Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mango Chai Spiced Cupcakes

Many Indians celebrate Raksha Bandhan each August to honor and cherish the bond between brothers and sisters. My sister and I rarely got to participate in this holiday as none of our cousin brothers lived near us. Before moving to Texas, the last time that I actually got to participate in tying a Rakhi on one of my cousins on an annual basis was when I was 7. After about 20 years, I can finally fully participate as the same cousin brother that I gave a Rakhi to when I was 7 lives in Texas and is a quick trip away. Typically, the sister prepares a thali (plate) with sweets, the Rakhi, white rice, and a red powder. Normally, the sweet is Peda, but as I have never made Peda before, I figured I would make a more modern sweet, like cupcakes. Determining the flavor of the cupcakes was easy as I had been wanting to make mango cupcakes and play with my basic buttercream recipe for a while. As I was surfing Pinterest, I came across this Mango Cupcake recipe and I knew that it would be perfect for celebrating Raksha Bandhan. The mango puree and filling makes the cakes moist while the Chai Masala gives them a subtle spice. I hope you enjoy them as much as my family and I did!

Fresh Mango Cupcakes
recipe curtesy of (my changes in italics)

1 ripe mango (should yield about 1 cup of puree)
1/2 cup coconut milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
3/4 cup soy milk (I used vanilla soy milk)
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 tbsp corn starch
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup margarine, softened (I used Land O'Lakes Tub Butter with Olive Oil)
3/4 cup sugar (I used Splenda Sugar Blend)
2 tsp vanilla (I omitted this as the Soy Milk contained Vanilla)
4 tsp sugar (for filling)
1 tbsp corn starch+ 2 tbs cold water  (to thicken the filling)
1 tsp Chai Masala (this can be made at home or found in an Indian grocery store)

Directions for the Cupcakes:
1. Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pan with cupcake liners
2. Puree the mango and mix with 1/2 cup of coconut soy milk. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture for the cake and reserve the rest for making the filling.
3. Whisk the soy milk and vinegar and set aside for a few minutes.
4. Sift flour, corn starch, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and mix.
5. Using an electric mixer, beat the margarine and sugar for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla then the 1/2 cup of mango puree mix. It will look a little curdled but do not overmix. It will come together later.
6. Alternate beating in the soy milk mixture and dry ingredients, stopping to scrape the sides of the bowl a few times. Mix until just combined.
7. Fill cupcake liners two thirds full and bake for 20-22 minutes. Let them cool completely.

Directions for the Filling:
1. Heat 1/2 cup of the reserved mango mixture with 4tsp of sugar (use more or less depending on the sweetness of the mango).
2.  Once it bubbles add the corn starch mixture 1 tbs at a time while stirring until the mixture thickens. You may not need to use all of it. Let it cool completely. Set 1 tbsp of the filling aside if you are planning on making Mango Chai Spiced Buttercream.
3. Scoop out the middle of each cupcake and fill with spoonful of the filling. Replace the tops of the cupcakes if you wish. I filled a disposable pastry bag with the mango filling and using round tip, I piped the filling into each cupcake until a little filling came out of the top. Use a spoon to scrape the excess filling off the top of the cupcake before frosting. 
4. Frost with your favorite buttercream. I used Mango Chai Spiced Buttercream (recipe provided below)

Mango Chai Spiced Buttercream
recipe by Madhvi
1 cup Butter, room temperature
3 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
1 tbsp Mango Filling (recipe above)
1 tsp Chai Masala

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy.
2. Turn the mixer on slow and add the mango filling and Chai masala and beat until incorporated.
3. Slowly add the powdered sugar in small batches so that it doesn't fly everywhere.
4. Mix until frosting gets to the thickness you like, adding milk if the frosting is too thick or powdered sugar if the frosting is too runny.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Migas...a Texan Brunch Staple

I had no idea what "migas" were prior to moving to Texas. Before the last year, if someone had asked me about Migas, I probably would have thought they were asking to be my friend or something. That's what I get for taking 7 years of French and then moving to Texas, where the second official State language is Spanish. After arriving in Texas and having been to a Tex-Mex Brunch or two, I have discovered that Migas are on every brunch menu in some way, shape, or form. At first, I resisted this strange savory, fried tortilla concoction in lieu of the usual pancakes and scrambled eggs. One day, however, I took a walk on the wild side and opted to order the Migas. And since that day, it's always a tough call between pancakes or Migas, with Migas usually winning out as the option of choice. On a lazy weekend morning, when the last thing you want to do is get ready to go grab brunch, whipping up this yummy batch of Migas will help satisfy your craving for brunch without leaving the comfort of your house. 

Recipe courtesy of The Pioneer Woman (my changes in italics)

1 whole Jalapeno, Finely Diced
1 Plum Tomato, Chopped
1/3 cup Green Bell Pepper, Chopped
1/3 cup Red Bell Pepper, Chopped
1/3 cup Yellow Bell Pepper, Chopped (original recipe didn't include this)
1/3 cup Red Onion, Chopped
6 Large Eggs
1/2 cup Cheese, Grated (I used Habanero Hot Pepper Cheddar)
1/3 cup Green Onions, Chopped (the original recipe called for Cilantro)
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Tbsp Milk (I used 2% milk but the original recipe called for Half and Half)
1 cup Tortilla Chips, Crushed 
1 cup ground turkey taco meat (This is optional and may be left out)
Salt as Needed


In a bowl, whisk together eggs and milk, add salt and pepper as needed, then set aside.

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the olive oil with the butter. Add onions and bell peppers and cook until starting to turn brown/black, about 3 to 4 minutes. 

Add in diced jalapenos and stir to combine. Add tomatoes to the skillet and stir around. 

Add the crushed tortilla chips stirring gently to combine. 

Add the taco meat, if using, and reduce heat to low.

When the heat has decreased, pour egg mixture into skillet. Stir gently to cook with the peppers, folding mixture very gently as it cooks. 

Add in grated cheese and chopped cilantro, and stir to combine. 

Serve warm with whole tortilla chips and a splash or two of Texas Pete Hot Sauce.