Masala Merry-nade For All Yuh Grilled Goods

Comics, NEW! | July 3, 2017 | By

Grilling season where I grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, heralded a time of robust pieces of meat in sweet and kicky barbecue sauce on the grill. The southern concept differed from how my very desi household celebrated our grilled goods. Sure, we had some of the usual suspects such as skewered meats, burgers (though not beef), and veggies, but our marinade was always masala punched.

Warm yellows, bright greens, and vibrant orange would punctuate our grill; chicken and seafood marinated in fresh yogurt, turmeric, cumin, and coriander along with a bevy of fresh herbss.

The beautiful thing about ‘masala-fying’ a spread like this is that it isn’t labor intensive or fret with a long list of ingredients, things that I feel often deter people from making Indian food at home. It’ll probably take longer to read the comic then to actually prepare the marinade and chutney! But, errr, still read it, k?

You can also play around with the recipes to cater to your preferences. For instance, the marinade can easily handle more cloves of garlic or the addition of your favorite spice, without compromising the taste or texture.

I’ve shared my mother’s traditional recipe for mint chutney but basil or cilantro work equally as well in lieu of mint.

I wanted to share the recipe for this marinade with you in particular because it’s such a crowd-pleaser. When hosting a barbecue for a larger crowd, chances are, food preferences vary. Some guests prefer grilled chicken or pork, while others love grilled seafood, and still others are vegetarian. The beauty of this marinade is that flavors and enhances numerous proteins and veggies so you won’t have to prepare a different marinade for every food that hits your grill.

Both the marinade and the chutney can last up to a week in an air tight container, refrigerated. Both can easily be created on the spot, but for a bigger crowd you can easily prepare and store days in advance.

Enjoy the Aunty-inspired recipes and bring masala into your season. Happy Grilling!

Yo, full disclosure, this post was first published on MasalaMommas.com years ago. Still relevant today though! 

Haute Dogs: Masala Style

Comics, NEW! | July 3, 2017 | By

Hot dogs are a great dish for backyard entertaining. Kids and adults tend to love them, they are easy to grill, and they’re pretty much a no-fuss kinda thing. But…what if you actually want to fuss a bit this year? What if you’ve seen the light and understand that your hot dog can be a holding cell for a bevy of delicious toppings that go well beyond the usual suspects of ketchup, mustard, or sauerkraut.

I’ll be “frank” – I’m not the first to propose an elevated hot dog nor will I be the last. Every summer, cooking publications suggest throwing an elevated “haute dog” party with a smorgasbord of condiments and toppings that might include exotic relishes, pickled vegetables, homemade slaws or gourmet cheese.

And though I appreciate the suggestions, I prefer my upgrades to be more masalafide and textured. After all, if hot dogs are traditionally paired with sauces and pickled goods then HELLO, achar and chutneys are natural, albeit punchier, options!

Think I’m reaching too far? We need only look to a trend that has become popular in both the US and Canada over the past several years: Japanese hot dogs.

Restaurants and food trucks such as Japadog and Tokyo Dog have taken the ubiquitous American street food and upped the ante, offering some seriously delicious and novel toppings. We’re talk about a variety hot dog links and sausages topped with anything from teriyaki sauce, chili sauce, miso, seaweed, bonito flakes and more. And if that wasn’t genius enough, some places even offer tempura battered sausages! To say these mashups work is an understatement.

Taking a cue from these creative trends, why not desi up your hot dog at the next BBQ you host? Your local desi grocery store will come in handy to stock up on some ingenious toppings!

But first, some reminders. You should not compromise the actual integrity of your meat just because your hot dog is going to get some serious dressing. I suggest using a good quality link/sausage as your base along with toasted buttered buns.

The trick to making your hot dog party appear more elevated is by making a buffet station of toppings so that guests may mix and match as they please. Laying out each ingredient in separate bowls looks more appetizing than leaving out a bunch of bags and bottles!

When going shopping for toppings, consider ingredients that would taste good for chaat, such as an assortment of chutneys; mint and tamarind make for great hot dog condiments! You could even put these in squirt bottles for extra swag.

Other chaat-inspired toppings that would deliciously dress a dog are sevboondi, and Bombay mixtures. Crushed chakli and papri would lend a tasty crunch as well.

Your buffet could also include diced tomatoes, onions, chopped coriander leaves, and herbed dahi. A variety of achars on your line-up work as well!

Want to take it a step further in the wow-factor?

A batter that tastes surprisingly delicious with hot dogs is besan! It’s akin to corn dogs but with a nuttier taste. Worth noting is that recipe is gluten-free as well.

To make besan dogs:

  • combine: 1/4 cup besan, 1/4 cup arrowroot powder, 1/4 teaspoon baking powder (grain-free) and ½ teaspoon EACH of the following: turmeric powder, cumin powder, onion powder, and chili powder. Beat one large egg with 1/4 cup sparkling water and about 1/8 cup milk.
  • Combine the wet ingredients with the dry ingredients to make the batter. This batter will coat about 6 medium sized links.
  • Deep fry it in oil and display between a bun, allowing yours guests to top as they desire.

We’re not done yet! Yet another crowd pleaser are cholay dogs, the chili dog reimagined! Load your dog up with cholay and diced kancha piaj and you’re set!

This post was originally published on Masala Mommas. 

Chai Masala Cupcakes with Spiced Frosting

Comics | July 3, 2017 | By

Chances are you have had your fair share of cupcakes; either baking them for your little one’s birthday party or perhaps taking store bought versions for a play date. And chances are, these cupcakes were probably covered per children’s tastes with the standard overly-saccharine frosting in some artificial neon color, topped with a confetti of sprinkles, with the latest character pegged on top. Hey, you’re not above those necessarily. Sometimes having the time to shovel anything in your mouth is a treat, I get it.

So chances are, you have nothing against cupcakes, hell, you love cupcakes! But sometimes you want an adult version, something with decadence that does not involve embellishments. I have a cupcake for you, Momma, a cupcake that is almost as gratifying as enjoying a cup of chai in solitude. Almost.

These cupcakes conjure the same, soothing, warming notes as chai with a batter chock full of all the same masala you would find in your cup – fresh ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, and fennel. The frosting, too, is spiced making this treat the perfect companion to chai, hands down.

Chai Masala Cupcakes with Spiced Frosting

makes 1 dozen cupcakes

Ingredients

Cupcakes

  • 1 stick or 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon green cardamom powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon fennel powder
  • 2/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 tablespoon finely minced or grated ginger (squeeze juice and use as well)

Frosting

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger powder
  • 12 candied ginger pieces OR cinnamon sticks (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Prepare muffin tin/cups with paper lining. Set aside.
  2. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine dry items: flour, baking powder, cinnamon powder, green cardamom powder, salt, nutmeg powder, and fennel powder.
  4. Gradually add dry mixture to creamed mixture; add milk and ginger to mixture.
  5. Fill lined muffin cups two-thirds full. Bake for 24-28 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

(Note: Do NOT apply frosting until cupcakes are completely cooled!)

For the frosting: Using a stand or hand mixer and beat butter until fluffy; mix in the confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, cinnamon powder, and ginger powder and beat to combine. (Note: Do NOT add all the milk at once. Add 1 tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency.) Pipe frosting over cupcakes. Garnish with candied ginger or cinnamon (optional).

Yo, full disclosure, this post was first published on MasalaMommas.com. Still relevant today though!