Friday, November 18, 2011

What is a springform cake tin?

I could totally identify with readers who have written in asking what a springform baking tin is. I myself didn’t know what it was till a few years back, though I have been baking for a while. It is a round baking tin that most commonly comes in standard sizes of 7 and 9 inches, with a removable bottom, and banded interlocking sides that is held together with a clasp. So you can remove the sides and slide out the bottom easily. It is very similar to the baking tins with removable bottoms, except that this has removable sides too.

The sides are usually 1.5 to 2 inches high, and the side clasps look like retro baggage clasps. Depending on the brand or make that you buy, you might or might not get a choice of a flat or a dimpled bottom or both. I didn’t and since it didn’t make sense to buy two of them just for the bottom, I went instead with a dimpled bottom. These tins are specially useful for making cheesecakes, flourless cakes, and other delicate preparations where you want to avoid having to shake the dish out of the tin.

They are usually not absolutely waterproof so if you are going to be baking your cheesecake in a water bath, you may want to double wrap the bottom with foil before putting your cake in.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Chamba Gosht

This is a lamb recipe that my mom sent me a few years back. It is an extremely tasty Himachali dish from the chamba region. It is a subtle dish using hing (asafoetida) and yogurt. I searched for additional information, but beyond variations of the same recipe I was not able to find much background to this simple and delicious dish. I will be grateful to hear back from you if you have any further information on this recipe or this style of cooking.

You will need
500 g mutton on the bone
2 cups yogurt
2 tsp gram flour
4-6 dry red chili
4 cloves
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp hing powder
A pinch of cinnamon powder
A pinch of methi (fenugreek) seeds
A couple of bay leaves
2-3 tbsp cooking oil
Salt to taste
Coriander leaves to garnish

1. Wipe the mutton clean and keep aside. Chop the fresh coriander and keep aside.
2. Beat the yogurt till smooth.
3. Make a thin paste of gram flour with a few spoons of water and add it to the yogurt and blend well.
4. Heat the oil till smoking.
5. Turn the heat down and add the dry red chilis.
6. Once the chilis are almost looking burnt, add the cloves, the black pepper, cumin seeds, methi seeds, cinnamon powder, bay leaves, and the hing powder. Let it cook for about 2 minutes on the low heat.
7. Add the mutton pieces, and stir well, searing the meat and sealing the juices in. Cook on a medium heat for about 20 minutes, stirring periodically to ensure that the meat is evenly browned.
8. Once the meat is nicely and evenly browned, take it off the heat, wait for a few minutes for it to stop cooking and then add the yogurt and gram flour paste to it, and stir it in well.
9. Put the meat back on to a medium heat and bring it to a boil. Add salt to taste. You can also add turmeric powder or chili powder if you like. Let it boil for another 20-30 minutes till the meat is cooked through. You can also pressure cook it for 10 minutes or 3-4 whistles if you wish.
10 Garnish with chopped coriander leaves. Serve hot with rice or roti.

The second time around that we made this, we got confused between this and another recipe, and added three smashed pods of black cardamom along with the red chilis to the initial tarka. We followed the rest of this recipe. To our surprise, it turned out really well. You may want to try it as a variation.