Trip to Niko Niko’s

Niko Niko’s is a Greek restaurant in Montrose (Houston,TX). We have visited the restaurant many times. Love the food especially Baklava. I forgot to take a photo of the yummy Baklava.  If you are at/visiting Houston and love to try new food, give Nico Nico’s a try. Coffee lovers should try their Greek coffee.

Here are some mouthwatering photos of  Greek lasagna, Gyro and chicken kebabs.

Nico Nico's 1

Nico Nico's 2

Nico Nico's 3

Mint Rice/Pudina Sadam

Mint rice 8

I have added cooked chickpeas the rice. It is optional. But it gives the rice more flavor. So do try adding chickpeas to mint rice.

Mint rice 2

Below is the image of the spices I used in this recipe.

Mint rice 1

Ingredients:

  • Chickpeas – 1/2 cup, soaked overnight in water
  • Basmathi rice – 1 + 1/2 cups
  • Ghee – 2 tbsps
  • Mustard seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Onion – 3/4 cup, chopped
  • Curry leaves – 8
  • Serrano pepper – 1 and a half pepper slight lengthwise
  • Ginger garlic paste – using 1 inch piece of ginger and 3 garlic cloves
  • Tomato – 1/2 a tomato, chopped
  • Grind to a fine paste using water:
    • Mint leaves – 1/2 cup, tightly packed
    • Cashew – 10
    • Cloves – 2
    • Cinnamon stick – 1 inch
    • Cardamom – 2
    • Marathi moggu – 1
    • Kalpasi – a big piece
    • Annasi Poo – 1
    • Jathipathri – 1
  • Water – 2 cups + 3/4 cups
  • salt – to taste
  • Fresh bay leaf – 1
  • Cilantro – few, chopped

Method:

    • Pressure cook chickpeas with water and salt for one whistle. Drain the chickpeas and set it aside.
    • Water and soak basmathi rice in water.
    • Heat ghee in a big pan.(you need a pan with a lid)
    • Add mustard seeds and wait till it splutters.
    • Add onions, serrano pepper and curry leaves. Saute until the onions turn golden brown.
    • Add the ginger garlic paste and saute for 30 seconds.
    • Add the chopped tomato and saute until the tomato looses its shape.

Mint rice 3

    • Add the ground mint mixture, chickpeas and salt.

Mint rice 4

    • Let it cook until the ghee starts to ooze out. Keep stirring at regular intervals.

Mint rice 5

    • Turn the heat to medium.
    • Drain the soaked rice and add it to the mint mixture.
    • Add water and salt to taste.
    • Add cilantro and bay leaf.

Mint rice 6

    • Cover the pan and let the rice cook halfway.

Mint rice 7

  • Turn off the heat and let the rice cook in its own steam with the lid on. (approximately 15-20minutes)
  • Stir the rice gently and serve hot with raita.

 

Mango Icecream

Mango Ice cream 3

This is a Philadelphia style mango ice cream (ice cream without eggs) recipe. I use an ice cream maker to make ice creams. Cool off the summer with my mango ice cream recipe.

Mango Ice cream 14

Mango Ice cream 9

Ingredients:

  • Ripe Mangoes – 2 big mangoes or 3 small mangoes
  • Whole milk – 3/4 cup, chilled
  • Sugar – 3/4 cup, adjust accordingly( see notes below)
  • Heavy cream – 1 + 1/2 cups

Method:

    • Puree the mangoes using a blender and strain them into a bowl.

Mango Ice cream 12

Mango Ice cream 11

    • Add whole milk, sugar and heavy cream to the mango puree and mix well until the sugar dissolves.
    • Follow the directions on your ice cream maker and make the ice cream.

Mango Ice cream 10

  • I have a Cuisinart ice cream maker. I chill the Cuisinart ice cream bowl for 24 hours before making the ice cream.
  • I place the chilled bowl in the ice cream maker. Place the beater inside and close the lid.
  • I turn on the machine and pour the mango ice cream mixture slowly inside the bowl.
  • The ice cream will be ready within 25 minutes of churning.
  • Transfer the ice cream into a freezer safe container and freeze for 1-2 hours before serving.

Mango Ice cream 5

Note:

  • The quantity of sugar depends on the sweetness of the mangoes. The ice cream mixture must be on the sweet side before churning. The sweetness will decrease a bit when the ice cream is ready.

 

Pineapple Lemonade Punch

Pineapple Lemonade Punch

This punch is perfect for a hot summer day. It is sweet and refreshing. You can add  more sprite as you run out of punch. Making it the perfect party punch. Kids and adults will enjoy this drink.

Ingredients:

  • Country time lemonade mix – 2 cups
  • Pineapple juice – 64 oz , chilled (I used Dole)
  • Cold water – 2 cups
  • Sprite – 2 liter bottle, chilled ( you can buy more and keep refilling the punch)

Method:

  • Combine lemonade mix, pineapple juice and cold water together in a drink dispenser or punch bowl.
  • Add sprite just before the guests arrive.

