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Kay's House of Treats: July 2013

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake

Sticky Toffee Pudding is a typical British dessert which comprises of a moist sponge cake, made with dates and covered in a toffee or caramel sauce and served warm with vanilla ice-cream or custard. The traditional method of making the pudding is through steaming, however, this recipe comprises of the same ingredients and flavor but in cake form. 

Since its Ramazan and there's an abundance of dates at home, I got to try out a recipe that had been on my to do list for a long time! The cake can be served warm or cold, depending on personal preference, but its best served with vanilla ice-cream since its quite sweet and the ice-cream provides a nice contrast to the cake, especially with a drizzle of toffee syrup!

Sticky Toffee Pudding Cake
Recipe: Cooking Nook 

8 ounces (250 g) pitted dates, chopped (about 2 cups)1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
Toffee sauce or caramel sauce (recipe below)
Vanilla Ice-Cream - for serving (optional)
Grease an 9-inch round metal baking pan and line with parchment paper. Alternatively, an 8 inch square baking pan can also be used.
In a large bowl, combine the chopped dates, the baking soda and boiling water. Let it stand for about 30 minutes or until it is cooled to room temperature.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
Add the brown sugar, eggs, butter and vanilla to the date mixture. Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat it for 2 minutes, until blended (the mixture will appear slightly curdled). Add the flour, baking powder and salt. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula. Mix again for 15 to 30 seconds until blended.
Spread the batter evenly in the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached.
Set the pan on a wire rack. Poke holes all over the top of the cake with a toothpick or skewer or fork. Pour 1/2 cup of the toffee sauce over the cake. Let it cool in the pan on rack for 10 minutes.
To serve, cut the cake into squares and serve warm with ice-cream and drizzle with the remaining sauce. The cake can also be served cold, depending on personal preference. 
Store the cooled cake in the refrigerator in a cake keeper, or loosely wrapped in foil or plastic wrap, for up to 5 days. 

Caramel SauceIngredients:
1 1/2 cups (375 mL) granulated sugar
3/4 cup cream, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

In a small heavy saucepan, heat granulated sugar over medium heat until sugar is a dark caramel-colored liquid. Be very careful and make sure the caramel does not burn. Remove from heat and while whisking, carefully pour in cream. The caramel will sputter as you add the cold cream, so be careful when mixing. 
Stir in the vanilla.
Makes about 2 cups (500 mL)

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Saturday, July 20, 2013

Kung Pao Chicken Wontons made Square

 This Ramazan I decided to try my hand at making Wontons. I had bookmarked this recipe a long time back from this Desi blog that I follow titled "Hunger & Haw Hai". The recipe itself was totally my style since it featured one of my favourite Chinese dishes as the basis of the filling.

Unfortunately, all my dreams of my wontons looking similar to the stunning photographs of the original recipe failed. The wonton sheets that I had gotten from a local bakery were not the right size when I cut them into smaller pieces, and it took me about 2-3 minutes to just be able to make that twisty wonton effect for just 1 wonton and I was worried about the size being too small so the filling would leak out. Looking at the clock, and the amount of wrappers in front of me, I was about to lose hope thinking that I was going to spend my entire afternoon twisting wonton wrappers. BUT, then I did a little bit of wrapping and folding, and I turned the wontons into small little parcels. So from Wontons, this recipe shifted to Kung Pao Chicken Parcels. 

Taste-wise, the wontons were delicious with the minced chicken & peanuts filling providing a welcome change from the usual Samosa's & Spring Roll filling. Looks-wise, the real wontons definitely looked prettier with the spring roll knot in a way just completing the package. But the square little parcels that I made looked quite nice too, and I am sure if anyone didn't know they were originally wontons, they could just as easily be called Kung Pao Chicken Parcels! 

The point is that sometimes we have to adapt and change our recipe a little here and there if something goes wrong, but as long as the ingredients are delicious, the end result will also be just as good :)! Have included the recipe for both wontons and parcels, so you can make whatever you want depending on the wrappers you have!

Kung Pao Chicken Wontons/Parcels 
Adapted from Hunger & Haw Hai
(makes about 30-35 wontons/parcels)

8 ounces (1/4 kg) minced chicken
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup salted peanuts, chopped (can be pulsed in a food processor as well)
2 tablespoons spring onions, chopped
1/2 teaspoon ginger paste
1/2 teaspoon ginger, finely sliced
1 1/2 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried chili flakes (adjust to taste)
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
30 square wonton wrappers (the only wonton wrappers I could find find were huge square ones which I then cut into wonton size)
3-4 spring onions, cut into thin strips and wilted in boiling water
Vegetable oil, enough to come 4 inches up the side of a large pot

