Saturday, 5 January 2013

Hot and Sour Soup for a Cold and Clear day :)

I firmly believe that there is no way to take a really good picture of soup. Or maybe its just me and my fantastic talents of photography :D

Anyway so this is my take on the well known hot n sour soup.. by the way, were any of you in Lahore back in 1989? There used to be this restaurant in Liberty market, called Salt and Pepper, I think. They served a wonderful Hot and Sour.. I remember many lunches there with my Mama dear and invariably we would chose this soup.. ah, sweet memories..

So, back to the soup.. You'll find different recipes online. This is my version. Not saying its the one true recipe :) But its a very tasty concoction so do try it.. you might like it very much :)

1 chicken, in pieces.. I removed the leg pieces since they can be used otherwise, kept the rest
4 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chili sauce
1/4 cup soya sauce
3 tbls hot sauce
2 tblsp vinegar
1/4 cup ketchup
1 level tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp red chili flakes
1/4 tsp white pepper powder
1/4 tsp celery salt, optional
1 tsp dried rosemary, optional
3 tblsp vegetable oil
1 tblsp sesame oil
2 litres water
1 egg, whisked
3 tblsp cornflour mixed with cold water
Chopped cabbage*

Heat 2 tblsp veg oil in a pot. Add the chicken and vinegar and bhunofy it well.
I have a thing against chicken smell so even though this might not be the conventional method, I still do it.. nothing worse that a chicken soup that smells of chicken.. ahem.. :)

So add the garlic cloves, you can chop them if you feel like it..
Bhunofy it well, adding 1/2 tsp black pepper
Once ure satisfied that the chicken is not smelling any more, add 1 litre water and the celery salt and rosemary, if using.

Cook until chicken is done.. Sieve out
Shred the chicken
Set the yakhni too cook with the other litre water and all the rest of the spices and sauces plus cabbage*

Meanwhile, while that cooks up a bit, saute the shredded chicken in the remaining oils

If at this point you feel the chicken still has a certain whiff, add 1 tsp zeera powder.. that should do the trick..

Add the chicken to the soup.. let it boil up a few times and check for spices - you want a hot and yet sour, vinegary taste.. adjust if need can also add vinegar at this point if you're missing that zang..

Once its to your liking, remove the pot from heat and pour in the cornflour mix in a thin stream, mixing all the while with a WOODEN SPOON and return to the stove, on low heat.. Keep stirring..

Do not, ever, use a metal or even plastic spoon with cornflour.. it will either not thicken, or take ages to do so...

As soon as its thick enough, remove from heat again and pour in the well whisked egg in a thin stream, mixing all the while. If you're slow to mix in, u'll have bits of cooked egg and I dont think it will look or feel very tasty :)

Once all is mixed in well, set it back on the stove - give it a quick boil and serve. Add the cornflour and egg before serving, so the soup retains its freshness..

Serve it with a helping of green chilies chopped in vinegar and hot sauce.. enjoy the heat :)

* I added only shredded/chopped cabbage.. but you can also add beans, capsicum and corn if you wish. though I would not add corn since then it will resemble the chicken corn soup and thats not what we're making.. But other than that, its up to you, whatever veggies you want to add..

There's nothing better than Apple Pie!

No really, especially on cold winter evenings with a steaming mug of coffee.... yumm.. my most favourite combination, anytime.. so here we are with a Hot Apple Pie .. Ready to be devoured :)

The best dough that I have ever made is the one I use in all my pies and tarts. I've done a lot with it and it never disappoints, Alhamdolillah..

Pastry dough:
125 gms flour
60 gms icing sugar
60 gms butter
a few drops of ice cold water

Make a soft, non-sticky dough and keep cool till u need it.

125 gms = 1 standard size measuring cup
60 grms icing sugar = 3 heaped tablespoons
60 grms butter = 4 and half tablespoons

I'd suggest you make a double portion so that there is enough for the lattice.

For the flling:

Slice 6 to 7 apples.
Mix together 2 tblsp flour, 1/4 tblsp cinnamon powder and 1/2 cup sugar..
Toss them together well and set aside.

Layer the tin with one part dough, bringing it up to cover the sides. Pile in the filling. Roll out the next portion and cut in straight equal lines. Make the lattice cover by layering strip for strip..

Take a strand of dough and pull it over the sides, so as to encircle the whole pie.

Finish by brushing with milk over everything.

bake to golden at 190 C for 25 mins.

If youre using a springform, cover the base with aluminium foil otherwise the juices will run out and burn in the oven.

Serve hot with whipped cream or ice-cream..