Note:

  • You can keep topping the punch with sprite.
  • Garnish the punch with slices of lemon.

Cherry Topping

Cherry topping 1

This awesome cherry topping can be used on ice creams, pancakes and waffles. The recipe is from Cooking tip of the day.  I used Oregon dark sweet cherries. The sauce is a bit thin. It works well with waffles and pancakes. But if you are going to top ice creams, add an extra 1/2 tbsp of cornstarch and 1 tbsp of water to the recipe below.

The ingredients below makes 16 oz of cherry topping/sauce.

Ingredients:

  • Canned cherries – 15oz can
  • Water – 1/3 cup
  • Sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Cornstarch – 1 tbsp
  • Water – 2 tbsps
  • Almond extract – 1/2 tsp
  • Brandy – 1 tbsp

Method:

    • Drain the cherries and pour the syrup from the can into a saucepan.
    • Chop the cherries or use them whole.
    • Mix cornstarch and 2 tbsps of water in a bowl to a lump free paste.
    • Add sugar and 1/3 cup of water to the syrup in the sauce pan.
    • Mix well and let the syrup cook on medium heat. Stir at regular intervals.
    • Let the cherry syrup boil for 2 minutes.
    • Slowly whisk in the cornstarch mixture  and let it boil for 3 minutes.
    • Turn off the heat.
    • Stir in the cherries, almond extract and brandy.
    • When the sauce cools down, transfer the cherry topping to a jar or container and refrigerate.

Cherry topping 2

 

Overnight Waffles

Overnight waffles 7

We purchased a waffle maker last year at Fry’s and I think it is the best investment ever.  We have tried different waffle recipes. This is the best recipe for a lazy Saturday/Sunday morning or when you have guests for breakfast. Most of the mixing is done the previous night and just little bit of mixing in the morning.  The recipe below is from the kitchn. These waffles are crisp on the outside and soft inside.

The batter will rise overnight, so use a very large bowl to mix the batter.

The ingredients below yields 5 waffles. I have a Waring Pro waffle maker. The diameter of the waffle is 6.5 inches. The waffles is 1 inches thick.

Ingredients:

  • Ingredients to mix the night before you want to make waffles:
    • Active dry yeast – 1 + 1/2 tsps
    • Warm water – 1/4 cup
    • Melted butter – 1/4 cup
    • Whole milk or 2% milk – 1 cup + 1/4 cup
    • Salt – 1/2 tsp
    • Sugar – 1 tbsp
    • All purpose flour – 1 + 1/2 cups
  • Ingredients to mix the next day:
    • Egg – 1, beaten
    • Baking soda – 1/4 tsp

Method:

    • Mix yeast and water in a large mixing bowl. Let it stand for few minutes.
    • Mix melted butter, warm milk, salt and sugar in a bowl. When the butter-mixture is lukewarm, add it to the yeast.
    • Add flour and mix until the flour is incorporated.
    • The batter should have small lumps in them.
    • Cling wrap the bowl and let the batter sit at room temperature overnight.

Overnight waffles 1

    • The next morning add egg and baking soda to the batter. Mix well.

Overnight waffles 2

Overnight waffles 3

      • The batter must be thick and flowing.
      • You can add milk if the batter is too thick.

Overnight waffles 4

    • Follow the instructions on your waffle maker and make waffles.

Overnight waffles 5

Overnight waffles 8

    • Enjoy with maple syrup or toppings of your choice.

Overnight waffles 6

 Note:

  • Do not place hot waffles on a plate unless you are going to eat it immediately. Place the waffles on a wire rack.
  • You can freeze leftover waffles.  Thaw them by baking them until they defrost in a 325F oven.  Place the waffles directly on the wire rack inside the oven.

Potato Fry

Potato fry 4

I recently purchased a cast iron wok and it is my current favorite kitchen utensil. I used to think that you can make a good potato fry only using non stick pan. But a good seasoned cast iron wok can give you the same result. For a crisp potato fry, be generous with the oil and do not overcrowd the pan with lots of potatoes.

Ingredients:

  • Oil – for sauteing
  • Cumin seeds – 1/4 tsp
  • Curry leaves – 6 to 8 leaves
  • Potatoes – 2 + 1/2 cups, diced
  • Salt – to taste
  • Chili powder – 2 tsps, add according to taste
  • Turmeric powder – 1/4 tsp
  • Ground cumin – 1/2 to 1 tsp , optional
  • Hing/ Asafoetida – 6 pinches

Method:

    • Heat oil in a wok.
    • Add cumin seeds and let it crackle.
    • Add curry leaves and potatoes. Keep stirring at regular intervals.

Potato fry 1

    • When the potatoes turn lightly golden; add salt, chili powder, turmeric powder, hing and ground cumin(optional).

Potato fry 2

Potato fry 3

    • Saute until the potatoes are fully cooked and crisp. Don’t forget to stir at regular intervals.
    • For crisp potatoes, add more oil after you add the chili powder.

Potato fry 4

Note:

For a simple potato fry; Use oil, potatoes, salt, turmeric powder and chili powder. Follow the method above.