-For the wonton filling, in a large bowl, combine the chicken, soy sauce, oyster sauce, sesame oil, sugar, salt, pepper, peanuts, spring onions, ginger, garlic, and dried chili flakes.
- In a separate bowl, whisk the egg and water together.
- Brush a wonton wrappers with the egg-wash and place a 1/2 tablespoon of filling into the center of the wrapper. Brush the edges with more egg-wash.
For Wontons:
- Lift all four corners of the wonton wrapper and make a pouch. Squeeze together around the top of the filling to form it to remove all the air, sealing it into the middle of the wrapper.
- Tie with a strip of wilted spring onion.
For Parcels
-  Put a piece of wilted spring onion in on top of the filling (had to subsitute since I couldn't tie the ribbon). After brushing the egg wash around the filling (I find that a silicon pastry brush is the best for this job), divide the wrapper into thirds bring the left and the right side of the wrapper in the middle over the filling. Brush a little more egg wash on the right and left side of the now rectangular wrapper. Bring both ends together in the middle, making sure that the package is all sealed. Voila, square little parcels ready! 

- Heat the oil and fry the wontons/parcels in batches, until golden and crisp from both sides, approximately 2-3 minutes.

- Drain on paper towels.

- Serve hot with Chilli Sauce.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Give-Away -Fudge Brownies

Giveaway Alert - A box of fudge brownies for the lucky winner! 

Hosting my first Give-away with a box of brownies up for grabs! All you need to do to participate is to submit a favourite Ramazan or Eid inspired recipe.

How to take part in the give-away:

1 - Make sure that you have liked Kays House Of Treats on Facebook. 
1 - Share the Kays House of Treats page on your Facebook Profile (keeping sure that its public). 
2 - Comment on this blog post with your favourite Ramazan or Eid inspired recipe. 
If you have photographs, you may also e-mail the recipe and photo's to at kayshouseoftreats@gmail.com and post a comment in the comment box below. 
3 - Please also comment below with your name (as per Facebook) & e-mail address. Alternatively you can e-mail me on kayshouseoftreats@gmail.com with Give-Away as the subject so that I can confirm your entry for the give-away.
4 - Once I have collected all the entries, one winner will be chosen randomly to receive the brownies!

Please share and post your favourite recipe. Looking forward to all the entries!.

Note: Once this give-away is over, will upload all the reader submitted recipes on both the blog as well as the Facebook page so that other readers can also benefit from the recipes :). 

This give-away is only open for fans in Pakistan. 
Fans abroad, can however, contribute their favourite recipes for the benefit of readers.
Deadline for Entry: 28th July 2013

Monday, July 15, 2013

Chicken Rendang with Rice

Rendang is an indonesian meat dish, mostly made with beef but can also be made with other proteins as well. It's not only popular in Indonesia, but also in other countries in Far East Asia (Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Phillipines etc). The procedure involved requires cooking the meat in a coconut curry comprising coconut milk and a spice paste for a few hours (1-2 for chicken and 2-4 for beef) till all the liquid is absorbed and the meat has absorbed all the spices. As the meat stews in the coconut milk mixture, the liquid becomes more and more reduced until finally, only the oils of the coconut milk are left. The meat is then finally cooked  in the remaining coconut oil, and the final dish is not just intensely flavorful but moist and tender since it has been simmered for so long. 

I had actually heard of Rendang a number of times, and the final push that made me google up a description and a recipe was a stunning photograph on a restaurant's menu. Since the dish on the menu was beef, and I rarely eat beef, I had to look up a chicken rendang recipe instead of just ordering it. I love the combination of the spices that are used in making rendang; they are ingredients that can easily be found in our local kitchens, but the final dish has a flavor profile that is completely different from regular desi dishes. It has the spice & flavor element which we love, but the coconut milk adds that oriental element which makes it taste similar to a Thai curry. It's a really simple recipe, but it just requires pre-planning because the chicken needs to simmer for that requisite time to get that delicious flavor. 

Serve with plain white rice, or cumin rice, or can also be served with spiced rice. I served it with "Nasi Lamek" which is an Indonesian Coconut Rice with Pandan leaf, but I couldn't find the right ingredients so it tasted quite similar to 'Baghair Chawal". 

Chicken Rendang
Adapted from the Chicken Rendang recipe from

1/2 kg chicken (boneless - cut into cubes)
2 stalks of lemongrass - bottom white portion, sliced horizontally (I didn't have fresh lemongrass, so I substituted with 3-4 pieces of dried
2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 inch ginger (chopped/sliced) - its best to use Galangal (Thai Ginger), but as it is not available here, ginger is a good substitute
1 medium onion - chopped 
2-3 dried red chillies (adjust if required)
3 whole star anise/badiyaal ka Phool
2 3-inch pieces cinnamon/Daal Chini
4 Cardamom pods-cracked open/Elaichi
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1/2 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp Salt, or to taste
2 tablespoon tamarind pulp/about 1 tbsp of tamarind dissolved in warm water, with seeds drained
1/2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp lemon juice

1) The first that is required is to make the flavoring paste. Put lemongrass, garlic, turmeric, ginger, onion, chilli's and lemon juice in a blender or small food processer and blend for 2-3 minutes. If required, you may add a tablespoon of water. Blend till all the ingredients are well pureed. 

