September 29, 2010

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Bismilllahir Rahmanir Raheem

This was a desert I made for my friends during Ramadan. Y'all know how it is when it comes time to break the fast, you want to chow down but really, you just can't. It's no surprise that your stomach literally becomes smaller as you fast and you just can't stuff it as much as you want to. But that doesn't mean you can't have your dessert just have to plan for it!

Just like with all your meals in Ramadan, you want to take it easy and light. In that case, it's not easy finding a dessert that fits the bill but this cake comes as close to it as you can. Just be careful not to over mix the ingredients as you'll get a tough cake; you're aiming for a light, airy cake.

It's surprisingly not sweet, so I took the liberty of topping it off with an almond extract glaze that goes perfectly with the cocoa in the cake. Ramadan or not, this cake is a must for any dinner party.

Chocolate Bundt Cake
(taken from Martha Stewart)

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (4 ounces)
  • 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

  1. Make the cake: Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 14-cup Bundt pan. Whisk flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Mix milk and sour cream in a small bowl.
  2. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, then vanilla. Reduce mixer speed to low, and add flour mixture, alternating with milk mixture, ending with flour. Fold in walnuts, if using. Spoon batter into pan. Bake until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Invert cake. (Cake will keep for up to 1 day.)  

Almond Glaze

1 tsp Almond Extract
1 cup powdered sugar
milk (as needed for consistency)

1. Mix extract and sugar together. Using a wisk, incorporate enough milk until you get the desired consistency.
2. Wait until cake is completely cool before drizzling with glaze.

September 28, 2010

Oven Fries

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

I'm almost embarrassed to admit where the inspiration for this recipe came from, but I have to be fair and give credit where credit is due: it was from Racheal Ray and though I can't locate the exact recipe, it had something to do with a bag of frozen fries and a packet of taco seasoning.  It was one of the first recipes I tweaked on my own and today I'm proud to say it bears very little resemblance to the original, alhamdulillah!

I'm constantly changing the recipe around to suit whatever food it will be paired with that evening. Sometimes the potatoes are cut thin and spiced with garlic and cumin to go with a lamb shoulder or cut thick and chunky and doused with red chili powder and pepper flakes to go alongside spicy chicken fajitas. Tonight was somewhere in the middle and I ended up using red potatoes (it's all I had!) and they still turned out great.

Throw these into a preheated oven the first thing as you start to cook your meal and they'll be ready as the rest of the food wraps up. Of course you can tweak all the seasonings to your preference but remember to save the salt until the end. Sprinkle it on to taste as they come out hot from the oven for best results.

Oven Fries
2 Russett Potatoes (allot one potato per person), peeled or with peel and washed well
2 tblsp olive oil
1 tblsp cajun seasoning (or your blend of favorite spices or herbs)
salt and pepper to taste

1. Pre-heat oven to 415

2. Slice potato into 1/4"  - 1/2" wedges. I get the best amount out of slicing the whole potato into thirds length wise, and then cutting each slice into wedges.

3. Arrange in a single layer on a foil covered baking sheet. Pour over oil and seasoning. Toss with hands for even coating.

4. Bake at least 20 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper, serve immediately.

September 24, 2010


Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

We try not to eat a lot of fried foods in our house, but every now and then, a little something flies under the radar. In this case we can console ourselves by the fact that these little snacks are made from lentils and have no added sugar or fat. I think its safe to say this is probably the healthiest deep-fried food around!

Lentils are a staple of Indian cooking and a variety are used in the day to day cooking. South Indian cuisine, from which the snack originates, is made up of a colorful array of lentils. Vada are made from the white lentil, known as mash ki daal or urid daal.

These are so easy that you're probably going to be turned off by the simplicity of ingredients and steps. But trust me on this, the final product is so complex in flavors and textures that you'll never look at a lentil the same way again.

