Oman dining: Festival delights on a platter

Lifestyle Monday 16/October/2017 18:36 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman dining: Festival delights on a platter

Kalakand Cheesecake
A contemporary take on Indian sweets with cheesecake that will leave you in awe and sheer delight. Welcome to the modern culinary world of global fusion.

20 Marie biscuits
3 tablespoons sugar
5 tablespoons melted butter
2 cups crumbled cottage cheese
400 grams (1 can) condensed milk
5-6 crushed green cardamoms
A few strands of saffron dissolved in 1 tablespoon of warm milk
250g cream cheese
4 tablespoons icing sugar
Pista, cashew slivers to garnish

Start by crushing the biscuits to crumbs or use a blender to make the same. Put in a large bowl, and stir in the sugar.
Next add melted butter and give it a good mix. Press firmly the crumb mixture onto the bottom of a pan that has a removable base and add some in serving glasses. Keep it in the fridge for 1-2 hours to set. In a pan mix the crumbled cottage cheese along with the condensed milk and simmer on low heat. Keep stirring to avoid the mix from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Keep stirring for 5-6 minutes, until cottage cheese and condensed milk are well combined.
Add the cardamom and saffron. Cook for another 2-3 minutes while stirring. Switch off the flame. Kalakand is ready. Keep it aside and let it cool to room temperature. Now in a bowl, add cream cheese and icing sugar. Whisk them well with hand blender or stand mixer (whisk attachment). Add the cooled down kalakand to this cream cheese mix. Blend it well. Pour it over biscuit crust base of the pan and some in the glasses. Keep it again in the fridge for 4-5 hours to set completely. Serve cold and garnish with slivers of pistas, cashews, and saffron.

Paneer Makhani Biryani
It is a delectable culmination of India’s two most loved dishes that is paneer makhani and biryani. The tangy and soft paneer in a rich, creamy gravy slow cooked and layered with rice, will surely tingle your tastebuds. Perfect for this festive season.

250g paneer cubes
3 tablespoons ghee/ clarified butter
2 bay leaves
1/2 stick cinnamon
2 black cardamoms
4 green cardamoms
4 - 5 whole black peppers
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 to 3 green chillies
2 tablespoons fresh ginger garlic paste
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon tandoori masala
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
Salt to taste
1 cup fresh tomato puree
1/4 cup cashew paste
1/2 cup cream
Pinch of kasuri methi (dried fenugreek leaves)
6 cups cooked basmati rice
1 cup fried onions
1/2 cup fried cashews
1/2 cup chopped mint and coriander
3 tablespoons butter

Fry the paneer cubes in ghee and set aside. In the same pan, add the whole spices such as bay leaves, cinnamon, black cardamom, green cardamom, black peppercorns. As the spices crackle, add the chopped onions, green chillies, ginger garlic paste and fry for 2 minutes. Add the powdered spices, salt, followed by the tomato puree. Simmer for 10 minutes. Then add the cashew paste, cream and a dash of kasuri methi. Add the paneer into the gravy and bring to a gentle simmer for 6 to 8 minutes. Using a greased pot or handi, layer the paneer curry and rice alternatively starting with rice. Garnish with fried onions, butter, cashewnuts, fresh mint, and coriander. Cover with aluminium foil and slow cook for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Badami Shahi Kofta Curry
A mélange of vegetables shaped in koftas and dunked in a creamy, almond based curry that reflects the rich heritage of India’s royal (shahi) cuisine.

For Koftas
1 cup mix vegetables (finely chopped-carrot, pe​as cauliflower, French beans)
1 large potato (boiled, peeled, mashed)
3 tablespoon all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2-3 green chillies (crushed) as per taste
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1 teaspoon coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon roasted cumin powder
For Stuffing
4 tablespoons golden raisins
Corn flour for dusting
Oil for frying / bake
For white paste
8/10 almonds
2 tablespoon grated coconut
2 teaspoon watermelon seeds
1 cup milk (warm)
For Curry
2 tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon black cumin (shah jeera)
1/2 ginger (crushed)
1/2 garlic (crushed)
1 onion (chopped)
2 tomatoes (blanched and puree)
1 tablespoon chilli powder / as per taste
1/2 teaspoon garam masala
1/3 cup yoghurt
1/2 cup fresh cream

For Koftas: Mix the ingredients of koftas in a bowl and shape dough into small koftas/balls of lemon size balls. Stuff a raisin in these balls and roll again. Dust with cornflour and deep fry on medium heat till golden brown.
For Curry: Soak all ingredients of white paste in warm milk for 1/2 hr and grind to smooth paste and keep aside. In deep pan heat oil, add black cumin and fry ginger, garlic and onions till rawness goes. Add tomato puree and white paste and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Add remaining ingredients except yoghurt and cream. Cover and cook till oil separates and now add the whisked yoghurt. Cook for a minute, add kofta balls and drizzle cream. Serve hot with rice or breads of your choice.

Farsi Puri
Diwali is incomplete without farsi puri. This melt in the mouth savoury is easy to make and the surprise element is the aromatic hint of pepper. Crunchy and delicious to the core, this would leave your guests asking for more and more.

1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons semolina
1 teaspoon coarsely crushed black pepper
2 tablespoons melted ghee
Salt to taste
Oil for deep-frying
Combine all the ingredients in a deep bowl, mix well and knead into a stiff dough using little water. Divide the dough into 20 equal balls and roll each portion into a 2 inch diameter thin circle. Prick the puris all over using a fork. Heat the oil in a deep non-stick wok and deep-fry a few puris at a time, on a slow flame till they turn light brown in colour from both the sides. Drain out the excess oil by placing them on an absorbent kitchen towel. Cool completely and store them in an air-tight container. [email protected]