring and don’t cultivate in an even row. So, you have to break your back hunching over each shoot while hunting for these. Besides this, these shoots are so tiny that one needs to pick about hundreds to fill a bag! Too much work for just some shoots!

#7 – Hop Shoots

A seasonal delicacy, Hop Shoots have some interesting trivia attached to them! When they begin to grow they are a deep purple in colour that changes into a perky green as soon as they morph into swirling tendrils or ‘tips.’ A flower known as a ‘burr’ is also produced by the feminine hops, and it is eventually these from which the ‘cones’ grow, that are harvested.

There’s a common practice that’s followed when growing these greens – you need to trim-off the first growth and wait for the second to come. This is done as the early ones grow very fast, and thus tend to be fragile and hollow. These, in turn, can prove to be less useful as well.

Enough said about the looks, its time for the main thing now – the taste. Epicureans around the world say that the taste of hop shoots ranges from mouth-drying, fibrous and astringent to a slight sweet, which is very asparagusish!

Nonetheless, they are quite tasty and come across with flavours that are subtle yet earthy! So much so that the Italians have a popular traditional dish of theirs dedicated to these expensive shoots – the ‘Risotto di Bruscandoli’ or simply the hop shoots risotto! Other ways to dish-up these greens are by simply sautéing or steaming them in butter with garlic and chives or you can use these to flavour your soups or make pretty garnishes or serve them with Worcestershire sauce glazed grilled chicken and mashed potatoes. Divine!

Not to forget the health benefits – rich in iron and antioxidants, and are known to help fight cancer as well as ease menopause conditions. Looks definitely can be deceiving!

Make sure you don’t miss the chance to consume it whenever you get one!

As we move on to bring to you the next expensive ingredient to feature on this list, you can share your exciting recipes and foodie stories with us. We absolutely love receiving them, read about them and try them in our kitchen. Also, don’t forget to share, as sharing is caring!

10 most expensive ingredients in the world

We already covered five out of the 10 most expensive ingredients in our bucket list – Kopi Luwak, Matsutake Mushroom, Yubari Melon, Caviar and Truffles. This time it’s something from the sea/ocean. The Coffin Bay King oyster, from Australia’s Coffin Bay, one of the most expensive seafood in the world. It is said that the best way to savour oysters is to eat them raw. Probably the reason why it hasn’t really caught on in India!

Coffin Bay King oysters sell for $100 per piece and are only found/farmed in Australia’s nutrient-rich Coffin Bay. Ready to spend this much on an oyster? Meanwhile, chew on some health facts about oysters. It is rich in Omega 3, vitamins and minerals, has less than 0.03% cholesterol and is 99% fat free!

#6 – Coffin Bay King Oysters

Often referred to as the ‘grandfather’ of all oysters, the Coffin Bay King Oyster is pricey due to its huge size – 18 centimetre long and can sometimes weigh upto 1 kilogram! Imagine shucking up such a hulk oyster! Did you know these King Oysters take about 6-7 years to grow up to this size and no one ever has been able to swallow one whole at once! For obvious reasons.

But the giant size doesn’t affect the experience that comes with its taste – with a robust aroma and a texture that doesn’t suit the looks – tender yet firm, your palette will be exposed to a range of intricate flavours with a crisp salty aftertaste. Also, these oysters are special as they have 10 times more meat than the regular normal ones. Wow factor for sure!

And how do you serve these king oysters? Raw with a slice of lemon or lime. Thus, keeping the flavours and feel of the ocean intact.

The next time you come across one of these, don’t think twice and do indulge in it for these are definitely worth a try! Plus, you will get some bragging privileges over your friends and families!

This was all about the famous Coffin Bay King Oysters. Watch this space for the next expensive ingredient. Meanwhile, share your oyster and other food tales. Also, don’t forget to share and spread the knowledge!