2) Heat oil in a wok/skillet on medium heat. Add cinnamon, star anise & cardamom and saute for about 2 minutes, till they have started releasing their fragrance. Add the paste to the spices and saute for about 5 minutes, stiring constantly till the mixture is cooked and the raw smell disappears. 
3) Add coconut milk, sugar, tamarind pulp and salt, and bring to a boil. Once it comes to a gentle boil, simmer on low heat to reduce the coconut milk to about 1/4th the original quanity while stiring frequently. Add soya sauce and salt to taste. 
3) Add chicken coating it with the coconut milk and simmer it on low heat for about 1 hour stiring every 10 minutes to ensure that the chicken does not stick to the bottom of the pan. 
4) After cooking for an hour, the liquid mixture in the pan would have almost disappeared. Keep the chicken on simmer for about 10-15 minutes, until the chicken turns a golden brown and you can see that the coconut milk has disappeared and what is remaining is the oil from the coconut milk. 
Note: My family likes a bit more gravy, which is why I did not reduce the coconut milk as much as was required (about 40% of original amount) and I cooked the chicken for about 55 minutes in total. 

5) Transfer the dish to to serving bowl and serve with rice and fresh salad. 

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Saturday, July 13, 2013


Have a backlog of recipes that I have been meaning to post and just not getting the time these days. Have just been occupied with work for the past few weeks, and with Ramazan here, its become more busy with the Sehri & Iftar preparations since my mother's not in town so I have to do the preps myself.  Then with the spare time that I have, I try my best to do as much Ibidat as possible. So yeah, its craziness on top of craziness, but am going to start posting some recipes as well as some reviews, starting with typical Ramazan snacks, and then some recipes that can be made for dinner with a light iftar.

Today its going to be one of my favourite Ramazan recipes - croquettes. My recipe combines mashed potatoes with chicken & capsicum along with instant noodles which makes it just that more yummy!. 

Croquettes (Chicken & Potato Balls)

Ingredients for Chicken
Chicken (Boneless) - 250 grams
Ginger - 1/2 inch
Garlic Cloves - 2
Soya Sauce - 1 tbsp
Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Black Pepper  - 1/2 tsp
White Pepper - 1/4 tsp
Salt - 1 tsp
Method to make Chicken
Marinate the chicken in the above mixture for about 30 minutes. Then heat some oil in a pan, and cook the chicken (add the remaining mixture as wel) for a few minute till its tender and the water has dried. Shred the chicken or pulse it in the food processer for a few seconds.

Ingredients for Croquettes
Potatoes - 500 grams (or 5 medium) - Potatoes need to be peeled, boiled and mashed
Capsicum - 2 (medium size) - finely chopped or this can also be pulsed in the food processer for a few seconds
1 pack instant 2 minute noodles (chicken flavor) - boiled and flavor packet added; the noodles should be broken while cooking so that its easy to mix into the croquettes mixture
Chilli Flakes - 1 tsp
Lemon Juice/Vinegar - 1 tbsp
Soya Sauce - 2 tbsp
Black Pepper - 1/2 tsp
White Pepper - 1/2 tsp
Salt - 1.5 tsp
Flour - As needed (about 3/4 cup would be good)
Bread Crumbs/Panko Bread Crumbs preferably
(I personally use Panko bread crumbs instead of the normal bread crumbs as they coat better and absorb much less oil then the regular bread crumbs) - the style is easily available in Karachi and the bread crumbs will look like flakes instead of normal crumbs)
Egg - 2 (whisked with a fork and 3 tsp of water added and whisked as well)

Cook the chicken separately. Boil & mash the potatoes. Then mix potatoes, chicken, capsicum & noodles together. Add chilli flakes, lemon juice/vinegar, soya sauce, black pepper & white pepper. Adjust the seasonings to taste and add more depending on personal preference.

Make balls out of the potato mixture, then dip in flour, then in the egg mixture, then in the bread crumbs mixture.

Heat oil in a wok/karhai and then deep fry the croquettes till golden brown.

These croquettes can easily be frozen and kept in the freezer for 2-3 months and fried as needed. The croquettes need to be kept in the freezer after the coating has been done, because that will protect the potato mixture.

 I am sending this recipe to "Ramadan Friendly Recipes" event hosted at "the halal foodie"

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