These are best served with a spicy chutney , or you can do as we did during all our childhood visits to India and dunk them in some ketchup. Make to sure to eat these warm while they're still crispy. The batter can be made ahead of time and kept in the fridge for at least several days. Also, a big thanks to my mom for reminding me that some of the most delicious food can also be some of the simplest. Love ya, Mommy!


2 cups maash ki daal (white lentils)
1 tsp garlic and ginger paste
1/2 an onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
3 - 4 chopped green chilis (more if you like it spicy)
salt to taste
pinch of baking powder

1. Soak your daal over night, or at least 4 hours.

2. Drain and place in food processor and process until pasty. Add onions, cilantro, peppers and spices and combine well. Allow to sit for 15 minutes or so.

3. Drop rounded tablespoons into medium high oil; you want it hot enough to get a crispy exterior but not so hot that the inside stays raw. Drain on paper towels afterwards.

a note about the shape: you can just plop in the spoonfuls and allow them to puff up and spread out a little on their own. But the vade of my childhood were donut shaped and I just had to replicate those. My mom advised shaping into little patties and poking a hole in the middle with wet hands but it just didn't work for me. I opted for a much more technically advanced method and stuck the end of a chopstick into the frying vada ;)

September 23, 2010

Peach Shortbread

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem

Whew! Did that Ramadan go by super-fast, or was that just me? So even though we're not eating during the days of Ramadan, no one seemed to pass on that memo to the young monsters in the house who insist on food around the clock, so I was in the kitchen quite a bit this past month. Add in the few iftaar dinners and some out of town Eid guests and well, lets just say there shouldn't be any shortage of posts these next few weeks insha'allah.

That brings us to these cookie bars; I've been wanting to tell you about these since the day I was randomly inspired to bake something fresh and fruity, light but satisfying (fasting really brings out some specific cravings!), and found these calling my name.In fact, these cookies were so good that it turns out, I didn't take any after-pictures. Between breaking my fast and ,you know, eating, I guess I was a little busy!

I know its officially autumn now and I know peaches aren't really the fruit of the moment. But trust me, you can do this with just about any fresh or frozen fruit and its not a bad way to use up any last-gasp stone fruit you see at your local market. I made a quick batch of a mango version for Eid and they were delicious!

Peach Shortbread Cookies
(I opted for the easier version and used room temperature butters instead of browning it, also halved the recipe. Everything came out perfect!)

(Smitten Kitchen Note: you can make it with straight-up non-browned butter if you are pressed for time. Simply cut softened butter into the flour (instead of frozen brown butter) and increase the flour by two tablespoons, bringing it to three full cups of flour.

1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon  baking powder
2 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cups all-purpose flour (or you can measure 3 cups and remove 2 tablespoons flour)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) cold unsalted butter
1 large egg
2 peaches, pitted and thinly sliced (between 1/8 and 1/4-inch thick)

Brown your butter: Melt butter in a small/medium saucepan over medium-low heat. It will melt, then foam, then turn clear golden and finally start to turn brown and smell nutty. Stir frequently, scraping up any bits from the bottom as you do. Keep your eyes on it; it burns very quickly after it browns and the very second that you turn around to do something else. Set it in the freezer until solid (about 30 minutes).
[Don't have time for all this brown butter madness?use regular softened butter instead.]

Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C). Butter a 9×13 inch pan, or spray it with a nonstick spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, baking powder, flour, salt and spices with a whisk. Use a pastry blender, fork or your fingertips, blend the solidified brown butter and egg into the flour mixture. It will be crumbly.

Pat 3/4 of the crumbs into the bottom of the prepared pan, pressing firmly. Tile peach slices over crumb base in a single layer. Scatter remaining crumbs evenly over peaches and bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, until top is slightly brown and you can see a little color around the edges.

Cool completely in pan before cutting into squares.

September 12, 2010

Taqabbal Allaahu minna wa mink 
May Allaah accept this worship from us and from you

As promised, the Muslim Wife's Kitchen is now back up and running. New posts to come, insha'Allah!